Art Space: Dean Russo Art

I’ve been a little obsessed with art of late. And a lot obsessed with animals, especially cats and dogs. Which makes Dean Russo’s pop art-ish prints one of my new Favourite Things. These are so much fun, I’d love to have one personalised with my own puppy’s face and hung above her bed… if her bed wasn’t underneath the patio table.

I couldn’t choose just one to share with you, so here’s my four bestest, of course, I’ve included the corgi in honour of Bonnie the Wonder Dog.

Prints (clockwise from top left): The Watchful Cat; Dachund II; Chihuahua II; Corgi; Ragamuffin.

Prints (clockwise from top left): The Watchful Cat; Daschund II; Chihuahua II; Ragamuffin; Corgi.

All these, and many more fantastic prints are available from Dean Russo Art on Big Cartel. There’s also a great range of tees, iphone cases (wish he did Samsung ones), and doggy accessories to choose from.

Pop over and check him out.

A Backhanded Compliment

This afternoon I played Wii Tennis with my mother. It was hilarious. In fact, most of the time she looked a lot like this:

You see, my mum is far from tech savvy. To be honest, it would be more accurate for me to say she’s tech illiterate. She can barely make a phone call on a mobile phone, and uses computers purely to play solitaire and look at the weather. So explaining the concept of a computer game that can ‘see’ what your hand is doing and copy your movements is mind-blowing.

We started slow. I explained which buttons she’d need to use, and found her a character she could see easily. We practised swinging our ‘racquets’ for a few minutes, and I explained that she needed to make sure she was in range of the little sensor bar so that the console could read her movements. I got the giggles immediately. Her movements would have seemed over-exaggerated on a real tennis court; in out lounge room they looked completely ridiculous.

We played for a half-hour or so, swapping between tennis and table tennis, and I think her moves improved a bit by the end. She had a blast, and has already asked if we can do it again tomorrow. I was absolutely up for regular matches, if only to watch her step-swing-miss-swing serves, and her little dances whenever she gets a shot away neatly.

Oh, and of course to beat her—somehow she managed to win every game. I’m thinking of stealing some of her moves.

Spectacle Spectacular: Sneaking Duck

Today is a slightly exciting, slightly scary day for me. Exciting because I got my very first lot of try-at-home frames in the mail, scary because when I decided to start this project, I also decided I was going to show you pictures of each frame on my face, which mean…photos of me. Eek! This freaks me out for a million different reasons, but there are three very big ones. To start with, I’m one of those people that are biologically disposed to taking bad photographs—something happens when cameras are pointed at me which results in an unnaturally bad representation of my appearance. Secondly, the weight I’ve gained over the past few years while fighting against my less-than-helpful body, shows in my face. Lastly, you will all know what I look like, and my romantic notion of you picturing me as a Christina Hendricks look-a-like will be forever gone.  I’m starting out with a bang too, because these particular shots are taken on my shoddy webcam with no makeup on—so, be kind, yeah?

Okay, enough about my tragic insecurities and bizarre fantasies, to the glasses!

To start with, I picked up my lovely Versace frames on the weekend and was super excited to see what kind of response they’d get from my family. Nothing. Seriously, not one person noticed them. Thanks for caring family, I’ll just go sit in the corner and be invisible. Or show someone who cares:

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Those will be my everyday frames, but I’m still desperate to get something more fun. Enter Sneaking Duck—the first of my Spectacle Spectacular contenders. They arrived yesterday in a basic plastic parcel pack, which I was a bit worried about because I know how rough couriers are with parcels. Inside, was a simple black case which, on opening, reveals a row of frames, all individually tagged with the frame’s name. The parcel also included a postage-paid return envelope, and an order form.

Sneaking Duck pack image

All the frames are fitted with plano (non-prescription) lenses, with the individual frame’s serial number on the left arm and “Sneaking Duck” on the right arm. The arm hinges seam nice and sturdy and, on most of the frames, are actually set into the arm, rather than just stuck to it. While all the frames are lightweight, they don’t look or feel cheap as can happen with plastic and wood frames.

The first frame I picked was chosen more for the name than anything. Scrumper’s Delight sounded like something absolutely wonderful…until I looked it up and discovered that “scrumper” actually means an utter loser. These frames are far from that description. A mid-brown wood frame, with almost-perfect circle lens-space, and a wide bridge, these frames create images of old-timey accountants, or snivelling evil sidekicks. They feel very comfortable, and fit neatly to the face, without pressing at the side of the head like some firmer fitting frames do. Sadly though, I think they are a little too petite for my face.

Sneaking Duck - Scrumper's Delight image

Frame two: the aptly named Decision. This was a frame I liked, but kind of knew I wouldn’t love. That said, this frame is still quite lovely. The top and arms of the frame are a true black, fading from the half-way point to a mottled black-clear mix. The small silver arrow-points at the temples are a nice feature to the slightly oval lenses, and the narrow bridge helps them to sit nice and high on the nose. I think if I was looking for a basic frame for everyday wear, these would absolutely be in contention, but in the fun stakes, they’re probably a bit on the tame side.

Sneaking Duck - Decision image

The third frame I threw in because it’s similar to the shape I usually always go for, so I knew it would suit me. That, and I’m in love with the name—Peek-can Pie! Cute, right? This rounded oblong frame is a much wider fit which I wouldn’t consider if I had a petite face, as it would be far too big. For my wider face though, these are a great fit, complimenting my shape and skin colour really well. Another mid-brown wood frame, Peek-can Pie’s arms are a lighter, more pine-like colouring tinged with burnt-wood trim. If I could afford a spare pair of everyday frames, hands-down these would be the purchase.

