Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Dress - The Interview Blouse

Luke here again. This time I thought I'd post a quick Dress post, since we still have a lot of outfit photos of Hannah that haven't been published. This is rather daring for me: I have to write about Hannah's clothes and fashion and actually sound like I know what I'm talking about. But it means I can do a post with plenty of photos of Hannah, which is good because she is still overseas and I'm missing her a lot. So here goes.

Hannah called this outfit "The Interview Blouse". I presume this is because it's something she would wear to work, perhaps to an interview (or even to interview someone else). However, Hannah would wear something like this for many different occasions, as is the case with a lot of her outfits. It just goes to show two things: A) work dress guidelines are a lot broader for girls than for guys, and B) she has an amazing sense of style.

Blouse: Frutti
As she may have mentioned before, Hannah found this blue polka-dot blouse at Frutti, one of her favourite shops in Wellington. Frutti contains a lot of stylish and vintage-inspired clothing. Hannah also has a matching hat.

Swing pants: Heyday Vintage
The very versatile swing pants, made by the people at Heyday Vintage Style Clothing in the UK, are modelled on trousers that women wore in the 1940s. They are excellent for work, swing dancing and many other uses.

Shoes: Atticus
If my memory serves me right, these heels came from the Atticus store on Lambton Quay. I think the black shoes with white accent set off perfectly the black pants with white buttons.

Hannah: Australia
If you're wondering where I found a girl like this - I have to break it to you that there's definitely only one like her in the whole wide world.
Isn't she absolutely gorgeous?

Until next time

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Verse - Isaiah 45:22

“Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other."

(Isaiah 45:22)

Luke here again. My read-the-Bible in a year plan has recently taken me through the book of Isaiah. The above verses really stood out to me, perhaps because I really enjoy Old Testament verses that speak of salvation for the Gentiles (i.e., the rest of the world apart from Israel).

But before I talk about these verses, a bit of context is in order. Isaiah's prophetic career took place in the late 8th and early 7th centuries BC, during the reigns of four kings of the southern nation of Judah. It was during Isaiah's time that the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria. Isaiah directed much of his writing towards the issues of empty religious ritualism and idolatry that pervaded Judah. 

The entire section of Isaiah that I have just been reading, including the section above, focuses on comparing the true God of the universe with idols. In these chapters, God consistently reminds the children of Israel that He created the earth and heavens, whereas idols are useless blocks of wood or metal that are incapable of doing anything. Because the Lord is the only true God, and because He is almighty, He is the only one who can save Israel. This is a key point, repeated again and again (e.g. 44:21-22, 45:17): God is the Saviour of Israel. In chapter 45, we see a lot of the themes in Isaiah. Just before the above passage, there is a section describing how God created the world and how He is trustworthy and truthful (45:18-19). Following this, God challenges the makers of idols to have their false gods demonstrate knowledge or power to save, if they have any (45:20-21). Then, the above passage shows that God is the only Saviour.

When Isaiah says God is Israel's Saviour, he means it both in a temporal and spiritual sense. In a temporal sense, God would save Israel from oppression by other nations - e.g. the Babylonians - just as He had done so many times before. In a spiritual sense, God would save Israel from their sins, as stated in 44:22 - "I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." This looks forward to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whose death made a way for not only Israelites but the whole world to be saved - as proven by verse 22 above.

But what about people today? Most of us aren't worshipping stone or wooden images in our homes. However, the core issue is sin, as shown in 44:22. God has given us His law to show us what sin is. According to Jesus Himself, the most important law is: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37) How many of us can say we keep this law for even one minute - let alone perfectly, all the time? I know that I love and focus on so many things apart from God. So this one law demonstrates that we are all convicted sinners. And there are other laws - read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20.

