9 May 2013, 12:06
New York City is saturated, soaked to the bone. Today we’re promised thunderstorms and even more rain… But I’m smiling. The city is looking extra verdant, and in the last week, the trees lining the skinny streets have exploded with new shoots and greenery. We have returned to that magical time of year, marked by virescent canopies arcing between buildings, and pressed up against bricks.
To add to the happiness triggered by the cacophony of emerald outside my window, I am finally (finally!) starting to feel better. A week of bed-rest sounds wonderful, but when you feel crummy, it begins to take on more of a punishment kind of quality. Cabin-fever is real, you guys, and there is only so much trashy television one brain can possibly absorb!
I am so excited to get back to my life. Lying on my back for a week gave me plenty of time to think about things… And realise how much I still want to do. It was good actually, to have that sort of forced perspective. So often we just chug along, doing what we think we should do, and we rarely take a break to appraise our choices. Is this the right thing to do? Should I let go of this and recommit myself to that? Et cetera. I’m feeling clear and sharp. Being sick sucked, but I appreciate the opportunity to bring the important things in life back into focus.
...Oh, and as someone who rarely goes a day of her life without writing, I’m relatively exhilarated to be able to string a sentence together again!
Okay, so here are the things that are making me smile this week…
J’adore… Movies!!! I am so so so excited about Great Gatsby (of course) and I am going to race out and see Iron Man 3 really soon. Like, tonight. Or something. Hello Kitty popsicles (a rare bright spot during my week of plague) My rag-tag team of nurses, aka my husband and two dogs, who all did their best to make me feel less terrible (and, bless ‘em, suffered silently through my tantrums and grump attacks) Listening to music again — you know you’re unwell when you can’t even be bothered to do that! Delirious online window-shopping (I really did find the weirdest things. Thankfully, I was lucid enough at the time to know I shouldn’t trust my feverish judgement, and my bank account went unscathed!) The Ricky Gervais Show which we only recently started watching and think is HILARIOUS The Great Gatsby soundtrack (soooo good, eff a hater!) Madonna Categorically the best billboard ever Reading about Leo and Tobey’s bromance And finally, my cough, while still in existence, sounds less horrifying today!
“I’m concentrating on staying healthy, having peace, being happy, remembering what is important, taking in nature and animals, spending time reading, trying to understand the universe, where science and the spiritual meet.” (Joan Jett)
It’s meant to be gorgeous tomorrow and I am going to take full advantage! It will be fantastic just to walk around, take in some sights and fill my lungs with fresh air. I can’t wait!
Photographs by the inimitable Made U Look.
6 May 2013, 18:56
Hello my love. Since we last spoke, I was diagnosed with strep and spent five consecutive days in bed with a consistent fever of over 100 degrees. I was delirious, and most of my time was taken up with drinking Gatorade (ew, but, doctor’s orders) and cuddling a gallon bottle of frozen water to try to cool down. It was the
best worst of times, it was the worst of times.
Mercifully, my fever broke yesterday afternoon, but my brain is still not working, and it hurts to move my eyes. I am still living on a delicious and diverse diet of chicken broth and Saltines. I’ve been working on a post for you since last Tuesday (!!!) but it is going very s-l-o-w-l-y, as you might imagine!
Just wanted to give you a little update. Now I’m going to curl up under my polka-dot blanket and get some rest… Hopefully we will be back to our regularly-scheduled programming before long!
P.S. I’m trying out some new ad units called Bread this week, which bring up enter/exit screens. You’ll see a maximum of one every 24 hours, so hopefully they are not too intrusive. Please let me know if you have any problems with it!
2 May 2013, 08:24
The first morning of class always makes our nerves feel like a charm bracelet of plastic skeletons jangling on a chain (as Francesca Lia Block might say). We’re excited, anxious and extra-vigilant. We never know what the class is going to be like, who our students will be, or how it will unfold…
After a few glorious (and slightly debauched) days in Portland, it was finally Saturday morning. We woke up early, piled into cars and headed for our venue, The Cleaners at the Ace. We hadn’t seen it in person, so when we threw open the doors on Saturday, we were beyond delighted. What a gorgeous, open space!
We feel the same way about venues every time: at 8am on Saturday morning, we can’t get over how big it is, and wonder if we’ve overshot the mark. But by the end of the day on Sunday, there are people in every nook and cranny, the space is filled up with joy, and we are amazed.
