Monday, 3 February 2014

Move to the beat – January 2014

I am a self-confessed fitness fanatic. I enjoy being active, looking after my body and overall health. It extends beyond the physical to the psychological. So much so, I have incorporated exercising as another task that needs doing in my daily routine, just like brushing your teeth and eating. Although I am able to exercise without requiring much provocation, I use music to make the task more enjoyable. Listening to music whilst working out is a great technique to motivate, energise and entertain as it provides a diversion from the effort invested, making getting fit more fun and less of a chore.  
Like others, the tunes I listen to reflect my current mood and what I’m going through at that point in my life. When it comes to exercising, my song selection is upbeat to coincide with my cadence and make me feel happy. I regularly update my playlists and mix the old tracks with the new to keep me interested and constantly encourage me to pick up the pace.

It goes without saying that Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”, “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar’s “All Fired Up”, ACDC’s “You Shook Me” and “Stronger” by Kanye West are givens on any fitness fan’s playlist and they’re definitely on mine but, I also prefer to deviate from the standard and jog to a different beat. I particularly enjoy discovering songs much loved but long forgotten such as “Maniac” by Michael Sembello, Marcia Hines’ version of “Disco Inferno”, “I’m so excited” by The Pointer Sisters and “I was made for loving you” by Kiss. Also, I like to mix up my compilations by adding sexy, fast paced foreign melodies. So, this month I want to share some tunes to inspire you to get moving and work out and help keep your training on track.

My top 20 workout songs are:
  1. Music sounds better with you – Stardust
  2. Loca – Shakira ft. Dizzee Rascal
  3. Moves like Jagger – Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera
  4. Footloose – Kenny Loggins
  5. Thinking about You – Calvin Harris ft. Ayah Marar
  6. Conga – Gloria Estefan
  7. Scream – Usher
  8. Canned Heat – Jamiroquai
  9. Let’s go – Calvin Harris ft. Ne-Yo
  10. Lady (Hear me Tonight) – Modjo
  11. Fighter – Christina Aguilera
  12. Sweat – Snoop Dogg vs David Guetta
  13. Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia
  14. Holding out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler
  15. I Need your Love – Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding
  16. Take over Control – Afrojack
  17. The Anthem – Pitbull ft. Lil Jon
  18. The Other Side – Jason Derulo
  19. Closer – Ne-Yo
  20. Can't Hold Us – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Of course, no playlist is ever complete without songs from the [original] King and Queen of Pop, Michael Jackson and Madonna so be sure to include your favourites. (Also, I just have to mention “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice and “Kiss” by Prince).

Finally, I am a firm advocate of stretching after every workout to reduce muscle fatigue and prevent any cramping. It also enables me to bring down my heart rate and calm my mind through my breathing whilst at the same time, tune into my body to identify any areas of discomfort and tension which may need attention.

Some of my favourite cool down songs include: Ring my Bells – Enrique Iglesias; Te Amo – Rihanna; She’s like the Wind – Patrick Swayze; One Love – Sara Tavares; Diamonds – Rihanna; Strawberry Bubblegum – Justin Timberlake; You – Nathaniel and Hold on, We’re going home – Drake ft. Majid Jordan.

If you are yet to commence a regular exercise regime, now is a great time to start. If you don’t like running or being confined to a gym that’s ok. Find an activity or sport you enjoy doing or are interested in and get involved. Or take part in the numerous charity events on offer such as ‘The Neon Run’ or ‘The Color Run’ which are a fun way to combine helping others in need whilst being active. You’ll soon forget you are exercising. The goal is to improve your health and feel good about yourself so, invest time in your health and vitality and enjoy yourself in the process. Treat your body with the respect it deserves because it’s the only one you’ve got. Your body will thank you for it.

So, get up off the couch, update your playlist, put on your sneakers, grab your portable music box and hit the pavement. The hardest part will be restraining yourself from dancing along to the funky beats!

Note: stretching session should go for at least one song.

“The greatest wealth is health.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Rocking Red Lips – December 2013

Rita Hayworth set the trend with it. Marilyn Monroe seduced the world whilst wearing it whereas Elizabeth Taylor used it to accentuate her emerald-coloured eyes. Gwen Stefani has made it her signature look, Rose McGowan claims to have come out of the womb waving it about and frankly, I’ve never seen Dita Von Teese without it. What am I talking about? Red lipstick, of course!

