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Weekly Stumble: Get The Look

14/01/2011

Okay, so I promised my next Weekly Stumble would be a little bit more serious… so here’s a funky page that caught my eye:

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2gjV3S/tartecosmetics.com/get-the-look.php

It’s a nice page on how to do your eye make-up in a funky way. There are two rules I have always paid the most respectful of heeds to when going out – the first is flaunt only one thing out of boobs, legs and midriff. If you overdo two of them it makes you look easy, and all three? Go stand on a street corner, save the trouble.

The other rule? If you are doing your make-up, it’s wise to focus on EITHER your lips or your eyes. If you’re the kind of girl who, like me, prefers to spend 20 minutes juggling shadows, powders, liners, pencils and mascara to make your eyes look striking and sultry, then finishing your look with over-the-top, vibrant red lipstick doesn’t usually work so well. Likewise, if you can’t leave the house without a winning smile, keep the eyes simple and elegant to polish off the look.

I’ve never been one of those girls who can’t leave the house without make-up on. no matter how little or much cover-up many girls feel they need to use in the morning, it still leaves me feeling too restricted. I much prefer saving my efforts for special occasions, because it means so much more to me and others when I DO dress up for something.

Kirsty Watkinson

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All Change Places

13/01/2011

This week’s posts are being switched around, due to illness. I’ll hopefully get back on track soon, but for now my poorly, bedridden self is going to kill some beasties on Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and eat crackers and peanut butter until I turn into a monkey!

Kirsty Watkinson

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AMV Of The Week: Don’t Look Back

12/01/2011

First AMV of the new year! This one is by SilentOkami, and is a lovely compilation of footage from Final Fantasy VIII edited to fit the song “Don’t Look Back” by french electric music group, Télépopmusik.

The best part about this AMV is the use of transitions. Though the changes in window size can be a little jarring, the way masking and blurring are used to obscure Rinoa at certain points fit perfectly to the music. Unlike many other AMVs I have chosen in the past, this one is simple, almost gentle in its presentation, but extremely effective.

Some of my favourite parts are the opening, with the feather, and the way the wings are interplayed with her body along with the tilting camera angles. I’m not sure how much of that scene is edited and how much is lifted, having never completed VIII myself, but it’s very clever. I also love the use of colour, or lack of it in certain scenes. It adds extra layers to the video, and wonderfully conveys the relationship between the two characters. I find the use of black and white, or sepia, show time and age beautifully.

I also really love the dancing, the way it fits to the music and the double layered clips. This works really well, and makes a good showcase of the first time Squall meets Rinoa.

A pretty decent video – makes me want to give Final Fantasy VIII some more time and attention.

Kirsty Watkinson

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Hidden Gem: A Beautiful Eye

11/01/2011

For this Tuesday’s Hidden Gem, I’ve gone for a music video. One of my closet crushes in the music industry is Jared Leto, for many reasons: his voice, his emo hair, his smexie body and his smexie smile are just some of the things that get me. But the first moment I was struck by him was when I watched the music video for “A Beautiful Lie”, a song by his band, 30 Seconds To Mars.

See if you can guess why:

Yep… his EYES! Have you ever seen such blue eyes in your life? I could stare at them all day…

Kirsty Watkinson

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I Spy…

10/01/2011

I’m going to test a new approach to blogging this week by giving it a general thesis. As much as possible over the next seven days I will try to write my blogs with the same common theme in mind – three guesses what the first week’s theme will be.

While you think it over, I’ll crack on with my weekly topics, curtesy of The Daily Post:

Topic 5: Do you prefer to talk, text message or different communication method?

When I was at school and college, I might have chosen text messages. Through university, I preferred to find people on MSN or send emails – it saved me money and was a less broken method of cenversation. But nothing beats a good phone call. It’s easier to get a read on a person if you can hear their voice, and you can always tell your best friends for the ones you can comfortable talk to for hours on end when neither of you run out of interesting things to say to each other.

Topic 6: Are you stressed out right now?

Not specifically, but I suppose I have a lot on my mind. What a personal question!

Topic 7: Share a story about a memorable job interview.

My most memorable interview wasn’t even a real one – when I was studying my final semester of university and I couldn’t get to funding to stay, I had to sign on at the job centre. After several weeks of that I was enrolled into a week-long course teaching me valuable skills such as CV writing, interview techniques and how to get the most from my job search. The practice interview we did was greatly enjoyable for me – the guy knew a lot about the media industry, so I was able to chat confidently about my course without feeling a bit silly for pretending. Afterwards he told me my score was near perfect, and I’d done better than most of the advisers would have. It may not have got me the job, but it did give me one hell of a confidence boost.

Topic 8: How do you stay focused on a task or activity?

Depends on the activity. I often write lists, schedules and timetables for myself to stay on top of my jobs, and I’m nearly always playing music in the background to help me focus. The music in particular helps me set the mood for what I’m doing – something jumpy and active when I’m getting dressed at the start of the day, a little more soothing choices for when I’m working on something I find difficult or stressful, or particular playlists I’ve made for when I’m writing one of my stories to help me identify with the setting and the characters.

Topic 9: Describe a recent Aha! moment. What sparked it?

The most recent one I can think of was earlier on today actually. I can’t explain it in depth, as it refers to one of my stories – lets just say I had an epiphany of how to change the ending to one of my books so that it flows better (and more believably) into the following one.

Topic 10: How do you stay entertained when you are snowed in?

I don’t think I’ve ever been “snowed” in, but I am quite often room-bound by illness, which kind of surmounts to the same thing. If I’m stuck indoors, I like doing lots of different things; reading, writing, blogging, painting or drawing, listening to music and singing, practicing my guitar, watching dvds… although, the most common past time I like doing when I’m home alone for any extended length of period is gaming. Usually, getting lost in an RPG like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or a title from the Fable series is a brilliant way to lose a couple of hours.

Topic 11: What do you want to be remembered for?

Easy – my novels. I want to take all the ideas from inside my head and get them down on paper in some way. If I fail to finish my books before I die (morbid, I know… but I think about these things sometimes) then it won’t just be the end of me – it’ll mean the death of so many characters, with intricate lives, dreams and desires, tales untold and futures unseen by anyone but me. What a depressing thought! It certainly drives me on with my writing, feeling obligated to tell these stories so they can be shared while I’m still around to tell them.

That’s this week’s topics done with, and a new week to look forward to. Have you guessed what theme I’ll be working with yet?

The clue is in the title…

Kirsty Watkinson

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Lesson Learned: There IS Such A Thing As Too Much Flavour

09/01/2011

Well, it’s Sunday and time for my latest topic – Lesson Learned. This is my reflection of the week – the moment when I get to look back over the past 7 days and pick out something I feel I have progressed in, whether it’s a fact I didn’t know, an experience I’ve never had before, or a difference of opinion brought on by days gone by.

This week’s lesson is relative to food (again!) and my recent obsession with cooking. I’ve always enjoyed experimenting, even though I’m somewhat of a novice in the kitchen, and being the almost-sole user of the facilities I have now gives me much more freedom to explore. Every time I leave the house for a weekly shop, I bring back yet another jar of herbs or spices. Even when I’m just making a simple pasta dish, nowadays I still throw different things into it to test what they taste like.

Still, it is possible to get it wrong. Yesterday, for example, I managed to accidentally throw too much chili powder into my egg-fried rice – I was only going for a gentle kick. It did sort of work, but it wasn’t on purpose. I’ve had worse accidents in the past, like the time I broke my pepper corn grinder and spilled half its contents into my spaghetti bolognese. THAT didn’t work so well! Just tonight, I almost managed to put myself off my tea (pie and chips) by poisoning it with too much barbeque sauce.

Flavour is brilliant – it makes good things into great things and bland things into nice dishes. And, so long as you don’t take that a little too far, it never hurts to add a little extra seasoning to make something tasty into something delicious.

Just… remember to take it easy.

Kirsty Watkinson

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Playlist: Hold Your Colour

08/01/2011

This week’s music moment is a playlist, directly based on one of the programmes I hosed on my radio show a few years ago. Trying to find quirky themes for each week was always a challenge, but one of the shows I feel like I gained the most from was the theme of colour.

Back then, I picked as many songs as I could find with colours in the title – and half of them I didn’t know. But some of those songs became firm favourites of mine, like “Blood Red, White and Blue” by Rise Against, “Infra-Red” by Placebo and “Grey” by Yellowcard. As a homage to that show, I’ve made another list – 20 songs with colours in the title. Some of them are old favourites, some of them are very well known, and some are songs I myself haven’t listened to much – but they sounded good enough to be included when I was researching:

01 – “Blackest Eyes” by Porcupine Tree
02 – “Girl’s Not Grey” by AFI
03 – “Back in Black* by AC/DC
04 – “Blood Red, White, and Blue” by Rise Against
05 – “Best Wishes To Your black Lung” by Less Than Jake
06 – “White Noise” by The Living End
07 – “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse
08 – “Red Flag” by Billy Talent
09 – “Orange Crush” by R.E.M.
10 – “White Shadows” by Coldplay
11 – “Golden Touch” by Razorlight
12 – “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra
13 – “Grey” by Yellowcard
14 – “Silver” by Hundred Reasons
15 – “Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured” by Arctic Monkeys
16 – “Purple Prose” by Mystery Jets
17 – “Infra-Red” by Placebo
18 – “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who
19 – “White Balloons” by Sick Puppies
20 – “Gold” by Beverley Knight

If I’m honest, I think the research for this took longer than it did for the radio show – half of which was just narrowing the number of songs down! My music collection has grown somewhat in the three years since I hosted the show… Here’s hoping that means my playlists just keep getting better.

If you want to check this playlist out on my Last.FM profile, just click here.

Happy listening!

Kirsty Watkinson