Fashionista ~ Career Woman ~ Op Shopper ~ Online Shopping Addict ~ Bargain Hunter ~ Child Rearer ~ Book Reader ~ Social Commentator

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Search of the Perfect Vintage Kitchenette

I am lusting after a vintage kitchenette (also known as kitchen dresser) for my house. I am undecided on the exact design that I'd most like, and whether I want to refurbish one myself (I'd love to, but I don't have any undercover space to do it so it would likely have to wait until next summer, which is annoying).

This one is for sale for $50, and ripe for refurbishment. It's a simple design and it would fit into the space I have well, but I'm not enamored with it.

 This is probably my favourite! It sold for around $350-$400 on eBay recently. This design is generally the most expensive, especially if it is already refurbished.

 The seller wants $250 for this cutie. It's a bit too bright and pink for my liking.

 This one is solid, and could look very nice if painted. I like ones that have glass though, which this one is lacking.

 This one is super cute and sold one eBay for $125 recently. It is a bit big for the area I want it and I'm not sure that the yellow would compliment my decor.

This one is simple and lovely. The seller wants $250 for it, and it has some issues (glass is missing parts at the corners and needs some repainting etc). I'm not sure that it's worth the asking price.

Even if I bought one in relatively good condition, I would add my own finishing touches. I love what has been done here with mosaic:

Given it will already be busy because it will be filled with vintage goodies, I think I might stick to something more subtle like stenciling. Stenciling with paper doilies is cheap, easy and looks fantastic. Watch this space!

Which is your favourite design, or have you seen nicer?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Things I'm Loving This Week

My funky new flower vase filled with pretty flowers.

Citizen Khan, which is currently showing on channel Seven/GWN7. I am loving this BBC comedy series, which follows the trials and tribulations of Mr Khan, self-appointed community leader, and his family. 

The series has been subject to criticism that it degrades Islam and contains unacceptable racial stereotyping. My opinion? Get over it! It's funny, and you have to be able to laugh at yourself. There are shows taking the mickey out of every religion or race. If anything, the series should be more offensive to "gingers" (redheads) than Muslims. Thankfully the ratings in the UK have been stellar for the first series, so a second series is in production.

A lowdown on the characters:

Mr Khan, self proclaimed community leader and Pakistani businessman. Terrible fashion sense, and a "tight-arse" who buys in bulk at Cash'n'Carry. Always trying to raise his profile in the community (through the Pakistani Business Association and Sparkhill Community Mosque) but causes havoc and embarrassment in the process. Stubborn and tries to talk his way out of every situation with ridiculous logic, until Mrs Khan steps in.

Mrs Khan, wife of Mr Khan (his "sweetie darling") and boss of the household (although Mr Khan would never admit it). She is competitive with the other women in the Muslim community, keeps a spotless house (which includes sponging the plastic cover on the sofa twice daily) and is terrified of anything that would bring shame on herself or her family. Very dramatic whenever anything goes wrong and always gets Mr Khan to do what she wants in the end.

Dave: a Muslim convert, and the "Mosque Manager" at the Sparkhill Community Mosque. Mr Khan refuses to acknowledge that Dave is Muslim, and refers to him as a "ginger" (referring to his red hair). Dave tries hard, but has difficulty standing up to Mr Khan and sometimes gets carried along with his unfortunate plans. He has a "certificate" in counseling and likes to get involved whenever there is the hint of a family disagreement.

Shazia Khan: the eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Khan. Currently engaged and planning her wedding to Amjad Malik. A scruffy dresser, easily pleased, Mr Khan's least favourite daughter.

Alia Khan: the younger daughter of Mr and Mrs Khan. Always heavily made up and wearing super tight jeans and high heels, she quickly puts on a headscarf whenever her father is present. She pretends to be a devout Muslim, and has Mr Khan wrapped around her little finger. She is actually a party animal who loves clubbing, but Mr Khan would never believe it.

