Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Brisbane - it's ok!

If you know me IRL, you may have heard me banging on about how crap Brisbane is and how glad I am that I have now moved to the far more awesome city of Sydney. This is mainly because I felt trapped in Brisbane for sooooo long that I had completely lost sight of any charm that it has. Also, it is a bit crap.

But about a month ago, I decided to go back there for the weekend. Not because I missed the place though - I went back because I missed the absolutely gorgeous people who still call Brisbane home. That's right. Not everyone has left Brisbane and those that are left there happen to be some of the most fab people that I have ever known.

What I did not expect, however, was that I would not only get to enjoy the company of these awesome people but that I would also enjoy some amazing shopping! Not exactly something you head to Brisbane for if we are being honest - the city's look tends mostly to comprise of denim skirts, singlets and thongs (for Summer) and denim skirts, singlets, ugg boots and a scarf (for those couple of days in Winter when it gets a bit chilly).

I wanted to give a shout out to a couple of shops in particular that I used to love to frequent when I lived in Brisbane and that seem to have gotten even more super over the last couple of years:

Dogstar is a local label that have made gorgeous, unique clothes for ages. And the current season seems to be the best yet. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be carried in many Sydney shops (that I have found, anyway) but they have a few amazing shops in Brisbane (City, Paddington, New Farm...). I am planning to take advantage of their online store in between visits to Queensland.

I picked up this skirt while I was there:
Source: www.dogstar.com.au
(Now obviously, it is not me in this photo - I look pretty cute in it but this model is way hotter and also taller.)

This skirt is from Dogstar's current season. I really love how they styled it here too. Not how I rock it but it is still very cool. I wear it higher on my waist with a little black cropped singlet that is tied to show the top of my belly and my ribs (and, conveniently, my new tattoo!). And with big boots. It makes me happy.

I wouldn't have minded grabbing the dress in the same print too and could have grabbed a few other dresses while I was at it but it was literally the first shop that I went into and I didn't want to blow all my cash before the weekend had even gotten started. Which is a good thing, because the next shop also liberated quite a bit of cash from me and it would have been a tragedy to have gone in there with nothing left in the ol' wallet.

Bessie Head
Bessie Head has been around for a while but it seems to have grown up a bit over the last few years. It now carries some of the most amazing labels (Deadly Ponies, Ellery, Friedrich Gray, Therese Rawsthorne etc etc) and the layout of the shop is dark and slick - perfect for inducing a shopping-frenzy that ended with me feeling a little dazed but very, very satisfied also.

They have a great range of accessories and other pretty things too. I picked up this little fella while I was there:

Sadly, their website doesn't really show much - but they have a blog!  It is pretty good too. Check it.

Now, I am not saying that this shopping extravaganza has changed my mind about Brisbane and that I now long to move back there or anything crazy like that. And obviously the shopping in Sydders and Melbs is still ahead of the game when it comes to fashion.

But Brisbane is catching up - and fast!

PS - Much love and thanks to my Brisbane shopping companions, Bron and Jas. You guys would make shopping in any city a total blast!  xox

Sunday, December 19, 2010

All I want for Christmas...

I had a lot of trouble this year working out what it was that I wanted to get for Christmas from the husband. We tend not to do the whole surprise thing much because it usually leads to disappointment. So we ask for what we want off each other and then we are super-duper happy on the big day.

Now I ended up asking for some pretty sweet things and will be well happy when I unwrap them. But the things that I really, really, REALLY want for Christmas aren't the sorts of things he can get me. At least not from the new Westfields in Sydney... They are the more in the realm of "Christmas miracles" I'm afraid.

