Sunday, June 7, 2015

Currently: a weekly snapshot

It's been the weather for layers and knits and cosy scarves this week
reading: Amidst all the study prep, I've been hunting down some inspiring blogs to read. I realised this week that I was lacking inspiration and creativity in my days. I was so focused on achieving and doing and learning that I'd become caught up in a cycle of not nurturing myself. I know that I am much more productive and generally just a nicer person when I gift myself space. So, I've been giving myself periods of down time and replenishing my creative juices by reading blogs from Susannah Conway and Ali Edwards. Does anyone have any other blog recommendations? 

watching: Lectures - yes I know, same old same old. Although, I've been learning some amazingly interesting things this week such as how to fuel your body appropriately to help combat fatigue, how the cardiovascular system works during high intensity exercise and how to manipulate your fluid intake to help increase exercise performance. As much as I find study challenging at times, I am truly so very lucky and grateful for the opportunity to be able to increase my knowledge about something I'm interested in. 

working on: Getting enough sleep. I've slept in past 7:30am for the last two days! That's amazing for me! During the week I need to rise early to teach gym classes, so my focus will switch to going to bed early. 

eating: After 2 weeks of focusing on following and counting my macros, I took a break from tracking over the last 7 days. I felt it was one extra thing I needed to do within a week which was already feeling overwhelming. So, instead I've just been trying to fuel my body well, include lots of fresh veggies and be ok with indulging in the odd treat or two. Now that it's a new week and exam study is calming down, I'm jumping right back in. I think this is a big part of learning to be balanced and holistic - realising that there are times when I need to be gentler and put less pressure on myself.  

wanting: To get back into regular weight training. My sessions have been very inconsistent lately, so I've started to plan out a new 8 week block of training for myself which I will begin this week. I'll share it in a separate blog post, but I'm excited to finally start working on my strength again!

loving: Layers and knits and cosy pieces to snuggle into and keep me warm. This week I've been living in oversized cardigans and my full length Wunder Under leggings from lululemon. Melbourne has suddenly turned on the cold - Winter is definitely here! 

thinking: About how I can adapt to better balance work, life and study next trimester. I feel as though I've done the best I can this trimester, but there is definitely much to learn from and improve for the coming 6 months. 

grateful for: Lexi cat. My little fluffy fur baby and the ultimate study buddy! Most days this week she has curled up either at my feet, in her basket by my side or on the desk behind my laptop while I study. She's the perfect companion and a great excuse for a little distraction when I need a study break.  

Monday, June 1, 2015

time for a veggie fix

Fresh broccolini was a bargain this week!
I haven't been getting anywhere near enough vegetables into my body recently. I'm normally really good at getting in my daily fruit and veg intake, but I think a combination of eating out, being unprepared, lazy in the kitchen, a bout of being unwell, being too busy to cook during the week and focusing on hitting my macros (but not prioritising plant food) has resulted in my lack of including enough fresh food.

The main culprit for me is being unprepared. If I don't have food ready to grab during the week then I end up buying my meals. I tend to make healthy choices when eating out, but that can't replace the fact that bought meals usually contain less nutrients and less fresh vegetables than something I'd make myself. Buying lunch also eats away at my bank balance pretty quickly.

This weekend I decided to make preparation a priority. Sunday meal prep used to be a constant, but over the past few months it's gradually fallen off the radar. It's time to bring it back. On Sunday afternoon I wrote out a few food plans, a list of groceries I needed and I trekked off to the shops/market to gather supplies. I spent about 2.5 hours in the kitchen and managed to make 32 meals for myself to enjoy over the coming fortnight.

I made:
Beef bolognese with wholemeal spirals, spinach and kale
Roast chicken, sweet potato and veggie mix
Tofu, brown rice and stir fry veggies

Each meal was prepped, portioned out and stored either in the fridge or freezer, ready to grab when I need it. I now don't need to worry about fuelling my body as I have everything I need ready to go. Another plus - my grocery bill was the smallest it's been in a few months. #winning

Do you pre prepare your meals for the week? What are your favourite freezable meals?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

playfulness

Flashback to an oldie but a goodie, simply because I haven't shared any creativity for a little while. Looking forward to getting back into my paint box once Uni exams are done!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Currently: a weekly snapshot

foam rolling and stretching after my Tuesday evening RPM class
reading: Still reading textbooks and study notes. Probably not as much as I should be, but I'm striving to find the time and the motivation. I'm reading lots of journal articles and research articles as well to help prepare myself for my upcoming exams. Looking forward to indulging in an easy to read fiction piece as soon as the trimester is done.

