Friday, 29 January 2010

Guest post at Here I Scribble: Healing a Broken Heart

Photo from: mohsenmasoumi

Dearest Devotees,

My darling DT just recently published a love guest post I did for her blog, Here I scribble! It's sort of a lyrical summary of my last Life's Little Lessons Post. You can check out my guest post here and feel free to let me know what you think about it, either here or on her blog. Thanks darlings!
Love you all and Stay inspired,

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Life's Little Lessons: Life Doesn't always turn out the way you planned

Photo From: Leasare

The Tale of Two Magical Nights:
I met him at orientation. That night, under the dimmed lights of the student union underground café, a friend of mine introduced me to him and I just knew I was gone. I tried to fight it anyway, tried to deny my feelings for him, because I knew it was way too soon. But I couldn't.

It started with strong physical attraction and mild interest because we both lived in Europe and in places that bordered each other and both spoke French. We started off talking in our group of friends about a bunch of random, socially incorrect topics, but once while he was talking, I made the gross mistake of looking him straight in the eyes . Those eyes, so stunningly green that the funky lighting in the room only emphasized their emerald-like beauty. They will probably remain forever etched in my mind that way. But I digress.

After talking for quite some time, we all decided to go for an hour long walk that took us to the loveliest park in Boston. Once at the park, he and I got to talking about what felt like everything under the sun. We sort of separated ourselves from the group and under the dark orange night sky, we compared life experiences and discovered our backgrounds were very much alike. Almost everything in our past from the size of our families and position in the family, to random grade school experiences, were shockingly similar. I was enthralled and we were so involved in our conversation that we didn't notice everyone giving us space until later. We caught up with them, and as we continued our walk around the romantically lit lake, it started to drizzle, and soon escalated to full blown shower. We continued walking together though and with the aid my female friends umbrella (which he held :) ) we got back to campus relatively unscathed.

I didn't see him for a week afterwards until we all met up for dinner. We talked some more and exchanged numbers then.

Then, one night we went for a walk by the Charles River along the Esplanade...

It was light cardigan weather and the sun had just set when I met him at the staircase leading to the path. He was standing at the top of staircase when I first saw his outline against the sky. We exchanged nervous smiles and started walking. Words cannot describe how beautiful a night it was. The stars were actually visible in the sky because of how clear the day had been. There was a light breeze blowing that rustled the leaves of the trees and caused ripples on the river, but that only added to the atmosphere. Our path was lit mostly by infrequent antique light poles and the odd bike rider. As it got colder we walked arm in arm down the path, past bikers and joggers, and couples too. After spending a lot of time talking about nothing in particular, we eventually stopped talking and instead proceeded in companionable silence. At some point, we discovered a stretch of land that protruded unusually far into the river and somehow created a small pond within the expanse of the river. After pondering the existence of such an otherworldly place in an actual city like Boston, while sitting together on a cute park bench facing the river and the city of Cambridge we decided to head back to my dorm.

As we approached my dorm, I noticed he seemed tense about something and I guessed what it was. I know I'd hoped that all our shared experiences meant that we had potential but that wasn't the case. I had been right, everything had happened too soon. But I also knew I couldn't have and wouldn't have done anything differently. After that, he started to pull away and I let him, because I had to. I trust that there is something better out there for me and if nothing else I got to experience a truly magical and enchanted night. I strongly believe that if things were meant to be, they will be, and that every cloud has a silver lining. Sometimes you can see the silver lining immediately, sometimes you can't, but I believe it's always there. And if you have faith that it's there, you can trust that even when life doesn't work out how you've planned, it will work out, usually much better than you could have ever foreseen.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Do you believe that every cloud has a silver lining? Are there any situations in which a door shut but another opened for you? What made you wait to find the silver lining? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Seeking Inspiration: According to me (and you!!!)

Photo from : The Art of Jordan

Dearest Devotees,

Why is it that when it comes to the people we love, we can't bear to let anything less than stellar happen to them, but when it comes to ourselves we tolerate all sorts of imperfections and negative criticisms?

This week I've been in love with Orianthi's song According to You because it made me realise how I tend to put other's opinion of me over my own. I let myself get hurt by what others say about me and base my self perception on their opinions. But this wrong because no one in this world really knows you better than you do. You are the only one that knows everything that goes on in your life and how it really affects you. You are the only one who knows your whole story and are therefore the best judge of yourself. Being aware of this is important, not only in evaluating your work but also in evaluating your life in general. If something happens that makes you second-guess yourself step out of the situation and look at the whole picture. Ask what caused the event and give solid reasons e.g I didn't do well because I didn't study when I should have as opposed to I didn't do well because I'm just not as smart as everyone else.

For example, last semester I was not getting the grades I aspired to in my classes and started wondering if I was good enough to be at my new school. It was really upsetting me and making me lose faith in my abilities, but one day I sat down on my bed and tried to figure out what was happening to cause the poor performance. I soon realised that something similar had happened at the beginning of freshman year at my old school, and that it was as a result of transitioning and adapting to a new way of life. I decided to realign my goals to reflect this change and to give myself time to adapt. By stepping back from a situation and looking at the big picture you are able to judge yourself in a healthy way that encourages growth and improvement. Remember that your opinion matters most. Treat yourself well and make sure you get the best because you deserve it.

