My Week in Pictures.

Writing off the day to spend it in bed watching the rain.

Puppy likes doing this, too!

Downward-facing dog.

I’ve been missing out a bit on my exercise (jogging and free weights) in favour of making sure Mia has a daily walk and/or run. I have a hip injury which prevents me from doing much running on concrete, while Mia’s only allowed to go on concrete until her vaccinations are up to date. So it’s a catch-22. I did find her in this yoga position, though; long enough to snap her in it.

New shoes.

My three most-worn pairs of shoes—black studded ballet flats, blue ballet flats and black biker boots—are all broken (that hasn’t stopped me wearing them, though!) so I thought it was high time I got some new ones. These biker boots are from Sportsgirl, and I’d been eyeing them off since February and finally bit the bullet and parted with $150 for them on Tuesday. Luckily, as it was positively torrential in Melbourne the next day!

Assembling for The Avengers.

One of the perks cons interesting facts of living with a comic book nerd is that you are forced to go along to the very first screening of the latest big screen adaptations if you express an interest in seeing them. This means forking out full price and lining up for an hour to secure the best seats in the house for The Avengers, which we saw last night. Housemate loved it; I didn’t feel my life had been enriched in any way by seeing it. I did enjoy posing with the film’s posters, though.

The stack.

I just want your extra time and your… Prince tickets.

That’s right, topping off a year that will include Lady Gaga and Elton John is Prince. I can’t wait to don “Diamonds & Pearls” and a “Raspberry Beret” whilst working up a “Black Sweat”. All I need is a “Little Red Corvette” to get me to Rod Laver Arena on May 15th.

Rainbows keep falling on my head.

And in this weather, who could blame them? This one was taken after a downpour on Sunday afternoon which stopped just in time for me to get home from work.

Related: My Week in Pictures 8th December, 2011.

My Week in Pictures.

The Descendants. 

It only won one of the Academy Awards it was nominated for, and perhaps deservedly so, but it’s an enjoyable movie and George Clooney is great in it.

The stack. 

I read a fantastic article about pit bulls in Good Weekend on Saturday, and I have to say, it validated my view that not all dogs—just like humans—can be judged by the actions of a few. I can’t seem to find the article online, but if you can pick up a belated copy, please do.

Nursery rhyme-themed birthday party.

Birthday Bo Peep.

The Mad Hatter, Ring Around the Rosey and a Hipster Blind Mouse.

Me and the birthday girl.

True dat.

Ten minutes into the night and my stockings are already ripped!

A Bar Called Barry, Lana’s 27th birthday and nursery rhyme theme = fun!

Sportsgirl top. 

After some rigmarole involving not enough money in my account, Telstra going down, my size being sold out and the style I wanted only being available online, I finally got the Sportsgirl Peter Pan animal print top I’d been fantasising about for several weeks!

I’m officially an organ donor!

Congrats to the lucky recipients of my tissue and organs! Seriously though, my card arrived in the mail last week which was, fittingly, Organ Donation Week, and I’m so happy that if I’m braindead my organs can live on and give life to someone else after I’m gone. I urge everyone to sign up. Go to Medicare’s Organ Donation Register to do so.

The Descendants image via LUChameleon.

Guest Post: Get Out of the City.

Recently I decided that I desperately needed a holiday.

I then realised I haven’t had a week off work in three years. I was shocked and promptly applied for annual leave. I wanted a nice, relaxing beachside holiday where I could read and get massages. My immediate thoughts were of Bali, but then I thought of Byron.

I’ve had a love affair with Byron Bay ever since I went on that Year 12 weeklong ritual known as Schoolies. I went up with a bunch of girlfriends for a week in November, and my Year 12 boyfriend also went up with his mates, and it was a week of partying, drinking, sleeping on the beach and more partying. The town was teeming with seventeen and eighteen-year-olds letting off some much needed steam after a year of hard work. I returned with a girlfriend and her sister six months later in the middle of winter and the place had a completely different vibe—less tourists, more locals and generally quieter and more peaceful. That time I stayed in a Tee Pee in the Arts Factory Village, about a ten-minute walk into the centre of town. The time after that was during the break between my first and second year of uni when I was nineteen. Ever since I had visited during winter, I said I would go and live there for four months over the summer. And thus, with my car full of the essentials—bedding, books, music and a shitload of clothes I cajoled my friend into making the trek up to Byron with me and off we went.

When I arrived I started looking for accommodation—and found it in the form of a zany English family—complete with kids called Tigger and Roo, a contortionist mother and a Valium-addicted father. I was desperate for any kind of cheapish accommodation so I took the room without a second thought. Even though baby Roo was teething and thus screaming the house down every night, I stuck it out until the end and met a few other backpackers along the way.

