Friday, January 29, 2010

Lust List

I rather badly would like this 5-stacked ring set from Honey in the Rough.

Just to comfort myself for the loss of my beloved laptop, of course.

Trend Alert: Grey Streaks

Yes folks, it's Granny Chic! You may have noticed from my Chanel couture post that the models were sporting not only enormous bows in their hair, but also greyish-blue streaks usually reserved for those at your local RSL bingo night. As our population ages, are the fashion houses seeking to reach the Blue Rinse Set? Or is it just another unfortunate trend unlikely to be replicated by the masses?

Does Kate Moss fall within the "masses" category?

Happy Friday: It's Just A Date, It's Only Stuff

Unhappily, yesterday I arrived home to discover my home had been broken into. Back door smashed in, pot plants in disarray etc. You know the drill. Gone was my laptop (among a few other things). Gone are all my photos - overseas trips, weddings, precious memories, fun times with friends - every job application I ever wrote, my application to New York which I worked so hard on (it's in my email - but only as PDF), my iTunes library which I loved in spite of constant ridicule (I stand by my love of the Spice Girls, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Guns n Roses and Britney Spears), my uni work and all my painstaking research, every piece of writing I did - published or unpublished - and worse, every WORK IN PROGRESS that I hadn't finished and was still beavering away at and hadn't saved anywhere but on my laptopo. In my brain, I was always putting the reminder to "snooze until next week" to back up the laptop.

I was a little surprised at my reaction. I went into zen state - sure, I was sad and I feel a wrench in my stomach every time I think of those photos and all those hours of work gone - but I just mumbled "it's only stuff". When I place it into the context of my life, and everything that's important to me - my friends, my family, my health, my brain, my current state of happiness - it doesn't really matter. If someone stole my laptop 12 months ago, we'd have had a very different girl. Tears, guilt for not backing up (that's still present, but not in the hideous way I am often affected by feelings of guilt), possible rage. Sure, I'd like to wring their scrawny little necks, but not really. Is happiness like Valium? Does it dull pain? I don't think so... But I sure think it helps reprioritise. There are certain thoughts that bring instant tears to my eyes - no matter my happiness - but they are for the things I know I truly value, and they sure as hell don't include many material objects.

So if your date doesn't call, and if your laptop disappears how much does it really matter? When we have so much more in our lives that make us what we are - treasures! - blips like this can hardly mean very much when we have the considerable gift of perspective.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spring Couture

The couture shows are always a happy time for clothes horses, with all your wildest fashion fantasies strolling down an elaborately staged catwalk solely for your viewing pleasure. Haute couture (direct translation "high dressmaking") of course refers to the old art of bespoke tailoring - the creation of made-to-order, custom fit clothing made from only the best fabrics and by the best hands.

Chanel's latest couture collection for Spring 2010 is very much a collection of lovely sorbets mixed with some space age-y silver (check out the stockings in particular: not at all flattering, even on the stick insect models). Chanel's couture is always much more wearable than other labels, however the big shapes and in some spots chunkiness (check it all out here) did make me furrow my brow a little. Please don't tell me this signals a return to belly-hiding baby dolls? Speaking of dolls, I do adore the hair and the oversized bows - very Gaga/Hello Kitty esque.

His 'n' Hers

Ubiquitous much?

The Beckhams get his'n'hers covers with 10 Magazine and 10 Men. Loving VB's curls!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Days

Do you know what I love almost more than life (and my iPhone and my wardrobe and... ok) itself? The country I live in. Every time you alight an aircraft after an overseas trip - particularly when the trip has taken you to random, developing world conditions - you always feel that wall of hot Aussie air, hear our drawly accent, and tuck into a monster steak and remember how good we have it. We're educated, we can wear the skimpiest clothes in the world without much issue, we can drink with gay abandon (in fact, it's almost unAustralian not to drink) and we can say and write whatever the hell we want (within the bounds of defamation laws). We're lucky. We also get a day off once a year to listen to Australian music and eat loads of steak, prawns and lamb and booze it up poolside. Which is exactly what I did yesterday. Best day ever.

And who can forget the annual Australia Day address from Sam Kekovich. I love this man. Hilarity. And the UN. Another favourite thing of mine. Perfect!

Here it is for those who missed it. If you don't understand, find your nearest Aussie and they will explain.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Napoleon Perdis on Retouching

Napoleon Perdis - he of the Napoleon make-up empire in Australia - has written a great article for the Huffington Post on the issue of retouching, as well as commenting a little on the recent Marie Claire/Jen Hawkins "scandal" (which stinks of media beat-up quite frankly - bet Marie Claire sold a buttload of January mags!).

