The Wise Guides podcast has launched!

THE WISE GUIDES podcast

Hello friends,

I am truly so excited to be launching this podcast – it has honestly been a dream for so many years.  Long before I even knew the podcast format existed.  I have loved recording this with Nova FM and I am eternally grateful to them for supporting me and believing in me.  Special thanks to Andy Milne (Executive Producer) and Matt Argoon (the best audio engineer in the world) – I really cannot thank you enough.  While I’m making this Oscars style speech I’d also like to thank my wickedly wise women who said yes to being a guest on this show – Bozoma Saint John, Georgia Clark, Jane Donovan, Kristen Ross, Kat John, Naha Armady, Elizabeth Peru, Rhonda Findling, Lucy Cavendish and Sacha Stewart.  You’re everything I wanted you to be in a woman – and more!  Hahaha, heaven.

I hope you enjoy the podcast, and please share it with your friends if you do.

Lots of love Amber xx

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New podcast episode from ON FOR YOUNG & OLD (Is it time to change the tone of feminism?)

In this episode Erin and I discuss her article that shares her wishes that she be allowed to say “I’m a woman, and I have NOT had a bad time.” *see her article below and I hope you enjoy this episode. subscribe to our soundcloud if you want to hear more

CHANGING THE TONE OF FEMINISM by Erin Wallis
I don’t feel like I’m disadvantaged in society, and I’m sick of reading that I’m supposed to feel that way.

A friend sent me an article last night, and both the article and her sending it really pissed me off. It is amongst a slate of articles to be read about women being objectified, unequal, having to ‘overcome this’ or ‘put up with that’.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s an awareness job to do here – you can’t create change, without awareness of a behaviour first – but I cannot help but feel down-trodden and angry when I read articles about how tough going it is being a woman.

A study in done in the States a couple of years ago showed that white boys’ self-esteem increased with TV consumption, because of the way they are represented on-screen (heroes, main characters, successful). In contrast, girls and black children’s self-esteem decreased as they are often represented as marginalised in some way.

You can probably see the parallel I’d like to draw between this study and the way women are being written about. It’s important for females to be exposed to female role models. Thus, we need to be thrusting inspiring representations of women into media, rather than continue to perpetuate a negative image. How are we ever going to feel inspired, if the only way we read about ourselves is as marginalised?

To exemplify through my own circumstances, for which I whole-heartedly acknowledge is why I don’t feel disadvantaged by society, and for which I’m truly grateful – I have grown up surrounded by positive female role models:

My mother grew up in a time when she was not expected to be educated past year 10. Luckily for me, that meant she proactively pursued an education when she was older and I was around. So I grew up valuing that education allows you to develop a sense of empowerment, independence and identity.

I have also pursued a career in an industry that has a particularly high proportion of women, and again, I am personally lucky to have worked with a gamut of inspiring women who have engrained a belief that I will achieve corporate success, and it isn’t at the sacrifice of my sense of compassion.

Beyond this, I’m so proud of my group of (female) friends for all their individual achievements and sense of self. Whatever they’ve defined as their path of personal success, it has been inspiring to watch them attain it.

None of these women have inspired me because they’ve told me about the hardships they’ve beared, they’ve inspired me just by being and doing. As is the case with any role model, they have simply led by example… and they just happen to be women.

My point is, that for those women who aren’t as lucky as me, we need to perpetuate an image that is inspiring. We need to tell as many stories about as many representations of successful women as possible.

We need to move past writing about what needs to change and start being the change.

To provide a topical example, I’m sure you’re familiar with the recent outrage over the lack of a Rey piece in the Star Wars edition of monopoly, following this mother posting her daughter’s letter to Hasbro online. While it’s easy to lay responsibility on Hasbro to have created the character piece in the first place – and in fairness, they have responded to this onus – there is a more constructive story to tell:

Why not just create a Rey character piece with your daughter yourself, share instructions on how you did so, and use that story to insight change?

