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Archive for the ‘culture and lifestyle’ Category
there are those of you who are already familiar with the digital magazine publication tool, issuu. issuu allows you to take your .pdfs, presentations, documents, etc. and turn them into digital e-zines. winner of the webby and one of time magazine’s top apps of 2009, there hasn’t been a contender until now. glossi is an online app that allows you to easily create digital magazines on-line using either their pre-formatted templates or customization which is perfect for users without access or knowledge of layout software. currently in beta mode, it’s an invite only app but i found no issue with getting on board and getting started.
overall the interface is relatively simple and the layout controls are pretty intuitive. once you begin your glossi, there are two main tabs one of which houses your page layout:
and the second, which houses your clippings allowing drag and drop resizing within your document:
for the design challenged, there are many templates available for that ready made newsstand look and some good how to videos available for help and tips in bringing your vision to life.
of course there are a slew of fashion magazines, homages to personal hobbies, actors, film, etc. but there are folks who are using glossi for more personal creative purposes.
writers like margaret atwood are using glossi to publish advance chapters of an upcoming book to titillate prospective readers. fashion designers like brian atwood are showcasing lookbooks of upcoming lines. amateur chefs and photographers are among those using this tool to market and brand themselves with optional links to transport users to online shops, websites, blogs, etc.
the bad? well, for those of us desiring to reach a broader audience there are the usual promotional tools like facebook, pinterest, twitter, tumblr… but, when it comes to utilizing the embedding feature say, here on wordpress, you can kiss that option goodbye. unfortunately wordpress prefers that we all utilize the same code for security sake and thus strips away any of the coding used to embed your final glossi in your blog. this is a complete drag if you’re concerned about branding and keeping your shop, blog, lookbook, etc. all under one digital roof. another serious downside is that although they say your images can’t be taken, i found it relatively easy to click and save so i think this might have been a huge oversight.
also, there is a tablet app which is more like a digital reader which i find to be slightly redundant but is still handy as a library to house your favorite glossies. again, it’s a little useless as you are unable to actually create/edit a glossi using the app. for those of us who like to be able to work mobile, this tethers you to a desktop. as the site is still in beta mode, i’m hoping this will be worked out opening it up to more users.
there are ways around the embedding issue such as creating a media link which takes you to where your magazine lives on the glossi site. not as lovely as embedding into the blog but a solution until wordpress comes up with its own answer to the magazine format. what do you think, fellow bloggers? will you use it? hit me up if you do because i’d love to check it out!
a lot of people (okay, americans) when asked what they think australia is like topographically, will usually envision dry, red clay beds found in the outback which is true of the western plateau. eastern australia is covered by quite a bit of lush vegetation in the hinderlands stretching into temperate rainforests with high humidity along the coast.
the result is perfect pastureland for grazing and the sheep, cows and horses go on for miles and miles! while these animals are obviously being raised for food, there are kind souls out there who purchase from vast herds to save a few of them from slaughter. two of these lucky ones are sweethearts beanie and bella:
the one who really took my heart was florence, a young lamb that was being raised on the broombee organic winery of mudgee! if there is one thing i love, it’s the wine produced in the ideal climes of australia and new zealand and the chance to visit a permaculture winery was a real treat. some of the stand out favorites were the moscato, very smooth and surprisingly dry; the 2005 shiraz, not a medal winner but a precursor to the 2006 and 2009 which did medal in 2011; and the 2005 shiraz/cabernet blend that medaled in 2007.
they also have wonderful olive oils, pickles and preserves as a result of the permaculture system that gives growth to the winery. we purchased a case of multiple wines, 6 bottles of olive oil and a bottle of their to die for pickled asparagus spears which provided the backdrop for the rest of our road trip! the icing on top of all of this was my feeding of florence, the lamb whom i mentioned earlier:
fast forward to our stay on fraser island (you didn’t think i was going to force all of my road trip pics on you?!) at 75 miles in length by 15 miles wide making it the largest sand island in the world, fraser island also stands out as having a world heritage listing.
ecologically there is a lot going on with rainforests, eucalyptus groves, mangrove forests, sand dunes and plenty of fresh water through out. in fact, all of the 144 lakes on the island are rainwater that has filtered through layers of sand and petrified leaf mulch to produce some of the freshest, sweetest water in the world. lake mckenzie below, is a spectacular example of some of the oasis that sprout up in this veritable paradise bearing cool, clear water with a visible bottom out at least 50 feet and beaches of the softest, powdery sand.
optical illusions like the above right hand corner are everywhere. what looks to be ordinary sand is actually the bottom of a fresh water stream, the result of hundreds of years of filtration and who’s sweetness i can personally attest to! as we drove along the largest, legalized sand highway in the world, every few dozen yards or so, creeks like the above lower right could be seen emptying into the ocean.
