Monday, September 30, 2013

Meet The Sponsors - September Team!

I have another great group of sponsors for you to meet this month. You can find out a little bit more about them, check out their other social media links and read about my favourite product or post from each of these talented ladies. I also wanted to find out what their top 3 places to see were, so you can learn a little more about their personalities too :)

Hello, my name is Tera and I am the strange little crafty horror lover behind Tera Sue. I will do almost anything to get a laugh and I love beading, sewing, painting, watching movies, fashion, playing with my two dogs, Elvira (mini Dachshund) and Denali (Rott-German Shepherd) and singing. 
Unfortunately I haven't traveled much in my life, but my top three places to see would be:
My favourite post // 20 Random Facts About Me

Amy Grace is a petite blog about life and the joys that come with it! I'm nineteen and a lover of all things beauty! Come join my little world full of makeup rambles, life adventures and a junkies stash of cookbooks ♥
✈The first place I'd go to in a heartbeat is Paris! Purely because it would have to be the sexiest sounding language on the entire planet. And macaroons; Can't forget the macaroons!
✈Then Switzerland. Its the land of chocolate, need I say more???
✈And finally New-York. I think thats just so I can live out my dream of having a Carrie and Big apartment and sit around blogging in my in my undies and pearls, it does't get much better than that!!!!!
My favourite post // Skydiving & Bulli Beach

I'm an ewok trapped in a girl's body, who tries to blog brutal honesty and silly geekery. I blog about being engaged, home decor, design, food, geek girl couture, relationship advice and much more. I run an Etsy store that sells geeky stationery and stickers, and I co-founded the Geek Girl Pen Pals Club.
✈The Rainforest
✈Japan (I used to live there but I must go back!)

Hi, I'm Meghann of Miss Sweet Nothings. My little corner of the internet is full of the things I love; travel, musings on living a good and rewarding life and of course, delicious sweet treats! I also natter on about home decor, celebrate cocktail hour and chat about eco living.
The pyramids in Egypt (it's on the back burner due to the recent upheavals)
Rome, Italy (next year on our honeymoon!)
The Fjords in Norway
My favourite post // Coffee Muffins with Streusel

Hello, I'm Aubin! I'm the owner and artist behind Unrehearsed Kickline, a new online vintage and handmade accessories store. At Unrehearsed Kickline you'll find pop culture inspired accessories celebrating everything from Twin Peaks to The Monkees as well as a fabulous collection of vintage clothing. So click the shop link, stop on by, and join the Unrehearsed Kickline!
The top three places I'd love to see are:
✈Berlin to visit the site of the Berlin Wall and indulge my love of Weimar era art
✈The Andy Warhol Museum to see his sketches and installations
✈Los Angeles to take the Paramount Studios tour and visit the graves of my favorite stars from early Hollywood.
My favourite product // Sane Cat Lady Pin

Hi everyone , I am a tiny lady who loves fashion and vintage. I love anything exciting and inspiring so I try and share the same on my blog! Pop over and say hi!
✈The louvre in Paris
✈The NYC skyline
✈The beaches of Cyprus 
My favourite post // Knee Highs & Corduroy

Hi! My name is Violet and I am a 24 year old living in Indianapolis, Indiana and photographing everything. Come say hello!
✈Loch Ness Scotland
✈Redwood Forest in California

Thanks to all of my September sponsors! If you're thinking of advertising in October, how about taking advantage of my birthday ad sale? You can grab 40% off all ads, multiple ads, as many ads as you want! You need to get in before October 3, check out the details right here.


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Friday, September 27, 2013

Found #74

Goodness, it seems like I may finally be getting back into some semblance of a regular schedule (for now). I actually did find a few things on the web this week, owing to the fact that I actually spent more than 2 frantic minutes reading my email, but not responding (sorry everyone who I owe an email to - I'm getting there)

Since my life is flashing before my eyes at an alarming rate, I will definitely keep this on my radar. The Sun City Poms are an Arizona-based cheerleading group open to ladies aged 55 years and over. This fab lady is apparently 83 years old. I'm just putting it out there now. I hope I am at least half this cool (and flexible) when I am 83. Wow. Nice legs! I love this series of photographs from Todd Antony. It's pretty inspirational...

