Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is not a very Australian tradition. In fact the main tradition associated with Halloween here is the lack of fan fare and the derision of those brave souls willing to take part. Most poor children are greeted with apples, a handful of beer nuts or a tin of tuna. But not at Chez SKM. I love any chance to dress up as you well know, so Halloween is high on my list of things to love. Whether the celebrations are small or large, I love the opportunity to decorate in theme and wheel out one of my many costumes for public consumption. The neighbours already think I am a little on the odd side, so why not stick with the theme?

Miss Four has been planning for the big event for the last couple of months. She's mapped out a trick or treat route, assembled a few costumes and even done a few sneaky trial trick or treating runs with a neighbourhood girl while Mama was out! So the table is laid, all scary and cute, and the huge dish of candy is by the front door. But where is Miss Four? All laid up on the sofa nursing a stomach bug and still professing her ability to hit the town. I'm not sure that her current "trick" is terribly hygenic though. Still, having a Four year old throw up on your porch could be pretty scary. So we may have to have a Halloween weekend here, as I don't plan to have an unexpected decoration on the lapel of my new costume.

But because I am already in Halloween mood, I have a few treats to hand your way.

Hello Kitty Halloween Themed Wallpapers. You'll find some Christmas ones here too just to get you started for the holiday season.

Hello Kitty Halloween E Cards. - You need to sign up for an account, but all the super cute stuff is so worth it.

Kawaii Monster Buttons. - But you'll have to be quick, only available today!

If you're feeling little more creative, try you hand at a kawaii bento box, like this one!

And to my fellow Australians, get yourself a fun pack of Snickers to keep by the door, because you just never know when a nauseous Four year old dress as Mulan may appear.

*My apologies for the absence of postings over the last few days. I am having both PC and connectivity issues at present, that are interrupting the normal order of things. Please bear with me whilst I whip the appropriate people. *

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Japan I Bid You Farewell

There are times in life when in the midst of chaos you find yourself in an oasis of peace. Such is the beauty of Ueno Park. On my final day in Japan, I packed my bags (leaving room in the carry on for last minute shopping) and headed out for a more traditional cultural experience. Strangely, after only a very short time, I already felt at home in this part of town. I had mapped the area in my head, made friends with the local noodle vendor and felt a serenity in the smallest details. Wandering around town with new eyes, I fancied myself part Hemingway, part Bryson. That is to say, creating all sorts of fantasies about the people surrounding me and their lives, as well as making all the usual amusing travellers observations.

On this morning, I finally attained my noodle breakfast, and simply imagined the age old family tradition that had created it. Actually my imagination made up for my lack of language skills on many occasions. After that steaming hot bowl of miscellaneous deliciousness, I headed towards the note worthy Ueno Park; home to temples, museums and a zoo. As I passed the suited business man, asleep on the overpass, empty bottle by his side, I wondered at the social conventions of begging in this city. I has seen many a homeless person during my evening sojourns, but never once had I been asked for money or confronted in any way, unlike in LA where one feels triumphant to walk away with all limbs intact. Here in this busy junction, many homeless men lived beneath the overpass. Constructing lean toos with cardboard boxes, umbrellas and what appeared to be an advanced engineering degree. There was no attempt by pedestrians to avoid their area, nor was there an attempt from those homeless themselves to engage anyone. It seemed a sad state, yet oddly civilized.

