The Love List: May.

Ahoy, bangin’ babes of the blogosphere! I return, my body practically convulsing in exam period hysteria, to bring you another instalment of the Love List. Yes, it’s back! Like a nasty dangin’ flu you just can’t kick (or Arnie Schwarzenegger, for a much more pleasant analogy. BYO Austrian accent, of course).

It’s been a blustery, arctic month here in Melbhattan, what with winter drooling icily over the CBD, suburban backyards, faraway mountains, and often my Saturday night plans. Yet I’m pleased to report that despite said frosty temperatures, I have ventured outside the house on multiple occasions for an annual uni ball, drunken dumplings sessions, potluck dinners, spontaneous Brunswick adventures, walks along the Yarra and some Body Attack classes that are probably more aptly described as an exercise in self-inflicted torture. I’ve also been doing a shit tonne of online shopping this month because, hey, ASOS exists, and I possess about as much self-restraint as I imagine Tony Abbott would at a Speedo’s convention.

Song of the Month:

At the risk of sounding like a total bore, a ginormous chunk of May has been taken up by study; be it written assessment, textbook reading, or cramming ten million trusts cases. Like many, I float between background music while hitting the books, although certain artists definitely woo me into a productive frame of mind more than others. Key favourites are Bonobo, Bon Iver, London Grammar and some wonderful random classical music playlist I stumbled across via Spotify. But the holy grail of study music for me is definitely Grizzly Bear. This is for a thousand reasons, one being that their 2012 album Shields is the dictionary definition of perfection, another being that they are absolutely stupendous live (my housemate and I saw them in Stockholm, Sweden when I lived in Paris back in 2012 and I have never been the same since) and one more being that Ed Roste just generally takes the cake for the most awesome frontman on the planet (side note: check his Instagram. Nature porn on crack. Just on another level). So this month, although it’s a slight throwback, I’ve been all about Shields’ ‘Gun-Shy’; a quiet, unassuming track that just oozes cool and calm vibes.

Media-gasm of the Month:

The New Yorker is, and will always be, my biggest source of inspiration. Yes, it’s snotty and elitist, but the journalistic talent that rests between its pages is nothing short of genius. There are so many articles I want to link, because each feature just transports you to a whole other planet, usually about something that’s never even vaguely crossed your mind before. That’s one of the reasons I love this month’s ‘media-gasm’, Stephen Rodrick’s ‘The Nerd Hunter’. This article is all about Allison Jones, an American casting director who may not exactly trigger your memory at first, but is the guiding force behind the careers of everyone from Jason Segel, Seth Rogen and James Franco, to Scarlett Johansson, Kristen Wiig, and Aubrey Plaza. She’s also the mastermind behind casting the likes of Rainn Wilson as The Office‘s Dwight Schrute, Nick Offerman as Parks and Recreations‘ Ron Swanson, and, in a great touch, The Office’s Phyllis, who for years apparently worked as Jones’ casting associate and isn’t a trained actor (doesn’t that just make your heart burst?) Look, I think I’ve divulged enough already. If you’re a TV nut or just like learning about the entertainment biz, this read is right up your glorious media-gasm alley.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/06/the-nerd-hunter

Fashion Item of the Month:

Rejoice, all ye fellow fashionistas! Revel in the rare event that trainers are en vogue, even if it’s just for a few minuscule moments. In the midst of a property law-induced haze, I caved into buying these babies online, the Adidas Originals Superstar 80s DLX Trainers in White and Green (woah! What a mouthful). I am so far from being a sneaker person. A velvet slipper or fun pointed flat, sure, but runners? Not usually my jam. Still, to me these scream “Hi! I’m a sophisticated French tennis player from the ’60s!” and “How ridiculously comfy are my feet right now?!” They also yell, “Don’t you dare get dog poo on me!” and “What’s for dinner?!” but I’ve usually told them to be quiet by then.

