31 January 2011

Heat, Tangled, an outfit and risotto

As Rob Thomas sang in '99, it's a hot one, like seven inches from the midday sun. It was almost 40 degrees yesterday and was forecast for 40 today - thankfully it didn't reach 40.

To escape the heat yesterday I saw Tangled at the cinema.
It was nice, but to be honest, I didn't love it as much as others who recommended it to me. All through the movie I kept thinking that there should be a cinema just for adults who want to watch kids' movies, because quite frankly, the screaming kids were annoying. I also wondered how Rapunzel's hair didn't snag on things, and wondered what shampoo she uses to keep her hair so strong (I imagine her diet is full of salmon and eggs). I was mesmorised by Rapunzel's hair. Especially when it was braided like this:
When I was six, my doctor wanted to know what my dream was. It was to have long hair. When I was about 23, my hospital files were transferred from the Royal Children's Hospital to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and we flicked through the files. My doctor read out my dream at six years old. And now, at 29, I want to have a braid like Rapunzel's. A quick google shows me you can buy a wig like her's. Hmmmm... ;)

I also saw a lot of Big Day Out goers. It would have been extremely hot for them. As I drove home late at night, I saw a lot of limosines to pick up the rockstars. I can usually hear the BDO from my bedroom, but wasn't so lucky yesterday.

I drove home late at night as I had been to see Steve Poltz again. I will write about it tomorrow. For now, here's a picture.
This is what I wore to work today. I was prepared for the searing heat and the chill of the office.
I have had this dress for about two years, never worn until today. It is a good dress for a hot day. I received many compliments on it (thanks everyone). It's from Target, and my shoes are Steve Madden, my headband is Mimco and my necklace is Oh Deer.

And I am cooking a delicious vegetarian risotto right now, with these ingredients.

It is on the stove now - I don't believe in standing over the saucepan stirring risotto. Off to shower now and then to watch myself on No Limits.

Stay cool.

Behold the challenge: my 30 for 30 remix items

I am about to embark on a challenge of epic proportions. Not an exaggeration. Well, have you seen my wardrobe?? It is bordering on Mt Everest. Except, unlike Everest, it's not all in one place. And it is a bit of a bottomless pit (unlike my bank account).

My Mum bought me this book for Christmas.
Hint, hint, I think! It's a good read, and useful and the tips can be followed.
So in the spirit of thrift, decluttering and creativity, and frankly, literally peering through the great unknown (or forgotten), I am setting off on Kendi Everyday's 30 for 30 Remix Challenge!

Here are Kendi's rules:

1. Pick 30 items or less from your closet. Shoes are included, but accessories and jewelry are not.

2. Remix the 30 items into 30 different outfits.

That's it! Well not entirely so..

3. Don't shop for 30 days.

Here is what Kendi says about the rules:
Why in the world would I add insult to injury, you ask? Because of two reasons: 1) so you'll learn to shop your own closet and 2) so you'll appreciate it. So many times I've run out and bought a new dress for one event or I bought something because I felt lacking and not what was in my closet. Obviously, this is not the best solution to a problem. I have found that when I limit myself with shopping, with 30 items, I become so much more aware of what I have versus what I need. By the end of the 30 days, I am ready to shop, but with new eyes of what I really need.
Wise words indeed.

I have modified the rules to suit my special needs. That is, the regular black/grey/charcoal/striped longsleeved tees and leggings I wear don't count in my 30 items. They're the clothes I need to wear to keep me warm and protected.

So onto my challenge.

Firstly I studied Kendi's very funny 30 for 30 Remix Guide. I am taking this challenge very seriously (maybe I have no life, maybe I need blog content, maybe I love clothes a little too much). Then the challenge began:

  • I looked into my wardrobe(s). 
  • Rummaged (a lot). 
  • Became a little overwhelmed. 
  • Thought about what I wear most (dresses), and where I go the most (work). 
  • Considered what events are/may be happening in February (possible extremely hot weather, Sia concert, Baby Animals concert, drinks, bellydancing classes commence, likely event of sore skin). 
  • Tried on some clothes. 
  • Got frustrated with a zipper. 
  • I made three lists. 
  • Did some counting (difficult with my limited maths skills). 
  • Did some ironing. 
  • Took some photos (then the camera battery went flat). 
  • Charged camera battery.
  • Took some more photos.
  • Changed my mind about 30 times.
And here is what I came up with. 

