Friday, April 29, 2011

All things beautiful... April

Talk of the royal wedding has certainly hit fever pitch this week and I'm sure you're all dying to see just what Kate will be wearing today when she walks down the aisle. Well, I am anyway :)

When I walked down the aisle I wore a gorgeous lace dress my Mum made for me. I adored it.
And so when I think of all beautiful wedding things I think of lace.

How stunning is this hand made lace dress by Angela Vaden?

I wonder if Kate will wear lace...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What running has taught me

I never thought I would actually learn anything from running.
I mean, isn't it just a matter of one-foot-in-front-of-another?

When I decided to start running again I knew it wasn't going to be easy. It had been a while since I ran, and I knew I was pretty damn unfit.
Surprisingly though, only a little over 2 weeks in and I'm already up to 27 minutes non-stop! I'm not fast by any means. I pounded around 3.6k of pavement in this time. But I have to say I'm a tad proud of what I have already achieved.

So while I was pretty unfit when I started, I'm not as bad as I thought, and it wasn't actually as hard as I thought either.
Mind you, I have been running every second day. Without fail.
Rain, hail or shine I'm out there. Pushing myself as hard as I can.

So then what have I learnt so far from running?
  • I love running in the rain.
Last week while the skies were opening up, I strapped on my runners and headed off. 
The rain came down and I kept running. I'm sure people thought I was crazy as they drove past me, but that just made me love it more. It made me feel tough. Like a real bad arse runner. 
I was soaked through and through by the time I got home, and I have to say the shower afterwards was awesome.
  • Many of us don't know what our bodies are actually capable of.
A couple of weeks before I started on the couch to 5k program I attempted a quick jog through the park on my own. I lasted all of about a minute. Then my mind took over. I struggled big time. I talked myself out of going on. I thought 'I'm way too unfit to run, I'll just stop now'. And I did.
Then, when I started on the program, I was surprised to find I could run 5 minute intervals with ease. Then 8 minutes, then 20 minutes... Each time I knew I could do more. I told myself that I could do it and I actually could.
Let your mind get in the way and you'll fail. Simple.
  • Running is the best thing when you feel too tired to run.
It might sound stupid but it's really quite simple. Running leaves me on a high. As long as I ensure I get enough sleep and eat well I feel good. I feel healthy and energetic and much, much better than when I simply sit on my arse.
  • Running is addictive. 
I think I have become one of those people. You know the ones. When you're heading home from an extra long night out on the town, and your cab passes one of those crazy people out of bed and running at 6am. You night is only just ending and their day is already starting. What the???
Well, I'm not exactly up and running at 6am, but I have the same passion as those crazy early-Sunday-morning-runners. I look forward to running. I get a rush from it.

So with only a week-and-a-half to go 'til the Mother's Day Classic I'm feeling good. I reckon I'm going to make it. Yay me! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sweet long weekend - Happy Easter!

Happy Easter lovelies!

I hope you all enjoy whatever it is you have planned for this lovely extra-long weekend.
Me? I'm running, sleeping, catching up with dear friends and family, and I just may throw a touch of wine and chocolate in there too! I know, naughty right - but oh so good! :)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Product review - Jane Iredale 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' Eye Shadow Kit

When I'm on the hunt for a good eye shadow, there's a few things I look for; the lasting factor, the creasing factor and the pigment factor.

Because no one likes the look of creased eye shadow at the end of a big day or night out, many companies have come up with a shadow base to ensure staying power. My fave used to be Mac's Paint Pot in Painterly. As I'm no longer a fan of the ingredients used in products like this, I have been hunting for a clean shadow that will give me great results, without the nasty chemicals.

After hearing great things about Jane Iredale products I decided to try the shadows, and because I can't make my mind up on one thing at the best of times, I decided to go for one of the shadow kits. Why have 1 colour when I can have 5 hey?!

I was impressed with the colours on the 'smoke gets in your eyes' kit. You could take them from day to night, and they were quite neutral with browns and pinks, which is usually the palette I go for with shadows. 

