Archive for September 2010

 

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Sprung

30 September 2010

flower-littleorchid

In Australia, spring officially starts on the first of September, but the actual weather didn’t change then.

It happened, all of a sudden, one day last week.

Perth has had the driest winter on record, or something like that, and so it has been dry for weeks – a cold, mean dry.

But now, the ants are back to digging up the sand under the driveway. Dandylions explode in the slightest breeze. Midgies swarm in the park at sunset. The mid-day sun has that strong-but-gentle warmth where you just want to turn your back to it, and let it melt your spine.

And flowers bloom in a reproductive frenzy, seducing photographers and insects alike.

I have promised myself time and time again not to publish pictures of flowers on my blog…but this year, sorry, I couldn’t help but celebrate the warmer weather with an image from right outside my kitchen window.

And hey, if you are in the northern hemisphere, it’s autumn, right? So you need some pictures of spring flowers!


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I Want To Be This Strong

27 September 2010

This is my son Liam, with his pants falling down, trying to play basketball on a full-sized backboard.

He can hardly hold the ball over his head.

liam-basketball

Of course, what happens next is that when he releases the ball, it rolls off his nose, and then slowly down the street.

But he doesn’t mind that he can’t do it. To him, it’s not a humiliating failure – it’s part of the Big Game of Life. He laughs, and tries again and again.

And it makes me realise…

I want to be this unafraid of the world, and be undaunted by the prospect of failure.

I want to be this innocent, resilient and optimistic.

I want to be this strong.


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The Fashion Pack and Pink Aliens at Perth Fashion Festival

24 September 2010

Excuse me while I have an uncontrolled gush of fashion-ness.Perth Fashion Festival 2010

Hey! Look! I’m on the front row, wearing Aurelio Costarella, and I LOOK PINK!! I am a happy fashion girl!

Last week I attended a number of  Perth Fashion Festival events and had a fab time looking at cool clothes, taking photos, going to parties and catching up with the Perth fashion pack. Yes, it was all very glamorous and exciting and fun – and tiring.

Perth Fashion Festival 2010
Me sitting front row with Teagan Sewell (left) who recently won a WA Fashion Award for her work as a stylist, and Pip Christmass, Fashion Editor for The West Australian (centre).

Perth Fashion Festival 2010

This is me partying with Scott from Out in Perth, Lisa Chau designer of Generics Accessories and co-founder of Merge Clothing, Emma Bergmeier, fashion editor of Xpress Magazine and fabulous fashion blogger from Dropstich. Here, we are all sunset golden in colour.

Perth Fashion Festival 2010

Fashion designer Poppy Lissiman (who has an incredible collection of dresses this season!), me and Lisa. Purple this time.

Perth Fashion Festival 2010

Short Me with TALL designer Garth Cook and normal height designer Alison Cotton of Joveeba.

This photo by Songy Knox from Style Discovery, who I also got to catch up with!

Perth Fashion Festival 2010

Me with designer Kym Ellery of Ellery. Purple again, and a little blurry.

There were so, so many other people – designers, media people, boutique owners, photographers, and general cool, fun people that I caught up with and partied with over the week – but I just didn’t get photos!

Like fashion designer Timothy Godbold, Alvin Fernandez from Aelkemi, Kirsten Shadbolt from Paper Skye, jewellery designer Alister Yiap, fashion designer Leanne Lim, fashion photographer Romain Duquesne, fashion designer Sheree Dornan, Zoë Trotman of Lonely 8 Bit Heroes, fashion designer Daniella Caputi, Claire Davies fashion editor for Sunday Times, , Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan director of the Perth Fashion Festival, blogger Marcia Ball, stylist Hannah McGrath, Connor and Romina from Zekka, Mark and Marie from Head Studio, and fashion boutique owner Zara Bryson.

Perth Fashion Festival 2010

But of course, it is all about the CLOTHES, right? So aside from all the socialising, I saw some great fashion from Perth designers – and I’m so, so excited and proud of their work. I hope to be doing some reviews over the next few months to show off their clothes.

The pics above were taken by Stefan Gosatti, during the last fashion show for the festival.

On the left, is a PINK ALIEN modeling an outfit by Jaime Lee Major.

In the middle, is a hot beachy outfit by rocking label Joveeba.

On the right, is the Paper Skye Spring/Summer Collection by the gorgeous Kirsten Shadbolt.

It was a great week!!

(And I am still soooo tired!)


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Sand In My Butt Crack

23 September 2010

At The Sports Carnival 2010

So it was my children’s sports carnival the other day – and here I am wearing BLUE (to support my kid’s faction team).

During the carnival, I was sitting at the edge of the sandpit with my 1.5 year old toddler.

He was give me mini bear hugs from behind – wrapping his arms around the back of my waist and giving me a little squeeze, RAWR and a giggle.

It was just so, so cute, that I tried to take a photo of his cute wrestly-cuddle.

The photo – as you can see – was a fail.

But seconds after I took this photo, he picked up a cup full of sand, and POURED IT DOWN MY PANTS! Yes, in that neat little space between my jeans and my butt crack!

Like sands through the hourglass, the cold, white grains slid down, down, down my arse and filled up my underwear. And what did I do?

I LEAPT UP IN SHOCK AND SQUEALED EEEEEEAAAAAKKKKKKKK!

