January 02, 2017

Showcasing Small Biz in 2017

I know that Christmas is behind us, and all that most of us are thinking about is spending less, eating less and exercising more. (No... just me? Righto then.) But we'd be lying if we said we were going to stop spending altogether, right? Why not make that spending as pleasurable for the store as it is for you?!

This year, I'd love to introduce you all to some of my favorite shops, both online and locally on the Sunshine Coast. Supporting local and small business is supporting continued growth, prosperity and healthy competition, as well as providing local entrepreneurs and business owners (real people, not giant companies) with continued cashflow. Not only are you more likely to find something unique but it really does feel awesome to to shop small and support these people who are trying to make a living doing what they love!

This month, my blog will be getting a long-overdue facelift (yes, from a local small graphic design business), and I'll enjoy hanging out here and writing so much more when it's all pretty and tidy. Along with sorting the the aesthetic side of the blog, and my irregular random thoughts (blogger/oversharer = same/same), I'm hoping to showcase fabulous stores and businesses each week, so if you know of a small Australian-owned business which you think I'd love, let me know!

Now, to my first little round-up of small biz awesomeness.

1. Dew & Rose teal crystal stud earrings - These oversized teal crystals in a simple rose gold setting aren't just the perfect accessory, they come beautifully packaged and ready for gifting. Dew & Rose supports girls' education through partnering with One Girl onegirl.org.au, so you're really giving the gift that gives twice. Winning!

2. H&G Designs black grid mood board - Getting organised for the start of the school, uni or work year never looked so good, with this black wire mood board to display current projects, goals, ideas, photo’s, design objects and memos. The suede straps to hang are super-cute too!

3. The Hello Workshop 2017 desk calendar - Still on the organisational theme, this quirky desk calendar has more than a little nod to the fun-lovin' 80's, with bright pastels in geometric designs.

4. MinPinShop Grumpy mood ring - This sterling silver mood ring is definitely the grown-up version of a piece of jewelry you might have worn as an angsty teen. With other mood options available too, you could fill your fingers and really confuse your friends!

5. Clutch Zuha beaded clutch - Need a clutch fancy enough for the big events, but also neutral enough to go with every outfit in your wardrobe? The new arrivals to Clutch are all gorgeous, but this tan, ochre and black beaded zip clutch is my pick, the detachable cross-body strap was the clincher for me.

6. Inactive Wear Can't Even tank - Created by local genius and all-round sassypants Lauren Jane, Inactive Wear is for the fit and not so fit, who don't want to take themselves (or their gymtime) too seriously. I'm dying over the Can't Even, but wait until you check out the Good Fat or the Gluty Call designs, they're too cheeky!

7. Miss Monogram Miss Victoria large pouch - Sunshine Coast local Natalie Tink recently launched her new personalised accessories line Miss Monogram, and the simple and elegant styles have caught my eye - especially the A4-sized Miss Victoria. In pink, taupe, black or navy (my fave), it's a classic.

8. Indah Koin Australian 2 cent coin necklace - I have one of these gorgeous silver necklaces from my husband's birth year, and I get so many compliments about it - one of these necklaces would make a fabulous gift for a special birthday or anniversary! Indah Koin also have bracelets, bangles and rings.

9. Soak Society rose wellness bath soak - Another clever local, Natalie decided that she was sick of seeing lurid and bright bath bombs full of all kinds of nasties, and got back to basics with a range of gorgeously-scented products; and has recent;y branched out into beautiful gift packs too. (Don't worry everyone, I'll remind you with plenty of time for my birthday, hehe!)

Now head on over to these amazing stores run by incredible people. Let’s all shop small a bit more everyday!

Do you run a small business?

December 06, 2016

Homewares trends for 2017

I've become a little homewares-obsessed lately. Maybe it's because we've been living in this home for three or so years, and have started personalising it and trying to add value with small renovations and upgrades. Maybe it's because my husband is working all the way through Christmas, and we're not taking a trip anywhere, so I'm pottering around the house trying to make it feel a little fresher.

