Thursday, 28 August 2014

One Story #9 - Someone Keeps Moving My Chair

About Zac
Country: Australia
Blog: Someone Keeps Moving My Chair - I am fairly new to the blogging world. I started my blog in November of last year prior to travelling to South America for 3 months. It was created partly to ease the anxiety of my parents and partly so I could look back nostalgically while I study/struggle through another Melbourne winter. Once I returned home to Melbourne, and the 'I went here and did this' stories dried up, I used the page as a place to air some of my thoughts. I'm normally the science/maths type so it has been a really enjoyable and interesting change to actually write about thoughts and experiences. My blog's name is taken from a song by They Might Be Giants. They are very quirky, and clearly don't take themselves very seriously, which is why I like them. The song itself is not one of my favourites, but I think it lends itself to a travelly kind of theme.
A hobby: Creating playlists of songs that do anything but flow (Lady Gaga to Disturbed to Biggie Smalls?). This is probably because routine in my life doesn't sit well with me, I like bad organisation and a little bit of chaos.
Zac's One Story
While I travel I am not particularly snap happy. Often I forget my camera altogether, along with money on many occasions. I've found that some of my best memories of travel are the ones where I have no photos. There are some theories that when you take too many photos, you only remember the photo and not the actual experience. I don't necessarily agree with this, but I do feel like a lot of people are travelling to gain pictures rather than experiences. I sort of think this might be the difference between tourists and travellers.

Having said that, there are beautiful things everywhere. For me, nine times out of ten, those beautiful things are people. These people here were my hiking companions along the Inca Trek to Machu Picchu. Each one of them had to carry around 25kg's of food and camping equipment so that we could walk the trail, and they all ran the track so they could have each campsite set up by the time we got to it. Each day they were the last to bed and the first up, and I never saw one of them without a smile or a friendly 'hola'.

I really love this picture mainly because of the fact that there is this beautiful backdrop of Andean mountains almost being disregarded by everyone just because engaging with the people you meet is the most fulfilling part of travel. We spent the night sitting around the campsite learning about those men and their families and their culture, all in a very broken version of Spanish. It ranks highly in the list of best experiences in my life.

Rarely would I sit down and actually think purely about me, and I have done that today it has been very interesting. So I'd like to thank Meg for asking me to be a part of this series, and part of the blogging community!

~

Hi Guys! I hope you've had a good week. Thank you Zac for writing such an awesome piece for us. It's really exciting to share Zac's blog with you guys because I met him through mutual friends at University last year. It's pretty cool to be surprised with a real live blogger you already knew without knowing it :)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

A day in Melbourne with Rachel

Hello lovelies!

I hope this weekend was awesome for you. I've been a busy one lately and I kind of dig it, more photos, more amazing people, more adventures.
Yesterday I met Rachel.
Let us talk about that for a second... I love her. And I'm not just saying that because we met through this here little space on the internet, I truly do! I wasn't expecting that our conversations would be that easy and that I could say things like 'look at that man's shoulder muscles' and she wouldn't be completely weirded out haha. We instantly hit it off and could talk about anything and everything, despite our little age gap, location gap. We are just two peas in a pod!
I am so grateful for all the amazing bloggers on here, the ones I have met, the ones I will meet and the ones I'll never meet but will love from afar!

Rachel is visiting from Perth so we adventured around Melbourne a bit, went to the Vic Markets, stopped for juice and chats, shopping, lord of the fries on the State Library lawn. It was just such a lovely day.

And then, we were loitering around the Bourke Street Mall, people watching and having starbucks (this is how the shoulder muscle comment is relevant and not completely creepy haha). I spotted a band I've seen busk in Bourke Street a couple times in the last few years and have been following on social media called Woodlock.
It was so nice because one of the things Rachel and I bonded over when getting to know each other was our taste in music (Rachel's is very good haha).  So we hung around and watched them play (twice), I bought their CD, which I am now listening to while editing photos and blogging. I can't tell you how much I love Woodlock. They are touring Australia at the moment so check them out here.

