Wednesday, 29 February 2012

My bad

I have been a terrible blogger lately! I aim to try to do better.

funny pictures history - Fisticuffs Guild
see more Historic LOL

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The new New Year

Tomorrow is February 29. A special day in the Gregorian Calendar and a sort of miniature Epoch, coming only every 4 years and marking a . Leap years are very special years. They are years for women to make the first move, Olympic years and big celebrations for Leaplings. A leap year and the date that makes it leap is calendarial occasion.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about life choices and directions. Making plans and goals, getting a delicious feeling of organisation and preparedness and it seems that for me, this minor historic date can be a marker for a new start in life. A new New Years, if you will. The official New Years come so fast after Christmas and is such a whirl of parties and recovery, getting back to work and making impossible plans that it become too cluttered and stopped being a proper celebration.

By February 29 you should have started and maybe failed some New Years Resolutions. You can set new, more realistic goals for the year. You have had time to take stock and take action. February 29 is the New Year we need for the big decisions.

We often hear about three year plans and five years plans. Why not a 4 year plan, marked by the arrival of Feb 29? Makes sense to me. A natural date that occurs so rarely you must pay attention to it . A finite end point for a project. If you haven’t got it done by then it’ll be another 4 years and big pile of fail.

So I have decided to make February 29 the new New Year and I have decided to set myself some goals of where I would like to be by the time the next Feb 29 rolls around. Not getting into specifics, they’re along the lines of:

1. Save for a house deposit and have purchased my first property.

2. Get a new job. (There are quite a few specifics to this one).

3. Reach an intermediate level of German language skills and finally button down some basic French.

4. Start my career as an investor.

5. Build a wardrobe of beautiful clothes that I love and am proud of.

Yeah, they're practical and sort of 'standard', but they're not goals I can achieve by the end of 2012. They all need time and money. So they are goals for 4 years time, 29 February 2016.

Do you have any long-term goals? Are you the sort of person who needs a date to work towards?

Monday, 27 February 2012

Dear Oscars coverage,

Dear Harpers Bazaar and Vogue Australia Oscar coverage on twitter,

Love it. Keep up the good work. You made my Monday much easier to deal with.



P.S. My favourite dresses would have totally clashed if they’d been in a photo together.

See what I mean?

P.P.S. And then there was Meryl Streep who wore gold, won gold and then hugged a huge golden statue. I wish I was that cool.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

What makes it great to be an Aussie?

A few weeks ago I spotted this t-shirt on Made in the Now and I was going to include it in a Five For Friday but then I got thinking about the subject matter, so it gets a whole blog.

A poll of 15,000 people were asked ‘what makes it great to be an Aussie’. According to those 15,000 people, it goes something like this:

  1. Freedom

  2. Beer

  3. Lifestyle

  4. Sun

  5. Mateship

  6. Beaches

  7. Weather

  8. The people

  9. (Being an) Aussie, and

  10. Barbecues

Made in the Now tells us there was ‘daylight’ between the first and second answers, which is comforting. It’s good to know that as much as we love a joke, deep down we as a nation have our priorities sorted. The rest of the answers are really about the lifestyle we’re lucky to enjoy. The outdoors, spending time with friends, feeling comfortable wherever you are in the country.

Sometimes I do wonder why we go anywhere else...

I got thinking about what I think makes it great to be an Aussie. I agree with freedom, the weather, the people and the lifestyle. I’d round out my top 10 list with:

  1. Our political system, which is neither crippled by the chase for the non-compulsory vote nor rendered ineffectual by corruption.
  2. The Aussie sense of humour.
  3. Our genuinely international cuisine.
  4. Australia Day – a day dedicated to spending time with friends, having a drink, a swim, lighting the BBQ and eating good food.
  5. Our mystery and charm. When you travel the world, being Australian is an instant winner. Everyone loves you and everyone will tell you how much they want to go to Australia. How long this will last, I’m not sure, but I’ve had a couple of decades of it and I love it. I also love scaring people overseas with stores of just how deadly our country is; all that poison we’ve got just floating around.

And actually, come to think of it, I’d round out my list with ‘being an Aussie’.

So that’s my top ten ‘What make it great to be an Aussie’.

Jane actually posted a very similar blog on Australia Day - sorry for copy-cating Jane.

