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Classic, tailored, and reminiscent of European tradition, I was immediately captivated by Ulyana Sergeenko’s beautiful haute couture collection in Spring 2015 Couture week. Presented in Paris last week, these fashion masterpieces by the Russian designer exuded le chic, nostalgia and timelessness.

With a vintage aesthetic, this collection features a strong sense of place and cultural affiliation with intricate embellishments, lace, velvet and silk materials, referring to Sergeenko’s Russian heritage. Scalloped edges, capes and various neckline designs are highlights. I absolutely adore the accompanying accessories including the bold boater top hats, simple velvet heels and ballet flats with gold decorations, cute fur tote bags and round embroidered purses.

Pointers from the show include incorporating a variety of traditional colours into your outfits, as well as tailored suits or matching sets, full-circle skirts, long dresses with cut-outs, subtle print details or embellishments, in addition to structured hats and trousers. You can even dress-up with a layering of flared pants and statement tops to achieve a tailored peplum, suit-like look.

Every aspect of this couture range is difficult to fault, especially due to the high level of craftsmanship expected of designer couture. I am thoroughly impressed by all of Sergeenko’s stunning designs that evoke the mediterranean glamour. I wish I was able to attend the amazing spectacle and witness up-close these stylish forms of Art.

Bisous

Photographs by © MCTL and Style.com

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From left to right and up to down: Nike pro classic sports bra, Nike tempo shorts (similar)Nike cross body bag (similar), Nike air max thea sneakers (similar)Frends taylor oil slick headphonesRay-Ban round metal sunglassesBobble filtered water bottle (550 ml)Apple iPhone 6

It’s time for a pep talk. As my routine is slowly re-shaping and adjusting to change, it is imperative that I regularly exercise in order to maintain my healthy lifestyle. Despite constant “new year, new you” phrases, and ‘fitspo’, ‘detoxes’ and ‘cleanses’ being heavily featured on the internet and social media, I believe that exercise is the key to feeling great. In particular, I am returning to my active workouts including yoga, walking, running, and targeted exercises. Get outside or stay indoors and get moving. No seriously, sweat it out! Also, stay hydrated.

So for the brave, the bold, the unique, I present to you bright and motivating workout-gear style. Don’t forget a tinted moisturiser with sunscreen for protection, dark shades, and even a bold lipstick colour for extra confidence. Most significantly, enjoy yourself.

Paired with my pumping Spotify playlist (and a well-balanced diet), you can get fit and feel healthy this summer. Ciao!

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3 4As my cruise trip came to an end, I disembarked the ship in Honolulu, and travelled to the Hilton Waikiki Beach hotel. My first impression of Waikiki was a unique beachfront area with a balance between beach resort relaxation, and a shopping and dining haven.

On my first day I caught the local public bus to the Ala Moana shopping centre which features every fashion designer store you could imagine. Even delicious acai bowls are conveniently sold there. In the evening, I enjoyed eating at California Pizza. After that, I had an amazing shopping experience at the International Market Place, browsing the cute stalls filled with souvenirs and gifts, and visited ‘Ross’, a discount outlet designer store selling famous brands including Steve Madden, Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few. I definitely recommend a trip to this shop as I scored some great bargains.

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The following day, I spent a lazy time at Waikiki Beach Front and Kuhio Beach with perfect weather and calm ocean waves. Conveniently, you can hire beach equipment to surf the famous Waikiki Beach or stand-up paddle. Walking along the beach taking photographs of the special landscape was thoroughly enjoyable.

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I spent my last beautiful night at Bill’s Restaurant on Beachwalk Ave with amazing cuisine and of course some delicious coconut water. Lastly, I did some last shopping  on the main avenues and prepared for my departure.

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Waiting at Honolulu airport I relaxed with a Starbucks coffee, and purchased a bottle of coconut water for the long flight.

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My final destination in Hawaii proved absolutely memorable and epitomised my idea of paradise. As they say in Hawaii, Aloha doesn’t mean goodbye but farewell. I can’t wait to return to Hawaii!

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Photographs by © MCTL

1 2 3 The oldest of the major Hawaiian Islands, Kaua’i’s geological array of land formations provides an even more stunning backdrop to its beaches and coastline. This island is particularly famous for featuring in many films such as Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Hawaii’ (1961). My first destination on this island was Nawiliwili, with an excursion to the beautiful Waimea Canyon. This lookout of the canyon was unimaginable with vibrant colours of the red-and green-coloured mountains and a waterfall. Just before I left, a beautiful rainbow appeared which was very surreal and one of the highlights of my trip. This site is an essential tourist destination on Kaua’i. 4 After relaxing and reflecting on nature’s beauty, I later dined at a Teppanyaki restaurant on the cruise ship with a very entertaining chef. 5 6 On my second day in Kaua’i, I visited Wai’ale’ale mountain and Wailua river valley with waterfalls at Opaeka’a Falls. 7 8 9 10 11 I also took an amazing boat ride down the Wailua River to the mystical Fern Grotto and lastly visited Po’ipu and a Spouting Horn natural blow hole. 12 The cruise ship then departed the island of Kaua’i, sailing along the majestic soaring cliffs of the Na Pali coast which was a perfect finale to my exploration of Hawaii. 13 Follow @sydneyandstreet on InstagramTwitterBloglovin’TumblrPinterest, and Spotify.

