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New Zealand Day 4.5 Zealandia, Day 5 [end] et Wisdom Tooth Removal

Happy Easter everyone – I’ve taken the liberty of dragging out my laptop and doing this post in the vastness of my empty living room. I just had three of my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday, which I think I should write a little bit about.

When is the best time to remove a wisdom tooth?

This little section may or may not be useful to you depending on whether or not you have had any wisdom teeth out – but if you haven’t, or are planning to get them out, I hope my two cents help.

You know what, I have heard a billion different things from dentists, but the general consensus is “let it grow out until I see it and then we will see how it goes”. But if they say this without doing an X-ray, I suggest you run out of the dentist’s chair quick smart and find another dentist. I suspect it has to do with they don’t want much to do with your wisdom teeth as they are generally tricky to remove and can’t deal with the consequences of an infection (you’d be surprised okay).

Basically I was duped into letting one wisdom tooth grow out – it was impacted, meaning it grew sideways. The problem with these is that it eventually gets “stuck” a la tooth beside it, meaning you have a painful flap of gum getting food in (yes, it sounds and smells gross – and each time you try to floss it, you make it worse and get it infected – it’s sort of like a lurking infection that doesn’t really affect you… and then you kind of bring it up to the surface). This not only damages the tooth next to it, it can affect you as a whole – in my case, I was always paranoid about it, and I would not eat on the side of where the wisdom tooth is.

Well okay fine, one day I was fed up with it, and my dentist did an xray scan and told me he couldn’t remove it because it was sitting on one of the major nerves, and I would need a specialist to get it out for me. That to me is fine – I know it costs more, and I will elaborate more on why a specialist is better than a dentist.

When I visited my specialist, I was pleasantly given the choice to either get my wisdom tooth/ teeth out at his actual office/ surgery, or book myself into hospital. Getting wisdom teeth out is not such a biggie in my opinion, and I opted to get it out in his surgery, which is very convenient and means little to no waiting time (hospitals are a mess and I have tried waiting hours for a scheduled operation). Also, checking in and out of hospital is a real pain in the ass since they need to give you discharge letters, and constantly ask you your name, date of birth and other ridiculous things albeit having a dog collar on your wrist with this information.

Anyway, so last time I got a wisdom tooth out and it wasn’t really comfortable but it was still manageable. I took the prescribed painkillers (which were super strong and knocked me out for 2 days, meaning I couldn’t go to work the next day) – but no real major pain. My stitches probably popped out day 3, and well, I had a lot of swelling because the stitches went from my gum to *drumroll* the inside of my cheek (yes you got that right). There are several problems with this – you can’t open your mouth fully, you have a swollen cheek, and well, yeah – seriously? I think you get my drift.

Now, one of the biggest things I wanted to kick myself for was aside from the option of where to get the teeth out, I was also given the option of how many teeth to get out. He didn’t force me to take out any or all, but I could have specified any number, but I opted to just get one out, since the other three weren’t out yet. I think that was the biggest mistake I made.

So, the other two on the other side popped out (and were way nastier than the first). I thought I could get the top one out (since they are easy) but my dentist wouldn’t touch it – sigh. I had hoped to save a little bit of money, but I guess not. So might as well get all three out at once under sedation, like I did the first time round.

This time I have a bit of bruising (but no damage to my nerve, which I am thankful for x2 since I didn’t have the problem the first time). I was also semi-conscious towards the end, since I could feel the stitches being finished up and mouthpiece taken out. But you know, this time around, I had noticed:

  • The tooth that did not pop out is much more comfortable after surgery than the ones that already popped out, since the stitches stay where the gum is, and gum only. No cheek stitches. The other side – well, I have a huge stitch from top wisdom tooth, along cheek and down to bottom wisdom tooth. Yes, I am swollen, and yes, my jaw is also bruised (I had no bruising the first time – but this tooth was closer to the nerve than the previous one).
  • You don’t need to take their prescribed medicine/ painkiller if the pain is bearable – I just took regular Panadol and that was enough.
  • Use an ice pack in moderation. I didn’t the first time round because I didn’t think it was such a big deal, but it really helps in regaining feeling in your lips and chin (super important after surgery) so you can eat and not drool everywhere.

Specialists are good because they minimise every aspect of impact on you as much as possible. I have minimal swelling, minimal bruising (none last time)

You know what, apart from having a really terrible headache last night either from side effects, throbbing swelling or too much sleep, I feel absolutely fine. I’m only taking a Panadol or two a day for the headache, not even the teeth.

If you want my advice, and you can afford it – get your wisdom teeth taken out before they pop out and you will not experience paranoia of splitting stitches, a quarter of the swelling, and very little chance of getting a sore/ locked jaw. You will feel so much better and find it a lot more convenient. If I had the chance, I would have gotten all four out at once the last time. I know having three out is a lot right now, but the fact that I feel fine and under control is really important.

For those who don’t have any tooth decay or the wisdom teeth don’t really bother you much, or are bothering you slightly but you are weighing the cost of removing them – please just remove them. Wisdom teeth, I suspect, have been a huge factor in screwing my health over. I don’t really know 100% for sure yet, I will only know afterwards, but if my stomach problems clear then there is a direct correlation. I’m so happy to get these out (and I was excited – not stressed at all going in to get them removed) because I knew it was time to get them out! It was great timing.

Although I can’t nibble on chocolates for Easter and all, I’m glad I did myself a favour. While my advice may not apply to everyone as everyone is different, you may want to consider a few things (which I had no idea about since I had nobody to ask) since I’ve been there and done that.

In the end I did have le Monsieur drive us back – and thankfully that was the case, because it would have been such a stressful process without him. So repeat – do not catch public transport after getting your wisdom teeth out, lol. I obviously didn’t read the instructions last time, because the receptionist looked so confused when I mentioned the bus.

Anyway – mushy diet for the next two days and I think I’ll be back in business.

New Zealand Day 4.5: Zealandia

Wow, I am seriously really sorry for how incredibly delayed this post is. This was November 2014 we are talking about – and if it weren’t because of my upcoming trip, who knows how long this would have taken me to finish!

Well, better late than never.

After the Makara Beach stop, I was dropped off at Zealandia for my trek/ path climbing fix. I had this huge thing for walking trails after watching so many episodes of 1 Night 2 Days where they seemed to have so much fun along a walking trail. There are some excellent ones in New Zealand, though a bit far away (I didn’t expect my friend J to borrow a car and take me places – and I was going to base my Wellington trip on solely public transport and walking). Zealandia is one place which is really worth visiting because it is untouched (well, mostly) and well maintained. It has a free shuttle bus to and from the city (near City Square or whatever it was called, I forgot), though you will need to keep an eye on the timetable and all because spots are limited on the bus (don’t miss the last bus, and ensure you line up early to actually get on the bus).

Anyway, there is an entry fee, but I think it is well worth it. The air in there is really fresh and while it was slightly overcast, the sky was still mostly blue to my surprise. You will get a pamphlet with a map of Zealandia and a variety of walking trails for you to choose from. As I got there relatively late (around 2pm) I didn’t want to trek off onto the longest walking trail, which goes down really deep into the forest. I also didn’t want to go alone because I would get freaked out – but I just decided that I will take a popular uphill route to do a bit of exercise, and also figure out if I needed to divert onto another route depending on how much time I had.

They will do a bag check to make sure nothing falls out of your bag and ruin the grounds, so please don’t bring any rubbish with you. They have a motto which I really liked, which was leave only footsteps, and I think this is really important.

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Lush green grounds, green mountains and more.

Little did I know, I ended up at the top part where the tall trees are in the top left of the photo above (yes, crazy), and it really high! This is the beginning of the trail, where there are a lot of info plaques and things to do, like read about different types of wildlife, and I even passed a bird feeding platform for you to see their native birds and take photographs. I had a crappy lens (yes, my micro four thirds which I am too cheapo to throw away/ upgrade/ get a better lens for lol) so I just had to make do, The cover image of the post actually was quite interesting – I was walking along the top of the hill and I heard a rustle. When I looked up I saw a bird, and that was such a rare sighting – took me many attempts to get it on photo, but with limited zoom it was the best I could do. But seriously, what a chance!

