Lana Del Rey Plays my Heart Like a Harp

I didn’t intend to fall for Lana Del Rey as my close friend encouraged me to for quite some time. She claimed her style reminded her of me and her lyrics of myself and my love (aka Mister). After finally giving in and accepting the cd to listen to I fell for her instantly. She lives the 50s/60s pop culture and feminine woman’s role beautifully but also incorporates Lolita and a delores-haze of similar undertones such as appreciating the interests, looks and feelings of a creative young girl. She coined herself a ‘self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra’ and, my favorite, ‘Lolita lost in the hood’.

Having learned about her music, received her personal videos and researched her brand I feel as though she is special, a very amazing new artist and her music is absolutely jaw-droppingly filled with love, lust and vintage style which both soothes me and eats me alive in my own current situation of a happily ever after love addiction.

“It sounds like one of those insanely rare moments wherein someone from the music industry says “Lolita” and actually seems to mean Lolita, as in the novel, and not some kind of porn-derived mincing, but as in the character Dolores Haze: lover of late-40s movie magazines (there’s that miasma of “old-Hollywood glamour” Del Rey’s inspired by), lover of chewing gum (Stereogum on Del Rey’s “secret” show in NYC: “she chewed a lot of gum”). The Dolores Haze who hails from nearly the same patch of the country as Del Rey; whose profession is once listed as “starlet.” Who winds up tough and blithe, casually schooled in all the ways people manipulate and control one another, living in a dump with a big, hard-of-hearing working man who, if video games had existed in 1952, would likely have wasted a few nights on them.” ~ Why We Fight

Sweet Ways to Make Your Guy Smile

This is one of those drafts that got lost in the shuffle for a few years and I’m finally inspired to write it because it’s actually very sweet. There are more posts of this series coming that many of you will be excited about including a rerelease of ‘Ways to Make Your Best Friend Smile’ which in some ways will seem a tad bit redundant seeing as how your guy is probably also your best friend but generally it’s a much different kind of relationship that I’m referring to.

Valentine’s Day was very recent but that doesn’t mean you have to stop doing sweet things for the one you love or limit it to one silly day a year. This is a list of some of the ways I’ve learned to make my significant other feel better through experiencing life together… Obviously there is always a right time to do things as well as a wrong time and chances are you know when that is since he’s your guy and all. If you don’t, try to pick up on body language and tone from him.

1. Keep your shared space tidy and organized. If he is a slob, do a little extra work or occasionally remind him of his shared chores (but do not nag and do not complain if you choose to do them instead). I always feel like an old school Sim with a full “Room” scale when my house is clean so I assume it makes others feel good as well. A clean and cute home is a happy, inspiring home.

2. Take time out of your day to take care of yourself, fix your hair, paint your nails, shave your legs and put on a cute outfit. Pampering yourself will not only give you a smile and help you feel confident but it will also show your guy that it means a lot to you to look nice for him. Don’t just fancy up when you’re going out on the town but also when you’re staying in together. It will make him feel special that you’re looking nice just for him.

3. Remind him what he does for you and how it makes you feel inside. Tell him about the things you really love that he does each and everyday and the special things he does on rare occasions. Encourage your man to treat you like a princess by reminding him what things he does that make you feel really good.

4. Pamper him on special days. After he gets home from a long day of work or from a night out with the guys have the house tidy and dinner or dessert on the table for you to share by candle light. Sometimes I love to make fondue or a fruit tarte (recipe coming soon!) that we both really love to indulge in. It’s even nice to sit and have the dessert you made with love in your heart while you catch up on a favorite show or watch a movie you’re both interested in.

5. Prepare HIM a decadent bubble bath. I realize it’s not an exceptionally manly thing to take a bubble bath but I’ve found that occasionally it’s also nice for him to relax in the bath while you pamper him. Put in some bubble bath, a bath bomb, bath salts or some drops of essential oil, light some candles or incense (or both!) and bring him a nice, hot cup of green tea and keep him company if he’d like. Ask him about his day and offer to wash his back or massage his feet. These are not only things for men to do to their women, you can also show him you appreciate everything he does for you by pampering him as well.