As soon as we get into the venue, it’s all systems go. We lay out the chairs and goodie bags, we get the projector working, we tie B balloons to chairs and create the sign-in station. There’s never much time to rest; even before the official start time, our babes start to arrive. (It’s like the very opposite of high school!)
“It was one of the most fun and creative experiences I’ve had in a long time.” Sherold
Oh, Portland. What a special city, and that carried over to the class. Our girls were so delightful, with such sweet, gentle energy.
There was Mac Reid, artist and crafty babe, who brought us GALA & KAT & NUBBY prints. Our scholarship winner, Jessica, flew all the way from Arkansas — and it was her first time on a plane! Raye brought us an orchid in Blogcademy colours, and everyone put on their glittery Crown And Glory ears as soon as they found them in the goodie bag. There was even a Kiwi girl, which always makes me so happy!
“I picked up tips and ideas that left me in a bit of a daze afterward. An excited, floaty daze of Awesomeness. I got great feedback, great ideas and met a bunch of awesome women. I was seriously depressed when I went back to work and sat in my cubicle, which has NO MAGIC WHATSOEVER, and realized that it was all over. I had graduated from The Blogcademy.” Erica
Our Portland class happened over Easter, so it only made sense to fill the room with pastel-coloured chocolate eggs. And Easter isn’t Easter without a major sugar rush — in our world, at least! — so we had a big pink box of Voodoo Doughnuts delivered, too.
Every class is different: sometimes, at the end of day one, we literally cannot move. But like I said, Portland was special. At the end of the first day, we checked into the Ace Hotel, put down our bags, freshened up a smidge, and went out to roam around downtown Portland! We had an exquisite meal at Clyde Commons — say it with me now, truffle popcorn — and then hit up Buffalo Exchange, Anthropologie and Wholefoods.
Our hotel room was divine, with a huge tub, a living room, and a stereo. We fell asleep quickly, and woke up easily in Portland’s morning light.
I had struck it lucky at Buffalo Exchange the night before, and picked up this crazy mod dress, which was a clear choice to teach in. Paired with a Crown And Glory flower crown (which I
stole borrowed from Kat that morning), I was ready for day two!
“In other words, it was a workshop full of cute nerdy girl stuff! I loved it. The class was a breath of fresh air. It was the first creative event that I’ve attended that provided an intimate workshop experience which made it was very easy to meet and talk to everyone who attended.” Holly
It’s not The Blogcademy without a whole lot of Kodak moments. So after lunch — and a fresh slick of lipstick — we posed for a class photo. I decided that what the pictures really needed was a dose of bubbles, so we handed a little bottle to everyone in the class. Sitting in the front row, surrounded by laughing babes blowing bubbles, I remember saying, “This is my fantasy! I’m so happy right now!”
The Blogcademy really has a summer camp feel to it. You throw a bunch of strangers who are all passionate about one thing into a room, spend hours together talking, laughing and brainstorming, and then, in a flash, it’s over.
I know I speak for Kat and Shauna when I say that we have met the most wonderful women through teaching this class. There is something truly magical and potent about this kind of in-person creative jamming, which simply cannot be replicated online. There’s just nothing like it.
“It was so put together and full of so many things that will be beneficial to me as I push to be a better blogger and graphic designer. Though my words and photos may not express my full gratitude, I hope that the progress that I make in the upcoming months will show you how well you are doing. Girls, you are not just teaching, you are changing lives!“ Jessica
The video above demonstrates that, I think. You get a true peek into the atmosphere, the silliness and camaraderie that we create in every class. And you get to hear from some of our blogcadettes, too!
“Overall, between the quality and quantity of the info that Gala, Kat and Shauna share (they really don’t hold back), the beautiful branding they’ve created and the warmth and sparkle of their personalities, these gals have assembled a winning combination. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get inspired and push their blog to the next level.” Lily
Of course, our sponsors help to make The Blogcademy so very special. We love ‘em, our blogcadettes love ‘em even more, and I think you will, too!
You can always tell a blogcadette by her sparkly ears… They’re pretty much an essential now. We are 100% in love with Sophie from Crown & Glory for making this possible! (And check out her flower crowns. TOO GOOD.)
IF Ladies sent us a wild and wacky selection of purses, umbrellas and t-shirts… I know umbrellas get a lot of use in Portland!