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The river runs along the front part of Zealandia

They have boat tours, but due to algae and all, this was out of bounds. Still a lovely and peaceful sight.

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This was really scary but super beautiful.

So after passing the bird feeding house ground and all I took the uphill course to the reservoir – and well, what can I say? This was the best part of the trail by far. I really liked it up here (I have mixed feelings if I should remove the two models in the photo – but then it gives this place a bit of life), but I am massive scared of heights. I walked really fast across the bridge (onto the next path which goes further up the hill towards the left) and it was soooooo windy! I give myself a pat on the back for making it across and braving it up and pretending I wasn’t scared. I think I also got a text message while I was in the middle of the bridge trying to take photos and I was like literally omgggggggg.

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Looks like out of a story/ novel setting.

So along my forest/ hill walk there were some amazing sights, like this fallen tree that I assume will never be touched. It was H U G E. But still, so so amazing

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So these were the trees we saw in the first photograph of this segment.

I had a good time also looking up to the sky, which is amazing, isn’t it? The forest is kind of dark and damp, but the air is crisp and sky blue in open areas like this. It’s rare to be surrounded by nature to this extent. I’m not sure if I got enough!

Back to the beginning

Back to the beginning

So after a solid 4 hour walk I got back to the beginning again. I would have done it again, because the ticket allowed me entry the next day (for free) but I was flying back to Sydney – so no go. I gave my ticket away but I don’t think anyone used it.

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Ginger & Honey Tea and Fruit Salad

While you’re at Zealandia I recommend you visit the cafe for some good food. The ginger tea was a godsend because I had the worst stomach problems ever (probably intolerance for dairy in retrospect – but whatever). Even if you don’t have any problems, choose the tea, you won’t regret it unless you really hate ginger. It was warm and had heat, but it wasn’t spicy or bitter. There is a great view on the outdoor deck of the cafe, but I chose to sit indoors – so do have a check out.

I did have time before the shuttle bus so I toured the internal exhibition where you could play animal sounds and see stuffed animals of New Zealand’s native birds and animals. Then I took the shuttle bus back to the city.

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Civic Square

So now that my memory is back, Civic Square is a large area with some interesting buildings and a view of the water. I’m not sure what these were, but they were really interesting sculptures in this public space.

For dinner I went to J’s house, where he and his family generously prepared a family dinner/ bbq with a group of friends over. It was literally ages I visited any friend’s house to have a meal and it was good fun. Good food, good times – a belated thank you, if I have not already mentioned it!

New Zealand Day 5: Short and sweet

So for breakfast I visited the Capitol Markets or whatever it was opposite my hotel, and had my Pho craving satisfied at a stall called “Where’s Charlie”. I should have gotten the combo with the SJUICE + Pho (SJUICE is the juice stall next to it, and they do some really good juice – that’s where I got the juice for the Makara trip), but I didn’t really give much thought to the menu until after I ordered a simple beef pho.

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MMMMMMM

Maybe not as good as the one from Tropical Green (UNSW), but still yummy none the less.

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Took the bus from the city to Miramar, since it was just a short walk from there. There was a step in the middle (where the horizontal yellow line is) – I didn’t see it and took a huge step down XD It’s okay, I’m a tourist.

MY PRECIOUSSSSSSSSS ARMPIT HAIR

MY PRECIOUSSSSSSSSS ARMPIT HAIR

So yucky Gollum, lol. But yeah, after a milkshake and some wedges while waiting, I bid my goodbyes to J, probably one of the best hosts ever for taking me around and putting up with my complaining and strange antics, climbing up Mount Victoria with me despite bad knees and all. I’m such a terrible friend. But hey I had a good time! Hope you did too.

For those who were curious since it looked like I didn’t spend money at all, I put aside 1 of each NZD currency (eg. 1x $100, 1x$50 etc) and then paid part of my hotel fee with cash and remainder with card and only left about $50NZD cash spending money with me for the airport. At the duty free section I bought a small eye cream for my mum as a souvenir which was made from Manuka honey – and that was about it.

So that was the last part of my trip, and thank you for those who followed it and waited… a year and a half for me to finish writing about it :S

In less than 2 weeks (11 more sleeps!) I will be travelling to Japan. YAY! As long as I don’t get lost in translation and all there, I think we are going to have a BLAST. I’ve got a few days of the week already planned (like actually booked in stuff to do), but I’ve already let my control freak side set out which days to go to set places. It is going to be a jam packed schedule, and I will be travelling with my mum so I’m not sure how it will go down. But hey, I planned New Zealand and I packed it to the max (I think) and it worked out just as I planned, sorta.

I will post so much when I get back – so until then hope you are all enjoying the Easter break (I am enjoying mine, post-wisdom tooth loss and all), but seriously, I am feeling fine. Swollen cheek? Ain’t nobody got time for that. 3000 word blog post in 2 hours – I’m on a roll here.

Laters!

Love, Misa

5 things Misa has been busy with and why you should care

Okay, the title is just trolling you all. I bet you all clicked because you really thought I was going to write about it. In fact, most posts I see with a similar title never actually gives you anything in relation to the actual title itself. But I will prove you all wrong.

Just kidding. This is a really old draft that I found because I couldn’t be assed typing anything new. But nonetheless, I think anyone can still relate.

Firstly though, Valentines – what was Valentines. I think I put too much emphasis on it. Well anyway, I think I was probably spoiled during Christmas. So folks, don’t put too much into Valentines! As in, there are more important/ significant days in the year to celebrate.

01. Work.

Yes, work. I’m sure you’re all sick of me talking about it, but what can I do? I go to work 5 days a week and there are only 7 in a week to begin with. Work has its cycles on me – I can go turbo for a week or two and then after that I get so exhausted I barely make it through on the bus(es) back home. I used to think that there was something wrong with me because I just couldn’t keep my eyes open… now I’m just starting to think I’m just really tired and it’s probably a sign that I’m actually sleepy.

02. Getting my health back on track.

So I switched my GP (ie. general practitioner, doctor – whatever you want to call them). My previous GP was an elderly man – he’s still got it okay, getting a needle from him doesn’t hurt at all. But he’s starting to lose it in the respect that he’s just too old. He can’t really tell if you’re okay or not, and I think as a doctor he’s a bit too optimistic like “there’s no way you can get that, you’re too young for it”. I just think he’s too preoccupied with his own health concerns so he just doesn’t get into the details for you.

The first thing I did was get a blood test from the new GP and when the results came back I was so surprised that she told me it was no good having zero immunity to diseases such as hepatitis. Well, fair enough. I always had one other thing on my mind – and that was the fact I never had chicken pox. So again, zero immunity since I was not vaccinated against it.

So here I am, after several visits (almost once a week) I’m getting myself immunised. I know it costs money and it’s literally a pain, but I think if you’ve got some time, do think about it as it’s quite important.

Oh and the good news? Apparently everything now is normal. I was low for iron, vitamin D and pretty much everything really – but now they are all normal figures which is pretty good.

I’ve also paid more attention to my skin. I’m definitely drinking a lot more water and I’m monitoring my skin. I was super lazy for a year or so and pretty much ruined it – my persistent blackheads and occasional pimple will continue to drive me insane, but now I can see fine lines under my eyes (ie. one line per eye). This is actually pretty normal, but I was hoping I’d be one of those never-grow-old people you only read about in fictional novels. Guess it’s time to work harder. I’ve also rediscovered the joy of actually buying things from actual beauty counters and whatnot – I tried to avoid them as much as possible knowing that Australian prices are hefty in comparison to overseas pricing. That and I know I will buy unnecessarily because of “gift time”. Now that the Australian dollar has dropped so much it breaks even again, so whatever. And as for the gift time seduction? As time goes by, I have trained myself to have excellent (yes, rare use of a superlative there) restraining skills, simply by telling myself I still have stuff, unused in my cabinet somewhere.

