Friday, July 8, 2016

{Life} WE LOVE INDIGENOUS MUSIC!



The kids, hubby and I all love music. Our taste in music may vary - a lot in some cases. But our love is equal.

I recently blogged about the relaxing power of music,  http://alifeonvenus.blogspot.com.au/2016/06/life-five-ways-to-help-you-relax.html.

If you love music too, you are also in good company...

Charles Darwin is documented as saying, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”

Albert Einstein has been said to have declared, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician.”

Jimmy Hendrix called music his “religion.”

Research has also proved that when you listen to music you like, your brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. It has also been found to help with insomnia, make you run faster, lower stress levels, reduce stress levels and strengthen your learning and memory.

In an effort to assist you in releasing some dopamine goodness, I am sharing a music playlist that recently aired on Triple J Breakfast.

As part of NAIDOC week,  Briggs and Trials (A.B. Original) took over the Triple J airwaves on Friday morning.  They played all of their favourite tunes by Indigenous artists and in the words of Trials, they put up "three hours of very good music, very black music, celebrating black excellence, which is what NAIDOC is all about."

Here it is and it is AWESOME!



{image}

Thursday, June 9, 2016

{Life} Five ways to help you relax


Everything is so fast paced. Gotta be here, gotta be there, got a To-Do list a mile long that just must get done. It seems to be the same for everyone.

Relaxation needs to be the aim of the game.

Here are five ways that I relax.....

Meditate

Some of the relaxation benefits of meditation include lowering blood pressure, increasing serotonin production and reducing anxiety attacks. And I say Hallelujah to that folks.

I recently blogged about our (my little miss and my) top two meditation apps, you can check it out here. The difference meditation makes to both of us is really quite amazing. I highly recommend you give it a go. 

Take a bath

Make sure you lock the bathroom door too - nothing screams non-relaxing like kids shrieking at you for something when you are floating in the tub.

Balancing essential oils to add to your bath can include jasmine, mandarin and ginger oils.

Sources say that a heated bath before bed is apparently a good way to endure that you drift off to the Land of Nod without too much difficulty.

Go for a walk

Get outside, breath the fresh air. Even if it is just a quick trip around the block it can help you relax.

I find this useful at work when things are super stressful, I just disconnect and go for a walk around the block, do some deep breaths and get back into it.

Get a massage

One of the immediate benefits of massage is a feeling of deep relaxation and calm - and who can argue with that. This occurs because of the release of endorphins. And we can't get enough of those!
It is also claimed that stress hormones are reduced.

So best to run off and book yourself one now.

Listen to music

Did you know that listening to music can have a wonderfully relaxing effect, especially classical music. It can have a beneficial effect by slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure and decreasing stress hormones.

I recently found this link and it is lovely - http://blog.freepeople.com/2016/04/namaste-mix-music-yoga-practice/

How do you relax?


{image}

Thursday, June 2, 2016

{My 5 cents} Lessons learnt from GoT S01

{image}
As I have mentioned before, I am behind the eight ball on a lot of things - GoT is one of them. I have read Book 1 - A Game of Thrones in the A Song of Ice and Fire, loved it. 

I have seen Season One, hence this post....and now am back into the GoT obsession and madly playing catch-up with the rest of the seasons. Total, utter binge watching at its best.

The TV Show unleashes the passion and power from the pages of the books into "real life". It is all consuming and understandably an obsession for so many. 

Lessons I've learnt from GoT S01....

Loyalties reign supreme - one very poignant example of this is the dire wolves. As soon as they are bonded with their owners, there loyalty does not waver.  There are of course House loyalties, which I am sure will be stretched and tested to the limit as the game continues - so more the better to have a dire wolf. 

{image}

Chicks are bad arse - and don't mess with them. Most of the women we are introduced to in S01 are strong. Catelyn Stark, Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen , Arya Stark. The tenacity of Arya Stark is really something to be commended. This is a girl will not quit.