I came across the porcelain works of Seiko Wakasugi this week. They are very beautiful moulded pieces inspired by nature, I love how delicate and organic they are.

I liked these tights on Pinterest and a kind lady pointed me in the direction of where they can be found. I've seen them in a lot of stores lately, but this Australian based shop seems to have a pretty good price. Minimal cat tights :)

I have to share the latest concoction from my pal Aubin over at Unrehearsed Kickline. You could probably pair this brooch with the above tights and it would work. I think. For all the ladies out there who love cats, may be friends with multiple cats, but aren't necessarily crazy ;) I love Aubin's cute drawings! You can find this (and more cute handmade stuff + vintage clothes) in her Etsy store.

Does anyone know a good use for swizzle sticks? I suppose I could use these to hold a maraschino cherry in a nice whiskey champagne cocktail. But honestly, the occasion for drinking something so decadent rarely arises. Hm. Hors d'oeuvres? Whatever. I like these doll arm ones from Martha Rotten. This etsy store is full of handmade goodies of the dark kind and it's all made in the USA! Bonus :)

I just signed up for a calligraphy class on Skillshare. Have you seen this site? I've had my eye on it for awhile now, but this is the first course I've signed up for. They have a wide range of classes covering a tonne of topics from creative fields to business and even cooking! I'm a little daunted by the work some students have already posted (they're good!) but I'm hoping that I'll be able to work on my lettering skills. I'll let you know how I go! If you're interested in taking a course, you can use my referral link to get $10 off* your first course. Since this class was only $20, you can get a great saving!
*the skillshare referral program offers referrers an incentive of skillshare credits for any purchases made through the referral link

Ok, so my Bloglovin' feed is currently showing around 1500 unread posts. I'm normally pretty good about keeping that number more manageable but I've been a little slow on any blog reading lately. Take this as an official disclaimer that I may have missed some awesome posts this week! However. I think Kaelah wrote an interesting post on blogging that might be an informative read for other bloggers out there. I've noticed some of the things that Kaelah mentions about the demise of Google reader seeming to affect readership and engagement so I wonder what your experience has been.

It's the weekend, huh? This is my first week of working from home after finishing my contract and I've spent a lot of time trying to restart my brain. It's really difficult to snap back into work-mode when you're not being watched ;) I think that I had a bit of a lazy week, but I have a few things around the house that got done and I also had some much needed downtime involving coffee and books :) Anyway, I guess I'm getting to my point. It's weird having a weekend when my whole week felt like a sneaky weekend.

I'm actually planning on revitalising my veggie patch tomorrow and then I'll be getting stuck into my work for next week a little early. There's some Japanese lessons to do as well! And I've been getting back into my gym routine. Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? I hope you have a good one, whatever you get up to!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What I Wore - Monochromatic Mirror Maze

 This was an impromptu shoot today, as we wandered through the city we stumbled across this array of mirrored pillars in the park. There were tonnes of people messing around and taking pictures, and we didn't bring a proper camera, but I think these snapshots from my phone are kinda fun. I wouldn't mind heading back and taking some more planned pictures, I think you could get some awesome shots.
Striped Crop Top // Urban Outiftters (old)

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Birthday Sale on All Ad Space!

Hooray! October is my birthday month, so I thought I'd celebrate with you by offering a big discount on ad space here on Kitty & Buck. If you've been thinking of advertising, now is the perfect time, you can snap up a huge 40% discount with the code icecreamcake. The offer will end on my birthday, which is 3rd October, so you have just over a week to take advantage of it. As always, with Passionfruit Ads, if the size you are after is sold out, you can purchase now and go into the queue for the next free slot, and you can also purchase multiple ads with the discount by using the new shopping cart feature.

