Manicure Fiesta

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I have never been a “girly” girl – there was never any nail polish in our house growing up. It wasn’t a thing we were into. I am terrible at nail painting due to a lack of experience, talent, and skill. I probably could become good at it with a lot of time, effort, and learning to use my left hand as well as I use my right hand. But realistically that is unlikely to happen.nails7
In late 2016 I was having a Good Nail patch – thanks to my daily hair skin and nails vitamins, they were growing stronger and healthier than ever before. I was using Hard As Nails by Sally Hansen which I would paint on every few days to make the nails shiny and slightly more protected from breakage. nails2
I had wanted to try getting a proper shellac – or gel – manicure for a while but I was very wary. I had heard tales of woe, of unsterilised equipment, of fungal nail infections UGH. I did some serious research and asked around, and one local place kept popping up in the conversations. After a bit of umm-ing and ahh-ing, I bit the bullet and made an appointment.
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So what is a shellac manicure? This excellent post tells the story of shellac better than I probably could. The photos do not really do these justice, it is hard to get a good photo of these nails.
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To summarize it quickly for you, after each coat of nail polish is applied, your nails “cure” with the help of a UV lamp. When you walk out of the salon you do not have to worry about wet nail polish.
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The other benefits include much stronger nails and the polish lasts for 2-3 weeks – and sometimes 4 depending on what you get up to hand wise. Since I started getting the gel nails I have not had a single nail break, and I don’t baby them, they do what they have always done.

I have occasionally done a bit of damage to the manicure but you have to work pretty hard to damage it. Most times when I have damaged a nail it has involved metal coathangers, the ones you use to hang up jeans etc. Gel works for me but it does not work for everyone. In particular it would not work well if one had their hands in water a lot.
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Until I did this, I never realised how having great looking nails can improve your mood. It makes sense now, given that during any day you look at your hands more than any other body part.

I prefer the French tip style manicure because if you have colour down to the bottom of the nail you notice a gap as your nails grow. But the French manicures are no longer just white tips, as you see from my many examples here. You can choose a colour, you can add some glitter on the top, and probably my favourite manicure so far was black tips with red holographic glitter.

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I also loved the ones with electric blue and the pastel but very sparkly green. One appointment I arrived early and sat down with the colour charts and made a memo in my phone of all the colours I wanted for future manicures, so I usually know before I arrive what colour I want to try this time. I’m thinking gold is coming up this week but The Other Half loved the black with red glitter, so I see a repeat of that in my near future, as well.

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My manicurist thinks I am strange because I always ask her to trim the nails back, she said everyone else wants to keep the length. I don’t need my nails to be long. I just want them to be neat, shiny, and sparkly. If I let them get too long I begin to have trouble typing.

Fashion, Vitamins

Softsole Express VS Milky Foot

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In Australia, it is heading into that time of year again where you might want to get the feet out of their shoes and socks. I like to do a foot peel from time to time in spring and summer. I’ve used Milky Foot before – it is usually $25+ where I live, so when I saw Softsole Express for $8.99 in Priceline, I thought I would give it a try.

I found it to be slightly less efficient than Milky Foot but at that price you can nearly have 3 of them for the price of one Milky Foot. You have to leave it on for longer than Milky Foot. I would buy Softsole again. Weirdly it cannot be found on the Priceline website. Maybe that is a lack of talent on my part, though.

Five tips I would give you –

1. You need to get yourself organised before you put these things on your feet, because walking will be virtually impossible in fact it is downright dangerous. Use the bathroom first. Have everything you are going to need for the next 60-90 minutes handy eg water, your cup of tea, a snack, whatever. Make sure your phone is nearby.

2. If you have a spare pair of older socks which you don’t mind if they get the solution on them, you can put socks on over the booties. This will not enable you to walk, but it will keep your toes warm if it is a cooler day.

3. After the treatment moisturize your feet twice a day for a good couple of weeks.

4. Once your feet start peeling, if you want to speed up the process a little you can soak them in hot water with some peppermint oil added.

5. Don’t do this treatment if you have a special event coming up in the next couple of weeks where you will have your feet out on display. The peeling can happen for 2-3 weeks.

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Here is a review of the product you can read, and also the Softsole website, if you want to know more.

