Monday, April 4, 2011

New! New! New! Website

You looking for me?!
Checks and Spots has a brand spankin' new home at:

If you haven't been automatically redirected to the new site, please update your subscription and come and join in all the fun.

See you over there!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Almost There...

Image: Wermac

I'm getting awfully excited as construction of the new Checks and Spots website is almost complete. Hooray!

So that we can do a final polish, I won't be posting over here for the rest of this week. You can still catch me though on Facebook or Twitter for bite sized Checks and Spots morsels.

I look forward to seeing you next week so I can introduce you to my new site and a new beginning.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Five Alive Friday

This week goes down as one of the toughest I've ever faced. So, here are five links dedicated to escapism and unapologetic pleasure seeking. Enjoy!
  1. Lover's latest fashion short film, A Dance for One, is achingly pretty.
  2. This slideshow is a perfect tribute to Elizabeth Taylor: fearless style icon.
  3. Check out this rad street art by a Berlin-based collective, who uses photographic images to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
  4. There's nothing like cake to chase grey clouds away. Just ask Jessica Hische and her site, The Internet Sends Me Cake.
  5. And when cake fails, there's always retail therapy. Especially when it comes to these ankle boots from Acne.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frankie Modular Kids Furniture

Images: Homes

About bloody time! Here's some modern kid's furniture that isn't covered in a lairy Disney print.

Both fun and functional, Noosh's Frankie range, is available in eight mix 'n' match Anna Butler prints. The sofa covers are fully removable and washable, and each section is sold separately - so it can grow as your family does.

Talk about the best seat in the house!

Ottoman AU $149
Sofa Lounge AU $249
Sofa Corner AU $279

Psst - All the fun isn't just happening down under! Noosh also ship overseas.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Breakfast Project

Images: Booooooom!

Breakfast projects are nothing new. But this one by Japanese photographer, Sayaka Minemura, is dripping in whimsy and proves that it is possible to always wake on the sunny side!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Tank House Loft

Images: freshome

Holy cow! This renovation of an existing loft apartment and sprinkler tank house in downtown New York, gets full marks for ingenuity.

"The tank house was conceived as the quintessential retreat, a place for reading, relaxing and listening to music," explains architect, Brian Messana. It's also given me an idea for how we can use our old water tank that we're currently upgrading!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Five Alive Friday

Let's cut to the chase - here's five links to see you through to 5pm. Get 'em into you!
  1. Thought that apple you're about to tuck into was fresh? Think again. Season-defying technology means it could be a year old. This article gives you the low down on a trend that fills me with disgust.
  2. It's hard to put a foot wrong with these tipsy yellow flats from Kate Spade. Oh joy!
  3. Why the death of Alice in Chain's original bassist, Mike Starr, makes laughing at Charlie Sheen hard.
  4. This style of home isn't usually my go, but there's something about its unapologetic maximalism that made me look twice.
  5. Jo and Lucy are sisters. They also run Hunting for George, a sweet site that takes all the pain out of finding the perfect pressie for your nearest and dearest - or yourself!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beauty Review: New Wella System Professional Range

Do you remember that a little while ago I asked if anyone wanted to review a new hair care range? Well, the lovely Narelle and Sarah put their hands and helped me review the Wella System Professional range.

Billed as taking hair care to a new level, this range is specifically designed to match individual hair needs and is based on five years of intensive research. But, how did it stack up?

Wella System Professional Shine Define Shampoo
Let me introduce you to Narelle...

The Shine Define Shampoo was actually quite good, as my hair needs all the help it can get! It was really smooth when I put it through my hair, smelt great and actually did make my hair shiny. Very easy to use. So, I'll be using this shampoo in conjunction with my other shampoo etc.

Narelle gave it 4 out of 5.

Wella System Professional Volumize Mask
This is Sarah...

I have really fine hair (which is also a bit damaged after many months of sun and hair dye) so I'll happily try any product that adds some volume. While the texture of the Volumize Mask left a little to be desired, it stayed firmly on my head with no drips to be found and rinsed out easily. I had low expectations but I definitely noticed a change to the thickness of my hair straight away and chose to leave my hair out for most of the day as it felt nicer and seemed to hang better (I always wear my hair up so it was nice to have it out for once). Sadly It was only temporary as once I washed my hair again a day later, it was back to limpville. Still, I was impressed to notice any difference at all.

Overall, Sarah gave this product 3 out of 5.

Wella System Professional Colour Save Conditioner
And lastly, I tried the Color Save Conditioner...

The downside of dying my hair red is that it requires a lot of maintenance as the colour tends to fade pretty quickly. So, I'm always on the look out for the holy grail - a product that will help protect my colour. Having trialled the Colour Save Conditioner during Summer when my colour normally takes a beating (out in sun a lot, heaps of swimming in chlorine) I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It seemed to protect the vibrancy of my colour a bit longer and I was about to stretch out the time between dye-jobs.

