Traipsing through the bush and yelling, “MORE, DARLING, MORE!”

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Today, Elle and Caitlin were nice enough to help a sista out by modelling some new Seraphim pieces for me. I wanted a forest-like setting since these pieces have earth tones in them so we drove to Westerfolds Park in Templestowe in search of the perfect wooded backdrop.

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Yep, we totally found the absolute perfect backdrop, right?!

We were a little worried about the weather as the morning started off grey and dreary, and I was anxious about how dark the photos would look with the sky looking so stormy. But look! I didn’t have to worry one bit.

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The girls were such good sports, traipsing through with their skirts hiked up, and then taking their shoes off when I needed to start the shoots. They were the epitomes of professional and obliging models.

I won’t show you any more photos just yet since these are just a teaser of what’s coming in the next month at Seraphim, but I thought some of these photos were so cute and fun that I just had to share them with you!

Until next time!

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I actually stuck to the “Yes Rule’!

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I am what people call “an extroverted introvert“; I am so good at social situations and can seem like the life of the party with my crazy loud voice and 100 mile per minute speech, but what people don’t realise is that social events take a lot out of me and all I want to do the next day is stay at home eating special chicken flavoured Indomie while watching “Enlisted” reruns from dawn until dusk.

Fuck you, Fox Network, for cancelling a seriously good show.

Fuck you, Fox Network, for cancelling a seriously good show.

So when I decided to take on the “Yes Rule” I knew it was going to be a major challenge for me.

The “Yes Rule” is simple. Since you are in a new city filled with potential besties and lovers everywhere you go, you must put yourself out there by accepting as many invitations as possible.

Guys, I totally said yes to some events this past weekend and I am super duper happy to report that I didn’t die of extrovert-exposure! Go me!

On Friday morning, I met a friend for breakfast so he could show me a new business app he’s working on and then that night, I went to a crazy fancy dress sex-party at a nightclub (Yes. You read that right).

On Saturday night, I went to a birthday/housewarming party and got talking to someone about what it’s like being a receptionist at a brothel (Seriously, people tell me the darndest things).

On Sunday, I went to a barbecue and I only knew the host so was really worried but it ended up being so relaxing and a perfect slow fade-out to my crazy weekend shenanigans.

At all three events I met really amazing people and was surprised at how – even though there were  a few awkward moments – they were so few and far between that I really didn’t have anything to worry about.

I am so glad that I haven’t had to do anything today, though, so I’ve gotten a chance to recharge the batteries.

So, I guess my main tip is to seriously try the “Yes Rule” for yourself, even if you don’t go out every single night, at least try to make it every other night.

Remember – potential besties and lovers! And if you don’t find either of those, you will at least have some stories to tell.

Tips for not going mental in a new city from someone dealing with the New City Blues.

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Today, I dropped off two of my best friends from Perth back to the airport so that they could fly home and, all of a sudden, I was hit with the New City Blues. Hard.

I got back to my house, closed the door to my bedroom and flopped on my bed, wondering how on earth I was actually going to make it here in Melbourne. Whenever I have a quiet moment to think, Perth pops into my head. I mean, I seriously feel like re-uprooting myself and flying back home. In fact, the only thing that’s keeping me from doing that right now is the disappointment I would inevitably feel for not really giving Melbourne a go.

So how do I give this place a real chance then? Well, I’ve been doing my research about that very topic this evening while listening to sad Death Cab for Cutie songs and this is a list I have come up with.

1. Take a moment every day to just revel in how courageous you are for making the move.

Seriously, pat yourself on the back. You could have stayed, even though you knew you had outgrown your home city. You could have ignored that feeling in your gut that was telling you how stifled you were feeling; how you felt like you needed to leave so you could continue on with your personal growth. No one would have blamed you if you did stay.

But you did it! You moved! You moved away from the arms of amazing friends and a comfortable life in the hopes of bettering your life. Remember this! What a brave move!

