21 October 2013, 12:11
Photo by Laura Burlton.
Oh, Mercury retrograde.
You are here, AGAIN. You have arrived on our collective doorsteps in all your messy glory. You are our dreaded but regular house-guest. You stagger in the door, kick over our furniture, leave crumbs all over the couch and hog the bathroom. Then, as quickly as you appeared, you disappear again, leaving us slightly stunned but much better equipped to continue with our own lives!
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here we go. The planets are swinging around at all times, and their movements affect us all in different ways. All planets go retrograde, but Mercury’s journey seems to impact people much more than any other. (Even people who “don’t believe in astrology” often “believe” in the crazy aftershocks of Mercury retrograde!)
Why is that? It’s because Mercury rules communication, clear thinking, truth and travel, so when the planet goes retrograde — which means that it looks like it’s going backwards in the sky — all those things go backwards. They start to get ugly and tangle up. Mercury isn’t really going backwards, it’s just hanging out by the sun, but from Earth, that makes it look like it’s in reverse. It typically runs for a couple of weeks, a few times a year.
Check out these dates below and put them in your calendar!
In 2013, Mercury is retrograde from…
February 23rd to March 17th
June 26th to July 20th
October 21st to November 10th
Note: We sometimes start to feel the effects of Mercury retrograde a few days early. It’s nice to give yourself a bit of leeway on either side of the prescribed dates!
What happens when Mercury goes retrograde?
All sorts of things! It’s like everyone you know has suddenly gone mad! You might find yourself getting into bizarre arguments about nothing at all, being unable to finish sentences or barely even able to form a coherent thought. Your computer and other electronic equipment is more likely to go on the fritz. You could experience travel delays, too. Double-check your flights and take a book with you to keep you occupied while you wait for the train! We don’t tend to get all the information we need at this time, so it can be hard to make big decisions and it’s not always the best time to sign a contract, either.
Expect to hear super-loud complaining from your friends who are Gemini or Virgo, since both are ruled by Mercury! Mercury also rules a lot of industries like publishing, writing, editing, advertising, sales, public relations and anything to do with transport, like airlines, the post office and cabs! This means it can be particularly rough for Gemini train conductors and Virgo magazine editors, so be kind to any you know!
I often find that Mercury retrograde makes me want to go into hermit mode. I feel like half my brain is missing so I’m really not that interested in interacting with anyone, plus every conversation seems to go in an unusual, confusing direction. I feel much more irritable and frustrated and things just don’t seem to go how I want them to.
So that’s the bad news. Mercury retrograde can be a total kick in the teeth for those of us who normally pride ourselves on having our karmic shit together! The GOOD news is that Mercury retrograde provides us with lots of beautiful opportunities if we can just tilt our head and squint.
Mercury retrograde wants us to move back spiritually. It is providing us with a chance to re-examine various areas of our life which may need a little more work, so that we can move forward to a bright new dawn. Now, more than ever, the time is right to look at things with clear eyes. Delicious, fresh perspectives are revealed. We often have major breakthroughs — intellectual, emotional or spiritual — during this time.
It’s also a terrific period in which to tie up loose ends. So many of us have unfinished projects… Maybe that door just needs another lick of paint, or you’ll decide to put away your ex-boyfriend’s love letters once and for all. Having said that, this is also a time where it’s very common for old lovers, friends and acquaintances to get in touch! If you hear from someone from your past, get together with them and see what eventuates!
One of the best ways to cope with it — as with anything, really — is to just “go with the flow”. When you fight Mercury retrograde, that’s when life gets really ugly. Just take some time, go slowly, be careful, don’t freak yourself out by expecting to be uber-productive-perfect right now. Be good to yourself and the people around you, now more than ever!
surviving Mercury retrograde!
(Print it off and stick it in your diary or on your wall!)
