Friday, January 29, 2016

January Shopping

Okay, I know it's not the end of the month yet but I am 99% sure I can stay strong this weekend, so I wanted to share everything I bought in January:

8 books (my bad) $29
2 mascaras $10
A reversible dress / cover up which will be great for the cruise, vegas and just summer in general. $29
A beanie $12
3 things from Forever 21 during a crazy sale - reversible bikini bottoms, a tank top + a christmas gift. I had to pay for shipping, but the total was only $23.
1 pair of jeans + new sweatpants but KC was with me for these purchases so it's okay. I needed new jeans because I might have ripped mine don't judge me. $40 jeans and I think $20 sweatpants.


I don't know if you can really tell in the photo, but the jeans have a criss cross stitching design on the sides. I got them from nordstrom rack but it looks like they are sold out online.

Anyway, so the total is: $163. I thought I'd kept it low this month, oops. I guess that's not bad but it could have been better.

I desperately (yes, desperately) need some new work pants but I held off. I bought some back in November but they never arrived (thanks Target) so I'm still on the search. February is a free for all (okay, maybe not that crazy) as it's BIRTHDAY MONTH!


Also, I did not eat out for lunch at work at all which is a HUGE deal for me. I did visit the vending machine several times, but that's neither here nor there. No jimmy johns, focus on that. High fives!

Definitely not a complete no spend month, but not bad at all. Like I said, next month is birthday month, but I might try a no spend March. We'll see.

I also wanted to remind you all of the link up that Gretch and I are starting next Thursday. For more information, check out this post but basically you can link up with anything you want, as long as you link back to us!

What's New With You

Have a good weekend all!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Monthly Link Up Announcement with GretchRuns

Hey all! Just popping in today to share some exciting news! Gretchen and I are teaming up to start a super fun link up we are calling 'What's New With You?'.

You know when you haven't seen a friend for a long time and you run into them at the store, the first thing you say is 'so what's new with you?'. That's basically the idea behind the link up - sharing what's going on in your life, what new things you are up to, working towards, loving - whatever!

The rules are pretty straight forward:

The link up will be held on the first Thursday of the month, starting February 4th - that's next Thursday!

Please link back to Gretch and I somewhere in the post and share our button (available below or in the sidebar).


Any type of post is allowed - you can link to your favourite post from the month, or a post sharing what you've up to, one of those 'currently' posts, monthly goals, highlights from the month, your favourite outfits - seriously, anything. You have complete freedom!

The reason we all love link ups is to find new blogs to stalk, so although it's not mandatory, this is a great chance to check out other blogs that link up. You might just find your new blogging bestie!

Hope you will all join us next Thursday - if you have any questions, give us a shout!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

4th Expativersary

Four years ago I left my home, my job, my family and friends and hopped on a plane that took me to America, where I had exactly 3 friends, no family, no job, no nothing. It was terrifying.

It had always been a dream of mine to live in America for a year - like since babysitters club days - and then I met Megan and figured Kentucky was as good a place as any. Then I met KC and it seemed to all be falling into place. Then of course, it all fell apart when KC broke up with me and I very seriously thought about throwing in the towel and giving up on it all.

I'm the kind of person, though I may not seem like it, that would happily sit in corner for the rest of my life if it guaranteed nothing bad would ever happen to me. So it was tempting to not do the big bad scary thing, and just stay in my comfort zone. But, staying in my corner and being safe from bad things also means I didn't get the possible joy of the good things.

So I decided to go. Screw that guy. It would be great. I would do things, I would stay there for a year and then I would go home or travel some more. It was going to be fine. Plus, I'd already paid for the visa...

I left the day after Australia day and moved in with a friend that I of course liked and trusted, but didn't know super well. I got a job at her dad's restaurant the very next day. I had a place to stay, a job, and friends can be family. Things weren't looking so bad at all.

And then of course, the biggest thing happened that threw a (happy) wrench in all my plans. KC and I got back together, and we got married - the reason I am still here.


But a few other things happened as well. That girl I barely knew that welcomed me into her home is now a huge part of my life, one of the best friends I've ever had, and someone I respect and appreciate. Also, I can text her when I feel like being a bitch and she just gets me.


On top of that, I have grown so much as a person. I'm not miss debbie downer negative about everything hating on myself anymore. That's a huge deal. I'm happy. I always thought I was happy enough before, but now I know that being okay with who you are and your life versus embracing who you are and loving your life are two completely different things.

A lot of that is due to the fact that I don't have any toxic people in my life. I can count my true friends on one hand and that is plenty for me. These girls are a huge reason I stay here as well. You should never underestimate the power of good friends.



