Hold the Glamour

I am a full-figure model and working mother. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I am a Leo. I am a first-generation Aussie and mother to two amazing little native New Yorkers. I believe that fashion is important—but so is real life. I believe that all women are beautiful and strong. I believe in working hard and loving harder. I believe in eating delicious food and drink with close friends, in breathing deep the air of new places, in laughing until you cry. I believe that when our bodies and minds are healthy and balanced, anything is possible.

Tag: Sydney

Stayed tuned…

I’m currently sitting at Sydney international airport, waiting for my flight to Los Angeles and San Francisco. I have a few days of work on the West Coast of the USA which is always fun.

The weather is fabulous this time of year and I look forward to eating at my favourite Japanese restaurant in San Francisco.

I’ve been shooting on location for Ezibuy this past week and will return to Sydney in a few days to finish the Holiday shoot. I wore these great harem-type pants in navy and black that I simply have to get.

Mid-week, I’m shooting a TV commercial in Australia so it’s busy times indeed. I love it.

I have some great pics to share with you and will have plenty more in my next post.

Stay tuned…

xoxo

Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

My family and I recently arrived in Sydney, Australia. So far it has been a relaxing time spent with family and friends. It’s been a while since Steve and the kids were here so everyone wants to see them and see how our children have grown.

I start shooting for Sara by Ezibuy in a matter of days so prior to leaving New York, I made sure I purchased a new bottle of my favourite foundation I’ve been using for over six years. Armani Luminous Silk Foundation gives me the coverage I need whilst feeling light and looking smooth and natural on my face.

http://www.giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com/luminous-silk-foundation/A041,default,pd.html

I have had many different brands and products applied to my face over the course of my career and no foundation in my opinion, comes close to Armani. I buy my own and have the make-up artist apply it for each and every job. Most of them are happy to use my personal foundation, if they don’t already use Armani themselves.

Make sure when you buy any foundation for the first time, you have a consultant assist you. Getting the right shade is very important for a colour match that you want to look natural. A good guide is to apply your foundation on the inside of your arm or wrist. The colour or shade you see the least, is generally the right one for you.

What foundation do you use and love?

Why do you love it so much?

Is price important to you?

Where and what is Bare Island?

On Monday we started shooting Modern Curve for Ezibuy in and around Sydney. Today is day three and it was still dark for our 5.30am call time. It was a beautiful day spent on the foreshores of Sydney – it was warm, sunny and windy.

Our location was Bare Island, La Perouse. It is a small island south-east of Sydney, not far from Botany Bay. The historic military fort and tunnels can be visited by guided tour and the waters around the island are popular with scuba divers. The island was featured in Mission: Impossible II… Who knew? There is also a nudist beach within walking distance to enjoy if that is your thing.

Sydney - our hair & make-up station in our location van

Sydney – Our hair & make-up station in our location van

Our location van stood out like a sore thumb in the parking lot and immediately became our base camp. Abby Valdez and I had our hair and make-up done by Richard Kavanagh and Linda Jefferyes respectively, before we trekked down to the footbridge and waters edge to start shooting for the day.

Sydney - Bare Island, La Perouse

Sydney – Bare Island, La Perouse

There were many people coming and going, mainly on foot. Occasionally, the islands visitors would stop and take in what the Ezibuy, Modern Curve team were shooting and doing. We saw people from all over the world interested in seeing the old military fort up close.

We went about our business, oblivious mostly to the stares and interest of others. There were scuba divers, fisherman, tourists and cyclists. Bare Island is a busy place it turns out to be.

Bare Island - The walkway bridge that connects the Island to the mainland

Bare Island – The footbridge that connects the Island to the suburb of La Perouse

A couple of my favourite pieces were a blue pair of skinny jeans and a black pair of pants with zipper detail. There is a lot of colour in the Modern Curve Winter catalogue.

Bare Island - the crew in place for the next shot

Bare Island – The crew in place for the next shot

Have you ever been to Bare Island?

http://www.sydney.com/destinations/sydney/sydney-east/surrounds/attractions/bare-island

Handy travel tips that make life easier

Since my last post, I’ve traveled out of New York a couple of times to Philly and Little Rock again. This time I got stuck in Little Rock, Arkansas. Funny how I can make it home during one of the biggest storms (Blizzard Nemo) in our area in a hundred years however, I can’t get home because of a thunderstorm.

On Monday early evening I was to fly out of Little Rock to New York, via Chicago. A thunderstorm delayed my outbound flight to Chicago and immediately it threatened my connection to New York. I had the choice to risk it and see what happens, end up in a hotel in Chicago or stay put in Little Rock. I decided to stay put.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to work yesterday however, it messed up my plans I had with Mila for the day as well as a bunch of errands I had to run and packing for my next trip.

