Category Archives: General

YOU WON’T GET ANYWHERE WITHOUT THE SWEAT OF YOUR BROW

I have always been a hard worker. I need to have my fingers in several different pies in order to function best.

My first job was in 1992 at the age of 13 at a florist. I used to go to school every day, and then go to work every Thursday night, Saturday, and Sunday at a local florist where I earned $5.00 an hour. I would also do singing lessons every Wednesday afternoon after school, and drama school every Saturday morning before work. I was always busy.

When I left school in year 10 (I didn’t feel it necessary to complete my schooling as I knew I never wanted to become a doctor or lawyer or anything else that might require a tertiary education – and besides – I have learnt much more from being in the workforce than what I ever learnt at school), I went to work at Harvey Norman where I worked until I was 22. I used to work Monday to Friday in my role as PA, and then Thursday nights, Saturdays and Sundays doing cashier work for the extra money. I also did a nail course on Tuesday and Wednesday nights which I used later on. I even spent my 21st birthday doing a 14 hour shift in the warehouse at Harvey Norman doing stocktake. I was never that little bitch demanding I be put on a pedestal and given time off because it was my birthday. Do you know how many people I know that actually think its their God given right to be entitled to time off to celebrate their day of birth? In fact i know a lot of adults that demand to have a “birthday week”. A princess I am most certainly not.

Looking back now, I don’t know how I fit in all in. But I did. And it paid off. I bought my first home at the age of 19, and my second at the age of 21.

I also got married at 21, which in my opinion is incredibly young – too young in fact looking back in hindsight. I had a lot of adult responsibilities at such a young age. But its all a learning experience and it all helps to shape us who we become. I feel like I have been an adult for a very long time.

I also started my own business when I was 22, and have employed myself ever since then. I remember in moments of exasperation telling my boss at Harvey Norman at the time “one day I’m going to work for myself, because I’m sick of working this hard and making someone else all of this money”. And I did exactly that.

Although it comes with a lot of responsibility, there is nothing more rewarding than working for yourself. Firstly it generally allows you flexibility, but more importantly, your income is not capped in the way it is when you are working for someone. But you will only achieve good results if you remain focused and work hard. It’s the only way, and it is true of everything in life.

Even with the way I take care of myself. I train at the gym an hour and a half 5 days a week, and eat super healthy throughout the week (I actually stick to the 80/20 rule – eating well 80% of the time, and splurging the remaining 20%). My friends who know me well would rarely see me drink a soft-drink or eat a bag of crisps. Because you won’t get anywhere without dedication and hard work.

So when people complain that they don’t earn enough, or that they want a better body – all you have to do is put in the hours and you will achieve it. It’s a very simple formula. Those that complain about money generally will not sacrifice in any other area of their lives to change that. For years and years I never traveled anywhere, and worked every weekend, every Christmas and New Years, every public holiday, while these people were all out living it up. Its all about sacrifice. What price are you willing to pay for what you would like to achieve? And to the people that complain they want a better body? What are you doing to change that? Eat better, start exercising – problem solved. It’s a very simple formula. You won’t get anywhere without the sweat of your brow.

TIP OF THE DAY – Making fresh cut flowers last

Yesterday a friend dropped past my house, and noticed that the flowers she had bought me a week ago for my birthday were still looking fabulous.

“How do you get them to last that long?” she asked me.

My first job ever was back in 1992 when I was 13, and I worked at a florist. So my tip for getting fresh cut flowers to last is this – when you go to put them in a vase, put around a teaspoon of sugar in the vase, dissolved in HOT water (filling the vase also with HOT water), and voila – your flowers will last for ages!

You’re welcome.

ARE MEN OBSOLETE?

As you know from my recent blog posts, I am currently on my own. And if being on my own has taught me anything, its how incredibly independent I am. But lets’ not get ahead of ourselves….

You all know how I love my philosophical quotes and sayings. You know the one “a woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water?” – well how’s this for irony?

My hot water system shat itself today. Upon returning home, I removed my shoes (as I have OCD and am a clean freak), walked into the house, and I heard a strange noise as if someone was taking a shower. I walked into the kitchen, opened the laundry door and lo and behold, the sound was my hot water system – spewing hot water from the valve. I looked down and realized I was standing in water half way up my feet – which may not seem like a big deal, however it was halfway up my feet through the laundry, the kitchen, and had seeped through to my office which backs onto the laundry – my office of which is carpeted.

I stood there for what felt like an eternity, my hands on my temples, about to burst into tears, and then the problem solving section of my brain kicked in. I went to the fridge and found a magnet with the phone number for an emergency plumber. I called them, negotiated a price (knowing full well that my sister had been bent over and ass-raped for her own hot water system that had also just died and charged an astronomical fee to replace it just a few days earlier), and got it all sorted.

