Take a Selfie, Fake a Life.

You know that girl you follow on Instagram? The one with the perfectly sculpted body, impeccable bone structure and equally immaculate hair? The one with the flawless complexion and all-year-round sun-kissed glow. Yeah, you know the one? She’s always attending the best events, off on adventures and travelling to exotic destinations. She doesn’t go a day without posting a snap in another beautiful location, wearing another amazing outfit and hanging out with her exclusive posse. She seems to have it all. The beauty, the boyfriend, the wardrobe, the success. She is living the dream life.

Or so you think.

Social media isn’t real life. Groundbreaking stuff I know (sarcasm). But seriously, as obvious as it sounds, it is as easily forgotten. Scrolling through the socials is so engrained into our daily routine that we have become completely desensitised by what we see. It’s totally normal to see bikini babes and bootys while sipping on our morning coffee. Or be bombarded with socialites cheersing their cocktails (mate, its a Tuesday!) while the rest of us commute to work. And yet, we don’t even think twice because, #Instagram.

But I’m here to deliver you a #TruthBomb! (Admittedly, one you’ve probably heard a number of times before, but it’s an important message nonetheless).

No one’s life is as perfect as their Instagram feed.

No one’s! Not even the chick you were thinking about when you read that first paragraph. As much as the Grammers’ and Fakebookers (*cough* I mean, Facebookers) want you to believe their life is all sparkles and smiles, it just ain’t the case! What you see on social media is only a snapshot. A mere snippet. Just 10% of someone’s life. (If that!) All carefully and craftily selected to paint a picture of the ‘perfect life’. Each photograph chosen to represent a perceived version of reality.

Even what I portray on social media isn’t accurate to how I spend 100% of my time. More often than not, I walk around with a messy bun and a bare face. I certainly don’t wear makeup to the gym and I rock my daggy old clothes way too often. And guess what, sometimes I even post photos of me somewhere cool when *shock horror* I’m not really there. (Most likely I am just lying in bed). And it’s not because I want people to believe my life is all sunshine and rainbows every day. It’s because, well, it’s boring and honestly, nobody really cares. That’s the thing about social media though. The user, Grammer, FBer or Tweeter are the ones in control. So naturally they mainly share their ‘best bits’.

As long as you can distinguish the difference between Instagram and reality, its all good. But when you start comparing yourself and your life to someone you follow on the Gram, that’s when it gets a little dangerous.

Comparison in any form is stupid. Pointless. (And a great way to feel shitty, pretty quickly.). So when you add social media into the mix, you’ve just hit a whole new level of dangerous comparison. You’re no longer sizing yourself up against someone you see in the ‘real world’, but you are comparing yourself to an unrealistic version of someone. Instagram is all filters, editing, smoothing, refining and perfecting a pose. It’s taking 40 almost identical selfies to choose just one worthy of being broadcast to the world. Why on earth would you compare yourself to something so unobtainable? Something the person in the photo themselves cannot even achieve without a filter and FaceTune.

And yes, admittedly some of these instafamous and social media influencers may be living a somewhat more glamorous life than most of us commoners, but they are still human. They may get paid to attend A-list parties and spruik brands, but they still do normal stuff too. Your insta crush may be your ultimate #bodgoals, but I bet they still have their insecurities. I’m sure they still have their off days and heck, I bet they still walk around make-up free, with a greasy top knot and ugly trackies on sometimes too.

That’s what you have to remember. What you see on social media is only a highlight real. An unrealistic perception of someone’s life. A story. So quit the comparisons. Stop allowing your self worth to be determined by what you see on social media. No more comparing your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel. The fact is, you will never be someone else. So why bother? You are unique, individual and that is something to embrace.

Love Elo x

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Are You Drowning in Stuff?

I moved house recently, which is fun and exciting but also rather tiring and draining. During the time-consuming and painful process of packing and relocating my things, I came to the realisation that I have accumulated a lot of stuff. A lot of clothes, a lot of shoes, a lot of books, stationary, jewellery and basically just a lot of meaningless crap.

Now, considering I am basically a gypsy, having officially moved seven times in the past five years (did I mention I like change?), in which each time I managed to significantly eliminate the quantity of useless junk I own, I have to admit that I’m kind of surprised, and frankly embarrassed, by the amount of unnecessary shit I have somehow still retained.

Seriously, the volume of virtually unused and (for the most part) unloved clothing that I found hiding away in my drawers or squished to the back of my closet was ridiculous. Yet for some reason I felt it necessary to keep hold of it all ‘just in case I wear it again’. Well, that ‘just in case’ moment never seemed to occur, and so this time I sucked it up and chucked it all straight into the good Sammy’s pile.

