What I Wore: 12/7/2016

I often struggle to decide what to wear when I go to the theater.  It seems like the perfect occasion to dress to the nines.  But often when I head out to catch a show I grab matinee tickets, so full evening attire is a tad excessive.  And I usually have to travel into the city to get to the theater, so I don’t want to wear anything too uncomfortable or cumbersome.  Such were the dilemmas I faced when selecting an outfit to wear to see Singing In The Rain at the Princess Theater with my mother.

Although it went against my every instinct, I decided to go with jeans for the day.  Jeans?  At the theater?  Surely I’m losing my mind?  Well, I like to think that the jeans were acceptable because they were well fitted, in a fun dark tartan print.  I also made sure that the rest of my outfit was polished so that I didn’t look like I’d just thrown any old thing on.  I wanted to look special but still be comfortable.

 

I accessorized with this fantastic Erstwilder brooch I got as a birthday gift from my friends Kath and Evan.  It was difficult to get a good picture of it, but it’s a lipstick and hand mirror joined my a chain.  Kath excitedly informed me that it can also be worn as sweater clips!  I don’t own a single set of sweater clips, so I’m looking forward to trying these out in that capacity.

 

One thing I’ve learned from several years of thinking about fashion and dress is this: striking hair and makeup will take a relatively simple outfit to the next level.  And so I paid extra attention to my coiffure on this particular day.  I arranged the front of my hair into a set of swirling pin-curls and swept the rest back and under a hand-made snood.

 

I swept on a subtle cats-eye liner and let my lips steal the show. This lip colour is Possessed Intense from Lipstick Queen. It’s my current favourite lippie.

 

 

I am wearing:

  • Red snood (handmade by me)
  • Black cardigan with faux-leopard trim (gift from my parents)
  • Silver hoop earrings
  • Black turtleneck from Country Road
  • Forever 21 tartan jeans (thrifted)
  • Black motorcycle boots from Big W
  • Erstwilder Brooch

I was extremely pleased with my outfit choice for the day.  I was comfortable and still felt stylish.  And as an added bonus, my hair stayed intact even during the simulated rain inside the theater and a real windstorm outside.  I call that a win.

Product review: Doc Johnson Black Rose Blooming Ben Wah Balls.

Right now I’m betting that quite a few of you out there are thinking “What the heck are Ben Wah balls?  Isn’t that a song from the 90’s by Blink 182?”  Well yes, it was, but ben wah balls are more than a punk rock song.  Ben wah balls are basically like dumbells for your vagina. You insert the balls into your vagina and wear them for an extended period of time, using your pelvic floor muscles to keep them in place.  This is supposed to strengthen your kegels, which can lead to stronger orgasms and greater muscle control.  Being the curious little bean I am, I had to snag a set of ben wah balls to try for myself.

I picked up the Doc Johnson Black Rose Blooming Ben Wah Balls on sale quite some time ago.  I’ve had them for about a year now, and I’ve tried them a great number of times.  And I have to come right out and tell you that I don’t like them very much.

 

Let me begin by pointing out a couple of features that I do like about these ben wah balls.  Firstly, they’re silicone, which is my preferred material for sex toys.  It’s body safe, it non-porous, it’s really easy to clean and it feels great.  The silicone on these ben wah balls feels velvety and smooth, which is awesome for such an inexpensive toy.

 

That’s the second thing I like about these ben wah balls.  They aren’t super pricey.  I picked mine up for about $14, and generally they retail for around $27.  This is a good price for a toy that you’re just trying out because if you don’t wind up loving it you haven’t blown a lot of cash.  And ben wah balls are pretty basic, and not generally something that I’d want to spend a lot on.

 

The Doc Johnson Ben Wah Balls are very simple.  They are just two weighted balls each about the size of a marble. They only come in one colour: black.  They arrive packaged in a little velvet pouch.

 

They are also impossible to keep inside me.

