I've been looking for an online printer that produces gallery quality prints for what feels like an eternity - I have finally found one, Memorieslab.
"Memorieslab is an experimental boutique photo lab that specialises in creating timeless photographic print products tailored to the contemporary audience with exceptional standards and a passion for recording. Our carefully designed catalogue is created with one thing in mind - to recreate the past through combining elements of the old with the new. The result is a unique blend of quality backed up by traditions and a permanent treatment for preserving your precious memories."
Memorieslab offer a small portfolio products which consists of a photo book, polaroid prints & gallery prints in either Bizan paper (by Awagami) or Rag paper (by Canson); they also have an app if you want to upload your favourite Instagram photos and print them into a collection of polaroid prints. Memorieslab app & website are super user friendly, their packaging is to die for and delivery time was swift considering they're based out of Hong Kong.
I am delighted with my Rag paper prints which are already at the framer's while I ponder how to creatively display my polaroids of my best friends in my office...
I totally fell in love with the Chloe sailor pants in rust as seen on their ad (top left photo) but I am now coveting them even more as seen in a street style photo taken during Paris Fashion Week (top right photo), I love how the girl wears them in "real life", more so than on the model in the ad!
I found out about Frank Lipman's, The New Health Rules, via Goop I think... Regardless of where I discovered it, I have to say it is a very approachable book. I'm often fearful of health self-help books as authors tend to come across as irrational sect leaders (a great example, Dr William Davis of "The Wheat Belly" fame), however Frank Lipman's views on health are pretty mentally stable & down to earth IMO.
Firstly, I like the sections he chose to divide the book into - Eating, Moving, Boosting, Healing and Living - as health doesn't only come from nutrition. Secondly, there is no pretension in Lipman's advice which is refreshing especially as a lot of what he says has been mentioned in the press before (turn off your your screens an hour before bedtime for a good night's sleep) but he manages to deliver his new health rules with affection, so much so that I felt comforted & inspired to live a healthier life as a result. Lastly, if you live outside of the US, some of the nutritional information may not be relevant (no corn syrup, no GMOs and our cows thank God eat grass).
**I unfortunately bought the book via Kindle but I've read a couple articles stating that the photography is as much worth buying the book for as the content. Above photo is from coolhunting.com
A couple TV shows that just premiered on ABC and NBC, The Slap and Secrets & Lies, are remakes of Australian TV shows. Hollywood is renowned for their remakes of foreign movies but it's interesting to find this trend making it to TV. Australia is not the only country the US have remade shows from, Israel (Homeland), Britain (The Office) and Sweden (The Killing) are others. It's interesting to watch both the original and the remake, the main difference is the cultural adaptation as it's adapted for a US audience. I enjoy remakes, I find the not so subtle changes intriguing.
Here are trailers for both The Slap and Secret & Lies - will you start watching them?
It's hard to approach this post concisely and give it structure since it's about my confusion regarding diet... Also, I'm neither a nutritionist nor a scientist, this is just a summary of the (often contradictory) information overload I've received over the years as I've hopped about this earth trying to ensure a long & healthy life, and this is a hot topic for me right now as I am trying to lose weight. So by the end of reading it, if I have left you as confused as I am about what consists a healthy diet, I do apologise.
I have lived in 6 different countries so far, each of which have different diets and cultural attitudes towards food - and by diet I mean nutritional choices as well as weight loss beliefs - I was my healthiest in Switzerland and Italy. Switzerland is where I grew-up, I had some weight issues in puberty but regardless, by my late teens my weight was considered normal per the BMI chart; I was active, snowboarding every day in the winter, swimming 2km a day and eating more or less healthily in my opinion with the knowledge I had at 20yrs old: a lot of fruit & vegetable, pasta/rice/bread/meats/dairy all in moderation. I did not know or care about the negative effects of sugar & grains, the need for Omega-3s or that Kale existed! Italy, is my second healthiest place of residence, I was also more active in Italy than other countries, I cycled everywhere, went to the gym a couple times a week, played tennis once a week, but the key thing nutritionally is I shopped mainly at the weekly street markets, thus eating seasonally & locally. I did not spend my time in Italy freaking out about food, limiting my diet to only certain types of food and did not think about my daily intake of nutrients in the form of calories or as a division of carbs/protein/fat. In Italy you do eat high fat because of the cheese, you don't eat loads of red meat, you do eat wheat based carbs, and you do eat loads of fruit & vegetable. I think another plus about Italy was the positive attitude everyone has towards food, there is pride of local produce and a love of sharing food with friends & family. I identified with Italian nutritional choices & cultural attitude towards food.
In continuation of the above paragraph on cultural habits & attitudes towards food, I think we should take into consideration ethnic backgrounds and body types (think Ayurveda doshas & blood type diets) when establishing a healthy nutrition for an individual. I don't think we can all on this great earth eat the same diets, we have not all evolved eating the same foods based on our geolocations and as a result, even at the incubation stage, when we being nourished by our mother's amniotic food, we eat differently. You cannot get a Japanese person to eat exactly like a French person, they would probably get ill - when I went to Japan with friends from Europe for one of our friend's weddings, by the end of the first week of eating Japanese food, we were all super constipated (TMI I know, but I am trying to make a point). Does it make sense to use coconut oil vs olive oil when you live in the mediterranean? Should you eat Alaskan Black Cod in South Africa?
