Friday, June 17, 2016

Happy Wintry Weekend

It is all kinds of cold in my isolated little neck of the woods, so I am attempting to embrace the weather by looking at the goop Summer Reading Guide.  Wait. That doesn't sound right. No matter - there are a bunch of great book recommendations in the guide, so go check it out if you're looking for some bedtime, fireside or beach-side stories to occupy yourself with.

In addition to reading (who am I kidding... I can barely finish the Saturday paper let alone anything else), I'll be sneaking off to Adelaide to hit up the latest go-to dining venue, The Henry Austin, attend some of their gloriously well-stocked farmer's markets and indulge in the best coffees and ham and cheese croissants a pregnant woman in a winter wonderland could possibly ask for.

On account of the rainy-ness of the weather, I'll probably be looking a little like this (with a really big bump under my shirt of course).

No matter what you're eating, drinking or reading... Have a lovely weekend x

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Moving on Swift-ly

Taylor Swift has overnight shown us how best to deal with the fallout of a break-out (and Calvin Harris has perhaps shown the opposite side - but not as dramatic as, say, OJ Simpson).

Photos were released overnight of Tay Tay canoodling with Tom Hiddleston, the man widely tipped to be the next James Bond, and whom she met and famously boogied with at the MET Gala about a month ago.

Kudos for the very clever headline
Apparently post-MET Gala Hiddleston chased her down, charmed her with flowers and now they're an item madly smooching by the sea shore.

Much to the disgust of Calvin Harris who not only recently broke up with Taylor (or DID SHE DUMP HIM?? big questions today) and also after being injured in a car accident just a month ago also. Suffice to say, it's probably not Harris' best couple of weeks.

Swift moved well, swiftly, when the photos broke doing all the things we should do when we break up with someone:

  • Unfollow and unfriend ex on all the social media;
  • Remove all evidence you were ever an item from social media - even though youlooked freakin' amazing in all those pics (NOT an excuse after all);
  • Move on with someone else - preferably James Bond - first;
  • Kept it cool and not respond to comments from the ex.
Comments, you ask? OH YES - Harris, upon seeing the photos, took to Twitter in what we can only imagine was a jealous rage and posted this message to Taylor:

What do the skulls even mean??
... and then of course very quickly deleted it, but not before a whole bunch of screen shots were taken and sent to media outlets (bless). Sorry Calvin, you lost that round of social media break-up sparring.

My only concern here is - and of course I'm really pleased Taylor Swift isn't crying over a break-up - that this is all a little too soon for Taylor to move on. After all, we need her to write another guilty-pleasure album (followed up with a world tour) about break-ups and going crazy over boys. Sure, the happy songs are great but so are the stab-a-cake songs! On the plus side, it might be a vengeful, indignant album which we haven't really seen from Swift (other than We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together). 

Really, we just want to ensure Taylor Swift does not do us out of an album that lyrically dishes on what went wrong with Harris, and how she was wooed by this new man I have never heard of (#outoftheloop). And meanwhile - does this mean T-Swizzle is lining up to be a Bond girl?

Pick me!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Happy Friday: You GO Girl

You take with the good with the bad. This week has been a crap week to be pregnant (for me), but a great week to be a woman (for me, as well as the bunch of us).

I recently received a scholarship to complete an executive women's leadership course, and I started the week off at one of our first face-to-face workshops. It was interesting and inspiring to meet so many women plugging away either with their own businesses or at pushing through that glass ceiling which magically appears just when you think it doesn't exist in your world. As Ita Buttrose said in a keynote speech I attended at a networking breakfast I attended a few years ago:

"If you haven't experienced the glass ceiling, you haven't gone far enough in your organisation yet." 

Quite right.

Sitting beside me at the leadership course was a 36 year old business owner whose husband brought her 5 month old in during the breaks so she could breast feed. I found it very inspiring to see her going about her business and family life in a way that seemed to be working - albeit a constant juggle, and with a huge amount of assistance from a supportive spouse. Amongst a whole bunch of pearls of wisdom that she offered up (top one being: get a lactation consultant), she confessed that she hated her first-born for the first 8 months of his life because she felt like he'd hijacked her life. I think I can understand that... ;o)

But even better news for females everywhere was the news that Hillary Clinton had clinched the Democratic nomination to run for President in the US elections this November. Overnight Barack Obama officially endorsed Hillary Clinton to be his successor as President of the United States. Here's hoping she wins, because the Trump just seems like a terrifying prospect for the role.

