Sponsored post by Wordsmith Lane reader The Tanning Angel
Reading through the latest edition of Madison (October 2010, with Drew Barrymore on the cover), I was stoked to find an article on celebrity fears. Most of them made for a great and interesting read, but I was struck by Aussie actress Pia Miranda’s response regarding her fear about losing her identity in the wake of having her baby, and the mess that she has ultimately become as a result, and her husbands’ reaction to it.
“Everyday I say to myself, “Come on, make an effort. You’ve watched Mad Men, you know it can be done.” Yet every day my husband comes home to a sweaty, tracksuit-wearing maniac with wild, unkempt hair.”
Miranda goes on to say she’s sweaty because she uses the time to lose her baby weight, or clean her messy house etc. And I was like wooah, this is the life of so many women, and I bet it would be different if they had someone to care for them while they’re caring for their homes and families, and looking like a disaster in the process. Well, perhaps the heavens heard, and The Tanning Angel is the god-send.
Fast becoming Sydney’s best kept secret, the mobile tanner to Sydney’s elite boasts a number of socialites in her little black book and is renowned for her classy, clean and chic-looking approach to an otherwise sticky (if you pardon the pun) situation. Last night, she sprayed a few Cosmo staffers prior to the Fun, Fearless Female event. She’s also sprayed peeps on the set of The X Factor, Masterchef and Australia’s Next Top Model. And now, she’s spreading her wings in anticipation of the Aussie hot summer to give wordsmith lane readers (and their friends) the chance to take on summer with a personalised service that includes a skin-tone assessment (because where bronze is concerned, it’s either chic or cheap) and the option of two solutions (2 hour Rapid Tan & 8 hour tan).
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If any of you are anything like me, and prefer to waltz about in summer dresses in an unsightly shade of natural white (not at all like Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman, but that white where your veins shine through – eww) because you suck at applying tan and end up with a messy bathroom and splotches that render you looking like a farmer who has just cleaned out the pig’s sty), then The Tanning Angel is for you. You’ll know you’re in safe hands just by looking at her, and the effortless way she carries herself with style, smarts and savoir-faire.
But if you find the solitary pursuit of tanning in your home a little daunting, or are in the mood for a little bit of party pampering with your girlfriends, why not contemplate throwing an Ultimate Tanning Party? 4 or more girls and the hostess scores herself a free tan, or 8 girls or more recieve a bottle of champagne and other goodies!
The Tanning Angel is offering wordsmith lane readers a fantastic, limited-edition special over the next few weeks. Simply book your first tan* with The Tanning Angel and get $10 off – (must quote: “Wordsmith”).
Of course, when beauty comes to you, that’s one less dilemma. Now, if only Benefit cosmetics could send a mobile eyebrow tiner/waxer round to my place to tame the wild mess that my brows have become…
It’s a tiring Wednesday for this wordsmith today, and even though I am at work and I should be focusing on the job, I can barely keep my eyes open after a particularly hectic weekend featuring a friend’s wedding on Friday night (Muslims tend to marry on Friday, which has a special religious significance for them); an old-friend catch-up on Saturday morning and a huck’s night on Saturday night (that’s a hen’s and buck’s mash-up for those who are yet to encounter the term); and a Baptism & particularly frenzied work function on Sunday. Monday was your typical bla-bla day, but I took yesterday off to treat my poor back and get my wedding hair trialled (read: disaster), and then after a meeting with the person supplying dessert for my wedding events (stay tuned for a bride to be blog on the fantastic options available, all made out of gelato), I figured I could relax. But alas, it was not meant to be, and here I am whining about my exhaustion yet again.
But the wordsmith show must go on, and despite the fact that I have been noticably absent from my online adventures (my blog, other blogs twitter, facebook) of late, I am still thinking about the blog and coming up with things I have to post about every single day. Unfortunately, things are starting to get particularly hectic on the wedding front, on account of the fact that there are ten weeks to go till the Big Day, and still a lot of hurdles to overcome in order to make it all happen swiftly and with little to no glitches (like a groom with no suit…or wedding ring, and hair that does not look like a bird’s nest or fall apart after an hour).
Still, I’ll take a little break from all my wedding planning commitments (or dump them in the lap of good friend & wedding planner Danielle) to try and bring you a few posts over the next week, which I have been holding on to for some time, including a couple of writer interviews and a wrap-up of some new books hitting my wordsmith shelves. And what better way than starting off with my wrap-up of my quest for style, smarts and savoir-faire over the past week:
- Who knows better style, smarts & savoir-faire than Mademoiselle herself, the late Coco Chanel? Delighted to add my first Chanel bio to my bookshelf this week. Coco Chanel:The Legend and the Life courtesy of author Justine Picardie & Harper Collins ($32.99) is out soon and I feel it’s going to be a must-read for fans of the lavish, lux and lady-like life. The Sunday Telegraph-inserted Sunday Magazine actually had a spread on Coco and her secret life, written by Picardie herself. It had to do for the time being, but I can’t wait till things slow down a little so I can devour the book whole heartedly.
