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I’m very excited to announce I will be doing a day of nail art at my favourite Brisbane bar The Scratch on Sunday 19th October! For $25 you can get some nail art by me aaaaand a beer! Yay!
Though the focus is the beer nail art, I will have my Halloween designs and a few other fun ones available on the day (only one feature nail per hand for non-beer designs though, so I can keep times down to 30 – 45 mins per set).
I’m really excited, it’s the first event I’ll be doing for Kawaii Klaws and I really hope it goes well as I definitely want to do lots of events around Brisbane!
More info about the evnt as well as the Scratch here.
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Our third stop in the USA was New Orleans, and the first city I’d never been to before so I didn’t know what to expect. I always hear people raving about New Orleans though I’d never been able to work out exactly what made the place so appealing except that there was a special “feel” to the place. We had high expectations, Ben especially, and we were not let down.
As we’d had very little sleep the night before we were feeling absolutely exhausted by the time we landed and got dropped off at our hotel. The plan was to take it easy that night and get into it the next day. But as I was napping, Ben looked up what was on in town and immediately found a million things to do, so a restful night was no longer on the cards. Plus it was Friday night, and we’d already been warned we hadn’t allowed enough time there, so of course we needed to go do something!
We went straight into the French Quarter and directly to Bourbon Street which people told us was only worth a quick look and then to avoid. It was still only early evening but we could see why it wasn’t some peoples cups of tea, but we loved it! Basically, Bourbon Street is the big party strip where the street is closed from traffic at night and people get drunk and girls flash their boobs for beads (not just during mardi gras either, this is apparently an all-the-time thing, as we witnessed). It’s gaudy and bright and full of super drunk people of all ages, but god it was fun. You can also drink on the streets of New Orleans and there are daiquiri bars EVERYWHERE so we started at one end with a daiquiri each and wandered down the street, watching people and admiring the tacky neon lights and free entertainment. At midnight we went to a jazz show at the Preservation Hall
which was amazing
. The hall looks a million years old and is pretty nondescript except for all the people lining up to get in. Inside you try to find a space to sit or stand before being entertained with their own jazz band or one of the special guests (in our case it was Shovels and Rope
). It was delightful and we totally forgot how tired we were when we were leaving and amongst the madness of Bourbon Street again.
The next day we felt refreshed and were very keen to see New Orleans by day. We cabbed it back to the French Quarter (note to selves: any money saved by staying outside of the French Quarter just got spent on expensive taxi rides. Next time, stay in the Quarter) and wandered the streets, looking at shops, having an awesome lunch (fried green tomatoes are the BEST), watching buskers play jazz on the streets and generally absorbing as much as possible. Bourbon Street is much quieter by day but most of the bars are open and we witnessed one hosting a booty dance competition with a bunch of middle aged white women shaking their butts on stage which was hilarious. We also came across a Caribbean celebration in Louis Armstrong park where ladies were dressed in proper carnivale gear and twerked on stage. Yes! We then started walking over to Frenchman Street (the lass trashy, cooler street for partying than Bourbon Street) while admiring the incredible homes throughout the Quarter. Along the way we found the oldest bar
in New Orleans and saw a wedding procession come down the street, the bride and groom had elaborate parasols and danced down the street followed by the wedding party and a freaking brass band! Gosh it was cool.
On Frenchman Street was had tickets to see John Boutté at the d.b.a
with his band. Ben is a huge fan of the TV show Treme
so was very excited to see him live (he performs the theme song to the show). It was a really cool show in a very busy bar with the tiniest stage. Afterwards we happened upon another show Ben was desperate to see, the Rebirth Brass Band at Maison which was just up the road. These guys were also on Treme
a few times and were amazing! To look at them you’d think they were rappers, not incredible jazz musicians. The show was so much fun, I danced so much despite the venue being absolutely packed out to the point of suffocation. It also happened to be the Day of the Dead festival so it was really cool to see people dressed up for it (with full sugar-skull makeup) as well as Halloween. Frenchman Street is kind of known for being a less trashy version of Bourbon Street but still great to party on and I won’t disagree, it was very busy and packed with bars and restaurants but it didn’t feel as touristy as Bourbon Street (no tacky souvenir shops for one).