Be sure not to take things too personally. People will often say offensive things they didn’t mean around this time, because their thinking is clouded and their communication skills are on pause! If your best friend suddenly became the most insensitive person in the world, give her the benefit of the doubt.
Back up your data!
Don’t purchase any big ticket items, because they will often have flaws or issues that you weren’t aware of! Of course, life doesn’t stop just because of wacky planetary movement, so if you absolutely have to get that car, computer or iPhone, TRIPLE-check all the paperwork, and make sure you have a warranty!
Take things with a grain of salt. Everyone is a bit confused, and people are much more inclined to change their mind once Mercury goes direct. Mercury can be a bit of a trickster — could it be that the next few weeks are a big karmic joke?!
Read the small print on any contracts. Ask lots of questions. Again, you can’t put your life on hold just because of some silly planet, but adapt your lifestyle a bit so that things run more smoothly. Communication can be a mess right now, but do your best to get as much information as you can.
Finish things you started a while ago. Home improvement projects? Wardrobe re-organisations? Short stories? Love affairs?! This is an excellent time to tie up loose ends and file things away forever.
Get together with old friends, reminisce and laugh!
Double-check any information you’re given, especially as relates to travel arrangements! During one particularly formidable Mercury retrograde, I actually caught a cab to the wrong airport! Check times, delays, baggage allowances, reservations… everything!
Allow Mercury to nudge you in unusual directions. If you seem to find yourself “back to the future”, don’t just try to wriggle out of it — look at what the universe is trying to show you. What can you learn from this situation? This is a fantastic time to re-examine, accept and move on.
Use the things you’ve discovered in the past to create a dazzling new vision so that you’re ready to blast ahead when Mercury goes direct!
If you want more tips, read 10 Magical Ways To Make The Most Of Mercury Retrograde!
Fingers crossed for the next few weeks, and best of luck to you!
Love and sanity,
25 September 2013, 12:25
I had a very human week last week. I don’t know whether it was PMS, jet-lag, crazy astrological influences or the post-holiday blues. Maybe it was a combination of all four. But maybe it had more to do with the fact that, after racing around Europe for two weeks, it all hit me like a ton of bricks when I finally had a moment to rest.
I didn’t post anything on the blog. I didn’t answer any emails. Mostly, I lay in bed. I wore sweatpants more often than usual. My husband took me out for vegan ice-cream sundaes and held my hand a lot. (He’s a good man.)
A week later, I snapped out of it.
But it reminded me that we’re all human. We all have those days, weeks, months even. And we have to be gentle with ourselves. You can get impatient about it all you like, but it won’t do you any good. You just have to ride it out.
I did a few different things which I felt contributed to busting me out of my bad mood, and I’ve written them down here. I did so partially for my own reference, but for yours too. I think the major thing I’ve learned from this last week is that there’s not necessarily one way to explode a bad mood. There is no magic bullet. (Though having said this, I totally forgot about EFT, and I’m sure it would have done a lot of good!)
Here’s the combination that did it for me…
I browsed Pinterest.
Usually I think of this as a relatively pointless activity, but when you’re really feeling down in the dumps and you stumble upon some art which wakes you up and inspires you, it can make a world of difference. You simply cannot underestimate the power of art.
I watched things that made me laugh.
I spent plenty of time on the couch watching old episodes of New Girl and, unbelievably, Zoolander for the first time ever! (How had I never seen it before?! I do not know!) If you need suggestions, check out 33 Movies To Watch When You’re Sad, Glum Or Bummed Out. Anything that makes you laugh out loud has to be good for you!
I worked out as much as possible.
It shocks me to the core to say this, but I’m a confirmed gym bunny. In school, I would always blame my asthma and claim I couldn’t participate in any kind of physical activity, but these days I like nothing better than really using my body and testing the extent of my abilities. And I don’t just love the way it makes my body look, I also adore the way it makes me feel. It gets my endorphins firing, and I walk out of the gym feeling like a new woman. Bonus points if you work out with someone you like. My personal trainer and Pilates instructor always make me laugh.
