Summer Home – Rustic Glam

Image Source: facebook.com/SamanthaPynn/photos

For my avid readers, you’ll know that I have a penchant for interior decorating programs. To fuel my addiction, Summer Home is the latest series I’ve added to my growing list of favourite home makeover shows. What makes this series unique is its focus on renovating summer homes – or holiday homes as we call them here in Australia. In each episode, host Samantha Pynn, aims to update rundown retreats trapped in a time warp, and transform them from boring to delightful getaways.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/9

 The program has a laid back vibe that’s reflected in Samantha’s signature style. I have an affinity for her refreshing approach to decorating; it’s what I define as casual chic. With Samantha, you won’t find ostentatious fixtures, opulent or ornate focal points and quirky decorating concepts. Instead, Samantha’s creations are bright, cosy and inviting. Her designs are based on restrained elegance, understated rustic glam. She combines country with a classic, timeless comfort, yet modern feel.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/15

Samantha provides practical solutions to breathing new life into a home. Where possible, she retains existing furniture to minimise costs but refreshes the pieces with new slip covers or re-upholstering. In addition to custom fixtures, Samantha also favours vintage accessories found in local thrift stores or antique shops to maintain a cottage charm.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/19

As the homes of her clients are often located along rivers, lakes or set amongst wooded areas, her designs are often nature inspired, so as not to divert from the character of the house. To keep the look fresh, she uses pops of colour with visual elements such as pillows, throw blankets, rugs and ornaments with soft colour pallets, floral prints mixed with muted geometric patterns and delicate textures.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/32

In some episodes, Samantha’s major challenge is maximising areas with limited space, creating a room that is both functional and flexible in terms of their layout, purpose and usage. She often achieves this with a splash of paint, new flooring, re-positioning furniture, adding fixtures with sleek minimalist features, dismantling walls or building cabinetry upwards instead of outwards – all to create the illusion of space.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/40

In summary, Samantha manages to combine both function and form, transforming rooms that once lacked any artistic direction, and injecting a dash of glam that is visually eye catching yet comfortable and casually stylish.

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/42

Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/46

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Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/53

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Image Source: hgtv.ca/summerhome/photos/#!/22

Image Source: facebook.com/SamanthaPynn/photos

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Me, Public Speaking? I’d Rather Go Nude!

One of my greatest fears in life is public speaking. I’d rather jump out of a plane nude, or walk barefoot through a pit filled with hairy tarantulas!

Recently, my little sister asked me to make the customary ‘family member’ speech at her engagement party. I was deeply touched and honored that she considered me, but at the same time I wanted to wet my pants (and throttle her)! Deep down, I secretly thought this was payback for all the times I threatened to flush her down the toilet when we were younger. My stomach began to churn and twist in knots. I had two months to come up with a speech and the pressure was on!

Image Source: publicspeakingtraining.biz/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Suit-guy-infront-of-big-corp-audience-iStock-CROPPED.jpg

Some people are gifted speakers, me….not so much. As a student, at the end of each term, my report card read – “C is a conscientious student but needs to participate in class discussion”. It was a recurrent theme throughout primary school and high school, much to the disappointment of my parents! Despite the many lectures from both my teachers and the folks, it was a lesson never learned and haunts me to this day.

 I can’t recall the source or quote the exact statistic, but according to a survey conducted, a significant number of people would rather die than engage in public speaking. OK, it’s a tad extreme but I can more than empathize with the thought.

I’m painfully shy! I liken myself to an awkward, country church mouse with hermit tendencies. I was the wallflower in high school that never got asked out because I was socially inept with zero personality. Men weren’t exactly queuing up for a date during my footloose and fancy free twenties because I couldn’t chat any guy up (it didn’t  help that I tried to save myself for Brad Pitt)!

Image Source: publicrelationssydney.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Microphone-at-conference.jpg

I’d still be single, desperate and dateless today if the better half hadn’t have made the first move. He was brave enough to introduce himself when we first met. I think he felt sorry for the loner in the tight skirt and knee high boots leaning up against the bar with vodka in hand.

Some people love the sound of their own voice; you know the ones who could talk under water? I’m in awe of those who can dominate conversations over the dinner table or board room meetings. I envy people who are gifted speakers, the best of which can mesmerize and captivate an audience. It does help if you ooze a little charm, personality and charisma. Personally, I believe you’re born with it, it’s an innate talent.

