Sunday, November 24, 2013


Reading:  I just finished reading Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison. Yes the popular netflix melodrama is a true story, and yes the story is just as good.  My advice -- watch season 1 before you delve into the book. I found the story more interesting when I was able to compare the real life people to the characters in the show.

Listening to: quiet. I had an eighties kick about a week back, and could not stop listening to New Order radio on Pandora, but this week I've been gravitating towards nothing.  I'm kind of enjoying listening to the noises around the house and the click clack of the keyboard. Some mornings I didn't even put my headphones in just so I could listen to what was going on around me. It's been nice, but I'm sure Beyonce radio will lure me back to music again at some point soon. hah

Thinking about: Miguel. Oh man I miss that guy.  He's been in the States for the last week on a little vacation, and I can't stop thinking about him. It's really nice that he was able to go back home for a short while, and I'm really happy for him, but it feels so weird without him here. We've been inseparable for the last three years so him being across the world feels like I'm missing a limb. But hey! It's also been really good too. I've had lots and lots of  'me' time, have been enjoying eating nothing but toast or mushrooms for dinner, and have spent a few of the nights out with friends. It's been a really fun week, and I have another good one ahead of me, but I still can't wait to see my guy.

Watching: Documentaries up the wazoo. Miguel and I saw a really great one about wine sommeliers called Somm that we highly recommend. I also love this one about Diana Vreeland and I'm currently (as in right now!) watching some CNN insider on Costco. 

Loving: My freshly cleaned kitchen, hanging out with Todd & Carla after dinner, sister dates,  pops of peachy pink, Magner's honey apple cider and my new vintage tea towel (pictured above.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Melbourne Cup 2013

taken from my instagram @praxsmiles
Melbourne Cup happened this past Tuesday, and I have to say that it was the best one yet! If you've been following a while you know that I pretty much post about it every single year. For those that don't know, Melbourne Cup is an annual horse race that takes place in well, Melbourne and is dubbed 'The Race that Stops the Nation.' That's because when it starts at 3 PM sharp, pretty much the whole country tunes in waiting with bated breath to see if their horse will win.

Most places put on a decent spread with lots of yummy nibbles and champagne flowing freely. Every year since I've been here, I've been fortunate enough to watch the Cup in an office that makes a day out of it. Ladies don a dress and pull out their 'headgear' and men dress smartly. All morning long $2 sweeps are being handed out and people rush out of the office and into the nearest TAB to place a more substantial bet.

For the past 3 years, I've always forgone the headgear/fascinator and just grabbed the most appropriate 'tea-time looking' dress I've owned. I loved getting into the festivities of it, but I've never bought a fascinator or read up on any of the horses.  I've always kinda just went with it... that is, until this year.

After HR announced that the best dressed male and female would win a prize, I knew I was going to really get into the spirit of it.  Luckily I had this pink dress (found on clearance for $20 at Myer!) hanging in my closet, that would be perfect for the occasion.  I also managed to find a fascinator for sale at chicabootie just the night before. I subsequently spent the rest of that night 'googling' how to wear this monstrously large thing on my head without looking like a fool.  Turns out there aren't that many tutorials on 'horse race attire,' so I just had to wing it.

I ended up really happy with how the final product turned out, so I made my way to the nearest TAB to bet on my horse of choice. I bet a grand total of $2.50 for my horse, Red Cadeaux to place, and continued on to work. When the big race came, I held onto my ticket tight, hoping beyond hope that Red Cadeaux would at least place -- and he did! Once the races were over, announcements were made for the best dressed female. And guess what?! I WON! They handed me a super delicious bottle of red wine, and I was so happy.

My horse won second place and I won best dressed. I couldn't have asked for a better Melbourne Cup.

Want to see past Cups? Year 1, Year 2 & Year 3.

*all photos taken by A.G. at the office! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All of this to say, I've got 5 goals.

Today I'm sitting alone at home for the first time in what feels like foreverrrr. I have a lot of half-thought thoughts in my head, which result in zero blog posts. Everything feels all jumbled up, and I'm not sure what to share or if sharing anything is even worth while.

But somehow I always remember the very purpose of this blog, it's mantra of sorts, and that is to write just to write -- to write because this was and always will be my diary, a way of cataloguing my life. Even when it's boring and repetitive.

Sometimes I get so busy with life that the only way I cope is by maintaining a routine.

Wake, work, eat, computer, sleep, repeat.

