Posted on Mon, 20 May 2013 15:07:05 GMT
Ah, Portland. I am sad it took me such a long time to visit you. I admit that all I knew of you was what I had learned from episodes of Portlandia, and now I wish I had visited years ago!
Some people say Portland is the Austin of the northwest. They’re right, but they’re wrong. Portland isn’t a clone of Austin; it stands on its own two feet.
Having said that, Portland is very much like my other favourite places in the USA: NYC, Austin, and New Orleans. What they all have in common is an independent spirit, a unique culture and a commitment to fostering the weirdness! Like the other three cities, Portland has not been turned into a wasteland of chain stores and Pinkberry frozen yoghurt shops. Small businesses thrive, and the local economy is booming. The earnestness of it all, of course, makes it easy to make fun of (see: Portlandia). But really, these are things worth encouraging and supporting.
I was overwhelmed by happiness in Portland. It is a great, GREAT city! Here are my top 5 suggestions of things to do in the City of Roses…
Ever since I’ve known her, Shauna has sung the praises of Buffalo Exchange. This uniquely American chain buys your used clothing, and in return, gives you the choice of cash or store credit. Shauna is always telling me that she got this great dress or those crazy shoes at Buffalo, and I kinda thought, ‘Yeah yeah…’
But this year I’ve done a lot of spring cleaning, and what can you do with garbage bags full of clothes, other than sell them or donate them? I started to cart suitcase-loads to Buffalo every month or so. It seemed like the most rational solution to my insane clothes-hoarding problem. In the last few months, I have amassed a fairly sizable store credit… Which made walking into Buffalo Exchange in Portland a dream come true.
I cleaned up in Buffalo Exchange on Hawthorne — scoring, for example, this maxi-dress by Theory (it has pockets!) — and did well at their downtown location, too, snagging this mad dress among other treasures.
What makes Buffalo Exchange in Portland so good?! I don’t know the answer to this mystery, but put simply, those girls in the Northwest have style.
You definitely need to visit the Hawthorne area when you go to Portland. Other than Buffalo, there’s a handful of great vintage clothing and furniture shops along that stretch of road, and on a sunny day, it makes for a wonderful walk, ducking in and out to see what you can see.
P.S. There’s a photobooth at House of Vintage just up the street, which spits out bright, evenly-toned black and white prints. Do it!
I was introduced to this healthy little wonder by some of our blogcadettes, and I am so thankful to them! A quick walk from the Ace Hotel, Prasad is a small but mighty cafe tucked alongside a yoga studio.
The perfect breakfast? Gluten-free toast with avocado, spinach, slow roasted tomatoes and jalapeño cashew cheese. (I have been fantasising about it ever since.) Wash it down with a Rita juice (celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, parsley, mint and lime) or a Witchdoctor (apple, lemon, ginger, wheatgrass and echinacea over ice). I mean!
Don’t get me wrong: Portland is packed to the gills with vegan, gluten-free and slow food options. But if greens and raw food are what you’re hankering for, Prasad is an unbeatable place to get your healthy fix.
I’m obsessed with the place. I can’t wait to go back to Portland, and eating there will be first on my list of priorities!
Since we were in town teaching, and our classes took place at the Ace, a lot of our Portland-ness revolved around their location… And what a location it is!
The Ace is fantastic and fabulous, and I would have absolutely no hesitation in staying there again. From the generous suites to the soft beds and oversized tubs, this is a smart hotel that really does supply every modern convenience you could possibly need.
They’ve actually thought about it: instead of giving you an iPod dock — which is just not compatible with everything — they give you a cable with a headphone plug on the end, which easily snaps into your phone, laptop, iPod or anything else. This, of course, meant we could boogie the night away to Boy George!
It’s the little things like that which add up to a superior experience.
And it’s not just that the rooms are awesome with great amenities. The lobby has a fantastic photobooth which can be used with a simple swipe of your credit card, there’s a Stumptown Coffee right downstairs, and the incredible Clyde Commons restaurant is just next door. (Say it with me now: truffle popcorn. Oh my lord.)
Next time I go back, I know where I’m staying!
On our last morning in Portland, after eating a mammoth breakfast at Paradox, we passed Saint Cupcake.
Now, truthfully, my cupcake mania has died down pretty considerably over the last few years. Just like everyone else, I used to be obsessed with those teeny-tiny cakes, and I took my tasting seriously. But sometimes you have too much of a good thing, and the thrill dissipates.
I looked into the window of Saint Cupcake and since we had some time to kill, we decided to go in. I was really happy to see that they had vegan cupcakes, so I picked a red velvet cake and carried it in a little to-go box.
After carting it around for most of the day, I finally devoured the thing just before my plane to Los Angeles started to descend. What a delight! Damn, that was a good cupcake: moist cake, thick fluffy frosting, and plenty of flavour.
I immediately regretted not having bought a box of 6! Saint Cupcake should definitely be on your list if you’re in town.
Boyd Rice: What’s your favorite bar?
Marilyn Manson: That’s an easy one. Portland Oregon. The Acropolis Steakhouse. Are you familiar with it?
Boyd Rice: Acropolis Steakhouse? I’ve heard about this. People say, “You’ve got to go to this place,” and nobody took me.
Marilyn Manson: Well, it’s the Acropolis Steakhouse and that’s what the song says and that’s all that it leads you to believe, but when you enter it’s an all-nude dance club that serves steak. It’s all nude, not just topless. You can eat steak at the table and people will be dancing all nude in front of you. The steak is only — I think I got a fillet for five dollars.
Boyd Rice: Wow.
Marilyn Manson: And it wasn’t really bad either. It looked like a place out of a John Waters movie. It just didn’t really seem real. But it was great.
The strip clubs
When Kat and I arrived in Portland, one of the first things Shauna said to us was, “My cousin and I are taking you on a strip club tour tomorrow night.” At first, we were kind of confused. Why would she want to take us there? But of course, in the name of adventure, we said yes and went along.
That’s when I realised: going to a strip club in Portland is just like going to a bar in any other city.
The Acropolis just happens to be the place where Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese had their first date, so it’s kind of a must-see. And it’s not what you expect.
You may be surprised to hear, for example, that we ate dinner at the Acropolis, while simultaneously being hypnotised by a girl who could gyrate each buttock independently. It’s widely known as the home of the best $6 steak in town. There’s a salad bar and slot machines. The crotchety waitress suggested Shauna’s cousin not order the buffalo burger… And one of the dancers just played TOOL and laid on her back while a guy threw quarters at her?!
After we’d had our fill of onion rings at the Acropolis, we headed to DV8, a huge purple building where the drinks glow under blacklight and the babes climb the pole with gymnastic athleticism. Cheap mixed drinks, multiple stages and a weird but cool audience made it feel just like your average neighbourhood hangout… Just with more boobs.
If you’ve never been to a strip club and you find yourself in Portland, please do yourself a favour and spend a little time in one. The experience is fun, surreal and silly all at the same time, and it’s the very opposite of intimidating. And by the way, if you do go, here’s how to worship at the temple!
Of course, our trip would have been very different without the generous hospitality of Shauna, Joey and Rocky the wonder-pooch. Staying at Wolfgang Manor, with its assortment of taxidermy animals and vases with faces on them, was a total delight. Thank you, babe. One day, when I have my own haunted mansion, I hope to repay your generosity!
The dream of the nineties is alive in Portland,
Photos of lamp-post and Shauna by Made U Look. Saint Cupcake photo from their site. The rest by me.
filed under: travel
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Posted on Fri, 17 May 2013 16:28:59 GMT
Spring is all about falling in love. Warm weather, long nights and short skirts add up to create a truly amorous atmosphere!
Maybe you’re falling for someone new, or simply rediscovering how wonderful your long-term lover really is. Either way, I created a playlist for you, containing 100% non-bullshit love songs. (Because Kenny G is not awesome.)
Listen to it while you daydream about your boo!
Hearts in my eyes like a cartoon character,
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Posted on Thu, 16 May 2013 20:21:09 GMT
I’m sitting outside a coffeeshop in the shade. I’m wearing plum-coloured lipstick (#46) with my legs crossed underneath me (always my favourite way to sit). God, it is such a relief to able to sit outside and not have to pull my coat around me!
Yesterday I caught two buses and a train up to South Bronx (the South South Bronx) to go on a little EKOCYCLE pilgrimage. While there, I was reunited with Will.I.Am. EKOCYCLE have teamed up with four residential buildings in the South Bronx to try to increase their rate of recycling, since it’s one of the lowest in NYC. Super-cool.
As we walked the streets, he said, “You’re from New Zealand, right? I was just there!” He proceeded to tell me about how he gets involved with kids from low-income areas, and that he just donated $100,000 to a bunch of charter schools in New Zealand.
I am always so impressed by him and his commitment to really, truly making the world a better place. He is such an exceptional person. A lot of us talk a big game about “living your passion” and “leaving a legacy”, but how many of us actually do it? And by the way, saying that you’ll be generous once you have the time/make your first million is bullshit. If you’re not generous with your attention, time or money now, you won’t be when you have more of it. True story.
The other thing that fascinates me about Will is how much he manages to get done. He has his fingers in a trillion pies, and yet somehow is still charming, thoughtful and productive. He’s not rushed or impatient or rude or too important, and he puts all of himself into everything he does. I know how easy it is to run around wringing your hands talking about “how busy” you are. But Will isn’t a robot or some superhero spaceman. He is an average dude from the projects in East L.A., who has his priorities in check.
What if we all stopped watching television for a month, and instead devoted that time to a something we were intensely passionate about? What if we stopped wasting our time with constantly refreshing social media and our inbox, and instead disconnected from the wifi so we could get some real writing done? What if we really took notice of the fact that our time on the planet is short, and that if we want to achieve tremendous things, we need to harness every single minute?
Now, this is not to say that we should never rest or relax or party. Of course, that is vital to our enjoyment of life! But I know my life would be better if I stopped doing things that were just “okay”, and prioritised the stuff that really matters.
Hanging out with Will yesterday was like a big, inspirational shock to the system, and it made me think a lot about casting off the excuses and just committing to doing the very, very best I can. In fact, one of my new favourite people, Ashley Ambirge, just tweeted,
Word up to THAT.
Every time I hang out with Will, he makes me want to be a better person… And I think that’s the highest compliment you can ever give someone. But it’s not enough to just idly want to be better — you then have to go out and do something about it.
J’adore… Considerate smokers (thank you for not blowing stinky smoke and ashing all over me, I do appreciate it!) Sitting outside to write — truly, the best! Revamping my editorial calendar! (Yeah, you need one too!) Buying what is, perhaps, the perfect skirt in white… I can’t wait to wear it! Seeing women I went to school with thrive! Having #courtneyloveappreciationhour on Twitter Reading too much about people who have had alien encounters Getting really lost in a great book Genius playlists, which I had somehow never used until yesterday Having my trainer tell me I should make a mixtape for the class he teaches (flattered!) Dog yawns Coffeeshop productivity Sequins all the time ...And trying to type while Dolly lies on top of me (my reality right now)!
Kisses and gratitude,
Photos by Made U Look.
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Posted on Mon, 13 May 2013 14:39:22 GMT
The first time I visited Austin, I fell promptly in love. It’s one of the coolest cities in the world… And that’s why I’m extra-excited to announce that we are bringin’ The Blogcademy to Austin this August!
The Blogcademy: Austin will be held at Vuka, a gobsmackingly beautiful and unique co-working space. I can’t wait to go back, wear cowboy boots, listen to some country music and eat some amazing food!
That’s not all, either: we are also pleased to have added a second Melbourne date — that puppy sold out fast! — and to let you know that our venue in Minneapolis is the ultra-cool Public Functionary. Good stuff!
As always, we’re offering an earlybird special for Austin and Melbourne for the first three days, so be sure to snap up your ticket with the quickness!
And remember: we offer a scholarship to every single class! The details are at the bottom of our FAQ!
If you somehow missed it, and don’t know what I’m talking about, The Blogcademy is a two-day bootcamp for blogger babes. You can read all about our curriculum, get answers to your frequently asked questions, read some testimonials and watch a video all about it!
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Posted on Sat, 11 May 2013 21:37:30 GMT
Los Angeles was the class that nearly didn’t happen. About a month before we were due to teach in Hollywood, I was in New York City, walking along 5th Avenue, when an email pinged up on my phone. It was from Shauna, and it said, “Bad news: the LA venue have just told us they’re double-booked, and can’t host our class.”
The adrenaline surge was enormous. We immediately sprung into problem-solving mode. Within a couple of minutes, I was on my phone, chatting to potential venues and asking for information. This is always the most difficult part of doing a workshop: finding a great space. But soon, we had discovered a space — McCadden Studio — which looked even more like our style than the first place.
On the morning of class, when we walked in the door, we were immediately psyched! McCadden Studio is such a cool, psychedelic space. It’s a photo studio, so the center of it is enormous, seamless and white, but the rest of the building is decorated it with retro signs, old toys, and mid-century furniture. We fell in love with the owner, Ron, too. We came to think of him as a kind of greaser guardian angel!
You have to remember that when things appear to be going “wrong”, there is always a silver lining!
“The Blogcademy is the best investment I’ve ever made in myself.” Paige
Our Californian babes showed up bright and early, and soon it was time to kick off the weekend!
We loaded ‘em up with workbooks and goodie bags, plied them with Zevia soda and offered them cupcakes. Over the next two days, we watched as their nerves melted away, and they went from being strangers to becoming friends.
As always, we were delighted by our Blogcadettes’ style. It’s true that The Blogcademy is the perfect excuse to bust out your favourite dress and a very special pair of shoes! From sparkly Betsey Johnson kicks to turquoise star crowns, from banana-shaped necklaces to vintage shift dresses, they were a fantastically colourful gaggle.
“So, I have a list of about 50 things I want to fix/improve/write/edit on my blog over the coming months…” Patty
Blogcademy-themed manicures are always encouraged, too, and you should know for any future dates that we definitely give prizes for anyone who makes the effort like this! I mean, how could we not? We’d be the meanest headmistresses in the world!
What a wonderful bunch they were. Paige, who read tarot cards for Kat and I, brought her own teacup all the way from San Francisco. Danielle, our scholarship winner, made us smile with her totally on-brand pastel aesthetic. Kandee made me laugh until tears rolled down my face, and Erika handed me an advanced copy of her book which I devoured on the flight home! Suzy Mae and Sarah had an impromptu photoshoot in the alley outside, and Vivienne put her nekomeme ears on my head! Tiffany put us all to shame with her incredible styling, and Adri came all the way from Mexico City!
You know, it’s funny. When we started The Blogcademy, we didn’t want the branding to be so over-the-top feminine that men were put off. But as time goes on, and as classes fill up and sell out, we realise that no matter what we do, we are girls’ girls! Sure, there might be a dude in class… But probably not. It’s probably going to be a Babe Party™. There will be dresses and perfume and someone will be wearing badass hot pink lipstick. Someone will almost definitely compliment you on your shoes and you might get a crush on the girl sitting next to you.
I kinda love that. In fact, I love that a LOT. I am so into bringing women together and the unique, fantastic things that happen when we’re bouncing ideas off one another. There is a quickening as we all meet up in the same mental space. It’s magical.
“Being in the room with these three women made me want to sing! What happens when three very individual, self-actualized women stand in front of the room is that everyone in it gets zapped with energy. They have a way of creating a space where, first of all, everyone is invited to be themselves completely and fully; and second, where you feel loved. You just feel like all of those little ideas budding in your brain are welcome — these women invite them to the party, and treat them like the guests of honor.” Sarah
During class, we’re always thinking about how we can make it bigger, better, more bombastic. In the middle of lunch on day one, as Shauna and I stood on line for a couple of salads and skull-sized coffees, we realised what would make things better: CUPCAKES!
Yep, as luck would have it, there was a Baked cupcake shop just around the corner from McCadden Studio… So before long, we were stumbling back to the space with three dozen assorted treats. And while cupcakes may not be as cool and zeitgeisty as they were, say, five years ago, trust me when I say that most people will not pass ‘em up!
Needless to say, we sailed into the second half of class on an epic sugar high!
“Shauna, Kat, and Gala were seriously entertaining, hilarious, attentive, positive, welcoming and a great example of truly “living your bliss.” It made me not only want to be their friend, but also want to have more friends that were so deeply in-line with similar passions and career aspirations!” Jenna
On day two, we surprised Kat with a birthday cake, and made the class sing her happy birthday… She went as pink as her hair! Then we posed in an alleyway for our class photo, before collectively running inside to make the absolute most of Snapden, a killer LA photobooth rental company!
We absolutely flew through the second day, and before we knew it, we were taking our very last questions! Karyn presented Kat with an enormous birthday bottle of gin, and we all milled about sipping gin and tonics as we answered some final questions, posed for photos and hugged goodbye.
“Mini-Blogcademy-marketplaces have begun to spring up, with women contracting women to help program, strategize, design, photograph, model for, and promote one another’s blogs. This, for me, is the interesting part. I love to watch commerce thrive in its own little ecosystem— and when this occurs, you’re doing something right.” Suzy Mae
Look at those cuties! We had such a good time with these girls (and a couple of honorary dudes), and were so impressed by their savvy. L.A. was one of the most go-getting classes we’ve had so far, and we just know that we’re going to see BIG things from them!
“I don’t know if this is even intentional, but I think this girls just nailed it in terms of having a blogging-multidisciplinary group working together and having constant feedback… this was amazingly inspiring, incredibly rewarding… nothing compares to actually be there and exchange knowledge!” Adri
Really, it’s not an experience you can put into words. Maybe this video — sent over by our aforementioned greaser guardian angel, Ron — will give you a better idea?!
“I headed into Blogcademy without any questions prepared, any expectations + hoping to make a few friends. I walked away INSPIRED, completely blown away and so happy to learn from such fabulous women.” Ting
Of course, just like every class that came before, our goodie bags were stuffed to the brim with an assortment of fun treasures…
handed out hand-cut greeting cards…
gave everyone a pouch, perfect for holding business cards or elusive laundry quarters!
makes killer art-themed jewellery, and they gave us a few pieces as prizes!
and Sew Mary Ann added a literal glittery bow on top!
“My time at The Blogcademy was beyond words. I can try to describe the whole experience, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to truly capture the magic of it all in just the right way. No photos or text do it proper justice, it is really something that just needs to be experienced, so if you have been thinking about joining in on the world tour, I encourage you to take the leap and sign up. It’s a two-day workshop, but the community that results from those two days continues to live on. We are all helping each other to learn, to grow, and to be our best selves. I’m officially inspired; I’m ready to take this thing to a new level!” Danielle
And hey, I hate to be a tease… But we’re announcing something exciting on Monday! Ooh la la! What could it possibly be? You’re just going to have to wait… You’re following us on Twitter, right?!
Always missing Los Angeles,
Photographs thanks to Milou and Olin.
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Posted on Fri, 10 May 2013 15:30:10 GMT
Hallelujah! The sun is out and I have finally managed to put the finishing touches on a list of my favourite things from the month of April. I can’t believe we’re already a third of the way through May but I’m trying not to think about it…
Okay, now, without further ado: the highlights of my month!
It has been a big month of trying out new lotions, potions and hope in a jar! So much fun, since after all, who doesn’t love a good beauty prod?!
My friends at the Clean Program have recently launched Clean Refresh — a gentle week-long reboot for anyone who has fallen off the wagon — and they also introduced me to CleanGreens, a green powder you can mix with water for easy green juice on the go! Genius. I’m definitely going to be packing a tub into my suitcase on my next adventure!
Other than the week I spent in bed, a time which was distinctly glamour-free, I have been wearing Covergirl 3-in-1 foundation every single day and loving it. In fact, yesterday as I was doing my face, I remarked out loud (to no one in particular), “Damn, that’s good coverage”. I am truly obsessed. I’m also completely in love with the Beauty Blender: believe the hype! I’m kicking myself for putting off buying one for such a long time! I truly cannot imagine going back to using a brush to apply foundation.
I have an embarrassing amount of points at Sephora, and they just keep accumulating because usually their gifts hold absolutely no appeal. However, about a month ago they were offering a kit containing miniature versions of Laura Mercier products, which included her Tinted Moisturiser, my go-to for low-key daily wear. (I love it, so brilliant!) I traded a few points for that kit and I’m so glad I did, because it also contained her Foundation Primer (which gives a lovely finish), her Shimmer Bloc in Golden Mosaic (which gives a perfect, summery glow), and Eye Basics in Wheat (a brilliant, creaseless eye primer which makes your eye make-up look KILLER). Psyched. I’ve been using all of them and looooving them; 100% recommend.
I’ve been wearing my eyeliner really thick lately. It just feels right. Oh, and since people ask me about my eyeliner all the time, I use Kat Von D’s Autograph Liner: it’s the best liquid liner I’ve ever used. I swear by it!
In terms of faux tan, because you know I am all about it, I’ve been testing out and rotating a couple of new (to me) products, Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes and Kiehl’s Sun Free Self Tanning Formula. They are both fantastique.
Another recent and fabulous discovery is Milk and Honey Naturals. CourtneyJo loaded me up with apple cider vinegar shampoo, cocoa cream body butter, delightful tins of perfume and honeysuckle soap, and I loved them all so much that I promptly brought her on as a Blogcademy sponsor! (Those of you in the New York class will be receiving Milk and Honey Naturals treats galore!)
...I am also thinking about trying out the no ‘poo method, although I loathe that phrase and um, will not be using it. Eeeeeeep. I’ll keep you posted…
A couple of Sundays ago, Mike and I went out to celebrate Veronica Varlow’s birthday at The Slipper Room. Bunny Love is moving back to New Orleans, so there was a private party, some burlesque performances, and good times aplenty. Celebratory rainbow Instax were taken, hoops were twirled, and we strolled happily home well after midnight.
A couple of Tuesdays ago we went on a boat cruise around the island, which was so much fun, though it was also the genesis of my sickness! Boo!
Both of these adventures made me realise that Mike and I hadn’t actually gone out in AGES! I really feel like we were in intense hibernation mode all winter long. Naughty! Getting out of the house and experiencing new things together is so important.
After two days of arduous spring cleaning, my nails were completely trashed, so I headed to Sakura for a good old fashioned gel manicure. I have been a little anxious about all the UV light recently, so imagine my delight to discover they now offer an LED gel manicure, by a company called Presto, which does fantastic colours! I said yes please, and that’s exactly what’s on my nails right now. My fingers are violet and my toes are neon pink.
My manicure has almost grown out, and I’ve been watching way too much Rachel Zoe Project, so I am probably going to go for a black or dark grey nail next time. But I’m really happy to make the switch to LED, especially considering it is just as strong and durable as the UV version!
I’m still feeling pretty good after my major bout of spring cleaning, especially since during my week of sickness, I didn’t have the energy to mess up any of my hard work! But now that I’m back in my office,
I realise I still need a few things to push me into true Virgo Bliss™, namely a few plastic boxes to house my odds and ends.
I need an enormous tub for cosmetics, for example, and probably one for hair products (which is insane, since I use ONE hair product: AG Hair Cosmetics Bigwigg Root Volumizer). And I mean, how many body moisturisers, scrubs, perfumes and candles does one babe need? (Apparently a lot.) I cannot bring myself to throw some of these things away. The guilt is too terrible!
In slightly more fun news, I bought a couple of prints from Jeremy Rendina that I love: a diagram of energy points on hot pink paper (so bright!), as well as one of his moon calendars. Lovely.
As I did my major spring clean, and put my books into colour order, I realised how many books I just have not read. I have been making an effort to work my way through them, and trying to replace late-night television-watching with book-reading, instead.
Of course, this realisation didn’t stop me from buying even more books. I am mad about buying them recently. My latest acquisitions include How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life, Reveal: A Sacred Manual for Getting Spiritually Naked, WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source (I read this in one night, and think is BRILLIANT), Not In Kansas Anymore : A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America which was recommended by Sam and is absolutely captivating, and Moonwalk, Michael Jackson’s autobiography! Aw.
I’ve been sad to realise that as it gets warmer, my winter scent — the exquizz La Petite Robe Noire — doesn’t translate. So of course, I’m on the lookout for something fabulous. I bought Tokyomilk Dark Yesterday at Sephora on a random jaunt, and while I like it, it isn’t very me.
Mostly though, I’m layering Kiehl’s Sun Free Self Tanning Formula (l-o-v-e!) with NARS Monoi Body Glow II and hoping for the best! It’s quite tropical and summery, subtle but warm, and pretty damn lovely overall.
I’ll keep hunting for the ideal summer scent, and I am pretty sure it will — as always — contain vanilla. What’s your favourite summer fragrance? Tell me!
We upgraded to Verizon Fios — long overdue and the BEST decision we’ve made in ages — and with it came cable television. Oh boy. So I’ve been hooked into watching, for example, Ready For Love and The Millionaire Matchmaker. I’ve also been able to catch up with my favourite stylist on The Rachel Zoe Project, which is definitely influencing my style choices. (Big hats! Maxi dresses! Yes!)
Last night we went out to see Iron Man 3. HELLO. Totally worth waiting for. I wanted to wait until I was 100% recovered to go and see it — since coughing all over your fellow cinema patrons is just poor manners — but I had heard it was amazing and I was not disappointed! Next stop: The Great Gatsby (of course).
Things to do when you’re in bed sick: online window shop. I went on a pretty major imaginary shopping spree last week. I am so in love with this Rachel Zoe dress, how gorgeous is that?! I want to wear this Milly twirl dress to a fabulous party. Maybe one with a murder-mystery theme… This blue Rebecca Taylor gown is so gorgeous. Wouldn’t it be perfect in an immaculate garden? And I truly want to wear maxi-dresses like this every single day in summer. So perfect, so easy.
Yesterday I attended a cocktail party at the new Kate Spade flagship store on the Upper East Side. (It is so weird up there, like a different country. Their new motto is “Uptown is the new downtown” but um, we’re going to have to disagree on that one!) Anyway, their store — a three-storey townhouse — is gorgeous and full of fantastic things. Like this fabulous and colourful necklace, gorgeous magenta dresses, chevron skirts, clutches that look like California license plates, truly perfect handbags and Popsicle-shaped coin purses. Sigh. Can I just move in?
I’m totally ready for bike season. I just need to put some air in my tyres and I’ll be OUT! But even though I already have a bike, this build-your-own bike cleverness on the Urban Outfitters site has me drooling. Can I get a pink frame with sky blue tyres, immediately if not sooner?! Sick!
Also on my wishlist: a real, honest-to-goodness holiday. You know the sort: clear blue water, golden sands, beautiful sunlight and plenty of fresh, delicious food. Plans are in the works as we speak! (I have been talking about going on a holiday like this since, well, since I started this blog, so it is clearly TIME!)
Amateur gardeners take note: here are 10 magical plants which can attract love, joy and prosperity into your life!
If you’re in need of a good dose of distraction, April’s Carousel should keep you busy for a goooood long while…
I wrote about tattoo regret and was surprised to find that a lot of you felt the same way!
What does it mean if your crush has his thumbs in his belt-loops? The things you learn from my body language cheat sheet might surprise you!
My most popular mixtape ever? It’s 80’s teen movie themed. I know I probably shouldn’t be surprised!
I learned a lot from Chinese face reading!
I just had to write about my experience ride-sharing in Los Angeles... And I hope I inspired some of you to give it a try!
If you’re interested in green juice, here is my ultimate green juice recipe for beginners. (And if you make it, Instagram a photo and tag me!)
5 dreamy hotels... Holiday, anyone?
I learned a whole lot last time I did the Clean Program... And I wanted to share some of it with you!
Phew! That’ll do it, I think… It is such a glorious day out there that I don’t want to be inside for another moment! See you next week, and have a lovely weekend…
You’re the cutest!
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Posted on Thu, 09 May 2013 17:06:57 GMT
New York City is saturated, soaked to the bone. Today we’re promised thunderstorms and even more rain… But I’m smiling. The city is looking extra verdant, and in the last week, the trees lining the skinny streets have exploded with new shoots and greenery. We have returned to that magical time of year, marked by virescent canopies arcing between buildings, and pressed up against bricks.
To add to the happiness triggered by the cacophony of emerald outside my window, I am finally (finally!) starting to feel better. A week of bed-rest sounds wonderful, but when you feel crummy, it begins to take on more of a punishment kind of quality. Cabin-fever is real, you guys, and there is only so much trashy television one brain can possibly absorb!
I am so excited to get back to my life. Lying on my back for a week gave me plenty of time to think about things… And realise how much I still want to do. It was good actually, to have that sort of forced perspective. So often we just chug along, doing what we think we should do, and we rarely take a break to appraise our choices. Is this the right thing to do? Should I let go of this and recommit myself to that? Et cetera. I’m feeling clear and sharp. Being sick sucked, but I appreciate the opportunity to bring the important things in life back into focus.
...Oh, and as someone who rarely goes a day of her life without writing, I’m relatively exhilarated to be able to string a sentence together again!
Okay, so here are the things that are making me smile this week…
J’adore… Movies!!! I am so so so excited about Great Gatsby (of course) and I am going to race out and see Iron Man 3 really soon. Like, tonight. Or something. Hello Kitty popsicles (a rare bright spot during my week of plague) My rag-tag team of nurses, aka my husband and two dogs, who all did their best to make me feel less terrible (and, bless ‘em, suffered silently through my tantrums and grump attacks) Listening to music again — you know you’re unwell when you can’t even be bothered to do that! Delirious online window-shopping (I really did find the weirdest things. Thankfully, I was lucid enough at the time to know I shouldn’t trust my feverish judgement, and my bank account went unscathed!) The Ricky Gervais Show which we only recently started watching and think is HILARIOUS The Great Gatsby soundtrack (soooo good, eff a hater!) Madonna Categorically the best billboard ever Reading about Leo and Tobey’s bromance And finally, my cough, while still in existence, sounds less horrifying today!
“I’m concentrating on staying healthy, having peace, being happy, remembering what is important, taking in nature and animals, spending time reading, trying to understand the universe, where science and the spiritual meet.” (Joan Jett)
It’s meant to be gorgeous tomorrow and I am going to take full advantage! It will be fantastic just to walk around, take in some sights and fill my lungs with fresh air. I can’t wait!
Photographs by the inimitable Made U Look.
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Posted on Mon, 06 May 2013 23:56:41 GMT
Hello my love. Since we last spoke, I was diagnosed with strep and spent five consecutive days in bed with a consistent fever of over 100 degrees. I was delirious, and most of my time was taken up with drinking Gatorade (ew, but, doctor’s orders) and cuddling a gallon bottle of frozen water to try to cool down. It was the
best worst of times, it was the worst of times.
Mercifully, my fever broke yesterday afternoon, but my brain is still not working, and it hurts to move my eyes. I am still living on a delicious and diverse diet of chicken broth and Saltines. I’ve been working on a post for you since last Tuesday (!!!) but it is going very s-l-o-w-l-y, as you might imagine!
Just wanted to give you a little update. Now I’m going to curl up under my polka-dot blanket and get some rest… Hopefully we will be back to our regularly-scheduled programming before long!
P.S. I’m trying out some new ad units called Bread this week, which bring up enter/exit screens. You’ll see a maximum of one every 24 hours, so hopefully they are not too intrusive. Please let me know if you have any problems with it!
Posted on Thu, 02 May 2013 13:24:24 GMT
The first morning of class always makes our nerves feel like a charm bracelet of plastic skeletons jangling on a chain (as Francesca Lia Block might say). We’re excited, anxious and extra-vigilant. We never know what the class is going to be like, who our students will be, or how it will unfold…
After a few glorious (and slightly debauched) days in Portland, it was finally Saturday morning. We woke up early, piled into cars and headed for our venue, The Cleaners at the Ace. We hadn’t seen it in person, so when we threw open the doors on Saturday, we were beyond delighted. What a gorgeous, open space!
We feel the same way about venues every time: at 8am on Saturday morning, we can’t get over how big it is, and wonder if we’ve overshot the mark. But by the end of the day on Sunday, there are people in every nook and cranny, the space is filled up with joy, and we are amazed.
As soon as we get into the venue, it’s all systems go. We lay out the chairs and goodie bags, we get the projector working, we tie B balloons to chairs and create the sign-in station. There’s never much time to rest; even before the official start time, our babes start to arrive. (It’s like the very opposite of high school!)
“It was one of the most fun and creative experiences I’ve had in a long time.” Sherold
Oh, Portland. What a special city, and that carried over to the class. Our girls were so delightful, with such sweet, gentle energy.
There was Mac Reid, artist and crafty babe, who brought us GALA & KAT & NUBBY prints. Our scholarship winner, Jessica, flew all the way from Arkansas — and it was her first time on a plane! Raye brought us an orchid in Blogcademy colours, and everyone put on their glittery Crown And Glory ears as soon as they found them in the goodie bag. There was even a Kiwi girl, which always makes me so happy!
In addition to 16 hours of talks, activities and Q&A, our blogcadettes practiced their best #bloggerface and vied for rad prizes (including books, Holga cameras and cute branded items!).
“I picked up tips and ideas that left me in a bit of a daze afterward. An excited, floaty daze of Awesomeness. I got great feedback, great ideas and met a bunch of awesome women. I was seriously depressed when I went back to work and sat in my cubicle, which has NO MAGIC WHATSOEVER, and realized that it was all over. I had graduated from The Blogcademy.” Erica
Our Portland class happened over Easter, so it only made sense to fill the room with pastel-coloured chocolate eggs. And Easter isn’t Easter without a major sugar rush — in our world, at least! — so we had a big pink box of Voodoo Doughnuts delivered, too.
Every class is different: sometimes, at the end of day one, we literally cannot move. But like I said, Portland was special. At the end of the first day, we checked into the Ace Hotel, put down our bags, freshened up a smidge, and went out to roam around downtown Portland! We had an exquisite meal at Clyde Commons — say it with me now, truffle popcorn — and then hit up Buffalo Exchange, Anthropologie and Wholefoods.
Our hotel room was divine, with a huge tub, a living room, and a stereo. We fell asleep quickly, and woke up easily in Portland’s morning light.
I had struck it lucky at Buffalo Exchange the night before, and picked up this crazy mod dress, which was a clear choice to teach in. Paired with a Crown And Glory flower crown (which I
stole borrowed from Kat that morning), I was ready for day two!
“In other words, it was a workshop full of cute nerdy girl stuff! I loved it. The class was a breath of fresh air. It was the first creative event that I’ve attended that provided an intimate workshop experience which made it was very easy to meet and talk to everyone who attended.” Holly
It’s not The Blogcademy without a whole lot of Kodak moments. So after lunch — and a fresh slick of lipstick — we posed for a class photo. I decided that what the pictures really needed was a dose of bubbles, so we handed a little bottle to everyone in the class. Sitting in the front row, surrounded by laughing babes blowing bubbles, I remember saying, “This is my fantasy! I’m so happy right now!”
The Blogcademy really has a summer camp feel to it. You throw a bunch of strangers who are all passionate about one thing into a room, spend hours together talking, laughing and brainstorming, and then, in a flash, it’s over.
I know I speak for Kat and Shauna when I say that we have met the most wonderful women through teaching this class. There is something truly magical and potent about this kind of in-person creative jamming, which simply cannot be replicated online. There’s just nothing like it.
“It was so put together and full of so many things that will be beneficial to me as I push to be a better blogger and graphic designer. Though my words and photos may not express my full gratitude, I hope that the progress that I make in the upcoming months will show you how well you are doing. Girls, you are not just teaching, you are changing lives!“ Jessica
The video above demonstrates that, I think. You get a true peek into the atmosphere, the silliness and camaraderie that we create in every class. And you get to hear from some of our blogcadettes, too!
“Overall, between the quality and quantity of the info that Gala, Kat and Shauna share (they really don’t hold back), the beautiful branding they’ve created and the warmth and sparkle of their personalities, these gals have assembled a winning combination. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get inspired and push their blog to the next level.” Lily
Of course, our sponsors help to make The Blogcademy so very special. We love ‘em, our blogcadettes love ‘em even more, and I think you will, too!
You can always tell a blogcadette by her sparkly ears… They’re pretty much an essential now. We are 100% in love with Sophie from Crown & Glory for making this possible! (And check out her flower crowns. TOO GOOD.)
IF Ladies sent us a wild and wacky selection of purses, umbrellas and t-shirts… I know umbrellas get a lot of use in Portland!
MARGRAVINE x Sewmaryann made sparkly hair bows/brooches in Blogcademy blue and silver glitter. She is also offering 15% off any purchase in her shop throughout May with the code BLOG15!
Moorea Seal spoiled us rotten with an amazing assortment of jewellery, from necklaces to earrings and bracelets.
Our babe at Head Full of Feathers made sure everyone got a pair of glittery shoe clips. It is, after all, the perfect way to change your heels from drab to fab!
The Pink Samurai supplied everyone with a teal or grey scarf, and since I seem to have caught the plague yesterday, I’ve been snuggled into mine 24/7!
Every blogcadette’s nails looked f- to the abulous thanks to Lex Cosmetics and their excellent chunky glittery nailpolish!
We had greeting cards from the wonderful Mr Yen, and everyone got a rad pouch for trinkets and treasures from Basik 855.
Paige Lavoie sent us teeny-tiny top hats which made us grin! And the immensely badass Paul Jarvis supplied a free digital download of his book, How to Be Awesome Online, for everyone. (It is so great! Essential reading!)
We owe a debt of gratitude to our decor sponsors, too. We fell in love with these teal and pink tassels from The Paper Jar via Cloud Parade, and our photo backdrop was made by Hannah of The Tea Set. Ever since London, we’ve been toting that thing around the world with us… And it’s worth it!
“You’re not only investing in your site, your career as a blogger, and getting some first class help, you’re getting a wealth of inspiration, renewed energy, and some incredible memories. I left the class with the wonderful feeling that anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and that if you love something enough that you absolutely need it in your life, you can have it.” Luna
We are so blessed to be teaching The Blogcademy, to make friends with such extraordinary women, and to travel the world at the same time. And of course, we are so in love with the Made U Look babes, who drove to Portland from Bakersfield (!!!) to shoot our class. Our favourites. For real. Aren’t their photos phenomenal?
So, want to join us? We have seats available for our upcoming classes in NYC, Minneapolis, London, Brisbane and Auckland… Click here for dates and details!
We’re always looking for goodie bag sponsors to contribute and help make our class exceptional! All the info is right here, and we would absolutely love to work with you!
Missing Portland already,
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Posted on Wed, 01 May 2013 16:09:18 GMT
Today is Beltane, the first day of May! Beltane is the ultimate celebration of spring, my favourite season (despite the allergies!). I am overcome with emotions upon seeing trees sprout bright pink cherry blossoms, and watching the park near my house slowly get overtaken by green.
I think it’s extremely important that we take time to mark the changing of the seasons, especially in these oh-so-modern times. It can be easy to feel disconnected from nature when we’re holed up inside all the time, but it’s easy to plug back in again.
That being said, here are 20 fantastic ways to celebrate spring!
Aka, glamourous camping. Wrangle your lover or best friend, pick a spot among the trees and set up camp for a day or two. Replace your sleeping bag with a fabulous duvet, make gourmet s’mores and tell stories about ghosts dripping in couture!
Watch the sunrise
This is so easy to do, and yet it’s something we don’t always make time for. You don’t have to stay up all night if you no longer have the stamina for those kinds of antics; instead, check your local weather listings for the time of sunrise, and set your alarm a little early. Make yourself a cup of tea, go sit on the roof, and soak up the beauty.
Make a flower crown
What could be more springy than a flower crown on your noggin? Nothin’! They’re very easy to make, too: check out this guide to learn how!
Do a modern fertility ritual
Okay, before you chase me with a pitchfork, this doesn’t have to be about wanting a baby if that’s not your style! A modern fertility ritual can involve thinking about the things you want to come to pass, or anything you want to create. This can be as simple as you like. Even writing it down on a piece of paper and burning it will do the trick!
Paint your room
Why not change up your living space? You could go wild with a newly pink parlour, a robin’s egg blue bathroom, or a fire-engine red front door… Or you could just give your room a fresh lick of white paint. Few things will make you feel better!
Have a picnic
Picnics are wonderful anytime, but especially so in spring. I wrote about how to have a great picnic about a million years ago, and the facts remain the same! Go and sit in some luxurious green grass and snack happily!
Dream underneath the cherry blossoms
This doesn’t need a lot of explanation…
Plant seeds and flowers
Dig your fingers into the earth and feel your spirits sing again. If you don’t have an outside garden, don’t despair! Here are 10 magical indoor plants that make apartment gardening easy.
Write your wishes on paper and tie them to trees or bushes
As Yoko Ono says,
Wishing is more effective than waving flags. It works. It’s magic. Magic is simple. Magic is real.
...I can’t add much more to that!
Fly a kite
I haven’t flown a kite in years, probably since I was a little girl, but I loved doing it. These bird of paradise and jellyfish kites could certainly inspire me to throw a kite up in the air!
Fill your house with flowers
I love to buy tulips, daffodils and pastel-coloured roses in spring. They make our home so much happier. And of course, you get bonus points if they’re flowers you actually grew yourself!
Sit outside, get comfortable, close your eyes and get to it. If you’ve never meditated before, Leo wrote a quick guide. Or you could learn transcendental meditation, something I have been meaning to do for too long!
Visit a farmer’s market and buy things that are in season
It’s a great way to get in touch with the seasons and what’s going on around you. The ultimate in spring celebration is eating fresh produce grown in the sun! Plus, farmer’s markets are a delight for the senses, full of fabulous people, scents, sounds and sights.
Go for a hike
The idea of hiking always seemed odd to me, until I saw that Sex And The City episode where this exchange happened…
Jeremy: There are great hiking trails all around here. Maybe later we can do a hike.
Carrie: Oh, I don’t really hike.
Jeremy: Neither do I. But I will fill you in something I discovered. Hiking… is walking.
Hiking is walking! Go for a walk! Preferably up a hill or something… Get some elevation and check things out from a different view. But either way, it’s good to get out there and fill your lungs with fresh air.
Nag Champa is my absolute favourite incense — it’s very popular and extremely easy to find. (You can read a little bit about the history of nag champa here.)
Climb a tree
One of my favourite hobbies, though I must admit I haven’t done a lot of it in NYC. I’m planning on remedying that this weekend!
Honour your ancestors
Spring is also a time to honour the people who went before you. Visit a cemetery, look through old family photos, or simply light a candle and remember those who have passed.
Maying is the practice of staying out late, picking flowers, and meeting wonderful strangers. It all sounds pretty perfect to me!
Make flower tea
Flower tea is so beautiful: I love to watch the unfurling of a blossom in my tea cup! Invite your friends over for a little tea party, and marvel at what an incredible world we live in.
Dance around a maypole!
No one really knows what the symbolism of the maypole truly is, but it’s often associated with fertility and a celebration of spring. Usually, ribbons are woven around it as you stand around the maypole and dance in formation. I actually used to do this in primary school! You may need to do a little research to find a maypole dance in your area, but it would be worth it!
So, are you going to take some time out to celebrate spring this week? Let me know what you get up to!
Flower crowns forever,
Photos by Made U Look!