Monday, 30 January 2012

A Review: Shiro Cosmetics

When someone does you a good turn, you should do them one right back.  And so, even though I never really do make up reviews on here (although I have been known to participate in the odd guest post over at Jade Goes with Everything) I am going to show you some of Shiro's fantastic items.

I found Shiro through the aforementioned blog.  It is run independently by Caitlin Johnstone and her tiny team of helpers (the team is tiny, not the helpers themselves) out of the States.  I placed my order at the beginning of December, hoping that my items would arrive before Christmas, but sadly, they were caught up in the whole Australia Post kerfuffle and didn't arrive until the New Year.  No matter.  They actually happened to arrive on a day that I sorely needed a pick me up!  Caitlin was also extremely obliging, especially when it came to sorting out a stress-coma-inducing problem with my bank.  (NOTE:  If you're ordering from the Shiro site, PayPal is your friend!)  I'm talking replying to emails first thing in the morning.

I ordered a full set of Kawaii shadows, which are pastel powders with a light shimmer to them in Blue (Desu), Green (Bonzai), Purple (Lolita), Pink (Kawaii) and Yellow (Yatta).  All the colours are fantastic pastel opaques, perfect for day or night wear depending on how heavy and what with.  As a girl with hazel eyes, I especially love Bonzai and Lolita.  Caitlin very kindly threw in samples of Perfect World, which is Gold Coloured and a great colour for wearing to work, and Shoes for Orphans which was far too dark for my pale skin and kind of just looked like I'd put some dirt on my face... oh well, can't win them all.

I also ordered a selection of Intertubes... originally these were to go in Christmas stockings but they didn't arrive in time, so I got to keep them all... oh what a shame... :P

Left to Right: Over 9000, Longcat, Leroy Jenkins, Nyan Cat, Shoop da Woop and Team Buffy.
Team Buffy I gave to a friend and she loved it, the rest I've worn on various occasions and had varying responses to them.  They're great because they have a moisturising ingredient in them, and the colour lasts for AGES.  You pretty much have to take it off to get rid of it.  I wear Nyan cat all the time because it's just the right pink to go with everything.  Over 9000 is my favourite party shade at the moment because it is almost a burgundy pink.  I wore Shoop da Woop to work to go with a red sale (woo woo, what a harlot) and Leroy Jenkins is my at home fun times shade at the moment... I'm not quite brave enough to wear purple lipstick out and about.  Longcat is a great lazy day lippe because its sparkly but clear.  It also goes OVER things great.

Over all I was very very happy with my order, and would gladly make another one.  To have a browse through Shiro's other great products and maybe make an order of your own, go to

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

How to Read in Wet Places Part Two: The Swimming Pool

When I was younger, I liked to pretend that I was a mermaid.  I've always loved swimming pools because more often than not they are shaped like lagoons out of Peter Pan, and also, there are no sharks.  I would dip under the water and butterfly kick with my arms outstretched.  Mostly, I loved the way that my hair became silky and animated under the water- the same way it felt when I put my hair under in the bath.

What better way to relax, then, than to combine two of my favourite summer pastimes and read in the pool?    I had a go at it recently, and here is what I discovered.

* Be Not Afraid of Wetness

As Ford Prefect taught Arthur Dent, never go anywhere without a towel.

Place said towel at the edge of the pool, where you can reach it, and use it to dry your hands if you need to.  Sometimes getting comfy will require this.

For what happens to wet books, see Part One.

* The Bare Necessities

You will need: An Aquaduck or similar.  A cute bathing suit and accessories (I went with Kate Moss Lasting Finish Lipstick in Shade 11 and a pair of retro sunnies from Forever New).  A great book.

Somewhat ironically, I am reading Robert Drewe's The Bodysurfers

* Relaxation Station

Being outside is sometimes relaxing enough on its own.  In the pool, floating on my aquaduck, I could look up and see the clouds moving.  The gentle turning of the thing itself was also rather soothing, as was the temperature of the water.  Pick a quiet time of the day.  The time that your neighbour usually mows his lawn is out, as is the time that the neighbour's five year old has her birthday party.  You may also want to have music playing, or a glass bottle of cider handy.  But remember, broken class and pools don't mix, so I had my cider after...

