Am I Really Happy Every Single Day?

Ellen Von Unwerth

This past summer was one of the best of my life. It was the perfect balance of spending time by myself and going out and seeing other people, walking around the city and soaking up the electricity, and exploring new places. I can’t express to you how positive, optimistic and deeply-centered I’ve been feeling. This summer, I’ve felt more like myself than I have in years.

Recently, I went to dinner with a couple I know. In the middle of our conversation, my friend blurted out, “Are you really happy every single day?”

It only took me a couple of seconds to think it over. “Yeah, pretty much. I have my bad moments, of course… But I feel good and positive about my life every day.”

She looked at me as if this was utterly incomprehensible to her.

Here’s the thing. Happiness does not happen by chance. It takes time to cultivate. When I transformed my life in 2006, I wasn’t instantly happy all the time. In fact, 2006-7 was one of the most difficult periods of my life. I had just started my blog and I was really struggling: the blog didn’t make any money for at least 9 months, and I was wracked with negative emotions. I felt guilty that I was writing all day — surely, I should just “get a real job”? I had no money, and I had absolutely no idea how things were going to turn out. Even though I enjoyed my work, the future looked extremely uncertain… And most people would choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

Not me. After years of self-imposed misery, I decided to make up for lost time. That’s why I have been actively refining and improving my life every single day since mid-2006. I wanted my life to feel good, and I have been — and am still — in relentless pursuit of that goal.

Ellen Von Unwerth

Happiness is not a destination: it is a confluence of various things. In my case, it comes from taking care of myself, staying creative, constant course-correction, and a stringently-imposed no bullshit policy.

The level of happiness you feel on a daily basis is affected by the elements of your life. If you don’t like your job or think it’s meaningless, that’s going to make things pretty unbearable. If you’re in a rocky relationship, that will massively impact your daily joy levels. If you’re eating crappy food and staying sedentary, that’s another level of stuff that you have to work against every single day in order to feel even a modicum of happiness.

In my case, I love the work I do, and I have been busting my ass to get to that point. I’ve stopped doing things that didn’t feel good — like writing sponsored posts, for example — and pushed myself to take the risks that would lead to a more fulfilling career. I just went through a divorce, and even though that had its challenges, I’ve loved being on the other side of that: doing whatever I felt like, being my own date, and rocking the radical self love hard. And even on those days when I don’t feel like going to the gym, I do it because I know it makes my endorphins ping like nobody’s business, and it’s essential to my sanity.

Ellen Von Unwerth

So yes, I am happy every single day. But it’s the result of constantly tweaking my life to get to that point. A lot of us make excuses as to why we can’t be happy right now, but that’s bullshit. In order to be fully self-actualized, we have to stop arguing for our limitations and instead make choices that empower us, choices that allow us to live as our fullest, biggest, boldest selves.

Sometimes the path to happiness is dropping the lie that everything is fine. When you come to terms with your own dissatisfaction, it clears the way for you to make changes and create a life you actually enjoy living. Stop pretending that things are okay when they’re not! It takes courage to admit when something isn’t right, but the only other option is settling for a life that feels mediocre at best. What a waste.

Finding work you love can be challenging, but it is so worth it. (Check out Miracle Worker!) Creating a satisfying relationship isn’t always easy, and being happy when you’re single can sometimes feel like a big task, but it can be done. And the old “I can’t be bothered to go to the gym” feeling is the reason why most gyms are kept afloat by people who never walk through the doors.

Stop making excuses for why you can’t be happy right now. Change the things that aren’t working: sign up for a class, ask for a promotion, start that side business, cut your toxic relationships loose. There is no shortcut to happiness. If you take risks, you will be rewarded.

Love always,

Photos by Ellen Von Unwerth.

Share Button
Radical Self Love Letters

New Moon Magic: October 2015


Oh baby! It’s that time again… We’re just about to hit the New Moon, which happens on Monday/Tuesday depending on where you are in the world. (The times are listed below for your convenience.)

Just like the Moon influences the tides, it influences us too. Every phase of the Moon has its own unique energy which we can choose to work with. (Of course, you can also choose to ignore it and just do whatever you like!) New Moons denote the beginning of a cycle: it’s about planting seeds, setting intentions, and focussing our energy.

To help you make the most of this delicious New Moon, Mystic Medusa has the astrological overview, and I’ve got suggestions for how to use the energy to your advantage. Let’s go!



