An Open Letter to My Friends

The past few months have been pretty challenging. A bit of a bumpy ride with some ups and downs and what can we say… such is life. I like to think I’m pretty strong and resilient, but I think I’ve come to realise that this strength is ignited by the people around me I’m lucky enough to call my friends. It’s funny when you move out of home, away from your family, that you strive to create a ‘family’ of your own. To surround yourself with people that push you, inspire you, lookout for you and cuddle you.

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You’re so passionate and interesting.

Like seriously, you guys are doing such incredibly awesome things! Whether it’s planning to work at a summer camp in Canada, babysit your niece, learn Spanish, learn to surf, experimenting with photography, rock climb, secretly talented at karaoke, volunteer with a community organisation, teach dancing, make rings from old spoons, volunteer in Nepal, know how to twerk, road trip around Australia in a van, doing your thesis, intern in the Netherlands… you are all involved in such interesting projects that continuously inspire me. I always want to hear about everything you’re doing because it pushes me to be a better person, to try new things and just get involved to make the most out of life!

You listen to me rant and preach.

Whether I’m happy or sad, angry or passionate, you nod your head and listen to my thoughts and feelings. I generally don’t filter anything I say, it goes straight from my brain to my mouth. Talking things through is how I try and make sense of my feelings and the world around me. The fact that you want to listen and make sense of this nonsense with me, makes me feel so accepted and wanted. It’s completely amazing!

You’re always down to get a coffee or a beer.

We all know that friendship is built on a foundation of coffee or beer (or tea, or juice, or cider, or vodka for my friends that don’t like coffee or beer – side note, you still cannot be trusted). There’s nothing like pressing pause on life and taking a few minutes to sit back and sit across from someone you care about to talk shit.

Time is unstoppable and so is true friendship.

Whether it’s been an hour or a year, you know that you can kick off right where you started. This is especially a shout out for those friends I only get to see a few times a year… or even once a year (Jess… why do you have to live the dream in Europe?!). It’s so crazy that throughout all of these years our friendship has not only survived but strengthened, and after everything we go through in a year, you still make time for me once a year to spend time together and catch up. Even the people I live around the corner from, you understand that I’m busy and have commitments and sometimes need to spend some time alone or focusing on some other priorities, and the fact that you are so supportive of that is so incredible.

You live in the coolest places (which I will one day come and visit).

Somehow some of my best friends live on the other side of the world. When I stop to think about where they all are I get so excited that I know people from the most incredible parts of the world; Canada, America, Mexico, England, France, Italy, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil, Columbia, Albania, Nepal, Morocco, Hong Kong… honestly I love meeting people from all over the world and the fact that I get to call you my friend is so freakin aweseome.

Work friends understand each other on a next level.

This is a shout out to all of my work friends. The people I see every day and are there to complain to, talk to and grab coffee with. We problem solve, deal with workplace politics together and keep each other updated on one another’s lives. I never thought I’d be so lucky to work with such kind, caring and considerate people. The fact that these people make going to work exciting is pretty damn amazing and I want you to know what a positive impact you make on people’s work lives (which is really important).

You intervene and pull me up for my wrongdoings.

I know I’m not perfect and that I make mistakes. But having friends who love you so much and are brave enough to sit you down and have an honest, genuine discussion about things you’re doing that may not be quite right, is the definition of consideration and respect. It’s not an easy conversation but the fact that you’re putting my wellbeing above any awkward thoughts of feelings you may have is ridiculously generous. I can say that in these moments I’ve had overwhelming gratitude for these people and their words and kindness that I’ll never forget.

You stick your hands down my throat when I need to throw up.

OK so that’s only happened once, and that friend knows that she’s the ultimate human because I don’t know anyone else who would sacrifice a night of dancing for drunk, can’t navigate us home, Adelaide (thanks girl).

Bottom line is that I honestly don’t know where I would be without each and every one of you. I feel like that sentence doesn’t even begin to grasp just how much you all mean to me. I mean it in the sincerest way possible, that you have all helped shape me to be the person I am. It’s incredible to know such inspiring, positive, kick ass people from all around the world and I feel so honoured to have such beautiful relationships with each and every one of you. I want you to know that I am here for you, I love you and let’s take this world by storm.

 

 

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: OCTOBER 2017

I’M FINISHED MY DEGREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! OMG! Words really cannot describe how I’m feeling (maybe a little hungover from all the celebrations) but damn 4 years, two degrees and I’m finally done! I’m sure with my new found spare time I’ll be blogging about how it actually feels. This month has been a roller coaster, finishing a degree and applying for another is stressful. But I made it and now I can finally relax and celebrate my achievement. Let’s have a look back on the tumultuous month that was October.

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💃🏻 Feeling Confident and Proud of Myself

OK so I know this is super lame and cliché, but this month I’ve felt incredibly proud of everything I’ve achieved across my 4 years at uni. And not just uni related, but in a lot of aspects of my life. This month I spoke at the National Leadership Conference, worked hard at work, have been smashing out my uni assignments, taking time for my friends, boyfriend and myself…. and I think I’ve made it out rather unscathed. I know it may seem a bit la di dah, but every now and again it’s important to take a step back and think, damn…. I’m doing well. And I think that’s what finishing a degree means.

