Monday, September 24, 2012

On being a judgemental person

I'm the kind of person that internalises a lot of things and I allow events to lead me to bigger questions. Sometimes it's a bad thing and I fall into negativity but mostly, it helps me contextualise who I am and the reasons for my actions and thoughts. I believe that to constantly question why it is that you behave and think a certain way is an important part of growing up. If you stop questioning yourself, your motives, your choices, you fall into a pattern of acceptance - and quiet acceptance doesn't help or change anything.

But I'm drifting. Let me come back with my point in tow. I am an extremely judgemental person. And this week, someone told me off about it so I decided I would try to explain it to myself. The result of which is below:

I have friends who are so vastly different that seating them all at one table would be a near disaster. But what they all have in common is a certain ambition, intelligence and flair about them. My friends contribute positively to the person that I am and the life that I lead, and most of all, to the world around them. We share knowledge and inspire new thoughts in each other. And this is the standard I demand of all people in my life. If you don't make it, I don't include you.

Show me your friends and I'll show you your future. I heard that once and I never forgot it. I make a point of assessing the people in my life. But that assessment falls into judgement. Judgement, I think, is one of those things that's hard wired into us, starting way back in time with self preservation in mind. You had to make snap judgements about other people, situations and environments and we've carried that through the ages until now.

I've always been criticised for it. I can acknowledge that it is a flaw. I try hard to be open to people and different ideas and thoughts. I really do. But coming to university, learning what I have learnt, I have come to judge most severely those who stand in the middle ground. The middle ground is worse than being wrong about something. A person who is wrong has at least some respect for the responsibility of making a choice whereas a person in the middle ground abdicates that responsibility entirely. The middle ground condemns both the robbed and robber to the same jail cell. And that abdication, however meaningless it may seem to you - your choice not to be involved in politics or environmentalism or anything really - is what has lead us to a world of apathetic people.

And I don't mean that we are all supposed to become activists or politicians or writers, I mean living a life consciously. I mean contributing towards something more than yourself. If you abdicate all responsibility to the world, what are you left thinking about and living for? Just yourself?

"People are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what they could be or have a right to be, that they're all asleep at the switch. Consequently we are living in the Age of Human Error." (Florence King)

There used to be a time when ducking your head into the sand and pretending that nothing mattered except you, was okay. People kept their heads down and chose to stand on the sidelines. They lived out their lives, happy inside their bubble. But unfortunately for us that is not a luxury we are afforded. We are facing a dark, heavy future if everyone doesn't wake up now. In our lifetime, things are going to change drastically - either for the better or the worse. And uninvolvement? Not an option, any more. I judge most severely the people who choose the American Dream. The American dream is pretentious and selfish and only concerned with a lifestyle of comfort.

The whole point of the dream is to depoliticise people, to make them worry more about themselves and their own lives than the bigger picture. After only three years of university, I feel like I see with so much more clarity than I did before. I can't hide from the world any more. Even decisions that used to be completely personal and individual have become globalised. How will I make my dream of being a mother come true when I don't know what hell I might be delivering my children into?

And so. I  will sit on my high and mighty horse and I will not let you believe that it is acceptable to withdraw from reality. I will judge you if you have access to education, the opportunity to learn and contribute and turn away from it. I will judge you if you choose to ignore what you know. I will judge you if you are making no valid contribution. Because there's no time left.  Being judgemental may be my sin but I wonder if ignorance is a bigger one? 

I end with a little piece from one of my favourite journalists George Monbiot from his 'Career Advice'. 

"So my final piece of advice is this: when faced with the choice between engaging with reality or engaging with what Erich Fromm calls the “necrophiliac” world of wealth and power, choose life, whatever the apparent costs may be. Your peers might at first look down on you: poor Nina, she’s twenty-six and she still doesn’t own a car. But those who have put wealth and power above life are living in the world of death, in which the living put their tombstones – their framed certificates signifying acceptance to that world – on their walls. Remember that even the editor of the Times, for all his income and prestige, is still a functionary, who must still take orders from his boss. He has less freedom than we do, and being the editor of the Times is as good as it gets. You know you have only one life. You know it is a precious, extraordinary, unrepeatable thing: the product of billions of years of serendipity and evolution. So why waste it by handing it over to the living dead?"