Inspirational links:

College Fashion's How to Establish Your Style Trademark is such a great read!

I desire to be indie! It sounds like such a fun life!

I must see the Bright Star movie! Such imagination! Such beauty!

My current love for Criminal Minds must have stemmed from my love for Sherlock Holmes, and that was before I knew he had such style!

Here is this week's exercise:

My translation:

It burns from within.

Like a fire it consumes everything in its path.

Within reason, I know not where it came from

Had I foreseen it in my mind's eye,

Maybe then I would not be so full of disdain.

For it has turned my free will to ashes;

My choice to nothing but scraps in its flames and,

Looking back on it now, I know that it may some day come again .

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. What does the image make you think of? How does it make you feel? How would you translate those feelings into art work? And have you seen either of the movies featured? What did you think of them? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Love and Relationships: Music therapy- Self Encouragement

Photo from: tumblr

In truth, I am my own harshest critic. I forgive myself last, judge my decisions too strictly and forget all too often that I'm only human, and therefore am allowed to make mistakes and take a fall. This all makes for a defeated take on life and shows a lack of love of self. If we don't love ourselves we make it hard for others to love us because then they have to show us the good in ourselves and prove their love. This is why whenever I find I'm feeling defeated or despairing I turn on my self encouragement soundtrack. It always gets me back on my feet and charges me with energy and drive. Here are the songs as well as the major message I get from each:

One More by Superchick: The first step is usually the hardest but once you get going you've already won the battle to achieve success.

I Want Everything by Hope 7: You can achieve all your dreams, just get ready to reach.

It's my life by Jon Bon Jovi: Carpe Diem i.e. seize the day.

In the end by Linkin Park: In the end it doesn't really matter if you fall along the way, as long you get where you want to be.

Go by Boys Like Girls: Everyday is a chance for a new beginning.

With Arms Wide Open by Creed: Be open to opportunity and new experiences.

The list changes occassionally but some of these songs have been there since I was 10.After all a really good song will always be a really good song. The basic idea is to make sure that the list has songs with meaningful lyrics a beat that energizes and motivates you.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Do you have some songs you listen to for encouragement or motivation? What are they? Have they changed over time? Why do you like them? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Trendlight/How to Rock: Feathers and Flowers and Bows oh my!

I'm not exactly sure when it happened but somehow, over the course of the winter, statement hair accessories have risen to the top of many a stylista's must-have list. From big beautiful bows to dainty feathery hairbands, these statement hair accessories add instant glamour to any outfit and are quite easy to wear well. I adore them! When I cut my hair short at the beginning of winter, I was looking for something to accessorise and play up my new haircut and when I got to So Good Jewelry on Newbury Street I was astounded by the selection. They are like cocktail rings and dearest devotees, I love cocktail rings. If you haven't already bought some I totally recommend that you do while sales are still on because these are really good transition pieces that you can use to accessorise as it gets warmer.

How to rock

Like I said before they are relatively easy to use but here are a few tips on how to work them into an outfit.

1. Let them take centre stage on your face: I find that when you wear a really gorgeous hair accessory, earrings and make-up should be more low key, so that they don't have to fight for attention.

2. Pick a complementary or contrasting colour: Either will make a statement.

3. Be conscious of your hair style: It goes without saying that certain pieces go better with certain hair styles. Find the one that works best on your favorite hairstyle or get a variety like I have.

4. Try using using pieces in unusual ways: Why don't you work a scarf into your next updo? Or you could try attaching a flower pin to a gorgeous but simple headband.

5. Redefine the meaning of perfect occassion: Wear a vintage pearl and silver wedding-esque piece on a fun night out or a glamourous evening feathery band to class.

Photos from: and pluma

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. What do you think of this trend? Do you own any fabulous hair accessories (vintage or otherwise)? How do you rock them? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Seeking Inspiration: Whatever it takes

Photo from: Kicki

Dearest devotees,

This week has been wonderful in so many incredible ways. I got my first 2 blogger awards within days of each other, I did my first Costume Design assignment, had my first intermediate piano class and met my Economics and Reading Shakespeare teachers both of whom I love to death even though their classes may just kill me work- wise (I hope not!). All in all, a fabulous week improved by the encouraging presence of Whatever It Takes by Lifehouse. In this post, I thanked DT for my first award, The Haute Mess Award, and passed it on to some other fabulous people. Since I wrote that post, Zmaga has tagged me for the Kreativ Blogger Award!

Thank you so much Zmaga darling! It means a lot to me. Now, for 7 things about me:

  1. I went to boarding school for 6 years of Secondary School.

  2. I love languages but the ones I love the most are my first language (Esan) and French.

  3. I have a huge extended family and a relatively big immediate family composed of 4 kids (including myself), my mom and dad, my baby brother's nanny/our cook.

  4. I love animals and once wanted to be a zoologist. I also wanted to be a vet, medical doctor, ballet dancer, cosmetologist, a filmmaker/director, and fashion journalist.

  5. I am an Economics major with Theatre Arts and Film Studies minors.

  6. I have lived in 4 countries, 10 cities/towns and gone to several different schools, because my dad's an ambassador.

  7. One of my favorite places in the world is Northern Ireland because I've spent some of the best holidays of my life there, I've got great family and friends there and it symbolizes total peace for me.

