Category Archives: Life

Finding your doppleganger

Finding your doppleganger | lizniland.com

Have you ever wanted to be a twin? Like a switch-places-and-no-one-will-know identical twin? Like a play-the-same-role-in-a-tv-show twin?

Well, even if biology didn’t allow it from birth, having your doppleganger could now be within your reach. The power of the interwebs is driving a group of friends ever closer to twindom. Twin Strangers has made headlines this week when a competitor met up with one of her twin-but-nots. Check it out:

According to the Twin Strangers website, there are 7 people in the world who look like you. Seven! Imagine! Who wants to just be a twin when you could be a septuplet?

For more doppleganger photos, there’s the I’m Not A Lookalike project and this fun Buzzfeed list. Of course there’s a Buzzfeed list.

Have you got a lookalike? Or have you been mistaken for someone random, a la the infamous case of Homer Simpson and Mr Sparkle?

I don’t think I’ve seen any of my 7 dopplegangers but my friend’s mum (hi Jules!) is convinced I’m a dead ringer for Hilary Swank. She’s not the only one to say that either. I’ve also been told I resemble Jennifer Garner, Keira Knightley and Julia Stiles. Does everyone get told they look like random celebs or is it just me?

I totally met a Julia Roberts lookalike the other night though.

 

x Liz

Photo note: Photo from Unsplash

Thankful Thursday: April 16th

Pretty snail mail | Thankful Thursday | lizniland.com

A sprinkling of things I’m grateful for this week.

  • Getting great mail. Check out the above pile 🙂 Belated engagement gifts & a super cute wedding invite. Totally makes up for the gas bill!
  • Launching a Facebook page for this site & having a bunch of people like it straight away. I’m so grateful for the support everyone, it’s so inspiring to know I’ve got a solid pack of cheerleaders!
  • Early starts on Sundays. Ain’t nobody got time for long sleep-ins; there’s a farmers’ market to attack and brunch to consume!
  • Yin yoga. If you haven’t tried, track down a class. In Newcastle, I recommend Yoga For All. It’s all about the fascia baby.
  • Hearing cool stories about clever entrepreneurial types. This week’s hottest hits are Autopilot (mates since childhood killing it in San Fran) & Camplify (local dudes about to hit the big time).
  • Recognising when you just need to stop and have a cup of tea. Chill, there’s time. #abundance
  • Catching up with long-time great mates.

What are you loving this week?

 

x Liz

 

Goal setting for the soul

My core desired feelings | lizniland.com

Goal setting has never been my jam. Don’t get me wrong, I love working towards targets; I just don’t like the all or nothing approach goal chasing seems to bring out in people. Giving up happiness now for the sake of a pie in the sky that might not even make up for the friends not seen, the kilometres not strolled, the brunches and brownie sandwiches not devoured, seems so risky to me. Call me an impatient, instant gratification-seeking Gen-Y but the number of times I change the direction of my dreams would put the wind to shame.

That said though, I’ve always tried – and mostly failed – to make goals work. When I noticed Danielle LaPorte and Marie Forleo, two of the wisest self-made modern businesswomen around, had made a video on goal setting, I decided to give it a chance. I’m so glad I did: welcome to “core desired feelings”, the perfectionist overachiever’s answer to traditional goals.

It’s a 20 minute video so save it for a quiet afternoon when you’ve got a little bit of time to focus on it.

I love the idea of matching your soul to your goals. Decide how you want to feel, then establish goals that align with making that happen – and then only keep striving for those goals, while ever they still feel right.

Core desired feelings go beyond goal setting though; as Danielle says in the video, they can and should be used to guide every decision you make. For example if “abundance” is one of your core desired feelings (it’s one of mine) you probably aren’t going to be dining on chicken nuggets with Ronald. There is enough time and resources available to prepare yourself a far more delicious, far more healthful meal.

If you feel that stomach-clenching uneasiness with a particular situation or notice yourself acting uncomfortably, check in with your core desired feelings. Are you aligned with what you want for yourself, with how you want to feel?