On Sunday we were keen to spend the day being good little tourists and go look at some of the sights by day. Our first stop was City Park to play mini golf
which should have been easy enough but most of the park was closed for the Voodoo Festival
! It was a very pretty golf course and I’m proud to say I was quickly getting good at mini golf! Afterwards we walked through the park against the stream of festival goers where I was delighted by a enormous group of obnoxious birds by a lake. We then made our way to the Garden district where we wanted to look at the fabulous homes in the nicest part of town, which still had their Halloween decorations up, much to my delight. We caught the trolleys to get around which were dirt cheap and so much fun! One stop was at The Avenue Pub
which is a massive, famous craft beer pub that’s open 24/7 and has something like 40 taps! THere were so many beers to try we ended up getting a bunch while sitting in the sun on the balcony and got a bit tipsy pretty quickly. Ben being the sort of guy he is got talking to some locals who happened to be the brewers of one of the beers on tap, before we were approached by a lovely lady named Jan whojoined us to discuss craft beers and Australia. After a bunch more beers were had we found ourselves going to a house party with them as they had a friend who lived near City Park an you could see the main stage of the Voodoo Festival from their front yard. So we went and watched Kid Rock and The Cure at a NOLA local’s house while drinking their beer and eating their delicious homemade food (hey were aghast when we offered them money, insisting that was what southern hospitality was all about). It definitely wasn’t how we’d planned to spend our day but it was such an awesome experience!
The next day we decided we really needed to knuckle down and see some sights since our Sunday was hijacked by all of our random adventures. We started off back in the Garden district where we had a late breakfast at a nice restaurant (including breakfast cocktails, yum!) before wandering through to some of the cemeteries which were incredible. Where Hollywood forever had been an extravagant, flashy showbiz-style cemetery, the ones in New Orleans were proper looking cemeteries, cluttered and kind of run down but still very beautiful. We were blown away when we overheard a man complaining about having to fix a broken tap in order to maintain his own plot! Crazy! We attempted to track down Nicholas Cage’s tomb but had no luck. After few hours in the Garden district we made our way to the National WWII Museum
which was interesting though the highlight for me was probably finding the hot pink, blinged out souvenirs in the gift shop. We then made our way back to the French Quarter, browsing in various shops (I still regret not getting the “Heisenberg” porkpie hat
we saw at the hat shop Goorin Bros
, it was divine) and popping into a few bars recommended by friends (such as Aunt Tiki’s
). We found a restaurant to have dinner at where our waitress was absolutely fascinated by us, she kept commenting on everything we said and did and apparently found our “posh” accents delightful. Our final adventure was to get some beignets
at Café du Monde
which I’d never heard of and immediately fell in love with. Think of a croissant cross donut (but not a cronut) covered in an inch thick of icing sugar and washed down with cold milk. Yep, heaven!
Heading back to our hotel we both agreed Nw Orleans was probably going to be the highlight of the trip and we already couldn’t wait to return!
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I have been having a hard week but I’m really ashamed to admit why. I have been feeling very, very sad in an almost homesick kind of way, about the USA. It’s honestly the only thing I’ve been thinking about, and knowing I have no plans to go back any time soon is actually kind of heartbreaking. I can think of a few reasons why this is, I have a few friends in the US right now and their instagram feeds have been absolutely fantastic to watch. We had our American friend Tony and Renae stay with us this week for work/fun reasons who are both very happy to talk about America with me, and are going back to the US for a holiday over Halloween. I am so jealous! They’ll be celebrating Halloween in Chicago, where I’ve always wanted to visit. Then two girls I know from instagram who happened to be in the US the same time as we were last year are both going back again! Then on top of everything I follow a bunch of Americans on instagram who keep doing awesome things (like The Simpsons Take the Bowl, going to Disneyland, buying Halloween stuff etc). So yeah… I’ve been feeling kinda blue about it!
It really does feel like a “first world problem” (a phrase I usually loathe but can sometimes be apt) because it’s been less than a year since we went… which is probably another reason why it’s been on my mind so much now I think about it. I mean it’s not like we don’t have more travel planned! We’ve already been overseas this year when we went to Thailand in April, and we’ve booked a three-week trip to Japan in May next year! I’m so excited about that and am planning to make this trip 1000x better than the one in 2009 because my travel companion was crap and we only had a week there which wasn’t nearly enough. I’m actually hoping it’s coming up to that-time-of-month so I’m just extra emotional, I don’t wanna feel like this any longer!
So I’m writing this to vent and try to get it out of my system, and also mention that I am going to finish my posts about our US trip which I only did two of! Out of six! I’m not sure if you guys like reading them but I sure loved writing them and reading back over them (very therapeutic this morning) so I’ll try to get them done in the next week or so. Please bare with me in this difficult time (lol) and enjoy my America-trip musings!
