Empties

Otherwise dubbed (by me, anyway) as the life changing magic of using things up, the hashtag empties is one of the most soothing things on Instagram. I am obsessed with decluttering (and it’s counterpart, recluttering), but I often feel a deep sense of dissatisfaction with the degree of waste I see that accumulated in my life. This is why I’ve always favoured selling my things online; not only is it a nice side hustle, but I feel like the item is purchased because it is being used, not just being sent to rot in a Salvation Army store somewhere. 

This unfortunately doesn’t apply to beauty products. My poor mum has been the victim of many a well-intentioned clean out. As has the rubbish bin. But I am very proud to declare that today, I actually created my very own empty – I used up a Garnier hydrating face moisturiser all the way to the final gooey scoop.


And what is such a declaration without a photo to back it up? There it is, in all its glory, an extremely empty moisturiser container. 

I cannot even explain to you the sense of satisfaction that that container did not go to waste. When I was reaching the final dregs, I did resist the urge to just spread the stuff on every inch of my body, just to be done with the darn thing. But I reminded myself it was a game; a test of the deeper effects of delayed gratification and satisfaction in true consuming, not just waste. 

Of course, this is far from the only moisturiser in my cupboard. I can now move on to working my way through the next poor tub of goo, slowly but surely getting every drop and maximising it’s value. 

It’s weird – but I encourage you to scroll through the #empties on Instagram. Embrace the feeling of properly using something up, of pushing through the sense of boredom with what you have to learn to appreciate that you have it at all. Reflect on the joy or lack thereof it brought you when it’s done. And then say goodbye. 

While there is so much joy in a fresh start, there is great sense of self-discipline and achievement in seeing something to the end. And I believe that holds true, whether for a life altering path, or a small tub of moisturiser. And hey, you have to start that journey somewhere, right? 

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Doing the hard things 

2017 is a precursor year for us. It’s full of preparatory steps – waiting on permanent residency status. Visas. Being engaged (I know – have I mentioned it yet? Shoved my diamond in your face? The excitement still hasn’t worn off), which is inherently a preparatory statement. Not settling in for the long haul. Being apart for a while. Planning (and saving for) a wedding, or two. 

There’s many many hard things coming up. I find myself awake at night, stressing about the many iterations the paths might take. Even more, I find myself awake at night, stressing about how it will be hard. Just hard. Just a lot of hard hard things, requiring a lot of gutsing through and not giving up and commitment and stress and bashing into the brick wall of hard every day, over and over and over. 

And that’s okay. I’ve done hard. I believe in hard. I also know hard is relative – and while I sometimes think my current life is hard (you know, get up, go to the gym, go to work, complain, repeat – wow, I’m a hero), I know it’s about to get a lot harder. I just wanted to acknowledge to myself that it’s okay that it’s going to be hard and I’m going to be scared. I’m going to want to rewind five years. And then I’m going to put on my brave pants and face the day and say a grateful word and start again. 

Pipsticks Unboxing

As you may have gathered, I have an obsession with subscription boxes. The passion likely stems from my love of receiving mail, and my massive adoration of surprises, as well as utterly unnecessary but very pretty things. Amongst many other fabulous presents (including a diamond ring and a DSLR … yep, I’m bragging but I’m outrageously lucky and I want the world to know it), I received a six-month subscription to the fabulous sticker subscription service, Pipsticks.

Pipsticks is based in the US, and is a monthly subscription of a surprise assortment of adorable stickers. My first envelope arrived, and I wanted to share the joy.

Each subscription arrives in a stupid cute envelope:


And is stuffed full of stickers:


Some of my absolute favourite stickers are ones that sparkle and say hilarious things, and there are an abundance of both in this kit:


The little subscription newsletter is seriously too adorable:


(I love being in the club!!)

And included in your envelope is a decorate-it-yourself postcard. I’m itching to get decorating and send it off – all I need is a pen pal! 

The only downside to Pipsticks is for those of us who live outside of the USA, it takes a little longer to ship. Otherwise, I adore everything about this little subscription – everything is usable, everything is next level cute, and the regular flow of stickers make me less of a hoarder since I know my collection is just going to grow. I’m already hanging out for next month – daily trips to the post box anyone?? 

