My top18 favourite kissable dates!

my_gothic_love DAY 104 He lent in to kiss me and for a minute my heart was beating so fast, I thought I might faint. Then I kissed him back. It was perfect. The perfect end to a perfect day. The sweetest first date ever. We had met on the steps of the old Melbourne GPO. I honestly didn’t think he would be there. Later on he told me that he didn’t think I would come either. He had asked me out in a minute of madness thinking I would say no. But in my own minute of madness I said yes. I still, to this day, have no idea why, but eighteen years later I’m really happy that I did. Our first date started on the steps of the old Melbourne GPO in the city. His suggestion was that we take each other to our three favourite haunts. It turned out to be one of our best dates. We went to Minotour, his favourite comic/book/anime store and ended up in my favourite cafe drinking coffee and talking as the Winter day stormed around us. In between we visited the Virgin Mega Store, checking out underwear and CD imports from the UK, Myer (a family favourite) and a few more book stores. We talked all afternoon and we learnt a lot about each other. By the end of the date we both hung onto each other until I literally had to run for the train. The kiss happened when he pulled me back, not wanting to let me go. In that moment we knew, and we have rarely been apart since. First dates can feel incredibly stressful, as if it’s your one chance to make an impression. There can be a lot riding on what you choose to do and how well you can get to know each other in a short amount of time. You want enough time to test the waters to see if the chemistry is there, and a chance to find out if you have some things in common. You also want to have a bit of fun and a few giggles. So it needs to be something that has you both curious and laughing out loud! So here are some of my favourite ideas for first dates…and perhaps the second, third and fourth. I’ve tried them all, and there was definitely some kissing in the mix!

  1. Take it in turns to take each other to your 3 favourite places to visit in the city…or in the country. Try to end up somewhere were you can talk with each other and grab a bite to eat or a drink.
  2. Go to a night football match (or similar sport), preferably where neither of your teams are playing. Take a good rug and organise a picnic dinner of finger food and beer/champagne. Have some fun working out the rules, and which player is which. Make sure you cheer for both teams so ultimately you win!
  3. Book a personal encounter with the elephants at the zoo. Believe me you will get big brownie points! Make sure you book lunch/brunch or morning tea afterwards, so you can both check out the photos and talk about the experience together.
  4. Have a royal dinner at the Queen Victoria Night Market. (Hopefully you have a similar market in your city or town). Every summer our local city market runs a mid week art and craft market with live music, food from around the world and art and craft stalls. It has grown to be a huge cultural event that Melbourne loves…You can literally have a 3 course meal with some great wine or sangria and a live show for under $20 each! Depending on your date you could go wild and taste different foods from each stall. There’s everything from fresh paella to organic ice cream! It’s a foodies paradise!
  5. Go and see a Burlesque Show. Treat your date to a night of circus performers, comedians, the odd magician and some very tasteful burlesque. Some shows also have dinner or pre-dinner drinks. Completely decadent and so much fun!
  6. Book a half hour dance class. Put on your dancing shoes and try some rock and roll or street Latin. You might like to meet for a cocktail beforehand to get rid of the jitters, and afterwards take your date out for burgers and a shake. Make sure you dress up a little to get into the theme.
  7. A night at the symphony orchestra. Melbourne has some fantastic orchestras and often there are free concerts in the parks throughout the Summer months. Pack a picnic and a rug and hang out under the stars or book in to a live concert. Once we flew to Sydney for the day to see our friends play in the Eminence Symphony Orchestra (well known for A Night In Fantasia concerts) and then went out for Japanese food in Chinatown.
  8. Take your date to your favourite spot in the city. Perhaps it’s at the top of a building with an amazing view, a bar with a view over the river, or an exquisite garden. Share your headphones and listen to your favourite tunes while you eat snacks, or drink hot chocolate.
  9. Visit your favourite exhibition or arts centre. We love going to ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Images), or to the Melbourne Museum. They always have some awesome and inspiring exhibits, from some fantastic creators and artists. We always see an exhibition and then go out for afternoon tea or dinner to talk about the exhibit.
  10. Take a circus class. This doesn’t have to be about hanging from a flying trapeze! Many people circuses have tumbling, juggling, diablo, or basic intro to circus classes for adults. They’re lots of fun and a little bit quirky~so make sure your date is up for it!
  11. Perhaps this is a date for later on, but grab some fish and chips, drive to the beach, pop on your favourite music mix on the ipod and watch the waves. If it’s Winter you could go for a walk or stay snuggled up in the car together. If its Summer sit out on the sand and watch the sun set.
  12. Go rollerblading or get your scooters out and ride along the beach, or promenade. This is a great one for late summer nights. You can always finish with fresh ice-cream or hot chips on the beach.
  13. Cosplay at a Con! Seriously it’s just so much fun to pop on a wig and dress up. Go as your favourite super hero, or comic book character at one of the great Western Con’s like Supanova or Oz Comicon. Or you could be a little braver and transform yourself into one of the Japanese anime characters. There’s always a competition or two to watch, and plenty of people watching to be inspired by!
  14. Dress up in your best gear and take your date out to a fancy cocktail bar…at midday. Take it in turns to choose the next place to visit…make sure you eat something! Oh and have money for a cab home!
  15. Dress up in your Sunday best and head to one of the many five star hotels for a posh afternoon high tea. My two favourite’s are the Sunday high teas at the Windsor Hotel or the Langham in Melbourne. They provide a spread that ensures a completely decadent afternoon of chocolate, champagne and yummy morsels that will have you moaning in no time! Normally these events run for a few hours and come with some live music such as a pianist. The more up market hotels are great because they usually include a stunning view of the city. Just a heads up, there is always plenty of food so don’t eat lunch beforehand!
  16. Hunt down a good local book store that encourages reading. Find your favourite childhood books and share them with each other. Check out the travel section and talk about the lands and cultures you each want to visit. Head into the recipe books and discuss your culinary prowess! Buy each other a copy of one of your favourite books to read…then head off to a local cafe, preferable one with an open fire place and good coffee, to sit and read by.
  17. Organise a night in with a few good movies (you could each choose your favourite one) and each bring some food to share. You could add to the fun by wearing your favourite slippers, dress up in a onesie, or your best pyjamas and have a sleep over…sleeping of course!
  18. So hopefully you will get to celebrating an anniversary of sorts with your new love. Make sure its a special celebration for both of you. Book a really good hotel for the weekend, (in either the city or the country) and make sure you book the CLUB option. Apart from the endless food and access to the business centre, most CLUB options usually have evening drinks with canapes. It’s seriously fun meeting new people, who are usually celebrating something and there for the free food too, over a few glasses of bubbly and some yummy finger food. When you have had enough socialising on the 85th floor, you can always head back to your room for a bubble bath and a game of backgammon…

