Saturday, October 24, 2015

A meeting with Zoe Foster Blake

Today I had the absolute pleasure of finally meeting the divine Zoe Foster Blake in person. The 9 To Thrive Business Chicks expo was a gathering of influential, ambitious and overall lovely women and Zoe was one of many inspirational speakers at the event.

My highlight was obviously hearing Zoe's talk and getting a chance to chat with her briefly afterwards (basically basking in her glory while trying desperately not to gush *out loud*). She's funny, she's kind, she's generous and she's been wildly successful forging her own career path and doing what she loves - from beauty editor to founder and CEO of her own (awesome) skincare line Go-To.

So to celebrate my buzzy high after such a fun day, I thought it would be a good time to post the interview I did with Zoe for a site I used to write for aaaages ago. I emailed her on a whim back then and she was gracious enough to entertain my request with thoughtful, funny and insightful answers and I was eternally grateful. Enjoy!

Meet the divine Zoe Foster, giving Amazing Face since always.

Age: 31

Occupation: Author and journalist

Company: Why not! Bring some chips?

Current Location: Syd/Melb

Favourite City: New York

Zoe, you started out your career as a Beauty Editor first at Cosmopolitan and then Harper’s BAZAAR – how did you find yourself in this (some would say ‘dream’) role?
I was arrogant enough to apply for a job at Dolly magazine that I was utterly under qualified for. Nevertheless, Mia Freedman kept my flimsy little CV on file, and brought me onto Cosmo a few months later. I felt very out of my depth, but beauty is such a terrifically encouraging, kind industry that I was bullying women into aqua eyeliner in no time.

What are the biggest perks/downsides of being in this position at some of Australia’s most popular and influential magazines?
The perks, as predicted, are multiple and glorious: suddenly there is an inconceivable array of products and services at your fingertips and you have to – literally, it’s your job – try them all. There are no downsides. It’s one of the very best, and most enjoyable and privileged, jobs in the world.

Why did you decide to leave the flashy, glossy world of magazines to help create the amazing online beauty resource,
I was already blogging personally (fruitybeauty) and becoming quite enchanted with the liberties, the space, the engagement and the immediacy blogging afforded.  To be able to do this as my full time job, and for a much bigger audience, was rather intoxicating.

Considering your Beauty Editor and Primped background, would it be fair to say that you are now a Makeup Expert? Do you still find yourself learning new nifty tips and tricks? Can I have some?
It would be unfair to say that. I know a little bit about lots of different things, but am constantly learning new stuff. Each time I have my hair or makeup done I learn at least three things, two of which will make my previous technique look completely outmoded and laborious.

Now seriously, are you some kind of over-achiever or something, because in the midst of Beauty Editor-ing and Primped-ing you also found time to blog and write THREE books (‘Playing the Field’, ‘Air Kisses’ and ‘Textbook Romance’ – with your future hubby Hamish Blake. Cute!) Where do you find the time/motivation to have so many things going at once?!
I was a LOT more disciplined back then, when I was working full time and writing on the weekends. I used to write my books each Saturday morning from 6am – 10am, without fail, because otherwise it just wouldn’t get done. (I’m far less impressive now; I’m lucky to get a couple of tweets out in a four-hour period.)

How difficult was it to collate all the beauty information you have acquired over the years into your book/bible ‘Amazing Face’ (seriously ladies, RUN don’t walk to buy this book - it contains all the answers to all your beauty questions, ever)?
A lot of it was in my head and quite easy to lovingly dribble out onto the page. The most useful and quirky tips and tricks stick, they’re the ones you find yourself giving out at dinner parties, and re-writing again and again in new and thrilling ways. I wanted the book to be full of those tips, a kind of best of, I guess.

Your most recent book ‘The Younger Man’ was released earlier this year and it is as delightfully witty and hilarious as you are. As you’ve mentioned, this seems to be your least autobiographical novel, so did you find it easier or more difficult to write than the others? Why?
Harder AND easier, which is an annoying answer but truthful. I loved the freedom of creating entirely new people and situations and circumstances, but missed the laziness of my first novels, where I already had a mound of experiences and memories and conversations in my head to plagiarise.

