just do it.

The opening of the Nike Store at Castle Towers coincided with the end of semester a little too well. A sign if ever I saw one to get my health in check and whip my ass back into shape. My Nike obsession began with a printed logo tee, progressed to a track jacket and after four months has grown to a solid collection including my beloved Free Runs, polka dot sports bra even socks. Lately I think I've spent more money on Nike gear than actual clothes - perhaps becoming a fitness/ health blogger is in the cards? My path to the perfectly proportioned body (goals include: washboard abs, a squats bum and toned thighs) is right on track. Luckily my gym junkie man has been giving me a hand with circuit training and navigating through the weights machines. I may have been somewhat delusional when signing up for the 10km Nike She Runs event in May (yesterday I ran on the road for the first time and wanted to puke after half an hour) - but I'll let you know how that pans out.

I'm not quite sure how to describe my process in pulling together this outfit - in the words of Jennifer Lawrence: "I just woke up and tried on the dress and it fit, thank god. And then I took a shower." It's this strange fusion of sporty chic meets actual gym gear (we'll see just how well these leather shorts hold up). I was actually inspired by a look I saw while getting out of the Bauer Media lifts - a mag girl wearing an Adidas logo tee with a leather skirt and chunky heels though I thought I'd put my own living out of a suitcase spin on it (by Day 7 we had no clean clothes left!).

These were taken on our last morning at Gilli Trawangan, a beautiful tourist manufactured island some 15 minute speedboat ride from the shores of Lombok. Picturesque views, clear ocean water and no cars (people cycle or walk) made it the perfect chill out/ do nothing spot to end our trip on.

Photos by Debra Navaratnam

swing swing.

Popbasic shirt, Manning Cartell shorts, SXUC aviators, J Crew panama hat, Oroton sandals. 

My faithful panama hat. I built up its title as the perfect accessory for a beach holiday and I couldn't have been more right. Though these mirrored aviators from Sunglasses Shop could give them a run for their money (check them out for some sweet shades from your favourite brands including RayBan, Celine, Miu Miu and Oliver Peoples). Day 1 in Bali was a visit to Waterbom water park followed by picturesque views of a hidden behind the clouds sunset at Potato Head Beach Club from our dinner table. We snapped these up before heading out at our Villa Coco bungalow. But seriously, when was the last time you sat in a hammock? Despite the fact they make your thighs look like leg hams (don't mind me) and are extremely unflattering to get into and out of, our hammock was a great addition to our own little garden. Had it not been for the swarms of mosquitos, sticky humidity or my sweet tasting blood I would have spent more of my time outside swinging my cares away.

I'm back from Bali though not well and truly - currently suffering from post holiday depression while trying to enjoy any last amount of freedom I have before I start my final year of uni. I have a couple more Bali outfits and photo diary posts up my sleeve so you can expect me to be pining over how much I miss that place for a little longer. 

PS. Hair isn't purple, it's just the editing. Though now I wish it was.

Photos by Debra Navaratnam. Girl has an eye for a good shot. Hello new blog photographer!

BTS. Shirt Up.

1, 3, 7: Andrew McIntyre
2, 4, 5: Christine Ai

Selamat sore all the way from Bali. Having an incredible time - white water rafting along the Ayung River, quad biking through the rice fields, having multiple dinners at various places in Seminyak. But more on that when I get back on Saturday. In the meantime, I thought I'd keep you all entertained with some behind the scenes shots from a shoot I styled late last year. I teamed up again with my talented photographer friend Christine and took to Walsh Bay for an exploration of a classic wardrobe essential: the button up shirt. Forgoing the staple crisp white shirt, we instead opted for variations on a theme - fuchsia, embroidered, sheer, pajama print and pleated shirt dress. I was stoked to have styled my first on location shoot (personally I think it's easier than studio because the background really helps pull all the other elements together) and had a great team supporting me. The shoot will be published in the second issue of Lovage magazine next month so keep an eye out for that!

Photographer: Christine Ai | Stylist: Melissa Ong
Hair & Make-up: Gia Mills | Model: Serena Hodgson
Assistant: Bill Liu | BTS: Andrew McIntyre

ball so hard.

Let me introduce you to my first love. Before fashion (but maybe not before ponies) there was basketball. If you've met me in real life, you'd know that I'm pretty short and not of the ballin' kind at all. But it's been a sport I've played since I was 10 - initially as a way to spend more time with my friends and to look more like a tomboy. It stuck with me throughout high school where I ending up refereeing at local and school competitions and eventually ended up playing representative basketball for a year. I dropped it during the serious high school/ HSC years but realised how much I missed it after shooting some hoops in between this shoot. Shoot. How confusing. 

