September Favorites!

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Hello, Everyone! 

I know I don't usually put out a monthly favorites, but there are quite a few goodies I picked up in the States that I haven't had the chance to share with you yet. Most of these items have been with me throughout September and I've used them almost everyday. We all love sharing what we love, right? They all range from lifestyle, to beauty, and even a music favorite. It's been a good month!

Hermione Granger Wand

Isn't it beautiful!? When we visited Universal Studios Hollywood, the first thing we did (because I dragged my family there) was visit Hogsmeade. I loved every second of being there and I could have blown all of my spending money in Honeydukes. I didn't get the chance to go into Olivanders, but I did find another store beside the Jurassic Park ride that was full of amazing Harry Potter merch. After looking at the selection of wands, I knew Hermione's was the one I wanted most and I love it! The only other wand I own is Snape's and this is only making me want to start a collection.

Demeter Fragrance Library

I've heard so much hype around this brand and I remember Carrie Hope Fletcher raving about different scents in a video. While we were in Honolulu, I ducked into Wallgreens to stocked up on makeup I can't get at home and I came across this counter. I was so happy! I spent ages smelling all the fun types of scents they have and decided to get the blueberry one. It just stuck out to me as something I could wear that's uplifting and perfect for Spring. I've been wearing it all month long and I'm still in love with it.

Essie Nail Polish
"Cabana Boy"

Having painted nails is one of my favorite ways to feel amazing. Essie always has the prettiest shades and I found this little beauty at T.J.Maxx. I'm a big fan of pastel shades for my nails, and this pale lavender color is exactly what I've been looking for. It has a really pretty shimmer to it too, which makes me think of it as a mermaid color whenever I wear it.

Kat Von D Shade + Light Blush 
"Bonnie + Clyde"

This is another little beauty I picked up for a bargain at T.J.Maxx. Blushes are one of my favorite items to shop for and I'm so glad I found this one. Being such a great brand, the pigmentation and quality of this blush is amazing. The idea is to use the lighter shade right on your cheek, then the darker shade towards your ear. It always comes out really pretty and it's been my go-to blush all month long. 

Skintimate Shaving Foam
"Raspberry Rain"

Whenever I visit the US, I always grab myself a new can of this stuff. It's the best shaving cream I have ever used and it breaks my heart that I can't get it in New Zealand! It's so silky and moisturizing, which we all know is important. And with vitamin E and olive butter in there formula, no wonder it feels nice! Their scents are always lovely too.

Original Source Shower Gel

This has been a big favorite of mine for a while now, but I've never had the chance to share it. This is the shower gel I use at the gym and it has the most heavenly scent ever! It says grapefruit, but for me it's more like sour candy which is my favorite. After I've had a long workout and I'm super-sweaty, this is just perfect for feeling clean and happy again. It's like a post-workout treat!

NYX HD Studio Finishing Powder

I think this is one of those beauty items that has been floating around the blogging world. I was in desperate need of a new powder and NYX is a brand I naturally gravitate towards. Being a loose powder, it was a little awkward to use at first. But I have the hang of it now and have been reaching for it everyday. It's the perfect finishing touch to your makeup, and gives you a great boost of confidence!

Alice in Wonderland Mug

One thing that I was desperate to buy at Disneyland was a new mug. I need coffee with me at all times when I'm at home, so of course I collect mugs for a hobby. I've seen this one floating around Instagram for ages and it immediately caught my attention. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite tales, and every part of it at Disneyland was beautiful. Ever since I got home it's been my regular coffee mug and I love it!

New Gym Beauty Bag 

Finally a bag that describes me perfectly! Well, blog should be in there somewhere, but other than that this is spot on! I found it at T.J.Maxx in Hawaii and just had to have it. I bring it to the gym with me now, because it's the perfect size to hold all of my makeup brushes and favorite Naked Palette.

 Song: Let Me Love You ft. Justin Bieber, DJ Snake.