I’m going to get the other three wisdom teeth that I have out at the end of the month (yay for Easter holidays covering up my lack-of-sick-leave-holiday-leave-ass) – yes, all at once, so I will have a tough time. Given we will be catching public transport, I’m not really sure if I will be up for it – but I think I rather do that, than ask Monsieur to pick me up, and probably laugh at my swollen squirrel face.

03. Binging on (Korean) dramas – and then giving them up

Not-so-recent dramas I watched, because this draft is so old it will celebrate its birthday soon. Skip these if you don’t want any spoilers – most likely I won’t reveal everything, but just general thoughts.

High Society (SBS)

I wanted to like this so much but Sung Joon is like trying to eat a rock hard rice cake straight out of the freezer. How can he be so dull? With barely enough screen time and development for the main couple, the drama instead pumped out crazy amounts of screen time for the second couple (which by the way did a great job in terms of chemistry and acting and visuals); the drama just had too much left to be desired. It also felt like it was cut short at least 4 episodes – no insight on the company’s future, what happened to evil noona and did oppa win?? Seriously??

Most importantly, what was the message the drama was trying to convey? I think it was really weak in sending out any message at all.

Heartless City (JTBC)

This is an older drama but after watching Falling for Innocence and unexpectedly enjoying Jung Kyung Ho’s character more than I had expected (I watched it for Yoon Hyun Min and Kim So Yeon, actually) I decided to give Heartless City a go. And I was overwhelmed.

All that gangster and underworld goodness – this is like my type of drama without doubt. I can’t say it was perfect, but it was still pretty good. All those fight scenes – how can someone be so calm and walk away and not get caught??? It was so good I’d watch it again.

I’m Sorry, I Love You (KBS)

Yes, another old one (mostly because I’m on a Jung Kyung Ho marathon). I tried to watch this about 5 years ago but could not understand why anyone would watch it or enjoy watching it. I can’t remember if I was watching it from a VHS tape or just a really bad quality clip, but the sound was quiet, the picture blurry and the subs just difficult. I just don’t know, but maybe I wasn’t into it enough. I gave up after one episode without really knowing what I just watched and left it.

Having said that still so many people say it’s so good it’s so good and that it’s a classic and too many variety shows make references to the most classic lines in the drama. I decided that now that I’m older I am mentally prepared to watch it. And I must say, it’s actually not as bad as I thought. I thought that one line would be spoken per 10 minutes… and most of the frames would be stills… but not. Well, I guess not, because I enjoyed it.

But if you want to know my random train of thought, it mostly went like this: Oh hey, Flinders Street station! Wow, 10 years ago Australian money and the money is still the same as now. Where did they get these people from to portray Australians? Where is this club? Why is this western guy holding his cards the other way?* When is he going to get rid of that horrible pornstache???? His teeth really haven’t changed in 10 years – wait, they are laminates? Wait – laminated teeth existed 10 years ago?

*the actor was holding his cards so that 3 of hearts etc was facing outwards… usually you face that to yourself and not show others…

Well it’s a classic. Classic acting, classic lines. Dramas aren’t like that these days – it’s a shame. There are so many emotions you can convey without saying anything, but these days, they choose to speak rather than act. Less is really more in this case.

I’ve still got several hundred (yes that’s right) episodes waiting for me to wait. That’s several hundred hours considering each episode is an hour long. I’m not sure if I will ever have the time, or if I will ever get through any of them, but I shall slowly and eventually when I can.

I stopped watching Korean dramas for a while because I was finally prepared to buy a tv aerial cable (yes, I know you guys are all thinking “but who doesn’t have a tv cable?!“). The story was we had a new aerial line installed (this was a whole building thing) and it came with a new head/ adapter meaning we needed a new cable. I know this probably sounds boring as shit, but hey, I deal with cables almost every day now it’s like mainstream to me. Anywho, cable in, and then sudden marathon of all day Food Network and occasional commercial tv. I think I enjoy Cutthroat Kitchen a little too much for my own liking, but that’s what’s been holding me down.

Due to my upcoming holiday (which, by the way, is going to be to Tokyo, Japan, omg how exciting I’ve never been and finally will go etc etc) I have decided to stop watching Korean shows because I will get all of my languages messed up (as if they aren’t already messed up as they are now).

9 Ji Kara 5 Ji Made (From 9-5)

So I have a real weak spot for Yamashita Tomohisa and decided to watch it. Apart from the usual “starring Yamapi…. as Yamapi” and admiring his tan/ black hair for once etc, the show was just fluffy and all. Guys like him really don’t exist, and if they did, got nothing to do with me. He was a really sweet character though – as if you wouldn’t get pissed waiting a whole day. I get pissed waiting 30 minutes, so…

4. Thinking of ways to rule the earth

Half kidding, but also true. I really need to find out ways to basically live smarter, but not harder. Until I figure this out, life will still be hard. But I will think about it and one day, just one day I know I will figure something out.

5. Cooking

Food Network is excellent for this, I must say.

Because Monsieur (to my mum anyway) is an emaciated mess (not really, he just owns a metabolism akin to a black hole) I have been trying to play my role of nutritionist/ sneaking in extra calories/ making sure he gets meals on time. He is incredibly busy, and I know the feeling. He is basically what I was when I was in uni, and I know it’s impossible to juggle lifestyle with the amount of work you need to process and pump out. I’m trying my best to help out – not sure if it’s really actually helping or not, but I try. So far, I haven’t made anything inedible. I kid. I’m a kitchen Midas – everything I touch turns into rainbow unicorns.

I am planning to move out some time this year, so I will need to do more cooking. I have made a huge improvement though, from taking an hour to prep and cook a meal – but now within the hour I can make several things, including the meal and tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch. I’ve become more efficient and I kind of like that.

So um, I know my last New Zealand post hasn’t been out (and it’s been more than a year – trololol) but I maybe…. maybe will post it. Eventually.

Anyways, hope you’re all having a splendid time – until next era,

Love, Misa

George Street, Sydney (in front of QVB)

Oops! I did it again.

…and it’s not jaywalking.

Hello, again! I dropped off somewhere (again), hence the title of this post.

For the first time in miketsumuse history, I did not post new years’ resolutions or reflect back upon the year *insert face of absolute horror here*. But what’s even more shocking is that I am actually typing this post, because frankly I have really decided to disappear off the face of the earth.

I’m really not going to kill myself any more for not meeting expectations, or if things aren’t working out the way I planned. I’m just going to let things take its own course and just enjoy it for good or for bad and see how things run. I’m at a stage where I’m a bit tired from struggling for no apparent reason other than putting pressure on myself.

My cover image is me basically running away from the photographer, Monsieur (obviously not the real name) – and yes. George Street has been closed (for those who don’t live in Sydney) so you have the liberty to stop right in the middle and take photos – yay! Just don’t run away like me. You will end up with an awkward photo, like the one above.

Basically in a nutshell for the past two months, here’s what happened:

Took 6 weeks of medication for gastric reflux

It was so bad I couldn’t sleep for a week, and I would wake up mid-sleep etc – but the good thing is that I’m a lot better now, and slowly improving. I probably should go see that specialist and all, but uhhhh I’m not that keen on spending that much money for an endoscopy and I kind of need my remaining wisdom teeth out more.

