19 January 2011, 10:36
Jessica & Kelly.
Jessica Mullen’s career path is purely her own: she’s a lifestreamer! What is lifestreaming? It’s an ongoing record of your life, stored online & made accessible to anyone who might be interested.
You might be surprised to hear that it’s also a legitimate way of making a living. (I know I was!) In this interview, Jessica opens up about how lifestreaming has changed her & what you need to know if you’d like to do it, too!
Tell us about what you do.
I am in the business of being. My business model is to figure out how to feel good, follow my inspiration, and share what unfolds. If it makes me feel good, you’ll hear about it.
My personal website, jessicamullen.com is currently home to The School of Life Design, an ad-hoc curriculum created to disseminate my lifestreaming research. The School follows principles similar to graphic design and promotes self-evaluation and self-actualization through iteration.
My Complete Lifestream is a real-time collection of what makes me feel good throughout the day. I maintain my focus on well being by taking special note of an obscenely gorgeous sunset or immortalizing an exquisite kale salad. I collect the most powerful of these thoughts, emotions, and adventures into long-form joy explosions. These rampages, in which I turn my attention towards gratitude, intentions, desires and love, are magick spells I weave to attract more good into my life.
The Popular Podcast is a video lifestyle podcast based in Austin, Texas. Co-created with my business partner and lover, Kelly Cree, in June 2008, The Popular Podcast boasts an over 300-episode (and counting) video archive of Kelly’s and my journey to $ustainable lifestreaming. Though it’s constantly changing, the present goal of TPP is to show others how fun and easy it can be to make your life your living.
I maintain an income stream portfolio as diverse as my interests. I make money through advertising, affiliate programs, donations, fan club subscriptions, merchandise, and sponsorships. Kelly and I also run a tiny vegan food business for our friends, sell underwater fetish videos, and peddle our wares on the bridges of Austin.
What does an average day at work look like for you?
There are three things that I MUST do every single day: write a “magick spell“ post, meditate, and exercise. I consider all of them to be my primary work, because without them I don’t feel right – I don’t get the inspiration to do good work throughout the day.
I wake up sometime before noon and immediately start writing down what I’m grateful for. This forms the beginning of a “magick spell” post. It’s how I line up my energy in the morning, almost like brushing my teeth – I make sure my emotions are all bright and shiny before talking to anyone!
I meditate to clean out mental cobwebs and forget about anything that’s bothering me. Then I go for a walk or a run for an energy boost and to feel good about my body.
After that, anything is possible! Often, Kelly and I will work on editing and publishing podcast videos for an hour or two, and I’ll spend another couple hours writing or brainstorming for the School of Life Design. Website design and maintenance takes up some time too, but we address those needs as they come.
The rest of the day is spent cooking, exploring beautiful Austin, making art and spending time with people I love. It’s almost all “work,” because the experiences inevitably end up on one of my sites in some form.
Do you work alone or with other people?
Kelly and I are partners in almost everything we do. We make the podcast together, and she’s the creative and communications director for the school. We spend all day every day together, so we are constantly brainstorming new business ideas and ways to have more fun.
Is this what you wanted to do as a child? Did you end up in this job by “accident” or was it a planned career choice?
I remember wanting to be a teacher and wanting to create constantly. When I first got access to a computer, I would color all day in a Sesame Street painting program. When I got Internet, I started learning how to make websites to promote my band. I didn’t have any solid plans other than knowing it would involve computers. Lifestreaming didn’t really exist when I was a kid, but if you had told me what it was I would have wanted to do it for sure!
How long ago did you start on this path?
I’ve always enjoyed making websites and online journaling, but it didn’t come together into the title of “lifestreamer” until graduate school in 2008. As a web designer, I was obsessed with bringing all of my online activity into one place. I heard of the idea of “lifecasting” from Julia Allison and found out what “lifestreaming” was through Mark Krynsky at lifestreamblog.com. It was like I found my holy grail and all my research became about experimenting with lifestreaming.
How long were you doing it before you made it into your career or primary form of income?
Luckily I was in school with student loans while getting started. Graduate school was a way to literally buy time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life, and I got to focus all my schoolwork on what is now my livelihood. Kelly and I did lots of exploration into monetization and content generation. When I graduated in May of 2010, we began making it our business to feel good, and all our good business ideas followed.
Did anything significant happen to get you to that point, or was it a series of small steps?
I learned about the law of attraction last spring! The actual websites and technical bits were mostly developed as school projects, but it wasn’t until Kelly and I started focusing on feeling good that our business took off. All of those platitudes like “give what you want to get” and “you bring about what you think about” are true! When I learned to practice positive thought patterns all the time, my life became a lot more pleasurable.
What kind of education do you have?
I went to Catholic school through 12th grade, received my BFA in graphic design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 and my MFA in design from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010.
Do you think official qualifications are important for someone entering your industry?
No! Anyone can be good at lifestreaming. After you do it for a while, your website becomes your credentials. People get to see what you do every day. They get to see what you’re working on right now, not a piece of paper saying what you used to do.
If you went to school, did you enjoy studying? Could you see where it might lead you at the time? What advice would you give to someone else who might be studying to get into your industry?
