Tampa: To Read or Not to Read – That is the Question!

When you position something as controversial in any media space the appeal spirals to dizzying heights… and literature is no exception. I remember as recent as a couple of years ago going through my old books and deciding to donate a series of old Babysitters Club novels to my local second hand book store. Only to be knocked back by the lady behind the counter who stated they didn’t support that kind of literature. I was quite taken a back that this mid-80s book series Babysitters Club was considered risqué.

Upon retelling this story to my book buddy recently, our conversation turned to scandalous books and the new novel, Tampa by Alissa Nutting, and it’s recent ban from several Australian bookstores was the topic of conversation.

Contorversial Book Cover - Tampa By Alissa Nutting

Controversial Book Cover – Tampa By Alissa Nutting  Photo Via: Faber

People are definitely judging this book by its cover, which suggestively alludes to what is to follow inside. The novel follows Celeste Price a 26 year old high school teacher and sexual predator who is obsessed with 14 year old boys. The school yard provides unlimited access to her sexual obsession and is Celeste’s sole reason for becoming a teacher. Tampa has created a lot of buzz within the Australian book industry with its confronting positioning of females sexual predators, making it easy to hate and having been publicised as one of the most controversial books of the year.

The truth is controversy sells… and 50 Shades of Grey is the proof. Despite criticisms due to the detailed sexually erotic exploits of Christian Grey and many reviews stating it being poorly written, 50 Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists the world over with the series selling over 70 million copies worldwide and a film in the pipeline for 2014.

Which puts me in a bit of a predicament. I am currently undecided as to whether or not to read this novel, this won’t be a book for everyone but can I challenge myself into reading this. I am intrigued… for me it’s the controversial nature of the topic of female sexual predators being something that isn’t really written about, combined with the power of the media and the sheer volume of attention this book has received, makes me question… To read or not to read?

Watch this space…

SS x

Fashion through the eyes of a bloke!

My boyfriend loves when I talk fashion, his eyes begin to glaze over and I swear he is replaying last nights NRL highlights in his mind. He still nods and feigns interest but he’s not listening at all. That is until I mention one of the following statements and then he rolls his eyes and has to give his two cents in protest against me.

So I decided to contest his opinions and share my reasons that the following statements are worth all the eye-rolling.

1. ‘Investment pieces’ are an excuse for you to spend more money. To me ‘Investment Piece’ doesn’t have to come with a giant price tag for me it is all about the make good choices and as with all good investments they pay off in the end with a really good return. By choosing eternally stylish pieces in classic cuts, colours and premium fabrics you avoid those disposable fashion fads. You will know when you have made a good investment as you will still receive compliments every time you pull this piece out and you are still wearing this item 10 years from now.

2. ‘I need new staples’you already have a wardrobe full of clothes why do you need another grey t-shirt? Fashion staples are the building blocks of any good wardrobe and can instantly prepare you for any situation. I need at least a black, grey and two white t-shirts simply because I wear them often and under almost everything. Therefore I try to buy the most durable basics around that don’t cost a fortune, for me these items end up going through the wash at least twice a week and are swapped out every 6 months for a new one. So if your white t-shirt now appears to be more of an off-white shade or slightly stained or stretched, the polished outfit you want to achieve no longer looks so shiny and it is time for a new one.

JCrew Cotton V-Neck Tee - Favourite Staple

J.Crew Cotton V-Neck Tee – Favourite Staple                                                           Photo Via: J.Crew

3. ‘I am going to organise my wardrobe’Huh? It is a place to store clothes the organisation portion is implied and already built in. This is true, however I maintain that wardrobe organisation is a seasonal event for me and my reasoning is simple. Undertaking this task ensures my wardrobe is not cluttered by items that I won’t be wearing over the next six months (do really need to have your winter coats accessible in an Australian summer where temperatures can reach 40 degrees), my mind is refreshed on the clothes I do own and love for the upcoming season, and it is an opportunity to cull all those ‘what was I thinking items’ or slightly non wearable items that are just taking up space.

