Saturday, August 11, 2012

Must Love... Brisbane Book Shops

Some may say I have a slight* obsession when it comes to books. They can be chic-lit, a courtroom drama, time-travel back to the 1700s or a nice big coffee table book - I love them all! I enjoy browsing for books to buy almost as much as I love getting home and devouring them. Words cannot describe the excitement that overcomes me when surrounded by newly printed paper, interesting covers and crafty titles.

Luckily, Brisbane has a great selection of places to feed my small** fetish. Here are my Top 5.

1. Avid Reader (193 Boundary Street, West End)

 Image courtesy of Concrete Playground
Image courtesy of Hide & Seek

This amazing store is very well stocked and caters to most tastes, from an extensive array of classics to modern fiction and impressive fashion and photography offerings to stacks of biographies. You can also find cute cards, wrapping paper, laptop/iPad covers, notebooks and unique knick knacks on display around the counter. There is also a little cafe at the back of the store, conveniently next to the cooking section. I'm yet to sample their coffee or sweets, but it is definitely on my to-do list.

2. Bent Books (205 Boundary Street, West End)

Image courtesy of Concrete Playground

 This is the most immaculate second-hand store I have ever come across. The quality of the books are of a very high standard, some even looking brand new and unread. This is due to the owner's strict eye - I know this because whilst I was examining the goods I overheard a customer asking the sales assistant whether they did exchanges or bought books. He replied that they did, but the books would have to pass inspection first and no one but the owner had authority to do so. The sheer number of titles and the broad categories are very impressive, the prices reasonable and they're open seven days a week!

3. Black Cat Books (179 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington)

In the heart of Paddington and sheltered in this suburb's signature renovated Queenslander, this location has been home to a bookshop for a number of years; however, it has been proudly independent since January 2010. The owner's pride themselves on being involved in the community and having an eclectic collection. Coming from a teaching background and infusing a love for literacy has resulted in a stellar children's section set to inspire hundreds of youngsters to pick up a book and settle in for some page turning fun while Mum or Dad indulge in a coffee at the in-house cafe.

4. Atavist Books (5M Winn Lane, Fortitude Valley)

Nestled in a funky ally way in The Valley, this boutique bookshop may well be the smallest in town. But it appears they believe in the concept of quality over quantity, stocking second-hand classic, cult and underground fiction, as well as supporting local talent by selling zines and artist's publications. You may want to visit during the Winn Lane late night shopping evening's that are held on the first Thursday of every month.

5. Coaldrake's (The Barracks, Paddington & The Emporium, Fortitude Valley)

It is clear that the Coaldrake's staff are both passionate about books and bursting with recommendations to share. I have only had the pleasure of visiting the store at The Emporium, but would love to browse through The Barracks sometime in the near future. Upon walking into this store and seeing the selection they stocked, it felt like they had foreseen into my thoughts, noted everything I would want in a book, collected these and displayed them on every shelf. Note: self control will need to be strongly enforced to ensure you don't walk out with a heavy bag and a light bank account.

Until next time - happy reading and much love,
Popcorn x

*spiralling out of control
**incredibly large

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Must Love... Nook

Anyone who is a fan of the Finders Keepers markets will feel instantly at home when walking into the quirky boutique that is Nook (19 Browning Street, West End).

The shop stocks unique homewares, bedding, stationary, art work, clothing and many things in between.

A few of my favourite items were the always hilarious Able and Game cards (my latest fav is pictured below), and the Ah-Tissue pom poms hanging from the ceiling.

The exciting thing is they've just undergone a renovation that saw them double in size! I can't wait to re-visit and see the changes they've made and browse through all the new stock.

Photos courtesy of the Nook blog

Happy shopping!

Popcorn x

Must Love... Cabinessence

This morning my friend Laura and I continued our breakfast date tradition by venturing to a little, unassuming cafe in Paddington.

Keeping with the latest trend to hit cafes throughout Brisbane (Flea Market Chic); Cabinessence (117 Enoggera Terrace) was recommended to Laura by word of mouth, and you would be forgiven for thinking this cosy little den was the home of a local (admittedly one who likes to entertain a decent amount of people on a Saturday morning).