One huge diet trend at the moment is the Paleo diet which supersedes other fad diets such as Atkins or South Beach Diet (all created in the US mind you) - eat like your pre-agriculture ancestors did. Paleo's supporters state that 80% of your diet should be comprised of fats of which some are saturated; according to the author of "Eat Bacon, Don't Jog", you should not eat fruit and not vegetables that grow below ground (they're high in sugar), "just meats & leafy things". The other premise of the diet is the need for short high intensity workouts, some say maybe just 15mins a week does the trick, bye bye hour long cardio sessions. This goes against everything we've ever been told but people who follow it swear by it, lose weight on it and state their cholesterol levels are normal. I am completely skeptical about it mainly because I am not a huge meat eater and it goes against everything I've ever been told about nutritional health but hey, Paleo'ers are thin with low cholesterol and I'm not! The podcast Chewing The Fat approaches that skepticism and they do a good job of playing devil's advocate even though they are pro Paleo. I think it works for a lot of Americans who eat a lot of processed foods, loads of hidden (and not so hidden sugars), GMO's as well as huge portion sizes and so on, but for us in Europe, hidden sugars is not as much of an issue, for starters, our cows eat grass so our dairy & beef is lower in sugar than in the US, we also eat less processed foods and small portion sizes.
So we've established the cause of my confusion - how to lose weight? High fat diet? Low fat diet? Should I abandon cardio for free weights? With that in mind, I decided to go see an endocrinologist to get blood tests and to understand if I have any metabolic issues as I have had in the past. Nope, all my levels are great EXCEPT for cholesterol which is just over the limit. After a horrendous meeting with a dinosaur of an endocrinologist a couple weeks back, I decided I wouldn't see him again and started researching endocrinologists & nutritionists in Barcelona. I came upon a clinic called Alimmenta, who specialise in nutrition, not just in dieting but in sport nutrition too, they have a psychologist & an endocrinologist on the team, they have published a couple books as well - all in all, Alimmenta seemed like a trustworthy option for me & my goals. I made an appointment with nutritionist Júlia Farré, who was really nice and up to speed with diet trends but not in agreement with Paleo at all ("Paleolithics were not renowned for being very smart or evolved" she said), with strong opinions on each one. Júlia's diet for me is an all in moderation diet, 1870Cal a day, very Mediterranean (lean meats/white or blue fish/non-animal options such as tofu, seitan, low fat dairy, loads of veg, small portions of grains & fruit) and the importance of eating every 3hr hours and exercising at least 30min every day. So this is what I'm going with and so far, I feel good, I have more energy, I'm losing weight, I'm eating seasonally & locally like I did in Italy so hopefully it will work and I'm also adding my touch of nutrition for healing by eating gluten free, eating avocados & eggs, adding ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, nut, etc. I definitely need to work out more, I really do enjoy circuit training as it's not boring but all in all, I'm happy for now.
So, are you confused? Tell me your story.
Today my spirit needs a pick-me-up, a little bit of joy and Bradley Cooper & Jimmy Fallon's contagious laughter hits the spot! Happy HaHas everybody!
Did you watch last night's Oscars ceremony?
For starters, it was not my favourite Oscars ceremony but having said that, it was far from my least favourite. I've read some negative opinions about Neil Patrick Harris' hosting performance but I think this would have been a hard show to host even for Billy Crystal or Ellen! Why? Because it was a really political year in cinema, a lot of powerful movies with difficult subjects were nominated, and this year, the winners did not want to win quietly! There simply was no way this could have been sugarcoated with comedy as per the Hollywood norm.
And here's why...
Suicide: Firstly, suicide was movingly approached by Graham Moore in his acceptance speech as he received the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Imitation Game", a movie in which its main protagonist, real life Alan Turin, commits suicide: "I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I'm standing here," Graham said. "I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it's your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along." Secondly, a moving comment from Dana Perry, one of the winners of the Best Documentary Short for "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1", was cut off by the damn Oscar music - Perry mentioned her son, Evan Scott Perry, who committed suicide at age 15 in 2005. "I lost my son," Perry told reporters after the speech, "we need to talk about suicide out loud to try to work against the stigma and silence around suicide because the best prevention for suicide is awareness and discussion and not trying sweep it under the rug."
Racism: The amazing performance by Common & John Legend of their song "Glory" for the movie "Selma" (which documented the 1965 voting rights' marches from Selma to Montgomery led by Martin Luther King, Jr.) and their consequent truly eloquent acceptance speech which rightly brought the whole room to their feet. As reported by Variety, "Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris didn’t shy away from the controversy over “Selma’s” perceived snubs and the overall lack of diversity in the nominations, opening the ceremony by joking, “tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest — sorry, brightest!” He later visited David Oyelowo in the audience to include him in a bit about every joke sounding better in a British accent. After the crowd applauded Oyelowo’s delivery, Harris quipped, “Oh, sure, now you like him!” in reference to the the actor’s shutout in the Best Actor category."
