Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Reincarnation of Cherry Blossom Boutique

Attention, attention - I AM MOVING! 

Often times moving is a bitter sweet reality that is equal parts excitement for exploring the new, and sadness for leaving loved ones behind. But rather than sniffling into vintage-laced handkerchiefs or throwing feathery farewell parties, I’m taking you all with me! No bon voyage necessary, because I am hoping you will all come over to the new site and stay there as I set up, settle down and grow some new blogging roots. Pack your Louis Vuitton’s, lovelies – we are about to go on an adventure!

Why am I moving? This year, my blogging career turned 6, and Cherry Blossom Boutique has been the most significant site over that time. Her candifloss cheeks, childish petticoats and sparkly shoes sure have grabbed attention. 

Sometimes viewed by you all with a smile, sometimes with a cringe, you have allowed her to be herself, and she has behaved impeccably, if you ask me. She is now growing into the lovely lady I know she is about to become, and deserves a more professional, focused space. My baby is growing up so fast J

Those who have been here since the beginning, and all the faithful followers who stuck with me along the way, I thank you. It’s been a wonderful adventure, but it’s time mommy pushes her chickling out the nest to learn to fly. For this reason, I have decided to import my blog to a new improved site, and am going to be publishing under my real name. No more love, lust and fairy-star-dust - I will be signing off as the Pami you all know and tolerate so well.

My new BLOGAZINE is up and running, so please do come across and have a look! I will, of course, no longer be posting on this page, but my new site is filled with enticing freshness. Original photographs, personal styles, crystal chandeliers and clean lines (and loads of pink, naturally) will hopefully keep you mesmerized, entertained and informed.

Of course, as with all changes, there will be a few bumps along the way. December is my glitch-fix month, so please do let me know how it’s going while catching up on your holiday blog reading. 

If you are still at work, hiding from the end-of-year office madness behind a computer screen and a fake smile chanting ‘I love my job I love my job I love my job’ as you cry into your coffee cup, I promise to try cheer you up. I’m just a click away…

I have interfaced (is that the word?) the new site so it should work across all platforms (laptops, tablets, smart-phones) and have included a few new features such as a brand new facebook page, a new logo, a newsletter sign-up option and an advertising panel.

Note: The new advertising panel will be for brands I love and believe in. After all, what is a boutique that you can’t shop in?! I have been exceptionally inspired by the entrepreneurial folk in my life over the past few years and will be offering a few free ad places as a ‘grand opening’ to the select few, but don’t want to leave anyone out! If you have a business, service or product you are proud of, think will align beautifully with my blog’s image, and think you might like to be featured in my shop, please do send me your details and I will be happy to discuss giving you a free trial.

So it is with the opposite of a heavy heart that I say Good Bye blogspot, and hellloooooo

See you all there!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust,
Cherry Blossom

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

It's about the Clothes, Not the Pose...

Ever thought modeling and posing was better left to the lollipop-princesses who could cut a can open with their clavicles? Think again.

I believe we should never take life (or ourselves) too seriously. We should enjoy our time on this planet and not be afraid to have fun with new and trivial things. This is how I became addicted to a guilty new hobby, LOOKBOOK.

In an age of selfies, instagram filters and flocks of It Girls parading their top purchases on our social news feeds, I realize that I am still in love with the world of beauty. I say ‘still’ because I have been undergoing a transformation over the past few years where I have often times blamed (or at least highlighted) the problems caused for women, myself included, by the standards of beauty the media constantly shoves down our throats. But swallowing skinny-isms rather than real food is not what I want to talk about today.

Today I want to celebrate my newest hobby. I may not be the Editor-in-chief of Vogue or even a lowly, though somewhat knowledgeable, fashion blogger, but I have decided that if I like the way someone looks, then I like it – no matter what the trending body-shape tells me. If I think a crop top looks cute on a girl who is closer to a size 14 than an 8, then I think it looks cute on her. And that’s ok. In fact, there should be a lot more of that in this world. Our natural God-given diameter shouldn’t dictate how we dress.

 As an ex model who gained a few dress sizes over the years, I have often times struggled with my new body. I wasted so much time hating the way I looked as I filled out, rather than accepting and enjoying the newer, stronger, more energy-filled body I was in. The irony is that I hated the way I looked back when I was super skinny too. It took some time, but I no longer look in the mirror and tell myself I am ugly because of a few lumps and dimples. I now look and go ‘Oh well’, and get on with things.

