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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Natural, Cruelty Free Makeup

It's very easy to overlook the nitty gritty details. But with so many choices in life, the power to make small ones that make YOU feel better and fit with your values are vital to living a mindful, conscientious life.
I'm not going to demand you drop all your favourite mascaras and lipsticks in the bin this minute and replace them, but if you're an animal lover, or even if you're exploring a vegan lifestyle, you can find makeup brands that are guaranteed to be Cruelty Free.
Choose Cruelty Free is an Australian organisation that lists makeup brands with a code for whether they are vegan, organic, good for sensitive skin and more.

The list includes a few of my favourite brands. For your benefit, I have picked my favourite 3 products from each. If you're new to them, get excited. You can feel good about your beauty buys and you'll radiate gorgeousness from inside AND outside!


Using pure plant extracts and all natural ingredients, Botani is a Melbourne-based beauty brand worth seeking out. Their products are targeted towards particular skin types, conditions and aim to treat and nourish.
I adore the scent - especially of the facial exfoliator. It smells like cinnamon and berry oatmeal cookies - try it.
Olive Skin Serum
Spirulina Salt Scrub
Exfoliating 2-in-1 Scrub & Mask

Rosehip by Essano

This perfectly pink packaged beauty brand is straight from New Zealand. They are eco certified and guarantee no nasties in the form of sulphates, parabens, silicones and so on. The added beauty of this brand is that it's totally budget friendly. You'll have money left over for super smoothies and shopping for yoga pants.
Rosehip Gentle Exfoliator

Botanical and mineral cosmetics designed to beautify and be gentle on the skin. Australian made. The packaging, again, is gorgeous. Simple and classy. You'll want to have this take pride of place in your makeup cabinet. I know you have one.
3-in-1 Pumpkin Enzyme Facial Polish
Mineral Bronzer in Beach Glow
Exotic8 Facial Oil (chia, black tea,pomegranate & peach)

Make UP Cosmetics

Not only cruelty free and eco friendly, but designed to love your skin. Mineral products are ideal for sensitive skin and ideal if you're prone to breakouts also. The colours are fabulous and super fresh. I love the highlighting mineral powder especially. Give me more gold!
Lipstick Spring Violet
Brow Gel Medium Brown
Highlighter Mineral Dust in Gold

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Fashion Illustration and Design Culture Books

I know the latest trend in mindfulness is adult colouring books, but if you're truly a creative soul looking for a focus, don't get out your crayons for someone else's lines.
Draw your own.
I first discovered 9 Heads at Prahran Library, where all the fashion and design students pore over fashion textbooks they can't possibly afford! (The best magazines are at Toorak Library - insider goss.)
I am an unashamed fashion illustration lover and while I won't be knocking David Downton (work, pictured below) off his throne anytime soon, I am inspiring myself with Tony Glenville's New Icons of Fashion.
Illustrators profiled include Carlos Aponte, Kareem Iliya, Hiroshi Tanabe, Julie Verhoeven and Izak Zenou.

I made the budget-busting move of landing on Thames & Hudson's website full of art and fashion, design and architecture books. Fortunately, it's coming up to Christmas list making time for fashionistas. All you need. Right here.

Friday, 2 October 2015

A to Z of Yoga - the Onzie edit

Onzie ("OWN-zee") is my yoga wardrobe staple. For years, I have collected their capris, high waisted leggings, crop tops and tank tops. Not just because they look fantastic (essential for a fashionista yogini) but also because they stretch and move with you. You can do restorative yoga, hot yoga, power flow and still, they will wick the sweat rather than get sticky and uncomfortable.

Made by yoga lovers FOR yoga lovers.

If you are less about the downward dog and more about barre, pilates, dance or weight training - you'll want to get into the shorts and capris. Fancy, functional and fashion forward. The ultimate trifecta!

As dedicated yogis, the Onzie team have gone wild around Los Angeles, posing on rooftops, in backstreets, laneways and iconic landmarks of LA to show that yoga isn't all serious omming and aligning your chakra with your karma. Be inspired. Be curious.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Coffee In A Juicebox - Welcome To Melbourne Minor Figures

Minor Figures deliver extraordinary, single-origin cold pressed coffee with a focus on the ethical origins and production of their product.
As a Melbourne coffee lover, this wouldn't have been enough to swivel my head normally. There's a barista for every 10 people in this neighbourhood, after all! BUT.
Minor Figures cold pressed coffee doesn't come in a fancy apocathery jar - which means it won't look fancy and boost your hipster credibility while sitting on your desk. Instead, it comes in a secure juicebox carton that you can toss in your gym bag or on the back of your bike. You can lob a few in the glovebox safely!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, coffee is proven to boost your workout endurance and ability to perform explosive and dynamic moves.

