Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

He errors who thinks Santa enters through the chimney.
Santa enters through the heart.

- Charles W. Howard, founder, Santa Claus School of Michigan

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Love Boat Has Arrived

This one comes from the vault of dating good-times (it has an echo in there):

A good friend was on Brisbane's preferred mode of transport - the City Cat - the other day, minding her business, thinking about the hard day of work ahead when her moment of solitude with her iPod was pleasantly interrupted by a City Cat operator tapping her on the shoulder, saying "the captain of the boat wants you to have this". "This" being his phone number on a scrap of paper. Gutsy, cool manoeuvre.

He whispers via text that he notices her every day, loves her style, how she dresses, her jewellery etc etc. Uber flattering. Cue further flirty texting.

They're having coffee this afternoon. She texts him asking how she'll recognise him. He replies "I'll smile at you".

Helloooooo sailor!

Another Beautiful Yellow Dress

Thursday, December 18, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

I've just spent a headache inducing hour and a half in the perfume department of David Jones. My nostrils have gone numb - only a tub of Vicks can save me now!

I'm indecisive at the best of times, but I was under the added pressure of 15% off today ONLY! Despite several half-full bottles of perfume at home and in the drawer of my desk at work - I felt an overwhelming need for a new fragrance. It's not a simple matter this fragrance business: I've had to ditch a lovely fragrance (Euphoria, Calvin Klein) because despite buying it for myself, a certain ex-boyfriend coined it my "signature scent" and now I can hardly bear to smell it anymore. Weirdness.

Buying a new fragrance is hardly a simple matter though: first each of the dept stores (lucky there's only 2 here in Oz) have "exclusive lines, so you have to smell all of them to ensure full education as a consumer, and second there's the simply endless range of perfumes - there's a new fragrance any given week, let alone the newbies popping up just in time for Christmas! The cosmetics houses have their staples (Chanel No. 5 anyone?) plus limited editions (I wish Chanel would bring back its Gardenia limited edition - I can't throw out the bottle even though it's all used up... I loved it) then there's the celebrity endorsements (I think my loyalty to Britney can only stretch so far) as well as the snooty perfumeries. It's very confusing, and I'm seriously no expert on fragrance. Nor do I have much patience.

The beacon of hope at the fragrance counter of late is most definitely Bond No. 9 - the latest hot fragrance house. Bond No. 9 was established in 2003, and is based entirely on New York City: there are 34 fragrances for men, women, unisex each representing a specific down-town, mid-town or up-town locale or city-wide sensibility. So there's Chelsea Gardens (very florally and pretty), Chinatown (I love it - why the hell didn't I buy it again? Oh yeah - they're also expensive!), New York Fling, Central Park (grass-clippings-ish, if you can imagine it), West End, Park Avenue, Madison Soiree etc etc. All very cool, interesting-smelling and poured into a unique star-shaped bottle.

Bond No. 9 is the brainchild of the immensely talented Laurice Rahme who, at the ripe old age of 21 headed up Lancome's International Training division, and lead Lancome's expansion in the Middle East. Bond No. 9 was inspired by a perfume store she worked in (not surprisingly the address was 9, Bond Street, NYC) and "Yet, it is the events of September 11 that motivated me to make New York smell good again and take on the ambitious project of creating a fragrance for each of its neighbourhoods (this was done for Paris, my native city in the 20th century with a dozen fragrances made by a handful of companies created for Paris neighborhoods). Now, in the 21st century it is New York's turn to become the capital of fragrance."

I admire her ambition.

One of Bond No. 9's more widely publicised and highly prized fragrances is The Scent of Peace, which indeed is quite lovely (well.. I did buy it!). Does that make me a fashion victim? Perhaps.

It's like a more intelligent version of Anna Sui's Secret Wish (which I only just realised as I sat at my desk, sniffing away at my arm). I own Secret Wish which is a light, fruity, summery fragrance which I always forget to put on. It's possibly what attracted me to Peace. I'm half contemplating going back and switching for Chinatown - last minute, Christmas-haste induced purchasing is just plain silly, particularly when it's a fragrance which you have to live with for a good couple of months (and Bond No. 9 aint cheap!). Either way, these fragrances are certainly unique and multi-layered. As my housemate said when I brought home a pile of smelling cards: "It makes you smell so .... clever!". And it does. The fragrances are incredible, and I think the headache is definitely worth it.

Of course, no fragrance worth its salt and pepper is without its gimmicks - Bond No. 9 frequently releases limited editions (only 400 of each design): there have been couplings with Swarovski to create super sparkly bottles for Bryant Park (home to fashion week tents), there was a limited edition Andy Warhol design for Union Square, which apparently captures the florally fragrance of the new spring, which is where the artist liked to go and smell the "first smell of spring in New York". Very nice. Invariably, it's the Union Square bottle you see in much of the press for Bond No. 9, which makes minimal sense to me, as there are only 400 bottles available. Or maybe it does make sense, creating that aura of exclusivity and a breathless sales assistant "I'm so sorry, it's just walked off our shelves. What about Chelsea Gardens?"