Star*

Friday, September 21, 2012

On not being beautiful

Today I saw a girl who was unbelievably beautiful. That kind of beauty that makes you stare a moment longer even if you really don't mean to or want to. The kind of beauty that makes the giant monster of insecurity come rushing out of me. I descend into thoughts of craziness that seem perfectly reasonable: maybe I would run every day for two hours, maybe I would eat once a day for a month, maybe, maybe. And then maybe, I would be beautiful. But then I remembered that I would never have her perfect skin or her bright green eyes or her little nose or the sun-streaked light brown hair that made her look like she walked under a spotlight...

Luckily this doesn't go on for too long and I return to sanity but I am left with all sorts of questions.

Why is it that we (and by that I, of course, mean me) desire to be beautiful above all? 

I am not beautiful. I have days of feeling beautiful. The brush of a new dress against my thighs, the compliments of boys blinded by lust or love or loneliness or even just a little spur of confidence but I am not beautiful. At best, I am always only pretty. Some days, not even that. But I am a lot of other things. Things that for some reason I don't stack up as being quite as important as being beautiful, things I would trade for beauty. I don't know why, I try really hard to rationalise it and come up with a reason but I can't.

And worse than that, I attach to beauty things like success and happiness. It's easy to be confident and happy when you're beautiful. It's easy to put yourself out there when you don't have nagging insecurities about yourself. Rationalising those thoughts is even harder. 

Little girls are always beautiful first... and then become other things but always in relation to their beauty. Compliments begin with beauty and then travel to all the other things that you can be. Even when talking about beauty, we seek to redefine it in a way that includes everyone. You are beautiful in your own way. It implies that we all need to be beautiful. Why can't we be other things? Why can't we be okay with not being beautiful?

I think I used to believe that when I entered my twenties I would blossom into beauty and that all the physical attributes I so desired would somehow manifest and I would become beautiful. The world even promises it. But I did not and will not. I was born with all physical characteristics that I will ever have. Right now, at 21, my body is at the best it's ever going to be. And unless I resort to serious measures, my face is what it is. But learning to accept that you aren't beautiful is much easier to say than it is to do. Especially when the things that interest you - fashion, entertainment, film, music - all of these things revolve so heavily on beauty.

Instead what I have been working on is a respect and appreciation for the other parts of me. Parts of me that are not physical and have nothing to do with beauty. But are the characteristics that make me who I am. I am intelligent, introspective, creative, curious... (I didn't plan the alliteration.) Instead of viewing them as consolation prizes for not being beautiful, I have come to view them as qualities that I have chosen for myself, worked on and developed because I want to be a certain kind of person.

Being beautiful has nothing to do with who a person is. It's genetics and whatever society deems to be most beautiful at the time. But our desire to be beautiful comes from the fact that beauty is a commodity. On its foundation we sell so much - not only products but ideas and ideals. And we want to be a part of that. Who wants to be beautiful for themselves? We desire to be beautiful for everyone else. We believe that it earns us love and respect and acceptance. I find myself thinking that not being beautiful will somehow hold me back in life. And as much as I tell myself that it isn't true, that the only thing holding me back is myself, I still can't quite believe it. I eat a certain way, exercise, dress, behave and all of these efforts are directed towards one thing: being perceived as beautiful. Like, somehow to be beautiful is the highest of accomplishments. No award or affirmation of success makes me feel quite the same way as a compliment does. (And mind you, when I do receive them, I always second guess the person. I convince myself that it is only because they care for me that they say nice things or that they want something or have some sort of agenda.)

The quest to be beautiful is exhausting and never ending. And yet, I never quit. As horrible as I feel when I think these things, I feel worse when I don't make the effort to be beautiful. For lack of a better phrase, it really really sucks. I want to believe that it is okay to not be beautiful, to not even be pretty. I want to believe that all of my other qualities measure up to something more and that they are not important only in relation to how beautiful I am.

I want to be funny and quirky and witty and a little neurotic, I want to be everything without feeling like the sum total of those things needs to add up to an idea of beauty. I want to experience happiness free of beauty. I want to stop behaving in a certain way simply because I think it's what beautiful girls do.

