Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Date a Girl Who Reads


Today I came across this short piece and felt it change me. I really hope you can relate or at least find the warmth in it :)

Date a Girl Who Reads
by Rosemarie Urquico

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter ofFellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by God, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dream HUGE


A few years ago, when I first got it into my mind to learn the French language, I was asked why I should bother. After all, I live in Australia, have never travelled anywhere particularly exotic, or even knew anyone who spoke more than a few words of the language.

And I found this insulting. Why should I learn? Why should I not you mean! I am a very big believer in doing something simply because you can. I am currently teaching myself the guitar, and four languages, as well as studying psychology, just for the sake of it. Chances are I will never be too fabulous at any of these skills, but the point is that I am making an active decision regularly to hone these skills, for no other purpose than my own fulfilment.

I think this speaks volumes for the human spirit. We have this intense thirst for knowledge and to become more than a physical being yet in this age of such vast digital technology it does feel a lot like the need to acquire skills is unnecessary as you can simply pay for it to be done or cheat our way through till the end. We have lost the thrill of reaching unthinkable milestones.

I urge you; please, go learn something! Learn the drums and rock the shit out of the songs of your teen years. Learn to sew and create something mind-blowing. Paint a picture using your hands because the paint feels cool that way. JUST DO SOMETHING. Do it because life is short and we all have an expiry date which sadly isn't far off. You need to utilise each and every moment and to be the biggest and most incredible person you simply can be. You owe yourself that much, because you are amazing :)

Je suis Melissa, vous sera mon ami?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tall Poppies


I was listening to Triple J on the way home from work on Friday and they were discussing the notion of Tall Poppy Syndrome. This is the idea that people who have genuinely earnt their successes, talents or achievements are being ridiculed, resented or cut down by their peers. It occurred to me that yes, this is definitely something I see living in Australia. By saying that, I am not trying to generalise, but having lived here my whole life I am unable to compare it with another country.

Much like most of the topics they cover on Hack, this one has stayed with me long after I turned the radio off. I feel a lot like it has really changed my approach to the achievements of others. I feel like of all the people I know, there is this blank canvas of who they are as an individual then there is the job title of how it is they make a living. But that is it really. I don't feel that anyone has ever told me how they got to be a small business owner or how it is they managed to become a working mum.

I have been writing for years and every day is a struggle to get my ass into gear. But I know I am only still in the beginning days and that I have success to come, yet I have poured so much of myself into this pending career of mine. And others are there already and I don't feel I have applauded them for their efforts yet. Maybe we undervalue what we can achieve in a lifetime. Maybe by undervaluing the small achievements we are cutting the opportunity for the larger achievements to happen.

Maybe we are too humble in our successes? When I graduated from high school five years ago, I wondered what I would have achieved by 22 (here I am) and to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what was next. I did imagine lawyers and doctors and pilots however. But looking at the people I went to school with now, I see that many of them are married and have children and have bought homes for themselves. This may sound like the basic A to B of life but when you actually step back and think about each step... damn that is impressive. They say parenting is the hardest job in the world.

My best friend is about to become a nurse. To many that sounds like just a job, but she is saving lives every day. She is doing the unthinkable and the impossible and she has worked so incredibly hard for years to get to this stage without ever saying "hey look at me". My boyfriend is about 30 hours from receiving his Commercial Pilots License. He has been working towards this for a good while before we even met. Yet he doesn't tell people what he is about to achieve; he doesn't want people to think differently of him.

In writing this, I hope you too start to notice the achievements of others, and of course yourself. Treasure them. We work hard to change the world, or even just our internal world so please never forget what you are trying to achieve. Keep on keeping on; we are here to back you up :)

{Image: Unknown} - will find credit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blind spots


I think we all have these blinds spots. These pieces of us which we hide or maybe aren't aware of. Maybe we know very well that they are there but hope desperately that others won't notice them. These little parts of us that are maybe undesirable to others, or maybe to ourselves; or maybe it is just a quality we aren't proud of.

