Monday 29 November 2010

Abandoning Perfectionism!

I stumbled over an old article and I am now sitting here a bit dumbstruck, not believing that one year is gone in which I have achieved nothing. In Eureka Moments I am reflecting about making them happen, now one year on it seems that this is more difficult then I thought. I still own this sheet of paper, it is hanging right in front of me at my pin board. And there is another word written behind this phrase that says: '2 years time - waiting for eureka moment.' It is the word 'Author' followed by a question mark.

Maybe I didn't achieve nothing. Maybe stepping backwards a bit, abandoning IL for a while, was not nothing, but a quite big deal. Not being able to write for a few month was the saddest period of the past six years. Maybe sometimes one has to lose something to be able to value it properly, and now that it is valued I will have to find ways.

I decided to begin by declaring 'Perfect' as overrated! All my life I have been striving for perfect, oh I do know 'perfect' of the things I do... That does not mean that I CAN do perfect. Perfect needs training, and training is hard when 'perfect' is so far, far away! And training is hard when one knows so well what is lacking, and then somebody comes along and tells you exactly what you know already. This is the moment when all the motivation turns into nothing but anger. Anger about the well meaning criticism, prematurely dropped before one could find perfection out of own skill; another opportunity lost to achieve something to be proud of. Anger about having taken on a task that somebody else already is perfect in. Anger about being angry... Then temptation: Harmony is just at the other side, find an excuse, just stop doing what you are doing, nobody can criticise you then, you can't fail in this anymore. The disappointment will fade, it did on previous occasions... just stop, ... stop,... stop,...

Striving for 'perfect' all my life kept me from doing the things I loved doing, because I felt that they were not good enough, that I never was good enough. I do not want that anymore, and the easiest way to resolve that is to abandon 'perfect'!

ILP is a good start. It is far from perfect. It is MY lifestyle guide, it is fed by what I experience and how I live my life, and it hence reflects my ways of doing things. Oh my, that is not perfect at all.

Will it be good enough to become a success? - I don't know, we will have to see.
Do I care? - Yes, I do!

Brilliant! And now let's practice!

Sunday 28 November 2010

Eureka Moments

First published January 2010

The Poem of The Flying Chicken

Friday 26 November 2010


First published in 2007

There is a proverb which one has to listen to more and more often the older one gets:

You are as young as you feel!

This is the kind version; usually it's 'you are as old as you feel'. Yeah well, but if I'm feeling old, what can I do to make myself feel younger?

A lot of this site is about looks, because that is what I was after initially. I wanted to look better. What I actually got in the end was VITALITY. It then appeared to me that this is what is meant with 'feeling younger' and my way to get there? Well, in this place you will find phrases like 'dealing with yourself' and doing 'selfish/self centred things' over and over again. I felt guilty at first, that all of a sudden I have put myself in the centre of the world. But something interesting happened. It sort of made me go back to my roots, and I didn't even notice until I started writing this.

All my adult life I thought I couldn't be without people around me, having to be available for others, and when I had a bit of time for myself I got rather bored and watched the telly, although feeling a bit guilty about the time wasted. Now I'm comfortable again with my own company just as I was as a child. I have this recollection of sheer happiness when I was walking the family dogs in the fields around my village. I felt safe and in control, I could stick with the paths I knew, or I could get adventurous and explore new ones. It was my choice and whatever I chose was right. The dogs were my trusted followers and enjoyed the ride.

In the end it seems that my 'Project New Rika' found the Rika of the old days, and the circle is closing. As I said before, a lot of the things here are about looks. That is because I found that changes on the outside are done rather easily. And it's dealing with your outside that sneakily starts doing some things to your inside as well. The article on Body and Mind refers to this effect as well.

So let us give some flesh to to bone. It is here in the lifestyle section where it all comes together. Sometimes the simple issues make changes so difficult. It's easily said: Eat healthily and go to the gym twice a week! But where is the advice on how to find the time for this little bit of selfishness? How to save up the money to make the 'New You' affordable. How to convince the family that these changes are beneficial for them as well? Where to find the confidence to actually go?

It is here where the dreaming stops and where reality starts. The first step is lose the fear, that making the dream come true might reveal that it was not worth it. The fear that then a dream would be lost with no gain is such a common thing, but nobody admits to it. The wonderful thing is that once that dream is gone new ones show up. Getting one dream out of the way gives room for more. It's a bit like kissing frogs to find a prince - sometimes you have to kiss a lot of them to hit the jackpot!

