Pile of Membership Cards and Credit Cards

AN ORGANISED LIFE: That Miscellaneous Drawer, File or Pile

How many IKEA Allen keys does one need to keep?

Not sure about you, but I amassed quite an impressive collection of these at one point in my life.

Loyalty cards and coupons? Well that collection rivalled the Allen keys … and a solid assortment of beloved, half-burned candles too.

We’ve all got them. The drawer, the file or the pile into which stuff is tossed when it all gets too hard or too busy. Crap Catchers I call them.

Often it’s not singular. Multiple zones can accumulate random bits and bobs that seem to fester and breed and before you know it, you can’t find what you’re looking for and/or you feel overwhelmed by clutter and disarray.

It happens because we:

  1. haven’t taken the time to determine what should happen with an item and actioned that,
  2. know we need to keep the item but haven’t yet allocated a space for items of the kind before, or
  3. we just like to keep things should we need them one day…allow me to introduce my personal nemesis, Justin Case. Can’t stand him, just quietly. He’s smug and plays on people’s insecurities.

Seriously though, I encourage, no, insist that my clients have one miscellaneous drawer and one miscellaneous file only and very definitely zero miscellaneous piles lying about our living and working spaces.

How do we master such feats of magnificent proportions?

Start by tackling one problem area each day or each weekend. Pick a pain point and take the time to sift through the little pains that lie inside. Anything you need to keep can be sorted into like piles.

Then, it’s about finding permanent, functional homes for these things so that when they invade your space again you can allocate them to that new space and know exactly where to find them.

Keeping things for a rainy day is ok but when the drought doesn’t break for one, two or more years, it might be a sign to toss it, donate it or sell it.

You can allow yourself one miscellaneous drawer and file (or Crap Catcher) but understand they are not spaces for permanence. They are interim holding spaces for transient ‘things’ that will be awarded a permanent home as they’ve earned their keep, or otherwise, an honoured place in the trash can.

Sort these spaces every turn of the season or at worst, every 6 months to keep the task quick and simple.

For regular tips and storage solutions on what to do with miscellaneous items, head to facebook.com/stylechambersau and give the page a little thumbs up.

 

This article originally appeared on Style Chamber’s blog and has been republished with permission.

Woman with Leather Handbag

AN ORGANISED LIFE: Secret Women’s Business – The Handbag

“I can’t find my keys!”
“I know that receipt is in here somewhere.”
“Aaargh! My foundation has leaked through my bag!”

Sound familiar?

Ask any woman what they’d never leave home without: keys, lip gloss, mobile phone, credit/ATM cards might spring to mind, though my guess is that they’d rarely leave home without all of the above. Possibly (likely) more.

There’s something about a woman’s handbag that men will never understand. Men, let’s just leave it as one of the mysteries of the world, like the Quantum Physics or Area 51.

Whether you’re a single woman with a busy social calendar or Mum precariously balancing work/life, our daily activities run on EVERYTHING inside that bag.

Who are you?

The chagrin of your chiro:
The excess baggage type catering for all scenarios, existing and possible.

The upside is that you’re always prepared. Over-prepared mostly. You have anything anyone needs, at any time. Always. You keep your chiropractor’s family fed. Good for him or her.

The downside is that it takes you 10 minutes to find anything in there and there’s usually a cough lozenge from winter just gone stuck to it when you do find it…AND you keep your chiropractor’s family fed. Not so good for your budget or your back/shoulder health.

The lightweight:
The minimalist type often needing to borrow 20 cents from someone to scrape together enough change for a bus fare home.

The plus is that you’re the free-spirited type who has the freedom to run with the wind – it’s the big things that matter – not the small stuff.

The drawback is that you might feel under-prepared at times and all is not peonies and honey tea when the unexpected happens. You may lose a potential client because you haven’t any business cards on hand or you occasionally find yourself in a red hot mess when mother nature decides to visit a couple of days early in her monthly calendar. Never a trip to the fun fair.

How do you nail it?

Natural selection:
Everyone is different, with different needs, dependent on their daily schedule.

What we need every day is different to what we would pack for the beach or take to an outing at the races or dinner date.

Think about the items you intend to carry to choose the adequate size for the application. Opt for the smallest variety possible for each occasion.

From a style perspective, the load you carry impacts the overall look of your outfit, the silhouette you create – where are you adding volume to your shape? Is it your hip or bust area?

