Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Ultimate Six Blogs

Since I started actively blogging not too long ago, I have also done a fair bit of blogwalking. The more I explored, the more hooked I got. For the adventurous and curious, the stuff to be found on the blogosphere is truly awesome!

The best blogs are written by people who are passionate about their field of interest and who write entertaining, creative and useful posts that provide much reading pleasure for their followers. In fact some blogs have such a powerful impact that they have changed the way people think, live, eat and even dress! Food for thought not?

OK I better stop rambling and get to the point of this post. In no particular order, these are the blogs that have made it to my "Reading List". Here's why:

1. awaken . your . wander . lust [ ]

There are tonnes of travel blogs out there, but this blog stood out because it appeals to me as an aspiring solo traveler. It is written by Katia, a 21 year old travel and food junkie who has traveled all over the world. Pretty awesome huh?

The writer of this blog does not only post great pics and rave about the exotic places she has visited. Her blog is unique in the sense that it offers useful information to the single woman traveler on a budget like me! Her motto is, if she can do it, so can many other women out there.

2. Unique People   [ ]

The greatest styles are not only to be found on the runaway, fashion inspiration can be found on the streets of any city in the world as "The Sartorialist" has shown us. However as popular as this blog is, there are other street style blogs worth looking at.

For sometime now, "Unique People" has been my regular dose of eye candy when it comes to street styles. Why I like this blog? The people featured look regular yet stylish. You don't have to be a slim fashionista or some punk rocker look alike to be profiled on this blog. Plus unlike "The Sartorialist" that features some rather outrageous looks which only the truly daring can carry off, the styles featured here are easier to emulate  and provides oodles of inspiration for style lovers like me.

3. laisse-tomber-les-filles [ ]

Sometimes the best fashion stories are to be found in the web journals of fashion lovers than those who actually write about it for a living. It's been an age since I purchased Vogue or Harpers Bazaar. Why should I? When I can feast my eyes on beautiful images of stylish scenes and people, and read the musings of a writer who breathes style by visiting one of my favourite blogs.

4. Bonescythe Property   [ ]

Who reads property blogs right? Well the older I get, I have come to realise the importance of being in the know about matters property related. So does this mean that I have to constantly read the property section in the newspapers or subscribe to a property magazine? Well I found an easier way to stay up-to-date via "Bonescythe Property", and it does not cost a cent!

This site keeps me abreast with the latest happenings in the home and commercial property market and also links to other property portals on the net. And unlike a business publication where the writing style can be rather wordy, the posts on this site is written in an engaging manner in simple English.

5.  You Had Your Lunch?  [ ]

I have a confession to make, though I'm a born and bred Malaysian, there is much in multicultural Malaysia that I have yet to try - food wise. So I was pleasantly surprised to come across a food blog written by an English girl working in Kuala Lumpur, who judging by her posts, has explored further than I, the exotic food of this multicultural paradise.

I would highly recommend this blog to food lovers out there who want to know more about Malaysian food and the author's experiences dining at the various food joints in the city. There are many food blogs out there, but some are so difficult to read - unnecessary pop-out images, too many irrelevant photos, disjointed writing.

This blog however has "Professional Food Reviewer" stamped all over it. The writer has a good grasp of her subject matter and the whole look of the blog is neat, making it easy to read and appreciate.

6. Thou art So Beautiful [ ]

The writer of this blog is an aspiring film maker and novelist. When he's not writing great reviews on Indian cinema, he entertains his readers with thought provoking works of fiction. Sometimes the best stories are those that have yet to see print, and the most in-depth reviews are written by those that have no commercial interest - that's what this site is about. Those who appreciate good writing, original ideas and deep thoughts like me, will love this blog! 

Well that's all folks! hope my fellow Nuffnangers out there enjoy reading these blogs as much as I have.

This post was written in commemoration of Blog Day

Monday, August 29, 2011

D is for Diana.......

It's been many years since she passed on, but when one says the name Diana, the one that immediately comes to mind is Diana Princess of Wales, the tall blonde goddess with the deep blue eyes. Ah but this post is not about her, the people's princess who held dying children in her arms and oozed compassion.

