Sunday, January 30, 2011

Getting creative in the kitchen

Years ago my mum used to make yummy rice paper rolls with all sorts of fillings. She hasn't made them in years so I decided to take up the task on Saturday.

I must say they turned out pretty well. There were lots left over and they must have been a hit because the ones I saved for Monday work lunch were gone by Sunday afternoon. This lead me to make another batch and even tweak the recipe a bit.

For those who want to play along and make them at home here are the ingredients and instructions.

1 pack of rice paper wraps (from the Asian section of the super market)
1 x pack of rice vermicelli
1 x iceberg lettuce
1 x pack of bean shoots
1 x leek
1 x chicken or pork mince
Soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce or any other yummy dipping sauce

Brown the chicken in the pan, add soy sauce and then leeks. Meanwhile, soak vermicelli noodles in hot water for 2 minutes and shred lettuce. Prepare a large square container and fill with boiling water. Dip rice paper in water for 30 seconds, lay on damp towel, fill with desired ingredients, roll up. Serve hot or cold with dipping sauce of choice. Voila!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Imagine if every week...

You had to think of a new fashion shoot idea. That's 52 fresh ideas a year.

Times that by approximately 50 (the number of items of clothing and accessories in any shoot) and that's a whole lot of creativity right there. Smack an amazing location every week on the top, plus choosing a model, makeup artist and photographer. Don't even get me started on the logistics of getting everything to the shoot and making sure all the right people turn up at the right time.

Some would say the finest shoots appear in the likes of Vogue but this year I am digging Grazia. Mark Vassalo and all his genius is intriguing. Two shoots recently captured my beady magazine hungry eyes.

The 'white shoot' also inspired me to finally purchase my Diana. Now if only I could take amazing photos like this.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Simply perfect or perfectly snooze-worthy?

A lot of research proves that advertising on social networking sites is not effective. We hate seeing the ads down the sides and no one wants to become friends with a toothpaste brand or a dating site.

That said, something must be working for Mark Zuckerberg.

Working in advertising, I think clients have a misconception that their target audience likes to be inundated with products. False. We are on the site to communicate with friends.

I am however friends with a few brands or products. There are exceptions to every rule.

These include the amazing Mia Freedman from Mamamia (enough said), NYLON Magazine (super cool celeb videos and TV show suggestions), CLEO Magazine (get updated on all the hottest bachelors), Country Road (keep your finger on the pulse for the latest sales and discounts), Miranda Kerr (she's actually quite adorable and writes back to her fans plus virtual connection to Orlando Bloom), Channel V (for Bella) and I Love Magazines (the new ACP campaign which is beyond words can describe).

My favourite however is Forever 21. They have one little savvy writer on their Facebook. Every single status update makes me want to click on their online store and fill my virtual basket. They post gorgeous little outfit pictures with each status and I immediately run it through my head, "perfect for work", "perfect for play", "perfect just in general".

Some examples include:
  • Shopping is the new jogging. Go ahead, exercise your impulses.
  • A skirt is like a good Tweet: Long enough to cover the essentials but short enough to create interest…
  • Diamonds are nice, but we say handbags are a girl’s true best friend. This is one trend we’ve got (pun alert!) in the bag
  • ‘Fess up- what’s your number? (And by number, we mean how many pairs of shoes do you own?)
I went absolutely crazy in this store on my first night in NYC when my luggage was left behind in LA. Clothes, pyjamas, work out gear, underwear, accessories, bags. Everything you can think of they have covered. Shop online or check out their blog.

Once I was home and feeling NYC shopping-deprived, I did a huge online order and for 17 items it cost me $150 including shipping. Mix this with key pieces from Witchery, Sporty-G, Country Road, Zara, Top Shop and small boutiques in Balmain and Surry Hills. Amazing.

In the end, is having these brands on Facebook simply perfect or perfectly snooze-worthy?

Monday, January 17, 2011

To bikini or not to bikini?

