HQ MUSE // Annette Ruzicka, Photographer and Filmmaker

Our HQ Muses are people in the Holistic HQ community who are brave, creative, big-hearted and inspiring. They are ambassadors for what we strive to achieve – a thriving and joyful wellness community, supporting you on the path to good health, a sustainable lifestyle and spirited, happy wellbeing.

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Annette Ruzicka is a documentary and portrait photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. A love of the natural environment and the unseen or unlikely people who fight for its protection has been the initial focus of her work both in Australia and abroad.

Annette runs a portrait and corporate/lifestyle photography business including videography for individuals, small or large businesses. Annette was also a finalist for the coveted 2016 National Portraiture Prize.

 

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1. The focus of your work via Annette Ruzicka Photography is very much on the unseen or unlikely heroes of the conservation movement, both here and abroad. How do you seek out the subject of your photography, and how do they inspire you?

As a photographer, you’re looking for the real people – the brains, brawn (for lack of a better word) or champion of the work or project – whatever the case may be. This is not always the most obvious or boisterous person, it could be the person in the background just getting on with it. The key is spending time with them, getting to know their story and quite simply, to observe.

The story often unfolds right before you. As my work has incorporated a strong focus on environmental issues, they inspire me by simply doing what they do – either off the smell of an oily rag, or in less than ideal conditions and doing it to address a major environmental problem – and for that alone they inspire me.

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2. You recently were named a finalist for the 2016 National Photographic Portrait Prize – congratulations! What did this accolade mean to you?  

It meant a great deal indeed. At the risk of boasting, it’s a highly coveted prize of national recognition. It’s been extremely valuable for my career and to have one your images selected, framed and in an exhibition is a wonderful feeling in the competitive world of photography. One thing photographers are is very sensitive of their work – so to have this acknowledgment was extremely gratifying.

 

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3. Your volunteer work in Costa Rica was a pivotal experience in your life. What was so remarkable about your first trip there?

Gosh, where do I start? The natural values of the area, the amazing mass turtle nesting events (which only happen 7 places in the world), the locals who kept the work going – amidst poor socio-economic factors, and the complexities and politics of a small community, it was both fascinating and a privilege.

 

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4. Where do you find your happy moments when your work hats are off?

Taking photos! There’s nothing more satisfying than creating an amazing image, or learning something new or finishing that mini-documentary. Being out in nature, looking up the stars until your neck hurts, bush walking and sometimes, just sitting on the couch with the husband with a big bag of popcorn watching The Walking Dead!

 

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5. If you could travel to one special place you haven’t yet been, what would be your dream destination? Why does it capture your imagination?

I want to spend a good 6 months in both Central and Southern Latin America. After my eight weeks in Costa Rica I have developed a visceral yearning to go back. The magnificent natural values of the continent speak for themselves – the Amazon being the most obvious, and its ancient history including Machu Picchu. But it’s the wonderful people of the region, I believe, that I will above all continue to love – culturally, I feel of all the countries I have visited it’s the most aligned to who I am.

 

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6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

When I am stressing out about something, or letting my imagination get carried away with things, it’s easy to assume the worst. I was once asked, “what evidence do you have to believe this will happen?” and the answer 9 times out of 10 is none! You can always let your insecurities and fears eat away at you,  but nowadays I simply ask myself this question – I find it always stops me in my tracks and lets me just get on with it.

 

Instagram: @annettruzickaphotography

Facebook: www.facebook.com.au/annettruzickaphotography

Website: www.annetteruzicka.com.au

 

 

Happy new year!

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Happy new year Holistic HQ loves! There’s always an exciting, buzzy feeling as the new year begins!

As we reflect on the year that was and look towards the year ahead, you might be ready to pen down the goals that you’re aiming for, or positive changes you wish to make in your life. With this in mind, if you are in the mindset of planning new goals for 2017, here are some helpful tips to support the changes you want to see.

Consistency: Making a start is something that I have a hard time with, and which we all tend to struggle with when beginning new habits. Believing you have the power over your actions is a great behaviour change motivator and one that will get you on the track and keep you there.  Taking that initial step and committing to your goal consistently will help with making it a habit and enhancing your feelings of achieving your goal.  Making incremental changes but keeping them consistent so that you have the change regularly in your life will give you the power to see how well you are doing and how far you have come.

Positivity: Giving yourself the recognition that you can do anything is a really powerful thing! Whatever it is you are achieving, saying something to yourself like “yes I can” or “I’m already making this change and I’m feeling and seeing the benefit” will work wonders on making a goal a reality and one you will achieve.

Motivating yourself can be difficult but introducing positive mantras to yourself throughout the day can help with keeping you on the path to successful change.

Support: Having supportive friends, family  and colleagues are always a bonus to have around when setting a goal and making a change. The beauty of having that support is that you will be encouraged (and reminded!) to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. By letting  your family and friends know what it is you want to set out and conquer, asking for their support to help these changes come about will strengthen your commitment to your goal.

Self love/care: At this time of the year it’s so easy to get caught in the merry-go-round of guilt and self hate.  Over-indulging at Christmas and the holidays can make you feel like you need to restrict or punish yourself. Unfortunately, this sets you up for a new year where you’ll probably make impossible goals.

Have you noticed a lot of new year goals are centred around diet and exercise? These especially make you feel like you need to deprive yourself or ramp up the exercise to twice the amount. This kind of thinking will hurt the relationship you have with yourself. Take the time to give credit to yourself and reward yourself with the changes by perhaps buying a gorgeous candle and taking a luxe bath. Or get a massage, buy some flowers or anything else that you enjoy to encourage the love you have for yourself and the positive changes you are making.

One of my goals for this year is to meditate, so I made a plan to meditate for 5 minutes  each day and then make steady but consistent increments of 2 minutes each week. I said to myself that “I am meditating every day and I feel calmer”. I’ve let my boyfriend know and given myself a mini celebration to work towards of buying a bunch of flowers for my study desk at the end of week 1.

What positive changes do you hope to make in 2017…?

 

Love, Abs xx

Love from HQ // Last Minute Christmas Ideas

Hi lovelies!

Are you still umm-ing and ahh-ing over what to give your special ones this festive season? If you want to give them the gift of beautiful memories, a focused mindset, a rested and fit body, or simply peace of mind, we’ve got you covered! Read on below for some awesome last-minute ideas, delivered with love from our HQ team.

Wishing you much peace this festive season,

Vic + Abs xx

11BRING THE MASSAGE TO THEM

Our wonderful masseuse Stacey Irving of Stacey Leanne Massage provides deeply nourishing relaxation and remedial massages at her home in Brunswick, Melbourne and also offers mobile massage across the inner city suburbs. She’s available for evening and weekend appointments, and can even do pregnancy massage as well as lymphatic drainage.

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Her aim is to provide affordable and accessible massages so that feeling balanced, relaxed, taking care of pesky niggles or managing acute injuries is easy.

Stacey has some totally gorgeous gift e-vouchers available, if you’d like to buy one in the lead up to Christmas for a loved one or maybe as a treat for yourself, vouchers are only $50 for an hour treatment if purchased in December.

For more info, visit her website or contact Stacey directly at staceyleannemassage@gmail.com x

2LET THEM GET AWAY

Is your beloved dreaming of a little getaway…?

Our next HQ Getaway is coming up in early 2017 (Fri 20th – Sun 22nd January), and offers a beautiful way for them to start their new year. Located in the Yarra Valley, surrounded by lush green forest, Amarant Retreat is an eco-friendly sanctuary for reflection and immersion.

We’ll help the gorgeous women in your life to start their 2017 refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated, as they reflect on their goals and get clear on their intentions for the year ahead.

After 3 days and 2 nights of healthy food, fresh air, yoga, pilates, meditation, 1:1 nutrition, life and career coaching, rainforest walks, uplifting and supportive female company, nature, sleep, exploring your dreams and taking time to ‘be’, they’ll feel reconnected with how they truly want to feel, everyday.

HQ Getaway July 2015

We still have a limited number of spots available on the retreat for you or a loved one – perfect for spoiling your best friend, your sister, your wife or girlfriend with the best possible start to their 2017!

You can download our retreat e-brochure with all the details here: HQ Getaway – Retreat Brochure – Summer 2017

Want more deets? Click here or drop us a line at hello@holistichq.com.au with any questions you may have! xx

3 SHAKE UP THEIR CAREER

If you’ve got someone you know that is like “Gah… dreading going back to work already and the holidays haven’t even started” — well, this is just the thing they might be looking for.

