Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013 - On Kitty & Buck

This is probably the final "Best of 2013" post, if only because it's New Year's Eve-Eve! You can catch my post on the best live music I enjoyed in 2013 and my top experiences of the year too. Today though, it's all about Kitty & Buck.

The most popular post was (by far) my DIY on making Japanese Paper Book Covers. I'm so glad people pinned this and shared it on Facebook, because I can only hope there are lots of satisfied book-cover-makers out there (and tonnes of pretty books!)

The second most popular post was my Great Escape from the 9-5 life! There is a really supportive network in the blogging land for potential entrepreneurs, self-employed folk and people aspiring to quit their day job. A lot of shares were from these fine people, plus some of my lovely readers who were inspired by my journey.

Onto some of my other favourites from 2013 - I continued with the Photo 101 Series, with some posts on "Getting To Know Your Camera" for people who are learning the more advanced settings on their cameras (anything above auto!)

Nico Organised Neatly was a huge hit! I'm biased, so I love photos of Nico, but you guys did too. I might do a series of these in 2014. All I need to do is stack some things around with a little hole in the middle, and wait mere moments for Nico to insert herself into the ordered chaos.

Another popular post was the DIY on hair dye - for pastels and brights. I always get tonnes of questions about how I dye my hair, so hopefully this helps you out if you're wondering, or wanting to get some fun colours in your own hair.

A lot of you related to this post on living a life without regret. I often think of this story, especially when I need a kick up the butt to get moving on a project or dream that I've been putting off.

It's quite difficult to choose a favourite Wordless Weekend post. But I loved taking these photos the morning after an earthquake in Takayama, Japan. The contrasting still of the morning and the beautiful paper cranes were really special.

Another favourite from our visits to Japan is the powerful moss in Yakushima.

Honestly, the greatest day of the year was probably Cherry Blossom Day in Kyoto :) You don't see pure bliss like that every day.

I was feeling like a slacker on the outfit posts this year, but there's evidence against that. Wow, I wore a lot of clothes ;) (click on images or links below to see the full posts)
WIW - Cats on Astroturf WIW A Dress With Horses On It WIW - Gelato WIW - Bladerunner Like Tears In The Rain WIW - Pastel Rock WIW - Pastel Rock WIW - Deep In The Woods WIW - Little Blue Boots WIW - Spotted Strawberry WIW - Daisies In The Breeze WIW - On The Plane WIW - Peach Sparkles WIW - I'll Drop My Anchor WIW - A Kitsune Meets a Fox in A Dark Alley WIW - Kyoto Station WIW - Conjuring Hearts WIW - My Heart On My Knees WIW - Cecil Sees Stars WIW - Monochromatic WIW - Bookstore Blues WIW - And The Moon Shone Bright WIW - Crazy Cat Lady WIW - Vanilla Bean WIW - Gumtree Wedding WIW - Outback Winter WIW - Parasite Museum WIW - Outback In Bloom WIW - Monochromatic Mirror Maze WIW - Harajuku Bows WIW - Sweet Tooth WIW - Coach Tour Dress and Chalk Sun Image Map
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10
11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15
16 // 17 // 18 // 19 // 20
21 // 22 // 23 // 24 // 25
26 // 27 // 28 // 29 // 30

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best of 2013 - Experiences

We met some amazing people, went to wonderful new places and learned new things in 2013. Here are some of the highlights!

Meeting James Nachtwey. If you haven't heard of the photojournalist and war photographer, you've still probably seen some of his famous photographs. C and I attended a talk by Mr Nachtwey at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. It was very difficult to watch the reels of his photographs, even though I'd seen them before. The stories behind them were often heartbreaking, and it is difficult to imagine from our comfortable place in the word, the hardships that others endure on a daily basis.
"I have been a witness, and these pictures are
my testimony. The events I have recorded should
not be forgotten and must not be repeated."

-James Nachtwey-
If you ever have the chance to see him speak, I highly recommend it. He spoke so well about the strength of the human spirit, and it was amazing to see him discuss so eloquently the complex issues surrounding the various conflicts, famines and social issues that he has covered, with a stoic and ultimately positive face. He was so humble about his talents and achievements and would not indulge any audience questions that sought to glamorise his job or the events he had witnessed. After the talk, we managed to have a brief chat, shake hands and have our copy of "Inferno" signed.