Cute Date Ideas

1. Attend a local art show. Look up dates and times on your cities website. Many art shows also offer horderves and drinks while you both enjoy looking at the works and discussing them with each other.

2. Pack a cute picnic for two and head off to a park nearby, a secluded spot in the woods or a lovely beach overlooking the water to indulge in some tasty food you’ve prepared and each other. Bring along a camera for extra fun!

3. Plan a game night with our without the children. Play an old favorite together or invite your favorite double date couple. Prepare some easy snacks and drinks and enjoy each other’s company, laughter and some friendly competition.

4. On the next clear night pack a cozy blanket and find a secluded spot away from the city to romantically gaze at the stars together. Pack a light picnic also if you’d like.

5. Don’t feel like splurging on a date at the movie theater? Why don’t you both stay at home, snuggle on the couch and watch one of your favorite films together? Take turns picking the movie and you’ll learn more about each other by which movies you enjoy.

What are some of your favorite ways to make your guy feel special?

Fashion. Cut to the left! Cut to the right!

The video and marketing direction behind these fashion and beauty product videos by Juicy Couture is enough to make my heart hurt and my eyes bleed rainbows, glitter and grime. Take in the visual splendor with me and feel inspired to live a life as art. I can never get enough of their saccharine sweet, colorful, serendipitous and opulent campaigns that have always been right up my alley (cat).

Behind the Scenes

Are You Ready for This?

I was just taking a stroll through my drafts folder and would you believe there is still a LA Sanrio Nerd party article I haven’t published as well as at least 35 others? Hello! Time? Motivation? You out there? Can you come hang out for awhile? I miss you.

Anyway things have been absolutely insane around here but that doesn’t meen I haven’t been thinking of you, I’ve actually been thinking of you a lot. Thinking about what I’m going to tell you about going through hell on earth and making it through while staying strong and focused. It’s not impossible and pain is always a struggle but you’re not alone. If you think you are alone, turn around and look through all of the cracks. Do you see yourself? Your friends? Your family? Do you see me? Your cat? A new pet? There’s someone out there waiting to make the pain easier to handle but you might have to open your mind and do a little searching to find them. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Also I wanted to let you guys know that the little love letters you have been sending me have been absolutely the sweetest. I’m glad I made it easier for you to contact me. If you ever need someone to listen, I’m here for you.

Now let’s go on a hypersensitive adventure through insanity because I’m so curious about what pieces of me I have lost while on this trip… Have you left pieces of yourself behind, too? Don’t ever allow anyone to control you until they break you. This is your life and you should experience it the way you prefer. Be yourself because you’re the only person in this whole world who is anything like you and, I’m just saying, you’re pretty amazing.

Who Are You Without Your Stories?

Picture it: you’re in the eighth grade and someone you like is across the school yard. You want to approach them but don’t know if your approach would be welcome. You get a warm fuzzy feeling, but there’s also a panic that comes with it – after all, most kids that age would rather die than suffer rejection. The humiliation that would result would be unbearable, especially from the most gorgeous person in the entire school district – no, make that the entire city.

So no matter how much you want to go and talk to them, you wouldn’t just stroll over there and say hi, would you? You couldn’t risk it. As a girl especially, you certainly wouldn’t walk up to him when he’s talking to his male friends and blurt out, “Hi, I’m Maryanne – I think you’re really cute, and I’m looking for someone to go with to Karen’s party this weekend, and I was wondering if you’d be my date?”

I know, I know, I should have guessed this would be a disaster. But at the time, I felt like I had nothing to lose – sure, he was the hottest guy in the school, everyone was staring at me, and of course girls weren’t really “supposed” to do things like asking guys out. But I liked him, and my curiosity got the better of me in the end, so I just threw caution to the wind and went for it.

Naturally I was nervous – I was a kid, and this was my first limited foray into the world of romance. But my nervousness was more the exciting kind than the nauseating kind, and I was so focused on what might happen if he said yes, that I didn’t let myself think too much about the other option.