watching: Lecture reruns. My Uni uploads each lecture online so that students who can't attend in person can still complete the coursework. I'm currently working my way through them all again as part of my revision. Today I'm watching a heap of lectures about exercise metabolism and muscle fatigue. 

working on: Stretching and recovery. I'm not great at sitting still or chilling out. I like to be on the go constantly. This week I've really tried to focus on winding my body down and looking after myself. That's meant stretching and rolling before/after classes, going to bed earlier, sleeping later if my body feels like it and really tuning in to what my body is telling me instead of doing what I think I should be doing. Still a work in progress, but it's the intention and mindfulness which is the most valuable. 

eating: A lot of food! I'm still working on following my macros. Last week I was full constantly and felt as though I was eating way too much food. This week I can't get enough and I'm constantly hungry even though I feel as though I'm eating like a horse! I'm feeling great though, sleeping well and bouncing around with lots of energy so that tells me I'm doing something right. I'm going to evaluate how I feel overall at the two week mark and then write a little post about this IIFYM experiment. 

wanting: The Uni trimester to be over. I can't wait to have a little more time to indulge in creativity, me time and connections with friends and family. I love studying and learning but it's all about that balance, right?

loving: Flannelette pyjama bottoms! Seriously is there anything more comforting than crawling into a soft snuggly pair of PJs on a cold Wintery day? 

thinking: About the coming 6 months and what I hope to achieve throughout the rest of 2015. I have many half finished projects which I am aspiring to have complete by the end of the year to set me up fully for an amazing 2016. 

grateful for: The day off work today. I've taking this afternoon away from work so that I can really hone in on some study and make a dent in that pile of lectures I'd like to watch. I'm so grateful that I was able to create this space and time for myself. It means one less late night cramming! I am also so thankful for my colleagues who stepped in to fill my place while I take some time out. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

upper body circuit


Circuit 1:
- pushups on toes (15)
- medicine ball squat and press (15)
- tricep dips (15)
- dumbbell lateral raise (15)

Circuit 2:
- kettle bell rows (15)
- mountain climbers (40)
- dumbbell shoulder press (15)
- rest and reach push ups (15)


To follow on from yesterday's lower body session, today I hit my upper body with some super simple weights and circuit training. Just like yesterday, I completed two rounds of each circuit with a couple of minutes break in between. By the half way point my arms were burning!! I'm pretty sure my delts and triceps will pull up tender tomorrow! I did this session before my evening CXworx class and used the group fitness room so I could blast my music while I worked and use the mirrors for technique. 

What is your favourite upper body exercise?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

training to teach - lower body circuits

Sneaky kettlebell selfie from this morning
One of the biggest traps I've found being a group fitness instructor is replacing all my workouts with classes. It's so easy to do as teaching is a workout in itself - you do the class with your participants and usually work twice as hard whilst moving, talking, correcting, connecting and remembering the choreography. In fact, I'm always at my fittest when I am teaching a lot of classes.

However, when you are instructing the workout isn't about you - it's about the class. You move to role model technique, you connect and encourage them to do their best, you spend the hour thinking about the people in front of you. I've realised that it's so important to have that 'me' time in the gym. That space to think about my own technique, how a movement is feeling, my maximal efforts and limits. Exercising has so many benefits, not only physically, but also mentally. It's when I forget this that I tend to get rundown, depleted or injured.

I taught a lot of classes last week. Lots of instructors in Melbourne are sick with the Winter flu, so along with my regular timetable I also filled in to help out where I could. I had fun but by Sunday I was exhausted - moreso mentally than physically. This week I made sure to look at my schedule and find a few blocks of time to do my own workouts. Right now to support my goals, my training looks like an upper body session, a lower body session and time to mirror work/practice/workshop movements to prepare for my classes.

This morning I woke at 6am and headed off to the gym for an early morning lower body circuit session. I tried to mix in movement patterns which I knew I has weaknesses in or which I thought would benefit the exercises I do in my classes.

Circuit 1:
- jump squats (15)
- barbell front squats (15)
- kettle bell walking lunges (12 each leg)
- single legged glute activators (12 each leg)

Circuit 2:
- cross squats (16)
- burpees (10)
- kettle bell step ups (12 each leg)
- squat and press with a plate (15)

I completed 2 rounds of each circuit with a couple of minutes break in between to recover (I needed it!) before a stretch to cool down. It was a short workout - no longer than 40 minutes, but far out I worked hard! I was a shaky sweaty mess by the end of the session! I'm going to do a similar style upper body circuit tomorrow.

