Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

When Lena Dunham announced, in the role of her alter ego Hannah Horvath on the HBO series Girls, to her parents that she may be the voice of her generation – or a voice of a generation – I couldn’t help but laugh. Hannah is basically a slacker who thinks she’s lived enough life to write a memoir at the tender age of twenty-something and arrogant enough to believe someone will want to read it.  Yet the show she’s in suggests this ridiculous scheme could work. Hannah is not Dunham, but she is.

In her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”, Dunham writes:

There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as fas as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas for our stories to matter. That personal writing by women is no more than an exercise in vanity and that we should appreciate this new world for women, sit down, and shut up.

It’s a lovely and true sentiment, but, let’s face it, if Dunham hadn’t written this book, nobody would care. It is a testament to Dunham’s success that she can sign a $3.5 million deal for a collection of autobiographical essays before she’s even 30.

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Dear Australia, It’s Okay to Celebrate Halloween

It’s my third Halloween in Australia. It’s not a popular holiday here, but according to the Australian social research company McCrindle, Halloween is growing in popularity with every generation.

Those in Generation Y (aged 18-31) were far more likely to have celebrated Halloween in the past than Generation X (aged 32-46) and the Baby Boomers (aged 46-65). When asked whether they had ever celebrated Halloween before, 53% of Gen Ys had, compared to 45% of Gen Xs and 40% of Baby Boomers.

Although I’m tempted, I won’t tell you that you “should” celebrate Halloween. Even though you should. Because it’s the most awesomest holiday. Instead, let’s talk about why it’s okay to celebrate Halloween in Australia.

Halloween is multi-cultural

The most common reasons that Australians offer for not celebrating Halloween is the perception that it’s American and the idea that it’s un-Australian. These sound like the same, but they’re not. Let’s look at them more closely.

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Halloween & Day of the Dead Prep Party

It’s my third Halloween in Australia! It’s not a very popular holiday here, but I’m fortunate to have some people in my life who love Halloween and the Day of the Dead.

Back in 2012, Theo and I hosted a pumpkin carving dinner party at our house and since then we’ve been gathering with my sister-out-law and her children to get ready for the big occasion. Last year, she made sugar skulls and we all gathered at her house to decorate them. This year, we gathered at the home of Theo’s niece and her fiancée for both pumpkin carving and decorating sugar skulls over a vegetarian Mexican lunch. Three years in a row; it’s officially a tradition.

Here are some of my favourite images of the day.

Halloween

Every good cheese tray needs scary beetroot heads.

sugar skulls

My partner Theo decorating his sugar skull.

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Worldwide Photo Walk 2014

worldwide photo walk

Last year, Theo and I attended the Worldwide Photo Walk and we loved it so decided to do it again.

As the name suggests, Scott Kelby’s Annual Worldwide Photo Walk takes place in cities around the world. Photographers of all walks of life and skill levels gather to explore, shoot, and just hang out. Our local organiser was, once again, Robert Groom. Robert is a super nice, very skilled and creative photographer, and I know I can count on him to be awesome. Last year, he organised the walk in the Kyneton. Theo and I almost sold all our possessions to move there and take up residence in a dilapidated mental asylum. This year, the walk was in Trentham.

Trentham is a charming little country town about 97 kilometres (60 miles) north-west of Melbourne with a whopping population of 629 people. Although there’s not a whole lot going on there, it’s a nice place to visit. It has cute and colourful shops, cafes, and small town quirks. Its most compelling attractions are Trentham Agricultural and Railway Museum and nearby Trentham Falls.

This year, I snapped and processed all my images on my iPhone.

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Street Fight, Aussie Style

I don’t enjoy seeing anyone – or anything – fight and while I didn’t particularly enjoy this video, I found it fascinating. I’ve never seen such a thing other than in Looney Tunes cartoons. Behold, street fighting, Aussie style.

And then there’s these two arguing over who ate the last eucalyptus cookie and sounding like my dog’s squeaky rubber ball when it’s near the end of its life.

I’ve heard koalas can be vicious and, judging by those claws, I believe it. Drop bears, people.

Advanced Style

Advanced Style

“I think good style improves the environment for everybody.”

Ari Seth Cohen roams the streets of New York looking for stylish older men and women. He documents them in his street style blog, Advanced Style, and they also appear in his coffee table book of the same name. Now there’s a documentary.

Advanced Style examines the lives – and style – of seven New Yorkers between the ages of 62 and 95. Check out the trailer.

The film opens in Australia nationally on 2 October and will screen in select theatres. Visit this website to find out if it’s playing near you.

The trailer alone is beautiful and inspiring. As someone who wears mostly black, I could use a little colour in my wardrobe. I look forward to seeing the film.

Who or what are your fashion inspirations?

Expat Star Awards 2014

Expat Star Awards 2014 BronzeStumble Down Under has been honoured with 3rd place in MyCurrencyTransfer.com Expat Star Awards 2014.

This prestigious awards event recognises, celebrates and rewards the sheer hard work, effort and creativity that goes into making an expat blog invaluable to its expat community. We want to show our true appreciation and admiration for the people or teams who put everything into ensuring expats have the information and insights they need for a smooth and enjoyable transition to another country or a peak at life in their perspective home.

Websites are assessed on a number of criteria including quality and uniqueness, analytics, and user experience.

Huge thanks to MyCurrencyTransfer.com. I’m thrilled to win third place and I congratulate the other winners and finalists. I will be sure to visit those great blogs.

Open House Melbourne 2014

OHM2014

Open House Melbourne is a celebration of Melbourne through design and architecture. It’s an annual free event in which over 100 buildings are open to the public.

Some of these such as the State Library of Victoria and Melbourne Town Hall are open to the public year round, but they may open special areas that are not normally accessible. Some places such as the substations are only open to the general public during Open House Melbourne and there are some exclusive areas such as the Manchester Unity Building and the Federation Square ballroom that only a few lucky ballot winners get to see.

With over 100 buildings all over Melbourne open, the hard part is trying to figure out where to go. There’s a website that lists the all the buildings, opening times, special requirements, and if queues are expected. It allows you to craft an itinerary and access it on the mobile app.

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Oz Comic-Con Melbourne 2014

Oz Comic-Con 2014

Oz Comi-Con at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

I made it to Oz Comic-Con again this year. It was held at the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building. In some ways, it was just as good or even better than last year, but it was also much more crowded and expensive.

General admission for one day was $30 if you purchased tickets online or $35 at the door; it was $22 at the door last year. That’s for the basic event with access to vendors and panels. Beyond that, you have to buy tokens to get an autograph or photo with your favourite celebs and then there are a variety of passes for various up-close experiences and extras ranging from $200 to $600. I’m a fan and a geek, but I’m not that hardcore and I’m not a collector. I don’t care about taking photos with celebs or getting their autographs so I was satisfied with my general admission ticket.

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The Queen’s Birthday Holiday

Queen

Today is a public holiday here in most of Australia. It’s the Queen’s Birthday!

Ok, it’s not actually the Queen’s birthday. Queen Elizabeth II was born the 21st of April, but in Australia, except for the state of Western Australia, the Queen’s birthday is observed on the second Monday of June. The royal birthday has been celebrated since 1788 when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of the King of Great Britain. Until 1936 it was held on the actual birthday of the Monarch, but after the death of George V it was decided to keep the date on the second Monday in June.

What do Aussies do on the Queen’s Birthday Holiday? Many people get the day off and take advantage of a three-day weekend to go away. For those of us staying in town, we may visit friends, family, or attend a sporting event. Footy, of course. The Queen’s Birthday Holiday clash is an annual Australian rules football match between Australian Football League (AFL) teams Melbourne Demons and Collingwood Magpies. Theo and I will be watching that on TV before sitting down to a lamb roast with the family. Go Pies!

The Queen’s Birthday honours list is also released today. This is the only civic occasion of note and it honours Australians for their services to the community. More than 700 Australians were recognised today. You can read about that here on ABC.

How are you observing the Queen’s Birthday Holiday?

Buzzfeed Lists of All Things Australian

I thought I would follow Wednesday’s heavy post on politics with some fun content from Buzzfeed.

Humour

magpies

35 Australian People Problems includes issues such as Christmas Day sunburns, spiders, and getting swooped by Magpies.

30 Agonising Australian Problems describes some of those terrible things we suffer from living down under such as it being too hot or too cold, spiders, and getting swooped by Magpies.

29 Problems Only Australians Can Understand reminds that there is always something out to kill you in Australia such as spiders and swooping Magpies.

20 Aussie Items That Need A Place In Your Home is a list you want to keep handy come Christmastime.

11 Embarrassing Early Roles Of Australian Actors looks at the humble beginnings of some big Aussie stars.

The 10 Most Australian “Would You Rather” Questions Of All Time provides questions for your next big date.

A Definitive Ranking Of Australian Lollies And Chocolates is perhaps the most important list you will read today.

Inspiration

50 Australian Books To Read Before You Die

33 Deeply Remorseful Australians Apologise To Asylum-Seekers

28 Stunning Australian Places You Need To Visit Before You Die

22 Australian Women Who Will Inspire The Hell Out Of You

20 Inspiring Indigenous Australians Changing The Face Of A Nation

17 Asian Australians That Are Making Waves And Breaking Stereotypes

Anything tickling you pink today?

In the News

Here are some bits and pieces of news from around the web that I liked and I thought might interest you.

One of the things I love about the Australian Football League (AFL) is that it encourages girls and women to get involved with Australian football. The AFL has a female umpire and features little girls as well as boys during game half-times and in their commercials. The AFL also has a strong policy on racial and religious vilification and now it is getting behind efforts to support homophobia. AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou said, “Discrimination is never acceptable and vilification based on sexual identity is just as serious an offence as vilification based on gender, race, religion, colour or special disability.” You can read the whole story at the AFL’s website here.

It’s not just the AFL. The Australia Rugby Union, the National Rugby League, the Football Federation Australia, and Cricket Australia have all signed a commitment to eliminate homophobia in their sport.

Staying in touch with family and friends abroad is important for expats. Mashable recently had a piece highlighting some apps to connect long-distance family members. It says 12 in the headline, but I only saw eight. They look fun, mostly aimed at families with young children.

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