Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Therapy By Scent and Skin

Truly, I am having an awful week on an epic scale. Personal, professional, everything is in turmoil and I just badly need some peace.

 Having tried and failed to get through a tai chi/dance workshop (it LOOKED great from the sidelines but my hip wasn't up for swivelling...a lot) I opted for retail therapy.
Here's what I tried and I am feeling much rested for it. Get on this train.
Olay Regenerist Skin Brush (UNDER $30!!) - because it cleans and whisks all that grime and outside world off WHILE being super gentle. Magic.
I am using it with Eminence Organics Serums for ultimate organic goodness and hydration. The scents are to DIE for. My picks are Green Tea & Guava, Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic and Eight Greens Youth Serum. Bliss.
I know there's a little while to go yet until the big tinsel-town of Christmas, but I don't care. I'm burning Urban Rituelle Warm Cinnamon & Cranberry Soy Wax Candle. It was a hard choice between that one and Lime, Basil & Mandarin but I made the call, eventually!

I'm distracting and inspiring my mind with two books concurrently: Quick Looks by Rae Morris ($16.95 @ Booktopia)who is the superstar of makeup backstage and editorial. She's up there alongside Pat McGrath and Kellie Stratton for amazingness. I'm also reading Pioneers of Digital for inspiration on marketing, media and advertising top creative minds.
Oh, fine, you caught me. I am scrubbing up with Palm Beach clove & sandalwood soap because it's Australian and smells divine.

I'm doing a course in Digital Marketing to update my rusty multimedia degree. I genuinely get excited and inspired by what's possible with digital and can't wait to dive into a more creative career. What's keeping you hopeful and inspired right now?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Bad Hair Day Begone

As I think I've probably admitted before, because it is so frustrating, I have naturally curly, frizzy hair that laughs in the face of glossy ponytails.

It does quiver with fear and accede defeat to straightening irons, Kerastase and certain Aveda products, so I have learnt how to live amicably with it.

When it comes to working out though - or even just washing my face without forming ringlets and frizz, it requires no-tear, kind-to-hair headband and ties. That means:

  • no metal bits
  • no rubber grips
  • no combs to grip and hold
  • no glitter/stars/stick-on thingos
Thank god for new scunci everyday & active range - I couldn't decide between different colour options so I did what all wise women do - I didn't choose.

Plus, you know who wears a headband? Kate Moss. Go on, get one. Or three. Scunci website or get to Priceline, Target or Big W.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Hello Deadlifts!

Oh, how I DID miss you deadlifts!
First set in many, many weeks. Hips felt fine but I kept it light to reintroduce body gradually to the moves it knows and loves.
Or at least likes.
Some days.
Deadlifts are great for the back of your legs - hamstrings, glutes and calves all benefit from the action carried out with great alignment and making sure to lock your core on for support. Strong abs make every move more effective for strength-building, but also as a major safety protection for your spine, bones and muscles.
Women's Health has a great guide on How to do a straight leg deadlift with a bar.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bexters Soda Crystals my balm...

With all the new-fangled recovery options out there - red light, heated boxes, salt lamps, ice wraps, $500 compression suits...we can forget there's some cheap, insanely effective resources at the supermarket or chemist.
Or garden.
But that's another feature!

The reason I'm shouting out to Bexters is they have a special application wrap to put your soda crystals in! It's perfect. I'm used to wrapping them up in a tea towel which can end in mess and definitely involves experimentation over size of tea towel and density. Save yourself the bother.
Still used by AFL players and ballerinas, soda crystals are perfect for muscular strains, swelling and achy joints. Though my hip is much improving every day, I know I'll get to sleep easier knowing the crystals are at work to reduce the swelling and ache from a day of activity.

Bexters available on their website or chemists.