So pigment-wise, I was pretty impressed with range of the colours, and the darker colours especially need little to give a lovely depth. With the lighter shades though I found I needed quite a few brushes of colour to get them on enough to notice.
Staying power wasn't bad. Compared with other clean shadows I had used these were probably the best I've come across so far. It does depend on how much you put on and whether you apply them over foundation, moisturiser etc. I personally find that applying them onto well moisturised lids can make it disappear quicker.
Crease-wise I have found some days are better than others. Again, I try not to apply it to a lid that is overly moisturised as I find this makes the shadow sink into the creases a little more. Adding some powder to the lid before hand can help, and cooler weather also means it stays put a little better also.
I have found the brush that comes in the kit isn't the best, I tend to use another brush for application.

Overall though, I'm pretty happy with it. The variety of colours are great and I will continue to use the kit for both day time and night time use.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm not indecisive, I'm a scanner!

A while back I posted about career paths and how hard it can be to decide on one thing you can truly see yourself being when you 'grow up'.

Today I came across a totally awesome post on Sarah Wilson's blog about how she discovered that she's not actually indecisive and unfocused, she's simply a scanner!

Sarah caught up with Barbara Sher, a New York based author of 7 bestselling books. Barbara believes that people like Sarah (and me!) aren't unfocused and weak, but they're simply interested in multiple things at once.

Me? I have ideas pop into my head all the time about what I want to be when I grow up and what makes me happy.
If you can relate, Barbara suggests keeping a 'scanner daybook'. A kinda-journal in which you jot down things that excite you.
I'm going to give it a go myself. Writing stuff down helps put it out there and enables you to expand on your ideas and refer back to them at a later date.

Can you relate? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

DIY deodorant

Over the weekend I posted about making my own skin care products.

First up was my own deodorant.

I had been using Soapwalla Kitchen's Deodorant Cream for a few months and while I really loved the stuff, I had found my underarms were getting irritated and red, even when I hadn't shaved before using it.
I had read that it's possible that cornflour/cornstarch can cause yeast infections under the arms when used in deodorants so that was one thing I was keen to take out.

So I thought I would give it a go myself. And this time I would use as few ingredients as possible and go from there, adding others if need be. Here's what I put in:

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
4-6 tablespoons coconut oil (enough to make a thick paste) 
10 drops tea tree essential oil

Just combine the dry ingredients, stir in the coconut oil with a fork (best to do when the coconut oil is in liquid form) and then add the tea tree oil in at the end and stir. You could also use other essential oils, I just like the fresh smell of the tea tree but next time I might try grapefruit or lavender.

So what was the result?
Well, I've been using it for just over a week now and so far so good.
I like that it's smooth going on and the coconut oil feels like it adds moisture to my underarms. It's quite thick to get out of the container, especially with the cold Melbourne mornings we've been having lately, but once it goes on to your skin it melts in really well. Smell-wise I feel as though it's doing it's job so far. In the midst of a heatwave may be another story, but for now I'll keep using it and see how I go.
I love that all up it cost hardly anything and was super easy to make!

Have you tried making your own deodorant before?

Monday, April 11, 2011

If you're like me, and wish you were a runner...

Ever wished you could run like the wind? I'm taking Forrest Gump-style. Wind in your hair and stuff.

Running 'aint the easiest thing, if you're not used to it.
I have never been a good runner.

So when I came across the Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5k podcasts I was keen to see if this would actually work for me.
Basically the program runs for 8 weeks and is aimed at getting you from walking to running a full 5kms non-stop by the end of it. Each week you do intervals of running and walking, with Robert talking you through, telling you when to walk and when to run. The music that is played it quite uplifting too, so along with Robert cheering you on, you'll find it easy to stay focused and motivated.

Now I initially tried this program a couple of years ago, and sure enough, by the time I got to week 5 or 6 I was feeling confident enough that instead of stopping when Robert told me, I just kept on running!
After feeling like I couldn't run for so long, it only took me just over a month to be running 25-30 minutes non-stop!

I would love to tell you that over the past couple of years I have been running non-stop and that I was at marathon running level... but, I'm not.
I feel off the wagon and it took me quite some time to get back on.
Well, I'm back in running mode now, and I'm determined to get back up to running 25-30 minutes non-stop!

So I have started the program again (this time at week 3 as I found the first couple of weeks a little too easy) and I have just signed up for a 4km fun-run next month! I would like to have had a little more prep time to build up my agility but I'm determined to run that 4kms by next month - eeeek...

I would love to hear from you if you've used Robert's podcast before! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sweet weekend - do you DIY?

