blog this

It’s been a while since I’ve done a BlogThis challenge, mainly because it’s been a while since I’ve read through all the things in my Google Reader and FOUND the BlogThis challenge before the challenge had ended! Here is the challenge for this week:

With today being Good Friday what better time than to issue a challenge about all things ‘good’!

So friends, tell us about a good deed you have done for someone or vice-versa. Or how someone elses’ good deed that you have learned about has affected you.. did you learn from it? How did it make you feel?  Was it a disaster? Did it uplift you?

My favourite good deed at the moment is to participate in Operation Beautiful. The mission statement on the website is this:

“The mission of Operation Beautiful is to post anonymous notes in public places for other women to find. The point is that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL”.

I love the idea of giving an unseen woman a little self esteem boost, and reminding her that beauty isn’t about what’s on the outside, I think we all need reminding about that sometimes. So I have made my own little ‘operation beautiful’ kit which I carry around in my bag at all times. It’s a cute little tin that arrived in a care package from a friend a while ago, and inside it I have all my little notes, pre-written and ready to go, and some blu tack for sticking them up. Mostly I post them up on bathroom mirrors but I’ve left a few on car windscreens, or stuck to the soy milk at the supermarket or on a park bench by the lake.

I don’t know if anyone reads them, or if it makes a difference in anyone’s day, but I like to think that it does.

This weeks Blog This challenge was a pretty easy one for me. Normally any book challenge has me all a flutter because I have SO many books and I love SO many books that choosing a favourite (or even my favourite 15) is WAY too hard, but earlier this month I got this book in the mail and it is far and away the best book I’ve ever read.

“Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Most of you will already have seen me mention this particular book. My readers who keep up with my other blog will already have heard me go on about it, I did a book review over there about it a couple of weeks ago, if you didn’t hear about it there, perhaps you saw my tweets about how good it was? Or my Tumblr updates with quotes from the book? Or on my facebook account where I declared my undying love for Jonathan Safran Foer, or maybe I just called you or emailed you to tell you that you HAD to read it/buy it/borrow it.. either way, you’ve probably heard me go on about it already.. so I won’t start up all over again, except to say, READ IT, READ IT, READ IT! This book changed my life!

This weeks blog this challenge was a bit of a tricky one for me, as soon as I read the challenge I knew what I wanted to photograph, the trick was finding a way to photograph it so that it actually looked decent.

This item was my ‘something old’ at my wedding:



It might sound a little morbid and creepy but it’s actually a small vial which is filled with my Nan’s ashes. When she first died I carried her with me in this little silver vial, as I backpacked all the way around South East Asia (it was always quite stressful when we were heading through customs, I would always worry that I was going to be accused of drug smuggling at any moment!).

On my wedding day we tied the vial to my wedding bouquet and I carried her down the aisle with me as my something old. Being referred to as ‘old’ would have annoyed her so much that it was a bit of an inside joke on the wedding day, and that’s part of the reason why she was the first thing I could think of when I read that the blog this challenge this week was to photograph something old.

These days she sits on my desk, tied to my pen bucket with the white ribbon I used to tie her to my bouquet on my wedding day. It’s a nice physical reminder that she is always with me, even though I don’t believe that she would be any less with me if I didn’t have the vial, it’s a comfort to me though.



Well the rain may have brought the mice, but it was also responsible for some more glorious new flowers blooming in our yard so perhaps it can be forgiven. I did manage to get outside this afternoon but I’m back to hiding out in my bedroom at the moment.. there hasn’t been another mouse sighting yet (although this probably has more to do with the fact that I am hiding out in the bedroom than the mouse being gone) but I’m not taking any chances.

In non rodent related news, there is only 28 hours left until the NaNoWriMo kick off. For those of you who aren’t in the ‘Wrimo loop, basically the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, starting November 1st. Here is the lowdown from the website:

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2008, we had over 119,000 participants. More than 21,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

So, through the month of November one of two things will happen, either I will be so focused on my ‘Wrimo novel that you won’t hear a peep from me, or I will be so hell bent on procrastinating that I’ll be blogging, tweeting, commenting and facebooking like never before. Either option is fine, last year during a fit of NaNoWriMo procrastination I started my vegetarian food blog and I’ve managed to keep that alive now for the whole year, so good things do come from endless procrastination, even if it doesn’t happen to be the thing you are actually supposed to be working on.

