Dress Me Up, Take Me Out. Vol.4: Witchery

For most Aussie gals Witchery isn’t exactly a brilliant find on my part—there’s stores everywhere, and deservedly so—but I reckon they’re pretty brilliant, and we should share them with more people than just New Zealand, South Africa, and Singapore. I also, happened to wander through the local store today and find a striped blazer that was just gorgeous, and actually fit me well—something that never happens to me, due to my ex-swimmer’s shoulders (round and huge).

I used to work in the Brisbane City’s David Jones on one of the lesser concession stands, which just happened to be right near Witchery and Country Road (my other fave!). I’d spend slow days wandering through their stands, dreaming of all the pretty things I couldn’t afford. The Witchery girls weren’t the most charming, but were incredibly entertaining with their catty whinging behind each other’s backs, and they’d always give us a few extra dollars off on top of staff discount. I’m pretty sure this is where my love affair with the brand started.

Here’s a peek at some of the new season delights:

Store: Witchery

Store Locations: Throughout Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Singapore, & online

International Shipping: YES! Australia: $9.95, Asia/Pacific: $19.95, International: $29.95.

Best Bits: Their styles and cuts suit all different shapes and sizes (even weird ones like me). The quality of fabrics has remained great, and is reasonably inexpensive in comparison to others of similar quality. Great range of classic cuts and basic tees that don’t cling, or stretch in the wash.

(All priced in Aussie Dollars)

  1. Silk Blend Stripe Pant (75% Cotton, 25% Silk): $129.95
  2. Maxi Beach Kaftan (100% Viscose): $169.95
  3. Spot & Stripe Scarf: $49.95
  4. Hardware Maxi Dress (100% Silk w/nylon and metal neck trim): $199.95
  5. Pixie Boot (Nubuck Leather upper): $199.95
  6. Paris Hardcase Clutch (100% Resin Outer): $79.95
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Thematic: Black and White

One of my best friends got engaged earlier in the year, and asked me to plan her wedding. I was incredibly honoured, and super excited, not least because it was to be an elegant black and white affair. Sadly, the groom-to-be turned out to be an uber-jerk and my pal was smart enough to run for the hills. BUT…at least this means when she find Mr Perfect—who I’m sure is just around the corner—she’ll already have a head-start on planning!

I’m into thorough research whenever I undertake any project, so I have black and white theming ideas scattered everywhere. From dresses and décor, to cake and bonbonniere’s, I’m pretty sure I could create a billion different story-boards, but here’s just a few of the most fantastic ideas I’ve found.

For the Bride

A dress fit for a princess—every girl’s dream, right? Of course! But that doesn’t have to mean bouffant shoulders and meringue skirts. Tea length-frocks are perfect for the bride who knows she’ll be on the dance floor all night, and a pretty touch of black lace or ribbon is sweet and elegant. Traditionally a bride wears virginal white, but there’s really no rule saying you can’t wear all black, with maybe a sneaky hint of white petticoat. Throw on a pair of black heels and you don’t have to worry about getting them dirty and never being able to wear them again.

(Clockwise from left)
Dress 9482 by Casar Elegance
Gown from Christian Siriano Fall 2012 Collection
Valentino Stiletto via Tim Smith’s Pinterest
“Erudito” from Rosa Clara’s 2011 Colleciton (via Belle the Magazine)
 
Flowers and Décor

I love colour, but there’s something just that little more regal about white flowers. Anemones, with their black centres and delicately ruffles white petals, are perfect for a black and white them. White roses, tulips, or carnations are also gorgeous and, wrapped in black ribbon, look both sophisticated and feminine.

Black vases filled with simplified versions of the bouquet link the theme from the ceremony to the reception. Or find a pretty candle holder (like the one below) to add soft lighting—float loose flower buds in the rounded cups to add a delicate touch, or fill with mints for a freshness-hit pre-dance floor. And what’s will the obsession with white linens? Search your local haberdashery for some black and white fabric and throw together your own personal tablecloths or runners—stripes look great on long tables, and chevrons are huge right now.

(Clockwise from left)
Anemone Bouquets via Dannie DeBruins Pinterest
White Carnation Bouquet with Pleated Stem Wrap from Martha Stewart Weddings
Cups Centrepiece Tealight Holder from Crate and Barrel

 

(Fabrics all Via fabric.com. L-R)
Premier Prints Small Classic Diamond (Black/White)
Riley Blake Chevron Medium (Black)
Premier Prints Canopy Stripe (Black)

Sweets

The cake! So many times I’ve had friends go to weddings and talk more about the cake than the bride—it was amazing, it was dry, it was hideous. I’m not going to lie, I scrutinise the cake too but, in my defence, I have mentioned I’m obsessed with cake only this week. But seriously, there are so many great cake artists out there, and you can do so much with cake. Maybe you want a special cake just for the groom, something dapper and stylish. And you don’t have to just settle for cake—everyone’s been doing the cupcake towers, but I’ve also seen some pretty awesome donut cakes, cheese-wheel cakes, and the good old croquembouche. While these don’t always come in black and white, macarons come in any colour you like, look pretty darn sexy, and are a gluten free alternative.