But it’s not good enough to simply accept. We should love our bodies, celebrate them, and I believe that I should enjoy mine as much as I can while in it on this earth. Why have a Porsche in the garage if you are never going to drive it? (albeit a Porsche Cayenne, the 4x4 version, in my case) I have a wardrobe of gorgeous clothes, carefully browsed, picked and purchased over the years, (and the shoes - Oh the SHOES!) and I love to dress up. So why let that all go to waste over a few centimeters?

I am an awkward size. At 6ft tall, I start out as an almost 14 in my Nordic shoulders, slim to a 10 in other areas, and elongate to a size ‘not-yet-catered-to’ all in one troublesome package. Therefore dressing this package over the years has become something of an art.

But not without its artistic temperament. I’ll look at pictures of models dressed in an outfit and love how they look, but the second I try the same thing on, it looks all wrong. I tell myself that cinched waists obviously just don’t work on my body, or if I could just lose some weight…and give up. Yet, I still love the clothes.

But what if I got it all wrong? What if cinched waists looks just as good on my body, only in a different way, but I’ve been blinded to the fact by comparing myself to a tween in a sexed-up ad campaign? Like comparing apples and cats…How silly!

I decided to stop filling my life with so many outward images, inward judgements, and start enjoying the way I dress. To have fun dressing the way I want, when I want, no matter the circumference of my waistline, is a much better use of my time than waiting and hoping to drop a few pounds before I try on a pair of high-waisted booty-shorts.

Enter LOOKBOOK. It’s like FaceBook, only all about daily outfits. Posing replaces posting, and capturing a perfect outfit for a perfect situation (or just because you love it) is what is celebrated. Sure there is still a strong lean towards the skinny-white-girl, but if you look hard enough you can find normal people, men and woman, all shapes and colours, wearing fabulous things that would brighten any fashionistas day. Look a bit harder and you discover pure gems of delight in the greater blog-verse! Like the poetess who calls her blog ‘I dream of bunnies’, posting her looks with links to elegant prose.

This isn’t a high-school sivvies day, friends. From London to Brazil, Canada to little ol’ me in Cape Town, people are dressing in the things they love and showcasing it to the world. Your number of ‘hypes’ tells you how much others appreciate your garb, but at the end of the day, I only care about feeling good in what I choose to wear, while getting some awesome inspiration from others and seeing what is trending. (A Kimono paired with ripped jean shorts and cowboy boots? That might just have to be my next get-up!)

If you don't mind the American Apparel ads that assault you visually at every other moment, it’s a great place to have some fun in a body-positive, friendly way. No negative comments are allowed and the more you love on someone else’s ‘look’ the better your karma points - not that I know what karma points are for ;) Being an amateur fashion-hobbyist has never been so much fun.

While not every day is an occasion to wear a ball-gown, there are thousands of beautiful (and entertaining) ensembles I would love to try out, bundle on, and swish around in in my world.

I decided to become my own model and pose for the camera once again – only this time - as a full (improved) version of my former self. Why don’t you join me and create your own LOOKBOOK account? Be sure to send me a note if you do so I can follow you – or find me here directly. Good luck and happy dressing!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust,
Cherry Blossom

Friday, 22 August 2014

A Bookish Child

Someone recently commented on me not being that into reading as a kid. This statement baffled me as I think back and remember the countless books I got lost in. But I suppose it wasn’t always as obvious to everyone around me, simply because I was lost in the real world too.

Being raised by a bonafide Biblio-holic who stacked books in our childhood home pathologically, I grew up with a deep appreciation for the written word. (And possibly the reason behind my hoarder mentality.) Even though I was by no means a church-mouse who locked herself away with her nose in a book 24/7, I developed a reverence for the thousands of novels that lined our passageways, bedrooms, bookcases and even bathroom floor on occasion.

I am the kind of person who loves the world ‘out there’ with an adventurous spirit, chasing dreams and experiencing every waking moment I can. People and their stories fascinated me from a young age and I collected them like shelves of hardbacks. I was always keenly aware of my own story growing inside me too, one that I wanted to read and write everyday to see what happens next.

My grandmother, a fellow bookish creature, once told me that I would have to live a thousand lives to be a part of all the stories I chased, or I would simply have to become a writer, and the first step to writing is reading. I was constantly busy with these stories - chasing them both inside and outside of the printed page. Books didn’t always fit into my gregarious nature, but they did hold a special place right from the beginning, and were ever present.