What would be on your list?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Theatre: QTC's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

Last night I and my fabulous plus one were lucky enough to get tickets to the opening night of the first production in QTC's 2012 season: Summer of the Seventeenth Doll.

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll is widely regarded as the first classic Australian play and proves this by having been on high school drama curriculum for at least 30 years. The play centres around two cane cutters, Roo and Barney, who every year for the past 17 years travel down to Melbourne during the lay-off to party hard with their girls in the city. This year – the 17th year - is different, however. One of the girls, Nancy, has just got married and everything seems to be off-kilter and not as it should be.

I had never seen any production of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll before so had no expectations or comparision. I had to say though, judging by the audience response, this will be a very successful production. Every actor did a sterling job. Alison Whyte as Olive, Roo's long-standing girl carried the mood of the play from first steps through to the bitter end. Helen Thomson provided almost every laugh as the refined Pearl Cunningham persuaded to stay in place of Nancy and made me think of a cross between Meryl Streep's Julia Child in Julie and Julia and Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances. Yes, that is a compliment somehow. Steve Le Marquand and Travis McMahon as Roo and Barney were nothing if not up to the eyeballs full of beer and testosterone and total Australian-ness.

Alison Whyte and Steve Le Marquand as Olive and Roo. Photo courtesy of the Queensland Theatre Cmpany.

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll is a raw and emotional play and I'd be lying if I said the second and third acts were relaxing or uplifting. However, seeing this excellent production makes it clear why this is a piece of classic Australian culture, made all the better because it can still be enjoyable and recognisable to modern audiences as much as it's original 1953 production. I would recommend going to see it.

Fabulous plus one and self in themed 1950s dress for opening night.

Five for Friday no. 8

Stella McCartney wowed in every way at London fashion week. She show was in fact a party and it was apparently a party that will go down in quiet legend. I wish I'd been there. Or else you could just look at the collection.

A new Tumblr: graphic designer Matt Roeser reads a book then re-designed the cover. I particularly like his versions of Jasper Fforde's novels Shades of Grey and The Eyre Affair and I am a big Jasper Fforde fan. LinkThere is a part of me that wishes I were ever fabulous enough to have a bag named after me. However, this is not high on my list of life dreams, and a good thing too 'cause it ain't happening any time soon. In the mean time, Mulberry have created a new named bag the Del-Ray and I kind of love it.

Scrumptious Reads blog. I love a good food blog and this one makes me drool.

It's Leek season! What? No one else is excited by that?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Why you should buy vintage and second hand - pt. 2

The excitement of the perfect fit.

Op shopping is always a game of chance. The chance you're going to spot something you like, the chance it is in your price range and the biggest chance of all – that it will Fit you.

When I take friends op shopping for the first time they struggle with one and three of these. The way to beat chance number one is to not be looking for anything specific and broaden your mind to what you would and wouldn't wear Price is often not an issue unless you start looking at original 1950's prom dresses and the way to beat chance number three is ...compromise.

A lot of vintage clothing has sizes but not all. Really anything pre-1970's you're lucky to get a size. So much of it was hand made or made-over the notion of it being a size 8 or a size 12 is laughable. You have to know your size, hold up the clothes and guess if it is worth trying on. Sometimes you get it horribly wrong, like I did one day when I dreamt I could fit into a leather mini dress … that poor dead-cow-tube never stood a chance …

Other times you try something on that is so obviously too big but you love it anyway and you will it to work. I did this once in Copenhagen. I'd been travelling for 5 weeks and worn nothing but jeans. There was a party that night and I was determined I would wear a dress. I could have made it easy on myself and gone to H&M but Copenhagen has such amazing vintage shops there was really no question. Working within my travel backpack and budget parameters I fell in love with a dress that was certainly a size 14 on my size 8 frame I bought a belt for it an voila! Instant outfit. I still have the dress today and I still wear it with the same belt; it is mightily comfortable.

A couple of weeks later, the dress (left) gets a second airing at a random French guy's birthday party. No full length photos available with me looking halfway sober.

