the end.

What an apt title for this post. It is both the name of my skirt (The End Nabraska Box Pleat Tulip Skirt) and marks the last post for 2011. 

So how did this bad boy end up in my hot little hands? Funny story that. Well not really. It was Boxing Day. I didn't get called into work. So I did some sale browsing and came across this. And how could I say no to Ellery? I've always dreamed of owning an Ellery (didn't think it would be this soon!). So I eagerly gave away the money that was meant to be the deposit for my Olympus camera to the cashier and that was that (I can already see Thu and Laura shaking their heads in disapproval, telling me I should be saving my money for Japan next year). In my defence, it was 50% which made it all the more appealing. It was clearly meant to be.

This was below par photography but I promise when I get around to an outfit post I'll make sure I do it justice. I would wear it to ring in the new year but I'm going to a house party and knowing my track record it will probably get stained. And I would probably cry a river if anything happened to it. The downside of owning expensive pieces is that they have to be cared for in a more specific way - so no simply throwing them into the washing machine. I think I'll invest in a garment steamer in the new year... should do the trick.

I wanted to wish all my readers a happy new year! Thank you so much for all your support this year. Even though you are small in numbers, the fact that 61 people took the time to follow my blog means a lot. Flourished & Sunkissed has grown more than I imagined and hope it will only continue to get better in 2012. So expect more (and better) outfit posts, trend reports, event coverage and just general fashion musings. See you on the flip side! x 

latopic & brooke daniels.

A few weeks ago I was invited to preview the A/W collection of Latopic and Brooke Daniels at the Maids quarters. I had heard a lot about Latopic in the weeks leading up to the preview so I was looking forward to seeing the collection myself. The campaign shots did not lie. Only in its second season, Latopic designer Lisa Burns showcased her versatility with some amazing designs inspired (probably not the right word to use there) by a broken relationship.  A little depressing when you think about it but it looks like we've found the perfect remedy to overcome a broken heart. The highlight had to be the moody graphic velvet print which was transformed into a skirt, shorts, blazer and oversized cape - for whatever floats your boat. Although I'm not normally a sequin girl, I have to say my favourite pieces were the sequinned (hand sewn) skater skirt and blazer.

Brooke Daniels, known best for her flattering bodycon pieces, draws from the mod era and muse, Edie Sedgewick for her latest collection featuring high necklines, peter pan collars and button up backs and a black and white palette. She also has some great knit basics (which as you know I'm always a sucker for) and some colour block bodycons if you want something with a bit more va-voom. 

I remember the weather being quite dull on the day of the showing (not sure what to expect when it comes to Sydney weather anymore) so previewing a collection that complemented the weather made me want to take the pieces right off the rack and wear them out of the showroom.

what friends are for.

Bec & Bridge shirt (borrowed) | Alice McCall shorts | Steve Madden heels | Marc Jacobs bag | Dorothy Perkins blazer

When your best friend is the same clothes size, shoe size, loves the same labels and has the same style, you know you've found the perfect match. Debra and I can conquer our wish lists twice as efficiently... but we do encourage each other's shopping addictions much to the disapproval of our boyfriends and mums. Our dream is to one day live in an apartment New York and have adjoining wardrobes so we can meet in the middle and share our pieces. 

I wore this last week to the Blogger Christmas Party hosted by the lovely girls from Breakfast with Audrey and Rochelle Fox. Needing something to wear with my new Alice McCall shorts with the awesome gold detailing (although intended for multiple summer wear, the weather has not really been up to standard so I was determined to bring it out for the ocassion), Debra came to my rescue. I have a weakness for button up sleeveless shirts and with a necktie it's even better, so of course I chose to borrow this one (I also wanted to wear it from the moment I she had bought it). 

