11 October 2013, 11:16
Some girls get excited about birthday cake. But I’ve discovered that a birthday kaftan is more my style…
I bought this insane piece on eBay, or as I like to think of it, the ultimate treasure trove. I discovered it in the middle of a late night eBay trolling mission, where I had been sitting for hours, rapt and scrolling. When this little beauty appeared on my screen, I almost choked with excitement, and quickly I emailed my co-conspirators.
“Too much?!” I asked.
The reply from Kat and Shauna was almost instant. “Well, you are turning thirty… Go get it!”
In the listing, I couldn’t quite grasp the scope of the drama of this thing. But when it turned up at my house, I was a little intimidated. It weighed a ton, and the beading was even more intricate and gleaming than I had imagined.
...But it was my birthday kaftan after all. And so I packed it into my suitcase, and set off for Greece.
It turns out that Schiaparelli pink makes a perfect union with the azure blue of the Grecian sky; that extravagant bell sleeves are just as fabulous today as they were in the 1970’s; that there’s no better garment than one which leaves a trail of sequins in it’s wake.
I haven’t regretted switching out a cake for a kaftan for one single instant. What a glorious thing.
Photographs by Shell De Mar.
7 October 2013, 21:27
Can I tell you a secret? I don’t think Shauna and Kat know what a treat they’re in for when we get to Melbourne in November.
I have a massive soft spot for Melbourne. I lived there from October 2006 to May 2008, and it’s the official birthplace of this blog. I lived on Jane Bell Lane, just beside the QV Centre, right in the centre of the city, and I spent hours getting lost in the city’s magical laneways and exploring the inherent charm of the town.
I don’t think Kat or Shauna know much about Melbourne. And that’s awesome. I can’t wait to show them the shops hidden down alleyways and the bars tucked around corners. I want them to revel in the kickass public art the same way I did. I want them to be wowed and invigorated by the street style. In short, I want them to be overcome with adoration for Melbourne like I was!
I always love strolling around Bourke Street Mall, Myer, David Jones, Sportsgirl, Mimco, Peter Alexander, Sass and Bide, the GPO, etc., but I’ve added a few special places onto my personal must-see list…
We’ll definitely be checking out Lady Petrova, Kate Rohde jewellery at Pieces of Eight Gallery, Corky Saint Clair, Lenko, Gorman, Alice Euphemia, Pet Shop Girls, Spellbox and My Delirium. As for food and drink, I’m dying to go back to Madame Brussels, Koko Black and San Churro...
Of course, I need your help. It has been years and I know cities like Melbourne change quickly. So help a sister out and tell me: where do we need to visit?
Our favourite things: shops with great design, unusual fashion and accessories, bright street art, typography anything, fun cocktails, stationery stores, magazines and zines, independent bookstores, juice bars and raw food!
Photo of My Delirium from The Fabulous Times.
4 October 2013, 12:11
Words cannot describe the beauty of Santorini. The sea really is that blue, the houses really are that white, and staggering views surround you at every turn.
For the three of us, it was the trip of a lifetime, and for a change, I didn’t load us up with a full itinerary. The only thing I really wanted to do was go out on a boat… And so we did.
Originally, we were going to hop on a fancy catamaran and zip around the Aegean Sea, but it was all booked up. After a long walk in the sunshine, a few confusing interactions and a terrifying cable car ride, we found ourselves onboard an older vessel, laden with character (and very enthusiastic young Greek men).
We quickly snagged prime seats on the upper deck of the boat, luxuriating in the sunshine while a mix of Europop and very intense Greek music blasted out of the speakers.
I haven’t spent a lot of time at sea (yarrrrr!), but I decided blue was probably de rigeur. I threw on a striped sunhat from Forever 21 (here’s a similar one from Kate Spade), a sequin tank from Victoria’s Secret Pink, and a silk maxi skirt from Tibi. It felt like the right thing to wear…
When you’re in Greece, you have to get in the sea for a dip. Our boat stopped at some hot springs and we slithered into the water, probably much less gracefully than we had hoped.