This level of mindfulness can sound like an overwhelming prospect but checking in with yourself regularly is worth it according to those in the know. I’m really trying to work on it.

After a few weeks of rumination, I’m aiming to live by:

  • Creation: not just to be ‘creative’ in my thoughts but to actively produce creative work, to participate in creation.
  • Abundance: there is enough, you are enough. Be generous & patient.
  • Intention: participate actively and whole-mindedly in all you do. The hardest one of all for me.

If you do the activity Danielle recommends, I’d love to hear what your core desired feelings are!

Are you a goals person? Or do you like this slightly more day-by-day approach?

x Liz

Photo note: Image from Death to the stock photo

Peptalk: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 rules of success

Arnie’s tips are for life both inside and outside the weights room. For all the controversy over the years, you gotta admit he’s been a very successful dude.

The most important rule of all: work your butt off.

Happy Monday!

x Liz

Staying in touch with far-flung friends

Keeping in touch with far-flung friends | lizniland.com

Tonight is the last hurrah for a close friend who’s moving over to the United Kingdom indefinitely. She’ll be back for our wedding in October later this year but beyond that, she’s hoping she’ll be met with a top-notch job and her own Prince Harry.

I have quite a few friends & family members who have lived, or still do live, overseas or interstate and I honestly find it difficult to keep in touch with them as much as I would like to.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (and the rest!) are convenient tools but I feel like they provide an illusion of connection: I can see where you’re working now (Like!), I know the name of your favourite coffee haunt (Retweet!) & I love the new boots you bought (<3 <3 <3) but I had no idea your grandma was ill and that the guy you were seeing was a dud and that you had a rotten day yesterday. Real connection, the kind that comes after a few sips of coffee and a mouthful of sweetness, is hard to recreate when there are oceans between you.

The long chats had while meandering through shopping malls are replaced by emails: Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply!!!

I struggle to share my love from afar but as someone who highly values loyalty, a close friend is never far from my mind, however far they slip down my must-respond email list. I’m an in-person connector, if that’s a proper type. The phone is for arranging catch ups, the emails always feel like the temporary fix. But what if they’re always going to live far away.

I think it’s different with the people you meet on adventures too. On my #PNTHAILAND14 culinary adventure, I met a dozen fantastic individuals who I still keep in touch with via social media. And that feels right. It feels like it works to just comment on fun photos and cheer on their successes. After all, while we shared a great trip, it was such a short time to get to know someone much deeper than their social media persona anyway. It’s so different to the people you’ve grown up with, counselled over silly boys, dressed up and danced away the night with so many times. A Like, a Retweet, a late email doesn’t do that justice.

Short of taking regular trips halfway around the globe, I don’t know if there is a solution. Become a billionaire or live with the slight discord of a friendship from afar.

x Liz

P.s. How do you go with keeping in touch? I’d love to hear any tips for someone that needs to get better at it!

Photo note: Original image from Death to the stock photo.

Thankful Thursday: April 9th

My list of love & gratitude for this week, as inspired by Gala Darling‘s old Things I Love Thursday.

Engagement photoshoot | lizniland.com

  • The bloke in the above photo. He’s a good Easter egg, that one.
  • Clever photographers. The above shot is the first taste from our engagement shoot with photographer Lauren Campbell and I can’t wait to see the rest!
  • 4-day working weeks. Thanks Easter. Thanks Jesus. Thanks Bunny.
  • Lifting weights. I’m loving the fresh eyes and different approaches of a new trainer. Still at the best gym in Newcastle but now doing strength-focused bootcamp sessions with Sarah.
  • Health of my family. There was a scare… but it has turned into a treatable scare.
  • Excitement for friends. New homes, new adventures & new babies galore!
  • Chilly autumn days. I say this now… Ha! #novelty
  • Inspiring individuals. I’ve been listening to Ted Talks and Marie Forleo during the afternoon at work.

Autumn feet | lizniland.com

 

x Liz

P.s. What are you loving this week?

 

Photo note: First one by Lauren Campbell, second one by me on my trusty iPhone.