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Meal of the Month:

The Rochester Hotel, lovingly known as the Rochy, met a cruel fate early last year when it closed its grimy, beer-stained doors after a few difficult months. This Fitzroy pub is an absolute institution to my boyfriends’ friends and I, having spent countless dirty Saturday nights obscenely loose on its dance floor, and many a Wednesday howling with laughter at its famous Trivia evenings. We befriended the most amazing staff, flew paper planes down its sticky floors, took over the pool table, danced to sweaty bands upstairs, drank our weight in free cider jugs, and agonised over the meanings of the cryptic notes on its toilet doors. My boyfriend Michael even had a crack at their famous Clive Parma Challenge, where he attempted to chow down five chicken parmagianas stacked on top of each other with a serve of chips and salad – $30, and your money back if you finish it. Needless to say, much like the old Rochy we adored, Michael just didn’t make it to the end.

After many painful months standing by as the Rochy decayed into a boarded-up, heavily-graffitied, ghost hotel, I was beyond delighted when new owners began to breathe life into the pub we once called home. A few Friday nights ago, we ventured back to our beloved haunt to try its new incarnation, Miss Katies’ Crab Shack.

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This is definitely not the first time someone has got crabs from the Rochy… ha! Oh, and this is my boyfriend. He will probably bombard me with embarrassed texts in T- 20 minutes when he reads this blog post and sees his photo here. Hi Michael! Say hi to Michael, internet pals! Bib aside, I promise he is 10/10 rad and awesome.

Feasting on their famous country boil of a ginormous crab, surrounded by potatoes, corn and Kransky sausages, we also ordered soft-shell crab sliders, beer, and salty chilled prawns, which were as delicious as they were fun to pull apart and devour. We didn’t go overboard on the ordering, because Michael had already tried the fried chicken with waffles, and their chilli cheese fries. Needless to say, they are apparently nek level and I experienced crippling food envy upon seeing them on fellow diners’ tables, so God help me I will be back before the month ends to try those too.

While the crab was mouth-wateringly good (once you eventually tore it apart), I really wasn’t there for the boil. Frankly, it was enough of an adventure just putting on our geeky plastic bibs, using such novel utensils, and seeing the space we worshipped transform into such an atmospheric, hipster seafood joint. Where were the sleazy Strokes fans liasing by the bar tables? Why can’t I smell that intriguing stank of grit, sweat and vodka vomit?!  The actual food at Miss Katie’s is probably about a 7.5/10: great fun when you’re in the mood for some quirk and a cheeky calorie hit, but perhaps one to miss when taking Mum and Dad out for a sophisticated birthday dinner (or looking to impress a first date without wearing a bib drenched in ranch dressing). Still, a place where the music rocks, the candles are lit and memories flood back of grungy dance floor raves, pool table successes and questionable life choices? That will bring me back, time after time.

Most Googled Topic of the Month:

Without a doubt, this has to go to the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. It only finished less than 24 hours ago, and thus the smell of smoke machine and Russian tears still lingers nostalgically in the air. This was the first year in history that Australia was allowed to compete, which is both insanity and the most incredible thing that has ever happened to this country, ever (too far?). Being a little too obsessed with this Europop glitter fest that basically entails fighting World War 3 through spandex and key changes, needless to say, this has been a hot topic for me this month. What’s more, having all round Best Person in the Universe Lee Lin Chin read the Australian votes just took it to a WHOLE other planet. Swedish winner Mans Zelmerlow was of course a standout, and Australia’s rep Guy Sebastian killed it (despite wearing a fedora, ew), but my favourite would have to be Estonia’s entry “Goodbye to Yesterday”, which is genuinely a seriously addictive tune I may quietly download later on this eve (hey, don’t hate the playa, hate the game, baby). I would link it, but let’s be real, these gifs are far more entertaining.

