18 November 2013, 11:11
When we received our itinerary from Tourism and Events Queensland, getting a surfing lesson was one of the things that I was surprised to find myself most excited about. I’ve wanted to try my hand at riding the waves for a long time, but it was never at the top of my priority list.
I was a little nervous too, I can’t lie. I’m not the strongest swimmer, and the idea of drowning has never appealed to me all that much. And what if I got bitten by a shark?! The Jaws theme music started to play in the back of my head.
After a few hours at Dreamworld, we hit up Cheyne Horan School of Surf in Surfer’s Paradise, ready to take some photos of us looking glamorous on the sand. Our plans were dashed, however, when we were told to put on rash vests, and immediately thrust into a class with Patrick, a no-nonsense surfer dude who definitely had more faith in our abilities than we did!
We practiced a bit of “board control” on the beach, and after he showed us how to lie on the board and ride a wave into shore, Patrick instructed us to hop into the water and give it a go. The water was a little bit chilly and I felt extremely uncoordinated, but imagine my surprise and delight when I was able to do it on the first try! The rush was incredible, and I quickly spun my board around, and headed back out to try it again.
Soon, Patrick called us all back into shore to show us the right way to stand up on a board. Kat and I exchanged petrified looks, communicating telepathically that this all seemed a bit fast, but I trusted that he knew what he was doing, and followed his guidance. Again, after practicing hopping up on the board a few times on the sand, we toddled back to the water to give it a shot.
The first time I tried it, I wobbled and fell off, swallowing a big mouthful of sea-water. Delicious!
But on my second go, lo and behold, I DID IT!
Kelly Slater’s got nothin’ on me!
As you can tell from the astounded look on my face, I couldn’t believe it! But the thrill was amazing, and I absolutely loved it. I wish our surfing lesson had lasted longer, but I can’t wait to try it again.
14 November 2013, 16:11
Dress is Plenty by Tracy Reese.
7 flights down, 3 to go. New York to LA to Brisbane to Cairns to Melbourne to Auckland to Wellington to Melbourne (and soon to Brisbane to LA to New York). Wow. These last few weeks have been chockablock with more time in the air than ever. I think I have well and truly proven my international playgirl status this month!
It has been such a wonderful and dizzying whirlwind that I can’t believe our trip down under is almost over! Our #babesdownunder tag has been going off, and you can see by looking at it that we’ve been having a grand old time.
Our (very) quick jaunt to Wellington was one of the highlights of this trip for me. The three of us stayed with my parents, who doted on us, brought us cups of tea and carefully-orchestrated snacks, and helped us stage elaborate Instagrams. It’s been two years since I last saw Mama and Papa Darling, and they are two of my favourite people on the whole planet.
On Tuesday, Kat, Shauna and I headed into the city for a spot of shopping. In addition to new dresses for all 3 of us (success!), that night I was able to catch up with several old friends, which was fantastic.
As I put the finishing touches on this post, we’re just about to head to day two of our last Blogcademy for 2013. And I have to say, getting the opportunity to meet 120 blogcadettes over the last couple of weeks has been magnificent. Sitting cross-legged on the floor during lunch yesterday, surrounded by sweet, excitable, positive babes, it couldn’t have been more clear to me that I have found my people.
When I was growing up in New Zealand, I always felt like such a freak, like I would never really meet anyone who truly got me. Thankfully the internet has proven me wrong. The world is absolutely full of people just like you, who love what you love. And, as Brittany said to me yesterday, when you put yourself out there, and when you are unabashedly yourself, you begin to attract those people to you.
