Monday, May 30, 2011

Heavy Rotation - Sparkadia

I heard a song on the radio about three months ago and was instantly enthralled. The singer's voice reminded me so much of Zachary Condon from Beirut to the point where I actually thought it was a Beirut song. But I googled the lyrics and discovered I was wrong - it was actually an Australian guy. It took a while before I heard the song on the radio again, but then suddenly it was popping up more frequently, as was another song I loved even more than the first one I had heard.

May I present to you The Great Impression by Sparkadia.

Sparkadia started out as a band in Sydney a few years ago and was originally known as The Spark. But after all of the band members departed, Alex Burnett forged ahead on his own to create an album that is a quirky mix of pop, ballad and mystery.

The opening title track is so light and happy it's impossible not to think of pop music from previous decades, the tinkling bells and falsetto-voiced Burnett are irresistible, and Footprints, the second track, continues this joyful, melodious sound. The third track, Talking Like I'm Falling Down Stairs, is the track I originally heard on the radio. It's slower and smoother, but there's an intensity in the lyrics that instantly makes you sit up and listen closely.

Love Less Love definitely takes it's cues from 80s pop music. It's a graceful glide through 80s pop nostalgia that rolls along at a catchy pace. Towards the end of the album, Fade From View echoes those sounds with a much more ethereal sound, which adds a nice touch to what could have been a bland, filler pop song. Ghost has a more somber tone, but it's chorus is reminiscent of 1950s rock - thumping and abrupt, but it touches a nerve as it evokes imagery of deeply hidden love. I Started Something I Couldn't Finish is incredibly spooky. There's honestly no other word for it - I feel as though I should be running maniacally through a ghost house in a horror movie whenever I listen to it.

The final track on the album, Too Young, starts out with some simple guitar and Burnett's superb voice, but it's the lyrics that draw you in as the pace picks up. It's a perfect final track - optimistic and free, with a lovely coming of age feel to it. This song was instantly one of my favourites upon my first listen, and it remains so.

But it's the fourth track, China, that is absolutely perfect. This was the second track I heard on the radio and I cannot get enough of it. It starts out so simply, and Burnett's voice emotes in such a quietly controlled way. The lyrics are illustrative of Burnett's superb songwriting skills, and as the music builds it's impossible not to get completely swept up by the crescendo. While some might say that lyrically the song is too simple, Burnett seems to know not to let the story take over the gorgeous arrangement of the instruments. China is probably one of the best songs I've heard in a long time, and it's definitely the stand out track on the album.

While Sparkadia's sound might not be for everyone, this is an album that has certainly carved out a niche sound in the Australian music industry. Boredom Abounds predicts this is an artist to watch.

In a word: profound

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Liebster Award

Well, good grief. Someone who reads my blog has given me a lovely shout out on her own blog! Natalie from The Mustard Jumper, a blog I discovered a little while ago and love, has nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award. 

It's an award designed to draw attention to smaller blogs, and the nominees are tagged by other bloggers. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Natalie nominate me, blogger of probably badly photographed cooking, ranter of all things Glee and general musings about books, movies and music. How kind!

So now it's my turn to point you in the direction of three blogs I read each week. It's hard to choose just three, but here we go:

Kiki Chaos is a fellow Melbourne lady and lover of all things vintage. I love stopping by her blog to read about her latest vintage treasure, newly acquired nail polish or Melbourne life in general. There's a realness to her blogging that I really enjoy - very relatable and always enjoyable!

Heidi from Apples Under My Bed posts the most delicious recipes and photos of the food she makes and great photos from the restaurants she visits. We have a couple of Melbourne suburbs in common and it's great to see other bloggers so close to home have such a great following. Read Heidi's blogs entries and try not salivate over the yummy treats - I dare you.

Clare over at posts some really great beauty reviews. She's always honest and the reviews are very detailed, which I really appreciate. Definitely swing by and take a look at some of her entries if you're a make up buff!

But you what? There are plenty of great blogs (Australian and otherwise) out there - it's hard to just pick three! I'd love to know what your favourite blogs are - leave me a comment so I can add to my already lengthy blog roll!

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Fun Friday Links

SO happy to have a half day off from work today! I'm looking forward to poking around in a homewares and furniture shop that's closing down - fingers crossed I find a bargain for the study!

But first, links!

- The Playlist has complied a list of 10 of the greateast TV shows currently airing in the States. Most of them have been on TV here, but even those that haven't could be worth checking out. I've heard good things about Justified and Game of Thrones in particular. Also, I have got to watch Parks and Recreation ASAP.

- Looking for something interesting to browse online? This Tumblr, All That Is Interesting, is quite literally all things interesting. There's no discernable theme, it's just a bunch of interesting stuff. My favourites are the vampire hunting kit from the 1800s,  these beautiful pictures from inside an ocean wave and this beautiful photo of New York City at night.

