31 December 2013

100 things I did in 2013


A bumpy road filled with its ups and downs, 2013 has undisputedly been the best and worst year for me. This year I have accomplished a lot, learnt a lot and experienced a lot. Taking inspiration from Youtuber Tyler Oakley, enjoy my year summed up in a few photographs and dot points! What has been your most memorable moment of 2013?



1. Went bowling in an empty bowling alley
2. Saw M.I.A perform live and grabbed her hand with my bestest bud
3. Began expressing a genuine interest in Julian Assange
4. Tried a waffle for the first time and fell in love
5. Went to a high tea on the hottest day ever recorded
6. Saw Life Of Pi and was surprisingly unimpressed
7. Saw This Is 40 and felt like I wasted 40 hours of my life
8. Saw Pitch Perfect and was surprisingly impressed
9. Went and wandered the streets of Sydney for Australia Day
10. Got too excited for Triple J's #99 and #40 on their Hottest 100 list
11. Studied like I've never studied before for Studies of Religion 2 Unit
12. Listened to The Strokes' One Way Trigger and became confused and disappointed
13. Managed to complete the most distressing oral assessment in school
14. Listened to M.I.A's Matangi Mixtape non-stop the day it was released
15. Started watching My Mad Fat Diary
16. Started watching GIRLS
17. Read a quote by Lena Dunham which changed my life - "get used to it because I am going to live to be 100, and I am going to show my thighs every day till I die."
18. Went to my first official football/soccer game
19. Finally saw Inglorious Bastards
20. Watched The Ring on Valentine's Day
21. Went and saw the DesignTECH exhibition
22. My business class had to do a case study on Arctic Monkeys
23. Celebrated birthdays at Pancakes on the Rocks way too many times
24. Wrote at least 3 creative writing stories
25. Cried during Marina Abramovic's film The Artist Is Present
26. Tried coffee and green tea together because a friend suggested it
27. Went and saw the Artexpress exhibition
28. Took photos of my art teacher when he fell asleep on the train
29. Was sent M.I.A promo posters from her Sydney show
30. Saw my old art teachers' daughters' work on display at 'The Social' exhibition
31. Got my hair cut professionally for the first time in 4 years and hated it
32. Wrapped a ridiculous amount of tape around my laptop so I could cram
33. Started going through a hip-hop/rap phase
34. Read all of Ted Bundy's Wikipedia page
35. Bought and surprised my best mate with Woodkid's Deluxe album 
36. Saw the fantastic Django Unchained
37. E-mailed my art teacher too many times to talk about my major work
38. Got April fooled by being sent a fake promo poster of a Woodkid performance in Sydney
39. Fell in love with Elle Fanning
40. Started and finished Breaking Bad
41. Obsessed over the Madeleine McCann case
42. Got drunk for the first time 
43. Had my last school photo taken
44. Kissed my gay friend
45. Saw the most amazing Hamlet production ever
46. Went to a keynote presentation at the IMAX theatre and saw a doco
47. Arctic Monkeys at Ventura. Enough said.
48. Had complications with boys
49. Got rid of a "friend"
50. Received an email back from my favourite visual artist, Aram Bartholl
51. Went on a Harbour cruise and discovered just how bad my motion sickness is
52. Went to Vivid Sydney
53. Experienced a Muslim Mosque and a Jewish Synagogue
54. Went to see my schools production of Grease
55. Finally received Year 12 Jackets after waiting months for them
56. Bought at least 7 pairs of shoes
57. Went through an extremely brief Kanye West phase
58. Completed my last high school assignment
59. Enjoyed every moment of streaming Arctic Monkeys live at Glastonbury
60. Gave myself my first stick and poke tattoo
61. Had the school textiles room all to myself for 4 hours for 2 days
62. Saw La Dispute for the second time in 2 years
63. Isolated myself from everything to study (dark times, guys)
64. Considered moving out to be closer to Uni
65. Surprised a friend for her 18th
66. Started and finished watching Friday Night Dinner
67. Followed the Manning trial every step of the way
68. Became genuinely upset because of school
69. Had my artwork exhibited at the Catholic Education Office
70. Actually participated at my last High School Athletics Carnival
71. Read a letter that I wrote to myself from Retreat 2012
72. Cut my hair short
73. Finished both my majors before its due date
74. Fell in love with Elizabeth Olsen
75. Took the day off school to buy and listen to AM on its release date
76. Told everyone to vote for The Wikileaks Party for the election
77. Woke up late, got ready for school, walked to school, took my major work to the staff room & got to homeroom on time. All in 30 minutes
78. Did nothing except take photos on the last day of classes
79. Graduated from High school
80. Attended my Year 12 Formal
81. Took too many shots at the Formal Afterparty
82. Started a blog :)
83. Went to the White Rabbit Art Gallery and wrote about it
84. Ordered JC Crown Lita's but never got them
85. Won a copy of Tiny Furniture
86. Got on the One Direction bandwagon
87. Finally saw The Hunger Games and hated it
88. Studied too little for my HSC
89. Got a job then lost it
90. Discovered British Youtubers
91. Listened to the studio version of Sexodus, which I had been waiting for all year
92. Completed the HSC
93. Watched Vlogmas videos religiously
94. Officially signed out of high school
95. Turned 18
96. Became a blogger for Chic Petite Events
97. Got excited for/bought/received Arctic Monkeys pre-sale tickets
98. Received my HSC results and ATAR and ended up on the 2013 Distinguished High Achievers list 
99. Dressed up as a present for a friends' Christmas party
100. Spent 2 days thinking of a 2013 summary blog post idea