To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want—even president. Tonight is for you. -H

But Hillary's spin at campaigning for President (her second - she ran against Obama in 2008) has shown an ugly side to some of the attitudes that persist on how we treat women and expect them to behave. Some of my male friends and male commentators in the media who say "Bernie would just be better" have no reason for backing up their statements, and I can't help but wonder why.

I came across this Huffington Post article (which discusses more broadly competency bias and impostor syndrome in women) which goes some way to explaining why:

Hillary Clinton’s list of accomplishments puts her in the top echelons of high achieving women. Not only was she the first female partner at a major law firm, but she went on to serve as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, U.S. Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. She ran for president in 2008, and now, eight years later, she’s doing it again. ... Hillary Clinton has earned consistently high approval ratings in each of her government positions. In 2013, as Secretary of State, her 69% approval rating made her the most popular politician in the country. But ... the moment Clinton hits the campaign trail for any kind of political office, her approval rating crashes. Why? Writer Sady Doyle sums it up like this:

Campaigning is not succeeding. It’s asking for success, and for power. To campaign is to publicly claim that you are better than the others (usually white men) who want the same job, and that a whole lot of people should work to place you in a more powerful position. In other words, campaigning is a transgressive act for women... Women who put themselves forward in the same assertive, confident style as men are routinely found pushy, “bitchy,” or unlikable, and professionally penalized for that, too. 

This is a paradox. The public has tremendous respect for Hillary Clinton as long as she has her head down and is working hard. But the moment she asks credit, acknowledgment, and a promotion, that admiration turns to vitriol. By confidently asking for what she wants, and stating why she deserves it, Clinton brings her competence into question.

It's equally saddening and frustrating to read those words. Worse, to know that they're probably pretty true. Males (and a stack of females too) can't articulate why "Bernie would be better", so one can only assume the roots of this view lie somewhere in this gender bias. But by pushing forward, gaining the nomination and PLEASE DEAR GOD the presidency, hopefully Clinton's hard work can speak for itself - and in doing so kick start a global discussion around women, their potential and expanding that limited box women so frequently get packed into.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Happy Friday: The Technology Surplus

All too often we can find ourselves swept out to sea by fear-mongerers and people threatened by change. To date, I think we are yet to see anything truly awful come of social disruptors like Uber - even though taxi companies and crusty old politicians would have us believe we'll all be out of pocket from our health insurers as we carve up the hospitals with our whiplash, or that we'll end up dead in the back of an Uber-driver's Prius. I don't think so.

I really love the sentiment outlined by Seth Godin in one of his precious thought bubbles this week:

When someone handed you a calculator for the first time, it meant that long division was never going to be required of you ever again. A huge savings in time, a decrease in the cognitive load of decision making.
Now what?
You can use that surplus to play video games and hang out.
Or you can use that surplus to go learn how to do something that can't be done by someone merely because she has a calculator.
Either way, your career as a long-divisionator was over.
Entire professions and industries are disrupted by the free work and shortcuts that are produced by the connection economy, by access to information, by robots. Significant parts of your job are almost certainly among them.
Now that we can get what you used to do really quickly and cheaply from someone else, you can either insist that you still get to do that for us at the same fee you used to charge, or you can move up the ladder and do something we can't do without you.
Imagine our world today if we'd never embraced fire... Without wood-fired pizza for a start!
Disruptors and advances in technology stretch us as a species to continue to develop and, hopefully, thrive. While all great change should be at a relatively measured pace (i.e. test that robot's ability to do the dishes without exploding before you put it in your kitchen full time), change should not be stifled due to fear of the redundancy of the human species or a demotion in our talents. We should see it for what it is: a challenge to rise to, a challenge that was, after all, set for us by a fellow human who saw fit to create, innovate and disrupt.

Go forth and be masterful!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Molten Metal

Raf Simons is one of Belgium's greatest exports (other than chocolate). Previously Creative Director at Jil Sanders, he is particularly well known for his (rather brief) star turn as Creative Director at Dior, with his first collection for the iconic fashion house being beautifully and most fascinatingly documented in Dior and I (if you haven't seen it, you really should).

Raf Simons and a gorgeous bunch of peonies, in France. What more could you ask for?

Since resigning from the fashion house (by all accounts on excellent terms) in order to, in his own words, "focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and passions that drive me outside my work".  

In addition to developing his own label (to be shown at Florence Fashion Week), Simons has collaborated a number of times with Adidas. His latest collection, released last week, is spectacularly metallic, and follows on from last year's gorgeous colours in the notorious Stan Smith shoe for Adidas.

Being a narcissist, I believe the "R" is designed specifically for me, however I think it is quite obviously not the case. In any event, I would love a pair, but retailing at a cool $500 a pop I am not entirely sure they will make it in to  my next online shopping cart... So sad.