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Fashionista ~ Career Woman ~ Op Shopper ~ Online Shopping Addict ~ Bargain Hunter ~ Child Rearer ~ Book Reader ~ Social Commentator

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life Right Now...



A short summary of my life right now:
  • Work is a curious (and annoying) mixture of waiting around doing nothing, and being insanely busy. To be a junior…
  • The boy drought continues. I have been trying online dating but haven’t met anyone I’ve ‘clicked’ with. Perhaps I’m too fussy!
  • I’m counting down until Christmas (literally…there is a countdown on my phone LOL), after which I have a week off in Melbourne for a friend’s wedding and some catch ups with Melbourne family and friends. I can’t wait!
  • I’m planning a holiday to Nepal in March/April 2015. Bring on some motivation to research and book it!
  • I’m on the Lite & Easy diet program at the moment. I’ve had limited success, but that’s because I have been cheating and doing no exercise.
  • My housemate who has lived with me for 2 years will be moving out in January… new start, yay!

What's hot (aka the list of stuff I'm enjoying):
  • Verge collecting, ‘kerbing’ or scavenging through peoples bulk rubbish collections. I have just started doing this and am somewhat hooked.
  • Chocolate. Food in general.
  • Scented candles which smell like chocolate or lollies, or other food that I need to eat less of.
  • Succulents and nurturing my ever growing collection.
  • Garage sales and op shopping, my true love.
  • Complaint memes on Instagram. These get me through work days!
  • The Hunger Games. A great first movie and I can’t wait to see the second and third, but I have to ask – why would anyone think up such a sick idea!?
  • The prospect of a new housemate.
What's not:
  • Work, and lacking job inspiration / passion.
  • The energy/effort required to find a new housemate.
  • My never-ending battle with food and dieting.
  • Spending too much money on meaningless crap to make myself feel better.
  • Clutter, and my hoarding and collecting tendencies.
  • Worrying about the future. I need to concentrate more on the present!
 Quote of the moment:


Garage Sale Trail 2014 Haul


I had fun at the garage sale trail again this year, with plenty of sales on in my area. It was great to be able to go to so many close together in one day! I didn't do as well as I did last year, and this time I probably accumulated some junk items which I don't LOVE.... and which I'll end up offloading in the future! Here is some of the haul:

 3 piece tiled hook together with wooden box with old bottles $12
Basket holding little jars $4
Gorman dress $5
Brown hat $2
Crystal vase $5
Blue glass vase $2
Twig and metal box $1
Leather clutch $5
Leather purses $2 each
 



Recent Retro Finds... and My Courtyard!

I haven't been on here for a while but thought it timely to share some of my recent finds :) I randomly saw a garage sale sign when I was driving home from brunch on the weekend and hit the jackpot with cute and cheap retro goodies.

Mushroom cannister trio in perfect condition - $2
Glass flower bowl - 50c
Enamel pot and pan, with handles to be attached, brand new - $5 the set
Ikea floral glasses - $1 for 6

I then splurged and bought this Singer sewing table complete with sewing machine for $150. I love it :) It's pictured here with my retro lamp and some other goodies on it.

 This is my cute succulent collection. The wrought iron wagon is a favourite, it was $25 at a garage sale as part of this years garage sale trail. The wrought iron stand, vintage drawer and the majority of pots (including the big blue strawberry planter) are verge collection freebies!

This is the other side of my courtyard. Again, lots of verge collection finds including the strange fish sculpture and garden gnomes which I spray painted gold. The blue strawberry planter was $8 from a garage sale.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Life right now...

A short summary of my life right now:
  • My house stinks of cat pee, or more accurately, peromone filled cat spray. My cat keeps spraying into the gas heater, despite my efforts to keep it covered with a plastic tablecloth. I turn it on and the house quickly fills with a vomit inducing odour. This has happened about 5 times now, and it's putrid. I have invested in a Sureflap cat door which I am getting installed soon - it reads microchips and will only let my cat inside. I'm hoping that this will reduce his stress levels as I have seen other neighbourhood cats come into the laundry through his cat flap...
  • The boy drought continues. I have not met a single prospect. I know that the reason is probably because I'm desperate and that if I stop looking and trying so hard, it will just happen... I have always had difficulty just living in the present and not stressing about the future, and this is no different. It is very depressing.
  • Work is boring. I'm over it.
  • I spent an idyllic week relaxing at an amazing hotel in Lombok recently. I really need to plan another trip so I have something to look forward to.

What's hot (aka the list of stuff I'm enjoying):
  • Shopping. As always.
  • Kids. They brighten the darkest days, I love their outlook. 
  • Adventure. I'm yearning for it.
  • Snuggling with my kitty cat on cold nights.
  • 'I Didn't Know I was Pregnant' - the most hilarious TV show. 
  • Chocolate. Food in general.
  • Warm bubble baths.
  • 5 star island paradise hotels and daily massages.
  • Instagram. 12 months on and still lovin' it.
  • Stumbling across a random garage sale on my street and buying unique and cheap items.
  • Succulents. I haven't killled mine yet, in fact, they're spreading.
What's not:
  • Smelling cat pee on everything. Getting down on hands and knees to clean up cat pee.
  • Discovering suspect looking stains all over my housemate's carpet with the help of my UV light which I bought to show up cat pee. Disturbing.
  • My housemate's inability to assist with any household chores, and inability to turn lights off or keep his bathroom window open so that he doesn't cause water damage (which has already happened).
  • My waist line, and not being able to eat unlimited chocolate.
  • Work. Going there every day. Getting through every day. Everything about it. 
  • Spending too much money on meaningless crap to make myself feel better.
  • Spending too much money on my cat in the form of expensive urine cleaner, an expensive cat flap and installation which involves having a whole glass sliding door replaced.
  • Clutter, and accumulating more meaningless crap.
  • Worrying about the future.
  • Meaninglessness. 
  • Loneliness.