2. Do not lose touch with the people from home.

These people helped shape you into the person you are today. They had a hand in your bravery! Always be thankful for them and make sure you send them a quick text or phone call once a week to let them know you’re thinking about them.

Also, remember that you are not the only person who is struggling. They have just lost a great friend! Make sure they know you love them, miss them, and are so thankful for their support.

3. Give yourself permission to break down into a big fat snot-faced mess of tears.

If you need to spend a day in bed crying about how you miss the sight of the pelicans that perch on the streetlights on Canning Bridge, do it. Text your friends and tell them you’re sad. Skype with your family. Look at pictures of life back at home. Let yourself really grieve for the life you left behind.

And then get up and get on with it.

4. Learn to love your own company.

Of course it’s imperative for you to meet people. You need to create connections, but you also need to enjoy solo time. Why would someone want to befriend you if you can’t stand your own company? Spend time alone at a cafe or gallery. Learn this city alone. Create experiences of your new city all by yourself. They will be only yours, and there’s something really precious about that.

5. Find local anchoring points and branch out.

I’ve discovered a few restaurants and cafes that I already love to frequent and use these spots as pin points on a map I have in my brain. Then I’ll ask the staff for recommendations of other nearby places to check out. Always try places the locals tell you about – sometimes that dive bar around the corner is better than the five star tourist attraction on Urbanspoon.

This works with your group of friends too. Ask friends from back home to introduce you to anyone they may know in the same city as you and go and meet up with them.  Your connections don’t have to always be deep and meaningful ones. You may only meet them once a month for a quick coffee. But what if that friend brought another friend to the coffee date or invited you to a dinner they were having at their place? Branching out in this way may lead you to your new bestie!

6. Lower your expectations when it comes to new friends/acquaintances.

Continuing on from my last point… be realistic about the fact that it could take you a really long time to make that new best friend. My friend Div, who moved from Perth to Adelaide to Sydney said it best. “It will take you two years to build solid friendships. Until then, you will meet nice enough people who will do. Be patient because it will take a while, but it will be worth it.”

I think it’s important to also lower your expectations and to accept friendships from people you’re not fully interested in being super close with. There is nothing wrong with having some friends that you see only once a month. If you have a few of those people in your life, you could plan to meet Person 1 in week 1, Person 2 in week 2, etc. That’s one day a week down! All you have to do is fill up the other 6 days!

7. Accept as many invitations as possible.

I am very good at Number 4. I love solo adventures, but I am also prone to those bouts of sadness at 10pm on a Saturday night when everyone is out at a party to which I was also invited but was too lazy to attend, and now regret not going because I’m lonely and want to be around people but it’s a little bit too late to get ready and go at the last minute (this girl needs a lot of time to get ready, ok?).

Seriously, just go out. Click on the “going” button on Facebook event invites and actually go. All you have to lose is time alone and sleep. You can always catch up on both the next day. All you have to gain is an amazing night out and perhaps an amazing new connection.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Righto. Those are the ones that I have experienced so far. Have you guys moved? If so, what are some of your tips for not going mental in a new city?

We’re rebooting. This may as well be Post #1.

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Hi I’m Jen and this is probably my 50th blog. I should point out that I said ‘blog’ – not ‘blog post’.

Yes, I’ve had a crap tonne of blogs.

My first ever blogging experience was on a website called MyDearDiary in 2002. Back then, we didn’t have our own website addresses or custom blog pages like on wordpress, blogger, or tumblr. Every blog had the exact same theme which meant we couldn’t use the razzle-dazzle of a fancy layout to lure readers in – we had to focus solely on writing interesting and entertaining entries.

From MDD, there were a plethora (see: ‘crap tonne’) of other websites; I suffer from a terrible affliction known as “startingoveritis”. I’ve tried so many that I honestly can’t remember more than half of them.

