So, 15 Months…

15 Months and a couple of weeks ago was when I wrote my last blog post. Trust me, that was not the plan. 

I had a lot of hope for 2015 – and boy, did it deliver! 2015 gave me some amazing moments and memories whilst also dealing low blows.

The thing is, I do not regret taking a break from blogging at all. For me, blogging has always been about putting my ideas, my thoughts, my voice out there; sharing some of my sparkle with the world. My aim is not for it to replace my income that I receive in my current position as a health professional. For me it is something I do in my downtime and a way to turn off from what I do at work and focus on other interests.

These last 15 months I took a break for many reasons – my time was limited and I wanted focus elsewhere. I wanted to spend time doing other things I loved and not having to stick to a schedule of writing, editing and publishing posts, I wanted to get away from the “competition” that can occur with fellow bloggers and I really wanted to just experience life to the full again. It hasn’t been easy and I have felt at times like life was taking weird turns.
This time has been full of love + laughter but also alot of struggles + hurt. But I’ve grown. I’ve realised that I am strong, that I am extremely passionate about those that I love and that I am allowed to take time out for and invest in myself.

The most amazing thing to happen this past year? 

I fell in love. 

We’ve had our ups + downs and dealt with alot together but we continue to come out on top. Overall our love sees us through. Late last year on my birthday, my beautiful man proposed to me… And I said Yes!

Our aim, our mantra is The Happy Life. It is focusing on our relationship and the dreams we have for our future, goals on how to get there and a reminder to focus on the small things too {life’s truly beautiful moments} … it doesn’t mean that we are always happy all day, everyday but instead that we can find happiness within and together every day. {I share photos in this theme on Instagram using #thehappylife – a popular tag with many people from all over the world chasing + celebrating some happy. I also use the tag #mrandmrsbrows for photos of Joel and I}.
So that brings me to now. July of 2016. I have decided to start writing blog posts again, not to a complicated schedule but regular posts. On a range of topics including lifestyle, food, beauty, fashion, travel and more. I hope you’ll join me.

Thanks for reading,

Kooklah xo

The Jar – Project 2015…

In yesterday’s post Project 2015 in a Jar {Positivity, Happiness, Thankfulness & Direction}, I wrote about how I was going to use a positivity jar as I had in 2014. I found this experience to be so rewarding. Getting to the end of the year and reading back all the moments, days and people that had a very positive and uplifting effect on my life was fantastic. I could actually see when my outlook had changed, when finding positives was not so difficult because I would look around and see mainly positives. The words I would say to people, the advice or support I would give was so much more positive; to be strong and keep going, believe in yourself, you CAN do this, look around – there is brightness everywhere.

Now, 2014 was a year I absolutely struggled. I had MANY ‘down’ moments. Times when I felt lost, trapped or afraid. The difference this year is that I honestly believed I could get through it, and that I could move on to an inner calm and brightness that I had not felt in a long time. I was uncertain within myself and which direction I wanted to move forward in, had doubts about my career, there was family illness and my health suffered too even resulting in surgery. I do not look back and only see tears and anger. I look back and see determination, laughter, love, resilience and strength. I didn’t do it alone, but I became aware of how much I can handle on my own. That I can put my own struggle aside and help another.

Reflecting on those coloured bits of paper helped me see how far I have come {note – not all pictured}.

20150317_215910

Here are some of the highlights of last year (I limited to 10, as honestly there were way too many!)

1. Realising as 2014 began that in less than a year I’d be back in my favourite city – New York City

2. Knowing a loved one who was struggling with an awful illness had amazing specialists team behind them.

3. Spending a lot of time with my younger brother and having DVD marathons.

4. The many catch ups and coffees with friends

5. Getting precious one on one time with my Mum – we had a few lunch dates and had the best conversations that were random, funny and heartfelt.

6. Planning, booking and flying to USA with my two friends L + C; celebrating 2014 and bringing in the New Year at an event in Times Square in New York City {major bucket list item ticked!}

7. House-sitting in a great location right near one of the local beaches – really uplifted my mood during a struggle period!

8. Spending an evening with two of my gorgeous little cousins just before I went away – we went to the beach and enjoyed dinner together.