I took a leaf out of Rachel Bilson/ Dr. Zoe Hart's book (watch Hart of Dixie if you don't know what I'm talking about) and paired shorts with pumps. Turns out it doesn't just work wonders on Rachel - I can't believe how much taller it makes me look. Too bad I can't stand to wear heels for more than an hour. 

his and hers.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas/ Happy Holidays/ Happy Chrismukkah (if you are partial to Seth Cohen). I don't have many family traditions during the holidays but I was able to take part in my boyfriend's family's epic Christmas Eve dinner (so much food it was insane). I also jumped the gun on gifts and got us to open each other's a day early! I'm just one of those people who can't stand to keep a present from someone - especially when it's something you know the other person will love.

Jack asked for a leather satchel, something business-like that he'll be able to use in the new year. Took me a while to hunt for the perfect one - had to ask some of my stylish guy friends and experienced gift giving girlfriends but I found one (thanks Tegan!)  from this British brand, Jaeger who are known for their coats and knitwear. It also fits his Macbook Pro (phew) among other things so I can see him getting a lot of use out of it.

In return I was surprised with the Michael Kors watch I have been eyeing at David Jones for for about a month now. I was devastated when I walked past the cabinet one day during my lunch break and it was no longer there - turns out it was actually Jack! He also wrapped it up in a bigger box so I had absolutely no idea. He spoils me. 

Anyway hope you all have a wonderful day filled with family, friends, food, fun, presents and Christmas cheer! x

all stars.

1 AfterDRK 
2, 5 Google images
3 Stockholm Street Style
4 The Sartorialist

As most of you would know by now, I'm an investment shopper. I buy pieces that I know I'll be able to wear season after season - I steer clear of prints and resist the temptation to buy 'in'/ 'trend pieces, and that's why you'll find that a majority of my wardrobe is black and white and consists of tees, singlets, shirts and jeans. 

After putting it off for over a year (I knew Converse was something I could get any time) I finally bought myself a pair of low cut Converse sneakers. I'd seen its versatility snapped on the streets - the polished model off duty look finished with a pair of converse but now a proud owner, I truly understand its styling power to go with absolutely everything and dress down (or casual up) an outfit. I've had the all black hight tops for a while but I found whenever I tried to wear it with shorts, I'd look like I have no ankle and a fat thigh. But with my new babies (which have saved me from sore feet countless times at work) I've been able to pair them with everything from jeans, shorts, dresses and maxi skirts - even getting a few compliments from my guy friends who have no interest in fashion. 

This is a shoe that fits for every girl and is a good $90 investment (or $60 if you can still fit into kids sizes like me) if I've ever seen one. Considering it's been around since the 1920's (originally designed for basketball) and still going strong in the 2000's, Converse are definitely here to stay.

nailin' it.

A little while ago I confessed my nail biting addiction and now I'm back with a new plan of attack. Believe me, I've tried the terrible tasting nail polish, glue on nails and even good old fashion will power - but it's hard to stop a serial biter especially since I've been biting from young (not something to be proud of).

On Sunday I took the plunge and impulsively got acrylic nails after a quick survey from all the girls at work who said 'I only live once' and 'Nails are nails, they will grow back' (and even a guy who had to get acrylics on one hand because he split his nail days before his classic guitar performance). Unfortunately the girls who would have warned me against it were away that day and now I'm being told stories of brittle, damaged nails post-acrylics and the long road to recovering healthy, strong ones (lots of Dr. Lewins and Sally Hansen I hear). 

I clearly forgot to do my research because little did I know, the process of applying false nails at the salon is really unsettling. They filed my nails down and pushed my cuticles back using this electric filer/ buffer thing (it's as weird as it sounds). I was scared I'd have no nail left by the end of it. They did this a couple times, trying to shape the nail to make it look as natural as possible (which they definitely did a good job of - I'll give them credit). I just wish my best friend was there to let me know what was happening next. I flinched every time the nail technician turned on the electric filer. I almost cried about 10 minutes in when I was watching them ruin my nails (even more than I already had).

