Good Style: Kester Black Winter Colour Drop

unspecified-1unspecified-2Australian beauty brand Kester Black recently released a new range of winter nail polish colours, using a brand new water permeable base- the first ever released by a homegrown label.

The new range aims to make manicures ‘healthier’- as the new formula allows nails to grow naturally, without the restriction of a non-breathable base. Even though this might sound a bit technical, it is an important innovation for the company (and they have even released some Q&As on their website to better explain it- complete with scientific graphs!) Importantly, it doesn’t affect the longevity or cover of the colour, so manicures can be enjoyed without compromise.

In addition to this exciting move to become even more of a natural beauty champion- the label has shown its true style with the gorgeous colour collection, which boasts a charcoal grey, moonlight blue, hazy blush and lagoon green. They even have the delightful names of Soot, Lapis, Petal and Typhoon.

Kester Black specialises in Australian made nail polish and luxurious soaps, which are palm oil free. They are committed to beautiful design, quality products and environmental sustainability.

All of their products have a Choose Cruelty Free and Vegan Society accreditation and are free from the toxic nasties found in most conventional nail brands.

The label is planning to convert its full range of nail products to the new water permeable formula by 2017.

Get these delicious designer shades on your digits!

Photo Credit: Anna Pogossova (images are of the colours Typhoon & Soot)

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Good Style: U&I in a Surf State of Mind

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A unique collaboration between Australian fashion designer Jodie Hayes and Swedish designer and photographer Emma Backlund, has created the first independent women’s surf label from Bells Beach- U&I.

The chase for waves led both Jodie & Emma to Torquay in 2012, where they bonded over their love of good surf and great style. Together, they decided to create a surf wear line for women that ’empowers instead of objectifies.’

The concepts and styles are dreamt up between surfs, laughs and beers and Jodie and Emma say that “every stitch is inspired by the power of the ocean and designed to complement the grace of female board riders.”

In addition to their Summer 15/16 range (which is a very clever interchangeable mix of tops, bottoms and one-pieces) the recently launched Storm Collection is a more ‘luxurious’ extension of the summer staples- complete with on trend prints.

All garments are designed and hand dyed in Torquay and are proudly made in Australia.

Shop your surf style at U&I!

Good Style: Byron Bay Folke

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The Byron Bay based FOLKE label has not even celebrated its first birthday, but has already made a mark on the ethical style scene.

Starting out with a simple original tee, it has now blossomed into a small collection made from organic cotton, hemp and recycled materials. The label uses no plastics or chemicals and in a nod to natural beauty, does not employ any make up artists or stylists for its fashion shoots.

Founder Francis Cloake says the culture of Byron Bay heavily influences the FOLKE style.

“We want to keep the free spirit, eco warrior vibe that once was alive and influence the younger generations to embrace more conscious sustainable fashion. The bay, with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and a backdrop of rolling hills and Mount Warning – these experiences shape you and make you to want to protect your natural environment.”

The label aims to diversify the materials it uses in manufacturing and will soon add a swimwear range made from plastic bottles, fishing nets and other materials found in the ocean, which threaten marine life.

Find out more about the good folk at FOLKE at http://www.folke.net.au

Positive Changemaking with Carly Wallace

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Carly Wallace has made a career out of inspiring others. A bona fide media maven, she entered the world of radio and television to bring about more positive representations of Indigenous Australia. She is motivated by her heritage, a fierce loyalty to her family and the power of storytelling.

Despite having faced more personal tragedy than most, she channels her diverse life experiences into a positive energy that she shares with others, particularly in her new role as a National Presenter and communications assistant at the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME).

One of AIME’s major fundraising events National Hoodie Day is coming up in the next few weeks, so I thought it was the perfect time to catch up with Carly to find out more about her work with this game changing organisation, but also to dig a little deeper to really understand what makes her tick.

In her own words, Carly talks about how her personal journey has led her to this exciting new role, her commitment to giving voice to everyday Australians through her media work and why we should all be wearing AIME Hoodies on July 10 (and taking selfies in them!)

