31 October 2012


If you are looking for a series of books to keep you entertained over the next few months (or weeks, depending on how quickly you read them) – I can highly recommend, in fact, insist you read the Experiment in Terror series by Karina Halle.

“A (very) mature new adult urban fantasy series that is scary, sexy and relatable, filled with the supernatural and things to go bump in the night
In a large, flaky nutshell, the Experiment in Terror Series is an eight-part sci-fi/fantasty/horror series that revolves around a pair of ghost hunters. Well, aspiring ghost hunters, anyway. After filiming a creep experience in her uncle’s dilapidated lighthouse, 22-year old Perry Palomino becomes a YouTube and internet sat overnight. She attracts the attention of Dex Foray, a producer and cameraman for a side that specializes in various webisodes, who convinces her to be a host for a low-budget ghost hunting series. The only problem is, neither Perry of Dex are entirely “with it” – I mean, they see ghosts, after all. And when the duo isn’t wrestling with their very notion of reality, they’re frapping with a working relationship that’s deep-cut with sexual tension. As the series moves on, leading Perry and Dex to new locales and supernatural situations, their lives become more and more intertwines, where they discover that ghost aren’t the only things the can haunt them” -Experimentinterror.com

It is an understatement to say that I am not a fan of the sci-fi/supernatural genre. Sure, I read/watched Twilight, but that is about as far as my supernatural experience has taken me.

I still wouldn’t count myself as a sci-fi fan, and would probably even be reluctant to read anything like this series by another author. It’s the two main characters, Perry & Dex, which keep me so hooked. I generally read at least 1 book a month, and I have never come across characters that captivate me as much as these two.
Admittedly, Darkhouse (the first book in the EIT series) started out a bit slow for me, but thank god I did continue reading through – by the time I was a quarter way through the book I couldn’t put it down. Ever since then, I purchase the next book in the series the day the author releases it, read it within the week, and then have to patiently wait a few months for the next book to be released.
I gave the first 5 books in the series for a friend as a birthday gift, and she read them all within a month.

The kindle edition is currently free on Amazon.com, whilst the rest of the series are on sale for $0.99 (kindle editions) for Halloween.
If you usually stick to reading chick lit – you must try Darkhouse. As much as I hope this statement isn’t an insult to the author, but I would best describe the series as a really is a well written and somewhat smutty chick lit (where there isn’t always the typical happy ending), with scary paranormal activity thrown in.

So if you aren't planning on trick or treating tonight, download Darkhouse and enjoy a terrifying story filled with sexual tension!


I was not compensated or renumerated for this review. This review is my own and honest opinion. For more information see my disclosure policy

26 October 2012


Fist Pump. Push Up. Chapstick - the wedding edition.

I am slowly, but surely, starting to get some more wedding pictures (still no professional ones yet!) and this is so far my fav.

Anything "Jersey" (Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, leopard print, big hair... you get the idea) is a guilty pleasure for myself and a few of my bridesmaids, so we just had to do the iconic "First Pump, Push Up, Chapstick" from Jersey Shore photo

Such a classy wedding photo!!


25 October 2012


Word on the street (and over at Vogue Australia ) is that balayage, ombre, dipped ends hair or whatever you want to call it, is on the way OUT.

And to that, I say good riddance. It's just not for me, despite the fact that I have had natural balayage locks for more than 6 months now. You see, for years I had an amazing blonde colour (truly, it was a beautiful colour) but time, money and the health of my hair meant I had to stop bleaching my dark hair.
Cue a few packets of hair dye and my blonde do had been turned into a light brown mane.

12 months down the track, many washes and pregnancy-hormoned-hair-growth-spurt... and the light brown in the ends of my hair has slowly but surely washed out, and my dark brown roots have grown almost half way down.

A natural (and completely unintentional) subtle ombre look;

But as I mentioned - its not for me. I prefer more of a polished colour and don't do the boho/stylishly unkept look very well. Add to the fact that my ends are like straw - I've decided to go the chop. Now that Baby B is cooking nicely, I feel more comfortable colouring my hair, so I am going for this brunette version of the Lauren Conrad long bob. I predict that flat but vibrant colours will be be the trend once the female population realises that OMBRE.IS.OVER

I will be stressing the importance of the LONGness of the bob (I still want to be able to tie it up reasonably high) to my hairdresser. And the importance of, you know, making me look as HOT as LC does (if only!)

The results...

Stay tuned


24 October 2012


I recently caught up with Dawn, who is on her way to living every fashionista’ss dream with the launch of her online shoe boutique www.aussiegirlsloveshoes.com.au (AGLS)

I am so inspired by people who can turn their dreams into a reality, and seriously, who wouldn’t love to design and sell shoes for a living

Tell us about the history behind the brand?
I started the brand in April 2011 but only coming to launch my designs October 2012. I faced many “upheel” battles trying to find suppliers and get myself up and running while also managing a full-time job as a neuroscientist, and getting through rehabilitation for a sprained back which happened late last year. I set-up the company because I realised Australian women didn’t have the same access to reasonably priced, good quality unique fashion shoes as women in the US and Europe. I have been blogging about my journey since the first “bumps” last year and you can read the tricky, funny and sometimes ridiculous challenges I faced on my blog at www.aussiegirlsloveshoes.com.au/blog
The first thing I did when I decided I had to pursue my dream of designing shoes and owning a shoe store was to go into Borders Bookstore (which was still open then) and buy a book called “How to Start an Online Business for Dummys”. That’s literally where it all began and after countless networking and professional development events, courses etc I got to where I am today which is with uniquely designed, quality products, made from European leather, available for sale in my boutique. It’s all very exciting (and scary) for me.