 

Let me be frank.  I used these things a lot.  Like, a whole lot.  The first few times I lamented that my kegels must be as slack as a deflated balloon, as the darn things kept slipping out. I tried inserting them further, I tried squeezing my kegel muscles when I felt them slipping, but nothing worked.  It was only after trying another set of duoballs that I realised that  the problem wasn’t my vagina…it was these darn balls.

 

I think the issue is the size-to-weight ratio of these ben wah balls.  They are quite heavy, so when you insert them and then stand up, gravity takes hold and they start moving floor-wards.  The small size means that your vaginal muscles don’t have much surface area to grip onto, so they slip out really easily.  To work more effectively, I think the balls would have to be a bit larger so that your kegels could actually hold them in place or a little lighter so they don’t slip so easily.

 

 

Now, I know that there are other uses for ben wah balls besides improving your pelvic floor strength.  For example, if you’re into BDsM (as I am), ben wah balls can be a very fun tool.  If you’re a submissive with a vagina, it can be titillating to have your dominant order you to wear ben wah balls for an extended period of time.  Even more so if you are required to wear them while running errands or out on a date.  As fun as that can be, the Black Rose Ben Wah Balls aren’t ideal for this purpose.  They just slip out far too easily for me to be confident wearing them outside the house.  For around-the-house play they could work, particularly if you like humiliation as these are really difficult to keep in place.

 

These ben wah balls can also work nicely if worn during sex in certain situations.  If you are having penis-in-vagina sex with a partner who is not well endowed, popping one or both of these into your pussy first will give you that full-up feeling, as well as being very stimulating for your partner.  They also work nicely for providing extra stimulation during strap-on sex or fingering.

 

Overall, I’m not terribly impressed with the Doc Johnson Black Rose Blooming Ben Wah balls.  They just didn’t work well for my body, and I’ve found a number of better sets of ben wah balls and duo balls.  On the plus side, they are well made and inexpensive, but they just don’t perform as well as I’d hoped.

Movie review: Alice Through the Looking Glass

It was with relatively low expectations that I headed to the cinema to see Tim Burton’s Alice Through the Looking Glass.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Tim Burton.  But lately I’ve turned a bit sour towards him.

Why is that you ask?  Well, I just haven’t been impressed with his last few film offerings.  I feel as though his ideas have become kind of watered down, and that he relies too heavily on well-established stories and fandoms to pad out his creative exploits.  The last few Burton films have been remakes or re-imaginings of other people’s stories, and the results have been mixed.  Although I enjoyed his version of Alice in Wonderland, I was a bit iffy about the re-working of the original tale, mashing together elements from the two Alice books to create a sequel-of-sorts to the classic Wonderland tale we’re all familiar with.  And so when I hear about the making of Through the Looking Glass, which would in effect be a sequel to Burton’s sequel, I was unsure how good it would be.

And it would seem as though I was right to be wary.  I think it’s pretty strange to make a movie based on a book which has only the barest resemblence to the original story.  The only similarities seem to be the presence of Alice, a brief appearance of the chess-people and Humpty Dumpty, and the Wonderland setting.  That’s about it.  The Hatter, The Hare, The Queen of Hearts and The Caterpillar don’t even feature in the original Through the Looking Glass story.  And yet they’re all here, acting as the centrepieces in Burton’s retelling.  I just feel as though Burton is cashing in on the popularity and fame of the Through the Looking Glass tale, and using the title to draw people in before telling a wildly different story.

And the story that’s told is, let’s face it, pretty muddy.  Every step of the tale is potholed with Burton’s incessant need to give every character and every detail a back story.  The beauty of Lewis’ Carol’s original story is that it is pure, delicious nonsense.  It doesn’t matter why the Hatter is mad, he just is.  There is no need to go into the rivalry between the Red and White Queens, or the reason why the Red Queen hates white roses, or why her head it so hopelessly swollen.  And yet Burton just can’t resist the temptation to laboriously spell out the origin of every character.  It put me in mind of the unneccessary backstory that he worked for Willy Wonka.  There’s no need to understand why Willy Wonka likes chocolate.  As Charlie Bucket says “Candy doesn’t have to have a point, that’s why it’s candy”.