Amjad Malik: Shazia's husband to be. A very 'simple' boy who is easily led (and mislead by Mr Khan). He works at a phone shop (where he started out wearing a rubber mascot costume) and is deeply in love with Shazia. He comes from a wealthier family than the Khans, and his mother Mrs Malik makes this known at every opportunity.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Feminist Lie

To anyone reading this, I apologise for the negativity in this post. I do try to blog about happy things, to remind myself appreciate the small things in life and to stay positive. However, I also see blogging as a tool of self discovery and that means I'll be writing about how I feel, and trying to sort out why. Lately I have been feeling quite sad, lost and unmotivated.

I also have a confession to make… I am incredibly clucky. Every time I see a photo of a baby I melt, and I really want one of my own. It doesn’t help that many of my friends are popping out kids at the moment and seem blissfully happy in the process. Every time I see a baby photo on facebook I am so incredibly jealous!

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on trying to get pregnant tomorrow. I don’t think my relationship with the boy is solid or developed enough. The next step for me is living with him, as we still live apart… and I have a lot of work to do to let him fully into my life.

Work is another story altogether. My choices are as follows:

1)      Go back to a job like my previous one that is intense but will accelerate my development. Work my ass off for at least 2 years there, and then transfer to a firm or company with a more manageable workload and accommodating environment. Work at this more relaxed firm/company for at least 2 more years before taking maternity leave. At this point I will probably be valuable enough to retain my job and be able to return part time if I choose to do so, on a good salary and with prospects for advancement if I am inclined to pursue them. This would give me options, and the prospect of having it all would not be totally out of reach. Whether or not that optimism is misplaced is another question.

2)      Stay in my current job (if I can tolerate the boredom) or move to a similarly relaxed (albeit less boring) job. Work for however long before having kids, but have no chance of solidifying my value to the extent necessary before taking maternity leave. I will no doubt have a job to come back to or be able to get another job, but it will be on a disappointing wage and I’ll be stuck doing grunt work and not really having any real responsibility or respectability. Once I have kids, it will be very difficult to put in the hours and effort required to work my way up the ladder from where I will have been at pre-kids. I will not shine.

Option (1) is depressing because it means having kids is so far out of reach, and I don’t know if I can survive 2+ years of hell to get where I want to. In my previous chaotic job, I could see myself changing as a person (for the worse...) and I was physically and mentally unhealthy due to the constant stress, exhaustion and struggle to have any sort of work-life balance.

Option (2) is equally depressing because it would be a waste of my potential, and I know I would be frustrated at the situation and disappointed at myself. I have always been competitive and wanted to achieve great things, I know that I am intelligent, robust, a natural leader and have great potential... but on the other hand my maternal instincts are tugging at my insides.

This situation epitomises what I believe to be THE question of my generation – can women really have it all? We were brought up being taught that unlike our predecessors in the pre-feminist era, we can now have both a stellar career and idyllic family life. The reality is, depressingly, quite different.

I just have to look around the legal profession and there are no examples of women having it all. You have a small number of female partners, but they are either childless or have children who were or are being brought up by nannies. You have female senior associates but many are part time once they have kids, and then their career progression halts or goes backwards. Hell, even I would invest in their male competition – he’s there more often, more likely to stick around without prolonged maternity leave absences or to give up his career altogether, he can put in the long hours, he can without any notice work until midnight and all weekend… and over time, when he is there and she is not, he gains experience, he accumulates knowledge, he networks, he gains clients… and he becomes partner material. It makes commercial sense to favour him, regardless of whether she is a better lawyer NOW or whether she has greater potential due to her intellect, interpersonal skills or acumen for the law.
Law is a crappy profession for women, but I don’t know if anything else would be much better. Medicine gives women a better earning potential from the get go (this is presumably why my Grandfather pressured me to study medicine rather than law) but the potential to specialise and climb to great heights seems similarly limited. If a women is not satisfied by money (and most human beings are not), but wants the satisfaction derived from challenging herself and leading others, or maybe even commanding widespread respect or admiration, she is setting herself up for disappointment unless she gives up the idea of being involved in her kids’ lives too.  I know that not everyone wants these things, but unfortunately I think they're the things that drive me. I need to be intellectually stimulated but that is not enough, I also like having responsibility, control and being respected. I have always admired and practiced efficiency, and that means I am more suited to a fast paced environment.

