What’s holding you back from being your best self this year?

Resolutions fizzled out and it’s only a few weeks into the new year? You may need to look at last year’s ‘shorts’ to find this year’s wisdom.

Every year at the end of December, I complete the Christine Arylo Power Pause and Reflection Ritual. It’s a system to look back on the current year to review your wisdom, surprises, successes and ‘shorts’ – something that you didn’t quite finish or things that were not so great about the year. So tempting to call them ‘failures’, right?

The most surprising things were not the surprises or the successes or the wisdom that I had gained over the year, but the lessons around the ‘shorts’. Through the process, you go through an exercise to release the stuff that didn’t go so well and choose to take the lessons, rather than the baggage, into the new year.

So many things last year threw me off course from the goals that I set at the beginning of the year. Life happens. But I was beating myself up over the fact that I hadn’t dropped the kilos or written the book (again!).

Until I did this exercise, I didn’t realise that there were a lot of other factors that went into why I didn’t pound the pavement or get in front of the keyboard – family illness, the loss of a friend, poor physical health – but those moments were important too. They may have thrown me off the perfect resolution path that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, but they shaped who I am and I have become a better person because of it.


“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – JK Rowling


  • What were the lessons you learned last year?
  • What do you want to take into the new year?
  • What do you want to leave behind?

Don’t be hard on yourself for what you did not achieve last year. Reflect, let it go and treat yourself with compassion, forgiveness and love. Have a beautiful start to the year my friends.

Main photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash.

Take a new path and see where it leads

I’ve been thinking about routine and habits. I have been taking the same route on my morning walk for the last month. So this morning I decided to mix it up and reverse my walk.

It’s interesting to see what you notice when you go in the completely opposite direction. Here’s what I discovered.

A fence library


Driveway mosaics


A rainforest


Street art


Somewhere to sit


The road less travelled


A new path


I’m not keen to do this every day (so many more hills in the opposite direction), but it was good to mix it up.

What can you change in your routine? Find a new path today.

The best gluten-free pancakes I’ve ever tasted

I’ve been gluten intolerant for over 20 years and it’s sometimes difficult (if not impossible) to find a great tasting gluten-free equivalent of my old favourites from childhood – pies, pastries, bread and pancakes.

Well readers, a friend introduced me to Hale & Hearty in Waterloo yesterday and my life has been seriously altered by these super fluffy stacks of heaven. Most of their pancakes are gluten and dairy free – and some are even sugar free. I have no idea how these guys do it, but they taste like the real deal and the presentation is out of this world.


Banana and Walnuts

All hale these hearty stacks of mind blowing awesomeness. And bless you Hale & Hearty from the bottom of my gluten-free heart (and stomach) for this miraculous recipe. I’ll be back to try the rest of the menu.

11 songs to play on a rainy day

The weather outside is frightful, but the playlist is so delightful. There is crazy, chaotic weather in Sydney today. It’s time to stay indoors, grab a cup of coffee and kick back with some musical greats who just happened to sing some songs with rain in the title.

1. Come Rain or Come Shine – Ray Charles

2. Have You Ever Seen The Rain? – Creedence Clearwater Revival

3. Here comes the rain again – Eurythmics

4. Set Fire To The Rain – Adele

5. It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

6. Rainy Days and Mondays – Carpenters

7. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan

8. Fire and Rain – James Taylor

9. I Can’t Stand the Rain – Tina Turner

10. Don’t Rain On My Parade – Barbra Streisand

11. Singing in the Rain – Gene Kelly

If you still can’t get enough rain, here’s 127 songs about rain to keep you going until the sun shines again.

What are your favourite rainy day songs?

Main photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

What I’ve learned from Maya Angelou

One of my favourite writers, Maya Angelou, had some incredible quotes and life lessons. I was so privileged to have seen her via satellite in 2006 at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. She is truly a remarkable woman.

Here are some of the things Maya Angelou has learned.


Source: StoreMyPic

I’m loving the line, “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision“.

May your heart be open and light today. And keep an eye on your loved ones detangling the Christmas lights – it will reveal a lot.

