Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Saturday

My Saturday was delightful. My greek friends who own a local restaurant had us and 20 others over for a gourmet lunch. Everything tasted wonderful. The biggest spread you can imagine!

We left at 2:30pm and went down to the beach where there was an old time swing band playing. It was a grey day down at the beach, but calm and peaceful. There were people in the water (crazy!) catching the last swims of the season. My husband and I swing danced to a few songs. After that we walked along by the water a bit before heading home to change. We drove a ways to see "The Duchess" with Keira Knightley. I love a good period drama. Best line: "You make me sound so pitiable" - Keira Knightley dropped this line while walking off from her love interest. It was pretty cheesy and the whole audience cracked up! I really enjoyed the movie. There were some awkward moments in the movie - but overall a great storyline, dialogue - and I appreciated Keira Knightley's acting, more so than her last few movies. The audience had a good sense of humour. People laughed at all the cheesy lines, although were attentive for the most part. An older crowd filled the cinema. After that my husband and I walked around the area we were in. Walking past Thai, Vietnamese and indian restaurants - enjoying the aroma's. We were meeting our friend N at a bar at 8pm so had to eat dinner elsewhere. We went to this bar with old leather chairs, dark wood tudor style panels on the walls, a low ceiling. This man in his late 60's/70's played piano - along with another musician on the saxaphone. It was a comfortable bar. Good for a hard drink, although the beer on tap wasn't good (at all!). We just got "well drinks".

Later we walked down the street a bit to a dive bar - where they have very good beer on tap! I got a guinness. Mmm. And we played a couple rounds of pool. I killed the boys the first round - but my husband beat us the next round.

It was such a fun day, and lovely to spend it with my husband. I think tonight I should play a boardgame with him to make up for all that he did with me yesterday.

I bought these earrings before the clothing ban. They arrived yesterday. Cute huh?!

Thank you Etsy!

Blogging on the weekend

I’m a bad blogger – its been over a week. I admire the true bloggers who write a few times a week to every day!

Friday I got my friend Maureen to cut my hair. She did a swell job. I’m in the process of growing out my overly dyed hair. I have long hair, naturally dark blonde – which I have been dying brown since my late teens. Now I’m in my late 20’s and would like to spend some time in my natural hair colour, experimenting with makeup etc. I have been working with dark hair for over 6 years now (!). I’ve done the bob a couple of times, but have almost always had long hair. Its thick and wavy – so have steered away from short cuts. Maybe as it grows out more a pixie cut would be the way to go. Although my husband is a fan of the long hair.

I was inspired by a post from Observation Mode - the shopping ban. I was chatting about the 6 month no-clothing-shopping ban with a colleague (a young lass, about my age) – and she has decided to do it with me! I very much dislike how living in California has shaped my attitude towards spending. My nonchalance when it comes to zapping something on the credit card. I used to budget each month what I could spend. I think it is very much a “spending society” here. An area where everyone has the best of the best. So as not to steal/take away from Observation Mode's Blog, I won’t say much more – except the next few months will be a challenge. But I am also up for the challenge! And really need this.

I have been missing you Australian friends who read this. I’m horrible at phoning, but I really do miss you a lot. I dislike the stinking time difference!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I want to wake up… in a city… that never sleeps…

And find Im king of the hill - top of the heap.

So we’re back from wonderful New York. Where to begin?!

I bought those Aldo shoes – the brown ones below. $180 a pop – but well made and cute as anything. They will do me well through the winter. I’m looking forward to teaming them up with skinny jeans.

I also visited H&M in mid-town Manhatten near 5th Avenue – the biggest H&M in NYC! I found this dress which I saw a couple of months ago and loved! I couldn’t find it anywhere else – and it was the very last one in this store – in my size! Score! Its a little longer on me than the model! Knee length! I’m also thinking about ordering this cardigan from H&M to go with the dress. Although you can’t see it on the image, the dress has some mustard coloured flowers on it also.

The first day I got there I was pretty tired. Took a red eye and got into NY at 5:30am. Ouch! Dunkin Donuts were at the airport – I indulged! After catching a cab to our hostel in Upper West Side, I jumped out, full of adrenalin to arrive at my husband’s room. He and his flatmate were sleeping. So I showered, changed and dropped my gear off. Went to Tal’s Bagels for a great coffee and blueberry bagel with cream cheese. Wow. I love New York bagels! Last year Tal’s Bagels were my favourite, this year I found a new place, even closer to our hostel.