My first port of call upon reaching Ueno Park, was the small and beautifully adorned shrine to Hiroshima. Swathed in garlands of brightly coloured origami, it spoke both of great sadness, but also a great joy arisen from ashes. The shrine brought me to the entrance of a temple constructed in 1627 as a tribute to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Keep in mind that I live in a country that was only "discovered" in 1788, so to me this is serious history. The entrance with its giant stone lanterns was impressive enough, but upon reaching the face of the temple, it had an almost tangible air of solemnity and the honorific. This was the first time in Japan that I had been asked to remove my shoes for any occasion, and in this case it was only by signage, as the temple did not appear to be staffed aside from the cashier and a groundsman. Given that it was only a sign asking people to remove their shoes and respect the request for no internal photographs, I was surprised to see that everyone obeyed the rules. (It seems to be the norm in Australia that people assume that rules are made for everyone else but themselves. ) So I compliantly removed my shoes and ascended the stairs. The very first thing that struck me was the scent. The scent of the warm dried grasses in the new tatami matting. I had expected this flooring to be somewhat rough, but it didn't once snag my stockinged feet. In fact, it was both so comfortable and welcoming that I contemplated covering my slate flooring in tatami when I arrived home, although I don't know if the local floor world carry that as an option.

Hiroshima Shrine

Temple built in 1627

Moss in the grounds of the temple. In a perfect world, this would be under my feet wherever I go.

From the serenity of the temple, to the bustle of the children's fair ground. Although I only stopped to take a couple of quick pictures and imagine my girls joy in such a place, I've added this little gem to my list of perfect fashion shoot locations. That is, should I ever be fortunate enough to get back here in that capacity. I had visions of wearing chiffon ball gowns and riding the giant Hello Kitty off into the sunset. But instead, I chose to do the cultural thing and headed to the National Museum. Here were archeological pieces with dates on them I hadn't even considered the existence of. But truth be told, it wasn't so much the exhibits that held me enthralled, but the other visitors. From the corner of my eye I sneakily took in every detail of the Autumnal kimono of the woman walking beside me. Her perfectly tied Obi and silky white Tabi socks. This was quite the novelty for me, as to date I had only seen people dressed in Western attire. It was not only an interesting contrast fashion wise, but to watch them blend seamlessly with the crowd, the traditional with the modern and not an eyebrow raised. Yet another scenario I will never witness on our shores.

After a long day of walking and visual gluttony, I stopped for a late lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. I had a hankering for dumplings and hadn't found a local purveyor of Gyoza (Japanese dumplings) so this would have to do. It was 3.30 in the afternoon and the waitress was about to go home. She was extremely unhappy that I only wanted to eat dumplings, indicating that it was hardly worth her time to serve me such a paltry fare. How was I to tell her it is my favorite food? So after some screaming at the chef, she left him with my order and went home. Oddly, the chef kept popping out of the kitchen to refill my water every 10 seconds and give me a huge grin that left me wondering what her parting words were. After about his 8th visit, he gesticulated towards his face and said "beautiful." Flattered I was, but being the only customer past closing time in a dark basement restaurant, I was a little nervous too. When he brought my lunch I thanked him in Japanese ( one of the three phrases I knew) and decided to take a punt, given the nature of the restaurant, and thanked him also in Mandarin. His shoulders lifted and he smiled from ear to ear, launching into a huge speech and asking me loads of questions. My Mandarin was a little rusty, but was enough that for the first time in Japan, I had an actual conversation with someone! How odd to be sitting in a Chinese restaurant, in Japan, not speaking Japanese, or he any English, yet making a friend. Feeling quite pleased with myself, and full of complimentary pudding, I bid my new friend farewell and headed off to the airport.

An hour and a half bus ride to the airport; during which time I was subject to the loud and rude mobile phone conversation of another Australian on the bus, who believed that the no mobile phone rule did not apply to him (surprise surprise). I wanted to hit him with my shoe for breaking my Tokyo reverie, but instead chose to attack him with my words. Once he was suitably chastised, and I was all checked in, spent my final hour in Japan shopping the gift hall (more photos will follow), and giggling with sailor suit clad, Japanese school girls.

Yes, my time here was short, but the impression has been immeasurable. Should any Japanese company have employment opportunities for this infatuated Australian, please email me immediately!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Daily Outfit

Outfit Details: Top - recycle boutique find, Jeans - Wrangler, Hair bow - Sugar Doll designs, Shoes - Cheap ballet flats customised by me.