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Inspiring Person of the Month:

In light of this infectious Eurovision fever, how can I not give the title of most inspiring person of the month to Conchita Wurst, aka Tom Neuwith? The Austrian hosts jokingly called her the “Queen of Europe” at the final last night, but I’ve got to say, I quite seriously agree with that title. The impact of Conchita Wurst is something that deserves a whole other blog post of its own (one day soon I’ll write one!), but let’s just say this for now- what she has done for LGBTQI rights and stigma in Europe is nothing short of unbelievable. The tolerance and equality she promotes is so much more than a European karaoke contest or a big silver trophy, and the light she has brought to so many lives cannot be underestimated. Above it all, there is nothing more inspiring than seeing a person truly comfortable in their own skin (Also, just saying, wouldn’t you sell a kidney for a waist like that?! And the sparkly pink jumpsuit. #FLAWLESS).

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Note: Conchita holding the hand of Russian contestant and runner-up Polina as she nervous cried and freaked out as the votes were being read. Comforting someone so publicly even though the country they represent not only wants to censor you from their TV screens, but actually has laws that cripple your sexuality? Now that is class.

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TV Show of the Month:

Orange is the New Black. I don’t even need to say anything else. Watched the entire thing in 10 days, without even a smidge of guilt. This show is seriously, seriously good. Go on, finish season two, so we can talk! Quiiick!

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Holy guacamole, what’s that? You got through that ginormous rambling post and have still hung onto the end?! Sweet Jesus, what a marathon. You deserve the largest M&M McFlurry I can find at 11.18pm on a Monday night for this kind of commitment. Second best to that, here’s a topless photo of the winner of Eurovision this year. I mean… what? How’d that get in there?

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You (and your ovaries) can thank me later.

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The Love List: April.

When I was in high school, my best friend and I would sporadically message each other to demand an exchange of our latest newfound music obsessions. Both being colossal Francophone nerds, this usually entailed YouTube links to soppy Carla Bruni confections, peppered with the occasional Kelly Clarkson hit, Eskimo Joe power ballad, or obscure movie soundtrack. Despite our clear lack of music-hunting prowess (whatever happened to Eskimo Joe?), there was something so inexplicably comforting about listening to my friend’s suggestions. Because music is so flippin’ personal, corny as it sounds, getting a glimpse into what my galpal had on repeat  while cramming international studies homework seemed so intimate and lovely, like finally understanding the inner workings of her brain. What did she listen to in the dead of night? What made her want to dance? What made her run that much further? What wrestled into her veins, knifed her soul, and made her cry?

Currently studying postgraduate law, waist-deep in stiflingly horrendous administrative law cases; I’ve swiftly learnt that the world is a much brighter place when you have things to be inspired by. Life is so much better when you’re excited, whether that’s about the latest episode of Game of Thrones, a fancy ramen joint opening up around the corner, a new pair of tailored navy Topshop trousers (just me?) or the fact Tony Abbott ate an entire raw onion. With ‘Don’t Tell Mama’ being my little sparkly corner of the internet, I’d like to propose my new monthly venture, The Love List: a bite-size insight of what’s filling my belly, what’s pumping through my earphones, what’s filling up my ASOS shopping cart, and what’s keeping me sane. I miss sharing those songs with my friend, so it’s time to get the blogosphere involved. Surely if these things have jazzed up my month, they could pep up yours too. And if not, well, you might just get a decent New Yorker article out of it, or at least a half-arsed excuse to fangirl over Taylor Swift (actually, I retract that. Do you need a reason?).

Anyway, enough yacking. Herewith lies my list for March/April, a month of mid-term university assignments, theatre visits, and approximately 36873 Cadbury Easter eggs.