When I first got to undergrad, I studied computer science. I couldn’t pass Calculus II, so I had to find something a little more my style. I settled on graphic design because I loved making websites and figured the two must meet somewhere.
I began really taking interest in my studies after an image-making class where I got to make disturbing pictures in Photoshop all semester. Then I had a fabulous mentor, Jennifer Gunji, who showed me what it was like to feel passionate about solving problems with design. Once I became a good graphic designer, the next logical step was to get a job at a design firm in Chicago. I designed websites and print publications at my first (and only) day job, but realized very quickly I did not want to work for anyone else but myself! I freelanced and taught web design for a while, but then went back to school to figure out what I loved.
If you’re interested in getting into lifestreaming, just start doing it. Don’t go to school! Everything you need to learn is online. Your mentors don’t have to be university professors. I LOVED my education but if I had known about lifestreaming before graduate school, I could have saved a lot of money!
What do you think is the best thing about what you do?
I do whatever I want, every single day. No one ever tells me what to do.
What’s the worst thing?
No one ever tells me what to do!
Would you call yourself a workaholic, & if so, are you alright with that? Do you think that’s normal for your industry?
I am a workaholic in the sense that I love doing what I do, and do it all day every day. But it doesn’t feel like work, because it’s so integrated into my life and it feels so good to create. It’s quite normal–many bloggers are successful because they make doing what they love their living by putting it online for other people to enjoy.
What would your number one suggestion be for someone who wants to do what you do?
Love yourself unconditionally. If you don’t love yourself, it shows through. Major turnoff!
...How about number two?
Don’t care about what anyone else thinks. Comments, Facebook, and Twitter can make us a little dependent on external opinions to make decisions. But the only way to find what makes you feel good is to listen to your emotions.
What do you wish you had known when you first started out?
Life doesn’t have to be hard! If I just feel good and do what I’m inspired to do, everything works out!
Are there any major misconceptions about your job or industry?
Lifestreamers can be seen as very narcissistic. I choose to look at it as radical self love!
Some people think lifestreaming is too time-consuming, but it’s just a natural part of my life, like breathing.
Others find lifestreaming distracting from “living in the moment,” but it helps me slow down and appreciate more moments than ever before.
My father worries about my reputation and ability to get a “real job” because I’m so vocal, but the whole point is to be loud enough to never need a real job!
Do you ever have any ethical dilemmas with the work you do?
A few people don’t like being documented online, so I have to avoid discussing them or taking photos of them. I respect the privacy of others by request.
What is the best thing that’s happened to you as a consequence of the work you do?
I’ve learned how to love myself and enjoy life.
What motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing?
I can’t stop! I’m dependent on lifestreaming to help me focus on the good in life. It’s how I process the world around me. My lifestream functions as my memory, my magickal record, and a pick-me-up whenever I need it. It’s a way of life. If I got cut off from the Internet tomorrow I would find another outlet, but like a painter paints, the web is my artistic medium of choice.
Who do you look up to within your industry & why?
My biggest inspirations are successful web media producers like the extraordinary Gala Darling, Steve Pavlina, Penelope Trunk, and Dawn and Drew. My life philosophy of feeling good came from the teachings of Abraham-Hicks.
Rate how happy you are with what you do out of 100 (100 being the best, 0 being devastatingly awful) on an average day.
Every single day is a 100. Not only do I decide what to do with every minute of my life, but lifestreaming has really helped me see bad experiences as good ones, because I look to document the positive aspects of any situation.
Is there much career progression available to you? What would you like to do next?
It’s likely that I’ll always maintain my personal lifestream website in some form, but I continuously find new creative projects to pursue. Right now Kelly and I are working on a textbook for the School of Life Design, and I expect that project to continue flourishing. All I want to do next is make better and better work–meaning my life will get better and better too.
Do you think you’ll continue doing this for the rest of your life?
I’ll continue doing it as long as it feels good.
How did you find my article on Josh Harris? Is that kind of lifestreaming something you’d be interested in pursuing?
I watched We Live in Public a couple months ago and found Josh’s dystopian view of the future quite limiting. Technology is not good or bad, it just depends what you do with it. The Wired City sounds like the next logical step in reality television. The Human Chicken Coop is a fascinating idea, but Josh appears intent on taking away people’s freedom. Lifestreaming does not have to be about giving up freedom. But Josh’s vision is one possibility that will happen if enough people believe it will.
I do think he is spot on about the death of privacy. I come from the belief that we are all one consciousness, and the Internet is one way that is beginning to manifest in physical reality. When we collectively let go of our fears about privacy, things will be very different!
That being said, I have little interest in 24 hour surveillance. The beauty of lifestreaming is that it is edited–I take an active role in making my life into art. In that way I am designing my life experience, not living by default.
Too much unwanted surveillance can cause people to act out in destructive ways, like what happened in We Live in Public. It’s rebellion against having freedom taken away, or caring too much about what other people think. Surveillance can also make people all conform to the same behavior, like in Foucalt’s Panopticon. But if we’re all one consciousness anyway… it kind of makes sense.
Where do you draw the line?
I don’t complain. I don’t speak negatively. That’s the line. I have no desire to put any more negative thoughts or emotions into the universe.
Would you ever put cameras in your house?