Yesterday I woke up at 3.30am and caught a 6am flight out of Little Rock to Chicago where I connected for a flight to La Guardia. It was snowing when I arrived in Chicago. I arrived home around 1pm, approximately 14 hours after I was originally due to arrive. This is not the glamourous side to the business.

Little Rock, AK - My 6am sunrise from the plane

Little Rock, AK – My 6am sunrise from the plane

Chicago - It's snowing when we land

Chicago – It’s snowing when we land

You see I’m at JFK airport right now, awaiting my Qantas flight to Sydney, Australia. I start shooting for Ezibuy on Monday for a week and I’ve finally stopped still for what seems like the first time in days.

The endless preparation that goes on before I leave on big trips such as this one is incredible. The kids, house, me and business keep going on and on. Is it like this for all working mother’s? Is it like this for all people who travel a lot for their occupation? The constant juggling and planning never stops.

I wonder sometimes how I get it all done… I know my amazing husband has a lot to do with it. I am thankful and grateful for Steve who is my true partner in life and love. We are a team. I know I could not do this and have the life I/we have without him.

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you some travel tips that I have found to work for me whether I’m on the road for business or pleasure. If you have any ideas or tips you would like to share – please do so. I’m all ears.

  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after your trip
  • Eat lightly
  • Pack healthy snacks like carrots and nuts in case you get hungry
  • Pack an eye-mask and ear plugs so you can zone out the noise and light and hopefully fall sleep
  • Pack some reading material especially for take-off and landing (no electronics allowed in use at this time)
  • Sleep whenever you can
  • Check and double-check all flight details and your itinerary
  • Ensure you have all travel documents in one, safe and easy place to access
  • Pack a scarf and extra clothes like a cardigan so you can layer – it can get very cold on the plane
  • Wear comfortable clothes

I’m sure I’ll remember other things to add. Stay tuned for more glamourous travel and life moments.

10 planes in 8 days

I do laugh when people say I lead a glamourous life! I was a total wreck up until a few days ago and I like many other working mothers and parents still have to keep going, no matter what.

Midflight from Sydney to Los Angeles

Mid-flight from Sydney to Los Angeles

I returned from Australia almost two weeks ago and for the first few nights was awake most of the evening with jet-lag. Oh how I love jet-lag especially traveling east! It is in my experience, always worse on your body.

The day after I returned home I had to unpack and re-pack my bag for another work trip. I desperately tried to find the time to kiss and hug my family a million times before a six-hour journey to the middle of Arkansas on two different planes. I was asleep before take off both times and I slept most of the way, only to find myself stiff and sore from sleeping upright in an uncomfortable airline chair.

Arkansas - Arriving at a late hour and the airport is empty

Arkansas – Arriving at a late hour and the airport is deserted

This is survival – I arrive an hour late and not only is it below freezing in Arkansas, my ride isn’t at the airport as arranged. I call the hotel and they don’t have me booked in with them this particular night so I go ahead and make a booking myself, catch a yellow cab for a half hour drive out of the city, heading to the woods it seemed. I watch too much Law & Order as my mind was racing – I’ve never been to this part of the world before and it was dark, cold and remote. I was wide awake at this point with my mobile in hand.

I repeat the address to the taxi driver who is approx. 6’3” and is wearing overalls, to make sure he knows where to rightfully take me. See, I told you! All he says is, “Yes, ma’am”. You can’t blame me for being nervous right?

I then wait at the hotel reception for about 15 minutes as their computer system was down and the new kid on the block wasn’t able to kick-start it without help from someone on the phone. I just roll with it – there is no point in doing anything else.

I finally get to my room after midnight and the room is freezing. It takes me about two hours to fall asleep as I kept getting up trying to get warm. I put socks on first, then a blanket over me then another, until I reluctantly turned the heater on. It sounded like I was on an airport runway without earplugs or headphones. Lucky for me, I always travel with earplugs and an eye mask. Tools of the trade.

I wake at 6am for a 7am start. Fortunately, the crew were as eager as I was for a Starbucks run before work. The shoot went smoothly and quickly enough. Jet-lag slapped me in the face again by 2.30pm and I could not wait till my 6pm connecting flight so I could sleep, even if it was for an hour. I didn’t know what time zone my body was in.

Notice the WiFi sign on planes these days - gone are the No Smoking ones

Notice the WiFi sign on planes these days – gone are the No Smoking ones

I arrive home a day later at 1am from the airport and find myself awake till 5am, lying in bed trying desperately to zone out. What can I say… I thought of one million things I could have done during this time if it were daylight. I could have been so productive.

The couple of days that followed, I stayed as still as possible and at home with my family before a busy shoot in Manhattan. I rock-n-roll from one city to another!