Give them a 1.5 hour “Career shake up” strategy session with our girl Alice Chien from Intent Mind, tied up in a pretty red bow. They’ll walk away breathing easier, having a rock solid handle on the choices they have early on in 2017 for a fulfilling year of work, and a 90 day plan to take meaningful action on. 

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If this sounds like a present you want to give to someone (or yourself even), drop Alice an email at alice@intentmind.com.au.

She’s even got a festive price for people who purchase before Christmas and will send you a printable gift certificate to skip postage delays.

42KICK SOME FITNESS GOALS

Maybe they’re feeling ‘meh’ about their health, have a nuisance injury that’s limiting their exercise routine, or are just ready to get their 2017 started with a new challenge – let’s shake things up for them!

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Our fitness guru Victoria Brockfield can come to the rescue with some private PT sessions at the gym, park, beach or at your home across the inner city suburbs of Melbourne. Consults include a fitness assessment, goal setting and nutrition advice via our resident nutritionist Abby.

Gift e-vouchers are available for one, three or five sessions, and are charged at only $50 per 1-hour session. For more info, contact Victoria at victoria@holistichq.com.au xx

5 GIVE THEM TIME

Our last suggestion is a freebie, for both you and them! Life is so precious, and every moment that you spend fully immersed in the company of your loves will form your most treasured memories in years to come.

Why not pledge to give them the gift of your time in 2017? We’ve created this free downloadable voucher for you to print and cheekily include under the tree this year.

The Gift of Time

We think they’ll love this one the most. xx

RECIPE // Summer Burrito Bowl

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Doesn’t Summer food seem to translate as fresh, simple, and flavoursome?! We think so. Get ready for a flavour hit with this super-quick and simple burrito bowl (it was so good we actually forgot to add the Aji sauce! Oops.)

[SERVES 2]

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (approx. 1 cup uncooked)
  • handful chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 stalks spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, diced
  • 1/2 cup kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coriander, chopped
  • 1 cheek mango, scored
  • 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1/2 avocado, scored
  • OPTIONAL: 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • OPTIONAL: tbsp peri peri powder
  • OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp Chilian Aji sauce (or similar chilli salsa)

 

METHOD

  1. In a serving bowl, add all vegetable ingredients and mix. We recommend scoring then scooping mango and avocado with a spoon, and the pomegranate will loosen its seeds after vigorous tapping on the bench whilst uncut, and a scoring across its midline and careful prying apart will release the seeds and juice with ease. Check out Youtube if you’re not too sure – once you know how to work with a pomegranate, you’ll never live in fear of it’s juice again!
  2. If you’re going the meat-eater route, add cubed chicken to a tsp olive oil in a hot pan, dust with peri peri powder and cook for 4-5 minutes until browned and cooked through.
  3. Serve cooked quinoa alongside salad and chicken. Add Aji salsa for an extra chilli hit!

 

Nutrition myths busted! (some of them)

 

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Is organic food better than conventional food to eat?

Basically no. There have been copious studies showing eating organic does not increase the nutrition content of the food. With organic food there is a much lesser amount of pesticide residue on the fruit and veges which is great but if you’re like me and cannot justify spending three to five times the amount of your food shop then just focus on packing your basket full of fruits and vegetables first.

Are frozen vegetables good for you?

Of course they are! In fact very shortly after veges (or fruits) are picked they are snap frozen to minus 20 degrees. This retains more nutrients in some fruit and veg compared to ones that has been picked fresh and then transported for thousands of kilometres. Frozen vegetables also reduce food wastage (everyone has that limp spring onion lurking in the fridge). Using frozen fruit and vegetable is better for your purse and the environment due to the less wastage. Don’t be scared to use them in meals as they are great options – frozen peas, frozen mixed veges can quickly go into a frittata and you’ve got your serve of veg sorted.

Aren’t eating eggs bad for cholesterol?

Lots of people are worried about eating eggs as they think they are high in cholesterol. The fact is, dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in the body.  It’s saturated fat which has a much greater impact on your cholesterol.  Having an egg or two a day is totally fine and the Heart foundation recommends eating 6 eggs a week for heart health.  Eggs are high in omega 3 and 11 essential vitamins and minerals so keep enjoying those googy eggs with soldiers.

White sugar is bad…but coconut/rice malt/agave/honey/maple syrup is good!

Sugar is sugar is sugar. There are many so called health gurus out there that will say to swap white sugar for rice malt syrup/maple syrup or coconut sugar.  The fact is theses are all sugars and your body identifies all of the above mentioned sugars as the same.  Some claim that choosing a sugar such as maple syrup is better because it contains minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc, however you would need to consume more than a cup worth of said sugar to get an adequate intake of these minerals.

Coconut oil is the only oil I should be eating and putting on everything

While coconut oil has a place in a balanced diet, don’t forget that is it high in saturated fat. It’s totally fine to consume in small quantities but don’t cover everything you eat in the stuff. Coconut oil cannot perform miracles and it is best to use it as an oil to cook something at a high temperature (since coconut oil has a high smoke point) or a bit of it if you make a raw dessert every once in a while.

Eating carbohydrates will make me fat 

The reality is any excess kilojoules (energy) you consume vs expend will lead to excess weight – not just carbohydrates. Your brain and muscles need carbohydrates to function properly but the key is to eat carbohydrates loaded with fibre. Why is this important? Eating carbohydrates especially of the wholefood type (think oats, barley, quinoa, wholemeal bread, beans etc) contain plenty of fibre which keeps your blood sugar levels consistent, make you feel fuller for longer and as a result you’ll eat less and weigh less, not put on weight. The fibre draws water to it and acts as a broom in your large bowel to make sure your colon is healthy and keeping cancer causing cells at bay. So carbs don’t make you fat, you need them for your body to function properly.

 

FINDING YOUR BLISS IN THE YARRA VALLEY – THE HQ GETAWAY RETREAT DIARIES

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Rainforest walks. Beautiful vegetarian meals. Roaring fireplaces. Pilates, yoga, massage + meditation. Life-changing conversations. Seriously – it doesn’t get much better than this.

DAY ONE // An hour’s drive outside of Melbourne can quickly feel like you’ve been whisked a million miles away. After a short pitstop in Healesville, dropping in at the Healesville Organic Farmers Markets and the very lovely Harvest Cafe, we arrived at our home for the weekend – the beautiful Amarant Retreat, set in the lush temperate rainforests of the Yarra Valley.

The three-level building, nestled into the hills amidst dewy ferns, towering gums and mossy rocks, provided the ultimate haven from the chilly Winter mists (it also happened to be the coldest weekend on record this Winter!). Our hearts and bodies were warmed the moment we stepped inside – toasty warm fireplaces, orange and lemongrass essential oils burning, and heated floorboards greeted our frozen feet.

After settling in, we got cozy by the fireplace and set our intentions for the weekend under the guidance of Alice of Intent Mind, and got to know our little company of bliss-seekers. Friends firmed up fast as we completed our first Pilates class and a sunset bushwalk, and were cemented around the beautiful vegetarian dinner provided by our master Chef, Laura.

We completed our first day with a Yin Yoga session in the Celestial Room, and start to wind down peacefully with some guided meditation, before finally curling up in our cozy rooms upstairs and letting the blissful feelings settle in.

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DAY TWO // The melodic sounds of the Tibetan singing bowl awakens those who haven’t already risen early for morning meditation and yoga downstairs. A truly lush breakfast is served up – Sunday porridge cooked with fresh dates, oats, cinnamon, lemon peel, almond milk and coconut cream. Topped with pecans, local berries, flax oil and vanilla bean honey, we have to just about stop ourselves from licking the bowl.

After a vigorous Pilates session with Victoria, we break off to start our sessions – full body Swedish relaxation massage with Stacey, or one-on-one life coaching with Alice. Those waiting their turn enjoy a leisurely afternoon of creating vision boards, flicking through pages of inspiration to find the images that resonate with their heartfelt dreams.

Dinner in the evening is a hearty winter forest mushroom risotto, served with walnut and green leaf salad and truffle oil. The dessert blows minds – chocolate avocado mousse topped with fresh local berries, cacao nibs and maple syrup.

We roll into the yoga room for a restful and restorative Yin Yoga session, resting our legs against the wall in a supported shoulder stand and feeling the worries of the world float away. In the quiet cocoon of darkness, by the flicker of candlelight, we finish our session with a collective resounding OM, sharing an unspoken connection that will live on well beyond these three days.