Equal rights for women: In Patricia Arquette's Oscar acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Boyhood", she said "to every woman who gave birth, to every tax payer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else's equal rights, it's our time to have wage equality once & for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!" This was my favourite speech as it was closest to my heart. I feel like I never hear women in the public eye in the US speak out so openly & with such vehemence about women's rights as Patricia Arquette did, and from the looks of it, neither had Meryl Streep or JLO! Not that this will put an end to the complacency of western nations to discard this inequality (see the backlash Arquette's speech has received in the press since Sunday as evidence), but it's a start!
Terminal Illness: ALS & Alzheimer's were both at the forefront of the Oscar winner selection with Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor for "The Theory of Everything" and Julianne Moore winning Best Actress for "Still Alice" respectively, as well as Tim McGraw's emotional rendition of Glenn Campbell's song "I'm not going to miss you" about his Alzheimers disease, (the song was a Best Song nominee for the documentary "Glenn Campbell... I'll be me").
So, in my opinion, Neil Patrick Harris had a very difficult year to present and tough crowd to lead. Kudos to him for keeping it going in such a professional way! Give him some slack, people!
PS: Ethan Hawke was being interviewed on the red carpet about his movie "Boyhood", the Oscars and acting, he had this to say in response to the interviewer's question, What does it mean to have this night here, to get this kind of acclaim from everybody who makes movies?, "What, are you kidding, I mean this is the church of my choice! Making movies, telling stories, is what I’ve believed in my whole life and this community is the only real community I’ve ever wanted to be a part of. So it’s a huge honour, you just have to try to go through it with grace and not turn into a smug jerk about it all." Not like I needed another reason to love Ethan Hawke but there it is! If you have a moment, check out this pre-Oscars "Actors Round Table" by The Hollywood Reporter's Stephan Galloway with Ethan amongst other nominees/actors in nominated movies, such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne.
Although I listen to the radio show This American Life from time to time (which I hold in high regard), I only just came upon their spin-off show, Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig. The premise of the show is to report on a true story over the course of an entire season comprised of twelve chapters.
Per Serial's website, Season 1 is about the following story:
On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.
My opinions of the show and its journalistic purpose oscillated back & forth throughout the 12 episodes, at times I believed in the journalist's pursuit and at others, I felt completely disheartened, wondering whether the story was worth telling. I told myself that I needed to look at this as if it were a documentary but even then, as I listened on to the often reality TV show'esque reporting, I kept finding myself querying what story I was being told - is this a story about a man wrongly convicted of a crime? is this a story about the failure of the justice system in the US? or is it a story about the trials & tribulations of an investigative journalist? is it maybe a story to stimulate the listeners to cross the fine line between justice & injustice? all of the above? The show states that the questions we're hoping to find answers to are, "How can you know a person's character? How can you tell what they're capable of?" (my answer to both these questions is that you cannot, and I did not need this show to tell me that).
By the end of the last episode, it was completely unclear to me what I had just experienced. I cannot deny how gripping the show was and at times, I wondered if my annoyance with it was my fault, because as an avid absorber of fictional material, I felt dissatisfied by the conclusion, or lack there of: we never find out if Adnan Syed did in fact kill Hae Min Lee, and that's life, we cannot expect to have answers to everything. A devils's advocate may even say it is a sign of societal malaise that we cannot rest with uncertainty. I say, dear reader, give it a go and let me know what you think. Was it worth your while?
PS: while we're talking radio shows, I also discovered that Alec Baldwin has (or had, this may be a legacy show) his own show, Here's The Thing. I have had a crush on Alec Baldwin ever since 30 Rock, and his charisma transpires through his show ever so brilliantly, I am now happily making my way through his archives. Mr B is an auspicious interviewer, he asks questions I never knew I wanted to know the answers to! Check him out!
I love and hate Lena Dunham's show "Girls" for the exact same reason - it rings so damn true. Being a 20something girl can be hard, you do not always understand what's going on around you, you rarely make the right decisions, do not give yourself enough credit and put up with shit from others that you shouldn't have to put up with, leading to great woes that bloody hurt and often resulting in a lack of self-respect.
In some ways, I felt more uncomfortable in my 20s than I did in my teens. In my teens, I was very instinctual, I did and felt intensely, thought and loved irrationally, and as the youngest in my group, looked up at the world going around me, amazed. I felt like a spectator often and sometimes, I would loom down from the skies and perform some rash act then bolt back-up to my safe cloud in the mountains. In my 20s, I was on that damn earth, in ongoing traffic, facing it all head on. It was exhausting.
In my 30s, I have come to learn how to stand-up for and preserve myself which is why watching Hannah & her friends go through, the rawness of their experiences can be excruciating to watch at times. Last night was no different. Seeing Hannah break-up with her long time love Adam broke my heart a little - we all could have told her that it would end this way but what good would that have done, she had to see it for herself, as we all had to when we were in Hannah's shoes.