Winter Solstice 2017

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Wow.

It’s been FIVE months since I’ve written a blog post. It doesn’t seem like that much time has passed, it really has flown by! Life has been chaotic, things keep happening and trying to hold up momentum for most things has been pretty much set to low. Today however, is a special day in my calendar and by it’s meaning, what better time to restart my passion for the written word and getting my blog back up and running.

As today marks the Winter Solstice here in Australia, which is the shortest day of the year and the longest night, it has the symbolism of new beginnings; as the days going forward will start to get longer and the sun makes its way back to us. I usually celebrate this day the same every year – having a bad back and being stuck in bed, having an animal to cuddle while in bed, eating a tub of ice cream (ice cream to me just tastes so much better in Winter!) and finding things to be grateful for.

I really do have a lot of things to be grateful for.  A wonderful partner, wonderful family and friends, two of the most amazing cats that grace us with their love, a job I enjoy, a career I enjoy, having the ability to do the things I love and the time and freedom to follow those dreams and passions. As my life never used to be like this up until a couple of years ago, I become more and more grateful the longer I get to live the life I choose. Sure, I get stressed to the point of insomnia and my hip and back make me feel like I’m 90 instead of 30, but that’s fleeting in the grand scheme of things. 5 months ago my back was okay and in 5 months time it will be back to being okay. For the last 5 months I’ve been stressed about my academic life, and now within the last few days it’s all started to realign itself again.

Things happen for a reason, for a season, for a time. It doesn’t mean it’s going to last forever – that’s our choice to make. The sun and moon will keep doing their dance and so shall I, with gratitude and some damn good ice cream.

Thank you for sticking with me so far on my journey and I can’t wait to keep sharing it with you going forward.

Blessed Be.

Constance x

 

 

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Take care of your body, you only get one!

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If our car started having issues, we’d take it to the mechanic straight away. If one of our appliances were playing up, we’d take it to someone to get it fixed. Heaven forbid if something happened to our phones, we’d be running around like crazy to get that shit sorted out.

So why don’t we do this for our bodies?

Our bodies are the most important thing we own. It’s our vehicle, our vessel, our temple. While we’re young, our parents look after it for us, but once we get the keys, we have to step up and listen to it.

If you have something that’s bothering you, seek help. If you find out your family medical history has some crazy shit in it, make sure you keep yourself checked for it as well. Just please, listen to what your body is telling you, and get help when you need it.

As Baz Luhrmann says:

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can

Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it

It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own

Constance xxx

$5 Challenge

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In my post last week, I mentioned just a few of the money saving challenges that are out there on the Internet.

Over the years I’ve tried quite a few of them, with varying degrees of success, but the one that appeals to me the most, is the $5 challenge.

The basic principle of this challenge is that every time you get a $5 note, you put it aside and save it, either for a specific period of time, or until you accrue a dollar figure you have set for yourself.

The appeal of this challenge is in its simplicity – there are no coins to count and have to sift through and $5 is generally an amount people can put aside, without feeling the pinch.

I started this challenge myself as my New Years resolution and 16 days into the new year, I’ve already accumulated $75 dollars, with a target of $500.

In a world of bills and debt and financial responsibility, it’s important to try and pay your debts off as quickly as possible, it’s also just as important to put aside money that you can use for whatever you desire – whether it’s saving up for Christmas presents, going on a holiday, or being able to go on a guilt free shopping trip.

So, I put it to you all, to give this challenge a go, and aim for October 13, to treat yo’ self!

Constance xxx

Please note that everything I discuss when it comes to money and finances, is based on my own personal experiences and while this is general advice and information in nature, it does not take into account your own personal experiences and may not be suitable for you. I highly recommend speaking to a licensed Financial Planner, who will be able to give you personal advice, suitable for your own situation.

Capsule Project 333 hybrid for beginners 

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A big factor of living a Minimalist lifestyle, is learning that less, is more, and quality is always better than quantity. This especially translates to a persons’ wardrobe and from that, many concepts have been invented.

Two of the most popular concepts are Capsule wardrobes and Project 333. A Capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe that consists of basic key items that can be combined to form countless different outfit choices. Project 333, is a wardrobe that consists of 33 items, that gets rotated every 3 months in line with seasonal changes. Both of these concepts include clothes (including outerwear like jackets), shoes and accessories (i.e jewellery, sunglasses, bags, scarves etc.), but do not include underwear, sleepwear or workout wear and also does not include sentimental jewellery such as wedding rings, or anything else you don’t remove.

While Project 333 is also considered a capsule wardrobe, it’s unique in that there is a specific limit on how many items you can have and using a timeframe, while other standard capsule wardrobes can be designed so that you have all seasons covered and don’t swap in and out during the year.

