Unpacking Hopeless/Romantic: #single and Worlds of You
Our second box has arrived to our subscribers doorsteps and now we want to share the contents with you!
We did something a lil different this time around and offered up an alternative to the standard novel. As a special treat, we included not one, but TWO books! This led to our theme having two sides - Hopeless and Romantic. We decided on this because we just couldn’t simply choose between the two books - #single and Worlds of You. Both are amazing, hilarious and insightful collections that left us wanting more. Our theme was curated around the idea of Valentine’s day and what it means for those in a relationship, and those who are single AF. It allowed us to play on the concept of being a “hopeless romantic” with a sassy twist. Combining the right amount of sass and sap, we have given our subscribers a box they can relate to no matter their status in the month of love.
Let’s get stuck in to unpacking the books and concept of our Hopeless/Romantic box!
First things first, our featured books:
#single - lost the plot
Jords: A Love Affair with being #single AF
As a forever #single 20-something year old, I was drawn into this hilarious collection of tinder conversations which depict what it’s like on modern dating apps. Long gone are the days of Dead Poet Society teachings about learning poetry to woo women. Now, a quick “hey u up” is deemed acceptable, occasionally followed by salacious imagery and/or promises to “go down on your for hours.” Just a side note - we ain’t got time for that!
I first came across this book while interning at Pantera Press. During my first month they launched their new non-fiction imprint, Lost The Plot and released four new titles - #Single, Just The Tip, Space is Cool as Fuck and a Quit Smoking colouring in book. Each one of these books has been curated by powerhouse sibling duo Alison and Martin Green. In fact, the conversations found within #single are attributed to Alison’s widely successful blog TinderTuesday.com.
The hot pink packaging, use of emojis and relatable content had me in stitches. I knew I wanted to feature this book from the moment I laid eyes on it. It only become more apparent the easier it was to curate fantastic goodies that coincide with the themes of the book. As the ideas flowed and I got to whip out my wit, the more fun I had with the premise of the box. I think Mel felt my excitement, enthusiasm and need to do something creative with this title as she dived head first into the book herself.
While she was reading, I was shooting hilarious ideas at her - we are talking candles “to burn for the one who got away,” cocktail recipes “to drown your sorrows after a terrible tinder date”, a book boyfriend lip balm because “they're the only man worth your time” - some of which made it into the box, some didn’t. Although we really love this book as a standalone, we knew a sassy hopeless ‘romance is dead’ book couldn’t be featured in a romance box. And so we looked to the most romantic collection of poetry and prose there is, Worlds of You by Melbourne poet Beau Taplin!
Mel: Online Dating 101
As a young woman who has been on and off dating apps since I was about 19, #single was so #relatable! Most young women have been there, received that unsolicited dick pic, and waded through the masses of rude, crude, and utterly uninspiring messages from dudes online. In order to share specifics of my OkCupid adventures however, I’d have to reactivate my account, and fortunately for me, I’ve got a special someone in my life (who I met on OkCupid, no less) and am not presently in the market for a new squeeze. Thank goodness. Interestingly I’ve chatted to dude friends who were on the same sites, and while the ladies are navigating the tidal waves of messages, men, apparently find that there is a drought of responsive women. After much discussion, I believe they understand why now, upon the realisation of just how many messages one woman can receive in one day. Replying to 5 random guys in one day is tiring enough, let alone the 20 that might pop up with a “hey ur hot”. #single is such an insightful and funny peek into the world of Tinder that every guy who’s ever complained that women don’t reply on dating apps, should 100% read. Seriously fellas, please read it, and help to put an end to the mayhem of women’s dating app inboxes everywhere.
I admit, however, that I’ve been lucky and met a number of truly wonderful people through these apps, and with patience and great search and inbox filters (lookin’ at you OkC) it’s been a mostly positive experience in my case. Except for all those creeps with lines about how ‘innocent’ and ‘angelic’ I looked, only to go on to say something crass and graphic. Those guys can fuck right off.
Worlds of You by Beau Taplin
Jords: A Love Affair with Romance
I spent many late nights devouring this book on my midnight bus ride home from work. It might have been the eerie bus ride, the tired after-work state, but something in me connected with every word Beau wrote. I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with some poems and prose, and shaking my head at others. Some made me laugh, others were so raw I felt immense sorrow. Beau’s insights into human relationships, connections and emotions are romantic, raw and real. His words can inspire you to continue searching for love after feeling utter despair and heartbreak and this is why I wanted this book to feature as our “romantic” side.
I must admit, I found it hard to come up with the tags for this side. It’s a very thin line between sounding ridiculously corny and sarcastic, and sounding sincere. I’ve never been much of a lovey-dovey sappy person with my words but I absolutely loved the concept of two-sided tags not to try. The words flowed easier once we had our amazing goodies in place and could play off the literary references. For me, Beau’s words strike the chord in me that is dampened to human emotion, closed off from hopelessly romantic notions of ‘true love’ and the hollywood garbage of the ‘ideal relationship.’ Beau speaks of the heartbreak, the pain and the never ending desire to do it all again despite all of this. And this is what John Keating has been trying to teach us all along.
Mel: Hesitantly Romantically Inclined
Worlds of You is a beautiful book. And I admit such things with hesitation. Something about not wanting to fall into the “sappy girl” category. But I do, here, now, admit that I love a bit of poetry, and I relate deeply to the expressions of pain, joy and love in Worlds of You. I do actually love a good romance, because why wouldn’t you, and the very fact that I feel opposed to openly admitting that out of some anxiety that I’ll be seen as less sassy, less intellectual, and more sappy and delusional about love, is pretty lame. Love, to be willingly cliche, is a beautiful, miraculous thing, and it is one of many things that makes life worth living. I especially appreciate that Beau Taplin actually talks a great deal, probably more, about the pain of love, than love itself. Because that’s one of the amazing things about love. For most of us, it isn’t love-at-first-sight and then happily-ever-after. It’s trial and error, pain and growth. And I’m really glad we didn’t go one way or the other with this box, that we brought the humour, fun, and frustrations about dating together with romance represented authentically to Beau’s experience.
