adventure is out there.

Photos by Christine Ai. See the full set here.

In what I dubbed to be my #YOLO year, 2013 was set to be a year of firsts, impulse decision making, not overthinking things, independence and hard work. So when I heard my uni was offering an in-country study at Peking University in July, I had made my decision to go and within a day had already started organising applications and paperwork. I’m just about ready to jet-off tomorrow morning and I’m starting to get cold feet. While I’ve been dying to have a little exchange experience of my own (seriously half my news feed is full of pictures of friends overseas), I’m already starting to miss the idea of not having my family, friends and Jack around, of not being able to fall into my usual routine of work, gym, sleep and missing all the healthy, clean food I have come to love from my little fitness stint. This was probably the reason I decided not to apply for a six month exchange last year.

A month isn’t very long when you put it into perspective, but long enough to be able to experience the culture and lifestyle and of course my number one priority: get better at the language. I’ve been studying Mandarin since I started uni (and even before that when I was little) but I’ve never really been confident at speaking, writing or reading. I’ve never been a ‘language’ person, nor have I ever had enough time in the last three years to dedicate towards mastering it. I’m hoping that studying in country for a month solid and being able to put it into practice in the real world will stop me from just ‘getting by’ during my last semester of uni come August.

Unfortunately with all this worldly experience and development happening, I’ll be putting the blog on the backburner for the next month. I’ve decided not to take a fancy camera (and I’m packing a touristy variation of tee+shorts+sneakers) and have no idea whether my roomies are avid photo takers so expect less style posts and more travel related content. Thre will be plenty of scenery, food and hopefully shopping guides with my usual personal reflections and maybe some editorial inspo and collages for my fashion fix. So stayed tuned for my Beijing Adventure. It’s going to be life-changing…

sweater weather.

J Crew sweater, J Brand jeans, Isabel Marant sneakers.

When my car windows start fogging up every five seconds without the AC on and I find myself reaching for the black coat, black jeans and black boots combo I know it’s well and truly winter. Undoubtedly my favourite fashion supply to stock up on each season has been the thin knit (and yes I happen to be wearing one right now), little sister to the chunky oversized one. Possibly it’s biggest selling point is its ability to be layered under my fitted jackets without looking like the Michelin man in the arms and be able to wear it during the transition seasons with shorts and skirts. My secret weapon to amp up its coziness? Uniqlo thermals (I now have five from two trips Jack has made to Japan) which have a low enough scoop-neck to be invisible under my knits, jumpers and sweaters – sorry Kathmandu, you just never ‘cut’ it.
It is weird however, wearing a sweater without a layer underneath (you can’t see the v neck but even my faithful Uniqlo don’t make thermals with that kind of a neckline, but then again that would be almost counterproductive) but I’ll overlook that semi-wool itchy feeling because I really like the way J Crew styled it on their website. But the navy is just a tad too dark and the exact shade of my woollen school jumper I would wear on top of my white shirt and navy tunic. If I were you, I’d suggested the staple heather grey or navy dockside. I hear white jeans are making a comeback this winter too and I personally love the idea of wearing something as unpractical as white jeans (only to the clumsy like myself) to give a fresh, clean spin on an otherwise neutral and muted colour scheme of black, grey and navy.
In other news, Google Reader will be retiring on July 1, so make sure you follow me (and all your other saved blogs on Google for that matter) on Bloglovin' to keep up to date with my latest happenings.
Photos by Andrea Lee


I assume, by now, you have my wardrobe all figured out - especially because I’m not permitted to buy anything new until the end of the month (except stocking up on some travel essentials namely Rayban Wayfarers and Aesop goodness). If you’ve seen me around lately you’ll have realised I wear a striped top of some kind, skinny jeans and sneakers day in day out. It’s sad that I have been reduced to such repetition lately (even sadder that Jack has a better wardrobe than I do now – oh how the tables have turned).
The last time I wore this top, I went all out at Fashion Week and paired it with Josh Goot. But as the title of this post suggests, its versatility (as hopefully with most other items in my possession) is its winning quality – though the mesh back comes a close second as you can deduce by my multiple over the shoulder looks. I gain much satisfaction when I find new ways to style hefty purchases. It validates my ability to be able to pick timeless, low cost-per-wear pieces. Once again I reverted to my failproof black hat/ ankle boots combo which seems to add a hint of festival/ boho/ winter chic.
There’s only a Services Marketing exam and four days left of my internship (and every other free day spent at work) that stands between me and Beijing which is kind of scary being thrown into the deep end (here’s hoping I swim and not sink) but exciting because I get to explore a foreign land (and shop on my own for the first few days). You’ll hear more about #melsasianadventure (which should really be my China adventure but there wasn’t a synonym for adventure that started with C for alliteration’s sake) soon.
Photos by Andrea Lee

eQUIP yourself giveaway.

