i am superwoman (yes you are)

When I think back to my adolescent wishes for the future, and about the woman I imagined I’d become, I realise that my teen ambitions were superficial aspirations; lofty ideas based on proclamations such as “when I grow up I’m going to be a millionaire/Mrs Mulder/Mrs Furlong/Jacques Cousteau’s research assistant“…. While most of those things are no longer attractive to me (Fox Mulder? Edward Furlong? What was I thinking?!) or no longer possible (RIP Mr Cousteau) and while I could still be a millionaire…the main thing is that my idea of what it means to be a woman has changed.

 [via]

When I think of my definition of what it means to be a woman, I think of someone who is confident, self-sufficient and comfortable in their own company. Someone who has success or is working towards her goals be they career and/or home driven, who has friends who she can regularly turn to for support or a giggle; someone who is adventurous and knows her way around a kitchen & a bedroom. Knows what it means to love and be loved, is supportive of other women and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself or speak her mind if she feels the need to. She isn’t defined by other people’s expectations.

“As women, our lives are infinitely complex. We’re wives or significant others, we’re caretakers and givers, we’re business executives, we’re life coaches and life providers.” ~Macala Wright

Not that I’m saying that I’ve achieved this zen-like muliebrous state. Some qualities I’ve nailed and some I’m blindly stepping through the effeminate minefield towards. 

Like a note to self, I’ve compiled a list of things to help keep me on track in becoming the woman I’ve always dreamed of being…keeping in mind we are the sum of all our experiences, mistakes and all.

  1. Be kind¹ but not always nice¹.
  2. The way we dress effects the way we feel, act & the way others react to us. You don’t need to be a fashion icon, but you do need to remember the image you want to portray to the world.
  3. You don’t have to talk to strangers but it’s nice to give a smile.
  4. Invest in your education or creativity. I truly believe a happy and fulfilled woman is the healthy heart of every family or a building block for a future one.
  5. It’s OK to say no. You don’t have to be everyone’s yes-girl.
  6. Always tell your family that you love them (even if your brother is a complete shit at times!)
  7. Know how to be a good friend. One that listens, is supportive and has fun with them.
  8. Take the time to truly understand what the meaning of feminism is. Its not about women above all others, man hating or burning bras. This is 2012! Start [here]
  9. Exercise every day. A 1 hour workout is 4% of your day. Virtually nothing when you think of it like that!
  10. Respect your elders but that doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say.
  11. If you believe what you say, then eventually others will believe in you.
  12. Remember important events and details of people that matter. And invest in a great app that helps you do such things!
  13. Just like Kenny Rogers said…’You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em“; learn when to take the high road.
  14. Learn how to give bad news with grace.
  15. Keep your house clean and tidy. It does wonders for your demeanor. And stress levels when your mother/-inlaw comes over!
  16. Regularly kick some ‘soul goals‘ (a term my hubby coined which means doing something good for others without expectation of praise or acknowledgement).
  17. Own a basic tool kit and know how to use it. Drilling stuff is actually quite cathartic!
  18. No matter what the magazines tell you, it’s not about being fashionable. It’s about being attractive; for yourself and for the people that matter to you.
  19. Knowing that a way to a man’s heart is through his tummy (figuratively speaking) is not classed as manipulative!
  20. Fresh flowers are not a waste of money; they are an investment in the happiness of your soul.
  21. Just because you make bad mistakes doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
  22. Giving your heart away leads to some of the best experiences in life. Learning when to do so is half the fun.
  23. Try hard to have no regrets. Acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them.
  24. Learn the art of polite chit chat. It makes those parties where you don’t know anyone, less awkward.
  25. It’s OK to change your mind or change direction; to take a different path. Courage is knowing what & when it’s not working out for you and then doing something about it.
  26. Embrace the internal self pep talk; they really do help your confidence (just remember the internal part because people just think you’re weird when you talk to yourself).
  27. Know what things are important enough to make sacrifices for. Our lives are so busy that we inevitably have to decline/cancel/skip/run-late for things that we wish we had time for, but it’s seeing the bigger picture and knowing that you can’t do everything all the time. And that’s OK.
  28. “she eats takeout on china and serves champagne with pizza”! here here! [via]
  29. Remember: you can do anything but not everything. It’s OK to ask for help.
  30. What it means to be a woman is different for every one of us. Figure out what it means for you and live your life with whatever purpose you want for it!

RIP Bryce Courtenay

As I lay in my bed early on Saturday morning and read the news on my phone, I shrieked with dismay as I discovered Bryce Courtenay had died the day before.

One of the most beloved storytellers of our era; an international treasure, a humble, former Ad man who made Australia his home, is gone.

His novels The Power of One, Tandia, The Potato Factory & Jessica, to name a few, are beautifully written stories of the human spirit, adversity, bonds between us and relationships that are intensely soul stirring and heartbreakingly beautiful; part prose, poetry and always with a gut wrenching honesty that has endeared his writing to his readers.

I remember fondly my year 8 school summer holidays when I first read The Power of One; my friend Janine and I spent a few weeks staying in her parents caravan on the beach in Diamond Head where we lay out sunbathing and taking turns to read aloud to each other. We would cry at the heartbreaking parts and cheer with Peekay’s success. We bought the VHS movie and the soundtrack and watched Bryce’s words come to life as we listened to the uplifting and often haunting voices of the African choirs that filled the soundtrack.