My blind spot is my anger. I am generally quite misanthropic of this world. It upsets me greatly that I see the world is such a dull spectre but I can't seem to get past it. I do however, hide it very well. I read a LOT of articles and books on finding my bliss, finding peace; just generally on how to chill. Or I listen to relaxing music. Or I volunteer. I try incredibly hard to find the good in as many people as I can. I am in love with a very respectful man and he also has a great impact on me trying to be a better person.

The other day I got in a fight with this cyclist. He was riding on the road on a bridge and the footpath was not a metre away yet he rode on the road. I could have crashed my car. So I honked. Later he found me and we abused one another. I am not proud of this. I have spent three whole days running through the scenario in my mind and it upsets me greatly. It has been eating at me. Firstly that I was spoken to in such a matter, secondly that I spoke back in that manner and thirdly, because I believe that at my core I am a better person than I display myself to be at times.

What I have taken away from this horrible moment is that we are human and we do things which don't warrant pride, however how we respond to these situations and what we take from the experience is what makes us inherently good or bad. I would like to say that I am an individual who is always composed and honourable but this would be a lie. I say stupid things; I fight with the ones I love; I cause grief when I shouldn't and I start things just to start things sometimes. But I am loyal. I love deeply and unconditionally and give me a reason to trust you and I will follow you through anything. 

People are generally good. I tell myself this everyday. If only you let yourself open up every now and then, you will see. People care. We are social creatures.We don't want to be alone in this world. I think that if we can simply push past the flaws we will all be a lot happier.

{Image Credit}

Sunday, May 6, 2012

On passing judgement


I am reading this book at the moment called 'The Me Myth" by Andrew Griffiths. He writes about not judging people for who you see them to be materialistically. This is a hard concept in today's society. It seems every time we turn on out TV we are asked to judge people on their singing or cooking; open a magazine and we are asked to judge celebrities on their clothing. How did it become so easy for us to judge?

For a long time I have judged people. I am short tempered, assume without knowledge and I give few second chances; but I am changing. I have found that if we are to judge people, we lose sight of who they are in their mind, in their soul and in their heart. We lose the ability to get to know this person as an individual.

Last night I helped my Mum cater for her colleagues birthday party. She is not a cater; nor am I but she agreed to anyway as she is a chef at her work (a retirement village). She is an important woman to me and to many others as well. However, the first part of the evening, I could see in her face that she felt she was looked down on for being "hired help". These were wealthy people and this wasn't exactly our crowd. We put on smiles and sucked it up counting down till we could high tail it home.

However, something strange happened. As I am sure you are already aware, I am a vegan. The part of veganism that is less documented is that it is desperately hard to find finger food edible at parties, or even restaurants that will cater to our needs. When I found a guest was a coeliac I set about to make sure she had something to eat. She was very grateful for this and I saw an individual in her. The room was less 'judging' in how I had assumed people saw me. 

At the end of the night many people came up and thanked us for our help. They seemed genuinely thankful and we got chatting to a few people. There was a man who worked a block from me and was very lovely; a woman who worked with elderly war heroes keeping them mobile. Genuinely nice people with good souls. 

What I am trying to say is that if we judge others, we immediately decide if a person is 'good enough'. Good enough for what I am not sure. But what I do know is that people are inherently good if only you allow them to show themselves.

"It is easy to judge and to put someone in a pigeonhole. But it is spectacular to have an open mind and to accept and welcome other people for who and what they are. It is hard at first, but give it time and it will become second nature."

Sunday, April 22, 2012



Something amazing happened the other day; I found my sunshine. I don't know where it had been hiding but I am so grateful that is has returned. I do feel a lot like I have a backlog of happiness pushing its way into my life however, and it feels great!

I have decided a few things over the past week. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am completely indecisive and will jump from choice to choice very quickly, however these choices are good and solid and will bring joy to myself and others. 

I am three years into a half-baked Arts degree majoring in Media and Writing. I hate it. I love the writing, well writing in general I guess, but the reason for the degree in the first place, other than to keep my Dad happy, was for the Media. You see, I was hell-bent on being a journalist; that was until I realised that journalism isn't about spreading joy and happiness, it is about the facts. I simply can't bring myself to invest so heavily in a career which isn't going to bring joy to others, alas goodbye journalism. 