Rahme's final word on Bond's success is: "The market that's saturated is the one of the mega brands. The one of the niche brands to which we belong to is very small and is growing rapidly with less than 10 companies worldwide. I don't think we have too much competition. We have the unique story of being the only New York niche in fragrances and this is what accounts for our success. The success of New York City."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Nicole Debate

I have never really paid attention to the negative publicity before, blindly in love with Nicole as I am, but apparently she creates a dramatic division in society - there are lovers and then there are haters. Very few, it would seem, sit on the fence. The haters hate based on her insistence that she hasn't had botox or plastic surgery (while the physical evidence suggests otherwise), and their claim that she is devoid of acting talent. She also is apparently disliked for portraying herself as "perfect". So basically, they say she's a lying, talentless, fake. Meanies!!

Plastic surgery/botox/facial enhancement: who eff-ing cares? Looking gorgeous, youthful and skinny is her job! We as consumers of film and cosmetics demand beautiful young things to sell us things - Nicole is just doing her job. And like we have a right to know if she's had work done or not? No one's business but hers.

Devoid of talent... I'm a lover - y'all know what I think about that!

On the "perfect" point, I think that's an absolutely ridiculous allegation, considering she admitted her heartbreak in painfully real terms following the end of her mysterious marriage to Tom Cruise (remember when she said she couldn't get off the couch?); she discussed her miscarriage; hubby #2 went to rehab after just a few months of marriage etc. Doesn't exactly sound perfect to me. Just because she's a highly successful actress, her life is in order now and her career has until recently been going great guns, I don't think she could be labelled "perfect". Can you imagine how damaged she would have been after being married to control freak Tom Cruise for 10 freakin years?! Good on her for getting her shiz together and being at the top of her game all at once. Screw the critics!

Lately, Nicole has been branded a ratings-killer for any new film. From my biased view, I think people are angry that a woman of her age is still working successfully in Hollywood, when all the other actresses her age are washed-up rehab attendees. I also think people are angry that she hasn't opened up to the world in the manner in which we as celebrity-gossip consumbers have become accustomed: even though she has talked about heartbreak and challenges in her life, I think the haters might feel a bit ripped off that they haven't had the chance to really witness her demise (so I suppose in their mind - it's another lie) - call it schedanfreude (I'm sure I spelt that wrong). There was no headshaving, no nickerless partying, no tears. No solid, photographic evidence that her life fell apart. Being a strong female does not serve you well if you plan on being in the public eye. Lindy Chamberlain was hung out to dry for not giving the public their pound of voyeuristic flesh - her failure to cry in public convinced most of Australia she had killed her child. She's since been proven innocent. Julia Gillard has been lambasted in the media for failing to live up to the stereotype of the childbearing, fertile, occasionally-teary woman. Most of the haters of Nicole are women. Men say she's too skinny and looks like an alien, but they don't hate her. Sometimes, I think we women are our own worst enemy. Some women can't take real pleasure in other womens' - even their friends' - success: it's always tainted with envy and a need to reduce the success in their own mind (i.e. "I could do that standing on my head"; or "if I'd applied, I would have got it" or "it doesn't even look that good on her anyway" etc). By the same token, these women take unusual pleasure in other people's failure or nervous breakdown or financial struggles or break-up with seemingly perfect boyfriend ("I knew it was too good to be true!" shrill, triumphant squeal). Sometimes it's hard not to be jealous of someone else's success, and I think that's healthy - it inspires you to greater things. But to need to break that happiness or success down, or feel good about your friend's misery - that's just effed up!

I just went off topic. This became a rant. Sorry guys.

Back to topic:

I'm a lover of Nicole, so this hatred comes as an absolute shock to me. I think she's a great actress - she just happens to occasionally choose roles where she needs to play a restrained, cold person (particularly in The Others - but I actually thought she was great in that). Don't get me started on how great I thought she was in Moulin Rouge, but I now realise Nicole is not for everyone.

A recent survey of 1,000 Australians (that's not a very big sample!) found that 58% liked her, and 23% didn't! Slightly less than the painful Delta Goodrem, who is disliked by 24%.

Anyway - Nicole was recently nominated by Glamour magazine to be one of their Women of the Year. Damn right too. :o)

Here are some extracts (not authored by me) of the interview:
  • She is an ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), yet isn't photographed on the ground like Angelina Jolie despite making a point of visiting women's shelters in places like Kosovo when she can (she says "I feel dedicated to giving back to other women"). She also works to raise funds for breast and ovarian cancer (like Sarah Murdoch - and we all love her, right?);
  • She had to endure her new husband's stint in rehab in the face of a judgmental public but held her head high and is now positively circumspect about the experience ("the experience gave us deep honesty");
  • She was married to a crazy person, but has never spoken a bad word about Tom or Katie (unlike Jennifer Aniston), even joking with Glamour about her kids: "They're used to having a little one around, because of Suri. Bella is very maternal. Connor would like one of us to have a boy. Katie?"
  • She felt inferior as an actress when she was married to Tom: "I felt I became a star only by association. I didn't think [the early movies] were very good, which is why I would always cower in the background. I thought, I don't deserve to be here... I felt it was my job to put on a beautiful dress and be seen but not heard."
  • She was single for six years: "I went six years alone. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it's better to be alone than in a lousy relationship. Work was my escape. I was existing more strongly in my creative world than in my own world... I had to find my own identity and reason for being here, and it couldn't be because of another person."
  • Even after winning her Oscar, she felt inferior, telling Glamour she went home early but if she could have the moment again would "stop being so shy and insecure, and revel in it... and go back to the Vanity Fair party!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quote of the Day

From the world's richest lady:
Fortune is an opportunity.
When one has received a lot, one must love giving - simply,
without ulterior motives, without calculation,
without waiting for a 'return on investment'.
And thus to give back freely to society a part of what one has received.