The Diana I'm writing about might be literally unknown in this part of the world, even those who work in the local fashion publishing industry go "Who........?" when I mention her name. Kinda ironic considering that many aspects of today's fashion magazines has her stamp on it.

Let me give you an example, those fashion spreads shot in exotic locations - model lounges on sun-drenched beach in Bali, clad in bright peacock coloured sundress......... it all started with her. Before she came along, such photo shoots were literally unheard of.

OK enough of the suspense already. Her name is Diana Vreeland. Ring a bell? You know what she's all about? If you do, get in touch with me, we'll go for a cuppa, I need more friends like you who are familiar with long gone fashion mavens from the other side of the Atlantic.

So now you're probably thinking that this Diana like her more universally known counterpart was some kind of a clothes horse. Wrong!!

Actually in looks and style, the two could not have been more opposite. While Diana of Wales was blonde through and through, Vreeland's hair was jet black. While Diana embraced colour, Vreeland almost always wore black, though she was said to be obsessed with the colour red.

Vreeland told designer Billy Baldwin that her apartment should look like a garden in hell.

While Diana was photographed at gala events decked in the Queen's jewels. Vreeland preferred signature pieces of costume jewelry which she fondly referred to as her "junk jewels".

Vreeland's accesories was not for the tame hearted.

Diana Vreeland  was like a wizard of style. She knew what women wanted, even before they did. Such deep perception and uncanny insight was a unique attribute of hers. In fact until her death in 1989, she was considered an American style icon and one of the most influential women in fashion history. I can almost hear you think - "Wasn't Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis an American style icon....?" Well the one giving Jackie all those style tips was Vreeland!

Though many people who claim to breathe fashion (in this part of the world) have no idea who Vreeland is, and probably don't give a fig. Much that is in fashion today, including its personalities, have Vreeland to thank for it.

She recognised the fashion potential of bold prints.

It was her who brought animal prints into style. When Yves St Laurent showcased them in a collection, Vreeland saw potential and pushed it to the public. So that's how animal prints, namely leopard prints came to be so popular. Making an appearance decade after decade, season after season, in the collection of many designers and in the high street.

Every fashionista craves a pair of Manolos.

When aspiring fashion designer Manolo Blahnik showed her his fashion sketches, she advised him to focus on shoes. Need I say more? Oh but I must! It was Vreeland who discovered Lauren Bacall and helped launch Twiggy in America.

Vreeland wielded her enormous influence on the world of fashion - as fashion editor at Harpers Bazaar for more than two decades, and subsequently as Editor in Chief of Vogue from 1963 to 1971.

Unlike Anna Wintour and others who took the journalistic root to a career in fashion publishing. Vreeland's entry into the industry was quite accidental actually. In fact she never intended to work for a living!

Vreeland was not born wealthy, but she hailed from a socially well connected background. She was friends with Coco Channel and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Though she wore designer clothes, Vreeland paid almost nothing for it. Couturiers were happy to have her wear their clothes for her chic manner and visibility in high society.

As it turned out, it was her visibility and sense of style that landed Vreeland her first job in fashion publishing. She was spotted dancing at the St. Regis hotel in a white Chanel lace dress with a bolero and roses in her hair by Harpers Bazaar editor Carmel Snow. The rest they say is fashion history!

Photographer Richard Avedon credits Vreeland with reinventing the job of fashion editor. Before her, the fashion editor put together spreads that would appeal to society ladies. But Vreeland's approach was different.

Instead of simply reporting on styles and trends of the day, Vreeland played tastemaker. She told women what they should want. She had an uncanny intuition on what would appeal to the public, and used this talent to great effect in popularising certain trends, ideas and attitudes.

Vreeland however was not just celebrated for her sense of style. She was a larger than life personality and a celebrated wit who along the way created many words that have made their way into popular talk. For instance, the word "pizazz" originated from her.

She was also quite the storyteller, weaving spectacular tales out of half truths. Asked by a journalist whether this was fact or fiction. She said it was faction!

Vreeland's bon mots could also rival that of Oscar Wilde's. Now I'm beginning to wonder what it would have been like if the two had met! But that's another story for another time. For now I shall end this post with several of Vreeland's famed quotes.

 I'm terrible on facts. But I always have an idea. If you have an idea, you're well ahead!

What do I think about the way most people dress? Most people are not something one thinks about.

