Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things We Love Thursday

Amazing illustrations from Brooke Weeber are also something we love!

Ell-Leigh Loves:

Harry Potter. More on that later.

Seeing Old Friends and being incredibly social all week: since last thursday, I've only had one night that I haven't spent doing something exciting with peeps over at my place or partying and doing exciting things in town.

Lauren Loves: 

Harry Potter - obviously. Very little else has been going on in my head this week except for harrypotterharrypotterharrypotterharrypotterHARRYPOTTER. It's been a particularly productive time.

This photo - from when Sophie and I went iceskating. Even though I was really bad at it and fell and hurt myself, it was such a fun evening. I found the photo on my camera when I was looking at the photos from Harry Potter, and I love how happy and wintery we both look.

This video:
which is ridiculous and makes me laugh. You should watch it after going to a mid-week midnight screening and eating an incredible amount of sugar (everything in this post is connected to Harry Potter, by the way).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Fun Day.

Things that are awesome:

Art vs Science
On saturday, Lauren, her sister, our friend Jas and I hit the Valley to see Art vs Science. It was an incredible show. Their music is brilliant and fun and live they really created an amazing atmosphere - I literally spent the majority of the gig with a gigantic grin on my face. When we went out to "The Official Afterparty" the DJs played some really great music to dance to and we partied down til the early hours of the morning.

Game of Thrones 
Started watching on saturday. Am watching final episode of the first season now - talk about intense! Such a brilliant tv show, and so many brilliant story twists, so many incredibly crafted characters, so many attractive actors and actresses. Needless to say, to anyone who has seen it, the famous 10min video of Joffery being slapped is entirely necessary viewing right now.

Garlic Na'an Bread
Ah-mazing. I've only recently started to eat Indian take-away, and I have to say, I'm a totally in food-love with garlic na'an, especially when it's warm on a cold winter night!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How To Do More Of That Thing You Love

Source: FFFFound (via Sleevelessness)
So you have a passion. You love baking, or photography, or writing, but you never seem to do it. Between your day job, chores, friends and the odd at home facial, there barely seems enough time in the day to do That Thing You Love. You’ve even gotten to the point where although it’s still at the top of your “Interests” list on your Facebook page, you haven’t done this thing in such a long time that you’ve mentally downgraded it from “passion” to “hobby”. It’s just one of those things that you were once exceptionally talented at and loved doing beyond all else that you just don’t do anymore.

Ring a bell? It does here. While caught up in the whirlwind of a new job and working on this website, I hadn’t done any scriptwriting or video work in such a long time that when I did eventually get around to making something, I skipped about my apartment because I’d forgotten how much I’d loved it. Final Cut Express was the old faithful stuffed animal that got shunned for the shiny new toys I’d gotten over Christmas that was suddenly rediscovered and it renewed the elation of playing with it… Well maybe until it crashed and I hadn’t saved in a while... But that’s final cut for you. And, you get the gist.

Source: FFFFound (via Sleevelessness)
So here are some tips I’ve found to help you do more of what you love:

Find a way to make it important. Say you love photography – instead of promising to make time for it and then reneging on that promise frequently, tie it into something that you will actually do. For instance, say your Mum’s birthday was coming up – perhaps you could get your family together to take some great photos to put into a scrapbook as a present. Or you could take some photograph restoration courses and restore some of her favourite photos that have faded or a simply old and tattered. Similarly, if you make writing on your blog a priority, and you love film and editing, make a video for your blog.

Make a habit of it. This is where I like to use my “21 Days to Change a Habit” stationary from Kikki K. Do that thing you love everyday for 21 days, and it’s said that you should have by then made that thing into a daily habit. So, say I wanted to hone in on my writing, I would challenge myself to write every day for a week (yes, even weekends) and when I get to the final day of my week I would reward myself with something, like a trip to Video Ezy or a block of Raw Dark Chocolate. This trick also works if for flossing.

Make Your Passion Easier To Do. You love painting – but every time you do it you have to clean your brushes and pack everything away and sometimes it’s just easier to roll over and die. Yes. It sucks. So perhaps you could try to make it easier for yourself. Instead of getting out your paints, perhaps you could simply sketch, or try using a drawing tablet with a program like Photoshop. You like photography, but hate carrying around your giant expensive camera bag? Perhaps you could experiment with the camera on your phone instead. Trying new mediums can help to broaden your artistic horizons and make your work in your original medium better. And hey, if you don’t like it, just switch back.

Do That Thing You Love With Your Friends. You love baking? Well I bet your friends will love you baking too. Or Snorkelling? Well, I bet you have at least one friend who would jump at the chance to spend a day at the beach with you. Or photography? Throw a picnic and invite your friends to dress up in vintage wear and get snapping. Love baking, snorkelling and photography? Combine all of the previous for a delicious vintage picnic photo shoot at the beach. Involving someone else means that you commit time to That Thing You Love and it’s a lot harder to wriggle your way out of. If your friends are obliging, it can be the quickest way to get out of your Thing-You-Love-less rut and before you know it you’ve fallen back in love with That Thing You Love once again.

Good Luck!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Madness!

Unlike last monday, when I had the day almost entirely free to lie in bed and read, today has been the opposite, and since hopping out of bed this morning I've been rushed off my feet. My To-Do list for the day spilled over the post-it note which would regularly be ample room for my day's worth of chores and such, and as I buzzed about the city crossing each of them off I couldn't help but feel incredibly productive.

On top of this feeling of accomplishment and organised-ness, I kept getting ideas for a creative project I've recently thought up. Of course, the ideas come at the strangest, most awkward moments, such as while driving (can't write anything down then, can you?) or in the shower (notepad and pencil don't go down too well in there either), and since I've been so busy today, my mind has been in overdrive, churning out insights into characters and plot points and all of the rest. When I'm sitting at my computer ready for the ideas to come, they generally tend to be off doing something else (ain't that the way?).

So I've almost finished unpacking from my trip up the hill to T'ba the weekend past, and I almost have to start packing for my trip to Hervey Bay and then to Gladstone to see my family this Thursday. I picked up my sister's birthday present this morning (checked off the list) and can't wait to give it to her on friday! She's going to LOVE it. Yay.

How about your monday?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things We Love Thursday

Things Ell-Leigh Loves:
Crazy Sexy Awesome; As previously mentioned I'm back on Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet and it's doing me wonders! I'm feeling great, fresh, energised and slim. Last time I CSD'd I found that my sinus allergies cleared up a whole heap so I'm hoping that happens again this time, considering in the last few days I've gone through an entire box of tissues...

