So You've Decided to Become A Vinyl Loving Hipster

A while back I fell down one of those rabbit holes life puts in your path that you manage to fall down when you are vaguely disinterested in your everyday life.  I developed a "hobby".  Well maybe not so much a hobby, but a very focused interest in collecting actual physical copies of music albums again.  And of course, being the generational war zone that I am, I settled on reliving my childhood through record ownership.

I tell myself this every day.

I tell myself this every day.

To be honest, I didn't really give it much thought - I just went into JB Hifi (gasp) one day and picked up a cheap entry level turntable (double gasp) and a couple of albums and started playing.  

Welcome to the douche snobbery club...

Now let's be honest about turntables should we?  Despite several comments either side of the fence when it comes to what constitutes an entry level turntable, I did start out with what I would term a "toy" type player.  I actually liked the look of the thing in its little suitcase being all retro, but it was basically an Australian branded Crosley player.  Not the best quality but, heck I thought it did the job.

Well I was so fucking wrong.  It took my third record to figure that out... quickly.  Because Queens of the Stoneage (those sonafabitches) released Like Clockwork as 45 rpm.  Damn that cheap cute player really could not handle that, and the distortion was just terrible.  So when I went back to play the other two records I owned at the time, I could not help but notice just how bad they sounded now to my polluted ears.

This image sums up nicely how QOTSA managed to mangle my perception of hearing.

This image sums up nicely how QOTSA managed to mangle my perception of hearing.

So I was kind of put off after that, because no matter where I went online there were a number of audiophiles obviously bashing the likes of Crosley, but also citing "If you're serious about vinyl you at least need ..." and the dollars kept piling up.  I didn't want to spend so much on a system I couldn't afford the albums themselves.  I hunted for the holy grail - a second hand setup from the 70s-80s, but believe it or not, the ones I found were priced higher than some higher spec new ones.  

I took a breath, and stepped back from my affair with vinyl for a number of months and searched for a solution.  The closest I could come to an "affordable" turntable with good reviews was one from Pro-Ject, and luckily a local hifi shop had several of their models in stock for me to compare.  I ended up with the Pro-Ject Essential II for just under $400 AUD on a Christmas promo, and while I still don't have epic speakers, I can already hear the difference in quality.  It's comforting to know that I haven't spent too much, even though it's way more than a toy player.

Collect all the things!

Safe to say, once the cost of your initial setup is out of the way, vinyl collecting can either be an expensive obsession or a relaxing lifestyle hobby.  At first, I was obsessed with trawling through the vinyl sections at music stores, but after a couple of months and a few hundred dollars I became more focused and select about my purchases.  It sounds like epic douche-baggery to say, but I started to curate a collection for myself based on memories, experiences, and people I have in my life.  

It's true you know.

It's true you know.

Nearly every album I have acquired in the last 5 months has a story as to why it's in my collection.  Of course I don't go around telling these stories - I'd sound like a hipster nut job, but I can kind of get why the guy from High Fidelity looked at sorting his collection autobiographically.

At the time of writing this, my collection is very small, only 31 albums.  Still that hasn't stopped me from downloading the Discogs app and keeping track of what I have for on the go wishlist making.  

I don't own Blonde on Blonde...

I don't own Blonde on Blonde...

F-Yeah, it's Diet! Fresh Creamy Mushroom Soup

Hey again!  So my quest for delicious, healthy meals continues (as does my new fitness & eating plan) and I thought I'd share my most recent foray into freaking yummy food.  

This time around, I was really hanging out for a hearty and creamy mushroom soup.  There are a ton of recipes online that are low cal, but I settled on adapting one I found here at skinnytaste.com

The recipe is pretty straight forward, but I had seen other recipes where wine was included (and I love me some wine), or where flour was left out, or it was only partially blended... you get the picture.  So I took a few of my favourite ideas from each and came up with the below adaption!

#badlighting God Damn You Kitchen!

#badlighting God Damn You Kitchen!

Creamy Mushroom Soup - Yields 5 servings (1 1/2 cup) at 87 cal/serve

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium soup/stock pot. Saute one small white onion (finely diced) until clear.  Add 1 chopped clove of garlic and continue to saute for 1-2 mins, being careful not to burn the onion.  Dice one large stalk of celery and add to the pot, crumble in two sodium reduced vegetable stock cubes (I used Massel brand), and add 1/3 cup of white wine.  Stir to combine then add 3 cups of water.  Bring to the boil and stir until the stock has dissolved.  Add 450-500g chopped mushrooms (I used 100g white button and 350g portobello as that is what I had on hand). Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins stirring occassionally.  Add one can of cannellini beans (drained) and continue to simmer for another 10 mins.   Remove from heat and use a stick blender in the pot to make smooth and creamy, season to taste with a little cracked pepper.

