Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ghosts of Halloween Past

If there is one area Australia is lacking, it is surely in the holiday department. There are of course the obviously American traditions such as 4th of July and Thanksgiving which will be missing from my life this year, but Halloween as well?

Halloween only recently began picking up steam in Australia and is still rarely celebrated. The only costume party on the horizon is hosted by an American expat group who refuse to give up their traditions. I cannot imagine a childhood deprived of the tradition of dressing up, collecting pillowcases stuffed full of lollies (candy in Oz) and carving goofy faces in pumpkins Followed by an additional excuse in college to dress like a slutty-something-or-another and drink our faces off for a week.
It all makes sense considering Spring has sprung rather than Autumn on this side of the globe. Halloween began as a European festival commemorating the birth of winter; that dark and scary time of year where decisions on life and death were made before retreating inside for the snowy months to come. And of course, America being America hopped on board for the excuse to party like the hooligans we are.
What better time than now to relive my glory days of Halloweens past and sulk on the void of Halloween present? 

You wanna see my Peacock?

Beanie Baby Bunch

My tag read:
Born: May 6
Your ear won't be the only thing I'm nibbling on ;)

Rosie the Riveter


Amy Winehouse

GI Shane

Naughty School Girl

Slutty Sherriff

Clearly I had my priorities straight #college Gone are the days...

ps. 25% off all ads using: PUMPKINSPICE 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A letter to my future daughter

My darling girl,

It seems funny I am writing you this letter as lord knows I’m far from ready to be a mama. Heck, I’m in a foreign country living out my dreams right now! But the physical and emotional rollercoaster I rode through my teenage years has made way for this beautiful life to unfold. I don’t want you to ever have to suffer the internal battles I did. I want the best life imaginable for you.

Daughter, I challenge you to...

Live with purpose...

Never be afraid to be too much: too different, too creative, too outspoken or too passionate. Go the extra mile and don't half ass the job. People will notice.

Live with integrity...

Let your moral compass guide your every action, never straying from your tightly held values and beliefs.

Live with compassion...

Perform random acts of kindness for others without expecting anything in return. Leave a 100% tip, make time for a girls day with your little sister, or start a holiday tradition of blessing bags for the homeless in your town.

Live with uncertainty…

Stop waiting to be ready to take that next jump. Discomfort is a sign you are pushing yourself towards growth and will come out a stronger person in the end. 

Rule of thumb: if it scares you to death, it’s probably a good thing to try.

Live with humility... 

Respect opinions that differ from your own but don’t give your power away by letting others dictate how you feel.

Live with adventure…

Have a well-stamped passport and travel every damn chance you get. Soak up every inch of beauty this great world has to offer; life is far too short to stay stagnant in one place.

Live with independence…

Be content with being alone. Mentally, emotionally, and financially. Lonely is a state of mind not a relationship status. Never rely on anyone else for your happiness and sense of self-worth but accept the help of family and friends when you truly need it.

Live with confidence…

Believe in yourself and your value. Speak up for what you want and don't be afraid to flaunt your achievements. “I don’t know” is never the right answer and it limits your credibility. And don’t skimp on a handshake; first impressions are everything.

Live with resiliency…

Follow your heart but listen to your head. One day you will wake up and realize you are better off without that boy you fell so hard for. No matter how bad your heart was broken, the world won't stop for your grief. And you won't regret these years as time wasted because you came back stronger and ready for future relationships.

Live with self-respect...

Love yourself first. Every inch of you. You are worth far more than any society imposed ideals of beauty or how a woman should be or act. You should never have to justify to others (or yourself) what you eat, how you dress or who you love. 

As for that clique you hung out with in high school? Popularity goes out the window as soon as you graduate. Those pesky pimples that always seemed to appear when you needed them least? They'll vanish. That number on the scale? Those flaws you harp over day in and day out? Chances are others hardly even notice.
Clearly a picture of my future daughter...
Above all else, live your life on your own terms. Stop seeking anyone elses approval. Stop living in fear. Love yourself, unapologetically.

And always member to call your mom. She knows best.

Much Love,
Your mother, your cheerleader, your very best friend

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to be a certified hipster

I've been in Australia three months now and have yet to share with you my new home. Shame on me! I'm shacked up in Newtown, a vibrant suburb in the inner west of Sydney. Despite being a 15 minute train ride from the city, the vibe here is a touch different.