I have lots of cameras in my house! But I choose when to hit record. I don’t think privacy exists on the Internet, but I still value my physical space and time alone. And recording everything can be overwhelming–I’m not interested in reliving every moment in the editing process–just the really good ones.
12 January 2011, 12:34
I have to introduce you to something dangerous! My newest compulsion: Pinterest!
Pin·terest (pĭn’trĭst): n. a social catalog to collect and share things you love
Pinterest is like Flickr or Tumblr with fabulous organisational sensibilities. It’s a place where you can gather visual inspiration & group it together to make vision boards, & little collections of graphic influence which go together.
I was sent an invite yesterday, & immediately got stuck in, creating vision boards, & obsessively curating pictures!
(A work in progress, you understand!)
style influences— Well-dressed dames & fancy fillies. Frothy tulle skirts, turbans, leopard-print fingernails & Lauren Moffatt (of course).
les interieurs— My dream home. Striped wallpaper, chandeliers, splashes of bright pink & long, long tables.
shoe pornography— Sparkly Louboutins, spikes, skulls, stilettos & glitter.
travel inspiration— Pictures to remind me of places to go. Hot springs in Iceland, Jacqueline Kennedy in India, the Greek Islands, & colourful streets in Brighton.
heroes and wisdom— People I admire & smart sayings. (Also, good typography!)
good— This is my hodge-podge pinboard; a good mix of art, ideas & celebrity photobooth strips!
birthday forever— Every day should be like your birthday, I think. Here are some ways to invite the party into your life.
underthings— I like knickers! Oh yes, I do!
girls girls girls— The world is full of good-lookin’ ladies.
heart— People in love, & heart necklaces which say let’s make out.
There are some screenshots of my boards below!
les interieurs // a mirrored staircase, cherry blossom wallpaper & lanterns in the garden.
travel inspiration // Holi, Japan & the Eiffel Tower.
birthday forever // vodka-spiked blueberry lemonade, number balloons & beautiful invitations.
As well as keeping track of things you like to look at, I think Pinterest has so much to offer in terms of helping you manifest whatever it is that you want. Sometimes it can be tricky to find pictures in magazines which really inspire you—this is such an easy way to do it, & you pull it up on your screen with just a click of the mouse. You could even leave a tab open all the time so that when you’re feeling uninspired or demotivated, you can go back to it, let your eyes glaze over & get deeply excited about the things you’re heading towards! I think that setting up a board which reminds you of your goals could be an incredible tool in helping them come to fruition much faster.
You can create shared boards, too—so if you & your best friend are going to start designing clothes, or if you’re decorating a house with someone else, you can both add bits & pieces to the board. It can be a collaborative project. I love this!
Pinterest is relatively new, so it’s in beta & is invite-only. Sign up for an invite! I think the turnaround is quite fast, & I would love to see your vision boards!
Hey, guys: There is big trouble in Queensland, Australia right now. If you’re able to donate any money—even just $5—it all helps. You can donate here. SO much love to everyone affected by the floods, you are in our thoughts & prayers.
3 January 2011, 10:11
Scanned from Kate Spade’s Things We Love.
I’m fascinated by personal routines. The way that other people structure their day is completely riveting to me.
I obsessively read about other people’s personal systems, wanting to know what they do, how they do it, & the superhero-esque results they net from it. Leo Babauta, for example, wakes up at 4.30am. Go Leo go! Lifehacker’s top 10 ways to upgrade your morning routine is pretty great too. (Push-ups in the morning, YES!)
Sometimes I think, in some twisted way, ‘If only my routine was PERFECT, then my life would run 100% smoothly & flawlessly!’ Or you think that if you adopted someone else’s habits, some of their magic would rub off on you.
Of course, this will never be the case, but occasionally I allow my mind to go there. I think a lot of us do. ‘If only I could manage to go to yoga three times a week, I would become Gisele Bundchen!’ ‘If I could manage to meditate every morning before work, I would be sublimely happy always!’ You get my drift!
Getting your routine sorted out is not the be-all & end-all. But it does have benefits. I know that incorporating more positive activities into my life will make me happier & more productive. I recognise the power of ritual, & I acknowledge that when my day has pattern & purpose, everything else is more likely to go well.
In the spirit of the new year, here’s my routine. My patterns change regularly—I’d say this is due in equal parts to my extremely low boredom threshold & my ongoing & perpetual curiousity about how I can “improve” everything! So, this is where I’m at now.
Photo by Timothy Keen.
Waking up before the sunrise is my goal. It can be really hard, especially in winter, but it is always worth it. I can get SO much done in the hour and a half before the rest of the house wakes up!
This morning, for example, I was awake at 5am. I slid out of bed, washed my face, put on a peppermint face mask & meditated. Then I planned my day & wrote up this article, showered & dressed.
It’s really nice to get this stuff out of the way early on! I used to wake up at 7.30, walk the dogs, then sit around in my pyjamas all day writing! It’s ridiculous how much better I feel when I’m actually dressed! The rest of the world is clearly hip to this already, though! Haha!
