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As I typed out the title of this post, I couldn’t help but wonder about the reaction it might receive. You never know with periods – some people are totally chill discussing them, and others completely flip out and turn to the nearest interesting blank wall to awkwardly stare at. Some guys are fine with it, some are absolutely, 100% not. Just as some girls are fine with it, and some are absolutely, 100% not.

It’s not like this is ground-breaking news. A woman’s period is not exactly an unexpected natural disaster, a fifty-thousand dollar headline or a cataclysmic social event. Periods are just part of a normal, natural cycle that occurs for over half the people on the planet.

So why are periods still such a big deal?

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Periods have received an awful lot of attention in the media recently – there was this woman, who ran the London marathon without using any ‘feminine products’. There’s this ad by pad brand Sophy, which has caused uproar for both period- and fat-shaming women. There are countless photographic series and explorations popping up online which capture various aspects of the menstrual cycle. And still, people everywhere wig out when they discover a rogue new tampon that’s managed to roll under the sofa, or overhear two women complaining about their PMS.

Years ago, I read an interesting perspective on this matter in a women’s magazine. The article centred around boyfriends opinions of their girlfriend’s periods. Why boyfriends are even entitled to have an ‘opinion’ on this topic remains a mystery to me (it’s not like periods are optional, like nipple piercings, dude) one response really jumped out and it’s stuck with me ever since:

“All I need to know is when it starts, and when it’s over. Keep all the gory details to yourself.”

I get the ‘when it starts’ and ‘when it’s over’ part. That’s just common courtesy. If you enjoy any kind of sex life or indeed, open communication about feelings and day-to-day matters with your partner, that’s going to be something that may need to be spoken about, of course. But the ‘gory details’? Please.

 

Are we including the need to stop at the grocery store on the way home to grab some over-nights? Does this encapsulate the pain – mild or even positively crippling – some women face during their time of the month? Do we discount the thousand stories we’ve been exposed to pertaining to broken bones, flesh-tearing accidents at work, projectile drunk vomit and finding jizz in places you’d never thought possible?

Not to mention, periods can be quite traumatising for some women, particularly for those who get them irregularly, very heavily, or very painfully. Having the support and empathy from a partner can help to lessen the strain that their period might place on their lives.

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If you’re over having to defend your right to your own period, there are some ways to assist others in getting the fuck over it, too:

  • Call it a freaking period. Let’s do away with the ‘time-of-the-month’s, the ‘monthlies’, the ‘Aunty Flo’s. It’s a period. And that is so, so okay.
  • Stop hiding your pads and tampons. You don’t have to leave them on the kitchen counter, but take them out of the secret period bag in your bottom drawer and leave them on a shelf in the bathroom
  • Talk to your partner. This is my number one tip for any relationship problem ever. If his or her attitude bugs you, tell them! Help educate. You don’t have to go all Quentin Tarantino, but make it clear that you expect the same candidness when you have your period that you do when you have a cold, an anxiety attack or sunburn. The only difference between the four is that three of those things are avoidable!
  • If you have an inkling that something isn’t right – timing, flow, pain, or any other irregularity – see your doctor immediately
  • Be open about your mood swings and when they happen. We all experience them differently, but it’s important to acknowledge your emotions if you know that pre-menstrual syndrome causes them. If PMS aggression is an issue for you, talk to the people you’re close to and give them a heads up. PMS isn’t a punchline.
  • Talk to your friends. Have they encountered period-shaming? How did they cope? Do they need support, too?

To be frank, with all feminist outrage and save-the-world entitlement aside, it’s just plain boring to see people freak out over something so normal. In one way or another, periods will at some stage affect every single person on the planet.

Can we not just get over it, already?

Ladies – what are your thoughts? Have you been period shamed? How did you deal?

 

 

 

Period panties by Hare Brained Designs

Venus retrograde – 25th July – 6th September

Venus. She’s a bright jewel, a sparkly temptress; she incites lovers, inspires poetry and casts a mystical glow wherever she goes. Venus is by far and away one of my most favourite planets, but right now, she’s set out to cause a maelstrom of havoc! Our girl Venus is in retrograde, babes, and it can only mean one thing (mayhem). Or can it?

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Typically, when individual planets turn retrograde, it’s a time for us to go inward and reflect on the impact those planets have made on our lives so far, as opposed to how they might rule us in the future. Of course, it’s never always doom-and-gloom – retrogrades are often a great time to meditate on the aspects that the retrograding planet rules.

