Sunday, June 9, 2013

USA two ways

Hey y'all!

I know I haven't blogged in a golden age - partially that is because I am slack but it is also partially due to the fact that I have been on holidays in the States for the past three weeks.


Our time in the US was mostly split between shopping and checking out local bars and cafes in NYC, and chilling out and doing not much at all in Maui. While this was a perfect way to break up a holiday, it did make for interesting packing. Obviously, what works in New York ain't going to fly in Maui and vice versa.

For a start, there is the weather. Even though I was in New York for the end of Spring/ early Summer, someone had forgotten to pass this news on to the weather. It rained a whole bunch and on some days it was downright freezing (apparently it actually snowed in Upstate New York at one point). I had not really packed for this, so had to do some very creative layering.

Maui on the other hand basically served up a week of absolutely perfect weather (and from what the braggy locals told me, it does that the whole year round). So swimsuit, denim cutoffs, sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and not much else.

My iPod also had to be loaded with tunes that were appropriate for both locations. (That is normal, isn't it? Other people make location-specific playlists when they go on holidays, right?)

New York look:

  • Blackmilk leggings in Snake Pit
  • Deadly Ponies Mr Night Owl bag and Sparrow Foot necklace
  • American Apparel boyfriend t-shirt
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil eyeliner in Perversion
  • Other random cute things from places I now forget

New York soundtrack:
  • Patti Smith
  • The Strokes
  • Crystal Castles
  • The Ramones
  • Marina & The Diamonds
  • Jay-Z
  • Robyn
  • The Kills

Maui look:

  • Blackmilk Ribs Black swimsuit
  • Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Sunscreen with Green Tea SPF 45 (covering every square inch!)
  • St Tropez Bronzing Mousse (so as not to blind the locals with my extreme whiteness)
  • Butter London nail lacquer in Fiver
  • Locally made lei 

Maui playlist:
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Beach Boys
  • Santigold
  • Joan As Policewoman 
  • Cocteau Twins
  • Bjork
  • Lana Del Rey 
  • Bob Marley
  • Bat For Lashes

Altogether, it was pretty much a perfect Summer break! Now back to the reality of work and the Sydney winter (which really isn't that bad considering - I think that it is still warmer here than it was on those few days in NYC!).

Aloha! xox

Monday, April 1, 2013

Quality or quantity? I want both!

I know I have mentioned my shopping addiction before. It is not something I have managed to get under control. Mostly because I don't want to.

Husband makes murmurings now and then about me "always having shopping bags" or "running out of space" but I don't take him too seriously. The truth is, buying pretty, new things makes me happy. And he likes me to be happy. So, I shop. Win-win.

Well, mostly win for me but still - win.

But because I don't actually like to spend heaps of money, I have got into the bad habit of buying lots of cute, cheap things. Mostly online, with my biggest enablers being ASOS and Urban Outfitters. I basically sit on the couch and binge on junk fashion. Sweet, sweet, junky fashion.

Which is fine except that a lot of it only gets worn a few times before it starts not to look so great anymore. Or I buy it on sale but they didn't have my actual size so I bought one size up or down and it doesn't actually fit me that well - so it gets maybe one trip to the outside world before being retired to the back of the wardrobe.

My shopping isn't just done online though - I also like to buy stuff in my lunch hour, especially if there are sales or if I can just grab a couple of plain tanks or t-shirts. (Because you can't have enough basics, right? Well - IT TURNS OUT YOU ACTUALLY CAN!)

But this is starting to get to me. Because I also like to think I am somewhat of an environmentalist. Binge shopping on stuff I only wear a few times is totally contrary to this. Does this make me a mysterious woman, full of contradictions and impossible to define? Hmmmm - no, pretty sure it just makes me full of shit.

I had to do something about this.  And do you know how I decided to fix it?

I went shopping!

Yeah. Seriously. But wait - there was some kind of logic behind this, I swear!

I wanted to buy some pieces that were actually good quality - stuff that I could wear again and again, in beautiful fabrics, great finishes and that weren't going to go out of fashion after one season. And when I saw the Rittenhouse pop up store in Newtown, I knew I would find what I wanted.

