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iPhone
Everything Else

Get ‘appy: a selection of the best iPhone apps

I used to very much regard my phone as a thing that had to do just a few key functions: make and receive phone calls, send and receive email, manage my calendar and maybe send the odd text. Recently though I’ve noticed that a handful of iPhone apps have turned my phone from helpful to essential.

Here’s my selection of apps which keep my phone within arms reach and out of the bottom of my handbag… (in no particular order).

1. Fitbit (free) – I’ve written about Fitbit before and my adoration for it isn’t showing any signs of slowing. Together with my Fitbit One, the app tells me how active I am, how many steps I’ve done during the day, how I’ve slept and keep track of how much water I’ve drunk during the day.

2. Instagram (free) – I was late to the Instagram party and have only recently really got into it. I love seeing people’s days and discovering new bloggers and brands at a glance in tiny vignette form.

3. Pinterest (free) – inspiration at my fingertips with a seemingly endless supply of images to find, share and pin. It’s like virtual scrapbooking anytime you like!

4. Spotify (app is free, but I recommend the premium version of Spotify – $11.99 AUD a month) – more music than you can ever know what to do with which you can sort into playlists for use at various times. You can follow me here and enjoy doozies such as my ‘car karaoke’ playlist.

5. YNAB  (app is free, but YNAB licence costs $60.00 USD) – to say YNAB changed my life would be an understatement. In summary, YNAB made me such a gun at budgeting I don’t even know what day I get paid – I’m no longer hanging out for the cash to land in my account. The YNAB app syncs with my desktop version so I can enter expenses on the fly.

6. Uber (free) – did you know the leading source of credit card fraud / stolen details is actually cabs? With Uber I don’t have to remember to bring cash AND the car comes to me with a count-down timer showing its progression. Perfect.

7. 12 Minute Athlete ($3.79 AUD) – it’s a bit early for me to say anything too grandiose about 12 Minute Athlete (I’ve only had it a couple of weeks), but given my gym is less than 100 metres from my house, open 24 hours a day and now I can get a serious workout in 12 minutes flat there’s really no excuse.

8. Inbox by Gmail (free) – it takes a bit of getting used to, but now I’ve got my head around Inbox by Gmail I couldn’t go back to the iPhone’s Mail app. It’s sort of like learning how to use a mac after years of the dodgy logic Microsoft made their name with. Once you’ve got it in hand it just makes so much sense. Inbox keeps you organised and allows you to find anything and everything with a swipe of your thumb.

9. Weatherzone+ ($2.79 AUD) – yes, I paid for a weather app. It’s accurate, detailed and helps me dress appropriately. In my books that’s worth a few bucks.

10. Smiling Mind (free) – this is another app which has made an appearance on the blog before and if I wasn’t already a huge fan then I would be now. Each version is better than the last! A great range of guided meditations for kids through to adults that give you a little dose of mindfulness in your day.

11. Evernote (free, but I recommend the premium version of Evernote which is about $6.49 AUD a month) – another organisation-y one, what I really love about Evernote Premium is the ability to take photos of my physical notes, load them into Evernote and they become searchable. Hey presto, all my notes are available on my iPhone, my iPad and my computer, long after I’ve discarded my notebook.

12. VSCOcam (free, in-app purchases available too) – photo editing that goes way beyond the rudimentary stuff offered by your iPhone or even Instagram. You can buy packs of filters to give you a kick start if you like, or get creative and make adjustment manually.

 

 

White stacked stones
Everything Else

Monotask Your Way To A Better Life

White stacked stones

If you’ve ever wished that you were more efficient, more effective, had a better memory, got more enjoyment out of things or just didn’t feel like the year was rushing by, well boy… do I have a concept for you.

Monotasking is simply the act of only doing one thing at a time. For many of us, it’s a crazy thought. Rather than scoffing lunch whilst we catch up on the news, sitting in a meeting whilst checking emails, watching a movie with phone in hand and iPad nearby or Skyping your parents whilst surfing the internet, doing just one of these things at a time actually gets a more desirable outcome.

Ironically, it can be incredibly difficult too. Most people are now at a point where their attention span is so short they will struggle to get through an entire TV show much less a movie without a quick check of their phone or flip through Facebook. In many cases, we’re also conditioned to believe we should be doing more than one thing at a time – it’s a mashup of this ‘fear of missing out’ (or FOMO) and a cultural belief that by trying to do lots of things at once you’re busier and therefore more efficient, more effective and more important.

