11 March 2013, 11:19
Just shopping at Bergdorfs… !
Witches are having a pop culture moment. From dark clothes on the runway to mysterious editorials and a slew of new fairytale films, the witch has replaced the vampire as the new icon of power and fantasy. (Hey, if the New York Times says it, it must be true!)
We’re being encouraged to embrace a spookier side of life, and even though there are fresh green shoots emerging from the dirt, I still want to spend my time anointing candles, pulling cards and lighting incense.
Witches get a bad rap. Far from devouring children (à la Hansel and Gretel), modern witches celebrate the divine in their own way. For more information, check out my interview with two wonderful women: I’m A Witch!
Either way, here’s my very stylised take on the whole phenomenon…
“The witch is the ultimate bad girl. You want to be her.”
A modern witch would wear a white lace dress with supersonic leggings, white moto boots and a wired crystal pendant around her neck. She would enchant in a harness-back maxi dress and t-strap wedge sandals. She wouldn’t go out in public without a pair of oversized cat eye sunglasses and a skeleton hand collar. She would stash her treasures in a studded tote bag, and at night she’d go dancing in a pair of striped platform sneakers.
A modern witch always has her divination tools within arms reach. My new favourite set of cards is The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck, a gorgeous illustrated deck which has a guidebook that I’d highly recommend if you’re new to reading the cards. In an ideal world, you wrap your cards in silk and put them in a little bag, but this leather tarot card pouch is fantastic!
A modern witch is always thinking about the stories we tell with our hands. Fingernail rings, knuckle rings, chunky cocktail rings and engagement rings all have their own narrative. They are part of our make-up, an essential piece of costume. A modern witch selects her rings with care every morning, and slides them onto her fingers: elvish twig rings which stack magnificently, rune rings and a Lily Dale spiritualist ring all take pride of place on her hands.
Her jewellery box is full of sparkly gems and unusual finds. A cobra ring in diamond, ruby, black rhodium and 18k gold sits alongside an amazonite pendulum and a crystal point necklace. She scours flea markets and antique shops for anything that catches her eye.
A modern witch embraces symbols and talismans. She adorns herself with charms and amulets to protect her from the evil eye: a little diamond ring, or a necklace from Max and Chloe. Her martlet and heart necklace guarantees good news. She wears a bracelet showing the phases of the moon...
A modern witch has a well-stocked library. All of these books are excellent, and give a friendly introduction to what modern witchcraft is all about: Confessions of a Teenage Witch: Celebrating the Wiccan Life / A Witch Alone: The Essential Guide for the Solo Practitioner of the Magical Arts / Llewellyn’s 2013 Witches’ Datebook / Llewellyn’s 2013 Magical Almanac: Practical Magic for Everyday Living / Grimoire for the Green Witch: A Complete Book of Shadows / Practical Protection Magick: Guarding & Reclaiming Your Power / Llewellyn’s Complete Formulary of Magical Oils / Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery: Everyday Magic, Spells, and Recipes / Magical Housekeeping: Simple Charms and Practical Tips for Creating a Harmonious Home / Llewellyn’s 2013 Witches’ Companion: An Almanac for Contemporary Living
...But most of all, a modern witch knows that the magic comes from within. She knows that she contains all the power, guidance and courage she’ll ever need. She loves boldly and she is never ashamed of who she is.
27 February 2013, 11:16
So much happens in a month, and it’s exactly this premise that helped to shape and inspire this new column!
I use and experiment with so many things in a 30 day period, but those things don’t always make it to the blog. This is a fun way for me to clue you in on my new favourite products, obsessions and ideas, and I’m really excited about it!
These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things is pretty self-explanatory: in a variety of categories, I’ll give you a rundown of what I consider to be the best of the month. Oh, and do let me know if there’s any category that I have clearly forgotten to mention!
Now this is a handbag.
I am absolutely in love with my bob, and can’t help thinking that this could be my signature haircut. It really is perfect.
I’ve been experimenting with lip colour a lot this month. It’s ideal in these frozen temperatures; nothing cheers you up like a bright lip! My current favourite lipstick is Illamasqua in Corrupt. It’s so damn bright and it makes me so damn happy! The woman who checked out my purchase at Sephora was wearing Atomic and it looked gorgeous. I’ll be trying that next!
Well, I haven’t bought anything this month except these Dolce & Gabbana glasses, which I kinda love and which my trainer said make me look like the original Catwoman. (Compliment!) You can find them on Amazon or at Lenscrafters.
I tend to do what I call a buying cleanse once a year. I still allow myself to buy essentials, like food, face wipes, and lipstick (oops), but no clothing is allowed. It really helps me get back to a balance-point, to realise that I have more than enough, and to stop obsessing. It also helps me think strategically about where to go next, stylistically. The end result is that I’m feeling a little more sane about heading into spring!
This month, I’ve been doing the Clean Program, so my eating has been limited to Clean-approved foods. Basically this means lots of organic chicken, salmon and vegetables, and cutting out sugar, dairy and wheat. My skin looks so great right now, which I know is not a coincidence! Very glowy, clear and fabulous.
It’s exciting to have given up sugar, and last night when I was looking at Pinterest, the sight of cakes, macarons and pastries filled with sugar, food colouring and cream made me feel slightly ill! I would love to stay away from sugar once my cleanse is over. I have about a week and a half left.
I’ve been doing quite intense work-outs, so I’ve started making myself a pre-workout shake. Monday’s shake consisted of hemp protein powder, coconut butter, almond milk, mixed berries and some raw cacao. I mixed it all up in a few seconds in this single-serve blender. It was delicious and really helped me power through!
My favourite Clean-approved snack is green apple slices with almond butter. Oh my goodness. You don’t even KNOW.
I recently discovered Starbucks’ Evolution Fresh green juice, which tastes excellent for a green juice, and — since it’s sold in Starbucks everywhere — is an awesome way to get healthy nutrients on-the-go. No excuses now!
A photo of a photo…
There was plenty of fun this month, despite the cold. The Kate Spade presentation was absolutely glorious, and even better, I got to see my favourite mama, Naomi! I also spoke at Social Media Week, went on a girl date with the Juicy Couture babes to get eyelash extensions, and enjoyed myself almost too much with Alexandra at City Bakery.
...But getting my goth on for Eternal Night, a vampire ball, was definitely one of the highlights of February for me. It excited my inner sixteen year old so much that I haven’t been able to stop teasing my hair since! (I’m going to do a full write-up on my experience soon.) Having said that, I’m going roller-skating tomorrow night, so we can’t write the month off quite yet!
I’m all about 8tracks at the moment. As well as creating my own mixes, I’ve been listening to other people’s, too. Some of my favourites include No Diggity No Doubt, French Femme Fatale, Brain Feeder, On A Trip, Karma Coma, goombay smash beetches (?!), The Pinnacle Of Badassery Part II, Funky Hip and Dirty-Funky-Soul-Jazz Vol. 19. They should keep you busy!
There’s that Victoria’s Secret cardigan again!
Lilac glitter with a sequin ring finger! This is what I like to think of as “casual sparkle”.
This is a gel manicure, which isn’t cheap, but it does last. I’m two weeks into this one and it still looks superb. Gel manicures are the best ever — since I discovered them, I haven’t bothered with nail-polish. I can’t see the point!
A slice of my desk, right now.
There are tulips and potted daffodils being sold in every bodega flower stand right now, so of course, I couldn’t resist. As a result, my house is full of fresh tulips and vanilla candles.
I have a copy of Kate Spade’s Things We Love on the desk beside me, which I keep thumbing through for inspiration. It’s full of bold type, eye-catching photographs and sweet sentiments, so clearly, it’s perfect!
It’s funny, I was sent a copy of their mini-book (also called Things We Love) a few years ago, and it contains some of the same content. It’s fascinating to see them make the jump from a skinny chapbook to a thick hardcover! Either way: j’adore Kate Spade, and how could you not when they sell clutches that look like antique radios?!
Favourite fragrance, bar none.
Ever since I discovered La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain, I haven’t been able to wear anything else. It’s the perfect scent for winter: complex and sexy with a lingering scent of black cherries. I don’t know how appropriate it’ll be in summer, though, so we’ll see! (Another bonus: you get to practice your French whenever people ask what you’re wearing! It’s quite a mouthful, I assure you!)
I’d been idly thinking about Entourage — otherwise known as Sex & The City for men — for a while. So this month, I worked my way through the entire thing. I’d forgotten how enjoyable it really is!
I also loved Beyonce’s documentary, Life Is But A Dream. Did you see it? So cool.
This is what happens 99% of the time I open an envelope!
I’ve worn my leopard faux fur coat so much this winter that the lining is shredded and falling apart. Quel désastre! I have also been wearing — shock, horror — JEANS, mostly my J.Crew toothpicks in black, but also some stretchy blue ones which are obscenely comfortable. Which brings me to my next question: what brand does jeans that will make my booty look spectacular? I need to know! (Tell me on Facebook!)
I’ve been basically living in my Frye Heath Harness boots (above). When I first got them, they rubbed the back of my ankle and I thought I had made a terrible mistake! (said in booming, foreboding voice), but they have softened with wear and now they are my favourite.
But really, I am ready for it to get warm. And soon!
Pretty much everything from Kate Spade’s fall preview… !
I also recently discovered Outdoor Technology’s Turtle Shell Wireless Boom Box which truly looks like the perfect thing to mount to my bicycle this summer. Music on the go = yes! Plus, it’s PINK! I see a lot more picnics in my future… (The video is so great and funny, too.)
My spending ban ends really soon and I’m excited about it. Ha!
Here are some of my favourite pieces from this month, just in case you missed ‘em!
Our amazing video from The Blogcademy: London warms my heart! Despite the snow…
Here’s a write-up of my sublime (and sweet) experiences at City Bakery’s hot chocolate month
I wanted to serve up a little antidote to the Hallmarkification of Valentine’s Day, which is how I thought up 50 Ways To Have A Very Un-Valentine’s Day. Truthfully though, every single one of these activities could be considered a radical self love exercise!
It’s probable that I was ruined forever when I flew Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to and from London.
I posted about Paris twice: dancing under the Eiffel Tower and our exquisite apartment.
For all you gym bunnies, I made a workout mixtape that I’ve been blasting at David Barton!
Sadly, I had to remind everyone that Mercury retrograde is here…
My excitement over being back in NYC was too much, so I decided to write a love letter to my favourite city.
...And I considered how I’d do things differently if I did my prom all over again.
Plus, I continued adding to my ongoing blogging series! Phew!
What a month, eh?! Soon, it will be spring, and the world will feel completely different… I can’t wait!
17 February 2013, 11:33
Photo by Shell De Mar.
Good news, everyone! I’m still offering ad spaces for small businesses!
Do you have a fledgling business that you’re sweating over? I feel you, girl! These ad spaces are for YOU. I see you there, selling vintage clothing on Etsy! I see you, graphic designers looking for new clients! I see you loitering in the corner, filming your Youtube beauty tutorials! If you’re looking for a customers or an audience & have no idea where to find one, why not borrow mine?!
My intention was always to make these ad spaces ULTRA-affordable, because I know how hard it can be to kick-start your advertising, especially when you’re just starting out. They’re served in collaboration with Blogads, who are great — they provide advertisers with a fantastic system so you can easily track the efficacy of your campaign!
How does it work?
The spaces are $3/day, & you can claim it for as many days as you like — up to 30 at a time. You are, of course, welcome to renew it as soon as those 30 days are up!
The spaces are a 125 pixel square. Like this:
Your ad will be in the right sidebar of the front page, & on individual article pages, underneath where it says SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES!
“Advertising on GalaDarling.com showed an immediate boost in site traffic, exposing my design consultancy and journal to new readers everyday…” (Steve G., RDQLUS Creative)
How can I get the most out of this?
Make your ad as engaging, dynamic & eye-catching as possible! This means USE your space as best you can! Fill the space, use a bright colour & bold imagery.
Give people a reason to click! Officially, this is known as a “call to action”. Why should someone click on your ad? Offer them something, whether it’s a discount code, free shipping, a gift with purchase, or something even better!
Animate it! Well, this is optional, but in my experience, an animated ad — a .gif with a few frames — performs better. You can relay more information & it is definitely more eye-catching. Try not to make it too much of an assault on the eyeballs, though!
If you’re not a designer, have someone else make it. This isn’t an option for everyone, but if you have a friend with a great eye, beg, plead & make cookies in exchange for a nicely-designed 125×125 ad. A designer will always do a better job than you can.
Be smart about it! Use fonts that are easy to read, & colours that don’t assault the eyeballs. Check your ad for spelling or grammatical mistakes. This is a representation of your business, so make it as wonderful as you can!
“I’ve done several promotions on Gala Darling’s site, and the results have always blown me away. First off- there’s the sheer volume of hits she sends me- thousands and thousands of uniques a day. But, more than quantity, there’s quality. Gala’s fans are a sparkly, tight-knit community that love and believe in her. If you’re lucky enough to do a promotion on galadarling.com, you tap into that good will. Promotions on galadarling.com have netted me passionate fan letters, wildly creative responses, and new fans from all over the world…” (Molly Crabapple)
All you need to do is choose how many days you’d like your ad to run, upload your image, & submit your link. Then click Preview or Buy! It’s THAT simple!
Mega-lovin’, all day, every day!
12 February 2013, 08:53
If you’re a weirdo or an outsider (like I definitely was!), the debate over going to prom (or ball, as we call it in New Zealand) is ever-present. Sometimes seen as the domain of the lame, it can be hard to get excited about voluntarily spending time with people you’d rather ignore.
But just like every 80s high school movie, in which I am imagining myself as the rebel heroine of the story, I decided to go to mine. Otherwise, I decided, I wouldn’t know what I’d missed!
I was in full-on goth mode at the time, & chose a crimson maxi-dress in a dark brocade. It had boning in the bodice & a full skirt, & I wore it with fishnets (I think?!) & Mary Janes. Actually, looking back, it was kind of a badass choice for a 16 year old girl to make.
I took two dates — one was my boyfriend, the other was a guy friend — & the only remaining photo I have from that night is of the three of us sticking our tongues out at the photographer!
But despite my cool dress & rad dates, I was still self-conscious. There was no way in hell I was going to get on that dance-floor, so my boyfriend & I stood around the perimeter, raising our eyebrows at one another until I finally said, “Okay, I’ve had enough… Let’s go do something else.”
We got in his car — there was a five year age difference between us, which was quite a scandal at my Anglican girls’ school! — & went out for pizza. We had way more fun eating greasy pizza in our formal wear than we did at the ball itself!
It can be easy to feel that, when it comes to your prom, you have to be traditional & play it safe. But those old rules are made to be broken!
These days, we have the luxury of being able to express ourselves in every piece of our lives… & the prom is no different. You have to put your own individual stamp on it; make it an expression of who you really are! Even if twenty years later you look back on it & cringe, at least you know you went with your heart… !
Re-imagining your prom is pretty fun. If I knew then what I know today, I’d have worn a bright pink dress with a tulle petticoat, & turned up on a bicycle. I’d take my best friend as my date & give her flowers. I might try to bribe the DJ to play a couple of songs by Missy Elliott. I’d mix it up & team my frothy dress with combat boots, fill my purse with candy & sparklers, & dance all night long!
Of course, it’s all about the dress… So many, many options would need to be scouted. In my quest to find the perfect prom dress, I stumbled upon Camille La Vie, a store which packs a punch & houses an extensive collection of dazzling party dresses. If you’re a girl/magpie who loves all things sparkly, check out their site!
I love this one the most, probably because it looks like psychedelic cotton-candy. That would definitely be my pick. But having said that, this gown is perfect for mermaids (& mermaid dancing), & this one is glorious. (I’m a sucker for sequins.) This dress is so modern fairy! J’adore!