{image}

Trust can be a dirty five letter word - in the game of thrones be careful who you trust and certainly make sure it isn't a Lannister. Even within your own house (especially if you are a Lannister) take care who you trust - and then think again.

{image}

Dragons are f#*king awesome - a bad arse chick with three bad arse dragons - nuff said.

{image}


Have you learnt anything from GoT?
Or any TV Show?

Monday, May 30, 2016

{Life} Our top two meditation apps


The mind is a powerful place. Little miss and I both have anxious minds. Minds that busily catatrophise tiny things into great big scary things. 

There is nothing wrong with this. Nothing at all. 

We are very aware of our powerfully anxious minds and therefore take measures to ease the worry. 

One of those measures is meditation. Every morning on the train I meditate for 10 minutes. Every night at bed time Little Miss meditates for varying times between 5 and 10 minutes. 

We researched apps and spoke to friends and have found that the two we like the most are Smiling Mind and Headspace. 

Both apps are anywhere, anytime and awesome. Little Miss and I enjoy both of them and use each on a daily basis.

Smiling mind is completely free and has meditation sessions aimed at different age groups (which I love). It also has a Bite Size section for those times in the car when you need some mindfulness and fast! Check it out at http://smilingmind.com.au/.


Headspace gives you a free Take10 allowing you a taster of the Headspace program. Once you have subscribed, you have access to hundreds of hours of content ranging from stress, creativity to relationships and happiness. 
Little miss loves Headspace's animatations as they take you through how the program works and what you will get out of it. Check it out at https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app.

Do you meditate?

Got any apps to recommend?





{image}

Saturday, May 21, 2016

{Life} How to love yourself more


This being my 40th year on planet Earth, I feel like I am on a path of self-discovery - or perhaps mid-life crisis. Call it what you will, thoughts have definitely been rattling around a lot about how I can "just be".

Be happy in my own skin. Be at peace with myself. And of course, how is this attainable for me - an over-thinker and catastrophizer.

One of the first things is learning to love myself more. Growing up I never loved myself - it was so taboo to say you loved yourself anyway, so why would you, right? Totally wrong!

As I have grown older I have realised that loving yourself is so important. It is something that I am certainly teaching my own children.

I believe loving yourself more involves feeling good about yourself.

So, how can we love ourselves more...these are my tips.

Stick with people who build you up and don't tear you down


As the years have ticked past I have definitely realised there are people in your life who are toxic and those who would support you no matter what. Cut the toxic and hold on to the supportive. Much easier said than done I know. But in the end, so worth it.

The people that support you and are your true cheerleaders are the ones that will make you feel good.

Look after your mental health


Having mental health issues myself, I believe it is so important to look after your mental health. 

For me it is invaluable to find time to meditate and check in regularly with my physchiatrist. Your mental health is just as important as your physical - don't neglect it. 

Having good mental health makes you feel good. 

Do something active


My physchiatrist has been banging on to me about this for years. Recently I actually decided to listen and I have been making regular "appointments" to walk every day - if I don't schedule them into my diary, it just doesn't happen.

The difference it has made in me is awesome. I am feeling better about myself now than I have in ages, which is good. And it is as simple as walking.

Take a break when you need it


I work full time, am a mum to two kids, a wife to one husband, etc, etc. Sometimes I am exhausted, okay often I am exhausted! And have realised sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I need to have a midday nap on the weekend - and that is OKAY! Sometimes I need to take time to get a massage - and that is OKAY!

Taking a break and looking after yourself makes you feel good.

What are your tips for loving yourself more?


{image}

Sunday, May 15, 2016

{Renovation Junkies} Getting the Construction Certificate



The next step in our renovation adventure is to get the Construction Certificate (CC).

No CC means no renovation means no new kitchen means heartbreak.

Basically a CC is a list of a stack of items and you need to supply and/or pay to the local council. Once supplied and paid, the council checks them.

