more cool stamps

Suddenly, I wish I wrote more correspondence that required stamps. Because suddenly, the United States Postal Service is producing all kinds of cool stamps.

Here are a few more to add to your collection produced in past years but still available for purchase online:

The Solar Eclipse — a heat sensitive ink that reveals the moon with the touch of your finger. So f-in cool!! Now I wish I’d had an eclipse party. Good news is these are Forever stamps. Buy some now and use them for the next North American solar eclipse in 2024.

How about these round (!) ball stamps. So cute for a kids party invite or just for your favorite sports fan. I so wish you could buy single balls ’cause I’m kinda partial to tennis myself. But the novelty of any of these balls adorning your mail would be charming regardless the sport.

janice

An oldie but a goodie from 2014 still available online. Nothing beats the flower power of Janice Joplin.

succulent

If succulents are more your thing, here’s another round stamp good for international postage or larger envelopes at $1.15 value.

And whether your taste in entertainment leans towards Star Trek or Disney, there are always some great options available in any given year.

These and other cool stamps are available online here.

And what are my favorite stamps I’ve ever purchased?

These Charles and Ray Eames stamps. Issued in 2008 before forever stamps were introduced. But that’s OK. They’re too cool to mail. I framed them instead.

scratch and post

Available today at your local post office — scratch and sniff stamps with the smell of summer frozen treats!

There’s just one scent for all designs, sadly. But regardless, they’re fun, fruity and oh so summery. Post one to a friend today. Perfect for those letters home from camp!

$10 for a book of ten Forever stamps, until sold out.

sale of the century

I know summer is on the way (although you wouldn’t know it here in LA). But despite the fact you won’t wear these clothes for months to come — take advantage of the winter clothing sale at what is undoubtedly the best new fashion brand to come along in ages: ROUCHA.

I am head over heals in love with these clothes.The styling is right up my alley — slightly masculine but with feminine flair. Ultimately mix and matchable in black, navy, brown, grey and the occasional pop of color –  just what we all wear anyway. These are pieces made to be worn every day and work with sneakers or heels, whichever you fancy. I’m of the former variety myself.

The quality is gorgeous. The fit slightly oversized. The look sophisticated casual. And right now nearly everything is on sale up to 50% off.  If they weren’t sold out of a lot of styles in my size, I’d seriously own one of everything right now. I have an entire closet of winter coats from my East Coast days that never get worn here in California. But i am seriously tempted to buy another, knowing that a European trip is in my future late fall. At these prices, how can a girl resist?

This brand came to me in my Instagram feed. And boy am I happy about that. It a brand with serious pedigree and serious chops. Clothes that will last a lifetime and never go out of style. Even at full price … worth every penny!

Sale ends June 3, 2018

 

new & notable in melbourne

Just a quick stay in Melbourne this trip, I didn’t have time for a whole lot of new but made a point of getting to some of the places I’ve been dying to get to for awhile. Melbourne never disappoints!

NEW

The Hub General Store:  Down a back street in Collingwood there’s a charming little brick building that houses a million and one basic treasures from around the world. Need a scrub brush? A bar of soap? A bunch of clothespins? How about a loaf of freshly baked bread and a jar of local creamed honey? Or maple syrup from America? A children’s book or miniature stuffed animal? A notebook and a pen or pencil perhpas?  You get the gist.

Piled high and a bit of a treasure hunt, the every day is elevated to the sublime. And before you get to those everyday treasures, there’s a small gallery in front where invited artists treat visitors with a different sort of sensory experience. When I was there the gallery was overstuffed with big, round, white balloons — a stark contrast to the slowly deflating black balloons creeping up and around the exterior facade. Simple objects raised to the level of art.

36 Cambridge Street, Collingwood

Higher Ground:  The new CBD restaurant brought to you by the same folks that own Kettle Black. It’s another beautiful space with unique all day dining. Located in an old power station just across the way from the Southern Cross station, it has soaring ceilings and various seating arrangements from traditional tables, to common tables and cozy lounge areas across multiple floors. Look for their signature beautiful brunch dishes like this polenta porridge offering

and some unusual and interesting fare. Expect a wait even on a weekday. But worth it.

