Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites Five x2 vol.3 - Soundwave edition

This week's list of favorites is dedicated to Soundwave - my favorite Australian music festival.  I've lived in Australia for six years, and this will be my fifth Soundwave to attend.  It is a rock fan's festival.  Sure, there are critics.  A lot of the criticism I read seem to be from those that love to find something to whine and gripe about.  My opinion is: if you don't like the line-up or the festival, then don't go.  Bitching and complaining over and over and over again is tiresome.  You can never, ever make everyone happy.  With a mix of grunge to power pop, metal to punk, plus industrial, alternative, shock, and rap rock, I think this festival is as good of a annual rock festival as a rock fan could ask for.  Bands come from the US to Japan, Sweden to Mexico, Scotland to Canada, and mix it up with some homegrown Aussie rock. Soundwave Sydney is this weekend, and I'm ready!

 1. Favorite guitarist ever: Slash - After previously playing Soundwave a few years ago, he's back this year with the uber-talented Myles Kennedy again singing lead vocals.  His solo stuff is solid and his live shows are sprinkled with Guns 'N' Roses and Velvet Revolver songs as well.

2. Favorite shirt purchased at a Soundwave: this Social Distortion shirt

3. Favorite headliner show that I wasn't expecting to be my favorite: Avenged Sevenfold - Last year, Green Day was closing the show on the main stage while A7X were co-headliners. I was happy with my decision to see the rock show that M.Shadows and the boys gave, complete with lots if pyro!

4. Favorite band on the 2015 line-up that I hadn't listened to before Soundwave introduced them to me: Nothing More. I bought their entire album and enjoy every single song. I'm getting there early to see these guys.

5. Favorite grunge era band that is still going strong: Alice In Chains - with two of the original members dead from drug overdoses, you might be skeptical that this band could still hold it's weight. I've seen them at two separate Soundwaves and was reminded that some of their songs will always remain the best of this era. Plus, their new stuff is good too.

6. Favorite single song performance to see at Soundwave: Nine Inch Nails closed out Soundwave a few years back, 2009 maybe. They ended with the hauntingly brilliant song "Hurt".

7.  Favorite band that I've seen at Soundwave that I'm ready to come back to SW: Shinedown - The vocals, the musicianship, the songs are all stellar.  Last time, they played to a small but mighty crowd on a small stage.  They need bigger stage, bigger crowd.
photo source

8.  Favorite way to mix it up with the kids these days: Fall Out Boy - Slipknot and Smashing Pumpkins will be playing on different stages at the same time as FOB.  That's right.  I'll be bouncing and jumping and singing-along with the kids and FOB.

9. Favorite accessible promoter: AJ Maddah - This guy gets A LOT of grief; people complain about all sorts of things and blame him for the world's problems sometimes.  But, you know what?  In this world of social media, he is SO accessible to the ticket buyers, fans, and bands.  He answers questions on twitter from what bands are booked, to how tickets can be purchased, to what items are allowed to be brought into the premises (many of the questions asked can be found on Soundwave's website).  He issues set times and allows feedback from the fans and makes adjustments when feasible.  On the day of the event, he acts on issues from over-inflated prices of water to out of hand security guards to reacting to the current craze of selfie sticks and their interference with other fans (see below).  Suggestions get made on social media (like a place for older patrons or injured or disabled patrons to have a break during the day) and creates a "Comfort Zone" tent based on the requests.  Plus, he is a real rock fan.  He gives props and kudos to the bands as they perform.  I applaud this guy.  As I said before, you're never going to make every single person happy all the time.