9. Seeing two of my gorgeous friends marry each other and celebrating at their love filled wedding!

10. Spending time with my friends and their new babies – such a blessing!

here's to 2015!

here’s to 2015!

Ok, so now for Kooklah’s 2015 Positivity Jar …. {I am also going to add “She believed she could and so she did” to the lid}

Ribbon, quote on top and gold stars inside...

Ribbon, quote on top and gold stars inside…

This year has been so amazing already, in so many ways. I hope you will join me in this journey – either by keeping track of my updates, by commenting with some of your own positives, or maybe even starting your own jar. Your project can be the same or different. If you are doing something similar I would love to hear from you!

Kooklah Xo

p.s I hope you like the new look of the site!

For more daily tidbits follow Kooklah creator and writer, Sarah, on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.

‘Like’ and keep up to date with Kooklah on Facebook.

 

Project 2015 in a Jar {Positivity, Happiness, Thankfulness & Direction}

Last year I was on a journey of positivity, happiness and thankfulness. I have long been aware of how fortunate I am despite some harrowing experiences and awful losses. But it can be easy to get caught up in the busy aspects of life and dwell on the negativity.
In Project 2014 in a Jar {Positivity, Happiness & Thankfulness} I decided I would decorate a jar and then write down anything that was positive, a goal that came true, something funny or happy on a piece of paper. This paper is then put into the jar (I usually fold to save space), you can do this daily, weekly or monthly – whatever works for you! At the end of the year the idea is to take them out and read them, a whole year’s worth of positives engulf you at once. How powerful.

image

I am doing it again this year. While I was away on holiday, and working a lot I have been writing things down in a notebook and today will convert them to pieces of paper and place in the jar. Later today I will show you my 2015 jar.
This year I have added direction to the project – I have goals and aspects of my life I want to clarify and achieve.

Each day, from today, I am going to upload a photo to my Instagram {@saregiak} and the Kooklah Facebook Page with three positive things.

From last year I noticed that my happiness lifted and I was more positive in my outlook. Which made me more thankful for the experiences I have. I am also thinking about opening the possibility to my loved ones, if they want to contribute to the jar – either about an experience or write something positive about me – as I think reading those affirmations would be a highlight…

How are you injecting more happiness, positivity and thankfulness into your life? Or more direction?

Hope you have had a good day,
Kooklah… xo

KOOKLAH ~ A living doll, living a life not yet imagined

Sephora for My Birthday

Anyone who has heard me talk about beauty, makeup or my travels will have come across a Sephora story or two at some point.

I was first introduced to Sephora in 2012 in the USA by Contiki buddies I was traveling with. The sheer size of the many stores we visited was so awe inspiring… so many brands and products under one roof!

The mothership was calling…

image

IMAGE - facebook.com/SephoraAus/

I remember stocking up big on products that were either more affordable than in Australia or not yet available {some still aren’t!} Purchasing multiples of many and finding new brands to love.

On my next overseas trip, last year {Paris, UK & Dubai} I prepared to spend big and stock up again as Sephora still did not have a store in or ship to Aus. I fondly remember looking for a certain brush in Dubai and having a massive tip sharing conversation between two assistants and I.. it was fun and again I wished for something of it’s magnitude here.

You can imagine how thrilled I was when Sephora confirmed they were coming not only to set up Sephora Australia but in Sydney – a mere two hours from my area. Thrilled.
The mothership is coming.

The official opening date has been confirmed as Friday 5th December.

image

IMAGE - facebook.com/SephoraAus/

Which is 14 sleeps away and the day after my birthday. Happy Sephora Birthday to me! I can’t wait to see what prices are like, and it also means that the brands they are bringing with them are ones I won’t need to stock up on when I am in the USA at the end of the year. I am hoping to make a trip down as soon as possible.

Elle magazine provides a full list of the brands that will be available – will be more to come…I am most excited for Kat Von D, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Tarte and the Sephora Collection. I am hoping Urban Decay will be added to the Australian brand list shortly too.

image

Kat Von D. IMAGE - facebook.com/SephoraAus

Have you Sephora-shopped? Are you excited for the first Australian store to open? P.s head to the Facebook page to enter a VIP competition for you and a friend.