Beauty fades. And in time what matters is what we did, not how we looked while we did it. I'm not encouraging self-hate. If you are beautiful, don't let it be who you are. If you aren't beautiful, don't spend time trying to validate yourself as beautiful "in your own way". Accept that beauty is just one little thing, one little part of the person you are. (And when you do it, please tell me how.)

Once in a while, I experience the radiance of life when I get out of my own head and forget about being beautiful. And I want to be that way all the time. I want to be free. 


Kisses.
Star*



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fashion is Art: Alberta Ferretti 2013 Spring Collection RTW

Over the past few days I have been watching endless streams of New York, London and Milan fashion weeks. And there is more to come (Bonjour, Paris..) ! So naturally when I talk to people the first words out of my mouth are something like "Have you seen Blank's resort/spring/summer collection?!"

Mostly people just stare at me blankly. I suspect they are making silent pleas to the universe that I leave soon. But I don't care. I love it. I've heard so many bad things about fashion week. It's unwearable, it's weird, it's removed, it's unrealistic.... BLAH BLAH BLAH!

Fashion week is inspiring and beautiful and something of a live art exhibit. I don't watch fashion weeks to see what I will be wearing for the season - my clothes are not trend dependent. I wear things because I think they are beautiful and because they reflect who I am. And besides, it will be a long time before my bank account can handle runway purchases.

I watch fashion week to be inspired and uplifted. If you watch fashion week looking at the shows like exhibitions of just clothes, you're going to be disappointed. Most of the clothes that come down that runway can't be worn as they are or are just out of reach. Most of those clothes will be interpreted and carried into magazines as trends and foundations and will slowly be filtered down until they are wearable. Fashion week at its most basic level is art and should be viewed as such. 

Don't look at look books and read reviews. Don't fall into trap of praising a label simply because it's the biggest and most successful.

Pick a designer, all the better if you've never heard of them before. Find the video, read their inspiration blurb and for ten minutes, commit yourself to what you're seeing and hearing and feeling. Try and buy into the designers ideas. Sure, the clothes will be outlandish and nothing you would walk out the front door in. But there is an idea behind them and people have dedicated months to making that dream come alive and walk down a runway. Fashion shows are an experience. The music, the models, the make up, the hair, the lighting - all specifically chosen to create a certain mood and atmosphere.


Leave your prejudices at the door. Leave your tastes. Leave your ideas of what is fashionable and what is not behind. Watch fashion week not as a critic or a fashion lover or a reviewer but as someone who is there to show their appreciation for another person's work. Someone who loves art. Someone who is enthralled by the idea of watching the moving, living expression of a person's desires and thoughts.



And so, yes, sometimes fashion week baffles me - pink eye shadow, really New York, really?! And London, don't even get me started on the martian metallic coats! - but I commit and I watch the shows trying to submerse myself in someone else's dream.  And if you do it that way, I promise, fashion weeks will be something you look forward to almost as much as I do.

Love,
Star*

xx

PS. You can watch Alberta Ferretti's Spring/Summer 2013 collection ( from Milan Fashion Week) here. Browse her websites. She makes gorgeous clothes - from bridal to resort to high fashion. Her collection is themed under-the-sea and showcases mermaid inspired outfits... Fall in love, why don't you? :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lela Rose 2013 Spring Collection RTW

...I know it isn't Saturday, I know I'm not supposed to be posting about fashion today, but I can't help myself! I cannot wait that long. For those of you who don't know, New York Fashion Week (my goal in life, to attend, not show) has been in full swing and will continue until Thursday. One of my absolute favourite designers showed on Sunday - Lela Rose. Lela Rose does pretty, feminine and sophisticated. Her collections are always wearable and so easy to fall in love with! 

I don't think there is anything that frightens off this designer. She goes for a variety of patterns, fabrics and shapes in her collections. This collection is no different. These are my top three looks and straight off the cuff, you can see what I'm talking about. Structured to flowing, bright and floral to nude and demure. These dresses could fit right into any closet and are so effortlessly beautiful! How can you not feel like a lady wearing these? Love. 