New York - Finishing touches at the hair and make-up station

New York – Finishing touches at the hair and make-up station

New York - Walking to the subway from the midtown studio with The Empire State Building in front

New York – Walking to the subway from the midtown studio with The Empire State Building in front

This lovely pattern went on for almost a week, including a second trip to Arkansas. I am happy to say the second trip went smoothly and without any delays. My ride even made contact before I left for New York. Happy days indeed!

I traveled on 10 planes in eight days. It is exhausting and tiring to say the least. I have finally caught up on much-needed sleep and rest. My lips are dry from constantly kissing my angels and husband… Making up for lost time.

Next stop Philadelphia… Stay tuned!

What is the worst jet-lag you have ever experienced?

How long did it take you to recover?

What remedies or methods have you tried to get over jet-lag that worked for you?

Extremes of anything are dangerous

In the morning, I leave Sydney for New York. I’m flying with Qantas (my airline of choice), so I am looking forward to making my journey safely and comfortably home to the Big Apple. I cannot wait to see my precious family even though it’ll be for less than 24 hours.

Within 24 hours of touching down at JFK, I’m stepping on another plane heading to the middle of America for work on my next shoot. Catch-up family time is going to have to wait until the weekend (when I think I’m going to be home).

It has been a hot and fiery summer in Australia with fires burning out of control. Homes have been lost and certainly the lives of the innocent. It is headline news night after night – so sad and tragic to watch and listen to.

Global warming is out of control and we can see, notice and personally experience the impact of what it is doing everywhere in the world, whether in the Northern or Southern Hemispheres.

I know of someone who returned from Germany the other day and he describes his three weeks in Europe as freezing. New York up until recently has been freezing.

The weather patterns around the world seem to be out-of-control. Extremes of weather are dangerous. Extremes of anything are dangerous.

What are we going to do about it?

What are you doing about it?

What suggestions do you have to improve the way of the world?

42 degrees and still shooting

I’m currently in Australia and today I finished my first shoot of the new year. We were shooting the autumn/fall collection for Sara by Ezibuy. It means layers, coats and boots for the cooler months ahead.

It’s hard to imagine however, the fashion industry is always at least six months ahead of the game with design, sourcing the fabric, manufacture to shooting the samples and getting the images ready for advertising. It’s a long lead time.

The weather has been hot, hot, hot and today we battled beauty and fashion in 42 degree celsius heat in Sydney like true professionals (107.6 degrees fahrenheit). The heat wave we are experiencing throughout Australia did not stop us from making and creating fashion magic. We started at 5.30am this morning to ensure we weren’t shooting during the hottest time of the day.

Sydney - Sunrise at 5.30am

Sydney – call time is at sunrise

Sydney - Sara crew working hard

Sydney – Juli Balla and the Sara crew hard at work

Sydney - Hard at work in the heat

Sydney – smiling and shooting whilst the temperatures soar

Yesterday we spent on the Northern Beaches shooting in one of my favourite location homes. The property looks like something straight out of Palm Springs, U.S.A. I love it. Unfortunately, jumping in the pool and cooling off after work was not an option for me or the crew. What an incredible view!

Sydney - my dream house on the Northern Beaches

Sydney – my dream house on the Northern Beaches

The first couple of days of our shoot, we spent inside the studio. It is certainly easier for all without the elements and humidity wreaking havoc on hair, make-up, equipment and clothes. We turn the air conditioning up, the music goes on and we get down to business. It is calm, controlled and smooth.

Sydney - Annette McKenzie & I (my amazing hair & make-up artist)

Sydney – Annette McKenzie & I (my amazing hair & make-up artist)

Sydney - In studio

Sydney – in studio

Sydney - kisses from the cool studio

Sydney – kisses from the hair & make-up table

Since I started writing this post this afternoon, over a hundred and forty fires have broken out in N.S.W. alone. Other states in Australia are also battling fires in hot, dry and windy conditions that have proven to be devastating and uncontrollable. My best wishes and thoughts go out to all those affected and threatened by the catastrophic temperatures and erratic fire patterns that lie ahead of this evening. I wish you all, well.

What are you going to do to stay cool during these hot summer months? What tips do you have?

What are you looking forward to come autumn/fall as far as fashion goes?

What trends are you noticing and excited about?

2013… Here we come!

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping for a fabulous and glamourous 2013 for all.

I’m sitting at the British Airways club lounge in New York’s JFK airport as I write my first blog of the year. My mum always said, whatever you do on the first day of the year is what will manifest and be for the remainder of the year. Does that mean, I’ll get a sleep in, be frantically packing, organising the household, kissing and hugging my family a hundred times and flying off to far away places for what remains of the year? We shall see won’t we.

I’m leaving my husband and kids for two weeks as I fly to Sydney to shoot the Autumn catalogue of Modern Curve by Ezibuy. It’s a long flight – approximately 27 hours door-to-door. I am looking forward to seeing my family in Sydney and to enjoying the warmer weather that Australia is experiencing right now. I was packing dresses and sandals this morning when Steve commented, “at least you’re heading to the sunshine”. Yes I am and without my family this time.