The undertone of the story changes from “another example of how women are being marginalised” to “let’s inspire the change that needs to happen”.

And so, I implore you to write and tell as many positive stories about as many sorts of women as possible. I implore you to share positive stories about women with other women instead of negative ones. I implore to you to BE the change, instead of talking about it needing to happen.

Washed up at 40? Time for the half time pep talk.

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MANY years ago I remember reading an interview with Michelle Pfeiffer where she spoke about how nobody warns women how tough it is in your twenties.

I thought it was a good point to make as it can be a troubling time – not quite knowing who you are, where you’re going and all the that – even though older age groups seem to think you have the world at your feet.

Which of course you do but when there’s so much at your feet, how do you know what to step over and what to pick up?

Now at the halfway mark of life as I am and anyone else just over the age of 40 might be, there’s another chapter that nobody warned a lot of us about. I’d like to flag it right here because it’s another tough one, I think.

Why is it, I’d like to ask, that they only seem to publicly discuss a midlife crisis if it happens to be the poor old stereotypical bloke racing around town in the red sports car and the dizzy blonde strapped in next to him?

It’s not like the rest of the population other than this generic guy manages to avoid the halfway mark and do not have a few looming questions to answer and a swag of anxious thoughts about the future.

Forget the wanting a sports car or miniskirt to try and convince yourself you’re still in your heyday. How about the feeling that you’ve still hopefully still got the same amount of time left on the planet as you’ve had on it?

How about the fact that you might have reached a point where you’re bored to tears with what you’ve been doing career-wise or even personally?

It’s not like you’ve got any cheerleaders behind you thrusting their pom-poms at you singing, “Hey you, what you going to do?”

It can actually feel like you’ve hit an age where no one is watching, no one really cares and everyone else seems to be getting the good jobs. Everyone else being the ones a decade or so younger than you.

I’ve got friends my age who are qualified lawyers. But after taking a few years out of the game they now can’t even get a gig as a legal secretary. What’s with that?

And why can’t a woman with 20 years experience in a niche field such as the music industry now not even get a job as a receptionist at a record company? It’s not like she’s hard of hearing or knitting a scarf behind the reception counter as Joel Madden saunters in.

Why is experience at the age of 40-plus no longer even considered relevant?

Another thing that should be discussed more about this midway mark is this: given you still have so much of your life ahead, how about the fact that you might now be able to take up something new? Switch gear of a non-sports car nature and do something completely different?

You’ve got the wisdom of years, possibly a friendship network that can help you work out how to go about starting a fresh venture, so why don’t we celebrate this new-found freedom? Why does it seem we just encourage people to think about their retirement as soon as they can?

I like the explanation that a friend’s therapist gave her recently which, for the record, was not just a patronising ”You’ll be right, love – here’s some lip service”.

Instead he said this: “What people don’t realise is that many of us are actually late bloomers. They’re meant to do their best work in the second half of their lives.”

It’s a little sad that society seems to feel that unless you’re a CEO of something that you’re almost washed up at 40, when in reality life and opportunities are a long way from over.

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The Day Chopper Reid sent me flying through the air…nearly losing my own ear

CHOPPERNo one really wants to be invited on a date by a bloke that’s murdered an unknown quantity of people.  I mean, I’ve been out with some arguably unsavoury characters in the past but a killer?  Not to my knowledge.

So when a reasonably creepy voice ends up on your voicemail saying, “Yeah Amber it’s Chopper, I’m coming to town and I want to see you”, it’s quite frankly, not in the ideal category.

This was about four years ago now whilst I was still working on radio at SAFM.  It’s safe to say that I didn’t trip over myself to call him back and I hoped like hell he wouldn’t either.

Unfortunately, he caught me off guard again one day as I picked up the phone and heard his distinctive, not so dulcet tones lurking down the phone, “Amber, it’s Chopper, you didn’t call me back darling.  You’re a naughty girl!”