I am happy to pass this award on to the following truly inventive blogs:

Cafe Fashionista

Yes and Yes

Keiko Lynn

Color me Katie

Mermaid in a Manhole


Laura's Style

Congratulations Darlings!!!

And here is the exercise for this week:

Please write....
Please write.... by aury4eva featuring Temperley London dresses

As I wake up, I feel the heat of the sun on my face radiating through the glass of my bedside window. I get up and glance out the window. It's a perfect day, absolutely beautiful yet something is missing. There is an ache in my heart, a hole where someone used to be....then it all comes back to me....

He's gone...

He'd been anxiously awaiting the letter for weeks and on Monday it finally came...the letter that sealed our fate.

Six months ago, before we had even met, my true love wrote to Harvard Medical School , asking to take part in a special one-year program in which they would run several case trials on possible cures for aids and cancer. One month ago he told me that he had made the short list and would probably receive an acceptance letter soon. I tried to be happy for him, acting the part of the supportive girlfriend and helping him prepare for his trip. I kept all my feelings locked inside as we made promises of keeping in touch and waiting for each other. Yesterday, I tried to be strong as we kissed goodbye and I wished him luck.Last night, the tears I'd shed weakened me and helped me fall asleep. Today, I look at the window and silently beg my love one thing...

Please write.

I made this set on Polyvore a while ago and wrote a short story to go with it then too. I would love to know your takes on it.

Love you all and Stay Inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. What comes to your mind when you see the image above? And how has your week been? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A day in the life: My First Blogger Award!!!

Dearest Devotees,

Yesterday, the fabulous DT from Here I Scribble tagged me for my 1st Blogger Award!!!! Thank you so much darling DT. If you haven't been there already, you should totally check out her blog and show her some love for me. So now I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about myself and tag 7 other blogs that I love.

Seven random things about me:
  1. I am Roman Catholic and was born into my faith but developed my own thought and beliefs as I've grown up.

  2. I have 2 brothers and a sister, all of whom are younger than me.
  3. I've desired to one day co-own a huge fashion empire (with my bestfriend) since I was 12.
  4. I love to write anything and everything but particularly things that are more creativity-centred.

  5. I am (sort of) obsessed with the arts but also really love my economics major (go figure).

  6. I also love Shakespeare and if I could go back in time and meet one person it would be him.

  7. I am 18 years old, an Aries and have been flying frequently since I was 2.

Now, I want to pass The Haute Mess award to the following amazing blogs:

More Magic Always




The Glamorous Grad Student

Chocolate Lemonade

La Petite Fashionista

Love you all and Stay inspired,

Photo from: flickr
Monday, 18 January 2010

A day in the life: Love to Haiti

Photo from: Lauren Marek

Dearest Devotees,

In Faith and Hope the world will disagree, But all mankind's concern is charity.

Author: Alexander PopeSource: Essay on Man (ep. III, l. 307)

The devastation in Haiti is absolutely heartbreaking. These people truly need our help. Give whatever you can to them, and trust that it will be deeply appreciated. There are so many different organisations you can give the money to and if we all give a little it will be enough. Please keep Haiti in your hearts and in your prayers.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. Here is a list of some organisations that are helping Haiti.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

How to Budget Shop: The Ultimate Shopping List

Photo from: Photos8

This is part 5 of the Budget Shopping series. If you haven't already, please check out part 1- How to Budget Shop: The Rules, part 2- How to Budget Shop: Investment Pieces, Basics and Classics part 3- How to Budget Shop: Sales, Thrift stores and Shopping Your Closet and part 4- How to Budget Shop: Income,Outcome and All that jazz .

Even though you don't know it darlings this is what you've been waiting for. The solution to the endless days of frenzied shopping sprees and nights of the evil known as buyer's remorse: The Ultimate Shopping List. This is a list that acknowledges the fact that we are human, we can't always be perfect and therefore need to be allowed to get things just because we want them and not because we need them. I personally really love it because it helps me organise my shopping in order of priority and necessity, and desire. I'm going to give you the categories and advise that you use this list not only for clothes shopping but for all your major shopping. I feel like if you can see all the things that you want/need written down as you shop, you can know what will make you happiest to have and therefore avoid buyer's remorse. That being said, here are the categories for the ultimate shopping list:

  • High Priority Items: These are things that you need to have urgently either for a particular event or in order to accomplish a set goal . These vary widely with time and need to be bought first when shopping. They include: a dress for an elegant ball or dinner a couple of nights before the event, supplies for a major project, etc.

  • Basic Items: These are items that you need for everyday life but that you may not need right away. In your wardrobe : they are closet essentials, outside of your wardrobe they include certain household appliances such as vacuum cleaners and fridges. Basics are usually upgraded to high priority items if they are not bought in a while.

  • Fantasy Items: These are the least attainable items that you usually don't need but really really want anyway. They can be anything from that gorgeous Elie Saab wedding dress I aspire to, or a million dollar mansion complete with orchard, Olympic-sized swimming pool and horse stables stocked with several thoroughbred horses. These are things that you usually have to work towards to and save up for in order to attain them one day.