I then proceeded to move everything from my laundry, (upon which I discovered I seem to have a bizarre penchant for collecting umbrellas), and began the arduous task of mopping up the water.

umbrella

I then moved onto the office. I had to remove all of my archives from the cupboard (as the carpet beneath them was soaked), and then looked at the bookshelf that was up against the wall, and also on top of water drenched carpet, and moved that also, fearing the whole time that this would be the final thing I ever do. Images of the bookshelf falling forward and pinning me beneath it whilst I died a slow and painful death alone in my house flashed through my mind. I shook the image free from my head and somehow (fuck knows how) I managed to move it away from the wall, and place down some beach towels to soak up the moisture. Problem solved.

Yesterday, I also went and bought myself a new car. Something I have never done before. And I managed to get such a fantastic deal on it (due to my excellent negotiation skills), that when I called for insurance on it, the guy on the other end of the line told me that he will personally send me a cab to go collect it because it was such a brilliant price I snagged it for.

I also moved a double bed to one of my spare rooms. All by myself. And I moved a king size mattress too. All by myself. Quite a feat for a woman of my stature.

And next week I will be re-doing my kitchen thanks to a you-tube tutorial. Thank God for the Internet.

So I have to ask myself (particularly as I look outside to my garden which is in desperate need of some TLC right now, which will also be a task for me in the coming weeks as it is currently reminiscent of a housing commission property, complete no doubt with serpents in amongst the weeds that are now towering way above me) – are men obsolete?

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love men. More than anyone. I often prefer the company of men over women, however when it comes to things that need doing, have men all gone a bit soft? Isn’t this stuff that men usually do?

Back in the day, men used to bring home the bacon and fix everything that needed fixing. Nowadays with the cost of living being sky high, women also need to work, and you only have to look at the flourishing home improvement companies like “Jims Mowing” and “Hire a Hubby”, to realize that men don’t actually do all that much anymore when you compare it to say 30 years ago. I know that if I need anything done, I have to ultimately do it myself. And I am more than capable, and if I’m not, I have been able to steal away my friends husbands momentarily for anything that requires the strength of anything more than a 50 kilogram woman – or as I have learnt – I just call and pay somebody.

I do have to add though that I think its imperative that all women have a male in their lives to play the role of “brother from another mother”. Those of you who follow me on twitter will recognise this prodigal brother of mine as the one I often refer to as “my progeny”.

His name is Chad, and he is the franchisee of my business. We work together most days where we generally spend a good portion of the day bickering like brother and sister, even though I am meant to be playing the role of mentor.

During this period of being on my own, Chad has helped me with countless things I need doing (not without complaining like a typical brother might do), and so Chad, if you happen to read this – thanks for having my back bro.

And before you go on about the male company side of things blah, blah, blah, in my older age, I find I very much enjoy the company of women – in a totally non-sexual way of course – but some of my favourite nights have been those where I just hang out with a girlfriend, sit in our pyjamas, watch TV, and order takeaway. Nothing beats it. Oh, and there are a number of battery operated devices for any other itches you need scratched. Just saying.

So whilst I am super mad that I will have to have a cold shower this evening (first world problems, I know), I am thankful that I was able to organise a plumber to come around at the excellent time of 6am tomorrow morning to clean my pipes – and then he can go ahead and replace my hot water system.

DISCLAIMER – I am kidding about anyone cleaning my pipes. There will be no cleaning of proverbial pipes.


	

PERCEPTION & SELF-WORTH

After visiting a friend who made me try on all of the tight clothing from her wardrobe, she said to me in exasperation “you have such a nice figure – why do you dress the way you do?”. I thought I dressed nicely. However looking down at my 2 sizes too big boyfriend jeans and loose jumper, I thought “yes. Why do I dress the way I do?”. I dress for comfort. I do think I’m quite trendy, however I do dress a little bit like a boy at times. Even my therapist asked me “why do you dress down all the time?”. Do I really dress down?

The one thing that stands out about me, is that although I may have my head in the clouds in regards to a lot of things in life, I have my feet firmly planted on the ground. Having a sense of humility about me is a trait that I think is a positive. I’m not one to lose myself to vanity or anything else like that. If I was I’d be one of those girls who always is dressed immaculately and gets a weekly blow-dry, spray-tan etc. That’s not who I am – not to say that I don’t “bring it” when I do get dressed up to go somewhere, but it’s not what I’m about, and I think its a dangerous trap to fall into.

The one thing that I want people to see is the real me. Not who I appear to be on the surface. Not my work or my bank balance. Me. So I tend to dress down 90% of the time. To the point where during the week I don’t brush my hair or wear any makeup. “Makeup is meant to enhance beauty, not to hide it” as my father always tells me.

