Monday, 30 April 2012

The Holiday - Easter Break

So my parents came across the Tasman for a wee visit during Easter. It was really great to see them and spend some time with them. They arrived in Wellington on Good Friday afternoon after road-tripping down from Auckland. The weather over Easter was miraculously good, unlike their last visit when it bucketed down practically the whole time. Wanting to take advantage of the good weather, we decided to go for a stroll along the waterfront.

I love the adventurous nature of this yacht. Very entertaining to watch.

On Saturday, we took a trip up to Luke's parents' place, stopping at some fabric shops on the way to buy materials for a princess coat I'm getting made (so excited, can't wait to show you!). 

It was so lovely to see Luke's and my parents under the same roof, getting to know each other. This was the third time they had met (the first being the night before our wedding!). 

But everyone knows that when it comes to family, Broc here is really the most important member. :)

Until next time :)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Review - My Week With Marilyn

So about 6 weeks ago Luke and I went to see My Week With Marilyn. To be totally honest, the main reason I went was to admire the clothing. However, I was really amazed at the acting skills. Michelle Williams plays Marilyn Monroe so well and so sincerely. Undoubtedly Marilyn is a very difficult character to play, as she is just so famous that most people have at least an impression of what she was like, whether accurate or not. I also loved Kenneth Branagh in this; although I feel like he couldn't shake his Shakespearean acting style (pun intended), it somehow works in this, with him playing the famous stage actor Sir Lawrence Olivier.

I would recommend watching this movie with a good bowl of dessert, and expect it to be driven more by characters than story. Luckily the acting is good. Oh, and Judy Dench is also in it, and for me that alone is reason enough to see it.

Surprisingly, there were also fewer sexual references than I expected, despite what is suggested in the trailer. There were a few nudity scenes, but nothing that I found offensive (and I get offended very easily).

Being a bit of Marilyn fan, I found this movie quite entertaining, and after watching it I totally wanted to buy a white fitted shirt and dark sunglasses, and wrap a scarf around my head. I also love how it emphasised that a woman's natural curvaceous form  is beautiful. After all, Marilyn was a size 14!

The preview for your viewing pleasure:

Until next time :)

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Verse - John 1:43-51

Hi everybody, this is another guest post from Hannah's husband Luke. I have just begun to read the Gospel of John again, since our pastor has recently been preaching from that book. The passage that I thought I'd share today is chapter 1, verses 43-51. The context is that Jesus' public ministry has just begun, and He has met some of the men who were about to become His disciples (such as Peter and Andrew). This section then deals with how Jesus called Philip and Nathanael the next day:

43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

It's necessary to remember that at this time, Jews were earnestly expecting the arrival of the Messiah. The Aramaic term Messiah and the Greek word Christ both mean the same thing - the Anointed One, referring to a person who has been anointed to fulfil a certain office or function. The Messiah was prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament), and while many Jews believed He would free them from the Romans and set up the kingdom of God on earth, Jesus' message was that He had actually come to make a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

In the passage above, it's interesting that Jesus called Philip directly, and then Philip found Nathanael and told him about the Messiah. A similar thing happened in verse 41, where Andrew relays the news to his brother Simon (Peter). Here is a pattern of evangelism which all believers should emulate. As soon as they began following Jesus, both Andrew and Philip went to tell their family and friends (and later everybody) about Him. If we have believed in Him, then we should be doing the same. God has commanded us to do so (Matthew 28:19-20), but this is not a work we have to fulfil in order to gain His approval - if it were, then I would be in big trouble, as there have been countless times when I've been too cowardly or too comfortable to preach the Gospel. Instead of a "good work", our obedience to the Lord's instructions to evangelise should be motivated by a clear understanding and appreciation of the Gospel itself. If we have studied the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone, then we will understand that we can and should do nothing to add to Christ's work on the cross, and we will then serve Him based on our love and gratitude. It will also become clear that we were once under God's judgement just as all unbelievers are, and that it is only by His grace that we have been saved, not because we are better than anyone else. Finally, we should have a clear understanding of what we have been saved from - eternal torment in hell  - and the realisation that this will be the destination of those who do not repent and trust in Jesus. All of this motivates us to make the good news of Jesus Christ - the Messiah - known to others.

Another interesting part of this passage is Nathanael's conversation with Jesus. On being told that the Messiah has come, Nathanael is at first somewhat sceptical. However, he is willing to put Jesus to the test, and it may be because of this that the Lord commends him for his honesty in verse 47. Unlike the Pharisees, Nathanael did not allow his own interests or biases to prevent him from discovering and believing the truth. Jesus then uses His supernatural knowledge to prove that He really is the Messiah, by revealing that He had some knowledge of Nathanael that nobody else had. This prompts Nathanael to affirm Jesus as the Son of God, and therefore as his personal Saviour. However, notice that if Nathanael had not been willing to consider the Lord's claims, no amount of miracles could have convinced him. The Pharisees saw a lot of amazing wonders and yet they still rejected Christ. 