My next requirement was to find a job. I quickly got a job working as a waitress at The Rails, a pub located on the train line behind the bus stop that only the locals frequent. So my days consisted of lying on the beach during the day, and working at The Rails at night.

I left Byron at the beginning of February to get ready for my second year of uni with a sense of accomplishment. My first foray into living independently was a success! I returned in March with my sister and a few of her friends for the Blues and Roots Festival. The family I stayed with over the summer had enough room for us all to stay for the week, which consisted of music, drinks, party favours, TDK moments and cane toads.

I have wanted to return to Byron for a while now, but I always had some sort of excuse not to go. But this time around I was determined to. I found relatively cheap flights, along with affordable Balinese-like accommodation located ten minutes from the centre of town. I was set. When I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to go he said he couldn’t afford it, so I decided to go alone.

Whenever I told someone about my trip they always asked who I was going with, and when I replied that I was going alone to relax and do nothing but read books they all seemed jealous [Early Bird note: Especially me!].

I was on the early flight and as soon as I stepped off the plane and into the sunshine I instantly felt more relaxed. After I arrived at my accommodation, I then armed myself with two books, water and some sunscreen I wandered into town. I had been told there was now a Sportsgirl store on the main street so I was prepared for a bit of a commercial change to it, but I was dismayed to also find a Supre store alongside a Witchery, Just Jeans and Ice, sitting in amongst the ubiquitous hippie shops and surf stores! But not to be deterred, I found a lovely cafe to bask in the sun and enjoy a light lunch at, followed by a couple of hours of reading at the Beach Hotel. I have recently discovered the books of Sloane Crosley, and I have to say she’s one of my new favourite authors. She is one of those rare writers who can make me laugh out loud. I pretty much inhaled her first book of essays, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, in my first afternoon and promptly started on my next book, Last Summer by Kylie Ladd. By this time it was about 4:30pm and the sun was fading, so I wandered back to my room and spent the twilight hours reading and listening to Ben Harper, and then ambled back into the chilly breeze (why didn’t I pack any socks?) for dinner. I had a craving for a big bowl of Vietnamese pho, and it was this craving that led me to the new Japanese restaurant that had opened three days prior, Enso, which took he place of the Vietnamese one. I saw it as a sign to eat Japanese. The restaurant was up a set of stairs and kind of hidden away, which was perfect because it meant the tourists hadn’t sniffed it out yet. When I enquired about a wine list the waiter apologetically said they weren’t licensed, but then proceeded to pour me a lovely glass of champagne, free of charge. Sometimes it pays to eat alone. And thus, my first dinner of gyoza, cabbage salad and miso soup was one of the highlights of the trip.

Wednesday was pampering day. I awoke early to get a bacon and egg roll and a coffee from the local milk bar, Macs, before heading off to the Buddha Gardens Day Spa for a three hour relaxation session.

On arrival I was offered an herbal tea and was then transported to buff, scrub, polish, wrap, oil and massage heaven. After the treatments, I ambled back to the beach with lunch on the brain and got a generous serving of spud with extras and a Coke at Soul Bowl, and went and sat on the grass beside the beach and settled in for the afternoon. I polished off my second book and made headway on the third: Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil. It was nothing compared to Life of Pi, but it was still a good read. Once again, 4:30pm hit, and the weather turned a little chilly so I went home to put on more clothes and have a bit of a nap. For dinner I went back to my old stomping ground, The Rails. The owners may have changed, but their famous beef and bacon burger and the atmosphere sure hasn’t. After a feed and a beer, I headed back home for a good night’s sleep.

On Thursday I allowed myself a sleep-in—I was on holidays after all!

I set off around 11:00am after a coffee to walk to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, the most eastern point of the Australian mainland. My memory of the last time I walked to the lighthouse may have been a little skewed because I sure don’t remember it being that steep with that many steps.

Whew! After a few rest stops to catch my breath and marvel at the amazing view, complete with diving whales, I made it to the top, and that view alone was well worth the effort. After a light lunch at the Lighthouse Cafe I found a lovely spot in the sun to sit and read. I finished off Beatrice and Virgil and promptly started on the latest Sweet Valley High novel by Francine Pascal, Ten Years Later. You may scoff at the reading material but my sister taught me how to read when I was four using the Sweet Valley Kids series and we spent most of our childhood and early adulthood devouring these books, so there is a definite nostalgia element to reading this book. Don’t knock it until you try it.

