Archive for October, 2010
On Thursday the 28th October, the first installment of the new Westfield Sydney opened.
This huge space with stores ranging from low to high end is wet-your-pants exciting for shoppers after what has been a lacklustre few years of shopping in Sydney’s CBD.
I went to check out the centre a few hours after it opened, and while it is a fantastic venture not only for the retailers, but also for state revenue, I just found that a lot of the stores were lacking.
I’m one of those people who likes to have an all-round shopping experience – something that isn’t plausible for all brands, of course - but something that makes you actually connect with a brand and want to go back time and time again.
One of the stores which offers this type of experience is Little Joe Woman.
Little Joe Woman has cemented itself in the fashion world as a timeless and ageless label which features exquisite silks and knits in camisoles, slip dresses, jumpsuits, lounge wear and – hailing from New York – the kind of graceful, yet comfortable, pieces you would see in the Hamptons.
Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliot is going from strength to strength after a debut at Rosemount Australia Fashion Week this year, the launch of a comprehensive online store and now, a beautiful seventh boutique. The newest store has been fitted out to suit the clothing and feel of the label with a shingle wall to reflect the Hamptons feel.
Little Joe Woman’s latest collection, ‘Hot in the City’, has really caught my eye. I can’t get enough of pastels and soft, dusky colours and they’re plentiful in this range.
A delicate ocean theme runs throughout with seahorse accents and kaftans and maxi dresses which make for perfect resort wear.
Something that’s not normally my style - but really stood out to me in store – was a sharp white blazer. Something like this you would have in your wardrobe forever. A perfect white blazer is so basic, yet sexy and sophisticated creates endless possibilities in your wardrobe.
I also love the layering capabilities of the pieces. The collection, as always, is very cohesive. Not only structurally, but also in terms of an overall colour palette. While a vast array of colours are featured, they all seem to posess the same undertones, meaning that a few pieces can be simply mixed and matched to create many different outfits.
By layering, you can also create your own look. I wouldn’t necessarily wear a strappy cami on its own, but I may wear it under a loose shirt with a light knit over the top again – it’s up to you.
I think the greatest part of the Little Joe Woman store in Westfield Sydney is that while it is in a bustling centre, it’s very private and homely – giving you the freedom to create your own look. An escape from the city life outside, to a relaxing seaside weekend away.
For more of the Hot in the City range - or to shop online - head to: www.littlejoeny.com
I’m going to a friend’s house for a traditional American Frathouse Halloween party tomorrow night and I thought I’d make something to take along – even if we eat them for afternoon tea while we’re getting ready.
I decided I wanted to do something pumpkin themed and thought Jaffa flavoured cupcakes would be nice. I’m one of those people who associates colour with taste, so the orange flavour was fitting I thought.
I searched the net for a recipe for Jaffa flavoured cupcakes as I’d already bought a packet of Jaffas (for $6.20 by the way – isn’t that absurd?!) but couldn’t find one, so I decided just to wing it. I didn’t know Jaffas didn’t melt either…
Here’s the recipe I threw together:
Makes 24 cupcakes.100g butter, softened 330g caster sugar 4 eggs 200g Jaffas 400g flour 2 tsp baking powder 250 ml milk
For the icing:180g white chocolate 60g butter, softened 125ml pouring cream yellow food colouring red food colouring A bag of soft eating licorice
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius.
- Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer.
- Meanwhile, in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the jaffas. First their shells will crack and then their insides will go gooey. I kept smashing mine every so often with a vegetable masher, but do whatever is easiest and safest for you. They won’t melt entirely, so don’t stress.
- Add eggs to the butter mixture one by one and beat well.
- Once melted, add the Jaffas to the electric mixer bowl and mix well.
- Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and mix til combined.
- Spoon the mixture into patty cases laid out on baking trays. You can use paper ones, but I prefer silicone. Only fill about 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 20 minutes and use a skewer to check if they’re firm. If they’re not, keep them in the oven for another 5 minutes and check again.
- Cool before icing.
To make the icing:
- Heat the white chocolate, butter and cream in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and mix until smooth.