As I walk to the train station for work every morning I am greeted with stares in my all-black business suit. I’m not obscure enough for this hipster far out land. Or as they call it Alt (short for alternate) in Australia. I am determined to fit in!

Hipster (n.) subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. Hipsters reject the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers. 

Humans of Newtown:

How to be a hipster in Newtown

1.  Be an independent, free-spirited individual
2.  Have a blog. Preferably tumblr
3.  Sport thick, black rimmed glasses. Regardless of 20/20 vision
4.   A long black coffee from the local cafe always in hand
5.   Take up sketch or painting classes
6.  Refuse to eat the animals. Consider growing your own food and go vegan
7.  Have a cute dog…or a pig
8.  Have a trendy, asymmetrical ‘do

Or a simple mohawk will do..
Both hipster men and women sport similar androgynous hair styles that include combinations of messy shag cuts and asymmetric side-swept bangs. 

9. Join a band
10.  Have a job in the arts, music or fashion industry
11.  Shower every other day. Don’t wash your hair.  Don’t look in the mirror before leaving home.

12.   Leave your shoes at home.
13.   Thrift vintage at the Salvo’s (salvation army store). For that "efortless cool" urban bohemian look.
14.   Do things because they're "ironic"
15.  Wear animal print leggings and/or tie dye, vintage floral, flannel.
16.  Smoke that cig
17. Grocery shop at the Happy Herb shop
18.   Ask for a spot in Cold Play’s music video. This was filmed ON MY STREET! King Street is famous for its good food and shopping.
19.   Just kidding, Indie bands only. Coldplay is far too mainstrem these days.
20. Instagram all the things
21.  Ride a bicycle
22.  No shaving…anything

23.   Listen to Sticky fingers
24.   Know multiple ways to tie a scarf
25.   Fancy wine a whole lot.
26.   Super skinny jeans
27.   Round sunnies…thing John Lennon
28.   Be sure not to match your shirt with your pants
29. Carry that open beer down the street
30. Teach your kids your ways

31. Go au natural with no makeup
32. No labelled clothings
33.  Be an early adopter, ahead of the trend curve. Than drop it all when it becomes mainstream. Although hipsters are technically conformists within their own subculture, in comparison to the much larger mainstream mass, they are pioneers and leaders of the latest cultural trends and ideals
Golden Rule: Never, under any circumstances, admit to being a hipster. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pet Peeved

Pet peeves. We all have them. Well here's a brief rundown of what irks me to no end:

1. Ignorance and intolerance (be it racists or homophobes, or really anyone close-minded to ideas outside their own).
2. Meat heads
3. People who won’t take their kid out of a restaurant when they are screaming and crying.

4. Couples who say "We’re pregnant” Are you sharing a uterus or?

5. Those who drink all but one drop of milk or juice and put it back in the fridge. Just finish it. That shit's annoying.

6. People who tickle me. You will get a kick to the noggin.

7. Duck faces past middle school.

8. Slow walkers or those that stop right in the middle of the sidewalk. Really?

9. People who are consistently late.

10. People who leave water running while brushing their teeth.

11. The automated emails you get from companies after you contact them that just say “we got your email and we’ll contact you soon." Pointless.

12. Stores that charge extra if you pay by credit card.

13. Stepping in water while wearing socks.

14. People who ask for gluten-free products when they don’t have celiac’s disease.

15. Friends who insist on sending you their entire stream of consciousness instead of writing out their entire thought in one text, they break it up and send you 400 texts with three words in each one.

16. Hygenists that talk to you while you’ve got a giant chunk of plastic in your mouth along with a blade against your gums

17. People who use "LOL" or "hashtag" in normal conversation.
18. Tangled head phones.

19. People who don't live up to their full potential. 

20. When you’re driving behind someone who is going super slow and then when you go to pass them they slam on the gas and start going 150mph.

21.  Deodorant stains.

22. People who hover over you texting or on the computer.

23. When someone tags you on Facebook in a picture where you look like a goblin. Thanks for that, friend.

24. Going out to dinner with a big group, eating $10 worth of food and having to split the whole bill and ending up paying much more than you ate.