Sunday called for a quick casual outfit as I headed into the city for a rehearsal. A rehearsal for what? My first (in many years) catwalk show. I'm modeling next weekend at the Bizarre Music Festival for Dusk Moth Designs. For any of you Melbournians that like your music a little alternative and your fashion edgy, come along and check it out. The Festival runs on Saturday and Sunday, with fashion parades on the Sunday afternoon.

The plan for this week is to tackle my wardrobe problem. I had it stuffed far too full before I went away, and now with all the pretties that came home, my wardrobe has extended across the floor, the chair and the valet. Uh oh, not a good system. So in the spirit of keeping things that are only either "useful or beautiful", and hopefully both, I have some serious culling to do. The up shot of that is that many things will be looking for a new home. I was going to get a pre-christmas stall at the Camberwell markets, but they are all booked out. So for now I'll have to stick with Ebay (grrr) to help them find homes. As soon as I have some listings up, I'll advertise them here for your viewing pleasure too. Hopefully I'll be able to get a space at the market in January, as by then I should have managed to emotionally seperate myself from more of my beautiful, but under loved pieces. If you don't hear from me again, you can assume that I have died a slow death under an avalanche of fashion.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Japan I Bloody Love You - part two

Let me begin this post by warning you that I bought myself a dictaphone / voice recorder while in Houston, and as such, then took copious amounts of random notes for the remainder of the voyage. Therefore, you'll now be subjected to the edited version of my internal monologue as it was.

Morning one in Japan. I wake up at 7 am (damn that internal clock) and begin to formulate a plan for my day of wonder. I put on my favorite fuchsia dress, black shoe boots, curled my hair and grabbed what maps I had. The plan was to enjoy a leisurely local breakfast of homemade noodles, a stroll in the park and then onto some serious kawaii shopping. After seeking advice on the best shopping precinct from the desk clerk, I headed out the front door and promptly started walking in the wrong direction, all the while blissfully unaware. The streets were beginning to come alive with people on their way to work. And this is where I found my first Japanese infatuation. The prevalence of bikes as a means of transport. Like most things in Japan, there is a grace to the riding of said bikes. The bikes themselves are laid back, Ladies style with baskets on the front and large padded seats. The riders may be men in business suits, ladies in skirt suits and heels and even mothers with babies both in the seat behind and the basket in front. And while they ride with purpose, they don't ride with haste (well at least not here anyway). Simply watching them gliding down the road was a relaxing experience.

Image courtesy of Copenhagenize.

As I continued walking in the wrong direction, I noticed two things about the shop fronts. Firstly, nothing was open at 8am, so my breakfast plans went on hold. Secondly, each shop front was decorated with potted plants. Imagine if you will, the shop front, footpath and curb with council planted tree. Around the council tree, each shop had created a little oasis of potted geraniums, jade plants and even trellised vines. It was quite common place and I wondered if this was installed as a sign of ownership of space, an attempt to increase the serenity in a place you must spend many hours a day or simply an acknowledgment of the role nature and the seasons play in everyday life here. If any reader can enlighten me on the subject, it would be much appreciated. It did make me laugh as I thought of our own Melbourne City Council's reaction to such an effort, as I had once been threatened with a lawsuit and heavy fine for signage encroaching by 6 inches onto the footpath.

Eventually I came across a subway station whose maps inform me that I have been travelling in the wrong direction for about 30 minutes. Resolutely I walk back up the other side of the street, hoping to find an open noddle shop as my stomach is now protesting at the lack of attention for more than 20 hours. With my non existent Japanese language skills and lack of a cohesive plan (you know Virgos for planning) I was beginning to feel just a smidgen anxious. As I turned the corner I saw the sign for what appeared to be the only open eating establishment within that 30 minute walk, and so I headed in for my first visit to Johnathon's. Johnathon's appeared to be an American style family restaurant, (similar to Denny's) and while it didn't meet my fantasy of home cooked noodles by a family whose secret recipe hearkened back generations, it advertised good coffee. And here is where I made observation number two that further increased my crush on Japan.

