Sunday, March 31, 2013

Outfit Misfit

This week I have another item I bought in Melbourne to showcase through a series of embarrassing photos. I have been pondering on getting a peplum article of clothing for a while.. I'm still not sold but this top creates a faux-peplum that's letting me try it out for a bit. (Don't really know what a peplum is? It's a flappy bit around your hips that is added to the dress for no apparent function. Here's a little thing on peplums if you're intrigued). I call this top my Parachute Shirt; it's all puffy and big. Maybe it's not very flattering but I really love the colour and I'm giving it a go. To create the illusion of a peplum (and also so I don't look completely spherical) I tied a belt around the middle.

We then relocated from waterside to crazyside:

Ridiculous posing is a serious business.


Top: Kinki Gerlinki.
Belt: Miscellaneous, found in the depths of my drawers.
Jeans: J-Brand.
Shoes: Wittner.

What do you think? Am I ready to level-up to Peplum? Does it look awful? (you know I'll keep wearing it even if you say it does so don't be shy now)

Friday, March 29, 2013

On the To-Do List

I use Pinterest, but admittedly not that much; I should try and use it more to give better exposure to this blog. I tend to browse it and re-pin things rather than making my own pins and I love re-pinning things to my "To-Do List" board and I've just been looking back through some things and been reminded of some cool projects I'd love to do. So this week we have: super cool ice-cream hanging things.

Maybe they're purely pretty but really, sometimes thats all you need.. I love ice cream (didn'tchaknow?!) and I have strong views about it being in cones. (Basically, if you go to an ice cream shop, and you're a regular person who can eat cones, then you're a loser if you get it in a cup. You can't eat your cup.)

All the details on how to make these cuties are on the blog: Icing Designs.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Trash Talk

I am a sucker for reality TV involving models (i.e trash TV). ANTM, AusNTM... anycountryNTM (NTM = Next Top Model) and there has been a new one recently called "The Face"; which could also be a horror movie. Just to give you a little summary it's a search for "the face" to represent a beauty brand. There are 3 teams and each team is coached by a supermodel: Naomi Campbell, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova.

Today I thought it'd be fun to share the trash talk that happens on the show between the coaches. That's not entirely true, I should correct and say the trash talk that comes out of Naomi Campbell's mouth. She is a competitive crazy-person, and isn't afraid to say the lowest things about her fellow coaches. Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova are both professional and communicate with each other and have the interests of the girls at heart. Naomi has already called Karolina an idiot and now she slags on Coco for her choice of lipstick.

Image from here.

Now I'm not saying I'm loving the lipstick on Coco Rocha.. good on her for going out there with it but I don't particularly love it or hate it. I just think it's extremely rude and unprofessional for Naomi to say that. What happened to "if you haven't got anything nice to say then don't say anything at all". Still, gave me a laugh when I watched it.

I just found this Vogue Mexico cover and would like to add a bit of a P.S to this post: I now get the purple lipstick concept. I think she looks fantastic here! But I have a feeling she photographs much better than how she looks in person and also the outfit warrants it whereas maybe it didn't in the day-to-day look she had on the episode of The Face.

Image from here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Outfit Misfit

After seeing one of my instagram photos a friend of mine (hi Hayasa!!) thought I should put this outfit up on the blog. So here it is!

A little over a month ago I was down in Melbourne for a concert and I wanted to go to the National Gallery of Victoria to see some impressionists exhibition (also, why is it called the National Gallery of Victoria, when Victoria is a state of our nation and there is the real National Gallery in Canberra, the nation's actual capital?). I really can't remember what it was I wanted to see now.. The reason I can't remember is because it was closed: on a Tuesday. That's just lame! Who shuts on a Tuesday? Monday is the logical choice. Anyway, I'm getting side-tracked.. So I was in Melbourne for a few days in total and by the time it was Tuesday I had bought a skirt, a dress, a top, and just on the day this photo was taken: a hat! Now I've watched "You've Got Mail" many times, and I've always loved the little conversation between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan about the butterfly on the subway. She explains that the butterfly got off the subway, probably to go to Bloomingdales and buy a hat: which would turn into a mistake, as all hats are (I tried to find a YouTube video but to no avail). So I have never bought a hat before because of this, but I often try them on and shop-keepers often tell me they suit me (but maybe that's all part of their genius plans). This time I actually bought the hat! I love it: it's cute and quirky, and maybe a little dorky. You can form your own opinions on that.

