Ask Me Anything!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I was curious about what my community wanted to know. I feel like I write and share everything but there are things that I take for granted or just don't think about. I decided to put one of those "ask me anything" posts on Instagram and figure out what you were curious about. I think I might make this a monthly 'thing'. What do you think?  

Here are some of the questions I got (and answers) 

mysterieux_x asked What did you major in and what is your profession? 

I majored in Psychology and Industrial Relations (which really was Human Resources at the time). But honestly I studied everything, including Biology, a lot of Sociology and Literature. My PhD was on education (children's experiences in and out of school in Fiji). My profession - I'm a research consultant and director at Making Connections (Fiji) a consultancy firm that I set up with my husband, there's more information on our work website.

tyneswedish asked If you could in a snippet tell me what you've been up to? 

To be honest I've just been trying to figure it [life and what I want to do] out. I spent the last two months in Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea (as part of a leadership program) Met and spoke with Princess Anne (which was pretty cool!). I've finished some consultancy work on people's perceptions of the Fiji constitution and elections. Being a 'new mum' of course. Miss 10 leaves for the holidays in four weeks and I'm busy with writing articles and reports. That's been me :)

(Tyne, just for you! Having a chat with Princess Anne in Vanuatu) 
sheconfessions asked I'd love to hear the story behind being a full-time aunt! 

Miss 10 is my husband's niece who formed an almost instant attachment to me. She was the driving force behind her move across to us, constantly saying that she wanted to live with Auntie Vanisha and Uncle Peni. The opportunity presented itself when her parents moved to teach in a rural community in Australia. This was just something she wanted to happen all along and in many ways she made it happen.

lovely light asked How have you managed moving to a new country? I'm moving back to the USA in less than two weeks, and am feeling overwhelmed!

In terms of the physical move, we let the professionals deal with it. It's easier and more efficient. Worth what it costs. We tend to let the travel agents do our tickets, unless it's an easy direct flight. I try to find bloggers in my new home city/town, reach out and set up a blogger date (hit the ground running!). But a big lesson for me over the years was just to let things be, especially how I feel. I loved Dunedin, then I hated Dunedin, then I wanted to move and I didn't...I've learnt just to accept the feelings but try to get your family into a routine (hopefully your routine doesn't change too much). I set up our home as quickly as I could, I started cooking as soon as the gas was connected. I made the house 'home' and then dealt with the place slowly. You might find this post I wrote on settling somewhere new useful (which reminds me, I need to write a part II!).

popbasic asked What was your dream job when you were a little girl? 

I've never really said this out loud, I don't think. I wanted to be a model and I wanted to help people. Back then the only thing I thought that stood in my way of my dream to be a model was my height (or lack thereof)! 

Is there anything you want to know?
I love these posts on other blogs, so if you decide to do one, let me know!

If You Only Read One Post...

Friday, November 7, 2014

If you only read one post on Annie's blog Happy Change 100, let it be this one on beauty and the scales.

image found here 

Annie describes the sentiments behind the post: This post is trying to communicate a new understanding of beauty, which isn't defined by how we look or how much we weigh (which the fashion industry would like us to believe), but by how we perceive ourselves and our bodies and how we nourish and treat them. As Melissa Ambrosini once said: “Everything outside of us is a reflection of our internal battle.” As long as you are fighting yourself, you won’t be beautiful. Let go, stop being at war with yourself and make peace with yourself instead. Your inner freedom will allow you to love yourself, to shine and glow and to be beautiful. And differently than reaching a certain weight makes you happy for a couple of ours, making peace with yourself and loving your own body will make you truly happy on a long-term.

Vanisha's Notes: Annie writes an honest and personal blog about her experience with eating disorders, recovery and general health. Her messages of health and happiness are much needed, especially for young women negotiating body images and stereotypes. You might also enjoy this post I wrote on body image.

Papua New Guinea: At First Glance

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's so easy to say there are no words and to leave it at that. I fell in love countless times in Papua New Guinea. It felt like home, it was comfortable and I was happy. Sure, it's a land of poverty, some could argue extreme poverty, and crime. It's also a land of such vibrant hope. With a conservative population estimate of 7.5 million people and over 800 languages (a report as of three weeks ago now puts this number at about 1,100 languages) it's unjustified to compare Papua New Guinea to other Pacific Island countries. Yet we constantly impose blanket measures of 'success' and development to countries like Papua New Guinea. I saw a country that's finding its feet and people who are committed to development but development on their own terms by their own definition. 

Over the past two weeks I didn't have a lot of time to really reflect on what I saw, felt and thought but there's a lot to say and share. I can't wait to show you Papua New Guinea through my eyes. 
As Ever, Vanisha. 


I also want to say that your kind messages and emails were so comforting and reassuring, thank you for making me feel like it was okay for me to share my vulnerabilities and insecurities. I agree with most of you, I don't get the opportunity to share that side of me nearly as much. My love and gratitude.

If You Only Read One Post...

Friday, October 31, 2014

If you only read one post on Caitlin's blog Mother Down Under, let it be this one on wearing a watch, little things, big changes.

image via

Caitlin explains why this post: Balancing on line time with off line time is something that I am continually working on. Both because of my (very) small business and because I do crave the escapism that social media provides, I feel a near constant pull to check email, Facebook, and Instagram. But then I feel the guilt. Those moments spent distracted or apart from my family. Enjoying something that isn't necessarily real when I could be enjoying something totally genuine. I reread this post frequently to remind myself what works both in terms of managing my own social media needs and my desire to be present with my family. And that is divide and conquer…dedicated time online and dedicated time offline. I am far from getting it right all of the time…but I do feel like I have a better balance now than I did at the beginning of the year. 