Song of the month:

Fronted by full-on musical legend Alexander Gow, Melburnian indie rock band Oh Mercy is way up there as one of my favourite groups of all time. I’ve been forever enamoured by their 2009 album ‘Privileged Woes’ (and follow-ups ‘Great Barrier Grief’ and ‘Deep Heat’ go down damn well on a Sunday afternoon) but something about their latest track release, Sandy, just makes me feel invincible (and okay, kind of sexy. Can I say that on here? Hi Mum!). I’d love to say Sandy makes me want to slap on red lippy and go flirt with a thousand Calvin Klein models in a darkly lit bar, but it really doesn’t. I just want to blare this track full blast while jumping up and down on my bed, screaming the lyrics in my underwear… 10/10 obsessed with this song, which is probably no surprise considering my crush on Alexander is currently reaching obscene heights, rivalled only by mid-2000’s Jake Gyllenhaal.

Media-gasm of the month:

A self-confessed media nerd, there is nothing like a stellar article, podcast or documentary to really get the inspiration flowing. This month it’s Alec Baldwin’s podcast, Here’s the Thing, hosted by WNYC and in association with Killer Content. Basically, Alec Baldwin’s voice is caramelised crack. It’s orgasmic. I could listen to him read the back pages of the Financial Review or the instruction manual of a hairdryer and still be head-over-heels. Surprisingly, Baldwin is a killer interviewer, and I really respect the idea behind the podcast- a focus on “intimate and honest conversations” with people that delve into how they got their careers started and what inspires them. For someone incredibly disillusioned with her degree at the moment, this is heavenly. I haven’t worked my way through all of them yet, but so far Lorne Michaels, Lena Dunham, Chris Rock and Kris Jenner (Bow down to the queen of momagers!) are standouts. Still, the best one to date has definitely been Kristen Wiig’s. Somehow, discovering that she spent a good part of her twenties working at Anthropologie makes me feel infinitely more okay with my life choices. I’ve linked it below in case you need a further excuse to procrastinate (you know you do).

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http://www.wnyc.org/story/197391-kristen-wiig/

Food of the month:

Hands down, the apple pie waffles at Mixed Business cafe (Clifton Hill, Melbourne). Ginormous, piping-hot buttermilk waffles with blistered, maple baked apples, crumbling pecan biscuit, covered in melting vanilla icecream. Who knew something could be better than Ryan Gosling naked, a binge-watch of ‘Girls’, and Solange Knowles’ wardrobe combined? Being a) lactose/fructose intolerant and b) possessor of a metabolism that operates at the speed of a snail on a peak-hour tram, I reluctantly resisted these babies, but my boyfriend devoured them in a matter of seconds.

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Oh, and with it being April, shout out to the literal hundreds of easter eggs I consumed in the space of 72 hours. Why can’t it be Easter all the time? Or at the very least, mini eggs should be available year round. I’m surprised there hasn’t already been a nation-wide rally, to be honest.

Fashion item of the month:

Despite now being unemployed and thus having a severe lack of fat stacks to burn, I stumbled across these Martha Jean earrings whilst perusing High St, Northcote last Saturday afternoon. How could a gal resist? A nifty price point, and a local designer? I mean, really, it would only be polite to buy one in both gold and black. Just doing my part to stimulate the economy. Thank me later, Joe Hockey.

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Cultural activity of the month: 

‘Cultural activity’ seems like such a wanky way to phrase it, but how else do you encapsulate plays/ gigs/ comedy shows/ concerts into the one category? Stay with me (or suggest a better name in the comments! Culture Club nearly won, but to be honest, I feel like this blog is jazzy enough without continuous Boy George references).

Anyway, being a Melburnite, I went along to see two comedians at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this month, Adam Hills’ ‘Clown Heart’ and Rich Hall’s ‘3:10 to Humour’. Rich Hall NAILED it. Man, when you get two hundred politics nerds in the room and then a comedian starts talking about gun control, you just know shit’s going to get real very fast. I also saw the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Endgame’ on Monday night, but I’m not sure I’d recommend that, unless you like absurdist drama, an impending apocalypse, and not understanding anything you’re seeing.

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Inspiring person of the month:

Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and NYU law professor. If you’re a law student (and okay, even if you’re not), just watch his TedX Talk. The man is a walking legend. He needs no other introduction. I ordered his book ‘Just Mercy’ online, and plan to read it in approximately ten thousand years, when my trusts law professor will eventually stop giving me fifty-page cases to read every night.

