March summary

A lot has happened in March, so in the style of others, I’m doing a month’s round up.

Culture:

I went to the ArtExpress featuring the graduating class of 2016’s artworks, which I shared a photo heavy post on.

Mum and daughter selfie – her new dress too

I had a weekend in Melbourne with my mother.  It was spectacularly sunny and warm the whole weekend – Melbourne’s not known for having consistent weather at all! We ventured to a new suburb to try a Barre Tone class with an instructor who I used to have teach me in Sydney. I’d forgotten what an intense work out she provided, and my mother enjoyed her first ever class.  We scoured op shops, first out of necessity for Mum to buy some work out pants, but then for fun.  She brought a great black and white dress and a multi colour rain coat.  I settled for a polyster top for work (I’d NEVER buy polyester new, but for cheap and second hand, I’ll bend the rules).  The main reason for the trip, however, was to see Book of Morman.  Neither of us are musical fans, but we both loved it.  It’s incredibly quick, punchy and completely irreverent.  We went to a Saturday matinee which was blissful (we’re both sleepy heads). On Sunday, we met Fiona from Declutterer for breakfast at St Kilda.  All three of us talked our heads off, helped that Mum is also a teacher.

Bloggers meet – another wow breakfast
Melbourne’s H&M showing what an amazing refurb of a new building to the mecca of commerce

The following week was no slower for first times and fun times.  On Thursday evening, I braved a lot of traffic to see my very first drive in film, Beauty and the Beast.  Having a car is a certain prerequisite I didn’t fulfill previously!  On the Saturday night, I went with my brother to see some Aussie Hip Hop. The main act was Urthboy, but I’d almost saw I enjoyed the support act more, Joyride.  Joyride just seemed to have a smoother sound and strong convinctions in his thoughts, and I couldn’t help but be a little starstruck.

The drive in went full retro with the diner too!

Yes, tall people = stand at the back!

Following all this, on Sunday, Lucinda met a less than shiny and bright me – yep, in a week, I met two long time blog readers and writers.  We ate lunch at a cafe (as Lucinda thinks breakfast out is ridiculous, which I’d agree if I settled for avo on toast, but I clearly do not!) before heading to see a French film at the festival.  It was a harrowing (true) story of Polish nuns, pregnant through rape, and the help of a younger French doctor.

Romance:

As with past months, I continued dating in March.  I saw one guy three times – first for a drink. Due to wet weather, I decided to hail a cab rather than walk the relatively short walk to our meeting point.  The same time a water main failed in a main city street.  In the end, I escaped my sky rocketing taxi fare for a different pub, and he came and found me!  I was quite impressed by his efforts, so we met for another drink the following week.  He kindly drove me from the date to Newtown, where I met my parents and my brother and his girlfriend for her farewell dinner (she’s returning to the US).  It was a fun night, my family were in great spirits for a weeknight!  I was going planning to go to the drive in with the same fella but he got cold feet waiting for me to pick him up (due to heavy traffic – an emerging theme!)  We ended up catching up the next evening, but things didn’t gel and have silently fizzled out since then!

Date brunch – panna cotta

Technically the 1st of April, I went on a first date at a very hip and local cafe (it’s closed when I drive by for work, but I read it’s tasty menu one evening walking)  They churned us in and out quickly but it was tasty!

And earlier in the month I met for a post work drink in what ended up being a very smokey outdoor area.  We’ve remained in contact and somewhat as friends, he’s a lawyer, so good at chatty banter!

Work:

Work has been revolutionary in the past week – they announced some rather unexpected and hard to stomach changes to my management line.  Both my direct boss and his boss (also my mentor) are in a perilous position.   My boss is told to await Easter, and they may find him a role.  My mentor is finished and leaving the company at Easter.  The last week of March was consumed with finding this out, then disseminating the information, and attending roadshows and talks from management.  Right now, it doesn’t mean my job is in jeopardy, but blind freedy can see it will mean my role and those similar to mine will need to be rationalised evenutally, having see such a huge reduction in front line staff in the two years I’ve been in this role.

