Archive for November, 2010

November 30, 2010

Some rambles, and an outfit

Guess who was at Mecca Cosmetica again today? The sales assistants at Mecca Cosmetica  are really starting to recognise me and Valerie. I’d like to say that I’ll buy something, one day, but the Australian cosmetics market has staggeringly high mark-ups and it’s really much cheaper for me to get most of my things overseas. But I’ll buy something, one day.

Here is a Microsoft Paint rendition of what I was wearing:

I did it this morning, half-dressed. I prefer to do these scribbles when I haven’t yet seen the outfit on me, so that I capture the impression of the outfit instead of a literal depiction. It somehow looks very wrong if I try to do a literal depiction — the colours play off each other in a rather strange way.  I do think the cardigan is pretty much like that in real life, though, but that’s  basically how it comes across in my head. What do you think?

I’m wearing my favourite Alannah Hill skirt. It’s called ‘Lost in Headlights’ and I really do wear it an awful lot (case in point: with navy blue and cream; with pale blue; with black — though I haven’t yet shown that). My belt is called ‘Little Picket Fences’, which I’ve worn quite often because it tends to add this nice flash of colour and texture without being too bold. Without it, the entire outfit feels really unbalanced — the belt drags the cream tones of the skirt’s spots and of my stockings up, so that it’s not bottom-heavy and bright white, and the blue draws a line from the bow in my hair (which I made myself) to the shoes. It’s like a magnet, belt-ified. Which is very awesome. I need more in my life.

My stockings are cream with a faint mauve stripe running through them (difficult to see, but it might be there if you enlarge the photo). I can’t recall what they’re called, unfortunately, but if anyone is desperate to know, I will hunt through my receipts. This outfit was the first time I wore stockings with an open-toe shoe, really. I was never really against it as such; I just never saw an aesthetic reason for it in my wardrobe. But the peep of white is important here, I think; it breaks the blockiness of the stockings and the shoes. I’ve shared my shoes before (click the link for a close-up picture — it’s at the bottom of that post). They’re from Midas, with a bow I added myself.  I find I end up customising my shoes quite often just to get the right balance of colour, and I really love how these turned out.

Aaaand… the cardigan is called ‘Fly Away’ and is also from Alannah Hill. It isn’t really visible in this photo, is it? Hrm. It’s rather vital you see it. Here’s a not too dweeby photo of me (apologies to Valerie), but my shoes are cut off. I’m not too sure what I’m doing. I may be about to break into a strange ‘yay we’re home!’ dance:

So that’s my oufit. Plus minimal makeup. Ideally, I’d have OPI’s Suzi Says Feng Shui on my nails, but I didn’t have very much time to do my nails this morning. (Too busy drawing my outfit on Paint!) And no perfume, which is very important if you’re like me and your method of perfume purchasing is rather systematic. It involves a number of steps:

1. Identify the fragrance families and notes I like and compile lists of perfumes that interest me;

2. Hunt down stockists and spray perfumes on the testing papers. Then, I sniff and try to identify notes (because I’ve forgotten what they were), and scribble them down on the testing paper.

3. Decide on one, maybe two, to test on skin. Agonise for a while, often in such a way that the sales assistants begin to worry about mental state of health.

4.  Select the one or two fragrances, spray carefully (so as not to contaminate the other wrist, or Valerie’s, if she’s testing too).  Sniff wrists and look a bit baffled, because skin chemistry is a strange thing and always changes perfumes.

5. Laugh at Valerie if she’s selected one that turns to sweet garbage juice on her skin. Conversely, sob most dramatically if I’ve selected one that somehow turns to a white floral, because white florals give me headaches.

6. Spend the next two hours periodically sniffing my wrists to see if the fragrance has evolved in any way. Celebrate if it has; dwell in the mind’s Caves of Disappointment and Misery if it hasn’t.

Today’s sniffing ‘speriment involved Serge Lutens’ L’Eau, which is his new ‘anti-perfume’. I’m quite fond of it — I know it’s not very popular in the niche perfume sphere, but it seems to work quite well on my skin. Will post my thoughts on it in another post — I suspect this post is getting absurdly lengthy!

[Quick plug: if you haven’t already entered my giveaway, do consider it! I’m giving away three bottles of Ulta3 nail polish and a Moleskine notebook I decorated myself. All you have to do is leave me a little comment on this post (click) ^^.]