Throughout the years, I was at any given time in the middle of reading a book. (Not to mention the pile of ‘to-read’s that grows on my bedside table like the leaning tower of pizza till Husband forces me to take them all back to the bookcase, and I’m left with just the one…)

It started before I can even remember, with my mother reading to me every night. As I got older and gathered more tangible memories of these special evenings, I was lost in a sea of my mothers words as she read steadily from The Hobbit, The Just William books, Jenny, Missee Lee, The Scarlet Pimpernel and many other great stories. Nothing like sharing the adventures of a female pirate or of a little boy trapped by magic in a cat’s body or a World War 2 child’s mischievous playground to make for a rich and full adolescence.

I spent rainy Saturday afternoons and sick days in bed listening to the Story Teller tapes, following along in the printouts that came with them and colouring in the pictures. Thousands of hours must have been dedicated to Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat, Thumbelina, The Marrog and Timbertwig. Stories endeared to me in vivid worlds of words, even though I wasn’t the one reading them.

The first real book I remember reading to myself was Naughty Amelia Jane. I loved the scrappy rag doll character and laughed at all the ridiculous situations she got herself into. After the formative Enid Blyton years, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the full C.S. Lewis series, I read every Nancy Drew ever written. I had a reading spot up a tree where I would climb with a book and settle down in my nest for the afternoon. My world was lit up by Charley and the Chocolate Factory, and then brought back down again by James and the Giant Peach (never did like that one).

After a trip to the library where my then 4 siblings and I had the understanding that we would each take out a different one, the Asterix comic book series would be passed around our home as fast and furious as a contagious bout of gastro before the next library visit and we would exchange them for a whole new batch to share.

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass made a regular appearance in many forms; picture books, abbreviated versions, the Disney adaptation and the full Lewis Caroll classic. I ventured, at some point, to write a 3rd novel to the series – my first (failed) attempt at fan fiction.

What child who doesn’t love books spends a summer vacation with her best friend, taking turns in reading chapters of the Anastasia Krupnik series to each other for weeks on end? That same best friend and I would swap copies of Scrambled Legs and even tried our hand at writing our own combined book as young teens. She was also the one who introduced me to my first (and last) Mills and Boon somewhere around puberty.

I grew up some more and started reading books behind my parents’ backs for fear of their disapproval. Some game books where you could choose your own ending, a few Judy Blumes and The Sweet Valley Twins books, much to my youngest brothers dismay. He started giving me different books to help balance out my appetites, and I tried. From Shogun (which took me about a year to read and I am not even convinced I ever did finish it - SO not my genre!) to The Terminator. I read the movie-based book with guilty hunger because I knew the film was banned in our home. My mother of course found it in my room, took it away from me, read it herself, and then gave it back with all the blasphemy and swear words blocked out in black ink. I was mortified!

English Lit was my favorite subject, and thanks to being home schooled, I got to read a few of my older siblings set work books and assigned poetry as well as my own grade, sitting in on their lessons when my mother dissected the words throughout my high school career. I loved the language, the story telling – Far From the Madding Crowd, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and e e cummings quenched what every lettered thirst I had. Amongst them, one Afrikaans pearl shining in my purse of all time literary loves – Kringe In Die Bos.

At some point in my late teens I started to read only religious books. Even amongst those, my belletristic needs found a pick of beloveds. Christy, the original Catherine Marshal novel that was later made into a TV series, story of the young missionary girl in the great Smoky Mountains was and still is one of the most enchanting tales of love, friendship, combined worlds and death I have ever encountered. The story of Jim Eliot, as written by the wife who survived him, who was murdered by the Auca tribe he was going to preach to. Then more of her books, including Passion and Purity, giving advice to young ladies to become good, wholesome wives. Yes, I had drunk the coolaid back then.

(I feel it is only fair to mention here that my siblings and I were also all made to read the Bible every morning of our lives, and over the years, I have probably read the Bible in its entirety 5 or 6 times...possibly more.)

The only break from Christian literature that I can remember at that time was music lyrics. The words of Britney Spears, Madonna, Bon Jovi and Roxette twirled in my teenage head. Of course this can’t be claimed as reading any more than posting status updates on Facebook and tweeting can be claimed as writing… But the hours and hours spent pouring over Tori Amos lyrics, reading CD cover sleeves late into the night with esteemed devotion, and a sense of something wonderful happening inside me, can. To this day a good Tori Amos lyric can send me into the zone better than a bottle of wine!

