Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Website: The Showpony

Ex Dolly magazine editor, Gemma Crisp has set up her own blog called The Showpony, a site that is "all about the quirky, cool things in life; the things you hear other people talking about or you read about in magazines, and always wished you'd discovered first."

It is very cute, and it is indeed very quirky. Being a Posh lover, of course I was a little horrified by the Nosh for Posh game that she features, but... fair enough. She needs a sandwich or two, it is true.

The F Word or 2B?Nt2B?

How to mix low-brow humour with words we rarely use anymore? Take a trip to the eff-ing word of the day (yes, I did not use the "eff" word in full, which we all know is rare for me. Me = sailor).

Everyone talks about the death of the English language, or more to the point, the death of certain words in the English language. Being a book-nut, grammar nazi (not that you could tell it on this blog. I'm channelling "stream of consciousness" natch) this makes me very sad. They say mobile phone texting has a lot to do with it, and I am frequently appalled when they bring out editions of Shakespeare in "text-language". Text, peops, is not a freakin' language! It's a bastardisation of language! A bastardisation of our glorious English language with all its big long words, multiple syllables, strange spellings (onomoatopoeia anyone?) and lilting loveliness. Anyway - there is truly nothing better than someone who gives good text - and good text does not involve gross shortening of already-short words into something unrecognisable, and nor does it involve over-use of emoticons. Hng out 2nite? Erm no thanks... I will be busy reading my dictionary.

Some eff-word gold:

jejune [ji-joon]
1. without interest or significance; dull; insipid: a jejune novel.
2. juvenile; immature; childish: jejune behavior.
3. lacking knowledge or experience; uninformed: jejune attempts to design a house.
4. deficient or lacking in nutritive value: a jejune diet.

Hatred for Kanye West’s jejune outburst at the MTV Music Video Awards practically united this fucking country again.


Note: It is a tad crass. But funny. I believe it is safe for work... It bust through the firewalls here and we are quite the paranoid, centralised uber-control nation around here at times.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dear John

I have been neglecting y'all of late. In two measly, itty-bitty weeks I will be yours again. I will blog more. It will be more interesting. You will need drip feeds of snapdragons to get you through your day it will be so much more interesting. (right...?) However - for the next two weeks I will be disappearing into the black hole that is a pile of textbooks and scholarly articles. It's horrible! Another 8,000 words about one of the most boring topics ever. Oh the pain! 8,000 marvellous words wasted.

The joys of being ridiculously busy at the moment is the forcible prioritisation of my life. I only spend time with people I care about, because every second right now is precious (except those seconds I'm sitting in an office chair... ). I don't spend time with anyone I don't want to - that is liberating. Also liberating is that I realise that there are certain activities I really enjoy - such as writing! Even if it is garbled gushy crap, it's enjoyable. I have also discovered I have a serious addiction to the internet. Even when I have only precious seconds to spare, somehow these turn into hours when I get into the click-through, follow-the-link habit. I don't know what life was like before Google. Altavista? What the...?

It also means, when my trusty old Apple coughs, I panic. I'm like a mother with her baby - total hypochondriac, mind-the-spores-outside type behaviour. So I am trying to not infect my Apple with internet activities in case it has a heart attack at a crucial moment - for example the 7,589 words mark. So there will be less blogging for two weeks while I finish my assignment, fuss unnecessarily over my laptop and take it to hospital and see what his bloody problem is! I have nightmares about blue-screen.

BUT before I disappear (I wouldn't leave you hanging like that) I want to introduce you to Wildfox Couture - some of the coolest t-shirts for ladies I've ever seen! I'm not actually a huge fan of t-shirts. I don't know how to incorporate them into my wardrobe. Sometimes they seem too tomboy-ish, other times way too aggressive with their skin-tight, gold-lettered statements. I definitely have a bit of a preference for the oversized, low-sleeves at the moment - they flash some skin but you can control how much you flash by either wearing a bandeau, just a bra, or a singlet underneath. It's up to you, and layers are pretty much expected right now, so you needn't feel prudish or overdone. I love the bagginess, however due to my current girl-crush on my hip-hop instructor I am definitely going a bit hip-hop girlfan in my spare time. Yes... Even baggy track pants! Unthinkable! But only at home when my iPod is blaring.