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My Wardrobe – Bursting at the seams

4. ‘Gimme one sec’ said prior to walking/rushing out the front door! Granted you don’t really say anything here it is more often than not all said in one look… Whether it is quickly do one last check of my make up, grab my keys or my lipstick, allowing me this last minute adjustment can make or break my night which ultimately means your night too. It seems strange but that last minute check helps me centre myself before we go anywhere so please just roll with it. I promise it is better to give me these few seconds to collect myself than for me to be stressed and complaining that I have left something essential behind.

5. ‘I have nothing to wearyou physically can not fit anymore clothes in your wardrobe how can you find nothing. Yes I have an abundance of clothes, but it is all about finding something I actually feel like wearing, something that I haven’t worn to death or been seen wearing multiple times by the same people. For mere mortals like me, i.e. people without stylists, building an outfit takes time and effort. People who say ‘I just threw this on’ are either; a) lying or b) have preplanned this outfit weeks ago while at home one day on their own (I am onto your tricks). Finding a single outfit combo you love is pretty easy, but finding ten different perfect outfit combos per month (given that you are probably wearing this outfit a minimum of 3 times a month) takes some serious planning and effort. So don’t rush me…

But despite all the eye rolling he will never change my love for fashion or my ability to justify my latest purchase. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I adopted his approach to determining what to wear, whereby shopping is a bi-annual event or he just lets the girlfriend get it… But then that doesn’t sound like any fun…

SS x

 

Book Review: The J.M Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society

Barbara J. Zitwer’s, first novel, The J.M Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society was a book that came across my desk by chance. With the majority of my girl friends working in the media industry, having products and books sent to you is one of the perks of the job.  As a lover of the magical place Neverland this book was meant for me, from cover to cover it was an unexpected delight. The classic tale of Peter Pan has been read to children years over and has been recreated in many forms, multiple plays and movies…even a ride. Zitwer’s novel offers a glimpse into the historic location where it all began and the lives that the story has influenced.

Dive right in!

Dive right in!

For a small group of women in Cotsworth, England, the author of the classic tale of the boy who never grew up, J.M Barrie, has inspired a gathering of lifelong friends to hold onto their youth by taking a daily dip in their own private Neverland (no matter the temperature). Joey Rubin, is an overworked woman in a male dominated architectural firm in New York, whose whimsical presentation and passion leads her to travel to England to oversee the restoration of Stanway House, the location that inspired J.M Barrie to write the literary classic. Challenged by the people of Cotsworth and the disgruntle caretaker of Stanway House, Joey discovers that the women of the J.M Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society may be onto something wonderful.

I adored, Aggie, reminding me of my own grandmother, whose sharp-witted manner and heartfelt spirit makes you want Aggie as a life long friend. And the women of The Ladies Swimming Society share a Peter Pan like spirit, I definitely cannot imagine myself diving into an icy lake in the middle of an English winter, these women prove that you are never too old to live the life you desire. The cast in this novel will surprise and delight all readers, a story of honest friendship, love and self discovery.

This novel captures one of my favourite quotes from Peter Pan, ‘The world is made of faith, trust and pixie dust.’ A warm and easy read that I couldn’t put down.

Enjoy.

SS x

Weekend Style Edit

From Monday to Friday, patent black pumps, the two piece suit or a polished pencil skirt may complete your workday look, but whatever you are wearing during your work week it’s unlikely that you want to continue that same look throughout the weekend. For me, those clothes can remind me of work and put me in that corporate mindset, you almost need to have two separate styles one for work and one for play.

More often than not your weekend look is more casual and comfortable than your traditional work-wardrobe. But while your weekend look can be relaxed, it should never be sloppy. If you are grocery shopping, walking up the street to grab a coffee, or running a quick errand, you never know who you will bump in to and if you have my luck you always do when you are looking your worst. I have been there quite a few times; slightly sheepish and embarrassed with my greasy hair hidden under a baseball cap, pulled low over my face like I am hiding from the paparazzi, boyfriends oversized jumper with sweats or that out of shape t-shirt you have been meaning to throw out. Weekends are fun, so let your outfits amplify that feeling no matter what your signature style is.

Sporty
Yes even your gym gear can be stylish. Inspiration Nicole Ritchie.