  • Splurge Items: These are items that you also really want but they are slightly (or not so slightly) out of your price range. You may or may not need them and the level of desire at that moment and the cost-per-wear determine whether or not you will buy them. They include: Designer shoes on sale, overpriced but extremely gorgeous $40 hairpieces, a compact digital camera, etc.

Remember that what falls into one category for a certain person may fall into a completely opposite category for another, because people are different and therefore have different wants, needs and means. Update your list regularly and make sure it reflects you all the time, and it should help you shop better. I discovered this list in a book I believe was called The Pink Book when I was about 11 years old and wrote it down in my diary knowing that it would be useful to me and it was the inspiration for this whole series. This is the last post in the budget shopping series and I hope that its helped you in your journey to lead a more budget friendly life.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Do you use a shopping list? If so, how often? What kind of stuff would be on your ultimate shopping list? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Life's Little Lessons: Don't undermine the power of change

Photo from: paida70

Dearest Devotees,

This week has been hella crazy for me (and I'm sure quite a few out there can relate). You see, I had to pack to go back to Boston on Sunday and ended up staying up all night packing the night before I travelled. Usually, this would not seem like such a bad idea to many people because you would think that, it being a 6 hour and a 2 hour flight and all, I could just catch up on my sleep on the plane, and this is what I planned to do. This was a bad idea because:
  1. I was naturally physically exhausted because of the whole packing all night thing.

  2. I had (conveniently) forgotten how tiring travelling is in itself.

  3. I had also forgotten that I would be jetlagged by virtue of travelling through not 1, not 2 but 6 time zones!

Needless to say that when I got to the luggage carel and found out that one of my bags was missing I was not pleased. It was only when I that I found that I was close to tears because of my missing luggage that I realised how bad it was. That night, for the first time in years I went to sleep at 9pm! The perpetual night owl in me (i.e. the crazy girl that sleeps at 3-4 am regardless of circumstances) has been conquered. And not a moment too soon because what with all the art classes (My intro costume production class, figure drawing, costume design 1, acting) and my other equally lovely but more mentally challenging than physically challenging classes- like intermediate microeconomics and reading shakespeare- that I'm taking this semester I'm going to need all the rest I can get.

Lesson of the tale: Change is good but usually a lot of hard work. Routines are comfortable but people are dynamic and so is life. I didn't put off packing until the last minute because I did not want my holidays routine to change. But not preparing for change did not stop it from happening and now that it has happened it has improved the person I am. Remember that you can't stay stuck in the same place forever. Therefore, realise the importance of change, embrace it and accept that it tends to involve effort on your part in order to be fully realised. Be aware of that and keep the goal in sight so it can lead you to a better place.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know think. What experiences have you undergone recently that involved a change in routine? Where you excited about the change? Did it give you instant fufillment or is it more of a long term goal? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Seeking Inspiration: Stories by Polaroid

Photo from: yenstefanie

Dearest Devotees,

After our inspiration packed week, I've got to say, I was wondering if I should even publish a seeking inspiration post today. But I decided that the show must go on and when I heard the song Story by Anna Leddra-Chapman, I knew that I had to share it with you. The song basically talks about love and how all relationships, even when they've ended, become a part of the story of your life. I absolutely adored the music video because it largely consisted of Anna walking around taking pictures with an instant camera. An instant camera, darlings! Just in case you haven't noticed, I am currently head-over-heels in love with cameras and everything to do with photography.

My first camera was one of those barbie instant polaroid cameras and I just loved the way you could take a picture and have a ready-made photo in your hand in seconds. Watching this video made me recall those days, and reminded me of how wonderful it would be to make a picture story of a fabulous trip using instant photos. You could use your camera to take pictures all day and write cute and funny captions on the bottoms of the pictures at the end of each day. Then at the end of your trip you could put them into a gorgeous antique album or on a board above your home/dorm room desk. Either way all the photos will tell you a lovely story that you can relive anytime you see them.

I want to start doing an inspirational exercise every week. I'm going to post either a polyvore set or photograph here, give my translation (into my favorite art form of the week) and invite you to give me yours. Think of it as weekly exercise on the skills that you may have picked up in the artistic retreat. So here's the first one.

Photo from:Randy

Jenny sat on her yard staring past the ancient rustic fence separating her from the rest of the world.

''Why would they leave me?" she pondered silently. Yesterday had been pretty normal, at least it had been for her family. They had all come together for a quiet but otherwise average dinner with neither of her foster parents bothering to make small talk. Granted they had hinted that they would not tolerate her generally abysmal behaviour at school any longer, but she had told them that the teacher really had been making inappropriate advances towards her. Just because the principal hadn't believed her and had assumed she was insulting him because of a bad grade, and had subsequently suspended her didn't mean that she was lying. She had gone back to the Mayers' expecting them to give her a chance to explain. But they didn't. Instead, she woke up this morning to an empty home and a letter explaining their decision to send her back to the social worker.

Sad, she wasn't. She was livid.

And here are my favorite links for the week:

I am totally loving the Make Your Life Amazing month series on Charade, but I especially love this post on picturing your amazing self.

This post by Cafe Fashionista is helping me battle the dull weather (read rainy) weather blues.

This outfit post by Keiko Lynn has some of the most gorgeous pictures I've seen in a long while.