Kat and I spent most of the time in the water laughing hysterically. The reason for this is because a sleazy man had dived underwater, pretended to be a shark and grabbed my foot! It gave me the fright — and creep-out — of a lifetime! Where were our husbands when we needed them?!
I was really in my element hanging out on this boat in a big hat and a bikini. Very lady of leisure. Is this what Paris Hilton feels like all the time?! And I’m so in love with this bikini from Vitamin A, who totally hooked me up with never-ending swimwear and jewel-coloured kaftans. Bless! I can’t wait to take them to Australia (20 days to go)!
Before long, the light started to change. What better way to celebrate than by dancing?
After a couple of glasses of local wine, our boat bobbed past Ammoudi port and we realised we were close to the villa where we were staying. We batted our lashes at the captain and asked if he could let us off early. He obliged, and we hopped off the boat.
“It won’t take that long to climb up the hill I’m sure,” I said, optimistically.
214 steps later, we were all singing a different tune!
Thankfully, there was plenty to look at as we scaled the steps. The sky glowed orange around us, and the lights from the villas began to twinkle. Finally, the sun dipped down below the horizon and everything bloomed red. Crowds of people gathered along the cliff edge cheered and whooped. Lovers smiled at each other and kissed.
Just another beautiful sunset in Santorini…
Still swooning, and who could blame me?!
Photographs by Shell De Mar.
17 September 2013, 12:11
Maja Salamon and Karolina Waz by Robert Ceranowicz for Elle Poland, via Fashion Gone Rogue.
International travel is all glamour all the time, right? Right?!
WRONG! International travel is rife with grimness. Teeny-tiny seats, crappy snacks and delays can take a toll on the spirit of the most buoyant babe… And that’s not even taking jet-lag into account!
A few interesting facts about jet-lag: it’s worse when flying east; it’s even more unbearable if you’re dehydrated before you even get on the plane; and sleeping during the flight doesn’t actually help you. These facts are a bummer, but there are plenty of ways to defeat jet-lag at its own game!
Be smart on the way over.
As tempting as it is to load up on carbohydrate-heavy foods and knock back a couple of flutes of champagne in-flight, they will only make you feel shitty upon your arrival.
Drink water on the plane. All that circulated air will dry you out like a piece of toast! Often, if you bring your own water bottle, the flight attendants are happy to refill it for you (which also means you can put the lid back on and throw it in your seat pocket, rather than being held hostage by your tray-table). Of course, it helps to have an aisle seat — or a compassionate seat-mate! — when you’re quaffing water like it’s going out of style!
Don’t go crazy on the food, either. You’re just sitting there, not burning up much energy, so it’s more likely that you’ll be tempted to eat out of boredom more than actual hunger. Try to pace yourself if possible.
Try chewing No-Jet-Lag tablets, too: they’re homeopathic and they give great results.
Get as much rest as you need.
The best tactic is always to try to acclimatise to your location as soon as possible. For example, when I get on a plane in London bound for NYC, I immediately set my phone to NYC time. Try to resist having a nap in the middle of the day when you arrive, as it will mess with your body clock even more. Better to stay up for as long as you can, and then hit the sack once the sun goes down.
Upon returning from London on Tuesday night, I dedicated Wednesday to slowly-but-surely getting back into my NYC groove. I woke up at 6am (without an alarm clock), took a shower, did some work, took several walks and had a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. By about 10.30pm I was completely wiped out, and ready to go back to bed. Perfect!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Even if you’re not jet-lagged, loading up on water will take you from average to excellent! Plump up those cells and get ‘em singin’ again. Keep a huge glass of water beside you at all times, and refill it regularly. Squeeze a lemon in that blighter for massive benefits.
I like to keep a bottle on my nightstand, too, because there’s nothing worse than stumbling towards the fridge at 2am.