Breakfast at last and it is oh so good.

The Japanese make life very easy for a tourist. Considering the language barrier you would think it easy to get lost, never be able to communicate effectively and possibly sold into slavery ( just joking.) But everywhere things are illustrated. Menus with pictures throughout, instructions with unmistakable directions on which buttons to press for the perfect coffee, and happy smiling cartoon faces on everything. The art of Engrish is one that often amuses me, but seen in this context, its value is immeasurable and entirely different. I'm imagining life for a tourist in Melbourne, where the only place you get to see pictures on a menu is in McDonald's, and should you not understand English, people simply speak louder and slower as if you are deaf. Japan is the antithesis of this approach. Everything appears to be done to put you at ease and make you as comfortable as possible. As I sat eating my breakfast, any trepidation I may have felt about my adventure melted away. I drank the most excellent coffee I had enjoyed since leaving Australia, plotted to take home the cute restaurant signage (" Drinks Menu Was Enhanced Here!") and looked up to see a huge My Melody stuffed toy looking down on me from a high rise window. Forget Xanax, all I need is a little kawaii Sanrio and I'm good to go.

My Melody (the red rabbit thingy) appears like a guardian angel from above.

Appropriately fortified for the day, I went forth to shop! After all the vintage treasures acquired in the US, my plan here was not to vintage shop, but to gorge myself on a diet of my other passion - the Super Kawaii. My first stop was the Matsuzakaya department store, as nothing else was open prior to 11.30 and I was itching to make first contact. Like an anthropological explorer, it seems that I make my best and quickest efforts to assimilate by immersing myself in a situation with which I am already overly familiar. And a department store was the perfect stage. From the moment I stepped through the entrance way, it was though I had gone to department store heaven. Where Sax Fifth Avenue had been gleaming, it also had the ability to make you feel as though you needed to improve yourself to shop there. Matsuzakaya is another world entirely. Each display is perfectly designed, executed and maintained. Each staff member greets you with a tuneful "Issasshaimase" the moment you enter their visual sphere. Now I know this may sound silly, but I felt like I was gliding around that store on a cloud of visual perfection and obsessive compulsive heaven. Almost as each item was touched by a shopper, it was carefully straightened back into its original, perfectly aligned position - without making you feel as though you had disturbed anything but rather that there was pleasure taken from your attentions. (Okay, this may sound a little over the top, and the reality of this feeling may not be at all grounded in the truth of the matter, but I am simply calling it as it felt to me.)

Anna Sui Brush and cosmetic box, cute rings, Kewpie cuties, Tokyo Romantic fragrance.

I discovered the joy of the embellished hand cloth at the Matsuzakaya store. These are my two favorites I picked up, but in total I think I must have bought about a dozen!

A small selection of all the kawaii paraphernalia including Totoro for Miss Four (one of her favorite films), Babushka Kitty for me, a Gu Gu World shopping tote and more stationery than you can poke a stick at.

More Kitty fun for the kitchen. This lot was actually from the Sanrio Store in Houston; I seek out kawaii where ever I go.

One of a selection of 14 miniature Kittys now gracing my entertainment cabinet.

From the department store onto the best toy store I've ever seen in my life. 6 Floors of electronic, animated and modeling magic. As I walked in the front door I was greeted by the insane yapping of a whole floor of electronic toys such as " Poodle in a Tea Cup." What is it? A small pooddle that yaps incessantly until you place in in the designated tea cup, where it promptly goes to sleep. Even better than said poodle was "F Cup Cookie". A box of cookies that promises you F cup breasts upon there ingestion. Is it that if you eat enough you get so fat that your breast then reach this size? To the left of "F Cup Cookie" was a strangely sexual looking object, that upon closer inspection proved to be a banana protector. And on it went. As you can see, I spent quite a bit of time and money in this store, but I'll leave the Tea cup Poodle for another enthusiastic shopper for now.