Aside from gorgeous young 22-year-olds Abby also comes across a sneaky, competitive colleague who, in essence, screws her over. Considering the fact that you’ve worked in magazines and beauty, have you ever encountered or witnessed similar nastiness in these notoriously fierce industries?
I can say without a crossed finger or wink of an eye that I have not. I started in women’s magazines and beauty expecting to meet a rash of TV-sitcom style terrors, the kind of women who crushed your confidence in one stamp of a stiletto, and stole your ideas, and probably your boyfriends too, but “sadly” the only women I met were generous, kind, intelligent, charming, sweet and funny.

As a Proper Writer, what exactly does your typical day entail? Is it all midday yoga classes and endless coffee breaks? (i.e. are you living The Dream?)
How dare you! Just because it’s 11am and I am still wearing Pilates gear whose necessity expired several hours ago, and my only “appointment” today is to get to the post office, does not mean I am living some kind of wonderful, flexible writing dream ride! Only it does. And I am. And not a day passes when I don’t express gratitude for it. For me, being able to be anywhere in the world  (especially places that are beautiful, and exciting and inspiring) and still able to work was always deemed the highest luxury, and I am extremely lucky to be doing just that. It won’t last forever, but MAN am I sucking the marrow while I can.

If you could only use three beauty products for the rest of your life, which ones would you choose and why?
  • Rosehip oil, so my skin is being all loved and nourished and ‘age-proofed’
  • Dry shampoo, so I needn’t wash my hair very often, and would enjoy some great texture and volume
  • Tinted moisturiser with SPF, so I am protected from the sun and have some glowy, sheer coverage. 
Why should people go out and buy your books right now, this very second?
Because Khloe and Lamar isn’t on for hours and you’ve already read The Hunger Games?

Finally, if you could get leathered with anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be?
Kristen Wiig.

P.S. New BFFs?
Your half of the charm necklace is already in the mail. (Told you I had to go to the PO today.)

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Taste of Awards Season...

It's starting again folks. The sweet, familiar scent of Awards Season tantalisingly hangs in the air and I felt it the second I woke up, tingling with excitement and anticipation. But today was different than most red carpet extravaganzas…there was something…off.

It likely started when I got to work and remembered that with my new fabulous corner-desk-with-a-view I no longer had a television nearby so that I could peak at the dresses, listen to the opening monologue and be immediately aware of a Julia Louis Dreyfuss audience-participation gag and get swept up in the experience. I mean, I am not complaining, I'm just saying. I was…disassociated.

It became worse whenever I caught a glimpse of Amy Poehler onscreen - where normally I would be overjoyed and excited, she's become painful to watch and it only reminds me of the three best Golden Globes of all time and pretty much every hilarious Emmys moment in recent history, but I just can't forgive her for this and it hurts.

Over in my corner and in the midst of the pain however, I did manage  to grasp tidbits of updates and all I could think was "what the fuck is an Olive Kitteridge" time and time again as this random title took out award after award as I felt awash with misapprehension of my own knowledge, fearing the overwhelming sensation of everything I thought I knew becoming irrelevant. I was detached, too removed and out of touch with pop culture.

But who cares, because I still have unsolicited, unwarranted and hopefully entertaining opinions about the fashun.

Oh Claire Danes. You are just the literal worst. Your hair in particular makes me feel like this. I'm done with you.

YAS Danielle Brooks you SLAY. Twirl that gorgeous gown and keep being fabulous I have nothing bad to say about you ever, other than hurry up and get with Poussey and accept you love her. Just ignore me while I live in my fantastyland that OITNB is real. 

As for this one…I don't get it. I don't get it for Alex, I don't get it for Donna and I just don't get it for Laura Prepon. And I sure as hell am not down with this dress bolero thing. 

YAAAAAAAS GAGA YAAAAAAAAS!!!! You look gorgeous gurl. No shade here, this is flawless from head to toe and I'm so excited to feel it for you once again. I mean, I loved your crazy shit as much as the next lil monster but I'm ready for THIS era of Gaga. *Applause emoji x8500 times*

Gwendolyn Christie is Brienne and she is as flawless in Real Life as she is in Reel Life and I'll never say a bad word against her. Not that I have to, because LOOK. 