It doesn't sound busy on paper, but little things always creep their way in like, don't forget to call the doctor, make an emergency grocery trip, catch up on your online lectures (!!) EMAIL THE DEAN ABOUT CHANGING YOUR MAJOR!!  Also the battery on my laptop has completely stopped working, so I'm dragging my computer attached to an extension cord all throughout the house and needing to shut it down whenever I move to the next outlet. It's all been really weird lately.

The thing about it though, is I know that in the grand scheme of things I ain't seen nothin' yet. I'm in my twenties. There are no children, we aren't married, the responsibilites are minimal. Still, I can't help but feel unsettled.

School is driving me nuts.  I'm in the process of changing my degree from Early Childhood Education back to English Literature. It's another application process I'm going through that feels so discouraging. Mostly it's because I'm not sure whether the dean will accept my application, but even more than that, I know that this time around there's no room for mess-ups. I absolutely cannot afford to miss anything. For someone who gets the occassional bouts of laziness combined with days where it all feels like too much, putting myself in a strict schedule is scary. It's probably the combination of job and school that's knocking me down, but at this point I have no choice. It's funny that I feel this way now... when before my only real commitment was work, all I wanted was to go back to school. I guess the grass is always greener...

Beyond that I think there is a general feeling of unsettling that has hung around my head for the last month or so.  Nothing really feels finished or right. I know I have house things that I've been dying to adjust or change but haven't.  I have personal things that I've been dying to adjust or change, but haven't. There's just a whole host of things that need changing that I just haven't gotten around to... like:

1. All the drapery in my room needs to go!
2. I need to eat cleaner and healthier
3. Accumulated junk needs to be thrown/donated.
4. Five night a week cooking must resume.
5. I need to learn to fall asleep without the TV.

It feels better and more manageable to see it typed out like that. I guess I'll start workin' on it.

This has been another episode of jumbled blogging by praxsmiles. Did you like that? Hopefully I'll be back next week with even more.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oh, life.

Bike parked outside the local school Fete last weekend.

I've been trying to think of something clever to write here, but so far no dice.  My thoughts just keep coming back to the feeling I have inside of me when I forget to write for more than a week, and how annoying it is that my computer charger is busted for the second time this year, thus making it hard to post.  Also, I thought maybe doing a 'this week in pictures' would be good, but after looking through my phone, it seems none of the pics are cohesive. So instead, today you just have me and my thoughts. Random as they may be.

I'm feeling over and over again what a crossroads this year has been for me. Work and school are continually pulling me in either direction, and when I focus on one too much, the other tugs at me harder.  I know that school should probably get more of my attention, but for whatever reason, this semester it's just not clicking. I stare down the long road of University that I've just begun, and it only ever feels daunting and scary.  Mostly I'm feeling this way because I'm doing my classes as an 'external' student -- everything online.  So it doesn't feel like I'm back at Uni... it feels like I just added more chores on my already long to do list. Too, I thought the practical unit would help me get excited to be doing this degree.  I mean, what better experience than immersing myself at a daycare could there be for one who is aiming to get her degree in Early Childhood Education?  Well it's been 2 days, and it's been nothing short of difficult. SO. HARD.

They've put me in a nursery with 2 or 3 full time employees and 10 children who are aged between 12 months and 18 months. Holy cannoli. Mostly I'm outside playing with the tiny tots and trying to engage with them in learning through extended play.  Mostly it feels fun and I do my best to take it all in... to watch these children's eyes light up as they grasp a concept or partake in something that brings them joy. Until lunch time hits, they go down for their nap, and I'm left feeling utterly and thoroughly exhausted. The second half of the day always goes the same, with me wondering if this is what I'm really meant to be doing. If I'm already questioning this during my very first practical then something must be wrong. I think I need to book in a meeting with a counselor at school stat.

Not much else goes on between school and work and the everyday ebb and flow that is my life.  Sometimes I feel so boring when people ask what's new? and I have nothing to report.  After getting through the initial knee jerk response of if you read my blog, you'll know! I'm then left feeling quite embarrassed as I say that nothing's new... but secretly, I kind of love that. The last few years have been such growing pains for me. Adjusting to a new country, then adjusting to living on my own, then with Miguel, then working, making friends, living with my sister and her man... it's all been new. ALL of it is new! But hey I guess some people like more excitement in their lives.

