Oh my God, oh my god, oh my god.
OH MY GOD.
Oh my God! Renee Zellweger was ageing! Oh my God! She felt pressure to keep looking young because of the ludicrous profession she works in. Oh my God! She got surgery. Oh my God! She looks different. Oh my God! It's front page news!
Oh my God, oh my god, oh my god.
OH MY GOD.
Now if I were a religious person, I would argue that the very fact that men have nipples is indeed proof that God actually created women in her own image and then created men as an after-thought from one of the ribs of Eve. She just jammed on some external genitals and shrunk the boobs down and Voila! Ta Da! Man. The useless nipples were left there in honour of God herself. That's right. The very fact that men have nipples is proof that A) God made women first and B) God is in fact a woman.
But because I am a scientific person, I think it necessary to answer this question with logic instead.
During formation in the womb, all human embryos, regardless of sex, develop parallel mammary ridges called milk lines. These milk lines develop in the chest area before the 23rd chromosomes (XX or XY) work to develop the physical traits that distinguish a male foetus from a female one. As the foetuses develop the milk lines slowly recede, leaving behind a pair of nipples and breast glands that are capable or producing milk in both sexes. That's right. Men can make milk.
Interestingly though male mice do not have nipples! Why? Because they have evolved a little more than us mere humans. Yale researchers discovered that while male mice go though a similar mammary development process, they also go though a secondary transition that removes the nipples. After a few days in-utero a protein known as PTHrP signals the mammary cells to form male hormone receptors which destroys the breast tissue, leaving the rodents smooth chested and completely nipple-free. Eat your heart out anti-Darwinians!
So basically, men have nipples because women do. Like I said. Men were made in God's lady image.
“The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing - and then marry him.” - Cher
“Men are my hobby, if I ever got married I'd have to give it up.” - Mae West
“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” - Sam Keen
"I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life."
- Rita Rudner
“Someone told me the delightful story of the crusader who put a chastity belt on his wife and gave the key to his best friend for safekeeping, in case of his death. He had ridden only a few miles away when his friend, riding hard, caught up with him, saying 'You gave me the wrong key!” - Anais Nin
“My husband and I have never considered divorce… murder sometimes, but never divorce.” - The Joyce brothers.
"It destroys one's nerves to be amiable every day to the same human being." - Benjamin Disraeli
“We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.” - Henry Youngman
My birthday is coming up. And yes, I know I'm not old but I'd like to still look forward to my birthdays like I used to and the bottom line is - I don't. Why is everyone so down on age and getting older? Isn't that the aim of the whole fricken game? Aren't we sad when people die young and don't we say things like "What a waste" and all that.
I want to get old. I want to meet my grandbabies and hopefully my great grandbabies too.
It's tough being a woman. We want to look like we did when we were teenagers and be able to lose weight like we did when we were teenagers too. But, to be honest, being a teenager sucked ass. I hated it. I much prefer being in my 30's. I read a great quote from Katherine Lowe the other day:
"Get back in the oven, you're not done yet" - me, to pretty much anyone under the age of 25"
That was the first positive thing I'd read about age in bloody ages. Because we do need cooking. We do need to grow up and make mistakes and mature. Young people can be really annoying. I'd much rather hang out with someone in their 40's than an 18 year old.
So, can't we move past all this now? Can't we idolise the old and look forward to things about being older e.g. retirement. My friend and I plan to go flatting together when our husbands die (Lisa Jarrett, I am talking about you and I hold you to this promise). She's going to do all the cooking and cleaning and I will do all the entertaining. We will have a fab time.
Today, I stumbled upon this great website - advanced style.com.au. It gave me a little boost. I hope I look forward to every single birthday that comes my way. I hope I feel excited about making it to another year older and I hope I dress like a movie star in the process.
Life is Beautiful and I don't want to be sad that I get to live more of it.