There is no sign announcing it's presence and milk crates, one-of-a-kind vintage garden settings and benches dotted with pillows and littered around the entrance are the only give away that this isn't a shabby home in need of a renovation.

Photo courtesy of The Weekend Edition

Now, if you're after a sit-down breakfast with a wide selection, this isn't it. However, if you're in a no fuss coffee and grab a bite to eat kind of mood, Cabinessence will deliver. There isn't a menu, but the staff are quick to rattle off a few suggestions: muesli, Spanish tomatoes with ricotta, and the highly recommended avocado on Turkish bread, splashed with lemon juice and pepper.

Needless to say, Laura and I both ordered the avocado. They were brought out on vintaged plates any op-shop would be proud to sell, and the serves of avo were lavish - at least one centimetre thick. If you like your lemons, this dish would be right up your ally!

We also ordered our coffee usuals: a skinny latte for myself and a soy mocha for Laura. My coffee was nice, but I have had better.

Locals who want to stop in for a break from a leisurely weekend walk (dog-in-tow if you please) would probably be the best demographic for this simple, but eclectic Paddington find.

Join me back here soon for more coffee catch ups.

Popcorn x

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Must Love... The Conversation

It was during a conversation with my lovely friend Bird, that The Conversation was introduced to me. We were discussing the TV shows we had been watching lately (I had just finished The Real Housewives of New York and was eager to get into a show that actually had some substance), and Bird recommended this unconventional talk show where woman of note curled up casually on lounges and talked about what it means to be a woman in 2012. 

There are eight episodes hosted by Amanda De Cadenet and executively produced by Demi Moore, in which well known female identities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady GaGa, Alicia Keys, Portia de Rossi, Eva Mendes, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Silverman and Jane Fonda, discuss how they have gotten through challenges in their lives, how they have learnt to become comfortable in themselves and how empowering being a woman is in society today.

The show examines the obstacles these women have had to endure and how they came through them with the positive attitudes they all radiate. So many issues that everyday people can relate to are covered - from infidelity and divorce, surviving cancer and eating disorders, depression, losing a child, bullying and making something of yourself when you come from nothing.

I was really inspired watching this show, it reassures viewers that it is OK to be you and that there is no better time to start being the best version of that than right now. The biggest thing I took away from listening to these amazing women is that you are responsible for your own happiness. If you base how you feel on any external factors like your career, your partner, possessions or even your children, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and unhappiness. Be happy in yourself and you will be able to draw joy from all these things, but if these external relationships don't happen as you want them to then you can still find happiness within yourself.

You are the only constant thing in your own life - you will always have yourself, so you better learn to love yourself, accept yourself and tell yourself that you are beautiful. And if you don't feel this way, find out what you need to do to change this and work towards it.

In between the episodes, The Conversation website also publishes articles discussing what's happening in the world, and people writing in with their own experiences. Amanda says on the site "It is my genuine desire that [it] will be a space that refuses to judge, criticise or separate women from one another. I hope you will come to trust this as a place where you will hear some truth and won’t get sold another useless product or have the latest fad diet or media propaganda pushed on you. The stories will, as best as possible, reflect every woman’s voice without exception."

At the end of each show Amanda always asks the same few questions of each women - What do you lie about, what are your vices, what's your favourite sex position and what would you tell your 14 year old self. Needless to say, these always produce some interesting answers.

Here's a little promo to get you hooked, as I have been. I introduced the show to my Mum, and now to you and I hope you pass it on to others.


Popcorn x

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Must Love... Chet Faker

When listening to the gravelly, soulful voice of Chet Faker, a 22 year old white guy playing music in his shed is not the first thing that comes to mind.

The new EP Thinking In Textures, is aptly named – featuring what I like to call “chilled soul” vocals mixed with funky but well thought out electronic sounds, this record has produced one of the most interesting combinations in music at the moment.