I have to say that over the past few months, ever since going clean with my skin care products, I have spent a tidy little sum of money on new moisturisers, cleansers, hair care products and make-up. It has become my new shopping addiction. And while I'm doing something good for my body, my bank account isn't too happy with me.

So I thought I would start looking into a bit of DIY skin care. I mean, many of the products I have been using have a handful of ingredients (the fewer the better in my opinion), all of which are natural and don't need a science lab to melt and cook and freeze them together. So, how hard can it be, right?

I'm not kidding myself here, I'm not going to be mixing my own foundation, bronzer and mascara, I'm talking about the basics. If I can find a way to make most of my own skin care, not only will I be doing my bank account a favour, but I will know exactly what's going into my products and I can alter them to suit my skin and what it needs.

So stay tuned as over the coming weeks and months (hell, it may take me years!) I'm going to be posting my good, and not-so-good attempts at making my own skin care.

First up will be my own deodorant which I will be posting about next week.

Happy weekend all! x

Friday, April 8, 2011

'Tis better to give...

Whether it be helping a stranger pick up something they dropped, giving a gift to a friend for no particpular reason, or letting someone in front of you in bumper-to-bumper peak-hour traffic, random acts of kindness (ROK's) are a really good way to not only make someone else's day, but to make yours.

A while back I posted about Making Australia Happy, a series shown on the ABC late last year. The series followed 8 Australians on their journey to improving their level of happiness. It looked at whether it was possible to actually teach ourselves to be happy.
The study looked at things like positive psychology, mindfulness, physical activity and diet.
What I found really interesting in the study was just how much mindfulness, through random acts of kindness, helped to increase the participants level of happiness.

How do you feel when you do something for someone else? How about when you see the look on someone's face when they open a thoughtful gift you have given them? Or when you give them a compliment when they have been feeling pretty down on themselves?

Here are some great ROK ideas for you, showing just how easy it can be to do something nice for someone else. I challenge you to give at least one a go today and see how it makes you feel!
  • send flowers to someone you care about
  • make something yummy to bring in to work to share with your workmates
  • stand up for someone on the bus or train (and they don't have to necessarily be elderly or pregnant!)
  • say hello to a stranger who crosses your path on the street, or in the lift
  • put a coin in an expired parking metre
  • tip the barista making your take-away coffee
  • write a thank you note for your parents/partner/friend, expressing your gratitude for all they do for you
  • shout your co-worker a coffee
  • say 'I love you' to someone you care about
  • give money to the homeless person you pass on your way to/from work
  • clean out your wardrobe and give your clothes to charity
Have your got any good ROK ideas?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thought for today

'When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt'
Honore de Balzac

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Coconut oil getting the good wrap it deserves

Check out this video on coconut oil, as shown last night on TV.
It's good to see the previously known 'bad guy' is finally getting a good wrap!

Product review - miessence mint toothpaste

As part of my attempt to clean up my make-up and skin care products I thought I would give a natural toothpaste a go.
I mean, the normal ones we see on our supermarket shelves are packed with sugar, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), parabens, sodium hydroxide and synthetic colours, along with a few other nasty things.
Did you know that sodium hydroxide is the chemical name for lew - a drain cleaner!
Yep, it's in your regular tube of toothpaste. Might be part of the reason the box states 'if more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help'... hmmm...

So I ordered a tube of the Miessence mint toothpaste. The ingredient list was clean. It contains aloe vera, baking soda, non-GMO xanthan gum, sea salt, stevia extract, and spearmint, peppermint, cinnamon and clove essential oil.

Now, I have to say that the flavour was pretty gross for me. I thought it would be more minty. I did feel as though I may as well be brushing with baking soda straight out of the container (which isn't such a bad idea really).

How well did it work you ask? Well, I have to say that after 3 days of use I caved and gave up. This is the first clean product I have come across so far that I really didn't enjoy.
The ingredient list was great. But for me, if I am going to have to brush my teeth with it and taste it, I want something that's not going to make me gag.

So, I'm still on the hunt...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Feel like chicken tonight?

Did you know that the chicken nuggets from McDonald's contain only 50% chicken?

The other 50% includes sugar, corn derivatives, leavening agents (a substance used in doughs and batters that causes a foaming action which softens and lightens the product) and other synthetic ingredients.

