The most wonderful time of the year

When it comes to movie watching, there's no better time of year than late December through March. I call this the "Oscar rush" season, where all the finest films get a theatrical release right before awards season. Here are just a few I cannot wait to see.

Out now 
Melancholia - Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg and the end of the world, what's not be excited about. Have you seen it?

Jan 9 
Young Adult - Written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman it's the story of a woman who returns to her home town to steal away her high school love. I've read this and would rate it average to good, so I'm keen to see how it comes to life on screen. ALSO this is being billed as a comedy but in reality it's quite dark and sad.



Jan 12 
The Decendents - I'm a bit over George Clooney but the rave reviews of this film are making me think this will be worth the $17 admission.



Feb 2 
Martha Marcy May Marlene - To be honest, the trailer scares the crap out of me. I'm just not sure if I can handle such a messy lucid creepy film BUT it's so visually stunning I will have to go.



The Artist - Ok, when I first heard about this I rolled my eyes - a feature length black and white silent film - what the what? But have you seen the trailer? I'm intrigued.

Feb 16
My Week With Marilyn - Michelle Williams. Marilyn Monroe. Enough. Said.

March 8 
50/50 - This 'cancer comedy' was actually released months ago in the US and like Young Adult, I've read the script but unlike Young Adult, it made me laugh out loud. Go see this movie. Especially since it's based on a true story.


Music for Mondayitis: Christmas Movie Songs

 
My favourite Christmas movie is Elf and after watching it last night I want to keep listening to this on a loop. What's your favourite Christmas movie?

We weren't sure quite what he was..

I'm pretty excited about all of the Eames related content currently floating around the web. Most of it surrounds the release of a documentary on the pair, Eames: The Architect and The Painter.



The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life – from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age – has been less widely understood.


Ice Cube is also a fan of their work and you can see him talk about it below and read an interview about it on NYTimes. (both links via Kottke)
 

What I like most about the Ice Cube video is not how much he loves the Eames house but how much he clearly loves Los Angeles. LA is a city where you have to search for the good stuff ("the beauty" is too eloquent a description). In New York, Sydney, Melbourne it's easy to find great buildings, events, culture. In LA you have to work for it. It's as if the city is trying to keep you away from its goods.

I'm currently reading "It Chooses You" by LA based film maker Miranda July, a fascinating read about her attempts to break past the walls that LA puts up. An excerpt:

But the moment I got back in my car I knew I would never see him again, ever. It suddenly seemed obvious to me that the whole world, especially Los Angeles, was designed to protect me from these people I was meeting. There was no law against knowing them, but it wouldn’t happen. LA isn’t a walking city, or a subway city, so if someone isn’t in my house or my car we’ll never be together, not even for a moment.

I guess all this means that I can't wait to see this documentary. The Eames team had a great desire to create and break down walls. They're an utter inspiration and they must have loved LA too.

Life lately

There's been a lot of "yays!" in my life lately. Here are some snaps of it.
And my crafty projects as well - I am so excited to have a home that's big enough to craft in as well as decorate for party's and seasons.


First dance songs

A friend of mine is getting married next year and she asked me for some recommendations for first dance slash aisle songs. I thought I did pretty good, so I wanted to share:

Mid To Up Tempo: 
This Will Be Our Year - The Zombies
Awesome lyrics. Sweet song with mid-to-up-tempo. Good for a "up" slow dance.



You're my best friend - Queen 
Best lyrics ever - great first dance.



You Got It - Roy Orbison 
This is my favourite love song.




Slow songs:
The dress looks nice on you - Sufjan Stevens 
Appropriate for the aisle ;)



Friday I'm in Love - Dean & Britta (covering The Cure)
This song gives me chills - wow. It has lots of strings that soar.




Instrumental:
Hoppipolla - Sigur Ros
Love sigur ros! I walked down the aisle to Star Alfur.



Last Broadcast - Doves
Can't find a youtube link. Boo! But be sure to find it yourself.


I hope you like all these songs! What are your favourite or most enjoyable wedding songs? What do you like to dance to at weddings?
Also, I apologise for all the odd text spacing. Grrrr blogger.

Attack of the Rounded Italic

Can anyone explain this to me? Why is this style of font EVERYWHERE? These are just examples I could find: Virgin Mobile, eBay, GIO, AT&T.

