GIVEAWAY: Enter the #bebrave giveaway...

Blog Giveaway

Give back.

It's one of the best pieces of advice that I've been given and one of the most rewarding parts of my job - nothing feels better than giving back to the very readers that have supported me along this journey and that's exactly what today is all about - celebrating you wonderful souls and showering you with some awesome gifts. Sound good? Here's more...

I'm SO excited to finally, reveal our fabulous #bebrave giveaway - my way of saying THANK YOU for taking this fearless journey with me this month. Worth over AUD $500, one lucky person will receive an early Christmas present from me - packed with some of my favourite brands to keep you spoiled, inspired and ready for a brave and fearless 2015!  Thank you: @corbanblair, @cranmorehome, @StudioSkinky@anniesloanhome, @bowerhouse, @shannononeilloriginal, @HardwickCesko, @thegoodnightsociety

It's simple and easy to enter, just follow these 2 simple rules:

1.) You must be on the Blog Society Mailing list to be eligible. Not on the list? Click here.
2.) Simply leave a comment below!

The winner to be drawn on 28 November at midnight. Best of luck! And so sorry but due to shipping & postage limitations this giveaway is only open to Australian residents)

3 Simple Ways To Finding & Fueling Inner Creativity

Hunting Louise

By Hunting Louise

We are both passionate about creativity. Sounds like a weird thing to say huh? But getting in touch with your creative side is something we firmly believe in. Creativity is good for the soul ­-  we were born to be creative and adventurous. To try new things and explore. And before I hear you say “Oh, maybe you’re creative but I’ve never been” ­ it ain’t true! Give a kid a couple of random objects and they’ll create their own game ­ they’ll enjoy being imaginative and the best thing is, they’ll believe it’s the best game they’ve ever played. We were all born as creative beings but for some of us, something along the way may have hindered our ability or desire to express it. The aim is getting that child­like creative spirit back. I think many of you can agree that back in school, anyone who wasn’t considered gifted at art or design was immediately pointed in the direction of focusing on more ‘academic’ subjects. But being creative is so much more than just being able to paint a pretty picture (for the record, I’m a graphic designer but can’t draw a decent picture to save my life!). Creativity can come in all shapes and sizes – from cooking to music to problem solving in a corporate workplace. Everyone is a gifted, creative person they just need to find that outlet that brings it to the forefront.

Finding this outlet is a journey that most people have to take themselves on, but we feel that there are a few ways to inspire yourself ­ whether you’re someone who wouldn’t call themselves creative or someone who’s always been in the creative industry and just needs to find that spark again.

Hunting Louise 02

1. Don’t be afraid to try new things

So you haven’t found that hobby or passion that brings the satisfaction that only comes from creating? Step outside of what you’d normally do and try something new. Go out and explore everything that you thought you might enjoy, whether or not you think you’d be ‘good’ at it. Chances are, you’ll find that what you enjoy brings more satisfaction and in turn, you’ll improve your skills. Scott has always found satisfaction in manual work and making things with his hands. This interest is what brought him to start creating our concrete homewares and more recently, has brought on a desire for him to start exploring carpentry and woodworking as a hobby. Although he has no formal experience, his enjoyment of handiwork has encouraged him to try something new. We don’t know if he’ll be any good at it, but hey, there’s no harm in trying.

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2. Get inspired by others

This is one thing that we find extremely helpful and forms a huge part of our blog –finding (and, in our case, sharing through our Creative Encounter posts) work that is inspiring is a fantastic way to get motivated, inspired and to also give you fresh ideas. Who doesn’t feel instantly creative after a good Pinterest session?! Finding different sources of inspiration (whether that be online or offline) is a great way to explore new techniques and ways of doing things, and give you that extra push needed to start that new project. What’s even better is surrounding yourself with people that inspire and challenge you. Nothing is more refreshing than collaboration and bouncing ideas off someone else.

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3. Create a space that is inspiring, positive and conducive to your work I personally find it extremely difficult to concentrate in an environment that is messy, cluttered and dull. I benefit hugely from working in an organised, wide open space, full of inspiration ­ whether that be images, music or greenery. This lends itself greatly to me working outdoors, particularly on my balcony. All I need is my laptop and a sketchbook and I’m ready to go. I find working in these spaces relaxing and gives me the best opportunity to think clearly and get the creative thoughts flowing. This translates to any working environment – what’s important is finding the space that best suits you individually and your work. Everyone will find that different factors will influence their creativity and productivity in a different way so discover what that is for you and run with it!

