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Whether you’re a facts and science gal, or a crystals and candles one, there is no denying the connection between ourselves and the moon – our energy, emotions and menstruation can all be influenced by that beautiful energetic ball in the sky.  Women’s bodies are synchronized with the lunar cycle.  Most of us experience cycles that coincide with the 28-day cycle of the moon, and just like it goes through various phases during that time, so do we!  Not only does the moon govern the ocean tides, but indeed the ‘tides’ of our wombs and emotions too.

The methodologies and traditions that link fertility and the moon run deep and long throughout history.  Over the years, the connection between the two has often been ignored and sacred practices forgotten, however in more recent times we are seeing an increase in women reconnecting with their bodies, and realizing that there may be a kinder, more productive way of dealing with the ebbs and flows we experience throughout our cycle.  We all have different cycles, with many factors that can affect them, from nutrition and stress, to underlying medical conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis.  As long as yours is ‘regular’ to YOU, that is all that matters – if yours is in sync with the moon as per info below, you can take that as a really cool magical bonus!

With the waxing and waning periods come the new moon and full moon – all harnessing very strong, but different energies.  Without the effects of disrupted hormones and extenuating external factors, our bodies often naturally sync with the moon, typically with a bleed at new moon, and ovulation at full moon.  This is referred to as a white moon cycle.  Read more about these phases and associated energies/moods below.

New Moon

new moon farmers almanac - The Moon and You

This is the natural period of menstruation.  During this typical low energy time, listen to, and honor, your body.  Rest, be still and enjoy some general down time.  Reflect within, journal and spend some time meditating.  This is a great time to think about what you truly want and begin manifesting that.  A new moon is the perfect time to perform rituals for blessing and healing.   Women’s circles, or red tents, are often held at the new moon as a safe and comforting place for women to rest and be supported when they need it most, whilst empowering women by gaining a more in depth and connected sense of their body and femininity.

Waxing Moon

waxing moon farmers almanac - The Moon and You

Between the new moon and full moon, while it is getting brighter and gaining size and energy, is what is known as the waxing moon.  This is also referred to as the follicular phase, or first half, of your menstruation cycle, between bleed and ovulation – if/when you are in sync with the moon.  The energy from the waxing moon is beautiful for intention and manifestation, as well as new ideas and projects.  Whether we are trying to conceive or not, our bodies are preparing for fertilization!  We are typically ‘symptom free’ in regards to our emotions during this time, as we are feeling calm, inspired and happier as the days go on.

Full Moon

full moon farmers almanac - The Moon and You

This is the natural time of ovulation.  During this phase we, as women, are often feeling, well, quite sexy really!  The moon is harnessing an extremely powerful lunar energy which is very re-energizing – not just to us, but to anything that holds energy.  This is why people often cleanse their crystals and precious stones under the light and energy of the full moon.  Two days before and up to three days after, is when this energy is at its most powerful.  The full moon is a great time to focus on gratitude, express and receive, and open our hearts to connection.  It is also an ideal time to release any negative energy accumulated from new moon time, and affirm any intentions set then.  This is a common time to perform protection rituals.

Waning Moon

waning moon farmers almanac - The Moon and You

As the moon starts to decrease in size (or wane), we normally enter the luteal phase of our cycle if/when you are in sync with the moon.  General energy starts to shift to that of restoration.  As women, we often notice a dip in our moods at this time.  Our progesterone peaks after ovulation in anticipation of a possible pregnancy, and if that does not occur, it then drops off again.  As our next impending period looms, we may start to experience PMS.  Thankfully things like diet, rest, movement and meditation can greatly help during this time.  The waning moon is a great reminder to relax and recharge.

woman constellation night sky - The Moon and You

As noted above, your cycle may not fall in line with the moon phases, and that in itself should not be alarming at all.  If you experience any menstrual symptoms that are concerning or out of the ordinary for YOU, please see your doctor.  On the flipside, if your cycle is in sync with the moon but in the opposite format (bleed on full moon, ovulate on new moon), this is known as a red moon cycle.  History touts that this was traditionally experienced by healers, wise women or medicine women, who could then in turn care for other menstruating women while they were ovulating – fascinating!

