Op Shopping Spree

I was getting bored of my wardrobe, which I curated to 30ish items at the start of August.  Of course, I didn’t blog about this, and it helped me donate a few items that kept being passed over in the winter season.  I suspect my lack of blogging about it was due to me not expecting the August decisions to last a full three months as per the Project 333 rules. It really helped me think more critically about what wasn’t included and why.

I’m in love! It’s the right level of casual summery but not so casual I feel it’s not for public wear

Anyhow, I continue to gravitate the cheap prices of thrift stores (op shops here in Australia).  I collect armfuls of items and often find half don’t fit.  But with a much more limited supply of items in any one store, I find I am more open minded to styles and colours, and give anything a chance in the fitting room.  If it fits, it can be bought.  The losses are low if it doesn’t end up fitting in my wardrobe as a star.

A dress I didn’t know I needed. I often feel I don’t have the right casual summer dresses for BBQs and social events. This will be it (if not the white one!)

Today, I started at my favourite store (Red Cross Paddington) then continued to Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul) also in Paddington, before heading to the Vinnie is Glebe as I had another errand to do there.

Teal – love. It’s a little snug in the arms, but looks great on. Good for church

I’m headed out to dinner tonight, and now I’m seriously stumped on what to wear!  It’s a great problem to have, given how ‘blah’ I was about my wardrobe choices yesterday.

Only concern is my work trousers are largely black and this is navy

And the best part?  All this for $100.  I’d be lucky to get 1.5 items at ‘new’ retail for that price.

Deep burgundy is really pretty and I have nothing ‘red’ in my wardrobe right now. And it’s SO soft
I usually ignore cream but know this could easily be an outfit with jeans and a jacket. And I love sparkles!

Which items would you add to your wardrobe?

Packing debrief – Euro 2017

What went well

  • charging stone – this is the first year I’ve had one (Thanks Santa/Mum) and on long bus and train rides, I’d have been lost without it…
  • laptop – I was in two minds, but I’ve yet to curse it’s weight, or worry about it’s safety
  • cross body satchel – purchased in Chicago, I haven’t looked back! It’s great for holding a wallet, phone and keys, and at a pinch, my fold up shopping bag, bobby pins etc etc
Old Navy purse
  • backpack – I bought it for $5 in a thrift store, and it worked well.  I didn’t ‘need’ it for the hikes or Iceland stuff as I anticipated, but it was great on travel days (of which there were many!)
  • pop out extra bag – i bought this in Japan, and it’s tiny when it’s folded down, and expands out for my ‘return’ journey.  It’s a pain that it doesn’t stay centred on the suitcase’s extendable handle which means it can swing around, but…. first world problems.  In the driving journey, I put all the ‘Iceland’ clothes in it, and left it in the car boot.
Bright and colourful!
  • all the underwear – I’ll never discourage someone packing all the underwear – it saves being FORCED to wash for tiny items.  And before someone says “hand wash nightly”, I tell you: one night stays are risky they won’t get dry and I do NOT do musty/undry smell.
  • packing a collection of earrings – when you wear the same coat everyday, and in all the photos, it’s nice to add some variety in the smallest of ways.
  • i don’t have a laptop sleeve, so I improvised:
It’s a beanie… containing a laptop!

What could be improved

  • weather was a little warmer than anticipated – a skirt or a pair of shorts would have been worn a few times!
  • the cashmere jumper was never worn.  When I was cold in Europe, I threw on the black puffer jacket, with a hood, it was good for the day it rained in Heidelberg
Second row from right, the grey cashmere… not required
  • packed a hat – never wore it. tsk
  • a dedicated sleeping top – I did think about this.  Instead I made do with other tops, but then felt they were too ‘dirty’ for day wear afterwards
  • failing the above sleeping top, a sleeping dress – I often like a light summery dress, it’s much easier for shared bathrooms (for dress/undress then pants etc), can be slept in and is generally comfortable.
  • my cross body purse (pictured above) is a little squeezey for things that are DL sized (or the length of the short edge of a normal piece of paper), so I would consider that if I ever replace it
  • I packed ‘hotel minis’ I had left over from an interstate trip, as well as my solid shampoo.  I always opted for the little bottles as they were easy to dry and put away, whereas the shampoo bar stays damp and I feared leaking – I did use it the few nights in Heidelberg though


  • my eight year old work boots stopped ‘working’! The soles have started to split, and in Heidelberg, so much so my socks got wet from rain. I decided to ‘let them go’ at Lyon station, rather than traipse them back to Paris or Sydney.  I did however swap into their damaged’ness in Oradour-Sur-Glane after doing the museum in heels and feeling a little sole sore!