Red: much loved, second only to hot pink. The colour I associate with love and roses, passion and fire, strawberries and Christmas! For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to wear red lipstick but have been reluctant to do so. Like my hat wearing dilemma, the reason for my apprehension was simple; I wasn’t daring enough. Too shy to wear it I felt I would look foolish, like I was trying too hard. As a result, I had convinced myself it didn’t suit my fair skin, light hair and brown eyes only to see women with lighter hair and fairer complexions wearing it and rocking the red lip look. “Oh, I wish I could pull that off” I would longingly whisper to myself, and then come up with a million and one excuses as to why it suited them and not me. That was to change on October 5th.

Scheduled to attend a friend’s wedding, I was to wear a striking black dress with a high neck and sheer maxi overlay with a split down the centre, cheekily exposing the legs as you walked. A string of diamante embellishment encircling the neck and waistline. I was aiming for a classic, elegant style and felt dramatic red lips would perfectly complete the look. Off I went as fast as my little legs would take me (which for anyone who’s seen me walk will know is quite fast!) to find and buy a rich red lipstick. To say I was overwhelmed by the selections available is an understatement. Where do I start? I decided to try on as many as possible across various brands to find the shade that best complemented my skin tone, eyes and hair. I settled on “Russian Red” by Mac.

Given the brilliancy of this colour, I equate red lips to wearing a statement piece of jewellery; attention grabbing with your lips as the focal point, so I needed to keep the rest of my make-up to a minimum to avoid overdoing it and looking like a clown. My coverage was light and natural looking, my eyes subtle; beige eye shadow, black mascara and eyeliner. I didn’t use a lip liner but I did apply moisturiser to soften my lips. When the time came to colour my lips I was nervous. “You can always wipe it off” the logical goddess within told me. Pushing aside my self-consciousness, I braced myself and painted my pout.                       

I can’t quite explain it but something happened to me that night with my ravishing red lips; there was a definite shift in my attitude. Besides feeling feminine, beautiful and glamorous, I felt extremely sexy, more so than ever (and a little bit naughty!). I also felt powerful, not in a physical sense but an inner strength; brave and certain as though I could achieve all I desired. Most importantly, it dispelled the misconception ingrained in my psyche all these years – that I needed to feel more confident to wear red lipstick when in reality, wearing red lipstick made me feel more confident. At long last, like so many women before me, I understood the powerful properties imbued in the red lip crayon.      

The intensity and contrast of the colour against my features took a little getting used to and to be completely honest, there were moments where I had to fight the urge to wipe it off, but with each mesmerised gaze and compliment received, my confidence grew as did my level of comfort. I’ve worn it a few times since and the effect is always amazing. I love how it makes me feel: assured, magnetic and each time more emboldened. I don’t wear this bold lipstick on a daily basis so as not to diminish its value, choosing to reserve it for instances where I need a surge of confidence and as another way to display my mysterious, sensual side. Finally, this small act (wearing red lipstick) was both liberating and empowering in itself as it reiterated that we are only inhibited by our own thoughts which become beliefs because we accept them as fact. We must recognise, challenge and above all, remove these wrong, limiting beliefs to create new experiences and discover the truth.

So, whether you wish to raise your confidence, produce a show-stopping effect, look glamorous, bring out the siren within and feel ultra-sexy or simply dress up your look, all without breaking the bank, swipe on the red lippy and let your lips do the talking!

I’d love to hear how you feel when wearing red lipstick.

Which is your favourite red lipstick?

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kiss-ass red lipstick.” ~ Gwyneth Paltrow

For the love of chocolate – November 2013

I love, love, love chocolate and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way about the tantalisingly silky-smooth, melt-in-your-mouth decadent treat. It’s of little wonder why the Greeks termed it the “Food of the Gods.” What I don’t like is the dose of sweetness that comes with it because of its devastating effects on my heart, teeth, immune system, mood, waistline and skin. It’s not even nutritious! We’ve all been hearing of late how this chemically-infused food additive has been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer and why we should eliminate it from our diet.

