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Sunday, 28 October 2012

Life as I know it is officially over... least for the next 3-4 months it is!

Hurrah! I did it! I submitted my final assessment over 10 hours ago now, and the feeling of euphoria washed over me instantly. Last night, I slept comfortably for the first time in 12 weeks. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration but it really doesn't seem far from the truth. I actually had to pry my eyes open (in fact, they're still not properly open) at 08:00. Usually I'm champing at the bit by then. My body knows that it's rest time, that's for sure.

Yesterday was a different story though.

Urgh, yesterday I was up just after 07:00. It sucked. I had SO much to do though: needed to make a wedding gift, make a first birthday card, vote, go to said first birthday party, go to said celebration of wedding (that happened in June in NYC) and then come back home and finish the dreaded assignment. 
First cab off the rank was a wedding gift. I'd been toying with ideas for months as to what we would gift these newlyweds who have everything and married in NYC. A photo of them from their wedding day in a lovely frame with a map of NYC as the backing, a piece of string art in the shape of NY state, stitching their North American trip (or part thereof), or perhaps three maps of NYC and Australia in heart shapes in a frame, but the thing I wanted to do most was a cool Sharpie project. I hunted (though not too much) for plates suitable to bake in the oven, but the white plates I found did not say they were oven safe, only dishwasher and microwave safe (thanks to the convenience of modern technology). I quickly canned my Sharpie project idea, and continued to walk the store. Talk about thinking on my feet. Walking around, I had millions ideas going through my head, but with a serious shoe-string budget and very little time, I had to shelve most of them. I found a shallow round woven basket that I picked off the shelf, and proceeded to wander aimlessly around the store. Oh boy, filling this thing would be difficult. I weaved in and out of aisles, screwed my face up at things, and then looked up. THERE IT WAS. The base of the gift I would make - a bowl-shaped vase. I put the wicker basket back in the place of the vase (usually I would have put the basket in its proper place, but I had a bad case of the CBFs), and trotted off to the garden department (I was in K-mart, by the way). I searched the shelves for small quantities of potting mix, only to find that they only sold BIG bags of it. I was too lazy (again, serious case of the CBFs) to go and get a trolley, so I balanced the round glass vase on the potting mix precariously and proceeded to the checkouts. Talk about thinking on my feet. I didn't even whip out my phone to look at my Pinterest Boards.
Wandering back to A's work (it was late night shopping on Thursday night) was an effort. I probably shouldn't have been carrying the potting mix, it was slightly heavier than what I'm allowed to carry, but again, CBFs. Further, I digress.

Time travel - first it was back to Thursday, then on to Friday (so I can finish my Saturday story). It's all a little timey-wimey here.

On Friday morning, I continued with my 'research' into prepping this gift. Turns out I'd bought the wrong kind of potting mix, but there was a way around it. I just needed sand and stones. My girl Rach found me cheapy cheap but awesome stones and sand. Uh oh, that meant a trip to Ikea! Woohoo! A and I had planned to do grocery shopping on Friday evening once he finished work, but then I threw in a trip to Ikea. I was only getting stones and sand, we were totally safe. It also gave me the opportunity to have a look at their Christmas range as shared on Thursday by my friend Lauren at Love A Rhino (remember, timey-wimey).
So, we lived life on the edge because we wanted to be safe (contradiction in itself) from the Ikea monster. Sand and stones are located in the last department before the self-serve furniture aisles. Walking in through the registers is not usually my style, but today it was essential. Upon doing so, we walked straight into said Christmas range. Hurrah! Perusing this range was always going to be fun. A is not usually a Christmas fan, not because he doesn't like Christmas, but because growing up his upbringing was different to mine, they don't celebrate Christmas but in fact would celebrate Chanukah. A is about as Jewish as I am Anglican though, so it's all relative. Anywho, we were both looking excitedly at the Christmas goodies, when I found some new decorations for our tree!
Julmys Baubles from Ikea $2.99/12 pk
Our tree is a table top tree. It's a cream filigree design and comes with an inbuilt star. It's perfect for our little one bedroom apartment, and our mixed upbringings. It's not in your face for A, but it still lets me have my Christmas tree. Last year, I had lime green baubles in both a matte and a gloss finish, but they were just a little too big for my liking. Never fear, Ikea is here, and they have solved my Christmas tree decoration issue. 

