Friday, 24 February 2017


outfit one : tobi dress / ecco boots / sportsgirl choker /// outfit two : tobi dress / converse

hello, beautiful people. for this post i styled two dresses from the brand Tobi. while they're similar in style - both low-backed and pastel-coloured, i wanted to make one a more casual, laid-back look and the other slightly dressier. i'm really digging pastel colours right now, and did anyone notice that the blue dress has pockets? its love.

a lot has happened in the past week. the big old red van broke down, my boyfriend broke up with me, i started uni, i tried an acai bowl for the first time, i went to centrelink by myself, i started drinking coffee again, i bought three new bras, i gave money to two homeless people, i hung out with more friends than i usually do in a month, i drove here-there-and-everywhere, and i watched fifty shades darker, twice. just between nursing a broken heart and starting uni, its been a pretty crazy week, and i haven't really stopped to breathe until this morning. while keeping busy has been lifesaving, i could feel myself become increasingly overwhelmed and didn't want to burn out. today i decided to stay home for the first time in the week and just give myself some space. i slept in this morning, made myself a cup of tea, then went for a run and am about to make myself a super nourishing lunch. lesson learnt: despite what we may try to convince ourselves of, we aren't all capable of non-stop go, go, go.

all my love,
araina xx

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p.s. my lovely friend grace took the first set of photos and i'm on my way to convincing her to accept my job offer of full-time blog photographer. you can find her here and here.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017


google's definition of spirituality : "the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things."

the idea and importance of creating a daily spiritual practice was brought forth into my mind after reading rebecca campbell's book, "light is the new black". she states that "you cannot hear the callings of your soul if you don't carve time out to listen to them daily." throughout the book she continuously stresses the importance of making time to add rituals into your everyday life that allow for space to listen to and heal your spirit and soul. 

though 'spiritual practice' may sound both super hippy and daunting, i promise it isn't. creating a daily spiritual practice means tending your spirit, bringing your body, mind and soul into balance, and deepening your spiritual connection through daily practices. having daily routines, practices or rituals can help serve as reminders to tend to the spirit/soul and become rooted in the present.

in this post i'm going to be talking about some practices and tools you can use to infuse your day with mindfulness. a spiritual practice will look different for everyone, and not all (or any) of the following practices or tools will interest you. these are some things i personally try to do. i am in no means an expert or pro at this topic in the slightest - some days i may do all or most of these practices, others i do none. creating a spiritual practice is a journey and forming habits most often take a lot of time, effort and dedication. i do really notice that if i start my day with at least one of these rituals, i feel a lot more grounded and less scattered and irritable throughout the day. it can be hard to commit to actively working on a spiritual practice, but the days when you resist these things are often the days you need them the most. 

it appears that meditation has become somewhat of a 'trendy' thing to do in recent times. while some trends, particularly on social media, i lack understanding of the interest behind them, meditation i can clearly see the reasons for its rising popularity. i'm sure you've all come across pages or posts on the benefits of meditation, but if for some reason you haven't, i'm going to talk about them for a little while. people have been meditating for thousands of years, so while the practice isn't new, science is only recently catching up to all of its benefits. there are over 3000 scientific studies on the benefits of meditation, with these including improved concentration, less stress, better immune system, improved sleep, less depression and anxiety, higher self esteem, more resilience, increased mental strength and memory, better problem solving and creative thinking, reduced blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, delayed ageing, etc etc. it seems too good to be true that simply taking time to stop and focus on breathing can yield such a huge range of positive effects, hey? if you've tried meditation before, however, you'd be aware that it often isn't the easiest thing to do. most times, in fact, it's pretty frickin difficult. i really struggle with it, but i strongly, strongly believe that if you stick to it, its one of the best things you can do for yourself. i've found that the easiest way to include it in my day is doing it first thing when i wake up in the morning. until i improve at it, i also find using an app or guided meditation works best for me (i use either 'breathe' or 'headspace').