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Nicole Ritchie Weekend Workout

Double Denim
Don’t judge me but I love a bit of weekend double denim.

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Olivia Palermo Double Denim

Preppy
Polished and chic, think skinny blue denims, light weight knits and a collared shirt. Inspiration Emma Stone and Taylor Swift.

Emma Stone - Weekend Preppy

Emma Stone – Weekend Preppy

Rock
A touch a rock makes you instantly edgy; black leather, faux fur and skinny jeans. Inspiration Jessica Hart and Kate Moss.

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Jess Hart Rock Chic

Boho
Unstructured chunky knits, floaty style tops and faded, ripped denim. Inspiration Sienna Miller.

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Sienna Miller – Weekend Boho

Urban
Sleek city dweller chic, polished separates. Inspiration Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Miranda Kerr.

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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

And if in doubt channel Olivia Palermo’s chic weekend style.

Olivia Palermo Weekend Chic

Olivia Palermo Weekend Chic

Enjoy your weekends my fashionable lovelies…

SS x

Failsafe for the Workplace

When it comes to work attire, as in life, the grass always feels greener on the other side. I am lucky, or unlucky, enough to work in a job where my dress code is not ruled by suits, pinstripes or uniforms. Wearing whatever you want to work sounds fun but it can be a daily struggle, sometimes I wish I could go back to my first job in high school where my work wardrobe consisted of shirts with the Woolworths logo stitched into the pocket. Honestly, most mornings I do love my wardrobe and the inspiration will jump out demanding that I wear them. But sometimes, I feel like I stand in front of my wardrobe hoping the perfect outfit will materialise before me. To no avail…

So to combat that morning struggle, I have created my fail safe outfit, the last resort outfit that always makes me feel polished and well presented. Taking inspiration from Miranda Kerr and Jennifer Anniston’s approach to minimalist style; my fail safe involves the classic white shirt, black slimline pants and a statement shoe.

Miranda Kerr - Working it like a pro!

Miranda Kerr – Working it like a pro!

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Blake Lively – Work wear as day wear!

Clemence Poesy - Chic Staples

Clemence Poesy – Chic Staples

Although my fail safe outfit may feel quite corporate the great thing about it, is the ability to translate across whatever industry you work in. If you work in a creative based industry add embossed black pants or a floaty oversized shirt belted through the middle, if you work as in education, bright colourful accessories will add a bit of something extra and corporate career women can add a structured blazer and sleek low ponytail to complete the look.

The only bad thing about my outfit is, unfortunately I can really only wear my fail safe once per week… So for the remaining 4 days I guess am stuck with multiple outfit changes…

SS x

For the love of books

Both of my grandmothers and mother have ingrained in me a love of books, raising me on literary icons like Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. I have probably read, Blyton’s Folk of the Faraway Tree, about fifty times and it is still on my personal list of the top reads of all time. Now as an adult, I always need to be reading something and my slightly OCD manner means that I can never leave a book unfinished. Truthfully I will pretty much read anything but I have a particular affinity for mysteries (probably because I read so many Nancy Drew books in my tweens) and fantasy literature, having read the entire Game of Thrones series in two weeks.

Reading fuels my soul

Reading fuels my soul

I consume books like they are keeping me alive. So in order to try to keep track of every novel that sparks my fancy, my sister and I created the ultimate book list, of classic novels, recommendations from friends and new releases, and I can’t seem to cross things off fast enough as the list continues to grow.

To me a great novel is something to be shared, so here are some of my favourites to add to your own lists:

1. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts. The story of one of the most wanted man in Australia escapes from prison and flees to colourful Bombay, India.

2. All that I Am – Ann Funder. Based on real people and events, the story of friends uniting against Nazism during Hilter’s rise to power.

3. The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield. A suspenseful story of secrets. Do you believe in ghosts?

4. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. What would you do if you found out your wife was gone without a trace?

5. The Burial – Courtney Collins. Australian literature at its best, a beautifully written debut novel, of the last female bushranger.

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A few of my favourites.

6. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak. Death is the narrator of this story situated in Nazi Germany, need I say more.