650 Little Burke Street, CBD

NOTABLE

Lune Croissanterie:  Not new but certainly notable, Lune might just be a national treasure if that can be said of a bakery in Australia that specializes in signature French pastries. Proclaimed as being the best croissants in the world by The New York Times no less, the lines can snake out the door and around the block to purchase croissants that can cost upwards of $12+ each. Open from 7:30 AM until sold out most days, get there early, stand in line and make sure whatever concoction of a croissant you indulge in, your box of goodies (yes, you will purchase many because each looks better than the next) includes at least one classic ham & gruyere — it’s buttery, crunchy, salty and cheesy goodness not to be missed.

119 Rose Street, Fitzroy

Meatsmith:  This absolutely fabulous (and beautiful) butchery is from my favorite local chef, Andrew McConnell, where you can get the best cuts of meat from local farmers, Australian wines, spectacular condiments in simple glass jars (they make great gifts!) and other specialty grocery items. But I am here to tell you about the house made lasagna.

If you need a heat and serve meal, this one is sublime. Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s rich, meaty, creamy, tasty and the perfect accompaniment to a bottle of red — or maybe that’s the other way around. At any rate, it will only set you back $22 and serves 2-3. My recommendation — leave it in the oven a bit longer to crisp the top to a crunchy charred finish. (My little heat and serve disaster actually turned out to make it that much better!)

273 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Bobbie Burns Shiraz:  No it’s not a place in Melbourne. But If you’re looking for a nice bottle of wine to pair with your lasagna, consider this 2013 vintage from Victorian winery Campbells

I am not a wine connoisseur but I do know what I like. I found this smooth and easy to drink. I liked it so much I came home and bought 6 bottles here in America. And don’t be fooled by the twist top bottle — it’s an Aussie thing.

 

for your shopping pleasure

These days when you have to supply your own shopping bag at the market, why not make it beautiful and functional? Tyvek and leather 3D shopping bag by Milk Designs comes in two sizes and two colors.  $29.50

object of desire

Worth every bit of the $80 price tag. Gorgeous and functional. Which color will you buy? By SimpleHuman

All photos by SimpleHuman

jet lag sucks – get over it!

I have no magic cure for jet lag.  All those tips and tricks about setting your watch, eating certain types of foods, taking supplements, adjusting your sleep schedule days and weeks before flying . . . I don’t know if any of it helps for sure.  We may be able to fool the mind but it’s hard to fool the body.

I don’t go to extremes to try to cure jet lag. But I have found the following tips make it easier:

  • Drink plenty of and only water (yes, even if it means using the stinky airplane bathrooms)
  • Fly at night, so you have a better chance of sleeping on board — bring your own wrap/blanket, pillow and eye mask. I promise it is worth it!
  • Eat a healthy meal before boarding and don’t eat the airplane food, especially the tempting sugary snacks — avoid the free for all Tim Tams at all costs!
  • When you arrive at your destination, jump right in. Don’t nap.
  • Sweat it out! Fresh air and exercise are great but a real sweat session is even better.
  • Fly the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner* (pictured above) if possible. They say the air circulation is different, the vibration different, turbulence is reduced, even the lighting is better. Maybe it’s a bunch of marketing malarkey but having flown the Dreamliner in both directions between Los Angeles and Australia recently I can honestly say for the first time, I had absolutely no jet lag upon arrival (in fact after a 2 hour walk in the sunshine I was feeling absolutely euphoric) and was fully back and adjusted on my normal schedule within just a couple of days on the way home.  Never been able to say that before.

*I flew both the American Airlines and Qantas versions of this plane. While American offered 5″ of extra leg room for only 50 dollars in coach (a real comfort boost for little cost), I found and always prefer the Qantas experience. More detail and care go into the customer experience on Qantas from the seat design, to the airplane layout, to the service and general attitude of the crew.  Although there is still no way to avoid a full aircraft regardless — both airlines fill every last seat. It is astounding to me how many people fly to Australia and back each day!