Last year I didn’t make it through to the 50,000 finish line but this year I’m hoping to be a ‘Wrimo winner.. especially since successful completion means I can cross something new off my 101/1001 list, which I haven’t done in a really long time and really need to start working on again.

Anyway, wish me some novel writing luck!

It’s Blog This time again. This weeks challenge has been lots of fun.. now if only I could actually live in my dream house!

Your dream home:

To our own personal ideal. If time/location/money/the rest of the world didn’t matter, where would you live? What would your house look like? Find pictures ofyour dream home.  What would the rooms look like? How would you furnish them? is it a beach house? Mountainside?  Huge backyard, or small courtyard? Farm or suburbia? Apartment overlooking the Eiffel tower or rustic farmhouse in Tuscany.  Is there a tree with a swing on it?  Do you have a fireplace, mantle covered in photos?  Is it a morroccon themed home/asian? Minimalist/shabby chic?

Design your perfect home for us.

Find pictures online and dream away.

Well, first things first, my dream house would be somewhere totally isolated, and somewhere really really beautiful. It would have rainforest views on one side and incredible ocean views on the other and our nearest neighbour would be miles and miles away. We would live somewhere warm – but not hot. And somewhere that always had a light wind so that we could always have our curtains blowing softly in the breeze. I would want to be able to hear the waves crashing on a nearby beach as I fell asleep at night, and I would want it to be warm enough to sit outside in the sunshine during the day but cool enough to sleep with a cozy doona at night.

Our dream house would be filled with cozy bedrooms so that no matter how many friends turned up at the same time everyone would always have somewhere comfortable and welcoming to sleep (the kids too!). We’d have lots of bathrooms so no one would ever feel rushed or crowded, and in every single room there would be somewhere really perfect to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine (or a cup of tea!). There would be LOTS of space for all my books and every single room would feel relaxed and cozy and happy.

We’d have a huge wooden deck looking out over the ocean with a massive square wooden dining table right in the middle where everyone could eat meals and watch the sun set. We would have a pool too, somewhere for the kids to have fun while the adults lazed the day away. On the deck would be a huge daybed filled with colourful cushions and there would be hammocks to enjoy the sunshine in.

The kitchen would be HUGE with heaps of bench space and room to really cook up a storm, there would be places to sit in there as well so that we could keep each other company while we cooked. We would have a huge walk in pantry for all our food supplies and alllll the gadgets that Luke wants to get that I won’t let him buy because we have no room.

In the backyard we would have a giant veggie patch with all sorts of wonderful things growing year round, including all sorts of fresh herbs. We would also have lots of fruit trees for making jam and chutney and flavoured iced tea.

Hmmm.. oh it sounds like heaven!

Here are some of my motivation pics













And P.S… there would be no mice!!

Oooh, I love this weeks blog this challenge! I am a self confessed Etsy addict so this was a lot of fun!

1. First things first, I would buy myself some beautiful dread bling from Jaz over at Glooart.

Dread-lock Twistie-Twirlie, Fossilized Coral
$12 + $4.95 P+H from Glooart

I have been dreaming of Jaz’ dreadlock art since she first introduced them at her shop.. and there are SO many pieces in her store that I just ADORE, such beautiful colours as well, it’s enough to make any hippie swoon!

2. Next up is an item that I did actually buy, in preparation for reliving my grunge youth at the Pearl Jam concert in Christchurch next month – which I now can’t afford to go to because of our ginormous car repair bill (but that is another story). I am a huge fan of recycled and upcycled clothing and Dawn over at refab just has the most awesome stuff. She totally inspires me, I hope that one day I can learn how to make stuff just like this! This piece was made out of a mens work shirt and it is just adorable! It’s my favourite piece of clothing.

Woodsman in the city shirt
$42 + $5 P+H from refab

3. I have coveted the journals from Kreativlink for a looong time, but so far have managed to restrain myself from actually buying one since I already have a beautiful journal to write in as well as a filofax, but it gets harder and harder to resist! She has some beautiful leather journals, but the cruelty free option for me is the beautiful fabric journals.