By contrast, talking is my weakness, my Achilles heal. Place me in front of a group of people and this weakness is elevated ten fold and I’m overcome with paralyzing fear! I start to quiver, sweat uncontrollably and I turn into a jibbering idiot. My mind freezes up and turns blank; I struggle to articulate what’s in my head (which isn’t much). Don’t get me wrong, I love attention. I don’t mind walking into a room, wearing something glam with a touch of bling and turning heads. However, when I open my mouth, I struggle to come up with something sharp, witty or profound to say. It’s a challenge to convey a message in a succinct, articulate manner – instead, I fall flat on my face (I guess this explains why writing is my escape).

Image Source: speechmattersaustralia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/public-speaking.jpg

My saving grace has always been my writing. Whenever I had to conduct presentations or meetings at work, I had notes prepared for my own sense of security. So, that’s where my mission began. I began to draft my speech until I realized I had no idea what to write! The avid blogger was suffering from writer’s block! I had to get down to the basics. Like with any good story, you need a captivating introduction, a memorable plot with a middle section that takes the audience on a joyride and a conclusion to tie up the yarn.  I channelled in my marketing experience and similar to a sales pitch, you need to have key objectives and an understanding of your target audience and what they’re after. Research is the key – a broad knowledge and understanding of what you’re talking about!

My ultimate goal was to create a light hearted message about my sister’s road to romantic bliss while hoping the audience didn’t suffer through sheer boredom, and the means to achieve this was to add some humor to the speech. I didn’t want to go down the path of the boring mushy lovey dovey clichés that you find in a Hallmark card – love is a journey not a destination, love is patient, love is kind – Blah! Blah! Blah! What a crock! That makes me gag. Instead, I wanted DIRT, that is, the crazy shenanigans that the youth of today get up to (ideal for my young audience). So I contacted close family and my sister’s friends to dig up some gossip which would form the bulk of my speech.

I certainly didn’t want to write a thesis. I wanted to keep the speech short and sweet – the less time I have to spend talking…the better! Once the speech was written up, the next stage was to practice, because practice makes perfect! I began to rehearse, I’d pace up and down the hallway rehearsing, varying my tone of voice and ensuring the delivery of each joke was perfect. On several occasions I even sat in front of Winston the Wonder Dog and read through my lines. After several rounds, eventually my own dog got bored! He’d look at me perplexed before dozing off. It got to a point where he’d walk the opposite direction as soon as he saw me approaching him. The paw thing, even my own dog got sick of the speech. That wasn’t a good sign!

As the date of the engagement party loomed, I couldn’t sleep. I began to get hives! Even as I slept, my mind raced through what I was going to say. On the day of the soiree, I needed a calming mechanism…..booze! Copious amounts of alcohol helps…it’s the best social lubricant….as they say, booze make men brave and women loose! After a few glasses of vodka, Bacardi and gin – I was rockin’!!!

Image Source: openspeaking.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/public-speaking-coaching.jpg

With paper in hand, I began the speech. I started off strongly, despite the fact my hands were trembling. If I could measure the amount of quivering, it would be off the Richter scale. I lost my spot once but quickly brushed the mistake off. Once the audience laughed at a few comical gags, I knew I was on fire. To my sister’s relief, I didn’t disgrace myself!

In summary, I survived! Woo hooo! Would I ever volunteer or yearn to be nominated for any future public speaking events? Well, like I said earlier, I’d rather jump out of a plane nude, or walk barefoot through a pit filled with hairy tarantulas!

Christmas Greetings! With Love, Melbourne

Flinders Street Station Image Source: The Vibe 101

Flinders Street Station Image Source: The Vibe 101

There’s nothing like summer in Melbourne, especially as Christmas approaches. The city’s lively atmosphere steps up a gear and comes to life even further as the festive season kicks in. Christmas brings such a spirited, vibrant buzz in town. The garlands are hung, decorations adorn street lamps and shop windows are decked out with glistening ornaments and flickering party lights.

Melbourne Town Hall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Melbourne Town Hall Image Source: The Vibe 101

The Block Arcade Image Source: The Vibe 101

The Block Arcade Image Source: The Vibe 101

The mood around the CBD is laid back, yet pulsating and infectious. As you stroll along the city streets, you’ll find yourself weaving in and out of the large crowds of people, some of whom have taken to the festive spirit by donning reindeer antlers or Santa hats. It’s hard not to be captivated by the light entertainment performed by an eclectic mix of buskers and carollers scattered on the corner of busy intersections or positioned outside retail department stores.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

The smorgasbord of bars, cafes and restaurants is the heart and soul of Melbourne. Personally, it’s a great city to wine, dine and ultimately to relax as you gear up for Christmas celebrations. The tantalising aromas wafting through the air from some of Melbourne’s finest eateries combined with the large number of funky pubs and clubs only adds to the sizzling energy and ambiance of this great city.

