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Tuesday, August 26, 2014 Recent Matters...

I saw this photo this afternoon, and started grinning from ear to ear. For multiple reasons, really. It got me thinking about the word "feminist" and its place in today's world. I don't know if this is just my own personal experience, but I believe there has been a shift happening, even within the past couple of years. I recall in my first year sociology class, about 4 or 5 years ago now, when we had to go around the classroom and explain whether we thought of ourselves as a feminist. I remember most responses being along the lines of "I wouldn't call myself a feminist per se, but I definitely believe in equality".

For a few decades now, I think we have been made to believe that "feminist" is a dirty world - something excessively confronting, aggressive, extreme, and wildly unattractive. A person could believe in all that feminist ideology stood for, whatever branch of feminism that may be, but still feel uncomfortable with claiming the feminist title. But I think there has been some sort of change in the attitudes towards the word within the past couple of years. I think feminism is not only starting to become more accepted, but also encouraged. Even (dare I say it?)cool. 

Just little things, like Beyonce's statement, are working to shake off the stereotypes. Beyonce is sensual, feminine, straight, a leg-shaver, intelligent, polite and a feminist. You can be any type of woman, or person, and still be a feminist. I only hope that it doesn't stay at a superficial level - where it's simply cool to say "I'm a feminist". Because we all know that trends don't last long.

Fruit for breakfast, yeh? Notice the tick of approval for "No Artificial Flavours"... how lenient are these claims, exactly? And for $2? That shit should be illegal. Does anyone else suffer from grocery shopping anxiety? This has only been a recent development for me, but since learning more about what actually goes into our food, I simply don't trust anything (neurotic much?). I basically ignore all the claims on the front of the packages now, and look for the ingredients list... it's actually quite scary how many "healthy" things have lots of little nasties in them. And then you think, OK, I'll just stick mainly to the fruits and veg.. but we're also quickly learning more about what these fruits and veggies are being sprayed and poked with. It's all a little overwhelming.

I've been doing Sex and the City marathons over the past week or so. I did a long one back in my early uni days, and for some strange reason I've decided to re-watch them all. I don't even particularly like the show, I think it's just easy and relatively pleasant to watch. But it's simply amazing how quickly technology has changed even since this show was made, which really doesn't feel like that long ago. They talk about getting "the email" for the first time, whether they would ever do "online shopping", and when no one shows up at Carrie's birthday dinner, they can't reach her to tell her why because SHE DOESN'T HAVE A MOBILE PHONE. I was also thinking, if they made the show today, Carrie would totally be a blogger, not a column-writer. The way she writes belongs in the blogging world, as opposed to the newspaper world - it's way too personal for print publication.

Photo Sources: BeyonceCarrie

Friday, August 22, 2014 DIY: Stencil Wall Art

We're in the slow process of filling up the walls of our apartment. I knew that I wanted something a bit more 'personal' on the blank wall above our bed, and when I came across this on A Beautiful Mess I knew that I wanted to do something along those lines. Then I saw this photo on The Minimalist Baker's Instagram account, I loved the phrase and this idea immediately popped into my head.

It's so easy to do, and I think it looks pretty effective (if I do say so myself). And the best part? You can write whatever the heck you want on it.. The alphabet world is your oyster!

If you're interested in giving it a go, here's how I did it:

Step 1: Collect supplies. I bought the print for about $12 from a cheapo knickknack store down the road. I was walking past the shop the other day and saw all these old-fashioned prints lined up in the window, and I thought it would be a good contrast to the 'Heart and Hustle' line.. particularly the 'hu$tle' part. I also like the bright colours, which I thought would help to make the black lettering stand out. 

Materials used:

Step 2: Remove Picture from frame.. this was actually a nightmare and I ended up cutting my thumb and it bled A LOT.. but soldier on people!

Step 3: Position letter onto painting. I used blu-tack to help keep them in place.

Step 4: Trace outline of letters using a pencil. Once I did this I removed the stencils just to take sure that it all looked OK, before moving on to using the permanent marker... If you're more daring, you can skip this step.

Step 5: Let's make this permanent-marker-official

Step 6: Remove stencils, put back the frame, kiss your sore thumb better, and admire your work!

I actually gave this to George for our three year anniversary. We don't usually do anything to celebrate our anniversaries, but he ended up cooking me a beautiful dinner so I just wanted to do a little something in return. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014 Weekend Snapshots: Cats, Grapefruits and Galleries



Cat: Neighbour's

Grapefruit and Coffee : All mine

Homemade Pizza: Heaven

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 Being Vegetarian.. And the dreaded question

I've been a vegetarian for almost three years now, and I don't ever see myself eating meat again. I originally became vegetarian for ethical reasons, I did a bit of reading on factory farming and the power of the meat industry and I just found it shocking and, to put it bluntly, disgusting. As time has gone on, I've also become more convinced of the health benefits of being vegetarian (or vegan, even more so, but that's another story) and so now I'm really enjoying the vegetarian lifestyle. However! I'm sure many vegetarians out there will empathise with this... being vegetarian comes with a lot of "explaining". If there is one question I'm asked most regularly after "How are you?", it is "Why did you decide to become a vegetarian?". I can see why people are interested, and it's fair enough that they are... I guess I was interested in reasons as to why vegetarian people were vegetarians until I became one myself and realised that, just like me, there are probably a whole range of reasons.