But I needed those journo units to make up enough units to graduate, so have had a bit of a heart to heart with myself and have decided to change to a psychology major. I have always been insanely interested in cognitive behaviour. It is insane how much of who we are is to do with circumstances and mindsets we find ourselves in. So I think this will be a really good decision; to study psychology. It would give me an insight into the inner workings of our mind and through that I will be able to help people. Not as a psychologist but through writing from a psychological insight. It sounds boring but wow am I excited!

Have you made any huge decisions lately? I would love to know :) x Melissa

{Image by the Notebook Doodles}

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I am back


I have been contemplating how to word this, but here goes I guess. I just wanted to say that I am back. In a way I feel really guilty for not writing these past few weeks. And by not writing, I mean at all. I stopped penning little stories and I didn't manage to help my friends Mandy and Dave out with their website and I didn't even get any uni work done. 

My reasoning behind this absurdity is that I made the conscious decision not to write during depressive episodes. For the first time in what has probably been a good two months, I feel joyous again. Depression is not a new issue to me. It isn't even an obvious one. It is simply another aspect of my personality which comes and goes. 

The past two months have been a little strange. I can't really remember what it was that triggered all of this   but three nervous breakdowns, two bottles of Mega B and one failed uni semester later I am starting to feel a lot like Melissa again. I am hopeful that this is how I will continue to feel.

What I have learnt from all of this is that "this too shall pass" because it always does. Always. No matter what you have done or what you are doing through, you can always redeem yourself. You can always start a new ending and you can always make something beautiful from something imperfect. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A little break to gain clarity


Hey everyone :)

I just wanted to let you all know that I have not abandoned my blogging, in fact I am just taking a few weeks to assess where I am with my life and what I need to do in order to become the person on the outside that I am on the inside. I will be back bigger and better before you know it, I promise!

x Melissa

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Aromatherapeutic oils


I have been thinking a lot about fragrances and scents lately. It intrigues me how the scents I love are hated by others, or how our bodies know that citrus is revitalising while lavender is soothing. I decided to find out a little about essential oils.

Jasmine: This is one of my favourite scents. It reminds me of my childhood as we had a huge jasmine vine up one side of the house. The scent and the essential oil have an exotic floral fragrance with the potential to help with nervous tension. Apparently, it can also restore sexual confidence.

Patchouli: Contrary to popular belief; people who are conscious of the environment, or 'hippies' as they are otherwise known, don't always wear patchouli. Having said this, the scent is associated with love and peace. It has a rich earthy scent which is used for energy and for feeling grounded and connected to our roots.

Rose: Roses are very much associated with women. It is no wonder, since rose oil is so beneficial for us. It is used to balance hormones and is great for our reproductive organs as well as enhancing sexuality.

Sandalwood: While I have never ben a huge fan of this fragrance, it does wonders for our bodies. The deep woody scent that is sandalwood induces a state of calm and serenity. It also aids in sexual restoration in both men and women.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

HTW: Building a terrarium


I have something to admit: I have two green thumbs. I have two veggie patches and a fruit patch which I am tending slowly. If I ever managed to have a day off from working, uni and writing I would probably spend it in the garden. We don't all have the space for a full on garden though. So today, I wanted to share something beautiful with you; the art of creating a terrarium.

A terrarium is a contained environment which is designed to hold small plants under a controlled condition. Because of the aspect of control, you are essentially able to create your terrarium to look like anything from a desert to a rainforest. Terrariums are also very small, about the size of a necklace pendant even, however, yours can be whatever size you wish it to be.

1. The container: First of all you need to find something for your terrarium to live inside of. It is most common to use a glass bowl however you could use anything really. An opened space will be easier to maintain whilst a closed one harder. It is really up to your skill level.

2. Sand: To start off your terrarium you want to lay down a layer of course sand or pebbles at the bottom of your container. This will allow for water to drain away from the plants and stop them from rotting.