What this shows is that we are sinners and deserve only God's wrath. Although God is loving, He is also holy and righteous, and cannot overlook sin - or He would be going against His holy nature. But the good news is that God did something about this. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sin. Because Jesus was fully God, He was without sin. During His life on earth, He kept God's moral law perfectly. Jesus was also fully man, so he could stand in our place as a substitute, to take the punishment that all humans deserve. For all those people who trust in Christ for salvation, God placed the judgement they deserved on Christ, and applied Christ's righteousness to them. In order to be saved, we must repent - that is, turn from our sins - and trust in Jesus Christ alone to save us. Then we will have His righteousness and eternal life with Him, not by any good works of our own but rather by His grace. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Review - The Hobbit

Luke here again. I've just arrived back from a family outing to see the much-awaited movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I think for once, New Zealand got this movie before most other places - even the USA!

Oddly enough, I was always quite confident that this would be a great movie (unlike with previous movie adaptations of famous childhood books, where I haven't been entirely sure what to expect). The Hobbit lives up to most of our expectations. I have read some rather negative reviews. A lot of these grumble about too much extra material having been added to the storyline of J.R.R. Tolkien's original novel, which is very short compared to The Lord of the Rings. However, I must point out that nearly all the new material has been taken from Tolkien's other writings, such as his extensive appendices to the Lord of the Rings. Some of it is mentioned in passing in The Hobbit itself, as part of the backstory.

To make a long story short, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. There were some drawbacks, of course: towards the end, a continual series of fights and action sequences got a bit exhausting. Obviously made for the best effects in 3D and high frame rate, it was almost like a theme-park ride. However, to those people who complained about drawn-out action, I can only reply: After seeing the massive spectacular scenes of The Lord of the Rings, particularly The Return of the King, how could you go to the cinema expecting anything different this time?

I would give the Hobbit 4 stars out of 5. One of its main strengths was the acting ability of the cast. In particular, Martin Freeman does an excellent job playing the Bilbo that we all know. Richard Armitage is great as the grim Thorin Oakenshield, and in fact all the dwarves do a good job.

 The dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield. This was one of the first photos from the movie that I saw, and at first it made me wonder "Why have they cast a Klingon?"

 The dwarves' interruption of Bilbo's peace and quiet. Some have felt that the film did not distinguish well enough between the characters of the 13 dwarves (apart from Thorin), and I myself was wondering how Jackson would do this. However, I guess you have to remember that Tolkien's original book only gave memorable characters to a few of them as well: Thorin, Balin (the old wise one), and Bombur (the fat gluttonous one) are the ones that stick in my memory from reading The Hobbit. In the event, I think the movie did well at giving the dwarves characters of their own - some more than others.

 Gandalf, a bit less grim and more mischievous than in the Lord of the Rings.

My favourite part was the famous riddle scene between Bilbo and Gollum. It has been kept very true to the book, with a lot of the same lines. Andy Serkis gives a truly ingenious portrayal of Gollum's embattled, creepy yet pitiable character.

And now the trailer, although you'll have seen it already unless you've been living under a rock with your hands over your ears:

Until next time

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Celebration - Thanksgiving

Hi, this is Hannah's husband Luke. I'm filling in for her while she's off touring London and Paris (which is actually a research trip so she can obtain material for some exciting blog entries). To all you followers, I apologise for the lull in posts since Hannah went away. I have a bit of catching up to do.

Two weekends ago, friends from church invited us to a Thanksgiving party. Now, over the past two years we have been ceaselessly trying to import Thanksgiving into New Zealand, due firstly to the great idea of having a holiday to thank God and be grateful for what He's given us, and secondly to the amazing food. Pumpkin pie hasn't really caught on here, for some reason. In 2010, two friends of ours (one American and one Canadian) introduced us to Thanksgiving. Last year we had a celebration at our place, which Hannah wrote a blog post on. This year's occasion was hosted by Carol, an American friend of ours from church (though plenty of others cooked stuff as well).

 One of the most important parts of Thanksgiving is making hand turkeys. This time, we had a sort of arts and crafts table going where people could create to their hearts' content.

 Good conversation is another key feature of Thanksgiving.

 You might have to eat this dish before you can believe it. It's basically kumara mash with a topping of grilled marshmallows. It's classified as a main dish. Despite what you may be thinking, it was actually delicious and worked very well.

 Roast chicken stuffed with things like onion, carrot and garlic to add flavour.

