I’ve Moved! ♥

ANYTHINGSPOSSIBLEIFYOUVEGOTENOUGHNERVE

 

Some people live in fear of snakes, heights or tomato sauce (no lie, I once worked with a lady who insisted that she had BREAKDOWNS if she encountered the stuff, can you imagine?! How would you dine out anywhere?!), but me? I quaked in my boots at the thought of moving to self-hosted WordPress! But, as the above quote so succinctly puts it, anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.

Last night, over numerous cups of tea, Lana Del Rey and Led Zeppelin (thanks, guys!), I knuckled down and moved my blogging butt back to frockandrollonline.com, and I’m so proud! (Do you know how often I’ve thought – across six years! – “hmmm, I SHOULD transfer to self-hosted WordPress but nah, that’s too hard and I can’t be bothered learning and anyway, what’s in the fridge?”?!) It’s not looking particularly pretty at the moment, but I’m out shopping for a new dress for it  (read: someone nifty is designing it) as we speak. Will I see you there? (If you’re already ‘following’ Frock And Roll, I’ll be transferring your subscriptions your over, so see you soon!)

xoxo

 

Style Icons: Evis Xheneti Shaffer ♥

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Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram? Is it a Kardashian? (No judgement!) Dunkin’ Donuts? (Who could blame you?!) MC Hammer?! (He’s there!) Evis Xheneti Shaffer? Wait, you DON’T know who that is? Why, let me introduce you!

An Albanian actress, model, photographer and writer (talk about a professional chameleon!), this globe-exploring self-confessed prankster’s also one of the most witty, well-clad women on the planet. Colourful in both her sartorial choices and personality, she’s unafraid to speak her mind… or share her step-by-step homemade recipe for chicken casserole with you.

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Handbags, heels and hats, hats, HATS: Evis Xheneti Shaffer is style personified, and in her spare time, has managed to capture the heart of an extraordinarily talented guitarist, too.

EVIS XHENETI JAMES SHAFFER
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What a frock! 

EVIS XHENETI STYLE

But then this design’s hardly an eyesore, either…

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EVIS XHENETI

Have you noticed that shades of green are a dark-haired damsel’s best friend? Evis has, and she wears them with APLOMB!

EVIS JAMES SHAFFER

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The khaki mini-dress? That fun polka-dot piece (complete with chopsticks!) she’s donned beside her sister, Xhoana? Which outfit takes your fashion fancy? (And who’s inspiring you?)

xoxo

Thank Frock It’s The Weekend! ♥

If you’re clicking here for the first time, WELCOME! Every Friday (well, today it’s Sunday. Oops!) we celebrate the fact that – ding, ding! – it’s Friday, and our favourite things (sprinkle encrusted donuts? Red wine stains?! Okay, it’s probably not the latter…) from the week that was. Here’s what I’m currently loving!

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x Riding The Spiral - Crikey, WHAT A WEEK! After a not-so-neat (I’ll leave it at that) start, I wasn’t sure how the rest of it would fare, but it quickly turned around and I remembered that’s just what being alive’s all about, isn’t it?! It’s a full experience. Sorrow! Embarrassment! Bliss! Frustration! ECSTASY! (Often all within a day!) Sometimes, you just need to remember that old adage “it’s a bad day, not a bad life” and power on, don’t you?!

x Scribbling Off Items On My Auckland Bucket List – On Monday, Charlie and I cruised around The Domain. Come Wednesday, we met Natasha at the movies, devoured Mexican food at Mama Loco and made plans to visit The Manukau Lighthouse and gorge on Giapo ice cream with Wendy. Auckland? We’re conquering you!

Hoyts Sylvia Park

Can you smell the popcorn from there?!

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Charlie settling in to watch The Best Of Me. It was sweet AND I didn’t have to hiss “who’s that guy? What just happened? Is that the woman from before? OH, so you mean HE’S the villain!” at Natasha once. PARTY!

