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Thursday, February 27, 2014

5 Reasons to Do The Thing That Scares You Most


I have a confession…I am painfully afraid of heights. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good adventure, but when I'm in a situation where heights are involved, I find myself shaking, dizzy, short of breath and panicky. It's a fear I know in my head to be irrational, but emotionally I have a hard time directing my mind elsewhere than my plummeting doom  :\

That's why I decided, when planning my next adventure to Hawaii, to challenge myself and conquer this totally unfounded aversion. Rather than hide from it, I was curious to see what would happen when I just faced it head on. Let me just tell you...A MA Z I N G things happen when you do the thing that scares you most. In partnership with Fitness First Australia, here are 5 reasons why you HAVE to try it!



1. Facing your fear eliminates it.  Fear is just agitation caused by expectation. Most of the time, we build our fears up in our head to be life threatening, when in reality they are just a projection of the most negative outcome our mind can create. By facing your fear head on, you destroy the expectation which then devalues it completely and relieves you from future stress. When climbing, every time I was scared to go higher, I just took a deep breath and took one step. That one step would lead to another and before I knew it I had made it! And after all the stress I was always able to say "that wasn't that bad."



2. Fear makes us perform at our highest levels.  There have been studies that prove there is a sweet spot of human performance that lies just outside our comfort zone called "optimal anxiety." So those jitters we get before attempting something we're scared of actually have a purpose -- they propel us to perform at a level of excellence unattainable when operating on cruise control. 



3. Facing your fear harnesses creativity. When you try something new or adventure outside your comfort zone, you invite new insight into your awareness that you are then forced to take into account. We can never move backward in personal growth, only forward. By accomplishing something you never thought possible, you rewrite the script of who you thought you were and what you are capable of! Not only does this build self esteem but it enables you to set and accomplish goals that are more substantial and fulfilling.



4. You'll have an easier time facing new fears and unexpected changes going forward. I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble here, but nothing in life is permanent. Even the relationships we think are rock solid, the possessions we think we own, in a sequence of unfortunate events can be stripped from us at any moment. By confronting the small, fearful scenarios in your everyday life, you prove your agility in the eye of the storm that life can often bring. When you overcome the thing you fear most, you are unstoppable in the face of change. After cliff jumping in Hawaii, I knew I could go rock climbing again with confidence. It's a constant ripple effect of goal setting and upward growth.


5. You have nothing to lose. Let me let you in on a little secret…FAILURE DOESN'T EXIST. Failure is a human imposed label bound to a scenario that fell short of the expectations of a select person or persons. It only exists in our mind if we believe it to be true. Therefore, if you choose not to let it, failure does not define you nor inhibit you. It is only one type of perception. Flip your perception to see failure as one step closer to success and suddenly failure is essential to the process. I didn't magically overcome my fears the second I started climbing. There were moments when I stood for 10 minutes, breathing, gaining my composure, and occasionally laughing at the silliness of my phobia. But by not letting the "failure" to overcome take hold of me,  I was able to push past it and keep climbing higher.




So now you know why confronting your greatest fear is essential, but how do you actually accomplish this mind blowing task?

Start Small. Do little things that break up your routine. Sit with unease and allow yourself to self sooth. Approach the things you hate and fear with love; instead of avoiding them, hold them close and then detach from them completely. Then notice how the things you dread aren't really as painful as you make them out to be in your head.

•  Stretch yourself physically. For me, the body is much easier to overcome than the mind. This may not be the same for everyone but give it a shot! Sometimes I'll run an extra 10 minutes after I think I'm tired, do an extra 5 crunches past the number I set for myself, or hold a yoga pose an extra 3 breaths…just to prove to myself that I can surpass my own expectations and capabilities. By challenging yourself on a physical level you are saying, "if I handle this, then the emotional challenge I've built up in my head will be a piece of cake."

• Let go of expectations.  Approach every situation with confidence that, whatever the outcome, it will be as though it were your first choice. Take the weight out of failure as well as success. Both are labels we place on neutral scenarios and nothing more. Without expectation you deny fear its power.

 Learn to make decisions in 30 seconds or less.  Making quick decisions taps into your intuition and allows you to connect with your true self, eliminating fear from the picture entirely. I'm not advocating to do this in all scenarios, but start small. Try it at restaurants, the grocery store or social scenarios where a decision needs to be made. Listen to your gut, make the call and then trust that the best possible outcome is what you have selected. The ability to be decisive on the spot is a practice in higher thought and takes fear out of the equation of what it is you truly want.

"HERE IS THE SECRET: YOUR 'FUTURE SELF' IS YOUR PRESENT AND REAL SELF." 
-Tau Malachi

What are your biggest fears? How do you confront them? Thanks to Fitness First Australia for motivating me to challenge my fears and share my discovery.

For more fitness inspo check out fitnessfirst.com.au

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fashion Forward-Thinking >> Nico Underwear


Australian lingerie brand, Nico Underwear, is making huge efforts in terms of environmental impact and ethical production and they are going far from unnoticed. Having recently received a SOURCE Award, the Global Awards for Sustainable Fashion, and recognition from Ethical Clothing Australia, this young but fearless label is instigating change in an industry reputable for poor working conditions and blatant environmental neglect. I spoke to creative director, Lis Harvey, about how this sweet, delicate, minimalistic underwear brand is boldly redefining industry protocol, business practices, and even the term "sexy."






Tell us a little bit about the Nico woman. Who is she? What is her personal style? Do you ever picture what she wears over her undies? :)

The NICO woman is creative, naturally stylish and has a stong sense of individuality. She is thoughtful and socially conscious. I do often think of what our customers wear over their undies and that definitely influences the design process. It's also always great to meet our lovely customers at our pop up shops and events and be inspired by their style in person! So many of them are so great at mixing things like our basic tees with something bold like a great skirt for a truly unique look that just balances really well!

Congratulations on your recent SOURCE award as well as being recognized by Ethical Clothing Australia. Tell us a little bit about how Nico strives to
reduce its impact?

Thank you! To sum it up, ethics and sustainability are factors in our decision making process in all parts of the business. This translates particularly to our choice to manufacture locally and to open up our supply chain to Ethical Clothing Australia who have confirmed that all workers are being paid fairly and working in good conditions. We also strive to consider the environmental impact of the materials we use and prefer to use natural fibres such as organic cottons.

Tell us about Nico's collaboration with "Save the Children." How did it come
about and how can our readers support the cause?

The situation in Syria has been so terrible for so long and we wanted to do something help out. After discussing our ideas with Save the Children we decided to partnter with them to raise money for their Syrian Crisis Appeal. For the entire month of January $2 from every NICO sale was donated to the appeal. Direct donations can also be made to Save the Children at


What are some of the challenges you face by holding yourself accountable to
a higher ethical standard in comparison to some of the bigger, fast fashion
corporations?

Certainly when we choose to manufacture ethically it makes it really impossible to compete with fast fashion brands on the basis of price. That being said though there is a new surge of interest in ethical fashion and an understanding amongst many consumers that cheap fashion is usually cheap because somebody was exploited in the making of it. I believe that surge is growing and will continue to do so. That's good news for us as it means the challenge is becoming less of an issue for NICO and more one for fast fashion's consumers start to demand more transparency.

 What are some small changes other labels could make in order to become
more environmentally and socially conscious?

More and more I think consumers are becoming aware of the environmental and social issues associated with the fashion industry and are demanding transparency and accountability from brands. I think labels need to take this on board and if they are not comfortable shining a light on parts of their business, then they should change it.

You started your career off as a fashion photographer. What was it that urged you to switch to design?

I really love working as a photographer and I still do quite a bit of it when I have the time. Photography was really my introduction to the fashion industry and I really loved being able to creatively interpret a designers concept and turn it into something visual. I suppose I was craving a bit more creative control (ok, I can be a little bit of a control freak sometimes!) and loved the idea of working on a concept all the way through from development to design to capturing that in a photograph and that was one of the reasons that led me to start NICO. I still take all of the photos for NICO and I love being able to
work on a concept from both perspectives :)


I'm super tactile and my favorite detail in garments (lingerie especially) is the way it feels on your skin. What are your some of your favorite fabrics?

It's all about natural fibres at NICO – they need to be breathable and to feel soft and luxurious! We use a lot of organic cottons and bamboo blends which are so nice to wear and perfect for comfy undies :)






How do you define "sexy?"

I think sexy is what ever you want it to be. It's about being confidant in yourself and your style, it's being gracious and intelligent. It's about being yourself and owning it!

Do you find any obstacles in such a competitive market when defining your
own terms of "sexy lingerie?"

When we launched NICO the idea was to fill a gap in the market. There were lots of brands offering traditional 'sexy' lingerie – the lacy kind of stuff I guess! And then there were lots of brands doing the simple practical stuff, but there wasn't much in between. That's where NICO sits – a different kind of sexy, and we regularly hear from our customers that it's something they've been looking for. So I'd really say it's less of an obstacle and more of an advantage!


What's next for Nico?
Big plans for this year! We'll have a new collection out in a few months which is looking really cool! We also have plans to release a classics range of our favourite everyday stylesin black and white. We're also looking forward to bringing the NICO aesthetic to more basic styles like tees and day dresses. The best way to keep updated with what's going on is to follow us on facebook or instagram :)





Thanks Lis so much for sharing with us! Keep an eye out at NicoUnderwear.com for the newest collection to be released in just a few months!

xxx

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Daytrippers // Babe's Day at Brauer Birds





























































photos: Carly Brown Photography
In just a few weeks I will be back on my way to the lovely East Coast of Australia, to the land of peeling rights, tasty cafés, and perfect Boho boutiques. This fine day was one of many spent in the best of company in search of a playful adventure of the senses. So excited to return to this gaggle of beautiful girlies Carly Brown, Lisa Wright of Lisa's Closet, and Celeste Twikler to get inspired and have some creative playtime. xxx

Check out our collaboration on the Lisa's Closet She Who Howls Lookbook for more from this talented bunch.

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