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Views to the city from Manns Point park

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Manns Point Sydney

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Manns Point is a unique park in Sydney that has 2 levels. I only explored the upper lever the first time and thought it was an hidden narrow park with great view to the city. This time we discovered its stunning lower level and the walking trail connecting the lower and upper lever.

It was early in the morning so again I had messy hair and zero makeup, even my pants were slightly wrinkled but all of that didn’t really matter. How I enjoyed the tranquil water view dotted with yachts, the morning fresh air and the little hike to the top!

While walking to a bench to take a seat, this little furry friend followed me all the way and stayed to play for a few minutes. Dogs sure love cuddles and a good pat!

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Photos: Candidtown Photography

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The Breakwater lighthouse behind me

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On the right: The Flagstaff Hill lighthouse

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Wide leg pants are back. I’m not a trend follower but I know this because a couple of PR agents sent me photos featuring some rather ugly wide leg pants.

One of the reasons I don’t follow fashion trend for the sake of it is because not all styles would fit me well. Wide leg pants are exceptions. I like them. It was pointed out to me quite a few times that my legs are relatively short (though overall I can be classified as tall in person) and not as straight as they should be. Wide leg pants don’t show my flaws that much. For that reason alone, I like wide leg pants, but not the ugly ones.

As the saying goes: Fashion comes in cycles. Wide leg pants, are IN not for the first time. I had many of them from a long time ago but have cleared them out over the years. The only one left now is this pair of Chloe white pants. They are not that wide legged but still count.

Now back to the location: Wollongong. We were not even planning going to Wollongong that day. We were driving to Port Kembla and Wollongong is just on the way. We took a wrong turn & were immediately drawn to this row of large rocks. It was an easy decision to pull over have some photos taken there.

There are 2 light houses in Wollongong not far from each other. The bigger one the hill (The Flagstaff Hill lighthouse) attracts a lot more visitors on average but don’t you think the smaller one ( The Breakwater lighthouse) and its harbour surroundings are more photogenic?

 

 

 

Austinmer Beach

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Zombie walk on the beach… a happy zombie for once

Sydney has been raining literally non-stop for a week now. Without even a minute break from those heavy rain drops from the sky, one can only sit inside and dream about beach weather.

Those photos are from my last trip to Austinmer Beach a couple of weeks ago. Autinmer beach is about one and a half hours’ drive south from Sydney, close to Wollongong city centre. Why drive so far to a beach while there are so many wonderful beaches in Sydney? Perhaps the scenic drive is quite enjoyable; perhaps that large rock platform has our names on it; perhaps it has this little shop that can cook up the best fish and chips. Whatever the reason, a day trip to Austinmer beach always manage to make me feel energized and happy.

And that’s all that matters. Do whatever makes you happy, whenever you can.

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Photos: Candidtown Photography

Silk top from Marcs, Ray Ban sunglass.

 

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Many many years ago, I drove two of my girlfriends to the Canberra flower show. Like all girls who love flowers, we took lots of photos with those beautiful flower blossoms.  When we got back to Sydney and looked at the photos together, someone pointed out: “Yvonne, you have the same smile in every photo, with mouth widely open.” Yes, I was trying to do the right thing – smile for the camera. But it wasn’t natural and it looked so awkward!

Nowadays as a photographer, I always let my clients know that, you don’t have to force smile to look good in photos.  If you want to project a friendly image, just think about something that makes you happy and you’ll smile naturally.

Of course it’s never that easy to look natural in front of the camera and I’m always a work in progress.

We had this quick impromptu shoot early last month during sunset. The sun was going down quickly and I had 2 minutes to get dressed.

My hair was messy and I had zero makeup on my face. But it didn’t matter, because hat + sunglasses = best hair & makeup. With that, I was ready in 2 minutes. Who wants to waste time on makeup!

Invest in good hats and sunglasses and you’ll always look somewhat stylish.

I hope you’re all having a fabulous time with your loved ones.

Here’s to a healthy, prosperous & very happy 2016!

http://picasion.com/

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Photos: CandidTown Photography

Crochet dress, Ray Ban sunglasses, Dolce & Gabbana handbag and a large floppy hat

 

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Sydney has so many nice beaches but whenever there’s a chance, we’d drive along the coast for a day trip either to the North or South. For the last couple of years, we’ve driven along the Sea Cliff Bridge increasingly number of times to the south coast where we found our favourite fish and chips shop and the favourite spot on the rock to watch the day go by after a dip in the water. Here’s my mention of the Sea Cliff Bridge around 3 years ago:

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View from Sea Cliff Bridge, photo taken in Jan 2013.

