Category Archives: gala

Strawberry Milkshakes And Adventures In New York City

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Desert goth adventures in Nevada.

H

ello from an overcast New York City. After teasing us with soaring temperatures, the city has cooled back down and it’s back to leather jackets for this girl. Le sigh! I’m so ready for it to be summer! Bring on the heat!

I just came back from Las Vegas, where I spent 5 days with Kat and Shauna, otherwise known as my original partners in crime. We had an incredible trip, but that’s a story for another time. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

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We currently have five planets in retrograde and Mercury is just one of them. Oh my. Thankfully, I was invited to a Mercury recovery lounge at The Alchemist’s Kitchen, where they had teas, tinctures, herbal lollipops, and an incredible tarot card reader who gave me one of the most illuminating readings I’ve had in ages. It was awesome! The event is on every day until Mercury goes direct, so you should definitely check it out!

This has really been such an intense month. As a Sagittarius Moon and Rising, Saturn has been all over my chart… And Saturn is known as the hard task-master. Disciplinarian Daddy energy. It’s good for you but it feels rough. I have been really putting myself through so much emotional torment, but I think it’s all building towards something good. At least, I hope it is! If you’re a subscriber to Mystic Medusa’s site — and you’re a Sagittarius Sun, Moon or Rising, comme moi — you should definitely read this. For example: “Resist grinching yourself over the past. This is a rather grotty side-effect of Saturn in your sign. Like a non-stop forensic audit. But pull yourself up with a swift, sharp “is this productive?”” I love that. IS THIS PRODUCTIVE? Good question to pull yourself out of an emotional quagmire!

Five things I love so much right now:
Views From The Six, Drake’s new album. It has been on repeat for weeks.
 Doing something for my mind and body every morning, namely meditating and doing a miniature workout. Try these: Tess Whitehurst’s Aura Cleansing Meditation and Patricia Moreno’s 5 minute Intensati workout!
Having the same dream as my friend Colin! Psychic twinsies!
Buying tickets to see Louis CK at Madison Square Garden! AHHHHH! He’s my favourite comedian ever and I could just cry with excitement. Even better? We’re going the day before my birthday! Happy early birthday to me. So so happy.
Seeing my book for sale at Enchantments, my favourite witch store in the city! It was seriously one of the highlights of my day. The owner told me she bought all of the remaining stock from the distributor and they had already sold half of them in a couple of days. So exciting!

So it has been a tricky month on the emotional side, but it’s not all bad. I’ve been having plenty of fun, too! I’ve been taking outfit photos in my living room mirror lately. It reminds me of those old outfit posts I used to do (way, way, way back in the day), except it’s less time-consuming! Hahah. I may not be fashion blogging anymore, but DAMN do I love to dress up! Plus, having these photos is so helpful for those days when I just don’t know what to wear, and need a little inspiration!

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T-shirt from Forever 21 (hahah I mean “Forever 32″), Femme Fatale Pencil Skirt by Black Milk Clothing, and my trusty Schott Perfecto. I love grey with baby pink. What a luscious combo.

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I wore this on a visit to Hay House (my publisher): dress by Jonathan Saunders, purple turban (bought it on Amazon!) and ye olde leather jacket.

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I’m obsessed with this Aaliyah/Anthrax shirt by Sex & Death (it was a gift, thanks Garnett!). I’ve had this purple/pink wrap skirt for a year or two now and it never gets any less delightful to wear. And I paired it with Uniqlo Heattech (because it is still BRRRRR here) and my leather jacket, plus tights and new suede ankle boots by Joie. (They’re cute and comfortable. Bonus!)

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The hat is from Forever 21 and the dress is by Killstar. I had been meaning to buy it for ages but was on the fence. I’m so glad I did — it’s really fun to wear and I swear, I have never had more compliments on an outfit in my entire life! The only problem is that it’s a maxi-dress with no split in the back or up the side. This is pure craziness since it means you have to literally hobble your way down the street! (I made a video of me doing exactly that on Snapchat, hahah.) I’m going to have to get it altered, but that’s okay. A small price to pay for an epic dress!

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I’ve been getting some crazy cool mail recently. This is a package from Tiffany Pratt, who helped me decorate Darling HQ and is one of the most inspiring, colourful and fabulous women I’ve ever met. She hand-painted the parcel she sent me — no one has that much attention to detail! Her book, This Can Be Beautiful, comes out soon, and you should pre-order it if you know what’s good for you! (I got a sneak peek. It is SO GOOD.)

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A card I pulled at the start of the weekend. Very appropriate. It was totally a few days of grabbing an opportunity and running with it, and using the spark to create more.

My friend Chloe — who now lives in Florida and works for Disney as a photographer! — came to town, and we went on an adventure. Most of our silliness was captured on Snapchat (my username is gala-darling)!  It was such a good day: we took an Uber to the Bronx for the Jonathan Adler warehouse sale, where we rubbed ourselves on candy-coloured couches and loaded up on awesome things. I bought new bedding (Malachite), a huge Eyelashes canister, and a little Dolls canister, and my total was $95! SCORE. Chloe bought two sconces which we promptly shipped back to Florida. His sale happens once a year, and you should definitely go to the next one if you’re in town!

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This purple velvet chair was really calling my name. I felt like I was sitting in a box of chocolates. All our houses should feel like that! I was wearing a Missoni turban (I went a bit nuts last year in Florence), a grey t-shirt, a black maxi-skirt by Alice & Olivia, and my Schott Perfecto leather jacket.

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This velvet couch was a real temptress, too. My pink bucket bag is by Kate Spade… And I love it.

After the Bronx, we came back to the East Village for frozen Nutella Fitzgeralds at The Bean, and a browse around Flower Power…IMG_4597

Flower Power is legitimately like the witch’s kitchen of your wildest childhood dreams: packed to the gills with herbs and flowers, lotions and potions, and staffed by kind and helpful people. It’s tiny but it packs a punch — visit and you’ll see what I mean!

Next stop? Juicy Lucy, where Chloe got juice and we both bought hot pink fake moustaches, then wore them downtown. We wandered all over the Lower East Side, discovering parks, meeting dogs, and stopping in little plant shops…

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Before we reached our final destination, Magic Jewelry in Chinatown, where we got (almost identical) aura photos.

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And then that night I went out to karaoke with some friends and saw Alber Elbaz walking down Second Avenue, but that is a story for another time!

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In other news, Kat and Shauna and I booked ourselves a trip to the Amalfi Coast! We’re staying in an old convent built into the cliffside — Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi — and I can’t wait to wear big hats every day and get a tan. Meow!

Radical Self Love Coven has been going so well. There are 300 witch babies in the program, which blows my stripey socks off, and everyone has been doing spells, reporting back on their progress, meeting up in cities across the world, and making SO MUCH MAGIC! I’m so excited about our community and the massively positively environment we’ve created together. It warms my sparkly heart!

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Okay. We NEED to talk about this dress. It’s the Downtown Dame dress by Pinup Girl Clothing in faux pink leather (aka vinyl). I saw it on a very sassy girl on Instagram and then obsessively stalked the site until the dress came back in stock.

I had no idea about sizing but took a gamble and went for Small, which turned out to be perfect. (You need to size up a little bit because it has veeeeery little give.) I also thought it might be hell to wear because it’s plastic, but thankfully, it is beautifully made and fully lined, so hopefully I won’t be a sticky mess come summertime. Anyway. I am obsessed!

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That belt! Lord above.

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I’m so happy with my new wrist tattoo! I got it as a matching tattoo with Kat in London, and it was done by Keely Rutherford at Jolie Rouge. She’s ace!

I really feel like a strawberry milkshake in this dress. Shimmy shimmy ya, shimmy ya, shimmy yay. I took it to Las Vegas for a photoshoot in the desert and it felt like all was right in the world… You know?

Love always,

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Music To Take Your Clothes Off To

Gala + Garnett // Hotel Room Shoot

Ever since my debut onstage at The Slipper Room last month, I’ve been tortured with thoughts of burlesque. Well, perhaps torture is the wrong word! It’s not so terrible to be thinking about fishnet stockings and spotlights and fetish Mary Janes — as they say in The Sound Of Music, “These are a few of my favourite things” — but the urge to do it again has been strong and intense!

I took my first act development class with The New York School of Burlesque a couple of Sundays ago, and I’ve been devouring The Burlesque Handbook, which was written by my friend — and now my teacher! — Jo Weldon.

The goal? To develop a solo number and perform it onstage. Yessssss!

I’m dying to dive into putting together an act but I’m stuck on the trickiest part: picking a song! I’m such a music obsessive that I need it to be the perfect track. And of course, the song I choose will dictate the direction of the act!

Originally I wanted to use Marilyn Manson’s cover of I Put A Spell On You, but now I’m on the fence. So here are a few songs I’m considering. If you want to resuscitate your inner stripper, I recommend hitting PLAY and dancing around in front of the mirror!

 

 

 

 

 

I think Puscifer is winning so far, but it made me think: if you were going to take your clothes off in front of an audience, what song would you want playing? Tell me over on Facebook!

Love and pasties,

Photo by Devlin Photos.

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Defining “Sexy”: What I Learned From Taking My Clothes Off Onstage

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Portrait of the writer before stripping on stage for the first time.

When you’re asked to describe yourself to a perfect stranger, what do you say? What labels do you use? And perhaps most importantly, which labels do you dream of being able to use, but feel like they would be impossible to embody?

We all have a box we fit into which feels safe and comfortable, a place we’re happy dwelling in. Maybe “optimistic” is a label you feel good about, whereas “intelligent” is not. Or perhaps you’re the living embodiment of “clever”, but “beautiful” makes you cringe.

A label I could never even come close to identifying with was “sexy”. When people would use it, I just thought it was funny, and that they were slightly delusional. I was fine with being cute, weird, or funny — all labels that felt true to me. But sexy? No. Not even close!

I never saw myself as being hyper-feminine, even though for the last few years my wardrobe has been overrun with hot pink and high heels. Sometimes the way we think of ourselves doesn’t shift at the same rate as our outer appearance. I never felt beautiful in glasses, which I wore until I was 23 years old, and in some ways I still thought of myself as that person. I also struggled with an eating disorder for a long time, and I believe that was (at least partially) a response to my sexuality feeling unsafe.

I had some weird ideas about what sexy was. I saw it as something you do for other people, a kind of performance. Sexy wasn’t something you owned, it was something other people “gave” you, or something you staged for someone else’s benefit. I never wanted to do that. Even when I bought cute lingerie, it was for me, not whoever I was dating.

So, this year has been all about investigating the ways I see myself, the stories I recycle in my head, and asking myself, ‘Are those comfortable old habits helping or hindering me?’ I have been actively reprogramming my mind, and consistently pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve been forced to see myself differently: not just my behaviour, but my physical body too. (Getting a breast augmentation has completely changed the way I see myself, much more than I anticipated.)

No lie: it has been exhausting and sometimes I just want to take a big nap. But it has also been rewarding and exhilarating to realise that, yes, I really can be whoever I want to be. I have been writing about the fact that we have the ability to craft our own reality and persona for years, and it is truly delightful to recognise that even after years of mindfully creating my life, I can still do a 180 and build something totally different. It has been amazing to discover that even though I have created so much, there is literally no cap on what I can change and do; that I can become the vision of myself I’ve been holding in my imagination for so long, but thought was impossible.

That person you want to be, and all the reasons why you can’t be her? It’s all in your head, and it always was.

I wanted to reclaim my body. I wanted to examine what it might feel like to feel “sexy”, to actually go there and try it, rather than being too embarrassed to even attempt it. For years, I had never accessed that part of myself because I thought I would look stupid, or feel stupid, or suck at it. So many of us do that in so many areas of our lives: we don’t even try because we think we might not — shock, horror — be perfect on a first attempt.

“Therapeutic mantra for the perfectionist introvert asked to do something new: NO EXPECTATIONS / ONLY EXPLORATION / YES IS TEMPORARY” — Clayton Cubitt

But perfect is bullshit. Perfect is the enemy. That’s what I was thinking as I made my way to my first class at the New York School Of Burlesque.

My dance history is not extensive. I attempted ballet as a 5-year-old and bailed out early! So I was definitely walking in with the lowest possible expectations. I just wanted to try it out and see what happened. I certainly didn’t expect to be good. In fact, I thought I would possibly be the worst in the class, but I was okay with that! I viewed the whole thing as an experiment, which, if nothing else, would make for a good story.

