Closed For Business

Last week I went to see guests from The New Yorker speak at a Melbourne Writers Festival event. Editorial director Henry Finder, staff writer David Grann and music critic Sasha Frere Jones discussed the publishing process at the magazine, from brainstorming and pitching stories to the arduous editing procedure employed. What came as a revelation to me was that every piece that makes it to print is drafted on average 17 times, with a team of fact checkers employed to verify every sentence that presents even a hint of proposition. In the age of blogging, Twitter journalism and the imminent death of the news room, the privileging of such meticulous attention to detail is like a mythical unicorn—the stuff of fairytales that no one is quite sure was ever real.

The push to constantly produce material for The Daily Ritual over the last month has been challenging (can you tell?) and a hoot, but now I’m taking a sabbatical in search of long reads and 17 drafts—or at least more than zero. Thanks for the memories. This isn’t have a nice life, more like an amicable farewell and a see you soon sign.

Here is a list of what I will be doing while I’m not contributing to my blob (my friend’s delightful synonym for blog) daily…

Also get better hand writing.

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See You At The Parlour

Everyone is is taking hair cues from My Little Pony at the moment. I’ve been talking about going white blonde or pale silver for way too long now, prohibited only by my nonexistent disposable income and the high potential for looking like an alien or Storm from X-Men because of my dark skin and features.

I almost thought I was over the whole coloured trend until I saw these timeless beauties and remembered how good an old fashioned rinse can look. Saving my pennies for the salon.

Nanna’s via Fig and Sparrow.

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In Defence Of Crooked Teeth

Everyone seems to have a Hollywood smile these days. Sometimes I worry about the fact that I never embraced the awkward pre-teen phase and made my parents mortgage their house to pay for braces. Will my less than ten out of ten pearly whites stop me from being taken seriously in the business world? What do you think?

Then I remember that  beauty is imperfection, right? Case in point…




In Japan Twi-hards are even paying for “yaeba”—a cosmetic procedure that lengthens and sharpens the canine teeth in order to emulate the sharp fangs of famous vampires like Edward Cullen. The yaeba look is considered adorable and cute as it makes pretty girls more approachable than their orthodontic friendly, perfectly fanged peers. Perhaps I just haven’t found my target market?

Either way, no one is ever happy with what God gave them. My beautiful friend Nemo is self conscious of her sharp, wolverine style bone structure…You really can’t win.




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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Where yesterday I uncovered the secrets of the Babushka/Matryoshka doll, today I’m forecasting that next season will be all about a different kind of doll with a function that is particularly pertinent to my current mental state—the Worry Doll. As the legend goes, “If you have a problem, then share it with a worry doll. Before going to bed, tell one worry to each doll, then place them beneath your pillow. Whilst you sleep the dolls will take your worries away!”  

Hallelujah, I’ve just put in an order for 3 dozen of these babies on the fair trade website Global I’m going to adorn my neck, ears, lapels and stuff my entire pillowcase in the hope of offloading some of that pent up anxiety I’ve been carrying around of late. My only concern is for the psychological state of these dolls. Who do they tell their worries to? What if they get sick of lending an understanding ear? The more I think about this the more strung out I get, let’s change the subject.

I’ve got between 5-10 days until my new Guatemalan friends arrive and no one to offload my problems to until then, so here goes…

What will happen to this blog if my internet connection doesn’t work one day?

What if HBO cuts GIRLS and it never returns for a second season?

What if my worry dolls get lost in the post?

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Babushka Dolls Exposed

Babushka dolls are having a moment. They’ve inspired everyone from local designer Alice McCall, who borrowed their name for the title of her Spring Summer 2013 collection, to model Anja Konstantinova, who has a particularly adorable one brandished across her back.

Some simple investigative journalism discovered the shocking truth about these dolls. They’re living a lie. According to my sources* Babushka is actually a commonly misused term for the correct Russian name for these little pass the parcel style ornaments—Matryoshka dolls. There you have it. Babushka apparently refers to a traditional Eastern European style of headscarf, which ties together below the chin. A fashion friendly variation of the head scarf does however feature in Alice McCall’s collection, so I guess she gets to keep her credibility, this time. Here are some of my favourite snaps of McCall’s living dolls taken at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week earlier this year, borrowed from for your eyes. The  collection will debut at the start of October nationally, including at the new boutique on Chapel St, South Yarra, which opens this Saturday. Incidentally this Saturday is the one month birthday of The Daily Ritual—surely an auspicious omen of good luck for the store?

Hungarian peasantry never looked so chic. I’m enjoying the drop waists and the Heidi braids are making me wish my hair would grow back already.  I leave you with another type of Babooshka—a little ditty by Kate Bush about a paranoid wife who tries to test her husband’s loyalty.