*Stay tuned for further adventures in Japan during the week*

Friday, October 24, 2008

Japan, I Bloody Love You! - part one

Well it was either that or, "the Happiest Place on Earth", but that was already taken. My time in Japan was super short, but oh so sweet. First of all, let me give you a perfect example of why I adore this place. On my JAL flight from the States, my cabin crew went through the usual safety demonstration. Like a good girl, I read through the accompanying leaflet for further instructions. Not only was the safety video demonstrated in anime, but the leaflet was drawn in this manner too. It is amazing just how comforting and amusing it is to watch an anime man smoking in the toilets, then being covered in fire foam and a large red cross over his image. Somehow, it seems like a much more pleasant way to ask you to refrain from smoking than the usual, "Punishable by law" routine. The JAL cabin crew themselves were so beautifully groomed and well spoken, that by contrast the Qantas staff and their unflattering uniforms, (sorry people), seemed quite rough around the edges, and made me feel as though I had been downgraded for the flight home.

Anyway, I thought I was well prepared for my journey. The Mr had given me his copy of the subway maps, and explained how to work the system. I had booked my accommodation in Asakusa (thanks Hayley for the tip!), and it appeared to be only three train stops from the airport. So here I was thinking, "Perfect. I have quite a bit of luggage but it won't be far. I'll just jump on the train and walk across the road to the hotel." When I arrived however, it was dark and raining so I thought I'd cheat and take a cab. When I asked the cab driver for a price I was told it would be about $200 US dollars! What? Were cabs really that expensive here? So I dragged myself along to the information counter only to discover that what looked like a quick jaunt of three train stops, was actually a trip that took over one hour to complete! So it was onto the Limousine bus for $25 dollars with fingers crossed I could find my hotel.

Eventually I was to be found wandering a taxi rank at Tokyo station, hauling two suitcases (about 45 kilos worth) a hat box and a handbag, being soaked to the skin by the rain, but still smiling. I was in Japan! When I did eventually find myself a taxi, my poor cab driver was quite unclear about where I was going. Note to self: next time take the directions IN JAPANESE! I did have a minor moment of anxiety in the backseat, picturing myself sleeping under a self made lean to of suitcases while my prepaid hotel bed went empty. After arriving at the wrong hotel, it turned out that my taxi driver thought I must have the wrong hotel name. I had booked into the OAK hotel, (a hostel style accommodation as I was trying to save every penny for my shopping oddesy), but the driver had taken me to the Oakura Hotel as he thought I looked like I couldn't possibly be going to a hostel. But of course, like all good concierges at 5 star hotels, this one spoke some English and was able to assist with directions and sort out the misunderstanding. In hindsight, some very funny stuff.

Tired and happy

A wall to wall shot of the room. Small but perfect.

So after all that adventure I was delighted with my little room complete with kimono and tea making kit. It didn't even matter that the bathroom was the same size of that on the plane. I was here, and so I settled in to sleep the sleep of the jet lagged, and dream of Hello Kitty.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Day in LA

"May this cement our Friendship"
The indomitable Ms Crawford and her imprint of 1929

A tribute to my favorite songstress

Me and my fabulous Lounger buddies

With Houston behind me, I headed to Los Angeles to meet up with a couple of my online buddies from the Fedora Lounge. Given that neither was named Ima Stalka, I figured that sounded like fun. So with two hours sleep under my belt, the alarm clock rang at 4.30am in time for me to make my flight. Indeed, that is a little rough, but given the (comparatively) short flight time, I wanted time to get fabulous before boarding. I had picked up this incredible 1950's number from yet another Houston vintage store, with thoughts of selling a few pieces on my return to pay for the trip. The problem is that I seem to have such a keen eye not only for style, but also size, colour and deliciousness, that I can't possibly part with a one! So all decked out, with hat box in hand, I headed out to meet the town car at 5.30am. The driver politely did not say anything about my attire, but his look said it all.

