5 Fandom Friday: Galentines Day Gifts

I just love love.  And there are so many different types of love to celebrate. Romantic love sure is grand, but it’s not the only stripe on the rainbow of love.  There’s the love we feel for brothers and sisters, love for our community, love for our pets and love for our fandoms.  And most importantly, there’s the love we have for our friends.

I’d argue that platonic love is one of the thickest stripes on that rainbow.  Friends are like a family that we choose for ourselves.  They are the people that we select to surround ourselves with, to offer our support and to share our laughter.  I’m so chuffed that there is now a whole holiday celebrating friendship: Galentines Day.  Oh, you don’t know what Galentines Day is?  That’s ok. I’m gonna let my buddy Leslie explain…

Now, I know that Leslie likes to celebrate her lady friends on February 13th, and that’s rad.  But I like to do things a little differently. See, I have a lot of dude buddies as well as lady buddies, so I think that for me, Galentines Day is a celebration of all my friends, not just the lasses.

A huge part of Galentines Day is the gifts. You don’t have to be a Leslie-Knope-Level Gift Wizard to show your buddies you care this February 13th. Here are my top 5 picks for awesome-arse Galentines Day pressies.

Knitted socks

I enjoy making knitted goodies for the people I love the most.  And knitted socks are one of my favourite gifts.  There’s something super special about reaching into your drawer and pulling out a hand-knitted pair of sockies to warm up your chilly toes.  Knitted socks are like a hug for your feet, in a totally non-weird way.

2. Cookies

Yummy treats are the perfect way to show someone you care about them.  They’re delicious, they’re sweet and they take a bit of extra effort than a box of chocolates.  What’s even better than home-made cookies?  Making a batch and then inviting your friend over to enjoy them with a pot of tea and delightful conversation.

 

3. Comic books

Comics make a super rad gift because they’re inexpensive, they’re lightweight so they can be sent by post and they’re loads of fun.  Grab a few different titles and give them to a geeky mate to enjoy at their leisure. You might introduce them to a new favourite series and it gives them something quirky to enjoy with their morning coffee.

 

4. A massage voucher

So many of us struggle to make time to do things for ourselves.  How about giving your friend a chunk of time just for them?  Massage vouchers don’t have to be crazy expensive, many places will offer neck and shoulder massages for as little as $15.  Giving your mate that piece of paper gives them permission to take that moment for themselves and really enjoy a bit of pampering.

 

5. Your time

You don’t actually have to buy your friend anything to show them how much they mean to you.  These days I find it so difficult to make time to catch up with all my favourite people on a regular basis.  So when I do get a chance to hang out with a mate, it’s so precious.  If you want to make someone feel really special, I suggest making a date to hang out with them.  Whether you go out for a fancy meal, indulge in an activity or just have an old-fashioned gab-fest on your couch, giving them your undivided attention will show them how valuable they are to you.

 

What are your favourite Galentines Day gifts?  What would you like to receive from your besties this Galentines Day?

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

A helping hand for Jessica

I’m been feeling a bit adrift these last few days.  I got some dreadful news about something terrible that has happened to a sweet friend of mine.

1940s vintage navy blue dress and hat, cranberry tights, at the Penticton Rose Garden_6

Photo credit: Jessica Cangiano

Some of you may remember my lovely friend Jessica Cangiano from her blog Chronically Vintage.  She’s a regular reader of this blog and I even interviewed her a while back.  Jessica is one of the sweetest people on this planet, and I’m so lucky to call her my friend.  She is an avid vintage enthusiast, an animal lover, an artist, an incredibly talented writer and a gorgeous human being.  In addition to creating a virtual library of articles about vintage fashion and lifestyle, Jessica does a huge amount of work in the vintage community.  She runs an etsy store and regularly organizes events for the online vintage community, such as her annual Christmas gift swap.

It was with a heavy heart that I learned that Jessica and her husband Tony were the victims of a house fire on October 13th.  Their home in British Columbia was destroyed when an arsonist set fire to an apartment in their fourplex.  The couple managed to escape with the clothes on their backs, their phones, Jessica’s purse, their car and their dog, Annie.  Heartbreakingly, their beloved cat Stella hid with fear and could not be found before Jessica and Tony were forced out of their home by the choking smoke.

