18 ways to make the world a better place

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skullandcrosstales ways to make the world a better placeI’ve always believed that being a good person isn’t about how much money or power you have. It doesn’t take a grand gesture or a million dollar idea to improve the world; improvements are instead forged through the little things we do each and every day. Your actions will always impact someone else, creating a flow on effect that shapes the world around you. So be accountable and be kind – because it truly is the little things that make the world a better place.

Don’t know where to start? Here are 18 quick, easy and inexpensive ways to be the change you want to see:

1. Smile more

To quote Newton Faulkner, “people should smile more”. You don’t have to wander around looking like a dim-witted idiot with a cheesy grin plastered on your face. But when you interact with someone, do it with a smile. Make it genuine and they will notice

2. Think about where you spend your money

Buy your lunch from a quiet little cafe instead of the bustling chain restaurant, pick up a loaf of bread from your local baker rather than a large supermarket, buy gifts from Etsy not department stores and browse local markets and swap meets for clothes. I guarantee the small business owner, artist, local producer or family company will appreciate your money more.

3. Acknowledge courtesy

Whenever someone lets you pull out into traffic or stops to let you cross the road, give them a wave (and a smile) to let them know it’s appreciated – they’ll be less likely to begrudge you and more likely to do it again for someone else.

4. Tidy up after yourself

Think of the person who will have to clean up after you (at a cafe, at the movies, at work, wherever) and do what you can to make their job easier. This can be as simple as gathering all your wrappers and putting them in one place, stacking your empty plates, refraining from putting napkins in a glass that still had liquid in it, or taking your dishes to the kitchen (rather than leaving them on your desk).

5. Put your phone down

In a meeting, at lunch with a friend or watching a performance? Put your phone on silent and preferably keep it in your handbag or somewhere else out of the way. Very few people are so important that they can’t go without checking their phones for an hour.

6. Be generous with life’s little essentials

Be the person who always has a spare tissue, band-aid or bobby pin ready to hand out to those in need.  Giving someone these small things (hair ties, painkillers, tampons, chewing gum, safety pins) can avert a disastrous occurrence.

7. Praise freely

Don’t withhold compliments. Actively seek opportunities to thank bus drivers, barristers, shop assistants, receptionists and assistants. When someone does a good job, tell them. Tell your co-workers, friends and family why you appreciate them. Tell a stranger if you admire something about them. It’s doesn’t have to be a big deal, just be genuine about it.

8. Write it down

A complement can might someone’s day but a written thank you or note of admiration could make their week. Revive the lost art of handwriting and jot a ‘thinking of you’ note to a friend, pen a quick love letter, send a card with a sweet message, or leave a post-it note with a compliment. No idea where to start? Alexandra Franzen’s got you covered.

9. Put things back where you found them

At the shops, in your workplace, at your best friend’s house –it’ll make someone else’s life that little bit easier when they don’t have to go looking for what they need.

10. Make eye contact

With every conversation, every transaction and every interaction.

11. Acknowledge emails

Shoot off a quick response – stay away from “OK” and instead let someone know you have received their email, what action you intend to take, and when. They won’t have to waste time calling you to double-check and you’ll be able to get on with your other tasks much faster.

12. Pick your shit up

There is no excuse for littering, ever.

13. Be a gentleman

This goes for you too, ladies. Hold a door for someone who has their hands full, let elderly people on the bus first and hold the elevator door.

14. Wear deodorant

Seriously – you shouldn’t be able to smell someone unless you’re being intimate with them.

15. Use a grown up email address

Z instead of s, extra ‘e’s, random numbers, things that sounds dirty but aren’t, and words that scream teeny-bopper are not your friend. Follow the standard first.last, minimise underscores, dashes, and any other confusing symbols and you’ll look much classier when giving your address out. Bonus: there’ll be less chance of a typo or mistake stopping you from receiving important emails.

16. Volunteer

Give freely whatever you can – be it time, money, goods, ideas, knowledge or inspiration.

17. Be kind to yourself

Change starts at home, so take a load off and treat yourself right. Invest in yourself, seek happiness, and watch the flow on effect it has in the rest of your life.

18. Always strive to be a better person

Don’t be so quick to judge, don’t let your short fuse get the best of you, give people time, always be kind. You won’t always know the circumstances of other people, or why they’re doing that thing that’s pissing you off. Remember, most people aren’t actively trying to annoy you. Everyone is just trying to do their best.

Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes the things you believe nor acts the way you would act. Remember this and you will go a long way in getting along with people.