Rittenhouse is a Sydney-based label. They use gorgeous fabrics (usually Italian or Japanese) but are all manufactured in Australia. Everything has a super-easy, casual aesthetic but the fabrics, detailing and finish make all the pieces feel special.

I was just going to buy this black dress. It feels gorgeous, I can wear it to work and is super comfortable. I hate most "corporate" clothes because they are SO uncomfortable - while this means I sometimes end up trying to disguise a t-shirt with a nice necklace, whenever I find something that is both comfortable and professional, I can't pass it up.

But then I also found this jumper/ top:

I have avoided navy for a long time because it was my school colour - so navy jumpers were an especially big "no". But the neckline and pockets on this were just too cute. Also, it was on sale - hooray! The pleather leggings, on the other hand, were a classic online purchase. $30 from Urban Outfitters! Yeah!

While I was at Rittenhouse, I also HAD to buy a tank. Not because I need any more. (Noooo - I have about a billion in fact. Mostly in black, grey and formerly-white-but-now-greyish.) But because Rittenhouse tanks and t-shirts are AMAZING. I only bought one. Which means I was very restrained and good.

(BTW I bought the leopard print bra in the sales at Myer. It is Sass & Bide. Turns out, they make gorgeous lingerie. If only they would stop making dog-ugly leggings and harem pants and just focus on the knickers.)

And finally - I grabbed this scarf as an impulse buy on the way out. I am not normally a scarf person but this one was just so nice and I like the idea of being a scarf person. And this one adds colour to my wardrobe which is something I always intend to do but usually fail at. Also, it was on sale. Woot!

White t-shirt is one of the many I have bought from Urban Outfitters. The jeans are Joe's Jeans - I got them in a sample sale but they are probably my favouritist pair ever. The sneakers are another junk, impulse purchase from ASOS - I have actually worn them heaps though so that was a bonus because I really didn't put too much thought into them when I bought them.

All of this would be super if I hadn't gone out THE VERY NEXT DAY and bought more stuff.


In addition to the Sass and Bide bra, I also bought a cheap, junk item from TopShop. Again, in the sales. Ugh! I am so weak!

But seriously - this skirt cost me $17. How could I not?

So it might be silvery and quite fitted and, husband informs me, a bit see-through. But it goes with my new tank and, let's not forget, it was $17!!!!!!

And then I bought this jacket. Which wasn't on sale. And wasn't cheap. But it is so nice and I have wanted a Chanel-looking black jacket forever. This Maison Scotch one is just the ticket. So I bought it.

And if it isn't bad enough that I bought all these things, I then forced my husband to take photos of me as I flitted about the house trying them all on. Poor husband.

Now I just need to find somewhere to put all of this stuff...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My personal 90s revival

I was so inspired by yesterday's post, that I decided to go all out today. I think I covered pretty much every 90s trend in one outfit.

Flannel shirt: Stylestalker
Bodysuit: Mink Pink
Denim shorts: Levis 501s cutoff and shredded to perfection
Tights: Ambra opaques - also shredded to perfection :)
Platform boots: Zigi (would have been better if they were my old cherry Docs though)
Glass heart-shaped pendant: Valley markets in Brisbane (the lady who sold it to me told me it was genuine ruby - pretty good buy for $5 then!!!)
Wooden heart-shaped ring: Dangerfield
Lips: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Adore
Nails: OPI Gelcolor in Light My Sapphire


I must admit though that I pre-empted the weather a bit this morning. Just because it is raining and overcast does not mean that Sydney in February is going to feel like Seattle. Maybe I should just stand in front of a fridge for a while?

Anyhoo, I am signing off now so I can listen to Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and Babes in Toyland and dream of a better time. A time when we were all bored, apathetic and complained about the banality of mainstream culture.


Well - at least the music was better then, right?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Doing the 90s right

The 90s revival thing still seems to be going strong. Just ask Miley.

When it first started, I must admit I was a little confused. How can there be a revival already? It was only the 90s a few years ago!