- Add the yellow and red food colouring until you have your desired colour. I did mine in a teacup before adding as I am a bit heavy-handed. Keep in mind that whatever colour you make in a cup (if you do) will come out slightly more pale since the icing mixture is white.
- Using electric beaters or an electric mixer, beat the icing until it’s thick and fluffy.
- Put in the fridge to cool before spreading on the cupcakes.
- In the meantime, cut logs of licorice into thin circles.
- Using the triangular shape of a cookie cutter (or just manually) cut triangle shapes, but do not discard the off cuts.
- Once you have cut the desired amount of triangles (enough for three per cake) cut the off cuts of the licorice in half so they make tiny strips to form the mouths of the Jack O Lanterns.
I’m pretty happy with how mine turned out, I just hope everyone likes licorice as a lot of people don’t!
I am dressing as Donatella Versace for Halloween and I bought the most heinous silver halter top and teal green zebra print skirt. I’m wearing it with a snakeskin belt and obviously loads of bronzer and straight hair.
Should be a fun night!
Is anyone else doing anything for Halloween?
PS – I took these photos on my phone for a change. I just wanted to see what they were like. I’m no good at taking photos either way!
I’m probably not the greatest advocate for being Vegan. I tried it a few years ago and lasted several months before I needed to go back to eating meat to keep my iron levels up. No amount of spinach can do it for me, so unfortunately for my diminished waist line and clear skin – I had to give it up.
If I didn’t have the iron issue though, I’d definitely be living a clean life; meat and dairy free. Oh wait, the dairy doesn’t keep my iron up. OK, well I just love cheese. Shhhh!
The 1st of November is World Vegan Day and, and while I can’t say I’ll be a true Vegan, I can pass on the yummy products and foods I enjoyed (plus my favourite Vegan recipe!).
Let’s start with beauty. Whether you’re a Vegan for ethical or health reasons, your body will love you for putting natural products into and on it. There’s also the bonus of not having to alter your diet your contribute to a greener world.
Inika are one of the only beauty brands in the world who can boast being 100% Vegan, Halal and cruelty-free, and with 83 permanent products under their belt – there’s something for everyone.
Inika are the only makeup brand I’ve used where my skin actually improved. Skincare brands have reduced pigmentation, discolouration, blotchiness and scarring – but never a makeup brand. I noticed a huge difference in the smoothness and texture of my skin while using their foundation, too.
The only issue I have with the powder foundation is that for me, it doesn’t have high coverage. It’s perfect for the day, but not something I’d use for a night out.
Aside from the foundation, though, Inika have mascara, eyeshadow, blush, concealer, eyeliner, lipstick, lipliner and even brushes which are 100% synthetic and therefore cruelty-free.
The Kabuki brush is one of the softest things you’ll ever touch in your life. You know when you want to rub something soft against your cheek? Well, it’s perfect because you’re actually supposed to rub it against your cheek. For $59.95, it’s one of life’s simple pleasures and one of the greatest makeup tools I’ve ever used.
For the full range and online store, head to www.inika.com.au
Lush is another beauty brand doin’ it for the kids. Not ones to mess up our planet, they offer divine products for the Vegan in you as well as recycling incentives to help reduce packaging and save you money!
Lush do not even use lanolin or honey in their products, so I hope you can appreciate how incredible this brand is when you factor in what they have to do to give us quality products.
They have an enormous index of body products, so do yourself a favour and just go splurge in store. Their prices are generous – there’s something for every budget, and they have some cheeky products.
Try any one of their bath bombs for a little home-decadence or the Vegan hair products like Rehab shampoo or The Blonde - which lightens and brightens hair without chemicals.
Fashion is still a little behind. Slowly more and more designers are introducing animal product-free lines, but I think it’s a way off before the big designers start to include significant amounts of goods for Vegans. Although, I probably don’t need to tell you about Stella McCartney and her fur and leather free shoes, but any excuse to post pretty pictures:
Eating well helps you look good, too. So long as your idea of ‘well’ is ‘healthy and balanced meals’, not ‘McDonalds and KFC’. But if you are Vegan, or even want to try it out, it can often be difficult to find really tasty food.
