5 Game-Changing Image Search Tools

If you’re like me and you’re constantly on the search for amazing imagery online, I’ve got a feeling you’re going to love a few of my favourite image search tools. Oh yes. You’re welcome.

1. Pinterest


I’ve spoken about Pinterest before (and a whole bunch of you have told me since how addicted you’ve become!) but it’s definitely worth mentioning here again as an incredible resource for finding inspiring imagery. Get amongst it and follow me here so I can follow you right back!

2. Multicolr Search Lab


Are you a blogger looking to create a moodboard of images in the same or similar colour schemes? Look no further than one of the coolest colour-based search tools on the web, Multicolr Search Lab. Simply click a single colour swatch and look on in wonder as images of that colour load from more than 10 million of Flickr’s most interesting photos. Or if you’re looking for something to fit a “theme” – for example, a nautical theme of blue, red and white – click the relevant colour swatches (it allows you to choose up to 10) and images containing these colours will come up. Brilliant.

3 . Compfight


CompFight is a Flickr search engine that allows you to easily find beautiful photos within the vast pool of Flickr uploads. CompFight lets you search based on tags and text, and displays the images quickly in thumbnails allowing you to look through hundreds of images without having to go through the regular (more time-consuming) Flickr search.

4. Tineye


Ever found an uncredited image and needed to track down the original source? Insert: TinEye. TinEye is a reverse image search and once you upload the image in question or paste the image URL, the software will tell you where it originally came from. Perfect for identifying sources for images from Pinterest or Tumblr that may be uncredited (very common!)

5. OSkope


oSkope is a visual search engine that allows you to sort through images and products from sites like Ebay, Amazon, Flickr, and You Tube (you can choose the one you want via a drop down menu).

When it comes to eBay searches, this one is seriously rocking my world. I’m in the market for an Alexander Wang bag at the moment and wanted to see what was on eBay, so basically, I went to oSkope, selected “eBay” in the drop down then selected the categories (Clothing/ Shoes/ Accessories – Women’s Handbags – Handbags & Purses) and the below selection came up, with the style name and prices shown. You simply click through to the original listing for more info or to purchase. Can anybody say AWESOME?

+ How do you search for images? Any great tools I need to know about? Send them through!

The Ultimate Guide to Your Dream Wedding: Budget and Venue

Timeline: 12+ months out



I had grand plans to coerce my Excel Spreadsheet Extraordinaire fiance (who works in finance) to whip up a killer wedding budget document, but then we found that Style Me Pretty had created a super comprehensive budget available via Google Docs, so here you go. Get that budget happening from the outset beautiful brides and generous grooms (haha)!



One of the biggest decisions you’ll make when planning your wedding is where your ceremony and reception celebrations will take place.

From personal experience, I recommend making the search for your perfect venue one of the first things you do when you start planning your big day. Everything will become clearer after you have an idea of the type of space you’re working with. As a general rule, booking the venue should done “as soon as possible” after the planning process begins, but it really depends on the availabilities of  venue and I would say if you work to a 12 month time frame you should be fine.

All up, it will be 21 months for us from the time we got engaged to when we get hitched (seems like so long, but really, it’s flown!) and we booked our venue in February this year, 15 months out from our big day. Granted, we did book quite early but the property we’re holding our wedding at only hosts one wedding per month so we had to get in quick! (I’ll keep you in suspense on where we’re having our wedding… but let me tell you, the location is stunning!) We’re holding our ceremony and reception in the same location, but remember that if you’re scouting two locations, you may need a little extra time.

I should also mention here that the venue we have selected “comes with” (for want of a better term) a wedding planner – who we’ve totally fallen in love with – and who we have looking after some of the logistics like the marquee and furniture hire and transportation. If the thought of organising a wedding from start to finish makes you want to stab yourself in the iris with a pen (!!), I’d definitely recommend seeking out the services of a great planner who can put you in touch, or assist with sourcing, suppliers that will work within your budget.