Why did I suddenly feel nude and tampered with by a dirty old man?

Not having a clue where on earth this had all come from considering I’d never met the man, I forced out a nervous laugh and stuttered something like “Oh Chopper, I’m sorry, I’ve been busy…um, so you’re coming to town?”

I ducked and weaved like a pro in response to locking something down with Uncle Chop Chop as I bumbled on about having lots on and not a diary in sight.

I should have known however that my bugger of a co-host had put up Heath Franklin, the Chopper impersonator onto the crank call gig and I’d been fairly done.  Although as far as I was concerned, a lot less done than had it been the man himself.

The next day on air I’m recounting how I felt thinking I’ve got Australia’s least eligible man hassling me for a date, when suddenly the studio door slowly opens, not that I’d noticed through my mid sentence rattle, and as I see something moving out of the corner of my eye, I hear this voice, that voice whisper “Whaddya mean you didn’t want to go on a date Amber?”

And there he was. The real Chopper Reid.   And all I could see was this scarred section of his face where once upon a time there used to be an ear and it was coming for me. As I now wonder was the same instinct some of Chopper’s real victims may have had, I leapt through the air, bending myself like Beckham and hit my body and face, where my ear still exists, right against the studio wall. And then I scrunched myself into the fetal position, hoping he’d go away.

After watching Chopper’s final interview on Sixty Minutes last Sunday, seeing him still occasionally trying to throw in a gag here and there, but finally showing us publicly the sort of heartless man he truly was, I felt grubby.  I felt a bit weak to think along with so many others in Australia we allowed this guy to make a name for himself outside the prison walls, and even helped to promote him financially.

We’ve got such a habit of doing this sort of thing in Australia, celebrating and promoting a legendary status to so many killers that don’t deserve our time of day.  What’s in our psyche that we can so easily be lead into the realms of there’s something cool about guys that choose to play god?

Is it our convict heritage that makes us kind of immune to a life spent with zero self analysis and no regard for human life?

It really shouldn’t have come as any shock, although maybe it did, that Chopper admitted he still ‘didn’t care’ about the one or all people he chose to brutally stamp out.  Anyone that really has regret for something as horrific as even one of the things Chopper did, would never want to show their face publicly again.  Let alone milk it for all it was worth.

Now he’s gone, I think the R.I.P is probably ours to embrace.

Great post from TheDailyOm on ‘boundaries’ – it doesn’t just apply to Leo’s

www.thedailyom.com

Feelings First, Boundaries Second
Leo Daily Horoscope

You may be acutely aware of your boundaries in your relationships today. Since you could be on your guard, it might be useful for you to think about your reactions to others when you feel vulnerable or criticized. Perhaps you have the tendency to withdraw and isolate yourself from those around you, or you might be extremely outspoken and make your ideas known. Whatever way you use to cope, you may want to reflect upon what has worked well for you in the past and what hasn’t. Trying something new today could smooth your relationships and help you establish healthy boundaries. Should you feel threatened, you may think about writing down your feelings and finding a different way to express them in a gentle but assertive manner. Being able to convey your feelings honestly without criticism on your part could make you feel better and open up the way for more effective communication.

Understanding our feelings first allows us to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. There is the inclination for many of us to keep using the same defense mechanisms over and over again. Since each situation is different, it is important that we reflect upon what we need to do to communicate our needs and establish boundaries that work for us in each given situation. This means that instead of learning to guard ourselves, each time we feel uncomfortable we must learn to evaluate what would ease communication so that we feel better. Knowing your feelings today will help you create an environment that works well for you.

 


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If WE don’t know what our boundaries are, WE will become the victim. OR end up sleeping with Gaga

Two things landed in my inbox today, and both of them relate to each other.  One was a fabulous spiritual website that delivers great wisdom to me each morning, care of the site www.thedailyom.com. The other was a New York Post article about Lady Gaga’s ex personal assistant, who is suing the pop star for damages she said she endured during her time working for her.