The main point of this is to explain that I really really really really really love blogging. I love sharing short stories, thoughts and feelings (seriously – feelings are my forte. I can explain the feels all day long). I think my main problem, though, is that contemporary blogging isn’t just about journaling like it was back in early 2000 anymore. Now, each entry is a mini essay that has to have a point. People aren’t just interested in learning about your day unless you have an actual point to make – a point that pertains to them.

Therein lies my problem.

Sometimes my journal entries don’t have a point. Sometimes, I just want to journal how I feel. Also, sometimes, I want to journal just 3 lines of text – not an entire goddamned mini essay… and although we should all blog for the pleasure, we also want our entries to be read and commented on, right? Sometimes, I feel like my 3-line entries have more depth in them than a 300 word entry, and it can be a little disheartening when no one comments.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this, so I’ll just say, “Hi. I’m Jennifer and I want to start blogging again. I’m 33, Eurasian, single, fat and have recently relocated from Perth to Melbourne. I also own a mini plus sized clothing label called Seraphim that caters to women sized 16 to 26. These are all the things I want to blog about. Interested?”

6 Month Re-cap.

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Oh my goodness. What a whirlwind of activity!

How can I sum up the past 6 months to you without turning this blog post into a novel?

Deep breath (imagine this is blurted out in one inhale)…

Dad is better; he and Mum went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to get full check ups. I stayed in Jakarta alone to work on Seraphim. Went to Bali to drop all my fabrics and designs off at my manufacturer’s. I went to Canada and lost my passport. My whole family met up in San Fran but I had to get an emergency passport. Finally arrived in San Fran and the whole family went to Utah for Christmas. Went to San Fran again before heading back to Jakarta. Went back to Perth to pack up my things as well as apply for a new passport. Went back to Jakarta. Travelled to Thailand for the wedding of one of my international besties. Reconnected with school friends I haven’t seen in over 10 years! Went back to Perth. Packed up some more. Moved to Melbourne. Living with my cousins right now. Had one my designs in the Sydney Morning Herald to promote the Curvy Couture Roadshow. Kicked ass at the CCR Runway event. Kicked more ass at the CCR Market Event.

And now it’s a week after the insane Curvy Couture weekend and it has finally hit me.

HOLY. SHIT.

I moved to Melbourne. 

I’m out of the safety of my parents’ house and have to fend for myself – for the most part. My cousin and her lovely husband have taken me in for a little while until I find my footing. I have gone from living in a massive house all alone (God bless my parents for buying a place but living in a different country!) to sharing with two other people and having only a little bedroom to house everything I own.

Not only have I moved away from the shelter of no rent and practically no responsibilities… I’ve also left incredibly dear friends behind. And none of this occurred to me until last Monday, when the CCR boxes were packed away and I could finally stop holding my breath.

It has all come crashing down – that I am now 7.5 hours away by plane from my family, 4 hours away by plane from my best friends, and that I left a comfortable life to try to make it on my own while doing something I want to believe in but have major doubts about every other day.

Artists. We’re such a self-doubting bunch, aren’t we?

Anyway, more has happened, obviously, but I’ll hopefully get to the specifics slowly as I start stretching my blogging muscles again. I am really really rusty at this….

Health and Family.

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September 2014. What a terrible month. September 2014 will always be known as the month I almost lost my dad once, but could have lost my dad twice.

I won’t get into the specifics of it because it is a family issue, but let me just say this:

1. To locals and expats alike who go to Singapore thinking they will get better medical care there than in Indonesia: well, that doesn’t always happen. My father is a prime example.

2. ALWAYS ALWAYS ask for options and if there is time (if it’s not an emergency) ALWAYS ask for a second opinion. My dad was only given one option and – due to the nature of the emergency – didn’t have time to get advice from a different medical professional.

