The Clothing Chronicles – Part 2

meshtops1

Not long after the Millers shopping trip I mentioned in part 1, I was about to head out for the day and picked an outfit. I was unhappy to find that my mesh top which was part of this outfit no longer fit me. Mesh tops are something those of us who do not love our upper arms depend on, to enable us to wear sleeveless tops and dresses. They can also turn a low cut top into something less cleavage-tastic.

All of mine were from Ezibuy. Over the past 15 years, I had bought that top in blue, red and white, plus several black ones, all in size 16.

No problem, I thought. I will just go back and order some more of those mesh tops in a smaller size. Only one small obstacle – the Ezibuy top was now sold out. So I put aside a day for wandering the local shops in the hopes I could find one. HAHAHHAHA. I would have better luck finding a unicorn. In desperation I went into shops I would never have thought to look in, and not only did I not find my mesh tops, I did not find anything in those places that I liked at all.

A few times I thought I had found them – or a lace version – only to find on closer inspection that the bodysuit is back, baby. I can’t even understand why. On one later shopping trip I was in a bathroom and heard the girl next to me having a lot of trouble, eventually saying I can’t undo this bodysuit, Mum! Her Mum had to go in and help her undo the bodysuit. It brought back memories of times when I could not undo them myself. Why do we wear things that cause such problems, ladies? And why has not technology solved that problem? ;)

Ok then, let me search the online shops. HAHAHAHHA. After a couple of hours of fruitless searching, I was getting very cranky. Then I remembered one of my old school reliable backup online shops – TVSN.

booradley1

Happily they had this one, and unsure what size to get but knowing mesh tops can often accommodate more than one size, I bought the 10 and 12, figuring I could either send back the one that doesn’t fit quite as well. When they arrived they both fit well but the 10 was better overall and that is the size I would order next time. I kept the 12 as well.

When I bought it only the black was available, however they have a range of other colours that go in and out of stock and I was tempted to invest in a few more this past weekend, until I clicked on the size button to find red was the only colour left in my size. These tops are super popular and with good reason. I like the Boo Radley one more than the Ezibuy one, it has a slightly higher neckline.

The other must have layering item for those who do not love their arms is a shrug cardigan. I had to pack away a few after winter last year because they were way too big. Now, two of my most favourite shrugs in teal green and pink no longer fit me. This means I am left with two shrugs that work – these are a lurex glittery stretch fabric which will work for me at most sizes.

longlinecardy2

It seems from all my searching, the shrug is out, and longer cardigans are in. Sometimes even ridiculously long! That photo is the purple floor length cardigan. Zulily is a site I have never shopped at yet but I do browse it quite often and get their daily emails, it has a lot of stuff which is my style mixed in with a lot of stuff that is not.

I did manage to find a couple of shrugs in my travels but they are both black, I could not find a shrug in a colour at all. I will keep looking but I am not very hopeful.

sleeveless

Just to give you an idea of how much of my wardrobe relies on these mesh tops and shrug cardigans – here are all my sleeveless things. There are more than 30 items here.

Fashion

The Clothing Chronicles – Part 1

millersdress1

Sometime in November 2016, we made a trip to Shellharbour which is the largest of the nearby shopping centres. We being my parents, the other half, and myself. Mother loves Millers and I am not adverse to the place because I find a lot of great shrug cardigans there. In fact all the shrug cardigans I own originated at Millers.

Sometimes Millers have stuff that works for me – it can also skew very “Queen Mother” from time to time, mixed in with stuff you might find in the wardrobe of Duchess Catherine.

They had these dresses which had silver foil metallic printing on them, plus these round metallic spots which are kind of sparkly. I’m always on board for sparkly, in fact one of my nicknames is sparkles. So I grabbed a size 16 off the rack without even thinking about it, tried it on, and it was far too big. The 14 was brought to me – still too big. Then the 12 – which fit.