Shine brightly dolls x x

KOOKLAH ~ A living doll, living a life not yet imagined

Kooklah Participates – Shop What You Got Challenge

Last year I discovered someone who became a favourite blogger of mine, Jo from iCurvy and then joined her 2013 challenge to “Shop What You Got”. A challenge that asked you to nominate 30 items of which all your oufits for November would be styled from (does not include uniforms, gym gear, pjs or underwear). The idea is to create a capsule wardrobe. Last year this included clothing, shoes and accessories like belts and scarves. I made sure to choose items that had colour, patterns and interesting details as I wanted to challenge myself and step away from the ‘easy’ option of monochrome. Here is a snapshot of last year’s list. {I had one ‘exemption’ day that I’d nominated up front due to attending a black tie wedding}

image

2013

This year, the rules are slightly different, belts and scarves no longer count and can now be used like accessories such as statement necklaces to lift, add to or change an outfit – I felt an immense amount of freedom! More choice for items! Read Jo’s overview of the challenge at #shopwhatyougot

image

{if you feel inspired to join, do! It isn’t too late, double up on outfits or start your own period of 30 days, one lady started at the middle of October due to travel commitments, or just tap in #shopwhatyougot in your social media accounts for daily inspiration}

As Jo mentions, you will take more risks, gain a greater appreciation for the items and discover outfit combinations you had never thought of. Last year those items became some of my most loved and I have worn them often – some made this year’s list!

Below is my list for #shopwhatyougot 2014…. but first a few insights into my collection.

image

Snapshot sneak peek of clothing items {actual shots of items below}

I have included:
* the dress I will wear to my work Christmas party
* varied bright colour and patterns
* items that I needed to get more use out of
{I included less used items for two reasons- I recently had surgery and cannot wear certain fabrics as they irritate the healing suture lines and also because if I find the less used items difficult or not styled as often during this challenge they will be donated at the end}.

I have not included:
* heels – just wedges
* my chambray shirt {it can sometimes be a crutch item for me, I can always pair it with new outfit combinations I create after the challenge}
* jeans as I cannot stand them yet against my healing incision sites
* leather – I recently donated my much loved leather jacket as it no longer fit well

KOOKLAH #shopwhatyougot Capsule Wardrobe 2014

Jackets

image


*White blazer {Portmans} *Orange hued patterned kimono {Vintage Iris} *Silver cardigan {Blarney souvenir}

Tops

image

*Black tee *Patterned pink loose singlet *Black peplum {all three from Kmart} *Leopard print tee *Striped tee {Witchery} *Dot 3/4 blouse {Portmans}

image

*Green embellished blouse from SES *Pink draped top H&M *Orange peplum blouse H&M *Pink Glassons shift top *Black tie up embellished tee from Big W

Bottoms

image

*Black maxi skirt H&M *Floral midi skirt from Jay Jays *Black peplum mini skirt from Kmart *Black ponte pant with contrast panel from Kmart *Blue patterned pants *Black high waisted soft pant

Dresses

image

*Black and white wrap look dress from Kmart *Floral sundress from Jay Jays *Nautical dress from Kmart *Moroccan patterned jumpsuit *Animal print peplum dress (Christmas party outfit) from Boohoo *Navy polka dot dress from Big W

Shoes

image

*Pippa flats from Spendless Shoes *Nude woven sandals *Isabella Brown nude wedges *Tartan flats a souvenir from San Francisco

Make sure you click over to see Jo’s list and sneak a peek at other bloggers who have accepted the challenge and linked up their capsule wardrobe for November.

Tomorrow I will be uploading the first week of outfits.. in the meantime you can find me on Instagram using my handle @saregiak

Happy Styling,

KOOKLAH – ‘a living doll, living a life not yet imagined…’

KOOKLAH BLOG

Celebrate Life’s Snapshots

One of my favourite sayings is by writer Robert Brault, “Enjoy the little things in life… for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things”, I think this is very true. It can be so easy to get caught up in the routine of life, get weighed down by the hits and overwhelmed with ‘the big picture’.

