Vanilla feelings.

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Image via Alkila Love

What does it feel like to:

a) Move to New York?

b) Graduate?

c) Wake up in the morning of your flight to a trip of a lifetime?

d) Be your birthday, Christmas or even a Friday?

It could feel a million things, and i’d love to make a list. But from those experiencing a) through d), at the moment, I’m noticing a super prevalent notion that: ‘it’ doesn’t feel like ‘it’.

Whatever ‘it’ is – it always seems to feel not like it should.

But I wonder why we’re thinking so critically – I mean, no one  has ever been here before.

In every moment, isn’t it cool to think that the experience is unwritten? You literally, have never been there before, at that age, with that mindset, in this place, with that plan, beside (or without) some person?

While everybody is busy chasing their dreams by living in New York, Graduating double-degrees, trekking trough Norway, landing boss jobs, and kicking absolute goals on (and off) field – there’s a strange commonality, a kind-of brotherhood semblance between us all:

Nothing feels like ‘it’.

Even up until boarding my flight, I didn’t feel like I was going away to travel the latest beaut locations on my bucket list and live in one of my favourite spots on earth.  Even my friends, who are living in NYC still can’t believe they’ve moved a million miles away.

But I wonder about how we have this delirious craving for trying to make sense of everything, reaching to feel something familiar when the very essence of it all, is the total opposite – unfamiliar?

The fact is, everything is shiny brand new, and there’s no way in hell to know what it feels like.

Every encroaching minute is new territory, uncharted waters, and I for one, definitely don’t have a map (or data on my international sim card in fact, to download one).

Bottom line: this is a rookie life.

So get lost. No, better than that, stay lost and stop trying to know or feel like you should about ‘it’. The feeling doesn’t exist yet, it’s vanilla, but it’s waiting for you to make, break, look it square in the eye, grab it with both hands and top it with strawberries, oreos, chia seeds, donuts, cronuts, something matcha flavoured and gummy bears.

Remember: Vanilla is always just the beginning.

sb.

FOMO: A deconstruction.

Image by @valentina_muntoni via Instagram

Image by @valentina_muntoni via Instagram.

Being available at the drop of a hat is something that I genuinely pride myself on, and I’d like to think that being “down” for anything is a trait that most people would aspire to.

Because in my books, it’s totally okay to text someone at 3pm requesting chai latte accompaniment in half an hour; and my own replies to invitational texts read something like this: “So. There. It’s. Insane.”

Basically, I’ve deduced this erratic tendency of always being available, to nothing other than FOMO.

I’ve heard acceptance is the first step of any form of recovery, so here it is:

I, Sheona Bello, solemnly admit that I am a full-time, hardcore sufferer of FOMO – more extensively known as the “Fear Of Missing Out”.

But to be honest, I never want to lose this ‘fear’. Here’s why.

On the one hand, it could be argued that such a condition leaves one forever in anticipation of the “next big thing” and never truly enjoying the present. But I prefer the contrary, FOMO is the best thing ever!

Think about it: if you have FOMO, it means that you have identified something you want to experience, and in an effort to reduce FOMO, you go ahead and do it! It’s a simple equation, really:

FOMO averted = experience attained = happy days!

And seriously, who doesn’t want happy days, for dayyyssss? It’s not a trick question, we all do! 

Now I am fully anticipating you, my beloved reader, to at this point deduce what I’ve written as a ludicrous indication of naïveté, idealism and outrageous optimism, but please stick with me here.

I mean sure, it may be some form of psychological conditioning, too many olives when I was a toddler or maybe even a recent overdose on coconut water which has conceived these ideas, but I definitely say all this from experience.

Because, once again I am humbly reminded that plans are made to be changed, and there are greater things available than I could have ever imagined myself – only if you are willing to avoid your FOMO, and embrace them!

As such, it is with huge excitement that I write this post, less than 24 hours before boarding a flight to Shanghai – a place I didn’t plan on seeing for another 5 years, and a trip I am not nearly prepared for given the 48 hour proximity of a separate, 2 month trip through South America.

But the opportunity was there, I have FOMO, I wanted to relieve my FOMO, so I POUNCED. 

Don’t blame me, blame it on the boogie.

拜拜啦

Sheona xo.

