The Pursuit of Happiness: MIA

Hi everyone! So I’ve been MIA for a few weeks but all has been well! I have had the opportunity to go hard at my Happiness Project for the last couple of weeks whilst the Lord of Loyalty and Logic has been in India for work.

So yes my Happiness Project has been going since mid June where I have set a focus for each month and 4-6 goals to help that focus.

How did this come about? Well in mid June was my 20 yr high school reunion. I didn’t go. I had planned to go but 2 weeks out I made the decision not to. Why? Well I had also planned to trim down and feel better about myself in the lead up but I didnt achieve that so was embarrassed and decided not to go. Probably the most stupid decision I’ve made in a long time. The morning after the reunion there were loads of photos up of all who went, they all looked fabulous and of course there were a number of girls I had really wanted to get in contact with who had gone. I was absolutely kicking myself and it was a real eye opener for me that I had barely stayed in touch with anyone … So I decided to do something about it.

Anyway it led me to look at my life and make myself happier with it. Thats not to say that I am generally unhappy or depressed as I have a lot to be happy about but like anything or anyone they can improve.

As a result I have been in contact with lots of girls from school and met up with one for lunch a few times which has been fun. It has also pushed me to meet up with other friends I haven’t kept in good contact with for no particular reason. Then I have become generally more organised in life, getting the little niggly tasks done, keeping our home clean and tidy with ease and with out it being a chore.  And finally I have properly been focusing on my wellbeing. Eating less, Eating Healthy and Exercising More … It really is amazing the difference it makes. I highly recommend it.

I think the one thing that makes me feel the happiest is putting more focus on myself and my wellbeing. We so easily forget about ourselves and let ourselves go. I was sharing this thought with a good work friend who has been experiencing a similar thing. We wondered how people with a family and fulltime job manage to focus on themselves and stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically.

We decided some just have the knack and others (aka us) need to work at mastering it and learning good tricks.

So for now I’m trying to stick to walking the dog in the morning, followed by a 20 min yoga home based session, trying to eat as much tasty, fresh, gluten free and minimal dairy food as possible (+ 2L of H²O daily) – aka a little bit of what they are calling paleo, and three days a week of basic body weight workouts (ie dont need a gym membership) and as much walking as possible to keep up to 10000 steps a day. So far so good!

(Note all this stuff called exercise I’ve been doing can only be achieved with some awesome music  …. Thanks greatly to the Pandora app!!)

It all really makes you body aware and most of all it brings a freeness to me which I think is happiness! I think for me its just finding that perfect balance of everything without feeling too overwhelmed or like they are major tasks but enjoyable peices that make up life.

Till next week on the pursuit of happiness …

xxMelly

Quick Post: More beautiful Nails

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Another gorgeous job by the amazing Shigeko at Nail Salon KoKo in Sydney. She used a dusty pearlescent pink colour gel (by Cal Gel), a very pretty pale pink lace edge transparent sticker, ab nail gems and silver nails beads. Perfect!

Quick Post: Flying high

Another quick post. So most of you may not know not only do I own my own beauty and fashion consulting business but I also work full time in quite a demanding role. Basically I manage injuries for NSW, ACT and SA for a large mining, construction, tunneling and services company. And as I’m a Regustered Nurse and Occupational Therapist I also get involved in ergonomic assessments, manual handling, and medical assessments. As you can imagine all this keeps me incredibly busy … However thats not why I decided to do this quick post so I’ll get back on topic … I thoroughly enjoy travelling but today was an exception.

Today I flew to Adelaide to meet with the insurer and people from our mine site in SA. I had a bit of a bad start where I had decided to start using a different handbag. And stupid me left out my wallet. OH NO!!! You can imagine my immediate panic but I realised just as I arrived at the airport. So I was either going to have to miss my flight or work out how I could make it work. Luckily the taxi driver I knew and he was scheduled to take me home again this evening so I could sort out payment then.

The flight was with Qantas and I had already checked in on my mobile so there was no issue there.

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I messaged a colleague who I was meeting in Adelaide to see if he could meet me to help out with paying for the taxi. Then I realised I hadn’t charged my work phone  and the battery was running low. So I diverted it to my personal phone, copied my colleagues number into my phone and swutched it off hoping to save battery.

On board Qantas I have found that they have really picked up their game since their new branding shift with bright new professional looking uniforms.

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And the breakfast served was lovely with a small container of crunchy and tasty granola, and a larger container of lovely thick and creamy vanilla yoghurt. Plus a small breakfast loaf and they even served me a hot chocolate. I dont drink tea or coffee so a hot chocolate is always a nice treat. Anyway the flight was seamless. However my work phone would not turn on. The battery was flat. Oh well I had that sorted

My colleague assisted me with the taxi fare through his work credit card (who would have paid for it anyway) and bonus the taxi driver had a phone charger to fit my phone and it had charged enough to last me till after my meeting. I had an all round positive meeting with everything on track. Then I caught another taxi back to the airport with my colleague who was flying out to Melbourne and it was here I thought the fun would begin.