- For all this talk of life slowing down, I wonder about my keen attitude to motherhood despite my humble 24 years. How will I ever cope if I can’t cope now? Lots to learn from those around me, and it seems like Satchel girl Erica Bartle understands, if this lovely post on her fantastic blog is anything to go by.
- Despite all its successes, I’ve never actually seen a Masterchef episode, but even I couldn’t resist heading down to Adriano Zumbo’s Pattisserie in Sydney’s Balmain over the weekend (enroute to Kazbah’s of course) to sample a few of the delicacies that have Sydney-siders lining up at the door from 8:30am. Got myself a bag of macarons and a Houdini, which is a green macaron filled with some sort of cream (forgot the flavour) as well as raspberry and strawberry. DELISH!
- Speaking of all things Chanel, a few weeks ago I was delighted to receive an email from author Harold Carlton, after reviewing his book Heaven, Hell & Mademoiselle. Carlton and I chatted about all things French, Fashion & Coco, and I was delighted to hear that he liked my post on his book, but that he is also polishing off another novel set in the world of fashion. I was particularly chuffed at the compliment considering Carlton had met and worked with Coco herself, so the lesson for you wordsmiths is to keep blogging about what you love because you NEVER know who is reading your work.
- September is practically over, and I am openly and willingly admitting that I failed miserably at my September pitching challenge. For all the ideas that I came up with, I only pitched two or three, two of which were not picked up and the third I stopped having hope in, considering I am yet to receive a reply for it. As for the uni books I was supposed to be reading? Did not happen. Epic fail on my front, but that is just the reality of the game! Thanks for all your kind messages regarding the post about my ideas being shite (in a manner of speaking). Post was not intended to be a whinge or nag or fish for comliments, it was just a random thought that I posted about. If I was not fairly confident, I wouldn’t bother pitching. But your sentiments were nice of course, and very much appreciated.
- Hands up who hearts Kit Cosmetics? Me too!! And I am stoked to check out the latest brand they’ll be stocking as of October 11th, called Soap & Glory. Seeing as I am on the biggest budget imaginable (mortgage, humble-by-Lebanese-standards-wedding -that-is-still-costing-me-$50k, an old car which needs replacing, furniture that needs to be purchased for new home), I can’t be my usual buy-beauty-now-sample-range-later self. But I will be forking out some pennies for the Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme Plump lip gloss to give my fairly thin lips a bit of fattening up.
- And on another beauty note, I am superbly excited by the warming weather, and spent Friday night making sure my tootsies were ready to be bared. the polish to the rescue? OPI’s Charged Up Cherry ($19.95). Love the name, which evokes a feeling of energy and a can-do attitude on my otherwise lazy behalf. And love the colour of course, which conjures up the very mistaken feeling that summer never left me to begin with.
- And before I forget, a big shout out to Sassi Sam. Even though I should be eating well to look impossibly fresh and pretty on my big day, I entered a Cadbury choc comp on her blog a few weeks ago (I wrote a silly little poem about how much I love cadbury, and I do, especially the Rocky Road) and I won. So I will be enjoying some free chocolate soon!
- What’s on everyone’s agenda this week? Mine is continuing to hand out the wedding invitations that are plaguing my life (I bet I know how my sister who made them feels); finding a hairdresser who can come to my house on the day at 6am (eek!) and stop spending money. Somewhere in the middle, I might work on the novel that I have not touched since March. Novel Writing Month anyone?
- Wordsmith love to you all, thanks for supporting my blog in all my hectic dramas and crazy-lady pursuits xx
Guest post by Laura Valerie
I want nothing more than to be a full-time freelance writer.
I just love writing. I always have. I delight in being able to express myself through words. To paint a picture with my prose, and have people read and enjoy it. It wasn’t until this year, though, that I considered taking it beyond my law essays and password-protected Word documents. I decided that I want to pursue writing as a career.
As of now, I am just dipping my toe in the freezing cold ocean that is the writing world, with my blog Life.Beauty.Laughter. So far, it has been an incredibly encouraging and heart-warming ride, particularly when my writing idol, Sarah Wilson, mentioned me on her site. Nevertheless, I know that the road ahead is destined to be long and arduous. So before I committed to taking that trek, I wanted to really educate myself on what it means to be a writer. To pack my swag, you could say, with all the equipment I will need to survive the trip.