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(Carly with Catherine Satour & I on the set of ‘Our Songs’ at NITV)

I am a Dulguburra Yidinji woman from the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland. I am now based in Brisbane and have the privilege of working two amazing jobs.

I am a National Presenter and communications assistant for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) and I also work part time for National Indigenous Television (NITV) as a television presenter.

I get to work with hundreds of Indigenous kids from all over Queensland in my role with AIME, watch them grow and achieve their goals and dreams. I have the opportunity to create positivity and change for our next generation of Indigenous students and that alone motivates me to get out of bed everyday.

I am lucky to have been brought up in a strong family unit where I was encouraged to always give things a go. That motivation to keep striving and achieving and make my family proud inspires me in both of my jobs and in my everyday life.

When I’m not in the office working on AIME’s social media platforms, I’m out travelling as far as Rockhampton, Gladstone, The Sunshine Coast or Gympie, delivering its educational mentoring program.

The best thing about my jobs is that no two days are ever the same. I am often out working with Indigenous students in years 9-12 in my National Presenter role with AIME and I’m also often filming stories for NITV in my spare time. I love being able to travel and meet students and people from all over the state.

After a long day of travel and work, I head home and chill with my little brother who is 17 years old.

Media is a huge part of who I am. When I first began my career in radio, I was a shy teenager, had a lot of self esteem issues and suffered massively from shame.

I have worked in the media industry since I was 19 years old, predominantly in radio and then with NITV over the last few years. I always loved music and talking and telling stories though, so I forced myself to do radio in order to break out of the shame factor.

Over the past decade, media has taken me to so many places and has allowed my self confidence to grow massively. I have worked in both Indigenous media and non Indigenous media. I love the storytelling element of media. I love being able to tell positive stories, especially about Indigenous people. As a teenager, I would get angry with the way media portrayed us on radio and TV so I used this as motivation to pursue a career in the industry with hopes of changing a lot of those stereotypes from the inside.

But at the end of 2010, I lost my mum suddenly and took a hiatus from the media industry to move back to North Queensland from Sydney where I was working for ABC 702 at the time, to start raising my little brother who was 13 years old.

It was a massive shock to the system to walk away from my career to raise my brother but something I don’t regret doing. I missed radio at first and found it hard to get back into working in media due to the location of where we were living in North Queensland.

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I wasn’t sure I’d ever make it back into the media industry and struggled for a few years without work until I moved my brother and I to Brisbane in 2013.

It was then that I started with NITV and began a new chapter in my media career, making the switch from radio to television. At the end of 2014, a job came up with AIME in Brisbane and I applied for it and got the position as a casual national presenter. I felt this job would allow me to use my media skills to help inspire the next generation of Indigenous youth and it worked well alongside my job with NITV.

Over the course of this past year, I have realised that my story and my journey, the good and the bad, has led me to this job with AIME. I am now full time with AIME as a National Presenter and communications assistant where I get to combine my love of working with Indigenous youth and storytelling and use my media skills to run the AIME Twitter and Instagram pages. I am extremely grateful that I am able to do a job that I love where I get to share my story and the message that Indigenous=Success to the next generation of Indigenous youth.

The most rewarding part of my role with AIME is seeing the individual changes that occur in every student from when they first begin the AIME program to when they finish. I get to see kids smash that shame factor.

It’s great to see them go on to achieve everything they want to during school and beyond. To be able to have a hand in influencing young Indigenous lives everyday is something I never take for granted and something I hold close to my heart.

Every AIME site I get to work at, whether it’s Rockhampton, Brisbane, Gladstone, Gympie or The Sunshine Coast, I am always in awe of the students and mentors I meet and work with. I get to witness Reconciliation first hand every day. They all inspire me with their dreams and goals of becoming doctors, builders, engineers, teachers and even Prime Ministers. I get to witness these students finish high school despite the odds they face on a daily basis and continue to create Indigenous success in this country.

National Hoodie Day is AIME’s winter fundraiser and is coming up on Friday 10 July 2015.