So, that's sorted! Now it's time to find the determination! To make this silent promise to yourself that you will succeed in something, anything! However long it takes, how many ways you will have to explore - you will succeed! It is a contract with yourself. Remember the place, remember what you are feeling at that moment, and never forget it again. This is your most secret and most honest moment with yourself. Enjoy it - And then go for it girl!

Sunday 21 November 2010


feet-up during cappuccino
Those shoes are made for walking... or are they?

Well, if you live in my neck of the woods then they have to, because it needs about three hours to get to  Erotica at the Hammersmith Olympia in London. I can tell you however: It is completely worth it!

And now I know: They have big cloak rooms and decent clean toilets where one can change. I reconsidered my outfit about five times and in the end went for something street worthy, but next time I will dress up into ... something wooohooo!... by changing on location. The more that the Erotica takes place in winter and one just doesn't want to pay with a severe cold for the fun.

The exhibition hall is well heated, there are food courts - which are at the fast food yet pricey end of the spectrum, and there is a seating area in front of the stage which looks sophisticated, but where it is almost impossible to get a place to sit. Well, for us it was a first and hence we had to browse a lot; probably if one would go regularly, one might find an interest in only certain exhibitions and then just grab a seat, meet with friends and enjoy the shows.
Our incentive was to see Dita von Teese on stage and we thought we'd just had a look at the fair as well. In the end it was the other way round. We saw Dita, but it was so crowded that we had to watch from the balcony through a row of heads, so she was merely a small, very glittery thing on a rather big stage. What we could see was however so inspiring that we definitely want to see her again in a proper theatre, with booked seats.

Then there was another show presented several times during  the day, consisting of moderator and singer Dusty Limits, The Amazing Ari, Kitty Bang Bang - erotic dancer and burlesque performer, Zlata - the bendiest woman I have ever seen, Rubber Doll, pole dancer Bubbalicious, the Libidex catwalk show, and  Stripped a dance number of the special kind which comes with two websites, even.

Please expect a little bit of nudity!

Additionally there was a feature stage - which unfortunately I didn't know about, and wouldn't have had the time for anyway - where The Dream Boys were performing. Oh my... be prepared to see nudity! Although for the guests at least, nude appearance was not allowed, there was a body painter, and body cast artists... well, one has to strip for that, doesn't one? On stage one of the guys lost his pants and some girls their bras. Additionally a lot of tassels were on show, which apparently are attached with double sided tape as I could learn at one of the stands. There were clip-on buttons as well, but I couldn't really warm to that idea.

Please expect now nudity at all!

Officially it was not allowed to take photos, but there was a promo-wall like you would find at those celeb style events, and of course I had to take advantage of that. Additionally there were a few show occasions for which taking a snap was even encouraged, so I can at least give you a bit of a visual insight.

Please expect the most gorgeous fetish kinda costume...

... presented by the most stunning woman!

Regarding the stalls: Oh my goodness, there were so many! I only will concentrate on the ones which jumped into my eyes, even if that brings me into danger of appearing rather simpleminded, or old, for that matter. Of course there were the more health oriented ones, selling all sorts of concoctions, and vibrating devices, and for some of the things I wasn't even able to think of a non-health related use - so, I don't know why they were there. Then there were the usual pleasuring devices ranging from the small ones for home use up to swings and beds probably for the more professionally minded, or for people with big houses, for sure. The fetish stuff was all over the place and one could find something for everything, and I mean everything!

And that is something that I just loved there: Absolutely nothing was awkward, absolutely everything was normal!

Like Bountiful Bosoms. How often do you get to feel fake silicone boobs? See, I wouldn't have entered a shop, asking if I could fumble them a bit! Here we event went back for more - those things are fascinatingly fantastic. Firstly, those babies feel absolutely real. Secondly, they feel warm. Thirdly, they have the exact right softness. Compared to the gel cushion in my  push-up bra they feel really nice. Well, having established that, one might start asking: But why? See, I am a rather flat chested gal and I quite like that look, but even I own a push-up. Before I would consider a boob-job, I'd rather get me a pair of those, and if it were to figure out if a D size would be for me, before I get it for good. And then there are people who don't have a pair anymore and need a prosthetic, whereas there are others who never had a pair and feel that they actually should have. And I can tell you: That was a really nice cleavage on display! The sweetheart might want to have a look into the hairdo, though. A bit of smart layering to add more volume to the top of the head might improve the whole look. That is true for the both of us, actually! I could have used the opportunity to get a makeover at David Beckham's hairdresser, but scared hair frump I am, I didn't go.