I love Catie's decision to spend a year working on achieving happiness.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Have you ever used an instant camera? Do you own one? What's favorite type of camera: instant, DSLR, film or compact digital? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Saturday, 9 January 2010

How to Budget Shop: Income,Outcome and All that jazz

This is part 4 of the Budget Shopping series. If you haven't already, please check out part 1- How to Budget Shop: The Rules, and part 2- How to Budget Shop: Investment Pieces, Basics and Classics and part 3- How to Budget Shop: Sales, Thrift stores and Shopping Your Closet.

How many times have you looked at your bank statement and loudly exclaimed "I've been robbed!" , only to realise minutes later that you actually made all those purchases and withdrawals and not some creepy computer hacker/highly skilled robber? I don't know about you, darling devotees, but I've only been living in a dorm for 4 months and this has already happened to me too many times to be comfortable with. Darling devotees, I can honestly say that I learnt the following lesson the hard way: In order to live on a budget, one must have a budget to live on. It is really asking too much of yourself to resist than $300 purse, if you don't monitor (or even know) how much money is coming in and going out of your account. Last semester I would tell myself that I technically knew how much money I can spend this month, and expected that I would be able to keep track of my expenses in my head. Clearly, that didn't work out and after much research, I have come up with this list of activities that should help one live on a budget:
  1. Set up a visible monthly budget: It can be on paper or on Excel, either way is fine as long as you actually have it written somewhere. The reason I love Excel is because you can update the figures easier, but having a little notebook where you record your income and expenses as well as your monthly plan is fine too. When creating your monthly plan, look at your total income (or the amount of money you have or will soon have for the month) and list all of the categories of expenses you will have to take care of over the course of the month e.g. rent, food, clothes (!) , school supplies, transportation, emergency, miscellaneous, etc. Allocate a certain amount of money to each category and try to stick to your budget as much as possible. As time progresses you'll be able to predict how much money you spend better.
  2. Monitor your income and expenses: Whenever you spend money, reflect that in the expense column of your budget according to its category. Do the same whenever you receive money. You don't even have to say what exactly you spent the money on, that's why we're using categories. By doing this you get a better idea of where all your money goes to every month and can therefore know where you need to cut back, if necessary. Evaluating and monitoring your budget also lets you know what options you have on how to use your money i.e. more shoes or more trips to the movies.

  3. Cost-per-wear: As I've mentioned before one of the major keys to budget shopping is calculating the cost-per-wear. All you really have to do is guesstimate how many times you will wear an item (e.g. 1 a week for a year= 52 times) and divide it by its price. The problem with this is that people sometimes overestimate the durabilitiy/quality of an item, which causes them to get a wrong cost-per-wear. A couple tips to help you better determine high quality items are:

-Check the seams of the clothes: If threads pull apart relatively easily or if buttons are hanging loose, it probably wasn't well sewn.

-Check the quality of the fabric: some fabrics just look cheap, others really are. Being able to tell the difference between the two is something you can only learn with experience.

- Weigh the trend factor: Will you even want to be seen wearing the item in a couple of months? If not, will it be good enough to resell or use for something else?

If you want more help on setting up a budget or organising your finances, check out Suze Orman, particularly her advice on Oprah.

(Photo from: toolmantim )

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Do you have a budget plan? Does it work for you? How do you determine quality of an item? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 8 January 2010

2010 Artistic Retreat: Making it last forever

Photo from: Stuck in Customs

Day 7: Visual Immortalisation

My Darling Devotees,

When I came up with the idea for this retreat week, it was an idea bred from necessity. The reality of how art-centric my year is going to be had just hit me and I was wondering where I would get the inspiration to get everything done. I had also noticed how many of you, my devotees, had resolutions that involved improving your artistic skills. That's when I decided that a retreat week devoted to learning how to find inspiration in everything around you was exactly what we all needed , and I feel like this goal has been achieved. We started off this week by establishing where we were coming from stylistically by looking through our past work. Then we really begun actively seeking out sources of inspiration by watching movies, visiting the library and other places that tend to make creative juices flow. Over the past couple of days I've been asking you to not only visit these places but to try to think out of the box, by brainstorming ways in which you could translate what inspired you into your art.

Now, I want you to immortalise this week by putting all of these ideas and points of inspiration into two visual media you can always refer to: an inspiration board and an inspiration portfolio. The board should be kept somewhere you can easily see it when you want to work on your art, preferably in your room or studio . The portfolio should really be a sort of book that only has works in progress and sources of inspiration, no finished works or pictures of finished works. The idea is that your most inspiring visual pieces should go on your board and your larger or more word-intensive pieces should go in the portfolio. I also recommend that you have a digital back-up of your portfolio.

This has been an amazing week and I for one am sad to see its end. I've learnt so much about myself and the things that move me this week and I hope you have too. I've also learnt a lot about you my darling devotees, through the comments and suggestions you so kindly left me under all of the parts of the series. Thank you so much for partaking in this artistic retreat with me. Like I mentioned before I have a problem with finishing projects that I've started and only recently realised what the cause may be. I needed to finish this series to show myself that I can complete things I've started. Your comments encouraged me to continue writing and coming up with new ideas, and showed me just how fantastic you people are. Part of the reason I started this blog was to meet people who shared my interests, people I could influence positively and that could influence me positively too, and I really feel like that's happening. Once again, thanks for your participation and good luck in all your artistic ventures.