Skin Overhaul

It was a typical Melbourne day in December, and I was walking through my own real life version of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, going with my high school girlfriends to get our nails done in preparation for my best friend’s wedding that weekend. We had had every conversation under the sun, and still didn’t run out of things to talk about. And after talking boys, and reunions, and gossip, and weddings, and mothers in law, and dreams, we arrived at skin care. And praise the damn lord. The bride to be had the clearest skin on the planet, and I wanted in. Another girl spoke up, talking at great length about the intricacies of balanced and careful skin care, and we all got on board, ready to commence our skincare journeys, to say goodbye to caked layers of foundation and the seventeen-year-old-self shame of another red angry pimple exploding its way into the middle of my face.

I felt my skin had become exceptionally terrible since working full time, sitting in the harsh fluourescents and the constant air conditioning and the makeup and the bad food (probably all also attributable to the ever-growing flub around my bod). I gave my friend licence to instruct me what to do and when to do it, and now that I’m also wearing a pretty diamond on my left hand, she has been appointed official Wedding Skincare Consultant.

The goal: that I can walk down the aisle with skin so glowing it doesn’t need makeup.

The process: was kickstarted with many many text messages. I’ve shared the bespoke program designed by my ever-excellent Wedding Skincare Consultant below.

Stage One: Make-up be gone

We began with the fact that I am impossibly lazy and often don’t bother to remove my makeup at night (I know, I know, I’m awful). I was instructed to purchase Clinique’s Take The Day Off cleansing balm.

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The balm is used every night when removing my makeup (since I wear makeup every day). I use two fingers to scoop up some of the balm, rub it between my two forefingers, then gently rub it into my face using a circular motion. It is an extremely unattractive process as my mascara ends up all over my face, but I’m reassured that unlike all my other useless makeup removers, it actually gets rid of the mascara and all of the foundation. The balm is really gentle, so my skin also feels like it’s being cared for, unlike the alcohol-based removers I’ve used in the past.

Stage Two: Cleansers

Like many girls I know, I love a good trip to Priceline, an impulsive purchase of a set of three cleansers / toners / moisturisers that are on sale and in cute packaging, only to use it for a few days and let the set gather dust in the back of my cupboard. I’ve never dedicated much time or effort to consider the ingredients and what will best complement and service my skin. My all-knowing Wedding Skincare Consultant prescribed two cleansers to begin the skincare journey to glowing perfection: the Clinique Facial Soap in mild (not the foaming one) for the morning, and Neutrogena’s Deep Clean Cream Cleanser for night.

The Clinique facial soap is also available in extra-mild, but I figured my skin could do with a bit of extra help. It is a gel cleanser, which I was informed is best for the morning or after exercising, when you’re looking for your face to feel fresh and hydrated. I was also under strict instructions to avoid any gel cleanser with foaming, as it contains bad alcohols for the skin and dries you right out, doing you no favours when it comes to the later stages of skincare journeys in hydrating. I’ve used the facial soap every morning when in the shower (probably cheating, but it was the only way I could think of to build using the cleanser into my daily routine so I didn’t forget or get lazy), and definitely feel that it is refreshing and like my skin is actually getting a proper wash. My only gripe is the container I got has a fault pump, so I need to unscrew the lid and tip it into my hand. Once I’ve used up a body wash that has about six drops left, I’m planning on pouring it into that. I’ve been surprised by how bloody annoying this fault is, but obviously it isn’t insurmountable. I’ll just be paying more attention next time I purchase.

The evenings are for the cream cleanser. Potential products included the Neutrogena mentioned above, the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser, L’Oreal Age Perfect Cleanser Milk, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, Yes to Carrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser or A’kin Pure Creamy Cleanser and Toner. My decision was based on the not particularly discerning process of selecting what was available in my closest Priceline. The purpose of selecting a cream cleanser for the evening was that (and I quote), ‘your skin has been out fighting the elements all day and it needs a hug and some loving in order to repair itself’. I use the Neutrogena cleanser after Taking Off The Day with my Clinique. The creaminess really does feel amazing after a long day, and I go to bed feeling like I’ve finally done my skin a favour.

