Self Portrait 365|3

by Katie Paul on October 22, 2014

Today the internet has been buzzing about Renee Zellweger’s plastic surgery. If you check out the photos, she looks like an entirely different person. This flurry of commentary about Miss Zellweger’s transformation has made me think about my own opinions.

The problem is that I swing between disapproving of anything that looks like an attempt to fit the stereotype of the perfect ageless woman, and a genuine belief that people should be able to do whatever the fuck they want with their bodies. If I was so against fooling with nature, I wouldn’t have crowned teeth, corrected vision, piercings and tattoos.

But I draw the line at plastic surgery. See those crows feet around my eyes and that wrinkled neck? I would never try to erase them. The bump on my nose? It’s staying. And my pert full breasts are a genetic freak of nature (thanks biological mum). They are my favourite body part.

As I’ve said before, I believe you need to do whatever gives you genuine pleasure. If having your boobs, or your eyes, or your nose fixed makes you feel beautiful, then you should go for it. It has nothing to do with me — I don’t live inside your skin. But for me, I refuse to have my body and face sliced and diced into alien shapes so I can approximate some impossible ideal of beauty.

Perfection is Annihilation. It paralyzes us from working from the heart. Humans by nature are not perfect and imperfections are what make the world beautiful. ~ Satusuki Shibuya

Sadly for Renee Zellweger, because she works in a field where appearances are important, everyone feels entitled to make a comment on her face. I hope that she had surgery to give her personal pleasure, rather than as desperate defense against growing older and losing her earning potential. But somehow, I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Have you or would you ever have plastic surgery?
Do you feel we have to fight getting older?
Do you have any other body modifications?


Technical Information

Camera model: Canon EOS 7D
F/stop: f/4
Exposure time: 1/15 sec
ISO speed: ISO-100
Focal length: 50mm
Post processing: Photoshop Elements
Filters: Adjust saturation | Diffuse Glow | Adjust levels
Overlay : French Kiss Collection Textures Stone Blush
Blending Mode: Multiply 16%



Self Portrait 365|2

by Katie Paul on October 21, 2014

self portrait 365 | 2

Kelly Roberts left a lovely comment on my last post that sparked a change in the way I see things. She said:

Learn to see yourself through the lens with which you view the rest of the beauty you share in your non-Katie photos…then perhaps you’ll see what we do.

I do see so much beauty in the world, sometimes so much I worry that I’ll explode from the joy it brings. I have eyes that are open wide to seeing the extraordinary in the mundane.

But when it comes to myself … not so much.

But in this photo I see that part of me that remains centred and still in the midst of life’s turmoil. I see peace, comfort and serenity. I wasn’t always this way. I have spent many years being irritated and stressed about things I’ve discovered don’t even matter.

The flowers I wear came from the Cook Islands. They represent the calming influence nature has in my world. When my bare feet touch the ground, I am reminded that I am an earth goddess, infused with the energy that makes flowers bloom and trees reach their branches towards the sky. 

How hard it is to see the beauty of our inner landscapes, to see a picture of ourselves that scrapes back our cells and skin and exposes our heart. This photo is perhaps a small miracle. I’m in love with the moment it has captured.

I feel a stirring in my belly that fills me with excitement and with yearning. What kind of world could we create if we saw each other’s hearts instead of our masks?

Tell me, where do you feel the most centred?


Technical Information

Camera model: Canon EOS 7D
F/stop: f/2.8
Exposure time: 1/200 sec
ISO speed: ISO-100
Focal length: 50mm
Post processing: Photoshop Elements
Filters: Adjust saturation | Diffuse Glow | Adjust levels
Overlay : French Kiss Collection Textures Diva
Blending Mode: Colour Burn 100%


the self portrait • a demonstration of self acceptance
If you were to scour my blog, you would be hard-pressed to find many photos of me. Aside from the odd posed picture, I am shy about having my photo taken. I suspect it has something to do with being a photographer and preferring to be behind the camera, but more than that, I admit I often find photos of myself less than flattering.

I’ve been thinking about how photography can both tap into my creative side, as well as be a vehicle for healing. The issues I struggle with centre around my body image — I don’t feel skinny enough, pretty enough or young enough to call myself beautiful.

What if taking a self-portrait helped me accept who I am and what I look like?

The idea seemed feasible.

Totally feasible but completely scary.

So I took a deep breath and grabbed my camera. I set up my tripod and programmed the timer for a 10 second delay.

Here is what I got. It’s been processed a little to evoke a sense of dreaminess but my wrinkles, freckles, and blotches remain. No makeup and messy hair.

self portrait Oct 20

This image of me is not bad (and I promise I’m not fishing for compliments). Maybe this could be Day 1 in a series of photographs documenting my fiftieth year? I’m not so good at long-term projects so I won’t promise anything, but it’s an interesting idea…

What about you? Are you good at avoiding the camera? Have you ever embarked on a ‘selfie’ project?



