29 January 2014, 11:11
Sometimes, being an international playgirl sucks. Sure, you’re constantly meeting new people, having wild adventures, and challenging your own comfort zone, but it’s not all triumph and passport stamps! When you pause for a second, sometimes an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loneliness can sock you right in the guts.
Below is an excerpt of an email from a Kiwi babe named Danielle, who is battling with exactly those emotions. Instead of replying to her directly, I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
“I was hoping you might have some insight/tips on how you handled making the move to the U.S. being from New Zealand. I know you have a great support system there now in the U.S. but was it always like that and do you know many people who don’t have a stable home but still manage to stay in tune with themselves? After traveling a lot I feel like I have acquired so much but am struggling with being a nomad and having no roots. For some reason I thought of you to ask. Maybe because you took a chance and you come from a great southern land like I do. I know you are busy being fab and whatnot. Just feeling a little lonely in the big U.S.A right now. Maybe your Love Letters will do me some good.” (Danielle)
Even though my biggest dream was to move to New York City, the way it happened was an accident: I came over for a party, and decided to stay. My boyfriend and I packed a suitcase each, flew over, and stayed at the New York Palace for a week. At the end of the week, he had to go to London for work, and instead of heading back to Melbourne immediately, I decided I’d stay in NYC for a week or so.
That week became three months. By the time I boarded the plane for Melbourne, my relationship had completely fallen apart, but I knew that New York City was where I was supposed to be. There was nothing keeping me in Australia anymore.
On May 19th 2008, I moved into my first New York apartment. It was spring, and the city was full of sunshine and blossoms. I remember ecstatically walking to Ricky’s and choosing soap for my shower, and the huge thrill that would surge through me when I walked to Wholefoods to get my groceries at 10pm on a beautiful warm night.
When I first got to NYC, I didn’t have a single friend in the city. But that changed quickly.
A street style photographer shot me on my roof. I became friends with a fashion blogger named Gilda who worked at Patricia Field, and we’d go to parties. I met a stylist who took me to bubble battles and we’d eat midnight snacks while magicians performed card tricks. I went to New York Fashion Week and laughed with Yuli when we snuck into Betsey Johnson’s show. My friends Jess and Felicity came to visit. Molly Crabapple emailed me, and introduced me to the world of tawdry burlesque, as well as many of her friends. After years of knowing each other online, I finally met Shauna when she came to the city for a visit, and we started talking all the time. (We also threw a huge public birthday party in Central Park.) I met one of my heroes. I delighted in the halloween parade. I visited Las Vegas, Paris, Los Angeles and Missouri. And I had a couple of romances, which opened up new social circles.
Some of these people are still in my life; some aren’t. It’s all part of the journey.
Even though I was making friends, I still spent a lot of time alone. My explorations of the city and of myself ran parallel; I may have been getting lost in Soho, but I was also rediscovering who I was. I flew cross-country in headphones, thinking about my life and what I wanted to make of it.
When I felt lonely, I would listen to sad songs and buy myself flowers, or sit on my fire escape, watching the city below. I wrote in my journal and spent hours Skypeing with my friends. I would meditate, read books, and walk for miles. Sometimes I would go and get a massage or a pedicure, not only to help with stress, but to feel human contact.
The hardest time was before I got my visa, and could only spend a few months at a time in the USA. It was that feeling of impermanence, of not having any roots; of that suitcase in the corner that I knew I would have to repack soon enough. The thought alone was emotionally exhausting.
But all of those things strengthened my resolve to make it in New York City. I knew I wanted to live here, and nowhere else. There was absolutely no way I was going to go back to New Zealand with my tail between my legs. And when you set your mind to something, you make it happen.
When I think back on that period of my life, I don’t really remember feeling sad or lonely. The main thing that sticks out in my mind was the overwhelming feeling of unlimited possibility and opportunity. The world was full and rich and it felt like there was a new adventure around every single corner.
