Monday, April 28, 2014

Never Too Matchy Matchy

Like most loud women, I've always been a fan of Joan Crawford.
Admittedly, I went through a stage that lasted about fifteen years of loathing her after I first read Mommie Dearest & then saw the movie.
Who could ever forget the chilling opening sequence where Joan , played by Faye Dunaway is shown washing her face first thing in the morning from a massive sink full of ice cubes?
I can't imagine any of the beauty gurus of the time like Elizabeth Arden or Max Factor or even that arch-punisher, Helena Rubenstein recommending doing anything like that.
So she must have made it up herself - The Masochist's Guide to Achieving Non-Saggy Skin Over a Certain Age.
Maybe I should try it.
But far more train-wreck gruesome were the photos featured in the book & of course brought to life in the movie of Joan & her adopted daughter, Christina wearing identical outfits.
Perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad if both of them were wearing a simple black sheath under an ocelot coat or a mink stole, but it was always something truly pukey like matching pinafore skirts awash with frilly bits & bows. And character shoes & sox. Perfect for a six year old, but not for a film star over forty.
And even though it was all smiles in the photos, you could tell that they hated each other's guts.

Take a moment to seriously study the photo I've generously provided, below & you will see what I mean.
Then after you've done that, look at the photos taken at Easter of my daughter, Maeflower & Me. The only thing that links us to Joanetc is our matching outfits in both pictures.
In the first one, we are both wearing identical shirts sadly in a synthetic fabric by Peter Morrisey for Big W. He used to be a big name Australian designer who is now reduced to designing for Big W but maybe that's not such a bad thing if people like Jason Wu currently design for Target. Not that I'd recognise a Jason Wu if it knocked me in the face with the coat hanger it was hanging on, but I thought I'd drop his name to make me sound like a Fashion Bligger. Oops, I meant Bloogger.
Blogger. I think it's time for bed.
But before I do, I must alert you to the v cozy matching slippers also from Big W that we're wearing. They have a kind of Alpine feel to them which is apt because Canberra at this time of year is v nippy particularly at nite. In fact, I slept in them.
After that, we couldn't keep the Matching Outfits at bay. They became a force of nature & there was nothing we could do to stop them. The next day, we found ourselves sniffing the roses in the garden out the front of Old Parliament House with matching grey tops & black bottoms.
One last thing, as hard as I tried, I could hardly smell a thing from the roses.
Are roses losing their perfume as a result of global warming, or is it just my nasal passages?

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Right Kind of Powerful For Me.

Rarely, if ever do I want to be anyone else. Usually, I couldn't be bothered.
But just lately,as I trudge down the hill to school each morning, I've been wondering what it would be like to be really really powerful.
And as I trudge, I compile a list of powerful women who I could become.
So far, it is a v v short list.
Desperate for inspiration, today I turned to my almost favourite class of 16-17 year olds in Year 11.
They know everything, I said to myself, they'll give me some names.
Ellen because everyone knows who she is without having to use her surname.
Michelle Obama. Really?

What about some Australian examples, Girls?
Everyone immediately yelled out Gina Rineheart. Or maybe it's spelt Rhinehart.
I was shocked. But of course they could be kind of right.
World's richest woman.
Hates welfare recipients.
Most of her children hate her.
Maybe hate is too strong a word. Perhaps, resent.
Desperately needs a makeover. But the same could be said of me.

Like the highly trained performing seals that they are, the girls kept on rolling out suggestions until they became hoarse.
Foreign minister Julie Bishop. Lockjaw.
Cate Blanchett. Far too universally admired.
Ex- Governor General Dame Quentin Bryce. Too perfect. Hair a little bit too neat.
Governor of New South Wales, Marie Bashir. Overloaded with gravitas.
Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee or perhaps even winner, Jackie Weaver. God no.
And on it rolled.

Finally, I had to admit defeat. Hate to say it but no Aussie woman has the Right Kind of Powerful for Me.
I had to go to my old favourite, Hillary Clinton.
And I turned to what must be the most famous photo of her - one that has inspired countless memes & blog entries & newspaper articles. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because she's sitting in an Airforce One type plane texting with sunglasses on.
Inappropriate Wearing of Sunglasses usually says one of two things -
1. Trying too hard
2. Kickass.
Clearly Hillary doesn't need to try too hard to do anything, so it must be Kickass.