Apart from the appearance of a bag (important, from a style perspective) the structure of the bag is key.

The organised woman, might want include the following items:

  • Wallet/purse – money (including coins for parking, shopping trolleys and so on), credit/debit cards, business cards, driver’s license/identification, reward program cards, medical information. Essential contents only when using a clutch.
  • Keys (remove essential keys only from a ring of keys when using a small bag/clutch)
  • Mobile phone
  • Diary
  • Pen
  • Cosmetics & skincare items – keep to a minimum, preferably travel size options and stored in their own plastic or cosmetics bag in case of spillage.
  • Hand sanitiser (preferably travel size)
  • Hair comb/brush/hair elastic
  • Breath mints
  • Tissues
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Water bottle
  • Paracetamol/Aspirin/essential medications
  • Sewing kit
  • Band-aids

Other factors to mull over:

The fabric – if you can afford leather opt for leather, purely, for its quality and longevity. If dollars have you reaching for faux-leather, aim for something that looks as close to leather as possible or go for an irregular print to confuse the eye of the on-looker. Sometimes a patent can look better than a nasty looking faux leather.

The colour – no longer does your bag need to match your shoes – sometimes colour clashing, print clashing (keeping it in the same colour family though) is interesting and a way to embrace a trend without doing so head to toe.

The shape – think about the shape and how it adds to your frame.

Internal structure & organisation – Does it have a few compartments, pockets and zipped sections to allow you to separate contents? Does it have room to add your own organisation inserts?

Security – does it have adequate security? Would you prefer a zip? Is a drawstring secure enough?

When you have purchased your bag lay out the items you intend to carry, group them according to accessibility requirement and load it up!

Respect the Bag!

Respect your bag and it will give you long service in return.

Do you frequently put your bag on the floor at home, work or at a restaurant? Putting a bag where others’ shoes have been is nauseating when you think about it. Do you then put it on your kitchen bench top when you get home? Delightful!

On a weekly or monthly basis, empty the contents of your bag and purse to sort. Remove items that don’t need to be there – food wrappers, receipts, discount vouchers, old cosmetics past their use by dates and so on.

Give it a wipe down with anti-bacterial wipes and do your purse/wallet and mobile phone at the same time.

That, my lady friends, is how your bag will carry you through the good, the bad and the ugly.

new-handbag-lh

 

This article originally appeared on Style Chamber’s blog and has been republished with permission.

Girl Party Drink

STYLE CHAMBERS: Work 2 Play – ‘Tis The Season!

‘Tis the (silly) season and it’s called the silly season for a reason! Our social diaries quickly fill with post-work social outings, Christmas parties and catch ups with friends and family that can leave you exhausted just thinking about it.

As Andy William’s crooned, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” … at least until you open your wardrobe in the morning and try to work out how to transition from the boardroom to the bar!

Don’t overthink this my lady friends! Let’s make this easy. We’ve enough on our Christmas canape platters without having to labour over what to wear. With a few quick tweaks, you can evolve from staff member to social soiree goddess in minutes.

Let’s work from the ground up:

Fancy Feet
If you’re in flats or conservative courts for the office domain, pack a wedge or a statement heel to change into and rock that pretty pedi you had on the weekend.

Outfit Overhaul
If you’re wearing a skirt or pants and matching jacket, change up your foundation top to something that screams fun – think a more daring neckline if you’re happy with your decolletage, bold colours and prints or embellished fabrics like sequins, laces and leathers. Leave the jacket at the office if you please or push up the sleeves for a more relaxed look.

Accessorise to Mesmerise
Lose the conservative earring, and add a statement earring (chandelier style will rock) or statement necklace to dazzle with colour, glamour and style. For a few dollars and mere seconds to change into the effect will have you feeling in the mood.

Pop the work tote or handbag in your car boot and pack the mere essentials into a clutch. Lipstick, cash and cards, keys and phone should keep you out of trouble!

Making It Up
Pack a small make-up kit in the morning – mineral powder to freshen up foundation, a shimmer stick or bronzing powder and then decide whether to play up your eyes or lips for your party-ready look, then pack the bold lip colour or your eyeliner and smoky eye palette for a quick afternoon makeover.

Smell’s Good
Keep some wipes in your handbag. They’re fab for times when your armpits crave a shower but you don’t have access to or time for one. A spritz of deodorant and/or fragrance will never go astray, nor will a swig of mouthwash.