That's the big question tonight. After spending the last 10 days in Bali surrounded by almost naked people it left me wondering about the world of bikinis and Facebook. While very different subjects they seem to slot quite well together considering the vain society that we live in.

Are you the kind of girl who willingly smiles for any camera, is happy to run around in her skimpy cozzie and play water polo with boys in barely nothing?

We stayed at an absolutely amazing resort with two insane pools. We spent most of our time at this one and laid out on the lounges for most of the day. I was 100% comfortable swimming in my cozzie, sitting at the tables by the pool in my cozzie and walked around the resort with nothing on but a little bit of Seafolly, Jets or Zimmermann.

It was heaven.

But for some people this would be hell. The body conscious who add sarongs or if you are even more shy wear a T-shirt or one of those funny cozzie bottoms which incorporate a skirt. I am not talking about larger women here. I am talking about people who have great bodies to my eyes but can't see it themselves or are too modest to show it off. Or perhaps it is someone who just has an average body and is willing to wear a skimpy bikini pool side but would never post the pictures online because it strays from her perfect prof pics.

So what's the connection with Facebook then? If I go on a holiday and am willing to strut around the pool in my bikini why wouldn't I be willing to post photos of me in my bikini on Facebook? I guess people like to create this persona on Facebook where they only post the most amazing photos of themselves. It shouldn't be called "Profile Pictures" but rather "Most Recent Hot Photos of Me".

I'm not fooling anyone (and neither are you), I have the body I have and if you are going to spend every moment of my life worrying about what others think as well as what you put in your mouth, not a single other thought will fit between your ears.

It's about loving what you have. Life is not about editing and manipulating our offline lives, online.

What's your take on the whole issue? 

Introducing Annie and Diana

Over the Christmas break, two pretty awesome events occurred. The first one was I finally dragged my lazy holiday self to the city, wandered down to The Rocks and paid my $15 to view a certain exhibition.

It's been talked about at work as Madison is a sponsor, there have been numerous articles in the newspapers and of course, all my pomo (post modern, thanks Ju Ju via Belle) friends have been talking about going to view this little bit of history. Also know as the Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 exhibition.

About half the exhibition was of celebrities, all sorts of people from the media industry photographed on movie sets or around New York. Everyone from Jim Carrey and Chris Rock to the infamous portrait of Kate Moss and Johnny Depp.

The second one was that I finally bought myself a Diana Mini. I have been talking about getting one of these cameras for months. After taking endless photos in New York, I decided I should delve into dare I call it the backwards world of photography.

When I bought it home, my Dad examined my little gadget.

"But it's a digital camera, right?"

He couldn't believe that cameras with film were still being sold. Duh Dad, vintage in the new modern.

After taking a whole roll of film in Bali, I am dying to get it developed.

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 1990–2005 runs until March 27th.

The next big thing

This girl manages to walk the fine line between being irresistibly funny and devastatingly adorable. It's a fine line because if you are too funny you just become the next Adam Sandler and if you are too adorable no one will take you seriously.

With her natural fire engine hair (though now blonde for an upcoming role) and deep voice she is the epitome of cool.

And just like this girl I want John Hughes to direct my life.

Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80's movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80's movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.

This is the girl that I predict will take 2011 by storm. All hail Emma Stone.

P.S. rent The Easy A

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Years is so overrated...

This is what I say every year. It's such a crazy fight to get home if you go into the city to watch the fireworks, if you go to a bar you pay a horrendous price for the entry ticket and if you stay home alone, well that's just lame.

So this year Chinny had a little backyard session at her place in Newtown and it could not have been funner. Her lovely housemate Harry cooked us a BBQ and we drank punch and chilled out on couches in the sun. There may or may not have also been a sprinkler and some fairy wings made with umbrella tree branches and twine.

Now that's a fun New Years Eve!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 2010 2010 2010 2010

This has been a massive year for me. After Lohie and Belle wrapped up their years, I thought it only fitting that I do the same.