For anyone who is new to these concepts, they can seem overwhelming, so I recommend a hybrid mix of the two.

Here is my wardrobe for the next 3 months – I currently have a capsule wardrobe spanning from January through March, which covers Summer and the first Month of Autumn in Australia. I have done this because the weather can be a finicky thing in my part of Australia and while my wardrobe is Summer proof, having warmer options is also necessary.


Now this is where my hybrid mix concept comes into play.

Use the 333 concept, just for clothes initially. The reason why I suggest this, is because ultimately, the best wardrobe to have is one that covers all seasons, as it will cut down on having to store clothes away somewhere else, you’re covered for any kind of weather, and you know exactly what you have and what you can put together. To start with though, it is a good foundation to break it up into a 3 month cycle so you can determine what works and what doesn’t and eventually end up with an all seasons capsule wardrobe.

Stick to basic colour schemes, with pops of colour to break it up. Black, Grey and White are classic colours that can go with anything and everything. Once your wardrobe foundation is there, pick your favourite colours and add it to the mix, adding your own personal flair to your wardrobe.

Be tough when it comes to your accessories. Starting out, you need to work with what you already own. You want pieces that will work with any outfit choice you make. If you find that you don’t have anything that can do that, get rid of what you’ve got, set a limit and get only what you need.

Remember, Quality is always better than Quantity, and having classic, timeless pieces will always go far.

Friday the 13th!

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This week, Summer has really kicked in, with temperatures sitting in the 30s, well into the night. So, to pay homage, without getting ourselves sunburnt (seriously, the sun causes cancer and premature aging!), I dedicate this product review to all about that beautiful, sunkissed glow.

Sportsgirl has delivered us the goods, with this divine palette.


The pigments in the ‘On the Glow’ sunkissed palette are top notch and the quality is amazingly good, especially for a product that only costs $14.95 (AUD)!

It comes with four high pigment powders, to give you plenty of choice in how you want to highlight and illuminate your face.


Image courtesy of Sportsgirl.

It’s very versatile – I use it for highlighting, especially along the cheekbones, and I also use it for eyeshadow, to give that summertime shimmering look to my eyes as well.

One thing that I also love about this product, is that it’s not tested on animals.

If you’re in the market for a multi-purpose product that is affordable and very pretty, this palette is definitely one to add to your collection.

Constance xxx

Who am I part 2…

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Today I thought I’d share some more insights into who I am and my life.

I’ve always struggled to get rid of things; I still have all my journals and letters from when I was a teenager! As I’ve gotten older though, I have been steadily working towards living a minimalist lifestyle and actively declutter and downsize every day.

I have a bullet journal, because I love putting pen to paper, and I’ve found that it’s very therapeutic for me. I keep my daily tracker in there, my to do lists, my goals and journal about what’s happened on that particular day.

I love to read! I have thousands of books, and while it pains me to do so, I’m slowly downsizing on them, keeping of course the ones that really mean something to me, and donating the rest.

I have two cats, Duchess and Pepe, and they are my world. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

My partner and I will be celebrating our four year anniversary this April, and he’s also very much about living a minimalist lifestyle, being a constant source of inspiration to me.

I have a wonderful group of girlfriends, who are absolute rockstars, and I am grateful for having them in my life, every single day.

I am an 80’s fiend. You just can’t beat the music and movies from that decade!

Speaking of movies and music; I am a big fan of them both. If I don’t listen to music every day, I feel incomplete, and I binge watch movies and TV shows all the time.

I love playing computer games and can lose hours to them, so they’re reserved for when I’m not so busy, which is all the time these days! That’s okay though, because accomplishing my goals makes life so much more wonderful and fulfilling.


Constance xxx

Come on, work your body, baby!

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When I was younger, I used to be involved in everything- Swimming, Scouts, Girl Guides, Little Athletics, Martial Arts. However, for as long as I can remember, I always struggled with my weight and back.

I found out when I was 16 that I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and it made sense; my periods were a nightmare, nothing I did would make me lose weight and I was at a high risk of forming type 2 Diabetes. During this time, my back also got progressively worse, where I’d have weeks off school, unable to move.

Then, when I was 21, my life changed. Somehow, I had broken my L4-L5 spinal disc. This time of my life is a story in itself, that I won’t get into here, but suffice to say, if I hadn’t had spinal surgery when I did, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. The most important part is that I did have the surgery, and my life changed for the better.

I dropped from 130kg down to 95kg. I was moving in ways that I hadn’t been able to do since I was a kid, and finally, as an adult, I found a renewed sense of appreciation when it came to exercise.

In the time from then to now, many gyms have come and gone, but the one thing that has stayed consistent, is Yoga.

I LOVE YOGA.

I used to be so scared that I couldn’t do it, because of my back, because I was too big, too uncomfortable in my own body and skin, but you know what, don’t ever let any of those things hold you back. Yoga has, in all sincerity, changed my life.

These days, I work with a yoga mat, two dumbbells and my own body, and while I’ve put on weight since I was 23, I’m fitter, stronger and feel better than I have in my entire life. I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone and everyone, no matter your size, gender, age or fitness level, Yoga will work for you.


Namaste.

Constance xxx

 

Let’s talk about Brows…

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Today, let us dive right in to the thing most women think about – their eyebrows!

As a Beauty Therapist, my most favourite thing to work on, are eyebrows. They can completely transform someone’s face, and to me, that’s some serious magic.

I myself have spent many, MANY years, in search of the perfect eyebrows, and today I’m going to share my secrets.

Eyebrows are one of those things that, no matter what kind you have, whether they be thick or thin, sparse or bushy, a perfect natural shape or they have a mind of their own and like to hold hands whenever possible, every person I know (including men!) have had moments in their lives of complete frustration.

“They don’t match!”

“They are way too thick/thin/dark/light etc.”

“I want eyebrows like the girls on Instagram!”

“I have no idea what I’m doing!”

Here are key points about eyebrows:

They are siblings, not twins. No one has a perfectly symmetrical face, and therefore eyebrows aren’t either. They need to be close to it, but don’t worry if they’re not exactly the same.

There are always going to be trends. Ignore them! Your eyebrows should be designed and shaped for what is going to suit your face and trust me, some trends will not suit you.

Everyone is tempted to try and fix their eyebrows themselves. DON’T DO IT. Go to a professional to sort them out for you. Trust me, I have photographic proof of where I’ve accidentally waxed off half an eyebrow (this is well before I became a professional of course) and I wouldn’t wish that devastating feeling on anyone.

It’s never too late to fix past mistakes. You will have to put in the time to get there, because unfortunately there’s no quick fix, but it’s always worth it.

I could talk about eyebrows for days, and this definitely won’t be my only post about them, but I’m going to leave this here with a photo of my own brows, that I have dedicated 20 years to, to get to this point. They may not suit anyone else, but they suit me, and that’s the biggest secret of them all.


Your eyebrows are meant to suit your face, not anyone else’s.

If you have any questions or comments on this post, I’d love to read them! Hit me up anytime.

Constance xxx

Money, Money, Money

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For me, there were some parts of being a Financial Planner that I absolutely loved. I used to get a thrill in helping people find a way to sort out their finances, to have stability in their lives and know that they could become financially positioned to enjoy their lives without having to constantly stress about money. I myself managed to get 20 thousand dollars in debt down to the last $1500 I have left to pay off, and there’s nothing quite so satisfying, in being debt free.

So, even though I am no longer a Financial Planner, I still love finding ways to save money, reduce debt, make up budgets and just all things money and finance. After all, money makes the world go round, and even when living a minimalist lifestyle, you need to have a sensible plan in place, to get to where you will ultimately find happiness.

If you go on Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram, dozens of blog pages, everyone has their own concept and idea, of a way to save money.

Whether you follow the 52 week challenge, where you save an amount of money corresponding to what week of the year it is e.g. Week 1 – $1 Week 2 – $2 Week 15 – $15 or you even do it in reverse, where you start off with $52 in the first week of January and work your way down to $1 in the last week of December, or maybe you follow the $1 a day challenge, where you save $1 a day for the whole year. There’s the $5 challenge where you save $5 a week, or there’s the idea of any coins you get given in change, go straight into a piggy bank – the options are endless.

One of the biggest traps that people fall into though, when it comes to managing their finances, is trying to save money, while struggling with debt. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a sensible idea to have money set aside, for emergencies and whatever fun thing life decides to throw at you, but if you manage to accumulate some savings and yet you’re drowning in bills and fees and everything keeps building up, you just end up making your situation worse.

In situations like this, it’s important to reach out and talk to the companies or institutions you owe money to. You’d be surprised at just how much a business is willing to help you, if you actually discuss your situation with them. I had run into some financial difficulty when it came to my health fund, and was getting a few hundred dollars behind in my premiums and just couldn’t get the money together to pay it off in a lump sum. So, I  pushed myself past the embarrassment, spoke with them, and was able to organise a payment plan to pay it off in instalments. The debt of course kept accumulating, because that’s what happens when it comes to fees, monthly charges, etc. but because I had spoken to them and put a plan in place, and they could see I was making a genuine effort to pay it off, they ended up waiving the remaining debt I had in place – over $300 gone. If I hadn’t spoken to them about it, and just been upfront and honest about my situation, my policy would have ended up cancelled, I would be in more debt and I would have been in an even worse position, if I got sick again and needed to go to hospital – when a standard hospital visit for me costs $7,000 having a policy in place that covers it all except for $250 is VERY important.