It’s a chance for the whole nation to don an AIME hoodie to support our goal of more Indigenous kids finishing school at the same rate as every Australian child. Every limited edition hoodie sold brings AIME closer to working with 10,000 Indigenous kids annually across Australia by 2018.

We also have a national hoodie day competition online using the hashtag #hoodieday15 . For those that want to get involved, you can win some dope prizes just by uploading a photo of yourself in our 2015 AIME Hoodies, posting it onto your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages and using the hashtag #hoodieday15. This year’s hoodies are red, black and yellow and are selling fast so get in quick. You can get involved by purchasing a hoodie from our shop page and wearing it with pride!

If you are a uni student at one of our partnered universities, you can also jump onto our website and sign up to become a mentor for our program.

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One of my personal highlights from the past 11 years has been graduating with my diploma in radio broadcasting from The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in Sydney.

I was also lucky enough to win the AV Myer Award for Indigenous Excellence on the same day. Making the switch from radio to television has also been a highlight, as well as being able to travel and deliver radio workshops to Indigenous Broadcasters across Australia on behalf of AFTRS.

I’ve met so many people and interviewed famous musicians and politicians to everyday, inspiring people like artists, teachers and doctors. I have covered many events from National NAIDOC Balls, to the Yabun Festival and other cultural events. I’ve met fashion designers, young people and elders and travelled to some of the most remote places in Australia.

No matter what the event or story is, I always realise how blessed I am to have the opportunity to give a voice to everyday Australians through the medium of radio and television.

Find out more about National Hoodie Day and get involved!

Loving the Great Barrier Reef with Liv Metter

Victorian AYCC team at Climate March

Liv Metter loves the Great Barrier Reef. As a young environmentalist and member of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), she is passionate about ensuring Australians truly understand the imminent threats to the Reef’s survival. Although Liv is close to graduating with an arts degree majoring in human rights, she has taken this year off to dedicate herself fully to the fight against climate change.

She, along with a whole host of others, will be giving up life’s little indulgences, to raise money for the AYCC’s new campaign ‘For the Love of the Reef’ which begins on Monday (which also happens to be Liv’s birthday!). Here, Liv talks about her involvement in the climate change movement, her personal fundraising efforts for the Reef (with her team- ‘Charlie and the Fundraising Factory!’) and shares her thoughts on what all Australians should know about one of our most iconic natural wonders.

I have always been concerned about social justice issues, but it wasn’t until I got to university that I began to realise the link between social justice and climate change.

Climate change is an issue that is going to affect everyone but it is already affecting those who are most vulnerable. Understanding that really sparked my motivation to work toward a more just and sustainable future. My passion for this issue has grown steadily, so I have taken a hiatus from study to commit myself to the climate fight with the AYCC. I am still working casual shifts but don’t expect to go back to uni anytime soon. (don’t tell my parents!…)

In 2009, as a high school student, I went to a national summit in Sydney called ‘Powershift’ and was completely blown away.

The summit went for three days and was full of inspirational speakers, educational workshops and even a flashmob at the Opera House. It was here that my mind was opened to the concept of climate change. I came back home with a new found feeling that I can only describe as a mix of fear, hope and inspiration.

I began volunteering with the AYCC and over the years have become more experienced, confident and knowledgeable. I’ve had different leadership roles in the organisation and have been the Schools Coordinator and the Volunteer Support Coordinator.

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Liv speaking at an AYCC event.

I am now one of the Victorian State Coordinators of the AYCC.

I’ve been in this role for about six months and work alongside my best buddy Erica. What I love most about it is the opportunity to oversee what’s happening in a whole state, working closely with the national staff team and Victorian volunteers. I now get to oversee a whole variety of groups that I once volunteered in- to make sure that everyone is happy, confident and carrying out the campaign effectively.

The role involves a lot of strategic thinking, planning, training volunteers, facilitating meetings and coordinating actions and events. I have gained so many skills I would not have learnt anywhere else and I am so grateful to the AYCC for the experience. I hope that I’ve been able to give back to the Victorian volunteers and to the climate change movement more broadly.

Young people have an incredibly strong voice in the climate change fight and AYCC is a place for that voice to be heard.

