deluminators

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December 29, 2016

2016

Is that another year over? Completely insane. 2016 was hard, my last year of med school, but it was one I enjoyed.


December 27, 2016

Midi, take three



Uniqlo t-shirt / Topshop skirt / Evolution tote / DW Watch* / Dune boots.

This skirt has been hanging in my closet for about three years, getting very little love. I've discussed how difficult I found it to wear before. I decided to give it another try the other week, since most of my summer clothes were packed for my trip. And you know what? It works for me now. Previously I'd thought it made my legs look short and my upper half look boxy in most of my tops, but over the last year or so I've been trying to let go of my hang-ups regarding my body and "flattering" clothing (see rule #2). Although a skirt like this is a bit off brand for me nowadays, I think I'm going to be welcoming it back into semi-regular rotation, especially because it's work appropriate too.

When this post goes up I would've been in Cancun for a few days now. Hope everyone's had a good Christmas!

This is a scheduled post. I'm currently overseas and reading your comments via email, but won't be able to reply immediately.

December 22, 2016

Tromsø

Last of the posts from February/March this year. After Oslo, we went up to Tromsø, above the Arctic Circle. Yep, we wanted to see the Northern Lights! It's also a nice town in itself. Even though it gets a lot of tourist traffic, it still felt really regular-people-going-about-their-lives.


December 20, 2016

Oslo

More backlogged travel posts! After my London elective in February this year, my friend and I went to Norway before finally going home. We only had about a day and a half in Oslo, as more of a stopover before heading further north. I found Oslo much quieter and smaller than I expected. It was less touristy than Copenhgen and Stockholm.


December 18, 2016

Summer accessories


The bits and pieces that I've been wearing with my summer outfits. Unfortunately, only the sunnies are packed for the trip - none of the others made the cut, so I'm showing them a little love in this post.

  • Sunglasses. They're cheap no-name sunnies I bought from MD Ranking, one of those Asian imported goods stores along George St. I think they're Gentle Monster knockoffs. Despite that, these are actually the best-fitting sunglasses I've ever tried - they actually sit on my nose and not my cheeks. If I were ever to splurge on sunnies I'd definitely want an Asian brand.
  • Daniel Wellington watch*. I have this thing where I need to match leathers, so I'm glad I have a strap which matches my sandals now.
  • Saltwater sandals. I can't believe I used to make myself walk around in boots in hot weather. Despite the fact that they're not work appropriate and not practical enough to take travelling, I don't regret buying these at all because I've been living in them these past few weeks.
  • Evolution tote bag. I bought this on a whim on my last trip to NYC, four years on and it's still going strong! I should probably wash it...
This is a scheduled post. I'm currently overseas and reading your comments via email, but won't be able to reply immediately.

December 15, 2016

Stockholm

Another extremely belated travel post. I visited Stockholm over a weekend in February this year, when I was doing my elective placement in London for the month (I still can't get over how quickly you can fly to other countries in Europe). I was comparing it to Copenhagen the whole time. Stockholm is more fun to wander around as I preferred its architecture, but I felt like Copenhagen had a younger and more fun vibe. However, Stockholm is marginally less expensive and I could actually afford a cup of coffee there.


December 13, 2016

Copenhagen

I'm finally finishing off the posts about last summer's trip! These photos are when we visited Copenhagen in January this year. Copenhagen is a seriously cool city, everyone's really well dressed and there are a lot of hip restaurants and bars around. Unfortunately, it's also a really expensive one. A coffee was about $8AUD, and we paid about $16AUD for ordinary Thai takeout. And for some reason, our hostel didn't have a kitchen to make our own food. Being about two months into my trip, I was really feeling the expense, and we both felt like the city may have been better experienced if we had more money.


December 11, 2016

Toiletries in a carry-on



The hardest part about packing for carry-on only was trying to get my toiletries into an acceptable clear resealable bag. What made it even harder was that basic toiletries apparently hard to come by in Cuba, where I would be at the beginning of the trip. After a lot of deliberation and decanting, I whittled my liquids down to these.

General hygiene
3-in-1 bodywash/shampoo/conditioner(purple top). I actually use this everyday, so it's not a huge concession. Deodorant and toothpaste are self-explanatory. I just need enough to last until after Cuba, which is just under two weeks into the trip.

Keeping healthy
Hand sanitiser, sunscreen and insect repellant (pink top). Again, needing these to last until I get back to Mexico.

For the face
My cleanser decanted (blue top), travel-size of my usual Mecca sunscreen, and full sizes of my night moisturiser and Effaclar Duo. I usually also use a retinol cream and a BHA treatment on my face, which I think I can do without for a month. I couldn't manage to squeeze my tube of benzoyl peroxide spot treatment into the bag. I may still go and buy a smaller tube of a spot treatment, as I don't trust my skin to behave. I'm assuming I won't be able to buy these easily until I get to NYC.

Vanity
For makeup I'm just bringing concealer (in addition to my eyebrow pencil). I really wanted to bring hairspray as well but I felt like that was excessive.

Fingers crossed they let all this through security. If I had to ditch something... it would probably be the body sunscreen. Terrible I know, but I only usually use sunscreen when I sunbathe at the beach and I'm not planning to do that in Cuba. (Don't take my advice, sun protection is important.)

This is a scheduled post. I'm currently overseas and reading your comments via email, but may not be able to reply immediately.

December 8, 2016

El Camino

I stumbled upon this place online when I was looking for a place still taking bookings for dinner last Saturday. I think it's only a couple of months old. It serves tex-mex food and sounded reasonably priced despite being in The Rocks, so we went to check it out.


It's massive (several big rooms) and has funky decor.


The menus come as a vinyl in a cover! This place also has unlimited free corn chips and dip.