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🇫🇷 French

For those of you who don’t know, French is my major for one of my degrees, and it’s definitely one of the skills I’ve struggled and worked extremely hard at. Learning a language is extremely difficult, and therefore it’s important you have a good support system around you. I’m incredibly grateful for my bobos who have supported me through this last and final year of French. Not only in the classroom, but helping me indulge in my obsession with cheese, by arranging wine and cheese nights out at the Throsby. I’m super proud of my level of French and it’s definitely one of the life skills I want to continue to improve. Alors merci beaucoup mes bobos, je ne survivrais pas sans vous. 

 

 

 

 

🎓 DEGREE!!!

I have officially submitted my final assignment for my Bachelor of Communications & Media Studies – Bachelor of International Studies (Deans Scholar) – Majors: Global Media, French Minor: Global Sustainable Development

Woooo!

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🎶 Tunes

BØRNS. Damn this track is absolutely fabulous. The dance moves are to die for, and the music is just stunning. Always puts me in such a good mood.

Demi Lovato. OK for any of you who know me quite well, you’ll know that this is absolutely, completely NOT the sort of music I usually go for. But DAMN this album is actually amazing. My friend Chloe and I secretly disclosed this info to each other. ‘Hey have you heard Demi Lovato’s new album?’ ‘Yeah!’ ‘OMG it’s actually good’ ‘OMG thank god you think that, I’ve been listening to it on repeat!’ 

🎥 Flicks

Lovelace. THIS FILM IS AMAZING!!! It’s an incredibly story and filmed in such an exciting yet deeply sad way. I’ve been finding some amazing flicks on SBS On Demand so make sure you keep an eye out there for some amazing flicks!

📗Books

So apparently I’ve been on a bit of a reading rampage this month… reading is so rewarding and relaxing I always try to take time before bed to do some reading and put my mind to rest for the night.

Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay. I’ve been wanting to read this book for such a long time and I finally got my hands on it. For anyone grappling with their identity as a woman, or as a feminist, I would highly recommend this book. It’s easy to read and broken into distinctive chapters that address a broad variety of issues such as race, assault, entertainment and identity.

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Violent Borders – Reece Jones. At the beginning of this book, Jones discusses a small Spanish city called Melilla. He then mentions that the city is actually located in Morocco. Literally stop what you’re doing and look it up on Google Maps, it will amaze you! He then discusses how Spain is a part of the EU and therefore migrants from Northern Africa risk everything trying to make it into the fortressed city of Melilla to land on EU soil and be processed correctly as refugees. You can read more about Melilla here (I honestly was so amazed by this!) but this book is a fantastic look at the current refugee crisis and examines how nations (even including Australia) are struggling to manage their borders.

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1984- George Orwell. MIND. BLOWN! I honestly couldn’t put this book down. It was miserable, depressing, gripping and real. I read it in about a week and I think I could’ve easily smashed it out quicker than that! Cannot recommend enough. Also after classic book recommendations, so if you’ve got them, send them through!

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📷 Bloggers and Vloggers

👼 Twenty Something Mummy. I’ve never met Lucy myself, but I grew up in the same area as her and have followed her on Instagram for quite a while. She’s recently started vlogging and I’m really enjoying watching her! It’s definitely content I’m not used to seeing as I don’t exactly follow many mums on Instagram, but I love her voice and think it’s a real value being added to the whole ‘Twenty Something’ millennial community. Definitely go check her out!

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💛 🌻 ✈️  Raya Was Here

I’ve always been a fan of Raya’s channel, but lately her Instagram has been POPPIN! I’m absolutely in love. She’s such a positive and bright person who is such an inspiration to so many people! And that yellow dress!

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📝 Quote

The following quotes translates to ‘we are our choices.’ Jean-Paul Sartre was a French writer who turned down the Nobel Prize for literature (yep I learnt that in my French class – impressed bobos?). But this really resonated with me. Each and every day we make choices, that determine how we feel, our attitude, feelings, outlook on life… Each and every choice we make has the power to change our lives. We are our choices, so take pride in these choices to live your best life.

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Well… what a month. It absolutely flew by I can’t believe it. In the blink of an eye, I’ve finished my degree. November holds some pretty exciting things in store so definitely watch this space because I have a hell of a lot more free time which means blogging and vlogging!

Much love!

52 Things I Want to Do In 2017

So I’ve recently had a lot of time to do some serious self reflection… 10 hours on a plane will do that to you. And after recently reviewing my 2016 goals and self evaluating how I went in actually achieving those goals, I did…. Eh average. Some of my goals were quite broad and general, making it hard to develop a plan to achieve said goals. And of course, as you would have read, my exchange to Montreal kind of interfered with some of them. I know, it’s no excuse, but it happened. So… how do we make 2017 bigger and better? Here’s my list of 52 things I want to achieve in 2017. And it’s not general boring crap like be fit, eat healthy, be smarter. As you’re about to see, I’ve got some pretty solid, achievable things that I want to achieve physically, emotionally, spiritually or bucket list worthy.

