Showing posts from October, 2012

Food & Emotion


The media is using the wrong approach when speaking to us about weight and health. They use rational arguments with a humanity which is intrinsically emotive. We feel as much as we think. These people are appealing to the wrong side of the brain. They should know better. Television programs too often use the obvious angle of health to convince us that the nation weighs too much. Of course it is a correct argument, but they are often appealing to the wrong values. Most of us value our health. But we also value convenience, happiness, and socializing. People cannot prioritize every motive at number one, and eventually health gets pushed down the list as the rest of life takes over.

First of all, let me establish that I am not crazy enough to oppose typical arguments about health. We will suffer the consequences for eating manufactured meals instead of the home-cooked meals which were enjoyed by previous generations. Whereas food in past decades could have came from the veggie patc…

Walking and Endorphins


I still love going for walks around my suburb. They are a chance to think, get active, and get a change of scenery. My route along main streets goes for around 5 kilometers. It's a break from the gym machines. Bright sunny summery surroundings are perfect for a casual stroll. At the right time of day, the air has cooled down enough for a refreshing breeze. What an easy way to get those endorphins going to then slip back into a happy feel-good mood.

Let's do the Time Warp on Thursday!

Parramatta Toastmasters will be time warping through their meeting as it will be themed on the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This dance is a fun pop classic. Maybe it was the Macarena of the 70s. Or the Gangnam of the 70s. You get the idea. Every generation has a dance. And my parents' generation probably all time-warped through that era. So jump to the left, and then jump to the right. That will make a lot more sense if you watch the video and learn the moves. 

Growing up with The Seekers

Photo: Wikipedia I have grew up with The Seekers from as long as I can remember. Judith Durham was always on the TV screen, singing along in the background of every family gathering. That was when I was maybe 2 or 3. The band continuously reflected the conservative culture through their stereotypical 60s folk, their patriotic 90s music, and the songs' reincarnations by newer musicians in the 2000s. These 13 mins from TV summarise their story in case you need a catch up. How exactly has the Australian public held onto this girl, a few guys, some guitars, a banjo, a tambourine, and a double bass? It's because The Seekers have managed to help define every generation. That's a big call. But The Seekers have been present for decades in Aussie history. 
It all started in the 60s. What baby boomer doesn't remember Georgy Girl? This title song in the soundtrack for a little film of the same name definitely grew as the song now has a life of its own. The Seekers attracted…

Stop Fearing the Tall Poppy Syndrome

Image: Ian Britton at Free Foto  Aussies have always been known as a really humble bunch. Although humility is a good thing, we are a little bit too scared to celebrate our successes in case we appear to be 'showing off.' We need to embrace all our achievements, no matter how big or small. They make us who we are.  
This definitely happened during the Olympics. People were talked down for achieving something great. The individuals who represented our country were ridiculed for earning less than gold. But most of us knew a silver or bronze were still great achievements. They were something to be proud of. 
Plenty of students during uni would achieve something awesome and then make excuses to justify the success. It was like admitting to hard work and talent would look too boastful. I just don't understand it. They would get a perfect grade and then try to rationalise a logic where they don't admit to understanding their specialty as much as they have proven to und…

Dressing up for The Rocky Horror Picture Show


Photo: New York Post

Dedicated fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show have been dressing up for cinema screenings for years. This cult craze has became just like Halloween - a chance to be someone they're not for a day. It all started when American ticket sales were dropping, and so the movie was then played at midnight instead. Although this unconventional film was not your typical rom com (it's probably a whole genre of it's own), the theatrical rock musical was perfect for a crazy late night out. A College Fashion site lists some dedicated detail some groups go to in the US of A. They paint their faces white. They dance. They even use water guns to imitate the famous rain which starts off the movie's journey. Crowds all over the world now participate in the movie with heaps of involvement. 
Comic Con is also another reason for fans to look like Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Janet, Brad, the maid, the servant, or anyone else. Check out this quick video: 

It's not j…

What I learned from walking in the Blue Mountains


I recently went walking around Echo Point and the Three Sisters at Katoomba. It was a way to breathe in some quality fresh air, get some quiet, and have a journey. The best thing about journeys is they always teach us something along the way.