I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder. I don’t really have that much stuff and I don’t buy things very often. Yet whilst packing up my life, I did feel a strange and unjustified connection to some of the things I have accumulated. An unwarranted attachment to books I had never read and necklaces I’d never worn. Each time another item was ditched in the bin or thrown towards the salvos collection, I felt some momentary grief. It stung a little bit. I was hesitant to part ways. Though not because I was mourning the loss of that pair of high waisted denim shorts. Nope. I felt sadness for all the money that had been wasted over superficial crap. All the money that I was basically just throwing away. All the money that could’ve been put towards better things.

Better things like travelling and experiences. Exploring and chasing adventures. Weekend road trips, spontaneous mid-week outings and dinners with friends. All the stuff that create lasting memories, not just collect dust in the back of a cupboard somewhere. That’s what I believe life is all about- collecting moments, not things.

It was money that could have helped feed a homeless man on the street or rescued a stray puppy or provided a water well for an entire village in a third-world country. Yet it was money just sitting in my wardrobe achieving nothing, providing no purpose, collecting dust.

It makes me angry. Both at myself and at society. Angry that I wasted so much money on useless possessions, but mostly angry that we live in a world where such a huge importance is placed on materialistic things. We are a society ruled by consumerism. We want our houses to resemble a photograph in an interior design magazine. We spend money on new outfits, only to wear them once. We are constantly upgrading to the newest technology when what we already have works perfectly fine.

Why do we do it? Why do we feel the need to dress up our lives in sparkles and glitter? Western society has put unrealistic expectations on us to always be, look and have the best of everything. Social media, with its #fitspo models, online clothing boutiques and sponsored posts is hugely to blame too. Instagram and Facebook encourage us to become fixated on appearance and possessions. Social media makes us become aware of products we didn’t even know about, yet suddenly we need them.

It’s easy to get sucked up in it all. Become victim to the way of the world. It surrounds us everywhere we go. It is constantly in our face – consciously and subconsciously. But I guess we each, as individuals need to decide what is more important to us? Stuff or unforgettable experiences? Having an amazing wardrobe or helping others?

Here’s some fuel for thought…

No one is going to stand up at your funeral and say, “She had a really expensive couch and great shoes.” Don’t make your life be about materialistic stuff.

That right there, sums it all up.

Love Elo xx

Being Vegan In Bali

Eating is quite possibly one of the best parts about travelling. Can I hear an Amen? But heading on an overseas trip with specific eating requirements can really mix things up. As a vegan, the life choice that probably has the most dietary limitations of them all, excitement can turn to anxiety. Will there be anything to eat or will it be a diet of water and air the entire holiday?

Well if you are heading to Bali and you don’t venture far from beautiful Canggu, you won’t find it a challenge at all! After spending a month in Bali in January and having just returned from another 10-day holiday in Canggu, I learnt that 1) being vegan in Bali is easy, 2) being vegan in bali is delicious and 3) being vegan in Bali is cheap. All three of which cannot be said for Perth. I had some of the tastiest and most flavoursome vegan eating experiences of my life over there.

So with all the time spent over there, along with my love of food, I’ve managed to suss out some of the best vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants in Bali. Here are my top picks.

PELOTON SUPERSHOP

Highlight: The crispiest, crunchiest, most delicious sweet potato fries ever!

Peloton would have to be the best vegan restaurant in Canggu. Scrap that, the best restaurant in Canggu! Seriously, the food here is amazing! And you can totally trust me on this because I have pretty much tried everything on the menu. Like, I’m pretty sure we were basically on nickname basis with the staff by the end of our trip. Serving 100% vegan meals including salad bowls, tacos, lasagne, smoothies, brownies and more, Peloton can easily woo even the biggest carnivore and probably even convert them to #veganlife too. Everything we tried here (yes we visited that many times) from the ‘tricken’ parmy and Veggie burger to the pancakes and bruschetta toast, burst with flavour! The meals are hearty, filling and served to you with a smile. If you’re feeling like something sweet the iced choc whip, nuts n bolts smoothie and the raw snickers bar come highly recommended. Honestly, this place should be number 1 on your ‘to eat’ list. Just thank me later.

GREEN GINGER NOODLE HOUSE

Highlight: The Thai Green Curry.

