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Thursday, May 31, 2012

I am a sucker for a good, free Android app.  A good app can make your life easier, remove stress, organize your brain and make your dinner.

The Top 10 Free Android Apps (in no particular order):

1.  Simple Shopping List

Before this app, I bought numerous little notepads.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOOOVE the written word.  But now I have around 50-60 little notepads with shopping lists in them.
This lovely, simple, clean app makes it easy for me to type a shopping list and check things off as I get them in the supermarket.  I predict that by the end of this year I could possibly have saved 5 large trees by cutting down (pardon the expression!) on paper use.

Note:  This app has been discontinued (so glad I still have it on my phone!!)  I have replaced the link with "Good Todo" a similar, easy to use list.

2.  Ebay Designer Last Minute!

I love Ebay.  I am addicted to Ebay.  I buy pretty much everything on Ebay because it’s so much more fun than shops.  This colourful, easy to use app pulls all the designer fashions ending soon without any bids over $50.  This means I can nab all the latest fashions without spending a lot!  All the best brands, home page and search included, my ebay page, easy log in.  Love!
Oh, and it was designed by someone very familiar...

3.  MyFitnessPal

 I downloaded this app to see how many calories I was burning at the gym.  As a completely unintended byproduct, I find myself 3 kg lighter.  I love this app.  I will never remove this app from my phone.  It tells me if I am over or under my calorie limit for the day.  Warning:  Do not be too strict on this to avoid malnutrition.

4.  Brightest Flashlight Free

This is probably the simplest app ever!  But if you are stuck halfway down the middle of the hallway in the dark and you can’t find your keys, this app is indispensable.  It does what it says.  Press it and it turns your phone into a bright flashlight.

5.  Everything

 An all encompassing name for an all encompasing to-do app.  I don’t like complicated to-do apps.  I find that if the organizer app stresses you out then its not doing its job.  This app is fun, colourful, simple and stress-free.  The best organizer that isn’t too serious.

6.  Bedtime

This app is sooo simple but so useful!  You put in the time you are going to bed and it tells you the best times to wake up using sleep cycles.  It works and you do wake up feeling more refreshed! 

7.  Astro File Manager

This is a brilliant free app that lets you connect your Android phone to your computer via usb and move/edit/delete/copy files.  Easy to use and effective.

8.  AVG Antivirus Free

Let’s face it.  You need security when downloading apps and allowing permissions etc.  This app is wonderfully effective at keeping you safe without getting in your way.

9.  Pixlr-o-matic

Thousands and thousands of photo effects, retro washes, filters, frames, hours of fun!!  Some fervently believe this app to be better than its famous cousin, Instagram.

10.  Screenshot

For screenshot apps, most of the free versions require ROOTED phones.  I have no idea how to root my phone, other than dropping it in a saucepan of boiling water but I don’t think that’s quite what they’re talking about.  So, as far as I know, my phone isn’t rooted and this app worked perfectly.  Just shake the phone to take a shot.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hailed as Perth's most fashionable event, STYLEAID 2012 is set to set trends and raise funds and awareness for the WA AIDS Council.   Last year's theme was "Opulent" and tongues have been wagging around the theme for 2012. 

STYLEAID 2012 has raised over $1million in funds for AIDS awareness and is celebrating its 15th birthday this year.  STYLEAID works tirelessly raising money for support and care services for people living with HIV.   

Dress:  Black tie
Guest list:  750 people
Showcase:  Spring/Summer 2012 collections
Designers:  The designers will be...  A big big secret
Theme:  Inspired by the idea of a child's birthday party, celebration is the central theme.
Where:  Burswood Entertainment Complex
When:  27th July 2012

Tickets go on sale at the end of May.

Photo credit:  Richard Jefferson
Model:  Grady @ Chadwick Models
Garment:  Vivienne Westwood @ Dilantette Pour Homme et Femme 
Makeup:  Hendra (MAC)

Photo credit:  Richard Jefferson
Model:  Cat @ Viviens Model Managment
Garment:  Aurelio Costarella
Headpiece:  Reny Kestel for Aurelio Costarella
 Makeup:  Hendra (MAC)

“15 years is a long time to successfully maintain and re-invent an event and it’s a true testament to the committee, sponsors and volunteers who work tirelessly to put it all together. Happy Birthday STYLEAID gives us the opportunity to do what we do best. Make some noise, celebrate and PARTY”
– Stephanie Patniotis, Event Co-Ordinator.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

R.I.P. Maurice Sendak, the author of the wonderfully inspirational "Where The Wild Things Are", one of my favourite childhood books.  Why was it so great?  Perhaps it was the illustrations, widely challenged as being "too scary".  Pish tosh.  I thought they were amazing.  I loved the way he embraced the forbidden and frightening and made it into something quite beautiful.  Perhaps it was the way we as children could all relate to Max, the alienated kid with a longing for adventure, friendship and greatness. 