We bought these teensy tiny baubles in silver and red. We thought the white might clash with the cream a bit much. Not going to lie, I would have preferred the baubles in matte (not a huge gloss fan) but beggars can't be choosers.

I had to fight myself to get so much more stuff, after all, we were here for sand and stones.

Borje Chair in brown-black/Gobo white from Ikea $39
Next cab off the rank was to quickly check the As Is Bargain Corner. The As Is Bargain Corner is a bit hit and miss. It's returned goods or shop-soiled goods or discontinued goods. We've had some great successes at the As Is Bargain Corners before. We picked up our dining chairs here for the bargain price of $35 each in February 2011 (originally $55 each). The pictures on the right show what we purchased. Did we care that there was three of one seat colour and one of the other? Heck no. And for the record, those chair covers are removable, so we can totally change them according to whatever our tastes are at the time! We also have the matching table but purchased that from eBay and it's a red-brown colour, but we'll sand it back and stain it to match the chairs (one day). 
Borje Chair in brown-black/Kungsvik sand from Ikea $45
There's also been some other successful purchases from the As Is Bargain Corner, but none as wonderful as the chairs. Until our most recent trip. Remember how I said that we entered the store to avoid the Ikea monster? Fail. Heck, I even told A to park at the pedestrian entrance (i.e. the entrance that doesn't have the capacity to cater for the Ikea flat bed trolleys) because we weren't getting anything. Wrong.
The Ikea monster got us in the As Is Bargain Corner. Completely off guard. Oy vey.
When A and I first moved out of our shared house in February 2011, we had been looking for a suitable desk for two uni students that wouldn't break the bank and was practical. We did really well. We got the Vika Amon/Vika Adils corner desk, and matching return, and were quite satisfied. It let us have the desk we both needed for study, and still allowed for living space, albeit small. When we moved in six months later because our bedroom was finding a cure for cancer or some other seemingly incurable disease (we had rising damp/mould), the desk allowed for the same space saving option in the living room, and we even had enough room to get a second return to make it a proper corner desk! Awesome. Again, I digress. This Ikea monster that grabbed hold of us REALLY grabbed hold of us. We'd been eyeing off a different corner desk at Ikea ever since that first 2011 move. However, we couldn't justify $250 on one corner section. Especially not when we purchased an entire corner and return combo for a heck of a lot less. That was until we walked into Ikea Springvale's As Is Bargain Corner and saw our Holy Grail of desks on clearance for $99. NINETY NINE DOLLARS PEOPLE. That's a $151 saving! We grappled with the idea of the impulse purchase for a good 20 minutes. You see, As Is means exactly that. The desk was fully constructed, meaning we had to either pay exorbitant fees for delivery ($89 for delivery + $25 because it is fully assembled) OR disassemble the desk to fit in our car. $114 for delivery, I think not. A and the As Is clerk got the desk onto a flat bed trolley while I raced to the sand and stone department. I thought I had grippy shoes on, but running across that polished concrete warehouse floor proved different! I had no idea where I was looking, other than the fact the desired products were in the candle section. Needle in a haystack, anyone? I asked the trusted employee in the yellow shirt for assistance. It appears his English was actually Anglais. C'est la vie. I was so frantic my Anglais was more Engjibberish; my usual stellar communication skills were well and truly out the window. We got to where we needed to be eventually, he apologised for his poor English, I smiled and said not to worry (he was so kind, it really didn't bother me at all), and we were on our way. Dashing back to the registers with about four kilos of sand and stones was fun. Calorie burning, anyone? A was just queuing to pay when I arrived. We paid, and then spent the next hour be continued

Friday, 26 October 2012

Uh oh, spaghetti-o!