Witnessing the cherry blossoms in full bloom in Kyoto. I already blogged about our perfect day :) You can probably preface everything in this post with "If you ever have the chance, you should totally do this" I know travel isn't for everyone and often seems financially daunting. We managed to go to Japan twice this year, and I received a few side-eyes from people who probably thought that we were perhaps spoiled a little from mommy and daddy (neither of us have well-off families, and we've both supported ourselves since we were still in high school). Truth is, we worked really hard and saved our pennies. Once you pay for the big things (transport, accommodation), everything else is just what you'd normally spend on day to day living anyway, give or take a few dollars. For me as well, the cost of living in Japan is cheaper than Sydney, yes, even in Tokyo. So eating out and shopping is way more affordable. If you're interested, I'd be happy to share some budgeting tips in the new year on how to travel without millions (or thousands) of dollars... Let me know!

Anyway, the cherry blossoms.  Riding our bikes along the banks of the Kamo River, wandering along the canals in the Geisha district under a gentle rain of pink and white petals, eating okonomiyaki and drinking plum wine. Meeting new friends, seeing new places. In the midst of the constant drizzle over Japan, the clouds broke and we managed to squeeze in an absolutely magical, petal-filled day. I'll definitely remember that trip forever :)

Quitting my day job. Probably the hardest thing that happened to me this year (thank goodness, since many harder things can happen to someone) but also the most rewarding and definitely the best thing that happened as well. My gut reaction was 'uh-oh, what have I done?'. To be honest, that was also the reaction of many people around me (I had full encouragement and support from C though!) I suppose I grew up (like many) being taught that you finish school, get a job, work hard in an office until you are 65 and then retire. I knew that wasn't for me and I think, 6 months into my self-employment, I'm certain that I've made the right decision and now have so much more freedom to pursue a life more tailored to my expectations (i.e. enjoyable, adventurous and meaningful!)

I'd love to know your top experiences of 2013. Looking back, I think it's been the best year yet!


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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Advertise in 2014!

If that cutie can't convince you, how about this? I'd love to help you promote your small business or blog in the new year! Kitty & Buck offers super affordable advertising packages, which you can read about in detail on the advertising page. XL and Large sponsors will be included in the monthly sponsor giveaway, you can see the first one if it's kind here. There's also social media mentions, the Meet The Sponsors post and the option to offer a discount code.

If you're looking at holding a giveaway with your products, I have a special new option just for you, a solo giveaway post.

There's just one of the XL spots left for January, but you can get your hot little hands on a large or small ad right now. If you have any questions about advertising on Kitty & Buck, or if you need a hand designing an ad button, just email me on kittyandbuck {at} gmail {dot} com.


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Best of 2013 - Music + Gigs

We went to a bunch of shows in 2013, here's a selection of the most memorable.

2001: A Space Odyssey | I love this film and was so excited to see a live performance of the soundtrack accompanied by a screening of the film in the Sydney Opera House. I learned one valuable lesson. Even though I know the movie by heart and don't need to sit in the front row, the nosebleed seats in the Sydney Opera House are near impossible to bear. So squishy and high up it was nauseating. Duly noted. Other than that it was incredible to see the film brought to life with a live orchestra. I never tire of hearing a huge group of musicians show off their talents.

Bat For Lashes | Natasha Khan is just lovely. This show was plain wonderful on every level. The crowd were polite and calm (!) and Ms. Lashes was the epitome of professional. Her performance was fun and she sounded great. She wore a beautiful rainbow cape ensemble from local designers Romance Was Born and just put on a fabulous show, complete with humble thank-you's after each song. There was much dancing and the odd awkward karaoke moment.

Zelda Symphony | Geek out alert! We took a friend who is a fellow avid Zelda fan along to the Opera House to hear the Zelda Symphony Performance. (It's always a good excuse to take someone to something you want to see too!) Again, it's exciting to see a performance inside the Opera House and I was doubly excited to spot one of my old classmates from school playing violin! She always practised so hard, so I'm really proud that she has achieved that level of success. The Zelda music was cool too.

Dead Can Dance | Another show at the Opera House. I was looking forward to this show, but the crowd and perhaps something with the band was a bit off. I wanted to enjoy it, but we ended up leaving a bit early. Lisa Gerrard has such an amazing voice though, which we were both in awe of.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor | This show was just incredible. I really love Godspeed, so maybe I am biased, but I was drawn in and throughly admire the hypnotic nature of this music. It was great to see the gradual build up of their songs performed live.