Main photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Which job application letter got me the interview?

I’ve been in the job market for a few months and have been going through the motions of writing application or cover letters.

The general consensus is that you should write an application or cover letter when you’re applying for jobs. There is a lot of advice great advice on how to write a cover letter and on how a good letter can give your application an edge over other candidates.

When I first started looking, I was in the mode of wanting to overly impress my future employer through a formal application letter. My letter addressed the key job criteria and why I was suitable for the role. I thought it sounded pretty good.

Job application letter 1

Re: Digital Copywriter | Ref: 12345678

Dear [company I want to work for]

It was with great interest that I read your advertisement for a Digital Copywriter, as I’m a creative problem solver who is passionate about customer experience and digital content.

At IAG, I developed the content and user experience for a redesign of their retail-branded websites and wrote copy for their web applications, games, banners, campaign landing pages and websites.

I write compelling copy that converts. New account openings at Macquarie increased by 60% with copy that truly addressed business and customer needs.

I have experience with copywriting for SEO and I ran an SEO Guild within the Marketing team at Macquarie. I created my own website – www.iamlindalouse.com – using WordPress and I compiled analytics and insights for websites, campaigns and content hubs at Macquarie. I’m an excellent communicator and build strong and enduring relationships with my stakeholders.

If you feel my skills match the experience needed to provide the next world class content for your market-leading client, I look forward to meeting with you and your client to discuss the position in greater detail. I can be contacted on…

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Linda Woodley

After sending this off as my standard cover letter for weeks, I started to think about the person reading this. They couldn’t really get a sense of my personality and it didn’t seem all that confident. Even though I was addressing all of the job criteria and it sounded impressive, it didn’t really give them a true sense of me. With this in mind, I wrote job application letter number two.

Job application letter 2

Re: Senior Creative Copywriter | Ref:123456

Hello [company I’d like to work for]

I’d love to apply for the role of Senior Creative Copywriter that I spotted on LinkedIn as it sounds exactly like me.

Here’s why I’d be awesome for this role…

  • passion for all things creative and an exceptional creative problem solver
  • over 12 years’ experience helping big brands achieve their digital goals
  • experience across all formats in the digital world – social, email, websites, games and more
  • seasoned communicator and love pitching ideas to stakeholders and clients
  • proofreading is my middle name (well, it’s technically Louise) but I do get excited about a good quality check before go live
  • a love of arts, music, travel and eating

…and many more reasons that I’d love to chat to you about in person.

I’ve scanned your skills and experience bullet list and I get a 92.3% hit rate. That’s a pretty good percentage.

I’ll throw out the elephant in the room now. I don’t have agency experience on my CV. However I have worked with several creative, advertising and design agencies over the years and I believe I have a solid understanding of what makes them tick.

I would welcome the opportunity to have a chat to you further about the role. I’ve attached my CV and a recent example of some long form copy. My portfolio and samples of my creative work can be found at iamlindalouise.com.

Can’t wait to hear from you.

Kind regards,


So, which application letter was the winner?

The answer my friends, is neither of these application letters landed me an interview. However I felt a hell of a lot better about myself after I wrote the second one.

If you’re out there applying for jobs, my advice to you is to keep some of your personality in the letter and in the profile on your resume. It will give prospective employers a real idea of you. If they don’t like it, then it’s not the job for you.

You want to go somewhere you can feel you can make a difference and where you can wholeheartedly be the confident, fabulous, wonderful self that I know you are.

Do you have any tips to share about writing job application letters? Any letters that have nailed you the interview? I’d love to hear your comments.

Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash


9 inspirational quotes from fabulous fashionistas

Ready for a fabulous weekend? Or feeling a little flat?

Here are 9 inspiration quotes from my favourite style and fashion forward icons to kickstart your weekend and get you feeling like a stiletto in a room full of flats.

