Monday, 28 February 2011

Words to Live By #131

Image thanks to scarleth

"I can change the story. I am the story."
Jeanette Winterson

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Saturday Salute 26.02.11

Image thanks to zitona

Welcome to another weekend of lovable/laugh-out-loud/sometimes ludicrous links! This week the links are a little bit more money/business related than usual, as I guess that's what has been on my mind. My primary focus for this year has been 'Career' as I will be graduating from my BA in just a few months. You may have gathered from yesterday's post that this has put me under a little bit of pressure to ACHIEVE. And I think that, actually, I have been, in my own way. What's more, as ever, I have exciting plans for the blog in the upcoming months. Watch out guys and gals.

// I think Beyond Freelancing: The Shift to Entrepreneur by Ali is an in-depth, meaty article, very relevant to entrepreneurial blogging.

// This:

Money—how we love it. Fear it. Earn it. Spend it.
Save it. Stash it. Lose it. Lend it. Lust for it. Hide it.
Pray for it. Marry it. Divorce it. Sleep with it. Tell and eat
whoppers for it. Cry rivers and drown out sorrows over
it. Throw it away or send it packing with an eBay click.
Worry about it. Worship it. Work like a slave for it, then
squander it. Make deals with devils. Go on fateful dates
with con men and undertake vows before God so that we’ll
never be hungry again. Most of all, how women like us
convince ourselves that money will change or fix everything
in our lives that’s ever been broken or has gone south
once upon a time. - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Makes me want to read this.

// How to Fall in Love with Your Business from Marie Forleo. Don't be put off by the rapping! There are some really good points from a new perspective - looking at your business/blog as a relationship. Check out her other videos on youtube, or visit her blog for more.

"Don’t expect your employer to relieve stress at work. Don’t expect your lover to make you happy. Your burnout is not their responsibility. Give yourself permission to do all the work. Setting people free from your expectations will put you back in control."

Have a brilliant weekend, whether it's business or pleasure ;)

Friday, 25 February 2011

It's okay, this is just the start...

Image thanks to shandi-lee

I often feel beleaguered by my own ambition. I wouldn't call myself an over-achiever, but I do place a great deal of pressure on myself with my personal goals. In the past year or so I've gotten to that place where I really feel like my dreams need to be realities, like I haven't been doing enough to achieve them, or that maybe they are just that... dreams. This phenomenon is also known as the quarter-life crisis.

This is dangerous territory; a sort of contemporary rite of passage, where you either soar, or sink. This is the graveyard where youthful ambition gets buried; because our kind of ambition is tricky; because it feels like a fairytale; because it is too scary to admit it to the adult world. Your early twenties seem to me to be a place where your aspirations are being pooh-poohed at every turn, by yourself as much as by others, and clinging on to them against all the odds is a rocky road of grazed knees and bruised ego.

Today I read this by Danielle LaPorte. Awesome coach. Internet extravaganza. A woman making waves, and a living to boot. The quality of the article speaks for itself. But what interested me most about the piece wasn't the moral, or the narrative genius. It was actually a totally insignificant detail that proved to significantly knock me of my feet. What was it? Only the fact that she, Danielle LaPorte, my ultimate icon of internet business success, was once a perfume girl. A shop worker. A lowly minion, like me!

This made me realise something awesome: that where I am now – at the beginning, an education-system fish out of water – is okay. I've got a whole life left to spend being spectacular, and I'm only just at the start of it. Minion today, maven tomorrow. I may not be a successful author, princess of personal profit, or international inspirer... yet. But I still could be those things, and more. My blog may not have rocked the world, but it’s rocked a select group of beautiful readers, and that’s something to be proud of; that’s the start.

The world is still my oyster, it's still yours. 

And wherever you are now: it's okay, this is just the start.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

How to Learn a Language for Free

Image thanks to vintage fairytale

Want to learn a new language? Want to get started but put off by pricey books and courses? Well I’m here to tell you how you can use the internet to learn a language 100% for free!

I’m learning Spanish. So far I’ve been doing pretty badly. Mi Castellano es muy mal. One of the most difficult things (aside from conjugating verbs and the masculine/feminine distinction) is the sky-high price of lessons. I just can’t do it. One hundred and fifty euro, plus sixty euro for books? I can barely afford toothpaste.