I walked the streets near Riverside Drive, took it all in, smiled at everyone and everything. Finally the boys got up and my husband and I went to Greenwich Village – explored the streets there – found a comic book haven my husband loved. I found expensive vintage stores where I made no purchases. At 2pm we stopped and had lunch at this amazing café/bar. We drank mojito’s and margarita’s. We also strolled through West Village – found a park where these guys were tap dancing to honkey tonk old-school piano – it was fantastic! They were so talented! Also in the park was a little jazz band. Our explorations proved to be quite entertaining. We weren’t sure exactly what to do in West Village and Greenwich Village, but exploring was enough – we came across so many nice haunts.

That night we went to Smalls Jazz club and heard an old school jazz band which was amazing! It was in an underground pub. We drank scotch and were entertained by them. The bass player was an old African/American man who was brilliant. There was clarinet/saxophone/trumpet/piano/drums and bass.

The next day we slept in till 9am then slowly got up and met up with friends at 10am for bagels. We went to Loab’s boat house in Central Park and paddle boated around a lake there. It was beautiful and so much fun. It could be quite romantic if there were just two of you. In a group, its fun. We were in hysterics. Amazingly – we were all quite good at rowing, it ended up being fairly easy. The lake is covered in moss and surrounded by breezy leafy green trees. Parts of the manhattan skyline can be seen. It’s a real treat. When done with that we headed to Gray’s Papaya for the “best hotdogs” which, have to say were very very good! The sausage tasted like actual meat, and the dressings were superb. In the afternoon we headed to Brooklyn and a friend and I went vintage clothe shopping at Beacons Closet (tonne’s of variety – at reasonable prices!) It was such a hot afternoon, we all ended up making our way to an old pub in Brooklyn, ate French toast and drank cold beer. Couldn’t have been better. It was such a hot muggy day in NYC on Saturday. They were expecting thunderstorms. Instead sunny and muggy. I was well pleased for the latter! In the evening we frequented Café Habana. For those of you who haven’t been – go! It is a must. We had a tonne of amazing food in NY, as we always do. But this place always tops our “best meal of the trip” list. There were five of us, and we all agreed on this. All of our meals were amazing. We started with the corn. Wow. I wish I was there right now… digging into their cheesy spicy corn. Once finished stuffing our faces on Cuban food we taxi’d it over to Tribeca and visited the Brandy Library. Not a cheap haunt, but a classy one with a romantic atmosphere and chilled vibe. My husband did a tasting of 6 brandy’s. I had a port and chocolate dessert. When done we subway’d it back to Times Square, all running on adrenalin at 1am – and enjoying the big lights.

Sunday we slept in (again!) and went for a stroll in Central Park. The boys left me and went to Coney Island. I went shopping! I walked from 72nd street down to 42nd street that day, visiting Upper East Side, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and sitting in Bryant park drinking iced tea. It was nice to have some time to myself exploring, taking it all in, shopping and doing whatever I wanted! Ha! In the evening we went to the Yankee Stadium! Which was the whole point of our visit to NYC. My husband wanted to see the stadium before it is closed down. So we saw the Yankee’s play the White Sox. It was a fun game. The New Yorkers are so lively. The Yankee’s won and there were some real highlights. We subway’d it back into East Village and found a Lebanese hole in the wall café which happened to get lots of awards. I got a fantastic Shish Kebab. My friend got falafalel which he said was very good (he is Lebanese! And knows his food!). My husband and other friend got chicken kebabs. A good last stop for the day.

Then yesterday… sniff sniff… was our last day in New York. We wanted to make the most of it. We had breakfast with our friends staying in Times Square then headed our separate ways. In case anyone is confused, there were 5 of us. Another married couple and our friend N, who is my husband’s best mate. He stayed in our room with us.

So after breaky, we went to the M&M store in Times Square. Then sub’d it over to Union Square and had THE BEST HOT CHOCOLATE EVER. Ok, here’s the deal. I had read about it in the NYTimes a few months ago and read good reviews elsewhere. City Bakery. I read they have thick hot chocolate. Mmmm. I get in there, there is a coldron of hot, melted chocolate. They pour some into a cup – about half the cup. Steam the milk – and pour that in. The chocolate they used was some kind of swiss chocolate I think. It was good. No, it was heavenly. And I’ll definitely be going back for more! I sat in there, writing postcards and feeling in pure bliss as I slowly sipped on my rich, satin-ey hot chocolate. Sigh.

As you can tell, we did fit a lot in 4 days. My husband was there a little longer and visited a few more pubs. He did a few different things to me, when I wanted to go shopping etc. We had such good travelling buddies who I have become closer friends with now. It made, not broke the friendship! It was really such a fun trip. I love the personality of New York. There is always something going on. So much culture around. Always a band playing, new types of food to try out.