Here are some extracts from the article (thank you Guest Editor! haha). He is actually quite funny...!

There have been a lot of rumblings lately about the evils of retouching. And, to be sure, when I see a forty-something actress on a magazine cover with the pelvis of a five-year-old, I think "Well, perhaps they've gone too far!" But when did retouching become such an abominable practice? It's not merely creative directors, advertising gurus and film-makers who rely on the magic of pixels to manipulate their images. Since the advent of digital cameras, we've all become amateur retouchers, at home in our Juicy Couture sweats laboring over personal photos to remove red eyes, delete blemishes and improve the overall appearance of our skin. The motto of the Facebook generation could be: Retouch Thyself.

As a makeup artist, I'm intrigued by the challenge of updating techniques from the era of black and white movies, and using cosmetics, as opposed to needles and surgery, to sculpt faces and erase wrinkles. But I'm not averse to employing a little digital sleight of hand. As the father of four daughters, I feel strongly that the media shouldn't be saturated with unrealistic images that might warp young women's perceptions of themselves. That said, I do believe that we read beauty images with a different eye, so the idea of labeling digitally altered photographs -- a debate that's raging everywhere from France to Australia -- seems excessive to me. We're well aware of the machinations of the glamour world. Even my young daughters know that a picture is just a frozen moment in time that can never be replicated. Like concealer or foundation, retouching is another tool in the makeup artist's kit. When a model arrives to a shoot with a bad breakout, as happened recently in Los Angeles, do I humiliate her and send her packing? Or just adjust her skin in post-production? The latter, of course.

There is a trend now for publications (including French Elle and Australian Marie-Claire) to generate "naked" issues, with stars photographed sans makeup and without the benefit of Photoshop. But it seems hard to imagine that this is the way of the future. Sure, Monica Bellucci and Christy Turlington still look stunning au naturel, but some of us prefer the beauty fantasy. Admittedly, one dubious category is that of mascara advertising. I have to pause when I see a model with lashes so preternatural they protrude like the tendrils of a plant. Paging James Cameron.

For those who prefer to retouch in the old-school way -- with makeup -- you could try my Auto Pilot Re-Touch Skin Smoothing Cream for blurring fine lines. Or you could explore these tips gleaned from the Golden Age of Hollywood:

Lighten up: Apply a concealer two shades lighter than your skin tone with a medium synthetic brush. Press the concealer onto areas such as the brow bone, the cheekbones, and the bridge of the nose to give a "lifted" appearance.

Define and deepen:
Create definition and depth with a concealer two shades darker than your skin tone. Apply to the socket of the eye, the temples, the hollows of the cheeks and down the sides of the nose, to further heighten the lifted appearance.

Get reflective: Maximize the lifted effect with a crème or powder that will reflect light. Apply onto the areas of the face that light would naturally hit, such as the brow bone, cheekbones and bridge of the nose -- the same areas you highlighted with the light concealer.

Slip into neutral: With a small soft brush, add further depth and definition to the cheeks, eyes and neck by using a matte powder in a neutral shade to absorb light. Place it under the cheekbones, on the inner corner of the eye, from the brow down the bridge of the nose, and also on the jaw line.

Open the eyes: Lift the eyes by eliminating redness with a skin tone concealer applied to the outer corner of the peepers. Work liner on the lower lash line, close the eye and continue sweeping out on an upward angle, and bring the liner back along the outer corner onto the top lash line. Also extend the eye by working your liner onto the inner corner of the upper lash line.

And just for your amusement, some bad photo-shop incidents...

I'm Wishing That You Would Be Mine

Australia Day is just around the corner. It is truly one of the best public holidays in the Australian calendar - BBQ, beer, pool parties, the Triple J Hottest 100, seafood and hanging about with friends. I think I'll be in Byron this year - returning from Sydney the day before. It's going to be a great weekend!

Here's our quintessential Aussie icon, Kylie Minogue, vamping it up in Spanish Vogue. She looks like she's back in top form again. Wonder if Kylie will ever break the Hottest 100...? ;o)

Make or Break

Each woman in this pic (courtesy of The Sartorialist) is rocking her relatively bland outfit with the aid of exquisite accessories. Obviously we are drawn to those eff-ing phenomenal shoes (I'm guessing Louboutin... And I'm wishing I had them for the wedding I'm attending tomorrow) first of all... But look to the green in her necklace, her neighbour with the gorgeous green gloves, amazing clutch (again: WANT) and kick arse scarf. The other neighbour has pared it all back with woody coloured accessories... Very nice. Who's your favourite? I can't get over my burning need for those shoes, that clutch and those gloves. Greedy little piggy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Carry On Carrying On

As budget airlines find ever new ways of stinging you at the airport for "excessive" baggage (I'm sorry, but when a woman attends a wedding in Sydney and has several days of play to attend in said location, no amount of clothing/make-up/shoes can be considered excessive), I like to think back to when "in my day" no one weighed your carry-on bag with the per gram precision of an obsessive dieter "treating" herself to 2 grams of low-fat chocolate. A single gram over - $20 please. I still look with sorrowful longing as the Asian airlines still allow their peops to drag on all manner of shiz - not a scale or weigh station in sight. They don't know how good they've got it.