I wanted to wear some favourites - the staple skirts, dresses and tops you've seen here. But more so, I wanted to wear things I don't often wear or have never worn before. Often I buy things and save them for best. This is not always great. My 'best' clothes hang in the wardrobe (never on the 'high rotation' pile on the bed), wishing they could come out and play too. I threw in two things I've never worn - one practical for the summer months, the other also practical for summer but so outlandish I just want to wear them for the experience! And there's one thing I wore a lot when I was first given it, but haven't done so for a while.

I could have just worn dresses. That would have been easy - 15 dresses plus shoes and jackets/cardis. But wearing separates, especially trousers, makes this challenge, well, challenging for me!

Another thing I noticed is the clothes I've chosen aren't in my usual hues - greys and purples. There is grey and there is purple in there. But there are other colours and patterns. A reader once challenged me (http://carlyfindlay.blogspot.com/2011/01/dedicated-follower-of-fashion-oh-yes.html) to clash patterns so I will use this remix to do so.

The clothes I'll be wearing for 30 days are:

Three cardigans - because even though it's a million degrees during an Australian summer, I will be cold more than hot.
Six tops -  mix of casual and corporate
Two skirts.
Five pairs of pants - jeans, black business pants, green linen pants, yoga pants, denim shorts and jeans.
A white linen shirt that will be ironed before wear.
Three jackets - my trusty pleather ruffled one, favourite cotton floral one, and mint green one that should get more wear.
 Two dresses - corporate and maxi.
 Five pairs of shoes. All pretty versatile.
These are the items I have challenged myself with. I love this vest - it was a gift from my South African relatives. It's well made. I don't wear it so much now, but know I can!
This is a bargain shirt I am yet to wear! $80 down to $10. I love the detail of the pleats. And the colours are versatile.
And these! My outrageous item! They are actually pyjama pants but they are so luxurious and pretty that I want to wear them out of the house. And I have the perfect opportunity to do so soon!
The remix challenge starts tomorrow. So wish me luck, and consider doing the challenge too! I will be posting all of my outfits as I go.

30 January 2011

Foodie Tweetup at The Provincial Hotel, Fitzroy

On Friday night I went to a Tweetup foodie event at The Provincial Hotel in Fitzroy. Yep, I met a heap of people from Twitter and we all had dinner. I already knew @calfy, @cheriecheroo, @starinmelbourne and @jentopia from previous meet ups (I knew @calfy (Shawn) as we went to primary school together, and Jen and I are blog/Twitter friends). The other 11 people were strangers to me - I only knew a few of them from their Twitter accounts. It's so cool to meet people from the internet. Everyone was so lovely! Meeting people from the internet is no longer the dodgy, seedy and risky thing it once was. I highly advocate it!

The Provincial Hotel is beautiful inside - rustic and spacious. I went there in 2003 when I first moved to Melbourne, and I don't recall it being this dedicated to food - from memory, it was solely a pub. I only took a few photos of the interior.
This giant bottle of Veuve Cliquot was in my direct view.

Some of the group had previously dined at The Provincial and interacted with the restaurant through Twitter (of course!).
The executive chef, Paul Cooper designed a special menu for us - such fine dining at amazing value! In all honesty, I feared a degustation menu would leave my tummy and purse empty at the end of the night. But my fears were allayed early on - it was less than I expected to pay, and I was pleasantly full.
Although the restaurant was full of diners, it felt like we were the only group in the room - great, personal service from all staff.

Like all Tweetups, and this a foodie Tweetup, mobile phones were at the ready, next to cutlery, poised for tweets as the night progressed. Descriptions of food, introductions (follows) and thank yous, all in 140 characters or less. Some of us placed our gourmet street presses on our side plates, folded up like napkins. We were ready to eat and tweet.
I'll write you through the menu now. It seems like the logical step for five courses. We had bread for starters, with really high quality olive oil and balsamic for dipping. No photos. You can imagine bread, I am sure.