Reading and Writing and Ideas, oh my! Since starting The Writer's Tale by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook my brain has been in serious writer mode, a mode which it hasn't seen much of recently, much to my dismay. However, all the discussion of writing and storytelling has bombarded me brain and I've once again been forced to place my pink moleskin notepad and a pencil beside my bed for late night idea scrawling.

Small things Ell-Leigh Loves: reading The Writer's Tale and reliving all my favourite moments from Dr Who series 4 (I'm such a Whovian right now), crisp capsicum in my dinner, grocery shopping (it makes me feel so grown up and responsible), watching Go Back Where You Came From on SBS (Raquel! God!), ZUMBA (yeah, did the 20min workout today, funtimes!)!

Things Lauren Loves:
Holidays Soon!: So, I don't actually get 'holidays', but since in both my jobs I work with school children, school holidays still provide me with a bit of a break. I switch to working mornings instead of afternoons and evenings and have weekends free. Hurrah for afternoons! To be honest, I've had a massive first half of the year, and while it's been great, I'm exhausted. I'm looking forward to the time resting, relaxing in my rocking chair with a blanket, some mulled wine and a good book.

Little things I love: haircut haircut haircut!, winning amazing free things at the hairdressers (like a tiny, cute, green speaker for my mp3 player), as Ell-Leigh: watching Go Back Where You Came From on SBS and being proud that it was made by people in my country (and terribly ashamed of what it says about my country at the same time), washing all my clothes and feeling like I have a new wardrobe, finding the perfect pair of pink jeans, committing to buy nothing new next month and curbing my spending, stocking up on icepacks and bandages for my poor sore knee (I'm trying to turn this one into a is fun even for medical supplies...?), planning delicious mulled wine for our party tomorrow night.

Awesome pink jeans!! Souce here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A whole novel in a day.

Last night I started reading Portia de Rossi's Unbearable Lightness. I read three chapters before deciding to go to sleep. When I awoke this morning with very little actual work to do and an incredibly runny nose, I decided to curl up with my box of tissues and read until something made me get up. As it turned out, I spent the entire day, with a few half hour long exceptions for picking up groceries and dropping my sister to her exam and eating breakfast and lunch, in bed reading. And a few moments ago I finished the book.

It is a really intense and well written novel, and I would recommend it to anyone. Not only is it heart-wrenchingly honest and frightening, but it's final chapter is especially hopeful and life-affirming (A quick aside for those who have finished it, and those who just simply agree with me - how gorgeous are Ellen and Portia! Aww. So sweet! True love. Sigh...). It really confirmed for me how important it is to be true to yourself and not deny yourself the things you want and love. This article is really interesting if you've read or want to read it...

When was the last time you read an entire novel in a day? For many this pleasure is reserved for special occasions, such as the release of the Harry Potter books (Stevie, my sister read the final book in less than 24 hours. It took me two weeks! The others I read in one to three days, however...) or particularly short novels. Have you read anything you couldn't put down for the life of you?

I remember last year when I started reading The Hunger Games I actually made excuses not to go anywhere despite being invited by a number of people out to do things (like go to Walmart and go swimming in the river) because I just wanted to find out what happened next. It was intense! I've got my other sister's copy of the second book in the series, but I'm not going to read it until I get all my library books read... If it's anything like the first book I doubt I'll be leaving my apartment for a day or two.

Things I'm thankful for today (because after reading the Epilogue of Portia's book I'm in a particularly thankful mood); avocado on toast/rice cakes when I run out of bread, oreos, dancing around to Gimme Sympathy by Metric, going to parties I wasn't personally invited to and having a wicked time, raw vegan chocolate, catching up with old friends, cheering up friends who are in need of some cheer, seeing X-Men First Class again, which brings me to the next item on my things I'm thankful for list - James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender's faces, Strawberry and Lime cider, trying to think of a great costume for a "Hollywood/Movie" themed party - or, more specifically, trying to choose whether to go in a Team Zissou (The Life Aquatic) costume, as Margot Tenenbaum (The Royal Tenenbaums) or as Shoshana from Inglorious Basterds.

get dancing, friends.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Being Creative

Lauren Says: 

When Ell-Leigh first suggested we write about the importance of being creative, I laughed in a, “Oho! Creative, important, yes!” *Gulp!* kind of way. Creativity, demonstrating it and possessing it, has always been a rather anxious issue for me and my reaction made this quite clear.

In my childhood creativity was held up as a commodity, or at least, that’s the way I saw it. Artistic talent and creativity were linked in a way that meant those who could draw, sing, dance or sculpt pretty things were good and those who couldn’t, were bad. Not in an overtly discriminatory way, definitely not in a ‘separated into opposing groups like the blue eyed/brown eyed experiment’ kind of way, but in such a way that I, at least, felt it.

You see, I can’t draw very well. In fact I’m not particularly good with any type of hand-work, so sculpting, painting and carving were all struck off the list as well. Nor can I dance in a way that garners praise or, much to my constant disappointment, sing particularly tunefully. As a child, there seemed to be a push to be able to do these things, and a sense that while you could be whip smart, fantastic at arithmetic and spelling, a master of organisation and even particularly sporty, if you weren’t artistic then you weren’t creative and you were really lacking that something. It was, and bear with my while I sound overly dramatic, almost as though you were a little less of a ‘full human’ if you didn’t possess creative talent. (Thinking about this always reminds me very much of the children needing to be creative in Kazuo Ishiguro’s book NeverLet Me Go. I think Tommy’s struggle with the issue is one of the main reasons I love that book).

It was at about eighteen or nineteen, while I worked through my Bachelor of Theatre Arts degree (a course I took all the while fighting the little voice inside which cried, “But you are not creative!!”) that I had an epiphany about creativity. Creativity and ‘artistic-ness’ are not linked. Not, at least, as I had believed. Artistic skill or talent is relative; it depends on what our society likes at the time and what each persons own preferences. Creativity, on the other hand, is a little bit more definitive. It is the ability to think differently than we have been, to solve problems, adapt to situations, see opportunities and manipulate our world.

In terms of how important I think it is to be creative, well first I have to shift this ingrained idea that creativity is linked to ‘making pretty things’ and my sadness about my own inability to do so and focus on what creativity really is. And, once I’ve done that, I can tell you that I think it’s incredibly important. When I consider the people I know who ‘feel down’, or the times when I have myself, it’s always linked to a feeling of being trapped or stuck in a routine, life or world that doesn’t have any movement. Everything is the same and nothing is exciting anymore, there’s no colour, no light and seemingly no way out. Why?  I think it’s because the person has either forgotten or is not able to work their life creatively.