Things on this list include;
  • detailed architectural plans
  • Basix certificate
  • detailed stormwater plans
  • landscaping plans
  • dilapidation report of Council's assets, e.g. footpath
  • Sydney Water approvals
  • pay levies, rates, damage deposits (thanks Council)
  • details of planned erosion
If they are happy, they give you the CC. If not, you go around in circles trying to make them happy so they will eventually give you the CC.

Cause like I said no CC, no renovation.

We have been fortunate our architect, Stuart, has helped us out with getting a lot of things, like engineer reports and Sydney Water approvals.

Our builders have also been great in going through the list with us and telling us explicitly what is our responsibility, leaving no doubt who has to do what and by when. 

Now I just need to get organised and tick my things off the list!

Had any issues getting a Construction Certificate?


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

{Inspiration} Filmmaker Megan Riakos


Inspiration is simply defined as a person, place or experience that makes you want to do or create something.

I am constantly inspired by people and it got me thinking about asking them some questions and including them on my little happy place here on the blogosphere.

So first cab off the rack is Megan.

Recently I met Megan. She is a filmmaker and in 2013 made her debut feature film, Crushed, on my friends family's vineyard in Mudgee. Ever the movie lover, she inspired me to want to make my own film!

What is your background? What have you done to get where you are?


I started sewing the seeds for my filmmaking career by doing an B/A Communications (Media Arts & Production) at UTS from 2000-2002.  It gave me a great overview of all the different areas in the film industry, a super important part of being a director is understanding and appreciating the different departments involved in creating a film.

I then moved to LA where I worked on a number of low budget features and Movie of the Week gigs, starting as a production assistant and then moving on to Assistant Directing and Art department.   These productions are fast and fierce – most were shot in three weeks, so it gave me a great foundation for when it came time to make Crushed to understand what was possible to capture in such a tight timeframe.

I then moved back to Australia where I continued to work as a crew member in the industry while making short films and writing features on the side.  In 2010 I was then accepted into the Australian Film Television & Radio School for Directing and after I graduated, I then completed the Professional Screenwriters Program at UCLA where I wrote Crushed (specifically to be made as an indie film and my debut feature).

What ignited your passion for film? 


I have always been into reading, writing & performing and I was constantly mounting plays with my siblings and mucking around.  But it wasn’t until I saw the movie ‘They Shoot Horses Don’t They’ in a media studies class in year 10, and then got to make my first short film as a class exercise, did the filmmaking bug bite me.  And it bit me very hard!  Films have a way of making you step inside someone else’s shoes and to become a more empathetic person.  I love films that challenge the way I think or feel about something and I hope my films are able to achieve that too.

What was the catalyst to do you own feature? 


I have been wanting to direct a feature since that media studies class back in 1996. I gave myself a deadline of making my first feature by 25 and when that passed, the new deadline was set for 30.  By the time I got to 30 I realised it would be a whole lot longer if I waited for the traditional funding path for my feature so I planned to go the indie route.  At 32 I was standing on set calling ‘action’ on the first day of shoot for Crushed.

What is the main lesson you have learnt? 


The easy part is the shoot! Making a feature is such a long game, so many decisions in both a creative and business sense.  But the main lesson for me, would be to treat the film like a small business – set yourself up properly, take the time to understand how to manage different people and set clear and realistic goals for your film.

What do you do to relax?


I am a regular runner. I used to compete as a teenager and old habits die hard!  I also try and get to yoga if I have the time and of course I love to go to the movies. It helps me get out of the house and forces me to sit still -  where my computer, phone, chores can’t distract me.

Who inspires you? 


My parents have been an unwavering source of support, they brought up 5 kids with little money and barely out of their teens.  Their incredible work ethic and their attitude of ‘just make it happen’ has definitely been instilled in me. Of course the women directors who have paved the way, like Jane Campion, Kathryn Bigelow, Gillian Armstrong & Jocelyn Moorehouse have helped me to believe in myself as a director.

Thanks Megan for spending time to answer these questions :)


Who inspires you?