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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wanderlust NZ – an interview with Jed & Hera


Wanderlust is a one-of-a-kind festival bringing together the world's leading yoga teachers, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, top chefs and winemakers, and much, much more -- all in a setting of natural beauty. The beautiful Western Springs park in Auckland hosted the very first NZ Wanderlust in the City last weekend, and I interviewed a few of the headline acts.

Jed & Hera are a sweet soulful duo who are the answer to the question 'what happens when Icelandic and kiwi musicians collide?' They are both based in Christchurch, where they spread their spine-tinglingly delicious melodies in local venues and further afield.

I sat down with these two lovely people at Wanderlust NZ to talk to them about life, their inspirations, and their special blend of ‘street folk’ music.

1. So how and when did a Kiwi musician and an Icelandic musician collide?
H - We've been playing together for about two years - we came together when Jed’s other band, House of Mountain, were touring as Hera’s back up band. We realised that our style went really well together so we starting writing songs together.  

2. What are the five things you love most about NZ/Christchurch?
J - The general vibe. Christchurch is mellow and there’s a lot of good people.

H - There's a lot of really cool stuff going on at the moment in Christchurch because the people who have stuck around are really resilient and have learned to think outside of the box. So there’s a lot of clever and creative ideas emerging. J - It has definitely forced people to be more creative. And a lot of bars are having live music seven nights a week, which never really happened pre-quake, but has definitely increased the sense of community, and supports local artists.  

3. Hera – Even though you've lived here for 18 years, what are five things you love and miss most about Iceland?
There are some amazing similarities between Iceland and NZ, and some huge differences. Both places have amazing water, lots of geo thermal activity, so they’re both really beautiful in an EPIC way. Iceland is very fast-paced and busy. I miss the candy! I miss the Northern Lights, and snow, and really warm houses.

4. What are the five things that keep you happy and healthy during the creative process of writing/recording/producing songs?
J - Drinking lots of beer and driving really fast. Just kidding!
H - When we get to be artists and be creative every day, we are doing what we love, so it's easy to be happy without really trying.
J - Artists are all quite introspective, because we are all constantly analysing our thoughts to write lyrics, etc, so it’s important to capture what is in your head, get it down on paper, and then move on. And it’s important to balance that with really chilled moments so you’re not always in your own head.

5. Describe Wanderlust in five words
H - Wonderful. Visual. Synchronised. Colourful. Sense-ual (Ed note: she means a feast of all the senses, but tried to fit it in one word!)
J - BUMS. There are a lot of bums in the air. Peaceful vibe. Friendly. Aesthetically good. Eye-opening.

For Jed & Hera's amazing tunes, check out these links:
iTunes - Live at York St EP
Issues music video
Let Me Down music video
Beautiful Crime music video  
Thanks so much for chatting with me, Jed & Hera! 


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wanderlust - an interview with Nikki Ralston

Wanderlust is a one-of-a-kind festival bringing together the world's leading yoga teachers, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, top chefs and winemakers, and much, much more -- all in a setting of natural beauty. The beautiful Western Springs park in Auckland hosted the very first NZ Wanderlust in the City last weekend, and I was able to interview a few headlining acts.
Nikki Ralston is an Auckland yogi who created the Ralston Method to provide her clients with a unified approach to well-being. She’s incredibly inspiring, and chatting with her has motivated me to book in to her yoga classes! She was fortunate to go to Wanderlust Oahu in Hawaii last month to get an understanding of how the festival would work in NZ. She sees the modern yoga movement as an incredible shift that is happening in the world right now where like-minded people are coming together and creating mindfulness and awareness within their communities, and she is stoked to be a part of it.