I went for walks and took photos.
This is one of my favourite activities: just walking around in the city, slowing down and noticing the great things around you. The weird outfits, the wacky hairstyles, the cool, funny, subversive and bizarre street art, the way the light hits the buildings… It gets me out of my own head, and encourages me to see with new eyes.
I focussed my intention and lit candles.
Pick a candle colour that relates to what you want — pink for happiness, yellow for joy, green for prosperity, blue for calm, etc. — close your eyes, focus on what you would like to transpire, and then light that sucker.
I went out and saw my friends.
...Even though I really didn’t want to. #hermitlife! After two and a half weeks of non-stop socialising, truthfully the last thing I wanted to do was see more people. But I know that when I force myself out of the house, see my friends, laugh and have some kind of adventure, I always feel so much better. So that’s what I did… And it was great.
I talked on the phone.
And crucially, I talked to people about their problems rather than my own. (Especially since I actually have none. I was just in a slump, which is even boring to discuss!) Concentrating on someone else and talking through their issues made it easy for me to forget about my own stuff for a while.
I surrounded myself with good fragrances.
Never forget how marvellous a beautiful fragrance can make you feel, and even if you still feel awful, you’ll get a momentary boost any time you lift your wrist to your nose. I lathered up with Pacifica Persian Rose Body Wash, spritzed my office and hair with Level Naturals Jasmine Rose spray, and dabbed Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille on my wrists. (I love to layer scents, clearly, and this is a winning combination.)
I got a massage.
This was the thing that really pulled me out of my slump. Getting a good tenderising, aka being massaged into another dimension by someone skilled and competent (in my case, Emma at East Village Spa) can work wonders. (If a spa day isn’t in the cards for you, see if a massage school needs any volunteers, or talk your lover/BFF/sister into giving you a good rub-down.) I use any massage as an opportunity for meditation: when anything comes into my mind, I make a practice of just dropping it, and I visualise it falling from my head and down through the floor. By the time you hop off the table, your mindset is totally transformed.
I listened to good music in the sunshine.
After my massage, I put on my headphones and walked home in the sunshine, listening to Fat Freddy’s Drop... And I felt the final clouds around my mind and spirit lift.
I’m so thankful to be back to my old self, and to be feeling sassy and optimistic again. PHEW. What a relief.
I’m curious: what do you do when a bad mood grabs you by the shoulders and refuses to let go? Add to the conversation on Facebook!
Illustration by Michelle.
16 September 2013, 12:11
Photo by Made U Look.
When I came back from London last week, the temperature in NYC had cooled off considerably. We’re still being treated to balmy afternoons, but the mornings are crisp and the days feel shorter.
Whether you’re looking forward to layering up and embracing the fall or not, make the most of your summer before it disappears! Here’s a list of 50 things to do before summer ends…
Buy a stack of old MAD magazines from a second-hand bookshop and read them on the grass, in the sun.
Take lots of photos of you and your friends enjoying the weather. Bonus points if you use an Instax or Polaroid camera!
Wear something totally inappropriate and go out dancing. Stay up ‘til dawn.
Make at least one new friend.
Lie in bed in the morning, with the windows open and good music playing loudly.
Take an outdoor yoga class, and wriggle your toes in the grass.
Eat black cherries and spit the stones into a silver bowl.
Flirt with someone of the same sex.
Have a picnic in a tree!
Buy an inflatable paddling pool, lie in it and take self-portraits.
Take a dog for a walk (if you don’t have one, borrow someone else’s!).
Trust your intuition…
Climb on a jungle-gym, play on a swing, zip down a slide.
Explore a new area — even if it’s just another neighbourhood.
Kiss someone new!
Choose a project to start working on over winter…
Get a deluxe spa pedicure. Try not to wriggle too much when they scrub your tootsies!
Buy a hula-hoop and start learning tricks!
Throw a party in celebration of how goddamn fabulous you are.
Make a point of wearing all of your favourite summer dresses.
Go to the beach and build a sand-castle.
Stock up on jangly bracelets and unusual rings at a flea market.
Start writing a journal (or a Radical Self Love Bible).
Have a slumber party with a friend, giggle all night long, and go out for breakfast in the morning.
Go to a rooftop party, and put sparklers in your purse.
Learn a couple of sweet sentences in another language.
Take some risks, and make a couple of choices which make you nervous.
Go for a bike ride with your best friend.
Get a massage which makes you feel as if your body’s melting!
Rock a fabulous sun-hat while you still can.
Visit some of the weirdest tourist attractions in your own city.
Go bare-legged as often as possible!
Experiment with fake tan if you haven’t already.
Sneak into a swimming pool.
Do something that your parents or friends disapprove of…
Take the vacation days you have owing, and go and do something magnificent!
Sign up for an art class.
Spend some quality alone time in saucy underwear.
Carry a tiny water-gun in your purse…
Go skinny-dipping with your BFF.
Start to believe that you can truly have whatever you want!
Make a commitment to wearing heels at least one day a week.
Try every different bottled iced tea at your local shop.
Lie around in the grass with your sunglasses and a pair of headphones on. Bliss.
Buy flowers and arrange them yourself.
Keep a secret.
Swear off drama!
Send your friends notes telling them how much you love them.
Make a mixtape which commemorates your summer.
17 June 2013, 11:25
Hooray! June 18th is International Picnic Day… And you’d be mad to miss out! What could be better than eating outside on a huge blanket? Nothing, that’s what!
Here, then, is my guide to the perfect picnic. I’d love to see your pictures — tag ‘em on Instagram with #internationalpicnicday!
When it comes to planning a picnic, my advice is to keep it simple. When you try to orchestrate some mammoth shindig, you are inevitably more stressed out, and less inclined to kick your shoes off and quaff champagne from the bottle!
So, make it easy on yourself and don’t go insane with planning. As tempted as you may be to bust out the calligraphy pens and wax seals, it’s not a wedding… It’s just lunch in a park.
Give your friends a bit of advance notice, and make it low pressure. Tell them to bring something easy and delicious, and that’s all there is to it.
(If you’d prefer to keep it small and low-key, you can have a picnic on a park bench with your BFF. Wear killer shoes, pop a bottle of bubbly, and enjoy yourselves!)
Food is a pretty major part of the picnicking experience. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want anything to get soggy, nor should it be something which needs to be served cold. A few hours laid out on a blanket will transform even the most artfully-arranged sandwich into a wilted mess. The best thing to do is make things as you go. At the supermarket, fill a few paper boxes with various salads and cold cuts. Then grab a fresh loaf of bread, a knife, and some condiments so people can DIY their own sandwiches.
Be sure to pack some chocolates, too, and bring along a couple of bottles of lemonade. If you want to get fancy, Martha has oodles of ideas. (Of course she does!)
In the name of practicality, you should always be sure to bring napkins, tea towels (you will need them for all kinds of eventualities), salt and pepper, cutlery and serving utensils. It’s also fabulous to bring an extra sheet that can be used to designate the table/food display area in the middle of your main blanket. (It will inevitably get food and spills on it, and it’s easier to throw a sheet in the wash than your picnic rug.)
You will need a picnic basket, of course, and why not get something that makes you smile? This watermelon picnic basket makes me grin and it’s a meagre $38.99. This turquoise wicker basket is $16 and cute as all get out. Alternatively, you could pack up a suitcase!
The same thing goes for a good picnic blanket. When I was a kid, we had a tartan wool blanket that we’d use for picnics, and it did the job perfectly. But of course, once you start browsing Etsy, you realise how cool the options are. I’m in love with this waterproof teal chevron job…
Second to food (and, I suppose, guests), it’s vital that you bring a camera… Or three. Yes, yes, your iPhone will do the trick, but why not bring along something fun to play with? It’s no secret that I am an unabashed fan of the Instax camera, but I also love Dianas, Holgas, old Polaroids, and new Polaroids!