But that's not true, is it? It was a long time ago. So long ago, that there are now interns at my firm who were actually born in the 90s. Seriously. What. The. Hell.

And as is the case with all these retro trends, it is being embraced most enthusiastically by those who are too young to remember what it was all about the first time. And so it is that you get tragic events like the following occurring: 

As if Kurt doesn't have enough crap to disappoint him posthumously, now he has a generation of kids wearing his t-shirts without any clue as to who he actually is. Joy.

But while I have been a tad cynical about the whole thing, it occurred to me today as I tried on a black, crushed stretch velvet, scoop-neck dress that would go perfect with a pair of 12 hole cherry Docs - maybe this isn't all bad. I mean, I fricking LOVED the 90s. Why not fully embrace them again? 

Except this time, I know better! And also, thanks to the interwebs and the fact that I actually have money this time around, I will be able to do it better. No more op-shop grandpa pants that have the alluring smell of pee and mothballs. No more cardigans that are way too big for me (usually because they were my dad's). No more blotting my red shiny lipstick with brown eyeshadow to get the perfect rusty matt shade, which, in all honesty, looked nothing like it was actually from the Poppy lipstick range. No more squeezing into kids t-shirts to get that shrunken look. 

Now, I can just spend the cashola on 90s inspired gear that actually looks good! 

Not that all 90s gear was cute, right Angela Chase?

How did she manage to snare Jordan Catalano in that get up, amiright? 

Also, not all the new 90s inspired clothes have improved things - just take a squizz at some of the checkered abominations in the Dries Van Noten Spring 2013 show:


I am going to have to rely on my fave 90s style icons for inspiration - but update the looks to make them more relevant/less ugly.

Here is the hit list:

1. Courtney Love

Many people have many opinions about Courtney but personally I adore her. And while she doesn't always hit the mark fashion-wise, she has these moments of truly inspired style perfection. Especially back in the 90s when she was more rock-goddess and less crazy-lady.


I particularly love her makeup. Her lipstick was the greatest. I am going to be using Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Adore to get a similar shade with great staying power but that also makes my lips feel good. Such a strong lip looks great against peroxide, white hair too. 

What I won't be doing though is the overly cutesy dresses. I think they worked in an ironic way back in the days of the Riot Grrls but don't think it works as well anymore. Especially not on anyone over 20. Which rules me out big time.

2. Winona Ryder

I don't know what has really happened with Winona recently. I mean, she was kind of cool in Black Swan and even as Spock's mum in Star Trek, but she still hasn't managed to get anywhere near her former glory.

And man - was she glorious! In the 90s, Winona was basically the queen of all things awesome. I mean, she made Kate Moss seem like a sad, runners-up prize - no easy feat! Absolutely no one even came close to her.





I would wear all of these looks today exactly as they are. The only thing I would do differently is talk Johnny out of the yellow suit. 

She also makes me miss having black hair. Sadly it doesn't suit my colouring anymore quite like it did Winona. Although, even now, she can't really pull off having it that dark. As you get older, having pitch-black hair tends to cast unforgiving shadows over your face, making it look even more sallow and tired than it is. Which is probably why I have chosen to go the complete opposite with platinum.

And she rocked red lipstick like nobody's business. Want to try a bright red, matte lipstick? Try NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Mascate or Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Fascinante. 

I also very much so want the jacket in the last photo. Very cool.

3. Drew Barrymore

It was actually harder than I anticipated to find photos of Drew from the 90s with all her clothes on. She tended to get photographed in her bra A LOT. 

But when she did wear clothes, she looked super-duper cute. I especially love how she styled her Levis 501 - back then we used to wear actual boys jeans though rather than the "boyfriend" girls jeans that you can get now. 

The belt was usually a necessity rather than an accessory - my 501s used to fall down if I didn't wear a belt they were so baggy. Now that isn't such a big issue because the boyfriend style jeans are made to look baggy but actually fit you where it counts. Which is nice. Current/Elliott do some really great boyfriend style jeans - you can buy them via Wear them with a pair of beat up Converse Chuck Taylors or One Stars or even with a pair of Docs.