Unfortunately for my hat I'm quite lazy in getting my hair cut.. so my fringe was too long for it to work properly under the hat for this photoshoot (although you'll be happy to hear that my fringe has been cut now).

Sad face: can't see.
So we tried having my fringe back under the hat, but I think I look silly. I give you permission to laugh at me.
I'd also like to draw particular attention to the skirt, one of my other Melbourne purchases. I got it at the Gorman outlet store and it was a sample size of a more recent collection. I love Gorman for their cool patterns and colours, but lately I haven't been so tempted to buy things (too much animal print and I'm not the biggest fan of that). Still, I have faith that it will return to it's former glory and I was happy to snap up this now-rare gem.

And now the tree-climbing photo series:


Hat: Kinki Gerlinki (remember this dress I got from there?)
Skirt and sandals: Gorman
Shirt: American Apparel
Bangle: Marni for H&M

Photos taken by Campbell in the Sydney Botanic Gardens. The tree is a Chinese Mourning Tree (I'm 80% sure.. can't remember the full name but I do remember making a mourning/morning pun with Campbell at the time).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

On the To-Do List

Both of these pictures are from the Valentino trunkshow currently on Moda Operandi and I reckon I could add a bit of Valentino charm to a black dress in a similar way. Just grab a bit of broderie anglais or lacy stuff and sew it on. What do you think? Probably not as simple as it sounds I'm sure.. To get that specific large-holed look of the embellishments (much like what was going on at Louis Vuitton a while ago) I might have to cut things out myself. I will certainly be looking for some long-sleeved dresses to jazz up for the coming Autumn/Winter. And on that topic: how beautiful are the crisp clear mornings these days? (at least they are in Sydney).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Weekly Wish-list

There is a jacket that I really want must have!

Check it out more here

Here are a few reasons why I have to have it:

1. It has a detachable cape.
2. It has a detachable cape.
3. It has a detachable cape!!!

I admit that I already have an Alannah Hill trench coat, but that one is pale blue and this one is black (and did I mention the thing about the cape?). Hi, my name is Nicole, and I'm obsessed with capes. Also, it kinda reminds of the Burberry cape-trench.. This pretty number also comes in a "berry" colour but I'm not so keen on that. Thoughts? Should I get over capes already?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Something Old, Something New

Last week was a really exciting week for me (which is probably why I slacked on the blogging thing..), it was my first week playing a proper classical program with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra!! I was really happy doing it and felt totally in my element. This is what I want to do and this is probably where I want to do it. So the choice for this week's Something Old comes from last week's program (that's so last week) and is the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1. It's no surprise that this concerto is a favourite for many, and I didn't even have to drag my mum along because it's one of her favourites and she actually wanted to go. It's a tough toss-up between the first and last movements because they're both great but I think I'm going to have to go with first movement as the feature today, because it's the best way to be introduced to this concerto and it's just so epic. It's so cool that it begins with the melody in the strings and the piano playing huge majestic chords before it gets the melody. The video I've chosen to share is of Van Cliburn, an amazing pianist who died just a few weeks ago.

Now it's kind of hard to pick something to follow that.. so I thought I'd pick something a little more classic. Awesome to have a bit of a groove and dorky sing to, from the late 70's here is Toto with Hold the Line:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Snaps: It's my Birthday!

So it's my birthday today! Yesterday, which was actually St Patrick's day, I had a bit of a birthday party. My apartment isn't very big so it was pretty cosy with 10 people or so. It was an old-person themed party and it was at 5pm: early-bird special. I get a little carried away with parties.. as some people may know, and I love to make food from scratch and try new and wonderfully tricky things! My idea was to make puff pastry myself (and make beetroot and fetta cheese puff tarty things), potato salad with home-made mayo, crunchy noodle salad (always a winner, a recipe which my aunty found on the back of the noodle packet), a dessert which was probably going to be my fail-proof chocolate cake (but which ended up being an apple and rhubarb crumble), sun-brewed iced tea, and the icing on the birthday cake: a bombe alaska. This particular bombe alaska is one I saw on Masterchef 2011 and is basically two flavours of ice cream, wrapped in sponge, covered in Italian meringue and blow-torched.