Milky Foot is excellent and worth a try but at the price you will likely only want to do it once over the summer. That is not a bad thing because you don’t want to do a foot peel more than once a month. Here is the Milky Foot website.

Between the two – softsole smells a lot better than milky foot does. The softsole packet is less optimal than the milky foot one is – it is more prone to splitting on the top. I could walk very carefully with the softsole packet on, I could not with the milky foot one. I think there is a lot more liquid in the milky foot packet.

My Korean friend tells me these treatments are super popular in Korea. My Chinese Aunt tells me these treatments are very popular in China. A couple of years back Milky Foot did a big advertising drive here in Australia and that is where I first heard about them.

health, reviews

It Turns Out, I Am A Runner.

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My windows desktop background image. Why did I choose this, when I was not a runner?

At the start of 2016 I set myself a simple main goal for this year. Eat less, move more.

I love to walk, I always have. I was never someone who enjoyed running. I saw the value in it, especially in short sprints to raise my heart rate during workouts. I did it, but I did not LOVE it. Nor did I think I ever would love it.

I began aqua jogging regularly and discovered that I quite enjoyed that. Though I find people look at one weird, when one is doing it. Or maybe that is just me and the way I do it, because I do sprints in the shallow end to get my heart rate where I want it, then I walk the pool for a lap, back to sprints, back to the walk.

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As time went on, I got better at running. I could do it for longer. I began to feel STRONG when I did it. I watched my legs change the more I did it. The muscles started to stand out more.

One day, I ran for a full kilometre on the treadmill. It took somewhere around 7 minutes. This was amazing to me. How is it possible that I could do this, when I used to struggle running for just one minute?

After that, I began to increase my running time during workouts. I began to challenge myself, to watch my times, to note personal best times. I walked, then *ran* up and down beach stairs. I worked on my cardio at Aqua Aerobics. I got my 1km time down to 6 minutes.

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My fitness level is the best it has ever been in my 41 years on this planet. I have lost over 20kg (44 pounds) now. My nutrition is the best it has ever been. I am drinking protein shakes daily, which I never expected I would do. The best part – I am actually enjoying all of this.

I still never thought I would want to – or be able to – run long distances like 5km or 10km. One week, I walked 75km and some of that – in fact quite a bit of that – was running.

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Then August 21st happened. For weeks I had been seeing signs down at the my usual walk, telling me of running events due to happen on the 21st. HA, I thought. I won’t be down here that day, it will be crazy busy.

When the day happened, it was gorgeous out. Grumpy was due to have surgery that week and I knew this might be my last chance to get out for the next week, so I checked the times for events online and found it would all be over fairly early, but there was another run due in the afternoon. If I went right then, chances were I would have the path pretty much to myself. Within 20 minutes I was in the car and on my way.

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I thought – I’ll just run a little bit, then walk, then run a little, then walk. It turned out more like Forrest Gump. I just kept running, pausing only 7 times to take photos.

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(the blue line = pace, the red line = heart rate)

That is my personal best time for a 5km, ever. I did not stop there – I went on to walk/run another 5km that same day. The second 5km was slower and I did walk for more of it.. however the running in this case was sprints rather than an even pace. In total, I ran more that day than I ever have before. I expected to be in a world of pain the next day, but I was not. I did a recovery 5km walk, and the following day I ran 2.5km out of my 5km.

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I have since run another full 5km with only 3 pauses for photos. I would not call them stops, because it was literally pause, take the shot, back to running. I am running 2.5km out of my treadmill 5kms, and that is only because my treadmill gets too hot if I run a full 5km.

I enjoy running.

I am as shocked to type those words as you likely are to read them. :)

exercise

Around Here

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It was Saturday morning, and I was sitting in my pyjamas drinking the morning coffee and doing a bit of reading. The Other Half was headed out to the Man Cave, and he said “Shall I let the chooks out?” I said, sure, not even thinking that there were strong wind warnings, because the caffeine had not kicked in yet.

Maybe 20 minutes later, while I was playing Cascade on my phone, I noticed an incoming call from The Other Half on his mobile. Before I could even think what the heck, I answered it. “I need your help out here” he said, out of breath. It sounded like he was fighting spiders, or snakes, or some kind of bad thing was happening, then he was babbling on about the padlock. What padlock, I was thinking? “I don’t understand what is going on” said I.