The other reason you want to get your mitts on Minor Figures cold pressed (18 hours!) single origin OR single origin with milk, is because they genuinely form relationships with the growers and producers. This ensures a fair price is paid and the business is sustainable for Ethiopian producers. Rather than contributing to a whole lot of waste - the coffee grinds are used to make soaps and scrubs. No evidence so far that smelling like coffee makes you a better athlete, but I'm still in the research stage. Stay tuned.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Heart Chakra Nutrition - Eat Your Greens

This is a guest post by the wonderful holistic nutritionist, Teri Mosey. She has been a much valued contributor to fitness and wellbeing journals and media, especially in the US. 

The Food Chakra Connection

When most people think of food, the conversation commonly goes towards calories, carbs or protein. What if a different conversation arose and you asked how does food nourish all of me; body, mind and soul?

Welcome to the world of holistic nutrition.

Holistic nutrition, practiced for thousands of years, sees food as a healer, nurturer and way of life. Foods goes beyond the calorie, having energetic characteristics that interact with your bio-field; more specifically, the chakras. Chakras are vortexes of Universal energy that run up and down your spine regulating your life force energy or qi. This energy is what gives the gift of life. With that said, chakras are the link between your energetic and physical beings, and the universal consciousness.

What does that mean? Each chakra vibrates at a particular frequency that impacts specific biological processes. For example, your heart chakra energy influences the health of your heart, lungs, cardiac nerve plexuses and thymus gland. Each chakra has a level of consciousness it reflects; with underlying universal life lessons. Your personal journey, all that you are meant to experience and learn in this lifetime is tucked into your biology!

A way to identify these lessons and discover your true nature is through your relationship to food. The link between food traits and chakras comes from sharing the same vibrational energies, corresponding physiological systems and your behaviors around the act of eating. Let’s look at the heart chakra; surrounded around the theme of love. Universal life lessons in love can be experienced through gratitude, acceptance, compassion and forgiveness; of yourself and others. These lessons around love manifest in heart and lung illnesses, making food choices that nourish the heart and strengthen the lungs at the forefront to foods for the heart chakra.

Food and eating strategies to nourish the flow of energy to the heart chakra begins with emphasizing a plant based dietary pattern. Plants are loaded with phytonutrients; health promoting compounds that assist the body’s self healing abilities while altering gene expression. Begin by adding colorful root vegetables, legumes and the grain quinoa to your dietary pattern. Two qualities that specifically vibrate with the heart chakra energies are green color foods and the flavor bitter. So add cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, rapini and bok choy into your weekly meals. Add those bitter leafy greens like arugula, watercress and lacinato kale to the mix. Daily! Instead of raw, place them under a little heat, wilting them. This makes nutrients more bioavailable and keeps your digestion happy. In recipe terms, explore a soba noodle soup, an adzuki bean stew, roasted root vegetables, a wilted green salad or a grilled veggie quinoa salad. The options are endless. Just keep in the plant family with a heavy presence of greens! And while you’re at it; add a little pungent flavor to these dishes, in the form of scallions, garlic or leeks. They help keep the lungs clear!

Observe if you have an aversion to the above mentioned foods; especially the bitter greens. That’s an underlying message that your heart chakra is asking for your attention! Take a moment to contemplate, “am I willing to live with an open heart?” It can even invite contemplation on questions like, “Do I have underlying resentment? Or “Are the majority of my decisions intellectual, keeping my heart out of the conversation?”

While in the kitchen which can become your space of active meditation, put on your favorite tunes and hum along as you cook! Humming deepens your breath and lowers your heart rate; perfect additional nourishment for the heart energies. Cooking a meal for yourself shows self-love, share it with others and you are expanding the vibration!

The chakras become a bridge between your soul and physical being, with an invitation to use your relationship to food as a way to discover your most authentic self. What an amazing opportunity.  Are you up for it?