I tried on a shrug cardigan in large – way too big. Medium, still too big. I ended up with a small that fit perfectly, and after purchasing both of these items with glee, I left the store somewhat in shock. The last time I bought shrug cardigans at Millers, I bought the EXTRA large. XL – L – M – S. That is a huge change for me.

Sizes are never the same across stores. You can be a 10 at one and a 16 in another. Over the years I learned not to let the sizes concern me greatly. When everything that fit was XL, that was actually pretty easy.

My body might be smaller now but my mind is still stuck in XL, it seems. I cannot look at a piece of clothing and know whether it will fit or not – and if I try, I end up with something way too big. Now I just keep trying things on until they actually fit which means a visit to a store can take 30 minutes to an hour.

clothestoolarge

The bottom line is – I am smaller, fitter and healthier than I have been for many years – and this means much of my wardrobe no longer fits me well. Some of my most favourite clothes which have been reliable wardrobe staples for years are now way too big. Most of the stuff you see in that photo up there is 2-4 sizes too big.

This meant it was time to do some shopping, and over the past few months I have tried to do that with limited success. You would think it would be fun, right? NO. Especially when you already have things you love in your wardrobe, like this Alfani asymmetrical tunic from Macys which has little black sparkly crystals all over it and cost me something like $10. I have had this for 5 years.

Alfani

Or like these style and co tops from Macys which I loved so much I bought in every single colour they had, for the huge price of $15 each once they took off all the discounts. These I have had since 2010. They have a little sparkle, they were perfect for work or going out. The amount of wear I got out of these.. and they are all still wearable, for someone else but sadly not for me. Just too big.

stylenco

Fashion runs in cycles, and right now walking into any “trendy” store is like walking into my closet in the late 80’s early 90’s. It is fashion deja-vu. Velvet bodysuits. BODYSUITS WTF. Hotpants. Cropped bomber jackets, some in velvet, one of which I did buy. Floral dresses akimbo – some of which I swear I actually owned back then. STIRRUP PANTS. Need I say more?

Given that we are listening to 90’s tracks in the car a lot right now, walking into those shops after driving there listening to the music I would have been listening to back in the 90’s feels about right. And sometimes I will see a thing and it takes me back to a moment in time or an outfit I used to wear, and I am right back there. What I am trying to say is, this fashion time warp is really freaking me out.

In order to find anything worthy of adding to my wardrobe, I have had to pick through an incredible array of Shiznit I Would Never Buy Or Wear In A Zillion Billion Years. I have had to walk past a lot of plus size shiznit which I totally WOULD buy but cannot get in my size anymore.

I know who I am fashion wise – it would be described as quirky, eccentric, unusual. You can’t just find that anywhere, though it is easier to find that in the plus sizes than in the smaller sizes. I like bright colours, metallic accents, foil prints, crystals, animal print and plays on animal print. I like to layer.

Actually finding those things, well, that is another story. It requires patience, time, effort, and a willingness to hunt through the junk to find the gold OR finding a store that is full of stuff you like in sizes that fit you.

Out of all the “shopping mall” stores in Australia right now, the one that is probably closest to my style is Noni B. They also have some stuff that can skew very “Queen Mother” but in between that, they have some stuff which seems to have been designed with me in mind.

meinadress

Like this Billie dress – this is exactly me, in dress format. I did not buy it because Sephyroth just brought me a bunch of great dresses from the USA when he visited back in October.

Next week in part 2 – using layers to expand my options.

Fashion

The Secret Car

vw

While we were on our big adventure trip back in October/November, a thing happened with The Other Half’s car. The airconditioning stopped working. Of course, it was 38-40 degrees C at the time (almost 100F).

We had been talking about what to do with his car for over a year. It was reaching odometer readings that mean you need to do some work on it.

I still loved his car. He was not so much in love anymore. When he told me that – and he told me he often preferred driving MY Volkswagen Polo instead I said well I think it is time we figure out our finances and start looking at other options.

So one Saturday morning we dropped by our local VW dealer and had a chat. The Other Half was unsure about the new auto gearboxes and whether or not he wanted to stick with a manual car, so the awesome bloke gave us a Golf with the same gearbox we would have in a new Polo and we went for a drive.