I had three tacos. The steak and fish weren't that great (my gold standard fish taco is at Barrio Cellar). The al pastor taco is the only one I'd get again. My friends were happy with their quesadillas and enchiladas.


Massive frozen margaritas which are really good, not too sour. I would come back here for these and the free corn chips! Might be a good happy hour haunt.

So this is the last post you're getting from me in real-time for the rest of the year! I'm leaving on my trip tomorrow, and I'm definitely feeling those pre-trip jitters. I'm not taking a laptop so I won't be able to post as I go, but I've queued up a bunch of posts (including the long overdue ones from Scandinavia early this year). Hope everyone has an amazing holiday season, see you on the other side!

December 7, 2016

Summer in sandals

Some more summer outfits. I've pretty much been living in these sandals - I'm kind of worried that my feet have expanded from all this foot-freedom they're getting, and that my other shoes won't fit anymore...


December 4, 2016

Mushroom pasta for people who can't cook


It's only this year that I've developed a thing for mushrooms (I used to pick them out of my food). I especially like mushrooms in pasta sauce, and after YY pointed out how easy it would be to make mushroom pasta, I decided to give it a go. And it was a mistake, because it is basically crack and way too easy to make. I'll never have to buy another jar of pasta sauce again and will probably die from all this butter I'm going to be eating. I hesitate to call this a recipe because I kind of just wing it with the ingredients, but trust me, if I can do it you can too.

Ingredients
  • Pasta (however much you need)
  • Mushrooms (however many you want based on your preferred mushroom to pasta ratio)
  • Butter (about 2-3 tablespoons for one serving)
  • Garlic (I use crushed garlic from a jar cause I'm lazy, but you can use fresh garlic if you're motivated)
  • Lots of cheese
Method
  • Melt some butter in a pan on medium heat (I start with two tablespoons when I'm making one serving).
  • You can start boiling the pasta in a separate pot at this point.
  • When the butter is melted, throw in a heaped teaspoon of crushed garlic.
  • When it starts making that sizzling noise, add the mushrooms and turn the heat up to medium-high.
  • If it looks like you need to, add another tablespoon of butter (but you should probably stop there).
  • When the mushrooms are cooked (it will start smelling delicious and mushroomy), turn the heat off, drain the pasta (which is usually done by this time) and add the pasta to the pan with the mushrooms.
  • Mix everything up and then add way too much cheese.
And that's it! I guess you could add cream at some point to make it a creamy pasta (we never have any cream on hand), and I think it would taste good with some spinach and chicken if you want to make it really nutritious. I should probably also try and do this with less butter...

December 1, 2016

1 month in a backpack

I'm off on my summer trip in a week, so it's time for me to wax lyrical about my packing again. I'm headed to Cuba (via a day in Mexico City), Playa del Carmen and Cancun in Mexico, Antigua in Guatemala, and then up to NYC, because I just love to torture myself with temperature extremes.


Image sources at Polyvore. Note these aren't the exact items I have.

When I need to consider packing for several seasons on one trip, I generally plan for the most contrasting weather/situations I'll be in, and then mix and match in between. This time it's the warmth and humidity in Cuba vs. really cold and possibly snowy in NYC. Packing has been a lot easier than last time, as I won't have to dress as conservatively in hot weather, and I don't have to pack smart clothes for hospital.

Outerwear
These worked for the last trip, so I'm packing the same. My friend is actually bringing my wool coat over from Sydney when I meet her in Cancun, which is really helpful. I know it would be more practical to get a down jacket that packs small to wear under my parka, but what can I say? I'm vain.

Bottoms
Skinny jeans for cooler weather, rayon drape pants for hot weather. I considered denim shorts, but I find them kind of uncomfortable and they're heavy for what they are.

Tops
Two t-shirts to wear for warm/mild weather, and one long sleeve top for NYC. I'm taking a risk here, but I'm banking on the fact that I'll be wearing my merino thermal underneath and I won't have to wash it.

Dress
A dress! The main lesson I learned from last time was that I needed better clothes for hot weather, and my smock dress is my best outfit for it. It's pretty short but neither Cuba nor Cancun call for more modest dressing, so I don't think I'll offend anyone.

Shoes
The #1 enemy of light packing. I deliberated over taking any number out of four pairs: Chelsea boots, sneakers, sandals, and Doc Martens. I'm only going to take the Chelsea boots, which I'm a bit nervous about. I ruled out the sneakers because they didn't really give me that many benefits over the boots, as I'm not doing anything too active and also because they're not as waterproof. I did want to take the sandals for the beach in Mexico, but I figured flip-flops (which I always pack, if only for shared showers) would do the same job. Docs I really strongly considered taking for NYC, but they're not worth the weight/inconvenience at airport security to just wear for a quarter of the trip (I learned the hard way to not wear them in hot weather). While my Chelsea boots hold up to wet weather well, I'm a little concerned about how cold my feet are going to get. My plan right now is to wing it, and if the cold becomes unbearable, buy a pair of wool socks in New York. Fingers crossed I come back with my feet still attached!

Accessories
Scarf, gloves, and hat which I'll need for New York. Even though they'd be easy to buy once I get to there, I dislike the idea of buying more winter accessories that I never even have to use in Sydney. Sunnies and watch self-explanatory.

This is probably the most brutal I've ever had to be with packing, because I want the first part of my trip (before I get my coat) to be carry-on only, and airlines flying out of Australia are pretty strict on carry-on weight (7kg). I'm actually going to be wearing the cardigan, one of the t-shirts, jeans and the boots on the plane, so it's not a lot of clothing to pack (although my bag always ends up filling up with random bits and pieces). Trying to get my liquid toiletries into a sandwich bag was even harder, I'll probably do a whole other post on that.