To give you a better idea of what the bridge looks like, here’s the view from the above:

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Photo found on Internet, from Pinterest.

The driving experience on those cliff hugging roads is always amazing. No wonder it is the most featured location on car ads. If you drive pass this bridge one day, stop for a few minutes and take a walk on the bridge. It’s a treat to walk along the pedestrian path and enjoy the uninterrupted ocean views.

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Photos: Candidtown Photography

Wish top, Witchery shots, Marc Jacobs leather bag, Superga sneaker
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Lately I decided to use the opportunity of our light testing/ location scouting trips to have some of my outfit shots done at the same time. Why didn’t I think of this any earlier? No idea.

I’ve got this long dress for a while but never had a chance to wear it. So when we needed to test our new heavy duty light strobe and scout a location for the next client portrait session, I decided to wear it the first time and have some test shots in it.

One of the reasons I’ve never worn this dress to any occasion before is that I couldn’t find any suitable shoes to go with it. But it looks great without shoes in the wood!

Needless to say, chances of going to a party without shoes are slim in reality. So what do you think? What kind of shoes would go well with is dress at ankle length? Do you have any favorite shoe maker that you’d recommend?

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Photos: Candidtown Photography




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That old pub has been abandoned for 30 years, since 1985. Rumors say it’s being sold and people are speculating what it’ll put to be.

Until it’s turned into a ugly construction site, it remains one of my favorite spots of portrait sessions for some of our clients. But we managed to take a few photos of me around it using a mixture of light sources for the first time a couple of days ago.

As usual, it wasn’t planned. I’d just spent the whole day catching up with my girlfriends – having an extra long lunch near Sydney Opera House; afternoon tea with the most delicious cakes at the Rocks; wandering and shopping around Sydney Pitt Street Shopping Mall. My plan was to chill at home in the evening, read a book or something. Instead, we picked up our gears and went out to shoot for fun after 7pm.

You see, I’m a queen of spontaneity, J has a name in the family of being “Mr Last Minute”. This kind of “last minute shoot” happens all the time. Luckily, I wasn’t not in pyjamas as usual so we were out of the door within 3 minutes. There were literally a few minutes of daylight left for the day but we had those speed lights and light stand with us. So lighting wasn’t a concern. My concern was, we attracted quite a few onlookers shooting with the lighting equipment. Some people stared, some people stopped and watched, some people came over to give me a hug.

As someone who’s always working behind the camera, I was feeling quite uncomfortable. The awkwardness might have been written all over my face, but I love the texture of those old walls as well those lush ivy leaves growing on the wall.

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Photos: Candidtown Photography




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One of my favorite dresses of late is this black and white little number. It’s a white tank top and a black lace skirt combo cleverly made in one, nothing fancy but extremely versatile.

Simply add a black or hot pink leather bag to get a more serious or playful look. It is such a stylish time saver. What more can I ask for?

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Photos: Candidtown Photography

Louis Vuitton shoes, Prada black leather bag, Marc Jacobs hot pink crossbody leather bag. 925 Silver jewelry from Europe.

All the images were taken by Jay Smolak Boudoir Photography Sydney.




Dolce & Gabbana Leather Bag

Once upon a time, I had this “business idea” to design handbags and get them manufactured. There’s something extraordinarily special about handbags in my opinion and I understand them.

The design part to me wasn’t a real problem as there were a few ideas in my mind and I could sketch a little. But to find the right manufacturer? No way.

Initially I set out to look for someone in Italy and Spain. It took 5 weeks to get a response from Spain to my inquiry. Patience is never my strong suit. An Italian company got back to me a littler quicker but they mainly tried to push their existing designs which are heavily “inspired” by big brand names (or shall I say copied?) to me. After a few back and force emails addressing the desire to have my own design manufactured, the communication stopped from the other end.

Then I decided to give Chinese manufacturers a chance though doubted it very much that it would work out in the first place. Long story short, large orders like 500+ pieces are normally required from the Chinese manufacturers. If you want to go with smaller manufacturers… oh well. The quality of samples was ok but they modified a few things from the original design without consent just to make it easier for them. Quality of the final products was disastrous. Those handbags all looked like handbags but don’t touch them. The handles would fall off and linings split shortly after. The leather must have been the cheapest they could find too. It was nothing like that sample leather.

Finally I realized, without  a huge budget and a life time dedication, there’s no chance to make it a viable business with my “Have fun and see how it goes” mindset. At that point of time, I wasn’t willing to devote all that effort to pursue it. So that was that.