I blog which I never could have even imagined being a thing, but it is, and I enjoy it, and all the friendships I've made. I need more than one hand to count the blog friendships, but they are just as valuable to me. I never thought I would meet people online and then go on to meet them in real life and it not be awkward, but amazing. 

I still read a lot. I exercise a bit less. I'm still obsessed with Pride & Prejudice, but not country music. I have 3 cats, and I love them to pieces.


I've done lots of Louisville-y and American things, like the Derby and Halloween. I've lived through winters with snow. I've visited a few American cities. I've been to Europe and I've been home.



And of course, the biggest thing of all - I went from blonde to brunette. Woah.

I'm not going to pretend I have a 'hard' life. I love my life. It's great. Every life has good parts and bad parts. It's not easy to be away from family and my home, but I chose this. I'm not the only person who lives away from family, whether it's an hour or a day, away is away. In some areas, it gets easier to be away as time goes on, and in other areas it gets harder. I know that probably doesn't make any sense.

I have KC, amazing friends, kitties who love me (sometimes), a supportive family who misses me and I'm a part of a fabulous blogging community. Above all that, I am lucky to be able to live here with KC and to have such an amazing home to miss.

I've been to cities that never close down
from New York to Rome and old London town
but no matter how far or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home

I'm always travelling, I love being free
and so I keep leaving the sun and the sea
But my heart lies waiting over the foam
I still call Australia home

All the sons and daughters spinning around the world
away from their family and friends
but as the world gets older and colder
It's good to know where your journey ends

And someday we'll all be together once more
When all the ships come back to the shore
I'll realise something I've always known
I still call Australia home.


Because no matter how far or wide I roam, I still call Australia home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Why I love running

I have been running for over 6 years. I think. I don't know, I've lost count. But I love it. Sometimes I hate it. Sometimes I love-hate it. But overall, I love it. For today's Training for Tuesday, I wanted to talk about why. Linking up with Alyssa and Tracy.

alyssagoesbang

It makes me feel good. It makes me feel healthy and strong. It makes me feel like I am doing something for my heart and my health, that I am helping myself live longer. It makes me feel better about the tub of ice cream I'm about to eat.

I run because I enjoy it. I run because I want my heart to be healthy, and for the scale to stay down. I run so my clothes fit, and I run to look good.  I run because it helps me eat better. Sometimes.


I run to think and I run to release stress. I run because it helps me sort my thoughts out, big things seem smaller, it helps me sleep so I don't lay awake stressing about those things. I run because it changes the way I see things.

I run because it makes me feel like I've got my shit together, like I'm in control of my life. I run because I have issues, and running helps quieten those issues. I run because it helps my mind stay healthy, as well as my body.

I run because of that smile from a fellow runner that says so much 'well done, good job, you can do this' with no words. I run because I am inspired by other runners, whether they are better, worse or the same. I've never met a runner who has made me feel bad about myself or my running.

I run because it's fun.


I run because I can, and because I get better. I feel strong and capable when I improve at something. I run because you don't have to be the best. You can be 'slow'. You can walk.

I run because I can stop if I want to, take a break and get back on the horse when I like the horse again. I run because no matter how long I have been doing this, I am still challenged.

I run because that makes me a runner. I don't have all the fancy gadgets and a million races under my belt, but that doesn't make me any less of a runner than those that do.

I run because I'm selfish. It's not doing anything or helping anyone but myself. It makes me feel better, it makes me feel good, and what's wrong with that? Sure, I have to slog through the feeling like crap and like I'm dying first, but after that. I feel good.



But most of all, I run because I get out of it what I put into it, and if that isn't the best metaphor for life, I'll go hee.

I know running isn't for everyone, and for those who don't want to, there is nothing wrong with that. You do you, I do me. I just wanted to talk about why I love it.

Why do you love what you do? Whether that is running, Muay Thai, yoga or barre?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Irreplaceable products (mainly food)

Today is Australia day! Well, technically in a few hours, because of the whole time difference, but better early than late right?

In case you wanted a bit of a history lesson, Australia Day is celebrated annually on 26 January. It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip. So there you have it.


Australia Day modern day means this: day off from work and playing two up at the local pub. But for poor little old expat Kristen, it means being sad and missing home. Instead of being sad, I thought I would talk about some irreplaceable products, things that I can't get here or haven't found a suitable American replacement. Inspired by Erin's post here

Golden Gaytimes.
The best ice cream of all time. If you ever go to Australia, you simply must try one. It's all crumbly and honeycomby and amazing. Trust.

