Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Katy Perry Firework

I've never really been a big Katy Perry fan. Her first album was deemed homophobic by the gay media; and although I kept hearing her songs everywhere, I never paid serious attention to her music. The other day one of my friends posted a video of her at the recent Victoria's Secret show and the song just kept playing in my head. I watched the video on Youtube today, and I'm officially in love with the song!

She has a really good voice, and some people think she is wasting it on candy-sweet songs. I think she's just having fun! This cover of Sam Sparro's Black and Gold proves the girl can sing!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nicholas Hoult's Angora Sweater

I watched A Single Man twice, and I have fallen in love with the white angora sweater Nicholas wears throughout the film. I have been trying to find something similar and have been browsing through eBay and websites selling angora and mohair. But no such luck. It seems Nicholas's sweater was custom-made by a weaver in England. This is what Nicholas said about it in a recent interview:

"Oh the angora sweater? Yes, it definitely had a life of its own. It got a lot more attention than me, most of the time, whereby it would frizz up under the hot lights and need to be hair-sprayed down, because it would get too fluffy. It needed a lot of attention. I’ve become quite intimate with that sweater."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Small things

There are times I feel like buying something just because I had a good day. I'd taken my first call at my new job last evening, and I wanted to celebrate it by going shopping. Strangely, something that had never happened to me before happened last evening: there was nothing I really wanted to buy. So I walked around Melbourne Central and went into L'Occitane. I ended up buying a leaf-shaped verbena soap for $6.50, which I thought was quite a bargain.  The sales assistant was really nice and gave me samples of Rice Ultra Matte Face Fluid, Cotton and Shea Ultra Comforting Serum and Ultra Comforting Cream.

People at cosmetic counters are always giving me free samples. A year ago at Harrod's the sales assistant gave me a full-size shower gel when I bought a breath freshener for 5 pounds. And a few weeks later, at Sephora in New York, a very-generous SA gave me about ten samples of Fresh products because I told her I liked the brand. Both of these gestures turned out to be profitable for them because I went back to both the shops the very next day and bought more.

After L'Occitane I went to Mecca at Myer, and the SA gave me a sample of Darphin's Matifying Fluid ($98 for 50 ml), which I am liking very much. It's one of the lightest moisturisers I've ever tried, and it smells amazing. I think I'll get a full-sized bottle very soon.

I used to be a huge fan of Lush and used to go to their shop on Swanston St almost every single day once upon a time. This guy who kind of has a crush on me was there when I went there yesterday, and I let him select his favourite sugar scrub for me. It turned out to be Sugar Babe ($6.50), a solid scub scented with ylang ylang and mimosa oils.
'Don't buy the green scrub. It's horrible,' he told me. I sniffed it. It smelt very green, like pine trees and freshly-cut grass. I like 'green' smells, but I told him he was right and he was happy.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rykiel Homme Sweater

I love Sonia Rykiel. And because she's the Queen of Knits it's no surprise I love this sweater. I can't afford it, though. Apart from the fact that I don't have a full-time job and that I am a third-world product, I somehow can't justify spending over 200 USD on a sweater that's primarily made of cotton. Especially a statement piece like this which you can't wear more than a few times (unless you have many different sets of friends). But I love the colours: like most of her knits, they are strikingly vibrant -- the colours almost seem to glow.

Like Vivienne Westwood, Rykiel's pieces have character -- they stand out. Remember the striped black-and-white Rykiel top Carrie Bradshaw wore when she landed in Paris? I think it's one of the most memorable outfits from Sex and the City.

Available at Yoox.com for USD 232.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nude Cleansing Facial Wash

Nude Skincare has been receiving a lot of press lately. The UK-based brand, co-founded by Ali Hewson (wife of U2 frontman Bono), specializes in organic skincare free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oils and other nasties. I went to Mecca Cosmetica with the intention of trying out a Ren cleanser, but the sales assistant directed me to Cleansing Facial Wash from Nude instead. She said that it was her favourite and that I had to try it even if I didn't intend to buy it. She made me a generous sample to take back home, and I ended up buying a full-sized bottle two days later.