Their loss is unfathomable.  All of their furniture and personal items are gone.  Their mementos, Jessica’s scrapbooking and crafts are gone.  The incredible vintage collection that Jessica has spent her life curating is gone.  Tony is a photographer by trade, and his cameras and equipment were destroyed.  All of the stock and items for Jessica’s etsy store were also ruined.  This means that in addition to losing their home and belongings, the couple have also lost their livelihoods in one fell swoop.

I’m reeling with a sense of grief and helplessness for Jessica and Tony.  I can’t wrap my head around what’s happened, and how quickly.  I’m furious, because they are two incredibly sweet and kind people, and it seems so unjust that this has happened to them.  But there’s no real point in sitting around being angry and mad.  I want to do what I can to help them.  I’ve already sent a donation, messages of support and I’m in the process of putting together a care package of creature comforts.

If you’d like to help too, there are a number of things that you can do:

  • Firstly, it would be amazing if you could make a donation to Helping the Cangianos.  Although the exact amount is unclear at this stage, there is little doubt that the cost of rebuilding Jessica and Tony’s lives will be substantial.  In addition to finding new accommodation, they will need all new furniture, household goods, clothing, photography equipment and store supplies.  Every donation, even just a few dollars, will help tremendously.
  • Some of Jessica’s friends have set up a wonderful Facebook page to coordinate the support efforts.  The page includes a detailed list of suggestions for items to be included in care packages, as well as ongoing updates of the Cangiano’s progress.  If you are able to put together care packages to send to Jessica and Tony, that will be a massive help.
  • Although the practical donations and assistance is amazing, there is nothing more vital than care and support. I can’t imagine how difficult and frightening this time must be for my beloved friends.  If you can, please send a message of support to Jessica, via her blog or facebook page.
  • Finally, please share the donations page and facebook links on your own blogs or social media platforms.  I feel as though the blogging community does a great job of banding together and generating support during these tough times, and Jessica has been such a vital and active member of this community over the years.  Sharing her story and getting the word out will be a huge help.

I’ve also decided that from now until the end of the year, $2 from every item sold in my Etsy store will be donated to Helping the Cangianos.  That includes all four of my e-books and every handmade and vintage item for sale.

 

My prayers and hopes are with Jessica and Tony during this awful time.  Although there is no way to replace what they have lost, there is a way for us to help them move forward.

Things I Love Thursday 28/7/2016

Thursday is here again, so it’s time to lay down a list of the things that are bringing light into my life this week.  It’s been pretty mental over in my neck of the woods, as work has been uber busy and I’ve felt like I’m drowning in paperwork a lot of the time.  Being so occupied has worn me out a bit, and made me even more grateful for the glimmers of awesomeness that have speckled my week.

She's in training for the cat olympics #catstagram #calico #gymnastics

A post shared by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

This week, I love:

  • Dragging a blanket and some pillows onto the loungeroom floor for snuggle time with my dude.
  • The new 50’s style diner that has opened up two blocks from my house.  I took myself for a dinner date the other night and had the most exquisite bacon burger.
  • Getting an awesome performance review and a pay rise.  Go me!
  • Horrible Histories.  I know it’s meant for kidlets, but I’m really enjoying the silly humour and awesome songs. And I’m learning so much!

Spent the evening colouring on front of the heater. #colouring #bright #babushka #cute

A post shared by Vanessa Bowen (@nessbow64) on

  • Colouring with the new pencils I got for my birthday.
  • Knitting socks.  I’ve currently got four different pairs on the go, and I keep finding more yarn that I want to turn into cozy socks for my friends, myself and also my shop.
  • Looking forward to punk rock gigs.
  • Waking up wedged in between Jelly and Ringo as they try to snuggle close to me to share my warmth.
  • Rainy weekends at home alone. I’ve been very social lately, which is awesome, but it’s so nice to have some quite time to indulge my introverted nature.
  • Tina Horne’s podcast Why Are People Into That?  Tina takes an in-depth look at a variety of fetishes and sexual practices and delves into what makes them so appealing to the people who are into them.  It’s a fascinating listen.
  • My new lube. I bought a bottle of Sliquid Sassy lube, and it is gosh-darn amazing.  It’s designed for anal play, and while I do use it for that, it’s also great to use for other sexy exploits.  It’s so slippery, it lasts for ages and it is kind to my lady parts.
  • Hanging with my friend Tom, eating weird cheeses and chatting about books.
  • Big, giant, sweet cups of coffee.
  • Waking up to the sound of rain.
  • Fuzzy jumpers.

What do you love this week?

Four things…

My darling mate Nina from Le Fancy Geek tagged me in her Four Things post, and I just couldn’t wait to join in.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done a tag post, and this one seemed like it would be a lot of fun.

I’m not going to tag anyone in this post, but if you want to do your own Four Things post, please leave a link in the comments, I’d love to read your answers to the questions.

Four places I’ve lived.

My parents house.  Until I was nineteen I lived with my parents in a brick house in Benalla.  It was a really great home and my parents still live there now.

College in Melbourne.  I lived in a dorm with eleven other people for three years.  It was crowded, noisy and smelly and I loved it (most of the time).  I did crazy things like riding a mechanical bull and taking off all my clothes to add them to a chain of my dorm-mates clothes to see how far we could make it reach.  It was amazing.

A share house in Heidelberg.  The house I lived in was dingy and literally falling to pieces.  No joke.  We once awoke at five in the morning when a chunk of our loungeroom ceiling collapsed.  It was in a terrible area and a year into my time there a man was murdered on the corner of my street.  But despite all that I loved living there.

A flat on my own.  I currently live by myself in a flat in my hometown.  It’s actually pretty great.  I have lots of space and a lovely garden out the back and a beautiful corner window in my bedroom.

Four jobs I’ve had.

Sales assistant at Target.  I worked at Target all through high school and then again after college ended.  Although it was pretty trying at times it was actually a pretty good job.  I worked with some awesome people and I particularly loved working in the lead-up to Christmas.

Waitress at a pub.  This was probably the worst job I ever had.  At the time I was working two jobs to save for university and I was utterly exhausted.  I would work until ten most nights and come home smelling of beer spills and chip grease.  I got burned with hot plates and grabbed by creepy customers.  The night I quit was one of the happiest of my life.

–  Avon Lady. I briefly sold Avon cosmetics in the year between high school and university.  It was a lot of fun, but I had to put in a huge amount of work for very little payoff.  The best part was visiting old ladies and doing their nails while chatting over tea. In fact, I kept doing that after I quit.

Receptionist for a legal centre.  I’ve had a few reception jobs, but the best one was when I worked at a legal centre in Melbourne.  The centre provided free legal advice for people who couldn’t afford to pay for legal council.  It was a very difficult job and I saw a lot of very upsetting things.  But I loved working there because I felt like I was doing something that really mattered.

Four things I don’t eat.

Tomato sauce.  I can’t stand it, which sucks because in Australia people seem to put it on everything, and I always feel like a total weirdo that I’m the only one eating a pie not slathered in disgusting goopy redness.

Pavlova.  Yet another traditional Aussie dish that turns my stomach.  Every woman in my family hates pav, from my Nana to my Mum.  None of us can stomach it, and I wonder if our aversion is genetic.

Oysters.  Although I love seafood, I’ve never enjoyed oysters.  I’ve tried them a few times but I just can’t stand the texture of them.

Chai.  Although I adore the scent of chai, the taste triggers my gag reflex like nothing else.

DSCF8985

Four of my favourite foods.

Pizza.  Pizza is my go-to food for any occasion.  If I want to celebrate or treat myself, I’ll order a pizza.  Long day at work and can’t be arsed cooking?  Order a pizza!  My turn to pick the takeout?  You know it’s gonna be pizza!  I can’t get enough of it.  And a cold slice of leftover pizza for breakfast is my idea of heaven.

Jelly beans.  Specifically, the special glucose jelly beans that you buy at the chemist.  I love those chubby little bastards.

Hokey Pokey ice cream.  Caramel ice-cream with shards of butterscotch swirled through it, amazing.

Earl Grey tea.  I’m a big-time tea drinker, and Earl Grey is my favourite.  It’s sweet and comforting with a beautiful aroma.

Four films I’ve watched more than once.

– The Wizard of Oz

– Beetlejuice

– Heavyweights

– Ghost World

Four TV shows I watch.

– Bojack Horseman

-Orange is the New Black

– Game of Thrones

-Parks and Recreation

Four things I’m looking forward to this year.

Christmas!  I seriously love Christmas.  I’m always looking forward to Christmas, no matter how far away it is.

My girlfriend’s birthday.  I get mega excited for birthdays, and this will be the first time since we started dating that I’ll be able to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday with her.  I want it to be very special for her, because she’s an incredible person.

Getting an article published in one of my favourite magazines.  It’s happening in September, and I couldn’t be more pumped.