I am definitely loving the midriff tops - and they are everywhere this season. I figure you never know how long you have to show your belly off like that before it looks all mushy - so I am going to wear them while I can. I especially like the stripy one in the second photo.

And I have always loved the white singlet with jeans or cut-off jean shorts. Simple but always looks chic. I probably look chicer in my head than in reality actually - in my head I look like Cindy Crawford in that old Pepsi advert. What is life without a healthy dose of delusion, hmm? 

One thing I will NOT be doing again though is copying Drew's razor thin eyebrows in the second photo. Check out this old blog post if you want to see what happened the first time. 

4. Bjork 

In terms of style, she is probably best known for that swan dress that she wore to the Oscars. But when she started her solo career in the early 90s, her style was quirky-cute and surprisingly easy to emulate. 



Slip dresses, fuzzy jumpers, acid bright colours and asian influences - all still chic and all show just a little bit of quirk without having to go the full swan. 

The messy hair knots are still cute too and have been seen in recent fashion campaigns, like DKNY for Opening Ceremony:

So 90s it hurts. 

I also LOVE Bjork's eyebrows. I wish I had paid more attention to them in the 90s instead of Drew's. Dammit. 

Ok, so that is the direction I will be taking. Now all I need to do is drop some serious cashola. And when it comes to the 90s revival, no one is doing better than Urban Outfitters. Seriously. Just check out their Spring Lookbook. It is almost scary. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hot gothic

We have been having something of a heatwave in Sydney for the last couple of weeks. And it isn't looking like it will change anytime soon.

Now I am a big fan of the sun and the heat. Especially if I am at the beach. But it isn't something that goes well with my obsession with all things black, shiny and/ or tight. Nor is it good for my ever-expanding collection of big, black boots.

But just because the temperatures are getting up to 40 degrees celsius doesn't mean I have to give up on being a hot little goth altogether. I just have to change things up a little.

So here are my essentials for getting your goth on in the summertime:

  1. SUNSCREEN!!! Cannot stress this enough. Even if you don't mind getting a bit of a tan (or, if you are like me, getting freckly) you need to cover up with sunscreen. And not just your face - your shoulders, d├ęcolletage, arms - anything that is on display. Make it a 30 spf and preferably a non-greasy formula so it doesn't go all slimey when you sweat. 
  2. Waterproof makeup - especially your eyeliner and mascara. I actually don't wear foundation in the summer - just a bit of concealer wherever I need it. But I still wear dark make-up. So long as it is waterproof, you don't have to worry about it running down your face - even if you decide to jump in the ocean or get involved in an impromptu water fight. 
  3. Wear light, flowy fabrics - preferably natural fibres. About 90% of my weekend wardrobe is tight and made of some kind of synthetic. If it is super hot though, I try to avoid them and go for something that sits away from my body a bit. Long cotton skirts and dresses are ace. Short ones can be cute too of course. They are still going to be black though. Just because the sun is shining is no reason to break out the pastels!
  4. Forget about wearing PVC or leather. Or corsets. Just - don't. 
  5. Still layer on the jewellery - it will make it easier to leave the bondage boots and corset at home. 
  6. Find a cute hat that you actually like to wear. Or, better yet, a parasol! Because, while sunscreen is good, getting full coverage is even better! Keep that skin pale, young-looking and cancer free my friend.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolutions that don't suck

Christmas is done.

Time to put down that mince pie and start thinking about the new year that you are about to embark on.

Because no matter how crappy last year was for you, 2013 has something that 2012 hasn't got:


Which is why, at the end of each year, we all feel compelled to come up with a list of things that we are currently failing miserably at with the hope that this will somehow make us more focussed on doing things differently in the new year.

Unfortunately though, notwithstanding best intentions, most people manage maybe a couple of weeks of sticking to their resolutions before going back to their old ways. At least until next year, when they start to think about it all over again.