The Vine interviewed the man behind the name - Melbourne based Nick Murphy, earlier this year, with Murphy revealing that these songs weren’t actually created with the intention to play them live.
It was a passion project. I sat down and thought 'You know what, I'm going to just write music that I really want to write and that I think is cool.'

“I've kind of always thought, you can spend time on trying to get it to the right people, or you can spend time on making sure your music is better. In which case, other people will spend time on getting it to the right people. If your music's good enough then people will like it and as a result it will eventually reach the right ears. But then that's pretty easy for me to say with the run I've had. I've had a pretty crazy rollercoaster year.”

Crazy would definitely be the word to describe the response Chet Faker received last year after uploading a few songs to his web page and making them available for free downloading.  

Frankie Magazine sums it up in their latest issue, “Before he’d played five gigs, Nick Murphy had already reached number one on the internet’s biggest MP3 blog aggregator, Hyper Machine. Before double-digit gigs, he was picked up to play South by South West. Before his 20th gig, he was signed to Downtown Records, Gnarls Barkley’s record label.”

A pretty impressive fete, but well deserved. Murphy comes across as nothing less than honest, down to earth and passionate almost to the point of obsession about making music.

He summed up beautifully how music should be made in his interview with The Vine, “I feel like there's two ways to be in the industry now. You can produce [music] a certain way, make sure you tick certain boxes of likeability. Or...I mean at the end of the day, music was made to express a particular human emotion. And if you can do that accurately, then people are going to respond to it, regardless of whether you're some smoking hot blonde with a million dollars behind you or not. If the song is genuine you can still get to where you're going to go, without having to sell your soul.”

His music is the kind that transports you to a better place; a different destination depending on which track you listen to.

The newest single getting some serious Triple J airplay I’m Into You, takes me to an intimate bar setting – it’s cosy and dark apart from the low-lit exposed light bulbs draped from the ceiling and the flicker of candles. The person you’ve only recently started seeing is next to you, skin lightly brushing against each other, passion radiating and minds wandering.

Cigarettes and Chocolate, on the other hand, causes my mind’s eye to see a sun filled summer festival day, looking around at the beautiful friends you’ve come with, throwing your head back smiling, hands in the air and dancing around the melodic music and ebbing vocals.

Personally, the cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity transports me back to Year 9 and my discovery of RnB music. Hearing this song recreated this way is perfectly symbolic of the changes in my musical tastes over the years. I still enjoy a good RnB song, but I really just love any song in which the artist makes you feel what they are feeling, or draws you in with their voice.  And Chet Faker is definitely guilty of that.


P.S. Chet Faker is touring the country in September, with most tickets going on sale on Friday 20 July, 2012.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Must Love... Treasure Yourself by Miranda Kerr

I have just finished reading Miranda Kerr's Treasure Yourself: Power Thoughts for My Generation, and I dare anyone to come out the other side not feeling inspired, motivated and in positive spirits. It just wouldn't happen.

I grew up with books by Louise L Hay, Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle in our family library, affirmations covering our toilet walls and inspirational cards stuck on our mirrors. So it's safe to say I'm familiar with affirmations. I'm a believer that they work, I just wish I would remember to say them to myself more often!

Emotions, feelings and thoughts are all produced in the mind. We have control over our own minds, and therefore, we have the power to stop negative thoughts, reinforce positive ones and make life a whole lot more enjoyable for ourselves.

Miranda provides great insight into how she has come to achieve so much in her life, both personally and professionally, and is a great role model for positive thinking. "In my eyes we are all equal. No one person is more special than another. When you see yourself as a unique individual and understand that you are truly irreplaceable, you get the opportunity to really accept who you are and fully embrace yourself. That's when the magic of the universe radiates within us and automatically without us even knowing, our inner joy, enthusiasm and happiness is transferred to others." Miranda said.

Another big theme in the book is gratitude. This chapter opens with a quote by Melody Beattie, my favourite part of which reads "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more." Taking the time out of each day to be grateful can completely change your perspective. You might not be having a good day or week, but taking a step out of your world and noting how lucky you are, helps us to appreciate our lives.