A few venue-related tips I’ve picked up along the way:

1. Before you start hunting for your perfect venue, pull together a rough guest list so you know what you’re looking for space-wise.
2. Have a loose idea of the overall theme or style you’re going for while you’re researching venues. If your dream is to have a chic, high fashion-inspired wedding with a glamourous dress, then a beach setting probably won’t work with your vision. And so on.
3. In your initial consultations with the wedding planner/ person who will be looking after the booking and wedding from the venue, ask things like:

+ What is the total cost for the hire of the venue, including on-site accommodation if applicable?
+ What are we able to bring in from external suppliers ie: catering, decor, drinks, AV equipment?
+ How many weddings are hosted at the venue a year?
+ What is the contingency plan if it rains (for outdoor ceremonies/ receptions)?
+ Is there electricity in the area? (for music and microphones if needed)
+ Is the area accessible for elderly or disabled guests?
+ Can guests park their cars at the venue or will transportation (ie: coaches/ cars) need to be arranged?
+ How long can we have the venue for – are there restrictions around noise/ finishing times?

Ultimately, your wedding celebration is a reflection of your personal style and there really are “no rules” when it comes to choosing a venue that feels right for your nuptials. From a superbly decorated garden marquee, to a relaxed, natural location, an ultra-glam extravaganza or a family BBQ in the backyard, the options really are only limited by your imagination. To get the cogs turning, I’ve detailed a few of the more popular options for wedding festivities below.


In closing, think outside the square when it comes to your venue styling and the theme or “mood” for your day. Google, Google, Google. Trawl Pinterest. Make moodboards on The Lane. Weigh up the pro’s and cons, make a weekend out of driving around with your lover looking at prospective spaces.

After walking down the aisle and exchanging loving vows, the wedding reception is where you get to let your hair down and have fun so seek out a venue that is totally “you.” Your day, your way, after all!


Top images: 1. Pinterest 2. Sarah Yates
1. Jonathan Ong via Eat Drink Chic 2. Jose Villa 3. Style Me Pretty 4. Jonas Peterson 5. Jonas Peterson  6. Pinterest 7. Kiss the Groom  8. Michelle Arlotta 9. Gruber Photographers 10. Max Wanger 11. Project Wedding 12. Once Wed

How To Stop Procrastinating and Start Focusing

It dawned on me a few weeks ago. That morning I’d written notes for a blog post on index cards as I sat at the traffic lights on my drive to work. I was also half-listening to the 8am news broadcast on Triple J. During the day, I’d consistently had at least nine windows open on my computer (11 if you count the two half written emails) and at lunch time, I’d eaten at my desk whilst uploading images to Facebook and talking to my man on the phone about what we’d eat for dinner.

Clearly I had problems with focusing on the task at hand. Big problems. And if we draw an analogy of the brain being like a computer, well, with this many windows constantly open, my hard drive was being significantly compromised. Programs weren’t loading, error messages were stopping me in my tracks. In other words, I was getting a whole lot of nothing at all accomplished.

So I decided to give the Pomodoro Technique a go. Pioneered in the 80’s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique is a time management method that centres around the use of a timer (the name comes from the retro tomato-shaped kitchen timer) to break down work into 25 minute intervals. Basically, you choose a task to be accomplished, you set the timer, work for 25 minutes solely on that task (without internet surfing/ toggling/getting up to raid the fridge) and once the 25 minutes is up, you treat yourself to a five minute break to do whatever you like before starting again. The premise is two-fold: by working in manageable time slots, you eliminate the anxiety of time and most importantly, you enhance your levels of focus and concentration.

When studying what makes people truly happy, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (looks impossible but is pronounced “me-high chick-sent-me-high”) found that we experience optimal fulfillment and engagement when we are in flow (or “in the zone”). Essentially, that feeling that comes from being so completely absorbed with what we are doing that we lose track of time. I’m all for the majestic feeling of getting flowy with it so I decided to apply the Pomodoro way of thinking to a couple of tasks I’d been putting off.

So… does it work?

After a week of trying out the Pomodoro technique, I’m pleased to report that yep, it actually does work. Which is big for a chronic ball-juggler like me. We live in a society that encourages “being overwhelmed”, dressing ourselves up smugly in our “busyness” and wearing it like a badge of honour. “How’s your week been?” we ask friends. “Busy” they sigh in reply. I’m up there with the best of them. I thrive on being busy. And believe me, I’m not saying that in a braggy way, I’ve always been like that. I feel weird without a full to-do list. Thing is though, there’s a difference between being productively busy and busy because we’re overwhelmed with the sheer number of tiny tasks we’ve let accumulate. The latter was the one I was hoping to combat with my little experiment. I used the handy focusbooster app to help me on my way but an iPhone or alarm of any description will also do the trick.