Behold Liliane Bettencourt, octogenarian and holder of a 27.5% stake in L'Oreal (interestingly, Nestle holds 26.4% of L'Oreal, with the remainder publicly listed). She is also reportedly one of the world's most generous philanthropists, recently handing over $2.3 billion to a photographer who photographs various celebrities and members of royalty (hmmm... interesting choice), and who was photographer to Liliane and her now deceased husband, Andre.

Not surprisingly, this little act of generosity (well, little in Liliane's terms - she is, after all, worth over $34 billion) has enraged her only child, daughter Francoise Bettencourt Meyers (54) who has filed for "abuse of weakness" - essentially arguing that Liliane is making decisions without all her faculties in tact. Whatever.
Boring legal arguments aside, this is a fascinating family: the company was built up by Liliane's father on land that was confiscated from Jews during the second World War (the Bettencourt's are being sued for this, however it sounds as though settlements have been reached - another gift from the generous Liliane, perhaps?). Papa Bettencourt (Eugene Schuller) was thought to have been a Nazi sympathiser back in the day, and was apparently well aware that his company HQ (which he on-sold to the German govt some years later for $3.8 million) was on stolen land. Interestingly, Francoise - Eugene's granddaughter - married a Rabbi, whose parents died in the Auschwitz concentration camp. I wonder what granddad thought about that? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at their Chrismukkah celebrations.

Liliane has so far refused to take a physical examination (which includes tests for mental deterioration). She seems fine though - the quote above was taken from an interview with Liliane just a month ago. If I had $34 billion and an investment in a company that isn't getting any smaller, I think I'd be perfectly happy to give huge chunks of my fortune away to my dear friends. And if I was next in line for the family fortune... What difference does a few billion make?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Post: Colour-ific

Does My Bum Look Big In This?

Oprah Winfrey is like a modern day Jesus Christ to a lot of people - her word is gospel, with millions across the globe eating up her guidance on books, movies or presidents as though it were the last word on everything. Splashed across the latest O magazine cover, we have Oprah circa 2005 looking athletic, toned and trim next to 2009 Oprah - pudgy and 40 pounds heavier. I have no idea how to convert pounds to kilograms, nor can I be bothered, but in physicality terms it makes a huge difference. I'm not surprised that she's asking herself how she let it happen. Didn't she notice she couldn't fit into her old clothes anymore?

The bleeding heart, don't-make-people-feel-bad-for-being-overweight council has come out swinging, wailing that Oprah is endorsing an unhealthy body image and encouraging yo-yo dieting when she makes comments to the effect that she feels "mad at herself ... embarassed" for letting herself gain so much weight in the past year, and that "I didn't just fall off the wagon, I let it fall on me" (that's funny!). She explains she took herself off her own priority list, stopped exercising and meditating (this is the word of the O) and started to eat badly. Who hasn't been guilty of that, multiple times?

I don't know where they of the it's-ok-to-be-fat class get off: obesity is a serious issue in our world today. The majority of Australia's population is overweight. We're fatsos, we just don't want to admit it. Sticking our head in the sand is not going to resolve what is now becoming a global epidemic - being overweight increases the incidence of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and all sorts of other unpleasant illnesses. The current generation of children is the first ever to have a shorter life expectancy than their forebears, simply because they are fatter and less healthy than previous generations. We exercise less, eat more, drink more and everything we stuff into our face is probably a lot less healthy than it was even 15 years ago.

How can you accuse Oprah of endorsing unhealthy body images when she is promoting health, happiness, security and well-being in an honest, brave and forthright manner? I don't think we could ever accuse the Big O of being anorexic, and she's a smart enough woman to know that no food in the belly doesn't exactly give you the energy and tenacity to create the next media empire of the world (although it may be enough to launch a clothing line a la the Olsen twins).

Personally I think it's time people stopped apologising for our inability as a generation to look after ourselves and to accept the consequences of the unhealthy world we're creating. Climate change, obesity - all symptoms of the comfortable, convenient world we've manufactured for ourselves and our children without any thought toward mitigating the ill effects of the lifestyles we've created.

In our modern age when everything is laid out on the table, I don't think it's fair for people to be criticised for discussing topics that might make people feel uncomfortable or insecure about a truth in their life. And Oprah, who is unapologeticly frank about her lifelong war against the pounds, is probably one of the better placed people to discuss the issue of struggling with your weight (there's nothing worse than a size 6 moaning about her thighs as she picks at her lettuce and celery lunch). And at least she's doing something about it: Oprah is taking immediate action, with her first 5 episodes in January devoted to healthy eating, spirituality, financial wellbeing and general happy glowy-ness. I like it when people can admit their failings and run off and fix things of their own initiative. It's enough to make me want to chuck a sickie for the first 5 days of January just to get her 10 Commandmants for healthy living. I think the fat council needs to spend some quality time on the couch with Oprah for that one. 10 hail Oprah's and a virgin mary all round!