Which leads me on to my other exciting news for October. We're heading back to Japan! Weeee! This time though, we're just heading to Tokyo for 10 days and I'll be taking my laptop and blogging daily on our adventures, and hopefully making some videos as well! I feel a little guilty having another holiday so soon, but hey, this is part of why I quit my job! Plus, the airfares were on sale and our favourite hotel in Tokyo (Best Western Shinjuku) sent me a 40% off birthday month special, so C decided to spoil me for my birthday (and Christmas and his Christmas and his birthday etc etc) Happy Birthday to me!

We'll be visiting Mt Fuji this time as well as heading back to the Ghibli Museum, Harajuku and a whole bunch more Kawaii culture and the natural beauty around Tokyo. Oh, and hopefully a bike tour! To say I'm excited is an understatement and I'm pretty happy to share it with you guys 'from the ground'.

There's plenty more going on here too, including a recipe or two, book nook, outfit posts, plus the usual features such as "Found" and "Wordless Weekend" will be more reliable than they have been the past few months. I've updated my stats on the Advertise page, if you're ready to purchase, head over there now! If you have any questions at all about advertising, or designing a button, let me know over email, in the comments below or on twitter.

I hope you join me for the best birthday ever!

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Wordless(ish) Weekend #39

A few words: Back in April, we stayed in the wonderful Shojoshin-In in Koyasan, Japan. It's a beautiful Buddhist Temple and we were served a vegetarian feast that tasted like it was made by magical woodland creatures. Early in the morning we attended prayers and sat quietly while the monks chanted, freezing air blowing puffs of condensation from their nose and mouth. We cleansed our hands with some powder before entering the temple, and now whenever I smell curry powder I am taken back.
Our wonderful host at Shojoshin-In - If you are ever in Japan, please stay here, it is such a great experience!
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What I Wore - In the UFO Capital of Australia

Well, I got you with that title, didn't I? When we drove up the highway from Alice Springs, I spotted this roadhouse (diner/truckstop for my American friends) and I knew we had to stop. Since C and I were determined to reach our destination and have a well earned rest, we decided to stop in on our way back home. The town is Wycliffe Well and it is the self-proclaimed UFO capital of Australia.
It is also supposed to be ranked #5 in the world for UFO sightings! Not to start any conspiracy theories, but there is a U.S. airforce base fairly close by. I suspect the UFOs could be related. Just sayin'. I spent a lot of time peering at the stars in the N.T. but I didn't spot any alien craft unfortunately. I did meet some new friends...
Once again, I'd like you to admire the landscape more than my outfit. It's super casual for trekking around the desert and more of an excuse to show my tourist photos than pictures of what I'm wearing. Aside from Wycliffe Well, these pictures are taken on the Stuart Highway and around the Devil's Marbles, or Karlu Karlu.

*photos by C - I love this moon shot!!
cut off shorts // One Teaspoon
burnout tee // old (similar)
converse (limited edition) // Kyoto, Japan
Moomin scarf // Tokyo, Japan
badge // thrifted - Florala, Alabama
camera bag // Jo Totes


Monday, September 16, 2013

How I Quit My Day Job: The Great Escape

I've been wanted to share this post for a long time now, but I haven't had much time to gather my thoughts and get them together in an organised way for you. It's been 3 months since I left my full-time job, so it's high time I wrote this post.

Late last year, I decided that I needed to escape my job. I was full of self-doubt though. Why did I deserve to leave this lifestyle? What right did I have to work on my own terms? Why should I be 'free', leaving behind others to 'suffer' the 9-5 fate? There's nothing wrong with working in an office. So many people thrive in that environment, but I have always struggled with the corporate grind, wishing away the days and only feeling truly alive for my 4 weeks holiday each year.

I really should have realised all the way back when I first left school. I had worked through high school, but my first full-time job was in an office. It was stifling, and I lasted only 6 months before deciding that I really should go to uni. I applied and was accepted into two courses: Forensic Science and Interior Design. I'd always been fascinated by psychology and forensic science and was thinking I might pursue a career in crime scene analysis and/or criminal psychology. I decided that the design degree would be more fulfilling to my creative longings I'd been having, and the rest is history. Surprisingly (for me), I found all of my 'creative' jobs were not much different from my first office job. Yes, I was designing instead of filing and answering the phone, but I was designing on someone else's terms. Always corporate, always someone standing over your shoulder, and worst of all, always surrounded by office politics.

