Dear Inglis

Dear Inglis,

There are so many things that will be different now that you are gone; no longer will I be greeted by your big head and your wagging tail when I go to mum and dad’s house; no longer will I be followed into the guest room where you will inevitably sleep on the floor next to me if I had to crash there; and no longer will I fuss about what to buy you for your birthday and for Christmas.

This will forever be my favourite photo I captured of you.

When you looked up at me with pain in your eyes as you took your last breaths on this earth, I have never felt a heartbreak worse than that. You were the love of my life. You are the love of my life. I always said that no matter whom was thrust into my life, they couldn’t compare to you, because no one would ever be as happy to see me as you were. And to see you go to sleep for the final time has completely destroyed me. I knew that you were in pain, and the only thing worse than seeing you fall to a final sleep, would be to see you try to get through every day as your body slowly succumbed to the cancer that had eventually brought an end to your happy, full life.

I still remember when we first got you as a little innocent puppy, and I thought I could get in before everyone else did, and I called you Zelda, even though you were a boy. I even tried to call you Zelda after we had officially named you Inglis Cronk Slater Smith just to see if you’d respond, and you didn’t. You were too clever for my little shenanigans.

Never too good to sleep on the bed.

And then you grew up, and you were an absolute rascal. I wondered if those flappy ears on that big noggin of yours were just for decoration; you would do things that would irritate us, and you knew it would irritate us, but you’d do it anyway. You would bark at nothing, and I would open the door to tell you to be quiet, and you’d look up at me sheepishly, knowing that you were in trouble. But as soon as that door was shut again, BARK BARK BARK.

I wouldn’t exactly call you the smartest dog in the canine species as well. You wore that participation award at puppy school with pride, probably because you knew deep down that you wouldn’t be as smart as the other dogs. I often compared you to the stereotypical jock of Hollywood high school movies: big, handsome, athletic, and stupid as hell. The permanent look on your face told me “I’m Inglis, I’m hungry, do you like food? Because I like food. My name is Inglis. Did I mention I like food?” I’m glad that of the few things that you retained in that beautiful big head of yours, you learned to do your toilet business outside, as taught to you by my handsome Border Collie x Kelpie, Stumpy.

My favourite thing about you was when you would know if you were in trouble if I used your full name. Inglis Cronk Slater Smith. I said it so many times when I was angry at you that it just slipped off the tongue so effortlessly. But you knew when it was a simple ‘Inglis’, you were in the clear, and you would waltz on over with a smile on your face.

Actually, no. My favourite thing about you was how you would know when I was upset, and you would fight tooth and nail to get to me and lick the tears off my face and give me as many kisses as you possibly could just to show that through all the heartache and pain I may had faced, you still loved me. And that was enough. And it really was. I’m just annoyed it took me a while to see that.

“Can you hurry up so I can eat my damn cake, please?”

Often when someone refers to someone as “the love of their life”, they go on dates, right? Well, we did that. In the last weeks of your life when I was housesitting to look after you, I would order in food – and not share with you, regardless of that look you gave me – and we would watch movies on Netflix. Remember how much you liked How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? I don’t think you left my side when we watched that. However, you weren’t so keen on Christmas With a View, which I don’t understand, because as your owner, you should’ve adopted my liking for terrible Christmas movies.

Some people may haven’t been as happy to see me as I would’ve liked, but you always were. And when I saw you in the last minutes of your life, and you saw the tears flowing out of my eyes, with your last ounces of energy, you raised your head and licked it away, because you knew that I needed your comfort at that moment more than I’ve ever needed it before.

Whenever I hear Don’t Stop by No Doubt, I won’t think of how it’s one of my favourite all-time songs; it will serve as a reminder of our bond. I remember it so clearly, as if it were yesterday; I held you in my arms, and belted out those Gwen Stefani lyrics, and watched in amusement as you tried to squirm out of my hold as I potentially rendered you partially deaf with my horrible singing voice squealing.

I will always love you, my baby.

In your last moments with me, my baby, I could tell you knew what was going to happen. Your eyes were red and sad, because you knew you would be saying farewell to me and to the rest of your family. But we couldn’t let you live like that, my big boy. There was no way we could do that.

But what I wouldn’t give to wake up and see you on the floor next to me, laying on your back with your paws in the air, with your mouth drooping; or to see you look at me sitting on the sofa, and then you would place one paw on the couch, as if to ask me “So can I come up there and sit with you?”; or to just give me those kisses that I needed so much when I felt as broken as I do now. I really need those kisses now, Inglis, but I have to make peace with the fact that I will never get them again.