J’adore… Corn cob chairs Big, comfortable beds Avocado and tomato on toast for breakfast Neon pink nails Late-night Big W shopping trips Glitter rose crowns Business planning over strawberries and ice-cream Honey, lemon and ginger drinks Actually, ginger everything: ginger beer, ginger ale, ginger chews, ginger crunch… The list goes on. I am a ginger addict! I think NZ/Australia feels the same way about ginger that Americans feel about peanut butter and pumpkin. Blogcadettes who bring branded snacks to class! Poking around weird little boutiques and exploring beautiful restaurants Raw vegan chocolate truffles Sitting cross-legged with blogcadettes, talking about life, the universe and everything Sequins on the floor Singing Return Of The Mack in restaurants Jamming out to Silverchair (hey, we are in Australia, after all) My oversized mohair cardigan (it’s getting a lot of wear on this trip) Street art all over Melbourne Striped long-sleeve t-shirts The definition of jouissance: The French feminist writer Hélène Cixous uses the term jouissance to describe a form of women’s pleasure or sexual rapture that combines mental, physical and spiritual aspects of female experience, bordering on mystical communion: “explosion, diffusion, effervescence, abundance…takes pleasure (jouit) in being limitless”
One thing we’ve been discovering over the past month is that Australia is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, I always knew it was a beautiful place, but I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes. As a Kiwi, you always grow up with the slightest bit of silly trans-Tasman rivalry, but I have to admit that Australia is exquisite.
We have seen the most glorious sunsets, lounged on palm tree-strewn beaches, splashed in the surf and flown over the Great Barrier Reef. It’s going to be a bit of a rude awakening to go back to NYC, where the first snow has already fallen, and the lows are regularly below freezing…
It’s very exciting for me to consider that the next Things I Love Thursday I post will come from New York City, though! As incredible as this trip has been, and as much as we will miss each other, all three of us are thrilled to be going home to our husbands, dogs and cats!
“No matter how bad it gets, I’m always grateful to know that I don’t have to stay with the negative.” (Maya Angeloui)
Photos by Janneke Storm.
11 November 2013, 11:11
When your friend invites you to a séance, you say yes. Or at least, I did! That’s how, last year, on a very cold winter night, I found myself standing outside a strange house in Brooklyn.
But as I stood there, waiting for my friend, I started to get a weird feeling… And I decided that walking into a room with a bad attitude — when we would potentially be summoning the dead — was not the best idea. My friend showed up, I told her I wasn’t feeling it, and we went to get dinner, instead.
I didn’t think about it afterwards.
Fast-forward to this summer. I had just recently become friends with Gabrielle Bernstein, who seems to know everyone, and through whom I have met a fantastic new cast of characters. When Gabby asked if I wanted to go and hug a saint, of course I said yes. At the venue, Gabby introduced me a girl called Betsy, and, whaddaya know, Betsy is the babe who hosts and conducts the séances!
She was such a sweetheart that I (almost) felt silly for getting nervous the time before. We got along famously, and she invited me to take part in another one. This time, I took my friend Rabbit.
Going to a séance is a strange thing. I consider myself a pretty open-minded person, but communing with the spirits of those who have gone before? That stuff gets an immediate rise out of my inner skeptic. I love psychics and have no problem wrapping my head around what they do, but for some reason, I had my doubts about speaking to the dead.
Nevertheless, I went to the séance with as open a mind as possible, telling myself that I didn’t know everything and was willing to be surprised. Admittedly, I felt more at ease having already met Betsy. She has such great energy, and is so sweet and positive, that I knew whatever happened, we’d be in good hands.
When Betsy opened the door to her apartment, the scent of sage wafted out behind her. She smiled at me.
“I was hoping you’d be the first to show up!”, she said as she wrapped me in a hug.
Betsy holds séances in her living room every week. It’s usually 10 women sitting in a circle — some scattered across her turquoise couch, others placed on folding chairs — with a table full of crystals in the middle. After a brief introduction, during which Betsy assured us that “no table-flipping would occur” (!), we dimmed the lights and got down to business. Opening with a non-denominational prayer, Betsy led us into a guided meditation, where we began by focussing attention on our feet, moving up our body to the crown of the head, and all the way to the Sun.
Then, one by one, she gave everyone in the circle a reading. She would start out by saying the name of a person in the circle, and then describing the characteristics and appearance of the spirit who was making contact. Once the person she was speaking to could identify the spirit — grandmother, ex-boyfriend, aunt, etc. — Betsy relayed the message the spirit wanted to share.
In the interests of protecting people’s privacy, I won’t share anything about anyone else’s reading, except to say that several times, as I listened to Betsy speak, I raised my eyebrows at the extreme specificity of the information she gave. And since I had taken my friend with me, I was amazed by how Betsy was able to nail Rabbit’s relationship with the spirit that contacted her.