Buying

  • Black with white patten polyster work shirt – second hand – Melbourne
  • White knit dress – second hand – Oxford brand
  • Grey cable knit pullover – second hand – Cotton On <- cheap brand, cheap fabric, but comfy
  • Navy top with sequin detail collar – second hand – David Lawrence
  • Silver cross necklace
  • Blue and white zig zag patterned glass studs
  • Bamboo straw
Second hand white cotton dress

Read

I’m on GooodReads, but for a quick summary

currently reading

How was your March?  Which was the best thing you watched or read?

Resin jewellery making course

Horribly, my parents home was robbed, and Mum lost most of her jewellery.  With every thunder cloud, there’s silver linings, and one of them was that I booked us both into a class to make resin jewellery, one rainy day.

Work in progress
Work in progress

Yes, I’m sad about plastic cups.  You use those to divide up Part A and Part B, then you add colour to one part, then mix them together, mix til they heat up, and then pour in the moulds.

All in the moulds, setting
All in the moulds, setting
Mum's mould's - she shocked me with lime green!
Mum’s mould’s – she shocked me with lime green!
These were someone else's
These were someone else’s
Exhibit A: Some people mixed four different colours.  Me, I used bangle overflow and made rings... matchy!
Exhibit A: Some people mixed four different colours. Me, I used bangle overflow and made rings… matchy!
Had hoped for a deeper colour
Had hoped for a deeper colour
The class pile
The class pile
More of the class pile bottom centre is mums!)
More of the class pile bottom centre is mum’s!)

Sadly, the moulds by the time Mum and I got there were a bit big for my fingers.  The bangles obstruct typing (ah, Mum’s a teacher, so she wears them more).  So I took all my newly made stuff to a water polo team dinner and left three behind (had to leave early), so I hope others have rehomed them.

Diner en Blanc 2014

Somehow, this post never got posted, but the pictures are no less lovely, so why not now?

Last year (ie 2013), we went to Diner en Blanc held at the surprise location of Bondi Beach.  I posted about it here.  This year (cough 2014!), we went again, and here’s a photo summary.  This year it was held in Centennial Park, which wasn’t as ‘wow’ as a beach, but still a lovely setting.

Schleping the gear from coaches to the destination
Schleping the gear from coaches to the destination
Serviette waving - the food eating may (formally) begin
Serviette waving – the food eating may (formally) begin
Pretty people, pretty tables, but nature is the BEST!
Pretty people, pretty tables, but nature is the BEST!
Where are we off to?
Where are we off to?
That sun set, if nothing else, this event makes me realise how lovely Sydney is
That sun set, if nothing else, this event makes me realise how lovely Sydney is
Here's a rabbit, there's a rabbit
Here’s a rabbit, there’s a rabbit
Beautiful tables
Beautiful tables
The sponsor...
The sponsor…
Sparklers time
Sparklers time

Clothes shopping spending habits

Last year, I don’t think I was very public on my blog about a challenge I set with my mother: We’d buy no NEW clothing from my birthday on 30th January, for a year.  My mother and I did spend two weeks in January 2015 in the USA, so my annual total does include ‘new’ items in this time.  We were allowed to buy clothing second hand and that helped us get together and go to events like ‘Around She Goes’ where we both succeeded in finding items to add to our closets.  We weren’t saints – I bought three items from Lulu Lemon – a zip up jacket that I could run in, a pair of cropped leggings and a workout top.  I bought some replacement knickers too (but I think we exempted those).  I also got a dress whilst on holidays in Thailand, which I said the BF bought me (partially true) – it’s also not really a public dress, so it’s like underwear perhaps? I’m clutching at straws here!  I don’t believe my mother held true the whole time, but it certainly curbed her spending, and opened her mind to how often she shopped, and whether it was necessary.  I also think my father loved it (he’s a saver if there ever was one!).

Silk top $120+
Silk top $120+

Over the year, I spent $823 which is considerably less than past years, on 45 items, 26 of which we second hand.

2014: $1875 for 79 items, of which 29 second hand.

2013: $1613 for 40 items.

I’ve been tracking spending on clothing since 2010, and had one ‘no clothes at all’ year!  On average I have spent about $1500 AUD per annum.

Every pair of knickers = 1 item, if you’re wondering.

