Monday, December 31, 2012

Time for something new

Welcome to 2013.... well almost.  It' so close though that I thought I'd start it out with a new feature that I'm going to be introducing in 2013... #motivationmonday.

Monday's can be hard.  Even though you may have the greatest job in the world, or the greatest plans it can be tricky to face the day after a weekends festivities.  To ease into the week and help give you a bit of a motivational boost I'm going to be sharing a quote each Monday that is inspiring me.  Short and sweet.  I'll let the words speak for themselves.  Are you ready?  

Photo of quote taken from the book Inspire available at Kikki.k
Are you ready to set your New Year's resolutions & try?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

50% success

Just a quick update on my post last week on trying to use some social media to help me track changes.  I'd say I've been 50% successful. I've found taking photos of my dog for my #dailydogwalk challenge has been pretty easy and fun.  Maybe because she's so cute and is happy to site still for me.  I've not been quite as successful with my #tryingtobehealthy challenge.  Largely because I've found taking photos of my every day food to be boring.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good #foodporn pic as much as the next person.  It's just that I'd rather it be of special meals out.  Things that impress me.  Not my every day meals which may have been put together in a hurry.  That being said I'm going to continue to experiment.  After all failure is just an indication that I need to try something different.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Who are you?

Looking over my blog this past year or so I realise that I spend a lot of time looking at ways of forming new habits, of talking about goal setting, and thinking about ways I can implement touch points in my life to reinforce behaviour.  Well this week I'm trying another way and I'd love to know what you think about it.

For a while I've been focusing on my health.  In some ways this year has been a year of focusing on my health in various ways and with various levels of intensity and success over time.  I've been pretty private about my goals.  Probably because some things are very personal to me.  And probably because I knew I wouldn't achieve them all and I didn't really want to be publicly accountable to strangers.  Who needs a couple of hundred people telling you you failed!  Today however, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing with you in a more public way.

I'm focusing on 2 things - more walking, and eating right.  I already have a personal trainer.  (Hey Jess - you're awesome and you kick my butt.  Not sure whether I love or hate you sometimes.  Mostly it's love.  I think the number of burpees we do - or don't do - has a strong influence on my feelings towards you.)  And I wear a fitbit with a goal of walking over 10,000 steps a day.  But I'm still a little slack on what I eat, and on accountability.  So I'm trialling a new way of being accountable.  A more social way.  A more visual way.  And I invite you to follow along & join in.

Every day on instagram I'm trying to take photos of the food I'm eating and tagging it with #tryingtobehealthy.   I'm also taking photos of my #dailydogwalk to track my activity.  As I said I'm taking a risk doing this and sharing it here, because I'm inviting you to follow along and hold me accountable... if you feel up to it.  Or at least offer me some words of encouragement.  I'm also inviting you to take part too.  If you have some behaviours you want to change in your life add a comment here and tell me about them.  Better yet add a comment with your instagram link and the hashtag you're using & I'll follow you and encourage you.  I'm also keen to hear from anyone who has used social media to help change their behaviour.  Tell me your stories.  What worked?  What didn't?  I'd love to know.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

are you having fun?

... when you're having fun - or so the saying goes.  It's amazing to me how fast days can go by, especially at this time of the year.  Without realising it November has almost passed completely by and I've barely even scratched the surface of my four things challenge.  It wasn't until I read this quote from Charles Bruxton - brewer, philanthropist, writer and Member of Parliament - that I realised how much time had slipped by this month.

Reflecting back on my four things - stretching, writing, creating and walking - I realised I haven't fully achieved my goals in every area.  I've succeeded the most at walking, and to a lesser degree (about 50%) in creating and writing.  Stretching, sadly, has been almost non-existent outside of my training sessions.  Rather than look on this as failure I'm choosing to reflect back on my results as an indication of where my priorities have laid this month - the things that I have valued - and thus where I have spent my time.  I've had a busy year and I've been really trying to safeguard my health recently so that I can finish the year strong.  My success in spending my time on walking certainly reflects this inner priority, as does my increased craft efforts as they serve as a mental balance for the work I do.

