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Monday, 29 April 2013

confession #000040

...or, we're only as old as we feel

i have just hit the big 4-0. no, not in terms of age (there's still some mileage left for that) but in terms of confessions. still, it got me thinking ...

most of my peers seem to have settled into the nesting mode, complete with looks and habits that make them appear much older than they are. i sometimes feel like i'm hell-bent on not going down that road. one of the things which gives me most pleasure is when some people, on first meeting me, don't believe i'm the grand old age of 33, but younger. 

on the other hand, one of my biggest fears, is becoming that proverbial "mutton dressed as lamb".

i still get most of my rags from h&m's divided or from zara's trf collections, pull&bear and other stores which are targeted to a much younger age group than mine.  just like the other day when i got myself this cloud-print sweatshirt from local heroes (and knowing that i will be ordering the 'doing real stuff sucks' tee any minute now...).

or last saturday, i ended my stroll around the shops with a visit to lokal hero, a well hidden skate shop in krakow, eyeing up the latest vans collection.  is there something wrong with me? 

i don't think so.  i'm not planning on doing a madonna anytime soon, despite also having a younger boyfriend (albeit, not that much younger, otherwise i'd be arrested!) 

your mind will at times try to dictate your actions and steer you into maturity.  i remember hitting 21 and removing my nose-ring and my extra six ear piercings.  i regret removing my nose-ring nowadays, but going back to piercing it now, just feels wrong.  sometimes you do need to let the mind have its way.  at a certain point in time one has to 'grow up'.  

but i don't ever want to grow up at the expense of youth - that of my soul, my heart or my attitude.  

Saturday, 27 April 2013

how to wear neon yellow shoes

this morning i went out on a whimsy and bought the infamous neon yellow shoes i had been dreaming about for some time.  i was actually quite pleased with myself because, apart from them proving to be rather comfortable (the actual walking in them test is yet to come), they were only zł89, which is about €23 ... or 10 of the old maltese lira! that's quite a bargain for something which, in all likelihood, i will wear a few times this season and then forget all about them.  

the somewhat difficult part was actually figuring out how to make the most of this bargain.  so i mentally browsed my wardrobe and went onto polyvore to create these three sets.  i pretty much own all the items in them (or am very close to getting my hands on them, or have very similar items either here or back in malta).  i had already styled a rather basic set with a plain white box-fit top and ripped jeans yesterday, but needed to figure out some other options ... 

the black and white combo is perfect for a night out with friends, having a few drinks or even clubbing.  you could fit a jacket in the city-bag if you've a tendency to feel chilly at night like i do.  the outfit could even work for some city strolling or a shopping spree i suppose.  the second outfit uses a denim dress i've spotted at h&m's divided section.  i love the washed denim look which makes it so 80s.  i like to think of myself strolling along the old town's planty park or on the sliema promenade in this outfit during summer ... the last outfit is a tad more conservative with a crisp white shirt and beige skirt.  i like to give my corporate wear an edge so i think that this outfit would definitely fit my purpose and shed all inhibitions of walking around the office in neon shoes.  

with all this said, i'm off to draw up the list of 'missing' items from my wardrobe to complete these looks and plan the next shopping expedition ... cheerio!
how to style neon yellow shoes

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Friday, 26 April 2013

neon dreams

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fashion face-off: classic or trend court shoes?

i am meant to be saving up for a good old shopping spree in london in less than a month's time, but i know myself well enough to know that tomorrow morning i will head to the mall for a mini shoe shopping expedition. 

the reason behind this is these two beauts from zara and reserved. one is perfectly classic and can be worn with just about everything, and just about everywhere. the other is perfectly on the neon trend, but still could be worn with just about everything, though maybe not everywhere. i shudder to think of the looks i'd get walking into the office in neon yellow heels. 
i love the pointed toe on both of them as it elongates my miniscule foot, and i simply adore the mid-heel. having foregone heels most of the time for the last couple of years, this would be a good way of re-introducing some height without risk of injury. 
the price is just about right on both (actually the neon ones are on mid-season sale), so i guess, even if i spend a sleepless night dwelling on which one i should buy tomorrow, the decision will be made on: 
  1. finding my size and 
  2. whether the shoe is actually comfortable or not.
(who am i kidding, like point 2 ever stopped me from buying a pair of shoes that i liked ...)

fashion face-off: classic or trend court shoes?