If you are living creatively you are seeing the opportunities you have to turn all situations into good, positive and worthwhile experiences; you are working out problems not just watching them; you are active rather than passive or aggressive. I would argue that holding creativity, with all its energy and wakefulness, is the state that we are naturally meant to sit in as people, and that without it we are lost and unhappy.

Creativity is not about artistic-ness or visual aesthetics, but it is about the beauty of life. A business that is run creatively in a way that allows for growth, flexibility and new ideas is a thing of beauty to see and experience. There is a harmony there that speaks to us, and the owners, managers, employees and clients will feel this and be happy. There is no one better way to be creative than others. The creativity of a baker who experiments with ingredients to bake the healthiest and most delicious loaf of bread is no more than that of a secretary who solves scheduling conflicts with astounding ease. A novelist may be no more creative than a teacher or a salesperson or a stay at home dad, but all these people may utilise their ability to live creatively to different degrees, and that’s what makes the difference.

I can’t draw well because I’m not particularly visually oriented and I have weak hands. All this means is that I’m not a drawer. I do my best work when manipulating and sharing ideas and I do this best when I do it creatively. We all possess creativity, but it’s a muscle that needs to be practised and strengthened through use and time. It’s scary to use it, because doing anything differently than we have been told or shown means we have take the responsibility for the actions we’ve chosen and their consequences. But it’s that challenge and adventure that keep us vital, happy and looking forward.

Creativity is important. So is making sure we understand what that really means. I think right now our society can lack both the understanding of and push for creativity. And that’s why things sometimes seem not so great, and more so than seems normal. We need to work on this, as individuals and as a group, as role models, friends and family members. Creativity is important.

Ell-Leigh Says: 

When I suggested to Lauren that we write about creativity, I’d really suggested more that we write about the idea that to be a writer/actor/creative artist in any way shape or form that you had to do creative things everyday. As it turns out, she was creatively lead in a different direction – however this is what I’ll be writing about, as it’s something that has niggled at me for a long time. For some reason it has been drilled into my tortured noggin that creative artist = morning pages, daily writing or setting aside half an hour of every 24 in order to work on your craft despite your day job. I can pinpoint the moment when I first took this belief on board; it was sitting in a large class full of all of the creative arts students in first year, when my lecturer told us about morning pages and The Artists Way, which caused an influx of library holds on the book and a number of online purchases (including one myself).

But do real artists actually take their time out to do these things? And how much of a certain thing constitutes enough? Are the ten minutes I spend thinking of awesome concepts for Lady Gaga film clips while I chop up carrots for lunch able to be considered part of my “working on my craft” time? Or when, on a whim, I decide to dream cast the novel I’m reading, or re-cast an old film I’m watching for an imaginary remake, am I just giving into my film-nerdy side, or can I add these points to “creative time”? Do I get points for critically analysing the episode of Glee I just watched with my sister, or making time in my schedule to watch a classic film I’d hadn’t yet seen, or for the creative new analogy I just thought of to describe how different Superannuation fund structures work?

I spend a lot of “the rest of my day” being creative, and yet I’m forced to sit at my computer in agony trying to think of some spark of an idea to write a page of creative writing about.

It doesn’t matter if it sucks! Says the mentors, and the books. The Artist’s Way, from what I can remember of the four chapters I read in second year, makes quite an effort of helping you to shut your inner critic up. Isn’t that the same inner critic which helps you determine that you need to write another draft before it’s ready to see the light of day, thus saving your arse from embarrassment? And isn’t that the same inner critic that helps the director strive to make the shot more beautiful, or keeps his eyes and ears keen for continuity errors? The same critic who makes the edit just that bit tighter, and the score just that bit more tender?

No one’s inner critic should cripple them, or stop them from creating at all, but surely when someone who doesn’t write and hasn’t ever naturally felt the impulse to – say, a dancer, or an actor who has reading and writing difficulties – won’t they, of course, feel crippled by their inner critic the minute they pick up a pen or their fingers hit the keyboard? Won't that in turn make them feel like even more of a failure, despite being quite brilliant at their chosen artform? And don't you still feel a little sucky when you know what you've made isn't terribly good and that you didn't really want to make it in the first place?

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that the standard I have in my head doesn’t seem to work for everyone, and it sure as heck doesn’t seem to be working for me. But how do we move around it? What do we do instead, when all we know is that we should write a few pages a day, come rain, hail or shine, essentially in order to prove we’re creative? Is working on your craft every single day really that necessary? Or is it that we depend on these creative daily rituals to prove to ourselves that 'yes, I am a creative artist - my notebooks full of crappy writing morning pages proves it?'

It’s times like these I wish I could just call Quentin Tarantino or John Lasseter (could I have picked two directors whose work is further apart?) and ask them what it is that they do in between projects in order to stay “creative”. I wish I could shoot Tina Fey or Stephen Fry or Cate Blanchett an email and ask them if they need to prove to themselves that they're creative sometimes. Maybe I should go to Video Ezy and rent out all the available dvds of The Actor’s Studio

please click images for sources.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Things We Love Thursday

click for source
Things Lauren Loved:

Planning my housemates’ BirGradDay Party: With one housemate having a birthday and another graduating university, it seemed an appropriate time to plan an amazing, celebratory, wintery party! Sometimes I think we don’t place enough importance on celebrating life’s milestones, because we get too busy or something else comes up or we don’t think people will be interested. There is no reason that I can see that turning twenty-two (you only get so many double digit ages!) and getting a degree isn’t cause for mass merriment!

Being food lovers ourselves, we’re always delighted to have an opportunity to feed people; chicken wings, cheesy garlic bread, cupcakes and mulled wine so far making up our menu for the evening. I’m also a bit of an organisation fiend, so was delighted to make up the facebook invitation page, especially when realising that we didn’t actually have any photos of the three of us together (for shame!) I would have to create my own (see below). Apart from all that, it will be nice to regroup after a very busy first half of the year for all of us, to spend time with friends and make plans for the rest of 2011.