Years ago, in a bid to be my healthiest self, I reduced my intake of sugar and after reading David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison in April 2012, I closely monitored the amount I put into my body. (I am referring to refined sugars. Fructose, a natural sugar present in fruit and some vegetables is vital for proper body function and optimum health, so I keep to the recommended 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables per day, and a handful of berries and a drizzle of honey on toast or yoghurt is beneficial). The one indulgence I couldn’t give up was chocolate and I didn’t feel I needed to given my penchant for the dark variety, specifically 85% cocoa. I believed I was actually doing myself good. I mean, dark chocolate is a super food as it contains anti-oxidants right? And don’t studies show it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels? Oh, and I’m positive I’ve read somewhere that it’s an aphrodisiac… so guiltlessly I looked forward to devouring the delicious delicacy. Just one piece was enough to satiate my appetite but, after years of consumption my body had become immune to the intense flavour and admittedly, addicted to the sweet toxin. I found myself craving the bitter sweet taste daily and more often than not, one piece too easily became a few. Sure, I tried 99% cocoa but it was virtually inedible. I knew I was eating too much for my own good and jeopardising my balanced diet but the imbalance in my blood sugar levels was making my body demand more of the sweet stuff to restore equilibrium and although I was over on the dark side, the processing reduced any nutrients so essentially I was consuming excess sugar and fats. Plus, since I was indulging after dinner it would take me some time to fall asleep and I frequently awoke feeling exhausted and sluggish.

It wasn’t until one night in early October when I took to the chocolate and ravenously consumed half a 100g block in one sitting that I decided something had to give. I was out of control! As I don’t regularly eat that much sugar, the effects were immediate and hard hitting. Initially, I experienced a boost of energy, then soon enough I had sharp stomach pains and felt lethargic and miserable. Wait, isn’t chocolate meant to lift my mood? Yes, in moderate quantities! Feeling ill and bloated I skipped on dinner. I had difficulty not only falling asleep but staying asleep; I couldn’t switch off. Needless to say, it was a long, restless night. I awoke the next morning with a splitting headache, feeling fatigued and equally looked the part. Throughout the day I was irritable and found it hard to concentrate though the extent of my antics didn’t fully hit me until I ventured out for my midday run. Less than ten minutes into it I was forced to stop. My body couldn’t go on; I was simply too weak so I walked back, dejectedly. Physically, mentally and emotionally I couldn’t endure another day like this. I had to regain control and put an end to the vicious cycle of upswings and downswings. So, what to do? Quit chocolate, forever?
I shared my concerns with my sister-in-law and voiced my desire for a nutritious snack that satisfied my hunger pang and chocolate craving. With her extensive work experience in the weight loss management field and studies in nutrition, she got to work and created these scrumptious cacao protein balls. Made with quality, raw cacao powder, derived from cacao beans, this is the real deal - the stuff chocolate and all chocolaty products are made from. It’s in its unmodified form before being heated and processed with sugar, dairy and other fats and developed into cocoa, where the goodness exists. Cacao is chock-full of flavonoids – anti-oxidants found in plants which protect the body by neutralising free radicals that cause ageing and cell and tissue damage exposing us to threatening diseases. Research shows that raw cacao powder contains the highest amount of anti-oxidants, higher than green tea and is a rich source of magnesium which is essential for a healthy heart. It also protects against hypertension (high blood pressure) and is an excellent source of neurotransmitters - the brain chemicals: serotonin, dopamine and PEA to name a few which are associated with emotional well-being and happiness and affect our mood, behaviour, concentration and strengthen our immune system. The cacao is combined with dates, almonds, cashews and protein powder then rolled in shredded coconut – each ingredient carefully chosen to excite the palate and provide a range of essential minerals and vitamins making this treat both tasty and healthy.
It’s been seven weeks since I’ve incorporated these bite-sized cacao balls into my diet and not only have they helped me conquer my chocolate cravings but also severed my dependency on sugar once and for all. I have noticed so many improvements, namely:

- Stabilisation in my blood sugar levels: I no longer experience huge energy spikes and slumps. The balance in my insulin levels has decreased my constant urges for chocolate thereby removing my ‘sweet tooth’. As a result, I am eating nourishing foods and drinking more water where I would otherwise be chomping chocolate.