Until it happened. His face crinkled up into a mixture of annoyance and confusion, and he asked the question I’ll never forget: What’s wrong with you?! And I spent a lot of time and heartache trying to figure out the answer to that exact question – what was wrong with me? In order to put a stop to the pain and protect what was left of my ego, I wove a story for myself, and the moral of the story was this: I will never allow anyone to hurt me like that again for as long as I live. And that was it – I stuck to my story, and I never approach a boy directly ever again.

There are no other stories we enjoy better than our own. We love to spin our own tales, we love to tell them, and we love to hear them back again from others. We never get tired of them no matter how many times we’ve heard them before. And while it’s true that our stories are based on actual events (at least most of the time), why is it that we cling to certain ones and let others fade into obscurity? Certainly I have had other humiliating experiences in my life that eclipsed that particular schoolyard event, and yet that’s the story I keep coming back to. I think it has a lot to do with recognizing the moments when we separate from our Divine selves, and create an alter-self that we use to try to survive when we think our authentic self can’t hack it. These are moments where we consciously assign disproportionate meaning to events that wouldn’t need that meaning in a perfect world.

We create stories about ourselves for all kinds of reasons. We do it to shield ourselves from pain, to make people like us more, or to create a persona that acts as a protective shell for our real selves. So the question remains: who would we be without that shell, without those stories? Personally, though I have spent a great amount of time and effort examining my stories in order to try to understand who I am, it wasn’t until I released my grip on my stories and let them go that I truly found out the answer.

Spring Cleaning: Sieze the Day

There was a time in my life when wake-up calls would have to be pretty dramatic for me even to notice. I was so reluctant to come out of my little status quo cocoon, and it would take quite a crisis for me to wake up and see what was important. But in each of those instants where I would suddenly wake up, I’d see exactly what was important, how precious life is… only to crawl back in my cocoon again.

Nonetheless, those intermittent moments of being awake in time built up to help me change my life, and these days I use them as markers on my path, to remind me why I’m here and which direction I’m heading. If I wake up one morning feeling a little stiff or tired, instead of sitting around and moaning about how I’m getting older, I can go for a brisk walk and know that this is my body’s way of reminding me that exercise is important. If I don’t get something that I had asked for, I know that it’s either on its way, or something better is. I don’t sit and wonder whether I don’t deserve the things I want, or whether I’m just not good enough. Not holding back from loving someone was the hardest wake-up call of all, as I learned it when my father suddenly died at age 63. I had tried to punish him for not meeting my expectations of love, and I was waiting for him to come to the realization that I was right.

There are still still times when I’m aware that the path is never-ending, that one always has to practice vigilance in order to stay awake and be present. As I sit at my desk, I suddenly hear fire trucks in the distance, and I silently send out blessings to the rescue team and the people they are being sent out to rescue. Then I take a look at the collection of objects on my desk, and it’s fitting that the alarm of the sirens should make me take notice. Here are all the things that represent what I love, put there specifically so I will have a constant reminder, and yet sometimes I can lose focus until the sirens bring me back again. My pocket astrologer, a Buddha figurine, notes from friends and family, photos of everyone I love most, a small angel sculpture, and of course a few chocolates are all things I still see right through sometimes. But at least these days, the sirens are needed less and less, as my vigilance has supplemented my desire to be awake and present. For this I’m very grateful.

I’m reminded of a Zen story, one where all the masters gathered together to discuss where the Key of Life should be hidden. One master was adamant that the top of a mountain would be a great hiding place, but the others disagreed. Another master suggested that maybe the bottom of the sea would be better, but again he was met with unanimous dissent. Discussion went back and forth for quite some time, and finally, just when it seemed like all the good ideas had been used up and rejected, one master stood up. “I’ve got it!” he exclaimed. “Let’s hide the key in the one place that humans never search: inside themselves.” Everyone agreed that was the best place to place the key, and there it remains to this day.

Flirting: Are You Talking to Me?

It can happen just about anywhere – you’re standing in line at the bank, or at the grocery store, and then you feel someone brush up against you accidentally. You turn and find it’s a very attractive person. Then you start to think… maybe it wasn’t an accident! But how can you know for certain? You have to test the situation out, so you look at them again, for two reasons: one, to check them out a second time, and two, to see if there are any signs that the brush was on purpose. After all, it might have been a legitimate accident, and you don’t want to make a fool of yourself by assuming they’re into you when they may not have the slightest interest at all. So before you do anything, stop and think about what’s at stake, and ask yourself if this is just another mundane everyday event, or if this is the moment when everything changes in your life.

