Category Archives: being happy

Maria Rubinke Is My New Ladycrush

Maria Rubinke

Art by Maria Rubinke via Hi Fructose

June 18th I turned twenty-nine years old. Holy crap. I have fought so hard to get my health back on track these last few years – harder than I ever imagined I would have to. It feels good to be here, where I am, today. There truly are no coincidences.

Suffering is justified as long as it becomes the raw material of beauty.”
– Sartre

A dream can be a terrifying fucking thing sometimes.

Three years ago I finally, finally admitted to myself that the nagging feeling that I want to, in some fashion, be a clothing designer, wasn’t going to go away anytime soon. Eight months later, part way through: the healthfail avalanche. Today I pre-enrolled in that same patternmaking course I got part way through in 2010 – I have to do an entry test in a couple of months which will determine whether or not my app. is accepted. The deal from now on: laser focus like never before. Practice, practice, practice.

It was so, so exciting to be back in the Fashion Tech workroom to enrol again today. I was on such a high when I left. And then, a couple of hours later, self-doubt swoops in: Aren’t you too OLD to be doing this? It will be too hard! You are supposed to have a career by now, what is wrong with you? If your dream was meant to be, it would have happened by now!!! To which I say: I am not listening to your shit. No way in hell. The better part of me has walked through enough fire to know she is gonna come out the other side. Might shed a few tears, might bend a little, but I will not break.

Fear, properly harnessed, will shoot your ass to the moon.


by Moon

Art by Moon, via Supersonic Electronic

SPRING. I crave the first signs that the warmer seasons are heading toward us – these past few weeks it has definitely begun happening. The air is different, the days a little longer, and a few sunny, crisp ones are emerging here and there. Spring is coming! I cannot wait.

Other rad things about the last couple of months:

♥ More yoga, deeper stretches. Bikram here I come.

♥ RJD2 [ Ghostwriter | Smoke and Mirrors | June ]

♥ Crystals! Rose quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli, citrine, obsidien, clear quartz, turquoise, jasper, tiger’s eye. The next few pieces of jewellery that I’m creating for the shop are gonna be so much fun.

♥ Eating a rad meal with my family at La Boca Loca in Miramar, to farewell my brother and his girlfriend, as they headed overseas, on a philosophy-inspired adventure, for a few months. For dinner I had rad tortilla soup, which they had no qualms about veganizing, with a side of mexican coleslaw; the mojito I downed was also delicious 😉

♥ Layers of lace. Black and pastels.


Batman Vogue

Batman x Peter Lindbergh, via Iain Claridge


♥ I enjoyed this post I stumbled upon, which comes via Kris Carr’s blog: The Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before 30. Good timing to have come across it around the time of my birthday!

♥ Finally having Ash over for dinner! On the menu: Vegan spaghetti & meatballs, with a side of Maia’s awesome spicy broccoli. Nom Nom. It was a stormy night, all the better for lounging around and watching some vintage Addam’s Family and a little Animaniacs.

♥ The people I love that put up with my tendency to fold up into myself now and then.

♥ Edward Snowden, the NSA surveillance whistleblower. A heroic act. It is so, so important that the public be informed of what he has leaked. We need and deserve to know. But do enough of us desire to know…? It is humbling that he is 30 years old, practically the same age as me; puts my problems and challenges in perspective, that’s for damn sure.

“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”
– Edward Snowden, via the Guardian


via Tumblr




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Frankie Says Relax (RIP): Saying Goodbye, Something New



♥ ♥ ♥

Our big fluffy boss-cat, Frankie, died a month ago. She was hit by a car outside the path to our flat, just up the road from the house where she was born five years earlier.

I appreciated her radness every single day and I miss her so, so much. She was a big, badass shining light; she was the boss of our house! I miss her wisdom, her company, her faces. I miss her soft, fluffy grey belly, her all knowing yellow-green eyes and the beautiful shapes she made. If her body was as huge as her personality, she would have crushed that damn car!

Born an Aro cat, died an Aro cat. One week before we moved away. Fate tastes very bitter sometimes. We have ninja-claimed the curb our neighbour buried her in and turned it into a memorial, complete with two native shrubs and an engraved granite plaque.

