25 Aug 2015

Hope for Homeless

6:32AM Sunday 23rd August.
When I wake up it's raining. It's windy and cold. It's the kind of day that makes you want to roll over and go back to sleep... except when you're sleeping on cardboard. I thank God I'm undercover and spare a thought for the thousands in Sydney tonight that aren't. They lie in bus stops, park benches or like me on the ground, representing a voiceless group within society - a group that is struggling.

Over 105 000 people in Australia are homeless. That's around 1 in 200. 27% of these people are under 18. Kids and teens living on the street, going through things I can't even begin to imagine every single day. Over the weekend I tried to get a feel for their situation in a homelessness simulation through my school. We collected cardboard to make up our 'beds' on the concrete. We were given some soup from the local 'soup kitchen' before playing cards to fight the intense boredom that comes with homelessness. It was nearly impossible to sleep on the ground, and we didn't have any safety concerns keeping us awake. Many homeless people in Sydney sleep in the day for fear of being mugged or attacked at night. We were woken early and told to move on, as homeless people so often are as not to disturb the public. It's just so terrible.

Homeless people are such a misunderstood group in our society, and before studying the issue of homelessness I didn't understand it either. As a young girl I always saw homeless people as dirty and highly dangerous. I naively assumed they were all frequent users of drugs and generally unstable people. I'd never dream of approaching a homeless person, even to give them money. I thought I was protecting myself. Us Australians pride ourselves on being friendly, but look at how we treat our poorest people. Every night they sit in the shadows, forgotten and avoided.

But what I've learnt over the past few weeks is a homeless person is not just a homeless person. A homeless person is a human! We seem to have seriously forgotten this. Behind every homeless person is a face, a story, something that got them to the point where they are. And in front of every homeless person is a future, a plan, a hope. That's what I keep telling myself as a way to deal with this problem. There's a way up for every homeless person. We have so many incredible volunteers and helpers willing and every day homeless people are turning their lives around.

In between that past story and the future hope is you, it's us, it's community. I'm not asking you to donate to a charity, start volunteering or anything like that. I'm just asking for something really small and its this - rethink how you treat homeless people. Remember this week that the homeless are people. Skin and bones just like you! If you pass a homeless person smile, say hi, just like you would if you passed any other person on the street. The little things like this can be huge for a homeless person. So theres your challenge - say hi to a homeless person this week. Don't ever think you're too young to make a difference. We've got the power to change our culture toward homeless people. Because when it comes down to it, a homeless person is still just another person in Australia's 21 million and each one has just as much potential as you and me.

Have an incredible week, and remember to keep your safety first if you do decide to get amongst your community!

19 Aug 2015

Q and A Video!?

Guys I'm stressing out.
It is not Tuesday.
I didn't post on Tuesday.
I always post on Tuesday.
In fact, It's Wednesday. 5:59am.
The house is dark, the street is dark.
The world is silent aside from my fingers sliding along little illuminated keys.
And I'm writing this blog post.

But seriously, I DO NOT like missing Tuesday and I am very very very very very very very very very sorry. There are no words to describe how bad the wifi is at my house. I started uploading this video yesterday (TUESDAY!!) At around 10am. It's now 6:02am (WEDNESDAY) and my video is 59% uploaded with 442 minutes remaining. Incase you were wondering thats about 7 hours... Cheers YouTube.

All technology annoyance aside, I had the BEST time making this video, and I'm really proud of how it turned out. Actually, that reminds me of another technology annoyance... iMovie deleted the end of my clip which just makes me cry but all it said was you guys are fab, this video is fab and I'm going to make you more in the future. Which is true!! The next few months will feature technically troubled but nevertheless awesome videos - get excited sweet potatoes! I'll cya next TUESDAY :)
Till then, make sure you follow Zola here to keep up with all the shenanigans.


11 Aug 2015

Cold Climate

Jumper - Factorie
Jeans - Factorie
Scarf - Dangerfield
Shoes - Converse

It's the 9th of August (or it was when I wrote this...) and I'm only now realising IT IS NOT WARM. Not sure if you know this, but I hate winter. A lot. I've had this theory this year that if I just pretend it's really warm, and dress like it's really warm, it'll be warm. A heads up - that does not work. So, in light of my recent revelation I'm back in my bedroom with this 'I'm a warm eskimo' outfit.

I'm also now realising, this isn't reallyyy an outfit post. Let me explain myself. So a) I don't have a cool photographer boyfriend and b) my Dad ditched me. Cri. And, I was listening to a lot of Taylor Swift when this took a turn for a self-portrait look at how artsy and pretentious I am. Here's to experimentation. 

I have also been doing a lot of dreaming and tea drinking of late. I've got to pick my subjects for year 11 by next week, and when a teacher says 'please pick your subjects' it sounds a hell of a lot like 'please plan out the next 50 years of your life'. I don't know guizzzz!! I just want to be 12 again and blog forever. Literally all I've done today is pretended to pay attention at school, made some quality muffins and watched reruns of Glee. Someone please tell me what career that adds up to because it seems no one can help me. I did a career test at school and one of my top results was a prison warden. Waaaaah!1?1!?!?! I'm clearly a very threatening person.