The cleanser feels very gentle and has a 'slip' to it reminiscent of fresh aloe vera gel. This makes it ideal for shaving, as well: I use this instead of a shaving cream in the mornings. It may not be effective enough to remove heavy, waterproof makeup, but it's a very good everyday option for people with normal to oily skin who wear little to no makeup. My skin doesn't feel tight after using this, and I use it twice daily. My acne-prone skin has been relatively breakout-free since I started using this (along with Acne.org Treatment gel and Erno Laszlo Antioxidant Mattifier).

Available at Mecca Cosmetica for $56 (200 ml). It's slightly cheaper if you order it on the Nude website. They offer free shipping for orders over 50 GBP.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Future Stars from Sex and the City

I am watching Sex and the City all over the again, and it's interesting to see how some of the minor characters in the series have become huge stars now. I was  just watching the second-season episode 'They Shoot Single People, Don't They?' and noticed two big stars who were virtually unknown back then: Bradley Cooper (of The Hangover) and Matthew Morrison (Mr. Schuster in Glee). Cooper has about five minutes of screen time playing the guy Carrie picks up from a bar when she appears on the cover of New York Magazine and Morrison has less than ten seconds, playing the role of a waiter (you can barely see him!).

Image Courtesy: New York Magazine

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Blind Assassin

I bought my first copy of The Blind Assassin in 2003, three years after it won Margaret Atwood her Booker. It had been a hardback, and I'd bought it because I got it at a huge discount. I'd read twenty-odd pages, found it too boring and tossed it aside. Recently, when I had nothing to read on the train, I spotted a copy in a second-hand bookstore and bought it on an impulse. This one was a paperback, with small print and paper redolent of cheap toilet paper, the kind they use in public toilets. After finishing the book today, I am glad that I didn't read it in 2003, when I was 18: I wouldn't have enjoyed it one bit.

The Blind Assassin has a book-within-a-book structure: it alternates between the autobiography of Iris Chase, a once-wealthy woman from a noted Canadian family, and the novel 'The Blind Assassin,' a sexual memoir/pulp fantasy that makes Iris's deceased sister Laura a literary sensation. 'The Blind Assassin' was published by Iris after Laura's suicide 'ten years after the war ended.' In a very calm tone, Iris chronicles the fall of the Chase family, her unhappy marriage and the resulting jealousies, lies and betrayals that result in one death after the other. 'The Blind Assassin,' which is sandwiched between Iris's memoir, describes a sexually-charged affair between a young woman and a left-wing man on the run. During their meetings the pair cook up a pulp fantasy set in Planet Zycron. It is a story rife with corruption, ritual sacrifices and barbaric leaders, and is similar to the Chase family story in more than one respect. 

Atwood's prose is clear, uncluttered and lyrical -- too lyrical, sometimes. Every chapter begins with a description of the Canadian weather, something which can get tiring after a point. Her use of similies and metaphors are abundant, and although they always manage to hit the nail right on the head, they are sometimes a bit too bizarre -- she, for instance, describes a loaf of bread as bland-tasting as an angel's buttock. Most of her characters are well-drawn, but they are too consistent, too one-dimensional, too flat: the forlorn sister; the always witty, always sexual, always idealistic lover; the mean, money-minded husband who rapes his wife every night; the redneck handyman who describes everything using feminine pronouns; the ideal nanny who is always faithful to the family. Also, the book is very long, and the story, although expertly crafted, isn't always engaging.

In spite of its general flabbiness, The Blind Assassin is quite an achievement. The structure of the book is close to perfect. Atwood uses newspaper clippings, the novel-within-the-novel, and the fantasy within the novel-within-the-novel to support and corroborate the main story, and their arrangement is superb. Atwood's wisdom shines through throughout the book, and she manages to paint another era with the confidence of somebody who has actually been a part of it (which might not have been the case considering she was born only in '39). I was certain the denouement would be what it turned out be, but it would be a welcome surprise for those who hadn't guessed it already.