I’m so pleased to report that I have recently returned to “the raw side”! Those of you who have been reading since the very beginning will remember that I ate raw—meaning I ate only uncooked fruits, vegetables & nuts—for about a year in 2007/2008. I often look back on those days fondly. I have literally never felt better in my life than I did when I was eating a high percentage of raw food. My skin was flawless (& it really did glow), I had energy to burn (I would often have to go & do a second workout at night because otherwise I couldn’t sleep), I needed less sleep generally, was insanely creative & productive, & I also felt totally euphoric a lot of the time!
Contrast this with how I feel when I’m consuming large amounts of processed foods, pasta, meat, dairy… blech.
This point was driven home to me when I started to come down with something around Thanksgiving. When I finally got to the point where I was bundled up on the couch feeling like death, I decided to DO something about it. So I ordered orange, lemon & grapefruit juices, coconut water + coconut meat blended smoothies, & drank them like my life depended on it. I chugged water. I ate vegetables & lots of garlic. I had a good sleep & stayed warm. I felt 100% better the next day! This is not a coincidence, & it reminded me how important it is to feed your body with wonderful food!
The only kicker with eating a lot of raw food is that it requires organisation. Your fridge needs to be stocked, otherwise you’re likely to just go for whatever is easiest. This is especially true if you leave your food choices to the very last minute, by which point you’re starving & ready to gnaw off your own arm. If you have your fridge stocked with fresh fruit & vegetables, it’s simple—if you don’t, it’s less so.
So here’s my plan: at least one juice or smoothie per day. I like to set the bar really low, so it’s easy to succeed. My ideal situation would be a 60/40 raw diet, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself!
I also bought a Blueprint Cleanse ages ago through a Gilt sale… & I’m going to finally use it!
I bought a glass milk bottle a couple of months ago with the pronounced intention of upping my water intake. It holds a quart, which is almost a litre (946mL). I drink at least one bottle of water a day, & sometimes more. Is it weird to say that being super-hydrated feels really sexy?! It does! The more water I can get into my system, the better. Go team H2O!
I’ve started squeezing lemon into my water, too. There are so many excellent health benefits to doing this. Lemon helps to detoxify & purify the body. It’s also alkalising—which means that it lowers the amount of acid in your body. Drinking lemon water every morning is GREAT for your skin, wonderful for the digestion & the super-high Vitamin C content means it also helps to keep you healthy. In other words, it’s one of the easiest & cheapest ways to astronomically improve your health!
The best way to do it is to roll a lemon (or a lime, if you prefer, they have the exact same health benefits!) across the kitchen counter to soften it a little. This will help you extract the most juice! (It’s better to do this than to throw it in the microwave—when you do that, you alter the molecular structure, & it’s not as effective!)
Then, start your day with a glass of room temperature lemon water. It’s a fantastic way to hydrate (especially before your morning coffee, if that’s your style, because caffeine is tremendously dehydrating) & get your system kick-started!
Read Top 10 Benefits of Lemon Water if you want more info!
By the way, I also gave up coffee & soda in September. IT FEELS SO GOOD. Soda is disgusting (sorry—it is), & while I LOVE the taste of coffee—& the kick it affords me—it also makes me kind of nuts. I had been feeling much more aggressive than I needed to be, & the kind of work I do runs much more smoothly when I am not out grinding my teeth in a rage somewhere!
I know a lot of people said, “I could NEVER give up coffee!” when I mentioned it the first time. In my experience, where there’s a will, there’s a way! I don’t even miss it, & it hasn’t been difficult at all, even though I thought it might be! So if you want to give it a try… you should! (My skin looks way better too, if you need any additional motivation!)
My gym membership lapsed sometime back in September (!!!) & I was so busy that I kept putting off its renewal. Thankfully, I recently went back, & I’ve NEVER been happier!
I always thought that “exercise makes you feel so good!” was a lie perpetuated by athletic, sporty people to guilt slobs like me into going for a run every now & then. Turns out, it isn’t! I apologise, athletic, sporty people! It really does make you feel amazing.
When I leave the gym, I am floating on a cloud of euphoria. It is often my favourite part of the day. It’s not just the charge of endorphins from lifting weights for an hour, either—it’s that I left the house, I kept my promise to myself that I would go, & I did my absolute best.
Plus, my trainer is ace. We like to sing along to Kanye West & talk about our favourite rappers while he punishes me!
I go to two personal training sessions a week & I like to do pilates & yoga a couple of days a week too. I used to go to training at about 6pm, but I’ve since switched it up. I now go around lunch-time, which is really great for me—it creates an essential break in my day (something I used to lack), & when I go back home, I am jazzed & ready to work through the rest of the afternoon.
I’ve started dry-brushing my skin before I jump in the shower. It’s really easy & doesn’t take long, & it’s very tingly! By the time you get out of the shower & dry off, you wouldn’t believe how soft your skin feels!
The benefits of skin-brushing are many. Firstly, your skin is your largest organ! One of the most efficient ways for your body to get rid of toxins is through the skin, so when you stimulate it with a brush, it’s able to do this more effectively. It also helps to break down cellulite, cleanse the lymphatic system, aid digestion & strengthen the immune system. It makes your skin look & feel amazing, too!
It’s easy, it’s inexpensive (a long-handled brush with natural bristles is about $5), & it’s a brand spanking new part of my routine.
