27 August 2013

Swan Lake at the Civic

I am far from a ballet expert. I have seen the ballet twice now. My first time was only a couple of years ago - it was a Russian troop doing Cinderella with recorded music.

My second time on Sunday (25th August) - a matinee session at the Civic of Swan Lake by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, with Auckland Philharmonia performing Tchaikovsky's music.

Magical. Sublime. Awesome. Amazing. I was enchanted! If *that* is ballet, then I am a fan! I could have immediately sat back down and watched another performance!
 


Here are some excerpts from a stuff review that sum it all up better than my rants could:

Swan Lake! Mere mention of the title will cause ballet aficionados' eyes to light up and wonder who is performing? Is it any good? Does it charm, does it make you sigh and weep? Or are we having to endure an evening of 'thumping swans'? 

No chance of the latter, I assure you. There is every chance that you will be lost for words after this production. And indeed it is a little difficult to write about it without venturing into hyperbole. But it was better than good, it was fantastic...

... Act 4 was utterly compelling from the moment the curtain went up. The strength of the swans as they gathered around Siegfried and Odette to protect them and to break from von Rothbart's spell was mesmerising and might alone even have been the highlight of this production...

... Overall, it was a heady mix of rapture and entrancement. A wonderful evening out.

Read the full review here. And bring on the next show I say!

26 August 2013

Time Management Games: TV Farm 2

Yes, I looove time management games. Time Management games are games in which you perform a series of tasks or processes as quickly as possible e.g. manage/cook/serve at a restaurant, stock/run a supermarket, babysit, manage a hotel, build/decorate houses. When I finish a TMG I love, I Google trying to find more like it. Also, when I say 'finish', I mean get the gold/expert score on every single level!


Today's game is...

... TV Farm 2
Didn't actually look for the first edition to this game, but I might... I really like this game! Some levels have really challenged me - playing them over and over to achieve a 'gold medal' time. This game takes me back to a food theme (where I started with time management games). Start easy and plant the right seeds to fufill orders in a limited time (to complete the level), then build 'factories' to change seeds into ingredients, to combine ingredients etc. E.g. to create a sandwich, you need cheese, meat, bread, and lettuce - some of those are easy, some require multiple steps before all can be combined into a sandwich! And of course, you can upgrade your equipment etc. (Ed: looks like there is the original TV Farm, TV Farm 2, and TV Farm Up so far in the series)

TV Farm 2 not only takes you into the world of reality television, but allows you to control it too! Become the hero of a smash hit reality TV show as you learn new skills in the challenging world of farming. Grow plants, sell products and upgrade your farm in this exciting Time Management game.


 Download a free one hour trial here

Here is a list of all the Time Management Games I have played/reviewed, or, click the blogger tag below to load all the posts on Time Management Games!

Favourite... Body Lotions and Creams

I am particular with other beauty items, and I have my favourites when it comes to body creams and lotions. That said, when it comes to body lotions I will use them all (I get given a lot of body creams and butters, so am never in short supply - yay!).

I haven't tried a lot of body creams - it's not like my mission to find the perfect primers or mascara - I guess it's hard to go wrong with most lotions ("wrong" in this context, as defined by me = far too perfumed i.e. recently shaved legs sting, too thick/sticky/doesn't absorb well, doesn't soften skin etc... you get the point).

Special mentions: Body Shop body butters - I got given a set of these and they are wonderfully rich; Mor - again, I was given a bottle of Mor body lotion and loved it.

However, L'Occatine is the mostly the winning brand for me.
Pros = luxurious feel, moisturising, natural ingredients, delicious smells...
Cons = Price, availability (it's not stocked in many stores here, unless you have an actual L'Occatine store near you. I often turn to the net to purchase, or duty-free when I travel)




Shea Butter Foot Cream - L'Occitane
This cream is seriously luxurious. I try to use it every night before bed (even in winter - I hate having cracked heels!). It contains antiseptic A.O.C. lavender essential oil to purify, and anti-inflammatory arnica extract to help reduce redness and irritation. Refreshing mint cools feet. This product also contains 15% shea butter.