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  1. Play netball
  2. Do yoga – everyweek
  3. Meditate – outside in fresh air for replenishment
  4. Get flexible – being flexible makes you sexible (Thanks Logan Paul)
  5. Don’t eat shit – steer clear of fried food, fast food and cakes (birthday cakes and pizza are allowed) (birthday pizza is allowed and also encouraged)
  6. Eat mostly vegetarian – buy and cook vegetarian, if you see something tasty on the menu like some chicken, treat yo self
  7. Compost
  8. Learn how to compost
  9. Buy an awesome coffee mug and bring it everywhere (no more takeaway cups)
  10. Buy an awesome French Press coffee maker to put awesome coffee in my awesome coffee mug
  11. Make my lunch the night before
  12. Make an entire meal for my friends and family
  13. Learn how to cook an impressive meal. E.g bake a fish, lasagne, brownies, pad thai
  14. Go to a new country
  15. Learn Spanish
  16. Visit Tasmania – points for a camper van, extra points for hitch hiking or bike riding
  17. Visit home more often
  18. Have coffee and cake with my Grandma & Grandad, Nan & Pop
  19. Send letters
  20. FaceTime my firneds overseas
  21. Experiment with video styles
  22. Make a video once a week
  23. Blog once a week
  24. Make some money from said videos and blogs
  25. Graduate (with distinction)
  26. Watch 12 sunrises (once a month)
  27. Learn to surf
  28. Try Bollywood/Pole Dancing
  29. Volunteer at uni
  30. Make a killer CV #employable
  31. Go on a roadtrip
  32. Have lunch at the grounds of Alexandria
  33. Work hard at uni. HD’s come at me.
  34. Enquire about honours/masters (overseas)
  35. Go to careers central and plan my future career path
  36. Go to a trampoline park and learn how to do a back flip
  37. Read, read, read
  38. Go in the City2Surf
  39. Work hard at work
  40. Practice my French by watching French films, French YouTubers and as part of the French Society
  41. Don’t buy things for the sake of it. How many more clothes do you really need?
  42. Complete the waste challenge
  43. Have at least 1 make up free day a week
  44. Make people birthday gifts
  45. Make a vision board and decorate it with fairy lights
  46. Learn how to edit videos
  47. Make a snapchat filter
  48. Meet new people and put myself out there
  49. Go to a festival/concert
  50. Stress less
  51. Promote peace and understanding. Try not to be as critical of others and myself. Believe in myself, my values, decisions and choices. Don’t drink as much as I did in Montreal (sorry liver). Look for the joy in life. Be accepting of others.
  52. Be FIERCE

What do you want to achieve in 2017? Have you ever done anything on this list? Comment below to let me know what you have planned and what your fierceness levels are!

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These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: APRIL

April – where did you go? I genuinely cannot believe how quickly April has gone and how jam packed it has been! With eating challenges, 21st birthdays, numerous coffee dates, several visits from friends and family and interstate weekend away it was a pretty great month. Work has been as crazy as ever, I’ve even picked up another job… but as the days fly by and I counted that there’s a mere 55 days until I fly out, I know that it’s all worth it! So, without further adieu, my favourite things from April!

Adventures with my sister

I was lucky enough to have my sister come down for a weekend at the beginning of the month. Because she lives in Newcastle, I definitely don’t get to see her as much as I would like to. So when she came down for the weekend, it was filled with adventures and shopping (of course). A highlight was going to Fitzroy Falls. ‘How was that?’ I hear you ask? Well from the few meters ahead that we could see – it was pretty amazing!

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Fitzroy Falls through the mist. 

For The Love Of Challenge

For the love of our future is a fundraising challenge to raise money to fund educational schemes and political actions regarding Climate Change. The challenge can be as simple or as hard as you make it. People will generally either give up chocolate, beer or coffee (to those that gave up coffee, I applaud you). I decided to go VEGAN for the 2 week challenge. Already being a vegetarian, I naively thought that it wouldn’t be that big of a leap. Oh boy was I wrong! Being a vegan is hard! You have to read the contents of everything! You need to think and rethink what you can and can’t have which requires you to always be switched on. I’m planning on writing about my experience so watch this space. Long story short – going two weeks without cheese is just wrong! On the plus side, I raised just under $100 for an awesome cause!

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For the love of our future! You can find more information here!

My friends

So it was our lovely Nicola’s 21st birthday this month – which of course is celebrated with alcohol! And lots of it! We went to Pepe’s (a really chic place across from North Wollongong beach). Whilst I personally didn’t have the best night because I was a bit overstressed and over tired (sorry Nicola), one thing I love is this picture below. This picture just makes me so happy. And it’s a constant reminder to surround yourself with positive people who will always be there for you. And I’m so lucky that I have these two as housemates and the rest of my friends that were there that night because I honestly wouldn’t know what I would do without you guys 😘

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So grateful for my friends!

Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog Blog….