Venus is all about love, sex and beauty. She’s a dynamite of intensive ethereal prettiness, epic romance and hardcore lust. She finds value in gorgeous things and is ruled by aesthetics and style.

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Venus in retrograde is a great time to find value in beautiful things from the past. This might include things like lessons you’ve learned from former relationships, finding a pair of pre-loved Versace heels buried in a thrift store, or realising that the bright red hair you sported in your early twenties might actually be a really good colour for you. It’s also the perfect time to re-evaluate what you already own, and plan ways in which they might serve you better.

Here is a crash course in how to survive Venus retrograde!

DO:

  • Suss out what did and didn’t work in past relationships. While your ex might have been a poor communicator, did you learn a valuable lesson about how important it is to be honest and open with your future partners?
  • Hunt for bargains in thrift stores and barter like mad. It’s possible that the proprietor has no idea of the real value attached to your salvaged treasures!
  • Resist the urge to contact ex lovers, or reply to their recent email, SMS or love letter
  • Assess your living space. Are you happy with the decor/order of books on the shelves/crockery you’re using?
  • Reflect on your current personal style. Are you 100% happy with how you’re dressed? Are you sure you really love those boots/that jacket?
  • Take everything very, very slowly. Don’t make any rash decisions or concerning your appearance or your love life
  • Try not to fall into any new relationships during this time. Chances are, Venus is messing with your head, and your new lover might not sport all the goods they’re offering in the long run

DON’T:

  • Make any extravagant personal purchases, like an expensive new leather handbag or a membership to a pricey dating site
  • Fall back into communication with an ex-partner – unless you’re willing to confront every – and I mean every – aspect of why it didn’t work the first time around (and this means admitting to your own shortcomings, too!)
  • Buy new decor for your home. You could end up hating it in the long run!
  • Make any major changes to your appearance, like a crazy new haircut or colour, spontaneous tattoos or dropping hundreds on a new wardrobe
  • Unveil any new business projects. Plan until the cows come home, but save the launch date until after the retrograde is over – particularly if you’re premiering a service that people might want to invest in for aesthetic reasons, like a clothing store or a party company!
  • Be too hard on yourself. It’s easy to be very critical of our appearances at this time, and it’s important to focus on good health and the bigger picture!

TIPS:

  • Invest in a good feng shui guide and re-order the knick-knacks and furniture that you already own
  • Find closure from past relationships. Write letters or emails to sever ties amicably for the right reasons (but avoid getting into tit-for-tat bullshit)
  • Write some pros-and-cons lists and do some serious self-reflection
  • Complete a ritual to set your intentions from the 6th of September
  • Clean out your makeup bag- ditch smashed powders, out-of-date foundations or crusty old mascaras
  • Nourish your hair and skin with natural treatments, lots of water and fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Start a mood board filled with images that thrill you – fashion, travel, luxury items – just don’t buy anything yet!

We hear the term ‘retrograde’ and get thrown into a spin of panic – but it needn’t be so! While Venus is haywire, the most important thing is to take your time. Don’t make any spur of the moment decisions. All of Venus’ most beautiful aspects are there – it’s just a matter of learning to use her backward power in the same way that we rely on her forward motion. Reflect, remind … and when the time is right, rejuvenate!

See you on the other side, Magic Makers!

 

 

 

Images via, via

Have you ever sat down to reflect on your style evolution? The themes, colours, textures and influences that have shaped you into the babe you are today?

Evolution of style is a very personal process. It can be super quick, with the help of a personal shopper or a fantastic hair stylist, but it can also be achingly slow and uncomfortable. What we choose to wear and how we express ourselves is a direct correlation to our values and beliefs: just compare ye olde gothic chic to Japanese Harajuku! The people who enjoy these aesthetics have very different ways in which they see the world, and how they want to be seen in it.

Venus is currently in retrograde (which means that it appears to be going backwards in the sky) and as such, this is the perfect time to take stock and reflect on choices we’ve made pertaining to beauty and personal style. Have a look back over some of the choices you’ve made in the past, and think about how these choices are affecting your current tastes. You might be surprised!

To lead the charge, I have mapped out my style evolution from the beginning of my highschool years. Prepare yourself from some embarrassing admissions…

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2002 – 2004

  • Years eight to ten, my first years of highschool
  • Influence: Tomboy
  • Staples: Baggy jeans, grey Sketcher sneakers, long sleeved jerseys

2004

Who’s that poking out the back in the boys shirt and the surfy chick beads?!