After meeting up with my new friends, we headed into Hollywood for a bit of a looky loo. So the three of us waltzed into lunch at a Hollywood diner (complete with photo wall of visiting stars of the Golden Era), where once again, the waitress wanted to know if we were involved in filming down the street. Of course the only answer to this is, " No, we just always look this fabulous!" And then if was off to Hollywood boulevard. I'm glad I went so I could see what all the fuss was about, but frankly I just don't see it. It was such a place of mixed emotions for me. Standing at the entrance to Grauman's Chinese Theater and following the concrete footsteps of Rosalind Russell, Betty Grable, Myrna Loy and Clark Gable; was an almost religious experience. That is if you can somehow create a paradigm shift between yourself and the 300 other tourists littering that hallowed ground. But the street itself was disturbing. Imagine this. Smoke shop, wig shop, tattoo shop, bum in a puddle of urine, stripper wear shop... and repeat... and repeat. And that smell, well it sure isn't magic in the air. So as I say, I am glad I went as I now have the scales ripped from my eyes.

However, the company was delightful and made the day a complete treat. We swapped anecdotes, tips and tricks, and even debated the merits of French Press coffee. And yes, we even managed to find one vintage shop on the street and ferret out a couple of treats. It's like a pig with truffles I tell you. Oink!

Aside- It is my opinion that America could not make a decent cup of coffee should their national pride depend on it. Even though the prevalence of Starbucks world wide would tend to indicate an overinflated sense of such pride. Tellingly, all but two of the Starbucks that have opened on our shores, have since been closed down. And to those rare and few individuals who have an understanding, and an aptitude for brewing this liquid gold, you have my undying gratitude.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wear It Again Sam

When it came to vintage shopping in the USA, I had a theory. With the number of head of population, and the comparative length of their "civilized" history, vintage fashion was sure to be plentiful. My experience, while fruitful, was not the frivolous and decadent vintage affair that I had envisaged. The vintage shopping experience is somewhere between a visit to an overstocked costume shop and a rather smelly flea market. Polyester Elvis costumes hang beside flowered 70's flares, and if you're game enough to rummage through the dross and the miscellaneous stains, you may just happen upon a 1940's silk day dress scrunched up against the wall. Indeed the chances of happening upon true vintage were much higher, but the presentation left a lot to be desired. As a vintage hunter, you expect to find things in various states of disrepair, stained, mildew and perhaps even inhabited by small creatures. This is not the case in vintage stores in Melbourne, where items have at least been cleaned, if not (as in the case of Circa Vintage) lovingly restored. So while this makes for a more Indian Jones style to vintage shopping, it did yield some wonderful gems. The greatest of which was a store and its delightful owners, who had not only a wonderful selection, nicely kept and presented, but an overall respect for vintage clothing and its place in history.

The effervescent Laura

Enter Sam and Laura from Wear It Again Sam. As I walked in the door right upon opening time, Sam took one look at me and guided me straight to the racks of dresses from the 1930's - 1950's. I didn't even have to explain my agenda. After my previous experience with a store so overcrowded with crap and of such questionable hygine I was scratching for hours, this was heaven on earth. A sign in the front window announced, " We have over 1000 purses!" and not only did they have more than that, they were all in excellent condition and beautifully displayed. After sifting through the selection for size, condition, fabric and design; I had amassed a collection that then took me about 45 minutes to try on. In fact, the rack I had tackled encompassed only about 1/30th of the size of the store, so I chose to take a lunch break and then come back for more. Have you ever spent almost an entire day in one shop? If you're shopping vintage I'd highly recommend this intense method, and also spend the time to get to know the proprietors. There is always a secret stash of goodies "out the back" too.

Purses (aka Handbags) galore!

Yes, a couple of these little frou frou nightgowns made there way into my suitcase.

In talking to Sam and Laura, it became clear that vintage is their passion, not simply a way to supplement their seasonal costume sales. Much like a museum curator, Sam showed me the treasured details of her favorite pieces. A bias cut silk here, an asymmetrical sleeve there. Laura with her magnetic attraction to quality and rare accessories, walked me through the collection of Lucite handbags and intricately worked compacts. It was to my great sadness that I couldn't bring any of these Lucite beauties home with me (one was a beehive with tiny little bees on it!), as the danger of breakage - even as a carry on - was just too great.