At first, I was all set to let this be my easy-escape-route excuse for giving up all together. Well, I thought if they’re going to charge so much, I guess it’s just not for me! But then, much to the dismay of my lazy alter-ego, I realised there are multiple, free language resources out on the World Wide Web, to kick naysayers like me square in the toosh.

Oh crud, guess I’m not off the hook after all.

Here’s a list of my favourite free resources for learning a language that I’ve found on the net. They range from super-easy-beginners stuff, to more intermediate. For the advanced among you, I’m afraid the free resources are a little more limited.


// ★ STAR Resource:
Bursting with helpful ‘courses’ on everything from adjectives, to adverbs, to general vocabulary, this is the site to bookmark above all others. Print their helpful lists of phrases and you’ll be chit-chatting your language of choice in no time.

// BBC Languages
Fun for a complete beginners, there are individual lessons which range from simply saying ‘Hola!’ to ordering a meal in a restaurant etc. There’s even a play-along ‘soap opera’ to get you talking! There is some grammar help but mostly you’ll find basic phrases.

// Learn a Language in One Hour
A bold claim, and of course an overstatement, but this article by Tim Ferriss does raise a terrific method of ‘deconstructing’ a language if you want to learn it. This isn’t a course, more a bit of inspiration and a way to build your confidence if you’re just getting started.

// My Happy Planet
From Tim’s article I also discovered this extremely useful (and sociable) resource for developing your language skills (particularly handy when you’re not living in the country of the language you want to learn.) An alternative is LiveMocha, which offers much the same service.

// BYKI – Transparent Language
BYKI is a downloadable gadget that uses virtual flashcards to help you memorise vocabulary. I’ve only just gotten started using it, but I feel like it will be a great alternative way to learn. There is the option to upgrade to a paid ‘deluxe’ version, but for beginners I don’t think it’s necessary.

Are you learning a language and is this helpful? Do you know any good, free resources for learning new languages?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Words to Live By #130

Image thanks to yellowbird

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."
Dr. Seuss

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The Saturday Salute 19.02.11

Image thanks to nicki

Welcome to your weekend, pretty ladies. Plans, please? Today I took a tour of Tarragona (I've only been here, like. five months...) and got to see how very beautiful the city really is. Tonight it's a few drinks with friends and, if the weather improves, another beach picnic tomorrow. Ain't life grand?!

// Are you prepared to live Your Courageous Life?

// I can't help agreeing with The Problem of Free. Thoughts?

// Create Time to Change Your Life with Zenhabits.

// :')

// The earth at night.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever your plans may be!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lately... Beach Picnics, Parties & Heart-Shaped Pizza

I can't tell you how delightfully strange it is to be able to have picnics on the beach in February

Gingerbread cookies and strawberries for our romantically-themed party :D

On Valentine's Day, my boy and I exchanged cards, enjoyed a day out in Barcelona, and in the evening he whipped up a delicious heart-shaped pizza.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Words to Live By #129

Image thanks to i.anton

"Do a little more than average and from that point on our progress multiplies itself out of all proportion to the effort put in." 
Paul J. Meyer

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Saturday Salute 12.02.11

Image thanks to shandi-lee

Tonight I am hosting a Valentine's themed party with my housemates! We have pink lighting, heart-shaped cookies and lots more lovey-dovey madness. Do you have any exciting V-day plans? Before those, check out the links!

// 10 Surefire Ways To Live Below Your Full Potential from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

// At the end of last month I was published over on Yes and Yes, whoopy!

// How to Focus from Tina Su (she mentions Napolean Hill, which gets my vote every time!)

// YES PLEASE The Vegan Stoner.

Besos Chicas!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Featured Sponsor: Ruche

Let me introduce you to my most recent sponsor, cute and quirky Ruche. If you're not already familiar with the brand, I thought I'd share a shimmering glimpse of their fun and floaty aesthetic, including my favourite picks, a peep at their Spring looks, and a glance at their eco-friendly range (because we love the planet!)

From edgy to endearing, whimsical to office-worthy, Ruche has a range that will meet all the need's of any modern girl's wardrobe. For me, the perfectly twee polkadots, pastel hues, and ladylike lace caught my eye in a BIG way.