- AlissAMR

27 December 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW / Boohoo & With Love Kirsten


BOOHOO
I ordered one item from Boohoo on the 8th December with free standard shipping with the intention of using this item at a party on the 20th. The estimated delivery date was between the 16th December and 19th December, although my order was delivered to me on the 24th December. This was expected, taking into consideration the rush of the Christmas period, but I've also experienced late delivery with other orders from Boohoo in the past. On the other hand, the Boohoo Customer Help Team Twitter provided exceptional customer service with their 24/7 support and an instant response.



The festive packaging was a nice touch; kudos to Boohoo for that little detail.
My package included the correct clothing piece I ordered, the Boohoo Christmas 2013 Lookbook, a few coupons which are only good for customers within the UK, and my Golden Ticket! This ticket gave me a code for 10% my whole order - type in 'GOLDEN10' at the checkout!



I bought the 'Wendy Wrap Front Ponte Skort' in the colour Ivory and in Size 10. 



At first glance, the material of this skort does make it look a bit cheap (95% Polyester and 5% Elastane). Due to the material being fairly thin, the back is quite see-through; just be sure to wear a pair of black shorts underneath to cover your bum!
The skort does not have pockets, which a lot of other dupes have but it doesn't bother me a big deal. For those wondering if this skort is high-waisted or sits at the hips... it IS high-waisted. This design feature flatters every figure as it accentuates your waist if you choose to tuck your top into it, and gives the illusion of curves through the slight flare of the skort silhouette. 
The sizing is true to size. I was tossing up between the size 10 or going one size up because the model had the 10 on and looked quite small. If you're still in doubt, use Boohoo's size chart to help you!


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WITH LOVE KIRSTEN
This Australian store sells designer duplicates at amazing prices, so when a friend recommended this store to me I checked it out! I ordered 3 items on the 13th December and they arrived on the 23rd December with standard shipping, which claimed to take an estimated 3 days at $6.32. I bought these items while there was a 40% coupon available, so I ended up spending a total of $21.73. With Love Kirsten customers cannot pay with Paypal, so a bank transfer is required. If any assistance is needed, you're able to message them on Facebook for a quick and helpful response.


I ordered the YSL Inspired T-shirt, YSL Earrings and the Guess Inspired Key Earrings. As seen in the photograph above, the shirt came in a normal plastic cover, but the 2 pieces of jewellery were put in a nicely designed paper bag shown below. 