I also loved "In The Night Kitchen", which was met with horror for the terrifying illustrations of....  a little boy happily flying around naked.  Big deal.  Again, I thought this book was wonderfully imaginative and not offensive in the least, especially not to children. I was more interested in the food aspect of the book, the baking, the kneading, and how Mickey becomes part of the food, at least for a time.  We need more authors like Maurice Sendak and he will be sorely missed by those who grew up with his books and for those just discovering his works.

Maurice Sendak lamented the declining standard of children's books in recent times.  However the wonderful thing about books is that you can track them down and children of today can discover these books all over again.  Here is a brief list of my favourite books from childhood:

"Petronella" - Jay Williams
My favourite fairy tale of all time.  It's a pity I couldn't find the one with the illustrations by Friso Henstra that I remember.  This is the original cover in all its glory:

Petronella was the youngest of three who sets out to seek her fortune.  She rescues a prince and has wonderful adventures.  There is a clever twist and Petronella must use her mind to help her in her quest.  I can't speak highly enough of this book.  It's just brilliant.  Jay Williams apparently wrote this book as a response to his daughter who wanted to read a book about a princess who actually does something (other than stand in a tower and look pretty)!  The result is an empowering, thought provoking read that kids will love.

"Tintin" - Herge

Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock. Professor Calculus, the Thomson Twins. I can't think of better companions for a bookish kid with a big imagination. I especially loved Captain Haddock. He is a classic character and still makes me laugh out loud! Red Rackham's Treasure, Prisoners of the Sun, Explorers on the Moon - there isn't a place where Tintin fears to venture. The mild-mannered reporter, the crazy sea dog and a resourceful, intelligent dog called Snowy face danger and adventure on the high seas, on light planes, in rocket ships and strange and wonderful lands.  On a rainy day, I'd like to think of kids reading Tintin's adventures and laying off the Wii/XBox/Playstation for a bit.

Captain Haddock is shown in typical fashion here.  The object of his wrath being a wayward llama who refuses to stay put on a treacherous climb.  Captain Haddock's creative swearing was one of the great inspirations of my life:


Speaking of funny characters, I can't go past Asterix, Obelix, Getafix, Vitalstatistix, Fulliautomatix, Cacophonix and Dogmatix!

"Asterix" - Goscinny and Uderzo

For some reason I related to Asterix quite strongly. 
I think there is a superhuman-strengthed-mustache-wearing-crafty-small-dude in all of us.

There was something quite innocent and sweet about these stories, while also being wildly hilarious while making some rather large political and social observations.

And there was something very anti-authority / anti-establishment about a small village holding out against the Roman invaders with the help of a magic potion of invincibility.

Make sure you get the earlier "Goscinny and Uderzo" books only.  From all reports the new books written by the illustrator Uderzo lack the wit, sophistication and originality of those written by Goscinny.   But the earlier ones?  Not always completely politically correct, but brilliant!

"Lord of the Rings" - J.R.R. Tolkien

Before it was a movie, it was a book.   A large, incredible, wonderfully involved book.   When I was little, I asked for this book to be read to me by my Mum and Grandma.  I was quite, quite little.  I'm not sure if I could read yet.  Hmm...  Perhaps that's why I'm such a serious person.   But I love Bilbo Baggins, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin and Gandalf and think of them as old friends.  It is the classic good vs evil tale told from a different angle.  There is something quite Zen about finding your strength through humbleness, gentleness and a pureness of heart.

Possible further reading:

"Girls Can Do Anything" - Jan Harper

"The Hobbit", "Return of The King" - J.R.R. Tolkien

"Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy" - Lynley Dodd

"Marina" - Jan Harper

"Grimm's Fairy Tales" - The Brothers Grimm - this is perhaps a controversial one.  These are NOT nice kiddy stories and can scare the crap out of some kids.  But if you want your kid to grow up like Nick Cave or some other brilliant dark poet type, give them these books!

"Fairy Tales" - Hans Christian Andersen - this is what I thought of as the "lite" versions.  The same imagination and wonder, just less blood and guts.

"Fun Food Feasts" (cookbook) - Nanette Newman

"The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" - C.S. Lewis - better yet, get the whole series!!

"Serendipity" - Stephen Cosgrove

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" - Eric Carle

"The Lorax" - Dr Seuss (and various other Dr Seuss books!) - The Lorax will always be my favourite.  A children's book that weaves in hyper-consumerism and environmental degradation.  I Love It!!

"Sherlock Holmes" - Any of these books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - perhaps for older kids!

"Alice In Wonderland" - Lewis Carroll

Also try Enid Blyton, Judy Blume, and Shirley Hughes ("Alfie").