I like to think that Frankie’s spirit is out there in the ether, chasing birds and playing games with her brother Moridin, who died the same way in late 2009. They were our yin and yang cats; now they can hang together again.

It has been a heart-wrenching time. Our lil cat Penny, who through the trauma of losing her sister, has been so super brave, is helping me keep my shit together. If you’re not a cat person that probably sounds crazy; I’m down with that. Our family is smaller but strong.

Sometimes having the rug pulled from under your feet can bring a sudden clarity to things that have been mulling around in your subconscious, quietly demanding action. This has been one of those times for me. My intuition began to bitchslap me through my grief: I had been throwing my creative energy against a wall.

It was time to let go. So I resigned from my merchandising job; as it played out, what needed to be done was too physical for what I am capable of at the moment; this has been weighing heavy on me, because I love love love visual styling – it’s so much fun and I am awesome at it. But the stockroom stuff – no. Can’t do it.

Also, I can’t sew right now, unless I want to spend days in much worse pain than usual. All of the made-to-order products in my shop are on hiatus. My range of sterling silver pendants are 100% still available, though! I am loving the Khufu necklace right now – check Acid Cult for more offbeat jewellery goodness.

I need to give myself space to heal and stop trying to force it. This gauntlet of health complications is like a test from the universe to see how patient I can be about getting back to Fashion Tech to do the Pattern Design Certificate I have dreams every night about finishing. It has been two years and counting! I had been hoping to enrol for the January class, but I am not ready yet.

So I am taking a deep breath, a let-it-go breath; I am reminding myself that I will triumph in the end.

Frankie passing away, setting aside sewing, quitting my dream retail job, moving across town. The last month has felt like an avalanche of change.

2013, eh? Phew. Bring it on.

Metallic Embroidery by Yuanzi WangYuanzi Wang’s amazing work @ Lancia

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Launch & Learn: Acid Cult, Cool Shit & A Wearable Arts Window

Image via Ffffound

The last couple of days I have been laid up with some painful leg nonsense – physio, here I come! – which has turned out to have a silver lining in the form of motivating me to get serious about getting my online shop firmly established.

Enough stalling and obsessing over the “is it really good enough” and the “gotta be perfect”. Like Danielle La Porte said: Launch and learn. I am injecting this advice into my brain.

After mmming and ahhing for over a year about the merits of Etsy vs Big Cartel, and letting myself cave to my natural inclination to be an itinerant dabbler by bouncing between the two, I snapped myself out of it and made a decision. Big Cartel. Done.

Quickly followed by a flurry of photo editing, copywriting and listing everything possible.

Acid Cult is up and running in a form that works for me, with new cross stitch designs added to the range of Pennyroyal made to order totes and – finally! – the first four pieces in the Acid Cult range of sterling silver neckwear.

Yesterday I listed the first of the new Pennyroyal brand ‘Bitch Stitch’ range of upcycled clothing. I have wanted clothing in the shop for a long, long time; this is just the beginning! Come hither.

Now I need to connect with some amazing customers and drop my fear of networking. It’s been a bumpy road, but here we are. Momentum, movement, my own crazy way. I’ve just got to keep going. One day at a time, forward with focus.


Radness right now:

♥ My new tattoo; ‘tea time‘ written in beautiful handwriting on the side of my right hand. It is SO CUTE. It might be my favourite so far 😀

♥ Evernote. Fuck. Yes. Helping me keep my sometimes erratic mind on track since I belatedly discovered it earlier in the year. It is the perfect tool for obsessive note-takers.

♥ Reading The Help again.

♥ V Magazine’s From the Desk of Lady Gaga.

♥ Sushi in Civic Square. St. Pierre’s vege snack box = a vegan light lunch for under $5 in Wellington central ♥ thank fuck.

♥ Spring sunshine and nights getting lighter.

♥ My 50th post for
Kitchen Rebellion
! KR has had a little mini facelift recently, too.