The picture I made in paint for BirGradDay...I was SO EXCITED.
Little Things I’ve Loved: Beach Day! – wearing knits all the time – extra long yoga classes – wonderful tingly peppermint tea – plans to go to the circus on the weekend! – finally getting a copy of one of my favourite books I Capture the Castle in the mail – making herby cheesy garlic bread – slow cooking everything and having the house smell so good when I come home in the evenings – imminent school holidays meaning a welcome change in work scheduling – my new raspberry pink slippers – rediscovering my love for Matchbox 20 – my new rocking chair!! – waking up warm and cosy in bed when it’s cold outside – icecream and cheesecake and croissants for breakfast when we feel like we deserve it.

Things Ell-Leigh Loved:

Giving my diet a Crazy Sexy Makeover, again. I did it once, and it was awesome. Why I stopped? Bread. Even bread ain't gonna stop me this time, and despite the increase in my grocery bill (cucumbers are expensive this time of year) I'm not compromising my health and energy anymore. I've been easing myself into it for the last week and I already feel ten times better, and my skin is clearing up and healing super fast. Miracle diet, I tells ya.

Watching movies. I have a great job where a lot of the work is getting in touch with people, which means I call them, usually during their lunch breaks or after they finish work, and then one or two days a week I hit the road and visit them with paperwork to sign, etc. This means on the days when I only have to call people I basically have all day except around lunchtime free to do whatever I like, and lately, that has been watch movies. As a movie-lover sometimes I feel as though, despite having seen more films than a lot of people I know, my movie knowledge is really limited and I don't have a strong enough grasp on the 'classics', so this week I've made an effort to not only re-watch some of my favourite films (Inglorious Basterds, The Royal Tenenbaums) but also to get my hands on some Hitchcock (Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo).

Little Things I've Loved: Shopping Spree at T2 - raw organic chocolate (drool) - looking forward to seeing X-Men First Class again - One month 'til Art Vs Science! and Harry Potter! Squeal! - having tea with Lauren yesterday - my cool new toothbrush (reward for brushing my teeth everyday for a month, go teeth!) - baby capsicums and the yummiest organic green beans - A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (almost finished... Then onto Portia De Rossi's Unbearable Lightness), wtfrudoingjamesmcavoy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Her Majestys a pretty nice girl but she doesn't have a lot to say.

Happy Queen's Birthday Long Weekend, All. How did you spend yours?

My friend Jaz and I walked over to the part near my apartment and had a healthy picnic with tasty dips with veggies and corn chips, a few Oreos and some yummy fruit juice. Today was the first lovely sunny day in a while, and it was so nice to be able to go outside without a jacket and numerous cardigans on in order to stay warm.

Yesterday I went to see X-Men First Class with Stevie. Totally impressed! Perhaps it was the eye-candy, or perhaps the movie was just really well directed, probably both. Much higher quality than X-Men 3 or Wolverine, in my opinion, which makes me glad. Loved the Hugh Jackman cameo, Wolverine is so awesome and baddass.

And finally, a picture of two Corgis on a treadmill, in honour of The Queen since she loves corgis so much and we think she's a pretty tops lady.

picture credits: 1, 2, 34

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Things We Love Thursday

Lauren Loves: 

This week, I’ve loved the way that things just seem to work out if you leave them alone. At work, my job involves a lot of scheduling. Often there’ll be days when I stress all morning about how I’ll sort out a scheduling mess, either self created or designed by the fates to test me to my organisational limits, and then at about 1pm someone will make a call, or I’ll remember a note from last week, or something will happen that means my schedule is all back to orderly without me having to do much at all. It’s rare that these situations don’t just figure themselves out without me. In a similar situation, I’ve recently taken on another job teaching a drama class on Saturday mornings. It’s brilliantly exciting, but also a bit nerve-wracking because we have a showcase in less than a month for which my energetic group of nine to twelve year olds and I have so far nothing to show. This morning, though, in the meditation part of yoga I had, and I kid you not, a full blown epiphany about the most fantastic way we can begin the performance, and now instead of feeling stressed I’m incredibly excited to get in on Saturday and begin work.

Tell me that this guy doesn't make you smile. Look at that tail!!
Little things that’ve made me cheery this week: getting into my bed late at night when it’s all warmed be a heat pack and reading with a steamy mug of tea – mint chocolate – the feeling of possibility when you’ve just bought the groceries and can eat anything you want – legitimately wearing boots, scarves and wintery clothes – making delicious flat bread pizzas – finishing Little Women – getting excited about seeing X Men on Friday night because of the amazing cast list of surprise and awesomeness – getting excited about dressing up for Harry Potter 7.2 in July – planning holidays and many other things besides.

Things Ell-Leigh loves:

Typing this up on her new acer android tablet! Please excuse any formatting weirdness that this may have caused, it may be gorgeous and a lot lighter and less bulky than a laptop, but it has its weird quirks.

Going to the dentist? oddly enough, despite fearing yesterday's dental appointment with an unhealthy amount of dread, it turned out to be not so bad, and my new dentist is lovely.
 It's funny how terrible past experiences of something can make a simple task seem so awful, and this was definitely the case for me and my teeth. Boy do I have some dentist horror stories - but that's another story for another time.

Little things I love this week: hanging out with my family and my dog, getting closer to some real progress at work, sleeping in, big breakfasts, getting random creative ideas suddenly when doing the dishes, buying tickets to see Art Vs Science in July!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Things I Had Somehow Forgotten

The Things You Love Are The Things You Love For a Reason: Namely, because you love them. I realised that I had forgotten this while I was doing some filming for a video I’m including in an upcoming post, and editing it all together. I’d forgotten what a thrill it was to put some kinda lame videos into final cut and then edit them into a masterpiece (or something a bit more polished at least…). I sprang into Stevie’s room with a giant goofy grin on my face after just half an hour of it, begging her to watch the rough cut I’d done so far. I love editing! I love making videos! Is it weird that I’d forgotten that when I love it so much? Or has that happened to you before as well?

How Good Flat Bread Pizza Is. Seriously, I had it for lunch, and then I had it again for dinner. Its amazing how good some veggies, pineapple, pizza sauce and cheese thrown on a linseed wrap and toasted for ten minutes can be. Flat Bread Pizza had always been a regular on my weekly meal planner, but since I Crazy Sexy Diet-ed, it has been conspicuously missing, mainly due to the fact that I'm trying to slowly edge myself closer to being vegan (remembering how good flat bread pizza is (especially with cheese) probably doesn't help this cause...). I especially love throwing avocado on there. Yum yum yum!

    How Much I Love Wes Anderson Films and Why.
    On a whim I decided to throw The Life Aquatic on on Saturday night. Such a gorgeous and clever movie. I have a reawakened need to buy a red beanie, powder blue collared shirt and pants and make myself a Team Zissou uniform. I haven't watched any of his films lately (this year has had a clear lack of re-watching films) so I think the time may have come to watch them all all over again!

      Friday, May 27, 2011

      Eating While Travelling: The Delicious vs Healthy Dilemma

      I love getting Chinese from Chinatown when I visit a new city!
      Lauren says:

      When I was young my family never ever ate takeaway. Only when we were on holidays would we splurge with fast food and then it was like a treat from the heavens. My parents explained this habit simply, our family saved money during term time (with mum as a teacher and my sister and I at school, everything revolved around the school timetable) so that we could do special things together on holidays. It made sense.

      As a child, though, my body was a bit more hardy and, it seems, could cop a fair amount more ‘bad’ food. I could have Macdonald’s pancakes for breakfast and still have the energy to make it through the day, perhaps if I was really lucky getting a cheeseburger for lunch if we were on the road to somewhere. These days, give me a sugary breakfast and a heavy, fatty lunch and I turn into a cranky, listless, head-achey mess, which is no way I want to spend my time off!

      My recent trip to Melbourne was one of the first ‘proper adult holidays’ I’d been on, being one of the first times I’d been away from family, which usually involves a bit more give and take over where to get meals, and not on an organised tour or trip where options can be limited. Simply put, Melbourne is a wonderful place for food. While there, it seemed I could pick cuisine from any country in the world, prices ranged from delightfully cheap to decadently expensive and I ate at both ends of the spectrum. While there, cramming my days full with touristing, shopping and culture absorbing, I noticed something very interesting about how my food intake correlated to how I was feeling.

      The hotel I stayed in provided breakfast each morning, complete with lovely gluten free breads. After two pieces of spelt toast and a cup of tea I could go literally for hours before thinking about food again, full of boundless energy and feeling light, airy and cheerful. Gluten free, I began thinking, was definitely my friend. As was spelt (I had a small love affair with the spelt bread, I have to admit, though my sister hated it, choking and gagging at the thought!). Lunch would then come and something interesting would happen. One day I visited Lord of the Fries…oh yummy hot chips, how could I go wrong?! I’ll tell you how. One (small I might add) bucket of deep fried white carbs later and I was all wandering listlessly around the streets, wondering how early was too early to go back to the hotel, have a nap and then get ready for the evening.

      A different day I had Chinese, beautiful Mongolian beef and fried (brown, how wonderful to be given the option!) rice packed with veges. I felt splendid for the rest of the day, not stopping for dinner until late in the evening. The difference food was making to my holiday was, though it seemed like common sense, remarkable.

      A few years ago, I went on a cruise with Aleisha (best friend/housemate/travel buddy etc.) around the Pacific Islands. The thing we both remember most the cruise is the food. It was ah-ma-zing. So. Good. We still spend days reminiscing about ‘cruise food’ and the delightful way we felt during the holiday. Cruise food for us wasn’t actually all that unhealthy (though sure, you could eat a lot of it, and often a lot was a quantity that wasn’t exactly recommendable) but just well cooked, well balanced nutritious meals (with ice cream). We would have protein filled breakfasts (protein and breakfast and me are a winning energy combination), lunches that might start with a soup or salad, the main event maybe some beautifully cooked fish, and dessert fresh fruit (ha!) or ice cream (more likely for me, I’m afraid) and dinner that pretty much resembled lunch (but with more ice cream). It wasn’t what you’d call a sustainable lifetime diet, but for a week and for a treat it was perfect. It wasn’t full of added fats and grossness, there weren’t any ‘unidentifiable’ meat products, it was just nice, simple, good food.

      I think the key to eating when travelling is remembering that the purpose of food is still to provide your body with nutrition. You want to feel great on a holiday, not bloaty and uncomfortable, and you can enjoy stunning food that’s going to give you plenty of energy and pizzazz (if you’re not pizazzful on a holiday, then when?) easily by being conscious about your decision making.

      My parents taught me well with saving special food for special times, and when I think about it, the fast food establishment visits were far less common than the trips to local restaurants, getting fresh seafood at the beach or wonderful pizza at Biloela (if you’ve been to Biloela you’ll understand how unlikely this seemed). It’s a habit I continue to this day, hardly ever eating out and enjoying cooking more, and going to a restaurant is something that I like to keep as a treat. That all said, my parents have made a tradition of having Macdonalds in every country they possibly can (countries conquered already range from France to Oman), but what can you say, they are on holiday after all!

      Ell-Leigh says:

      So here’s the thing. I went on holidays recently. It was great. The sun, the sand, the food… The tummy aches. The cruise we were on offered 24 hour meal service all of which was included in the price of your cruise ticket. We dined, we drank, we were merry. But then we were hungover, we were grouchy, we had a little trouble in the digestion department.

      No one wants to feel sick on holidays, and when your pipes aren’t working cause you jammed ‘em up too full, other things are going to stop working so good as well. This becomes a problem when you want to be enjoying your hike up Diamondhead Crater, or your snorkelling trip on the other side of the island without having to worry about your swollen glands, sore throat and constant headaches.

      I think Gala Darling wrote that while travelling you should eat one salad a day, and I think this is very sound advice. Very sound advice that I wish I’d taken, as it happens. When you’re on a cruise ship you’re constantly in air conditioning, even while sleeping, and this can cause some serious dehydration. Add to that the lack of sleep and water you got on the plane there and you’re in for a bit of a doozey. If you drink on top of that… Well, you’d want to be making sure you drink a lot of water, and replenishing your cells with some fresh fruit and raw veggie goodness, and not the kind that’s been blended and mixed with vodka. Also, the mint at the bottom of your Mojito doesn’t count.

      I know salad sucks, especially when you can’t make it the way you like it, and whenever you order it you are faced with bitter disappointment and a pile of iceburg covered in ranch. Whenever possible, at salad bars or buffets, take the opportunity to fill your plate with salad the way you like it, despite being surrounded by other delicious foods. Your tummy will thank you later.

      Also, go steady on the bready. I know bread is delicious, and I know you’re on holidays, but too much bread will make you feel sick. And, if Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is correct, it will also make you fat. Chances are that you aren’t planning to come home from your marvellous holiday weighing more than when you left, and chances are further that you probably don’t want to spend more time than necessary being concerned about your visits to the ladies’/gents’, if you know what I mean. So, if you’re anything like me, and will use any excuse to dive into the break basket head first, think twice. 