About an hour later we’d put in an order for our new car. And about a week later it arrived. This car, you guys. This car is AMAZING. It can do things I would never have imagined, and things I actually cannot quite describe. For example –

– When you stop the car at the traffic lights, it automatically turns the engine off. Once you lift your foot off the brake, it turns it back on again.

– It can follow other cars. No, not like a private detective. It will match the speed and brake when that car brakes, so you can drive through city traffic without having to touch a pedal at all – accelerator OR brake..

There are so many awesome features I cannot even begin to type them all out.

I’ve been keeping it a secret from you for nearly two months now, and I am sorry about that. You are not the only ones. My parents found out when they discovered it parked in our driveway as a surprise, about a week after we first got it.

Ford XR5 Turbo, new car

New Year, Same Goals

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Almost the same goals as 2016, because I do not really want to eat less than I presently am. I am aiming for 1200 calories each day.

Move more is back on the agenda after taking a break since late October when I injured my hip. At the moment I am aiming for 30 minutes on the treadmill each day and adding in a minute more of running each day.

Across 2016, I lost over 20kg – that’s 44 pounds. More importantly, I am a lot fitter than I used to be. It has made a huge difference.

This journey to better fitness has not been without problems – I had a big interruption in February 2016 when I had diverticulitis. In September I was diagnosed with thyroid problems – antibodies are attacking my thyroid as a surprise to myself – and I began taking a small dose of Thyroxine daily.

I only need to lose another 5kg to meet my goal weight and I would like to do that by mid-February when I have my colonoscopy scheduled.

The Other Half is having some health issues which required us to reduce our sodium intake. We ate much less processed food in December as a result, and I am cooking almost everything from scratch. Rather hilariously, I’m now having to make sure I get extra salt because I have the opposite problem of low blood pressure.

Happy New Year everyone! :)

2016 Goal, 2017 goal

Going Cashless

travelonpic

Photo credit – travelonbags.com

I remember when I was young and I got my first ever purse and began to carry money with me regularly. It was exciting and slightly scary in a way. There suddenly was a possibility that I could forget my purse, or lose money, or have someone try and take my money from me. I really never became someone who enjoyed purses or handbags. To me they were annoying, something to have to keep an eye on, something to have to hold onto.

I was not into the “fashion” aspect of things very much as a teenager and certainly never owned an expensive handbag – still to this day I believe the most I have ever spent on a handbag would be around $100. Perhaps if I did enjoy fashion or have an expensive handbag I might have grown to enjoy it.

The older I got, the more I wanted to carry with me. Lip balm, hand cream, tissues, a bottle of water, a diary, a calculator back in the days before one had a mobile phone with one, then of course the mobile phone appeared and that became another item to carry. Spare batteries for the mobile, a camera, the list grew and grew until my handbag was quite heavy.

What is worse, I felt like I actually NEEDED to have all that stuff with me everywhere I went. It became an obligation and not one that I enjoyed. Then the stores began with their loyalty cards, and those began to pile up. And up. And UP. I even had loyalty cards from stores in the USA in my purse!

The security of my handbag was another troubling factor, for me. I’ve always been a backpack or cross body bag person, and you do hear stories where the strap gets cut and away goes your bag. Though these are usually in countries I would not be travelling to, there is always a chance it can happen here.

The turning point for me was in early 2016 when I began to go to the pool regularly. To be on the safe side, I did not want to take anything with me. No phone, no purse, no license, no cash, nothing at all. Just a bottle of water and my gym bag with my towel and dry clothes to change into. To my surprise, the world did not end. I actually survived without those things.

This started my mind down a path – what if I actually stopped carrying a purse all the time? What if I stopped carrying cash? Is it possible to go everywhere I want to go and pay by eftpos or credit card? I began to tick places off the list of places I usually go. In reality there were only two places that do not accept cash – the local markets and one local eatery. Though a lot of places at the markets DO now accept cards, too!