If you want to effortlessly achieve the look of having just fallen out of the pages of Lula magazine, Ruche is most certainly your brand. Slip on one of their sweet spring dresses, some sheer stockings, a splash of Coco Mademoiselle, and go get romantic in a meadow somewhere!

What's on offer for Spring?

Somehow each one of these dresses makes me think of Carrie Bradshaw, teetering in and out of taxi's in her sky-high heels, designer clutch bag in tow, on a sunny New York spring day. Yes please, imagination.

Don't forget Ruche also offer a delectable eco-friendly range, including sweet gifts like this flower sprinkle cupcake soap:

So support Charade (and your wardrobe) with a cheeky visit to Ruche, and treat yourself to a touch of romance all in the name of Valentine's Day! You can be sure of service with a smile:

"We pride ourselves in excellent customer service because we treat every visitor as our friend. Please know that there are real people behind the website and we always put ourselves in the position of our customers, as we are customers too!"

What are you waiting for?! Go shop your heart out!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Words to Live By #128

Image thanks to hillary

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

Thursday, 3 February 2011

It's in the Bag: February 2011

I'm always seeing these around the web, so I thought it was time to do one of my own! I figured it would be a novel way for you to feel you know me a little better. Plus, well, it's fun!

It should be no secret that I like pink - but did you know I wear glasses for reading? Now you do!

Clockwise from left: paperchase bookbag; 'A note from Megan' post-it notes; my Spanish mobile phone; my much-used memory stick; iPod in it's cosy sock case; reading glasses; Megan necklace; mini Moleskine for sudden bursts of scheming; 2011 diary; Parker pen bought with love by my other half; birdy pencil case which was a free gift in a magazine that my mum let me steal from her!; Zara 'Textures' eau de toilette which is a recent find that I love; Betsey Johnson watch that was a Las Vegas gift from my sister for my 21st Birthday; Soap & Glory moisturiser, a miracle for dry-hand-days; comb; my beautiful purse, a parting gift for my Erasmus year from my very good friend Ellen.

It makes me smile how many things in my bag are gifts from people I love: the necklace, iPod sock, mini Moleskine, diary, pencil case, pen, watch, and purse! Just goes to show how a simple exercise like this can make you realise and appreciate something great about your life that you may never have noticed otherwise.

What's in your bag right now? Post links in the comments!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Key to Manufacturing Magnificence

Image thanks to nicki

The mass market gets us to believe we can manufacture our ultimate, ideal self all the time: L’Oreal tells us we can manufacture a magnificent glossy mane with their products; Maybelline tells us ‘Yeah, maybe she was born with it, but maybe (read: probably) it’s Maybelline?’ All manner of "health" products flash airbrushed bottoms and thighs at us until we’re sure that if we just buy that exercise bike/diet pill/miracle cream we can, in fact, be manufactured into the Disney princess version of ourselves.

If they’re going to spin that one, and nine-times-out-of-ten we are going to believe them, why on earth can’t we manufacture a little of our own sense of pearlescent perfection, sensational-seductiveness and diamond-shine-brilliance – without parting with a penny, or throwing the current version of ourselves mercilessly to the lions?

The problem is, subjecting ourselves wholeheartedly to the idea of a ‘better’ version of us (in any sense: moral, emotional, physical) is that this at once creates a ‘worse’ version of ourselves; a bad, negative, lesser version. Yearning to be better inherently pits us against ourselves.

You might say this is no bad thing – a bit of healthy competition with ourselves and our ‘other’ – but, wait a moment: who exactly is going to get us from where we are, to the pinnacle of perfection that this imagined self embodies? That’s right: the person we are, right now, in this second: the person we’ve just snubbed, rejected and branded inferior. Why, I ask you, would that person want to help us? If it was me, I’d more likely be plotting sabotage.

Maybe that’s why we so often fail at self-improvement; you can’t hate yourself and improve yourself simultaneously, things just don’t work that way. There is a stark difference between aiming to develop yourself, and aiming to substitute yourself. Therefore, the first key to manufacturing magnificence is positive self-judgment or, at the very least, self-respect, for the person you are right now. If you don’t have that, well, you might as well stick with Maybelline.