Carousel: Making Art For Yourself, Feminism As Religion, And Being Your Own Permission Slip!

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Happy Halloween! It has been so beautiful in NYC these last couple of months. In fact, as I walked through the West Village on Wednesday afternoon — all the stoops decorated with pumpkins and families of skeletons, the leaves turning yellow above me — I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude.

Don’t forget that today is the last day of #lovetober — boo, hiss! — and to tag all of your images with #alohamoment for the chance to win delicious and amazing supplements!

Here are some of the best things I read all month. I hope you enjoy them!


Here’s what Harvard Business School discovered about Beyonce’s surprise album. This is cool: I like learning about the process behind making such an iconic album.

Religious fashion: so sexless it’s almost sexy. Part 1 and 2.

In Defense Of Ms Hill is a piece by Talib Kweli, all about being an artist, and what that means.

Artists make art for themselves. Art is an honest expression. Artists who pander to their fans by trying to make music “for” their fans make empty, transparent art. The true fan does not want you to make music for them, they want you to make music for you, because that’s the whole reason they fell in love with you in the first place.

One of my favourite places in the city, Yaffa Cafe, just closed down after 31 years in business. Anna wrote a glorious tribute.

Learn how to make pressed flower lollipops!

The Google Street View Images being Collected by a Camel! Whaaaaat!

Should I lose weight to find love? Beautiful.

Being hot in two dimensions is all about sanding off your edges and minimizing anything that’s big or pointy or just unusual or unique. But being hot in the real world is all about magic. It’s not about BELIEVING IN MAGIC. It’s about tuning in to the OBJECTIVE, PALPABLE magic of real life. It’s about knowing all of the magic you carry onboard, everywhere you go. You can make a million and one mistakes in your life, but as long as you never lose sight of your magic, people will be drawn to you.

Here are 25 famous women talking about getting older.

Ever been curious about Transcendental Meditation? Read up!

Roxane Gay interviewed Lena Dunham and it is awesome.

I just think feminism is my work. Everything I do, I do because I was told that as a woman, my voice deserves to heard, my rights are to be respected, and my job was to make that possible for others. And I am not saying I always succeed at that, but that is the value system that I was raised with and the one that I still hold dear, and it is one that makes all this possible, and it makes it possible for me to not shrink under a couch when there is criticism. It is what makes it possible for me to write about my experiences without feeling as though I am wasting everyone’s time or sounding hysterical. It is the thing that makes space for all of it. It means everything to me because it sort of is everything. It is the closest thing I know to being religious, if that makes any sense.

These stories about dating Virgos are just amazing.

The fact that we can now stream any album we want means the social cachet of liking obscure music has all but disappeared.

You are your own damn permission slip. Hell YES.

Amy Van Doran is a matchmaker who wears psychedelic clothes, and she is awesome. See? And again.

Spice up your photos with actions! Shauna shares tips to make the most of ‘em.

Why are we so bad at talking about homelessness?

If you’ve ever been curious about the evolution of hip-hop, someone created 38 hours of playlists! DAMN!

A stiff upper lip is killing British men.

This account of equine family therapy — aka, using horses to stand in for members of your family — is incredible.

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Losing your identity within a relationship is detrimental to sustaining romantic love. In other words, when you give up your friends, hobbies, and opinions because you’re now part of a couple, the relationship is essentially doomed.

The amazing history of the to-do list, and how to write one that actually works.

How successful people handle toxic people.

This ghost town has been abandoned THREE times… And now it’s for sale again!

The right’s Lena Dunham delusion: Anger, misogyny and the dangers of business as usual.

Skymall is one of the funniest things ever, but this parody is even better.

What happens if you introduce two friends and they like each other more than they like you?

Wi-Fi hotspots turn New York subway musicians into a wireless orchestra… !

Amy Poehler’s radical niceness. She is awesome as shit.

Renee Zellweger’s Fine, But We Need Some Work: The Toxic Pursuit of ‘Effortless’ Beauty. I wrote about effortless beauty not so long ago.

I loved this interview with Russell Brand about the need for a revolution… And then I bought his book, Revolution.

God, I love Madonna. She is such a badass. Her album, Bedtime Stories, is now 20 years old. Here’s why it’s still her most important — and most feminist — work.