Assignment Summary

  1. Gather all your major pieces of inspiration, select the most attention-grabbing and aesthetically pleasing pieces and pin them to your board.

  2. Type up key words that inspire you and that describe some of the pieces on your board and add them to the board, too.

  3. Put the more detailed and word intensive pieces in your inspiration portfolio; key pages from your retreat notebook could be removed from the notebook could be added too.

  4. Put digital photos, online links and other digital inspiration in a digital portfolio.

  5. Begin to document any art that you do and create a finished products portfolio.

My Interpretation:

This post by Luinae of More Magic Always, I feel really explains how to make an inspiration board. I already have an inspiration portfolio (that I'm currently updating), but I've never had a board before and I'm really excited about making one. When I'm done, I'll put the pictures in a separate post. Finally, I want you to feel free to record your work in whatever format suits you best i.e. if you dance, you can video your routines, if you sing, record your songs, etc, as long as it accurately records your achievements and lets you see how much you improve each day, it's fine.

Be open to new experiences and your life shall be fulfilled.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Was this retreat helpful? What did you like? What would you like to see next time? What quotes, pictures, links, etc are on your board/in your portfolio? If you have any links to pictures of your boards or portfolios you'd like me to see feel free to put them in comments, along with your answers, below.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

2010 Artistic Retreat: Museums, galleries and anywhere else really

(Photo from: Flickr )

Day 6: Museums, Galleries and anywhere else really

So today is our last excursion day, my darling devotees, and I want you to make the most of it. Go wherever your heart takes you! Do whatever inspires you! I just want you to make sure its a strongly visual experience, and that's it's something that will be entirely different from your daily routine. Here are some suggestions of places you could go:

  • Museums: art museums, science museums, local history museums, any kind of museum works. Think outside the box!

  • Galleries: art galleries, but I personal love photo galleries.

  • Theatres: community theatres, major production theatres, etc.

  • Fairs: I don't know about you but there is the really pretty winter fair going on in Geneva right now, and I've gotta check it out before I leave.

  • Circus: I dream of Cirque De Soleil. Have any of you ever been?

  • Gardens/Parks: Some parks are so pretty that even winter barreness can't destroy their beauty.

Assignment summary:

  1. Go to the place and record what you love most about it, either by using a recorder, your notepad, sketchpad, anything that can help you freeze that moment in time.

  2. Let loose and have fun!

  3. When you get back write in your retreat notebook, go over your notes on the things that you loved the most and write how each thing made you feel.

  4. Brainstorm possible ways you could translate these things into your own art, and write them down.

My interpretation:

I'm so checking out the fair I mentioned earlier. I've past it at night before and it looks even more beautiful then. I'll let you know how it goes when I get back.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. What place(s) are you/will you be going? Why? Have you been there before? And what do you love about them? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

2010 Artistic Retreat: Online Hunting

(Photo from: Don Solo )

Day 5: Online Hunting

Hey Darlings!

Hands down, I love the internet! I mean, I feel its such a huge and invaluable resource for everyone. It has taken communication to a whole new level and given so many people access to information that is updated every second. The internet has also given rise to a whole new community known as the blogosphere. Now, I know that quite a few of you are bloggers and therefore, probably spend an inordinate amount of time online already, either on your own blog or those of other people. But, if you're anything like me you already have a couple of sites that are 'your regulars', so you hardly ever visit any new ones. This totally defeats the purpose of the net because if you only visit the same sites all the time you won't get to see most of what is out there. This is why I want you to go to any site you want today but the only specification I have is that try to visit a variety of new websites that you haven't been to before.

“Variety's the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor”
-William Cowper quotes enrichment; definitely a good enough reason to try something new today. So why don't you turn on Pandora , Itunes or your youtube playlist, and try google's I'm feeling lucky search option? Or maybe visit the blogs on the blog rolls of some of your favorite sites? You could also make a stop at, a new social networking site for those interested in fashion and beauty. Hopefully, you'll stumble upon some new, turn-of-the-century blog or website that will provide with a constant well of inspiration.

Assignment Summary

1. Visit at least one of each category:
-a blog

-a vlog (video blog)

-a social networking site (one that you haven't used before)

-a full-fledged informational/educational website

-Something totally humorous and/or childlike

2. Note the ones that have totally original or unusual ideas, or even an rare and unique voice. Sometimes, just the knowledge that not everything in the world is the same shade of grey is enough to motivate you.

My interpretation:

I'm going to stumble upon some art and music websites today and try out some suggestions people have given me lately. I'll let you know what I come up with later today.

My suggestions:

  • Everything on my blog roll.
  • Delance Fashions
  • Neopets

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. What websites do you like? Why? Which sites/blogs did you find? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Tuesday, 5 January 2010

2010 Artistic Retreat: To the Library!

(Photo from: just.luc )

Day 4: To the Library
Hey Loves!
We're right in the middle of the retreat now and I hope you have begun to see what kind of things inspire you the most. Today, we're going to one of my favorite places in the world: the library. Ever since I could read, I've always been fascinated by worlds different from my own, and how I could be momentarily transported to these worlds through the power of words. One summer when I was 10, I remember the greater part of my vacation in the library. I would get there by 9 when it opened and leave by 5 when it closed, and somehow still take books home with me. My mom used to joke about me being such a bookworm that if an earthquake happened while I was reading one of my favorite novels, I wouldn't even notice. Even to this day, whenever I'm reading something I'm interested in that has a story line or plot, I find it hard to put it down until I reach a break in it, which is why you'll usually find my current read either in my hand or in the bag I'm carrying. But I digress.