Quite literally, uh oh spaghetti-o! 

I have had SO many carbs in the past 8 or 9 days it's not funny. Scroll through my food diary on MyFitnessPal. See, carbs. Carbs, carbs, carbs.
My body has been doing all kinds of strange things (and before anyone asks, no, I'm not pregnant!) in these 8 or 9 days, but thankfully it will all be over in the next 48-72 hours. Uni assignments suck. Last Thursday, I was at uni until 23:30, and didn't get to eat dinner until midnight. MIDNIGHT! The only choices were McDonald's or the likes, or something in Chinatown. We chose Chinatown.

We meandered aimlessly from RMIT through Chinatown. Our favourite haunt closed at 22:00, we were devastated and didn't know what to do. All the places that were open on Little Bourke Street either didn't cater to our fancy, or to our budget. Our meandering lead us to Russell Street. We were headed east along Russell from Little Bourke and found that we still had no idea of where we would eat. The walking and indecisiveness was doing nothing for our seemingly insatiable hunger. In a fit of dire straits, we turned around to venture back down Little Bourke. In doing so, we saw that Noodle Kingdom on Russell was doing a bit of a good trade, so headed in. We were seated quickly, along with menus, which we poured over in an overwhelmed state of hunger. Our order was a little slow in being taken, and with two hungry people this was not ideal. 
We settled on spring rolls (because I wanted something to start), Beijing Style Fried Noodles and Combination Seafood Fried Rice. And, of course, a pot of jasmine tea.

Oh. My. Goodness. Seriously, could this food be any tastier, bigger or more budget-friendly?! Granted, the spring rolls were pretty ave. - A ate one and I ate a quarter of one and left them to the side. The noodle and rice dishes on the other hand were GARGANTUAN and just as nommy as they were gargantuan. So gargantuan in fact we could not eat it all; we took the leftovers home! Winning! We walked out, or should I say rolled out, with dinner for the next night. $26 for four meals - bargain, I say! 
Apologies for lack of imagery again, I really ought to get with it and provide the pics, but when one has been staring at assignments without much food, all good reasoning and thoughts fly out the window.

Part of said university assignment (Friday afternoon, possibly even the morning)

Anywhoo, back to it. So yeah, we ate, and arrived home around 00:30-ish. Yuck. Absolutely disgusting. I got into my pjs, hopped on the couch under the Genya-blankie (the toasty warm wool blanket that belonged to A's great aunt) and settled in for an all nighter with my study buddy on the other end of the computer (it was a group assignment). We were doing pretty well, until I started dozing off somewhere between 02:15 and 02:30. I woke at 02:45, promptly went to bed and slept until just before 07:00. Up and at 'em, this assignment from hell was due in 10 hours. I made it with 10 minutes to spare, despite having finished it 3 hours before it was due. Once I'd showered and dressed and all that jazz, I went to Officeworks to use the awesome multifunction Xerox machines. The printing and collating process took about 30 minutes, leaving me an hour and a half to get to uni. AN HOUR LATER, I finally reached uni. What is so significant about this hour? I live 9km from uni. Yep. You read right. 9km last Friday afternoon took me one hour. Hopeless. Oh well, what's done is done.

This week hasn't been much better food and sleep wise. More assignments and more carbs, though I'm trying to avoid the carbs now, despite having one more assignment to submit.

One thing that helps me constantly in anything is visual aids. I'm a huge list fan. If I could have lists on the walls in front of my desk, I would (we live in a rental and although it's possible to hang stuff on the walls, it's not entirely practical). I have four planners on the fridge (although, I admit, right now only one of them is in use but once uni is done (roll on next week!) they will all be in action again): a weekly planner, a meal planner, a chore planner and a to do list. Then there's the changeable whiteboard monthly calendar hanging on a hook that was already in the kitchen perpendicular to the fridge. Also let it be noted that I have a day-to-a-page diary and my phone calendar in operation too. OCD much (where the O is replaced with Organisational)?
My love of lists flows into the bathroom, where I have a whole bunch of numbers and lines printed on a sheet, blue-tacked to a bit of cardboard which is then blue-tacked to the wall. This one is the most important of them all: it's my weight loss chart.