I know this all sounds very bizarre, and like I said, when I set out for Brooklyn that night, I had my doubts. So you can imagine my complete surprise when it was my turn for a reading, and Betsy described my grandparents in perfect detail (right down to their clothes), and when she expressed sentiments — practically word for word — that they had communicated to me before they passed.
One of the most interesting things about going to a séance, as opposed to getting a one-on-one reading, was when Betsy said that any of the messages during the circle that feel relevant to you are relevant to you. If you’re having stomach troubles and the girl across the circle from you is given a message about her stomach, that message is for you, too. And I was astounded to find that several of the things Betsy said to other women felt personally pertinent.
Betsy also encourages everyone attending to feel free to share any messages, images, noises or thoughts that come through during the séance.
“It’s hard the first few times you do it,” she said, “because you’ll feel like you’re just making stuff up. And that’s how you know you’re doing it right! It will feel like you’re just coming up with nonsense.”
Nothing much came up for me, but Bryan, Betsy’s boyfriend, shared some images with the woman sitting opposite him… And they turned out to be a perfect mirror of one of her most powerful universal lessons.
I didn’t go to Betsy’s séance seeking anything in particular. For me, it was more about the experience, about trying something different, and having an adventure that made me feel nervous.
I didn’t know what to expect, and I’m so glad I bit the bullet and went along. Despite my low-grade anxiety, as soon as I saw Betsy’s smiling face, I knew everything was going to be absolutely fine. What occurred was a truly supernatural experience beyond my wildest dreams!
You often end up having the most memorable moments of your life when you do those things that make you feel uncomfortable, or that are at — or beyond — an edge. I had no idea I’d be speaking to my grandparents on a Thursday night, but it was absolutely incredible, and I’d recommend it to anyone who is even the slightest bit curious!
With love and a ghostly grin,
8 November 2013, 00:16
Since my last Things I Love Thursday, so much has happened! We’ve taught two jam-packed classes (in Brisbane and Melbourne) and are on the brink of class number three (Auckland). We flew to New Zealand at the crack of dawn on Friday morning, and jump right back into classes on Saturday. Phew!
It’s really lovely to be back in New Zealand (even if it is for a flying trip!). I was never very patriotic until I left, and these days, I am crazy for anything and everything kiwi!
I have to say, though, now that the Tourism Queensland portion of our trip is over, and we’re back to fending for ourselves, we’re realising how truly spoiled we’d been! TQ didn’t just cover our flights and accommodation, they also took us out for dinner every night, ferried us around the state and catered to our every whim. Our host, Celeste, completely doted on us, buying boxes of peppermint tea, booking us onto last minute sunset cruises, and waiting patiently as we took yet another Instagram selfie! Gosh. What did we do to deserve such superstar treatment?! Celeste, we love you, and we’re looking forward to dinner on Sunday night!
By the way, The Blogcademy was on ABC News on Wednesday night! How amazing is that?! Click the link to watch the news clip. We all felt quite chuffed about it!
Mostly though, life has revolved around taking planes from place to place, only partially unpacking our suitcases, and meeting lots of new people: over 70 in a week! It’s wonderful but I can’t lie, it’s a little bit exhausting too. We are generally in bed — and asleep — by 9pm each night. Very rock ‘n’ roll!
J’adore… Eating fish and chips maybe a little too often… Having a hoop-off at Blogcademy Melbourne! Stocking up on my favourite snacks (Barbecue Shapes for life!) These rad wicked witch legs on the street Practicing our best Dame Edna impressions Voyeurism Our B balloons — we never get sick of ‘em! This illustration of me by one of our very talented blogcadettes, Jane Davenport Receiving this Dolly necklace from our Brisbane scholarship winner! Rocking the house at the Brisbane Radical Self Love Event (full recap to follow!) Flying over the Great Barrier Reef in a helicopter! So gorgeous! Raspberry ice-blocks Carrying snacks everywhere Accents! Fat Freddy’s Drop The safety videos on Air New Zealand Researching for our next big project! Looking forward to having two days off at my parents’ place Doing face masks and lying around Antipodean smiles, friendliness and hospitality!
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” (Marianne Williamson)
So pleased to be back in NZ,
6 November 2013, 19:13
When it comes to getting shit done, you can’t go much further than Jen Dziura. As the creator of Get Bullish, the best place online for “aggressive lady-advice”, Jen is a woman who has her fingers in many pies… And yet manages to execute with aplomb.