Most Googled topic of the month:

Following on from my recent obsession with Bryan Stevenson, and in light of recent events concerning the Boston Bomber, my boyfriend and I have been completely fascinated with the death penalty in the United States. In particular, I was shocked to discover more about the botched execution of death row prisoner Joseph Wood in Arizona last year, and, following a bit of a gallop into the Internet hole, found myself on the Death Penalty Information Center’s website, accessible here. Being incredibly fortunate to live in a country where the possibility of state execution doesn’t hang over my head, I found the statistics regarding death penalty in the U.S. equal parts intriguing and horrifying, and was shocked to learn that California has the largest death row in the country (currently at a whopping 751 inmates, despite not having executed a single prisoner since 2006). Regardless of your beliefs (and heck, mine definitely reside in the anti-capital punishment territory), this topic is only becoming increasingly important, and, yes, one hundred percent Google-able.

(Coming close second: is Taylor Swift dating Calvin Harris? GUYS, serious question. They did look matey at Whole Foods. Okay, enough about that.)

Website of the month:

This month, what with a plethora of incredibly uninspiring uni lectures, I’ve been obsessed with the fashion blog of Ms Pandora Sykes: fashion writer, stylist and blogger. When I should have been giving my undivided attention to a case about mortgages, I’ve instead regularly perused the many inspired posts of this glorious English fashion maven. I could not be more in love with her chunky, fab coats layered with shirts, brogues, tights, and everything else under the sun- glitter, pom poms, piercings… And shout out to her use of the word ‘home slice’, which has now become an awesomely unexpected addition to my vocab (what’s up, home slice?)

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Movie of the month:

Now that I think about it, I’m fairly sure this is the only movie I’ve seen this month (does a Say Yes To The Dress marathon count?). Very late to the party, but I watched Interstellar on the weekend, while lying in front of a fireplace eating taramasalata and pita in my pyjamas on a Saturday night (yo don’t hate the playa, hate the game, baby). I’m equal parts amazed and totally freaked out by space, and this movie only intensifies both those emotions. Moreover, it’s the first movie I’ve seen that’s officially part of the “McConnaissance“, and dang, the dude’s got downright talent. I’m not a sci-fi/fantasy chick by any realm of the universe (ha! See what I did there?) but I didn’t snooze off or even check my Instagram during the entire film, which is basically like climbing Everest: it’s BIG. But what I love more than anything else about the movie? It reminded me that at the end of the day, we’re all here on this tiny little unique planet, spinning around a slowly dying sun in an infinite universe, a tiny speck within the concept of time. And suddenly… whether Taylor Swift is dating Calvin Harris doesn’t matter anymore. You feel insignificant, but in a way that is oddly comforting, not isolating- like you’re part of a wider narrative.

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(Okay, just kidding. Whether they’re dating TOTALLY matters).

Well, that’s clearly enough ranting for one day. I’ve got all that #inspo off my chest and now I’m as happy as a clam, ready to perve on what you’ve been loving this month too. Share below if you please! There’s always time to procrastinate. And hey, if you’re Alec Baldwin… call me.

Met Gala 2014: Power Couples Edition.

 Laters, Easter Sunday. Adieu, ANZAC Day. Sayonara, Santa and your sleigh. The month of May is officially the best time of the year. This Monday should have been declared a public holiday.

And why? Well, it’s all about the Met Gala, of course.

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Chaired by none other than Ms Anna “Ice Queen” Wintour, the Met Ball fundraises for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Regardless, it essentially remains an excuse for the rich and famous to get primped, primed, and totter around on the red carpet sporting cheeky leg reveals and awkward leans. It’s a similar scenario every year. Twitter goes cray cray. Instagram practically explodes. Die-hard celebrity watchers such as myself attend uni lectures instantly refreshing websites waiting to glimpse the latest look. What do you mean, I’m meant to function as a productive human being today?

