olive & finn.

1. Dress: Carly Hunter 2. Necklace: Solis 3. Print Denim: Ellison 4. Olivia Howard, the brains behind Olive & Finn, 5. Every purchase is packaged and sent in a drawstring bag.

An online store should be like a well-currated gallery. Navigation should be simple, items should be organised appropriately, it should be clean and minimalistic in its layout and it should be easy enough to find what you're looking for. Olive & Finn ticks all those boxes. Having only launched in August, the e-boutique sets itself apart from being distinct and focused in its philosophy: "A space where young designers can showcase their passions... forging a relationship between the designer, the clothes and those who wear their pieces." The O&F lineup is refined and carefully considered, choosing homegrown Australian and New Zealand design talent with a cult following including Dress Up, Batson, Ellison and my personal favourite, Kahlo (I have my eye on this cape crusader). 

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Olivia Howard, director of Olive & Finn who took me through the current collection with a slew of basics, rainbow brights and some incredibly unique, printed finds (I am referring to this Carly Hunter dress) to see you through the summer. I get a sense of personal intimacy between the customer and the designer in this online space that Olivia has fostered, through the site's design with a dedicated page to each designer's biography, designer interviews and a blog. Choosing to obsess over the "art of fashion, not just the consumption of it", each season Olivia produces a campaign shoot (I am absolutely in love with their debut shoot), mixing and matching the pieces available online in a very wearable way. I'm so excited to watch Olive & Finn flourish in the years to come. 

Don't forget to enter my Popbasic giveaway x

pure shores.

Singlet c/o Somedays Lovin, Ksubi shorts, J Crew panama hat, Sunday Somewhere sunglasses.

Photos by Aprilia

I've never been much of a beach person. Not to say I don't like beaches, but I only go once or twice a year usually on a public holiday when it's absolutely crowded and unbearably hot. While I took a Saturday off work to 'study' (and I use the term loosely), I thought I'd sneak in a quick morning road trip to the Northern Beaches to meet with Aprilia and play blogger dress ups by the sand. And although our time together was short lived, the two of us wondered what it would be like to be a full time blogger. Just prancing around in fancy get ups, taking plenty of photos and posting daily. What a life.

My panama hat made its official debut today and I have no doubt it will be glued to my head come consistent hot weather. I really do love my head wear. And so should you. It's fancy and it keeps you protected from the sun. Double whammy.

Tomorrow marks Week 13 of semester. The last week. Also known as the week from hell. One group assignment, one exam, one speaking exam and one feature article due. If you don't hear from me assume I have become a zombie. No sleep and no blogging make Melissa something something. Go crazy? Don't mind if I do!

Don't forget to enter my Popbasic giveaway x

giveaway. pop basic.

It wasn't enough for Queenslander Madeline Veenstra to establish the now hugely popular fashion version of Wikipedia, Wikifashion in 2010.  Fuelled by her entrepreneurial spirit and drive for success, she has set out to take on her next major project Popbasic, a monthly subscription parcel to help you build your basics collection. Noticing the growing popularity of beauty based parcels, Veenstra found a gap in the fashion market and so Popbasic was formed. The first campaign features my talented blogger buds from Sargasso Sea, Kellie (model) and Bianca (stylist) with a really sweet video to accompany these equally picturesque shots.

Think of it as your very own fashion care package (and who doesn't love receiving a bit of mail in the post these days?) complete with a staple fashion item, two trend pieces and an extra spesh surprise to see you through the month. Three items will set you back a mere $50 - $100 along with free shipping to Aussie and US addresses. It's not a subscription service (so you're not locked in to anything) and the best part is you're free to purchase items individually if something so happens to take your fancy. 

Popbasic have very kindly offered Flourished & Sunkissed a beta pack (including the polka dot shirt, green beaded necklace and the yellow and gold twist necklace as pictured above) to giveaway to one lucky reader.