After a while I thought I should make the trek back down to town. I got to the main beach and lay down on the sand and settled in for the afternoon. I headed home around 5:00pm to shower and then walked back into town for Sushi Train and a movie at the Dendy cinemas. I managed to wrangle myself a free ticket to see Bad Teacher through my cinema connections and had a crème brulee choc top. The choc top was good, the movie not so much.

Friday was my last full day, and I had booked in for another massage because I carried my bag full of books, a towel, water bottle and other assortments up to the lighthouse the previous day and my shoulders and neck suffered for it. I had booked in for 11:00am and after a breakfast of fruit toast and awful coffee—just a tip, don’t go to the 23 Hour Bakery for coffee—I received a phone call from the massage place saying they had to cancel because the masseuse was ill. Damn! There goes my peaceful relaxation. But, the massage place recommended a Thai massage place right around the corner that could probably fit me in straightaway. I hurried around to book it in and luckily I was able to get massaged on the spot. Forty-five minutes later I was floating on a cloud and I wandered out in a daze. The weather wasn’t as nice as the previous days so I wandered up and down the street before finding a sheltered place out of the wind to sit and read. I found a spot at the Beach Hotel for a couple of hours before moving on when the sun dipped behind the clouds and looked intent on staying there. Stomach rumbling I went to the famous Bay Kebab store for a delicious lamb kebab then to a cafe to have a cup of tea and do some more reading. Once the cafe closed I went back to the beach and sat in the park before heading home via In the Pink ice-creamery. That evening I stayed in my room reading and watching Juno on TV.

All in all, for anyone who needs a few days rest and relaxation, I would highly recommending taking off to Byron Bay with a suitcase full of reading material and massages booked.

—Sallie Butler.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley Review.

Style VS. Fashion.

If you could be fashionable or stylish, which would you choose?

One incorporates fluro, Sass & Bide rats, digital prints and oversized tees; just some of the trends in the past few years that flatter most no one. The other consists of a personal style that transcends the trends. Think Kate Moss, Audrey Hepburn, Nicole Richie and Kate Middleton.

I know which group I would rather belong to, however, when people comment on my clothes, they usually call them trendy. Personally, I can’t think of a bigger insult!

Most of the clothes I buy, or want to buy, are things I’ve been lusting over for years, and are usually vintage or from a myriad of outlets, from “old-lady stores” like Brown Sugar and Blue Illusion, to second-hand markets, to Target, to Sportsgirl. I will admit to buying a plain red cami from Dotti a few weeks ago, but it’s the kind of item I’ll wear for years to come and is quite timeless… well, as timeless as Dotti can be!

One of my friends, whilst rifling through my closet, even commented that I really don’t have that many clothes. I asked why, then, can I not fit them all in. (I have several bags full of clothes hiding at the back of the wardrobe, which I alternate between seasons.) Said friend attempted to recover by saying, “well, you wear the same outfits a lot.” Like the Duchess of Cambridge?! (I wish!)

This is true, though. My favourite pair of shoes are five-year-old electric blue ballet flats that are hanging by a thread. My staple black trench coat for winter is also five years old. Long time Early Bird readers might remember the fantastic mustard yellow dress I picked up at a vintage fair for $30, which is one of my most prized sartorial possessions. I have a marcasite leopard brooch that is permanently affixed to my pleather bomber jacket (about three years old), which I paid a pretty penny for at an antique store… Shall I go on? ;)

Really, the only things I buy frequently in the clothing department are plain white, black and grey tees, jeans, and underwear.

I do like to look good (and my walk to work, where I’m confined to the limits of an unflattering uniform, is always a fashion parade!) but, when it comes down to it, clothes are just clothes, as the sometimes-fashion victim, but usually stylish, Whitney Port said on The Hills.

And you can still have a personal style without subscribing to the skinny jeans, crisp blazer and ballet flat norm of Kate and Nicole.

I have a few co-workers whose style I don’t necessarily like, but who remain true to it. One favours printed tees, badges and Etsy jewellery. Another likes to match her dress to her boots to her tights to her scarf to her hat to her bag. The third is hipster through and through, and has the most amazing collection of bright coats and bags from her grandmother.

These are the items of clothing that quintessentially “belong” to them and their personal style: you can’t find them in Bardot or Myer or Sass & Bide. And even if you could, they ain’t got nothin’ on the original: priceless.

So what I’m trying to say here is that money can’t buy style. Or that fashion fades, style is eternal. Or something. What do you think the difference between “fashion” and “style” is? Can you have both at the same time? Which camp would you rather belong to?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Way We Wear Vintage Market.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Who Wore it Better? Kate Middleton VS. Blair Waldorf.

Images via Hills Freak, Saskia 4 Fashion, Franc Trunner, People Style Watch.