I personally love to combine historic rituals and practices with modern knowledge and sensibilities.  Having an understanding of how our bodies work with nature and really tuning in to how that manifests for us individually is very empowering.  As is gathering with other women to share and bond on a new or full moon, while tapping into the energies they provide.  It is another great way to stay connected with the sacred and divine feminine power within all of us.  Have you ever taken notice of your cycle and emotions throughout the different moon phases?  We would love to hear about your experiences below!

Images via The Image via Farmers’ Almanac, Stocksnap, Stocksnap

As I am writing this, I am keeping a special secret.  Our family is expanding!  In fact, in just 4 more sleeps our new baby will be arriving, and we cannot wait.  We decided to keep it as a surprise, mostly because we have not told Mr 3 yet, and being a new big brother, we thought he should find out first – we know he is going to be super excited!  We have already bought everything we need for our youngest family member, and of course decided on a name – Benji.  Benji is a miniature dachshund (aka a sausage dog)!

My husband has always loved daschunds, and has dreamt about owning one for many years.  We already have two dogs (older females) but seeing as they were around way before Mr 3, they prefer not to associate with him too much – much to his despair!  He is desperate for a buddy that will bond with him and be his best mate, and we hope that Benji will be the right pet for the job!  I have done a lot of reading and researching into the benefits of owning dogs, and I truly believe every family needs one!  Here’s three reason why!

1.  Improved mental health

krystal benji 6 - Why You Need To Add To Your Family!

Who doesn’t want someone (or something) super loyal and loving waiting for them at home after a hectic day?  Not only do dogs provide therapeutic and physical benefits to their owners, but huge emotional benefits too!  Their companionship and affection is stress relieving – better than a Valium some say!  Playing with dogs for just 15-30 minutes can raise your levels of dopamine and serotonin which are our pleasure and calming hormones.

2.  Nurtured development

krystal benji 7 - Why You Need To Add To Your Family!

Not only do our four legged friends bring enjoyment to a family, but they can also nurture child development!  The relationship between child and pet can help develop empathy, responsibility and confidence.  It is said that children that grow up with dogs in their home, experience less skin conditions and fewer allergies!

3.  Up the activity

krystal benji 5 - Why You Need To Add To Your Family!

As well as other positive effects on your health (such as reduced blood pressure and cholesterol!), most dog owners are more active than their canine-less friends!  Dogs like to be active – playing and walking, which means their family need to get moving with them. Increased activity makes for a happy and healthy pet and happy, healthy owners.

Pets are a huge responsibility.  It is great to know the benefits a new addition may bring to your family, but it is also important to remember that they have emotional and physical requirements to be met too. They teach us selflessness, patience and commitment and provide us with oodles of love, laughter and health benefits.  I can’t wait for Benji to join our family and to finally share our news with everyone – I will be sure to share a picture of him soon!  Do you have a dog?  Tell us about them below!

All images via Krystal Gordon

“A circle of women may be the most powerful force known to humanity.  If you have one, embrace it.  If you need one, seek it.  If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, dive in.  Hold on.  Love it up.  Get naked.  Let them see you.  Let them hold you.  Let your reluctant tears fall.  Let yourself rise fierce and love gentle.  You will be changed.  The very fabric of your being will be altered by this, if you allow it.  Please, please allow it.” – Jeanette LeBlanc

On the weekend I went along to a local women’s circle event called She Temple – a beautiful safe and sacred space to be authentically free and feminine.  Prior to this, I had been to one other  women’s circle late last year.  When I decided to go along the first time, I had no idea what to expect.  I remember saying to a friend that I thought I would either really enjoy it, or I would find it all too ‘woo-woo’ making me feel very uncomfortable.  Although there were definitely some practices that I had never engaged in before which made me feel quite vulnerable, it was a really beautiful night.  We did some journaling, meditation, sharing and drawing amongst other things!   Tears were shed and shared.  I left feeling a great sense of calm and love and was excited for the next time it was on.  Unfortunately that circle did not continue and since then I have been highly anticipating joining a new one.