Photographs by © MCTL

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I spent two days on the Big Island with arguably the best natural wonders in Hawaii. My first destination was Hilo where I travelled to the Rainbow Falls park and visited the rainforest alongside mystical waterfalls, unlike any I have ever seen before. This was a perfect tourist destination for snapping nature photographs.

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The next stop was to the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park which included a viewing of the crater. An interesting activity was walking through a lava tube, followed by a walk through a park where natural steam vapours escaped through vents in the ground. I also visited the national park museum which provided stunning views over the volcanic landscape.

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Next stop was to the beautiful Hilo Orchid Farm, brimming with flourishing orchids on display. I’ve never seen so many pretty orchid flowers. I also journeyed to the Mauna Loa macadamia nuts company factory which was interesting and satisfying with macadamia ice-cream being a highlight.

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On the second day, I travelled to Kona where I tasted the famous Kona coffee and spent the day snorkelling in the tropical waters. I later strolled through the cute stalls of the Kona Farmers’ and Crafts Markets which are open from Wednesday to Sunday. The markets, situated adjacent to the local church, were amazing with a large variety of locally-grown produce including tropical fruits and vegetables, flowers, hand-made arts and crafts (featuring Hawaiian musical instruments), and of course Kona coffee.

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Before I departed the town, I admired the local street art and watched the sun set magically over this paradise.

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Photographs by © MCTL

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Representative of the unique Hawaiian islands, Maui consisted of diverse environments ranging from volcanic craters to sandy beaches. I first arrived in the calm waters of Maui and immediately embraced its picturesque coastline with an excursion to Wailea beach which was lined with exclusive resorts. The highlight of this visit was relaxing on the peaceful idyllic beach in addition to swimming and stand-up paddle boarding. Umbrellas and beach chairs are a must for ultimate comfort and sun-protection.

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The following day I visited the volcanic crater in Haleakalā National Park. After a long bus ride up the mountain to an elevation of 9000 feet above sea level to the Pu’u’ula’ula Summit, I experienced a magnificent view of the Haleakalā crater with its Mars-inspired landscape and an eerie desert. Remember to wear extra layers as it is surprisingly chilly and windy. The colours of the crater including red-ochre sand and grey ash blended beautifully in a surreal way. It felt like I was walking on Mars. Surrounded by unique desert flora, one learns that the volcanic landscape is naturally and spiritually linked to the Hawaiian culture. The juxtaposition of volcanic rock and sandy beaches on Maui is incredibly breathtaking and I anticipate that I will return to this magical paradise.

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Photographs by © MCTL

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My first encounter with Hawaii was experienced on O’ahu’s North Shore, an absolutely beautiful region with chilled beach and tropical vibes. Turtle Bay Resort located in Kahuku provided comfortable accommodation, delicious dining and cultural activities, as well as a stunning locale to swim at secluded beaches and to view magical sunsets. Walks around the resort and its beaches, as well as reading in the sun on an ocean-view balcony contributed to a sense of freedom and relaxation in this tropical paradise.

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En route to the Haleiwa market village, I even spotted a turtle on a small beach which was idyllic. Full of souvenir shops, surfboards, local art, cafes, and food trucks, I drank and ate a coconut and couldn’t believe how sweet and delicious it tasted.

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An organised trip to the Polynesian Cultural Centre involved sipping on more coconut water, watching a canoe dancing pageant representing the nations of the Polynesian Islands, and exploring the centre’s activities with a canoe tour ride and 4D film. Of course one must dine like a traditional Hawaiian at a luau, complete with wearing delicate leis, and eating a meal of roast pig with tropical buffet selections which enhanced the entire experience. To conclude the day, there was an amazing performance with Hawaiian hula and an impressive fire dancing performance.

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Another highlight at O’ahu was watching the final of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters. It was fantastic watching the competition on the beach and being close to numerous international surf competitors which strode past me on their way to the surf. It was surprising how exciting the final was, including the round in which Gabriel Medina won the surfing world title. Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach catered for the crowds with local food trucks. I particularly embraced tropical fruits with the help of tasty acai bowls, smoothies and papaya boats. Overall, the atmosphere was electric and I felt a part of the rich Hawaiian beach culture.