November 29, 2010

Flubber nails

NAILS OF JELLY.

I HAVE THEM.

Oh, nothing like a spot of photo-commentary incongruity to start a Monday evening!

Let’s backtrack and recap.

No, first, let’s shamelessly plug my giveaway: one decorated Moleskine notebook and three Ulta3s, all for you! Just leave me a comment in the linked post and your contact details before December 12, 11.59pm to enter the draw.

I somehow found my way to my local and hidden Ulta3 today, and purchased a few bottles. The one in the middle is one of those purchases — ‘Dusty Rose’, which looks like a warm browned pink with some shimmer. (The two bottles flanking it are Earl Grey and Cocoa Bean, which I’ve swatched here). I also picked up ‘Waterlily’, which is a deep warm plum with fine gold and pink  shimmer in the bottle (which unfortunately disappear slightly on my nails). I haven’t a swatch yet, because purple is evil.

I have a strange aversion to the colour purple, which I’ve hinted at on my About page. Purple is quite a popular colour generally, I think, but for me, it signifies Absolute and Terrifying Evil.

This isn’t a new trope by any means. There are squillions of evil villains who drape themselves in purple, but no one is scarier than Maleficent from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty:

(Click to enlarge for serious terror. Note that she turns everything around her purple. THAT’S HOW EVIL SHE IS.)

The complete opposite of evil is green jelly. The wobbly stuff. It’s sweet and cool and tastes amazing with vanilla ice cream, and you get jelly and ice cream when you’re in hospital because you have tonsillitis*, which generally makes it awesome. And un-evil.

(*Valerie refused to believe me when I told her this. Neither of us have had tonsillitis that landed us in hospital, so really, my belief in jelly and ice cream in hospitals stems only from rumour and things on television. I believe in jelly and ice cream at hospitals in the same way that kids believe in Santa Claus. Please tell me you’ve had ice cream and jelly while in hospital for tonsillitis and keep hope alive.)

And in honour of awesome jelly (and perhaps as a foil to the evil-but-beautiful Waterlily in my nail polish collection), I purchased a bottle of NYC/Ulta3 ‘Jelly’, which is a lime green with a jelly finish.

NAILS OF JELLY. (And now you know why I started this post with that phrase.)

I love it and will never wear it, but I love it anyway. It’s much more neon in real life than in this shot, which is a bit over-exposed but it’s the closest I could get to capturing the colour. If you ever gave yourself ‘manicures’ with highlighter pens, this is basically a grown up, slightly more polished version.

It’s so unwearable on my skintone and with my wardrobe, but it looks like I’ve just come back from killing Flubber, which makes it strangely appealing. (Sorry, Flubber fans. I have nothing against Flubber really.) This is with five coats or so because I was aiming for opaque bottle colour. It looks more Flubber/lime jelly-like with the usual two or three, but I stupidly forgot to take a photo.

I also forgot to take a photo of yesterday’s and today’s outfit, an oversight for which I apologise most profusely. I will try to remember tomorrow, I promise! (Today’s outfit was amazingly boring anyway, trust me.)

And, again, don’t forget my giveaway — click click click!

November 28, 2010

Giveaway time!

Picked up some Ulta3s*— and they’re for you!

(*Okay, one of them is an NYC, but that’s just a repackaged Ulta3. It’s a tricksy spy Ulta3, infiltrating non-pharmacy bases. You have to love it for that.)

I was hoping to find Earl Grey and Cocoa Bean, because I know a few people are after them, but the Pulse Pharmacy I went to was sadly quite raided.

This set is made of my favourite colour palette: cherry red, pale blue, and pale pink. I love wearing these colours all together or in pairs (I’ve  only posted a blue and red outfit so far), particularly because they’re commonly considered to be Colours That Clash. I personally think they look rather spiffing together if you have the right shades and the right textures.

I’ve also decorated a Moleskine cahier in navy and cream, which is one of my other favourite colour combinations (particularly when I’m in a preppy student mood).

I’ve used a few bits and pieces lying around my room. There’s a piece of a print of a map of Paris; a scrap of a letter from 1942; a wooden button; a bow I made out of tattered chiffon (from an old high school hair accessory), a strip of lace peeking out here and there, from my Year 12 formal dress; a felt flower with a diamante centre from an Alannah Hill cardigan. (This is the cardigan here.)