In summary: when in doubt, drink water. Then drink some more!
Eat your greens!
Let me guess: while you were elsewhere, you probably didn’t eat as virtuously as you might have at home. When I travel, my lack of a regular routine means I’m often ravenous, and I tend to eat whatever is easiest or most convenient. Inevitably, I start to hanker for vegetables before long!
Once you land, make a wonderful meal your first priority. No matter whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, raw, kosher or plain ol’ omnivore, fill your body with plenty of vegetables! Try to eat them raw or steamed, rather than fried or covered in sauce! Raw vegetables, as well as being chockablock with nutrients, are extremely high in fibre, which gets your whole body moving again.
Don’t forget to add in some protein and healthy fats. My idea of a perfect first meal is grilled salmon with dark green vegetables, or chicken with quinoa and steamed vegetables. (Actually, that’s my idea of a perfect meal any time.)
To combat the urge to snack on whatever is available while you’re travelling, be sure to stock your handbag with healthy (and delicious) treats. A bag of homemade trail mix, a Kind bar or some fruit will make you feel so much more alive — and give you so much more long-lasting energy — than a bagel and an extra-large coffee!
One of the things that happens to me when I’m away from home for a while is I start to slack on my regular beauty duty. My eyebrows become a little more unkempt, my skin could use a jolly good serum, and my manicure is looking a little worse for wear. So it’s great to spend a bit of time — in between sleeping and drinking plenty of water — just getting back up to speed.
Scrub your entire body with a dry brush before you jump in the shower. Use all the sugar scrubs your poor epidermis can handle (and don’t forget to do your feet), shave any appropriate areas and moisturise your body once you’ve dried off.
When it comes to my face, I like to use a Biore Pore Strip, scrub my face with my Clarisonic, apply a mask (at the moment, I’m loving Tarte Amazonian Clay Double Detox as well as Boscia Luminizing Black Mask) and then a hydrating treatment. Then I spend some time with my tweezers, plucking errant eyebrow hairs.
By the time I’m done, I feel like a brand new woman… And I look like one, too!
Get active once you arrive
Having to sit motionless on a plane for several hours at a stretch is abnormal and afterwards, you feel like the Tin Man (pre-oil can). The only real way to combat this uncomfortable feeling is to move your body with gusto!
Go for a walk or a run or take a restorative yoga class. Lift some weights, have a swim, or hula-hoop in your living room. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something! You will feel so much more human — and so much less cranky! — afterwards.
Melatonin is a girl’s best friend.
If you’re having trouble sleeping once you arrive, pop some melatonin. It will help you nod off quickly, and, unlike traditional sleeping pills, you’ll actually feel rested when you wake up. Perfect.
One caveat: if you use melatonin too much — say, several times a week — you will have the most vivid nightmares of your life. So, you know, use it in moderation!
Get some extra help…
You’d be amazed what a liberal application of self-tanner can achieve! Once I’ve staggered off a plane and spent a day inside, getting back to normal, the prospect of leaving the house to go out and be human again can seem daunting.
An easy beauty formula to follow? Give your face a good scrub. Apply some self-tanner to your face (I love St. Tropez Wash Off Instant Glow Face Lotion). Curl your eyelashes and use an illuminating pencil like Benefit’s Eye Bright along your waterline. Add a bit of blush and some bright lipstick on your kisser, then trot out the door.
Everyone you see will think you are an international playgirl, globe-trotting gamine, intercontinental sweetheart… Not an exhausted, confused, slightly irritable babe with a good face on!
So tell me, what are your tricks to cope with travel?
(Almost) back to normal,
Extra For Experts
Check out these tips from NASA!
12 June 2013, 11:08
To celebrate Kat’s birthday, we went to Disneyland. It had been decided months earlier, when we were making our initial Californian travel arrangements. And when I say “it had been decided”, I really mean that I had commandeered the schedule.
“We should definitely go to Disneyland while we’re there,” I said.