And then my darlings: There were the shoes, the jewellery and the corsets!

Shoes I only admired as Ipswich is just not offering a lot of party life that I would enjoy to make those worthwhile. Jewellery is a completely different matter, though. I got me the most gorgeous piece of bracelet I ever had, and which I always wanted to have. It is from JCG a designer located at Barcelona, and the idea to have something that one doesn't find in the next corner shop makes it even more appealing. I just put it on to take the photo, and I can tell you: This is one sexy piece of crafted silver. It feels gorgeous!

Then I got me a proper top hat from Freak Clubware, something I have been searching London for since quite a while now, and... yep, you might not have seen that one coming... a corset! Again! Oh I just can't resist corsets. It seems that the place to be for design and fashion is Barcelona. Bibian Blue has the most stunning creations and they even had a fitting room. The place was so busy that I had to wait for about half an hour to get in, but was that worth it! I could see all those wonderful corsets which I never would be able to fill, tried on by ladies who could. And it was a delight to chat with the excited husbands, helping to decide which one to choose.

There was a freak moment, though, when I realised that their credit card machine didn't work, but fortunately the Olympia has a cash machine in the foyer. Phew! I felt warm anyway, but that was the moment to break into sweat. All I have for now is the picture I took with the mobile to show Detlef, as he was strolling around to find some food to go while I was waiting for my turn.

I herewith promise to give you a proper show of all my purchases - those here and all the other ones, like from the last two trips to Germany which I haven't confessed to you yet.

This now concludes my report from the Erotica 2010. I had the best of times and can't wait for next year to go again. I am however expecting a lot of following up to happen. Together with the obligatory conference style bag we not only got the conference guide but the Burlesque Map London as well. Who knows what's next?

Until then, always yours,

Related Links:
Daily Mail Online
PeaceFM online

Saturday 20 November 2010

The Real Teese

First published 27th November 2009

Oh my goodness, where to put this? Dita Von Teese, burlesque star, pin up, fashion icon, writer, ... That could go under 'Art', 'Fashion & Beauty' , Galleries,... in the end I decided for Lifestyle, because that is what she is embodying: A lifestyle of femininity, style, tease and control.

While reading her book Burlesque and the Art of the Teese I learned that she never stopps pushing the envelope and always stays true to herself, and she became successful with it. Not many can claim that for themselves.

So on Friday 27th November 2009 she came to London to sign her new book and we, that is hubby and me, went to see the real Teese.

I have to confess, in the end I couldn't get myself to queue, I never found a thrill in getting an autograph from somebody. I however enjoyed watching the fans, how wonderfully patient and considerate she is for their wishes and I enjoyed the whole atmosphere around this session.

At first one couldn't see a thing, because the allocated place was small and photographers were crowding the area. And then it was really like telly, asking her to do this and do that.

After that the fans were allowed to approach one by one, some of them presenting little gifts and then getting their signature and a picture taken.

And there it was this tiny bit of yellow envy: Of course I would not have a picture taken together with her, I would look like an old crow in comparison. Now, in the last IL-diary I asked myself:

... if she is just gorgeous, if she is plastered but it works for her, or if it is all only working on pictures and for real life it's a big no-no. 

She DID look just gorgeous... however, perfect light was installed, make-up was paintwork but suitable for the occasion and hair was glued to the head but equally suitable for the occasion. It just works for her. I even think she could go in normal light and look wonderful while I would make a ridiculous appearence in the best of lights with a make-up and hair like this.

See, that is the thing we call 'Style'. She found hers and we have to find ours. Just plain copying is not working, what however does not mean that her look is not inspiring. It made me even more determined to find a made-up look that works for me.

The next day I was keen to read any comments on Twitter about the event and something truely amazing happened. She individually thanked people for the gifts, and she answered questions in a more elaborate way than one would expect in 140 letters. It was better than any interview which always gives a filtered view of the writer. Here things were straight and honest.