Rest easy, my beautiful baby boy. Tell Stumpy I miss him, and now I hope you can enjoy all the rope games, and eat all the chocolate guilt free like I do, knowing that it can’t harm you now. You have been the most beautiful, loyal and caring dog, and anyone who has come into contact with you over the years is that much better off having known you.

I love you so much Inglis Cronk Slater Smith, and I will never forget you. You will always hold a special place in my heart.

With love,

Noah/Nikki xoxo

Happy 35th Anniversary to My Parents!

My parents are honestly couple goals.

On this date 35 years ago, my parents got married. And what is amazing about this is that each day, they fall more in love with each other. If you hear that old trope that “marriage ruins relationships”, then let me be the one to tell you that is false because my parents are living proof of this.

This was taken exactly two years ago, when my sisters and I crashed their anniversary dinner. What legends.

In their time together, they’ve had five children, – one obviously better than the other and I am definitely talking about myself here – countless amounts of homes, about five dogs (correct me if I am wrong), and one hell of a journey together.

As a sort of present to them, and a way to celebrate their coral/jade anniversary, I gave them both a quick questionnaire to answer about the other. Here is what they had to say:

Mum
1. When and where did you meet dad? How old were you and how old was he? He was 14 and I saw him at a basketball game. I was 16.
2. What was your first impression of him? Didn’t think much of him.
3. When and where was your first date? At the movies on Queen Street in November 1976.
4. What did his parents think of you when they first met you? I never met them (when we were dating).
5. When and where was your first kiss? At the movie.
6. How did he propose? What was his first reaction? He proposed on the step of my house in November 1982.
7. What were your first thoughts when you saw him at your wedding? Grey. He was wearing grey.
8. How many kids did you plan to have? At least two.
9. What is your favourite memory with him? When Toni was sitting on the bed, she was sitting on the bed in her white dress and it took his breath away.
10. What is your favourite thing about him now? He is the most handsome man in the whole wide world.

Dad
1. When and where did you meet mum? How old were you and how old was she? Newmarket in Auckland, New Zealand. I was 16 and she was 18.
2. What was your first impression of her? I had no impression.
3. When and where was your first date? Movie on Friday night in Auckland city
4. What did her parents think of you when they first met you? I’m not too sure. They were very open and friendly.
5. When and where was your first kiss? The movie in Auckland on our first date.
6. How did you propose? What was her first reaction? I asked her in front of her home. She was happy.
7. What were your first thoughts when you saw her at your wedding? I’m getting married to her.
8. How many kids did you plan to have? No real number.
9. What is your favourite memory with her? In the temple when we got married and had Toni and Stacie sealed to us.
10. What is your favourite thing about her now? Her support for me and the family.

Besides some slight miscommunication on question one (looks at dad), and also I’m pretty sure both of their favourite memories together was having their fifth and final child, they are truly the most perfect couple! Happy anniversary mum and dad! I love you a bunch!

– by Noah La’ulu

The Problem of Being a Princess Traveller

Three and a half stars is my absolute minimum.

If you can’t tell by the travel part of Widow’s Lure, I absolutely love to travel. Seeing new places, meeting new people, trying new things… it’s all such an incredible experience. But so far, as a 24-year-old man, I have only been able to visit four countries (five if you include Australia).

But if I’m going to be honest, my country count probably won’t increase so much because I am a self-confessed Princess. And that really hinders my opportunities of travel for several different reasons.

Hanging a spreadie on top of the Rockefeller Center like a Princess.

If you want proof, just ask the people I went on my two Contikis tours with. In both End of Tour Contiki Awards, I won the Princess award. By a landslide.

Young Australians, including many of my friends, can pick up and go and travel across Europe and South America and stay overseas for months or even years. How do they do it? They stay in hostels, volunteer at organizations looking for young workers, and visit less-fortunate countries where the Aussie dollar has more value over there. I can honestly say that I am comfortable doing none of the above.

If you haven’t gathered by now, I have expensive a very specific taste in life, and my taste in life comes at a very high cost. For starters, I cannot stay at a hostel. Like point blank refuse will not do ever don’t even think about it. I don’t care how cheap the accommodation is there, why on earth would I want to share a bathroom with people I don’t know when I could have a bathroom to myself. In saying that, I can’t even stay at motels or hotels that are less than three and a half stars. I was once booked in a two star hotel in Los Angeles, and it was that traumatic that I don’t even want to discuss the finer details of it. Needless to say, I am alive and well. Also, a couple of the hotels I stayed at on Contiki had more than one floor, and no elevator. Like. I just can’t.

