18 March 2013, 10:49
On Saturday, I spotted my first cherry blossoms of the season… and it whipped me into a frenzy! The first day of spring (and Ostara!) is Wednesday: so close!
Even though it’s below freezing as I write this — and we’re supposed to get snow today — I can’t stop thinking about warm weather, and how I want my summer to be.
All of my favourite memories are from a time when it was warm, like getting caught in a blossom shower on the Upper East Side. Or walking around Greenwich Village at night, live music pounding and lights everywhere. Summer makes me think of never-ending views and evening light on rooftops, and riding a motorcycle with my husband all over the city.
I love the way spring stretches into summer. The days are long and languid, and fireflies light the night. It is my favourite time of year… And our wedding anniversary is smack-bang in the middle of it!
Photo by Diddy Lux.
This summer, I want to wear short skirts and high heels, to pack a suitcase and drive off into the sunshine with my husband. I want to lie in the grass and take photos of the clouds. I want to wear bright pink lipstick and ultra-long eyelashes. I want to read tarot cards, dance in public, and carry my camera everywhere.
I want to celebrate Midsummer in a park. I want to grow flowers and herbs and keep freshly-made iced tea in the fridge. I want to make raw cacao smoothies and get a tan. I want to play in the surf, have salt-kissed hair, and wear sunglasses all the time.
I want to move into a new apartment with big windows. I want to light candles and worship the moon. I want to listen to songs that give me goosebumps all over my entire body. I want to work my way through a huge stack of books, sleep deeply, and write down my dreams…
13 March 2013, 10:00
Where would we all be without our phones? Mine is constantly at my side, and I’ve discovered it’s not just great for obsessively decorating, listening to music or taking a million photos. In fact, there are a bunch of iPhone apps that can actually improve your life. Here are a few of my favourites!
If you can’t sleep: Relax Melodies
Relax Melodies is basically a little sound machine in your phone. You can choose any combination of sounds — like ocean, rainforest, thunderstorm, or rain on the roof — and they just loop for hours. I know you’re not meant to sleep with your phone beside your head, but sometimes, when there’s a guy parked outside with his car stereo booming, I need something to help me get to sleep!
I love Relax Melodies. It really does relax you, and falling asleep to the sound of rain is about the most peaceful thing I can think of.
P.S. There are two versions of Relax Melodies: free and paid. I upgraded mine, but I think the free version is completely adequate!
If you want to get your inbox to zero: Mailbox
First, the bad news: At time of writing, there are approximately 700,000 people ahead of you in the queue to use Mailbox. But the great news is that the queue moves quickly — I waited about two weeks, I think — and when you’re granted access, Mailbox is a complete game-changer.
Mailbox makes it really, really easy to archive or delete your mail, as well as a brilliant “show me later” feature. You can choose to delay a message, and deal with it tomorrow, next week, or even next month. Mailbox also keeps a little numeric tally of messages as part of its icon, which really inspires you to clear out your inbox on a daily basis!
Mailbox has replaced iPhone’s OSX Mail app as my email application of choice… And I’ve never been happier. Just watch their video and I think you will be similarly convinced!
If you have a goal: Everest
Everest encourages you to break your goal down into manageable, bite-sized chunks. No matter what your intentions are, this app will help you get there.
You can connect with friends to help keep you accountable, as well as browse around and see what complete strangers are doing. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with this app yet, but I think it is so brilliant!
Additionally, if you’re looking for some more adventure in your life but aren’t sure where to start, just tap the Challenges tab and accept someone else’s dare! Some examples include cut out sweets for a week, don’t complain for 24 hours, do a silent retreat, create a plan to get debt-free, and run a half marathon. Each challenge is broken down into steps which you simply swipe to complete.
If you’re stressed: Take A Break
Take A Break is a free app which comes with two different guided meditations: one is a “work break” that runs for seven minutes, and the other is a stress relief meditation, which is thirteen minutes long.
You can choose whether you’d like to just hear the voice, if you’d like music in the background, or nature noises, which makes this very simple app a little more customisable.
Guided meditation is one of my favourite types of meditation, and it’s particularly useful for anyone who is new to sitting still and quieting their mind! It gives you something to focus on, rather than trying to think of nothing and obsessing over how much your nose itches!
I always feel much more serene after using this app. Give it a try!
If you can’t remember everything: Wunderlist
I have tried so many apps over the years, always looking for that sacred sweet spot: the intersection between ease of use and practicality. I’ve recently come back to Wunderlist, and I’m in love with it.
One of the reasons I love Wunderlist is because it has a desktop app. I don’t like to do everything on my phone, I like to be able to type and research on my computer, and Wunderlist syncs beautifully across all devices.
Wunderlist is basically where I vomit everything I need to keep in my head. At the moment, I have lists for places I want to visit in Los Angeles, pictures I want to take for Instagram, articles I want to write, things I need to procure to make my living room a better place, a Blogcademy “to do” list, a generic shopping list… And that’s just for starters.