Is your prom just around the corner? Have you thought about what you’re going to wear yet? Can we discuss it AT LENGTH on Facebook?! (I want to live vicariously through you!)
...& if you, like me, are several years past your
prime prom, I want to hear what it was like! Did you wear something cool or something shocking? If you were going to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Dreaming of corsages & spiked punch,
This post was made possible with the help of Camille La Vie! If you like what you see, check out their site here!
Vintage photography courtesy Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.
22 January 2013, 03:52
My nutty-looking iPhone is a point of personal pride. It’s true. These days, we have the ability to customise practically every aspect of our lives… & we should!
My phone, which is encrusted with teeny-tiny toys & casts rainbows around rooms when the sun hits it, is an incredible conversation-starter. Women squeal when they see it, little girls flip their wigs, & even tightly-laced dudes in suits have something to say about it (usually along the lines of, “Wow, that’s some phone case!”). My Japanese manicurist tells me every time she sees it that it is “really kawaii”, which in my mind, is the ultimate compliment!
It’s not fun to hog all of this stuff for myself. I want to encourage you to dress up your phone, too!
But be warned! I am telling you now, once you start to do a little research — otherwise known as falling down the rabbit hole — you will be astounded, amazed & slightly disgusted by the amount of crazy things you can do in the quest to thoroughly “personalise” your phone!
I’ve mentioned a lot of iPhone stuff below, but the great news is that there are plenty of alternatives for other phones, too. So don’t feel left out! (& don’t think this lets you off the hook, either!)
My case is from LUXYLOLI on Etsy. I really have swept the entire internet for the coolest, most interesting phone cases, & I haven’t seen anything that beats hers. (Not even those Swarovski-encrusted My Little Pony ones.)
I love her cases so much, in fact, that once my iPhone 4 finally bit the dust, I commissioned her to make me one for my 5. It is glorious.
If you want one of her crazy cases but you don’t have an iPhone, don’t fret! LUXYLOLI will make a custom case for you, no matter what kind of phone you have. (Kat has one for her Android, & loves it.) She can even make the whole thing pink, purple or rainbow if that’s more your style! Hooray!
But if a toy-encrusted iPhone case isn’t quite your speed, don’t worry, I understand! You have other options, for sure…
Yes, a pink glitter case can be practical! This 3D leopard head isn’t really, though. Nor is this very blingy peacock, but it sure is fabulous. Bows & pearls! A very chunky & rather over-the-top collection of toys! Hello Kitty’s face in Swarovski crystals! Leopard print & pink & crystals! (Kinda want that one for myself…) Hot pink cheetah print!
If you want your case to look edible, you’re in luck! This one is a veritable smorgasbord. This one too. Waffles, anyone? But perhaps you’re more of a macaron girl. Or do you prefer chocolate mint? There are also crackers, bacon, toast & Pop Tart options. This one is more general pastries.
This case is very spiky. This one is for you if you wish your phone was a Leica... Or a twin lens reflex camera. This one is for the steampunk in your life (!!!) & this retro phone-shaped docking station is kind of rocking my world. (I mean, they’re not strictly iPhone cases, but they’re too cool not to include!)
I’m secretly a bit afraid of this Little Mermaid iPhone case! This girl will make you anything you want. This is perfect for Barbie fans. (The same girl will also do you a pretty chic YSL or dripping Chanel logo…)
I can’t believe I couldn’t find an astroturf phone case, though… ! SURELY that is a gap in the market!
If you want to be astounded, simply type “dust plug” into Etsy’s search box. It’ll give your mind quite a thrashing!
I didn’t even know these things existed until I walked into Patricia Field’s boutique one day. I immediately selected a bedazzled pair of turquoise bunny ears, which have taken pride of place in my headphone jack ever since.
So, plug something into your headphone jack, why don’t you? If you’re stumped for ideas, how about a dangly rhinestone heart? This is easiest the sparkliest pink phoenix I’ve ever seen (if not the only one!). You can plug the gap with a macaron, a fluffy pom-pom, a McRib (?!), a bowl of Lucky Charms, a hedgehog, a painted or crystal skull, a sparkly whale, a little knitted hat, a leopard bow, a donut...
