Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We arrived here on the night of Christmas Eve. First thing on Christmas morning, we walked around the deserted streets of the city and saw all the famous landmarks firsthand - Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and Picaddily Circus. It was so lovely to see everything for the first time, unencumbered by the crowds. I braved the boxing day sales on Oxford Street, which was futile because the queues were soo long - not only to the cash registers but also to get into the stores themselves - that I gave up trying to buy anything early on and just wandered the sidestreets, lusting over luxury brands I can't afford. I have also visited the magnificent Tower of London; shopped at Knightsbridge (Harrods! and Space NK); watched two plays - The Mousetrap and Breakfast at Tiffany's - the former was really good but the latter was fantastic, especially Anna Friel (of Pushing Daisies) as Holly; visited Madame Tussauds and Ripley's Believe It or Not, which were both trashy, but actually very fun; toured London on a double-decker bus; seen amazing ancient artefacts at the British Museum, including sarcophaguses, the Rosetta Stone and the Nereid Monument... and there is still so much left to see and do in the two days I have left!
P.S. I am onto my third book - the first was Breakfast at Tiffany's, which I much prefer to the film and the play (and I loved them!) and the second was Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which I'll be reading again to fully grasp its meaning. It's really charming and easy-to-read, yet thought-provoking and real. Now I am reading a novel I bought on a whim at the airport bookstore called Foreign Tongue - it is described as "A Story of Life and Love in Paris" - how could I resist? It is delightful!
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
... and buy the latest issue of Frankie Magazine. It is such a lovely read with articles canvassing such topics as the convergence of gay and bogan culture, female circumcision in Ethiopia and turning 30, as well as a delicious sounding granola recipe, unique photography, pretty editorials and inspiring interviews. It is my favourite Australian magazine.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
1. Fuchsia coat. 2. 2x LBDs. 3. Black leather boots. 4. Tights. 5. Lingerie. 6. Pink leather gloves. 7. Diamond studs. 8. Black patent leather handbag. 9. Taupe tote. 10. Black and cream cashmere scarves. 11. Thermal knits. 12. Black Mary Jane ballerina flats.
1. By Terry foundation, concealer, liquid blush in fresh rose, liquid bronzer in sun beach. 2. Chanel laque in ming. 3. Becca mineral powder. 4. Ellis Faas eyeshadow in E107. 5. Nars velvet matte lip pencil in sex machine, multiple in copacabana, blush in desire, eyeshadows; eye shader, eyeliner and large domed eye brushes, yachiyo kabuki brush. 6. Stila mascara and black eyeliner. 7. Utowa eyelash curler. 8. Rubis tweezers.
1. Leaf & Rusher mini essentials pack (cleanser, day creme, night creme), resurface essentials pack (face and lip scrubs), skin tonic. 2. Mecca travel pack (body wash, body creme, sunscreen, hand creme). 3. This Works turbo balm.
1. Fekkai glossing travel pack (shampoo, conditioner, creme, hairspray, comb). 2. Bumble & bumble hair powder. 3. Kiehls creme with silk groom. 4. Aveda hair potion and paddle brush. 5. Ghd series IV styler. 6. MyCurl. 7. Parlux 3500 hair dryer.
1. Mecca nail colour lilac-grey (Diana/Francisca). 2. Fracas parfum. 3. ModelCo nail polish remover. 4. iPod. 5. Pens. 6. Pink leather moleskin notebook. 7. French language guide. 8. City guides/travel journals. 9. Novels. 10. Laptop. 11. Umbrella.
P.S. Please do not waste your time trying to talk me out of packing my beauty arsenal - it is non-negotiable!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
By Joan Kron
For years, the similarities between Jeanne and Susan were uncanny.
Growing up, the identical twin sisters not only were mirror images of each other, but also shared a bunch of preferences and personality quirks. Even now, living 1,000 miles apart -- Jeanne in Ohio, Susan in Florida -- "we'll send identical Christmas cards to our parents and choose the exact same gift wrap," Jeanne says.
But they do have some differences, she adds: "We don't have the same taste in men or in weather." In fact, unlike Jeanne, Susan is a lifelong sun worshipper. In addition, Susan began smoking in her late teens, and although she stopped for six years in her 20s, she averaged a pack and a half a day for 16 years before quitting in her late 30s. Jeanne never smoked.
Over time, it seems, these habits have made a remarkable difference in the way they look. Now, "Susan looks ten years older than I do," Jeanne acknowledges. "In fact, when we meet new people I'll say, 'She's my sister,' but I never say she's my twin."
