Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review: L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

I've been a fan of Lauren Conrad since the first episode of Laguna Beach aired on TV yonks ago. Then I followed Conrad to The Hills, where I learnt "Boys are like purses" and watched the readership for Teen Vogue increase in ten-fold. When I found out she was writing a book, I was torn whether I should purchase her novel. At the end, I did and expected a lot more from the book. Sorry Lauren.

The book was enjoyable. The story flowed nicely and I liked it how Conrad introduced the main characters of the story, Jane Roberts and Scarlett Harp and reading about their adventures around Hollywood. There have been so many novels and drama shows set around L.A, (think The O.C., 90210, Melrose Place, Trading Up, Clueless) and all of them make me want to gag. Luckily, L.A. Candy doesn't do that.

The story follows Jane and Scarlett as they move from Santa Barbara to the busy streets of Los Angeles, California. It follows them as they learn what it's like to live in a big city and seeing how they're thrown into the spotlight and treated as celebrities. The positive part of the book is how Conrad illustrates the behind the scenes look of the world of reality television. I knew The Hills and Laguna Beach aren't 'real'. T.V. producers would throw the characters into different siutations to see how they would react and work through these situations. However, while L.A. Candy was based on The Hills, the characters and storyline are totally different.

I adored Jane Roberts and Scarlett, but I disliked Gaby (definitely reminiscent of Audrina Partridge) and Madison. I kept rolling my eyes everytime their names popped up in the pages.

However, I did not mind the love triangle between Jane, Braden and Jesse. I liked both Braden and Jesse and liked how Conrad incorporated the love triangle into the mix, the way the book ended was abrupt - way too abrupt. Like, "If you want to see what's installed next on L.A. Candy, purchase my second book!" It really annoyed me, but Lauren, just because it's you, I will purchase the next novel because the story is enough to want to keep up with it.

Fans of The Hills and Lauren Conrad will definitely enjoy this book because it's Lauren. It's not one of my favourite books, but it is a decent read for the weekend.

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

News: Robyn Foyster resigns from AWW

There have been heaps of changes at ACP Magazines. Hot of the press, Robyn Foyster, the editor-in-chief for The Australian Women's Weekly has resigned.

However, the position has been replaced by current deputy editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Helen McCabe.

Happy reading,

MasterChef Australia : Reality TV formula all networks should follow

Holy cheese and crackers! The season finale for MasterChef Australia was larger than Ben Hur. No really! It attracted 3.745 million viewers, making it the most watched TV non-sporting event since the advent of ratings.

Network Ten have a knack of making outstanding shows out of nowhere. Earlier in the year, Ten had lost Big Brother and Thank God You're Here. I remembered many media critics, especially Charles Waterstreet (columnist for Sun Herald) laughing at the concept of MasterChef. How do you judge taste? Viewers can't taste it he would state. Boy, weren't we all wrong.

The reason why MasterChef Australia is so successful lies simply on its format. Network Ten, along with Fremantle Media are geniuses when it comes to reality TV. MasterChef, like Australian Idol takes the viewers to the very beginning - where the judges are selecting the talented amateur chefs, from the appalling ones.

Overtime, the audience starts building a relationship with the contestants and we understand their background, likes and dislikes. No wonder why we were partial to certain contestants. Any Poh or Justine fans out there?

I believe one of the reasons why MasterChef was so successful was that viewers could easily relate to the contestants. Julie Goodwin, mother of three and a IT consultant - many people know a mother who's juggling family and a career. Justine Schofield, a former sales executive who was recently made redundant. In the current economic recession - we all know someone who's been made redundant from their job.

If other commercial TV networks are interested in creating a reality TV competition show, use Network Ten's format for details. Or else, it could end up like Nine's recent HOMEmade.

Even the website for MasterChef Australia is brilliant. The website is easy to navigate and recipes seen on the show are uploaded onto the website within milliseconds. No doubt new Chief Digital Media Officer, Nick Spooner was behind the widgets of the MasterChef website (Spooner was formerly the Chief Operating Officer of NineMSN).

MasterChef Australia will obviously commence next year. My only concern is, it wouldn't have the same innocence as it did this season. I've already checked out the website where applicants can apply for MasterChef Australia 2010 and the stuff needed to get onto the show include a digital photograph of yourself. Now, I don't know what the criteria was for this year's MasterChef competition, but the pre-requisite of a portrait of yourself is a sign that looks will be taken into consideration. If it is, I doubt it'll attract the massive viewing as it did this year.

What are your thoughts Petites? Am I too cynical?

Happy reading!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Primped Product Review: Revlon's New Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick

I had a lot of spare time during my uni break - so why don't I use my free time constructively and write a review for Primped about this new lipstick. Click here if you want to read the post.

However, I had to edit my post due to the 1,000 character limit. Here's my unedited version:

I couldn’t wait to get my little fingers on Revlon’s new Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick. Package-wise, it looks like a lipgloss, so I expected a high sheen gloss. But it’s a lipstick, so there’s no glossiness to it.