Rosie has escaped the yard, she flew over the fence and I am trying to catch her, and if you open the side gate I might be able to shoo her in there, but at the moment I am not even sure where she has gone”.

So I raced to the bedroom to throw clothes on, then ran to the backdoor and put on my new gumboots, then ran to the back gate and tried to open the padlock. No go. It had rusted over. I yelled over the fence that I would swap with the other half because I could not open it, and ran around the side of the house. By the time I got out the front I heard this tremendous squawking and then I saw The Other Half emerge from the bushes, Rosie firmly grasped between his two hands.

He was covered in blackberry thorn scratches. She appeared to be fine, other than being very upset about being caught! She is a small chook, and when she gets separated from the other girls she will run like a bat out of hell to catch up with them, and if that does not seem to be fast enough, she will fly. On this morning, being quite windy, she got a little more lift than she expected and sailed over the fence as a surprise to herself.

It will be a few days before we recover enough from this incident to let them out again. I might have to head out down the side lane with the clippers and remove some of those blackberry bushes for everyone’s safety. One night recently, we heard someone using a chainsaw in the dark, the next day I found someone had been cutting up trees for firewood down there. Not a smart move, methinks!

What else have we been up to here, besides chasing chooks?

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Watching – The X Files – we are up to season 8 finally! Plus, Mr Robot is back and it has been amazing thus far. I’m also enjoying season 3 of Murder In The First and The Deadliest Catch.

Freezing – bananas, strawberries, and pineapple for protein smoothies. Namely this Lava Flow recipe with protein added. I am going to try this carrot cake one next..

Ordering – protein in bulk from bulk nutrients, and k/d cat kibble from My Pet Warehouse.

Building – New IKEA furniture – a story for another post. :)

Cleaning – the house like a crazy person as our vet did a home visit for Grumpy. Guess who spent two hours cleaning the bathroom and toilet in case the vet needed to use them, which of course she did not? They are super spotless now though, which is awesome. And that two hours does not include the four or so hours I spent deep cleaning the kitchen/lounge the day before, or the hours we spent vacuuming and mopping the floors the day before that.

Considering – We’ve realised that Grumpy gets very stressed out having to go to the vet, and that was actually making her eye ulcers worse than better. Any progress we would make was wiped out the following visit because she got stressed about the previous visit. On this home visit, we were very glad to find no eye ulcers in the eye, however we are talking with the vet about corrective surgery for her eyelid as it keeps turning inwards.

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Planning – Our Gold Coast – Tamworth – Bathurst trip with Sephyroth, this coming October. In the above photo the pink arrows point to the Peninsula Apartments, where we will be staying, and the blue arrows point to the Q1 which they were building on our trip up there in 2003.

Listening – I made two MP3 CDs for my nephew recently, for his new car. The first two burned wrong for his car, something about folders and playlists, but they work ok in mine, and so I have been greatly enjoying them. It is all 80’s music, all kinds of stuff from I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred to Gold by Spandau Ballet. We burned them correctly on the second try and loaded them into his car as a surprise. He sent me an SMS after he drove home in the car to say how awesome the first CD was, and he was right!

Wondering – just who the heck this person is that I seem to have become. I went to Aqua Aerobics last week but the warm indoor pool was closed. My options were – go home or get in the outdoor pool and do some aqua jogging and swimming in there. It was 17C (62.6F) outside, and the pool is heated to 25.2C (77.36) and normally there would be NO WAY IN HELL I would get in an outdoor pool at these low for Australia temperatures, but I was determined to do my exercise, so I GOT IN.

Playing – Cascade and Tiny Tower Vegas on my phone. I do not play a lot of games these days but I LOVE Cascade, it is a bit more difficult than your average gem matching game

I have been playing Tiny Tower Vegas for probably 6 months now, just when I’m going to bed or waking up in the morning. I have 68 levels most at level 7 and 8 – I believe the game runs out of levels just over 100. I also have 1212 chips – and I did not cheat! I just ran out of time to play the poker games and the chips have been stacking up as a surprise to myself.

Chickens, country life, exercise

Goal Met, Part 1

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You might recall me telling you what my goal was for 2016 back at the start of the year. It was pretty simple –

Eat less, move more.