This problem is not really new to me – it has been pestering me for probably the past 2 years, it only just got dramatically worse in a short span of time. But likewise, I seem better than before and it is manageable. Oh. I realised how confusing that was – I was referring to both the reflux and wisdom teeth, just to make things a little more complicated 😉

People hate my head/ face and decide it’s okay to hit me

I kid, it’s not that serious. Well, sort of. In a span of 2 months I managed to:

  • Bust a lip (bus slammed its brakes and I had a glass panel in front of me, and smacked it so hard my lip busted and bled)
  • Have a customer drop a 2.5kg metal tripod onto my head, scratching my face in the process (small cut, and yes, it was a cut because the skin was open albeit a shallow one), and then bruising my forearm twice (rebound, bang bang)
  • Smash my head really hard into a low and thick tree branch because I was wearing sunglasses and a wide brim hat, so I could not see

Right now, I am typing, sometimes pausing to ice my head, and then typing again. I hope nothing’s gone funny because I really did feel the impact of that hit (ie. the last one) so hard my teeth knocked against each other :\ Well, we shall see.

Had a really last minute trip to Newcastle during the 4 day Christmas break.

For the first time ever I went away for a Christmas getaway. We had some pretty sad weather so most of our days were just cooking, cleaning, prepping, cooking, cleaning (rinse repeat) – I therefore have no photos of the area, but we had a killer balcony and I was happy with the apartment.

Super large balcony at our two bedroom apartment in Newcastle. You may be wondering why I said the weather was sad when it looks so nice in this photo - that's because in the afternoon it rained... and rained... and the very next day? Hot, muggy, cloudy.

Super large balcony at our two bedroom apartment in Newcastle. You may be wondering why I said the weather was sad when it looks so nice in this photo – that’s because in the afternoon it rained… and rained… and the very next day? Hot, muggy, cloudy.

The balcony was one of my favourite parts of the apartment, and probably a close second was the kitchen as there was an 80s style glass brick window which made the whole place airy and bright. Too bad I only enjoyed the balcony for about 2 minutes… I got a cluster of mozzie bites on my ankle from that short period of time and did not dare step out there again :S

We had a day up at Port Stephens, and we did see a few dolphins (though far away – we were on a cruise), and the weather was cloudy and had occasional showers. Overall it was a really quiet and relaxing stay – I would do it again just for the apartment. It felt like home, but only a new kind of home.

Had an increasingly social social life (yes I know I typed that word twice)

I caught up with many friends, went out to many new and strange places, had good food and got plenty of vitamin D. I’m not really a beach person, but this summer has been just beach visits all round. I met up with K and we did a coastal beach walk, and I got my chest completely sunburnt (like it was red lobster and I could not feel it burning at all) – now I have a tan mark/ line/ patch in a shape of a bib on my chest (I was wearing a singlet) and I am not happy/ feeling it 😦

Anyway, lots of great catch ups with friends I haven’t seen for ages. I’m grateful and happy.

Said tan didn't stop me going  to the beach, though I hope I didn't get tanned. This sweet looking hat is also the culprit which made me (literally) smash my head onto that tree...

Said tan didn’t stop me going to the beach, though I hope I didn’t get tanned. This sweet looking hat is also the culprit which made me (literally) smash my head onto that tree…

Aaaaaand last but not least I’m now in a relationship, so… yeah. I will refer to him as Monsieur for now. For the first time I went and had a Christmas Eve dinner, and I’m starting to understand now what it’s like to be around someone nice. I’m not saying my friends aren’t nice, but in all honesty I’ve had my fair share of really horrid people in my life – sometimes life has its own way; perhaps you need to meet all these horrible people first, before you can learn to appreciate and think to yourself “ah, so this is what people should be like”.

Of course, we’d all rather skip the mean people in life and have it easy, but that’s how it is. Hopefully there will only be better things to come in life, and something to look forward to every day.

Hope everyone had a good new year (it’s late, but not too late because Chinese New Year is around the corner – yes, trying to justify myself), take care until next blog (and beyond).

Love, Misa

Just a post, real quick

So it has been about 5 months since my last post… there is not much to say other than trying to juggle bits and pieces of my life and trying to de-stress myself.

I will be back at some stage to complete the New Zealand posts (if I haven’t already – because I honestly can’t even remember). At the moment I am a bit preoccupied with planning my next trip, which I intend to take in April 2016. I’ve been busy trying to get a passport underway (I cannot begin to even describe the incompetence of the people at Australia Post and the way they process passport applications like you are a fugitive just because there is a slight difference in name and refuse to accept official documentation from another country – albeit the document being in English – and then “sharing” this personal information with other staff members, yes, how professional) and finally got it all to happen at the Passports Office. We were getting disappointed and our spirits down because of it, but all this made me more determined to obtain the passport. Now that has been achieved, and I’ve booked the tickets and hotel.

My next trip is going to be quite an important one to me, because it has sentimental value. Probably around ten years ago I made the promise to take my mum there, and now it’s finally happening. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to go to, but something was always in the way of me going.

I’m not the outgoing type and I’m afraid to try new things, but recently I’ve been trying to push my limits a bit more so I can step out of my comfort zone and learn more. With the new trip coming up, there will be plenty to plan, and I have a lot of language revision to do since it will be in a foreign country I’ve never been to before. I’m really excited about it, and I will definitely write more once I have details sorted out.

In other news, I must really recommend to anyone who has sensitive skin or easily clogged pores to spend an extra 5 minutes at least each time you wash your face. I’ve ditched the Clarisonic because the 90 seconds or so it works for doesn’t seem adequate for a good clean. I mean, it is definitely a good product, but after I started getting little bumps that wouldn’t go away I had  to question where and why it went wrong. For a long time I had trouble with my skin (due to neglect) that I relied on products to cover up the imperfections. Now even though it’s not perfect, I wouldn’t be so against the idea of walking out of the home with a completely bare face. Try it, it will make a huge difference.

For those who are still keeping up to date with me via Twitter or Instagram, thank you and please continue to do so, because I may not be around to blog as frequently as I like. As you may gather from my Instagram feed I’ve been having a good time, and I will continue to do so 😉

Hopefully I’ll post again soon, I do have some things to post about. The photo above was just taken last night at USYD’s graffiti tunnel by my work colleague. It was a really candid shot, but figured I’d share. (And it was not until recently that I figured that what bothered me was not the size of my face but the strangeness of my chin and nose that seem so pokey – idk)

All the best, and will return (better than before),

Love, Misa

New Zealand 2014 Part 2

If you all thought I gave up on New Zealand, I didn’t!

For those who haven’t visited in a long time, I hope you’re all liking the new layout and all. I’m still trying to figure out what I want but I’m slowly getting there. I’ve finally ditched the old logo even though I only had it for a year, and opted for something cleaner (my logo design tends to look like some raunchy mid-day drama soap series logo). I will be making more changes soon along the way. I think if I make my blog a place somewhere nice and make it feel “mine” then most likely I will be more inclined to update more often. I’m not finding much inspiration, so I can only hope to inspire myself. Well, here’s the rest of the New Zealand trip… fingers crossed I haven’t forgotten too much.

Day 3

Day 3 was the execution of my crazy ambitious idea to climb to the peak of Mount Victoria. There are buses available FYI and you can drive to the top, but I thought that it would be fun – or rather, an accomplishment – to make it to the top by foot. It was more about the experience and conquering the low mountain (wikipedia calls it a hill and marks it at 196m tall) as well as the views from the top.

Probably the only thing I regret was not being able to see the view from the peak during night (that would have been nice), but there were so many people there during the day it probably would have been packed (and cold) at night. Well, there’s always next time?

Breakfast was at Sweet Mother’s Kitchen which is a pretty busy hotspot for brunch and is apparently famous for their curly fries. We had a bit of a problem as the curly fries menu is only available after 11:30am… so we literally waited for 11:30am to order the fries after finishing our breakfast.

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This was my breakfast – a hot blackcurrant tea (read: heated Ribena in a mug) and fried chicken and waffles with maple syrup. Yes, that’s right. I had fried chicken for breakfast. Not the smartest idea in the world, because this (well actually it was probably the fries) completely screwed my stomach over the next few days. I don’t think I will ever have anything deep fried for breakfast ever again – it tasted really good while I had it, but for someone who eats clean, rarely eats fried food let alone sugar, this really messed me up.