I am so glad I had that time by myself to get acquainted with — and fall head-over-heels in love with — New York City. It helped me to figure out who I was, to get comfortable with myself as an independent woman, and to discover what I was made of.
The truth is that you can just as easily lose touch with yourself whether you’re living with your parents or in the wilderness, in Nowheresville or New York City. Getting reconnected isn’t complicated; it can be as simple as just committing some time to meditate, journal, pray or exercise, and to do it regularly.
We are what we continually do, so if you feel like what you’re doing isn’t working for you anymore, do something else!
Moving to the other side of the world is not easy. It’s scary, difficult, and extremely challenging, and that’s why most people die in the same town in which they were born. You are to be commended for having the guts to up sticks and take a risk.
The world may seem scary and you may feel lonely right now, but over time those fears will abate, and your loneliness will transform into a sense of comfort. You will begin to feel more at ease with yourself. You won’t be so petrified of being alone. And of course, that’s when your life will start to fill up with wonderful things, people and experiences.
Chin up, playgirl,
Blast from the past photographs taken by Craig Arend, Sean, and Chloe Rice.
17 January 2014, 11:11
Whenever I go to another city, hitting up the best vintage stores is always at the very top of my list, and the internet is, of course, the best place to get your sleuth on. My online investigations had revealed to me that My Delirium, situated in Fitzroy in Melbourne, had all the makings of a vintage goldmine. So, of course, on our first free day in Melbourne, we made our way out there.
There was just one problem: the door was locked, the lights were off, and there was no one inside. It felt like an epic tragedy. I wanted to fall to my knees, sob uncontrollably, yell “WHY?!” at the heavens, and maybe get struck by lightning, but I somehow managed to restrain myself.
It was like torture! From outside, we could see right inside this colourful, kaleidoscopic galaxy… And yet we couldn’t get inside. I stared through the windows, willing the handle to turn and open.
But there’s a happy twist to this story. Within half an hour, one of our Melbourne blogcadettes, the ever-stylish and eternally badass Kat, had showed up… With a set of spare keys!
Now that’s pure magic.
This is my happy place.
As soon as we squirreled our way inside, we got right down to business, flicking through the racks, caressing sequins, and stroking furry jackets. And luckily, well, for us at least, our long-suffering friend Corey was there to document all the madness!
Sequins and chiffon and wild prints beckoned us…
I wish I had this print in my home… And that mind-bending wallpaper!
The store was full of cute, weird tchotchkes.
I love this cuckoo clock.
Faux flowers were everywhere...
We headed upstairs for more delights… I also want this poster in my house.
Kat, flicking through colour-coded racks…
While the girls were trying things on, I snuck downstairs and stole this insane coat off a mannequin. There are not enough exclamation marks in the WORLD to do this coat justice!
“Hey Shauna, look at this crazy coat I stole from the mannequin in the window!” “Ooooooh my god.”
Then I let her have a go in it, while I snuggled up in a pink wool coat. Shauna looks damn good in a yellow fur… Right at home!
If we ever did Blogcademy on the Las Vegas Strip, this is what we’d all have to wear, I think.
My Delirium is absolutely full of eye-popping prints. I loved this pattern on a mannequin.
Crazy sequinned coats from the 1970s are my specialty.
I need to buy a huge cane chair and paint it lavender. It is my life’s work.
Best rug on the planet. My flower crown is from My Delirium and necklace is by Vivienne Westwood. The striped crop top is by Motel (such a good purchase), and this circle skirt is perfect and was a total bargain from ModCloth. My boots are Dr Marten Darcies, which sadly are no longer in production.
Aw, thanks Corey!
Needless to say, if you’re ever in Melbourne, make My Delirium an essential part of your trip. We walked out of there with shopping bags bulging, feeling like our eyeballs had been on a psychedelic holiday… And what more could you possibly ask for?!
Photos by Corey Sleap.
3 January 2014, 10:11
It was bittersweet to say goodbye to beautiful Queensland… But the time had come. We had four classes to teach!