Hair We Go
Lastly, just before you step out the door, it’s all about the hair.

If you’re having a bad hair day – let’s be real, in our humid climate with afternoon rain showers, it’s a real first world problem for us ladies – slick it back into a pony or up into a top knot (so add some pins, hairbands, comb/brush and spray to your kit in the morning).

Otherwise, sweep it into a care-free top knot in the morning then let it down just before you head out. You know how good your hair looks in the morning after it’s been in a top knot all night and then you take it out? Give it a good spray to keep that fabulous volume.

Easy peasy. A piece of Christmas cake. Now you’re ready to get into the Christmas spirit…or any other beverage you care to name.

 

This article originally appeared on Style Chamber’s blog and has been republished with permission.

Bikini Bottom

SPF30+ The Swimwear Purchasing Form-Guide for the 30+ Woman

It’s right up there with unclogging your shower drain of hair. Many of my 30+ female clients abhor the task of parting with a faded, rotted elastic, 4yo swimsuit and finding its replacement when spring/summer rolls around.

It can be a daunting experience walking into a swimwear store.

They’re often plastered with posters of tanned, trim as hell, barely-out-of-their-teens models in exotic island locations, with the perfect amount of breeze (or battery operated fan, held by a photographer’s assistant) blowing their hair back, while they suck on an ice block, that never melts in the sun and is perfectly colour matched to their itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny bikini.

The sea of colours, patterns and styles (that seem to have even less fabric than last season) is enough to make your head spin and want to hard U-turn and head out the door for an iced coffee and a vanilla slice (or two) at the café next door.

Here are some tips to get you through:
1. Never do it in a hurry – set a time/day aside just for that task only.
2. Take a trusted girlfriend or female family member, who’s style and fashion compass you admire.
3. Be open minded.
4. Know your body shape and the colours that work for your skin tone, before you head out.
5. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that are easy to take off and put back on.  Keep in mind you must wear underwear, in the interests of hygiene, while trying on swimsuits, so a g-string is a must.

What to look for:

Larger bust – look for a wider strap or halter style to support ‘the girls’ and avoid string, tri-bikini tops that lack support. Avoid narrow bandeau tops. Under-wiring is good. Go for dark and plain colours to play down the area. Use your brights on the bottom half of your body.

Seafolly Australia Blue Coast Halter Twist

Blue Coast Twist Soft Cup Halter | PHOTO: Seafolly Australia

Smaller bust – cupped tops with the option to add padding are good for adding volume and shape. Strapless can look fantastic (though not as practical for swimming). Use frills, ruching and patterns to add volume.

Salty Ink Byron Babe Frill Bikini

Byron Babe Frill Bikini | PHOTO: Salty Ink

Tummy conscious/fuller tummy – seek out a style with slight ruching across the tummy. Swimsuits with built-in control panelling will be a little more expensive but you will love the effect. Tankini and one piece styles will provide comfort and are great for hitting the waves with grace.

Seafolly Soft Cup Halter Maillot

Seafolly Soft Cup Halter Maillot | PHOTO: Seafolly Australia

Undefined waist/rectangular torsos – create a sense of shape with spliced colour patterning, prints, fringing, frills on the top AND bottom or cut-outs on the sides, if you’re comfortable with the idea.

Seafolly Mesh High Neck One Piece Maillot

Seafolly Mesh High Neck One Piece Maillot | PHOTO: Seafolly Australia

Wide hips – Skip the boy leg which innately feels great for coverage but ladies, those horizontal lines are doing you no favours. They will create a widening effect on the area you don’t want to widen. Hipster cut works nicely – don’t go for an ultra-high cut pant and avoid high-waisted styles that will accentuate the curve in the area. Keep it plain and dark on the bottom half and draw the eye line upwards with a bright or patterned top or top with embellishment, frills or shoulder widening straps to balance out the bottom half.

Lola Rae Hipster

Lola Rae Hipster | PHOTO: Seafolly Australia

Narrow hips – look for boy short cuts with an angular cut leg (rather than straight across) to give a sense of shape. Solid width tie sides are also fantastic.

Salty Ink Summerlandz Surf Bikini

Summerlandz Surf Bikini | PHOTO: Salty Ink

Fuller backside – Hunt down a pant that perfectly dissects your butt on the angle from inner upper leg to outer hip to create balance. Anything too skimpy will accentuate fleshy fullness and anything too full will seem like a whole lot of fabric trying to mask a generous tush.