DAY THREE // We rise early before the sun and wander down to the Celestial Room, where we gather our bolsters and blankets, and sit peacefully in lotus pose, finding our breath and stillness in the moment. Gently, we are guided through a morning meditation, awakening to the senses of our body and mind before opening our eyes to a brand new day.

Laura has already been busily cooking in the kitchen, and has prepared us yet another delicious breakfast. The recipe cards in our goody bags come in use for the Bliss Ball making demonstration led by Abby, who shows us how to make decadent chocolate orange bliss balls from scratch. As the girls squeeze in their final massage and coaching sessions, we take in the cool mountain air on the verandah and thank our lucky stars for finding this truly special place. It feels like home.

The dates for our next HQ Getaway are already booked in at Amarant Retreat! If you’d like to join us for our next HQ Getaway (Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd January 2017), please drop us an email at hello@holistichq.com.au or visit our HQ GETAWAY info page for all the details xx 

With love,

V & A xx

Join us for our 2017 HQ Getaway!

We are so thrilled to announce the dates for our Summer HQ Getaway!

If you are looking to start your 2017 with your best foot forward, this is the perfect opportunity – a weekend away where you walk in wanting a rest, space to breathe and reflect, internal and external nourishment, and time to just ‘be’.

Located in the beautiful Yarra Valley, surrounded by lush green forest, our venue is Amarant Retreat, an eco-friendly sanctuary designed for reflection and immersion.

Over the course of three days (Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January 2017), you will have the space to connect with the energy and spirit of the forest and gorgeous fellow females, ultimately deepening the unique connection with your innermost self.

HQ Getaway July 2015

We’ll help you start your 2017 refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated, as you reflect on your goals and get clear on your intentions for the year ahead.

After 3 days and 2 nights of healthy food, fresh air, yoga, pilates, meditation, 1:1 nutrition, life and business coaching, traditional massage, rainforest walks, uplifting and supportive female company, nature, sleep, exploring your dreams and taking time to ‘be’, we hope to reconnect you with how you truly want to feel, every day.

When you walk out, you will have been taken care of, nourished and filled up, knowing exactly what to do to live a beautiful life everyday: a life filled with energy, vitality, purpose and beauty.

THIS WEEKEND RETREAT FEATURES:

• 2 nights and 3 days luxuriously accommodated at Amarant Retreat –
beautiful, comfortable bedrooms to enable sound sleep and sweet dreams

• Healthy, beautiful vegetarian meals for the whole weekend – to bring
clarity, energy and vitality

• Seasonal food preparation class – learn how to prepare nutritious meals
using food from the seasonal table

• Morning meditation, yoga and pilates, and rainforest walks – be in your
body in nature, grounded

• 1:1 nutritional coaching, 1:1 life and business coaching, and a traditional
massage session are all part of your personal journey

• Organic pamper bag to give your goals a head-start, building a cupboard
of go-to products that nourish you and the planet.

• Abundant supply of organic fruits, treats and teas to snack on all weekend.

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For more photos of the rooms please check out: http://www.amarant.com.au/gallery

P A C K A G E S – LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE!

PACKAGE 1: FEELING FRIENDLY

Individual bed in shared accommodation suite (with 2-4
other lovely ladies) + shared bathroom ensuite
EARLY BIRD! $690 incl. all meals, all activities and 2 nights’ accom
(prices rise to $790 from 1st October – instalment plans also available)

PACKAGE 2: FLYING SOLO

Private double bedroom for one + bathroom ensuite
EARLY BIRD! $890 incl. all meals, all activities and 2 nights’ accom
(prices rise to $990 from 1st October – instalment plans also available)

ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR BEST YEAR YET? REGISTER NOW

You can download our retreat e-brochure with all the details here:

HQ Getaway – Summer 2017

Or just drop us a line at hello@holistichq.com.au – we’d so love for you to join us! x

RECIPE // Simple Strawberry Sorbet


I’m such a fan of recipes you can whip up in two minutes. This dessert is simple, delicious, so easy and good for you! What more could you ask for.

Ingredients:

– 4 cups frozen strawberries

– 1/2 cup Chobani plain Greek yogurt (go for the slightly sweet version for a little more sweet and less tang)

– 3 tablespoons dark agave nectar

– good squeeze of half a lemon

Directions:

Throw together into a food processor and blend. You may need to stop and scrape up the sides to ensure it blends through evenly. 

Serve with fresh strawberries, cocoa nibs or whipped coconut cream. Delish! Xx