I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.

Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola.

Pink is the navy blue of India.

People who eat white bread have no dreams.

In Balenciaga you were the only woman in the room - no other woman existed.

No one cuts backs like he did. No one knows what a back is anymore.

As you know, the French like the French very much.

The best thing about London is Paris.

I think your imagination is your reality.

Never fear being vulgar, just boring.

A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika.

Is there anything beyond fashion?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hot Mama or Hot Papa?

Pic courtesy of
 If I gained a Ringgit each time I hear the phrase "Hot Mama", I would be rich, so freaking rich. Thanks to the advent of social media, this has become the most over used and overrated phrase each time a woman with kids posts a pic of herself in which she looks um just OK.

Yeah I get it, your friend has just posted a pic of herself sans kids at a party or at some holiday destination. So you wanna be nice, friendly, or just comment for the heck of it. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not writing this to belittle those mums who posted the photos.

Some of them look great, some of them look OK, some of them look like how they have always looked, even before they had kids. Nothing wrong with these gals, great that they have a life outside of motherhood. But what irritates me is the almost flagrant use of the term. If they are hot, why can't it be: "Hei you look hot!" Why add the "mama". She's hot coz she's hot, what has it got to do with motherhood?

Is it unnatural for a woman who has had kids to look good? Do the majority of them look like a sack of potatoes, so that the ones who don't are hot mamas? Yeah I know that a woman's body changes after she has kids. In differing degrees depending on the person. But not everyone who has had kids are battling fat genes.

We no longer live in an age where childbirth ruins a woman for good. Those times were different, women had children one after another, they did not have proper care, diet and nutrition. Those who were not of nobility, not only raised many children, but were also subjected to hard labour. So that was then, History!

Back to the present, we are talking about modern mums who are posting pics on Facebook. Not some rural peasant woman. So people why do you keep hot mama-ing these women. Does being a mum mean everything you do, how you look, all relate back to the fact that you are a mum?

How come I have never heard the phrase "Hot Papa"? Is it coz it is the woman who is expected to undergo a metamorphosis after having kids? These days many dads play an active part in bringing up their kids too. So is it not likely that the maturity that comes with being a dad and providing for a family might imprint itself on a man too?

So why not say hot papa the next time a father of three posts a photo of himself doing something cool on FB or Google Plus in the future.

According to the Urban Dictionary, hot mama means - wicked hot girl, a fine ass bitch, or a particularly attractive woman with at least one child.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Social Media Posters

Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus should consider hiring Aaron Wood and Brian Winfield Moore for future advertising campaigns. These two savvy illustrators have taken branding and imagery to a new level with their brilliant retro inspired posters of these three social media giants.

Aaron an illustrator drew inspiration for his posters from wartime propaganda. So yeah, if there was such a thing as social media during "The Blitz", the Allied Forces and Axis Powers might have reached out to people with powerful symbolism like these.

Brian a media designer, derived the idea for his posters from the 2009 Iran election protest, activism, censorship and citizen journalism.

Aaron's posters

Brian's posters

Aaron's posters can be purchased from Etsy while Brian's is available at:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Child Predators

I watched a documentary sometime ago on channel E! titled "Women Who Kill". It featured several high-profile cases of grisly crimes committed by women. But the story that gripped me the most was the Sandra Cantu case.

Pic courtesy of
The kidnap, rape, and murder of 8-year old Sandra Cantu is old news. It happened way back in March 2009. But what shocked me the most was that the person who was found guilty of Sandra's rape and murder was a woman and not a man! And not just any woman off the street. Melissa Huckaby, 28, was a Sunday school teacher and single mother. Sandra was her daughter's playmate.

Huckaby in court
The gist of the crime

Sandra was last seen on surveillance video skipping down the street near her home at the Orchard Estates mobile home park in Tracy, California on March 27, 2009. Her body was eventually found stuffed in a suitcase  and floating in an irrigation pond on April 6.

Four days later police arrested Huckaby and charged her with the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Sandra. The crime was committed in the church where Huckaby taught Sunday school. The pathologist's report revealed that Sandra was sexually assaulted with a rolling pin. She was strangled to death with a torn piece of cloth.