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Thursday, 25 April 2013

confession #000039

...or, here's one i wrote earlier ... 

hello lovelies! i hear that malta was rather grey and windy today.  it feels somewhat weird my enjoying looking out of my home office window onto a glorious bright sunny sky here in krakow while the rock of sun and sea is battling the last of april showers.  

anyway, if you're spending the evening in today, jog your memory back to autumn 2011.  that was when i had my first fashion article published on the sundaycircle online.  i'm very grateful for the opportunity i was given, but somehow my stance at the sundaycircle seems to have died a natural death. the reason? well, i suppose it was brought about by a number of factors which changed my life over the last year and a half.  but nevertheless, i look back with fondness on that time and in celebration of it, here's one of my very first articles, which i believe is still quite relevant.  i've updated some of the photos which had originally gone out with the article, just to give it a new lease of life.  enjoy! 

geek is the new black

being brainy, or at least looking like a whizz kid is something of a new fad.  american sit-coms like the big bang theory and the quantity of comic-inspired movies hitting our big screens over the last years may have something to do with it.  the makers of family matters and steve urkel probably never thought the hapless protagonist would one day be a bit of a style icon. 
steve urkel, main character in u.s. 90s sitcom family matters, memed
geeky glasses, plaid shirts, rolled up jeans and braces have all found their way in men’s fashion during the last months.  and they seem to be holding on fast, each taking a life of its own.  the geek look was once considered to be un-cool and subject of ridicule. not anymore.  the day of the geek has finally arrived. 

the dark-rimmed glasses, immortalised by the likes of yves saint laurent himself as well as the more unlikely fashion icon, woody allen, and re-discovered through ray ban’s current wayfarer and clubmaster collections seem to have triggered this craze.  coupled with slick side-parted hair or a quiff reminiscent of a t-bird’s hairdo, the dark frames give an air of meditative aloofness which is oh so heartbreaking.  coupled with a plaid shirt – why not, with a few cowboy-cum-lumberjack adornments to it – and skinny jeans, the whole look would scream “renegade geek”.  brainy bad boy … who could ask for more, at least in the fashion stakes? 
the ray ban wayfarers

an unlikely fashion icon ... woody allen
going through a number of designer catwalk shows and high street store product presentations for autumn 2011 menswear, it is easy to see that the key elements of geek keep making their way through the various collections.  tommy hilfiger’s preppy style is riddled with geek influences, but still retains the essential college jock attitude.  on the other hand, h&m’s modern casual 2011 collection fuses suits with funky t-shirts creating a laid back philosopher’s stance.  mangano’s man is rough around the edges but still oozes that ‘i know stuff’ charm. 
oh, the preppy boys that got our hearts racing back in 2011 ...
so gentlemen, while the shops and online stores can provide you with all the basics to create your own individual brainy bad boy style, do yourselves the favour of making sure you know a thing or two about science and the arts.  Real brains are the most attractive and fashionable accessory you can actually have. 