 

 

Visiting Dr. Zeus – An Adventure in Athens.

Athens: the birthplace of Greek Salad, the stomping ground of Hercules and the humble home of Ouzo. With so many fruits to offer the tourists and the world, I really have no idea why people give good old “Athina” such a bad rap.

Most travellers seem to pry away from the Greek Capital following talks of it being “too dirty”, or “depressing” as a result of the country’s financial crisis. But honestly, take a trip (if possible) and decide for yourself.

I personally love a good Athens session, here’s why!

Greek Yoghurt, everywhere.

Sure Frozen Yoghurt bars have taken over like a bad rash here in Melbourne, but it really can’t compete with the fresh, Greek style.

Some of us spend years, if not a lifetime trying to discover the “best” yoghurt, and those lucky little Greeks are fed it from birth. I may not ever come across such fresh from the pot, creamy, delicate, enveloping, porcelain white goodness, but I can die happy knowing that I did enjoy a few cups, topped with some outrageous honey and a few pistachios just for fun. If you are lucky enough to find yourself craving this treat in Athens, you just have to check out Fresko Yoghurt Bar! So good!

Image by @lmb_notherone via Instagram.

Image by @lmb_notherone via Instagram.

Soccer – Gate 7 Style.

If possible, find locals, become best mates and convince them to take you to a soccer game.

I thought my dad’s friends were a bit fanatic when it came to the AFL grand final, but a glimpse of Grecian Soccer within the renown Gate 7 area of utmost fanatical soccer-goers, puts even the Collingwood die-hards to shame.

I’m talking 3 hours of endless chants, flares and fireworks. My ears are still ringing, but I like it. 

 

Gate 7 Fanaticism. Image by tasosmikronis via Instagram.

Image by tasosmikronis via Instagram.

Flea Markets.

Minus the fleas. It’s always fun meandering through trinkets and bobbits and do-whats-its. Embrace it and buy something for your mum while you’re at it, she’ll love it.

Image by cartoulespress via Instagram.

Image by cartoulespress via Instagram.

History, everywhere.

Places like the Acropolis are older than your grandma’s, grandma’s great grandma! Pretty impressive right?

Image by zmurphman369 via Instagram.

Image by zmurphman369 via Instagram.

No skimping on the feta!

If the menu says it has feta, you better believe it, and you better like feta, because there is going to be a lot of it.

Don’t be shy, be the feta, love the feta.

Image by frederixz via Instagram.

Image by frederixz via Instagram.

Bar-licious.

I never would have picked it, but Athens has some of the coolest bars, in.the.world!

I’m talking art gallery drinking spots in old warehouses (The Art Foundation) and 75 flavour liqueur tasting houses (Brettos), and of course, we can’t forget a memorable rooftop – there’s plenty around with killer views!

Image via flickr.com.

Brettos. Image via flickr.com.

The Art Foundation. Image by Kosta R. via Four Square.

The Art Foundation.
Image by Kosta R. via Four Square.

This icy-pole.

Hands down the best thing I have ever tasted. Or maybe it was the 30C weather which made it taste so good. Either way, I vividly remember a party in my mouth!

Image by @catfishsoup via We Heart It.

Image by @catfishsoup via We Heart It.

Yamas!

That’s how you say ‘cheers’ in Greek. Fun fact.

Image by @vinooAF92 via We Heart It.

Image by @vinooAF92 via We Heart It.

I love you Athens!

Love Sheona x.

Lesson #1: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

It was a cobble-stoned, garlic infused, balmy night that we arrived in Rome, and the days that turned into nights- and vice versa – were no less magically authentic. In the dark, we would chase through the silent, lamp lit avenues with new best-friends, and as morning dawned we would explore this ancient city purely in the direction of our latest gelato cravings. My time in Rome truly was all fun and games, and these are the lessons I learnt.

  1. Know that there is only one place to stay.

And that is: Yellow Hostel.

Like the Colosseum, this place is a Roman Institution. If you’ve ever stayed there, you’ll rave about it to anyone that even drops the Rome bomb on talks of their travel plans, and if you haven’t yet been to Rome, then I’ll be THAT guy (girl) now.

You need to stay here! Besides what you’d think, this place isn’t yellow, the beds aren’t yellow and the reception girls aren’t dressed in yellow body paint. It’s a useless name really, but one you need to remember.

Be completely lured by the bar and outdoor area upon arrival, and be utterly ready to relinquish your attempts at Merlot aided Italian sophistication, in exchange for €1 shots freely poured by your new favourite bartender. Let these run their course and give you the confidence to partake in dance-offs, to the songs that will compose the “EUROTRIP ‘14 YEEWWWWW” playlist you will keep on your iPod forever.

The Yellow.

The Yellow.

  1. Skip breakfast.

You’re in Rome, why waste a perfectly good meal opportunity on breakfast when you can go straight for the main attraction. Pizza and fettuccine, I’m talking to you!

There are way too many places offering “the best pizza” on the block, and it seems that homemade pastas are a standard procedure. My best advice is to see if Nonna is out the back whipping up her traditional Bolognese. Yum!

Breakfast of Champions.

Breakfast of Champions.

  1. Pop bottles.

Water bottles that is, and take advantage of all those random water fountains streaming pools of ice cold H2O.

Acqua Fresca!

Acqua Fresca!

  1. Try before you buy.

This is a universal rule, but even more vital when it comes to gelato.

Always, always try, and if they didn’t give you enough on the taster spoon, try again, you’ve only got two scoops, make them 2 to remember.

Memorable scoops.

Memorable scoops.

  1. Make yourself at home.

Hostel style.

When it’s disco-nap time, it’s disco-nap time, and a disco-nap requires all the love it can get.

Most of the time, the world keeps going when nap hour begins, so you are generally free to dominate the dorm room. Our favourite plan of attack was to place all of our mattresses in the middle of the room and have a good old afternoon spoon, or Siesta – call it what you want.

When annoyed dorm mates enter and object to your dictatorship over the 12 bed room, just ask them if they want to join – they are probably just jealous. In the off chance they reject your offer, pretend to fall back asleep.

DIY bedding arrangements.

DIY bedding arrangements.

  1. Cover up.

Against popular demand, all churches and religious places worth seeing require a huge lack of skin on show. In the risk of spending unnecessary cash on a nun-length dress you will never wear again, or worse, wearing pants on a 34C day, grab a scarf and wrap it around a few times.

Voilà! New skirt, with the added functionality of being twirled off and stuffed back in your bag immediately after you exit the Vatican.

After all, you need to let those legs breathe, and that tan to keep developing. Thank me later.

Respect.

Respect.

  1. Ask for a skinny latte.

Just for fun. Know this, Skinny Milk is not a ‘thing’ in Italy. Go fat or go home!

No chance in skinny heaven.

No chance in skinny heaven.

 

These are the commandments, if you’re in Rome, you must follow accordingly.

Sheona.

Daughters of a European Summer.

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There’s a sort of mental and emotional hangover that rushes over you when arriving back home from an overseas trip, and I’m not sure if it’s normal or not, but I am 100% stuck in a European bubble – what’s scary is, I don’t think I ever want to leave it.

I’m ‘fresh off the boat’ as they say, from a 6 week stint through Europe, wheeling a suitcase which could double as my private room (yes, it’s THAT big, and I’m THAT small) through the world’s cutest cobbled alleyways, sipping the cheapest vino over-looking the most stunning sunsets and dancing on the bar-tops of every venue which wouldn’t escort us out for doing so.

I guess I am suffering the side-effects of a 2-month, daily scramble to pick up the remnants of my suit-caser life 5 minutes before EVERY late checkout, making sure that the essential: iPhone, Passport, Birkenstocks and three gal pals were in tow before departure. Or maybe it’s an epic “come-down” from endless bittersweet farewells to cities i’d re-fallen in love with, in exchange for the promise of a new tomorrow in an equally as fresh land complete with new mates and even newer moments to add to my expanding memory bank.

But, it’s now officially a week that my lungs have been privy to the Melbourne, if not Australian air, and I would be lying if I said that most mornings I don’t still flounder in my bed, confused and often delirious about which country I am in, and whether we have woken up too late and already missed our flight to Brussels.

I am constantly running into my sister’s room across the hall trying to decipher which of my friends are still not home from the crazy night before, only to find my Year 12 mini-me, fast asleep in her bed, awaiting a 7am alarm to welcome a day full of high-school torture.

Yep, I am definitely home; I just don’t know it yet and it’s ludicrously, the exact same feeling I had as we flew out on that chilly Melbourne night, 7 weeks ago. A pitch black sky we had been awaiting, for no less than 183 days, 17 hours and precisely, 22 minutes – I remember because I screen-shot the countdown when the travel agent confirmed our outbound flight.

After so long planning, throwing up ideas, making outlandish bucket-list entries and dares that I ‘shot-gun not’; the very hour had finally dawned, and even on the plane as we milked the mini vodkas just like we said we would (thanks Emirates), it still didn’t seem real.

Even now, as I look back at all the pictures we awkwardly asked strangers to take of us in front of the Colosseum, or as I comment on the “take me back to Europe” statuses of my new – now also returned – travel mates, or even listen to the songs which will forever compose the soundtrack to “that 2014 Eurotrip” – it’s still pretty fantastical and surreal.

So in an effort to relive every moment, non-sober epiphany, soul mate meeting and gorgeous view, I am belatedly beginning the memoirs of the summer that was (your Melbourne winter).

Better late than never, hey!

For now, “skies are blue”.

 

Chess Mate: 20 essential pals you need in your life.

Image by Hurry Up And Smile Already via Tumblr.

Image by Hurry Up And Smile Already via Tumblr.

I am a huge fan of having countless best mates, inexplicable memories with someone whose name I am not quite sure of, and exposing myself to random social circles. There’s something somewhat magical about once-off memory making which can make someone you actually, legit have only met once, into a life-long pal. I just had this thought while I was washing the weekend mess from my hair, and I thought I’d compose a non-musical compilation of the 20 friends, that EVERYONE must have. Standard shower musings right?

1. The Worst Replier: Lezbehonest, it takes the guilt away from being non-responsive back (you know, sometimes you just can’t be bothered).

2. The Hugger: This one is great for a hug, will pat your head when you’re tired, and hold you close when it’s really cold and you’re walking down Chapel Street after exhausting every indoor option for warmth at 4am.

3. The Puzzler: Someone who is totally cool with staying in and doing a puzzle – to good tunes and good company, puzzling is actually a really enjoyable event!

4. The Friend with the Coolest Friends: You get excited when a house party invitation arrives in your Facebook notifications, because you just know that you are going to meet some of the raddest people ever. I’m not sure how some people just attract rad friends; rad times and are just bloody rad themselves. #rad

5. The old-Best Friend: Someone who saw you go through your mullet and flared jean stage and still agreed to associate you anyway. These guys are essential to gas-bagging the ‘past you’.

6. The Music Scout: Car trips are the best with type of friend, they always manage to have the best playlist ever, full of songs you love within the first 5 seconds. Not sure how they know about new artists before they are even ‘unearthed’, but they manage it. (Could it be alien insight?).

7. The Hippie: Someone who keeps you earthed and always makes you wish you were a) vegan, b) a yogi, c) living in Byron bay d) willing to devote your room to incense, or e) all of the above.

8. The Surfer: There’s nothing quite more attractive than a guy/girl who surfs. Maybe it’s the endlessly ‘beach hair’ hair, or the remembrance of Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush, but I dig it. Surfers are always so chilled, look incredible in surf clothes, and are just so down-to-earth. Enviable right!

9. The Motivational Speaker: We can’t all have Dr. Phil or Oprah on speed dial, but I really think everyone needs a friend like them. The kind of friend you can call when you’re stressing, feeling a little blue, or just really need motivation to start running again. It’s mind-boggling how these people are forever motivated, but it sure is nice to have a taste of the magic when you are with them!

10. The Photographer/Artist/Design Student: Decent instagram pics. That’s all.

11. The Ludicrous Snapchatter: You may not actually be mates, but the genius of their Snapchats makes them best mate worthy! You know the type.

12. The Husband/Wife Material: It’s nice to know there are some goodies out there #amirite.

13. The Friend who gets ALL your jokes: Personally, I am specifically referring to my delirious obsession with throwing in a movie quote here and there (specifically Mean Girls) – It’s nice when others appreciate this kind of gesture. “That’s just, like, the rules of feminism.”

