Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tamarind Tales

Eighties high-waisted peach shorts - fifty cents op-shop
Vintage Brazilian tan leather pumps - $10 op-shop
Eighties peach peplum blouse - $1 op-shop

I've had a bit of a monochrome monkey on my back since I saw this Garance shot a little while ago:

Arnsdorf designer Jade Sarita Arnott in... Arnsdorf.

...but what with me being me, and the monkey being an apricot ape:

The monochrome monkey. should come as no surprise to anyone that my monochromatic outfit ended up pastel peach instead of baby pink. It's also far less suave, but who needs suave when you can have a tail of your very own!

Unfortunately it's the kind of tail found on an executive assistant circa 1984, rather than the curling, tree swinging, fabulously prehensile tail the monkey and I might have preferred, but the one dollar rack can only do so much.

There's a pleasing geometry to the whole affair.

I suspect this outfit would have benefited from a statement shoe (or preferably two statement shoes for my two statement feet), but I was having a chasing little dude kind of day so opted for the pumps.

The apricot ape gibbered his approval of their peachy nude tones.

Now the little monkey has scampered back to his tiny tribe so I am once again free to mix my colours at will, without his insistent demands for monochrome and mangoes haunting my every move. I am still feeling oddly drawn to outfits in a single shade though - Simian Stockholm Syndrome, perhaps?

PS. Not many words today, my word herds are depleted after yesterday's Wall Of Text extravaganza. I have put the few remaining small one syllable wordlets in a nesting box with some coconut fibre and fresh pawpaw and I'm hoping that, with a bit of gentle coaxing, by tomorrow I'll have a big enough breeding population to construct whole paragraphs again!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Highly Scientific Experiment

This post is a bit of an experiment with Wall-Of-Text type posting of a kind I usually steer away from. First of all the backstory - I was asked to write this little piece on the secret of a happy marriage as a guest post for fatmumslim, and I liked it enough to post it here too (even though it's rough as guts and I did bang it out in record time because I forgot my deadline). I have been considering the occasional posting of non-style/non-photo based stuff for a while but am not sure if anyone actually wants to see it, but since I had this one sitting there I thought I'd give it a go and see what happened.

In order for everyone to give me their honest opinion, that no one has to feel bad for telling me NO to the Wall Of Text, I am running a poll on the subject. Please vote either way!

Anyway, on with the show...

I asked my husband what the secret of our happy marriage is (assuming we still have one, and I’m not jinxing myself by writing this and next week we’re filing for divorce and fighting over custody of the cat and the free Christmas carol cd that came with the Sunday papers) and his answer was this:

“No unrealistic expectations.”

Which threw me for a minute, because I had some very unrealistic expectation that he’d say “A well-developed sense of the absurd” or “My vast and mighty love for you O goddess-like one.” And also because I thought he meant “Low expectations.” You know - don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed, aim low and any scrap from the marriage table will seem like more than you deserve. Which doesn’t seem like the secret of a happy marriage so much as a recipe for dysfunction, low self-esteem and generalised misery, with a garnish of secret drinking and prescription drug abuse.

Now, our house may have its share of chaos and madness and out-of-tune ukelele playing, but we don’t have any of that low expectation stuff. Not one bit. Some further investigation (aka hassling of the husband) subsequently revealed that unrealistic expectations include:

1. Large diamonds
2. Either of us being someone or something we’re not.

Fair enough, I thought, so what are realistic expectations then? Some meaty husband/wife style conversation resulted in a list a bit like this:

A mutual capacity and willingness to evolve and adapt as a couple

And all those Dr Phil-type truisms which seem so trite and obvious but actually encompass vast oceans of meaning. I know a Dr Phil-ism when I hear one because I must have absorbed several volumes worth during my first year of motherhood, otherwise known as The Year of Being Stuck in the House at Nap Time But Too Sleep Deprived To Do Anything Except Watch TV. Don’t ask me for advice, don’t even hint that you might need guidance on an emotional issue, because my eyelids will flutter, my eyes will roll back in my head, and before you know it I’ll be dishing out endless neatly packaged southern accented soundbites of wisdom, originally picked up by osmosis while slumped on the sofa zombie-like, too tired to sleep.