♥ The Sopranos; Cam & I just watched the whole series for the first time. Now I finally know what all the fuss was about! It’s an amazing show; straight to number two on my list of all-time favourite TV dramas (number one being The Wire).

♥ The WOW window competition. The construction was a nightmare and I ruined the waist of half of the skirt while dressing the mannequin for the final time, resulted in a flurry of impromptu quick-fixing and barely held back tears; on the other hand, I pulled it off with no budget, passersby loved the window, and it’s not every day you get to incorporate Charlize Theron smoking an apple bong into a work-related project. It was an experience, that much I can say.


♥ ♥ ♥


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Upswing: Counting Blessings, Making Progress

By Marynn via Illusion


Being back at work is so, so good.

There is a shitload to do and I am amping to get it done; it’s a good feeling. I really love my job; evenmoreso I love the fact that I have been gifted the freedom to fit my merchandising hours around my personal creative projects however works best for me. That is a big, liberating deal. I am a lucky bitch.

When things get stressful, I’ve just got to remind myself that being able to concentrate on visual merchandising in a place as small as Wellington is a very rare thing. Not many people get paid solely to be creative in retail here, which from my obviously biased perspective seems very counterproductive.

Walking into a vividly imagined, cohesive space, there is a completely different energy than walking into somewhere that hasn’t had a dedicated eye keeping things on the right track. It can be the difference between being compelled to look at *everything* and just wanting to give things a quick glance.

Less plonking-on-shelves, more investment-in-aesthetics, I say!

We’ve decided to enter the Cuba Mall shop in the WOW window dressing competition this year and it’s my job to throw it all together. Until today I had been freaking out about the seemingly inevitable, mindfucking complexity of pulling it off with no budget, without doing a tonne of unpaid work, while simultaneously cranking my usual VM gig.

This afternoon I had an epiphany and realised that it doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be a bit clever.

Ten minutes later a weight-lifting, evolved nugget of an idea bubbled up from my subconscious; I’ve sketched it out, brainstormed a little and now aim to not spend any more of my time thinking about it until I set foot in the shop tomorrow. I tend to have a problem switching off my at-Cosmic brain and I am going to knock that habit the fuck out, because it is 100% not productive!

The rest of the afternoon is all about the epic playlist I am about to queue and cookin’ some damn pie. Vegan Pie Adventure #2: Curried Lentil Victory is on the horizon. ♥


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Thursday Night Love List: Lady Rebels, Fresh Air & Our Pirate Future

David Bowie & Elizabeth Taylor, Beverly Hills 1975; via ExShoesMe

Bring on spring, I say! I want more crisp mornings and cool sunshine; walking in town today was so invigorating. The atmosphere in Wellington on a wind-free, sunny day is something that never gets old, no matter how cynical I might get about this lil town sometimes.

I think the thing about me-and-Wellington is we need space every now and then; it has been time to start planning a holiday for a while and this week wheels started turning. The plan has evolved into a 3 week holiday split between Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Sydney. Fuck. Yes. I am so excited! I’ve started with the to-do lists already!

Holiday-planning aside, right now I am lovin’…

Femke Hiemstra‘s art.

♥ A friend of mine describing herself as a “house cat” ♥ I am so right there with her; home is where it’s at. My life basically revolves around cooking delicious food and hanging out on the couch with Cam.

♥ The Pussy Riot phenomenon. These ladies are awesome. For good measure, here is an interview they did with Vice magazine a few days before their arrest.

♥ Queuing an epic playlist; so satisfying. Currently grooving on Amon Tobin; I always find his music so wildly immersive. You kinda forget that it’s coming in from the outside and hear it in your pores. When an album comes to an end, the emptiness of the silence is always a jolt. You don’t realise how filled up with music the space had become – it just kinda slides in a fits right. Sexy, smoothly erratic. Right this minute, I’m swimming in The Bridge; it’s a kinda jazzy, slippery, film noir summer atmosphere album. Perfect.

♥ I really love Camille Rose Garcia’s work; somehow her Alice In Wonderland illustrations had escaped my attention until recently.

♥ Downloading a bunch of new episodes and movies. TV exists through torrents in my house. The networks and their fiendish advertising can dig their claws in elsewhere.