much like meditation, yoga has similarly become a 'social media trend', but again, is an ancient practice boosting a huge range of benefits, both mentally and physically. yoga is a holistic approach to achieving physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. regular yoga practice can reduce stress and anxiety, improve flexibility, build muscle strength, improve posture and bone health, increase blood flow, boost your immune system, improve balance and focus, release tension in muscles, help you sleep, ease pain, support connective tissue, and more!

a few years ago when i discovered yoga and my enjoyment for it, i practiced almost every day for months, and subsequently felt probably the best i ever have. since that phase/obsession, i've gone through times of both regular practice and completely neglecting my yoga mat, but each time i return i still love it just as much. if you're new to yoga i highly recommend checking out 'yoga with adriene' on youtube - that gal is my yoga love. she has a '30 day yoga camp' and '31 days of yoga revolution', which are both awesome playlists of daily yoga videos. crazy yoga poses can make it appear daunting, but there are heaps of beginner flows to help ease you into it. when i first started doing yoga i could barely touch my toes, and just a few months later i could do the splits. its empowering and motivating to see the improvement in your physical and mental health.

essential oils and aromatherapy have been used for over 5000 years, among cultures around the world. aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from a range of flowers, seeds, barks, herbs and roots. aromatic essential oils can be used for reducing stress, improving sleep, helping headaches, strengthening the immune system, pain management and dealing with symptoms of depression/anxiety. the combination of different essential oils can create a more powerful effect than that of which the oils would have on their own, so finding pre-blended mixes is an easy introduction to aromatherapy. 

my favourite way to reap the benefits of aromatherapy is by using combardis elixirs. as well as having incredible scents, the combardis elixirs all have the loveliest positive affirmations on the back of each different mist. to uplift your mind, body and spirit, combardis suggests spraying the mist gently over the crown of your head while breathing in the scent deeply and repeating the affirmation. i talk about the concept of positive affirmations more later in this post, but the combination of the essential oil benefits and positive affirmations make for a super feel-good daily ritual. i currently rotate between the 'free the spirit', 'abundant life' and 'highest potential' aromatic mists by combardis, spraying them on my pillow at night, yoga mat in the morning and throughout the day whenever i feel in need of a pick-me-up or help refocusing. i often carry one of them with me in my car or purse to use when i'm feeling unbalanced or uncentered. i've mentioned quite a bit that i struggle with anxiety, and i've noticed that using aromatic mists and essential oils can really help.
free the spirit - lemongrass, bergamot, cedar wood, ylang ylang / 'i am free to be me.'
highest potential - sweet orange, lime, geranium, patchouli, ylang ylang, rose otto / 'i am inspired to be the best version of me.'
abundant life - orange, frankincense, patchouli, clove bud, ginger root, myrrh, cinnamon, spruce / 'my grateful heart is a magnet for all that i desire.'

when we breathe deeply, from our stomach rather than shallow chest breaths, we slow down the 'fight or flight' response, which most modern society people live in a constant state of. taking conscious, deep breaths daily slows down the nervous system and lessens tension within the body, as well as giving the body a chance to rest and heal. your body is also designed to release a large percentage of it's toxins through breathing. if you're not breathing deeply, you are therefore not properly ridding your body of those toxins. regular deep breathing is something i really struggle with (#justanxietythings), and am really trying to work at. in most situations i notice a huge, huge difference after taking a few deep breaths when i'm feeling stressed or anxious. i find that reaching for one of the previously mentioned combardis essential oil mists and spraying that then taking 5-10 deep breaths helps me the most.

if you're a creative person and don't regularly carve out time dedicated to your creative practice, you're ignoring your soul's callings and thus making your spirit suffer. therefore, devoting time to your creative practice is an extension upon your spiritual practice. painting, writing, photography - whatever your thing is, for the sake of your spiritual wellbeing and happiness, do that thing as often as you can.

