Tuesday 29 May 2012

Trenery/End of Trimester

Settle down people, I'm not pregnant. Although, I would feel better about my recent holiday weight gain if I atleast had a baby to blame it on! Food baby does not count.

I'm talking end of Trimester at uni. Deakin are special like that- we have trimesters instead of semesters. In all of the brochures they talk this up like 'Get your degree quicker at Deakin! Do a summer trimester!' but it's fuck all usefullness if your course doesnt offer any units in the summer trimester.


It's almost the end of Trimester 1 for the year. It also marks the end of my first complete year at uni! I did things the wonky way and started the Bachelor of Primary Education mid year 2011, essentially turning a 4 year degree into a 4 and a half year degree because they changed the course structure at the beginning of 2012. It feels like I still have foreeeever to go!

So to celebrate (read: I randomly felt like shopping and am using this event as an excuse) I have purchased the following from Trenery- (and when I say bought I mean put on lay-buy with the minimum deposit, because I'm a poor uni student)

Erika Ostrich Embossed Tote from Trenery

I love a good bag, and my reasoning on this one is-

  • I don't have any brown bags
  • I don't have any bags big enough to fit all of my uni books
  • This bag will match my brown or black leather boots for winter
  • I wanted it
The ostrich leather is very soft.This bag is not my usual taste, I am generally a fan of black everything. Time to branch out, and lets face it, this is much less drastic than bungee jumping.

I did have to stop myself from purchasing the following-

Zig Zag Scarf from Trenery

Basket Weave Scarf from Trenery

It's funny- the unit I despised all trimester (Analysing Childrens Literature) is the one I have received the best marks in and have decided to continue on with as an elective. The marks I earnt didnt come easy, and I was really forced to sharpen my essay writing skills for my tough tutor.

But for now....it's holiday time.

Did I mention I am going on a cruise to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand? I am.

My niece turned 18 in March, so 3 of my sisters and myself are all celebrating with her and going cruising for a week. Only a little trip, but am feeling very lucky to be going on it, especially since Ive barely unpacked from Japan.

Not bad for an end of uni reward, hey?


Sakura in Spring

When I first started planning my trip to Japan, I just knew I had to go during Cherry Blossom (sakura) season.

WARNING: Things are going to get pic heavy around here

It was highly inconvenient. Taking a two and a half week trip right in the middle of the semester at uni was going to be problematic- I would have to take my uni stuff with me and submit two assignments whilst on my holiday.

But to go all the way to Japan and not see the Cherry Blossoms, not even once? Wasnt going to happen.

After the Tokyo leg of my tour (the first round anyway) Kyoto was an absolute breath of fresh air. It's still busy, but not as congested as Tokyo, and there are gorgeous green parks everywhere. Whilst I am very fond of the craziness that is Tokyo, Kyoto was the perfect place to see the natural beauty in Japan.

My destination for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) was the Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens. The gardens are HUGE and there was no way I was going to be able to see it in all its glory. I did not do a tour of the palace, as I did not realise you had to put your name down on a list prior to the tour day. No big deal- it was still a sight to behold just looking at the big old gates!

Kyoto Imperial Palace Gates
Source: Wikipedia
The palace tour will have to be better organised on my next trip to Japan! From what I heard it is very interesting. It has nightingale floors, which means that the Emporer could hear anyone sneaking about to potentially murder him in his sleep!

Wouldnt that be handy in your own home? Admittedly, I dont have to thwart too many assassination attempts, but you never do know! Plus,  I would only hear my Pug traipsing around the house at all hours, lol.

The whole North section of the gardens is where all the cherry blossoms are, and it is by far the busiest section of the park. I love that even the Kyoto locals get really excited when the cherry blossom are out- strangers that could speak very little English would approach me and ask if I was going to see the sakura.

The outside of the North section of the Imperial Palace Gardens...cherry blossoms await inside!