So in case there really is a Santa Claus, here is my actual Christmas wish list:

  • A job in New York (like a proper job - I am so not going to be able to live the way I want to live in New York if I work at Starbucks or in a book shop or something)
  • Blake Lively's teeth - and, while I am at it, her legs too
  • A good justification for how I can be a vegan and still have an addiction to gorgeous leather handbags and shoes
  • If I can't have the one above, I at least want a vegan Birkin handbag in orange or purple (hey - if Dior can make Natalie Portman some vegan shoes, why not?). Oh - that reminds me - some vegan Louboutins too!
  • A book deal - or a regular magazine column. For a magazine in NYC of course
  • An apartment that looks just the way I want it to and is a perfect reflection of my personality (oh - and I guess the husband's too) but without me really having to think about what that would look like. Preferably, the apartment would be located in Soho, the Village or anywhere in Paris.
  •  A pony
  • Skinny jeans that don't make me look like a giant, denim-clad carrot
  • The time to perform in musicals again (and a few choice roles wouldn't go astray - Eponine, maybe?)
  • Alexa Chung's wardrobe. And her aversion to food so I can fit into it all
  • A black pug dog and two black whippets (but they must get along with my cats!)
  • To be French (I am assuming this will come with the ability to speak French too)
  • World peace or something like that to balance out the superficiality of all the above wishes
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph

Really - am I asking too much? Probably. But I have been oh so good this year so I am thinking Santa will bring me at least something from the above list.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease let it be the pony!!!!

Merry Christmas you guys!!!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Festival insanity

So I would first like to acknowledge up front that I totally get that festivals are really the domain of the young - the awful, fearless, tanned, lean, non-working, long-haired young. And yes, maybe the following are merely the foolish ramblings of a bitter, no longer with it, 30-something who, a few times a year, likes to try to recapture her raging youth by seeing some bands in a field with about 50-odd thousands teens who are all high on life and various substances. 

And maybe I should just enjoy the bloody things rather than whinging about a) the fact that the tickets are SO expensive now; b) the line-up being crap and “not as good as they used to be” (you know, when you could see the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Bjork , Primus, The Ramones and the Breeders for, like, $40); how fricking YOUNG everyone seems to be; and d) how ridiculously and inappropriately all of these kids dress.

I get all of that. But I would still like to have a whinge, if you don’t mind – particularly in relation to the last point.

Honestly, though, what the hell are the kids at festivals thinking when they get dressed? I mean, teenagers look pretty stupid most of time – it is like part of the job description – but the level of stupidity seems to be cranked up to 10 at these events. 

There is this whole scene around festival dressing. The fashion magazines do these spreads on “Summer Festival Fashion” or some such crap so that all the girls who are heading to a festival know what to wear. I assume that these girls are only attending because their boyf or bff happens to actually give a crap about the bands and they are just tagging along to look cool by association or because they are being forced to – thus causing the dilemma that has seen them running to Cosmo or, if they are mildly cool in a predictable sort of way, Yen in order to work out what to wear to the Big Day Out.

As far as I can tell, the writers of these articles have never actually been to a festival. Or, if they have, they stayed in one spot all day and had access to some kind of magical toilet, unavailable to the rest of the heaving, sweaty mass, with a mirror, great lighting and a hairdryer as well as a never ending supply of super-soft toilet paper. For the rest of us, however, these misguided lists of the latest “boho” designer wear will only come in handy when you do, inevitably, get stuck in a stinky port-a-loo at the festival which ran out of toilet paper sometime around the second act.

Not only are the clothing and accessories that they suggest usually impractical, they also tend to be stupidly expensive.  Burberry gumboots anyone? Or how about a fringed sass+bide singlet? This doesn’t really take into account the fact that you will end up ripping off the boots because they make your feet all sweaty in the extreme heat and that you may decide, in your infinite, alcohol-impaired wisdom, to discard the singlet somewhere along the way too.

I always to tend to try to dress for festivals in way that makes the most sense in light of what intend to get up to on the day. If I am likely to be in a mosh-y mood, I will wear a t-shirt (shoulder coverage to stop me getting burnt and I usually pick a fitted one so it is less likely to get ripped or let some random’s hands up it), jeans (old ones so that it doesn’t bother me if I get blood or vomit on them and maybe with a belt if I think there is a risk that they could get pulled down) and docs or something similar (boots are necessary so I don’t lose my shoes and it doesn’t hurt as much when my feet get trampled). If I am unlikely to go in the mosh pit, then I might wear a skirt or shorts but it is never anything too fancy.  