Amazingly, I stared at the photo for so long that I actually morphed into it. Who knew I could do that?


Above are two v recent photos of me being powerful.
It felt wonderful.
I thrifted the black ornately pleated "Preen "dress last year from Bednobs & Broomsticks.
I remember the occasion distinctly. I walked into the shop on a Friday afternoon fresh from the classroom. I boldly walked up to the "Designer" rack & pulled out the dress, noting that the label was still on it with the original price blacked out & with the new price of $15 scrawled across it. I recognised the label as one that Important Fashion People who are in the know always crow about when they're asked in Harpers or Vogue what their favourite designers are. I immediately put aside any misgivings I may have had about the sleeves looking a little too bulbous & bought it.
I scampered home to check the average price of a Preen dress on the internet.
$1000. I rarely exaggerate. And anyway, if you don't believe me, check it out yourself.
Even though I've worn the dress a number of times, I still haven't had the heart to remove the label which is silly because it's rubbing against the back of the dress & is perhaps making a small hole. Quelle horreur!

In the last dress, I'm really feeling powerful as evidenced by the position of my arms.
Again, it's another thrifted item from Bednobsetc , this time a DKNY dress which also had the label still on it. But you'll be relieved to know that I cut it off because the original price was a mere $99.
I didn't realise that Donna could be that cheap.
You may also be interested to know that it is a Mullet dress - party at the front & business around the back hemline-wise. Trixie thinks it makes my waist look thinner than all those Von Furstenberg Wrap dresses I love wearing.
She's always right.
Lastly, I'm going to go to bed soon to think about Mickey Rooney who died today who I loved in the Andy Hardy movies even though they were twee. But he was cute & spunky.
And I'm going to dream of going to school in Airforce One.
And maybe tomorrow I'll wear sunglasses in the classroom.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Never Knowingly Overthinking

As usual, there have been many things on my mind this week:
Like, when is lousy stinking daylight saving going to end? And why oh why do I hate it so much?
Am I getting only six hours sleep a night, & if I am, does it matter?
Should I continue to eat six plump oysters twice a week even though I might be overdosing on zinc?
And, my personal favourite -
Is it just me, or is time actually speeding up?
Sadly, I can't answer any of the above except the one about daylight saving, although I don't really know why I loathe it so much. Maybe it has something to do with my chronic distaste for watching television & eating the evening meal whilst it's still light as it has unpleasant echoes of childhood.

Like everyone else this week, I have been thinking of many other things too - lost planes, celebrity girlfriend suicides, the return of Knights & Dames honours to Australia & , just in, the shock celebrity split of Gwenwyth Paltrow & her hubby Chris Martin, who once said that marrying Gwennie was like winning the lottery. An unfortunate comparison, given that most lottery winners end up losing it all.

But also this week, I've been madly distracting myself by Thinking Some Fashion Thoughts.

Just when I was feeling a little unhinged after marking 63 essays on how Shakespeare's play, As You Like It links to the topic of Belonging, I found a wealth of distraction in Carine Roitfeld's article in maybe Huff Post on How to Dress Like Her. Or perhaps it was her version of How to Dress Like an Ex Editor of French Vogue.

Ever since I was ten & read in a neighbour's Town & Country Magazine an article on How to Live Elegantly on Very Little Money, I've been obsessed with How To articles & books. The only bit of advice I can remember from that long ago article was to fix yourself an elegant breakfast tray each morning with an elegant Limoges tea cup & saucer that you purchased at a flea market next to a small elegant bud vase containing one elegant red rose that you grew from a window box in your elegant bijou apartment.

My ten year old self thought that was amazing.
My sixty one year old self now realises with that kind of advice, no wonder I've found life a struggle.
Anyway, Carine's advice was just as helpful.
Let me give you the executive summary:
1. Never wear comfortable clothes & shoes. If you do, you'll never look edgy.

2. Wear slightly messy hair. I can't remember the actual reason, but maybe so you'll look like you've just rolled out of bed with a Frenchman. Like Gerard Depardeau who reminds me of an aubergine. At least it's a French vegetable. Or a vegetable with a French-sounding name.

3. If your eyes are your best asset, completely smear them in black eye make up. I'm not sure what you do if they're not your best asset. Leave them alone? Sunglasses even at nite?