      So, perhaps I am just writing this to my pre-Hawaii self, wishing I’d spent more time taking photos (I really didn’t take enough photos) than the time I spent at the buffet and many restaurants during my cruise, and as a result of that, at the chemist section of the general store buying tums. But when all is said and done, what really matters in your holiday is that you have loads of fun, enjoy the company of the people you went with and remember to reapply your sunscreen every thirty minutes. If you eat a few salads and come home the same size as you left it’s really a bonus.

      Thursday, May 26, 2011

      Things We Love Thursday

      Source: They Roared Vintage

      Lauren Loves: 
      This song makes me chair dance in the most Thursday appropriate manner, and you just can’t beat seagulls with dodgem cars. 

      Having Energy – A winning combination of going to bed early, making it back out of bed early to get to yoga or gym class, eating good food and getting my hands on some more lemons has landed me with lots of energy this week. I’m always amazed at just how productive I can be when I make the effort to look after myself and this week has definitely been a good example.

      Little things I’ve loved: pastel post it notes and metallic rainbow paperclips, chicken pie for cold weather, watching the last three Oprah shows (ok so this is bittersweet…we’ll talk about it later), scoring a new (extra, I’m still keeping the old one) job that I’ve been working towards for a long time, planning a trip to Sydney to see my sister, watching the possum that lives nearby crawl onto my balcony to watch me while I sleep (in the cutest, most non creepy way), not shopping – I love not spending money and watching it grown in the bank account, lamb shanks and dreams of baking cinnamon scrolls.

      Source: Thrill'd
      Ell-Leigh Loves:
      Working Towards and Getting Closer To My Goals: This week I've had Green Smoothies (although today's is pink because of all the raspberries!) for breakfast each day, and I've already eaten a whole container of spinach this week. I'm feeling healthier already, and am rather pleased with my choices. I've also been writing fiction (doesn't matter if it's good, matters that it exists) and flossing. The closer I get to reaching my goals, the closer I get to my self-set rewards, like catching up on Doctor Who, buying new T2 tea, and my slightly larger reward (for reaching a slightly larger goal, mind you) of buying a bike! YAY!

      Little Things I've Loved: My New Power Album (and everyone else's too) Gaga's Born This Way, (I don't speak German, but I can if you like...!Looking forward to Harry Potter! (while at the same time being scared of how much I'm going to cry in public), reading about what happens behind the scenes at 30 Rock cause I'm reading Bossypants by Tina Fey, This morning's deliciously tart mixed berry, avo, spinach and broccoli stem smoothie, daily meditation, "acting as if".

      Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer - A Response


      First of all, I need to say that I haven’t actually finished the book. This not at all because of the quality of it, it’s magnificent, but purely because I’m a pretty slow reader and after reading almost solely non-fiction books since January I needed a bit of a change and switched halfway through to reading Little Women as well.

      I approached Eating Animals with trepidation. I am a meat eater, a true carnivore, I like eating meat and animals products and I can’t see myself stopping in the foreseeable future. I worried when I chose to read the book that I was going to be met with a barrage of shame inducing facts and stories and that Foer, the author, would be working his hardest to ‘convert’ me to veganism and produce in me a new-born activist. Call it resistance and fear of change, call it burying your head in the sand, I didn’t want this to happen.

      Ever since reading the book last year, Ell-Leigh had urged me that I must too. I have long had on my reading list Foer’s other acclaimed work Everything Is Illuminated and I knew that, if I trusted the reviews, it would be a stand out piece of writing. I decided to give it a go, borrowing her copy, and warning her (and trying to convince myself), “Remember, I’m going into this as a person who still wants to eat meat. It will not convert me.” She, as did the many others who questioned how I was going with reading the book, raised her eyebrows with a ‘we’ll see’ manner and left me to it.

      The first thing that I realised, with delight, when I read the first chapter was that Foer was not necessarily trying to convert me to anything except taking the time to be educated about a very important issue. He was not having a ‘right and wrong’ type conversation in this book and it was not as wholly didactic as I imagined it would be (in fact, I’m finding Little Women contains far more outright, ‘this is what you must do’ type sermons than Eating Animals). Instead, Foer tells a story in Eating Animals, in fact he tells a couple. Mainly, he tells the story of his relationship with food and all the influences that have led him to eat in the way that he does. He also tells the story of farming and how practices have changed over the centuries. He tells the stories of animals and how they live and people and how they eat. He does, too, tell facts, but they are not biased or framed in any way, they are just plain facts. In this book Foer lets the facts do the talking, something which so many writers have difficulty doing, and because of this it is a great book.

      Others may feel differently, but I do not think that Foer’s ultimate aim for this book is to turn the whole world vegan. Instead, I think that the purpose is to impart knowledge, knowledge that has been well hidden and swept under the metaphorical rug of our thinking for decades, and to urge us to realise just how incredibly, life changing-ly important this knowledge is. I have always been a knowledge seeker, and fiercely (perhaps stubbornly) independent, and I have always want only to be told the correct information, not what to do with it. Foer understands this.

      Eating Animals is filled with too many facts to easily pick favourites to share with you, but these are the bits of info that I will be acting on in my own eating first.

      Taken from Words/Meaning chapter:
      Free Range
      “The USDA doesn’t even have a definition of free-range for laying hens and instead rlies on producer testimonials to support the accuracy of these claims…One can reliably assume that most ‘free-range’ (or ‘cage-free’) laying hens are debeaked, drugged, and cruelly slaughtered once ‘spent.’ I could keep a flock of hens under my sink and call them free-range.” P. 61

      Taken from Hiding/Seeking:
      I Am the Kind of Person Who Finds Herself on a Stranger’s Farm in the Middle of the Night
      “I’m not a radical. In almost every way, I’m a middle-of-the-road person. I don’t have any piercings. No weird haircut. I don’t do drugs. Politically, I’m liberal on some issues and conservative on others. But see, factory farming is a middle-of-the-road issue – something most reasonable people would agree on if they had access to the truth.”

      From the same chapter:
      I Am a Factory Farmer:
      “I’ve told you the drawbacks because I’m trying to be up-front with you. But in fact, we’ve got a tremendous system. Is it perfect? No. No system is perfect. And if you find someone who tells you he has a perfect way to feed billions and billions of people, well, you should take a careful look.

      And from Slices of Paradise/Pieces of Shit:
      “In 1967, there were more than one million hog farms in the country. Today there are a tenth as many, and in the past ten years alone, the number of farms raising pigs fell by more than two thirds. (Four companies now produce 60 percent of hogs in America.)”