1st Course

Heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, with mint, radish and marinated fetta.

This was a pretty awesome salad. I loved the creamy feta, the balsamic and the mint. The heirloom (or 'airloom' as I pronounced it) tomatoes were yummy too. The salad was covered in a gazpacho jelly.

Here I am about to eat it.

2nd Course

Scallop Ceviche, avocado, cucumber, lime, and ginger beer granita.

This was my favourite savoury course. The scallops were so tender (I love salmon ceviche so it was near on guaranteed I'd love this) and I wanted to drink the granita when it'd melted. The green dots are avocado. And the brown slivers were like a cross between a pastry and a flat bread. Such an arty dish.

3rd Course

Wood roasted Yellowtail Kingfish, marinated zucchini, sauteed organic kale, lemon, smoked herb oil.

The Kingfish was so fishy and fresh. It had a crispy skin too. I loved the lemon and herbs with the kale.

4th Course

House corned Warialda Belted Galloway beef silverside, with crushed potato, mustard, and almonds.

Sadly I have never been a silverside fan. I did eat the lot, and really enjoyed the fig mustard and mash. The other tweeps loved the dish. During this course, I tasted one of the vegetarian options - pan fried cheese gnocci with broad beans and fetta, and using Faux Fuchsia's rating scale, I gave it 11/10. I am less of a fan of broad beans than I am silverside, but I ate two broad beans and LOVED them!

5th Course

Chocolate Fondant 'just for Cherie'

This dessert was amazing! Seriously good. Even though chocolate is not often my preference, I rate this a million out of 10. Wow. It was such good quality chocolate, the fondant was like eating a cloud filled with gooey goodness. And the icecream was great too. The smear on the plate is orange grand marnier jam. (Un)fortunately someone had to forgo their dessert, so I shared it with Shawn and Jen after I'd eaten my own dessert.

I really enjoyed the night - met some great new friends and ate wonderful food. I'll definitely be up for another foodie Tweetup! And we may have some new recruits for our food blog!

The first pic of the very beautiful Jen and I. (Ok, so there's another one, but this was the best one of the two, I thought).
And here is our group of Tweeps. A fantastic bunch of people!

Thanks for organising, @calfy and @cheriecheroo, and for your hospitality, Erez Gordon and all at The Provincial Hotel, and especially to Paul Cooper and the team of chefs for the wonderful food.

The Provincial Hotel / Cafe Provincial

29 January 2011

Olde worlde crafting and chainstore Carly

Last night I went to dinner with some friends, and met many new friends there. It was delicious and fun.

On the walk to dinner at the Provincial Hotel last night (review to come), Jentopia and I passed this wonderful shop which I need to return to. It's the Magic Lantern Studio in Brunswick Street Fitzroy.

There was a man standing in the doorway crafting a face out of plasticine. The face was for a marionette. It was a pretty special sight. In this world of disposable, mass produced disposable stuff, it was lovely to see the handcrafting of toys happening after hours.

We knocked on the door and asked if we could take photos.
Inside the windows were beautifully intricate dioramas of cacti, plants, toy animals and hand crafted marionettes.
Jentopia and I loved this man in white. He looks like Gandhi.
Amazing detail!
You can read more about Magic Lantern Studios here. I really want to go back to look inside, and maybe do an interview with the craftsmen. It's intriguing.

This is what I wore to dinner. Very happy with it, but in a rush (because of my indecisiveness about which top to wear over the red dress - I changed my outfit three or four times), I forgot to wear a necklace. Oh well.
The navy bird top and red dress are from Sportsgirl, grey longsleeved tee is Sussan, jacket is Target, shoes are from Diana Ferrari and hairclip is Mimco. It has been a cool summer so far (but tomorrow will be 40 degrees) so I am loving layering and jacket wearing.
As Jen took this pic, she walked around the footpath to get a good angle, and accidentally almost walked a woman off the footpath. That's why I am laughing.
This is me with my entree. Heirloom tomato, watermelon, feta and mint salad. It was delicious. Stay tuned for the blog entry about dinner, coming either later today or tomorrow.
Oh and this is what I wore to work yesterday. Layering. Temt dress, Portmans merino cardi, Diana Ferrari shoes (they get a workout!) and Sussan jeans. I think there's my handmade ceramic heart brooch pinned on the cardi too.
Have a great Saturday!