Here are my two cents on acrylic nails. Pros: They look darn good. They last long. I've never had such longer nails in my life. I can tap my nails on the table when I'm impatient. They can't come off. Cons: Actually applying the nails was quite a traumatic experience. I can't do things I would normally do without nails in fear of breaking them. Removing them sounds painful. Having to deal with weak nails after removal. (Sounds totally unappealing to you now).

My theory is that if I have something covering my actual nails - and there's no way I can bite those acrylics, then I'll eventually get used to not biting and stop altogether. Let's hope I can quit once and for all!

monday muse. rachel rutt.

1 Street Peeper. 2 Marcs. 3. The Eleventh Hour via Oracle Fox. 4 Candice Lake. 5 Rachel Rutt x Oyster. 6. Bonae L'Amour

Oh me oh my. Are models getting younger and younger these days, or am I just getting older? First Kaila Hart, then Karlie Kloss and now Rachel Rutt. How is this girl 19? I look at these models and they look like mature grown women. When I look at myself in the mirror I still feel like a 15 year old. 

After spotting Rachel Rutt saundering around Surry Hills markets earlier this month (Laura and I were a little starstruck) looking flawless in a green vintage maxi dress, I've taken more notice of this unusual beauty who has been snapped in the likes of Dion Lee, Kahlo, Aje and Marcs. Rutt was born in Hong Kong and raised in Japan - her father is English and her month is Singaporean (Asian represent) which would explain her somewhat oriental and extremely looks. Half asians are genetically blessed. I always wished I was a halfie. They have the most amazing facial features and hair colour. I love her effortless style especially how she always looks half done up but still incredibly chic.

EDIT: Thanks Anon for the correct information about her heritage.

christmas wishlist.

Petite Grand necklace | Michael Kors watch | Cloud Nine straightener | Diptyque candle | Olympus Pen 3| Donation to World Vision | Dallas and Carlos cuff | Aesop skincare | Miu Miu wallet

When I was younger I used to love Christmas. The whole thing was just magical. Then I slowly learnt that Santa Claus wasn't real, that my mum would get up at 3 in the morning, eat the cookies and drink the milk I left out for Santa under the tree. And then I worked in retail. And now Christmas isn't so special anymore. But there is still hope. Growing up I relied on American television to provide me with an accurate portrayal of reality. So my hopes and dreams for a perfect New York Christmas with snow, hot chocolate, ice skating, Christmas parades and department store shopping are still alive and well. 

Christmas isn't a big occasion for my family. In fact my mum and I are too lazy to look for the tree in the basement that we decided not to put one up this year. We do get together with family friends on Christmas day for lunch, but there aren't really those ongoing traditions and family bonding - not to mention my parents aren't the type to spend mass amounts of money on materialistic goods.  I usually get socks, underwear and pyjamas from my parents.  My favourite part about Christmas is buying gifts. I love seeing the look on my loved ones' faces when they open up my neatly wrapped present (I love gift wrapping especially with a bow) and know it's something sentimental that they're just going to love. I think I've nailed my boyfriend's gift/s- it's going to be epic! And of course the giving season wouldn't be complete without donating to a charity. It's something I started doing with my mum when I was in high school and it's something I've continued to do over the years. 

I'm definitely hoping to get my new Olympus camera early next year (with a little  bit of help from my parents and boyfriend) before I go away but also so I can take better photos for the blog. The other things I'll accumulate myself once I earn back my Christmas spendings. So I don't expect Santa to drop a Miu Miu wallet off at the Ong residence, but hey, maybe there's another generous Santa out there... kidding!

monday muse. karlie kloss.

1 Street Peeper
2,3, 4, 5, 7 Stockholm Street Style
6. Street FSN

I've been feeling a little uninspired lately. I think it's a combination of excessive hours at work, the holiday season and worrying about what the new year will be like. And as a result I haven't been posting as frequently as I would like to. But to fill the void I thought I might kick start your week with some inspiration.