If you’re interested, you can learn how to dry-brush your skin here!
I’ve been meditating every morning since September, & oh. OH. I can’t even tell you how wonderful it is.
The length of time varies, but usually I just do five minutes. This is probably a teeny droplet, but right now it works for me because it’s not a threatening amount of time. Anyone can find five minutes, even, as it turns out, me!
I’m finding the process of meditating in the morning really restorative & positive.
I don’t know whether I can attribute this to meditation alone, but I can’t think of any other reason for this. Lately, my days seem very, very long—in the best possible way! I work all morning, & when I’m done with all my writing, emailing, photo editing, what-have-you, it’s only noon. Amazing! I have so much time, & the space it has created in my life is so wonderful.
I’d like to learn transcendental meditation sometime soon, but have a hard time justifying the cost. (A course is about $1000, & all I can think about is how many plane tickets that would buy me!) One day! For now, just sitting down & clearing my mind for a few minutes every day seems to be treating me very well.
(Cough, cough!) Most people don’t know this, but I used to be a smoker. A pretty heavy one. I started on Camels at age 12 (ohhhh, sad trombone for real), progressed to Marlboro Reds & eventually settled on my cigarette of choice, Lucky Strikes.
My smoking patterns fluctuated a lot over the years. There were times where I didn’t smoke at all, & times when I chain-smoked. The latter mostly occurred when I lived alone, & thus there was no one to disgust with my habits. Though I also dated smokers, which further ingrained the habit. I think I’ve only dated two non-smokers in my life.
Anyway—when I was 12, I told myself I would quit smoking when I was 26. In my infinite 12 year old wisdom, 26 was “old”, & I had decided that smoking past that age would be gross.
I turned 26 in 2009, & I quit smoking. I don’t have any tricks as to how I did it; I didn’t do the gum or the patches or the electronic cigarettes. I just decided I was done, & stopped. I wanted a cigarette a couple of times when I was drinking, but I didn’t have one, & the craving just went away.
I feel really good about quitting. Smoking is SO expensive (cigarettes are about $10/pack in NYC), it stinks, it’s gross, it makes you sick & it makes you look terrible! If you break out a lot or you’re seeing your first few wrinkles, remember that every puff you take is exacerbating the problem!
I don’t want to be one of those preachy ex-smokers (even though I am pretty sure I have become one), but if you make one change to your life this year, cut back on your cigarette consumption. Your body will feel—& look—so much better!
Photo by Amorette Dye.
The winter plays havoc with my skin! The heating in our apartment is really intense & it dries me out like mad, so in winter I have to be really careful to get enough water into my system! When you don’t drink enough water, you absolutely see it in your skin—it looks dry, thin, blotchy, etc., so it’s worth making the effort!
Another way to keep your skin in tip-top condition is to do regular face masks. I think this is especially important if you’re someone who wears make-up on a regular basis; you need to ensure your pores are getting a good clear-out!
My favourite face mask at the moment is Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. I had heard about it for years, but wasn’t living in the U.S.A. so I could never get my hands on it. Flash-forward to a few years later, where I’m a recent transplant to New York City & I’m browsing around a Ricky’s store. (Ricky’s sells make-up, hair products & skincare… It’s a beauty superstore & they’re all over the city!) I saw a tube of the Mint Julep Masque on a shelf & it was love at first sight!
I’m STILL using that tube! It’s a wonderful mask, it really cleans you out & is great to use a couple of times a week.
Lush also do excellent fresh face masks, which need to be kept in the fridge. Catastrophe Cosmetic & Cupcake have always been my favourites.
If you want to indulge in an amazing scrub, but don’t want to go out & buy something expensive which may or may not make you break out, try this home recipe instead. Pour a little extra virgin olive oil into a saucer, & add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix it together, then take it into the shower with you & use it as a facial scrub. Rinse off with hot water, & pat your face dry. The olive oil works as a moisturiser, so you may not need to use your usual one, but touch your face to see how it feels. This face mask is DIVINE & works better than almost anything else!
Well! What can I say about bubble baths that you don’t know already?! I love them & am making an effort to have more of them!
A really great bubble bath, of course, hinges on the quality of the bubbles. Lush REALLY does do the best bubble bars—the scents are divine, they’re multi-serve & have minimal packaging. Oh, by the way, most of Lush’s products are vegan, organic, & made with fresh fruits & vegetables… Nice one. I used to manage a Lush store & up until I started this website, it was my favourite job of all! It’s a rad place.
My favourite Lush bath products are Flosty Gritter, Creamy Candy (back when I used to own a washing machine, I would throw a chunk of this in with my laundry!), Butterball, Honey Bee, FAIRY JASMINE (A+++++ best bath bomb ever), Something Wicked This Way Comes & MMM Melting Marshmallow Moment. Lovely.
Did you ever stop & think about how much happier everyone would be if we all took more regular bubble baths? Lead the charge, I say!
Other things I like to make time for every day: Opening fortune cookies (today’s: “Your present plans are going to succeed”) Vitamin obsession (Multi+ Daily Glow, Perfect Skin, O3mega Glow, Dermalipid & 5HTP when I feel I need it) Visualisation (I like to take a few minutes a day to close my eyes & “see” what I want to manifest) Writing down my top 3 most important tasks of the day, straight after meditating & before I even look at my email Reading my horoscope (hey, it’s MY routine!) Plenty of laughter Puppy cuddle breaks! One-person dance parties Cleaning my office Drinking a whole lot of coconut water… !