- The most important movie trailer of the year: Green With Envy

Due to technical difficulties, there are only three links today - apologies. I have destroyed two work computers and am reluctant to spend too much time around technology this afternoon! Pin It

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Glee Highlights - Season 2, Episode 19: Rumors

So....I've never been a huge Fleetwood Mac fan. I don't know why. I don't dislike them, I just don't LOVE them. So when I found out it was a whole episode of Fleetwood Mac I was ambivalent. But they sold me. I knew most of the songs, I think maybe one or two I didn't, but I really enjoyed the music. The storyline? Felt a little all over the place, but I think that had more to do with the craziness of all the rumors flying around. The energy of the characters definitely felt very...teenager-y, so kudos to them for making me feel like I was back in high school. I had forgotten how simultaneously gullible and self-righteous teenagers are.

Let's get stuck into it, shall we?

Fondue for Two
Don't lie. You would totally watch this every week - especially the episode where they dip raw meat in chocolate. Yum. She's got nothing on iCarly.

Sue incognito
Does anyone else want to see Sue do a David Bowie number now? Maybe a whole Broadway tribute? No? Just me then? Okay.

Oh, and giving the barista Euros? So amusing. I don't know why, but it made me laugh.

The Muckrakers
Worst. Journalists. Ever. Although Sue's plan kind of worked. The New Directions did kind of go all spazzy over the blind items. I wish my high school would have had blind items. Although I suspect they would have been fairly boring: "Who got caught without their blazer on at the train station? Someone's going to suffering through a detention next week!" Riveting, I'm sure. Unless we could have gotten some dirt on the nuns. That would have been scandalous fo' sho'.

April Rhodes
I feel like they're only going to trot her out now to try and convince Will to help her out/come to New York/have a sleazy one night stand with, etc. It was great to hear her sing, but mostly I just loved the whole retro look she had going on here. I wish my hair would do that when I put a scarf in it. Mostly I look like I'm recovering from an unfortunate hair cutting incident.

Artie and Brittany break up
A really nice scene. Good work from Heather Morrison - such a simple line, but the emotion was perfect. I felt like this was inevitable, which is disappointing, because I thought they were cute together.

Never Going Back Again
And it gave us this fantastic number. This is one of the songs I wasn't super familiar with, but I just loved it - particularly the way it built up with all the acoustic guitars. I am a sucker for some acoustic guitar.

Rachel and Finn
Rachel, honey, stop. The desperation is too much. I can't take it anymore. You can do SO MUCH BETTER THAN HIM. Seriously, am I right or am I right?

What did everyone think of this version of Songbird? To be honest, it did fit the scene nicely, so I see why Santana sang it, but honestly, I think it would have suited Lea Michele's soft voice a lot better. I found Naya Rivera kind of weak at times on the higher notes. Interesting how she can sing to Brittany about her feelings, but she still ain't admitting it to anyone. Except him. He's just part of the furniture, you know.

I Don't Want To Know
I love how this song was basically a giant fuck you to each other. And everyone could totally tell. Feisty!

Lord Tubbington
I cannot BELIEVE he started smoking again. How could he lie to Brittany about that?

Go Your Own Way
Rachel was totally having cheer sex with Finn during this song. So obvious, girlfriend.

Cocktail hour
I bet you they had to go to the toilet a LOT after drinking those cocktails with all that protein in them. 

Sam is Poor.
Well, I hope those bitches are happy with themselves. Sam is Poor and he is living in a motel and they totally made him CRY. Well done.

Don't Stop
This final number was so good! Not my favourite song in the world, but I just love these high energy, big finish numbers. Well done, New Directions, you've redeemed yourselves. 

For now.......

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Adventures in Cooking - Makin' Whoopie.....

Whoopie Pie. Heard of it? Maybe, maybe not. It's an American thing, though from which part exactly I'm not sure (Amish? Deep South? I've read conflicting things). Anyway, the baking craze in Melbourne for the past year or so has been cupcakes, which I love. But I've seen Whoopie Pie cookbooks popping up in book shops and I've seen posters up in homeware stores for Whoopie Pies. Boredom Abounds' mother even saw some for sale in a cafe in Toorak about a month ago. 

So, I thought I better give these Whoopie Pies a try. I googled a few recipes and found this one. It seemed easy enough - and it was. Really, really easy. I did make a few alterations, so below you'll find the original recipe with my changes in brackets.