crystals have been used for centuries to heal, by healers and individuals. it is said that having a crystal within your electromagnetic field raises your vibrational level, by refracting and reflecting light into your auric field. crystals are believed to vibrate at the same pitch as humans, which means they can have positive reactions in the mind and body. 

crystals can be used during meditation, carried around with you or just sat in spaces you're often found in. you can choose crystals based on chakras, zodiac signs, the meaning or healing properties you desire, by feeling or sensing which you gravitate towards, or just whichever you find prettiest. i usually have a crystal near me most of the time - there's one sitting in my car, in my bag, on my desk, next to my bed and around my wrist. i find it really calming and grounding to hold a crystal in my hand in stressful situations. other than my little piece of rainbow moonstone, i'm yet to find a decent chunk or piece of jewellery with one in it, but moonstone has always been the crystal i have been most drawn to. it's my birth stone, and is a crystal with calming, stress relief, love and goddess energies and qualities.

journalling can act as a tool in one's spiritual practice due to it's ability to cause reflection and exploration. not only does journalling capture moments and thoughts, it also leads to insight and a deeper understanding of yourself, others and situations. exploring thoughts via writing engages with your inner self, that often largely goes unnoticed or ignored. writing and journalling can also act as a form of meditation. 

i've always struggled with maintaining a schedule of journalling that i stick to, but i find that when i do take the time to sit down with a pen and notebook, i often leave with either new insight into myself or a situation, or at least a feeling of calmness. the act of daily or weekly journalling is a commitment to self exploration and growth. as a lover of writing, a personal goal of mine is to really make the effort to regularly include journalling into my spiritual practice.

positive affirmations are short, positive statements either thought mentally or expressed verbally to oneself. they are the act of consciously choosing and using a new thought pattern, shifting from negative to positive thoughts in specific situations and in life in general. positive affirmations can help with reprogramming thought patterns, manifesting, achieving a state of gratitude in day-to-day life, focusing on goals, getting rid of negative thoughts and training the subconscious mind. there is nothing productive found in negative thinking. deliberately refining your thought patterns through the use of positive affirmations is empowering and motivating. the simple act of replacing, for example, "i can't do this" with "i can do this" is the first step to achieving goals and an overall more positive mindset. positive affirmations can be an included element of your morning routine, or used when required in situations. some of my personal favourite affirmations to think or repeat to myself are: "the universe supports me and has my back", "everything happens for a reason", "i accept what i cannot change, and strive to work on what i can", "all that i need will come to me at the right time", "i am capable and worthy of unconditional love".

solitude is something i have grown to have a strange love/hate relationship with. being the introvert i am, when it comes to the large majority of social interactions, i would often far prefer to be alone. on the other hand, however, solitude can also often lead to me feeling anxious and overwhelmed, craving quiet, gentle forms of socialising, particularly time spent with my boyfriend. despite these feelings of discomfort, spending time alone is undeniably crucial in both self growth and relationships with others.

when we constantly fill our daily lives with the external, be it social interactions or social media, we often avoid going deeper within ourselves. solitude allows for the time and space for self discovery, reflection and growth. it becomes very difficult to tend to and grow our spiritual self when constantly surrounded by other people. spending time alone also enhances, and is often essential for creativity. to devote time to any of these previously mentioned rituals and create a daily spiritual practice that leads to positive results, solitude is of utmost importance.

i hope this post inspires you in any way that you may need it. if you're feeling down or in a bit of a rut, i strongly suggest taking the time to carve out a daily spiritual practice that suits you. you'll reap the benefits, i promise.

with love,
A xx

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let me know in the comments below how you tend to your spirit/soul or ground yourself when you're feeling scattered or uncentered.