When I start thinking about December and what I want to achieve I want to first stop and evaluate what are my inner priorities right now.  What are the things inside that I know I need to do as opposed to the things I want to do.  If I focus my energy on my needs rather than my wants will I more readily reach my goals because I have a stronger desire to make time?  How to I event begin to know what I need rather than focusing on what I want?  I'm going to spend the rest of this week pondering needs vs wants and set aside some time (make time) on Sunday to reflect on this.  I think if I can align my goals with my needs I'm sure to make time for success.

Monday, November 5, 2012

four things... November

Inspired by Elsie & Emma from A Beautiful Mess posting about focusing on four things I decided to jump on the bandwagon for November and give it a try.  The concept is simple.  You make four simple goals that you commit to following for a short season.  I love the idea and think it can complement other techniques I've tried like weekly checklists from Kikki K, and 21 day challenges.

Anyway in no particular order here's my four simple goals for November.
  • Do a stretch or yoga class twice a week.  I used to be incredibly flexible.  I did some gymnastics as a child and even though I gave it up as a teenager I was still incredibly flexible until my late 20's.  I miss having such a strong awareness of my muscles and body.  I miss the ability to stretch out every kink and ache.  I've been talking about doing this all year and not made the effort to do anything about it so it's time to make a change.
  • Write more - one blog post a week on each blog.  With the heavy travel schedule I've had for work this year I've neglected a lot of things.  One of them being my blogs.  I want to tap into my creative side more and write what's on my mind, and what I've been up to.  It helps me clarify things I'm thinking about and in the case of my wine & craft blogs encourages me to do things I love. 
  • Craft more - make something every week.  I love getting in my craft room or baking something new.  I love the process. I love the way it forces my mind to think in different ways.  I love the buzz that I get from being creative.  It is therapeutic and helps me relax.
  • Walk more - over 10,000 steps a day.  I have a fitbit and I love it.  It helps me keep track of how much I move during the day, and reminds me that I need to get up and move more.  
So that's it.  I could have kept quiet and just written these goals down in a diary, but I find it's helpful to speak them out to someone.  To write them down and post them publicly.  It makes me feel accountable.  It also give you all permission to check in with me along the way and ask me how I'm doing on my four things goals for November.

Wish me luck. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

butt kicking motivation

A while back I shared a pic of some kick-ass shoes on my facebook page with the comment "Sometimes you've just got to wear kick ass shoes - it makes you feel better..."  It got me thinking about all the little things I do in my life to help me - kick butt when I need to, power through monotonous tasks when called to, give me confidence when I'm feeling uncertain and let my brain loose to get creative.  In no particular order here are my current favourite five kick butt motivational tricks at the moment.
  • Kick ass shoes - they make you stand tall, they make your strut, they make you smile when you look down.
  • Music - something with a beat, something motivating, sometimes angry rock chick, at the moment often Lady Ga Ga's Just Dance
  • My favourite pair of jeans - see Kick ass shoes for same reasoning.  These are go to pants that just make me feel good.
  • Manicures... and pedicures - rewards for getting it done and achieving all I've set out to in the week.
  • Running - this one is a great way for me to deal with stress and anger.  I'm not the sort of person who can just let things go, I need to process and vent.  Running is a great way of me doing that rather than letting hubby hear all about it again and again.  
  • Wine - ok this is both a reward and a coping mechanism at times.  Enjoying a nice (and I do mean nice) glass or two of wine after pushing through a challenging tasks is a great reward.  In fact knowing it's at the end of a tough project/day/week it helps me keep my head down and just plow on through the tasks at hand... with my earphones on of course!
Keep on keeping on folks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

help willingly

Love love love creativity combined with generosity.  I stumbled across this today and just had to share.

by The Indigo Bunting
Erin Jang created this for charity.  The first 100 people to donate $100 to cancer research through her blog will receive one.  What I love so much about this is that someone was moved enough by life's circumstances (cancer & sickness) to use their gifts (design) to help make a difference (research.)  So often we look at challenges and problems and sympathise with them, but we don't always progress to the next step of asking what can we do to help.  