Along the way, I came across an article entitled Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, Or, How to Make Vitamin Soup. The author, Richard Morgan, has an exceptionally impressive resume, which includes numerous feature articles for the esteemed New York Times. Even so, Richard failed to achieve a freelance career that fulfilled and sustained him, figuratively and literally. As the title suggests, despite his lucrative credentials, he was forced to resort to subsisting on Vitamin Soup, a disgusting concoction of crushed up pills and hot water, during a dry spell between gigs – a low point that has obviously continued to plague him.
Reading that article was incredibly demoralising for me. I thought, if this talented, accomplished man living in New York City, the heart of the literary world, cannot make it as a freelance writer, what chance do I have? Me, as a 21-year-old girl living in Perth, the most isolated city in the world, utterly unpublished, with no contacts, slightly above-average marks and a penchant for overly flowery prose? I concluded that I would probably have to be a lawyer, after all.
That is when I read this book, which, miraculously, restored my faith in my writing dream.
The Wealthy Freelancer is a collaboration between three successful freelance copywriters (among other things), Ed Gandia, Steve Slaunwhite and Pete Savage. You can find their website here. I am not going to reveal to you the secrets of the book. I don’t think that it’s fair to the authors (you can buy it from Amazon for about $15), plus I wouldn’t be able to do it justice in this short piece. Suffice to say that if you are thinking of freelancing – and not just in writing but also design, marketing, virtual assistance – then you will find this book insightful and exciting.
What I will do is provide a few wisdoms that I have picked up, not only from these great guys, but also from other writers whose careers I have been scrutinising and what I have discerned has shaped their success.
- Know who you are
It seems that self-awareness is integral to building a successful freelance business. We must appreciate what we have to offer before we can persuade others that we are valuable enough for them to invest their time and money into us.
I have found that the best way to achieve this state of mind is to sit down and transcribe everything that you know about yourself. Try to avoid imagining the person you wish you were or who you want to become in the future. Simply reach inside your heart and decipher what makes you, you – your characteristics, experiences, neuroses, what you love, what you don’t, your strengths and your weaknesses.
It’s a scary prospect, laying yourself bare that way, but, trust me, it is a lot more affirming than you may expect! Gretchen Rubin even advocates it as part of her Happiness Project. She calls it “Be Gretchen”, and it is the first of her Twelve Personal Commandments. There is something freeing, and oddly exhilarating, about accepting our limitations. It means that we can focus upon our intrinsic worth, instead of wasting our energy trying to change what cannot be changed. The best approach is to treat this new consciousness as a gift – a new beginning.
- Know what you want
If we want to achieve our dreams, we have to know what they are. So write them down.
The Wealthy Freelancer suggests that we focus upon four aspects of our ideal careers: what you want to write, who you want to write for, how much money you want to make and what your ideal lifestyle looks like. We can use what we learned from the previous step to ascertain what we truly want from life, both in the short-term and long-term future. Keep these aspirations at your desk, in your handbag or on your whiteboard – anywhere within eyesight – to keep yourself on point.
It’s my belief that visualising something is not enough to make it happen. I do think, however, that it is more likely that our lives will evolve the way we want them to if we have a clear picture of the way we would like them to transpire. That way, the paths to our dreams will be more direct.
- Build your own brand
Yes, that oft-repeated, much sniggered at, phrase that seems to be making the rounds these days. Please, don’t scoff. It’s important. As writers, we are our own brand. So embrace it!
The idea behind building our brand is to develop a platform upon which we can embody our work. A lot of writers use their blogs as a means of doing this. Take a peek at some of these for inspiration: Sarah Wilson, MamaMia, Frock & Roll, Aesthete, Rachel Hills and, of course, Sarah Ayoub’s Wordsmith Lane. Be warned, blogging can take up a lot of time and energy! If you are time-poor, don’t despair – building your brand can be as simple as meeting and greeting people in the industry, attending writer’s festivals, emailing people you admire or contributing to other people’s blogs. In doing so, we need to navigate that precarious balance between being ourselves and, at the same time, being mindful of who we are trying to impress and appeal to – our readers and our potential employers. The idea is to build a profile for ourselves, representing what we have to offer.
But why, you may ask? Plenty of journalists are successful without the help of a public profile. Well, you’re right, it is not essential. But consider this quote by W. Clement Stone: “Tell everyone what you want to do and someone will want to help you do it.” If we put ourselves “out there”, opportunities are so much more likely to come our way.
- Treat your career as a business
Writing presents itself as such a whimsical livelihood. For our own sakes, however, it is so important to remind ourselves that we have to treat our writing careers as a business. The Wealthy Freelancer gives some great specific, practical advice. A few other things that I have grasped include: set up your own office; keep regular hours; be a pleasure to work with; and build contacts. Be kind to everybody who crosses your path. You never know – they may be (or know) your boss one day.