Another one that I keep by my bed. So luxurious on your hands. 20% Shea Butter, honey and sweet almond extract, blended with the light and alluring aromas of jasmine and ylang-ylang essences.


Also deserving of a mention: Simunovich's Olive Hand Moisturising Cream






Verbena Body Lotion - L'Occitane
I use the shower gel too. I immediately 'bonded' with the smell - the scent of verbena is gorgeous and fresh IMO.
A lightweight lotion that easily absorbs to comfort skin. Will eliminate the 'tight' or itchy feeling skin often has after showering. Organic extract of verbena helps to calm skin; orange, geranium and lemon tree essential oils contribute to uplifting aroma. Rich in grapeseed oil, Verbena Body Milk gently moisturizes and nourishes skin.




And more recently, I am completely taken with: 




Body Oil - Neutrogena
I had read rave reviews about this product, and finally bought it to try. LOVE! Perfect for straight after a shower, when your skin is still damp. I am using my verbana body lotion at other times, and this oil for after-showers. My skin is silky soft!

Body Oil is a delicately light sesame formula that instantly vanishes into the skin, sealing in moisture. Skin feels moisturized, soft, silky and looks radiant. It's lightweight, and absorbs quickly.




What are your favourite lotions and potions? Comment below! 

Posts on Beauty favs here  

Move Wish List #17

I thought it was about time I put together one of these lists! I have by no means watched all the movies on my last wish lists, but there are always more...

These films are released over the next few months in the US (and hopefully not long after, here!)

(Last Updated: 25 December 2013)

Drinking Buddies (2013)  90 min   -   Comedy | Drama | Romance
Luke and Kate are co-workers at a Chicago brewery, where they spend their days drinking and flirting. They're perfect for each other, except that they're both in relationships. Luke is in the midst of marriage talks with his girlfriend of six years, Kate is playing it cool with her music producer boyfriend Chris. But you know what makes the line between "friends" and "more than friends" really blurry? Beer.
Director: Joe Swanberg
Stars: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston
Why watch IMO: It's the cast that's got me here.

Blue Jasmine (2013)  98 min   -   Drama
A life crisis causes a vapid and narcissistic socialite to head to San Francisco, where she tries to reconnect with her sister.
Director: Woody Allen
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Sally Hawkins
Why watch IMO: What can I say - I like Woody Allen movies! He's assembled a great cast too.

Closed Circuit (2013) 96 min   -   Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Martin and Claudia are lawyers -- and ex-lovers -- who find themselves put at risk after they join the defense team for an international terrorist's trial.
Director: John Crowley
Stars: Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciarán Hinds
Why watch IMO: Great cast, and sounds like a great thriller!

Riddick (2013)  119 min   -   Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick finds himself up against an alien race of predators. Activating an emergency beacon alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of mercenary, the other captained by a man from Riddick's past.
Director: David Twohy
Stars: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Katee Sackhoff, Jordi Mollà
Why watch IMO: Dude, it's Riddick!!!! WITH Starbuck!

The Family (2013)  Action | Comedy | Crime
The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.
Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron
Why watch IMO: Luc Besson + that cast...

Machete Kills (2013) Action | Crime | Thriller
The U.S. government recruits Machete to battle his way through Mexico in order to take down an arms dealer who looks to launch a weapon into space.
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Mel Gibson, Jessica Alba
Why watch IMO: The first Machete film was a riot. This one can only be more hilarious and bloody!

The Counsellor (2013) Thriller
A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Brad Pitt, Goran Visnjic, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem
Why watch IMO: Ridley Scott + that cast

Out of the Furnace (2013) Thriller
When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement fails to follow through, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.
Director: Scott Cooper
Stars: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson
Why watch IMO: The cast - loving that Woody Harrelson is appearing in more films lately

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) 105 min   -   Drama | Music
A week in the life of a young singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.
Directors: Ethan Coen | Joel Coen
Stars: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund
Why watch IMO: New Coen Brothers film!