For more inspiration I've included the animated link from one of my favourite bloggers below - Oh Joy.    She shared this yesterday and I've been inspired by it ever since.  I love her blog for the sheer joy she finds every day in life, and how she is able to share that with others.  If you don't follow her - you should!
by 'Oh Joy'
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 3, 2012

All you need is...

Sometimes you need to give out love... sometimes you need to receive it. In the last two weeks I've been the recipient of a lot of love and care from my friends and family... and for that I'm grateful.

For those of you out there today who maybe need a little love and care this heart is for you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


We lost one half of our fabulous fur duo on Sunday night very unexpectedly.  While it's too raw to go into right now I did want to just comment on the love and support we've received through our friends and family.  Grief and loss is never easy.  I can't pretend to know the depth of someone else's loss or experience.  There never is the 'right thing' to say or do.  However what ever is expressed towards you in condolences and support is exactly right.  It's exactly what I've needed, and will need in the days to come.  For now I cherish the years we had with Leo and the joy he brought into our lives.  Boofy goofball you will be missed - but not forgotten.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The secret to success

Sometimes with mythologise success.  We want it to be a formula.  We want it to be something we can easily replicate.  We buy book after book by successful people trying to learn from their path, and replicate it in our own.  But what if it's something simpler than that?  What if there really is one simple thing we can all do to have success in areas of our own life?  Would we follow it if it was easy?  Or would we determine that the truth we here is too simple so therefore it can't be that easy - or everyone would do it.....

Looking at my inspiration book for today I'm encouraged by the following words by Robert Collier -

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

Can it really be that easy?  If I just do the same thing, working towards the same goal, will I really be successful?  Will I really achieve my goals?  It seems too good to be true, but the truth resonates within.  Success requires discipline, and discipline is staying true to a path - repeating actions day in and day out  until a goal is achieved.  

What small, repeatable actions will you take today to help you succeed at your goals?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My weeks in instagram

I've been a little remiss lately in taking many photos and sharing them on instagram.  Life is full and I've been prioritizing time with people and being present rather than focusing on capturing the moments.  There's pros and cons on both sides of this, but on a positive note I've had some fantastic conversations with people who have just shared of themselves, their lives, and their wisdom.  The are ideas, and challenges swirling around my brain that I'm just letting percolate for the moment with the hope that the important ones will take root and develop, and the 'nice to haves' will just drift away.  Life is sometimes like that.  Things get busy and we can fall into the trap of trying to do everything, rather than just the important things.  The things that have meaning.  The things that have impact.  The things that matter to us, and those around us.

PS - here's some instagram pics from life over the last few weeks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

21 day challenges galore

I've posted about 21 day challenges before.  In fact the early days of this blog were all about a 21 day challenge I set about trying to get into a regular blogging routine.  The concept is pretty simple.  You focus on a change in your life that you want to make, and commit to making that change every day for 21 days.  At the end of that time you've hopefully made lasting change in your life and either,  created a new habit or behaviour, or given up an old one.

Sadly 21 day challenges don't always last beyond the initial 21 days.  Often after 21 days you give up the mindful behaviour you've been following and slip back into bad habits. Nevertheless I've found that while I don't always have the same level of commitment after 21 days, I have moved myself further along the path I've been trying to achieve.  And if I keep persisting eventually that habit or behaviour grows into the fulness of what I'm trying to achieve.

Recently I came across this great notebook from Kiki.K which helps you list out your habits and tick them off day by day.  I've been doing this for a week now and am beginning to be able to identify patterns of both success and failure.  Now that I'm becoming more aware I'm trying to adjust underlying behaviour to help me succeed in the goals I have listed.

What do you do to help you create a new habit or break an old one?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My weeks in instagram

It's been a while since I've shared my week in instagram so there is a bit of catching up to do.  Tell me do you see a theme emerging?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Discovering purpose

When I started this blog in April last year I wasn't really sure why I was blogging or what it would be about.  I just knew that I needed a place, a space if you like, to share what was going on in my life.  The things I was thinking about.  The things that were important to me.  The things that were bugging me.  It was just a place to be myself.  As I look back on the past year or so an underlying theme has emerged.  Nearly every post I make is centered around a theme of living life to the full, of embracing every moment, of being who you were meant to be and giving yourself space to experience more.  So with that in mind I've decided to refocus.