But this is just what works for me - I don’t necessarily think it is what everyone should be wearing. So instead of coming up with my own list of things to wear to a festival, I thought I would come up with a list of things NOT to wear – all of which are based on things that I have seen girls actually wearing, usually with tragic, tragic results.

  • Don’t wear anything expensive or that you really care about – festivals are pretty crazy places and you never know where you (or your clothes) will end up.
  • This is especially true for accessories – designer handbags, sunnies, hats etc . Sure, you may have seen pictures of Alexa Chung rocking out at Coachella with her quilted Chanel bag across her body but she is richer than you are and her boyfriend is in a band so she probably has access to all sorts of great backstage areas and lackeys who will guard her bag while she dances around with Lou Doillon.
  • If you are going anywhere near a mosh pit or up front near a stage, don’t wear a skirt. (I am not going to say you will be “asking” for trouble but you may end up with a strange hand up your skirt and you won’t know whether it was the cute, indie boy next to you that you keep accidentally bumping up against or the feral, 40-odd year old on acid behind you who you have been desperately trying to get away from.)
  • Re-think that long, hippie dress that you think will make you look all whimsical and free – one trip to a port-a-loo will tell you why.
  • Avoid flip-flops or sandals – even if you don’t plan on moshing or dancing, your feet will get stamped on and you will walk through some questionable things. Your feet will also look minging by the end of the day.
  • Never wear just a bikini top – it isn’t that hot and you will receive a nasty sunburn and unwelcome gropes for all of your trouble. Put a shirt on for God's sake.
  • Heels/wedges don’t belong ANYWHERE near a festival. I don’t care which festival you are going to – this is just dumb.
  • Unless you plan on staying very still, don’t wear a crap load of makeup or it will end up sliding down your chin or all over your t-shirt before you even get through the gate. This is true even if Marilyn Manson is playing. He will understand. He is lovely like that.
Otherwise, go nuts and have fun. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ageing disgracefully

I turn 31 tomorrow.

But don't worry - I am handling things ok. Well - better than I did when I turned 30 anyways. (Turning 30 essentially involved me having a complete mental breakdown and only a new designer handbag managed to pull me out of my funk. Pretty bag though - well worth the emotional distress.)

One thing that has been increasingly on my mind as I age though is whether the clothes that I choose to wear continue to be age-appropriate. Or have I turned into one of those sad women who desperately cling to their youth by wearing cut-off denim shorts, doc martins and getting new tattoos? Erm, actually - don't answer that.

I went shopping with my husband last weekend and was confronted with this question a few times. My husband LOATHES shopping but he does occasionally indulge me. I tell him that he has to come with me because he has such strong views about the things that I wear (shorts = bad, harem pants = evil).  So I make him sit on those horrible husband chairs in front of the change rooms while I try on various pieces and force him to make meaningful comments on each look. For example:

Me: How about this?

Him: Yeah, it looks ok.

Me: What does "ok" mean?

Him: I don't understand.

Me: Well, do you mean, "Ok, but you look kind of fat" or do you mean, "Ok, that is the one you should buy. We should also get you some cute new shoes to go with it"?

Him: I still don't understand.

Me: Ah, I see! Ok then. I look fat. Forget it. I'm not buying anything.

Him: I don't think I said that. Please don't make me do this anymore. I'm starting to get scared. (Actually, he doesn't say these things but this is kind of what his facial expressions conveyed. Oh, and panic.)

But last weekend, he did tell me what he thought about one particular dress - not until after we had left the shop mind you. Luckily I hadn't purchased it because, when I tried it on, he told me that it wasn't great and that he preferred the previous one that I had on. So I left feeling all happy with my new purchase and that is when he decided to tell me that he is glad that I didn't get the other dress because, realistically, I am getting a bit old for that sort of thing.