I’m going to give you my favourite recipe for chickpea stroganoff which I still make regularly. I just add chicken or beef to it as well now. *shifty eyes* Before that, though, I want to give you a heads-up of one last pretty vegan product, Viva Cupcakes.
Viva specialise in gorgeous cupcakes that are so delicious you won’t even realise they’re egg and dairy-free. Seriously, I don’t understand how they taste so creamy when THERE’S NO CREAM IN THEM. The mind boggles.
They’re all named after songs and they’re festive and fun and above all – SO SO GOOD.
I love Rocket Queen (with a strawberry surprise in the middle) and Dark Side of the Moon (for that chocolate hit you miss when you’re not having dairy), but head to www.vivacupcakes.com.au and decide for yourself!
Now, for this recipe. It’s simple, quick and tasty and it’s really quite easy to get soy products these days, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the ingredients. I serve mine with gluten-free fettucine. Not for any particular reason, I just feel like if I’m being clean and not having dairy, I should cut the wheat out too.
This recipe is from Leah Leneman’s Easy Vegan Cooking.1 onion 225g of mushrooms 30g vegan margarine 4tbs vegie stock or water 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1tsp soy sauce 1/4 tsp mustard powder 2 & 1/2 cups of tinned, cooked chickpeas – drained 2 tsp white wine vinegar 200ml soy yoghurt 285g wholewheat noodles (where I use gluten-free fettucine)
- Chop the onion and mushrooms. Melt the margarine and saute the vegetables until soft.
- Add the stock, seasoning, chickpeas and vinegar. Cover and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the noodles until soft.
- Add the yoghurt to the chick pea mixture and stir on the lowest possible heat, stirring constantly without bringing to the boil, until heated through.
- Serve over the cooked noodles.
Et voila! Look, it’s a pretty bleak looking dish, but it is tasty and filling. The above recipe will make enough for one. Let me know how you go with it if you make it!
Well I hope everyone has a great Vegan Day, and if not, you’ve got all of November – Vegan Month.
Stay clean, peeps!
I think I have created a conspiracy.
It’s not a huge one by any means; certainly none of that ‘September 11 was an inside job’ business, but it’s a theory on a trend I’d like to identify.
I’ve always had an unhealthy obsession with displays of fashion ostentatiousness. I always HAVE TO HAVE certain things I see celebrities wearing, and it’s usually because it’s some sort of limited edition piece and/or something really sparkly, branded and well, wanky.
One of my main celeb purchases was the Louis Vuitton Bindi sunglasses which were worn by two of my fashion icons – Gwen Stefani and Kanye West. They don’t even suit me, but they’re so baller it hurts and I just had to have them on my face.
Since then, I’ve kept a close eye on Kanye’s fashion moves. Although he loves a good suit, he has a look which can be transcribed to females - particularly with his shirts, blazers, jewellery and accessories.
My latest gotta-have-but-probably-can’t-afford-right-now look is the wearing of a Cartier Love bracelet on each wrist.
Originally designed in 1969, the Love bracelet is a simple concept with a huge meaning. This piece of jewellery can only be removed with a screwdriver (which can be worn by the giver of the bracelet on a necklace) and is supposed to be given to someone who you love. The significance of the hard-to-remove mechanism is that it resembles a chastity belt and hence, the symbolism behind a chastity belt is intended for the owner.
Ok, so that’s a little outdated, but a watered-down and romantic notion is that the love between the giver and the receiver is unbroken. . . except for if you have a regular screwdriver handy.
My point (and conspiracy), however, does not lie with Kanye’s purity, but with his possible intentional statement of adorning each wrist with the bracelets.
It’s Kanye’s strong (and obviously justified) voice on racism and the legacy of slavery which makes me think that this “fashion statement” is more than just throwing on a couple of bits of jewellery.