For the record – I was the only person at that crowded party not in jeans and sneakers. I felt pretty silly at first but some charming Danish students persuaded me otherwise

Then there is that occasional, wonderful moment when you try on a dress, a pair of pants or a top and … it fits! It fits perfectly, like it was made for you. Like you could rewind the decades and have the same gasp moment when the dress maker brings out the finished cocktail dress. This happened to me late last year at the Brisbane Vintage Fashion and Homewares Fair when I found this 1960's cocktail dress. The moment when a dress fits so well you have to buy it.

For me, the joy of finding that almost miraculous perfect fit in amongst a rack of clothes at a second hand store is so much more rewarding than having it at Target or CUE or Dogstar (as much as I love them). I know what size I am in all these stores and if there is a problem I just pick out a different option. There is no other option when vintage shopping. You either take it or leave it but if you're lucky enough the dress will help you decide.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Reasons you should wear 3/4 pants, though you don’t know it yet.

1. They are perfect for Brisbane in summer. That little bit of extra breeze around the shins makes all the difference.
2. They cross a perfect divide between casual and office-acceptable. Dress them up and no one is going to complain. Meanwhile you’re showing off a wee bit of a leg plus keeping Brisbane-weather appropriate (see point 1)
3. Audrey Hepburn thought they were stylish, ergo they are.
4. They're called pedal pushers. How cute is that?
5. I've been wearing them for 10 years and I want them to become trendy so for the first time in my life I will be ahead; a trend-setter, if you will.

Monday, 20 February 2012

A day out at the cricket

Yesterday was a certain Music Blogger’s birthday and to celebrate a group of us went to the cricket. The one day international series arrived in Brisbane with Australia vs. India, and I think there are a few more matches coming up … India vs. Sri Lanka I think … ? Sports fan me. 
I come from a completely non-sporty family. With the exception of the Tour de France, we neither watch nor attend sports together. So any interest I have developed in sports has happened purely be accident or outside influence and it is through the influence of a series of cricket-mad boyfriends that I have developed an interest in the great game. So I am a bit Aussie after all.
We started the day at the German Club to stock up on decent beer and schnitzel before squeezing into the Gabba for first ball at 1:20.
It wasn’t an amazing game of cricket but it was still a great day. We brought in our lolly bags, hot cross buns and bottles of water then filled any belly-holes with bad beer and yellowy hot chips.

The crowd builds up and the costumes start arriving. Even more impressive then the invisibility of Wallys was the whole section of Fred and Wilma Flintstones.

Australia opens.

The heat in our lower level seats was intense and even with sleeves, hats and sunscreen we needed to take breaks every now and again and hide away in the shade. At about 2:30 I couldn’t take it any longer and along with 2 other girls ducked over the road to Canvas for a icy cold cocktail and a rest in the air-conditioning.
I’d only been to Canvas once before but had had a delicious glass of wine and one of the best mojitos I’d ever tasted. This time on the recommendation of the bartender I got a Great Escape and it was delicious. So cold frost formed on the outside of the glass, fresh, light and just what I needed.

A Cumberland Bay and a Great Escape.

The crowd flagged a bit around 4pm as Australia wound up their innings and the intense heat of the day took its toll on us spectators. An injection of fresh people for the evening session picked us all up cheer on the Aussie bowlers and fielders as they ploughed through India’s top order batting to finish the game all out for 178 – 110 runs short of Australia's effort.

A lull from the Aussie supporters.

The crowd bakes and copes with the afternoon glare.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The idiots guide to self-photography.

I simply cannot take a good photo of myself. I barely manage to 'take' a good photo anyway but when I am wielding the camera I usually end up looking disastrous.

This isn't much of a problem as I don't feel a need to photograph myself that often. It has only recently become a wish after I developed a mild addiction to sartorialist websites.

I love a good sartorialist website. I also love the word sartorial. I find them inspiring. Sometimes they inspire me to want to buy new clothing but more often they inspire me to experiment more with the clothing I have and maybe be a bit more adventurous with my next purchase.

So the self-photographing issue arises because sometimes I think of an outfit related blog idea or maybe I just want to take a photo of my adorable outfit and find a reason to blog. But I then chicken out and my outfit is never recorded because I'm not good at taking photos of myself. I also have a pet peeve that most personal fashion blogs contain waaay too many photos of the same outfit. Show me three, not ten!

Attempt #1 to take self-portrait. Showing a friend how much I appreciated my christmas present of a necklace made of a tie.

