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  • Gold Coast's first "The High Tea Party" 2019

    I had another wonderful time at The High Tea Party - though this year was Gold Coast's first one. It was at the beautiful RACV Royal Pines Resort Gold Coast. The actual high tea was so delicious and scrumptious. Again, I recognised Stace Mcgregs, who gracefully modelled on the stage for the Birdsnest fashion design. I felt empowered seeing a diversity of models on the stage, not just the 'traditional' models during Intimo lingerie fashion show. The High Tea Party again "wow-ed" me with their events. I can't wait to go to this again.


    Above: What I wore to The High Tea Party today


    Above: The delicious high tea


    Above: Intimo lingerie fashion show


    Above: Stace Mcgregs modelling in Birdsnest's fashion


    Above: #OOTD - thanks Yari for capturing me!

  • INTERVIEW with Bella Wetten || The Bella Styling Co.



    Bella (Aka Isabel) is not just any stylist in Brisbane. She has a 10-year long corporate background and she founded The Bella Styling Co. She offers to help those in building Fashion Shows, Editorial Shoots, Fashion Brand Strategy and Personal Branding + Styling. Here I spend two minutes to interview Bella:

    SD: How did you get into styling?

    BW: Like any woman I've always loved style and fashion. I got into styling after re-inventing myself six years ago. I wanted to show my daughter that it's a great thing to put effort in yourself. 

    SD: You worked with Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival in March 2017. What was that experience like?

    BW: Let's just say that it was the most exciting moment of my life as a stylist. I knew I wanted to experience a big stage and Melbourne Museum delivered. It was like a dream. And putting together a fashion show for the Rachel Gilbert, Mischa, Camilla, By Johnny and Thurley I was literally living that dream for 10 straight days.

    SD: What is your favourite go-to outfit?

    BW: Currently loving my leather mini with a T-shirt and tailored jacket, Heels or sneakers. 

    SD: Describe your style in 3 words.

    BW: Elegant Street Chic.

    SD: What inspired you to create The Bella Styling Co. ?

     BW: The Bella Styling Co. started out as a personal branding and styling company but over time I re-evaluated where the company excels and we are now a team of 11 people putting together fashion events in Brisbane. My inspiration is always the fashion greats that have made their mark before us. Fashion is forever evolving and to leave your mark as a contributor to it's growth and evolution is inspiration in itself.

     SD: What’s an important life lesson you learnt from fashion?

    BW: The fashion will have life if you give it life. Celebrate it!

    SD: If you could only wear one designer for the rest of your life, who would it be?

    BW: Oh you gotta ask me the hard questions. I think it has to be Carla Zampatti. When I used to work in corporate in Sydney, I would always walk pass the Carla Zampatti on Kent Street and see people carrying fashions in garment bags. Stylish women standing out the front of the establishment on their phones speaking in different languages.

    SD: What’s the most fun part of your job?

    BW: Seeing creations are fun. And to me it's like putting together a puzzle and the end result is always spot on.

    SD: Most challenging?

    BW: Emotions are challenging. You have to deal with them in an appropriate way. Sometimes when it is so busy we disregard how others feel but on the other side of that we should because there is a job to do. A clear and concise explanation works all the time.

    SD: What’s one thing you’d never put a client in?

    BW: I would never put something that will result to a cringe. I dress clients according to body shape and style identity and the result of that is their style. But if a piece makes them cringe then its not a go. 

    SD: Who is your favourite designer? And why?

    BW: Carla Zampatti is one. Then Gabrielle Chanel. It's their stories that make me love them. How they pushed through to make something of themselves and how their brand has evolved through the changes in time.

    SD: Describe a time in your career where you felt you could say, "I made it".

    BW: I think I can say that I made it because I am doing what I always wanted to do. There's so much more to learn and so much more to experience. There might have been a few detours along the way but when I did my first fashion show when I was 14 I knew that I was meant to do this. 20 years on I will be celebrating this on 4 July 2019 so stay tuned.