For the past 12 months, my work situation went from bearable to absolutely miserable. I don't want to go into details publicly, but it was very immature high school behaviour, and things got nasty. I decided that I didn't need to put up with it and that I would be able to survive working for myself. It was tough to keep positive when I was being told every day that I was no good as a designer, that I was worthless and lazy. I knew that the criticism was coming from a minority of people who I worked with, who were insecure, jealous, or covering their own mistakes. One day I saw Jess tweet about a company called Paid To Exist (this site is a fantastic resource). I immediately checked out Jonathan's site and subscribed to their newsletter. On his advice, I created a document that stated the day that I would quit my day job (it was August 13th, 2013). 

In June, I had a meeting at work that changed my carefully laid plans completely. I did something I have never done before and walked out. Never to return. It was scary, but I simply could not put myself in a position every day where my physical and mental health was suffering. It was surreal sitting on the train coming home at lunchtime, knowing I would no longer be dragging my sorry butt into that place every day. As I walked home from the train station, convinced I had made a terrible mistake, my phone rang. It was a company who I have freelanced for on and off, wondering what my availability was like for an upcoming job. I cannot tell you how I felt at that moment. It was the perfect synchronicity, a sign that I had made the right decision, and that everything would be OK.

I spent the first week of my 'unemployment' cutting a new showreel (I do motion graphics primarily) and creating a personal website. I published the website on a Tuesday night and emailed some former colleagues, letting them know that I was available for freelance work. The following morning, I received my first job offer. Throughout the day I had to turn down 5 more jobs. Honestly, the relief I felt was incredible. I now have the freedom to pick and choose who I work with, when I work and when I travel. I will never take my work opportunities for granted, I know that I need to continue to work hard to remain employable and I will also need to manage my life around the busy times and the inevitable downtime. But I feel a sense of possibility that was completely lacking before, my only regret is that I did not do this much sooner. I feel like a wasted a lot of time doubting myself. Please don't do this too!

Here's some tips on how to make the escape:
  • Figure out how much money you need to survive - mortgage/rent, utilities, food, transport
  • Cut down any costs that are not 100% essential (I changed my phone plan, stopped my organic vegetable delivery and was preparing to cancel my gym membership)
  • Figure out how much money you need and save up to cover your expenses during a potential period of unemployment (my time-frame on this is ideally 6 months)
  • Oh yeah, pay off all of your debt. It's probably not a great idea to take the plunge if you owe some dollars to your credit card company. Better yet, scrap your credit card altogether, or bury it under a rock in the desert somewhere, only to be dug up in case of an emergency (not a ModCloth sale emergency, either)
  • Make sure that this is your passion. Make sure it will cover your expenses, and make sure that you have the skills to pull it off. Before you quit your job you will be already making money from your 'side project'. Ideally, it will be enough money to cover your expenses before you strike out on your own.
  • Don't rely on one source of income. I do freelance motion graphics, blog design, graphic design for print and web as well as earning a teensy bit of money from this blog. It's really important to have some backup, in case your primary income has a slow period.
  • I'll pinch this one from Sarah - (I hope you don't mind!) Consider the worst case scenario. What happens if you (hush) FAIL? Figure out what you would do if you were about to lose your house because your escape plan is not going so smoothly. You need to have a plan B, but you will also have the buffer of savings (see point #3) and enough time to take action - like getting another office job, if it comes to it.
I know that list might sound daunting. This has been my life for the past year (or more):

7.45am - Commute to work, working on blog/freelance design jobs on the train
12.00pm - Lunch break spent working on my laptop (bringing lunch from home to save time + money)
6.00pm - Commute home, working on freelance jobs/blog on train
7.00pm - Arrive home, head to gym (valuable 'off' time for my brain!)
8.30pm - Dinner and pack lunch for next day (I'll admit that C often did this for me!)
9.00pm - Work on blog/freelance jobs
1 - 2am - collapse deliriously into a fitful sleep while brain refused to turn off