Teri Mosey

Here's a VEGAN, heart chakra nourishing Spinach & Artichoke Pizza with garlic sauce. If that's not your cup of chai, have a Quinoa and Potato Crust pizza (also vegan!) You're welcome!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Vital Glow - Melbourne Made

Having determined that no sleep and coffee guzzling at 3pm is not conducive to a well and happy body, I did a bit of online research to find some natural support for my body.

Turns out, there's a lovely young naturopath in Melbourne making herbal supplements of the highest quality. Organic, clean, potent and delivered in gorgeous glass bottles in old school apocathery style.

In each bottle, nestled amongst the herbal capsules, is a note on what the benefits are and what the recommended dosage is. Excellent idea. I've been taking Ginseng for energy as well as Digest & Soothe and Nourish & Strengthen (great for liver and skin!)

I have been skipping the coffee in the afternoon and getting through my new evening classes with energy to burn. Sure, it's not entirely dependent on herbal supplements, but I definitely feel better and results are real.

Check out Vital Glow online store and also Danika's Instagram.

Danika is currently completing a bachelor of health science, majoring in naturopathy. She became interested in herbal medicine after struggling through numerous health issues the first years out of high school. "At that time I was actually completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in media and communication and I felt so unhappy and lost," she explains. "I left that degree and travelled through Europe and Canada. It was when I was living in Canada in 2013/14 that I had some sort of epiphany and realised that I could actually turn my love of natural medicine into a career! As soon as I came home I started my degree."
Danika started to make her own capsules and teas for her personal use. "It started as a hobby but then I thought hey, why not create a business! And here we are!"

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Get Nude - Not Rude

Makeup looks on the runway change from season to season. You only need to look at Riccardo Tisci's incredible lace face masks for Spring/Summer 2016 to see the latest magnificent manifestation of makeup artist Pat McGrath. She has previously done sequined and latex eyebrows, gothic, Victorian and punk rock inspired looks.
What doesn't change is that there will be designers who want to keep the makeup pared back to emphasise the clothes and the natural beauty and features of the models.
Your interpretation of the "nude" look is going to work along a spectrum, just as the shade "nude" is not a single pale, pink bottle of foundation anymore.
Makeup brands and artists recognise that there are a range of ethnicities and skin tones and textures to work with. Lancome is one of the best for doing foundations for dark skin.
Here are the essentials and if heavy contouring appeals to you, work that bronzer! Just avoid harsh lines. Blend. Blend. Blend.

  • Take care of your skin. No amount of makeup can disguise super tired, blemished and flaky skin. A combination of supplements (silica, fish oil, flaxseed oil, zinc) and high quality, natural skincare is going to serve you well.
  • Exfoliate. I love Aveda's Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant for sensitive skin. It is non abrasive so won't aggravate redness or dry skin. Exfoliating removes surface oil and dead skin cells to allow skin to breathe and be radiant.
  • Spend on your base. By all means, stock up on $2 eyeshadow and glitter but think about the Cost Per Wear equation. This is going to cover your face MOST if not EVERY day! I am blemish-prone and also have dry skin. I need breathable coverage that will last through a sweaty yoga session followed by meetings and appointments. I swear by:
  1. Dior Nude Air (gorgeous, light texture and fabulous coverage) @ David Jones
  2. Dior Skin Forever Fluid (slightly heavier formula but great shades for my skin tone) @ David Jones
  3. L'Oreal Lumi Magique (excellent coverage, radiant dewy finish) @ Priceline
  • Use concealer. Even if you don't use foundation, a concealer magically revives sad, no-sleep skin. Just as you would match your foundation perfectly IN THE LIGHT to your face colour, make sure your concealer is a perfect match. Try:
  1. Dior Nude Skin Perfecting Hydrating Concealer @ Sephora
  • If you are a lipstick junkie, like me, you will go crazy for a nude range that actually really flatters your face! No chalky, zombie lip effect here! I am totally addicted to Rimmel's Kate Moss line of nudes. Not only housed in peach coloured bullets, these shades can work alone or blended and they are beautiful.
  1. Rimmel Kate Moss Nude Lasting Finish Lipsticks @ Priceline

Friday, 11 September 2015

Chakra and Holistic Nutrition - An Ayurveda Exploration

I don't prescribe diets or subscribe to any particular mode of eating so please don't think this is going to be a "This is how to eat" post! It's just an introduction to the ideas around traditional Ayurvedic approach to the body and food and also to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ideas on meridiens in the body and how certain areas and organs have emotional and spiritual significance.
In both traditions, there is a belief in food as both nourishment and medicine, with the capacity to heal physically and also to address cravings, restrictions and anxieties.