If you go the press section of the Wildfox Couture website, you'll see that every young celeb female has worn their stuff - and for good reason! Their clothes are sexy, sassy and not at all slutty. Plus, uber reasonably priced IMHO.

Am I being greedy when I say I want pretty much one of each?

Guest Editor: Ally Kay

Not that I have asked her permission to totally swipe one of her blog articles, but here we have Ally Kay discussing the perils of wardrobe monotony and it is so true! I often catch myself picking up items ridiculously similar to things I already own and having to remind myself "derrr... Rachel! You already own that!" I love Ally's tips for avoiding wardrobe monotony. And I am of course chuffed that I got another Chelsea reference. More chuffed that I have just come from a wonderful brunch with the delightful Ally where she was wearing one of the dresses I stuffed her into, and we ended up getting for her! Huzzah! It looks so great on her too!

So here it is... Ms Ally Kay - on Snapdragons for the first time ever! Hope you like this one as much as I did. :o)

Ever notice when you’re shopping that you are drawn to similar clothes? “This top is sooo me,” you’ll think… and quite possibly you already have one that’s practically the same at home.

This is even more noticeable when shopping with friends. Everything they look at is familiar to them. It’s frustrating right? You want to say – “Don’t you already have that exact beige jacket - only slightly longer sleeves?”

But that’s their style, so you let them buy it.

Well, do yourselves a favour. Next time you go shopping bring a non-toxic friend who has fabulous style! You will need a friend who is bold enough to be honest about what looks good on you, but not bitchy enough to be the jealous type.

Then let them pick out a bunch of stuff – that THEY think would look great on you.

Items are not going to be anything you would have picked for yourself. You are going to look at them and think "mmmm... not really me."

But try them on anyway. And anything that says ‘well, hang on a sec, I kind I don’t mind this’ BUY IMMEDIATELY!

I did this twice with Chelsea while she was in NY, and now every time I wear these pieces I feel like a new woman. I’ve grown to absolutely love them.

Don’t worry, I still love my grey + denim uniform, but this has helped me break my pattern and look at other clothes that I may not have previously.

After all, a change in style is as good as a holiday if you ask me. Chelsea, are you for hire?

**Note: Chelsea would like to say yes, she is for hire. **

Just on my way over now....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shopper Lite

I was browsing through the Forever 21 site yesterday (ok... who am I kidding? I bought a huge boxload of stuff! 5-10 days shipping! For flat $35? Yes please!) and I started thinking how hideously ripped off we are here in Australia. I don't mean designer clothing - they have all that transfer pricing guff so you're never really going to get that much of a better deal (that is, if you stick only to RRP - hello outlet centres!), and nor do I mean the beautiful boutique clothes I adore so much. I mean normal clothes that normal people wear on a semi-daily basis (I'm not sure I'd wear overly much Forever 21 too work - hemlengths would be my first reservation!). My boxload of stuff, including postage, came to a grand total of US$175 (which in Aussie dollars is about $188). I kid you not when I say boxload - a woollen cape (perfect for Australian summer, no?), a gorgeous 20s style sequin (hello!) dress, cute shirts and dresses and hair clips, a turban for god's sake (I don't know why either)... Loads of stuff! If I'd bought the equivalent here in Oz I'd be up for at least double. And the quality would probably be less.

Anyway. I'm ranting about the price of clothing here in Australia. That's what happens when you travel. I remember coming back from China and having to catch myself from bartering with sales assistants. I breathed a sigh of relief after returning from the UK and Japan (the Aussie dollar was very weak for those trips!) and so on. Perhaps I am just continuing to count the reasons for why I still so badly want to get to New York.

