Liquid Molten Saturday, Nov 27 2010 

In the bustling little suburb of Mt Eden, Auckland (New Zealand) is a restaurant/bar that has captured both my fancy, and my wallet. This great little place is called Liquid Molten.

On one side, you will find Molten – a higher end dining experience where the food is matched only by the superb service and wine selection. On the other, is Liquid – my home away from home. A classy little bar that opens up at the back to a private courtyard that boasts not only ambiance and style, but funky music and blankets for those cooler nights.

Open until late, this hidden refuge is where my friends and I go for coffee, wine, dessert and a good old gossip. The staff are fantastic, the coffee strong and the food divine – need I say more? I spend at least two or three nights there every week, either leisurely sipping coffee with girlfriends or stopping in for a quick drink before heading elsewhere.

So, my recommendation if you are looking for a quiet, classy coffee spot in central Auckland? Go to Liquid, it will be worth your while.

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Single White Female in 2010 Saturday, Nov 13 2010 

At 24, I am learning for the first time about being single and independent. I was one of those girls that met a nice guy when I was still in High School, and managed to stay with him for over five years before coming to the abrupt realisation that not only had I changed completely, but what I wanted in life had too. So after much soul searching, I decided to fly solo.

Now, there are plenty of single girls like me out there, right? Well, not in my life. Basically, all of my girlfriends are gorgeous, funny, successful and sexy biatches – hence they were snapped up quickly by their smart thinking boyfriends. So being single is as much a mind-boggle to them as it has been for me. They have been wonderful (I have played the happy third wheel on many, many occasion), but at the end of the day, I don’t have anyone to go home to. I don’t have that person to cuddle with on the couch whilst watching some inane soppy movie, or to argue with. (“I want you to WANT to do it!”.)

And you know what?

I bloody love it. Don’t get me wrong, I am a woman, so I have certain white-knight type fantasies. (Lets face it – It’s in my DNA) I watch Katherine Heigl movies and get lost in the romance, see old people holding hands on the street and utter a soft “Awww!”. But at the same time, I am 100% enjoying getting to know ME.

Instead of basing my life around someone else, I have been able to do the things for myself I never would have done before. Meet new friends and put in the needed effort to make them integral parts of my life, try new cafes every week, stay up late watching reruns of Will & Grace, hell – even dye my hair pink! Suddenly a whole world was open to me, where the only person who’s permission or judgement meant anything was my own. (I tend to shut out my Mothers voice during these times.)

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying being single is better. I am merely saying that for ME, it has given me the opportunity to figure out who I am (Queue the cheesiness!). To find out what I really do and don’t like. To develop independence in everything I do, think and feel. My friendships have flourished, I have become happier, and my wardrobe is MUCH better now that I don’t have a guy telling me I should be budgeting. (Although my best guy friend has taken it upon himself to take on THAT particular role.) 😉

Now, I consider myself single, but that doesn’t mean I live in a Nunnery. And that’s the other great thing about not being tied down to one person – experimenting with dating different men and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. (I sound like a kid in a candy shop here, don’t I? Hmm..) But seriously – dating has been fun. I have been lucky, and not met any freaks or psychos, and taken something from each tryst. And I will continue to do this, until I either meet “The One”, or give up entirely and go live with my four cats and gay best friend (though sadly has more luck with men than I).

So my lesson for 2010 is: being single is wonderful, and a great love story all of its very own. Me, myself and I.

Recommended Reads For The Modern Gal Monday, Aug 16 2010 

There is absolutely nothing that beats the luxurious experience of reading a good book. A book can offer escapism, knowledge, fantasy and fun. It can save you from a bad mood or monotonous day in one articulately written sentence. It can also give you access to thoughts and ideas that you have never touched on before, and at times things that not only teach you but can make you a better person.

Now, I’m not going to go on to tell you to read Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Emily Brontës Wuthering Heights (though both true gems and are classics for a reason!) I am here to recommend a few books that I believe most young women should read – for different reasons.

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella (NZD$24.99 from Fishpond)

This is a hilarious, fluffy read for the “in-between” girls out there that are no longer teens, but not yet saddled with a mortgage/husband/2.5 kiddies etc. The heroine, the incorrigible Emma Corrigan, is a bubbly, early twenties girl with aspirations of a perfect life. There’s one problem – she tells little white lies to everyone she knows. To her boyfriend (he thinks she is several sizes smaller than she actually is), to her parents (she killed their goldfish, but replaced it before they cottoned on!), to her colleagues (never admits that it’s her that keeps breaking the photocopier) and so on and so forth. This is a fabulously funny book, adorably romantic but also highlights the failings of our society on the up and coming generation. The fact Emma can’t admit the small flaws to herself and the people around her, that she needs to skew things to make herself feel more of a success, is something I see in people every day. This is a good rainy day read, not too heavy, but I think has a good message to it.

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-up Artists by Neil Strauss (NZD$39.99 from Fishpond)

Now, you may be wondering why the hell I would recommend this kind of book to women. Basically, knowledge is power, right ladies?