Jen has long been regarded as the go-to gal for women who want truly frank counsel when it comes to business, productivity and running your life like a boss, so it makes sense that she’s pulling it all together under the umbrella of the Bullish Conference. Kicking off after Thanksgiving in Miami, it’s a “bikinis and blazers” kind of event. Intriguing, no?
I quizzed Jen on how to be a business genius, and she had plenty of insight to share…
I get so many emails from women who want their own businesses but have no idea where to start. As a no-nonsense bad bitch who wears many hats, what would your first piece of advice be?
Good question! It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but the most important thing to remember is:
The only thing you need in order to have a business is at least one customer who pays you money for something.
That’s it. So if you knew some people who were looking for a service, and you emailed them with a jaunty little email about how you have just launched exactly that service, and one of them hires you, you have just started a business!
You could certainly spend $5,000+ and a couple of months incorporating, setting up a bookkeeping system, having a brand identity created, trademarking your name, and making sure you have a legal and accounting team in place, but even if you did all those things, I don’t think you would actually have a business. Legally you would (in the US, corporations legally count as people, so I guess you’d have a person?) But without customers, nothing else matters.
That should take a lot of the pressure off! Just find someone who will pay you for a product or service. Make that person really happy. Good Yelp reviews are probably more valuable than a fancy logo and website anyway, and they’re free.
Once you have a few more customers and some money coming in, you can worry about all that other stuff. All that other stuff is made pretty painless when you can afford to pay professionals.
(And quick, someone get nononsensebadbitch.com!)
Do you think anyone can be an entrepreneur?
Yes! I think anyone who’s willing to learn to be an entrepreneur — and to practice, like anything else — can be an entrepreneur. But if you love baking pies, that’s not going to make you into a good pie-shop owner. Being a good yoga teacher doesn’t make you a good yoga studio owner.
But anyone can be an entrepreneur if you’re willing to accept that you might suck at certain things, but those things are learnable!
A lot of touring musicians function in cycles — be creative and write songs, perfect and record those songs, negotiate with the record company over how the album will be presented, market the album, tour … and then take some time off, bum around, be creative and write songs, etc. A few artists write songs all the time and anywhere (Prince!), but some go years without writing any songs and do very well, because they accept that part of their job is making the tour the best it can be, or even overseeing the merch and making sure fans are getting high-quality t-shirts.
Similarly, when you turn something you love into a business, you’ve got to give at least as much time and energy to the business itself as to the thing you love. I like the idea of thinking in cycles, rather than envisioning a constant battle for your time and attention. Sometimes you make stuff. Sometimes you stop making stuff so you can direct people’s attention to the stuff you’ve already made.
Is “work/life balance” a myth? How can we deal with this when our friends and family complain that they never see us?
Ha! The article I wrote about this is maybe the one that people quote the most: Maybe Work-Life Balance Means You Should Work MORE.
Sometimes friends and family are genuinely concerned for your happiness. So it helps to tell them that being in the zone and moving towards your goals is really what makes you happiest. You can train people to start understanding this. Last winter, checked myself into a hotel alone for a week, did a crazy amount of work, and tweeted photos of the cocktails I drank at the hotel bar. I think that finally convinced my loved ones that I am just a different species. A solitary, bourbon-swigging species that loves to be ensconced in my work, preferably while someplace fabulous.
What are your top five secrets for being insanely productive?
Okay, let’s try this:
1. Don’t spend your best working hours making a to-do list! I try to catch myself when I procrastinate by planning work instead of actually doing any. Even if your to-do list is a total mess and way too long and confusing, I’ll bet you already know what the most important item on it is. Do that one! Then you can clean up the list.
2. No TV. If I really want to watch something, I get it on Hulu or Netflix or the iTunes store and watch it on a laptop. I haven’t had cable in my entire adult life. When I visit family, I’m constantly turning off their TVs if no one’s in the room or if people are trying to talk. (Yes, I’m THAT person. Sorry!)
3. I find that people value their time much more highly when it’s daylight. A two-hour lunch on a weekday seems ridiculously extravagant, but people will go out at 7pm and come home at 1am and not even have a good time, and think nothing of it. If someone invites you to an event you’re not that enthusiastic about, tell them you can’t make it, but suggest coffee or lunch during the week.