For a change, though, shopping is the last thing on my mind when I think about New York. When I think about New York, I think about the vibe, the melting pot of different races, income levels and life experiences, I think about the way they embrace culture and the complete lack of cultural cringe. There is no tall poppy syndrome - only cheerleading you on to achieve greatness. Diversity is respected, and there is always some sub-culture that you will fit into or be intrigued by. People talk to complete strangers without self-consciousness or discomfort. Everyone is on the move, but they still have great awareness of their surroundings.

Ummm... Right. Sorry peops. Love a divergence in the morning! I love Australia - y'all know that, and I am very excited about the changes my beloved Brisvegas has made in the last few years. It is definitely growing. But...

The point of this post was to mention Style Stalker, a slight take on the Forever 21 idea of copying celebrity trends the instant they hit the gossip mags/blogs and delivering them at low cost either to a dedicated store (in the case of Forever 21) or to selected stockists (in the case of Style Stalker). There is no comparison for prices (a similar dress at Forever 21 is US$30 vs AU$149 - see what I mean? Is this outrageously unfair on Aussie shoppers? Or am I insane?).

However - and I suppose this is the point of this type of fashion - you want it instantly, right? You think - "shit. In two days it will be Saturday night and that hot guy will be at the party... What will I wear??" and you flick through a magazine, decide you want to channel Chloe Sevigny and you figure out how to do it. That's where these kinds of labels come in. And that's why, even though Forever 21 is a quarter the price, you don't buy it because you need the dress Right Away. Unless you're me, and you have to go to ground and wear only track pants for the next fortnight as you study. Hence, Forever 21 is the perfect option. :o)

PS: I am in love with Style Stalker's one-shoulder dress. You like?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Speaking of Food

Jules of Stonesoup - one of my favourite foodie blogs (I mentioned I love food, didn't I?) - is holding the most amazing competition. Here it is in her words:

You might think it’s a sad state of affairs when a restaurant reservation out lasts a relationship. But when said reservation is for the best restaurant in the world and was secured over 12 months in advance – it doesn’t seem quite so tragic.

Last month, sadly, the Irishman and I parted ways. And so I found myself with a ticket to Spain, a reservation at the best restaurant in the world – and no one to share it with.

At the suggestion of my writing mentor I decided to hold a competition to find myself a blind date for the 15th December 2009. And here we are.

I love this idea with all my heart. First, the contestant has to pay their own way to Spain and they must pay for their own dinner. So we have covered off here a couple of essentials in a dating partner: a love of travel, a love of great dining experiences and ... dare I say it ... money (and inclination) to afford and appreciate such a dining experience.

Before you all think I'm a shallow, shallow person (ok... I have been described as "deep as a fingerbowl" before, but I took it as a loving joke. Eep!) let me explain. I have recently dated a person who doesn't appreciate a fine dining experience at all. And it shocked me to the core! I understand the greatness of cheap Asian food on the couch - don't get me wrong - but that a woo-worthy date does not make. It is also rather a turn-off when your date doesn't like to extract dollar bills from his wallet. I'm just saying!

Listen up boys! In the early stages of wooing a woman, just as it is perfectly ok to take her to dodgy Asian restaurants with authentic food (a huuuge favourite of mine) it is also a very special and hugely appreciated treat to take her to a lovely restaurant with more-lovely food. And it's one of those things you should do early on (and if you keep her, you should try to do it on a fairly regular basis). She will return the favour, I promise. And if she doesn't, you decide whether you like that or not. Please also note, that great restaurants don't always = great cost. It's all about discovering a special place, and wanting to share it with people who are special to you. Got it?

I am of the Jane Austen school of romance, and the Matt Preston school of dining. Combine that, and we have dating gold.

PS: Male readers, if you can, you should enter! Jules seems like a total sweetheart... And she can cook!!!!!