Gumption.
Gumption is like a multi purpose amazing cleaner. I used to love it, but I have a feeling I'd love it a lot more now that I have a house to clean. Seriously, it's the best. Next time I go, I am buying a bunch and bringing it back.

bunnings


McDonalds Sausage McMuffins.
The very first thing I ate when I touched down in Oz in 2014 was a sausage mcmuffin from maccas. Sausage in general is different at home, but you'd think the mcdonalds one would taste the same in both countries. It looks the same, it smells the same, it does not taste the same. It is my favourite thing on the menu and I'd eat one every day if I could. 

maccas i get mine without cheese, ew.

Allens lollies.
Oh man, I miss me some Allens lollies. There is absolutely no substitute in the US. I've tried all of them. Nope. Give me some allens. Strawberries and creams, red frogs, pineapples, snakes alive.. man oh man that's my childhood right there. Erin sent me some in her care package and I don't think I've ever eaten lollies as quickly as I ate those.



Caramel buds and freckles.
I have found chocolates here that are similar to freckles (on the right) but I haven't found any to replace caramel buds. So good.



Twisties.
Twisties are so hard to explain. They are kind of like cheetos, only not. I used to only eat cheese flavoured twisties when I was sick, for some reason they were all I could keep down. But I'll eat them any old time now. They also come in a chicken flavour which is probably as weird as it sounds but holy moly they are amazing. I could eat twisties every day.


Tasty toobs.
I remember these from my childhood, then they stopped making them, then they brought them back again, then they stopped them again. They were tangy and tomatoey. Bye toobs, I will forever miss you. Sad face. 


Cheese and bacon balls.
Also kind of like cheetos but not. Interestingly, they are made by cheetos. This is going to sound super weird, but I love to let them go stale, they get super crunchy and amazing. Problem is, now when my mum sends me some, I can never wait long enough for them to go stale.


Salad Dressing.
I used to eat way more salads at home. The only dressing I like here is ranch, and that's way too fatty to eat all the time. At home, I ate french and italian, and the US has both of these but they taste completely and utterly ridiculously different.

coles
Thickened cream.
It's cream. But it's thick. It's not the same as heavy cream. I swear, it's not the same. I don't even know how to explain thickened cream but I miss it so very very much.



Milo.
It's like nesquick only not. Only really not. Ohmagerd it's amazing. It's great on ice cream too. This seriously never even lasts a day when I get some.



Chomp.
Mmmmm chomps. It's a chocolate bar with wafers and caramels and goodness.


Killer pythons.
This is the closest I ever got to something 'deadly'. Ha. It's this huge snake. It sounds weird, but no. It's fabulous. Apparently they made them smaller, but when I was a kid, they were huge and only like 50 cents.



Freddo frogs and caramello koalas.
You all have girl scout cookies, we have these guys. Most fundraising type things, people sell chocolates and it's almost always these (or it was when I was a kid). But you can buy them everywhere else as well, so they aren't rare or anything. The freddos also come in white chocolate and a strawberry flavour. At christmas they make a magical elves flavour which might be my absolute favourites.


Curly wurlys.
I found some of these in Dublin and brought some back. Ooooh I was a happy girl for like 24 hours, because that's how long 15 of them lasted. They actually used to sell these at Epcot, but of course something happened and they stopped selling them and I was absolutely devastated when we went in November (I might have cried).

Tampons.
Yeah, shit just got weird in here. I can only find one brand that sells applicator-less tampons here. At home, you struggle to find the applicator ones. Seriously, such a weird thing to miss, but there you go.


Meat pies. 
I don't even love meat, but good god give me a meat pie every day of my life and I'm sorted. I miss these most because there is nowhere I can get something remotely similar, and if I do find somewhere online they want to charge me like $100 for what used to cost $2.

Sara Lee Chocolate Cake.
You all have Sara Lee. They even have chocolate cake. But it's not the same. This is the most amazing cake in the world, and I don't even like cake. You can buy it in big slabs and it basically used to be at every single birthday party that I ever went to. Sigh. I found it on amazon, which is totally weird. $120 for 4 cakes, totally reasonable. I love it with thickened cream, so it's probably for the best that I can't get it here, because it would be sad without the cream.


Takeaway fish & chips.
One of the biggest things I miss is the ability to grab some fish and chips (or lets be real, just chips) from the charcoal chicken shop (I know, it's weird) and have that for lunch. There really is just no comparable option here. Well, not in KY.


Chicken salt.
Yeah.... that does sound weird, doesn't it? But it's heaven in a salt shaker, trust me. Goes great on chips (as in fries).



Lucas' Papaw.
Rash? Papaw. Burn? Papaw. Tattoo? Papaw. Chapped lips? Papaw. Stung by something? PapawPimple? Papaw. Seriously, anything, and Lucas' papaw has you covered.