 The "piece de resistance" (I should add in some French since Hannah's in Paris right now) was the pumpkin and pecan pies made by Carol.

 Ryan demonstrates the art of carving.

 The finished hand turkeys were extremely imaginative. If you recognise the two at the bottom right, they're our turkeys from last year, which we brought to demonstrate. The turkey at bottom left, made by Bridget, is saying: "Gobble! Gobble! Thanksgiving is great (except the part where I get eaten)..."

Nom nom.
Everyone was getting quite full by this stage, but I still tried some of the pies for dessert, and they were excellent. Pecan pie is most definitely worth a try if you get a chance.

Finally, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving if you didn't say what you are thankful for. This year, God has graciously provided both Hannah and me with a lot of good things: a house, a car, a strong church to attend and sweet fellowship there. But I especially want to say how thankful I am to God for giving me Hannah. Her trip to the other side of the world has made me realise just how much I miss her when she's not around - she really is "bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh". Hannah is godly, loving, kind, thoughtful, funny, smart and beautiful, and blesses me each day more than I can express.

Until next time
(It seems a bit strange to sign off with Hannah's signature, but that's the tradition and there's no image for my signature...)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Going On An Adventure

Hello my friends! Just a quick post to tell you that I'm going to be away for some time, as I will be busy having adventures in other places...

First I will be going here:

And then here:

Then I'm going to enjoy some sunshine:

Before finally returning here:

My wonderful husband has said he will do his best to write a few posts
while I'm away. So you have that to look foward to.

Well, until next time :)

The New Look - Sixties Bob

I know today is supposed to be a "Verse" post, but I just got a new haircut and I wanted to share it with you before I go on a little trip and you don't hear from me for a while...

I think I've mentioned this before, but I believe my hairstylist is a living legend. Matthew and I have been working our way through the "evolution of bobs" from the 1920s onwards. It's been great fun. Every time I think "Yep, this era is me," he suggests I try something new, and then I invariably think "Yep, this bob is definitely me."
So this time we decided to go with a late 60s bob:

As you can see, it's cut high at the back and slopes down to longer at the front.
It's similar to those concave haircuts that were popularised by Victoria Beckham a few years ago.

  Straight across blunt fringe.

I think this haircut will help me blend in with all the chic girls in Paris when I go there next week.
Yes, I'm off to Europe. Ex-citing!

As you can clearly see - one satisfied customer!

So I can't recommend Hair International enough - ask for Matthew (although I've had all the stylists cut my hair at some stage, and they're all brilliant).

And even better: on their website it says if you haven't had the Hair International experience before, you can receive a discount of 20% off the price for your first visit (just mention the advert to secure the deal).

Until next time :)

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Dress - Floating Flowers

Time for some more remixing. It's a good idea to buy clothes in colours that allow you to swap items. For me, I have quite a lot of red, navy and black, which I can change around to make new outfits. It's so good when you can create a whole new look without spending a cent!

Blouse: Hey-day
Hey-day is a great online store for well-made vintage reproduction clothing. I'ts well worth the price - you know these items were made to last. I love the floaty quality of this blouse. Note to self: must wear it more.

Skirt: Thrifted
$4 skirt. Okay, I must admit I have repairedthe lining 3 or 4 times now, but it's my own fault because I keep dancing in it and it's really not meant to be danced in. :(

Shoes: Clarks
My "mushroom shoes"... I still can't work out whether this refers to the colour or how comfy they are!

Until next time :)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Song - Up at the Bunkers

So the other day I met this really awesome couple. Not only were they very nice and fun to talk with, but the guy was also in a band, and everyone knows that if you're in a band you automatically win about ten "cool points" - unless it's like a nose flute band, because that's not very cool. Well, I'm sure Bill Bailey could make it cool, but anyway...

So the guy's name is Matthew Pickering, and funnily enough he is part of a group called Matthew Pickering is My Name. After meeting him I was curious to find out what kind of music he played, so I looked up his band on YouTube. Suffice to say their tunes are very catchy, mellow and just nice to listen to. I don't know if it's because the music video was filmed in Wellington and refers to Wellington places, but somehow I think that if Wellington were a song it'd probably sound a bit like this: relaxed, artistic and friendly.