This has pretty much been on replay for me through August and September. I was watching a Lexlos vlog on YouTube and Carlos kept playing the song over again. It got stuck in my head, so I quickly found it on Spotify and it's been my go-to song since! It's pretty great for listening to at the gym as well. Always gets me in a good mood : )

Book: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas 

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I'm a massive reading fan, but have struggled with a reading rut for a while now. I tried getting into Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, but that just wasn't for me. I've had the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series on my shelf for a couple of months (I bought it on sale) and thought it would be perfect to help me get back into reading. I know the characters in this book are gonna break me, but it's so worth it!

Those are all of my favorites from September. I'm so happy with what I managed to pick up, especially since I don't get to shop all that often.

Let me know what some of your favorites have been this month!
Steph x.

Health & Fitness Update: September

Sunday, 25 September 2016

I'm finally back with another update!
So, these past couple of months have been all over the place for me, and towards the end of August was especially tricky. There were a few changes at my gym (I talk about that below) and I fell ill a few times, one of which landed me in an after-hours medical centre on a Saturday morning. But hey! There are always going to be challenges on your fitness journey and it's nothing I can't handle. The weather is beginning to warm up for Spring now, which should make for awesome running conditions. I also have some new goals in mind for the rest of the year to keep me motivated. Let's get to it!

Training with no trainer 

You'll probably remember me raving about my awesome gym trainer in numerous posts. He left on an epic adventure through Europe with some friends at the end of July and won't be back until late October. Of course I am so happy for him, and if anyone deserves a break it's him. But I found out very quickly how hard it can be when someone who has supported you for so long leaves. I found myself struggling for motivation, and I haven't had my weekly boxing to look forward to. Not gonna lie, it's been really sucky without my partner in crime to laugh with and talk about super heroes to. I don't have as good a relationship with the other trainers, so I've been stuck for questions sometimes too. It's been my biggest challenge lately and it's a big test of the knowledge he's instilled in me. But I'm sure he will be back in no time and we can have a massive catch up while we lift weights!

Staying healthy & training on holiday 

 So, this didn't really go to plan! But it all worked out in the end. On our recent trip to the states I ended up treating myself to quite a bit of fries, pizza slices and ice cream at the end of a busy day exploring. I wasn't bad the whole time and I still ate porridge for breakfast almost everyday. After being so strict with myself on eating habits, I just wanted to relax on vacation and enjoy not thinking about calories for once. I also made a point of hydrating properly everyday, so at least there's balance, right? 

In terms of exercise, it was a little tricky for us to find running routes where we were staying. There were some cool trails in LA (Griffth Park & Runyon Canyon) but other than that we didn't run much. Seattle was awesome because our apartment had a gym that was pretty well stocked with machines, so we all spent an hour in there everyday. Hawaii had a really lovely park to run around, although it wasn't a long distance. But there was lots of beach swimming to burn of some of that pizza I was eating too. Next time I'm definitely going to book in at a nearby gym in each location, so that I am guaranteed to keep up a fitness routine. 

Getting back in the gym

 Walking back into my local gym was actually a bit of a relief. I was reunited with my squat rack and I could finally get back into my programs. The hardest part was actually letting my body get used to the work I was doing before I left. These first couple of weeks back have left me aching everywhere. I certainly don't have the energy that I used to and I've been struggling to finish even an hour workout. On my third week, I've felt almost back to normal and I can extend my workouts longer. I know it's going to take some time for my body to adjust and get some strength back, so I just have to stick with it until then. 

Good nutrition always helps

To go with my struggle of regular workouts again, I have also been trying to get back into focusing on putting good foods into my body. I definitely developed a craving for carbs and sugary treats while we were on holiday, and it's been so hard to resist! I'm slowly getting better and I'm back into the swing of meal prepping. But I definitely think my low energy is also tied to my holiday nutrition and I need to get lots of goodness in me again! No more pizza :(

Spartan Training Begins! 