In 2002, I was trying to find a place to fit in at my new (Catholic, all girls) school – with very limited success. The only way I could wiggle into a niche was to create one for myself – and create I did! I made skirts from stitching thrifted scarves together, I wore a lot of boys clothing I’d find on sale in surf and skate stores. I attached buttons and badges to everything I owned in an attempt to ‘make them mine’. I also dyed my hair for the first time – jet black – and bought a pair of skull-and-crossbone earrings, over which I fought relentlessly with my year level coordinator. Needless to say, I usually won.

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Taken on school camp in 2003. I’m second from the left and in the middle of a chorus of ‘Kumbaya’

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Fast forward to year 10. Me dressed and comfy as Patty Andrews for our school production!

In year ten, I scored my first ever job, and had money of my own for the first time in my life. Billowy peasant skirts and thick, cosy coats trimmed in fur started to catch my eye. While I refused to ditch the baggy jeans and ill fitting sweaters, I started to team them with slightly more stylish pieces. I bought some nicely fitting (if still very cheap!) long sleeved tees in various patterns. I bought my first handbag – a lemon yellow, banana shaped satchel! Can you believe it? I finally threw out the revolting grey Sketcher sneakers I’d been kicking around in, and bought my first ever pair of ‘girl shoes’ – ballet flats with a fashionable bar across the bridge. I also discovered cardigans – I needed something new to hide the sizeable boobs I’d grown at the very early age of ten, of which I was still extremely self-conscious.

2006

  • Year twelve, last year of highschool, planning to move to London at the first available opportunity
  • Influence: LA casual chic, Hilary Duff, Mary-Kate Olsen
  • Staples: Jeans, long tops, scarves

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Aw, look at that pretty face! (A face only a mother could love, I’m sure!)

2007

My going-away drinks before a solo six month adventure in London (look at that HAIR, ew!)

Buying my first pair of big-girl jeans was a nightmare. I think I cried in about forty different fitting rooms until I found a pair that I didn’t hate (although I still intensely disliked wearing any form of denim, and still do). Because I’d gained a bit of weight as I’d gone through puberty, I was extremely self conscious of my belly – every single top I bought at this time, while still getting more feminine every day, was loose and floaty, and long enough to cover the crotch in my jeans. Needless to say, I suffered an extreme lack of self-confidence all the way through highschool, and I hated dressing to go to birthday parties and school dances.

2008

  • Arrived back home from London, enrolled in makeup school
  • Influence: Dark and sassy, bloggers, fashion magazines
  • Staples: Tights and pencil skirts, embellished tops, OTT jewellery

2009

My sister’s sixteenth birthday party!

Deciding to study makeup artistry was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Finally, an outlet to be creative – and not scorned. An opportunity to be a bit more stylish – with some seriously cool influences from girls in my class. I purchased a lot of tight pencil skirts, leggings and long, loose knitted sweaters and cardigans. I began to experiment with enormous accessories – huge gold earrings, giant beads, massive cocktail rings. People began to comment on my style, always picking out the things that really stood out, like my jewellery, or patterned tights. I began to feel far more at ease with my body and my style choices – still unique and with a fairly subtle colour palette, but getting more refined by the day.

2010

  • First serious relationship, coming into adulthood
  • Influence: More refined style choices, artists, store look books, thrift stores
  • Staples: Black, unusual textures, hair accessories, makeup2010

My other sister’s highschool graduation!

Things seemed to level up when I turned 21. I was getting into the party scene, meeting new people, and starting to develop my own ideas about the world (although to be fair, I had a veritable treasure trove of those from the time I turned ten). I read countless blogs and articles about developing personal style. I started thrifting strategically, and bought faux fur jackets, violet genie pants and peach kimonos. 2010 was a major turning point for me – the outfits I wore started to turn heads, and I developed a bit of a reputation for being eccentric and individual. I started to come in to my own, and feel like the person I was born to be!

2013

  • Second serious relationship, planning for my future and the person I want to become
  • Influence: Festival wear, bright alternative fashion, femininity
  • Staples: Patterns, balanced shapes, pinks, purples, polkadots2013

One of my favourite photos from my infamous Blogcademy Tea Party!

At 24 years of age, I had a much better understanding of what fitted my body and the impression that I wanted to leave on the world. I’d also been writing my blog for about a year, and attended the Blogcademy, which blew my perspective wide open. I started experimenting more with colour: plenty of bright, clashy patterns, weird textures and fun accessories like fascinators and Glomesh bags. I discovered that A-line and skater skirts worked well with my figure, and bodycon did not. I started to grow more and more comfortable experimenting with my individuality. I ditched all the black clothes I owned and invested in what I’d secretly dreamed of all along – pinks, florals, polka dots, candy coloured heels.  It didn’t matter, as long as it was always something new and always something fun.

2015

  • Moved to Melbourne, finding the balance between responsibility and zany fun
  • Influence: Kawaii, bloggers, street art, bohemia, music
  • Staples: Wigs, candy-coloured clothing, clunky boots, cute-as-fuck jewellery, handmade items

2015

My babe Clara and I keeping it real on Australia Day this year!

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Race Day for Ali’s 30th!

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Photoshoot for Clutch Those Heels!

And so, we land in 2015. I don’t need to go into too much detail here – it’s fairly obvious where I’m at style-wise right now! I have felt more like myself than ever before since I made the move to the Big Smoke. I’ve bought a lot of handmade and laser-cut jewellery from Etsy. I’ve worn lilac petticoats and a multitude of brightly coloured wigs to work. I’ve pitched out a lot of stuff left over from those other awkward phases, and have been left (for the most part) with pieces that truly reflect my personality and the things I value: colour, light, creativity and individuality.

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Of course, the next phase of the operation is happening as we speak. As I mentioned, Venus retrograde is a great time to sit back and reflect on anything related to beauty, fashion and style – but not to make any major decisions or purchases (you can do that after the 6th of September, FYI!). Having said that, even writing this article has my little brain ticking over with ideas about future style influences and what 2016 might look like for me! Style evolution is not something that needs to be rushed – as you can see, it’s taken over twelve years and countless cringe-worthy photographs to where I am now! The most important thing to remember is this: Style is a fluid art form. It ebbs and flows with the context of your life within the world. Enjoy the ride, and see where it takes you – you might just be surprised!

 

 

 

Image creds: Photos 1, 2 & 3 courtesy of Leah Metaxas, photo 10 courtesy of Nick Klau

Aloha from beautiful Perth!

Yesterday I made the nearly-four-hour journey across our sunburnt country from east coast to west to spend a week of blissful relaxation (dotted with parties) with my dear old Dad!

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Throwback all the way to 2010 – my first trip to Perth! (Sorry about the quality)

I’ve been fairly overdue for a holiday, and while I have plenty of non-plans to do a whole lot of not much (hello, day spa!), Dad and I have planned a host of fun adventures for the week to come, including a trip to the opera, a day by the sea in Fremantle, several dinner dates with various very cool people and a trip to the markets. He knows me too well!

The very first thing on my agenda for this trip was to spend the entirety of this morning in bed reading and drinking cups of tea. I was bummed to realise, while cocooned in blankets and sipping English Breakfast, that I’ve done a far bit of complaining lately. I hate to admit it, because it’s a yucky negative space and I try to avoid those at all costs, but it’s true! I’ve been quite the Negative Nancy, and I didn’t enjoy the realisation of the fact one bit.

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We all complain from time to time, because it’s so easy to gripe about things – the weather, our families, poor internet connection, running out of milk, office politics – but the thing is, complaints are simply negative verbalisations that sap our ability to live a positive, gratitude-filled life. Not good.

At times, complaining seems almost constructive. We all need to off-load occasionally, right? But why is it that we tend to switch into a negative headspace as soon as someone asks, “How are you?”

A typical response to this question is, “Yeah, fine thanks, how are you?”, before launching into a diatribe outlining all the reasons that we think we aren’t doing well.

  • “Yeah, fine thanks, a bit tired. Had a late one last night, I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been really stressed over the merger.”
  • “Yeah, fine thanks. I think I might be coming down with a cold. It’s going round at the moment, everybody’s sick.”
  • “Yeah, fine thanks. My pet unicorn vomited all over the Axminster and my Lambo’s in the shop. I had to get the bus to work.”

Well, the latter might be a bit of a stretch. But you get the idea, right?

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It’s sad to think that the bulk of our compulsive communication with others involves some form of complaint. We all tend to focus more on the negative than the positive, even when we’re actively trying to live with joy. I could get all cliché here and spout the ‘there’s so much to be thankful for!’ argument, but in reality, I think it’s far simpler than that: just stop! And while you’re at it, it’s time to do away with ‘fine’. Fine is a fallacy. Fine is boring as fuck, if we’re being really honest. So – “How are you?”