I couldn't leave this passage without commenting on Jesus' words in verse 51. By saying that Nathanael and the other disciples would see heaven opened, He was pointing out that they would have access to divine revelation through His Word. The image that Christ used here was an allusion to Jacob's dream recorded in Genesis:

12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12)

In Jacob's dream, God showed that He was involved in the affairs of humans, and had a particular plan for Jacob and his descendants. However, in the picture offered by Jesus, the Son of Man becomes the ladder. This clearly demonstrates that Jesus is the means of access between God and humanity. He performs this function through the cross, on which He died to pay the penalty for our sin, and thereby made peace with God on our behalf.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Dress - Poppies

So as promised, here is a post on the outfit I wore for our dancing escapades yesterday. I was always unsure about what cardigan to put with this dress, as I was afraid of looking like Christmas. But hey, who cares - Christmas is a great time of the year, so why wouldn't I want to look like that?

Cardigan: QBF
While we're moving amazing Australian stores across the ditch to New Zealand, make sure Quick Brown Fox comes hot on the heels of Dangerfield. I love this cardigan so much that I am determined to wear it to death, and I probably will.

 The Dress: Dangerfield
Yet another piece from Dangerfield that my mum purchased for me while I was in Oz. Gotta love the summer sales. Have I mentioned yet that I wish we had a Dangerfield in NZ? Only a billion times? Okay, let's make that a billion and one.

Shoes: Keds
I will probably also wear these shoes to death, or more likely dance them to death. They serve me well on the dance floor. :)

I love the sleeves on this dress - so 40s, so cute!

And of course, because it was ANZAC day I had to don my traditional poppy.

I also love the fact that the fabric looks like it's covered in poppies. This material makes me so happy.

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Outing - ANZAC Day

Today is ANZAC Day. Now for those of you who are wondering what that is, it's a national day of remembrance here in NZ and in Oz (so it's an event both Luke and I can really get into). It's celebrated on the 25th of April every year to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought in the Gallipoli campaign during World War I. Nowadays, it also broadly commemorates all those New Zealanders and Australians who served and died in military operations for their countries.

Luke and I had the idea of going to the dawn service, but since it was at 5:45 AM down by parliament (which is 40 minutes' walk away), this proved to be a little too challenging. Maybe next year. ;) Instead, we had a lazy morning. Luke (who is also my personal colourist) dyed my hair, and we got ready to go dancing down on the waterfront with the people from Full Swing. We had on authentic 1940s outfits - well, at least some of us did. To me, this seemed the perfect way to celebrate ANZAC day, with some original 1940s dress, tunes and dancing.

Fun times! I will add some photos of my outfit in tomorrow's post.
It is so pleasant to have a day off midweek.

Until next time :)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Song - Watch the Birdie

It probably doesn't surprise you to hear that I love old music. A few weeks ago, I downloaded a song I had heard at swing dancing lessons called Watch the Birdie. I loved the quirky feel of the song, as well as the random pauses and theatrical style, and I thought to myself: I bet this song is from a movie. Well, what do you know - when I looked up the song on Youtube, it turned out that it's from the 1941 film Hellzapoppin', which has some of the best Lindy-Hop dance routines in any movie. Anyway, I quite enjoyed watching the video clip, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Until next time :)

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Celebration - Extra Birthday Post

Oops - almost forgot. My very talented sister-in-law gave me a drawing for my birthday, and it's so well done that I just had to share it with you. Alina is also the artistic talent behind my blog's header. To see more of her creativity, you can check out her blog.

Until next time :)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Celebration - My Birthday

Hello to all the ones and ones of people who read this blog of mine. Sorry it's taken me such a long time to post, but I'm sure you can all relate when I say life just got a bit on top of me. Work has recently been crazy busy (and I mean CRAZY), whilst our social calendar is bursting and my parents have been visiting. It feels like March and April were something of a whirlwind. I always told myself that blogging would be a fun leisurely thing, and that I would never feel guilty about not posting nor have it become a chore. So if I take a break for a week, a month or a year, so be it.

I have to admit that some part of me did miss blogging. So I'm back to it! And since it's my blog and I can do whatever I want, I'm going to blog about a very important event that happened almost a month ago... My Birthday!

