Sunday, 30 September 2012

The New Look - New Haircut

So I got a haircut on Wednesday and I thought I'd share some photos with you. My hairdresser, Matthew from Hair International in Wellington, is amazing. He has such a wonderful passion and enthusiasm for the art of hairdressing. He loves that I want something different every time I get my hair done, and even likes me bringing pictures to show what I'm thinking of. :) We've decided to do "bobs through the ages". You may remember that last time we went for a 1920s Louise Brooks style. Well, this time we decided to do a kind of 1950s Bettie Page fringe with a graduated 1960s bob - and I am loving it.

 How perfect is that hair cut? I tell you, Matthew is a genius. 

 And I can still do the stern librarian look.

Time for a typical Facebook profile pic.

 My party trick. ;)

Until next time!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Verse - 1 John 3:19

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.
(1 John 3:19)

I came across this verse the other day and found it immensely encouraging, so I wanted to share it with you. Probably all Christians doubt their faith at one time or another. Was my repentance really sincere? Can Jesus really forgive all my sins? I just don’t feel close to God. However, this verse clearly states that regardless of what our heart tells us, God is bigger than our heart.

Luke and I have been doing some really hard-core theology recently. The church we are now attending is Calvinist, and so we have been sort of exploring the Calvinist vs. Arminian debate, something neither of us have ever paid much attention to before.

I found this verse in the section about unconditional election. Unconditional election means there is essentially nothing in us that is deserving of God's grace and love. It has been called "unconditional" because God's choice to save someone does not hinge on anything inherent in the person, or on any act that the person performs or belief that they exercise. This fits in nicely with another doctrine of Calvinism: the idea of total depravity, which means the influence of sin has so inhibited the individual's volition that no one is willing or able to come to or follow God unless He first regenerates the person's soul to give them the ability to love Him. Hence, God’s choice in election is based solely on God's own independent and sovereign will, and not upon the foreseen actions of man.

This kind of theological debate is quite daunting for a lot of Christians and I must admit I still feel very much out of my depth when reading about them. However, it has been so good to really think about these things, question what I have always taken for granted, and turn to the Bible to see what it teaches.

The idea of unconditional election also has a wonderful power of releasing unnecessary burdens from Christians who feel like their salvation is dependant on their closeness to God. Michael Horton writes in his book For Calvinism: "It is God's commitment to us, not our commitment to Him, that brings us to faith and keeps us in faith to the very end."

Martin Luther wrote regarding unconditional election:

"But if we have been chosen in him, we shall not find assurance of our election in ourselves; and not even in God the Father, if we conceive him as severed from his Son. Christ, then, is the mirror wherein we must, and without self-deception may, contemplate our own election."

It's when we look to ourselves for assurance of salvation that we stumble and start to doubt its security. Horton adds to this point: "Since we were chosen in Christ, it is only in Christ - not our speculations, experiences, or works - that we discover our election."

A lot of Christian literature points towards the fruit of faith as evidence of salvation. For example, our love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ can show we are saved. 1 John 3:17-19 says:

By this we know love, that He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him;

However, in reality the Gospel is our only true assurance. This is because our experience and fruit can be stronger or weaker at different points in time. The very next verse acknowleges this: "For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything." In other words, the key to gaining assurance of salvation is to look to Christ and His finished work on the cross, not to our own experience, actions, or selves. Even the good works which are the result of our faith were created for us by God beforehand, and He enables us to walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). The more we look to Christ and meditate on the Gospel, the more we will desire to do good works according to His will, not to gain His approval but in joyful response to the grace we have been given.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Dress - Bargain Blossoms

I love a good bargain, don't you? I'd be the first to admit that I spend too much money on clothes. Which is why I love it when I can buy a nice piece of clothing for $3.00 - namely the skirt below! 

I remember my mother dragging me into second hand shops when I was young, mostly a large store called Savers. For a kid it was boring, it smelt funny, and there were, shall we say, some "interesting characters" who shopped there. We'd spend what seemed like hours (though in reality it was probably around 30 minutes) going up and down the aisles while my mum looked at clothes. It's funny how things change, because now I love going into second-hand stores - you never know what you could find. However, I must admit I still think they smell funny.

 Skirt: Thrifted
No tags, although it does say "Made in NZ". Wow, I think this is my first New Zealand-made piece of clothing, and it's probably definitely a lot cheaper than Trelise Cooper or Karen Walker. It also says size 16, and I must admit I do safety pin it a bit to make it fit on my hips, but really - size 16? Sizes must have changed. I'm thinking it's probably from the 1970s, given the material, pattern and length.

 Cardigan: Esprit
Yes, I love this cardigan. Yes, I wear it too much. I just like how it brings out the blue flowers in the skirt. However, I'd also eventually like to get a coral-coloured cardigan/top to go with the skirt.
 Shoes: Clarks
They match the skirt so well it's like they were made for each other. I do love matching.

 Plus look at that twirl! It gets A+ for twirlability, always an important factor when purchasing a skirt.

Until next time :)

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Song - Heartbroken

I like female singer song-writers. You’ve probably noticed. I hope you like them too. Today I’d like to introduce you to a real gem: Meaghan Smith. 

Raised in London, Meaghan seemed destined for music with a piano-teaching mother and bass-playing father. There is something very endearing about her songs, which are modern but obviously inspired by years gone by. Her music has been described as “wry and retro” (New York Times) and “as if Bjork recorded an album with k.d. lang and Doris Day” (National Post). Meaghan's first album The Cricket’s Orchestra was released in 2010, and since then she has also recorded a Christmas Album entitled IT SNOWED.