Just last Monday as I was wallowing in self pity (I have fallen into the trap of doing this a lot of late), I decided to indulge in a little retail therapy. Even though it is only a temporary fix, it really does do wonders. I wandered into Kookai to bite the bullet and buy some tight dresses. Those of you that know me know that I rarely do tight clothing.  

“You are so effortlessly stylish” the sales assistant said as she approached me. I looked down at my mismatched outfit. I was wearing leopard print jeans, a white fur vest, and a slogan t-shirt which I thought was quite appropriate for how I was feeling. “Not all those that wander are lost” it read.

“Well it’s certainly effortless because I just threw on anything quickly and left the house”. I responded to her. This was the second time this had happened in as many weeks.

I was in Freedom buying some cushions the other week. I was wandering around in a daze painting a mental image of how I wanted to style my new bedroom suite. Upon going to the counter, the clerk said to me “I have been watching you wander around the store and I was telling the other girls that you are just stunning. There’s something about you”.

I was dressed in short overalls, my hair was so filthy it was stuck to my scalp and fashioned into the worst top-knot you have ever seen, my face free of makeup. I resembled that of an apprentice plumber. 

“Um, I look like I’m about to go cotton picking” I said to her. I really did. If there was a theme to my outfit that day it was certainly one of the farming variety.

“You can’t even see it. You don’t know how beautiful you are”.

Was she for real? Or was she just blowing smoke up my ass so I would spend up? Clearly her eyes were painted on.

“Do you have kids?” she asked.

“No”. I answered. I hate that question.

“If you had kids you’d be one of the yummy mummies at my kids school”.

I laughed. Its’ always nice to be flattered. But I honestly didn’t see what it was that she was so taken by.

Being a perfectionist I am highly critical of myself, and most times all I can see is my flaws. I’m unable to accept compliments. My friend Venessa pointed this out to me yesterday.

“Why do you do that?” she asked in frustration.

I hadn’t even realized that I did do that. It all comes down to self-worth. How much do we value ourselves?

My guru asked me to do an exercise the other day and name five positive attributes about myself. I have done this exercise with him before and I have them written down on a post it note and stuck to my computer screen. I began to rattle them off.

“No, no, not from some script. You tell me what you think of yourself.” he reprimanded me.

“Hmmm. I’m smart…”

“Well if you were smart wouldn’t that mean intelligent?”

“Yes”

“What else?”

“I have a good sense of humour”

“What else?”

“I’m beautiful. But not right now. I look terrible right now.”

“Well then you can’t say that because you don’t believe it. What else?”

I couldn’t think of anything else. And then Todd started to rattle them off to me. Things that I clearly didn’t see. If he had of asked me to name my flaws it would have been a much easier task.

“You’re creative, strategic, sexual, quick-witted, friendly, communicative, stylish, you love traveling, you’re adventurous, you’re quirky, you are a free spirit…”

Yes. Yes I am. And sometimes it takes others to be able to make you see your true worth. Our perceptions of ourselves are often skewed for whatever reasons with even a mirror not giving us a true indication of who we really are. After all, the mirror shows us in reverse…

“Outer beauty attracts, inner beauty captivates” as the saying goes. This is what I want people to see when they see me. Or perhaps what really needs to happen is I need to just learn to see it for myself.

A RARE AND HONEST PEEK INTO MY WORLD – BALANCE, POLARITIES, AND PUTTING UP WALLS

I ordinarily write in a humorous fashion where I can, but today I have managed to overwhelm myself into a state of despair and self pity. We all have our peaks and valleys, and today I am at the bottom of the valley. In fact if that valley contained a river also, I would actually be on the river floor. Curled up in the fetal position. Sobbing uncontrollably.

So let me begin….

Balance is an interesting thing. For those of you that have read Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”, you will know that nothing in this universe is without its polarity. He teaches that black cannot exist without white, that space cannot exist without the planets and stars, and that an empty room cannot exist without the four walls surrounding it.

It is the same with our personality traits too. Whatever trait we possess, we will always posses the flip side of that trait, to create the perfect ying and yang balance.

I, for example cry every single day. I am very sensitive. I over think things and I really let things eat away at me. But I also have this incredible knack for putting up walls and not only do I not let anyone in, I also protect myself from letting anyone get too close to me. You could liken me to a cactus. I’m not entirely sure why I do this. However those that do not know me on a deeper level might see me as being quite flippant. Trying to turn everything into a joke, and keeping things light. But in reality I feel everything very deeply, and get hurt very easily too. Those are my polarities.

Here’s an example of that balance for you, which is somewhat of a negative.

I was upset just last night. I was actually beside myself. My tears wouldn’t stop flowing and the last thing I wanted was to be on my own. I am by myself a lot. More than the normal person I think. I work in solitude within my business, with the only contact I have being with clients over the phone. I write in solitude. I also don’t go out all that often, so I’m kind of my own worst enemy when it comes to isolating myself. I am also an expert at it.

