Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Aim For The Stars gala dinner

For those who may not know, my stepmother is world champion surfer Layne Beachley A.O. (that's right - in addition to racking up seven world championship titles, she now has the Order of Australia)! Layne has also established the foundation Aim For The Stars, which offers grants to assist women in furthering their education and achieving their career goals. This week, I attended the foundation's annual gala dinner, at which this year's winners were honoured and shared some of their stories. It was a beautiful and moving evening, reminding me that nobody's life is perfect, everyone has problems to overcome and we mustn't lose sight of our goals. I had my own setback the day before the dinner, when an issue with my U.S. visa application forced me to postpone my  upcoming October/November work trip to L.A. until at least February of next year. I've been frustrated and bitterly disappointed, but I'm trying to roll with it. I'll just have to start my mental packing list over again, now that I'm factoring in slightly different weather! 

April xx

Saturday, 3 September 2016

David Jones Flower Show preview dinner

Top: Bec & Bridge  |  Skirt: Bec & Bridge  |  Handbag: Mulberry (similar HERE)
Shoes: Christian Louboutin (120mm version HERE)  |  Earrings: Bec & Bridge

As a logical and naturally lazy person, I have never in my life purchased flowers to display in my living space. I have received them as gifts, but generally find the gesture bittersweet, as I realise I am then sentenced to such time-consuming tasks as rummaging for a suitable vase, cleaning up residual pollen and ultimately disposing of a bunch of bulky dead plants and smelly water. Enter the David Jones Flower Show: an annual event that allows me to enjoy the beauty of flowers with none of the responsibility! Kind of like babysitting when the kids are already asleep and you end up getting paid to use the wi-fi and eat a bunch of candy. (That happened to me once). But I digress. The Flower Show, now in its 31st year, sees leading Australian department store David Jones celebrate Spring by adorning itself with bountiful blooms. I was one of a few lucky guests invited to an intimate dinner in the Sydney flagship store, allowing us a sneak preview of the breathtaking floral displays. This little Rose had a lovely evening and is already planning another store visit before the Flower Show draws to a close! Hey, it beats babysitting flowers of my own.

April xx

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cirque du Soleil: Kooza opening night

TOP: Manning Cartell  |  PANTS: Manning Cartell  |  HEELS: Manning Cartell

I've never had the chance to see a Cirque du Soleil performance, so despite having hit a few more red carpets than usual lately (side note: I decline at least four event invitations each week, so it could be a lot worse), the opening night of  Kooza was one launch I simply couldn't pass up! The show was incredible, pairing a hauntingly beautiful narrative with a variety of acts that took my breath away - and even had me white knuckling the seat in front of me, in the case of the famous Wheel of Death!

April xx

Monday, 22 August 2016

Everything you've ever wanted to know about acrylic nails

Acrylic nails. A simple term, but one that undoubtedly conjures images of chunky French tips and long tacky talons. Well, in December 2015, sick of peeling nails, broken tips and frantic pre-party paint jobs, I bit the bullet and decided to see what this plastic business was all about.
I'd heard that acrylics would break easily, cost me a fortune, and be a problem if I was booked to film something last-minute. LIES! But more on that in a moment. Let's make like Fräulein Maria and start at the very beginning, shall we?


So you've worked up the courage to walk into a salon and boldly declare, "I'D LIKE A FULL SET OF ACRYLIC NAILS, PLEASE." The worst is over! You'll be there for about 2 hours, but I honestly enjoy that pamper time. Pick your colour (I'm currently feeling Jennifer Lopez-esque browny mauve shades) and most importantly, know what shape and length you want. Better yet, peruse Instagram or Pinterest for some inspo images to refer to, so you can show exactly what you're after. I ask for an almond shape with a slightly pointy end, and after initially showing screenshots, I now show a photo of my own nails following one particularly good infill session. 
The nail technician will buff your nails and then glue on the longest, craziest plastic sticks you've ever seen. These are cut to a less insane length, then painted over with acrylic powder, which will harden. The technician will then start the drilling process, using various head sizes to shorten, shape and thin the the nails down, in order to avoid the dreaded "chunky" look. This part is the most time-consuming, but then it's on to painting (cue a last-minute crisis of colour choice) and drying. Et voila! Babey babe nails are yours.
You'll need a whole new set every 3 to 4 months, and an infill appointment every 2.5 weeks. Getting infills is a little cheaper and is a shorter session, as the technician will simply grind off your polish and some of the acrylic powder, paint a new layer of acrylic powder, reshape the nails and paint them.

