Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Kardashians

So my sister got me onto watching Keeping up with the Kardashians after she downloaded it recently. I know I'm uber behind on the times and given The Hills is one of my favourite shows, most people usually found it pretty crazy that I had never watched the Kardashians until recently.

Anyway, there has of course been all that paparazzi craziness with Kim's wedding lately but I've been reading all the girls' blogs (including Kylie and Kendall's - I can't believe they're so young yet look so grown up) and following the fashion of Mason. My goodness is he the cutest little kid ever! And it makes it even better that he wears so much Ralph Lauren - so so adorable!

Is this not the cutest?

Plus on the topic of celebrity kids - I'm so happy for Beyonce who finally admitted to the press that she was pregnant. Of course the pregnancy rumours have been rife since even 18 months ago, but she looked absolutely beautiful and glowing on the VMA black carpet. Love MTV, love the reddy coral and love Beyonce!

Photos courtesy of the Kardashian and Jenners blogs and Justjared

Online Shopping

For those that missed it, there was a segment about online shopping on Australian 60 Minutes on Sunday which included an interview with Natalie Massanet of net-a-porter.com fame of course. I have to say, it was interesting to watch the behind the scenes enormity of the business she has made so successful. I often think of her success in such stark contrast to all those other online shops which try and emulate the same success but never really get there.

The thing I admire the most is that she's a woman who has blazed a path for herself and from the interview she seems like she's achieved that through smarts and good business sense. There's nothing like a great female role model!

Anyway, I was thinking about some of my other favourite online shops and thought I would share :)

Miijo - http://www.miijo.com/

Of course I'm a supporter of all things Aussie, but I especially like that miijo offers great prices on a great range of International brand accessories. Not only that, they make stock available as and when it is cool and popular overseas, not half a year later which often happens in Australia. They do great sales too!

Gilt Groupe - http://www.gilt.com
So this isn't one that I actually get to shop at because I'm not in the US, but I love to see the beautiful designer goods here. They are spectacular! From exquisite cheap as chips Alexander McQueen, to holidays, beauty products and even today J.Mendel <3. Definitely somewhere I 'window' shop. And the thing is, you know they're onto a good thing when all the Australian copycat versions (launched several years later) are all doing well now too!

Gilt is members only and you need an 'invite' to be able to join which I was able to get. If anyone would like an invite, click here :)

You can see the 60 minutes video for yourself, here.

Image thanks to fashionstake blog.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Macbook Sleeves

I've been on the lookout for funky slimline sleeves for my Macbook Air and it's been surprisingly difficult. We have limited supply of things in Australia at the best of times, so I really should have been less surprised that all I could find in JB Hifi, David Jones and the Apple Store was multitudes of iPad cases and ugly/expensive Macbook cases.

So the Apple store did have some nice cases which I would contemplate buying but at $70+ each, I knew I was better off searching the interwebs first. Ebay had lots of cheap things, but they were mostly also nasty looking. But I did however find some beautiful options...

Rib and Hull felt and leather sleeve U$67
This is by Rib & Hull, a Polish company that also sells on etsy. Isn't it just perfect? With the Macbook Air being so thin already, the one thing a laptop case must be is slimline and not heavy. This definitely ticks those boxes!
Pack and Smooch Hampshire Sleeve U$74
What about this one by Pack and Smooch? I love that it's still slim but has more storage pockets and comes in the cute light grey. It's a little more expensive, but again can be purchased online at etsy.

I'm yet to find anything else as beautiful, though I was hoping to spend less than $50 (these cost more once postage is included). Any other idea peeps?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Holiday Memories: Bazaar by Jose Andres

One of the most amazing meals of my holiday and indeed up there in my list of top eats was The Bazaar by Jose Andres at SLS Hotel in LA. Voted #85 for 2010 in San Pellegrino's 'World's Best Restaurants', the most well known restaurant ranking system in the world, Jose Andres definitely creates a wonderful gastronomic experience at his unique restaurant.
The experience is quirky tapas mixed with suave decor and amazing cocktails. I loved the vibe of the place and the waitstaff were exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful. In many cases the 'experience' and ambience are what make a fantastic meal, almost more than the food itself, and Bazaar completely delivered on this front.