Anyway, back to me being upset. The reason why is irrelevant (because I don’t want to go into the details as to why because I don’t want to let anyone in) but I do think Sundays are a hard day. I was discussing this with my friend Venessa the other day who informed me that that’s why she always works on Sundays – because everyone is with their partner or family on those days and it can be hard, so working is a welcome distraction. I can’t help but wonder if that’s why I throw myself into work the way I do. I am often referred to as a workaholic. Am I really only distracting myself from what is?

Having been in relationships from the age of 14 is also something that I feel has been detrimental to my emotional development. I am somewhat stunted in that department. I have been told I have a high mental IQ, but a low emotional one. And it’s funny. I look much younger than my almost 34 years (which in itself is remarkable as I don’t get all that much sleep), and there is a theory that my sometimes permanent state of emotional adolescence and childlike wonder (even though in certain aspects I have more adult responsibilities than some 50 year olds) has manifested into the physical – preserving me in a Peter Pan like fashion to resemble that of someone who is much younger than my chronological age will elude to. Which is obviously a welcome physical side effect, but emotionally leaves me incapable of being able to fully connect with myself.

So how am I not able to connect with myself?

I phoned a friend last night, in tears, asking if I could come over for a cup of tea and to talk about what it was I was feeling. I was incredibly lonely. Overwhelmingly lonely in fact. She told me to come over. So I got into my car and drove over to her house, and when I got there the walls came flying up. That’s my thing. I am excellent at building a fortress around myself. I went there to cry and be comforted, however I don’t ever want to appear vulnerable so I falsely and foolishly made myself seem strong and like I wasn’t falling apart. I couldn’t cry. I wouldn’t cry.

She made me a tea, and brought me chocolate, like a good girlfriend does, but I never allowed myself to fall apart. I wanted to. I wanted to be able to break down in tears, and have her hug me and tell me it’s all going to be ok. But I didn’t. And this is my flaw. Pretending to be strong when I am anything but. Being a perfectionist and worrying about distressing other people with an overt display of emotion whilst on the inside I am having a meltdown. I am almost envious of those that are able to fully connect with themselves and feel what they are feeling. I certainly felt it, to the point where I was almost physically ill, but what I was displaying on the outside told a very different story. I held it together like a trooper.

I don’t know why I see it as a sign of weakness to fall apart. We should allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling. Particularly as women.

I think my mother helped tipped me over the edge yesterday too. I had gone to my parents house for dinner, and she told me that she missed me and asked where I had been all week. I had been working. Working and isolating myself. I am the master at it. She looked at me and said “I don’t want you to go into your shell and think that nobody cares about you”. And that’s exactly what I had been doing. It’s confronting for someone to be so intuitive and realise you have been found out. Sometimes I think people see a lot more than you think they do. And it’s a contrast to what I really want. I love people. I love to talk to them, to make them laugh. But at times I feel as though I am a thorn in ones side, so I would rather go into that proverbial shell. But in attempting to keep out sadness, we also keep out happiness, and I find I am as a result my own worst enemy.

My girlfriend saw it too. People really do see a lot more than you give them credit for. She looked me straight in the eyes and told me “don’t do this alone. Draw on whatever resources you have available to you to get you through this”. But in order to do that I must lower my walls and let people in. A catch 22.

It is very self destructive to behave in the manner that I do. I had a Skype appointment with my guru (Todd Savvas – www.toddsavvas.com) last night. He is very confronting and will tell you things that you likely don’t really want to know about yourself. One thing that stuck in my mind is his warning that I am going to destroy myself if I don’t start looking after myself. My inability to sleep, and my lack of strength physically due to being a tiny person with very little reserves and one that runs purely on nervous energy will be my undoing he warned. Quite ominous, and something that made me stand to attention. The light gets in through the cracks, and hitting rock bottom means the only possible way out is up. Being broken is the catalyst for change.

Did you know as humans we need something like 23 lots of physical contact a day? It may be just a handshake, or being able to read emotion on someone else’s face, or playing with a child. I have a deficit of physical contact because of the way my business is set up, and perhaps this is also what adds to the way I have allowed myself slip into, and wallow in self pity.

Another thing that is adding to my current level of despair is that my birthday is coming up this Thursday. And I hate my birthday. I always have. My guru asked me last night what it was that I wanted to do for myself for my birthday. I couldn’t think of one thing. Nothing. But now I can. I just really want a hug. As silly as that may sound. Because after all, man is not an island, and it’s important to let someone take your hand once in a while to help guide you back onto the right path.