The choices truly are endless. There’s enough stuff in there to push your husband RIGHT over the edge, I tell you!
There are even Starbucks dust plugs, which totally crack me up!
Rhinestone rabbit ears, though, are to me the clear choice.
These things, sadly, don’t last forever. My turquoise bunny ears bit the dust a few months after I bought them: the bendy plastic stopper finally bent too far. Boo! I think it can probably be fixed by someone crafty (like my husband), but I wanted to let you know that this kind of thing is usually not a “forever” purchase.
Still want to go ahead? Yay! You might want to buy a couple, or if you’re feeling DIY-tastic, you can buy the plugs & then attach whatever you damn well please!
There are so many fun accessories for phones. For example, the iPhone scuba suit means you can take your phone underwater & shoot photos or video with it. AHHH! (They don’t have a version for the 5 yet, but hopefully they will soon…)
This keychain tripod means you can film a video of yourself anywhere. Set up your phone in the woods & start filming! (Awesome.)
One of my newest obsessions is attaching different lenses to my phone. It makes using your camera so much more fun, & encourages silly creativity.
I have decided I need this set of Holga iPhone lenses! They are too cute. As they say, this set includes “lenses for dreamy vignettes, vibrant red and green color lenses, multi-image lenses for Spidey-vision (double, triple, and quadruple images), a macro lens for beautiful close-up detail and red, yellow, and blue filters with clear centers for framing your subjects!” I mean: YES!
One of the coolest iPhone accessories is something designed by Will.i.am: the iam+ foto. sosho. It’s essentially a case for your phone, but it has its own camera with interchangeable lenses & a crazy amount of megapixels. I saw Will using it at the EKOCYCLE event, & swooned hard!
You can use your phone to take great pictures, & I’ve written pretty extensively about how to take amazing photos with your phone.
I’ve since discovered a bunch of other fun camera apps since writing that piece, & here are some I’ve loved playing around with…
PictureFrames allows you to put a few photos together: great for showing multiple angles or a full-length shot with some details on the side.
Postagram allows you to make postcards of your photos. This is one of my best friends when I’m travelling! So much love.
Popbooth takes four photos of you & arranges them into a little photobooth strip. Then you can send that photobooth strip as a postcard!
Ink was created by the same company that did Postagram & Popbooth, & enables you to send 5×7 cards using photos from your phone. The designs are slick & cute. Love this app, too.
LensLight is great for adding bokeh (especially heart-shaped bokeh!) to a picture.
Picfx has a selection of cool filters. Again, some really nice bokeh!
Pici Booth makes your iPhone into a little photobooth! It takes three shots in succession, then compiles them into a strip.
PhotoWonder allows you to do really weird things, like enlarge your eyes, “delete” your blemishes & “thinify” your face. I mean, wow!
Kaleido Lens & Kaleidoscope turn your camera into a psychedelic wondertrip.
GirlsCamera gives you approximately three trillion stamps that you can apply to your photos, just like being in a Japanese photobooth!
Afterglow is a great photo-editing app which gives you circle frames & lens flares, among other cool effects.
ShakeItPhoto only develops after you really do “shake it like a Polaroid picture”... !
iBlendBabe takes two photos & combines them. The results are weird & sometimes beautiful!
On the non-camera side of apps, I love…
Day One is a clean, simple & easy journalling app. You can even set reminders so that you remember to update it.
MakeupAlley which is great for looking up makeup reviews while you’re in the drugstore!
Amazon which I mostly use as a way of adding things to my shopping list, books etc.
Yelp because I can never remember the address of anything, & I am compulsive about reading reviews.
KAYAK is an international playgirl’s best friend!
Fandango is the easiest way to book a movie ticket…
Etsy which I used in the Apple store to buy my new case before my iPhone 5 had even been rung up.
MyFitnessPal which I use to log my food & exercise. I know, I’m a nerd!
So much fun can be had with your phone. Do you have a case, a dust plug or an app that you’re completely crazy about? Tell me all about it!
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