My style of travelling also means I can’t do it as much as other young people do. The other style of traveller can find cheap plane tickets, stay in Europe for six to nine months, live at a hostel or volunteer at an organization that offers food and accommodation, and Bobsuruncle. It’s so cheap that they could probably go back to Europe in another month or so. Meanwhile, I get flights, stay in hotels everywhere I go, eat out for every meal, and can essentially only afford to travel for five or six weeks. And that’s me done for about a year or two. My style of travelling is expensive and doesn’t last as long, but at least I am comfortable with it. I wish I could travel as long as the hostel travellers, I really do, but contradictory to what some may believe, I fund my own lifestyle. I don’t have handouts from the Bank of Daddy, and I am not swimming in inheritance money.

While I am interested in experiencing different cultures, I can’t see myself visiting the less than fortunate countries. I would like to think I am a decent person, and would love to volunteer for charity organizations in third-world countries that would need help, but the small problem of “I would have to stay there in those poor living conditions” is a red light for me. And I can’t do it. I need a bed, a roof over my head, some clean stylish clothes, and a nice meal on a dinner plate with a fork and a knife. If that makes me a snob, then so be it. I am a snob.

Culture shock for me was going to Subway in Texas and finding out that they didn’t have veggie patties. Imagine this Princess going to a country like Bangladesh… the culture shock would be so overwhelming that I may pass out. Admittedly, I will only ever feel comfortable visiting other westernised countries, like England, New Zealand, Ireland and Wales.

There will be some avid travellers out there who could potentially read this and think that I am a piece of shit for pretty much saying I am too good to visit certain countries, but I don’t regret saying any of this. It’s the fascination of humans; every human is raised differently, and therefore grows up differently. My parents raised me to appreciate the finer things in life, which means that I am too precious to stay in a motel with a single bed and a kitchenette. You are free to live your volunteering in a third-world country, but it isn’t for me, as much as I would like it to be.

Now, something that frugal travellers and Princesses alike can appreciate. Contiki. I cannot recommend it enough, even if some of the hotels don’t have elevators, and you’re stuck standing there waiting for someone to carry your suitcase up the flight of stairs because you just don’t do that kind of thing. If you’re looking for a unique kind of travel experience, and an opportunity to meet some new people, visit the Contiki website and book through your travel agent immediately.

– by Noah La’ulu

Satisfashion: Dressing with Coloured Hair

Coloured hair is in. Mixing that colour with ten different others on your outfit isn’t.

Ever since that fateful night in Quebec City where my dearest Bree bleached my hair in a night of drunken fun, I’ve been obsessed with having hair colours that aren’t my natural shade. Ever since then, I’ve been blond, dark roots with blue and pink tips, blond again, red and blue with blond sides, red and blue with red and blue sides, and moved onto just red and blue on top with dark sides.

Since then, I have gone back to my natural colour so to save my hair from further damage. But with my red-and-blue-do, I couldn’t successfully wear different colours because it clashed with my hair. It’s a risk you don’t think of when dying your hair, but when your hair is bright pink, that automatically means you can’t wear green with orange or yellow. Unless you want to look like you got dressed in the dark. I mean, I’m not going to judge you or anything…

My advice to those with extreme coloured hair like mine used to be is to stick to your shades, and accentuate the colour in your hair with similar colours in your outfit. I haven’t been in the coloured hair game for long, but I’ve come to understand that some parts of my current wardrobe were under quarantine until I returned to a natural shade of hair colour… which sucks, by the way. Having plan coloured hair is BORING.

For example, if you have purple hair, maybe accessorise your black and greys with different shades of purple, or even a really hot shade of pink that compliments your hair.

For me personally, I found it quite easy to dress myself. When you’re a Patriots fan, you have lots of red and blue in your wardrobe. When you’re a fan of the Bella Twins, you will have lots of red in your wardrobe also. And if you just ignore the fact that this was a costume for a pole dancing show, the colouring in my outfit work with my hair so well.

Photo captured by The Black Light. Taken at Pole Plus Studios.

I have worn reds and blues to match my hair, and have stuck to neutral shades like white and black so that the two primary colours are the main focus of the outfit. And if I were to wear shoes with this outfit, I would stick to reds, blues, blacks and whites anyway. I guess this means that Harley Quinn knows how to style an outfit to work with my hair, not me…

I guess you get the idea now. But just in case you don’t, let me give you a short instruction list…

TL;DR
Wear colours similar to your extremely dyed hair.
Match that with blacks, whites and greys.
Complimentary colours are okay (eg: if you have blue hair, wearing deep shades of purple is okay).
Try not to have too many colours on your outfit.
Don’t look like a Mario Kart Rainbow Road. No one likes Rainbow Road. No one.

You’re so welcome.

– by Noah La’ulu