You only have to listen to the lyrics of Kanye’s ‘We Can Make it Better’ and ‘We Don’t Care’ to know that he is looking for a resolution towards modern-day racism, and if Kanye can deliver this message through words that reach millions, it would not surprise me in the slightest if he was reaching out to the fashion world too.
He’s already meshed fashion with racism in ‘We Don’t Care’:
N****s can’t make it to ballots to choose leadership but we make it to Jacobs and to the dealership…
Jacobs, of course, is Jacob Arabo of Jacob & Co., famed jeweller who specialises in iced-out watches and those necklaces worn by rappers, NBA players and other celebrities who are trying to gain swag.
So am I crazy to think that Kanye’s dual bracelet play is an ironic statement against black oppression? A little bit of a ‘How You Like Me Now?’ slap in the face to slavery? A literal transformation from iron shackles to gold and (let’s say, just because he’s Kanye West) diamond bracelets?
Is it a coincidence that Kanye’s new stylist and confidante is a descendent of one Cassius Clay? Yeezy met Cassius Marcellus Cornelius Clay through a chance encounter at Barney’s Department store where they bonded over fashion, but having a member of staff whose blood runs thick with a history of anti-slavery advocacy is surely a bonus for a man who is trying to educate and resolve the issue of such rife racism in the world – particularly that which he has experienced personally.
What I don’t think is that Kanye is playing the victim. I think that through his music and fashion choices (at least, in my mind), he is inviting everyone to speak out and fight against their own experience with slavery – whether in the “traditional” sense of the word or even a new slavery, where we are all being slaves to ourselves whether it’s through adopting a persona that isn’t really ‘us’ or over working. . .
This grave shift is like a slave ship.
- Kanye West, All Falls Down.
Are these lyrics Kanye’s way of inviting us all to fight against this oppression of ourselves, perhaps? Again, in We Don’t Care:
Racism is alive, they just concealing it. We are at war with terrorism, racism, and most of all we are at war with ourselves.
We all know Ye’s outspoken, but I applaud his arrogance – particularly if he is contrived enough to do something like I’m suggesting. And I think he is.
On the other hand, maybe I’m just letting my imagination run too wild. Kanye did, in fact, ask his many Twitter followers:
Is it super lonely and miserable to buy yourself a Cartier Love bracelet…well I guess I do love my self lol!!!
But the way I see it – Loving yourself = just another piece of advice in Kanye Wests’s crusade to change the way we think about ourselves and others.
I’m on to you Kanye. Way on to you! ;)
You may remember that I attended the launch party of the sexy new Quiksilver Womenswear launch last month, and now that the weather’s hotting up, it’s time to get some of these goodies into your wardrobe.
Don’t normally wear beach brands like Quiksilver? That’s nice, but in case you hadn’t noticed - this isn’t just another surf brand.
QSW is for girls who want the laid-back feel of a sun dress, but want to show a bit of leg. The girl who enjoys a quiet, beach-side mojito with mates on a sunday afternoon, but might not get home ’til six the next morning.
QSW creates a sexy yet relaxed look for every woman whether she likes the beach or not. The brains behind this city-meets-seaside fusion is one Belinda Fairbanks, who is the epitome of beach chic.
With model looks, a healthy tan, balayaged beachy waves and killer style, Fairbanks has taken a predominantly Beach-Wear-Only brand and taken it to new heights.
This collection is like no other in this image and price point. Ranging in price from $59.99 to $199.99, it features vintage inspired printed silks and cottons in tank tops to jumpsuits and everything in between.
On working with QSW, Fairbanks says:
This is hugely exciting for me to be working with Quiksilver on QSW. The opportunity to put some love into a brand that has such an amazing heritage is really cool and I’m looking forward to getting some product out there for our girl, the Quiksilver Women’s customer really is an extension of myself.
Don’t go thinking that just because the designs are breezy that there’s nothing to them. I’ve got the Kiss the Sun dress which fits me superbly. It feels divine and can be worn so many different ways.
Now, I’ve taken some pics of me wearing the dress and I had planned to duck down to the beach to give you a better idea, and also because I’m a bit sick of all the photos of me in my house – so I’m sure you are too!