Nobody please ever say anything against Twitter and Co again. All that is needed is to handle the medium the same way life should be handled: With Style!

And now some pictures of Dita and her fans:

And that is how it's Done!

Friday 19 November 2010

The Tale of a Little Donkey

first published some time in 2008

There is this cute little tale of a farmer, his son and a donkey.They are going to the market on a lovely warm day the son riding the donkey while the farmer is walking.

They meet a guy and he starts shouting at them: 'You with your young legs are riding and let your old father walk, shame on you!'
They decide that he has a point and swap places. Until they meet another guy who starts shouting: 'You are a strong grown man and you are riding while you let your poor little son walk, shame on you!'

At first they are a bit confused but then they decide that the guy has a point and both climb the donkey. Until they meet a third guy who starts shouting: 'Look at you two, the poor donkey. How can two blokes ride on that poor little animal together?' They decide that he has a point too, pop the donkey on their shoulders and carry it to the market.

I’m not sure that the donkey is the winner in this story. But I’m sure that you have encountered similar situations where everybody seems to know better. You get all sorts of friendly advice, and everybody seems to be offended if you are not taking it on board. Everybody is meaning so well with helping in, while the load on your shoulders is getting bigger and bigger – as if you wouldn’t have enough problems anyway.

These blogs contains a lot of advice as well, and I would be happy if some of it would help you to achieve what you always wanted to achieve. But there is no way around one single truth: You are in charge of your life and there is nobody in the whole world who knows you better than yourself. So, never let other people put a donkey on your shoulders!

drawings by Rika


first published some time in 2008

I mentioned it before: I’m the mistress of unfinished stuff! I started so many things enthusiastically and then after a few months, when the aura of ‘something new’ had faded I lost interest … usually leaving an feeling of failure.

Today at work one of my colleagues asked how the web site was going and I told him a bit about what I’m doing at the moment and that it is a lot of fun – when a friend of mine joined the conversation commenting a bit sarcastically: “Still…”

Hmm, I guess some people know me too well.

However, it made me think. I’m working for Incredible Ladies since half a year now, spending all my spare time not really knowing where this will all lead to, if people are actually interested in my opinion and if they like this kind of online magazine. So why is my interest not fading?

When I did silk painting everybody loved my work, and I even sold quite a few pieces straight away. You do something – you get rewarded! That should be an incentive to stick with the subject. Nevertheless, I just couldn’t make it a business. And there were many other similar occasions where it just wouldn’t work out. With Incredible Ladies the stream of reward is more like a trickle and I still love it!

And then I remembered an incident that happened last weekend. I had planned a pampering Saturday morning for myself. Walking session early mornings, then a cappuccino with biscotti at the gym bar – and it was ‘the perfect cappuccino’ I got there – after that a bit of steam room and hanging in the hot tub, followed by a full body massage by my favourite beautician Kelly.

While I was hanging in the hot bubble bath contemplating the shapes and figures of my fellow men and women I saw the perfect female shape entering from the other end of the pool. She was just stunningly gorgeous, great posture and perfect proportions. And as she came closer I realized that I knew her. I saw her the first time about 6 years ago when my Australian friend convinced me to join her for step aerobic classes in one of these school sport halls. I liked it although I didn’t understand what the instructor wanted me to do, and after 10 minutes I was absolutely knackered.

And there she was: A lady about my age probably a bit younger, normal face, normal hair, normal figure. She was very good and I always tried to find a place behind her so that I could copy her movements. Then I joined the gym, neglected the classes and lost sight of her, until our former trainer got employed at the gym and there she was as well. I never joined those classed again – too loud and too hectic for me, but she seemed to be obsessed with aerobic classes. During this long period where I only went to the gym very rarely I saw her jumping like a rubber ball whenever I was there.

And then it occurred to me: All these years I didn’t notice her for beauty but for the passion she had for her sport. And this passion had transformed her from a healthy and fit, although rather unflashy woman into a model figure, including the posture and the walk.

When I started writing for the site I felt something that I didn’t know before and I called it determination, and at the beginning that probably was the right term for it. But this has turned into passion now. Determination has this feel of ‘having to …’, this implication of having to reach a certain goal. Passion is aimless – I do what I do because I like it.

