Tag Archives: women

The more things change…

So it’s been almost a year since I last updated this blog. I only realised it the other day when I started to think about maybe getting back into writing, and noticed that my last post was about Melbourne, which I visited in January 2010. It was somewhat horrifying  to realise that somehow a year had passed in which I didn’t manage to find the time to write anything (or at least to post anything. I had a few failed attempts littered here and there.)

It got me thinking about how easily time passes and slips away, and that it’s not even necessarily about what you prioritise, or at least what you want to prioritise. I know I managed to keep updated with whether RPattz and KStew are actually dating, and I carved out time to watch X Factor. When it comes down to it, is that what is more important to me than writing? I also only managed to read a handful of books last year, but I read my fair share of trashy magazines. I suppose sometimes it’s just easier to be lazy. It certainly takes less effort to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians than to write a blog post.

The one good thing, or at least enlightening thing, about how I have not posted in almost a year, means that the ‘new year’ posts are close to the top. I was reading over one in which I lamented that my ‘just do it’ philosophy was obviously not being heeded to, that I needed to keep a diary, that I needed to be more organized, that I had started the 100 push-ups programme.

I was hit by how crushingly similar my aspirations are this year. I spent the 2nd of January scouring book and stationary shops in an attempt to find the perfect diary that would somehow manage to transform my life into one of efficiency and achievement; I had downloaded the 100 push-ups app onto my iPhone; I had tried to stop putting things off and just do them when I thought of it.

A lot of things have changed for me in the past year.  I’ve planned trips that I didn’t go on, and gone on ones that I didn’t plan, I’ve dabbled with cancer, I’ve been to a psychotherapist, I’ve said goodbye to my first proper job and wondered if I would ever find anything that suited me so well, I’ve managed to get a new job which has opened my eyes to a side of life that I never experienced and I’ve moved to the other side of the world.

And yet when the new year rolled around, I was still battling with the same issues I always was – that I’m not achieving my potential, that my body is not as thin as it should be, my hair not as long, my skin not as clear, that I still don’t have an idea of what it is I want my ‘career’ to be and that I’m still apparently unable to use a diary for more than a week at a time.

My hopes and dreams for a new year all seemed a bit futile in the face of such overwhelming evidence that my weaknesses remain the same, that my ability to overcome them is limited. Part of me wonders if maybe I should just throw away the diary and accept that, like a friend said to me recently, if something is important, you’ll do it. But at the same time, I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, and maybe it’s just in my nature to take the easy way out, to be a bit lazy, and maybe it’s also in my nature to want to struggle against that. I know in some ways I’m setting myself up to fail. That I will stop using that diary, that I will somehow end up watching a re-run of Everwood rather than going to the gym.

I went to a shambhala meditation group some time ago, (a component of my ideal self is that I would meditate daily, without my thoughts drifting off to consider whether I need a new pair of shoes). The teacher discussed the problematic nature of the idea of self-improvement and progress. I found this quite a difficult idea to wrestle with, as if we don’t want to improve or progress, then it seemed like giving up. But the teacher explained that what they were meaning was to interrogate the impulses behind that improvement. Is it negative or positive? Who are you trying to improve for and what are the true benefits?

While I don’t think I could just let go of feeling like I need to improve, I do think I probably need to switch my focus to what it is I have done right, what it is I have achieved, rather than focusing on what I haven’t, and how I need to do more. Maybe it’s about enhancing what is already there, rather than thinking about what I’m lacking or not doing right.

I may never change in the way I have strived to. In fact, I wonder if I would be recognizable to myself if I did. If I suddenly woke up tomorrow at 6am and meditated and went to the gym t and then practiced yoga and chatted easily to acquaintances and held the gaze of strangers and dressed my lithe body in fabulously minimalist chic attire, read some literary classic on the tube on the way to my as-yet-undetermined perfect job that is enjoyable, but also makes a difference to people’s lives, had cocktails with friends after work, a delicious meal with an intelligent man, who I was not intimidated by, and we have deep and meaningful conversation, I order the salmon, because healthy food is just so delicious and I don’t have dessert, because I’m not much of a sweet tooth, and I was on time for all my appointments and was not indecisive once.

Anyway, back to reality. Who knows whether life would be more satisfying if we were living out our perfect selves? That fantasy is just that, and in the end my weaknesses are as much a part of who I am as my strengths. And when I think of the good people I have in my life, and accept me for who I am (and maybe because of who I am) it serves as a reminder that maybe I’m OK if I never change.