The night starts in the Phillippe Starck furnished main dining area where no two tables are quite the same. We ordered a fun mix of 'classic' and twisted tapas with my favourites definitely being the Tortilla de Patatas (potato foam, egg and caramelised onions), Brussel Sprouts and Scallops. Here are some pics which make me salivate just looking at them!
Tortilla de Patatas
Japanese Tacos - 'shells' made from thinly sliced cucumber
Foie Gras Fairy Floss
Philly Cheesesteak
These Brussel sprouts and scallops were pure perfection. The scallops themselves were what made the dish, being a beautiful specimen of seafood with just enough flavour and seasoning. Those Brussel Sprouts on the other hand were out of this world - the lemon foam added a nice touch and there wasn't even a hint of the bitter taste normally associated with sprouts.

Then there were the cocktails! This was the special Liquid Nitrogen offerring which was served and made at the table so we could take in the spectacle. Definitely a strong cocktail, but worth trying for the fun. We also tried the passionfruit cocktail (because I love anything with passionfruit in it!)

After tapas, guests are taken to a separate candy store esque section of the restaurant for the dessert portion of the adventure. As if the restaurant wasn't beautiful enough, this area was heaven to any Willy Wonka like dessert fanatic as there were fancy glass jars with sweet treats and chocolates.
Dessert bar
We ordered two desserts - one meringue based passionfruit 'island' and a creme caramel like delicacy with vanilla chantilly cream.

This one looks kind of fluorescent under the crazy lighting (plus I was playing around with the settings on my camera).

And to top it off, we tried the salted caramels with edible wrappers even though we were practically stuffed by this point!

While the restaurant wasn't cheap at about US$80-90 a head for what we ordered (if I remember correctly), I'm a true believer in saving for special occasions and splurging on unique experiences such as this. I'll definitely be back if I ever find my way back to LA!

Monday, August 22, 2011

WIW: Winter Coats

I love Winter Coats, though in Australia we have such a small selection which are generally quite overpriced. Anyway this week has been freezing in Sydney and I only just remembered I should pull out this Paul & Joe Sister coat with quilted lining.

It's probably a size too big but I wear it over lots of layers and it's got a Kate Moss I'm-with-band vibe, don't you think? Yep one of the badges is Guns N Roses!

Again, excuse the blurred mirror and the NAP boxes in the background! Didn't get a chance to pack them away :) Anyway it was nice to wear this cuddly coat and I love the wrist ties which can crop the sleeves however you wish.

I wore this to head out for the weekend - turns out the weather was glorious and sunny and not even cold! I even ended up taking a walk around my local area to enjoy the great weather.

Who else loves winter coats?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August Shoes

I'm a simple minded person so beautiful things make me happy.

These shoes... they are beautiful!
Charlotte Olympia Ninivah
 As OTT as platforms are, I love the original Dolly's and these are a beautiful reincarnation. Show stoppers!

From NAP of course, these beautiful navy patent pumps with satin ankle detailing are just beautiful. Elegant. Loving the navy. Love love love <3

I know, Chanel is typical right? But I love that these are classic but quirky at the same time. From their Paris Byzance collection. And a mid-heel is always welcomed in my hectic life!
From NAP again, but these cuties remind me of childhood flats I used to wear. I love a good flat Mary Jane but these are adorable! 

Winter is the best time for creating online shopping wishlists :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Life in Photos: August

Can you believe it's almost September, which means Winter is almost over and before we know it Summer and Christmas will be here (my favourite time of the year!). How the year has flown by so quickly!

Anyway, I've been a bit boring of late and haven't found any new things on NAP that I'm dying for so unfortunately no updates on that front but since arriving home from my holiday I've been busy catching up with friends and eating out to keep warm.

Last week I went to bangbang, a popular and very cute cafe in Surry Hills which I've been wanting to try for ages. It didn't disappoint at all and not only were there heaps of options, the prices were just right. I had the corn fritters - amazing!
bangbang breakfast

I also visited one of my fave cosy and intimate chocolate shops in Sydney - boon chocolate in Darlinghurst. I haven't been in ages and the night I went was one of those cold Winter nights so perfect for a catchup with a friend over chocolate! They do a very decadent hot chocolate with chocolate mousse and chocolate accompaniment.

Yesterday I had to pick up my sister's watch from repairs so was fashioning the double watch look. Oops blurry pic I know.

Meanwhile, my shoe cupboard situation is getting way out of hand. I can't even get to my clothes anymore (there are shoe boxes so it's all double stacked at the moment) so I need to rectify this ASAP! I think I see a Winter job on my hands! Perhaps I should actually look into shoe storage a bit more since I can't quite fit or afford some of the options I posted about a few weeks back.

Does anyone else use the colder Winter months to do a bit of a pre-Spring clean and tidy?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Holiday Memories: New York New York!