Something else that's been happening is some really great blog feedback. I've had a few emails and people coming up to me at school/church just saying hey, I really love what you're doing. That might not be a big deal to you but THATS A FLIPPING BIG DEAL FOR ME!! It happened again at netball training this arvo, and I don't even care people from my school can see my great twelvie phase because ya'll so cool. Sometimes I get a bit down because I don't have as many followers as I'd like, but you guys are literally so cool and you make me so happy.  Have a fab week sweet potatoes. Oh also! I'm planning a sneaky Q and A for next week so hit me up with questions below.

4 Aug 2015

10 Instagram Tips For Bloggers

If there's one thing all you lovely readers have in common it's this: you like Instagram. A lot. The most popular posts on Zola are by far 8 Accounts You Should Be Following, and How To Make Your Feed More Beautiful. So, I thought I'd add to my little Insta series give the people what they wanted. I originality wrote these tips for a friend who's just getting into using Instagram to promote his art. Which by the way, is amazing and is something you NEED to follow. Check out his work @ferguspaints.

With that sneaky super sly/10 not even promotion out of the way, here's my Top 10 Instagram tips for Bloggers!

1. Follow every person you've ever met
Ok this might be a little extreme, but at least follow everyone that's obligated to follow you back. I'm talking Mum, Dad, Sis, and your weird cousin. It doesn't particularly matter who your followers are (as long as they're not ghost spam accounts!!), what matters is they're following you! It's a great way to start off, with a base of supportive friends and family as followers.

2. Be social!
There's heaps of ridiculously cool bloggers all across Instagram. Go follow them, be sure to like and comment on their photos as much as you can. A lot of the time this will mean they like/comment/follow back. Also, if you comment on another bloggers photo their followers will see it and maybe have a look at your page too.

3. Make your page look incredible
When possible new followers come to your page, they're only going to follow you if you've got an exciting collection of photos. This is your first impression in a way, so it's worth putting the time into. A lot of making your feed 'match' is just trial and error. Post a photo and if you're just not feeling it, delete it. A lot of people use themes as a way of making your feed match. I try and do a colourful photo followed by a more neutral photo, but I don't always stick to it. Play around with your look and find one that suits you!

4. Try editing apps
Filters are a great way to make your feed match. There is a serious bucket load of photo editing apps on the App Store and it's hard to pick out the good ones. I use VSCO Cam to edit my photos. It's free, it has great filters and it's a pretty quality app. A lot of bloggers also swear by Afterlight. After contemplating it for literally a few months I forked out the $1.19 to buy it. There is A LOT of filters and fancy photo enhancing stuff but I haven't used it that often to be honest. Worth checking out though!

5. No shame in self promotion
Some people are a bit thingy about self promotion but I'm going to draw the line right now - THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SELF PROMOTION!! The idea behind this is you basically shout out yourself on every piece of social media you've got. If you've got a Twitter or Tumblr or Facebook page, link them all up so your Twitter followers go follow your 'Gram etc etc. Also, make sure you have the same username for all your social media. this makes it heaps easier for people to find you. Possibly the most important one is make sure you have your URL in your Instagram bio. Also, have somewhere on your blog that people can go to and follow your Instagram. I've got 2 on Zola here, one on the right and one down the bottom. You can find some cool photo widgets on Google and they make a pretty addition to any blog.

Hashtags are another thing that have become a bit of a no go lately. Bloggers are thinking it makes them look desperate or whatever, but I think that's stupid. Hashtags sort things into categories on Instagram, and it's actually a great way to get new followers. Someone might well be on #teenblog looking for something fabulous for example, and there you are!! My only word of advice there is go for a few relevant hashtags rather than trillions of random ones #photo #spam #woo #cool #instagram #blog #linkinbio #bestofig #lol

7. Know your followersAn easy way you might be missing out on likes is posting at the wrong time. For the best results, post when most of your followers are online. There's a really cool website called Iconosquare, and it gives you all sorts of useful statistics about your account. I've been using it for ages and I've found it really easy to use and super helpful. Would definitely recommend it!

8. Post often
I've been really slack with this lately, sorry guys promise I still love you. Despite whatever the heck I'm doing, post often!! Your followers follow you because you're really cool and they want to see new things from you. More importantly, your photos at the top of the news feed will keep your blog fresh in people's minds. I try to post every day or two to keep that up.

9. Tag brands
A really smart way to get your name out there is to tag brands. If you post a photo wearing a certain brand or featuring a certain product, go ahead and tag them in the photo. Brands Instagram pages work similar to blogs in that they're always looking for new things to post. If they like your photo, they'll repost it and give you credit. This will mean all their followers (which is usually a lot!) will be directed to your account.

10. Be personal with your followers
It's so easy to just think of your followers as numbers, but they're not! They're real people *shock*. In your photo captions be sure to say hi, ask your followers questions, tell stories and fun stuff that's going on. This kinda stuff acts like a behind the scenes for readers and makes your photos 200% more interesting.
So there you have it! Apologies that this has been super wordy, but if you've made it this far I'm sure it's been helpful. Go ahead and follow my Instagram here. Have a great week chickies xoxo