It may seem odd that two people with the same DNA could look so different, but it's common, according to research published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery by Bahman Guyuron, a plastic surgeon in Cleveland, and colleagues at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University. Contrasting behaviors cause subtle differences in appearance that eventually make one of the pair look older than the other.
And that suggests that all of us -- twins or not -- may have more influence on the way we age than we think.
Catherine Deneuve has been credited with proclaiming that after a certain age, a woman needs to choose between her face and her behind -- meaning that a lean body can result in a face that appears gaunt and haggard. Indeed, for women over 40, this maxim is true, report Guyuron and his study coauthors, who surveyed and photographed 186 sets of identical twins.
Additional weight fills in and softens wrinkles, making a heavier twin look younger than her sister, Guyuron explains. But for women under 40, the effect turns out to be just the opposite: Extra pounds can obscure youthful features like a smooth jawline and cause facial skin to sag. The weight effect was generally seen when a woman had a body-mass index at least four points higher than her twin. (Each point of body mass is equivalent to five or six pounds of weight, so a four-point difference would be 20 to 24 pounds.)
The longer a woman takes birthcontrol pills or hormone-replacement therapy, and the higher the dose, the more likely she is to look younger. That's partly because estrogen can increase water retention, helping to smooth out the skin. And although estrogen is contraindicated for some women and poses health risks as well as benefits, there is no question that "estrogen improves skin elasticity," Guyuron says.
In one case, a 69-year-old who had used hormone replacement for four years longer than her twin looked three-and-a-third years younger, despite having had more lifetime sun exposure. Taking antidepressants, however, was generally associated with an older appearance. In addition to the aging effect of depressed people's sadder facial expressions, Guyuron says, certain depression-relieving drugs can weaken eye muscles, causing the area to look more droopy.
Women who didn't drink looked younger than their twins who did. Since the study didn't track the amount or type of alcohol that drinkers consumed, though, it wasn't able to suggest exactly what constitutes too much. Actually, research has shown that resveratrol, a substance found in red-wine grapes, can delay aging, Guyuron points out. But in general, excess alcohol consumption can damage blood vessels in the skin. Also, "the liver plays a major role in the quantity and quality of the collagen fibers within the skin layers," Guyuron says. Translation: Heavy drinking's harm to liver function can cause wrinkles.
Cigarettes may not come with an aging warning, but evidently they should: The longer a woman smokes, the older she looks, with deeper and more plentiful wrinkles and more uneven skin tone. According to the research analysis, every ten years of smoking resulted in a perceived extra 2.5 years of age.
More surprising, divorced women were judged to look an average of 1.7 years older than their married or single twins -- possibly because of higher levels of stress or depression. (Marriage isn't always smooth sailing, but it's not as stressful as divorce.) Inexplicably, though, widows looked two years younger. No differences were found with increasing number of divorces, the researchers report. Guyuron guesses that "after one goes through a very challenging situation once, the second or third experience becomes less troubling and would not take as much toll on the face."
If anyone dismisses the idea that sun exposure speeds up aging, this study may change their minds. The researchers calculated the approximate amount of time each woman had spent in the sun since childhood. The twins' photographs, as shown on these pages, confirm that UV exposure deepens wrinkles and mottles the skin. Sunscreen use, however, minimized or prevented these effects.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
* I will give you at least three sincere compliments each day: one on your beauty, one on your delightful personality, and one on something wonderful you have done.
* I will accept that you will never understand my borderline obsessive compulsive complex with cleanliness and tidiness. I will tidy and clean up after you without complaining when the mess involved is negligible.
* I will not be angry with you for being clumsy and absent-minded. This is part of who you are and I love you for it.
* I will not criticise any member of your family, for any reason, not even to join in with you.
* I will occasionally buy you small presents as a thoughtful gesture, for example a magazine, flowers or chocolate.
* I will never take my work stress or bad moods out on you.
* I will kiss you with regularity and passion without prompting.
* I will not get upset when I cook elaborate, gourmet meals for you and you can't eat them because I know quite well how "undeveloped" your palette is.
* I will drive you everywhere, and always open the car door for you.
* I will cheerfully watch Top Gear with you, and try my best not to tune out whilst you talk about cars incessantly, indicating my interest by making appropriate noises i.e. "wow", "you're so clever", "what's that?" etc.
* I will put all your DVDs back in their cases when I am done with them instead of leaving them strewn around the room.