I guess all of this to say, life is still crazy, and I'm still working my way through it all, but I'll get there. One thing's for sure, I'm in a much better place now then I was this time last year, jobless and blogging from Parramatta. ;]


Monday, September 16, 2013


Its been a while since I've done one of these, and looking back on some of them it's safe to say that my style has definitely evolved.  Here are a few outfits I wore over and over again in different variations this last winter.

Work attire looked a lot like this in the last few months. I found myself gravitating towards pullovers and black stockings and consistently wore them throughout the season. Mostly I just threw them on with a summer dress or skirt and layered up with a light jacket and a scarf. Luckily this winter wasn't too cold, so most days I was able to survive with nothing more than that. I found a couple really cool vintage knit sweaters at the thrift store for pennies so the sweater thing really was my jam this winter.

Sweater: H&M
Shirt: Levis (gifted)
Skirt: Cotton On
Boots: Topshop 


When the weekend would come along, I pretty much stuck to the standard jeans & a t-shirt combo.  The only difference this time around was that I actually invested in a couple of decent pairs of jeans.  My favorite being the one pictured above from Zara. They're high-waisted AND the hem falls right by my ankles. Having this kind of fit is rare for a shorty like me, so I knew I had to have them.  Plus at $50 the investment was decent, but not too damaging.  I've also been super minimalist on the accessories these days and have stuck to just my sunnies and my gold watch.  Everything else seems like too much right now.

T-Shirt: Carla Uriarte x Label State
Belt: Vintage
Jeans: Zara
Shoes: Witner 

Watch: Fossil (gifted)
Bag: Gifted 

And this would be a pretty typical Saturday night out.  My clubbing days are long behind me, so there is no need anymore for the tight little dress and highest heels. Instead, I've opted for some fun pants and a more modest heel.  I've also been really into the collar under the sweater deal, but I think I've over done it now, as is evidenced by the huge hole I've managed to make on that shirt! Yikes! 

Collared Top: Chic-a-Bootie ( i think!)
Sweater: Zara 
Pants: Zeitgeist
Shoes: Topshop 

Now that winter's over and all of the jumpers and pants will gradually be put away, I'm interested to see if my summer style has evolved too.  My first instinct will always be the tank top & denim shorts duo, but even last summer,  I felt I was getting too old for that.  I'm not sure how weird that is, that a 24 year old is starting to feel too old for tanks, but hey I'm sure 17 year old me probably thinks it's time for a change. ;] 


Monday, September 02, 2013

Random Randoms

Hellooooo September! I am seriously in shock that two thirds of the year has flown by! Not really sure how that happened, but it's all gone by too quickly. Spring is my most favourite season of the year, and I'm way excited about the endless possibility and adventures this last bit of the year has in store for me.

The above photo has nothing to do with anything really... other than the fact that John Mayer's latest single has been in my head every single day since it's come out. Seriously, I can't make it stop.  Good thing the song is drop dead amazing. Have you heard it yet? Wildfire on Paradise Valley is a must.

Miguel & I tried our hand at cooking some homemade pupusas yesterday. Holy yum they were good.  It was definitely a learning process and our first batch of dough was a huge flop.  We got the hang of it after a while and Miguel really impressed me with his dough making/pupusa flattening skills. I love that he's such a natural in the kitchen.

 My sister had her first art exhibition in Sydney last weekend, and it was a huge success! The artwork that she produced was really fun and quirky, and the collection was cohesive.  Not only was she exhibiting, she DJed as well.  I'm really, really proud of her.  If you're in the Sydney area, her art will be up at Beach Burrito in Darlinghurst all month long!

And lastly here are few things around the internet that I've been loving:

 this sweater is love.

I know I'm a little behind, but this City Hall wedding album is so beautiful.

The Etsy Shop where I got my Loteria pillows is having a sale!

Speaking of sales -- Urban Outfitters apartment sale is always my favourite. Currently lusting over a side table and a rug.  If only I had the space...

Definitely going to try this fish recipe

and swooning over the romance in this post. (I then proceeded to go through her archives and find all her wedding posts! woops!)

So that's it! Hope your week is off to a fabulous start.


image 1 &2 via @skuunk | image 2 via @in_sincerity

Friday, August 23, 2013


Reading: Steve Job's Biography. My neighbourhood is notorious for leaving books out on the sidewalk, and that's exactly where I found this one.  I've been wanting to read it, but didn't want to spend any money on it either, so finding it on the street was perfect.  It's pretty interesting so far, and I'm so surprised to find out what a jerk he was!