- Helped control my hunger and appetite: the inclusion of the protein powder makes this a sustaining snack keeping me fuller for longer so I am not overeating but adhering to eating three main meals and two snacks per day.

- The potent flavour of the cacao quenches my desire for chocolate and doesn’t allow me to over-indulge so I am not eating as much chocolate as I used to, only small portions as you should be. The few times I have eaten chocolate it has tasted so sickly sweet and induced mild headaches that I've regretted eating it!

- Regulated digestion: the extra fibre in my diet has regulated digestion so my body is properly breaking down the food into nutrients to be absorbed thereby fully obtaining the benefits from my food as well as ensuring efficient operation, leading to better health generally.

- Regulated my hormones: resulting in a steady temperament which has levelled my mood (a positive for all around me!). This has led to less breakouts, completely clearing my complexion leaving me with healthy-looking, glowing skin. In fact, I am wearing less foundation and at times none at all and am loving flaunting my flawless face and  appreciating the upsurge in my self-esteem.  In addition, the fewer impurities in my body and increased hydration has reduced dryness which has been a blessing to my overly-sensitive skin. I've also noticed my hair is softer and shinier.
- Further increase in energy: which has improved my stamina resulting in an increase in my fitness levels making my workouts more effective. 
- Leaner and greater muscle definition: due to a reduction in my body fat, my muscles are more defined making me look slender and shapely.

- Restful sleep: the switch to a treat after lunch as opposed to after dinner means I am not fuelling my body with a stimulant late at night so, I am able to fall asleep faster and easier and am awaking feeling rested and full of vitality. What’s more, the uninterrupted sleep and reduced toxins in my body have erased the dark shadows under my eyes and I am actually looking healthier and I dare, say younger!  

Overall, I feel revitalised, enthusiastic and cheerful. Best of all, I am emotionally balanced; much calmer and composed and this has allowed for a clear mind and sharper focus enabling effective thinking and in turn, sound decision making.

For more information on these yummy protein balls, visit the Conquer Cravings Facebook page.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate every now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

I should be so lucky! – October 2013

Over the years I have witnessed others materialise their innermost wishes, one by one and this got me thinking… is it fate? The stars aligning to bring together people, ideas, events and settings because it’s destined to be. Or just sheer luck? A fortuitous encounter and being in the right place at the right time. Are some people born lucky? Or do they know a secret formula which enables them to have all they desire? In any case, how does one entice luck to them? In my quest for answers I was astounded to uncover the common thread between those who attracted good luck and in due course achieved their wants was this: they all eagerly accepted opportunities when they arrived.

To me, an opportunity is a favourable offer that may lead to the attainment of a desire and bring about the happiness we crave and seek. You can take it or leave it, it’s your choice but just remember the wise adage “Opportunity knocks but once.” One moment it is here imploring you to answer its call then all too soon it is gone and so is the blessing, and as Paolo Coelho stated in The Alchemist “every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”  Those who stall in taking up an opportunity when it appears are known as procrastinators. Or as Mae West so bluntly put it “He who hesitates is a damned fool.” Rather than make a quick decision, procrastinators wait… and wait… until it is too late and the opportunity is lost forever, leaving feelings of disappointment and deep regret in its wake.

We’re all guilty of deferring action and in doing so have carelessly let slide opportunities within our reach, thereby allowing good luck and happiness to elude us. I am no exception. The question is why? In my experience, procrastination comes from within and is connected to low confidence and impulsiveness. (Note: the contradiction of acting hastily to delay acting is not lost on me!). My delay where action was required was due to a combination of my self-doubts and stubbornness – my ego wanting and waiting for the circumstances to come about in a perfect and particular way, not as they actually did causing me to impulsively push back without any consideration for the consequences: this specific moment happens only once and will never happen again. Over time, my wavering became habit and is the reason I find myself in my current predicament. As is often the case, we blame others, external incidents and the environment for our unfavourable situations without realising we are the culprit.

Subsequently, it is imperative we recognise, confront and overpower procrastination for progress to occur and success to be achieved and the good news is this is possible. We have the ability to defeat this powerful, unforgiving enemy hindering our actions and destroying our chances of happiness. How? By acknowledging our lingering is only our insecurities and ignorance masked as baseless excuses for non-action and prevailing over it with determination. When this happens ask yourself: But for these fears, would I forge ahead and do because I truly want this? Your heart will respond.