Kraft blue box cheese.
If there was a number one thing I miss most of all, it would be this cheese. It's so weird because I don't even like cheese (at least, compared to most people). But there is nothing like this in the US. I don't even know how to describe it. It's light. It's gotta be packed full of bad stuff because it sits on the shelf at home, how weird is that? You put it in the fridge when you get home, but still. Shelf at the store. My favourite way to have it was in a salad (chopped in squares), slices on toast and grated on pasta. Tears of joy were shed when we went back home and I shoved it in my gob. KC didn't like it, weirdo.

The funny thing is, if I lived at home, I'd probably eat all of the foods on this list like once a year. But the simple fact that I can't get them easily is what makes you want it more. Out of sight, always on the mind - that's how the saying goes, right?

Anyway, happy Australia Day!


What would you miss if you moved to a different country?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Pinspired Outfits Lately

I've been feeling a bit blah with outfits lately, especially at work, so I decided to take to Pinterest and get some inspiration. None of them are particularly mind blowing or original, but sometimes you need a little help. I just wanted to try and utilise some more of the things in my closet, without buying more. 

This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click, I make like 2 cents. Thanks!

Pinspired Outfits Lately - FranishPinspired Outfits Lately - Striped top + Midi Skirt
Franish Original post 
My outfit:  Target striped top (similar), midi skirt (similar), Target wedges.

Pinspired Outfits Lately - J's Everyday FashionPinspired Outfits Lately - Polka dot top + green cardigan
J's Everyday Fashion Original post 
My outfit:  J Crew blouse (similar), Target pants, Cynthia Rowley (from TJ Maxx) cardigan (similar), Target flats.


Pinspired Outfits Lately - Outfit PostsPinspired Outfits Lately - Striped top + black cardigan + grey pants
Outfit Posts Original post 
My outfit:  Target striped top (similar), grey pants (similar), Target cardiganTarget flats.
these pants were in the goodwill pile, and now I remember why. I'm not a fan of this outfit, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Pinspired Outfits Lately - Kendi Everyday
Pinspired Outfits Lately - Grey dress + mustard cardi + brown oxford heels

Kendi Everyday - Original post 
My outfit: Grey dress (from Rockmans at home, similar). H&M cardigan (mustard not online), Forever 21 belt, brown oxfords (payless old, similar)

Pinspired Outfits Lately - Outfit Posts
Pinspired Outfits Lately - Polka dot blouse + pencil skirt

Outfit Posts - Original post
My outfit: Loft bouse (similar), midi skirt (similar), Steve Madden heels (similar)

Pinspired Outfits Lately - Franish
Pinspired Outfits Lately - Coral blouse + leopard flats

Franish - Original post
My Outfit: Loft blouse (similar), Target pantsleopard flats (last I checked, they were on sale for like $12, insane! I paid $25 I think, they take some breaking in but I love them).
Fran is standing in snow, and I'm the one with tights on underneath my pants. Oops. I probably should have tied my little bow, my bad.

Pinspired Outfits Lately - 930 to 5Pinspired Outfits Lately - Sleeveless blouse + grey cardi + midi skirt
Nine-Thirty to Five Original post 
My outfit:  Sleeveless blouse (similar), midi skirt (similar), H&M cardiganTarget wedges.

Pinspired Outfits Lately - On the daily Express
Pinspired Outfits Lately - Express one eleven white tee + gap grey knit moto jacket + jeans + leopard flats

On the Daily Express Original post
My outfit: Express one eleven tee, Nobody jeans, Gap knit moto jacket (very similar), leopard flats.

Pinspired Outfits Lately - Southern Curls & Pearls
Pinspired Outfits Lately - Maroon / Plum top + blue jeans + tan booties

Southern Curls & Pearls - Original post
My outfit:  Express one eleven tee, Nobody jeans, Aldo booties (similar).
This might seem like a silly outfit to copy or post about because it's so simple (I rarely wear scarves to work, so I skipped that) but (and this might sound ridiculous) I would never have thought to pair blue jeans with this colour top and then tan booties. So thanks, pinterest.

Pinspired Outfits Lately - Arrows & Apricots
Pinspired Outfits Lately - Blue express one eleven tee + distressed jeans + striped flats
Arrows and Apricots Original post 
My outfit:  Express one eleven tee, old navy rockstar distressed jeans (old, similar), striped flats.
I felt like swapping for navy, but hey. It works.

Before I did this little experiment, I would grab some pants, a shirt and some shoes, voila outfit. It worked, but it wasn't cute or exciting so I'm glad I branched out a bit. It was fun deciding what to wear and which outfit to copy (or get inspiration from). It helped me shop my closet, and it also helped me actually do my hair and makeup if I knew I was going to take a photo. I didn't do this every day of course, but it was fun every couple of days. I'll definitely be doing it again.

Have a good weekend everyone!