I would probably consider myself a professional intern by now. Almost four years and counting in the business (of free labour in exchange for career experience), I’ve been fortunate enough to work across fashion PR, digital, editorial, wardrobe, events and marketing. But the one thing that has always intrigued me is buying. And it’s not just about attending events, showings and appointments – knowing what consumers want even before they know themselves is nothing short of a challenge (and I’m told there’s lots of number crunching too). I always love hearing how people got their start in the industry so who better to pick the brains of than eQUIP’s buying controller, Julie Baker.

Tell us a bit about your background in fashion.
J: After graduating from university with a degree in fashion and textile design I initially worked as a printed textile designer producing artwork for fashion retailers. However after meeting the Buyers who came in to purchase the print work I realised that Buying sounded like a much more interesting a varied job.
I then went on to work as a buyer and buying controller for a number of major UK retailers including Marks and Spencer, River Island and Topshop before moving to Australia to work for Equip. 

What's been the most challenging part of your career so far?
J: There have been so many challenges over the years but the constant challenge is keeping up with the changing trends. With the growth of the internet a new trend or must have can literally spread around the world in less than 24 hours. Then the race is on to make sure that you have that in stores as soon as possible. Not spotting or being late with a trend just isn’t an option.

What's the best part about working for eQUIP?
J: The team are the best. From the Buying office to Marketing and VM onto the warehouse and in stores. Everyone is so enthusiastic about the brand and the products. 

What are some of the trends we can expect eQUIP to explore in the coming months?
J: There is a lot more colour coming through from rich jewel tones in Autumn Winter through to vivid brights and soft pastels in Spring Summer. It's all about colour.

What does a regular day look like for an eQUIP buyer?
The best bit is there isn’t a regular day. Sometimes its spent in the office poring over budget sheets, or signing off new product launches.  Other days we could be travelling the world, looking at emerging trends in NY, LondonParis and Tokyo, or visiting our factories in China and India to review production. Then it might be a store visit anywhere in Australia and New Zealand to get feedback on what customers are loving.

What's your top tip for accessorising?
Always accessorise, even if its just a pair of sunglasses or a pair of earrings! A well chosen accessory can really lift any outfit out of the ordinary and into a statement about you and your style.
Most prized possession: All my old photo albums.
Last big splurge: A pair of Karen Walker sunglasses and a holiday.
Favourite holiday destination: It keeps changing but at the moment Bali for total relaxation.
Your current favourite things: Sydney rock oysters, mangoes, the new Best Coast album and the TV series Girls.
Words to live by: Treat people as you wish to be treated yourself. 

I’ve been so caught up with a little something called life that I seem to have missed my blog’s second birthday last month. Luckily eQUIP have me covered – or should I say equipped? They’ve kindly offered one of my fab readers the chance to win an eQUIP gift pack worth $100 including a mixture of sunglasses, jewellery and a bag. Plenty of arm, ear and neck candy to see you through the season!
To enter simply:
1. Like eQUIP on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
2. Like Flourished & Sunkissed on Facebook.
3. Comment below with your name and email address.
Giveaway closes Friday 21st June. Open to Australian residents only.

winter is coming.

After all the ominous fog covered mornings this week, there's no doubt that winter is truly on its way. It was only few days ago I pulled out my two winter staples: my black wool coat from Japan and my beloved Acne boots. This year my stint with winter is short livedbut by the time I realised that I had already purchased three lightweight knits, black skinnies and ankle boots. I'll be heading to Beijing in July for an intensive language learning course, where the temperature is supposedly a scorching 30 degrees.

In spite of this speedier-than-usual seasonal transition winter is coming nonetheless (so they've been saying for the last three seasons). I was stoked when ASOS asked me to take part in their State of Fashion campaign and represent NSW alongside some of my favourite bloggers. I've always thought of Sydney winter dressing as an absolute pain especially having to trek to the city for uni or to intern, it's freezing in the morning, warms up during the day and then returns to chilly in the evening. And sadly a coat just isn't the most practical thing when you've got your laptop and 1kg Chinese textbook to lug around. It's all about layers. And while layering isn't exactly my forte (I attempted a v neck sweater over a button up shirt this morning and I looked like a check out chick in uniform), I can always turned to my one and only Veda jacket to right my styling wrongs. And of course no outfit is ever complete (for me anyway) without a (matching) khaki fedora.

ASOS want to see your winter wardrobe and are giving one lucky superstyler a $1000 ASOS voucher. Submit your look to be in the running and rally votes. You've already got mine (seriously link your entry and I'll vote for you!).

Photos by Andrea Lee