Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dig Your Way out of the Creativity Graveyard (…don’t leave anymore flowers there, please!)

“QUICK! Run away from the Creativity Graveyard before it buries you!” – PART 1 (in a series of life improving steps by Maria Savage)

So... me, and 19.  
You know how much that above line killed me to write? I can just hear myself saying “Ahh! No! It’s “19 and I”, but the above just sounds better. Screw you, English. Oh, and the two exams I should be studying for next week. Instead, I’m sitting here writing about something that has nothing to do with what I am studying at uni.

And that is EXACTLY the problem.

I touched based on this issue about a month ago when I last sat down and wrote for Avenue Maria. Simply put, I’ve hit an absolute plateau in my life and I have no idea how to get myself out and keep on running. I just know that I need to, SOON, or else I’ll lose my mind. I don’t feel successful, I rarely feel inspired and the only thing that keeps me going (creative-wise) is the fact that I still see beautiful things everywhere and can take photos of them. My Instagram feed seems to be the only reminder that I’m still Maria – I still love what I can do. And that’s all I want to do.

I’m studying writing and communication at uni, and aside from a *few* positive things, I kinda hate it. I hate the fact that all I seem to do is read about grammar and punctuation, and forms of non-verbal and verbal communication. You know what that stuff is to me, and my brain? DRY. BORING. Limiting.

It’s limiting because I want to make things, I want to create, I want to feel, and I want to do. I want to pour my heart and soul into creating beautiful things, and content! You wanna know why? Because I’m really fucking good at it. I’m really good at designing things, and making things look nice, and appreciating beauty. Content, for this blog, has been so terribly neglected in the last 18 months.
Moving to Brisbane and doing all these new things was one of the best things I have ever done for myself, but now that I am here and I’m more than settled in, I feel like I’m not achieving anything. It just feels so wrong that I’m not pounding the pavement with artwork under my left arm, a steaming coffee in my hand, and the latest issue of Frankie in my handbag. It feels wrong that all I ever seem to be able to write about is THIS STUFF. The fact that I miss the way life used to be when I was smashing out high school assessment, as well as running a really successful blog that landed me in magazines and gave me the opportunity to work with wonderful brands that I genuinely cared about. 

I feel like a broken record. You know what I should be writing about? How-to this, and how-to that. And how to make your life wonderful, and exciting, and how to follow your dreams! But I can’t write an accurate, honest article like that unless I’ve tried and tested and learnt from experience.

So here we are. This is Step 1. Hey guys, I’m not loving where my life is going at the moment and I want to change it. I’m going to change it. I don’t know how I am going to go about doing that, but I’m going to make lists, drink lots of coffee, read lot of magazines and talk to people until I figure out what the hell I should do.

Please tell me I’m not the only 19-year-old out there that feels this way? I mean, I already know the answer to that question, because there are 7.4 billion people in the world, so there would, statistically, be lots of others, but I still feel pretty alone on this one.

I have been blogging for six years, and in that time, my knowledge of social media, photography and the writing industry has developed in a completely unique, self-taught way. I got a head start before uni. I started blogging for the first time when I was 12. I learnt the basics of html coding when I was 13. I taught myself how to use photoshop when I was 14, I was featured in magazines when I was 15, and I started working with big companies before even being a legal adult. This isn’t stuff that I am boasting about; my point is that I skipped the basics, and now I’m at uni and being treated like everything is NEW, when actually, Professor, I’ve been working on this sort of stuff for seven years of my life. It’s not new to me, it’s a concept I may not have a degree in, but I bloody well feel like I should because of the real-life experience I’ve had. Instead of being challenged, and excited about the content I am currently learning, I’m bored. I’m paying six grand a semester to be bored out of my mind. That’s not the kind of lifestyle I signed up for, and I need to change it now.

I have always pictured myself as being a successful woman that glows outwardly from confidence, success and an impeccable water intake. And I still am that woman, I know I am her, she’s just buried underneath pages of communication theory that dates back to the 80s, and a student debt that means nothing.
If you got this far, thanks for reading. You’re a legend, and feel free to leave a comment below with advice or personal experience.

Image sources:
“Girl Running with Wet Canvas”, 1930, Norman Rockwell
Carrie Bradshaw collage via Elle

Monday, May 23, 2016

a far off place

After work on a Monday afternoon you'll usually find me nestled in a comfy chair in Dymocks, because printed text is are generally the only type of conversation I can manage in a sane manner after eight hours of customer service. I found The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho on the bestsellers shelf and though I've heard of it, I've never read it so I thought it might be a good idea to give it a go. There's a lot of profound revelations and inspiration in this book and I'm really enjoying it. The themes Coelho explores throughout the story have been quite relevant to my own life.

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”At the moment, I'm going through a period in my life where I don't know what I'm doing or where I'm headed. I've grown up a lot in the last year and have realized who I want to be, but I don't know how to get there. I am not enjoying university at all at the moment - I feel like it's causing me more unhappiness than it is happiness, and my heart simply isn't in it at all. All I can think about is travelling and going on adventures and wanting to see the world, but there's a lot holding me back; money, the security of home, and the 'what ifs'. After what happened with Sydney this year, I feel like I'm not capable of going away from home for too long... and I'm scared, I guess. I'm scared of not feeling safe all the time, not having a plan B, and just not feeling PREPARED. I thrive off of routine and back-up plans, but I'm getting restless. I'm sick of doing the same things all the time. I want to jump on airplanes and fly off to far off places; I want to eat exotic food in Morocco, I want to see the Pyramids of Giza; sail through the city of Venice, get a taste for fine wine in Italy, gaze for hours at beautiful paintings in museums in Paris, listen to live music in an Irish pub, make friends with strangers... fall in love with the world and culture and people.
“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.” 
This is one of my biggest fears in life... not doing the things I've always dreamed of, taking the risks and being the person I want to be. At the moment, I want to do so many things but I feel like I'm not able to do them.

I think a lot of this uncertainty is going to pass eventually: when I establish a clear path in life, but at the moment, I feel pretty lost. Lost at 19... it doesn't sound like a big deal (and it's not really, in the big scheme of things), but not knowing what to do with one's time isn't the most empowering feeling. I'm sure many people have experienced/ are experiencing a somewhat similar feeling/ status.
Anyway. I hope you all have a lovely week - good luck if you're a fellow student/ slave to the books like me and have assessment due in the next few weeks!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

MooGoo Review - my TOP 3 Favourites

Happy Thursday, friends. 

Back in January, I was sent a package full of goodies from a lovely company based not too far from Brisbane: MooGoo, established and situated on the Gold Coast. I had herd (pardon the pun) about it before via word of mouth and from lots of friends who had babies and/ or sensitive skin. Here's the low down: basically MooGoo is an environmentally-friendly and natural skincare company that specializes in making products for people who have acne, eczema, sensitive skin or for those who simply want to be conscious about what products they're using and what they have in them. What I love most about MooGoo is the fact that I know the company is honest; the ingredients list on the back of each product is simple and any weird names are explained so if you're a bit of a dimwit when it comes to Latin terms (ahem, me), they've got you covered. In all of their products, you can be sure that none of these ingredients will be found:
  • Paraffin Oil (Mineral Oil)
  • Synthetic Preservatives such as Parabens, Phenoxyethanol, Formaldehyde Donors
  • PEG’s and Synthetic Penetration enhancers
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate or harsh cleansers
I'm 100% all for supporting Australian brands and businesses so I highly recommend MooGoo if you're after trying something new! With all the kerfuffle lately over the prices of milk dropping and it having such a huge, devastating impact on Australian dairy farmers, it provides us with even more reasons to back the farmers that dedicate their heart and soul into providing us with quality products from happy cows. 

In the package I was sent, they spoilt me a little! There was a Shampoo and Conditioner set, a deodorant, the famous 'Udder Cream' and a lip balm. 
I've since used up all of the products and have narrowed the five products I was sent to three favourites (that I've since religiously repurchased).

WINNER: My favourite product

I've always been worried about chemicals in products that I've used in the past... for example silicone in certain primers causes my skin to get really congested and cleansers with soap in them dry my cheeks out to a pulp (causing flaking and the awful tight-feeling post-shower). Lately, the topic of aluminum in deodorant has sparked my interest and though you shouldn't believe everything you read online, it was concerning to discover that "aluminum based compounds used in most anti-perspiration deodorants form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin's surface" (source). Um, goodbye forever Rexona, you will be missed (not)! I don't want my sweat ducts to be plugged, thank you very much! Perspiration is a natural bodily function and sweat in itself doesn't actually smell, it's the bacteria surrounding it that causes that awful stench. Anyway, I was eager to try this deodorant out and I wasn't disappointed. Not only did it have a pleasant and fresh scent but it kept me feeling confident all day. Since January I've repurchased three bottles of this stuff and I will continue to do so until I die. Would highly recommend, 10/10! And, no aluminum or nasty ingredients so you can rest easy knowing your ducts aren't being blocked up with chemicals!


As you're all quite aware (well, if you've been reading Avenue Maria since day 1), my hair is actually insane. It really does have a mind of its very own. Therefore, finding a hair care routine that actually doesn't land me with a mop on my head the next morning is still something I'm trying to obtain. I've found part of it though - this conditioner. I loved the shampoo that goes with it, but it didn't blow me away like the conditioner did. The texture is so lovely and light and CREAMY. So creamy. I almost wanted to eat it, but I didn't, because that's weird and I'm not four years old. After I used this for a week (that's about four nights of washing), my hair felt quite light and lovely. It wasn't as frizzy as it is usually! I loved this conditioner; as a curly-haired girl. It infused my strands with enough moisture to hydrate them so I didn't look like I put my hand onto an electrical socket. 

Con/s: You need quite a lot of product to really give your hair a good soak! I used about 3-4 pumps, but then again, I go a little crazy with conditioner anyway. 

Don't let the 'Udder Cream' scare you from putting it into your trolley. It's 100% human friendly and wonderful, so much so that REAL cow udder cream would be jealous. This stuff was LOVELY. I used it particularly on my legs straight after shaving when they're at their most vulnerable - dry and scaly, albeit smooth. It's the ultimate moisturizer for the drier months as it soaks into the skin and leaves you feeling very hydrated... like you've been wandering in a desert for month and you're come across a lovely fresh water hole (no, it's not a mirage!). Focus areas for me were definitely my upper arms (which tend to be quite a neglected area), my decolletage and my legs. A fabulous all-rounder and I can imagine babies would love it too!

Con/s: Wouldn't recommend using this stuff if it's humid outside, you'll be slippery if you do. 

Well... that's a wrap up of my TOP 3 FAVES from MooGoo. I'm very grateful to have been sent all of those products and it was a pleasure entwining them into my daily beauty, hair and skincare routines. Thanks again to Sammy from MooGoo, who so generously sent me the goodies in the first place. 
And as for you, dear reader, please consider spending your hard earned money on Aussie businesses and natural, environmentally-friendly products where you can. It's beneficial for your body, the environment and the livelihoods of the people who bring you the products in the first place!