It really helps to keep me on track, and I think it will help you, too!
If you want to keep a journal: Day One
There are a lot of journalling apps on the market but Day One is my favourite. The design is sleek and easy, and the app just does exactly what it says: no more and no less. One of my favourite features is the ability to add a photo to your diary entry. It makes it more visually stimulating, which provides a whole lot more motivation to keep adding to it.
The best thing about Day One is that you can set an alarm to remind you to update your journal. Maybe setting an alarm for 10pm or 7.30am would be the best time to get your thoughts down. Play around with it and see what works for you!
If you want to be on time: Uber
Uber is like having access to your own personal driver through your phone. It’s different in every city, but in NYC they have partnered with a number of black town car services, and it simply pings the one who is nearest to you.
It’s so easy to use: you input your address and it gives you an estimate of how close the nearest car is. Where I live, in the East Village, a car is usually about 6 minutes away. Once you submit your order, Uber will actually chart the path of the car while you wait.
Using Uber is a little more expensive than a taxi, because it’s a town car service. A trip that would normally cost me about $16 cost me $24. But I didn’t have to leave my house and go searching for a taxi, the car was impeccably clean, I didn’t have to swipe my card at the end (it’s all done in the app), and the tip was included. (A 30% tip on a $16 fare is almost $5, anyway.)
I am completely obsessed with this service! It’s truly perfect if there’s somewhere you need to be, if the weather is terrible, or if you’re just feeling too fabulous to want to prowl the streets in search of a taxi!
By the way, if you use my invite code, you’ll get $10 to use towards your first trip! Awesome!
If you want to eat healthy: My Fitness Pal
You know how they always say you should keep a food journal if you want to become more conscious about the amount — and type — of food you’re eating? It’s a great idea, but no one really does it. Or at least, I’ve never met anyone who managed to make it stick!
MyFitnessPal seeks to fix this problem. You can search for foods or scan any barcode and have it instantly entered into your food diary, figure out serving sizes, and even discover how many calories you should be eating if you have a certain weight goal.
If you’re anything like me, you have serious eating habits. I eat the same foods every week, and with MyFitnessPal, once you’ve entered them once, they get saved in your regular foods list. This makes it really easy and fast to keep on top of your diary.
There’s also space to enter any exercise you do. Great for gym bunnies!
If you want to say thank you: Ink
With Ink, you can instantly create greeting cards using the photographs on your phone. I love this app, because it removes any and all excuses for not sending a quick thank you to anyone who deserves it.
Using their app, you select a design, pick a photograph, add any text, then choose a contact to send it to. The Ink nymphs print it out at their magical factory, then slap a stamp on it and send it out. It arrives at your friend’s house soon after, and you all rejoice!
Now you really can be the babe with the best manners!
If you want to get centered: Pranayama Universal Breathing
Pranayama Universal Breathing is a super-simple app. When you fire it up, onscreen you see an animation of a man sitting cross-legged. Next to him is a pie chart, which shows how long your inhale and exhale should be. The first 1/3 of the pie chart is devoted to your inhale, and the rest is intended for your exhale.
Then all you have to do is follow the instructions. Breathe in… Breathe out. Breathe in… Breathe out. Do it for a few minutes, and you’ll feel back to your old self in no time!
You can up the ante, too, if you’re looking to try some more advanced breathing techniques. Fabulous!
I hope you have fun playing around with these apps!
Help! I think I’m in love with my phone,
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.
Whatever Happened To Doing It For The Love Of It? Or: What I Learned About Life From Tony Hawk & Rodney Mullen
28 January 2013, 04:17
Amazing image by Camilo Phos.
I’m a documentary junkie. I absolutely love them, & I cannot get enough. My husband & I recently watched Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, about skateboarding in the 80s, & truthfully, I wasn’t expecting it to affect me so deeply.
In Bones Brigade, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero, Tony Hawk, Mike McGill, Lance Mountain & Rodney Mullen discuss their rise to the top of the skateboarding game. Plucked from obscurity as young kids, they made up a team which was cultivated & encouraged by Stacy Peralta. The documentary follows the personal challenges & difficulties they experienced as they progressed through their careers.
They had all seen the generation of skaters before them get famous & choke under the pressure, & were determined not to follow in their footsteps. Rodney Mullen said even as a kid, he could see that it was crushing & destructive for his idols to receive such vast amounts fame & money at such a young age. He mentioned that when you get such enormous attention & praise as a kid, when you grow up & your celebrity fades, you’re constantly living with that hanging over your head. You could have been this, you could have been that, if you’d just done x or y.
Rodney Mullen is one of the best freestyle skaters the world has ever seen, but as a teenager, his father ruled the house with an iron fist. After being told by his dad that he couldn’t skate anymore, he started to unravel emotionally. Eventually his father came around, & said that Rodney was allowed to skate, but not to compete; he said he thought the pressure of competition was getting to him.
In the documentary, Rodney explained, “Contests gave me the ability to continue to do what defined me. But what they came to represent was, “Don’t fail’.”