Top three looks

She cites the artist Jim Hodges as her inspiration. Her collection is quite print and colour heavy, in contrast to to muted tones we've been seeing in other collections. (There's a whole lot of white this spring!

However, my other favourite looks were the more toned down of the collection. All were fabulously tailored and I love that she went for a tweed suit to give her collection balance. 

The make up and hair (Romy Soleimani & Ted Gibson) were both simple and nature inspired looks. The mustard yellow and deep brown eye shadows give the collection an earthy look and work brilliantly with her colour schemes. Note the yellow dress. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite appreciate the navy and pink army print. The pattern seemed too harsh for the collection and didn't quite hang together with the florals and lace.                                                                    

In attendance were Lauren Conrad and Mandy Moore - both such soft, feminine women - making this collection perfect for them. 



    

The full collection can be viewed here. Images sourced from same location. 



Monday, September 10, 2012

Holidaying to the sweet sounds of Fiona Apple

The year is 1959. I am wearing a long, champagne strapless dress. My hair sits on my shoulders in soft finger waves. The room is filled with people, talking and drinking. Somewhere in the background, a woman is singing... the more I concentrate on her voice, the louder she becomes. Someone asks me to dance. He holds my hand and guides me to the middle of the room. We twirl gently across the floor. Everything seems infinitely beautiful. I place my head gently on his shoulder and disappear into the moment...


The year is actually 2012 and I am lying on my bed in the winter sun. The hauntingly beautiful voice belongs to Fiona Apple and like with everything else I absolutely adore, she carries me away to a time I wish I lived in. The song she is singing is an old classic: Why try to change me now? She is doing it as part of the 2009 tribute to Cy Coleman. It is a song that has the remarkable ability to make me feel peaceful and happy and at the same time, make my heart race. 

After a seven year hiatus, Apple's new album The Idler Wheel... released in August proves once and for all that she has the kind of talent that transcends time, that makes her relevant even though so much has changed in the industry since her last.

Apple first rose to fame in 1996 with her album Tidal. She was awarded a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the song Criminal in 1998 from the same album. For those of you who saw and remember the music video, you will know that Apple was never afraid of being controversial. Whilst I do severely judge artists who resort to almost nudity to sell albums (basically everyone these days...), I have to put the judgement aside for artists like Apple. Artists with the rare ability to just sing a song and somehow, find that little place inside you that makes you never want to listen to anything else ever again.

Apple has two other albums to her name, however none were more commercially successful than her first. She has however managed to cement a solid fan base that keeps her records relatively successful. The artist was plagued with the highs and lows of the entertainment industry as most stars are. This included public speculation about an eating disorder and an on-stage 'meltdown'. Her personal life has always been something of a mystery though she revealed this year in an interview that she had been married to a French photographer very briefly 'for complicated reasons'.

To her credit, Apple is the creative mind behind most of her work and has remained throughout her career loyal to her own image. Despite the long gaps between her albums ('96, '99, '05, '12) Apple has released many other bits of music here and there - collaborations and efforts for charities included. Her songs, unlike so many other artists, did not descend into commercial banter once she achieved success. Furthermore, her latest album in comparison to the last shows an extreme amount of growth.

The last album moved between her piano-driven jazz and indie rock to more rhythm based music whereas the latest consists of little more than her piano and Charles Drayton's abstract percussion. The album is stark, almost confessional. A risky move but one that pays off enormously.

The album challenges listeners to connect with feelings that we so often shy away from and feelings which sometimes artists bury in lyrics and melodies. Apple has managed to record in one album all the mixed emotions involved in a relationship slowly falling apart or a broken relationship attempting to hold on. My favourite, although the simplest song in terms of musicality, is Werewolf. Apple admits that romantic fall outs are not always a bad thing especially if you were failing as a couple. I imagine the song is saying, it's okay to let go, not everything works out. "We can still support each other/All we gotta do is avoid each other/ Nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key."

Apple's album carries a certain element of reality that other music shies away from: the reality that we're mostly confused and very often contradicting ourselves. “How can I ask anyone to love me/When all I do is beg to be left alone.” And that we're all more or less just muddling through life... 