I've got a new header.  Very simple (can you tell I'm not a designer), but something that sums up what this space is about for me.  simply sally - embrace life & live with passion.  What does that mean?  Well basically I'll still be sharing my thoughts and ideas - the things going through my head as I explore life and all it has to offer me.  I'll be sharing my inspiration, by motivation, my passions.  I'll be seeking to engage a community of people who are on the same journey - living life one day at a time, but seeking to live it as fully & honestly as possible.  For those of you on that journey, I want to connect and be inspired by you.  Come on over to my facebook page and start a conversation about life.  Share with me your tips and tricks for embracing every moment that comes your way.  Send me your photos, your quotes, your song recommendations so that we can encourage one another to do something new.  I'll also be sharing more of the things I love to do - that includes links to my other blogs aka obsessions in life - wine and craft.  

I'm not really sure where this journey is going to take me, but I'm excited to have recognised what it is I'm really passionate about, and I hope that in some small way what I share here encourages you in your journey.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In celebration

Yesterday I had the wonderful privilege of attending the funeral of the most amazing woman I've ever known.  I know that it may sound strange to some of you to regard a funeral as a privilege, but bare with me while I explain myself.

This dear woman is someone who has made a lasting imprint on my soul.  She lived life with joy, compassion, kindness, and most of all love.  In all that she did she was honest, she was real, she shared her heart, she shared her gifts, she shared her sense of humor, she shared her family, she shared her faith - all that she had and all that she was - she gave to others.  She laughed with many.  She cried with all.  She sang in joy, and in sorrow.  She lived life with a passion that I can only hope to emulate.  She cared for many.  She impacted thousands. She made your world a little brighter for having known her.  Her funeral was filled with laughter, tears and much singing.  We remembered funny stories from her life.  We remembered the times we had been blessed by her love and her care.  We remembered her spirit, and her tenacity.  Most of all we celebrated all that she was to each one of us.  She left a deep mark on my life, and will be treasured for ever, even though I have no more time to share with her.  

The thing that really impacted me was the number of people gathered together to celebrate her life.  There were hundreds.  People couldn't fit into the church and spilled out to the verandah and car park.  There were people from every generation, whole families who had been touched by her life and her love.  It was a true testament that a life well lived, shared with others, has impact - for generations.

It really got me thinking.  How astounding that one ordinary woman, living an ordinary life, could impact so many - truly extraordinary.  Sometimes we think we need to change the world to leave our mark.  We need to do something so noticeable, that hundreds of thousands would be amazed by our legacy.  We think big... of lasting change, of doing the impossible, of writing wrongs and changing lives.  All these things are good, and all of them will make a mark, but I think it's much much simpler than that.  If yesterday taught me anything its that to live a life full of love, and loving others, you can leave a legacy that lingers.  You can change people's lives, by changing their hearts for ever, and change generations to come, even after you are long gone, by living with love and grace.  You don't need to cure cancer, eradicate world poverty, fix global injustices - although these are all worthy and noble causes - you just need to love others, and show them what it is to live life with passion, conviction and compassion for all around you.

The challenge I ask myself today (and you) is how are you living your life?  What is the legacy you are leaving?  Are you leaving a mark on the souls of those around you?  Will they be forever changed (in a good way) for knowing you?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just do it!

Are you anything like me?  Starting the new year out with the best of intentions.  Creating long, deliberate, well thought out lists of things you want to change or integrate into your life and then changing your behaviour or carving out time to achieve them.  Going strong for a few weeks, perhaps even a few months, only to hit the middle of the year and realise that some of your best intentions have been left behind in the complicated clutter that is your life?  No!  That's fantastic - it's just me then :-)

Last year I wrote a long and ambitious list about things I wanted to focus on in 2012.  Because I wanted to be accountable I blogged about it (possibly with the secret hope that no-one would actually read my blog and keep me accountable), and started off on track to make some changes.  See you forgot all about my list didn't you?  I would have gotten away with it, were it not for one little thing - I have a little 'issue' with high expectations of myself (but more about that another day!).