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Monday, 22 April 2013

confession #000038

or, wadowice wedding weekend 

also known as 'the major diet fail weekend'.  but i had very good reasons to fall off the diet wagon.  as the sub-title of this post indicates, this weekend the mr. and i were invited to a wedding in wadowice, which is a couple of hours' train ride from krakow. 
wadowice train station
wadowice's claim to fame is the fact that pope john paul ii was born and bred in this quaint and quite town which nowadays celebrates his origins practically on every corner of every street.  if one is interested in the pope's life and background, the town makes for an enjoyable day's trip while visiting krakow.  trains seem to be rare from krakow to wadowice (we had to do some planning for this in fact) but there seem to be buses which run more frequently as well. 
the river close to our hotel
one of the quaint streets off the town centre
the town is located in between kalwaria zebrzydowska which hosts the famous lady of kalwaria shrine and wiȩcim, the town where the auschwitz-birkenau camps are found.  one could consider hopping from one town to the other while visiting krakow.  

wanting to make the most of this wedding weekend, and seeing another part of the małopolska (little poland) region, we set off somewhat early on saturday morning to be in wadowice in time for the wedding that same afternoon.  in typical maltese fashion, i loaded a 'packed snack' for the train-ride.  little did i realise that once the wedding party kicked off, we were in for a seven-course meal, including free-flowing wine and vodka (obviously), as well as a lot of dancing! i should have kept myself light! oh well ... 

if you've never been to a polish wedding, well, this is quite something.  once the bride and groom entered the reception hall, everyone burst into 'sto lat' which is a song sang on any occasion from weddings to birthdays, meaning '100 years' more of celebration.  well, since there were other maltese people invited, only the polish were singing while the maltese contingent was clapping along and mumbling something as they picked up the easiest words in the song, i.e. 'sto lat'. the guests then queued up to give the newly-weds their best wishes and gifts and then everyone made their way to the respective table.  
the wedding dinner menu ... a true feast!
in between courses, there was a lot of dancing.  and by a lot, i mean A LOT! it appears to be part of the tradition to get up and dance to digest the food (and vodka) and prepare your system to the next round of abundance.  i don't quite like communal dancing like 'congas' and 'trains' but i did shake my boot-ey once or twice during the night (probably once the vodka started truly kicking in ...) i loved the little differences in tradition between maltese and polish weddings:  at the start of the reception, after the 'sto lat' dies out and everyone swigs the first celebratory drink, the newly weds throw their glasses behind them - if the glasses break, it means all's fine and they'll have good luck.  at another point during the reception, the bride and groom gave presents to the parents.  little things that have such a profound meaning.  
dancing like there's no tomorrow
the bride and groom feeding wedding cake to each other
myself and natalia, the bride and my former polish language teacher
like most of the maltese contingent (who had to return to the rock the following day), we bowed out before the big festivities were over - at least two main courses were still left to be served! we are not used to such abundance! 

the next day, we decided to stroll around the town centre until it was time to head back to krakow.  in all fairness, we were not planning on going on a papal tour, and in fact did not, but savoured the tranquility of the town over some pierogi, kremówka papieska and a whole lot of sun (despite the rather nippy temperature - i certainly wasn't dressed enough for that!)
plac jana pawła ii ... john paul ii square
tiles showing all the places the pope visited ... including malta!
'i was there' kind of photo ...
the glorious kremówka papieska
heading back to krakow was for us as though we were heading back to malta from gozo.  the contrast in these two places which are so close in vicinity, yet so different in lifestyle is positively impressive.  i think i've found the place where you can really get 'away from it all' ... 
homeward bound...
the beauty of nature (through the train window ...)

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

confession #000037

... or, the retro star i'll never be

and it's thursday again, and a trip down memory lane won't go amiss.  during my lunchbreak, i quickly concocted a set on polyvore to enter a chiara fashion contest (go ahead log in, and vote!) and when i finished i realised that my set was pretty rockabilly ... i could almost see rizzo from grease wearing it!

i don't usually go for a rockabilly style or anything which exposes my *cough* curvaceous figure.  despite loving the look, i have never ventured further than a lush red lip and flicked black eyeliner.  high-waisted midi pencil skirts are the stuff my nightmares are made of. 