Fairy Tree, Painted Fabric Journal
$42 + $8 P+H from Kreativlink

4. Next on the wishlist is these earrings, which I would convert into two necklaces for Kristie and her lovely daughter Tara who were just here in New Zealand visiting us last week. We all took a trip together to visit the glowworm caves in Te Anau and I think this would be a lovely reminder for both of them.. and check it out! The heads even glow in the dark! They so take me back to when I was a kid, I had one of these toy glowworms with the soft body.. he was even green just like these. I’m in love with them!

Glo Worm Earrings
$30 + $4.75 P+H from The Clay Collection

5. and with my last $50 I would buy some beautiful fabric so that I can reupholster my dining room chairs.

Now if only a mysterious $200 would turn up in my bank account!! 🙂

It’s blog this time again! Here is this weeks challenge:

Guilty Pleasures
Come on!  Everyone has at least one!

Chocolate? Trashy TV?  Magazines? Romance Novels? Designer brands? Maybe it’s having a 20 minute shower?

Tell us about your your guilty pleasure, why you love it so much, where, when, how and what!

So here goes, my top 5 guilty pleasures:

1. Trashy teen dramas on DVD

I know, I know pitiful right? I don’t own a TV, I literally left it on the side of the road when we moved house and I’ve never looked back. I no longer have to sit through hours of mind numbing advertising or face possible epileptic fits from clicking through a hundred channels at the speed of light just in case there is something we are missing on a different channel.

When people come to our house and realise we don’t have a TV they react one of two ways, either they think I’m crazy and start backing nervously toward the door, or they decide that I’m some kind of intellectual saint. The truth is, although I don’t own a TV I have to admit that I spend more than a small amount of time camped out in front of my laptop totally and embarrassingly absorbed in trashy TV melodramas, more often than not of the angsy teen variety. I can spend HOURS churning through DVD after DVD of fictional drama.. can’t get enough! My most recent discovery was Dawson’s Creek, I watched the whole series in a matter of days and developed an undeniable crush on Pacey Witter (friend to women). This week I’ve started in on The O.C. and next on my list is the original 90210. (I can’t believe I am admitting to this.. anyway, onto the next on my list of guilty pleasures!)

2. Books, Books, Books.

I love books and I own an embarrassing large number of them – though not nearly as many as I would like! My bookcases are overflowing and I have piles of books everywhere. It doesn’t matter how many times I try and put them in their rightful place, every time I turn around there are new piles of books.. reference books piled up on my desk by the computer, 3 or 4 novels – whichever I’m reading at the moment – in a little pile next to Freddie (our giant beanbag), one lone book on the arm of the armchair by the fire, a stack of cookbooks and a notebook on my husbands bedside table, the joy of vegan baking open on the dining table with a shopping list beside it, a handful – or two – on the table by the doorway, ready to be taken back to the library or be released into the wild via bookcrossing.. I just can’t escape them!

And that is nothing compared to the books sitting in my wishlist in various websites across the internet.. hundreds! (actually probably thousands!) patiently waiting for me to have some spare cash so that I can add to my collection. It’s a weakness that’s for sure, the crazy thing is that there isn’t nearly enough time to read the books as fast as I accumulate them so there are SO many that I haven’t read yet, it’s kind of overwhelming, and yet I just keep buying more and more. It’s kind of out of control.. but better books than shoes right?
… well, speaking of shoes …

3. Converse sneakers

This is a reasonably new guilty pleasure, I have always loved my cons and I firmly believe that converse are the most comfortable shoes known to man, but the obsession has just really started to gain steam in the last few months. Every morning I get an email from TradeMe with the new converse listings over the previous 24 hours and every morning the first thing I do is click through each listing to try and find pairs in my size (W9 – hint hint) that I might want to buy (and are in our price range of practically nothing). My goal is to eventually have every single colour as well as a few of the beautiful limited edition designs like the one above. I especially covet the 1hund(red) designs, but so far I haven’t had much luck tracking those down..