So what’s the secret, why don’t we have the dreaded unrealistic expectations, how have a pair of contrarian reprobates like us kept this all-singing, all-dancing, occasionally yelling, show on the road for the last seven years through the vagaries of the film industry and kidlet and a creative life full of unknowns? There’s no real answer of course (apart from my general ambivalence toward diamonds of any size at all, and the fact that he does most of the cooking), but my personal theory - vigorously refuted by husband - is that it’s because we didn’t like each other at all when we first met. He was a cocky arrogant male chauvinist (he actually told me “Save your breath sweedhard, you’re too cute for me to take you seriously.”), I was a loud and bossy little beast with a bad case of my-way-or-the-highwayitis, and together we were disastrous. Well, we were very unprofessional when we should have been very professional, and had a big fight in front of people we were working with and were the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

We then got together in a pink cloud of romance which included mutual dislike, too much cheap red wine and some unsavoury acts in a back alley (“I hate you” sloppy pash “Me too” drunken grope, etc etc.) and a taxi (sorry driver, wherever you are, probably permanently traumatised), and then continued to knock along in a ramshackle haphazard fashion for ages before we worked out that we were utterly, thoroughly, gleefully meant for one another and nobody else. It's almost as though we started our relationship in reverse, starting off at rock-bottom, but finding mutual respect and admiration and pure unadulterated fun as we went along, falling in love in the giddiest way only after we’d actually decided to get married. Knowing all our weaknesses but discovering our strengths and wonders together over time. Now I’m sounding like those people you see in Marie Claire articles and random Lifestyle Channel dating shows promoting arranged marriages as the most sensible way of building a strong relationship. Hmmm, perhaps it's better if I do channel Dr Phil, after all.

In any case - there you have it:

Cheap red wine + mutual loathing + an arranged marriage = marital bliss!


PS. That photo up there was taken at about 2am at the end of our wedding reception (in a cocktail bar round the corner from our old place in Bondi), the orchids are wilted and many peach bellinis have been drunk and we are just about as warm and fuzzy as two happy little humans can be.
PPS. Yes, that's another appearance of the rarely sighted husband. It's now officially full steam ahead on his new movie (with gratifying front-page-of-Variety articles and suchlike to make us feel legit), so it's nice to see him here on my blog, since in real life he'll be in the studio for the next six months!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An Elder of the Tribe

Fleur Wood silk Vera dress - from My Clothes Horse
Mollini "Opening" in taupe grosgrain - full price retail (!)
Forever New pear stud earrings - $10

Despite absolutely no demand at all, and not a single person clamouring for this post - behold my re-creation of the outfit I wore to my little sister's wedding a couple of weekends ago:

You'll have to believe me when I say that on the day I blow-dried my hair, ironed my frock, applied visible lipstick of a flattering pink shade, and was in all ways a tidier and more fragrant version of myself (at least until I'd had a few drinks). No blow-drying or ironing occurred in the making of these photos, so some imagination and judicious squinting might be required to achieve a closer approximation.

Sweet, demure, lady-like - all adjectives NEVER applied to me, but perfectly apt for these earrings.

When choosing this outfit I was very mindful of my odd, and somewhat transitional, position in the hierarchy of the clan. I'm still a part of the junior generation, but I am the oldest of all the "kids" (most of us in our thirties now) and somebody's mother (mother of the pageboy, no less) and therefore inching my way bit by bit toward elder status. I'm at the stage where it behoves me to dress with decorum, but where I can still dance until 3am with the youths (albeit in sensible-ish heels and pretty much only as the crazy old lady of the crew).

Grubbiness is due to stumbling home in darkness and drunkishness.

I feel like I'm gearing up for the day when I'll take my place in the line-up of matriarchs - ready to sail through the family wedding scene, bestowing my approval (and advice) as I see fit, dispensing compliments and making a little trouble, laughing in a full-bodied fashion and giving hugs of an all-encompassing nature, all of it while wearing a hat of great majesty. Something to aspire to, I think you'll agree!


For now I'm just starting small - a pussy bow here, a knee-length hem there, some amateurish dabbling in advice-giving and trouble-making and the bestowing of satisfactory hugs - I still have a ways to go on my journey from naked kidlet running around seventies backyard barbecues to magnificently be-hatted elder stateswoman of the tribe.

This is a very lovely dress to wear, it flutters most delightfully - and there are few things which go better with champagne and dancing than a delightfully fluttering frock. I'm biased because I chose it, but I do think the dress manages to bridge the gap between girlish and grown-up - which is just as well because I'm halfway across that gap, and trying with all my might not to look down...

PS. The lovely Chantelle of fatmumslim asked me to do a guest post on the secret of my happy marriage, you can check it out here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Raging Rivets

Seventies Walter Steiger metal platforms $5

You don't see a lot of seventies stuff on this blog. Not for me the Ossie Clark frocks and the polyester maxi-dresses and all wide-collared points between. An ABBA track on the PA won't get me boogying in the supermarket aisles, and I've never felt the slightest inclination to start collecting brown ceramic things or oil paintings of big-eyed children. Even in the last known full-scale seventies revival (early-mid nineties) my involvement was limited to one black sheer body shirt, and one very ill-considered pair of front-lacing purple velvet hipster flares. All of which makes the purchase of these heavy metal babies the other day from the RSPCA Bargain Barn quite unexpected.

As of right now I could probably get away with wearing them, the platform thing still raging out of control as it is, and they do fit me, but really I think I bought them just for the sake of the tiny little rivets holding the metal onto the platform. I didn't get a photo of them, but somehow that tiny little detail of pure insanity was enough to get my five bucks. Vintage platforms are a bit of an endangered species too, a lot of them fell victim to the seventies theme party era (remember those? People used to have them before the eighties parties took over, I dare say the youths are having nineties parties now) and ended up thrown in swimming pools or spray painted with purple glitter and consigned to the racks in suburban costume hire shops, only to be thrashed to death by footy players on end-of-season drag jags.

Also an endangered species: things in op-shops (or anywhere) not made in China.

In a slightly odd coincidence these weren't the only pair of metal riveted shoes to fall into my lap that day. I got home with my Steigers and found a parcel had arrived containing one of my very occasional random Ebay impulse purchases - a matching Charles Jourdan eighties leather bag and shoes with little metal panels here and there. No one else wanted these, so I ended up paying $6.50 for the set. Perhaps the very idea of a set frightened people away, matching shoes and bags being (except for the Chloe Paddington frenzy of 2005 or 2006 or whenever the hell it was) more or less extinct. Perhaps I should alert the National Geographic about this set?

It's a sort of dull metallic gunmetal grey with silver metal.

Of course the secret (you'll be ASTOUNDED by this) is to wear the bag and the shoes separately. I know, I know - believe me, it's hard work being this ingenious. The bag is terribly cute, the base is a sort of squishy triangle shape, with more of those dear little rivets. Every time I look at them I get the urge to wear the bag and the shoes both at once and look like I'm on my way for a night of "raging" with various Vulcans and whatnot in the Holodeck. Did anyone other than Australians call nightclubbing/partying "raging" in the eighties? I might have to try and bring it back...

I need to get some Silvo or something onto the metal bits of both pairs of shoes and the bag, there's some heavy duty smearing going on, the origin of which I do not wish to speculate about further. If anyone has cleaning tips for this kind of stuff I'd love to hear them.

The "Made in China" tag is so ubiquitous at this point that I can get a tiny thrill when I see something marked "Made in Turkmenistan" or "Made in Australia" in an op-shop, even "Made in Taiwan" seems exotic now. I'm sure all kinds of awful crap are made in Italy or France, but it still impresses me, gauche little culturally cringing Aussie that I am. Those shoes had to come right around the whole world to get here, and then survive 20 or 30 years of raging to get to me!

PS. Do you match your shoes and bag? Is it verboten or is it coming back? Does it matter?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hey you!

Warning - thong thieves operating in the area!

Person who stole my old green Havaianas thongs (4 years old and it showed) from the beach today while I was running - you should be ashamed of yourself.

Everyone else have a lovely weekend!