I didn't really have a goal in mind when I made the chart, it just kind of started at 100 (being 100kg) and went to 60 (because it was a nice, round number). In April, 60kg wasn't really my end goal.
Weight loss chart and scales
Now, you might be fooled into thinking that I am some 7 ft giant taking this photo, but I'm not. The reality is that I'm 5'2" (156cm, given that I am in a country that uses metric) and I had to stand on the bath and toilet edges (seat down, of course) and hold the camera at ridiculous angles to be able to capture both my $10 K-mart scales and my weight loss chart.

This weight loss chart has helped me get to where I am today just as much as changing the way I eat, what I eat, how much I'm exercising, etc. etc. etc.

For those of you who do read my blog, you'll know that Weigh In Wednesday is the important day of the week for me. Why Wednesday? It was the first time I weighed myself after the loss of my very dear friend (10 days before), and the first real day of my weight loss journey. Wednesday 18 April 2012 was the day I took a stand for myself. Pretty sure Gary would be damned proud of me (love you, Brian!). I didn't do this for Gary, I did it for me because I was sick and tired of it. There was the never-ending feeling of hatred because I couldn't buy clothing that suited a 27yo female, there was the feeling of embarrassment because I felt like I was a burden to A, and then there was the fact that I have a very serious back injury and people would constantly tell me that I couldn't do things and that I needed to take care of my back. In the end, I just thought f*ck it, I am sick and tired of being told I can't do something. So I started. I haven't looked back. Don't think that this has been an easy journey - goodness knows it hasn't. You'll see in the next picture that there has been lots of dates not recorded. I didn't want to record gains, I didn't see the point, I only wanted to record the losses. Nobody wants to be reminded of a gain (unless of course they are trying to gain, or are having a baby (even then it's debatable about gaining!)). It's now in the wee hours of Friday (in Australia, its currently 00:18). I had wanted to write this blog post yesterday (with yesterday being Wednesday given that I am yet to go to sleep) and talk to you about my Weigh In Wednesday for this week.
Weight loss chart close up
Remember how I said I'd had heaps of carbs and not a lot of sleep and so forth? That was reflected evidently in this week's weigh in. I PUT ON EVERY SINGLE KILOGRAM I LOST THE WEEK BEFORE. I was devastated, though I was not surprised. A week out from my September/October challenge, it couldn't have come at a worse time. Oh well, duly noted, onward and upward.

This chart keeps me real. There's no cheating with this. When the scales show me the numbers, the date goes up. If I gain, nothing happens with the chart, but I keep looking at it to remind myself to keep going. I'm actually really tempted to get A to hide the scales from me and only put them in the bathroom on a Wednesday morning before he leaves for work. I've gotten really bad and have been weighing myself a few times a week. Seriously, that's really bad.

Right now, I should be sleeping. Don't quote me on it, but I'm sure I read somewhere legit that the more sleep you get before midnight, the better off you are. It's no secret that sleeping helps with weight loss. I'm almost certain that my awesome losses are because I've had amazing sleep patterns and have been guzzling water like it's going out of fashion. Oh wait, it is going out of fashion. Don't forget to conserve water people, it's a finite resource and we kind of need it to exist. Along with my awesome sleeping and water-guzzling habits going out the window, so has my daily recording on MFP, and reading of French Women Don't Get Fat. Clearly I have been French in the lead up to last week, but this week I'm back to being an Aussie! Need to get back into the French mindset.

So, for now, because I'm starting to babble on a touch, I'm going to end it here. I know I keep promising photos of clothing and the sorts, and perhaps I will once I've finished uni. I'll even share some Polyvore stuff (or just click on the Polyvore icon up top right there). 
Sweet dreams, it's sleep time now!

