Summer Survival Kit

With temperatures reaching 118 degrees this week, it is clear that we are well in the midst of summer. It’s hot, it’s sweaty, and it’s stifling. While some opt to go to the beach, we in Arizona, stick to swimming pools… (until we can make it to the beach). However, with work and everyday (adult) lives, we can’t spend every moment by the pool which can make the summer temperatures feel a little less than friendly at times. With that in mind, I’ve put together my “Summer Survival Kit” with everything you need to survive AND enjoy the summer.

Firstly, we have sunnies. Everyone needs a great pair of sunglasses for the summer. You need glasses that you feel fantastic in but are also functional enough for everyday use. It is much too bright out there without eye protection. This year I treated myself to a pair of Ray-Bans that I’ve had my eye on for many, many months. They were quite pricey, but honestly, I was spending so much on gas to try them on in the store everyday… you do the math.

Secondly, we have magazines… or any good reading material to be honest. Whether hanging out by the pool, or relaxing under the ceiling fan; reading material is a must. So much time can be wasted on Netflix, and while I’m as much of a Netflix addict as the next person, I also enjoy taking a moment to read a great book, or catch up on fashion trends. Definitely a MUST to pass the time when the weather is hottt.

FullSizeRender 9

Next, invest in a great swimsuit. Mine is by Azura. This was another pricey item, but definitely worth it. I bought it for the Christmas party when I lived in Sydney. I wanted a one piece because I wanted to be classy and modest, especially in front of my co-workers at the time. I’m so glad that I bought it because it has proved to be a staple for summer. The blue and white stripe is classic, yet the back is cut out which makes it feel youthful and edgy. Definitely worth the investment.

Now, onto the products. I am obsessed with my Amika “Perk Up Dry Shampoo.” I have naturally fine, flat hair which only gets flatter as the weather gets warmer. The dry shampoo is fantastic to fluff my hair back up when it’s looking a little forlorn. I don’t know about you, but I definitely sweat in the hot weather which can make my freshly washed hair feel less than freshly washed. This dry shampoo is great for “freshening up” the less than fresh hair as well!

FullSizeRender 7

Speaking of hair, I DETEST drying my hair every time I wash it in the summer. Sometimes it is simply too hot, or I can’t be bothered to fully blow it out. The Matrix “Wild Boho” air dry cream is amazing for days when I just want to let my hair air dry. I scrunch it in when it is damp, and when it drys it has volume and texture without a sticky residue. A MUST for summer hair.

FullSizeRender 8

I’m also recently in love with my rose water spritz. Rose water is anti-inflammatory so it calms redness and irritation, It is great for acne and is filled with antioxidants. I love to spritz my face with it throughout the day to rehydrate and freshen and is definitely a summer staple for anyone.

FullSizeRender 5

Finally last, but certainly not least is my faithful Clinique sunscreen. Even if you are diligent about staying out the sun, you can’t help but be exposed to it sometimes. For that, you need a great sunscreen. This sunscreen is SPF 50 and has an oil-free formulation so it doesn’t clog my pores. It has a slight tint to it as well which I love because it blends imperfections. I’m able to wear it out and about without looking like I’m completely barefaced. With that in mind, it is a great alternative to a bb cream, especially with its high SPF.

FullSizeRender 6

Well, there you have it… my summer survival kit. I’ve got everything I need to make my summer feel less endless, and more like a vacation. Well, everything except a margarita. Speaking of….

Advertisements

Picking the Perfect Perfume

Wearing a scent is something that has been popular since Ancient Egyptians used perfumes to denote status. Throughout the course of history, people have used to perfumes to either mask bad odors, or to convey certain images about themselves or evoke certain emotions. In my opinion, even today, the perfume that one chooses to wear continues to do just that. While some people prefer to collect and wear different perfumes depending on the day, I would rather choose one scent that I can stick to for a long time, which is why selecting a particular perfume to wear was a daunting task; one that took me almost three years to achieve. When I was a teenager, I would bounce around from sugary scent to fruity scent, and back again. However, once I reached twenty, I decided that I’d had enough of the latest body sprays with the fun scents. I wanted something to match the person that I was trying to become. I wanted something older and more refined.

IMG_1020

The search for this particular scent took ages as I found myself testing out all of the perfumes I’d come across every time I would go shopping. The result was always the same. I would walk away covered in scents that I didn’t like, and a headache from sniffing too much perfume!

