Apologies

It’s been a week of last minute research, last minute packing, last minute seeing of friends and last minute realisation that tomorrow I am going to Europe (thank goodness). It’s really crept up on me, the last five weeks having flown bye in such a flurry of paid work and uni work.

And dear readers, I hate to say it, but the abandonment continues. Tomorrow I depart for the Czech Republic and mama has warned that there probably won’t be an internet connection in all the wee random towns we will be visiting. I’m actually quite relieved about that, no pressure/chance to check email or scroll Facebook (so noone do anything fun, otherwise I’ll get mad FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)).

So, as well as being a slacker for the past week, I’m going to decline from entertaining you for three weeks more. Think of it as a sabbatical, you know, like the history teachers at school used to always take. I’ll be back, with lots of fresh ideas, lots of funny stories (hopefully involving other people as the protagonists – just saying) and LOTS of new clothes.

Peace out.

P.S Ever thought about footpath politics? It’s a tricky situation – how close to follow, is it rude to listen in on other people’s conversations? What is acceptable walking speed? How much do we hate tweens who walk three abreast?! Just something for you to ponder when you hit the pavement next.

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Style NOT Fashion

Rainy Sunday afternoon. Perfect time to go to the Film Festival (alone) and see the documentary, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Must Travel. Vreeland was born in Paris, grew up near New York and got her first job in London where she was approached by the editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar. So was not and never will be considered, pretty (her mother’s musings on that topic resulted in much trauma). She had no formal education, no training in the world of fashion, art or photography but she was, by all accounts, the first person to see fashion and photography as art forms. After a successful run revolutionising the pages of Harper’s Bazaar as fashion editor she was made Editor-in-Chief at that Holy Grail of magazines, Vogue. And from 1962 until she was fired in 1971 (basically for spending too much money) she ruled the roost of American women’s magazines. She was autocratic, a perfectionist, hard-working and the inspiration behind many fictional editors in films and movies about working in fashion. She was the bitch long before Anna Wintour, she was the first ‘super-editor’.

So yeah for many reasons she was great. But the best bit of all?  She was a woman of style. You did not have to be beautiful or stick thin for her to use you as a model, she actually asked photographers to make a model’s flaws the central feature. She took designers that were starting out and risked with them, launching the careers of people who are household names (Oscar de la Renta, Dianne von Furstenberg, Manolo Blahnik). She said that you should have painted toenails in the middle of winter because you will walk more beautifully under your boots and stockings. She was not beautiful but the way she put together her outfits (on herself and the shoots she styled) was elegant and classy.

That’s what is missing these days. It is too much about following the crowd, blonde highlights, small noses and long eyelashes. It’s too much about advertising, the ‘in’ labels and the amount it all costs. When will the Vogues (and company) of today start going back to when it wasn’t about strict fashion it was about being pulled together, speaking well, being clean and having style.

And if noone’s going to put that on the newsstand, then maybe I will.

Diana Vreeland

List: One Year On

One year. One whole year. It was this day, 365 days ago that I left to go on my big exchange adventure. Where has the time gone??? And, although I traveled to many other amazing, incredible, beautiful countries, France, my home for one semester, is the place I miss the most.

Top 10 Things I Miss About France (in no particular order):

1. The pastries. Hit me with the mille-feuilles, les pains au chocolat, les brioches (espcially brioche praline which are a Lyonnais specialty, just the lightest brioche with a pink sugary walnut-infested mixture injected into it and baked to go all crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside).

2. Markets. I loved the markets. The hustle and bustle, the regularity, the boisterous stall keepers, the chatter, how you can tell the changing of the seasons by the produce. In Lyon there was a market on every day of the week.

3. International friends. My Australian flatmate, my Argentinian neighbours, the English pair down the hall and all those gorgeous Scandinavians.

4. French people. They’re a little bit fabulous. They’re snobby and proud but they have reason to be, they live in the best country (in their opinion) and are stuck in their wonderful two-hour-lunch-break ways. And when I did get into a pickle (missing the train, going to the doctors etc) they were super helpful and made sure that I was going to be fine.

5. Paris. Now that deserves a whole blog about it, I’m sure there already is one. I still think about Paris nearly every day. I cannot describe why it is so special. I think it has something to do with the buildings, the art, the fashion, the lifestyle, the fame, the history. So, it’s everything really. I’m definitely going back to live there one day.

6. Art. That’s everything from the quirky street art of Space Invader, to the masterpieces of the Louvre. I soaked it up like a sponge. Every place – city or town – I visited I went to an art gallery. I couldn’t get enough of it. I still can’t. Even now, just walking into an art gallery (not that it’s the same here, at all) I get this overwhelming sense of calm and happiness.

7. Architecture. The mélange of styles in the big cities in France is stunning. Obviously Paris takes the cake but the majesty of the old buildings and the brash, industrialisation of the new. Especially French blinds, all newish apartments have these weird roller blinds that can completely black out your room. But everyone has them.

