Sunday, 29 July 2012

Why do I do this to myself??

My last Sunday off work I ran a 22km half marathon and today instead of relaxing and sleeping in I decided to torture my body by learning how to snowboard! 
It was close to midnight, out at a friends 30th last night when the last minute decision to do the snow trip was finally made so we left a little early and tucked up in bed, to be rudely woken by our alarm less than 5 hours later.
I'm not great in the mornings but we pulled it together and were on our way to Mt. Buller to meet our friends by 6.30. (7 of us went in total.) 
Now I haven't been to the snow since I was about 5 or 6 and helped around by my mum on mini skis, now I'm 22 and was going to be helped around by Chris and my best friends Cara and Mel on a mini snowboard! 
The trip itself wasn't too bad, some good music, snacks and a lot of coffee got us through so we reached Mansfield at about 9am in time to hire gear, stretch our legs and get some breakfast.

We went to a quirky little cafe called the Produce Store that 
we had been to in Mansfield before. It such a nice place, with great service and coffee, some clever little gifty things and really yummy food. Definitely worth a stop at if you're ever passing through town. 
We decided to drive up the mountain as the sun had come out and the chances of needing snow chains was pretty low. I can't believe my little Holden Barina made it all the way up there!

We all met up and went to tackle the lifts, I must have looked like a funny little fat man in all my snow gear and my pink earmuffs struggling with the snowboard! 
I was so lucky that Chris is a seasoned snowboarder and helped me down the first slope before our lesson, I ended up on my arse more times than I could count! It was so funny and I couldn't help but laugh at myself. 
Nick, Mel and I left the more experienced guys to have a 2 hour lesson which really helped! We had such a giggle at everything. Once I was so proud that I got myself up all on my own, only to be taken down by an out of control skier. I was back on my arse again and we were all tangled up in skies and my legs were backwards. I almost couldn't breathe with laughing so hard! 
I must admit, one of the funniest things I've ever seen is someone taking a fall on skis, arms, legs and poles everywhere, head over arse into the snow. I felt mean laughing but I'm sure they were all giggling just as hard at my stacks! Just as I'd find my balance Chris kept zooming past, giving me cheeky taps on the butt which would startle me so much I'd fall down again! 
By our last run when the other guys all came down with us as well, I was feeling a lot more confident, I could stop and choose which direction I wanted to go in (kind of). It was such a fun day and I'm so glad we made the trip. I'd been meaning to get around to learning for so long but it seemed things kept coming up or there were no free weekends. It was a long trip to just go for one day but definitely a day well spent. 

Price wise it probably works better to go for a few days, one day between Chris and I, including my fuel and me having to hire my board and snow jacket, lift passes, lesson, resort fee, breakfast and lunch ended up being about $500. 

The only thing that was frustrating was the traffic on the way home, the tailgating cars! I couldn't believe how dangerously some of these guys were driving, in the dark and rain and on windy roads. We were doing the speed limit and I felt as though the 4WD behind me was practically humping the poor Barina! We saw so many near accidents for people overtaking on double lines or near blind corners. All so they could get home about 10 minutes earlier. Unbelievable. 
 Aside from that it was such a perfect day, the sun came out for a while and then we got some snow as well. It feels so rewarding to have tried something different and out of my comfort zone like that, and my friends were such a great support! Now being tucked up on the couch with a cup of tea after a hot shower is such a nice feeling! My body is aching but I have a big grin on my face!!!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Ways to keep fit (and warm) in winter!

There is something every girls dreads... after being nice and cozy in winter, indulging in hot chocolates and comfort food and staying indoors- its that first panic of spring when the sun comes out and you realise that at some stage very soon you will need to put a bikini back on!! You kick yourself and start making plans to get back in shape, eating only salads and digging your gym card out again. We end up resenting exercise and healthy foods because there is that pressure put on us to suddenly get fit. At least having sunshine and longer days keeps us motivated to do it but there are simple ways to stay in shape in winter so you can exercise because you want to- not because you feel like you have to. 
For me, having signed up for run Melbourne has been a great motivator this year, on my days off when it's not pouring rain I've put aside time to run because I'm working towards a goal. Ive been using the run keeper app on my iPhone to follow my progress and have actually enjoyed beating my own targets! 