The curly fries are a bit of a let down – they were pretty crumbly and well, normal potato fries would be much better. I don’t really recommend these unless it’s for the novelty factor. We had a ton of jokes about the curly fries after trying them, so don’t do it! Unless you enjoy making lots of jokes about curly fries.

So the climb started. There were about 2 steep long streets, and the rest were medium, gentle slopes. We stopped midway at this sign because there were two girls hovering near it, and there was an arrow beckoning us to go up.

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I took the wrong path (it was heading back down instead of up) because this was the only thing that looked like a path to me. There was a suspiciously roughed up path up a very steep hill that I passed and well, that was the actual route. A middle aged couple who were coming down suggested we go around and not go up the steep way… and well, we deliberated over it a little but decided we had time and went back to the road and take the gentler route up.

The two girls from before actually went up the super steep route and we saw them at the top… so I guess it wasn’t too terrible. Doesn’t hurt to play it safe, though.

The last stretch was pretty bad and steep D: There were like 2 long flights of stairs after a sharp steep hill, but it felt awesome after getting to the top! Even so this was still not the peak – though I must say I prefer this lookout more than the actual lookout because it was tranquil, had a roof over it, and had little to no people there to block the view. The view from the lookout was used as the cover image of this post (at the top if you missed it).

Here was the walk, broken down to the top. The views along the way were actually better than the views at the actual peak where the deck was and a million of other people were.

First image you see is top view of Oriental Beach which looks absolutely stunning.

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We got a lift back down Mount Victoria via an easy drive down which would have otherwise taken us at least 30 minutes to walk down. My original plan was to walk back down and take a walkway down to Oriental Bay, but instead we headed off to Miramar and I was taken on a short drive along Karaka Bay and Massey Road, beach hopping along the eastern coast. It was amazing! The smell of the seaweed, the colour of the sky and the water and how clear the waters were against the dark rocks – and with sailing boats and green mountains in the distance all seemed so peaceful and surreal to me. I’m not a beach person – and most of the beaches we have here have nothing in the distance, which actually scares me a little. These beaches however do have something in the distance which adds that extra bit of layer to the scenery and I put my mind at ease.

We had a milkshake from Scorch-o-Rama at Scorching Bay Beach, and then ended up near the Wowington sign which was interesting as Hollywood has tried hard to get that down!

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After that we were dropped off at Oriental Bay Beach to walk along its entire length. It wasn’t as long as I had anticipated, as it is quite a small beach, and a fabricated one at that. Overall though, the sand at Oriental wasn’t as nice as Scorching Bay Beach, and I must say, Oriental looked nice from the top, but not so nice on level.

This is the only panoramic shot I got of Oriental Bay (or any shot, rather, because my camera battery died and all I had was my phone).

The quietest part of Oriental Beach... which was the non-beachy part.

The quietest part of Oriental Beach… which was the non-beachy part.

There was this random guy that we saw several times along the way and I genuinely thought they were clones or wearing uniform – you know how you think that while you’re driving there is some guy running next to your car jumping over obstacles to match your pace? It was kind of like that in a weird way. But anyway, Oriental Bay is a must visit… from the top down. It’s not really worth spending too much time at. The only thing nicer about this than Bondi Beach is probably the water and the fact that you can see land in the distance (because I get freaked out if I can’t see anything in the horizon) otherwise Bondi wins hand down for sand, size and just everything else, really.

Dinner was at a New York influenced um, bistro (?) called Five Boroughs. We were lucky to get seats somewhat quickly but there was a long wait on food. I didn’t mention lunch, and that’s because I skipped it, so basically my stomach was dying at this point. Ordered an off the menu chilli dog (which isn’t all that chilli by the way) and a cream spinach which kind of tastes like soggy spinach in warm milk. Kinda weird, but it was alright. For $6 and like 3 mouthfuls though – maybe a salad would have been a bit better.

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I would consider myself pretty lucky as Wellington hardly has fireworks, and I managed to strike it lucky with the fireworks/ Sky Show. Unfortunately due to crazy stomach pain (skipped lunch, and dinner was pretty late) I could not make it and spent the rest of my night in my hotel room. The fireworks sounded pretty lively from my room, but I heard it was pretty crowded with people – maybe a good idea for me to not be out there in the open or I would have crumbled over in pain lol.

This is one of the worst things about travelling (for me anyway). I have a pretty weak stomach and my stomach hurts when I am anxious, or if I don’t eat my meals on time. I usually experience problems from a week before I am set to fly, and that is pretty bad. This time I somehow managed a combination of both – same as the Hong Kong case – only this time I actually made an effort to eat meals on time, rather than avoid eating meals. I don’t recall a single trip where I have gone without worrying about my stomach, be it a short or long trip :\ I was never really interested in travelling until now though, so I must figure out a way to overcome this problem and somehow make myself eat meals on time and avoid this problem.

I think another problem I have is that I underestimate the number of calories I need because I forget to weigh in the amount of activity I do in the equation. We did a lot of walking in New Zealand, and I probably did not consume enough calories to make up for the energy used. Sucks.

Day 4

This was my breakfast. From day 2 I realised I walked past heaps of cafes without noticing that they were cafes… so I stopped somewhere closer to where I was. This was a nice cafe that was cozier then the previous morning – I preferred this place much more as it made me feel more at home.

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Eggs Benedict (poached). I also confused the girl because it was too early in the morning and I wasn’t functioning properly. I also blame it on the fact that Australian and New Zealand English may have differences in expressing questions and can lead to heaps of awkwardsauce. And my logo disappeared… oh well.

I headed to this place called Capital Markets which is opposite my hotel. There is a place called SJUICE which has a few different juice variations – I ordered 2 juices – oxygenator (beetroot, ginger, apple… or carrot – I forgot) and I forgot the name of the other, which was a blend of apple, celery and orange (possibly carrot). This is nothing like Boost. This is like 100% juice, and more natural than New Zealand Natural (which by the way does not actually exist in New Zealand). The juice was hands down the best juice I have had not produced by the juice machine we have at home. Highly recommended.

We had a very curvy, winding and pretty heart attack inducing drive to Makara Beach (New Zealanders pronounce this “Makra” whilst I clearly said this “Mak-ah-ra” the first time round), which is at the north eastern coast of the Wellington area. It was super curved and basically the road was chiseled out of a mountain edge. I am so lucky that I was not the one driving or else I would be going at like 20km/h. Basically if you sit at Makara and look out you see nothing in the horizon – and you are actually looking in the direction of Tasmania/ Australia.

So well, not the prettiest beach there is and it is a bit gloomy, but we did a lot of thinking.

So well, not the prettiest beach there is and it is a bit gloomy, but we did a lot of thinking.

It was the first time I have seen/ been to a beach made out of just rocks. It was a pretty cold beach – a bit depressing even, but the sides where the hill/ cliffs were are covered in lush green plantation and it just looks so different since the contrast is so big – cold and bare, versus green and happyland. I don’t know why but it is quite comforting and I can understand why it would be a great place to have a campfire or to just sit and think about life. I think we saw an albatross or two, which is crazy because I have never seen albatrosses in person before.

This is a shot worth posting... this was just right next to the beach (literally). I applaud those few households around there... it was so windy and that place is just out of this world. I'm not sure if I would be able to live there but these people - round of applause.

This is a shot worth posting… this was just right next to the beach (literally). I applaud those few households around there… it was so windy and that place is just out of this world. I’m not sure if I would be able to live there but these people – round of applause.

After that we headed for the Wind Turbine, which was another heart attack inducing winding drive. For the first time on my trip I saw sheep! We all keep hearing all these sheep jokes and New Zealand, but I only managed to see a few sheep, and horses too. Then the drive up the mountain to the wind turbine was hectic… it was a narrow road with no line drawn (and no fence/ barrier so you could actually drive off the edge…..) but it was a 2-way. CRA-ZY.