Moorea Seal spoiled us rotten with an amazing assortment of jewellery, from necklaces to earrings and bracelets.
Our babe at Head Full of Feathers made sure everyone got a pair of glittery shoe clips. It is, after all, the perfect way to change your heels from drab to fab!
The Pink Samurai supplied everyone with a teal or grey scarf, and since I seem to have caught the plague yesterday, I’ve been snuggled into mine 24/7!
Every blogcadette’s nails looked f- to the abulous thanks to Lex Cosmetics and their excellent chunky glittery nailpolish!
Paige Lavoie sent us teeny-tiny top hats which made us grin! And the immensely badass Paul Jarvis supplied a free digital download of his book, How to Be Awesome Online, for everyone. (It is so great! Essential reading!)
We owe a debt of gratitude to our decor sponsors, too. We fell in love with these teal and pink tassels from The Paper Jar via Cloud Parade, and our photo backdrop was made by Hannah of The Tea Set. Ever since London, we’ve been toting that thing around the world with us… And it’s worth it!
“You’re not only investing in your site, your career as a blogger, and getting some first class help, you’re getting a wealth of inspiration, renewed energy, and some incredible memories. I left the class with the wonderful feeling that anything is possible if you set your mind to it, and that if you love something enough that you absolutely need it in your life, you can have it.” Luna
We are so blessed to be teaching The Blogcademy, to make friends with such extraordinary women, and to travel the world at the same time. And of course, we are so in love with the Made U Look babes, who drove to Portland from Bakersfield (!!!) to shoot our class. Our favourites. For real. Aren’t their photos phenomenal?
So, want to join us? We have seats available for our upcoming classes in NYC, Minneapolis, London, Brisbane and Auckland… Click here for dates and details!
We’re always looking for goodie bag sponsors to contribute and help make our class exceptional! All the info is right here, and we would absolutely love to work with you!
Missing Portland already,
1 May 2013, 11:09
Today is Beltane, the first day of May! Beltane is the ultimate celebration of spring, my favourite season (despite the allergies!). I am overcome with emotions upon seeing trees sprout bright pink cherry blossoms, and watching the park near my house slowly get overtaken by green.
I think it’s extremely important that we take time to mark the changing of the seasons, especially in these oh-so-modern times. It can be easy to feel disconnected from nature when we’re holed up inside all the time, but it’s easy to plug back in again.
That being said, here are 20 fantastic ways to celebrate spring!
Aka, glamourous camping. Wrangle your lover or best friend, pick a spot among the trees and set up camp for a day or two. Replace your sleeping bag with a fabulous duvet, make gourmet s’mores and tell stories about ghosts dripping in couture!
Watch the sunrise
This is so easy to do, and yet it’s something we don’t always make time for. You don’t have to stay up all night if you no longer have the stamina for those kinds of antics; instead, check your local weather listings for the time of sunrise, and set your alarm a little early. Make yourself a cup of tea, go sit on the roof, and soak up the beauty.
Make a flower crown
What could be more springy than a flower crown on your noggin? Nothin’! They’re very easy to make, too: check out this guide to learn how!
Do a modern fertility ritual
Okay, before you chase me with a pitchfork, this doesn’t have to be about wanting a baby if that’s not your style! A modern fertility ritual can involve thinking about the things you want to come to pass, or anything you want to create. This can be as simple as you like. Even writing it down on a piece of paper and burning it will do the trick!
Paint your room
Why not change up your living space? You could go wild with a newly pink parlour, a robin’s egg blue bathroom, or a fire-engine red front door… Or you could just give your room a fresh lick of white paint. Few things will make you feel better!
Have a picnic
Picnics are wonderful anytime, but especially so in spring. I wrote about how to have a great picnic about a million years ago, and the facts remain the same! Go and sit in some luxurious green grass and snack happily!
Dream underneath the cherry blossoms
This doesn’t need a lot of explanation…
Plant seeds and flowers
Dig your fingers into the earth and feel your spirits sing again. If you don’t have an outside garden, don’t despair! Here are 10 magical indoor plants that make apartment gardening easy.
Write your wishes on paper and tie them to trees or bushes
As Yoko Ono says,
Wishing is more effective than waving flags. It works. It’s magic. Magic is simple. Magic is real.
...I can’t add much more to that!