3. Activated Charcoal: This step is only needed if you are making a closed terrarium. The charcoal is used to filter oxygen and keep everything fresh. You can buy this from a pet store in the fish section.

4. Spaghnum Moss: This moss is now placed on top of your sand in an open terrarium or on top of the charcoal in a closed terrarium. This prevents the soil from settling down into the lower layers and essentially destroying your creation.

5. Soil: Now this is where the fun really begins! Just plain old regular potting soil will work fine for this step. Just lay down a thick enough layer that the plants will take to the soil and continue to grow.

6. Plants: You want to select plants which will not grow any larger than a bonsai tree for this stage. Terrariums are supposed to be relatively small so the plants should be also. Try to be careful that your planting scheme is aesthetically pleasing so that you will love it forever. 

7. Decorations: If you choose to, you can add ornaments or decorations to your terrarium to make it look even nicer. This is basically the same as decorating a fish tank.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Teeny tiny hiatus


Morning lovelies! I just wanted to announce that because of all these recent storms my home Internet is basically non-existence meaning I can't get on here and post anything substantial. It should be resolved before the new week but just in case I wanted to say that I still love you all and will be back before you know it :) x Melissa

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HTW: Writing a thank you note


I remember when I was younger I would receive handwritten letters in the mail. They would be thick with  personality and had been carefully created for my eyes only. I do miss those simple days sometimes. While it is socially acceptable to reply with text, emails, pokes and messages, I am not sure it is alright to reply to a gift or kind gesture with an electronic thank you. Today I wanted to share with you a little old school pen to paper etiquette.

1. Stationery: Depending on how much you wish to write, you will want nothing larger than a greeting card sized piece of paper. Try to use a piece which looks nice, or at the least has not been simply torn from a book. Since you should handwrite this, you will also need a pen.

2. Spelling: For obvious reasons, you want to be sure your spelling is correct as you can't exactly fall back on spell check. It is crucial to actually get the person's name right! I can not stress this enough! My Mum's name is Leeanne and about 60% of the time her name is spelt wrong. It says to me that people can't be bothered to look up her correct spelling, so make sure to check the spelling first.

3. Thank you: This is a thank you note, so you want to start your letter with "thank for the gift/favour/help". Try not to start talking about yourself.

4. Money: Don't mention money. Instead of writing "thanks for the $20", swap it for "thanks for your generous gift". It simply sounds nicer.

5. Application: Tell the note recipient how you will be using their gift. I am sure they would love to know how their gift is/has benefitted you. That was the idea after all. 

6. The future: Mention the past and allude to the future in your note. Something along the lines of "It was great seeing you last Thursday - am looking forward to catching up with you in the coming weeks". 

7. Mail: Once you think you have said all you can, and that it looks beautiful, then it is time for mail this bad boy. Snail mail is fun and exciting to receive so grab yourself a stamp and pop it into your nearest post box. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

The beginnings of an organised life


I am one of those people who likes to do 50 things at once; an extreme multi-tasker if you will. One of the problems I have found with this method is that I lose things very easily or forget what I am doing. In the past few weeks I have started to implement an organisational system. Here are a few of the basics to help you with your clutter.

A place for everything: While it is so easy to get lost in what you are working on and forget to put things away in their proper place, you are ultimately losing yourself time as in order to find the things you otherwise would have been able to find fast and effectively, you must now look for. While it can be a pain to put everything away all of the time, you will love yourself for it later. It also makes everything look cleaner. A clear space makes for a clear mind.

Clearing your day: At the end of each day, try to simply take five minutes to tidy up your workspace. File away any incomplete documents and remove all empty coffee cups. This way, you will start every day with a clean slate upon to get your work completed. You may also notice you will get stuff done more efficiently.

Create intelligent filing: While this may seem like a bit of an obvious one, if you file away your documents with binders and manilla folders, you will be able to easily access exactly what you are after. It will also declutter your office and look nicer. Throw out any unwanted or unneeded paperwork and keep only that which is important or in use.

