My Endless Love: LRB

So I need to start by apologising for the endless tumble of shoe posts that are bound to feature on this blog. Those who know me (well, or not so) know I have a profound addiction to footwear. An addiction that at one time saw my shoe city—known to most as a wardrobe—reach the high eighties. Yes, that’s right, I had more than eighty pairs of shoes, and you know what, I still couldn’t find a pair to wear on some occasions.  So my commiserations in advance for having to listen to my endless shoe dribbles—I truly am addicted.

I’ve been putting this post off for a few days now, partially because I’ve been kept busy with work, but also because I haven’t wanted to admit to myself the sad truth of the matter: my little red boots are dying! That’s what the LRB stands for, in case you were wondering. And yes, these ladies do deserve acronym status at the same level as the classic LBD, because boots really are the classic shoe. Winter or summer, a cute bootie funks up a daggy dress, or dresses up the hastily-grabbed denims. Long or short, the humble boot immediately signals style and cred—even the flat variety can work magic, often in ways a heel could never. Which is why, for the last few years, my pretty red puppies have been my go-to winter wear.

These babies were an almost-no at a market stall. My pal KAOS tried them and was horrified to discover they were too big, but urged me to try them instead. I wasn’t immediately taken by them, but at $6, and fitting me like Cinderella’s glass slipper, I figured they were worth a purchase. Since then I’ve resoled them twice, re-healed them four times, and almost scrubbed them through in some places trying to get pub-floor stains off them. They are my everything shoe because they go with 99.9% of my wardrobe—no kidding! Not to mention they’re so warm and comfy it’s like wearing a pair of slippers around all day.

But, alas! They are on their last legs. The inside is wearing thin and the zippers are getting worn…and they’re in need of yet another re-sole. As much as I love their shabby charm, it’s about time they were retired in favour of some fresh boot friends. So I’ve been searching for the perfect pair, but finding red ankle boots isn’t as easy as you’d think. Here’s my finalists…and a few others just because:

  1. D.Co Copenhagen Cone Heeled Lace-Up Ankle Boot in Petrol, via asos
  2. Rocket in Red Suede, via Shoebox
  3. Base Slouchy Round Toe Bootie in red, via urbanog
  4. Kerry Cuff Ruched Ankle Bootie in gray, via urbanog
  5. Vickie Slouchy Round Toe Ankle Bootie in red, via urbanog
  6. Qupid Salya Jewel Satin No Lace Oxford Flat in blush, via urbanog
  7. Breckelle Sandy Lace Up Oxford Flat in aqua, via urbanog

Wisdom for Creatives

If you are a writer, artist, other creative type, an entrepreneur, or a dreamer watch this:

Golden advice:

“I’d do my best in the future not to write books just for the money – if you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. And if I did work that I was proud of and I didn’t get the money, I’d still have the work”.

Neil Gaiman, University of the Arts Graduation, 2012.

My Endless Love: Encouragement

There are very few things in this world that all human beings share. There are even fewer that can cross boundaries simply and profoundly. The very best of these things are often actions or behaviours, my favourites of which are  joy, respect, love and gratitude. But there is one more that, above even love, can mean so very much, especially on those days when things just seem impossible. Encouragement. We all have days when we need it, and it often doesn’t matter where it comes from or who offers it. The simple act acknowledgement and support can often be the difference between giving up in anguish and disgust, or pushing on to the end.

Being a wordaphile, I often look for encouragement in quotes or quips – by my favourite authors, or simply offered in passing from a friend or relative. Fitting with the redhead stereotype, I can tend to get overly frustrated very quickly, especially when overtired. I try to combat my temper with the now-famous

Keep Calm and Carry on

Poster from Barter Books.

Such simple words, but with such great meaning – offering solace and support in a moment. I love it, and I love that so many other people love it. I’m not one to support popular culture, but when it picks up something so perfectly resonant, what’s a girl to do, right?

Ever wonder where those words came from? This will clear it up for you and maybe, as with me, make you even more warm and fuzzy at the thought of them.

My Endless Love: Mum

Mother and Son (my brudda)

Top Five Reasons my Mum is Remarkable:

  1.        She’s part feline: My mum has clinically died 8 times in her life. Her miraculous comebacks include surviving severe pneumonia, gassing, two separate heart failures due to leaking aortic valve, a brain aneurism, and a car accident.
  2.        Everyone loves her: And I mean everyone. I recently gave a pal directions to my house, ending with “if you get lost, knock on any door in the street and ask where Aunty Daph lives”. Our street is not short, my mum is just everyone’s favourite aunty. And it’s always been like that, she has the ability to enthral children and adults alike just by being her. She gets invited to friends-of-friend’s weddings. She has teenage boys calling to chat with her.   She gets proposals from men who don’t even know her name—on more than one occasion (so what if they were drunk!)
  3.        She’s a good egg: My mum is from the old school days when you helped people just because they needed it. She bakes morning tea for the girls at work, sews costume skirts for the neighbour’s kids, and takes in anyone who needs a bed for a day, a week, or several months. She will drive the six hour round trip in one day to attend your birthday party, because she’s honoured to be invited. She is, heart and soul, good.
  4.        She’s more than you expect: My mum was born in the 40s, right at the end of the war. She grew up in a small country town, riding to school by horse. She got married and had two kids. She is small, well mannered, and unassuming. But she’s also a million times more than that. She was the one who tried to save her sister from burning alive when she was seven (sadly Heather died), she once ironed underwear in a brothel, and she knows how to drive a semi-trailer, a tractor and a harvester. She was the Darling Downs Skipping Champion (not the type with the rope. Yep, real sport!), a champion rally-car driver, and the belle of all the local balls. She also helped raise her siblings, becoming mother to her youngest sister, when my nana was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
  5.        She knows everything: Just when you think there’s nothing more you can learn from her, my mother will teach you something you had no idea she knew how to do. Can your mum crack a whip, make birthday cakes that look exactly like the ones in the Woman’s Weekly Birthday Cakes book, and sheer a sheep? Can she make ball gowns out of curtains, take your blood, and name different species of wheat or breeds of cows? How about knowing it’s going to be cold even when it’s 28C outside, teach you to jive, or know you’ve been up to something from the other side of the world. My mum can. She can do all of it. And so much more.

I know this all sounds a bit biased and like I’m bragging. But, well, I guess I am. Mums are amazing, no matter who’s they are or what they’ve done in their lives because they’ve given up their time, money, and body to turn us into human beings. But mine is also by absolute hero. She is, without fail, the person in this world I love, respect, and look up to the most. And she’s definitely my favourite person ever—past, present, or future.

Happy Mother’s Day, Daphne. And all the other mother’s out there—I hope you got spoiled for all the years you’ve spent spoiling everyone else.

My Endless Love: So-Bad-it’s-Good Music

I’ve decided I need a regular topic to write about—something to jog my writing memory and get the thoughts flowing each week. I’ve been trying to come up with a topic for the last few weeks, and then it hit me yesterday while breaking the maddening traffic with crazy  car dancing on the road to the coast with Wabi: Great loves!

Now, before you start imagining Carrie Bradshaw-esque adventures, let me be very clear: I do not plan to conquer the local male population of Toowoomba in my love den. Rather, I will write about all my favourite and most loved people/places/things. I reckon, at one post a week, that should get me through til at least 2016 with my incessant love for pretty much everything. Expect to the see a multitude of posts on food, clothing, shoes, pretty things, sparkly things, shiny things, and pretty much anything cute, girly, or retro because that’s pretty much me in a nutshell.

Which brings me to my first great love, and the inspiration for both topic and title: music. But not just any music. The kind of music you only listen to in the car by yourself, or with your very best friends. The kind you’d never admit to ever listening to on a first date….actually, probably not until you’ve got that ring on your finger and the pre-nup signed. I’m talking about those songs that are so bad but sooo incredibly good, the ones you secretly love, the ones you can’t help but sing and/or bop along to whenever you hear them.

This is easily one of my favourites:

In fact, pretty much anything my Lionel Richie will have me throwing some keen 80s moves in my head. Love him.

But he’s certainly not the only member in the League of Secretly Good Music. What would the world be without car trips, drunken adventures, and general crazy dancing including the likes of Mysterious Girl (Peter Andre), Mr Vain (Culture Beat), and Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice). Good times? The best!

What is it that I (we—go on, admit it! You’ve danced around your bed to at least one of the songs listed) love about these tunes? It can’t be that they’re actually good lyrically, because they’re not. I mean:

‘Cause my style’s like a chemical spill

Feasible rhymes that you can vision and feel

Ah, a chemical spill isn’t a good thing to compare yourself to Mr Ice. Jus’ sayin’ (hey, if he can get all ghetto, so can I). And that’s some of the better lyrical waxing in these songs.

So if it’s not the lyrics, what is it? The melody is a simple poppy tune. The voices of most of these artists aren’t that fantastic (Lionel being one of the exceptions). As musical masterpieces go, they pretty much fall short everywhere, but we love them (secretly) all the same!

You know what I think it is? The time! Most of them come from the 80s—the ones I love anyway. The 80s and early 90s were my childhood years and, I think, maybe these songs remind me of that, and remind me of ‘happy’, and ‘goofy,’ and all those other moments we associate with the innocence and joy of youth. These songs always seem the best when I’m verging on a bad mood. They pull me right out and get me climbing all the way to the top of the cheery tree. They’re the quickest way to brighten a room and get everyone on the dance floor. And they are probably the only time you will ever here the word gavotte in a song outside the 1800s:

You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht

Your hat strategically dipped below one eye / Your scarf it was apricot

You had one eye on the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte

                                                                                                You’re so Vain, Carly Simon

What’s your favourite shoddy song?