the 75 mile sand highway is only accessible via low tide and creeks like these can seem quite shallow. in reality, many of them are very deep and have resulted in deadly accidents by unassuming tourists speeding up for the thrill of driving through water. hence the legalization of the highway complete with speeding laws, a highway patrol and the entire island can only be traversed by four wheel drive.
let me be the first to say that i have never been one for flying but after an island flight like this, never again will i pass up on the opportunity! our propeller plane only held 8, sounded like a lawnmower and our pilot was so young he could barely grow whiskers, yet it was the most breathtaking experience allowing for a whole new perspective of fraser island. the lower left is our take off from the beach and the lower right is an aerial of the shipwreck maheno.
built in scotland in 1905, the s.s. maheno was outfitted as a luxury cruise liner along the size of the titanic or the queen mary. she was commandeered during the first world war as a hospital ship and later went back to luxury status. in 1935, the maheno was deemed no longer seaworthy and was sold for scrap. while being towed from melbourne, the craft was caught up in a cyclone and beached. because of the deep sands of the island, it wasn’t cost effective to remove it so it was abandoned to rot and slowly swallowed up by the sand. the rear of the ship is almost completely engulfed and the entire vessel is expected to disappear within the next ten years.
the one thing that most people, even native australians, asked me about were dingo sightings. i did, in fact, capture the image of the dingo above as we were driving along the beach highway. that dingo is maybe one of 150 to 200 left on the island. this particular group of dingoes is most interesting because they are the direct descendents of the original dogs brought over by the japanese over 3,500 years ago. because of their isolated situation, these dogs represent the purest strain and are identical in appearance. unfortunately, the number of dingoes is dropping and hence photos like these are rare. in order to preserve the strain, other dogs are forbidden to the island.
low tide on the island produces enormous sand flats like these. to give an indication of the vastness, i took this photo halfway between the mangroves on the shoreline and the ocean in the distance. the pools of standing water are not residual of the ocean but small creeks running out from the forest. the strange texture on the ground are actually small sand balls left behind by soldier crabs.
a word about our stay at the kingfisher bay resort. being a world heritage listing, fraser island has a cap on resorts and development of any kind. aside from a few lucky homeowners and one tiny beach “village”, the kingfisher is one of only two resorts. part of the beauty of this eco-resort is it’s design to integrate with the natural environment and that alone, puts it heads above it’s rival.
birds have free flight throughout the lobby and the accommodations consist of individual rooms connected by a timber open walkway. each room has asian style sliding panels that open onto private, native timber decks. you can also opt for villas, houses or wilderness lodges that really put you into the thick of things! best of all, is sleeping to the sounds of cicadas and frogs and waking up to the music of birdsong.
much of the food is locally grown and seasoned with “bush” ingredients and there is a bush tucker tour to give you the low down on all the flavors. also note, the native birds are right there alongside you at breakfast ready to snatch your food should you be lax in your look out. these birds are bloody smart and appear exactly at the restaurants opening and disappear at closing time on the nose!
additional cafes and a general store takes care of light snacking, forgotten items or dropping a card into the post. plenty of educational walks, beauty tours and other outdoor activities are available although spending the day in lounge mode with bar service by the pool is encouraged too!
images ©janene dunbar, all pictures shot on canon nex 5n with exception of the dingo and trucks
…a month long creative sojourn through australia!
what an amazing trip it was and how quickly time flew by, yet during that time i saw so much! from sydney to the blue mountains, through the back roads into queensland. up the gold coast to fraser island, down to the sunshine coast into brisbane and back to sydney again. landing in late spring going into summer, festivals were in full swing, trees and flowers were in full bloom (i’m allergic to things i’d never seen before!) and beaches were populated with “schoolies” on a sleepless week-long break. needless to say it’s taken me quite some time to pull my thoughts and photos together and in order to convey the full scope, it’s going to require my breaking it down into multiple posts.
granted, this isn’t my first foray down under but i covered way more ground in this trip than previously. i’ll start with a cultural overview of what i experienced, followed by some consumer insights (yes, i’m always working!). i hope you enjoy!
week one saw me in sydney which is possibly one of the fastest changing cosmopolitan cities in the world. it was already enjoying a major growth the last time i visited but this time i was blown away by how much of a transformation had taken place! a new luxury mall had sprung up with new restaurants and cafes tripling. collaborations have been taking place between artists and shop owners with small once abandoned alleyways brimming over with al fresco dining and festooned with installation art!
this luxe looking sidewalk cafe is actually part of an old historic post office which is a swanky gastronomic conversion into multiple restaurants and bars complete with a basement fine cheese and wine cellar.
these great neon “cherubs” dot the alleyways in sydney’s bustling chinatown.
first thing you’ll notice is the glut of architectural styling to be found in downtown. although some of the sydney-siders i spoke with expressed dismay, i was delighted in seeing modern architecture butting up against beautiful old-world colonialism! you have that feeling of history coupled with the youthful vigor of new design and rather than detract, i think it adds to the allure of the city. it’s very different from the antiquated cities of europe which are beautiful in their own right but take on a mausoleum type quality in their quest to remain untouched. i think if you tried to match the historical design style, you end up with a disney-esque appearance that’s stunted and off-putting.
this modernist masterpiece is the city’s fire house! the old fire house is on the left.
although it doesn’t take much to trounce l.a.’s virtually non-existent transportation system, sydney’s complex system of waterway’s and ferries takes something as simple as a commute and turns it into an outing. if i was a retiree living on a fixed income, much of my time would be taken up by traveling up and down sydney’s harbors using these affordable water taxis to visit a different beach community every day! a pint in every port would be my motto!
one of my favorite ports of call was manly beach!
a quick trip to the suburb surry hills provided proof positive of it’s a-list ranking of 23 of the 50 most stylish neighborhoods in the world. only six years ago, it was mostly bargain mom and pop eateries with nary a boutique in sight. thanks to new liquor license laws aimed at smaller businesses, wine bars, upscale cafes and various shops cluster up and down bourke street tying foot traffic from surry down to oxford street.
surry hills library and community center.
a taste of what’s to come!
with the summer kick off, so was the historic, gentrified ex-slum, the rocks getting in on the action with the village bizarre. the rocks is the oldest settlement in sydney which still contains many of it’s original sandstone structures including the oldest pub and a warehouse. the revitalization of this area has been nothing short of amazing turning it into one of the most viable tourist attractions in town. a new feature for me this time around, was the archeological dig that was taking place beneath the new youth hostel!
street food, crafts and dancing are just a few of the many things to partake of at the village bizarre.
the prize winning angora rabbit took me by surprise especially since i had been led to believe they weren’t allowed in sydney.
visitors gather in this lane crisscrossed with re-purposed lampshades to watch a performance.
apparently the rocks was hard hit by the plague. because it’s an archeological site, the hostel couldn’t be constructed on the grounds. to circumvent this, the hostel was built over the grounds as seen in the lower right.
as you can see from my photo on the right, the stable from the image on the left still remains.
and with that, i think i will leave you here since you must be exhausted and in need of a break! trust me when i say i’ll be working away tomorrow to bring you the next act in which i will take you to the blue mountains into oberon where we’ll meet some sheep named beanie and bella, visit an organic winery in mudgee for the feeding of florence and on through some picturesque scenery. and for those of you who missed the obligatory shot of the opera house, here it is:
all pictures were shot with a canon nex 5n and are ©janene dunbar
…the guilty pleasure!
have you ever gone to bed content with tomorrow’s fashion choice only to wake up with a different personality for whom said “perfection” is now deemed unacceptable? because of the state of my closet, this usually led to panic and a less than convincing second option. i’m a woman who takes to organizational tools.
thankfully, stylebook is the ultimate fashion solution for visual people. i’m not j-lo or a kardashian of any kind and at times can be hard pressed to rid myself of anything because you-never-know-when-you’ll-need-it, yadda, yadda, yadda. well…with my sweetheart giving me the stink-eye and the daily admonishments of “don’t you already have something like that?”, i decided to get on with the purge one saturday while said sweetheart was at work.
i had tried the stylebook app a year or so ago but lets face it, the idea of photographing my sloppy wardrobe with my crappy little digital camera was a less than fun idea so i deleted it. fast forward to a much better camera coupled with the bright idea of using the retailers’ own images and suddenly i am a styling genius! despite a sizable purge and limited space, my wardrobe is a bit tight preventing me from laying eyes on a certain item easily let alone envisioning a complete outfit. for me, this was the joint.
aside from itemizing and organizing my wardrobe, this app also keeps track of how many times said items have been worn, the price and what the value is based on the number of times utilized. yeah, honey will love that because it highlights wastage…
most of these fields are fully customizable allowing you to determine the best means for cataloging your war chest.
another great feature is the packing option. i’m known for my pre-packing prowess with planning stages that border on anal retentive, yet slips and oversights can happen. now instead of having a suitcase sitting out for several weeks (long trips), i can simply build a photo list with all of the items including looks which i can then use.
for the little girl at heart, the biggest draw is the ability to stylize and mobilize your looks. now i can bore my boyfriend to tears over lunch as i flash him my faves and tell him all of the places he can take me to show them off. at any rate, i do love pretty, so let me bore you with a few favorite looks!
something old, something less old!
thinking tights on this one…
not for the faint of heart so beware all list makers, its addictive properties!please note, all screens except for the looks are for illustrative purposes only.