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how
to read a book.
~Author Unknown

A good book should leave you...slightly exhausted at the end. You live
several lives while reading it.

~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work,1958

The main reason I love reading so much is because I find that they give me the opportunity to enrich my life by experiencing someone else's. I feel like the best sign of a good book is the ability for it to draw the reader in so much that they can no longer recognise the difference between his/her reality and the reality inside the book. One of my favorite authors, Meg Cabot, is one of my favourites because, whenever I read one of her books I am so completely absorbed into the book that I feel as if I am in the book and not simply reading it. I laugh with the characters, cry with them and generally share in their experiences. Non-fiction is a more direct form of getting information about a different life and is sometimes just what you may be looking for. Anyway, it doesn't really matter what you read there, fiction, non-fiction or anything else, the library is a fantastic place to get your hands on your next muse.

Assignment Summary
  1. Go to a library: It can be your public library, or even a personal/family library.

  2. Open any book that catches your attention, preferably a book about something you haven't any book before, and read.

  3. Note anything that attracts you about the book: the title, the themes, the settings, the facts, the story line, anything in your retreat notebook.

  4. Brainstorm ways in which you could translate into your favorite art form and write them in your notebook.

My interpretation:
I am reading a book called Of Love and Life - that is made up of three condensed novels Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella, Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah and The Birds & the Bees by Milly Johnson. Books I really loved aside from Meg's books include:

  • the Girls by Lori Lansen
  • The Black Pearl by Laura Cassidy

  • Beautiful Child by Torey Hayden
  • Tuesday's Child by Louise Bagshawe

  • Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer

  • Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan

  • Cecelia Ahern's books especially P.S. I love you and If You Could See Me Now

I will get back to you with some of my answers later today.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. What are your favorite books? What kind of books do you generally read? What kind of books would you like to read more of? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 4 January 2010

2010 Artistic Retreat: Movie Day

Photo from: gettysgirl

Day 3: Movie Day!

Oh devotees, I am so excited about today! Why you may wonder? Because, ever since I read a paticular article on the Secret Society of List Addicts I have been looking for a day where I could devote my time to watching and analysing certain movies. You see, in many ways film and television are treasure chests of inspiration waiting to be uncovered. A lot of the time people claim watching television is a passive activity, but that doesn't mean it can't be active. Whenever I watch something with a particular goal in mind, I find that I become a lot more aware of what is happening on the screen. I'm kicked into analytic mode and begin to look at things in a more intense way. You know when you've just finished watching a movie and people ask you what it was about and you just can't (for the life of you) remember? Yeah, that doesn't happen to me when I'm like this.

The real object of the drama is the exhibition of the human character.

-Thomas Babington Macaulay

I believe that television and film evolved from drama and therefore aim to reflect common human experiences to the audience. Since art comes from powerful emotions caused by experiences, it follows that watching movies and tv shows should open your mind to different parts of life you may not have had firsthand experience in, giving you the opportunity to derive inspiration from them.

Assignment Summary:
  1. Get hold of movies that you feel may give you a peek into a life that is different from your own, whether its movies set in a different society, time, or world (They can be old or new, related to your field or not).

  2. Note things that you're attracted to/inspired by in these movies. Ask yourself the following questions:

-How is life in the movie different from your own life? How is it similar?

-What do you like about the movie? What don't you like?

-What you do you find interesting? Is it real/factual. Note it down for further research.

Write down your answers in the retreat notebook.

My Interpretation:

Like I mentioned before I'm watching/ rewatching all the movies on this list as well as some others like A walk to remember and The Other Boleyn Girl. I'm also going to watch some of my favorite style shows like Gok's Fashion Fix and Stylista. I strongly recommend Vicky Christina Barcelona, if you haven't watched it too. As usual, I'll get back to you with some of my answers later.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. What movies/shows are you watching? Why are you watching them. Feel free to let me know in your comments below.

P.P.S Sorry about the late post. My server was down for quite some time.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

2010 Artistic Retreat: Stop and Capture

Day 2: Stop and Capture

Today I encourage you to get up and move. This exercise is about opening up your senses to everything around you. I want you to take some time to see things more closely, hear things more clearly and generally observe your surroundings in a more defined way. If you're a writer, I want you to take your notebook and describe something that catches your eyes in a way that creates a perfect picture of what you've seen in words. If your a photographer, test your skills by trying out different shots or different angles of looking at everyday things. If you're a dancer observe the way people, or even animals, move , whether it's in their everyday lives ( think yoga, gymnastics, other forms of dance or even any sport really) or during performances. The more aware you become the more easily inspiration will come to you.