Is rounded "soft" and that's what brands want? Ok. I get it.

But italic? Nothing needs this much emphasis!

As my friend Ed would say "Far Out!"

a tasty housewarming



I went to a housewarming on the weekend and my gift was this replica of the house itself! The effort of baking on  35C day was worth as the cake was a total hit (people actually cheered it after eating) and it tasted like butter! What did you get up to?

Music for Mondayitis

I'm undertaking a writing project at the moment and to set the mood as I write I'm listening to Australian pop. Here's a few currently on high rotation.







1. Cameo Lover by Kimbra.
2. Sunday Best by Washington.
3. Turn Me On by The Grates.

When can I put up my tree?



This Christmas will be the first time in 10 years that I can have a proper Christmas tree. By 'proper' I don't mean real, I just mean bigger than 30cm. I am very excited.

So excited that I want it up NOW! But I can hear my mother in the back of my head telling me not to put it up til Dec 1, just like I hear her saying you shouldn't whenever I open a birthday present early.

When do you think is the best time to put up your tree and decorations? What as made you pick that particular date?

If you've been lurking around here and haven't commented yet, please comment on this post. It would be great to hear your thoughts. I am looking at you.

thx.

Tree above by A Merry Mishap and seen on my Christmas Pinterest Board.

Food I love to make

Within a blink of an eye I could probably write 1000 words on baking cakes, cupcakes and other sweet treats. I just love to bake. Cooking on the other hand, not so much. To me, cooking is so tediously about 'balancing flavours' and for all the time and effort you put in, you get, what? One meal? No thank you. Baked treats last a fews days or at least easily manage to feed 8 people. Have you tried cooking dinner for 8 people? That's tough work.

Over the past year though, especially since moving into a flat with a decent kitchen, I have found it enjoyable to cook dinner about once a week. This is big news!

The blog Smitten Kitchen has been the biggest help with this. I used to just look on there for posts about cakes and sweets, and never found a fault with any of the recipes, so I decided to give a few dinner recipes ago.



The first was the beef chili and sour cream biscuits. Oh-Em-Gee - My husband loved it so much - I've remade this 5 times this year (that's a BIG number ok!). The other night I even experimented (gasp!) and used turkey mince to make it healthier and Bang! it was a big success. I even had to draw on my baking knowledge on what to do when I realised I didn't have sour cream for the biscuits (the substitute is to put the same amount of cows milk in a cup, squeeze in a wedge of lemon and let it sit for 10 minutes, then use as normal).

The true success of this recipe is that I once made 2 batches of it for a dinner party of 8 people. One batch was as per the recipe, the other was adapted to be vegetarian. All was going well until I burned the bottom of the vegetarian pot. BUT it was all fine as it ended up having a 'smokey' flavour which I tried to pretend was intentional, but after a glass of wine I confessed to my guests.

The second awesome recipe from Deb that I'd recommend is the silky cauliflower soup. It's a creamy looking soup without cream! tah dah!

I hope you enjoy them too.

Nicki Minaj's biggest fans

One of the high moments of my day (and a direct result of working from home) is watching some of Ellen as a pre-lunch break. I'm so glad I do because this is just so sweet and amazing. 





This post is a belated Music for Mondayitis I guess.

Who put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop?

Thought of this act this morning, made me smile. Happy Friday and weekend to you!

From the Melbourne Comedy Festival, 'Interrogation' starring Bob Franklin, Glenn Robbins and Jimeoin.

Notable Quotable

I'm always looking on You Work For Them for new fonts and vectors for client projects and always get distracted by the lovely and sometimes hilarious quotes used to represent the type. A few of my new favourites are below.






In order: Generation Headline, Chalfont, Astoria, Generation Headline.

A new American Gothic


This recreation of American Gothic by by Jesse John Hunniford from booooooom's Remake series is definitely my favourite American Gothic ever. Much better than that Paris Hilton one.

Red State Australian Release



Red State is released in Australia TODAY!
When I saw this poster in Dendy last week I flipped out! I had no idea it would be here so soon.

Music for Mondayitis - Performing Pregnant

A couple of years ago I posted about MIA performing on her due date, which was truly freakin spectatular - the only woman on stage and owning it. And in light of all the "Beyonce's PREGNANT!!!" exclaiming I figured it's worth reposting that video and compiling a list of "She's pregnant and performing" videos.