Spring.  I’m so over Winter, and I can’t wait for the weather to begin to warm up again.

DSCF9311

Four things I can’t live without.

Pets.  I am so much happier when I have a pet. At the moment Miss Jelly and Mr Ringo are my constant companions and they bring so much joy into my world.

Lip balm.  I hate having dry lips, and I feel so much more comfortable when my lips are slathered with balm.  My favourite brand is Lip Smackers and I usually have a few of these on the go.

– An internet connection.  So much of my life is online.  I connect with my friends over the internet, I keep up with my writing online and I don’t know what I’d do without Netflix.

– Pretty lingerie.  Boring undies are for boring people, and I like having a wardrobe of gorgeous underthings to slip on under my clothes.

Four celebrity crushes.

-Kit Harrington

– Dawn French

– Chris Pratt

– John Goodman

Four pet peeves.

– When people say “pacifically” when they mean to say “specifically”.

– When people walk in large groups in a line across the footpath so you can’t get past.

– People who are rude to waitstaff or shop assistants.

– Minions.  I just don’t get why they’re so popular.  It infuriates me that minion-based memes keep popping up on my Facebook feed.

Four things I wish I could do.

Sing.  I’m not a bad singer, but I’m not really a good singer either.  I wish I had the ability to really belt out a tune.

Play a musical instrument.  I’ve tried learning a number of instruments, including piano and guitar.  I just don’t have an ear for music.

Draw.  My drawing skills are woeful and I sometimes wish that I were able to express myself on paper with images.  But I suppose that I’m good at expressing myself with words, which is nothing to be sniffed at.

Be more assertive.  As a very introverted and anxious woman, I find it so hard to stand up for myself and speak up to get what I need.  I tend to let myself get passed over and I don’t like that.  I’m working to be more assertive, but I’ve got a long way to go.

Four subjects I studied at school.

Drama.  I loved drama in high school and I was particularly good at comedy.  I used to have a blast recreating classic sketches from Rowan Atkinson and French and Saunders to crack up my classmates.

– Literature. I’m a reader at heart and my awesome literature teacher taught me how to really delve into a book and appreciate it on a deeper level.  She introduced me to Oscar Wilde, Harper Lee and Charles Dickens and also showed me the creepiest book I’ve ever read: The Collector by John Fowles.

Neuroscience. I have a degree in psychology and I spent a good part of my time at uni studying pictures of brains and dissecting actual brains.  It was fascinating and something that I’m still very interested in.

– Human rights law.  For a long time I dreamed about working in a community legal centre and helping disadvantaged people find justice.  Sadly, I nearly had a nervous breakdown pursing that dream and decided it wasn’t feasible for me to do that kind of work for the rest of my life.  I hope that I’ll be able to go back to it one day, in some form.

Four things near me right now.

– My knitting

-An empty water bottle (I drained it while I was writing this post)

– The remote control for the television

-Darkness be my Friend by John Marsden.

 

Don’t forget to leave me a link if you do your own version of the Four Things tag. I’d love to read your answers.

Things I love Thursday 5/3/2014

Hello to you, my lovely reader.  I hope that you’ve had a smashing week thus far and that you’re ready to leap forward into another list of things that are awesome.  Let’s go for it!

This week I love:

– The anticipation of going to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen.   Our local cinema is showing The Wizard of Oz as part of their “retro movie” series and I can’t wait.  The Wizard of Oz is my favourite film but I’ve never seen it on the big screen.  This is going to be a wonderful opportunity and I’m super excited.

– Duck watching.  I spent my lunch break on Monday down the lake checking out the antics of the local duck population.  Once the ducks were satisfied that I wasn’t going to share my food with them they settled down and went to sleep, some less than a foot from where I was sitting.  It was so cool to be able to watch them from such a close vantage point.

 

– This video, because I think it illustrates a really important point that we need to be reminded of occasionally: that the idea of “The Perfect Body” is a social construct which is constantly in flux.  There is no such thing as one perfect body type, all bodies are beautiful and the way we view beauty shifts.  Just because your body type isn’t the current fashion doesn’t mean it isn’t gorgeous.

 

– Doing the Arrested Development Chicken Dance with  my brother on his birthday.

 

This Bill Murray key holder.  I would be so chuffed to have Bill Murray hand me my keys every morning.

 

– Cooler nights.  Blankets on the bed.  Robes in the morning.