Chances are, I’m 28, and this is what I’m like, but I think maybe I need to start enjoying the attempt at change, and to take pleasure in simple victories, like how I actually sat down and wrote this, rather than thinking about doing it, but reading my Twitter feed instead.

Rather than the goal of unattainable perfection, I think my goal for this year is just to live consciously, the exact meaning of which I’m still trying to work out, but it’s a phrase that keeps coming back to me when I think about this year and what I want it to be and how I want me to be, but that’s another blog post (hopefully!).

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

You’d find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair

I’m really into shocking red hair at the moment. There seems to be a few women around, particularly musicians, who are rocking some bright red hair. It seems to be a look that is equal parts delicate and strong, fragile and fierce.

Florence Welsh of Florence and the Machine. I’m also madly in love with her debut album, Lungs.

Alison Sudol, who records under the name A Fine Frenzy.

And while it’s not a new look for her, I’ve always loved Shirley Manson’s red hair.

It’s a look I’d love to have, in theory, but there are some things that put me off –

a) you would have to completely alter your wardrobe. I once dyed my hair black, and it kind of amazed me how it completely changed the clothes you could wear. When I ended up going back to my natural colour, I had to get rid of some of those ‘black hair’ clothes, as I no longer could wear such strong colours. This kind of bright red hair would be the same. There would be some colours that you look amazing in and really pop with the hair colour (like that turquoise in the A Fine Frenzy picture above), but there would be other colours that clash terribly.

b) it would be high on upkeep. To keep that really bright colour, I imagine you’d have to colour your hair fairly frequently. My hair is uncoloured, virgin hair at the moment. After the black hair, I got the colour stripped back to blonde, but it was never quite the same and was pretty damaged. I was trying to work out what colour to go next when my boyfriend at the time suggested a radical new idea – why not just have your natural colour? So I chopped my hair off into an ultra short Mia Farrow ‘do and grew it out (a painfully slow process).

While I can sometimes feel my hair’s a bit boring, because of the lack of colour or highlights, it’s definitely easier and cheaper. I only have to go to the hairdresser a couple of times a year, instead of every six weeks. And I just try to fool myself that it looks very French chic to have natural healthy hair.

c) I don’t think I have the skin for it. Red hair tends to look best paired with a milky white complexion and pretty perfect skin, with maybe just a smattering of freckles.

So I think I’ll just have to admire these ladies and their beautiful hair from afar.

Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.

– from Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Push it real good

I assume the lack of posts on the blog lately are a big indicator that I’m not doing so well with my ‘just do it’ resolution. Although I suppose it could have been that I was just far too busy ‘just doing’ a whole bunch of other stuff. I’m going to try to blame my recent holiday in Melbourne for falling off the wagon as far as my commitment to being a more organised, efficient person this year. I need to try to get back into keeping my diary regularly as well. Am really sucking at that at the moment.

Anyway, I was in a bit of a post-holiday funk after Melbourne. I think it may have been that since it was a short holiday (away for six days), you don’t have that feeling where you’re happy to come home that you have after a longer holiday, where you’re pleased to have some home comforts and not live out of a suitcase and know exactly where to go if you need to buy Band-Aids, for instance.

Luckily we had a three-day weekend here in Auckland last weekend, so having some time to just relax and chill out was good. I’m now trying to throw myself back into the ‘being organised, eating healthy and exercising’ lifestyle I was trying to live in the first few weeks of January (I can’t believe one month of 2010 is over already!)

So one of the things I’ve decided to do in that regard is the one hundred push-ups challenge. Push ups are something I’ve always struggled with. I’ve only ever done the ‘girly’ push-ups, but would love to be able to do proper ones. I don’t know about doing 100 of them, but 20 would be nice. I started on the lowest level, and so my first day involved five sets, doing anything from two (yes, two) to five push ups. A pretty pathetic start, but it can only get better from here, surely! The challenge doesn’t take much time out of your day, and if I end up getting nicely toned arms as a result of it, that’s an awesome bonus.

Some people live their life by the mantra ‘What would Jesus do?’ but I think ‘What would Michelle Obama or Rafael Nadal do?’ is more my style. And by the look of both their arms, I think they would do push-ups. So here’s hoping that in the coming weeks I can report some positive progress.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Now join hands, and with your hands your hearts

I’m going to a wedding tomorrow, which seems the perfect way to kick-off summer. While I personally have mixed feelings about the institution of marriage and whether it would be right for me, there isn’t much that I like better than going to a wedding. There are other events which can be fun and celebratory – birthdays, New Year’s – but a wedding is an event that is all about love, and that’s pretty cool. The idea of proclaiming your love and devotion and commitment in front of your closest friends and family is so simple and yet so powerful, and I think that feeling of love and happiness filters through to all the guests.