Quote of the moment:


Current Wishlist - July 2014


 My current wishlist is very summery. It's not that I don't like winter, I do definitely prefer summer fashion though.


Let it be said that I also have my eye on this Caroline Morgan 'ribbon' dress....

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Why Australia is not becoming America, and the HECS system still works



I am sick of reading alarmist media coverage and facebook statuses proclaiming that Australia is becoming America. The people making these comments probably have little understanding or appreciation of the “student debt crisis” in America, or the key differences between the US system and the Australian system post 2014 budget.
 
In this post, I am not attempting to offer an opinion on whether the government’s deregulation of university fees is positive or negative overall. This is a very complex question, there are many unknowns, and even the experts disagree. What I will tell you is why I don't think the 2014 budget means that Australia is becoming America, and why we won't have some sort of student debt crisis in the future.

The first thing to note is that regardless of how high the loan balance is, HECS loans are only repayable as a percentage of income that you actually receive. That means if you are unemployed or a low income earner, you don’t pay anything.

The student loan market in the US is complicated and there are various types of loans available. Many of these loans are repayable regardless of employment status and amount earned. This has created issues with rising unemployment levels during the GFC – people lose their jobs and then default on student loan repayments. 

The most flexible loans in the US (federal loans) allow deferral of repayments in some circumstances, but those circumstances are not as generous as under the HECS system. Under HECS, if you don’t earn, you don’t pay. If you do earn, you only pay a percentage of your income, and this percentage starts off small and only rises as you earn more. In 2009, 31% of US graduates reported paying over 12% of their income in education debt repayments (Source). Currently in Australia, the maximum you’ll ever pay is 8% of your income and you have to be earning over $80k to do that!

The second thing to note is that in America, private loans are often taken out by students to finance the gap between the cost of education and federal student loan limits. Most often, these loans are offered by private institutions (ie banks) and they are much more expensive and less flexible than federal loans. 

The closest analogy in an Australian context is taking out a personal loan or home loan with an Australian bank. With these loans, the bank is taking on the risk of the loan, and although they might offer limited hardship relief, it won’t be long before they’ll enforce the security underlying the loan (ie, repossess your house or car or your parent’s house or car if they guaranteed your loan) if you default. Repayments are fixed regardless of how much you earn or whether you have a job. Interest rates are generally variable, which is a risk factor because they could rise substantially depending on the economy. The banks look out for themselves – they are for-profit institutions.

The vast majority of Australians would never consider taking out a personal loan to pay for their accommodation during university, let alone their tuition fees. In America, this is much more commonplace. 

Finally, let me say that we don’t know exactly what will happen to university fees now that they will be deregulated. Currently, the average ratio of student loans to income is much higher in the US than it is here, and that might change. Personally, I think the statement in this article that “universities will increase tuition fees to international student fee levels, which are currently about three times higher. The Group of Eight universities will do that pretty quickly” may be an exaggeration. 

Even if it isn’t, my simplistic thoughts on the matter are:
  • If a degree costs 120k, people will be less likely to study one that is less likely to lead to a decent income and employment (I’m thinking an arts degree).
  • People might get some experience in the workforce and start studying later, which can be very positive (I personally wish I’d done this for various reasons).
  • If less people go to university, this would make it easier for graduates to find work. It might also over time push up salaries in careers requiring a degree.
  • More people will consider TAFE and apprenticeships (and the Government’s 2014 budget measures to encourage these options and make them more financially viable are to be applauded). I personally think that too many people go to university when they would be more suited to doing a trade or TAFE course. We have skill shortages in some trades, and graduates of certain degrees can’t find a job because of oversupply. This imbalance needs to be corrected.
I don’t like how HECS interest will rise to cover the Government’s cost of lending, but I suppose it does encourage people to pay off their loan faster. Ultimately it reduces the cost to the Government of providing these loans, and there is scope for the Government to reduce the interest charge if that’s feasible down the track (wishful thinking…)  Yes it sucks, but like ever rising taxes, I think that we’ll grumble and then move on.

If I have gotten anything wildly wrong, as always, please comment and correct me!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Current wishlist

The Elephant Duvet Cover By Valentina Ramos and matching sham set - $90US and $34US at Urban Outfitters

Deny Designs also stocks a much more extensive (and expensive) range of Valentina Ramos designs, even sheet sets. The sheet sets are 199 USD and queen duvet covers 249 USD:




Trelise Cooper If it aint Baroque Rug - $299 at Ezibuy


A Sunflower bloom umbrella, $38 at Peter's of Kensington. Sunflowers are one of my favourite flowers!

Colourful pompom rug - from Etsy or maybe I could make my own - the DIY ones aren't as pretty though!
 
Water Man Jug by Casa Uno - rrp around $95. The water would taste better, surely.
 
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