Food Is For Fat People ... And Poor People

Yeah, good call Robert Verdi, stylist, who clearly has never seen poverty or the nightly news. He goes on:

* "I love fat people because they're jolly"
* "I think people of all sizes should be wearing clothes. I don't know if they necessarily need to be photographed in clothes..."
* "It's why I stopped eating... Rich people don't eat. They get dressed up and go shopping." [I will never be rich in that case - I love eating]

Yeh. I would love to look that... Not.

All this follows, of course, from the Ralph Lauren model being fired for being too fat and the rapid-fire photo-shopping debacle. Apparently the ideal Ralph Lauren woman is a bobble-headed alien.

And all of that follows on from Karl Lagerfeld comments that no one wants to see curvy women (to clarify, I believe he meant on the catwalk - and I agree on that point). "You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly," he added.

The world of fashion is about "dreams and illusions", he said, dismissing as "absurd" the debate prompted by Brigitte magazine which said it would no longer feature professional models on its pages. Brigitte, one of Germany's top women's magazines, said last week it would only publish photographs of "real women" after readers complained they could not identify with the models depicted.

Make Do and Mend

Yes, those are teacups masquerading as headphones!

Tim Walker shoots for UK Vogue's November 09 recessionista spread.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday: Disco Stairs

Every home should have them.

My awesome friend Ally Kay from NYC will be here this weekend.... It's the equivalent of having disco stairs! I'm going to forget study for the weekend and enjoy a faboosh wkend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Run Away

Very busy for the next few days, so perhaps no blogging... Who am I kidding?! I'm addicted! There will be something for you. In the meantime... Relax.

I hate to wish my life away like this, but I can't wait for this week to be over.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Return to Oz

Miranda Kerr has been gracing our shores of late, busily promoting David Jones, Kids HelpLine here in Brisbane and, as you do at this time of year in Australia, pottering about trackside in fantastic racewear outfits.

She has, of course, been sited by the paparazzi (not that we do a great job of it here in Australia - although Nicole Kidman may disagree) in some great uber-casual shopping outfits. Observe:


She was also forced to deny the usual starvation rumours that surround models, and of course deny that she had been threatened by an "unidentified" Queensland man (who, as it turns out never existed in the first place). *yawn*. She's plastered across Grazia, and all the other gossip rags are screaming she's going to die because of her anorexia.


From China Vogue November 2009.

I have been pining for a trip to China, Vietnam and Japan of late. I swear in a past life I was Chinese - it would explain so much!

Live Your Life

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, & demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long & its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people & grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food & for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one & no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools & robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep & pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song & die like a hero going home.”

Pic: Gemma Ward for Hermes in 2005. Whatever happened to her anyway? (I mean except for Black Balloon).

Study Makes Me Hungry

Check out The Cookie Sandwich Company for more delectable, mouth-watering delights.

Oishisou! [Which is... Looks delicious in Japanese and pronounced "oy-sh-saw". Why is it I only remember the words that relate to food?!]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

R is for Regretsy

I have previously written about Etsy - a great little marketplace for lots of homemade and crafty things.

Now introducing...Regretsy - a blog showing you all that is wrong with Etsy.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B: Crystal wall mounted tiger anyone?

Go now for a bit of a giggle... teehee

More Favourite Things

A crime thriller called 'Swimsuit'. By James Patterson. Really? Does it get much better than that? Helloooooo summer holiday reading!

Here's the description courtesy of Mr Patterson's website:

Sun kissed beaches, palm trees, the warm breeze on a clear sea. Maui is a paradise island and the perfect location for a glamorous, glossy magazine photo shoot. But all is not as it seems and the tranquillity is shattered when a series of beautiful swimwear models start to go missing.

When their bodies are discovered, one after another, each more brutally murdered that the last, the hunt is on for the perpetrator of these violent killings. But has someone been watching the murderer all along?

Ben Hawkins, thriller writer turned private detective knows more than he is letting on too. He quickly befriends one of the dead girls' parents and involves himself in the case but to what lengths is he willing to go to get his hands on his next number one book?