Jennifer O’Neill wants Gaga to cough up $390,000 for unpaid overtime, plus damages.  The damages apparently being things such as the star expecting Jennifer to sleep in the same bed as her as she didn’t like to sleep alone.  She said she ‘felt it was her duty’ to share her bed.

She also complained that she had no privacy, no chance to speak to friends or family and no chance to have sex if she wanted to.  Expected to be on call 24/7, she says Gaga would get irate if she couldn’t reach her on the phone at any time of the day.

Ok, so having worked in the music industry for a number of years I have witnessed this sort of nonsense from artists many times before, however, I have also witnessed countless assistants such as Jennifer that have zero personal boundaries and allow themselves to be treated like crap by a person that thinks they’re saving the world.

Much of the time I would notice that the sort of person that takes on the job of personal assistant, producer or even tour manager would be someone that seems to have little interest in themselves and gravitates towards a role that is ALL about someone else.  And the excitement of being part of a world where the boss, aka a Gaga type is worshipped and given free reign to behave like a total brat.

The first time I interviewed Lady Gaga was face to face in Sydney when her first single Just Dance was sitting at number one on the charts.  She was yes, a little theatrically done up for a simple day of promotion but I liked that she was honouring her thing. She was sweet, funny and accommodating to the fairly silly concept of our interview.  She was a cool chick!

The next time in Adelaide I was accompanied by my two co-hosts.  This time she walks in decked out in what appeared to be a tribute to leather man in The Village People.  But this time she was anything but fun.  She walked in stony faced and spoke with a voice like a record player on the wrong speed.  To say she gave us nothing was an understatement.  Was this really the same woman I thought?  Apparently fame had done a number on her and it wasn’t a big hit.

The last time, was on the phone.  This time one of my hosts, still a bit dirty from our last Gaga moment decided to enquire about her genitals.  A reference to a story in the gossip papers.  Not ideal by any stretch but a picture had been created that this exchange was not going to be drenched in respect.  She hung up.

Today’s Daily Om offering was all about not being a victim.  It’s easy to look at a situation we were in and ask how am I the victim?  Not enough of us establish healthy boundaries about how we will or won’t be treated at a job or anywhere else.  Rather than nipping something inappropriate in the bud straight away, allot of us just go with it and then feel wronged.   I say this because I too have been there.

If this Jennifer O’Neill does win her damages claim, I hope she uses some of the money to get some counselling about why she allowed herself to be disrespected in the first place.  And if things weren’t going to change, then move on straight away.

Making people accountable for treating people like crap is one thing, but we should be encouraging people to empower themselves and not fall into the pointless victim category.

Bethenny Frankel is still my hero regardless of her divorce. And she’s coming to town…

Whether you watch her show or not, most of us know who Ellen DeGeneres is.  Her talk show airs all over the globe and she has squillions of fans.  Anyone that ends a humorous show with the words ‘be kind to one another’ deserves much success.

behennyWhen a woman as clever and powerful as Ellen decides there is another woman out there that deserves her own talk show, and signs her up to her company, she must have something pretty unique.

Bethenny Frankel, soon to launch her own talk show thanks to Ellen, first came to my awareness as a cast member of The Real Housewives of New York, airing here on Foxtel.

The show essentially follows a group of atrociously behaved women who pretty much go from one catfight to the next.  Although Bethenny herself got dragged into a succession of pointless bitch fights, she cleverly brought something else to the show by being painfully and amusingly real.

She was the only one of the show that didn’t have a partner and was honest in owning that she was hopeless at relationships and had about as much baggage as Jennifer Lopez going on a world tour.

All of this baggage was played out for the cameras through her counseling sessions, where she thrashed out her issues regarding her parents and her crazy childhood.  But it was never done through a ‘poor me’ vein, it was done by a desire to own it and being tough enough to face it.  And along the way she gathered fans that resonated with her struggle and learnt by her revelations.