L.A. – Monday 12 October at 16.06
NEW YORK – Monday 12 October at 19.06
LONDON – Tuesday 13 October at 00.06
DUBAI – Tuesday 13 October at 03.06
HONG KONG – Tuesday 13 October at 07.06
SYDNEY – Tuesday 13 October at 10.06

IN THE SKY… (Mystic Medusa)

This New Moon is extra potent because it is opposite rad planet Uranus. The astrological Uranus is a Change God Extraordinaire, quaker of stagnant scenes and Muse of Innovation. It’s a New Moon that aids in the sudden breaking of ties that have probably been frayed for quite some time.

The vibe is more “full moon” because of this opposition so avoid fuqwit Muggles or over-thinking their objections to your latest reinvention. There are some complacent and/or scattered people out there who are totally unwilling to tap the Uranian Growth Vibe. That is their concern but don’t get stuck trying to show your working. It’s not even like you can convert them to your cause of Awesome.

Mercury on the North Node at the same time is like a precognitive pulse of the Future. You get an instinctive blast with this Moon and/or a dialogue/message that seeds something amazing. Stay fluid, minimalist and contemporary for best results with this zinger of a New Moon.


ON THE GROUND… (Gala Darling)

This has been such a big year for so many of us, and the changes just keep on rolling in. As Mystic said, there is massive transformational energy coming through, and the most important thing to do is stay relaxed and ride it like a surfboard (just like Beyonce). Use the following as your mantra:

“I am available for anything that wants to happen in this moment, including that which is beyond imagining.” — P. Lowe

Here are three other suggestions to harness the New Moon energy!

This week might be a doozy for those of us surrounded by people who are fearful about change. These people will surely have Opinions (with a capital O) on you: how you should behave, what you should do next, what is appropriate and what is not. While you can minimise their effect on you — visualising a mirror between you and them is simple but very powerful and protective — one of the best things you can do is get really clear about what you want next, and most crucially, why you want it.

You can do this in any number of ways, but I’d encourage you to do it in a way that feels fun and easy. The best things come to fruition when what we’re doing feels like play! You could write yourself a letter about what you want and why, draw your aspirations on a huge sheet of paper, make a collage of the things you want, or simply talk to yourself aloud about your dreams and motivations.

Once you have done this, other people’s feelings about your life won’t matter so much. You can look at your letter, collage, or just remember the conversation you had with yourself, and feel reaffirmed, rooted in your goals, and clear-headed.

This New Moon gives us a boost to help us cut ties that are no longer serving us, so why not finish the job by performing a cord-cutting ceremony?

Here’s the gist: we create energetic attachments to everyone we’re involved with on an emotional level. You can visualise these as energetic cords: some might be whisper-thin and spiderwebby, while others are thick and heavy. These connections are wonderful and important but sometimes they get clogged up (with, say, resentments or misunderstandings), dirty (tarnished with jealousy or other negative emotions), or just need to be severed (when you no longer want to be connected to the person anymore).

Doing a cord-cutting ceremony can be long and involved or quick and dirty — whatever you prefer (and whatever you think is going to get the job done most effectively!). There’s a detailed guide to performing an energetic divorce here (another name for cord-cutting), and more suggestions here, here and here.

When I was 22 years old, I was desperate to change my name, but didn’t know what it should be. So I did what any witch would do: I set the intention that I wanted my name to come to me. I didn’t want to have to go looking for it, I wanted it to simply appear. One day soon after, I laid down for a nap and my new name was literally written in a cloud in my dream. I woke up, wrote it down, filled out a name change form, and the rest is history.

Like Mystic said, this is a week where it’s important to stay fluid and open. If you’re not sure what to do next or where to direct your energy, don’t panic. Instead, keep it loose and ask the universe to give you a sign. Make a note of whatever comes up and use that to guide your decision-making!

Happy New Moon, witch babies, and have a wonderful weekend. I’d love to see your photos of any rituals on the #radicalselflovecoven hashtag on Instagram!


Photos of Immy Waterhouse by Ellen Von Unwerth for Vogue Russia October 2015.

P.S. All of my radical self love courses and classes are 50% off until 11.59pm EST tonight! No discount code required — the buttons have already been adjusted to make it easy for you. Just click through to see what’s available! xoxox

Share Button

Is Netflix And Chill Really What You Want?

Is Netflix And Chill Really What You Want?

When it comes to relationships, there are so many questions, but one of the most important questions is something you need to ask yourself: What are you looking for — or, phrased differently — is Netflix and chill really what you want?

That’s the question that popped into my head on Sunday morning as I was walking around getting coffee and breakfast. It kept resonating in my head, so I made a little video about it. I hope it’s helpful for you!


If you’re viewing this via email, click through to watch the video!