The YSL T-Shirt was a let down to be completely honest. It was very different to the image on the website, where in real life, the print is larger and the material is lacking any quality. It becomes very unflattering as the fabric is very thin and see-through, and sizes run small. I purchased this for $12.99 with 40% off.



The YSL Earrings did not come with a holder like the Guess pair, but they were nonetheless still in good condition and they're basically identical to the photo shown on the website. I got this pair in Gun Metal Grey and they were only $2.99 with 40% off. Pretty good?


I bought this pair as a gift and was impressed because you can hardly tell that it's a duplicate. This particular pair is now sold out on the website, although I purchased this for $3.99 with 40% off. Again, an amazing deal.



 - AlissAMR


22 December 2013

OOTOD (Outfit of the other day)

On Thursday I headed back to school for one last time to catch up with a few kids from my cohort and to fill teachers in with the news of my HSC results. Amazingly enough, the first person I spoke to was my Religion teacher who told me that she was proud of me and my result (which was my worst mark for the HSC). I only stayed for about an hour and it was only about 50000°C - here's what I wore!





Dress: Factorie
Vest: Op Shop
Jewellery: Markets & Lovisa 


- AlissAMR

18 December 2013

My HSC experience ✏

The HSC or Higher School Certificate are examinations that every student in NSW takes in their final year of High School. Exam marks, assessment marks and your HSC mark are then all taken into consideration to form an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) which determines whether a student can be fast tracked into the University or College course of their choice. Today marked the official ending of 13 years of schooling for many NSW students; our HSC results were released at 6am this morning.

The subjects I chose going into Year 11 & 12 were Advanced English, Studies of Religion 2 Unit, Business Studies, General Maths, Geography and Visual Art. Me being the poorest reader, I never did any prior deep reading into each subject and so every subject I chose was extremely content heavy. Great. 
I sat in Geography class for 5 weeks in Year 11 and hated it. I knew all I wanted was to get out of the subject because I dreaded going to class, so I spoke to a few people and changed into Design & Technology. I also dropped General Maths in October of Year 11 for a number of reasons: it was stressing me out, the content was pointless, I had no motivation to complete the subject and my marks weren't the best. These changes were some of the best decisions I had made for my HSC.

This now meant I had two major works to complete. These are original projects that are produced individually by students, which are then marked externally. Only selected subjects require a major work and I chose two of them: Visual Art and Design & Technology. If I could give only one piece of advice on major works, it would be to know your idea and start as soon as you can. I can't stress that point enough. 
There ARE going to be things that go wrong with your major works. With my Visual Art major work, I thought I had my idea all set and did experiments...

I really disliked it and I couldn't see myself dedicating a whole year to this artistic practice. So I changed my idea... at least 20 times. As for my Design & Tech major, I was much more organised and I enjoyed pretending I had an actual fashion label. It's so important that you enjoy and have an genuine interest in your major works!

It was important to balance out all of my subjects throughout the year and I remember trying to memorise English essays whilst finishing up 4 assignments. It was stressful, even more so when my trial exams came around. It was around late July and early August when I became unusually down and I could sense other people in my year group feeling the same way. For me, it was the workload and the pressure which was so overwhelming. I even remember my art teacher telling me that "If you haven't cried this year yet, then you're not normal." 
Shoutouts to my best mates who give the best uplifting speeches :)

August 25th was a Sunday and the day before my two major works were due. I completely finished my Design & Tech major beforehand, but finishing my artwork was chaotic. 
I had to pick up my work from the framers then drop it off at school only to find out that the framer had cut off a significant part of my work. My teacher told me to re-do that bit so I went home to pick up some materials came back to school and stayed there for 4 hours, and it still wasn't done. I remember going to school early the next day and painting and glossing like I've never done before. There were so many things going wrong on the due date, but I spent the whole day in the art rooms and got it done!