So having something that you need to train for is great but it's also important not to feel guilty on the days that you don't exercise. Often if someone starts a training plan and they miss a day or two then they figure that they have failed and give up altogether. It's the same with diets, you eat healthily for three or four days then give in to a chocolate craving and have a bad day so think that means you're back on eating junk food and will never change your eating habits. It's a very depressing feeling. What we don't see is the bigger picture that those few days of exercise and/or healthy eating is much better than not doing anything at all. If you have a bad day then allow yourself to because you have probably earned it, once your craving/lazy feeling is gone keep going with your plan and before you know it you have done 5 days out of 7- which is great and a lot better than nothing at all. Even if you have a bad few days in a row, or a lazy week rather than give up look at the bigger picture- your habits for the whole month and how much healthier overall you are compared to before your training or diet.

There are a few little things that I do to feel less guilty about sleep ins and comfort food during winter. So simple and easy and it will make the spring overhaul a breeze.
We've all heard the old take stairs instead of lifts trick, try it and see how you feel afterwards, it's not exactly a tough workout but it's better than nothing! 
Park a bit further away from your work or train stop, not too far because it's bloody cold in the mornings but just enough so that's it's a bit of effort.
Little things like that will make u feel better overall but if u do like exercise and want to do something that is quick and can be done in front of the heater (in your pjs if necessary) then there are some great iPhone apps with short workouts. I use an abs workout and there is a butt and arms one as well- you can pick a 5min, 7.5 min or 10min workout and it's so easy to do. Roll out of bed, grab ur iPhone, spend 5mins doing it (if ur still half asleep you barely even notice its exercise) then you feel great for the rest of the day because you did something! Even if you aim for twice a week to start you will notice the difference.

Another little tip I have picked up to help kick start your metabolism in the mornings is to have a cold glass of water when you wake up, before breakfast. The idea is that your stomach has to start working straight away to heat the water up so it kind of wakes it up, also when you have breakfast you're still a bit full from the water so you won't eat too much. I tend to take my vitamins then as well, I'm forgetful so if I take them with that glass of water it kind of reminds me. 
Of course it's different for everyone, I just like exercise to be easy and not a chore so ill do lots of little things instead of a massive gym session. I like to still have a life which is probably why I  feel like I'm still working off all the drinking I did over summer! It's such a vicious cycle! but it's worth it ;)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Lana Del Rey and little hiccups....

Well as I'm sitting here writing this I'm doing something I feel awful about... I'm breaking Dry July. Chris is sitting opposite looking as regretful and sheepish as I've ever seen him but we have both decided that of all situations we deserve a drink this is it. 
Our night started full energy, on our way to see Lana del Rey. Her tunes had been filling our house all week and I practically skipped into the Palace. Until the worst imaginable thing happened. We had gotten the night wrong. Our tickets were for the night before and we'd missed the show. I don't think I've ever been more disappointed in my life. Poor Chris was so apologetic, he had been convinced it was the Tuesday night since booking. So now here we are, I don't blame him- these mistakes happen but I feel like the light has been taken out of me. We are both speechless. The lady at the door took some pity on us and told us to try at 10 when she goes on, so fingers crossed for that adventure, but for now.... Cheers! ……
Well the night turned into a great success! We marched back and the woman remembered us and laughed, Chris charmed her with his Scottish accent and we went straight in. We had missed the cover band but Lana Del Rey hadn't even come on yet! After not drinking for almost a full month and then sharing a bottle of red to drown our sorrows we were nice and tipsy and crept our way through the crowd to get a good spot. We have been to a few gigs this year, Seeker Lover Keeper was in a cathedral, Boy and Bear and Matt Corby  were at the forum and some bigger acts at Rod Laver and Sidney Myer- so we were both a little disappointed at the layout of the venue in comparison. It was all general admission and although we were close to the front it was hard to get a good view of the stage. The crowd when we first lined up had been quite young, it was an over 18s gig so I'm guessing that most were under 21 however once we were inside it was a good mix of people and an energetic atmosphere.
Once she came on it was as good as we were expecting, her voice was amazing live. However it was very simple and she didn't introduce herself or communicate with the audience at all. Her best known song Video Games was on quite early in the set rather than finishing with it and i was so surprised when the show  actually finished! It just ended, she had done barely 40minutes of performing and left out a lot of songs on her album. I don't recall her doing 2 of my favourite songs, 'Lucky ones' and 'Off to the races.' I was a bit disappointed. After everything we had gone through to get there to hear her play, we'd broken Dry July and had been so devastated when we thought we might not have made it. I was glad we went but overall I was expecting a bit more, there wasn't much energy in the performance and some people in the crowd were even saying that she didn't look well. 