While these are just 3 things of many, they are points that helped us find our creative spark and also nurture it. There are so many other things that you can do but the most important thing is finding out what works best for you. We strongly believe that everyone is a creative at heart, they just need to find that catalyst to get them started.

You can find Hunting Louise here or on Instagram or Facebook

Images by Erika Rax and editted by Hunting Louise

Strong Content vs. Big Following: A Blogger's Journey

Places

By Sarah Harrison 

In my current paper that I am studying as part of a Bachelor of Communications, it is suggested that good speechwriters are able to access their own emotions. An example of this that I like to draw upon is the scene from the film Walk The Line in which record producer Sam Phillips gives advice to the young Johnny Cash and his band:

“If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing one song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin’ me that’s the song you’d sing?...that same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it’s real and how you’re gonna shout it? Or....would you sing something’ different. Somethin’ real. Somethin’ you felt. Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear. That’s the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain’t got nothin’ to do with believin’ in God, Mr Cash. It has to do with believin’ in yourself”.

Although blogging is not speech writing, I do believe it comes pretty close. As bloggers we are trying to create a piece of communication that is personal and relevant. We want to offer our audiences something new; ideas that will challenge them, and inspire them. I personally love the beauty of words. I draw inspiration from cinema, music and literature. You can never underestimate the power of words. They have the power to make audiences reflect upon their own values and beliefs and have the ability to change thought patterns. Words can open up an audience’s world to new, exciting concepts and ideas. 

I started my blog, Our Young Hearts, about six months ago. It has been a wonderful creative outlet for me as a busy full time Mum and part time student. I wanted to create a blog that would offer women and mums everyday inspiration with beautiful imagery and stories to match, but the key difference being that the ideas covered were accessible and attainable. I felt a lot of the blogs and magazines I was following were not in my reach on a financial scale, and truthfully, I was bored. I wanted to celebrate everyday women and mums that I am lucky enough to know. I wanted to showcase affordable clothing and brands and suggest fresh and yummy food ideas without having to spend a fortune. The content on my blog may not be ‘mainstream’ and as a result it may take me that much longer to get a good following. But that’s ok. My content, and staying true to myself is more important to me than having a huge following. All good things take time and it is important to remember that although people may not remember what we have to say, they will remember how we made them feel.

You can find Sarah blogging over at Our Young Hearts or on Instagram

All Images from Our Young Hearts blog.

Why Comparison Can Kill Blogging Achievements

Tess-Bartlet

By Tess Bartlett

As a writer, blogger and researcher I spend a lot of time online, researching other sites to
understand how the wealth of creators I see around me got to where they are today. This is an
extremely useful technique, known as modelling. It involves finding someone who has achieved what you want to achieve and working out how they got there. If I was modelling a blogger I would ask myself: What did this person do to be in the position they are in? What are their marketing strategies? What products do they have? How do they get more subscribers? Do they use affiliate marketing? Does it work for them? This strategy has been the cornerstone of my development over the last four years, and yet there are times when I still manage to succumb to comparisonitis and the discontented longing of envy.

Social media is a breeding ground for false comparisons and envy. You may recognise this scenario: you jump online and start scrolling through your feed, only to be inundated with blogs, books, recipes, websites, EBooks, E-Courses and a myriad of other signs of brilliance. Suddenly, your sly little friend envy chips in and, instead of feeling enthusiastic about another person’s success, you equate it with your own failure. Sure, you may jump on the social bandwagon and post positive comments to others, which are about as personal as the letter you received in year 10 telling you you’d been dumped. Mostly, though, you just sit back in your chair and contemplate all the things you don’t have, only to be left with the overwhelming sense that you’re not good enough.

In doing this, though, you are taking someone else’s story at face value and ignoring the beauty that is your own. When you sit back and take part in the comparison game that begins with, ‘Look at their life. Why did they get that? Why can’t I have that?’ And ends with, ‘I am not getting anywhere. I am such a failure,’ you are absolving yourself from any responsibility in your own life. Brilliance, in whatever form, takes practice. So there is no use siding with envy and believing that everyone else’s life is so much better than yours when you are not taking any action to move you in the direction you want to go. Envy would love that. If you base your sense of meaning and accomplishment on what you don’t have, you are never going to feel any sense of fulfilment with what you do have. 