Anyways, for those people who like to or want to take self-portraits, here is a simple little guide on how to take nice ones from Shrimp Salad Circus. For that bit of confidence we all need. It's short, it's comprehensible and it's persuasive. So persuasive in fact that after reading it I went out and bought myself a camera remote and stole my boy's enormous tripod (haha) and took some photos of myself.

Attempt #2. Still not good but working on it ...

You can also check out this guide on how to take good outdoor photographs from A Beautiful Mess, all of which is very good advice that I did not follow because I felt silly enough taking photos of myself without doing it in public view.

Better photos to follow soon.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Five for Friday no.8

TopShop has released a series of limited edition British designer t-shirts and I kind of love them.

LinkLimited edition TopShop tshirt by Erdem.
For Valentine's Day - portraits of couples who have been together for 50 years.
The Spring Fashion Shows are in full swing, couture has just ended. Couture is an area of fashion that many claim is out-dated, only relevent to a miniscule percentage of women, but it is where you see the fantasy dresses; beautiful creations you will never own but you would give anything to spend a night in See Vogue Australia's wrap up of the Haute Couture collections.
Elie Saab spring/summer 12/13
The winners of the 55th annual World Press Photography Competition have been announced.
This is the sort of underwear I want to own. Apparently it's Ann Summers but I couldn't find it online!

February Photo a Day Challenge: 15/16

Day 15: Phone. Yeah, not that exciting. I have a hamburger phone somewhere that would have made a much better picture.

Day 16: Something new. Fresh baked bread

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Venus Project

Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano has recreated some of the world's most famous artwork using Photoshop to 'edit' the female figures to fit a modern ideal of the female form.

Botticelli's Birth of Venus is particularly striking in how she has lost her belly and gained abs, a tiny waist and toned legs.

Botticelli's Birth of Venus.

Richard Westall's The Power of Venus seems to have retained her curves but is a much more defined hourglass.

Richard Westall The Power of Venus.

I think this is a particularly interesting project in light of the continuing debate surrounding women's body image and portrayal in the media. In our modern times where the ideal has switched from curvaceous and feminine to fit and slim; where models are all size 2, 'plus sized' models are heralded when they should be the norm; where Christina Hendricks, Sophia Vergara and Dame Helen Mirren are among the few women celebrated for their curves; obesity rates are rising and somewhere in all the mess is the ordinary women wanting to feel fit and confident within herself.

The Venus Project is a beautiful but simple diagram of the changing shape of the 'ideal beauty'. Personally I think the paintings loose something as the women loose their luxurious sensuality.

Titian's Venus of Urbino.

All images courtesy of Anna Utopia Giordano.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

February Photo a Day Challenge: week 2 ish

Ok, so I've been pretty terrible at putting up photos for my February Photo a Day challenge but here are some from this week:

Day 7: Button (s). Taken with 'Retro Camera' for no real reason.

Day 9: Front door. My front door is so incredibly boring, I was on the lookout for a more intersting one. But then posting a photo of someone else's front door is a little creepy so I went for this fun front gate in West End.

Day 11: Makes you happy. Books and good bookstores make me happy, so my subject for today is Avid Reader Bookshop in West End. A great little bookstore that sucks all your money out of you because it's so good!

Day 12: Inside my closet. Self explanatory.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Five for Friday no.7

The best cocktails on a beautiful poster.Link

The almost unknown work of street photographer Vivian Maier.

Odette New York arrow ring.

Valentine's day is approaching and while I don't subscribe to the holiday much myself – love and flowers are for every day not just one – these heart shaped tea cups are pretty adorable.

Roald Dahl themed stamps. I wish I could buy myself some. Roald Dahl is unquestionably my favourite childhood author.

The BFG. Image copyright of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Christian Louboutin anniversary collection

Does anyone else just love the phrase 'capsule' collection. It's small but perfectly formed. 10 - 25 looks or shoes or whatever it is the designer in question happens to be capsualising.

To celebrate his 20th anniversary, Christian Louboutin has released a capsule collection : 20 shoes for 20 years.

These might be a little too fierce for me:

But I could definitely see myself in these:

Or these:

Not to mention these!

Images from the Christian Louboutin Facebook page.
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