Hardly anything went to plan! I made a huge food plan with when I was going to make everything because obviously making the puff pastry and the ice cream were things that needed to be done in advance. First thing: the puff pastry. It requires lots of rolling and folding and refrigerating and I wanted to make it gluten free so my friend Katherine could eat it. I've made this Pierre Herme puff twice before and it has worked perfectly and been unbelievably delicious (in an "if you are what you eat then I'm butter" kind of way). Two time success means I'm a pro at this puff now, right? WRONG! It just wouldn't work, when I tried to roll out one of the mixtures it kept sticking to the rolling pin even if I floured it yet even though it was sticky the whole square of butter dough kept coming apart. So after trying a few things to rectify this I decided that it was all the gluten-free flour's fault, not mine, and thought that I could make it successfully the regular way. WRONG again. I don't know why it didn't work for me but it just didn't. Pastry is a splendid but difficult entity and maybe it was the weather, or my too-delicate, or not-delicate-enough, touch.. but it just failed. I ended up punching the dough into oblivion in a fit of rage and leaving it stuck to the kitchen bench for a few hours whilst I cooled down doing non-puffy things. I had to resign and buy the pastry.. =(  This "Careme" pastry is actually very good and even though it's more expensive than stuff you can find easily in supermarkets it really does pay off in taste.

The iced tea was a huge success and super tasty. I've decided that I will make it often now because it makes such a nice refreshing drink and was really easy. I wanted to brew the tea in the sun because I'd read it on the "A Beautiful Mess" blog and it sounded like a beautiful way to do it. I had a few mason jars I got from Ikea a while ago, filled them up with cold water, put 5 plain old Woollies English Breakfast teabags in each and closed them. I then left them on my sunny balcony to brew for a few hours. For me it definitely needed sweetening so I added some agave syrup (much better than granulated sugar!) and then for some extra flavour and prettiness I put in a sliced lemon, oranges and mint. I think in the future I'll experiment with a number of different flavours and perhaps let the fruit infuse in the tea a bit longer too.

Now most of the other things that went wrong happened in the making of the bombe alaska birthday cake. Luckily they weren't too major and I think I managed to rectify it. I used this here recipe but instead of the coconut ice cream they have there I used a Neil Perry recipe for "Toasted Coconut Ice Cream" from his Balance and Harmony cookbook, which I've made a few times and received great reviews on. I stupidly had the coconut ice cream on to churn for an hour or so and then realised that I hadn't put the cream in... I'm a nong. But I just added the cream later and I think it was fine.. The so-called cherry sorbet ended up being raspberry sorbet because although there's this great place called Frozberries that stocks frozen cherries (along with so many other cool things), I didn't have the time to drive a 1.5 hr round trip to get them. So I used raspberries and although I thought it might not work, it turned out really well. The sponge was the next hurdle and I stuffed this up in an even nong-ier moment than forgetting the cream in the coconut ice cream. Basically I mixed up my reading of "egg yolks" and "egg whites" and had to waste a bunch of eggs and start again. Also I had lots of egg whites lying around but I wasn't sure exactly how many so I may not have used the correct amount. Next time I think I'll use a more standard sponge recipe and see how that goes. In any case I managed to line the mould, which was 2.8L instead of the required 2.25L..., with sponge, then coconut ice cream, then raspberry sorbet, then the sponge round "lid" (maybe none of this makes sense?). Anyway, I realised a lot later, after it had already been in the freezer for a good few hours, that I should probably have greased the mould. So when the time came for the birthday cake to be finished off I was worried it wasn't even going to come out; but with the help of hot water and my friend Campbell's coaxing it finally landed with a satisfying thud on the plate. I then smothered it with Italian meringue and blow-torched it. I was worried about the sponge being frozen and gross but somehow it wasn't.. I am so proud of this cake being a success in the end! After all the worry and stress, it being my birthday cake and all, I was so happy that it not only looked cool, but tasted cool (literally). The ice cream was delicious, the sponge was tasty, and it all worked nicely (although next time I think I want a thinner layer of sponge and more raspberry sorbet).

