Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Take me away...

After a fun-filled hen’s weekend spent with my closest friends and family, I realise how excited I am for this wedding (and honeymoon) to be happening!

It’s only four and a half weeks to go and there is still a bit to organise, but we’re on top of it. I must say though, when the stress gets a bit overwhelming, I just think of Nusa Dua, Bali where we will be jetting off to once we say “I DO”.

So, as I daydream at work, I thought I’d post some pictures of where Ben and I will be staying. It’s going to be magical…. I can already taste the cocktails!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A 'clucking' good night

In honour of my hen's weekend, I've decided to do some research and educate you all of the origins of the bachelorette / hen's party.

A bachelorette party, hen party, hen do, or hen night, is a party held for a woman who is about to be married. The term hen party or hen night is more common in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia, while the term bachelorette party is more common in the United States. The term stagette is used in Canada. It may also be referred to as a girls' night out or kitchen tea (South Africa in particular) or other terms in other English-speaking countries.
The bachelorette party is modelled after the bachelor party which is itself historically a dinner given by the bridegroom to his friends shortly before his wedding. Despite its reputation as "a sodden farewell to bachelor days" or "an evening of debauchery," a bachelorette's party is a normal party, given in honour of the bride-to-be, in the style that is common to that social circle.

The bachelorette party is consciously modelled after the centuries-old bachelor's party, which is itself historically a dinner given by the bridegroom to his friends shortly before his wedding.
Although the practice of giving a party to honour the bride-to-be goes back for centuries, in its modern form, the bachelorette party may have begun during the sexual revolution of the 1960s. It was uncommon until at least the mid-1980s, and the first book on planning bachelorette parties wasn't published until 1998. Its cultural significance is largely tied to concepts of gender equality.
Initially, parties in honour of the bride-to-be that were labelled as bachelorette party often involved displays of sexual freedom, such as trading intimate secrets, getting drunk, and enjoying male strippers. Parties that honoured the bride-to-be without these elements avoided that label. Now the term is used for a wide variety of parties.
The phrase "Hen Party" mirrors the male "Stag Party" in referencing social stereotypes of each gender at the party (Implying that women are talkative, and men are macho.)

Many different kinds of entertainment are selected; depending on what the organizers think will best please their guest of honour. While notions of a bachelorette party as a night of drunken debauchery persist in some social circles, it is becoming widely seen in America as an opportunity for female bonding. According to etiquette expert Peggy Post, "Whatever entertainment is planned, it should not embarrass, humiliate, or endanger the honouree or any of the guests”.
When held in a private venue, such as the hostess's home, the party may take any form that pleases the hostesses and honours the bride-to-be. Dinners and cocktail parties, which provide comfortable opportunities for participants to talk or to give intimate advice to the bride-to-be, are common. Other hostesses choose a themed party, such as a "pamper party," with guests indulging in spa treatments, or a cooking class. While proposing a toast to the bride-to-be is common at most bachelorette parties, some centre on drinking games and host male strippers.
Some parties take place in public venues, such as a restaurant or bar. Some parties are bar tours.
Sometimes a daytime picnic or other outing is organized in preference to the more common dinner party.

From Wikipedia.

Hopefully I'll come home in one piece! xo

Monday, August 23, 2010

The cost of forever

The bank account of my parents doesn’t like me very much at the moment.

This morning has been spent paying suppliers and venues for the big wedding day. Despite the massive excitement in the lead up and the fuss over dresses, flowers, suits, jewellery, hair, cakes and decorations, there’s nothing like forking out thousands upon thousands of dollars to bring you back down to reality.

I really do understand why people elope! A low-key ceremony with just you and your partner plus a witness and the person who will be marrying you with minimal fuss and cost.

Don’t get me wrong – I want the big white wedding with all the frills and I’ve been lucky enough to have parents who have offered to pay for most of it. I mean I’m not talking in the realm of hundreds of thousands of dollars for our wedding or anything… although I’ve seen a few celebrity nuptials in gossip magazines that I wouldn’t mind replicating for ours…

As soon as you mention the word ‘wedding’ suppliers and venues must jack the price of things up a minimum of 20% of what they would usually charge. I really don’t appreciate the fact that the wedding industry sucks you dry! And most of the time you’re dealing with grouchy, moaning people who are obviously in the wrong area of work!