Listening to: I Know Leopard. All day, erryday. You guys, you just have to. It's good music that doesn't sound like everything else out there these days. The lyrics are on point and the music just makes you feel good. Plus their live show is pretty sick. Just listen.

Thinking about: Nothing serious.  Toying around with getting a haircut, mani & pedi but hesitating because it sounds expensive. hah Also thinking about tonight's plans because it's Friday, and I wanna do something fun!

Watching: Offspring, Madmen, Giuliana & Bill (my fave) and don't laugh... Dawson's Creek. I never actually watched it when it was on, but am so loving it.  The melodramatic acting and nineties references get me every time. So hilarious.

Loving: Hot Toddys for a sore throat; dark red, black and white everything; tattoo inspiration; my new coffee machine and that winter is ending in two weeks. hooray! Also snapchat. ADD ME:  praxsmiles 

Short & sweet as per usual. Whatever you're up to, hope your weekend's off to a good start!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

20 Random Things

Newtown sunshine, this time last year.

This little beauty has been floating around IG for the last couple days. I posted 1-10 there, but it got long, so I thought I'd finish 11-20 here. :]

11. My favourite concert of all time was Blink 182, but U2, Bon Jovi & No Doubt are all close seconds. Yes Bon Jovi. I went to that for work and was pleasantly surprised (and drunk) for every moment of it.

12. I fall asleep during almost every movie I've ever watched. Usually it's for 10 minutes during the fighting scene. BORRRINNGGG.

13. I still don't know how to drive.

14. My hand-eye coordination is ridic. So I'm bad at throwing, catching, puzzles. You name it.

15. I'm 5'2" and every day I think if I were just 2 inches taller, my life would be so much easier.

16. When I'm stressed out I like to bake.

17. I've got an immediate family member in every continent except South America and Antarctica.

18. Every time I pass Messina, I have to force myself to not go in. The struggle is real.

19. I tend to prefer guy singing voices over girl ones..especially female power singers. I can not ever listen to Adele on my own will. (even though her voice is great!)

20. I am so thankful for the life I am living these days. All of it is sooooo good.

Find 1-10 on my IG here!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Makeup...

... or how to not look super sleepy at work.

I am no makeup expert, in fact my knowledge of 'good' quality makeup is minimal at most. Unless it's the weekend, and I'm going out to dinner or somewhere nice, I prefer to leave my face au natural. There's problems with this though because as I've gotten older, I've realized that instead of looking fresh and youthful in the morning, I look pale and sleepy. Still, I'd rather sleep an extra ten minutes in the morning then rise early to put on my face.

I've struggled to find a quick and easy solution to my makeup dilemma for a couple years now.  Mostly I've dabbled between putting on a full face (foundation, blush & lippy) and hitting the snooze button. Until recently, when *cue choir of angels* I found the most amazing BB cream of all time. OF ALL TIME. This beauty right here has been the answer to all my problems.

Why? Well I rub a little bit of it on my face every day, and instantly I look brighter and more refreshed. It also has these little mineral ball thingys that match my skin tone and the coverage is amazing -- not too heavy but even and consistent. I swear by it. I love it so much that I'm willing to pay the 26 bucks it costs at Priceline even if I know it's only $10 in the states.

That plus baby lips and a little Benefit's They're Real mascara, if I'm feeling up for it, and I'm all good to go. And while we're talking mascara, can I just say that the wand on it is amazeballs? If you have long lashes like me, this wand will change your life. Usually I use lash blast or similar, but I always end up looking like I have 3 pairs of falsies on and my lashes tend to clump together way too much.  Benefit's wand has a sweet little ball on the end and helps me separate my lashes evenly. I so recommend it.

Well there you go - my Lazy Girl's Guide to Makeup could not be easier. Now there really are no excuses!


Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Second Annual Staycation !

image via
Every time winter comes around, I get the shits.
No not literally! I think this is an Australian saying... But anyway I get antsy and cold and dream of going on a beautiful vacation somewhere far and away. To ail my grumpies, Miguel and I book ourselves a staycation. Last year we went to the beautiful yet haunted Q Station. This year we went just a hop, skip and jump away from our home to the gorgeous Blue Hotel. This place was ah.may.zing. Seriously. Plus it was our anniversary and that made everything even more the magical. 