What is your favourite way to work up a sweat? Do you like to work out alone or in a group?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

homemade oat pancakes


One of my current favourite breakfasts is homemade oat pancakes. I'm loving these right now because they are healthy, quick and simple to make, yet feel like an indulgence to enjoy in the morning after a gym session.

recipe:
60g rolled oats
2 eggs
1/2 cup water

Blend the above together until smooth and thick. Spoon mixture in batches onto a hot non-stick pan. Cook until starting to bubble on the top and then flip. This mixture usually makes me 3-4 large pancakes.

Enjoy with your choice of toppings. Right now I am loving a dollop of Chobani yoghurt, some frozen berries and a drizzle of honey.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Currently: a snapshot


reading: Textbooks and uni notes. Less than a month to go until exams are finished for this trimester. I'm hanging out to give my brain a bit of a break and having some extra free time for myself. 

watching: Masterchef. Easy to zone out to or have on in the background after early mornings and full days of work and study. I love watching the contestants plate up and make their dishes look pretty.

working on: Getting all my study under control so I feel prepared for my exams. It will be head down and butt up for the next 3 weeks while I try to cram as much information into my mind as possible. My final assignments have been submitted so now it is all about retaining and expanding on what I've learnt over the last trimester. 

eating: I've started tracking my macros after some advice and help from a friend and fellow group fitness instructor. Still testing the waters but so far I'm loving this relaxed approach to eating, yet still tracking my intake. I'll write a more detailed post on this at a later date.

wanting: A puppy. Badly. One day when I have a house with a yard I will adopt one. 

loving: The cold weather. It's not even Winter yet but the mornings are dark and the evenings are perfect for snuggling and winding down with a hot chocolate and fluffy blanket. 

thinking: About budgeting and creating a savings plan so I can take a trip away at the end of the year. 

feeling: Tired but healthy. My brain feels as though it has a lot going on right now but I am doing the best I can to nurture my physical self so that my emotional self is well looked after. 

grateful for: My family. I don't see them often anymore but we have regular chats over the phone and I know that if I ever need anything they will be there to support me (and vice versa). 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

breathe

An illustration inspired by geometrics today. Last week was a challenging one and I often find the times when life gets a little complicated are the times when I feel the most inspired to draw. Creative therapy. How do you relax and destress?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

happy mothers day

My Mum and I
Today my family celebrated Mothers Day together with a delicious lunch in my aunty and uncle's home. Here are a couple of snaps of my Mum, my Nanna and I. I felt so lucky to be able to spend the afternoon together as a family.

Three generations - Nanna, myself and Mum

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

delicious autumn joy

I stayed home from work today as I wasn't feeling 100%. Whilst sitting at my desk I watched the windy Melbourne weather toss the Autumn leaves around our street and felt inspired to create. Here's the result - 'delicious autumn joy' - a simple little sketch inspired by the colour, movement and surprises that the season of Autumn brings.

Monday, May 4, 2015

who you are

A recent illustration titled 'who you are'

Friday, May 1, 2015

Currently: a snapshot


reading: A new earth - a book gifted to me by the managers at work

watching: The finale of The Block 2015 and Pretty Little Liers with my housemate.

working on: My yoga practice - I'm trying to get a little more regular with it. Feedback from the RPM Aim 1 module I attended a month ago. A few illustration projects. Lots of exciting innovations at work.

eating: Avocados. Always. As well as porridge (fav winter style brekky!), soups, bliss balls and Chobani yoghurt with a spoonful of peanut butter as a treat! I also tried my first acai bowl a few weeks ago and have had a couple more since. Why was I so late to get into this (delicious) trend!?

wanting: A second kitten. Creativity and growth in my career. A sleep in!

loving: The crisp Autumn weather, colourful leaves and rainy nights. Hot coffee in the mornings after the gym. Teaching my group fitness classes. Speed shorts - I know it's cold but I still want to wear them!

thinking: That I've totally missed 5 days in my blogging for 100 days challenge! But reminding myself that I can still jump straight back on board now.

feeling: Fit and healthy at the moment. I've managed to ward off the dreaded flu which has been going around (touch wood!) and I'm making sure to take good care of myself to ensure things stay this way!

grateful for: My friends, my amazing and inspiring team at work, my family and Lexi cat.