Not that I can talk. All the Christmas cheer I've been indulging in of late, I think I'm going to resemble a champagne bottle soon. You are what you eat, after all.

If only drinking champagne made you look like Grace Kelly

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Queen Madge Conquers King Louis (Vuitton)

Madonna, yoga-holic Kaballah enthusiast and mega pop star, is the latest in a long line of celebrity models to front a Louis Vuitton advertising campaign. Among previous Louis luminaries include Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Connery, Andre Agassi and Mikhail Gorbachev (less of a celebrity, but still a shining star - questionably so or otherwise).

The latest campaign is less of a luxe setting, with Madge perched in a quintessentially Parisienne cafe, legs akimbo shot by photographic star Steven Meisel. It's not the first time for Meisel to get up close and sepia-toned with Madonna - he shot her in her highly controversial (at the time - it was the '90s after all..) pictographic, Sex.

Marc Jacobs, the creative brains behind LV at the moment was adamant that Madonna be his latest model, noting "I wanted the campaign to be very bold, very sensual and very atmospheric. To carry off all these references and all this sophistication, we needed the ultimate performer - and for me, that is Madonna." (He watched her performance in her latest Sticky & Sweet tour before making the offer). The collection is said to incorporate African tribal and Parisian chic influences.

Apparently the fishnets were Madge's idea. What a surprise.

Certainly, Madonna is still huge even after about 20 years in the limelight. As a performer, yes she's definitely got it, but after so long in the game, so much exposure (we've seen her nude several times over) and publicity - good and bad - I can't see her being as iconic a "face" as someone with a little more mystique which was certainly captured by previous (particularly female) stars at the time of their career in which they were shot - J.Lo was in the early stages of her relationship with Ben Affleck and had that untouchable star quality, despite her insistence that she was still "Jenny from the block"; Uma Thurman had just completed Kill Bill to considerable acclaim and unsubstantiated rumours were flying about her marriage breakdown and muse-relationship with Quentin Tarantino; and Scarlett Johansson was at the start of the peak of her film career - just in the early days of Woody Allen discovering her and, like Tarantino-Thurman, developing a mystical muse relationship. I can't help but think that Madonna is well past her use-by date, despite her desperate attempts at yoga-induced youth. Maybe the 1940s-style shots will resonate as gloom circles the globe, and we pretend not to be quite such material girls. Perhaps the African tribal look will emerge (egads!). I'll watch with interest.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ruby Red

On Pedder is a haven of accessories, shoes and bags located in the heart of Central in Hong Kong and funnily enough, on Pedder St.

The store changes their window display every month and they are always amazing either focusing on a particular designer or a particular theme. Having just read Wicked and having the Wizard of Oz top of mind, I was pleased to see the theme for this month's window is "The Kansas Project".

The project celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz film and features shoes from 17 designers (the likes of Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Stella McCartney, Marni etc) who have designed their own take on Dorothy's ruby red slippers. The shoes are up for auction in a silent auction and all proceeds go to the HK Cancer Fund.

The shoes are sooo pretty! See for yourselves...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Funnies

Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) is one of my favourite celebutards - she is a snappy dresser, sets many a trend (whether people will admit it or not!), she's a classic Pom, a walking stage-show and, despite being shamelessly over-exposed, I still love her. Plus, she is married to one of the hottest men in the cosmos - super inspirational. Even the way she dealt with his philandering was admirable - she staged a photo-op, a "suffer in yer jocks" to Rebecca tarty-pants-will-sell-my-mobile phone's-inbox-to-trashy-tabloids Loos, who lucked out in the end: she didn't get the guy, and in this Jane Austen world of ours, that's really all that matters. And, David appears to have learnt his lesson - his penis doesn't seem to be available to other women other than in big billboards for Armani underpants.

As well as the obvious superficial goodness of Posh, she always has the most hilarious quotes, which feeds my long-held suspicion that she is wickedly funny, self-depracating, and not the dumb-arse twig that she is oft-times portrayed as. And here we have some quotable quotes from Vicki B:
  • I’m quite spiritual. I’m very good at visualisation. I was talking to Gordon Ramsay and David about this and they’re the same. Gordon visualises a meal, then prepares it. David visualises the goal. I’ll lie in bed and think, what kind of look do I want tomorrow? Then find pieces in my mind to create it.
  • If you haven't got it. Fake it! Too short? Wear big heels. But do practice walking!
  • Is my dress too short?
  • I don't know much about football. I know what a goal is, which is surely the main thing about football.
  • On hearing that Tamzin Outhwaite (I have no idea...) wouldn't mind a night with husband, David: "Firstly, Tamzin who? Secondly, I think it's disrespectful. And thirdly, as if, love".
  • These people are amazing. It's so emotional, I was thinking about wearing water-proof mascara.
  • I think they have this impression that I'm this miserable cow who doesn't smile. But I'm actually quite the opposite. I'm going to try and smile more for America.
  • On David's penis: "He does have a huge one, though. He does. You can see it in the advert. It is all his. It is like a tractor exhaust pipe!"
  • I want a big house with a moat and dragons and a fort to keep people out.
  • My Spanish is improving and I can now ask: 'Dónde Gucci?' ('Where is Gucci?'). I also can say: 'Tienes un Bentley?' ('Do you have a Bentley?').

This is a girl who isn't afraid to say she loves the finer things in life with her tongue firmly wedged in her cheek. God love her.