And of course STANDING UP just made it worse.

My toddler thought it was hilarious.

Sand scrunching around in your knickers? NOT COOL!


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Channeling My Inner Zebra

21 September 2010

Outfit by Frockaholics

Got my hands on some new stuff, mainly from Frockaholics – an online store with an EXCELLENT range of classy Australian designer labels such as Ginger and Smart, Sass and Bide, Willow, Camilla and Marc, Samantha Wills etc.

Frockaholics has international shipping and a gorgeous range of New Arrivals.

Top by Sass ad Bide

I just love this top by Sass and Bide! It’s a little haphazard – with zips and stripes going in different directions. But it has a relaxed shape, and it’s a bit see-through. So it’s got a very cool don’t-give-a-damn, so don’t-mess-with-me attitude about it, which I really like.

Sass and Bide is not for everyone. Generally their look is pretty bold and extravagant. Necklines are low-cut to show off your boobs, dresses have cut-out panels to show off your ribs, tops are extra-cropped to show off your belly button, and hemlines are especially-short to show off your legs! Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but you get the drift.

I just love love LOVE the boldness of the Sass and Bide brand, and this top is RIGHT FOR ME!!!

Check out the other items from Sass and Bide at Frockaholics.

Jacket by Diesel

This white jacket is by Diesel. It’s made from a heavy cotton, so it feels robust and versatile. It’s structured enough to make an outfit look sharp. But at the same time, the cotton makes it feel casual too.

I’m also sure it’ll withstand multiple washes and look better and better with age.

Check out the other items from Diesel at Frockaholics.

Bag by ASOS

The very cute leather satchel is from ASOS.

Perfect, strappy, gladiator heels from Betts.

Black jeans from Nobody.

Sunglasses from a shop in Singapore.

Mocha nails by Chi Chi.

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


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I Killed My Mother’s Fish

20 September 2010

I may be the worst Chinese daughter in the world.

goldfish-dead

My mother has a small collection of koi fish in her pond. And they have lived in that pond for as long as I can remember. 10 years maybe?

My mum went on holiday, and she asked me to feed the fish every third day. Easy! No problem!

All went well for the first week.

Then. One day during the second week, I arrived to find the LARGEST FISH floating upside down at the surface of the water.

It was a huge fish. It was like the grand poobah of the pond. But now that it was dead, bug-eyed and belly up… it looked like a huge plastic toy.

OOOH CRAAAP! I had that awful sinking feeling – obviously, I had killed it somehow.

What did I do wrong? Wrong food? Did it starve? Over feed it? Did it die of old age? Do fish even die of old age? Maybe it got cold? Maybe it had a virus, and the other fish will die next? Why the biggest one first?

So I rang my friend – who owns koi fish of his own – and he told me that the fish would probably have been worth $500. SHITE!

I lifted the fish out of the water, dug a hole in the garden, and buried the fish under my mother’s mango tree.

I noticed that the water level of the pond was quite low, so I filled the pond up, and decided to come back the next day to check them again.

Next day : TWO MORE FISH DIED!

That’s $1500 worth of dead fish hanging over my head.

Curiously, they were the two next biggest fish. So more burial services under the mango tree. Those damn mangoes had better be tasty.

Anyway, I did what no child wants to do. I phoned my mum during her overseas holiday, and told her the bad news.

I was thinking, OH COME ON. THEY ARE JUST FISH. It’s not like I’m calling to tell her that her house burnt down.  Or that her house was burgled by thieves who had spray painted obscene images on the wall. Just fish! Could be worse!

Yet when I told her, I felt so, so bad and felt like an incompetent teenager again.

*Hangs head down in shame*

And what did she say?

“Oh… that’s not good.” In her massive understatement way.

We discussed what might be the problem, but she really couldn’t make a diagnosis. I may have over fed them?

So with my mother’s instruction, I topped up the pond again, and this time, I was to stay away for three days. I suppose my mum thought the fish were safer that way.

Which was great, because I couldn’t stand finding dead fish everyday. If they were going to die, they would have to do it without me as witness.

I returned after day three, ready to find that ALL the remaining fish had survived.

They seemed fine, if a little lonely.

By the time my mum arrived home, all the remaining fish were alive and well, swimming around like they owned the place.

And so what was the problem?

My mum told me that the pump that circulated the water had failed. Which  meant the bubbles of air that the pump was supposed to blow into the water, to oxygenated the water for the fish, had failed!

No pump, no bubbles. No bubbles, not enough oxygen. And so the fish died in order of size – because the bigger fish needed more oxygen. And once the bigger fish died, there was enough oxygen naturally in the water to let the little ones survive.

I thought the pump was just a zen-garden themed ornamental thing!!

How was I supposed to know it made bubbles for the fish for them to actually breath?!

I’m so glad that my kids just breath air.


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AVANT-GARDE PERTH 2010 SHOW

17 September 2010

Last week I attended a very amazing fashion show by the creative forces behind Perth boutiques Zekka, Dilettante and hair salon Head Studio.

avant-garde07

It was a much anticipated show in the Perth Fashion community, partly because it was very, very clear that it was going to be unashamedly ARTY.

