12 February 2013, 13:03
When it comes to Vine, there are three questions that need to be asked.
First things first: do you know what it is? If not, it’s an iPhone app which enables you to film up to six seconds of video which loops. The videos end up looking like those thumbnails above… Except they move.
If you have an iPhone & you don’t have this app yet, well, what are you waiting for?!
The second question is, are you following me?! My username is galadarling, of course. My stream is very silly, featuring Shauna rolling her r’s in David Bowie’s bedroom, Kat chugging entire glasses of wine in Paris, & more public dancing than you can shake a stick at!
But perhaps the most important question is, are you as obsessed with it as I am?! Ever since downloading the app when I was in London, I’ve been tinkering with it, thinking about new ways to use it & what the medium is best for.
Sure: it’s great for filming your amateur ballroom dancing skills in Paris in the middle of winter…
But it’s also brilliant for sharing experiences & showing highlights. For example, on Friday I made these Vines at the Kate Spade presentation…
From making these videos, I started to realise the infinitely cool ways Vine can be used. Here are a few things I’ve learned…
1. Vine is not long-form Instagram. It’s a completely different medium, so think about using it in innovative ways.
There’s only so much you can show in a picture; with Vine, you can see different angles & details with ease. It’s not just about keeping your focus on one thing for six seconds, it’s about revealing more than you can with a photograph.
Think about the kinds of things that lend themselves to multiple shots. Once you get the gears turning, I know you’ll come up with more ideas than you know what to do with!
2. Download VineGifR. It’s a Mac app which allows you to turn your Vines into animated gifs. VineGifR is brand spanking new, & as such, it’s not perfect: the gifs it produces are only 200 pixels wide — as you see above — & are a minimum of 2mb per file. But it’s a great way to share your Vines on your blog.
The other way of sharing, which is to embed them, is not something I’d recommend, simply because they autoplay with the volume on. Firstly, websites that make sound are annoying & extremely 2002. Don’t go there! Secondly, if you embed more than one Vine, your website will sound like a mad cacophony, & there’s no faster way to get your reader to close the tab!
3. Follow people who are experimenting with it. By the way, this doesn’t mean “blatantly steal & rip off people’s ideas” because that’s never cool, but there is nothing wrong with being influenced (or awed!) by something someone else has done!
Over the weekend, I went through & followed a whole bunch of people from different arenas — blogging, fashion, technology, design — just because I’m curious to see what they make of the medium. Once you follow me (wink wink, nudge nudge!), you can look through my list & add a whole lot of them.
4. Stick with it. There’s a bit of a learning curve, & yes, the app is a bit buggy right now. But the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.
Don’t feel obliged to post everything you film! It might take a few tries to get your Vine right. Here’s a tip: once you film it & click Next, the Vine will be saved to your phone’s Photos, so if you need to review it, you can.
Also, if you want to share your Vine with Twitter or Facebook, be sure to slide those dialog boxes over to “On”! Once your Vine has been posted, there’s no way of sharing it out to your social networks. Hopefully this feature is coming soon!
5. See Vine as a positive thing! I’ve seen a few bloggers lamenting Vine. “Do we really need another social network?! I’m already tapped out!”
Spoiler alert: you don’t have to be on every single social network. Just use the ones that you enjoy, & that make sense! Don’t spread yourself so thin that keeping up with your social media becomes a chore. Keep it fun & lighthearted.
Personally, I’m really enjoying having a new tool at my disposal to experiment & play with. I feel like I’m slowly beginning to get the hang of it, & it’s exciting to see the innovative & creative ways that other people are using it, too!
See you on Vine!
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!
3 January 2013, 11:40
Does the start of the year have you stumped? Sometimes the idea of choosing a few resolutions makes your head spin, but here’s a secret: it can be easier just to focus on one or two areas!
So if you don’t have any resolutions yet, why not steal some of these?! In fact, if you click on the resolution, it’ll automatically send out a tweet, broadcasting your intention to all & sundry! Perfect! Now you really have no excuse!
