Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Shoesday: Bend it Like Beckham

The fruits of the Topshop x adidas collaboration were revealed last week and they were reminiscent of Keira Knightley in Bend it Like Beckham rather than much else.

Exhibit A:

You see it, right?

Anyway, there are of course sneakers forming part of the fruit bowl of fruits from the collaboration. Here they are:
Hmmm.... I don't think I'll be hunting these down any time soon. THESE on the other hand, I would seriously consider killing - maybe just maiming, on second thought - for.

Not sneakers? I hear you ask. I may secretly love slipping on a pair of shabby old Cons, but there's no way I'd risk 20 years to life on a pair of delightless flats. No sir-ee. Make it heels all the way. The higher the better.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Zuhair Murad Bridal

Is it wrong that I still look at wedding dresses, even though I've done my bridal dash? It's strange, but now that I have long since departed the wedding aisle, I am strangely more curious about wedding dresses than ever before. If someone tells me they're getting married, I now need ALL the details, whereas in the past I was barely vaguely listening about guest list dramas, meddling mothers and tiresome Bridezillas.
These bridal gowns from Zuhair Murad are gorgeous. I love the golden leaf belt incorporated in to most of the dresses, and I love the dreamy cascades of florals. My dress had a speckling of flowers in the skirt, and I kinda wish I'd had more now that I look at these dresses.

The skirt on this one is quite similar to my own. I asked my delightful dressmaker to
create this shadow effect - the slimmer silk layer with a dreamy tulle over the top. J'adore.

Friday, March 14, 2014


I don't care if this was for the supposedly sinister purpose of advertising (advertising can be a good thing you know!)... This video of strangers meeting and pashing/macking on/hooking in/hooking up/making out/etc is so lovely. I dare you not to smile at the end of this.

How GOOD and how awkward are first kisses? I love how they capture this. It's not just strangers that feel shy about their first kiss... In fact, and in my humble opinion, there is a proportionate relationship between how much you like someone and the awkwardness factor (which may simply be in your head). There is nothing more tantalizing than the question of when that first kiss is ever going to come, and whether you should be the one to initiate it.

Who hasn't let out that little giggle as they leant in for their first kiss with a crush? So many thoughts run through your mind: do we use tongue here? Do I grab his arse? Do I get hot and heavy, or make it sweet and gentle? IS HE THE ONE??? and so on, and so on.

First kisses are just so lovely.

Happy Friday: Justice

As a Queenslander, I think it would be remiss to celebrate Friday this particular week without mentioning the final conclusion to the Daniel Morcombe case that has lingered in our collective consciousness for the past 10 years. Each Christmas, I think it is almost impossible not to spare a thought for the little boy who was abducted from the side of the road as he waited for a bus to buy Christmas presents and have a haircut. Deep down, we all knew it was unlikely he would be found alive. Worse, it was likely his end had been cruel and violent.

Yesterday, a jury found Daniel's murderer guilty following a remarkable police investigation that involved the creation of an elaborate national crime gang to trick the killer into an admission and to identify the final burial site of Daniel's small body.

Daniel's parents worked tirelessly and with an unwavering devotion to keep Daniel in our minds, and to bring his killer to justice. They fought for changes to ensure our children would be safer. The fight took a financial and emotional toll, but still they persisted. I can only imagine yesterday's decision was bittersweet for them. And now they move to another stage of grieving - the long goodbye not only to Daniel, but also the fight for justice which is now blessedly over. I hope they have found peace in the decision, and that the sentence (handed down next week) can provide them with some measure of satisfaction that justice has been served.

"You made one monumental mistake that day. You picked on the wrong family."
- Victim impact statement from Daniel's father.

So here's to the justice system, the tenacious love of a parent, the safety of your children, and the work of the police here in Queensland. Flawed or not, it was a monumental effort and justice has finally been delivered.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Circle of Amazon Wish Lists

As I was adding yet more books to my Amazon wish list, I clicked onwards to see what else was on my wish list. Strangely, funnily, or completely-not-a-coincidence-at-all-and-stop-reading-into-things I had a massive pile of things added to my wish list this day one exact year ago.