Love always,

Share Button

“Unexpected Travel Plans Are Dancing Lessons From God”


He had a face I couldn’t stop looking at. We’d only been on two dates, but one of them had lasted 19 hours. Now he was sitting in my living room, flicking through my book, reading passages of it aloud to me while I blushed uncontrollably.

Earlier in the week he’d mentioned that he was going to L.A., so I asked him how long he was going for.

“A week,” he replied. “You should come with me.”

I visualised my week in my head. I had no real pressing reason to stay in NYC, and I’m always up for an adventure, but I wasn’t sure how serious he was. I changed the subject. So when he looked at me a couple of hours later and asked, “Well, are you going to come away with me?,” I grinned and said yes.

Three days later, I met him in L.A. We checked into my favourite hotel (and home away from home) and had one of the best weeks ever.


One morning I stole his hat and went out with Christina and Alie from Made U Look Photography to shoot some pictures. I’ve known them for years and they are my absolute favourite photographers. Christina and Alie shot my book cover and killed it — everything they shoot is magic, and I was so excited to see them again!


We started out on Hollywood Boulevard, the iconic street which is paved with stars devoted to the biggest and brightest in show business. Tourists kneel on the filthy pavement, weirdos in costume harass people for tips, and dozens of stores sell the same kitschy souvenirs.


Oh, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get photobombed by Mickey Mouse.


The only stars I got excited about were Walt Disney and Liberace. Pretty telling, really.


That is not forced enthusiasm. It is REAL! Liberace was insane, but he was a fucking boss.


We walked back up Hollywood Blvd towards Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.



Outside the theatre, celebrities press their hands, feet, cigars (Groucho Marx), etc. into the concrete to leave their mark. Almost all of the women who’ve done it have had teeny-tiny hands.



Diagonally opposite the Chinese Theatre is the Roosevelt Hotel which has so much history. Marilyn Monroe lived there for two years when her career was first taking off, and she had her first photoshoot there. The pool features a mural painted by David Hockney, and the hotel is (allegedly) super-haunted. Ooooooooooh la la.


I love this stained glass window at the top of the stairs.


After our quick trip the Roosevelt Hotel, we jumped in Christina’s yellow Volkswagen and drove to Beverly Hills. Such a good sign… In my dreams, all burglars wear a trenchcoat with the collar flipped, an eye-mask, and an extremely conspicuous hat.


Beverly Hills is just as beautiful as you’d imagine. Lush manicured grass and greenery (even in the midst of the drought), palm trees as far as the eye can see, and ornate gates for days.




And impeccable roses which I couldn’t resist getting up close and personal with. (Flower pervert, all day, every day.)


Just loungin’ on someone’s lawn like it’s my own.


The moral of the story is this: take a chance and embrace adventure, and if a cute boy invites you on a cross-country trip, you should definitely say YES.

I love you,

Quote in the title is by Kurt Vonnegut. Photos by Made U Look Photography. Dress by Betsey Johnson, hat by Creep Street, boots by Dr Martens, heart necklace from my upcoming collection!

Share Button

Carousel: Staying Creative, Being Thick And Fit, Non-Obvious Sex Tips… And More!


September is just about over, and what an incredible month it’s been. I’ve been celebrating my birthday every single day and it has been unbelievable. (Follow my Instagram for a peek into what’s been going on…)

Of course, the downside of celebrating your birthday every day is that it doesn’t leave a lot of room for obsessively browsing the internet. This Carousel is a little shorter than usual, but I’m sure next month’s will be a goodie!

Don’t be one of those “phone people”. It’s easier said than done, but it’s worth striving for. (Alex is aiming to spend less than 4 hours in front of a screen per day. Good goal!)

This is a great article: 7 Tips for Better Sex That Aren’t Glaringly Obvious, because ‘use a vibrator’ and ‘try reverse cowgirl’ aren’t all that helpful.

Divorced couples are taking awesome selfies together! OMG, I love this soooo much.

First romances online in 1996. Awwww. Feelings.

Avril Lavigne and Chad broke up — Canadian royalty — and here’s a letter to mourn the end of their relationship.

How can I stay creative?

The Ashley Madison hack is interesting, not just because it uncovers users, but because it shows the truth about the service: it was full of bots.

What It Means to Be Thick and Fit on Instagram.

Godless parents are doing a better job.

A California Moving Company Will Move Domestic Abuse Victims At No Cost.

What if a penis is too good to break up with?

Real talk, though: If I encounter a dick that’s just too bomb, what might happen? It could result in poor choices such as repeatedly dating freeloaders who never pay for dinner, or tolerating men who like Creed or who wear cargo shorts and tube socks. Sometimes you may lose the ability to speak normally. But that level of bomb dick is incredibly rare.