Monday, 6 February 2017


just a quick little post featuring one of my favourite tops - i scored this brand new 'keepsake the label intimates' cami from a clothes market for $10 down from $90. lace, interesting back detailing AND a perfect low-but-not-too-low neckline... what more could this gal possibly ask for in a top? i also threw on my trusty hand-me-down levi's and my new shoe loves - these classic slightly-heeled black boots that i totally claimed from my mother's wardrobe.

i start my new course next week, which i don't think i've mentioned on here yet. its a brand new six month course being offered by a little trendy local design school. two and a half days a week for the six months i'll be learning about a range of creative areas, including photography, graphic design and creative writing, which is all completely down my alley. i'm nervous (as i am with most things) but very excited to begin this next phase of my life. i'm sure this learning adventure will bring about heaps of exciting new content, so stay tuned! i'm currently working on a post i'm stoked to be able to share with you very soon. i've been collaborating with two brands in the past few weeks, which is a dream come true and further motivation to continue working on and pouring myself into this little creative outlet.

with love and light,
A xx

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Saturday, 21 January 2017


the past few weeks i've been feeling kinda icky, and while my mental state often fluctuates, this time i wanted to try and do something to actively improve it. my attempted solution? to swear off social media for the length of last week. a seven-day social media 'cleanse', if you will.

now i understand how this could seem like a strange fix to my latest mental health crisis, so i guess maybe a little back story may be helpful... the real issue that brought upon this desire to get off social media, and maybe partially explained my icky-ness, was how absent i was feeling. i came to realise that i was rarely completely present in moments, and this was causing a lot of my anxiety and negative feelings/thoughts. i think a lot of us tend to use social media as a distraction - a distraction from reality and from our inner self. while sometimes a distraction can be necessary and beneficial, on the other hand, using social media can often distract us from getting in touch with and exploring deeper within ourselves. for me, and i'm sure others, social media also often acts as a tool to encourage procrastination. i regularly find it difficult to focus on one task at a time - for example, whilst writing this blog post a few times i've mindlessly clicked between different social media websites and checked my phone, without even really consciously thinking about doing it. for many, social media has brought up this habit of feeling the need to constantly be 'in the loop' and updated.

while this desire or 'challenge' to get off social media for a while was predominately to see if it would affect my headspace in a positive way, i also wanted to try and use this time to create better habits in my life in general. one aspect i wanted to change was the way in which i started my day. for a very long period of time, my morning routine was to wake up, roll over, and proceed to check every form of social media app, before i had really even taken a proper breath or fully opened my eyes. no wonder i was feeling disconnected and absent - i started every day immediately with external stimuli, when i really needed to tap into and deal with the internal stuff to set my day up for feeling good.

so my mission for the week was : no use of social media (excluding facebook messenger to make plans and youtube to watch educational videos only), to meditate every morning as soon as i woke up then follow that with yoga, and to educate myself instead of distract myself through the media i was consuming.

and what happened when i got off social media for a week? the world didn't end, i didn't suddenly become the equivalent of a monk living on a mountain, and i didn't miss out on anything groundbreaking. 

what DID happen was...

i created a daily morning routine that actually set me up for a good day. every morning i meditated, starting with 5 minutes and worked my way up to 15 minutes, followed by a yoga video from yogawithadriene's revolution 31 days of yoga, and then i ate a nutritious breakfast outside in the sun. just a simple routine like that made me feel so positive most mornings, and inspired me to be productive for the rest of the day.

