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Dearest Sal,

You feel pretty average about life right now. You're completing an expensive degree that will turn out to be pretty irrelevant, but know that it's a rich life experience. Granted, not one that you'd choose to live through again, but it will add a log to your fire of resilience. And shit, will you need that fire for what lays ahead.

Life hasn't been all that kind to you. You got terribly beaten + bullied at school. Your mum had severe mental health problems that put you onto suicide watch from the age of 14. You found out your dad was having an affair before your mum even knew. You were sexually abused by someone you trusted, and subsequently (and confusingly) wanted to make excuses for them. The list goes on and on. Right now you're still processing this shit (and the rest of it), but you'll look back in 5 years and be super grateful. You don't crumble and let it consume you. You take a deep breath, stick two fingers up to the world and say 'fuck this, I'm ready to make new stories'. What happened to you will not define you. What is about to happen to you, on the other hand, actually does. It defines you in the most amazing way.

In a few years, a boyfriend will pressure you into travelling Australia with him. It will turn out to be the best life-decision you ever made. He'll also tell you to start a recipe website to organise your thoughts and ideas, which you really can't fathom at the time. Ignore yourself (just this once) and do what he says. You cannot possibly comprehend what this site will do for your future self. It will lead you to a level of excitement, happiness and contentment in life that you've yet to experience. It's fucking epic here.

Don't worry so much about what people think of you. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself. Your body will be there for you. It will look after you if you look after it back. Contrary to your belief, it's not some Ferrari that needs constant fine-tuning to be the best-in-class. Feed it good food, move your body, and don't panic if you have a questionable sausage or cookie every now and then. Understand that food is as much about the social experience and ENJOYMENT as it is fuel. In time you'll learn to love your fabulous bod, and not because of what it looks like to the outside world. Trust me when I say, that's a good thing.

Share yourself with the world - your knowledge, your thoughts, and most importantly, your mistakes. It will be uncomfortable a lot of the time, but it somehow makes you one hell of an inspiring storyteller. It legitimately helps people feel better about their own day-to-day, which in itself, is worth everything. It gives you an incredible sense of fulfilment. It makes your life purposeful.

You'll soon realise that 'whatever you can dream, you can achieve', and other such corny quotes will actually hold true meaning in your life.  Take every opportunity that your gut tells you to. You'll quickly grow and adapt from making lots of expensive, silly decisions. That's totally cool - you get the opportunity to share those mistakes with thousands of people so that they don't do the same dumb shit. You'll learn to do awesome things just by throwing yourself in the deep end and hoping you float. You do, by the way... You float.

There will be some heartbreaks along the way. Some people who come into your life to teach you things you didn't know about yourself. You will be cheated on, and he'll make you feel unworthy - but that's a lesson that you won't allow to play out more than once. You'll walk away with your head held high - each time more independent and more courageous in surrounding yourself with only those who lift you higher.

You're going to blossom into a confident, strong, independent woman who truly loves her life. You'll run your own show. You'll live in an incredible country in the sunshine by one of the world's most famous harbours, and watch the sun set behind the Opera House most nights of the week. You inspire people to live better, work smarter and believe that anything is possible, all from the comfort of your pyjamas. You rise up against all odds, and you do good.

Know that every unpleasant experience in the past and waiting for you in the future comes with a silver living - no matter quite how shitty they seem at the time. Those nights when you have crippling panic attacks, cry for hours into your pillow, and even mindlessly consider about ending it all, is your darkness being carved. This happens so that when you get to the light, it is so much sweeter. You're so much more appreciative. You hit a point when you actually pinch yourself every day in awe, asking 'is this REALLY my amazing life?'.

Believe me, it's fucking worth it. Just hold on tight.

Sal, 31.

xo

NB: If you feel you are in crisis, please call Lifeline 24 hour crisis support - 13 11 14.
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Us avid health foodies can spend a lot of time thinking about the food that we put in our bodies. But let me ask you this, have you ever thought that hard about what you are putting on your body? I guessing the answer to that question is probably no. Don't worry though, keep reading and you'll find out all about how to incorporate clean beauty into your life.

Did you know that your skin is your body's largest organ and absorbs about 60-70% of what you put on it?

If you have found yourself reading food labels and looking for any chemicals or numbers then guess what, you are already halfway there! When it comes to beauty products it's good to try and avoid ingredients like parabens and sodium lauryl sulfates.

Now I know what you are thinking. Isn't swapping to clean and natural beauty going to cost a fortune? And the answer to that is no! There are heaps of super simple beauty swaps that you can make without having to take a second mortgage out.

Moisturisers

Why bother spending big $$ on moisturisers when there is a super simple cheap option out there? Coconut oil is a great moisturiser and unlike most beauty and health products, it is super cheap.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BWgCkYwgwRW/?taken-by=thefitfoodieblog

Lipsticks + Lip balms

Since the average woman eats up to 1kg of lipstick per year, its pretty important to make sure yours doesn't contain heaps of nasties. There are heaps of reasonable ones on the market such as Dusty Girls.

Same goes for lip balms. Did you know that most of the popular brands have petroleum in their lip balms? That gives me the heebie-jeebies if I am going, to be honest. No fret, these ones from Burts Bees and Pure Papaya Care are just as good and just as cheap.

Deodorant

Most conventional deodorants contain aluminium which may stop the B/O but having that running through your bloodstream isn't the greatest. This one from Black Chicken contains all natural ingredients and is just as effective.

Toothpaste

I don't know about you but when I read the ingredients list on my toothpaste I have no idea what on earth is in it. Plus the natural toothpaste swaps are actually just as cheap as the conventional ones. Red Seal and Grants of Australia have great ones.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bcn0kmkALoJ/?taken-by=thefitfoodieblog

Foundation

Foundation is the staple of staples in everyone's beauty routines. And again these don't have to be super expensive either. We love the ones from Dusty Girls and La Mav.

Did we miss one of your faves? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow me: @thefitfoodieblog

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Earlier this year Sally O'Neill from The Fit Foodie Blog and Anisa Sabet from The Macadames held their very first photography workshop. After catching up on an Instagram blind-date in Melbourne, it was only a matter of time before they joined forces to teach an epic photography workshop. With Sal to teach her signature light and bright style of food photography, and Anisa sharing her wisdom on all things dark and moody, each of the 14 beautiful guests were left with a vault full of tips and tricks to help them master their own aesthetic.

So here is some behind the scenes of the workshop, photographed by the lovely Meg Evans

• Workshop Highlights •

Photography Basics - everything from camera settings, to lighting, composition, colour palettes and more

Styling - how to create a story with food

Light photography - learning how to create beautiful light and vibrant photos with Sal

Dark photography - mastering the dark and moody aesthetic with Anisa

Editing and presets - how to master the post-production and ease the editing process with presets

• Guests •

Marianna

Sara

Anna

Joanna

Jen

Claudia

Yvonne

Sophie

Megann

Karen

Pandora

Loryn

Alyce

• Menu •

On arrival

Coffee, tea, crudités & dip

Mains

Whole side of salmon with fennel & roe

Poached chicken with broccoli, sorrel & lemon vinaigrette

Sides

Heirloom carrot and feta salad

Spiced cauliflower and chickpea salad

Mixed leaf salad

Roquette and radicchio salad

Dessert

Chocolate cream cake

• Partners •

Teachers: Anisa Sabet | Instagram

Flowers: Fleurs by Jameela | Instagram

Where would you like to see our photography workshops head next?

follow me: @thefitfoodieblog

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I think most of us can agree that wireless headphones are probably the best thing invented… ever. Gone are the days of getting tangled in cords whilst trying to smash out your workout. Plus, there was always the question of where you were going to put your phone or iPod (if you are old enough to remember the time of iPods) to minimise the chances of it ending up going through the treadmill. And I don’t know about you but those Apple earphones have just never fit into my ears.

I mean who knew that one day we would have headphones that can stimulate parts of your brain to accelerate muscle memory development? Something I am sure could convert even those that don’t listen to music when they workout. The things you can find when trawling the web. Plus we found a few for every Fittie out there. Whether its style you are after with the Beats, Sudio or NuForce, or you want super tech with Bose or Jaybird.

No matter whether it’s the bass that gets you going or a little bit of Taylor Swift, here are our picks for the best headphones to smash out your workouts.

What are your fave headphones to wear during workouts?

Follow me: @thefitfoodieblog 

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When full-time hustling is your jam and big cities are your playground, nature and plant time can be hard to come by. And whilst your concrete jungle ways may be good for your business and your bank account, spending most of your life indoors can have some pretty serious impacts on your health and cognitive function (we can’t have that now can we). Plus, if you are a pale skinned Aussie like me then the sunburn life is REAL. And honestly, no matter how hard I try, the tomato faced look is a hard one to pull off.

image via pinterest

So, if you are like me you spend most of your time indoors, then adding in some plants to your indoor space can give you some nature inspiration when you need it.  Plus, plants are known for clearing air pollution and giving out oxygen which can make you feel amazing and help those brain gears keep on firing throughout the day. Trust me, NASA did a study on it.

Here are some of our faves for both inspiration and health benefits.

image via pinterest Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is also known as the ‘plant of immortality’ and for good reason too. An epic all-rounder, aloe vera not only cleans the air but also the gel can be used for sunburn if you decide to get your nature fix outside.

 

image via pinterest Mother in Law’s Tongue/Snake Plant

This plant is not only gorgeous but also super effective at clearing the air of toxins. And its low maintenance for us girl/boy bosses

image via pinterest Rubber Plants

This plant was featured in NASA’s clean air study and is great at clearing out toxins like formaldehyde. Not only that, they actually get better at the over time.

 

image via pinterest Spider Plant

The spider plant is another popular indoor plant choice and it not only looks pretty but it also is air toxin cleaning machine!

 

image via pinterest Devil’s Ivy

Devil’s Ivy is not only great at clearing the air but is perfect for those of us that struggle with our green thumb abilities.

 

image via pinterest Fiddle Leaf Fig

These plants have seriously taken the interior design world by storm. I mean, look at those gorgeous big leaves! These are perfect for clearing out your air space and just adding some wow factor to your house.

What are your favourite indoor plants?

Follow me: @thefitfoodieblog

PIN ME FOR LATER:

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Every time cold and flu season comes around do you seriously envy that person in your office with rock-solid immunity? Do you wonder what their secret is to being this bacteria-fighting machine? I do sometimes, and hey maybe it's genetics or maybe it's diet related but once you know the tips of the trade, getting sick can become a lot less painful. Because as Hippocrates said,

"Let food be thy medicine"

Now I know that many times as a kid I was told to eat oranges because they were high in Vitamin C and that would stop me from getting sick. But believe it or not there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that have just as much if not more vitamin C than oranges! Also, don't believe everything people tell you as a kid (FIY carrots don't give you night vision).

Avocado

Packed with vitamins A, C and E, avocados help to strengthen your immune system.
Try this soup for a delicious way to get your dose and keep warm.

Chilli

If you can handle the heat, chilli’s can help fight infection, so if you’ve already been struck down this Brown Rice Nasi Goreng is for you.

Garlic

Garlic increases our body’s natural ability to produce cells that fight bacteria.
Try this garlicy snapper dish for dinner tonight.

What are your fave foods to help ward off the seasonal flu?

Follow me: @thefitfoodieblog

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Are you currently sitting in your corporate job wandering what it would be like to break free of the 9-5 and start running your own show? I know it can be so hard to take the leap and walk away. Lindy Sorenson did just that, and took steps to launch her own luxury fitness box brand Aktivaal. She left her corporate career and does her own thing, managing this growing start-up aimed at busy women like herself (and you, and me!).

I sat down with Lindy to chat all things freelance life, and to pick her brain on how the transition has been for her.