8. The freedom. Classes were fairly easy and not that important, my university only requiring that I pass everything. So it didn’t matter if the sun was out and I missed a couple to explore the city. I had three day weekends, every weekend. I took off to where ever I wanted.

9. Speaking French. It’s a language that rolls off the tongue like a … croissant, really, it’s smooth with a few flaky, slightly harder bits on the base. It is so much fun to find yourself conversing in another language, especially one like French.

10. Beauty. In France, there is so much emphasis on beauty. Beautiful buildings, art, food, design, people. Having a beautiful life. France taught me to see the beauty in the every day, in the small things like the perfect loaf of bread but also the awe that can come from witnessing a truly stunning event like a David painting or the Chateau Versailles.

Come So Far

Tuesday night means I have to tutor first years for law. It’s good money but it’s actually pretty demanding work, being on form for two hours, in front of impressionable 18 year-olds is like being in a play where you don’t know the script (not only because I’m usually under-prepared) but also because who knows what sort of crazy questions they’ll throw at me. I don’t aid this situation by having a rule whereby they can ask any question as long as it’s not about my social life (although one of them knows where I live).

The other day in our tutorial one of the kids compared me to Jess from The New Girl I’m going to take it as a good thing and I’m pretty sure it’s just because I sing questions to them when they’re not answering, not because I have a long fringe, huge eyes, like high-waisted things and hate jogging (despite the inherent truth in all of those things).

By the time it hits 7pm I’m so over the day that the thought of having to be effusive and cool for two hours is daunting and so looking to the bright side is absolutely necessary: optimistic gem of today that occurred to me at about 7:48pm as I was explaining who is the Plaintiff and who is the Defendent (and the difference between them and the prosecution and defence – bless!) is how much I’ve learned. Like, there is a lot of (largely useless) stuff in this brain of mine, and four years ago so much of what is second nature was new and really really hard.

So, in the spirit of Project Lucky, it may seem like there’s a long way to go, but looking back and admiring how far we’ve come is worth doing every once and awhile. Maybe it’s going to be more than a piece of paper after all.

P.S for those of you afraid of the university-optimistic me, it’s ok, I think I’m just over-tired, I’ll return to my hatin’-on-school self before long, fret not.

Good Idea or, Careers part 1.

I’ve been pondering my future, as an obsessive planner (ironic considering my commitment-phobia I know) I have spent the last six months trying to decide what I’m going to do when I’ve got these damn degrees. I’m using it as a carrot on a stick principle, thinking that if I pick something cool enough to do when I finish uni, I can fool myself into getting there.

There are a few key things that I want my adult life to have, and other than happiness, a great wardrobe, and a really good local cafe (where they know my name) the other realistic thing is vast wealth (obviously). (If you’re wondering, the unrealistic things I want are infinite but include an apartment in Paris and being an excellent jogger). The way to get vast wealth is to tap into a niche market, now my brother and I have already discussed and chosen our top three niche markets to promote products for but I’m not sharing them (figure out how to get rich on your own, suckers). But, I’d like to pay homage to three random ideas who have made things that I would be so stoked to put my name to.

1. Pantone Colour Charts: If you have never encountered these wonderful charts they systematically classify colour by numbers. How ingenius! It’s amazing! Story goes that Lawrence Herbert invented them in 1963 after arguing with his wife about wall colour. And now they’ve launched a range of merchandise with wallets, mugs, tea towels and now socks under the name ‘Pantone Universe’.

2. Tricycles: As someone who cannot properly ride a bike (yes I know, shock horror, gasp as you will, it’s my Achilles heel) I LOVE  tricycles. When I get older I want to have a custom made one. Too hard to balance on two wheels? Try three! Genius.

3. Recipes for microwaves. Especially for one. It’s the definition of pathetic convenience. Using killer technology to blast food that takes no time, very little effort and usually tastes sub-standard. But life would be so lacking without it. (Speaking as the girl who’s just eaten a microwave brownie). To have a brain that can come up with recipes that don’t allow for any time to simmer, taste, adjust seasoning or ever actually be presentable is quite a skill. What a joy.

Good Reasons

I have already detailed my frustrations with going to the gym. However, I am super proud of myself that I still go, regularly, frequently, habitually even. It’s scheduled into my life like mealtimes. With this new job I’ve managed to eat less, sleep less, study (much much much) less but exercise the same amount as always.

But as much as I can harp on about being so dedicated to the pursuit of health (read endorphins) and good body image (read hotness) yesterday was one of those days. You know the one, where your lungs suddenly decide to behave as if you’ve just smoked a pack and your muscles pretend that they’ve never been used. When you’re expelling breath like it’s going out of fashion and you’ve only done ten pushups. One of those days. I was even wearing my cutest gym outfit and that didn’t help. The trainer at the gym stared at me pitifully as I sighed with despair doing my tricep exercises (I swear they never get any stronger!)

Today, I saw this and it sums up exactly how I feel about exercise, apart from the fact that I’m reliant on it to feel good and eat pretty much whatever I want:

 

Peace out and keep sweating!