Regardless of that we were so relieved to have made it in, Chris is still kicking himself about checking the tickets so it's a good lesson. Even someone as organised as Chris can make mistakes! We had a great night in the end but Now I just feel awful that we had that bottle of wine. There was no real need for it, except as something to try to cheer us up. And it made me realise that even after 24 days without drinking how much my body has changed and waking up this morning I fell sluggish and slow and bloated. I also didn't sleep as well, I woke up a few times in the night so wasn't very rested.
I'm not going to give in just because of one little slip up and we will finish the month off with no more drinking. If anything Im glad we did have that drink because it really made me more determined than ever to change the pattern that I'd gotten into of seeing alcohol as a normal part of life. Surely waking up feeling like that two or 3 times a week can't be normal! My body had no idea what it was like to be healthy and I didn't even realise it myself. It's been a big year altogether, I've quit smoking, completed the half marathon and although I won't stop drinking altogether, doing Dry July certainly made me much more aware of the effects on my body.

A few people have asked me how I managed to quit smoking. It's a tough thing to do, I'd tried several times before and always gone back. For me it helped that my boyfriend didn't smoke so I wasn't around it as much but to his credit he never asked me to quit or hassled me about it. I think that can make it harder if there is too much pressure. Everybody has something that works for them, for me it was my mindset. I just kept thinking of myself as a non smoker, instead of saying I was trying to quit I'd say that I didn't smoke. If I had an occasional one with a friend I didn't beat myself up and go buy a pack. I just told myself that it was ok, because having 1 every few days was so much better than having a few every day. Eventually it had been a month since my last and when I smelt the smoke or even tried to have a puff it made me feel a bit sick. It's been about 5 months now and I'm actually really proud of myself. Obviously what I did wont work for everyone who tries to quit but its a good little story about how important positive thinking is to overcome our challenges and to look at the big picture when we have little setbacks. I'm looking forward to another amazing week, hopefully get up to some more adventures this weekend! xoxo 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Point and the Problem!

After going for a few walks and getting to know our new area we found our little local gem. Neither of us had tried the Point at Albert Park before but we liked the idea of the view overlooking the city and the lake while we dined. Since my grandparents were coming up for dinner thought it would be a good excuse to try it out! I must admit I hadnt heard of it beforehand and I was expecting something a little less formal but as we noted the intimate dining area and had our coats taken by the attentive, well dressed waiters we realised we were in for a bit of a treat! 

Without menus in front of us we were asked what we would like to drink, (Chris and I weren't drinking so it made it a little more simple) but once my grandparents each requested their preferred beverage it became apparent that the waiter knew the whole wine list off by heart and talked us through the appropriate wines, including flavour notes, year and background. I was impressed. It became apparent that I hadn't researched the place very well once the menus came, as it was very much a meat dominated menu, with only one vegetarian option available. I'm not proud of it but I did sulk a little as I ordered and suffered the teasing of the others. When some complimentary canap├ęs came for us they appeared to be all vegetarian but I was dubious so Chris got mine, however to the credit of the wait staff they don't miss a trick and our waiter was quick to enquire and ensured me there was no meat- even offered to make me a new one! I felt suitable chastised for my silliness and had a giggle at myself for acting like a brat.
Whilst ordering again it was Apparent that these guys really knew their stuff, they had an extensive knowledge on the different foods, they knew where the oysters were from and even told me that the shiitake mushrooms in my dish were grown on eucalyptus trees in the Macedon ranges! We truly felt like we were in good hands. The meals we delicious and the end highlight was the desserts. They had all the usual fancy desserts you would expect but I was sold when I saw the banana cake with bubblegum ice cream at the top of the list, as it was the suggestion of our waiter I had high expectations. I wasnt diasppointed! I don't want to give away too much but Chris did describe it as a 'fairground on a plate' I'd definitely recommend The Point, especially if you love steak and meat! Any vegetarians be warned that there is very little choice and vegans might just have to starve, or fill up on wine :)Well worth checking out but expect to pay over $100 per head for meal and drinks. Great for a special occasion.

We are now over halfway through Dry July and I am being completely honest when I say that I haven't touched a drop of alcohol all this time! Although I have been very, very tempted on several occasions. Especially on completing the Half Marathon and moving into our house (both events very deserving of a glass of champagne!) Now we get to the problem!! 