There are women who may be an exception to the rule. I won’t name one who comes to mind, because I don’t know or care enough about her private life, nor do I think it is appropriate or respectful to speculate on it. What I do know is that we all have different conceptions of how much is enough time to spend with our children and families, and how much we want to be involved in our children's upbringing. I don’t think that heavy involvement with the kids and a stellar career are compatible. They just don’t add up, as a matter of logic. There are only 24 hours in a day.

Where you have a really successful career woman whose children aren’t brought up by nannies, the only other option in my eyes is that they have a super-supportive like-a-stay-at-home partner. I wouldn’t want this either… and therein lays the dilemma. I want it all, I have been told that I can have it all, and suddenly the reality is hitting me. What I believed and what I have worked towards was all a crock of shit.

It’s a very depressing revelation. It makes me want to throw in the towel on one level, have kids and just hope that my priorities change and I find another reason to live and find meaning through motherhood. My Mum says this is a copout, but what is it a copout from? There’s nothing to copout from if I am not able to achieve what I perceive to be worthwhile anyway. There is a small difference in my eyes between giving up, and working for a few more years, finding my work unsatisfying (because my expectations of myself are unrealistic, and I want to be stellar) and gaining a meagre few thousand on my salary every year.

I want to be able to change what satisfies and drives me, but I don’t know how. I think that a large part of it is in my personality - I have always been stubborn, driven, bossy and intense. Another part of it is a result of what my generation has been taught and what I have until now believed. Every endeavour I have participated in has fostered that belief – even where I wasn’t the best, I was solid at academics and sports and there was always the potential for me to work hard, improve and shine. In sport my physique and injuries were self-limiting, but on the academic and leadership front I always had the option of reaching for great heights. School and university studies came easily to me, and I wasn't the best not because I wasn't capable, but because I was more focused on an efficient use of my time and what I wanted to do other than study. Now, the rational view seems to be that the option of succeeding is no longer there, unless I am willing to sacrifice something that my genetic instincts are guiding me towards.

Either option seems hopeless, and I don't know what to do or how to change my hopes, dreams and expectations.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Stitch and Bitch: The Cutest Residential Street in Perth!

Imagine waking up one morning to find the trees lining your street decorated with gorgeous, colourful knitting. This is what happened recently on a residential street in Mount Hawthorn. I was driving to visit a friend when I saw the decorations, and of course I had to pull over to take some photos. It really made my day, it's not often that you see something this sweet out of the blue! I asked a young boy who was playing basketball in a driveway if he knew where the decorations came from, and he told me that they're made by a local 'Stitch and Bitch' group. The decorations are put up in the dark of the night to surprise residents. What a lovely idea!!!

Here are some of the decorations:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Op Shopped

I had a brief hiatus from op shopping while I moved house - there's nothing like having to shift all of your belongings to make you realise that you have too much stuff! Of course I'm back at it, it's just too hard to resist :) and hey, if you've ever watched the Tv show 'Hoarders', I'm nowhere near as bad as the people who feature on there so I figure my hobby could be worse!

Don't you love it when you walk into an op shop and just hit the jackpot? I had this experience at Vinnies recently, at a store where I usually don't find much at all! 

Here are the latest purchases:
 'Litro' jug $1, and a ceramic man with removable hat which I plan to use as a flower vase! ($5)
 Retro bowl and lid ($5) and Australian pottery jug with leaf print ($15). I think the jug will be part of my sister's birthday present, as she collects pottery.

I hardly ever find these sort of retro goodies so I was very excited!

I absolutely adore this painting - it looks like a paint by numbers canvas ($4)

 Bunny Suicides book, $1

 This floor vase was $25 delivered on sale from Ezibuy, the flowers/reeds were $4 at the op shop.

