22 June 2011, 15:27
This article was originally published on March 15th, 2007, but given the amount of emails I receive on this very subject (boo!), it was clearly time to sass it up & repost it! Everything I said back then rings true today. I hope this isn’t an article you need, but if it is, then I send you all the love in the world. xoxox
“It’s over.” Boom. Now what?
People deal with the end of relationships in various ways. Some people go the healthy route (lots of therapy, good food, exercise & meditation, for example) & some go the unhealthy way (plenty to drink, sex with anyone who pays them a compliment, copious amounts of drugs which result in an annoying facial tic).
However you deal with it, the point is that it drives everyone a little mad. It is a harrowing time. It’s scary & heart-wrenching & makes you angry & is definitely a time for waterproof mascara. Even the tiniest thing can set you off. It’s okay to go — or simply be — a little nuts during this time. Honestly, it’s what is expected!
If you have recently given your lover the flick, or been the flickee, it’s important to allow yourself time to deal with it. You need to go easy on yourself. A simple way to do this is by getting your hands on a calendar. Work out the day you broke up on — say June 22nd. Page forward three months, to September. On the space for September 15th, write, “Get over it!” You now have three months worth of absolute wallowing. Cry, scream, watch episodes of Sex & The City & scream, “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO AIDEN?!” Just do whatever you like. You may not need those three months, or even want them — but you have just given yourself permission to deal with the fall-out, toxic or otherwise.
The biggest break-up of my life was compounded by a transference of emotion which went awry. Terrible. (Read about transference — I think it’s pretty common, especially transference of emotion from your ex to a new paramour.) In my case, I’d left my boyfriend & totally ruined things with someone else, who had turned out to be a creep with no scruples whatsoever. I was living alone, miles from my friends & family, & I was incredibly lonely a lot of the time. I was working my ass off in a job which was kind of fun but paid badly, & one of my staff was nasty & malicious, with the ability to destroy your day with a simple comment. It was a bad time. Believe me.
How did I get through it? I listened to a lot of Fiona Apple, I smoked a lot of cigarettes (), I sat in bed every night with a bottle of Johnnie Walker & wrote stories — mostly stories about my love life, which were pretty dark, really. I went for long walks & cried myself to sleep, I didn’t eat much, & I considered moving home to live with my parents. Obviously, I was in a pretty bad emotional state, it was a very ugly time. Please don’t follow my example, it is a terrible one!
Instead, try the following…
Seriously, go easy on yourself
Just do what you want! Use this newfound freedom to actually do things you enjoy… Like watching every single teenage cheerleading movie you love, or listening to really loud apocalyptic folk music. Sleep when you want to, eat in bed, do whatever feels right. Indulge yourself! Luxuriate in what YOU want to do!
Spend time with your friends
If you, like so many other people, have slightly abandoned your friends in favour of your lover (a terrible sin), you need to make it up to them. Take them out for coffee, a meal, go to the park, go shopping, talk a lot. Apologise. If you didn’t abandon them, do the same things, but less apologising! Your friends are so essential at this time, so make good use of them & be as kind to them as possible.
If you don’t have a lot of friends, make an effort to be social & get out of the house. During the break-up I mentioned earlier, I enrolled for a creative writing course at the university near my house. We met up once a week on a Tuesday night & would workshop everything the other people had written. It was really good for me & definitely helped boost my confidence (I was the youngest person in the class & they really helped me come out of my shell). It also made me feel like I was good at something, rather than feeling like a big Love Trainwreck. You might want to try something similar, friends or no.
Try not to talk about Mickey or Griselda too much!
I know that a little ex-obsession is normal, but after a while you will begin to sound like a broken record & your friends will be sitting on their hands, trying not to maim you! After the break-up, allow yourself two weeks maximum to talk about your ex, then go cold turkey. No more! It’s not helping you, & you’re annoying everyone else. (Trust me!)
If you must think about it, get a notebook & start writing. I have filled up several notebooks this way. When I was obsessing over one particular person — & really, it was obsession — I used to write about him on the bus on the way to work, on all my lunchbreaks, on the way home, & after dinner. It is crazy, I can’t believe I had so many thoughts! But, well, I did. & getting it all down really, really helped.
Find some kind of outlet
Do something to keep your mind occupied. It’s important to have something else to focus on. Throwing yourself into a grand project is a great way to get your mind off your ex & help move you forward.
If you’re an artistic sort, then do what comes naturally — paint or write or make music to your heart’s content. It is incredibly therapeutic. If you’re not very artistic, indulge yourself in sports, languages, books, record collecting, shopping, baking, angry cross-stitch, buying an entire house worth of furniture, etc.! Do whatever feels right to you.
Look after your body
If most of the year you are a complete slob like the rest of us, this is one time when you should really look after yourself. Eat as well as you can — don’t just resort to Burger King every night. Try & eat lots of fruit & vegetables, drink plenty of water (especially if your beautiful eyes insist on spilling so much of it!), sleep as much as you feel you need to & get a bit of exercise. You don’t have to go & make a mess of yourself in a gym somewhere, just go for a good walk every so often or ride your bike to the sea or something.
Again, after my last break-up, I would walk to & from work (it was about 45 minutes in each direction). I would take my camera with me & listen to my mp3 player & think. It was a really great experience & use of my time, even though I was miserable. I actually sometimes miss that walk.
Don’t do the “friends” thing
If your ex wants to stay friends, say no. If you want to be their friend, hold yourself back. TRUST ME when I say that it NEVER WORKS. It might work for a few months, but then the poop will hit the fan & you do not want to be around for it! Seriously!
If you are meant to be friends, it will happen again once you’ve both dealt with the demise of the relationship, but don’t force it. Especially while one or both of you are angry/grieving/scared/lonely/on the prowl. You don’t want to hear about their new lover, right? Ouch. Delete their phone number & email address, it will be good for you. Feels good.
Don’t sleep with them again!
I know, it’s very easy to do. But just don’t. It only complicates things further.
Don’t get back together without a lot of consideration
The same problems you used to have are probably still there. Why would it be any better this time? Try to engage the logical side of your brain as much as possible & if you’re not sure, WAIT!
Indulge in a little radical self lovin’!
Go to the movies alone & eat a jumbo box of popcorn, get a massage, have a manicure, clean the house (it will make you feel great), buy a good pair of shoes. Scream if you want to. Buy new sex toys. Punch pillows if you’re really angry (I never found that very satisfying but for some people it works a treat).
Don’t jump into another relationship or sleep with anyone…
No matter how perfect they seem! You’re probably not ready & it might take you a while, so give yourself some time. I know it’s tempting to go out seeking positive attention & compliments, but if you can practise a little self-control, it will turn out much better.
Just leaping into bed with someone new — before you’ve dealt with your emotions about your last lover — will end in a terrible mess, & it won’t take long for your new lover to realise they are a rebound. I think everyone has done this at least once before, but let’s learn from our mistakes & not do it again, huh?!
Read uplifting books & watch movies which make you happy
Here are some suggestions if you don’t know where to start — they run the gamut from funny to insightful to bizarre & inspiring.
Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block. Fear Of Flying by Erica Jong. What’s Not To Love? by Jonathan Ames. The Unbearable Lightness Of Being by Milan Kundera. The Princess Bride by William Goldman. T.A.Z. by Hakim Bey (available online). Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami. Pronoia Is The Antidote For Paranoia by Rob Brezsny. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. I also heartily recommend anything by John Steinbeck, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Roald Dahl, Franz Kafka or Charles Bukowski.