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Unless you’ve been living under a big ol’ rock, you’ve probably heard some of the fuss about Nicki Minaj’s new song ‘Anaconda’. If not, a brief summary is that people don’t like it, they think it body-shames (specifically, skinny women) and that it’s anti-feminist. Which is a direct rebuttal to the people saying that the film clip can actually be considered empowering and doesn’t skinny-shame at all. I would like to say right now that I fall into the latter category completely. I’ve never been that big a fan of Nicki, I mean I love her image to death but her songs just aren’t quite my thing, which sucks because I am ALL about supporting black, female rappers in a misogynistic industry like the rap music scene. Before I get into why I like this particular song, I urge you to watch the clip now, even if you have already seen it, as I will reference it a couple of times:
OK so one of the first things people point out about this song is her use of “skinny bitches”. I’ll admit when I first listened to it I thought “great, skinny shaming! This is no better than Meghan Trainor’s damn song”. For reference, Meghan’s song “All About That Bass” has been a bone of contention to a lot of feminists because it’s packaged as a body-positivity song but is full of skinny-shaming (I will discuss this further later on). It’s a widely held belief in feminist circles that body-positivity shouldn’t come at the detriment of one body type over another. But otherwise I loved the song and was totally mesmerised by the film clip. I’m a member of an excellent feminist group on Facebook where we have discussed this video/song at length and it was through there that I started to question if Nicki was skinny-shaming at all, so I decided to do some research and see what other people have written about it.
I quickly found two distinct opinions, that Nicki’s brand capitalizes on racial stereotypes while reinforcing notions of Black female hypersexuality that are long established racist trope or that we live in a world where black women’s bodies are meant for our consumption but only on the terms which everyone who isn’t a black women gets to dictate (both of these articles relate to the cover for this single which was release a couple of weeks before the clip came out, just to clarify). The more I thought about it, the harder I found it to be mad about Nicki’s supposed skinny-shaming and I was starting to lean more towards the opinion that she is reclaiming the sexy black woman image from people who either fetishise or demonise it but rarely respect it. Aside from the “fuck skinny bitches” lines, everything was so great about the song and the video, the way she featured no men except for the end when she gives a lap dance to Drake who is merely there as a prop for Nicki to dance upon and is denied any real pleasure from the experience (as soon as he tries to touch her she’s outta there), the symbolism of her chopping up the banana etc.
As I kept researching I came across more articles that were pro-Nicki and so I not only started to side with them but started to vehemently agree with them. One article I loved in particular drew a comparison between Beyoncé who people are so readily to accept as being feminist (even before she “came out” as a feminist) and yet discount Nicki as being over-sexualised and anti-feminist. This is despite the fact Beyoncé has released some really problematic stuff in the past, but hey, she’s deemed classier so it’s easier to accept her brand of moderate and respectable feminism.
So what about the “skinny bitches” line. Could I ignore it when I’d had a few rants about skinny-shaming in Meghan Trainor’s song. No, but I was suddenly able to justify it. See, Nicki has reclaimed the word “bitch” to be an empowering word for woman, the female equivalent of men being called “boss”. With that in mind, when you hear the lyric “skinny bitches” it’s suddenly not a case of her saying “you’re a bitch because you’re skinny” but her just saying “skinny women” because remember, she also refers to herself as a fat-assed bitch. Yes, she does say “fuck the skinny bitches” which sounds pretty abrasive and mean at first, but after a closer look it’s really just her telling the skinny women to move it because her and her fat-assed friends are coming in to take over the club. I now interpret “skinny bitches” to refer to the skinny, mostly-white women like Miley Cyrus who’ve been trying to appropriate twerking from black women, telling them all to get out of the way because the women who twerked first and twerk best are here and they ain’t impressed.
So back to why ‘Anaconda’ is a more empowering song than Trainor’s. First off, “All About That Bass” is presented as a feel-good body-positive song, which is all lovely and fun until she actively shames a skinny woman by presenting one as “less attractive” and unable to dance in the clip. Meghan is also a thin-waisted curvy girl (therefore an acceptable kind of “fat” that is still considered attractive and desirable) who wrote a song about how bigger girls are better than skinny girls because as her mum says “boys like a little more booty to hold at night”. It’s just taking all the crap that fat women usually get and redirecting it at skinny women, which isn’t body positivity at all and is just plain ol’ skinny-shaming. But people don’t see that, they see a cute white girl in a cute music video being soooo cute and suddenly she’s the voice for all bigger women everywhere.