     

  • Night of Cultures

    Last night I went to Night Of Cultures at the most prestigious event venue - Heritij, on North Quay on Brisbane city. It was a charity event raising funds for Leukaemia - the organiser's mum passed away from ovarian cancer and this was a night of getting together to help out. The Indian food was delicious and so were the desserts. There were entertainment from The Tapori Squad and also from traditional Fijian dancers, as well as a glamorous fashion show featuring different cultures - from traditional sarees to bridal to formal wear. It was an amazing night, we ended the night by dancing our hearts out at the end. Thank you Feriel Ali, Mrs Fiji Universal, for inviting me to your great event!


    Above: My outfit of the day. Wearing earrings from Jadewood Design, choker from Alannah Hill, one dress from Niki Teljega, and the other dress from Talulah.


    Above: Fijian Dancers


    Above: Marie Hillard, Ambassador and Brisbane blogger from The Brisbane Girl wearing Starfire Diamond


    Above: My bestie, Yari


    Above: Scrumptious petit desserts


    Above: The beautiful The Brisbane Girl (aka Marie Hillard)

  • An Afternoon With The Girls

    What an empowering day at An Afternoon With The Girls event held on the Gold Coast at Crowne Plaza. The speakers of this wonderful event spoke with such vulnerability and honesty. Speakers included Luka and Adelle - the people behind this event and others as well. There were scrumptious grazing tables, a make-up station, a divine flower wall, raffle prizes where the tickets sold would go to White Ribbon. Altogether as a group of 60 people, over $700 were raised for charity. Talk about group effort! I also really enjoyed using the Crowne Plaza space to do mini-photoshoots with my bestie, Louisa Parkinson. We had so much fun going to Gold Coast for this event, and we look forward to the next one! Such an amazing event.


    Above: #AWTG - yes! 


    Above: OTT Grazing table and donut wall!


    Above: Not as pretty as these desserts from The Sweet Things


    Above: One of the other guest speakers, Jess Schembri


    Above: My test subject/model for the day, Louisa Parkinson


    Above: Adelle and Luka


    Above: OOTD


    Above: With the beautiful people behind #AWTG

    Above: Louisa Parkinson at the flower wall


    Above: Thanks Louisa for taking photos of me!

     

  • The High Tea Party 2019

    What a wonderful day today. Louisa and I went to the Hilton Brisbane for The High Tea Party. We sat in the sold-out 12.30pm session. There were a few hundred guests and there was great entertainment from models wearing Intimo and Bird's Nest. I recognised Stace Mcgregs, a beautiful and confident curvy model. I loved her confidence on stage. The high tea was served with scrumptious sandwiches, petits and scones, as always. This was my second time to attend The High Tea Party - the previous one was so much fun as well.



    Above: My outfit for today

    Above: The scrumptious high tea



    Above: Stace Mcgregs strutting her confidence on stage


    Above: Shopping up a storm


    Above: My beautiful friend who came with me, Louisa Parkinson

    Above: At the pink carpet - how cute is it?!


    Above: With my bestie Louisa Parkinson

  • Because I Look 'Normal' Doesn't Mean I'm Not Mentally Ill


    I've been getting some recurring comments about how I look 'normal' and it seems I don't have a mental illness.

    Wrong.

    Being mentally ill has nothing to do with looking normal. I can have my moments, and have my mania and depressive episodes and still look 'normal'. I've been told I look like there's still life in me, and which makes me 'normal'. 

    If anything, I take these comments quite offensively. Or I could take it another way - don't give a f*** what they think. Whether or not I have life in me, I still have a chronic illness. 

    Mind you, there have been times I have been iller than before, to the point I couldn't bathe myself and feed myself. That was a long time ago.

    I still acknowledge that I have a mental illness, and although I may be 'better' now, I am managing this illness better - than IT managing me. I learnt to have a safety plan installed when something is going wrong. To be insightful of my triggers and side effects, and now a right action plan to solve problems to problems.

    Photo by Nina Timonen of Smile And Keep

  • What's It Like To Hear Voices


    "So you hear voices? Is it female or male?" - the psychiatrist asked me.

    I told him I couldn't differentiate whether they were female or male or not at the time. The psychiatrist continued to ask me more questions. 

    "Is it inside or outside your head? Do you think they control you or you control them?" - he continued with more questions.