Then there’s bonbonnieres, or favours. Sure, you can do the Jordan almonds, or chocolate hearts, but do you really want to be that boring? Why not iced cookies or lollypops in black and white, or a black and white candy station where guests create their own? This dessert station from Hostess With the Mostest is just divine, and would look just as lovely replaced with dark chocolate buttons, mints, black cats, and other candies.

(Clockwise from left)
Macaron Tower created by Cake Opera Co. (look for a blog dedicated to them in the near future!)
Groom’s Cake created by The Cake Parlour
Black Lace Cookies found on The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle
Black Cherry 2-Ounce Swirl Pops from Candy Warehouse

I’m all about the little touches as well. A special thank-you in the program to someone who’s often overlooked but means a lot, a candle for someone dearly loved who has passed, or simply a salute to a shared inside joke hidden throughout the décor. Often these small moments are the ones that remain years later—even if it’s something as simple as dapper digits:

After all, is there ever going to be a day when people stare at your hands more than your wedding day?

Mister Nice Guy

I love food. If you know me, this really isn’t much of a secret—it’s on my mind pretty much 24/7. I love cooking it, reading about it, and eating it. And I’m especially fond of sweet things, like cupcakes.

I’m also a keen supporter of food open and available to everyone. For many this is medically important—people with wheat, gluten, and dairy intolerences, etc.—but for others it is simply an ethical decision which happens to go hand-in-hand with their beliefs, religious or otherwise. Many of my friends have specific intolerances or special food requirements, so I’m always on the hunt for great recipes to make myself, or new places to visit that cater for these needs. Of these, the hardest to find is often Vegan-friendly providors, so when I find a great place, I have to share.

Enter Mister Nice Guy. A cupcakery in Melbourne, run by husband-and-wife team Lucas Cook and Deb Kantor, these dudes bake (daily) a range of kosher, organic, vegan cupcakes that can also be made gluten-free on request. So that’s the trifecta, with extra benefits!

If their awesomeness in catering for differing special food needs wasn’t enough, Mister Nice Guy also has a range of flavours than make my mouth water with anticipation. I want to try them all, but my top three would easily be these guys:

Okay, so I couldn’t quite narrow it down to three. But how cute are the images of each of the yummy flavours! The graphic throughout the site are brilliant, and their range is fantastic. Even the pricing is pretty darn good–$4 for a cupcake, and only $2 for mini ones! Their cakes range in price from $29 for a 7inch, single-layer cake, with options of double layers, gluten free, and other extras for a minimal extra charge.

I want one now but, alas, I don’t live in Melbourne. Instead, I urge all you Melbournians to head there, try them for me, and report back while I try to concoct a believable reason to travel to Melbourne for business.

My Endless Love: An Ode to Wabi

Last week I took a short hiatus from Heidielka—I’ve been having a bad month and could feel it seeping slowly into my writing, so I took a step back. To be honest, I was ready to get back into it by Thursday, but I’d given myself a week, so I took it.

I don’t think I would have been calmed so quickly if it weren’t for the kind words and encouragement from my friends, particularly Wabi.

This is Wabi and I back in 2009, frantically cooking up a retro-food feast for her baby sister’s birthday.

Cooking up a storm with Wabi

That day we baked and cooked, piped and rolled until we had produced enough cheese-balls and devilled eggs to feed a house-full of hippies and beatniks. We moved around the miniscule kitchen without stepping on each other, and naturally took charge of the tasks each excelled at the most. But we also talked and laughed until our bellies ached.

We’d cooked with each other before that day—having lived together for almost two years—and have cooked together many more times since. We’ve also laughed until our sides were splitting and tears were streaming down our faces. But most importantly, well before that day, and many, many times since, we’ve talked constantly, and about everything.

We’ve had the typical conversations twenty-something women have—about guys, beauty, and our careers—but more recently, we’ve talked often about things most young people don’t tend to spend a lot of time on—our health…or lack there-of.

Having been troubled by an unusual list of symptoms for the last few years, I’ve traipsed from doctor to doctor with no answer in sight. I’ve had endless blood tests and scans, and taken everything from simple paracetamol to the more serious SNRIs. Throughout all the testing, doctor’s visits, and dead-ends, Wabi has been there as a sounding board, and a constant support. Whenever doubt has crept in, whenever I’ve felt like giving in, she’s offered an ear, a tissue, and a supportive smile.

Fortunately, Friday a piece of the puzzle finally fit—I have gallstones! While this is hardly the answer to everything, it’s something. The first person I contacted was Wabi.