This month I worked on 2 posts that I’ve been working on for a while now. And finally publishing them and getting the reaction that I did was so rewarding! Top 5 Cafes in Wollongong and Making a Promo Video 101. Blogging is something I absolutely love doing, but there’s nothing quite like when people are engaged and interested with what I write. So a quick and sincere thank you to all of you out there who are reading this and following my journey!

 

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PROMO VIDEO MAKING 101

Anna Johnson-Hill’s Get Shit Done!

So I have this ridiculously talented friend who has this ridiculously awesome business centred around helping others be the best they can be. You can check out her website here. But the best thing is that she just launched this awesome e-course called ‘Getting Shit Done.’ And me being the slightly lazy and easily distracted human I am, I signed up. We’re nearly done with week 2 and so far it’s been amazing! There’s sooooooo much unique content and she really knows what she’s talking about because she draws from her own experiences. This week has been all about self love and her module has really made me take a step back and think about what makes me happy and how I can realistically implement strategies to achieve my goals! Can’t wait for the next 4 modules!

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My weekend getaway to BRISBANE

For the long weekend, I decided I wanted to get away. And where else to go but a warm city that seems to be home to friends and family… BRISBANE! You can read all about my weekend away here, but long story short – My sister and I travelled up there together, we stayed with one of my friends and we ate our way around Brisbane. Catching up with other friends, long lost friends, family and new born adorable babies! It was the perfect amount of time to get away from the stresses of reality and just chill out, eat amazing food, drink wine and spend some time with great company!

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My sister and I at the Barvarian Bier Cafe overlooking the river. 

Tunes

There’s something about how sweet and simple this song is, that I am absolutely loving! At uni the other day, my friend and I were sitting on the lawn having our lunch and there was a guitarist performing. He then sang this stripped back version and I commented how lovely it was. My friend asked if I had heard the twenty one pilots version of it, and oh my gosh you should’ve seen the look on her face when I said no. Ever since then it’s been on repeat!

This tune by Jack Garratt is super chilled an lovely. The video clip is especially amazing! I’ve been listening to a lot of Jack Garratt lately and I’d highly recommend jumping on board! You won’t regret it.

Blogs & Vlogs

Sam Evans Life. A Sydney sider whose Youtube account exploded after hanging out with Fun For Louis. And naturally, I just had to check his stuff out. Turns out, that it’s pretty damn amazing! At the moment I’m especially loving the video below – an epic highlights reel showcasing all of the wicked stuff he got up to in 2015. He’s got a really unique style about him, his photography is on point AND… my home town of Port Stephens even features in his highlights reel! I’m absolutely loving following his journey and watching his vlogs develop. Killin it Sam!

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So this isn’t really a quote, more of a motto, but at the moment I’m very centred around being grateful. I’m so blessed to be where I am and surrounded by people who love and support me unconditionally. I feel like lately I’ve been stressed out due to work and planning my big trip, but I never want to lose sight of what makes me happy and that is the relationships I have with so many incredible people. I feel like I’ve said it a few times in this post already, but I am so thankful and deeply grateful for everyone around me and I hope you know that I am always there for you as well when you need a hug, someone to laugh at or laugh with, or someone to encourage you to pursue your dreams.

I hope you had an equally amazing month and hope that you have an even better MAY! xxx

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Things I Learnt From Being a Keynote Speaker

At the beginning of February, I was a keynote speaker for UOW’s Discovery Days. Discovery Days is where year 12 students come to the university to experience a day in the life of a uni student (a pretty cool experience if you ask me). At first I was over the moon! I’d always wanted an incredible opportunity like this to speak to students in an inspirational manner. But then it dawned on me… am I inspirational? Am I interesting enough to Year 12 students? What am I going to say? Over the course of 5 days, I would speak to over 6000 students from all over NSW and the ACT. And if I’m going to speak to that many students, it’s got to be good! I had so many ideas, doubts, worries, nerves… it was all pretty overwhelming as I’d never done something like this before. It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Now that it’s over and done, I’ve had some time to reflect on this scary, exciting and exhilarating experience. I learnt so much. And lessons that don’t  just apply to being a keynote speaker, but lessons I will carry with me for as long as I can.

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Day 1 of 5

Lesson 1 – Practice makes perfect. 

And if it’s not perfect, then it’ll be pretty damn close. I started writing this speech in December last year, so it was pretty well embedded in my mind when it came to February. I knew this speech. I had notes sitting on the stand just in case, but other than that I was just relying on the pictures on my slide and my trusty brain. I must’ve practiced this speech at least 30 times before I practiced in front of an empty audience before I actually delivered my speech. Sure I may have made mistakes but because it was etched in my mind, I was confident with what I’m doing. So whatever it is you’re trying to do, practice really does pay off.

Lesson 2 – Think positively. Always.

Whilst preparing for my speech and even waiting backstage before I was called up, all of these bizarre negative thoughts would cross my mind. “What if I fall over? What if I have a coughing fit? What if I am so nervous that I pee my pants?” Right?! Ridiculous thoughts. All you can do is push those negative thoughts out of your mind. Realistically, the worst thing that could happen was that I might stumble on a word, or lose my train of thought… and in realistically, it’s not the worst thing that could ever happen.

Lesson 3 – Surround yourself with positive people.

I was lucky enough to speak alongside of my amazing friend Campbell. He’s hilarious, talented, kind, energetic and did I mention hilarious? He was the MC to get everyone pumped up and man did he nail it. I was so grateful I could go through all of these emotions with him by my side. We would pump each other up before our speech, give each other support and encouragement and a massive hug once we’d finished! My bosses were our side stage wingmen and women who were there to snap some awesome pictures and to give moral support. And knowing that I had friends and family watching was such an amazing feeling. It’s all of these amazing people that you surround yourself with, who are going to encourage you to push your boundaries and support you.

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Campbell and I rocking the stage!

Lesson 4 – Balance is key!

During DDAYS, I would be at uni at about 7:30am until about 3:30. They were pretty big days that were high energy and concentration. It helped me realise that you have to listen to your body and what it’s telling you. Having such a crazy week really made me focus on getting a good nights sleep, eating healthily and taking some time out for myself to relax. By being aware of trying to balance these things, it really helped me be the best person I can be. Something I definitely need to be doing a lot more of.

Lesson 5 – Be true to yourself and proud of yourself.

The biggest lesson I learnt throughout this whole experience, is be true to yourself and be proud of what you believe in. As I was writing and preparing for my speech, I kept doubting myself, wondering if people would like it, if they would get it, or if it would be any good. And then I realised, this is my opinion, my experiences and my perspectives. Of course not everyone will relate to my experiences, but they might find my story interesting. And better yet, my perspectives may actually resonate with people listening or they may even find me inspiring. No matter what it is you’re setting out to do, if you stay true to who you are and what you love, you can’t really go wrong, and you may even spread some joy.

Being a keynote speaker is something I’m incredibly proud of. Getting the amazing opportunity to spread my ideas, experiences and perspectives has been a dream come true and I thank each and every one of you who support me with whatever it is I set out to do.

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Do New Years Resolutions Work?

This time last year, I wrote a blog post 15 Things I Want to Achieve in 2015 (read here). I’ve always been a big believer in goal setting, but it’s one thing to write it in the back of your diary, another to publish it on your blog. Reflecting on my post and my year that has been 2015, I feel like I’ve done a pretty damn good job. But, there’s areas that I epically failed. I’m a big believer in self reflection and taking the time out to think and rethink, evaluate what’s important, how to overcome and to move forward. So here were my New Years Resolutions for 2015 and my reflections and how they all turned out.

1- Read everyday

OK so that one definitely didn’t happen. As much as I love reading books, being bogged down with study and work, I just didn’t get the time. In saying that I did read some pretty amazing books – with my favourite being Lena Dunhams Not That Kind of Girl. I also managed to (mostly) keep on top of my uni readings and study aswell. I think this is something I can definitely work on for 2016.

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Get it and get it now

2 – Write in my journal everyday

Well that lasted a whole 3 months or so. I meant to, but like the reading goal above – I just didn’t have the time! I know, pathetic excuse, but I feel like my blogging has become a form of diary.

3 – Spend less time scrolling

I feel this is half achieved. I feel like I realised just how much I rely on my computer and the internet. I feel like I’ve spent less time aimlessly scrolling, but more time scrolling to achieve great things

4 – Renew my gym membership

Done!

5 – Do yoga at least once a week

Close, but not quite. Sometimes I did it three times a week, other times I’d go three weeks without going. Again, I think it was because I was so busy. Definitely something to continue for 2016.

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Yoga fuels the mind.

6 – Reduce the amount of alcohol I drink

Done! Firstly, I really couldn’t afford to drink a lot this year, but I’ve also made more of an effort to look after myself and my liver. Whilst I like going out, I’m really not the biggest fan of going out to the same places, with the same people listening to the same music over and over again. Instead, this year I found myself in cool bars with even cooler people. I’d prefer to build connections with people over conversation and intellect rather then slut dropping over the dance floor.

7 – Save Save Save!

Done! And to be continued into 2016. You can read more about my money saving tips here.

8 – Be productive and prepared for uni classes

Done! I think that my C, 2xD’s and HD speak for themselves.

9 – Hike Mount Kiera

Done!

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Hiking Mount Kiera, Wollongong

10 – Launch my new section of A Worldly Addiction

OK well kind of. I changed my mind about reviewing cafes etc. I figured I could just do that through Instagram. Instead, my blog has definitely grown beyond my expectation. I’ve launched a Facebook Page (here) and Instagram account (@aworldlyaddiction). My friend also created a promo video that I’ll be launching next year. And… I got to meet my blogging idol Brooke Saward which you can read about here. Overall it was a big year for my blog!

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Brooke and some very inspiring readers

11 – Be an avid environmentalist

Done! This year I’ve been involved with the AYCC and Oxfam combatting Climate Change and took part in the People’s Climate March in Sydney. Definitely something I will be continuing into 2016.

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12 – Continue having coffee dates with my family and friends

Done! In fact, I don’t really think I need anymore encouraging with this one but yep I definitely nailed it.

13 – Go camping

OK so we actually went Glamping – we were meant to go camping but it was forecast for rain so we went to our friends holiday home down south. We still spent the whole time at the beach and just chilling out. There was also no water so I guess it was kind of like camping.

14 – Have a weekend away

Check check and check! I spent 5 days in Melbourne  (you can read about it here). It was so amazing… I’m heading back there for New Years. I also managed to make it to Port Macquarie, Sydney a million times, Newcastle and back to Port Stephens.

15 – Share something with you guys at least once a week

I’ve definitely been blogging A LOT this year and with all of my exciting plans for next year, I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon!

Plus my added resolution of being happy. I’m pretty damn happy with how this year turned out. Sure it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, some pretty shit stuff happened along the way. But as I say, everything happens for a reason. Set backs make you stronger and the hard times only make the good times even better.

So to answer my question – do New Years Resolutions work? 11/15 ain’t so bad. And the other things I didn’t achieve, I’ll be striving to keep up. So watch this space for some more New Years Resolutions for 2016!

What’s your New Years Resolution? Did you achieve yours this year? Let me know in the comments below!

where I’ll be discovering new and wonderful local cafes and posting all the details and photos as often as possible. Watch this space for updates in 2015!

COFFEEEEEEE!
COFFEE!

11 – Be an avid environmentalist – Recycling paper and plastics, donating my old clothes, not using the clothes dryer, turn lights off… Anything I can do to help our planet out more!

12 – Continue having coffee dates with my family and friends – If I’m going to keep up to date with all my uni work, then I’m going to have to keep up with my coffee hits. And what better way to do that then keep catching up with all my coffee buddies at uni and exchanging gossip, troubles, concerns, advice and friendship!

13 – Go camping – I went on an awesome camping adventure this year and it was AWESOME! So, this year I definitely need to do it again! Preferably on a nice, hot, sunny weekend where we can camp near the beach or go hiking around waterfalls. Either way, an escape from reality and technology with some close friends and sleeping under the stars sounds awesome to me!

When I had a weekend away in Sydney with my boyfriend
When I had a weekend away in Sydney with my boyfriend

14 – Have a weekend away – I haven’t been on a plane all year and I’m craving the excitement of landing in a new and exciting place! I’m thinking of either spending a weekend in Melbourne or on the Gold Coast, with a close friend and just explore and have fun for a weekend!

15 – Share something with you guys at least once a week – 2015, expect to get lots of notifications saying that I’ve just added a new post! Whether it be more photos, quotes, attempted poetry, my opinion on something, a report, tips, memories… I’ll be sharing it with you! So be sure to subscribe, so you don’t miss out on a single post!

And one last big thing which will keep me going throughout the whole year… BE HAPPY! Be with my friends and family as much as possible and always with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart!

What are you hoping to achieve next year?

xxx A

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Content, Growth and Inspiration: BCM240 Reflection

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told” – Lena Dunham

The above quote from one of my idols, Lena Dunham, is so deeply motivating in my blogging career, because it gives me purpose and pride that I’m sharing my voice on my small blog, in the big wide world of the blogosphere. Prior to taking BCM240: Media Audience and Place, I had been blogging for approximately 1.5years and have been attempting to steadily grown my readership. Blogging is something I find relaxing, entertaining, challenging and exciting all at the same time and that’s why I’ve been attempting to grow beyond blogging as a Communications student, to, well… a blogger. I feel that whilst this subject required me to be blogging as a student, considering various perspectives and values placed on the complex relationships between media and audience, it also really pushed me to think of life beyond university and how I want to be perceived in the blogosphere. So I really focused on three areas, content, growth and inspiration. Through workshops, class discussions and countless hours trying to get that Twitter widget to work, I feel like I’m at a place with my blog that I’m not only happy with it, but maybe even a little bit proud.

My amazing Grandma and Grandad
My amazing Grandma and Grandad

Content. The most enjoyable part of blogging for BCM240 were the connections I made and strengthened, allowing me to produce some of my most valuable content. For my first several posts, I worked closely with my Grandad, as he told me beautiful stories from his childhood and memories when he was my age. As we explored the difference between collaborative and reciprocal ethnographic research, I attempted to engage in a collaborative approach. Whilst collaborative research requires a lot of time and attention, I feel that Grandad and I definitely worked together to explore various issues regarding the media and audience. I personally feel that senior citizens are generally overlooked in media research and deemed as people who are technologically handicapped. However I feel that there’s people out there like my Grandad who’s smashing this stereotype. Not only is this group of people, well connected technologically, but they’re also very aware and have genuine concerns regarding the role that technology and the media have in our lives. (To read a guest post by my Grandad, click here).

The Bloglovin widget
The Bloglovin widget. Source 

Growth. A way that I’ve found brings a lot of traffic to my site is to read and comment on other people’s blogs. Some of the spikes in views I’ve had were on days that I didn’t even post anything, but spent time commenting on blogs (and always including a URL to my blog at the end). I’ve found that by doing this I’m engaging much more with the blogging community and other like-minded bloggers. Also by doing this with other BCM240 blogs and students, it forms a great sense of community in the subject.