I don’t actually set a budget for my clothing, it just gets bought out of the ‘walking around’ money – which is to say, I budget backwards.  I ‘pay myself first’, which is allocating money to all my savings: rent/food; bills; charitable giving; goals (travel).  Then I spend from what remains directly out of my bank account. Before pay day, I transfer what money I have left into whichever savings account I’m prioritising at the time.

I also do a lot of shopping whilst I’m travelling overseas.  When I add an item to my spreadsheet, I do account for it’s price in AUD, even if it was bought in USD or EUR.  Yep, bankers daughter here!

What I noticed from my year of shopping second hand:

  • I settled for ‘good enough’ and as such, many items we re-thrifted within the year due to poor fit
  • I felt less investment in second hand items, so less guilt to offload them, and buy more (second hand)
  • I couldn’t shop to specifics with second hand, I could more shop to ‘themes’ like ‘work clothing’ or ‘party dress’.  It meant there were a few items I was keen to buy new on Feb 1!  Actually, my mother gave me new skinny white jeans for my birthday as she knew I’d been hankering to have some!
  • I prefer thrift stores which sort by colour (as per this post, I rule out the ‘warm colours’ such as yellow, red and orange)
  • I shop on brand – I won’t be buying a second hand item that was ‘cheap’ to start with usually.  I don’t think it’s that I’m snobby, but I have to have a quick filter to get through racks and this is one of them.  As such, I have found some international brands in Australian stores, which is a bonus.
  • For pants, I like to shop on touch – I will feel for a non synthetic fabric.  More often than not, this is where I’ve struck the above point – Banana Republic or The Gap pants, which by and large are of a far better fabric blend than most pants sold in Australia.
  • I still browsed items in first hand, normal stores.  I found my photography of items i liked was usually more than enough to sate my desire (I do this with homewares a lot too)

I don’t plan to set a budget this year, though I do know a lot of bloggers do.  I do wonder whether it’d be worth setting a budget – what are your thoughts?

USA shopping

As I just spent two weeks in the US, it means I spent a LOT of time shopping.  I mean, I did my duty to help the economy and save myself from the cold 😉

My first day ‘alone’ whilst the BF worked, I went out to an outlet mall.  Here’s what I purchased

Source: www.shoeshow.com

Source: www.shoeshow.com

Converse Shoreline – supposedly sell out record fast, even at the outlets.  They are elasticized, and so slip on, which works for me!  Being the outlet, I had all the styles and colour ways to chose from, but I have to say, there was little to no discount 🙁

Bought in Chicago at 30% off
Bought in Chicago at 30% off
Seeing double
Seeing double

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BF patiently waited whilst I tried this one.  It’s a coton/line blend, and it was so comfortable I wore it for two days straight. I went back to gap and bought it in blue, and then wore it home on the plane!

Sadly, the internet is in denial about what Banana Republic Jackson Slim fit ankle pants exist – I bought a pair in navy and a pair in black, as I would wear my remaining 1 ‘new’ pair of BR pants from 2009 80% of the week.  I have succeeded in buying two pairs at thrift stores in the past year, however their fit (cough, my body) hasn’t been optimal to wear them (yet!)

Day one shopping made me realised my large Longchamp pliage which I travel with was a little too bulky, so instead I popped into Old Navy and picked up something slim and small.  From the moment I bought this, I wore and used it every single day!

Old Navy purse
Old Navy purse

I gravitated to button up business shirts as they are versatile from summer through to winter at work, and I loved the one I took to the US this trip.  At the international business wear brand, Van Husen I picked this shirt up:

Even worn this in my first week back
Even worn this in my first week back

Not to settle for three button up shirts, I scored a good sale at J Crew on a stretch cotton top too:

Like so many shirts
Like so many shirts

Otherwise, I did a little bit of thrift shopping, and whilst I didn’t need a new coat, I could NOT go past this one:

Wool blend coat with delicious lining
Wool blend coat with delicious lining

And then some flats at $17.50 seemed like a worthy gamble:

Work appropriate
Work appropriate

Oh a the Victoria Secret bra:

Comfy t shirt bra
Comfy t shirt bra

Yep, I spent a WHOLE heap, but I’m OK with that.  More incredibly, I’ve been back a week, and bought three more items!!