* Get Comfy

Put the Aquaduck in the pool, then climb in, leaving the book on the side of the pool in an easily reachable place where it will not be knocked or blown over board.  When climbing in, don't worry about wetting your hands.  You will need to in order to get comfortable.  Make sure you are lying longways and that your neck isn't in an awful position.  Float around a little, cool down and relax.  Then use the sides of the pool to get back to your towel and dry your hands.  Add book, and enjoy.

Friday, 13 January 2012

How to Read in Wet Places Part One: The Bathtub

For Deblina

There are certain places one should never read if one is afraid of damaging their books.  The shower is one of them, but the bath is not.  Here are a few simple tips and tricks for scrumptious tub time reading.

* Be not afraid of wetness.

Unless, God forbid, you drop the entire book into the bathtub, you are not going to damage your book beyond readable quality.  Water will warp the pages and in some cases make the paper more susceptible to tearing.  Some inks may run, although I have yet to encounter this.  Books which have been thoroughly enjoyed in the bath should expect to turn out like this:

As you can see, Kaitlyn has been a very clever little porcupine and chosen to read Popular Penguins at tub time.  These only retail for 9.95 AUS and make a perfect, stress free aquatic read.

*The Bare Necessities

If, like me, you tend to be on the OCD side of things when it comes to taking care of your possessions, there are a few precautions that you can take.  These are not foolproof, but help a great deal.

Line up your bath time accoutrements along the lip of the tub, if it has one, or on a little table at arm's reach.  Soap, check.  Duckie, check.  Razor, check.  Exfoliating mits, check. (What?  You don't own those?  Dude, you're missing out.)  Dry hand towel or flannel.  VERY VERY IMPORTANT! This can be used to dry your hands AND FOREARMS should you get them wet.  Do this before touching your book and you will minimise water warpage.

Either, read until the water gets cold and then scrub yourself in the tepid water like some medieval wench, or, attend to your toilette, dry your arms and settle down for a good old read.  It's up to you.

* Relaxation Station 

If this were purely an exercise in cleanliness, we would have just had a shower, wouldn't we?

You know your needs best.  Do you relax best with music playing?  I like to listen to She and Him, Clare Bowditch, Boy and Bear or Josh Pyke personally but maybe Panthera is more your thing...  Set the volume on your CD player so that you can hear it, but not so loud that it will break the fictive dream when you are reading.  Another great tool of the relaxation trade is a scented candle.  You can often find little tealights for about a dollar.  I'm using Jasmine scented ones at the moment, to match my soap.  Just make sure you're using a candle holder to catch the wax, and make sure that your firelighter is safely in the off position when you're done.

* Get Comfy

You may like to use a bath pillow, or if you're lazy like me, you can use a folded up beach towel.  My bath is built into the wall in my bathroom, and it has a lip behind that great back shaped curve.  I place the towel here and it gently cradles my head.

Generally I sit up, but if I concentrate, I can lie down and hold the book above my head.  Make sure you have a good grip on the book if you try this!

That's all I can think of for now, folks.  I hope this helps.  Success will be its own reward!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Notable Quotables

"Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw.

"Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect." - Margaret Mitchell.

"I would always rather be happy than dignified." - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

For more quotes, click here.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Keep Killing Those Darlings

Kill Your Darlings, Melbourne based literary magazine enters its third year of publication this month, leaving devotees such as myself sniffling slightly and saying "Awww, they grow up so fast!"

Issue Eight delivers KYD's usual high quality of commentaries, reviews and stories.  Sexy but not slutty, the magazine strives for an honest, intelligent and relevant viewpoint in every issue and never fails to deliver.  It is smart without being arrogant and inaccessible (there is nothing I hate more than a literary review that screams 'look at me, I can use a thesaurus') and well written, but humble.  I would call this magazine a must-read for the lit-savvy of Gen Y and beyond.

This issue opens with Maria Tumarkin's account of the role food has come to play in our culture.  Gentle in her criticism, Tumarkin explores the topic from multiple angles, from wondering why Masterchef Julie Goodwin's cookbook can outsell prize winning novels, to contemplating the ways that we use food to relate to each other.  A poignant article, it will leave you both enlightened, and hungry.