Take our quiz and see what you know about flirting: Answer True or False, then add up and click here for answers)

1. When someone goes out of their way to talk to me they are flirting

2. When someone makes prolonged eye contact (more than three seconds) they want my attention

3. When a woman is flirting it’s obvious

4. When a man is overtly flirting he generally has one thing on his mind

5. There’s a difference between being flirtatious and flirting

6. There are right ways and wrong ways to flirt

7. Saying inappropriate things in the name of flirting is acceptable

8. Flirting when you’re in a committed relationship is fine as long as you don’t act on it

And now, some tips to help you flirt effectively and without embarrassment:

First of all, focus on yourself, not the other person. Ask yourself, what are you hoping to accomplish by flirting? What is it that you want from this situation? A fun conversation? Casual sex? A relationship? The answer to this question will tell you what signs to look for. If you want a relationship, for instance, you’ll be looking for things like an bare ring finger, a shopping cart devoid of baby formula, and no spouse or kids hanging around. Don’t make a move if anything indicates the person isn’t available.

Step two, once you’ve decided the coast is most likely clear, you need to determine your own safety. No, this part is not particularly fun or spontaneous, but what’s REALLY not fun is being reckless and ending up in a situation where your personal safety is threatened. So check in with your intuition and make sure your body is not giving you any cues that it’s time to get out of the situation. You should be feeling completely comfortable and safe before you do anything at all. If not, don’t risk it or adopt a wait-and-see attitude – just get out of there.

Thirdly, let the fun begin! Believe it or not, most people are way too anxious when it comes to flirting, because really we’re all born with the ability. You may not buy that if you think you’re particularly awkward, but most awkwardness comes only when we become conscious of things that were unconscious. Many times we give off signals without even noticing we’re doing it! Checking to see who brushed up against you, and then checking a second time just to be sure – this is all part of the flirting process! If you can find something authentic to say in the moment, even better. Keep it simple and have fun above all else. The more you can relax and enjoy yourself, the more your flirting will be a sincere reflection of who you really are, which of course is exactly how you want to present yourself.

Remember that even though meeting people on the internet is all the rage, there’s nothing like connecting with a person in real life. So don’t be shy, practice connecting with people wherever and whenever, and load your tool belt up with these three things: your intention, your safety, and your natural ability to flirt!

How Can You Express Love?

There are thousands of ways you can express yourself, thousands of things you can do that could come across to someone as loving. However, it’s where these actions come from that’s of utmost importance if you want to be genuine.

You might think that you’re expressing love by not arguing back when your partner says something you strongly disagree with, but if you’re only doing it so you can have credit for controlling your tongue, or if you’re just hoping the payoff for verbally agreeing will be sex, what good is that in the long run? Very little!

If you want to express love from a place of authenticity, start with these tips:

Make the effort to get to know your partner. You’d be surprised how much two people can not know about each other, even after years of being together. This is especially true when you consider that what people like changes from moment to moment. What does your partner enjoy, what do they not enjoy? What are their pet peeves? What do they think about various topics? Knowing these things may not change your actions per se, but investing your interest in your partner will greatly increase the health of the relationship.

Listen to what your partner is telling you. Of course there’s the literal aspect to this – the things they actually say – but there are the more subtle clues and hints that you can learn to pick up on. If they keep saying the same sorts of things over and over, learn to read between the lines. “Wow, isn’t it great to have a moment of quiet” could be a sign that it’s time to start scheduling in times when you both agree to turn off phones, computers, and the TV.

Include your partner’s happiness in your assessment of your own happiness. Make a habit of inquiring whether things are going well for them; learn what they’re struggling with, what would make their lives better, what they’re happy with right now, what they’re lacking, as so forth. Incorporate these things into your daily self-inquiry practice.