PS. Reminder to all non-Australians - thongs are rubber things you wear on your feet, not underpants which go up your bum...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Preliminary Findings

I bought this dress today and I'm not at all sure how I feel about it. True, I was charmed by the tiers, the shoulder tie and the kooky patterns (including those rather Seussian fried egg-looking things on my chest), but I was mostly guilted into buying it because the op-shop ladies had to get it off the mannequin for me to try on. They had to take her arms and her mangy old wig off, and all in all it was quite a production - involving much tutting, tsking and a small quantity of genteel old-lady type bad language. Under the circumstances I felt honour bound to buy it, but I feel that it requires further investigation before I can form a definitive opinion.

I think I was still in wedding mode and therefore vulnerable to a swishy frock, having been exposed to many of them over the weekend. What a fabulous weekend it was too! If I could work out how to post about a wedding without including any photos of human beings then I'd do it in a flash - although I suppose it would look like this...

By this stage we were all on the terrace, Pimms in hand.

...and be frustratingly lacking in such vital detail as the (beautiful) bride's dress, the bridesmaids frocks, and my outfit (I may have to do a reconstruction of the scene for that)! I can always be relied upon to have photos of this guy though:

The little dude carried off his ring delivering duties with aplomb, and then spent the rest of the night on the loose, roaming free, hitting the dance floor, and availing himself of the open bar service...

I'm assuming that's water.

...until finally conking out at the end of the night, and being taken home to bed by his fabulous father - leaving me to dance like a mad thing until 3am. An excellent result!

Edit to add: sorry about the lack of detail photos of the dress - I really just took the photo to see what it looked like (our full length mirror is positioned in such a way that I have to stand too close to it to get a good view) and then decided to post about it all of a sudden. We have house guests today but I will deliver more dress detail soon. Promise.
PS. It really was a wonderful party and I want to send a huge thank you to everyone who made it so damn good. I love youse all!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A suitable boy

We are setting off this for my sister's wedding weekend by the sea, a lovely family party which I expect to be full of good food, music and laughter and love by the bucketful. The little dude is primed and ready to go for his ring-bearing duties (we have been training him in order to avoid any refusal-to-hand-over-rings toddler situations arising), and madly looking forward to wearing his special "Obama Suit". We're not sure exactly what makes it Obama-esque, but we think it's the tie. After this trying on session I had to wrestle the tie away from him while he very earnestly protested:

"But I need my tie, like Obama, I have a very important job to do."

Indeed, little dude, indeed!

Hope your weekend is full to the brim with good things too!

PS. This is a little poem that (along with The Owl & the Pussycat) was one of the readings at our wedding. It came from a framed 1920s print my mother found in a junk shop when I was but a wee one, and I think it is the loveliest wish to give anyone embarking on a grand adventure...

Black & Tan

Another mini-post because I'm still dialing it in from the land of limited broadband, although a mini-post is perfectly apt for this mini-bag.

A little tiny truncated leather doctors bag - today's new addition to my ever growing tan bag collective. Two dollars from the animal welfare op-shop down the road, scene of an ongoing feud between the old lady volunteers who like to put price tags (actually bits of masking tape with prices written in shaky handwriting on them) on the merchandise, and the rebel old lady volunteers who like to free wheel it and price stuff on the spot. I'm not sure which faction I'm aligned with, since both sides are pretty arbitrary with their pricing, but it can get ugly in there. The other day I took a jacket to the counter, expecting to pay the $4 marked on the bit of masking tape stuck to one lapel, only to have the maverick Non-Pricer on duty go rogue, ripping the tape off and rasping "Eight dollars, and I should charge you fifteen." at me through pursed coral smeared lips.

She brooked no protest, so I left without the jacket, quite possibly lucky to escape with my life. I usually try to go in there when I have the little dude with me, since regardless of factional loyalties the volunteers are helpless in the face of his curly headed charm offensive, and consequently morph from gorgon to grandma in the blink of an eye. He gets biscuits from the jar behind the counter, and I get to shop without fear of factional violence breaking out around me!

More black and tan, here in the form of one of my mother's corgis!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Broadband Schmroadband


hair cut and colour (this is the first time I've coloured my hair since the little dude was just a gleam in my eye).


we've burned through out broadband for the month like a mob of reckless broadband burning beasts so no big fat posts until next week when we are free of dial-up dreadfulness once again. Small ones will still appear though!