So, naturally, when we think of the Met Gala, we think faaaaaaaahhhshun.

We think oozing glamour, frenzied paparazzi, high-end, suck-your-belly-in, this-dress-cost-more-than-your-house-and-your-car-and-your-two-kidneys type outfits. Last year, the theme was “Punk: Chaos to Couture”. Cue studs, tartan, black leather, and the internet self-combusting over some seriously entertaining gifs of Jennifer Lawrence photobombing Sarah Jessica Parker and her fauxhawk.

Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

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There we go. That woman just might be my soulmate.

The ball had a decidedly vintage feel this year, entitled “White Tie and Diamonds”, with a nod to couturier Charles James. Rumour has it Marc Jacobs wasn’t too pleased because it basically prevented him from rocking up to the ball in boxer shorts, as he famously did in 2012. Maybe next year, Mr Jacobs. Hang in there, pal.

Celebrities spend days upon days oohing and aahing over what fabulous attire they shall don on the style soiree of the year. And if shit really hits the fan, one or two might even encounter some serious issues on the day of the event.

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Oh Tay Tay. Miaaaaow.

I would love to say the highlight of the Met Gala 2014 was the frocks, jocks and socks. But that would be a complete and utter lie. It seems another accessory stole the show. A living, breathing, sweating and talking accessory.

No, not a Furby. Not Siri either. The must-have accessory was a partner.

Hollywood is no doubt insanely incestuous, with most VIPs pashing another at some stage. They’re all famous, I guess! And there’s nothing to make your heart flutter like bonding over photographers in the bushes snapping pics of you at Starbucks. But it seems 2014 is the year to fall head over heels, sport lovesick eyes, and walk hand in hand with a regulation hottie. Because nothing says fashion like a partner trailing three feet behind.

I hereby rename this year’s theme:

MET GALA 2014: POWER COUPLES EDITION.

Here are the top 10 power couples of the 2014 Met Gala, compiled by yours truly.

10. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield

As much as I’d love to give Spiderman and Easy A the top spot because I’m a loud and proud advocate of their relationship, they’re juuuust sneaking in. Yes, they’re power coupling up a storm. But serious points deducted for Emma’s Thakoon gown. It’s pretty, sure, but where’s the intrigue and detail and faaashun she usually rocks with flair and pizazz?!?! This just looks like very MTV Movie Awards circa 2004. Naht impressed, guyzzz. I was rooting for you! You owe me one for even being on this list.

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9. Charlize Theron and Sean Penn

Now I must say, this couple doesn’t do it for me (nor does Sean’s creepy mo). But you’ve gotta admit it. They basically define “power couple”. Can you imagine sitting down at a ball table and having them two lounging next to you, just casually leaning over you to pour some champers, or nibble on the complimentary bread? It’s nuts. Too much talent. Imagine the pillow talk.

Plus, Charlize looks bangin’ in that Dior gown. Damn, gurl. You classy.

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8. Chanel Iman and A$AP Rocky

Have I been living under a rock? Literally? Cos tell me if I have, dear blogger pals. But who in the dingin’ name of Hollywood is A$AP Rocky? Well, Chanel Iman’s main squeeze, apparently. She’s stunning the crowd, swathed in her Topshop threads. He’s clearly channelling Kanye West in this one, but I give him a free pass because, well, he’s a Grade A Babe. Mm, yep. Carry on, you two. As you were. I approve.

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7. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

Okay, so I hadn’t actually heard of this power couple until I saw the photos on Vogue. And then their adorable photo published on Humans of New York. Holy shiet on toast, they are adorable! High five, John, for scoring that babe. Chrissy Teigen, you may have reached new girl crush status with that insane Ralph Lauren creation and infectious Colgate smile. Stone cold fox. May you both create ten thousand beautiful children.