Teri Mosey wrote a fabulous introduction to the idea of Chakra Nutrition in Fitness Journal last year. This is what awakened my interest in the idea. I had already seen the popularity of ayurvedic consultations in Bali and read a little. I can't claim to be an expert at all! But if it gets you thinking and curious...I'd love to know if you visit a practitioner or even study or practice Ayurveda yourself!

According to Chinese philosophy, the universe is made up of two energetic forces: yin and yang. The interplay between these forces creates the five elements:
Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
A universal energy enters the human body through the crown of the head and becomes "prana" or "qi".

Along the spinal column, spinning vortexes receive and manifest this energy. Each vortex is a chakra with a defined role and relationship to the body.
While Wesern nutrition is very focused on the macronutrients and calories, the chakra nutrition approach is much more holistic and respects that food is more than a physical fuel. The colours, tastes and source of food have a physiological consequence and also an emotional and energetic one.
Practice forward head to knee bend (Janu Sirsasana) to connect physical movement with the primary, or Root Chakra

We can judge by our cravings or feelings what we are lacking, what needs attention, and how we are affected by the seasons, our emotional state and our physical world. Right now, it's the red chakra - or The Root Chakra - for me that is my primary focus. The root chakra is about balancing, grounding, needing a strong foundation. When it is blocked, the immune system suffers, there is overeating, rigid and anxious thinking, fearfulness and rigidity in routine.
According to Teri Mosey, foods that nourish and support the root chakra are rich in protein - primarily bone, blood and immune supportive nutrients. Root vegetables and red-coloured foods such as tomatoes, apples, beets and radishes are also ideal.

By no means do I suggest you base your entire diet and choices on your chakras. But this is a way to think about food as nourishment for the soul as well as the body. Perhaps it is a way for you to be more mindful of what you desire to eat and how you feel or function as a result.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Being In The Moment

There is no harsher critic than the voice in my head. My family has a history of OCD and I see it in my anxious thoughts over what I HAVE done and what I MUST do.
By no means are yoga, meditation, dance and fitness a "cure", but I know I am a calmer, more aware and more content person when I'm practicing.

As part of my yoga course, I am required to do classes on top of teaching my own. While I struggle with the scheduling of this, I have been gaining so much from listening to, watching and absorbing the methods and delivery of the instructors. From the actual poses, sequencing and cues to their tone of voice, introduction and ending, and their relationships with regulars and new class participants. While some of this is lost in doing online classes, I am still really enjoying the diversity of instructors and classes on Yoogaia.

I have been doing yoga and pilates at local YMCAs and this week I'll be checking out Australian Yoga Academy in Northcote and Xtend Barre in Hawthorn. If you're a Melbourne yogi, let me know what classes you love and where you do them. I have done Power Yoga at MSAC and that was fantastic.

Just as I dipped into Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet for inspiration and soul nourishment, I'm currently flipping open the pages of Rumi's poetry and seeking nuggets of wisdom to hold onto. Not only does this herald the start of Spring, but it also reminds us to be right here, right now because every moment matters. Just because you're here.

Don't flounder in the preambles of the past
Wounded with regrets; don't let autumnal
Nostalgia blind you to the sounds and scents
Of the present's Spring; you're a native of 
The pellucid moent, make it infinite beyond
The curving snake of passing time and space.
Learn to die in the infinitely elusive moment.


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

I Stole My Spring Scent

Spring heralds newly sunnier days thank god (Melbourne weather has been so dismal). It also means lifting out of the dark focus when it comes to makeup, heavier scents, a lighter mood. I first discovered my favourite scent at Fitness First six years ago. I used to do BodyPump with a few regulars and I always knew one of them was there because I could detect the slightest hint of frangipani near the barbells.
Such a blissful fragrance - it suggests Hawaiian beaches, sun on tanned skin, endless cloudless skies.

However, I am not a signature fragrance stealer. I couldn't have worn it at the time knowing it was hers. Six years have passed. I believe that's fair! It was in an airport mid-way to Paris recently that I got talking to a fellow crime novel enthusiast and we discussed how overwhelming the Duty Free area was. "I just really, really want Michael Kors," she said. "It's the only fragrance I'll wear."
Knowing she was going home to Berlin, and I would be safely Melbourne bound, I know we can both adopt this as our signature fragrance. In fact, it binds us across continents!

