Thursday, 31 January 2013

A Personal Challenge

Over the last couple of years my tolerance to running has increased. I cannot say that I particularly enjoy the experience but I tolerate it for its health benefits. The concept of a Fun Run just didn't make any sense to me until now. Who knew that all you needed to make a run truly fun was colour?

Over the Australia Day long weekend I took part in the MS Colour Run. I really gravitated to the event as its focus was about having a good time for a good cause. Completely non competitive there were no time markers and much to my delight no die hard fitness junkies in spandex. The only requirement of you as a participant was to wear white.

Pineapple Dazzle MS Colour Run Fun

We started the run in Darling Harbor among 5,000 other white clad crazies. The crowd was an eclectic bunch. Amongst the families and groups of friends I spotted a man in a wedding dress, coordinated neon accessorised fairies and another fellow who thought he'd brave the course in heels. I really didn't know what to expect when we were finally released at the starting line but everyone was very excited.

Pineapple Dazzle MS Colour Run Fun

Running around the Harbor into a nearby park we came to the first colour station. Volunteers wearing masks & holding water bottles were squirting hot pink dust at runners as they flew by. At the first station they missed my white top entirely. I rectified this at the second station whilst 3 volunteers completely coated me in coloured dust. By the third station,  I was starting to look and feel like a Pro Hart creation. Running across the finishing line I was elated to have completed the run. The moment didn't last long as I was doused in a giant dust cloud of green and gold. Yes this is me, the dust cloud with feet.

Pineapple Dazzle ColourRun Colour Fun Run Finish Line

Pineapple Dazzle ColourRun Colour Aftermath Fun

I recommend if you want to take part to wear clothes and shoes you don't mind getting stained. Most of the colour will dust off but I noticed the pink and green dust did stain once it got wet. Explaining my strange coloured tan marks whilst on the beach later that day was a little awkward but to me they felt like a badge of honor.

Pineapple Dazzle Colour Run Fun

Pineapple Dazzle Colour Run Fun

Pineapple Dazzle Colour Run Fun

Fear not Australians who are also obsessed with colour you haven't missed out on the fun. The Colour Run is coming to a capital city near you soon. Details here.

Thank you MS Colour Run for the fabulous day. If you would like to donate some money to MS Australia to help people affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) please do so here.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Awe inspiring Anish Kapoor

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to see a truly ground breaking artist, Anish Kapoor at Sydney's MCA.

Anish Kapoor, is an Indian-born British sculptor. His work explores his interest in the relationship between the contrasting forces of light and dark. He uses colour, form, size and medium to challenge perception, developing immersive and sometimes unsettling experiences.

Pineapple Dazzle Art Anish Kapoor

On first glance the works look simplistic. Its not until you come close & interact with them that you will perceive the beauty within. In my eyes the man is a genius. Each and every time I went to look at a work I found myself completely drawn in. I found everything was highly interactive and awe inspiring. It was like I had fallen down a rabbit hole.

Pineapple Dazzle Art Anish Kapoor

My personal favourite from the exhibition was the elegant S Curve. Wandering its length both sides I found other people's bodies swirled, curled, disappeared and reappeared whilst my own image stared back at me unaltered. It was truly unsettling.

Pineapple Dazzle Art Anish Kapoor S Curve

Kapoor's Exhibition will be at the MCA until 1 April 2013. I highly recommend checking out Kapoor's website to see more of his work as they are truly breaktaking. 

Friday, 25 January 2013

Feel good Fridays

Australia Day is fast upon us. I've devised a sure fire way that you will enjoy at least 33 minutes of the day. Play this mix. It will make you feel good.

When it comes to Roller Derby never give up

I've been swept back up again in the swirling tornado called Roller Derby. Our season has started and this year I'm taking on a Captain role. The responsibility has made me reflect on what is important and try to articulate to my new team mates how they can best help. 