- Arthur Forman

It’s the little things: TGIF

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skullandcrosstales vasse felix

I think everything I want to say about this week can be conveyed with this: TGIF. I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been a great week. I’ve struggled a bit. (well, a lot). But the weekend is here, I’m going to get a good night’s sleep and spend some time in nature, and just…be.

So lets kick our feet up, grab a glass of wine and enjoy this week’s best of the webs.

The little things I’ve loved lately:

Friends who make sure vegetarian options are available for me ~ Sending this week’s paper to print super early ~ The new-found confidence from being able to complete the 12wbt exercise program ~ Lunch with my sister ~ Cool weather and couch blankets ~ Avocados ~ Knowing I have people on my side ~ Bright lipsticks ~ Hot showers ~ Delicious coconut scented moisturiser ~ New episodes of The Mindy Project ~

skullandcrosstales Cullens Wines

The links I’ve loved:

Best book you can write.
Best version of yourself you can be.
Demonstrate these things.
Go and write.

Skull of the week:

As always, I’d love to hear what you are grateful for lately – share with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter

Lesson learned: focus on what you can do

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skullandcrosstales focus on what you can do

Last week, I signed up to the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation program. As I was browsing the forum and reading about the commitments people had made to themselves, I came across something that really struck a cord – the commitment to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do.

Three years ago, I injured my knee in a car crash. Ever since then, far too much of my life has been spent worrying about what I can’t do. I can’t run, I can’t walk up hills, I can’t squat, I can’t lunge, I can’t kneel, I can’t jump, I can’t sit cross legged, I can’t walk that far, I can’t walk that fast, I can’t keep up, I can’t do what everyone else is doing – I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

And while most of those things are still true I’ve finally realised that the “I can’ts” are not what I should be focusing on, because there are still so many things I can do. There are things I can work towards doing, things I can do to get stronger. And perhaps the most important thing I can do - change my mindset.

I can acknowledge a bad day is just a bad day, without spiraling into “what ifs” and “I’ll nevers”. I can choose not to focus on pain and focus on the things that make me happy.

It’s not easy. Just days after I had this realisation, I found myself sitting on the couch with an ice pack on my knee, thinking “I’ll never be able to get to a healthy weight if I can’t even exercise properly.” Well, the 12 week program has already proved that’s not true, and given me a huge sense of achievement. I may be following the lowest and gentlest exercise program – but you know what, I can do it. And that’s a great feeling.

It’s an attitude I hope to carry into the rest of my life. I don’t want to focus on the things I can’t change – like other people’s opinions or reactions, like legalities and lawyers and skewed systems, like bosses or friends who will never change. From now on, it’s all about focussing on what I can do, what I can work on, what I can strive to improve.

Are you with me? Or is this a technique you already use in your life? Let me know in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Interested in joining the 12wbt program? You can sign up here.

This is not a sponsored post but it does contain referral links.

Poetry to fall in love with

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Today I wanted to share with you some of the works of Christopher Poindexter – a poet I found thanks to a quote card that came with an awesome handmade skull I received for Christmas.

I started following him on Instagram and soon feel in love with his work – its super accessible, emotive and beautiful.

I read a lot of poetry when I was younger – from online teenage angst poetry forums to classics such as Sylvia Plath, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti and William Blake – mostly while I was at uni. But it’s been a while since I’ve read any modern poetry, and that’s why I’m so glad to have discovered Mr Poindexter and his bite sized poetry, which appears conveniently in my Instagram feed but stays in my mind for days.

I hope you fall in love, too.

(All of these are available on hemp paper here for US$10 each)

The Universe and Her, and I poem 194

The Universe and Her, and I poem 194

The Universe and Her, and I poem 82

The Universe and Her, and I poem 82

The Universe and Her, and I poem 71

The Universe and Her, and I poem 71

The Universe and Her, and I 190

The Universe and Her, and I 190

The Universe and Her and I poem 50

The Universe and Her and I poem 50

The Universe and Her and I poem 39

The Universe and Her and I poem 39

The Blooming of Madness poem 197

The Blooming of Madness poem 197

The Blooming of madness poem 182

The Blooming of madness poem 182

The Blooming of Madness poem 62

The Blooming of Madness poem 62

It’s the little things: wine time

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Vasse Felix, Cowaramup

Vasse Felix, Cowaramup

I don’t even know where to start on this fortnight guys…it’s definitely been full of ups and downs. It feels like a world away now, but I spent a fantastic weekend visiting my sister who has moved down south, eating delicious cheese and fresh bread, browsing the fresh produce markets, sampling delicious wines, and of course lots of chatting, laughter and good times. I also had my first bath with a Lush bath bomb and it was bliss! (The bath in our rental is teeny tiny, so it was an absolute luxury!) Early in the week my husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by having a bedroom picnic (our new favourite tradition!), drinking a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and watching the Veronica Mars Movie. It was perfect. I had a delicious coffee date with two great friends, got excited about checking out some houses for sale, got a great hair cut and colour, had a delicious pizza double date and watched some great TV.