It's something we have noticed and to be honest it's really quite sad. It's the reactions and expectations of other people. We even had one friend who admitted to not inviting us out on 2 occasions because they figured we wouldn't go unless we could drink. I was very surprised at this mentality as I quite often will elect to drive and not drink much when I am out anyway. When I mentioned to a girl friend that I was going to an event she assumed that I'd given up my Dry July pledge because there was going to be free cocktails. On reflection it's really unfortunate that the assumption is that to have a social life or go out for a fun night that you have to drink! Its surprising just how much of our social lives revolves around drinking. People actually find it weird if you don't. Even at dinner at the Point I felt so bad for not having some wine, almost as though we were being rude by not participating, even though nobody said anything. For a catchup we always grab a bottle of wine or go for cocktails, on a hot day guys like a cold beer, with any meal after 12pm people order drinks, we celebrate everything with it, our nights out are at clubs to drink, I never realized it was such a big part of our lives! Some people even try to make you feel bad or 'weak' for not having a drink and I can't understand how not drinking is seen as socially unacceptable- I would have thought what is unacceptable is the behaviour of someone who drinks too much! 
I like to drink as much as the next person and have had more than my fair share of hangovers but I never thought I was cooler than somebody else because of it! When you look at all the negatives of alcohol it's amazing that there is still this perception. It's not as if by not drinking you suddenly turn into a boring little mouse, I hate the excuse people use, I only have fun when I drink or I'm not drunk enough to dance. It's confidence in ourselves that lets us have a good time and even without alcohol I'll have a dance and a laugh with my friends!!
Its been such an interesting little experiment, I thought I'd be more surprised at my health than what other people think! Overall so far I'm proud for sticking to my guns and must admit I am looking forward to August 1st but it has really changed my perception of how we spend our time socially and I think I'm going to start actively choosing to have a week or two without it in the future. At least my body and my bank balance will thank me for it!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

My Half Marathon Hell (It wasn't that bad really!)

Now its lucky I only need my hands to type this, as the rest of my body feels broken after running 21.3kms on Sunday morning! I was surprised at all the different emotions you can go through during something like this, for me it was a fantastic rush afterwards to know I'd done it, as only 12 months ago I struggled to even run 4kms! I used to see these events on the news or see people out jogging early in the morning and think they were all crazy, although I secretly admired them for having the motivation. I never imagined that I'd be part of something like that.

It was a great team atmosphere, people on the sidelines were cheering you on and all the other runners were great, it was something that we all knew we were in together. 
Of course I'd love to say that we were at the front of the pack, did it all in record times and made the papers… but truth is we stuck to mid field, walked a few times (Chris stopped for TWO pees!) we ate some lollies and just enjoyed it. I knew from my training that after about 6 or 7kms your body gets into a bit of a motion and its not so hard anymore but for me the big struggle was at about 15ks, you feel like you have gone so far and still have so long to go! My body started to ache and almost quit on me at about 18kms so we walked for a bit of relief. Chris was a great support, we did the whole run together and he never complained when my little legs were slower than his big ones! I highly recommend doing it with a partner that you trust and who will support you. I think I would have been a lot more disheartened to be running on my own, although I'd have probably had an ipod in to keep me amused (instead I had Chris singing along with the bands a lot of the way) 
They did have live music along the track and some DJs which spurred you on a bit, as well as the crowd and the volunteers being so amazing! They all reached out for high fives, yelled encouragement and clapped along the way. Some of the signs made me giggle, there were ones like 'Run random stranger, Run!', 'Put you're hands up if you're hot!' and 'Stop reading this sign and RUN!' 

My favourite part of the day was obviously crossing the finish line (it was finally over) but particularly because Chris scooped me up in his arms and carried me over the line with a kiss! It was so nice to go have that feeling of doing it together and completing the challenge, I don't think I've ever felt as close to anyone. 
It was just a beautiful feeling of pride in myself and Chris, and also all the other runners who participated and well as enormous relief that it was all over! 
Everyone there was running for different reasons, some competitive, a lot for different charities or personal reasons. I saw one girl with a top on saying 'Doing it for Dad' which made me well up a bit I must admit. Many people were doing it for their own fitness goals or as a bucket list challenge, some really crazy people maybe just LOVE to run! There were people of all ages, nationalities, body types, fitness levels and all different walks of life as well. 