Throwback to Wellington turbine.

A post shared by M I S A // (@kuroimisa) on

I have never been so close to a turbine before… it wasn’t as windy as I expected – probably because they weren’t spinning at full turbo (yeah my puns are getting lame here). Still mesmerising though *_*

And this is the view from the top. The best part was being able to see the clouds so low and watching it cast the slightest shadows with their movements… and the snowy peaks of the south island in the distance. It was too bad that I couldn’t capture that on camera, but it was awesome. I noticed that there were trails through the distance… now that would be some pretty hardcore trail walking. Not sure if they were actually trails or roads… but crazy anyway. This was probably my favourite view on this trip, but I must say all the views so far have been amazing.

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Stopped by at Long Island Bay… and had a quick lunch before I was dropped off at Zealandia Ecosanctuary, which marks my first and only solo activity throughout the trip.

I wanted to sum everything up in one post and then call it quits, but Zealandia will take a bit of space so I better save it for another day. I took so many photos and walked around the long way so I will write about it another time.

Hope everyone is enjoying life right now – Sydney’s coldest weather in 5 years. What weather was 5 years ago anyway? I don’t even remember. I will be back with the next part (eventually) and hopefully squeeze in something interesting – later.

Love, Misa

Raging Ambition: Renovation 2015

I have completely been MIA and I must apologise for it. But when you’ve got a new year’s resolution that you haven’t fulfilled in probably over 2 years, it’s probably time to do it. (No) thanks to my mild OCD and obsession over order, I’ve been stressing myself out to get things done once and for all.

In 2014 I wanted to do home renovations but as you all could gather (contradictory to the amount of posts I generated cough) 2014 was a big year for me.

It was the upcoming Australia Day weekend and after a casual chat with my boss about what we were going to do for the long weekend, I put my foot down once and for all and very spontaneously asked my mum that we go to Bunnings and buy a whole heap of painting things. The best part and the worst part was that I needed to do all this pretty much all by myself for I have no siblings and my mum is too old.

Stage A: 10L can of paint for bedroom and living areas (including hall ways and kitchen)

Stage B: 4L can of paint for bathroom, toilet and laundry

Stage C: Revamping existing furniture and replacing old furniture with new furniture

Stage D: Repainting door trims and doors – possibly replacing door handles with new lever type handles

Stage E: New curtains and cushions (DIY)

Stage A – living/  bedrooms

Project A is complete. It took me maybe about 7-8 days off (only working maximum 4 hours each “day”). Split over the weeks it probably took me about 3 weeks. I even spent time after dinner on work days to paint trims and even paint the wall entirely using a paintbrush. This included painting the kitchen, 2 bedrooms, one pretty long hallway and one pretty long living room.

It was the first time ever using a paint roller and I must say, painting is a tough job if it’s something you’re new to. Your arm really gets tired and you may need to ice it (which is what I needed). A lot of time it’s not really overexerting your arm muscles for the paint, but rather sealing gaps and trying to get the sealant level to minimise sanding.

As a beginner, using or rather wasting too much paint is a given because you don’t know how to paint properly/ evenly. When we did our walls several years back, I was not the one to do the rolling – I only did the edges. Even so, the edges were thin and we barely had enough paint to cover everything. From memory there was a spot that we missed because we had no paint left. We only kept complaining how thick the paint was and how quickly it dried. This time after a bit of research and thinking of cheeky ways to stretch my paint as far as I could without it drying so quickly, I decided to dilute my paint with water (I was using water-based acrylic). When doing trimmings, most likely you will use a small container with a bit of paint – when paint is running low in your container, you will find it dries onto the container and you “waste” the paint. Solution: get a spray with some water and just spray onto the paint inside your container to stop it from drying out.

The good thing about this is that you can spray a bit of water on your roller or paintbrush and get out heaps of paint you never knew was on your utensil, onto the wall somewhere so it would make cleaning easier since there is less paint to wash. Diluting the paint also means that I needed much less paint for the roller or whatever I needed, because even a thin coating makes a difference.

You will also need to be alert and not dilute too much or the paint will drip. In any case, I don’t recommend diluting because it’s not the proper way, but it is an option if you’re running low on paint and on a budget. It’s alright if you are using a quality paint that has proven to hold up. We’ve used the same type and brand of paint for many years and never experienced fading or peeling.

I was lucky because the colour I chose for the walls is quite similar to the previous one, so I could get away with painting thinly and without a base/ primer coat. Well, mission accomplished – I ended up with about 2 or 3L left over and even did two coats on selected parts (one coat by brush, one coat by roller). I still have paint left over to paint say, the inside of our built-in wardrobes (which by the way, we haven’t painted before ever since moving in more than 10 years ago). The paint is even, and the colour has successfully changed to the one I chose.

Spend a bit of timing choosing your paint colour by comparing similar ones and eliminating as you go. This is the first time I ever chose paint/ wall colour, and I think I did a good job. Previously we always got colours that were too strong or just not what we expected (you know the feeling when you get home and you find your parents have gone shopping and made some strange strange decisions? It was like that before). This time though, going for a nude/ peach/ blush colour was a good choice as it has brightened up the walls tremendously.

It also helps to be obsessive compulsive because I tried to get everything perfect so that I could avoid touching up later on.

Stage B – bathroom/ laundry

Project B is also complete for now. It took a while because I was doing other stuff in between but it took me maybe 5 separate occasions.

Bathrooms are harder to paint for some reason, but in this case it was due to the paint. We didn’t add any colour to our paint so it is the whitest white available (which isn’t bad considering it will “last longer” and take longer to look really really shabby). We should have tinted it to give it a bit of colour/ thickness/ coverage, but because we didn’t, two – or perhaps even three coats is definitely required. Having said that, I’m happy with the results because it looks a lot brighter and literally brand new. I’m considering painting the tiles (yes, tile paint exists) but that can be at a much later stage.

Stage C – furniture

I’ve simultaneously replaced furniture along with painting walls because I recently rediscovered Ikea. We used to have an Ikea store like 3 minutes drive away from my place, but they shut down and moved somewhere pretty damn far away. Then we just forgot about Ikea because we’re not the open type to drive to strange places we’ve never been before.

It was only very recently that I stumbled across an Ikea store (open literally for so many years) just around the corner from the Bunnings we usually go to – actually so close and easy to get to it was almost embarrassing why we didn’t go there earlier.

I’m not saying that Ikea furniture is the best quality, but it is pretty good for its price and lasts for a reasonably long time. Our Billy bookcase held up with no problems even until the time I took it apart and that must be at least 15 years. We got these bookcases from another store that looked like the Billy case but the quality is so bad even though it’s almost the same thing (they were more expensive as well). In any case (lol what a pun), while we painted the living room I was contemplating painting the bookcases to renew them, but after seeing how shabby they were, it was probably a better idea to get new ones and make them all the same instead of having different ones.

A lot of furniture at home is over 10 years old – some 20, some even close to 30. I never really had much say in what furniture to buy when I was younger since my parents made the decisions. About 95% of the time we just went into one store, saw something that functionally did the trick, had a good price tag and just bought it because my parents weren’t bothered shopping around. Now though, I can take my time and slowly choose or design what I want.

 

I’m currently now up to Stage D – currently waiting on a new mattress and a bed frame and I can get that project underway.

In the past 2 weeks I took some time off work to get things done and assembled about 10 pieces of furniture, cleaned carpets and glass and tiles and painted 3 storeroom sized areas. Needless to say, I’ve been busy and I’m completely beat. The worst part is probably using a crappy screwdriver and trying not to wreck the screw or the screwdriver while trying to get the screw into a very tiny pre-drilled hole (seriously why can’t you drill it larger?). My record was doing 20 of those in one sitting – and it’s pretty damn hard.