Act in whatever way you can to make your partner’s day better. Even little things can make a big impact, so don’t underestimate your ability to transform your partner’s daily life. For example, I love sleeping in and my husband knows that, so in order to let me have five extra minutes of sleep, he makes my tea just the way I like it every morning, even when we’re traveling. I happen to know that he craves time alone, so whenever something needs to be done and I can handle it on my own, I send him off for half an hour to go meditate, and I sort things out myself. It’s the little things.

Consider the new things that will pop up that you don’t know about each other yet. Find ways to discover these things. My husband and I love taking spontaneous drives in various directions – we never end up in the same place twice, and it’s always an adventure. When we get home, we talk about the experience and how we each perceived it. We’re constantly learning new things about each other in this way.

And these are just a few suggestions you can start with; add your own ideas and start seeing how much joy it brings you to bring joy to your partner! It’s this authenticity of expression that makes all the difference.

If you actually care, then act like it!
Great relationships begin within!

How to Write a Love Poem

Expressing strong emotions through poetry will never go out of style, and even if it does, who cares? It’s all about making someone feel as special and beautiful as you see them, as they truly are. Want to know a secret? You don’t need to have any kind of talent to write a poem, just say what you feel! The best poems have come about when someone was feeling something intense, especially the adoration for another person. If you don’t know how to begin, here are a few techniques and hints.

Do Some Free-writing

Put a picture of your loved one in front of you, or just sit somewhere where you won’t be disturbed for a while and think about them. Start writing down everything that pops into your head, without worrying
that it sounds silly. It won’t look or sound like a poem yet, and that’s okay—you’re getting your thoughts and feelings down in words. It also helps to get in “the mood” by lighting a few candles and putting on some music (just be sure you don’t subconsciously copy some of the lyrics to “Need You Now” or something!)

Take Your Time

You may or may not write your love poem in one sitting, so take it easy and don’t push yourself. If you rush, it might not sound as good as if you took a couple of days or weeks to let it come to you. Keep a notebook or your phone on you so you jot or type down whatever pops into your head that might sound good. Remember, this is something you will use to impress the one you adore, so take your time!

Find the “Beat”

You don’t need to write a sonnet full of “thees” and “haths” or even something that rhymes. Most poetry does have a “beat”, however, which is what distinguishes it from prose. Read some good love poems to get a feel for the beat of poetry, and all the different ways it can be written. Here is an example to get you started:

“i carry your heart with me” by E. E. Cummings

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”

The lines break it up so that there is a subtle rhythm as you read it. The poet also creates a beat inside the lines, and he repeats the main line of the poem to draw it together at the end. You can also distinguish a brief pause in a line with punctuation.

Here is an example of how a poet writes in rhyme and line-groupings called a “stanza”:

“Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air”

~ From “To Earthward” by Robert Frost

Start experimenting and using some of your best lines from your free-writing and see what you can come up with.

Other Poetic Elements

Use some metaphors, similes, alliterations (All ambitious alligators adore alliterations!) and strong adjectives and verbs to paint a picture with your words. There are many other elements of poetry, such as allegories, personification and allusions. You could also just get literal and say what you feel, straight out! The poetic elements are just different tools to use.

This is just an intro to writing a good love poem—just to let you know that this is something anyone can do if they try. A love poem written from the heart is more valuable than a diamond ring and means so much more.

Don’t Live in the Past

Happy Birthday cake :9
My birthday cake.
Package from Audreybug~
Package from Audrey.
Birthday gift from Ben hehe~
Birthday gift from Ben.
This chocolate covered cherry Peep is the best thing I've ever eaten.. today!
Valentine tastiness.

Today I spent a little time roaming around my parent’s home. Isn’t it strange when you’re reminded so vividly of a past that was both horrifying and magical?

I remember laying in my comfortable cloud bed knowing that it would be my last night staying at my parent’s home.. I would be getting married the very next day and then we would be off to Japan to celebrate.

We discussed in group therapy yesterday that really rings true.. it was about being present; forgetting about yesterday and tomorrow. There is only today. Don’t waste it.

A sign at the cemetery where I used to roam and have chats with my deceased grandmother reads, “LOVE.” It’s the best advice I’ve had all day.