Meet the most smiley animal on earth: the quokka. A native of Australia, the quokka is a marsupial in the macropod family (along with wallabies and kangaroos) with a permanently positive outlook. Its most distinct characteristic is the appearance that it is always smiling. If you're feeling blue or just having a bad day, look no further. Click through to get an instant mood-booster and learn a few fun facts about quokkas while you're at it!
Dancers from the Yarrabah community perform during the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival in Laura, Australia. The annual event celebrates aboriginal dance and culture and takes place at the site of a traditional Bora ground, which is sacred to the aboriginal community and surrounded by some of the oldest rock art in the world. See more photos now.
Women in Australia have decided to stop comparing their bodies to inanimate fruit. Instead, they're naming their shapes after artists who celebrate the female figure — like Leonardo da Vinci and Peter Paul Rubens. One lingerie model putting the change on display explained: "I was a pear, but now I'm a Matisse. Matisse always painted such beautiful women." Da Vinci represents a straight up and down shape, and Rembrandt denotes a full bust and bottom.
A body image expert conceded that classifying women's bodies typically presents problems, but "these categories let women know that all types of body shapes have been around for a long time and have been considered beautiful by artists throughout history." Find out more in the news report above. Do you think it's a positive change?
I have plenty of friends who've commented on how "neat" I am when visiting my apartment — my mother was particularly impressed, score! But behind closed doors, polish is nowhere to be found. I like to refer to my shoe collection as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and for the life of me, I can't seem to keep my shirts and sweaters folded. The most shameful place, though, is my jewelry collection. I store my jewelry in two dresser drawers, and it's basically a big jumble of knotted necklaces and earrings that have lost their pair. I've tried the jewelry box thing but it winds up equally unorganized.
The answer, I think, is a jewelry stand. Particularly, a stand as display-worthy as Australian jeweler Polli's new jewelry stands ($90). The cute, whimsical pieces recall the brand's signature laser-cut styles, but they're actually made, locally, from salvaged timber and have natural grain visibility. My favorite is the Amsterdam Display, which is inspired by the tall, quirky buildings along the canals in Amsterdam — it even has a bicycle! But for Aussies, and those looking for a more nature-inspired theme, the native Gum Tree Display is equally adorable. Better yet, I can keep it out in the open . . . and you know how messy I get with things hidden in a drawer.
It's a woman's choice, isn't it? That may not be the case in some parts of Australia, where a mother breaks the law if she has a child via paid surrogate. According to Jezebel:
"Altruistic surrogacy," in which no money changes hands, is allowed in Australia but seldom happens. The new overseas surrogacy ban in New South Wales (Australia's most populous state, containing Sydney, where Kidman grew up and where her parents live) has already been passed but has not yet gone into effect. It would "impose penalties of two years' jail, a $110,000 fine, or both on parents who pay for a surrogate here or abroad to carry their child," according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Despite fertility issues, the ban makes it the government's place to decide which citizens are entitled to have families and how they should go about creating them. What's your reaction?
Down Under, there's quite the ruckus going on right now about Hot Cuts, a salon that offers cuts, hair massages, and beard trims from comely topless stylists. In the extremely funny (and not altogether SFW) news report below, the staff and clientele all seem pretty nonplussed, if a little kooky. No word on when they're going to get topless hunks in to do highlights, but check out the clip below to kick off the weekend with a laugh:
Members of Oliver's Swiss High Diving Water Show Extravaganza perform at the Royal Melbourne Show. The show, attended by half a million people, has taken place in Melbourne since 1848 and is Victoria's largest and longest running public entertainment event.
What wouldn't I give to have been an audience member of Oprah's opening show of her last season that premiered yesterday. The lucky 300 attendees are not only going on an eight-day, all-expense-paid trip to Australia in December, but the pilot who will fly them there is none other than John Travolta.
The two episodes filmed in the Land Down Under will cost the Australian government a whopping $3 million (US $2.8 million). In defense of the pricey move, Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said, "Oprah is a household name and her star power has the potential to lift Australia's profile as a premier tourist destination."
What do you think — is the Oprah Effect worth $3 million of Australian taxpayers' money?