Violet Lebeaux & Jimmy America hit Sydney! Bloggers meetup.

Last night was a bloggers meet-up that I guess in part was due to Nuffnang. I started following Violet LeBeaux about the time she and Candice of Super Kawaii Mama  went to Singapore for the Nuffnang Blogger Awards last October (as well as Lady Melbourne). I figured if she was up for a Nuffnang award, she must be good…and I was right!! 
I met Janice of Chaigyaru at the Sydney Nuffnang Christmas party in December – she was one of the few other people there that wasn’t a food blogger! When I saw her, I immediately recognised the Japanese influence in her gyaru hair, make-up and fashion. We both had circle lenses on, as we did last night also. You can see pics of that night in my post here.
So Janice and her bf, and me and my hubby gathered at Japanese restaurant “Masako” to meet the wonderful Violet LeBeaux, and her fab boyfriend Jimmy. Here we are, 3 little bloggers all in a row…
My face and jaw look really square here…it’s a trick of the light, I tells ya! Each of us exhibits an element of Japanese fashion & style. I was in lolita, Violet in hime and Janice in casual gyaru.

We were also joined for a while by the effervescent Tia of Vintage Grrl

The food was really nice, but I didn’t bother photographing it. It was all about the company, baby! As we ate, we talked about blogging (of course!), music, photography (Jimmy’s specialty), Brisbane vs Melbourne, deco and bling…and had some laffs.

Violet and Jimmy are such a nice couple, and I was so glad they took the time to stop off in Sydney on their way to Melbourne. Alas, the time was all too short. By 10 the restaurant was closing and the travellers were longing for bed, so we bid them adieu.

My outfit for the night was a lolita type ensemble which I’ve worn previously  (although I forgot to wear my spotted mini tophat, which would’ve matched perfectly!)

EGL aristocrat silk blouse: Fan Plus Friend (link here)

Spotted jacket: Ann Vanilla, bought at Alamode Market in Tokyo
Wide belt: Peter Lang for Cue
Spotted corset: Camden Market, UK
Skirt: Algonquins
Panniers under skirt: Takeshita St, Harajuku
Shoes with crown detail and pearls: Refuse To Be Usual
Read Janice/Chaigyaru’s write up of the night here – she has better pictures!
Read Violet’s latest post for Sneaker Sunday here – shoes with red glitter!

Sydney Nuffnang Fashion Bloggers Meetup

Last night was the first Nuffnang Fashion Bloggers meetup in Sydney, so I was keen to attend and put some faces to names.

Of course I had to deliberate over what to wear, and decided upon a metallic studded tunic from SportsgirlCue studded leggings, the zulu collar from no:wear that I mentioned the other day, a jacket with big Balmain shoulders from Primark in the UK (it only cost 25 pounds!)…and the Jeffrey Campbell “Tick” boots in the tribal colourway.

The look was a bit dramatic for day, but I love metallics, ruffles and beading. I like to think it was a bit Daphne Guiness, and I loved the way the ruffles on the collar cascaded over the big shoulders.

I decided against the orange Lime Crime lipstick and went with purple instead before heading out, as well as Violet circle lenses once again (love that big-eyed look!) Bronze metallic smouldery eyes from Red Earth matched the tones of the outfit. Here is cab-cam.
Jackets with big, bold shoulders can really make your hips look slimmer, I’ve found
The “Tick” shoes you can see here, with a zebra dress I was considering wearing
So, dressed and shod I headed off to the Argyle Hotel in the Rocks to  meet the others…fashionably late, of course! Emily of Little Black Book was there, natch, as well as David from Nuffnang. David might be a Marketer, but he’s a heck of a people person. He got me to tell him about my fashion background, styling and editing fashion for Fiend magazine etc, and basically made me feel less of a noobie in the midst of the other seasoned fashion bloggers. Thanks, Kruppie!
I soon met the lovely Darren of Boy Moments, his friend Louise of and they whisper, and not pictured here, miss-I-don’t-want-to-be-photographed aka Courtney Awesome (who lived up to her name) of The Grand Social.  Soon after I met Alicia of Sea of Ghosts, who had worn the same Jeffrey Campbell “Tick” boots the day before, but in black. Another fabbo person :)
Lovely ladies, albeit a bit blurred – myself, Emily, Alicia and Nadia of Animal Orchestra.
 I took a sneaky “in conversation” shot between Alicia, Nadia and David.
These two are like peas in a pod ;p
It was
lovely to sit and have some laughs with other people who love fashion too. I asked them who their fave designers and best runway shows were, and shared mine (my impressions gleaned via blogs and the odd live stream). It did confirm that I must try to get to next year’s RAFW – it’s an experience not to be missed!
After some nibblies and drinkies, some chats and a shoulder massage, I was invited to come to Fashion Forward at the Paddo Town Hall. I did want to stay and talk more to some peeps I’d barely said hi to, but I was told we should be at Paddington for 7.  And so, Emily, Courtney and I tottered off to try to get a cab…easier said than done. Part 2 of the night to come shortly…