Lola Rae Hipster

Lola Rae Hipster | PHOTO: Seafolly Australia

Flat backside – I call it the IKEA backside aka the flat-pack…I’m allowed to do so because I have one myself! Opt for a tie-side pant. Tied firmly they will give your butt a lift. Brazilian cuts with vertical ruching will add a sense of volume and curve.

Toned & shapely backsides – Cheeky styles (Brazilian cut, as opposed to full g-string) will enhance your ASSet without leaving too little to the imagination. You’ve likely worked your backside off trying to get it in shape, in which case, you’ve probably earned the right to be proud of it!

Lola Rae Brazilian Bikini Pant

Lola Rae Brazilian Bikini Pant | PHOTO: Seafolly Australia

The one-piece is on-trend again. Amen. Classy, comfortable and able to be taken from beach to bar with the addition of a styled sarong, kaftan, a bit of statement jewellery (cuff or neck piece) and stylish sandals or wedges. They can be used as bodysuits for double duty too. We love that!

When you find the cut, style and brand that works for you, never forget it – it just might take the time and heartache out of finding next year’s swimsuit.

Considerations:
Salty Ink Designs are available at www.saltyinkdesigns.com.au – visit the website to find your local stockist.
Seafolly Australia designs are available in Seafolly stores country wide. For details www.seafolly.com.au

 

This article originally appeared on Style Chamber’s blog and has been republished with permission.

Clear Shoe

Nude is so yesterday

A sea of nudity.That’s what you’ll see when you window shop any women’s shoe store these days. Nude coloured footwear.

Kate Middleton catapulted the nude shoe into main stream popularity when she sashayed out in her L.K Bennett Sledge Nude Pumps a few years back and well, it hasn’t waned since.

Journey of a thousand shoes quote

Why do we love it?

We’re in the warmer, leg-baring months – don’t shriek, just keep calm and read on… colour matching footwear to skin tone, regardless of heel height, immediately (just like magic of the fairy-tale kind) lengthens a woman’s leg length and what woman on this mortal coil doesn’t want that?

The onlooker’s eye travels seamlessly all the way to the tip of the toe, without a break in colour.

A contrasting shoe, on the other hand, sign-posts the end of a woman’s leg length.  A darker toned, high vamp (across the top of the foot), ankle strap style or boot will visually crop a woman’s leg at the point the shoe begins.

Hail the arrival of the clear shoe.

Obsessed with clear heels recently ?? these are @publicdesire use my code LAURA15 for 15% ?? #publicdesire

A photo posted by LAURA BADURA ?? (@laurabadura) on

Emerging in the UK, Europe and the US, clear PVC and lucite give the same illusion as the nude shoe but it’s more fun and it’s definitely on-trend.

It just wouldn’t be the fashion industry if there wasn’t a new fad for us discerning fashionistas to spend our money on, would it?

You’ll find them in various forms – mules, sandals, classic pumps and even boots.  Opt for a block heel style to keep it classy.  There are plenty available online if your local shoes store hasn’t stocked them yet.

Double the Denim ? Shop YARA £29.99 #pdbae #publicdesire Click link in bio☝️️

A photo posted by www.publicdesire.com (@publicdesire) on

A word of warning: being plastic, they can be uncomfortable to the point of punishing and these babies WILL make your feet sweat.  Wear in and stretch before taking them for a public spin.  For that reason, best you opt for a strappy style to give your feet some room to move.  Avoid closed toe or full boot styles in clear plastic – they ‘steam’ up in a short time, which is, not cool, in more ways than one.  Beauty is a pain sometimes, isn’t it?

Don’t confuse these chic, new varieties with the older platform style with 6 inch heels.  Leave those as a bad memory of the 90’s if you donned them back then or on a pole-dancer’s or body builder’s stage.

They also must, must, must be supported by a good pedicure as those twinkle toes will be on full show.

That new, new ? // shoes: @boohoo #myboohoostyle

A photo posted by l o v e g r e y s k i e s (@tiffanydiana) on

If nothing else, the clear shoe, albeit not quite the glass slipper, might allow us to have our very own Cinderella moment…but you can buy that moment with a credit card, no prince-charming required!

 

This article originally appeared on Style Chamber’s blog and has been republished with permission.