I borrowed this little quiz from Ali's blog over here. Thanks Ali - it was a fun way to jump back into my blog and take a snapshot of life right now. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friyay flow


A few fun snaps from today's Friday work party (lululemon style). We were treated to a beautiful yoga flow lead by one of our favourite teachers - Masha from Happy Melon, with drinks, nibbles, mingling and lots of laughter to follow. A massive thanks to the team who organised and put this event together for us. Such a fun way to launch into a fun weekend! 

A room full of lemons embracing half pigeon
(image credit: kchealthandfitness)
Chats and smiles with a handful of my favourite people
Snuggles with this adorable ball of wrinkles

Thursday, April 23, 2015

#joblove

Smiles with a beautiful work friend today
One of the hashtags used by the company I work for is #joblove. If you search it on social media you'll find thousands of photos and updates featuring stretchy pants, yoga mats, sweaty pursuits and smiling faces doing exciting things. It's part of our everyday culture - we do what we love and we love what we do whilst sharing it with other likeminded people.

I was chatting to a fellow lemon (aka workmate) today about how lucky we are to work for a company which values the happiness and wellbeing of it's team. We both agreed that if we were going to be spending 35+ hours somewhere every week then it was important it's a place that we wanted to be.

I got thinking about the concept of #joblove and what makes up an ideal career. I'm guessing the answer to this will be different for each individual depending on talent, location, family, ambitions and goals. Right now when I visualise #joblove I see freedom, creativity, purpose, connection, adventure and growth. However,  my vision is forever changing and evolving.

Have you found your perfect career path? What does #joblove mean to you?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

the annual cascade of autumn leaves


“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” 
― Joe L. Wheeler

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

the best project

A quick and simple little share from the sketchbook today. 'The best project you'll ever work on is you'.

Monday, April 20, 2015

cafe lifestyle

coffee and study time today at my most recent favourite - 'Gardiner and Field'
I spend a lot of time in cafes. On the days that I need to do lots of studying or design work I usually adopt a favourite cafe as my office for an hour or so. (Luckily I have lots of favourite cafes close to home!) I like being out and about whilst also productive. I find the buzz and the atmosphere of working in a public place inspiring (and a strong coffee or two always helps get the brain working!) and believe it or not, I find it much less distracting than trying to work or study at home.

Today after attending a Uni class at Deakin I have settled myself at my current favourite - 'Gardiner and Field' - to complete some lab reports, discussion board posts and begin a major assignment.

My essentials for a 'perfect study/work cafe'?
1. Good coffee
2. Accessible power points
3. Enough tables for everyone (so I don't feel guilty taking up a space for an hour)
4. Friendly staff who don't mind me hanging out for a while
5. Cruisy background music

How do you find focus when you have a lot to do? Do you find yourself more productive working from home or from another space?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

vision and goals

my updated vision and goals for April 2015

Vision and goal setting is a huge part of our culture at lululemon athletica - the company that I work for.  Each of us participate in regular goal coaching sessions and are encouraged to think big, pursue our passions and work towards making our dreams happen. This aspect of our culture is one of my favourite parts about my job.

This morning I realised it had been almost 6 months since I'd revisited my vision. Many of the goals which I'd set in November last year had been achieved so I was excited to create some new ones! You can visit our website here to download our complimentary goal setting template and find out how to write your own vision.

This time I've reworked the original format into something which is more representative of me. I've included photos, illustrations and journalling with my 'by-whens'. There are no rules when it comes to goal-setting! Dream big, have fun and create something which fills your heart with excited butterflies!

Do you regularly set goals?
Here is a short video explaining what our vision and goals program is all about:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Happy Melon

selfie in the bathrooms before class
I went to a yoga flow class at the recently opened Happy Melon studio this morning with a couple of lemons from work. My yoga practice is very inconsistent (meaning non existent most of the time! haha!) but I was super excited to check out this new studio and after a busy week yoga seemed like the perfect way to give back to my body. 

From the Happy Melon website:

"These days we are more likely to recharge our devices than recharge ourselves. Happy Melon is a first-of-its-kind mind and body studio that blends meditation with yoga and dynamic fitness. We believe this powerful combination of mental and physical practices is the answer to living a happier, healthier and more conscious life. The life-changing benefits of meditation are numerous, from greater mental clarity, calm and patience, to increased energy and efficiency. Get the mind right, the body will follow."
a view of the studio
The studio is stunning and I really enjoyed the class this morning. I was able to lift myself up into full wheel and go into a bind for the first time! Yay! 

Where is your favourite place to practice yoga?