My fianc√© and I are paying for some things ourselves like gifts, our own dresses and suits and the photographer. Those few things alone have cost and arm and a leg. The thing is though, everything we’ve arranged, bought and ordered looks absolutely stunning and we can’t wait to see it all come together on the day. And I’m glad we decided to plan things ourselves – there was no way we were having a ‘wedding planner’ (if they can call themselves that) touch anything to do with our special day. It’s much more personal if you do it yourself.

One thing we were more than happy to fork out for was the honeymoon. That is going to be money well spent (I can say that now because despite the stress of organising a wedding, we have the overseas, island-destination honeymoon to look forward to at the end).

So as it’s meant to be the biggest day of our lives (and I can say now I am damn sure it’s going to be) I really appreciate the financial support offered by our parents and one day I hope to do the same for my kids.

If I am lucky enough to have a daughter, I might have to start saving for her wedding day now if she is anything like me….


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Travel or Baby?

One thing I’ve found about getting engaged and (shortly) married is that more people have been asking ‘when are you going to start a family?’

Having children is something we want to do, but the more people question us, the more we really have to think harder about the answer.

The thing is, we want to do some travelling together and enjoy the time we have for the two of us before we add to our little family. Lots of our friends have travelled and now as we see more of them leave to start new and exciting adventures, we don’t want to be left behind.

Similarly, more of our friends are getting married and starting a family. They didn’t want to wait to have children and now as we are invited to baby showers and christenings; it raises the topic of discussion about our own future kids.

So I guess we want to travel, but we also want kids. I know there are chances to travel after your children have grown up and are capable of fending for themselves, but we feel like some things are better experienced while young blood still runs through our veins.

It still won’t stop me getting all clucky when I walk into a gorgeous baby store and coo over the tiny booties, cardigans and all-in-ones that I would adore to dress my little boy or girl in.

I know that a woman’s biological clock really starts slowing down after 30, so I’ve got a good couple of years up my sleeve before we start thinking about getting pregnant… so between now and then I don’t think it’s so wrong to be a tiny bit selfish and indulge ourselves before the inevitable nappy changes and early morning feeding sessions start?

We know a handful of people that happily lead child-free lives and have great jobs and the money to travel wherever they like. But that’s their choice and we are happy for them. I guess it’s just a personal thing and I don’t feel like we have to justify our decision either way to anyone.

I’m interested in hearing about your stories – did you wait to have kids for the same reason and then struggle to get pregnant thinking it would be easy? Or did you have kids straight away and now that they’re grown up, you have much more time to travel with friends?

I know it’s a very exciting thing – the prospect of starting a family. But I still feel like a spring chicken myself and I want to make the most of that feeling while I still have it, with my new husband.


Valentino at GoMA

Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future
7 August – 14 November 2010

The Fairfax Gallery (Gallery 1.1), 1.2 & 1.3 GoMA
Exclusive to Brisbane, ‘Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future’ is a major exhibition developed by the renowned institution, Les Arts D√©coratifs, Paris. It explores the work of the celebrated Italian fashion house Valentino, known around the world for its sophisticated, timeless design and glamorous clientele.

The exhibition encompasses haute couture from the first collection designed in 1959 by the house’s founder, Valentino Garavani, through to work from the Autumn/Winter 2009–10 creations by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli – appointed as creative directors for Valentino in 2008. Exquisite haute couture garments will reveal Valentino’s mastery of the elegant line, classic form and opulent detail. Particular themes will be explored uniting Valentino’s design approach over five decades: these include the recurrence of geometric patterns and graphic prints, the skilful use of fabric to create dramatic silhouettes and, of course, the distinctive palette of black, white and ‘Valentino red’. The future direction of this most esteemed fashion label is showcased through five creations by the house of Valentino’s new creative directors.

Designs from house of Valentino have been coveted and worn by European royalty, Hollywood celebrities and members of high society the world over. This magnificent exhibition will include garments worn by stars such as Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bucket seat

....and you thought a bucket seat was something you'd find in a high-performance car.

Sustainable love

It’s a weird thing wanting to be rid of things. I mean in the literal sense; actually wanting to throw things out.