So when I saw TVSN having a sale on Travelon which does contain a lot of security features including a strap that cannot be cut and RFID protection, I put in an order. That was back in July, and several months have now passed – all of which, I have been mostly cashless.

Mostly.

I have taken out cash on the following occasions – to get my car washed – to go to the local markets – to go to a food fair. The Other Half carries cash in his wallet so if I go somewhere with him and need cash, chances are he will have some. But realistically I have not needed cash 99% of the time.

What about minimum Eftpos limits?

Some places do have a minimum eftpos amount – this is usually $10. The only time I ever spend less than $10 is at the supermarket when I am running in to get one or two things I need, and all the local supermarkets here allow eftpos transactions at any amount, especially the self serve checkouts.

What about credit card charges?

It really annoys me when the stores charge for using a credit card, but it is not a deal breaker for me. Usually I can just use eftpos instead in those places – eg Aldi – and they tend not to charge for that.

The Best Part Is –

Not having to handle cash regularly. For a germophobe like me, cash is a real nightmare. Cash is absolutely covered in germs!

Overall, going cashless has worked for me. Would it work for you? The easiest way to find out is to just do it. If you want a safety net you can keep a $20 or $50 hidden in a safe place in your bag just in case, you can dispense with the coins entirely and just carry your cards with you.

Happy Snoskred, shopping

Woolworths : The Fail Whale People.

You may recall that I broke up with Woolworths in August 2015. Since then, I have been pretty consistent with my desire to not shop there. When I changed purses recently, I did not bother putting their rewards card in there.

It turns out there is only one thing we actually NEED to buy at Woolworths which we cannot get elsewhere. Don pepperoni. We tried the Aldi version and it was ok, but it was not awesome like the Don pepperoni. Coles do not sell pepperoni in sticks here, you can only get it in packets which does not work for us. So once in a blue moon, we trek to Woolworths and stock up on Don pepperoni.

Over the past year they opened a new Woolworths at Vincentia Marketplace. We visited the marketplace when it first opened and took a look at Woolworths. That store was new and therefore was laid out in the new style. Nothing we saw inspired us to reconsider our decision to break up.

Since I saw the dietitian and changed our eating habits to involve less processed foods and more fresh foods, 99% of our shop comes from Aldi now. We visit Coles for any brand name foods we cannot get at Aldi. Each shop, that list gets smaller and smaller. I do not like eggs from Aldi, so we pick up the Manning Valley eggs from Coles, and we usually get some Don ham there. Some weeks that is all we buy from Coles.

A couple of weeks ago, Woolworths put an ad on my Facebook. They told me that Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets would be 50% off. Ever since Pinchme sent a sample of those, we have been faithful Fairy customers. At 50% off, the tablets are a mere .35 cents each. Usually even on special the best price I will find is .50 cents each.

So off we went to Woolworths, only to find NO Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets on special. I was so annoyed! Clearly I was not the only one, because the next time Facebook showed me the ad, it had the dates that this would be on special.

Our next grocery shopping trip fell within those dates, so we went to Woolworths, only to find that particular store did not stock Fairy Platinum at all. FAIL WHALE.

By now, I was determined I was going to buy those darn dishwasher tablets. Having failed twice, we went to the largest Woolworths in our area and picked up 4 packets. They also had salami on special, and we had just run out. So this will be our last visit to Woolworths until we next run out of salami, which I am hoping will be in early 2017. That stuff lasts a fair while, we only use 12 slices a week on our pizzas.

I don’t care what you advertise to me on the Facebook in future, Woolworths.

I am NOT picking you.

Annoyed Snoskred, bitches, shopping

Election Fever

bushwalk3

Don’t you just LOVE it when the universe decides to have a joke at your expense?

At the last Federal Election, I worked at a holiday town election booth as a declaration votes officer. There were at least two of us, possibly three, I can’t remember. We were pretty busy all day helping people visiting from other electorates to cast their votes. During that day, I had TWO votes for our local electorate of Gilmore, both for people who had enrolled at the last minute and somehow got left off the electoral roll.