On Wednesday the 28th of March I turned the ripe old age of 24. This is actually my favourite number, for the following reasons: 1) It's divisible by heaps of other numbers; 2) it's a lovely temperature - not too hot nor too cold; 3) it ALWAYS comes up in the lottery. So I always figured that the year I turned 24 would be my "golden year." Unfortunately Luke made the mistake of saying prior to my birthday: "It's interesting that 24 is your golden year, since the purest gold is 24 carats." To which I replied, "You're getting me something that is 24-carat gold?!" Luke = O.O!

However, my birthday was golden - I had such a wonderful time and it went for so long! It started off with a lovely birthday lunch at Luke's parents' place the weekend before, when I was given a beautiful brooch from Luke's mum, some DVDs (Luke and I won't have any need to hire DVDs for quite some time), and some nail polish in the prettiest colours from Luke's dad.

On my actual birthday, Luke made me a special birthday breakfast and gave me some lovely presents: vintage gloves, framed photos of us dancing at Art Deco, and the DVD of "Return to Oz". That evening we went to swing dancing lessons as per our usual routine. I'm currently learning how to lead, which is fun and very challenging, and I didn't want to miss out on a lesson. Here's a photo of me dancing with Carolyn before class.

Then on Thursday, Luke surprised me with a small party. He invited three of my closest friends - Carolyn, Bex and Anna - and told them to dress up in vintage style and bring a plate to share. It was such a wonderful evening filled with good food, good conversation, games and dancing. So much fun!

Don't we all look so pretty dressed up? Oh, and you can just make out the framed photos Luke gave me on the wall to the left.

Carolyn's perfectly presented plate to share.

We all felt very classy sipping champagne and eating prawn cocktails.

Ever since I was 7 years old, I have always had a pavlova for my birthday. Luke attempted to make one last year, but it kind of turned into a pavlova pancake. However, this year he perfected one with Carolyn's assistance. So proud of him.

No party would be complete without a bit of dancing.

....and fake moustache fun!


Then the following Tuesday (I told you my birthday went on for a while), we went to Speakeasy, the usual hangout place for swing dancers on Tuesday nights, where we like to have a bit of mid-week social dancing. And I had a special Birthday Jam (for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, essentially the birthday person is put in the middle of a circle, and the people around the outside take it turns to dance with the birthday person).

Luke even managed to take a little video. In conclusion, it was a fabulous birthday, and I'm kind of bummed I have to wait another year to do it all again. But for now, I think I'll just enjoy being 24. 

Until next time :)

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Review - The Fall

This is Hannah's husband Luke, doing another "guest post". This time I thought I would review a movie, and I picked The Fall (released 2008). This film might be considered art-house, but does not fit comfortably in any genre. The plot centres on Alexandria, a 6-year-old girl in 1920s Los Angeles, who is in hospital with a broken arm. She encounters a movie stuntman named Roy, who has been involved in a botched stunt leaving him unable to walk. Having been dumped by his girlfriend, and with potentially career-ending injuries, Roy is in a state of severe depression. He and Alexandria quickly strike up a relationship, and he begins telling her a fantastical tale about a band of heroes on a quest to defeat the evil Governor Odious and free their land from his rule. Eventually, the real world and the fantasy one start to intertwine, reaching an exciting climax in both of them.

This movie is completely unlike any other I have seen before. It is sort of like a grown-up version of The Wizard of Oz meets The Princess Bride. Every frame is a feast for the eyes, with the fantasy heroes travelling through a series of stunning scenes on their quest. The movie's production was also unlike most: it was actually filmed on location in over 20 countries, and took four years to make. All of the film's incredible visuals were real places - from an Escher-like stepped well in which black-clad bad guys climb stairs in endless processions, to a gigantic stone castle in the midst of a blue-painted city (see below). The realism is further enhanced by the fact that most of the lines for Alexandria were unscripted - young Catinca Untaru, who played her, was merely interacting naturally with Lee Pace, who portrayed Roy. Director Tarsem Singh appears to have set out to make a movie in a unique fashion: it is a fantasy painted out of reality. As film critic Roger Ebert said, "You might want to see [it] for no other reason than that it exists. There will never be another like it." (source)

Now for some photos:

The heroes: the slave, the explosives expert, the Masked Bandit, the Indian, and Charles Darwin (yes, that Darwin).

 The Blue City - actually Jodhpur in India


These images demonstrate something of the sheer imaginative style of The Fall. One point in which it is similar to The Wizard of Oz is the way characters from the real world look the same as characters in the fantasy. In conclusion, I can only heartily recommend The Fall, although I would add that it is somewhat dark and not a children's movie.

Finally, the trailer for your viewing pleasure: