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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wild Heart Jewellery // Into The Wild

Wild Heart Jewellery // Into The Wild
Photography: Carly Brown

Coat / X&RA Vintage | Swimmers / First Base + Green Lee Swim | Dress / Free People

What an adventure -- shooting in the middle of the forest in New Zealand with scattered rain drops falling from silver, misty skies, a mysterious chill filling the air, and an eerie sense of spiritual presence. I felt like Queen of the Forest, dripping in jewels from Wild Heart Jewellery, a collection inspired by the native tribes of ancient times.  Tigers Eye, turquoise and moonstone insets with intricate carvings, beading and nature-inspired symbology trademark this gorgeous collection from my favorite Gold Coast jewellery designers, Julie and Samara Baunach. 

To shop the gorgeous collection click HERE

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Women's Wisdom // Communication As A Moral Imperative

Hospital bracelet -- such a lame accessory :(
After being rushed to hospital last week for symptoms of Endometriosis, I feel a very strong urge to create a platform for Women's Wisdom, especially as the issue of women's health can be a taboo topic. Education is an incredibly powerful tool, and as scared as I was during my health emergency, the knowledge I had helped to keep me calm during these hours of excruciating pain. My sister, Ileana, has been by far my biggest influence and encouragement in learning more about what it truly means to be a woman, and so I asked her to write a piece to inspire my readers in the same way she has me for so many years.  I invite you all, Women and Men, to engage in this circle of shared experiences, questions, and support. 

Here is the first installment of what will hopefully be a new series of guest posts on the blog from my incredibly informed and eloquent sister, Ileana Ramirez, surrounding Women's Wisdom.
(For more information on Endometriosis click here)
For women, talking about our bodies is a moral imperative.
Women’s bodies are complicated.  The hormonal changes a woman goes through in one month are equal to the changes a man will go through in ten years.  Our anatomy is internal and inherently mysterious.  We orgasm, get pregnant, give birth, and age in ways that are biological, spiritual, emotional, and unquantifiable.  And yet, as the feminist writer Germaine Greer wrote, “I know of no woman for whom the body is not a fundamental problem.”  Centuries of Christian dogma preached that sex is sinful, women’s bodies are the root of lust, and labor pains are the curse of Eve.  Understandably, most women regard their bodies with shame and childbirth with fear.  
Shame + Fear = Silence.  
As girls, we grow breasts and cover them up.  We menstruate and hide it.  We have sex in secret from our mothers.  As women, we fail to orgasm, get abortions and diseases, miscarry, and experience crippling post-partum depression.  All in silence.  
Our silence alienates us from other women, with devastating effects.  Studies show that nearly half of American women experience sexual dysfunction, dissatisfaction, and low drive.  The United States, which has the lowest rate of midwife-attended birth in the industrialized world, also has the second highest rates of maternal and infant mortality.  Modern birth practices, failure to breastfeed, and postpartum depression break down a mother’s ability to bond with her baby in ways that correlate with increased bullying, depression, and violence in children.  
We are in crisis.  We are compelled to address these issues by speaking out about our bodies in loving communities of women.  These communities should be made up of our:
Sisters: Our siblings, our friends, and our peers.  These women are going through the same experiences we are and can relate to our problems and concerns.
Mothers: Our role models of all shapes and ages.  These women can answer our questions because they have already experienced what we are going through.  At times a Sister can serve as a Mother when she has more experience with an illness, having a baby, or going through a relationship milestone.
Daughters: Women in need of advice and support.  These women use the value of our experiences to help guide them.  A Sister can become a Daughter when she is facing a new dilemma that we have already been through and processed.  

Historically, women lived and learned socially.  We birthed our own babies with the help of midwives, raised each other’s children, and exchanged sacred knowledge about our bodies and sex.  As we face the crucial problems of our physical and emotional health, we must create safe communities where we candidly speak, share, and learn together.   
I entreat you: Build safe, judgment-free spaces to share.  Have weekly coffees with your Sisters, video chats with your Mothers.  Talk to your Daughters DAILY!  Create open, engaging platforms where it’s ok to cry, laugh, and explore.  Share books, websites, doctors, and homeopathic remedies.  Talk.  
Start ‘Em Young
The most important time in our lives for these candid conversations is the time when they are the least available to us.  When girls enter puberty, changes to their bodies coincide with bitter social conflicts.   For many of us, getting our periods is a source of embarrassment, growing breasts makes us afraid of unwanted attention from men, and our budding sexual desires are confusing to understand in the context of our moral upbringings.  
The path to being well in our bodies begins with healing our inner Daughter.  We have to consider the path we trod, the gifts our Mothers gave us along the way, and the negative attitudes we have that limit our ability to rejoice in our bodies.  Were we allowed to talk about our bodies when we were young?  Were we discouraged from exploring our anatomy?  Did we live in fear of abuse?  Talk to you inner Daughter.  Tell her it is ok to feel sad, scared, or confused when she looks in the mirror.  Tell her she is beautiful and unique.  Then teach another Daughter in your life how to have these conversations with herself.  
Talking with your Daughter about sex teaches her how to talk to her future partner about sex.  Giving her a voice gives her power over her body.   Allowing her to express her fears and insecurities shows her these feelings are normal and can be processed in a loving, productive way.  Create a safe space for her to ask questions at a time when the questions get harder to answer.  In the absence of a strong woman’s guidance, a little girl will turn to media and popular culture for answers about her body and sexuality.  That shudder-inducing thought should send you bolting to her room for an honest chat.  
It’s ok. I’ll wait.  
Talk About Sex — A LOT
You’re back?  Great.  Because that's just the beginning.  The responsibility to talk doesn’t end with young girls and their bodies.  We have work to do with our Mothers and Sisters too, mostly on the subject of sex.  Do not be discouraged if this is difficult at first.  When I was in college, I reconnected with a childhood friend who was concerned about having sex with her boyfriend.  I told her a little bit about my personal experiences and answered her questions.  A week later, I heard from mutual friends that she was calling me a slut behind my back.  
We equate sexual experience with sexual deviance.   The problem with this kind of thinking, other than its inaccuracy, is that it shames women into a silence that actually encourages sexual stupidity and promiscuity.  If we keep silent because we fear the judgment of our Sisters, then the only way we learn about sex is by repeated experimentation.  Trial and error is a sloppy way to gather information!  Women with less sexual education are more likely to suffer unwanted pregnancies and STD’s and to engage in sexually reckless behavior.  
Talking about sex with our Mothers and Sisters helps us become more confident lovers who know what we want from our partners.  Together we learn to make better decisions about how to choose a partner, have more fulfilling intercourse, and take ownership over birth control and pregnancy.
Don’t Skip the Baby Talk
And let’s get to the subject of babies.  Most of us don’t even think about getting pregnant until we have settled into our partners and our careers.   By the time we approach the subject of birth and raising children, we have a vacuum of birth experience three decades wide, filled with media images that tell us that childbirth is painful, babies are a life-ruining miracle, and mothers are asexual beings who serve up blood sacrifices with a side of pancakes over a spotless breakfast table.  
Rather, I believe that having children is the source of our biological power.  Our bodies create a new organ to grow, house, and feed each baby until it is ready for this world.  The experience of birth—just like the experience of sex—can be pleasurable and gratifying.  Or—just like sex—it can be violent and devastating.  We must share positive birth stories and real-life experiences of motherhood.  We must combat damaging cultural messages and show our Sisters and Daughters that birth can be beautiful and that we can raise our children intentionally without losing our identities.
We are also compelled to share our birth processes with other women and girls.  Seeing my sister-in-law in labor changed my life.  I encountered the standard operating procedures of a hospital and decided what I wanted differently when it was my time.  I then passed the experience on to my sister, who was present for the birth of my second son.  This is our legacy and the root of our wisdom.  
Not Just a Stethoscope or Screen
Talking to doctors and in virtual communities is helpful but limiting.  Western medicine is predicated on the myth that our minds, bodies, and souls are separate.  This is reflected in medical specialization: practitioners can treat your brain, your heart, your cancer, but not the full picture of your physical and spiritual well-being.  We don’t select doctors who reflect our religious beliefs, morals, and sociocultural identities.  This may not matter when we have a cold, but a doctor will be a poor guide through the murky waters of giving a baby up for adoption, or losing your sexual attraction to your partner, or going through menopause with acceptance and dignity.  And it’s just plain sad that we share our sexual failures and traumas with our doctors and total strangers on the internet, but not with our loved ones.  Speak up, and statistics suggest that one of your Sisters has been where you are and knows exactly how you feel.  

So talk.  Brazenly and loudly.  Because we are beautiful and mysterious.  Because it is our moral responsibility to the women who will come after us.  And because, sometimes, it just feels good to let it out and set it free.  
Ileana Ramirez is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a Masters in Business from the College of William and Mary. She is a mother of two, a convert to the church of natural childbirth, and an advocate for women's health.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Country Road

Scrunch Sandals / Reef | Bell Sleeve Top / Rue Stiic | Bikini / O'Neill | Jewels / Wild Heart Jewellery | Turkish Towel / Koza

Oh, summer in Australia...what I missed of you last year... 
When the temperatures are so high its just too damn hot to wear pants, and end of day means pouring a glass of chilled Sauv Blanc to stay cool. But the last few days have been stunning, I've been insanely busy with work so I spend the evenings walking down to the Lilly Pond behind my house and hanging with my new goose friend :) There's nothing better than taking time out in the late afternoon to just listen to the birds sing and delve into a good book. I can definitely say I'm enjoying my little country life here in the bush of Aus...I seem to have my favorite Bob Dylan song on repeat in my mind as of late. 

So if you're travelin' to the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there

She once was the true love of mine. . .

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Just Passing Through New Zealand

Top / Amuse Society | Shorts / AG Jeans | Sunnies / Sunday Somewhere | Satchel / Sunday Somehwere | Shoes / Reef | Necklace + Rings / Wild Heart Jewellery | Bangles / Republic of You

My fellow long haired ladies -- how good is it to tuck those locks away every now and then under your favorite fedora? Such a nice way to show off a lovely back detail like on this rad Amuse Society sweater, or to just have it out the way for once?! 

I'm on the road in New Zealand at the moment with my dear friend Carly Brown, camping out of a 1966 VW kombi called "The Mystery Machine" and having the most epic time of my life. I am so blessed to live a life of surf x style x spirit, getting to explore this beautiful Earth along the way.  When Just Passing Through, I've got my list of key items I can't live without -- most importantly, a comfy pair of CUTE flats that hold up in just about anything. Paired back to a sweater that can be layered, denim shorts, and accessories for all occasions (practical and pretty), it's easy to be comfortable in long car trips, or for sleeping under the stars. Plus, its fully an outfit that can be worn for 2-3 days straight (as I've successfully tested myself :) 

Scored epic waves today in Shipwreck Bay today, can't wait to see what unfolds on the rest of this journey! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Buzzing on Surf Culture // Byron Bay Surf Festival 2014

Here it is ladies and gents -- the Byron Bay Surf Festival highlights reel. It's so incredible to see this video capturing, in absolute perfection, the essence of this magical weekend. This is why we live here. This is what makes Byron so special; our collective passion for a fleeting moment in the sea that inspires every action we take and shapes our ideals of what defines an affluent lifestyle. Breeding conscious, creative beings seeing life alone as an excuse to celebrate, this festival is one giant acknowledgement of how truly blessed we are to live Byron Bay. With so many rad, friendly faces in this vid, and so many noteworthy events, performers, and artists on showcase, it's obvious this is a town worth celebrating, and a community worth cultivating. Thanks to all the amaaaaaazing team members who made this weekend possible, as Creative Director of the festival I am so honored to be a part of the fruition of such an event. So for those of you who were there -- here's a chance to recap on this electric experience, and for those who couldn't, here's a chance to see what all the buzz is about.