Tony Hawk had amazing dedication to the craft. He would go out & learn trick after trick. But his reputation started to feel like a coffin. He was such an incredible skater that when he won competitions, he wouldn’t be excited about it. He felt like it was expected of him; just another standard to live up to.
Tony said, “During my brief competition hiatus when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I missed it immensely. I did get have to a couple of pretty heavy conversations with Rodney about it. He had come back to competition already & I said, ‘How did you do it?’ He said, ‘I just came back with a different approach, that I didn’t care as much about the results. I enjoy it. I enjoy the skating. If I don’t win, I don’t win.’ I stopped worrying that I needed that perfect competition record to thrive, & I didn’t… It actually became way more fun after that.”
“Don’t let anything poison your individuality. Break away & look in, not outward.” (Rodney Mullen)
As I watched Tony & Rodney talk about changing their focus, I was struck by how much I needed to change my own focus. I realised that in a lot of ways, my gaze had shifted away from having fun, & onto something else.
When I started this blog in 2006, I barely looked at other blogs. In fact, I started this one with the goal of it being an antidote to all the nasty fashion blogs that existed. I didn’t want to read snarky comments about some celebrity’s outfit; it didn’t interest me in the slightest!
There were no rules, no path. My blog could be anything, so I wrote about everything that interested me. I was so excited about having the opportunity to write all day every day, & that is exactly what I did. I would post three, four, five pieces a day, simply because I was so thrilled to be doing what I loved. I would roam the streets of Melbourne, photographing things, exploring, adventuring, then coming home & turning it into content. It was bliss.
I moved to New York City in the middle of 2008, & was suddenly thrown into an entirely new environment. The city was crawling with fashion bloggers, & plenty of them had better wardrobes, style or business savvy than I did!
I would consider myself to be pretty fiercely individual, but even so, it’s all too easy to start looking at around at everyone else, & wonder if you should be more like them.
No matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re a blogger or a baker, it’s natural to compare yourself to your peers. We think, how can I earn more money? How can I get that for myself? Why did she get that opportunity when I didn’t?
Sometimes this act of comparing & contrasting ourselves can be helpful: it shows us what we do or don’t want, & can assist in guiding us towards a more fulfilling existence.
But sometimes it just makes us feel bad. Unawesome. Less than.
The ego loves competition. It lives to compare & contrast itself with others. We are its sexy plaything! We feel morally superior or inferior, beautiful or ugly, successful or tragic, depending on where we allow our ego to take us that day.
It’s all these questions, these worries, these comparisons, that stop us from doing it for the love of it. It’s exactly these things that cause us to jam on the brakes, to hold us back just enough.
When we focus on what other people are doing, we lose sight of our own goals, our own vision for the future. Don’t allow other people’s lives to distract you. Don’t let what someone else says on the internet make you feel any less than absolutely brilliant. No matter what you may see online, you probably wouldn’t want to trade lives with anyone!
“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” (e e cummings)
I’m making a concerted effort to tap into that place I was in back in 2007: that place of unbridled creativity, freedom & fun. I was whimsical & weird & I didn’t give a fig!
I won’t allow my ego’s need to check itself against others get in my way of having a good time. I need to remind myself not to compare myself to anyone else, to stop competing, & live the lessons Rodney & Tony reminded me about: to have fun, to play, & enjoy myself!
I want to challenge myself every day; I want to come up with new ways to make life more FUN every week. I want to burrow deep into that place of doing work that makes my heart sing out loud. I want to remember to think of work as play.
Of course, I want to be continually improving myself; getting better all the time. But I shouldn’t be competing with anyone else, only myself.
As someone smart once said, do what you love & the money will follow. Not the other way around.
At the end of Bones Brigade, this flashes on-screen:
Rodney Mullen co-founded World Industries, which became the most successful skateboard company in the 1990s. In 1998 he and his partner sold the company for $20 million.
Not too shabby. Do what you love…
23 January 2013, 09:12
If you’ve been reading for a while, you already know that I don’t often post lookbooks. But this is an exception. When I saw Wildfox’s tribute to Clueless, I knew I had to share it with you! It’s much too fantastic to let it slip down the internet rabbit-hole!
“This is where Dionne lives. She’s my friend because we both know what it’s like for people to be jealous of us.”
“You know how picky I am about my shoes, & they only go on my feet.”
“Christian said he’d call the next day, but in boy time that meant Thursday.”
“Cher’s main thrill in life is a makeover; it gives her a sense of control in a world full of chaos.”
“A watch doesn’t really go with this outfit, daddy.”
“Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, & then they think of sex.”
“Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good.”
“Hey, James Bond, in America we drive on the right side of the road.”
“I am. You try driving in platforms!”
“He does dress better than I do, what would I bring to the relationship?”
There are way, way more photos over on the Wildfox blog! Definitely click through & peruse ‘em. I think the only oversight is there’s no recreation of the Alaïa scene in the Valley…
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