Project Alpha – Bloggers on TV

This has become my new addiction!!

Project Alpha is Malaysia’s first online TV Show about bloggers.

It is a fast paced, fast cut, lifestyle-driven show tailor made for the online market which provides increased recognition of the expanding role and influence of bloggers across the nation.

Check the latest episode out here:

Or have a look at the Facebook page, where you can interact, and make comments.

If you haven’t yet watched an episode, you need to do so now – maybe start with Series 2 since it’s current. (Omigod, I swear I got heart palpitations just seeing KLIA Malaysian International Airport – I really have a thing for Malaysia. No really – I watched a lame reality show tonight called something like Time Bandits, as it was set in KL).

But back to the series. I’ll again let the Facebook page tell us:

Project Alpha emphasizes that every blogger is unique in their own way, each gaining popularity and credibility as opinion leaders on various topics including celebrity news, fashion trends, travel and entertainment. It is set to be the first online TV show to look beyond the screen to unveil the real faces behind Malaysia’s top bloggers, taking a sneak peek into their lives – who they are, how they live, what makes them tick and from where they derive their inspiration – to capture the attention and interest of millions of online readers on a daily basis.

Each blogger gets 7 episodes, so you can follow your fave on YouTube or jump around (as the House of Pain says).

See the bloggers take off their fake eyelashes!! See their messy rooms where they blog! See them sweat in gyms or scuba dive in Sipadan!

I already knew of Kenny Sia and Nicole Kiss (who USED to go out with Kenny).. but I didn’t know Audrey of fourfeetnine (nor that she goes out with Timothy Tiah of Nuffnang!! who has his own blog btw), or Redmummy.

Episode 5/7 with Nicole Kiss – she gets a hug off the free hug guy…and I did a double-take!! It’s only where I walk every day – in Newtown! Opposite the church and flower shop, near the Dendy. And then she says her fave place in Australia is… CANBERRA??!!  WTF??!!

But I again digress.

It is hosted by Jojo Struys, (and BTW – she’s HAWT!!!)

Season 1 of Project Alpha was aired on www.nuffnang.com.my/projectalpha and www.hitz.fm daily for 7 weeks starting on 18 September 2009. Season 2 of the show has just started airing from 19 April 2010 – just a week ago.

Which means, there are a lot of great episodes left in Series 2 for you and I to enjoy!

PS: if you read the posts of certain Malaysian/Singaporean bloggers, usually female, you’ll pick up on their liberal usage of the term “wtf”. It’s the one case where these otherwise wholesome people seem a little, er, crass? It actually expresses irony or sarcasm, stating the opposite of whatever goes before it in a sentence. (Whereas I prefer to use it just to state disbelief). The use of wtf, too, is addictive.

Singapore Nuffnang First Ever Bloggers Symposium!

Last Saturday I was in Singapore, and while Dom took off sightseeing, I wended my way towards the SMU School of Accountancy for the Nuffnang First Bloggers’ Symposium.

And wow! what a turnout!