A picnic isn’t a success because of the food: the food is really just an excuse to meet up. What makes a picnic fantastic is the atmosphere you create. The location, the guests, the music and the general conviviality of the event are what really counts.
Tarot cards are always a hit — I love The Wild Unknown deck — as are normal playing cards. (Why not buy some retro nude cards to spice things up?) If you want to really score some points, bring a croquet set!
Be sure to bring some bug spray, since there’s nothing worse than a honking great bug bite on your leg, and you could throw a couple of citronella candles in your basket too. (These will be so fabulous, flickering once the sun goes down.)
Cool Breeze Shirtdress; Kitty Shades; Crystal Collar Necklace; Crystal Clear Choker; Kiefer Sneakers; Like Sugar Satchel; Candy Cord Necklace; Crystalline Orb Ring; Danica Oxfords; Aceline Crochet Dress.
The real question, of course, is what to wear? You can never go wrong with candy-coloured pastels and shocking pink sunglasses…
In my opinion, one of the very best things to wear to a picnic is an a-line skirt: it will fan out around you gracefully when you sit down, and you will be able to kneel and lean and lie down once you’re full of lemonade with no fear of flashing your knickers. (Unless flashing your knickers is your modus operandi, in which case, by all means, wear a very short dress!) My pick is a strawberry pink chiffon pleated skirt, which will go with practically anything, but complements white brilliantly. (Very tennis chic.)
Flat shoes are an excellent choice: they’ll enable you to run around, climb trees, and schlep picnic baskets across neverending lawns. You must admit that stiletto heels sinking into the grass and mud is not the most chic experience. From black and white Oxfords to polka-dot Keds, the options are endless.
Be sure to add a hat to your ensemble: they are an essential, especially if you’re sitting outside all day. Sunstroke never adds to the atmosphere, darling! American Apparel does the best hats — surprising but true — in both solid colours and multi-coloured stripes. Swoon!
If you want some additional inspiration, this is one of my favourite pieces of writing about picnics. Here’s to a perfect picnic season…
Grass stains and big grins,
Title photo from Love Simone. The other babe is from Vogue Italia.
3 April 2013, 15:16
Photo by Ysa Perez.
Recently, I’ve been feeling an urge… An urge to get another tattoo. Eeeeeeeeee!!!
My two half-sleeves have absolutely no meaning. I came up with the designs, but I only got them because they were pretty, not for any other reason. People ask me all the time what my tattoos mean, and there is no explanation. As annoying as it can be when people ask “what does that mean?”, it’s even more annoying not to have an answer!
But lately I’ve been thinking about getting another tattoo, something new which actually does have meaning to me: probably something related to radical self love, magic and manifesting. At the moment, it’s just a rough concept… I definitely need some inspiration!
All of this makes me excited to tune into season two of Best Ink, which is on Oxygen tonight (10-11pm ET)! Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a peek into the world of tattoo artistry!
Best Ink is cool: twelve tattoo artists compete every week for a chance at $100,000 (!!!) and a cover story in Tattoo magazine. You see all kinds of work, meet many different personalities, and definitely get a fair few ideas for tattoos!
This season is being hosted by Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy, and judged by Joe Capobianco, Sabina Kelley and Hannah Aitchison (total girl crushes!). Ugh, I can’t wait to watch!
Since we got to Los Angeles, Kat and I have been talking non-stop about how we’d like to have our current tattoos reworked, and what we’d like to get in the future. We’ve been walking around Hollywood, staring into the windows of tattoo studios, thinking, dreaming and plotting…
Do you have tattoos? Are you happy with them? Would you ever have them reworked or removed? Tell me all about it!
Ink and needles,
This post was made possible with the generous support of Best Ink!
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