This look is really an ode to my favourite sport. After finally tracking down this Celeste Tesoriero tee and getting a delivery from Matches with my Marants just as I was walking out the door - it only made sense to put together a varsity/ college/ sports inspired look. I was so convincing that the guys that were playing on the other court invited us to play with them until they realised I was wearing wedge sneakers and a sequin mini skirt (though I did a few sneaky lay ups and free throws in them... that was challenging). You'll be happy to know that I have since joined a mixed team with my friends from work and am back on the court where I belong. 

I'm heading off to Bali today with Debra. Most of my suitcase is actually filled with pieces I plan on shooting while I'm there (plenty of posts with tropical backgrounds to come) but unfortunately won't be taking my laptop so no updates from me for a week. Do not despair, in the interim you can keep up with our #instagramholiday by following @_melissao or heading to the blog Facebook page!

review. blow dry bar.

Shop 455, Macquarie Centre, Macquarie Park.
Photos by Debra & me

Sometimes the act of getting ready can be more satisfying than actually being 'out'. The reason I relished school formal season was not for the event itself, but the preparation. Getting your hair and makeup done is much more fulfilling (not to mention stress-free) when you're not doing it yourself. Therapeutic times sitting on the high chair at the makeup counter or reclining by the wash basin that were once reserved for special occasions (or getting a haircut) are now available on any ordinary day... without breaking the bank. Blow Dry Bar was founded in 2008 in Sydney after noticing a gap in the market for an affordable, quality blow dry. The chain has since expanded to over 20 locations around Australia.

I was invited to check out the salon at Macquarie Centre the other week to see what Blow Dry Bar was all about. A consultation with a stylist about what look I wanted to achieve (I said 'surprise me') but not without champagne or juice on arrival, followed by a relaxing wash and head massage with sweet smelling product. The outcome was a wispy side fringe, volume close to the roots and some tighter curls towards the ends. I wasn't going anywhere fancy that night (unless you count a work meeting) but I wish I had. The whole experience took around 30 minutes (though the attention to detail was still at its best) and only costs you a cool $40. I may have just found my new instant pick me up. So whether you're after a mood lift or confidence boost, going out, staying in or it just so happens to be your Treat Yo Self day, it's worth checking out Blow Dry Bar for a style - they also do hair cuts, colours, treatments and even blow dry parties. Bookings can be made here

Thanks to Kelly and Blow Dry Bar for letting me try out this great service. 

bain de bouche.

I'm an Aesop-aholic. When I went to restock my mandarin facial hydrating cream the other day, the sales assistant asked what I was using to cleanse, tone, moisturise and exfoliate in the hopes of giving me some sachets of other products to trial. To her surprise (but not to mine), I managed to reel off all the  products in my cabinet and realised I had something Aesop to combat everything. So you can imagine my excitement when I was contacted by Aesop to tell me all about their latest venture. Branching out into oral care, Aesop have released a mouthwash that is as good for your mouth as it looks. With delicious traces of spearmint and aniseed upon unscrewing the cap, at the post 30 second gargle mark, the flavour turned to hints of liquorice (though I'm not usually a liquorice person) - but in the best way possible. Made from botanical ingredients (like all other Aesop goodness), the alcohol free formula is gentle on even sensitive gums, leaving the inside of your mouth refreshed and clean. In line with their signature apothecary packaging, a 500mL bottle will set you back a mere $25. The perfect addition to your bathroom vanity (and another product to add to my collection)!

pumped up kicks.

Bobby Wedge Suede Sneakers (try Matches, Forward by Elyse Walker, Net-A-Porter and La Garconne)

Bobby meet world. After months of debating 'should I, shouldn't I?', pondering the life span of the wedge sneaker trend, I finally committed. After some serious lurking on this Purse Forum thread (highly recommended if you need any help with sizing/ who has stock) and frequenting online stockists daily, I settled on this beautiful Gris/ light grey (it was that or black or cream) which seems to change colour depending on the light. It's part grey, part taupe and part khaki - a combination of all my favourite last season shades. I can definitely vouch for the versatility of these kicks (as can everyone else who owns a pair) and I love that they make me look taller without the pain of heels. 

If you plan on buying anything designer, I'd also recommend Matches who shipped these shoes within three hours of me ordering. I purchased them Friday afternoon and received them Tuesday morning. Although I had to pay for it, I was impressed with the speed, packaging and service with my email enquiries.

Expect a post overload this next week. I've been out of action for the last week trying to spend as much time with Jack before he jets off to Japan for two weeks. I've got a whole bunch of posts I want to get through before I go to Bali next Friday so keep your eyes peeled for an outfit post, product reviews and my personal favourite, packing flat lays!