After a couple of series of being in the hit series, she left to begin her spin off show, Bethenny Getting Married? Having endeared her to millions of women, we cheered her on when she met a gorgeous guy called Jason Hoppy.  She did her best not to screw it up and used her newfound self-knowledge to guide her through.

While the relationship was gathering momentum, so too was her company Skinny Girl cocktails, a range of alcohol targeted to women.  To the point where the once single girl who couldn’t afford her rent at one time, was gradually becoming a multi-millionaire through its success.  And then if that wasn’t enough, she found out she was pregnant.

All of the dreams this now famous woman thought would never be hers, were all erupting at once.  She sold the company for a reported $120 million US, wrote a best selling book, married the handsome Jason and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  And the show followed the lot.

I’ll admit I cried through a lot of it and like millions of other now die hard Bethenny fans, used her as inspiration to believe that so too might I be able to one day get the lot if I sift through my crap.

No doubt along with her fans, I grieved recently when news broke that her marriage was over.  With all this going on, and both sides of the marriage struggling to find themselves in the chaos of it all, as happens every day all over the world, the real world, they had to go their separate ways.

Australia will get to know Bethenny soon as she joins Ellen on her trip to Australia.  Although her marriage didn’t work, she was gifted with a divine child.  Her inspiration now for millions of people will be to show others that she can forgive herself for the romantic relationship not working out, but to appreciate that it was meant to happen to bring her baby girl into this world.

I’ve heard it said that God doesn’t throw us anything we can’t handle.  A little tough to suck up at certain points in our lives, granted.  But when the gift of a child is part of a union that came to an end, then was any of it really ever a tragic mistake?   Does anyone really need to keep beating themselves up?

DO YOU FIND IT HARD TO LET GO OF THE RELATIONSHIP?  HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH YOUR DIVORCE?

 

Are we lacking in festive traditions? Could we learn from the Danes & others?

I’ve just arrived back from experiencing Christmas and New Years of a different kind and it has left me wondering whether we as Australians are losing our identity and our historical sense of tradition?

Christmas this year for me was spent in Denmark on the opposite end of the world.  It was cold and it was damp but none of that stopped the Danes from celebrating their wonderful traditions in the way they have for hundreds of years.

Here’s how traditions work over there. The day before Christmas Eve, which is their Christmas Day, the tree is decorated by the whole family, not just left to mum to put up on her own.

The morning of Christmas Eve, the kids wake up, everyone’s at home but there’s no bolting to the tree to see what Santa’s delivered, the kids must wait till after Christmas dinner.  This was the only part of the process that I thought was a little tough.

Lunch on the day is not the big deal, it’s the dinner that’s the true Christmas affair, and I’m not religious but I enjoyed heading to church in the afternoon where many other families were together before heading home to begin the real festivities.

A quick dance around the tree holding hands with the family, singing songs I couldn’t understand was another tradition I’d never known.  Another moment of proper family celebration.

A traditional Christmas dinner was had which ends in the kids finally allowed to run to the Christmas tree to see what Santa had left.  I must admit, this is a true test of endurance for Danish kids but I guess they’ve never known the alternative that we have.

The following day, being the 25th and what they call their 2nd Christmas day is the opportunity to have another family meal and more time spent together. I love the fact that they stretch out the Christmas festivities rather than jamming it all into one day like we do over here.

Boxing Day is a holiday but few people are racing off on holiday as many of us do, tired, exhausted and stressed to get away.  It’s yet another day that can be spent visiting more family or extending the time spent with those there.

On New Years Eve, many Danes spend the night as a family once again, with the main event on the schedule starting with everyone gathered around the TV, kids as well, to watch the Queen’s speech which is a very thoughtful and directive look at the year gone by, and what the Danes as a collective should consider improving for the New Year.

I couldn’t help but think how nice it was for a whole country to have the respect they seem to have for their Queen and the focus they have on celebrating being a Dane.