Bryce discovered he had terminal gastric cancer and instead of fighting it with surgeries, chemo and experimental surgeries, he accepted it with peace and dignity and chose to spend his last months at home with his wife.

He released this YouTube clip as a farewell to his readers everywhere. It’s simply beautiful and honest and humble, just like the man we’ll all miss.

in the navy

Nothing says summer celebration than a hint of sparkly sequin!
What better way to celebrate than under a balmy starry Sydney sky on our beautiful harbour wearing this inspired outfit!

  1. Navy Stretch Peplum Tee [via]
  2. Ink Sequin Skirt [via]
  3. Navy & Black Toecap Court Shoe [via]
  4. Kardashian Black Glitter Clutch [via]

*note: I have numbers 1 & 2 arriving in my snail-mailbox sometime soon!!!

fitspiration friday | pump

I’m so pumped that I’m getting back into Body Pump lately!!!

It’s been about 6 months since I did Pump regularly; I’ve been opting to do my strength on the gym floor instead, but I get bored so easily and going back to Pump takes all the thinking out of my workout and let’s me just do

Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday you’ll find me sweating it out, and to make it into an all round cardio / strength session, I jog the 1km to my gym before the class.

5.30am – up & at ’em!
6.10am – waiting to start (low weights while my slipped disc heals – see, no excuses!)
7.30am – and done!

Happy Friday!

thursday’s table

Get ready for some scrumptious seafood with this cracking recipe
from Michelle Bridges.

Perfect for the Aussie summer season!

Prawn, watercress and fennel salad

Serves 2

“This is one of my favourite recipes. It’s super nutritious and dead easy to make. Rocket is okay if you can’t get watercress.”

~ Mish Bridges

Ingredients

  • 750g cooked prawns
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 220g watercress
  • 2 tbsp dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Method

  1. Peel and de-vein the prawns and place in a bowl of iced water.
  2. Slice the fennel finely, cutting out and discarding the hard part in the middle close to the root. Chop the watercress, discard the hard stalks and mix with the fennel, dill and parsley. Leave a few watercress stems for decoration.
  3. Finely chop the garlic and whisk it in a food processor with the oil, lemon juice and mustard.
  4. In a pasta bowl, mix the prawns with the salad, then pour over the dressing. Garnish with watercress stems and cracked black pepper.

Recipe & photo [via]

the ever evolving fashion choices of Kristen Stewart

She may have started off as an impetuous teenager with questionable fashion choices but this year K.Stew has opened the door to fashion (or hired a stylist).

The Twilight saga is over. Let’s pause for a sentimental moment.

OK. With that done, here are my fave red carpet looks.

Balenciaga shirt, ACL pants & Jimmy Choo shoes
again in Balenciaga
hot in a fluro Dior mini
resplendent in shimmering Elie Saab
in Stella McCartney
working it in Balenciaga
she did get it right in 2007 in Rodarte
stunning in Monique Huillier
again in Stella McCartney
top 3 in Zuhair Murad
top 3 in Zuhair Murad (again!)
top 3 in Reem Acra

And there was even a smile or two!

on my plate | sunday recipe

While Jay delighted in watching the ground & pound of UFC154, I created a simple healthy “super” salad; super because it contains the buzzworthy ingredients of quinoa, flaxseed, chia & lots of greens.

Quinoa, roast beetroot & rocket
with flax & chia seed

Ingredients

Super salad ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa; cooked to packet directions & cooled
  • small bunch of broccoli; blanched & cut into small florets
  • cup of cherry tomatoes; halved
  • 3 fresh beetroot; peeled, cut into cubes, roasted in the oven & cooled
  • 2 cups of baby rocket
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp flaxseed
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
Dressing ingredients
  • 2 tsp basil pesto
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • pepper to taste

Method

For the Salad – Wait til quinoa & beetroot are cool before mixing all ingredients together.

cooked quinoa
Combined salad ingredients

For the Dressing – Mix all ingredients together (I use a Jamie Oliver shaker).

tahini & pesto dressing
serve with your favorite protein (in my case chicken!)

to new friends

Yesterday I met up with Michelle from Fun Fit 5K Plus who was visiting Sydney from Missouri, USA!

We’ve been following each other’s blogs for about 6 months and a couple of months ago she let me know she’d be in Sydney (for her sixth trip) visiting her twin sister who lives here and asked if we’d like to catch up!

We met at a cafe local to my work in the city and talked non-stop for an hour and a half (much to the amusement of her sister)! It was so lovely; meeting someone who you kind-of know through reading and seeing pictures of their everyday life, but to sit and chat IRL was really special and I felt so comfortable and like I was catching up with an old friend. We didn’t have enough time as I had to get back to work but it was so wonderful to meet her.

She bought me a gift of champers & some gourmet marshmallows and for Harley she bought the cutest stuffed squeaky toy, named “Justin Beaver”, and some treats. 

And here is Harley, hard at play in the attempt to show ‘Justin Beaver’ the squeaky stuffed beaver some good old Aussie hospitality!

Much love to my new friend, from Melly & Harley!