So it's been more than a month since I've returned from my US holiday so it seemed about time to finally post about New York! It may seem cliched but NYC is of course a place where dreams are made and dreams are conquered and my stay there was absolutely awe inspiring. I was lucky enough to be staying with a generous friend who is a truly a New Yorker and showed me around some of the less known places.

Anyway the food and the shopping was definitely a highlight but taking in the atmosphere and vibe of Summer in New York was something special.

I'll make sure to post about my more memorable meals in future posts but here are some of my photo highlights:
Carrie's apartment from SATC!

On the Highline - I was trying to artfully capture the water feature

Alexander McQueen @ The Met was just spectacular

Jackson Pollack at MoMA

American Ballet Theatre's Swan Lake with Paloma Herrera
Alicia Keys concert at Beacon Theatre
Going to Alicia Keys' intimate acoustic performance was absolutely mind blowing. She's such a talent and hearing the hometown crowd going mad was part of the fun!

Neon Times Square
Brooklyn Bridge 'love locks'
I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and it was so lovely basking in the sun. I did it on my last day there and it was a nice end to a brilliant holiday.

You know what I loved as well? Being able to traipse around and see all the SATC, Gossip Girl and The City hotspots. I love my TV shows so it was cool to just be able to go "Oh I remember this from <insert TV show here>"

A picture tells a thousand words right? I had hundreds (closer to thousand actually) photos just from NYC so this was just a snippet and scrolling through them again makes me smile at all the fabulous times I had! I can't wait till I get to go back :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oroton + Tommy Ton

I've been following the International shake-up of Australian brand Oroton in recent years, which has culminated most recently in Tommy Ton shooting their new campaign and before that their opening of boutiques in Singapore and nabbing Daria Werbowy as their campaign model. Though most of the current collection isn't my style, I'm really impressed with how they're taking the brand to an International level with these collaborations.

Now for a little story: when I was at school I would go along with my mum as she shopped at Oroton and look at all the beautiful things and wonder if I could ever buy them. Along the way I picked up some cute items, but then I landed a retail job with them and ended up working for the Orotongroup for many years. During that time I waited eagerly for catalogues to arrive into store and whenever I got the chance I would ask designer Ana Maria about all the new items. Of course my style (and budget!) changed through those years so admittedly I look more to the International designers for bag and accessory purchases but I can't forget my past so I'm still a bit of an Oroton girl. I'm still using some of the classic items I have even though they're 5-6 years old now!

Anyway, I actually really like what Tommy Ton has done with the campaign, which is made even better of course by the NYC backdrop. It's making me miss the city even more!

Loving the pink!
This bag is very YSL Muse esque but with a retro twist

Who doesn't love a few Swarovski crystals right?
I also love what they've done with Singapore bloggers - see their facebook page and their blog! As a blogger, you alway like to think you have influence in the fashion world, right?
Blogger Venetia
I liked the colour pop outfit Venetia wore plus I love the Raisa clutch she was toting, but perhaps I'm biased because it was the last item I bought there.

Are there any other Australian fashion International success stories you love?

Images courtesy of oroton.com.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Topshop in Sydney

Big news for the week in Sydney was the announcement that Topshop would be opening proper stores in Australia - finally! In Sydney it will most likely replace the old Supre store in George St - what a relief I won't have to hear loud thud thud music and see fluoro slogan tees everytime I walk past!

To be honest, I've never previously been a huge fan of Topshop. I've found the prices to be a bit expensive in comparison to the other chain stores which tend to have more 'grown up' options. Even when visiting the UK, I found some cute things in Topshop but they were all casualwear which didn't quite match my style (and the prices weren't great considering the quality). Incu did stock their stuff for a while though at ridiculously expensive prices which was a bit unfortunate especially since I've been a longtime supporter of Incu.

Anyway, I thought I'd give them another chance and perused their website for some inspiration and to see what we might see in store when they finally open. I was indeed pleasantly surprised, let's just hope we get similar items! Some of the things I liked the most....

 Cream colour block dress (£55) and Black Chiffon Sleeve Panel Jacket (£65).

These items go to show that elegant, simple and classic pieces will always be in fashion even if bought at a chain store! Of course I don't know up close how good these look, but you can never go wrong with black, right? 
Cream Spot Shirt Dress (£30) - I love me a good shirtdress!
Raspberry patent ballet flats - French Sole
 Who doesn't love a good chain store + designer collaboration? I practically live in ballet flats and have them in all colours, mostly Bloch because my sister is obsessed - plus they remind me of my Ballet dancing days. These, however, are a great alternative too!

As they say, you get what you pay for but these are definitely cute options even if they aren't silks and fine fabrics!

Looking forward to more retail competition on our fine shores here in Australia :)