The Next Fashion Thought I had was, Normcore.
This is a term that I've recently picked up from the style section of Flipboard.
In case you don't know, it's a way of dressing that is just like, Normal. You know, jeans & a tee shirt. Jerry Seinfeld but not in the Puffy Shirt episode. Steve Jobs. Barack Obama.
Note all these examples are men. I can't think of any women.
But trust me, I'll make it my Life's Work this week to find some.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Post-Birthday Debrief

Hello & welcome to my Post-birthday Debrief.

I don't know about you, but I've always been a bit funny about my birthday.
Feelings of slight dread begin about a month before the actual day, building up to full blown Existential Ennui by the night before.
Usually, by the actual day itself, the worst is over & I just settle back & wait for it to end.

I'm sure that there's lots of reasons why I have had this reaction:
1. I'm adopted & even though I don't actually remember being torn away from my mother who was told by a kindly nurse not to look at me after I was born, maybe I've been carrying around some kind of loathsome trace memory of the ordeal ever since.
I'd like to think so.

2. I had an unpleasant experience at my fourth birthday party when I spilt orange flavoured soft drink all over my self-spotted cream silken dress with a blue sash & Mum hastily dressed me in charmless shorts. And my sourness wasn't helped by the fact that I only had one friend, Margaret who lived across the road. And Mum had to invite her friend's kids to make up the numbers. And I didn't really like them.

There are lots of other reasons why I don't like my birthday involving Nasty Nuns & not enough fuss being made of me & boring presents & boyfriends who forgot & dry & tasteless birthday cakes & not enough surprise parties, & Happy Birthday being sung to me in a sneery way, but I won't go on. I'm sure you get the drift.

But last year , on the cusp of turning 60, I'd finally had enough.
It was time for a change.
No more Birthday Blues. From now on, I was going to embrace my birthday even if I had to grit my teeth & create even more Dental Problems in the process.
On the morning of my 60th, I skipped ,not plodded ,down the street shouting "I'm sixty! I'm sixty!" to passers-by.
Actually, I didn't. I saved it till I reached the entrance to Zinc, my local cafe where I was meeting my friend Trixie for breakfast. No one noticed. Maybe Trixie did. But she already knew how old I was turning anyway.
But I was out & proud, owning my birthday for the first time maybe ever. It was mildly liberating.

This year, I was a little more low key.
There's something a bit anti-climactic about turning 61. It's a kind of Nothing Number - four years away from being eligible for the Old Age Pension, but not too young to get a Seniors Card if only I could stop work & many years away from the next big Milestone (or should it be Millstone?) Birthday.
I celebrated it over two weekends which doesn't sound v low key, but it was. There was no big cork-popping celebration but more of a Slow Burn.
I :
-bought two designer handbags, loads of Mall Jewels at Diva on sale & the entire set of Sherlock DVDs ,
-had a pedicure & now I've got apple green toenails,
-didn't bother going to the gym but had an extended afternoon nap instead,
-ate chocolate fondant cake that was deliciously soft in the middle,
- ate plump Sydney Rock oysters & jumbo tiger prawns.
- was treated to see The Monuments Men by Trixie which we enjoyed but only gave three & a half stars to.
-chatted & laughed with Maeflower
- got lovely thoughtful gifts & warm wishes.

Without trying to be too much of a Brown Noser, I have to say my favourite card I received was from Tacitus, who is a Classical Scholar. Mindful of the fact that I was born on The Ides of March, that fateful day when Julius Caesar was stabbed in the back by all his close personal friends, he sent me the card featured below. I thought it was a hoot.
Lastly, is a photo of me holding a beautifully wrapped gift from friends Raquel & Carlotta. I was thrilled.
Lastly, lastly is a photo of me today wearing my new apple green toenails.
Goodbye Birthday, hopefully see you next year!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Shock, Surprise & Schadenfreude

It's been a week since the Oscars.

I watched the show on Fast Forward , stopping only occasionally to listen to a nominated song or view Ellen's monologue & of course watch my favourite part of any Oscars show, the In Memoriam Segment, where we trawl through the cavalcade of stars & key film industry players who died over the past year. I'm always hoping that someone will turn up on the list that I didn't realise had passed away. I'm not sure why, but I do.
Perhaps it's because I enjoy the heady combination of shock, surprise & schadenfreude that can often accompany news of someone's death. But not someone close to me of course.
This year there were no surprises. Either I had never heard of the dead person - like a special effects pioneer, or I already knew.
I keep waiting for Mickey Rooney's turn. He must be 100.