There is a great pleasure in discussing your passion with those equally enthusiastic. It is somehow like taking a great big drink from the well of inspiration, and even if you spend the entire time saying, "Oh I know!" it is entirely refreshing. As I was talking to Laura about the vintage scene in Melbourne and the level of respect it commands; I looked up to the roof where hanging there, were the most beautiful, frothy 1950's prom dress confections. Then she says to me, " We often hear people come in here and say - You know if I ripped those beads off and chopped that hem off, I guess it could be decent." I thought I was going to have a stroke! Imagine! And so, for the rest of my time vintage shopping in Houston, I felt not only like a true treasure hunter, but also something somewhat more noble; A Liberator of the truly fabulous.

Wear it Again Sam can be found here on Etsy, here on Ebay and here on myspace.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Homecoming Queen

I'm back! My purse is much lighter, my suitcase 32 kilograms heavier and my soul is much refreshed. I wish I had been able to take daily photos and post lots of goodies for you in my travels, but traveling sans computer, and being far too busy living life to pose for photos every five minutes, I've saved it all up until now.

I was to take photos of my travel outfit, but of course neglected to do so until arriving at the airport, where all photography is now met with suspicion and in some cases, aggression. So no posed proof, but just like I planed, my travel outfit consisted of lots of black and stretch fabric. A handy waisted trench coat was the perfect solution to not having to change into a dress for disembarking, and a bright blue silk scarf was my shot of colour. The only problem with wearing a scarf when you travel, is that it is such a rarity these days, that people automatically assume that you must work for the airline and keep asking for assistance!

On the topic of dressing for travel, this particular ensemble made my eyes bleed and I just had to share it. Taken surreptitiously from inside my handbag, this shows Mother and Son travel ensembles of the worst possible kind.

But there is much to be said for dressing properly and well for travel. Not simply for the comfort of travel, or the ability to remove your shoes in a heart beat for the constant security screenings, but for the air of importance it lends. Dress well anywhere and you experience better service. Dress well when you travel and people assume you must be a star traveling incognito and not only will you receive better service, but you'll gather more amusing anecdotes from your travels too. On one occasion, upon arriving at my hotel in LA, I was stopped by a security guard who insisted that I must be some sort of movie star. He insisted on escorting me to my room, carrying all my luggage, and gave me a big wink when I insisted that, "really, he didn't know me. And I wasn't famous."

After three plane trips and about 26+ hours of constant travel time, I finally hit Houston, Texas. And yes, everything is bigger there. I made many interesting observations concerning Melbourne versus Texas that surprised me. But I'll leave that intellectual dissection for another post. With the invaluable assistance of my gracious host, I systematically hit up every vintage store in Houston over the next five days. And what a haul I have! In fact, there is so much to show and tell on the vintage front, that I think I'll have to break up these holiday posts over the next week and give you a gem at a time. Sneak peak at the good news: My favorite Houston vintage store, has an online shop too!

So here is a look at some of my highlights from the Houston leg of my journey.

Pumpkin display at the Wholefoods market. If you live in the US this will be nothing unusual to you, but for an Aussie who not only sees limited Halloween festivities, but only two major supermarkets; this store was remarkable!

A little kitsch, a little cool. Hanging at the 59 Diner complete with 1950's interior, juke box and root beer floats.

My gracious and super fabulous hosts!

Who could possibly pass up a chance to have the car washed by the Fly Boys? Not me I tells ya!

Houston, you rocked a lot more than I expected.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Do You Miss Me Yet?