The Auckland Domain

 In case you were curious, The Domain is b-e-a-utiful.

x Lim Chhour Supermarket - Nestled behind a couldn’t-be-dingier-if-it-tried food court on Auckland’s Karangahape Road is Lim Chhour, an Asian supermarket that every thrifty shopper’s dreams are made of. It’s like dumping DISNEYLAND! (Every combination that you could fantasise about is there and for so much less than what you’d pay anywhere else. Spring onion cakes? They’ve got them! Steamed pork buns? EVERYWHERE!) I marched home with a big bag of vegetable dumplings that cost just over a few dollars and had the tastiest dinner I’d had in days. Apparently not judging a book by its cover applies to shops, too!

x Other Little Things - Scoffing a peppermint Choc-Top ice cream (boy, Choc-Tops have UPGRADED! Remember the days where there was only one flavour?!) in the cinema; Slipknot’s Killpop; reunions with old colleagues (it’s perennially splendid to me to realise that as much as I loathed living in Blenheim, I made some life-long friends there!); managing to sit through American Horror Story – alone! – and not end up in a therapist’s chair (I’m a wuss, okay?!); watching my girl grow (Charlie is rolling AND laughing and I’m crying because next thing you know, she’ll be driving a car. Time. It races by!); hour-long phone conversations with my best friend; soft-shell tacos; weaving in and out of every nook and cranny in this city (we wouldn’t have found Lim Chhour if we didn’t!); Zomato (it’s a New Zealand-based food review website. Are you on it? I’m on it!) and the warmth in the air that can only mean that Summer’s here!

xoxo

OFF Wax And Brow Bar, Britomart ♥

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Did you know that not only do your eyebrows frame your face, but that a whopping SEVENTY PER CENT of your facial expressions depend on them? How about the fact that altering their shape can completely transform your features?  Or that bears have forty-two teeth?! (Couldn’t have you answering “yes!” to everything, now could I?!) 

For something so tiny, they wield an extraordinary amount of power, so when I realised that it was time for a tame (understatement; I was starting to resemble Chewbacca, and NOT just because both of our names begin with ‘c’!), I took to Twitter to ask  “who produces the best eyebrows in Auckland?” and booked a ‘Brow Wow’ service with one of the suggestions thrown forward, OFF Wax And Brow Bar, in Britomart.

Off Wax Auckland, Off Wax Britomart, Off Wax Reviews, Auckland Beauty Bloggers, New Zealand Beauty Bloggers
Off Wax Auckland, Off Wax Britomart, Off Wax Reviews, Auckland Beauty Bloggers, New Zealand Beauty Bloggers

PRE ‘BROW WOW’

As you can see, I needed help! WHAT is going on with that left eyebrow?! (I wasn’t raising it!) These were eyebrows in crisis, so although a few people baulked at the $45 price tag associated with the ‘Brow Wow’ (a friend: “sheesh, for that price, you’d better strut out with the best eyebrows in town!” My sister: “WHY WOULD YOU PAY THAT?!”), it was described on their website as “THE brow makeover – a full consultation with a custom colour, brow shape and brow dressing”, and nothing sounded unappealing about that!

Off Wax Auckland, Off Wax Britomart, Off Wax Reviews, Auckland Beauty Bloggers, New Zealand Beauty Bloggers
Off Wax Auckland, Off Wax Britomart, Off Wax Reviews, Auckland Beauty Bloggers, New Zealand Beauty Bloggers

POST ‘BROW WOW’ 

I don’t know that I see a groundbreaking difference, though. While I realise their team are beauty therapists, and not wizards, and that they’re working with wax, and not wands, I was still a little underwhelmed.

“What do you think?!” The assistant probed, holding up a mirror.
“Um,” I mumbled, NOT keen on sounding like a – as Carrie Bradshaw would say! – See You Next Tuesday“they’re quite… just a wee bit… uh, do you ever cut them here? Like, with scissors? Because I’ve had that done before, and that might make them slightly… neater?”
“I don’t really want to do anything to them,” 
she replied, applying a second shade of dye. “They need to grow.” Justifiable, perhaps, but the customer service experience would’ve been elevated if she’d offered some plucking, colouring and general maintenance tips in the meantime. (Were they just having an OFF day?)

Off Wax Auckland, Off Wax Britomart, Off Wax Reviews, Auckland Beauty Bloggers, New Zealand Beauty Bloggers

Dodgy Left Eyebrow Pre Treatment

Off Wax Auckland, Off Wax Britomart, Off Wax Reviews, Auckland Beauty Bloggers, New Zealand Beauty Bloggers

Dodgy Left Eyebrow Post Treatment 

Is there a humungous contrast that I haven’t noticed?! Would you return? And what’s the maximum you’d spend for a similar consultation?

xoxo

The Auckland Bucket List ♥

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I grew up in Sydney, Australia, and although it would be silly to suggest that my childhood wasn’t jam-packed with memories of attending phenomenal concerts (my first one was Marilyn Manson, and no, I can’t believe that my parents allowed me to attend it with friends as a youngster, either! Mind you, they probably just heard the name and thought, “oh, MARILYN Manson? She sounds nice!”), splish-splashing at pristine beaches and seeing exceptional sights, I KNOW that I still didn’t scratch the full surface of its awesome.

