Sunday, June 01, 2014

Thinking about: Winter grey

It's the first day of winter today and you'd certainly know it - the sky is grey with rain clouds and it's got me thinking about what I want to wear as the temperatures drop. You already know I'm a big fan of black and white so it won't be a stretch for you to imagine me adding layers of grey this year. So adventurous!

Yesterday I bought two of the five items above - the pants and merino knit - and am seriously considering adding the coat and hat quick smart. Obviously, it's a tricky colour to wear head to toe, but it's a seriously versatile neutral that can easily layer with other pieces you already own. 

The sandals are another matter, my jury is still out. I love them but not. So many very stylish people are wearing them right now and it's confusing the hell out of me. Can I pull them off? Will I look like an idiot? How will I warm my toes?

Merino knit from JCrew (currently on sale)

Fedora from Lack of Color

Italian wool pants from JCrew (currently on sale)

Waterfall coat from Asos

Skinny track pants at Bonds (currently on sale)

Felt slides from Lipstick

Mind What You Wear: The power of superhero t-shirts

As I sat drinking my Sunday coffee in bed, I read a report about a new book detailing he psychological power of clothes. It's fascinating stuff that, on some level, we've all known about for a long time but it still feels good to have a trained psychologist validate my reasons for wearing a Guns 'n' Roses t-shirt to work last Friday. 

The book outlines that people felt mentally and physically stronger wearing a superhero t-shirt. I can testify to that because the Gunners are my superheroes and on a day when I felt a level below 'blah', putting on my favourite t-shirt got me out the door in a much better mood. Of course, all this is predicated by the fact that it was Friday, which is normally a casual kind of day in my office and also that I work for a really cool bunch of people.

We all need a leg up some days and it's good to know that often it's a simple as looking in your closet. It got me thinking about my other psychologically comforting pieces: my Givenchy handbag (that I lean on way too much, I need to give it a rest), skinny jeans and pistol boots, the grey jersey Josh Goot trench that feels like a light hug, my Alexander Wang tank tops that go with everything and my leather bomber jacket that makes me feel like Erin Wasson. Who doesn't like feeling like a supermodel some days?

See me when I'm a mess

I still put on a vest, with an S on my chest

I'm a Superwoman, yes I am 

Alicia Keys, 'Superwoman', As I Am 2007

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New York State of mind

You don't have to poke around my blog for a long time to figure out that there's something going on between me and New York. It's a fixation (affliction?) I've had for many, many years and the more I visit, the more I want to go back. If it were a substance people would suggest rehab. 

I've been writing this post about New York for two weeks, since I last posted here, and it's been a bit difficult to finish because it feels like putting a full stop on something. You see, since the start of the year, I've been waiting on news that would potentially cause me to pack up my life here and move to my grand city. How cool is that?

There was always an equal chance it wouldn't happen and I convinced myself I was staying realistic and balanced in my expectations should the move not eventuate. But it's funny how your mind works, or mine at least; you can convince yourself you are in compete control of your expectations and then be rendered deeply surprised and disappointed when the coin toss falls on heads instead of tails.

So, this I was not my turn to become a New Yorker. It was not to be. Yet. I hope. 

My fog of disappointment is starting to lift so here, finally, is the post about this beautiful city that was almost mine...

I had seven faces 

Thought I knew which one to wear 

But I'm sick of spending these lonely nights 

Training myself not to care 

Subway is a porno 

The pavements they are a mess 

I know you've supported me for a long time 

Somehow I'm not impressed

But New York cares (Got to be some more change in my life)

Interpol, 'NYC', Turn on the Bright Lights 2003

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Thinking about: Sweatpants as 'real' pants

Let it be known today is a first for me as I am wearing sweatpants as part of an outfit. 

I'm not talking about sweats and sneakers to run to the store because I've run out of milk, I'm talking sweatpants with a button down shirt, jacket and pistol boots as part of a travelling outfit. I'm also accessorising them with a $3000 handbag so that should make up for it right?

I'm flying between cities today and will be wearing sweatpants among people who are wearing real outside, doing-non-fitness-things pants. On the plus side, it's Saturday and I'm not headed anywhere work related. A further bonus is that based on casual observation of my fellow travellers, my sweatpants are stacking up quite nicely among the baggy ass jeans, rumpled chinos and leggings-as-pants that have walked past me in the last couple minutes. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

6am Melbourne bayside (#nofilter)

The flags are flying across the plains
I've got a secret picking at my brain
I wanna see you
The exit sign is on my face
Don't know my home, I don't know my place
I just wanna be there

Kings of Leon, 'Supersoaker', Mechanical Bull 2013

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Thinking about: Socks with heels (and sandals!)

Alright here's the thing, up until a few weeks ago, wearing tights with sandals or socks with heels wouldn't have even crossed my mind but check out the situation above. What you see right there are my two style guides (funny, I make it sound like I have them on speed dial for a quick early morning consultation) effectively turning all the rules on their heads.

So, socks and sandals...who knew? I guess it's a smart move as it extends the life of your sandals into autumn - unless it rains, I imagine there's nothing fashion forward or avant garde about soggy sock toes sticking out of a wet, strappy sandal.