i connected more with my inner self. i think this was partially also to do with reading the book light is the new black at the start of my social media free week. throughout the week i really began to notice i was becoming more connected with my inner self. for me that meant really checking in and listening to my true inner thoughts and trusting my intuition or instincts. i thought much deeper into things than i had in a while, which i think, hopefully, will lead to positive changes in my life. i also started paying much more attention to the way in which things were impacting my energy, which is such an important skill to have.
i became more present. as mentioned earlier, this was one of the main goals i hoped to achieve throughout the week. i found that not constantly scrolling through photos or having the urge to check my phone meant that i did feel much more present in moments. take away that distraction and you're left far more emerged in reality.
i learnt how to be bored and what to do with that feeling. when you have social media, the second you potentially might feel bored, a swipe on your phone and you have a whole world of entertainment at your fingers. i think this reliance has led to a lot of us not truly experiencing the feeling of boredom ever anymore. without this option of entertainment, i had to sit with myself when i felt bored and consciously come up with something that didn't include vegging out on my phone. for me that was most often picking up a book, doing yoga or going outside, which were all far more positive options for my wellbeing and happiness.
i read more books than i had in weeks. i finished a new book (previously mentioned light is the new black - which is soo good btw) in two days, which a few years ago would've been normal, but could now be considered a record in recent years. i also got a fair way through another book as well. unfortunately reading has been something i've neglected quite a bit over the past few years, even though its something i've always deeply loved, so getting back into that (even if only out of boredom) was a super nice thing for me.
i started to crave educating myself. throughout the week watched countless ted talks and documentaries. again, mostly initially due to boredom, i began to seek out 'real media' to consume, and consequently, fell back in love with learning. having finished with school last year, my education is now completely in my own hands, and this social media free week really instilled in me how important and enjoyable learning can be.
i spent more time with my family. instead of eating lunch by myself or going straight into my room after dinner, i watched documentaries with them. not only was this a positive form of media and learning for both me and my family, but it was also nice to just be with them and not isolate myself to the digital world.
i connected with people more. or, at least, i really tried to make the effort to. instead of not fully being in conversations, as we all can sometimes be, i consciously tried to truly listen to people and what they were saying. i think in a lot of situations the quote "people don't listen, they just wait for their turn to talk" can ring true. being hooked in social media and the constant fast-pace social updates, i know i find that i'm often not fully present in conversations, which i'm sure can lead to feelings of disconnectedness.
i did things i love. as well as getting back into reading and yoga, i updated my blog, which you may have noticed, and decided to really start using this outlet more. i enjoyed making visual creative changes to this blog and writing/creating my last few posts so so much. my social media free week really helped me get in touch with what i love and want to do. 
my self esteem improved. i wouldn't say that i'm the type of person that often compares myself physically to others, but i think when we scroll through so many 'perfected' moments and photos, it must subconsciously affect us and our opinion of ourselves in comparison to others. i'm sure i wasn't imagining that not looking at images of unrealistic appearances made me feel better about myself.

thats a lot of good stuff starting to happen in just a week hey. and while this post has been on the topic of getting off social media, i think some of the positive change has to be attributed to more just the time i took and effort i put into the other things and developing those positive changes. just deleting your social media apps alone isn't going to produce huge positive results, but it can sure help.

as i write this post a few days after my social media-free week, i'm not going to lie and pretend i haven't often become stuck back in my mindless clicking between apps. i have, however, become far more mindful at realising when that mindless clicking instinct is occurring, and trying to limit it and choose something productive to do instead. as soon as i downloaded the apps back, i also went through instagram and unfollowed hundreds and hundreds of accounts. this means that my feed is now far smaller, and of content that is inspiring and motivating. i'm still reading and i've managed to keep my morning yoga routine every day, and meditation when waking up most days. i'm also doing a much better job at focusing on one thing at a time - i've almost finished writing this blog post with far less clicks to social media apps than would have occurred before, so heck yeah for that!

so while this week-long cleanse didn't necessarily result in me forever swearing off social media, i did begin to learn how to better use those apps and my time, as well as getting more in touch with my inner self. honestly, i think i might have a repeat of this week very soon - i'm sick of social media again already and am not done with this learning and bettering of myself.

i hope this post maybe inspires you to have a think about the way you are currently using social media and if that is acting in a positive or negative way towards your mindset and life. i really encourage taking a break and switching off for a while. i promise your social life will still continue and you won't become completely disconnected from the world (you probably won't miss scrolling through all those bikini photos either). i don't think social media is an inherently awful thing, it all comes down to how you use it. use it to build yourself up, learn, and make meaningful connections, don't use it to distract and numb yourself.

A xx

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