I gave it 4 out of 5.

So, have you tried this range?
Or have you made any other hair care discoveries that have made a big difference to your locks?
Do share!

The Wella System Professional range is available online from Beauty Heaven.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Paper Sculptures by Anna-Wili Highfield

Like birds of a feather, I'd like to stick together with Anna-Wili Highfield's beautiful paper sculptures. Apparently Anna-Wili doesn't draw her pieces first. She just feels her way through the process of scultping, painting and sewing archival cotton paper. I guess only a process that is this free could so perfectly evoke a feathered flight of fancy...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tale Furniture Pop Up Store

More than just a furniture concept store, Tale uncovers the unique story behind each of its vintage and antique pieces.

To find out more, check out my latest article for Broadsheet.

Trying to Understand Japan's Quake Disaster

The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan have really knocked the wind out of my sails. It's even affected me physically with a sense of sadness and unease remaining in the pit of my stomach ever since the first images flashed on our television screen on Friday night.

So, I thought I would share a few things I've found in my search to try and understand Japan's biggest national crisis since World War II:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Alive Friday

Here's five links to tide you over to 5pm - plus an extra one because it's a long weekend in my neck of the woods! Enjoy...
  1. How's this for a tongue twister - Who What Wear have just released, What to Wear, Where. This how-to handbook covers 50 events and 100 plus outfits.
  2. I'm more of a dog person, but that doesn't stop me being impressed by this Cats Attack! Scratching Post.
  3. Did you know that every Vogue cover from 2010 stacked on top of each other forms the Virgin Mary?
  4. This is no joke. Sandblasted denim should come with a serious health warning.
  5. Neverland Lost is is a phenomenal collection of photos of the King of Pop's most treasured and iconic belongings.
  6. Damn You Auto Correct! will make you chuckle and squirm because we've all been there!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Organizing the Bookcase

Video: YouTube

Ok, I'll admit it. I can be a little over the top when it comes to having everything organised. It's just that when things are in their place it feels like there is some sort of order to the chaos of our life.

But even if you're more Pig Pen than pristine, take a minute to watch this stop motion film while you're having your morning tea. Organizing the Bookcase makes OCD seem strangely calming, don't you think?!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who Embodies Being a Woman in 2011?

Nivea has just announced that from May they will team up with Rihanna to celebrate their centennial.

Sure, it was commercially sound to get Ri Ri on board (afterall, she is currently touring and has a strong social media network of in excess of 30 million) but I think Nivea should be congratulated on choosing someone who is an authentic portrayal of womanhood in the 21st century.

Rihanna has worked relentlessly to carve out a successful career and also found the Believe Foundation, she has a bold style that is individual and unapologetic and has a confidence in her own sexuality. Flick through any glossy and you'll be hard pressed to find another pop culture icon who ticks all these boxes and is such an empowering spokesperson for a skincare brand.

I'm interested to hear what you have to say though - As far as pop culture icons go, who do you think embodies being a woman in 2011?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Trend Spotter: Nails

London-based Sophy Robson is the nail artist extraordinaire who sets and makes trends. I was looking through her work at recent fashion shows and wondered which of these looks you see taking off:

Leather Look Nails

Luxury leather brand, Loewe, asked Robson to create nail extensions that matched their mahogany leather jackets. To achieve this look she used a custom-made matte brown and black trench tip. Looks pretty amazing, doesn't it? Plus, makeup by legendary Pat McGrath completed the glamourous look.

The 'V' Gap

For Antonio Beradi's show, Robson created a 'V' gap manicure in petrol blue black. Maybe this look will become this season's reverse manicure?

Perfectly Manicured Loval Shape

Riffing on fashion's return to ladylike glamour, Robson created a perfectly manicure loval (long and oval) nail shape for Giles. This is an update on the squoval (short and oval) shape that has dominated recent seasons.

So...which of these trends do you like the most? Will you be trying any of them out?

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Lady Collection

Image: Refinery29

My sweet tooth is seriously out of control at the moment, and these sherbet-coloured watches are doing nothing to help! Available in 10 hues, Swatch's latest Lady Collection features a long, slim silicone strap that wraps around the wrist twice. In fact, I haven't had a Swatch since the 80's but I think that's all about to change...

US$ 50, available here.
Found via.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Five Alive Friday

Image: Jukka Male

Jeepers creepers! I'm happy to see the tail end of this week. And even happier to ride on through to 5 pm on these five links. Enjoy!
  1. Read Disney's 1976 rejection letter to Tim Burton.
  2. Auto tuned to the hilt, Kim Kardashian's debut song is as bad as you expect it to be!
  3. Check out a fascinating photographic series of a young Barack Obama.
  4. Karen Walker's latest range of eyewear gives me goosebumps it is so frickin' incredible.
  5. Here's a glimpse of Penguin's latest themed series that will be out in April. The cover designs are based on ceramic styles relating to the era of each book.
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