As for movies, my taste is questionable at best — I watch New York Minute often. Yes, the movie featuring Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen. I love it & I am not ashamed! However, I did write a cute little piece called 33 Movies To Watch When You’re Sad, Glum Or Bummed Out!
Really though, in winter, there is nothing better than going home with a huge stack of books from the library on bizarre subjects. Yesterday at the library I saw something like, “A Complete Illustrated History of Cannibalism”, which is about the best thing I can think of!
Think about yourself
What do you want for yourself? What do you want to do in the future? Did your boyfriend hate Europe which prevented you from travelling there? Well guess what baby, you can do it now! Take time to work out who you are again. Sometimes in a relationship it is hard to know where the couple ends & you begin. I evolve so much whenever I break up with someone (!), & completely for the better.
Photo by Gaby J Photography.
Maybe you’re wondering how my most horrible break-up turned out. Well, within a year, I had travelled to four countries, moved internationally, started my own business, gone camping in a desert full of crazy people (also called Burning Man), obtained another half-sleeve tattoo, dyed my hair pink, removed all my piercings, started wearing COLOUR & embracing it, shaken off depression & an eating disorder, stopped biting my nails, & met someone new (who I was with for almost two years). Lots of other stuff happened too, like I had my first chocolate & peanut butter milkshake, oh my god, so good!... but they’re not major things!
Life goes on & it is amazing regardless of whether you have a lover or not!
Being single is fantastic. It can be lonely sometimes, but you will grow to enjoy your own company & really embrace life again soon, I promise. Everybody gets through it, even though I know right now it might seem like the most devastatingly hideous thing ever.
Please be good to yourself. Lots of kisses, let me know how you’re getting on & if there’s anything I can do to help you. Chin up, cutie!
20 April 2011, 11:49
“I don’t want children!
I noticed on your post today that you mentioned that you never want kids. I’m the same way and the problem is, I’ve been married for 6 years now and I get pressured ALL the time from friends and family to start “popping out babies” and it’s so frustrating! I’m not sure if you get the same thing, but I’m 26 years old and to always get nagged about this issue as if my ovaries are on the brink of shriveling up like little raisins is SO annoying.
I love my husband, love my animals, love my job and my friends and my life! It’s gotten to the point where I’m being told by my parents that my “biological clock is ticking” and my mother in law dropping hints left and right about how “cute” our children would be.
How would you suggest that I could tell them nicely to drop the issue?
I’m going to kick this piece off by saying that I am not criticising people who choose to have children. That is awesome, & I hope you have a beautiful, healthy family which brings you lots of joy! But this piece is for people on the other side of the fence. Everyone loves a pregnant woman, but if you say you never wanna go there, they think there is something wrong with you! That’s what I’m going to be addressing today.
GIRL. Let me just say I empathise — more than you know! I feel like people are constantly bugging me about children & I’m not even married! Give me a break!
Just a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine said to me — this is a direct quote, I am not making any of this up — “Oh, you’re 27 now, BUT YOU’LL BE 33 SOON & YOUR UTERUS WILL BE POUNDING LIKE A TOM-TOM !”
I gave him the most withering look I could muster! It is immensely frustrating when people act like they are an authority on YOU. They are not!
I am child-free & I plan to be for the rest of my life. I am not anti-children, I just feel that it is not the best place for me to put my energy. My father reaffirmed this for me a few years ago!
“Don’t have children, Gala,” he said. “There are other things you could do with your life.”
I agree with him. Sometimes when I recount this story, people look at me like I must be some kind of unloved orphan! Nothing could be further from the truth — I am the ultimate doted-on child! — & I love my father even more for his ability to be objective about having children.
For some people, it is just not the be-all & end-all! I am one of them. There are simply other things I want to do with my life.
I am really excited for my friends to have kids. Almost every girl I know has been dreaming of babies since the dawn of time! I know they will make rad mothers, & I am psyched to meet their children, be a weirdo auntie & come bearing gifts. I am totally down for the cause! Sometimes I see my boyfriend playing with our friend’s kids & think that he would make the Best Daddy Ever. But it is just not for me, & I am lucky that it’s not high on his agenda either.
I accept that this may change with time! I HIGHLY doubt it but hey! Never say never. Maybe I will have 3 kids by the time I am 35. The decision not to have children has never bothered or vexed me. I am perfectly satisfied. The only really irritating part of the whole experience is when people ask you about it, & upon hearing your answer, act like they know you better than you know yourself. Especially when you’ve only just met.
“Oh, you,” they say, looking down their nose EVER-so-slightly. “You think you know it all now… HO HO HO! But life is going to wallop you! Just you wait! You’ll be barefoot & pregnant before you know it!”
Not if I can help it, buddy!
It is totally okay — in fact, perfectly wonderful — not to have children.
I wanted to throw that in there, just in case you haven’t been told lately! Everyone’s life is different, everyone’s purpose is different, & sometimes having kids just isn’t right for you. That is A-OKAY!
The issue you’re having is twofold. Firstly, society expects women to have children. It is, to some people, our entire reason for existing. Not to make art, earn a billion bucks, fall in love, or become an adventurer — just to make babies. To them, if you don’t give birth, you are slighting womankind, up-ending the world & trashing the paradigm. It is the final insult!
Secondly, this is an issue of respect. I understand that other women especially are curious when one of the clan gets hitched. Surely, a vicious case of morning sickness & the pitter-pattering of little feet are just around the corner?! It’s normal for people to ask, but once you say you’re not interested, that should absolutely, categorically be the end of the issue!
Even I am guilty of asking my friends if children are next on the agenda, but if they say no, I reply with something like, “GREAT! That means we can continue going to Vegas together even when we look like old lizard/handbag hybrids! & just THINK of the disposable income! I foresee an overwhelmingly magnificent shoe closet in your not-so-distant future!”
There should definitely not be any, “Oh but! You’ll change your mind! & think how CUTE they’d be! Come on! It’s your womanly duty! You’ll die unfulfilled & alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!“ or any other such rot. Because really… That would make even the most stable woman a tad punchy.
What to do?
As tempting as it may be to start wearing a t-shirt which says BOO CHILDREN & hope this answers any & all questions, mostly this will just cause people to think you are a sociopath, & invitations to parties will become few & far between.
What you need is a realistic plan of attack. You shouldn’t need a speech to defend your personal choices, but clearly, you are dealing with uncivilised animals who require one. So I think you need to come up with a little sermon on the issue. Something quick, like an elevator pitch, but about your reproductive system, & not about your billion dollar idea. You can practice it in the mirror, then trot it out when well-meaning strangers start enquiring about your birth canal et al!
The real key is in being prepared. That way, you can just rattle it off without much thought, grief, or need for violence.
What you say is up to you. Be honest, be funny, put it any way you like. All that matters is that you say something decisive enough to encourage the other person to drop the issue.
I thought you might like some ideas to get you started, so I asked my friends who were not planning on having children what they said when the questions inevitably came up in conversation. Their responses were, predictably, brilliant. Here are a selection, which may inspire you (or just make you laugh!).
My friend Julia likes to say, “Why don’t you try living in NYC for a day with kids, carrying a stroller up & down the subway stairs?!“
Another friend, Orson, retorts, “I’m too much of a selfish asshole to dedicate 18+ years of my life to anything.”
Anna says, “I tell them that my PCOS has actually made me think about the lengths I’m willing to go to and because of that I know I don’t.” Her sister simply replies, “How’s YOUR sex life?”
Ruby Delicious does it with humour, claiming that “Do you WANT to know a woman who drowns her children?” usually shuts people up quickly! (I bet!!!) Or, “You’ve met my beloved. Could YOU cope with more than one of him?“
I got an email from Erin, who is 35 & who used to do my nails in Melbourne! Holler! Her response was an acerbic biggie! Here’s an excerpt.
...Also, if they already have kids, they want to feel like the made the right choice. They have to feel that way, or they’d eat their young. This is a very important thing to remember when all your friends have kids and you don’t. They are really fucking jealous of your free time, your long lie-ins, your overseas trips, and your non-poo-covered furniture. Tread lightly. Always tell them how lucky they are to have their little shit-machines. Downplay your fabulous life. “When we were skiing in Whistler I kept seeing all the little kids on skis and it was so cute!” Make them feel like they’re not trapped in suburban hell. And this is where the best response to THE QUESTION comes in. It is guaranteed to make everyone happy (probably not Italian grandmothers, but they’re never happy). When faced with THE QUESTION, you should reply, “I feel that if you want to have kids, you should want it more than you want anything else in the world, and if you don’t want it that badly, you shouldn’t have them at all. And yes, there is a part of me that is intrigued with the idea of having a baby, I just don’t want it enough.” Which is exactly how I (and my boyfriend) feel.
Natalie is sweet about it. “I smile and tell people I’ve heard that my whole life but I’m set in my ways of being the “crazy aunt” to all my friends kids!”
I love Vivian’s response. “When it comes to making babies, I love practicing and leave the real work to the professionals.” Perfect!!!
Amy said, very sanely, “Don’t want to, nor do I have a speech, I feel no need to justify my choice. Those close to me understand & thats what counts.”
Lady Dior replied, saying, “I’ve never wanted kids nor understood why people find it so hard to believe. “Maybe you’ll change your mind about being a condescending arse?”“
Tamera is wry: “But if I get pregnant, I’ll have to stop drinking.“
I received an email which said, “I’ve been following you for quite some time & your tweet regarding not having children really struck a nerve with me. I’m a 27-year-old beautiful only child who is very successful in my job… & in the closet. It’s so hard to have that same speech with my parents that ‘no mom, I’m not going to have children.’ It breaks her heart every time & it’s really hard since I don’t feel comfortable telling her why. I realize you probably get a ton of responses about why people don’t want to have children but I assumed not many would respond in this way. Don’t forget about us lezzies that aren’t ready for children :)”
As you can see, when I asked my childfree-by-choice friends on Twitter how they reacted when people questioned their life choices, my feed was FLOODED with answers. You are certainly not alone in not wanting children, or in feeling like you have to defend your lifestyle to other people. This sucks, but at least you’re not the only one.
This might give you hope, too: there were plenty of child-free women replying who are now 60 & always knew they never wanted children! (See?! Not everyone “changes their mind”!)
Carrie: I don’t even have time to eat this cookie.
Charlotte: How is it?
Carrie: It’s so good I forgot to have children.
The fact remains that one day you may have children.
Maybe it won’t even be anything to do with your biological clock — circumstances may dictate that you end up caring for a friend’s child, adopting from another country or meeting & falling in love with someone who already has a little one.
You can never say never, & I think it’s important to keep an open mind about everything in life! When it comes to big issues like this, I like to “check in” with myself once a year or so, just to see where I’m at. Thus far, my needle points unwaveringly to “childfree” on the Big Ol’ Baby Spectrum, but who knows? Maybe one day I’ll wake up, bursting with the urge to reproduce. It happens to the most unsuspecting of us!
The point is that no matter what happens, no one has the right to make you feel shitty about your choices, WHATEVER that choice may be. Ultimately, whether you have a baby or not, go to college or not, get married or not, live in a small town or a large one, get cosmetic surgery or just let nature run its course, IT IS YOUR LIFE !
You’re the only person living it, so the MOST IMPORTANT thing is that YOU are happy! There’s nothing worse than constructing your life to live up to someone else’s ideals, being miserable, & then discovering that whoever you were doing it for doesn’t even care! You have to do you, loudly, shamelessly & boldly, every day.
It does not matter what other people think. Let them concern themselves with their own nonsense & drama. I promise you that they will definitely be able to generate enough bullshit to keep themselves occupied for an entire lifetime! You don’t need to add fuel to the fire. I also promise that as soon as they’ve asked you about having children, they’ve forgotten about it immediately, & are now concerned with what to have for dinner or how to scam another sick day from work. Don’t let their thoughtless comment ruin your week, because it certainly hasn’t ruined theirs!
You are a smart woman & you love your life! That is an accomplishment in & of itself, & you should be proud. If all else fails, just channel Bobby Brown. I don’t need permission, make my own decisions, that’s my prerogative! Don’t let the bastards grind you down & keep on livin’!
Extra Credit: The Cab Driver Who Convinced Me To Have Kids. Childfreedom: Musings on the Childfree Lifestyle and our Child-Centric Society. Childfree Or Die Hard: Snappy Comebacks To Inappropriate Questions from Persephone Magazine. Thirteen Times, or childlessness & bipolar camp. The Kid Question. Feminist buttons! Having Kids Makes You Happy. Mothers Spilling Their Guts (“If you take the time to read through the comments you will see that a lot of women didn’t even want kids, but caved to the pressure put on them by others”). Don’t Worry, Be Happy (terrifying).
A Modern Gal's Guide To Femininity! (Alternate Title: Do I Have To Wear High Heels To Feel Like A "Woman"?)
6 April 2011, 13:47
Hey there Gala,
I was listening to Love & Sequins #1 yesterday and started to think about some of my limiting beliefs. One of mine is definitely that I’m not a feminine person. Sometimes I feel more manly than a man (although I am in fact a girl)! I live in Dunedin, New Zealand and go to Uni down here. I’m studying Law which is a profession dedicated to “masculine” traits, and I prefer to spend my time reading Tolstoy than gossiping about boyfriends. I know that is a huge over-generalization, but I seriously feel that a lot of the prettiest, most feminine girls I know spend a lot of their time talking about “He said, then she was like, and she said!”. I hang out with them to have a light-hearted break from life, but I can not imagine being the type of girl who thinks in these terms normally.
So how is a modern gal, who is smart, determined and ballsy also meant to retain her feminine side? I look at Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe as role models but I just can’t imagine channelling them in real life without a serious dose of giggling, eyelash battering (time consuming) stuff on the side.
Thanks for your time Gala,
Yours femininely, Olivia.
Kudos for examining your limiting beliefs! If you don’t mind, I’m going to take what you’ve said a step further & start dismantling some of your other beliefs!
From your email, it sounds like you believe that being more feminine is something you should aspire to. This is not necessarily so! The traditional gender roles are just that — traditional — & these days, things are a lot more fluid. If you’d prefer to read Tolstoy & knock back a pint than get a manicure & talk about how your boyfriend is in bed, that is entirely up to you! There are oodles of women who have fully embraced their masculine side, & the majority of them seem quite okay with it.
Sure, mainstream society will have their views. No matter how massive the strides made by the feminist movement, some people will always think that women belong in the kitchen & men belong in the boardroom. There will forever be people who are slow to catch up. But we all have different values, & it’s not your job to cater to anyone else’s view of who, or what, you should be!
I have plenty of typically “masculine” traits. I’m ambitious & driven, & I would prefer to offer solutions than listen to someone talk about their problems. These are all things that we are told are the domain of men. But at the same time, I place a high value on being “feminine”: I love wearing dresses & high heels, I’m creative & sensitive to other people’s feelings, I try (though am not always successful!) to be graceful, & I’ve made no secret of how much I love having hair extensions! These are all things we are typically told women “should be”. The truth is that most of us fall somewhere in the middle of these two ideas.
I posed your question on Twitter & the responses which rolled in were really interesting.
Haelseatsworms said, “I embody both femininity and masculinity! I care about my hair, nails, make-up, fashion and shoes.. But I love cars and football!”
Fasshonaburu said, “a “boy” trait I have is when people complain I try to figure out a solution to the problem instead of being empathetic.”
Teresa Jusino said, “It bothers me when personality traits are deemed masculine/feminine & think that’s the source of unnecessary probs.”
I received a reply from another law student, Frecklemint, who said, “As one myself I’ve noticed a real cookie-cutter femininity expected – makeup & nice hair, but no strong opinions/ambitions.”
Juliette Maxwell added, “I’m an engineer and I have somewhat “boy” tastes like videogames, computers, comics, etc but I also love to play with my hair, my make up. I try to eat healthy and I like being treated like a lady.”
(Being “treated like a lady” is another topic unto itself!)
From your email, your view of femininity seems to be more about aesthetics or appearances. It might help to expand your vision of what it means to be a woman.
When I think of typically female traits, it’s not all about false eyelashes or obsessive shoe-shopping. It also brings to mind empathy, sensitivity, curiosity, a desire to help, a hardcore work ethic & a fierce drive to protect what you care about most. I think of passion, intuition, communication, wisdom & creativity.
Who are some female role models that you really identify with, or aspire to be like? Maybe you are more Marie Curie than Marie Antoinette; a touch more Kelly Cutrone than Kelly Bundy — & that’s awesome! Think about what a yawn life would be if we were all the same! There is only room for one Paris Hilton in this world, after all.
You mentioned Audrey Hepburn & Marilyn Monroe, but it doesn’t sound like they inspire you any more than just being stereotypical visions of femininity. If you put some thought into it, you may be surprised to discover that your feminine role models might not even be famous or historical figures. Perhaps you’ve been more inspired in your life by your mother, aunt or high school science teacher.
Make a list of those women who have ignited your spark for learning, your drive to learn the law, & your passion for Tolstoy. What made them wonderful, strong women? What was it about them that enraptured you, that provoked your imagination or enthusiasm? Take some time to write down their most stellar qualities. Was it their commitment to furthering themselves, their savage love for their family, their devotion to helping others?
If you want to groom your feminine side, perhaps it would be a good idea to concentrate on embracing some of these traits; the positive things you associate with womanhood. How can you embody these characteristics?
The truth is that all women are different. Wearing high heels doesn’t make you weak or stupid, & wearing combat boots doesn’t make you tough or smart. Making the choice to pursue education doesn’t make you a more valuable or productive member of society than choosing to have a family. Yes, some women love to talk about their boyfriends (guilty as charged!), but plenty of those same women also enjoy discussing literature, business, ethics & social issues (also, guilty as charged!).
If you’d rather ride dirt-bikes than get dolled up, that is okay! Conversely, if you’d go shopping than work on your car, that’s fine too! The majority of what we view as “feminine behaviour” is a social construct. (You can read more way more about this on social construction of gender difference.) Whether you buy into it or not is your choice!
No one is asking you to don 6” heels in a quest to be feminine. Nor are you expected to behave like a parody of Carrie Bradshaw to be validated as a woman. Femininity doesn’t have to be soft or sweet, just like masculinity doesn’t have to be rough & tough. It’s a huge sliding scale, & only you can know where you want to place yourself. Furthermore, only you can put yourself there. It is something that you control, entirely.
Expand your view a little bit. No one is 100% masculine or 100% feminine, no matter what they may claim! One only has to consider the supersonic rise of Andrej Pejic, the first & last word in androgyny, to see this! Check out Girls Will Be Boys, a photo documentary following people “who live within a spectrum of gender identities including butch, tomboy, aggressive, gender queer & transgender”, & if you want to discover a variety of rad tomboy icons, have a read of Tomboy Style (great blog!). Further to that, you don’t have to be queer to appreciate the plethora of amazing lesbian heroines in our culture. Dorothy Surrenders is an excellent place to start!
If all else fails, why not take a lesson from your boy Leo?
4 April 2011, 11:36
Cherry blossoms fill the trees, sunshine is warming the streets & last night I went out without my coat! Yes, spring has officially sprung, & with it comes the short, sweet lead-up to summer — those dulcet days during which everything & nothing happens all at once. It’s time for ice-cream which drips down chins, fireflies at dusk & splashing in the waves; impromptu picnics, sun-kissed shoulders & oversized sunglasses… & not a moment too soon.
After this last winter, which truly seemed as if it would never end, I swore to myself that I would never take another summer for granted. This season, expect to see me out & about, & having the time of my life!
Here, then, is my prescription for a long, hot summer. Most of the items are frivolous, but some are essential. What’s in your summer survival stockpile?
50. Something in polka-dot print. If you ask me, polka-dots are the ultimate summer print — yes, even more than florals! There’s something wonderfully optimistic about polka-dots, & they make people so happy.
Experiment with dots! Paint them on your nails, try a polka-dot bandage skirt or spotty shoes! They will elevate your mood with little to no fuss!
49. A bright satchel to carry your essentials. Banish your black handbag to the back of the closet until winter comes a-knocking. For spring & summer, you need a bright, light bag for toting around your knick-knacks.
I like the Kate Spade Essex in pink (of course!), & Cambridge Satchel Company is doing fluorescent satchels, as well as their standard colours (green, navy, purple, pink, yellow, red). Some of you will remember that I bought a 13” purple satchel from them ages ago. It’s one of my favourite bags. Well, I couldn’t stop at just one! You can see my (brand-spankin’ new!) 11” pink fluorescent satchel in the picture above! Isn’t she a stunner? (Here’s a secret: I had PLAYGIRL blind-embossed across the front. LOVE!)
48. A fantastic pair of sunglasses. Not only are they the ultimate fashion accessory, they also stop you from constantly squinting your eyes, which means (theoretically?!) that you will be less crinkle-eyed as you age!
I am living in my Lumete sunglasses at the moment: the Attic Safari in crushed berries & the Wanderling in cosmos black. The Wanderling are my perfect daily go-to pair, while the Crushed Attic are exactly what I want when I’m feeling like a 1970s “band-aid”... ! If you haven’t found your perfect pair of sunnies yet, hop to it! You’ll need them soon enough!
47. A pair of t-strap heels. They’re perfect with sundresses & best of all, they’ll stay on your feet!
46. A Fujifilm Instax camera. I adore mine! It travelled with us to Paris & Reykjavik, & we got such great mileage out of it. It’s also a marvellous way to document your spring/summer, which is going to be the best ever, RIGHT?!
45. Candy-coloured nailpolish, or fun nail stickers. I am obsessed with press-on designs, like Sally Hansen, Sephora by OPI, & Minx. My Minx pink cheetah nails were the happiest manicure I’ve ever had! Minx can get expensive but honestly, the Sally Hansen & Sephora alternatives are just as good, actually (in my experience) last longer, & are much less costly!
44. A wonderful new perfume, precisely because you want to smell intoxicating & enchanting when you’re getting close to that someone special!
In fact, just recently I went on a search for The Perfect Summer Scent — & I suggest you do the same! Testing out new perfumes can be like putting on a fancy dress costume, but when you find the right one, it’s like slipping into your favourite dress. Totally worth the effort!
43. Feather earrings. What could be more definitive of summer than a pair of feather earrings? (Nothing, that’s what!)
I have a few pairs, picked up all over the place, but my favourites were designed by me & handmade by Jessie Williams at Edge Of Urge. I legitimately think you’d be hard-pressed to find better — especially since you can make them look any way you like!
42. Stripes. Embrace the stripes! You can wear ‘em so many ways — make them nautical, make them French, make them Burton... Whatever you decide, do it with a big dose of attitude!
41. A fantastic mixtape (or playlist, you kids!) featuring your favourite hits from the ’70s, ’80s & ’90s! Summer isn’t summer without a soundtrack… So hop to it!
40. A bottle of really good sunscreen (that you can wear under your foundation!). My vote is for Neutrogena’s Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock. I recommend it every summer for a reason! It’s lovely, it dries quickly, & it won’t block your pores. It’s wonderful for wearing under make-up, & you can even buy tiny little bottles, perfect for throwing in your handbag.
Don’t skimp on sunscreen! You’ll pay for it later!
39. A getaway, because no matter how fab it is wherever you are, the grass is always greener! My suggestion? Grab your best friend, book a ticket or rent a car, & just escape for a week. You’ll feel like a totally new person by the time you get back!
38. An asssortment of sundresses. They’re the ultimate summer uniform. From overdyed slips layered with t-shirts to fabulous fit & flare frocks from the ’50s, they’re a perfect no-brainer. Just throw them on, pick a pair of shoes, & go! (Etsy & eBay are my favourite sources for unique dresses!)
37. A bright, colourful headscarf for disguising bad hair days. You can cover your entire head with it, fold it into a thin strip & wear like a headband, or even twist it up into a turban style. Why not have a signature scarf this season?
36. A flirtation with a longer length skirt. Don’t be afraid of the maxi-skirt (or even one which hits you at mid-shin, called “tea length”)! They are wonderful, elegant & flattering, no matter your height. I bought a black suede tea length skirt on eBay a couple of months ago & have pretty much been wearing it non-stop since then!
Tips: If your skirt is tight, wear a loose shirt or sweater. Likewise, if your skirt is big & billowing, wear something fitted on your top half. Always wear heels or wedges to give a little extra height, & don’t skimp on accessories! A wrist full of bangles, a jumbo necklace, a pair of sunglasses or a fab hat all work so well with a longer skirt!
35. A new haircut. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with a new ‘do! I feel like cutting your hair is symbolic of a fresh start, & a way of casting off all your old baggage. It marks the welcoming of a bold new age!
So, what’s stopping you?! Cut that fringe, get hot pink streaks, have it straightened or go for a pixie cut! You always know a girl is about to change her life when she changes her hair…
34. Someone to kiss. ...Preferably someone cute, smart, & 100% worth your time! Although, I always liked this quote…
“A girl can wait for the right man to come along, but in the meantime that doesn’t mean she can’t have a wonderful time with all the wrong ones.” (Cher)
33. Healthy but tasty snacks!
The truth is that I have always been a “snacker”. Try as I might, I am physically incapable of eating a big meal in one sitting — my body just can’t process it, nor does it want to! So I graze throughout the day, & always have. I remember my teachers at school getting mad at me for always hiding snacks in my pencil-case & eating them when their backs were turned! It is just who I am!
Of course, when you start talking about snacks, what you really want is variety. You can’t eat the same thing all the time. I have a few perennial favourites — rice crackers, celery with hummus, apple wedges with almond butter, & um, candy of all kinds — but I recently discovered something I LOVE. Even better, it’s (relatively) healthy & comes in convenient little zip-lock bags!
Next Organics take this obscenely good dark chocolate (70% cacao) & dip good things into it. Things like apricots, pieces of coconut, chunks of ginger, & cherries. (They also do banana, walnuts, almonds, goji berries, cashews & brazil nuts!) Plus, they’re VEGAN, with no added nasties. Hello, I am in heaven! I first stumbled across these at JFK of all places, & have been obsessed ever since. Imagine my delight when I found them on Amazon! You better believe my office is stocked to the gills with these little bags!
32. A (non-plastic) water bottle. There are about a trillion reasons not to use plastic water bottles, not least of which are the devastating impact they have on the environment & the fact that the chemicals in the plastic sneak into your water! Gross!
Ditch the plastic. Instead, get your mitts on a good canteen so that you can stay hydrated on the go!
31. Some mints for your handbag, but choose wisely! Most mints contain terrifying ingredients, like aspartame, & chewing gum is terrible for your digestive system. Other than popping a drop of peppermint oil into your water bottle (yum!), there are a few brands of mints of the market which are less vile!
VerMints (ha!) are organic, kosher, lactose-free & gluten-free, as well as being entirely free of nasty fake sweeteners. Sugar isn’t the best thing in the world for you, but it’s better than chemicals!
30. Cute tank tops to tuck into high-waisted skirts. I like to (somewhat obsessively) browse eBay & Etsy looking for fun vintage ones — I recently picked up an amazing knitted Betsey Johnson tank, which is pink & red, with “S&M” stitched on the front, for $12!
Alternatively, you can embellish standard issue tanks, like Erica from P.S. I Made This!
29. A new favourite drink. Whether it’s wine, beer, a special cocktail or even a fancy non-alcoholic lemonade, everyone needs some kind of ritzy tipple. Bring back cocktail hour within your home! Become a grog genius… A mistress of the martini!
A good place to start? The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, by Dale DeGroff.
28. A fantastic clutch. I am a little obsessed with clutches — I blame Kelly of The Glamourai. When we were in Vegas, she was running around looking all chic with her selection of clutches, while I felt like a disorganised mess with my oversized handbag! Shortly thereafter, I bought my first clutch — vintage, from the ’50s, clear lucite with rhinestones! — & I’ve never looked back.
So. This electric blue leather one, by Celine, pictured, has been all over the neenernet, & with good reason: IT IS FANTASTIC ! It is also extremely expensive. Don’t fret, pet — American Apparel has ‘em too, for about 1/10th of the price. (I know, I know, American Apparel, scandal, awkward, etc.) OR! You could NOT follow trends, & instead buy something wonderful, vintage & one-of-a-kind!
I would definitely suggest giving a clutch a go, especially if you are someone who is constantly toting a huuuuge bag. Who knows, perhaps you will find it immensely freeing, like I did?!
27. Just a little bit of fake tan.
(Alright, I know some of you uber-pale girls are cringing. That’s okay! You can skip this one.)
I love being a pale gal but I also love-love-love to brown up when I know I’m going to be exposing more skin. There are a lot of great ways to do this. You can get a spray tan, you can apply a fake tan, or you can use a gradual tanning lotion (ranked in order of most to least commitment!).
I kind of LOVE spray tans, & if you’re in New York City, Tamar from Gotham Glow is 100% your girl. Otherwise, when it comes to fake tan, Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance self tanner is fantastic (read the reviews), & almost any gradual tanner will do the trick! I’ve been playing with L’Oreal Sublime Bronze (more reviews) & I’m pretty into it!
My method d’emploi with fake tan goes like this.
Use a dry brush all over your entire body to exfoliate your dead skin.
Get in the shower & use a loofah with some exfoliating scrub to make sure there’s not one single scaly part left!
Dry off & apply moisturiser to knees, ankles & elbows.
Put on a rubber glove. Apply the fake tan in big, circular movements. This helps prevent streaks! Rub it in well.
Hang about in dark, loose clothing for the next few hours, like a goth on holiday.
26. A truly fantastic pair of heels (preferably with a bit of sparkle). Summertime calls for magic, & it’s a well-documented fact that a pair of spellbinding shoes increases your miracle quotient by at least 1000%!
25. Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion! I know, I know, the name is a little on the silly side — but it doesn’t matter when it nets you results like this! Will you just look at that photo of Tracy Anderson wearing it?!
Prtty Peaushun is a body lotion made with all natural, 92% raw ingredients, & the idea is that it acts like your very own personal lighting director. It will make your skin glow, look incandescent & really, quite luminous. Definitely a good thing to have on hand when you’re going to be showing a lot of skin & want to DAZZLE!
24. Friendship bracelets. My new obsession, but only fancy friendship bracelets! I’ve been layering them up with my sparkly watch (pictured!), & wearing several on a wrist.
I first fell in love at Henri Bendel, where they had an enormous display which I could NOT say no to! The bracelet at the bottom of the picture is what kicked it all off — it’s by Frieda & Nellie. They combine vintage rhinestone jewellery with their friendship bracelets to make them new, fresh & way too fabulous. They are $$$, but the good news is that they would make a superb DIY project! You could add crystals, charms, teeny-tiny gold nuggets — whatever you feel!
You can also buy all kinds of friendship bracelets on Etsy… It was my compulsion for at least a week! The braided bracelet with the amethyst came from Ayofemi Jewelry, & I looooove it!
23. Super-cute ankle socks with designs a-plenty. Yes ma’am! I love wearing patterned ankle socks with Mary Jane platforms, it looks so cute & finished, & you have much less chance of rubbing a big blister on your heel. Bonus!
22. A Sharpie in your handbag so you can scrawl your phone number on the arms of cute girls/boys you meet in the street. Putting your number into someone’s phone is too modern; go retro!
Sharpies are also good for signing autographs, editing signs on the fly, & professing your love for your BFF on bathroom walls! Don’t be without one!
21. A class which expands your mind. As wonderful as it would be to spend all summer lying in a deck-chair, a popsicle in one hand & your iPod in another, what will really make this summer exceptional is taking a class or two in something which intrigues you.
It doesn’t have to be a stale, boring learning environment, either. In New York City, there are places like Trade School where you can barter for classes (like “How to be a counter-culture dilettante” & “Balloon animals 101”) & The Astor Center where you can learn, for example, how to pair peanut butter & wine!
There are so many places teaching wonderful, brain-inflating courses in a fab, engaging way. Go do some research! Come back when you’ve learned something incredible!
20. A dry brush to keep your skin in tip-top condition!
It’s really easy — you can buy a dry brush from just about any health food store, & they’re cheap, too. Keep it in the bathroom, & while you’re waiting for the water to heat up for your shower or bath, use the brush to slough off all your dead cells (ewww!). Move the brush in a circular motion, up towards the heart, then have a shower, & when you clamber out, ENJOY, DELIGHT & RELISH IN your delicious-feeling skin!
It’s a great way of removing toxins from your body (since the largest organ is, after all, the skin!), not to mention making you all soft & luscious. Dry brushing should be essential for any girls with a fake tanning regimen! It’s so simple to work into your routine, too. Just have it somewhere in the bathroom where you won’t forget about it!
19. A calling/business card which says what you do. Look, you’re undoubtedly going to meet a huge handful of people this summer. You might as well give them something to remember you by! So, fire up Photoshop & start designing yourself something fab!
“Radical self love warrior”? “Dream architect”? “Genius for hire”? Print it up! (By the way, I almost always use Uprinting.com for my business cards — & postcards! — & swear by them. Even better, they always have great discount codes on Retailmenot.com. You’re welcome!)
18. Miniature bottles of champagne in your refrigerator at all times. You never know when — or what! — you might need to celebrate! It’s best to be prepared!
17. A selection of wonderful hats. I would be lost without mine! Ideal on bad hair days, perfect when it’s windy, & invaluable when you actually don’t want anyone to see your face!
Start a hat collection with some variety! It’s great to have options when your hair is just not cooperating. A bright pink bucket hat, a blue bowler hat, a selection of knitted beanies (black, raspberry, violet), a massive black sunhat, & a fuchsia hat with a veil are just a few of the accoutrements in my headgear arsenal! Buy vintage for best results!
16. A night under the stars. Put up a tent in your backyard, lie out on your rooftop with your best friend, or sleep on the beach with your new lover. Whatever you decide, be sure to make wishes on shooting stars!
15. Fresh flowers in your house, constantly. They make such a fabulous impact & add instant cheer to a room.
I like to put them in unusual containers like silver teapots, cast-iron jugs, or old milk bottles. Always remember to cut the stems on an angle & either put some sugar or an Aspirin in the water! (They’ll last longer!)
Hint: Make friends with your local florist & they will often give you good deals on big bunches!
14. A pool party. Surely, this one needs little explanation?!
Take one swimming pool, add sunshine, good music, several friends & snacks. Mix well. Enjoy!
13. Regular brunch dates with your favourite people.
There are few things better than going out for a semi-formal, ritualised breakfast with people who make you laugh. Sure, it might hamper your plans of sleeping all day long, but you get to put on your new shoes (& show them to people who will truly appreciate them!), steal pieces of pancake from one another, & drink before noon!
I don’t like to go to super-fancy places for brunch — you usually have to wait for a table, which I hate — but I definitely like to dress up for it! Your neighbourhood is probably packed with secretly wonderful brunching joints, just waiting for you to discover them! Make brunch a standing event this summer!
12. Flowers for your hair. They add definite pizazz to any outfit, & trust me when I say that they will make you smile!
You can never have enough fake flower clips. My friend Laura of Dollsville makes fantastic clips with birds, veils & flowers! If you want to go even bigger, my favourite flower wreaths came from Which Goose on Etsy. She is a little genius!
11. Teeth-whitening strips. I am obsessed with these. (Fake tan & white teeth — I really AM becoming American! Haha!) My favourite type are the Crest 3D Professional whitening strips, they really do whiten your teeth. The key is simply in using them consistently!
10. A pair of ears. Look, summer just isn’t summer without them.
You can get them everywhere, & of course just post-Easter is the best time for bargains. Or you can go luxurious & pick up a pair of black lace bunny ears! They make a superb addition to any outfit, in my not-so-humble opinion!
9. A mantra. I like this one. It works. Some of my other favourites are on my heroes & wisdom pinboard!
8. Dry shampoo. ESSENTIAL for summer, ‘cause who wants to wash & dry their weave every day?! Not this girl!
You can get all sorts of dry shampoo. I like Klorane best. I’ve tried Oscar Blandi & Batiste too, but they have never really thrilled me like Klorane does! (Alternatively, you can use baby/talcum powder. It does the exact same thing!)
7. A piece of paper scrawled with all the things you’d like to do. Somehow, making “summer goals” is more fun than making goals for the entire year. Start yours now! My list includes learning how to kickstart a motorcycle, sneaking into a rooftop pool & visiting a water-park! (I can’t wait!)
6. A visit to the aquarium.
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, you get to be up close & personal with a bunch of fish, sharks, jellyfish & strange crustaceans that you’d never usually see. Secondly, aquariums are so beautiful & blue inside. Thirdly, they have air conditioning… !
5. A bikini, & many trips to the beach. Everyone needs a great swimsuit! (By the way, did you know that in New Zealand we call them “togs”, & in Australia they call it your “cossie”?!)
Even if you’re landlocked, make an effort to get out to the ocean this summer. There’s nothing like saltwater & sand between your toes to make you appreciate life all over again.
4. Plenty of fresh green juice. Are you on the green juice train yet? If not, baby, catch that wave!
Drinking green juice is the way of the future — I promise. I hate to break it to you, but whoever told you to eat your veggies when you were a child was right! They’re even better for you when they are raw & pulverised into a delicious juicy mess! No digestion required, just pure power for your cells.