 (The fingerprint QR Codes scan to here)

As the year goes on, you can feel Year 12 coming to an end as you'll participate in your last ever sport carnival or finish your last high school assignment. It's a weird feeling - I didn't know whether to feel relieved or sad. I'd been waiting for the end of high school for years, but the thought of being away from a year group that I'd grown so close to and to abandon a routine I've been following for 13 years - it was a bit terrifying. 
With everyone going through the same emotions, the last day of classes came, which was a day of class parties, group photos, selfies with teachers, signed cards with meaningful messages and a lot of hugs and tears. 




At this point, my stress level was extremely low. I was losing more and more motivation as school was drawing to a close and I constantly tried to convince myself that I needed to study, while I had friends who would study 5-8 hours a day. During my trial exams I would keep myself away from everyone in order to study 24/7 because I had the idea that the HSC was such a massive, massive deal.. when it really isn't. 
For the most part, everyone was studying their own thing at their own pace and this allowed us to enjoy our final weeks and events together. The week of my Graduation and Formal came around during September and the emotions ranged from proud to sad.


It's extremely important to find out what studying method works for you and to figure that out early on. Unfortunately for me, I only found my ideal studying method half way through Year 12, even after going to multiple lectures by TSFX (which are helpful, by the way!). What I did was gather all relevant information and notes from class and highlight important points. I would then generate questions from what I just highlighted and make them into flashcards. Yes, it was a long, long process, but it let me learn important points off by heart and it was effective for me. I used this method for Business Studies, Studies of Religion 2 Unit and Design & Technology. For English I would literally re-write 1000+ word essays over and over again until I remembered it off by heart and same went for Visual Art. 

My first exam was on the 14th of October for Advanced English, and my last exam was on the 6th of November for Visual Art. Lucky me, I had the very first exam and the very last exam. Every time we were called to walk into the hall for an exam, I would conjure up the exact same emotion where I thought I was unprepared, but at the same time I was confident. Time management is one of the most important things to grasp for any exam. I found that it was one of my strengths and I always had time after an exam to look over my answers and correct anything inaccurate. You also need a good pen! It may sound odd, but two of my teachers encouraged this tip because it will increase you writing speed and therefore the number of pages you can write!
Hands down, it was the best feeling to walk out of the exam room and being able to throw away your study notes!


After working hard through the course of 6 years of high school, it was finally time to sign out. A few signatures and returns to the school library was all I had to do, and I could officially call myself a high school graduate. 
I honestly could not pick out a better bunch of people to spend 6 hours every day for 6 years with. These people made my HSC experience and my overall high school experience worthwhile; these people are so accepting, kind, intelligent and I can never not have a good time with them.


Congratulations to all Year 12 's of 2013 and all the best for the future! Good luck to all Year 11 students who have just started the HSC course - you'll all do awesome!


- AlissAMR

9 December 2013

TROPFEST AUSTRALIA 2013: Highlights



December 8th marked Australia's 22nd Tropfest film festival which is the world's largest short film festival. If you're unfamiliar with Tropfest, it was founded by Jon Polson (well-known Australian filmmaker) where he held the very first festival in 1993 at a small Darlinghurst cafe called Tropicana Caffe, hence the existing "Tropfest" name. This screening attracted 200 people and has since then attracted many, many short film makers, directors, producers, actors... the list goes on! The renowned festival is held every December in Sydney, Australia, where an audience of thousands set up a picnic blanket and watch 16 short film finalists. This year I watched the festival in the comfort of my own home, all thanks to SBS 2 and their broadcast of Tropfest 2013!

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Here are some of the films that stood out for me. Which films did you enjoy?


CHARADES
Directed by Julian Lucas
A clever, clever short film to watch. An unexpected story about 3 siblings that take part in a Charades competition, and take it a bit too seriously. What I liked most about this short film was its storyline. I'm not too sure if including three young adults who are deaf and who use sign language to communicate on a daily basis in a Charades contest is a little offensive or unusually brilliant.