Some other cool things about weddings are you have a reason to wear a pretty dress,…

…the dancing…

…the beautiful flowers…

…Champagne and cake – what a perfect combination…

…and it always makes me feel positive and hopeful about love, if even just for a day.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

High-flying style

I recently flew down to Blenheim for a weekend away. It’s always a very small plane that you fly on, that seats about 20 people, and I was sitting right up the front, so had a good view of the pilot.

Being a pilot is something that doesn’t really appeal to me at all. I love flying and the freedom it affords, but I would far prefer to be a passenger than pilot. It didn’t look overly intensive flying the plane for the most part, which surprised me. In fact, if you didn’t have all of those dials in front of you, it looks less intensive than driving a car.

It was the style of the pilot that caught my eye, though. There’s something so classic about aviator style. Aviation-influenced classics such as aviator sunglasses and leather bomber jackets continue to be a big influence in fashion today. The pilot wore Ray-Bans, the classic blue shirt with lapels and an oversized gold watch.

I love the look of an oversized masculine-style watch on a woman. It’s a style that was pushed strongly by stylist Rachel Zoe. Like all her other oversized accessories – think large sunglasses, large bag – I think the point was to make the woman look smaller in comparison. The picture below is actually Taylor Jacobson, Zoe’s assistant, wearing a vintage Rolex.

The large watch does make the watch look dainty, but the strong masculine style offers a good variety of styling opportunities, as you can have it looking plain and simple, or can dress it up to look more feminine but not fussy.

That simple style aesthetic is a hallmark of aviator Amelia Earhart, whose androgynous style is still very contemporary.

Earhart is being played by Hilary Swank in a new bio-pic, Amelia.

I love the leather bomber she wears here. I bought this copper-coloured vintage one with lapels at Buffalo Exchange in Williamsburg for the bargain price of $28.

The aviator-style sunglasses, as worn by Tom Cruise in Top Gun (remember when he didn’t seem crazy?), have been a massive trend over the last few seasons, and along with the classic Wayfarers they have been a big part of the reinvigoration of the Ray-Ban brand. It was only a few years ago when Ray-Bans were sunglasses only your dad would wear.

Model Agnyss Deyn here shows off goggle-inspired sunglasses here.

These geek-chic Persol aviator reading glasses are a strong aesthetic, but if you suit the aviator style, they could look pretty cool.

Leonardo Di Caprio’s played a pilot in two films. Here he epitomises that clean-cut man in uniform look as a con man in Catch Me If You Can.

He looks far more rugged here as Howard Hughes in The Aviator. I love the lace-up boots, like those which Amelia Earhart was wearing above.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Why can’t you just wear that for the rest of the presidency?

I’m feeling inspired by political dressing at the moment, US First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady of France Carla Bruni (it doesn’t hurt to be a supermodel to make things look good).

These women seem to have found the balance between looking appropriate but not looking dowdy. They seem to have a mix of aspirational and achievable style.

The title for this post comes from an interview with Michelle Obama in The New York Times discussing her husband’s views on her wardrobe:

He’s always asking: “Is that new? I haven’t seen that before.” It’s like, “Why don’t you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get out of my closet.”

She teasingly imitated him: “You didn’t need any more shoes. The shoes you had on yesterday were fine. Why can’t you just wear that for the rest of the presidency?”

Michelle’s style seems to align perfectly with the image her and her husband project. She looks practical and modern, but never boring. Her signature belt, which Barack apparently calls her ‘Star Trek belt’, is I think a perfect representation of the strength and femininity of Michelle Obama – it’s a strong aesthetic, but the cinched belt shows off her waist.

Where Michelle Obama tends to wear a lot of strong colours, which look amazing with her skin tone, Carla Bruni favours more muted tones of grey and navy with the occasional pop of purple.

She very much looks like she’s dressing for the part, and her clothes, mainly by Dior, have a very vintage feel to them, particularly with the pill box hat when she met the Queen, where she takes obvious inspiration from Jackie Kennedy.

article-1216013-0543D785000005DC-872_306x757

carla-bruni-auctions-nude-photos

french-prez-sarkozy-and-first-lady-carla-bruni-fully-clothed

I love the symmetry of this picture of Bruni with Princess Letizia of Spain. Although it would be improved by the princess also wearing Louboutins.

The first ladies of fashion caused a bit of a frenzy when earlier this year the Obamas went to France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized