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Guest Post: Why a Getaway Can Be a Chance to Heal

Words: Henry Moore

When life is wearing you down, don’t insist on buckling down and pushing through. Sometimes, it’s a chance to get away that you need, even when there’s a lot on your plate. And while that advice holds true for everyone, it’s especially so for people on a journey to sobriety. Addiction recovery is a challenge like no other, and self-care is central to successful recovery.

It’s not hard to understand why prioritizing your emotional and mental needs is so important during recovery, but why vacation? Taking a break from your usual routine (and usual stressors) gets you into a different headspace where it’s easier to take stock of your life and your goals. While it’s certainly possible to achieve a break from the status quo on a staycation, getting away makes it a whole lot easier.

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When you exchange your home city for a vacation destination, you immerse yourself in a world where your health and happiness is the number one priority — not something you tend to after the workday is over. During addiction recovery, that means plenty of time to introspect and connect with your reasons for staying sober. You can reignite a lost passion or do something that scares you as a way to boost your self-esteem. Alternatively, you can plan a vacation focused around spiritual experiences to find inner strength and a sense of purpose. No matter your goal for vacation, there’s an experience out there for you. Here are some other ideas:

  • Head to a recovery-centered retreat for a getaway focused on self-healing. You’ll have an opportunity to disconnect from the world and all its baggage and instead reconnect with your true self — all while surrounded by a supportive community that’s navigating the path to sobriety alongside you. According to an article in Alcoholism Research Quarterly, spirituality is an important component of maintaining sobriety long-term.
  • Escape to the wilderness for a vacation that’s as mentally stimulating as it is physically engaging. Outdoor adventures push your limits, so you can prove to yourself just how much you’re capable of. If you have a pet that’s helped you get through dark times, an outdoor vacation is the perfect way to show him how much he means to you (and you’ll have a great trail companion too!).
  • If fitness has played a big role in your recovery, plan a trip to a race or event where you can show off your hard-won gains. Training and competing in a big event reminds you of just how strong, resilient, and driven you are, both in sports and life.
  • Travel with a sober travel group to discover new destinations and connect with a supportive community you can lean on long after you’re home. According to SAMHSA, encouragement from peers is essential to lasting substance abuse recovery. When you have a network of sober friends, you have people to turn to in times of need and a newfound sense of belonging after leaving a toxic community behind.

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These four options are only the tip of the iceberg; there are countless vacations that can be tailored to the needs of someone recovering from addiction. The important thing is keeping your recovery at the center of your trip. Avoid triggering destinations and activities, surround yourself with people supportive of your recovery, and seek out activities that are both fun and personally meaningful. You might feel like you’ve earned a vacation from the recovery process after so much hard work, but letting your mind falter only puts your progress at risk. When you make your sobriety a priority for your vacation, you’ll come out the other side stronger and more dedicated than ever.

Guest Post: Why a Getaway Can Be a Chance to Heal

Self-Care – DIY refreshing face masks

All hail BuzzFeed for this nifty post, teaching us how to make four refreshing face masks. With options including a hydrating Honey Oat Face Mask, an exfoliating Cocoa-Nut Coffee Mask, a Soothing Brown Sugar Pumpkin Mask, and a rejuvenating Matcha Yogurt Face Mask, your self-care Sunday is sorted!

Watch the video below to find out how you can make these masks at home!

Enjoy!

Love & Light,

X Cat

Self-Care – DIY refreshing face masks

Study, Snow + Shanghai

Wow! What a busy couple of months it has been!

I celebrated my 25th birthday on the 28th of July (hello fellow Leos!) and was absolutely spoiled by all my friends, family and my beautiful partner Nick.

I also attended a few furnishing and décor exhibitions as part of my role as Editor at Furnishing International. I absolutely love discovering new businesses and the faces behind the brands. This very rewarding role will now see me head to Shanghai, China in September – a nerve-racking yet exciting prospect as it will be my first time travelling alone. Any tips or tricks from anyone who has travelled to China, please feel free to comment below to educate this rookie! My visa has been granted, flights booked and accommodation sorted. All that’s left is to pack!

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Many tried to discourage me from embarking on a career in journalism however I am now thankful that I stayed true to my passion. If it were not for my qualifications and position in this role, I may not have otherwise had the opportunity to travel to Shanghai and explore a new city.

I was saddened to have lost my one year anniversary gift from Nick on the way home from one of the Melbourne furnishing exhibitions however. A beautiful fine chain necklace, which must have somehow broken and fallen from around my neck on the train ride home. I was absolutely devastated by this – but I am now slowly coming to terms with the fact that I will not be able to retrieve it. As Nick loves to say, ‘it is, what it is!’

I also went to the snow for the very first time and absolutely loved it! We couldn’t have picked a day with better conditions – sunny blue skies and fresh, fluffy snow in plentiful amounts. Check out some pictures below:

My crystal healing course has also been going well. I am very much enjoying learning about how to practically help people by using crystals and by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. My Instagram and this associated blog will now be geared towards all the things I love more so. You’ll get to read and see inspiration for all the good stuff – yoga, meditation, crystals and self-care.

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On a final note, I have also been keeping busy with the launch of my very own copywriting and social media business. Be sure to check out www.contentsavvy.com.au for all the details!

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Love and light everyone,
– you’ll be seeing a lot more of me on here!

X Cat

Study, Snow + Shanghai

Timing doesn’t heal all wounds

***

When you break up with someone, there’s no real handbook to tell you how to best deal with it. Sure, there’s many self help books out there, but what works for one person, may not work for you. Ultimately, you have no choice but to figure it out on your own, with time your biggest hurdle in restoring happiness to your life once again. 

But time has a funny way of playing tricks on you. Sometimes a year feels like not long ago, sometimes you only met someone a month ago but it feels as though you’ve known them for a lifetime. Likewise, timing can be problematic when dealing with the end of a relationship. 


One day, you’re together. The next you’re not, and before you know it, two years have flown by and you’re left wondering where the hell the last 24 months went? You know that you’ve changed in that amount of time, however a small part of you has immortalized your former lover in a world that’s stuck two years prior. How strange it is to think that you know all this information about a human being. Their likes and dislikes, or their favorite movie or genre in music, only to separate and to have no use for this information anymore. 

The trouble is, this old information is deceiving, because the person you knew and loved two years ago, has now changed, just as you have, and realizing this can be difficult to come to terms with. 


As many of you know, my long journey of healing had for the most part been dealt with, or so I thought. Unfortunately, in this age of social media, it’s much easier to know people’s business, and friends of friends will talk, and things will get back to you. This is how new information on a former partner will slowly filter its way to you, and just when you think that you’ve dealt with everything that needs to be dealt with, a trigger will occur and you’ll find yourself asking – why do I care? Why has this effected me? And why am I upset? 

Yep, this was news to me too! 

The ‘Oh I thought I had dealt with that but I mustn’t have’ moment is exactly what happened to me two weeks ago, and what resulted was an influx of forgotten insecurities that flooded my memory once again. Feelings arose that reminded me what it once felt like to not feel adequate enough for someone. Feelings that reminded me that my former partner is out there living his life and is … HAPPY? 


Funnily enough, I too am happy in my new life, with my current partner who treats me like an absolute princess and who I love dearly. Having these emotions arise as a result of someone in your past causes a sense of guilt and confusion. It’s important to remember that this isn’t a reflection on the current relationship, rather feelings spawned completely from a subconscious repressed insecurity that had been pushed aside. 


The truth is, I do not harbor any feelings of wanting to get back with my ex, nor do I have any resentment towards him. You can work as hard as you like on yourself. Do the self care thing, see a therapist and talk to friends. But from time to time, little things will trigger the insecurities that have been embedded into your subconscious from a past relationship. 

And that’s totally okay. 

It doesn’t mean you still love them. 

It doesn’t mean you want to get back with them. 


My only advice is to be open and honest, particularly if you have moved on with a new partner. Open communication is our biggest asset and will be respected and appreciated by both sides. 

I can’t tell you if you’ll ever get over these insecurities. I myself don’t even know if it’s in the cards for me. What I can tell you however is to not dwell on these moments. Let them come, and let them go. 

Pick yourself up – and keep doing you. 

x love & light 

Cat 

Timing doesn’t heal all wounds

Keep it cool, calm and crystal – the new homewares trend that isn’t so ‘new age’ anymore!

Hey everyone! I wanted to share my latest article for Furnishing International since it’s relevant to holistic healing! Have a read below to find out more about the amazing world of crystal homewares! 

xx love & light!

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Crystals have long been thought of as strange, mystic minerals, often associated with witchcraft, hippies or voodoo. Quite the contrary, these connotations couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, in our modern society, these natural structures seem to be making their way into many people’s homes and office spaces. 

Thanks to the likes of many emerging and well established home and décor brands, the stigma around stones is slowly changing. Before I continue however, full disclosure should be made that I am a self-confessed crystal junkie, and you’ll often find me at the Mind, Body, Spirit Festival checking out all the goodies on offer.
That being said and bias aside, when it comes to homewares, not only do they look great, but they also have the added benefit of balancing the energy within your space. And if you don’t believe in all that energy stuff – as I said, they look great – so in my eyes, it’s a win-win!


It is no surprise that Melbourne based designer Christopher Boots and his work are making their way across the globe. His creations exude the utmost of creativity and uniqueness. Boots describes his pieces as being akin to jewellery within the space – imparting a celebration of both materiality and light.


As a child, Boots was always captivated by nature, constantly collecting rocks, pebbles, feathers and sticks. “What fascinates me is the geometric symmetry found throughout the natural world – branching and growth patterns, variation and simplicity, tone and texture and of course crystalline formations,” he explains.

“With apparent simplicity; elegance and form are merged in our choice of materials – burnished and polished metals – faceted crystalline clusters and the ‘fire’ lit from within makes for easy visual reference,” he says.


“Ensuring quality components are used within our handmade products is seen in the light produced. While the crystals will impart their own characteristics onto the finished product, we give careful consideration to the illumination method, light levels, direction and to the light colour itself.”


Integrating unique characteristics or materials are what continues to inspire him in both form and materiality, both of which are integral to his design process. He describes working with natural minerals and the heart of Industrial Design as being a complex process of managing ergonomic, technical, material and economic factors to optimise both function and aesthetic appeal.


Much like myself, Ashley Bellino, owner of Stoned Crystals, lent herself to the spiritual side of yoga and meditation, and crystals were a natural progression as a result of her love for these things. Raised in the inner city suburbs of Melbourne and coming from a modern family and home, she had never been exposed to crystal energy before.

“Under the direction of somewhat of a spiritual mentor to me, I visited a crystal city looking for crystals to incorporate into an old jewellery label I had back in 2015. I learnt to feel crystal energy for the first time and also found that there were very few websites clearly explaining what crystals are, how they work and how we can incorporate them into the modern day life style,” she explains.

“It was here that my obsession and experimentation with crystals began. There were so many road blocks for me to learn and also buy crystals for the first time. This difficult journey inspired me to start Stoned Crystals and begin to demystify crystals to the world.”

Thus spawned her quest to bring the world of crystals into the mainstream. In speaking with us, Bellino made point of crystals not easily being found in the common homewares shop, with few crystal shops surviving the retail game. Her keen interest in interiors was growing as she began to decorate her new apartment, beginning to adorn areas of the home with crystals to create beautiful sacred spaces based on their properties and rules of Fengshui.


“So many decor items and objects have been made out of every other natural material but crystals have somehow been swept under the rug. I decided that crystal homewares was something that had been massively overlooked and I relished the opportunity to rise to the challenge of changing the way people look at crystals and building products never seen before!” says Bellino.

Stoned Crystals are A-grade, born in Brazil and Madagascar and raised in Australia. Their HQ founders and design team are Melbourne based and they sell Stoned Crystals into an International marketplace, with stockists throughout Australia, New Zealand, United States, Asia and Europe.

Similarly, Christopher Boots has found success on a global scale. “Being 2017 and a global market, the internet means countries and borders are not necessarily an obstacle thus we have clients contacting us regularly from around the world,” explains Boots.
“As an Industrial Designer and someone committed to the continuation of hand-made and local manufacturing, our success internationally makes me very proud.”


The nature of using an intricate handmade process with earth-born minerals is something Stoned Crystals can also relate to. “Our expert lapidists (stone cutters) have produced thousands of crystals in all sorts of geometric shapes and have it down to a fine art. Each crystal is hand cut and polished to perfection,” says Bellino.
Stoned Crystals have two collections available:

GEO GEMS-

Stoned Crystals is the world’s first Natural Crystal Decor Line for the Home & Workspace. Launched in the spring of 2015 as Stoned Crystals’ first collection, encompassing 5 geometrically shaped crystals. The Geo Gems range provide a fresh and modern take on crystals that create Zen within oneself and bring balance into the spaces around you.

CRYSTAL CRUSH-

The Crystal Crush collection is a continuation of a journey to seek Zen and Balance. Obsessed with the concept of fusing crystal, light and ritual this collection harnesses steady crystal vibrations and brings them into everyday use. Stoned Crystals have innovated a technique using Grade A quality Crystal sheets against a glass backing that transforms the crystal into a high end designer platter. Practical, functional and stylish. Hold each platter to light and see it glow.

The Crystal Crush Platter and Geo Gems range is perfect for use in decorating the home and workspace. They can be used to showcase home items such as candles, makeup and toiletries, vases, flowers, jewelry and other tidbits. You can even serve food and cheese on the glass side of their platters!

No doubt, Bellino is achieving what she set out to accomplish, her customer base ever expanding from women aged between 25 and 45 and a surprisingly large segment of boys aged from 7 to 12.

“Some of our best sellers for the GEO GEMS are the Clearboy Clear Quartz and Love Triangle Rose Quartz. Our Clear Quartz is of impeccable quality as are all our crystals but Clear Quartz is not as easy to find with the rainbow cracks and inclusions. The Rose Quartz was the Pantone Colour of the year last year so is very on trend right now. Many of our customers will also add on a Stoned Bell Jar to their order for easy styling,” she says.

“From our Crystal Crush Collection so far the Labradorite and Sodalite Trays have been the front runners. They have been recognised for their groundbreaking design and unusual color spectrum. The Labradorite has the composition of ‘flash’ running through the crystalline veins. The flash has the color of peacock feathers and changes from gold to blue, green and purple depending on the light. The Sodalite is a deep royal blue with the most magnificent white cracked markings.”

Gems are even in the inspiration behind The Jewel Collection by Melbourne based fragrance house, Scented Space. Managing director, Helen Armstrong says they were inspired by the translucence and the sparkling reflections of light when they saw the first samples of the new Scented Space reed diffuser bottle they had designed.

In speaking with all our stone inspired brands, crystals commonly seem to have a habit of taking people back to their childlike selves. “It reminded me of crystals hanging in my mum’s kitchen window when I was young. The idea grew from there,” says Armstrong.

There are 6 fragrances in the collection, each fragrance represents a coloured stone and the fragrance takes its direction accordingly.

“For instance, Peridot – a box featuring a lime chartreuse tone, has a fragrance with notes of Tahitian lime, vetiver and black pepper. The colour suggested light, citrus and sparkling scents. For the Amethyst, the fragrance has notes of violet and orange blossom. Again, the mauve tones of the box inspired the direction of the fragrance.”

The scents in this collection are more in the direction of fine perfumes, so are quite complex. The collection features Amethyst, Aquamarine, Rose Quartz, Jade, Tourmaline and Peridot. My personal favourites being the Aquamarine and Jade!

Armstrong explains that certain scents are better to use in some rooms than others. Here is a breakdown of what type of scent you should incorporate in any given space for the most ideal ambience.

Bathroom: citrus scents.

Lounge and sitting areas: florals are ideal especially if they complement the flowers in the house.

Family rooms: Fruity Florals.

Study or retreat areas: Woody earthy fragrances.

Bedrooms: lavender and soft herbal scents are very popular as they are perceived to have a calming effect.

A 100ml diffuser will last up to 4 months, depending on the environmental conditions. Their diffusers contain no water and have minimal alcohol so they have great longevity. They have been independently tested by Eurofins and found to outperform many world leading brands. Armstrong says that unfortunately, there are a lot of poor performing products on the market that are little more than water and alcohol. For these products, you generally get what you pay for.

I personally have had my Scented Space diffusers for around three months, and can vouch for the fragrance being as strong as the day I opened it, not something I’ve ever witnessed in any diffuser before.

Believe it or not, Armstrong was the first to bring the diffuser to Australia, after having travelled overseas in 2003. She saw a product that stopped her in her tracks, a bottle with fragrance sticks in it, based on the concept of spaghetti in a bottle. She showed a number of colleagues when back in Australia, including a buyer at Myer.

“They all thought I was well ahead of the market and told me to put it in the cupboard and forget about it. A couple of years later that same buyer contacted me and asked me how quickly we could make the product as they needed a new concept on the floor. Three months later it was on the shelves at Myer and selling very quickly – the rest as they say, is history. We now export more than 60% of our production and sell in more than 25 countries,” she explains.

So as you can see, Armstrong certainly knows what she’s talking about when it comes to world of home fragrance!

Perhaps what interested me most in speaking with each brand is each individual take on the rising trend of crystals in homewares. Once perceived at mystic and ‘hippy’ – do the owners still see it as such? Or are we perhaps witnessing an emergence of such minerals into the mainstream norm?

For Scented Space, crystals has never been hippy. “We see crystal as being cut and with light sparkling from every angle. It is about chandeliers, elegant candlesticks, and beautiful glistening bowls. There is a place for a crystal in everyone’s life – whether in raw form or polished and glittering.”

Christopher boots tries to not to take too much notice of any trends as that can distract him from achieving his best.
“I do believe that people are inevitably drawn back to the beauty and permanence of natural materials and natural forms. Who am I to say one way or another? Crystals have been used for thousands of years by cultures across the globe, principally for their beauty perhaps but also for their apparent healing properties,” he says.

A topic most passionate to Bellino and the team at Stoned Crystals, their hope is to test the conventional use of crystals by making them more accessible and more fashionable to the everyday person.

“We hope to be instrumental in making crystals on trend and giving people simple steps on how they can integrate them into their lives by sharing tips and concepts on how to style them as well as keeping the integrity of their energy and tradition alive,” says Bellino.

“The rough and fractured texture of crystal is becoming so popular right now not only for its spiritual context but also its earthy connections. That said, I think there is still a while to go before people begin to see crystals for what they are, irrespective of their energetic principles. If for nothing other than their tactile benefits, rolling these shapes around in your hands releases our mind from the more mundane and automatic reactions we have to almost every object we pick up these days.”

“I believe Stoned Crystals is paving the way for people to see the obvious benefits of decorating our spaces with crystals, just as we do with natural objects like plants. It is brands like ours with new to the world products that need to challenge the ‘new age’ interpretation. Crystals have for so long been boxed in as ‘hippy’ and the jargon that surrounds them has ultimately made them difficult to understand and undervalued by mainstream,” she explains.

No doubt brands such as Scented Space, Stoned Crystals and Christopher Boots, are shattering the new age stigma associated with natural minerals and stones for home and office use. Don’t be afraid to start off small, perhaps a small cluster on a side table in the corner of your home. Perhaps purchase one of the Scented Space diffusers from their jewel collection.

Regardless of your belief system on the healing properties of crystals, I encourage you to have an open mind when it comes to incorporating them into your home, if for nothing other than aesthetic appeal. Who knows, you might be surprised!

Keep it cool, calm and crystal – the new homewares trend that isn’t so ‘new age’ anymore!