“Every single night’s a fight/With my brain... /I just want to feel everything.”

This won't be the last time we hear from Fiona Apple. I imagine she still has a lot more to say.

Fiona Apple (Souce: Interview Magazine)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The lunch date that never was.

My dearest Starbugs

I am writing this message from a little town called Pietermaritzburg on the East Coast of South Africa. It's not a great town. There isn't much to do and mostly, it's just hot as balls but it's my home town and I am glad to be back!

I am on my last uni break for the year. (I can hardly believe it! Is it time to be a grown up already?!) This is my first post in a week because things have gotten so crazy at school. I spent more hours than I care to count in the Journalism labs these last few days. The final project of which was this: Project Learn to Read. This space will be the documentation of my last 6 weeks of Journalism and Media Studies. It's not massively interesting unless education and literacy issues amongst South African children is something that calls to your heart, in which case go forth and browse! :D

I also set up the blog schedule which I have been utterly atrocious at following. I did warn you about my commitment issues didn't I? But I have some plans for blog posts so keep an eye out this week. I know I have saved Saturdays space for reviews but since I spent all of yesterday travelling, I've given you a little review below.

Anyway, I am going to be super busy this week so I apologise in advance if I skip a day. I will be organising my visa for my holiday at the end of the year. Yaysies! Have a lovely week everyone! Kisses.

Star*
______________________________________________________________________________


Today I had the not so delightful experience of visiting Flavour Cafe. Dumb name but I was hopeful since so many of my friends had been there before. I arrived at approximately half past one in the afternoon feeling excited (I love going to new restaurants) and hungry (I hadn't eaten since the night before).

By ten past two, I was irritated and still hungry! We had been seated for forty minutes and no one had bothered to even arrive at our table. I can tolerate long waits especially if the food the restaurant serves is quite unique and specially made but can someone at least give me a glass of water so I don't begin staring at other people's food like a deprived, homeless kid?

To give them some credit, Flavour Cafe's menu looked amazing - it had more vegetarian meals than I expected so that was a plus and most of their menu consisted of specially designed dishes with delicious sounding combinations. They also have a special selection of crushes which again sounded divine - Lemon, Lavender & Lime/Pomegranate/Litchi,Ginger & Rooibos. I wish I had but since I didn't actually taste any of this, I cannot attest to any of the aforementioned delicious.

Needless to say, we left Flavour Cafe a little later, all excitement gone but hunger now roaring in my ears.  I shall not be going back to Flavour Cafe. I don't care how good the food might be - bad service, no matter what your excuse is, is unacceptable. Even if they were understaffed (which it did look like they were), someone could have taken thirty seconds to point this out and I would have been more patient about the whole waiting business.

For those of you who do frequent Flavour Cafe, I would love to hear about your experiences. Is the food as good as it is rumoured to be? Have you also experience poor service and long waits? 

PS. We settled for Olive & Oil which is a little way down the street and it was delicious!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Top 10 films based on books

It has happened so often in my life time, each time more painful than the last - some crackpot director takes a work of art, waters down the plot line until it is almost unrecognisable and then makes an even worse film.

And when faced with criticism, the defence comes back with the same reasoning: it was not meant to be a copy of the book, the film needs to be viewed in its own right. To that I say, CRAP. The only reason a person would consider making a film out of a book is because the book was freaking amazing and successful - in which case why wouldn't you want to follow the book as best you could?

*pauses to calm down*

But this is not always the case and in light of the fact that some of my favourite novels are due to be released in film version in the upcoming months, I thought I would make a list of the success stories so far.

There have been many books that directors have done an amazing job of translating into film. I don't deny that directors have a tough job of pleasing thousands of people who have read the book and each imagined it differently - majority of the beauty of a novel is its ability to be translated and interpreted in so many different ways. Directors face the challenge of representing the novel in its entirety in about two hours. An almost insurmountable task but here are my top ten films. These films exist beautifully both in relation to their respective novels and independently. It was much harder to pick these ten that I thought it would be and there are so many others... and so, here they are in no particular order...