American Hustle (2013) Drama
The story of a con artist and his partner in crime, who were forced to work with a federal agent to turn the tables on other cons, mobsters, and politicians - namely, the volatile mayor of impoverished Camden, New Jersey.
Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence
Why watch IMO: Sounds like an interesting plot, with a stellar cast.

The Monuments Men (2013) Adventure | Comedy | Drama | History | Thriller | War
In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renowned works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them.
Director: George Clooney
Stars: George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray
Why watch IMO: George Clooney directing a great cast, with an interesting story.

Her (2013) Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need.
Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara
Why watch IMO: Spike Jonze..

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) Adventure | Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
An office worker who lives inside fantasy worlds where he gets to live an adventurous life while romancing his co-worker sets off a global journey to fix things when both of their jobs are threatened.
Director: Ben Stiller
Stars: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt
Why watch IMO: Heard a lot of buzz for this remake. I hope Ben Stiller can pull in off. Awesome cast!

Jack Ryan (2013) Action | Drama | Thriller
Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh
Why watch IMO: Chris Pine as a young Jack Ryan. I buy it.

August: Osage County (2013)  130 min   -   Comedy | Drama
A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.
Director: John Wells
Stars: Meryl Streep, Dermot Mulroney, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis
Why watch IMO: Not sure if this will end up being some cheesey chick-flick, but I love that
Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Juliette Lewis will be working together!

I can speak English




(On the back: I am sorry mom I know you did the best to raise us)




PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mailin their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.
www.postsecret.com

20 August 2013

Speculating Laneway 2014

A friend listed his dream Laneway lineup and then asked me to do the same... Got me thinking about who I'd really REALLY like to come to Auckland for Laneway 2014!

Despite it being a wish list, I tried to keep realistic (a girl can dream!).

I'm excited to hear the lineup, but in the meantime here's my list. The italics represent bands I have already seen before (would still looove to see them again):

The National 
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs 
Phoenix 
Sleigh Bells
Little Green Cars
Hurts
First Aid Kit
Grimes
White Lies 
Sufjan Stevens 
Sigur Ros (on the Detroit line-up... would be pretty amazing to see them!)
(Jack White please, but whatever - seen as The White Stripes, and Dead Weather)

If I am luckily enough for even ONE of these bands to appear on the lineup I will be over the moon :) Top of the list is definitely Phoenix, followed really closely by Sleigh Bells ♥

19 August 2013

Will Work For Love










PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mailin their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.
www.postsecret.com

Sunday nap





Absolutely Fabulous Darrrrling

I am the "go to" for cards at my work. Sunday's task was: make an Audrey Hepburn themed birthday card for the CEO.

I found a picture of Audrey that I wanted to use, printed it, and built a card around it. I had a lot of fun making this card (being an Audrey fan myself), and the design was actually easy/fast.




Supplies
stamps: Hampton Arts Paris Moments Rubber Stamp, Papertrey Ink Mega Mixed Messages Stamp Set, Dawn Houser Metro Tiles Cross Rubber Stamp
ink: Ranger Archival Ink Pad Jet Black, Memento Dew Drops Tuxedo Black Ink Pad
paper: 300gsm white card (scored and folded to A5), Kaisercraft Lavender Haze
accessories: Dimensionals, Rhinestones

13 August 2013

Forever













PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mailin their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.
www.postsecret.com

08 August 2013

Time Management Games: New Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Yes, I looove time management games. Time Management games are games in which you perform a series of tasks or processes as quickly as possible e.g. manage/cook/serve at a restaurant, stock/run a supermarket, babysit, manage a hotel, build/decorate houses. When I finish a TMG I love, I Google trying to find more like it. Also, when I say 'finish', I mean get the gold/expert score on every single level!


Today's game is...