After Bible College and a working trip to America, my steady husk-diet of religious reading felt stale and forced to me. One shining beacon of hope sparked up my innards again in the most significant series of books to break a reading drought - Harry Potter. This, of course, lasted for a few years and I eagerly awaited the releasing of the latest one with the rest of the Potterheads. In the interim, my little sister became my dealer and I started reading Terry Pratchett, her favorite author, finding the comedic prose refreshing and delightful. I began to borrow books from friends and boyfriends, thereby consuming a wider range of genre’s to find out what I really did like.

Early adult years were slow on the reading front while I worked, studied, dated and grew into myself, but I still managed to accumulate some front-running greats. Perfume. The Poisonwood Bible. The Devil Wears Prada. Memoirs of a Geisha. White Oleander. All the Marian Keyes books. The Bell Jar. Geek Love (which isn’t what you would think it is and therefore is brilliant.) Twenties Girl and the Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic series. A Vintage Affair.

Some less than stellar ones also cluttered my scattered reading hours; The Da Vinci Code (a religious cross-over which, at the time, read like a hangover.) Eat, Pray, Love (ugh.) 50 Shades of Grey (DOUBLE ugh.) And The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which was a good book but was so brutal in some scenes that it made me cry and put me off the series for good.)

Now that I am a little older, have left the feverish 20’s behind me and acquired a Kindle e-reader, my world has been full to the brim with books again. Even though I get trapped by the occasional trending best-seller (Gone Girl anyone? Sigh. I want my money and time back for that one!) mostly I love every moment I get to read, and devour Indie publishers’ offerings and female fiction perpetually. Every sentence. Every word. I am so thankful that my mother showed me the way to become a bibliophile and fed my addiction till I was able to take over and start feeding myself.

If I didn’t read, how else would I now know that the perfect way to describe a hangover is to say I am feeling ‘rough as a badgers arse’? How else would I be able to run away from arguments and Facebook feuds to a lovely place where the characters don’t argue with me, don’t judge me and don’t doubt my true intentions. How else would I have ever experienced the tragedy of a missionary wife doubting her husbands work and having a heart wrenching love affair, tucked away in the gorgeous Vale of Kashmir, India, in 1939.  Or the despicable actions of the Capitol that Katniss Everdeen has to sacrifice herself to bring down. Or that Ender was a bit of a crybaby before he perfected the Game. How else would I know that there are a million and one ways to illuminate the sheer exhilaration that is buying a new pair of beautiful shoes?

I can say without a doubt that I have always been, and will continue to be, a Bookish Child till the day I die. I will disappear, book in hand, to the Great BookClub in the Sky for a nice long eternity of reading and drinking tea with my grandmother.

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust,
Cherry Blossom

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Oh Tori

An article posted on JEZEBEL sent me skipping down (yet another) Tori Amos path, merrily listening to my entire Tori collection on shuffle for 48 hours while working and humming along to the imagery. I have been fortunate enough to see the goddess perform live twice now, and both times she brought me to tears. Even when I didn’t want to be moved, she reached into my heart with her haunting voice and grabbed a hold of something in what can only be described as a long, motherly hug.

I’m mad about her and don’t hide the fact. 

Seriously, the way this woman plays the piano!

Just as Oscar Wilde and Richmal Crompton helped shape my sense of humor, and Lewis Carroll helped shape my sense of whimsy, I have come to realize that Tori is my spiritual mother and helped shaped the way I see the world and think about things for the better part of 20 years.

I love what she has to say about feminism in this interview:

"Well look, if you're a real feminist, in truth then you're a humanist because it can't be about the matriarchy that just supplants the patriarchy. It has to be about humanity and equality for all. And that to me is the seed of spiritual feminism. Now feminism came out of a place with the suffragettes and issues that completely and absolutely needed to be addressed at that time and still need to be addressed in certain parts of the world.
For me now, in the 21st century in 2014, in America and in the West, it's very much about human rights. Women's rights naturally are very important to me and violence against women and those types of things, of course is something that I'm aware of, but also, there are a lot of men who are feminists that I know that are very concerned about women's rights, and that needs to be acknowledged. There are a lot of men in my life that are feminists and I'd like to say that, as well, I'm concerned that the men in my life are being treated fairly and with compassion. And to me that is where feminism inspires me—it goes beyond gender. It has to. For us to be whole and for us to really have learned and for us to be giving back to the world, we have to consider everyone's equality and humanity."

Go Tori!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust,

Cherry Blossom (aka Cornflake Girl)