3 aussie artists

As if my obsession with Australia weren’t enough, I have gone and fallen in love with several of the country’s artists as well. I think one of the things that attracts me to Australia is the abundance of creative energy. Having first gone down under when I was 19 to find a country pretty far behind, with the advent of the computer this far-removed country has more than caught up. It’s like an explosion of creativity at every turn from the arts, to the food, to the architecture, fashions and more that just won’t quit. There’s a modern sensibility I find extremely attractive and these artists each capture it in their own way . . .

Artist 1:  Caroline Walls

With a focus on the female form, Ms. Walls is an artist after my own heart. Melbourne based with a history in fashion and lifestyle brands, her artworks are bold, minimal and sensuous all at once. She recently burst upon the scene with a solo show that garnered world wide attention. I long to acquire one of her pieces before prices go through the roof and am oh so sorry I missed out on the one above.

Artist 2: Hilarie Mais

British by birth but working in Australia since 1980, Hillarie Mais is an abstract artist working in Sydney and currently on exhibit at the Tarrawarra Museum of Art in conjunction with the Australian Museum of Contemporary Art that has several of her pieces in their permanent collection.

Highly architectural and abstract, with a strong emphasis on the grid, the works are seemingly simple yet highly complex all at once. The detail and construction alone are enough to take your breath away. But they go much deeper than that. The above detail is taken from the below pair of sculptures that are portraits (2015) of the artist and her deceased partner. Simply stunning.

Artost 3: William Rhodes

There are a series of tiny landscape paintings that hang in a resort in William Rhodes native Tasmania that I covet. Perfectly curated by designers Hecker Guthrie. At once reminiscent of European masters and yet somehow capturing a modern simplicity, I long to commission a piece so I can have my own tiny piece of the Tassie landscape in my midst. You can bet, next trip to Hobart, I will be making a b-line for the artist’s gallery.

dandy dandenongs

Looking for a place to escape to outside Melbourne — within an easy drive or train ride? The Dandenong Ranges offer lush hills, giant forests and quaint country town experiences. Perhaps a few too many bugs but that’s a small price to pay for a 1+ hour escape that’s a world away. And don’t think you need to leave your sophisticated sensibility behind either.  You can have it all and a little romance too!

Where to Stay:

If Mid-Century Modern, approachable artwork and peace and quiet are your thing, may I suggest a stay at Jacky Winter Garden — the most charming cabin in the woods you could ever imagine. Just a hop, skip and jump away from downtown Belgrave, Victoria.

JWG Interiors.pngThe charming little house sits at the bottom of a steep gully along a winding creek, surrounded by lush gardens of the overgrown variety full of fruits, flowers, herbs, trees and more…

If that weren’t enough, each guest is gifted this wonderful screen print of the property as a keepsake. (Bring a carrying tube as I had to leave mine behind for fear it would be a wrinkled mess by the time I reached home.) And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the art treasuresThe entrance has a hand painted, gold leaf glass panel in the door. Framed artworks by artists from around the world abound. Hand blocked wallpaper carries on the garden theme inside. And a plethora of other artworks are to be found at every turn. As are well curated furnishings, lighting, details, etc . . . Don’t miss the antique bird towel hooks in the bathroom as those were my favorite touch!  The entire place from the penny tiled bathroom complete with soaking tub, to the cloud-like king sized bed, to the fancy coffee in the kitchen is thought through down to the tiniest detail.

If you, yourself are an artist, consider applying for their artist in residence program. I can’t think of a better place to escape to and create. But if you’re just looking for either a solo quiet getaway or romantic hideaway for 2, it can be booked at an affordable rate.

What To Do:

Belgrave itself is home to your typical small tourist town restaurants, shops, galleries, movie theater (a good size multi-plex at that) and the famous Puffing Billy steam powered railway that is stationed right in town. Carrying nearly half a million passengers a year (mostly tourists from China) it is a fully restored treasure that puffs it’s way several times a day for a 3 hour Dandenong tour. Once upon a time, you could dangle your legs out the windows as you watched the countryside whizz by but an accident with a passing vehicle recently (nobody was hurt) put an end to that. Kids and dare I say men, are intrigued by the historic feat of engineering. It’s a bit pricey to ride but you can just check it out in the station too. The sweetest and most knowledgeable conductors are happy to share the history, take photos or simply chat about their storied career on the railroad.

About 40 minutes away by car and you are in the Yarra Valley wine country.  Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Tarrawarra where you can view more art in the lovely modern art museum, sip wine and nibble on cheese while overlooking the spectacular valley views or simply relax the day away perched in a bean bag chair on the hillside. How’s that for a calming afternoon out?

While you’re out and about, stop for a meal at the newish and unexpected restaurant BamBam Italian, located through the windy roads in the small hamlet of Avonsleigh. Unexpected because it’s attached to a convenience store and sports a McDonalds style kiddie play park. But despite the family friendly atmosphere, the food is quite good, moderately priced and the staff super friendly. Open for brekkie, lunch and dinner. An Italian feast awaits!

Also in the area are plenty of nature walks, gardens, markets and even a day spa. Truly a relaxing time to be had. There is full dossier of local haunts on the Jacky Winter Garden website for your planning pleasure. All in all, a highly recommended place to get away and be a slug or a tourist for a few days.

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

hail yes!

A splurge to feel good about!  Have you heard of Hail Mary tarts, cups and bites? Available in your grocers refrigerated section, they are raw indulgences that are free from dairy, wheat, gluten, grains, soy, corn, and are all certified NON-GMO.

I’m partial to the cups. The lemon ones to be exact. Puckery, yummy and the perfect combination of creamy filling to crunchy crust. Sooooooo gooooood!

If you are a chocolate lover there’s a cup for you too! I don’t want to poo poo the tarts and bites but there is something about that ratio on the cups that I promise is just about perfect. I dare you not to eat both cups every time you open a package.

To find a store near you check out the Hail Merry store locator

tip: how to clean a ceiling fan

Required Elements:

  • ladder
  • pillowcase

How to:

  1. Mount ladder near outside edge of blades
  2. Slip pillow case over blade #1
  3. Grasping edges of blade, slide pillowcase along length of blade
  4. Swivel fan and repeat on each blade

Boom. Two minutes. Clean as a whistle. No fuss. No muss. No dust and dirt flying in your face. Simply throw pillow case in washing machine. How’s that for easy?!