Can't believe I've turned the Oscars into a Giant Obituary. Why can't I talk about Liza Minnelli's blue Smurf hair & matching blue silken pjs & orthopaedic shoes ? Or Brad Pitt's badly tailored Tom Ford pants? Or Anna Kendrick's one- boob -in -a -sling look? Or poor old Kim Novak's smooth as a sow's ear face at 81?
That's because it's already been covered by Fashion Police. Why gild the lily?

But seriously, I learnt a few important lessons from this year's Oscars:

1. If I want to look like a movie star, I'll wear a cape. Even in the classroom.

2. Avoid messing around with your face. I felt vv sad when I saw my favourite Goldie Hawn. And of course, Kim Novak. And Liza. All my old heroines look like they've been invaded by Aliens.

3. Don't slim down to such an extent that your head looks bigger than your waist. I'm including a snap of myself playing Donatella Versace below so you can see what I mean.

I've followed it with a photo of me playing me in the classroom in a thrifted silk Lisa Ho mother of the bride floral dress where I'm desperately trying not for my head to be bigger than my waist. I think I've succeeded admirably.

4. I'm really stretching it to get to four things I've learned from the Oscars. There must be something........oh yes, this is a good one. If I have to get up & speak to the whole school at Assembly & I'm nervous, I'll just channel the Majesterial Manner of Angelina Jolie when she partnered ancient Sidney Poitier to the microphone to give a Humanitarian award. Or Cate Blanchett when she gave her acceptance speech even if her dress did look a little like Glinda, the Good Witches costume in The Wizard of Oz.

There's so much more for me to say.
Like I went on a giant shopping spree at Bondi Westfield this past weekend with my daughter Maeflower & her fiancé Tacitus. It was her birthday yesterday & it will be mine in a few days. Thank God I'm not turning sixty again. I couldn't stand it. It's just soo low key to turn 61. I mean, why even bother having a birthday at all, I say!

To celebrate, I bought her a wonderful Tommy Hilfiger trench, which you can see below.
And after much fussing, I bought myself a Michael Kors bag & a dainty little Marc Jacobs shoulder bag.
I can't believe I bought Michael Kors. It just screams Mall. But I did it anyway, & I've already used it today so I can't v well take it back. I think I was seduced by the Versace-like Large gold hardware on it. And those Michael Kors ads where the model is covered in gold jewelry & wearing shades of camel which always screams Something I Always Wanted to Look Like.

After four hours in Westfield, we were forced to detox outdoors in the grounds of Vaucluse House surrounded by tame goats & wild mushrooms. Mae is wearing a little thrifted dress in ,what used to be called in My Day, a Granny Print. I'm wearing a thrifted man's Zegna shirt which I love even though I spilt the inside of a Chinese Dumpling all down the front of it which is a pity because I'm a Lousy Laundress.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pathetic Attempts at Stress Reduction

Sadly, I didn't attend London Fashion Week this time. And I also gave New York & Milan a miss as well . I just couldn't spare the time. You see, I was far too busy with my v own Fashion Week, what with my daily airing of outfits freshly thrifted from Bednobs & Broomsticks over the Summer Holidays as well as staging my yearly fashion event - the annual Market stall of all our fashion castoffs at the Rozelle Markets with my great friends, AJ & The Ex School Nurse.
But more on that shortly.

Bath time Fun.
Each day I scamper out of bed & into the bath which lately, in a desperate bid to detox or de-stress or de-something, I've been shoving handfuls of Epsom salts & baking soda & lavender oil into. I got the idea from a post I read on Facebook.
I can't say that I feel any different except the bath has a nastier than usual ring of grime around it. But maybe it's better for the bath to have the ring of grime rather than me.

Pathetic Attempts at Stress Reduction
In case you were wondering , I do do other things to detox/destress/desomething.
1. I listen to meditation beats every day from an app on my phone. You can't really imagine The Dalai Lama doing that, can you?