10. Favorite live band that I finally get to see at Soundwave: Papa Roach! - I started seeing these guys live when they released their very first big hit "Last Resort"...and I kept seeing them again, and again, and again.  I was never disappointed.  The energy is electric, and I've missed them.  Sunday, we will be reunited!
photo source
Want some more Friday Favorites?  Check this out:

Friday Favorites

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

List #22 - Sparkle and Shine at The Oscars

I sell jewelry/jewellery.  My guy is a jeweler/jeweller.  (I really get confused between my American/Australian spellings sometimes.)  When I watch awards shows, I'm often looking at the jewels.  It's no secret that most (pretty much all) of the jewels worn are lent to the stars as a marketing scheme, and I love looking at the stunning creations.  This year's Academy Awards may have been the best in my recollection for "wow" pieces of jewellery.  I kept notes while I watched the red carpet and awards show.  These are the 10 pieces of jewellery that made the biggest impact in a positive way (there were a couple of statement pieces that I wasn't digging, but I'm keeping this post positive).  In no particular order:

1.  Oprah Winfrey's earrings - The first time they showed Miss O in the audience, I gasped at those earrings, and I wanted to know more.  Is that white and rose gold?  Are those pink diamonds?  I'm not sure because I can't find jewellery credit anywhere (and I'm writing this late enough that there are definitely plenty of articles out there listing jewellery sources).  In my make believe world, I'm going to say since Oprah has more money that the rest of the folks on this list combined, that she might actually own those earrings.  But, that's just a wild guess. 

2.  America Ferrera's earrings by Irene Neuwirth - She was the first celebrity that Ryan Seacrest interviewed for E's red carpet special.  I couldn't stop looking at the one-of-a-kind earrings - the use of the opals surrounded by interestingly set diamonds - they are a gorgeous color set against America's dark locks.

3.  Common's brooch by Fred Leighton - I think he was the best dressed man of the night giving the best speech of the night wearing the best brooch of the night, a sapphire and diamond stunner. 

4.  Jessica Chastain's necklace by Piaget - After Jessica is finished with this diamond choker, Piaget can ship it to me to borrow anytime. I love the way the marquise cut diamonds lay in this necklace.

 5.  Laura Dern's ring by Bulgari - Laura Dern was nominated for her part in the movie "Wild" based on the story written by Cheryl Strayed.  This masterpiece of a ring was worn in honor of Strayed's mother who died of lung cancer (and who Dern portrayed in the movie).  It was created using the American Lung Association's symbolic color.  Read more about it here.

6.  Kerry Washington's earrings by Fred Leighton - When Kerry presented during the awards ceremony, I'm pretty sure I didn't listen to a word she said.  I was too distracted by the pink sapphire and diamond ear pendants.

7.  Nupita Nyong'o's pearl bodice by Calvin Klein Collection - Reportedly, this dress consisted of 6000 pearls.  It is a work of art and perfect for her skin.  How heavy was it?  How many fittings?  Was it comfortable to sit in?  I don't know, but she looks absolutely incredible, and these pearls only enhance her beauty.

The final 3 - Well, the Aussie gals who couldn't be beat................

8.  Naomi Watts' earrings by Anna Hu - Gimme, gimme, gimme these sapphire and diamond showstoppers!  That's all I gotta say.

9.  Cate Blanchett's statement necklace by Tiffany & Co. - Seriously.  I can't imagine this necklace worn by anyone else for this event.  Turquoise, aquamarines, and diamonds.  All enhancing the color of her eyes.  

10.   Margot Robbie's necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels - Originally commissioned for the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson - well, doesn't that say it all?  It was created for royalty.  Diamonds, Gold, Sapphire tassel, with a zipper styling.  You could tell Margot felt like one lucky girl to be wearing this piece of art.

Photo sources:  getty images, zimbio,,,,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday's Seven Snapshots #13

Big props to my mom for this care package of Red Velvet Oreos!

Getting out of bed in the mornings is especially difficult when kitties want to snuggle. 

Got my hair beautified this week

Went to a bookstore and limited myself to only three (one of which *may* be a part of a care package for another blogger; wonder if she'll notice)

Went to visit a friend in Sydney's Northern Beaches; we hiked to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse and got rained on.
Another magnificent view in the Northern Beaches; view from Long Reef before the rain

Sunday stroll with the sweet sisters

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Favorites Five vol.2

Howdy folks.  It's that time for our second installment of Friday Favorites Five.