The title said it all (AVANT GARDE – the “leading edge” in creative terms), but also, the images for the pre-show catalogue were dominated by dramatic high contrast black and white images of gaunt models with theatrical level make-up and hair, embodying the extreme edge of angsty Euro-chic.

In addition, the venue was a long way from a standard catwalk – being in an ancient, giant, wooden floored gallery in the spectacular grounds of the University of Western Australia.

To be honest, I was a little nervous about what I was going to wear. I usually try and avoid following the obvious, but I also don’t like to stand out too much.

When I arrived for pre-show drinks, the foyer was already full, and I had guessed right.

It was like walking into an arty Scandinavian architects convention, in a gothic nightclub, in the 1980’s ”New Romantic” period. Honestly, ninety-five percent of everybody there was wearing BLACK. Black tops, bottoms, accessories, coats, hats, glasses, stockings, socks and, probably, black underwear.

Only three or four women wore something not black, and the question was – were they incredibly brave, or did they just not understand the dress code?

avantgarde2010_dress
This is what I wore. A new, gorgeous black sheer lace dress that I recently acquired. It is definitely stylistically out of keeping with the theme of the show – it is romantic lace, sheer, with a hint of currently “on-trend” nude in the slip. But it IS still essentially BLACK.

After chatting and people watching, we were ushered into the hall, which was like being led into the dinning room of Harry Potter’s school. I was delighted to discover that I was seated right at the end of “the walk”. The black tape on the floor (that tells the models where to turn) was right at my feet. Excellent! The best seats in the house I reckon!

I started fussing about with my camera, and hoped that the lights would go up when the show started, since I had forgotten to bring either my really fast lens, or a tripod, so I was going to need a LOT of light to get clean, sharp pics. I never use the flash.

But the lights went DOWN when the show started, just to emphasis the “noir” tone of the whole affair. It was as dark as a cave. Or a seedy night club. Oh well! I blasted away with my camera and took a lot of very blurry images, but also a few that I really, really liked.

avant-garde08

(In this image, my camera’s shutter speed was so slow that it captured TWO flashes from OTHER photographer’s cameras, producing the blue double image of the model crossing in front! Cool! I love lucky, beautiful accidents.)

Even though it happened mostly in the dark, the show was true to its promise.

It included a giant organ solo, a solo by a violin player who was IN the show, hair styling in front of the audience, and a great selection of men’s and women’s clothes – which were really well styled into the show. The models used the whole of the space, meaning that almost everyone in the audience was much closer to the clothes than if they had been at a conventional show.

The clothes were actually a lot less black than what the audience was wearing. We saw a strong uber-cool Euro sophistication, with definite 1980s post-Punk references, but updated with a mix of drapey layers, metallics and edgy details.

All the clothes were beautiful and sophisticated (often weirdly so), but these particular pieces really caught my eye – and so I hope to be off to Dilettante to test their wearability very soon.

avant-garde04

These professional fashion photography images are by Songy Knox, a fellow fashion blogger who, unlike me, always remembers to bring all her equipment. You can check out her excellent fashion photography at her Style Discovery blog. Thanks Songy!

Being at a show like this makes you feel you are hanging out with the cool gang. People who really appreciate exquisite, beautiful design that is hard to create. So I always leave feeling I’m part of a sophisticated crowd for whom elegance and grace is very important.

But then something always brings me back to earth. When I got home, I discovered that there was something stuck to the bottom of my shoe.

avant-garde05

Something so completely out of place from the elite, dark and sophisticated world of Avante Garde. It was garishly multi-coloured. In vulgar primary colours.

avant-garde06
It was a cut-out motorcycle sticker, and a letter “C” sticker, stuck to my shoe. Craft scraps from my children’s school assignments.

And they had been stuck there the WHOLE EVENING!!!

OHHHH! How UNCOOL!!

I hope nobody noticed!!!


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Karen Does Sex Toys

15 September 2010

I get A LOT OF EMAIL from people who want me to promote products.

And I rarely believe these products are going to be of interest to my readers.

So over the years, I have developed the skill of deleting inappropriate emails very efficiently. But occasionally, something catches my eye. And this one did.

It was a very polite email letting me know that there was this online store that stocked things for women that were “Discreet and Stylish! Compact and Glamorous!”.

And you know me, I am really into being stylish and glamorous… but the “DISCREET” part made me a little suspicious. And it seemed to be the key word somehow.

My curiosity was raised just enough to click on the link. And this is what I saw.

intimatemassager

At first glance, I thought it was a designer, cordless mouse for your computer.

But it isn’t. Oh no.

It is an “intimate massager” with “sensual feminine curves and touch sensitive buttons so that you can release those feel good endorphins!”.

As I read those words, I thought, “Oh that sounds nice. I wonder how it works. I’m into stylish health and well-being. Maybe I should see… OH HANG ON A MINUTE! RIGHTIO!! I GET IT NOW!”

But as I read the rest of the website and looked at the pictures, I was actually quite amazed at how tastefully it was presented.

It managed to talk about sex without ONCE mentioning the words “sex”, “erotic” or “orgasm”.

But then I noticed that there was A VIDEO that demonstrated “HOW TO GET STARTED” with the Be Be Intimate Massager.

So I thought, what the heck, I clicked on the play button, and I cringed in fear of what I might see.