So I'm going to be completely honest here, and forgive me if this sounds rude, but it's a question that I find quite... annoying. And I feel guilty for finding it annoying, because I know that whoever is asking is not intending to be annoying, and also perhaps I should be jumping at the chance to raise awareness over the things I have learnt and to spread the word on the health risks of eating commercially produced meat and the unethical behaviours of our big industries. But, realistically, I just can't do that for everyone who asks. I would sound like a broken record. 

And it's not just the repetition that gets to me, it's the kind of "defensive" conversations that can sometimes follow. I have strong beliefs in the benefits of being a vegetarian, for myself and the planet, but that isn't to say I would ever pressure anyone else into becoming vegetarian. That's just not in my nature. I'm not a preacher. It's for this reason that I get confused when people try to convince me that eating meat is OK - whether it's a health argument, or an ethical argument, whatever it might be. I've heard it all. "But surely if the animal is killed painlessly then it's OK to eat it, right? It led a good life" or "What about when you're pregnant? Won't your baby be malnourished?" or "What do you reckon our cavemen ancestors ate if they didn't eat meat?.. Tofu?". I don't know whether they feel that they are benefiting me or themselves from this type of conversation - perhaps they are thinking that I am judging them, or sitting on my high-horse, and so instinctively become defensive. I'm not sure. But it's the type of conversation that I try to avoid.

It's for this reason that these days, when someone asks why I'm a vegetarian, I simply reply "Meat just grosses me out". It's an effective statement because:

1) it's true
2) it's something that cannot be argued against
3) it incorporates ALL the reasons as to why I stopped eating meat - I find both the industry and the act of eating animals quite gross (no offence to meat eaters, really, it's a personal thing)
4) it makes the reason about ME and me alone, not about placing judgments on anybody else
5) it's short and sharp and means we can move the conversation onto something else.

So there it is, just a few random thoughts on vegetarianism. I think I just needed to vent :P 

Hope you're having a lovely day xx

Sunday, August 10, 2014 Weekend Snapshots: Coffee, Movie, Football, Beer, Cake... Coffee

Sigh, weekends.. how I love thee. George forced himself to take the day off on Friday (he has so many deadlines to meet but he has just been really run-down lately.. he needed a decent rest), which of course meant that I needed to take the day off too :P We had a jam-packed weekend - consisting of lots of coffee, a movie, more coffee, baking, football (go Hawks!), beer, more coffee and a Sunday family lunch. 

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos. I'm relying on my trusty Nexus 5 until I'm able to talk myself into parting with my limited savings and buy a better camera. I've been thinking about it for so long... I need to just do it!! Story of my life, ey :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 Going Green(ish)

I don't really know what has caused the change, but within the past year I've become a lot more conscious about what is going into my body, my overall health, as well as (now to get really green here) the health of the planet. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older and it's just a maturity thing, maybe it's just an interest/passion that is developing like any other hobby, maybe it was moving out of home and having to buy all my groceries and cleaning products for myself for the first time, maybe it's George's influence, maybe it's the blogging world influence, maybe it's my limited budget influence.. maybe it's a combination of all those things! Most likely. But living simply and healthily is something that is growing in importance for me, and I'm actually really enjoying the process of learning new things and trialing new methods and discovering new foods and products and why they're beneficial to us and our environment. I'm still a long way away from being the healthiest person out there - I enjoy chocolate way too much, and sitting on my ass watching movies way too much, and cheese... oh, blessed are the cheese makers.. but I've really come a long way in the past year and I think slow change is the most effective change anyway.. right?.. right.

I thought I would share a few sources of inspiration that have really helped me in learning more about this "lifestyle", if you could call it that. If you're interested in learning a bit more about healthier ways of living, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out the following:

Oh Dear Drea (Blog)
I think this woman is amazing. Her cooking, her creativity, her humility, her work ethic. I cannot recommend her enough.

Annie Jaffrey (Blog/YouTube)
Annie has also undergone a massive change in lifestyle over the past year. She has recently adopted a raw vegan lifestyle and although I'm not ready to undergo a change like that, she has a lot to offer and she is really passionate about what she does. I've learnt a lot from her. She is also super sweet.

Ecoholic Beauty (Blog/YouTube)
I've only discovered Jessica recently but, oh my lordy, she is fab. I've already learnt SO much from her, plus she is so entertaining and hilarious. Her blog and her channel are still relatively "small", big but small, much bigger than mine! But I can see great things in the future for this woman. Check her out.

I love Anna's style of writing, for one. She is informative and engaging, while not being preachy. She gives the information, and leaves us to make the decision. I also recommend that you read anything else she has published, ever.

This book is quite well known, and I know it has had a big impact on a lot of people. This was what actually first made me choose to become vegetarian. George also read the book, and although he is not a vegetarian, he has really cut down on meat a lot. This Johnny Saf dude is persuasive!

I think that will do for now. If you check any of these guys out, I really hope you enjoy them or, even better, learn a little from them :)

Monday, August 4, 2014 Weekend Snapshots: Abbotsford Farm

Yesterday we had the first "warm" day we've had in a while... As in, you could actually feel some warmth from the sun. It's amazing how much a bit of sunlight can lift everyone's mood. The people of Melbourne seemed to be celebrating - everyone was out and about. George and I had originally planned to go to a cafe in Abbotsford called Three Bags Full, but the waiting line was pretty ridiculous and we both don't like lining up for food haha. I consider us to be generally quite patient people... but that's just something we don't do :P We looked up other options for cafes on Google Maps and the one that stood out was The Farm Cafe (pretty much because of the name). After a tiny bit of a trek to get there, we found out to our delight that the cafe was actually amid a farm (nuh duh? shocking, I know). Even better! 

Hope you had a fabulous weekend :)