Favorite meme of the week:

Favorite woman with style...I strive to be like this:
Photo source

Favorite treat from my mom's care package - Red Velvet Oreos!

Favorite Saturday Night Live skit of all time: (R.I.P. Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley)

Favorite blog post series that I stumbled upon:  Apparently, it's been going on for years, but I think it is a really "beautiful" project...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Reason the Blogosphere is Great; and Some Questions Answered by Me, Asked by Me?

A few months ago, I answered some questions from a Liebster Award (although, I wasn't nominated...I just thought they were fun 'getting to know me' questions). 

Then... I asked some questions and nominated some bloggers.  Kristen at See You in a Porridge played along in the fun and answered my questions plus some other questions from Christina at Sold Out Arenas

Then... Brianne at My Life As Brianne answered the questions that Kristen answered.

Then... I was reading blog updates this morning and saw Kimmi at Chaos and Cocoa answers the same questions, and I'm like "Hey, I've seen those questions.  Wait, I wrote those questions!"

That is a reason the blogosphere is so great.  A little random completely UNfamous blogger like myself (seriously, I have like 5 followers...but I don't put forth much effort to get followers, so that's okay) can write some questions that make the rounds back to my viewing eyes.  So cool!  My friends, that is why you are now going to get to read MY answers for these questions........

1.  What is your favorite holiday?   It used to be Halloween.  I was a big fan of dressing up and acting like a fool for Halloween.  Since moving to Australia, I don't do that anymore.  A little mix of Halloween not being that big here and me getting older. 
Now, I'd say Father's Day.  I was born on the actual day of Father's Day.  Some *may* have described me a time or two as a daddy's girl, so I think it is special that we share this day.  Even if we are on the other side of the ocean from each other when it happens.

 2.  If you could spend a week by yourself (no travel companion, just you) anywhere in the world, where would it be?  Interlaken, Switzerland.  I've been to Interlaken with various travel companions several times, so I'd feel completely comfortable going on my own.  I'd hike, read, walk, sit by the lake, have Swiss beer, eat fondue, bungy jump, smell the fresh air, and feel the beauty of the Alps and the glacier lakes.
Photo Credit
3.  The house of your dreams, the car of your dreams, OR the wardrobe of your dreams?  Tough one.  I'd say house of my dreams because that's something I can share with others.  And, to have the wardrobe of my dreams, I'd need to lose weight and keep it off!

4.  Do you blog most often during the day or at night?  During the day when I should be working

5.  Coffee or Tea?  Hot tea.  No coffee.  No iced tea (I know I'm from the South, but I really don't like it.)

6.  What do you keep - Facebook, Instagram, OR Twitter?  I hate to admit it, but I'd say facebook.  I am able to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world easily.

7.  Bath or Shower?  Bath.  Without question, a hot bath.  Preferably with a book, a candle, a glass of wine, and a kitty to hang out with.
8.  What's your favorite (something visual that involves admiring other people's talents) concert, or musical, or play, or painting?  I enjoy all of the above, but my favorite, without a doubt, is a sweaty rock concert.

9.  Cats or Dogs?  I was always a dog person.  Then, I met my guy, and he taught me that I could be both.  How do I choose between my five babies?  I say both.
10.  You kill an hour in front of your television.  You watch reality tv, a drama, a documentary, a comedy?  Back to back episodes of Would I Lie to You? - a British comedy panel show that I've recently discovered, and my guy and I watch it on UKTV almost every night.  It's hilarious!

 11.  Do you dance, sing, or play a musical instrument?  A long time ago in a land far, far away, I was pretty involved in the world of dance during high school and college.  I still shake my groove thang and sing out of tune around my house on a regular basis. 