4. I’m definitely not suggesting that you skip all recreation! Just the kind that takes a long time and isn’t that great anyway. Instead of watching 12 hours of boring TV a week and spending 6 hours on Friday “hanging out,” how about spending an hour watching your favorite show while eating your favorite pie and drinking champagne? Make sure your favorite pajamas are ready. Plan intense fun! Basically, only do things that are either productive or awesome. It’s the in-between that life is just too short for.
5. Make friends with other freakishly productive people. Sure, you might not see those people too often, but when you do, you’ll feel invigorated.
Also, you might enjoy How to Be a Productivity Unicorn.
Congratulations on organising Bullish Conference: that is so exciting! Can you tell us a little bit about the event and why you felt motivated to create it?
Thanks so much!
In my own life, the weekend right after Thanksgiving has been a great time to get ahead! So many people are asleep from all the tryptophan in their leftover turkey sandwiches, but there’s no reason you can’t use that Friday (and Saturday, and Sunday) to caffeinate, eat healthy, and take over the world. Also, fabulous hotels tend to be marvelously uncrowded.
The Bullish Conference takes place at the Surfcomber Hotel in South Beach, Miami. Super easy to get to from the airport — fly down Friday and you can be lounging by the pool within a few hours of leaving your house. Kimpton Hotels are also actively LGBT- and woman-friendly. (And fabulous, with amazing food! And this one has a sculpture garden of cow sculptures. I mean, just FYI.)
Check-in on Friday, meet some bullish ladies in a low-key atmosphere (no nametags!), and chill by the pool or at the beach. Saturday, we’ve got a full slate of powerful workshops, plus some built-in sun time.
Throw on a blazer over that bikini and you’re in the spirit of things.
Do you have to be an official Business Lady to attend, or is this for anyone who wants to live a more awesome life?
The Bullish Conference is for students and interns, entrepreneurs and freelancers, employees and managers! We use the term “bullicorns” (it’s a bull with unicorn horn, our official spirit animal).
I’ve worked hard to make sure the programming applies to all women. Ji Eun (Jamie) Lee will be running a training on negotiating more powerfully, which is important whether you’re angling for a raise, starting your own business, fundraising for a cause, or trying to make that move from unpaid intern to paid employee.
Laura Vanderkam’s workshop on time management applies everyone who’s alive for 24 hours a day.
And Jennifer Wright will be teaching us how to pitch, which I think is probably the most important skill in life, full stop. Pitching is how you get opportunities that aren’t advertised anyway. Pitching is how you create the opportunity you wish existed — and then, magically, you’re the only applicant!
At Bullish Conference, you’re teaching a workshop on how to design your life. What does that mean, exactly?
Designing your whole life probably isn’t something you want to do in one day. But designing your 2014 — that’s do-able. And fun!
You know how when you load the dishwasher, you need to start by putting the big stuff in and then fitting the small stuff around it? That’s kind of a good metaphor for planning the next phase of your life.
When you really ask, “What do you want next year to look like?”, most people come up with some pretty awesome — but realistic — ideas. For instance, “I’d like to work out regularly, finally do that trip to Europe even if I can’t get anyone to come with me, and spend less time staring at a computer screen. I’d like to get promoted at work and get more clients for my freelance business, but also spend some time offline, in nature.”
That sort of thing is both completely do-able, and also WILL NEVER HAPPEN ON ITS OWN.
If you just “take each day as it comes,” there will never be a perfect time to go to Europe, and it’ll already be mid-day Saturday by the time you realize you could have been hiking. Designing your year could mean that you set business hours for your side business, and you make a standing date with a hiking trail. It could mean that you make an effort to figure out when in the year you’re most likely to get that promotion, and then you make a list of something deliberate you’re going to do every month in order to bolster your case for when you ask (yes, ask!) for that promotion.
A lot of things are easier when you plan them way in advance! It doesn’t have to be stressful. You’re designing!
At the Bullish Conference, some of that will take place around a pool. In South Beach. With like-minded ladies. And possibly a cocktail.
Love and bullicorns,
Image by Miles Aldridge for MAC Cosmetics’ Office Hours collection.