But in between the constant backwards-gazing and the unrecognisable plot, there are the makings of a truly beautiful fairy tale.  I fell in love with the character of Time, portrayed fantastically by Sacha Baron Cohen.  His castle, his wordiness, his man bun and his dark sense of humour all mingled to create a truly fascinating and new character.  The tale of a girl stealing Time’s essence and using it to try to fix the mistakes of the past is a gorgeous idea.  And I feel as though that’s the story that should have been told.  It made me wish that Burton had left Alice and Wonderland far behind, instead opting to create a brand new story.

Because the thing is, I truly believe that Tim Burton is at his best when he’s working on his own ideas.  His original films: Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride and Beetlejuice (to name a few) are some of his most splendid works.  He is a clever man with a huge imagination, and I wish that he’d put that imagination to work making something brand new, rather than trying to Burton-ify another existing tale.

I wasn’t really disappointed with Alice Through the Looking Glass, because my expectations were pretty low to begin with.  But the film did make me long for a time when Tim Burton will once again put his mind to making something original and clever.  And I hope those days will come again.

Celebrating my 30th birthday.

This year, one of my resolutions was to celebrate my 30th birthday in style, and I feel as though I can tick that off my list.  I had agonized for ages over how to ring in the beginning of my 30th year, and in the end I decided that the best way would be with some awesome food, my favourite people and plenty of down time.

 

I ended up taking the week of my birthday off work.  I wanted to have a chance to relax and recharge as well as loads of time to plan fun celebrations with my family and friends.  Having a whole week where I didn’t have to get up and go to the office has been amazing.

 

My 30th birthday fell on the 9th of June, 2016.  I started the day by cuddling in bed with the cats before getting up and slipping into a vintage Pendleton wool skirt and this adorable cat jumper that I bought from Nerd Burger’s  closet clear-out sale.  I accessorised with my favourite black cat earrings, my grandmother’s eternity ring and this rad Deadpool necklace that my boyfriend David gave me.

 

My parents had very kindly purchased tickets for the three of us to see the Marilyn Monroe exhibit at Bendigo Art Gallery.  So we all traveled to Bendigo by car to check it out.

 

I’ve admired Marilyn Monroe for as long as I can remember.  My first memory of her is a black-and-white portrait that hung in our local pizza cafe.  The portrait is the ever-famous shot of Marilyn standing over the subway grate in The Seven Year Itch, with her skirts billowing in the updraft.  So it seemed fitting that we were greeted by this seven-metre sculpture of that exact moment as we pulled into the Bendigo CBD.

 

The exhibit itself was incredible.  It featured a wealth of personal items of Marilyn’s, including the beauty products from her dresser, her personal camera, her collection of gossip magazines and some jewellery.  There was also a huge collection of costumes and items from her personal wardrobe.  For me, these items were the highlight of the exhibit.  I am so inspired by Marilyn’s personal style, and to see her clothing in person was just amazing.  I was quite shocked by how small her clothes were.  She always appears so voluptuous, and yet some of these items were absolutely teensy.  The beading and detail on the costume pieces was breathtaking.  I was also struck by how ordinary many of her day-to-day outfits were.  Although there were many furs and gowns, the display cases featured twice as many plain day dresses, knit sweaters and simple shirts.  It really brought home the fact that although she is known as one of the most glamorous women in the world, Marilyn was also just a woman, who wore regular clothes in her downtime.  I spent a great deal of time looking at those simple day-to-day items, trying to imagine how she might have worn them.

 

I was utterly spoiled with presents.  I got a stack of new books, including a colouring-in storybook version of The Wizard of Oz. I’ve gotten really into colouring lately and I’m so enjoying working my way through this book.

 

My parents also got me a gorgeous set of Derwent pencils, something that I’ve wanted since I was a child.  These are just wonderful for colouring, and I expect I’ll get a lot of use out of them

 

My brother showered me with awesome gifts, but my favourite was this tee shirt, which I expect I will wear often.