I have a pretty woeful record myself. Giving up caffeine, going vegan (I ended up doing this but not off the back of a new year's resolution), exercising more, focussing on my career, reading more - all of them managed to keep me interested until about January 5 before the drudgery of day to day life made keeping my new resolutions seem unimportant and, to be honest, a bit of a pain in the arse.

Last year I had a pretty massive list of things to change or improve on in 2012. I wanted to do more yoga, eat better, be more organised, try new things, spend more time with friends and family, give more to charity (but do proper research first so my money went where it would help the most), draw, write, dance, sing and read more, see more bands, see more theatre blah blah blah. It was ridiculous. Way too much stuff to focus on for 5 days.

But each one was actually important to me so I didn't want to just give up on them all together either.

So, rather than set myself up to fail (again) I decided that I would spread them out over the whole year instead. I picked one thing that I wanted to work on for each month of the year. This way, I wouldn't have to feel guilty about something that was on the list just because I hadn't done it in January - I knew I would be getting to it later on in the year (maybe)!

For example, February was all about work - getting more organised, finding out what training sessions were on, looking into getting an executive coach etc. I didn't have to get it all done by a particular date or anything - I just had to think about what I wanted to improve about my work life in February and set a few things in motion. September was devoted to yoga - so I decided I would try to do yoga at least once a day for the whole month (I think I missed three days), tried out different classes and signed up for online classes on YogaGlo so I could do more yoga at home.

I made a big calendar with all the different resolutions set out on it at the start of the year and I stuck it up in my office. All year long I would look at it to see what was coming up or maybe what I had accidentally skipped (oops!). Sometimes I would even get really excited about it - like the month that was all about culture where I got to book tickets to see lots of different plays, bands, talks etc that were coming up.

It wasn't a total success - some resolutions got pretty much ignored - but it was definitely better than my attempts in previous years. And I kept doing things all year long so it was a far more achievable and balanced than the usual approach.

And this year, I am doing it again! Here is what I have got so far:

It is going to be a HUGE yoga year for me as I am starting my teacher training - so it gets TWO months dedicated to it.

The "finance" month is part self-imposed and part husband-imposed. Apparently I buy too many clothes. I mean, really! While I am not conceding the point, I do think that I should start planning my expenses better and maybe we could start saving for... something. I don't know. Husband mentioned an investment property but I am thinking a Chanel LBJ (little black jacket for those not in the know).

Either way, April should be... interesting.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Heaven knows I'm miserable now

The other week was a really shitty week. Nothing incredibly bad happened to me or anything like that. I just kind of bounced from one shitty thing to another and it left me feeling flat. Actually, if I am to be totally honest, it left me in a blubbering, snotty ball. Have you ever seen a goth, or even a demi-goth like me, crying? Picture something like this:


Not a good look. Not to mention a massive waste of eyeliner and mascara.

I know that life is full of up and downs and what-not and that we all go through these dark periods. But that doesn't stop it from being sucky when it is happening to you. Especially when it is happening around Christmas, which is one of my favourite times of year.

And while, back when I was a teenager and even in my 20s, I perversely kind of enjoyed wallowing in my own black pit of despair, now I've got stuff to do! I really don't have the time, or the appetite, for anything so self-destructive and self-indulgent.

Now, instead of grabbing a tub of ice-cream, listening to Morrisey for hours on end and watching episodes of Felicity until I literally can't cry anymore (or until I can't handle another second of Felicity flip-flopping over Ben and Noel), I have a few little things that I like to do to ease me out of my funk and back onto smiley street.

1. Hang with my cats
Pets are awesome. They are way better than people. They don't judge you. They don't care if you aren't totally kicking it in your career, your haircut is a bit dodgy or if you stay in every night eating cereal and updating your Tumblr. They just want food, sleep and cuddles. So long as you don't forget the food, they will give you all the love you could ask for.

So whenever I come home after work, all miserable and sooky, I like to spend time with my cats - and pretty soon stuff starts to seem a little bit less crappy.

Because how can a world be bad when you are looking at these furry little faces?

It can't. Fact.

Pretty sure this will work with dogs too. Dogs are fabulous at lavishing undivided attention on you and acting like you are the most important and exciting person in the entire world. Kinda hard to stay stroppy if you are getting that much pet love.