One of the toughest things that I had to overcome with my blog was its layout and design. However, A Beautiful Mess definitely offered some inspiration and thoughtful suggestions regarding layout and design. I absolutely loved the theme I previously had, however its primary focus was on my photographs and not my content or plugins I’ve embedded in my blog (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin etc). After some umming and ahhing I decided to bite the bullet and endeavour on a near impossible journey to find the perfect theme. Whilst it’s still not perfect, I’m so much happier with the light colours, the side-bars which encourage interaction and the ease of navigation. I hope this will assist in the growth of my blog by being more interactive and engaging to readers.

Social media is a great way to connect with people all across the world with the click of a button. I’ve read countless articles about blog growth, however Heidi Cohen offers great advice on how to utilise social media for your blog. In June I created a Facebook page for my blog that has been steadily growing. I felt that this was a better way to share A Worldly Addiction, rather than constantly making status’ on my own personal profile. Through analysing my statistics, Facebook is my primary contributor to traffic. I also have an Instagram account for A Worldly Addiction (@aworldlyaddiction) that I’ve really enjoyed growing. At the moment, it’s very small and I’m still learning all the tricks to Instagram but it’s incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. I currently just have my personal Twitter account linked with A Worldly Addiction because I have to purposely and actively remember to use Twitter, so whilst I’m getting in the habit of doing so, I’ll just stick with my personal Twitter account (@missaaadelaide). great platform that I also use to share my blog and discovers others is Bloglovin.

The following link also gave me 101 Ideas on how to generate traffic to your blog.

That time I got to meet Brooke Saward, the genuis behind World of Wanderlust! Inspiration overload
That time I got to meet Brooke Saward, the genuis behind World of Wanderlust! Inspiration overload

Inspiration. Inspiration is all around us, especially in the Blogosphere. There are a few blogs in particular that I’ve been particularly inspired by and look to for guidance and how to’s. Firstly, my favourite, World of Wanderlust. You only need to look here to find how much I absolutely love her blog. And then there’s Secret Bloggers Business, who’s free ebooks are filled with useful blogging tips and tricks. I feel that once I am inspired, I’m more driven and focused. Kaufman also argues that ‘inspiration is the springboard for creativity and can increase wellbeing’ (Kaufman, 2011).

Eat. Sleep. Blog. Repeat. I know I have a long way to go in my blogging career, however it’s something I’m passionate about and absolutely love doing so I’m prepared to put in the hard yards to make that happen. I feel that BCM240 has contributed the greatest amount of practical advice, guidance and encouragement with my blog and also helped my professional networking ability. I have also explored various aspects of the intricately complex relationship between the media and us as the audience. And this is all so relevant to myself as a blogger. I don’t just jump onto WordPress and write a blog in one hit. I have 10 other tabs open, I’ve always got my phone within reach and sometimes even have the TV on. And this situation would resonate with many people reading this. The Centre for Media Literacy says that ‘studying the media helps us understand ourselves and other,’ and I feel this is the epicentre of BCM240 and the key to a successful blog.

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And before I go… Here’s some of my fave BCM240 blogs that I’ve stumbled across this past session.

The Blogger Life, What Happened to the family? by Eloise Neto looks at the role that parents play in influencing their child’s media behaviour, and that to avoid isolation and relationship issues, they must decide on a common ground for technology use.

Madeline Burkitt, by (you guessed it) Madeline Burkitt, is filled with not only media related ideas, but also various others, making it a great place to explore some of the thoughts and perspectives she has. I especially liked her post, The NBN in the home: an opportunity for some, as she highlights that this type of media research is crucial because it is so embedded in our lives, we must understand it!

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References

A Beautiful Mess, 2012, Blog Layout: 10 Simple Tips, A Beautiful Mess, 3 July, http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/07/10-blog-layout-tips.html

Cohen, H 2013, 25 Tactics to promote your blog via Facebook and Twitter, Heidi Cohen, 14 April, http://heidicohen.com/25-tactics-to-promote-your-blog-via-facebook-and-twitter/

Ewer, T n.d, 101 Simple Ways to Increase Website Traffic, Graph Paper Press, https://graphpaperpress.com/blog/101-simple-tips-increase-website-traffic/

Kaufman, S 2011, Why Inspiration Matters, Harvard Business Review, 8 November, https://hbr.org/2011/11/why-inspiration-matters

Worsnop, C n.d, 20 Important Reasons to Study the Media, The Centre for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/20-important-reasons-study-media

Morning Tea with World of Wanderlust

Just incase morning tea at the Shangri-La’s Horizon Club isn’t good enough, add Brooke Saward, travel and lifestyle blogger, into the scenario and you have one of the best morning tea’s an aspiring writer can have.

I have been following Brooke’s incredibly inspiring travel blog, World of Wanderlust for nearly two years now and she’s inspired me in so many ways to make the most out of life and appreciate the gift of travel. (read here) I was lucky enough to get the chance to meet her and it was so incredibly motivating and just down right freakin awesome!