ONLY THE YOUNG DIE YOUNG. Hat tip for the avalanche of punk rock eye candy and a playlist is made of gold!

♥ It’s not certain yet, but it looks like NZ is finally going to make same sex marriage legal! Last night the Marriage Equality Bill got voted through to the select committee stage. Something like 80% of NZers (and 100% of awesome people) support the Bill; fingers crossed that enough of our MPs finally feel the same way to get it passed into law.

♥ Being back at work this week, after a month of ruptured blood vessel-induced bed rest (ffs!). It feels sooo good to be back doin my thing at Cosmic.

♥ The Little Bird Unbakery. Aucklanders, I am insanely jealous that you live in the same town as this joint. Little Bird chocolate raw organic macaroons are the stuff that dreams are made of. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about them; seriously one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten.

Via Ffffound

♥ Crying out some bad news, putting it in perspective then sitting on the deck in the sunshine, looking at the sea. Life is good.

John Locke has been installing these phone booth public libraries around New York City as part of a project called the Department of Urban Betterment. This is such a cool idea.

♥ Have you heard of Network 21? It was a pirate TV channel that broadcast from midnight on Fridays for a few months in mid-80s London. Alexis Petridis talks a little about it here in an article about pirate television. As he points out, the whole exciting affair has made it’s way on to YouTube and includes, among other weird and wonderful clips, live Einsteurzende Neubauten footage, William Burroughs reciting poetry, Genesis P-Orridge & dream machines, excerpts from Andy Warhol’s Trash, and the Rolling Stones in drag.

♥ Teenage Death Cult, Justin Blyth’s collection for Blood Is The New Black; amazing.

♥ Dark hair and a heavy fringe

Yayoi Kusama, via Ffffound

♥ ♥ ♥

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Keeping My Head Up + Monday List of Goodness

Belt by Mother of London. I covet every single item in her webstore!

Right now I am in recovery mode.

Thank fuck for the energy and strength that embracing wholefoods has given me, I would be a complete mess instead of a mini-mess otherwise.

What happened? I was standing up, giving my kittie a hug (she rules!), when I moved my leg and slipped a little, which caused something unfortunate to happen internally. Aaaargh! My doctor reckons I ruptured a blood vessel in my upper thigh. All I know is, I had been able to walk comfortably again, even run a little, do a little yoga and now I can’t. I had been able to sew again and now I can’t.

After being on the road to recovery for so long, finally feeling the warmth of the light at the end of the tunnel, I gotta admit I have been feeling really challenged by this new bump I gotta get over.

I have been laid up for a week and it is frustrating as hell – I’ve cried my way through a lot of tissues lately, that’s for sure. There have been a lot of deep breaths. I know that what I have to do to get through, though, is try to focus as much as possible on what I can do.

I can stretch out on the sofa with the laptop and write, research, set goals for Kitchen Rebellion. I can cross stitch and chart new designs. I can cook, carefully. I can dive into my documentary collection. I can motivate my shy ass to start networking online.

Dress by Marianna Barksdale, via Lancia.

Lissa’s List of Goodness:

♥ Recently Marilyn Manson was part of the Guardian’s ‘This Much I Know’ series. I think it’s a fun read.

♥ Starting Kitchen Rebellion! My brand new healthy food blog. I am excited and motivated about this project and have big plans! Watch this space:

♥ Obsessing over the kitties – they make such amazing shapes! I am such a cat lady. Vive le furry creatures!!!

♥ Being assigned a new role at work recently, and bringing myself around to seeing it as a great opportunity to flex different muscles and level up my management skills, instead of a sidetrack from visual merchandising. I am looking forward to making a lot more progress with my mission when I am back on my feet.

♥ JUICING. I asked Cam for a juicer for my birthday. Best idea ever. We have been juicing fruit and vegetables at least once daily since it arrived at the house mid-June. Love love love.

♥ Another birthday treat was a massage, and a haircut with one of the artistic directors at Cathy Davis Hair Design & Day Spa. I wish I could remember the name of the woman who cut my hair, she is truly fabulous!