Let’s talk boring admin stuff.

This giveaway is open to readers in Australia only. (I don’t think I have any readers overseas but if I do — hello! Sorry that this giveaway isn’t open to you; I’m afraid I’m a bit short on cash this month and can’t afford postage outside of Australia. Next time, I promise.)

To enter, you have to do one thing:

1. Leave me one comment. It can be anything. It can be a simple ‘hi’; it can be chatty; it can be a copy and paste from a Wikipedia article. (I would love this, because I have a warped sense of ‘awesome’.) Only one comment will count per person, unless you left a note on my ‘should I do a giveaway?’ post prior to the 28th of November 2010.

Please leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win — it won’t be published or used for any other purpose. A blog address/Vogue username would be fine, too ^^. (Or say who you are if I know you in real life. Maybe leave me a message on my FB wall saying you entered?)

This giveaway ends on December 12, 2010 at 11.59pm, AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time). Comments will be allocated numbers in the order in which they are received, and I will use random.org to generate the winning numbers on December 13. The winner will be notified via teh interwebz (email, blog comment, Facebook, PM on the Vogue forums) on the same day. The book and nail polish will be posted to the winner in a 500g Australia Post Express satchel.

Good luck!

November 27, 2010

Christmas tiiiiime

And we know it’s here, because it is REALLY AMAZINGLY HOT and my skin is sticking to my pleather chair.

(It’s allowed to be pleather because it’s a vintage find from the late 1970s that my parents picked up for a song and I stole it from the dining room, so it’s vintage and free and how is that not awesome.)

I was reading Radio Carly about an hour ago, and she has a post on Christmas (which I’ve just linked you to, to save you the Googlin’), which is basically the inspiration for this post. Her post makes a wee bit more sense than mine, because she actually does Christmas things, and I do not. I suspect this post will follow in the same vein.

Carly mentions the film Love Actually, in which Rowan Atkinson plays a department store sales assistant who wraps gifts with srs style.

I thought my gift-wrapping skills were skillz-with-a-z but Atkinson’s character takes the cake. Here, for the record, is one of my attempts at gift-wrapping:

Please note that Atkinson has lots of spiffy boxes as well as a shiny cellophane bag full of roses and lavender and cinammon, and mine is basically just a box. With a ribbon and a couple of wooden gears I picked up from Etsy. The interior is also sans flowers and spices but crammed full of $1 tissue paper from Hot Dollar. I am a high-rollin’ wrapper.

I spent my 2008 Christmas at a jewellery chain store and quickly learnt the art of cramming mass-produced fine jewellery into boxes and making it look flashy and classy and all levels of High Performance Art. I was not, alas, able to carefully pour rosebuds into cellophane bags but I did don the occasional imposing black gloves, which can be strangely impressive, somehow.

…I’m not quite sure why, either. Don’t customers wonder why sales assistants put gloves on only to hand the product over to the bare-handed customer?

Either way, I have that three-month Christmas stint to thank for my ability to tie bows in a few seconds. I can also do them without people holding the knot for me (though I could do that before Christmas Casual-ing). I’m not actually sure how holding the knot helps, come to think of it. When customers tried to help me, I always messed it up. Ver’ baffling.

And in the spirit of Christmas (the retail one, not the religious one), I WANT STUFF.

I wouldn’t say no to this lovely Waterman Perspective fountain pen (it’s the blue one in the middle):

photo from worldlux.com

I don’t care if the nib is terrible (okay, I do) because the body/barrel is so amazingly striking and subtle and full of win. It looks like etched glass. How I want. It’s $400 in Australia but much cheaper overseas. I am very glad I do not have $400, else I would be buying it right this minute.

I also wouldn’t mind a laptop but I haven’t yet decided on one, so can’t really say very much.

Hrm.

I think I’ve grown up a lot now and am basically a Real Adult, because my Christmas wishlist is suddenly quite short and features boring things that are quite useful, like ‘a vacuum cleaner’ and ‘a new laptop’.

A laptop would never be boring.

Nor, actually, would a vacuum cleaner.

OH MY GOD I’M GROWING OLD AND BORING.

I’m not even wearing an interesting outfit.

I will wear one tomorrow.