Fragrantica describes it thus: Top notes are freesia, incense, chinese osmanthus and tamarind; middle notes are tuberose, iris, peony, orris root and arum lily; base notes are musk, cashmere wood and vetiver.

What's your signature fragrance? Did you first smell it on someone else?

There are three new Michael Kors fragrances just released. He does fresh, sexy and feminine, just like his catwalk shows and his campaigns. I also love Michael Kors WHITE. Available at Myer, David Jones and Sephora.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Online Yoga Classes - Let's Do It Together

Most of you know I'm currently doing my Yoga Teacher Training. This requires 3 extra classes a week, which doesn't sound like much, but I'm already teaching 10 barre classes a week and it's physically exhausting!
Then there is the financial and logistical issues. As you can imagine, there isn't a yoga class every hour of the day at a convenient location. Most of them are running at the same time as I'm teaching. SO.
I admit online yoga classes do not have the same communal atmosphere of a real yoga class, with the awkward smile you get when you almost trip over someone's mat or the teacher gently adjusting your hip or foot... but:

  • there are a diversity of classes from "Relax" through "Energy & Sweat" options
  • there are  Master Workshops
  • instructors are highly qualified, experienced and come from all over the world
  • if a class doesn't work for you, stop and change without causing any offence!
  • your dogs, cats, rabbits can stay for class
Most of all though, it's super convenient. Do it before work, after work, in the middle of the night or the early hours of morning. There are live classes you can book for as well as pre-recorded classes

It's much cheaper than signing up to a studio too. In fact, you could do both in an ideal world. Being able to do your meditation at home, in your own time and space might suit you best. Perhaps you're not much of a team player and you'd prefer to do pilates in your loungeroom. Perhaps you'd just prefer to do it in your loungeroom on Tuesday and go into a busy class on Thursday. That's the beauty of Yoogaia. I have signed up for the length of my teacher training.

I am aiming to go to actual classes the majority of the time, but when I'm struggling to fit it into my schedule alongside recovery time (essential for body and mind!), I will be using my Yoogaia membership to explore meditation, power yoga, core strength, pilates and Yin yoga. In fact, I did my first Yin Yoga class last week! It was difficult, as a restless soul, to hold long poses (4 minutes...of stillness...) but it became easier with every minute and actually, time passed pretty quickly once I got past the first 10 minutes. I did Heidi Poon's class. I'd love you to try some classes and give me your recommendations! I started with the free 7 day trial. Do it!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Heal Your Gut with Supercharged Food

There has been much research into the mind-gut-hormones connection and the science is compelling and convincing. What, when and how you eat directly affects your hormones and your immune system. Constantly getting infections? Feeling lethargic? Rashes and allergic-type reactions?
There are so many ways that poor diet can manifest in your body. This doesn't just mean eating bags full of jelly snakes during the afternoon slump. This means restricting food groups, severe calorie restriction, binge eating, eating processed and packaged food as replacements for whole foods (vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains).

I am not perfect, just as you (probably) are not perfect. I don't allow myself to read the "latest celebrity diet tricks" in magazines. I don't subscribe to any particular dietary regimen, although I respect ELEMENTS of some! I am not paleo, or vegan, or pescatarian...
There are weeks I will not eat meat at all, or times when that's exactly what my body craves. One thing I can definitely say I'm guilty of is overdoing the caffeine. I know it is behind my poor sleep and ability to get anxious in a heartbeat! So I will aim to reduce my caffeine and heal my gut. What will you do in the aims of healing your gut?

I've got Lee Holmes' (Supercharged Food) Heal Your Gut for inspiration, information and recipes galore. It's not only super informative and well-researched, but gorgeous to look at. Definitely one for the kitchen AND the coffee table.

The book is designed to assist in restoring gut health with 90 anti-inflammatory recipes to heal and nourish. These include warming drinks with ingredients such as turmeric, chamomile and ginger, sustaining vegetable and meat broths & soups and deliciously delicate desserts like baked blueberry custard.
Heal Your Gut: Supercharged Food by Lee Holmes (Murdoch Books)

Just because I love your guts, I'm going to share some recipes with you. Enjoy.


Jeera is Hindi for ‘cumin’ and vellam in this context means ‘water’. Cumin is 
a powerful digestive aid and a detoxifier for the kidneys and bladder. Drink this shot after eating to improve digestion.
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) filtered water
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin sticks
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and set aside for 2 minutes before straining. Cool to room temperature and divide between four glasses to serve.