  • “I’m great! I have a date on Saturday night, I’m actually going shopping for a new outfit after work.”
  • “I’m so good, thanks for asking! Mum’s birthday is next week, I can’t wait to see the family, it’s been so long since we all got together!
  • “I’m really well. I have a meeting with my boss tomorrow to discuss an idea I had for a new project. I think it’s going to be really productive.”

Try to stop leaping for the last irritating thing that’s happened to you, and instead, lead with the most exciting thing you’re looking forward to. If you can make this one simple change, your whole attitude will shift – instead of dwelling on the past and savouring those bitter, bite-sized pieces of gloom and doom, you’ll free up your energy to really manifest the good things that are coming your way. And they are coming!

So, that’s it! Dad and I are off to the opera tonight, which I’m really looking forward to. I have a date with myself at Keturah Day Spa tomorrow, followed by what’s sure to be a ridiculous, hilarious dinner with my friend Silvana. Dad and I will be venturing out into the sunshine over the weekend, and then I’ll have a few more days to myself to write and lay down some serious groundwork for magic-making before I head back home to Melbourne on Wednesday. #valentravels all the way!

Lots of love,

 

 

 

Images via, via

It’s late in the day. You’re tired and maybe a little grumpy. You get off the train or pull in to the drive, desperate to open the front door and dump all your crap everywhere. You might not even make dinner, you can’t be bothered – pot noodles and a beer will do. It is hump day, after all. You sag into the sofa and reach for the remote… and then I appear, in a glittery cape and thigh-high fuzzy pink boots to smack it out of your hand. Don’t even think about it!

Falling into the dinner-and-telly trap is easy (believe me, I know), and it definitely can be tempting. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll eventually start thinking about how far behind you are on your reading/study/laundry/social life, and wonder where your time went. I’ll tell you – nowhere. It didn’t go anywhere. You had the time all along. There are no evil little time gremlins hiding in your closet, sucking the hours away in secret, feasting on your listlessness.

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Creating more time in your day to be productive and enjoy your life is really simple. It all starts with addressing why you feel as though you have no energy. Lethargy can be attributed to a whole host of reasons – diet, social life, study, family, lack of sleep. Luckily, it’s easy to turn it all around – there are some pretty simple ways to get your energy – and your evenings – back.

Kill the distractions. Yes, I am talking about the television and your laptop. No one is sticking the remote in your hand and forcing you to switch the TV on. Instead, try ramping some beats and get used to not needing to watch or read anything. It sounds simple, but avoiding the TV until later – say eight or nine PM – will give you a few hours to focus on doing other things.

You are what you eat. This saying is as old as the wind, and it doesn’t get any less true with the passing of time. Here’s a really easy fix – make sure you’re consuming plenty of fruit, veggies and whole grains for at least two of your meals – breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, etc. Vitamins and minerals don’t ingest themselves! And while we’re on the topic of vitamins – are you getting enough Vitamin B? Vitamin B is essential to the breakdown and burning of energy. Invest in a decent B group vitamin and I promise, you will feel the results straight away. We don’t brink Berocca on a hangover for nothing…

Don’t go straight home. Do you ever scroll idly through your Facebook feed while lying semi-comatose on the couch and wonder, when was the last time you saw so-and-so? And who made up the rule that we can only socialise on weekends, anyway?! If you’re getting home, shutting the front door behind you and experiencing rushes of blah, or even worse, FOMO, try making early drink or dinner dates one or two evenings a week. They don’t have to be late, and incorporating a little socialising into your weeknights will also help to free up some time in your weekends to do other things for yourself.

Make a plan for the night. If you do want to head straight home after a busy day, having a preconceived idea about what you want to do with your time will help you avoid whiling hours away browsing the net or channel surfing. Take a few minutes on your lunch break to write down a few things you need to do – the grocery shop, your laundry, call your parents, finish making the invites for your birthday party, wax your bits, bake some cookies to take to work tomorrow. Getting home does not automatically kill your productivity – you’re doing that all on your own!

Intellectualise. You may have to break the no-TV-and-no-computer rule for this one, but only for the power of good, and not evil. Use your evenings to feed your brain and your passions! There is literally no end to the number of podcasts, articles, TED Talks, business planners and budgeting tools available. Instead of lounging about and lamenting that you know very little about your chosen political party’s stance on climate change, or wistfully dreaming of all the fondant flowers you know you could make, if you tried – try. Learn. Listen. Read. Use your evenings to better your understanding of the world and to carve out your own niche in it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to download a few podcasts, write out my shopping list and make dinner plans for next Tuesday. No excuses!