ceil chapman was one stylish broad.

Weddings are some of my favorite events – celebrating the love of two people, surrounded by dapper men, pretty frocks and champagne to boot. I’ve got a couple coming up and have found some lovely vintage dresses to wear, all from Etsy and all reasonably priced. Along the way I stumbled across a spectacular American designer who worked in New York from the 40s to the 60s. Obviously those more in the know than I have already heard of Ceil Chapman, but I am only just becoming familiar with this classic fashionista. Her dresses fetch up to $6000 these days and are definitely out of my price range but hey, a girl can dream.

Apparently Chapman was Marilyn Monroe’s favorite designer and after seeing some of her designs, it’s not hard to see why. She used decadent fabrics (lots of silk and lace) and was an absolute master of draping. Her creations truly showed off the feminine form without being too revealing.

Here are some of my favorite pieces available now on Etsy.il_fullxfull_344182224($588, the perfect LBD)

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($1,344, such gorgeous ruching)

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(I’m a sucker for beautiful red dresses like this one, $2,600)

il_fullxfull_412643551_oxyv(This navy dress is a dream of silk and floral, $445)

five life lessons i learnt from my dad and brother.

My family didn’t have the greatest weekend. My parents have just moved in to a beautiful, brand new home that they built with my little brother and after only a couple of weeks living there and while they were upstairs, someone broke in to their home smashing the glass pane of their door out back and attempting to steal my mum’s handbag and her car from the driveway. My dad actually caught the guy holding him there, with my brother’s help, until the police arrived.

Being faced with this and knowing that my dad and brother are the protectors of their home and their family, I got to thinking… Thinking about the ways they have looked after their girls, my mum, sister & I and also about the high bar they set for any other man who comes in to my life (luckily, I’ve found someone who reaches those dizzying heights). I have learned so much from my dad and even though I thought it was me handing out the life lessons to my baby bro, I have learnt invaluable lessons from him as well. These are the things they have taught me:

daddy and i.

me and t.

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hometown tourists.

Kangaroo Point touristsIt was a rainy weekend in Brisbane so husband and I decided to play tourists at some of our favourite hometown spots. AK has just invested in a second hand Leica camera and I’m still learning to master my Canon so we thought we would practise in some scenic spots like Kangaroo Point and the Story Bridge. We’ve had no photographic training and are definitely still learning how to get the settings right, but we had a lovely little Saturday nonetheless.Kangaroo PointI think I might have taken the skills of our photographers at work for granted because it is much harder than it looks to get framing, light and focus all right in the one shot. No wonder they take so many. Thank goodness for digital I guess. Our photographers still talk about the days when the office had a dark room out the back and they wouldn’t know until they processed the images whether they had got ‘that one shot’ needed to grab the readers attention and make them want to read on. Because if the picture is lacklustre, it’s likely readers will flick to another page.

IMG_1673Unknown-3 Unknown-2I’m starting to get really excited for our one year anniversary trip to Tasmania later this year. It’s a beautiful part of Australia I’ve been dying to visit and I imagine we’ll be spending a lot of time crouched behind the lens.

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(This was AK staying very still trying to capture the majesty of the beautiful scrub turkey. City wildlife at its best)IMG_1719We love you Brisbane.

a pictures worth.

I am in the process of setting up a completely ‘zen’ and inspiring workspace at home to write in. I mentioned this in a post before and noted that the desk is actually my great, great Grandmother’s dresser. I adore it. I flipped the mirror of the dresser revealing these incredibly untouched, dark panels of wood which gave it a kind of rustic feel. So I have my old copy of The Glass Menagerie sitting atop a pile of my favourite books, have bought a bunch of dried lavender to hang as well as some twine and wooden pegs to string up and hang photos from.

Great Grandma Jessie's dresser.

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come on Cleo Magazine, you can do better.

I want to start by saying I read a lot of magazines. It’s my guilty pleasure, the antithesis of my job writing community news. I love to flick through NW on the treadmill, or Who on my lunch break and I totally accept these publications for what they are – light-hearted escapism.cleo.jpg

That being said, I was reading Cleo Magazine this morning at the gym and it made me angry. Like smoke coming out of my ears, had to throw the magazine away, vowed never to buy it again angry. I’m not a regular Cleo reader, but it’s my understanding that since the new editor came on board at the end of last year, the magazine has been touting itself as a new, more dynamic read for its target audience (which is professional 20-somethings like myself). As part of the relaunch in April it was announced there would no longer be any big ‘sex sells’ cover lines, so it gave the impression the magazine was angling towards a smarter, more well-rounded reader.

This month’s cover has the flashy headline ‘Sexism exposed!’, which seems like a pretty decent concept to explore. But the article I took issue with was the interview with Girls creator Lena Dunham. I’m no die-hard Dunham fan, but I know she’s an educated, articulate woman with a progressive agenda challenging the status quo of how women are presented in the media. She would be in my top 3 entertainers I would love to interview and I can think of dozens of things I would want to ask her and write about her.girls

I always take note of how writers put together a celebrity profile – sometimes they lead with a description of the interview setting, what the subject is wearing, what their demeanor is like. Or if it’s not a face-to-face interview, writers often try to sum up all the milestones or recent achievements of said talent. Now, think for a minute of all the ways you could sum up Lena Dunham and what she has achieved in the past couple of years. Got it?

Now here’s the actual intro:
“You’ve probably seen Lena Dunham naked as many times as you’ve seen your boyfriend in the buff.”

Really? That’s the most newsworthy thing this writer has taken from two seasons of Girls? That she gets naked a bit? Cool.

And just in case you think I’m taking one line out of context, here’s the second line:
”In hit TV show Girls, the 27-year-old writer, creator and actor flaunts her tummy wobbles in a way most actresses would never dare.”
Yeah…. The show isn’t about a flagrant nudist running around the streets of New York flashing her ‘tummy wobbles’. It’s about the uncertainty of graduating in a recession and trying to figure your shit out in your early twenties. Dunham is naked the same amount of time normal people are naked in their normal lives.

It doesn’t get any better. Continue reading

mr big… mistake.

Self-help lessons in love for us girls often refer to two types of guys, Mr Wrong and Mr Right. Sex And The City threw a third type of guy in to the mix, Mr Big. Or as I like to refer to him, Mr Big Mistake. I know you either love or hate Sex And The City, but I often refer to it because it is a great look at human characteristics and choices (especially in love) that aren’t always rational or right but that are common and for me, pretty relatable. If you watched the show *spoiler alert* then you know that Carrie Bradshaw ended up happily shacked up and married to Mr Big. However, along the way there were many times that I wanted Sam, Charlotte and Miranda to tell Carrie to walk away from him and never look back. Especially when he left her stranded at the altar. Mr Big wasn’t a villain (Mr Wrong) and he wasn’t a hero (Mr Right) either. He was a third category of potential suitor. Someone who, because of their own emotional impotence, is bad for us but we stay with them anyway, because there are seven days in a week and on at least one of those days we see glimmers of the person we first met.

that's some pretty big baggage.

So what makes a Mr Big?

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body image brouhaha.

brookeBody image can be a pretty difficult path to navigate for young girls, or as I so eloquently described it recently – it’s a nasty son of a bitch. Blame mass media, Photoshop, our culture or perhaps the internet, but it often feels like women are expected to be young, pretty, thin, smart (but not too smart) and subservient always. Anything else is pretty quickly trashed – heaven forbid you are overweight or show any signs of ageing. So much is written about the issue of self-esteem and body image that I never thought I really had anything useful to add to the conversation. But I overheard a conversation between two young girls at a department store the other day and it broke my heart.  Continue reading