Monday, December 1, 2008

We Know We're In A Recession When...

In times of economic downturns, sales of bronzer and blusher go up. I'm a big believer in the lipstick index.
- Napoleon Perdis

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blood Lust

I was very attached to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So much so that, despite finishing watching the series some weeks ago, I haven't been able to talk about it in much detail since. It is bizarre, but the loss of Buffy from my life has been heartwrenching.

Also heartwrenching, was the amazing speech Spike (who I lusted after most unhealthily for many months) makes to Buffy in the final season. It pains me to think about it. Here it is (pink bits for unnecessary, yet irresistible commentary from moi, the obsessed viewer):

You listen to me. [Ok. Anything you say, Spike. I love love love you.] I've been alive a bit longer than you and dead a lot longer than that. [Spike was funny-see?] I've seen things you couldn't imagine and done things I'd prefer you didn't. I don't exactly have a reputation for being a thinker. [Humble - a nice trait] I follow my blood which doesn't exactly rush in the direction of my brain so I make a lot of mistakes. A lot of wrong bloody calls. [Cute pommy-ness] A hundred plus years and there's only one thing I've ever been sure of. You. Hey, look at me. [End commentary - now it gets serious]

I'm not asking you for anything.

When I say I love you, it's not because I want you, or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me.

I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you and I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are.

You are a hell of a woman.
You're the one, Buffy.

The sexiness. All too much to bear!


Theirs was an unusual relationship, typified by Buffy's denial of her feelings for Spike, the wall-shaking, floor-splitting, "shameful" crazy wild animal sex they engaged in for a season or two, plus the fact that Buffy had feelings for him that didn't quite reach true love - to Spike's knowledge all along, and yet he stuck around - he was always skulking in the shadows, smoking a cigarette, and generally looking dangerous and moody. And he only had eyes for Buffy.

Spike & Buffy in happier times.
[Look at her arms! Spike ensconced AND super-toned. Lucky girl.]

Spike sure did go to great lengths for Buffy, having the crap beaten out of him to obtain a soul so that she may truly love him - all for nothing (other than the trifling matter of saving the world - god knows, Spike had some redemption to win in terms of going to the heavenly dimension). But... You can only have one soul-mate (ba-doom ching!). Buffy's heart would always belong to the original soul-rich vampire: Angel. (Angel is very hot. But a more tortured soul... Who defected to another station, no less).

Poor, poor Spike.

A life in fashion

I am so excited about the new Vivienne Westwood exhibition (A life in Fashion) that is being held in Hong Kong from 1 December to 31 January 2009. Admission is free and the exhibition will christen the new art space, Artis Tree, in Taikoo Place.

The exhibition first opened in London in 2004 and is the world's largest exhibit devoted to a single fashion designer. The exhibition showcases Ms Westwood's 40 year career with over 14o designs sourced from her collections and her own personal archive.

The lady herself will be in Hong Kong for the grand opening next week - I wish I could sneak in and catch a glimpse!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Don't Love

What's going on with the world? Why do we hate so much?

I hate death, destruction, curtailment of civil rights, unprovoked attacks, injustice - and they've all happened in the news today:
  • Hideous, unthinkable terrorist attacks in Mumbai - the terrorists claim to be targeting anyone with a British or US passport (that's code for: white people).
  • Terrorist threats against the subway network in New York, brought to you by our friends in Al Qaeda.
  • Madness ensuing in Thailand, stranding thousands of foreigners trying to enter and leave - and enjoy! - the country.
  • Iran has just released another rocket into the solar system - apparently it's a "satellite". I wonder what the plans for this satellite are?
  • Russia is telling everyone to back the hell off pretty much everything it does.
  • China's 2nd richest man has disappeared in mysterious circumstances for "corruption". People get the bullet for white collar crimes over there.
  • Research in Brazil shows that a young person is 30 times more likely to be murdered in Latin American than in Europe. Next stop for me travel-wise... Brazil. No, really.
  • British and Spanish journalists covering the Somalian pirate situation have been abducted.

And the list goes on. Australia is currently facing huge issues in terms of our ability to affect women who are victims of domestic violence, and the manner in which our protective services deal with these situations.

I Heart ...

  • New York - I booked and paid for my flights to New York yesterday. I'm so so so excited! I truly can't wait. Museums, art galleries, ice skating, Sex and the City bus tour, The Sopranos bus tour (note to self: watch less tv), bad coffee, great shopping, bars, restaurants, celebrity-spotting, Broadway, snow (yes, I love summer but the novelty of snow is too good to pass up). Aaaggh!

