Coogee Pavilion // Blogger's Guide To The Good Life

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Is it just me or are there amazing new venues and restaurants popping up in Sydney everywhere you look? I'm loving this influx of new, creative spaces as you know I'm always on the hunt for new venues for our events and workshops so when I heard that the Coogee Pavilion was opening their new rooftop I knew it was going to be gem and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

Amazing food, delicious cocktails and perfect for those end of summer nights (not to mention full of Instagram worthy decor) I'm certainly adding this one to the top of my 'Blogger's Guide To The Good Life' list. Maybe a Sydney blogger meet up is in order - who's game?

Over 8,000 Miles in the Wrong Direction // Travel

By Amy Lynne Hayes

I’d had my eyes on it for more than a year. It was this a grand finale, looming in the future for so long I thought it would never arrive. Time passed, and I worked my tail off to make it happen. I filed the paperwork, got the visa and booked the plane ticket for a journey of a lifetime.

Ever since I left Australia in March of 2013 I had been planning a return. I wasn’t eligible to receive another visa for Oz, but I could obtain one for New Zealand. And I certainly was never one to hesitate on the prospect of dropping myself off in some foreign country. I was a traveler, wasn’t I? I’d lived in four countries, and touched down in more than 20. This was my lifestyle. So as I boarded that plane in sunny South Florida, all packed and set to embark on my next great adventure, I was surprisingly relaxed. And ready to put that 12-hour flight from Los Angeles behind me. I’ll never forget the view from my window seat as we cruised into Auckland. The green hills, the gorgeous water, the sun poking over the clouds to bathe the landscape in a glorious light. I was so excited.

I followed my usual routine upon arrival. I had an AirBnB booked, and proceeded to open a bank account, file for a tax number, set up a local phone number… all the little life details. I joined a gym and registered with a recruitment agency and even found my first position as a temp worker. All in less than two weeks. Sounds like things were working out perfectly, right? Except they weren’t. My heart wasn’t in it. You see, I had worked hard in Florida. I set up a blog, started writing freelance, and had gotten to the point where I was being published regularly with a local magazine group. I had to give that up to move and follow this dream I’d concocted almost a year and a half ago. I wasn’t there anymore.

I had changed. My priorities had shifted, and I was no longer that person who was so desperate to stay overseas. I had built the beginnings of a solid life back at home – the one place I never thought I’d end up, not in a million years.

But life is funny like that. 

So I left New Zealand, after a mere three weeks. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, and there were plenty of tears involved along the way. But deep down I knew. I knew that I had gone more than 8,000 miles in the wrong direction. This was not where I was supposed to be. One doesn’t have to fling themselves halfway across the world to find out the path isn’t quite right. It could be a a job, or a relationship, or a new project. Sometimes they feel right, and sometimes they don’t. Those little intuitive feelings are our strongest and most reliable guides, if we have the courage to listen to the whispers. It was Marilyn Monroe who said, “A woman knows by intuition, or instinct, what is best for herself.” And it takes guts to step outside the lines and justify your actions based on an intangible feeling. Many of us are out there trying to create our own careers. We’re carving out a little niche in an otherwise crowded world of noise and competing talent. And it can get disheartening. Others may tell us to give up and step back into the normal mould of a nine to five job. I may not have found success in New Zealand in the way I imagined, but I did learn. I learned loads, about myself and about what I really want out of life. And I want to keep pushing on. I plan to keep building my freelance career, even if that means I have to hang up my traveling shoes for a spell. 

The legendary Steve Jobs probably said it best when he uttered these words. “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” 

Thanks Steve Jobs, I think I will. And so should we all.

You can find Amy blogging over at Createrice Mondial or on Instagram @creaticemondial

5 Ways To Stay Fit, Focused And Healthy While Blogging

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By Jenna Black

If you’re a blogger, you’re more than likely a busy, busy gal or guy! Us bloggers can find ourselves working a ‘day job’ while we pursue our dream career on the sideline. We stay up late writing our blog posts, we shoot our Instagram posts before rushing to work late and we wake up during the night with a million ideas running through our heads that simply can’t wait until the morning (anyone else reached for their phone at 2am to write down a reminder for the next day?!)

Blogging can be a lot of work! But often, we let the stress and crazy lifestyle affect our health and our focus. It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind but this can lead to neglecting our health and losing out on beauty sleep (no thanks!).

So, how can you change your lifestyle to work with your busy blogging schedule, rather than against it? After blogging for a few years, I’ve nailed my top 5 tips to help you stay fit, focused and healthy, no matter how busy you are!

Let’s dive in!

1. Create a morning ritual
Are your mornings rushed and crazy? I feel ya! I used to have that same experience before I came across the concept of a morning ritual. A morning ritual is a simple set of actions that you practice each morning before you start your work day. These actions are designed to boost your health, clear your mind and drive your focus.

My personal morning ritual includes a short meditation upon waking, a workout session, a nourishing meal and some quiet time to jot down my daily to do list and get clear on what I want to achieve that day. I do this all before checking emails or social media. It may sound like a lot initially but this will quickly become a habitual practice that will help you gain clarity, focus and extra drive to kick goals that day!

2. Eat clean and green
Do you reach for that cookie or chocolate at about 3pm each day? When we’re busy and stressed we tend to compensate with sugary or processed comfort foods. It’s natural to want to do this! But that sugar hit is only doing you damage and sending your insulin and adrenal levels into mayhem.

If focus and clarity is one of your blogging goals, I encourage you to eat a whole food diet with plenty of fresh leafy greens. This is going to drastically improve your concentration, mood and drive throughout the day (no sugar crashes included!)

One of the best ways to get started with cleaning up your diet is by removing any packaged or processed foods. Simply eat healthy whole foods with ingredients that you can understand! You’ll feel the difference in no time.