Check out these scary chemicals (ahem - ingredients) you'll also find in there:
  • dimethylpolysiloxane - an anti-foaming agent made of silicone. You will also find this in silly putty (a kind of play-dough like stuff for us Aussies)...
  • tertiary butylhydroquinone - a chemical preservative that is documented as 'harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Skin, eye and respiratory irritant'
Not sure if I could ever look a nugget in the eye again...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sweet weekend - why fat isn't the bad guy

The whole idea of quitting sugar in the past would have freaked me out.
I'm a sweet tooth, always have been.
It's not like I didn't think I could do it (I am a pretty stubborn woman, you know), but I didn't think it would be easy.

And you know what? It kinda has been.
The key was simple. Cut out sugar, add in fat.

Now, tell me this a few months ago and I would've thought you were crazy.
I was aware of just how bad sugar was, I just wasn't aware of just how good it made fat look when you compared the two.
Now, let me get this straight, right off the bat. I'm not saying I have been gorging myself on deep fried spring rolls, bacon and hot chips. I have been using foods that are 'full fat' to fill me up when I would normally turn to food that were high in sugar. We're talking cheese, milk, nuts, good oils (coconut, virgin olive oil etc.) and avocado here.

Put simply, fat and protein satisfy your hunger, they fill you up.
Sugar (fructose), on the other hand, is not recognised by our bodies. So we keep eating... and eating... and eating... (how many of us out there actually stop at one square, or one row of chocolate?)  It is converted straight to fat.
So if we stick to good fats and protein, we eat less as we fill up quicker.

I have found that this has most certainly been the case for me.
I have been eating less than normal, I no longer have the 3 o'clock sugar cravings, and I feel less bloated.

You see one massive myth out there is that fat makes you fat. It doesn't.
The fat in our bodies isn't the same as the fat we eat. As a matter of fact, we need good fats in our diet in order for our body to function properly.

As mentioned earlier this week in my posts on milk, I have switched my occasional skinny-cappuccino to full cream. I am also having things like nuts and cheese as snacks throughout the day.
I can't say I have lost a great deal of weight (perhaps just a little) but I am feeling better for it. I am eating less and I am enjoying the food I'm having. I don't really feel like I am missing out on anything and to me that's a really important thing.

What are your tips for cutting out sugar?

why the whole quitting sugar thing can make you feel like an outsider

Ever gone on a diet and had everyone in your office hang shit on you when you rejected a slice of mudcake on someone's birthday? Or your group of mates attempt to force a glass of wine down your throat on a night out on the town after you told them you weren't drinking?

I have always found it amusing when people feel the need to put their 5 cents in on what I have chosen to do (and not to do) at various times in my life when it comes to eating and drinking.

People (women especially) hate to eat or drink alone. We like to see that our partner, or friend, or workmate, is going to eat that hedgehog slice at a birthday party with us, or have another glass of champagne on a Saturday night out, or order a dessert after dinner.

So when I told people that I was quitting sugar I got some very weird looks from people. 'Oh, that's just crazy!' and 'I could never give up my 3pm chocolate!'. Yesterday, at a morning tea, after I refused a yummy looking scone with jam and cream, I got 'oh, you're not one of THOSE people are you?'
I tell you, lucky I have a sense of humour and I'm well used to these kinds of reactions, it can almost be enough to make you cave due to the peer pressure of it all! ;)
My usual response? 'Well, it's not as hard as you would think. I just feel better not eating sugar'. But normally people just dismiss the whole idea of it. And that's cool, I know what I'm doing is making me feel good and hey, I kinda feel sorry for you that you rely so heavily on your 3pm sugar hit!

While I'm not exactly pushing the idea onto people, it's been hard not to steer my husband away from all the sugary sauces, biscuits and juices on our weekly supermarket shop. (Bless the poor thing! His support is amazing)
Or when I hear people talking about how healthy they have been, as all they have been eating is fruit and low fat yoghurt for the past few days.

So sure, quitting sugar, quitting anything actually, can make you feel like an outsider. But I really don't care! The key is to be well informed and in total support of what you are doing and how it makes you feel.
It's human nature to single out those who don't conform. And they're not trying to be nasty, they just feel uneasy seeing someone succeeding at something they feel as though they could never do themselves...

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