Documents: Documents which are currently in use need to be at arms reach. You may want to invest on one of those expandable document wallets with the dividers and file according to importance, topic or use. Documents which aren't used as often can be hole-punched and stuck into a binder for easy access.

File away business cards: As you get on in your career or even just in your daily life, you will find that your collection of business cards is going to slowly grow. If you find yourself in this position, it might be a good idea to invest in a business card holder. They are quite cheap and will help you to order your cards. It is crucial to keep these looked after as you never know when you will need to communicate with a professional.

Free your mind with lists: This is a very important point for myself. My mind goes non-stop 100% of the time. Subsequently, I find myself constantly jotting down notes to myself so I can simply free up some space in my mind. By having lists you are less likely to forget the important things that you need to remember. Lists are easy to take with you, and easily prompt you into remembering a trail of thought or a simple idea. 

Keep a notebook: This is very similar to keeping lists. I keep a few notebooks, one of which being my blogging notebook. I write in it basic analytics to remind myself of how far I have came and what I wish to achieve for the day and what I would like to write about in the coming days. I have found it to be incredibly helpful in achieving more than I thought I could. 

Keep your diary close: This is probably one of the most important organisational tools you will ever possess. I was a little spoilt last Christmas and was given the 2012 Frankie Diary from my Mum which I absolutely adore. Having a visually appealing diary will always lift your spirits on the not-so-amazing days where you would rather be at the beach. It is also incredibly useful for storing important phone numbers, contacts, dates, events and for remembering things a long time in advanced. 

{Image Link}

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HTW: Relieving a migraine


While today's post is a little bit specialised, my hope is that I may help at least one person. You see, I am a migraine sufferer. Prior to this, whenever someone complained of a migraine I had imagined the pain to be that of a larger than average migraine. Boy was I wrong!

This fiend can get you at any time of the day or night, and for any reason. You will lose your appetite, your ability to think straight and in my case, your eyesight temporarily. So what do you do if you find yourself in the clutches of one of these demons?

SLEEP: For obvious reasons, sleep is amazing for our bodies healing processes. Changes in sleep patterns such as jet lag or changing study and work patterns have the potential to reduce the quality of our sleep cycles and bring upon a migraine. You may want to try getting up and going to bed at roughly the same times each day. It is also important to rest in a dark room. Other than disturbing your sleep, the light can sometimes trigger a migraine.

FOOD AND DRINK: While you don't want to drink too much caffeine, just a small amount is known to help the pain of migraines to disappear. Skipping meals is also frowned upon. It is better to eat a series of smaller meals throughout. You may want to take note of any foods which seem to trigger a migraine and steer clear of these. For me, pumpkin and coconut trigger a hell of a migraine. While this last one sounds a  little far-fetched, the hot ingredient (the seeds) of red capsicums are a great painkiller. For convenience, you can buy cayenne pepper capsules from most health food stores.

OTHER TREATMENTS: The cold is fantastic for migraines, so it is no wonder that applying an ice pack directly to your head helps to relieve the pain. Closing your eyes at the same time will help you to relax and help with the cooling effects of the ice pack. If you don't have access to an ice pack, simply place your hands into icy water while making fists. This will act the same as the ice pack over the head.

Studies have shown that taking 400mg of Riboflavin per day can help to eliminate migraines altogether. Riboflavin tablets can be found at most health food stores. Two remedies I have found of particular use while at work are to wear my reading glasses, as they will take a considerable amount of pressure off your eyes, and to drop two dissolvable aspirin tablets into a drink bottle filled with water and to sip throughout the day. I find it drastically relieves the pain and symptoms.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Back to School


Today is filled with mixed feelings for me. You see, I go back to studying today. I study externally so in essence I shall be studying from home but I am kind of regretting over-extending myself so much. I have chosen to study four units this semester as well as work full time so please bear with me if I seem to be slowing in my blogging, I haven't forgotten about you :)

I started this degree a few months after moving to Ballina. I didn't know anyone, had just came out of a five year long relationship and didn't really know myself. In my previous life in Sydney I was studying to be an Interior Designer. When I moved here I realised they didn't have my degree so had a bit of a life changing moment. I would become a writer! So off to university I went.