If it’s authentic Asian food you feel like; the kind made with the freshest produce, aromatic herbs and fragrant spices, then this is the place for you. This gorgeous all vegetarian and vegan restaurant, which can be easily missed from the road so keep your eyes peeled for the sign, has that cute, cozy, homely feel. Once you’ve placed your order and the waiter has trotted away to the semi-open kitchen, your senses will be immediately filled with the divine smells of fresh herbs and spices being chopped and ground in to curry pastes and sauces. Ain’t nothing but made from scratch here!  The food tastes as good as it smells and I can honestly say the Thai green curry is the best I’ve ever tasted. Better than anything I have eaten in Thailand, bursting which rich Asian flavours and yep my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

CRATE CAFE

Highlight: Top notch iced Latte’s that arrive overflowing like an erupting volcano

Life is crate at Crate café. Before you even notice the menu of mouth-watering healthy delights written on the concrete walls (no paper menus here), you’ll be welcomed with funky tunes, chilled surfy vibes and friendly greetings from the always-smiling staff. With names like ‘hipster’ and ‘bowlarama’, Crate serves up (in my opinion) the best smoothie bowls in Canggu. It’s not all about smoothie bowls though, there are plenty of savoury breakfast and lunch options on offer and the coffee here is top knotch. It can be a little loud and sometimes crowded in this uber-popular hipster café, but the chattering of happy travellers and surfy locals just adds to the buzzing atmosphere. Plus, any Aussies having Vegemite withdrawals need not fear – Crate offers a dish called Veto, which is a homely combination of Vegemite and avo on toast.

THE SHADY SHACK

Highlight: The smoothies are 👌

Located on a quiet street overlooking lush green rice paddies, this recently opened cafe has the most relaxing vibes. With daybeds to lounge on, peacock chairs to perch your peachy, green tropical gardens and tables shaded by bamboo umbrellas, dining here almost feels like you’re on a holiday from your holiday. There are heaps of vegan options on the menu for breakfast and lunch, delicious smoothies and a cabinet full of raw cakes. Like anywhere you go in Canggu, you can order anything to takeaway, which could come in handy because The Shady Shack can get super busy.

LA BARRACA

Highlight: Owned by Italians, it’s the real deal for authentic Italian food!

So you feel like a good carb-load? A big bowl of al dente pasta or a soft doughy pizza? Just a good old Italian feast. But your vegan… well, s**t! That was my first thought when we rocked up here for dinner one night when I was already feeling very hangry. Just as I thought I was going to have to settle for a few pieces of bread or a boring salad, my eyes lit up and the heavens opened after reading two magic words – ‘Vegan Margaretta’ on the menu! And my golly, it was the best damn pizza I have ever eaten. Ever! (And I’ve been to Italy). Most of the vegetarian pizzas can be made vegan just by asking for vegan mozzarella. I recommend coming here for dinner, when the lights are dim, candles are burning and it feels oh so romantic.

AVOCADO CAFE

Highlight: Healthy, fresh, nutritious meals for veggos, vegans and paleoistas (I just made that up).

Any place that features an all day breakfast menu gets a solid tick of approval. Plus, it’s name can only mean good things, because seriously, who doesn’t love avocado? It’s the little touches that give this humble health-hub its charm. Recycled vodka bottles created into drinking glasses and candleholders, comfy cushions on the boho-chic chairs, glass straws and fresh flowers on every table. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, avocado’s extensive menu features vegetarian and vegan-friendly options plus plenty of choices for the paleo dieters. From protein shakes, smoothie bowls and fresh juices to lentil burgers, salads, curries and sugarless desserts, there is something for everyone, especially the health-conscious!

NALU BOWLS

Highlight: Healthy smoothies galore with gram-worthy presentation for the ultimate #foodporn #smoothiebowl snap.

Serving up an abundance of fruity smoothie creations completed with your choice of toppings in cute coconut bowls, these smoothie bowls are almost too pretty to eat. Now with two locations in Canggu, Nalu bowls is the perfect place to visit for a refreshing treat to cool you down in the Balinese heat. Design your own bowl from a choice of 6 different smoothie options, including the popular Acai bowl, and select as many or as few of the 15 topping options you desire. You can also find Nalu Bowls smoothie bowl shacks in Seminyak and Uluwatu.

Not staying in canggu? Here are some other restaurants in surrounding areas that also impressed me with their delicious vegan options.

  • The Spicy Coconut (Canggu)
  • Eden Cafe (Canggu)
  • Cafe Organic (Seminyak)
  • Zuchinni (Seminyak)
  • Earth Cafe & Market (Seminyak and Ubud)
  • Clear Cafe (Ubud)
  • Kafe (Seminyak)

In all honesty, being vegan in Bali was not a problem at all. Most places offer a huge range of vegetarian dishes as it is and it seems Bali is one step ahead when it comes to catering for Vegan travellers. It’s actually probably harder to be a vegan in Perth than it is in Canggu. Just another reason why I belong there.

Love Elo xx