I’m glad to get home to some quiet. However loved being in New York, having a change of scenery and getting to experience some of the things I miss in my everyday life.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New York New York

Tonight I’m flying to New York. Ieeeeeee!!! I’m super excited about it of course – and having printed pages of shopping hotspots and things to do, museums to visit, area’s to wonder around and places to eat. I couldn’t be more excited if I tried.
The starbucks I had this morning probably helped a little. I haven’t had caffeine in months. I always go decaf. But this morning, in my excitement for New York, forgot to order decaf – and consequently I have the shakes and can barely sit still. But that sort of feeling always conjures up the best writing, right?

I’m loving the new Starbucks breakfast menu. I indulged in the oatmeal this morning with brown sugar. It was superb. And the apple whole wheat muffins are the bomb. Nice work Starbucks. You have my vote. You know what will happen? I get addicted to Starbucks in America, I’ll move back to Oz – where they have gotten rid of most of the Starbucks. That’ll be just my luck.

List of things I want to buy in New York:- Chunky cardigan, floral dress (H&M have some perfect dresses this season) (see my inspiration at the Vintage Society – the post on the Keira Knightley movie). That style is right up my alley. Bucket hats and all. Boots. I’m also on the lookout for the perfect white tee (James Perse?) – and will also go to vintage clothing stores in Greenwich village and hopefully Brooklyn. My budget? What budget? Its New York! And we’re staying in a hostel! My husband and his best friend are sharing a private room – two double beds. It’ll be great. I’m so looking forward to having breakfast in my favourite hole-in-the-wall bagel shop.
We have other friends coming to who are about 40, act super young – but have 40 year old budgets. They’re rich. So they’re staying in a hotel in Times Square. Nice. Have to say, give me a hostel while I’m young and still excited about it. I wonder if I’ll get as excited about such things in my 30’s…?! I like to think I’ll still be the same in my 30’s and 40’s. I like to think I’ll still love funky clothes – run around in my converse sneakers and not be a walking commercial for Ann Taylor Loft. Apologies to Ann Taylor Loft fans. I like some of their pieces. But not the whole overall look.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Battle of who could care less

There’s a word I’m trying to think of that I think of that describes me well…
Let me explain. I remember being 21/22 years old a friend of mine teasing me about my underwear. This was well before I discovered there were different colours of underwear other than white, white and… well… white. She didn’t understand how I loved fashion, clothes and style so much – but didn’t give much thought to my undergarments. Actually. She wasn’t the only friend who I had who teased me about my underwear collection. Needless to say I’ve moved on – and yes, I’m using brighter toe-nail polish these days also Miss R!!! eheheh. I’ve enjoyed the process of discovery from my mid-late 20’s. I’m a late bloomer.

Last night we had some friends over to play cards. I’ve had some friends in the area ask me if my style is very “Australian”. Its not Californian, that’s for sure. I guess its kind of Sydney, mixed with European influences (?) and I’m heavily influenced by 40’s glamour, vintage inspired looks etc. I’ve always loved to dress lady-like and all when it comes to dressing up.

So the wife of the friends who were over last night starts talking about a wedding we’ll be attending Saturday. “Will you be wearing a beautiful vintage dress?” she asks. “No” I reply. “A dress I found recently, that isn’t vintage at all. But I loved the pattern and colours”. I tried to sound unaffected about the fact I get a chance to dress up this weekend. Oh what the hell, I’m getting my hair done at the hairdressers also. Kazaah! Yes I am excited. But I didn’t let on. To quote Ben Folds I wanted to appear “too cool to care” about the whole thing. That it is just who I am, it’s a natural thing - and I don’t think about style too much. I guess the same as when really skinny girls say “I don’t believe in diets. I eat junk food constantly”. Yeah right! Gosh, who am I kidding? I’m not super close with the couple, and I’m new here. You can’t spill your soul too early on, you know. So back to my dress: I had to get the dress taken up a little – it was proving to be a little low for the occasion. Call me old fashioned, call me whatever you like – but I’m no fan of cleavage. Maybe its because I don’t have a whole lot. That’s it probably. A highway to NOTHING!

But that’s a whole different subject. So when our friends left they looked at my bike and said to my husband “nice bike”. “Actually… its my wife’s… bike…” – they looked at me surprised. My old red BMX. Yep I love it. And yes, I am a tomboy. Through and through. I have 7 scars on my body – which is more scars than my husband’s family have put together. I love living in my converse sneakers/Asic Tigers/jeans/tee’s and hoodies. The couple looked at me and said “you have a lot of layers, you know that”. Ha! I’d like to think so!

But back to my tomboyish ways – I love the great outdoors, being a tomboy but on the other hand, love makeup in a big way, skin care and fashion.

I know the word. I’m a big fat contradiction!

"I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large."
Charlie Chaplin