This is not a surprise because I have literally never liked a single damn thing Heidi Klum has ever worn but this has to be one of the worst. It can't be that hard to make someone naturally stunning look even a little bit good. And yet, once again, she proves that it is? On what planet…?

And then you have Jamie Lee Curtis working what her mama gave her and being amazing at 56 years old, because why the fuck not. Beautiful.

Oh. Oh Jane Krakowski. I love you, but no matter how hard you pose you cannot make that dress look good. I'm so worried about how sore your back was after the red carpet.

I know what this looks like…I know it's a green pantsuit with a brooch and a weird neckline and yet…I can't hate on January Jones. For the final year of Mad Men at the Emmys, after always being a favourite with these shoesthis flawlessly crafted bodice, and my ultimate favourite Emmys dress of all time, I am glad you went out with a pantsuit and not a flamboyant pink ball gown or something gross and frou-frou like that for the finale of Mad Men.

Unlike Elisabeth Moss here.

Luckily, Julianne Hough and her brother Derek here remain the total fucking worst. Is that a figure skating outfit? Who knew I could hate a black outfit so vehemently? Who am I?

Julie Bowen on the other hand…! You know what, this is a pretty nothing dress and a totally forgettable Look but I have slammed her so many times I am legitimately overjoyed to give her this Win. Gone are the days of pink taffeta and red velvet as we welcome in a new age of perfectly fitting sleek black gowns. Yippee!

Kiernan Shipka is a flawless goddess who can do no wrong. And these perfectly tailored pants and fun dress are just as flawless. I am so excited to see her all grown up and picking as interesting outfits as her on-screen mum, January Jones. But Kiernan will be even better. I feel it in my bones.

I mean…every.single.detail. The yellow nails, the ring, the clutch, the colour of the gown and those perfectly placed cutouts…I bow at Laverne Cox's feet another day.

ACTUAL gasps for Lena Headey when I saw this. I fucking hate using the word 'fierce' but I actually don't know any other way to describe Queen Cersei. But Lena is even better. Swoooooon. 

Maggie Gyllenhaal actually has interesting, stunning, beautiful style so I think she's fucking with me. So I will refrain from playing into her little game and commenting on the vile grossness which she has put on her body. I will refrain. 

This…is not great. But I love Liev and Naomi so I'm going to go easy on her fugly, oddly-shaped dress and skip right along. Because favourites. We all have them. 

More OITNB queens! Natasha Lyonne and Yael Stone are serving up copious amounts of attitude and mutual adoration and I am so into it.

HOLY CRAP IT'S RED! I'm speechless. I got nothing. I am obsessed with this. I can't stop staring at her. If ever an out-of-character transformation deserved a slow clap, I mean, this is it.


Sarah Paulson always *just* upsets me with some kind of cray detail so I'm chalking this one up as a win. Great colour, detail and fit. I would have maybe chosen different makeup but now I'm just being picky. I already gave her the win, let's leave it at that.

I don't know if I like Sophie Turner's outfit or if I'm just excited she wore pants and there's something weird about the styling of it or if it's all just ugly I'm still not really sure I just can't figure it out I'm really tired and it's hurting my head so I'm just…posting the pic and leaving it. Next.

Damn this OITNB cast really is massive. Taryn Manning looks like an evil glamourous queen and I'm ok with that. I welcome it in fact.

Taylor Schilling/Piper is the worst. So is the hem of this gown. Pretty colour on her though and it's a hard one to pull off.

There are no words for how much I adore Uzo Aduba and the brilliance she brings to Crazy Eyes and the amount of crying I did when I finally watched her acceptance speech in full. So yes, she can wear pink taffeta and I will be happy about it.

Love this on Viola Davis but not as much as I loved her history-making win and honest, powerful acceptance speech

I am annoyed at the world that I had to search for more than ten minutes for a single image of Tatiana Maslany on the red carpet and yet Julianna Fucking Hough was everywhere. I am annoyed at a world where people don't know how truly amazing an actress she is and how she disappears into the numerous brilliant characters she plays in a single show. Mostly I am annoyed that not enough people watch Orphan Black to know how amazing Tatiana Maslany is. 

