Monday, 27 May 2013

Music Mondays

And the winner is...

And the winner of my Rain giveaway (as selected by the Rafflecopter widget) is... *drumroll*

Congratulations Chandré :) I'll be contacting you later today regarding delivery info.

To everyone who entered, thank you for your support and to the new followers, I hope you enjoy reading my blog :)

(On that note, you may have noticed that it's been a bit scarce around here lately. I've been awfully sick the last week AND been working my butt off at the lab - yes, that's a good combination for getting sicker and not healthier - so blogging has been a bit low on the priority list. But stick around, I'll be back soon!)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

NOTD: Pretty Florals

This was my first attempt at nail art with an actual paintbrush. I followed a tutorial from Nailasaurus but made my roses softer and more "smudgy" to give the impression of a vintage floral print. The base colour I used was Tip Top's Melting Marshmellow. The roses were initially done with Tip Top's Sherbert Angel, and then I added swirls of Tip Top's Pot O Berries, followed by a little bit of Melting Marshmellow. (Sherbert Angel and Pot O Berries previously seen here). Once the roses were dry, I added small flicks of green polish to create the leaves.

Words of Wisdom

Monday, 20 May 2013

Review + Giveaway with Rain!

Rain is a South African company that specializes in creating handmade bath and body products. Everything is made using local, natural ingredients, and they take great pride in producing everything ethically (that means, no animal testing, recyclable packing, ethical trading, all-natural ingredients). I absolutely love their stores - it's impossible to walk by and not be drawn in by the amazing scents and calming interior!
I was recently scent some of their products from their "Biologie" range to test, and I was delighted to do so!

100% Natural Hand & Body Wash and Lotion

First off, as I was expecting, these two products smelt AMAZING! The hand wash was lovely and gentle, not drying out my skin at all. As you can see from the ingredients, it contains extracts of honeybush, rooibos, sesame seed, rosemary and spearmint, which gives it it's sweet, herbal aroma. The hand lotion is wonderfully moisturising, but sinks into your skin quickly to give you soft hands. It's key ingredients are coconut oil (which I swear by), marula oil (which is apparently a natural tissue oil) and kigelia extract (which they claim helps improve firmness and elasticity), together with numerous plant extracts. Both the lotion and the wash also contain tocopherol (aka vitamin E) to help protect your skin. Overall, I was impressed with both products.

Manketti and Starflower Body Scrub

My current body scrub is very spicy, so this sweet, floral product made a nice change - before you even open the jar, the smell of jasmine is apparent (and who doesn't love jasmine?). The sugar scrub does a great job at smoothing skin, and then sweet almond oil, jojoba oil and mongongo oil moisturize your skin, leaving you soft and glowing! This scrub is also packed with poppy seeds, lavender flowers and tea tree leaves.  Also, I loved the frosted glass jar - it was just very pretty sitting in my bathroom!

Thanks to Rain for sending me these amazing products - I'll be popping into the store soon to fulfill my cravings for more~

You can follow Rain on Facebook or Twitter to get updates about their amazing products :)

And now for a giveaway! One lucky reader will win a hamper consisting off all three products shown here :) The only compulsory entry is to leave a comment at the end of this blog post, but you can also get extra entries as specified in the Rafflecopter widget below. (Only open to South African residents unfortunately.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entries close next Monday. Good luck :)

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May: Day 16 and 17

Day 16, Thursday: Something difficult about your "lot in life" and how you're working to overcome it
I don't really have a difficulty in my "lot in life" - I've been pretty blessed. If I had to choose something, it would have to be sexism/mild sexual harassment. Science still suffers from a very sexist attitude, and even though there are just as many excellent female scientists as male, I find that women sometimes still have to go above-and-beyond in order to be considered equal to their male coworkers. And, as is prevelent everywhere, a confident, assertive, ambitious woman gets labeled a bitch. Well, you can call me a bitch, I don't care what you think about me. I'm just out here to be the most kick-ass version of me that I can be. And I'll do it whilst looking my best. But if you make one more inappropriate comment about my body at work, I swear I will punch you.

Day 17, Friday: A favorite photo of yourself and why
For this prompt, I went for something a bit lighthearted. This photo was taken at an 80s party my friends hosted at the end of last year. I love this photo because (a) I am insanely proud at how awesome my hair turned out (my hair does not like to hold a curl, this took a can of hairspray and 6 hours of setting), and (b) because it reminds me of how amazing my friends are and how many wonderful memories we make.