Anyway, a derivative of this look that is also proving quite popular with the street style set is the so is with high heels trend. In this case, a cute little sock is paired with a shoe and bare legs. Not sure how this will go at the height of winter, especially as my exceedingly white legs tend to take in a blue, been-dead-for-hours hue in the cold, but I may just be ready to try it out in autumn. How cute are these?

Of course one important thing in all of this is the issue of cankles. If memory serves, I've never spotted a cankle on a street style blog so us real people need to tread carefully and employ many independent advisors because I think that along with crop tops, belted cardigans, 3,000 layered necklaces and Rottweiler sweat shirts, it's a fine line between trendy and try hard.

Workout music: To listen or not to listen?

Recently I've been reading up on the effects of music on a person's workouts. It all started after I read a rather sanctimonious opinion piece by a runner about how dangerous runners with iPods are during fun runs.

I'm going to admit right off the bat that I am one of those plugged in runners. Actually I'll go so far as to admit that I cannot run without music. As much as I want to be one, I am not a natural born runner. I have never casually done up my laces and headed out for a run. For me, running is not fun - it's always a conscious decision about what I need to do at that moment and music is one of the things that helps me get out there (that and my desire to keep fitting in my jeans, naturally!)

Looking forward to hearing a bunch of great songs helps me get out the door and head off. And it's not just with running, music helps me keep pace with a myriad other workouts. In fact, a study at Brunel University in London by Dr Kostas Karageorghis found that music can increase performance by as much as 15%.

There are great arguments for and against using music in your workout (and many more balanced than the piece that got me started on this topic). 

At the end of the day, there is really just one thing that is clear and that matters: we need to stop with the judgement and let people get on with whatever works for them. Society already has a big enough problem with inactivity and the last thing we need is to start discouraging those who are out there by shaming them out of using their music machines - wonderful things that they are. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lunch in a jar: A Pinterest win

If there is one practical thing that Pinterest has given me - other an an unmatched way to procrastinate and a never ending selection of workouts - it's the whole 'Lunch in a Jar' thing.

I know it's not rocket science but I always struggled with taking salads for lunch at work because of the dressing. I don't like bottled dressings - I'm an olive oil, sea salt and lemon kinda gal - and I could never find a convenient little jar to take my thimble full of oil and four drops of lemon. It shouldn't be that hard with something that simple!

Enter Pinterest, a bit of research and a few jars and I've cracked the code to a perfectly dressed, crunchy salad full of fresh healthy goodness. The trick is to put your most dense ingredient a the bottom with your dressing. Then you follow it with whatever else you like in your salad, keeping the most delicate parts towards the top. When you finally upend the contents of the jar into a bowl, the dressed layer falls all through the other ingredients and presto, instant salad happiness.

Base ingredients
This layer sits in the dressing so you want items that will taste better with a little marinating.
Brown rice, quinoa, lentils, chick peas or other legumes, grated raw beetroot or carrots, raw cabbage, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard.

Middle layer 
Tomato, capsicum, peas, radishes, avocado, cucumber. You can also put some protein in here like shredded chicken, turkey or tuna.

Top layer
Lettuce, rocket (arugula), baby spinach, watercress, herbs. This is for the stuff you want to remain crispy or crunchy; I usually leave any nuts and seeds - walnuts, slivered almonds, pepitas, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts - until the very last.

Ingredients in the photo above
My lunch jar in the photo above had a base layer of cooked French lentils and brown rice, topped with some glorious roasted sweet potato with grated carrot and beetroot and a mix of seeds and walnuts on top. I also had some beautiful sugar snap peas in the fridge but they didn't fit so I packed them in a ziplock bag on the side for some green crunch.

Have you made lunch in a jar? What are your favourite combinations?

Friday, April 25, 2014

My favourite shoes: Nike Free Bionic

Bet you thought I was going to write about a pair of heels didn't you?

Sneakers make up a large part of my shoe wardrobe - about a third at last count - and these are my favourites of all. They're extremely lightweight and lo-fi, once I broke them in it really feels like I'm completely barefoot.

I've had barefoot-style sneakers in the past and while I didn't have much luck conditioning my legs and feet to run in them, nothing beats them as a training shoe. Squats? Weights? Crossfit? Interval and circuit training? Nailed! You can't find a better shoe for flexibility and natural movement - you can practically feel your ankles getting stronger and more resilient during your first workout with these.

They're fantastic walking shoes too, the all-day-long type. Although I would caution against wearing them in very cold weather; I wore them in New York last fall and as soon as the temperatures fell below 10 degrees, they were supremely incapable of keeping my toes warm. To date that is their only downfall, which makes them just about perfect don't you think?

The link below is to the US site. They're available in Australia too but with the usual drawcards we have all come to expect: they're 1.5 times the price and available in only half the colours. Oh the joys of living on an island at the bottom of the world...

Nike Free Bionic at

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A time for tulips

I'm a big fan of most flowers and will usually take them in any colour, shape or size but if there were one flower to rise above all others in the ultimate showdown for my affection, it would be tulips, white ones to be precise. So glad they're in season right now!