HO-LY SHIT. This might go down in history as one of my favourites of ALL DAMN TIME. Kerry Washington dang near blew my head off when I saw her arrive and stomp it out in this amazing ensemble in all her amazing glory. The whole thing is just…I don't even know…yep. I don't have to say anything. Just look.

And my favourite of the entire day/night. Taraji P. Henson is resplendent in this gown. Nothing could suit an individual more than this gown on Taraji with her ever-present essence of Cookie Lyon. I thought Cookie was my favourite fictional character on TV but actually I am so, so much happier that Taraji P. Henson exists in real life, in this dress, in my lifetime.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Post-Europe non-blues

I'm back bitches.

I've just spent an amazing four weeks in Europe with my mum, dad and little brother. I have left all of them behind in Greece to continue their holiday as I have had to return back to my Real Life as I have a 'Real Job'. Tough break, I know.

I will also just take a moment now to apologise to all work-related Facebook friends (and everyone else in general) who have had to endure my constant updates and countless album uploads. I'm not really, truly, genuinely sorry but I bet it sucked to see me calm, happy and totally at peace on postcard-perfect beaches sipping endless cocktails and frappes while you, you know, worked.

Don't think it was all turquoise crystal-clear water, endless delicious feasts, drop-dead gorgeous waiters providing free wine and dessert (hi Alecko!), marathon shopping expeditions, tear-jerking emotional family reunions and illuminating trips to world-renowned ancient sites though! 

No, no, there was also blistering 40-degree heat  in Rome that heightened my competing urges to either go out and explore every single day or hide in the sweet respite of air-conditioning and avoid the light; rude Italians who threw shopping bags at me as if asking for one in English insulted their very existence of bringing reading to the masses; weeping embarrassingly at Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios as I stood in the hallowed Great Hall and hid from scathing and judgmental English onlookers furiously wiping at my mascara, and of course the most tense, terrifying 40 minutes of my life as my entire family and I were stuck inside a tiny ancient wooden lift in Rome as our collective heart rates raced, our blood pressure skyrocketed, our breathing shortened as we gasped for godforsaken air, and the sweat poured off us in buckets, waiting for an unresponsive emergency crew and being saved only by the goodness of a total stranger in the building. He proceeded to assist us crazies to jump out of the lift (after a mind-numbing 20 minute-ordeal trying to unlatch the door from the wrong side) and fall a floor to our almost-deaths (slight exaggeration, but I still get clammy palms every time I enter a lift a now). 

I am honestly still uncomfortable remembering this event. My knee is shaking and my eye is twitching and I'm struggling to type. It's clearly not funny yet. 

Those were pretty much the only non-amazing parts of the trip though, and I really had to scrounge for them in the interests of balanced story-telling (and maybe trying to avoid making you hate me a little bit inside). I really am grateful though because it was incredible. I would go back and do it all again, even getting back into that damn lift. Meeting my family and swimming in the most gorgeous beaches I've ever seen in my life and drinking consistently top-level frappe and visiting actual places that I've seen in movies has definitely sparked something inside me and I have to go back ASAP. 

But enough about all the fabulous things that happened to me over the past month, I also learned a lot about myself and as holidays often allow us to do, I really streamlined my life. Relax, I'm not being mushy, I'm talking about my cosmetic discoveries and shortcuts. Take note, the below products are, dare I say it, the best things that will ever happen to you. Not an overstatement.

1. Face - NARS Illuminator in 'Laguna'

'Laguna' is the bronze-y one on the far right (I have "Orgasm", second from the left too and it's equally as fabulous) and even though I have owned a tube on and off for years, I've never actually used it much before replacing it. What an idiot. I was doing it ALL. WRONG. (I'm pretty good at other stuff though, don't judge me!) 

What I started doing as I started, *gasp*, getting a little inadvertently tanned was trying to match my white, heavily-sunscreened face to the rest of my skin. So I mixed this baby in with my lightweight holiday foundation (Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide) on the back of my hand before applying, to darken it. 