When I discovered a new circle, or temple, was being created locally, I was so happy!  I thought I knew what to expect and I couldn’t wait for it to come around.  We arrived at about 6:30pm on Sunday evening, to a room filled with candles, cushions and flowers.  What a gorgeous way to finish our weekend!  We were greeted at the door with a blessing and encouraged to find a comfortable place to sit.  We introduced ourselves and lit more candles before getting into the practices they had planned.  While I was expecting journaling and meditation, they had other things in store for us!

Our night was heavily focussed on connection – with ourselves and each other.  We did some dancing, free to be ourselves and move in whichever way felt good to us.  We did a touch exercise where we took turns simply receiving the gift of touch and love from the sisters around us with no expectation to return it.  How often do we do that as women?  We did a gazing exercise where we simply poured love into our partner (whom we had never met before) through our gaze.  This was quite confronting for some, but oh so powerful too!  We dug deep inside and expressed what it meant to have the feminine alive within us.  For me this included authenticity, freedom, being sensual, nurturing and empowerment among many, many others.  We also held hands in our circle and sang a beautiful song together, which I think was one of my favourite parts of the night.

All in all, the night was not what I had expected it would be beforehand, and totally different to the previous women’s circle I attended.  Although we did very different things, the vibe was the sameIt was about a sisterhood of belonging – a beautiful non-judgemental, gentle and utterly gorgeous environment where we were free to be our true selves.  A place where we could reconnect with our inner self and all she desires.  A place where we could come together and connect with like-minded women who are willing to hold space for each other and support each other wholeheartedly despite all being on our own very personal journeys.  It is a powerful thing.  It is a beautifully emotional experience.  It is healing, it is empowering, it is peaceful, it is love.  If you are part of a women’s circle – embrace it.  If you aren’t – seek one.

circle of women

Photo: Wild Woman Sisterhood

I think we all have days where we have so much to do, so much on our minds, and seemingly so little time to do it all in, that it can become quite overwhelming to even know where to start, let alone get in and get sh*t done!  On the flipside, we may have a slower paced day ahead of us, or just not feeling 100% energized, so we keep putting off the inevitable few tasks we do need to do!  Or, we could have a set of tasks we know we need to do, but then a friend asks you to catch up, you get caught riding the wave of the internet, or a client reaches out for an unexpected meeting.  There are a multitude of reasons we may struggle to be as productive as we want to be – work, home, children, moods and life in general all come into play!  And I know all the self-employed peeps out there in particular are nodding their heads!

Here are my five top ways to stay focused and get through the tasks you need to.  Five ways to really set yourself up and slay productivity!

1.  Lock it in (or out) baby!

master productivity

If there is something that needs to be done – schedule it in!  Make time in your day so that you actually can make it happen.  When you schedule appointments and tasks into your diary you can easily see what should be happening when, and you can also see, at a glance, when you have too much going on in any one particular day or week.  You can also schedule things out!  How many times have you logged in to check emails and decided to click a link to read something, which then takes you to another link, and another and then you find yourself researching something, and before you know it an hour has passed? *Insert raised hand here* if you are aware of certain distractions, schedule them out.  Block out a 2 or 3 hour period – no emails, no phone and no social media!  

2.  Be accountable

easy productivity tips

This tip works great for anyone who is a high achiever, dislikes letting others down or is quite competitive!  Find yourself an accountability partner!  Perhaps you have a friend who has a whole stack of tasks to get though too, or someone else you know is really trying to rock the productivity game alongside you.  Join forces, motivate each other and bring each other back to being focused on the tasks at hand.  You might like to check in with each other half way through your day, or with some random text messages checking in to let each other know how you are going with your tasks – make it fun!

3.  Step away

best productivity tips

Sounds counterproductive to take a break when you have much to do right?  Wrong!  Staying focused can be quite draining, and as our energy depletes and mental fatigue sets in, your productivity levels are going dowwwwwn.  Knowing how often and how long to break for, comes down to experimenting.  You might find you work great for 3 hours with a half hour break, or prefer to work half hour with a 5 min break.  If only taking short breaks, be sure to take a longer one after a few ‘blocks’ – maybe a short stroll, a phone call to a friend or playing with your dog for a while.   Find what works for you and avoid ignoring what your brain and body is trying to tell you when productivity starts to drop.