On the other hand, Minaj doesn’t have any such pretense. She’s doing what she usually does – the fuck you all type swagger that that you find in a lot of hip hop. At no point does she make the claim that she’s trying to make girls all feel good about themselves, her song is solely about her feeling good about her sexual prowess and how she much she loves her own big, fat ass. There’s a line that says “Say he don’t like em boney, he want something he can grab” which some might consider the same as Meghan’s booty line but the difference between them is that this is something a man has told her he specifically likes, whereas Meghan was told that to make her feel better about feeling fat/unattractive.
I guess it can all be interpreted differently depending on your own personal experience. Overall I find the idea of skinny-shaming to be a step backwards when it comes to body-positivity, but at the same time I’m not that upset by it. Yes some slim women find it offensive, and I agree that it kinda sucks. But skinny-shaming is in no way comparable to fat-shaming. Thin people, women especially, have this thing called thin privilege, where they can see thin people like themselves represented in an appealing manner in all forms of media, they can walk down the street in a pair of shorts and not have people sneering at them or calling them names, they don’t have people concern-trolling them about their health or how they’re a burden on the health system or how they’re undesirable. So when people get up in arms about skinny-shaming and how it’s as bad as fat-shaming, I feel sad because it’s not true and it’s hurtful to try and align two types of shaming that at face-value might seem similar, but in reality one is oppressive while the other is just about some temporarily hurt feelings. Oh and just a note; if your immediate response to the concept of thin privilege is to dismiss it is being untrue or ridiculous, perhaps you need reminding of the phrase “check your privilege” because the thing about privilege is that you don’t know you have it until it’s pointed out to you.
In the end, these are all my own interpretations based on my own observances and the articles I’ve read online. I have never been skinny-shamed in my life because I am not skinny, but I also haven’t experienced much fat-shaming as I’m kind of in-between. I’ve seen both though, and I gotta say, fat-shaming is a lot more common and hurtful than any of the skinny-shaming I’ve ever witnessed, which seems to mostly stem from jealousy instead of outright disgust. ‘Anaconda’ has a lyric that can easily be perceived as hurtful, but that is not necessarily how it’s intended. This is a song about having a fabulous, big ass and being proud of it. Nicki uses her sexuality to express this in a way that empowers her. Maybe it doesn’t empower you, that’s OK, but you can’t tell everyone else that they’re not allowed to feel empowered by it. I’m happy for women to be empowered by ‘All About That Bass’ too, I won’t deny it’s too problematic for me to really enjoy but I understand why others feel differently than me.
Anyway that’s my feminist fat vs thin rant for now! Back to your irregularly scheduled program of intermittent fashion and geeky posts by yours truly ;)
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On Sunday 10th August I got together with a bunch of friends and celebrated Harry Potter’s 34th birthday! OK so Harry’s birthday is actually on the 31st of July, but as that was midweek and I had Greazefest on the weekend immediately after, we decided to put it off another week.
Back in the 2002 I started a Harry Potter fan club which was primarily aimed at adults which ran til around 2007. Sadly interest petered out when the final book was released and we found it hard to get people to come to our meet ups. But I made some awesome friends from the club and we make sure that we celebrate Harry’s birthday every year as a way to catch up and reminisce about the good ol’ days.
We held this years party at The Scratch where we took over the whole back half of the bar with decorations and a ridiculous amount of food that we all made and brought along. I made cauldron cakes (tiny choc cupcakes with liquorice handles) and cockroach clusters (choc crackles with extra shredded coconut). We drank Butterbeer (as well as lots of delicious beer and cider) and had a lovly time catching up. It was really lovely having some new friends come along as well!
I only took a few photos as I was too busy socialising and eating delicious treats but I managed to snap a few on my phone:
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Greazefest was on this weekend and it was our second go at having a Ruby Kawaii stall there, despite the fact we didn’t do very well last year
. I’ve been going to Greazefest for years
even though I haven’t been into rockabilly for a good four or so years now, but it’s a bit of a tradition and always a bit of fun. Because of how disappointing last years was, we were a bit hesitant about even doing a stall again this year, but we figured we’d give it a crack in case last year was just a dud. Well… let’s just say we probably won’t be doing a stall at Greazefest again. We actually started off OK on the Saturday, we made more than the entirety of the previous year. But Sunday was a total bummer, it was really quiet which everyone seemed to notice. It’s such a shame! But that’s OK, we gave it a solid go and now will only attend future Greazefest’s as punters, not stall holders.