Couldn’t be happier with the decision to stop right there, right then. That means I can enjoy handbags without all that stress! Nothing beats high quality designer leather handbags. There are a stack of designer leather bags that I’ve been using for years. Funny enough, they are either in tan or brown color, like this Miu Miu 2 way leather bag with long shoulder strap and this Dolce & Gabbana leather bag.

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I guess these neutral colors blend in with everything so easily. Quality leather bags age so well and they do last forever!

The term of “Old leather bags” doesn’t sound very glamorous or particularly inviting. But I love my old leather bags.

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Photos: CandidTown Photography

2 layers cut out cotton dress, Dolce & Gabbana Leather bag, heels and silver jewelry from Europe.




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Have you read those popular articles about “highly successful people wear the same thing everyday”?  I don’t know about you… But after seeing those articles being shared over and over again, it’s kind of confirmed that the reason I’m not highly successful is because I’ve wasted too much time on shopping and deciding what to wear. Ok just kidding.

I’m not slightly feeling guilty about putting a little thoughts into what to wear. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve been quite sloppy about personal styling in the last few years. My wardrobe is full of “once and done” dresses, or plain tops with blue jeans. I’ve been way too lazy to coordinating 2+ pieces/layers with different accessories and shoes.

Sure, some people are not interested in play dressing up or down at all. But it could be so much fun to mix and match different pieces and try different styles. To me, the time spent on deciding what to wear is not wasted. It inspires me and makes me happy. So I’m going to keep a style diary here to document those moments.

By the way those white roses were ridiculously gorgeous. Just looking at them made me happy.

Do whatever makes you happy, no matter how insignificant it is to others.

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Photos: Candidtown Photography
Linen top with cotton mash back,  skinny jeans with front zippers & grey suede leather boots,  Louis Vuitton Musette GM bag, Silver jewelries bought from trip to Europe.




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Being someone who tends to think black colored clothes are always related to some sort of uniform, lately I decided to have some fun with black outfits and embrace this timeless color.

This black Christian Dior bag has been sleeping in its dust bag for a long time so I took it out for a walk in the park the other day. The coated canvas has a slight sheen which goes well with my black, semi shinny, skinny jeans. I felt like bursting out of those jeans (that’s why I don’t wear them often) but managed to walk and sit quite comfortably in them as they are stretchy.

Glad I didn’t part with this vintage golden belt when someone offers to buy it from me a few years ago. It looked the part and matched with large golden D ring on the bag perfectly.

To my surprise, there were a large group of black swans when I walked past a lake. This part of color coordination was totally unintentional of course:).

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Photos: Candidtown Photography

Black lace top, black skinny jeans, black suede ankle boots, Christian Dior coated canvas handbag &  vintage belt.

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Have you bought anything and never ever used it afterwards? I have this “bought and forgot” syndrome. The idea of getting something new and the possibility to use/wear it excites me but as soon as it’s been bought, I’ll loose interest.

“It’ll be good to buy this big screen 3D TV so that I can watch 3D movies at home.” As a matter of fact, those 3D glasses come with the TV have never seen the light out of their box. If you ask me where they are now,  I have no clue.

“Imaging all the dishes cooked with freshly pressed garlic after I buy this fancy garlic presser.” Well, the tag on the garlic presser is still firmly attached to it. And I’m still cooking with garlic mince in the jars from the supermarket.

“I’ll play piano in the living room in lovely afternoon sunlight. How sweet is that.” That piano is now sitting in the corner collecting dust.

Let’s not mention those clothes, shoes and handbags accumulated but not worn enough.

This denim skirt belongs to that pile of clothes. It was bought because it’s quite unique. It’s got this washed look with frills at the front and lace along the hemline. The thing is, in spring or summer, I just wear dresses or jumpsuit… anything one-and-done. I’m way to lazy to style skirts with tops.

So one day I decided to give it away among with many other pieces. Then mum said, “it’s a nice skirt, why don’t you wear it?”

I normally don’t listen to my mum but that time I stopped. Why don’t I give it a chance? It could be fun styling all the clothes and accessories I have!

As soon as I saw this little white top, I know it’s perfect to pair it up with that denim skirt. The shirt is made of cotton and silk with lovely embroidered flowers and leaves in different shades of blue. White and gladiator look is on trend this Spring, so it’s a good opportunity to finally break in my white leather sandals (this is as gladiator as I could go) bought a long time ago.

It was crazily windy by the wharf, but some fresh air and a nice walk were much needed in the late afternoon.