Mariana and I are not the most practical of duos. When we are together we tend to get lost. We tend to somehow manage to make simple tasks turn into strange and bizarre adventures. We went out for a bottle of wine once and didn't make it back home for two hours. One night we went out for a "quiet drink" with $10 between us and managed to stay out all night sipping cocktails. Once when we lived in a flat together with three other flatmates it was our turn to do the flat shopping. We came home with a few bags of chips, some fortune cookies and some lamb chops. We've come a long way since then! But we still need assistance with overly logical tasks at times. Luckily we both have very practical husbands. If it wasn't for these level headed men, we'd both probably be living in a tree somewhere eating chocolate ice cream for breakfast.
So logically when we needed some team mates to play Escape Mate - Wellington's first escape simulation game, we immediately decided we'd have to bring our very clever husbands along. Otherwise we may never actually escape at all! And because the Escape Mate vault game requires a minimum of three players (max 6).
Off we went on a fine Saturday morning to get locked into a real vault for 60 minutes. Yes real! The vault door itself was made in Canada in around 1976. It's still going strong and it looks very cool. I was curious though, how it would stand up against a stick of dynamite - like in the movies?
We were introduced to our lovely hosts Laura and Tibor (The founder and director of Escape Mate). They talked us through the basic goal - Escape (duh!). How were we to do this? Well that was the fun part. Behind the large vault door lay a room full of clues and codes. Some would be legit and some would be there to throw us off the scent. We'd have to think outside the square and work together as a team to find the code to open the door.
And the story line? All good escape games have a story line! This particular adventure involves a bunch of bank robbing Hungarians and a small Wellington police team (us) sent to raid their Gang Pad. As soon as the police team, lead by their Captain (Mariana) enter the vaulted Gang Pad, the door swings shut and is locked from outside by a gang member who'd been hiding out incognito. He then runs off to alert his goons who will return in one hour to make mince meat out of the police team (Hungarians are famous for their sausages). If the police team is to survive then they will need to escape as soon as possible!
The first thing we had to do was have a warm up game! Thanks to all my years of theatre I immediately thought we'd be playing a name game or personifying seaweed. But it was not that kind of warm up! I won't spoil the fun for future escapees but let's just say it was more of a mental warm up, similar to doing a sudoku or working on a math problem. It definitely got my mind thinking - That was a bit hard. It probably didn't help that we decided to play Escape Mate on the dawn of Mercury Retrograde when all brains are foggy and team communications are at an all time low!
Then it was time to head into the vault! It was super exciting and a little spooky hearing the vault door lock loudly behind us. As soon as it closed we were off! All four of us, off like headless chickens, fossicking around the 50 square metre (approx) room looking for clues. We were all frantic. There was so much to see and we had no idea what was important and what was merely a distraction. There were padlocks. There were numbers. There were all sorts of bits and bobs.
One thing is for sure, we did not automatically work as a team. We were out for ourselves! Calling out numbers to no one in particular to write down. More times than I'd like to admit, I'd abandon a task half way through, passing it off as a mere distraction, only for someone else to come along and discover a secret lock box, key or code was hiding right where I had been looking! So annoying!
It felt like we'd been inside for about five minutes when we looked at the clock and realised more than half an hour had already passed and we hadn't even cracked any codes! We'd been so busy searching the nooks and crannies for clues that we'd missed those hidden in plain site! Luckily we had a bit of help. Laura and Tibor prompted us a few times via walky-talky, after probably watching us on the cameras missing the obvious clues.
We did make it out - eventually and we had a ball getting there. We're not supposed to say anything to spoil the surprise so that when you go and play (and you so should) you will not beat our record time of 59 minutes and 59 seconds. Yes, we just made it out in the nick of time!
Escape Mate is so much fun! Such great mind enhancing entertainment! It makes you think and is also an excellent team building exercise, a great work Christmas party experience and the Dark Room game (2 players) would be a fun idea for a date night. And at $20pp for the vault and $25pp for the dark room, I think it's a rather affordable form of entertainment!
I'd also recommend trying Escape Mate first if you've ever been tempted to go on The Amazing Race with a sibling or bestie. If you can survive 60 minutes problem solving in a room together you might just win the race!
May the force be with you. And watch out for those Hungarians!
You can find more info on the Escape Mate website and their Facebook page.