I was booked on a 4:20pm flight out, but it was only 1pm. So I wanted to see if I could get an earlier flight. Only problem was I didn’t have any ID with me as it was in my wallet, which as I mentioned earlier I had conveniently left at home. So I went up to the Qantas desk and explained my situation. He had a look at my options and could get me onto a 2:20pm flight. I explained again that I didnt have any ID. He said that if you check in on line, you dont need ID and if you check in at the automated machine, you don’t need any ID. So he said lets just do it. And he did. Now I’m just waiting to board. I had a muslie bar in my bag and a small water from my morning flight. So I’m set. What could have been a horrendous day turned out to be a breeze!

Pretty amazing how technology can work for you and when someone is in need people will help you without question.

Made my day a happy one!

When have travel plans gone completely wrong for you, but ended up great in the end?

xxMelly

The colours behind Chanel

Chanel is my absolute favourite of high end brands. I used to live in Sydney CBD and when walking to work had the opportunity to window shop in a number of these high end stores such as Hermes, Versace, Bally, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and the windows of Chanel were always my favourite to look at. I have always found their designs elegant and simple with an air of femininity. Their use of colour was also elegant and simple and so of course this post giving reason behind the Chanel use of colour is just plain clever and awe inspiring to me. Enjoy xxMelly

Digital Style Journal

Chanel feeds its brand image with this powerful video.

Should companies always have a reasoning behind the colour(s) they use for identifying their brands?

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The Pursuit of Happiness – In the kitchen

Nothing makes me happy the way home cooked meals do. So why am I not doing it myself I asked … then cooking wholesome, healthy and delicious meals became something I am currently trying to master. I have always enjoyed cooking, but I have never spent a lot of time dabbling in it. Plus the Lord of Loyalty and Logic (aka my husband) has always been a fabulous cook, so I have tended to rely on him and takeout with the very very occasional cooking dabbles myself.

Anyway more recently with being a lot happier in our new abode I have discovered a drive to expand and master my culinary skill. So the past long weekend where we remembered the heroes, that were our ANZACs, I decided on the meals we were going to have for each night and I set out to excel!

Before I share with you, the dishes I decided on and the end result of my little food expedition I just wanted to talk about my experience with takeout and why home cooked is always a better and happier experience!

Takeout for two always works out eating into your hip pocket. Even though it may be cheaper for the actual dishes themselves, I have found in other ways it can be expensive. There is always heaps left over and seriously reheated day or two (if you are really courageous) old takeout is dreadful and usually approaching disgusting! So I often end up throwing it out.

Quite often takeout effects my sleep and wellbeing the following day. There are obviously many ingredients used in takeout dishes unknown to me that make me restless, have nightmares, and quite literally have me waking up feeling like I am hungover. Plus I often feel as though I have oil oozing out of my skin making my skin itchy and irritated. It really can’t be safe for us can it so why do we allow takeout to be produced in this way? Does anyone know what these delightful ingredients might be that are obviously not in home-cooked food? I don’t ever remember having these kinds of reactions to home-cooked food.

So anyway my culinary creations included the following:

Lasagne sided with pan-fried chilli and turmeric brussel sprouts
(Never cooked Lasagne before and even made the mince myself from veal and pork fillets and a reasonably healthy cheese topping from ricotta, creme fraiche and parmesan)

Home made Lasagne and Sprouts

Beef Wellington sided with braised broccolini and pine nuts.
(My absolute favourite dish in the whole world and again never attempted before. I used a side of scotch fillet and chicken and cognac pate and made individual ones with filo pastry) (sorry it was so good I forgot to take a photo!)

Pan seared scallops in chilli and lemongrass on a bed of bok choy and organic soba noodles
(I could eat scallops until they came out my ears! These were particularly large white meat scallops from China found at my very local fish shop)

Pan Seared Scallops

The best thing about these dishes was that I made them straight from my head. No recipe and there were plenty of leftovers from the Lasagne and Beef Wellington that can safely be frozen and will be totally edible when reheated.

Another addition to things that I have found make me happy… for recipes for any of the above feel free to contact me.

Until next week in the pursuit of happiness.

xxMelly

The Pursuit of Happiness – Service with a Smile

Don’t you just get blown away when you are provided with outstanding service? I know I do. Mainly because it is such an in-frequent occurrence in Australia that I am just completely taken aback and feel completely spoilt.