Yup, I am less than a year away from competing in my first Spartan Race. Now that I am back from my holiday, I can focus my gym work on training for the occasion. It's a 13km obstacle course that will require a lot of endurance and physical strength to complete it. I'm going to really work on my upper-body strength, continue running regularly (plus improve my overall fitness) and really push myself mentally. Once my trainer is back we can work on a proper game plan together, but for now it's just me and a couple of crossfit workouts added to my daily routine. It's a dream of mine to complete this race, so training hard will only make it more meaningful.

October Goals: 
Work on a new crossfit workout every week and master all of them
Get to ten body weight pull-ups 
Squat 60kgs by the end of the month

Hopefully next month I will be feeling a lot more energetic and my body will be back to normal. You always need goals and challenges in fitness, so it's only making me more determined to work hard.

How's your fitness journey going? I'd love to know!
Steph x.

Blog Posts I Love Reading!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Last year I wrote about Blog Posts I Will Always Read, and it got a really great response! It's awesome seeing what other bloggers love reading and it gives me a better idea on what kind of content I should make more of. 
Just like my little blog, my taste and interest in different blog posts has evolved over the year and a half (ish) that I've been in this great community. Lately I've been trying to read more blogs and I've found some amazing new bloggers to follow. I've put together a list of topics that have been catching my eye lately and ones that I just adore reading!

Tattoo Showcases

If you know me, you know that I am tattoo obsessed! Everything about them interests me, and I love it when bloggers share pictures and their experiences of getting them. Some of them are complete works of art and deserve to be admired. I definitely want to put up a post soon sharing the tattoos that I have and advice on getting your first one.

Fitness Journey

There is nothing more inspirational that reading about someone who is turning their life around. Whether they are just starting on a path to fitness or they have been on one for years, I love reading the passion that people have for improving themselves. It's something I can really relate to and it's awesome to send them some encouragement when they might need it. 

Favorite Cafes

This is a relatively new favorite type of post for me, but who doesn't love pictures of cute interiors, beautiful cakes, and the all important latte art? Even if I may never get the chance to visit some of these cafes, it's still a joy to read about someone's experience. It really makes me want to explore new cafes in my own city too!

Monthly Goals

These just give me the biggest hit of motivation and I freaking love it! The start of the month is such an awesome time to reflect on what you want to achieve. I can't ever resist reading through these posts when I see them pop up on my feed.

Disney Wishlist

I follow a few bloggers that do one of these posts a month and it's always magical! They're full of the cutest little collectables and usually a mug that I desperately need to add to my collection. 
Disney + Wishlist = Perfection! 

10 thoughts we all have when...

Those posts that make you wanna shout "Thank goodness I'm not the only one!" I recently read one about thoughts at the gym, and every single one was on point. It's great when you find posts that are completely honest and relatable. They can also be pretty hilarious to read! 

Positive thoughts 

You always want your readers to leave your blog feeling happy and that they gained something from reading it. Whether it's about what makes you happy, why you love something, or sharing a really uplifting experience, I'll read it! The internet needs this kind of positivity to be shared as often as possible.

So, those are some of my absolute favorite types of blog posts I have loved reading lately. The blogging world is only getting better and I can't wait to see what awesome ideas you guys have next!

What blog posts do you love to read most? 
Steph x.

Why It's Great To Blog On Holiday!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

My time on holiday is probably when I'm at my peak for creativity and I get so inspired by what's around me. There's nothing like traveling to get your mind in a good place, whether you go around the world or just a weekend trip to a town an hour away. On my recent trip overseas, I had the best time blogging about what I did and using what made me happy to write.

I wanted to share how useful it was to use my vacation time to fall head-over-heels back in love with my blog. Prior to going on holiday, I found myself quite mentally exhausted with everything going on and within a few days my creative side was kicking already! Going somewhere new can bring exciting content for your readers and make you excited to write about it too.

Making the most of inspiration 

Before going on holiday, I was constantly stuck for ideas for blog posts. It turns out that getting a change of scenery was the best thing for igniting new ideas and finding my enthusiasm again. There are so many blogging opportunities for wherever you choose to travel to. If you're a foodie like me you could document your favorite places to eat. One of my favorite bloggers Lucy recently posted all the delicious food from her trip to Richmond and I loved reading it! Write about what adventures you go on, what you pack, or anything that sparks your creativity. I put together a list of my Travel Blog Post Ideas if you need some inspiration. 