We tracked our progress on a great iphone app called RunTracker, which uses a GPS for your distance, time, map and calories burnt. I've put the screen shot up as proof of our achievement! I used the app for training as well and its a great one for helping with personal bests and for seeing how far you have come since first using it, my first runs were only about 2k and I was so proud of that too! 

It was something I'm so glad I did, as well as raising almost $700 between us for the Lost Dogs Home (Thank you again so so much to everyone who donated) it was also an incredibly personal little journey that I went on and although my body is sore, I will recover and my life feels so much richer for the experience. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Relocation! Relocation!

I'm not sure if other people have experienced the same crazy stress, rush of emotion and random happenings during a house move but as I've just sat down at the end of another long day unpacking I'm having a little giggle to myself now that its all done. (well almost all done, but if i close the door on the spare room then it LOOKS all done! Shhh!) 

All of the beginning to move happened as usual, of course I got sick halfway through packing and needed several long naps, then work tried to call me in to work on a day I'd arranged to have off- all those usual dramas. Despite this by the time the truck arrived we were basically ready to go- I was doing the packing, or rather i was sitting on the floor with boxes everywhere reminiscing with every object I tried to pack. Basically off on a journey down memory lane while the guys sorted, lifted and moved all around me! Once we get to the new house I'm amazed there are no dramas, they keys open the door, we have electricity and water and all the furniture (after some serious debate and rearranging) fits in well. 

We are about halfway unloaded when I get a call from my housemate, she can't find her cat. Poppy is a curious little Burmese that Chris had taken out of the truck before we left as she had been exploring. We did a quick check and my heart sunk a little. The boys had stopped in St Kilda to load some of Chris' stuff in as well- what if the cat had jumped out then and was wondering around Grey st with the hookers? Common sense told me not to worry as Poppy was probably still at the old house, just not within earshot. So I put it out of my mind and focused on the more important job of lining up all the fridge magnets in order. You know what the next bit is right? Another 30 mins goes past and I hear the shout. "I found the cat!… Oh no. Yup the cats pretty dead. It's been squashed." (This is from my brother Kane who has the sensitivity of a caveman.) I start to shake, I'm too scared to look. Im so upset, my  housemate treats Poppy like a child and we've squished her! Just as the panic really starts to set in, the cat (alive, not a zombie cat) jumps from in between the sofas and down from the van. Kane's idea of a practical joke! My heart was still beating so fast! Thats brothers for you, bloody idiot. 

Once I recovered, the cat had been collected and the only other event was me screeching when i saw a cockroach we decide to have our showers and call it a night. Only problem? No hot water. Of course. Its close to midnight and we spend almost an hour of looking for switches, pilot lights and boilers and other things I have no idea about. Cursing the gas company we give up and hit just about our lowest point- boiling the kettle and pouring it into a little red bucket to wash with. Standing in the cold bathroom, in the shower, soaping and rinsing ourselves like it was the middle ages. I must admit it was a bit of a laugh and I did even try to snap a picture of Chris (but he was too quick- and he would have killed me!) 

By this stage its midnight and we were so exhausted and ready for bed.
The problem is that trying to sleep in a strange new house can be hard. I was particularly wired after forgetting to eat anything except lollies and drinking about 8 cups of coffee during the day to keep me going! The room was so dark and so silent that my ears were straining for any little sound, my mind was conjuring up images from every scary movie I'd seen; ghosts walking down the hallway, murderers faces at the windows, you name it. Poor Chris was so so tired but being the good boyfriend that he is gave me a little cuddle and tried to keep my mind off it,  however we were both so aware of the strange silence of the new house.
 Suddenly there was a HUGE CRASHING sound! Im not kidding- i almost peed my pants and I was positive that we were in Paranormal Activity 4!  Chris jumped up to turn the bedroom light on and we both stared at each other, hearts beating. Luckily he is the more logical one of the two of us and realised it was probably something falling off the wall (but he still wanted me to come with him into the living room to look!) So Chris put his shorts on- I have no idea why, perhaps he actually thought  it was a robber and he didn't want to confront them in the nude? We crept down the dark hall and fumbled for the lights… I was bracing myself for the worst- I've never been so scared. The light came on and my heart was in my throat as my eyes adjusted… It was just a picture that had fallen off the wall. Of course.  I let out the breath that I'd been holding and had a nervous little giggle. A quick check to see there was no damage and we went back to bed. We were still a bit silent but the noise had broken the ice a little and the strange relief made us laugh at ourselves, although the whole time neither of us had admitted to being scared.
We went to sleep easily after that and I find it funny that I was so worked up, although it's easy to do in a new house. Its like when you need to get up in the middle of the night and for no reason you run back and get into bed really quickly? Even though your logical brain tells you one thing, in the dark its so easy to start imagining things that aren't there! 