My dad isn’t 100 percent healed yet and we honestly have no idea whether he could have another attack tomorrow or if he will be fine for another 25 years. It’s the waiting that tortures you. So my third and most important piece of advice:

Love your parents with all you have. Cherish them and spend as much time as you can with them because, as I learned this month, they can be taken from you in the blink of an eye.

Dad, me, Tina, Melissa and Jackie

Dad, me, Tina, Melissa and Jackie

 

 

Anxiety and the crazy things it can do to your body.

The last few months have been a whirlwind of emotions for me.

Last year in September, I had a very uncomfortable and creepy experience with a man I met on AdultFriendFinder. I won’t get into it here since I’ve been replaying the story quite a lot recently trying to make sense of it all in my head, but here is a video I made all about the experience and the lack of respect I received.

When it first happened, I didn’t do anything about it because I had befriended another boy who became an amazing close friend that I would share intimacy with, but that friendship ended over a month ago, and I am completely single again.

This, plus the fact that my little sister/housemate has left to Europe for at least four-ish months has left me feeling very, very, very anxious.

I have always been good at internalising, and I don’t tend to stay sad for very long. I come from a family that believes in getting up off your arse and getting on with it, and that is what I’ve been doing. But the friendship that I lost a few months ago, the event that took place last year and my sister leaving have all been too much for my body, it seems. I missed my period last month (I’m on the pill and it’s usually like clockwork), my face has broken out in spots (my skin has been flawless since my early twenties), my nails are breaking and peeling, and I’ve experienced lightheadedness. Oh, and getting out of bed in the mornings is just a bitch.

Last Friday, I wondered if I was having a heart attack since the symptoms women present with can be quite different to that of the usual tingling arm and pain in the chest that men tend to feel. My neck hurt, my lungs were slightly burning although I hadn’t done any exercise and my vision was a little blurry. I’ve been to the doctor who took blood and is going to do some tests. I should know by the middle of next week whether there is something other than stress that is causing all these weird things to happen.

– – –

I really don’t mind being single. I thought I would find it harder. Unfortunately, with this new-found singleness comes the realisation that the next man I meet could possibly be a person who will violate me. Perhaps the odds are very slim, since I’ve met up with a lot of men and only one of them turned out to be a total fucking creep who didn’t understand the word “No”, but now, to me, the chances feel so much greater.

I don’t know why I feel the need to blog about this; perhaps it’s more to do with just getting it all out as well as trying to get into the habit of blogging again.

Gratitude.

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Sometimes, as we all know, we have really shit days.

One thing goes wrong at the beginning of my day and then the next thing I know, everything is spiralling downward so fast that I’m breaking down in the middle of the grocery store aisle where the pasta sauces are kept.

In retrospect, I realise now that the more I react negatively to the bad things in my life, the more bad things happen. Negativity begets negativity. It’s a horrible thing, I know – but it’s completely true. So what do I do to get myself out of the spiral?

When you find yourself in this situation, I think it helps to realise that, even on the shittiest day you’ve experienced, there is always something positive that happened as well- no matter how miniscule. So, I am now trying to get into the habit of searching for these moments. 

If you’ve been following my Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve become a bit of a Filofax nut. At least once a week, I write a Gratitude Post to try to remember the good times I’ve had. Sometimes the things I’m thankful may seem insignificant (eg. getting a great parking spot at work, meeting a stranger who just treated me nicely, etc.), but it doesn’t matter because it’s not so much about the good experience I had but more about making a habit of looking for something positive during my day. Doing this always  – without a doubt – pulls me out of my funk.

If you’re someone like me how tends to spiral out of control when things go wrong, try this and see if it helps.

Musings about NYC.