Anyway, as an exercise in keeping me honest and accountable to myself, and the world, I'm going to take this moment to pause and reflect on how I'm doing.  To give an honest account and assessment on where I'm up to... and quite possibly some spectacular excuses on why I can't tick everything off on the list.  Are you ready for this?  It could get messy... or in the very least entertaining.  Here's my mid-year score card... not that we're keeping score - right?

  • Learn to crochet & make something.  - D - While I've looked at some patterns online, thought about buying a book and even subscribed to a blog about knitting and crochet - The Purl Bee -(just for the pretty pictures) I haven't actually made a start on this one at all.    If thinking it was worthy of a score I'd give myself a B.
  • Make a card a week & post it to someone. - D+ - I've made a few cards, and even given a few a way, but I definitely haven't succeeded in developing a habit of sending cards.  More effort needed.  On the other hand I do have about 50 cards sitting in a box that I could send.  Im pretty sure I've even thought about sending some... it's the thought that counts right?
  • Take more photos.  Specifically make sure I shoot some photos once a month (at least).  - B - for effort. I've taken a few photos on my DSLR, but have really progressed on getting into photography through taking part in a facebook challenge and also signing up for instagram.  Room for improvement :-)  Sadly there is little to no room on my walls for any amazing masterpieces I create.
  • Take more days off.  And don't check my email while doing so. - C - Statistically I might have taken a few more days off than this time last year, but I don't think the numbers really show incremental improvement in this area.  This is definitely something I still need to work on.  I should have written this in a Monday so I could have said... starting right now!
  • Walk more - C - I don't really have metrics on this so it's hard to know.  Now that I have a fitbit I know I definitely don't walk as much in winter bbbbbbbrrrrrrr.  
  • Laugh more  - C - I have no idea how to measure this or even what I hoped to achieve by writing it down.  I'm not planning on joining a laughing club so I think this one is best left alone.  
  • Get at least 1 more certification in diving. - A+ - Yay for me.  We went diving in Sri Lanka and I completed my PADI Advanced Open Water Certificate.  Woot!  Oh and I even did a night dive.  
  • Take an online course in a subject that interests me.  - B- -  Yay for being vague.  This one is open to interpretation.  I've completed a few online courses that are work related which is great for my own personal development, but I'd really like to complete something in a more creative area in the second part of the year.  
  • Take 2 holidays.... (bold move for me!) - C+ - I've had a brief holiday, and have another few days booked in September.  I really need to try and find a week I can decompress at home and just catch up on me.  Let's see if I can find space in the second half of the year.
  • Get regular massages - F - If by regular you mean just one a year then I deserve an A+.  When the barrier to entry is so low (we have massage available at work) I really have no excuses.
  • Start sewing again - make a dress (or two). - D - I have procured the sewing machine, and some cute fabric from Japan.  I even have some cotton and some needles.  Sadly I have not achieved the status of sewer because I am yet to sew anything.  Ideas count for something though which is why this isn't an F.
  • Discover at least 1 new wine per month.  Not just new releases, but wines from makes and areas I'm less familiar with. - A - Achievement unlocked.  I've definitely been making very good headway in this one :-)  Sadly my blogging about said wines has not quite kept up.  
  • Cook more gourmet dinners and invite people over to eat them. - D - Does it count if hubby cooked them?  I definitely need to be more deliberate about my social life.  I've been out for some fantastic dinners with friends if that counts.... maybe a C+?
  • Blog consistently and figure out what I really want to blog about. - C- - I've blogged more this year on some of my other blogs.  I've also put a lot of thought into what I want this to be.  The trouble is I still need to apply it.  Room for improvement.  Room for action.
  • Run more.  - C+ -  Again I have no consistent data.  I've definitely gotten more runs in and have increased my distance back up to 5km, but I had some ambitious goals which I still need to work on.  
  • Ride my bike more.  - D - I don't think I've gone for a ride all year.  Eep.  Better buy hubby a bike so we can ride together.  That will fix things right?
  • Hang out with my friends a LOT more. - C - I still struggle with taking time out for my personal life.  On the positive side I have some made some fantastic, life long friends at work :-)
  • Do something I've never done before.  - A+ - I'm sure I've done something new this year.  What was I thinking writing this?  I wish I had been bold enough to just write it down....
  • ...... to be continued. - D - I haven't added to the list, which considering it's length is probably just as well.  
Looking at my list there are more successes than failures.  There are some things I can cross off my list as achieved and quite a few that have areas I need to keep plugging away at.   To be honest it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be.  The challenge facing me today is what am I going to do about it in the second half of the year.... but that's a post for another day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I've been missing in action (MIA) these last few weeks.  The short story looks sounds something like this - crazy work week, crazy work week & sick Sally, emergency trip to the hospital, sick Sally & more crazy work, holiday to Sri Lanka, work in Sri Lanka, recover and complete PADI advanced open water dive certificate, no internet connection = no blogging, crazy long trip home, crazy catch up on work email..... and that brings us up to today.