If there had even been someone else in the room, I would never have been so brave to click PLAY. But, hey, I was curious, and this is the internet.

To my relief, the video was of two very nice ladies (fully dressed) who looked like make-up sales-persons. They showed how to put batteries into the Be Be (it takes two double A batteries), and how to use the buttons (there are two buttons, like a standard mouse, but no scroll wheel).

What was cute was that they looked slightly embarrassed to be discussing this product. They DIDN’T actually demonstrate the use of the product. I guess you just work that part out for yourself.

So there you go, it is possible to present such a topic in a completely tasteful and dignified way. Bravo to the writers.

And just to make sure we are clear on this, my dear readers, I HAVEN’T actually got this product, or tested it.

In fact, I never replied to the email, and the people who sell the Be Be Intimate Massager don’t even know I am writing this about their product.

I was just… curious. And I just looked at the website.

Here is the link to the website… in case you are also… curious.

www.lovebeingwoman.com/thebebe.html


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Vodka and Caffeine

14 September 2010

The other evening I went to a special event held at Bar 399 to promote Silvana Coffee.

It was a media “mingling” event – lots of marketing people, journalists and bloggers packed into a small, warm bar on a cold winter’s night with live music, great food, booze and coffee. It was a very cool, cosy atmosphere.

Naturally, the theme was cocktails made with Silvana Coffee.

espresso-martini01

And this is where it got dangerous.

Two barmen were putting on this fabulous show of making various kinds of cocktails. It was very impressive to see them spinning bottles and setting things on fire. The drinks were stacking up on the bar, free for anyone to have. And they looked amazing (the drinks that is, although the barmen were quite ok too).

So I picked up an espresso martini.

I chatted with the bar men, and as a wannabe foodie, I was really interested to know what goes into such a creation. After teasing me that the ingredients were a closely guarded corporate secret, they did actually tell me.

And I would love to tell you what they told me. But I can’t remember.

You see, I gave up drinking coffee years ago, and I have never been able to drink more than a few sips of alcohol in my whole life. When I get drunk, I don’t even get to “bad behaviour”. I just start vomiting.

So about 30 seconds after I started sipping an amazing espresso martini, both the caffeine and the alcohol slammed into my unprepared brain.

Alcohol sloooooow doooooown, and caffeine ACCELERATION – at the same time!

And it was GREAT! Suddenly, I didn’t care about taking photos anymore. I didn’t care about what I said, or who I spoke to, or anything! I was just very giggly and buzzy.

espresso-martini02

These pictures of me in a blissful state of neurological confusion were taken by fellow blogger Matt, of the excellent and serious food blog Abstract Gourmet. His photos of me are very sharp, but don’t be fooled, inside, I was totally out of focus.

Luckily, I had taken my favourite accessory along – my husband – and as a one time very experienced drinker, he saw the warning signs. He confiscated my drink, and gave me food and water instead.

Thus, my little walk-on-the-wild-side only lasted for an hour or so, and I was none the worse by the end of a pleasant evening.

I shall have to be more careful next time.

But DAMN the cocktails tasted GOOOOOD!


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Beach Colour Detox

13 September 2010

Father's Day at the Beach

Last weekend I went to my favourite beach to chill out in the sun.

I was utterly intoxicated by all the colours around me.

Cottesloe Beach Waves
The sky and ocean.

Cottesloe Beach Underwater
The sparkly water.

Beach Seaweed
The seaweed.

It was just so inspiring… and delicious to be immersed in it all.


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Daily Outfit: Leather and Cream

10 September 2010

Leather and Cream

With the weather warming up just slightly here in Australia, I’m seeing spring floral patterns and bright colours everywhere.

But I’m still in love with the autumn colours and muted neutrals.

I picked up a ruffle top and wool cardigan on sale from Country Road. Teamed it with a leather mini skirt from Urban Outfitters, a vintage belt, suede ankle boots from Betts, and a gorgeous sandy coloured leather satchel from the ASOS Collection.

I love a look that is slightly rock (leather) yet feminine and relaxed.

Here are some of my favourite details this season –

1) Long leather belts

2) Unstructured leather satchels

3) Black leather skirts and shorts

4) I’m still love with my suede ankle boots

Leather and Cream

( See all my Daily Outfits here )

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


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My Awful Love Affair with Chocolate

8 September 2010

My occasional sponsors Nuffnang asked me if I would write about Cadbury chocolate bars. Hmmm, let’s see, they’re offering to sponsor me to try out a new chocolate bar from one of the world’s most famous makers of chocolate, and then honestly tell my readers what I think of it – HELL YES!

But before I talk about the chocolate bar, I want to talk about my complicated relationship with chocolate. It’s a bit embarrassing, because it’s so clichéd.

Like most women, I love chocolate. And, well, it’s easy to love – it’s sweet, creamy, smooth, velvety, and turns into warm, melted, softness on your tongue. It’s everything a girl wants.

I have a stash of chocolate in my fridge. It is a wall. A towering wall of partly eaten chocolate bars that block out the light in the fridge.

And I’ll try any kind of chocolate. Milk. Dark. Light. White. Dripping caramel. Crunchy wafer. Honey comb. Roasted nuts. Cookie crumble. Fruit. Alcohol. Truffles. Cream. Coconut. Orange. Lemon. Mint. Biscuits. Chilli. Salt. And deep-fried chocolate! You name it, I’ve eaten it!