The fact is we only have so much conscious brain power to dedicate to the task at hand. Splitting our focus between two, three or more activities and stimuli doesn’t increase our capacity but instead simply dilutes the focus given to each thing. We actually miss out on more and reduce our output by insisting on spreading ourselves so thinly.

By monotasking we allow our full attention and focus to be directed to just one place. Whilst it’s an alarmingly difficult practice to cultivate at first, the rewards are plentiful. Devotees speak of everything from increased output at work – being able to turn around tasks that used to take half a day in just a single hour, significantly improved memory and even weight loss by eliminating mindless snacking. Sound good or what?

But where to start? Before you get your judgement face on, stick with this. I humbly suggest the path to enlightenment or at the very least the benefits of monotasking come from mindfulness meditation.

For those who want the short version, mindfulness meditation is essentially brain training. There’s no chanting or om-ing. No mantras and astonishingly few hippies involved. Mindfulness meditation has both formal (sitting still, eyes closed) and informal (going about your day) practices. In all cases all you’re doing is practicing focusing on just one thing and not letting the ‘chatter’ of your brain carry you away.

I’m a huge fan of Smiling Mind – a gorgeous app that will teach you, step by step, how to do this thing… and it’s FREE.

If you like something structured and course-like, try Claire Obeid’s 21 Day Meditation Project and get a different 10 minute meditation delivered to your inbox every day. (There are no new intakes right now, but you can still sign up and be notified when it recommences). The program is 3 weeks long, but you’ll feel the benefits long before the end. Can’t wait that long? I get it. Claire also sells an album of 11 guided meditations ($16.99 AUD).

A final thought: a meditation a day keeps the doctor, psychologist, frustration, forgetfulness, procrastination and exhaustion away. Don’t believe me? Let me know how you feel in 21 days.

white desk
Everything Else

White On

I’ve always felt white is a year-round shade. In summer it’s clean, bright and light. In winter it’s pure and unexpected. In fact, a quick whip around the team confirms that if we could work out how to paint our nails that perfect, opaque, shiny liquid-paper-white, we may never wear anything else.

Anyway, I haven’t published one of these in a while so here’s my white mood board to kick start your week. Want more inspiration? Follow us on Pinterest!

 

Vie Active - Biarritz to Bondi
Music, Style

Goodbye Boring! Threads And Tunes To Kickstart Your Workout

Vie Active - Biarritz to Bondi

Vie Active – Biarritz to Bondi

I was washing my workout gear recently when my visiting mother helpfully commented that there was a lot of black in this particular part of my wardrobe. ‘Well!’ I scoffed. ‘It’s my workout gear!’ To which mother responded ‘exactly… so why does it need to be black?’. It was, I hate to admit, a rather fair point. If you’re going to motivate yourself to get out of bed or off the couch or away from the iPad and get physical a wardrobe made entirely of various shades of noir probably isn’t going to help matters. At the very least you could surely bring yourself to try an interesting shape or detail?

Sadly, finding fun activewear isn’t that easy. There’s a lot of… sameness out there.

Here’s my edit of workout gear each with their own element of intrigue. My new go-to labels? Vie Active, Lucas Hugh and Adidas reliably have some seriously rad things (check out the latter’s ‘Originals’ and fusion lines).

Workout Edit

 

  1. Vie Active limited edition Running in Rome compression tights – $140.00 AUD
  2. Lucas Hugh liberty city print sports crop – £41.25
  3. Lucas Hugh Prince Albert running jacket – £256.00
  4. J.Crew leopard print baseball cap – $58.70 AUD
  5. Lanvin rose gold basket running shoe – $542.80 AUD
  6. Adidas navy studio pants – $70.00 AUD
  7. P.A.R.O.S.H. sequin short sleeve hoodie – $500.00 AUD
  8. Veja SPMA navy Carmin sneaker – €130.00
  9. Anthropologie magic carpet yoga mat – $98.00 USD
  10. Ash high top metallic, snakeskin and neon sneaker – $250.00 AUD

If that wasn’t enough, here’s my totally eclectic but thoroughly upbeat playlist for getting your butt into gear.

Pump it!

DIY Concrete Floors via Apartment Therapy
Everything Else

6 Inspiring Things That Don’t Cost A Cent

NYC via Vanessa Jackman

NYC via Vanessa Jackman

When the shininess of the new year wears off and you realise this month is actually remarkably like last month without the full social calendar and the break to look forward to, it’s easy to get stuck in a same-old-same-old rut. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here, we’ve compiled our list of 10 websites, projects, blogs and other such things to inspire you all over again…

1. Chic-cheat your way to a perfect wardrobe. 

We enjoyed this piece from Refinery29 that explores the idea of a Nü wardrobe, a practice which essentially renders a bad outfit impossible (yes, you read right). It’s not entirely dissimilar to the 10 Piece French Wardrobe concept outlined in Jennifer L Scott’s book ‘Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris‘, although perhaps a little more forgiving in terms of volume.

