17 May 2013, 11:28
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,
16 May 2013, 15:21
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,
Doing the best you can fucking do is so much easier than not doing your best, and making up excuses in your head the whole time.— Ashley Ambirge (@TMFproject) May 16, 2013
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.
13 May 2013, 09:39
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!
New York City
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!
11 May 2013, 16:37
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…
Crown And Glory supplied the ears…
Moorea Seal decked us out with jewels…
Saturday Sequins supplied a little extra sparkle…
Mr Yen handed out hand-cut greeting cards…
Basik 855 gave everyone a pouch, perfect for holding business cards or elusive laundry quarters!
We were all able to transform our shoes with clips from Head Full Of Feathers!
Classic Hardware makes killer art-themed jewellery, and they gave us a few pieces as prizes!
Twinkie Chan gave everyone a Blogcademy coffee cozy… !
And Margravine 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.
10 May 2013, 10:30
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!
Clockwise from top left: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer and Tinted Moisturiser; Kat Von D Autograph Liner; Kiehl’s Sun Free Self Tanning Formula; Kate Somerville Tanning Towelettes; Laura Mercier Eye Basics.
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!
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!