Here a few photos from the weekend, mostly of myself and my sister, usually eating delicious treats:
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On Sunday I went to a five-year-old’s birthday party. It was the granddaughter of my mum’s good friend and they asked me to come dressed up super kawaii to appeal to all the little girls there. With the promise of party treats and a petting zoo I was more than happy to oblige! It was a very fun afternoon and I was pleased to note the adults were probably the most impressed by my outfit, they all couldn’t get over my shoes! I also think I may have given Black Milk a few new customers thanks to my fabulous unicorn leggings.
I ate way too many chocolate crackles (it’s been so long!) and got to pat many a baby farm animal including this tiny pony who had a rainbow tail (don’t worry, it was just hair chalk). I also got my fac painted which was wonderful and I was so sad when I had to take it off later that night :(
Leggings: Unicorn Black Leggings by Black Milk Clothing
Skirt: Tutu bought from a vendor at Supanova Gold Coast
Top: Black lace shirt from Jay Jay’s (I think)
Shoes: Adidas x Jeremy Scott Pink Poodle sneakers from Laced
Scarf: 14-Character “Hello Kitty by Twinkie Chan” Scarf from Yummy You
Bow: Hello Kitty Bow (Pink) by iamchubbybunny from Japan LA
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As you are all probably aware, I really like Harry Potter. I’ve even blogged about it a few times. Well I found out a little while ago that a Brisbane group called Man vs Bear were hosting a Harry Potter trivia night at a local bar, so obviously I immediately signed up a team (hilariously named “Quidditch while we’re ahead”) and started recruiting friends to join me in my quest to prove how big a HP nerd I really am. In the weeks leading up to the night, I tried to cram as much study in as possible but between working my day job and starting my nail business I only manged to read the Philosophers Stone and a few chapters of Chamber of Secrets. Oh no! I did a whole bunch of online quizzes whenever I could, but I was so nervous! People kept joking about how there would be a group there who had no life and so knew every intricate detail of the books and would defeat us easily. NO! I had a reputation to uphold, I was known for my HP-love thanks to the (now defunct) Harry Potter fanclub and all of my appearances on the radio, TV and in local newspapers whenever the new film/book was coming out.
On the afternoon of the quiz, I met with my team to discuss tactics and have a few quick drinks to ease our nerves. We were all HP fans with excellent knowledge who were keen to win! I actually managed to rope in my friend Jen who did the quiz the night before (it’d been so popular, they had to add an extra night, which happened to be the night before we were going) who found out that the questions would be different but it was great to have some insider knowledge on how it all worked.
I won’t go through every blow by blow details of the evening as that’s ridiculous/boring but here are some of the highlights:
- We got stuck up in the back corner as people apparently lined up super early, but it was a cosy little booth where no one could cheat off us and wasn’t crammed with people like up the front
- The served Butterbeer! It was actually a cocktail but a delicious one! They also had shots caused Parselmouth which weren’t as delicious as they were full of absinthe but I tried one anyway ;)
- Our team worked together brilliantly, we all knew things that left the rest of the team stumped and there were no arguments about any answers, even when we got some wrong
- At the half way mark when the scores were double checked by the hosts, our team was ahead by a whole FOUR POINTS!
- The last half of the quiz was tough and I started to worry again some other super team would beat us… BUT WE WON!
Look I’m not going to lie, I was one of those awful, obnoxious winners who screams, dances and carries on like a jerk. But I was so damn excited. I was also stoked when I realised the top prize was a Black Milk voucher, it was as though it was meant to be! Needless to say we celebrated for a while and I maybe made myself very, very sick (oops) but let’s face it, it was soooo worth it!
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On Saturday I spent the day with my mum having lunch and shopping. It’s something we used to do often but haven’t had a chance to do for a while, so it was lovely to get a chance to do it again. This was my first time wearing my Yummy You 14-character Sanrio character scarf which, judging by all of the kids faces who I passed, it was a big success. It wasn’t actually that cold (yay Brisbane winters) but like that ever stopped me wearing something fun!
Black Milk Velvet Black Evil Skater Dress
Leggings: Black Milk Merbarbie Leggings
Scarf: Yummy You 14-Character “Hello Kitty by Twinkie Chan” Scarf
Converse Platform low tops
Bought from a market many a few years ago
Made by me for Ruby Kawaii
Enjoying sake and dumplings at Harajuku Gyoza with mum. She’ll kill me if she
finds out I posted this picture but it’s so cute!