Meaghan Smith’s popularity went up in leaps and bounds after she contributed a cover of “Here Comes Your Man” by alternative rock group the Pixies to the soundtrack of the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer. This performance featured her playing the omnichord. And now I am sitting here wondering why I have never written a post on 500 Days of Summer. I love that movie!

In 2011, Meaghan won Best New Artist at the Juno Awards. So in summary, she’s pretty awesome and I think you’ll love her as much as I do. Personally, I have downloaded these tracks by her:  Heartbroken, I Know, If You Ask Me, A Little, Poor and Take Me Dancing.

Until next time :)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Inspiration - Haircut Ideas

So I'm thinking of getting a new haircut, mainly because my hair has grown out and I'm starting to think: hmmm, what should I do next? I always feel like a trip to the hairdressers is a perfect time to try something new, and I completely trust my hairdresser, so why not?

I have straight fine hair, and not heaps of it. In a way this means I'm very fortunate, because it doesn't take me too long to dry or style my hair, but it also means I'm limited in styles. Now and then I find myself sighing over these gorgeous vintage hairstyles with beautiful victory rolls, but I know the limits of my own hair.

Just a reminder: this is the haircut I got last time.

So here is what I'm currently thinking about...

1) Pixie Hair Cut

A couple of months ago, my mum and sister informed me that they have been watching the TV show Once Upon a Time and that a character from the show, Mary Margaret, really reminded them of me. Well, I had no idea what they were talking about, since Luke and I don't own a TV (we only watch DVDs on our computer). So I googled Mary Margaret, and since then I've been thinking about going shorter.

Cute, huh?

Then, while flipping through a Womens' Weekly at work, I spied a picture of Michelle Williams that almost convinced me to do a drastic chop. But then I thought: Wait, both these women have a slight wave in their hair, so mine wouldn't look quite like that. Then I remembered how horrible it was growing out my hair last time it was this short, and I promptly went back to the drawing board. 

2) The Bob

So then I decided I would stay with a bob. I've had it for... quite a while now. But it works, so I like it. I don't think I'll go quite as short as last time, but what if I did something to the fringe? I really love the Bettie Page-style fringe, but I just don't feel that I have enough hair to pull it off. Also, it might look a little strange with a straight bob.

3. The V Shape Fringe

So then I started thinking: what if I had the V shape of the Bettie Page fringe without the volume? What would that look like?

 Then I found the above picture of Audrey Hepburn and that convinced me.

Isn't she just stunning? 

Plus, when you look at Louise Brooks' haircut, it is definitely rounded. 

More inspiration. 

My only fear is that I'll end up looking like a relative of Spock...

Oh well... hair grows, right? I should probably book that hair appointment now...

Until next time :)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Review - The Million Pound Bank Note

The other night Luke and I watched the 1954 British comedy The Million Pound Note (which was released as Man with a Million and Big Money in the US). Luke’s parents had bought it for me a while back, and now we've finally gotten around to watching it. The movie is actually based on a short story by Mark Twain called The Million Pound Bank Note.

The movie, set in 1903, stars Gregory Peck (he’s so handsome) as American seaman Henry Adams, who is stranded in London without any money. He happens to cross the path of two unbelievably wealthy and eccentric brothers, Oliver and Roderick, who are having a wager of an unusual sort. They persuade the Bank of England to issue a one million pound banknote, which they present to Adams in an envelope (only telling him that it contains some money). The reason for this is that Oliver believes the mere existence of the note will enable the possessor to obtain whatever he needs, while Roderick contends that it would actually have to be spent to be of any use. Once Adams gets over the shock of discovering how much the note is worth, he tries to return it to the brothers, but is told that they have left for a month. He then finds a letter in the envelope that explains the wager and promises him a job if he can return the note intact at the end of the month.

Although the movie is described as comedy, I personally found it was more of a social commentary or satire on how the amount of money one has, or appears to have, completely changes people's attitudes. Henry Adams comes straight off the ship looking like he hasn’t got two shillings to rub together, and in fact he hasn’t! The only money he has is the million pound note, which he determined not to spend. I found the movie quite stressful to watch. But all in all, it wasn’t a bad film, and is still so relevant to today’s society. In many ways, The Million Pound Note tells a similar story to My Fair Lady; both these films are about a poor person suddenly raised to the pinnacle of London society, and both use this plot to focus on class divisions and people's reactions to money and status.

Gregory Peck is quite endearing as Henry Adams, and all in all it was a pleasant way to pass a quiet Sunday evening. However, it does make you think: what would you do with a million dollars?

Until next time :)

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Holiday - Second Anniversary Part 4

So this is the last installment of our anniversary weekend. There are lots of pictures of pretty houses and museums - hope you enjoy them.

 Let's see here, which house is more stylish? I know which one I'd pick. I mean, really - you call that one on the left a house? I call it an eyesore.

 Love round windows. So cute. 

 It's kind of hard to tell if this is a photo of me or Luke. Cute telephone booth. :)

 Parnell is a great place to visit. It's full of cafes and specialty shops. However, we were there on a Sunday and I was surprised to find a lot of the gift-type shops closed. I think it might be more lively during the week.

 Auckland Museum. Don't get me wrong, I love Te Papa and the Melbourne Museum, but there's something really special about museums situated in beautiful historic buildings, don't you think?

 This was in the toy section. I think when we have kids I'm going to give my child a wash bucket and a hand wringer! How cute is the toy iron though?

 An old doll's house play set. 

What do you think, Monopoly during World War II?

 I really wanted to take the toy elephant home. 

 They also had a fabulous exhibition on nature photography. Absolutely incredible. 

 Giant Moa!

 When my sister and I were little, our favourite part of the museum was the dinosaur bones. And I must admit I still think they're really, really cool.

Until next time :)