If I had to describe their sound I would say like a more vibrant/smooth Vance Joy (and we all know how much I love Vance Joy) with a bit of an 'Oh Hellos' country/folk feel and at times they remind me of 'The Paper Kites', without the girl haha. But they are so unique so actually listen to them. The vocal harmonies are the best part :)

Anyway, I'm off to start my Sunday by getting back into bed with some TV shows. Ooh, and I got a new phone finally the god of Vodafone released me from my contract, so I now have a functioning delete button! If any of you know how to get VSCO libraries back after they disappear, hit me up!

Have a good week! and check out Carly's One Story if you're feeling fancy x

Friday, 22 August 2014

One Story #8 - Zauberbear

About Carly
Blog: Zauberbear
Country: USA
Why I started blogging: I knew for sure there had to be people out there with similar minds to my own, full of optimism and silliness, with no room left for negativity and seriousness. The best way I knew of how to find them was the Internet, so I put myself out there hoping to connect with those hypothetical people--finally to find out such human beans did in fact exist and I was not alone. Knowing that is the most comforting thing. Knowing I'm going to meet several of the friends I made on the Internet someday and finally have other brains to exchange creativity with--gosh. I can't tell you how comforting that is.
Meaning behind blog name: Zauberbear is two words smushed into one: "zauber" meaning "magic" in German and "bear" to represent Silkworm, my magical stuffed bear. Since the whole blog centers around him and our adventures together, the title Zauberbear fits more perfectly than anything I could have come up with. The quirkiness is just a bonus.
Fact about me: My body thinks tears are an appropriate response to feeling any and every emotion in superfluous amounts, which is excessively silly because the superfluous amounts aren't even that much--it's just that my emotional complex has the equivalent of a very small bladder, or something like that.
Carly's One Story
Once upon a time, in the spring of 2013, I had a conversation with a tiny stuffed bear in the craft store after I'd caught him following me around. (No laughing; shush, you Non-Believers!) It was certainly not one of those "little did I know it" moments, because every ounce of my insides knew my whole life was about to be flipped, twisted, squeezed, stretched, and shaken all about. What else could possibly happen when you befriend a magical stuffed bear?

I will have you know our life (it will never be purely my life anymore) now regularly consists of helping magical creatures find their way home; stumbling through tears in the veil between the Ordinary Realm and the Magic Realm and consequently finding ourselves in all sorts of sticky situations; researching everything magical and trying to forecast it as best as we can, even though it's practically impossible; preparing for full moons when Silkworm goes batty; et cetera, et cetera. I also try to keep Silkworm's magicalness under wraps whenever we're out in public surrounded by Non-Believers--those who don't believe in Magic--but he's pretty good at that himself, seeing as he's got an instinctual sense for detecting Non-Believers. And of course, there's the bit about Silkworm enchanting everything he makes, but generally, we keep that under control by limiting his crafting and being extremely careful about his participation in projects. Even the slightest contribution from him can enchant a project, and we have no way of knowing if it will be harmful or not!

Essentially, our whole existence (it will never be purely my existence anymore) is running for first place in the Most Bizzare Lives Awards. From sailing across puddles in nutshells while we're both less than an inch tall to being honored with our very own guardian dragon, I can assure you we bring some incredible stories to the campfire.

That photo of him and I in the walnut boat with Tyndaerus the pterodactyl soaring above us--that's an epitome, a sum of what our life is, now. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thanks so much to Carly for contributing this week! Carly is a more recent blog friend, just when I thought I couldn't meet any more amazing people on this crazy internet thing, she found me and I fell in love with her blog. It puts a smile on my face without fail every time I read it. So thank you to the Universe for Carly :)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Pizza with Priscilla!