It will be awesome.

There will be photos.

Stay tuned.

(And, re the giveaway: it’s in the works, I promise! Just adding a few things to the notebook and doing a spot of shopping to round out the package. Thinking of Ulta3 nail polish in shades that reflect the notebook.)

November 27, 2010

Sneaky shots of colour

I look much more sane from the back, don’t I? I’m investigating Valerie’s/Valerie’s neighbour’s garden again. I’m not sure what I found so fascinating this time around, but I assure you: that garden is full of magical wonders. (I realise that sounds like they’re growing illicit drugs. They’re not. Just your usual, run-of-the-mill, nature-is-wonderful-and-magical, stuff-of-poetry magic.)

I’m wearing my Alannah Hill Live to Tell skirt in navy blue and a BCBG Max Azria blazer, with an Alannah Hill cream ‘Send Me Away’ short-sleeved cardigan underneath. (It’s a lovely cardi, with a beaded collar. Will post up a photo of it when I wear it as an actual outfit piece rather than just a basic under-my-other-clothes rag.) My shoes are a navy suede and grosgrain number from Tony Bianco, and my hair is unbrushed. Yay for lazy days!

I’m very fond of my BCBG jackets. I find they fit rather well — my leather one fits like a dream. I don’t wear this one as often as I would like, because I find it rather difficult to pair it with things. It’s quite a tame jacket, until you notice the brightly coloured trims (click to enlarge):

My right hand LOOKS AWESOME(ly fail) in this photo. (I don’t think I’ll ever learn to stand still for an outfit photo shoot; I get too self-conscious.) I suspect I’m wildly gesticulating towards something exciting and Valerie is snapping photos and not paying me any attention. It’s probably not that exciting, particularly if you’re Valerie and you pass by that garden every day.

…When I’m sleepy, I find very mundane things very exciting. I was a wee bit sleepy when these photos were taken.

Here’s a close-up shot of the jacket:

I like that the khaki is mediated by these WHOA THOSE ARE WACKY colours. It’s like someone took to the trim with a set of highlighters. I normally dislike highlighter colours (annoying on paper; annoying off paper) but they add a level of fun to what would otherwise be a rather ordinary jacket. Valerie says it’s a fun jacket masquerading as a serious jacket, which I think sums it up rather nicely.

Pretty pleased with this outfit as a whole, although it’s not quite what I usually wear. (WHERE ARE THE BOWS?) I still have to work out a few outfits for my Live to Tell skirts — they’re so very blocky, colour-wise, and I really want to break up the colour and make it all dizzy and tizzy and spinning with different textures and contrasting colours… and bows XP.

November 25, 2010

Teddy bear baths

 

This is Valerie’s teddy bear, Mummy Bear. She’s had Mummy Bear since she was… oh, I’m not sure, but it’s been easily just under two decades. In this photo, she is in Valerie’s bathroom sink, which I’ve dubbed ‘the giant bear bath’. It is indeed a giant bath,  for a bear anyway.

Mummy Bear has been bathed very few times in those twenty-odd years and this fact, coupled with Sydney’s rather hot weather, prompted us to give her a bath.

 

 

This is Mummy Bear having her ears scrubbed. The soap we’re using is Lush’s Porridge soap, which is not only wonderfully apt for a bear (because we all know that bears like porridge hot, cold and ‘just right’) but a nicely scrubby soap for humans. Quite moisturising and a pretty fun soap — much more tactile than your usual soaps or shower gels.

I’m quite fond of Lush products, although I do think the majority of their products are rather gimmicky and overpriced. I am quite happy, however, to pay for their skincare line, which I’m sure pulled my normal, leaning-towards-oily-in-summer-and-dehydrated-in-winter skin through a month of all-nighters, stress, bad diet and dry indoor air.

These are the Holy Triad of Skincare Products:

From left to right: Catastrophe Cosmetic biofresh face mask; Angels on Bare Skin cleanser; Aqua Marina cleanser.

The gorgeously purple container on the left holds Catastrophe Cosmetic, a facial mask made from fresh blueberries. It also has calamine and all sorts of essential oils, which are probably more effective than blueberries but far less awesome sounding. I find that this mask really evens my skintone and seems to control breakouts really well — haven’t had one pimple in the four months I’ve been using it.  —Oh, wait, I tell a lie; I stopped using it and had a few little ones (my skin is generally well behaved), and they all disappeared once I got a new pot. Miracle in a little black pot, really.