The Giant Stairway is an official track from Echo Point down to one of the sisters. For some reason, I was determined to prove a point by taking this walk. What was I proving? You see, I am scared of heights. This was the perfect way to prove I can survive challenges. So I clung onto the rail for my dear life. So what? I still did it. Here's what I learned in the process:

1. There is a time and a place for handbags. Sorry, this slightly superficial point had to be made. I had a long shoulder bag for this journey. And yes, the iPad was in it. If I ever got accidentally stranded (which luckily never happened), I still had E.L.James. But this pretty frilly handbag looked somewhat out of place when surrounded by foreign tourist…

Why use a facial scrub?

Until now, I had forgot the importance of facial scrubs. It turns out these will exfoliate the skin and help remove makeup. The name explains how to use it. There is no use just wiping the product on our faces and then rinsing it off. It's more like a massage to remove a layer of dead skin. Nothing feels more pampered than treating myself to some of this blue beady gel to feel refreshed. The stuff is so thorough that some blogs say it's only actually needed once in every fortnight. Definitely check out the sweet scented scrubs on the market.

Food and Discipline


It is time to dramatically change how I live my life. Some dangerous habbits have developed and they must stop. I have been eating anything I wanted for some time now. It wasn't easy to realise I have reached 74.5 kilos. This means I gained 10 kilos in the past few years. It also means I can't actually fit into the dress from this picture above. It's a size 12. This is not ok. This is not a body image issue. I would be happy to be curvy and healthy. But there is nothing healthy about my current habits. I am not saying this to whine, but it is to hold myself to the goals. The public accountability of this blog post will be a motivation to get better.

The change is possible because it has been done before. What was done differently in the past? It's the obvious rules we have been told since childhood. These rules sadly got tossed aside as life became busy.

A couple of years ago, my morning routine included a 5 km walk around the area in 50 minutes. This may not be…

Who is Susan Sarandon?

Image from AOL TV
Susan Sarandon has made some true classic movies over the years. Many of them were before my time. Being Gen Y, I first discovered Susan Sarandon in the chick flick Elizabethtown. But there must be more to her than that. Here are a few clips from Susan's movies:  
She sung and acted as the newly engaged Janet Weiss in a musical called The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Susan played a spiritual advisor at a prison in Dead Man Walking.
She went road tripping in Thelma & Louise. That's just a bunch of reasons why I'm totally a fan of Susan's work. The Parramatta Toastmasters Club will be celebrating The Rocky Horror Picture Show on 1st November, as a post-Halloween special. We will get to dress up, paint our faces, & have fun. Click here for the program & details.

Trending: Body-con Pencil Skirts


Photo: Mel's skirt These figure hugging skirts are everywhere at the moment. In the right outfit, this gutsy apparel can help appear to ooze confidence. Some modern body-con skirts may have a hipster hem. But proper pencil skirts may actually start at the waist. This is supposed to be flattering because it highlights the hips. The problem is that it also then skims right along any middle we might have. We basically need a really flat belly to get away with tucking this skirt in. My suggestion for those wearing the classic pencil skirt in this style is to never tuck your shirt in. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t wear the skirt – it shows off the hips and is more slimming than a flowing A-line. Yesterday I wore this body-con pencil skirt for the first time ever, with a black blouse over the top, not tucked in. This style made me feel a lot more confident. We can also get the same effect by buttoning a jacket over the top. I’m willing to try that in winter, but our weather …

Why I still love Philosophy


I am still completely glad I took philosophy classes during uni because they encouraged a critical thinking that we are not given room for in other areas of life.  The opinionated-ness was actually a little bit addictive. We took nothing on face value. Each one of us questioned and accepted aspects of theorists' ideas often just because of our own experiences. That's right. Whereas other areas of learning demanded we use someone else's idea to back up our own (and of course there's a reasonable time and place for that), philosophy allowed us to look at the world around us and judge or evaluate based on it. I truly miss that because it got us thinking.