It encourages you to explore

 I've gotten guilty lately for saying "That will be great for my blog!" and it turns into my main motivation. Of course I like to explore like any other avid traveler, but making the most of my holiday includes finding things I want to write about. Before we left, I researched different Seattle cafes and the best food in Hawaii to help me find new places to see and enjoy. It helped us find a new part of Seattle that we didn't know was there (seriously check out the Arts District there!) And I ate the best acai bowl ever in the cutest township on North Shore, Oahu. If I hadn't sought out things to blog about, we may have never found those gems!

Grow as a blogger

I feel like I've taken a step forward with my blog recently and I owe it to being away from my usual blogging spot. I didn't go over with a blogging plan, I just wrote about my experiences and everything else that inspired me. It forced me to think more about how my blog was going to continue while I was away from the norm, and it helped me grow more confidence in my work. It also gives you time to step back and think about changes you would like to make. Whether it's you blog or just your everyday lifestyle, traveling lets you look back on normal life and you find motivation to make things better.

Record happy memories 

One of the best things about blogging is being able to look back on previous posts and reminiscing on a happy time. I love reading the post I wrote about my 24th birthday last year, almost like it was journal entry. By recording your travel experiences on your blog, you can look back on amazing memories and special occasions any time you want!

Improve your photography 

I think most bloggers always have their camera at hand when traveling, or at least I do! It's so much fun to explore and spot random gems that make for great blog photos or Instagrams. I always find traveling helps me develop my eye for good shots and each year when I look at my photos, my skills have gotten better. Not only this, but travel also helps me grow my passion for photography. I'm constantly looking around me and finding beauty in everyday things. It's the time that I enjoy shooting photos most and every year I just get more passionate about it.

Even though it's tempting to use your vacation as a a blog break (and you probably deserve it!) but if you're anything like me, you can't resist a blogging opportunity! I did take pressure off by not having a schedule, so I got the best of both worlds.

What are your thoughts on continuing to blog on holiday?
Steph x.

Launching #NZBlogSquad!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Hello, Everyone!
I have something really exciting to share with you today. It's a project that I am really passionate about working on and I am so happy that I decided to go for it. It's something that has been missing in the NZ blogging world, but don't worry because I am here to change that.

Alright, what is it? 

#NZBlogSquad is an online community for all Kiwi bloggers/vloggers to get together and support one another. I'll be re-tweeting your awesome posts, hosting fun chats, and further down the line I will be putting together blogger events/meetups for everyone to enjoy. 

As a blogger from New Zealand, I've struggled to find any local communities of fellow creatives to chat and get support from. I'm also yet to hear of any events being held, which is disappointing because bloggers are such awesome people! We are a small country after all, but that doesn't mean we can't have an awesome community to be a part of. So I thought, "Why don't I start one?" and so, #NZBlogSquad was born!

This community will be based on Twitter, but I have also started up an Instagram page. On there I can re-post your photos with a link back to you and celebrate your awesome pics. This is going to be a consistent community for you guys to be a part of, and the Twitter chats will be open to bloggers everywhere. It's a chance for us Kiwi's to support each other and have a positive space to discuss all things blogging/vlogging. You might even get a special mention to celebrate your awesome work!

Wanna join #NZBlogSquad? Follow us on Twitter!

I look forward to connecting with you!
Steph x.

Disneyland Bucket list: How did I do?

Monday, 19 September 2016

I think making a bucket list for every exciting place you travel to is such a brilliant idea. It lets you get the most out of your time and your goals for the trip are more meaningful. I made a Disneyland Bucket list before heading away, and after reading Paige's Disneyland Paris Bucket list Revisited post on her blog, I thought it would be cool to share mine too! She got up to some awesome stuff, so make sure you go check out it out.