12.  If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be?  Oh.  This question.  Damn.  There are definitely things that would have been nice to do differently, but that old cliché "I Wouldn't Be Who I Am Today" is true.  I'd say that I would have studied abroad for a semester or a year when I was in college.

13.  What is your go to comfort food?  Tex-Mex.  When that isn't available, then all things potato or all things cheese would be the next choice.

14.  What is the last book you read?  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

15.  Do your close friends/family know about your blog?  They do if they pay attention.  I post a link on facebook every time I publish a post.

16.  What is your dream job?  A stylist for a rock band

17.  Best thing about being a blogger.  Expressing myself in a way however I feel at that moment.  I don't follow rules.  It just pours out.  Sometimes my posts are random and ridiculous; sometimes they are about a serious topic.  I just post what I feel and what I want.

18.  Twitter or Instagram?  Instagram!

19.  Favorite show to binge watch?  Dance Moms.  Yep, I said it.   I am still several seasons behind, and I have a lot to catch up, but when I binge watch any show, it's Dance Moms.

20.  If you could visit with anyone dead or alive who would it be?  I'd like to talk to my Grandmother, my Memaw, and my Grandfather ... now, that I'm an adult, and I've gotten better at expressing my emotions, I'd like to tell each of them what they meant to me, what they taught me, and how I appreciated each of their roles in my life.  

21.  Who is your celebrity crush?  This answer has not changed since 1984 (some of you weren't even born in 1984).  Jon Bon Jovi.

22.  Why did you start your blog?  I live halfway around the world from my closest friends and family members.  This was another way to keep in touch with them and give them a glimpse into what's going on in my world.  Now, my mom tells me I blog too much.  Ha!  Really, it's turned into a place that I share small corners of my mind.

If you are a blogger, and you've made it this far, and you think it is great when blog posts come full circle like this, then participate with me.  Steal these questions.  Answer them yourself and post a link in the comments.  Or just comment about whatever you want.  Or just read, nod, and keep cruising along.  Whatever makes you happy.  But, my vote is to comment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


The Bloggess is kind of a big deal in the blogging world.  She posted a blog that reminded me of a true story that I feel the need to share.  Why?  So you can learn something and laugh at my expense.  It's about "poppers" which she calls "poopers" which is funny in itself.

What are poppers?  When I think of poppers, I think of two things: the scrumptious delight of fried cheesy goodness known as jalapeño poppers and the plastic bottle that you pull a string and it shoots confetti string known as party poppers.  Those are good poppers. 

In December, we had a house party with a small group of close friends. It was a tad debaucherous. Someone handed me this bottle that looked like those 5 hour energy shots you can buy at Walgreens or CVS. (We have no Walgreens or CVS or 5 hour energy shots here). It said “Jungle Juice” on the side. I assumed it was like the 5 hour energy shots. It was called juice. Both of those, you drink. So, I drank. Bad idea.  Very bad idea.  I actually rinsed my mouth out with absinthe to attempt to get rid of the taste.  Apparently, I was supposed to sniff the bottle.  Now, I will drink practically anything at least once*.  But, I will not sniff anything handed to me in a strange bottle.  I don't even care for nasal spray to help with my sinuses.  Supposedly, these poppers are some kind of euphoric muscle relaxer.  Yea, I got relaxed alright.  I went to sleep not too long after.  (My guy checked on me regularly, and my faithful Astro was by my side.)

Lessons learned:
Do NOT drink any and everything handed to you even if you know everyone at the party.
Do NOT drink Jungle Juice in Australia.
Jungle Juice does NOT equal 5 hour energy shots.

I really hope you read this because these are very good pieces of advice to remember, and I don’t want you to have to learn them from experience the way that I did.

*One should follow safe practices when drinking strange substances as well.  

Sunday Funday

I'm not one to regularly blog about a meal I've had.  I'm not much of a food critic, and I don't take amazingly appetizing looking pictures.  But, I had such a fun Sunday that I'm going to share.