It has been very strange to be away from computers and keyboards for the past few days, and I am feeling somewhat like a recovering addict. However, if I don't give you an update you're sure not to forgive me.  At present I am touring around Houston town, taking in all the sites, which for me means lots of design, architecture and of course, all the shopping a girl could want.  That last bit is a little bitter sweet as our Australian dollar is currently experiencing what I believe to be the greatest drop in its history. Oh well, I still can't miss this opportunity, so onwards ho.

Oddly enough, my photo taking has been few and far between. I've been collecting experiences in a more cerebral way, and keeping a journal as I go.  This is proving to be a very thought provoking excercise and giving me some excellent material for future posts. So alas, I probably won't have much in the way of photos until my return, as I also came away sans laptop to avoid the trap of staying online rather than just getting out there.

I spent yesterday in The Heights of Houston, and area of concentrated vintage and collectable shopping. Although much of the vintage was more of a 1970's or second hand nature, (you know my definition of vintage) I did find some absolute gems amongst this. There will be complete reviews forthcoming on my return, as you'll be delighted to discover that some of these stores even sell online! But, after many many shopping hours, and a girlfriend with the patience of a Saint (and a gameboy to keep her entertained) I have a haul of biblical proportions to bring home and lots of photos to take for you.

Sadly, this will have to be a short post, as I am on borrowed technology with which I am not all too familiar (Mac?) and there is much relaxing and living to do.  So until next time, I'll keep on writing it all in my little book, and creating a wonderous world with which to present you on my return.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Come Fly With Me

Tomorrow morning I hit the skys. I've been planning, packing, organising and writing lists in the hope that my departure will cause minimal disruption here. I've even written step by step instructions on how to do laundry and where to find the detergent. It is times like these that I realise why my Mr calls me "Rain Man". I just like to call it serious preparation. You'll be amazed to hear that the sum total of my packing actually fitted into a carry on sized bag! It's amazing what a little shopping motivation can do.

Here is my list of travel essentials:

Ipod - with lots of music, podcasts from my favorite bloggers and photos of my favorite people.
Sanitizing hand wash - to ward off any potential health hazards encountered en route.
Book - because inflight movies can only entertain you for so long, and when was the last time I was actually able to read a book cover to cover uninterrupted? Probably about 2004.
Headphones- My own, super sized noise canceling headphones. Perfect for great sound and No sound.
Pashmina - Because airline blankets are always nasty.
Sunglasses and Red Lipstick - For an appropriately Hollywood disembarkation.

So my friends, while my blogging may be a little sporadic in the next few weeks, you can look forward to some fantastic stories and photos along the way. Next time you see me I'll be doing it Texas style!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Daily Outfit - Casual Friday

Getting ready to hit the playground circuit.

Outfit Details: Chinese silk brocade top - Ebay, Jeans - Wrangler, Straw Fedora - Unknown, Wedge Shoes- Witter

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Daily Outfit - Garden Style

Outfit details: Thrifted jacket, early 1970's vintage. Vintage gloves - from Nana, Wide leg pants - Made by me (Pattern Kwik Sew 2990), Wedge shoes - Wittner, Parisole - China Town, Earrings - Vintage clip ons, Lipstick note - Boots No.7 - Moulin Rogue.

It was a such a beautiful day today, that is was perfect for playing photographer with the girls in the garden. There was lots of dressing up, hunting for fairies, playing skittles and then a little quiet reading. I'm still trying to perfect this hair style, but I'm finding it difficult to roll so much hair up effectively. It works well for a few hours, but then the weight of it with all the pins gives me a bit of a headache. So that one is still in practice mode till it can make its way to the Hair Tutorial section. I found this sweet jacket yesterday at the op shop for $4, and loved its styling and shape. I'm not entirely sure of it's vintage, but the style and font on the label indicates it would be roughly late 1960's to early 70's.

I sent Miss Four into the op shop with some money in her hand bag and it kept her both occupied and thrilled to be doing her own shopping. Is it cheating to turn shopping into a game? But think about it, for $10 I can entertain both of us for a good hour and still come home with a bag full of lovely things. Much better than a couple of turns on a grocery store ride.