♥ Havana’s organic espresso blend.

♥ The seaside drive from Owhiro Bay around to Lyall Bay. God help me if I ever live far from the ocean.

♥ “Senior citizens occupying a house is something we’ve never seen before.” Berlin’s ‘oldest squatters’ have taken over a community centre that has been marked for closure due to being in the way of someone’s real estate development plans. The youngest person involved is 67, the oldest 96.

♥ My lowriding black bloomers. Slinky.

John Robbins: Life on the Frontlines of the Food Revolution.

Today I have been appreciating the grey, misty sea view from my kitchen window, leftovers for late lunch (vegan stuffed capsicum – YUM) and snuggling up in my fluffy fur scarf.

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Tuesday Love List: Acid Cult & A Birthday Party

Jellyfish photography by marine biologist Alexander Semenov, via Ffffound

Nom nom hot cross bun season nom nom nom. Midnight snack? Check. List of radness? Check:

♥ The new bunch of Pennyroyal statement pendants! 😀 They’re in the Acid Cult shop right this minute – check ’em out here. My favourite is the Owlsies pendant, I made one for myself before I made one for anyone else haha.

♥ Having a love affair with the Naked & Famous‘ EPs.

♥ Being a visual merchandiser instead of a shop manager! Over the last month I’ve been settling in to the new role, making plans & getting a feel for what magic could happen. Getting paid to be myself is excellent. I recommend it to everyone.

♥ People going their own way. A few weeks ago I had a particularly rad couple of days of totally productive working-from-home on Acid Cult‘s next lines in the living room along with Cam who was working on a bunch of amazing future-tattoos & our friend Paul who is in the process of giving Evil in Eden‘s ( heavy as fuck) new tracks the producer’s touch. All humming away in the same space; creative bubbles aplenty.

♥ Phase three of my ultimate brownie recipe experiment, this time throwing in some chopped dark almond chocolate. I might post the recipe to this one, I think it’s approaching Sussed. Other exciting foodstuffs: vegan chilli quesadillas, funtimes with tofu jerky (!!!)

Livraria Lello bookstore in Portugal, via Ffffound

♥ How to Dance Goth. YES! 😀

♥ Discovering that it is HEAPS easier getting back into a routine if you don’t beat yourself up for falling out of it for a little while. It’s all about the big picture perspective.

♥ Super-exciting new jewellery supplies. I am having a love affair with sterling silver right now.

♥ The fact that your body will reward you so fast once you figure out how to be kind to it. For me this is: super-low dairy, no eggs, no processed foods & no meat except for fresh fish occasionally. BAM. That’s my deal. I’ve come to it over the last couple of years while I’ve been figuring my physical health out. It’s been a long, interesting road. I’m planning to start writing more here about getting healthy – wellness via amazing food is a topic I’ve become passionate about.

♥ Incubus’ album S.C.I.E.N.C.E. One of my favourite things about the late 90s. Scotty & I had an Incubusfest at Cosmic Manners St. on Sunday; nostalgia as. I still know all the words to some of those songs. A Certain Shade of Green 4 Lyf, y’all.

Coffee Cookie Cup, via Ffffound.  I want one of these so, so bad.

♥ Watching an excessive amount of documentaries. First, there was Documentary Heaven. Now I have added Top Documentary Films and Documentary Storm to the list as well.

♥ Rekorderlig Strawberry-Lime cider. Mmm, candy.

♥ Maximo Riera makes bespoke furniture and it is unreal.

♥ Having black hair again!!! It was time. I am loving it. I always end up changing my hair big-time whenever I’m going through a transitional phase, it’s a part of the process for me, I think. It took a little getting used to, I didn’t recognise myself for a few days.

♥ Maia flying down from Auckland for her 21st party this weekend! She arrives Wednesday – we’ve got some plannin’ to do. Yes, indeed. It’s going to be a wild success! A couple of other friends are over from Melbourne in the next few days, and they’re staying at our house as well, so it’ll be a crazy week 😀

Leif Podhajsky’s Ascension, via Ffffound

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