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. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stussy Deluxe Peacoat

I know it's too early to shop for winter clothes, but I always keep an eye out for winter jackets because good ones are hard to come by. I was having a look at the new collection at Revolve Clothing and came across this peacoat from Stussy Deluxe. Stussy is not usually my style, and I was not even aware they had a high-end 'Deluxe' line until I saw this. After seeing this peacoat I had a look at their website, and the 'Deluxe' line looks very good. Most of the pieces are well-tailored basics in muted shades. There is none of the in-your-face branding Stussy is famous for. I like this peacoat because it is warm and has a silhouette that is neither too narrow nor too wide. I think it would be a good option for everyday wear.

Revolve Clothing (I have used their photo) retails it for $550.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weleda Everon Lip Balm

I am a lip balm junkie. I think I inherited the addiction from my mother who can't live without her lip balms. I own at least 12 lip balms, but I can never find any when I need it. I recently read about Weleda Everon lip balm on MakeupAlley and bought a stick because it's relatively inexpensive. It's goes on smooth and soaks in, but not completely. Which, for lip balms, is a good thing because you need a barrier to protect lips from drying. My other favourites are Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (the mentholated version) and Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer, but this is by far my favourite.

It retails for about $12 at organic supermarkets.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Beautiful People

Beautiful People is a TV series from the UK based on the memoirs of Simon Doonan, a window dresser at (who later became the creative director of) Barneys New York. Although Doonan is 56 now, most of the show is set in the late 1990s, featuring a 14-year old Doonan.

The show is about Simon's life as a gay kid in suburban England. The title refers to the way he and his friend Kyl(i)e constantly talk about escaping suburban Reading and moving to London 'to live amongst the beautiful people.' The show is funny and full of fun, quirky characters: the slutty sister, the boozy mum, the blind aunt... the list goes on and on. I have only watched three episodes, but there seems to be an absence of homophobia in the society the show is set in -- be it in England on in present-day New York where Simon reminisces his childhood years.

I downloaded the first season yesterday after my cousin told me she loved the show. I'm enjoying it so far. Certain bits are absolutely hilarious.

It airs Wednesdays at 8:35pm on ABC 2.

If you are wondering why the title sounds familiar, the show is written by the same person who wrote The Beautiful Thing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

10 Corso Como x Paul Smith

Whenever people ask me what car I'd like to buy when I grow up (I am 24!), I say, 'Mini Cooper.' I like Minis because they are slightly odd-looking and luxe without being flashy. Since I don't drive and can't afford an actual Mini Cooper, I've always had an eye on Paul Smith's Mini Cooper bags. I think they are a great way of adding spice to a boring outfit. Although I have always kind of liked them, I have never loved them. Until yesterday, that is. When I saw the co-branded Paul Smith x 10 Corso Como bags and loved it. They are amazing. I love the wildlife cartoons and the Corso Como storefront background. They are available at the Corso Como website for USD 443.73 (plus 40 euros for shipping). Expensive, but worth it, in my opinion.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Two days ago I stayed up till 1am to harvest my crops on Farmville. I had to wake up at 7am the next morning because my relatives had arranged a picnic to the Maroondah dam. I was sleepy during the trip, and one of my older cousins asked me what I was doing staying up so late at night.
'It's embarrassing. I was playing this game on Facebook called Farmville.'
'Do you know why I left your house early yesterday?' she asked me and I said no.
'Because I had to harvest my crops on Farmville.'

For those of you who have no idea what Farmville is, it's a game on Facebook where you create your own virtual farm, plant crops and use the money you make by selling them to expand your farm. I thought it'd be really boring when I started playing it, but now, I'm absolutely addicted to it. I can't wait to own farmhouses and manors and other cool things my neighbours on Farmville have!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Kiehl's Creme de Corps

For a long time I thought Lush Dream Cream was the perfect body moisturizer. I don't know what happened, but suddenly it stopped working. It felt like it was just sitting on top of my skin without sinking in, without moisturizing the dry, scaly bits. And then I switched over to Dr Hauschka's Rose Body Moisturizer hoping that would work better. It was great and moisturized well enough, but I needed copious amounts for it to work well, which was not a good thing considering it was fairly expensive. Also, I was not a big fan of the scent -- it smelled a bit off (like musky sweat) on hot, humid days.

Recently, I found an offer on eBay I just couldn't resist and bought two travel-size bottles of Kiehl's Creme de Corps without really thinking twice. I guess my impulse purchase may have had something to do with the fact that I'd seen a bottle of it on Vogue editor Anna Wintour's desk in The September Issue. Anyway, I ordered it, and I am hooked. A week after buying the travel-size bottles, I bought a full-size bottle of Creme de Corps Light from the Mecca Cosmetica counter at Myer Bourke St. Creme de Corps Light, as the name suggests, is a lighter version of the original. I use it on my chest, back and arms after showering, and it sinks in almost immediately. It doesn't have much of a scent, a good thing in my book -- although it smells mildly of olive and sweet almond oils (not surprising considering olive oil is the second ingredient on the list). Most body moisturizers break me out, but both the original and the light don't, and that's amazing because they have very rich moisturizing properties.

My aunt had given me a Myer gift card for Christmas, and I bought a full-size bottle of the original Creme de Corps with it yesterday. The texture is soft and rich, but unlike the light version, I have to wait a few minutes for it to sink in. I use it only on the very dry bits - hands, elbows, feet - before going to bed, and wake up with very soft skin. I like the scent, too: find it very comforting.

Like most Kiehl's products, the packaging for Creme de Corps rocks. The old-fashioned yet modern apothecary-style packaging is very unisex and looks nice on my bedside table. They have launched a new limited-edition bottle in the States, designed by graffiti artist Kaws. I don't know if it'll be available here in Australia, but it's totally hip.

Available at Mecca Cosmetica for $52 (250 ml).