  • The pending ascension of Barack Obama to the top job - I'll be in the United States right after his inauguration - I can't wait to experience the vibe and the general positive optimism I expect to see on the streets stemming from his wildly popular "yes we can" mantra. I'm also dead keen to check out all those political monuments in Washington which I think will have new meaning to Americans after January 20, 2009

  • Speaking of optimism, I can't wait to check out the Gallery of Modern Art's latest exhibition - Optimism. All the artists on display are Aussie's, there's the kiddies interactive centre (which I always secretly want to go and play in myself) plus of course the Friday Night Uplate sessions. In January, Katie Noonan will be playing - I'm so excited by her at the moment, as she is about to release an album (Blackbird) which will feature jazzed up Beatles tunes. I love the Beatles, and I think Katie Noonan is super-talented so I think it will be a fantastic combination. That, and the $20 for an up-late session is so much cheaper than her show in early December at QPAC - tix start at $54. Ouch! I can buy her new album and a ticket to up-late for that - plus a coffee!
  • The return of Britney Spears - my tragic obsession. I love this girl, I'm so glad that she's healthy, happier (I don't think she's exactly happy yet - perhaps when the court-imposed conservatorship is dropped and she has more custody of her kids again), dressing better (with underwear) and appearing in fabulously choreographed and costumed new film clips. Her new album, Circus, is out on her 27th birthday - 2nd December. Apparently the album isn't as good as Blackout which featured songs with lyrics personal to her situation at the time. Circus has been classed as more of an out-and-out pop album - which suits me - with less of a focus on her private life. About time, too!

  • I love this little Leona Edmiston hard-cover clutch, inspired by the clutches of the 1950s. It's so fresh and summery, yet durable and lasting! Like a beautiful battery.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fun Workplace of the Week

No STDs from door-to-door contact.

Not long ago, Virgin Media UK commissioned Household Design to reinvigorate the call-centre workspace - you know, a happy worker is a productive worker and all that guff.

Staff demographics showed employees were typically around 23 years of age, with 80% of staff full-time workers. To appeal to the much-hyped fickle nature of Gen Y, Household looked to create a design that not only resonate with staff, but inspired them to be more productive in their workspace (i.e. enjoy their work and work harder at it) and to engage more with other staff (there's nothing worse than a 23 yr old who uses only text message to "talk" to others). Household named the design "Our Neighbourhood" which played into the idea that all staff were part of a team and to get rid of the "them" mentality and make it "us" (*hug*), and, I suppose made it ok to work massive hours because work is also home for some. No guilt. Perfect.

Graffiti your lives away, staff. Just don't say anything defamatory or unkind about your employer (or carpark date)

I love the door within the elevator idea - like there's any escape!

On the other side of the ocean at Virgin Mobile USA, they have chandeliers and retro-cool wall paper. Lucky ducks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Meaning of Life

Last night, Andrew Denton's interview with Angelina Jolie and Clint Eastwood (promoting their new film, Changeling) ran on the ABC on the hugely popular - and soon to end :o( - Enough Rope. Andrew Denton is one of the most fascinating, thorough and gifted interviewers I've ever seen on TV. He has a wonderful way with people from all walks of life - he's honestly interviewed everyone from Bill Clinton to the person in the street who's lived an unusual life.

A few things struck me about the interview - first, Angelina Jolie is such a warm human being. I had initially not loved her due to the Brad-Jen thing, to the extent that I predicted Brad would return to the warmth of Jen after realising that Angelina was a white witch evil temptress! I take it back. I'm now of the opinion that Jennifer Aniston is a piece of cardboard, and who wouldn't fall in love with Ms Jolie after being in her crazy, mixed-up, fun world.

The other thing that struck me was that after all these people have achieved, they look to the basic elements of life - family, parenting, love, communication, friendship - as the essentials of life and the things that have moulded them, changed who they are fundamentally, and what they hope to bequeath to future generations.

On love:
  • Clint Eastwood: Everyone talks about romance and love but love - it’s friendship. Is this person your friend and the friendship is the most important thing, and then you grow to love them of course, and love ... there’s romantic love and then there’s love of the heart and love of children ... but just having somebody that is a real friend ... that’s the most important thing. I’ve known a lot of women in my life but not a lot of them I can say I really want to be friends with. ... Do you laugh together? If you get in the car ... and drive a couple of hundred miles and you’re still talking and you’re still having a good time then that’s fine. I mean or are you just sitting silently and you’re enjoying being. That’s important but if you get in a car with somebody and say gee I wish I could get this car back to where we started and get this person out of it real quick, then you know that this is not going to work out.
  • Angelina Jolie: He’s that great friend and partner I like to talk with and laugh with and then more importantly I saw him with my son and I knew the type of man he would be and talked about family and we have this same, which is I think the most important for a couple, we have the same sense of how we see the world and how we see family and how we both want to build the same thing, we both have the same idea of what we should be spending our life doing and making.

On what they want to do before they die - their gift to themselves and the future:

  • CE: I’d like to continue raising a family and make them as appreciative and functioning human beings so that they can enjoy their lives as much as I’ve enjoyed mine. And continue working cause I love that. I think that’s what keeps a person young is be interested in things, stay interested, and fortunately I’ve got a work that each story is a different situation so it keeps me interested. If I ever get to the point where I’ve lost interest in it then I want to just go look at a little golf ball and poing. Then I’m probably going to fade pretty fast after that.
  • AJ: I still want to raise my kids great, I just want to make sure that they’re the people that they’re supposed to be and I don’t get in the way of it and I give them the right tools. That’s my main job. And on a personal note, I want to fly across the Sahara in a plane.