If you write about your routine, submit your link here & I’ll round them all up!
21 June 2010, 11:59
Recently, I started to become frustrated with my Colour-A-Month Moleskines. They’re too small & there’s nowhere to write down extraneous lists or pockets in which to keep things. It was making me nuts to have to dig out another book to write down anything happening further than a month out. The romance was over. It was a dead duck. I stopped using them. I went back to index cards (aka the “hipster PDA“).
Serendipitously though, all this occurred around the same time that Kris Atomic mentioned that she had purchased a Filofax & that it was rocking her world. It planted a seed in my mind.
I started logging into the FilofaxUSA site late at night, bookmarking planners & accessories in a cold sweat. I imagined the things I would put in the plastic pockets; I fantasised about having one place to contain all my madness. Then, one night, I took the plunge. I ordered an organiser & a slew of inserts & accessories. Then I waited. (Very impatiently, I might add. I called them TWICE to track the package! I’m sorry, patient & charming Filofax customer service staff!)
When the package arrived, I rushed downstairs in little more than my pyjamas, & stole back to my room to rip the box open with fervour. Oh, it was beautiful, & worth the wait. It got better & better as I dug deeper through the box. An organiser in bright, rich raspberry; Filofax-specific sticky notes; A MIRROR; a NYC subway map; purple lined notepaper…
I am totally, totally, totally in love with my Filofax & thought I’d show you how I’ve been organising it & using it.
The Filofax organiser I bought is the Metropol Personal, in Raspberry. It’s not the most expensive one — at $34, it’s hardly a splurge — but it is the colour I liked best, & has a minimal, chic design. The colour is (let’s just say it) extremely sexual. The Metropol comes with two pen loops (I use one for my ink pen & one for a highlighter!), a pocket in the front (my passport is stashed inside), six credit card slots & a mesh pocket in the back.
I decided to go with the Personal size because it’s most convenient for my purposes. I wanted something big enough that I could write in comfortably, as I often do a lot of writing on paper when I’m out, but that was also small enough to fit in my handbag. Here is a size guide so you can get an idea of the different options!
At the very front of my Filofax is a mirror, which is genius & perfect for checking your teeth or general appearance before you meet someone — & no one even knows you’re doing it! Fab!
After this, I have two transparent envelopes which contain things I want to keep at the forefront of my mind. When Angeliska did a tarot reading for me at Barton Creek in Austin a couple of months ago, the High Priestess was a significant card that turned up. Angel told me that I should keep one around as a reminder, so I pulled mine from my deck & this is where it’s living for now.
The second pocket holds a variety of things — fortunes from cookies, a fortune from the Zoltar machine at the Wildfox Couture party, passes to clubs in Las Vegas & my Virgin America plane ticket to JFK. It has become a kind of catch-all for scraps which come my way — it needs to be reorganised! (Or perhaps I need multiple envelopes for different purposes… Mmmm sounds good!)
After that is my To Do list. I write each item on a separate line, drawing a heart as a bulletpoint & highlighting the line when it’s completed. (This is a system I’ve been using for a very long time!)
The best thing about a Filofax is that because it’s essentially a binder, it can be opened & pages can be removed or replaced on a whim. This means you don’t have to keep old lists around — it’s a brilliant way of clearing out mental clutter.
The next page is my list of things to manifest! Every sentence starts, “I am so happy & grateful…” & then I describe what I want. For example, one of them is, “I am so happy & grateful that Hank & Dolly get along like old friends & are peaceful & happy together”. I wrote about these lists in Love & Sequins #9, because they really, really work! I like to have mine at the front of my planner because I see it all the time as I am flipping through.
I use my Filofax for very important things, as you can see. Taco night = #1 priority!
My monthly & daily calendars are next. Initially I was just using the grid calendar for planning travel, but have recently switched it up & am now using it to plan out my articles for the month. This way, I can look at it & immediately see where I have a gap, & know what days need content! (Additionally, when I am ahead on my work, it gives me great comfort & a feeling of fantastic smugness to look at these pages. Hahah!)
After the grid calendar is the actual day planner. I use a page for each day, which is great. I like lots of space to add whatever I might need to remember. I am in the unenviable position of needing to write down everything, or I forget about it. I schedule in everything, from meetings to birthdays to reminders to email people about odd things.
I don’t have every day of the year in here — my calendar starts on May 25th (the day it arrived) & at this point, it only contains days up to September. I just don’t want it to be bulging unnecessarily. The rest of the calendar is stowed safely in a desk drawer, & I threw the days prior to May in the bin.
Now we’re into the section which is divided by colour-coded sticky notes. Get ready to Virgo it up!
The first portion contains lists of places to go for brunch & restaurants to try for dinner, separated by borough. Yes, ‘tis true! I collate this information from a bunch of sources (like Yelp & Time Out New York) & make notes beside each name, like the address & type of food. The Dish & I like to go on food adventures, so this is a very useful section.