A few weeks ago I had to spend a couple of days in my hometown, Brisbane for work. I had decided to stay in a hotel instead of visiting family as I just wanted some quiet time to myself. I almost ordered room service but wasn’t so impressed by the room service menu so decided to venture to the restaurant downstairs – Stone in Grey St, Southbank, Brisbane. And I am very glad that I did. Initially, it was a rocky start to dinner when I was asked by the waitress what I would like to drink. I’m not a wine snob by any means, but I do know what I like and what I don’t. So I asked the waitress if one of the 5 chardonnays on the menu was more oaky as I really dislike unwooded. She asked me what was oaky… oh dear. I explained to her there was usually oaky and unwooded and asked if she could find out for me. She returned a few minutes later saying it was unoaked. I informed her this was the same as unwooded which I don’t like and could she find out which of them were oaked in flavour. She again returned to tell me that by looking at the labels it didn’t look like any of them were oaked. I politely explained that this was very unusual and chose a pinot grigio. I then began to worry if I had done the right thing coming down to the restaurant, but the menu did really take my fancy. There was a large range of entrees that could also be chosen as tapas so I decided on three, a duck salad on won ton, a pork belly and peanut sang choy bao and seared scallops.

Duck Salad on Wonton Pork Belly San Choy Bao Seared Scallops
I was disappointed about the wine but was looking forward to these three plates! Shortly after the duck salad arrived a waiter came to chat with me. He explained that the waitress had asked him for assistance as she was not that familiar with wines yet and was learning and asked me to excuse her poor knowledge. He then told me that there was a particularly good oaky and buttery chardonnay on the menu and I asked about the other three. He was extremely knowledgeable and impressed as though he too rather preferred my kind of chardonnay. He then offered me a glass of the best one on the house. When he returned, he also brought a glass of another chardonnay which he had forgotten to tell me about. I was triple parked and feeling incredibly spoilt. My momentary consideration of a polite complaint vanished.

Triple Parked
But what was even more surprising was the incredible service didn’t end there. He came back a couple of times to check on my progress with the wines. I would have settled for the cheaper one, but the top one was divine! Anyway it turned out he had only recently had moved to Brisbane and had worked a good number years in some of the top restaurants in the Hunter Valley. This is where I got my taste for oaked chardonnay in the first place. Anyway her had put together a list of wineries, chef hat restaurants and people to ask for when I visit next. He also encouraged me to mention his name for a possible discount. I was amazed. It was such a lovely gesture. And as I had had so much wine already I couldn’t take him up on his offer of another.

But I definitely tipped and will definitely be back. I really do appreciate it when people recognise you are human too, and that you have likes and interests and that they can easily be generous. It makes me happy and want to be more generous and giving myself.

Have you ever experienced outstanding service? What is your idea of good service?

Another few steps on the pursuit of happiness.

Until next week

xxMelly

The Pursuit of Happiness – Getting Started

So I’ve decided I’m going to really give blogging my best shot … Third time lucky, right? What I mean by that is this is the third time I have attempted to blog, but this time it will be consistently, with meaning and purpose and success!

Why am I doing this? Well there are two reasons:
1. I have recently read a book called The Pursuit of Happiness – and no surprisingly it’s not the book about the movie with Will Smith and his son in it although that was a fabulously awe inspiring movie … Anyway I digress.
The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy leant to me by my beautiful mother-in-law (who is always finding excellent books for me to read! She has such wonderful taste in literature.) is essentially about a young female writer in the 40s and 50s who writes columns mainly in a paper called Saturday/Sunday in Manhattan. It involves a love story that is deeply complicated and generally the effect on her life that this true love has. Not to mention the detailing of limitations that people lived with back in those days through politics and what was perceived as right and wrong. Some of it truly heart wrenching! But in all The Pursuit of Happiness is a very beautifully written and mesmerising story which I highly recommend.

Anyway I was inspired to write/blog by the type of column that she was writing for the Saturday/Sunday newspaper – it was about everyday life in America in her eye with a bit of a tongue in cheek twist as I understood. It made me think I have something to offer in the writing world too. But as now blogging seems to be the new answer to newspaper or magazine column writing these days, I thought well let’s do it!

2. The second reason a very good girlfriend of mine, Raylene Barton – owner and founder of 1Skin Solution has decided to do the 100 Happy Days for her blog. Her very first post featured your’s truly and I was extremely honoured and again this inspired me to write. I like the idea of 100 Happy Days, but it’s not my ‘thing’ to follow the crowd and it now seems to be a thing that a lot of people are covering. As per usual I want to make a difference as obviously I feel I have something to add, something to say but I want it to be worthwhile, different, stand out, successful!

So where do I start? The Pursuit of Happiness … it’s always something very real to everyone, so I think a good place to start. I think it probably is everyone’s main aim in life to be truly happy. But life tends to happen and I think I have something to share on the happenings of life. These are not particularly out of the ordinary happenings but are real and true to most people’s lives. So I venture on with my new blog, what does the pursuit of happiness means to me and the people that surround me?
I would love some frequent feedback on what I write about … is it something that you can relate to or even something that you have never come across or even considered in your entire life?

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Till next week in the pursuit of happiness

xxMelly

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