“Wanting to be someone you are not is a waste of the person you are” – Kurt Cobain

Instead, you can choose to value your life and the journey you’ve had. You can take responsibility for the direction your life is heading in. Taking pleasure in how far you’ve come. This, alone, will allow you to be at peace with what you have. When you get caught up in comparison, believing that other people’s success in some way signifies your failure, make a conscious effort to be grateful for all the things you do have, right in this moment. Look around you at all your achievements, big or small, and take pleasure in their magnificence. If you can’t see them, imagine you are a friend looking in on your life and telling you all the beautiful things they can see. Delve into the beauty that is your life and be grateful for what you can have.

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today? What pleasures can you get out what you have achieved today? In the last week? I would love to know.

You can find Tess over on her blog or on Instagram or Facebook.

#blogtribe // Who Runs The World? Girls!

Fit Traveller

By Skye Gilkeson

“Who run the world? Girls!” - Beyonce

Media is a funny business to be in. For a woman, it can be a world littered with contradictions. You report on game changing female leaders one minute, Kim Kardashian's selfie technique the next, and then there's the perennial gender inequality stories. As a female journalist, you enter this world with eyes wide open. In the traditional sense it’s still a very male dominated environment. Some female journalists become disillusioned by that, some chip away at the glass ceiling, and the rest work within the bounds. But this isn't another one of those articles. 

Instead, I wanted to share my excitement about the opportunities for all journalists, particularly women, in the online space. There’s no rule book in the blogosphere. You can be judged on your looks here, but only if you choose to be. Body proud? Throw up a bikini selfie. Great writer? Write about anything you like (as a journalist, I ask that you do your research first). It seems there are a lot of people out there with something to say (Wordpress alone grew by almost 120% last year). This brave new world of blogging is dominated by women. Most are aged 18-35, many are mums and most have tertiary qualifications. So, often it’s a case of women writing for women. Why is that? Marketers have been targeting the grocery buyer for years. But these days the grocery buyer is often also the career woman, carer, mother, wife, fitness enthusiast, cook or business owner. They are also facing a lot of common issues. The internet is often the fastest way the busy modern woman can discuss those issues, access health advice, buy clothes, do the grocery shopping and run a business, from the one spot. It’s all about working smarter.

With so many women online It’s also the perfect space to build the so-called sisterhood. I’ve worked in a number of different work environments and I have had incredible female mentors and some nasty female combatants. But like queen Beyonce herself, I would love to see girls run the world one day and perhaps we can spark that change online.

One woman who arguably runs the online world and understands the web economy better then most is Arianna Huffington. She created The Huffington Post in 2005. The site remains one of the most read in the US - overwhelmingly by women. AOL acquired the Post for more than $350 million in 2011. Huffington remains President & Editor-in-Chief and this year was named by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world.

Our own Sarah Wilson is also proof that both a blog and a journalist can now become a brand. A career print journalist, Wilson took the precarious step from magazine editor, to blogger and has since established herself as a best-selling author since she “quit sugar” and wrote all about it on her website. So why do women have so much appeal on the internet? Well, it really is a different interface. Blogging opens a dialogue, it’s not a one-sided discussion like conventional media. Women have opinions, they have questions and they want to be heard. A big factor in Wilson’s success has been through the very personal story she shares with the reader; on her health battles, on sugar and even her love of bike riding. Her message resonates with everyday women; from the A-type career woman, to a busy mum battling with balancing her diet. Most importantly, she’s honest.

It’s with the same enthusiasm that I am embarking on a dual-career of sorts. I recently launched a website. It allows me to share my love of health, wellness, travel and extraordinary people. We know the online world is a playground for the passionate, so I am hoping the journey gives me the same feeling of fulfilment as it has to so many others.

Skye Gilkeson is an award-winning journalist who has worked at top Australian media outlets including 60 Minutes and Sunrise. She is also the creator of health, wellness and travel hub, The Fit Traveller. She loves healthy food, exploring exotic destinations, running and she is a strong advocate for sarcasm.