4.  Make a list

make a priority list

I am such a fan of lists.  I sometimes write ‘create list for x’ on my current list. Yes, I do.  I usually find that when I don’t write a list, and I am just thinking about things over and over, I stress myself out thinking I have SO much to do, when really I get it on paper (or phone) and realize that it’s not so bad!  Overwhelm is a huge productivity killer!  By writing a list it also provides me with something tangible to tick off as things are completed which is rather satisfying!  By writing things down you might realize that some of the chatter that is floating around in your head may not be so important right now either, which takes me to step 5!

5.  Prioritize

productivity hacks

Once you have your list written down, start prioritizing!  What is important, and what is urgent?  What isn’t?  There is nothing more frustrating than having an unproductive day, simply because you didn’t know where to start.  Once you can work out what needs to be done first, you will be working through your list, with minimal stress in no time!

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed with the tasks in your day or week ahead, or simply notice your focus disappearing before your eyes, refer to these five tips to get you back on track slaying productivity in no time!

Feature image via Parfait

This year, 2017, I decided I was going to say yes to things that I would previously shy away from, or simply say no to, because they didn’t sit nicely within my comfort zone.  You know that safe place where our behaviour and the activities we choose to engage in float around within our realm of ‘normal’ or regular, as not to induce risk, stress or discomfort?  There is great article about the science behind breaking out of your comfort zone here, but today I wanted to write about how it actually feels, and what happens when we do it!  MAGIC!  Magic is what happens!

the comfort zone

Image via Body Image Movement

So far, this year I have spoken publicly, organised a photoshoot with a bunch of women in our underwear (with no editing!), publicly launched my selfcare program, played freely on the beach in my swimmers, spoken my truth more than ever before, wore clothes that I never dared to previously, entered the Crossfit Games, joined tap dancing, started use skype for live coaching, posed nude, and this weekend I am going to a belly dancing workshop!  Some of these things may sound very normal and stress free to you, but to me, not so much!  They all took me outside my comfort zone.  And you know what, each and every one of them made me feel AMAZING afterwards!

out of comfort zone

Photo via Morgan Parremore

Of course, before the amazing occurs, we tend to feel anxious and scared.  Self-doubt comes flooding in.  We might think about other people’s reactions, or a possible outcome based on fear.  All of these feelings are completely normal and to be expected.  They don’t call it your comfort zone for no reason!  When we push the boundaries of our comfort zone, to a place called ‘optimal anxiety’ that is where the magic happens!  It is important to note that it is possible to push our boundaries too far too soon, increasing our stress or anxiety levels a little too much at once.  Think about fitness and pushing yourself to improve.  The right level of pushing past your comfort zone can incur fantastic results, but too much can cause problems.  Don’t use this as an excuse to stay stagnant though!

My top 3 tips for breaking through your comfort zone are:

1.  Say YES and then work out the details later.

life begins at the end of your comfort zone

Once you have said yes you can work on the answers to make it happen.

2.  Rope in a supportive friend, or make a new friend!

great things never came from comfort zones

A ‘problem’ shared is a problem solved – even if it isn’t actually a problem, but rather a story you have been telling yourself for some time.

3.  Weigh it up!

how to get out of comfort zone

Image via Stocksnap

Think of the best thing that can happen – for example, it might inspire someone else to do the same.  Think of the worst – for example, you might feel embarrassed for a little while.  If the best thing outweighs the worst (which 9/10 times it will!) then why the heck not just go for it!?

Often when we step outside our comfort zone, there are wonderful lessons to be learnt, or gifts to be received, that we otherwise would not have been subjected to.  When we can push past those boundaries and engage in new or altered experiences in can be very empowering!  The more you do it, the more confidence you will have in yourself and the more you will find yourself stretching those limits!  Take that leap of faith, say yes to the things that make your heart flutter even if they seem scary or too hard to begin with.  The feeling afterwards will make it oh so worthwhile!  Get out there and make magic happen baby!

Have you ever consciously taken notice of the beautiful, calm feeling you get when standing outside on grass, dirt or sand with no shoes on?  As your feet connect with the earth and you become one, this wonderful thing process ‘grounding’ or ‘earthing’ occurs!  Do you know when you last walked around outdoors barefoot?  We spend majority of our days inside, or with rubber soled shoes on so many people can’t even remember when they last connected with the earth in such a way!

The science behind grounding is quite fascinating, and a topic that you can very easily explore on the interwebs, however, in short it refers to balancing our electrical energy!  As we go about our daily life we build up a positive charge.  The earth has a mild negative charge.  By connecting, the positive ions are discharged and we return to neutral.  Particularly in the modern era we live in, we are accumulating more and more positive electrons that build up as free radicals in our bodies through exposure to technology, pollutants and more – thank you WiFi and mobile phones!  Although studies are not yet extensive, the preliminary evidence so far states that the build-up of these free radicals depletes your energy and causes inflammation and disease.  The theory suggests that the simple task of walking outside or laying on the beach can be beneficial in, but not limited to:

1.  Reducing inflammation

2.  Improving sleep

3.  Eliminating jet lag

4.  Reducing pain

5.  Slowing the aging process

6.  Reducing stress hormones

I’m no scientist, but I am a big believer in doing what feels good, and grounding absolutely feels good to me!  I know that I definitely feel calmer and sleep better after doing so.  And whether you are sceptical or not, it is free, fun and you have nothing to lose, so why not give it a shot!?  Try getting in touch with nature every day for 5 days and see how you feel.  You might like to take a barefoot walk outside or do some gardening with no gloves.  I love going to the beach as the salt water is high in magnesium so you are getting a double dose of goodness!  You can also purchase an earthing mat or sheet to place under your feet while working (or under your body while sleeping).  These are great alternatives for those who don’t get much of a chance to be outside in nature but still want the benefits from grounding.  The idea that such a simple and enjoyable practice could reduce inflammation which in turn could reduce chronic disease, is such an exciting one, and I am sure there will be many more studies released in coming years.  In the meantime, enjoy mother nature!

Photographer: Morgan Parremore

Meltdown. Complete and utter meltdown. I had just been sent through a link to the photos taken during a photoshoot of myself and a group of my beautiful friends in our underwear. We had such an amazing experience doing the shoot and left feeling empowered, calm and happy.  The following morning, I woke and immediately recognised that I had a lot of feelings coming up that I had not really been expecting. Just 12 hours earlier I was on top of the world and confident that I was going to love what I saw when we got the pictures back. Well, I apparently had not accounted for self-doubt and some very heavy feelings that lay dormant deep inside. I am no model – at least I don’t look like any I have ever seen! Who was I to have such vulnerable pictures taken of myself? Like lots of women, I am on my own wellness journey and am not yet where I would like to physically be, so what message is that sending to people? And now that I was experiencing all these feelings I felt like a damn fraud! A hypocrite! Hello inner mean girl – we meet again… And I hadn’t even opened the link yet!

krystal gordon morgan parremore photography 1 1 - The Day We Stripped Off In Nature! PART 2

Photographer: Morgan Parremore

After sitting with the unopened link, and my feelings, for a little while I hesitantly opened the pictures. I should have known better. When I recognised all that ‘stuff’ coming up before I even opened the link, I should have taken a step back and waited until I worked through some of those thoughts and feelings before checking out the photos – but I didn’t. I was immediately drawn to all the parts of myself that I have worked so hard to embrace. Before I could even think about it, I was starting to pick myself to pieces! What had I done? Why did I organise this? Why did I organise this!? That was the perfect question to ask myself in that moment, but I was feeling too vulnerable and resistant to even think about it. I closed the link and walked away. For the rest of the day I felt so uneasy. I was disappointed with my reaction. I felt guilty and ashamed, despite all the while trying my hardest not to judge my feelings! There were even tears. I was so torn…The next morning, I woke and turned to my journal. Why did I organise the photoshoot? I organised the shoot because I am passionate about self-love. I want to be an advocate of normalising normal bodies. I believe all women are beautiful. I believe I am beautiful, even when a lifetime of self-doubt creeps up and kicks me in the butt. And that is exactly what happened when I first opened the photos. After getting some thoughts out on paper, I went back to the link and opened it up again. This time I saw pure beauty. Raw, real, stunning beauty. I stared at the images of these beautiful women, my friends, in the photos and my heart felt like it was literally bursting with love. Do they know how gorgeous they are? Do they see the beautiful shiny light that radiates from within them? Wow, just wow!