Whatever the reason, I've been cruising and perusing home and interiors magazines for a while now and would like a large influx of cash into my bank account, please. Some of those renovations are not cheap! Failing bank robbery or an unknown great-aunt leaving me her ill-gotten fortune, I've resorted to smaller additions to our home decor, which surprisingly still pack a big punch.

Since I buy those home and interior magazines for research purposes of course, I thought I'd share some of the top homewares trends I'm seeing for the next year. They're all easy enough to adopt in either small or large doses, and you could even mix and match a few!

There's a one-stop-shop for all homewares in Australia, and that's Reed Gift Fairs. Celebrating the latest in the homewares and gift space,they bring together the people and the products behind everything that’s hot in the design and gift space. With the next one to be held in Sydney in February next year, this fair gives exhibitors the chance to showcase all their new and exciting products, and retailers head there to pick and choose upcoming stock. Sounds like an interiors dream, right? I just need to find a way to nab a ticket!

Top Homeware Trends for 2017

Trend forecasters have started planning for the new season, which will bring with it a change in mood – one that will see earthy tones, hints of mixed metals, and the return of natural materials. I've sussed out some of Reed Gift Fairs' exhibitors to see what they'll be bringing to the table (literally to the table, in the case of some tableware designers LOL) next year.

The earthy tone of terracotta will become a key element in many homes, and a leading trend in the New Year. No longer will you find terracotta restricted to pots in the garden! Unique Australian homewares and jewellery company Jones & Co provides plenty of inspiration on how to incorporate hints of earthy tones to the home. 

Selection of gorgeous pots and planters

Indoor Plants
Succulents have become so popular lately, with groups popping up on Facebook dedicated to growing and swapping succulents - and no hipster cafe is worth it's salt without succulents in unconventional containers on each table! I'm sure we'll see this trend grow even more, bringing the outdoors inside with indoor plants. Displayed in classic concrete pots, woven bags or a glass vase, Reed Gift Fairs will leave you feeling inspired, with exhibitors such as Florabelle, who will show off beautiful displays of indoor planting. I've actually got a few Florabelle artificial plants in my guest rooms, and they always get compliments from visitors!

Green Appeal
Despite seeing an abundance of pastel shades of pink and blue this year, dark shades of green will become a leading trend in 2017 - and I'm thrilled about it! Expect to see this colour incorporated into lots of soft furnishings. Kelly Lane have a great range of statement pieces from cushions to wall art, which will help add a hint of green to any room. 

I love the idea of pairing a rich dark green with lighter aquas, and adding plenty of plants for a really lush tropical look.

Kelly Lane bedroom decor

There are few things better than coming home to a beautifully decorated home. Keep an eye out at your local homewares stores in the New Year and snap up some quick additions to transform your space into the sanctuary you’ve always wanted!

Keen on any of these trends? One step ahead and already featuring indoor plants in your home?

November 23, 2016

Turning your home into a tropical paradise, just in time for Summer

This post is brought to you by Jason Agustina.

I just spent the past weekend Spring Cleaning (my efforts are totally worthy of capitalising those words) with my husband, and while the result is lovely - we're still not quite Summer-ready. You know, where everything is fresh and clean, and looks entertainment-ready for any unexpected drop-ins. (Please note, I will not accept unexpected drop-ins. You are required to call or text your intention to visit at least 45 mins in advance. I need time to freshen myself AND my home up!)

There’s no better way to freshen up your home in Summer than with tropical statement homewares. Not only is it easy to incorporate, but this vibrant trend creates a refreshing vibe indoors and outdoors - and has been my go-to interior decorating trend since I was a young teenager, living directly across the road from the Big Pineapple. Having that fruity view really affected me!

To create a classy look with this trend, think luscious jungle and bright animal prints paired with casual, natural materials like warm wood and bamboo. I like to add some greenery (fake, if the occasion or your black thumbs call for it - no judgement) to 'lush up' the space and really compliment tropical touches. Like most trends, the key is to work from a good base - pieces that are well-made with great simple designs will stand the test of time. I love the range from Jason Agustina, it's a small collection with something for every type of living area, made from gorgeous timbers and fabrics.