Cherry Blossoms range from the brightest of reds, a million variations on pink, all the way to white

This diorama shows exactly how big the gardens are! Each button gave information about a certain section...of course it was in Japanese so I didnt take a whole lot in. Lol

I saw this bike parked next to the cherry blossoms, whilst the owner was snapping photos. I've never seen a bike with a cat carrier before! If you look inside the basket there is even a little pooper scooper :)

Do you know how hard it is to take a self portrait with a big heavy DSLR, that gets both yourself AND the cherry blossoms in the frame? Not easy.
There were families having picnics under the cherry blossoms everywhere. I felt a little twinge of homesickness!

Woman posing for photo under blossoms
What a beautiful place for wedding photos!
The bride was lovely enough to let me take a quick snap on my way past
There were so many families out and about enjoying the park
I fell in love with this little champ. He was SO STRONG...he was the one who let his walker know exactly where he wanted to go

Who can resist a sausage dog?

This is my favourite photo. I love how the blossom cascade over the branches like little pink tufts of fairy floss

I think I have assaulted you with enough photos. I'm compiling them all now into albums and I must say, I went overboard snapping the cherry blossoms!

Strolling around Kyoto Imperial Palace was a definite pinch yourself moment, I couldve explored around there for hours. I'm so lucky to have the image of a giant wall of cherry blossoms as one of my travel memories.

To those that have lasted to the end of this post- Congratulations x

Saturday 26 May 2012

Memoirs of a Cindy-geisha?

I really loved Kyoto.

Kyoto is the Japan you imagine in your dreams- old-style houses with tatami mats, narrow cobbled streets lined with cherry-blossoms, and geishas slipping from one appointment to the next.

Always fascinated in Japanese culture, I have read a lot of books about the mysterious geisha (or geiko as they are called in Kyoto), the famed Memoirs of a Geisha (a work of fiction) and another called Geisha by Liza Dalby, an account of an American woman who worked and lived alongside geishas in the 70's.

Something about the painted faces, their elegance, and the elaborately beautiful kimonos has always gotten me...and so when I went to Japan I wanted in! (Or as in as uncoordinated chubby Australian is ever going to get!)

Signage in front of Maiko. Not a word of English, but easily worked through

My trusty Lonely Planet guide recommended a company called Maica, who specialise in the geiko and maiko makeover experience. A maiko is an apprentice geisha, which many non-Japanese get mixed up. The image of the geiko in bright kimono with flowers in her hair is stunning, but is more likely to be a maiko. Geiko tend to have a more subdued appearance, with muted colours and less adornments.

Maica is quite easy to spot, despite not having a street number

I did a little bit of a double take when there was only an intercom to communicate- when I pressed the button a Japanese sing-song voice spoke a mile a minute whilst I stood there looking baffled. Luckily, the lady of the house heard my pathetic little "Hello?" took pity on me, and collected me from the front door.

The lovely woman (I wish her name, but it was very difficult to find out with no common language!) was very warm and welcoming, and made it clear what she needed from me with her pointing and hand gestures. The whole process was very smooth.

Sexy cotton robe I was to wear over my undergrunds

The first step was makeup. The woman led me into the very narrow, creaky old building with three stories of winding stairs (with no handrails). Even the steps were super narrow, and I felt like a giant bull in a china shop, lol.

The white makeup basewas very, very thick. It was thicker than the pancake I recognise from dancing, and the Kroyolan I have at home for costume parties. I had moisturiser on but I could just tell that this was going to be a tough job to get off my face! The makeup itself was very oily, and reminded me of the oil paintings I paint on canvas at home.

I found it interesting that there was only a tiny touch of red on my top lip- most of my top lip was went over with the white base, and then the bottom was highlighted.

Ironically the pink eyebrows matched my hair for the first time ever
Next step was the dressing room, which was kind of intense. No photos for this process, it was arduous by all accounts, lol.