Anyway, have a listen and see what you think...

Until next time :)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Review - Return to Oz

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they’re making a movie prequel to the Wizard of Oz. No, it’s not WICKED – Universal Studios actually own the rights to WICKED, and I expect they’ll make a movie of it at some point. However, it seems that in the meantime Disney has decided to use their rights to the Wizard of Oz franchise, so they are releasing a movie next year entitled Oz the Great and Powerful. I must say, I am mighty curious to find out what it’s like, since I am a massive Oz fan. I blame that movie as the sole reason for my shoe obsession.

Anyway, I thought I would review Return to Oz, the unofficial sequel to The Wizard of Oz. I also grew up with this movie, which was released in 1985 by Disney. Although I was never quite as fond of Return to Oz as the original, it is such a wonderful 1980s kids movie (similar to the Labyrinth and Dark Crystal) that it also has a special place in my heart.

The movie is actually based on the second and third Oz books: "The Marvelous Land of Oz" and "Ozma of Oz", with nods to many of the others. I must confess I have only read The Wizard of Oz, and that was not until this year! The novel is really different from the movie, but well worth a read. Anyway, the story of Return to Oz goes as follows:

It has been six months since Dorothy has returned home from Oz, and she still cannot sleep. She has been going on about imaginary places and people so much that Aunt Em and Henry decide her head must have gotten knocked around during the tornado and lost a few screws. So they decide to take Dorothy for a nice bout of electric shock therapy (I love how inappropriate 1980s kids movies are). She promptly escapes from the mental hospital, floats down the river on a crate and wakes up in Oz, where her pet chicken Billina can now talk. (What happened to Toto? I don’t know, apparently talking chickens are more in fashion these days). In Oz, Dorothy meets a whole new bunch of friends. They all set off to rescue the Scarecrow from the evil Nome King, who has used Dorothy's ruby slippers to lay waste to the Emerald City and take over Oz. There is also a headless witch called Mombi, who seriously freaked me out as a child – she collects heads (again, somewhat inappropriate). The Wheelers are a bunch of ruffians with wheels on all four limbs. Another obstacle is a desert that turns anyone into sand if they touch it. 

However, my favourite part of the whole movie is when the Nome King turns Dorothy’s friends into objects in the ornament room and she must discover which objects they are. I have no idea why this idea fascinated me as a child, but I still kind of love it.


Return to Oz also has one advantage on the original: it makes good use of Jim Henson puppets, which is sure to be a highlight for all you Muppet fans. The Wheelers are also done to great effect, and the newly introduced characters are really quite lovable.

In order to include the ruby slippers as part of this film, Disney had to pay royalties to MGM, the studio which had produced The Wizard of Oz. The slippers in the original novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" are in fact silver, but they were changed to ruby for the 1939 film to take better advantage of the newly developed Technicolor process. In the novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", Dorothy's magical shoes were actually destroyed when she used them to return to Kansas. In the subsequent novel "Ozma of Oz", one of the books on which this film is based, the Nome King possesses a magical belt with properties similar to those of the silver shoes. Early drafts of the script for Return to Oz reflect this, with the Nome King using a magical ruby belt which had been created from the ruby slippers.

This interesting fact is just for Luke: Director Walter Murch invited friend George Lucas to visit the set one day. During that visit Lucas wandered to different sound stages where he came across producer Rick McCallum working on a small film. The two became friends and later collaborated on the "Star Wars" prequels.

The Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion were originally to have more prominent roles in this film, but budget cuts forced their appearances to be reduced to mere cameos.

The film received a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records as the sequel that was made the longest period of time after the original - it was released 46 years after The Wizard of Oz.  

 Tik-Tok: I have always valued my lifelessness.

 Jack Pumpkinhead: If his brain's ran down, how can he talk?
Dorothy: It happens to people all the time, Jack.

Here's the trailer:

 Until next time :)