Weekends consisted of blogging and more freelance design work. I feel amazed that I made it through, it has been seriously draining. The end result is SO worth it! I don't want to give the impression that I've had to do this alone, either. I've had so much support from C. At the end of the day though, I'm pretty fiercely independent and have never, ever been comfortable with taking it easy while someone else paid my way. I know people who are quite happy to take 6 months off traveling while their significant other works 6 days a week to support their lifestyle. That's just not MY style! I'm a Libran, what can I say? Plus, between the two of us, we are in a position to help out friends and family when they are in need, which is one of the best feelings.

Normally I try to keep my blog less personal than this, so I feel a little vulnerable about this post, but after reading similar experiences, especially Sarah's story, I feel like I need to share my experience to give a little hope to someone out there who may be drowning in a job that they hate, or the victim of a toxic work environment.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions for me, I'm more than happy to chat more about any thoughts you have. I have a couple of posts coming up that go into more detail on how to manage your time while you hatch an escape plan, let me know if there is anything specific that you want to know and I'll do my best to offer some useful advice!


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Found #73

I'm not that excited about summer right now. We had the most pathetic winter imaginable. It started of with frosty promise, but fizzled out to the point I'm not sure we even had one. So bear with me while I imagine snuggling up in this cozy sweater.

While I'm dreaming, I'd like to wear said sweater here. These pods in Switzerland look so relaxing.
Photographer: Vincent Hofer | Jean-Marc Palisse – Designer: Angelique Buisson
via: Whitepod

Have you seen the new collection from Nadinoo? I love-love this Oopsy Daisy Dress, partially because of the name, partially because of the shoes that the model is wearing, but mostly because it's gorgeous!
via: Nadinoo

I re-found this website recently, after being a little obsessed with it when it first appeared. Atlas Obscura is a great online resource documenting interesting places to visit all around the world. You can search by location, topic (ghost towns, for example) or try your luck with a random selection. You may even find something interesting in your town to see this weekend! I'm fairly certain we went to this bookstore in Paris (Un Regard Moderne). I can be fairly certain because it falls within a 20km radius of our hotel and we visited 98% of bookstores within that radius. Not that either of us can read books in French, but hey, it's never too late to learn.

When I was 6 years old, cooling off in a local pool, I heard a buzzing in my ear and felt something scratching in my hair. Like any six-year-old girl would, I panicked and slapped myself upside the head (as you do). Little did I know that a bumble bee was tangled in my kid-sideburns, and I cruelly ended his life and received my first bee sting. Actually, my only bee sting. I was stung by a wasp last year though, and let me tell you something. Wasp stings hurt. And they don't die, they chase you for more. Don't get stung by a wasp, OK? Long story short, if I have to choose, this gold bee tangled in my hair would be the number one option when compared with the scenario described above.

I have had my eyes on these boots from Modern Vice ever since I snapped up my first pair of Suede Bennis. These guys are making The. Best. Shoes. Right in New York. I'll have to save up my pennies (for a long time) but these boots will be mine.
via: ModCloth
Kaelah always shares a great collection of links in her "Things I Love Thursday" posts. This week, I have to share it with you specifically because the first link is so awesome. Sad Cat Diary is like a world where Orson Wells makes cat videos for YouTube. I cannot stop watching, or crying (with laughter), Thanks Kaelah :)

Who has exciting weekend plans? I'm feeling fairly excited as my intense 3 month contract I've been working on finishes in a week! I'll be really sad to leave my new workmates behind, but I'm also looking forward to having some time at home and actually embracing my freelance status by not working for a little bit! That's not really true. I'll still be working. But at home, on things I choose to work on. It's gonna be good. But first, the weekend. Since there is rain forecast, I'm planning on snuggling inside with some movies, books and cat cuddles. A blanket fort cannot be ruled out. I'll catch you later on, I hope your weekend is swell too!