Huckaby was initially charged with kidnapping, rape, and murder. However, in a plea deal, She pleaded guilty to the murder charge ( The two other charges were dropped and she was also spared the death sentence). She is currently serving a life imprisonment term without parole.

Source: Wikipedia [Sandra Cantu Homicide]

Most of us take for granted that when a child is sexually abused, it's usually a man who is responsible. Even the police who were investigating Sandra's disappearance initially thought so.

Though it is known and there have been many cases where children have been abused and ill treated by women. The abuse is rarely sexual, and when it is so, the woman is usually assisting a male accomplice. They rarely prey on and attack children on their own. Even more rare is an assault on a child of the same sex as the attacker.

The reason I'm writing this is because I felt that it is important for people to realise that those who prey on children can come in any form, men, women, teenagers........and it could be anybody. A teacher, a babysitter, relatives, neighbours, family friends. Basically just anyone.

People who prey on children don't live apart from society, they are a part of society. And many of these people actually serve in roles that will bring them closer to children and gain their trust. They can exist within the confines of what should be a child's close haven.

As in Sandra's case, the victim knew Huckaby and her family, and frequently went over to the latter's house to play with her 5-year old daughter.

When I was a kid, my cousins and I were told by our parents never to speak to strangers. To be careful of big scary looking men. However, sometimes it is the nice looking aunty offering cookies that could be the real monster.

Friday, August 5, 2011

RIP 80s

Just because the Salvo's don't want it, doesn't mean you have to keep wearing those clothes. I'm talking about 80s fashion folks. The era that fashion forgot and also the era that some people can't seem to get enough of! Which of course is the subject of my rant.

I was a kid in the 80s, so I'm blessed that I will never have to look at old pics of myself and cringe, which I know many people do, even renowned fashionistas. Hence it buggers me that some people still insist on clinging slavishly to their 80s wardrobe.

Yes, I have had the misfortune of being surrounded by "Self Proclaimed Fashion Divas" who love to prance about in high-waisted neon and tweed pants, carrot cut jeans with the acid-wash effect, huge shoulder pads that are visible beneath their business jackets, big frizzy perms and even bigger "jambuls".

The cast of Dynasty. Pic courtesy of
As I'm writing this, I can almost hear the theme song of Dynasty and Dallas playing in the background. Joan Collins and Linda Evans must be soo........proud that some people still heart their style. Groan........

I used to room in a house where one of the tenants was an 80s pin-up girl (sort of). The thing is, like me she would have been a kid in the 80s. But literally everything she wore seemed to have originated from that era, including her hairstyle!

I'm sure at this point you're probably thinking that this girl must have raided her mum's closet from way back then right? Wrong. According to this chick she gets all her apparel from Singapore because the stuff in KL ain't not good enough for her. Poor quality she says.

Now lemme give you an idea of all the high quality apparel she gets from um Singapore. Carrot cut jeans with huge daisy patterns on it, Bright green and yellow neon coloured t-shirts, two-piece suits in matching colours (like chilli red and apple green) with of course shoulder pads.......did I mention she's an accountant?

So yeah you get the picture right. She was either raiding the flea markets and thrift shops in Singapore, or unbeknown to me, Singapore is the Southeast Asian capital for 80s fashion, where the mannequins in boutique windows are all dolled up to look like a young Madonna or Debbie Gibson.

Yes, yes, even as I rant on wickedly, I'm fully aware of the fact that every once in a while there's a declaration from the fashion world that the 80s is back. (Happens when inspiration runs dry). Well don't buy it! It is fleeting and won't last as with most trends.

Diana Vreeland. Pic courtersy of
Be a trendsetter not a trend follower. Or at the very least be a trend stickler. Like the late Diana Vreeland and the still kicking Anna Wintour. Vreeland always wore black from head to toe, decked herself with statement pieces of jewelry and never left home without her signature red lippy. While Wintour has famously retained her bob hairdo, black shades and no smiley face.

Icy Anna by
These are the very women who run publications that hawk you the latest trends (Vreeland was the former fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar and later editor in-chief of Vogue until 1971, while Wintour is the current editor in-chief of US Vogue). Yet theirs never change, ever wondered why....??

Because style is eternal and fashion is fleeting. As Oscar Wilde said: "Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."