But I hate it as well.

It gives me acne, it makes my skin dull, it makes my teeth hurt and my gums sore. It makes my energy levels spike and fall dramatically, and then I have an energy crash and need more chocolate to fix it. I wished I wasn’t so addicted to it.

I go in circles with chocolate. It’s a love-hate relationship.

Some days I stay far, far away from it.

Then other days I eat so much of it, there may as well be an intravenous tube of the stuff dripping straight into my system.

In fact, I think my female hormones are chemically dependent on chocolate.

My passion for chocolate used to make my boyfriends feel inadequate. My husband and I sustain a relationship only because we have “an arrangement”, in which he goes out to buy chocolate for me when I am moody.

I tell him EXACTLY WHAT KIND I WANT, but he is well trained enough to know I may have changed my mood before he gets back, so he buys several different types I can choose from. And that is how I like it.

I understand my addiction and I manage it well.

I need to eat the particular chocolate that corresponds with my mood and circumstances.

It’s a fine balance. A delicate art. Like medication.

It takes years to perfect the precise equilibrium of the–right-kind-of-chocolate-to-hormone-ratio to achieve and maintain stability.

And these are my chocolate-mood categories:

Chocolate On The Run.
Simple, innocent blobs of milk chocolate that you can grab easily and throw in your mouth. Enough said.

Pick Me Up Chocolate.
These are great for low days. When I’m feeling a little sluggish and down in the dumps. I need a jolt of sugar. But only something light. Chocolate with bubbles, chocolate flakes, or chocolate covered wafers.

Chocolate for Chilling Out.
For those few moments in the day, where I sit down with a cup of tea and put my feet up, I like to have chocolate with caramel.

Reward Chocolate.
Chocolate, just because. I’m special and I deserve to have triple-coated, double layered chocolate, with nuts and caramel and wafer and EVERYTHING… whenever I feel like it thank you very much.

Non-Chocolate Chocolate.
When I crave something sweet and creamy, but not chocolate – the answer is WHITE chocolate.

Depression Chocolate.
The most important kind of chocolate. When, let’s face it, I feel like crap, everything in my life is going wrong, and nothing in the world can make me feel better. So I eat DARK, DARK chocolate, to celebrate the deepness of the depression.

Anyway the purpose for this post was for me to introduce a new range of Cadbury chocolate.

I almost feel bad, being sponsored to introduce you to something that is already on the shelves of practically every supermarket and convenience store in Australia (and probably the whole world) that you will undoubtedly find out about anyway – unless you never, ever eat chocolate. But here goes.

The range is called Bar of Plenty and there are two flavours –

Cadbury Bar of Plenty

Oven Roasted Hazelnut with Honey Cashews
I was quite impressed by how they manage to pack in so many nuts into this chocolate block, because the bar doesn’t fall to bits when you pick it up.

Those cashews are pretty damn tasty – you can taste the roasted honey flavour and it’s lovely. It’s not heavy and overly rich. It has substance, but it’s still “light” – meaning, you can eat a lot of the stuff and NOT feel sick!

Cadbury Bar of Plenty

Summer Berries and Crunchy Vanilla Shortcake
This bar is AMAZING. It was my favourite. I don’t usually like fruit (sultanas or cherries) in my chocolate, but THESE berries are really, really nice.

The shortcake is like crunchy shortbread, and again, they have packed it in – it’s so, so yummy.

By the way, I hope you appreciate my chocolate-porn pictures. I took them with a new lens for my DSLR camera! And I was very excited indeed.

SO. These Bar of Plenty Chocolates definitely fit into my REWARD CHOCOLATE category – and heck I’ve been rewarding myself everyday since they’ve arrived in the mail. Because I’m that special dammit.

Giveaway!
Nuffnang would love to send one of my readers Cadbury chocolate to the value of $50. And who doesn’t want free chocolate in their letterbox?

Just email me at karen@karencheng.com.au :
1) Your name
2) Your email
3) Answer this question – Why are you in love with chocolate?

I’ll be choosing the most creative answer!
You have to be over 14, and residing in Australia.
Competition ends 5pm AEST on 20 September 2010.
Please read all the Terms & Conditions.

And if you go to the Cadbury Bar of Plenty website, you can enter another competition to win some pretty cool looking prizes. Good luck!


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The Paper Panties Day Spa Experience

7 September 2010

For my birthday, I was given a gift voucher for a spa experience.

Specifically, it was for a Full Body De-Stress Massage and Facial Treatment.

Did you hear that? A FULL BODY MASSAGE!

I was so excited! I’ve never had a professional FULL BODY massage before!

SOMEBODY is going to rub warm oil all over my body and do away with all the stress and tension in my muscles. And maybe if I’m lucky, this person will be a tall, black guy, rippling with muscles and with big strong hands… haha ok, I’m just kidding  (I’m sure I’d have to pay a LOT more for that kind of massage).

My experience promised 2 WHOLE hours of full body pampering, a delicious lunch, dessert and tea, so I should have been looking forward to it all week!

However.

I know I am not that great when it comes to “having time out during the day”.

I guess you could say, I don’t have a very sympathetic attitude towards rewarding myself, when I have a zillion things to do. My 2 big children are at school for 6 hours, so I have to cram in as many tasks as possible into that time!