What exactly is Aktivaal?

Aktivaal is basically that new set of joggers or that new tank that you buy to help get you motivated to get fit. It’s a series of beautifully curated gift boxes full of all the fitness essentials you’ll need to get started in perhaps yoga, swimming or running. Aktivaal essentials range from beautiful rose gold swiss balls to forest green drink bottles to black and white yoga mats.

Aktivaal is something that can be used at home, in the park or down at your local beach. It's intention is to be used in the beautiful Australian outdoors.

What did you do before this new gig?

I used to work in the corporate world for a large accounting firm working on their Entrepreneur Of The Year program funnily enough. After meeting my husband and travelling Australia, we became engaged and I chose to become an outdoor fitness personal trainer.
Soon after I fell pregnant and became very ill with morning sickness. So I focused on raising my two daughters for the next 3 years. Whilst goal setting for the new year, I decided to focus on competing in triathlons but I had no idea how to train or what I needed. I am an absolutely hopeless swimmer! After searching around, I thought of how easy it would be if there was just a kit of fitness essentials that had everything you needed to get you started in a particular discipline. And that’s when Aktivaal was born.

 

Specifically, what steps did you take to get you through the transition of corporate jungle to freelance freedom?

I knew that I wasn’t able to personally sustain the long hours and the commute at the same time as raising a family. I had always entertained the idea of becoming a personal trainer but it felt like it was the right time to make the career change. So I completed a Personal Training course and became an outdoor fitness PT before I had my 2 daughters. It was then after having Sahara and Amaya that I decided I wanted to create a luxe fitness product that allowed everyone to enjoy working out and be inspired by our beautiful outdoors. So after pitching the idea to friends, family and the amazing Tess from SmackBang, I felt I was ready to take the leap into freelance freedom.

 

What do you love most about running your own show?

I actually love the sense of achievement I feel and the anticipation of the sense of achievement I may feel in a few years to come. It’s only now that I’m starting to realise exactly what I’ve started and how brave that it was at the time.

I love that I’m creating something that might give that woman that little spring in her step when she does her workout. That gives me goosebumps just thinking that I may have made someone feel good about themselves.  As women have a tendency to put ourselves last (a constant battle of mine) and I want Aktivaal to be that permission to all those hard working ladies out there that now is your time and to embrace it.

 

What truths about working for yourself did you not realise until you started?

That it is a constant roller coaster and no one is there to pick you up on the down, only you can. At first, I questioned all of the big decisions as I was used to running the ideas past my colleagues and managers. But when you work for yourself, it can be isolating. That’s why I now have an amazing business coach who is a fantastic sounding board and inspiration to me. She keeps me accountable and on my toes, that’s for sure.

Meet these 3 incredible women who turned Instagram into their careers

Talk us through the start-up process. Where did you begin?

I firstly started by pitching the idea to friends and family and stumbled across the amazing Tess from SmackBang. After meeting with her, she was really encouraging of the concept and we started straight away on registering the business, finding a business name and creating the Aktivaal brand. Once that was complete, I started creating the boxes and purchasing the products that were going to be used in the boxes while SmackBang worked on my incredible website. We launched 10 months later and are only 4 months in! Eeek.

Are there any apps or services that streamlined the process for you?

The best streamlined process along the way was definitely using Tradegecko. Tradgecko links up to my website, feeds back to an inventory database and also hooks up to Shippit. So when someone purchases one of my boxes, all of the contents are deducted from the inventory database which also feeds through to Shippit. It’s pure magic!

What elements of your business have you automated and why?

I automated the inventory process as in total there’s 40 different products and being a mum of 2, I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to keep on top of this. It is a complex product so I needed a system that just chugged away in the background.

Where do you how your business to be in 5 years’ time?

In five years time I see Aktivaal branching out into many different facets. It’s all very exciting and plans have already begun. Lots of new exciting products to come! Anything can happen in 5 years. x

Follow me: @thefitfoodieblog

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