Triumph Number One: Finishing half-written blog posts

Like most of us, random ideas pop into my head at the strangest times and I find that if I don’t write them down somewhere, I forget about them. Just a quick aside on that, I’ve noticed that the more I try and multi-task, the worse my memory gets. Sometimes I’ll do things so unconsciously, on total auto-pilot, that I literally cannot recall doing them. Does that happen to you too? Big, bold note to self with asterisks and underlines: be more present.

Something that was becoming a source of overwhelm for me was the number of ‘Draft’ blog posts that sat in the back-end of my site. I’d jotted down a few words for articles I planned to write, but every time I thought about writing them, I’d (conveniently) found something else to do. So I made a commitment to tackle them. One of them was the vision board article I published last week and the other was this one. With a glass of water by my side, the TV off and my phone on silent, I sat down, wrote a few bullet points, set my timer and started writing. Writing is a lesson in itself for me, and doing so more regularly means I’m really gaining a valuable insight into when I procrastinate and why. I’ve always found it easier to write the fleshy bits first and the introduction last, and have recently stopped trying to do otherwise. Instead of fumbling over the right words to kick an article off, I now just get in and do it in. Coupled with my newfound discipline of writing in short bursts, it seems to be working. Hooray!

Triumph Number Two: Organising my Google Reader

The thing I love most about the internet is that I’m constantly finding new blogs to read. Problem is, the abundance of great sites I discover means I’ve got bookmarks saved on my work computer, my iPad and my computer at home, and half the time I forget to copy them across. I’m missing out on updates and it all feels a bit messy so I wanted to start afresh with a new Google Reader to organise my bookmarks in one place that could be accessed wherever I was. I’d convinced myself it would take forever to add all the subscriptions from my three Favourites lists, so naturally, I’d been putting it off for some time. The thing is, checking bookmarks individually is time-consuming, so I was actually wasting quite a sizeable amount of time by not putting aside the time to organise my Reader. Last week, I bit the bullet. It only took me a little over an hour and the feeling of accomplishing something I’d been dreading was second to none.

Key Learnings

1. “Where the mind goes, energy flows” so when we scatter our attention every which way, we end up diffusing the energy we give to each task. The result? Failure to Finish Syndrome. Simplifying, “chunking” (breaking tasks into smaller, more tolerable bits) and just starting means full energy is given to each task and we’re more productive overall. Awesome!

2. Do the hard stuff first. There’s no denying it’s easy to push the harder, more mundane or challenging tasks down the list “for another time” but getting them done provides a mental lift – that is, creates in your mind the thought that “If I can do that, then the rest is easy.” Letting things play on your mind and transferring tasks from one to-do list to another (and another…) taxes our reserves of enthusiasm that could be better used trawling Facebook creating something of value.

3. Be competitive. With yourself, that is. Try and beat your timer. Think how good it will feel when you’ve cleaned the house in 15 minutes rather than 25. Or when you get that uni assignment/ boring work report done in half the time.

4. Give yourself a break. Often we overload ourselves with unrealistic expectations of what we can get done, so we decide not to do any of it. We get lazy, we procrastinate. Pick one thing to focus on at a time, give that task your all and note how your efficiency increases. Visualise how you’ll amazing you’ll feel when you’re finished.

+ Soooo…. are you a procrastinator? Do you think you’ll give the Pomodoro technique a go?
+ Tell me in the comments what you do to keep focused!

Images: 1. from Photobucket 2. Google Images

From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be

Vision boards. Shimmering visual representations of who we want to be, what we want to have and how we want to feel. The desires of our hearts laid out in pretty pictures. The purpose of a vision board is to activate the law of attraction (regardless of your thoughts on The Secret, this stuff is pretty powerful) – that is, the idea that the things we give attention to, we attract into our lives. When using the law of attraction to proper effect, we utilise positive visualisation (the art of creating compelling and vivid pictures in our minds) to attract to us the resources, people and opportunities we need to achieve our goals. It motivates us, increases our awareness and gives our brains a specific vision of what we want.

Example vision board layout


Dreaming Big: How to Construct Your Own Vision Board


Step 1: Take a few minutes of quiet time to think about the words that sum up where you want to be. Your sweet spot. Tune in to your desires, try them on for size. What does truth/ freedom/ success/ happiness feel like? Scribble… breathlessly. Are you smiling yet? Get raw. Get messy. Unleash.