What’s your type? There’s a quiz for that

Coloured chairs | lizniland.com

I love doing personality tests, body type quizzes, reading about what my date of birth could mean for my destiny, and all manner of other could-be-bull multiple choice time-wasters.

Thing is, even if I don’t believe I should avoid chicken due to my blood type (B+) or that the location of the planets at the time of my birth will impact my career prospects, I still feel like I learn a little more about myself each time I have to look within, make a choice and tick a box.

I recently discovered my ayurvedic type is “Pitta”. Apparently I should minimise my consumption of eggs, garlic and spinach and get more into cucumber. Sorry inner self, that’s not happening. But what I did learn doing this one is that this type overheats easily (yes), prefers aggressive competitive sports (BodyCombat is totally my new favourite, behind lifting weights that is) and that if I’m out-of-balance, I can be short-tempered and argumentative (no comment).

At work, we use the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) to dig a little deeper into people’s personalities & behaviours and it’s always fascinating to sneak a peek at someone’s chart, especially if you find you really connect – or clash – with them. I’m a 2111 for those in the HBDI know. I already knew that I avoid fiddling with statistics and sums but that I’m an intuitive, creative, right-brained kind of character. What I didn’t realise though was how into order & organisation I am. Doing this test showed that I’m just as comfortable writing a to-do list on fresh stationery (drool) as I am having a deep & meaningful conversation with a colleague while standing in the queue for the microwave. True story.

The Myers-Briggs personality test is a good one too: I’m an ENFJ, along with Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln and Oprah Winfrey. My contemporaries and I are charismatic natural-born leaders (clearly they all got a little more of that special sauce than I did) but can be overly sensitive to criticism and worry too much. Google is your oyster to find out more once you know your type.

I certainly don’t think knowing your type in any evaluation is the be-all of life but I do like collecting the data all the same. I truly find them fascinating.

Maybe that’s because of my type?

x Liz

Photo note: Image from Death to the stock photo.

#The100DayProject: 100 days of posts

I’ve decided to attempt the 100 Days Project.

100 days project | lizniland.com

Participants are encouraged to pick a creative pursuit they want to practice daily & stick with it for 100 consecutive days, chipping away at a bigger work or knocking over a bunch of tiny projects day-by-day.

From the site:

It’s a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishizing finished products—it’s about the process.

I’ve decided this website is my project. I have perfectionist paralysis – I take ages to write something & then never hit publish until I’m 100% ready. (Apologies in advance for the typos and under developed thoughts that will no doubt make their way in.)

It’s time to change that – I’m committing to posting daily. Short posts, images, lists, rants, long posts if I get the time & inspiration: it’s all happening.

I’ve decided to take the pressure off creating my own images for this project – my goal is to focus on writing – so while I won’t be hanging up my camera necessarily, I will be using Death to Stock Photo regularly to complement my posts (and cut down on excuses).

Here goes nothing!

 

x Liz

P.s. If you’re keen to join me for 100 days of whatever your creative jam entails, head to the 100 Days Project to find out more.  

P.p.s. This post is totally counting as Day One.

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

#GIRLBOSS is a part-autobiography, part-business advice book from Sophia Amoruso; the 30-year-old founder and CEO (until last month) of fashion e-tailer Nasty Gal.

I found this an easy, entertaining and inspiring read, perfect for those who are seeking more out of life than their current 9-5 job. And while it’s geared towards entrepreneurial types and career-driven individuals, I think it’d be an empowering read for any young woman – not just those aspiring to be the boss-lady either.

#GIRLBOSS was part of the A Beautiful Mess Book Club last year so I decided to write to the same questions they posed in their discussion.

1. What was something you related with?

As a comparatively straight-laced, straight-A-achieving, relatively untroubled kid, I thought it would be tricky to relate to Sophia’s story. Obviously dumpster diving & hitch hiking were not commonalities I could claim, but the striving to find your niche and succeed on your own terms was something that I really appreciated.

“I always suspected that I was destined for, and that I was capable of, something bigger”.