 

– River God by Wilbur Smith. I just started reading this epic tale of love and adventure set in Ancient Egypt.  My gosh, it’s fantastic.  I haven’t been this hooked on a historical fantasy novel since the Game of Thrones series.

 

– Compliments

 

– Grandfather clocks

 

– Peanut butter Tim Tams

 

– Eating a pomegranate roughly with my hands, which become stained a deep red.

 

– Taking a step closer to securing a spot at one of our best local craft markets.

 

What do you love this week?  Drop a comment with your own list of Thursday loveliness.

Things I Love Thursday 12/2/2015

I really needed a Things I Love Thursday post this week.  It’s been kinda rough going these last few days.  On Monday my family had to make the decision to have our sixteen-year-old cat, Cleo, put to sleep.  She was very unwell and it was definitely her time, but I still wasn’t ready to let her go.  In addition to that, I found out that my aunt is very unwell which was difficult news to process.  So in light of that, I am looking forward to writing about the little things that I’m happy about this week.  Sometimes it’s those little things that make the hugest difference.

This week I love:

– Taking time out to remember my old buddy Cleo.  She was such a scamp of a cat.  She loved sleeping in the most awkward places and her fur was as soft as spun silk.  She always had bits of leaves and grass stuck in her fur because she spent so much time in the garden.  She had the rumbliest purr and a sweet nature and I’m going to miss her to bits.

– Watching Friday 13th for the first time.  Oh my gosh, that movie was hilariously terrible.  Watching a young Kevin Bacon get impaled with an arrow was pretty cool, but I couldn’t get over the stupidity of the main actress.  At one point she spends about five minutes pulling every piece of furniture over to barricade the door of a room that has about a hundred windows.  She then proceeds to carefully pull the curtains over each of the many windows.  I know I certainly feel much safer when I’ve put a thin layer of fabric between myself and a serial killer!  It was escapism at it’s finest.  I can’t wait to check out the sequels.

– Looking forward to celebrating a solo Valentines Day.  I’m going to go out to breakfast, and then I’ve got a massage booked.  The evening will involve a cheese platter, some fresh fruit and a couple of awesome films.  I’ve got this single gal thing down pat!

– Catching up with my little cousins.  They’re over from Perth and I’m having an absolute blast with them.  They’re currently obsessed with bubbles and jigsaw puzzles, which is great because these are both things that I’m totally into.

– Designing and working on some geeky crochet projects for my etsy store. Stay tuned for more news on that front!

– Home made sushi rolls.  Yummo!

– Hot days that melt into cool nights.  It’s been chilly enough for a robe these past few mornings, but they days are still sweltering.

– Making an awesome cup of coffee without really trying.

– Bold stripes.

– Watching the cats play.

What do you love this week?

Daily outfit 3/2/2015

Today I was in the mood for a spot of print-clashing.  I like the way that clashed prints look on other people, but I have to admit that I’m always a bit tentative about pulling the look off myself.  So far the best approach I’ve found is to use prints that have a similar colour scheme and to break up the look with a block-coloured garment so it doesn’t look too busy.

This morning I decided to mix polka dots with gingham checks for a fun and pretty look.

I am wearing:

– Red polka dot blouse from Target

– Purple Jay Jays skinny jeans (thrifted)

– Gingham heels from Scooter

– Ruby ring (inherited from my Great Aunt Anne)

– Dr Who pendant from Le Fancy Geek Boutique.

These jeans are my all-time favourite jeans.  I bought a hot pink pair from Jay Jays years ago and they are a great fit.  They are a lighter-weight denim with a good amount of stretch and they come in a huge range of colours.  I now own four pairs in all different colours, because I try to snap them up whenever I see a pair.  They generally retail for about $20 a pair, but this dark purple pair was just $4 from the thrift store.

I’m also wearing my lovely Dr Who necklace that was a gift from my awesome mate Nina.  Nina runs a sensational blog called Le Fancy Geek where she writes about her nerdy loves, her many trips to Disneyland and her adorable dog Rory.  Nina also has a shop called Le Fancy Geek Boutique which specializes in fan jewellery.  She’s constantly adding new designs to the store so it’s definitely worth dropping in to see what she’s got on offer.

All in all I’m very happy with how my print-clashing outfit turned out.  It’s not too in-your-face but it’s got the perfect amount of colour and whimsy to put a spring in my step.

What are you wearing today?