krystal gordon morgan parremore photography 3 - The Day We Stripped Off In Nature! PART 2

Photographer: Morgan Parremore

The next morning, I woke and turned to my journal. Why did I organise the photoshoot? I organised the shoot because I am passionate about self-love. I want to be an advocate of normalising normal bodies. I believe all women are beautiful. I believe I am beautiful, even when a lifetime of self-doubt creeps up and kicks me in the butt. And that is exactly what happened when I first opened the photos. After getting some thoughts out on paper, I went back to the link and opened it up again. This time I saw pure beauty. Raw, real, stunning beauty. I stared at the images of these beautiful women, my friends, in the photos and my heart felt like it was literally bursting with love. Do they know how gorgeous they are? Do they see the beautiful shiny light that radiates from within them? Wow, just wow!

krystal gordon morgan parremore photo 5 - The Day We Stripped Off In Nature! PART 2

Photographer: Morgan Parremore

I scrolled down to the pictures of myself that I struggled with the day before. As soon as I laid my eyes on them, the tears started again. But these tears were different… How could I look at these pictures and feel anything but love for them? They were me. My body, complete with oodles of stretchmarks, cellulite and extra padding is extraordinary. Like, crazy extraordinary! It always has my back, even after years and year of disordered behaviour. It does really hard things, including growing and nourishing a baby. The woman inside that body – she is pretty rad. Her body, as amazing as it is, does not define her. She is kind, she loves whole heartedly, and she is honest – even in the moments she struggles to implement what she believes so deeply. Thank goodness, they are so very few and far between nowadays! She is determined to inspire and empower as many women as she can, to accept, love and celebrate themselves for all that they are, exactly as they are. She also thinks you should get some sisters together, grab a camera and embrace yourself!

krystal gordon morgan parremore photography 4 - The Day We Stripped Off In Nature! PART 2

Photographer: Morgan Parremore

Click here for part 1 for more from Krystal’s photoshoot!

For an overwhelming majority of my life, I felt ashamed of my body. Disgusted, hate and embarrassed are all words that come to mind when I think about how I used to look at myself. Despite how my body amazingly showed up for me day in and day out and did really hard things, I still loathed it. I couldn’t see past the lumps and bumps or my clothes size. I really did believe my worth was based on what I looked like.

I looked at girls, and later women, in magazines and on social media and longed to look like someone else. Anyone other than me would do at times! Thinner, more tanned, less stretchmarks, straighter hair, bigger boobs, smaller hips – the list could go on and on. I liked to believe that although I judged myself, I didn’t actually judge others based on their appearance. If I was so messed up in how I viewed myself, how could I NOT be looking at others in even a slightly similar way? Of course, I had been! This didn’t mean that I viewed others as ugly, or worthless, by any means, but I did have an image in my head of what a ‘beautiful’ woman should look like.  I failed to identify uniqueness as beauty.  I failed to appreciate the life stories our bodies told as anything less than miraculous. I failed to see how gorgeous women really were, without makeup and nice clothes and fake hair/nails/tans/breasts – yes, each and every one of us! And for the record, fake hair/nails/tans/breasts don’t make us any less beautiful either. Our beauty truly does shine from within.

As I have evolved my thoughts about body image and beauty, I have started to feel a lot more at ease with myself – something that was not easy even a year ago, and sometimes still isn’t if I am brutally honest. But wow have we come along way this body and I!  And not only do I see myself differently, but others too.  There is a huge revolution taking place around self-love and acceptance, which just makes my heart sing, yet we still feel judged – if not by ourselves, then by others. Women say that other women can be cruel. The very ones that know how it feels. The very ones that battle with themselves in the mirror and endure the same heartache I, and maybe you, once did. I don’t think they purposely do it. I believe it is a result of conditioning, habit if you will. And that doesn’t mean it is okay, it just means we need change our mindset to overcome it.