A friend of ours birthday was in January, and my guy's was earlier this month.  We used this as an excuse to get together for a Sunday meal.  My friends recently visited the Barossa Valley, a wine region in Australia.  At one of the vineyards, she was told about this restaurant in Newtown called bloodwood.  Newtown is an eccentric area of Sydney and has some amazing places to eat, drink, people watch, and shop. 

 I got myself all dolled up to go out for the day.  I wore a new dress, and I feel Stevie Nicks-ish because it has big flowy sleeves that I can dance and twirl in.

We got to Newtown early and strolled for a little while, mostly window shopping.  Nature called, so I ducked into the restaurant before our reservation.  The decor is described "to reflect the inner west suburb, melding raw and industrial finishes with an emphasis on recycled and reclaimed materials."  I loved it.  So quirky and cool.
The toilets are downstairs - 3 individual ones with old doors, concrete walls, stainless sinks, and look at that faucet!
 Recycled bottles were used to separate a walkway and eating area.
A light fixture made of clothespins hangs over a table with brightly colored metal chairs.

The four of us were seated by the tattooed, mustachioed hipster who told us that the menu was designed to share all the plates and recommended six different plates between the four of us.  Perfect recommendation.  We picked out meat selections - miso fried chicken, argyle beef striploin, braised lamb nuggets with a pistachio crumb - and our vegetarian selections - polenta chips, fried yorkshire pudding stuffed with goat's cheese (which was amazing!), and my favorite, socca.  What is 'socca', you ask?  I didn't know either.  It was so, so, soooooo good.
polenta chips, miso chicken, lamb nuggets
socca - chickpea pancake, summer seeds, quinoa, pumpkin, persian fetta  

I can't talk about this restaurant without mentioning the drinks menu.  It a well-rounded menu of cocktails, wine, cider, and beer.  It's summertime in Sydney, it was a warm summer day, so I wanted to sample some of their self-described "fancy beers".  
 The menu recommended this for anyone who is a fan of sour jelly beans or sour jelly chews.  If Kool-Aid was a beer, it would be this.  From Buxton Brewery in the UK, this was so interesting and a really great way for me to start my beer tour.  It tasted so sweet, but had a nice beer aftertaste.

 A bit of a gimmick, but too good to pass up.  The Slaytanic Swill is a red ale that was a combined beer effort from Victorian and New South Wales brew masters.  It was pretty heavy, but I liked it. 

 "Notes: Best drunk while bashing your head." - My kind of beer

Brewed with wildflower honey and corn, the sweet smell of this IPA was a-may-zing!  Unfortunately, the taste wasn't as good as the smell.  It wasn't awful, but it wasn't amazing.  

We stayed long enough that all the tables around us emptied.  Probably a good thing.  No one wanted to hear our debate about the Bali 9.

Unfortunately, one of my girlfriends had to go to work.  As we were deciding if we wanted to continue our Sunday Funday, we hung around their apartment, chatted, and drank some wine.  Well, 50% of us drank some wine. The decision was made to continue the day into evening by going to visit a pub that not-so-long ago had a menu change.  So, we headed to The Oxford Tavern.  Did I mention there were several hours between our huge meals??  I'm a girl who likes to eat, but I'm not that bad!

poor Neil only had soft drinks all day, but he had fabulous company!
As we perused the menu, I got a wee bit excited.  Quesadillas?  Pulled pork?  Tacos?  Chili fries?!?!?  Yep.  We'll be coming here more often.
This may be the other half of the folks who decided to partake in a few libations.  Such as...........
...absinthe and red bull with beers to chase.  Who's idea was that?!  Mine.  Bad idea.  And, I'm pretty sure that is when Neil sober one called it a night.

So...........I highly recommend bloodwood in Newtown.  The service was great.  The food was fantastic.  The drink menu was fun.  The decor is awesome.  Go there.