2. Get healthy – whatever that means to you. 

Nutritionist, naturopath, kinesiologist and all-round wellness guru extraordinaire Cassie Mendoza-Jones recently launched an online 5 Week Wellness Program ($247.00 AUD) that aims to give you all the tools you need to lead a more healthful, balanced life. Check out her free Cleansed webinar too, which will give you an overview of the 5 week program and ideas to get started too. It’s bound to inspire you to pursue some positive change in your life.

3. 1 part voyeuristic + 1 part art = 365 project.

A 365 project is simply taking a photo every single day for a year. It doesn’t have to be of you or even of anyone you know (although some people do – we really enjoyed Andrew Günsberg’s). Whether you start your own or just admire others, it’s inspiring to see someone else get a little better at something every single day.

4. Get your DIY on.

Check out Pinterest-worthy DIY reno projects that will have you thinking you too could live in a space like that. We’re rather impressed with this list of 8 DIY projects from Apartment Therapy.

5. Find your blogger soulmate. 

Oh, internet. No matter whether you’re into travel photography and street style fashion, learning the stories behind interesting design, illustrations of a bunny wearing catwalk looks, beautiful and healthful cooking, or even just like looking at a montage of interesting photos, there’s a blogger out there for you. Start with a blog you quite like and then follow the breadcrumb trail by checking out what they’re reading and who’s commenting… you never know what delights you’ll discover.

6. Discover a whole new world of music. 

Electro Swing? Cape Jazz? Gospel Blues? K-pop? It’s been argued that if you think you’re not into music you just haven’t found the right kind yet. With the volume of internet radio stations and streamed music options available now for free, there’s no real excuse not to get exploring. We like Spotify for their apps and radio feature that send you down the rabbit hole of discovery. (You can follow us on Spotify too!)

 

 

 

Italy - Sicilia
Everything Else

Some Like It Hot

The Lifestyle Department writers and contributors live all over the world, but our head office is in Melbourne, Australia. Today in Melbourne it’s seasonably scorching, so all any of us can talk about is making the most of it. We’re thinking billowy maxi dresses, icy poles, houses by the beach, fresh juices and maybe a cheeky cocktail or three. No matter where you are in the world, we’re sure you can get inspired by the idea! Here’s our vision…

Want in on the action? ASOS have a gorgeous new batch of swimwear (and ship free worldwide to boot). Tablet Hotels have a positively decadent selection of luxurious beach stays. If you’re not planning on a beach- or pool-side holiday anytime soon, introduce some hot weather happiness into your home with coloured deck chairs or Turkish towels. Alternatively take the tropics into your bathroom with a heavenly body oil (personally, I’m quite enamoured with the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse line – get 15% off your first Nuxe order and free delivery with code NUXEDISC).

For more inspiration, follow us on Pinterest – we update our boards every day.

Evening glory (hyacinth fields Netherlands)
Everything Else

Country Grandeur

Call it time of year or a yearning for a change of scenery, but right now I’m craving a country escape. Of course my taste seems to err on the side of uber-luxe, so it should come as no surprise that the kind of country getaway I’m envisaging is right out of a classic Ralph Lauren catalogue…

I’m not sure if this mood board started it or vice versa, but at any rate, here’s the pictorial representation of a weekend in the country, my style. I never was one for camping.

Want more? Follow us on Pinterest, which we update daily!

pineapples
Everything Else

Get Fresh

I’m a sucker for a new year. I know, I know… time is a social concept, blah blah. Something about the idea of a fresh start really resonates with me though. Today is my first day back at work though, and so here I am with a clean desk, new techy devices harbouring the promise of organisation and a head full of ideas. Here’s what’s inspiring me this week!

Want more? Follow us on Pinterest, which we update daily!

Schermata - bejwelled chickens
Everything Else

The Good Life

It’s the week of Christmas and in my world this means almost back-to-back parties, get-togethers and catchups. From gigantic family functions (almost a hundred people!) to uber-luxe private getaways for two, it’s both an exhausting and delightful time of year. Here’s what’s made my mood board this week…

Want more inspiration? Join us on Pinterest for a daily dose!