Surprisingly, I didn't get mad at him though because what he said kind of confirmed something that I had been thinking myself.  I have already culled a few looks from my wardrobe for fear that they should only be worn by those under 25 (short, short skirts, midriff anything, kilt skirts, knee socks etc etc). But while I don't want to wear things that I am too old for, I don't want to wear things that are too old for me either. I don't want to just wear "safe" things from now on just because I have hit this evil age starting with "3".  It is hard work making sure the balance is right and sometimes I just decide not to try things on if I think it is a bit too cutesy or too teen-agey. And then other times I think, "It's ok! I'm still hip! I can totally pull this kind of thing off still." and buy something odd in a leopard print or tartan.

So it turns out that I am actually happy that my husband didn't let me buy that black lycra dress with the bright pattern on it. (Yes, yes, ok - maybe it wasn't a great idea to begin with. I think I just wanted to prove that I was still thin enough to put it on...)

Hopefully my reaction to his comments (while I didn't get angry, I may have got more than a little depressed about it) hasn't scared him off from telling me the truth in the future... After all, it is kind of why I like him coming shopping with me in the first place...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallow's Eve!!

Happy Halloween you guys!

Halloween is like Christmas for me (and I freaking love Christmas so you can imagine just how excited I get this time of year!). I celebrated it last night some of my favourite peeps at a really fun gothic ball. Everyone dressed up for the occasion and looked absolutely stunning!
My favourite thing about Halloween is that I get to dress the way that I would love to dress every day of the week and also get to do gorgeous things with makeup. Here is a peek at how I looked last night - I think you can see why it isn't an everyday thing:

I hope everyone else had a great Halloween, ate lots and lots of candy and scared little children - all that good stuff! :)


Monday, October 25, 2010

I was punk, now I'm just...corporate?

I always kind of assumed I would work in a creative field - you know, have the kind of job where I could express my flair and individuality through my clothes and this would reflect how arty and talented I was. Like working in design or in fashion or maybe in an art gallery or something. Somehow, though, I have ended up in perhaps one of the most conservative, boring industries ever.

The uniform in my profession for girls goes something like this: plain suit (grey or black, pants or skirt - so long as the skirt isn't too short); business shirt (white or pale blue - occasionally you will see someone rocking out a stripey number if they are feeling super-bold); and black heels (not too high!!!!). Hair is usually in a low ponytail and sometimes you will be lucky enough to see someone sporting a black ribbon around their ponytail. For reals. It is rare, but a real treat.

It isn't like this all just kind of happened to me by accident though - I mean I knew what I was probably going to be in for when I started my degree. I was really mostly interested in actually getting a job at the end of university though and was kind of in denial about the whole suit thing. And couldn't things change by the time I graduated and entered the workforce? Nope. 'Fraid not.

People who know me outside of work are usually a bit surprised when I they find out what I do for a living. Especially if they knew me in high school or uni when I was going through one of my goth or punk phases.

When I first started working in corporate-land, I did try to conform as much as possible. I did the suit thing - I even tried ironing those nasty business shirts every morning so I would look very responsible and very professional and people would trust me to do... whatever it was that I was meant to be doing at the time. Casual Fridays used to just freak me out though. Nothing in my "weekend wardrobe" was really office appropriate so I ended up having to buy new, fairly dull casual Friday get-ups. It was the most depressing shopping EVER.

And even after all of that, I don't think I really ever fooled anyone at work. Even if I manage to dress normal, I can't seem to keep up "normal" conversation for very long and sooner or later something a bit odd will pop into the conversation and my cover is blown. This has resulted in some co-workers looking a little freaked, smiling anxiously at me as they quickly make their escape down the hall and then limiting their exposure to me in the future. No big losses in retrospect. It has, however, also resulted in me being able to find the other odd-balls and quirky personalities that had also been hiding out around the office. And the more of them that I met (including some of my bosses) the more I found I could relax and be myself at work and over time I have stopped worry so much about fitting into the corporate "mould".

My work style has evolved over time too. I don't think that I ever dress inappropriately - but I do try to dress in way that is still true to who I am and there is usually a little nod here and there to my out-of-work persona. (A tiny skull on a necklace, a pair of sky-high Louboutins or maybe some dark purple nail polish - although everyone seems to do that now.) And, obviously, a lot of black helps too. Also, my hair tends to give away the fact that I don't necessarily run with the pack. At the moment it is kind of a pale purpley-pink - I was still a bit nervous when my hairdresser revealed it in the mirror, thinking that maybe this time I had pushed things a bit too far, but it was actually received pretty well at the office.