We are creative, dynamic and passionate. Whilst we are fighting for those who are already affected by climate change, we also recognise that our future and that of our children, will be in jeopardy if we don’t change our ways. We can also tap into new forms of communication and can sometimes be a little bit cheeky when confronting power holders. We have the time and creativity to get things done in new and positive ways.

I’m about to give up coffee, beer and chocolate for the ‘For the Love of the Reef’ campaign.

The campaign is a fundraising challenge where we ask people to give up something they love between May 18-31, to raise money for and awareness of the Reef. We believe stopping the construction of the world’s largest coal port right near the Reef is critical. We are up against some pretty powerful organisations so our campaign needs a little extra funding to make a difference.

All the money raised will go to supplying resources and training volunteers on the ground to help roll out the campaign. The AYCC is a deductible gift recipient charity so all donations over $2 are tax deductible!

The things I’d like people to know about the Great Barrier Reef are that…

It is currently under threat from coal port expansion.

The Reef is already sick from ocean acidification and a changing climate. If plans to expand coal ports go ahead, it could be catastrophic. A major part of this is because of dredging. Dredging involves digging up the sea floor in shallow waters, so that ships can travel through. The process unfortunately stirs the ocean floor, allowing sediment to rise and cloud the water. The cloudy water limits the amount of sunshine coming through which means that coral can’t photosynthesise and the Reef begins to deteriorate. Dredging would be a necessary part of this coal port expansion and the estimated ship traffic would be around 7000 ships a year.

There’s a serious reason why we are asking people to give up coffee, chocolate and beer.

Food security is a major issue related to climate change. It will have devastating effects on agricultural communities around the world. Climate change is already having an impact on the things we love- like coffee beans and cocoa. That’s why we’re saying to people- ‘if you love the Reef, then join us and go without something you love, that will be affected by climate change.’

We need to stop investments coming from Australian banks.

If you are with one of the major four banks in Australia or one of their subsidiary branches, there is a link to Reef destruction. None of these Australian banks have ruled out funding the risky coal port project. This is shameful. Not only is the Reef a national icon, it is also home to thousands of species of marine life and provides 60,000 jobs in the tourism industry. We have seen eleven major international banks rule out funding this project and we are now calling on Australian banks to follow suit. That’s why we’re also running the ‘Dump My Bank’ campaign that calls on Australian banks to simply back away from this project.

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You can find out more about the ‘For the Love of the Reef’ campaign, make a donation and sponsor a participant on their website.

Mindfulness with the Merrymaker Sisters

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May is a month to be mindful. That’s the aim behind the Mindful in May initiative which challenges people to experience the benefits of meditation, while raising money for a very important cause. For a small registration fee, you get access to daily, online meditation support (in exchange for committing to daily practice!) and through sponsorship, raise money for clean water projects around the world.

Mindfulness is something I have a pretty strong interest in. I spent many years learning mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques as a way to deal with stress, improve overall health and combat life in general.

Although I don’t practice it as much as I should these days, I still believe it is an important part of wellbeing.

So do the Merrymaker Sisters.

Emma and Carla Papas (or ‘the sisters’) are health and happiness bloggers, natural real food recipe developers and passionate health coaches. Their vibrant blog is also an online community of people wanting to lead happier, healthier lives. Both Emma and Carla are ambassadors of Mindful in May and here, they talk about why they are putting their minds to this magnificent message.

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Introducing mindfulness into our lives has made a huge, amazing and positive impact.

It has brought more positivity, joy and fun and has also really helped in the running of our business. We now choose to live stress free lives and have tools that we use to avoid becoming overwhelmed. We’re so passionate about promoting mindfulness to our online merrymaker community, so becoming Mindful in May ambassadors just felt right to us! We want to help spread their amazing message and initiative.

Mindfulness is just as important as food and movement when it comes to overall health and happiness.

It allows us all to deal with stress better, which is the cause of many illnesses worldwide. We have both dealt with anxiety before and learning mindfulness techniques means this no longer impacts on our lives.