Garden-fresh Asparagus Soup
serves 4
I just love the healthy snap of a bright-green new-season asparagus stalk. Enjoy their uniquely grassy, sweet flavour and their healthy-bacteria-boosting proteins in this fresh and uplifting soup.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped, plus extra,
curled in cold water, to serve
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4  teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 medium turnips, peeled and diced
750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) vegetable stock (see page 151)
270 ml (91/2 fl oz) tin additive-free coconut milk
175 g (6 oz/1 bunch) asparagus, cut into 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) pieces
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spring onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft. Add the curry powder, ginger, turmeric, lemon zest, juice and turnip and cook, stirring frequently,
for 5 minutes.
Add the stock, coconut milk and asparagus, and simmer, partially covered,
for 15 minutes or until the turnip is tender, then add the salt.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then purée the mixture in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth. Reheat gently if necessary, then drizzle with olive oil, grind over black pepper and garnish
with curled spring onion.
Almond Milk Jelly Cup
makes 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup)

Gelatine is a good source of protein and contains eighteen protein-building amino acids. It’s a great ingredient to include in your gut-healing arsenal, as it seals the digestive tract to help boost nutrient absorption.
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) almond milk (see page 123)
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
1/4  teaspoon vanilla powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered stevia
Put half the almond milk and the gelatine in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk briskly until the gelatine is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the remaining almond milk along with the vanilla and stevia, and whisk to combine.

Pour into one or two glasses or jelly moulds and refrigerate until set. The jelly can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1–2 weeks.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Magnesium for Muscle and Mental Stamina

I read today that LeAnn Rimes downs 40 supplement pills a day.

I feel extraordinarily tame in comparison. I have staple supplements that I stick to on a regular basis, and then there are supplements I will take for particular times when I know my diet or my health require the extra boost.

Magnesium is a staple. Not only is it vital for muscle recovery, but it also calms the nerves and aids in sleep. It is a vital ingredient in calcium absorption so to ensure your bones, muscle and nervous system are all in top shape, you want to be getting sufficient magnesium. It is estimated that approximately 80% of adults don't get the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of magnesium. Wholegrains, spinach, nuts and legumes are magnesium-rich but no food is especially high in magnesium .The rise of paleo and high-protein diets are also seeing imbalanced diet contribute to lack of vitamins and minerals in adults.

I can't spoon-feed you potatoes and almonds, but I can recommend that if you're not eating these foods daily as well as calcium rich greens and dairy, you source a high quality magnesium supplement. My choice is the bioavailable, marine-sourced magnesium in lifestream Natural Magnesium ($24.95). Because it's in powder form, you can add it to smoothies or take smaller or larger doses depending on requirements.

I'm also a big fan of supplements that support digestive health. I take probiotics, which I've featured previously, and I also take Vitamin B and when my gut needs some TLC after I've been particularly ill or even just indulgent, I'll drink aloe vera juice or chlorophyll (beware the green tongue!). I like a spirulina or supergreens supplement too - but I tend to do this when I'm especially busy and need the extra immune support. Check out Planet Health for stockists.

#Snoopette - Jen Crescenzo, Yoga Teacher & Power Lifter

My name is Jennifer Crescenzo and I’m a full-time yoga teacher in Melbourne Australia. I’m very passionate about Yin Yoga but when I arrived in Melbourne five years ago everyone was practicing Hot Yoga and Power Yoga so there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for a slow, deep stretching practice that emphasizes meditative stillness! Today I teach, write and facilitate Yin and Hatha Yoga teacher training, and travel to lead yoga workshops, trainings, and retreats.   
I think people envision the yoga teacher lifestyle as really relaxed - teach a few classes, spend lots of time practicing yoga, drink some kombucha, talk about chakras - that kind of thing.   But it’s really more like running your own small business with a research and development department, a sales and marketing team, and people who need to get out and deliver the product. Oh - and you are the head and sole employee of all those departments :)  I am often up early to write - whether that is developing material for new workshops or writing content for teacher training.  I don’t like to go straight from bed to sitting at my computer so I move around a bit first.  Some mornings that means sun salutations but other mornings I go straight out to the garden and dig around in the dirt a little.  It sounds a bit yoga cliche but it changes my perspective when I start the day caring for other living beings rather than seeing who has liked me on Instagram.  Also I have discovered that my plants like coffee as much as I do! So, we share a morning ritual.  I make coffee in my French Press  and enjoy my morning cup and then pour the grinds over the plants.  