You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that learning a dance routine was really fun and — wonder of wonders — really easy! Standing in formation with a group of strangers and dancing to Tom Waits was awesome. I laughed the whole time. I couldn’t believe how much joy I felt!

So when, at the end of the class, our teacher said, “If any of you want to perform this in the student showcase in April, just let me know,” my whole body said YES. I was immediately excited. Terrified, of course, and slightly bewildered by how much I wanted to leap at the chance — I had taken ONE dance class and now I wanted to get up on stage?! — but thrilled.

I took just one more class, and before I knew it, I was applying false eyelashes and striding into The Slipper Room with a tote bag full of fishnet stockings and patent leather platforms.

Before the curtain went up, I stood onstage, back to the audience, giving myself a pep-talk. ‘It’s now or never,’ I told myself. ‘You will never be alive in this exact moment again. Be sexy and sassy and playful… Give the audience a show they never forget. Fully embody everything you’ve ever wanted to be. This is going to be awesome!’

The curtain went up, the audience went nuts, and the music started to play. My Venus in Leo came alive! I made eye contact with the crowd and took my time with every single move. I was, as Beyonce might say, feeling myself, and I felt no shame — just ecstasy. Time seemed to slow down, and I enjoyed every single moment.

I had been wrong about my definition of sexy. It is definitely something that you own — a power you can choose to wield at your own discretion. It comes from the inside, it’s not about trying to please anyone else. Being sexy is about revealing your inner radiance. When you are totally in your body and expressing yourself with joy, it feels so good, utterly unlike anything else.

A video posted by Gala Darling (@galadarling) on

A snippet from our dress rehearsal.

Afterwards, I felt like a superhero; like my whole body was glowing. I was so proud of myself for trying something that terrified me and seemed so far outside of my comfort zone, and then taking that fear and performing in front of a crowd!

  A video posted by Gala Darling (@galadarling) on

The experience reminded me that we can do anything at any time. The only trick is to get fear and ego out of the way. Once you can do that, the possibilities for your life are literally endless.

I’m going back for more classes this week, and I can’t wait to perform again. There’s only one problem: I still need a stage name. Any suggestions?!

Love and false eyelashes,

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Radical Self Love In The Mexican Jungle

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Hello from Tulum, where the water is warm, the ice-cream is made with coconut milk, and the neon blankets are plentiful (believe me: I’ve done the leg-work!). A week by the sea was exactly what I needed; I just didn’t know it.

There’s something incredible about listening to the ocean while you sleep, learning about astrology, getting massages and never wearing shoes. This has been such a fulfilling week and I’ve loved being with so many women. I think in a lot of ways Tulum is like Burning Man: it gives you what you never knew you needed. Very magical. (By the way, if you want to join us next year, we’ll be doing this again May 6th-13th of 2017!)

Now… Get ready for lots of photos!

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Standing on the stairs at Coqui Coqui, my favourite place to get a spa treatment in the entire world. The therapy room is at the top of a staircase just like this one, with windows the whole way around and a view of the ocean. My friend Grace (an incredible hypnotist) and I had a 3.5 hour treatment that included coconut scrubs, Mayan clay wraps, massages and an oil-filled bath. So divine.

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Bright pink flowers everywhere, giving me life, as always.

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The resort we stay at for the AstroTwins retreat, Shambala Petit, is loaded up with hot pink hammocks. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in this one.

“The true warrior isn’t immune to fear. She fights in spite of it.” ― Francesca Lia Block, Love in the Time of Global Warming

This has been a big year so far, and a few weeks ago, it felt like it all came to a head. I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety recently — which is very unlike me — and I realised that I have been allowing my fear mind to run my life. I have always been a worrier and I kind of accepted that as just “how I am,” but the other day when Garnett said to me, “You worry so much, it seems like you’re worrying all the time”, it dawned on me that my fears have been getting out of control. I decided that it was time to a) take back the power and b) put myself on a radical self love regime while I was in Tulum.