The next page is an ongoing list of songs to put into a summer mixtape, which I am perpetually (but idly) working on! The tab for this page has a musical note drawn on it. I often flip to this page as I am walking along the street listening to my iPod! (Not very graceful!)
I have a page for handwritten gratitude, as well — I like to add to it when I’m waiting for people or have some downtime. Writing it on paper changes the form of giving thanks. It makes it more real, & taking the time to commit it with pen & ink is a really positive practice for me. It also gives me something to refer back to when I’m putting together Things I Love Thursday!
The page after that is for recording my dreams! I write down the date & any details I can remember. The more I do this, the more of them I remember. (It also apparently increases your chances of lucid dreaming.)
The last page in this section is my wishlist. I add to this list when I think of things which need to be replaced or purchased. (Currently featuring: Hollywood tape [I ran out in Las Vegas], Make Up For Ever All Mat primer, & “cute underwear”. Always.)
I am aware that some of the ways I use my Filofax are pretty unconventional, but it really works for me! That’s the best thing about it, it is basically a good-lookin’ binder & you can fill it with anything you like. You can create it in a way which serves you. You can use it to infuse your life with more magic. I love that.
I use a Barbie pen to write most things in my Filofax. I it.
Future Filofax plans? Yes, I have those!
While I love the Metropol, it’s not leather & so I feel like it will probably start to look ratty after a year or so of use. It’s totally no biggie — when that happens, I will probably upgrade to the Filofax Classic in pink. I’ll just scoop out the guts of the Metropol & switch them over. Easy peasy.
I am on the verge of having new business cards (& stickers!) printed up, & when they’re ready, I’ll be stashing them in my Filofax for sure. I’m going to get another envelope — one with a zip closure — to house them. I always forget to take them with me otherwise, which is tragic to say the least!
I’d love to get my hands on a portable hole punch, so I can instantly add things to my Filofax, but for now, I am pretty happy just putting important things in the pockets or transparent envelopes.
I used to have a Filofax when I was about 10 years old. I seem to remember them being a kind of trend — or were they just trendy among nerds like myself? At the time, there were also many poor imitations of the Filofax, which folded open & had magnetic snap closures. (I think I had one with a crocodile on it, which also included a crappy pen?!) I used to write my homework in it & give myself fake, “cool” homework too. Oh brother.
My life is pretty different now — understatement of the year! — & having a Filofax is the perfect complement. Sometimes, when I hold onto it, I feel like I am clutching a little binder of sanity! I take it everywhere with me, even when I think I won’t need to use it. I inevitably do, & besides, it makes me feel happy just flicking through the pages.
Extra For Experts:
Why A Filofax?
Using A Filofax For GTD: Setting Up The Pages For Tasks & Calendars
Flickr photos of how other people do it
Philofaxy is hardcore!
How do you organise yourself? Are you a Moleskine diehard like I used to be, or do you just keep everything in your head? Would you consider getting a Filofax? Tell me how you keep everything straight! I love hearing about it.
29 May 2010, 18:36
“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
HOORAY! It’s here!
Love & Sequins #9: MANIFESTING & MAGIC-MAKING — Using imagination & reverie to create a perfect universe!
The latest chapter in the Love & Sequins series has been written, edited, recorded & sealed with a kiss!
This episode is all about one of my favourite topics: engineering your thoughts to make your life as beautiful as possible! While a lot of the stuff I’ve read on the subject is vague, my guide is not! There’s no fluffy rhetoric here — it’s all live-action advice which is can immediately be applied to your life. Bullet-points & all!
Some people get confused about manifesting & the law of attraction, & think it is about being positive & thinking woo-woo thoughts & waving a stick of incense around. It really isn’t! Manifesting is about getting the universe to meet you halfway. It’s about doing the work while having faith that things will work out for the best. It’s about knowing that what you want is coming to you — but also knowing that you have to start the ball rolling. After all, if you just sit in your room thinking about what you want, but don’t get out there & tell anyone about it, or do some research, or take any real actionable steps, how will anything ever happen?
Some of the topics covered in Love & Sequins #9 include…
Manifesting 101 — everything you need to know when you’re starting out
Becoming the inspired creator of your own existence
Using your feelings as a barometer to predict your future!
Learning to turn up your vibration & attract beauty into your life
Uncovering what it is that you really, really, really want
All the techniques I use to make incredible things happen
Creating an environment which supports you in your dreams
Becoming a brave, fearless dream warrior!
Embracing, welcoming & learning to love change
Top secret tricks to get rid of the fears which are holding you back from being your own superhero
How to gag & bind your “inner jerk” forever!
What to do on days when you don’t feel the magic
How to jump feet-first into your dream
What to do if your parents are unrepentant dream-crushers!
...& much, much more!
“GALA I LOVED IT! So much insight, help & perspective on the LOA and the everyday nittygritty details & secrets of it! Thank you “ — A.
“It’s so great. Thank you for sharing your life and inspiration with the rest of us. Your positive energy is contagious! :)” — S.
As well as an 11,000+ word document, included in the bundle is an hour-long MP3 of me reading it aloud to you! (Just think of it as an empowering lullaby!)