it's not that i don't like retro fashion.  far from it actually.  i yearn for the elegance of the 40s, 50s and 60s, when women were not fully dressed unless they wore a hat and men wore sharp suits and slicked, quiffed hair.  possibly the fact that season 6 of mad men has just started has something to do with this ... even though the season is now set in the late 60s / early 70s (i'm always so blown away by just how accurate every style - fashion or home design - is reproduced!) john hamm as don draper gets my blood boiling in so many different ways!  i've been so devoted to the series in the past year that i had even created some polyvore sets inspired by the characters of joan harris, peggy olson and betty francis.  megan draper had not featured as yet back then!
john hamm ... you make my blood boil
flash back to the roaring 20s and my recent reading of the great gatsby (which when i was young, i was told was an adult read ... hardly!) and the countdown to the film's release in a few weeks brings about a different type of yearning - a yearning for glamour and glitz and all that jazz.  those exquisitely beaded and fringed, dropped waist flapper dresses and bob haircuts, best worn on boyish, narrow-hipped, small-busted figures! oh, if only! as free as those dresses appeared in comparison to their edwardian predecessors, the under garments at the time restricted the body from showing the natural curves in preference of a rectangular shape.
1920s underwear ad
all this being said, and being, as is well known to this blog's followers and friends, rather shapely; and being somewhat averse to suiting as my colleagues will vouch for, i find myself terribly drawn to the 70s fashion where long, flowing kaftans were de rigeur and worn for any occasion whatsoever.  a very recent purchase (i know, i broke my promise but how could i possibly resist?!) was a paisley maxi dress from zara which i'm styling in the polyvore set below.  logically, some 5 or 6 inches had to be cut from the hem to fit my petite figure, but luckily none of the pattern was lost. i can't wait to wear it at the weekend while i'm strolling around wadowice either before or after the wedding we're going to.  flat shoes will definitely be needed before / after a long night in heels ... or why not go barefoot for the full hippy look? well, that all depends on the weather.  here's to hoping it'll still be nice and sunny as it was today!

hippy does it

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

confession #000036

... or, let the wedding season begin!

fair enough, i only have one wedding invitation for the coming month, but the main conversation with the girls at the office over the last few days revolved around weddings, and wedding guest outfits.

the spring months are generally synonymous with weddings and the enjoyable trauma of shopping for that perfect outfit to wear as a guest.  i'm sure brides and brides/grooms' mothers and the entire entourage go through a much more stressful process ... but having been only a bridesmaid so far (a number of times), i've only experienced part of that so far.

i find that over the years, weddings have somewhat lost part of their glamour.  possibly, this is because some of the weddings i've attended over the last years, included guests wearing hot-pant suits.  that is just plain wrong, at least in my books.  i do appreciate that weddings have in fact become a slightly more casual affair than in yesteryear, but not to that extent.

when shopping for a wedding guest outfit, i find that it is important to bear in mind four simple points so as not to get it wrong:

  • your relationship with the bride and groom:  this is not limited to whether they're family or not, but how close you are and how respectful you are towards them.  showing up to their special day in an outfit you would wear to the beach is not the right approach, unless, that is, the wedding is a beach wedding ... and even there, a string bikini is not what they're after ... 
  • the wedding location: google the venue if you haven't been there before to get an idea of the setting.  if it's a palatial setting, then don your most exquisite gown; if it's a garden wedding, steer clear of stilettos as you'll only end up sinking in the lawn.  
  • the dress code:  if the the bride and groom have established a dress code - stick to it.  so what if you're not into fancy dress, if the bride and groom want an elvis-style wedding, bring out your bejewelled bellbottoms and show them some love and respect! it's fair to say that some dress codes like 'smart-casual' tend to be a bit vague, but as the great oscar wilde once said, "you can never be overdressed or overeducated."
  • the outfit's mileage: in this day and age, a wedding invitation can sometimes send shivers down one's spine while calculating the expenses it can bring about, especially if the entire family is invited or if the invitation is followed by a few others.  it is, therefore important to think how much wear you can get of an outfit.  we're not all celebrities, so it's not a sin if one wears the same outfit twice.  if you're invited to two or more weddings where the guests will be in common, you might want to consider buying a block colour dress and changing the accessories to create a completely different look.  if you only have one wedding, think of how you can dress up the outfit for the wedding, and dress it down for a more casual affair.  it's all about being clever, not thrifty! check out these outfit ideas i created on polyvore:

hope you enjoyed that ... and please wish me luck for my first polish wedding! i need to brace myself for all the vodka i'm sure will be flowing *grin* if you've ever been to a polish wedding, let me know ... any tips are more than welcome! much love!