3 cups all purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carb soda to us)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened (6 ounces / 170 grams)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (I used treacle, which is basically the same thing)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 cup peppermint candies (which I didn't use - I hate peppermint. Blech)

Lemon filling 
(I didn't use the lemon filling part from the recipe at all because I couldn't find marshmallow spread. Instead I made a basic lemon rind icing)
125 grams cream cheese (room temperature)
50 grams unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 cups cups icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons buttermilk
1 - 2 teaspoons lemon rind
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun Friday links

Holy crap it's gotten cold here in Melbourne! I've pulled out all my scarves and coats and I think I need a cute beret to top it all off. Anyway, my week has been somewhat less manic, so hooray for that! Here are some links to get you through the last workday of the week.

- The Fug Girls posted this a couple of weeks ago and I felt it was worth reposting. Remember that interior design blog I linked to a while ago called Design Sponge? Well, they do a "Living In" series where they choose a particular film and create a style board with clothes, furniture and accessories that fit the film's theme, with links to where you can purchase said items. My favourites are Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (that white dress is one of my two favourite white dresses in film. My absolute favourite is this one - scroll down to watch the clip of that last scene.) and Coco Before Chanel. But be prepared to waste a LOT of time reading all the entries.

- This is a quick one: 25 Celebrities Who Are Older Than You Think. William Shatner is EIGHTY?

- Even GOOP has kitchen disasters. I mean, we've all set ourselves on fire at least once, right (cough*maybetwice*cough)? The last line of the article is my favourite.

- You that calm, satisfied feeling when you walk into a really, really good book shop? Well, imagine walking into some of these ones. I really want to go to the one in Detroit - five levels of books!

- More casting news for The Hunger Games movie! Woody Harrelson has been cast as Haymitch - I'm kind of excited. I hadn't even thought of him, but I think he could be really great in the role. Stanley Tucci has been cast too, as Caesar Flickerman, which I'm super happy about. And check out the first picture of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss - I think maybe this could work out after all (although I'm sure many fans are looking at that photo and rending garments and clutching pearls because she's just WRONG. Whatever, people).

- And, just for fun a website dedicated to Photobombing. This one and this one are my favourites. Oh, and this one. Wait, wait. And this one. Seriously, I was nearly wetting myself at work looking at this site. Pin It

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Glee Highlights: Season 2, Episode 18 - Born This Way

Wow, this episode was about a BILLION times better than Night of Neglect, right? And it was extra long, which was nice. So, let's get stuck into the highlights!

Mr Schue's Booty Camp
Seriously, Mr Schue is leading a dance class with the awesome Brittany S. Pierce and Mike Chang? Seriously? I don't know what kind of crazy pills the writers of this scene took, but....yeah, kind of hard to suspend my disbelief on that one.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Fancy China

We've been using the ivory and gold Mikasa dinner setting I inherited from my grandmother whenever we have guests over, and while I love it, I wanted something a little bit more colourful and less precious to use for dinners that aren't super formal. Not that we have formal dinners at our house where everyone wears tuxedos and evening gowns and costume jewellry - but how awesome would that be?

So when I spotted this dining set at Myer a couple of weeks ago I fell in love with it. The colours suit our house perfectly, and although is was a bit feminine for my husband, he caved in and said he would be happy to use it as our guest China (there may or may not have been a coversation that involved me saying that I can't live in a house full of neutral tones without COLOUR).

Maxwell & Williams Kimono setting

Also, we needed one that was microwave and dishwasher friendly. Because handwashing all that bone China after having guests over when you're tired is a recipe for disaster.

I love it. Pin It

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fun Friday Links -Saturday Edition

Man, these Friday's come around fast - despite the fact that this was the longest week OF MY LIFE. Thank goodness we went out to dinner last night to celebrate a Boredom Abounds' sister's birthday - it really helped take the edge off. I had the fettucine calamari in case you were wondering. So. Links?

Yes, links!

- Remember when I linked to those great hair tutorials a few weeks ago? Well, I've found some more. Lauren Conrad (yes, she of The Hills and that other show) has started a beauty blog with some other ladies and I love it. The layout is clean but feminine, the posts are short but detailed, and they have fantastic hair and make up tutorial videos and photos that feel like stuff you can actually DO yourself. I'm kind of bummed I just chopped off most of my hair because I really want to try this bun and these casual waves.

- Love your jeans? Love your pyjamas? Combine them! Here is an awesome review - make sure you read the whole thing.

- Were you a child or teenager in the 90s? Check out this tumblr and be prepared not to do anything for the next three days. You're welcome. BRB, going to watch The Craft. And Now and Then. And Clueless. And Empire Records.

- Hey, parents: need a new bedtime story? Have a look at Go The Fuck To Sleep. An ode to exhausted parents everywhere and the children who get up 469482729385 times after they've been tucked in (with thanks to a Boredom Abounds sister for that one).

- More casting news for The Hunger Games movie! Woody Harrelson has been cast as Haymitch - I'm kind of excited. I hadn't even thought of him, but I think he could be really great in the role.