And then…our cat got an eye infection, our stove top hot plate exploded, I worked until 9pm on print day, I missed my bus three times in a row in one day, I had a set back with my knee injury, I’ve been stressed, worried, frustrated, angry and upset with the legal case for my knee injury, I’ve been missing my family and I’ve been feeling guilty for not carving the time to follow my passions…

You’ve got to take the good with the bad though, right? As always, I’m thankful to be surrounded by supportive people – in fact, one of them inspired me to make a potentially life-changing promise to myself, which I’ll share with you next week.

Cullen Wines, Wilyabrup

Cullen Wines, Wilyabrup

The little things I’ve loved lately:

Warm cups of Milo ~ Chocolate hot cross buns ~The new Jezabels album, The Brink ~ NYX makeup (now available in Australia at Target!) ~ Christopher Poindexter poetry ~ Fresh flowers ~ The smell of wet grass ~ Vanilla cupcakes ~ Bright lipstick ~ All the glitter ~ Staying in ~ Tiny rings ~ Re-reading books (it’s so comforting) ~ Going out ~ Playing ball with my puppy ~ Hot showers ~ Cool autumn breezes ~ Slippers

Vasse Felix

Vasse Felix

The links I’ve loved:

Vasse Felix

Vasse Felix

Skull of the week:

As always, I’d love to hear what you are grateful for lately – share with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter

Photos 1 & 2 by Angela Mee

It’s the little things: live, laugh, love

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skullandcrosstales puppy and me

Happy Friday friends! This week I am grateful for the people in my life who make me laugh. Yesterday I laughed so hard I cried, not just once but twice – and at work, none-the-less! We all know by now that laughter is good for us, as it cements the bonds of friendship, promotes relaxation and releases happy-making endorphins. But did you know that laughter also triggers physical changes that can boost the immune system, increase energy levels, reduce pain, and drastically reduce stress. Yep, it’s an all round sure fire way to feel better and make others feel better – I’ll laugh to that!

The little things I’ve loved lately:

Snuggling with my puppy ~ Presents from Japan ~ Cadbury Creme Eggs and chocolate chip hot cross buns ~ Working with fun, friendly people (it makes such a difference!) ~ This amazing lipstick – I’ve admired it on a friend for months and she ordered one for me! It feels so soft and luscious and it even smells nice too ~ Having a husband who is not afraid of bugs ~ Dreaming about owning a home of our very own ~ Avocado, lemon juice and salt on fresh bread ~ Kitty kisses on the nose.

skullandcrosstales gratitude

The links I’ve loved:

Skull of the week:

As always, I’d love to hear what you are grateful for lately – share with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter

Frivolous Friday: winter warmers

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It’s the first day of autumn tomorrow!

The shortest month of the year has also felt like the busiest, and let me tell you that in among all the craziness it has been a long, hot summer! As you may have seen on Facebook, I’ve already started buying and wishlisting deliciously warm winter outfits. OK, so it’s meant to be 37 degrees tomorrow…but a girl can still dream of hot chocolates and snuggling in bed, right?

Get them here: 1. 2. 3. 4.

And here: 5. 6. 7. 8.

Bonus! I already bought this one and can’t wait til its cold enough to wear it:

Don’t let writer’s block stop you from writing

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photo by http://alejandroescamilla.com/

I write each and every day – whether it be a feature, news article, client editorial, blog post or email. I’ve been writing professionally for years, and for pleasure way before that – so I am no stranger to writer’s block.

For me, it strikes most often when  I give myselffree rein. When I say ‘go on, write something creative’ or ‘start that novel’. Within the confines of my work life, where I use the same formula and follow the same style guide,  I very rarely struggle to turn an idea into reality.

I know that I’m not alone. So this is a friendly reminder to myself, as well as to you: don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Just start writing.

More often than not, writer’s block boils down to one thing – fear. Fear that your idea isn’t good enough, smart enough, funny enough or unique enough. Fear that you haven’t found your voice yet. Fear because you don’t know how to start your story, or where to end it. Fear that your first sentence won’t go down in history as one of the top 10 most memorable opening lines in modern novels.