Obviously all this is easier said than done, otherwise we would all be running around with ridiculous smiles on our faces and world peace would be a reality. This is where affirmations come in. Sometimes just reading one can set the mood for the whole day ahead. Affirmations are a personal thing, as it is important to convince yourself, not others, that you are all you want to be. Once you tell yourself you are something, you will become this and you won't have to say a word to convince anyone else.

Below are my favourite affirmations from the book, written by both Miranda and others who have inspired her.

I am worth loving

I am a powerful human being capable of achieving my dreams. I am content and happy with my life.

I release myself from fear and doubt

I feel no guilt when I say no to someone

It is safe for me to speak up for myself

I deserve every happiness and I create my life free of hardship and suffering.

I am at peace with my world and tranquility surrounds me as I bask in the glory of my life.

I love and approve of myself

I do not compare myself with anyone or anything as I am confident in who I am.

Every cell in my body radiates with love, health and joy.

I am creative. I express my creativity by allowing my imagination, talents and abilities to flow.

I welcome new friends and reinforce existing relationships. I find time to consider the needs and dreams of others and share in their joy.

I am perfect in all that I am. Nothing external to me determines my self worth.

I treat others as I deserve to be treated; with honour, respect and decency.

I am alive, vibrant and focused. I make a difference in this world, my life has meaning and purpose.

I feel passionately about my life, and this passion fills me with excitement and energy.

I live in the world of appreciation, not expectation, and my relationships are harmonious and loving.

And a favourite from my childhood..

Everything I need comes to me in the perfect time/space sequence.

Do you have any affirmations you repeat daily? Have these inspired you to start? Let me know if you come up with any you want to share!

Popcorn x

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Must Love... Stripes by Daphne Van Den Heuvel

Who doesn't love stripes? Who doesn't love cute, quirky illustration? Well, here's a match made in heaven.
Featured on two blogs I've been stalking of late, Down and Out Chic and Creature Comforts, these illustrations by Daphne Van Den Heuvel are part of her I Love Stripes collection.

P.S. How cool that I just so happen to be wearing a striped shirt today!

Popcorn x

Must Love... Feathers in Bottles

If you put anything in a mini glass bottle, it's going to be cute. But these beautiful parrot feather keepsake bottles, made to order and chosen individually for each customer, are something very special indeed. Even the product name is poetic - Levahnah - meaning to rise

Imagine how devastated I was to find they don't post to Australia. My heart is broken.

Has anyone found a similar product that is made in or shipped to Australia? Please let me know!

Popcorn x

[Sourced: Down and Out Chic and Images from Xoxii Etsy shop]

Monday, January 30, 2012

Must Love... Blackboard Cheese Platter

I love cheese. I also love cheese platters. Camembert, havarti and haloumi please! But sometimes it can be hard to tell what's on the serving plate. Cue this amazingly clever chalkboard platter care of Wit &Whistle. Not only does it clear up confusion but it looks super cute too. Click here for instructions on how to whip one up yourself.

Also, how freakin' cool is Wit & Whistle's blog, from renovating the home office, to these fabulous Valentine Day's cards, I wish we could become BFFs so I could pop over for cheese and crackers and other such delights.

P.S This last photo has given me some inspiration. I have a world map poster that would be perfect to put into a cork board like the one above. I'm thinking tacks of one colour pinned where I have been, and another colour for places I dream of going.
Popcorn x

[Images from Because I'm Addicted and Wit and Whistle]

Monday, January 23, 2012

Must Love... Remaking Classic Art

This is brilliant.

I love the idea, and the execution is outstanding.

Adobe recently set up a challenge for students in the UK to remake classic pieces of art, with the winner snaring £10 000. It proved so popular they paired up with creative blog, Booooooom, to replicate the competition and allow people from all around the world to submit their photographic takes on cult artworks.

Here are my top picks (I've posted the original followed by the remake), but visit the above link for more entries.

I love the modern takes. Thoughts?

Popcorn x

[Images via Booooooom]