The trick is to leave the movies and dinner option for another day. Get to know the person you are dating, have some fun and don’t be afraid to be you. Who else are they going to fall in love with?

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” 
― Dr. Seuss

** Pic by Deviant Art!

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Gala Darling Challenge #6

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“Write a list of things that you appreciate right now, in the present moment. Focus on each of them & let the love inside you well up. Even when things appear to be going really, really badly, there are always things to be happy about.”Gala Darling 100 Things to Do When You’re Upset (The Sad Trombone List)

I love this challenge. It’s a great way to focus on the positive things in that are in your life right now. It doesn’t matter how small or big they are. People, events, things that surround you, achievements, quotes, songs…there is so much to manifest and draw your positive energy from.

The trick is not just to write down what you are grateful for, but to also write about how each thing makes you feel. What memories are evoked, what feelings you have welling up inside you. Focus on the here and now. Be brave an open your eyes. You may be feeling sorry for yourself. Be grateful for what you already have, no matter how minuscule it seems. You may be richer than you think!

So today I spent some time breathing and writing. I wrapped myself up in my largest and warmest winter cardigan. I popped on my fluffy Japanese house slippers and made myself a huge mug of milky hot chocolate with cinnamon. I sat myself down on our couch, lit all of the candles I had in the house and placed them on our Jarrah wood coffee table in front of me. I lent against a pile of soft white cushions and I wrote for over an hour in my journal about all of the things I am grateful for right now.

When I finally stopped I was amazed at how much I had written (3 pages!) and how much better I felt about myself and the world around me. If you are having a difficult time at the moment, or just feeling sad – this is such a good activity to try.

Create the space and time in your day to think. Surround yourself with some things that nurture you. Maybe pop on some music you love that inspires you. Sit yourself down in your garden or your favourite cafe. Treat yourself to a warm drink and some solid nurturing food, like fresh scones or biscuits. Now breathe. Look around you. What do you see? Who is in your world? What do you have? Focus on the good. Open yourself up to the blessings, great and small, that are in your life right now. Today.

Like me, you may find that your life is much fuller and richer than you first realised. You may find yourself feeling much more optimistic and happier than you thought!

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Immortal Lives

DAY 102

So just a head’s up. This post is a bit morbid. I have been thinking about death quite a lot these days.