Now, on to more complex matters.


Prior to acrylics, my nails were yet another constant grooming concern (similar to my pre-lasered legs and underarms). I'd have to set aside two hours to give myself a manicure/wait for it to dry on the day of a red carpet event, because if I did it the day before, the polish would have already chipped by the time those flashbulbs went off. If I wanted nice nails for something else two or three days later, I'd have to find time to re-do them. But re-doing them too frequently weakens nails, causing them to break, which means you have to cut them all shorter to keep them consistent. And on and on it went. Now, with acrylics, they look absolutely perfect for at least 12 days, when the nail beds start to grow out and the polish wears off the tips slightly. In order to extend my time between infill appointments (you only NEED infills done every three weeks), I take off my polish with an acetone-free remover, then wash my hands, swipe each nail with rubbing alcohol and apply the polish of my choice, going right to the nail bed (darker colours work better to hide the sometimes-visible tiny ridge where the acrylic nail begins).


I am always running late, rushing around, raking through make-up bags and fumbling with jewellery. I assumed acrylic nails would not be up to this task, and that the delicate treatment they'd require would slow me down significantly. MYTH. I wash dishes, hand-mix food and rummage for keys with reckless abandon, and far less care than I'd take with a regular manicure. There can be slight wear of polish around the tips of the nails, but they don't chip or peel or look any less perfect than they did when you skipped out of the salon.


It varies depending on your location, but here in Aus$$$tralia, a new set costs $45 AUD (approximately $58 USD). You need infills every 3 weeks or so, at a cost of $30 ($38 USD), and a new set after 3 months.


I never thought I could have these sort of "permanent" nails, given that my job as an actor requires me to be available for last-minute auditions (and sometimes even days of filming), oft with less than 24 hours notice. In these situations, there are three options:
1. Hit up any nail salon to spend $10 and 20 minutes having them removed.
2. Nix the polish with acetone-free nail polish remover (they pretty much look like regular - albeit rather long - nails under there).
3. Cut and file the nails down to a more plausible, average length.
I've already had them removed last-minute for a couple of projects, and it was relatively painless. As soon as the words "that's a wrap!" were uttered, there were April-shaped holes all over those set walls, such was my haste to reach a nail salon. I missed my babies.


... IF THEY KNOW ABOUT THEM. In my experience, most boys appreciate a well-groomed girl who takes care of herself (it works both ways; I prefer males who, at the bare minimum, are well-acquainted with showers, toothbrushes and washing machines!). This extends to neat, polished nails. However, I've noticed a pattern of mild disgust occurring once the plasticity of my claws is revealed. One guy even bitchily remarked, "um, I prefer natural nails." As a girl who does not dress for boys, I don't really care. But seriously, most straight guys wouldn't know "natural" if it walked by with ombre bedhead waves, eyelash extensions, fake tan, lip filler, hairless underarms, coloured contacts, Spanx and a padded bra. Add acrylic nails to the list of secret "I woke up like this" tricks and move on. 


Pushing small buttons (e.g. certain toilet flushers, TV remote buttons, laptop keys)
Opening zip-lock bags
Clasping necklaces
Scratching yourself (unsatisfying due to the dull edge of the nails)
Picking coins and hairpins up off the floor


As promised by this xoJane article I nervously devoured before obtaining my first set of nails, I immediately felt like a sexy '70s Barbie. My nails look simultaneously sassy and elegant. They are old Hollywood glamour and new Hollywood Tumblr girl. And they make the MOST satisfying clicky sound when I type on my phone (an activity which is not hindered by the nails at all).

I hope all of this information was helpful! Did I leave anything out? What do you girls love/hate about acrylic nails? Let me know in the Comments below!

April xx