1. MIA Performs at the 2009 Grammys with Kanye West, Lil Wayne among others

Bad quality as the original was removed :(

2. Beyonce announces baby bump at the 2011



3. Beyonce's new video - Countdown




4. Bjork with Kukl




5. Pink's Raise Your Glass




Maybe I'm just cynical but I think it's a real shame that people are making such a big deal about Beyonce being pregnant while still releasing singles and performing. To me it reeks of a "that woman shouldn't be outside! She's pregnant!" attitude. But again, I'm cynical.

It feels extremely loud


When I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close I cried more than I have with any other book. When I watched this trailer for the movie version the emotions came rushing back to me so fast I thought I would throw up. My hands were on my face, just like they are on the character of Oskar above. I don't know if I could manage to watch the movie - I don't think I could handle the sadness*.



*If you havent read it, believe me it is so sad that I even told a friend not to read it.

Music for Mondayitis


Ryan Adams has a new album coming soon. I can't wait. So let's reminisce in the meantime.



How to be the best dressed guest

#weddings It seems they're everywhere. Especially on the blogs, on pinterest, on twitter. It's not hard to see that the internet has become the go to source for wedding planning if you're a bride. But what if you're a guest?

If you're a bride you can google "Top 5 wedding dresses" and be hit by hundreds of posts. When you type in "Top 5 dress for wedding guests" all but 2 of the first page results are for dresses for the BRIDE! Ahh well it's silly to complain, it's not as though that's how I'd find a dress to wear anyway.

For most of the weddings I've been to I've worn dresses borrowed from friends - special event clothes are expensive dammit! But now I have 3 weddings to attend in the next 12 months and I want to go shopping. Here I've created 3 unique 'looks' for each wedding and I'd like your feedback.

NOTE: this isn't a "fashion blog". This is just a post on me getting dressed in something other than jeans and a t-shirt. Alrighty? 

I'm not sure of what the official 'themes' of each wedding are, since I'm not the planner (thank you baby Jesus) so I'm making them up based on the little I know and the personalities of the couples getting hitched. Let's go:


1. Hot summer - fun party - great music
Shoes: Rachel Comey Bend Sandal $240 @ Beklina. Dress: Suno Button Down Dress $283. Bag: Jill Sander Pyramid Clutch £258.33 @ NetAPorter.


2. Elegant - charming - uptown cityscape
Dress: Veronique Leroy black contrast dress $404 @ Opening Ceremony. Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs Petal to the Metal Flap Pouchette $240 @ ShopBop. Shoes: Marais USA Closetoe Wedge $115. Earrings $98 and 'No Sleep til Brooklyn' Bangles $88 by Kate Spade.



3. Dance your 70s shoes off cause we're in Vegas baby!
Dress: Sonia by Sonial Rykiel Brushed Silk dress @ NetAPorter. Earrings: I. Ronni Kappos Gold Earrings $175 @ Beklina. Purse: Vintage Green Faux Snake Skin Purse $19 @ nine20nine. Shoes: Vintage 70s Wedges $44 @ Dear Golden Vintage. Watch: Peacock Face Watch $29.95 @ Sportsgirl.

So there you go. 3 very different, very re-wearable outfits. Now to pick one! What's your favourite?

Pinata Love



Golden Alligator by Oh Happy Day. Diamonds by Confetti System. Icecream cone PiƱata by Simply Modern Mom.

The coolest wedding invite ever?

In my line of work I like to think that the idea or the concept is always more important than the execution. But if you had to explain 'good design' to an alien with a bag full of contemporary wedding invites I think you'd have a hard time convincing them of this. So few of them seem to have an idea at all.

In the sea of lace applique, letterpressed type and fabric lined envelopes it's hard to believe that a simple wedding invitation design even exists let alone one with a concept. But one does, thanks to designer Cristina Moralejo. Look...



It says tying the knot so simply. And because it's interactive it really elevates the role of the user/invitee - they'll be a part of the big day, not just spectators. I think it's a stunning idea.