INTERVIEW WITH DR NICK CAMPOS

Having written about my own opinion on it previously, IVF is something that I have always felt very strongly about. I do feel as though IVF is, at the end of the day, a big business, and I personally believe that couples are not provided with enough information before undergoing what is not only an expensive and invasive procedure, but one that is high risk, and with a relatively low success rate. It is one where the couples are almost always making decisions purely based on emotions rather than facts, and I do think it is important to get the message out there about the things that can potentially go wrong.

Dr Nick Campos, (www.nickcampos.com) is a teacher of universal principles and truths as they pertain to the health, wellness and evolution of the body, mind and spirit. Dr Campos is a healer in the art of chiropractic who is based in my second hometown of LA. Dr Campos read my article “IVF – Ill conceived?” and kindly took time out from his busy schedule to give me the opportunity to interview him over the phone about a number of topics.

Amy Anka: I wanted to get your thoughts as a doctor on what it was that I had written about in relation to the IVF process…

Dr Nick Campos: IVF is a business, and there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s not an evil thing, and it’s not a conspiracy, but it is dollars and cents. Like any business, the seller is going to up sell, and they’re going to paint their product in the most favourable light and there’s no doubt that there’s some advantages to the procedure, but I do think I agree with you, that it would be beneficial to the prospective clients for them to know all of the risks involved too. Often those risks aren’t discussed, or they’re downplayed.

When my ex-wife was having my first daughter, my daughter was about 2 weeks late, and the doctors wanted to induce the labour, which was fine. The reasoning behind that was perfectly ok, but there were two potential drugs to do the inducing. One was a slower acting safer drug, and this wasn’t presented in this way, it was just presented as far as duration and time, and there was a second drug that was faster acting and recommended.

I do vaguely remember her saying ( the OB-GYN) there’s a slight risk but she didn’t really say what that was and we had the opportunity to think about it. So of course I went home and I looked it up and it turns out the drug that was being recommended, the one that was preferable, was actually being used in an off label manner. Are you familiar with the term off-label drugs? Some drugs are used for something other than what they were intended for so one example is Wellbutrin which is used now to help people quit smoking, is actually an anti-depressant, that’s the idea (of an off-label drug). And so here is this drug, I can’t quite remember what its true purpose was for, but they found that it induces labour. However the risks were significant, enough that you’d say, “well why do we really need that?”

And that’s kind of a problem that I think is rampant in medicine. Things are changing a little bit today with people having access to information from the internet and so doctors are being forced to be a little more honest about it. But there was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago, that doctorness (sic) was next to Godliness, and so being a doctor made one almost a divine authority and so people accepted what the doctor said no matter what it was, and asked no questions because you just did what your doctor said because your doctor knew. I think there’s still a little bit of that remnant occurring today and that can be dangerous for people. Fortunately for us we have open access to information and not just from websites and web pages but also social media communicating like we’re doing now. We didn’t have these options ten years ago, and we’re fortunate now and its slowly changing things. Although I believe that the medical industry is probably one of the slower industries as far as change is concerned.

AA – In regards to the risks associated with breast and ovarian cancer do you think that there is a direct link between that and the drugs that they administer in the IVF process?

NC: The most accurate and honest answer – I haven’t done any research in that area so I couldn’t give you anything definite, however , just like you said in your piece, anytime that the hormonal system is being messed with there’s always that risk. Hormones are a very tricky business. They are very precisely regulated by the human body itself. Humans coming in with human educated minds may think that it knows what to do but the human body is complex and people are individuals, so you can do studies but that doesn’t mean that people are going to fall into a cookie-cutter response so it’s a dangerous thing to play around with. So its’ something that needs to be taken into consideration. Anytime you’re playing with hormones there’s always a risk. Cancer is always a potential issue when you’re playing with the hormones. We even know that with the oral contraceptive there are real possibilities that long term use is increasing the risk of cancer.

It’s messing with the homeostasis of the body. It (the body) knows what to do and when to do it. The misconception is that there are flawed people and flawed systemologys and that’s the unfortunate perspective that medical science comes from. And probably will continue for some time until some thinkers are able to be able to change that. The paradigm is that there are flawed systems and flawed physiology. The reality is that nature knows and we can attempt to understand, but to do better than nature is not realistic.

Depending on what your belief system is as far as what kind of universe we live in, if you’re purely a materialist, or you think there are some other dimensions like spiritual dimensions and so forth, there are many possible reasons that things happen and don’t happen, and that all depends on ones belief system. In the realm of the material plane, I mean yeah, you’re messing with a natural process. If there’s something more than just the material then there could be other reasons – hard to say. But in your piece you said that everything checked out on both ends for you and your partner. An idea that somehow you’re going to improve on what’s already there when you know nothing’s wrong with you – I mean what, there’s nothing wrong with you, but we’re (the medical profession) going to do better anyway?