When playing Roller Derby it is best to take things jam by jam. Make your 2 minutes on track count. Play smart, play clean and put 110% into every jam. So how can you be most effective?

Things to keep in the back of your mind at practice and on game day:

Dont take yourself out of the game.
Big blocks especially when you are new aren't effective - you usually get majors if it isn't executed correctly. Being in the penalty box is a waste! Being down or out of bounds means one less skater on track. Practice playing clean - fast recoveries, evading blocks, deflecting blocks, positional blocking & pocket blocking. They are a smart way of using your skills to keep you inbound & available to help your team. Your 2 minutes is precious make sure you are using yours wisely.

Be aware
I cannot stress enough how important awareness is. Help your team by checking where the opposition Jammer is and telling team mates nearby. Is she in the box? Let your team know! Is she 1/4 of the track away from the pack? Let your team know! Is your Jammer stuck at the back? Let your team know! Jammers should be aware of the opposition Jammer  Is it her first or second pass through the pack? Has she gone to the box? Knowing when to call off the jam is becoming an incredibly crucial part of Roller Derby and can be the difference between a 5 and a 35 point jam.

The Track
Learn to love her dimensions. She can be your friend or worse enemy. Coming into and out of corners is where the magic happens. If you see the inside line has been left wide open & a Jammer is approaching you make it your mission to get in front of her and hold that line. Don’t be tempted to hit the Jammer you just stay in front of her. Your team mates will find you and help you. Practice yielding when being knocked out of bounds. Never, ever skate out of bounds– block or be blocked out of bounds only.

Team Mates
Roller Derby teams don’t win games by the strength of their best player. Games are won by the team that works most cohesively. Look to your team mates, are they telling you something? Sometimes watching your team mate you'll notice they are blocking & holding a player. If you aren't doing anything go help them. Listen to your team mates. Did you hear them talking to you on track? Get used to hearing what they say and reacting to what they need on track. If in doubt find a buddy. Two skaters working together are more deadly than one. Imagine if all five are working together in unison?

Take out the biggest threat
Sometimes the biggest threat - that scary blocker - needs to be distracted from taking out our Jammer  No-one else is stopping her as they are busy doing their own important task. In that case it’s up to you to do the dirty job. Taking on the scary blocker doesn't have to be a smashy affair you just have to be an annoying buzzing mosquito! You don’t have to take her out or knock her over (bonus points) but you do have to think about when is the best time to distract her. Put your body in between hers and our Jammer so she'll have to hit you instead of our girl. Your Jammer will love you for it & give you lots of high 5's.

Never give up
Your job is not over until the 4th whistle blows. Re-engage. Form a wall. What next? Help a buddy. Storm a path through the pack for your Jammer  Take the hit so your Jammer doesn't have to. If the opposition Jammer gets past you... RE-ENGAGE. Race to the front and block her again and again to stop her passing other team mates. Protect each other’s points like they are sacred. If that scary blocker knocks our Jammer out of bounds, knock her out of bounds then give our Jammer a whip. When you hear the whistles start blowing skate as fast as you can so the opposition Jammer doesn't get your point.

No stinking thinking
The past is the past. Don't get hung up on what you did or didn't do in the last jam. We can't change it but you can learn from it. Everyone in Roller Derby is still learning. 5 year veterans are still finding new things out about the game. Don't beat yourself up on one itty bitty thing that you could have done better. Let it go. Breathe in. Breathe out. We need your head clear, calm and in control. Focus on what you are going to do next.

Stay clean. Stay in-bounds.  Be aware. Practice like you play on game day. Look to your team mates. Re-engage. Never give up. If you try to always think of the above your team will love you & give you lots of high 5's and hugs. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

How to host a Tiki Party

Summer house parties are a great way to bring friends together. Yet hosting an Aussie BBQ can get a bit dull. Stand out from the crowd and throw a Tiki Party! With minimal effort yet maximum style you can host a gathering that your friends and family will be raving about for years to come. What you will need:

Pineapple Dazzle How to host a Tiki Party
A signature cocktail.  Who wants to be making drinks all night? Keep it simple by making a punch or favourite drink in bulk. My favourite is a Cointreau Blush.