I’m going to make fabulous a verb. (Click to tweet!)
What this means: Keep champagne in the house at all times. Add a big sparkly necklace to even the most simple ensemble. Wear your favourite things until they are totally worn out (& don’t worry about saving them for a “special occasion”). Celebrate everything & nothing!
Start here: Bauble Bar sell fantastic & inexpensive gems. Keep your Instax camera on you at all times! Paint your nails with beaucoup du glitter. Learn how to apply false eyelashes & then wear them with aplomb! Dress your space so that it is more “you”, as well as a perfect place to rest & be awesome.
I’m going to worship my own temple. (Click to tweet!)
What this means: Eat smart, nutritious food. Make an effort to sweat on a regular basis. Give your feet a break from high heels at least some of the time! Get regular massages (this should be essential for anyone who works at a desk).
Start here: Try the Clean Program for a major kick-start. (My husband & I have done it twice, & we love it! In fact, we’re doing it again in February. Join us!) Give yoga or pilates a try. Find an incredible spa in your city & book yourself in for a couple of hours. Take a burlesque class & learn to love your body in all new ways. Buy yourself an out-of-this-world sex toy. Dedicate yourself to practicing radical self love!
I’m going to simplify. (Click to tweet!)
What this means: Think before you purchase. Sell or donate anything you don’t wear. Delete songs you don’t like from iTunes, unsubscribe from blogs you don’t read, & throw away your old magazines. Remove distractions — disconnect from wifi when you’re working. Stop following boneheads on Twitter! Scale it down.
Start here: Tame that wardrobe. Embark on a month-long shopping embargo! (I’m doing this again in February.) Have your favourite boots re-soled and your best coat fixed. Set up a Gmail filter so that any email with the word “unsubscribe” in the body text goes directly to Trash. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
I’m going to embrace adventure. (Click to tweet!)
What this means: Get your feet dirty, & leave the beaten track. Do things that are out of character or terrifying… Take a risk! Leave safety behind you. Don’t conform just because you’re afraid.
Start here: Create your own International Playgirl Pinterest board & get dreamin’! Sign up for some frequent flier programs to start racking up the miles. Grab your best friend & talk them into a getaway! Start researching a retro road-trip (& read this before you go!). Make plans to quit your sucky job & start doing what you’ve always dreamed about…
I’m going to improve my art. (Click to tweet!)
What this means: Decide that this is the year you’re going to elevate your work to a new level of artistry. Carve out non-negotiable time that you’ll commit to your work. Accept that this may mean less social engagements (but the trade-off is so worth it!).
Start here: Take a course or an advancement program (no matter how good you are, there is always more to learn). Find a mentor & meet with them regularly. Socialise with other people in your industry. Try a new technique. Set some goals. Take on fewer commitments so that you can really get into what you’re doing. Read more.
I’m going to be a better babe. (Click to tweet!)
What this means: Spend time volunteering. Donate money to your favourite causes. Think of — & then act upon! — ways to improve your street, neighbourhood, city, country. Calculate your carbon omissions. Make an effort to recycle. Be more compassionate, less judgmental.
Start here: Offset your carbon emissions! Find a way to volunteer your time — if you’re in New York, New York Cares is an incredible organisation. Learn about I Am That Girl. Consider buying EKOCYCLE products. Listen more. Fundraise for causes you really believe in.
The start of a new year has so much energy, so much promise. The first few days of January are lush with expectation & good intentions, but as the weeks wear on, it’s all too common to lose your mojo.
How can you stay on top of your game?
Write daily gratitude lists. Regularly evaluate your goals & the steps you’re taking to get there. Make an effort to try new things. Be spontaneous. Figure out what you’re great at & delegate the rest. Focus. Take your time. & again: count your blessings, even — especially — when you feel like you don’t have many.
30 November 2012, 09:45
Oh my! Tomorrow is Christmas month! How fantastic! I’m really excited. Is it strange that the older I get, the more thrilled I am at the concept of December?!