  • my heels lost one of the plastic pads that hides the metal and other mechanics the second last day – which makes tiled floors a little more perilous.  I know the word for a ‘reheeler’ but I need to find one who can do it on the spot.  Cause there’s no way I’m wearing flip flops in Paris!

Overall, I’m pretty content with what I packed.  I picked items I love to wear, and didn’t get bored of them in the two weeks.  I did need to do washing, and it can be a little annoying to get dry before moving again.

March summary

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


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.


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 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.


  • 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


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!!

Thrifty clothes haul

I find those youtube channels so vulgar, where they buy all the fast fashion and can hardly remember why they bought what they did.

Close up of the details
Close up of the details

However, I had my own version, just at Red Cross Paddington.  (If you ever come to Sydney readers, this is the BEST op shop, or thrift store.  They curate the best stuff, but the neighbourhood is pretty posh, so it’s win win).  Yesterday, in the effort to walk home whilst BF gymmed, I went shopping.

Knotted necklace
Knotted necklace

For $111, I bought:

  • a knotted aqua and blue note style necklace out of some fine wire? $10
  • a black flowy cardigan, with a ripple like appearance, edged with a brass zipper $18
  • a knit Country Road cardigan with 3/4 sleeves in grey cotton, missing one button of 4, so marked down to $10
  • a thickly black and white striped shell top, in a neoprene like fabric $18
  • a silky button up shirt with a thin black and white stripe.  True fabric unknown, so may be winter only $18
  • Banana Republic black work trousers.  Button up on me, but a touch tight.  Same size as my other BR pants, so didn’t hesitate $22
  • soft blue with white spot gauzey scarf $15

So yeah, now I feel like my wardrobe is ‘interesting’ again, and all without anything ‘new’.  Oh I did use my languishing Westfield voucher on a simple gold necklace with a knot.  That voucher has been lingering since March, and started at $50 and is now a little under $30.  Super non-consumer (or forgetful user?!)

clothes 002
Perhaps a little big


Not the be outdone, the BF spent the better part of $500 this morning on a suit.  Overall, a stellar deal – first it was on sale, second it was the best of what he saw, but the clincher? TWO pairs of trousers… And this boy I live with, man does he feel the heat, so a second pair of pants for a suit and still a competitive price (so he thinks), is a steal!  I learnt all about suits, and his and my preferences.  We both like the slits to be at the sides, not in the middle.  And today’s ‘blue’ isn’t really all that – navy was far nicer. And a fabric with some inherent details, like a self strip, over a flat or ‘shiny’ look suit.  Two days, and it’ll be all tailored and ready for his shin-dig later in the week.

Back to me – if you’re lucky, I’ll wear 2-3 new items tomorrow, a get a photo retrospectively posted… Or not.  We’ll see 😉 (I have worn both cardigans already, so that’s a stellar start!)

I feel great about my haul, less great about my dressing room appearances… but clothes hide my faults.  And chocolate makes it seem worth it!

What piece of clothing did you last buy? Have you worn it yet?

This and that

So long time no post, I know.

Here’s all the scattered thoughts in a post!

  • I get one day off a month.  Last month, I did my annual ‘scale and clean’ at the dentist.  But this month, I got my first ever filling 🙁  And I’m still sore now, about 6hrs later, but no longer numb.
"Practical" heels
“Practical” heels
  • I made a ‘buy nothing new‘ pact with my mother post our US trip, for a year.  I did buy a $5 dress in Thailand, but chalked that up to the BF buying it 😉  Mum then bought a pink coat online.  Today I bought shoes from Camper, reduced from $270 to $189, for a style that’s unheard of for going on sale (it’s a staple, which is changing)