3. Savour your sleep
Sleep really is Queen. There is a reason beauty sleep has that title, because our cells literally regenerate when we sleep. Getting a solid 8 – 9 hours a night is going to be crucial for you to stay focused and driven the next day.

If you struggle to get a solid amount of sleep, start by winding down earlier each night. Turn off electronics an hour before bed and don’t eat too late at night. Run a bath or do some gentle meditation and quietly wind down.

If your mind is rushing with ideas and everything you need to do tomorrow, set time aside in the evening to write down your to do list and get everything on paper. Place it away and make a promise to yourself that you’ll deal with it tomorrow. Nighttime is your time to relax, chill and get some beauty sleep!

4. Work it out
Have you ever used the excuse that you’re ‘too busy to work out?’ I used to tell myself that and I’d skip my morning workout. But the reality is, we all have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce, so we definitely have time to fit in exercise!

Here’s my suggestion for you if you’re super busy; simply aim for a quick 20 – 30 minute session that includes high intensity intervals. This can be done from your lounge room if you don’t have gym or park access. Include a range of bodyweight exercises like planks, star jumps and squats to get a fast and effective workout in!

Daily exercise is amazing for your body, mind and soul. It’s going to help take your blogging efforts from so-so to super!

5. Nourish your mind + soul
My final tip for you is to take time for yourself. You may have a million things to do and your schedule may feel a bit crazy and overwhelming, but take time for yourself each day (even 5 minutes) to allow your mind and soul to reset. Self care doesn’t have to mean an hour long massage (although that wouldn’t be all that bad), you can find some simple daily rituals that will nourish and cleanse you.

Try dry body brushing, a light meditation or just grab a great book and nestle into a cosy corner. Find something that makes you feel alive and nourished and practice it daily!

What’s your tip for living a fit, focused and healthy life as a busy blogger? I’d love to hear from you!

Jenna is a health coach, writer and freedom seeker. She blogs at holistchic, where she helps women create chic, healthy lifestyles. Jenna’s 6 week health coaching program, ELEVATE, helps women to nourish their bodies, boost their confidence and create a life they love. 

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Creating Your First Cookbook 101

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Hello everyone, I'm Marita Karlson and this is my second guest post for Blog Society and thanks so much for letting me share some more Cali luv, it feels great to be back! 

This time I’m gonna share a little of what i’v been up to lately here in Los Angeles.  I'm currently working on my next cookbook - California food with a healthy twist for all the superfoodies out there, guest stories and lots of lifestyle. 

The girl behind the lens is Stephanie Bjelkstam and she is also doing all the layout. It is crazy fun to work with someone who shares the same philosophy and mindset and wants to do the best work possible. Anyone who made a cookbook before knows what I’m talking about when I say that you have to put your life on hold for a moment. All energy and time goes to creating recipes, writing shopping lists, going to prop houses, grocery stores, unloading and organizing groceries, planning, creating, cooking and making it look pretty for the camera to make the recipe work. Then let's not forget cleaning up all the mess, writing down the recipes as you go, so you don’t forget them and planning for the next day - and hopefully sleep a little in between. There is 16hours a day, right there but i would never complain even a tiny bit because it is a hell of a lot of fun!

There will be 7 guests in the book who all share a delicious little something with us and i'll help them prep in the kitchen. These places are all my favorites around and it can be health cafes, raw food chefs, a local outdoorsy personality or a juice bar. I think it gives the book a little more life to get to meet the locals who shares their story and philosophy. And I’m also a huge fan of prepping food with fresh seasonal ingredients and I adore fresh-from-the-farmer-produce which I share with all these guests. And they all taught me some new tips and tricks to use in the kitchen. 

Here I am with Suzanne Hall, the editor of The ChalkBoardMag (above). We are rolling raw rose ruffles at their office in Santa Monica. Oh my, were they delicious or were they delicious? And of course the book brought us to my favorite beach town in California, Santa Barbara. 

With the Channel Islands on the horizon and the easy, sweet, lifestyle we just had to bring that to the book. This is Scott and Erin, they are the founders one of the greatest juicebars around, Juice Ranch. They pick the produce from local SB farmers, always organic, always fresh made juices and the menu is creative and delicious. Erin creates her juices with her whole heart and soul. Here, I'm helping her prep a green savoury juice for the “Feeling Energized” chapter. Yum!

And then we have this little gem. A paradise for hummingbirds with gazillions of flowers and exotic plants to eat from plus an impressive chefs garden. As cute as can be. Rent a cottage, eat a meal with ingredients from the garden and hike up the trails in those mountains you see. San Ysidro is true beauty nestled in the foothills of Montecito. 

The book will hit the stores next summer and we still have lots of work to do - watch this space!

x Marita 
#maritakarlson

When Bloggers Invade Bali // Travel

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When bloggers invade Bali something magical happens or as evidenced by these photos, once in a lifetime memories take place. Earlier last year I was lucky enough to travel to Bali with a few blogging pals and stay for a few blissful days at Villa Sungai which I've come to realise as heaven on earth.

I've been waiting to share these photos with you for ages and have a few more up my sleeve to share later in the hope they can help cure the back to work blues (don't hate me but when you travel with photographers in tow the photos are too pretty not to post). One of the most incredible, jaw-dropping moments of the trip (and yes there were many) came in the form of a rice paddy picnic in Cepaka that saw us enjoying chilled wine, gourmet food all while taking in some of the most stunning scenery and light that I've ever seen. It was so perfect it almost seems ridiculous trying to convey the memory here but it certainly is etched into my brain as one of the most luxurious, and beautiful moments of my life.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves...  

Images: Luisa Brimble