Stage Three: Hydration

Now that I’d built the foundation of actually cleaning my face, we approached the more serious steps of addressing hydration. This is the real key to progressing in the skincar ejourney apparently – as no other issue can really be fixed until your skin is hydrated. The primary contributory factor to my failed skin is the pleasant office environment of too much air con and dry heat. This has caused my skin to lose all moisture and oils, then it has gone into overdrive producing more oil,. causing pimples. The dehydration can also be blamed for the fine lines all over my face (that plus the fact somehow I’m six months away from turning 27). I was prescribed Hydroluron by Indeed Labs, a serum that tackles dehydration.

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This product is super popular, so I wasn’t able to pick it up in any of the Pricelines in Perth CBD and instead ordered it online, most likely fuelling the reception’s thoughts that all I do all day is shop online. This serum locks in the hydration that comes from the moisturiser you have to apply afterwards. And I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to my annoying fine lines, and actually feeling like my skin likes me.

Stage four: Pimple zapping

Okay, I couldn’t actually think of the right title for this section. But this final product was purchased to help attacking the fact that pimples keep poking their way onto my face and making me feel irritated. Serozinc by La Roche-Posay is a toner that you spray on your face after cleansing, which helps skin heal and rejuvenate. I have ended up leaving mine in the kitchen since you can also spray on during the day if my skin is feeling hot or tired for some extra hydration over makeup – so now everytime I walk through the kitchen I see the blue bottle and give my skin a spritz.

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I have faithfully purchased every product, and committed to following my routine. I’m exceptionally proud of for the nights when I was too boozy to remove my contacts, but faithfully took off the day, thoroughly cleansed and moisturised. I never miss a morning cleanse, and generally I think I’m seeing some positive progress towards being that dreamy glowing bride I long for.

 

Keep an eye out for future stage installations and updates on my skincare journey!

Emily Ley Dapperdesk Planner Unboxing

From the second I saw the Emily Ley line of planners, mainly The Simplified Planner, on Instagram, I fell in love. The clean, crisp lay out, with tidy, well-organised font and luxe paper just spoke to me. The daily spread of half time/appointment-related information, and half to do list, with plenty of space, it’s perfectly with how I like to and choose to plan, and would alleviate the need for the more pain-staking approach of bullet journalling. The Simplified Planners were gorgeous, but I tend to prefer non-spiralbound style planners. So I sighed in relief that I was saving myself from another planner splurge, until I discovered the Dapperdesk range. 

Styled as more of a planner for him, the Dapperdesk planner is a leather-covered perfect bound planner, with all the same interiors as The Simplified Planner. I agonised for ages, but couldn’t justify the high price of shipping from US to Australia – so I was totally thrilled when my future in-laws generously splurged on the 2017 Dapperdesk planner for a very unique and special Christmas present.

Every little detail is so perfect that I had to share. The planner arrived in a gorgeous minimalist-style box. Be still my heart…


The soft brown leather with gold monogramming makes this one very classy planner. While the cute covers of The Simplified Planner are really fun, this style fits more with me generally, and will look really classy at work. 


The paper is an absolutely beautiful weight and quality, and I could take photos fast enough to get to the good part of writing. 

The inside covers are a lovely soft grey pattern.


And you can see the daily layout style in the picture below.


So clear and easy to populate! I find this layout really intuitive and gives a lot of options for the planner to function as a brain dump as well as something to actually help and assist. 

There are several lined pages at the back for notes. Despite keeping these to a minimum and reducing a lot of bulk with unnecessary introductory pages (again, so good), the planner is still chunky:


However the paper is absolutely stunning, and it felt really special to write on each page. 


What really works for me with the Emily Ley style planners is how you don’t feel a need to spend time decorating each page. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good stickering session as much as the next person, but I can find it impractical for my work and sometimes a beautiful layout does not necessarily go hand in hand with functionality.

So, that was a lot of pros! Beautiful quality, beautiful paper, beautiful presentation and beautiful layout.

The cons? This planner will set you back a cool $75USD + shipping (ouch). It is also quite large and bulky, so you either need to have a decent sized handbag, or know where this planner will be living permanently. I know some people find the hour-layout a bit restrictive and in that respect, it may not work for everyone in terms of customisation. 

But for me, this planner is about as close as it gets to perfect. I can already see myself coming back to this style year after year. 

I’d love your thoughts on the Emily Ley, and Dapperdesk in particular, planners.

Happy planning!

2017 Goals

Setting yearly goals is an absolute inevitability for me. I wanted to briefly share some of the key ones I have for this incredibly exciting year. 