... New Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Fun, simple game. A few challenges... I might try the sequel (funnily enough, called: New Yankee in King Arthur's Court 2)

New Yankee in King Arthur's Court combines nail-biting time management thrills with the ease-of-play casual gamers enjoy! When a bolt of lightning sends you back to the days of King Arthur, you trade in your farmer's hat for a suit of armor and set off on a journey to find the Fountain of Youth! To complete your mission, you'll need to gather resources, build thriving settlements and fight off monsters! Are you ready to begin your quest?

- 40 amazing levels, Fight off goblins, Find the Fountain of Youth


Download a free one hour trial here

Here is a list of all the Time Management Games I have played/reviewed, or, click the blogger tag below to load all the posts on Time Management Games!

05 August 2013

The Start of Xmas Cards 2013

I know it seems early to start making Christmas cards, but I've decided to give some sets as gifts! So, before, or on December 1st, I want to have a decent number of sets ready-made so my friends and family can use them. Even if I only give sets of 5 cards to 15 people, that's 75 cards! And I still need cards for ME to use at Christmas.

So far I've come up with a few designs, which I turned into a production line - usually making around 10 of each design. I think I made 20 or so of one... Anywho, I have 5 designs with around 50 cards made so far.

All the cards use Kaisercraft's Mint Twist paper, which is from their 2012 collection. I fell in love with these papers thanks to the colour selection - lots of pinks and turquoise, instead of just xmas red and green.


 This is my first design. I spent a loooong time stamping and then cutting out xmas trees! Very simple idea: 3 xmas trees, a 'Merry Christmas' sentiment stamp hand-cut for a flag effect then mounted on  chevron pink and white paper. Add some rhinestones, and voila!





 I reproduced the above design x20 I think, because I had cut out so many xmas trees! I had a few left over so I made a couple of cards with this design:



The next design includes a cut-out, so the production line ended up very systematic (cut fancy paper, stick it on cards, run through cuttlebug, die cut larger circles, stick on card, add rhinestones, stamp inside... or something like that!)




Waste not, want not I say... I was left with all these circles cut out of fancy paper thanks to the above design... So I whipped out an embossing plate (I hardly use them), and used the left-over circles over the texture!



The next design was basically because I wanted to use a particular Hero Arts Xmas tree stamp - and then I used an abstract wrapped present concept (yeeeah, suuuure) to fill in some space at the top of the card and to bring in some colour to match the rhinestones.



And now that I had my Hero Arts xmas stamp set out I wanted to use the other stamps... This design is my least favourite I guess. Funnily enough, when I showed my brother this one and the one from above, THIS design was this favourite.



My final design so far is below. Inspired by a wrapped present. The owl is adorable, yet seems to be just floating in mid air hehe! For the rest of the cards I have the owl 'standing' lower on the card, so that its feet are on the top of the present. This was the first attempt and for some reason the only photo I took of the design. It's the only card so far where I've moved away from the pinks, and gone for a more traditional red/green - however, this is still from the Mint Twist collection.



I need a wee break from Xmas cards I think, but there will be more to come later xoxo

Supplies
stamps: Papertrey Ink Tiny Treats Christmas Stamp Set, Hero Arts Holidays Owl Santa Wooden Stamp, Hero Arts (Christmas) Laughter and Joy clear stamps
ink: Ranger Archival Ink Pad Jet Black, Memento Dew Drops Ink Pads Black and Rosebud.
paper: 300gsm white card (scored and cut to A6), Kaisercraft Mint Twist (2012)
accessories: Fiskars Border Punch Scallop Sentiment, Tag die, Martha Stewart Bow shape punch, Dimensionals, Rhinestones, Kaisercraft Sparklets, BIC Mark-It Fine Point Permanent Markers

He Like My Curves... A Lot







(On the back: Hallmark doesn't make that card)




(On the back: I'm so glad I left, I've never been happier)


(On the back: I still love you)




PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mailin their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.
www.postsecret.com