So with driving time, baby sitting drop-off and pick-up, the spa experience itself, the whole event will take about 4 HOURS. Not to mention the other 1 HOUR needed to make lunch for my toddler, pack a day pack, get him ready, get myself ready… so REALLY this spa thing will take up the entire day – which irritates the hell out of me, because I’ll get NOTHING ELSE DONE WHILE THE KIDS ARE AT SCHOOL.

So much for trying to “DE-STRESS”. Way to go Karen.

I tried very hard – all week – to psyche myself up for a lovely break.

I’M HAVING A MASSAGE! A $200 MASSAGE! IT WILL BE BLISS! I’M GOING TO FEEL GREAT!

On the morning of the spa experience, of course, my kids were ratty at me, and my toddler was a bit sick – and even though I know how to handle grumpy and sick children, it still threw me off a bit.

I AM GOING TO HAVE A LOVELY STRESS-FREE DAY TODAY DO YOU HEAR?!?

And of course, my period arrived that morning.

GEE! GREAT!

I rushed around all morning – dropping the kids off at school, making my toddler have a nap, making lunch for him, driving to my Mum’s house, settling Liam in. And as I ran out Mum’s door, I was already 15 minutes late.

OH WELL. IT’S NOT LIKE I’M LATE FOR ANYTHING IMPORTANT. YOU KNOW, IT’S NOT LIKE I’M LATE FOR LUNCH WITH THE QUEEN. OR HAVING A MULTIMILLION DOLLAR CLIENT MEETING.

I’M HAVING A DE-STRESSING MASSAGE FOR GOD’S SAKE, JUST CHILL OUT KAREN.

I finally arrived at the day spa. And it was gorgeous! It was an old federation hotel with tall ceilings and wooden floors, converted into a lush, sophisticated modern lounge thing.

The atmosphere was perfect – catering just for women – warm and inviting, lovely leather lounge chairs, flowers, magazines, fresh lighting, gorgeous wall papers… it was really nice and it appealed to all my female “princess” receptors.

I sat on a large, warm lounge chair. I filled out a form and chose from the menu.

But I was still a bit frazzled from the lateness of my arrival. So I zoomed through the list of questionnaire questions.

JUST HURRY UP KAREN! I WANT TO DE-STRESS NOW! (Ironic isn’t it?)

I was led upstairs – more lovely wallpaper, carpets, paintings and tall ceilings – and I met my therapist, who was a SHE. She was not tall and dark. Nor did she have big hands. So, a small handed, short woman who was kind of pinky-white.

I suspect my disappointment showed, and I was quick to remind myself that she was probably a very nice person.

WHAT WAS I REALLY EXPECTING!?

She led me into a treatment room, which was surprisingly bare.

There was a bed, sink, cupboard, a table full of bottles and bowls and a lamp. That was it! The walls and ceiling were completely white, and the floor was covered with a grey stone-look laminate.

WTF? It was weird. It suddenly felt like a jail cell! Or some kind of surgery room. In fact, I have given birth in rooms more comfortably furnished than this.

I was totally freaking out, because everything in the room said “Surgical Procedures Happen Here”!

Did I get the right day spa? Is this EVEN A DAY SPA?

ARE THEY GOING TO KNOCK ME OUT AND STEAL MY ORGANS???

She told me that she was going to wait outside, while I was to strip down and put my clothes in the cupboard.

Then she pointed to something folded up on the bed – a disposable paper g-string. She said I could wear it if I liked, and left me alone.

And suddenly all my fears were gone. Ah, this MUST be a day spa. They don’t make people wear semi-transparent paper g-strings for surgery.

Behold the eew-ness.

Day Spa Experience

No. It is not pretty. It looks like a surgical mask. Or a broken tea bag.

Phew. Drama over. The sight of it made me chuckle, and I finally calmed down.

How many of you can say that TODAY A PAIR OF PINK PAPER PANTIES GAVE ME THE CONFIDENCE TO TAKE OFF ALL MY CLOTHES FOR A COMPLETE STRANGER.

I opted to stay in my own undies. And instead, I popped the paper ones into my handbag, to take home and surprise my husband later on – “Hey honey, does my bum look big in THIS?”

So I took my clothes off.

I lay down and put my face through the special hole in the bed.

Day Spa Experience

I started to think….I feel like I’m a teenager again, throwing up after a party, with my head permanently stuck to the side of a toilet bowl.

The short, small handed, pinky-white woman came back in, and the massage began.

During the massage, I really couldn’t stop my brain talking to me.

It was chatting away to me, about the colour of the floor, the shoes the therapist was wearing, the kind of castor wheels on the bed, the new camera lens I bought, what I was going to eat for lunch.

I could not CHILL OUT AND DE-STRESS!

Overall, the massage was OK. Just ok. She massaged my whole body – my legs, back, arms, abs, head, neck, shoulders – and I have no doubt that she was technically excellent. But when it ended… I was like, was that it?

Gosh, that was really over-rated.

You know, I believe my husband seriously gives better massages than this.

I didn’t feel electrified or energized. I didn’t feel alive and buzzing. I wanted to be zippy and fresh and ecstatic. But I wasn’t!