Anyway. The latest in travel dreams (apart from, obviously, scales that have been tipped 15kg backwards) is this Givenchy carry-on. Just behold for a moment. So stylish. So practical with the subtle little wheels and optional pull handle or uber-stylish shoulder strap.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Golden Globes Wrap: Orange Crush

Huzzah for the continued omnipresence of old Hollywood glamour. This year's Golden Globes awards were dripping in it - stunning, floor grazing, body-skimming frocks, luscious red lips, immaculate hair and sparkling accessories; all carried off without we as voyeuristic viewer feeling that we know how they look naked. Very nice. My favourite outfits were Toni Collette, Drew Barrymore (both in nude, sparkly dresses which were to die for), Chloe Sevigny with her daring ruffles and Diane Kruger with fuschia ruffles also. My favourite hair was January Jones. And who could go past that banging body of Christina Hendricks?! Holy mother of God.

I just love those Mad Men girls.

The big trend, however, was the peach-hued, dewy girl make-up everyone seemed to be donning. Check it out here:

It's a nice move away from the uber-polished flawless make-up we've had of late - think flawless skin and red lips a la Dita von Teese - and I was also pleased to see that at last, our fingernails no longer need to look as though they've been dipped in tar. Sure, I enjoyed the trend at the time, but I'm totally over it now.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Beautiful Life

I had a youtube weekend - I fixed my broken toilet all by myself (thanks to youtube instructional videos) and watched episodes of "The Beautiful Life". I know my life is fascinating and terribly exciting :)

Back on topic.... the tv teen drama goes behind the scenes of the modelling and fashion industry and was meant to be the come back show for Mischa Barton. It was axed after 2 episodes for low viewership numbers (it did go up against Glee).

However producer Ashton Kutcher decided to embrace the web and has released the remaining completed episodes (5 in total) on youtube. If they get enough viewers he is hoping to film and release more episodes on the interweb.

Seriously bad acting (especially by Mischa Barton and Elle McPherson) but this show is still strangely addictive. It's trashy and fun. Not in the league of Gossip Girl and Glee in the teen show stakes but there are lots of real life fashion cameos e.g. Zac Posen and Jessica Stam and pretty clothes to look at.

You can watch the episodes here

Colin Fierce

How hot was Mr Darcy at the Golden Globes? There is truly nothing better than a man in a tux. Tuxes to men are a little like what Sass & Bide jeans are to women - they make everyone look just that little bit hotter.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Salad Tips

Due to it being high summer and all, we Aussies are chowing down on salads. The other night, I had the absolute pleasure of noshing on the Beetroot, Rocket & Yoghurt salad at Mecca Bah at Emporium in the Valley. Honestly, that salad is a winner in life. Truly. So good. My mouth waters right now, even though I still have the flavour of coffee swilling around.

I also like to make salads. Soon I will gift you with my favourite salad recipe EVER - it's a tad Christmassy with its mulled wine-esque dressing, but it's so good you can overlook that detail.

Stonesoup has provided the definitive guide to salads. It's very good. Most interesting was the tip re investing in a salad spinner. Given I have always thought the salad spinner was one of those Tupperware-led conspiracies designed to make us buy more plastic kitchen appliances we don't need, I was fascinated by this tip. I had never made the oil-water connection before. If this is the only thing I learn today, I will be happy.

Here are her salad spinner tips:
ii. dry
You’ve heard about oil and water not mixing right? Well if you want your tasty oil based dressing to stick to your leaves, you need to make sure they’re nice and dry which brings me to point number (iii).

iii. invest in a salad spinner
I highly recommend investing in a salad spinner, even though there are more and more prewashed leaves on the market. It’s the easiest, quickest way to get leaves clean and most importantly dry (see point ii). And means that you don’t have to rely on the expensive packaged lettuce.

God I'm dull. But I found that so fascinating.