I love the juxtaposition between Angelina looking for her next adventure and Clint living for his work. Personally, I'd be looking to the next adventure which takes you away from your working life for a while. Eastwood does joke during the interview that he thinks about his trips to Pasadena, while he calls Angelina to find out the latest on Afghanistan because she's been there or simply knows the situation so well. I love this celebration of diversity, and people who are able to recognise their differences and appreciate a quality another person has that you don't have, without feeling the need to replicate that quality in themselves. If your friend is a daredevil and you're not - it doesn't matter as long as you're happy with yourself. People shouldn't make you feel boring because you don't share the same interests or tendency for reckless activities. The real truth in this interview is that we see two vastly different human beings, both contented with their place in this world, getting along famously.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Two things to update on previous posts:
  • Australia has been met with mixed reviews. I am still waiting for the definitive Margaret Pomeranz review, but Rob Lowing of the Sun Herald has launched a pretty scathing attack saying "Watching this is like being hit over the head by a giant glitter-coated marshmallow wielded by a director whose concept of epic romance is like a drag queen’s interpretation of what a woman is". It sounds great to me!
  • Jennifer Aniston - she really copped it for her "uncool" comments this week. A headline I recall had something like "How Did America's Sweetheart Become America's Spinster?" (such a horrid word) and - even worse - that crackpot Ellen Fein, who co- authored The Rules with Sherrie Schneider, has created her OWN SET of rules of Jennifer. Oh dear. Ellen prefaces the rules with "Breaking up is never easy, but it doesn't have to be humiliating." Among her list of personalised rules she includes:
  1. Never mention Brad's or John Mayer's name in public [they are advocating the dumpage of John Mayer also - primarily because he's already dumped her once. It can only happen again, right?].
  2. Don't say anything bad about Brad ("he's missing a sensitivity chip").
  3. Never talk about Angelina or call her "uncool," even if she was uncool. She does not exist in your world.
  4. Never date a man or take a man back who humiliated you publicly or held a press conference to explain your breakup.
  5. Go to parties where there are lots of single men and ask everyone you know to set you up.

They top their advice with this clanger: "You're going to be 40 soon. You have no time to waste if you want kids." Harsh but fair, methinks. I bet Aniston's publicist is a busy girl.

Hello Kitty Gets A Make-Over

Oooooh my God! Squeal! I heart Hello Kitty. Having done a stint in Japan at uni and having the requisite Japanese exchange students during high school, I quickly developed an appreciation for all things Hello Kitty. So it seems has the Estee Lauder Cos Inc (owner of Mac Cosmetics). I bought a fabulous Mac eye make-up compact just the other day which I have since passed on to Santa Claus - Santa, being remote and all, can't always do his own Christmas shopping - and was just thinking how clever Mac is with all its limited edition collections, super sexy pin-u girls and general awesome makeup.

The Hello Kitty offerings fall into two collections: the Hello Kitty Colour Collection and Hello Kitty Kouture (this sounds like the high-end, bells & whistles bit). As always, the names are very twee, with lipsticks carrying meow meow names like Fashion Mews and Strayin’, and eye compacts titled Lucky Tom and Too Dolly. Shades range from pinks and turquoises to lavenders and greens. The range also incorporates glitter eyeliners.. !

Hello Kitty Kouture features Dazzleglass (this sounds uber glossy), featuring a reusable silver chain pendant with Hello Kitty outlined in white Swarovski crystals on black with a pink crystal bow (I think I want one!). Sheer Mystery Powder is packaged in a silver powder compact with Hello Kitty outlined in white Swarovski crystals with a pink crystal bow on a black background.

In addition to all the Hello Kitty-ness of it all, the in-store visuals have been designed to remind consumers that make-up has transformative powers (and thus consumers must buy more!) - so on one side of the store we can expect a blonde model holding a black vinyl Hello Kitty doll, with the other visual in black - and a little dominatrix-y. So... Who do you want to be today? I guess this taps into the Britney Spears Womanizer clip fantasy of multiple, sexy personalities.

While none of the Estee Lauder or Sanrio executives have discussed sales projections, industry insiders are tipping the collection to sell o upwards of $12 million in North American retail sales alone (recession? what recession?). That projection is slightly larger than that of the hit Barbie collection (I had one of the Barbie lipsticks - it kind of dries out your lips but it's a great colour).

While the 34-year-old Hello Kitty character is usually assumed to be a cat, she is actually a girl. And a girl without a mouth, so she "speaks from the heart," according to Sanrio. No lips, but plenty of lipstick.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm pretty sure a normal, hot-blooded male when confronted with the latest uber sexy offering from Agent Provoceteur will be clutching at his chest squealing "aar me heart....!" and that won't be because he's doing a cheesy pirate impersonation. This underwear, as always, is devastatingly raunchy.

And all power to these ladies - Helena Christensen (how old is she now? these supermodels sure do age well) and Alice Dellal are knocking them dead in this overtly sexual campaign. These ladies certainly aren't damsels in distress - they're the mutineers taking over the Brit fleets in all their pirate-y sultriness, and I'd say their muskets are a helluva lot bigger than anything their prisoners might have... I love this new approach to dominatrix - sure there's some pvc looking stuff in there, but they've taken ordinarily girl materials - lily-thin lace and whispers of silk - and turned them into weapons of mass destruction.

This take-no-prisoners, woman on top approach is in marked contrast to the Victoria's Secret shows that ran in Miami this week. Compare the dark undertones of Victoria's Secret - these boys aren't walking the plank: yet - to the butterflies and feathers, good-ship lollipop approach from Victoria's Secret and you can definitely appreciate how well these two companies differentiate their products. I mean seriously - how different can a garter, bra, g-string, panties and suspender belts really be? Not very.