I heard about this particular book during a conversation with a male friend. He told me about Neil Strauss, a nerdy writer who couldn’t find love and so took it upon himself to meet the Masters of Seduction around the world. This book tells the story of how he became a part of this bizarre secret society, who he met and what he learned. (There are other books by Strauss that are more dating self-help types, but I think this one gives the better picture.)

Basically, this book goes through how a society of men have developed ways to manipulate women into sleeping with them. Ugly, boring, nervous, creepy, skinny, fat, sleazy, shy – no matter what the drawback of the male, these Masters of Seduction were able to show these ill-equipped men how to bed hot ladies that normally wouldn’t notice them. I read this book with utter fascination – was it possible for women to be manipulated this way? Certainly tricks and lines, gestures and clothing couldn’t get us to fall for someone totally not our type – right?! Well, as I read, I got that sinking gut feeling. Though not all of the tricks would work on all of us, there was real merit in what he was saying. I am glad I read this book – purely so I now know what to look out for! Ladies, beware.

The Game by Neil Strauss

He’s just not that into you by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (NZD$23.99 from Fishpond)

I would be extremely surprised if you haven’t heard of this book already. It was a phenomenon a few years back, even made it onto Oprah! There has also been a movie made about it, and many a female discussion revolving around it’s teachings.

Basically, this book goes on the list because I know too many gals that haven’t read it when they really should have. This is a must read. A dating bible if you will. It’s not heavy, it’s not all about loving ones inner self. It’s a friendly prod to say – Girl, you are great, but if that guy isn’t asking you out? He DOESN’T WANT YOU! A little bit harsh, perhaps. But sometimes we need a bit of a slap in the face. I know too many girls who justify not getting a text from “that guy” for weeks, because maybe he lost his phone, or maybe he’s really busy, or or… You get the point. This book is brilliant. Makes you laugh, makes you cringe with self realisation, makes you open your eyes to the realities of dating. If he doesn’t call you, he doesn’t like you. If he only calls you at 3am for a drunken stopover after town, he just wants to f#%& you. Plain and simple. You’d think we could figure all of this out on our own, but sadly, when you mix emotions in with a woman’s thought processes, everything goes a bit whack. Hence, why all ladies should read this book!

Seriously!

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

So there you have it… One book that is light and fluffy, one that depicts the inner workings of seriously screwed up men, and one that guides us poor ladies into the dating light (if you will).

Enjoy! More to come…

RENT the Musical Saturday, May 8 2010 

When I saw that the musical RENT was playing at the Civic in Auckland, I thought “Hmm, might be interesting.” I soon forgot this little inclination, to be perfectly honest, until one of the girls I work with piped up and said “I want to go to RENT – anyone else keen?” So we got together a group and bought tickets. Well. Best decision EVER!

RENT is an avant-garde rock opera, based around a group of young, down on their luck creative types living in New York and trying desperately to survive (and pay their rent, of course!). This story could very easily tip towards being quite depressing, as it touches often on poverty, death and HIV. And yet… it is woven together in such a way that it becomes a story of hope, endurance and love, without becoming overly sentimental. You fall in love with the characters, you understand that their mistakes are what make them so wonderful and offbeat. You are sucked into their world, and even though you know there can’t be a fairy tale ending, you sit there desperately hoping for them to be touched with happiness even for just a moment.

And the music… ohhh THE MUSIC! Beautiful, haunting, catchy… Obviously, many actors/singers have played these brilliant parts all over the world during different productions of RENT, but the songs themselves are pure gold. And the New Zealand cast of Rent? Didn’t let the show down at all. They were exceptional.

When I got home, I went straight onto iTunes and downloaded the album (from the film that was made based on the musical) and I have the film itself on order, too. This musical left me buzzing… It just was so riveting, dark, honest and thought provoking. I recommend anyone, anywhere in the world, to go see this show if the opportunity presents itself. It isn’t light and fluffy, but it is utter brilliance.

Can you tell I really enjoyed the show? Haha 🙂

Watch a few scenes here from the musical RENT!

Scattergories Wednesday, Mar 24 2010 

Recently I was reintroduced to board games by some friends of mine. At first I thought, yeah, why not. We were all hanging out, with nothing to do, so it seemed like an okay idea. Well.

The game that was chosen for the night was Scattergories. I’m a bit of a board game virgin, having not played very many of them growing up. So I had no idea how BLOODY ADDICTIVE these things can be! Especially Scattergories! What a game!

Scattergories is a Hasbro game (through the Milton Bradley Company) that was first released in 1988. Wikipedia puts it quite nicely: The objective of the 2-to-6-player game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories, given an initial letter, within a time limit.

This game is amazingly difficult, surprisingly so, and an absolute must for parties in my opinion. Forget SingStar, I think this is the best way to get people laughing and yelling and jumping up and down! So fun, and gets you really thinking due to the fact its actually quite difficult to list 12 things starting with one letter within a 2-minute time limit! Think about it – being on the spot and trying to come up with things starting with, say, the letter B. An animal, a singer, a thing found in the sea, a vegetable etc. And it’s not the same questions each time! Argh! 😀

Brilliant, crazy fun! This board game has now become a staple to sunday night drinks within my group of friends, instead of unsociably watching a movie or just hanging around chatting. Go out and buy it (approximately NZD$49.99) and you’ll see how much fun you can have.