1. Describe Wanderlust in five words.
Amazing. Connection. Uplifting. Inspiring. Inner-peace.
2. What are things you do every day to live an active and fun life? And what things would you tell people like me to do so that they can live the same?
  • For me, it’s my yoga practice, self-inquiry, and being grounded in who I am. If I do this, whatever happens in my external world runs through that channel of a strong self-identity and self-love so it’s easier to tune in and know what is right for me and what’s not.
  • Eating a plant-based, mostly raw diet - I really feel the effects of what I eat on my energy.
  • Lots of water - lots of coconut water!
  • Playing! As we become adults we lose that sense of play. I’m lucky to be able to play with my eight year old daughter, but I suggest everyone get out of their own head and use their imagination and just play.
  • I find headstands in yoga a really great way of gaining clarity, because when your perspective is flipped and you don’t know what way is up you can let go of what is going on in your head.
  • Watch how you talk to yourself - that inner dialogue is really important.
3. You don’t have to tell me to embrace yoga – I already love it! But I have a hard time convincing my friends - what are some benefits of yoga that most people don’t realise?

 Going back to my first class, I felt T A L L E R. And more connected to myself. I felt a clearing of my mind. It’s often flexibility that people want from a yoga class, but when they come regularly enough it’s just a by-product of everything else you gain.

I don’t care what gets people in the door, but I know that they’ll leave each class with a little something more every time. Often the excuse I hear is ‘I’m not flexible enough to do yoga’ but really, that’s like saying 'I’m too dirty to take a bath.'

Go and try lots of different styles until you’ve found a teacher or a style that works for you so that you feel good in your body during each class.  

4. The dinner party question with a twist – if you could practice yoga with five people from history or the present, who would you invite to join you and where would you be?

I would invite Ghandi and Nelson Mandela to stand on either side of me. My Dad would also be there - he passed away about 18 months ago, and he actually met Nelson Mandela once so they could hang out! Sianna Sherman - I met her at Wanderlust Oahu and loved her. BKS Iyengar would round out my ultimate class.
We would be in Hawaii, because when my feet are on the ground there something magical happens; it’s my spiritual home. There’d be some music, perhaps some rock, and there’d be some dancing, because I love a good party.

Thank you so much for talking with us Nikki - see you on the mat!  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Wanderlust in the City Auckland 2014

I went to Wanderlust in the City last Sunday and it was an incredible experience. I met some amazing people and walked away with a fresh and inspired outlook. Plus, it was a beautiful sunny day and heaps of fun!

The amazing Claudine and Honza Lafond from Yogabeyond showing me some Acroyoga backstage. This is probably the coolest thing to have ever happened on my yoga mat. You should check out their instagram - it's filled with incredible things like this.
 Lunch from Little Bird Organic Unbakery
 Acroyoga with a ninja kick! Cameron Shayne getting amongst the fun.

Friday, March 28, 2014

FF: Healthy Instagram Rockstars

During my Whole 30 journey I got so much advice and inspiration from social media. Twitter, instagram, Pinterest, and blogs were my go-to source for recipes and questions. So over the last month I've added a little stable of uber-healthy instagram accounts to my feed. Some of them are strictly paleo; others are just all-round healthy people who post beautiful pics of the vibrant food I love eating - and I know I'll be referring to them now that I'm done with the Whole 30!

  1. Nourish not Punish
    Evelyn 21, Melbourne~ Girl eating & creating healthy food whilst learning to love herself✌
    She makes the most delightful breakfast bowls, has a very cute dog that likes to photobomb, and does clever and creative vegan baking.

  2. Simple Real Food
    My food account // sharing my Whole30 and Paleo meals hereGorgeous photos and creative food ideas

  3. Bella Blossom Health
    Bella Health & Fitness Paleo NZ Nursing student fighting CFS/ME & hypothyroidism. Posting recipes & health/fitness inspo. "When 'I' is replaced by 'we' illness becomes wellness"
    Beautiful photos and loads of great advice and ideas on food, health, and fitness.

  4. Paleo Kiwi
    Katie Mum Apr '07. Wife Sept '10. Paleo Sept '11. CrossFit Mar '14.
    Amazing ideas for paleo living that works for the whole family. Her kids have the best lunchboxes ever!

  5. Clean Eatz NZ
    A Journey Of Clean Living Food, Drinks, workouts and much more All made by me NZ
    Millie Elder-Holmes is well-known
    on the Auckland social scene, and is becoming even better known for her wholesome approach to health and fitness. She creates incredible food and is so good at replying to her followers. Her posts are filled with loads of good ideas and the best places in Auckland to buy them. She pointed me to her favourite supplier of maca powder which was mega helpful.