But then something strange happened, I became a writer without the degree. So now I am just going through the motions to finish it so I may get on with my life. Have you ever had the same problem? Anyway, today I thought I would share a few inspiring images I have stumbled across on my net travels. I hope they inspire you as much as they do myself :)


Sunday, February 19, 2012

I have a black dog


I think I was in my mid-teens when I first noticed my black dog; Depression. He has followed me ever since with his hatred, self-loathing and overall heaviness. For the most part I have cleared a spot in my life for him to be happy and leave me be, however from time to time he pops up and bites me on the arse. Today is one such day.

Not many people know that I have depression; it isn't exactly something one advertises. To my boyfriend I show it in the form of asking to get away for the weekend, while to others I don't show it at all. There is this terrible stigma that everyone who has depression or is in a bit of a down moment is 10 seconds away from downing a bottle of sleeping pills. False; we just want to be calm. We want to be able to sit down and find the beauty or the fun in something; anything, because it is there, you just can't touch it, or be apart of it for that matter.

I am hoping that not too far from now I can climb out of this hole and find the beauty once more. More than anything however, I want a new beginning. A new town with new friends; a new home with new places to explore. Just a place I can go where nobody knows me or has had a chance to be disappointed by me. 

To everyone else who has a black dog, I want you to know that you are not alone. Maybe someday soon when my dog is not so vicious we can get together and talk about all the things that make us happy in this world.

{Image Link}

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HTW: Pulling an all-nighter


I came to a sad realisation earlier this week. I start uni again for the year as of next Monday. I have taken a bit of a break from it over the past year and am now working four days a week, and while I study externally, I am still really bracing myself for stress overload, boring topics I don't care for and long sleepless all-nighters. I would like to tribute today's post to all the uni students about to embark on the same journey as myself. With no further ado... how to pull an all-nighter:

Caffeine - Yay or Nay: This really depends on your experiences with caffeine in the past. If you are a seasoned java drinker then go for your life, however if you are not so familiar with this beverage then chances are you will peak too soon and crash long before you actually planned on sleeping. Icy cold water or a mug of green tea are a safer bet.

To break or not to break: I love my job but after a while I end up sitting there completely zoned out of my head wondering why I am staring at a computer. The lesson is, you need to take breaks! At the risk of getting side tracked, it will keep you motivated and remind you of why you are up working when you would much prefer to be sleeping. Try to aim for a 10 - 15 minute break every hour to hour half for optimum results. If you absolutely must have a nap, anything longer than 30 minutes will be detrimental to your all-nighter edge and you will find yourself sleeping through to your alarm.

Staying in the zone: It is so important that you work in an area that you feel productive in. You want to be seated in a chair which is not too comfy as to put you to sleep but is not going to cause you pain. You want to shut down Facebook and remove anything unnecessary and fun from your immediate vicinity as it is a distraction. The lighting should also be good as you want to see what you are doing. Also, very important, do not attempt an all-nighter while seated on your bed. As hard as you may try, you are going to lay down and fall asleep.

Staying Stimulated: Listening to something fast paced (like Pendulum) will keep you awake and buzzing out of your mind, which is what you want isn't it? Try to chop and change what you are focusing on every now and then to keep from repetition and overall boredom. You may even want to have a friend come around to be your study buddy, it may help you to focus a bit better. Also, you may like to keep some snacks close by to nibble on in the wee hours when you are craving something to eat.

I hope you have all taken something from this. Happy studies!! 

{Image Link}

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A woman should have...


I have chosen not to write a post of my own today, instead to share some amazing words by Maya Angelou; a truly inspiration and beautiful woman, inside and out. May you all have an amazing weekend and I hope you take something positive and life affirming from her words. Enjoy :)

A woman should have one old love she can imagine going back to and one who reminds her how far she has come.

A woman should have enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own even if she never wants to or needs to.

A woman should have something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour.

A woman should have a youth she’s content to leave behind.

A woman should have a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age.

A woman should have a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.

