Thursday, February 23, 2012

Food, glorious food! (aka why the words body fat percentage shouldn't exist)


How’s about this weather? FINALLY we can stop making kitchen small talk about the rain. Actually I was grateful for the rain, I’m pretty bad at small talk. Standing waiting for the lift you can guarantee my inner monologue is sounding like this… “OH GOD. IT’S SOMEONE FROM WORK. I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THEM! WHAT SHOULD I DO? SHOULD I ASK ABOUT THEIR DAY? MAYBE I CAN JUST AVOID EYE CONTACT AND PRETEND I DIDN’T NOTICE THEM?!”. And then I invariably take the stairs.

But it’s so nice to see some sun! I walked to work twice this week which I think is pretty impressive! It’s a bit over an hour each way, but after my soul crushing fitness assessment on Monday I might make it a little more regular along with my newly regular gym visits. As someone who has lived in ignorance of their body fat percentage for 26 years, may I suggest you never find out yours? It's for the greater good, I was not good company for the proceeding hour... or day.

Which is whyyyy I’ve banished all forms of chocolate from my life until April 1st. I was going to give it up until Easter for lent, but I’m not religious and the thought of NO chocolate hot cross buns before Easter made me weep (I blame Kelly for posting a picture of them on FB... I had almost forgotten them!). I actually woke up in a cold sweat after I’d made my pact, and have since amended it and given myself one week pre-Easter for bun-scoffing. However for the next month or so, no dice. Which means no more of the below…

My favouriteeeee slice – blondies! Blondes do have more fun, especially in chocolate form. And don’t you start me on that “white chocolate isn’t real chocolate" tirade. I don’t want a bar of it, I do want a bar of white chocolate however.

And no more of my absoluteeeee favourite sweet ever. White chocolate and raspberry bullets. These things are worse than crack, I’m not even kidding. Which is why I forced them upon my nearest and dearest at work for V-Day!. I’m so nice like that! 
PS How cute are the bags I picked up in Daiso for 115 yen? Love them! (As a side note, have any people been to both Daiso in Japan and Chatswood? If so, how does the Chatswood version stack up?)
And no more Kit Kats. Le sigh. This baby was a Hokkaido special – rockmelon! Rockmelons/cantaloupes are like gold in Tokyo. I saw one going for the equivalent of $40 AUD. Ridic, no?! I don’t even really like rockmelon and this tasted amazing. Definitely better than wasabi Kit Kats which I will avoid from now until forever.

But I can still eat other yummies. Like... these amazing housemade bagels with ricotta and homemade jam from Cafe Ella in Redfern. YUM and so freaking cheap.

Wish me luck! I have a sneaking suspscion many a bagel will be consumed to fill the gaping void that chocolate has left in my Feb-March life. And fail to help me in my mission to decrease/forget my body fat % x

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Take a picture, it'll last longer

I’m a really crappy photographer, but in this modern world I can totally get away with it!
I’ll instagram anything, I kid you not. My sandwich? Sure – add Earlybird filter and voila.

Picture of a boring road. Polarize it. Ooh so arty.
See I’m a regular Annie Lebovitz. JOKING, I’M SO JOKING.
But seriously it is kind of nice that you can take the mundane and ordinary and make it seem a little special.
And if you’re like me, there is a whole lot of mundane and ordinary in your phone.

I love these cute, vintagey, hipster photos but what the heck do you do with them? Especially when you live in the “arse-end” of the world (excuse my French) and no one will ship things to you?
Google, my friend, is your friend.

I found quite a few companies offering to print your instagrams and iphone photos, but as mentioned above – a lot of them wouldn’t ship to Australia. And the rest were kind of vague with size and price, which is always comforting on the internet...
But eventually I narrowed my sights on two different products. ImageBlocks and Printsagram.

Imageblocks is based in Melbourne (hooray local!) and they turn your iphone photos into wooden blocks.
At $35 a piece they would make a fantastic birthday pressie and man are they fun!
Since it’s been a year without our sweet old pup Jem, I decided to get a cute block made up of my favourite photo of her to give to my parents.
Next up is Printstagram. I’ve seen a few people in the blogging world order stickers from here, but as much as I love those adhesive-backed-beauties, I have little to no use for them. Stickers tend to end up on the bottom of my shoe or on my elbows *damn apple stickers) and aren’t treated with the love and respect they deserve.
So instead I turned all my weird and wonderful iPhone photos from Japan into a little book! And shy of a month later they have just turned up on my desk.
You get two mini books, each with 50 photos and all for $12. Nice huh! Admittedly it ends up being a little more like $24 when you factor in the shipping, but to have a cute reminder of my holiday with little to no effort on my behalf? Worth it! I was a little lazy and ordered two of the same book – one for me and one for Oh.

I love it!! It’s great that I can flick through a little book and remember all the silly bits of our holiday. Namely the thousands of Choco Cro we ate, or the many times Owen's eyes rolled in my general direction.

You can also order little prints from them too. One set of 48, again for $12. I think I’ll order these next time – they would look really cute strung up like a little garland I think!
I definitely recommend them – although keep in mind the shipping takes a while. And I naively thought they’d be coming from the US of A, when in fact they were shipped from Taiwan. No biggie, just the old adage about a assuming making a something out of something.