See more friday favourites from the whistler kid here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Whole 30: A Review

Things that I liked about the Whole30:

  • Freedom. You think you're shackled to these rules, but it actually means you just stop thinking about food. Because I know that I'm going to the supermarket to get fruit-veg-meat-spices-and-coconut-water, I don't even need to look at what rice crackers are on special today, or what packaged soup I'll have for lunch. Going to an event with amazing canapes and just ignoring everything that passed by was actually an amazing feeling. Having so many restrictions is very liberating.
  • Realisation that I actually do have the willpower to do something for this long, and not give up.
  • Gaining an understanding of my food habits and cravings, and kicking them (I hope!). Who knew I didn't need something sweet after dinner? Amazing!
  • Going through a few personal issues and NOT reaching for the chocolate. So mature! I just got it in my head that I was doing this thing and there were no slip-ups allowed. And by the time these happened, the Whole30 was such a way of life that it didn't even enter my head to cheat.
  • Eating lots of sweet potatoes. Yum.
  • That practically every meal involved coconut. God I love coconut.
  • Feeling empowered every day
  • Sleeping better
  • Discovering amazing new ideas to use food and ingredients in clever way.
  • Not feeling bloated after every meal
  • Telling my friends about it - most of them were genuinely interested and it was nice to share what I'd learned around. 
  • Even on the tough days, I feel happy that everything I've put into my body has improved it
  • Planning things with friends that don't revolve around food or wine.

Things that I didn't like about the Whole30:

  • I had pretty bad digestion issues for most of the month. I like to think it was a 'detoxing' going on inside me, but it was pretty awful and painful at times!
  • I was really tired for a lot of it. I would have liked to exercise a lot more but there was a big chunk of time in there where I was so tired at the end of the day that strolling around the neighbourhood for half an hour was a huge effort. I'm usually a 5x a week power walker/runner so this was tough
  • I never really got the boundless fits of energy I was promised. Gutted.
  • I ate too much fruit. There's a chance that it sabotaged my results, but I enjoyed the hell out of every apple-with-almond-butter I ate, so there's that. 
  • Honestly, I'm struggling here. There was so little that I didn't enjoy about it that it's hard to come up with anything. 
  • Oh, here's one. WASHING DISHES. So many flipping dishes. 

Thinking of doing a Whole30? Here's some advice

  • Plan, but don't be a slave to a plan. I liked to make big meals that would last a few days and make up snacks in little containers for work. However, don't be afraid to wing it a few days a week. Some days I didn't bring any lunch to work, but realised that all I felt like was a few carrots to munch on so it was good that I didn't overeat leftovers. That's totally fine too - I think days like that kept it interesting for me; it's pretty boring always knowing what you're going to be eating. 
  •  Be kind to yourself. I went out to dinner on about Day 8 and wanted to order calamari salad. There was a guy there who is strictly gluten-free due to pancreatic issues, so when he asked for gluten free I asked for the same to avoid being too complicated. When it came out it was lightly dusted in (what I'm guessing was) rice flour. I felt so upset and disappointed, but I ate it anyway. The next day I read my Whole 30 Daily email stating the below and it made me feel SO much better, as I had tried my best:
    Do the best you can, but if you are accidentally “dosed” with something off-plan (like the bread crumbs your waiter forgot to mention in your crab appetizer), brush it off and move on. No need to spoil your vacation because of an honest error!  
  • Find something you really like for breakfast and have it every day. It makes your morning routine so much easier (unless you're a morning person with loads of time to plan and cook). I ate two eggs with herbs for about three full weeks. In the last few weeks I'd add mushrooms or kale if I had them. It was never overly exciting but I simply didn't have the time for chia seed puddings every day. 
  • Don't make a big deal of it. At most, just plan the first few days and do a big shop. Everything else will come really easily once you start to feel amazing, but the more you think about it the more you will put it off. 
  • Read the book. It is really amazing. 
  • Try and end on a mid-week day. I finished on Tuesday, and I'm probably just going to keep eating Whole 30 out of habit until the weekend. 
  • Find support - on social media, rope a friend in to doing it with you, whatever you can do helps a lot. My friend and I did it together (although she started a week later) and even thought she is in another country we had so many great text conversations, shared so many recipe ideas and feelings that it made it so much more enjoyable. 
  • Set yourself a reward. I transferred $5.40 to another account every time I skipped my morning soy latte, and am rewarding myself accordingly!