Then, how do we tip the odds in our favour? By accepting an opportunity and the only way to do this is to ACT. We must take immediate action when an opportunity to have something we desire arises. The easiest way to do this is to adopt a decisive mentality because it our choices not chances that determine our lot in life. Our wish won’t just happen by some preordained force so, we need to release any preconceived, idealistic notions we hold about our request transpiring before our very eyes without any active participation whatsoever. It doesn’t work that way. The only way to realise our most heartfelt longings is by deciding to take action in the moment. You reap what you sow; everything that happens to us is the result of our efforts. Through our efforts we demonstrate we are deserving of our wants and in this way lure Lady Luck into our life, for action and good fortune are interdependent.

We all long to be ‘lucky’ and ultimately happy and we can be but our qualms hold us back from playing our part and in turn we miss out. Fret not! Other, similar opportunities will come your way so be ready and choose to take a chance as life is not a dress rehearsal. Stop playing the waiting game and passively yearning for your dreams to magically appear and seamlessly pan out at the hand of the Goddess of Destiny. Pledge from this point forth you will quickly seize an opportunity the instant is arrives as you may never get another chance. Believe me, the worst feeling is ‘what could have been.’ Listen to your heart and take heed of the signs around you supporting your decision for action and with tenacity and purpose subdue any reservations that arise. Remember, the making of a decision is only the beginning of greater good fortune which will invariably propel you toward the fulfilment of your desires.

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~ William Jennings Bryan.             

Splice up your life – September 2013

I love wearing bright colours. I always have. One of the main reasons is because they make me feel happy. They positively influence my mood and much like exercise, release the ‘feel-good’ emotions making me optimistic and assured. Moreover, they make me feel youthful, flirty, energetic and complement my bubbly nature as well as my fair hair and complexion. Plus, and let’s cut to the chase here, bright colours put simply STAND OUT!

My absolute favourite and signature colour is hot pink followed closely by red. I have many pieces from dresses to tops, skirts, shorts and jeans to exercise wear and even sleepwear in both these colours. I have often paired these two colours together but I have never owned a single item consisting of both these colours, until today.
For years I kept my eyes peeled for a two-toned dress in these colours but my quest for this much desired clothing item left me somewhat disappointed. So, imagine my delight when my eyes caught sight of such a dress by my favourite Australian designer, Cue.  Unrestrained elation! For me, the combination of hot pink and red belong together and just POP! And this sexy number has this very effect.

The style is a slim fit, sleeveless shift dress with a round neckline made from ponte – a thick, tightly woven knit fabric which is firm and holds its shape yet is smooth and stretchy. The dress is predominantly hot pink spliced with red running from the shoulders down along the body, kicking out into a slight peplum style on either side of the waist.  I particularly like that it is not a full peplum as it doesn’t billow out too much but subtly adds a feminine touch to the snug fit of the dress.

I am yet to wear the dress but when I do I intend to complete the look with my red-hot patent pointy pumps. For a stylish edge, I will pair it with my nude pumps. Add to the mix some simple jewellery such as my diamond studs and bracelet et voila!

If up until now you have tended to stay play it safe by avoiding colour and instead settled for the option of wearing the classics and neutrals, perhaps with the warm weather upon us now may be the perfect time to take that leap of faith, step out of your comfort zone and wear vibrant colours – spliced or solid. Remember to select colours you like and make you feel good whilst wearing them. If you’re not quite ready to dive into the deep end you may choose to brighten up the basics - black and white with a bold coloured jacket, bag or shoes. Still not convinced to take the plunge nor want to break the bank for brights? Consider adding a splash of colour via the introduction of colourful accessories. Earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets are a good starting point to ease you into the world of colour and a great way to add zing to a vanilla outfit.
As an accountant and a savvy shopper I believe you don’t have to overspend to freshen your look by adding colourful items to your repertoire. There are numerous reasonably priced, good quality items available from various retailers.

So go on, brighten your outfit to brighten your mood and outlook. You’ll feel glad you did!

“Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Leave your hat on – August 2013

Whilst at the hairdresser’s back in June, I was flicking through one of many magazines, as you do, when my eyes stopped on a photo of the stunning and stylish model/actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. This time it wasn’t her face or body that had captured my interest but the hat on her head: an ivory coloured fedora with a light grey band.

This head trend is not new. The fedora has been a popular accessory at festivals, outdoor bars and cafes and has obtained worldwide repute mainly thanks to Indiana Jones. Over the years, my friends have confidently donned a variety of hats but not me. No way! My hat wearing was limited to my wide brimmed sunhat at the beach and a visor when out running. Secretly though, I always wanted to wear a hat, I just wasn’t brave enough. I didn’t feel I could pull it off, particularly here in Sydney without looking ridiculous.
Years back when I jetted over to Toronto and New York City during the wintry months, I was granted the opportunity to wear the dreaded hat. It wasn’t hard to do since hats are an integral piece during the chilly season, so with sureness and poise I alternated between my black beret, knitted beanie and black corduroy cap. Sadly, the moment my overseas stint was over so too were my hat wearing days. Occasionally, I would get a surge of confidence and feel inspired to adorn my head with a hat, but once on I would become self-conscious and engulfed with feelings of timidity. Off it came only to be shoved in the back of the drawer and forgotten about.

Looking now at this photo in the magazine, I felt a change was due not only to my style but within myself and my thoughts. The time was ripe to be adventurous with a distinct, modern look however, this meant overcoming my shyness and reservations. With a gutsy mindset, I set off to buy myself a fedora and found one – black felt with a plain black band by Morgan and Taylor. Perfect! I bought it but try as I might I couldn’t bring myself to wear it. I simply lacked the confidence. Still in its bag with the tags on, I stashed it somewhere in my wardrobe and left it there, promising myself I would overcome my doubts and wear it… one day. 

With the commencement of a new month and an upcoming brunch rendezvous with friends at a café by the beach, I decided it was now or never! I pulled on my black lone rider leggings and charcoal roll neck long-line knit, put on my flat black suede ankle boots, left my long locks cascading over my shoulders and with unsteady hands placed the hat on my head.

The hat was a hit! I actually felt good wearing it and this boosted my confidence. More importantly, I was thrilled with myself for pushing through my fears as it made me realise that it is our negative thoughts and harsh judgements of our self that lead to a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. I believe confidence is the foundation of all achievement and starts from within. We must focus on our abilities and eliminate any limiting beliefs which keep us stagnant, holding us back from reaching our full potential and being the best we can be. So, take baby steps. Start with mastery over the small things in life (in my case it was wearing a hat) as this will increase your self-confidence, self-esteem and ultimately raise your self-respect. This in turn allows for the accomplishment of the significant things in life.

From now on, I feel confident enough to leave my hat on! 

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have a lot of fun, you can do amazing things.” ~  Joe Namath    

Monochroma: My Way – July 2013

The buzz word on fashionistas’ lips for some time now has been ‘monochroma’. Okay, let’s get one thing straight. I am well aware that in the field of fashion this word generally refers to the pairing of black and white – a look I love, not only because the stark contrast between the two colours is eye catching, but also because this colour combo creates a classic and chic look. That said, given the word’s Greek origins and my Greek background I know the word literally means: one colour. Therefore, I personally regard this trend as piecing together separate items (as opposed to wearing a dress or jumpsuit) of a single colour.

Now, I am no stranger to the one-colour concept. In fact, many times have I paired items of the same colour, the most common being black and on countless occasions, predominantly in the summertime both here in Sydney and overseas, I have confidently thrown together various white pieces to create a sleek all-white look. So, it will come as no surprise when I openly disclose that last Valentine’s Day, in honour of the colour of passion I attempted to pull together an outfit consisting of all red only to find that the hues of my lace top from Cue, fitted pencil skirt from Sheike and Zara jacket didn’t mesh well together, so I abandoned the monochroma trend for the time being but never lost hope. I knew one day I would get it right! With this word still in vogue, the ebbing flame in my heart for the one-colour look was reignited. I felt ready to give it another go and stamp my own mark on this fad by deviating away from the mass definition and being true to the meaning of the word. What’s more, I wanted to be daring and take this look into the corporate arena.
Then last Saturday when I purchased a slim fitted, purple ponte pencil skirt (what a mouthful!) from my much loved Australian designer Cue, inspiration struck. I knew the colour I wanted to monochromise. Purple. I know what you’re thinking - purple, really? But please hear me out. I know it’s a little risky as it is a bold colour (looking like Grimace from McDonalds is definitely not my aim) and although there are more items available nowadays in purple, it’s still not a colour usually worn. However, having always adored this colour and regarding it as trans-seasonal, I knew I could make a statement with it.