Us humans have a funny way of setting limits on our lives, believing that we can only achieve a certain amount, but this just isn’t true and mindfulness really helped us realise this and allowed us to have faith in our dreams.

Clean drinking water is something we all take for granted.

When we first started practising mindfulness, our reminder was water! Every time we filled our drink bottles or glasses we’d take a moment to be grateful and to come back to the ‘now.’ So the more awareness this campaign brings, the more fresh water goes to those in need, which is just amazing.

With so many great ambassadors on board and a massive collective social media audience, we have no doubt we’ll be able to bring awareness of this initiative to the masses.

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The top 3 small changes people can make right now, to live happier, healthier lives are…

To enjoy the journey and live in the now.

The moment we understood this and started to live it, we truly became healthier and happier. A huge weight lifted off our shoulders when we realised that there’s no point in reliving the past and that the future never really comes. Yes – we set huge exciting goals but we ensure we enjoy every step and that we stop and celebrate (with our favourite healthy cake).

Follow your bliss.

It was just three small words that changed our entire lives. To ‘Follow Your Bliss’ is the key to truly unlocking the joy filled life ahead. For us, understanding this was like a kick up the bum, an extra push, a huge sign saying ‘Hey Merrymakers! Your truth is this way, do more of what you love, follow your bliss!’.

We have many tips on how to find and follow your bliss but our number one tip is to simply stop and start looking for it. Add new hobbies to your life. They may not be your bliss but they may lead you to it!

Breathe

Understand that being mindful isn’t rocket science. There’s no right way or wrong way.
If you’re new to it, we’d say to focus on your breath for five minutes every day. This will easily bring you into the present moment. From there, you can look into other tools and meditations to strengthen your mindfulness. Remember, this is your journey and it will differ from everyone around you. Do what works for you and what makes you feel good!

We have set some crazy goals for the next year!

Our mission is to spread the Merrymaker message of health and happiness to as many people as possible worldwide. Prepare to see some massive exciting changes come 2016!

As for this year, we’re about to launch our very first hard copy recipe book called ‘Make It Merry’ and we’re also working on a mobile application which is due out by the end of the year. Plus, we have an exciting online program too. So it’s full steam ahead for us!

Follow the Merrymaker Sisters through their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The Power of Patyegarang with Waangenga Blanco

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I saw Bangarra Dance Theatre’s new work, Patyegarang, for the second time on Friday night and was once again blown away. It’s Bangarra’s 25th anniversary this year and to celebrate, they are sharing a story from their home base of Sydney.

It is so exciting to see our rich Indigenous history celebrated on stage, setting imaginations alight. In our culture, dance has always been an important part of storytelling and celebration. Bangarra’s work continues this ancient tradition, reaching out to teach and inspire new audiences and keep our culture and stories alive. It was wonderful to think that the love story we were watching, between Patyegarang and Lieutenant William Dawes, had played out in reality on the shores of the harbour city, potentially hundreds of metres away from the comfort of Sydney’s Opera House.

As well as seeing the piece twice, I also managed to grab a sneak peek of the show two days before it opened and caught up with dancer Waangenga Blanco, who plays the role of Ngalgear in the show.

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Waangenga says that Patyegarang is a true story of reconciliation.

“It’s a really beautiful story in that it shows what we can learn from one another. It’s about sharing in each other’s perspectives and I think these are the kinds of experiences that can sometimes be overlooked in storytelling, so I’m excited about it,” he said.

“It’s also nice to see how both the Indigenous and non Indigenous perspectives are portrayed in the piece. It’s not about demonising anyone; it’s about honestly sharing those experiences.”

A descendant of the Mer Island people and of the Pajinka Wik, Cape York, this is Waangenga’s ninth year with the company as a dancer, something he always dreamed of doing as a child.

“Growing up, I just always wanted to make people happy so have always wanted to perform and entertain,” he said.

It was lovely to speak to someone who is helping to represent this beautiful piece of history and this coming week, I’ll be chatting to the show’s costume designer, bringing a style lense to this stunning story.

New Sydney shows of Patyegarang have just been announced and you can purchase tickets on the Sydney Opera House website.