Part of my job, like any other job, is meetings.  And that means having some cosy meeting spots near my home or the studios where I teach.  Current favorites include Urban Projuice in Albert Park because it’s a family affair run by a mother and her daughters and they make delicious vegetarian and vegan food.  This winter I am especially fond of their Turmeric Latte because it’s earthy and spicy and warming and Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and boosts your immune system. 
Because I don’t have a car, I’m often on the go and I carry everything I might need for the day in my bag, a beautiful hand-sewn creation from my last trip to Thailand.  Inside you’d find whatever book I am reading (currently it’s Connectome: How the Brains Wiring Makes Us Who We Are), my iPad, a scarf (I collect them from all over the world!) some sort of refreshing spray for my face (I picked up Yuli Cocoon Elixir in LA a few months ago ) jasmine essential oil from Jamal Kazura Aromatics in Singapore, YSL Touche Eclat, and usually a random piece of fruit (this week it's mandarins)  

Since I’m on foot or on trams a lot, I’m a big fan of podcasts.  I spent 10 years as a documentary filmmaker so I’m passionate about storytelling.  On my podcast playlist you’d find RadioLab, 99 Percent Invisible, Serial, Invisibilia, Planet Money, and This American Life.  I love how a good story can grab you and turn you in a different direction, compelling you to see the at the world from a totally different perspective. And I think that’s what yoga offers - twisting your body into different shapes gives you different ways of seeing yourself and the world around you. 

Although I have built a reputation as a Yin Yoga educator, those who know me best know that I embrace the cooling, contemplative nature of Yin to balance my fiery, Irish-Italian Yang side. Whether it’s powering across the finish line of a race or facing an opponent in Kung Fu, I love to move!  This year I found a new passion, Olympic Lifting.  Although lifting something big and heavy sounds more brutal than mindful, it’s actually a delicate balance of the two.  Like Yoga, it is all about a union of opposites!  You have to be patient but violent.  You have to be willing to fail but determined to succeed. The moment you put your hands on the bar, you have to coordinate all of your power and intention to lift it.  But, when you take your hands off the bar you have to relax and let go.   My Olympic Lifting coach, Luke Bryan of CrossFit 3000, said I was being “too zen” in a lifting session and that I needed to get a little more violent.  So we created “Nej”, my lifting alter-ego who resembles the fierce Indian warrior goddess Kali. Kali holds a severed head and wears a necklace of skulls made from her fallen foes. I know - it doesn’t sound very yogic.  But Kali represents the erradication of ego.  She cuts through the illusions, forcing us to see things as they are rather than as we want them to be.   And I would describe Olympic Lifting in much the same way.  It quickly reveals where you lack coordination, power, or precision - like the parts of you where electricity doesn't flow. And if you are willing to work on those parts of your body and mind, you can electrify them! 

I wear a lot of yoga clothes - comes with the job!  Since I can spend all day in a sports bra or pair of yoga pants, I need things that are durable but feel good on my skin and can transition from the studio to dinner with friends.  When I’m not in yoga clothes, I’m either in jeans or Melbourne-made Nevenka.  Designer Rosemary Masic blends lace and edge.  It’s like Stevie Nicks meets Lauren Bacall...

Jennifer teaches weekly classes at Ohana Yoga, MOVE Yoga, and Power Living South Melbourne and runs yearly retreats at Le Yoga Daylesford. For more about Jennifer, visit her website 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Braids, Buns & Twists at the Barre

We're off the barre! Or the bar.
Really, you can wear your hair in buns, braids, intricate plaits and twists either to the gym, yoga studio or bar. Or the office. A waterfall plait says "I'm creative but I am in control here. Don't mess with me!"
I am loving this book by Christina Butcher, Braids, Buns and Twists! Step-by-step tutorials for 82 fabulous hairstyles
I discovered it on a Google hunt, naturally.

 I also discovered Power Yoga For Athletes that gives pictures and instruction on 100 poses that are intended to improve sporting performance. It can be difficult to gain the confidence to go to a yoga class for the first time, especially when you are skilled in a particular sport and you have to face being a beginner BUT starting out with a book and streaming online classes is a great introduction. Author, Sean Vigue is a skilled and notable pilates and yoga instructor who also runs online classes and writes for various yoga and pilates journals.

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