It was probably not a good idea to watch Victoria's Secret Fashion Parade - doesn't really help my self esteem! I have to say each year the costumes and theming get a little tackier than the last (Club Pink was pretty bad although I suppose it tied in with Nicki Minaj. The Superhero one was my favourite) but I keep coming back to the gorgeous angels, their flashy smiles and cheeky winks (I seriously wish I could wink). This year marked the first runway show for newly inducted angel Karlie Kloss, who happens to be one of my favourite 'model of the moment' and was thus an easy choice for my Monday muse. Did I mention the girl is only 19 (that's a year younger than me) and has runway cred longer than her legs? And have you seen her legs in the Vogue Italia shoot? How are they even real? I love that Kloss started out as a classically trained ballerina - makes me think I could have been a model (I did ballet up until I was 13) which she says helped her modelling and grounded her runway walk. Not to mention posture. I won't forget the wonders that ballet did for my posture. 

I'm considering making this a weekly post. Would you like to see more Monday muses?

fourth crusade.

Ever had a friend who went holidaying in Europe and returned with incredible one off jewellery that you eyed for weeks after? Well never fear, Melbourne based Diana Taranto has got you covered. After spending a year in Rome meandering cobblestone streets, Diana stumbled upon design studios with amazing, handmade jewellery and decided to bring these pieces back to Australia. She found that these hidden gems were simply not available anywhere in Australia and in most cases, anywhere in the world and knew there was a market for this style of jewellery on our shores. 

And that’s how she started Fourth Crusade in 2010, an online boutique that offers handmade, unique, avant garde jewellery. The name came from the idea that these pieces were being brought from Italy to Taranto’s home land, Australia (also a reference to the holy wars for you history buffs). I had the opportunity to chat with the lovely Diana about all things accessories...

What do you love most about Italy? 
I love (almost) everything about Italy. My grandparents migrated to Melbourne from the Aeolian Islands and Ragusa in the 50's. The first aim was to go back there and seek out the original houses where they all lived and from then on, I was in love with the country. The people, the love of life, the intensity and the food. I have travelled there a number of times and think about my next trip everyday. I am always on the lookout for new pieces while there and have a number of talented friends there with their eyes out for me as well when I am back in Melbourne.

What are your top three picks from Fourth Crusade and how would you style them? 

1. Long Gold Zipper Necklace. Hand made by Paola Volpi. It's a statement piece that people literally stop me in the street when I am wearing it to ask where they can buy one as well. Surprisingly, it gets a lot of comments from men as well?! I love wearing gold with green, coral or cobalt blue. This necklace really dresses up a very casual outfit as well.

2. Leone Yellow Bronze Ring. Hand Made by Ashanti Raffaele Cinzio. An all-round winner. I love this ring as it's easy to wear, solid and an organic shaped, statement ring that again, can be worn everyday and goes with everything. The natural features of the handmade qualities really show and each of Ashanti Raffaele Cinzio's rings are signed on the inside of the band.

3. Farfalle Necklace. Designed by me! This is a brand new piece to the Fourth Crusade collection and is a little fun. Italian's love nothing more that spending time with friends around the dinner table and this Farfalle necklace has stunning detail with a small plate featuring the Italian quote "Amicizie é maccheroni, sono meglio caldi" in English, meaning "Friends and maccheroni are both best warm". I wear this a lot. The brushed silver is easy to wear and when people realise it's pasta and ask what the engraved plate says, it always get a conversation started. Good for foodies, chefs and restaurant staff too!

My most prized accessory is… 
A silver ring I bought in Greece years ago that had gold leafing set in a clear resin and sterling silver band. It gets comments all the time and inspired me to start importing really unique pieces to Australia. I am still trying to search for the original artist so I can bring them into Fourth Crusade!

My number one style tip when it comes to accessorising is... 
One statement necklace, one statement bracelet or ring and keep the rest minimal. If you want to wear big earrings, lose the necklace. No one wants to look like a walking Christmas tree.

The one summer trend I can't wait to try... 
Wearing my gold zipper necklace over a casual tee and coloured denim shorts!