Madonna asserted her lack of apology on the grounds that she had not said or did anything unusual; it was simply unusual for a woman to say it. In an interview with the LA Times, she defended Bedtime Stories by saying “I’m being punished for being a single female, for having power and being rich and saying the things I say, being a sexual creature—actually, not being any different from anyone else, but just talking about it. If I were a man, I wouldn’t have had any of these problems. Nobody talks about Prince’s sex life.”

If you feel like you’re getting sick or rundown, try making yourself this Kick-A-Germ juice!

Installing a no bullshit clause in your life is a worthy goal.

Windowless planes could be a reality in ten years time… And they look amazing/scary/insane.

This post — 50 lessons from a decade of blogging — is awesome.

Self-care is not a pie-filling.

Cat-calling is street harassment. Shoshana walked around NYC for 10 hours, and secretly filmed all the dickwads telling her to, “Smile, beautiful!” But the story is bigger than that. Also read this and this.

There’s now an Ivy League course called Wasting Time On The Internet.

Rhode Island drops surgery requirement for transgender birth certificate changes. Thumbs up icon!

This site, NY Songlines, takes you on a virtual walking tour of New York streets. Some of it is out of date, but a lot of the facts are really interesting.

There’s going to be a third Pee-Wee Herman movie! YES!

Here’s how to have a beautiful, magical, spiritual Halloween.

Garance Dore interviewed my friends, the Astrotwins, about what it’s like to be astrologers for a living! They’re so cute. Aw!

Is the Hollywood sign haunted?

Have a wonderful Halloween!

Love,

Peep Show sign by AnotherCreative. Pink car photo from Les Demoizelles.

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Radical Self Love Letters
 

Do You Have A Style Uniform? Here’s Mine…

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When you have a house guest for a week — and that house guest demands entertainment (ahem, Kat Williams) — you quickly discover whether your closet is (or isn’t) working for you.

The simple truth is that my day-to-day life mostly revolves around writing and going to the gym, and so most of the time, I live in yoga pants, tank tops and a cashmere hoodie. But when there are places to go, people to see, and perhaps most importantly, photographs to take, yoga pants just don’t cut it. Plus, I love having a reason to dress up.

So, back to the original question: is my wardrobe working, or not? I was delighted to find that yes, it is, and I think a large factor of its versatility is that I dress in a kind of uniform.

Now, if you wore a uniform to school, the very mention of the word is enough to make your skin crawl. Trust me, I get it: I was swaddled in itchy green regalia for years, and as a result, predictably rebelled against any kind of sartorial statute.

But these days, I get it. Wearing the same kind of thing every day helps so much. In fact, whenever I spend time with Shauna, we inevitably end up discussing this subject… And she invariably brings up the fact that all fashion designers wear a uniform.

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There is a lot of research surrounding the fact that we only have so much decision-making power alotted per day, and the more decisions you’re forced to make about trivial things (what am I going to have for breakfast/lunch/dinner? What am I going to wear? Should I work out today?), the less energy you have for creativity. It’s better to have your everyday life structured and organised, so that you can expend that energy on being innovative.

This is one of the reasons why I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. It’s why I go to the gym every day, and why it’s a non-negotiable. (Even the simple act of asking yourself, ‘Can I really be bothered working out?’ saps the energy that is crucial for creativity.) And it’s why I’ve started to wear iterations of the same thing every day, too.

I don’t wear the exact same thing, because I know it would bore me senseless. But I buy the same shape and cut over and over again, and everything goes together.

A tank or cropped t-shirt + a high-waisted A-line skirt + boots = sartorial magic.

This outfit is what I always feel best in. It shows off my best features. The skirts may vary in length or pattern, and the tops may have a stripe or a slogan, but it all goes together. This recipe is easily adapted for colder temperatures (add a sweater, jacket, and stockings)… And, perhaps most key, it feels like me.

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I’m wearing a bejewelled long-sleeved t-shirt from J Crew’s kid’s section, a lilac A-line midi skirt from Chicwish, Ashlee boots by Miista, and a Kate Spade handbag. (This weather has been so amazing… I love being able to wear a sleeve for a change!)

If you want to have a go at replicating my recipe, try these:

White sequin shirt + swan skirt (also in white) + boots / OR / Bowknot sleeveless organza top + pleated maxi in violet + boots / OR / Flower-trimmed white t-shirt + striped midi skirt + boots

Hello, lover!

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It’s delightful to find something that works… And it only took me 30 years!

Much love,

Thanks to Chicwish for making this post possible, and Mikkel Paige for the photos!

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Catch Me If You Can… In Leopard-Print Sweats!