Angels on Bare Skin is a lightly scrubby cleanser made from kaolin clay, rose and lavender essential oils, and ground almonds (that’s what makes it nicely scrubbeh). Don’t expect it to remove makeup, because it’s really very gentle. It leaves my skin looking quite dewy and fresh, like I’ve just woken up after a long sleep. I have no idea how it does it (okay, maybe an inkling: light scrubbing from the almonds and a bit of moisturising from the essential oils) but I love it very very much.

I’ve only just started using Aqua Marina, mainly because I didn’t want to use Angels on Bare Skin every day — as tempting as it is, all that exfoliation probably isn’t good for my skin. Like Catastrophe Cosmetic, Aqua Marina has calamine, which is awesome for soothing and evening skintone (remember using calamine lotion on mosquito bites?), as well as kaolin (which is what makes Angels on Bare Skin so awesome). It’s basically a win combination of Catastrophe Cosmetic and Angels on Bare Skin, except it smells Really Very Strange. I’m not quite sure what it is, either — I suspect it’s the seaweed, which is apparently very good for your skin. Would rather eat seaweed than plaster it all over my face, though!

I use Angels on Bare Skin about three or four times a week, and Aqua Marina when I haven’t used Angels on Bare Skin. Catastrophe Cosmetic gets pulled out four times a week (about every second or third day) because the expiry date demands near-constant use if you want to use it up before it goes all mouldy and gross. (Lush says that the pot has four to six applications, I think; I know I manage to get at least twenty. Maybe I have a small face?)

Just to wrap it up, this is today’s outfit. You’ve seen it before, but I’m wearing it again and now you get a chance to see it without my stupid poses. Ain’t life grand!

 

The dress is from Alannah Hill’s Spring/Summer 2006 collection and is called ‘Stargazer’; the cardigan is the ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ cardi from… Spring/Summer 2006 too, I think (can’t really recall and I’ve lost the receipt) and the ‘Little Picket Fences’ belt is from Autumn/Winter 2009.

I’m very fond of this outfit — I love that it combines red and pink and blue, which is a bit of  fashion no-no generally, but I think it works here. I usually pair it with this headband:

 

The headband (Parking Lot Love from Spring/Summer 2010) originally came with a brighter and bigger blue satin bow, but I cut it off and replaced it with a thin grosgrain ribbon. I also added a satin burgundy ribbon to the headband for this particular outfit, so that the blend of red and blue in my overall outfit looks less blocky.

 

I brought the red of the cardigan down to my shoes, as well, so that the red wasn’t so heavy at the top of the outfit:

I made the red bows myself — just out of a strip of bias tape (I’ve linked you to a Wikipedia description because I have no idea what it is, lol!) I took from my mother’s sewing box. At the moment they’re precariously attached with dabs of glue gun glue. I imagine I’ll reattach them with something more sturdy sometime soon.

I bought the shoes themselves from Midas Shoes. They came in an awesome array of colours — pale yellows and purples as well as the blue above, I think. I wanted them to go with a particular dress but the tone was all off — far too warm for my dusty silvery-blue Fleur Wood dress (which I haven’t posted yet, huh?). I like how the red brings out the warmth so that the bow isn’t too glaring an addition. Almost like berry sorbet ^^.

And berry sorbet is pretty perfect for this weather, I think.

November 24, 2010

Squirrels and museum curators

I mentioned personal phases and fads in one of my older posts — in particular, my tendency to collect and hoard things. I’m not too terrible a hoarder. In my head, there are two types of ‘not that terrible’ hoarder*: squirrels and museum curators. Squirrels find a lot of things and save them for a cold winter’s day so that they don’t starve. Museum curators collect a lot of things and put them in glass cases and write little cards and pet them with their gaze.

(*Please note that I’m not discussing the hoarding that has been equated with a mental illness. I simply don’t want to call it ‘collecting’, because there’s collecting and then there’s my inexplicable desire to Have It All. I have no sense of moderation really.)

My sister and my mother are the former; little squirrels who insist on keeping everything they come across ‘just in case’. My sister’s bedroom is crammed full of shoe boxes filled with knick-knacks ‘that could be used for some art project’, and the downstairs room has five wardrobes because my mother doesn’t want to give them away. To be fair, we are using them, but I personally think we could downsize.