A woman should have one friend who always makes her laugh and one who lets her cry.

A woman should have a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family.

A woman should have eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored.

A woman should have a feeling of control over her destiny.

Every woman should know how to fall in love without losing herself.

Every woman should know how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

Every woman should know when to try harder and when to walk away.

Every woman should know that she can’t change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents.

Every woman should know that her childhood may not have been perfect, but its over.

Every woman should know what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more.

Every woman should know how to live alone, even if she doesn’t like it.

Every woman should know whom she can trust, whom she can’t, and why she shouldn’t take it personally.

Every woman should know where to go, be it to her best friend’s kitchen table, or a charming inn in the woods when her soul needs soothing.

Every woman should know what she can and can’t accomplish in a day, a month, and a year.

— Maya Angelou

Friday, February 10, 2012

On being the best that you can: part 3


Stop denying yourself a break: For years I have failed at this point. I work myself down to the bone then wonder why I can’t get out of bed in the morning. My problem is that I don’t know when it is acceptable to simply take a break. It is as though the best time to actually take a breather is the only moment you can’t afford to, so it seems. If you simply allow yourself a moment to reflect and have a break, no matter how small it is, you will be able to achieve more in the long run and your mental and physical health will adore you for it.
Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments: It is so vital to remember to enjoy the little things. One day you will look back and realise that they were actually the big things and you missed/overlooked them. We live our lives how we live our days, so there is no point living 5 years ahead at all times as you will miss the “right now” and right now is where we are.
Stop trying to make things perfect: This is a point I need to stick in clear view of myself at all times. I am a perfectionist to the core. I run around my office and house just picking up little messes that really could have been left, changing entire lists of text to a specific font because of one particular word, just ridiculous little things. But the point is, the world does not reward perfectionists for the extra mile, the world rewards people who do the job at hand. Yes, try your hardest, but move on once it is done, we (myself definitely included) need to know when it is time to stop and move to the next project.
Stop following the easiest path: Life is not easy. It is a constant challenge and many of us get lost within the tangles. However, others find something magnificent that is so great is simply must be shared. We need to stop taking the easiest path all the time, as it means we are losing the opportunity to bloom into something more beautiful, or creative or to find something we never even knew we had lost.
Stop pretending to be happy if you aren’t: I will say it again; life is not easy. My boyfriend knows this all too well. Every few months I will have this crazy breakdown and demand we go away to some rural bohemian town together to “breathe” (I am sorry Danny; you really are very patient). The point is that it is okay to simply break down sometimes. Take leave from your mind for 10 minutes and just fall apart because you need to in order to rebuild. But don’t forget to rebuild. This world is too beautiful to let the darkness take you over. We are all strong amazing people; however sometimes we just need a moment to catch our breath, don’t be afraid to break down sometimes. There is no shame in it.
Stop blaming others for your troubles: You have the potential to achieve anything, so long as you take responsibility for your own actions. This means that if you stuff up you need to acknowledge that it was your mistake and rectify it. This does not mean hating yourself, this means realising how far the tentacles of our own actions can reach. When you blame others for your troubles or problems, you are denying responsibility and are handing over the power to parts of your life.
Stop trying to be everything to everyone: This is a tough one. It is hard to be there for everyone all of the time. We all have a lot of people in our lives, but the important point to remember is that each of those have other people in their lives too, people who are also there for them, so please don’t feel that you are the only person who can help, there are others. There is no point in overburdening yourself, as then there will be none of you to go around at all.
Stop worrying so much: Worry is probably my deepest foe. No matter where I am, suddenly pop “have you paid the phone bill?” “sure you have enough cat food to last the week?” trivial little worries pop into my head. Worrying about these little tasks will not remove their existence from my life, it simply pushes the fear of the worse case scenario to the foreground. Focus on the positive, and what is important. If it will not be important a year or more into the future then simply don’t worry about it.
Stop focusing on the worse case scenario: We make our destiny with good intentions. If I focused on the worse case scenario all the time, I would never have even started blogging. When I first started writing I was terrified of people seeing what I wrote. I thought they would laugh at me. Had I let that hold me back I would never have discovered my passion for words. Focus on the positive and it will manifest itself in your life.
Stop being ungrateful: I don’t mean this in the sense of not respecting what you have, but in it’s simplest form. No matter how good or bad your day was, wake up with the knowledge that someone out there is fighting for just one more day here. There will always be someone who has it worse off. Try thinking about what you have that others are missing out on.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mental illness and the power of tomorrow.