Everyone needs a bestie, right? I'm lucky I've got one. She tells it to me straight and picks me up when I'm feeling down. But what if you can't find someone who offers you the qualities you need?
It's time to start being your own best friend!
Recently, I started a little journey called Life Coaching. My life coach told me: "Be your own best friend"
and this got me thinking - for like hours.
What does being your own best friend mean?
Can I be my own best friend? To be be honest, I'm sick of my own company. Me and me have been hanging out together for a total of 31 years. We're over each other. It's like a marriage except I didn't choose me - my parents DNA just got together and 'Voila' I was stuck with myself. But I'm trying to be kind because that's what besties do.
So I've started trying hanging out with myself and instead of saying mean things to myself in my head, I'm trying to treat myself like I would my bestie. It turns out I'm not that bad company. I like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. I'm not much into health food and I have half a brain.
But I digress….What do you like? What can you and you do together that you both enjoy?
Here's how to be your own bestie:
1. Enjoy hanging out with yourself.
2. Value yourself.
3. Look after yourself.
4. Be honest with yourself.
5. Listen to yourself.
See! It's not that hard!
I always thought that a shotgun wedding was so named because it happened really quickly (like a bullet out of a shot gun: bang!) when the bride embarrassingly fell pregnant out of wedlock.
But I recently learned that it was so named because the father of said bride was likely to be so opposed to the shame of a daughter who would dare to fornicate before marriage, that he would resort to threatening to use a shotgun on the young man responsible, to obtain a marriage proposal. As in: "You better bloody make an honest woman of her or I will shoot you in the head with this here shot gun". It makes much more sense that way. How did I not know this?
Now days any marriage that seems to happen quickly is assumed to be because of an unplanned pregnancy and then coined a "shotgun" wedding. But realistically, these days most fathers would be more like "Oh god, please don't propose to her cus then I'll be expected to pay for the bloody wedding! Just buy a house and have a kid, that's commitment enough, surely!"
I used to think romance was dead in this post millennium world, but I don't really think it was that common to begin with. What we thought was our parents being romantic by getting married so young, was really just a woopsie, a death threat and their parents' attempt at saving face at church on Sunday. Super romantic.
One thing that will never die though, is pre-marital lust. And really, it is much more fun when it's a little bit bad isn't it?
Jaymee Morrison is a photographer based in Wellington. She specialises in portraiture, weddings and fashion. We love her feminine, soft style that also looks like the image is keeping a bit of a secret. We caught up with Jaymee for a chat!
"I am really passionate about wedding photography. There is something special about being part of a wedding. I love being able to step back and photograph the day taking place. I’m relatively new to this sector so it will be one of my main focuses over the next 5 years.
In my spare time I like to take self portraits. It’s like a release for me and sometimes even helps resolve any negative feelings I may have."
Age? I turned 21in June. I celebrated by having a party in my home town Waverley, South Taranaki. Waverley has a population of about 850 people and one main street of shops. Despite the random location friends from all over New Zealand attended. I danced until early morning and had the best night of my life (so far)!
Star sign? Gemini
Favourite colour? Anything and everything pink.
Favourite TV show (if you watch any!) I’m guilty of watching Shortland Street. My previous flat mate got me hooked and now I can’t stop watching!
What drew you to photography? As a child, I loved taking photos using Kodak disposable cameras. It was really exciting picking up my prints from the local chemist. Half of the photos were blurry, the other half were photos of my cat Nemo or portraits of my sister posing awkwardly in the garden.
I was 15 years old when I started experimenting more seriously with photography. The performing arts school I was attending also offered photography classes. I started spending a lot of my lunch breaks in the darkroom; I was drawn to the process of developing prints from film I had taken. Seeing the final prints which represented my ideas gave me a lot of satisfaction. I felt really proud of what I had created.
I left school at age 17 and started studying at The Photo School in Raumati. After only a few classes I knew for sure that taking photographs was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
How do you get your inspiration? While I was studying at The Photo School, we were encouraged to research other artists. I now have multiple workbooks full of photographs that never tire to inspire me. I also follow a lot of photographers via Facebook so my newsfeed is always interesting. Pinterest is great as well.