Dining by the beach watching sunsets and a last morning swim in the tropical waters of Turtle Bay Resort transitioned into a new experience – boarding a cruise. Checking in at the ship pier in Honolulu and setting sail that evening was the beginning of another fantastic adventure. Stay tuned for more travel posts that explore the Hawaiian islands.

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Photographs by © MCTL

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Twelve-hundred photographs, various souvenirs and a full suitcase later, I returned to Sydney relaxed, tanned and pumped for the new year. Hawaii was the most perfect, beautiful and amazing end to 2014. Soaking sun-rays from Oceania in the land where palm trees sway and coconuts are abundantly edible, fulfilled my holiday dreams of paradise.

For 6 days I relaxed on the fabled North Shore of Oʻahu Island in Honolulu County, where I stayed at Turtle Bay Resort. Here, the palm trees rocked powerfully from trade winds, and sunsets gleamed from my magical ocean-room view. Highlights included a car-trip to the market village of Haleiwa, a bus-ride to the Polynesian Culture Centre for a traditional luau, and attending the final of the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters. These experiences provided the perfect balance between the rich Hawaiian culture, the chilled vibes of the North Shore and the resort-lifestyle, more laid-back than in Australia. The Hawaiian locals were also very welcoming to share their heritage and personal stories.

I spent the next week cruising on the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America where I was able to be valuably immersed in exploring more of the Hawaiian islands including Maui, Hawaiʻi, and Kauaʻi. Day trips on the islands featured excursions to the Waimea Canyon, Haleakala Crater, Wailea beach, Rainbow Falls, Kona farmer’s markets, and Fern Grotto, just to name a few.

Before returning to Sydney, I spent a few days soaking up the relaxed vibes in Waikiki. Impressed by the shopping, acai bowls, breathtaking beaches and mountain coastline, Waikiki confirmed my wish to travel back to Hawaii sooner rather than later.

For some people change is insignificant, but after this long-earned break I learnt that travel and exploration of foreign places forms a great deal of one’s identity. Most importantly, one’s environment is vital in influencing style and outlook. Even the archetypal Hawaiian print became a staple item during my Hawaiian interlude. Above all, my love for this beautiful paradise has only just begun.

To embrace my Hawaiian dreams, listen to my new Spotify playlist. I hope you enjoy the following travel diary posts.

Mahalo and Aloha xxx

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Photographs by © MCTL

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From left to right and up to down: Comme des Garçons Parfums unisex odeur 53 eau de toilette, Love Moschino quilted backpack, Muji jersey unwired bra, Dogeared charmed moonglow ring, T2 Tea lemongrass & ginger loose leaf herbal tisane, Aesop parsley seed cleansing masque, Diptyque jasmine candle, Love Moschino signature purse, Urban Outfitters flat-top boater hat

Here is a small wishlist of beautiful, classic items that I believe would be lovely gifts. If you’re stuck for ideas, I hope you are now inspired. I wish you joy-filled holidays and festivities with family and friends.

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Asos black one-pice swimsuit (similar), Ralph Lauren oxford shirtAsos high waisted denim long mom shortsAsos leather flatform slidersKaren Walker anytime sunglasses (tan glitter) (similar), Ray-Ban original wayfarer classic sunglasses, Asos drawstring backpack, Vintage black visor hat, Asos gold ring (similar)Asos leather black belt (similar)Chanel rouge coco (56 téhéran) lipstick, Calvin Klein one shock for her

At last the humid breeze has arrived and my attire has adapted to accommodate sporadic outings to the beach. This is what happens when street meets the seaside. In Australia (especially in Sydney), there is always an underlying chilled summer heat beach vibe and culture which I witness in full operation during the summer months.

Trendy new bars and restaurants scatter the nicely-furbished public areas of Manly, while nearby you can wander along the exclusive walk to Shelly Beach to dive and snorkle. Don’t get me started on Bondi with its beautiful stroll to Bronte and superb gelato and boutiques. There is just something very special about the cool blue ocean that runs along our coastline. Don’t you wish you were eating fish and chips on the beach watching the sunset right now?

Put the car window down, feel the wind on your face and blast some tunes (cue Calvin Harris and my summer playlist). To avoid the crowds, head to a quieter area such as the ocean pool at North Steyne Beach near Manly. As for your outfit, impress others with some vintage denim bottoms, a collared cotton shirt, fancy shades, a pair of slider sandals, and a drawstring bag to finish. Ocean visits also call for minimal accessories, make-up and hairstyling, so keep it ‘au naturel’. Don’t forget to slip, slop and slap, and seriously consider trying a tinted moisturiser with spf sunscreen to help achieve a fresh, dewy glow. Oh and make sure to don a classic one-piece swimsuit or bikini. With a glass of iced tea in your hand, I say ‘Cheers’ to summertime with ‘sand in your shoes’ while ‘staring at the sun’!

For extra comfort, let my new Spotify playlist accompany your sunny times.

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Photographs by © MCTL