2. I box once a week. It's not really proper boxing or anything - I'm not wearing satin shorts or a mouthguard that keeps slipping out of my mouth. And I'm not in a boxing ring & there's no audience, except for the multitudes of dogs that hang around in the park where I'm doing it.
But it feels good. Jay, my personal trainer, looks at me & says, "Go on, hit me!" And then I imagine all the people who I'd like to hit in one big conga line that spans the entire park.
OMG, how could I have said that? I must be if I'd have a conga line of people I'd like to bash senseless? If I was the Dalai Lama, the conga line would be full of people I wanted to hug. But I'm not the Dalai Lama.

3. Instead of coming home after a hard day & pouring myself a stiff scotch , I lie down for twenty minutes & listen to calming music. My current favourite is Snatum Kaur, an American Sikh with a breathtaking voice who sings Indian devotional songs with catchy titles like Song of the Heart. Or is it, The Universe? I can't remember. I even sometimes listen to Enya which I don't think many people would admit to. But it seems that I've unknowingly swallowed a truth serum & I'm suddenly telling you everything.

4. Practising Effective Sleep Hygiene. Don't you just love that term? For one wonderful moment, I thought that I may have made it up. But I just checked with Dr Google, (or should it be Pope Google? ) & realised that I didn't.
In case you were wondering, It just means going to bed at the same time every nite without fluffing around on social networking sites or watching an entire season of Breaking Bad in one go. Or doing some frantic last minute belly dancing.

God, I can't go on any more with this tedious list, I'm boring myself to death. But that's one of the things about being sixty. You can't go on acting like Auntie Mame forever, otherwise you end up looking like,quelle horreur, Brigitte Bardot. And I'm not quite ready for that yet.
Talking of bedtime, I must hop in & drift off while I listen to a few bars of soothing Snatum. Great music, but Snatum sounds like a name you'd give a pet rat. Or perhaps a hamster.
I'll have to post again tomorrow with a report of the stall.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with a snap of me at the end of a v long day. I'mmwearing a Costume National checked shirt & the usual sweat pantaloons.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Castle of Cliches

It's 9:27pm & dangerously close to my Official Bedtime. So I must make haste.
I've been back at school for a week & surprise yawn surprise yawn, it feels like I've never been away.
Don't you hate it when you hear yourself roll out some tired old cliche? Actually it's not tired so much as Totally Exhausted.
I'd love to spend the rest of the blog entry listing all the tired old cliches that I routinely wheel out, much like the list of Jobs that I'd Rather Not Do that I mentioned last time, but I won't.
Instead, I'll walk you through my Outfits for last week.

First cab off the rank (another cliche that's so exhausted it must be on its last legs . Quelle horreur - I'm building one cliche on top of another. I'll soon have a Castle of Cliches ) is a black & White Charlie Brown frock which sadly is Synthetic. In the past I happily wore the most prickly of synthetics with gay abandon. It never worried me that I was burning up like a charcoal chicken inside a Sea of Polyester.
But now it does. Maybe because I managed to score some silken garments from Bednobs, my favourite charity shoppe, & finally at age sixty, I discovered the Luxury of Silk.
Don't you just love the word Luxury? It's got to be one of the Best Words of All along with Home & Bacon & Poodle & of course Love.

A Short List of Luxury:
1. Silk garments
2. 1200 thread count cotton sheets. I now own two pairs in light blue. I adore them but since they were washed they've become v creased & I'm certainly not going to bother ironing them. How can you iron king sized sheets anyway ? An impossible feat.
They still feel luxurious though.
3. Having a coffee mug that says, "actually I'm a rocket surgeon"
4. Having a classroom that is air conditioned. I know that sounds ridiculous in this day & age, I mean, who outside people who hold up Stop-Go signs at roadworks doesn't have air con at work?
I never did. Until now. So it feel like luxury.
5. Having a pedicure. I love the sheer luxury of sitting back in a vibrating chair & having my feet pampered & coiffed. I did this yesterday, a perfect Sunday afternoon activity that is guaranteed to eliminate any End of Weekend Ennui. . I totally loved the experience even though two young women next to me talked at the tops of their hyena-like voices about the break up of Miranda Kerr's marriage to Orlando Bloom & the rumours of James Packer's involvement in the breakup. And then of course there was the endless tut-tutting about Shane Warne's sexting to his ex-wife which sent Liz Hurley scuttling back to her old squeeze Hugh Grant. By the time they wheeled out the new allegations against Woody Allen, I had my ear buds firmly in place & I was listening to ACDC full throttle on my iPhone. Highway to Hell never sounded so good.

Must now hop into bed with creased but luxurious sheets.