Alas, it’s raining, windy and a storm is about to arrive so the beach idea wasn’t really plausible. So instead, I’m um….standing in my herb garden and the hedge around the pool.
I had these literal Amazon Woman type images in my head so please - USE YOUR IMAGINATION.
Regardless of the ridiculousness of the photos, you can see the dress and how it’s perfectly adaptable to a number of different ‘looks’.
It looks great on its own with sandals or some wedges/wooden platforms, add a little cropped blazer for a smart casual look, a plain white t-shirt underneath would be cute or even as a base piece and add a whole other top over the top with just the skirt peeking out.
You can’t really go wrong with a little black dress.
Tip: Normally I don’t feel comfortable wearing short dresses (however, this probably isn’t short on most people – I’m 5’10″) and also low dresses, but this has an in-built bra and the handkerchief hem makes it all the more modest so you feel strapped in and secure.
View and buy the range at Surfstitch.
I was gifted this dress by QSW.
I haven’t done an outfit post in a while. I can never really be bothered on a daily basis, and when I actually love my outfit I’m usually on my way out so I forget to take pics.
Today I got so many compliments on my outfit, though. Funny thing is, I had something completely different on before I left the house and then I realised it was about to rain so I really quickly changed into this.
I went to Ivy Pool for a viewing of the new Mosely Tribes, Paul Smith and Oliver Peoples Spring/Resort 2011 eyewear collections.
So hard to believe we’re looking at next year’s sunnies already, but I’ll have a looksee up for you later this week.
Soooo my outfit:
Last night I attended a gathering of PRs and fashion and beauty bloggers at Establishment to discuss the growing blogger presence and our impact on consumers.
A panel was formed to discuss the dos and don’ts between PRs and bloggers and how we can work better to get the most out of each other.
Topics such as pet hates when dealing with bloggers or agencies, expectations of both bloggers and agencies and the future and direction of bloggers and how agencies can help with and benefit from this were covered.
The topic of disclosure also came up, and each blogger’s personal stance on cash-for-comment type posts.
I thought it would be a good idea to give you, my readers, an idea of where I stand on this, as well as voice some of my thoughts on the PR/Blogger….issue (for lack of a better word).
Please feel free to comment as a blogger, PR or neither (!) if you wish.
In terms of receiving product, I am extremely fortunate to receive some beautiful gifts from brands. This is never something you expect and it’s so nice to hear the intercom buzz and get a delivery! Not only for the material goods, but the fact that a brand is putting enough faith in you to get behind their product.
More often than not I will love the product. I’m lucky that I don’t have any major allergies or skin irritations etc. so I can always test things out. But there are times when I won’t love the product. Here lies my stance on reviewing – if I try something and I’m not 100% crazy about it and into it, I probably won’t blog about it. This doesn’t mean to say I hated it (in fact, I’m more inclined to blog about something I hated, than something I was ‘meh’ about) but merely means I was indifferent to it, probably wouldn’t buy it and couldn’t summon up enough passion to write anything about it. This is why, with beauty product reviews I post, they generally come across as positive.
I am also in a position where I can decline products that I don’t feel will fit with my blog, there are certain brands I know I love love love and brands I have had bad experiences with in the past, so I wouldn’t accept a product/good that I definitely wouldn’t blog about. Why waste everyone’s time?
So, if you were wondering why I am always mostly positive about products I receive, this is why. Negative posts on events or products and services are usually when I have paid for them myself and hence I’m using my own resources to obtain them.
When it comes to actual PR/Blogger relations, I’ve mostly had good experiences. I’ve had literally one negative experience and apparently that particular person is just a bitter, self-loathing, hateful bitch – so it obviously wasn’t anything to do with me.
However, I do have a few criticisms:
- When being on a media list and being sent releases, it’s poor form to expect me to review something just from a PDF file. Sure, that fragrance might smell great and take me away to summer nights in Bora Bora - but how would I know? I’m not saying you need to send everyone a 150mL bottle of the stuff, but even the offer of a small vial of the fragrance would help. I’m not the type to simply copy and paste off a press release like a lot of bloggers. I’m very tactile and want to be able to give an honest and thorough review.