I wrote this article last year & it was a huge hit — so if you didn’t see it, here it is, in all its glory! Even though I mostly wrote this piece for myself, in the end, I didn’t do a lot of the activities listed. Boo! This year, I will do better!
The inspiration for this article came from something I read in Anthology magazine’s winter edition by Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day. It was about creating a personalised advent calendar.
ACTIVITIES ADVENT CALENDAR
When Paul & I got married, I knew I wanted to establish traditions in our family that would help us experience all of the anticipation that makes Christmas so special. Our first year as newlyweds, I started our annual Activities Advent Calendar.
I originally heard about the idea from a friend, but the basic concept is this: you make a to-do list of holiday-centric activities & assign each a specific day to count down from the first to twenty-fifth day of December. Some are grand & complicated, like organising a caroling party with friends. Others are simple & don’t take more than five minutes — like drinking hot cocoa or buying mistletoe at the grocery store.
Check out her article to read the rest!
Secretly, I kinda hate being away from my parents on the 25th of December. My mother absolutely loves Christmas, & even before December 1st rolls around, she’s put up a black Christmas tree, wrapped everything in sight, & is artfully arranging presents. She’s a pro. I can only hope to aspire to her level of Christmas mastery! We have a great time at Christmas. I pretend to help my mother in the kitchen & take portraits with my dad. It’s the best. Being away from them SUCKS!
The point is this: Mike & I are still newly married, & since neither of us have any family in New York City, I feel very strongly that we should create some fun traditions of our own! Mike is not as gung-ho on Christmas as I am — men rarely are, in my experience — but I am still optimistic that I will be able to drag him, kicking & screaming, into some of these activities.
Below is an outline of what I hope to do this coming month. It was compiled with the help of my Facebook & Twitter friends. YAY! I’d love it if you joined in & did some of these activities too! Let me know how you get along!
Put up your tree, & consider doing things a little differently this year! In my parents’ house, we’ve never had a real tree, since my father is allergic. So my mother bought this magnificent black tree, & usually decks it out with white feathers, silver mirrored disco balls, crystals & other marvellous things. She’s using the same tree this year, but it’s accented with red. Red roses, red birds, red berries & strings of pearls. EPIC!
I ordered my tree from Amazon a few days ago — it’s a tall, skinny white one — as well as a bunch of ornaments. I think every tree should have some disco balls on it!
Be sure to decorate your tree while listening to something appropriately Christmas-y, like A Very She & Him Christmas, Sufjan Stevens Presents Songs for Christmas, David Ian: Vintage Christmas, Hipster’s Holiday: Vocal Jazz and R&B Classics, or these MP3s!
Get yourself — & whoever you live with — some rad Christmas pyjamas! Maybe TWO pairs each, so you can rotate them throughout the month! I have a pair of the red & pink-striped thermal long jane pyjamas & a couple of pairs of flannel dreamer pyjamas from Victoria’s Secret & they make me feel perfectly festive (as well as super-cute)!
Plus, it’s important to have something sweet to wear while you unwrap your presents on Christmas morning… Don’t you think?!
Get started on your Christmas cards! Make it your mission to find great notepaper or stationery for writing them. It doesn’t have to have a reindeer on it or anything like that; something simple & chic will do the trick!
I think Christmas is a wonderful time to remember everyone who has been a special part of your year. Start writing your notes to them now. Even a couple of lines thanking them for being in your life will mean so much, & be so appreciated! Post them out as soon as you can, or if you don’t think they’ll get there in time, scan & email them!
Help someone else. December can be a month of joy, but it can also be a time of enormous sadness for people who are less fortunate than us. We’re always able to help others, but somehow it seems easier in December, so start today & see if you can carry the momentum through into the new year!
Have a look around your house, & gather up any clothes, toys or household items you don’t need. Then take them to a women’s shelter or an organisation that helps people. As you look around, remember that coats, blankets, & other warm things are especially important when the temperature drops, & most of us have at least one of these that we could spare without too much trouble.
Decide to do Twelve Dates of Christmas! Yep! The idea is that you & your beloved make time for 12 dates over the month of December. They can be as silly or as elaborate as you like. Maybe some of them can be items from this activity guide, too!
If you need extra inspiration, Marci catalogued all her dates here! I love this idea so much! Thanks, Marci & Naomi!
Make paper snowflakes! It may not be snowing where you are, but snowflakes are a truly fabulous symbol of winter & all things magical. With this in mind, why not sit down tonight with some paper, some scissors, some glue & a whole lot of glitter, & make paper snowflakes?! If you’re feeling really crafty, you can put them on a string & hang them all around the house!
Have your photo taken with Santa! This is one of my new favourite silly holiday traditions. Last year, Chloe & I made our way uptown to Macy’s, where we stood in a crazy long line for the privilege of sitting next to an old guy in a Santa outfit. But it was hilarious, & totally worth the wait!
Pro-tip: If you don’t want to pay $30 for a photo, take your own camera & give it to an “elf” to play photographer! Ding ding ding! Ours turned out pretty well, I think!
Bake cookies! Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the scent of sugary evil wafting through the house. I’m not much in the kitchen, but I refuse to let my lack of ability deter me from having a good time!
Luckily, people who create recipes know that there is a huge piece of the population who just cannot bake. So here are some recipes which sound great, & are simple… Super-chunky chocolate cookies; gingerbread cookies; cinnamon-spiced hot chocolate cookies (yum!); peppermint-chocolate sandwich cookies & chocolate cheesecake candy-cane bars.
I’d be pretty happy to have any of those in my kitchen, wouldn’t you?! Make a shopping list & then get cracking!
Go ice-skating! The concept of ice-skating is still really novel to me, since my first time doing it wasn’t until I was 24 years old! If you’ve never tried before, & are nervous, don’t be! It’s so much fun.
I’m not sure how busy it gets where you are, but I know that in NYC, the rinks start to get absolutely packed with people the closer it gets to the 25th of December. Go early in the month — like on the 9th! — if you can!
Eat an entire box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates! This one doesn’t need much explanation, surely… Pure indulgence!
Go out with your favourite person & drink hot chocolate. If you ask me, there are few things better than spending time with someone who you think is sublime. Add hot chocolate to that combination & you have a recipe for massive success!
Make it your mission to scout out the very, very best hot chocolate in your area, & then make a date. If your search comes up a bit flat, though, don’t despair! MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate comes in a tin, & is one of the BEST EVER hot chocolate experiences. (It’s basically just melted chocolate in a cup. Incroyable!)
Watch Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special! The truth is, I had never even heard of this until someone mentioned it on Facebook! (It’s terrible, I know!) From reading about it, it’s clearly something we ALL need to see! (Cher & Little Richard? Helloooooo, I’m so there!)
Carry chocolate coins in your purse & give them to people who make you smile! You can substitute with candy canes, if you prefer! Um… This is also good if you’re exhausted while out shopping for gifts & need a sugary pick-me-up!
Make a gingerbread house! This is another thing I’ve NEVER done, & as such, totally feel like I’m missing out! If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make your own from scratch (quite the undertaking!), but if you’re a first-timer like me, you might want to make it easy on yourself & buy a kit! I like the look of this gingerbread house too!
Give yourself a festive manicure! The time is nigh! If you’re not sure what to do, how about red nails with a “snowy” white tip? You could paint snowflakes or gifts on your thumb, or just go for red & white stripes. If you’re good with a nail-art pen, you could even try drawing Rudolph! Oh my!
Plan a little holiday soiree! It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic — maybe you all make & decorate ornaments for one another’s Christmas trees, perhaps you bake cookies, or maybe you drink so many “festive” cocktails that you break into a karaoke version of Don’t Stop Believin’ that shatters some kind of world record. Either way, you can NEVER have too many parties in December!
Wrap all your gifts! I always think it’s nicer to do it at home, rather than having a shop assistant do it for you. You can buy the most amazing holographic paper, crazy springy bows & lovely bits & bobs to put on the top of a parcel if you know where to shop.
Additionally, Matchbook magazine’s December issue has a fantastic wrapping guide starting on page 52! (I love the idea of using newspaper & fancy baubles, or bells or doilies.)
Wrapping is an art-form which requires plenty of practice, so if your first attempts aren’t too gorgeous, don’t worry about it. Making the effort will make people smile either way!
Take a family portrait! ...Even if your “family” just consists of you & your dog, or you & your best friend, it doesn’t matter. Ask someone to take your picture, or throw your camera on a tripod & use the self-timer function! Sometimes during the holidays, it can get so crazy that we forget to take photos to preserve the moments (& hold onto the memories!). Don’t let that happen to you this year!
Watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! I Chevy Chase, & we all know it, so this doesn’t need a lot more said. Though… Perhaps we could add this!
Walk or drive all around your city to see the best Christmas lights! Even the Grinchiest anti-Christmas party-pooper can’t help but smile at the sight of hundreds of Christmas lights. There’s just something beautiful & magical about them which makes us all feel young again. Even if there aren’t many crazy, decked-out houses to be seen in your area, make a pilgrimage to your city’s oversized Christmas tree. Bask in the glow & soak up the atmosphere!
Go all out with your Christmas-themed dressing! Yes! Ugly sweaters? Bust ‘em out! Christmas-themed earrings? Put ‘em on! Anything with a bow on, that makes you look like a present? What are you waiting for?! I’d also recommend dressing up any small animals or children you can find, too! I think Dolly would make a great elf!
Get mistletoe-happy! I’ve never bought mistletoe. In fact, I don’t even think I’ve ever SEEN mistletoe in person! To me, a non-American, it has always just seemed like something from movies! But today is the day — I have officially decided — to buy & hang mistletoe. Then get to smoochin’! (Of course!)
Go out & look at all the Christmas windows. There’s something so lovely about them! They’re so much more special than usual, & the creativity is magnificent. You’ll see animatronic creatures, constantly falling snow & beautiful scenes. There is such an art to window-dressing, & Christmas is when you get to see the best of the best. Have a wander & get inspired!
Watch The Muppet Christmas Carol! I’ve never seen this one either! Can you believe it?! Don’t worry, I’m going to remedy this on Christmas Eve! Oh, & get ready for Santa, of course!
Make your own new tradition today. Maybe that tradition is falling asleep after lunch, or snuggling up together to watch a favourite movie after you’ve unwrapped your gifts. Maybe it’s inviting over all your friends who don’t have family in town this year. Whatever it is, make it something that makes you truly, truly happy.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
13 November 2012, 10:58
Photo by Corey Tenold.
Recently, my friend Mystic Medusa said to me, “You are beginning a magical journey. Take some time with this next eclipse to think how you could better nurture yourself/your soul. You need to replenish your Qi for the next big push.”
I took her seriously, & have since kicked up my levels of self-care & radical self LOVE! I’ve been indulging in regular meditation, more green tea & water consumption, reflexology, hypnosis & taking relaxing baths. Yes, clearly, when Mystic Medusa says “Jump!”, I ask, “How high?!”
In case you, like me, are feeling a little unravelled, here are a few of the things I’ve found that are extremely restorative & calming…
1. Deepak Chopra’s free meditation course
I learned about Deepak’s free 21-day meditation course through Yaz, who is, by all accounts, a pretty wonderful gal. It sounded great, but I was worried that I was too late to start. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded; when you sign up, you’re simply directed to a page with a list of MP3s, which you can work through at your own pace.
I started with Day 1 on Saturday night, while sitting cross-legged (& sideways!) in a lavender Epsom salt bath. Every day, Deepak gives you a new thought to focus on while you meditate. He also supplies you with a mantra that you can slowly repeat to yourself over & over if you find yourself getting distracted.
The length of the meditation isn’t too long — it’s just long enough to feel like you have sunken into that place of deep peace — & I think they will probably increase in length as I work my way through the series. Who can know?!
Either way, I highly recommend giving it a shot. Commit yourself to 3 weeks of daily meditation & see if it makes a difference to your happiness!
2. Epsom salt baths
The idea of going & taking an Epsom salt bath is an oldie but a goodie. A huge number of us have diets that are lacking in magnesium & sulfates, & Epsom salt is extremely high in those two things. Thankfully, we’re able to easily absorb them through our skin!
When you step up your levels of magnesium, it helps to flush toxins & heavy metals, improves heart & circulatory health & regulates electrolytes (which improves nerve function). Magnesium also raises your levels of serotonin, which reduces stress & makes you feel happy, improves sleep & concentration & improves sleep, as well as relieving muscle pain & inflammation.
Sulfates are important, too: they help improve the absorption of nutrients, help to form better proteins in the body, & prevent & ease migraine headaches.
So basically, an Epsom salt bath will soften the skin, soothe aches, reduce swelling, exfoliate the skin, draw toxins from the body, sedate the nervous system, relax the muscles & provide relief from joint soreness. If that doesn’t make you want to run a bath right now, I don’t know what will!
Some witches take Epsom salt baths to cleanse the aura, & others say Epsom salt baths can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I don’t know about that, but hey, it can’t hurt!
Photo by Corey Tenold.
“You are getting sleepy…” No, no, not like that!
On Friday, I took an hour & a half out of my schedule to pay a visit to Deborah Flanagan. Her Yelp reviews are incredible, & at first I bookmarked her page because she works as a reflexologist. When it came time to book the appointment, however, I decided to mix it up, dedicating half of the session to reflexology, & the other half to hypnosis!
I’d never tried hypnosis before & I was so pleasantly surprised. Deborah is this wonderful woman with a spellbinding voice, & I knew I was with a like-minded person when she told me that she teaches almost all of her clients EFT!
An hour & a half later, I sat up on her table & looked in the mirror. I was literally GLOWING. I floated out of her office, feeling completely blissed out.
My session with Deborah was one of the most rejuvenating & satisfying energy-work experiences I’ve ever had. If you’ve ever been interested in trying hypnosis, I strongly encourage you to do it!
I’ve been practicing EFT since 2006, when my then-boyfriend basically talked me into giving it a try. It literally transformed my life, & through using it regularly, was able to transform from a sad, angry girl with an eating disorder into the very happy woman I am today!
EFT has an incredible ability to remove emotional blockages from the body, freeing you from sadness, tension, fear, anger or any other negative feelings you might be experiencing… & once those emotions disappear from your body, you’ll be amazed at how much more of the real you shows up.
It’s mind-bogglingly easy to do. In fact, I made a video about how to use it in 2007! (Geez, probably time for an update!)
Trust me when I say: I know it sounds ridiculous. Tapping on your face with your fingers while you say things that feel uncomfortable doesn’t seem like something that would achieve much, other than making you feel silly. But it REALLY WORKS. (One day I should share the email I got from a girl who used EFT to not only achieve her first orgasm, but become multi-orgasmic! Go girl!)
Anyway. Give it a shot, & let me know if you’d like me to write more about it!
Just click the link. Go on! I’ll wait…
Yes, one of the best ways to deal with feeling bad is simply to SMILE. Our physiology informs our psychology, so if you’re having the worst day ever, smiling — even if you don’t mean it! — will actually transform your mood. The same goes for standing or sitting up straighter, dropping your shoulders & doing some deep breathing. Our brain is easily tricked by our body, so take advantage of it!
As simple as this sounds, it actually works, & as annoying as it is to have creepy dude on the street tell you to “SMILE!”, maybe he’s onto something?!
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