Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Friday: The Sounds of Australian Summer

Crickets on a still night, the ocean crashing in at dawn, sizzling BBQs with relaxed chatter as a backdrop, the thwack of old fans lasting another summer...

And come Australia Day, we as a nation unite over Triple J's Hottest 100, cricket scores and the Australian Open. Although tomorrow is Thursday, it definitely feels as though today has been Friday as we prepare for Australia Day. Have a great weekend - I'll be watching the tennis (yes!) in Melbourne...

Thought for the day

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shoesday: Just Do It

Australia is currently gripped by Australian Open tennis-fever. While we watched Lleyton Hewitt bow out with dignity and his trademark tenacity to the blindingly brilliant Djokovic last night, we still have the joys of watching Nadal pull his undies out of his bottom and Federer gracefully dispatch of opponents in his usual, gentlemanly manner.

Last night I watched the shrieking (seriously... 96 dB! that girl is an environmental nuisance) Sharapova overpower her German opponent. All I could think the entire match was: girlfriend is hot. Like seriously. She is one of the very few women in this world who can pull off lime green without looking like a trailer-park trashbag.

Anyway. Here are some of her tennis shoes...

Remember at school when it was all about the runners you had? I used to be green with envy towards all those who wore Nike. My mother - who strictly enforced the "you do not have to be like everyone else" school of thought doggedly refused my passionate pleas for Nike trainers. I was still wearing Diadora when the company had gone bust. *sigh*

I suppose it was really just like Coco Chanel famously once said - "To be irreplaceable, one must be different." While this is certainly true, it can be very difficult to explain this to a 15 year old girl who just wants to blend in. In any event, I buy my own shoes these days. And yes. They are Nike.

I am off to the Australian Open on Thursday (yes, I am VERY excited!). I have tickets to the men's final at the moment, but would really like to see some of the women in action. I think Kim Clijsters has some good juju around her right now.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Passing

Sad news this morning that 3-time Grammy winner and vocal powerhouse Etta James has passed away this morning at 73, following complications with leukemia.

The R&B singer battled heroin addiction for much of her younger life, finally breaking the addiction when she was 50. James was known for her poignant mix of power and pain in her work, and veteran musical producer Jerry Wexler called her "the greatest of all modern blues singers ... the undisputed Earth Mother."

Bonnie Raitt told Rolling Stone magazine in 2008 that: "There's a lot going on Etta James' voice. A lot of pain, a lot of life, most of all, a lot of strength. She can be so raucous and down one song, and then break your heart with her subtlety and finesse the next. As raw as Etta is, there's a great intelligence and wisdom in her singing."

This is one of my favourites. There is so much going on this song. Amazing.

She told Rolling Stone in 1997 that "Life's been rough. But life's been good. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would live it the exact same way."

That's about as much as you could ever want really, isn't it?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Friday

Another ridiculously busy weekend... So tonight I chill (after I pop in to the Alannah Hill sale!). I'm hoping to see either The Descendants, The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo or Hugh at some point this weekend (probably tonight - an alone in the cinema thing that I LOVE doing).

And I'm hoping to pick up my new glasses tomorrow!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Loving Love

Today is the 6 month anniversary of that epic first date I went on... Following the hot pink lipstick encounter.

This is 1/3rd of the time of my longest relationship ever! It's quite a milestone for me (a rehabilitated commitment phobe). We're currently planning a trip to bike ride around France (and capture some of Tour de France), sail Croatia, see Turkey and introduce me to the wonders of Rome, Venice and Spain. Exciting!

While we're on the topic of love, I thought you might enjoy this extract from a letter written by John Steinbeck (Nobel laureate and much celebrated author) to his son - all about love.

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First -- if you are in love -- that's a good thing -- that's about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don't let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second -- There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you -- of kindness and consideration and respect -- not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn't know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply -- of course it isn't puppy love.

But I don't think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it -- and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone -- there is no possible harm in saying so -- only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another -- but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I'm glad you have it.

Cute, huh? See the rest of it here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Golden Globes: Brought to You By The Waist, The Fishtail, and the Wedding Dress

I think we can neatly encapsulate the trends of this year's Golden Globes (yes, they were yesterday... I can't blog at work anymore) into 3 major categories.

1. The Waist

Lady-like proportions are now all the rage. In case you missed the memo, we should now be exhalting our waists by wrapping it in a belt, tapering the dress in to and out from the waist and generally ensuring that maximum attention is paid to our Coca-Cola bottle figures (with a little trimmed off the hips, naturally.

Maria someone-or-other didn't need a belt to draw attention to her amazing figure clad in yellow. Divine!

I absolutely adore this trend, and my favourite dresses were all within this trend category. While Angelina Jolie has apparently won best dressed, I feel she liked kind of creepy. As though she was biding her time before gobbling up anyone silly enough to make eye contact.

I thought they all looked smashing, but Nicole Kidman, the yellow dress, Claire Danes and Kate Winslet were all stand-outs to me. Emma Stone definitely deserves an honourable mention for her rock-girl eagle buckle belt.