It worked a dang treat. My whole face had that 'holiday glowy sun-kissed' vibe thing happening even though it was anything but. I've continued to mix it in with my regular, full-coverage, everyday foundation and it is just as great. I have even tricked all my friends into giving me 'glowy holiday' compliments even though underneath I'm as pale as ever. Hah! Suckers!

2. Lips - Korres Lip Balm

I've talked about Korres lip butters and lipsticks and everything else Korres related for a shit-tonne long time and I have no intention of stopping now. Apparently in Australia we only have about 3 products of the entire collection because every pharmacy in Greece WAS STOCKED TO THE RAFTERS with every kind of product imaginable and I was in my own personal heaven. The pharmacy literally became my favourite place to visit and it became a routine part of my day to detour towards it and pop in 'for some essentials'. 

These babies are a dream - super smooth and hydrating and gorgeous colours (I bought 3) and really good to wear on the beach. Even my mum converted and bought a couple. I don't actually know if we have them here but try and get your hands on them and smother me with gentle soft kisses once you have applied and felt the effects yourself.

3. Hair - Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo, Conditioner and Primer

I basically just wanted to talk about these, that's why I wrote the whole post. No lie. About 4 days in the trip I realised my hair was straight-up disgusting. It was stringy, and limp, and it refused to dry properly and basically it was gross. I attributed it to the flying but then I thought "HANG ON I JUST PAID HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS TO HAVE KERATIN APPLIED AND AVOID THIS WHOLE DEBACLE" And so I decided it had to be my dodgy sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that I was using in order to prolong the bloody Keratin. 

So off I went in search of a better sulfate-free solution (note: this is a difficult and somewhat painful process, so YOU'RE WELCOME that I did it for you) and I found these babies in Sephora. And holy crap, I can't even explain how soft, shiny, and nice-smelling my hair became. This handy little travel pack was cheap as chips and lasted me for the duration of my trip, plus one more wash when I got home. I was able to blow dry it in minutes, straighten it in a few more, and then go on my merry way to visit more hot waiters in greek tavernas. I was, in essence, living the dream.

On that happy note, I have to get back into it and start work again while somehow finding a way to avoid the lifts without taking the stairs…hmm...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dress Porn

Like I said, I was pleasantly surprised today. It's like Hollywood is finally, finally listening to me about the red and the taffeta and the blush-nude-sparkly gowns and branching out. And at the moment, that's enough for me.


Talk about a stunning couple. Eddie Redmayne and his gorgeous wife Hannah Bagshawe look amazing, each in custom McQueen. I was so excited for his win, I did legitimately squeal and I'm okay with that. Not sure if my co-workers are, but I've accepted it.

It seems that Gwyneth is having a pink moment of late, and so far it's fine, but I'd prefer if she switched it up now. This is beautiful, and she is beautiful, but enough pink now Gwynnie (and blue eye shadow…) Okay so it's not quite ***Flawless but she's pretty close. It's just that…she was the first to wear the cape. I want more of that now.

I am genuinely heart-achey that Julianne didn't wear Tom Ford for her big Win, but this Chanel is pretty delightful. White and sparkly always looks good with the statue, and it off-sets her incredible creamy complexion to perfection.

I want to be very clear - MELANIE is the 'best dressed' lady here. Holy COW she looks amazinggggg! I am still struggling to pick up my jaw off the floor. I chose a picture of her and Dakota together though to highlight the differences. Why is she in a red velvet gown with a split, WHY??

Credit where credit is due - this fits flawlessly and is incredibly flattering and basically I just think Oprah looks gorgeous, the end. Oh and also loved how excited she was to receive her Lego Oscar, Oprah provides me endless joy.

I did miss Sienna during awards season when she went off to grow up and her baby (which I'm very glad she did, by the way) but it is fabulous to have her back. Sure, it's a black dress, but it's a very interesting one with lots of clever details. I even like the bow. Also…damn she's pretty.

Solange, presented without comment. Because obviously. SOLANGE.

The Most ***Flawless

I know a top 4 is a weird number, but whatever, you don't own me. I loooooove this dress and I looooove her hair and makeup and I loooooove Naomi Watts. She is living, walking proof that interesting and non-boring gowns still exist in a sea of blush-nude-sparkly things, time after time. This is beyond beautiful.