Don't have a kitty or a dog? No worries. Even though I have two of my own, I still like to give random cats that live on my street a good little belly rub and lots of pats. I also like going up to strange (and hopefully friendly) dogs on the street or in the park and giving them lots of pats too. It makes me feel lovely.

Pets truly do rock.

2. Do some yoga
When you are all stressy and down, sometimes it is hard just to get out of bed let alone do some kind of exercise.

But experience has taught me that I will feel soooo much better if I make the effort to drag myself onto my mat and do some yoga - even half an hour can help immensely. Yoga is great because it allows you to focus on your breath and connect with your body which has an immediate calming effect. It stops the chatter in your mind and slows everything right down. Plus you are doing something positive for yourself and your well-being which is uplifting in itself.

While I choose to do yoga as my go-to form of exercise, really doing any kind of physical activity that allows you to get out of your head and give you some space will help. I used to go running, do some boxing or take a dance class and they all worked too. But even just going for a walk would do the job. Just move your body. Exercising can also have the added benefit of physically removing yourself from your usual environment which starts a shift in your mood and helps you get to a better place.

3. Retail therapy
Big surprise, right?

I think the reason retail therapy works for me is that it reminds me of some of the good stuff that comes with being an adult - spending money on useless, pretty things. And given that most of my grumps are usually the product of dealing with all the crap that comes with being a grown-up, indulging in some of good things can bring me a little bit of happy.

Or at the very least it will mean that I can look cute while I am depressed. Win!

It just so happened that Black Milk Clothing was having a massive sale on the first day of my crappy week. I already had a couple of their swimsuits but had always coveted their sexy-ass leggings. And given that I was a blubbering mess and in desperate need of a pick-me-up, I thought I would spoil myself with a couple of pairs (well they were half-price so really it would have been silly to just buy one pair).

And I love them so! Especially these Bone Machine 2.0 ones. Meow!!!

Yes, they break the "leggings are not pants" rule. But when leggings are this awesome, who really cares? Plus, they make me feel rad - so job well done leggings!

4. Watch one of my go-to dvds
There are three particular DVDs that I like to watch when I am feeling stressed and/or sad. And each one has a specific purpose.

When I am feeling unsure of the direction that my life is taking or thinking that I should be more successful than I am, I like to watch Reality Bites.

Watching the life of promising, hopeful and ridiculously gorgeous Lelaina (played by Winona Ryder) completely fall apart and then seeing her eventually crawl out from under the bell jar never fails to give me a happy. (Actually, all we know at the end of the film is that she ends up with Troy. But I like to think that she also finds the perfect job - one that is both challenging and provides her with creative freedom and satisfaction.)

If, however, I am being stomped on by an evil oppressor (usually a boss-figure of some kind) or think that my job is just generally a bit awful, I will watch The Devil Wears Prada. Because next to working for Miranda Priestly - most jobs start to look pretty ok.

(Mind you, my job doesn't come with free designer clothes and trips to Paris. Erm - perhaps it is best not to over-think these things.)

Finally, whenever I am feeling like the odd one out at work and like no one expects me to succeed because I don't really fit in (which is how I feel most of the time at work), I like to watch Legally Blonde. And this is exactly how I was feeling the other week.

Even though I am not the perky, blonde, Barbie doll type, I can totally relate to Elle Wood's character in that movie. And seeing her kick total butt makes me feel totally sparky and motivated to kick some butt of my own.

My husband is well-aware of the magical effects that these three movies have. As soon as I came home, close to tears and looking exhausted, he handed me a cat, ordered my favourite vegan pizza and put Legally Blonde in the DVD player. He is definitely a keeper.

By watching Legally Blonde, spending time with my lovely kitties (and, yes - my husband too), doing a whole lot of yoga and dropping cash online on some sweet-ass leggings, after a few days I was able to drag myself out of my funk and got back to being the awesome me that I am.

Now everything is wonderful again. And just in time for Christmas too! Hooray!!!!!!!!