Auckland? We mustn’t let this occur! I’ve put together a bucket list of activities to fulfil before I ever leave – if I ever leave, ha! – this city, and maybe it’s something that you could think about completing for your location, too?

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Marilyn Manson. PROBABLY not the image that my folks had in mind!

x Catch A Ferry To One Of The Islands

Did you know that you can board a boat to some pretty choice (that’s New Zealand slang for “excellent”!) islands from central Auckland? Waiheke, Rangitoto, Devonport… what could be finer than cruising along the harbour on a stunning summer’s day before hopping off, snapping gorgeous photographs and wandering through different terrain? Possibly only the next item on the list!

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x Gobble Metre-Long Pizza At Toto’s

It’s PIZZA. It’s a metre-long. Get out of my dreams and into my mouth, Toto’s!

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x Walk A Marathon

While I used to be the first person in a car to spot a group briskly strolling on a Saturday morning and think “goodness grief, what’s WRONG with you all?!”, I’ve definitely changed my tune. Can you picture how neat it would be to pace about in a sea of people, all sweaty and full of accomplishment afterwards?! Hand me one of those participant numbers Auckland, and let’s get our walk on!

x Say “G’Day!” To The Animals At The Zoo

I’m sure Charlie would adore the giraffes! (And if she doesn’t, this big kid will!)

x Grab A Drink At Men Of Steel

Ooh-er. So some might consider this tacky – it’s a ladies-only bar with male strippers – but I’ve heard from a few that it’s one of the funniest and most entertaining hotspots in town!

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 x Roll Dice At The Casino

I’ve never been into gambling and I’m not particularly fond of kissing my money goodbye, but I’d still like to roll dice at Auckland’s SkyCity Casino – word on the street is that it’s outstanding – just once!

x Feel The Sand Between My Toes At Piha Beach

It’s dazzling, isn’t it?

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x Tread Through The Domain

Featuring duck ponds, a museum and gardens aplenty, The Domain is Auckland’s oldest park and it has a view of the city centre to boot. Fabulous!

x Scoff Fish & Chips At Mission Bay

This seaside suburb is renowned for its tip-top version of a New Zealand culinary classic!

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x Watch A Movie With Charlie During Hoyts’ ‘Mums And Bubs’ Movie Sessions

Does anyone else find it weird that you can bring your baby to sit in on the latest The Conjuring horror movie with you?! WHOA. Anywho, they’re special sessions for, as the name suggest, crocodiles – no, mothers and their wee ones – to enjoy films together, and they’re only available in limited locations around the country. I’m in!

x Journey To Manukau Heads Lighthouse

There’s just something alluring about lighthouses, isn’t there? Is it that they’re the centre of a slew of spooky tales? Is it that I’ve tried to climb up a heap of them, only to find them perpetually locked?! Well… this one isn’t! In fact, it’s one of the few in New Zealand that is available to the public, so as soon as I can find a driving buddy, I’m extremely keen to make the trip to it!

Have you ticked off any of these? What could you aim to see in your neck of the woods? And, because I’m nosy… what was YOUR first concert?!

xoxo

What The Frock?! : 11/10/14 ♥

What’s ‘What The Frock’? Upon compiling feedback for Frock & Roll, the undisputed winner of the ‘What Would You Like To See More Of?’ competition was “style” photographs of what I was wearing. (Gosh, who would’ve thought?!) I find this both utterly astonishing and magnificently terrifying, particularly as I believe that I have roughly the same amount of fashion credibility as, say, a dish cloth. BUT! You ask, and I deliver!

What The Frock?! : 11/10/14 ♥

I couldn’t whistle if my well-being depended on it (blush), I’m not sure why Chingy raps I like them black, white, Puerto Rican, or Haitian/Like Japanese, Chinese, or even Asian” in Balla Baby (uh… aren’t Japanese and Chinese people Asian, Chingy?!) and I have NO IDEA why I resisted printed leggings for so long because holy lycra, they’re so criminally comfortable!