--

Just a couple of final notes I have to add: 1. I'm not hating on the current crop of wedding invitaion designers. For one I love the work of Ellie from Mint at Hello Ten Fold. 2. I was inspired too look for good invites because of Jordan's post on Real Simple about how once no one came to her party :(

Music for Mondayitis



Oh 1999! It feels like a world away but for me it was a bit like music magic. Til this point in my life I'd been listening to the Spice Girls (and I still don't feel any shame about this) but I was ready for something else. Ben Lee stole my heart and so did a couple of other slight men.







It was a tough year to decide to step away from pop music too. Britney Spears' debut, the Dawson's Creek soundtrack and On the 6 by Jennifer Lopez are all key pop moments from '99. Tough indeed. I hope you enjoy.

Do you have any major years in your music memory?

Made my morning


I'm a big fan of the music of The Swell Season and when I heard this morning that a documentary about the love and the relationship at the heart of the duo is being released this October, my heart skipped a little.



Found via Portable.


New angles from You Work For Them



YWFT - Always a place for instant inspiration. Get angled and buy these vectors and font here, here and here.

New girls



Screenwriter Liz Meriwether in the New York Times last year:
“I love characters that are on the edge of something, I end up always writing about people trying to connect and failing miserably, usually in a funny way. I’m pushed to these moments in people’s lives where real life does become absurd, and I think those are usually moments of grief or moments of extreme boredom or extreme anger. Or just trying to have sex with somebody.”
Meriwether wrote No Strings Attached, a film that I felt, in writing was something exciting, on screen not so much (just a tad to schmaltzy). It was also Natalie Portman's first Rom Com. This year she has written New Girl, a tv series staring Zooey Deschanel. Have you see it?



She's a screenwriter on the rise and I can't wait to see what comes next.

Top photo by Josh Haner/The New York Times.

Geoff Mcfetridge


Inspiring title design for Where The Wild Things Are by Geoff Mcfetridge/Champion Studio.

Music For Mondayitis

Ahh week 2 of Music for Mondayitis. This week I wanted to share my FAVOURITE Australia pop star, Sia.

Do you often have strange memory associations? For me, when I hear the name Sia I think of Taylors Square, just by Oxford St. I dont know why. Can you tell me why?

It's strange because Sia is just the opposite of a urine-infested-park-fountain-homeless-abode. The complete opposite. She's light and fun and very boisterous. I've even considered her pipe-cleaner get up on the We Are Born cover as a Halloween costume, I'm sure it would be hilarious. And better than last years Sailor outfit. Anyways. Sia. Gorgeous. Have a listen...



Artist David Horvitz wants 58c from all of you



Very legit and very novel. I'm  looking forward to the results. Read more here.

And I love his final call to action at the bottom of the page:
AND OF COURSE, IF YOU HAVE DEBT, AND YOU LIKE THIS IDEA, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, STEAL THIS IDEA.

California dreaming


I'm thinking this isn't the most practical desk (its price isn't), but it would be lovely to have. I am now a fan of its creator and etsy seller J. Rusten.

Inspired by...





Art by Kim Gordon and Ele D'Artagnan. Both artists represented by Kerry Schuss.

Do you Instagram?


Im just a tad addicted to Instagram. Are you? I mean I check it about 4 times a day! Follow me @brigittar. And leave me a comment with your name and I'll follow you back!!

Opening shots

What makes a good opening shot of a movie? I don't know but I presume in some film Masters program you could find out. It probably has to do with setting the tone or introducing the hero or such and such but I reckon that's something that is done in the whole opening scene. I'm thinking specifically about what makes that first shot - that moment when the picture fades up from blackness and you take a little breath in, ready to be go on a journey.

I had a look through my dvd library to try and find some good ones and to see if there are any similarities. What I found is that the majority of opening shots fall into one of three categories: Character, Landscape and Metaphor.



I love that stare of Olive's and how the kaleidoscope of titles relax to reveal Will in his empty home. But this gaze of Woody Allen is strong, it tells us straight away that this movie really isn't about Annie Hall at all but about him. All these shots tie us to a character by showing us, the audience, something the other characters don't ever see.



Fargo scares me to this day and each time I watch it these almost invisible headlights through the mist it takes me right to that place of 'oh my gosh its so cold something bad must be about to happen'. 'Headlights through the haze' can also be seen in the opening shot of Brokeback Mountain, Aladdin and (sort of) Pretty In Pink.