Fly a kite
I haven’t flown a kite in years, probably since I was a little girl, but I loved doing it. These bird of paradise and jellyfish kites could certainly inspire me to throw a kite up in the air!
Fill your house with flowers
I love to buy tulips, daffodils and pastel-coloured roses in spring. They make our home so much happier. And of course, you get bonus points if they’re flowers you actually grew yourself!
Sit outside, get comfortable, close your eyes and get to it. If you’ve never meditated before, Leo wrote a quick guide. Or you could learn transcendental meditation, something I have been meaning to do for too long!
Visit a farmer’s market and buy things that are in season
It’s a great way to get in touch with the seasons and what’s going on around you. The ultimate in spring celebration is eating fresh produce grown in the sun! Plus, farmer’s markets are a delight for the senses, full of fabulous people, scents, sounds and sights.
Go for a hike
The idea of hiking always seemed odd to me, until I saw that Sex And The City episode where this exchange happened…
Jeremy: There are great hiking trails all around here. Maybe later we can do a hike.
Carrie: Oh, I don’t really hike.
Jeremy: Neither do I. But I will fill you in something I discovered. Hiking… is walking.
Hiking is walking! Go for a walk! Preferably up a hill or something… Get some elevation and check things out from a different view. But either way, it’s good to get out there and fill your lungs with fresh air.
Climb a tree
One of my favourite hobbies, though I must admit I haven’t done a lot of it in NYC. I’m planning on remedying that this weekend!
Honour your ancestors
Spring is also a time to honour the people who went before you. Visit a cemetery, look through old family photos, or simply light a candle and remember those who have passed.
Maying is the practice of staying out late, picking flowers, and meeting wonderful strangers. It all sounds pretty perfect to me!
Make flower tea
Flower tea is so beautiful: I love to watch the unfurling of a blossom in my tea cup! Invite your friends over for a little tea party, and marvel at what an incredible world we live in.
Dance around a maypole!
No one really knows what the symbolism of the maypole truly is, but it’s often associated with fertility and a celebration of spring. Usually, ribbons are woven around it as you stand around the maypole and dance in formation. I actually used to do this in primary school! You may need to do a little research to find a maypole dance in your area, but it would be worth it!
So, are you going to take some time out to celebrate spring this week? Let me know what you get up to!
Flower crowns forever,
Photos by Made U Look!
30 April 2013, 08:42
I’m really getting into my groove with nature lately. I can’t stop remarking over beautiful flowers and the changing of the seasons, and anyone who has walked around Portland, L.A. or New York with me recently can attest to the fact that I am constantly stopping to take pictures of it all!
It’s well-known that having plants in your home is as good for your health as your happiness, but up until recently, I’ve mostly bought cut flowers for my desk. I decided I wanted to upgrade and buy some plants to put in my office, but when I walked into my local garden centre, I was completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know what was what, I didn’t know how to take care of anything, and I didn’t know if they would be suitable for a novice gardener like me!
Rather than buy something that I might immediately kill, I decided to come home and do a little research on great, easy-to-care-for plants that thrive indoors (since if you’re anything like me, you live in an apartment with absolutely no outdoor space!). I’ve also chosen to focus on plants which bring good energy into your space. Why not kill two birds with one stone?!
Additionally, to help save you time and grief, I’ve supplied links to the plants on Amazon. I know this might sound bizarre, but I have bought several potted flowers through Amazon with fantastic results… So if you’re nowhere near a garden centre, these links will help you out!
Bamboo is known for attracting joy and wealth. It offers protection and luck, can break hexes and grants wishes! Bamboo is said to help increase mental flexibility, aid in spiritual growth, help people to develop artistic talents, and encourages good health. If you’re depressed, bamboo is a great plant to have in your home, as it can help you to feel less stuck.
P.S. Mystic Medusa wrote about bamboo yesterday!
Basil brings love, passion, wealth, luck and beauty to your home, and we could all use a little of that! If you grow your own basil and use it to flavour your food, it’s said that you’ll awaken passion in anyone who eats it. Ooh la la! Basil is known for being an antidepressant, antiseptic and antibacterial, too.
There is a lot to learn about the magical properties of basil!
Honeysuckle brings money into your home and offers protection. Some people believe that crushing the flowers and placing them next to your forehead can boost psychic powers. The smell of honeysuckle sharpens your intuition, too. In addition to smelling absolutely incredible, honeysuckle also has a delicious edible nectar. When I was about 5 years old, it grew on a trellis up the side of my school. I remember eating it all the time!