1. Girl, Interrupted (1999) by Susanna Kaysen & directed by James Mangold.
The film adaptation was based on Kaysen's memoir written after her 18-month stay in a mental institution. It starred Winona Ryder as Kaysen and Angelina Jolie, Brittany Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg in supporting roles. Ryder and Jolie meet in the institution and form a tense, strange friendship. The author ultimately accused Mangold of fictionalising aspects of his film and this coupled with the fact that the film was "polished for an audience more familiar with gloss than grit", meant that the film was met with mixed reviews. However, what really cemented the film for me as one of the best film adaptations was Jolie's peformance. She received an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a SAG award. If for nothing else, you should watch the film for her performance.

2. Pride & Prejudice (2005) by Jane Austen & directed by Joe Wright.

I will declare upfront that this is my favourite film of all time. It stars Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden in leading roles. Wright's mind works in a wondrous way and he has the tremendous ability to portray things as grand and elegant without being flamboyant and obnoxious. (cough, cough, Baz Luhrmann, cough cough!) The cast, the costume design, the filming, absolutely every little detail is beautifully thought out and executed. Wright did take some creative liberties - changing the period and some of the Bennett family dynamics - but ultimately managed to create one of the best adaptations I've ever watched. I especially appreciated that he set the film in two worlds: first, the muddy, middle class world of Jane Bennett and secondly, Mr. Darcy's perfect, posed world. This juxtaposition makes it easier for a younger audience to understand why their relationship would have been so outlandish.

If I had my way with Hollywood, Wright would be directing Gatsby as this very moment.

3. The Reader (2008) by Bernhard Schlink & directed by Stephen Daldry

Starring Ralph Fiennes, Kate Winslet (...I might have initially typed 'Rose'...) and the young actor, David Kross. This film earned Winslet her well deserved first Oscar. That should tell you what an amazing film this was. The film covers a 30 year span and Winslet portrays her role from seductress to war criminal with no less conviction than she has in every other role. The film contains sexually explicit scenes that are sometimes hard to watch (Winslet has an affair with a 15 year old boy played by Kross) and others in which the character recounts her role in the Holocaust which are even harder to watch.

Overall, this is a film that I believe surpassed any impact the novel had.

4. The Notebook (2004) by Nicholas Sparks & directed by Nick Cassavetes

Ryan Gosling. Rachel McAdams. Love story. Rip your heart out and stomp on it emotion. IT'S NOT A CHICK FLICK. I really can't say anything else. Sparks is an amazing writer and the director and crew did an amazing job of turning his book into one of the most loved films of the century.

Also, that kiss in the rain. Even if it was a horrible film, that would have made it brilliant all on its own. Gentlemen, watch The Notebook and take notes!



5. Primal Fear (1996) by William Diehl & directed by Gregory Hoblit

The film adaptation stars Richard Gere and Edward Norton (in his first feature film). Norton's role gave him an Academy Award nomination and many other accolades. The plot line of the book is carefully constructed and thrilling and exciting in all the right places but what brings the film home are the performances of Gere and Norton. Gere plays an attorney representing Norton's character who has been accused of murder. Do yourself a favour and watch this film. It is one of the only times that I will break my 'book first, then film' rule. It is mind blowing to say the least.

5. We need to talk about Kevin (2011) by Lionel Shriver & directed by Lynne Ramsay

The novel is narrated by Kevin's mother, Eva, who is played by Tilda Swinton. I have never been a fan of Swinton's but in many ways she was perfect for this role. The book is written as a series of letters to Kevin's nonchalant father and is the mother's way of dealing with her son and his crimes. Kevin is in prison for committing a massacre at his high school.

I won't say any more about the actual plot line but the film deals with emotions and issues that are very pertinent. Mass shootings seem to occur almost every other day and almost never do we consider the family behind the shooter. Swinton received numerous nominations for her role. The film is ground breaking in dealing with such a raw, delicate topic. A must see.

6. The Boy in Striped Pyjamas (2008) by John Boyne & directed by Mark Herman

The film follows two little boys - one the son of a Nazi SS officer and the other a Jewish boy in a concentration - and the unlikely friendship between them. It is a Holocaust horror story told by 8 year olds. This is one of the most painful films I have ever watched. Heart stopping pain. I don't remember crying watching it because I couldn't bring myself to believe it. The two little boys (Asa Butterfield and Jack Scanlon) do a magnificent job of telling the story. They are to be commended for telling a story from a different century about things that they should never have to come face to face with at so young an age.