 

lusty lashes

I’m not talking super long, over lusty, f-me lashes like Kylie Jenner . . . I just like the idea of looking alive without a lot of fuss. Honestly, I never even thought of going beyond my Shu Uemura eyelash curler and Armani Eyes to Kill Classic Mascara (the best I promise you!) until I started flying long haul a lot.

When you arrive at a destination at 7AM after 15 hours in the air and can’t check into your hotel, you want to a trick or two to looking presentable for a day on the town without a shower or make up. A change of shirt, a tooth brush and nice lashes really do the trick!

To get those nice lashes without racoon eyes or pinchy curling, here are some options:

Lash Extensions:  Painstakingly applied one lash at a time . . . For a few years I did extensions when I traveled. And then for a while after returning home, I would try to keep them up. But it’s expensive and very time consuming — fills every 3 weeks, hours on a table, no getting wet for 24 hours each time and a price tag in the hundreds, several hundreds, each application.

Not to mention, finding someone who understands the request for natural looking lashes vs. a super long, overly Bambi, “I’ve got lash extensions on” look. After some trial and error, I found mink lashes, the shortest they make, without longer lashes applied to the corners gave me the look I was going for — like I am wearing mascara with nice natural curl. While this was good for a few years, moving to glam-driven LA, made this look really hard to come by and more than I was willing to spend at big city prices, even for that special vacation.

Magnetic Lashes: In theory I love this idea. No glue, no fuss. Just pop on and go when needed. With full lash or partial lash options, in varying thickness and lengths it seems simple, right?

Wrong! (For me anyway)

Try as I might to get application down, these little suckers are really difficult to put on. I tried both the partial and full set versions and spent hours in front of the mirror — longer than it takes to get extensions applied. And I can’t tell you how many lower lash replacements I ordered at $15 a pop (that’s just for one, not a pair). Even the most basic magnetic lashes, are long, dark and anything but natural looking when you do finally get them on. They say other people don’t notice, but I was hyper aware of the thick magnets showing. A trial run to the grocery store was as far as I got to venturing out in public with these spiders on my eyes.

Original Lashes (full and partial) by One Two Cosmetics

False Eye Lashes:  The tried and true, old fashioned solution with endless styles available to give you just the look you are going for. I recall my mother peeling these off her eyes at the end of a special night at her bathroom mirror, as a little girl. Possible to do yourself and very affordable, the glue can be messy and application can be tricky, so I recommend leaving the deed to a good make-up artist for a one and done occasion.Are Those Real? Mink False Lashes by Velour

Lash Lift:  This is my solution of choice for really great, natural looking lashes!  It’s a little perm for your lashes — smell of perm solution and all. It takes less than an hour to have done, curls your lashes which enhances your natural color and just makes you look more awake. The curl lasts 6-8 weeks — easy enough to keep up for an everyday solution. I haven’t used my eyelash curler in forever and rarely enhance with mascara even. My ophthamologist (who had to remove an ingrown eyelash that I’m sure was a result of my last round of extensions and required a scalpel) even commented on how great my lashes were and she couldn’t believe they were mine!

Lash Tint:  A great enhancement to a lash lift or just a way to get a bit of oomph for everyday.. However, I find tinting doesn’t last long so best for a short vacation or again, great on that initial long haul flight. I  especially like it when I am staying with friends or at the spa so I don’t look a fright going make-up-less in these casual environments. But know, it’s not legal everywhere. So do at your homework.

Serums:  I must admit I haven’t tried any serums. Latisse does work I hear but also can change the color of your eyes — a risk I’m not willing to take — and can result in some wild growth patterns. My lash lift girl swears by GrandeLASH-MD and says it takes about 4 weeks to work, just thickens the growth (only as long as you use it) and doesn’t have any of the side effects of Latisse.  I’m always weary of upsell but I did go online and read nothing but glowing reviews. Maybe in time . . .

We girls go through a lot for natural beauty! But really, to not have to wear mascara every day and to even be able to go without make up — trust me I just returned from a 10 day vacation and I think I wore make up twice — makes life a lot easier. Find the solution that works for you and make your life easier too.

Live in Los Angles? You can get most of the above services at Beverly Hills Lashes