The Best Dinner in the History of the Universe Ever

by Katie Paul on October 17, 2014

birthday dinner

My boyfriend took me to Jonah’s at Whale Beach for my 50th birthday dinner. We had the gorgeous degustation menu {see details here}.

I don’t normally take photos of food, but this was so exquisite and so beautiful I wanted to remember it forever.

Thank you baby x

What’s the nicest restaurant you’ve ever been to?



CoSchedule • My New Best Friend

by Katie Paul on October 15, 2014

coschedule • traffic time & organisation
Now for something completely different from my generally angst-ridden posts. I think I’m becoming an anti-happiness advocate (like that anti-diet guy).

Today I want to tell you about a plug-in called CoSchedule. (If you’re not a blogger using WordPress, you can click away now. It was nice to see you — thanks for stopping by.)

This is not a sponsored post, but I have been incentivized (OMG I hate that word) to write it by the offer of a discount on my subscription for doing a review. CoSchedule is not that expensive ($10 a month, even less paying yearly) and worth every penny, but I don’t make much money so every little bit counts.

What is it?

CoSchedule is a plug-in for WordPress that manages your blog posting schedule, as well as automating sharing your content on social media. The calendar looks like this (click on all the screenshots to see them full size):

coschedule calendar

The calendar shows my original post on the date it was published, followed by the times it was/is schedule to be shared on my social networks. These shared messages can be set up within the calendar like this:

coschedule message window

Generated from existing blog posts …

coschedule blog schedule

Or drafted when you write your blog post, even before you publish it (which is my most favourite thing).

coschedule backend

Why Do I Love CoSchedule? Let Me Count the Ways

  1. It frees the time I spend on social media to interact with people rather than sharing my content.
  2. It lets me see how much I’m sharing in a day and lets me move the messages around by dragging and dropping on the calendar.
  3. It gives me easy access to my old posts (821 of them) to give them another shot at glory.
  4. It allows me to schedule posts into the future at spaced intervals (if I could ever be that organised).
  5. It lets me choose the type of message I want to share — text, image or link.
  6. It drives more traffic to my site.
  7. It lets me share with my overseas readers when they’re awake and I’m asleep.
  8. It has an editing feature for blogs with author teams, using a shared task list and comments.
  9. It allows me to share to multiple accounts ~ Twitter, my Facebook page, my Facebook profile, LinkedIn and Google+ pages.
  10. It makes me feel as though I have this blogging thing more under control.

Let Me Tell You More About the Traffic

By mentioning your blog post more than once, you have the potential to double your traffic. My experience with the CoSchedule plugin has proven this to be true.

coschedule doubles traffic

How to Get Your Hands On It

CoSchedule comes with a free trial which can be extended through sharing their link on social media. They also have a referral program and a discount for a review. They even send you lovely messages via the admin panel in WordPress.

What are you waiting for? → Click HERE to try it out for FREE.

Now I’m off to schedule the sharing of this post about sharing this post …

coschedule sharing this post

Have you tried CoSchedule? Do you schedule your social media sharing? Do you get excited about such geeky things?



Wounds and Scars • Yielding to the Darkness

by Katie Paul on October 14, 2014

wounds and scars • yielding to the darkness
I had lunch with a new acquaintance and we got talking about ourselves. ‘I still struggle with my body image and my tendency to be a hermit,’ I said.

‘Do you expect to ever be cured?’ she asked.

The truthful answer was no — no I don’t ever really expect to be totally fine with my body or to morph into a social butterfly who fearlessly seeks out new relationships all the time. I’m fundamentally shy, and culturally conditioned to believe that I should be a different shape and size than my body wants to be.

So where does that leave me — constantly frustrated that I can’t seem to get better, crying ‘poor me’ and giving up, or frantically looking for the latest new-age medicine that will heal my wounds?

Wounds and scars. The long snaked ripple of pink flesh where my brother had a shoulder operation, the zippered line of a Cesarean section where my friend gave birth, the white spot on my knee where I fell off my bike — these wounds have healed into scars that will never fade. We wear our scars as badges of courage, as reminders of our suffering, as proof of our resilience. 

But they won’t ever go away.

Here are my wounds. Here are my scars. Body shame, shyness, anxiety, guilt, fear, hopelessness. 

Will they ever be fixed? I don’t think so. Is darkness such a bad thing?

So I unveil them here as my badges of courage, my reminders that I’ve suffered, the proof that I’m resilient.

I choose the path of acceptance rather than resistance. 

Whenever tragic loss occurs, you either resist or you yield. Some people become bitter or deeply resentful; others become compassionate, wise, and loving.
Yielding means inner acceptance of what is. You are open to life. Resistance is an inner contraction, a hardening of the shell of the ego. You are closed. If the shutters are closed, the sunlight cannot come in. You rest in the peace and inner stillness that come with surrender. You rest in God.
(TolleA New Earth, 57-58)

What are your wounds? Do you expect them to ever heal?