Have you ever been on school camp and when it came to pack up time, became frustrated that your sleeping bag was not fitting in its case, so you stuff it in haphazardly?

Yeah. I was the sleeping bag being stuffed into a kimono. Stuffed in by tiny Japanese women, the heaviest of which probably weighed 50kg. (When wet.)

There were 3 (!) women grabbing here, grabbing there, one holding an obi (Japanese sash) tie, one with her hand inside my cotton robe pressing down on my boobs to keep them flat, and another behind trying to secure it all in.

It wasn't so much that I was too fat for the kimono (they are kind of a free size situation) it was just that there are so many layers, things to tie, and bits to keep hidden under the final kimono layer.

In the end the kimono was very tight and the lady kept asking me if I was ok. I think she thought I was going to faint or something, but all I could think of was 'This is nothing compared to the first time I wore Spanx!'

I will also mention that if you have a chubby round face, and a double (or triple?) chin you are trying to draw attention from, a slicked back hairdo and white face paint is not going to do you any favours, lol.

A maiko emerges from the dressing experience
After I was dressed we had a photo-shoot inside for the professional shots I could purchase. To be honest, most of them are so stiff (in terms of how they have posed me) I'm not that keen on them. I did get some hilarious stickers, which are so small its impossible to tell that I'm not a real maiko.

My hair was combed over what they call a semi-wig. The semi-wig was exceptionally heavy and I felt like I couldnt move my head too quickly or I would lose the whole lot. Did you ever try to balance books on your head as a kid? It felt like that.

Instead of just having hair on the semi-wig there were like 3 waxy blocks covered in hair, that they then took my hair and brushed into it before securing the whole 'do with some pins and flower clips.

Source: Maica

I kinda like how my pink hair matches me outfit! All of the photos of Japanese women getting the makeover have the black hair that matches- im not sure what they would do if I was a blonde. Maybe they would then offer the full wig? (I spied one in the shelf where they had my wig, but it didnt look nearly as good as the semi-wigs.)

Mock tea ceremony

I thought it was really helpful that the team at Maica let you take photos with your own camera. Because I was all on my lonesome, they even acted as a photographer for me, which I thought was really kind!

There are all kind of mock traditional setups inside the building for posing. I felt very silly, but how often am I going to be dressed as a maiko in Kyoto?!

My new photography assistant even took me outside, to get authentic photos in Gion. Gion is the tradional Geiko quarters in Kyoto, and much of the old architecture remains. I truly felt like a real geiko hobbling around those streets.

Oh yes, hobbling. Ever worn camel socks, and balanced on wooden clogs that have an exceptionally small base but a very high platform? Oh, and they were about an Australian size 5 (if even that.) My shoe size is normally 8.5.

The photographer kept making odd movements indicating for me to look in the distance, tilt my head etc. Most of these photos I just look kind of confused, lol.

Shit. I know that I'm short (5'2 :( ) but holy crap this photo really makes it obvious haha. Can you see my feet handing over the base of the shoes? The little bit of skin showing is supposed to be alluring- the only little bit of flesh visible. Certainly classier than getting my cans out.

 Just before my Maiko experience in Kyoto was over, an older Japanese woman ran up to me and tapped me on the shoulder and beamed at me-

'Pretty! Pretty! Gaijin Green eye geiko!' (Gaijin means non-Japanese or foreigner.)

She then giggled and ran away!

Friday 25 May 2012


Thank-you to all of you who read, commented or sent your silent support through to me after my post on Things Im Afraid to Tell You. To be honest I came very close to not posting, and there were about 10 other things on that list that I chickened out on and deleted, lol.

I would not have ever spoken to anyone I know 'in real life' about any of that. Except maybe my lack of fashion sense, because that is quite obvious.

Once again, thankyou.

And yes, I have booked an appointment to see my Dr :)

I shall leave you with this picture of happy, cuddling otters.