1. Jason Agustina Volt Sofa in Blue 2. Blue Thumb Sticky Beak limited edition print by Emma Ward 3. Drunk on Water Monstera and Pineapple cushion 4. Jason Agustina Beholm Coffee Table in Oak 5. Annabel Trends artificial banana bunch and cockatoo

Some of my favourite colours for the tropical trend this year are yellow, green and all the shades of citrus - I love seeing these combined with a soft blue or crisp white for an elegant finish. If you already have some blues in your home decor, you can still adopt a tropical vibe, just pick sea-green and deep-ocean hues, and make sure you add plenty of greenery.

1. Jason Agustina Locke Sideboard in Natural 2. Kmart belly basket 3. Kmart Anthurium plant 4. Drunk on Water Watermelon print 5. KMart succulent in concrete pot 6. Annabel Trends artificial large pineapple

So make sure your key furniture pieces are classic, simple and beautifully made (check out Jason Agustina's story for their wonderful commitment to customer care), choose some tropical pieces and create your own slice of paradise this Summer. I promise you that it'll help your summer cocktail vibe for sure!

Is it possible to have too many pineapples in your home, if you live in an estate that was once pineapple and sugar cane farms?

November 09, 2016

Brisbane Fashion Weekend 2016 - making a weekend of it!

Inaugural events can be a little hit and miss, but the first Brisbane Fashion Weekend held last month was, in my entirely non-fashiony opinion, a smashing success!

I wore a stunning Yannika Designs (local Queensland brand) shift dress to BFW, perfect for the 30 degree day and rushing around like Andrea Sachs. Low nude heels and a bright yellow Mimco clutch borrowed from Brooke of Blonde Ambition and French Connection raffia tassel earrings finished my outfit.

Held at the recently opened Royal International Convention Centre (where parking was a breeze!), BFW featured two days of runway shows, a well-curated pop-up precinct, a Pamper Room where a small donation to fabulous local charity Dressed for Success got you a hair and makeup freshen-up, and two stages with programs full of styling advice and fashion industry experts and influencers. If all that got too much, the Moet Lounge was the place to sit and rest those weary high heel-clad tootsies!

But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

I headed down to Brisbane the evening before Day 1 of BFW, as Adelaidean Jenni of Styling Curvy was in town and had organised a meet-up for some of her Queensland blogging mates. That's how lazy relaxed Queenslanders are, we wait until someone comes to visit us, then let them organise it so we all go catch up with them. #hakunamatata

I'd planned to get ready at Brooke's place, head out to the meet-up and not get lost (yikes... alone in the Valley, as Brooke had fancy Singin' in the Rain plans) and then crash on her couch, so was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at my host's apartment and asked 'So, where's this hip venue I need to get to?' and her response was 'See that building less than a block away? There.' GOLD.

Traffic had been pretty decent heading into Brisbane, so I had time for a shower, wash and curl my hair, to give myself a mani/pedi and catch up on some work emails. Instead, I napped, watched the end of Season 2 of UnReal, showered super-fast, then helped myself to Brooke's plethora of dry shampoo and hairspray options. My fingernails and toenails would have to wait.

Keeping it simple in a Country Road flutter-sleeve frock - basic black is always a great comfort zone for me when I'm meeting bloggy-types.

I know I've said it before, but blogger events and meetups are usually pretty awkward for me. And even more so when it's stylish people like fashion folk. *insert hand-wringing and excuse-making here* Unless I know someone really well to latch on to, it's typically just me standing in the corner near the food.

So many gorgeous girls crammed into one terrible-quality photo!

Jenni had arranged for the event to be held at the Tryp Hotel's rooftop bar, Up on Constance, and it was perfect for a bunch of blinged-up ladies enjoying champagne cocktails on a warm October evening. It's a gorgeously NY-inspired open space, with chilled music and great views. One of the brands that Jenni works with - Capriosca Swimwear (stunning styles!) - unexpectedly and generously put on the lovely spread of food and drinks, thank you so much Marcia!

This late-night phone photo is about as fuzzy as I expected, the Apricot Dream tequila cocktail really made some heads spin!

My pineapple glo-mesh clutch from (of all places) Domayne loves an outing, and a city view.