    For those who don't hear voices, I've been told it's very hard for people to understand someone who hear voices. I learnt voices can appear when trauma is present in someone's life. Like for instance, the sexual trauma that I received. 

    Sometimes the voices have commanded me to do things to hurt myself and I had acted on it, to hurt myself. It can also be triggered by a lot of stress too. I started hearing voices when I was 14. At that time I wasn't aware I was hearing voices, and it was this age that I first attempted suicide. Looking back, I definitely was hearing voices - just wasn't aware of it.

    Throughout my twenties, I had episodes where voices were present and I had to be admitted to hospital for them and take specific medications for them. I try not to rely on these kind of medications too much, cause I think they can be quite addictive. I try other strategies like using my DBT (Dialetical Behavourial Therapy) skills, mindfulness and deep breathing. But the most effective way to 'get rid of them' was to take olanzapine.

    There is a connection with hearing voices and God too. As a Christian, I believe at times the voices were the works of Satan, and I have mistaken it for God's voice. It is very distressing to have these voices, and it tests my faith in God too. I have been offered prayers for against these voices. Sometimes I question whether I am a 'weak' Christian in some people's eyes - at times I felt judged by other Christians who didn't understand me or understand that it's all part of my chronic illness.

  • What I Wish I Knew About Love As A Disabled Person

    Having an invisible disability doesn't stop me from falling in love with someone. Of course, it wouldn't, as someone who is disabled, we can't limit ourselves to these sort of things. I haven't had 'much luck' when it came to romantic relationships. I first fell into an abusive relationship, emotionally and mentally when I was 19. I thought I was 'in love' with this person. We had met at a University social club, and he chased me and said 'I was hard to get'. In the first year, there was 'a lot of love', and I felt I was being heard all the time. The second year went downhill fast, there was a breakdown of communication, and I was abused sexually, not just mentally and emotionally. What had I wish I told myself before I 'dived into' in the relationship. I would wish someone told me these things:


    1) If I think this person is right for me, think again

    People change, and once they find something out about you that they don't like, they might possibly find another reason to forget you and move on. Don't fall easily into any relationship.

    2) Don't rush into it. Wait it out.

    Peoples' true colours will appear in due time, they might be all great and loving one year, and be abusive in the next (which I learnt the hard way). Take it easy and spend time knowing the person first.

    3) Find someone who is understanding and patient

    Having mania and depressive episodes, I need someone who has a listening ear and understands what I am going through. Don't jump into that relationship, if you find one thing good about the person, they might not overall be a good person

    4) Love hurts

    Love isn't all about exchanging pretty flowers, gifts and kisses. It's more than that. It takes hard work to build trust, be a strong communicator, to understand each other and compromising. Love will eventually hurt if one part or another is not fulfilled. 

    Photo by Nina Timonen from Smile and Keep

  • How Public Speaking Made Me More Confident


    When I was in high school, and if there was an oral presentation, I would always to try to make up a reason to not do it. Like many, I had the fear of public speaking back then. I was doubting in myself and how I delivered the content of the speech. But as I grew older, and learnt that I had an interesting story to tell, I wanted to challenge the fear of public speaking - and just do it. I have been on stage talking about sexual violence and how it impacted me. I have talked on the stage about my mental and fashion blogging. I also recently was given the opportunity to talk about my art at an art exhibition called "Lunar Down Under: Asian Art" at Arts From The Margins. I felt my heart was about to jump from my heart, but I received feedback on the same day that I spoke and look confidently.

    I was thrilled to hear this sort of feedback.

    Maybe public speaking isn't so bad? 

    There was something about beating the doubts and nerves after doing a public speaking gig. I felt accomplished. I felt successful, in my own ways. I grew confidence as I tackle each speaking gig that I received. One after another. I crave for more, I want to educate people about mental health through my story. I want to change and make an impact. And I am doing it.