Mostly I think about death in the context of the DBM project. The thought that everyone I meet may be dead before midnight can be the ultimate leveller.

A few months ago, when I began this project, I struggled to imagine that someone might be dead. It felt like I was forcing myself to imagine a fantasy. It felt like a lie somehow.

Like most of us, I have lived my days smug in the knowledge that life was endless. I had years ahead of me to achieve what I wanted to achieve and so did everyone else. That trip to Ireland that I had been putting off since I was fifteen would happen one day, just not today. Perhaps not even this year. But I had plenty of time to make it happen.

It’s an interesting fantasy that we have woven around ourselves. The truth of course, is that people die every minute, every hour, every day. People we don’t know. People we do. People we love. People we don’t. They are all ages, all genders, all nationalities. Death happens to us all. And one day I will die too. One day you will die. It’s our one common denominator.

We would like to think that we will be roughly 100 when our lives finish. However this is also not true. We know that most of us will be lucky to reach eighty and many people die young. Some will be very young.

We would also like to think that we can buy more time with our lives. If I live a ‘good’ life then I should live longer. But we know this is also not true. There are plenty of good, kind and generous people, both young and old, who die, and plenty of people who are monsters who seem to have tapped into the spring of everlasting life.

Here’s the thing: We cannot barter for extra time on this earth. We can only use the time we have, the best we can. We can eat well, exercise and be good people, but at some point all of our lives will come to an end.

Which brings me to immortality.

It is said that when we die we essentially have three deaths.

The first is when we breathe our last breath and our lives leave our bodies and this earth.

The second is when our bodies physically break down and return to the earth. We are physically no longer here.

The last however, is the one that interests me most. The last death is when our name is spoken for the last time in this world.

With the first two ‘deaths’ we may extend our lives by looking after our wellbeing and physical health, however the reality is that one day we will still die. Our innate being and our physical bodies will still pass.

Our immortality, however, is bound up in the legacy we leave behind. Who we are and how we have lived our lives will influence our third death.

Now here I should say that many of us will influence our immediate families and communities. Our children, our nieces and nephews, our grand children, and great nieces and nephews will be the ones who speak our name beyond our physical death. They will be the ones to pull out the family photos and tell stories about us, in a similar way that we talk about our own grand parents and ancestors. Or don’t.

Our communities will talk about our contributions. The local organisations and clubs that you are a part of, the people you work with every day, will talk about your influence and speak your name depending on your contribution. Depending, of course, on who you are. Depending on what you contribute.

Your legacy doesn’t have to be world wide either. You may not change the world. Like the story of the little boy and the star fish, you may change the world for just one person.

To me, that’s immortality; living beyond your own life on earth.

We may not have full control over the kind of death we have or when we may die, but we do have complete control over the kind of life we live, the people we influence and our own immortality. We have control over our third death.

Who you are every day, every week, every year will decide who will be the last person to speak you name.

Live your life in a way that decides the outcome of your third death.

Be immortal.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” 
― Ayn RandAtlas Shrugged

Just Dance!

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DAY 103

My dance teacher sat behind the desk and looked up from the print out of my yearly results. I had asked him if I could dance. I had meant did I have the results that would allow me to take dance as a major. I was holding on tightly to the wooden chair I sat on. My fingers were crossed. My legs were crossed as well. I’m fairly sure that I held my breath as I waited for his answer.

Until I had enrolled in the college I hadn’t had much formal dance training. My sisters were ballet dancers and I had taken the odd jazz class here and there. But I loved dancing. It was the thing I was most passionate about. I had picked up a dance minor as part of my teaching degree, and had worked hard to ‘catch’ up. I was fascinated by contemporary dance history and spent hours in the campus library immersing myself in the lives of inspirational dancers like Martha Graham, the mother of contemporary dance.

I spent weekends studying dance theory and every chance I could I stole time in the studios practicing my technique and rehearsing for practicals. If I would have slept in the dance wing of the college if they had let me.

But in spite of my passion and desire to be a dancer, here I was sitting across from one of the heads of the dance school waiting for him to decide my fate.

I was waiting for this man to give me permission to dance. I was waiting for him to give me permission to follow my dream.

Sometimes the person we lie to the most is ourselves.

We become very clever at blaming the world and those around us for whatever has stopped us from chasing our own dreams. The world and the ‘others’ are the architects of our own failings. If only someone had believed in me. If only someone had believed in me enough.

Somehow we convince ourselves that we have no responsibility for our lives and ourselves. It’s easier to live with ourselves if we have no control over what happens to us. We abdicate responsibility and wait for someone, anyone, to take control and give us the green light.