1. Read 30 books.

I love participating in the Goodreads reading challenge. In 2014 I aimed for 50 books, and hit 37. In 2015, I tried for 50 and just hit 18. In 2016, I became more realistic and set a goal of 20 books, finally surpassing it with 23 books read. So in 2017 I’ve set the more ambitious goal of 30 books. I’m 3.5 books down so far.. it should be a good year. 

2. Double my Etsy revenue. 

I’m so proud of my first year as an Etsy store owner. But now I’ve wrapped my head around the basics, I’m looking forward to intentionally growing my sales and experimenting with some new things, particularly with design.

3. Do a pull-up.

This goal has been on the list for quite some time, but I spent the last few months of 2016 laying the physical foundations, and I’m feeling confident that 2017 is my year. 

4. Be body confident at my wedding.

I know weddings are a time when there is an enormous amount of pressure on the bride to look a certain way. I’m already questioning myself and having moments of self-pity looking at photos, only to think how much I hate what a full time job and a sweet tooth have done to my body. Whether or not I lose 15kg or gain 15kg, I want to feel confident and proud of my body on my wedding day, to the point it doesn’t register at all. 

5. Retain control of my home.

2017 is already going to be tinged with chaos. I am aiming to not let that chaos spill over into my home. I was a KonMari addict for a while there, and it is time to dust off her principles.

6. Learn how to take a photo of running water.

I’m truly obsessed with my new DSLR. There is so much to learn and it’s extremely fun clicking away, but trying to apply everything is doing my head in. So I decided to just begin by learning how to take an edit a photo of the water so it looks all flowy.

7. Keep up my 1-second a day project.

I have more – so many more. I look forward to sharing them with you over the coming days and months. 

Karaoke and inspiration 

The lazy pace of this bus tour has continued on as we departed Kalbarri in the morning and settled into Denham for the sunset. In between, we endured 40 degree heat to see the gorges, and hiked our way down to a natural pool to cool off. 


Our next stop was for lunch at the rocking petrol station of Billabong. 


It was a riot. We had Magnums and poured ourselves back into the bus in anticipation of a few more hours’ reading before we arrived at Shell Beach. This is a spectacular beach made up of ground up shells and is hypersalinated. We had to wade out 200m before finding water deep enough to swim in, and floated around easily on the extra buoyant water. 

Our last stop for the night was Denham. We hit up the bottleshop, and drank beer while watching a phenomenal sunset. 

After dinner, we worked our way through our six pack, then headed to The Old Pub, where we observed (and later participated in) karaoke. 

The trip is definitely rife with down time, as we spend many hours on the bus. As well as reading, I’ve been packing my time with my new video project, which I’m excited to share at the end of this trip. The only negative is I started it’s day late 

Long road north

We are into day two of our road trip north – commencing the day in Cervantes and finishing in Kalbarri. Over 400km of driving, and the book count stands at two completed and a third one commenced. That Goodreads goal doesn’t know what’s hitting it. 

The day started with a simple breakfast before hitting the road to Greenough Wildlife Park. After a pit stop for fuel and coffee, we were enveloped into the heat of the day. We fed camels and kangaroos, and were teased by talking cockatoos. Refuge was taken under a big stone enclosure while we had the opportunity to hold a baby joey who was being reared before release into the wild after he’d lost his mother. The owners of the sanctuary have been caring for rescued animals for over 20 years and had an exceptionally beautiful passion for the work they do and the animals they care for. 


As we were leaving the sanctuary we were also able to hold one of the pet reptiles – while I don’t remember the exact breed, I do remember it was a dragon of some kind, which is pretty darn cool. 

Another 45 minute drive got us into Geraldton for a quick pit stop to pick up groceries and forgotten items before arriving at Bluffs Point to drink in the ocean view while eating lunch. 

We ‘left Australia’ to enter the micro nation of Hutt River Province. The land was founded in 1970 by the self-titled Prince Leonard, whose investigations into the ownership of land and title were triggered by the government / farmer wheat battles in the 60s, and culminated in him successfully petitioning to claim the land as his sovereign nation and secede from Australia. The province is simple, made up of a non-denominational chapel, plenty of miscellaneous merchandise and vast collections, and a point to stamp your entry and exit visas. Howrver, as they are proud to tell you, it is bigger than Hong Kong.I even met the Prince himself.