Radical self love is a practice. Even though I teach it, that doesn’t mean I know everything or that nothing ever needs to be tweaked or adjusted. Ending my marriage last year was a big transition for me, and even though I’ve been very active in the process of rediscovering myself, I still have a long way to go. It’s interesting because in some ways I feel more radiant than ever, but in others, I feel insecure and less than. It’s frustrating but I just have to be patient with myself, and think what advice I would give to someone else! The truth is that learning to love yourself is a life-long process, and even though you might be working on one facet of yourself, there are always going to be other areas that need attention, and not all of it will progress at the same rate.

I don’t think it’s unusual to feel that inner conflict: confidence and nervousness in the same breath, adventurousness alongside the desire to stick to what is comfortable and “safe”. We all have to be gentle with ourselves, honour our feelings (by actually feeling and then expressing them), and also — somewhat paradoxically — push ourselves when we feel like that is the right thing to do. It’s a balancing act, and I’m right there with you.

So I created a miniature retreat for myself within the AstroTwins’ retreat. Every day I gave myself a different exercise to complete, some more complicated than others. I wrote myself radical self love letters. I participated in a shamanic ritual around a fire. I laid on my back in a circular treehouse and experienced an unreal sound healing, I learned — and performed — a striptease routine, I had a one-on-one shamanic illumination, and I spent hours naked with a friend as someone rubbed coconut and rose oil into our skin. I spent lots of time walking, thinking, and processing. It was so necessary.

I’m typing this at the airport and I can safely say that my radical self love regime did exactly what I’d hoped for. I feel more centered, more sure of myself, and more aware of my blind spots. I have some ideas about how to deal with situations that were difficult or troubling. In short, I feel like myself again. Sometimes you really need to carve out some time to work on yourself. I’m so glad I listened to myself and took the time I needed.

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A day of exploring the jungle with my Pisces roomie, Grace. We met at a workshop in New Mexico last year and it was so great to spend another week with her!

On Monday afternoon I received an email from a woman named Brianna which said, “Every time your photos pop up in my Instagram feed, I get the feeling like I should read tarot cards for you. Would you like me to?” Of course I said yes, and a few hours later, she emailed me the most incredible three card reading. It was insane, and reiterated literally everything I had been thinking and talking about all day. I was so grateful to receive it. If you’re looking for a deep and intuitive reading, you should definitely check her out.

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Legendary pink dots. (And a vintage dress I found on Etsy.)

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As soon as I saw these sandals by Elina Linardaki on Instagram, I knew I needed them for Tulum! They are so fun. Anything covered in charms and pom-poms is a-okay by me.

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Yes.

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When you find a hammock that matches your outfit, you just have to go for it.

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How could you ever want to leave?

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The colours in Mexico are so gorgeous. Coming here always inspires me to bring more vivid hues into my life, in every single way.

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This sign is on the side of the road as you drive into Tulum. Loooooooove!

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Again with the colour: these ropes are used to designate car-parking spaces! So crazy. You would never see something like that in America!

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There’s nothing better than finding the perfect dress at a bargain price and then wearing it in the jungle and feeling like life couldn’t improve even if it tried.

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Also, this happened while I was deep in the jungle! My book hit #5 on the Kindle self-help list, just behind Big Magic! WHAT! Radical Self-Love is only $2.99 right now so if you’ve been waiting for a good deal, this is your chance baby!

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This swimsuit = life.

Our last night in Tulum was gorgeous: I lead a radical self love and New Moon ritual in a room beside the ocean, with copal burning and candles flickering. The room was full of red roses, the travelling cauldron sparkled and crackled, and there was a trail of rose petals leading to everyone’s rooms at the end of the night. Sublime

It has been such a sensational week and I am so deeply grateful to the AstroTwins for inviting me to join them. I can’t tell you how much I love not wearing shoes and wading in the sea, but by that same token, I’m glad to be going back to New York City, and straight into the arms of my man.

Kisses and sand between my toes,

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It’s Not What You Look At That Matters, It’s What You See…

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“The Goddess falls in love with Herself, drawing forth her own emanation, which takes on a life of its own. Love of self for self is the creative force of the universe. Desire is the primal energy, and that energy is erotic: the attraction of lover to beloved, of planet to star, the lust of electron for proton. Love is the glue that holds the world together.” -― Starhawk

Spring is coming and I can feel the crackle of magic in the air. After a chilly weekend, the highs for this week are all in the double digits (I still don’t use Fahrenheit — sorry, America) so I’m happy!