I just (as in, this morning!) bought a juicer, the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite, & I can’t wait to start using it!
Make juice, not war! If you want to learn more about the sexy side of juicing, check out Kris Carr!
3. Sex outdoors. HEY! You only live once! (If you don’t believe in reincarnation…)
Look honeybunch, I’m not going to get into details. Make like Nike & just do it!
2. A killer guacamole recipe so you don’t have to show up at dinner parties empty-handed!
Mine is practically orgasmic (if I do say so myself) & super-simple. Mash two avocados, add one (or even two) finely-chopped cloves of garlic, half of a red onion, the juice of two limes, half a tomato chopped up, a good sprinkle of sea salt & a few generous pinches of cayenne pepper. Mix it up well. OH GIRL. Then put it in the fridge for a couple of hours, so the flavours can intensify before you eat it. Thank me later!
1. A few pairs of fantastic knickers. You know what? Even if you’re not planning on showing your undergarments to a sexy stranger (or a sexy anyone!), wearing magnificent knickers just makes you feel SO good.
Summer is the perfect time for a self-romance, so gussy yourself up & take yourself out for a sexy rendezvous! Oh & hey, if you want to get frisky on the first date… Who could blame you?!
Picture sources: 50 . 49 [mine] . 48 [unknown] . 47 . 46 [mine] . 45 [mine] . 44 . 43 . 42 [unknown] . 41 . 40 . 39 . 38 . 37 . 36 . 35 [unknown] . 34 . 33 . 32 . 31 . 30 . 29 . 28 [unknown] . 27 . 26 [unknown] . 25 . 24 [mine] . 23 . 22 . 21 . 20 . 19 . 18 . 17 . 16 . 15 [unknown] . 14 . 13 . 12 . 11 . 10 . 9 . 8 . 7 . 6 . 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1
14 December 2010, 09:18
Photo by La Photographie Nashville.
Holiday presents. Oh! The anguish! They can be hard to buy, can’t they? Especially in this day & age where we’re so addicted to the feeling of instant gratification that we just go out & get what we want for ourselves!
Thankfully, I’ve compiled this little list of trinkets to keep even the fussiest playgirl smiling!
Fingers crossed & Godspeed!
Stationery fiends are a strange bunch. I count myself amongst them. You can pick them out of a line-up: they are the ones whose jaws go a bit slack at a pen display, who will sometimes sneak a whiff of a new notebook, who can always be counted on to rustle up some paper & a writing device at the bottom of their cavernous handbag.
Well, for those people, great stationery is always a wonderful gift—& iomoi have an incredible selection of paper which can be monogrammed any way you like! SWOON! I am particularly partial to the black stripe, the plume pattern, the pink skull, navy paisley, floral starburst & orange paisley! Why not have some notecards emblazoned with your best friend’s name? Why not indeed!
Calling all health fanatics! A juice cleanse programme is an excellent way to show your friend that you support their endeavours to get (or stay!) healthy!
A simple Google search of the term “juice cleanse” + your city will net you many results. Pick them up a gift voucher which they can use whenever they like, & they’ll thank you forever! (I bet the 2nd of January is a popular day to start!)
If your friend’s apartment is looking a little dreary, why not buy some art for their wall?
Better yet, you could make your own, if you’re that way inclined!
Scented things for the home are always a welcome, fabulous gift.
Some of my favourite candles are by Voluspa, & come in scents like pink citron, truffle white cocoa, French bourbon vanille & macaron. They’re packed into decorative tins & come in a variety of sizes, from teeny-tiny (you could gift an assortment!) to mega-mega. I was also recently introduced to Jimmyjane’s Little Afterglow Sampler: a selection of scented candles whose wax, when melted, magically transforms into massage oil for a lucky partner! Very sexy!
You can make the giving even more decadent by adding a box of Swarovski matchsticks!
Does your friend have a favourite candy or snack that they adore but find it hard to buy? So many websites these days will allow you to buy products in bulk — why not give them several packets of their favourite nibble?
For the extravagant only: Book a holiday for yourself & your friend! On Christmas Day, present them with gift-wrapped air (or train!) tickets & a little information packet about the location & the hotel you’re staying at.
You can go as lavish or as simple as you like. A quick jaunt to Vegas? A weekend camping trip? A roadtrip to an unfamiliar area? Whatever you choose, a getaway with your best friend is always welcome!
If your friend already has too much stuff—& really, don’t we all?—why not think about the non-consumer ways you could help them out? From offering to walk their dog for a month to providing free babysitting services or teaching them how to cook, sometimes giving someone help & time can sometimes be the very best gift.
How about one of those kits which make enormous bubbles? I remember receiving one as a child & being so delighted! I think it would be a welcome gift for any age, truly!
Give your friend a stack of your favourite records. It’s more involved than making a mixtape & it looks much better under the tree!
Is your friend about to embark on a new adventure? Why not compile them a little kit to send them off with good fortune? Their new adventure could be anything, from school to a new job or travelling, but they could definitely use some luck & comfort along the way.
Fill a box or a satchel with a selection of items to make life easier. Maybe a cozy sweater, some fortune cookies, a map of the place they’re heading to or a copy of your favourite book. You could even throw in a harmonica for those long train-rides!
Band together with your other friends to buy your BFF something they really need—whether it’s a new couch or even expensive car repairs!
While you might think buying your friend a new bed is a huge stretch for your wallet, if you pool your finances with some other well-intentioned people, you’d be amazed at how far you can make your money go. Better to buy someone something they really need than a bunch of sweet but essentially useless trinkets!
Ha! Speaking of “sweet but essentially useless” gifts! Buy your buddy a selection of monogrammed items. Start with a marquee letter, a monogrammed mug & an initial keyring, then pack it all into a monogrammed tote bag!
There are lots of wonderful monogrammed items all over the internet, just begging to be purchased, from vintage letter sweaters to custom name necklaces. They’d all make great gifts for the girl who has everything!
2011 (two-thousand-&-heaven!) is just around the corner, so help them get prepared for it! Grab them a bright, beautiful Filofax in red, pink or purple & pack it with fun inserts. Slide some sticker sheets inside, write a sweet dedication on the front page, & top it all off with a fantastic pen. I love Campo Marzo—check out their rollerball elites, striped rollerballs (I have a black/silver one & adore it!) or pen necklaces! Their pens are stylish, colourful & inexpensive… The holy trifecta!
Or you could go classic, & buy them a stack of Moleskines: a notebook, a planner, a sketchbook, a travel journal. Wrap them with brown paper & string, & watch your friend beam with happiness!
A radical self-love gift: Get your friend a voucher to an amazing lingerie store. My favourites are Agent Provocateur & Kiki de Montparnasse but it’s true that the cost is prohibitive! You don’t have to spend a mint to deck your halls with boughs of lingerie. I also love Purrfect Pineapples (SUPER-CUTE) & Victoria’s Secret has some lovely things! Etsy is wonderful, too; just type lingerie into their search.
Regardless of the source, encourage your favourite girl to go out & spoil herself!
Is your bestie a music fiend? Buy her the ultimate music fan gift: a hoodie or t-shirt of the band, a selection of rare or limited edition EPs & a pair of concert tickets!
(For extra points, include a fake love letter from the person in the band she fancies most! This will surely be the part of the gift she treasures most!)
Is your best friend’s cat or dog their entire life? Spoil the pet & your friend will be incredulous about how thoughtful you are! A rad dog sweater, a chew toy & a nice new bed will definitely make any animal-lover smile.