I have a passion for normalising normal bodies.  Mine, yours, your Moms, your sisters.  I don’t want to see the one type of beautiful woman in the media.  I want to see diversity.  I want to see raw un-photoshopped images.  I want women to see other women and identify with them. I want young girls to know that the one thing we have in common is that we are all different, and that is beautiful!  I want women to know they are okay just as they are – they are enough! I want women to know that some of us are tall, short, curvy, straight, black, white, and it is okay.  Some of us have muscles, or don’t and it is okay.  Some of us have blonde hair and some have black, straight and curly, natural or not, and it is okay.  When we realise this, we become empowered.  We take back our power and no longer base our worth on whether we, or the woman next to us, has some cellulite or not.

It is time to appreciate, embrace and celebrate all women.  It is time to love and accept yourself and your sisters.  There is something to be said about being vulnerable and embracing what you once thought you couldn’t.  By showing others it is okay, you are almost giving them permission to try it for themselves, and so the ripple effect continues…  I should add that by doing so, it can be very confronting and challenge everything you have previously told yourself – as you will soon read about!

Last year, not long after my bikini pic (below) went viral, I realised how powerful a photo can be. At the time, I received so many messages from women all over the world saying thank you. Thank you for showing them that they could do that, or thank you simply because they, or their daughters, could relate to me and my story.  So, taking more photos to continue empowering others sounded like a great idea!  I lovingly invited a group of gorgeous women I know, to strip back and help me portray a message I feel so passionate about – one of body positivity and self-love!  We are all moms.  We have all been on our own journey to wellness and self-love.  We all took a step or two (or ten!) outside of our comfort zone to make this photoshoot happen, because we all believe in women supporting women and not only accepting but embracing all we are.

krystal gordon bikini

Photo: Krystal Gordon

The Day of the Photoshoot

So, off we set!  We drove an hour and a half to reach our beautiful location, and then donned our backpacks for a hot and sweaty mile long walk through bush and climbing rocks to reach the rockpools.  There was no one around and nothing but the sounds of nature playing in the background.  It was pure bliss!  We all felt very relaxed and grounded being there, despite some earlier nerves about what we were going to do.  To be honest, I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect group of sisters to be doing it with.  Most photoshoots involve fancy hair and makeup and mirrors and lights – but not this one.  We had just gone on a bushwalk for starters, and there was certainly no mirrors or creature comforts around.

As we arrived and took off our clothes to reveal our Parfait underwear underneath, we were all a little surprised at how comfortable, beautiful even, that we felt.  There is something very empowering and liberating about embracing a body that you once loathed.  Our day was filled with a beautiful mixture of laughter, gratitude, love and precious still moments.  I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous location and really strip down.  Me.  Someone that less than a year ago, hadn’t even worn a bikini to the beach.  My heart definitely beat a little faster as I removed the little clothing I was wearing, and skipped over to the perfect spot on the rocks – here I was, just me and mother nature (and a camera pointed at me!) and wow, I was okay.  I was more than okay!  I was free.  And it was amazing!

We took a series of group photos and some individual ones to really celebrate our uniqueness too.  After a couple of hours, we pulled our clothes and shoes back on and headed back through the bush to drive home. We were all on cloud nine! We were certainly feeling empowered, grounded and grateful, and were already planning on organising another similar afternoon out in nature together.  The next day, our amazing photographer, Morgan Parremore, sent me through a link to check out the photos. What happened next was totally not what I expected…

Click here for part 2 for more from Krystal’s photoshoot!

Feature image via Krystal Gordon

A few years ago, I participated in a low-tox living program, where I learned a lot about the harsh reality of chemicals and toxins we absorb/consume/are subjected to in our lives.  There is no hiding from the fact that many products (and foods) we use nowadays contain ingredients that are questionable, or that we know little about – many we can’t even pronounce, let alone know what they can do to us!  Carcinogenics, endocrine disrupters and irritants are all very common amongst many every day household products, but there are some effective ways to reduce our exposure
to them, in a really easy and affordable way!

I recommend looking at your generic cleaning products you use in your home, and start making the switch to better alternatives as they run out.  You may be surprised how easy it is to make your own!  In addition to affordability, simplicity and effectiveness were important prerequisites I had when I started looking for alternative cleaning products for our home.  I soon discovered dozens of DIY ‘recipes’ and concoctions and quickly set to trying them out!  After much trial and error, I now keep a few very simple ‘ingredients’ on hand at all times, that I can use to create multiple DIY products!  My top (not so) magical ingredients are:

Baking soda

Vinegar

Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap

Essential Oils (I use lemon the most!)