1. Iris Apfel

2. Marc Jacobs


Source: QuoteLoad

3. Vivienne Westwood


Source: Pinterest

4. Yves Saint Laurent


Source: Etsy

5. Karl Largerfield


Source: LinesCafe

6. Kate Spade

7. Paul Smith


Source: AZ Quotes

The last two are technically not in fashion, but boy did they have style.

8. Audrey Hepburn


Source: herinterest

9. Marilyn Munroe

So readers, put your best glitter foot forward, get out there and have an inspirational weekend.

Photo by Robert Metz on Unsplash

Wilhelminas and the joy of having a local

Do you have a local? There is something special about having a local place where you can drop by, hang out, have a drink and a chat.

I’ve had the theme song from Cheers in my head this week. If you grew up in the 80’s, you’ll know the iconic piano intro and the lyrics, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came”. Now you have it in your head (sorry).

The lyrics got me thinking about Wilhelminas, my favourite local bar in Balmain. I often joke that Wilhelminas is my Cheers bar. It’s my third place – you have home as your first place; work as your second place; and then a cafe, club, park or (in my case) bar as your third place.


Christopher Peterson (Ph.D.) in his article, Happy Places: Third Places, puts it beautifully:

Third places contribute to the life worth living. They root us; they give us an identity; they restore us; they support us. Bottom line: They allow us to be us. And everyone knows our name.

The team at Wilhelminas have seen me through everything – bad dates, good dates (okay, mostly bad), family dramas, redundancies, birthdays, gin days and just because days. They always remember my favourite drink. They’re friendly, sweet, kind and generous. Some of the team have moved on to other places, but we’ve remained friends. I’ve brought my friends to the local and formed beautiful new friendships with people I’ve met at the bar (in fact, two of them are standing at the bar in the main photo). So many fun times together. Love you guys.


If you’re reading this Wilhelminas peeps past and present, you make life worth living. You ground me; you give me identity; you restore me; you support me. Bottom line: you allow me to be me. And everybody knows my name (even if I forget mine after a few gins). Thank you for being my local.

What’s your third place? It doesn’t have to be a bar. It could be the local cafe where the barista remembers your coffee, a local pool or a bench in the park. It’s simply somewhere you can be you.

May you find your happy place this weekend. Cheers!

The big brand ad is not dead

The days of the big brand ad seem to be gone, probably due to low budgets and a focus on other marketing strategies. There has been a lot of talk on LinkedIn over the last few days about the John Lewis & Partners Christmas ad.

If you’re not familiar with John Lewis & Partners, it’s a British department store that sells everything from electrical goods to womens clothing. Around this time each year, John Lewis does a much anticipated Christmas ad.

The media are saying that the Christmas ad is broken and that it’s not relevant for today’s audiences. Others say the big brand ad is dead. I disagree.

Yes, you could say that it’s a just big bad department store out to make money (and you’d be right), but it’s still a nice sentiment and I believe it’s a beautiful ad celebrating the magic of Christmas giving.

The Boy and The Piano (John Lewis, 2018)

You can check out the John Lewis ads from previous years on YouTube.

And while we’re on big ads, I’ll share another couple of my favourites.

#SingItKitty (Three UK, 2014)

A girl on a bike, a singing kitten and a Starship Enterprise song all in the one advert. Perfection.

#missadventure (Kate Spade, 2016)

If you’re a Muppets fan, you’ll love this one with Zosia Mamet and Miss Piggy. I’m a huge Kate Spade fan, so this one is a winner for me.

Big Ad (Carlton Draft, 2014)

The ultimate ad that mocks the big ads. So you get the context, it was made around the time of the Lord of the Rings movies.

The last few are not necessarily big, but still noteworthy.

Barbara Lives in Bank World (ANZ, 2010)

Hilariously poor customer service from Barbara.

And finally…

Not Happy, Jan (Telstra, 2000)

An article on big ads and classic advertisements would not be complete without the classic Not Happy, Jan. The ad was so popular that ‘Not happy, Jan’ became the Australian urban phrase for discontentment.

So I guess there are a lot of people who are ‘Not happy, Jan’ about these big ads, but I think they’re marvellous.

Main photo by Ajeet Mestry on Unsplash