It was all one big, girly slumber party in Miami this week. Check it out:

It's not a Victoria's Secret fashion show anymore without crowd favourite, Miranda Kerr.

Hmm... It's that age old debate: angels or criminals?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Loving the Celebrity Gossip

Amongst the usual standard celebrity gossip, today we have:
  • Jennifer Aniston commenting on how "uncool" (seriously, she could have used another turn of phrase - I would like her to start throwing some expletives in, now that she's dating a muso) Angelina Jolie was for saying her relationship with Brad Pitt started on the set of Mr & Mrs Smith (like everyone didn't already know) and how much she couldn't wait to go to work. Aniston and Pitt were still married at the time of filming and screening - how awkward would the premiere have been! Personally, I agree with Jennifer Aniston (except I'd use expletives). Cheating is so not cool - you cheating on your partner, your new partner cheating on their partner to be with you, or your partner cheating on you. Either way, someone's gonna get hurt. Can't we all just get along, and be grown ups about the fact that we don't want to be with the person we're with? Is it that hard to be single for a while?
  • I love that Vogue just led with the "uncool" quote - Vogue has been losing the battle against its competitors of late. Perhaps Ms Wintour decided it was time to let loose with some gossip amidst the super practical $500 Christmas presents.
  • In the same interview, Aniston basically admits to being in love with John Mayer: "Love just shows up and you go, 'Oh, wow, this is going to be a hayride and a half.'"
  • Speaking of cheaters, Sienna Miller and Balthazar Getty split up.
  • Madonna is i.n.s.a.n.e. and the biggest control freak ever. Check out her "list" that Guy Ritchie had to agree to stick to so he could see his kids (apparently)
  1. the children be able to talk to Madonna by phone three or four times a day at times set by her;
  2. the couple's separation not be discussed with the children (fair enough);
  3. the children be prevented from looking at newspapers, magazines, TV or DVDs (WTF?! she may be a superstar, but she cannot control current affairs!);
  4. they must only eat macrobiotic, vegetarian food with no processed or refined food (yuck yuck yuck);
  5. any water they drink, even if used to dilute organic juice (naturally), had to be Kabbalah water;
  6. they only wear clothes sent by Madonna, but if something had to be bought, it should not contain man-made fibres;
  7. they should not be bought any toys that are "spiritually or ethically unsound" (what does that mean? Is Monopoly ethically unsound? Rampant capitalism??);
  8. their hands must be regularly cleaned with disinfectant;
  9. they must not to be photographed while with Ritchie or see his friends, particularly female ones;
  10. at bedtime, Ritchie must only read The English Roses, a series of children's books written by Madonna about "the five most fab young lasses in London" (I wouldn't be surprised if these boys turned out flaming hot gay - no probably with that, but I wonder how control Queen Madge would feel).
meanwhile... it's a bit of a turnoff that he was so utterly under the thumb of Ms Ciccone. But... we all make mistakes. Bring on the lawyers.

  • Aussie film (starring supermodel Gemma Ward) has taken out not only a whopping 11 AFI awards, it recently also won Best Children's Feature Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. I haven't seen it yet, it's on my to-do-real-soon list. And now I have loads more free time since the end of Buffy.

  • Kristy Hinze is prepping for her wedding to a much older man, internet and property billionaire Jim Clarke. 35 years her senior. Wowowow!
  • George W. Bush calls Bill Clinton up and says: "'Bill, I'm getting ready to meet with the new president and I remember how gracious you were to me. And I hope I can be as gracious to president-elect Obama as you were to me."


Coke wedged in the nostril aside, Kate Moss is uber cool. In fact I would go so far as to say she is the personification of cool. The beauty of Kate is that while she is totally untouchable in a supermodel kind of way, she is also easy to identify: she has a gap in her teeth - she's not perfect; she has terrible taste in men - who hasn't been there?; she's a bit of a bogan/chav; she parties too hard sometimes and looks a bit worse for wear (until she slaps on some Rimmel); she writes woeful poetry and doesn't care; and she never admits to being perfect. On the other hand, not many of us have a chance to design and model a range of clothes for Topshop. We can only hope to buy some of those said clothes.

Kate Moss is on to her 8th collection for Topshop - she got herself some longevity (and a fantastic agent) there. In the latest collection, she channels the glorious Brigette
Bardot all set for Christmas trashbag nights with sexy toussled bed hear, smokin' hot smoky eyes, legs that go forever, and the attitude that has made Kate Moss the icon she is today. Prices start at the super low price of £22 - that's cheap even for us Aussies with our heinously low dollar. *sigh* To have been shopping on 28 October when the collection launched.

In addition to the stovepipe pants (I bet she wishes she thought of Black Rats first), fringed leather jackets and general shorty short party dresses, there's also a limited edition collection of glamour dresses styled in F.Scott Fitzgerald era of 1920s glamour (I'm dying): slinky embroidered satin and chiffon floor-length evening dresses. Apparently one is backless and covered entirely in dark blue sequins. These dresses will be available at the Oxford Circus store at a killer £400 each. The collection also features capelets with gold fringing and brocade detailing. So so so jealous that I'm not wearing any of that stuff right now.

I think Tyra calls this fierce