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This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I spend most of my time wearing workout clothes. Sure: when I go out for dinner, or to see my friends, or on an adventure around the city, I dress up (and I love to do so). But my daily life is very chill. I’m at home writing for most of the day, before hitting the gym in the afternoons. Thus, I spend a lot of time in sweatpants or yoga gear. It suits my lifestyle. What more can I say?

So you can imagine my excitement when Betsey Johnson — ahem, my favourite designer — announced that she was releasing ACTIVEWEAR. Hello, dream come true! The babes on her team sent me some line-sheets, and told me to pick whatever I wanted.

When I saw these leopard sweats, I knew it was fate.

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To be specific, this is the printed raw edge pullover teamed with printed skinny jogger pants, and worn at the same time, they are, quite certainly, A LOOK. And a Look is exactly what my husband shot me when I emerged from the bedroom wearing this ensemble. But he is a man. He doesn’t get it. In these sweats, I feel like like a badass. (And you would too.)

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But, I guess a full leopard look isn’t for everyone… So can I tell you what else I’ve been rocking from Betsey’s activewear line? Asymmetrical skirted leggings = SO sick, plus this mesh cut-out tank which makes me feel like a sexy robot from the future. These colorblock leggings are amazing, and, of course, there is a pink motorcycle jacket which you probably need.

If you’re going to get sweaty, you might as well look cute while you do it.

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Like I said, this is a lot of LOOK, so if you’re going to follow in my footsteps, I recommend adding a bright beanie to break things up just a little bit. This would also look devastating with bright lipstick (I love Violet by Bite) and big sunglasses. Sooooo too cool for school.

Do you, like me, live in activewear? Tell me what you wear to the gym! I need to know!

Thank you so much to Betsey for hooking me up with these SWEET SWEATS! Meow! Photos by the truly adorable Mikkel Paige.

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Get Your Green On: WIN Aloha Daily Good Greens With #Lovetober!

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Over the years, I’ve experimented with a lot of different types of eating. I was vegan for years, ate raw for about 10 months, evaluated gluten-free options, and tried abstaining from sugar (that one didn’t stick). I quit drinking coffee years ago, and replaced it with yerba mate and green juice. And I don’t really eat dairy, unless I’m in the mood for ice-cream, although I unfortunately had to enforce a Ben & Jerry’s ban. (Sadly, ice-cream is my kryptonite.)

Now, some of this may sound extreme to you, but all of these food experiments have taught me different things. The most crucial thing I’ve discovered is how much better my body works when I’m fueling it with good, nutritional stuff.

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These days, what I eat is pretty regimented, but I like it that way. After all, decision fatigue is real. And it’s not just that I’m a creature of habit: I’ve deliberately chosen food that is easy for me to prepare and eat, while giving me maximum nutrition. Nor is it only that I like to eat healthy foods: I work out — hard — 5 days a week, and my body needs plenty of nourishment. Turning up to the gym on an empty stomach is a fool’s errand!

One of my most awesome recent discoveries is ALOHA Daily Good Greens. It’s a whole-food powder blend in a little packet that you can sprinkle over your morning oatmeal, pour into a smoothie or protein shake, or even stir into water for a quick nutritional boost.

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It’s pretty mind-blowing that in such a small packet there’s over 2 servings of fruit and vegetables! Daily Good Greens is made from organic lemon, wild-harvested coconut water, organic wild blueberries, organic spinach, organic green peas, organic wheatgrass, organic spirulina, sustainable moringa, organic yellow Hawaiian ginger, Hawaiian red alaea salt, organic enoki mushroom, organic oyster mushroom, organic raspberries, and organic king trumpet mushroom. I mean, damn. Best of all, it tastes amazing!

Even though I eat a pretty healthy, balanced diet, it’s important to me that I get a lot of greens. My body feels better, and my mind is clearer and sharper, when I do. This is — dare I say it — the easiest way to get your green on!

I love it so much, and I’d like you to add it to your life, too, which is why ALOHA and I have teamed up to give away a big box of Daily Good Greens! Yay!

FOR THE REST OF #LOVETOBER, like @alohamoment, and tag your images with #lovetober and #alohamoment for a chance to WIN Aloha’s whole-food powder blend, Daily Good Greens, in Original, Chocolate, or Berry flavour!

And if you missed out at the start of the month, here are all the #lovetober prompts! We’d love for you to join us.

I love you! Don’t forget to tag!

Top image by Chef Tina Leigh. Other images courtesy of ALOHA’s Instagram. Thanks for being an outrageously rad partner!