I was thinking – gee, I would have much rather gone for a cycle. Or had a workout at the gym. Or an aerobics class. Or a run. I feel REALLY good after those things! In fact, I feel AMAZING after doing those things.

I just felt oily, bloated, sloppy and lazy. Oh dear.

Next was the facial, and halfway through it… I realised I made a terrible mistake.

In my stressed haste, I had circled the “I HAVE OILY SKIN” box in the questionnaire.  When in fact, this past year, I have had unusually dry skin.

And I realised this, just as the therapist scrubbed my face back and stripped every complex molecule of oil off my face.

The facial ended and my face felt so DRRRYYYYY. And it was my fault, of course.

As I put my clothes back on, I felt like I had been given a face lift. My skin was soooo dry and soooo tight, that if I were to smile, my face would crackle and fall off like one big, dry corn flake.

Day Spa Experience

Down stairs, in the lounge, I tried to enjoy my lunch, but I was so distracted by the dryness of my face.

And then I looked at my watch, and realised that because I arrived late, the massage had gone over time, and it was 30 minutes AFTER the time I said I would pick up my toddler. Which means I might be late to pick up my kids from school.

So I wolfed down my lunch, cake and ice cream, I slammed down my tea – and literally ran out the door, shouting THANKS FOR THE GREAT TIME to the receptionist. It was very abrupt and very unclassy, but hey, I was REALLY late.

What was even funnier, was that, as I was sitting at a red light, in the car, my face was SO FREAKING DRY, that I reached into my glove box, pulled out some very old hand cream, and rubbed a huge dollop on my face. I may as well have used chicken fat, because that’s how thick and greasy the stuff was.

So I turned up at the school yard late, wearing no make-up, with my face shining with chicken fat, and all my friends were like – HEY HOW WAS THE MASSAGE AND FACIAL??

Over all, the day spa was just fine, it wasn’t their fault. It just wasn’t a magic solution to stress, and I was stressed before I arrived.

My advice: day spas are a nice escape from real life, if you have the money, and you have the time to actually relaaaaaax!

But if you actually want to relax by having a good time, buy yourself a bottle of $15 massage oil and find someone you like to rub it all over you.

Preferably somebody tall, dark and handsome.


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Look At Those Cheekbones! – AVANT GARDE 2010

4 September 2010

Avant Garde 2010

This year I’ve made a decision to reduce the number of fashion shows I attend, due to my growing business and family commitments – which is a nice way of saying, I’m super busy with my blog and my kids!

But one show I am definitely finding time to attend is a new event called AVANT GARDE, and I thought I’d share some details about it.

AVANT GARDE is a collaboration by three renowned boutiques in Perth, Dilettante and Zekka, and hair salon Head Studio.

It is an inaugural event, and as its name suggests, it will be celebrating creative vision, directional style and legendary designers, who were at the very cutting edge of fashion in their time.

As you can see from the dramatic photograph above (check out those cheekbones!), it’s about pushing the boundaries in all areas – clothes, accessories, make-up, hair styling, and even the photography that it is communicated by.

What I love about edgy fashion-art is that, while I certainly won’t be sculpting myself to this exact look, these expressions provide such a rich menu of stuff to choose from, as well as also being weirdly beautiful AND masterfully created at the same time. There is a lot to like!

AVANT GARDE has  a line up of big name fashion designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Damir Doma and more – striving to be the most innovative show in this year’s Perth fashion calendar.

Hence I’ll definitely be there to check it out and enjoy the show, which is held in the very beautiful grounds of the University of Western Australia.

I’ve heard there are still tickets available at $120 per person, check out the AVANT GARDE website for more details.

6:30pm
Tuesday, 7th September 2010
Winthrop Hall, UWA
35 Stirling Hwy, Nedlands

For those who won’t be able to make it, you have to check out these two boutiques! They really are some of Perth’s finest boutiques, and absolutely worth a visit.

DILETTANTE
575 Wellington Street (Corner of King St)
Perth, Western Australia 6000
Tel: +618 9322 2717

ZEKKA
74-76 King Street
Perth, Western Australia 6000
Tel: +618 9481 1772

(Zekka also has a very cool café attached to it!)

HEAD STUDIO
64 King St
Perth, Western Australia 6000
Tel: +618 9481 6464

As I mentioned earlier, Head Studio is a hair salon, where I had an amazing hair cut and wrote a review about it here. Since then, they’ve won a gazillion awards.


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Ladybugs

3 September 2010

ladybugs2

My 5 year old is going through a phase of making up his own jokes.

So while he was holding these ladybugs he found, and I was trying to photograph them…

“Hey Mum! What did the little ladybug say to the big ladybug?”

“I don’t know buddy, what?”

“He said – “Hey, if you’re a boy, and I’m a boy, how come they call us ladybugs?” Hah Hah!”

Not very funny, but definitely a good question.

Anybody know the answer?


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Sportsgirl SS 10/11

2 September 2010

With fashion festivals happening all over Australia (it’s Spring here!), it’s nice to look at next season’s designer offerings. But I am itching for some fashion to BUY RIGHT NOW.

And at the moment, I’m looking for little updates to my wardrobe that don’t cost the earth.