It may just be the ‘curse’ of the Gen-Y dreamer but I think the rebellion Sophia shows against a life of suburban mediocrity is inspiring. She is living proof that a laptop, a solid idea and hard work can get you places.

I also loved reading Sophia’s approach to feminism.

“#GIRLBOSS is a feminist book, and Nasty Gal is a feminist company in the sense that I encourage you as a girl, to be who you want and do what you want”

I really identify with this kind of definition. Too many people, not just women, avoid labelling themselves as feminists thinking that it’s all about women. Obviously what women are able to do is a big part of it, but the whole “be who you want and do what you want” is a message that every man, woman & child the world over should hear & be able to live. Whether a bloke wants to run a business or do the 3pm school run (or both!) it should be just as supported as a woman’s right to do so too.

I’ve just finished reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg & it covers this concept heavily. I’ll write up a post on that soon – I loved it though!

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

2. What was something you felt challenged by?

The chapter titled “Money looks better in the bank than on your feet” is definitely a challenging phrase to my ears. I wouldn’t say I’m irresponsible with money but my eyes do glaze over at talk of budgeting and spreadsheets.

In the fashion world, sensible financial chatter is rare – Carrie Bradshaw sums the general consensus up nicely with “I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet”. Sophia uses examples from both a more personal perspective and from the position of a #GIRLBOSS to show that this is not a sustainable attitude.

I’m lucky to have a partner that forces me into financials every so often but the messages in the book hit me loud and clear!

And the shoplifting was definitely challenging to my lofty ideals that everyone is always trying to be good and do the right thing! That said though, I love that by explaining the consequences of her actions, Sophia has the opportunity to discourage would-be wannabes without sounding hypocritically preachy.

#GIRLBOSS by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

3. What was something you learned and put into action?

I was really surprised how much practical advice #GIRLBOSS had to offer. I’m working towards building my own business and although Sophia started Nasty Gal from the point of nothing to lose, her ability to just launch and learn is truly enviable.

“I was addicted to my business, and to watching it grow everyday”

It seems like the strict timelines of eBay really prepared Sophia for the consistency and dedication needed for following through with her business. Consistency is something I know I struggle with so #GIRLBOSS has provided a good kick up the butt to sort that shiz out.

#GIRLBOSS also drives home the overarching importance of absolutely nailing customer service.

“I just went with my instincts and treated my customers like they were friends” has arguably been one of the keys to Sophia’s success. By focusing on what her customers really want, and utilising a natural talent for content marketing, Sophia has created an authentic tribe of loyal followers. In her early business days, Sophia would post on social media and create a blog post about every eBay auction she had running, just to advise potential customers of what was available.

By legitimately filling a void in their lives, meeting their needs and solving their fashion and styling problems, she has been able to share her products with her followers without feeling all slimy-salesy.

And this. I want to read it everyday.

“Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortune favours action.”

Fortune favours action: that’s something I’m going to put in action!

 

Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What did you think of it?

 

Image #1 by me, the others are from deathtothestockphoto.com.

Tell a girl she can… & help her make it happen

So #fitspo is massive but we’re all still overweight, undernourished and hating life. Now, we all know the well-documented benefits regular exercise has (here’s a refresher: reduced risk of chronic disease & improved mental health) but how many people do you know who just don’t make sweat time a priority in their schedule? According to government stats, it’s actually more than half of your mates!

“Nearly 60% of Australians do not undertake sufficient levels of physical activity, and many of us (almost 80%) usually spend 3 or more hours sitting during our leisure time”.

The below video is part of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign and, right now, you should definitely watch it (it’s like 90 seconds long), fall in love with it (not hard) and share it with all of your friends (I know you know how).

I know how incredibly intimidating a boxing class can be if you’re pooped after hiking the stairs to a meeting (believe me, I’ve been there). But, you should never compare the beginning of your fitness journey to where someone else is at. There’s a good chance half the people doing that class probably started exactly where you are now.

I think the whole #fitspo craze has made exercise too intimidating for everyday people. What you don’t see on Instagram are the amazing genetics, the 7 years of daily yoga/weightlifting/running training and the daily meals of steamed fish and broccoli – not to mention the angst over editing the photo sufficiently & picking an appropriate filter! That’s why I love this clip so much – it’s all real girls doing real sports. That’s what we all need more examples of.