A kids party was organized for the little ones so they could enjoy the spirit of the night, including their own mini fireworks show before being bundled off to bed for the adults version got under way.

The kids aren’t simply removed on the night because everyone wants to get pissed; they’re treated with the same respect so they enjoy an exciting night, as they should.

Minutes before the clock chimes midnight, once again we all gathered around the TV to watch the celebrations unfolding in the city.  Another tradition being that the Danes jump into the New Year, jumping literally off a chair, with positivity and hope, rather than skulling another bottle of beer before launching themselves at someone for a kiss.

I love Australia as most of us do, but I think we’re losing sight of tradition. I sometimes think that we use the excuse of our great weather as a reason just to sit outside and have another drink.  Traditions are a healthy part of life and create memories for our kids that they deserve.  And we as adults should enjoy a sense of patriotism that seems to be declining in the past years.

Is cheap really chic? Have you started replacing designer with a bargain brand?

KYLYA friend of mine was recently approached to head up the company of a super cheap fashion brand but after leaving a far more expensive brand he said “yeah but it’s so cheap, what would I do with it?”  I fired back “are you serious, what wouldn’t you do with it?”

We went on to have this fabulous conversation about how things had changed dramatically over the last decade purely and simply because even those that once had plenty of cash, just don’t anymore.

Perfect example of this was late last year, at the birthday lunch of a very chic social woman who gathered together 50 of her friends to celebrate.  Now, aside from my good self and a small handful of others, these women are always immaculately dressed and are perceived to have the best of the best when it comes to everything.

Somehow, one woman asked another about where she got her scarf and when she replied “Chanel” the rest of the group ended up in an affectionate joke asking her if she’d dropped something, meaning, she’d dropped a name which clearly has begun to be seen as more out of reach than perhaps half a dozen years ago.  Any expensive, once aspirational fashion labels worn at the birthday became part of the ongoing joke of the day which really proved to me one thing, high end brands are not as necessary anymore and cheap is the new chic which will not crush your status anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many brands I’d love to have in my closet that I simply can’t afford but I have learnt from my mother who was way ahead of her time as the single mum having to make the best of what she had, if it looks good and it costs bugger all then how cool is that?

My mum always had friends decked out in designer brands but she was never embarrassed to say when asked what she had on that she’d gone it somewhere and it was seriously dirt-cheap and I love that I’m seeing this same attitude within all sorts of money bracket types.

Target was one of the first genius brands that recognised through perhaps their sales figures showed that people who once wouldn’t be seen dead going into Target were now sneaking in the door.

They recognised that big designers like Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Collette Dinnigan and others were having to roll with the financial times so why not approach them to do a great range and an affordable price?  And they did and it hasn’t hurt any of their brands.  It’s probably helped them survive.

The great thing too for brands within Australian is that celebrities are also feeling the financial crunch which means that there’s a heap of them flapping around more than willing to do a deal for a lot less than you’d think.  Having a celebrity bring some sort of identity to a brand is a clever way to go.  If it’s someone you like, then you’ll take notice and if it’s a brand that might need a well-known clotheshorse to show you that it can actually look good, despite the bargain price then that’s surely a major win-win for us all.

Local iconic brand Harris Scarfe’s PR team, lead by Chris Kontos, haven’t wasted any time in getting savvy about the cheap is chic phenomenon by hiring gorgeous Kyly Clarke to show off their affordable range.  A genius move to have someone marries to a cricket legend, who probably can afford designer pieces but by representing Harris Scarfe women’s wear shows there is nothing to be ashamed of in spending small no matter who you are.

Surely if it looks good and you’re guilt free, then what on earth’s wrong with that? And if you’re the type terrified you’ll lose some social status, good news is you won’t, so stop being so bitchy to that lovely $20 note.

IS CHEAP REALLY CHIC OR ARE YOU STILL A BRAND GIRL?  OR WERE YOU ALWAYS ?