AA – Do you think that it could also be an emotional response (preventing a pregnancy)?

NC: Reality is reality and there’s no way to prove it one way or the other but you could absolutely be preventing it emotionally. Doctors would be the laughing stock of their association if they considered this to be a contributing factor. I was treating a couple that had been trying for 5 years and they tried IVF and it didn’t work. There was also nothing wrong with them and you can’t help but wonder what else is going on. There is definitely more than meets the eye. We’re definitely at an impasse in medical science right now and a lot of it has to do with the paradigm and medical science is unable to look past a particular point of view and think that they’re running into road blocks.

AA – What are your thoughts on botox? I know it has been around for a relatively short amount of time as a cosmetic procedure, and I know that it has been used prior to that for things like MS and the like…

NC: I’ve heard of it being used for muscle spasms but I haven’t seen it be all that useful for that either.

The long term effects of botox are unknown right now. As you said it’s fairly new. It also has risks. Yeah they might be small risks, but there are risks. There can be facial paralysis, and there’s various theories on why that happens whether there’s a reaction to the toxin itself or whether they’re hitting a particular nerve , but it seems right now to be such a low risk thing that in my opinion it’s a purely aesthetic issue and for me personally I don’t like the way it looks.

It’s possible that there are people walking around with botox and I’m not aware of it but I feel like I can tell and I think it looks weird. The best sort of models for the botox look is the American newscasters. I don’t know what it’s like over there in Australia, but the newscasters here in the States are all pretty much botoxed up and whatever else and they look weird. They look weird to me. That’s just my personal preference. I’m just somebody who prefers a natural look. I don’t mind wrinkles. I actually think people are more concerned about that than is necessary. I tend to like a natural appearance but that’s me, I’m weird. The thing that’s makes the face warm, the thing that makes the face interesting and unique are the lines. Lines are what show expression, so you know when somebody is truly smiling and it’s not a fake smile by what happens around their eyes. When people don’t have that it looks weird. But again that’s me.

AA – What are your thoughts on the prevalence of cancer nowadays, and chemotherapy as a treatment. Do you know of any known alternatives that have been successful?

NC: Cancer is much more complex than the current cancer intelligentsia acknowledges here. I believe that there are mental aspects, or psychological aspects–emotional aspects–things that would be real dirty words to most certainly anybody suffering from cancer, but to many people, and the organizations, and the institutions as well. There’s an idea that “how dare you blame the patient,” and it’s not a blame thing, it’s just that I’m quite convinced that there’s a lot more to cancer than just the physical. And the fact that cancer has been one of the most heavily funded illnesses in history yet they’re still no closer to finding any cure, or even knowing that much more about it. We’re no closer to finding a cure to cancer. So I’m convinced that there’s much more to it. With any healing the big part of the healing process comes down to belief, and ones intention and outlook. That may seem almost not sophisticated to say that. You would have to say, of course, that anybody who has cancer would have the intention to want to heal, but it’s more than that. So I believe that with any healing, first and foremost, both the patient and the doctor have to believe strongly in the treatment. We know of  cases of cancer that have gone through spontaneous remission. We hear of cancer cases that get cured by diet, or get cured by going to a spa in Mexico–these are real. And there are also people that get chemo, and they do better, and I’m sure that those people believe strongly that it’s going to help them.

The thing with the chemo is, it kills everything, that’s why people lose their hair, and they get skinny, and they get sick, and it’s heavy. It’s a heavy duty treatment. It’s the most heavy duty treatment that there is. But the human body is so amazing in that it can bounce back from that. So if somebody truly believes with the intention that that’s going to help them, I think that it can help but it’s harsh, and it’s a rough time for the person. I think that the most important thing with any illness is taking care of the body. And so whatever that means to the person. So it’s eating well, honouring the body. Exercising, physical fitness. I think you chose a treatment path whatever that is, you have faith in it, you believe in it and you go forth with it. There are many options available. There’s just so much more to it and there’s no way to deny the stories of the people who are getting better.

AA – I’d like to get your thoughts on the high diagnosis of ADD and ADHD, and the fact that children are so readily medicated…

NC: You’ve touched on something that I feel very strongly about. I’ve written quite a bit on my blog about ADD and ADHD. I believe everybody has ADHD or ADD. Everybody has an attention deficit. If we want to call it a disorder, well then that’s just where we happen to be medically and in our culture and society. But everybody has an attention deficit when they are being forced to sit through something that they’re not inspired by. So put me in front of a television watching American Idol and I promise you I will have ADD. I promise you I will be looking at my phone, I promise you I will be trying to start conversations, I will not have an attention span for that. If you tell me to watch American Idol and you’re going to pay me $1000 to do so, I will suddenly have attention. I think that we pay attention to the things that inspire us, so I just happened to mention financial because that’s something that would grab my attention. If you went to science and health and spirituality these things would all capture my attention but that doesn’t mean it will capture your attention and so with any of these kids they’re not being inspired in school, and so like I told you when there’s a new technology or a new condition or a new parameter to a condition, we see diagnoses go way up.