In the week we spent with Tourism And Events Queensland, in the capable hands of Jess and Celeste, we managed to pack in more activities and incredible experiences than I could have ever imagined. So of course, it was only right to make a video of our weird and wonderful time in Queensland.
Click below to get an eyeful!
We’re so thankful to Tourism And Events Queensland, as it was their generosity in bringing us over to Australia that enabled us to come and teach four sold-out classes. Because of them, we realised how much enthusiasm they have down under!
We can’t wait to come back at the end of the year, and if you’d like to join us, be sure to register soon because we’re almost out of seats!
Photos by Janneke Storm.
20 December 2013, 10:11
After an exceptionally leisurely day, during which Shauna and I lounged around at our #bloggermansion while Kat went snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, our hostess with the mostest, Celeste, booked us on a sunset cruise with Sailaway Port Douglas.
We didn’t really know what to expect. A huge boat full of tourists, perhaps? Nevertheless, we crawled into colourful dresses and painted our lips, just in case it turned out to be fabulous.
Big surprise! (Not really.) Just like everything else Tourism Queensland had up their sleeve, it was a fantastic experience. Five star all the way, baby. We quaffed pink champagne and nibbled on chicken skewers and crudites, while lovers cuddled up all around us.
But who needs a lover to cuddle with when you look this fabulous?! Shauna’s dress is Kate Spade Saturday, and her sunglasses are Dries Van Noten.
Seriously… We could get used to this kind of lifestyle.
Kat’s dress is from TopShop. The enthusiasm, however, cannot be purchased!
My dress is Plenty by Tracy Reese, my sunglasses are Celine, and my lipstick is NARS Schiap (over MAC Cosmetics’ Embrace Me liner, a gift from Kandee Johnson herself!).
Before long, it was time to head back to shore, and leave our daydreams of being yacht babes behind. At least we’ll always have these Instax!
Dreaming of Australian sunsets,
Photos by Janneke Storm.
13 December 2013, 10:11
I think we can officially chalk this one up on the things I never thought I’d do list: flying around a rainforest in a harness!
That’s one of the great things about being on someone else’s agenda: you end up trying entirely new things. That’s how, on our last day in Port Douglas, we drove up to Cape Tribulation to take part in a Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour.
The first step? Picking out a helmet. They all had names painted on them, ranging from the silly to the ridiculous. Shauna, our littlest headmistress, chose Mini Me, while I went for Tank Girl, and Kat went for — what else? — Catwoman.
Don’t let our faces fool you — we had absolutely no idea what we were in for!
After trudging up a hill, we were strapped into harnesses which allowed us to zip-line between treehouse platforms, some of which were as high as 8 storeys! From the platforms, we could look out and see the Great Barrier Reef, meaning we were in one World Heritage Listed landmark, while looking at another.
It was fabulous.
The zip-line action started off slow and gentle, but before we knew it, we were whizzing through the rainforest at full speed, dangling upside down, and flying hands-free!
Look at her, zooming through the rainforest in her Zara motorcycle boots! Never underdressed, that one… !
The views were fantastic, and I kept swooning over the enormous bright blue Ulysses butterflies which fluttered right past us. They’re huge, the size of your hand, and their irridescent wings glow in the sunlight.
It was all over much too quickly. I wanted to do more upside down zip-lining! My mind began to stretch and fantasise. Maybe one day I could live somewhere with a system of treehouses and zip-lines…
As we tramped back down the hill to civilisation, I was buzzing from the excitement, and reminded of something Seth Godin said not so long ago:
“Artists and leaders seek out that feeling. They push themselves to the edge, to the place where the fear lives. By feeling it, by exposing themselves to the resistance, they become more alive and do work that they’re most proud of.” (Seth Godin)
To live a full, rich, and thrilling life, it’s essential to push yourself to those places. It’s imperative to do the things that make your palms sweat, or which give you nervous butterflies — Ulysses or not! — and not just within the business arena.
Get out amongst it! Do something you would never normally say yes to, and see how it totally flips your perspective and philosophy of life.
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