Step 2: Define the categories you want represented on your board and start collecting images. Think about areas of your life like Career, Finances, Love, Family/ Friends/ Relationships, Travel, Health/ Fitness/ Wellness, Happiness, Spirit and Creativity. Add your own classifications. Tear pages from magazines, trawl websites, Google Images, Flickr, Pinterest and Tumblr for inspiration. Being specific will help you visualise what you want, but don’t get discouraged if you can’t find a picture of the car you want in the exact colour or a picture of the town where you dream of resting your head in Italy. A map of Italy is enough.

Step 3: If you are proficient in Photoshop, create a new blank canvas (I always go for A3 size) and open your favourite images. Scan in any photos you’ve clipped from magazines (or leave space to stick them on at the end). If Photoshop isn’t your thing, grab a pair of scissors, some glue and a piece of A3 paper/ cardboard or a corkboard and get snip-crazy.

Step 4: Add the text for the headings (as above) and lay out the images underneath. If headings feel too restrictive, freestyle baby! Go nuts.

Step 5: Devise your list of soul-shaking affirmations. Speak as if it’s a done deal. Use an “It’s-happening-now-and-it’s-friggen-awesome” tone. Instead of “I want to write books that change lives,” you’d say “I’m changing people’s lives every day with my kick-ass range of bestselling books.” Examples of powerful affirmations are below for you to play with and customise. Rip words from magazines (let’s call them energising words) like “Fit, Fab and Fantastic!” “My Dream Home” “Total Success” “Double Your Energy” “Your Happiest Year Yet!” and so on. Women’s magazines in particular are full of catchy slogans so attack that discarded pile in the corner with vigour!

Awesome Affirmations:

“I am massively increasing my income every day”
“I am feeling fit and healthy at my perfect weight of xx”
“I am ecstatic driving my brand new black Mercedes”
“I attract empowering and positive people into my life” (this is one of mine)
“I am discovering my life’s purpose” (another one of mine)
“I move from the old to the new with joy and ease”
“Incredible ideas are flowing to me easily and continually”


+ Make it visible. Put your board up somewhere you’ll see it often. As I mentioned previously, mine is stuck on the glass in our shower, facing in, so that I see it every morning and night. There’s no excuses for not visualising my goals regularly when they’re sitting front and centre while I beautify! I’ve also got another smaller copy of my board glued in my diary. Think about making a screen saver out of your board or leaving a copy in the glovebox of your car to read on the way to work. Stoke the fire.

+ Put yourself at the centre. Find a photo of you doing something you love, with a huge grin on your face, feeling carefree and full of joy. Stick this in the centre of your board – this represents the way you want to feel every day.

+ Dreamsetting and manifesting have the potential to bring up a bit of the ol’ resistance. You know, the “I’m not enough’s’ “I can’ts” “As if that will happen’s.” We all go through it. It’s what we do to push past it that counts. Remind yourself that limitations are created in our own minds.

+ Michaelangelo once said ” The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Wise words. Put one enormous goal (that scares you) on your board. Allow the possibility of attaining it to enter your head. Get drunk – delerious – on that possibility and start believing it. Push yourself out to the jagged edges of your comfort zone, and hang there for a bit, see what it feels like to be done with that toxic relationship, to be running the organic soap business you’ve dreamed of since childhood, to sell up everything and travel the world with just a bag on your back, to live in your mansion by the sea. Often we don’t believe we’re worthy of receiving what we dream of so we prevent it from flowing our way by playing it safe. GUILTY. AS. CHARGED. I once had a goal list I devised in January that was so damn safe I’d achieved everything on it by March. Not ideal. Looking back, I’d become so hooked on the “high-achiever high,” feeling smug as I crossed things off my to-do list, that I’d created a goal list that made me look good. To who? Myself. I’d started to feel guilty about not achieving some of the stretchy, big goals I’d set out for myself so I’d whipped them off the list to stop me feeling inadequate. These days however, I see the stuff that puts the fear in me as a personal challenge. Kapow.

+ Quit the self-sabotage (tired old defense mechanism, that it is), quell the rampant head-chatter, drop the need to create a buffer in case things don’t work out so you can say “Told you so, knew I wasn’t good enough.” You’re more than good enough. You knock it out of the park.

+ Don’t worry about artistic ability or making it perfect. Being artistic isn’t important; creating a board that resonates with you emotionally is.

Your turn: have you ever made a vision board? Do you think you’ll give it a go? Love to know what you think about this concept in the comments!

Images: 1. via Pinterest 2. Absolute Sunday