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

confession #000035

... or, my first love

back in the day when i was a wee kid, i fell in love for the first time.  it was a strange kind of love, because it was with a music video.  and till this very day, i can't fall out of love with it.  

my first (and long lasting) music video love is *bows head in pure embarrassment* is a-ha's take on me.  hitting the uk charts in 1985 when i had just turned six, the video was impressively avant-garde for the time, cleverly blending animations with reality, bopping to a heady mixture of glorious 80s synthpop.
that most captivating of scenes...
every so often i close my eyes and picture the romance between the gorgeous (yes, i suppose i still fancy the voice behind a-ha) morten harket and a cute-looking bunty bailey, revolving in between hand-drawn sketches and a somewhat misty diner.  that's when i don't have prompt access to youtube.  otherwise, i can catch myself clicking on the repeat icon.  i know, it's somewhat sad.  

certainly, pitbull and christina aguilera's recent revisiting of that most iconic of cheesy synthesizer tunes has not done much to lessen my undying love for this song, or video.  hearing it every other hour on my radio work companion, it comes as a surprise to me as well that i don't just break into a song and dance.  

in honour of this musical throwback thursday, here's my polyvore take on bunty and morten's looks for a modern-day casual date.  

take on me

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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

confession #000034

...or, my other passion

i've often written about my two main passions in life: fashion and dieting.  this blog was actually triggered by the latter and evolved to incorporate the former as well.  but i don't write much about one other passion that i have inherited: art.  

with my dad being a truly talented artist, venturing in various art media and forms, continually developing his style, i couldn't help but grow up in an environment where art is as vital as the air that one breathes.  as a little child, i recall visiting museums with my dad and learning - willingly or otherwise - about the great renaissance artists, their unique styles, and the various movements that have patterned the history of art to date.  i don't think i have inherited his talent, even though i do try and i have taken a few lessons here and there.  if the talent is there, i have neglected nurturing it.  but i have certainly not neglected my interest in the subject.  

so much so, that just a few weeks ago, i bought myself a flight to london with the primary intention of visiting the roy liechtenstein retrospective currently exhibited at the tate modern.  i had never done this before - and it was an exhilarating feeling clicking 'buy now' on the airline website, knowing that in a few weeks i'll be looking at one of my favourites.  i am edging to experience again the thrill, to feel my eyes welling up in the same way they did when i visited leonardo's lady with the ermine at wawel castle last october, or when i saw warhol's marilyn monroe in january.
just about to tear up before the lady ...
oh, marilyn
i guess, this is where my dad and i differ.  he appreciates my excitement at seeing a warhol, liechtenstein, rothko, kahlo and so on, because he experiences it every time he sees a da vinci, raphael, titian or preti.  but he can't quite classify them in the same category of artists with a capital, bold 'a' as he does the more classic or traditional ones.  it's a matter of taste really, and the more varied the taste, the more heated and enjoyable our discussions about classic vs modern art are.  

lastly, i must mention that this post is inspired both by the realisation that i don't mention my dad enough in this blog, as well as by messy nessy's post on an exhibition revealing frida kahlo's wardrobe.  oh what i wouldn't give to visit this exhibition! had it been anywhere in europe i'd probably already be on skyscanner checking out the cheapest flights ... but mexico? i think i have to restrain myself on that.

(for those who understand italian) this is what my dad and i sound like discussing modern art ...

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Sunday, 7 April 2013

when spring fails to cooperate

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