I had also set myself a personal weight loss goal of losing 15kg by June. I achieved my goal on the 27th of May, yay!

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Eat Less

I limit myself to 1200-1400 calories a day. Since meeting with the dietitian, the calories I am eating are better than they have ever been. I’m on a high protein diet. I’ve switched out white foods as much as possible – aka I rarely eat bread, pasta or rice, potatoes have been switched for the lower GI sweet potatoes.

I’ve begun to see food as fuel for my body and I am much less likely to eat poor fuel these days. I prefer my protein shake to a hamburger. I gotta tell you, I love that protein shake. I would say irrationally love it, but my love for it is NOT irrational, it is quite sane, because that is great fuel for my body.

What does eating less look like? Don’t worry, I still get my dark chocolate treats in there.. ;) for those wanting to know, here’s a recent day.

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You’ll note breakfast is a weird amount of 32 grams – I do actually weigh it out. My stomach is not a morning stomach. It really does not like a lot of breakfast. This particular cereal is quite fluffy and my eyes say whoa, that is enough! When I eat the Weetbix Protein Bites for breakfast, I do get a full serving of 40g. I switch back and forth between these two cereals.

The protein shake is very filling. I used to eat a lunch which was 129 calories but I can no longer fit it in most days, because I have mostly moved my exercise to mornings and I have my protein shake just after exercise. It keeps me full until dinner time.

This particular dinner I like to call savoury beef, it is delicious. If I’m too full after dinner, I might skip the chocolate or the other snacks that day.

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The rice cakes mentioned above are amazing and have stopped my craving for potato chips entirely. Oranges are in season at the moment so I am eating one a day and enjoying them, sometimes I might switch that out for an apple and in summer it was mangoes all the time, with some greek yoghurt.

The only thing I don’t log is cooking oil – I don’t use much – and spices – I use plenty but the calorie amount is negligible, and I log my two coffees as one coffee in the morning, just to save some time.

Move More

As you saw here on the blog with my recent 5 week challenge posts, I’ve got move more down to a bit of an art at this time. For 5 weeks, I either walked 5km or burned at least 500 calories each day.

The Next Goal

I would like to lose a further 10kg by the start of October. If I manage it, I will reward myself with fake skydiving! ;)

I also want to add in more yoga and pilates before and after treadmill workouts. I did a pilates class which broke me for a week, so I want to build up slowly before trying another class.

2016 Goal, health

Healthy Chicken Strips

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Traditional crumbed chicken is something my grandmother taught me to cook when I was growing up. It was one of the very first dishes she taught me. It involves love, time, and a lot of effort, plus plenty of eggs and butter. I can never make it without thinking of her.

Love, time, and a lot of effort are not always something I have on hand. So when I discovered Healthy Chicken Nuggets at Skinnytaste, I thought I would give them a try. They turned out awesomely and The Other Half was a big fan.

Me personally, I wanted a strip rather than a nugget, because I was the one crumbing them. And he didn’t mind what format they arrived in, as long as they got in his belly. I now make a big batch of these on Sundays, and he takes some for lunch each weekday.

I have tweaked the original recipe somewhat. Here is how I make them, step by step with pics. This is not a recipe where I use exact amounts, myself. You will get messy making this!

You’ll need –

Chicken to crumb. I use breast chicken cut into strips.
If we are eating it for one meal I will use 250g of chicken for each person.
Extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the chicken.
Baking trays lined with baking paper to place your crumbed chicken onto.

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For the crumbs –

Breadcrumbs of your choice.
Parmesan cheese.
Parsley.
Black pepper.
Any other herbs you like to add.

Mix these items together on a large plate. Don’t use too much cheese. When you’ve made it a few times, you’ll know how much is best.

Set the oven to 200C and get it warming, while you do the crumbing.

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Place the chicken into a bowl with some olive oil, and then smoosh it around until all the chicken is lightly coated. Take the chicken out of the bowl and lay it on a plate so any excess oil can drain off.

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Add the oiled chicken to your crumbing plate. Turn the chicken over, pushing it down into the crumbs to coat it. Do this to each side of the chicken until all sides are covered.