A few years ago I came down with stomach ulcers. I have a deeply morbid fear of needles and doctors so of course put it off as heartburn. When I finally did see the doctor out of sheer desperation, I was handed this band-aid reply and a two week supply of this medication I would have sold my soul for. Those two weeks were bliss. I could actually go somewhere without feeling like I was going to die. Queue following years of "safe eating",  extremely controlled environments and excruciating pain.

Through this on/off desperation and never quite knowing if I would be fine that day or not, I developed a severe anxiety disorder to the point where I was unable to walk to the mailbox 10 metres from my doorstep without having a panic attack. The world was a terrifying place and I wasn't coping at that time.

I was put on medication for it and it is mostly cleared up now, but I swore to myself in those months of sheer pain and terror that I would use my writing to empower sufferers of mental health issues, and just individuals who needed a voice because there's was too quiet to speak out for themselves. 

It wasn't until this morning that I realised I had in part, forgotten the essence of my promise. I was driving to work and I hadn't been in a few days as my bosses are awesome and had allowed me to have a few days off to spend with my Dad (he works on the other side of the country and visits monthly) and today was to be the day I would return to work. The rain was fierce and for some reason I was really nervous. And then it happened, I had a panic attack. First in what I would have to say a year. And it was terrifying. I turned around and came home. I was defeated. I felt like every single pain and insecurity I had pushed through had amounted to nothing. 

I guess the point I am trying to get to is that despite the fact that I am still angry with myself, life goes on. Tomorrow is Friday and if I try hard enough, will be nothing like today. I will go to work, I will smile and  ask how everyone has been, I will go volunteer at the animal shelter and then come home to watch movies with my boyfriend. I realise this now, whereas I didn't realise this back then. I have the power to change at any moment, so long as I believe in myself and don't let my illness tear me down.

I would like to think that we live in a world where we are all healthy, all of the time, but the reality is that people do get ill. So I hope that you are all well, and if not, that you know you are not alone and that there are people who care.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

HTW: Relieving a jellyfish sting


Being an Australian, I love the water. I love the hot sand followed by the soothing cool of finally reaching  the water line and dunking my toes into the soft swell; the flat water and occasionally the inconsistent waves. I love looking at the shells and the froth directly after the wave crashes.

What I do not love about the beach however, are jellyfish stings. I live about a five minutes walk from the beach and just yesterday I came across a tell-tale sign that it was jellyfish season - sand littered with these little buggers. So what do you do when one has attacked you?

Firstly, don't urinate on the affected area! Contrary to popular belief it will only aggravate the sting further.

1. As soon as you are stung, you want to get yourself out of the water. Remove the tentacle with care using a stick or whatever you can find that is not your hand. You don't want the stinger to touch your anywhere else as it will continue to sting you in other areas. 

2. Rinse the affected area with vinegar. Soak a hand towel or whatever you have at hand in the vinegar and apply to affected area for 15 - 30 minutes. This is necessary to stop nematocysts from releasing toxins into your body.

3. This next step may hurt a little, but it will hurt more if you skip it. You want to get your hands on some shaving gel and a razor and shave the affected area. This will take the top layer of skin off and any stinger that remains with it, and will entirely prevent the nematocysts from entering your body. Failing this, you could rub the affected area with wet sand.

4. Reapply the vinegar soaked towel once more. You may want to get rid of further pain by using pain relief such as paracetamol or by applying hydrocortisone cream.

NOTE: If you are experiencing breathing difficulties, have been stung repeatedly or would consider your sting/s to be moderate to severe, please skip this advice and get yourself to the nearest lifeguard or hospital.

{Image: taken from the beach down my street}