It was a huge year for me in terms of work. I started my first big-girl job and never realised it would be SO fun. Of course there is the mundane office tasks and staying back late to work on spreadsheets but there are definitely the fun perks like mingling with hotties at the Cleo Bachelor Party, frolicking with the beautiful people at the Ivy Pool for the Rio-themed Cleo Swim Party and lunches in Hyde Park with Lohie, Swifty, Belle and Chinny. Also had some pretty hard days at the office. The icing on the cake? My amazing intern Natalie, who is also a wonderful friend, made my Tuesdays each week a sneaky-laughing fit.

I ended a friendship that turned majorly sour and started up a few amazing ones. Sometimes I wonder what I did without one particular gal. Belle is a darling. We had such a fun year at work, away from work and campaigning for the Channel V competition

I spent the first 10 months of this year without a certain BBFFL and having him back for these past two months has been absolute bliss. Last week I was in an awful mood one night and bailed on dinner with friends (Rob included). After the dinner he drove over to my place and had me in hysterical fits of laughter. It's a true friend that understands when you really just need some alone time or a serious belly-laugh.

Fell in love with many too many pieces of clothing and spent way too many of my pennies on clothes. I believe I own about 15 white t-shirts. While they are less interesting purchases, it ensures my whites are always white. Damn, there is nothing worse that a shirt that has that nasty yellow tinge.

Went on an amazing trip to the States. Could not have asked for a better experience, weather or company. Absolute surreal walking around NYC with one of your best friends and chilling in Central Park on a hot day. Read the mc-massive wrap up here.

Finally finished uni. This is a HUGE achievement for me. While I was always a great student at school, I found uni really hard in that it wasn't disciplined and you had to make your own routine and really the teachers prefer if you don't show up half the time. Makes it much easier for them. Graduation will officially be April 13th next year. Me in a gown and hat, can't wait!

Splashed out on my first exxy handbag. I have never been a shoe gal but have always loved bags and matching them to different outfits, moods etc. While in Boston I bought an amazing Marc Jacobs bag and have never regretted once laying down the cash for my everyday companion.

Became obsessed with the my own personal fash pack - Alexa Chung, Erin Wasson, Abbey Lee, Alexandra Agoston, Olivia Palermo, Emily Blunt, Gwen Stefani, Nicole Richie.

Read more magazines than one might touch in a lifetime. While most of this was in the name of work and even though I spend all day surrounded by them, I still love to devour them for half the weekend laying poolside.

Never cottoned on to the bring your lunch from home routine. Even though I have been working full-time for over a year now, I never really packed my lunch. Unless my mum dished me up leftovers from the night before, I am not the kinda gal that will get up early to make a salad or a sambo. It's my daily treat to buy something yummy for lunch.

It's the best feeling when you introduce two of your best friends and they get along like a house on fire. Bella met Rob at his farewell in early January 2010. This would be the one and only time they met in Oz. He then moved to London for the year and during Bella's European summer travels they met up and had an absolute blast. I know some people like to keep their worlds separate and not mix friends, but I absolutely love it when two people you love so much apart, fit perfectly together.

Realised I have more allergies that I thought possible. I have always been allergic to eggs and dairy but towards the end of this year, I also discovered that I am wheat/gluten intolerant. And trust me, wheat is in everything! I now eat bread and pasta made form rice or corn. Yummy. No more cookies, cup cakes or donuts for me.

Started my blog. I had been wanting to start a blog for a long time and finally pulled up my socks and took a byte from the cookie and did it. Some days I only have 5 viewers and other days you get 300+. Regardless, it's more for me and my writing skills and the extra viewers that want to come along for the ride is just a bonus.

So thanks to all who have read my blog this year. Please feel free to comment more. I love to hear from you and if you like/don't like what I am rambling on about.

Here are my favourite piccies of 2010. Happy 2011!!

Summer is finally here