I feel passion for my sport – it started because I wanted to achieve something. That is not important anymore. If I get there: Brilliant! If not: Who cares? I just love doing it. I’m passionate about the Incredible Ladies – if you like it: Wonderful! If not: I’ll write it anyway!

Whatever it is you are passionate about: It gives tremendous freedom. It is an island on which the opinions of others don’t matter. All my life I made myself dependent from other people’s opinions – like the guys in the 'Little Tale' – and to an extent I still am. We all are, I suppose. But this little bit of my life is mine – in there everything is as I want it to be because I made it that way, and the sun is always shining.
Well, some people – like me – seemingly have to kiss a few more frogs than others to find a prince, or a passion. And that’s all right!

Now that I found mine I realise that my previous attempts weren’t failures. I learned a lot from every single one of them. So why should one even think of it as a failure only because they were stopped? The experience gained still radiates into this project, thus it was all time well spent.

Thursday 18 November 2010

Meeting a boss

The other day we had a meeting with the boss, and I had to realise that I am pretty rubbish at this. See, there are skills, and there are skills, and with some of mine I seem to be in the wrong place at times.

All throughout ones life the training is around technical skill. Go to a school or a university, they will stuff you with mathematics and chemistry, and geography, and social studies... what is not a bad thing in general: One can find ones interest, enhance the knowledge in a particular field, get a brilliant job, and become stinking rich.

... or work your butt off and still never be happy. Hmmm?!

Well, people choose the wrong subject for various reasons: entering a profession for family tradition, because the prospects are better than in the dream job, or because one doesn't really know what to choose, which sort of was my career decision. C'mon, me and computer science?! Others are just very unlucky to never be in the right place at the right time; finding a job that they can fulfill, but which on the other hand poses enough of a challenge to stay interesting. And then there are the ones who get bad managers.

This might be one of the reasons why almost everybody wants to be a manager of some sort: To escape the managers. Well, money is a nice reason as well, for others power might be the driving force, but I am pretty sure that there are quite a few managers out there who were after 'freedom'. Poor things... they forgot, that unless you own your own business that is not gonna happen.

And this is exactly the thought that is bugging me at the moment: I always wanted to have my own company - but would I really be a good leader? And would it make me happy? If 'yes' one might think that I should have had the guts already to set something up and not working as a secretary anymore... that sounds pretty much like a 'no' then, doesn't it?

There is a sub-type of manager, though: The lone rider. A lone rider might work with a team, but he doesn't trust it. He hates to delegate and always has a plan 'B', 'C', 'D', and 'E' in place to be able to pull things off without any help. Well, THAT pretty much sounds like me...

And then this meeting happened. This boss is not a top-top manager, just high enough to make everybody fly and wanting to get things right, and he is a really nice guy - one of the listening and giving straight forward advice types. In his meetings one can practice stuff in a rather safe environment, and I always, always, wanted to have the opportunity to give a short presentation, with slides and all, something I know my stuff of, and where I would be in the limelight for a brief moment.  I just wanted to know how that feels, if I can do it, and if it is as satisfying as I envisioned it.

There I was, sitting around the table with my team, my slot came... and it was pretty rubbish. For starters I was too long, but that is a technical thing and can be learned; no... there was something else! Initially I couldn't put my finger on it and then it dawned on me: I am not a good team player! See, if it would have been me, I would have driven our project a little bit differently, and although I knew my stuff, I had to spin the story in a way which I would have liked to avoid. But that is what you do in a team: You cover!

Hence there were actually two things that went wrong: Firstly, I didn't have the freedom to do it my way, something I felt uneasy about. Secondly, when the boss started to ask questions, drilling bang into the very direction I had feared, I changed the focus of the talk without agreement of my team mates, and I am not entirely sure that I got that right, so I might have let the cover down. That means that 'team player' is off the table.

That leaves only one position for me, and luckily I am quite comfortable in it: The wing man! I am really rather brilliant in the second line. What makes me a great secretary, or a wife for that matter...and to be honest: Apart from the fact that those are not the best paid jobs in the world, I am pretty happy! So, one probably would want to be careful what to wish for when dreaming up career plans. It seems that the technical skill only plays a smaller part, it is much more important to figure out whether deep down in your heart you are a team player, a wing man, a lone rider, or a manager!