Voila! You're done!  My Warr was ready to cook some chicken to add to his serving but after a quick taste he just garnished with some parmesan and served with crusty bread.  

This soup is surprisingly satisfying, and you could cut even more calories by dropping the olive oil for a olive oil spray.  

Bottom of the Bottle & Bin Bound: Rest of Autumn

*Edit: This post was scheduled to be posted yesterday (2 July) but something went wrong.  Anyway, here it is...

I can't believe we're nearly at the halfway point of the year again - seriously where is time even going #oldladyproblems.  The only good thing about the endless march of time is that just like that I'm getting ready to place my WINTER haul order.  Thankfully, most of my Autumn products are still going strong, in fact I'm planning a post to talk about some of my favourites from that haul.  There could be a new HG contender in there, just sayin'.

So anyway, onto the stuffs.

LANEIGE TIME FREEZE EYE SERUM:  

Officially my first Laneige brand product, I was expecting big things from this cult brand.  In usual fashion, the packaging and branding is on point, however I wasn't that blown away by the performance of this serum.  I did find however, that when layered with other eye products it worked a bit better.  Not a rebuy.

BANILA CO. PRIME PRIMER (CLASSIC):  

A silicone based primer that works to even out imperfections and supply a base to your foundation/BB/CC.  I actually didn't mind this primer, although I'm usually pretty iffy about these silicon-y ones.  This also comes in a Matte version which I would be interested in trying out.  I couldn't use this on a daily basis however, it seemed to make me more prone to breakouts - even with my epic skincare regime.

HOLIKA HOLIKA BIRDS NEST GOLD LEAF CREAM:

I have talked about this product previously in a first impressions post way back  but not alot since.  I actually took quite a bit of time away from this product over the warmer Summer months as it was just too rich for my oil-prone skin.  Once Autumn rolled around I started cranking back into it as my go to night cream.  I really like this stuff.  The balm like texture melts wonderfully into the skin, and although it remains a little sticky by the next morning I found myself waking up to glowing soft skin without fail.  I also found it seemed to assist with healing any breakouts I had.  That said, it's very pricey for a night cream, and if I'm going to spend that much, I may as well finally get some hanbang action going on.

VELLA NECK TIGHT CREAM:

This is one of those products I had stored away for the longest time and only finally got around to using.  Basically it's a thick cream for use on your neck and decolletage.  It's OK, nothing special.

My two BIN BOUND products are Elizavecca's Milky Piggy Bubble Clay Mask which I reviewed in this post and I have struggled to really like this mask.  I just don't find it that enjoyable to use and to be frankly honest, it does shit all for my skin.  

The other one going the way of the dragon, is Skin Therapy's Bee Venom Protective Moisturiser (ONLY SPF !!! WTF) which I picked up in Coles.  I've really wanted to try some bee venom type products to see if they do help with plumping fine lines.  Well, this one doesn't.

Coming Soon: A round up of some samples I've tried recently!

F-Yeah, it's Diet! Fresh Tomato Soup

So it's Saturday, and unlike several Saturdays passed I did something out of the ordinary today.  I actually got up and spent an hour researching then cooking something for my lunch.

Usually, my weekend food intake consists of whatever is on hand, or whatever I can be bothered going out to have, but since I have started paying more attention to what I eat I thought this could be an opportunity to utilise that 1 kg of Roma tomatoes that has been sitting in my fridge this week, AND have a healthier lunch.

So after a bit of research I came across this recipe online.  I had to make some minor adaptions to suit what I had on hand, but basically remained in the same danger, wait I mean calorie, zone.

Basically, I used about half the onion suggested by the recipe, and I added half a green chilli and half of a teaspoon of crushed garlic.  And then I stick blended it hard!

Nutritionally this baby comes in at around 58 calories per serving, however each serving is only 3/4 cup.  I'm more of a one and a half cup soup girl, and screw the yogurt - I substituted for a sprinkling of shaved parmesan at a respectable 20 calorie add on.  A nice 136 cal lunch which was quite satisfying!

Next time I make this I am definitely going to up the celery to at least one cup and add the other half of that green chilli for a bit of kick!