      What will I do now that I know all of this about my food and farming? Well, that’s a good question. Firstly, I’m going to finish the book, because it’s beautifully written and a simply amazing resource. I’m also going to stand by what I said when I began reading the book; I won’t be stopping consuming animal products. There are reasons, definitely selfish ones, for this, such as the inconvenience it would cause to myself and my household and the fact that I really enjoy how I eat. What I aim to do is continue educating myself about farming and food, and find a way to eat animal products cruelty and guilt free. I will not promise that this will be an overnight or radical change, because I know that that is a promise I cannot keep. It will be difficult, some think impossible, and those are the people who do eat vegan or vegetarian and I applaud them for it. I will endeavour to continue my quest for knowledge and encourage other people to do the same, because this is an incredibly important issue. Its importance is probably the biggest lesson I learnt when reading the book.

      I encourage you to read Eating Animals, because, as we are always telling people and being told, knowledge is power. Empower yourself and take responsibility for your choices.

      When I read this book for the first time last year, it was at a rather stressful point in my life. I was tired and exhausted after a three months trekking around a foreign country, two months of which I spent helping disabled kids from 6am to 12pm while eating a diet which was made almost entirely of eggs, sugary breads, vegetables which had been boiled to within an inch of their lives and a variety of processed meats, and not in that order. I was two days away from seeing my family again, and left in Santa Monica with no one that I knew, and just couldn’t wait to be hopping on the bus that would be taking me to the plane home so I didn’t have to entertain my sad, emotional self and my empty wallet in a foreign country any longer.

      I had seen Jonathan Safran Foer speak on Ellen, and it had sparked a sequence of thoughts in me that had always been underlying my understanding of myself. I think I’d always seen myself as a caring, kind person, and to an extent I suppose I’d always seen myself as the type of person who would be a vegetarian, I just hadn’t gotten around to the whole, not eating meat part yet.

      So after two months of digestive worries, 7 more kilos around the middle and an iron deficiency while I was at camp, I was looking to change. When I went to the bookstore to find something for the plane, Eating Animals was one of the first books I grabbed.

      As I had read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close earlier in the year and adored it, but only read the first chapter of Everything Is Illuminated before feeling it hurt my brain too much with all the word play (this was during camp, when I was overworked, lacking in iron and was about to suffer from a huge sinus infection of DOOOOM, so, understandably, clever books were a bit beyond me. Instead I read the first book of the True Blood series…) I can’t say that I was super well acquainted with Foer’s work, but as I started Eating Animals I realised I had nothing to worry about.

      The essence of Eating Animals is this: we eat what we do because of the stories we tell. The first chapter tells the story of Foer’s grandmother:

      (Foer begins speaking at 1:41, and begins reading the first chapter of his book at 7:25 until about 13:10, but keep watching if you want to.)

      This book is friendly and embraces you into Foer's family and thoughts with open arms. It's easy to read, and not in an “I’m writing an informative non-fiction book so I’d better make it entertaining” way that so many non-fiction authors I’ve read lately lean towards. This book is all heart and facts and history, without pulling any emotional blackmail. It informs the reader of some truly awful truths, but without judging or being harsh, in fact, it's manner is quite the opposite; the reader's ignorance and discomfort were once the author's too, and it is eased through a wise and articulate voice. 

      In essence it is a collection of stories - many of them are the frighteningly horrible stories that are mostly swept under the carpet and replaced with tales of sunny farms with happy animals and bearded farmers and their chubby, cheerful wives - but there are also stories of vegetarian cattle farmers, happy turkeys at an almost entirely cruelty free non-GM turkey farm (and the hundreds of people having to order them a years in advance for thanksgiving dinners), the story of our suffering planet, all wrapped up in Foer’s own journey of understanding.

      Through educating himself and in turn taking others on this learning journey readers are left with the question of what their own story will be. As he writes on page 252,

      "We can't plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?"

      What will your story be? When you come into this knowledge, do you make a change? It doesn't need to be a big one, perhaps start Meatless Monday (I can give you loads of great recipes!) or cut down on how many eggs you eat, and make sure the ones you do buy are from hens that were kept in good living conditions without being constantly fed hormones, antibiotics and other unnatural nasties. Find locally raised and killed, cruelty-free meat that was similarly well looked after. You don't need to stop eating it entirely (although it may do you a whole lot of good health wise... but that's another story for another blog) as I did after reading this book, but cut down how much you do eat, and choose what you do eat more consciously and know that you've changed your food story for the better.

      Wednesday, May 25, 2011

      Babies and Scallops, Scallops and Babies - Lauren's Week

      Welcome to my first post of the ‘what Lauren has been doing’ type. I’m sure you all have been eagerly anticipating it is as much as we all waited excitedly for 6:01pm on Saturday*, Rapture Fail jokes in hand and twitter as our joke dispenser.

      I could only think of one really, really share worthy topic today, but it’s so worth it you won’t even notice that it looks like I’ve only done one awesome thing all week (believe me, the week has been filled with awesome, but there’s a big difference between awesome to do and awesome to blog about, isn’t there?).


      I cannot even find words for how much I enjoyed this movie. After reading about it in a cinema newsletter last week and watching the trailer I knew I had head along and see this one of the big screen. As a bonus, it had been far too long since I’d enjoyed some simple time out by myself (one of my favourite things), so I blocked out Sunday afternoon as Lauren Time, headed a couple of suburbs out to my favourite cinema, got a iced bun from the bakery and settled in for what I expected to be a very cute experience.

      Babies follows the lives of four babies from around the world, through infancy to their first birthday. There is Mari from Japan, Ponijaro from Namibia, Bayar from Mongolia and Hattie from the USA. The best part of this film is that there is no language, occasionally mum or dad might speak or sing to the baby, but words really play a tiny to no part in a viewer’s understanding of what’s going on. It’s all about simple observation and celebrates the specialness of each moment in the babies’ live.

      This film is very special. It is a remarkable tool for re-opening our minds which can sometimes fall closed and become too judgemental, and I’d urge anybody, whether they are interested in having their own children or not, regardless of whether they actually ‘like children’, to see it. I as though Babies served for me as a soft prod into remembering how small the section of the world that I live in is, and how ok it is that everybody else around me is living in a slightly different way. There were two families in the cinema for my session, one couple with their own new little bub and two mothers with a collection of seven kids between them, and it was lovely seeing the children react to the quiet lessons they were being taught about acceptance, understanding and empathy.