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I spent almost 2 weeks in New York and I’m finding it very difficult to talk about it. I can’t seem to explain this city to people if they haven’t been there before. Sure – people have an idea of what the city is like visually, thanks to the help of movies and tv shows. But anyone who has ever spent at least a few days in New York City just gets the way this city feels. I can sit there and talk to people, using my hands to describe it since all the words I try to think of – magical, chaotic, intense, scary, loud, spiritual, etc – are true, yes, but they still just don’t convey the utter madness that is New York. And so, all I can really say, is that I wish I could stay there for at least one year to learn every inch, every dirty little street, every bar and restaurant. I wish I could move to Hell’s Kitchen and learn all the names of all the people in the local corner shops I frequent. And, most of all, I wish I could just spend every weekend at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, sitting on a bench staring at the Angel of the Water and counting my lucky stars for being able to be introduced to this magical, chaotic, intense, scary, loud, spiritual, etc city.

Traveling while fat.

It doesn’t matter where I’m going or how long the flight is; I cannot stand traveling by plane. I hate the entire experience – immigration, waiting rooms, baggage claims. I especially hate the fact that I’m always chosen for a “random” security check. What – is it the tattoos and piercings?

Being fat puts a whole other spin on the ordeal too, and all of my concerns have been brought to the surface with my trip to the USA next month.

//// Luggage Weight
Yep – being fat means needing more fabric to cover our bodies, which in turn means a single item of clothing can be double or even triple the weight of the average thin person’s. When I look at my little sister’s medium sized suitcase and how I have to have a large suitcase just to fit the same amount of stuff in, I have to admit that it gets frustrating. When airlines have a 23 kg limit, and I have to bring toiletries, cosmetics and even hair appliances (it takes a lot of effort to make this girl look good!) there’s a very good chance I’m going to have to pay the overweight luggage fee if I plan on buying anything while on holiday.

//// Plane seats
I have been very very fortunate to have been able to travel on premium economy and business class whenever I’ve had to do a long-haul flight. In fact, I can only remember ever sitting in economy for a flight over 7 hours long in 2000 when I was visiting my godparents in Hamburg and I was only a size 16-18 then so it wasn’t such a terrible experience.

I was hoping to fly on Qantas to New York because my parents are frequent flyer members and I wanted them to upgrade me. But to purchase an upgradeable ticket costs AUD3500. And – after forking out that ridiculous amount of money – you may end up stuck in economy anyway because you don’t know whether actually get to upgrade your seat until a few days before your flight. Lame, Qantas. Really lame.

So, this time, I’m flying Cathay Pacific. Economy. Eight hours to Hong Kong and then 16 hours to New York. And to be honest with you, readers… I am so dreading the flights that I’ve had a bit of a cry about it already.

I am a size 22. I need a seatbelt extender. I am not at all embarrassed about needing one; I am completely fine with requesting one loud enough for other people to hear. But, as I’m sure you can all deduce… if you need a seatbelt extender there’s very high chance that the armrest digs into your sides and some of your belly may even spill over a little. I can handle this for about 6 hours but anything more and it becomes torture… because when you spill over the armrests you can imagine just how limited your attempts at getting comfortable are. You can’t put your legs up, you can’t turn and sleep sideways.. you’re basically doomed to sit upright for the entire flight.

//// Bathrooms
I can fit quite comfortably in the cubicles. But as soon as I need to do something that goes outside of the usual standing straight, bending over to pull my knickers down, or sitting down manoeuvres, things get tricky. I mean, even trying to put a tampon in can be a huge acrobatic feat. Last time this happened, I knocked my elbow so hard against the wall of the bathroom that I had an attendant banging on the door to make sure I hadn’t collapsed inside!

//// Lack of Sleep
The rest of the above issues wouldn’t be so bad if I could just fall asleep on the plane. But I can’t. I think the longest I’ve ever slept on a plane is about 3 hours. So I always try to keep myself busy by writing, reading and watching a tonne of movies. My iPad will be choc full of entertainment. And thank God Cathay Pacific is equipped with charging docks in economy.

So, do any of you have any tips on making a long-haul flight more comfortable especially when it comes to sleep?

Please let me know. You could save me a lot of tears, believe me!