The Results:

  • I'm sleeping much better
  • I lost 3.8kgs, but am feeling smaller than I've been in years
  • I'm actually amazed at how it feels to not be bloated. I hate to admit it, but I actually think I've been bloated constantly for the last five years (maybe not, but it feels that way sometimes!) - it's incredible
  • I have totally kicked my soy latte habit. I've saved $120 on coffee this month alone - and have booked in for a beautiful Hawaiian massage as a reward!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Whole 30: Weeks 3 and 4 down!

I didn't post an update last week - mainly because I got slammed at work, but also because I am so used to this Whole 30 thing now I hardly even feel like I'm doing something different each day. It's actually the last day of my W30 tomorrow, but I think I'll continue it (out of habit) til the weekend, at least.

Here's some observations anyway.
  • I'm sleeping better when I'm actually asleep, but there have been many nights where my body is crying from exhaustion but my mind won't go to sleep. It's frustrating, and definitely not something that used to happen
  • Some days I feel pretty full after eating. At least I know I'm full of all good stuff, but I think I need to pay more attention to portions. 
  • I think this whole challenge would have been a lot more successful in Winter when crisp, fresh apples weren't in season. They are sabotaging my efforts, for sure. I go through an 'apple phase' every year, and this is it. Bad timing. Yet I can't seem to kick the habit because they grown on a tree, for the love of god.
  • I'm loving all the cool things I do with veges now. This morning, I quickly diced up a sweet potato and added it to a tiny frying pan (if you don't already have a small frying pan that is super quick to clean and use and holds a few eggs and veg, get one. It'll change your life - or at least your decision making process in the mornings.) with an egg and some salt and pepper, and had a deliciously good breakfast and a serving of veg first thing! Success! Not to mention all the veg I've been roasting, blending, blitzing, steaming, etc etc.

    That is really all I have to say about that. I'm going to do a proper wrap-up post tomorrow. You can tell by my enthusiasm right now that it'll be nothing short of amazing.

Friday, March 21, 2014

FF: Society6 Art Print Favourites

Society6 is an amazing community of artists submitting their work from around the world for purchase from one easy website. The artworks can be purchased as prints, cushions, phone covers, mugs and even shower curtains, and are all produced in - and shipped from - California. It is a truly magical site to get completely lost in. I've bought many wonderful prints from here over the last few years - they often have free worldwide shipping - as well as purchasing gifts to be sent to overseas friends. Here are my top 5 favourites right now:
  • Hands down my favourite photographer. This guy is a Melbourne local who travels the world taking incredible snaps. Kiwis, check out his New Zealand snaps and buy yourself a print.... or send a phone cover to a homesick friend overseas, perhaps?
  • Davies Babies is pretty rad too. I bought Escape a year ago and had it framed beautifully, and it warms my heart every morning when I see it. Ethereal photography and majestic landscapes - what's not to love?!
  • Kozyndan are an amazing duo - they exhibit worldwide and create wonderful fine art prints. And because they're so rad they've joined Society6 as a way of highlighting lesser known works and to fulfill specific requests for prints of images they had no plans to make official editions of. Bonus Fact: I have one of their original prints, Laura Darlington on the Prowl, and I'd probably run into a burning building to save it.
  • Man & Camera takes incredible shots of the Pacific Northwest. So, I love him by default because that is my Spirit Home. But also he's super talented and you should check him out. 
  • Leah Flores basically makes all the rad stuff you see on Pinterest and never know how to buy it. 
Have you ever bought anything from Society6? You absolutely should. ASAP. PS - Free worldwide shipping and $5 off each item today!

See more friday favourites from the whistler.kid here