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Lay the crumbed chicken on your baking tray. Once the tray is full of chicken, place in the oven for 15 minutes, then take the tray out and flip them over once. Return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes. If you like them crispy on the outside, do 20 minutes each side.

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These are great to have in the fridge for a snack, they can be eaten hot out of the oven or cold out of the fridge. I recommend making a double batch each time and saving the other half for lunches. ;) Or making a huge batch like I do each Sunday, for weekday work lunches for The Other Half.

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health, recipes, Snoskred Faves

Bushwalk Day

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When the weather started to go cloudy and cooler, we started our bushwalking season. These kangaroos above were in the carpark when we arrived.

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The Banksias were out, and they were absolutely gorgeous.

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We crossed a river and there was a cute wooden bridge where people could sit and watch the water go by.

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I have no idea what these native flowers are called but they are so beautiful. Does anyone know?

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We ended up at Bristol Beach – it was super windy so no beach walk, we headed back into the bush instead.

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Our bushwalk track on the map. You park at the carpark at Green Patch and follow the signs for Telegraph Creek nature trail. We added the loop to Bristol Beach.

exercise, Jervis Bay

The Stairs Challenge.

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I was challenged by The Other Half to include some stairs at the start of our Huskisson walks. These are not your average stairs. They are probably 2-3 floors high, very steep, and in some cases a bit overgrown.

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I can now do all 7 sets of steps without having to stop at all. It is a great way to kick off a workout.

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The Five Week Challenge – Week 5

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The final week of the challenge, finally!

Awesomes over the past 5 weeks –

– smashing my goals – sometimes by double
– seeing the dietitian
– seeing the exercise physiologist
– getting lunches back on track
– eating breakfast every day
– trying protein powder for the first time
– trying peanut butter powder for the first time
– adding in a protein smoothie each day
– getting out and walking a lot
– moving exercise up to between 10-midday VS afternoons
– sleeping way better
– getting a bushwalk in
– getting back on the kayak
– walking 2x 10kms
– many sets of beach stairs run down and back up!
– buying water shoes and taking up aqua jogging
– learning to quiet the voice in my head who says “You can’t”
– kept going when I wanted to stop x many times
– bought proper sweatbands
– eating better fuel

Friday May 6th

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I walked 10km, followed by an entire hour in a hot tub. Because I deserved it. :)

Saturday May 7th

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A 6.5km walk, not including this little worm trail when we went to a store.

Sunday May 8th

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Monday May 9th

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Todays run/walk – first 5km running and walking, then a 3km addon of slow walking while I watched the finale of The Good Wife. Which was SHITE, same as the last two seasons have been.

Tuesday May 10th

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Some quite nice personal bests for me on todays run/walk. 7.25 for the first km, 39:36 for the 5k. That is the first time below 40 minutes for me. Thanks to the NBN, for pissing me off so much!

Wednesday May 11th

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Today’s workout brought to you by Get Lucky by Daft Punk which played twice! It was a bit.. weird. I did a new personal best for the 1k. After that, I struggled somewhat to keep up with the time I set for yesterday. I ended up at 40:22 for the 5k, and then I did a cool down 1.5km walk.

Thursday May 12th

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The final workout for the 5 week challenge. 977 calories burned in the pool today.

exercise, Jervis Bay

Kayak Day

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Here are some pics from our recent kayaking day. First up, River, these are my Sharkskin socks. They are specially designed for water sports. Chill proof, sun proof, windproof, neoprene outside, fleece inside. They are the best things ever!

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The view out into Jervis Bay. Just out of the shot, a tourist packed dolphin boat about to leave the wharf. We parked up and watched it. :)

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Looking down Currumbene Creek towards Huskisson.

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Looking back towards Myola.

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As we were heading back to the wharf, the sun came out. I was kinda glad it waited because with so little wind, it got pretty warm out there.

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Reminder to myself – when you do 10km on the kayak and it has been a while since you got on there, the sides of your feet where they rest on the pedal might puff up like you were stung by a bee or bitten by something. Just for fun, maybe one side will puff up first, and the other side might take a couple of hours to puff up, just to freak you out.

Overall it was an awesome day out. Kinda wish we’d headed out into Jervis Bay, but it can go from glass to whitecaps in a fairly quick time out there.. :) The creek is super protected – this is why all the boats are moored in there.

exercise, kayak