A selection of magazine subscriptions is the gift that keeps on giving. You can purchase them so cheaply online. Why not have your friend’s mailbox stuffed with Real Simple, Elle, Oprah, Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar every month for a year? Why not INDEED!
For the zodiac obsessed, why not snap up a zodiac coin bracelet or zodiac necklace, a starsign candle or a zodiac medallion ring? Top it all off with a palmistry jewellery stand & she’ll smile from ear to ear.
It seems almost quaint to give books as gifts these days—how sad!—but they’re still a sensational thing to give. It would be magnificent to give your friend a copy of every book their favourite author ever wrote. Their literary discography, if you will! My friend gave me all of Bret Easton Ellis’ books for Christmas one year & I’ve never forgotten it!
Illustration by Natalie Dee.
If your friend is the physical type, or even if they’re not, the start of the year is such a great time to get your body moving! Start as you mean to go on, & all that. A monthly pass to a great yoga class might be the perfect gift. Hey, maybe you could go together! (Buy her a pair of cute yoga pants while you’re at it!)
A box of really good chocolate. I fervently maintain that it’s not the holidays without chocolate! (I am a sucker for Ferrero Rocher!)
When it’s cold outside, & all you want to do is curl up on the couch, a box-set of your friend’s favourite TV show might be just what the doctor ordered. You could even make weekly dates to hang out & watch it together!
Sweets for your sweet: Cupcakes In Jars will deliver baked goods right to your bestie’s door. Gingersnap vanilla marshmallows? Peanut butter bliss bonbons? How about a cupcake sampler? Surely any of these gifts will snag you a nomination for BFF Of The Year!
Mix sparkles with positive energy & give your friend a crystal ring these holidays. They’re less expensive than a gemstone & just as beautiful, if not moreso!
For extra points, add a little handwritten note about the properties of the crystal, as well as how to take care of it!
Spruce up her bedroom these holidays with some sweet things for the home.
I love these butterfly mobiles made from vintage dictionaries, this star nightlight & this fantastic wall decal. Alexandra Ferguson does great recycled slogan pillows, Victoria’s Secret Pink has super-cute pillows & blankets!
There is amazing homeware all over the web, so do some trawling & see what you can find! Etsy, as always, is a fantastic place to start!
Photo by delinion.
Buy her a wonderful faux fur coat to keep her cozy & chic throughout the holidays. Throw in a belt so she feels more sexy baroness than abominable snowman!
Does your friend love Jeff Koons but can’t quite come up with the coinage to own one of his pieces? What about these balloon animal bookends?! They’ll do in a pinch! Or, she could just make her own!
Everyone wants to smell good, & my favourite source for scents is Lucky Scent. You can select the kind of perfume you prefer—citrus, floral, sweet, etc.—then browse the bottles.
My picks? Roses Elixir (“A giddy, fizzy, fruity rose – young, flirtatious and ready to dance the night away. Bright, sparkling citrus notes tease us into a juicy bouquet of rose, jasmine, orange blossom and strawberry”); Petite Cherie (“A fruity-gourmand fragrance, covered with a ripple of peach and pear, drunk with the scent of sensual rose musk, standing royal in its vanilla frame, all sprinkled with the powdery scent of refreshing cut grass”); Geisha Pink (“Sunshine streaming through pink blossoms. This flirty concoction of tart orange, sugared plum and soft vanilla is downright saucy”); Dulcess (“Dulcess is pure and honest charm in a bottle, a sweet vanilla and musk-tinged afternoon spent on the beach with your toes in the sand, your hand around something cool and refreshing, and a smile on your face brighter than the Costa Rican sun”); Eau Radieuse (“This gleams like a brand new star cruiser zipping across the galaxy – bright and shiny and futuristic, full of light and hope”) & Bergamot Truffle (“While the star ingredient, bergamot, which is often bracing and tart, is softened and lightly sweetened by the presence of honeyed orange blossom, the strikingly intense, almost earthy chocolate note is made creamier with a soupçon of vanilla”)!
If you really can’t pick, there’s always a gift certificate!
If you have a selection of playgirls to buy for this silly season (lucky you!), why not give them silly little things? I like: Dracula coin pouch, bonehead folding comb, build your own kaleidoscope, Dick & Jane & Vampires, candy-coloured faux fur foxtail keychains & every flower is illuminated! Maybe your girl will too.
Pick her up a Love Bones sweater from Wildfox Couture. I have a grey one & I wear it constantly! It’s super-comfortable & so very cute!
Now she has no excuse not to get out of town for a week! (Throw in a book of photos of her favourite city for extra points!)
Where has she always wanted to go? Why not get her something to remind her of her dream location? How about a type map of Manhattan, a New York constellation map or a Los Angeles destination pillow?
Maybe if you help surround her with reminders of what she wants, she’ll get there faster!
I like art based around words. (Shocking!) Make your own luck, make something good today, may a luminous dream light the way, do what you love to do, oh darling, let’s be forever & ever, oh darling, let’s be adventurers, oh baby, let’s be outlaws...
You can’t go wrong with sweet jewellery. I love these Twiggy & Andy Warhol pendants! Other lovelies: skull girl cameo, purple crystal bib, sparkly resin diamond, mermaid knife necklace, midnight masquerade necklace, rainbow druzy necklace, gingerbread house ring (!!!), lavender French macaroon ring, heart on your sleeve ring...
Give her enough sumptuous bath goods to have her feeling luxurious all year!
I’d gift-wrap a seletion of Antoinette bath bombs which smell like jasmine & will leave you covered in pink glitter, rose bath bombs, honeysuckle bath bombs, coconut buttercream soap, creme brulee bubble bath & then throw in some chocolate milk bath to finish!
If your friend just moved into a new place, why not give her a steamer trunk with her initials painted on the front? Then fill it with crisp new sheets, a magical pillow & a thick, warm duvet.
It might be a little tricky to wrap & stick under a tree, but this bright pink futon is awesome & only $99!
For the geek girl in your life, this rainbow illuminated LED keyboard is sure to win her heart. How about a multi-colour animated LED cube, a sun & moon jar, a laser star projector or a laserpod? LOVE!
Buy her some classes. French lessons? Ballet classes? Italian cooking? Creative writing?
Encourage your best friend to stretch her intellect this year!
Photo by Jesse Millan.
Is your bestie an adventure-seeker? Book her in to go sky-diving, splurge on a hot air balloon ride or organise for her to do that thing she’s always said she wanted to do!
Take her to see your favourite psychic.
For the hair accessory obsessed, give her a shoebox full of hair accoutrements. Headbands, hair clips, teeny tiny hats, bows & tiaras can all go inside!
You can make hair accessories yourself, too, if you’re crafty & dextrous! Perfect for the girl who prefers to wear something on her noggin!
Give an orchid. They are always a fabulous gift, & they’re extremely easy to take care of (for the plant-phobic!). They only need to be watered once a week, & they’re much better for the feng shui of a room than a cactus!
Buy the two of you yearly passes to Disneyland! Now you can go whenever you want! & you SHOULD!
Hook your girl up with the gift of horoscopes! My favourite source for astrological information is Mystic Medusa, & she does these wonderful astro packages which include daily horoscopes emailed right to your inbox, plus monthly schedulers & individual articles about various happenings… It is the best, I have been a subscriber for a couple of years now, & getting her emails every morning is a complete delight!
Cast your eye to the right of galadarling.com & check out the small, independent businesses who have advertised with me this month! Support your fellow nonpareils & snap up something made with love & care!
Hint! Ladies, leave this open on your computer for your lover to see!
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