Over 2000 applied to attend the symposium, and this was whittled down to around 400. We gathered in the auditorium for the Welcome, and to be introduced to the various workshops we’d be attending that day.  We were also given the lowdown on sponsor Canon’s latest products (and more info was supplied in the goody bag we each received.)
The 5 finalists in the Photo competition on the theme of Happiness, came up to talk about their photo and why they should win. Each said they were every nervous! It became a catchword of the day with each person onstage announcing that they too were nervous.
These were the 5 semi-finalists. It was interesting to me to note how happiness equated to family for them all in one way or another. Even in the white-water rafting pic, which I loved, the author spoke of the sense of community she feels with her team – not just about the rush of the sports themselves on her individually. A definite shift from the viewpoint of many in the west, I think. Which do you think won?
We had a tea break, and it was a good chance to catch up with people. Bear in mind I knew absolutely no-one, but I managed to chat to a few, find out about their blogs – and get recommendations as to where to eat in Singapore! 
While most of us only loaded our plates with 1 x sushi, 1 x chicken wing, 1 x curry puff etc, I saw some others had piled their plates high…and yes, by the end the food had run out, and some people went hungry. For shame! To be fair, the number who turned up exceeded the number they expected :)
See? My food photography is definitely sub-standard :/ But there were no tables, and I’m holding the plate in my left hand and taking the pic one-handed with my right, so not so bad, considering.

The bell rang, taking me back to my school days, and we hurried off to our workshops.

Blogger star Xiaxue  held a workshop on Photoshop, which I was sorely attempted to attend. If I’d known Kenny Sia would be there assisting her, I’d have been even more tempted, as he’s another blogging superstar who is very funny. Photos from her workshop are here: There were 300 attending her workshop, whereas the others held 60.

I attended the Fashion Workshop, ran by Nicole Then of mycherrymagazine.com  the owner of a popular fashion blog and blogshop and Velda Tan (belluspuera.blogspot.com)  one of the co-owners of blogshop Bonitochico.

Before they got up to speak, another Nuffie took us through an exciting new concept that meshes Internet shopping with Social Media. It’s called Jipaban.com, and though it’s not up and running til May, it promises to be an exciting innovation. I’ll write about this soon, so stay tuned for more.

Velda was up first, and she gave style tips on must-have items for your wardrobe – a little black dress, a good pair of stilletos etc. Velda also spoke about keeping your readers or buyers coming back, with tips such as update your site frequently, have good clear pictures and give good customer service.

We were able to ask questions afterwards, and though she answered a bit about her blogstore, I’d have liked to know more of the nitty-gritty. Blogstores are not common here in Australia, but there are over 1,000 in Singapore! It’s a real growing trend, and perhaps it’s something that will catch on here – but time will tell.

Nicole then spoke about taking good fashion shots and street fashion. Little Nuffnang gifts were given out to attendees who answered some fashion trivia questions – and I was one of them!

The heart-shaped Nufnang stressball was cute, but the t-shirt with an arrow pointing down towards the belly/crotch area with the words “Nang This!” left me bewildered. Really, Singaporean humour is nothing like Aussie humour. But then, what should I expect, when one of the Nuffie organisers wore a shirt with “iPood” on it? Puerile to some is hysterical to others.

Moving right along…I found Nicole’s talk really useful. She focussed on the challenges of street photography vs editorial photography, giving tips on getting good shots. She used her own examples, as well as some from Yvan Rodic of Facehunter fame, with whom she tagged along when he was in Singapore.

Having tried my hand in Tokyo at street fashion shots, I totally empathised with her battles with timidity. It’s hard to ask people to stop and pose for you when you’re shy! She suggested always having business cards with your blog URL on them, so people know it’s legit, and can go have a looksee when the photos are up. (Hmm…must get some business cards made up, as my Fiend Fashion Director ones aren’t relevant anymore).

Nicole gave tips on lighting and posing, and answered my question about self-pics in blogs. FYI, she uses a tripod to keep the camera steady, and uses the timer function. She got Velda up to help her demonstrate posing techniques, which was really helpful.

Other workshops included the food blogging session with Dr Leslie Tay, of  I eat I shoot I post , the Kids Photography session held by Leonny of Our Everyday Things, and the Events Photography session run by Joe of Techielobang. Actually, I wished I’d been able to go to that one too!