 

The day after my birthday I travelled down to Melbourne to catch up with my friends.  I had booked myself a room at The Hotel Windsor as a very special treat.  This was my first time staying in a five-star hotel, and it was an incredible experience.  Upon arrival, my bags were whisked away and taken to my room.  The room itself was utterly luxurious, with a king-sized bed, a stunning bathroom and a kitchenette.

 

I was also delighted to discover that the staff had placed a birthday cake in my room as a special surprise.

 

I had organized a dinner at one of my favourite Japanese restaurants.  It was a great night, eating delicious food with my friends and my brother. By the time David and I got back to the hotel, I was ready for a bath and bed.

 

I think I definitely celebrated in style, and I’m extremely excited to see what my 30’s will bring.  My 20’s was a massive decade, and I know that I’m much happier with myself and my life than I was on my 20th birthday.  Fingers crossed that my 30’s will be filled with awesome opportunities and fantastic adventures.

Five Fandom Friday: Fandoms you hold dear that nobody else has heard of

Oooooh, the world of lesser-known fandoms.  This is honestly one of my favourite geeky topics.  I think we all have those weird things that we’re really into, that it seems like nobody on the planet has heard of.  But what’s awesome is that when you find another human who not only has heard of, but loves the same thing as you, it’s like *BAM* instant friendship!  There’s nothing like having someone recognise the obscure reference on your shirt, or bust out a quote from that weird film you adore.  So today I’m taking time to celebrate 5 of my lesser-known fandoms.

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  1. Hercules Returns

Hercules Returns is a hilarious Australian film about a dude who quits his corporate job to run his own cinema.  His former boss sabotages the opening of the cinema’s premier screening of Hercules by substituting the audio reel with the Italian version of the film.  Disaster!  Luckily the hero and his two mates step in to dub over the entire film.  The rest of the movie is the dubbed-over version of Hercules.  It’s crude, it’s stupid and it’s utterly hilarious.  I was crazy excited when I found that this film was available on DVD, and it’s always the perfect pick-me-up when I’m having a rough day.

 

2. Heavyweights

Heavyweights was one of those movies that I watched over and over as a kid, and was a little bit scared to see as a grown-up in case it had lost it’s magic over the years.  But when I did finally check it out again, it was just as hilarious as I remembered.  It’s a Disney film starring many of the kids from the Mighty Ducks films about a fat camp.  It holds a special place in my heart, because my best friend growing up was a fat kid, and it was one of the only films from our childhood where the fat kids were the heroes of the story.

 

3. Freaks and Geeks

OK, so in the Netflix age, Freaks and Geeks isn’t as obscure as it used to be.  But for years it was one of those shows that I was hard-pressed to find another person who had seen it.  Only the first episode aired in Victoria, and I watched it, went bonkers over it, and then was heartbroken when the Ten Network didn’t show any more.  It’s only one season long, but it stars baby-faced versions of Seth Rogan, James Franco and Jason Segel.

 

4. The Young Ones

 

When I was in high school, my best friend and I used to spend most of our weekends re-watching The Young Ones and eating scrambled eggs and chocolate chip cookies (the two best dishes we’d learned to make in home ec).  None of the other kids at our school had seen The Young Ones, which made it pretty easy for us to rip off the comedy stylings of Adrian Edmonson  in our drama class without getting caught out.  Even now, I get so excited when I find someone else who likes BBC comedy from the 80’s and will bust out a chorus of “Dr Marten’s Boots” or “The Young Ones” with me.

5. Clone High

My friends Kath and Evan introduced me to Clone High.  Incidentally, Kath and Evan are such fans of the show that they have Clone High quotes engraved on their wedding rings.  I immediately loved the show, which is about a high school populated by the clones of various historical figures.  It’s pretty freakin’ hilarious.

 

What are your favourite obscure fandoms?

Things I Love Thursday 26/5/2016

Yippee for Thursday!  I’m brimming with gratitude this week, so let’s not waste another second with chit-chat and jump right in.

 

This week I love:

  • Going Facebook official with my boyfriend.  Yep, I have a boyfriend now, and it’s awesome and scary and fantastic all rolled together.  We’ve been seeing each other for a few months now, but on the weekend we made our relationship Facebook Official.  Which seems like an important step in a modern relationship.