Blog Every Day In May: Day 15

Day 15, Wednesday: A Day in the life (include photos from throughout your typical day - this could be "a photo an hour" if you'd like)

Here are some photos of what happened on Wednesday 15 May:

Faking my awake-face after staying up most of the night working on non-essential shit (hey look, the dip-dye hair effect is progressing nicely!)
Daily ritual of our morning lattes at häzz - essential!
Walking back to the office/lab on a chilly Autumn morning
 About to spend the morning catching up on emails, journal articles and plans

 Followed by starting to clean up from the "Magic of Chemistry" show the night before
Lunch with my supervisor and her students (yes, that burger was as amazing as it looks)  
Doing a little bit of chemistry after lunch
And then it was time to get ready to go out for dinner at a friend's flat :) Followed by another night of insomnia (which was weird, because wine normally makes me sleepy).

Friday, 17 May 2013

Review: Inglot Lip Products

(Before we start, yes - I know - I've gone way overboard with the bokeh. I'm having a bad day and am overcompensating with shininess.)

Inglot Sleeks Cream Lip Paint

Inglot Sleeks Cream Lip Paint - retails for R139

The Lip Paint I received was in shade 98 - a delightfully pretty candy pink! This creme is amazing - it smells like candy and vanilla, has just the right level of pigmentation and sticks around for a decent amount of time. I love wearing this product and would definitely recommend it.

Inglot Lipstick Cream

Inglot Lipstick Cream - retails for R139

The first thing I loved about this lipstick was the packaging - the tube is heavy metal and just feels elegant. The shade I received was 143 - a bold hot pink. I found this shade very flattering on my pale skin, but I'm sure this colour would look gorgeous on darker skins. The formula applies smoothly and the pigmentation is excellent. The lipstick is a tad on the dry side, but this is to be expected for a longer-lasting lipstick - I easily got several hours of wear before needing to reapply (after meals/wine). (In fact, that swatch stuck around for over 24 hours, fading evenly).

And finally, a bokeh-free swatch of both products. Mooi, ne?

Overall, I enjoyed using these two lip products and will definitely be trying out other colours in Inglot's extensive range!

These two products were sent to me by Beauty Bulletin for review purposes.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May Challenge - Days 10-14

More playing catch-up. For those of you who don't follow my musings on twitter (and should you want to, click here :) - shameless self promotion), I'm supposed to be going to a conference in 6 weeks time to present my research, and - well- in order to present results, I need to first get them! So I'm going to be a busy bee at work, which unfortunately may make me a bad blogger at times. But my PhD studies are always going to have to take first priority! (Yes, first - even higher than sleep, food, friends, family, a life...fellow grad students will sympathize, I'm sure!)

In any case, here is the next installment in the May blog challenge :)

Day 10, Friday: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill. 

Um, yeah, let's not go into this. I have plenty of uber-embarassing moments. Like in, seriously embarassing.

Day 11, Saturday: Sell yourself in 10 words or less

Quirky, Intelligent, Imaginative, Ambitious, Insightful, Chic

Day 12, Sunday: What do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life...)

I miss when school days started only at 8 and ended at 3. You seriously take that for granted, and I MISS IT now that my work days are often >12 hours long.

Day 13, Monday: Issue a public apology. This can be as funny or as serious or as creative as you want it to be.

To everyone that has to put up with me and my craziness - I sincerely apologise. I can be insanely weird. That's just who I am.

Day 14, Tuesday: Ten things that make you really happy

-Red wine
-Snuggles from my puppy
-Getting home, taking off uncomfy skinny jeans and shoes, and kicking back in my pjs and socks *so much better*
-Crazy adventures with my friends :) *Waves* Hi Chandré, Helene and Leigh!
-Making up stories in my mind
-Warm bedding, cool pillow
-When a chemical reaction WORKS! *happy dance*

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! I hope that you have an amazing day and that your families show their appreciation for all you do for them!

Friday, 10 May 2013

"Blog Every Day In May" Challenge: Day 9

Day 9, Thursday: A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words)

Because after an awful day, what you need is a drink.

Liebster Blog Award

Recently I was lucky enough to get nominated for the Liebster Award by Meghan Silva :)

The rules are:

  • Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  • Answer 11 questions the tagger has asked and ask 11 questions for the people you've tagged.
  • Choose 11 people and link them in the post and let them know.
  • and you cannot tag the tagger.