To be in the running all you have to do is:
1. Save your spot on the Pop Basic site (you'll receive $10 credit for your first purchase so everyone's a winner really!)
2. Like Flourished & Sunkissed on Facebook or follow me on Bloglovin'.
3. Comment below with your name and email address letting me know you've signed up.
For an extra entry tweet @pop_basic and @_melissao and tell us how you would style one of the collection pieces.

The giveaway is open to readers worldwide. Entries close Friday 16th November, 8pm AEDST.

bunny's day off.

As life would have it, the busiest time for my blog just so happen to coincide with the pointy end of semester. I took a quick (and sugar-filled) detour via the Cirqlate PR showroom before my marketing presentation this morning to preview the new summer collection from Stylestalker. Bunny's Day Off pays homage to 60's pin-up girl Brigitte Bardot and explores the duality behind her intriguing persona - the girl next door charm vs. the sex kitten. Lace panelling and sequins contrasted with tough leather and gunmetal studs in a monochrome base with pops of vibrant colours and subdued pastels. There's a little something for everyone to keep you looking tres chic this summer, from drawstring shorts, skater skirts to day dresses and slogan tees. My standout print had to be the kaleidoscope peach-pink pattern which reminded me of Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know music video (and I have consequently dubbed it the Gotye print). Duo, Sue-Ann San and Rachel Zeilic have partnered with friend and photographer Zanita (yes that Zanita) to lens the campaign and it is by far my fav of theirs to date.

Bunny's Day Off is available online right now, so hop to it! *

* Pun intended. 


Panama hat from J Crew
Strappy sandals from ATP
Playsuit from Zimmermann

What a coincidence that the last three things I bought (well the hat was a birthday present from the BFF) make the perfect summer vacation outfit. Maybe my wardrobe is trying to tell me something? Deb and I have our sights set on Bali in February next year - our aim is to have the perfect Instagram holiday (think plenty of poolside hangs and scenic sights). I can picture myself wearing this with the sand between my toes, soaking up the sunshine. Too bad I have Mount Everest sized pile of assignments to plough through first before I can get planning.

Acquiring shiny new things and blogging is all that's keeping me sane right now. I've noticed that I always seem to divulge in the back stories of my purchases but I find it quite therapeutic to document them (and there's the slightest chance you might even find yourself amused or educated by my rants). It's interesting how an object, a sound, a smell, a touch can trigger even the most of fondest of memories and I hope that somewhere down the track I'll be reminded of how I stumbled upon the perfect strappy sandals after months of searching while looking to buy a white button up shirt or the day I learnt how the panama hat got its name.

Funny story that, I didn't realise there were genuine panama hats just like there are akubra. Workers wore them during the construction of the Panama Canal and it was made popular by President Theodore Roosevelt who donned one when he visited the site. 

it was all yellow.

Top c/o Somedays Lovin/ Cirqlate PR, J Brand denim, Watson x Watson sandals, Ellery sunglasses, Samantha Wills Design Studio customised necklace, Rings by Karen Walker and Jordy by Jordan Askill.

I distinctly remember the three times I've encountered yellow in my wardrobe. The first was in primary school and as my house colour, I was required to wear it every sport day Friday. The second was when I went to a 15th birthday dress as Misty from Pokemon and the last was seeing Gwen Stefani at the beginning of her 'What You Waiting For?' music video wearing a yellow cropped shirt and black headband and wanting to copy that look for myself (funnily enough I've been listening to this song on repeat for the last few days). And this right here would mark the fourth. 

I'm rarely a colour person (and if I am it's pastel or muted so from far away it looks like a neutral) but when I was asked to pick out my favourite piece at the Somedays Lovin showing a few weeks ago, I found myself drawn to this simplistic 'vein' print. What I love about it the most is the neckline, high, just the way I like it (almost like a halter neck), showing a little more of the shoulder and shoulder blade than usual. Is there a proper term for it? Because I just bought a Zimmermann playsuit in the same style that I just can't get enough of. A message to designers: please make more tees and basics in this cut. 

Photos by Aprilia

SW design studio.