  • I’m reading and watching a lot of non fiction at the moment.  The documentaries seem to all gravitate around sex workers, I’m not sure why.  But I’m seeing all sides – from the law enforcement and people trafficking, to those that chose the life, to the youth involved.  As to reading, I’m reading about the Fast Diet.  With the dentist, I figured today was a good day to try it.  You eat 500 calories for two days in a week, and normal the rest of the time.  It’s ok, but not exactly easy on a day off, but we’ll see.
Pretty right? via
Pretty right?
  • My mother’s having a milestone birthday in August, and is planning to make it as awesome as mine was.  Our inspiration picture came from BetterAfter.  So for that, I have scowered many a store for black and white striped card.  Zazzle will make them online for 20 guests for $90 which is a little re-dic.  In the end, the local Kmart had something in the theme colours I can work with.  As for the table cloth?  Thanks Ikea Sofia fabric.  And the 8km walk I attached to the outing.  Yep, if I have a ‘plan’ of where I am walking to, and I really want to go there, then I can walk and walk.  Got me a blister tho!


  • Money.  I set part of my mortgage as variable, and part as fixed. The idea was to set the variable part to an amount I might be able to pay off during the ‘term’ of the fixed part, which was 3 years.  18 months in, I hit that target (on Wednesday).  I’m mighty impressed with myself!  So next up is some $$ to the shares, like I try to do annually, and then maybe the ‘trip of a lifetime’ plan – at least my idea if 6 weeks in Europe next summer, with a week in each of the following: Russia, Croatia, Iceland, France, Romania, Bosnia.


  • I’ve been on a mending frenzy.  Gosh I love mending.  I added gold buttons to a navy blazer, replacing the rubbering black ones that got stuck on the desk when I was typing.  I also sewed a different clasp on press stud pants to stop the awkward ‘pop open’.  Darned some socks.  Seriously though, there’s nothing I like more.  I reckon I should letterbox the neighbours, just for my own entertainment in front of the TV!

There we have it – a scattered collection of life from LivetoList.  How’s things with you?

And more decluttering

Hot on the heels of the big bag of clothes decluttered, and aware I was a few items shy on my in/out count on clothing, I tossed out

  • striped leggings I bought cause they looked cool on someone else in the gym class.  I didn’t try them on in store, and they were itchy as all get out, so much so, I turned them inside out once I got to the gym the one time I wore them.  Best let them stay ‘new’ and let someone else love them!
  • a pencil skirt.  I have more than a gal needs (when said gal wears pants 95% of her days).  This one zipped up, and the waist band was cut the wrong way, so it was always tight around the waist, rather than stretchy. And it was a little shorter, and therefore a touch less decent. It was always the one I passed over.
  • blue t shirt.  I liked the brand (Country Road) and the natural materials it was made out of.  But size S is not S for Sarah! It just wasn’t comfy cause it was too small.  Thankfully I bought it second hand, so I feel less waste-y at least on money!
  • 2.5 puzzles.  Well two puzzles were substantial (500 and 750 pieces), but the second was postcard size…
  • pack of playing cards – oh what a con! When we were in New Caledonia, we needed sunscreen but there was a minimum for paying card.  I tried to reason to pay the amount up to the minimum, but as a good salesperson, she insisted on finding something.  The cards were cheap, and pretty, and the BF suggested I gift them to someone.  Little too late now!
  • lamp – bought for $5 at a thrift store, and it was plasticy and from IKEA.  It was a good stop gap til a lovely brother bought me a glass and metal IKEA lamp that I loved
  • earrings and a necklace – the ones I always passed over for something else.  The earrings clanged, and are big and dangly, which BF doesn’t like.  I like dangly, but these were the weakest link in the collection.  The necklace just didn’t ever scream ‘wear me’ – perhaps it will to someone else?

What’s left?  Well

  • I have some fitbit accessories to offload since I lost the fitbit in the surf on the weekend.  Someone wants them on freecycle, but I may have missed them whilst I was at Ash Wednesday, and the facebook contact I had wouldn’t work?!
  • I have some map books/UBDs that someone on Freecycle were asking for
  • baby powder – we have two, make that THREE bottles!?  I’m not sure who or how to off load this.  One lives in the bathroom cupboard for the boy, the other in my waterpolo bag for swimming caps (which, no, I never use even now it’s better situated to the one use I have for it).
  • someone ‘wanted’ pillow stuffing on freecycle, and I have lumpy pillows after washing them.  Hopefully they’re keen and will come and pick up!

I really am feeling the rush of getting rid of stuff, I hope I can find more stuff to GO!

Suggestions on baby powder offloading?  How has your decluttering been going?