On 11 March 2013, it is quite clear I was having a monster of a freak-out about decorations for my wedding, hence the truckloads of gorgeous drinks dispensers you'd find at an all-American 4th July party, striped straws, apothecary jars, ribbons, decorative paper pom poms, and basically everything in Martha Stewart's craft range. It really was over the top. Thankfully, I didn't buy any of these things (although a couple were sourced from eBay - ALWAYS CHEAPER).

It's funny to pause for a moment and think about what you wanted, or felt that you desperately needed, a year or more ago. It's more interesting to realize that you didn't get it, and you survived. My wedding was fine without the presence of Martha Stewart's many and varied range of craft goodies. My life was complete without buying "The Homemade Wedding" (actually pretty sure my stress levels were reduced as a result of not owning this book).

As Hubby and I search for homes for our wedding gifts and the assorted items we've each collected over the 30 years we existed on this planet before meeting each other, it's caused us to evaluate the value of "stuff". Some of our stuff is of huge sentimental value, others valuable financially.
But the items we have realized we value more than most is space and time. You can buy space (but you tend to fill it unless you live conscientiously), but you can't buy time. We stare at each other across a room of boxes, and feel this understanding swimming about us. I just can't figure out if this shadowy object swimming by is a friendly dolphin with a peace-loving message to deliver, or a stabby stingray who just wants to harm us with reality. 

There is a wonderful quote from Charles Bukowski that sums up this concept that I've been toying with recently absolutely perfectly: "The less I needed, the better I felt".

I am starting to realize the power in saying "no" - no to myself to buy a pink jacket which I am sure would make me really happy, but would serve no other purpose than the one already filled by countless other jackets. Saying no to going to an event that will leave me unfulfilled, exhausted, bored and possibly feeling fat after watching a parade of skinny 20-somethings glide by. And in knowing what will truly aid me, and saying no to what will impede, harm or simply sap my finances, I see there is power in this. Power in knowing, power in "no" and power in prioritizing.

Have you had a startling life realization lately? As a genuine shopaholic, I am quite amazed that I don't need stuff, and that when I don't have it and when I reflect upon not having it, I actually kinda feel better. Weird.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Happy Friday: International Women's Day

Happy Friday to all the women out there! I have just been to a fabulous Australian Institute of Management luncheon to celebrate International Women's Day (which is tomorrow), and it was inspiring. With a lunch-time debate focused around the question "Women have to lean in, or they miss out", it made for an interesting afternoon.

Many of us working girls have probably read at least the first few pages of Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In. If you haven't, it makes for pretty interesting reading (I got to 1/3rd of the way through and found myself reading Vogue magazine - oops! I keep meaning to finish). Having spent a solid period of time reading that book nodding my head vigorously in agreement and exclaiming "YES!", I expected I would fall squarely on to the side of the affirmative debate team.

Not so. A very clever, articulate woman from the law firm I used to work at made the very persuasive case that it is not, in fact, women who need to lean in (as we are already fabulous, hard-working, authentic-living good people) but that it's the system that needs to adapt to the rise of the working woman. She made the excellent point that the reason so many of the women that reach the dizzying corporate heights do reach those heights is not because they leant in (although, pretty sure they did), but that the environment they were in - e.g. a husband/family/nanny that helped out a lot at home, a workplace that was supportive, flexible and personal development-oriented AND (importantly) which felt comfortable with women at the top - was what was essential to the success of the modern female. She explained that most of the top executives around the world were (a) men; and (b) their mothers were stay-at home mums. Women as underlings was simply familiar to them, and they are not always the misogynistic pigs they are sometimes made out to be.

Mark Zuckerberg is Gen Y. His mum has a career, and he is a member of an entire generation where women in senior roles is becoming the norm. It is familiar to him to have a female COO or CEO or Head of Risk or whatever senior role you want to name. She pointed out that it's not women who are getting in the way of themselves (although to quote Madeleine Albright via Taylor Swift "there is a special place in Hell for the woman who doesn't help another woman out"), but the system.

The conversation should be beyond women being bitches to each other. It's the system y'all!

The system that has been created by men who are older and - dare we all say it - a little out of touch with the modern world and the demands that exist within it.

This really resonated with me.