I finished The Glass Castle, my new all-time favourite book, on our next jaunt up to Kalbarri, where we were stopping for the night, and commenced American Gods. The Kalbarri cliff-faces were stunning in the afternoon sun, and I had some time to stuff around with DSLR settings I had no idea how to use, before we detoured to the bottle-o and on to our next backpacker accommodation. 

After settling into our next set of bunk beds (I highly recommend making a beeline for the beds near the window when you’re in the northern parts of WA), we sunscreened and made our way to the Murchison River for a swim and the sunset – which I captured poorly. 


Our new German friends joined us and we chatted about cameras and books, languages and life, while drinking beer and feeling the wind die down around us. 

I never would have imagined calling a bus tour with hours of driving relaxing, but it has been magical. Neither of us are driving and both of us are able to nap and read and follow the leader rather than quibble over who is next to drive and where to stop and the next activity. 

Amongst all the bus tripping and minimal reception, I even progressed some wedding planning, corresponding with some great venues about our ceremony while we passed through Geraldton. I am itching to get my hands on my wedding planner so I can really keep track of everything in one place – until then, its electronic for me. 

Good night from Cervantes 

Day 2 of 2017. Feeling more Western Australian by the minute. It’s the first day of our venture up the coast of Western Australia and I have sand in my toes (and in my hair and under my fingernails… and in my bed), salt in my hair and a sun kiss on my nose. We started the day in Hillarys at the boat harbour; collected coffee and played with my brand-spanking new DSLR. The bus then toured up to Yanchep, stopping for a walk through the national park and a peek at koalas lounging in the forks of gum trees and kangaroos lazing in the shade, backdropped by a green and receding wetland. Further north was the sand fury of Lancelin. The dunes are constantly windy and constantly changing, and perfect for hiring a board to race down. The tour group took turns, and there was a split between butt-firmly-on-the-ground style and stand-up surfing style. I confirmed to the former, while my ever talented fiancé nailed the latter, ‘surfing’ his way down perfectly to the bottom of the dunes. 



You have to agree, my way definitely looks more elegant. 

The wind whipped sand constantly around us and it was pretty majestic to look around the views of the enormous dunes. 

The bus powered on north for another hour to reach our first overnight stop at a backpackers in Cervantes. The afternoon consisted of salad sandwich lunches and free time at the beach, interspersed by a lot of pretentious ‘photographing’ (speech marked to emphasise the fact that photographing is way too strong a word) and dropping phrases like ‘ ISO’ and ‘aperture’ and ‘lighting levels’, despite having no right to do so. 

The day rounded out with finishing my first book for 2017, and watching the sunset over the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles are an exceptionally unique part of the world. The tour guide tells us that there are so many competing theories about the reason for their existence but… I don’t even care. It s a pretty phenomenal sight. Our experience was made extra special by two kangaroos feeding nearby. We drank ginger beer under the stars and discussed the unique lifestyles of Australia and Germany with our new German friends and felt that all was at peace in the world. 

2017: The Beginning

2017 is here!! And with it, so much hope and expectation. I began the day quietly – having gone to bed at 10pm the night before next to my fiancé (!), I woke up to the family dog begging for a cuddle (the best) and the promise of a good breakfast and the beach. My nails got did (fresh paint to highlight my fresh new ring) and I fulfilled my first etsy order of 2017. We discussed weddings and drank celebratory Veuve with friends, and felt that sense of peace that comes with hosting people you love in a home you’re proud of. And we packed for our trip! The next 8 days will be filled with many hours aboard a bus, heading up the coast of Western Australia to Exmouth. It’s the kind of bucket list holiday I feel really satisfied to take part in, and it’s pretty exciting to be going on our first holiday as fiancées! And yes. I am obsessed with the word fiancée. I get one short year to use it, and I’m making the most of it. 

2017 is going to be filled with a lot of memories, and I’ve decided to use this blog as a place to be a bit more personal. I want a written log of the moments that make me laugh, cry, panic, exalt and take pause. I called this blog Everyday with Emily for this reason, and got distracted (and lazy) along the way. So here is to 2017, to recording the memorable and the mundane, and to valuing every moment. 

And below, a shot of my hard copy memory-keeping – the first page of my Kikki K 365 planner: