25 May 2013, 17:54
Good news, everyone! Love and Sequins, my handbook on being a love letter to the universe, is on sale all Memorial Weekend. That means that today (Saturday), tomorrow (Sunday) and the day after (Monday), you can snap up my bestselling book — and its accompanying audio — for half-price!
Love and Sequins is a handbook on being a love letter to the universe. It’s about living magically and celebrating ourselves, and it is delivered right to your inbox as a delicious little mind morsel!
The best news? Love and Sequins is on super-special sale! I’ve slashed the price by half in order to give you a little inspiration! HOORAY!
If you’re wondering how it works, Love and Sequins is a series of 12 chapters which combine to create one (huge!) book, and even better, it’s an audiobook, too.
Each chapter is a whopping 10,000 words (or more!) long, which arrives in your email as a PDF that can be read on your phone, your iPad or your computer. The PDF comes with an MP3 of me reading the chapter aloud, too, so if you prefer to listen than read, you can!
Love and Sequins is perfect for listening to while you lie on the grass, brew a huge jug of iced tea, or road-trip around the countryside!
Note: Some people have been having problems with the shopping cart. If you’re one of them, getting around it is perplexing but easy: buy Love and Sequins through the official shop page.
Are you feeling decadent? Do you want the WHOLE book in one big gulp?! Picking up all 12 chapters at once is
When you pick this option, you get sent all 12 chapters immediately! You can start listening or reading at the beginning, or you can work your way through in whichever order you choose!
Or do you prefer to pick and mix? You can pick up the chapters you’re most interested in — or grab the issues you missed! — for only
$12 $6 each!
Every chapter is totally different, ranging from self love to how to travel with elegance and ease. When you pick the chapters you want, they are immediately sent to you via email for your consumption and delight!
The details for each individual chapters are below. Choose your own adventure!
Learning To Love Yourself
Self-adoration, manifesting your ideal persona, channelling your inner Marie Antoinette and everything in between!
Excerpt: So what does “loving yourself” mean? There are a few different ways you can look at it, but from my point of view, loving yourself means treating yourself the way you would treat your very best, most treasured friend. See, that’s the thing with friends — they’re not perfect and we know it but we love them anyway. Your best friend might get into a ridiculous flap over some boy you think is nowhere near good enough for her, she might turn up to a party in an outfit that is less than flattering, she might slack off at her job or constantly talk about wanting to go to Paris and yet never save any money — but you still love her. You still think she is amazing. A shooting star in the shape of a girl. I think this is how we should choose to view ourselves, too…
“This podcast has been tremendously helpful. It has indeed resonated deeply in all of the tiny crevices of my being where I’ve been hiding my hopes and dreams and instead allowing myself to be swallowed by fear and doubt. I couldn’t agree more that we all know that self-confidence and self-love are the root of success, of living the positive inspired lives we all dream about. And yet, until now it escaped me that I could practice at being confident. That I could slowly develop these skills over time. I had a huge a-ha moment – of course it won’t happen overnight! Of course it’s about making small changes, adjusting my mindset and perceptions in the moment… Thank you for letting your own light shine as it has given me permission and inspiration to do the same. I’m deeply grateful.” — L.
The Smart Girl’s Guide To Business
Taking control of your life, finding your passion, loving what you do and making mad bling!
Excerpt: What I’m saying here is that life shouldn’t be a hard slog with five years of faux-leisure at the end before you die. I think that is such a perverse way of viewing work, life, the universe and everything! Honestly, it’s WRONG. That is not how things should be. Why punish ourselves needlessly? I think the ideal situation for pretty much everyone is to do work that they enjoy and which challenges them, to have the freedom and autonomy necessary to take leave when they wish, and to be able to sustain a lifestyle which appeals to them. We don’t all want to be millionaires, but we should all be able to live at a level at which we’re comfortable, without sacrificing our integrity or happiness…
“I am writing to you in regard to a project that I started as a result of your lovely site. I guess you could call me one of your inspired non-pareils. Wikifashion began as an idea around one year ago and I never really had the “chutzpah” to give it a go until I purchased your podcast on “being your own boss”. I fell asleep listening to that podcast every night for a week, taking it all in and furiously scribbling down notes. It was so groundbreaking for me and every word that you spoke really resonated with me. Thank you for inspiration and words of wisdom.” — M.
Love, Sex, The Galaxy and Everything
From falling in love to co-habitation, and all the beauty and madness contained within!
Excerpt: People do not seem to realise that the planet is FULL of AMAZING people, many of whom would pass out at the opportunity to TALK to you, let alone hold your hand and kiss you in public and buy you rad Christmas presents. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is a stinker, you are awesome enough not to have to put up with it! For real. Just get out of there. You will never regret it, and you will make space in your life for a really, really fantastic person to appear. Just like magic…
“Gala, I loved this one! I listened to it as soon as you sent it. I’ve always been kind of a cynic when it comes to love, but I think I’m ready to let my guard down and take the plunge. The ‘love self-evaluation’ and ‘figuring out what you want from a partner’ parts stood out the most to me, and I’m definitely going to take the time to write and reflect on these areas. Thank you so much!” — D.
A Guide To Manners For The Modern Minx
Etiquette, social graces and charming the pants off total strangers for the uninitiated!
Excerpt: It’s all very Eckhart Tolle when you think about it — the key to being charismatic is being PRESENT. It sounds so basic, but so few people really get it right — and the people who do don’t necessarily do it consistently. The first time my friend Dhrumil and I went out to dinner together, we discussed the importance of being present in a conversation. He said to me, “Think about it. Over the course of this dinner, you and I have probably made more eye contact than some married couples would in a week”. That has always stuck with me. Eye contact is vital, and really makes the other person feel important, valued and engaged…
“Gala, you have truly hit the spot once more! I sat there nodding to myself, smiling with recognition, laughing out loud and thinking WOW this girl inspires me to change the world too as I listened to the 4th LoveandSequins. Thank you so much wonderful!” — A.
Finding Happiness and Making It Stay
Choosing joy, making magic and devoting your life to love, adventure and deliciousness!
Excerpt: Taking responsibility for yourself is so incredibly liberating, and here is why. It will show you what innate power you have within you. Look at all the things around you, good and not-so-good. You have attracted them into your life, whether you believe it or not. and in a worst case scenario, if you can create awful things for yourself, like horrible relationships, crappy jobs and a general sense of malaise and apathy, think what you could create if you focused your attention in a different way! What if, instead of thinking about how bad everything is all the time, you thought about how WONDERFUL life is? Because even if you look around yourself and see things which make you unhappy, surely you must acknowledge that the world is full of marvellous things too. There’s love and music and art, delicious food and springy green grass, snowflakes and puppy kisses, hula hooping in the sunshine and exploring new cities. There are fresh vegetables and false eyelashes, majestic mountains and elephants, dreams and adrenaline, sky-diving and gardening…
“I can honestly say this is the best $12 you will ever spend. I’ve been seeing a psychologist for the past 6 months… What Gala has produced is that 6 months of therapy all wrapped up into an hour long podcast. Her advice about choosing how you react to situations is the most helpful life advice you may ever receive.” — K.
Daintier, Smarter, Better Dressed
A deluxe guide to looking truly fabulous, defining your personal style and being the best-dressed girl at any party!
Excerpt: Yes, it would be wonderful to look like a 5’10” gazelle in everything we wear, but the reality is, most of us are never going to look like that, regardless of how many pairs of shaping underwear we buy and no matter how few carbs we consume in a given day! You are never going to look perfect all the time, and the pursuit of perfection is such a yawnfest and time-sucker. It’s totally not worth it. There are so many other things you could do with your time and energy! So if you’re wearing a skirt that is maybe half an inch too short, but you feel GREAT in it, then that’s fantastic! Confidence comes from feeling good in your clothing, and if you do, you’ll have a much better time than the girl who looks immaculate but is freaked out in the corner…
“This months’ Love and Sequins was my favorite so far. It is clearly a subject that you feel very passionate about, and that really came across in the podcast… This podcast really inspired me, and even while I was listening to it, I had a pad of paper next to me and was jotting down outfit ideas and sketching possible combinations.” — V.
Living and loving online, monetisation in the new world and thinking beyond the 9-5!
Excerpt: I promise you, if you do not have purpose or determination, your blog will also go the way of so many before you. In fact, this is pretty much the same as anything in life. If you want it, you have to prove that you want it, time and time again. You will be tested! But if you can stay the course, after all the trials and tribulations, misfortunes and madness, you will be rewarded…
“One more thought: It’s not about blogging. It’s about ANY online business. I.E., pretty much any modern business at all. Blogging is just an example, and at that, really a very small part of it. I read it, thinking about what I was doing, nodding and going, “Yep, good advice, yep, can use that”. ... Loved your comment about your core audience. Great advice about managing online rep. The list of ‘little things’ is frickin’ brilliant. High density, high value. All in all? Damn, that’s one high value podcast. Amazing stuff.” — S.
Best Friends Forever
Keeping your friendships fresh, finding platonic soul mates and clearing out the fakes, phonies and meanies!
Excerpt: Though you may have no intention of becoming like the people around you, if your mother is miserable and your girlfriend is homicidal and your best friend is a misogynist, you will unconsciously begin to mimic and imitate all these behaviours. Unless you want to be miserable, the best thing you can do is extricate yourself from these types of people…
“Gala, this came to me like a sign from the Universe! You have no idea how amazed I am…yesterday I wrote a letter to the Universe saying “If you throw me a rope, I will climb it.” And then you posted this, AND THEN this morning on the train while I was listening to it, I met an extraordinary girl who wants to do hair and make up and photography with me!” — M.
Manifesting and Magic-Making
Using imagination and reverie to create a perfect universe!
Excerpt: Some people get confused about manifesting and the law of attraction, and think it is about being positive and thinking woo-woo thoughts and waving a stick of incense around. It really isn’t! Manifesting is about getting the universe to meet you halfway. It’s about doing the work while having faith that things will work out for the best. It’s about knowing that what you want is coming to you — but also knowing that you have to start the ball rolling. After all, if you just sit in your room thinking about what you want, but don’t get out there and tell anyone about it, or do some research, or take any real actionable steps, how will anything ever happen?
“I think this is the best thing I’ve discovered since Notes from the Universe… It’s a really good outline of not just the ‘laws’ but how to actually put them into practice. Plus I haven’t been so motivated and inspired in a long time…” — R.
International Playgirls Unlimited
Taking to the skies, travelling in style, romance on foreign shores and more!
Excerpt: Is there anything better than packing a bag, making a puckered-up kiss face at yourself in the mirror and catching a cab to the airport? If you’re anything like me, the answer is a loud, resounding NO! To me, travel is one of the very best things you can do with your time. Its merits are multitudinous and bountiful.
Firstly, you get to escape your everyday existence, and while hopefully your everyday existence is a pretty happy and satisfying thing, being able to get away from it only amplifies your appreciation for it when you get back. Secondly, it fires up your creative impulses. In an unfamiliar situation, you’re forced to use your brain in new ways, which results in you being more inventive and experimental than ever. Thirdly, it’s an excellent way to get some perspective on your life — and remind yourself that there is a big, big world outside your little bubble!
“OH my gawd, Gala. Once again, you’ve read my mind and dribbled your confectionery love all over my life! I’m JUST about to take off for the biggest adventure of my life and I was thiiiis close to having a panic attack over all the travel details, cause I’ve NEVER even been on a plane before, and I’m gonna be hopping back and forth across the country like mad for the next few months. Now I’m starting to feel a LOT more prepared and not quite so terrified. Thank you! Again and always, you are a fantastical life-saver….” —N.
It’s Up To You, New York, New York
Decadence and debauchery, enchantment and madness, love and cockroaches!
Excerpt: Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road in one of the rooms. Charles Bukowski, Edie Sedgwick, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits have all spent time here. No other hotel has as much rock ‘n’ roll history. So, it’s not perfect — or particularly opulent. There is no room service, some of the rooms are more “grunge” than chic, and there is a bullet hole in the door in the 5th floor corridor. But it’s absolutely worth a visit to soak up some atmosphere.
You’ll understand why after just one night in the Chelsea’s eclectic digs. Sometimes it seems more like a home for the bewildered than a hotel, but it all adds to the charm. Be warned, however: this is not a place to stay if you’re feeling particularly Type A. It’s more suited to smoking cigarettes on the balcony, last night’s eyeliner and a trench coat worn with nothing but a pair of heels.
For the same price as a normal-sized room in most New York hotels, you can obtain a one-bedroom suite at the Chelsea — with a lot of ambiance. If you need a couple of days to yourself to work on some kind of masterpiece, this is surely the perfect place to do it.
“This LandS was AH. MAZ. ING. This seriously needs to be re-named to “The Holy Grail and Anti-Tourist’s Bible of New York”... I listened to this chapter on the Subway ride into work and then in my Brooklyn apartment with a cup of coffee… it truly made me excited to check out all these “new” places. I have fallen in love with New York all over again.” — Emily
What I Know For Sure!
Excerpt: Be impeccable with your word. What this means is that when you say you’ll do something, you do it. (This extends all the way to being on time for appointments, too!) You don’t make excuses or dance around subjects. (If someone invites you out, and you don’t want to go, be clear—but never rude!—in your response.) Speak with integrity: be honest and truthful, and avoid gossiping. Finally, use the power of language for positive ends. Do something good with the words that you are speaking! Use them to uplift other people and inspire your friends. Use language to be constructive, supportive, encouraging, and loving.
“Through the techniques you’ve taught me, I’ve learned to unlock my true potential, and to approach life with a ferocious self-confidence that has not only changed my life, but has begun to inspire the people around me!” — Natalie
Here are some more lovely testimonials…
“I wanted to say thank you for this great series. Love and Sequins 1, 5, 9 and 10 are my favourites. I’ve been treated for depression off and on for over 14 years and tried many different treatments. It took years to reach the conclusion that there is no such thing as a magic cure. I still have to remind myself sometimes, especially when I see so many “buy/ do/ read this and life will be amazing” messages everywhere. Ultimately, it is up to you (not a therapist, pill, book etc.) to transform your life and make peace with yourself. Also, it is not one thing, but lots of little steps, techniques and ideas that make a real difference. I don’t want to sound gushy, but you have really helped me. Listening to Love and Sequins puts a smile on my face and inspires me to think and act more creatively. It is a useful reminder to think positively and get out there. I find it particularly helpful to listen to a chapter as I get ready in the morning to start the day optimistically. Thank you again.” — Sarah
“Gala, the thing that I love most this thursday is having listened to love and sequins all day at work. Vowing to myself that my current job is the last one in which I will work for someone/something other than my own interests and loves. I was put down today..massively and I think unfairly. I DIDNT CARE!! in the past I would have starved myself and wept… You have taught me to take control of my life and love myself. Thank you for unknowingly being there, I’ve owed you this for well over a year. You are a well known name in my home and I hope that you inspire the people that I love the way that you have inspired me.” — Jess
“I just want to say thank you for the amazing articles and advice you share. Love and sequins completely resounds with me. In the last year I’ve had to weed out frenemies after finally leaving the job I hated. Since then I’ve gained so much confidence and met so many amazing people as a result, even making friends with the girl opposite me at a tattoo convention while we both had work done. Your blog has made me look at myself and make so many positive changes. Please never stop writing :)” — Laura
“The last edition of Love and Sequins could not have come at a better time. My life has been full of change, both good and bad, for the past few years and reading something filled with such promise and positivity is just what I needed. Your writing truly inspires me to work through the bad and only focus on the good. I find the morals you live your life by completely inspiring and I always say to myself, “if she can do it, why can’t I?” I’ve been an avid reader on your site since I stumbled upon it shortly after you first launched it. I can only imagine the amount of emails filled with praise and happy thoughts you must read on a daily basis from readers just like myself. Every day I try to live my life with as much sparkle as you live yours.“ — Ashley
“L&S is so gorgeous and positive that I just can’t be without on them on my ipod for down days!” — Sara
“I only bought one (the 5th I think) out of curiosity but I was so moved and engaged in what you were saying that I have gradually acquired more. I think for me it’s the sheer quality and hard work that comes through and makes these so fantastic and inspiring. I am always wary about being promised quality and sold B/S and I have on many an occasion but these are brilliant and when I find something I like like this I cannot help myself and have to have them all!!!“ — E.
“Recently, after becoming a die-hard, devoted Gala-phile, I decided to up the ante and try out the first installment of your Love and Sequins collection. Best. Decision. Ever. I immediately purchased a subscription! Getting to actually hear you as you tell me so many beautiful things about my life makes me realize how much you truly do love and care for every single one of your Gala girls. It makes me take the things you say to heart on a different level, and motivates me so furiously that after I listen to my daily morning bit of LandS, I’m completely fired up and ready to take on the day, no matter what it has in store for me.” — Natalie
If you want a major dose of glitter for your brain (!), be sure to snap it up, and join the thousands of other Love and Sequins enthusiasts!
Now, I know a lot of you wait for my sales every year, so it is only fair to tell you: this is the last time Love and Sequins will go on sale… Ever!
There are so many exciting things going over here at Darling HQ: edits, rebranding and redesigns galore! I’ve saddled up with a slew of badass babes to create a brand spanking new galadarling.com, which will launch this summer… And when it does, it’s going to be a little different!
I don’t want to spoil all the surprises, but one thing’s for certain: Love and Sequins won’t be available anymore. I wrote it in 2008, which makes it five years old… And it’s time to move on, to evolve and change.
I’m immensely proud of everything I’ve achieved with this book, and the hundreds of glowing testimonials I’ve received. But I’ve learned a lot in five years, and it’s time for me to retire the tried-and-true to make room for bodacious new offerings.
In the spirit of keeping things light and easy, here are some rules: This half-price sale is only available from May 25th to May 27th. It is not retroactive (so if you bought it yesterday, the discount doesn’t apply). And if you miss it, you miss it!
(Love and Sequins will still be available at the normal price until the launch of the new site… But once it’s gone, that’s it!)
Note: Some people have been having problems with the shopping cart. If you’re one of them, getting around it is perplexing but easy: buy Love and Sequins through the official shop page.
Have a fabulous weekend!
Photo by Devyn Caldwell.
24 May 2013, 11:39
A psychic once told me that the Greek Islands were my spiritual homeland. At the time, I laughed. I knew nothing about them and the idea felt as far away and ridiculous as the concept of getting married.
...But times change, don’t they?! And these days, when I look at photos of the Greek Islands, I feel drawn to them. Beckoned by all that blue, seduced by azure skies and cobalt seas, enticed by the deep sapphire that surrounds.
Have you been to the Greek Islands? Which are your favourite islands? Mykonos, Santorini, Ios, Paros, Naxos, Corfu, Skiathos? Got any tips for must-sees or divine restaurants? Let me know!
23 May 2013, 15:17
Tell me the truth: have you written a gratitude list lately? I know it’s very easy to get hurled from the wagon and forget all about it, only to realise you haven’t done one in eons. Installing Things I Love Thursday as a feature on my blog has definitely kept me accountable, and I think if I wasn’t doing a TiLT every week I’d probably forget all about it!
You might like to start doing a regular gratitude feature on your own blog (and by the way, you’re more than welcome to use Things I Love Thursday as a moniker!). Or you could set a reminder on your calendar for once a week.
It’s nice to use the time you spend list-making as a type of journalling. Make it special: put on some tunes that light you up inside, close the door, get comfortable, and start scribbling. Take this occasion to look back on your week and all that has transpired, the good as well as the bad. Explore the events and see if you can uncover some treasures that were only unveiled after a so-called “bad” thing happened. This is actually a way you can train your brain to be more optimistic, which of course ultimately results in a healthier, happier you!
Getting all grateful on it can help you to manifest the things you want, too. When we count our blessings, we’re thinking about everything we already have, and we’re teaching ourselves to be content with the life that we have now. This makes manifesting much easier, since you’re not in that state of wanting all the time. It sounds weird, I know, but it works!
Have I managed to talk you into it yet?!
J’adore… Seeing blogcadettes! I just went out to meet Stephanie — who attended our very first class in NYC! — for a date. I wore a Trashy Diva dress, and we sat in the park, drank juice, and took cheesy pictures. It was so great to see her again! Almost as soon as we hugged goodbye, the skies opened and it started to pelt down. Mike came to my rescue and showed up with an umbrella: what a gentleman! Salads with plenty of avocado in them KIND Bars (a sick obsession) Counting down the days until I see Shauna and Kat again! Celebratory tacos and sangria Swoon-worthy massages — check out Emma McGregor-Mento! Movie dates and copious popcorn consumption (Benedict Cumberbatch is my new favourite!) The latest issue of New York Cracking loud thunder Looking at all the pretty #magicwalk pictures! (I’m going to take my own soon!)
Okay, that’s all from me! I’m about to run out to the gym… In the pouring rain, thunder and lightning, no less!
22 May 2013, 12:59
Illustration from Volume 25.
Today we’re going to talk about my favourite subject: magic.
After my Season Of The Witch post, which you all seemed to love, I thought it was time to step things up a notch. In other words, I’m going to teach you how to do a little bit of magic of your own.
When I was a teenager, my parents went ballistic upon discovering my altar (conveniently hidden in the closet), though I’m not sure they knew what they were looking at. I think it was the effing huge knife — or athame — that freaked them out most. I’m pretty sure they thought I was going to commit ritual suicide. Understandable, then!
Not too long after that, I started dating a boy who valued logic (and cynicism) above all else. In an effort to impress him, I pushed all my magic books to the back of my closet, and that’s where they stayed, both literally and figuratively.
Maybe it’s my Saturn return, or maybe it’s just a natural cycle. Whatever the reason, I’ve bounced right back into it again.
I have always believed in the silver cord that ties seemingly unrelated events together, always trusted in the qualities of crystals, herbs and flowers, and always known that simply putting your attention (and intention) on something boosts its mojo. Dipping my head back into the study of all things magical feels like an organic progression from my long-standing interest in manifesting and the law of attraction.
“To repeat the definition of magic I like best: it is the study of the ways in which natural forces, energies and gods can be compelled or induced to help us. Calling it the technology of the sacred highlights magic’s study of ways to focus such energies. This technology may attract the attention of busy gods through sacred geometry, as the ancient Romans did when they constructed temples filled with geometric symbols; it may provide a road map to higher consciousness, as the Kabbalah does; it may harness the vital forces of herbs, roots and rocks, as folk magic does; or it may pull down power through ritual, as Wicca does. Or it may be as simple as focusing one’s attention to notice what’s happening. The salesman who believes that making all five lights on the way to work bodes well for the day may not think he believes in magic, but he does.”
(From Not In Kansas Anymore: A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America, Christine Wicker)
I recently devoured Not In Kansas Anymore, a fascinating book about the history of magic in America and the active communities that exist today. As I fervently flicked pages, I realised how many of my common, everyday beliefs were rooted in something magical. For example, the pink Post-It Note on my Macbook which says, “I get what I think about, whether I like it or not” is 100% pure magical thinking.
If you have a lucky pair of knickers, a pre-game ritual you always perform, or if you make decisions based on signs from the universe, you engage in magical thinking too. And it’s not unusual: in fact, it’s extremely normal.
I have always been an adherent of magical thinking, which is the belief that your thoughts can change reality. But magical thinking is also part of the diagnostic criteria of a slew of mental illnesses, including schizotypal personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to Psychology Today, there is a “sliding scale” of magical thinking, and to sit too far at either end is seen as relatively unhealthy.
To me, though, magic is about harnessing energy and making efforts to bring what you desire into creation. This is not about idly wishing for something and then sitting on your bum. As I describe in Love and Sequins #9: Magic And Manifesting, manifesting (or working magic in any capacity) is about getting the universe to meet you halfway. It throws the ball, and you return it.
The best magic is not done alone in your grotto; it is mustered up when you team up with the universe. Don’t just light some incense, write an action plan. Don’t just think about what you want, make some phonecalls. Meet the universe in the middle.
I think this is what Pablo Picasso was referring to when he said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
“Three of the biggest questions of spiritual belief are Is there Something out there, some force or intelligence, some energy, some creator, some organizer of the physical? Does that Something impinge on us, expect something from us, have a plan for our lives? And can we use this Something for our own purposes, causing it to smile on us, to bless us, to protect us? Religion grapples with all three questions. Magic assumes the first two and concerns itself with the last one.”
(From Not In Kansas Anymore: A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America, Christine Wicker)
Okay, so how can we use this technology of the sacred for our own ends? How can we work in tandem with the universe to create favourable consequences?
You don’t have to go out and buy a cauldron anytime soon. In fact, baby steps are preferable, no matter whether you stride in polka-dot Keds or totter in Louboutins. The best place to begin is with an increase of awareness.
If you’ve ever read Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle, you know the value in truly being in the moment. Being in the moment is about tucking your phone away and really looking around you as you walk home. It’s about making eye contact with your friend and really listening to what she has to say, not just waiting for your turn to talk about yourself. Being in the moment is about turning off all the distractions around you, dropping your head and tuning in to your internal hum.
All good things spring from this simple practice. If you regularly ignore — or rarely even hear from — your intuition, this is the best way to step back into sync with yourself.
Slide your headphones off your head. Feel the breeze on your face. Inhale the scent of honeysuckle. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Revel in your senses.
“Chaos mages also provide simple starting exercises to prepare the mind for magic. Perhaps that was what I needed, preparation. Joseph said he sometimes tells people to start by merely noticing everything they see of a certain color, red or blue maybe. The point is to start people noticing what’s around them. The magical exercise I chose to do first was to walk through my neighborhood looking at everything as if it were occurring only for me, which some mages say is literally true. That was easy enough and wouldn’t require much effort.”
(From Not In Kansas Anymore: A Curious Tale of How Magic Is Transforming America, Christine Wicker)
Do as the chaos mages do: go for a walk. Slide into your favourite shoes — whether a pair of motorcycle boots, glitter-flecked wedges or blue suede Mary Janes — and close the front door behind you.
Walking isn’t just a convenient mode of zig-zagging across town! Walking meditation is a brilliant way to work a little mindfulness into your daily routine, and going on a magical walk is similar.
Instead of thinking about where you want to go, frowning about slow walkers, or tensing your jaw as you recall all the things on your to-do list, focus your awareness on what is happening around you.
Like Joseph said in the excerpt above, you can choose to look for a colour, or you can look at everything with a set of new eyes, as if anything you see is happening for you specifically.
When you see a girl with a bunch of balloons, think that she’s carrying them just for you. Imagine that the leaf fell off the branch simply because it wanted to be close to you. Allow yourself to be awed by the colours of a bluejay’s feathers, a punk rocker’s studded jacket, or a girl’s ringlets.
Take your phone with you, and instead of burying your nose in Twitter, use the camera to snap shots of the special things you see. This will help to make the experience feel rich and tangible. (Tag your photos on Instagram with #magicwalk, and I will share my favourites next week!)
A magical walk can really and truly enchant you: it takes your mind to another space entirely.
So, what’s the purpose of all this? It’s to stimulate your awareness of the many enchantments perpetually whirling around you. It attunes you to your inner voice, and bolsters hope in a bewitching world. This practice reminds you that you are a mademoiselle of the universe, as much a part of the cosmos as the stars and galaxies.
And that knowledge is what emancipates you to do real magic.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at begin to change.” (Wayne Dyer)
Love and lilacs,
...And SHOUT-OUTS to all of these babes for their column-naming ideas (each of them won the entire Love And Sequins bundle as a thank you): Sarah Everitt Furuya’s suggestion of “Harry Hotter”, Suzanne Ethridge Riordan’s “Grab your Cape Darling”, Shira Avital Orzech’s “Vita Magica”, Emily Jayne Phillips’ “Hocus Pocus Focus”, Rowan Molyneux’s “Abra-ca-BABE-ra!”, Clayton Gibson’s “Professor Darlingdore”, Rebecca Bastien’s “GALA-cadabra!”, and Tatiana Wimmer’s suggestion of “Gala-kazam”! You are all awesome and make me laugh; thank you for taking part. (You can read the rest of the entries here. Clearly, if you’re not following me on Facebook, you are missing out on some good times!)
20 May 2013, 10:07
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.
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.
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.