      Babies made me laugh, made me cry and made me think. Watch the trailer below. Then see it.

      * The Rapture was supposed to occur in Australia at 6pm on Saturday afternoon. I’m pretty glad it didn’t, because all week I had been planning to get the most amazing potato scallops with my friend Sophie, and all week I had been imagining how good they were going to be, but we were running slightly late and at 6pm hadn’t quite made it to the fish and chips place. I would have been pretty put out if I’d held off scallop time for so long and then Lucifer had been all, “You shall not have scallops! Raaw!” So I’m happy.

      Tuesday, May 24, 2011

      Hawaii in Review - Part One


      As you may already know, last month I went with my family on a two-week holiday to The Rainbow State - Hawaii! The first week we spent on the Pride of America, visiting four of the different islands, and then our final week we spent in Honolulu. This post will only be about the first week, since we did way too much to fit into just one post.

      The first day we were in the butt (we called it “the butt” as homage to the scene in Finding Nemo where they call the boat a butt. We’re mature like that.) we spent most of the day on board. Stevie and I hit up a hula aerobics class in the gym, which was super funsies, then proceeded to swim in the pool, laze around slovenly-ly and eat lots of delicious food - the locals don’t call that ship the SS All You Can Eat for nothing. On our second day in Maui we visited the Iao Valley State Park and saw the Iao Needle. It was a beautiful day and it was great to spend some time out in the sunshine in nature.

      In Hilo we went on a helicopter tour, which, due to the earthquake a few weeks earlier, was a little lame, as there was absolutely no lava action at all. This was especially disappointing for my youngest sister, who is obsessed with volcanoes. The closest we got was a puff of smoke that we flew through. As this was my first time on a helicopter and I was in the front seat and in charge of the emergency pull door handle I was quite nervous and couldn’t feel my hands when I hopped off due to how tightly I was holding the video camera and the hand hold. That afternoon we headed over to a beach near where the ship had docked for a stroll - much more relaxing than the first part of the day.

      Our ship from the Kona Canoe Club

      That's me with a seahorse! I LOVE SEAHORSES.
      The next place we stopped was Kona. My parents had raved about Kona from their last trip to Hawaii, and so I was looking forward to going there was seeing what the fuss was about. We spent the morning at The Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm where we got to go into the world’s only Paternity Ward (hrrhrr) and hold a seahorse (well, you get to have your finger held by a seahorse). This was incredibly awesome, and really interesting to hear about how their work is helping to save our oceans. We lunched and shopped in Kona down near the harbor, and feasted on what my Dad considers the best Spare Ribs in the World, from Kona Canoe Club. My Dad befriended the owner and got a round of free shots for the over 21s (I didn’t partake as I hadn’t been feeling too crash-hot – faulty sea-legs) and we shopped the afternoon away.

      The two days (I typed weeks first, oh, how I wish I could stay there for two weeks!) I spent in Kuwai’i were definitely my favourites. We spent the first day on a tour of all of the major sights and beautiful scenery… and the wild chickens. In Kuwai’i there aren’t any wild animals (like the mongoose which live on the other islands) which prey on the chickens, so they run loose, crowing whenever they like (since they don’t roost) and generally running amock, chicken style. The tour guide we had on this day warned us that they could smell fear, but they were really very harmless, and we were told that by law, any chicken we took photos of had to come home with us… If it had been true I would have been in trouble, cause I took SO many photos of the chickens…
      So many chickens!

      That night we went to the incredible Lu’au Kalamaku. For those who don’t know, a Lu’au is basically a huge party where Hulas are performed and traditional food like poi and kalua pig is served. This one was a little different; where at a “regular” Lu’au a number of hulas are performed one after another without any particular through-line, this one followed the story of a father leaving his daughter to migrate to the Hawaiian islands, with a Cirque Du Soliel feel. The fire twirlers were breathtaking and incredible, and the whole performance was really enjoyable and beautiful. And the food was great too!

      The second day my Mum and I got up early to take a Movie Tour of the island. I have to say, the tour guides we had in Kuwai’i were charming and funny which added to the experience. On this day we visited a number places which had served as locations for movies like Jurassic Park, Six Days Seven nights, Blue Hawaii, that musical where they sing that “Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” and many, many others. And I got to see Ben Stiller’s house, or at least the one that he lives in when he’s in Hawaii (it was from pretty far away, but still one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life… Bar none. Ben Stiller is awesome.)

      Next week I’ll be posting the second half of my adventures, so stay tuned!

      Monday, May 23, 2011

      Starting Today; or, How To Pull Yourself Out of a Rut in Twelve Not So Easy Steps

      Firstly, welcome to the first of some new posts that Lauren and I have decided to start. They are basically a more personal, “what I’m up to, where I’m going, what I’m loving – today” type post, we’d love to hear what you think of them.

      So, the weekend before last I spent an entire afternoon figuring out my goals, writing them down and devising strategies that I can put in place to meet them. Today I met with Dave Burton, writer, blogger, my lecturer for a semester and old friend for some advice on writing. Did I need any advice? Not really, as it turned out I was really just having one of those meetings where you hear exactly what you knew you needed to hear, despite the fact that you really knew it all already but you just didn’t want to listen to yourself. Of course Dave gave some pretty insightful advice and the metaphorical kick up the behind that was necessary to get me started again. I walked home after a quick stop at the health food store up the road and wrote a page of the first fictional writing I’ve written in at least half a year. BAM.(A page may not seem like much (that is, unless you’re a grade nine student struggling to get through their English assignment about Pride and Prejudice) but it was a pretty important string of sentences from my point of view.)

      Of course, Dave's advice and what I knew to be true all along; nothing gets written if you don't write it. Action is key, nobody got anything out of nothing.

      So far so good. For the last week I've started to work towards making a habit of daily meditation, affirmations, mindful, healthy eating, "creative time" and flossing, and have only once or twice not been able to tick each of them off my list as I do them. This morning I started with my first attempt at making a "Green Smoothie", (2 pears, a handful of spinach, half an avocado and water all blended up until thickshake consistency = surprisingly yummy) a Lush The Sacred Truth face mask and spent my afternoon making a vegan version of the vegetarian casserole with dumplings I made last week. Small steps towards big (yet achievable) goals!

      I spent the weekend trying to get over the mother of all colds that I caught early last week, while also running around my home town going to appointments, catching up with people, going to a dress up party with Lady Gaga and Elton John (wink) before driving all the way back again on Sunday with two of Stevie's friends in the back seat.

      What are you up to today?
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