  • 11 Things About Me:

    1. I'm doing my PhD in Supramolecular Materials Chemistry (with a side-focus in Bioinorganic Chemistry). (Yeah, that face that you're doing now? I get that a lot.)
    2. I'm a red wine addict.
    3. I mirror write more often than I write "the right way around".
    4. I have size 3 feet and I'm 5'1" tall.
    5. My favourite colours are purple and grey.
    6. I hate not wearing nail polish.
    7. I write short stories and random scenes when I have free time.
    8. I'm incredibly short sighted. Like can't-see-anything-past-the-tip-of-my-nose-in-focus short sighted.
    9. I'm an introvert.
    10. I'm almost always with my smartphone in my hand.
    11. I'm completely and utterly crazy. I absolutely march to the beat of my own drum.

    Questions from Meghan:
    1. What makes your blog unique?
      I think my blog is unique because it's about me - what I'm wearing, using, eating, doing, thinking, etc. And I'm quite a unique individual!
    2. How long have you been blogging?
      I've been blogging on Whimsy Is Forever for just over a year, but I've had four blogs over the last 7 years.
    3. flats or heels?
      I always used to be a heels girl, but now I find myself living in flats all the time because of my job (heels in the lab just aren't comfortable or safe).
    4. If you could live in any era which would it be?
      At the moment, I'm in love with the 1920s.
    5. Which blog is your absolute favorite?
      Ooh, no way I could chose just one. There's easily a dozen that I love love love and just can't wait until the next post comes out.
    6. Where do you see your blog in 1 year?
      As a bigger, better community.
    7. How important is fashion in your life?
      Pretty important. I dabble in trends quite a lot, but I'm pretty good at sussing out what will and won't work on my figure, so I interpret fashion to suit me. (Hint: lots of things do not work on petite but curvy girls).
    8. In 5 words how would you describe yourself?
      Dreamer, thinker, observer, whimsical, intellectual
    9. Favorite song at the moment?
      Bon Jovi - You give love a bad name (I've been listening to Bon Jovi on repeat since the EPIC concert on Tuesday!)
    10. What would be your one blog related tip for people who want to start blogging?
      Blog about what you love. Don't write a post that you wouldn't be interested in reading.
    11. Whats your beauty secret?
      Learn to listen to your skin and understand what it needs.
    As I've answered to my nomination quite late, I'm not going to tag anyone as most of the people I would have tagged have already been nominated. 

    PS You can also see my answers to my previous Liebster Blog Award over here.

    Thursday, 9 May 2013

    OOTD: Red Wine and Blue Skies

    Another outfit from the Olive Festival in the Riebeek Valley :) (You can see the previous day's outfit over here.)
    I stuck with a similar theme for Sunday's outfit - high waisted maxi skirt, leather ankle boots (limited packing space means only one pair of shoes in your bag), chambray shirt. This time I paired this red wine/oxblood coloured skirt (with a thin leather belt) with a pale chambray shirt tucked in for a casual Sunday look. My hair wasn't behaving itself, so I tucked in up with a braided leather headband. I accessorized with a blue-and-red beaded necklace, a long bronze butterfly necklace, metal flower earrings and the same collection of bronze and wood bangles that I wore the previous day.
    This week I also finally treated myself to a beautiful neutral handbag - I'm really loving it!

    Oxblood maxi skirt (with belt) - Mr Price // Chambray shirt - Woolworths // Leather ankle boots - Woolworths // Braided leather headband - Woolworths // Sunglasses - Woolworths // Flower earring studs - Gift // Blue, red and silver beaded necklace - Gift // Bronze butterfly necklace - Mr Price // Bracelets - Sass Diva, Foschini // Handbag - Woolworths

    Wednesday, 8 May 2013

    "Blog Every Day In May" Challenge: Day 5, 6, 7 & 8 (Sjoe!)

    Hi all :) This one is going to be playing a bit of catch-up as a result of the last couple of crazy days!

    Day 5, Sunday: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends.What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don't have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member

    I want to mention not a blog friend, but my best friend, Chandré :) (I don't normally mention my IRL friends that much on this blog out of respect for their privacy, but I'm making an exception ;) .)

    Hey look, it's us all dressed up like pirates! And then the stick-on mustaches came out... :)

    I love her for a million reasons, but especially because she's a little bit crazy (like me!), she's an amazingly loyal friend, she always thinks of her friends before herself, she's amazingly intelligent (she's also starting a PhD!), she's beautiful (inside and out), she's funny, she's always there for me when I need to bitch about something or when I just need to chat. She's my best friend and I love her.

    Day 6, Monday: If you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer the question, 'what do you do'?