Copies of it are whizzing around our heads right now, landing with a splash in the inboxes of international playgirls & doll-faced geniuses all over the world!
You can snap it up right now for $12! It will be delivered to your inbox immediately! Good times!
“You create your own universe as you go along.”
Alternatively, you can download all the past — & future! — episodes for $7 each (a one-off payment of $84)!
Here are all the other chapters! Check them out & see what piques your interest. (If you really don’t know where to start, #1 Learning To Love Yourself, #5 Finding Happiness & Making It Stay, #6 Daintier, Smarter, Better Dressed & #7 Blogging 101 have been the most popular! Having said that, I am super-proud of every chapter & they all have been enjoyed across the world!)
Love & Sequins #1: LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF — Self-adoration, manifesting your ideal persona, channelling your inner Marie Antoinette & everything in between!
“This podcast has been tremendously helpful. It has indeed resonated deeply in all of the tiny crevices of my being where I’ve been hiding my hopes and dreams and instead allowing myself to be swallowed by fear and doubt. I couldn’t agree more that we all know that self-confidence and self-love are the root of success, of living the positive inspired lives we all dream about. And yet, until now it escaped me that I could practice at being confident. That I could slowly develop these skills over time. I had a huge a-ha moment – of course it won’t happen overnight! Of course it’s about making small changes, adjusting my mindset and perceptions in the moment… Thank you for letting your own light shine as it has given me permission and inspiration to do the same. I’m deeply grateful.” — L.
Love & Sequins #2: THE SMART GIRL’S GUIDE TO BUSINESS — Taking control of your life, finding your passion, loving what you do & making mad bling!
“Thank you so much for your inspiration. it really gave me the kick up the bum that I needed. I was always afraid to take a creative income path, for fear that my talent was lacking. I still have these insecurities, but I realise that right now, while I’m young, enthusiastic and motivated is the very best time to give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, then I’ll try something different. if it is a success, then maybe it will give me the confidence to try some other more innovative ideas.” — V.
Love & Sequins #3: LOVE, SEX, THE GALAXY & EVERYTHING — From falling in love to co-habitation, & all the beauty & madness contained within!
“Gala, I loved this one! I listened to it as soon as you sent it. I’ve always been kind of a cynic when it comes to love, but I think I’m ready to let my guard down and take the plunge. The ‘love self-evaluation’ and ‘figuring out what you want from a partner’ parts stood out the most to me, and I’m definitely going to take the time to write and reflect on these areas. Thank you so much!” — D.
Love & Sequins #4: A GUIDE TO MANNERS FOR THE MODERN MINX — Etiquette, social graces & charming the pants off total strangers for the uninitiated!
“i just listened to this & it’s SO helpful, you have no idea. thank you, thank you, thank you! i’ve always been pretty socially awkward & it’s only gotten worse the past year or two & i’ve really been wanting to change that, but never knew where/how to start… i’m sure i’ll listen to it many more times :] & absolutely do the homework.” — M.
Love & Sequins #5: FINDING HAPPINESS & MAKING IT STAY — Choosing joy, making magic & devoting your life to love, adventure & deliciousness!
“I can honestly say this is the best $12 you will ever spend. I’ve been seeing a psychologist for the past 6 months… What Gala has produced is that 6 months of therapy all wrapped up into an hour long podcast. Her advice about choosing how you react to situations is the most helpful life advice you may ever receive.” — K.
Love & Sequins #6: DAINTIER, SMARTER, BETTER DRESSED — A deluxe guide to looking truly fabulous, defining your personal style & being the best-dressed girl at any party!
“This months’ Love and Sequins was my favorite so far. It is clearly a subject that you feel very passionate about, and that really came across in the podcast… This podcast really inspired me, and even while I was listening to it, I had a pad of paper next to me and was jotting down outfit ideas and sketching possible combinations.” — V.
Love & Sequins #7: BLOGGING 101 — Living & loving online, monetisation in the new world & thinking beyond the 9-5!
“One more thought: It’s not about blogging. It’s about ANY online business. I.E., pretty much any modern business at all. Blogging is just an example, and at that, really a very small part of it. I read it, thinking about what I was doing, nodding & going, “Yep, good advice, yep, can use that”. ... Loved your comment about your core audience. Great advice about managing online rep. The list of ‘little things’ is frickin’ brilliant. High density, high value. All in all? Damn, that’s one high value podcast. Amazing stuff.” — S.
Love & Sequins #8: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER! Keeping your friendships fresh, finding platonic soul mates & clearing out the fakes, phonies & meanies!
“This podcast was nothing short of fantastic… Full of really useful, practical advice. I always assumed that my friendships would just potter along on autopilot while I tended to the other areas of my life, but now I feel motivated to take action to show my friends how much I appreciate them & make time for them.” — V.
If they all sound good to you, pick up the entire package here! (Great for long car or plane trips, something to listen to when you’re working out or even when you’re drifting off to sleep!)
“I’m so glad I paid for all them upfront. Now every month I get a delicious chapter to inspire and thrill me. It’s one of my favourite pick-me-ups.” — L.
I know I always say it, but THANK YOU so much for your support of me & the Love & Sequins project! I enjoy writing the chapters so much & you are the reason why I’m able to do it!
Have an incredible weekend!
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