I know a lady who is a hoarder. The definition of a hoarder is someone who obsessively and excessively acquires possessions (and fails to discard them) even if the items are worthless, hazardous or unsanitary. There is even a show on pay TV about it.

Hoarders have every single area of space in their living environment covered in possessions that they can’t bare to throw away. Even if it’s a moth-eaten holey sock that has a funky smell about it. It might be of use someday…

I look at myself as the opposite of this – a chucker – a term I just made up. I love, love, love to chuck things out. Not to have the items replaced or anything, it’s just that I get a great sense of satisfaction using something, finding no more need for it and throwing it away or recycling it.

One of my favourite bi-annual things to do is give my wardrobe a really good cull and send my pre-loved clothing off to lifeline – a quick note: The Planet Ark National Recycling Week is happening from November 8 – 14 if you want to find out more go to http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/

It’s a more sustainable way to live and instead of buying new clothing, visit some of the great vintage clothing markets that are popping up around the Coast. One particular one is The Village Markets at Burleigh (here is their website) http://www.thevillagemarketsgc.com.au/location.html

Now I don’t claim to be a tree-hugging hippie (no offence) but I just believe we need to do what we can to make a difference for our environment, not matter how small. One thing that irks me is that stupid people still (despite years of marketing by the recycling companies and GCCC) throw plastic bags into recycling bins. YOU CAN”T RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS!

Garage sales are also a great way for all you borderline hoarders to clear some clutter from your abode and make some cash at the same time – your trash may be someone else’s treasure! If you haven’t used something in 12 months, it’s likely you won’t use it in the next year so take a deep breath, open that garbage bag and let go of it!

We cleared out our garage over the weekend and as well as looking lovely and clear, we chucked any broken, unusable objects and packed a ute-load of old books, blankets, kitchenware and miscellaneous objects off to Lifeline. It wasn’t the most exciting job, just as this isn’t the most exciting post, but little things make a difference!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Hangover

Wishing Ben a fun bucks weekend in Melbourne! I don’t wish to get any calls from your friends saying they have lost you, so please try and be on your best behaviour! x

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dangerously in love

This isn't a feel-good topic, but it's something I'd like to address.

I am confused and saddened to hear that many people don’t know how to deal with being in an abusive relationship – and shocked to hear that many even tolerate it.

If you google ‘domestic violence in Australia’ the statistics that come up are alarming.

Men and women who have been in an abusive relationship might say they were wearing a blindfold that stopped them from seeing the reality of the situation they were in.

I know they say love is blind and in some cases, dangerously so.

There are some that knowingly turn a blind eye to misdemeanours on their partner’s behalf, and some even put up with abuse because it’s too hard to just walk away and end the relationship.

I would think that making a choice to end a relationship or a marriage is a damn hard thing to do, but people have their own reasons. Where the danger lies, however, is when someone is stuck in an emotionally and/or physically abusive relationship and still can’t see that it’s a poisonous union. As I said before, love is blind.

Most of you heard about the fall out between Rihanna and Chris Brown with the physical assault charges and awful photographs released of Rihanna looking bloody and beaten. When she sat down with Diane Sawyer on American television she admitted that it had happened several times before, but that she’d only now just found the strength to leave him and finally close that negative chapter in her life.

I feel like there are a lot of women and even men out there in the same situation.

On the other hand there are some who put up with cheating because they feel that it’s something they can deal with if it means their partner won’t leave them. Let them have their cake and eat it too, so to say.

I know that people want to feel ‘loved’ and ‘wanted’, but I doubt putting up with cheating is one way to feel secure about yourself.

The dangers of being in relationships like these means that your reality is misconstrued – you choose to see things a different way to appease yourself. It’s not until you’re out of the relationship do you actually see it for what it really was.

If you think you are the victim of domestic abuse – whether it be emotional, physical or sexual, you can get some information from http://au.reachout.com/find/articles/domestic-violence and follow the links to obtain help.

No one, male or female, should have to deal with being in an abusive or dangerous relationship.

You are too good to put up with that shit any longer than you have to – stand up for yourself and if you are struggling to, speak to someone who can help you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Carbon debate - paper vs electronic

I read an interesting article about Carbon myths and being environmentally responsible. It basically stated that if you think you’re saving a tree by reading your news online as opposed to a hard copy paper version – think again.