Turns out, if you are half-way decent at your job, people will forgive you a bit of freakiness - within reason of course. Still not totally convinced that they would be happy with me getting a full-sleeve tattoo. Bummer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Don't touch your eyebrows - seriously

Like most fab girls of my vintage, when I was in high school, I thought Drew Barrymore was pure awesomeness. In fact, I still kind of do. She was sassy, cool, sexy, funny, and adorable – everything teenage-me wanted to be. In fact, I still kind of do.

At some point, however, I decided that the things that were getting in the way of me being just as awesome with Drew were my eyebrows. They were too big! You see, at the time, Drew was rocking some pencil-thin eyebrows à la those that adorned the face of silent film star, Clara Bow. They were edgy, yet sophisticated. They would look awesome on me.

Or so I thought.

In my attempt to look like this:

I ended up doing this to myself:


Thankfully, in a fit of honesty, my sister’s boyfriend ended up asking me one day why I did that “thing” to my eyebrows. When I assured him that I did not know what “thing” he was referring to, he said, “You know, to make them so thin and weird. They kind of make you look like Joan Collins – Joan Collins now, not young Joan Collins.”

(I wish this was an exaggeration but he was literally that blunt.)

Somehow I didn’t cry. I just acted like he had NO idea what he was talking about and told him that I was hardly going to take beauty tips from a boy but I heard him loud and clear. Thin eyebrows = not pretty. 

Needless to say, I started growing my eyebrows back immediately.

Thankfully for both Drew and I, our eyebrows have grown back to something of their former glory. I am sure mine aren’t as thick as they used to be though.  And now, when I look longingly at pictures of the Olsen twins with their gorgeous, full-but-manicured brows, I feel a twinge of regret. Maybe mine would have been that lovely if I had stayed the hell away from the tweezers when I was a teenager. Who knows? All that I do know is that I will never again reshape my eyebrows to keep with a trend or passing fancy. 

And if I can stop just one person from making the same mistake, then it has all been worthwhile, right?

Not really. I would much prefer that it had happened to one of you instead of me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why don’t you liiiiiiiiiiiiike it? **Updated**

I got my hair cut this weekend. This is not that big of a deal– I am always getting a new style because I get bored pretty quickly and always want something that I haven’t got. This time I went really short – a little pixie crop that I thought would make me look very Carey Mulligan or Mia Wasikowska. Very now. 

I left the hairdressers feeling pretty fricking sweet about my new crop. And just like I always do after a major, hair-altering experience, as soon as I saw my husband, I smiled sweetly, fluttered my eyelashes at him and in a girly, little voice said, “Do you liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike it?” And while he normally responds with an automatic, safe, “Sure. It’s cute.”  this time, he hesitated and said, “Not sure – I’ll have to see if I get used to it.”

Um, WHAT?? 

This naturally put me into a major sulk.If he truly loved me, he’d think all of my haircuts were totally cute just by virtue of the fact that they were on me, right? Of course he would! He is clearly just a very, very mean man.

To be fair though, I do torture my husband quite a bit over my hair. Whenever I start to get bored with it, I start sending him photos of celebrities that I want to look like or pointing out cute girls on the television and ask whether he thinks their haircut will suit me. This has got him into all sorts of trouble in the past and he now tries to avoid commenting at all. One fine example of this is when we watched “V for Vendetta” which went something like:

Me: “Does Natalie Portman look good with her head shaved?”

Him: “Oh yeah. She looks hot. She always looks hot.”

Me: “That’s interesting. Would I look good with a shaved head?”

Him: “Ummmm... I think you have to be really, really beautiful to pull that off.”

And so began a sulk to end all sulks. He apologised soon after (kinda) but didn’t really know what he was apologising for. (Something like, “I’m sorry I said Natalie Portman was hot” which was SO not the point.) I know I shouldn’t really care that much about what my husband thinks of my hair and what is really important is that I think it is cute but I want him to liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike it. 