I’m a museum curator, which means that I collect a lot of things and fawn over them with a happy sense of accomplishment. And then I suddenly draw an arbitrary line between ‘things I need’ and ‘things I don’t’, and deem my collection complete.

This is my modest collection of nail polish, which pales in comparison to quite a few. They’ve all been carefully selected, though, to go with at least one particular outfit. Some of them only do go with just one outfit, actually.

At the moment, I can quite contentedly say that I need no more. That’s because the phase has passed.

…But, dear god, do I need notebooks.

I don’t, really.

But I want them. I only have a few, really, and I don’t need any more. One day I’ll devote a post to them; wonderful, glorious little pockets of fun that they are. I was going to post up a photo of them but I haven’t yet taken one I like. Watch this space!

Speaking of notebooks, I’ve started to put together a little one for my giveaway (sorry about the strangely bright pink background; I’ve just dumped it on an old filing cabinet I usually keep hidden away):

What do you think? I think it just needs a few more things to bring out the depth of the navy blue (Moleskine does such a lovely navy). The chiffon bow in the top right corner will also be at more of an angle.

What I’ve used so far:

  • A handwritten letter from 1954, to a ‘Mr Hubert A Kraus’ living in Canada;
  • A scrap of lace from the offcuts of my Year 12 formal gown;
  • A section of a print of a map of Paris;
  • A little wooden button
  • A tattered chiffon bow fashioned from a hairclip I used to wear in high school. The hairclip was a larger bow,  but I tore it apart to make something less structured and tidy.
  • A length of cream grosgrain ribbon with a stripe of satin down the middle.

I don’t want to make it too bulky in case things fall off/it becomes impossible to use, so it’s going to stay quite simple, I think. I don’t think it’s coming along too badly ^^.

This, by the by, is what I’m wearing as I tackle this little project:

 

It’s not the most exciting outfit in the universe, because I chose everything based on the fact that a) they were blue; b) they were easy to nap in. Such is life.

I’m wearing, as per usual, Alannah Hill. The cardigan is yesterday’s teal Flames to Dust, paired with yesterday’s cream Adorable Wafer Girl cami… okay, this is starting to sound worrying. I promise you that they’ve been washed; I was just too lazy to put them away and too lazy in the morning to go through my wardrobe, lol!

My skirt,thankfully, is different, and is the cream Sit Down, Shut Up! skirt. It has adorable polka dots in pale blue and a darker blue, and little silk blue buttons. Very fond of it. And the belt is a blue and cream Little Picket Fences, from the same season. It has quite a nice buckle:

 

My necklace is from Untamed Menagerie on Etsy and reads ‘We’re All Mad Here’ in cursive script. I love Alice in Wonderland (it was actually going to feature in my thesis) and couldn’t resist it. The picture is taken from her listing, because I can’t get a good shot myself that does the piece justice:

I also have the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ necklace. Definitely recommend the seller — amazing service and really beautiful pieces.

And, to prove that I can’t pose like a normal person:

 

I’m not quite sure what I was doing here, but I’m positive that I was mocking Valerie, the camera-wielder. To do this pose, you have to put one hand up to your head, with your thumb touching your forehead, and wiggle the four fingers around while chanting ‘nyah, nyah’ or various immature taunts. It helps if you dance from foot to foot. Increases the absurdity.

The things you learn from this blog, huh.

November 24, 2010

Inky pleasures

I’m quite new to fountain pens, although my first foray into the world of nibs and flowing ink was when I was quite young (maybe seven at the oldest), wielding my uncle’s fountain pen to draw cockroaches in brown ink.

(For the record, I hate and always hated cockroaches. But I have a strange tendency to dwell on things that horrify me.  Like knives and blood. Most people avoid their phobias and fears; I stare at them with unconcealed horror and fascination. Go figure.)