Directions for Use:

There are two ways to use Bexters Soda Crystals: as a pack applied directly over a swollen or injured joint or in a bath to ease more generalised aches and pains

As a Pack:

  • Unfold the application wrap to reveal the pockets
  • Fill one or both pockets with 100g Soda Crystals depending on the size of the injury - do not add water
  • Wrap the pack around the affected area and secure with velcro straps
  • Leave pack on for a minimum of 3-4 hours, preferably overnight
  • Place a towel underneath the Application wrap to absorb any fluids

Use only on alternate days
Tests a small trial patch for skin sensitivity
Do not apply to broken skin or open wounds

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Make It Big: Lip and Eye Magic

Short of actually getting stung on the lips by a bee, you'll have a hard time naturally boosting lip volume. I was totally sceptical about an off-the-shelf lip volume booster BUT I swallow my words, because my hairdresser was being very solemn-faced and serious when she declared I have "better lips than Miranda Kerr."
Considering lip injections cost around $300 as a very STARTING point, a trip to Priceline is going to be much better for your budget. Not to mention that nobody needs black bruising around their lips for possibly weeks!
If you see no difference, I will fall off my chair. Transformulas LipVolume @ Priceline

I decided to give a few eye products a test run too - I have been sleeping terribly (could be the 12 coffees...) so my peepers haven't been looking so white and bright. While I like the effect of Transformulas EyeLifting Gel, it felt like I needed to spend forever applying it to get any on my face! I prefer indeed laboratories eysilix. I'm seeing noticeably less puffiness and it doesn't cause spots or spread into my eyes overnight.
eysilix @ Priceline

Apart from spreading all manner of new things on my visage, I am also loving cult favourite MAC for lipstick. The bullet packaging! The old Pat McGrath videos and photos that remind me how amazing makeup is. If makeup is your weakness, get onto +MAC Cosmetics on Instagram. This is a photo of the MAC flagship store in Paris. I'll be sure to pass through next year!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Up and At Em Sunday!

There's plenty you can do in your loungeroom (hotel room) if you've just rolled out of bed and the idea of picking a gym outfit is bringing tears to your eyes.
You can put your own music on.
You can have a coffee between each set of exercises.

The reason for squatting against a wall is to perfect your technique. Make sure you keep your shoulders back against the wall and keep your abs "switched on"!

Add some push-ups and star jumps to get your heart rate up and your chest and arms will also get a good tone-and-shape.

Set your phone timer for 5 minutes on each different exercise and KEEP GOING until the alarm rings. If you can continue, set it for another 2 minutes at a time.

If you are in the market for a gym outfit, I've tried and tested like a...fitness professional? 
Here are the must-haves.

KOS*USA: This is a US Yoga brand that makes killer pants. The bootlegs flare just in the right spot, the piping twists in such a way that your thighs look leaner, shapelier... it's masterful. I swear by their bootleg pants. If you like your print/unique capri design for aerobics followed by pilates, you'll love the Galaxy Print capri.
They wash easily, they wear well, no fade and they ship here from the US in a super fast turn-around time.
KOS*USA Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Paris, Almond Milk L'Occitane, Barcelona and Healing

Pont De Barcelona
Whatever your situation now - thrillingly wonderful or dismally down - we all need something to look forward to.
Lying in a hospital bed is an excellent time to consider priorities and what I'd previously taken for granted, or delayed, or thought of as a distant dream.
In my teens and twenties I was often mistaken for French or Italian - must be the dark hair or the big teeth!
My nan was a part-time Melbournite, part-time Francophile. She spent a large part of her life in France and lectured in French. While my high school French definitely won't impress anyone, I have always thought I would find a spiritual home in France. So, next year I'm going to Paris! I'm also going to go to Barcelona. Gaudi's amazing architecture, the dancing, the food! I know Alex will help me with speaking more than six Spanish words too. Beso!
I am doing the planning and booking right now - early bird flights.

Tonight, I'm indulging in a classic fashion and Euro moment: Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. Delightful. I'm also drinking coffee post 5pm.

But my biggest indulgence is L'Occitane En Provence Almond Milk body products. They're French! And they smell so incredibly, addictively good. Even REAL almonds don't smell this delicious. Since my poor thigh has been swelling during the healing process, I'm not expecting miracles with the "Shaping Delight" but I'm willing to give it a go!

Since you may not be floating about the Champs Elysees next year, gift yourself at least something French! It will also go to supporting the L'Occitane Foundation.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

OPI x Coke x Karl

I couldn't help myself. You KNOW I love nailpolish. OPI have hooked up with Coke to create a range of colours that are reflected in the labelling and products.
I took this opening to go looking for those gorgeous 50s ads for Coke that promote its wholesomeness and lifestyle appeal. So much more chic and stylish than the desperate-looking Zero addicts carrying boxloads of the stuff through the checkout. Eek!

However, Karl Lagerfeld is a Diet Coke obsessive and let's face it, if Karl does it, it's fashion darling.

My picks? I Got Absolutely Zero Done Today, Get Cherried Away, You're So Vain-illa, Coke Bottle Red.

Get to David Jones. Stat.


So, I'm attempting the triple jump/spin/flip your heels over your head a few times trick. I thought, I know! I'm getting out of hospital.
I'll try to move out of my horrible apartment.
I'll try to go back to work straight away.
I'll take on new jobs.

So now I am sitting here, feeling very scared about what I'm taking on.
I may have to explain to some people why I can't do everything I've said I will do. I may need to alter my priorities so that earning an income that enables me to live independently and feel confident in my bank account isn't my top priority over healing.

I need to heal.

I take enormous pride in my ability to endure, bend, stretch, and heal. I'm finding it very hard to find my restless legs driving me crazy at night, my thigh swollen with fluid just from moving during my rehabilitation exercises and getting about on crutches. It's HARD.

So, I'm going to do what I would tell anyone I love to do. Give yourself some peace. Tell those people who are more interested in their timetables and their plans than my health that their needs can't come above my health. I matter. My body matters.

Thankyou to my dear friends and family who visited, called, emailed, asked about my wellbeing. You are treasured! It has meant the world to me. I hope I can be as supportive to you when you need it!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Try to make me go to rehab, I said yes

Best thing I have done in a long time! The anterior hip replacement took place on Monday afternoon. I went in about 2 and woke around 5.30 feeling pretty alert and pain-free.
I spent 4 days in hospital then moved to the rehab centre on Thursday to get a structured physio program and prepare me for getting back to my active lifestyle.
I have been doing plies at the bar, as well as lunges which are pretty shallow at the moment but they are getting better each time! I also bought pink 2kg Dumbbells from Target along with some very stylish harem pants and I'm doing my Ballet Sculpt arm routines in here. Nothing scares me like the idea of a sad, saggy, tuckshop tricep!

I had a very upsetting visit yesterday. I recommend that you are very careful about who comes to see you when you're recovering because you'll be super sensitive and pretty vulnerable with the experience of not only surgery, but a lot of painkillers and having to manage with a seriously reduced physical capacity.
My parents sat and chatted to each other about the state of their farm property, James Hird, pet lambs... Look, I've just had a major operation. I don't want to avoid any talk about it. I am thrilled with the progress I'm making - I want that to mean something to the people who care about me!

Don't feel bad, like I did all last night, about knowing what and who is best for you and making the call. A big element of recovering faster and better is FEELING optimistic and excited about what you can do and what you will do! Now, I'm off to the gym to do some side walking, plies and the arm cycle thingo.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Perfect Woman?

I watched this video this morning - it's super short and if you've just eaten, perhaps leave it until later, but it's a thought-provoker. Supervenus by Frederic Doazan.
The idealisation of unnatural features is undeniable when you look at magazines, TV and movies now. Size DD boobs on women with otherwise bony arms and legs is everywhere. Inflated lips and puffy cheeks are just as likely on the women serving you coffee as the actress on TV. I'm not saying it's NOT beautiful, but it's interesting to look at how our ideas have altered.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Days Before Surgery

I'm ready! I just keep thinking about all the things I will be able to do in a few months that I can't do now.

  • interval training with running and skipping
  • dancing
  • Tree Pose without pain later!
  • goblet squats (yes, I really do love these)
In the few days leading up, I'm doing the following.

Enjoying tying up my laces.
Restrictions on bending and reaching after surgery mean I won't be able to have lace-ups for a couple of weeks. Considering almost every shoe I own is a sneaker, this is troubling! I've got slip-on Vans though. I'm prepared.

Body Pump.
Won't be doing this for a few months. Enjoying it while I can and expecting, as has happened in the past, that after taking a break from Pump I enjoy it more and go harder when I get back.