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Warning: Picture overload

This week, I've decided to do a few selfies. Being a woman, I'm partial to the selfy, but today, I'm going to share with you said selfies. Included in this week's selfies are selfies across the weight loss journey (5 days shy of 6 months, go me!). The quality of images do vary, so my apologies, but you will hopefully get the general idea (don't forget you can click on the image to view it in more detail).

L-R: 24 April, June, August, August, August, September, September

L-R: Septmber, September, September, October, October, October, 13 October

Now, for 24 April and 13 October comparison:

L-R: 24 April vs. 13 October
Can you see the difference? I know the photos aren't the greatest quality, but I'm hoping you can see the differences. The white t-shirt I'm wearing in the 13 October picture was quite tight on me when it arrived in April. In fact, I sent it back to get the next size up, and even that was a little on the tight side. Now it's quite loose. Below is the design on the t-shirt. A picked it out all by himself and had it sent as a secret:

Hooded at

The blue thing underneath the tee is actually a singlet. Who on earth makes a singlet as long as a mini dress!? It came from Valley Girl a few weeks ago, and after checking this outfit over with A countless times, I went to the supermarket dressed in this outfit. Of course, I put on my favourite owl print Keds too. No way I'd be walking around St. Kilda in bare feet!

Oh. Em. Gee. Interruption to the post. I did just have my first mango of the season and it was DELICIOUS. 

On the food note, I cooked dinner for the first time in a long time tonight. My back hasn't been so flash the last month (stress has a tendency to manifest physically in me (thanks, uni) so I've been out of action around the house) but tonight, I made pizza. Healthy pizza. On a wrap pizza. Here 'tis:

Homemade Capricciosa with Feta

  • 1 Wattle Valley Wholegrain Soft Wrap
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Homebrand Tomato Paste 
  • 1/4 Flat Mushroom
  • 2-3 pieces pre-shaved ham (or fresh ham, whatever you buy)
  • 5 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • Marsh's Australian Extra Tasty Cheese, finely grated (however much you feel like)
  • Feta, crumbled (again, however much you feel like)
  • Grill wrap, both sides, to desired crispness (mine's a little overdone, I got distracted)
  • Once grilled, add toppings in order listed EXCEPT for the feta, your base will hold better (I used to be a pizza maker)
  • Grill again until cheese is melted and toppings warmed through
  • Remove from grill, plate, then crumble feta over the top
  • Serve immediately
Super tasty, super filling and only 350 calories. Way cheaper than ordering in a pizza, too! A was rather impressed with my efforts tonight too, including walking in to a clean kitchen (I'm a clean as I go kinda gal).

I think that about wraps up this post. I decided to omit the fashion stuff from this as there was already so many pictures, but the next posts might be a bit different!

Losing Weight/Fat Fast

I am completely perplexed by this method of losing weight/fat fast. I understand that people want to lose weight - heck, I'm one of those people - but doing it quickly is not going to help in the long run.

I don't profess to being a weight loss expert, not one little bit. But, what I do know is that whenever you rush something, it always falls apart. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Now, what works for me might not work for you, and vice versa, but it's so disheartening to see so many things out there telling you how to lose weight fast.
If there's anything I've learned in the 14 or so years I've hated my body (look, it's probably about 15 years, but when you're 13 you're really only just discovering your body image), it's that losing weight quickly means but one thing: gaining it back just as quick, if not quicker.

One thing that always confused me was the television program, The Biggest Loser. I  understand that it's about educating people and informing their life choices, but let me put it to you this way: what happens when you are out of The Biggest Loser house and back in the real world, unable to work out for 16 hours a day (granted, 16 hours may be a bit of a stretch, but you get my drift), and have temptation all around? Not everyone can afford a personal trainer or a gym membership, and quite often don't like to exercise on their own. Heck, I know I much prefer it when A comes for a walk with me rather than going alone. Even when I go alone, I have to have my iPod with some tunes to motivate me pumping through my ears.

Out of curiosity, I googled Fiona Falkiner, who was the fourth-placed contestant on the first Australian series of The Biggest Loser. Fiona lost 29.5kg on the show, which I believe is a 10 week tele-series. 
Fiona is simply stunning. Beautiful curves, an amazing smile that would light up a room, and legs to die for. Fiona and I are similar in age, and come from the Geelong area. We have both struggled with our weight and self image our entire lives. Post-show and after a European trip, Fiona slipped back into some old habits and the weight crept back on. 
She now leads a happy, healthy, balanced life around Bondi, NSW.

Like me, Fiona is a normal girl just trying to be happy. At long last, we* both are. Although I am still on my weight loss journey, I have embraced my hourglass figure and am loving my body. I'm not 100% happy, but I'd say I'm at 85%.

I'm on a mission, yes, but I am not running a marathon before I can run to the end of my street. Take care of yourself, enjoy what you're doing.

Next blog post will have fashion bits, and maybe even a picture of me!

* when I say we, I am referring to various interview responses of Fiona's, and applying my reactions and feelings with those.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Still Alive

Today, I did something naughty - I weighed myself for the second time in less than a week! Tsk, tsk. 

I'm happy to report that the first October Wednesday weigh-in was a complete success. I plateaued on 87 kilograms for the ENTIRE month of September. First October weigh-in: 86 kilograms. Thank you very much.
For some reason, I wasn't all that excited about it though. I was rather "Eh, whatevs." Why? No clue at all.

Today, I just felt like stepping on the scales again. Pleasant surprise when I saw that it said 85 kilograms! Just hoping I can maintain or lose more between now and Wednesday! Should be a piece of cake, I've only got two assignments due and two tests this week. Right on!
Stepping on the scales today seemed a bit of a triumph, to be honest. I was super proud of myself!
Although it's not entirely appropriate, here's a song about triumphs:

Now, I don't have any recent pictures of me to upload but I will get some for you once uni is over. However, it's been 10 kilograms since I last did a CGI Weight Simulator Montage for you, so have a look at this and tell me what you think (April 2012 vs October 2012):

April 2012 (left image of each set) vs October 2012 (right image of each set)

That's what a difference of 13 kilograms looks like. Am I proud of myself? You bet I am! I feel that uni drawing to a close for yet another year will be fantastic for me as I can spend more time on finding more delicious recipes and hopefully even get in the water for some swimming. Definitely feeling confident enough in wearing my current swimsuit again! Ooo, that reminds me, this blog is a swimsuit journey! Seeing as how we're approaching summer, it might be an idea to have a look at the swimsuits in stores. Food for thought.

On the note of stores, because I have lost all this weight, I'm now able to walk into quite a number of stores, try things on AND make the purchase! It's also got me thinking that perhaps I can maybe even try online shopping. I ventured over to Asos last night for a proper look (I'd looked before but never really found myself wanting anything because my self esteem wasn't that awesome). Now I feel I can step into the danger zone of online shopping, though I am a big advocate for only buying things that you can't usually get here in good old Australia (for example, I am a t-shirt snob and generally only buy threadless tees). I like to keep money going to our retailers here in Australia where possible.
On the clothing front, I think I am also going to start to use Polyvore more. I joined 5 months ago but haven't really used it. Thanks to my friend Ms Puggy at A Girl and Her Pugs, along with good ol' Pinterest (note, that is my personal fashion board (threads only, I have a separate one for beauty and shoes, go here for the general Pinterest women's fashion pins)), I now have the confidence to use Polyvore again. That and the exciting fact that I have four months of holidays ahead of me!

Also, all that stuff I said I'd do about meal planning etc. fell by the wayside. Uni assignments were far too important, but there has been a little more structure in my eating again, including logging each day on MFP! Hip hip hooray, I've been using MFP for 100 days today!

Until next time!