  • INTERVIEW with Luka Alford & Adelle Ferguson || An Afternoon With The Girls Event


    Coming this March 30 this year, there is an exciting event I would like to share with you all. If you love being inspired, empowered and networking with other strong and resilient women out there, this event is for you. It will be at the glamorous Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise from 12pm-4pm this year. There will be raffles, food and plenty of beverages for ticket holders. And here I spend two minutes to interview the founders behind the event, "An Afternoon With the Girls" - Luka Alford and Adelle Ferguson

    SD: Tell us a bit about yourself - your passions, and your motivations behind hosting your event.
     
    LA: My name is Luka and I’m a 23 year old single mum to a beautiful little 11 month old girl Wynter. I left a very toxic relationship when Wynter was just 4 weeks old and knew that I wanted more for myself and definitely more for her. I studied personal development every day to change my mindset and learnt about self-love and self-worth and how important it really is. I also learnt how much I was lacking it. After learning all this I felt compelled to share it with other women who may know of someone in a similar situation or be in a situation themselves that is less than desirable. My passion behind this event is so strong and the outcome I hope to achieve is connecting other like minded young women to share their stories and connect with each other to form supportive friendships and of course learn about self love and self development.
     
    AF: I am a mum to a Beautiful baby girl and happily engaged to my gorgeous Fiancé. My biggest passion in life is to empower many women around the world. My passion comes from a place of abuse growing up. I want to inspire women and show them that no matter our story, we don’t have to let it define who we are. My motivation behind our event is knowing there are so many women struggling with their circumstances and feeling lost with how to overcome certain things they have been through. I want to teach them how to love themselves and also know their self worth because every women is truly beautiful.
     
    SD: Which part of the event are you most excited about?
     
    LA: I am most excited to meet with so many women face to face! I connect with a lot of women over social media but we’re all nation wide if not world wide so it’ll be so nice to finally get that personal connection and form an even closer friendship.


    AF: Most excited about, this is so hard to answer because I look forward to the whole entire day. I cannot wait to meet all the beautiful women who attend, listen to other incredible women share their stories and knowledge. If I had to just pick one answer it’s knowing all the women their will feel so empowered, it’s knowing we are helping them to over come situations that don’t serve them, it’s knowing they will feel so much more love and self worth towards themselves.
     
    SD: What should we expect on the day of the event?
     
    LA: A lot of real and raw stories about what some of us women have been through but also a lot of really inspiring, motivational and uplifting outcomes we have all experienced. Oh and of course plenty of laughs, food and a few champagnes to wrap up the day.

    AF: 
    I will be sharing my story of over coming abuse as a child. Other women will be speaking about self love and worth. Successful business women will be sharing their boss babe stories.
    Opportunity to meet like minded women and many new friendships. A day full of glam, a few champers, cheeses and a ton of EMPOWERMENT!
     
    SD: What inspired you the most to create an event like this?
     
    LA: The stories that I get on a daily basis about what young women are either currently going through or have been through, really is my inspiration for the day, they deserve a place to learn, connect and have fun!

    AF:  
    Growing up in an abusive home and being sexually abused from my step father at the time from 5 years of age. I suffered that abuse for 5 years. I watched my whole family suffer. My mum was beaten to near death many times. I watched my siblings suffer terrible abuse. Childhood was not a great memory for me at all. I struggled growing up but everything I know now is self taught and it’s because of many wonderful supportive people that helped me get to where I am. I am such a happy woman with a heart full of love and I know if I can get through many tough times. I know I can inspire many more women to over come situations they may have been in, teach self worth and love and to be genuinely happy.
     
    SD: How do you want women to feel after attending your event?
     
    LA: I want them to feel extremely confident in themselves and know that they can achieve absolutely anything and also to feel that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing there are so many women out there who are supporting you and who are wanting to connect with you.

    AF: I want them to know it’s possible to feel so happy within yourself, I want them to LOVE themselves because they are so dam incredible! I want them to feel so empowered and know they can achieve anything they put their mind to.

    SD: What is your favourite go-to quote to inspire other women?
     
    LA: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”
     
    I live my life by this.

    AF: 
    "I am enough"
     
    "I have always been enough"
     
    "I will always be enough"
     
    "- Always be you -"


    You can click here to purchase tickets. Don't forget to choose the Golden Ticket to fully be pampered. See you all there at the event!