4. Sleeping in

I love my bed. What’s not to like? It’s a king size bed with 1000 thread count sheets, a massive cozy doona and super fluffy pillows. My bedroom is my haven, I have a CD player in there which plays relaxing quiet music on repeat to set the mood for serious dozing. Did I mention I love my bed? I seriously LOVE my bed, it kind of borders on disturbing actually. I sleep a lot, sleep is like a hobby to me and since moving to New Zealand I get to sleep in every. single. day. and I love it. In Sydney we were early birds, we both had to be at the office at 8:30 am (well, I had to be at the office, Luke had to be at the kitchen.. but you know what I mean) even on weekends we’d be up early and off being busy little bees, but these days life is much different. Luke’s earliest shift of the week is midday but most days he doesn’t start until 3pm so we have alllllll morning to sleep and it’s fabulous. We rarely get out of bed before 11am, but then again, we rarely go to bed before 2 or 3 so I guess it evens out.

5. Spending the whole day inside

My last guilty pleasure is probably the strangest but I really love being able to spend the whole day in my house. I think my enjoyment of having nowhere to go and nothing to do verges a little on the agoraphobic side, sometimes I really have to work myself up to leave the house to do something as simple as walking down to the corner store to check the PO Box. It sounds strange but I really enjoying spending all day by myself, not having to talk to anyone or do anything specific (probably so that I can indulge in all my other guilty pleasures!!). Don’t get me wrong, I love having visitors, and holiday guests, I love dinner parties and heading into Queenstown to get out and about amongst the world, but I also really love just spending the whole day in the comfort of my own home.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Okay, so we all know I’m list mad.. first there was the 101/1001 list, then the 101 things I’m proud of list and the 101 things that make me happy list (among others), so this weeks Blog This challenge was definitely up my alley!

Tell us TEN things you want to do in your lifetime that you’ve yet to achieve.

It can be as simple as learning to knit, or bungee jump, skydive, maybe eat a whole lobster or travel somewhere, meet a penpal – anything!

It wasn’t a challenge for me to think of 10 things that I want to do – since I have a whole 101 list that I’m working through – instead I thought I would add a little extra challenge to it by making it be a list of ten things I want in my lifetime that aren’t already covered by the day zero project list. These are still things that are really important to me, but that weren’t really options to go on the 101/1001 list because of the time limits involved in the day zero project. (Like for example number one, which is definitely on my list but isn’t really in my control timing wise because of the fertility problems we’ve been having). So anyway, here is my ten things list:

  1. Have a homebirth
  2. Finish a degree
  3. Adopt a child/Become a foster parent
  4. Travel to every country in the world
  5. Own my own home
  6. Become a vegan
  7. Get published
  8. Paint a mural on the ceiling in our house (once we aren’t renting!)
  9. Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary
  10. Inspire people to follow their dreams
    photo credits

I thought for once I would start at the beginning instead of jumping right the middle of things like I normally do.

Here is #1 of this months Q&A challenge: What is the first thing you see in the morning?


The background changes, different rooms and cities and states and countries, but for the last six and a half years, this is what I’ve seen when I wake up every morning. Doesn’t matter how unfamiliar the place is this stays the same, it’s part of the reason I find it so easy to pack up my life and move to a different place, home is always that scruffy hair and that faded tattoo.

Don’t forget to check out T & J’s progress as they work through the challenges as well:

blog of nathan

Number 66 on my day zero list is “Participate in a photo scavenger hunt” and while searching online for a suitable web challenge, I came across Turns out, it’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve been looking for. Some of you will know that I’ve quite recently bought myself a little beauty of a camera and I haven’t the slightest idea how to use it property yet. I’m hoping that participating in the challenges will help me learn how to use the camera better. Anyway without any further ado, here is this month’s challenge:

Q&A : The Photographic Interview is running during September 2009

To play, take 1 photograph as your answer to each of the questions below. The aim is to get to know you better, through your photographs :)

Upload to your blog, flickr account or anywhere else on the net, then come back and share your photographic interview.

1. What is the first thing you see in the morning?
2. The biggest thing to happen to you recently/soon?
3. Your best mirror shot
4. The person that you see the most in a week
5. Your favourite shoes
6. Your favourite meal
7. The colour of your eyes
8. Your favourite place to be on a Friday night

I’m off to brainstorm. Anyone else in?

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