On other matters I’ve suddenly been busy from extended family things (weekly dinners, lunches, etc). I probably can’t afford the time or social expenses involved in the long run, but we’ll see how this goes.

Sorry this has been a huge chunk of text – I would have pictures but I haven’t completely finished (that would be end of Stage E), so I’ll leave the pictures out for now. Just letting you all know I’m still alive and around – just focusing on renewing the home and giving it that much needed update that has been long overdue.

And last but not least, Sydney weather has been crazy lately – I’m super lucky to have taken time off work – I cannot imagine hailing a bus down in that knee height water on a super busy road… those cars drive so fast and water splashes up to your face. Fingers crossed it’s the end of this wet madness!

I’ll be back next time, with pictures.

Unexpectedly detailed review of the (Michael) Michael Kors Selma (Large) Bag

This is a really late post (and I know I still have the rest of New Zealand to do – I haven’t forgotten) but I am crossing off those home renovation resolutions like a bawsss. Pretty much last year I bludged through my “home renovation” and pretty much passed off replacing two broken bathroom/ laundry items that needed to be replaced and they were done by a plumber, not myself. If not, it was buying the odd curtain or dinner placemat. I’ve just worked through painting all the main living areas and bedrooms and painted them all a fresh peach colour – bathroom, toilet and laundry to go, but that will be easy peasy. I’m a bit caught up because I’m simultaneously replacing furniture and buying things to decorate the home – I should do it a bit at a time,  but I like to multitask.

Painting for newbies is a bitchhhh. Your deltoids and other muscles you never knew existed ache and you get frustrated because you’re using way too much paint on a wall and can’t tell if the coating is even or not or if you’ve painted a spot because half the wall is dry, the other half wet. I will write more about this later in a separate post. Onwards!

The Selma Bag features:

  • Two short top handles for arm/ hand carry
  • Long adjustable strap for crossbody or shoulder carry
  • Two “flaps” to look like a trapeze which can be tucked in for a square look, or pushed out… to look like a Celine trapeze
  • Top zipper closure (with the two “flaps” uncovered)
  • 1x Inner zipped compartment
  • 1x Mobile phone compartment
  • 3x Smaller open stitched compartments
  • 1x Leather strap with lobster claw for key/ small item lanyard thing that is fixed to the inside of the bag
  • MK Monogrammed fabric interior lining (by the way I hate the monogram soooo much I’m only glad it’s on the inside and you cannot see it from the outside)
  • Saffiano calf leather exterior and all straps
  • 4x Metal base studs on underside of the bag
  • Front logo plaque
  • MICHAEL KORS stamped hardware
  • White rather soft and slippery dust bag with silver leafed logo (which is actually impressive for a dust bag)

Purchased the 30T4MLMS7T in Raspberry/ White/ Black colour block. Raspberry is more like a fuschia or a hot pink colour depending on your interpretation and under certain lighting. The colours are way too vibrant for what I am used to sporting, but a little change won’t hurt.

So my floor and wall backdrop is back after I decided the photography tent was way too whitewashed and eBay-like. Can you guys tell the colour of the wall is lighter than before? Yes, that was me painting the walls.

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What Misa thinks of the Selma bag: first impressions

So I’ve pushed this post first since my last post kind of promised this would be next. I’m not really a Michael Kors person – to be honest I don’t know much about the brand, don’t really care for it, and don’t particularly like it either. The only thing I like though, is the Selma bag, because it’s one of the designs that I think actually look quite modern, nice, and can work as a bag you take to work without it costing near $2000. It was almost by chance that I came across this particular colour block Selma on sale which I managed to get (including shipping) for under $300AUD. This is a bargain considering they retail at like $490AUD+ or whatever it is here. It was the perfect combination of colours, especially since the straps were black and not white like most stupid colour blocks (why would you have light coloured handles if you could avoid it?? Yes, aesthetic purposes, but functionally lacking in terms of maintaining the thing).

I know I said I wouldn’t buy a bag (so I still kept with the twice a year thing… except I made it to 3 in 2014 because of the Selma), but when I bought the Selma it was on sale, Christmas, and it was reasonably priced. Later another $50 was hacked off the price (*shakes fist at further reductions* and probably it would have been better spending $250AUD on it (who doesn’t like saving money?)… because IMO it’s okay value for money, but RRP here is just not worth it at all.

Yes, there are articles trying to ride on the Kors bandwagon by writing articles like these to say how the brand is going downhill, is uncool, etc – yeah I get all that. Like I wrote a paragraph ago, I don’t actually like the brand at all. I just liked the design and price wise, it was worth a shot because I wanted to see what it was like for the lulz. Do I have anything to say in response to the article? Well, I do – there’s nothing wrong with a mass produced bag – it makes a brand affordable and in all honesty, undermining the “higher end” brand of the same brand doesn’t really matter because fundamentally the money is going to the same company. I’m well aware everyone is wearing one, but then again, what about Longchamp? Just saying. A bag is just a bag – you use it to carry things and you wear it because you like it or not.

I’m going to be honest – the Selma is a bag that I’m not very comfortable with in terms of its details and design elements when I take apart the bag. It’s like the Saffiano leather and buckle design from Prada, a leather strap with buckle for your keys from Chanel, a shape that really resembles that of Celine’s trapeze or luggage, interior compartments that are like Louis Vuitton and Coach combined, and a monogram interior lining (though uncommon in most handbags) – probably resembling some brand but I just can’t really figure out what at the moment. Yes. It is uncomfortable because it is a mishmash of borrowed (?) elements smacked into one. But if you just look at it on the whole, it seems like a good design – I guess they did combine the “best” of everything into one. Or so that’s what you expect anyway.

This is so the Prada lobster clasp, downsized with a different "link" shape buckle.

This is so the Prada lobster clasp, downsized with a different “link” shape buckle.

Made in Vietnam.

There’s nothing wrong with it being made in Vietnam (probably better than made in China but I wouldn’t have a clue), but it took me ages to find where it was made. It was printed on a tiny bit of white coated fabric somewhere on the inside in small letters – so wee and tiny. It’s not very nice to have it in such an obscure spot – like, it’s nothing to hide right? I can’t expect a bag to be made in Europe if it’s a couple of a hundred dollars.

So. Stiff.

I was expecting the bag to be stiff but not as stiff as it is now. It’s physically hard to stuff into my work drawer (which is actually a cube), it’s in the way when I take public transport, I can’t slide my wardrobe door close because I can’t tuck the two sides in (need to rearrange my contents first to do that) and just a whole bunch of inconveniences.

In fact, it is stiff to the point that I would call it hard/ cardboard. The long strap is almost useless because it actually hurts my shoulder when I wear the bag long. My bag isn’t like terribly heavy, but it is of considerable weight: a phone, wallet, keys, glasses case, bus tickets, a small bag of toiletries and the odd almost weightless cardigan. The handles are also so hard I wonder if there is cardboard inside to retain the shape and hardness… or whatever. There probably isn’t, but it’s just a thought. You cannot wear this bag on the long strap with the handles down because it will bang against your thigh and it hurts. And the long strap hurts. And you carry it on your hand/ arm and the handles still hurt. It’s better now but you don’t exactly expect a bag to be something you “break into”. This is the first time I’ve encountered this problem.

Well, I’m sure you are all like “but this will get better after a bit of wear and tear” – it’s been about a week and while the finish of the bag is sagging (by this I mean the front and the bag are slowly caving in where the bag is empty), it’s pretty tough. And there’s a good reason for it.

Sagging.

Sagging/ losing its original shape.

Saffiano leather is a method of pressing calf leather into a crosshatch pattern. This makes it scratch resistant (to an extent) and the treatment makes it durable and sort of water resistant. It reminds me of the Louis Vuitton Epi leather (same concept, just different pattern). I have compared the grain/ size of the pattern of the saffiano treatment in Prada and Kors leathers and I have noticed that the Prada grain is somewhat larger. The Kors is pressed smaller and hence is a bit “scratchier” – this is most likely due to the fact that they are using leather that is not as good in quality – and that’s why there is a need to scale the saffiano crosshatch smaller to hide these imperfections. The Kors leather also doesn’t have as much definition – so perhaps the leather was also stretched when they did the crosshatch? I don’t know, just making speculations.