I'm married now, and I'm in my early 30s. I want a family one day, even though I know it means I'll be broke for the rest of my life and will not be able to plan a trip to Europe in August at a moment's notice. So naturally, thinking I need to contemplate my future, I have started thinking about maternity leave. There is an amazing array of corporate attitudes towards women's longevity within an organisation, evidenced in no small part by maternity leave and flexible parenting policies. No small part you say? Unless you've been living under a rock, women have to take time off to have kids, and then they need flexibility in order to balance being a good employee with a good mum. If women are expected to flourish within an organization, there must be acknowledgement and support of these very basic facts. To me, maternity leave and flexible parenting policies speak directly to a company's attitude toward the continuing role of the female in the workplace. Some companies simply secure your position for a year, and provide no maternity leave entitlements. Other companies will pay 16 weeks at full pay, which you can elect to spread over 32 weeks at half pay, in addition to having your job secured for up to 2 years. Yet others will pay you 3 days' full pay with the advice from your "joking" middle-aged male manager that "you better have a natural birth then!". It's hard not to be offended when you see some of these policies.

Leaving aside whether some women see another woman's leaving work early to pick up her kids each Wednesday as an opportunity to ascend in an organization, simply just that organization's attitude to the fact that women have to give birth in order to have a family (except adoption, right-o) and need time off to recover from the strenuous activity of child birth and breastfeeding and caregiving is the central issue. I tend to agree.

You can attempt to work through your issues with a competitive female colleague, but how do you change the system? Move to another job that provides the support you're looking for? Or demand better for yourself and your current female colleagues? Is being a pioneer for change worth the effort, and do you have the energy after you've survived another bruising day in the corporate world?

Hate the system, not the system's analyst.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Best Dressed Men

Men in tuxes are delightful.

Kevin Spacey pulls off navy & black most admirably. I loved this look (& am totally obsessed with him in House of Cards).

Jared Leto and Matthew McConnaughey shared fashion tips as well as films. 

And probably my favourite Oscars outfit worn by a man, Pharrell Williams knocks it out of the park with tailored shorts and snappy accessories.

Tom Cruise could learn a thing or two about gracefully accepting your taller date's height.

Graceful Goddesses, Sleeved Stunners and Structured Sirens: Oscars Round-Up

Red carpet season really is the best, and this year's Oscars have certainly delivered in the elegance stakes this year. There have been scarcely any daring outfits - it seems every lady on the red carpet has opted for muted elegance... Including Lady Gaga which was both strange and oddly lovely to see her dressed demurely. (Last time I paid much attention to her she was on stage at Brisbane Convention Centre wearing a G-string leotard, torn fishnets and a leather jacket).

She didn't even do anything crazy with her hair... I hope she's feeling OK.
What really stood out amongst the trends on the red carpet were only a few things: the rise of the sleeve (capped or long, it didn't matter); the goddess gown in all its gloriously full-skirt; and the structured, slim-line dress that showed off the waist and elongated the torsos.
Taking out the sleeve stakes in terms of length was definitely Angelina Jolie (she is so ridiculously beautiful)...
... but my favourite take on the sleeve trend was the capped sleeve on Naomi Watts and Calista Flockhart (in rather similar dresses, it must be acknowledged).

Not to make this Oscars round-up all about me, but I think I love the capped sleeve so much because I almost bought a Collette Dinnigan wedding dress in this style. The weird thing is, I just couldn't get my head around not wearing a strapless gown... Is that weird? I felt like I was passing up an opportunity to show off my arms and boobs. So I went strapless. The dress wasn't as tacky as I just made it sound, by the way. Hats off to these ladies for exercising EXTREME RESTRAINT when given the opportunity to show off their fabulous figures.
Next up is the goddess-y, dreamy, full-skirted gown. These were all delightful in their simplicity and muted tones. It was either a pastel (pretty pink for Penelope Cruz and stunning pastel blue for Lupita Nyong'o) or a really lovely oyster colour with sparkles.
Here are some of my favourites:

It's always so hard to choose a favourite, but Kate Hudson was a serious stand-out for me

Next up, we had the more structured dresses which really paid tribute to the female form.
Ann Hathaway really copped it for this dress, but I don't think it's totally dreadful.

Um... LOVE!

Another favourite
 What didn't we see on the red carpet this year? Thigh high splits, crazy chandelier jewellery and certainly an absence of too much bosom. All around, this was slightly dull for the lack of daringness, but beautiful for those of us who love a classic evening gown.