7. The Tigers Wife – Téa Obreht. A young woman’s grandfather tells her his story of life in the Balkans, the ‘deathless man’ and a deaf-mute girl who befriends a tiger.

8. The People of the Book – Geraldine Brooks. A piece of historical fiction following a piece of history through history.

9. The J.M. Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society – Barbara J. Zitwer. A celebration of life, love and proof that age holds no limits.

10. Magician – Raymond E. Fiest. After nine companions journeyed to Mount Doom and before the battle for the Iron Throne, was the story of a young magician. The ultimate fantasy lovers book.

I would love you to share your recommended reads and thoughts on books you have read and loved. Happy reading.

SS x

Fashion 101

In today’s world of content consumption fashion resources are everywhere; magazines, TV shows, social, websites, blogs and when it comes to fashion everyone has their own tips and tricks that are tailored to their individual style. Some useful, others average… here are a few of my top tips to ensure that every time you walk out of your front door you are on your way to the stylish life you deserve. *In no particular order.

1. Buy your size

Trust me I have broken this rule a couple of times only to realise you really won’t lose those extra centimetres off your… Hips, bum, waist or thighs… to fit into that gorgeous must-have item that is half a size too small. Whatever the number on the label, it is just that, a number and it doesn’t translate to how you feel in that perfect outfit no matter the size.

2. The classic white shirt

If you don’t have one, get one! Now! This was only a recent purchase of mine, despite being the person offering fashion advice, I tend to buy a random assortment of clothes that go with nothing in my wardrobe. Upon discovery, the CWS is now my ultimate fail safe for almost every occasion and manages to magically pull, what I thought was a random mish-mash of clothes together. Crisp, clean and the perfect building block for your next job interview, date night, lunch with the girls or meeting the in-laws for the first time.

3. Rules are made to be broken

Fashion rules that is; wear floral and stripes, pink and red (Emma Stone and SJP prove this can be a winning combination), black and navy (tricky, but can work). Challenge your individual sense of style, as long as rule 9 still applies. But please never wear socks and sandals!

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My latest love outfit from Portmans

4. Spend big dollars

…On investment pieces that last more than one season. Again this is another recent endeavour of mine and even though your partner may frown at the words ‘fashion’ and ‘investment’ side by side, but disposable fashion is a thing of the past. Spending money on the top seasons trends can end up breaking the bank and leave you seeing red… But it is definitely worth putting an extra few dollars behind the items you will continually wear season in and season out; such as the little black dress, the perfect pair of jeans, the ultimate everyday carry all and a statement piece of jewellery that won’t leave your skin stained or lose its shine over time.

5a. Declutter your wardrobe.

Ask yourself ‘would I buy this now?’, if the answer is no toss it. Be brutal and if you have trouble letting go bring in a friend to help question why you need to keep said item. Don’t let the clothes that you are no longer wearing take up space in your wardrobe, because if you are anything like me you need all the space you can get.

5b. Organise your wardrobe

If you take the time to organise your wardrobe and it should make getting dressed in the morning a breeze!

6. Must own nude pumps

Wearing nude pumps is a super easy trick to instantly give the illusion that your bare legs are a few centimetres longer and they go with pretty much everything!

AJANA

Tony Bianco – Ajana

7. Sleep on it

If you are unsure, sleep on it….

This is some of the best fashion advice my mum ever gave me, it should be applied to both sale and indulgent purchases. If you are still thinking or even better dreaming, about it the next day, buy it.

8. Sneakers = comfortable style

Of course I am suggesting this, I am StyleinSneakers, but there are occasions that a ballet flat, loafer, high heel or gladiator sandal just won’t cut it and you need a good sneaker. It doesn’t have to be anything outlandish, like my favourite pair of bright pink Nike high tops, or cost half your pay, but just a simple canvas sneaker that exudes comfortable style.

StyleinSneakers Must Have - Keds White Canvas

StyleinSneakers Must Have – Keds White Canvas

9. Be true to yourself

Reason not needed! But if you need some reasoning, in my opinion if you feel confident and comfortable in your outfit you will instantly look so much better!

SS x