My day at Disneyland was full of fun with my family. It made us all feel young and we all laughed so hard going on rides together. It's a day that I will never forget and hopefully I can go back soon to explore more of what Disney has to offer. Especially when the new Star Wars park opens!

Here's how I did on my list! 

Buy a pair of Minnie ears and wear them the whole day

Done! After a little exploring we stopped for coffee on Main Street and planned what to do next. We walked passed a little store selling clothing and I found my fluffy pair of ears. I probably should have waited to see some other designs, but I love the classic pair. Didn't take them off until we went to bed! I actually almost lost them on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but luckily we were sitting at the front!

Eat a Mickey-shaped churro (or two) 

One thing's for sure, Disney make the best churros! I never found one shaped like Mickey Mouse, but I did eat a normal one during the parade. It was delicious and crispy; really craving one now!

Ride the Tea Cups with my Mum 

This has to be one of my favorite memories of the day. All four of us piled into a cup and my Dad spun it so fast that we were all cracking up laughing. It definitely felt like something out of Alice and Wonderland. I'll never forget going on this ride and sharing the experience with my family. 

Touch Snow White's Apple & hear the Witches' laugh

Yup, this was spooky! I didn't touch this one myself, but I did dare my brother to go do it and it was quite the surprise. We also stood outside the ride and waited for the Evil Queen to appear in the window. She's so scary!

Get my hands on Dole Whip from the Tiki Room

Sadly this was one that I didn't achieve that day. Every time we walked past, there were huge cues and they weren't letting people inside the Tiki Room for a while. I decided to give it a miss, but I will definitely go back and try my luck again next time.

Explore Cinderella's Castle

I have to admit that seeing this iconic castle for the first time was a little surreal. I never got to look inside because no one else in my family was very interested, but it's something I may have to take my Mum along to on our next visit.

Ride Splash Mountain (and get soaked) 

We had really bad timing for this one, especially since it's such a popular ride. We first came across it around lunch time, but all I could think about was food (of course.) Then it was late-afternoon when the weather was cooling down, so I didn't want to aggravate my fading cold by getting wet. I'm disappointed we didn't make this one, but at least now we know to get our timing right!

Take a picture in front of the castle

Done! And I even wore my Minnie ears for it too. The castle was a lot smaller than I was expecting, but still so magical to see it in real life. I can only imagine what it must have been like when the park first opened.

Stay and watch the fireworks show

This was the most magical experience of the whole day. We were lucky to get a great view of the castle and it was honestly better than I expected. Shooting stars, the best Disney songs (See the Light from Tangled!) and light projections on Main Street to include everyone. I got emotional watching it and I can't wait to bring my own children to see it someday!

Yell "Andy's coming!" at Toy Story characters and see f they fall down

It was actually really hard to spot Disney characters throughout the day. I only saw the Mad Hatter and Alice, plus Aladdin and Jasmine (who looked just like the animated character!) and finally Goofy. I never managed to spot the Toy Story characters, but I might use the Disney app and track them down next time. I'm dying to see if this works!

Make a wish in Snow White's well 

This one was tricky to find actually, and by the time we did find it, they had roped off the area for the parade :( I was really looking forward to doing this and from what I saw of the little area it was so cute! On our quest to see if we could get through, we did wander through Pixie Hollow, and that was really cool to see. Not a total loss after all!

Visit the Star Wars Launch Bay & check out the props

Tomorrowland was the first part pf the park that we explored, mainly because my family is all mad on Star Wars (myself included.) Launch Bay was such a cool exhibit and they had full costumes and models from the actual movies. It's also where you can meet certain characters and I had the coolest experience meeting Kylo Ren!

Overall I think I did pretty well! Next time I will know all the tricks, like hitting the busy rides while everyone is at the parades. I am itching to go back already and tick off the rest of my bucket list! 

What would be on your Disney list? 

Steph x.