    Ooh, this one is very tricky! I find that scientists in particular have a hard time defining themselves without their research focus (check out any one of the scientists/chemists I follow on Twitter. You'll spot them easily because they will have "chemist"/"physicist"/etc in their bio.) I think this is probably because being a scientist is more than just a job - it's the way you think, the way you approach life, the way you solve problems, and so on.

    What do I do (apart from being a chemist):
    - I'm an avid reader of fantasy fiction
    - I'm a writer
    - I'm a blogger
    - I'm a loyal friend
    - I'm a teacher
    - I'm a learner
    - I'm an appreciator of the small things
    - I'm a woman who is confident in who I am
    - I'm a procrastinator
    - I'm a social media addict
    - I'm an observer

    Day 7, Tuesday: The thing(s) you're most afraid of

    In no particular order:
    - Clowns
    - Snails / Slugs
    - Seaweed
    - Being alone forever
    - Heights

    Day 8, Wednesday: A piece of advice you have for others. Anything at all.

    Use your brain to weigh up the pros and cons - and then follow your heart. It's better to have tried and failed than to forever wonder "what if????".

    OOTD: Bronze and Demin

    This past weekend was the Olive Festival in the Riebeek Valley (another blog post coming on this later). A bunch of my chemistry friends and I went to stay in the valley for the weekend of festivity. This is what I wore for the Saturday.
    Weekends in the country spent drinking wine and eating locally produced olives, cheese and bread need a simple but stylish outfit. I absolutely love what I chose to wear!
    This bronze maxi skirt is absolutely amazing - it's lightweight and soft, and so unbelievably shimmery and shiny! In the right light, it really looks like molten metal. I decided to offset the metallic skirt with an edgier top half, choosing to wear a soft chambray shirt that I knotted to bring it in at the top of the skirt (which sat high at the smallest part of my waist). I added wedged brown leather ankle boots (they're hiding under there, I promise!), peacock feather earrings, a long necklace with earthy beads and bronze charms, and an assortment of bronze and wooden bracelets.

    Bronze maxi skirt - Mr Price // Chambray shirt - Woolworths // Leather ankle boots - Woolworths // Peacock feather earrings - DIY // Sunglasses - Woolworths // Necklace - Gift //
    Bracelets - Sass Diva, Foschini

    (PS: Big thank you to my friend Helene for willingly agreeing to be my photographer!)

    Saturday, 4 May 2013

    "Blog Every Day In May" Challenge: Day 4

    Day 4, Saturday: Favorite quote (from a person, from a book, etc) and why you love it

    It doesn’t make sense to call ourselves ugly, because we don’t really see ourselves. We don’t watch ourselves sleeping in bed, curled up and silent with chests rising and falling with our own rhythm. We don’t see ourselves reading a book , eyes fluttering and glowing. You don’t see yourself looking at someone with love and care inside your heart. There’s no mirror in your way when you’re laughing and smiling and happiness is leaking out of you. You would know exactly how bright and beautiful you are if you saw yourself in the moments where you are truly yourself.

    Friday, 3 May 2013

    "Blog Every Day In May" Challenge: Day 3

    Day 3, Friday: Things that make you uncomfortable

    A few things that make me uncomfortable (a short list, because I'm trying to get far too much done before going away for the weekend, yippee!)
    • Being around people I don't know well.
    • On that note, strangers trying to talk to me. I don't like talking to people I know, so please go away!
    • Sleeping with my closet door ajar (I don't know why but this really bugs me)
    • People invading my personal space
    • When people just. don't. know. when. to. shut. up.
    • Talking on the phone
    • Conflict

    Ad Space Giveaway

    Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed the addition of a new tab at the top of my page - a SPONSOR tab! I've discovered so many great blogs through their sidebar adverts on other blogs, and I thought it would make a good addition to my growing community here. In addition, I've received great additional traffic through my own ads and have gained many new followers and readers (hello there if that's you!).

    Sponsorship on Whimsy Is Forever gives you a unique opportunity to give your small change to a struggling PhD student, allowing her to buy coffee and thereby helping to make a valuable contribution to science! ;)

    However, to start things off, I thought I'd let my May ad spaces be available for FREE through a GIVEAWAY :D This gives you an opportunity to try out an ad space and see if you like it :) And with the #BlogEveryDayInMay challenge happening, there will be daily traffic on the site, which increases the visibility of your ad!