Finally, one day the answer came to me: “Tresor” by Lancome. I simply couldn’t believe that I’d overlooked it over the years! My mum always wore Tresor, so there is quite a lot of sentimentality that factors into my love of the perfume. When I smell it, it takes me back to being a child. I remember watching her in her beautiful clothes with her beautiful products and knowing that I desperately wanted to grow up to be elegant and sophisticated as well.

IMG_1018

Ultimately, for me, it came down to finding something that portrayed my personality type and personal sense of style and “Tresor” by Lancome does just that. It is sophisticated and adult, (yet not too old), and the sentimentality bit is simply a bonus.

Visiting Agritopia

Allow me to introduce a gem of Gilbert….. Agritopia!

IMG_0654

One of my favourite places to visit on a day off is Agritopia. While I always opt to grab a cappuccino and some food, there are many cute and quirky elements to Agritopia.

IMG_0664

Firstly, the entire place has a sort of updated farm house vibe, mixing modern with rustic  and creating a space that makes you feel as though you have been transported out of Arizona as soon as you arrive. As I mentioned, I always stop off at The Coffee Shop straight away and order a cappuccino. Usually I pair it with a plain bagel, but today I decided to try a cupcake. This particular coffee shop actually won Cupcake Wars so I was eager to try their talent.

IMG_0650

If you decide to wander around Agritopia, you’ll find several different restaurants and a winery. All have their own unique style and I often find myself wandering into them just because I love the way that they look.

IMG_0658 IMG_0655

Agritopia also has a small salon studio located inside and a stationary shop and florist. Essentially, it seems like it’s own little village secluded from the rest of Gilbert and always offers something new to explore and enjoy every time I visit.

Renovating, Organizing, and Rejuvenating.

I recently moved home with my parents when I came back from Sydney. I moved into the “spare room” that had all of my old furniture in it, so in theory, it should have seemed like my old room. However, it definitely didn’t. Perhaps it was because I still felt that I belonged in Sydney, or perhaps it was because I hadn’t gotten used to the room, either way, I didn’t feel like it was truly my room. Consequently, I didn’t bother fully unpacking. I lived half out of suitcases for weeks, and didn’t organize any of my things. The place was a mess!

Anyway, I came across an article about Feng shui and learned that essentially it’s all about having positive energy flow in your home and only keeping things that bring you joy. My messy room certainly wasn’t bring me any joy, so I decided to rejuvenate it in the hopes that it would feel more like home.

This was my starting point:

IMG_0252

Firstly, I finally unpacked. I went through all of my clothes and donated the things that weren’t bringing me joy, and folded up the rest and put them away. Suddenly, with a bit of organization, not only was I was feeling happier and more at peace, but I was also feeling settled and at home.

Secondly, I decided to paint my furniture white. Although it isn’t necessarily my favourite style of furniture, (I’ve had it since I was 11), I was working on a budget and decided that purchasing was out of the realms of my wallet. My brilliant and talented mother suggested painting the furniture white to brighten up my room and to create a color scheme. She sanded it, primed it, and painted it over the course of a week, (I helped minimally but quickly realised I wasn’t as suited to furniture painting as her).

IMG_0515   IMG_0518

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, after putting my room back together, I was able to go out and purchase bargain bits and pieces like a vase and candles and a few little succulents.

IMG_0550    IMG_0500    IMG_0494    IMG_0493

Of course, the room isn’t finished yet so it is still much plainer than it will be. I still want more plants and pieces of art for the wall, but it is definitely on its way to looking more like “my room.” I was surprised how a little cleaning and renovating went such a long way in transforming my room, and my mindset. Now, I must run. I have an appointment for some bedtime tea and relaxing candles in my lovely new room.

IMG_0624

 

FullSizeRender-2

Follow me on Instagram: haylz73 for more idiosyncrasies!

What You Need to Know if You Move to Sydney

So, you are going to move to Sydney. You’ve booked your ticket, obtained your visa, and done research on the local area. However, there are going to be things that you are going to need to know about the life; things that can’t be learned on the government website or National Geographic. When I decided to move there, I knew nothing about the place except the standard, “there will be beaches, kangaroos, and sharks.” My mum, always one to use movies as enrichment to standard life advice, fully prepared me by forcing me to watch Crocodile Dundee one evening before my departure. I kicked up a stink, annoyed at having to watch the cheesy 80’s classic… (is it a classic??) However, during my first week in Sydney while attending a standard Aussie barbeque, a guy that I met pulled out a large cooking knife and uttered Dundee’s famous line, “You call that a knife? THIS, is a knife.”