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Location: Sydney

White silk & cotton embroidered top, blue denim skirt, white leather shoes and Louis Vuitton shoulder bag. Silver necklace and rings from Europe.




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Photographers love golden hours when the sunlight is softer and warmer just before the sunset. But when it’s a rainy or cloudy, you just won’t see the sun at all.

That day was heavily overcast with some rain drops in the morning but we decided to go out for a drive in the late afternoon any way. Just as we driving past this path way, the sun magically made a brief appearance. So we quickly jumped out of the car to take a few photos while the whole pathway was shinning in the warm sun glow.

We had about 5 minutes soft sunlight and I was stiff like a stick. But among the photos we took, I managed to pick a few that are not so awkward to remember that beautiful moment on a Sunday afternoon.

Location: Sydney




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Haven’t been to Birkenhead Point Shopping Center for a while. This place’s just gotten better and better. It’s mid November but you can clearly tell that Christmas is on the way!

It used to be a pain to shop in Australia with very limited international designer stores available. It is still relatively more expensive to buy clothes in Australia in general but compared to 20 years ago, Sydney’s a shopping paradise now ;).

We are yet to test our new purchase, a  light strobe that is much more powerful than the camera speed light … on the beach. That led us to a trip to Birkenhead Point shopping center for a new swimming suit, my excuse any way.

This time, I was going for a high waisted bikini or a one piece swimmer. There are so many body hugging dresses and standard bikinis in my wardrobe but I’m shying away from those nowadays, for obvious reasons.

More of loose clothes, that’s what I need. Who wants all the hard work to stay in shape? You know that Chinese saying: There are no ugly women, only lazy ones. Yep, I’m definitely lazy.

To go with the loose theme, I went to the shopping center in this flowy dress. It’s quite unique in design, featuring the shape & pattern of a scarf. The material is super soft and it has a lace panel around the neck and upper back area.

Pairing it up with my quick and easy summer ensemble: a straw hat, Ray Ban aviator sunglasses, a pair of brown leather thongs bought from UK and my old brown leather Miu Miu bag, I was out of the door within two minutes. No makeup, no brushing hair. Here’s your winning formula that guarantees you to look fabulous in no time: A hat + sunglasses = best hair and makeup.

Birkenhead Point Shopping center went through some major renovations over the years and it just looked stunning in a hot summer day with gorgeous water views and a huge glass roof running over the top.

How did the shopping go?  You might want to know by now. Yes, the shopping trip was successful too –  I found not only a high waisted bikini that I liked but also a one piece swimming suit with a slight twist.

That doesn’t happen very often; usually I struggle to find anything good enough to take home. Maybe there are more choices available, maybe I’m just less picky now. In any case, I’m not complaining!

Location: Sydney

Photos: CandidTown Photography

 

 

 

 

 

I meant to get this post up earlier but sometimes life gets in the way:). There’s no one to blame but me – I should have done a better job managing my time.

With me finally jumped on the Instagram bandwagon (a bit too late as always), I’ve started to take even more photos than usual lately. So I thought it would be good blog series to summarize the week in photos.

These photos are for the week ended on the 15th of November.

Sydney had the wettest November in history with days and days of pouring rain. The first photo was taken while driving home on Anzac bridge, just before another storm hit Sydney.

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Home time, storm is coming. Driving on Sydney Anzac bridge.

I did take quite a few photos of Anzac bridge last week. This is another one when the sun made a brief appearance in between storms.

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Anzac bridge again and those jacaranda trees

Around sunset is my favorite time of the day to be around Sydney Fish Market, day dreaming. Love the tranquility – gone are the hustling crowds and cars. Even those rusty fishing boats looked ever so charming in the evening glow.

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Sydney Fish Market

More rain. And lots of driving in the rain. It was really nothing so pretty about it. Then one day we drove past this pub in Mosman. The round lanterns were just lit up and I could help but grab my camera to take a quick snap. As a result of low shutter speed, those round lanterns turned into those long things in the middle section of the picture. It’s rather abstract but I can live with that:)

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Driving in the rain

On Sunday, 15th of November, we had the pleasure to shoot their annual event for our dear client Kumon Sydney team again. This time the venue is Sydney University Great Hall, which is located in one of my favorite old buildings in Sydney. It is a quite appropriate venue for those young, smart students.  As you can see from the picture, the Great Hall is quite grand indeed.

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Inside Sydney University the Great Hall

So that wraps up the week. I hope to continue with those blog series and find more beauties and inspirations from everyday life.