"It's like Lego for adults!" - Sophia Phan from Moulin Frock

The SW team have been busy bees preparing for the launch of yet another new initiative (and there's more exciting times ahead in the next few months), letting you run free reign and take full creative control over the design process. This afternoon I was invited back to SWHQ to test run the soon to be launched Design Studio (which has been in the works since my interning days), an online creative space which allows you to customise signature Bohemian Bardot jewellery, from the burnished plating to the luxe summer palette stones, turning something that was originally very Samantha into a piece that is uniquely you. 

Myself and a handful of other bloggers had a blast taking a trip down memory lane to our primary school art and craft days, getting a little glue stuck on our hands, having a minor crisis over what stone combinations to us ('Is this too ice cream-y? Or too matchy-matchy?). Going live in two weeks, this online component is sure to take off and makes the perfect personalised gift for a friend (but you're more than welcome to treat yourself), so get your creative juices flowing and be your own Samantha Wills.

sw hunter + gatherer.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of stopping by Claire's Kitchen at le Salon to preview the Samantha Wills Winter 13 collection. It was a rather significant event to me in a few ways: it marked the first showing where I wasn't interning for the team. I haven't actually seen any of this collection so it was all totally new to me and of course was nothing short of amazing. Secondly, it was this time last year that I worked my first SW media event and met some lovely blogger babes that I'm still in touch with today. It was nice to see things from the other side, have no expectation of the collection or the setting and be completely taken aback by the whole experience (even better because Samantha was there in the flesh!). Yes an SW showing is very much an experience, from the venue, to the merchandising, to the food and of course the jewellery. Careful attention is paid to every little detail.

Two collections were launched at the event, Hunter + Gatherer (Winter 13) and SW Fine. Being very minimalistic with my jewellery I was instantly drawn to the dainty delicate bracelets, anklets and necklaces. I had seen this collection in the works during my time at SW so it was quite a satisfying feeling to see it finally come together. This one will be available just in time for the gifting season so it's perfect for all your gal pals (the BFF and I already have matching SW anchor bracelets). The other was Winter 13, centered around the SW muse in Paris, collecting trinkets and ornaments from vintage markets and weekend escapes documenting her free spirited optimism through life's adventures.

I thought I'd try something a little different this time and present the collection to you through video (which worked out well because my photos in the low light failed). I loved putting it together so let me know if you'd like to see more of it in the future!

haider ackermann ss13.


She is strong. She is independent. She revels in her femininity but loves nothing more than wearing a pair of ultrasleek tailored pants. She wears boxy, loose jackets but chooses to accentuates her waistline with a bit of belted peplum. She blurs the fine line between masculine and feminine. She indulges in layering, experimenting with luxurious fabrics and silhouettes. She prefers a darker palette but plays with texture and simple graphic prints. She is educated and well-travelled, drawing upon her fascination with the east. She is sexy but understated. She prefers to show a hint of skin, under an unbutton jacket, a sheer top or a draped robe falling off her shoulder. She never deliberately tries to make an entrance, but manages to do so through her effortlessness air and impeccable taste. She pays attention to the smallest of details. She appreciates the finer things. She is the woman I want to be.

picnic in the park.

Last Thursday I had a taste of sweet freedom (and sweet froyo) and spent an afternoon picnicking at Bicentennial Park with Jack. My parents used to take me there all the time as a kid. It's the most calm and relaxed I've been in months, lying on the grass in the sun, nibbling on cabanossi and cheese and sipping on cider. Wearing my ultimate summer muscle singlet showing a hint of my lacy bra (underwire free is so liberating) and floral embroidered shorts that I ended up keeping from Zara.

I'm longing for the months where my biggest worries are what to wear and how to make the most of my day. I'm about to head into the most difficult part of semester, the end. Plenty of assignments, exams and essays to keep me busy but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in a little over a month. Until then, please be patient with me. I may have to put the blog on the backburner.

Hope you've all had a smashing long weekworkend. Double time and a half pay!

Photos by Jack Loo