Brooke and some very inspiring readers
Brooke and some very inspiring readers

I had no idea what to expect. Here is a girl who’s living her dream. THE dream. Travelled to over 50 countries, written books, how could she possibly find someone like me interesting?! To actually see her in person, just made her and everything she stands for so much more real.

We talked about so many different things; the importance of being a positive role model, relationships, university, pinterest, macaroons, travel as the most valuable form of education, Tasmania, Taylor Swift, the changing face of the internet, future travel plans, life and how freakin awesome the Blogosphere is.

Desserts by the renowned Anna Polyviou at the Shangri-La
Desserts by the renowned Anna Polyviou at the Shangri-La

It was incredible to get a insider’s view into the World of Wanderlust. I have a new found respect for her and other full time travel bloggers. Brooke makes it look so easy, staying in luxurious hotels and seeing all corners of the world. But it’s so much more than that. Switching between time zones, living out of a suitcase, trying to maintain relationships, managing your own business, all whilst trying to deal with the regular emotions associated with traveling. And at the bottom of it all, she seems so humble and appreciative. She’s worked damn hard to get where she is today and now she’s living her dream. THE dream. And after an amazing morning tea, with an amazing person, I feel like I have the ultimate control over my life and it’s up to me to make the most of it.

View of Sydney Harbour from the 30th floor of the Shangri-La
View of Sydney Harbour from the 30th floor of the Shangri-La

Sure, I may never be paid to travel the whole world and stay in 5 star hotels, but something better may even happen. But it’s up to me to make sure it does!

So, graçias Brooke for allowing me to realise my potential and passion in life and daring me to be brave enough to pursue it.

IMG_3913

xxx A

An Open Letter to Brooke Saward: World of Wanderlust

Dear Brooke,

I have been following your inspiring story for over a year now and I just felt the need to let you know just how awesome and inspirational I think you are. I have so much respect and admiration for you and what you do and checking your blog on a daily basis is one of my favourite things to do.

For anyone who hasn’t checked out World of Wanderlust, here’s what I absolutely love about it and why you will too!

http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/
http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/

Brooke is a twenty something full time traveller from Tasmania who booked a one way ticket out of Australia after graduating and decided to make her life AMAZING! She’s travelled to 50+ countries across 6 continents and has a HUGE social media following. And with photos like above and throughout this piece, it’s no wonder why! From Brooke and her adventures, I’ve learnt some pretty valuable lessons and outlooks on life that I always try and carry with me.

Chase your dream. Like every dream, you’ll face many road blocks and hurdles, people telling you ‘you can’t do that’ or questioning why, what, how. But at the end of the day, it’s your life and your dream. No one’s going to hand it to you on a golden plate. You have to work for it, fight for it and make it happen for you.

http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/
http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/

Take the road less travelled. Whether it be some lake in Slovenia, a mountain range in Peru, a back street in Paris or an Island in the Pacific, adventure and beauty is all around. It’s not always about the destination, but the journey you take to get there and once you’re there.

Get to know people to learn about a culture. Brooke usually has meet ups at various destinations across the world to meet readers and explore a city with them. Getting to know locals is an invaluable skill because it’s once you put your map down and have a quality conversation with someone from the country you’re in, is when you’ll learn what it’s actually like in that culture.

http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/
http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/

Life isn’t meant to be smooth sailing. I’m not entirely sure of all the hurdles that Brooke has experienced in her travels, but I do know about some entry denials, flight delays and I’m sure there’s many others, but hiccups occur, you get lost, baggage goes missing, you stay in a less than desirable hostel and things get stolen. Whilst at the time it can be scary, daunting, overwhelming and can leave you not wanting to get out of bed, life goes on. And it’s all of these hiccups that make for a good story after your trip.

Indepence and confidence is beautiful. These days, there’s so much pressure to go to uni, get a boyfriend, buy a car, a house, get a job, get married and then get sucked into ‘life.’ But what if you want to do something different? I want to go on exchange whilst at university, then once I’ve graduated, go and live in Edinburgh, or Paris, or New York or Tokyo, who knows but I want to explore this world inside out and not stop until I have. Brooke makes travelling the world, having dreams and pursuing them look absolutely beautiful.

http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/
http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/

So Brooke, thank you so much for brightening my days when I’m bored studying or working. I truly admire everything you are doing with your life and I hope you never stop living your dream. You’ve inspired me to pursue mine, reaching for the moon and if I miss, at least I’ll be among the stars.

Check out Brooke’s blog here: http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/

*I do not take any credit for these photos. They are all property of Brooke Saward. 

TED Talks to Lighten Your Day

http://www.ted.com/playlists/225/talks_to_get_you_through_your

Do you ever get that flat feeling? Where you lay in bed for an extra 15 minutes contemplating life, with little to no motivation to get up? Or you have some reoccuring thoughts along the lines of ‘why am I here?’ Then the above link is for you!

All of the videos are inspiring, motivating, address difficult and strange issues that each of us face at some point in our lives. Definitely check it out for a burst of happiness and kick ass motivation!

xxx A

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