The lipstick doesn’t have a smell and I once applied it, it dried within seconds. It was slightly drying, but I found if I applied a lip balm on top of the Colorstay lipstick, I get the glossy feel I like and it gives it extra sheen.

The pigment of this lipstick is rich - so one coat is enough. When I removed it with make up remover, there was still plenty of pigment to take off. Also, the product does live to its claim. It stuck firm through a chicken laksa and a chai latte.

I’ve settled on #1 Nude, as it’s a beautiful taupe shade, with a hint of shy coral pink. It’s versatile and can be worn to work. It’s a great addition to my make up bag for days when I don’t want to go ultra-glossy or to be touching it up meticulously. I salute Revlon for making this great product.

It retails for $24.95 and its found in all leading department stores.

Happy shopping!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bardot: Store Opening

Monday, July 6, 2009

They've found Michael Jackson's panties!*

*This isn't a true story.

You realise how much the media are cashing in on Michael Jackson's passing is when they release something like this.

Yes my Petites, the media cashing on Michael Jackson has reached moronic status.

What's next? Michael Jackson's panties? Are they black or white?

Til next time,

Fashion Book Review: The Cheap Date Guide To Style

Hi my fellow Petites!

I'm not a fan of 'style guide' books. There's something cringe-worthy, comical and absurd about a reader following a book, step by step, on how to dress themselves. Trinny & Susannah for instance, have no concept of style - they're fashion magazines in human form.

A couple of months ago, I purchased a copy of "The Cheap Date Guide To Style" by Kira Jolliffe and Bay Garnett. The pink and silver cover with a quote by Sophie Dahl was the very reason I bought the book at Sportsgirl. It was on sale for $14.95, down from $45. Yes, the colour schemes are the same as "The One Hundred" but that's where the similarities end.

The book contains interviews by Karl Lagerfeld, Mischa Barton, Vivienne Westwood and Chloe Sevigny - a sartorial delight for you hardcore fashionistas out there. Personally, I'm not convinced that Mischa Barton style is 'unique' - but that's the only disagreement I'll have with this book.

However, it isn't your typical style guide. It's a completely different skin, it celebrates risk-taking, individuality and being off-beat, if that's your cup of tea. If you're trying to figure out what your true style is - you're better off reading Nina Garcia's "The One Hundred" book. This books is definitely for those who already have embrace the beat of their own style and want to refine it.

The book has zine-feel to it. Which is expected because authors Jolliffe and Garnett penned a style zine called "Cheap Date" - which focuses heavily on secondhand shopping, vintage goods and gained a sizable cult following. Hence, the book version of Cheap Style was published.

The book is peppered with quotes by fashion designers, celebrities and authors. Unlike "The One Hundred" - I feel the authors chose these quotes with careful consideration and reinforces their beliefs in fashion.

I also like the imperfect, scrapbook-like, teen magazine in the 80s aesthetic. Photographs published in the book which taken with a film camera - which gives a feel that this whole book isn't about aspiring to be a high-fashion glamorously dressed indiviudal. Instead, it is an anti-fashion magazine in a form of a book. Of course, by turning away from the glossy world of high fashion, it takes on an alluring chicness and honesty on its own.

This book is great to get style inspiration - though I wouldn't recommend it to someone who desperately feels the need to reinvent themselves, and follows the guidelines of this word-to-word.

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fashion Book Review: Nina Garcia - The One Hundred

I know I'm late jumping the Nina Garcia bandwagon. From Elle US to Marie Claire US - not to mention her work on Project Runway and Ugly Betty has made this woman well-known on an international scale.

This book lists Garcia's top 100 pieces and items that every woman needs. The positive? Garcia tells women while you can buy clothes and accessories on a regular basis to stay in trend, you can't buy style. Bless her!

Garcia's list is extensive, moving from the staple little black dress, vintage accessories to the trench coat - there's something here for everyone. Though I do disagree on some of the items she's listed in the book - does anyone think leather pants are a classic item?

The book has its flaw - I feel like she peppers her list too liberally with quotes, many of which were irrelevant to her project, as though she doesn't trust her own opinion. I feel her list isn't a 'surprise', I know many people will list things such as jeans, blazer and knee-high boots on their list. Also, while Garcia emphasises that this is HER list, I know many readers will take her advice to heart and copy her style. For instance, wide-leg trousers were on Garcia's list as well. If you're like 5ft0 like myself, you'll look like a penguin wobbling along Antarctica.

However, I do like how Garcia explains why she chose these items on her list, providing a brief history on fashion designers such as Chanel and Christian Dior and the recommended brands for these basic items (although most are high end).

Overall, Garcia's book is like a timeless issue of Vogue, where fad items are non-existent. It's a pleasant read and one that'll definitely send you running to your wardrobe to see what you own and how you can style it.

Garcia is currently working on her third fashion book for HarperCollins. The book titled, "The Style Strategy: A Less is More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart", will be a guide to dress expensively on a budget and will come out this August.

Happy reading!
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