I was planning on catching up on blogging while I was away, but the internets combined with diving conspired against me and forced me to take a holiday - shocking!  I'm back now, and happy to share some snaps of the last few weeks (my weeks in instagram) as a pictorial description of some of the above.

Looking forward to blogging more soon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My week in instagram

Another crazy, busy week which I failed to fully capture on film.  Inspiration abounds at the moment... I just need to prioritise and make time to write about it :-)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Always look on the bright side of life....

On a Monday morning, especially a cold winter one after a sleepless night it can be very difficult to spring out of bed in a good mood, ready to embrace the day and all it has to offer.  For some people it's not just cold Monday mornings that this is a challenge, but every day is a battle to find peace, happiness and joy in the moment.  I definitely fall into this camp on occasion and it's important for me to surround myself with reminders - words, phrases, objects - that remind me of 3 things.

1.  Perspective is everything.  It's very easy to see the negative.  To believe in it.  To give in to it.  To look at a hopeless situation and to add our own despair.  It's much harder to step back and look at the bigger picture.  To take a moment to look at the situation or circumstance in the light of the passage of time and ask yourself - in one week, one month, one year will you even remember this?  Sometimes the answer is - yes of course. Life is full of very difficult challenges - illness, death of a loved one, relationship breakdowns, depression.  In these circumstances perspective may not help.  It may not bring a measure of peace or comfort.  But in the everyday of life's happenings - the big deadline you're facing at work, a challenging personality in your life, a difficult boss, general woes of the day - having perspective allows you to take control over the situation.  To push the pause button and step back and ask yourself - how will I feel about this tomorrow/next week/next year?  Will this matter to me?  If the answer is no, then ask yourself - why am I putting so much energy and emotion into it now?

2.  Your attitude is under your control.  We operate on autopilot most of the time.  When life throws us a challenge we respond to it and our first response is usually an emotional one.  Sometimes we live in that automatic response.  We act out of pain, hurt, frustration, and we seemingly stay stuck in the situation or circumstance.  Its a vicious spiral down, and it's very hard to step out of.  If, in these circumstances, we are able to step back and put things in perspective (#1 above) it is possible to realise that our response doesn't have to be the automatic one.  We can choose to act differently.  To respond in a way that brings change.  To focus on the opportunity in the midst of the challenge and to alight our behaviour with that which will bring a change of circumstances.  We can choose not to remain a victim of circumstance, but to be a catalyst for change, and someone who chooses joy and hope.  Is it always easy to do this?  No.... hell no... but it is a choice we have, and realising you have a choice in your behaviour and response is incredibly freeing.

3.  Sometimes life just sucks.  Sometimes things are completely beyond our control.  Things are beyond hard.  We might be facing the impossible.  Realising that sometimes life is just like that is incredibly freeing because it means its temporary.  Life isn't always horrid and horrible.  Just like it isn't always full of joy and hope.  The thing is, life is always moving and changing, and when we realise this, it can help us understand that sometimes we are just in a challenging season... but it's just that - a season.  It will pass and it will change.

I'll leave you with some inspirational words from the 'Now is the time' book I've been reflecting on lately.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My week in instagram

You really can tell the kind of week I had looking back on the instagram photos I took.

How was yours?