- Same goes with clothing/homewares/accessories. Obviously not everyone can be given the products (and in no way am I saying I’m entitled to them) but I can’t very well review something off a photo. I’ve started receiving invites to media showings which is perfect. Being able to see and feel the product in person gives a great idea of if it’s a good fit for the blog.
- Being particular and selective with who you push the brand on. Obviously to look at a blog like mine you think bows, flowers, hearts, frills, ruffles etc. but someone liiiiike…say, Alicia from Sea of Ghosts is angular, arty, black, modern and very Melbourne so you wouldn’t necessarily send us the same release. It’s obvious when you get a mass email and it makes you not want to blog because you know everyone else got the same thing.
Those are my three main gripes. I don’t want to sound precious because, as I said, I feel privileged to even be thought of when releases go out - but I think these things need to be aired as in the long run they help everyone.
Just because it’s the off-season, doesn’t mean the members of L@SS have to stop supporting the Swans!
This afternoon, female fans of the Sydney Swans filled Club Swans in Kings Cross for a gorgeous high tea and wrap up of the 2010 season.
Masses of macarons, tarts, scones and sandwiches were eaten by me, and I guess there were a few left for everyone else too.
How festive are the red and white lamingtons? Cheer, Cheer, the Red and the White!
After some mingling we listened to a wrap up of the year by journalist Jenny Brockie. Jenny took us back to key moments of the season like Trent Dennis-Lane’s goal-kicking finesse and maturity under pressure and my personal fave moment of the 2010 footy season: Lewis Jetta’s first goal!
After the memories were recounted we were introduced to Swans CEO, Andrew Ireland who gave us a fascinating insight into the day-to-day life at the club, including a state of the art medical program which monitors all aspects of the players’ nutrition, injuries and progress.
A silent auction of a signed 2010 jersey was held to raise money for the Swans Academy and lucky door prizes of De Bortoli wine, Little General olive oil hampers and signed swans merchandise were given out.
A video of season highlights and Brett Kirk and Paul Roos’ last game was then played.
L@SS is a group for female members of the Sydney Swans to meet like-minded women for events and support the Swans throughout the year.
For more information, please click here.
Amongst the extreme hangover excitement overflowing from the evening before’s fiesta, I didn’t realise I actually had a few photos of Lucy Folk’s Taqueria jewellery range.
The pieces will be stocked at Assin.
Summer is officially here, folks (sorry, had to do it)! Last night at MCM House in Rushcutters Bay we were transported to the shores of Mexico with a fiesta and celebration of Melbourne designer, Lucy Folk’s new jewellery collection, Taqueria.
The event drew a huge crowd including beautiful Camilla and Marc designer, Camilla Freeman-Topper, theclub owner Julian Tobias, Stephen Pavlovic and model Tanja G and socialista Rick Matthew who revelled in the Mexican Hacienda party space.
The venue had been completely transformed with exquisite attention to detail. The scene was set with a three metre tall cacti, white bunting covering the ceiling and a giant gold and hot pink taco in the centre of the room.
We entered the pink taco (hehe) to view the modern and angular jewellery which was inspired by Lucy Folk’s trips to Mexico.
The range was cohesive yet broad. It featured stackable rings, long, detailed chains and even a money clip. The colourful beaded bracelets are going to be a huge hit this summer – so easy to wear a few for a nonchalant look. Think Lara Bingle down at Bondi or Nicole Richie in her boho days.
Let’s not forget about the food and drink! Mexican themed parties are great because they never serve wine and typical hors deuvres. We were treated to El Capricho Margaritas and sangria mixed by Sydney Bartenders and chipotle chicken with pico de gallo, rare seared tuna with green salsa and crema, soft shell smoked shredded chicken tacos and chargrilled corn with queso, chipotle mayonaise and lime which was barbecued out on the street for an authentic fiesta feel.
Lucy Folk’s Taqueria collection will be stocked at Assin boutiques.