Wish me well as I journey Down Under.

Last night, my family and I stayed home for NYE and had a delicious meal together before the kids went to bed a little later than their usual time. Steve and I watched a couple of our recorded TV programs before retiring to bed just before midnight, cuddling and talking as the fireworks started to explode outside. We wished each other the best of the best for 2013 and fell asleep in each others arms. A perfect way to welcome a new day and a new year.

I hope your heads &/or hearts aren’t suffering too much after last night.

What did you do for New Year’s Eve?

What was special or meant the most to you about last night?

Happy Holidays to you and yours

I hope your Christmas was fun and festive and your holiday season has been enjoyable and sane to some extent. Steve and I decided to have our Christmas at home in New York this year. Unfortunately, it didn’t snow.

On Christmas Eve, the four of us went along to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (everyone else in New York had the same idea). We got a good look at the city all lit up and full of bright lights and colour that went as far as the eye could see. It was truly magical and in the spirit of the holidays. We were surprised however, at the size of the tree. Although it was BIG, Steve and I thought it would be bigger!

NYC - Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

NYC – Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

NYC - Angels at Rockefeller Centre

NYC – Angels at Rockefeller Center

We then walked (or should I say shuffled) along Fifth Ave towards uptown and saw the window displays of the department stores – Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Ave, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. The kids went nuts and it was difficult to say which one was better. What imagination these people have to create such art with an individual and unique vision and interpretation of Christmas. WOW!

The crowds were scary and police were everywhere. They were on foot, horseback and in patrol cars. After our afternoon and early evening in the city, we couldn’t wait to get home to the peace, calm, warmth and quiet of our home. We had to prepare for Santa’s arrival and for the big day itself.

Christmas morning was as exciting as it gets for the kids. Santa was generous and so was mummy and daddy. We had a lazy morning opening gifts then a delicious brunch. In the afternoon we had friends come over who were visiting from Australia. We had a lovely time eating and drinking and we were all so pleased we could spend such a special day together. Before we knew it, it was time to crawl into bed and put this day behind us for another year.

Our day was relaxed and special to us however, we missed our family back in Australia with whom we usually spend the holidays with. Christmas is about family and there’s nothing like celebrating Christmas with each other.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

What did you get up to this year?

What traditions does your family participate in?

What makes Christmas special and magical for you?

Spring in Sydney

Sydney - Setting up on Coogee Beach

Sydney – Setting up on Coogee Beach

Since arriving in Sydney, Australia a week ago the fabulous spring weather has been nothing but delightful. I love it here at this time of year. The days are sunny and bright, the evenings still crisp and cool. I can smell and feel the change of season and there’s an excitement in the air. The time has come to shed your winter layers and get moving, going. A rebirth is around the corner.

Sydney - My change room on Coogee Beach

Sydney – My change room on Coogee Beach

Our shoot for Ezibuy goes well and we have great weather to prove it. We shoot in various suburbs in Sydney which include Coogee Beach, Seaforth, Dover Heights and the studio in Waterloo.

Sydney - Hello sunshine! Views from Dover Heights

Sydney – Hello sunshine! Views from Dover Heights

Our mornings start at 6.30am for hair and make-up, so that means my alarm goes off at 5am to ensure I’m at work on time. By lunchtime we are well and truly in to our day and by 9pm I fall into my bed exhausted, more than ready to rest and be still.

Sydney - Studio day with a hair & make-up change

Sydney – Studio day with a hair & make-up change

Location days are generally more difficult than shooting in the studio. You have weather, sun, reflection, equipment to maneuver and light to consider and work around. In the studio, it’s a controlled environment. You can change the background and adjust the lighting depending on whether you are shooting full length, waist-up or waist-down. I like mixing up my days in studio and on location.

Sydney - Time to bring on the glamour

Sydney – Time to bring on the glamour

I manage to have some down time with a dear friend of mine and her family on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and we have brunch at The Boathouse Palm Beach (my first time). The views are spectacular, the food is delicious (fresh Australian cuisine) and the atmosphere is beachside and truly relaxed. It is a must on your Sydney agenda and worth the 45 min drive north.

Sydney - Views from The Boathouse Palm Beach

Sydney – Views from The Boathouse Palm Beach

Sydney - Lying on the grass soaking up the sun after our brunch at The Boathouse

Sydney – Lying on the grass soaking up the sun after our brunch at The Boathouse

Now, I return to my annual tax return, filing, opening of mail and general office work. It’s the other side to my, ‘oh so glamourous’ life. Ha!

What are some of your favourite Sydney spots to live or visit?

Where is the best ‘brunch’ served in your opinion?

What makes or defines the best brunch?