7. Coraline (2009) by Neil Gaiman & directed by Henry Selick

This is a 3D stop-motion fantasy horror film. I'll say straight away that it isn't for everyone and certainly, I think, too dark for kids. It is creepy, wonderfully strange and absolutely in character for Neil Gaiman. The film is exquisitely crafted and with Dakota Fanning as the voice of Coraline, makes for a slightly unnerving, powerful story.

The film was met with positive reviews and picked up nominations and awards across the board, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animation Feature. This is one of the best animation films I have ever watched - more about the storyline than the fluff and stuff and sparkle of other animations.


8. American Psycho (2000) by Bret Easton & directed by Mary Harron

I never worked up the courage to actually finish this novel so I don't know if I can put it on the list. But I did watch the whole film and it was engaging and horrifying at the same time. Viewers are torn between gouging out their eyes from sheer horror and watching intently to try and understand the demented character, Patrick Bateman. Played by Christian Bale, Bateman is a Wall Street up and coming business man with a dark, twisted side. Bale manages to capture the emptiness and eerie qualities of Bateman perfectly. If you have a strong stomach and can handle horror films, then give this one a go. But you might have a couple sleepless days... or months...


9. Shutter Island (2010) by Dennis Lehane & directed by Martin Scorsese

The director's reputation should be enough incentive to watch this film. But when working with Lehane's plot, the film becomes something you never imagined. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as US marshal Edward 'Teddy' Daniels who is investigating a psychiatric facility on an island. (It's always the crazy ones isn't it?) I can't tell you too much without giving away the plot line but this film is one of those roles that really proved that DiCaprio had moved out of his pretty boy lover stereotype.  It might give you a little fright now and again but is manageable and definitely worth watching all the way through.

10. The Bourne Trilogy (2002/4/7) by Robert Ludlum & directed by Doug Liman (first film) and Paul Greengrass (second and third films)

I thought I would include at least one pop culture blockbuster type film since I have left off the obvious ones. (Harry Potter and LOTR fans are probably lighting their torches and finding their pitchforks as we speak..) The films follow Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), a former CIA assassin who is suffering from extreme memory loss and attempting to discover who he is - except that the more he learns, the more he doesn't want to know. The film was commended for its realism especially in the face of all the computer generated action films in its genre. Damon does a good job of playing the analytical, fierce, albeit ethically confused assassin. To be honest, I watched the films first and only for Matt Damon. There is a fourth film called The Bourne Legacy but this has no connection to Ludlum and doesn't star Damon.


There are so many others that made fantastic films but this post has already reached monumental proportions so I shall stop now.

I have high hopes for The Great Gatsby, Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, The Perks of being a Wallflower, The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (all due to be released soon) and some which have been released but I have not got around to watching...The Rum Diary, One Day, Jane Eyre (yes, they made a new one) and many others. When I do watch them, the list might change.

Do you have any favourite films based on books? What film adaptations do you think have been most disappointing? 

Star*

This post is quite blah but these are sort of necessary...

Hello darlings,

How is everyone tonight? As promised this post will outline the direction I am planning to take for my blog. For those of you who have been reading for a while, you know that I have been all over the place with topics and interests on this blog. Seriously, there is very little I haven't posted on - from relationships to family stuff  to animal cruelty, the occasional film/book post, social media, even a post on porn.

This probably has something to do with my poor attention span and fear of commitment. (Dr. Phil?)

BUT. That is all about to change. Each day will have a set topic area and I promise to keep to them as best as I can.

Mondays: Music/Film/Theatre

Tuesdays: Silly/Ranting/What ifs/etcetc

Wednesdays: Creative/Arts

Thursdays: Free writing/Personal

Fridays: Book Lover Fridays

Saturdays: The Finer Things in Life - fashion, travel, food...

Sundays: The Week in Review

Hopefully this will make my blog more accessible and easier to follow. If you have any ideas or thoughts, feel free to share. 