In summary, the first step people should consider taking, is actually talking to someone. Get a plan put in place, to manage your debt in the most appropriate manner for you, and take steps in paying it off, even if it’s only $10 a week, because really, something is better than nothing, and the quicker you work on getting that debt paid off, the better you’ll be in the long run.

Not everyone has had the opportunities I have, to learn the things I’ve learnt and find what might work best for them. I hope though, by sharing my personal journey, you will become inspired, to find what works best for you too.

Constance xxx

 

Please note that everything I discuss when it comes to money and finances, is based on my own personal experiences and while this is general advice and information in nature, it does not take into account your own personal experiences and may not be suitable for you. I highly recommend speaking to a licensed Financial Planner, who will be able to give you personal advice, suitable for your own situation.

Who Am I?

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Hello and welcome! My name is Constance and this is my new blog.

I am a 30-year-old Greek woman, living on the beautiful South Coast of New South Wales, Australia, with my gorgeous partner and our two cat furbabies.

I worked in the Finance Industry for 10 years, as a Financial Planner, Business Development Consultant and a Trainer. During those 1o years, I was constantly unhappy. I knew I was in a career that I didn’t want, but I had no idea where to go, how to change my life, how to take that leap.

One of the major aspects that kept holding me back, was the fact that I was always sick. I had to have spinal surgery when I was 23, I nearly bled to death after having my tonsils taken out when I was 25, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was 26 and I struggled with my weight – while this has been a lifelong struggle, I hit my peak weight of 130kg during this decade.

So, I basically worked to live, for those 10 years. Every accumulated holiday leave, was used for surgeries. I formed a pretty severe drinking habit, was living paycheck to paycheck, with any savings I’d manage to stick to, going straight on medical bills. I would constantly shop, constantly look for instant gratification, just so I could feel some fleeting form of happiness. Of course, I never really found it.

One day, in 2015, I woke up with a clarity that I hadn’t had before. This was it, I knew that I couldn’t keep living like this anymore. I was 28 and had spent 10 years of my life in this career that I had grown to hate, not because it was a bad career, but that it just was not fundamentally me. I had never planned to be doing it for so long, and I could not let time keep getting away from me.

So, I sat down, and I thought about it. What did I love? What was my passion in life? I was passionate about helping people, which I was already doing, but the key aspect though, was my lack of passion for the industry I was in. I was not happy; I was fucking miserable.

Another thing that I had always been passionate about, ever since I was a little girl, was all things Beauty. Hair, Makeup, having fantastic eyebrows (trust me, all Greek women spend A LOT of time dealing with their eyebrows) and generally taking care of oneself.

Then, the light-bulb turned on. THAT WAS IT! I knew what I had to do.

I was becoming a Beauty Therapist and Makeup Artist.

Funnily enough, it really was that quick. In a span of 2 weeks, I found a college, applied and was enrolled, gave my job a month’s notice and that was it! I was on my way.

I saw my 29th birthday as a full-time Beauty student. Honestly, I was terrified. What was I doing at this age, quitting a well-paying job, with the health issues I had, basically starting again. It was madness!

I tell you what though, it was the best decision I ever made.  I have been in remission for 2 years now with my Crohn’s Disease. I am a qualified Beauty Therapist and love my new career. I am a Makeup Artist and am working on further studies in that field, to be able to do some amazing things. It will be 4 years this year that I’ve been with my partner and I am now freaking 30 years old!

So, where does Minimalism fall into all of this? Well…

A few years ago, I really started looking into the Minimalism culture that was starting to gain momentum. Could people really be that happy, without an abundance of stuff?? The concept appealed to me, but I could never seem to put it into practice. To me, all my stuff is what made me happy, and I needed all the happiness I could get. The more clothes and shoes I had, the more bags and books and makeup and THINGS and STUFF and whatever money could buy me, that was giving me happiness… right?

There’s nothing quite like, having a defining moment happen in your life. I feel pretty blessed, to have had two major ones happen to me. One, was changing my career, and the other, was realising what I had to do to change my life.

I don’t need all this stuff. All these materialistic things, that quantity over quality that I was living for most of my life. The balance was all wrong, it has to be quality over quantity, and while I knew it, I didn’t really know it.

Until it hit me.

So, basically, this is my journey to achieve a minimalist lifestyle, that incorporates Beauty, Health, Well-being and all things in between.

It’s a process, like all things in life, and I for one am so excited to be able to share this journey with you all.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me and please shoot though your thoughts and comments.

Constance xxx