It might be interesting to a few of you that work in ‘paperless offices’ and think they are doing a world of good (no pun intended).

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

The perception that electronic media leaves less of an environmental footprint than printed material is one of those myths that needs to be debunked once and for all. It’s just not true!

Putting ink on paper is one of the most environmentally responsible ways you can get your message across. However, what is most concerning is that we see many organisations cringing at the thought of using paper as a communication medium.

Some organisations are starting to actively discourage the use of print on paper because apparently it is negatively impacting on the environment. Whether the concern is real or just cost cutting, it is being said often and people are starting to believe it.

So being able to provide a factual counter to these claims is critical… TREES LOCK UP CARBON.

A significant portion of the earth’s carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere and organic matter such as trees and bushes. Carbon in the atmosphere traps sunlight and in doing so contributes to global warming. Paper production can have a valuable impact on reducing this influence.

A report done for the US Carbon and Climate Working Group highlights how the huge reforestation programs taking place in many parts of the world are helping to create a positive shift in the amount of carbon trapped within the environment, rather than the atmosphere.

The reason why this is beneficial is that a tree, which is almost entirely carbon with a small measure of water, grows for about 100 years. Its weight represents the amount of carbon taken out of the atmosphere, so after 100 years very little carbon is absorbed into the atmosphere.

FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING. The more paper we use from sustainable forests, the stronger the contribution towards the fight against global warming. More managed tree plantations equals more carbon locked up and the fibre can be recycled four or five times. Has anyone ever recycled their 1995 laptop into a brand new –up-to-date laptop?

The article then gives a great example of the Carbon myth – print versus electronic. It makes a comparison between reading the printed version of the Stern Review (a 700 page report) and viewing its content using electronic media. The environmental impacts are quite surprising:

-Each copy of the printed review = 85 grams max CO2 that will ever be amounted to. This can also be read as many times as you like over 100 years.

-For every hour spent reading the review on a computer = 226 grams of CO2 for each time you read it (electronically).

-To manufacture the review on a CD = 300 grams of CO2 per copy.

-To manufacture the review on a DVD = 350 grams of CO2 per copy.

So in summary, it’s interesting to get info like this across my desk (note: I did get this in a printed version on 100% recycled stock). I like to think I do my part for the world today so that one day my kids will have a sunnier future.

Take what you will from this, but remember, don’t fall into trends – do your own research and make decisions for yourself. Our world is too precious!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Copy Cat

I like to think that, at times, I have good ideas and try to think about things creatively and outside the square.

I don’t mind that people feel inspired by some of those ideas – it’s flattering to say the least.

Lately however, I’ve noticed that people are taking a little too much interest in my thoughts and ideas and adapting them as their own. As I said before, I’m happy that people like my ideas, but that's just it - they are my ideas, not yours.

A friend of mine recently gave birth to a baby boy. While she was preggers I had an excitable conversation about whether it was a boy or a girl, baby names, baby clothing etcetera etcetera. During the conversation I volunteered my favourite boy/girl names that I wanted to use in the future. Low and behold, when she gave birth over the weekend, her beautiful bouncy baby boy coincidentally had the same name I would have used for my son. Coincidence? Not sure about that!

I really shouldn’t be that annoyed. I don’t plan on having kids any time soon so I have no stake in that name. But still it kind of pissed me off.

The same goes for clothing. I used to know this girl who was a few years younger than me who was going out with a guy friend of mine. I didn’t like this girl at all and she didn’t like me, but that didn’t stop her copying what I wore. For instance, we went to the races with my friend and her and I wore a particular purple dress with heels and a fascinator. The next time we saw them at a birthday party there she was in a purple dress and heels, same cut, same hue and even tried to do her hair the same way I had mine.

What is that? My mum says I should just take it as a complement, but it just irks me more than anything.

Now with my wedding coming up, I am being very careful about what I divulge. It’s probably going to be the most memorable day of my life and I don’t particularly want to see a clone of it any time soon.

People just don’t care – they’ll just take, take, take and then take credit for it.

Well this girl is keeping her mouth shut from now on. Go get your own ideas!