I am feeling so grateful in this moment. To have so much love in my life, from my man, my friends, and my family  That my book launch party in NYC was such a huge success (more on that below!)  To have a feeling of freedom and possibility  That Spring is just around the corner  That we fly to Europe this week for two weeks of adventure!  To be in love with someone who inspires me  That life is constantly changing, and not just increasing in speed, but in depth and flavour and texture too. It’s so good.

My book party was in New York City last week and it was truly incredible. I told the babes sitting there how thankful I was to have them in the room with me, because writing is such a solitary thing. Sometimes I feel like I’m just typing into a void, and to be surrounded by the faces of people who know me and in some cases have been following me for ten years (!) was overwhelmingly wonderful.

The party itself couldn’t have been more fun. The room was packed to the brim, and we sold every single copy of my book in the place (even the one being used for display!). I did a book signing which must have lasted for about an hour, and while people were waiting they had free haiku poems written for them by The Haiku Guys, and their tarot cards read by Veronica Varlow. It was such a beautiful evening and I am infinitely grateful for all of it. To everyone who came along, bought a book, hung out, took selfies… Dudes. I love you.

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Gabby Bernstein was so incredible on stage with me, and I am infinitely grateful to her for being part of my life and for supporting me so ferociously. I can’t think of anyone who I would rather have been up there with. Love you Gabs!

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Veronica Varlow, making magic as always.

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Stylish poets at work!

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This is the poem The Haiku Guys wrote for me. So beautiful.

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With Julie! She’s adorable. My dress is from ASOS, by the way! Sparklemotion. I felt like a cupcake covered in edible glitter.

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I pulled these cards as a daily reading on Saturday. Here’s what they mean (and how you can do it yourself!). The deck is by Oliver Hibert, and even though I have a few decks, these are definitely my cards of choice. The imagery totally resonates with me, and I absolutely love it.

It has been a really big couple of weeks in Virgo land. (Jupiter, baby!) On Saturday night my man Garnett — also a Virgo — won a belt in a championship fight. I am SO PROUD of him! I can’t even tell you how much he inspires me on a daily basis. I took my favourite Gemini, Colin, with me as my date, I wore the Silhouette Dress by Wheels & Dollbaby, and I ran into the cage when he won and kissed him, before his dad grabbed me and hugged me and lifted me off the ground.

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On Wednesday, G and I are flying to London where I’m speaking at Hay House Ignite, then spending a few days in Paris (!!!) before heading to Germany for my radical self love salon (which is sold out — sorry!). I can’t wait to see all new sights, sleep in hotel beds and have adventures. I’m in full-on Virgo outfit planning mode, which means I draw every item on a piece of paper to make sure everything goes together, then photographing everything laid out on my bed so I know what’s in my suitcase, and then using packing cubes to separate the items by genre. #geekingout They always say that the anticipation of a trip is half the fun, and I am the queen of that!

Man, this is fun. I’m excited to be working in a more freestyle format here. I really miss the days when blogging was fun and unscripted, when I’d post something little just because I felt like it. It’s a funny thing when you become aware of how many eyes are on you — it changes the feel of what you create, and the pressure to have everything feel “perfect” is huge. I don’t need my blog to feel that way anymore. Playing, experimenting and doing what feels good are definitely my new priorities when it comes to my online space.

And here are a few things I’m enjoying right now…
Michele Knight’s five card relationship tarot spread.
I want to take lots of photos in Europe so that I can make one of these photo books when we come back. They’re so gorgeous!
I can’t tell you how much I love A Taste Of Streep.
Killer Mike! I’m into what he has to say about Bernie Sanders, and I’ve been listening to a lot of Run The Jewels lately.

Okay, I’m off to put the finishing touches on my suitcase… Wish me luck!

I love you!

Event photos taken by my man — except for the photo of The Haiku Guys, taken by Marita Veronica, and the tarot cards and photo of Garnett and his dad and brother were taken by me.

P.S. I’ve just opened up my 8-part course, Tap That, for pre-order. Tapping is the technique I used to dismantle depression and my eating disorder, and it’s unbelievably effective. When you couple it with radical self love, you’ll be unstoppable! Click through for all the details.

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