View outside our window

 We only stayed for one night, and I can firmly say that it wasn't enough.  I probably could have stayed there for a week and not missed home one bit. The hotel is located in Wooloomooloo (don't you just love that name?) and sits on a dock out into the Sydney wharf.  Practically every room in the hotel has a view of the water, which is something that other hotels make you pay extra for. The room felt super luxurious with a king sized bed, duck feather pillows (I had no idea that existed) and huge, fluffy robes and slippers on arrival. Oh and lets not forget the massive tub.  It was hands down the largest tub I've ever had the luxury of sitting in, and it alone makes me want to come back. Seriously, I felt like a princess.  

 Since it was our anniversary after all, Miguel and I went down to the cocktail lounge for a couple drinks before dinner.  It definitely had a cool vibe to it, but we were there around 5 so the evening crowd hadn't come out yet.  It was kinda cool to have the place mostly to ourselves, but I'm interested to see what it's like during later hours.  After enjoying some drinks we made our way to Kingsley's Steak & Crab house which was also right on the wharf. We dined outside and had a beautiful view of the city.  The food was definitely good, but not the best steak and shrimps I've ever had. They're a restaurant that caters to the tourists and the prices are a bit cray.  Still the night was super romantic and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of our evening.

After dinner, we got even more drinks and hung out around the hotel.  At some point, we indulged in room service and ordered the sticky date pudding. Oh man this was good. It was everything a sticky date should be -- warm, gooey and served with ice cream. It was the perfect treat for our evening. 

Since we had such a good experience with the sticky date, we ordered room service for breakfast too. This was a mistake, and really my only complaint about Blue. We both ordered pancakes with bacon + eggs and it was terrible. The pancakes were rubbery, the syrup too runny and the first time they delivered it to us they forgot the bacon. It was just all out bad.  The hosts were super apologetic though and even gave us a second cup of coffee for free. 

After breakfast, it was time to make our way home. I dragged my feet the entire way out. A week later, I'm still thinking about the place. But that's what makes vacations so good right? It's the memories and the lingering feeling of relaxation that will last longer than our little one day getaway. 

Oh Blue, you did us right. It was the perfect staycation and the perfect way to celebrate our fourth year. 

Thursday, August 01, 2013

3+ years ago. Miguel moves to Australia. 

Not sure if there's anything better than sitting in bed next to your love, sipping wine, listening to oldies on the eve of your anniversary. Not sure if I'd even like to know if better exists. Not sure if I can even adequately express how happy I am. But this is me trying.

Oh, these last four years have been fantastic.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

school + work + school + work

The calm before the storm. Stoop side chillin' via @in_sincerity instagram

School's started back up again, and I have a feeling this semester's going to kick my butt.  I'm not doing any classes on campus, which means I'm going to have to work extra hard to make sure I watch all the lectures and read everything on time, since I won't have a physical class to keep me on track.  To be honest, I'm pretty bummed out about it all.  I noticed this time around college doesn't feel like it used to. It's just not the same college experience that I had years ago at SF state...which should have been expected.  I'm so focused on working a full time job that my time on campus is really minimal.  Unless I have class, I'm not there, but with this semester I won't even be there at all. I guess that's what I signed up for though. Still, all I want is to go to class like a "normal" student and hang out on campus and join stuff! I literally have to divert my eyes during those club fair things, so I don't go off and join something I know I don't have time for. It sucks.

On the other hand, working this job full time has been a dream.  Everyone here is so easy going and understanding of my schedule.  The work load is manageable and the folks are great. So I really shouldn't have too much to complain about.  I guess it's all about balance.

Working full time and studying full time will be hard, but doable.  I just need to really focus. For the first time, I feel like my goals are attainable, and a little hard work and extra attention should be nothing in the grand scheme of things. We'll see...

Tuesday, July 09, 2013


Happy little reminder. image via

Listening To: Cafe Tacvba & Bob Marley on Pandora -- especially while Miguel & I are cooking.  There has been lots of slow dancing in the kitchen as of late. :]

Planning:  a housewarming party! I'm pushing to have this party on Aug 20 after multiple reschedules because we're a busy household.  In love with this invitation, (so over facebook invites!!) thinking bout making boozy gummy bears & snakes and wondering whether to have a cocktail for the night or just a stocked bar.

Watching: Still hooked on Once, slowly trudging my way through Boardwalk Empire and probably going to start the latest season of Mad Men. Other than that, the TV has been off mostly and I even managed to take it out of my bedroom!  