From here onwards, the purchases are from Good Sammy's, during another very successful trip!
 Mens waterproof jacket with concealable hood, $6

 Jacquie E blouse, $3

 Stunning Mei Mei watercolour flower print dress, $6

 I couldn't resist this lovely floral side plate, $1

 Another 'tea for one' teapot for the collection, $4

Silver snake-print leather flats by Nude, $5

Linking up with:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Home: The TV / sitting room

My sitting room or TV room has a very vintage feel:

The funky drawers that you can see propping up the TV and also to make a lamp table are all unattached, so can be rearranged as I please. They are upcycled vintage drawers with wooden boxing that I found on Gumtree - they belonged to two girls who run a printing and graphic design studio. They were re-decorating their studio so getting rid of these gems!

This vintage looking lamp was picked up at a garage sale for $10, and the photo frame is a souvenir from a trip to America. Notice the cute cushions? My friend who has a sewing machine helped me to make these out of vintage linen!

Almost everything in the room is second hand:

Leather couches: Ikea, sourced second hand from Gumtree
Vintage repurposed drawers: made by some creative and handy girls, sourced second hand from Gumtree
Vintage chairs: free from a roadside collection!
Shaggy rug: bought new
Cushions: from the markets (second hand), op-shopped or made by me (some from op-shopped vintage linen, and others I bought the material new from Spotlight)
Modern table: second hand, belonged to my parents
Vintage lamp: from a garage sale
Magazine holder/knitting bag: op-shopped

It is definitely my favourite room in the house because it is so unique (and suits my design taste perfectly), but it was also created well within a small budget!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

House, work, relationships and life

As I stated in the last post, a lot has happened in the past several months. I am in two minds about how much personal stuff I feel comfortable divulging on here. On the one hand, I don't think anyone I know in real life reads this. I could also probably benefit from being a less private person and sharing my feelings more. On the other hand, I *am* a private person, I do find it hard to share and I am conscious that if someone who knows me came across the blog, it wouldn't be hard to work out and confirm who I am. With this in mind, here is a some-hands-bared account of my personal life over the last 9 months!

(1) The most exciting development is that I bought my first home. It is a townhouse in a suburb not too far from the city. It's an older house (with the maintenance issues which come with that) but is very liveable, and having been there for a few months now, I am starting to really feel at home. I furnished it almost completely with second hand furniture sourced on Gumtree. Here are a few cheeky snaps of the decor, and I will share more in a separate post:

It definitely has a vintage feel and is very 'girly' according to the boy. I don't think there are any bargains to be had in the Perth housing market at the moment, but I'm happy with what I paid for it. My only regret is not insisting on my rights at the pre-settlement inspection, I ended up allowing myself to be bulldozed by the bitchy real estate agent acting for the seller who did her utmost to shut me down and make me feel stupid whenever I raised an issue. My lack of persistence in this regard resulted in me not following up on some things I had gut feelings on, and the result is that I'll need a new air conditioning system installed (for which I have been quoted $4k) and a few other things. On the other hand, I paid $8k less than what I was ultimately willing to offer for the house so it evens out in the end, and I know I won't make the same mistakes with my next purchase (I will be pushy and bitchy in equal parts back!)

(2) The other major development is my relationship with the boy. We met when I moved back to Perth from Canberra last year (so about 11 months ago now) and took things slowly. I didn't tend to see him during the week during my previous job, as it was just so demanding and draining. If I ever got out of the office at a decent hour, I would just want to crash into bed straight away. Now that I have time on my hands, the dynamics have definitely changed. We are seeing each other a lot during the week and have gotten closer. I still feel like we're in 'early days' and not where we'd otherwise be after 11 months, because we hadn't really started combining our lives until recently.

This relationship is teaching me a lot about myself. I don't like to open up and share, and I find it really hard to reveal my true feelings, especially when I am feeling sad or down. I respond by being moody and isolating myself. I also think that I'm afraid of commitment. This is unusual for the female I think, it's more common with the guy. My stand-offishness and reluctance to give of myself is probably what snared me the boy in the first place though, as he had to work hard for my affections (and who isn't tempted by a bit of a game?). Until now, my relationships have not felt serious and so I did not put any pressure on myself to be 'sure' or question whether it felt 'right'. Now, many of my friends are getting married and having babies - partly due to that, our relationship feels 'real' and like it could or should be final.
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