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6. Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson

Waahhhhh. The Jason Wu attire. The cream jacket. The classy hairstyle. The mysterious, “we’re better than you and we know it” eyes. This, right here, is the definition of perfection. REALLY.

Don’t believe me? Grab your nearest Oxford Dictionary. Look up the word ‘perfection’. See this picture? Yep. Good. Told you so. That is all.

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5. Victoria and David Beckham

Say what you will, you just can’t go past Posh Spice and the Becks. I kind of adore this look. His hair. Her hair. His tailored suit. Her tailored gown. The complimentary black and white tones just scream “Remember our matching outfits in the 90’s?!?!” and it’s fabulous. Yes I do, guys. Yes I do. Adopt me?

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Aaaand just for the mems:

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4. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

This appears to be a far more restrained look than last year, where Kim somehow accidentally wore her couch. Kanye is KILLIN’ that Lanvin suit. He needs to wear it again. Not that he would ever outfit repeat (perish the thought, what dingus would do that?). But dang, those tails make him look suaver than Sinatra. Uh-huh, honey.

Kim too looks like a legit goddess (albeit a very safe, fail-proof one, can’t go wrong with a gown like that). As if she has had a baby not so long ago?! Defying gravity with those legs, I’ll say that much. Kris Jenner must be wetting herself with pride, particularly when coupled with Kendall’s debut on the red carpet that pretty much paralysed Instagram. How could you not love this? I mean, really. Tick!

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PS- Lest we forget:

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3. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

A controversial entrant into the Power Couples list! (Je suis vraiment desolée, Vanessa Paradis.)

Oui, fiancée Amber Heard, swathed in a stunning Giambattista Valli confection, may be a zillion years younger than Johnny. But seriously, the man’s just got swag. I mean, he’s got a cane and it doesn’t look ridiculous!! I repeat. JOHNNY DEPP USED A CANE. And it looks rad.

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2. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds.

Finally! The enigmatic power couple hit the cameras! Eeeeeeeee. They look like something out of the Princess Bride, BUT IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE. Blake is so flippin’ beautiful it brings tears to the eyes. She’s a woman! Goodbye Serena Van Der Woodsen!  Her hair is a cross between Marilyn Monroe and the Little Mermaid, and it is a match made in sartorial heaven. And yes, Ryan could probably impregnate me with his eyes (and beard).

Uggggghhh. Sweet Jesus. Their children will have the most goddang glorious gene pool.

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1. Beyonce and Jay- Z.

Obviously.

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Do I even have to elaborate? No.

And then that whole thing where Queen B dropped her ring and Jay put it back on? Funny, I thought Beyonce and I were best friends, but she didn’t text me about this? Bey, babe, that was cute. If you’re reading this, return my calls? xoxo

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Ahh, love is in the air in Tinseltown. It’s enough to make a grown gal cry.

Now to rustle up a cheeky US $25,000 for a ticket so next year I too can be power coupling with Ryan Gosling. Don’t worry, friends. I’ll tag you in the Insta.

The New Winter Coat: Beards in Melbourne

Originally written for a journalism class, but thought I’d share it with you beautiful peaches.

Move over Don Draper, there’s a new man in town. He’s rugged and raw, unfussed and unshaven, wearing only an op-shopped woolly and the scent of pure testosterone. Keep your cologne at home and give your lotions a demotion. Welcome, gentlemen, to the age of the retrosexual.

Ladies, take a deep breath. It seems facial fluff is no longer reserved for Movember. Beards are latching on to Melburnian men at an epidemical rate, and they’re here to stay. Be it a 5 o’clock shadow, overgrown stubble or a solid chin-hedge, the contemporary beard resembles more of an out-of-work Johnny Depp than a Santa-style face rug. From Burwood to Hollywood, males worldwide are embracing the razor-free lifestyle.

Could this be an instinctive response to insulate the modern man’s jaw in these blustery months? Not so, says Ben Elgar-White, 22, criminology student and self-confessed beard enthusiast. It’s all about the aesthetic.