Freud was fortunately in our repertoireof authors to pull apart. We of course embraced some of Freud's ideas more than others. The concept of conscious and unconscious thought is quite commonly accepted these days. Most of us think at least on some level a dream is our subconscious talking to us. That seems to m…

Life Lessons From Harriet The Spy

Image from: TV Guide
Harriet The Spy was a movie that spoke to me as a kid and taught me lessons that are still relevant to this day. The movie, with Michelle Trachtenberg and Rosie O'Donnel, is about a girl who trying to focus on what she's good at. What looks like an obsession on the outside is more of a specialty hobby to her. So what if it's a Nickelodeon kids flick from 1996. It was great when I was 7, and it's just as wise when I'm 23. Here are the life lessons I grew up with thanks to Harriet The Spy:

1. Tell the truth on a need to know basis, and it should be flattering. Don't lie or keep important information from people, because of course a lack of disclosure could hurt more. But there are some things we need to think twice about before saying. Kyle Sandilands and Alan Jones, I'm talking to you. Harriet tells it exactly how it is. She writes down an unflattering verbal portrait of everyone around her. She describes one friend's face as …

Characters with Asperger's & Autism

Image from: NY Times
Don't worry, we're not all like this video...
There are definitely some stereotypes about Asperger's Syndrome thanks to film & TV characters over the years. There is some truth in them but also some fiction.

The main character in Rain Man appeared to be severely Autistic, although The Guardian implies the real rain man Kim Peek didn't actually have Autism. Autism is extremely different to Asperger's. They're both on the Autism Spectrum and therefore could be confused with each other. But the AS spectrum is like a continuum from high-functioning to low-functioning. Some people diagnosed might not appear to have it at all.

Adam was a touching film about a man with Asperger's Syndrome who just can't figure out his social life. Although it was great to hear about the topic on the big screen, AS was stereotyped as a handicap completely preventing normal socializing. Some signs like Adam's facial expression were…

Perfect Peplum

Peplum lines are definitely everywhere right now. This line will flatter the hips as either the hem of a top or an embellishment on a dress. These are definitely the next big thing for summer.

Vogue followed the peplum silhouette for the latest high end versions. See some glam silver frills here.

Allure have showed us a ready-to-wear top in a variety of different uses. Click here for their gallery.

Here's an Instagram of my peplum top I bought recently from K Mart (yeah well it's still stylish). It's a perfect light fabric for the warm weather. The candy colour is awesome for bright sunny days. Find another peplum at pretty much anywhere you normally get clothes because they should be around for at least a few months. Enjoy! 

What does Gangnam Style mean?

Image from: The whole world is talking about Gangnam Style. Psy's horse dance is as ubiquitous as the Macarena was during my childhood. But the question still exists: what is "Gangnam?" Psy told, to the American ABC, Gangnam is "the Beverly Hills of Korea." This song appears to be about the self. It is about an individual being glamorous despite the un-glamorous un-Beverly-Hills surroundings this person is in. What a lovely message: feel glam no matter what the sitch (situation). It's also just a really amusing video. Here's the American ABC interview:

The Most Encouraging Song Lyrics

Song lyrics should sometimes make us feel good. It is just one of many purposes of popular songs, but it is definitely an important one. What else boost a mood like hearing a successful singer tell us what we want to hear during a great tune? Here are my favourites:
1. Katrina & The Waves were Walking On Sunshine, and we should be that too!
2. Bobby McFerrin reminded us just Don't Worry Be Happy.
3. R Kelly wanted us to realise our capabilitiies by saying, I Believe I Can Fly.
4. Christina Aguilera boosted egos with Beautiful.
5. Lady Gaga strengthened her little monsters by reminding them we were Born This Way.

Party nails: sparkly blue!

Blue nail polish can work well in the right context. Of course there are some occasions when it's time to skip the glitz, like of course a strict office. But blue can look brilliant for a fun night out when teamed with clear glitter polish, contrasting shatter colours, and more. Just remember to use a cotton bud and nail polish remover to tidy up the edges, to look less smudged than this demo, and it's all set to go. So stretch the palate beyond pale shades with this must-try primary colour.

Guest Post: Life With Schizophrenia


Just like the bird in the picture, anyone can soar.   The recent blog post of What Mel Wants about Asperger's Syndrome was a story of diversity that some people really identified with. Greg, a friend of my parents, identified with the story because he has a condition that affected his life. Greg was keen to share his story by saying this:

I suffer from schizophrenia, and most of my recovery I credit to Mount Pritchard Toastmasters. The turning point came just after I turned 40. I also owe success to my church and my faith in Jesus Christ. I was brought up as a child in an area where there were no boys my age. I didnt interact with others-I mainly watched TV and listened to radio. I had few friends at school and was constanly bullied. I knew my school work and lots of trivia, but lacked life skills and social skills. I left school with no goal. I didnt want to be a lawyer or a teacher or anything like that. I agreed to go into insurance of get my parents off my back. I was n…

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