Vanisha's notes: I used to wear a watch all the time, and it was helpful but slowly wearing a watch became more of a fashion accessory. I had a few to choose from and slowly their core function shifted. After reading this post I started re-thinking the function of the pretty little time piece on my wrist and slowly, I noticed I was doing an even better job of using this precious commodity - time.  

Do you wear a watch? What's it's core function for you? 

If You Only Read One Post...

Friday, October 24, 2014

If you only read one post on Jane's blog Very Jane, let it be this one - Dear Crying Stranger

Vanisha's Notes: Today's post is a little different in that I'm sharing a favourite post from a blog that I read. I didn't want to risk asking Jane to select a post from her blog and it not be this one. I read this post when I had just had all my infertility fears confirmed. I broke into tears randomly and constantly and then I read these words, "I don’t know you, and I don’t know your story. But when I saw you in your car today, letting tears cascade down your cheeks, my heart went out to you." I thought she was talking about me, that she was talking to me. And that's how I read the post and it instantly made me feel less isolated. It's been over a year since Jane published this post but it's a post that is most vivid in my mind and I truly think if there's only one post you read on her blog, it should be this one. 

If You Only Read One Post...

Friday, October 17, 2014

If you only read one post on Sarah's blog Creating Contentment, let it be this one on 10 lessons learnt from doing fashion dares.

image credit Vanisha A Life Un-Styled

Sarah describes the influence of style dares and this post: I like fashion, yet I never felt that it liked me. With each baby birthed, with all my body changes and financial shifts, feeling fashionable or even like I looked good, got harder and harder. I got lazy and often wore my husbands track pants. Because I rarely left the house due to my autistic children, I figured what is the point of getting dressed. Why bother? This attitude seeped into everything. I felt horrible and low. Then I discovered Instagram, and fashion bloggers and the many style dares they run. I wanted to look better so to feel better. I wanted my husband to be proud of me. I wanted my wardrobe to reflect the fact that I am interested in and like fashion. So, with the help of these dares, I began to play. I started to have fun getting dressed. Because I was dressed, I started leaving the house anyway, even though my children are still autistic. I was suddenly better able to deal with these problems in my life. I wrote this post to document all of the lessons I learnt because of my attitude of fun that I have brought to my wardrobe. I am indebted to the wonderful fashion bloggers that inspire me daily on Instagram. Strangely, fashion has given me my confidence back. This post hopefully encourages others to let go of the fashion rules and get dressed to feel better as a step to having a healthy well-being

Vanisha's notes: After reading Sarah's post I changed the way I look at these style dares. I haven't participated in any myself. Reading about what Sarah has learnt from them has open my mind to the variety of reasons women would take part in these challenges. I think it's best if I leave this to Sarah, I'd love to know what you think of style dares and if any of what Sarah says resonates with you?

The Journey Of A Dress feat 4Minutes33

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I love stories and processes. Often the process is a lot more important to me then the outcome or the final product. And this in many was extends to my love of clothes. Especially clothes made by my friends, I want to understand the journey of the dress. I'm not sure if you're all interested in stories as much as I am but I've loved wearing this dress (the Penn Dress) and I wanted to share its story. The dress is a 4Minutes33 piece and one half 4Minutes33 - designer Francesca Altenburg was kind enough to answer a few questions about the dress. 

You and Gemma come up with the most interesting names for your clothing. Where did the name for the Penn Dress originate? 

The Penn dress is named after Louis Kahn one of my favourite architects who built a lot of buildings in PENNsylania. Kahn's work is often blocky, geometric, quite sculptural but with a soft poetic edge - I guess that's what attracts me to his work. The neck to the Penn dress is so blocky and square that I wanted a name that referenced that aspect of the piece. I designed this piece, or one of this many versions when I was studying at the Canberra Institute of Technology. It's a form (the big neck for hiding in) that has infinite appeal to me (I really don't know why?). A lot of my work looks at a balance between Masculine (square, geometric, black) versus Feminine (soft, grey/white, organic). Louis Kahn also looks at these themes in his work and that's why I'm drawn to him for inspiration.

What type of woman is the Penn Dress for? 

The Penn dress has had a strange journey of many different details and fabrics. I think the Penn dress is a great piece as it can be worn as a dress or a tunic and can be causal or corporate, it covers a lot of ground. I've worn mine (made from black wool jersey) over wide leg jeans a lot and felt my best myself (that feeling of when an outfit really expresses a little part of your personality and makes you feel better than yourself). This feeling/expression is what drives me to design and I hope people who wear 4 Minutes 33 feel some of this when wearing our clothes. I don't think our clothes are for any specific person as such, there more about how you feel in them.

What fabric is the dress made of and where can it be purchased? 

The fabric is a wool blend and I was drawn to this fabric as it was soft but holds shape and has a slight corporate feel | You can buy the dress at Assemblage Project in Canberra or you can email for more information.

Do you have a favourite story of a piece of clothing you have? 
I'm really drawn to this story and this dress. I tried it on at Assemblage Project with these boots and I loved the equestrian chic look and I knew I simply had to have it. 

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