My new hoodie arrived, just in time for Friday night chills. #balalala #baymax #bighero6 #Disney #iamnotfast

A photo posted by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

This rad new Baymax hoodie I got from Snarky Shark Studios.  It’s so soft and fleecy and I imagine I will wear this all winter long.

  • Coming home from a weekend away to find that my Mum had cleaned my flat for me.  I’ve been really flat-out at work the past few weeks and I’ve struggled to keep up with housework and chores.  So Mum surprised me by giving the flat a once-over while I was gone.  It looks amazing and I feel like I can manage to keep it looking good now.
  • My new markers.  I got a set of cheap fine-point felt tip pens for colouring with and they are fantastic.  The colours are so vibrant and they’re perfect for getting into the tiny spaces in some of my adult colouring books.
  • New (to me) vintage clothes in the mail.  I decided to treat myself to a few special pieces to kick off winter.  I found this amazing green Pendleton wool pencil skirt in Aviena’s etsy store and I had to have it.  I’ve been after an emerald-green pencil skirt for a long time,and this one was just perfect.  In the same store I found a red wool pencil skirt and a 60’s wool dress in bubblegum pink.  The items arrived in pristine condition and perfectly packaged.  So far, I’ve only worn the green skirt but it made me feel like a foxy bombshell.
  • Cadbury hot chocolate
  • Daiso shopping sprees
  • Coffee and pancakes with old mates
  • Getting the ball rolling on my birthday plans.  I turn 30 next month and it was one of my new-years resolutions to celebrate in style  Well, I’ve got many very special things planned and I’m very much looking forward to it.
  • Tea on the balcony.
  • Quoting Red Dwarf and giggling like an idiot.

New recipe 18: Vegetarian chilli con carne. #dinner #resolutions #vegetarian.

A photo posted by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

  • This vegetarian chilli con carne.  It was a brand new recipe and my goodness was it easy and scrumptious.  I’ve added this to my recipe file (which is a very high honour, as very few recipes are deemed delicious enough to go in my regular recipe rotation).

What do you love this week?  Leave a comment and tell me all about the awesome things that have been happening in your world.

What I wore: 24/5/2016

I’ve been going through my wardrobe lately trying to style some items that I don’t wear often.  There are a few things that, while I really like, I just don’t seem to get the wear out of them.  So I have really been making an effort to work some of the less-worn items into my regular wardrobe.

 

In addition to that, I recently saw the documentary Iris.  I was so inspired by Iris Apfel’s “wear what you want, just because you want to” style of dressing that I really wanted to wear something that would make a splash.  I suddenly felt the need for crazy patterns, layers and some serious eyewear.

 

And so this outfit came to be.  I got the dress from my parents as a birthday gift a few years back, and I’ve only worn it a couple of times.  The body-con shape isn’t one I generally feel comfortable rocking.  But I was really feeling the pattern-clashing vibe when I found this swing vest tucked into the back of my wardrobe.  Purchased at the Mill Markets about eight years ago, this darling has been worn as a coat, over jeans and even as a wrap dress.  In fact you might recognise it from my blog header!  It seemed like the perfect way to cover up a little, and add a bit more interest to this outfit.

 

 

I am wearing:

  • Tribal print dress from Mink Pink
  • Brown swing vest from the Mill Markets
  • Black tights from Razzamatazz
  • Black bamboo layering top from Target
  • Brown boots (thrifted)
  • Art deco earrings from Lovisa
  • Gold snake chain (inherited from my Nana)

I am also pretty chuffed with this new lipstick I got.  It’s the Lipstick Queen Bete Noir in Possessed Intense and I just adore it.  The colour is an amazing matte blackberry shade that looks so dramatic.  I’ve been wearing it a lot and I’ve received so many compliments on this lippie.

All in all, I think throwing the swing vest over this dress made it a lot more wearable for me.  I didn’t feel as exposed as I normally do in a body con dress, but the open vest allowed the dress shine through without being completely hidden.  I think Iris would be proud of this ensemble.