WHERE HAD I BEEN TRANSPORTED TO?

img_5206

 

Sydney was certainly a culture shock and despite having traveled all over the US and having lived in the UK, nothing at all could have prepared me for the life that I was stepping into.

So, here are some of the things to know before you go.

Where to Live: A.K.A over the bridge, or not.

There is a strange, yet permanent debate that divides those that live south of the bridge against those who live north of the bridge. In fact, one of the first bits of advice that I ever received was, “do not live over the bridge.” followed closely by a debate with someone who wholeheartedly advocated for living over the bridge.

Here is the lowdown. While real estate can be cheaper, the suburbs are adorable, and the work commute could be shorter for some than commuting from the other side of the bridge, there is still a little negative stigma attached to ‘over the bridge’ living. In fact, legend has it that if you party in the city and go home, you are likely to entirely lose your buzz by the time you get home. Essentially, the ‘crossing of the bridge’ signifies that the night is over. However, having said that, the views are also generally better, which almost always leads to extravagant roof parties. Quite the conflict.

img_5143

 

Bills and Budgeting:

To piggyback off the housing theme, I bring you to bills and budgeting. I’m from America, and here, (at least in my experience), bills are paid monthly. My phone, my car, my rent, my gym membership, my insurance; EVERYTHING, is paid monthly. However, step into Sydney and you will find yourself in a world of endless bills. Rent is paid weekly, (sometimes fortnightly), bills are paid quarterly, phone payments are paid monthly, and gym memberships are paid weekly. Add into that your other random expenses, and if that doesn’t confuse you while budgeting out your paycheck and life, I’m not sure what will.

The Language:

You think you are going to an English speaking country. You are wrong. Australians don’t speak English. They speak Australian. Allow me to define.

Australian- a version of the English language in which almost every word is shortened , every sentence is heavily punctuated with profanity, and there is a large usage of the letters ‘o,’ ‘ie,’ and ‘y’ as suffixes.

For instance, the word dog becomes doggo, afternoon becomes arvo, Christmas becomes Chrissy, and Lipton’s tea, becomes Lippos. However, despite the endless shortening and revamping of words, everyone knows what everyone is talking about. You will too in a few short weeks.

The Drinking Culture:

The Australians can drink. In fact it sometimes seems that every gathering, (even during the week), must always turn into a fantastic party where guests consume copious amounts of alcohol. However, when it comes to the weekend, all bets are off.  Most people drink all weekend beginning Friday. In fact, a lot of companies let their employees off early on a Friday. However, if they don’t, it’s not uncommon for them to still allow the weekend to start a little early. Most offices indulge in some office drinking starting around 3pm, resulting in a happier than average attitude, and a less than productive afternoon.

img_0511

The Food:

There isn’t much to say here except that the food is phenomenal. Whether it’s Indian, Chinese, Thai, burgers, or simply dessert, the food is decadent, and people love to eat it. Unlike many places in the US, restaurant chains are not as popular in Sydney. Instead, people go and try small individual cafes and restaurants. They are usually amazing and if you ever leave, you will forever crave the food in Sydney. Except pizza… the pizza isn’t great.

The Creepy Crawlies:

The flies in Australia are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. I remember watch National Geographic as a child and seeing flies just sit on animals, people, etc. I wondered why they didn’t just bat them off. There are times in the year when it is like this in Australia. You just cannot bat the flies off. They are simply a different brand of fly; the strongest kind of fly. No matter how much you whip your hands around and try to swat them away, they just sit there. If they do happen to get swiped off your skin, they simply come back, and sit some more.

Also, there are the spiders. They are massive, they are poisonous, and they are the worst. I have arachnophobia and when I found a large huntsman the size of the palm of my hand in my bedroom, I left and didn’t return for a week. A better way of handling it would be to purchase some insect killer, or get a brave friend on speed dial for spider emergencies.

img_0208

Well there you have it: the things to know about Sydney that you can’t find in the textbooks. Ultimately, Sydney is one of the most wonderful places and is certainly my favourite city of all time. It is exciting, beautiful, and one of a kind. If you can go, go. However, be prepared that if you have to leave, you will forever miss and wish to be back.
For visa help:

https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1