* Wikipedia. Please note this expose may not actually be factually sound, but you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

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Ginseng And Wine

I’ve recently started following, or at least gesturing towards, categorising foods according to Chinese medicine. Amidst my attempts to align my chi, I have been doing some reading which tells me the following, in endearingly broken English…

COLOR THERAPY— Foods can also be classified according to their color. According to nutritionists, it is not only the content, but also the colour of food that influences your response to a meal. For example, I have noticed that after several months of ginseng consumption, I have become more sociable and more appreciative of human company. Real ginseng isn’t very pretty, so here is a cartoon that I don’t really understand by way of visual aide.

ALCOHOL, THE NATURE OF— Some people say; drinking medical wine in the winter for a couple of times and stop when the spring begins will make you age-old and prevents a hundred diseases.

So from the above I have deduced that ginseng wine (yes, it does exist) might just be the next superfood. Move over acai.


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Lucky Dip

A very special package arrived in the mail yesterday from my friends at This Is Not A Mall. It even had rave cat stickers (the only kind of acceptable cats that, unlike their CatPaint cousins, will remain forever in style). Before you ask, yes, I did purposely blur the address on this photo, I can’t have you all turning up on my doorstep in hordes.

What I found inside was so intricately wrapped I felt like I was playing an elaborate game of pass the parcel. The lucky dip at the primary school fetes of my childhood were also brought to mind, only the prize was actually good. I forgot how much fun those games were, I’m thinking of staging a coup to bring them back if anyone is interested?

Much like opening presents on Christmas Day, I attempted to painstakingly ease the perfectly wrapped offering out of its multiple layers, but the excitement got too much for me. The carnage I left in my wake is below…

An enclosed thank you note and surprise sparkle motion to hang my keys on was the super sweet icing on the cake. Online shopping can be personal after all, there just needs to be ying-yang stickers involved. I was so excited about the wrapping I nearly forgot about the head piece I actually ordered—stay tuned for breaking news updates on how I go integrating it into my wardrobe. Over and out.

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Ankle Party

Thigh party?

Hand party?

Ankle party!!! The unexpected cousin of the arm party.


Pick A Cause, Any Cause

I’ve noticed a dangerous and contagious epidemic sweeping the streets of Melbourne of late. It’s far stronger than the common cold, hasn’t received half the coverage that swine flu did, won’t give you a reason to call in sick to work but is so bad I’ve taken to protecting myself at all times, as pictured above. I’m talking about indifference—to causes, problems that aren’t #firstworld and anything else ever so mildly out of one’s immediate jurisdiction.

I was recently discussing the widespread indifference to “difficult” topic like politics, humanitarian causes or feminism that exists in our peers with a friend who now lives overseas and he claimed that this isn’t the case elsewhere, where one apparently gets more than a shrug by way of opinion. It seems that because our generation has escaped the obvious struggles of our fore bearers we feel that things like politics, racism and gender inequality are no longer relevant to us.

I’m not going to be winning any awards for humanitarian of the year in this lifetime but at least I have the good graces to perceive my ignorance as a flaw rather than an entitlement to selfishness accorded to me as a member of the lucky middle class minority of the world. It’s the least one can do. I know it’s not easy to care about everything, but it’s even harder to care about nothing…

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P.A.M As Fetish Object

A fetish object is one perceived to have supernatural powers—a crafted, tangible thing somehow accorded disproportionate magical attributes that allow it to control and entice human subjects. Where in ancient times fetish objects were revered religious relics such as the bones, fur and crystals used in Voodoo magic, since Karl Marx penned the term “commodity fetishism” to describe the perception of objects as literally dictating the practices and social activities that produce them, everything from cars to designer bags have taken on fetish status.

These P.A.M x Diemme boots are my latest personal fetish object. I wish that was me bending down to acquire a tasty croissant with my multicoloured fingernails. I would be a way better person.

The trouble with fetishising inanimate material possessions is that if you do eventually gain ownership over them this actualisation is rarely as fulfilling as your imagined joy. The bigger problem is, sometimes it is. For instance, I have been grateful for my Acne Track Boots since the day I possessed them….

The only issue is that they are ever so slightly too high for the every day and may one day result in a broken ankle should the need to break into a light jog in order to catch the tram present itself. My life is so unglamorous. Why is it that the things you love the most always cause you pain?

I bet the P.A.M babies would never hurt my ankles, they’re like the hot cousin of the hiking boot. Only problem is, they would take my annual boot expenditure to a percentage of my income I’m not entirely comfortable with.

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