So those are a few wisdoms that I have picked up in the course of my self-imposed, rigorous preparation for embarking upon a freelance writing career. Thankfully, I have found that I can learn a lot from observing and probing into the careers of my writing idols. Some of the stories I have come across are disheartening; others are uplifting and encouraging. Either way, that icy ocean seems a lot more inviting now. Or, using my other analogy, that long, steep hike feels safer. Not only can I see the footsteps of those who have gone before me, but my pack is bursting at the seams, filled with tools and sustenance I will need to survive my journey. And I cannot wait to get started.
Laura is a 21-year-old aspiring writer from Perth, Western Australia. She studies Law, French and English at university and works part-time as a makeup artist. She writes at her blog, Life.Beauty.Laughter., between classes, shifts and into the early hours of the morning.
- Wordsmith Lane reader Abi Moustafa and friends have recently started up their own online mag called Six and the City. Do check it out and support some young wordsmith talent.
- For smarts for the sisterhood, start reading Feminist Themes, a great blog I recently discovered through a tweet via Rachel Hills. Lots of insightful things, made all the more insightful by my slow realisation that, as women, we have not come far at all. I tend to think that our behaviour as women is a personal choice (my choice is to be a conservative feminist, despite the implied oxymoron) that needs to be made available to us. Sometimes I think the fact that we have not come far is in fact, to some degree our own fault. Then again, how much can I analyse what we wear and what we read in my head? Liberation means different things to different people. Last week, a facebook friend had on his status that men are measured by what they do with their power, whereas women are measured by what they do with washing powder. The sad thing is, in a lot of cases, that might be true.
- I am so excited by the return of voluminous 50′s skirts (thank you Marc Jacobs) to my magazine style pages, and sadly, so is my wallet. In the past week, I couldn’t help myself but splurge on two skirts and a dress from Review, which had 30% off full-priced items. I officially can’t wait until the warmer weather, if only to flit around in these fabulous, tulle-endowed babies in all their lady-like glory. Here’s a sneak-peak at one of these new additions to my closet.
- The latest edition of CLEO is out today. Love the internet app dating feature by freelance friend Nicole Haddow, and the ten lessons we can learn from The Hills.
- Anyone skitzed it over the cost of baby clothes before, or is it just me? Just bought a little cardigan and some pretty pink shorts for a friend’s beautiful baby girl. The pink shorts cost more than a knit I just purchased for my (way bigger) self at Dotti. Something’s not quite right here, and I think my fear about consumerism and the next generation (really on account of how I am going to raise my own planned family on a freelancer’s wage) is a lot more founded than I initially thought.
- Exciting wordsmith news: I’ll be running a panel on freelancing at the NSW Writer’s Centre (for the Emerging Writer’s Festival) this November with none other than Antony Lowenstein. I am simply gushing and glowing at the prospect. I hope he doesn’t think that I am a tool. [Note to self: Sarah, don't be as bubbly as you normally are when you meet 'big' writers for the first time. Your intern and other blog readers may appreciate your limited-edition personality (good alternative to strange, no?), but other people may just think you've carked it].
- I need help in maintaining my exemplary level of style, smarts & savoir-faire now that I am juggling too many social commitments, a thirst for more exciting life experiences and an unwavering love for anything that is a) girly and b) buyable? I can’t help but wonder how people do it AND pay rent. My car is currently falling apart (this is no exaggeration), my wedding is less than three months away, my job goes part-time in December, I’m paying mortgage repayments, and my wallet is still funneling copious amounts of money into various pursuits that seemingly can’t be shaken. Do I really need to go to my ex-colleague’s birthday every single year? Tried consulting Camilla Morton’s How to Walk in High Heels about an easier way to start saying no to social engagements in an attempt to save my sanity (and some cash), but it seems it’s harder than I thought if I want to save face. I think I feel an article idea coming on.
- Bits and bobs to read: This NY Times article on how language may shape the way you think (via Alex Veeneman of Le Football); Sarah Wilson on flakiness (very relevant to moi right now); my Show-Stopper-Copper beauty piece for Trespass magazine.
I got three rejections this week. They were very polite rejections: one said it was not quite right for the mag, the other said they didn’t have the budget for the idea (but that they loved it) and the other publication suggested I try someone else (and gave me their details) because they were not commissioning for the time being.
Still, I am so devoted to this freelance writing thing that I can’t help feeling bummed. I was so optimistic about this challenge and it seemed like such a great idea a few weeks ago. But today, I was driving along, thinking about how it was my second week in and I still had not been comissioned for the two or three pitches, and I had a horrible thought.
What if it is not my pitching that is the problem? What if it’s my ideas that are, to put it plainly, shit?
Something I will definitely need to mull over, me thinks.