‘It started in year 12 when I was able to grow a ‘real beard’. Friends were jealous and encouraged me to grow it out into something fun. I get plenty of compliments, which makes me hesitant to shave it. Then again, maybe I just keep it because I like feeling in control of my face, and how I keep my beard likely has an impact on how people see me.’

What about his girlfriend? ‘Jess isn’t a fan,’ he admits. ‘She’s never complained about how it looks, but has protested against whiskers up her nose when kissing and pash rash.’

She’s not alone. A recent New Zealand study published in Behavioural Ecology in January last year found that women not only found beards unattractive, but also believe that they make men seem older and more aggressive. On the other hand, it was concluded that having a beard created a greater level of respect between males by signalling signs of masculinity, with both sexes agreeing that a beard symbolised higher social status.  Conversely, Northumbria University psychologist and researcher, Dr Nicholas Neave, found light stubble was the most popular amongst women. He theorized that ‘it was almost as if women preferred a man who could grow a beard but hadn’t.’

It may come as surprise then that Adelaide band The Beards’ hit ‘You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man’ was voted by Australians as #99 on Triple J’s coveted ‘Hottest 100’ countdown in January 2012. ‘Perhaps there are women- or men- who hadn’t considered bearded men as a viable sexual option who are now saying “You know, perhaps I should have sex with someone with a beard,”’ band frontman Johann Beardraven mused in a 2011 LiveGuide interview. ‘It’s for the bearded man on the street corner asking for change, we’re saying, “Maybe give him a go.” ’

Such a mentality can only encourage this hairy phenomenon- according to award-winning Professor Steve Jones’ Y: The Descent of Man, a man’s beard grows fastest when he anticipates sexual activity.

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If not just for morphing into an instant chick magnet, this sudden surge of follicle freedom could be a sign of the times. A 2011 Travelodge study published in the UK’s Telegraph found that the average adult’s toiletries bag was worth a staggering $251.55, with men spending approximately 81 minutes on their personal grooming regime each day (that’s 6 more minutes than women). The global financial crisis, economic slump and rising costs of living can be seen as a factor in provoking regular blokes to reject expensive creams and time-consuming styling in favour of sprouting something cheap, fancy-free and low maintenance.

Fashion blogger Hannah Borg, 20, also connects this popular trend to ‘indie’ culture and society’s new appreciation of eccentricity. ‘It’s quite a hipster aesthetic, particularly popular amongst independent artists,’ she commented. ‘Beards create a sense of style and bring an edge of cool and maturity to a guy. They ooze confidence yet mystery… sort of re-claiming the Y-chromosome.’ Style icons definitely do not shy away from the unshaven- everyone from Prince to Prince William embracing their inner bushranger.

But these facial hair vines surely have their limits. ‘While the acceptability has allowed more people to sport interesting facial hair without being labelled as crazy, it’s also encouraged people to grow patchy beards and wispy moustaches which look pretty awful,’ Ben observes. ‘Like wearing skinny jeans, it’s not for everyone.’

Trim the mop on top or else you could end up channelling Chewbacca with more fur than flesh.  Shampoo regularly, unless you want your beard to doubly serve as a visual food diary. Stray too much into dirty goatee territory and you might be asked to stay at least 500 metres away from schools and playgrounds.

Any good at wrestling your whiskers and you could be jet setting off to the biennial World Beard and Moustache Championships next held in Stuttgart in November this year. With categories such as the ‘Alaskan Whaler’, ‘Dali’ and ‘Full Beard Freestyle,’ Melburnian hair connoisseurs have much to strive for.

But at the end of the day, could this all just a quick fad? ‘In many ways, it’s no different to any other trend, from sixties style bangs to greasy grunge nineties hair,’ Hannah observes. ‘Everyone wants to be part of the cool crowd.’

As the Beards so eloquently croon, ‘having a beard is the new not having a beard.’ So there you have it, gentlemen. Let the manes begin.