Burke Street Mall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Burke Street Mall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Myer (Melbourne's equivalent to Macy's, Selfridges or SM Department Stores) Image Source: The Vibe 101

Myer (Melbourne’s equivalent to Macy’s, Selfridges or SM Department Stores) Image Source: The Vibe 101

The hedonistic fusion of awesome music, delectable food, cocktail of drinks and great company is hypnotic to the senses and further intensifies the joy and merriment one would experience at this time of the year. Melbourne certainly knows how to turn on the charm to build up a cheerful party vibe full of reverie. You’ll wish to soak it in and bottle it up

I love Christmas, especially in Melbourne!

Pic 21 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Visual Light Show at Melbourne Town Hall
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 20 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Visual Light Show at Melbourne Town Hall
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 19 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Visual Light Show at Melbourne Town Hall
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Melbourne Town Hall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Melbourne Town Hall Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 8 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Hardware Lane, worth visiting for a bite to eat
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 3 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 5 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 7 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Image Source: The Vibe 1o1

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Flinders Street Station, Melbourne’s equivalent to New York’s Grand Central Station or The Tube in London
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 9 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Burke Street Mall
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 10 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

The GPO at Melbourne
Image Source: The Vibe 101

Pic 6 Mobile Phone Pictures as at 23-12-2012 132

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Apocalypse Now!

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end. It’s already tomorrow in AUSTRALIA!!!!” Charles M. Schulz

Image Source: Facebook mamagenerator.net

 

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au
Picture: Pierre-Philippe Marcou

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au Picture: Johan Ordonez

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au Picture: Matt Dunham

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au Picture: Marko Drobnjakovic

Image Source: HeraldSun.com.au Picture: Hector Retamal

Image Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/amazingly-world-survives-maya-apocalypse/story-fnd134gw-1226542199000

Dubrovnik – The Bittersweet Memories

Dubrovnik 1

Image Source: The Vibe 101

I have bittersweet memories of Dubrovnik. I travelled there to catch up with an old flame. But in the back of my head, I knew the relationship was heading straight towards the deep dark void of romance abyss – that is, splitsville. All good things must come to an end, but memories last forever, hence why Dubrovnik will always hold a special place in my heart.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Oh the crazy things we do for love! I visited Dubrovnik just a week after my 30th birthday. The trek from Melbourne to Dubrovnik was an adventure in itself. The journey involved close to an 8hr flight from Melbourne to Singapore. The second flight from Singapore to Frankfurt was just under 13hrs and the final leg between Frankfurt to Dubrovnik was a further 2hr plane ride. That part wasn’t bad. It was the 8hr stopovers at both Singapore and Frankfurt that was draining.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Actually, Changi airport was fun. The free internet, cinema centre and entertainment areas featuring widescreen TV monitors that were strategically positioned near a smorgasbord of shops and café’s, was enough to keep me occupied. It was Frankfurt that was the bane of my existence. There was nothing to do as I roamed around in limbo trying desperately to pass time, while the cigarette smoke wafting through the air was strong enough to gag on. What was worse, I was dragging around luggage while wearing knee high boots with three inch heels. Don’t judge me – I looked hot despite my pain. Besides, I just entered my ‘flirty thirty’ phase of life and I was footloose and fancy free!

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Situated along the Adriatic Sea, south of Croatia, Dubrovnik is a UNESCO listed city and a gem of the Dalmatia region. During the drive towards our hotel, the taxi driver kindly stopped at a popular observation deck overlooking the scenic view of the coastline (it was a sneaky, but effective move to bump up my fare but it was worth it!). It was my first taste of the Old Town of Dubrovnik which was accentuated by a sea of terracotta coloured rooftops.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

The Old Town is the heart and soul of Dubrovnik. As you enter the gates of the walled city, you take a step back in time into a golden era reminiscent of a period where fair ladies and knights in shining armour still roamed. The city is characterised by traditional architecture inspired by Gothic, Romanesque or Baroque designs (I’m not an arts connoisseur, but I’m assuming the buildings are of that vintage). As you stroll along the Placa or Stradun (which is the main city walkway), you’ll notice the promenade is flanked on either side by a myriad of cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Our accommodation was just a leisurely walk outside the city. Each evening, S and I headed towards the historical site for a bite to eat. Even at night the city keeps a vibrant atmosphere as the residents open up their quaint al fresco cafés and restaurants to tourists. During summer, candlelit dinners with the stars above are the perfect way to soak in the laid back ambiance.  Being of Bosnian background, S spoke the language and recommended local cuisines including bureks (a pastry dish) and cevapčići (minced meat, similar to a kebab) which is worth trying.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

I had the chance to explore the Old Town, walking the length of the outer perimeter of the city. Meandering along the surrounding walls is the best opportunity to get a bird’s eye perspective of the lofty bell tower which dominates the main square or watch the sail boats and even the odd cruise liner that are docked in the port. From this vantage point, you’ll be amazed by the town’s timeless, classic appeal. However, based on the information plaque at the main entrance, much of the city was heavily damaged during the Balkans war. Following the end of the war, the town has managed to restore many of the buildings to their original structure.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

As you immerse yourself in the maze of cobblestone streets and corridors of lane ways, you’ll discover prominent landmarks including the Dominican Monastery and church with its large dome; the Great Onofrio Fountain built in 1348 and the Franciscan monastery. Other highlights include the St Blaise Church for its traditional architecture; the Rector’s (Sponza) Palace and its beautiful archways, and the Gunduliceva Poljana which is the site of the busy morning market.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Dubrovnik has an enchanting fairytale charm. Sadly, S was not my Prince Charming. However, I didn’t want this doomed relationship to overshadow my time in this romantic city. Yet, as each day passed, I knew the inevitable was looming. The relationship was coming to its finale and I was trying desperately to hold onto ‘something’ that clearly wasn’t worth clinging to.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

As women, we all know some boys are toxic. There’s a breed of men out there that are like cigarettes. You know you should stay away from them but temptation gets the better of you, until it finally hits you that they’re clearly a bad habit! Ok, this hook up wasn’t all good, but it wasn’t all bad either, it just was never meant to be.

Image Source: The Vibe 101

Image Source: The Vibe 101

During the journey home to the land of Oz, I remember sitting at Changi Airport with a heavy heart, staring outside onto the tarmac…I was 30, and single….AGAIN, I thought to myself. There’s a line in Sleepless in Seattle where a man says to Meg Ryan’s character “It’s easier to be killed by a terrorist than it is to find a husband” and it hit me hard. I shed a tear. It was the end of a chapter to another failed romance.

Luckily, this story didn’t end there. Within a few months, I met a wonderful, caring, smart, funny guy who is the love of my life! To this day, this love story continues….

The Sunshine Award

Image Source: Google.com

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey!”

I could whistle that tune all day. It’s such a whimsical and uplifting little ditty. It was the first thing I did when I found out that itchyfeetme nominated The Vibe 101 for the Sunshine Award. It’s The Vibe’s fourth nomination, and I always get a buzz whenever my site is recognised by my fabulous fellow bloggers.

HOW IT WORKS:

1)      Include the Sunshine Award Logo(s) in a post or in your blog.

2)      Share the love and thank the person who nominated you and in your post provide the link or name of their blog and comment what their site is about.

3)      Answer 10 questions about your self from the person/blog that nominated you.

4)      Nominate 10 to 12 other fabulous bloggers and ask them 10 questions.

5)      You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated you!

6)      Link your nominees’ blog/site names to your post and let them know they are nominated via their blog.

itchyfeetme has a passion and wanderlust to discover the world around her. You’ll be taken on a journey as you read her adventures and experiences from the Philippines, Vietnam, France to Armenia and the United Arab Emirates! Check out her blog on itchyfeetme.wordpress.com

Image Source: itchyfeetme.files.wordpress.com

10 QUESTIONS ABOUT ME:

  • Favorite Color: Red, it’s such a vibrant, sultry and sexy colour! Sort of like myself….in a wallflower, country church mouse kind of way. I’m full of contradictions!
  • Favorite time of the year: my birthday, Christmas, Spring , whenever there’s a merchandise stocktake sale.
  • Favorite Number: 4, I don’t know why, but I’ve always been drawn to this number. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel it’s evenly balanced.
  • Favorite Non Alcoholic Drink: Coke, but I’ve cut down because it’s probably corroding my insides!
  • Favorite Cuisine: Korean, Japanese, Italian – I start to salivate just thinking about it. Yum! Yum! Yum!
  • My Passion : Anything artistic – writing, reading, decorating, listening to music, going to the movies – it gets the creative juices flowing!
  • Dream destination: South America, Africa, Maldives, Tahiti, mainland US – I could go on. So much to do. So much to see and still tick off my bucket list.
  • Nicest place been so far : Vienna, Paris, Monaco, Egypt, Rome, Salzburg, Florence, Venice, Phuket.
  • FB or Twitter : Can you believe I don’t have a twitter account? Blimey.
  • Mantra : Carpe Diem…..Seize the Day!

MY NOMINEES:

I’ve nominated the following blogs for the Sunshine Award. I have a weakness for travel and food blogs, or any blog with great photography. Their posts are fascinating to read and the images featured on their sites are amazing! I hope the nominations spread a few positive vibes. Share the love peoples!

http://thewanderlustgene.wordpress.com

http://thebucketlust.com

http://moniquesantiago.wordpress.com

http://timelessdifference.com/

http://onegirlsquestforperfection.wordpress.com

http://travellingtonito.wordpress.com

http://eatlivetravelblog.wordpress.com

http://sh0werstorm.wordpress.com

http://notanothertravelsite.wordpress.com

virginiasite.wordpress.com

thetravellingcardigan.wordpress.com

QUESTIONS FOR NOMINEES

  1. If you had one day to play God, what would you do?
  2. If you could turn back time, what would you change in this world?
  3. If you found $10,000 in an alleyway, what would you do?
  4. Which movie character can you most relate to and why?
  5. Who is the best world leader of all time and why?
  6. What is the best movie of all time and why?
  7. Where is the best city to live and why?
  8. What’s the next gadget that should be invented e.g. flying car, money that grows on trees?
  9. What is the root of all evil?
  10. If you weren’t on a diet and there was no risk to your health, what would you eat?

You are my Sunshine! (Image Source: Google.com)

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD

I always experience a rush of excitement when I’m recognised by my fabulous fellow bloggers. A big shout out goes to theeclecticeccentricshopaholic, who’s nominated The Vibe 101 once again, this time for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. It’s one tiny step closer to a Pulitzer Prize. Ok, not quite, but we’re heading in the right direction!

RULES for the VERY INSPIRING BLOG AWARD. PLEASE FOLLOW CAREFULLY:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic is a prolific writer with the skill to post daily about her own reflections and experiences on life in the Philippines. She’s an avid participant in the daily prompt, haiku and short story challenges. Check out the blog on theeclecticeccentricshopaholic.wordpress.com It’s a fascinating read!

 

7 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I was the nerdy girl in high school who never got asked out. I’d love to say I was the ugly duckling who eventually blossomed into a beautiful swan (i.e. Victoria’s Secret model), sadly that’s not the case.
  2. If I could change a few things about myself, I’d want to be prettier, smarter, and more gregarious. I gotta grow some balls – BIG ONES!
  3. If I could be anyone but myself, I’d be Angelina Jolie – she’s gorgeous, talented, and articulate and she has a whole lotta chutzpah (i.e. she’s brazen, bold & beautiful)!
  4. If I ever met God, I’d thank him for letting me re-sit my economics test without any penalties. I got my exam schedule mixed up and arrived late for my final assessment. Oops!
  5. My biggest regret is that I didn’t follow my dreams to become a journalist, fashion designer or interior decorator. But I’m finally turning things around and creating my own path….wherever it takes me. I’m bound to get lost along the way!
  6. If I could eat anything (and not have to worry about my weight and figure), I’d eat copious amounts of Krispy Kremes, Pringles, Cheezels and Pavlovas – that would just be for appetisers to wet the palette.
  7. The movie character that most reflects who I am would be Josie ‘Grosie’ Geller from the film Never Been Kissed, and played by the bubbly Drew Barrymore. I’m an ever fumbling geek to the core!

 

MY NOMINEES

For my regular readers, you’ve probably figured out that there’s a common theme to the blogs I love to read. Yes, I have a weakness for travel and food blogs, or sites that feature captivating photography. Congratulations to the following blogs as you have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Share the love and pay it forward.

http://julieriso.wordpress.com

http://traveller2006.wordpress.com

http://travelphotosfoodandlife.wordpress.com

http://mlitvinskasphotography.wordpress.com

http://cocomoke.wordpress.com

http://randomizer144.wordpress.com

http://alittlethingcalledmetime.wordpress.com

http://eagleborn2fly.wordpress.com

Image Source:

Angelina Jolie,  Never Been Kissed image sourced from  Google

Blogger images were sourced from respective WordPress sites