“I’ve never been to Disneyland! Is it cool?” Kat asked.
“WHAAAAAAAAT?!” I exclaimed. “YES it is cool! I can’t believe you’ve never gone! We are taking you there for your birthday.”
The day did not have an auspicious beginning. I had been feeling nauseous since I woke up, and ended up puking even before we arrived at The Happiest Place On Earth. I walked around feeling sick to my stomach all day, unable to eat anything but dry pretzel crackers, or drink anything but frozen apple juice. And when we got there, Disneyland was absolutely swarmed with people.
We could have moped around complaining all day, but we didn’t. We decided to have a good time, and of course, we did! Our day was made even better by Alie and Christina, who are some of the best, coolest, most chill girls we’ve ever met.
We were so blessed to be there in the most beautiful season of all: spring. Disneyland’s cherry blossom trees bloom with the most intensely-saturated pink flowers I’ve ever seen. Insanely gorgeous.
Before we went on any rides, our first priority was CLEARLY to nab some new ears to wear for the day. We ended up getting matching silver sequin ones. As somewhat of an ear connoisseur, I noticed that they’ve changed the way they make them. I think these will probably hold up better than the last few pairs I’ve owned, but time will tell!
Our first stop was The Haunted Mansion. It’s my favourite ride bar none, and I have to tell you, the excitement of ghosts and spectres made my nausea all but disappear!
Hmmm… Where to go next?
We pushed a little kid out of this Dumbo so we could take a picture. How mean!
Mad Tea Party is one of my favourite rides, especially at dusk.
It’s A Small World is super-iconic. I haven’t gone on it since I was 7 — once was enough, I think! — but Mary Blair’s design has totally stood the test of time. It looks so cool, and I love the colour palette against the blue Californian sky.
“It’s a world of Shauna, a world of ears…”
Christina and Kat can’t resist a mirror! But given how gorgeous they are, who could blame them?!
My case (and Kat’s case too) is by LUXYLOLI. (I have told so many people about her that she sent me a Christmas card last year!) One arm extended with a phone in hand is clearly my resting pose.
Oh… It’s Shauna’s resting pose, too!
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle was based on the design of Neuschwanstein, which I visited when I was 15 years old. It is CRAY and lavish to the max. Did you know you can get married at Disneyland? (As you would probably guess, it ain’t cheap!)
Gettin’ sultry at Minnie Mouse’s house. I mean, who could resist?!
I was wearing a neon pink knit hat from Urban Outfitters, a bizarre and dangerous necklace from TopShop, a metallic silver crop top from ASOS, a Calvin Klein sequin maxi skirt, a Kate Spade bag and Nike Frees. (I’m so glad I wore them! The perfect shoe for Disneyland.)
This is the best photograph of Kat I’ve ever seen. I want to marry it over and over again! Did you notice the RAINBOW?!
Shauna and topiary are a match made in heaven. I know that when she’s 50 she’ll have a garden full of them, just like Edward Scissorhands. She was wearing this dress and Christina’s sunglasses!
Even the flowers at Disneyland are absolutely perfect. Sometimes I wonder if they have people painting them in the mornings, like in Alice In Wonderland.
Detail of It’s A Small World. Beautiful, right?
After a little rest in Mickey’s Toontown, which included swallowing ibuprofen, snacking on candy floss and getting photobombed by a guy with a gigantic backpack, we were ready to soldier on. Shauna had gotten her power back, and was doing interpretive dance.
When I came to Disneyland as a kid, I spent so much time in this magic shop. My obsession with magicians goes way back… I even had a top hat with a secret compartment inside!
Still hogging Dumbo. Sorry, kid!
After an extremely long day, we dragged our cabooses back to Hollywood. We had trekked for miles, experienced Captain EO (at Shauna’s insistence), snacked on ridiculous things and laughed until we thought we’d burst. I hope it helped to make Kat’s birthday extra-special… !
So ready to go back,
Photos by Made U Look, of course!
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