So now we are in, almost completely settled and I can't wait to start feeling like this place is home- having a hot shower this morning once we'd had it fixed definitely helped.
They do say home is where the heart is and mine would happily follow Chris anywhere, even into a dark living room when I'm scared or if it means having to use a little bucket to wash!! 


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Nightlife Dilemmas

 The nightclub scene in Melbourne is constantly changing, every other week there is a new most popular bar. 

A good example is the Northcote Social Club, I'd been there a few weeks ago for my friend Jess's birthday and it was a quiet little pub filled with locals. It had a good, almost small town vibe to it and the girls were in jeans and guys in flannies. Now it turns out Lady Gaga had her concert after party there (a great idea to choose a lesser known venue!) so now you can imagine how many people will be lining up on a Saturday night, girls wearing tiny skirts and high heels no doubt. It's suddenly an 'IT' venue. 
Another well known club went from being the place to be seen to suddenly having party buses full of drunken bucks nighters and the dancefloor is filled with girls in badly fitting jeans trying to act like strippers. 

All clubs have a type and dresscode; you know your not getting into a good club if you're really drunk or badly dressed but we all have stories of bouncers on power trips. We want to be able to go to nice clubs- but not be treated like shit for the privilege. 
I know a lot of people who used to enjoy going to the Longroom in Melbourne but a few stories of difficult bouncers has put everyone off. For example my friend Jade recently had an experience there when they had a dinner reservation for 4 people. 4 attractive, well dressed, successful people. 4 people owners would want in their venue. One of the couples had been there the week before, however the security at the door decided he wanted to refuse entry because of one of the guys shoes. The same shoes that he wore the week before when he had been there. Regardless of their booking. Because the bouncer was in a bad mood and wanting to be an asshole. With the mention of calling management he reluctantly let them in and they had a nice night. However I doubt any of them, or any of the people that heard the story will bother going to the venue if there is that kind of welcome at the door. 
It goes to show it doesn't take much to make or break a nightclub or bar, especially when there is so much competition around. 

Having a great host and promoter really helps, Paul from Laver promotions (Motel Saturday's and Barkley Sunday's) and George who runs Red Heart Fridays are great examples of how to create a good atmosphere. You feel looked after, they remember their regulars and welcome newcomers.

We all know the clubs that we prefer each night, depending on music or where our friends go but sometimes it's good to try something a little different so I thought I'd mention some of my favs in and around Melbourne...

Friday Night- Pre drinks @ FOG (Greville st Prahran) then Boutique and go see Greg Sara play at 161.
Saturday night- Pre drinks @ 1806  (my fav cocktail bar) then Baroq, finish the party at Motel.
Sunday night- Pre drinks @ Secret Garden (if it's a nice day) then of course the Barkly and  good old Love Machine for an all nighter! 

It's killing me to write this, halfway through Dry July, imagining my perfect boozy party weekend :( oh well, I'll let loose in a couple of weeks to make up for it!! 


Saturday, 7 July 2012

Big news for this week is that we got a house in South Melbourne!I Its a gorgeous little victorian house, like a little cottage! I cant wait to be a bit closer to the city, have less of a commute to work and also find some great new places in the area! My favourite cafe's are in South Melb- St. Alis and Chez Dre, great macarons and coffee. Hopefully move in this week- it all happens so fast! 

 My first outing during Dry July was last night, had an engagement party to go to (congratulations to the beautiful Natasha and Damien) and it was interesting to see peoples reactions to not drinking. I stuck to lemon lime and bitters as I was driving anyway but I would have loved to have a toast to the happy couple with a glass of champagne... or a whole bottle! haha. Thats the first obstacle over and done with and it wasn't as bad as I thought. My body is feeling great and I seems to be waking up better as well. However we are going to hold of on our housewarming party until August! 

Aside from that its been an average week, I'm still recovering after a big one for Chris's 30th. I went down the coast to visit the parents and some friends on the weekend and laid pretty low really, just worked and tried to stay warm! Kept my outside runs to a minimum and dragged the yoga mat out for some indoor workouts instead. 
I don't  know about you but this weather is making me want to hibernate! I just want to curl up with a hot chocolate and do nothing!!