- I finally got around to watching the ABC's Paper Giants with Asher Keddie. It was FANTASTIC. You definitely need to watch it. Especially for the gorgeous 70s fashion worn by Keddie. If only shops would take cues from this kind of retro wardrobe and give us some cute retro stuff to buy instead of the boho-homeless-bag-lady chic that's around (*cough*Sportsgirl*cough).
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Glee Highlights: Season 2, Episode 17: A Night of Neglect

Yay, Glee is back! 

But what a lacklustre episode. To be honest, there weren't that many high points for me, but there were a few amusing bits.

The Academic Decathlon Team
How cute was their little team gesture thingie? With the pushing up the glasses motion? What would you call it? Not handshake, not motto.....I'm drawing a blank here, people.

Brittany's Expertise
Of course she would be an expert on cat diseases. She and her cat do have a very close relationship - it does read her diary after all.

Sue's League of Doom
FYI - Google Honey Badger. It really is the most fearless animal on the planet.

Gayest supervillan ensemble ever, yes?

Lauren Zizes
Okay, this isn't actually amusing. I found the whole Lauren is Mercedes' manager storyline really lame - there had to be a better way to get Mercedes to fight for her solo than to sulk and make stupid demands. I am also really, really sick of the Lauren character. I don't think she adds anything to the show and to be honest, the actress is really bad at enunciating. REALLY BAD. To the point where I often think she is slurring her words all the time. I'm ready for her to leave the Glee Club, like, yesterday.

Gwyneth as Wallis
I loved her brief summary - nazi sympathiser, possible hermaphrodite, giant hands. Mostly I loved the outfit. That's a teacher who really committed to the part. I need that brooch and hair clip ASAP.

Dustin Goolsby - coach of Vocal Adrenaline
Most hilariously offensive pick up lines ever - "Those aren't eggs in those fallopian tubes, they're rare, exotic pearls" and "my hairline is 85% my own and my sperm count is off the charts" Hotttttt.

Mike Chang's dancing
Awesome as always. Seriously, he makes it look so easy. You know what I didn't love though? All the freaking camera cut aways. Watching someone dancing only to have the camera zoom in constantly so you can't see their actual dancing? BAD IDEA.

Gwyneth sings Adele
The metaphor. LET ME SHOW YOU IT. Seriously, the metaphor was laid on so thick I could have spread it on some bread and made Will Schuester eat a metaphor sandwich. But sadly he probably STILL wouldn't get it. SHE'S LEAVING YOU THROUGH SONG, MORON! I really hope I get to scream that at someone one day.

Mercedes' Solo
Hair fascinator? Stunning. Dress? Beautiful. Song? Fantastic. Rachel was right - no one could follow that. NO ONE.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Fun Friday Links - Post Royal Wedding Edition

OMG. I am dead from tired.

But here are your links - because we all need a littler distraction today, no?

- I STILL HAVEN'T WATCHED THE ROYAL WEDDING. I know. What is wrong with me? So, to tide me over until I have more than twelve seconds of free time, I read this account of the wedding receptions. Receptions plural. Because when you're royal, you get multiple wedding receptions. I'm jealous. It sounded awesome. I would have loved to have been a guest - I bet it was a LOT more fun than Charles and Diana's wedding was. William and Kate (I refuse to get on board with 'Catherine') seem to be so genuinely in love and willing to break the mould of the stuffy old royal traditions, and I think it's adorable.

- So, The Kiss on the Balcony was all anyone was raving about. I personally thing the flowergirl's pose in this picture makes it the best royal wedding photo ever. She's just like, "Fuck off, everyone. When do we get to eat some bloody wedding cake?" But with a cute, little girl British accent.

- Okay, how adorable is this story about Prince Harry? You just know he's going to be the fun, cool uncle to William and Kate's kids.

- Remember how I predicted that one of Fergie's daughters would weird the weirdest fascinator/hat? Turns out I was right. Although it would have been so cool if the hat actually did have a cat coming out of it during the ceremony.

- Even priests feel the pressure on a wedding day. Check out how this vicar unwinds afterward the ceremony.

- Finally, don't forget that The British Monarchy has a Flickr page - I love the two wedding cakes that were served. I need the recipe for that chocolate biscuit cake ASAP, people. Pin It

Monday, May 2, 2011

2011 Logie Awards Fashion Update

Well, the Logies came and went and I admit I didn't watch one second of it. I find it to be a total snooze fest. But usually the fashion is either really nice or really bad. This year, I found it to be relatively blah. 

Still, let's hand out some fashion awards, shall we?

Ash Williams can help us, since he has so much bronzer on his face he actually LOOKS like a Logie. BTW, is it just me, or does everyone else find him totally unappealing in every single way? 
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