Thinking About: Summer vacation.  We're smack dab in the middle of winter here and the short, cold days are such killers. I can't stop dreaming about road tripping through some of Australia in a camper van. I think it would be the ultimate adventure.

Making Me Happy: spinach. Is that weird? I can't get enough of it. Also, dark chocolate, lazy sundays, fresh white linen, unexpected sunshine, red wine and job security.

& that's it! Short and sweet this time around. Hope your week's off to a good start!


Monday, July 08, 2013

(the return of) Sydney Spotlight!

Jazz City Milk Bar, Palmer Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010

...and it's baaaacckkkkkk! It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I'm so happy to be back in the swing of things, and what better way to start Sydney Spotlight back up again then with one of my all time favorites, Jazz City Milk Bar.

Last week, with the Fourth of July fast approaching and patriotic images of backyard BBQs, overzealous flag-tastic outfits and red, white and blue everything filling up my news feed, I began to feel the familiar pangs of homesickness. So I acted quickly and made reservations to the best American restaurant in Sydney. That's right folks, the BEST. Miguel and I had been to Jazz City Diner a few times before, but I opted for newly opened Jazz City Milk Bar this time around. Holy yum this place was good.

Chicken & Waffles, $24
While the Diner focuses on BBQ staples like ribs, brisket and wings, the Milk Bar focuses more on burgers and sweets. Both places offer my all time favorite Chicken and Waffles, and what's more is I'm pretty certain it's the only place in the entire country I can get it.  I get it every.single.time I'm there, and I never regret it.

Backyard BBQ Beef Burger with Creole Fries, $18
Miguel always tries something new, and this time he got the Backyard BBQ Beef Burger. It was delicious and messy and everything he hoped his American Burger to be, and with a Sam Adams to wash it all down, this boy was in euphoric bliss.

Of course, we had to get a milkshake, and while I was in calorie overload, I took solace in the fact that at least I was sharing it with Miguel.  I definitely recommend asking for the classic half vanilla/half chocolate. They'll do it for you even if it's not on the menu.  Although they do have some crazier sounding stuff like coconut, peach or coffee that I'd love to try next time.  In the future, (after all this weight loss stuff!) I'm determined to try a slice of pie too. We overheard someone nearby saying it was the best pie of their life!!

So if you're after real authentic American food in the city, Chef Dan Mc Guirt has you covered. Both Jazz City Diner & Milk Bar are tops in my book.

**photos taken with a camera phone. I know, I know I'm workin' on it!

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Monday, July 01, 2013

Random Monday Thoughts

Taken back in 2006, but this is still pretty accurate of how I feel/act most days. ;]

It's been a long while since I've done this, but back in the day I used to bullet point my thoughts out when I had too much swimming in my brain. So here we go...!

I'm on major redecorating mode. Now that the dust has settled after moving into our new house, all I want to do is redecorate my bedroom and the office.  We were so busy when we first moved in that we sorta just dumped the furniture in our room and focused on other stuff.  The time has finally come though to refocus and get the place looking the way it should.  I've been pining office stuff on this board and have been focusing on pairing down our room.  If all goes to plan, I'll post a room tour. :]

I've been waiting on pins and needles to post about this weightloss challenge I'm doing.  I'm waiting for one full week to finish (tomorrow!) before I tell you anything about it. I'll just say it's been a pretty interesting week so far...

Kinda wondering if pinterest inspires me or makes me want to shop for stuff I don't need.

Also wondering why cussing on my blog feels weird... particularly because I do it pretty normally in "real life."

The two month period of 7am starts at work have finally ended! I'm back on a normal 9-5 again which feels amaaaaaaaazing. I am going to miss those afternoons to myself though.

Speaking of work, I've actually, finally got hired permanently!! If you didn't know, I was temping for about a year while I applied and got into University.  One of the jobs that I was working for had a position open up, and after just one interview, they hired me! I'm elated to be working for a company that not only has amazing benefits for their staff, but also has a strong purpose I believe in.

Lastly, I'm just feeling so grateful for my life and the opportunities that have come my way and come the way of many of the people around me. Between job acceptances, school offers, promotions, work opportunities and amazing deals being struck left right and center around me, I can't help but feel so blessed to be surrounded by the best.  I hope I don't sound too redundent but life is good, and I'm so thankful for it.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy birthday, bloggy!

image via
It's been a year since I've started Praxsmiles, and I can't believe how much has happened.  I thought I'd do a quick post roundup of the most popular posts plus some of my faves, and then let you know what I have planned for the year ahead. 