ARIEL 
Directed by Claude Gonzales
The cinematography in Ariel surprised me throughout the entire six and a half minutes. Every shot looked like it could be part of a photographic series because it was framed that well. A well deserved winner of the Nikon DSLR Film category, congratulations Claude Gonzales and cinematographers Junior Lucano and Alessandro Mattiolo!

TRUTH IS... 
Directed by Ben Davis
This short film possessed an interesting format, which is what stood out for me. Bikie Gangs and their way of living has interested me for a while now, and this short film shines a whole different light on the whole rebellious concept of every Bikie. Sure, there is still a hint of violence involved in the film, but Director Ben Davis successfully captures a softer and satirical side of Bikie's through the intelligent writing and format.

BAMBOOZLED 
Directed by Matt Hardie
Bamboozled picked up the title of Winner of Tropfest Australia 2013 and Best Male Actor went to Matt Hardie himself, shared with Aaron Tsindos. It was a well deserved win by Matt Hardie as he's a tremendously talented and witty actor, not only exemplified in Bamboozled, but in his previous Tropfest short film titled "Let It Rain," one of my personal all time favourites. Congratulations!

COPING 
Directed by Kaiya Jones
Obviously a significant highlight of the night was seeing 17-year-old Kaiya Jones receive Best Female Actor for her main role in her short film, which she also directed. In her introduction played before her film, she said she "wanted to push herself" and the only outcome for her was success! Congratulations girl!

MY TOP 3

STEW 
Directed by Steven Woodburn
A little bit of a satirical short film, Stew is about a grown man who has a flashback to when his Grandma forced him to eat her home-made Stew when he was a young boy, after spotting someone in a cafe eating a bowl of Stew. Woodburn incorporates animations into this short film when Grandma's Stew comes to life and when the film conveys Grandma as an evil chef who uses human body parts to make her special slow-cooked meal, which I thought added more of a mockery of witches and traditional scary stories. In addition to the animations, non-diegetic sounds are used well in the film to emphasise the childish tone and to balance out the morbid and the satire. This short film is shot quite well, where for the most part, each frame focuses on what the audience is meant to focus on for example, close-ups on Grandma's mouth when she speaks or jars of obvious red body parts, or the extreme close-up shot of sweat beads rolling off the boys' head. 
Such a fun short film to watch with a plot you've never seen before. 8/10

HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE 
Directed by Tom Abood
I loved this short film. I thought it was extremely amusing to see that Director Tom Abood created his short film into a document of his time as a soldier and that he made this documentation as a letter format to his Mum. Honi Soi Qui Mal Y Pense creates a beautiful, heartbreaking, yet awe-inspiring tone through the use of the slow piano played over the footage ("Sighted" by Moby & "The Temperature Of The Air On The Bow Of The Kaleetan" by Chris Zabriskie) and Abood's magnificent words over the top of the slow ballads. 
Let's all be honest... we all shed more than a few tears in this one, the juxtaposition was perfectly captured. 9/10

REVIVE 
Directed by Ruben Pracas
Revive was my personal favourite this year. Director Ruben Pracas, along with Producer Chae Ryan intended for audiences gain a sense of goodwill through their filmmaking and by watching this short film, they have achieved this through its simple, yet valuable ideology. Although there's no dialogue in this short film, the two characters are captured well through excellent emotions and gestures, and the subtle props assist audiences to further understand the lives of the characters. The location could not have been any more spot on; a strip in a busy city surrounded by buildings, one of which contains a hospital and a patient. The outside is captured well, with dozens of business men and women walking speedily up and down the strip, and the inside of the hospital is conveyed as a big, dull, isolated room with only the happiness of a balloon keeping it lively. 
I enjoyed this a lot, and when you watch it, expect to be smiling and to shed a tear as well. 9.5/10 

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A monumental congratulations to the 16 finalists of the 22nd Tropfest Film Festival in Australia and to all the award winners. All 16 films oozed talent and Australians should be proud of the amount of creativity that surrounds us. 
To the hundreds of other filmmakers who entered to be part of the world's largest short film festival; keep making films and never put your creativity to waste! Good luck to all the entrants for next year!

- AlissAMR