I’ve always loved stationery, and a great deal of my high school life was spent hunting after the perfect ballpoint pen. I have tried every cheapie that Officeworks and Big W has to offer. I really have. I have also tried mid-range ballpoint pens from Parker, Waterman and that Spanish brand that Myer stocks that I can’t recall at the moment. The best, by the by, is the Parker Jotter by a long mile, unless you want a lightweight pen (Jotters are a bit hefty at times), and then it’s difficult to pass by  a Pilot BPS-GP with a fine point. The Pilot BPS-GP also has a removable metal pen-cap thingy that holds the pen together…

 

That Thing. And the most important thing about That Thing is that, with practice and a bit of patience, you can spin it off the body of your pen and make it spin around the table like a little silver top. Priceless hours of class entertainment, I assure you.

The thing about ballpoints is that a ballpoint pen is only as good as its refill. And once you’ve found your ideal refill (Parker ftw!), your mission has basically ended. (Though I haven’t tried Lamy, but I don’t like the shape of their pens.)

Not so with the fountain pen, which is a finicky little brat. The nib has to get along with the ink which has to get along with the paper, or else all you get is this blurry mess of once-legible writing. And nibs change, even in the same manufacturer (and in the same pen line), which makes every pen purchase a bit of an adventure.

I’ve found that my inks tend to agree best with my Parker Sonnet, which has a nib that’s wide enough to bring out the character in inks but isn’t so broad that my writing turns (too) illegible. (I have a photo of my pen on my About page, if you’re curious.)

 

My obsession with ink started with one particular colour: J Herbin’s ‘1670 edition anniversaire’, which is a glorious blood red ink commemorating 340 years of making ink and other awesome stationery. It was, of course, limited edition and I discovered it, of course, a few months after it had been released and snapped up by ink-lovers all over the globe.

And then one day, I saw it on Inscriber, which is (without a doubt) the best online stockist of awesome stationery. And it was sold out.

Story of my life.

(Not really, I just felt very sorry for myself because I’m a bit of a brat.)

But I asked them to notify me when the product was in stock (none too hopefully for, as I just mentioned, I was in the mood for feeling sorry for myself). A few days later, the email came.

A few seconds after that, I put an order through.

And in two days time, the most amazing bottle of ink appeared on my doorstep:

 

TA DAAAAA!

Isn’t it amazing? It is. Nicest bottle of ink I’ve ever seen. J Herbin usually has shorter, squat, no-fuss (though still rather attractive) bottles, which you can sort of see on top of my Penguin books on the left. (It’s the bottle with a purple moon on it. And the ink is delectable. You can sort of see it on my About page, too.) But this bottle is so very attractive, with its wax sealed cap and little wax seal badge proclaiming its name. Each seal is hand-done, I think (I know I read that… somewhere >.>) which just adds to its awesomeness.

AWESOME, YOU GUYS.

 

A translation, for those who can’t read my handwriting:

J Herbin 1670

EDITION ANNIVERSAIRE

Nommiest red evar.

OMG.

OMG, you guise.

This red pwns my favourite red nail polish.

It looks good even though I don’t have Inkophile’s handwriting.

Eeeee! Look at the shading!

Wow. This is pretty pigmented for J. Herbin.

Love love love wheeeee.

 

My favourite red nail polish, for the record, is OPI’s An Affair in Red Square. OPI’s Affair in Red Square is a deeper red cousin of OPI’s famed I’m Not Really a Waitress, and J. Herbin’s 1670 is darker still, with earthy brown undertones that make it look closer to blood than to the sparkling Christmas tones of An Affair in Red Square.

Here’s another shot:

THIS INK IS SO AWESOME.

SO AWESOME.

It’s the sort of colour that makes me want to write passionate letters to my lover right before I murder them and write confessional notes in their blood.

If I had that sort of tendency.

Which I don’t.

Sharp knives and blood fear, remember?

Maybe I’ll just write a murder mystery instead.

ANYWAY, away from sounding creepy and back to just sounding strange:

I mentioned ‘Inkophile’ in that scrawl. Inkophile, whose handwriting I covet terribly, has an amazing blog. The swatches of 1670 put mine to shame. Look and drool: Inkophile’s swatches of1670. This ink has character and Inkophile has the skillz to really bring it out. I want those skillz. So badly.

…I wish I had more use for a red, because red is a little bit difficult to read in long stints. I suspect I’ll use this bit of ink up first and then go to my usual dusty purple or nutty brown, unless I suddenly buy another brilliant colour.

Okay, outfit post coming up later tonight!