Working with Aussie Women (Part 2)
We have found amazing women to showcase in this box! They create fantastic literary products and we are very thankful they already work with book subscriptions boxes (and even have their own!). The products are handpicked, and boy did we have a ball shopping for you! Curating the gifts is by far the best bit about creating these boxes (other than reading the books of course!) and we had such a blast looking for suitable items. We chose items that can be viewed with equal measures of salt and sugar.
One of my favourite (Jords) parts of this box was being able to collaborate directly with Ali through my internship at Pantera. Ali has been extremely supportive of us from the get go and was always willing to answer our questions, be shown designs and talk about the concepts of the box. As she is technically the author of #single, we wanted to make sure she was on board with our artistic decisions, even if that meant popping into her office and shoving artwork in her face. Completing this internship at the same time as doing this box was both helpful and inspiring. We look forward to working with Pantera Press again.
The NovelTea Co. - Jasmine
The NovelTea Co. creates some delicious teas based on famous literary characters. We settled on the Lizzie Bennet inspired tea because her wit, charisma and love story represents what our theme is about. Lizzie doesn’t settle for less (looking at you Mr Collins), falls for a fuck boy (eye-balling you Mr Wickman) before realising who she loved was in front of her the whole time (Mr Darcy, preferably emerging from a lake “less formally attired”). She felt like the perfect literary reference to compliment the two sides of our box creating a tea for everyone! Whether you are a Austen-ite, a love-struck couple or a love stuck individual, this tea is for you. Sip on it to calm your nerves, to sink into your Mr Darcy or to forget your Mr Collins.
Jas, the mastermind behind the tea, was inspired to take her YouTube channel - where she gushed about books while drinking tea - to a whole new level. Her blends are absolutely delicious and we highly recommend trying out a few of them! Her teas are also featured in her book subscription service The NovelTea Bookclub, which she co-runs.
Behind The Pages. - Gina
In the wise words of our housemate (and Mel’s boyfriend) Dylan “Jamie is HOT.” ‘Nuff said.
I could leave it at that, but who doesn’t want to gush about the Scotsman? After spending a week traipsing around Scotland last year, and learning all about the Jacobite revolution, I have a keen appreciation for Jamie. His rugged good looks aside - Claire and Jamie’s love story is one full of hopelessly romantic ideals. Firstly, Claire is MARRIED, in another time nonetheless, but still, homegirl got a man at home and yet we all DIG their steamy affair. Their relationship makes hearts swoon, melts icy exteriors and has us all believing in the notion of “true love.”
Jamie is the perfect book bae to pucker up to - whether you are loved up or loving yourself.
The lipbalms smell just as you’d imagine Jamie would - a mixture of rum, tobacco and mahogany - leaving your senses to imagine kissing the main man himself!
Gina is the woman behind the lip balm which makes all our senses pucker up. She also creates deliciously smelling lip scrubs, bath bombs, shower fizzies, soaps, shower lotion and much more! She also creates monthly boxes which feature all of her products. Check them out on her website Behind The Pages.
Artwork & Design
As usual I (Mel) put together the design for the paper products in this box, and this box was a blast! It was the best fun to sit down with Jords and brainstorm sassy and sappy statements, even if I had to do double the work this time in order to do the dual theme justice.
The Date Night Planner was great fun. I had started the designs with our Contributor pamphlet, using colours that complemented the respective books, and simply went on from there to keep our visual theme consistent. Having made planners before for my illustration business The Little Inkery, it wasn’t too different, and it was fun to devise ways to make the two page designs fresh and interesting. I especially loved our ‘Deal Breakers’ column, and our example page’s appointment with Firefighter Francis, who I kind of wish was real (credit to Jords for that great alliteration.)
For the prints this time I got to do something fun, Emma Woodhouse’s Tinder Profile, and something pretty, the artwork, Mind Full of You. (The double print was a once off only, future boxes will only feature ONE print, unless we do two books again, but that’s not going to be the norm)
Once again, brainstorming Emma’s Tinder profile with Jords was a highlight, and mainly consisted of us spending an entire day binge-watching the BBC miniseries. As Austen’s favourite matchmaker and socialite Emma felt like the perfect character for this idea, and she didn’t disappoint! This artwork was done in watercolour, then scanned and the Tinder profile design added digitally.
For the Mind Full of You print I was inspired by the floral design of the Worlds of You cover, and started experimenting with drawings I had already, and the covers colour scheme. I was designing this at the same time as the Contributor Pamphlet which is why the motif is the same. While I was designing, Jords suggested a silhouette of a person's head, which I actually initially misunderstood, but despite this a lovely print evolved. This artwork was designed digitally using artworks I had previously done in ink and watercolour and scanned.
The bookmark was created with the same design elements as the tags, planner and contributor pamphlet, and features a quote from each book on either side. We had a lot of fun picking quotes.
Our tags read:
#single side: "Keeping track of all your "bae's who ain't your bae's" like..."
WOY side: "Make plans to woo your lover this Autumn"
We got everything printed at Kaligraphic Print, our favourite local printer (and Mel’s 9-5) and were so pleased with how beautifully they all came out.
To check out more of Mel's work you can find her etsy store here at The Little Inkery
We had so much fun putting this box together, and we hope our subscribers had just as much unboxing it. For those of you who didn’t get your hands on one, watch this space for an exciting upcoming giveaway! Tell us in the comments below your favourite aspect of the box, or quote from the books.