Jamie Cullum (pint sized crooner - way better than the Bubble) is now off the market, having married Sophie Dahl this week. The height difference is rather phenomenal, and he clearly doesn't have short-man syndromedness to not be able to deal with this. Good on him.

I guess when the height difference is this dramatic, you may as well just continue wearing heels. I would be most interested to see Tom Cruise stand beside this woman.

And Sophie Dahl is, of course, granddaughter of our favourite naughty granddad - Roald Dahl.

Happy Friday: Got My Mind Set On You

Oh how deliciously naff is this??

The 80s were so shamefully dorky were they not? I love these special effects. This is seriously every child's dream. And I challenge you to not get this song stuck in your head all day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Never A Failure, Always A Lesson

Rihanna, fashion icon and phoenix risen from the Chris Brown ashes, famously has this tattooed across her collarbone - written backwards so each trip to the mirror is a little moment of Oprah-esque self-help.

Tattoos truly are the latest trend to have really hit Australian peops hard (check out this great article on The Age website). You can't go to a music festival, the beach or a club without seeing seething masses of gym-toned bodies inked in one way or another. Delicate little testaments to their mothers they certainly aint. I have always found tattoos deliciously sexy... I think it is the mix of pain one must go through to have it done, and the fact that most people inking themselves are doing it because something means so much to them - passion and commitment right there! As you know, I'm frequently thinking about a tattoo... I've narrowed the field down to my surname or memento mori (meaning "remember, you must die" which many people take as being fatalistic, but I see it differently - and last year was a year of constantly seeing the phrase when I'd never seen/heard of it before). Either one I choose, should I go down the path it would be relatively small, in lovely cursive on the right hand side of my rib cage. I think about it frequently, but never know if I would actually have the guts to be permanently marked in that way. And the fact that everyone has them now...? Well, it just seems a little naff.

Pin-up boy - and likely catalyst for the tattooing trend of our generation - David Beckham has just added to his collection of body art with a Jesus-inspired piece. Someone's going to be doing stomach crunches until they die...

Chanel has of course solved the dilemma for many people with temporary tattoos from their Spring/Summer 2010 show.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Date: Moonlight Cinema

As I've mentioned, summer is my favourite time of year. One of the joys of summer is outdoor cinema. Across most of the Australian capital cities, Ford hosts the Moonlight Cinema. I don't think I need to explain what Moonlight Cinema is...

A trip to the Moonlight Cinema is always enhanced just that little bit more by taking someone along who you can smooch with in the dark. Right?! So dating is on the agenda for me at the moment, and for a change I'm not finding it overly tedious. I'm dating just one person. I've shut off all the usual options b, c, d, e and so on that I usually have in reserve. This is unusual. After much reflection, I have discovered I have become for various reasons a back-up plan girl. As in, my mind says "well, Rachel, if you don't pull this one off, never fear because you have also been preparing for several other options". It's almost like ensuring I never fail, because I can always say "well... I didn't want it anyway. Plan B seems so much more enticing - and feasible - now anyway. So suck on that Plan A!". Dunno what that's all about. But at this moment, in the realm of dating, I have stopped with the back-up plans. It is at once confusing and destabilising - there is a huge fear of the unknown here: if it doesn't work out, have I just invested way too much time on something? As I approach my 30s, I do worry about time wasting a little. Strange, considering much of my 20s have to date been spent with men (at least the ones who I date - the male friends I have are a totally different story) who waste my time almost 100%. I think it's the safe zone - you can pull the pin for a variety of reasons whenever you want, and it wasn't your fault it was theirs and their litany of faults. But when you like someone... Things change. Suddenly you could be the one at fault and it is freaky!

But obviously we put those crazy fears aside and enjoy the moment, don't we? So I am taking him to the Moonlight Cinema for Where the Wild Things Are. Why is it that so many boys never read this book in their childhood? I have been thinking, though, of what food to take. I like themes - dress up parties, themed dinner nights (stay tuned for our 70s themed dinner party - microwave food, upside down tea cakes etc) and so on. So the natural progression is themed food. I am gobsmacked by the Wild Things theming that is out there.

One restaurant has been offering this menu suggestion: freshly pulled made to order warm mozzarella with pickled wild mushrooms, roasted pearl onions, smoked paprika vinaigrette; a second course of penne with wild boar ragout and warm wild huckleberry clafoutis with lemon verbena sorbet in a wild rice tuile for dessert. Um. Yum! But a little bit of a con in that they just add "wild" as an adjective before the noun. Cheats!

Check out the cupcakes:

Woah! I could attempt that though.

This, on the other hand... The uber bento box from Anna the Red.

Um. Wow. That is love. I'm not quite there yet. Wild rice it is!