Sportsgirl S/S 10/11

A few weeks ago I was invited to join a Sportsgirl Spring/Summer 10/11 Roadshow. It was just for Sportsgirl staff and media, but the atmosphere was quite fun.

Most fashion shows I go to, everyone is so serious and contained. But at this show, everyone was so excited and hyped and hooting and whooping and clapping and smiling and laughing. It felt like a great big family, where everyone were best friends – which I’m sure is all part of the company’s morale boosting corporate strategy.

Sportsgirl S/S 10/11

I was strangely drawn to some of these pieces and looks. They all looked so cute, whimsical and innocent!

Then I realised why – I used to dress like this when I WAS 14 YEARS OLD!

I swear I had THOSE shorts and THOSE clogs. I wish I had kept them.! Everything old is new again!

I don’t think I’d wear all those bits in the same way now. I would definitely wear some of their latest basic wear, silk tops and some accessories though.

And I do really like these shoes!

Sportsgirl S/S 10/11

You can find some of these new pieces on Sportsgirl’s Online Shop.

Sportsgirl SS10/11

Check out more of my favourite online shops in my Women’s Online Fashion Shopping Guide.


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The Great Singapore Dash

1 September 2010

Early this month I flew to Singapore for just 2 days – to attend my cousin’s wedding.

I went with my husband and my 1.5 year old toddler. My other two kids stayed with their cousins.

It was the first time we flew on a plane with a child, and we were both very nervous about it. You see, our toddler hates being confined. So the thought of our free-spirited, young toddler sitting ON MY LAP for 5 hours – made me tense like you wouldn’t believe. What are we going to do in a plane jam packed with people?

The Great Singapore Dash 2010On the afternoon of our departure, we sat at the airport gate, ready to board our flight to Singapore. But we heard an announcement that our flight was DELAYED. Bummer! So we let Liam play with stuff on the shelves of the duty-free shops.

And we waited and waited. And then the airline started handing out food vouchers. Not a good sign!

Then we saw the pilots of the plane talking to passengers, and overheard them say “Nobody has ever seen this particular problem before.” Great!

After a total of 8 HOURS of waiting, we were told that our flight had been cancelled due to mechanical difficulties, and that we should come back the next morning to catch our flight. Argh! What a hassle!

The next day, we woke up at 4:30am to catch a taxi to the airport, to find that our flight was DELAYED AGAIN!

The plane eventually left at 9am and we arrived in Singapore at 2pm.

And the wedding was at 5pm!

We ran out of the airport, jumped in and out of a taxi, and wolfed down some hotel food. I sprinted in and out of the shower, threw on some makeup and clothes, tossed some bits and pieces into a handbag, made sure I was wearing matching shoes, changed my toddler into his outfit, made sure my husband (who was wearing a kilt) looked great… and hey presto, we were at a wedding! Crazy!

The Great Singapore Dash 2010A few weeks ago I wrote about my crazy plans to buy a special ethnic outfit, called a kebaya, on the AFTERNOON OF THE WEDDING. Well, the delayed flight totally screwed up that idea.

This is me in my back-up dress – the Ultimate Black Dress by Sacha Drake (I did a review on about it here).

It was perfect – no fuss, no ironing, just threw it on and it looked fabulous.

Both our accommodation and the wedding were at the Shangri-La Hotel, which was simply amazing. The hotel lobby and the function rooms were so impressive – oh those chandeliers!

The Great Singapore Dash 2010

The wedding event was so lovely and so much fun! It was great to be with all my cousins and family members.

My cousin looked stunning. She wore a specially designed (by her), hand-made, scarlet red, lace + sheer kebaya… and looked freaking hot in it!

The Great Singapore Dash 2010My 1.5 year old, who had been up at 4:30am, only managed to sleep 45 minutes in the plane – the only nap he had all day. He was so tired that he passed out in my arms, at 8pm.

Liam was so totally and utterly conked out that we placed him in a pram, wheeled him under a table and didn’t expect to hear a peep from him all night!

But while I was eating my dessert, someone was giving a wedding speech. Then I heard the word “YUM SENG” and my eyes widened with alarm. I reached for the pram, and was about to race Liam out of the ballroom, but it all happened so quickly, and I could hear the words come out of my mouth in slow motion…. NOOOO-OOOOOOOO!

“Yum seng” is a tradition in Chinese celebrations, particularly weddings, where all the guests are invited to make a toast to the bride and groom, by shouting YUM SENG! (which means “drink to victory” or “bottom’s up”). The louder and more drawn out the words are shouted, the more prosperous the blessing.

It goes something like YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNGG! But very, very loud.

So of course, my poor kid woke up in a strange place with a spectacular fright – to the sound of 800 DRUNK SCREAMING ADULTS – and he started wailing in terror. That was when our night ended.

The Great Singapore Dash 2010Thankfully I was able to take a picture of me and the CHOCOLATE FONDUE FOUNTAIN before we left! Oh the melted chocolate goodness!

Anyway, by the time we went up to our hotel room, and finally lay our heads on the luxurious buckwheat pillows, it was 12:30am.

So we were awake and about, travelling and merry-making, for 20 HOURS STRAIGHT.

Crazy! But fun.

And even though Liam hardly slept on the flight back to Perth, he didn’t cry at all. Yay! The cabin crew were so grateful that they gave us a bottle of champagne as we left the plane!