But the thing is, if you never put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) you’ll, never know what you can achieve.

If an idea stays in your head, it will always be easy to convince yourself that it wasn’t a worthwhile idea. And if all you do is think about things in your head, you’ll never establish your writing voice.

So just write. Let the words out and see where they take you.

Write without judgement or censorship and allow your ideas to live and grow. Remember that you don’t have to show your writing to anyone until you’re ready and you don’t have to get it perfect the first time around. It’s making a start that really matters.

Log out of Facebook, turn the TV off, shut your inbox, and write.

Because your story is worth telling.

 

Photo by Alendandro Escamilla

 

It’s the little things: short & sweet edition

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Skullandcrosstales - Fringe World pleasure garden

I’m going to keep things short and sweet this edition! The last week or so has been flat out and my brain has been firing at full speed for so long it’s pretty much crashed and left a pile of mush in its place. Already in this post I’ve struggled to remember how to spell ‘serum’ and wrote ‘change changers’ instead of ‘game changers’. It’s definitely time to call it a week guys!

But first – the little things I’ve loved lately:

Fringe World! ~ Visits from my parents ~ The Simpsons Tapped Out game (I may be a wee little bit obsessed) ~ Receiving thoughtful and encouraging emails from Gala Darling every day ~ Hyaluronic acid serums – they’re game changers! ~ Fresh flowers ~ Valentine’s bedroom picnics ~ Dr Pepper ~ Coming home to cooked dinner, especially anything cheesey Mexican flavoured ~ I am still in love with the haircut I got a few weeks ago – I think it’s the best I’ve ever had and so versatile. I can’t wait to get back to my natural super light blonde.

The links I’ve loved:

Wine time with two of my besties

Wine time with two of my besties

As always, I’d love to hear what you are grateful for lately – share with me in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter

PS – I just found this and wanted to share – it’s the perfect ‘one day’ lust item for a skull and cheese lover!

Fringe World Festival 2014: Oh Crumbs! review

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Oh-Crumbs by Matchless Snapshots

It’s been a few days since I saw Oh Crumbs!, so I’ve had plenty of time to think about what to write. But before I get into the review proper, I feel the need to spit out so-many-adjectives that come to mind when I think of this show: fun, cheeky, spirited, enthusiastic, joyful, clever, hilarious, sweet, sassy, glamorous, crafty, delicious, delightful…(OK, I think I’m done). If that’s not a glowing review, then I don’t know what is!

Oh Crumbs is a vaudevillian feast for the eyes, presented by Milk and Cookies (aka Clara Cupcakes and Miss Jane). These two ladies have been called ‘burlesque royalty in their own rights’, so to see them perform together was an absolute treat. They live and breathe to perform and it came across in every aspect of the show – the wonderfully detailed costumes, the clever scripts and skits, the thoughtful set designs, the hilarious facial expressions and the exuberant choreography all combined for a performance radiating in joy.

And I have to say, it was absolutely wonderful to see the performers having almost as much fun as the audience!

Oh-Crumbs by Matchless Snapshots

Performing a mix of burlesque, cabaret, dance, comedy and musical numbers that included a synchronised swimming baked goods competition, a glorious ‘tough cookies’ disco dance number, and a kitshy-cute examination of just how many boys can fit in Milk’s yard, this two-woman show stole the hearts of many a Fringe-goer.

In a sweet twist, Milk also acted as the hostess for the show, and the duo found a unique way to get prepared for each new act without leaving the stage (with many thanks, of course, to the ‘stage cows’). It’s the little things like this that make them successful – coming up with a clever idea to prevent the audience from being left alone while they raceD backstage to change, without having to introduce a third party into the mix. Occasionally I felt that we had to wait a little bit too long in between acts, but because each act was so well put together I found that I didn’t mind.

Oh-Crumbs by Matchless Snapshots

Oh-Crumbs by Matchless Snapshots

All in all Oh Crumbs! was great fun, and it showed again just how high the bar has been raised for burlesque and cabaret performances.

While the Perth season of Oh Crumbs! has finished, you can catch Clara Cupcakes and Miss Jane as part of La Belle Epoque, presented by Sugar Blue Burlesque, on Fri 22, Sat 23 and Sun 24 Feb. (Or if you’re in Adelaide, see Oh Crumbs! from 25 Feb to 2 March)

Photos by Matchless Snapshots

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