There are so many talented photographers out there, especially in New Zealand! It’s inspiring being a part of this industry. My photography friends Billie Brook and Summer Shimizu are both so talented and hardworking, qualities I really admire. Kate Macpherson is one of my favourite NZ wedding photographers and Davis Ayer is a talented analogue photographer in the U.S.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? One of the first photographers I researched was Francesca Woodman who was a feminist. There was a female present in all her portraits. I think her work has had some influence on me.
Most of the people I photograph for my project ‘We are Individuals’ are women. I think this is because I find their individual styles more interesting and I feel comfortable photographing them.
Overall I think women have a beauty that is beyond just looks. I admire women who are really career driven yet still manage to cook, clean, raise children and somehow have a social life.
However, I don’t think I consider myself a true feminist at this point in my life.
Why is analogue photography your favourite? Using analogue cameras slows the process of photography down, whereas digital is so instant. I love the suspense that comes with waiting to get film back from the lab. There is always an element of surprise in the results.
Analogue photography also has a quality about it that I believe cannot truly be replicated through the digital platform. The style of analogue that I practice is quite experimental. I like light leaks, distortion, dust spots and double exposures (even the ‘accidental’ type). To achieve these effects naturally (as opposed to using Photo Shop) I use a Lubitel 2 camera. This camera is probably regarded as ‘a children’s toy’ to some photographers. For me it’s like my secret weapon.
I like to combine the use of this medium with fashion. When we look at fashion magazines we mostly see clean cut images and models with flawless skin. Right now I’m trying to do something a little different with fashion photography, so watch this space.
What makes you get up in the morning? My never ending ‘to do’ list. I set daily, weekly and monthly goals. I have a vision of what success looks like to me and there is a big journey in front of it but I am determined to get there.
Is it hard being in a relationship with another photographer/artistic person? I think being in a relationship with another artistic person either works well or it doesn’t work at all. Lucky for Tom and me it works really well.
A lot of the time our photography comes first before spending quality time together. We respect each other’s work and understand how much commitment is involved in the careers we have chosen to pursue. We also make a really good team and influence each other to do the best we possibly can. His style of photography may be quite different from mine yet he is my biggest inspiration. When we do get to spend quality time together we have a lot of laughs.
Who has supported you on your creative journey? My parents have always supported me. They have provided me with many opportunities and the best possible start which has shaped me into the person I am today.
Mel Phillips (Head of School) and Marie-Jean Mills from The Photo School offered round the clock support. I am so grateful for all of the discussions, demonstrations, and their encouragement.
During my final year at The Photo School we were lucky to have 4 professional photographers join our class. Their support was very encouraging and I can’t thank them enough for everything they taught me. The lessons we had that same year with Tony Whincup are unforgettable. They changed my perspective and I now feel like I am a stronger photographer.
We are Individuals: We are Individuals is a documentation of people who dress with a strong sense of identity.
During my degree year I began exploring how we differentiate ourselves as individuals. I took portraits of people who strive to dress differently and oppose contemporary trends. This idea developed into a larger, more diverse group of people, in particular focusing on how we dress as we age.
After being so involved with this concept while studying it didn’t feel right discarding the idea and moving on after graduation. While living in Nelson I continued taking portraits for this project. Once I move back to Wellington in October 2014 there will be more work to come.
We are Individuals will be one of those never ending projects. Any town I go to I spot someone who I would like to photograph. Sometimes it’s the colour of their shoes, the way they wear their hair or even their confidence in the way they are dressed that grabs my attention.
I’d eventually like to publish a book of these portraits. For now you can view them on my blog.
Check out Jaymee on her Facebook page and Website!
Emma Watson, actor and Good Will Ambassador for UN Women, spoke at a conference for the UN recently, where she delivered an amazing speech about the negative connotations around Feminism.
Feminism is not man-hating. It is by definition striving for equality between the sexes. Watson's powerful speech was to mark the launch of the UN's HeForShe campaign, welcoming men and boys into the fight for gender equality, so that together men and women can work to end violence against women.