Cat Power | Oh, Chan. We saw Cat Power when she did the Jukebox tour and waited with some misgivings for her to appear on stage. The previous time she was in Sydney (I heard), she broke down on stage and was heckled by some fine members of our city as she hid behind the piano. When she eventually appeared, she put on a brilliant show. This time. Jeez. I don't know. Her performance was amazing, her voice is beautiful, but it was sad to watch her seek attention in such a negative fashion by constantly referring to her drug and alcohol abuse. I hope she sorts herself out because her music is beautiful but she seems like such a fragile lady.

The Drones | Great Australian rock band - please don't spit on the Opera House though. It felt odd to have a super loud show inside the concert hall with drunk people spilling beer on the nice seats. Maybe it was just a weird juxtaposition that I couldn't resolve. Normally The Drones are amazing but I don't think they're a sit down kinda band, you know?

Blade Runner/Vangelis | Another orchestra performance, this time of another favourite film, Blade Runner. It was pretty great, although the cello player had his mobile on in his bag on stage and it kept transmitting through the speakers. Kinda distracting. The music was beautiful though, it definitely transports you to a futuristic rainy cityscape.

Goblin | The Italian masters of horror soundtrack fame (Suspiria, anyone?) did not disappoint. At all. The original members are getting on, but they rocked out like it was the best night of their lives. At the end they turned on the lights to check out the crowd and thanked us profusely. The amount of fun they were having was contagious, it was just great to witness. And that keyboard rack... oh boy. What an amazing collection of beautiful instruments.

Sonalio | We finally managed to catch our friend, Takuto's band in Tokyo. It was really fun watching the opening acts, who were, in my opinion, a Japanese version of post-rock style. (There's probably a proper genre, but I'm hopeless with the specifics of that stuff) There was a lot of spoken word which was super emotional and serious, I wish I could have understood. Sonalio put on an amazing show, damn these guys are good! Takuto is a fellow motion graphics designer and he created a really cool projection show. I'm so happy we were in Tokyo at the right time to be invited to such a special night. (and how great is it that the show was called "Teddy Party"? I love Japan.)
Takuto rocking out on his bass :)

Sleep | Another gig I was super excited for that the crowd kinda ruined for me. If you're familiar with Sleep, you'll know that they play really heavy, slow music. Honestly, I've never seen a more violently excited group of stoners(?). The moshpit was kind of out of control with fist-fights, head butting and general mayhem. We stayed for awhile, but got fed up fairly quickly and watched from the edges. Since when did doom music incite such rage? (Is that a silly question?) Meh. That's Sydney for you. Like that one time we went to see Guitar Wolf and a skinhead threw a glass at Guitar Wolf's face and broke his tooth :( The next time we went to see Guitar Wolf, the gig was full of "loli girls", go figure.

We saw sunn o))) and Boris in Melbourne a few years back, (same kinda scene as Sleep) and it was a pretty laconic gig. Maybe that highlights the difference between Sydney and Melbourne? (no rivalry guys, we know who's better - and I'm a traitor)

But I digress. Looking back at 2013, we went to so many big shows, I can hardly believe it! There seemed to be a wealth of great music going on in our city this year. Did you see any amazing bands this year? I'd love to find out if we have music tastes in common, or what kind of shows you've been to :)


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Saturday, December 21, 2013


I'm writing my first ever post from my phone in the blogger app! Our Internet is being switched over and it seems to have gone on a little holiday. So here's some cat pictures from my Instagram (@kittyandbuck), in honor of Caturday. Every day I try to show these guys how loved they are, our time with them is brief and precious. It's been 2 years since I lost my baby Chibi and 18 months since Hobbes left us. I miss them like crazy still and I know I need to cherish these little moments.

*Photos edited 22nd December - Obviously mobile screens don't show ugly image sizing and misaligned pictures! Internet is back and running like a dream :)


Friday, December 20, 2013

Meet The Sponsors - December Edition

Wow, it's the last sponsor feature of the year! I've had such a pleasure working with this team in December, I hope you enjoy reading a bit more about the folks that have been on my sidebar all month, plus they're sharing their favourite comfort food of the season. There's also discount codes and my favourite posts and products from everyone. If you like what you see, please follow along, I'm sure they are more than happy to welcome you.