I’m sharing this not because I want sympathy, or because I want the world to know my problems, but because I don’t think we appreciate the people in our lives enough. They say friends are the family you can choose. This is more than true with my friends—they are my sisters, my support crew, and my confidants. So, I wanted to celebrate them here, because I do want the world to know how fantastic they are—starting with Wabi.

Outside of being my very own cheerleader, she is also one of my idols, and easily one of the strongest people I know. She battles every day with two forms of autoimmune disease, is working hard to establish her own business, and will go out of her way to help anyone with anything (and usually do it with a smile). She’s also a great road-trip companion, incredible writer, and easily one of the most stylish people I know.

Above all, she’s one of a very select group of people I never have to be anyone else but my crazy self around. And, let’s face it aren’t we all looking for friends who will accept our own special kind of crazy?

Dress Me Up, Take Me Out. Vol. 3: Shabby Apple

I came across Shabby Apple a couple of years ago now, and honestly can’t remember how I found it. But I do remember falling instantly in love with everything about it.

I adore the fun summer dresses, sexy cocktail frocks, and sleek swimsuits. I love that each collection comes with its own little story. And I admire their vision of providing clothing that actually fits.

Started as a way of offering clothing for women, to make them “feel feminine and beautiful for what they wear, not what they bare”, the Shabby Apple team provide full sizing charts for all items—including a handy “how to measure” section—and  their great  “Fit to Flatter” tool, allowing you to correctly ascertain and then shop by body shape! There’s a generous return/exchange policy just in case the size or fit isn’t quite right, and also a star-rating for each item, along with feedback from previous purchasers, allowing you a heads-up on items that are a generous (or less-than-generous) make.

You can shop a number of different ways—size, colour, fabric—and even purchase many of the cute shoes and accessories their lovely models wear. Best of all, not only do they offer an Emerging Designers Program, they donate a percentage of each sale to helping women worldwide, AND they ship internationally!

I can’t fault these gals, and certainly have yet to find anything on the site I dislike. My only problem seems to be deciding what to buy…

Store: Shabby Apple

Store Locations: Online

International Shipping: YES! Canada from $29.95(US), everywhere else from $39.95 (US).

Best Bits: Accurate and easy-to-use sizing charts, and purchaser feedback to make it easy for you to find the right size. Great range of styles and colours to suit all ladies shapes, and a broad range of sizing, so everyone can buy their dream dress. Superior quality fabrics. Supporting women just by purchasing!

(L-R from top left. All in US Dollars)

Thematic: A Tribute to Green

Pablo Calderon de la Barca

I love most colours—even amongst those I dislike I can find a shade or two to make me gush. But, without a doubt, my favourite of all the colours is green. Forrest, lime, apple, emerald, khaki, or moss—name a shade of green, and I’ll argue its beauty and perfection.

So what better way to start my Thursday feature—Thematic—than with an ode to the best of all the colours. I agree with Pablo, green is the world’s prime colour, particularly nature’s, and is one of the loveliest choices when it comes to theming anything. An outfit with a lovely green bangle, like this one from Eternal Ephemera’s Etsy (1), instantly screams spring. And these cheeky Louboutin’s, aptly named Rosazissimo (2), would make any bride feel just a little bit spunky.

Speaking of weddings, what would the reception be without gorgeous décor? A scattering of vintage green vases (these from Our modern History’s (3) and Three Tangerines’ (4) Etsy) filled with pops of white or pink for a relaxed garden party. You could create a gorgeous living chandelier, like the ones on Style Me Pretty (5), for a whimsical romantic gathering. Maybe you’re into something more modern…how about a cool Grass Ottoman (6), like this one from Inhabit? All suitably stylish ways to create a fresh and vibrant atmosphere.

Oh, and the table! I love tablescapes. I found this green-inspired cake table on Sally Dugas’ Pinterest (7). And I think this gorgeous sweets spread via All in the Invite (8) would look great with some of these sweet cakepops (9) on it. If you want some for yourself, check out The Sweet Source’s Etsy store. Speaking of Etsy and tables, buying a vintage typewriter (this cutie’s from Artma Vitage (10)) makes a really cool guestbook—simply fit it with a ribbon and give your guests some fun paper to tap away on.

Paper. Paper equals invites, right? Well it does to me. Kick off the green theme right at the start with green save the dates and invites, like these lovely chevron green ones from C3L Designs (11). If you’re after a neat idea for a baby shower, these scratch-offs from Inklings Paperie (12) are as cool as they come, and this baby carriage centrepiece/gift bag from Rainbow Showers (13) is delightful. If you’re clever enough, you could make a stack of these cute ribbon birds I found via BilVil (14) and use then as decorations on gifts.

One last thing. Themes don’t always have to be just for an event or a room. How about a theme for your life? I’ve decided this is mine:

Letterpress Print in Yellow Green by Heart Fish Press