Again…just a black dress, elevated to perfection though by the one and only Cate Blanchett. Her turquoise Tiffany necklace is stunning and so is she. Take note students of 2015: this is how a returning  Queen returns to her kingdom. 

And for that matter, take note from Princess Lupita! The peeaaarrrls, oh the pearls. Does she just get sent all the best dresses? Does she have the best pick of everything? I don't know if she just has the access to the best gowns or if her incredibly curated taste is the sole reason for her success on the red carpet, but she might be my all-time favourite now, along with Cate. Man, 2014 was a good year.

Collective gasps all-round for Margot Robbie. So, so, so stunning! The gown, the accessories, the lips, the hair, the steeze, it has all come together for a perfect red carpet look. You're doing your country proud lady! Also you threw shade at Ryan Seacrest and for that, you'll always be a legend. Aaaaaand just realised there are three Aussies in my top picks. I guess we just do it better, especially in Hollywood LaLaLand. 

Sigh. Another Awards Season has come to an end. I'm not really sure what to do myself now but I guess I can continue with the 14-episode Law and Order SVU binge I started yesterday while I figure it out.

Red Carpet, All Day

In an ideal world, it would be red carpet day every day. Alas, it wouldn't be such a treat if it was Christmas every day and it wouldn't be as exciting if it was AWARDS SEASON every day. So I take what I can and I savour every single moment. Every stitch, every awful gown, every fashion Moment, all of it. And it all makes me happy, vapid as it makes me.

Let's start with the 'Blahs'

This very emblematic of an Anna Kendrick dress: boring, and a little 'old'. Which is hard for me, because she is beyond fabulous, on Twitter, in Pitch Perfect, and in life. Just not on the red carpet.

For most, this would be a massive success. For Emma Stone…it's beneath her. Especially when she wears things like thisthisthis, and THIS usually. But it's fine. I guess.

A win for JLo, a blergh for 'anyone' else. I'm pretty proud of her for not just wearing something entirely form-fitting though!

Sure, it's a diaper bag on her back. But she's Marion Cotillard and she gets a pass because she still made everyone gasp when she stepped out of the limo due to her stunning beauty.

I like this. She's great. All hail Queen Meryl who can do no damn wrong, even if it isn't exactly mind-blowing.

Again, a massive win for Patricia! There's usually something a little off about her overall look but I couldn't really fault this. I'm happy for her.

SO BORING REESE!!! She used to always be my best-dressed when she wore more interesting dresses. I mean, remember this post-divorce Moment? It made a splash because it was such a departure for her and now she just keeps wearing the same dress, slightly different! Look: Item #1Item #2Item #3Item #4. Sorry, are you asleep yet?

I know there's a neck plate…and I hated this at first…but damn if her body is not out-of-this-world incredible. I think she elevated this dress. Maybe I just like her hair.

Nah. Unsalvageable.

Oh…no. I know it's custom McQueen but this design was just off. Or she was too short for it? I'm not sure but it looks like she's swimming in material and it's swallowing her whole. Got excited when I first saw the top half though and then…nah.

This looks like a gown Princess Diana would have worn. Jessica Chastain is young, and gorgeous and sexy and she's dressed like a middle-aged royal at a charity gala.

Eurgh. I hate this floral-earthy-cutesy schtick that so many pregnant women stick with. Keira Knightley has flawless style and I am blaming this and her Golden Globes gown on hormones because I can't think of what else possessed her.

THIS IS JUST BIZARRE. Nicole Kidman is one of my all-time red carpet faves ever ever and I usually froth over her interesting and stunning choices and this is so OFF. The colours together are also downright weird. I'm gobsmacked.

I love Rosamund and I thought she was incredible in 'Gone Girl' but this looks cheap as f-ck. Red, skintight, lace, split, and strappy heels. Rosamund is better than this gown and you can see this realisation in her face.

Another disappointment to me. Zoe Saldana is one of the very few who can wear weird, conceptual, interesting gowns and make them look amazing and now she wears spaghetti straps. I can't even.

Round 3 will be up soon with all my favourites. Be prepared for gushing, otherwise, look away.