They’re the sartorial equivalent of peanut butter-filled chocolate, aren’t they? Learning of their creation, you raise your eyebrows and snicker “well THAT’LL never work!”, but then before you know it they’ve moved in next-door to your bread jeans and you’re baffled as to how you ever subsisted without them. (They’re almost-pants that feel like your most comfortable pair of tracksuit bottoms, but are socially acceptable. Could there be a bigger fashion triumph?!)

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Ha, check out my new friend in the green behind me. HI, lady!

What I’m Wearing:

x Printed leggings, Cotton On
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 Glassons knotted scarf, across-the-body bag (an essential when you’re wheeling a pram all over the city; who wants to battle with handbag straps?!) and tunic/dress (I think that’s what it’s meant to be for people who aren’t giants like me!)/top thing
x Studded bow ballet flats

And now… it’s filling time! I’m racing off to the dentist (with an infant, this shall be a joyous experiment!) to acquire two, because within the next week or so, I’ll be equipped with braces! I can’t WAIT.

xoxo

Bloggers Buying ‘Likes’ And Followers: Marvellous Marketing, Or Marvellously Misleading? ♥

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We’ve all been there.

Scrolling through social media, it’s easy to stagger across a blogger’s Twitter or Instagram account and murmur “oh. My. GOD, Becky, LOOK at her following. It is so big. I mean, her follower count… is just so big. I can’t believe she’s so… popular, it’s like, OUT THERE.”

Sorry! Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back just shuffled its way onto my iTunes, but in all seriousness… you’ve seen it, haven’t you? The bloggers with billions of backers. And while there’s prominent profiles that you’d never second-guess (“his photography is unreal; that’s why even Taylor Swift is following him!”), equally often you’ll spot successful pages reminiscent of this scene from The Simpsons and think “wait, what GIVES?!”

“Two hundred channels, and nothing but cats.” (So how come their ‘fan’ count rivals Beyoncé’s?!) 

It’s an issue more contentious than the WordPress vs. Blogger debate in the blogging community at the moment, and it’s while it’s not exactly a new practice, it certainly appears to be gaining traction: bloggers buying ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. The question is: is it an example of marvellous marketing, or is it marvellously misleading?

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Maybe she’s born with it worked for it… or maybe she’s paid the way!

Blogging is BOOMING. As Laura shared in The Bloggers Brunch Club group last week, “from August to September ‘14 the number of blog posts posted in one month globally jumped an INSANE 20,000,000. From 43,622,011 to 61,839,539.” Those are huge figures, and with sums continuing to soar, is it any wonder that bloggers are utilising methods to stand-out from the crowd?

Marvellous Marketing?

Brands are noticing numbers.

Catching a glimpse of the guest list at an event that she was attending, Megan of Thread NZ couldn’t help but observe that beside each invitee’s name was their Instagram follower count. One fashion blogger is reportedly commanding $5000 per Instagram post of a company’s products. Organisations WANT to work with the cream of the digital crop, so you can begin to understand the lure of purchasing advocates, can’t you? It can practically kickstart your career!

Interestingly, having a large entourage – paid or otherwise – more often than not generates genuine followers, too. “Why does this person have more subscribers than I’ve had hot dinners?!” You ponder, puzzled. Better click ‘follow’ and attempt to find out!”

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Marvellously Misleading?

While sponsoring supporters can appear seductive, it’s worth considering this: what’s impressive at a glance won’t necessarily transfer to your real-life statistics. What happens if a PR firm compensates you for supposedly having an online mob to match Lady Gaga’s, yet request to see your Google analytics and discover that only your Aunt Betsy and boyfriend have read your post on their latest lip gloss? Sky-rocketing statistics don’t always reflect a person’s influence.

Store-bought digits can be a sore point with your readers, as well. It’s one thing to promote an article on Facebook, but if your Twitter and Instagram base seems artificial, it might be asked “hmmm… what ELSE is artificial?”

It can evolve into a debate about ethics, too. If someone’s spruiking an e-course about how to become a “super blogger” – yet are reputed for boosting their world wide web weight with their credit card – how morally sound are they? And what about our blogger friends? If we’re portraying deceptive denominations, are we helping them to feel inferior about their potentially modest quantity? Are we projecting a false image to aspiring bloggers? There’s plenty of food for thought!

When does obtaining an audience become putting your best foot forward… or faking it?

xoxo