14. The Masterchef: Dinner parties/lunchbox steals are a win when this person is around.

15. The Health Nut: When you really want to feel guilty abut your ‘cheat week’ or want to be reminded that healthy food can be bloody delish!

16. The Connected One: Need a list at a club? Give this pal a call as they are bound to have SOMEONE they know on the door a.k.a free entry, a.k.a drink cards, a.k.a gooooood times!

17. The Shopper: When you are poor/saving for Europe/saving for South America/at Uni and have no spare cash to splurge on a good outfit, it’s great to have a friend who doesn’t know the perils of being broke. They have the best clothes, and have always just gone shopping, again, for the third time, that week. And actually bought good stuff! Its essential here, that you a) fatten up, or b) slim down, or c) get taller – in my case – so you can actually take advantage of this GREAT type of friend.

18. The Breakfast Lover: I have never encountered anyone who would pass up a breakfast date. If you have, then we are probably not friends anyway so it doesn’t matter! Yay for breakfast.

19. The Secret Keeper: No judgment, no scrubs, just nods and agrees and totally is on your side, even if they shouldn’t be. These guys are needed for moral support.

20. The Joker: Laughing. Its gotta happen, and its gotta happen often. There is not better feeling than gaining an almost 6-pack after a non-gym sesh. These types of friends are great for both a hilarious gag, and the summer bod!

So here’s to my friends, your friends, our friends and your mum’s friends!

“I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.”

Hope I didn’t miss anyone, if you think of another essential type of pal, i’d love to know about it! Send love to hello@thesheonaexperiment.com, or use the form below!

xo

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#100happydays ago…

Image via Instagram @thesheonaexperiment.

100 days ago I committed myself to the longest relationship I have ever had in my life to a hashtag. My delirious suitor being, #100happydays.  100 days ago, it seemed like a logical thing to do, I mean, I had … Continue reading

The Unapologetic Introduction.

Image by Demetria via We Heart It.

  My dad is simultaneously the biggest fan and blatant reviewer of my writing, and unfortunately I can’t help but mull, over every piece of advice he gives me. Being the most chilled father on the earth, I was absolutely … Continue reading

No, I love you more!

Happy Valentines Day!

Today is all about the love: spreading the love, feeling the love, giving the love, taking the love, eating the love (hey 3 course meal with heart shaped chocolates at the end), smelling the love (roses are red), seeing the love (so many hands to hold), and hearing the love (cue Dean martin, “That’s Amore”).

It’s at this particular time of year, that I start thinking about relationships, and not just the romantic type, but every kind that you have in your life. And it’s on this exact February day that my sisters and I forget to fight about who stole who’s mascara, that my friends and I swear that despite any boys, we will always be each others’ real soul mates, and that I am just strangely over generous and loving to really anyone I come into contact with.

It’s like someone has slipped love juice into my morning tea, and I am now magically in love with the entire world!

(Please note, that to further evidence this reality, I jet created a new Pinterest Board in honour of my love for words! If your interested, and also share this butterfly feeling for strings of consonants, check it out here. Mr. Bowman, I’m talking to you!)

But seriously, I am telling you, this Valentines thing really gets to me!

And what I begin to understand as I try to love everyone just a little more today, I realise that I am really just wanting to make them happy. For Mum, I will empty the dishwasher and make her a coffee before she comes down stairs after her shower; for my youngest sister, I will play a game of tennis with her when she gets back from school and for my friends, well,I will send them horribly unattractive snap chats of myself (You like that right? Girls? Awks.)

It totally comes back to this quote I read a while back – and I cannot find it on Pinterest, Google, Tumblr or Instagram, so maybe I made it up.

It went like this: “Relationships are not about you, they are about making the other person happier, because of you”.

I was/am/forever will be in love with this, and trumpet it’s truth: relationships with your family, friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, partner, lab partner, boss, teacher, dog, goldfish and teddy bear, ARE NEVER ABOUT YOU.

Like ever.

Ever ever.

It’s about them. About them being happier BECAUSE of YOU.

And because YOU make THEM HAPPY, they will LOVE you more anyway. Its a win-win situation!

So go love and make everyone you love happier. Go on, get!