Hey Guys,

This morning I did a shoot with Priscilla, who I know from school, for her University assignment. She is studying as a stylist and the shoot was food merchandising. So basically Priscilla has to design a recipe card like the ones you get from the supermarket so we had to get a variety of shots of her work, from preparation to final product. So while she made everything look perfect, I captured it. It was kind of cool to work with someone my own age who I can collaborate with that gets design and photography. It was good fun :)
You can have a look at some of Priscilla's work as a Stylist on Instagram: @priscilladowling_vm

Check it out!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

In defence of the Saccone-Jolys: On negativity and the devaluing of carers

So a couple of months ago I started watching a family that vlogs their daily life on youtube. The videos go for around 15 to 17 minutes each day. The family consists of Anna (Mum), Jonathan or Jofee for short (Dad), Emilia (Nearly 2!) and Eduardo (4 months I think!).
There is also a lot of their extended family involved in the vlogs, just as we all have other family members who pop in and out of our lives on a daily basis. Jonathan is sort of the driving force behind the vlogs, he edits and uploads and films a lot, but Anna also films quite a bit too while running her own channel and blog about motherhood, fashion and lifestyle.

I feel like I've sort have really gotten to know this family. They are so open and honest. I understand why they are popular, not many people can be that unapologetic in sharing themselves. It's odd in a way because I feel like this is such a different way to get to know people, they don't know me, and I'm sure there is a lot I don't see in their lives, but all the same, I have a connection to this family living half way across the world. Watching their daily life brings me back down to earth and reminds me that there are adorable babies to be had, family days to look forward to, dogs to impersonate and exciting things happening in the world that are so far from my little reality as a university student in Australia.

This family is amazing, gorgeous and most of all 'normal' in their eccentricities. They are a family and families are complex, challenging and great, a true gift. However, they receive a fair bit of criticism. Sometimes I do not even bother to read the comments because I know I'll be disappointed and frustrated. With 500,000+ subscribers, you are bound to get criticism, but what the Saccone-Joly's cop is above and beyond, while it makes no sense to me at all.

Conspiracy theories about Emilia's headbands being too tight that it has stopped her hair from growing (this one particularly bothers me as I too was a late bloomer in the bangs department :P) or Anna having too much caffeine to be breastfeeding, are bearable because you can just write them off as false, repetitive and to be honest, downright ridiculous.

On the most recent video I read one about Anna being a bad mother, because she goes shopping without her children. So she is being criticised about not spending 100% of her time at home with her children, hiring a babysitter, even though her and Jonathan work from home with their children because of their success on youtube. Other criticisms that are undoubtedly frustrating will be about how they feed and discipline their children.

Some of these criticism are so ridiculous, superficial, motivated by jealousy or intolerance of culture, and downright stupid to validate with a correction but an element does bother me, I will not lie. I obviously never reply because who can be bothered fighting with people who will just never understand how little they understand? And the sad reality of it is, if you share your life publicly, you will be criticised. This is a truth that we knew long before the internet. But it did get me thinking, why do these empty comments bother me if I think so little of those who write them?

After thinking on it, it's probably because I feel that a lot of these criticism are rooted in sexism and the subtle but nonetheless harmful ideas that are born from it.

Women are not bound to their children any more than the father of that child, not all women are natural carers just because they have the biological ability to bear children. I know that right now, as a 20 year old woman I am more than able to have children but I wouldn't have the capacity to care for them.
Although it's pretty irrelevant at the heart of things, because it's absolutely no one's place to say, I think Anna is a natural carer and does a fantastic job not only as a mother but as a carer which are both roles that she takes on as a complete individual who had a duty to take care of herself as well as others. We need to have more respect for mothers, and parents in general. Even if we would do things differently to them.

Jofee receives comparatively little criticism on his parenting. All the comments are about how fantastic he is with Emilia, which I will say, he is a fantastic and interactive parent but so is Anna and she doesn't receive the same praise because being a mother and a carer have been meshed in with her identity, like many other mothers, and seen as part of her, inseparable from her identity as a person, blogger and fashionista, sister, daughter, friend and whatever else she identifies as. While the father in the situation is seen as generous to perform acts of caring in addition to all the things he is, the act of caring is assumed of the mother.

Anna is allowed to go shopping with a friend, or buy herself nice things, to nurture her own personal wants and needs even if other mothers deprive themselves of such things, that's their choice too! Do you get where I'm going with this? It's not up to any one else! We all do things in our own way.