With support from the fine weather this morning, I nervously slipped on my pretty purples; silk top from Sportsgirl, new skirt and sharp floral jacquard* blazer from Zara. Over the top, I threw on my berry tweed coat purchased years back from Review and completed my creative look with natural coloured stockings and my nude patent pumps. I looked professional, fashionable, feminine and FRESH. Feeling pleased with myself for creating an entirely unique look and one that expressed a bit of me, I was ready to take it to the streets. With my coat off, the full effect of my monochroma style was on display and the impact was beyond my expectations. I was surprised, albeit delighted, with the amount of attention this ensemble attracted! Several approached me throughout the day to tell me I looked “well put- together.” Needless to say, the admiring looks and compliments received boosted my self-esteem and sent my confidence soaring to new heights.
So, if you want to dress to impress, consider the monochroma trend - my way with one vibrant colour. My advice would be to select a colour you like wearing and feel most comfortable in. Don’t feel the need to rush out and buy new clothing in colours you don’t really like or generally wear. Work with what you’ve got. Have a look at what you already own and see if you can work them into a monochroma look, and when you do buy something new keep this captivating concept in mind. The only new acquisition for me was the skirt itself; all other items I already owned and had previously worn so, this was an affordable way to create an original look and make an impact at the same time. For, who doesn’t like a little attention from time to time?

*jacquard – where a design is intricately woven into the fabric instead of being printed or dyed on.

“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~  Maya Angelou

Metallics in the mix – June 2013

Recently, my sister-in-law purchased a cropped metallic knit. Although I had yet to see the knit on, I didn’t express too much enthusiasm because I’ve never been all that keen on cropped knits. I mean I like them, just not on me. Besides, I really don’t know how else to wear them except over a fitted t-shirt or shirt… and a metallic shade… what would I do with it? Despite my sister-in-law’s favourable reviews and encouragement to try the same knit in another colour, my interest wasn’t piqued. I simply wasn’t convinced it would do my image any good.

As destiny would have it, whilst casually browsing in Cue yesterday, shiny golden threads caught my attention. At first, I stood transfixed on the spot as I considered whether to pick this item out from the crowd, but soon enough I caved in. Even then, I gave it a thorough look over for a few minutes before finally deciding to try it on, more so for my sister-in-law’s sake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for experimenting with various styles, colours, prints and textures. It’s just that cropped knits have never really suited my petite frame. I always felt they added more bulk than was necessary and cut my body making me appear shorter, or so I thought. That was until I actually tried it on and am I glad I did!

Slowly, I pulled it over my Country Road black long sleeve fitted t-shirt and instantly fell in love with it. The matted gold knit fabric was soft, comfortable and warm. What I loved most though was the specks of gold and shades of bronze shimmering in the light, and teamed with my black leggings, flat knee-high buckled boots and my black fitted blazer over the top, I must admit I looked good…and longer! To my pleasant surprise, this cropped knit managed to elongate my body by revealing more of my figure. What’s more, it understatedly achieved a sharp, sexy and stylish new look by adding a trendy twist to an otherwise ordinary outfit.

I  thought of other ways to wear it to justify its purchase: over a tailored black short and my black skinny leg jeans; with a black pencil skirt and black pumps; or a short flouncy skirt and my heeled black ankle boots. I even imagined wearing it over a printed shirt. The possibilities were endless! I bought it right then and there. Immediately after, I made the call to my beloved sister-in-law and told her the good news.

My point is, remain open minded and be willing to try different styles, colours, patterns and items on as you might discover new truths about your body and style. Often, items may look much better on than they do on the coat hanger so, don’t be hasty in making a decision. Moreover, by keeping an open mind to the smaller things, your mind will be trained and open to acceptance for when the bigger and more important things arrive in your life.
What’s even better – it was on sale! 

“The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.” ~ Albert Einstein