Check out some super simple DIY ‘recipes’ to try out below.   All you need are the basics above and a few containers to hold them.  If you give them a try we would love to hear how you go!

Recipes:

1.  Multipurpose spray

non toxic multipurpose cleaning spray natural home cleaning product

To a spray bottle add 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water and 1 tsp Castile soap.  You can use this spray on benches, walls, toys, etc.  It is great!

2.  Toilet cleaner:

non toxic toilet cleaner natural home cleaning product

To a squeeze bottle add 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup Castile soap, 1/2 cup vinegar and 15-30 drops of essential oils.  Use like any other toilet cleaner.

3.  Oven cleaner:

non toxic oven cleaner natural home cleaning product

To a jar add 1/3 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup baking soda and 1 tsp Castile soap to form a paste.  Apply liberally and leave for min 6 hours before wiping clean.

letter to 15 year old self krystal gordon

Text below: 

Hello beautiful girl.  I have some really important things to tell you, and I wish I had done so sooner.  Maybe then you wouldn’t spend the next 15 years of your life unsure about your worth in the world, wondering if you are ever really good enough, and more often than not, thinking that if you looked a different way you would have more – more friends, more money and more opportunities.  Maybe then you would know that more doesn’t equal better anyway, more doesn’t equal happy and more doesn’t equal love.  Maybe then you would know that the love you crave so much, is actually the love and respect for yourself, not the supposed love or admiration from peers, boys and even strangers.  You are only 15 darling girl, but there is so much you should already know.

You should already know that you don’t have to look like the girls in the magazines you read to be beautiful.  You don’t have to wear the same size clothes as your friends.  You don’t have to straighten your gorgeous curly hair every day.  You don’t have to wear long clothes to cover your pale skin.  You don’t have to apply layers upon layers of makeup to try and hide your freckles and you don’t have to shrink your beautiful smile because your teeth aren’t as white as you think they should be, as white as the girl’s teeth in those magazines.

You should already know that you can’t measure happiness or success by the number of friends you have, the weight on a scale or how much money you have to spend.  You should know that there is so much more to life than things, and in fact moments are so much more valuable.  You should know that love and honesty will always prevail, even when it seems hard or your views are different to those around you.  You should know that your worth can only be determined by you – please do not allow your value to decrease due to someone else’s inability to see that.

You should know that the way a boy treats you, or speaks to you, does not define you, but them.  By now you should already know that your ‘muffin top’ does not define you, and nor does the cellulite that is starting to form on your thighs.  Your ‘box gap’, or lack thereof, does not define you.  Your dress size does not define you.  Your stretchmarks that are slowly beginning to appear on your hips and breasts, do not define you, and your no-brand clothing and cheap shoes, certainly do not define you.  Your grades at school, as important as they may seem, do not even define you, though the ethic you apply to learning and life in general does.

Do you know what else defines you?  Do you know the things that really matter at the end of the day?  Your morals.  Your kind heart.  Your ability to see the bright light that shines in others, even when they may not.  Your determination.  Your courage.  And your generosity that you downplay so very often.  Your uniqueness and your attitude.  You should also know that when you judge another girl by what they look like, it does not define her, but indeed it does you.

At 15 years old, you should know all of these things, yet you do not.  You have been failed.  The media has contributed to that, and I thank god that Facebook and Instagram were not part of your normal everyday life, for I can only imagine the further pressure today’s teens feel to look and act a certain way.  Society and your social circle has also contributed to you not knowing these things, and even your well-wishing friends and family that truly love and care about you, because, we are a product of our environment, of images that have been thrown at us from every angle and of the stories we have been told, that we in turn believe.  And unless you choose to take a different path, to change your thoughts and beliefs now, before you waste so many years and tears believing you are less than you really are, you will be accepting that this is okay.  And it is not.  Judging ourselves and others is not okay.  Stand up and speak your truthEmbrace your body, talents and personality so you can let your authentic self shine.  Celebrate and encourage other girls and women, always.  Show the world what YOU are made of.

Beautiful girl, you are worthy, exactly as you are today.  You are amazing, courageous and loved.

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