Often the moments I have looked back on and loved most dearly are ones that were seemingly small at the time. Like spontaneously deciding to go dancing with four gal pals after seeing the Footloose remake at the movies {we went home and dressed in 80s inspired outfits, met back out and danced the night away, yes to the theme song and completely sober}. Or taking a walk in Paris after dinner and looking up at the moment the Eiffel Tower lit up and sparkled, a quiet night turning into an all nighter in San Fransisco, a sunny day off, last minute catch ups with friends, going to see After the Fall play with high school friends and standing front row to our favourite song reminiscing. That photo in front of the departure sign before you board a plane or even just spending time taking solace that you have been granted another day, another chance…

I think small moments of our lives are incredibly important, and should be celebrated. There will always be the big attention grabbing moments. But every day you can celebrate a small one… a snapshot of life.

Inspired by these thoughts, Kooklah has some new hashtags which we’ve begun using – and we’d like to invite you to the party! So far there are four, and if you choose to join in, you can use them for our meaning or your own. There are no rules, no rights or wrongs, you can use them once; daily; weekly or not at all. We have simply chosen to celebrate and wanted to extend the offer. Below we have given some examples, and if you search using the tags on IG and/or twitter you can see our shots!

image

Examples and hints to meanings (think outside the box too!)
*many of the examples can be used for more than one, but I didn’t want to repeat examples – use the tag your way*

#snapofstyle – this could be a snapshot of a whole outfit/look or a small part of it (contrasting colours, accessories, a small glimpse), it could be a sassy statement, street art, quote, architecture…

#snapofbeauty – again the shot can be as big or small as you like, beauty looks, lip shot, no makeup, a beautiful/lovely friend, mother nature, something eye catching, a moment that made your heart skip a beat, love, joy, acts of kindness

#snapofbliss – a moment of relaxation, exhilaration, relection or happiness. Your own piece of paradise, hope, peace or love. A child’s smile, mess, family love, a book, candle, nature, or memory.

#snapoftravel – could be your daily route, walk, footpath. A new adventure, city or country to explore; items you are taking,  memories you are making. Wanderlust, inspiration. Inner travel; growth, change..

They can be interchangeable,  you may be able to use them all. I can’t wait to see a different perspective or meaning that someone else may use these for. I find it increases my own happiness and I am even more grateful for my life and everything around me.

I hope you like the idea. Would love to read your thoughts… if you have suggestions for future ‘snaps’, let me know. You can reach out using the blog/twitter/IG/email/facebook.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend dolls,
Sarah Xo

KOOKLAH | “..a living doll, living a life not yet imagined…” |

image

KOOKLAH BLOG

It was goodbye New York City

image

Last day in NYC 2012

Just a short post for Travel Inspiration Thursday today, and I apologise for it been late! I have decided to share one of my favourite pictures from my trip to the USA in 2012. It was taken during an early morning walk with half of the Contiki group I was traveling with, from Brooklyn to Manhattan across the bridge.

It was a lovely walk and a great way to see the city from a different perspective.

I then spent the day on my own in the city before meeting back up with Contiki buddies that evening. I was completely in awe of the city that day. Total wanderlust. I wanted to soak it all in. I went to little parks, ate macarons from street vendors, got rained on and visited Central Park (where it went from sun to torrential downpour… where I decided not to risk my camera in the rain and currently have no photos of the park, but can vividly remember it!). I then went shopping, ensuring I had one last visit to Tiffanys.

That is how I said my own personal goodbye to New York City, and in just over two months I will get to meet up with it again. No doubt I will fall in love with it all over again, and will dread leaving one more.

Have you read past travel posts from KOOKLAH – such as why I am thankful for travel opportunities, five destinations that fill this blogger with intense wanderlust or shots from 2012’s visit to Los Angeles

Goodnight dolls,
Sarah XO
*
KOOKLAH – a living doll, living a life not yet imagined…
Don’t forget to click follow or sign up for posts to be sent via email. You can also follow us on Facebook and catch up with Sarah daily via Instagram @saregiak

KOOKLAH BLOG