Scattergories Board Game

New Years at Omaha Sunday, Jan 3 2010 

So normally I blog about objects, activities, movies etc but I really wanted to write a small piece about my New Years in Omaha with my very good friends. 

The past year has been quite tough for me – for a lot of reasons. But this holiday absolutely wiped the slate clean and made me really look forward to 2010. I was surrounded by my best friends, friends from the past, and people that (by the end of the holiday) became new friends. We sunbathed on the white sand, letting the crystal blue water lap at our toes as the sun turned us a gorgeous red (whoops, pass the sunblock!) and I looked on as those wonderful people zoomed around on a jetski, dragging behind a water-biscuit carrying screaming victims (think flailing limbs and massive fails into the water!).

We played card games like Skip-Bo, Bastard and Last Card. We played board games like Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit. We played Buzz on the Playstation, and watched Girls Of The Playboy Mansion on TV. We ate bacon, eggs and pancakes for breakfast – then had BBQ’s, pizza’s, pasta’s and roasts for dinner. Copious amounts of alcohol was drunk, peels of laughter were constantly emanating from our overcrowded deck (covered in sandy towels, blow up chairs and sports gear) and the time for bed was often 4 A.M. 

The days were long and filled with sun, sports, swimming and the reading of good books. The nights were longer and filled with all the silly games we could think of, all the while singing along to music, discussing relationships, life and everything in between. 

In my life, I have never been part of such an eclectic group. People from different walks of life, with different beliefs and goals, but it just clicked. And I came away feeling so very grateful to know these wonderful, fun, interesting people. Thank you guys.

Happy New Year everyone. 

Omaha Beach

Painting of Omaha Beach

Climbing The Wall Saturday, Dec 5 2009 

One of my favorite things to do to keep in shape (because, lets face it, the gym can get boring) is indoor rock climbing. 

Now a lot of people go “Rock climbing? There’s no way I can do that!”. Well, thats what I thought at first, too. I’m fit but certainly no athlete, so when one of my friends asked me to come along with her after work one night I roared with laughter. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to pull my entire body weight up a 20 meter wall! But, my friend convinced me to give it a go and I very quickly fell in love with it. 

Did I become some kind of super athlete? Heck no. I’m still not particularly great at it (some people are amazing, like blimmin’ spider monkeys or something) but I get to the top and thats what counts! And along the way I have heaps of fun, spend time with my friends and get a complete full body workout. My back got stronger, my arms and legs toned up, and even my abs became firmer. And that’s from only one night a week! 

So if you are looking for an extremely fun, social workout, then I would suggest indoor rock climbing. Lot’s of people of different ages and abilities are doing it, it’s super safe and you cant beat the rush of when you can suddenly go up walls you couldn’t tackle the week before. 

Try it!

Indoor Rock Climbing

Playing With Balls Thursday, Dec 3 2009 

This is going to be a short blog, and you won’t learn much. Actually, if you learn anything at all, I will be flabbergasted. 

Basically, I’m urging you to buy a ball. Yup, thats right. A stress ball, or a tennis ball, or as it is in my case, a funky clear gel ball with floating glitter. Why, you ask? Well, its just a bloody good tool for when you’re stressed and need to concentrate. When I’m at work puzzling through something, I am rolling my ball around in my hands. I used to do it when I was studying, too, and for whatever reason – it works!

It’s one of those tactile things that helps you focus, and I use mine every day that I’m working. I call mine Ball-Ball and get mocked at work, but hey! If it works for me, it may work for you too, right? 🙂

Having something to do with your hands can make you focus

Forearmed Is Arm-Warmed Monday, Nov 30 2009 

I like accessories that can make a really simple outfit POP. Great belts, a gorgeous handbag, even funky stockings (there are so many designs available its fantastic!). But my new jump up and down, get really excited fashion fad is Arm Warmers. 

No no no, stop right there! I can tell what you’re thinking! Probably exactly what I thought when I heard that word. I had an image of fluffy, cutesy woolen leg-warmers, except for the forearms. Thankfully, they aren’t like that. (Well, there ARE some like that but lets just forget about them!)

Arm Warmers are just another accessory, and don’t do anything practical except for – wait for it – warm your arms. (Amazing huh?) But other than that, they are just such FUN. You can get them in a million different colours, designs and cuts. They are available with diamantes or ribbons, images or plain. I think you get the drift. I like simple ones, pink and black stripes etc. But there are so many different designs that you can pick something that accentuates your personality. 

They are a little bit punk, and wont go with every outfit, but I think they really make you stand out! Have a look for them, they aren’t expensive and they are a bit of fun. A lot of shops sell them now and they are readily available online.

 

Arm Warmers

Arm Warmers