If you’re keen to know more, here is some additional info on honeysuckle’s many uses!
Buy: This Hardy Favorite Hall’s Honeysuckle Lonceria Japonica has a super-strong fragrance and is easy to grow. It grows well up a trellis or some other kind of support, so consider growing it up a wall!
Jasmine attracts love and money into your home, and encourages prophetic dreams! Jasmine oil is known for being one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs, so this is a fantastic plant for single babes or anyone wanting to keep the romance alive! Jasmine flowers are often worn by high priestesses. Incredibly, jasmine flowers open at night, which, to my mind, makes them even cooler.
Buy: The Arabian Tea jasmine plant in a 4” pot is very fragrant and easy to grow.
As well as being bright and happy, lemons are a fantastic thing to have around the house! They symbolise purification and friendship, and it’s said that if you wear diluted lemon oil during the full moon, it will help you attune with its energies. Plus, how great would it be to have your own lemons for making drinks and salad dressings?!
Buy: Meyer lemons are the best kind — they’re delicious, sweet, and easy to grow. Try this Meyer lemon tree in an 8” pot!
Lavender is one of my favourite plants: it smells wonderful and is known for its mood-elevation and calming properties. A dab of lavender oil on your pillow will send you off to sleep in two seconds flat, it brings a sense of inner peace, and it’s great for alleviating headaches. The scent of lavender is said to attract men, and will allegedly help you see ghosts… ! Either way, I think it’s one of the most relaxing scents in existence.
There are a lot of different varieties of lavender with their own pros and cons, so do a little research before you take the plunge. Here are some tips on growing lavender indoors.
Roses are said to have the highest vibration of all living things. Not too shabby, huh? They attract love, healing and luck, offer protection and healing, and help with divination of all kinds.
Full-size roses are a little ridiculous to grow inside, but miniature roses are quite hardy and just as beautiful (if not moreso!). It can be tricky to find a miniature rose plant, but I found some on Amazon (and they’re gorgeous!). You can have them inside for a while, but eventually they will need to go outside for more sun. In a very New York twist, I’m going to put mine on the fire escape!
The colour of your rose has a meaning, too. White: Purifying and healing, positive energy. White with red details: Devotion and passion. Peach: Peace, spirituality and friendship. Pink: Romantic love, sweetness, fun and play. Fuchsia: A lust for life, radical self love, deep love and acceptance of your physical body. Lavender: Spirituality. Red: Passionate, deep, true love.
Buy: I adore these pink miniature roses in a good-lookin’ pot. I think they’ll do quite nicely!
Orchids are one of my favourite flowers, not only because they are beautiful, but also because they are so easy to take care of! Orchids represent love: they attract love, soothe the soul, and deepen friendships. The ancient Greeks associated orchids with fertility and virility, which makes them a great gift for new parents!
Buy: This bubblegum pink Phalaenopsis orchid is so sweet, but if you’d like to buy a few at once, here’s an assortment of 5. (Some anonymous gem bought us 5 Phalaenopsis orchids as a wedding gift, and they are still thriving on our windowsills! They are so hardy and gorgeous.)
Rosemary increases your brain power, can help you get a good night’s rest, and keep you youthful (well, so they say)! This herb attracts love and encourages lust, has properties of protection and purification, helps with healing, and can even be used in exorcisms. (I know, I know, a herb which helps with exorcisms is totally on your shopping list!)
One of the best things about rosemary is that you can snack on it whenever you please! It improves memory and mood, relieves pain and freshens your breath! Again, it’s lovely because — just like basil — you can use it in your cooking. Here are 16 health benefits of rosemary!
Buy: This 17” rosemary topiary is elegant and would look so great in a kitchen.
Sage is well-known for its qualities of protection. It also represents immortality, longevity, wisdom and the granting of wishes. Of course, if you grow sage, you can make your own smudging sticks... And cook with it, too!
Buy: You can snap up a little 3” pot of sage for under $5. Totally worth it!
So… Do you feel inspired to bring some magical plants into your home and workspace? I’m looking at my newly-acquired bamboo and basil plants as we speak, and they make me feel so good! Even if you have a black thumb, these plants are easy to grow… I encourage you to give it a try!
Enjoying my newly green office,