The party went really smoothly and everyone enjoyed the food and each other's company. I'm so lucky to have a lovely group of friends who, although many didn't know each other, all got along and enjoyed themselves. We played Killer Bunnies and everyone got into the granny-dressing theme. I had slippers for everyone at the door, there were balls of yarn and knitting needles everywhere and we all went by our grandparents' names. So although I had some character-building moments in the kitchen, it was all worth it for the enjoyment had at the party. I'm so grateful =)

(Special mention to my dear friends Michael, Berny, Hayasa, Brendan and Flora who I would've loved to have been there but were unfortunately unable to be in Sydney).

P.S I got spoiled with lots of awesome presents one of which is a Zoom recorder (which I really wanted). I'm going to be using it a lot and am looking forward to learning how to use it and sharing some audio of me with you.

P.P.S I didn't read back over this post so I hope it makes sense. And if you any of those recipes posted then just put a comment down the bottom and I'll do it (it just would've taken up too much space in this post).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

DIY: Chalkboard Art

I have a confession to make: I never got round to doing the chalkboard art for this February even though I said I would every month.. So now it's March and the theme is insects:

Weekly Wish-list

Arghhhhhhhh! (excited argh: it's hard to tell through written word) It's my birthday in almost 10 days!! I am one of those people that gets excited about my birthday (I've been counting down since the beginning of the year almost). I thought that this year because I'm reaching an age at which I should probably be more mature I wouldn't be as annoying about my birthday, but the boyfriend can confirm that I have been counting down every day as annoyingly as when I was 14. So let this wish-list be the things I want for my birthday. In case people who read this blog want to buy me presents..

I am pretty good with choosing things I need for presents, because there's nothing worse than spending your well-saved (*ahem*) money on things that you need rather than want. So:

1. It's really come to my attention that as an aspiring professional musician I kinda need a recording device, to make CD's for taped auditions or recording my personal practice or any number of things. Over the last two years this has become glaringly obvious but then I always borrow someone else's and the need for a recorder dies down until the next occasion comes up. There is currently no occasion but it's about time I got one for myself. The "it"-recorder in the music world is made by ZOOM. Unfortunately I'm a little technically disabled in terms of researching which one would be best for me so I don't really know what model.. Suggestions anyone?

2. A bottle of gin. I'm quite serious; I've decided to have a little birthday party and I want to make a big jug of gin and tonic and pour it into tea cups for guests' enjoyment (my party is going to be along a granny/old-but-hip-cos-it's-a-new-replacement-hip theme). Anyway, it's going to expensive making all the food and everything (there will be the most amazing ice cream cake as well as other awesome food I love) so it would be really nice to not spend a lot of money on my own birthday party. (So this bottle of gin has to come before my party which is before my birthday on the 17th).

And that's as far as I've gotten with my birthday wish-list. Sorry there aren't any pictures.. I figured a picture of a recorder and a bottle of gin would be pretty lame.

On another note: have you noticed a little change with my blog? Well I'm trying to do a blogging coding course so I can make my blog more user-friendly and just how I like so there will be a few little changes of the next couple of months (hopefully: if I ever get better at computer coding..).

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Outfit Misfit

I am in love, unfortunately it is unrequited. This dress that I love is not mine and it's breaking my heart! I borrowed it to better my chances at a job at Alannah Hill (sadly =( they never phoned me back..) Anyway, my lovely friend Ka-yun let me borrow it and it's just too pretty for words and has already been in a previous postor two.. 

Dress: Alannah Hill
Belt: Alannah Hill
Cuffs: Alannah Hill
Socks: Alannah Hill
Shoes: Windsor Smith

They really should have given me a job at Alannah Hill..

Special thanks to Campbell for taking my picture at the croquet grounds of Killara.