Regular contributor Clementine Ford (yes, I hope that is her real name too!) gives an account of her experience as a phone sex worker.  Her confident, sassy prose will have you laughing rather than cringing.  My favourite commentary for this issue.

The fiction segment of the magazine, as has been the case for the last few issues is woefully short.  Three pieces per issue seems to have become the norm, where earlier in KYD's life, there were five or more. Jessie Cole's The Wake which is second of the three stands out as both an emotional and a realistic piece that, like life, has no absolute closure.

The January Issue also features an interview with Summerland author Malcolm Knox.  Any would-be interviewer should look to KYD's interviews for inspiration; the editorial team know how to ask a question that will elicit an interesting, thought-provoking answer.  Knox talks about his books, about his balancing act between Fatherhood and Novelist-dom, and about his process of writing and researching.  Far more than the usual spiel of "Writer's are meant to be alone, you should write every day, if you don't constantly think about writing you're a hack, blah blah blah", Knox truly lets us take a glimpse of his life, and gives a dose of world wisdom when he says "I would rather be a good father than a good novelist."

Reviewed this month are Breaking Bad and Justified- morally ambiguous but Westerns at their core, concludes Anthony Morris, regular reviewer for the magazine- and Siri Hustvedt.  Natalie Kon-Yu (to name drop, she was a tutor for Introduction to Literature in my first year of University.) takes up the line of thought that KYD has been very passionate about for its last few issues, that is the plight of women writers in a male-centric publishing world.  However, the review is actually about a discussion of Hustvedt's work by Lionel Shriver, another female writer.  This is a refreshing idea with which to approach an issue which, while never becoming less important, has waned in my interests since it was first raised.  (After all, where words fail actions should speak, not more words.)

I give this Issue of Kill Your Darlings four out of five, and I'll give you a smack if you don't read it.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Perth: A Scavenger Hunt

Today, one of my dear dear friends is leaving on her Paris adventure.  We gathered at her place this afternoon to wish her well, and ended up making her a list of 25 things to do and see in Europe, awarding points for each activity.

C then asked, "If I am getting points, who am I competing against?"

Thus, the Perth version of The List was born.

1. Ride the Ferris Wheel on the Esplanade in Fremantle.  (6)

2. Get your eyebrows threaded. (4)

3. Eat at Chez Pierre. (100)

4. Paint your fingernails as the French flag. (2)

5. Road trip. (2 points per destination)

6. 'Chuck a shrimp on the barbie.' (2) If you EAT said shrimp, 20 points.

7. Say G'day to someone. (2)  Say G'day mate. (4)

8. Have drinks at: Ezra Pound, 1907, The Aviary (5 each)

9. Read a book in a cafe. (1)

10. Go to the cinema wearing red lipstick. (2) If it is a foreign film, 4 points.

11. Window shop at: Gucci (4) Louis Vuitton (2) Burberry (6) If you buy something, double points.

12. Have breakfast 'at' Tiffanys.  (4) To clarify, buy breakfast foods and eat outside Tiffanys, or sneak food in if you can.  Bonus 2 points for eating inside.

13. Go to a gig. (6)

14. Spot a celebrity. (100) Autograph (200)  Picture (300)

15. Leave smiley faces/ inspiring messages on post its in 10 bathrooms. (1 point per post it)

16. Dress in vintage florals to go to the night markets. (4)

17. Have someone else order their favourite dish for you in a restaurant (and do the same for them.) (4)

18. Go to a burlesque show. (20)  Specifically, this was D's idea!!! :P

19. Win a game of Monopoly. (10)

20. Pat a kangaroo or cuddle a wombat at Caversham Wildlife Park. (6)

21. Go to the races. (4)  In a fascinator. (10)  Triple your points if you bet on a horse that wins.

22. Go to a sporting event. (10)

23. Go to a ballet or an opera. (20)

24. Go wine and cheese tasting in the Swan Valley. (5 plus a point per item tasted.)

25. Make a wish in the fountain at the Bell Tower for something that you really, really want.  (10)  100 points if your wish comes true!!!

D., M., and I, (and J., when she gets back from Japan) will complete this list together over the course of 2012.  C. will complete her list over the next sixth month, while she is on exchange at university in Lille.  Her list can be found here.

Chelsea, I will miss you very very much, and I hope that you have an amazing time.  See you at Chez Pierre in June!!!