Back from our sessions, we reconvened in the main auditorium to learn the Best Photo winner, and for 2 lucky other people to win a Canon Powershot S90. I elected not to go into the draw to win, since I was an ang mo blow-in. I was lucky enough to be allowed to attend the event at the last minute, so I wasn’t gonna snatch a camera from a local as well!

While everyone was filing back in, some of us got shots with Xiaxue – yes, even me! Everyone’s a fangirl. Sheesh, but she’s short!! I had to lean down in my photo with her, making me feel like a giant (which was kinda new and nice, heh.)

I also met a few more bloggers.

The winner of Best Photo was announced to be….the baby with the balloon!

We then stormed the stage to get an all-participants photo (except a heap of people scurried home instead), and have last minute chats.  I also had a lot of girls coming up wanting photos with me, or of my shoes!! They were definitely a hit. They are Jeffrey Campbell “Tick” shoes, if you want to know :)

The official rundown on the symposium can be found at Nuffnang here, or if you want to jump straight to the photos of the day, here they are.

All in all, it was great to see how big the blogging community is over there, and to chat with some Singaporeans. I did lose a big chunk of my first day in Singapore that could’ve been spent sight-seeing, but hey,it was the first ever Symposium; I had to be there! And I did manage later that arvo and night to eat in a hawker style food court and attend the goth club.

The event made me want to be more involved with Nuffnang, (as did the great Sydney Christmas meet-up), and I’d really love to see a Symposium like this held in Australia. Better put my hand up, I guess!

Th
e day also made me aware of how far I have to go with my own photography skills, which are at the bare minimum currently. It was on the advice of Sydney food blogger Howard that I invested in a good DSLR. Now I have to learn to use it and practice, practice, practice!
 
*Photos are mine or the Nuffnang official ones, as noted on each pic.

Serendipitous Singapore

I love Serendipity. I don’t believe in horoscopes or fortune telling…but sometimes these cool coincidences occur and you just smile and say “thank you” to the powers that be.

Like the time I was in Harajuku recently and saw Adam Lambert looming ahead of me. I knew he was in the country, but to see him in the flesh, get pics and have a quick chat – swoon!

And now there’s Singapore. I’m off to Singapore later today, for the furst time in 20 years. I used to go when I was in my early twenties, on my way to India. I had my first BBQ pork bun there, my first ais kachang, and so many other great things. In recent years I’ve mainly been travelling to South East Asia, or Japan.

But last week my husband starting floating the idea of a long weekend in Singapore. He’s never been, but knows the food is great, the climate warm, the streets clean…and he may have just watched a Tony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern show on the subject :)

Despite my inner misgivings due to only returning from Japan on Monday and working ever since, I let the boy have his wish and agreed. And so it is that I’ll get home about 6am, finish packing, grab a few hours sleep and be out the door at midday to fly to the Lion City.

Imagine my surprise when, browsing the Nuffnang pages, I discovered Singapore’s first ever Bloggers’ Symposium taking place this Saturday!  And guess what?  I’m in!

It starts with a general speech on the evolution of photography and blogging and we’ll learn how they’ve come together to become a huge part of each other.

After that, we’ll be split into classrooms of 60 for an intimate discussion workshop with our favorite bloggers and get to know how they came from blog zeroes to blog heroes!

 
Much as I’d love to hear from blogging superstar Xiaxue, I elected to sit in on the Fashion workshop with Belluspuera, the owner of Bonito Chico blogstore, and Nicole of Mycherrymagazine, who also has an online boutique Nicolethen. Cos I is a fashionista, yanno?
 
Belluspuera will be covering these (in her own words):
 
1) My very own style tips on what’s hot & what’s not ;)

2) Jump on the bandwagon of the growing online retail trend
3) Maintaining a competitive edge – how does one stay one step ahead
4) Photography in the portrayal of fashion; tips on how to take great photos!

As photography is one major flaw in my blog right now, I’m majorly excited to be going. I also can’t wait to meet a big bunch of bloggers, and to hear from those who have made such a success of it. (And I want to pick up the lingo, lah? Who dun want?)

But that’s enough gushing from me. A little more work lies ahead, a little more packing, a few hours sleep…

 
Speak to you from Singapore!