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.
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?
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.
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.
Friday, October 10, 2014
If you only read one post on Sara's blog Me and Orla, let it be this one on imperfection and the perfect life myth
image credit Me and Orla
Sara explains the post: I saw something on Pinterest the other day that said, 'I will not compare myself to strangers on the internet', and had to smile. I have a sneaking suspicion we're all falling foul to the cyber-peer-pressure now & again, myself most definitely included. I post these idyllic pictures to my instagram every day and sometimes feel like a total fraud for the stack of unwashed dishes out of shot or the shameful mess of my hair. I look at someone else's equally idealised photographs and think, I need to be more like her, & rarely consider that of course she'll be artfully obscuring just as much as me. I wrote this blog post to come clean a bit with my followers, & to try and break the shame-cycle a bit. It was a lovely, liberating experience, and I absolutely urge others to do the same.
Vanisha's notes: As I read through this post I felt myself sitting up a little straighter. Here is a woman who is writing from a place that resonates so strongly with my beliefs. I only discovered Sara's blog after following her Instagram account so it's only through asking her this question that I've even seen this post. In opening up my space to other creatives I'm finding that so much goodness is being opened up to me. And Sara, about the sleeping - I'm with you. Besides, Arianna Huffington is suggesting we do more of it!
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
One of the easiest ways I can think of to really look at your wardrobe is to consider what you wear at home. I remember as children we had 'home clothes' and 'good clothes' or 'outing clothes' and while it might be a useful distinction for children I find it less so for adults. This mindset really distorted the way I thought about clothes and life events. The nicer clothes being for nicer events. I no longer have 'home clothes'. I have clothes that are comfortable, practical and of good quality that I wear at home and out. I did this by thinking about two specific things: a colour palette and the three-piece rule.
The colour palette. If I'm at home chances are I'll be cooking, cleaning, working or engaged in some form of activity. I'm likely to get my clothes dirty because I'm clumsy like that. I opt for darker colours. Besides no one is really going to notice that it's the same black jumper, but they probably will notice the same yellow one! The colours in my wardrobe are all pretty neutral. Having said that, I rely on pops to colour (through jewellery or scarves) to lift the otherwise drab 'home clothes' look.
The three-piece rule: Have you noticed how we (and others) tend to look so nicely put together in the colder months? People think this has to do with the layers and how layers enhance our look. In the warmer months I tend to only wear two pieces. Usually shorts and a top, a skirt and a top or a dress. I started adding scarves to my outfits and it was so obvious how quickly it could transform your look. Since then I've added other light layers in the summer. In colder months, even inside the house where it's warm I'll wear a lightweight summer scarf. It makes my outfits look a little more polished.
To go from being dressed for the day at home to heading out the door in a matter of minutes I wear comfortable clothes from a neutral colour palette. At the moment blacks and greys. I tend to favour skinny jeans and slightly loose knits with lightweight scarves. If I have to go out I'll add a coat, a warmer scarf, some lipstick, a bag and a pair of shoes. That's literally it.
A lot of people probably don't care what they wear at home. I do, mostly because having an additional set of clothes for home meant I just had clothes that were unnecessary. I was spending money on beautiful clothing, why shouldn't I wear them often or all the time. The other reason I wanted to change this mindset was because I wanted to comfortably and confidently answer my door in the middle of the day, or be able to pick up my keys, phone and wallet and head out for a spur of the moment cafe date with a friend. I want my clothes to complement my lifestyle not dictate it. I see being ready for all the adventures and opportunities as an integral part of living and embracing life.
What do you wear at home?
How do you think about your 'home style'?
Friday, October 3, 2014
If you only read one post on Rachel's blog Nourish, let it be this one on being who you are and living your life on your own terms.
Rachel explains: I wrote this post in response to seeing an article published on a major news site that made me really angry; mainly because rewind 5 years ago and I would have been one of the people to buy into this crazy hype. I'll never forget how stuck, miserable and empty I felt during that period of my life. My intention with this post was to share with anyone who can relate to feeling stifled by the traditional path + let them know it's completely ok to be exactly who you are and not fall into the trap of becoming some cookie cutter version of yourself on a trajectory that's already been planned out for you. It took me a long while to realise that it's ok to create your own path that's wildly different from anyone else's. I say go with your gut. Honestly, do what makes you flipping happy. Life is far too short. Just believe in yourself, stay true to who you are and always, always do what you love.
Vanisha's notes: Last week I had Diana over sharing her post and I talked about how I had been reading her blog for years. Sometimes you connect with a blogger and feel a connection to their blog in a very short period of time. I came across Rachel via Instagram, then I found her blog. After reading only a few posts I sent her an email, we started emailing and I found myself wishing we lived closer by! I'm so thrilled to be able to introduce her to all of you. Her blog is a calm, nourishing space, stop by and you'll see what I mean.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I can't get over how many times we've mentioned the word 'calm' in this house over the past two to three weeks. We've been working on Miss 10 and her outbursts and inability to control and articulate her frustration (and emotions in general). We try to work on these things together as a family but also give her the space to work through these things alone. While you might not have children, I think some of the points could apply more generally. Often it's the obvious things that we need to be reminded about when it comes to self-care. A few things that we've been doing and that has helped generally create and maintain calm in these parts have been:
The Smiling Mind app: Patrick usually looks at me all funny when I suggest guided meditation. I downloaded the Smiling Mind app on my phone, but it's also web-based. It's basically "modern meditation for young people." The first time Miss 10 tried it she said she had difficulty "imagining it, I was imagining someone else imagining it, but I felt my body relax...it was like it all went FLOP", the second time she tried it she gave me a cuddle and said she was able to imagine and feel it. I have the app on my phone and I let her use it whenever she wants. We've asked that she try it at least once a day.
Kinetic Sand: Now you'll think I've totally lost it! But this one comes even more 'endorsed' by Miss 10 because she used her allowance to buy it (it cost just over $20, I think). It's part sand, part magic! It's sand that sticks to itself, and is soft and stretchy. Its very relaxing and calming to play with and is non-toxic. I don't think you need kinetic sand in particular, but something soft and relaxing to play with seems to help. Kinetic Sand or Puppy - the sand seemed easier.
Music: A mixture of upbeat tunes and soothing melodies. She likes singing along and jumping around, who doesn't? I remember on evening we spent over half an hour singing along to a crazy mix of songs. Some of our favourites are: Happy, Geronimo, Feel the Love, any of the Putumayo CDs, especially this one.
Bedroom time vs Bedtime: This was perhaps the hardest thing we've done but it's yielded some of the best results. Miss 10 now goes to her room an hour before her official bedtime. It's her quiet, alone time (and ours). During this time Patrick and I tend to do our own things too. She can use the time to read, draw, use the Smiling Mind app or anything else she likes - she just needs to do it in her room. We're feeling like this helps her quiet her mind and nerves. It's also helping her cultivate a better relationship with herself and her room.
Books: Miss 10 absolutely hated reading when she came to us. Even school required reading would end in tears and tantrums but I've seen her relationship with books change dramatically. I wouldn't go as far as saying that picking up a book and reading now comes naturally to her, it doesn't but there isn't any more drama. Reading and re-telling the stories appear to keep her calm and collected. There's something deeply satisfying of looking up from a book I'm reading to see my family cuddled up around me reading as well.
We've obviously done a few more things then just these but these really stick out for me and are the ones I find useful in achieving some calm for myself too. How do you achieve calm in your home? (Either with your children or with yourself)