Sneaking Duck - Peek-can Pie image

I had high hopes for Blue Hole, although secretly thought they’d look horrible on me. I was pleasantly surprised—they look pretty good! This beautiful blue-grey distressed wood, and pine-armed frame is trimmed perfectly with silver arrow-head details at the temple. Verging towards square-oval rather than circle with a key-hole shaped bridge; these are a perfect cross between classic and modern. They sit, perfectly haughty-like on the nose, and fit around the head comfortably. I’m seriously thinking about these as sunglasses.

Sneaking Duck - Blue Hole image

Last, but certainly not least. In fact, Noggin is my favourite frame of the lot. With a lens shape very similar to Scrumper’s Delight, this slightly larger frame gives the appearance of the old-school dorky, bookish kid—precisely what I’m looking for, strangely enough. The classic tortoise-shell frame is complemented nicely by the black arms and rectangle temple features. These frames fit a bit firmer than the others, with the arms curving around to hug you head, and the wider bridge allowing the frame fit the nose, rather than simply resting on it. For what I’m currently looking for, I think this was my favourite of the lot, but these certainly aren’t a frame for the faint of heart.

Sneaking Duck - Noggin image

Overall, I was really impressed with Sneaking Duck. The delivery time (ordered last Thursday, arrived today) was pretty on-par with other parcels I’ve received from Sydney. The box they came in, while a little dusty and worn, was nice, and made the whole experience all a bit more fun. Free return postage is also a big win for me, as I probably wouldn’t have bothered if I’d had to shell out twenty dollars to return them.

The frames themselves, as I said earlier, seem to be of reasonable quality. They’re certainly not in the top echelons of glasses frames, but they are a far cry from many of the better-known brands in the same price range. Speaking of which, at $AU180.00 for the first pair of prescription glasses, and $AU90.00 for each additional pair, Sneaking Duck is definitely value for money. They do charge an additional $AU60.00 for stronger scripts, which is worth noting if you’re on the more visually impaired end of the sight scale.

An added bonus is that Sneaking Duck also does prescription sunglasses. These are a bit more expensive, but at $AU230.00 for the first pair and $AU140.00 for additional pairs, they are still well within the cheaper range for prescription sunnies. The collection of frames for sunnies is the virtually same as that for regular glasses, with a few additions, however the sunnies are not currently available as try-at-homes. That said, ordering the regular frames allows you to test them out just as well, and without the annoying inability to really see because the lenses are too dark.

Spectacle Spectacular - Sneaking Duck verdict

New Things

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This is my new toy… or at least the box that it came in. To be honest I can’t decide if the phone or its box is prettier!
I’ve had a Samsung II for the past year and a bit, and have nothing but good things to say about it, so I knew I’d go a Sammy when I upgraded.  Totally worthwhile! Here’s the three things I love most about it:
– The camera.  13megapixels. What more can I say?
– The keyboard.  I know It’s not for everyone, but I LOVE Samsung’s Swype keyboard.  It’s so much quicker and easier for someone like me, who has fat fingers.
– The bonus Google Play fifty dollar voucher. Okay, technically that’s not a phone feature, but I’m too cheap to pay for apos, so this allows me to customise my new toy without spending a cent.

Time to go buy some apps.

Spectacle Spectacular: The Prologue

Yesterday I went to the optometrist for the first time in three years. I was so excited! How sad is that, right? But I love my optometrist, and I have had my old glasses for so long that there are more scratches than there is clear lens. I’ve also had the same frame for over six years, and I’m thoroughly sick of it.

As much as I adore my optometrist, because he is quite small the selection is rather miserable, and I really struggled to find anything I loved. So I headed to the nearby OPSM, where I fell in love with these babies:

I promptly took them back to my optometrist’s office, and am now waiting with bated breath for next week, when I will get to share them with the world.

That could be the end of the story, but it’s not. The thing is, as much as I love the frames I’ve picked, they’re not really what I wanted. I wear glasses. I don’t like wearing them all the time, but since I have to, I want to really wear them. I want them to be an accessory, rather than just a necessity.

The frames above are lovely, but they’re bordering on bland. What I really want is something that stands out. The style I was looking for is something ultra-nerdy. The kind you would have turned your nose up at when you were a kid—the Steve Urkel kind. Unfortunately, they’d never suit me. Neither does the current trendy oversized, square black frame. What does suit me, and what I secretly love, is the ultra-round style—think Harry Potter, or Henry Walton (aka Indiana Jones).

So I did a bit of research last night, and not only did I find stacks of nerd-tastic frames, I also discovered a whole bunch of sites that allow you to try before you buy. The way it works is really simple: you pick five or so frames you like, give your credit card details (and with some a minimal holding fee), and they send you out the frames to try. After a week, you send them back, they refund any holding fees, and you can order any that you just can’t live without.

I love this idea so much, because it gives you the opportunity to sit with the frame for more than five minutes and really get used to it as part of your style, rather than a foreign object you’ve just picked up.  Because I’m so sold on this idea, and because so many sites have frames that I just adore, I’ve decided to have a Spectacle Spectacular. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be ordering try-at-homes from a number of different websites. I’ll write a review of not just the frames themselves, but the companies as well, so you can get an idea of the easiest processes and best value for when all you other four-eyes need new glasses.

Watch this space for the first instalment of the Spectacle Spectacular this time next week.