Last semester, although immensely challenging in some ways, taught me a lot about myself and people in general. I was under a lot of pressure to find my major (or majors) and to begin to work towards a certain career, and I had just transferred from another school. I was very confused about what I wanted to do, so one day I bought a book called The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by Carol Eikleberry, PhD. It's a really good book and I totally recommend it. In the book, she talked about how the ability to create stems from the ability to perceive and build on / or translate accurately what you have perceived. We usually go through creative blocks when we are under so much stress or hassle that we are too distracted by daily life to stop and see things clearly. Little breaks in routine tend you to give the chance to get over this dull, dreary or blocked feeling and give you a fresh outlook on life. If there's one thing I learnt last year, it's this: No one is a robot. You can't keep running like the energizer bunny. Breaks are totally ok.

Summary of Assignment

  • Take something to record what you perceive: a video camera, camera, a recorder, a notepad, a sketchpad anything, and go for a walk.

  • Note everything you see, hear, feel, that captures your interest. Try to capture it as best as you can.

  • Go over everything and assess how well you captured what you perceived.

  • Write down in your notebook: what you perceived, and what attracted you to certain things.

My Interpretation:

I'm taking a walk round this lovely park that I've only ever driven by before. I'm gonna take pictures and my notepad and try to capture and describe things as best as I can. When I'm done, I'll see if I can post some of the pictures with my answers later.

(Photo from: adornments on Flickr )

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Feel free to give me your answers and or links in the comments below, or you could email them to me too.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

2010 Artistic Retreat: Starting From Within

Photo from: Alesa Dam

Darling Devotees,

I hope you had a fabulous day yesterday and are ready to make this year into everything you want it to be. Well, as I mentioned yesterday I've decided to start off my year with an inspirationally-charged retreat, an artistic retreat of sorts, to prepare me for the year ahead. I would love for you all to join me in it, too. After all, art is about the way you express yourself, how you feel and who you are. It's therapeutic and purging, because it helps you take all of your experiences and emotions, good and bad, and turn them into something truly beautiful. I love how William Wordsworth said

“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility”.

However, I believe that this is true of not only poetry but any art form, be it fiction or non-fiction writing, music, dance, photography, painting, sculpting, fashion, gardening or anything else, really. To be able to express yourself sufficiently is a talent. It comes naturally but you can improve your ability by exercising and making use of it. For some people, this talent is their career and source of income so being able to find inspiration in even the smallest events and dullest days becomes vitally important. Whether or not your art form is your food source is irrelevant though. Finding a muse, being able to translate something that moves you or the emotions that you feel into art is a good skill for any one to learn. So please join me if you can and I would love to see your results. You can send them (pictures, scans, links to blog posts) to me via email, or tell me about them in the comments. I will also share my plans and adventures too in each blog post.

Things you will need for the retreat:

a notebook, camera, video camera and/ or recorder- something to record things that inspire you, pen or pencil
a backpack / purse to keep your stuff
your art supplies -depending on what your art is
a portfolio ( a binder, or folder) and virtual one- saved on flash
a board (preferably cork) with tacks

Day 1: Starting from Within
Today is all about looking through your past work and familiarising yourself with the dominant themes in your past work. Looking through this stuff will probably be like seeing a movie on your personal history. The purpose of this exercise is to give you an idea of who you are and where you're coming from, in order for you to be able to grow. Just let loose and let your mind wander and be free. I want you to delve into these exercises wholeheartedly in order to unlock the freespirit within. So gather all your old notebooks, paintings or drawings you've done, personal photos, items of clothing or other personal items, or even past portfolios, and take all these things into a quiet, cosy place where you can go through them without being disturbed.
*** summary of assignment***
1. Read through your old notebooks or sketchbooks, look at old pictures, paintings, drawings, portfolios. What common themes do you see in them? Are most of them about love, important events in your life, dreams you may have about your future?
2. What does each item say about you, or who you are or who you were at that point in time?
3. How have you changed through the years? How have you remained the same?
4. What did you like about what you've done? How would you like to improve or change?
After you've asked yourself these questions, write your answers in a notebook .
***summary of assignment***
My interpretation:
I am going to a cute little café in the old part of the city called Viel Ville, and I'm taking some of my notebooks as well as my camera, because it's a beautiful day out. I'll spend part of my day there and then come back to my room and spend the rest of my day going through the rest of my stuff. I will seek out my themes and critique my work. Then I'll note down all the things I learn about my past from my disjointed portfolio, in my retreat notebook and get back to you guys later today.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Where are you going? What have you learnt about yourself? What do you look through? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.
Friday, 1 January 2010

A day in the life: Happy 2010!!!

Photo from: Stuartpilbrow

Dearest Devotees,

IT'S Here!!! It's finally 2010! And I know I said this at Christmas time but I just want to make sure that you all know how much you mean to me. I started this blog to express myself but also to connect with people who shared the same ideas and interests as me. I love hearing what you have to say, and I feel like I'm getting to know all of you better each day. You are all beautiful people, inside and out and I hope that this year brings you more joy and happiness than you could ever wish for! Have a great New Year's Day and a fabulous 2010!!!

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. I'm starting my year off with an Artist Retreat, to gather inspiration for the art-intensive year in front of me (see: my New Year's Resolutions here). I will give you more info tomorrow and I invite you all to join me. Until then, ciao.
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An Ordinary Girl's World is a blog for stylish and artistic teens, college students and young adults, creatively finding their way in this world. Its about expressing yourself through your personal style, your lifestyle, your relationships and friendships.
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