Cointreau Blush Recipe

Start with a tall glass of ice
30ml of Cointreau
10ml of lime juice
60ml of pink grapefruit juice
top up with soda and add a lime wedge

Quirky details make the party. Add a mermaid pendant lamp, amp up your bar with flamingos, cocktail umbrellas, swizzle sticks & anodised cups for instant style.

Set the mood. Borrow your folks vinyl collection or stream a Tiki Lounge digital radio station for the evening. Dont forget to add fairy lights, candles and bamboo flares!

Break the ice with party games! Limbo anyone?

The hostess with the mostess always looks the part. Wear something outrageously stylish. Its not everyday you throw a party.  I highly recommend Hot Couture, they will have you feeling fabulous & effortlessly looking the part.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Years Resolutions

Last year I decided to start a resolution early to see if I could do it. The goal: to not  buy anything unnecessary from October 31 until January 1st.

I pretty much followed a similar formula as summed up perfectly on Zen Habits Buy Nothing Challenge.

As a retail therapy junkie I found it an incredibly confronting challenge which made me realise my motivations to shop. Thankfully I've never been one to buy things on credit and kept it well within my means. But I did use it as a way to soothe my emotions. To treat myself when I was feeling stressed or blue. As a way to congratulate myself on a job well done. I bought gifts to show people how much I loved them. Because I just plain wanted something impulsively. Often once the rush of the purchase was over, I'd almost immediately feel buyers remorse later.

So to help myself in the challenge I turned off all of my email subscriptions, set myself a savings goal and kept myself distracted with friends and family, my new blog and anything else that didn't involve shopping. My mantra became 'just because you like it doesnt mean you want or need it'. I honestly didn't fully recognise at the time just how hard this whole experience was going to be.

First I realised how impulsive my purchases were. I became aware of the burning desire that crept up underneath my skin when I went shopping. Tempation was the devil and it was lurking deep inside of me. I found on some days I had to drag myself away literally before I was corrupted.

I made it hard for myself to shop. I no longer picked up a basket but held my mobile phone in one hand to make it really difficult to pick up more than one item. I banned myself from shopping websites. I banned myself from sales racks, shopping malls and op-shops. I wrote lists constantly of the things that I wanted as a way to help myself get through the emotions behind the motivation, to acknowledge the impulse and then let it go. I did a lot of breathing and counting down from 10 when I felt the temptations too strongly.

I became more present in the moment of shopping by asking myself a lot of questions.  I was able to reassess what I really needed. Could I just make do with something for a little bit longer? Do I really need this item right now or could it wait until 2013? Do I already have one at home? Do I want it because I like it? Will I actually use it? A lot of the time I realised that I enjoyed the giddy rush of the hunt more so than the actual item itself.

I purchased only two unnecessary items during the entire challenge. I felt terrible and was honest with myself by telling my friends and family what I had done. Each slip up gave me a chance to learn from the mistake, assess my emotions at the time of purchase and be more motivated to not do it again. I found the desire and impulses to buy slowly diminished over time as I formed new habits.

So I did it, I went 2 whole months without shopping! I reached my savings goal and my bank accounts are looking peachy. Today for the first time in a long time I let myself go crazy and shop. I was able to reassess my needs and wants and was able to talk myself down from buying all the things that I'd been cataloging in my mind since the challenge started and instead bought one new dress to celebrate.

Pineapple Dazzle Aardvark Manifesto

It has made me realise what is truly important in life does not include the things that you wear or the objects that fill your house. But simpler things like a relaxed and loving family, laughing with friends, challenging yourself to be a better person and striving to make a difference in the world or your little community. All of these things in the end are worth more to your life in the long run.

(image from the if you are interested!)