This year in blogging was uncomfortable and boundary pushing to say the least. I did my best to focus more on events, places and newsworthy things in order to stay away from being so personal. In truth it was a total bust, but I learned a lot along the way and still managed to put up some pieces I'm truly proud of.

Remember when I was a part of the largest parade in Australia? I also stopped to soak in some serious aussie sunshine, and spent the Christmas holidays in the Philippines. Plus I reflected on cultural identity and lamented the importance of date night.

Early on Sydney Spotlight was born, and then put on an indefinite hiatus which made me realize that I needed to get back to my roots, and "slow blog."

It's been a crazy ride, but I finally feel I'm getting back to my old blogging self.  I have a lot planned for the future of this blog, including two things I'm really excited to be sharing.

Firstly, two days ago, I started a 5 week challenge to get my body in the best shape I've been in in years.  I'm hoping to do a weekly update and share what my experiences have been like.  I've never done anything like this before, so it will be interesting to see my results.

& Secondly, I'm bringing back Sydney Spotlight! The few posts I did were really fun and forced me to get out of my comfort zone. (I get uncomfortable taking photos of stuff at restaurants!) I won't be posting them weekly like my original intention, but I will be hauling my camera around again, and posting whenever I do go to an exceptional place.

So that's that! I'm excited!
Hope you are too. Oh, and if you've managed to find my blog in someway or another, thanks so much for reading and sticking around. I really appreciate it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

OOTD round up

Because why not? Here's what I've been wearing lately. 

This is pretty much my weekend uniform. I'm madly in love with those jeans after rejecting them for half a year. I've also remembered how much I love that striped top which I also haven't worn in ages.  Pairing down your closet will really make you start to appreciate your clothes again. hah 

Top: SES
High Waisted Jeans: Jeanswest
Belt: Urban Outfitters circa 2009
Flats: Rubi
Sunnies: Philippines
Bag: Philippines

Another weekend outfit! This time I wore this gallivanting around the city with the mister. The jeans were super, super comfy, and I love how crisp and white they are. That whole "no white after labor day" is a bunch of bologna if you ask me! Also - I pretty much borrowed half of this outfit from my sister! 

Top: F21
Pants: Glassons
Jacket, shoes & totebag: all borrowed from my sister! 

...and lastly here's what I wore to work today. I've recently acquired those velvet pants and woah man are they amazing. Seriously amazing. They feel like sweats but look so classy! CLASSY SWEAT PANTS, GUYS. I want to wear them to work every day. Except there's one little thing... velvet (or maybe cheap velvet?) gets all over your much so that when you shower there will be tons of little black velvet specks all over the tub. It's pretty gross. But ehh that's a small price to pay if I get to go to work wearing what feels like fancy sleep wear. 

Blazer: Banana Republic 
Tee: Gap
Pants: Supre
Boots: Topshop 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

On the importance of Date Night...

Miguel and I have been together for nearly four years now, and while that is such a short time in the grand scheme of things, it's definitely long enough to declare the honeymoon stage is OVER. I can definitely say that time has changed a lot of things for us. Gone are the over excited butterflies that used to fly in my belly at every single sight of him, gone are the hours long phone conversations and gone is the time I used to spend putting together my "look" before seeing him. (yes I even did this for our Skype convos!)

Gone are all these things except for once every week on that magical night known as date night.

Most Fridays Miguel and I make it a point to meet up after work for an evening of good food, drinks and loooooong conversations. It's the one night out of the week where I find that the butterflies have come back and the nervousness/excitement takes over as I meet my guy at our place of choice. I always make sure to have a little lipstick on and an outfit that makes me feel my best. Moments before we meet, it almost feels like we're back at the beginning of our courtship.

We spend the night talking just to talk and trying our best to avoid "grown up" conversations like bills, work problems or house issues and instead focus on things we enjoy. The night always goes by too fast, even if we spent hours lingering at the restaurant ordering just one more glass of wine... and at the end of it I always, always feel rejuvenated and even more sure about our relationship then I was the night before.  Not sure how he does it, but I always manage to love him and appreciate our relationship more and more as each day passes. Cheesy, but true!

I know that even without a regular date night, my appreciation and love for Miguel would still exist. Our relationship is strong and true. BUT date night brings about a sense of excitement and anticipation that maybe wouldn't exist in our relationship as often as it does without it. Plus it's FUN! and Lord knows everyone needs a bit more fun in their lives...  