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Love And Sequins: Visiting The Printer, And A Sneak Peek!

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Last week, Mike and Dolly and I got into our little 1969 Volkswagen Beetle (toot toot! Beep beep!) and went for a jaunt to New Jersey. We were a family on a mission: we were heading to visit the printer that will be churning out beautiful copies of Love And Sequins. I had questions… And I wanted to have them answered in person!

As we sped along the highway, we got an eyeful of trees turning yellow and red… It was gorgeous. Even Dolly sat up in the back seat to look out the window!

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After several twists and turns, we arrived at our destination: an enormous brick building full of paper, ink, and lots and lots of books. I was excited to go in and speak to them, since we had only been in touch via email previously.

I shook hands with a man named Paul, before flipping open my rainbow Filofax and turning to a page full of scribbled questions. They were as follows.

Did they have any pink paper or cloth we could use for a (ooh la la!) very beautiful hardcover? (I mean, how disappointed would you be if my book was not PINK?) What would the approximate weight of the finished product be? (Essential information for calculating shipping.) And finally, how long would it take from the time of submitting our finished book to being able to ship ‘em out?

I wish I could say that he reached into the back of a cupboard and pulled out some incredible pink paper, woven from feathers and unicorn hair, before performing a wonderful tap-dance, and then throwing a handful of sequins into the air with delight.

Unfortunately, he did not.

You see, before he met me, I was just some weirdo sending emails, asking about pink covers and attaching numerous images. But once I was in front of him — wearing hot pink lipstick and clutching my Filofax — I think he realised the magnitude of the job at hand.

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Blue cloth binding (and my rainbow Filofax). It’s beautiful, but — and I’m sure you can understand this — I have my heart set on pink. And what baby wants, baby gets.

Here were his answers.

1. No, they didn’t have anything pink. He showed me a selection of cloth options that could be used for a hardcover book, but everything I saw was, well… navy. Or fire engine red. Or orange. Or cream. (IMAGINE if my book came out and it was ORANGE! No offense to orange, but it’s just never gonna happen.) But once I pointed at the Radical Self Love Salon tote on my shoulder, and said, “THAT pink”, he seemed to understand. Now he is on a mission to source me something pink and lovely, and while that is awesome, we’re not really sure how long that will take.

2. The weight of the book will probably be around 1.5lbs, but, it’s hard to say until we have the final product in our hands. (It will also depend on the weight of the paper we choose.)

3. As far as timing? This was the hardest pill to swallow. Firstly, we have to find something wondrous for the cover, and like I said, my dude is not sure how long that will take. (Apparently, unicorn hair is hard to source?!) Once we’ve done that, it takes about two weeks to get a bound proof (and it costs $239, making it the most expensive book I’ve ever purchased). And THEN, it takes around 25 business days to print books.

25! Business! Days!

I must admit that I was stunned when he told me this. I’m so accustomed to working in the online space that the idea of anything taking a month blew my mind! I love to move quickly, and I’m used to a super-fast turnaround. But, when it comes to printing, it takes time.

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Mike and I discussed the situation on the drive back to NYC.

“Sure, I could rush it,” I said. “I’d love, love, love for the book to be in everyone’s hands by Christmas. But I really want to do this properly. If I’m going to put the energy into a hardcover book, then it needs to be amazing.”

“Absolutely,” Mike replied. “Better to make it great and release it a little later.”

He’s absolutely right, of course. I want this book to be gorgeous: so beautiful you’ll want to keep it on your coffee table or beside your bed. A divine little slice of radical self love that you’ll be proud to own. And so, being patient is the only way it’s going to work.

AND. Not to hold out on you: I have some sneak peeks of what the book will look like inside, courtesy of We Are Branch!

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Mmmmmmmm, type. And don’t be FOOLED by the simplicity of this spread, either. There are so many surprises and delights within the pages of this book!

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I thought it made sense for my first book to start at the very beginning. And that’s why I’ve written Love And Sequins as a primer on radical self love. It’s the very best place to start if you’re not sure what it means to love yourself, or how that can totally CHANGE your life. Plus, every section has homework, so that you can start putting the concepts into action straight away.

It looks sublime, the cover is blowing my mind, and… JUST YOU WAIT!

The pre-sale will happen soon (!!!), the books will be printed in December, and they’ll be in your hot little hands by January/February. Talk about a stellar way to start 2015!

Your delighted friend,

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