Ok, sure. I can do this when I'm rehabbing, but since I'll be off work for 2 weeks, I'm going to return trying to fool others, and myself, that I have been on a yachting cruise in St Tropez where I fell out of a coconut tree and ended up on crutches for a bit. Keith Richards and his smart ideas! I am LOVING St Tropez self-tan for face. It's for sensitive skin so no breakouts. Love it. Get yours here and if you tell everyone we were in St Tropez together I'll fully back your story!

Organising work.
I've got plenty of planning and reviewing of documents to do so on top of a very structured rehabilitation program in hospital and at home afterwards, I've also got lots to keep my brain busy. I've just taken on a new role coordinating Group Fitness for an inner city club and I am really excited about the role and the people and place I'm working with. 

Jade Rolling.
I read in a UK fashion magazine that this woman with INCREDIBLE skin uses a jade massage to massage her face. It stays cool no matter what the weather and is recommended for lymphatic drainage, reducing puffiness, increasing blood flow to the skin and massaging out tension from frowning and smiling too much. Really! I found mine on White Lotus Anti Ageing - 100% Jade Crystal. So fancy!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Free Group Fitness - 15 Classes Daily

Oh my god, where? Where?!

Cairns. Here's the deal: 6 days a week there are roughly 15 group fitness classes run outdoors for anyone and everyone who wants to take part - free.
It is run from the Cairns Esplanade in northern Australia. As fabulous as group fitness instructors are, they are not volunteers. It is funded through the commercial operations on the esplanade as well as Council making up any shortfall. Why would Council assist? Because group fitness

  • is a great marketing initiative for tourists
  • is an appealing holiday activity for local visitors
  • improves mental and physical health
  • is much cheaper than funding health warnings and reactive measures
  • proves that fitness can be fun and diverse
  • makes it easy for every age, gender and level of ability to take part
The initiative is called Active Living. Today there is Sahaja Yoga Meditation, Seniors Steady Steps, Boxfit, Beach Volleyball, Mumbalates (pilates for mums AND their kids!), Aqua Zumba, Tai Chi and more.

If this is something you want to see locally, get writing to your local MP! Find Your Local MP.

Friday, 5 September 2014

"Thailand Toosh" or KickAss Kettlebell

This girl is gorgeous and super fit. I'm going off to pick up a kettlebell at the gym. Seriously - tell me this doesn't make you want to!
After the kettlebell moves, which are simple and well demonstrated, there's some matwork that would go down a treat in Ballet Sculpt. Get to it.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

McQueen: Genius of a generation

Alexander McQueen: Genius of a GenerationAlexander McQueen: Genius of a Generation by Kristin Knox
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fashionistas and artlovers were devastated by the suicide of designer Alexander McQueen in 2010. Inarguably, he was gone too soon, but not before he blessed the design and fashion world with his incredible visions materialised. He was the Lewisham-born lad who was would have looked equally at home traipsing through the council estates with his pitbulls as he did on the catwalk. In fact, he would have looked much more comfortable on the street.
A 16-year old dropout, he managed to secure an apprenticeship in tailoring on Savile Row, followed by gigs with theatrical costume designers and Milanese fashion house, Romeo Gigli. His skill and uniqueness was embraced by Central St Martins when he returned to London to enrol in the early 90s.
His story, lushly illustrated with full page photographs, is told in Alexander McQueen: Genius Of A Generation by fashion blogger, Kristin Knox aka The Clothes Whisperer. Knox brilliantly and succinctly describes McQueen’s role to “compel the wearer or beholder to surrender to the fantastical and sinister world of which McQueen was the sole artificer...an enfant terrible.”
Fabulous photos include the bumsters in 2001, glass-boxed butterfly-laden models, the armadillo heels that famously adorned Lady Gaga. Whether antlered, red-eyed, covered in sequins and crystals, or toting the skeletons of foxes around their necks, his vision of women was as powerful, warrior like creatures that were part animal, part mystical goddess.
Knox recognises that there is no need for pages and pages of tightly packed text required to tell McQueen’s story. His life was his work and it best speaks for itself. The back cover image is bittersweet; McQueen gives his final wave on the catwalk and for us, it is the finale of a lifetime.
Alexander McQueen: Genius Of A Generation
Kristin Knox

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