If you’re already out there leading the exercise charge by example, why not lend a friend a hand & help them get outta that 60% that need to move more. Invite them to a just-for-fun dance class, encourage them to join you on a regular lunch-break walk or even just send them this clip because you love it.

Exercise for yourself & your health – not to be skinny or to slim down for that upcoming wedding/birthday/reunion. Do it for you. And don’t worry what you look like – the sweatier the better I reckon!

Creating terrariums at the Octopus’ Garden

Living in a two-bedroom apartment with a pint-sized balcony does not allow for a whole lot of green-thumb flexing. Creating terrariums though? That’s gardening I can get on board with! Terrariums are all over the place right now and it’s easy to see why: they’re customisable and hard to kill.

Creating terrariums | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

For our lovely Lee’s hen’s weekend (you might remember her fun & colourful engagement party) we took in a terrarium workshop at Octopus’ Garden in Long Jetty on NSW’s Central Coast.

Terrarium Workshop | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

A beautiful florist and workshop space, Octopus’ Garden is a treasure trove of flower power and general plant adoration. I fell in love with the below bouquet and spent plenty of time admiring the bunches of wildflowers, wall of ferns and other odds and ends that lined the walls.

Beautiful bouquet | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

Inside the Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

As part of the workshop fee, we had expert tuition from one of the Octopus’ Garden owners and everything we needed to create two terrariums – one fishbowl-sized & one pint-sized. Our places were set around the table with a selection of succulents and buckets of dirt, pebbles, twigs & moss were passed around to bring it all together.

How to make a terrarium | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

Getting your hands in dirt and inhaling its earthiness is fantastic therapy, especially when you have great company to share the time with. It also helps that you get to take home the delightful fruits of your crafternoon labour.

My big terrarium | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

Lee picked up a few cute extras to incorporate into our terrariums which I totally recommend you do if you decide to try your hand at putting one together. While they were a bit lost in the bigger fishbowl-style terrarium, they look super cute in my smaller one.

My little terrarium | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

You’ll need to be willing to get dirt under your nails to enjoy a workshop like this – so it may not be for everyone – but I love the edition of these little living sculptures in my house. And the best bit? I only have to water them once a week. Perfect for busy plant mothers!

When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets

On a Culinary Adventure with Paleo Nick and Steph from Stupid Easy Paleo it’s probably not surprising to know that we never strayed too far from food-focused activities.

Woman slicing papaya | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

The fresh food markets dotted all across Chiang Mai were really interesting – not just for the photogenic subject matter, but also for the many different items on offer & the characters working there.

Fishmonger with live frogs | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

There’s no Coles, Kmart or Woolworths – this is where you buy your food whether you own a restaurant or are just cooking for the family at home. Som, our chef-friend from the Inpoo Food Shop, often buys her curry paste fresh from the markets, along with all her other produce, to save time.

Bowls of spices and curry paste | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

As westerners accustomed to often frozen but at least refrigerated, pre-packaged fresh food it was a little off putting to see piles of fresh meat and fish on display.

Butcher| When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

The thing is though, the fish is so fresh it’s still flapping about first thing in the morning and the meat is snapped up almost as soon as it’s put on display. The demand for produce seems to far outweigh the fresh food ready for purchase.

Fresh fish on ice | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

Baskets of fish | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

Chiang Mai is blessed with so many different types of fruit. Dragonfruit, jackfruit, the infamous durian, bananas, pineapple, papaya: the list goes on.

Colourful dragonfruit | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

While we didn’t go near a durian, I tried dragonfruit and jackfruit for the first time and probably ate my weight in pineapples and bananas while I was in the country!

Bananas| When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

The fresh food markets of Chiang Mai are almost inescapable but they’re certainly worth exploring. It was such a great opportunity to learn more about the food and culture of Chiang Mai.

Check out my Chiang Mai tag to read my other posts about my Culinary Adventure.