There is a bigger issue. The discourse of sexism devalues caring as the difficult profession worthy of respect that it is. It is hard to raise children. I can't say I've done it, but that doesn't mean I can't see the value in those who care for others and those who have cared for me.

This is the very core of the reason that teachers, childcare workers, nurses and other caregivers are paid less for what is arguably harder work than working in an office or more aptly, working at McDonalds because that is about the equivalent of pay a carer can expect (at least in Australia!). The idea that caring is 'natural' or innate, is simply another method used to devalue the work that was traditionally performed by women. Caring is hard for some even if it comes easy to others.

There is no shame at all in paying someone to help you care for your children nor is it anyone's business to be making comment on. If anything, it shows a love for your children that drives you to go above and beyond to provide what you deem the absolute best care for them that you can afford to give emotionally, physically and financially. And most importantly it is practical, for those of us who live in the real world and not the comments section of youtube videos, it's fairly plain to see that it's impractical to expect a mother so spend 18 year attending to her child 100% of the time with no help whatsoever. This is not a criticism of families that can't afford childcare or choose not to use it because they are natural carers or like to do things their own way, just a kudos to those who see a place for additional care and have to good sense to go for it without letting distorted ideals of parenting get in their way.

The bottom line is that caring is a profession, it requires education (formal or otherwise) and it is work, hard work. Anna and Jofee spend an amazing amount of time caring for their children and I am sure the benefits of that will be seen in the amazing childhoods Emila and Eduardo are going to have. But those parents who choose to "offload" their children so they can have time for themselves and have careers outside the house, are not in the wrong, selfish or bad parents. As long as they pay their babysitter/nanny as well as they can afford to and that child receives adequate care, then it is none of your damn business to judge.

Now, I am going to stop reading youtube comments to prevent future outbursts like this.
Have a good week guys, maybe tell your parents or your childhood Nanny how awesome they are for caring for you! :) Or leave me a comment telling me politely how you disagree with me completely and I couldn't be more wrong, and I'll take on board your perspective :)

If the Saccone Joly's ever read this, thank you for the little bits of happiness you bring me in your videos and the education in the adventures of little friendliest friends x

Friday, 15 August 2014

Alice's 24th - Life in Photos

Hey lovelies!
I don't have a One Story post for you because you know, life is hectic! The series will be back next week though and hopefully won't take anymore 'meg kind of forgot to email people' breaks, we are nowhere near finished!

This week was my sister's birthday so this is just a few photos that I have been editing while I wind down and watch youtube videos on Friday night, it's 1am! Ooops!
My sister's housemate Steph and her boyfriend Chris organised a really nice surprise party/dinner complete with cake and punch. It's so nice to see people doing nice things for others, it's just grand. :)

I think I am getting a cold and I'm almost too comatose to string sentences together right now, so I better be going but I did do a fair bit of posting this week so check out these posts from this previous week if you are feeling fancy.

1. Three Thoughts #6
2. Hello Again
3. Singapore Haul!

Have a good weekend! x

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Singapore Haul!

Hi there!

I thought since I posted a bit of a heavy post earlier this week I would balance it out with something fun! I think I might make a bit of a habit of that, doing a personal type post early in the week, a fun one mid week and a one story at the end of the week, but don't hold me to it!
Anyway, I haven't actually been to Singapore, but the week that I got home from Thailand, my parents spent a week in Singapore. My Dad was there for work but my Mum got a bit of the shopping bug and brought home some cute things for me.

These are just a few of the cute little beauty things Mum got me. A lot of the instructions for the many face/hair masks I got aren't in English so I am still trying to figure out if I am doing them right haha. But it's all good fun :)
Mum bought herself a full sized Balmain perfume so I got the mini's that came with it. I really like this scent, it's quite fruity! 
This was probably the most lovely of all these gifts, this has all the things you need to give yourself a manicure and it's super nice and smells nice. I love love love the buffer thing that makes my nails look so shiny :D 
Mum also got me Hello Kitty face washers and other little bits and bobs like key rings and socks. But I'm mostly taken with all these adorable beauty bits. Have you ever tried any of these brands? Or other Singaporean brands? Let me know :)

I hope you're having a good hump day! x