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Winter Whites

So you know how I got rid of nearly everything in my closet? I found that the things I ended up keeping were key, classic pieces that I wouldn't mind wearing over and over again. Things like vintage pull overs, thick stockings, dresses with classic shapes, plain tees and dark denim reigned supreme, everything else got the boot. Then I started thinking about my winter wardrobe and what I wanted to be wearing this season. I found that I've been really drawn to winter whites and monochromatic colour schemes. I've been wearing a combo of blacks, blues and greys lately and dreaming up outfits in my head that look like the above. I'm loving how the white brightens the look without being over the top.
I've got a couple things in my closet that can help me achieve this look, but I'm definitely into replacing an old winter coat for something white and warm. It's freezing out here.
Next up, I'll be clearing out my jewellery box and finally getting rid of those heart shaped earings I purchased sophomore year. *shudder*

Friday, June 07, 2013

On becoming minimalist

... or attempting to anyway.

When I was a little girl, my dad would always say to my sister and I that we were too materialistic. We would always have a new toy/clothes/book in mind during our trips to visit him, and we would always try our chances and ask for it. A lot of the times getting up the nerve to ask him was  for nought as he rather use that money to take us on trips to Lake Tahoe or Circus Circus in Reno, which was better than a new barbie anyway. However, during then and up until recently I never thought I was materialistic at all.

I always thought that I owned just the right amount of stuff.  It wasn't until I moved into the baby beluga studio that I realized how much stuff I accumulated. Little by little Miguel's and mostly my things were piling up around us to the point where it was difficult to open the front door because my filled up shoe rack was in the way. Try as I might to get rid of things, our (my) stuff just kept piling up. SO we moved. I took all our stuff with us into a two bedroom apartment in the middle of nowhere (Parramatta) and all of a sudden it looked like we didn't have enough stuff. We needed a couch! and a dining table! and clothes to fill up the huge and luxurious closet!! The storage space in that place was a dream. So I accumulated more things until eventually we decided it was time to move out.

While the house we are living in now is gorgeous with ample storage space and even an office for the four of us to share, it in no means is enough space for all of my stuff. The house was built in the 1900s before built in closets, and Miguel & my room is the only one fitted with a pseudo closet... and it's an open closet. Which means my stuff is out in the open for me to stare at every single night. It annoys the heck out of me. So what did I do? Purge of course. I went through every single item that I own and got rid of so much. When even just a smidgen of available white space showed through, I got more energy to throw out even more.  I found it freeing.

I've still got a long ways to go though, and to help me fully understand what I should keep and throw away, I've been trying to find tips and tricks to becoming minimalist. Tips like putting a rubber band on hangers and removing it if you've worn the item, and then purging the closet of all things left with a rubber band in three months, are really helping me, but then they suggest taking photos of your favourite memories so you can get rid of the memory box, and that freaks me out. I really like my memory boxes even if I don't open them often.

It's a weird process -- getting rid of all my things -- but I know in the long haul I don't need it all. I'm pretty sure I won't go and become a full blown minimalist, but I endeavour to find a happy median, with just enough white space between my things. ;]

Happy Friday!

via my instagram

This week has been incredibly tiring, but Friday has come like a shining light, and I am so ready to bring on the 3 day weekend!

Weekend good things include:

Going to Vivid Sydney for our fourth year in a row!

Homemade lunch at my Mom's this Saturday.

Brunch  *hopefully* at Bills on Sunday.

Checking out the American Gothic exhibit at the Australian Museum.

and lots and lots of studying/essay writing as I head into my last week of the semester!

Hope you all have a fab weekend!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Throwback Thursday! ...or the one about the Philippines

Last December my family and I took a month long trip to The Philippines.  I put together a little video that captured our time spent there, and I'm only just now getting around to sharing it with you guys. Hope you like it!

p.s. after suffering through that poor video quality, a new camera is definitely on my wish list!

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Oscar de la Renta for Paperless Post

Just a quick update to let you know: WE GOT A HOUSE! It's a gorgeous home, smack dab in the middle of the city, and I am so interested to see how it everything will pan out. As you probably guessed, between working, school and packing, I have very little time for myself much less wandering the internets, but I wanted to share one thing I found...
Have you heard of an invite so lux as this?! Seriously, they make me want to plan an event just so I can use them. What's great about them is an e-card can be customized with your details for free OR for a buck a pop you can get these printed and sent to your home. I'm nuts about them.

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