* I will let you play playstation without competing with it for your attention. I will even, occasionally, play it with you and not get angry when you ridicule my playing technique.
* If I call you and you don't answer, then you text me instead, I will refrain from calling you again because it probably means you don't want to talk to me at that particular moment (i.e. during a work shift or a "boy's night").
* I will limit my discussion about getting married and what we should call our children.
* I will try my best to be tidy, and not leave glasses of water or Coke Zero on the bedside table where I will inevitably knock them over and damage your expensive surround sound speakers.
* I will let you listen to your music in the car and never, ever criticise your driving.
* I will go to sleep at the same time as you, instead of staying up to watch Law and Order and The Real Housewives of New York City.
* I will not be personally affronted when you are stressed about work or in a bad mood.
* I will not nag you about ettiquete, making decisions for your future, not eating or drinking food and alcohol that you know always makes you sick, taking me on dates, buying me presents and being responsible with money.
* I will never take for granted everything you do for me.
P.S. Andy has declined entering into the contract, however I have noticed more kissing, compliments and patience with my clumsiness and messiness :)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sydney Morning Herald
December 05 2009
IN THE palliative care ward of Greenwich Hospital, Happy Hour starts at 11am.
This is when John Whalan, a volunteer, begins pushing his trolley, garlanded with leis and clinking with bottles of brandy and gin, through the ward, mixing tall ones for the terminally ill.
"I don't know a patient who has refused a drink," Mr Whalan, 91, says. "Champagne is fairly popular - we have little plastic flutes for that - and so is gin and tonic. We have a few whisky drinkers in the ward, too, and a lot of the men like a beer."
Mr Whalan's trolley, which is paid for by the hospital, also carries a selection of red and white wines, and cheese, biscuits, soft-drinks and chocolates, all of it free for patients. Launched at the suggestion of the hospital's volunteer group, the Happy Hour service has been running since the beginning of the year.
"At first it was daunting going into palliative care because I knew that most of the people there were going to die," Mr Whalan says. "But then I realised how much they all looked forward to it. When they hear the trolley coming they really brighten up. Just for a little while they are happier. That's why we call it Happy Hour."
Mr Whalan, a former sales manager for AMP, began volunteering for the hospital after the death of his wife, following a long period of dementia, in 2003. With his wife gone, Mr Whalan sank into a deep depression. "I couldn't function. I couldn't move. I just sat in a corner at home thinking of all the things that could take me off, and hoping it would come fast."
After a five-week stay in a local clinic, Mr Whalan emerged depression-free but searching for a purpose.
"I realised that if I didn't do something I'd just become a hopeless old man. Around the same time a friend of mine died at Greenwich Hospital. And so I volunteered here."
Patients describe Mr Whalan as extra special and terrific. Others greet him with an indignant "Where have you been?"
Mr Whalan, meanwhile, says Happy Hour works both ways.
"It makes me happy too. It's changed my life. I feel good, good about myself, and really alive. My garden is a bit of a mess, but apart from that, everything is just wonderful."
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I have always absolutely adored Eva Cassidy's amazing, soul-stirring voice but I never knew her tragic story. Here is a lovely, moving tribute to her written after she died at the age of 33.
By Richard Harrington
Bruce Lundvall still shakes his head over Eva Cassidy. Lundvall heads Blue Note Records, a label with a string of distinctive jazz singers. None made a first impression like this unknown singer from Bowie.
a heart with a smiling face.
Eva Cassidy - Danny Boy
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
* outstanding note of tuberose, a variety of flowers (mostly white) - jasmine, jonquil, lily of the valley, white iris and a touch of pink geranium, top notes of bergamot, mandarin and hyacinth, infused at the heart with a whisper of orange and a base note of sandalwood, vertiver and musk... so lovely!
** mine is the rouge allure laque in "ming"
*** here is an opportunity for a boyfriend/lover/partner/ fiancé/husband to prove himself useful
Thursday, December 3, 2009
— Amber Morely
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Chris Pesto, a junior drama major, decided to take action.
In his own words, on a facebook note about the protest, Chris wrote:
As I drew interest to what was going on with myself and the woman with the hateful sign, I started to draw a crowd that stood with me in support. Before I knew it I had 100+ people holding signs for gay rights asking people to honk their horns to support. I was interviewed by a news station, and more than 5 student organization papers, and the post standard of syracuse.
— Ken Kesey
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
— Charlotte Lunsford