Feminism is no longer reserved for women. It is now open to anyone and everyone who has ever loved a woman and cared for her well-being.
"Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation."
"Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals."
While we were in Auckland for New Zealand Fashion Week we were lucky enough to stay at one of Auckand's five star hotels - The Langham.
This hotel oozes regality. From the very moment we stepped into the lobby and ogled the biggest sparkliest chandelier we'd ever seen, we knew we were in good hands! And we were! The staff at the Langham were very friendly and helpful and it sure does feel fancy to have a doorman open the taxi door for you and offer to take your bags - all 10 billion of them! - We don't travel light!
After checking in and sorting out all the issues that come with daring to travel with a debit card and not a credit card* we headed up to our hotel room which would be our home for the next three chaotic days of fashion! Oh my! Such a gorgeous room and such a gigantic bed! I was a little nervous to share a bed with Mariana. I have shared a bed with her countless times and almost everytime I have fallen victim to her sleeping style, known as Diagonal-Foetal-Lead-Weight-Panda: She's diagonal in the bed but she is so heavy with sleep that no amount of kicking, elbowing or name calling will wake her. There is nothing else to do, but spoon. Thankfully the bed at the Langham was sooooo big, soft and spongy that I didn't even know she was sleeping next to me! That bed was so comfy that many a night we weighed up the evenings afterparty over lounging in bed with a cup of tea and some trashy T.V - most nights the afterparty won out.
We started every morning with a swim in the amazing salt water pool, followed by a soak in the spa and then a detox in either the steam room or sauna. Afterwards we'd splash ice chips all over our skin - it closes off the pores and increases metabolism don't you know!
While we were there we were also lucky enough to have look around the members lounge and have a little photoshoot in one of the fanciest rooms in the entire hotel, where many a celebrity has stayed. Complete with sitting room, board room, separate bedroom, bidet, and spa bath - I think this room was more my speed. Though it will set you back around $750 per night.
Hotels are funny things. It can be quite novel for a while to stay somewhere new and wake every morning to a swim in a heated outdoor pool, but after a while it's the simple things you miss. Like a basic breakfast in bed that doesn't cost you $20, or like a cup of tea in a cup that has been freshly washed in a dishwasher. I mean what is up with hotel crockery? How does it get washed? When we returned to our room after a day out we discovered our room had been nicely made up. But on inspection we found that our tea cups and tea spoons had not been washed, just carefully put back where they were when we arrived, still dirty. Big tea rings lined the rim of the mugs. Is this normal? Personally if I am paying to stay somewhere I'd expect the cups to be brought in fresh each day and the dirty cups taken to the kitchen to be freshly washed in the dishwasher. Especially if I'm staying in a five star hotel! The other thought that grossed me out was "If they don't replace the cups each day, where do they wash the cups when people check out?" to which I figured - "Maybe the bathroom?" Which is gross. Just gross. Would you ever wash your cups in your bathroom sink? I think ebola was born of washing cups in bathroom sinks. Ok maybe not ebola, but definitely gastro. The good news is that after I dialled assistance and requested some clean mugs they were more than happy to bring some fresh ones up in a jiffy - sometimes it just pays to ask!
We had an amazing time at the Langham! I just wish we'd had more time there! We were so busy with fashion related duties that we didn't get to lounge around the pool area half as much as we'd have liked. It was also a great location - a little far from the viaduct for what we were wanting, which made wearing heels a challenge - but it was a great way to get to see a good amount of the inner city and somewhat find my way around Auckland again.
Oh how I miss that big spongy bed and that gorgeous salt water pool!
*It turns out if you try to hand over your debit card as security for incidentals you will be charged $150.00 a night up front. This amount will be refunded to you on check out. Who has a spare $450 in their account when they're at fashion week and intend to spend every penny they have on shoes and wine? Next time I will take my credit card, which requires only a $150 hold. Still it's a bit frustrating to be made to feel like a suspected criminal when you've already paid for your room.
Photography by Clare Merril