And so the history of ADD, in fact I would suggest that you went onto my website and do a search on ADD and you’ll get loads of posts and one in particular is about the history of ADD and it dates back to the mid 19th century. They were sort of categorizing children who were disruptive, you know they couldn’t pay attention in the classroom, and that parameter kept growing and growing and growing up to what it is today. The big thing that affected the diagnosis was when they came up with the drugs like Ritalin. Once Ritalin came around that was it. They went crazy of the diagnoses. Any kid that wasn’t conforming was going to get drugged. I can assure you that had I been a school child today, I would have been labelled with ADD and they would have drugged me guaranteed.

But they didn’t have the drugs back then in the 1970’s, they weren’t drugging the kids so they just had to deal with me. But today, now the ones making the diagnosis are often teachers, principals, school nurses – not medical doctors and the parameters have grown so large and they encompass so many things that if a kid is not conforming to any particular teacher or classroom or school, then they’ll be labelled as such (having ADD / ADHD) but really they’re just not being inspired in school. The teachers haven’t found a way to inspire the children. Very often the teachers just want an easy day like many of us do so they don’t always want to figure out how to inspire these children I do believe it’s a teacher problem.

The long term effects of Ritalin, or any of the ADHD / ADD drugs are not known and this is admitted by the FDA and other organizations. So they just call it research by trial and error and they’re doing it on kids. They’re doing it on our children and it’s a crime. I wouldn’t want to give my kids drugs and that’s the thing, would you really want to do this to your kid?

AA – And what do you think about the high number of prescriptions handed out by doctors? Is this because they are getting some sort of a kickback from the pharmaceutical companies?

NC: Doctors medicate so readily partly because there is an incentive for them from the pharmaceutical companies. Part of it is that there’s a belief among doctors that the public expect something and I think that that’s probably true. That when somebody goes to the doctors office they expect to leave with something. Medical doctors are master diagnosticians. That’s what they’re really good at. They don’t give you many tangible things to walk away with. Its not like you’re getting exercises, or your body work, or anything of that nature so the thing that they give you that’s tangible is prescription and so I think that’s another reason why so many prescriptions are handed out. They just believe that that’s what people want.

AA – And finally to wrap this up, what are your thoughts on alternative therapies, and the ability to heal from certain illnesses with the help of naturopaths etc?

NC: We can’t remove the mind from certain aspects of the healing process. When the mind aligns with the healing, the healing happens. Placebo effect is what it’s called in the medical industry but I would just call it the power of the mind. In my opinion the mind is such a massive part of existence, more than we understand. The human mind in a major player in creating the universe around us and I believe that’s true in the healing process as well. The true healing where does that come from? I tend to believe that when you’re in alignment with the healing process you’re gonna heal . I’m pretty certain about that. Essentially that’s what it is. In the end, the end result is all that matters.

 

EASIEST DESSERT RECIPE EVER

I am an exceptional cook when I want to be, and my specialty is sweets. My friend Hope asked me for a recipe the other day for my Creme Brulee. This is the easiest dessert to make and costs next to nothing. Here is the recipe below:

Ingredients: (serves 6)

4 egg yolks

150g (about 5oz) caster sugar)

1 cup pure cream

180ml full-cream milk

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

40g (about 1 1/2 oz) brown sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius

You need 6 half-cup porcelian souffle moulds.

In a bowl, combine the egg yolks with two-thirds of the caste sugar. Add the cream, milk, and vanilla bean paste, and mix well with a whisk.

Place souffle moulds in a deep oven tray and pour the mixture into the moulds, using a ladle or jug. Two-thirds fill the tray with boiling water, then carefully place it in the preheated oven and cook for 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the water. Once they are cold, place then in the fridge if not serving immediately.

Mix the remaining caster sugar with the brown sugar and sprinkle evenly on top of the custards. Place under a hot grill until the suar has caramelised, then serve.

 

SPORTSGIRL PEPLUM TOP, OVER-SIZED T-SHIRT, & VINTAGE LOOK CARDIGAN

I am so thankful for the rainy weather right now. It forces you to relax which is fabulous. However I did have to go shopping today to alleviate any boredom. Another thing that cold rainy weather at the end of summer does is make you suddenly think to yourself “where are all my warm clothes, and what did i wear last winter?”. So this is a dangerous combination when the seasons change, as i know I rush out immediately to grab the latest fashions. And I’m loving everything that is in stores at the moment, from studded shoes and shoulders, to cut-outs in everything from jumpers to leggings. So anyway, here’s what i bought today…

I love over-sized everything. I’m not sure if this is a t-shirt or a dress, but you could wear it as both. I love the olive green colour (I think olive green looks great on blondes), and the pics don’t show it, but the red and black on the front of the top is actually beading, and I’m a sucker for embellishments of any sort. This was $69.95 down to $27.96 at Sportsgirl.