2. The Fishtail
Like the cinched-in waist, the fishtail also draws attention to the figure.

While I think this is an amazing style that drools class, I think you'd need all of your self-confidence in tact to pull this one off. In fact, I feel like there's a huge difference between the lady in red to the lady in blue here confidence-wise... Reese doesn't look totally comfortable. Looks like she needed to repeat to herself a few more times "No, your hips don't look big in this" before she ventured down the red carpet.

3. The Bride

I think I do very few red carpet round-ups that do not feature the brides to be... Just like at any ball you go to, I feel there are always going to be ladies out there who occasionally mistake glamour for nuptial-appropriate attire. Not that I'm complaining. These dresses were lovely.

Elle Macpherson isn't too far off a November Rain style wedding in that get-up.

Shoesday: Summer Cries

It's raining for the second day in a row today. Summer has been weird. AGAIN. I thought we had moved on from last year's dastardly flooding rains.... While we're unlikely to have a natural disaster this summer of the proportions of 2011, any day of summer wasted on rain seems like a disaster in my books.

*dramatic sigh*

However, it's still Tuesday. And it's still happy.

Have a lovely day wherever you are. And don't forget to wear something lovely on your feet! xo

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Other Crush

Film Review: The Iron Lady

The latest film to generate serious Oscar buzz has been The Iron Lady, featuring the indomitable and wildly talented, Meryl Streep.

The Iron Lady tells the story of one of the most polarising political figures of modern times: Margaret Thatcher, who led the United Kingdom as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Known as the Iron Lady* (ummm... obviously where the film got its title), MT led the UK through a series of frightfully painful reforms - deregulation of state assets, the deeply unpopular Falklands War, challenges to the union movement (particularly on the wharves), rejection of entry to the European Community, and the violent internal battles with the IRA. For more on just how unpopular MT really was - and for a gritty look at life in 80s UK - I recommend you also see This Is England around the same time you watch The Iron Lady. A long-held favourite of mine, I took delight in knowing the other, grass-roots side of MT's reforms.

Seriously. Just watch it.

The Iron Lady is particularly timely given the current financial malaise of the European Union today, and even the political manoeuvrings we have seen with other females either in power or seeking to gain power in recent times (here's looking at you, Julia and Hilary). MT's refusal to join the EU (the European Community at the time of her leadership) seems prescient today, and her work to deregulate the financial sector undoubtedly established the UK as the financial powerhouse and international financial centre that it is today (GFC notwithstanding). The Iron Lady certainly gives MT her dues for being a leader who stuck to her guns and pushed the UK into an era of economic stability and strength. So in that respect, I enjoyed this foray into political history.

What I did not enjoy, and actually rather loathed, was the portrayal of MT as an elderly woman beset with dementia and living a lonely, rather sad life. MT has regular conversations with her husband Denis, reminiscing over the past (which leads to occasionally clunky step-back-in-time montages) and accounting for her decisions. Denis is, however, dead. MT is portrayed as senile, sad and vulnerable in stark contrast to the energetic, strong, bright woman of her prime. I thought this was an awful, cruel way of depicting anyone. How is anyone - including film director Phyllida Lloyd - to know what is happening in her deteriorating mind?

While I think it important for MT's story to be told - she was after all an amazing woman, whether you agreed or disagreed with her politics - I'm not sure that basing this around her current weaknesses is appropriate or very tasteful. Actually, the word "exploitative" springs to mind.

Ok. Rant over. Aside from the poor taste, I found Meryl Streep's performance exhilarating. Streep transcends age in this film, and, according to those close to MT back in the day, absolutely nails every single mannerism the old bird had to a tee. It's rare that I dislike a Meryl Streep film, and she is actually the saving grace for the entire film. While I found the relationship between MT and Denis very sweet, it was marred by what I discussed above and shall not mention again!

For history and/or political boffins, or simply for anyone curious about MT, I recommend this film. Enjoy!

3.5 stars

* If you are remotely interested in politics, or just general useless trivia, you may be interested to know MT got her famous nickname from a Russian newspaper (The Red Star) following these comments in 1976:
The Russians are bent on world dominance, and they are rapidly acquiring the means to become the most powerful imperial nation the world has seen. The men in the Soviet Politburo do not have to worry about the ebb and flow of public opinion. They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns.

She certainly had a way with words.

I'm Back!

Sadly, no, I wasn't camping in Brazil, riding a tuk-tuk in Thailand, shopping in Hong Kong or bar-hopping in New York. No, no, no. For I have already DONE these things. So we must embark on a new adventure...

Welcome to 2012. Surely to be another year of ups, downs, fashion disasters and worldly advice and useless trivia. What fun it is to share all of this with you!

Without further ado, I must introduce you to my current crush: Lana del Rey. Ah-maze-balls. Yes.

Here's to a year of fabulous women (yes, YOU!), creative endeavours, shopping blow-outs and numerous disappearing acts. Happy New Year! xo