November 23, 2010

Pearls and perfume and pithy posts

Short post today because I’m running a tad late (and blogging is more interesting than cleaning my room, so it obviously takes priority XP!). I think Valerie’s settled on a perfume, maybe two, and so we’re back to Mecca Cosmetica to sample a second one, wait for it to dry down on her skin, and then decide from there. I have a feeling that she’s going to go with the first one (Comme des Garcons Wonderwood), but we’ll see.

This is what I’m wearing:

 

The blouse is — surprise of surprises! — from Alannah Hill, and called ‘It’s A Legal Implication’. This amused me very much as a law student, which tells you a lot about my sad sense of humour, lol! The skirt is my black pleated skirt from Hong Kong and goes with everything. I suspect it’s my version of ‘the favourite and flattering pair of jeans’.

And there’s a headband in the upper left corner, except I didn’t arrange it properly and didn’t realise. Here’s a close-up shot:

It’s called ‘I Don’t Care for Pearls’ and I have so many it’s quite ridiculous. Can you tell I hoard similar things?

Okay, have to dash. Will update on any perfume adventures later. (I’ve just realised I’m terribly curious about CdG’s Sherbet.)

November 22, 2010

General sensory hedonism

(Just a little shameless plug: thinking about doing a giveaway; please read about it send me your thoughts here. Would appreciate it ^^!)

If you are/were an English major, or ever did any ‘classic’ English units, you most likely ran across Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, which features copious amounts of effeminate male aesthetes eating chocolates, sipping wine and generally enjoying all of life’s shallow pleasures. The book can easily be read as a warning against hedonism (live for the pleasures of the flesh and your soul will pay!!111oneoneeleven) but I usually ignore that reading, reveling instead in the general displays of hedonism. There is a section in The Picture of Dorian Gray that describes all of Dorian’s little hedonistic pursuits: he collects jewels; paintings; goes to the opera; collects more things; fills his house with beautiful rubbish. (The declutterers among you may faint in despair at that last one XP.)

Let me confess now: I have a tendency to collect things. I actually go through quite intense phases of ‘must have them all!’ I used to play Maple Story (a rather dull and cutesy 2D side-scrolling MMORPG, but I love it) and every time a game event happened, in which players could collect limited edition items/weapons/what-have-you, I made it my mission to get the entire set. And I did, even if I had to trade a great deal of pixelated gold for a pixelated (overpriced) ‘rare item’.

My last phase was Lush, but I’m more or less done with that now — I only drop in to replenish skincare products when they’ve run out. (I’ll admit that that phase only ran out when I tried everything in the store. And I have, except for the things with jasmine, because I’m allergic to jasmine.)

Valerie, however, is still indulging in olfactory delights and an interest in perfume has begun to kindle — niche perfumes, particularly, which are unfortunately few and far between in Sydney. Today, we went to Mecca Cosmetica hoping to find Comme des Garcons’ Series 2 ‘Tea’ perfume, but our local didn’t have a tester out. Valerie did light upon CdG’s newest addition, ‘Wonderwood’, which is a nice woody scent — woody, a little spicy, and ever so slightly sweet on the dry-down.

I sniffed around but found nothing I liked better than my current fragrance, Miss Dior Cherie — I’ve been wearing it every day for almost six years now but I haven’t found anything that blends with my skin chemistry quite as well.

This is what I was wearing, by the by:

Oooh, dodgy pic. My apologies. The lighting in my room was horrible at the time.

All from Alannah Hill except for the belt, the hair bow and the necklace. The skirt is called ‘Lost in Headlights’. I think I’ve posted it before. Really one of my favourite skirts — I find that I end up trying it with everything. It’s surprisingly versatile. The cardigan is called ‘Flames to Dust’ — this season’s Alannah Hill has a recut, but I wasn’t too enamoured with them. (I have them in black/cream trim, red/cream trim and black/pink trim’ but I really want more.) And the cami is called ‘Adorable Wafer Girl’ and comes in a pale pink, which I have, and black, which I don’t. I really regret it — they’re really versatile pieces.

The necklace, which you can’t really see in that picture, is from Disney Couture. It’s gold-plated and reads ‘Fairest of them all’, and has a little red enamel apple. Here’s a close-up photo:

It’s a bit of a vain thing to wear but, in my defence, I got it as a gift. And it’s so awesomely kitsch; how could I not wear it?