Where do you source your inspiration? And how do they influence your design?
Inspired by my long-term love affair with all things French, the collection is inspired by French feminine chic style. I connect closely with the statement “Fashion appeals to many – but style is individual”, French author VĂ©ronique Vienne. Each AGLS style is named after a French city, like St Etienne or province, the Bordeaux. I like to think that when an Aussie girl buys a pair of my shoes, they are kind of buying an overseas experience, without the price tag!

Talk us through your design process from drawing board to in-store/online?
I sketch my designs simply with a sketch pad and pencils, using colour and textile swatches provided to me by the manufacturers. They can source accessories for me and I am provided guidance by them on the “engineering” of the shoes, in that, if a design feature I’m after will not translate into a quality, long-lasting shoe they very kindly advise on better modifications to my get close to my desired features.

I agree with Dawn that us Aussie’s don’t have the same access to high quality AND reasonably priced shoes. Sure…we can go budget and buy from chain stores (nothing wrong with that, they make up half my wardrobe – but they will rarely last more than a season or two), or we have to spend a month’s wage to buy heels from high end fashion labels

AGLS gives us a chance to have a little bit of French chic style and quality in our shoe collection, for a fraction of the cost.

Since the website was launched earlier this month, I have had my eye on 3 styles;

Bordeaux - A funky T-Bar take on a classic pump. A little bit sassy, but still subtle enough to wear to the office

Calais – A bright wedge sandal, just perfect for summer. I love anything turquoise at the moment, and these shoes are no exception

Cannes  – A sophisticated printed flat that my swollen pregnant feet are dying for

If you are after high quality, reasonably priced, and fabulously stylish shoes… Check out Aussie Girls Love Shoes  For a limited time only, AGLS are offering a 10% discount to KarinaXOXO readers using "karinaxoxo" code.

For any Melbourne ladies, you can still take advantage of a free blow wave from VA Hair & Makeup with any purchase. Check out AGLS facebook for more details

This post is my own opinion and I was not remunerated or sponsored for this feature. For my information see my disclosure information

16 October 2012


This "Etsy Store of the Week" is a store I featured in in this post Max and Me Homewares.

I love the neutral tones and elegance of everything. These are such statement pieces, while still being so understated.


Gold Sequin Love Cushion $49.00
What is your fav etsy store??


14 October 2012


Despite being 6 months pregnant, I have not started shopping with little BB. Not one single thing.

We are lucky that we are getting most of the essential items handed down to us, including some new born clothes in various sizes - so I am being sensible and not buying things that we may not need - (and I may be missing the 'overly-excited-jump-for-joy gene' that most pregnant woman have... but that is a whole other story).

Then I see something like this... and it makes me melt and hope for a girl (most of the time I am thinking/hoping that I am having a boy).

Hubby would kill me, but I am tempted to buy this and keep it as a just in case, I can always gift it to another expectant mother. There aren't as many cute things you can buy for a summer baby. I'm not usually a pink fan, this has just the right amount. I love dogs. Have I justified it enough yet?


13 October 2012


I like to fancy myself as quite the gift giver. I love gift shopping (everything from decided what to buying, to the wrapping, to seeing my loved ones face when they open the present). And I’d like to think my friends and family love getting gifts from me!
I know not everyone feels the same though, and given that it coming up to the ultimate gift giving time of year, Christmas. I’ve decided I will be doing a 2012 Christmas Gift Giving Guide. From everyone and anyone you can think of (if you have anyone in particular you are stuck for email me at karinaxoxo@gmail.com)
To kick it off, here are some suggested gifts to give a female co-worker the office secret santa. To me, this is possibly the most tricky person to buy for. You may draw out your work BFF, but you may luck out and have to buy for that weird 60 year old lady who doesn’t speak a word to anyone born before the 1960’s

Rose Water Toning Mist from Mira's Hand - Distilled from the Damask Rose in Morocco, this mist is the perfect pick me up on a hot summer day especially when you are stuck in the office. I keep mine in the fridge (so it is nice and cool) and spray it on my face to keep me feeling cool and fresh

Gold Chevron Soy Candle from Max and Me via Etsy - A refreshing take on the dowdy lavendar scented candles you used to get. If you haven't heard of, or used soy wax candles.. they are a slower burning, less toxic candles that come in amazing fragrances like French Pear and Pomegranate. And it's glittery (what more could you want?)
BenElke Lunch Bag from Birds Nest - Your colleague will be the envy of everyone in the lunch room with this modern take on the brown paper lunch bag. It comes in a variety of designs/prints (so you will find one to suit the person who's name you barely know)
Hopefully some of my co workers are reading, so that this year, I don't end up getting pot pouri as a christmas gift. What is the worse secret santa/kris kringle gift you've ever received??

12 October 2012


Today's style-spiration comes from the drop dead gorgeous Lucy Mecklenburgh from the reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex (aka "Towie")

It's no secret that Lucy Meck' works a stylish dress & heels almost as good as Victoria Beckham

But what I love even more, is the girls take on 'casual'. Seriously, don't you just wish you could look like this when you pop out for coffee with friends?


Here is how you can get Lucy's look (somehow I dont think a peplum top and skinny jeans will be in my maternity wardrobe, but hopefully by next winter, my pre-baby body will be able to rock this look)


Which celebrity would you like to see featured as a style-spiration???