I am DYING over this cardigan. Its actually a size too big for me, but it was the last one in the store and I REALLY wanted it. I love the vintage look of it (I actually have a rug that looks similar), and I love the looping all over it. Love it. I will be wearing this everywhere this winter (and no doubt getting snagged on everything I wander past too). This was $99.95. Yes, i know its expensive, but i love it. LOVE IT.

I fell in love with this peplum top. I’m obsessing over all the olive greens that are out at the moment. I paired this top with leather leggings to toughen it up a little. Always make sure you buy the smallest size with a peplum top because you really want to accentuate your waist. I’m thankful that Sportsgirl do XXS, as I have a tiny waist. This was $69.95 reduced to $27.95.

MY MAKEUP AND CLEANSING ROUTINE

I always do my own hair and makeup. Even on my wedding day back in 2001, I did my own makeup. I’ve had my face for a long time, and I know what best suits me. But I did go and see the team at Napoleon Perdis (www.napoleonperdis.com) for the best make up advice, and have been using a lot of their products ever since.

I use their Light Diffusing Liquid Foundation in Look 2 as I think this gives the best coverage, and because it is an oil based foundation, it goes on nice and smoothly, and when you are having photographs taken (and who isn’t these days with everyone carrying a mobile phone in their pocket and uploading things to facebook regularly) the “Light Diffusing” particles in the foundation do just that – they diffuse the light and make it appear as though your skin is relatively line free.

On top of that, to counteract any shine, I use their Camera Finish powder compact in Golden Sand Look G4. I apply it with a large brush, rather than with the sponge provided. This always gives me a flawless finish. In fact, if I’m not actually going out anywhere special, I just put on my moisturizer (I use Olay Total Effects with SPF15 for the daytime), and dust the Camera Finish on top to even out my skin tone.

I also love their eye shadows, and eyeliner. I use their black onyx eyeliner – it is the blackest of blacks, goes on nice and smoothly, and stays on well all night, with little touch ups required.

Sportsgirl (www.sportsgirl.com.au) also do a fantastic eye shadow too believe it or not. I use their “Shady Lady” when I’m doing a smoky eye.

For lip gloss I use the BYS brand (www.glossaccessories.com.au) in Grape, and I think Rimmel (www.rimmellondon.com.au) do the best lipstick – but I never pair a smoky eye with lipstick. You’ll end up looking like a drag queen. 

My most favourite product is of course mascara. I absolutely LOVE Covergirl Professional Mascara (www.covergirl.com), which you can’t actually get here anymore, which sucks big time. So every time I go to theUS, I always stock up on it. And the best bit is its only $5.00! Covergirl Mascara here is around $18.00 – something I just cannot understand, particularly with the high Australian dollar.

To cleanse my skin I use Dove soap (www.mydove.com.au). I’ve used this since I was a teenager, and I really think that good skin is a combination of genetics and what you put inside – the old saying “you are what you eat” I think is very true, and I don’t think there is any product out there that will give you flawless skin if you are putting crap into your body with a poor diet. I also exfoliate each morning with Neutrogena Blackhead Cleanser (http://www.neutrogena.com.au/) – no, I don’t have, nor have I ever had blackheads, but I find this is a good scrub for removing dead skin cells, and I think its important to scrub your skin every day to encourage cell renewal.

Of an evening I use Olay Regenerist Day Cream (www.olay.com.au) – yes I’m aware it’s a day cream, but I find it is nice and thick and works well for a night cream for me at the moment. I also use Nivea Q10 eye cream (www.nivea.com.au) underneath my eyes, and on my lids I use Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum, which I also put the excess on my lips. In my opinion, there’s nothing better for your lips than eye cream.

At night before I sleep I usually spray my skin with Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner (www.trilogyproducts.com), and apply Lucas Paw-Paw ointment (www.lucaspapaw.com.au) to my lips. As my sister in-law tells me, my lips take up a significant portion on my face, and I seem to sleep with my mouth open for whatever reason so this alleviates them drying out and cracking.

BALAYAGE

Balayage

This is a trend I love. I know that this look has been around for quite a few seasons now, but its one that I have fallen in love with, and have been getting done for the last few years now.

I’m actually not a fan on the technique when it involves the dip-dye look (which I personally think can look a little trashy), where it actually looks as though your last trip to the hairdresser was a good 6 months ago. I like the more natural look.

Continue reading BALAYAGE