    The giveaway will run for a week, followed by 30 days of FREE ad space! You can go to the SPONSOR page for more details about what the ad space entails.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    And the winners are:

    200 x 200 ad space  -  Abby

    200 x 100 ad space  -  Charlene

    100 x 100 ad space  - Natasha and Anna

    Congrats ladies :) Please send me an email ( so that I can send you the details :)

    Thursday, 2 May 2013

    "Blog Every Day In May" Challenge: Day 2

    Day 2, Thursday: Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at. Take any approach you'd like (serious and educational or funny and sarcastic)

    On a serious note, the thing I know the most about is Chemistry. More specifically, I know quite a lot about Organic Chemistry. No, not "Organic" like the label currently thrown around a lot for marketing purposes. Organic = carbon based. 
    My Masters thesis topic was very narrow (the applications of inherently chiral calix[4]arenes, specifically as chiral ligands for palladium catalysed asymmetric reactions, if anyone reading this has any knowledge of chemistry). However, I think that my years in the field, as well as four years of tutoring undergrads in organic chemistry, has led to me having a fairly good general knowledge in organic reactions (incl named reactions), mechanisms, synthesis skills and the like. (I hope that I'm also a good demonstrator and tutor to my students!) My general knowledge of other fields of chemistry is also fairly good, but I tend to learn and know more about a field if it's what I'm working with every day. Now that I've switched to a more inorganic/physical chemistry project, let's hope I learn quickly because there is still a lot here I need to know! (The challenge of this is why I chose to switch fields, I found that after almost three years doing solely organic chemistry, I needed to stretch my mind in a different direction).

    I think I'm also quite good at general knowledge. I'm handy to have on a pub quiz team. Except if it's an AlchemUS pub quiz. After winning the two quizzes hosted last year (and being the only member in common with those teams) I've been unofficially banned from competing.

    On a less serious note, here are a few other things I'm good at:

    • Remembering the entire lyrics for songs I haven't heard in years (sometimes over a decade)
    • Finishing an entire slab of chocolate/batch of cookies/anything sweet in one sitting
    • Doing computer whatnot (I'm also pretty awesome at speedy touch typing)
    • Cooking and baking
    • Creative writing
    • Failing to put freshly laundered clothes anywhere else but in piles on the floor near the closet
    • Procrastinating
    • Fidgeting with my hair
    • Painting my nails/ doing my makeup / taking care with my appearance
    • Dressing for my size and shape
    • Being near-surgically attached to my phone
    • Singing off key
    • Stretchy flexibleness (it's a word, I swear)
    • Making up words to suit my needs
    • Writing backwards by default and confusing the fuck out of people who see my scribbles
    • Can I say wine? I think my wine sensory analysis skills are pretty good (I get lots of practice)

    Quick quiz for everyone who made it to the end of this post: what are three things you are good at (serious or silly)? Go! :)

    Wednesday, 1 May 2013

    "Blog Every Day In May" Challenge: Day 1

    Hi everyone :) As you are probably aware, I haven't been blogging that much recently. This is mostly for two reasons: my "real job" is keeping me insanely busy (beware: PhD = sell your soul), and I've had some health issues lately. However, I'm trying to get back on the ball as I really enjoy blogging! I saw this blogging challenge floating around on Twitter and thought I'd give it a go to kickstart my return to enthusiatic blogging :) You can click on the button above for more details, but the gist of it is, there are 31 prompts, one for each day in May. You can be as creative or as boring as you like ;P (I find that writing a blog post is a lot easier once I've figured out what I want to write about, don't you?)

    So, here goes :)

    Day 1, Wednesday: The story of your life in 250 words or less

    I was born in the middle of Cape Town in the early hours of 1 March 1989, to the most amazing pair of parents. Three years later, my brother was born. My childhood at home, with my family, was amazing. From an early age, I loved to read. I enjoyed schoolwork, but not school (kids can be mean). As an introvert, a bookworm, a quite soul, a nerd, I had a hard time making friends. My teenage years in particular were not good to me.

    Mini bookworm Laura (1 and a bit years)
    I got a fresh start when I started varsity. I moved to Stellenbosch to do my BSc degree, majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry. On the first day of orientation, as I stood in my new room in res, I met the girl who was assigned to be my roommate, and destined to be my best friend. I enjoyed my undergrad years.  I followed my BSc degree with my Honours in Chemistry, and moved into a flat with my best friend. I worked my ass off, but really enjoyed what I was doing.

    "The Company"
    For my MSc, I chose Organic Chemistry. The work was frustrating, but I learnt a lot and made friends with some truly amazing people that I love dearly. I came out of my shell A LOT and my social life flourished.
    And now I’m doing my PhD. I love living in Stellenbosch, and I love the field of research that I’m in. I’m excited for what the future holds!

    I love you all [---THIS---] much!

    Sjoe, Word says that that's 246 words! Just made it!