Gold zipper necklace from Fourth Crusade
...with T by Alexander Wang tee, J Brand shorts, Karen Walker sunglasses, Proenza Schouler pochette, 3.1 Phillip Lim sandals.

What are you currently working on with Fourth Crusade? 
We've just launched our ASOS store which is a huge privilege to have been selected for the ASOS Marketplace. In addition to that, the Silver collection I have recently launched that I designed myself hit the site two weeks ago and given the success of it, am going to launch a new shaped pasta with another Italian pasta saying. You're the first one to know this! (It’s out now here)

What can we expect from Fourth Crusade in the future? 
More designs, different materials from wood, rubber, sterling silver and bronze and a great range of price points. Lots of beautiful pieces suitable for casual wear to special one-off pieces for special occasions and unique gifts. 

If you're in need of something special this Christmas for your mother, sister, best friend or even to spoil yourself, be sure to check out the beautiful pieces over at Fourth Crusade. You won't be disappointed!

little ray of sunshine.

Something Else knit tank | sass and bide jeans | Zara denim jacket | Dallas and Carlos necklace | Sunday Somewhere sunglasses |  American Apparel carry-all | Converse all stars | 

These were taken Saturday afternoon - savouring what was left of our little sunshine before the winter weather and rain clouds came back and took our summer away. Which annoys me because I spent a lot of time thinking up my summer wardrobe and here I am in summer wearing jeans everyday. Not ideal. Oh well, at least I can get some early wear out of my Acne knit!

Just as you thought my knit obsession couldn't get any worse, I found a way to incorporate knits into my summer attire. After searching high and low, I stumbled upon this Something Else knit tank which i've been wearing for the last few days with every bottom I own. My mustard sass and bide jeans finally make their first appearance here. I quite like the mustard beige combo although their both kinda variations of yellow? Finally bought white Cons, which just happen to be kid sized (anything to save $30). 

I wore this to Surry Hills markets on the weekend - trying my hand at selling my unwanted clothes with fellow bloggers Laura and Lisa. I've always wanted to set up a little market stall and while I've heard mainly positive things, it didn't go quite the way we'd planned. I had quite a few pieces which I'd only worn once and was forced to lower the price in order for it to find a new home (ie. Piper Lane dress I bought for $150, wore once and ended up selling it for $30). By about midday we had decided to cut everything to below $20 or risk going home with a basketful of clothes - you could say we were getting a little desperate! There were some lovely vintage pieces I bought during my vintage phase and I was surprised no one wanted to grab a bargain. Then there were some pieces I thought I'd have no chance of selling and they all went for $5! Strange. The three of us had a lot of fun (and got sunburnt in the process), although we all agreed it wouldn't be something we would do again. I made a little less than I would on a full day at work. Oh well. Something to tick off the bucket list!

monday in the park.

Marcs shirt | American Apparel Circle skirt |American Apparel clutch | ASOS loafers | House of Harlow necklace | Cue cuff

First day of the month and of summer meant turning over a new leaf. I promised you I'd start doing outfit posts so here they are. On Friday morning I made Jack (yes, I admit I've been trying to do this for the last two weeks but we've both been so lazy) drive us to the park and take some 'summer' looking snaps to welcome in the new season - and as summery as I may have tried looked, it was actually 20 degrees and my legs were freezing. 

This outfit is a combination of two wardrobe staples I've been meaning to buy for quite some time. I spent ages looking for a silk shirt. I was set on getting an Equipment one but unfortunately when I got around to trying it, the XS was far too big and too long. Luckily I stumbled upon this Marcs one and it was on sale too (double win). Clearly it was meant to be. I've been back and forth with the American Apparel skirt for about a year also. It's a little on the short side (I have to remember to hold it at the back when I'm walking up stairs and escalators) but I can't get over the high waisted style, circle cut and fit. I don't normally dress preppy (I think the loafers did it), but you can see what I mean by my style is super simple and my wardrobe is all neutral colours.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about my first proper outfit post. I'll keep them coming! x