 In winter we all crave things like warm soups but it can get a little boring after a while. Something great I discovered  is a new sourdough bakery in St Kilda on Barkly st that makes the most amazing bread! My favourite is olive but if you don't like olives then the pumpkin and soy is really tasty as well! Last time we went it was early in the morning and the bread had just been baked, it was still warm when we got home and the butter just melted on it. You can't beat warm, fresh baked bread with soup in winter!! I think I'm turning into a bread snob, the supermarket multigrain just doesn't cut it anymore! Haha. You should do yourself a favour next time your in St Kilda and check it out! It's just near the corner of Inkerman st.

I also made a really tasty veggie soup  the other day so I thought I'd share a similar recipe (I'm vegetarian but you can add bacon or chicken) I just made mine up as I went, with soups you can add almost anything but this one is pretty close. (Mine also had parsnip and no croutons)

I've grown to really love cooking, if you have the time and aren't too tired after work it's actually quite relaxing and rewarding when you cook something that people enjoy. ( I still make friends sign a disclaimer before eating my food in case it kills them!) haha

I hope you enjoy the recipe and give the bakery a try!! 

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and stems sliced
2 med. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. coarsely chopped onion
1/2 c. minced fresh parsley
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. cardamom
3/4 tsp. salt
Dash or more cayenne
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 c. low fat milk
Chopped scallions for garnish

Steam cauliflower for 5 minutes until florets are just tender. Set aside but save cooking water. Parboil potatoes for 10 minute or until tender. Set aside but save cooking water.In non-stick skillet, melt butter, add garlic and onion and saute until soft. Combine reserved cauliflower, potatoes, garlic/onion mixture and parsley and puree in blender or food processor in batches, adding the reserved liquid as needed.
Transfer the puree to a large saucepan and add additional cooking liquid to achieve a consistency somewhat thicker than ultimately desired. Stir in soy sauce, cardamom, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add milk, stirring soup to blend. Reheat the soup; do not boil. Garnish with scallions and serve with croutons.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

I hope nobody gets offended- I'm just trying to help!

Hi Guys!

Since working in beauty therapy and now cosmetics I have been surprised at how many people seek advice on the two most basic makeup areas- eye makeup and choosing a foundation.

I even had one client who was gorgeous, beautiful features and nice skin who you would assume was very savvy with those things but being an emergency room doctor she never had time to learn about basic makeup and hardly ever wore any because she didn't know what to do. After a quick one on one session she was so happy, even came back the next week to thank me and actually said how it changed her life now that she felt confident enough to make an effort. I was so surprised and touched by her saying that and it just goes to show how these small things can make such a difference.

 I was lucky enough to do my beauty course quite young so I picked up some good skills before I made too many disasters (although I do have a vivid memory of bright yellow eyeshadow up to my brows which I thought must have looked funky and fresh but was probably more over the hill drag queen)
I thought I'd share a couple of quick little tips for choosing a foundation that a lot of makeup artist use on their models and clients.

Its so important to choose the right foundation- its the base of your whole look! 
Often people are in a rush, grab the first bottle, go for a bargain or do a test in the wrong place and when they realise that it doesn't match their skin tone or type they figure they can get away with it until the bottle runs out and nobody will really notice. Umm... Hello? We DO notice...Your face is two shades darker than your neck! Orange lines were never in fashion- even in high school.  It's such a bad look and nobody actually gets away with it! 

The best way to pick a foundation is to know what you want, the 3 main questions are- 
How much coverage are you looking for? 
Do you want a matte or dewy finish? 
When you are going to wear it? (this is more important than people think- if it's for daytime you might want something lighter with an SPF, if it's for special occasions then it needs to be long lasting and not wash you out in photos) 
The next thing is to actually TRY the foundation to make sure you like it, any good makeup counter will have consultants who are happy to take a few minutes to help. Ask the questions you need and weigh up which ones you like better. Test your favourites on your hand first and FEEL the texture. Is it smooth or dry? If you have a dry skin you don't want anything too powdery as it will sit on your skin and be obvious, if your skin can get a little oily you don't need a hydrating foundation as you will end up too shiny after a few hours. 
Once you have found a type that you like then you can pick a shade, make sure you try at least 2 shades and do the test patch on your jawline or cheek! A lot of people will put it on their hands but your hand is a completely different colour to your face, usually a lot darker which is why there are so many bad foundation lines wandering around.
Once you have your perfect foundation remember the best way to apply is a brush and also to always start at your nose and blend out to the edges of your face. Your jawline, forehead and near your ears never usually need much coverage so you should have hardly any product on these areas, if your colour match is right then you can blend it out easily. 