Perhaps you are telling yourself that you can’t achieve your dream because the world is against you and you never seem to get a break. You always seem surrounded by drama. Your family is a daytime soap opera. Your friends are always having a hard time. The dog needs an operation…and you are tired. Way to tired to follow your own heart.

We talk of ‘someday’, of ‘tomorrow’. We think of our dreams being reliant on something unattainable. If I just had more money or if I just had a better job with a better salary, if I went to a better school, or if I was with someone else.  If I just won the lottery then I could follow my dream.

So the truth is that if you are waiting for ‘someday’ then it will never happen. If you are waiting for someone else to give you the resources , or hoping to win the lottery to make your dream a reality, then you roughly have a 2,521,090 to one chance in Australia. I’m guessing that it’s higher in Western countries with much larger populations.

If you are waiting for something grand to arrive on your doorstep tomorrow, then don’t hold your breath.

Because it’s already arrived.

You arrived a while a go.

You are in essence the ‘lottery’.

You have within you all of the resources to create an extraordinary life. Within you is the ability and the strength to make your dream a reality.

You are all you need at first. And further down the track, as your life unfolds, you are still the essential ingredient to your story.

Who you are, what you believe about yourself and the world, and how you choose to be every day is critical.

You don’t need someone else to give you permission to follow your dream or to make your dream a reality, because you already have permission.

That day my dance teacher looked up at me when I asked him if I could dance. He smiled slightly as if he was confused.

“Do you want to dance?”

I nodded.

“Then you don’t need my permission to dance.”

No I didn’t. I don’t need someone else’s permission to be who I want to be in this world. Neither do you. Stop waiting for the package to arrive. The one that you think will make everything you have been waiting for magically appear.

Open the one that you already have.

Start changing your world.

DANCE!

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” 
― George Bernard Shaw

Share It Forward Sunday

DAY 101

This is an oldie but still an extraordinary speech from an extraordinary man. I hope he inspires you in your week ahead and to make the decisions you need to make to follow your heart.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Things I love Thursday

gothicbunny

Ahhh, it’s been another beautiful week. So many things to love, so little time! Things I have loved this week: Easter at my sister and brother in law’s farm; beautiful star filled skies, copious amounts of chocolate, talking with family around a massive bon fire; moments with precious friends over a good cup of tea; fresh rose buds from a friend’s garden; laughter in the office; sleep ins and snuggling with our grandson ~ he’s way too adorable! Finally finding a pair of Mary Janes – nothing like brand new shoes! Being wrapped up in the hum of conversation at a local cafe eating fruit toast and drinking the best creamy latte; extraordinary moments with my sons, Jaz and Paris, who just always seem to know what to say and when to hug me; painting butterflies; a string of yummy dinners at some really good little restaurants; Finally watching Saber in Fate Zero; planning and plotting our next film shoot for It’s Japan, Man! Jars of sweet smelly candles; the first cold foggy morning blanketing the city across the bay; feeling deep love.

“It’s a powerful thing to know yourself and your own uniqueness.” – Global Events

5 steps to have the cutest fun night in with your girlfriends!

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Whenever I feel a bit blah, I make time to hang out with my girls.

They always put a smile on my face and make me feel human again!

So if you are feeling a bit down or you just want to try something new with your ladies here are some really cute ideas for a fun night in. They are guaranteed to make you giggle, your tummy ache and have you feeling pretty awesome in no time!

The 5 steps to a cute night in:

  • Decorate! Set the scene. Whether it’s your bedroom, your friends house or your family lounge room~you need to decorate!  Yes, this may mean balloons, flowers, coloured napkins and glitter! One of my friends is amazing at finding decorations that just transforms the room. Things like paper lanterns, or floating butterflies make it special and create an expectation for the night ahead. Whatever your theme is, create a world for your girls to walk into. Strings of fake diamonds, bubbles, coloured scarves, faux fur rugs and pillows…Make sure you prepare a themed music list too, and line up some key movies!
  • Get dressed up! There are a few cute ways you can do this. You can invest in a onesie. I have Stitch and a very pink Hello Kitty onesie that I love. My husband has a Totoro and a panda. Our collection seems to grow every Winter! They are so much fun and really it’s hard not to feel both warm and cute in them. However, if you are not up to transforming into a fluffy being, you could theme with colours, characters or movies. Have a super heroine theme, or break out the bunny ears and tails. Everyone could wear purple and gold, or load up with (fake) diamonds and tiaras! Have a Frozen event, with plenty of iced drinks and icy themed clothing. Dress up in your best gothic lolita with cute skulls and deathly patterned skirts. (yes skulls can be cute too!)
  • Yummy food. Ask everyone to bring something to share. Then make something together. You could bake some cute themed cup cakes with plenty of sprinkles and edible glitter, or make some adorable snacks like the ones you would find in a Japanese Bento Box for kids! You can also ask everyone to prepare something for a take home party bag. Someone can organise the bags (themed of course!) and you can all add items like tiny bottles of nail polish, chocolate frogs, magic wands, cheap eye lashes, manicure sets, little bottles of champagne…well you get the picture!
  • Cute activities! Start with a pedicure or manicure. Paint your nails with crazy colours or head to your local chemist or KMart and pick up some nail art and extra bling with nail crystals and wild stick on designs. These are so much fun and not too expensive. Make sure you have a few bottles of champagne and some fresh strawberries to add to the excitement! Dance! Pop on some music that you can all dance to, or a great movie. You could make it a game. Every time someone burps, or swears or says someones name the music is pumped up and everyone has to do the bum dance or the mexican wave, or milk shake! Expand the night into a pyjama party with your favourite soft toy or pillow and animal slippers. Perhaps your girls are up for a trial make up session on each other? You can teach each other your favourite make up tricks, or buy some cheap wigs and have fun styling new looks!
  • Photo shoot! Get out the cameras and the iphones. Set up some funky music to pose to and take pics of each other. Add some frames, some sparkles and hearts then post away on Instagram! (There are some awesome apps available now on itunes). After the event print some photos off, pop them in a frame and send them to your girls as a reminder of the day or night.

Hope you all have an adorable evening with plenty of kawaii (cute) and fun!

We Sat

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We sat together. Side by side.

We had been sitting like this for nearly an hour now.

We cried. Softly. Almost silently. Into the emptiness that yawned out in front of us.

We looked at the garden beyond. Our eyes focussed on the wooden backyard fence in the distance.

Our minds numb. We knew that the world continued beyond the boundary.

We knew that time wouldn’t stop for us.

It ran ahead, busy with the rest of the world, abandoning us, immune to our cries.

We sat. Together.

We sat alone in our hearts. Alone in our worlds wondering what had happened. How did we get here?

What did we miss?

We sat and searched our memories.

How did this poison leach into our breath?

How did it seep into our dreams?

“I promise it will be different.” he said

I believed him. I wanted to believe him. So I did.

I smiled. “Okay.”

It was better that sitting here crying. It was better than feeling hopeless.

My heart was tired. Mascara blackened my face. But I stopped shaking.

“Okay.” I said again.

My son took my hand and smiled.

And we sat.

Together.

For a little longer.

We Sat, Original Poem, Carol Espinoza, 21 April 2014

Share It Forward Sunday

Today I thought I would share a clip from an interview series with Brene Brown on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

It is a small section of an extraordinary interview with Brene on her work on vulnerability and her book Daring Greatly. If you haven’t read her book you might like to check Brene’s TED talk out on Youtube. She is both inspiring and challenging, but above all her work encourages me to think that I am enough, and know that I am good enough.

Hope this kick starts your week lovelies!

Gala Darling Challenge # 5

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“Throw yourself head-first into a creative project. Something that you’re excited about but which feels a little too big for you. You’ll be so consumed by it that it will fuel you for ages.” – Gala Darling

I love GD Challenge Days!

Sometimes I have to think about how I might achieve the challenge for the week. Today was pretty simple though. I have been looking forward to this one so much.

I decided to start my Radical Self Love Bible today.

The first task was to go shopping for a journal that I could draw, write and paste pictures in. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You ca pick up some great journals from the $2 shops or KMart. If you are a bit more flush with cash you could head to Smiggle or Kiki K.

I got a great journal and then had heaps of fun in the craft section of KMart picking out lots of crystals, stars, stickers, and tape from the scrap booking section. Who knew that craft stuff could be so addictive? I also found some good Derwent water colour pencils, some paintbrushes and some really great textas and pink highlighters. I think I also managed to snaffle some sparkles and glitter…but shhhh.

Then I settled down on the couch with my journal, art supplies, scissors, magazines, glue and a respectable supply of chocolate for an afternoon of creative bliss.

If you want to start your own journal you might like to subscribe to Gala’s Radical Self Love Bible school here. She will send you weekly instructions every Sunday and give you plenty of inspiration to create a journal that reflects your own unique style and has you falling in love with yourself!