Source: Cute Overload

Thursday 24 May 2012

Things Im Afraid To Tell You

I first heard about this post on the Vogue Forums, and found it a really interesting (albeit terrifying) concept.

What am I afraid to tell you?

1. I am too chicken shit to go to a doctor to find out if I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I know logically it wont get any better, nor will my mind ever be at ease, if I avoid the doctor, but there you have it. I have all of the major symptoms (hormonal acne, weight gain, holding alot of weight around the stomach area, loss of periods, mood swings, and excess hair growth.) I have had these symptoms for atleast 5 YEARS but only recently clicked that there could be a reason for it. I just blamed them all on gaining weight. Still not getting any closer to the doctor to find out.

2. Which brings me to the second point- excess hair growth. *deep breath* My name is Cindy, and I have hairs on my chin.
Alot of women do- but do you think that sentence was any easier to write because of it? I never had a problem with it before, but since having hormonal problems I have discovered them. Of course I remove ASAP, but this is not without first feeling the full shame. Women arent supposed to have beards! My chin is supposed to be smooth as a babies bum!
I freak out when Billasaurus Rex touches the lower part of my face (for fear he will feel the hairs) and have recently been having a nightmare that Billasaurus Rex and I go camping, and I am stranded and have forgotten to bring my tweezers. I cant help but feel even dream-me is melodramatic. Lol

3. I'm not really very fashionable. I love fashion blogs, could read through them all day, but its only a desperate attempt to absorb others fashion sense through the screen.

4. I have been that woman that stayed in an abusive relationship for 6 years. The woman that everyone wants to shake sense into, and tell that she is stupid and that she should leave him. That was me.
It's funny- I tolerated hitting, kicking, shoving, horrible name-calling and hair-pulling, but the day he spat in my face I knew I was done.

My opinion on Chris Brown? You really want to know?!

5. I consider myself a feminist. It seems to be a dirty word these days, especially with some men. Do I agree with any argument any feminist has ever put forward? No. But do I believe that women should be paid equally, have the same rights as men, and hope that one day what a woman has to say for herself is more important than her appearance? You bet your ass I do. (Seriously, check out Jezebel. Interesting articles and often hilarious comments)

And that's all I'm brave (or stupid) enough to share.

What are you afraid to tell?

Thursday 17 May 2012

Costume Parties


Yep, Im that person who squeals excitedly when someone mentions a themed party.

In fact sometimes, I get a bit TOO into it.

Last year Mum had a K themed 60th Birthday party. I went as Gene Simmons, but flat out refused to take off my makeup at the end of the night. After really getting into the swing of the character, I wouldnt let it go! Billasaurus had to literally drag me into the shower kicking and screaming (screaming rock anthems and flicking my long tongue simultaneously) to get the makeup from my face. Only minutes earlier I had asked Billasaurus if he fancied getting it on with Gene Simmons, whilst I posed on the bed provocatively.

Billasaurus is the most patient man Ive ever met but even that was too far for him.

KISStastic! (Please ignore my teeth, I got black face paint stuck in my braces. Yup.)

My hilarious sister Chelle and her husband Ben

My Dad went as a kitchen drawer

Billasaurus Rex and myself

As always, shit got kind of messy towards the end of the night
 It's almost my birthday, and I'm thinking themes for my 25th. Let's take a trip down memory lane costume party wise...

Being a gremlin at Soundwave....

Bizarrely green tinged pirate wench...

Queen of Hearts on NYE... (also the Queen of Drunk Eyes)

Imagine my embarassment when I arrived to the S party and found two other Sailor Moons, who had purchased beautiful costumes from the Internet. I had just sewed some random shit on to a bonds singlet and painted over my eyelids. Oh the shame. And inconvenient having to close your eyes all night in photos, lol.

Witch costume...funnily enough this one matched my personality the most, lol.

...Wow. And that's only in the past 12 months!

Any suggestions for a theme for my 25th? Something a little bit 'out there'?