Depending on what your needs are there are some great foundations out there. Through chatting to some professionals in the industry and my own experience I thought I'd recommend a couple of brands.

For photography- MAC 
Long lasting- Napoleon Stick Foundation
For Problem Skin- Clinique
Everyday wear- Chanel 

I don't want to come across as too 'advice columny' but I hope someone gets some benefit from it at least! It's seems such a basic thing but for something we use almost everyday people seem to put very little thought into it. 
If I've prevented just one orange makeup line wandering around Melbourne then it was worth writing about! Don't even get me started on bad spray tans!!! Haha ;)


Sunday, 1 July 2012

1st of July 2012

Hi Friends!

I'm starting this blog because now and then my life gets a little interesting..... Also I seem to have an opinion on everything so I figured I'd never be short on something to write about. 

Usually my life is that of a typical 22yo living in Melbourne, beautiful friends, great bf, enjoying the night life and renowned restaurants and bars that our city has to offer; I also like to try things off the beaten track a bit, cute vintage shops, new designers, random little dwellings in our side streets and crannies that we never seem to take the time to explore. 
Beauty, health and well being is a big part of my life- being a part time model ensures that I stay in shape so my little page will cover different things I discover about trying to keep that balance between fun, good health, luxuries, budget and time! 

Now that little intro is covered (I hate writing those things) I can get into why I chose today to start my blog- I've been putting it off for a few months despite having some great adventures that I wanted to write about because I felt like I needed some kind of theme to start it off... Now that it's July I realised that I have Run Melbourne (22km half marathon through the city) coming up as well as Chris (my bf) and I deciding to do Dry July! (I'm having so many regrets already- for some reason I actually woke up craving a glass of red wine just because I knew I couldn't have one!) 

So July is becoming a bit of a health boost month but not only that, both of these challenges are to raise money for charity and good causes so it's a good time to reflect on small ways in which we can help and give back.

There are so many causes that I feel I want to help but with no idea about how to start trying to make a difference or even which cause to support! Every street corner in Melb has some poor soul begging, and on the footpaths and knocking on our doors we have people recruiting us to donate for red cross or amnesty; we turn on the tv to tales of cancer patients or animal cruelty.  It seems to me we are so in undated with these causes that to prevent the guilt of not being able to help everyone it's sometimes easier to switch off our conscience and let it wash over us. Eventually this makes us feel worse so when we  see a story of a homeless person with cancer who lost their puppy we end up in tears, snuffling into a box of tissues, eating ice cream out of the tub and sobbing why didn't we DO something? 

Well that's the dramatic version anyway. The reality is that it is easy to contribute without feeling overwhelmed, the trick is to just think of things that suit your lifestyle, the things your most passionate about and set a realistic goal. 

If you want to help the plight of the homeless but don't have bottomless pockets full of change then put a spare muesli bar or snack  in your bag so on your way to work when you see that person in their blanket on the street corner you can give them something small that will actually help them.
My friend Katelyn volunteers her time one day every fortnight to walking dogs at the RSPCA, it's only a few hours  but to those poor dogs it's their favourite part of the day, being let out of the kennel. (good way to keep fit as well) 
Things like shaving or colouring your hair, the 40 hr famine, Dry July, Movember etc are all set up to help various charities and to make it a personal goal as well. We all love a theme!!  So many guys I know will grow a moustache but never actually realise you can earn money for a cause as well. 
Us girls are constantly updating our wardrobes and throwing things out but why not take your old clothes to the nearest op shop instead? 

We'd all love to be able to donate hundreds of dollars to charities and take off on a life changing trek for a good cause but realistically it's not an option for most of us so we figure we have nothing to offer at all- this is so untrue! Tiny adjustments in each of our own busy lives can make such a huge difference to the bigger picture and make us feel good as well. Karma comes around! 

I'd love to hear what other people are doing to give back and other good ways to help!!
So I'm signing off from my first entry, it's a much more serious start than I was planning but I'm sure my next lot of shenanigans will balance it out :P 
I'd like to end it by saying I'm off for a training run and being healthy but to be honest it's raining outside and  I'm curled up by an open fire with a cup of tea!