Cloud shots are probably the most common landscape to open a film, it's up there with the 'drop into a city/window' as seen in Psycho and Run Lola Run. I'd like to think the cloud shot started with The Sound of Music and has been best imitated by Toy Story.




A metaphor for what? Well I wouldn't want to speculate, but it's obvious these opening shots are really trying to tell us something true about the story. Seeing these reminded me of a post by tv writer Jane Espenson (BSG, Buffy) on how the first page of a script should really get to the point of the story. She quotes Jeff Greenstein as saying: I am a big believer that the opening line of a pilot (or the opening image, or the teaser) should be the series in microcosm. The 'teaser' as Jane calls it is all about getting the central dynamic or central message on screen as perfect as possible and as soon as possible.

Jane goes on to add that if you're writing a script and 'you've just shrugged and started with your main character waking up in bed, then I'd suggest that you might've missed a really good opportunity'. But that said if you need to show that your character does a lot of laying around or wakes up in an interesting way it might work for you. Off the top of my head I'm thinking about the shot of Scarlett Johannson's butt on the bed during Lost In Translation's opening credits and how in Clerks how Dante falls out of the cupboard as the ringing phone wakes him.

What I have learned during this exercise is that while openings are critical they're often recycled. But I think that's ok. Something familiar (but not boring!) is always a nice easy step for the audience to take into a story, to suck them in quickly.

Do you have any opening shots (or scenes) you really like? Have I missed any critically important shots and need to be slapped? Let me know in the comments.

Note: All screenshots by me for the purposes of this post only.

Music for Mondayitis

I always love For Me For You's Music Monday posts but being in Australia means they always arrive on a Tuesday. So I've been inspired to create my own Monday-Music posts that will land on the true Monday!

Country is a pretty underrated genre in my opinion. I'm not a fan of most popular country music but if something has a little twang or a hint of a banjo I am there. I discovered Jeff Bridges music by accident when his new album was featured on the iTunes homepage and wanted to give it a go straight away. The album is soulful and bluesy with straightforward melodies that I attempt to sing along too (I'm not blessed with a sing-aloud voice).

The first track is 'What A Little Bit of Love Can Do' and I've listened to it 27 times in 3 weeks! Seriously. I love it. You can watch the video here.



During my Jeff Bridges research I also discovered some amazing photographs on his site (which is full of awesome illustrations too). Most of the photos are from his time on set. The ones above are from the Crazy Heart shoot. You can see them all on his site, here.

Have a weekend



Well zit's (sic) Friday and I'm pretty stoked to have Snacked up and running again. It's been fun. If anyone is out there, tell me, what are you doing this weekend? huh?

I'll be celebrating my birthday with a few beers and putting the winter doona back on the bed after thinking I was safe to switch it out last week - Sydney weather you make a springtime fool out of me!

Cheers!

Graffiti in Newtown

My little bro came to town and it hit me hard that I had NO CLUE on how to keep a 12 year old entertained for 2 whole days. Shame on me really. But since he lives a pretty easy suburban life I thought I'd show him the mean streets (kidding) of my neighbourhood with a walking tour of street art sights. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon and I checked out some alleys that I never thought I'd walk down. But he loved it and that's what mattered.

 Here is a google map of all the places we planned to hit on our tour of Newtown and Enmore before we got distracted by the bmx shop and moo burgers.
 

Get me some cacti

During July, I was blessed to spend 3 whole weeks in Sunny Southern California. The trip was all about family and it was wonderful but one of the highlights was when I was all alone one afternoon in the most stunning garden I have ever seen.

Killing a few hours while my husband worked wasn't looking fun until ESB directed me to The Huntington. This place has an incredible library and botanical gardens where you can spend HOURS! (I did!) It's simply wow.

My favourite spot was the cactus garden. I have few words because I was in awe the whole time. Maybe I was so blown away because I'm Australian and we just don't see this stuff out here but I'm pretty sure that this place would have an impact on even the most seasoned Cactus connoisseur. If you're ever in LA, seek this place out, and if you want to get married there, I say do it. It's truly spectacular.

Pinning my faves


Over the Snacked hiatus, a few wondrous social and design sites sprouted. I am in love with Pinterest and two of my faves to follow are Bri Emery of Design Love Fest and the ever snappy and anonymous EastSideBride - I am especially smitten with ESB's 'Stripes FTW' board.

a new blog