25. Captcha. Turn that shit off.

26. People who call but don’t leave a message. Worse yet, people who answer your text with a call or snapchat.
27. When you have to walk out of the shower naked because you forgot to bring a towel with you.
28. Songs that have a siren sounds in them so when you’re driving you think you’re about to get pulled over or die.
29. Flakes. People that cancel plans all. the. time. Ever heard of loyalty?

30. Guys who can't take a subtle blatantly obvious hint you are not interested.

Now I'm curious, what quirks drive you bonkers?

Helene in Between Blogtober

Monday, October 20, 2014

What if I fall? Oh my darling, what if you fly?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? Now what is holding you back besides yourself? Is it a fear of judgment or criticism? Fear of change? Fear of the unknown?

For me, it’s a mix of all the above. My need for certainty often disrupts a desire for freedom.

Atelophobia (n.) the fear of imperfection; of never being good enough.

I am a full-fledged, Type A perfectionist, forever doubting my abilities. I set irrationally high standards for myself and am never fully satisfied until I reach them. It was far too easy to compile a list of things I suck at at. I am my own worst critic.
This isn’t something new; I began life as a perfectionist. Even as a child, I was passionate about life and the successes I could make for myself. Since kindergarten, each report card I brought home would begin, “Shane is a very conscientious student,” a teacher politely telling my parents something they already knew, that their daughter feared failure.
Fast forward several years to my first real job. In our weekly retrospectives we discuss as a team that which went well, not so well, and how we plan to improve in the future. Week after week, I point out all the things I did wrong. My team leader offers encouragement: “I know you added great value this week, why don’t you ever talk about the positives?” I often sell myself short which projects as lacking the confidence necessary for success in my career.

Have you ever thought, I could accomplish so much more if only I believed in myself and my talents?
I overthink every situation, making the simplest of tasks 100x more difficult than necessary. I spend hours deciding if I want to make even the smallest of purchases, and then have regret for weeks after the fact (I'm talking like $20 here).
It seems a paradox that a perfectionist would procrastinate, yet many nights I am left staring at a blank computer screen for hours, trying to decide where to begin. I often put off turning in papers, checking them over and over, to be sure they are just right, to the point of crippling paralysis.
Stop focusing on what could go wrong and start focusing on what could go right
I think more about what could go wrong than what could go right. Nights are spent tossing and turning, a worry wart to no end.  
I possess a very black or white mentality. I want everything I touch to be just right, and when the world around me refuses to cooperate, I get annoyed and frustrated. I need to learn to see those subtle shades of gray.
I take everything to heart. I fake a tough exterior but I am easily offended. Yet at the same time, I struggle to accept compliments.
I tend to push people away. When it comes to relationships, opening up and revealing your true self is necessary. Yet when things start heat up, I freak at the thought of commitment and make excuse after excuse to get out of what I've gotten myself into. Do I risk being exposed and vulnerable, or act to protect my pride and heartstrings?
I don't like to deal with my emotions by talking about them. Instead I let them bottle up inside of me until I'm ready to explode. This allows fear to grow and harbor inside, stealing my happiness.
We all have comfort zones, or those artificial mental boundaries of that which we believe we can or cannot accomplish in our personal and professional and lives. There are those who are perfectly happy staying warm and cozy in this safe box they've built but this places bounds on experiencing all that life has to offer.

The urge to pack up and start a new life in a city is a dream we've all had at one time or another. There’s a certain appeal in leaving behind your established routine and starting fresh. I took the ultimate risk by moving across the globe for my first real job. I have stepped out of my comfort zone numerous times in the past three months, opening myself to so many amazing opportunities.
Failing is both the worst and best thing that can happen to you. When you don’t fail, you succeed. When you do fail, you succeed at figuring out another way of not doing it..Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. Achievers succeed not because they’re not afraid, but because they overcome the fear. They know fear won’t go away, but they refuse to be deterred by it. 
I have come to realize through the years that more than just working toward success, perfection is a search for the unattainable. Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. You will fail to achieve as much as those with more realistic strivings.
Looking towards the future, I will not look upon failure as a frozen outcome, but rather a chance to learn and grow. I believe I will lead a much more satisfying life if I release my inhibitions. 
There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself, comfortable in her perfect imperfections, to me, that is the essence of beauty
My question for you is this: Do you want to look back at the end of your life and regret all those chances you didn’t take?
Helene in Between Blogtober