Ten Reasons Hawaii Is My Happy Place

Sunday, 18 September 2016

You know how most people have a "Happy Place"? Whether it's a far away city, a secret spot you came across when you were young, Disneyland/World, or simply being at home. I never really had one until a few years ago and it's amazing to have a destination that's so special to you.
I have been lucky enough to visit the island of Oahu three times now, and every holiday reminds me of why it's famous for being a wonderful place. Hawaii is full of happy memories for me and every time we return it's like being greeted with a hug from an old friend. I am completely in love with this slice of paradise and I wanted to share with you why it's my happy place!

Holiday Vibes 

We generally stay at Waikiki beach, which is a tourist hub and I love it! There's something so fun about everybody being on holiday. We are all relaxed and having a good time, so there's no tension or judgement going on. Everywhere has this relaxed holiday vibe that can't help but put you in a good mood.

The Food

Oh, the food! If you're a fan of garlic prawns, acai bowls, or poke, then this is the holiday destination for you. It's one of the things I look forward to most when we visit and I never know what delicious creation I'm going to get to try. They make the best grilled ahi (tuna) that you have ever tasted, and the cafes are stocked with delicious treats. If there's good food, I am one happy girl.

Beautiful Beaches

This is definitely something that Hawaii is most famous for, and I can confirm that they are as beautiful as you think they'll be. There's actually a huge variety of beaches to enjoy: some are still and perfect for snorkeling, others have monster waves so you can sit and watch the locals surf. All come with that famuos golden sand and sparkling blue water. It's just stunning to explore each spot and you find something special in each of them. You might even spot some turtles!

Happy Memories

This is exactly why I love to keep coming back to this place. I still remember seeing that beautiful blue water for the first time, and it making us go rush to buy bikinis so we could jump in right away. Or swimming with dolphins on my Mum's birthday and conquering my fear of the ocean. Thinking of Hawaii just brings back so many wonderful memories that makes my time there feel special. 

Body Confidence

I know the thought of wearing a bikini on the beach is daunting for a lot of us (myself included) but there's something about Hawaii that stops you from caring. It goes back to my point on holiday vibes; everyone is in the same boat, and we are all super-chilled because we're on the beach instead of being at work. No one cares what size you are, because everyone is concentrating on their own vacation. Anyone and everyone can strut their stuff down the beach and feel amazing.

Island Exploring

Going on a Hawaiian road-trip is one of my favorite things to do! I'm always glued to my window staring at the beautiful green hills and being in awe of the natural beauty around us. Oahu is small enough that you could explore the whole island in about two days. Both North and South shore have amazing sights and cool stops along the way. We never know what we're gonna find!


Hawaii combines the joy of a beach holiday with the fun of American shopping. Some of my all-time favorite places to shop can be found in Waikiki: Forever 21, Zara, Sephora, Papyrus, and Wallgreens for stocking up on beauty items I can't get at home. The Ala Moana mall we always go to is huge and you can spend all day browsing the brands there. I probably do most of my shopping when I'm on holiday, so Hawaii is amazing for spoiling myself a little. 

Tattoo Spotting 

I'm not sure how many others enjoy doing this, but I find it so interesting. I'm super-obsessed with tattoos and I get really curious about what other people have got done. Obviously with Hawaiian weather being a summer dream all year round, everybody is in shorts and crop tops. Which means that there are more tattoos on display! On previous trips I have seen some masterpieces (and cringe-worthy ones too) and it's just awesome to see everyone's artwork that is usually hidden. 

Those Green Hills

I have such an obsession with the famous Hawaiian hills you always see, with their lush greenery and sharp ridges. One of the first mornings I ever spent there I walked outside and saw them for the first time and it hit me where I was. They're just stunning and I'm dying to find a really cool walk that will get me close to them.


Hawaii is known for being the rainbow state, and on our last trip is was so clear why. Almost every single day that we were there, we managed to spot a couple of rainbows in the sky. And who doesn't love rainbows!? It makes your whole experience there even more special.

I hope everyone gets the chance to visit this island paradise at some point, and that you love it as much as I do!
Where is your happy place?
Steph x.