Left: Prada Saffiano leather (more definition and larger grains). Right: Kors Selma

Left: Prada Saffiano leather (more definition and larger grains). Right: Kors Selma. Oh, and while we’re here, maybe you may want to compare the quality of stitching – so yeahhhhhhhh.

In other words, if you are a leather connoisseur or someone who really scrutinises quality, definitely choose Prada since they are the originators and probably do it best.

Oh and just in case you missed it – I still think the bag is cardboard. It has softened since I have first typed this draft though.

Details leave much to be desired.

The sealing of the leather seems to be alright and smooth if I run my finger over the edges, but if I look closely the edges of the actual leather aren’t smooth and there are lumps under the seal. I’m not saying that high end brands will not have this problem – I’ve seen my fair share of the slip of the artisan’s hand during the sealing process (which by the way is sort of like painting, waiting for it to cure and possibly doing this process several times – my hand slips even painting a wall let alone something so delicate) so I don’t expect it to be perfect. If I had to rate the sealing I’d probably say it’s about 8/10 for smoothness but 6/10 for shoddiness of craftsmanship because I can see the imperfections under the sealing – no matter how much you rely on the sealing to hide this, I still don’t believe it’s a good idea to leave traces of ruggedness in something that is supposed to be clean cut. I tried really hard to take a photo but I couldn’t as I don’t have the capability to do detailed macro shots.

I’m not sure if it’s my imagination either, but when I compare the symmetry of the bag it seems off – not everything is quite uniform and the same size throughout. This is reallllllly minor, but maybe something to take note of if you’re crazy like me.

Stitching

When I received my bag I was not happy with the long strap because the string/ stitching along the sides of the long strap were already sort of fraying or fuzzing out. This is probably due to the bad quality of the string and just overall finish – especially if they decided to wax the string. My only guess is that this will only get worse over time.

Fuzzy string on long strap: this was as how I received the item, brand new (I knew it was new because the zipper and everything was factory sealed with the swing tag).

Fuzzy string on long strap: this was as how I received the item, brand new (I knew it was new because the zipper and everything was factory sealed with the swing tag).

Once again with details, if you look at the stitching, the lines sort of look straight, but the actual punched holes in the leather forming that stitched line aren’t exactly straight or aligned. If the higher end brands are given an A+ or above, I would give this workmanship maybe a B-. Yes, there is a difference, and you can tell.

Lean back and have a look at the lines in general - not straight, spacing is not as equal as they could be and stitching "holes" not lining up.

Lean back and have a look at the lines in general – not straight, spacing is not as equal as they could be and stitching “holes” not lining up.

Branding

Considering this is a Michael “Michael Kors” it just sounds as tacky as it probably is. I hate the name of the brand and well, that’s about it.

Proportions

This is the large version of the Selma and proportions are alright. It is a bit bulky, but that’s due to the nature of how stiff the bag is.
The large number of internal pockets is rare to see in bags these days and is a nice touch – but it doesn’t make organisation that much easier or finding your stuff faster if you’re someone who just throws things in and then organises later.

The only negative (apart from the horrible monogram lining) thing I have to say about the internal pockets is that the zipped compartment is not big enough to put in a long wallet. So my wallet is still floating around.

If it’s any consolation a short wallet will fit (duh). But I’m not going to change/ swap my wallet just because of this.

Long wallets do not fit into the zipped compartment.

Long wallets do not fit into the zipped compartment.

Overall conclusion

Yeah, alright, so I own a Selma now. I’m probably just going to use it for a while, try to sell it, and then forget I even had it. Or, I would use it, get bored of it, and throw it into the dust bag and up into my closet to sleep with my other maybe 15 or so bags. One’s enough and that’s it – I don’t see the need or whatever to have a second because I think even owning one in the first place was a move that is unlike-Misa. From wearing my casually comfortable Louis Vuitton Totally MM (which I crumple into a ball somewhere in my closet) to this mess of a cardboard slab, it was like a culture shock far too great for me to handle.

There are so many great bags that are under $1000 that perhaps aren’t leather but are structurally well made and would be something I’d be happy to wear every day. Although I wear the Selma to work 5 days a week, I kind of don’t hate it,  but I don’t love it either. I feel kind of lost wearing the bag, because it feels like the bag’s insecurities of its own identity has rubbed off me. It’s still too mishmashed to be an icon (maybe an icon of mass production), and it’s not anywhere near the top of my list in terms of my bag rankings.

If you were hoping the Selma to be the answer to the new saffiano tote, forget it – a classic will always be a classic, and the quality is just too far off to even consider comparing the two!

If you prefer something bulky, heavy, stiff but with a bit more comfort yet bump into people and things when you’re travelling or shopping, consider the Chanel Grand Shopping Tote instead. Although I don’t really love my GST that much, it’s definitely much better than the Selma, but of course there’s the price factor.

I don’t mean to offend anyone who loves their Selma – I mean I like it too – enough for me to actually buy and use it. But seriously, when you compare the quality – and especially when you can afford better quality – I don’t see why I should settle for less. Please note that I didn’t see the bag in person before I actually got the bag, so if you do purchase, go see it in person first!

Overall for a bag this size and this quality, $300AUD is actually a pretty good price. I’m being too strict on the quality – what can I possibly expect? For an internationally recognised brand, decent design and it is leather, I must say it was still a good buy. My only qualm about it is why did I even need to own the Selma or spend the money in the first place. *shrugs*

In a summary – which does not include every single possibility:

Great for: students, people who want a work bag to throw around and not care about yet look modern and organised (go for the classic all black Selma – can’t go wrong), people who do not care for their bags well, people on a budget, people searching for their first designer bag, a pack of friends who want matching bags that are in season/ in fashion, giving away to a friend/ family or as a gift in general – alone or pooled with other people.

Bad for: people with soft bodies (unless you want a free massage with the bag bashing against you as you walk – massage available for 2 weeks of initial use), bag collectors who do it as an investment (no point here), people who are obsessive compulsive, people who nitpick details, people who are against the use of leather, people who do not like Michael/ Michael Michael/ Michael MK Kors.

Plans for the next bag? Considering May is only a few months away it’s time for me to contemplate on what I should get. I have zero plans at this stage, and I am most likely going to push my money towards home renovations/ furniture. I’ve had my desk for about 7 years – it’s still structurally stable and does the job, but it’s ugly and the veneer has always looked awful as it peeled from the very first week I ever used it. I’ve found a desk I quite like, but do I need it? The “trust me, I’m an architect” side of me is telling me yes. I’ve always had this strong idea to pursue the perfect work space. I was somewhat close to it, but not quite. I will get there eventually since I have finally got the chair I’ve wanted since maybe about 9-10 years ago.

I’ve also discovered Pinterest and it has been a great source of renovation ideas. I’ve finally hung a decent looking frame in my room to cover the bare hook I have (see my Instagram feed) and my room feels new again. Now if I get that desk and decent storage I can get all my crap off my desk and off the floor – it’s always nice to have a sexy sleek plane as your desk with minimal clutter.

Hope everyone enjoyed Valentines – mine sucked. I spent about 3 hours just waiting/ traveling to and from work, ignored a couple being way too touchy feely in public while waiting for public transport, had to put up with two girls much younger than me gawking at those two hand wanderers and make comments about it. Anyway, I will be back at some stage – not sure what the next post will be, but I really want to get all my renovations underway and complete soon. We have a lot of furniture that is old – like 10, 20 years+ and needs upgrading. Until next time, stay cool (unless you’re in the northern hemisphere), and enjoy!