I Learned the Hard Way Not to Day-Drink with Strangers in the Florida Panhandle.

The Pope versus the wind! This is hilarious!

The original subtweet: remembering the AIM away message.

Nothing says “mid-aughts” quite like leaving a passive aggressive note to that specific someone who may or may not get online and glance at your status. The subtweet before Twitter. The drunk text before iMessage. The handwritten note before iPads. It was an opportunity to really say something without actually saying something—hidden beneath a vague song lyric or movie quote.

Want to make your own salted vanilla sunflower butter? Of course! What a question!

Henry Rollins says bend over America, here comes Trump.

Being an American is to understand where you come from and choosing whether you want to repeat the past or invent the future. A huge number of us have chosen the former. The proof is everywhere.

What you eat affects your productivity. Here’s how to make good choices so that your brain keeps ticking along happily!

Did Drake pull his rap beef game from a self-help book?

Kanye is so Kanye. This interview with Vanity Fair is a pretty fascinating look at how his mind works. I’m very inspired by anyone who is as ambitious and driven as he is.

The 13 best pop songs about women masturbating. Essential stuff, serious journalism, etc.

Masculinity can be so fragile.

Fascinating: this psychiatrist encountered patients who lied about 9/11 all the time. Here’s why they did it.

The “unconscious” motivation usually is related to strong unmet needs during childhood development, such as neglect or abuse, leading to an ongoing drive to seek forms of care and affection even in self-destructive or manipulative ways.

I just spent four days at Walt Disney World (and loved it) but I love this deconstruction of Disney just as much. I had to quote all of these excerpts because they are just perfect.

As J. G. Ballard put it in 1983, the American dream “no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies… It supplies the world with its nightmares now.”

Even the quirkiest corners of the internet are crowded with full-color, interactive ads for the last corporate commodity we searched for on Amazon or mentioned in passing on Facebook, and now those random searches will result in phone calls from telemarketers who seem to know more about us than we know about ourselves. No matter how we try to wriggle into some virgin corner of the world free from screens or cameras or phones, unsullied by flashing ads or surveillance, devoid of jubilant ballads or beeping devices, we fail. We’re all plugged into a shiny, down-home, buoyant, authentic-seeming global simulacrum, one that not only doesn’t belong to us, but bleeds us of our sanity, our money, and our privacy and sells it off to the highest bidder. We are ravenous and impossible to satisfy. The illusory corporate grid of fantastical characters is real; we are the imaginary ones. The Disneyfication of culture is complete.

That’s when you discover, just for example, that for all of their “Gee willikers!” talk of benevolent innovation, Facebook, Amazon, and Google are now in the business of data mining. Not only did Google merge all of its data across platforms, not only did it serve up ads correlated with keywords in users’ emails, but its Google View cars were outfitted with equipment and software used to steal data off personal computers via unsecured Wifi networks as the cars moved through various neighborhoods. (Allegedly, Google even recruits new employees based on their Google searches.)

The very concept of selling out has fallen out of the modern lexicon. Advertising is everywhere, but why shouldn’t it be? Privacy is dead, but transparency will make us more honest! We are all brands, all sellouts, so what’s the problem? We all manufacture authenticity via social media, so why would we stigmatize such behavior in others? Art-directing yourself, keeping your message on-brand: Everyone knows that’s the shortest path to living your best life.

The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration. This is a looooong read — and not a particularly happy one — but you should do it.

Emails are romantic.

Major word-nerdery: why pronouns matter.

We’re getting new emojis, including the middle-finger and a unicorn. Here’s the complete list. (I haven’t upgraded to iOS 9.1. yet. Why does Apple always release new updates during Mercury retrograde?!)

There’s a firefly-themed park in China and this is the kind of thing that makes the world a marvellous, miraculous place.

Marie Forleo interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert about how to take creative risks, not “helping” people with your art, and the vital distinction between originality and authenticity.

I was interviewed by Terri Cole for her Hello Freedom podcast and we discussed the evolution of my blog, radical self-love, self-publishing, making choices based on what you want, and the healing properties of expressing yourself through your own personal style! I love Terri, she is ace.

Here are Hunter S. Thompson’s tips for life.

On not dating white men.

The Art of Loving and Losing Female Friends. Friendship is not a pale imitation of sexual romance. It is a romance unto itself.

Lisa Frank on Lisa Frank.

Soho House is planning world domination.

Minnesota nice.

Dude. You really don’t need to work so much.


Have a beautiful weekend!

Share Button