That's all for now, 
lots of love! 

Star*


Saturday, September 1, 2012

DIY: Spring time manicures! :)


I cannot tell you how excited the 1st of September makes me every year. I may have been born in winter but  I am totally a Spring/Summer girl! I think it might have something to do with growing up on the East Coast and therefore, never having a real winter.


The reason I love Spring is because the world seems to come alive again. Everything is greener, brighter and happier! As part of my new blog plan (which you shall hear about tomorrow) Saturdays are now going to be reserved  for the finer things in life... fashion, food, travel, etc. And so, in celebration of Spring and fashion, I've found some exciting ways to bring Spring colours to your manicures! :D These take some time to get right but once you have, I promise it'll all be worth it!


Mani Mania

The Ombre Stain Mani 
You will need: 3-4 gradient nail polish colors (dark to light and all in the tonal family), a clear top coat, a triangle makeup sponge, a cup of water, a piece of paper for blotting the polish, a paint brush + nail polish remover for clean up.

1. Unscrew the lids of your 3 or 4 gradient colors so they’re ready to go. Be careful not to knock them over! Here I used because I was feeling very mermaid inspired.

2. Get a little cup of water and soak your triangle makeup sponge. Squeeze the sponge out about 80% leaving it damp but not wet. This will keep the polish from soaking up too quickly.

3. Apply a single line of the darkest color toward the edge of your sponge. The first time, I went over the line twice so that there was enough polish to transfer to the nail.

4. Next, use the second darkest color and make another line above that one. Coat it twice also. Keep going until you build up your 3-4 colors. NOTE: you want to work somewhat quickly so the polish doesn’t dry out.

5. Dab your sponge on a piece of paper and you’ll see the colors together but not quite blended. 

6. Bounce it up and down in the same spot a few times and you’ll see how the separation of colors disappears and they become blended!

7. Line the tip of the sponge up with the tip of your nail and when you’re ready, give it a med-firm press. Bounce it up and down a couple times in that spot. DON’T BE SCARED that you’re going to mess it up because you’re not. If you keep it in the same general spot it will be just fine. It doesn’t have to be exact. If it’s a little off each time you bounce it up and down that’s actually good because it blends the colors even more.

8. Re-apply a line of each polish color to the sponge for every nail. If you work quickly, you can probably re-apply polish to the sponge for every other nail.

9. Now you have pretty polish but a mess around your nails.

10. Take a little polish remover + a paint brush and clean up the sides and aroud the cuticles.

11. Apply a top coat once the ombre has dried completely. The top coat will also make it appear more blended.

The Faded Floral Mani 


You will need: Nail polish remover, 4 small paint brushes, a plate or something to put your polish drops on, a white nail polish + 3 of your favorite polish colors that look good together.
1. Place a dot of each color on your plate. Also fill your nail polish remover cap with nail polish remover. The colors above are American Apparel “Angeline” and “The Valley + Wet & Wild “Club Havana”.  
2. Paint the base of your nails with something light and wait until they dry completely. I used Alpine Snow by O.P.I.
3. Dip one of your small paint brushes in the nail polish remover and use it to dilute the polish drops. You want to add a few drops of polish remover in the nail polish until it starts to look thin and “stain-like”.
4. Then using a dabbing motion, create abstract flower shapes on each nail. Leave room for the other colors too.
5. Use your other brushes to dilute the other colors the same way. Don’t mix your brushes in different colors!
6. Apply the other colors. Create as many abstract flowers as you want. Don’t stress about the shape. Some of the messy flowers ended up being my favorite!
7. Now take a drop of the white paint from your base coat and dilute that using nail polish remover, just like you did with the other polishes.
8. Apply a VERY thin dot of white on the center of each flower. If you diluted it enough, it will slowly spread over the flower when you put the drop down. If not, thin your white polish out a little more. When you put the white drop on top, it gives the flowers a more faded look.
9. Wait for everything to dry and give it a good quick dry top coat.
Good luck with your Spring nails, girls. Don't forget to let me know how it goes! 
Star* 
xx

*Images and DIY content were taken from The Beauty Department. They're great for all things make up related and have some great tutorials.