(In other news, I just heart Kings of Leon have postponed their March concerts in Australia to November. Sad, but convenient for me, as I am due on a plane at 7.45 am the day after their original concert date, and their concert would have happened on the busiest workday of my year. Thank God!)

28 January 2011

A floordrobe of outfits + a challenge in thrift and creativity

You've probably been losing sleep wondering what I've been wearing lately. I know. So have I. I lose sleep thinking if only I could dress as cool as you.

Monday. It seems so long ago. I was going to wear this dress on Thursday (yesterday) and realised I better not wear the same thing twice in three days. Oh the faux pas. A friend at work has the same dress that I do (blue and white floral from Target) and we text each other to say we're wearing it. To avoid the uniform look.
The dress is from Dangerfield, cardi is Cotton On, shoes are Diana Ferrari, hair clip is Mimco and purse is Olga Berg. I LOVE this dress by the way.

I wore this to my Australia Day Award presentation.  I call it chainstore corporate dressy.
Dress from Target Limited Editions, cardi from Diana Ferrari factory outlet, hairclip from Mimco, shoes from Wittner, braclet was a present from my parents, ring from Diva and necklace from Tiffany. I LOVE this dress too. 
That is the trench I bought to wear to the ball. I like it, it's corporate glamour, but (I don't want to be a blogger that brags/whines about her size) the size 10 is a little big - could have gone an 8.

Next up was an outfit I wore to work sometime way back last week, before ChIPS camp. I like the dress but it's satin and makes me feel a bit sore after a workday of wearing it.
Dress from Target City Dressing, cardi by Cotton On, shoes from Diana Ferrari, headband probably from Witchery (can't see it), necklace FOUND during decluttering!

I wore this to dinner with Kristy last week. I tried to channel Cate's gorgeous layering style, but my dress felt too Marge Simpson. The dress is an odd length.
Striped dress from some cheapy store, purple floaty top from Jeanswest, longsleeved tee from Sussan, bangle and long necklace from Diva, shoes from Diana Ferrari, Mimco headband, short bunny necklace from Oh Deer.
This is my camp costume that you've seen before. Ok, so it's not a true costume, and not much effort went in compared to some others (penguin, dalmations, giraffe!!).

Jumper from All About Eve, denim shorts from Sussan, panda hat from Ebay.

This is Thursday's outfit. Thursday as in yesterday. My days, and the chronology of this blog entry, are all over the shop.
My cardi is from Valley Girl, dress is Temt, necklace was a gift from grandparents, headband is Mimco, shoes are Diana Ferrari, purse is Olga Berg and iPhone is by Apple.

And this is what I wore to Steve Poltz. I like the mix of dressy and casual. I didn't like how restrictive my top was though. My boobs felt like they were in a compartment of their own. Not enough hanging space.
I'm wearing jeans from Sussan, shoes from Diana Ferrari, lace top from Stella McCartney at Target (bargain - $29 reduced from $149!!), longsleeved tee from Sussan, ring from Diva, necklace from Tiffany and jacket from Target. I actually have two of the same longsleeved Sussan tees in case you think I don't wash my clothes.

In other news I have also signed up to Kendi Everyday's 30 for 30 remix beginning 1 February.

It's in the spirit of saving and being creative with what I already have.

Eeek. I think it may be very challenging for me. Not sure why I've announced it given that I could fail it.

The premise is to only wear 30 pieces of clothing and shoes in 30 days, making a different outfit each time. And not buy any fashion items during this time. You can wear different accessories though.

Have you got any tips for me based on the clothes you've seen me in?

It's a given that I'm not going to count the endless black and grey longsleeved tees and leggings that I wear, because they are a necessity under my clothes. But I'm thinking around six-seven dresses, a few skirts, one pair of trousers, one pair of jeans, a number of pretty tops and tees, two jackets, and three pairs of shoes...

I think I can do it. I bought Kendi's 30x30 Remix Guide to study up.

Your suggestions are welcome!

PS: Mum, if you're reading this, my floordrobe has gone!!!


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