On to the main event!

Of the thirteen stunning labels appearing on Brisbane Fashion Weekend's Runway, including Tengdahl, Saylor & Saige, LouenHide (always love their stuff!), 400 Co and Kahlo Kahlo, my favourites were SunSoaked and Wilde Willow. Brooke loved Wilde Willow so much that she punched me during their runway and whispered 'Gotta BOLT outta here the minute this show finishes and buy that sequin kimono'. So she did.

Brooke in her new prized possession, the Wilde Willow Charms of Light Kimono.

I'd love to share more photos, but you'll find that the best photos and videos I took were on other people's devices! I loved being there to help my mate Brooke as she prepared to speak on the Centre Stage as an online fashion influencer (we both cringe at that word, but she DOES influence me to buy things I don't really need, so applicable), and then rock her model socks for the awesome Cate Massi of Individual Style 101. I will also take full credit for making sure Brooke turned up where she needed to be, at the times she needed to be there - I feel that without a 'PA for a Day', she may have been found wandering the foyer in one shoe, loaded up with purchases from the Pop-Up Precinct stores.

Thanks so much to BFW for the invitation, and for such a spectacularly well-run event - kudos! Cheers to Jenni for her perfect timing, it was wonderful to see local ladies that I never really get to see. And big ups and proud mama feels to Brooke for nailing her presentation, saying no to bootleg jeans, and generally being a babe.

For more comprehensive wrap-ups of the event, I highly recommend you check out the following:

Sally of Steele My Style's blog

October 31, 2016

Test driving the new Hyundai Tucson

Although I'm in my (ahem) mid-thirties, I've not been driving that long. I only got my license when I was 28, prior to that I was the quintessential public transport and taxi queen. I just wish Uber existed back then!

My first car was a small second-hand hatchback and while I loved her, I always knew I needed to get a proper grown-up car. My husband encouraged me to 'size up' and we shopped around for a car which looked cute (my priority) and was safe, fuel-efficient and drove well (his priorities)! We ended up at Sunco Hyundai at Maroochydore and chose a Hyundai ix35, at the time one of the most popular SUVs in its class, and it has served me incredibly well for three years now.

As an already happy Hyundai customer, I was thrilled when the sales team from Sunco Hyundai gave me the chance to test drive the new Tucson recently - how lucky am I? I promise I told them that I'm not a revhead car buff, and any review I shared wouldn't be as comprehensive or informative as a CarsGuide article!

I would be lying if how cute a car is didn't make up 90% of my opinion of it! 

Whilst I love my ix35, there's certainly something awesome about stepping into the newer version - this year's Hyundai Tucson is like my current car, but luxe. From the moment I collected the Tucson and got the full tour of how all the great gadgets worked, driving this vehicle felt like an experience, instead a 'daily drive'.

On top of the standard features which you can read about here, the Elite Tucson model comes with extras that I just love, such as a panoramic sunroof, full leather interior, large multi-function screen and reversing camera.

Reversing cameras... how did we ever live without them? This colour screen is a fantastic size.

Yeah, this stuff doesn't matter so much to me, but my husband loves that he can track fuel economy really easily using the Mode button on the steering wheel. Me, I just like knowing how many kms until my petrol tank is empty. #livingontheedge

Hello soft sumptuous leather. 

All the boot room I could possibly need for a weekend full of shopping!

The 60/40 split-fold back seats can give even more room than the spacious boot provides, and I know from personal experience with my ix35, the removable roller blind over the cargo bay keeps everything right where you put it, and shields shopping and luggage from prying eyes. 

Apparently the Tucson is a five-star ANCAP recipient - that means safety first, folks. Again, that's husbo was interested in, and I'm sure if you were a mum carting precious little ones around, that would be important to you too.

For more on the new Hyundai Tucson, visit Sunco Hyundai's website. Thanks to Ky, Collin, Leah and the Sunco team for the opportunity to take it for a spin!

*Sunco Hyundai kindly loaned me this vehicle. Like everything you'll find on Katy Potaty, thoughts and opinions are all my own. For more info, check out my disclosure policy. Please check the suppliers' website for car specs.