In spite of this, I continue to experiment with my hair with little or no regard to whether I think my husband will like it or not. And it always tends to be pretty short or involve a colour that doesn’t really occur naturally (or, more likely, both). I just hate the thought of my hair looking boring or like everyone else’s (or God forbid, like my natural hair colour which is actually something I like to call “rat caramel”) and this need to be different far outweighs my need for my husband’s approval. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the era of Madonna and constant reinvention of self, or maybe it has something to do with my penchant for movies that involve life-changing makeovers, like the Breakfast Club and Clueless. All I know is that, ever since that first sachet of Napro Live Colour (and in spite of an ill-conceived, extremely short cut that I got when I was 13 that I thought would make me look like Jane from Melrose Place but that actually made me look like a fat little boy), I have been addicted to image-changing hairstyles. If I am feeling frustrated because I don’t have control over some aspect of my life or even just a little bored, I take control of my hair instead and cut or colour the hell out of it. I’ve been doing this for so long now, I wouldn’t know how to ask my hairdresser to do the same thing that she did last time.

And a hairdresser is cheaper than a therapist, right?

Anyway, my husband now claims that he is used to my haircut and has finally admitted that it looks pretty cute. This may have more to do with the fact that I have told him that my new blog entry is all about how mean he is and how him disliking my hair is a sign that he doesn’t truly love me. Regardless, I have decided that my hair actually rocks so I don't really care whether he is being honest or not.  

Well, kinda.

EDIT: So I thought it would make sense to put a picture of my new hair cut up so that you see what all the fuss was over and, you know, take sides. Here it is!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Winona Ryder saved my skin

In the small coastal towns of Australia where I was brought up, to be beautiful was to be tanned. These towns seemed to be solely inhabited by honey-dipped hotties with cascading hair, long legs and loose morals. And to make things worse, this was all being reinforced by the celebrities of the time, like Elle MacPherson, Heather Locklear and, of course, the entire cast of Baywatch. Bronze was where it was at.

And while this worked out just peachy for my golden-skinned goddess of a sister, it didn’t go so well for me. My skin would go a little darker in the sun but it just kind of went a speckledy eggshell colour. And then only after I endured a very nasty sunburn. The speckle would last about a week and then I would be back to pasty again. 

So it seemed clear to me that I could never, ever be beautiful. And no boy would ever like me. And I would die alone, face down in a bowl of macaroni with a faithful cat licking fake cheese out of my hair.

But then, something wonderful happened. Or rather, someone wonderful happened.


I had seen her before in Mermaids and Edward Scissorhands but hadn’t really thought much of her. But then I saw Dracula and all of that changed. I admittedly watched Dracula just to perve on Keanu Reeves. But, as lusty as he was (in spite of his shite-house acting), it was Winona who got my attention – I was mesmerised by her. She seemed beautiful, sophisticated, sweet, intelligent and yet still, somehow, incredibly bonkable! 

I had an immediate and desperate need to be just like her. But this confused me a tad – how could she be so sexy when she was so – pale? I mean, she was whiter than I was for god’s sake – how could that be attractive? 

I checked in with my brother (an expert on all such fab and important things) to confirm whether I was right in thinking that Ms Ryder was indeed desirable to boys. And the answer was, yes. Yes indeedy. 

Hmm. Well this changed everything!

Not long after, I dyed my hair the darkest that my mum would let me (Darkest Brown – looked black when it was done but was technically brown so mum allowed it), invested in smoky eyeliner and kept the hell out of the sun.

Aside from saving my skin from evil sun damage, this acceptance of my pale skin changed my whole approach to fashion. I didn’t want to wear wishy-washy pastels or comfy casual wear anymore. I wanted to wear black or vibrant reds and purples that would contrast starkly with my skin. This naturally led to an intense, long-term affair with all things gothic as well some thoroughly enjoyable (and some ongoing) flings with indie, brit pop, rockabilly, punk and burlesque. Looks that all suited – and looked better with – a pale complexion. 

And, as it turns out, some boys totally dig pale skin. Suck on that, Pamela.

So thank you Winona. And may God bless your alabaster soul!