Bella Rose Fashion offers a unique range of fashion accessories including necklaces, bracelets, scarves, hair flowers and handbags! Bella Rose Fashion was launched in 2013 after over 10 years of retail store operations in Kiama, NSW. Bella Rose Fashion believes in providing 100% customer satisfaction, both though exceptional customer service, affordable pricing and unique product offerings. In 2014 we will be expanding our online offerings in include clothing! Be sure to check out our products!
Prawn stir fry. Growing up my mum always made an amazing stir fry that featured just prawns and carrot, and some herbs and spices. It has become a must in any Christmas meal!

my favourite product // silver necklace with beaded owl pendant
Enjoy free shipping Australia wide and 10% OFF with coupon code: kittyandbuck at Bella Rose Fashion Co.

Amy Grace is a petite blog about life and the joys that come with it! I'm twenty and a lover of all things beauty! Come join my little world full of makeup rambles, life adventures and a junkies stash of cookbooks ♥
My Nannas Christmas pudding! Am I the only one that feels that no christmas day is complete without a huge slice of pudding loaded with brandy custard and cream? Yes, maybe! There's just something about the spices, fruit and boozy goodness that makes you feel all warm inside!
I vote we make it acceptable to eat it year round :)

my favourite post // weekly favourites

Kyla Is Inspired is a blog about fashion, design, illustration, and pretty things. I like to post about anything and everything inspiring. 

For me, this time of year is ALL about the cookies! Some of my favorites to make are snickerdoodles & gingerbread cookies. I'm also excited to make peppermint icing for chocolate cupcakes!

my favourite post // currently loving | gold holiday

Hunting Bears is a new blog about art, craft and living an adventurous life.  I'll be filling my blog with crafty tutorials, great travel stories and the occasional yummy recipe, as well as documenting my experiments in art, craft and design.  This month I'm back home in New Zealand, so I'll be sharing lots of Kiwi wanderings and crafty happenings in the coming weeks.  I'd love it if you came to say g'day :)
I can't resist the fresh strawberries that are so abundant here around Christmas!

my favourite post // A Day Out In Wellington

Hello there! I'm Aubin, the owner and head artist behind Unrehearsed Kickline, aka your one stop shop for pop culture referential buttons and brooches and whimsical jewelry. I also work with a team of talented New England artists to bring you cool stuff like gameboy pillows, toy soldier ornaments, and vintage silverware necklace. We add new items to the store all the time click the shop link, stop on by, and join the Unrehearsed Kickline! 
My favorite Christmas comfort food is definitely gingerbread cookies (especially if they're dipped in a hot mug of peppermint coffee!)

my favourite product // twin peaks log lady brooch

From December 1 through January 31 score 40% off the vintage clothing at Unreherased Kickline. No code needed, it's already included in the price!

Hello all, I'm Jessica! I run my blog with the occasional quip from my best friend Sarah. Together we talk about books, fashion, tea, and a slew of other things that we find ourselves interested in…or trouble we end up getting in together! 
Hot Chocolate with mini marshmallows! I know it's more drink than food, but there is nothing better!!

I'm Tara. A 27 year old newlywed Canadian! I love reading, makeup, hockey, cats, fashion, watching movies and I have a love/hate relationship with poutine (If you don't know what that is, you are missing out!) My blog is a small window into my world. I post about everything from beauty to reviews to feelings and personal experiences!
Mashed potatoes! Might not be a comfort food for most, but I LOVE them, especially around the holidays!

my favourite post // december goals

Hello! I'm Jen, an artist and blogger from Tasmania! Red Parka Diaries is a blog about illustration, design and living a creative, adventurous, sustainable, independent and remarkable life. It's a place for me to share what drives me and my inspirations,  the work of other creative entrepreneurs all over the world, as well as the odd recipe, travel story, DIY and tips for living well. I'd love to see you there!
Warm plum pudding with custard. So good!

my favourite post // the big design market 2013

Use code KITTY15 for 15% off everything in the Red Parka Etsy Store

Thanks to all of my December sponsors, it's been great having you! And don't forget to say hi to my small advertisers, too just over there >>

If you're interested in advertising in January, check out the ad page here.


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