But in short, get printing! There are pictures of sandwiches, shoes or beloved pets pulling silly faces just sitting on your phone with their fancy filters, itching to be shared with the world!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

from head to toe

From a young age I was obsessed with the musical Annie. Y’see my brother, at the tender age of eleven, had the much coveted role of Daddy Warbucks in the Lugarno Public School production. I was a little star struck by the glamour that is a primary school musical and longed to have the part of Annie. I was all of eight years old and not even part of the school choir, nor a particularly good singer and I didn’t even audition! And let’s not even get into how confusing it would have been to have my brother play my adopted father. Suffice to say my Broadway dreams ended that year.

But I did pester my parents into buying me a copy of the movie on VHS, which in the year 1994 was a tougher task than you might appreciate. My thanks to them was a nightly bathtime performance, ranging from Maybe to Tomorrow and back again. And even now if I’m feeling nostalgic Owen might be privy to a heart-warming rendition of I Don’t Need Anything But You… but I try and keep that to a minimum.
One of the best songs – and sentiments – from the movie version of Annie was You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile. Check it out (ps cutest orphans ever, who taught them to shimmy?! I’m looking at you Carol Burnett.

And while I like to believe I subscribe to message of the song, I think I often have a case of chronic bitch face. And to be honest, I’d like to think I’m fully dressed when smiling, frowning, pouting or giving a serious case of stink eye. I don’t particularly want to worry about being “naked” by these standards, when I’m hysterically crying during A Walk To Remember.

But I digress, the whole point of this post was that I wanted to post an outfit I would love to buy had I not just spent all my money in a foreign country and signed up for a mortgage. And the reason I thought of this song in Annie was I knew they used the line “Head to Toe”… except in hindsight line is actually “it’s what you wear from ear to ear, and not from head to toe”. SO sure, this might be going against the whole premise of the song – but let’s pretend somewhere between head to toe there is a smiling face shall we?
Dress: This cute as a boot dress is from Vanilla & Lace. I actually have this dress in a different fabric and can I tell you how supremely impressed I was? The fit is gorgeous and the quality was incredibe – and to think it’s all handmade for that $60 price tag? Amazing! Buy it buy it buy it. I’m thinking this mustard version may have to find its way to me.
Brooch: I think a this brooch set from Made By White  is unbelievably sweet! These ladies can do no wrong in my book.
Shoes: I’m not a short lady and in fact I’m probably taller than 95% of my friends. But I still enjoy a high heel as much as the rest of you. In fact, maybe more because I have cankles and heels help them look a little less… cankley (yup that’s an adjective. Just ask Richard Morecroft.. okay don’t, I might look silly). And these funkis look like they would do the job nicely!
Headband: This headband from Sunshine & Carousels is dreamy. And pretty reasonably priced too I might add.
Oh and make sure you add that smile somewhere in there... that way the start of thi blog post kind-of-vaguely-but-not-really, links to the end. Tadaaaaa!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Seems you've created your own illusion

It’s safe to say I’ve had an acute case of the post-holiday blues these last three weeks. I almost cried on three separate occassions at work in my first week back, for no other reason than the simple fact that I was no longer in Japan. So want to know how I got around this? Total denial. I’m still in Japan and don’t even try to convince me otherwise.

This has been achieved in a couple of ways…
1.     Visiting every Japanese convenience store in the CBD and never leaving empty handed. Often I just stand and stare and try to pretend I know what food groups I'm looking at. Also it has resulted in so.much.calpis.drinking.
2.     Listening to songs on repeat that remind me of my holiday. This song was playing in every single corner of Shibuya all day every day and I’m not even remotely prone to exaggeration on this one. Also I don’t care that I can’t understand the lyrics or the Vietnamese subtitles in this particular video. I love it all the same, or perhaps more because of it.

3.     Eating onigiri for lunch and mochi for dessert even though I didn’t eat either of those foods while actually in Japan.
4.     Getting the lovely man-friend to make me okonomiyaki and me then adding unhealthy amounts of mayo
5.     Eating bowlfuls of frozen edamame. Actually I didn't read the instructions where it tells you to let them thaw for an hour... so I microwaved them and lived to tell the tale. Delicious and only $2.85 which sure beats the $6 you pay for a bowl half the size in most restaurants. But I think their claim to "slightly salted" actually means "no salt has touched these beans so you should add a shaker-full" cos that's what I did.
6.     Buying all the things I should have bought on holidays, but didn’t, on eBay after the fact. The fact that this cover actually hinders some functions of my iPhone is of little significance to me because this thing is freaking CUTE. Plus you can even download an app with her face on it. YUP.
7.     Kit Kats. I don't even eat them... more often than not I just pull them out and stare at them lovingly.

8.     Listening to the happy sounds and alerts of the JR Yamanote train line found here courtesy of one of my new favourite blogs melon soda. Only Japan could make you miss catching public transport. I can't tell you how weirdly soothing this is.

So based on the evidence of the above eight steps, I am still in Tokyo and its unseasonably warm for winter! And suddenly all my friends have also relocated here too, which was a pleasant surprise. What is it they say... fake it til you make it? Oh man am I faking it.

But in other less delusional news - hey, emmaline! is back open for business in 2012. So if you have an engagement party of a wedding coming up, or just know someone who really likes their tea then check it out here! The shop is looking a little bare at the moment because I've had quite a few orders, but it'll be updated all the time. And check out the new postcards I designed and ordered last week. I love 'em... even if I did get the link to my shop wrong on them. HA... I only wish I was kidding.

PS I will post more holiday goodness once I’ve come crashing down to earth and finally accept I’m no longer in Japan… so that could be days or it could be weeks. Only time will tell!