The heat is on in James Patterson's latest blockbusting thriller. Dark, gripping and a sensational read, Swimsuit is filled with shocking twists and a blistering pace that will have the pages turning themselves.

Polaroid me

Polaroid have been convinced c/o The Impossible Project to relaunch some of their instant cameras. I can't wait to get my hands on one! In this world of digital cameras, there is something so cool about having a tangible photo and shaking it and not knowing what it will look like straight away...

In the meantime, polaroid up your digital photos with Poladroid. Here's one I prepared earlier of a pic I took of the awesome HK skyline...

Monday, October 19, 2009

That's The Way It's Gonna Be

Yesterday I happened to wander past the TV during the sports segment of the news. As spring racing season hots up here in Australia, we are inundated with Melbourne Cup tips (and of course, the fashion on the field). One of the stalwarts and legends of Australian racing happened to be on the screen as I wandered by. This image jumped out at me:

If you don't recognise the bushiest eyebrows in Australia, let me fill you in on the legendary James Bartholomew (Bart) Cummings. Aged about 82 (it's his birthday November 14), he has been training champion horses since 1953. He has won an Order of Australia (the British pat on the head for exemplary Aussies), a member of the Australian Sporting hall of fame since 1991, Sportsman of the Year ABC 1975, Archer Award 1988, VRC Personality of the Year 1990, 1991.

So he is decorated, and rightly so. His horses have won 12 Melbourne Cups (for our overseas readers, this is the biggest horse race - actually just biggest race - held in Australia the 1st Tuesday of every November in Melbourne. It's known as the race that stops the nation, and it does. We here in Queensland complain that we don't get a public holiday for it).

As well as being a super race horse trainer, I believe the venerable Mr Cummings is quite the stylish man (particularly when compared to his in-training look of mussed hair and Drizabone).

Training style.

Now let's look at a catalogue of his at-the-races style:

I love the little flower in the pocket, the square in the pocket and of course the trademark aviators.

He dresses a damn sight better than most of the guys I know (even in his training gear and early-morning hair). Do you think that in the case of men, with age comes style? I know my dad dresses quite well (my mother and I on hand to assist in shopping trips), and he dresses a lot better than when he was younger.

Bart Cummings is also known for his wit:
* "I want one of them to win," when asked what he thought as the judge tried to split stablemates Light Fingers and Ziema after the 1965 Melbourne Cup.

* There was a protest, second against first, after the 1991 Melbourne Cup, where his pair, Let's Elope and Shiva's Revenge, ran the quinella. "Can't lose," Cummings said.

* A health inspector tells Cummings there are too many flies in his stables. "How many am I allowed to have?" he famously retorted.

* Darren Beadman rode the Cummings-trained Catalan Opening to win the 1997 Emirates Stakes at Flemington. It was Beadman's last ride before becoming a preacher. Beadman said his decision was God's instruction. Cummings' view? "I think he should get a second opinion."

* Cummings does not like owners telling him what to do, nor does he like them inquiring about his fees. "If you need to know how much I charge, then you can't afford me," he said, adding that owners who offer training advice are charged extra.

* Cummings attended a Magic Millions breakfast on the Gold Coast a few years ago. Guests included Lillian Frank, wearing a fruit-themed hat, and Subzero (a horse). Subbie started grazing on Lillian's hat, taking a large chunk out the back of it. She scolded the horse, telling him the hat was worth $8000. "It's worth 80c now," Cummings said.

Cummings is now aiming for his 13th Melbourne Cup win, with Viewed, last year's winner the top pick - amongst the eleven other horses he has in contention for the cup.

You're Gonna Fly Away

Gucci has launched its 2010 Cruise advertising campaign with minimal fuss. Just a few models lying around making heat exhaustion look incredibly sexy and ... "hot" (oh yes I did! Lame joke Monday).

Remember when everyone wore Gucci sunglasses? Do you think these shots can get Gucci back into the coveted must-have sunglasses position again? I think no. These are all a little generic and done before. I do love the black & white print dresses though.