So, on Saturday the 2nd of July I unwrapped my votes for the many electorates and began counting them, 5 for each electorate. When I got to Gilmore, I laughed to myself and thought “I won’t need many of those today”.

And the universe laughed with me, or maybe at me, because unknown to me there had been some kind of error with the electoral roll. Some people who were on the roll at the last election suddenly found that they were missing. They had not changed address. They had not changed anything with the AEC. But they could not be found, and had to cast declaration votes.

I had to ask my manager for a pad of Gilmore votes. They are printed in books of 100. I had less than 10 left at the end of the day – add in the 5 I started with, it was almost 100 declaration votes for Gilmore. HA HA, laughed the universe!

There was only one of me this time. There were times where I was surrounded by people at my table. I only had one pen which would work on the envelopes and the polling place manager had to do some pen stealing to find me more. I ended up with four. Even with all four pens being used to fill in envelopes, there were long queues of people waiting for me. I was using one pen – the one that would not work on the envelopes – to write down the things I needed to add to the envelopes once they were filled in.

Handing out votes, saying all the things I needed to say, reminding everyone their votes HAD to come back to me to be placed into their envelopes.. I felt like an election robot.

Just after 5pm, I ran out of declaration vote envelopes. We did not have any more, nor did we have any way to get anymore. We had to send those people to other voting places.

The good news is, this meant I could close my station and begin reconciling. Thank the deities, the vote numbers worked out perfectly. Declaration votes are not counted on election day, they are sent to their various electorates to be counted. The envelopes remain closed until they arrive there. Not even the declaration votes cast within their own electorate are opened and counted.

I was done with my reconcillation by 6:30pm which meant I could join in the counting of regular votes. With one of the best teams of AEC staff I have ever been lucky enough to meet, and everyone pitching in and working hard, we had everything counted by 8:30pm. Another half hour to pack up, 15 minutes to bump out and clean up, and we were all out of there by 9:20pm or so. I was home with my beloved Antony Green on the teevee by 9:30pm. I was in bed not long after that – I recorded him to watch later.

As I type this on the 4th of July, there is no election result in Australia. There are currently 10 electorates too close to call and all the votes – postal, declaration, pre-poll – will have to be counted in order to get a result. By the time this post is scheduled I hope we might have a result, I will update it next Sunday.

One of those electorates is my own – Gilmore.

UPDATE – Supposedly the coalition has claimed victory, even though there is more counting to do.. :/

challenges, elections, work

Thoughts On Things

bananas

The protein adventures continue. I find myself quite often considering whether I have enough bananas in the freezer. My daily protein shake is now my daily lunch and I have to be honest, I quite prefer it to any other food. The other half has gone out to get a gorgeous, locally made hamburger from the local takeaway shop and I have returned home to have my shake.

I tried putting a full frozen banana in there and it turned out like the most awesome – and coldest – thickshake I ever tasted. I could not even notice the texture of the protein. That is going to be a massive winner in summer. I’m loving it in winter too. I’m a bit of a weird one, though, winter is the time I use the most ice in my drinks.

I have progressed up to 30g of protein powder and I am loving it. I ran out of peanut butter powder this week and I have been doing a touch more cocoa powder with a touch more cinnamon, now I think I might alternate between the two flavours once I get some more PB powder.

This weekend is going to be a bit of a problem, though. Usually I do my exercise before lunch then have my protein shake after my shower. I’m working the election on Saturday so my entire routine will be thrown right out of whack. Luckily it is not too far from home, so I can still have my shake.

I will take some carrot sticks and cheese for morning and afternoon snacks, and chicken strips for dinner. Plus plenty of water and my soda water. I’m not going to be able to exercise – other than perhaps take a walk at lunch time, but it won’t be the kind of walk I am used to doing, not in the outfit I am planning to wear! ;)

I did not actually apply to work this election because I knew it is going to be one heck of a tough one, with the changes to voting. But once you are on the list, they will call you if they are running short on staff. I figured if they called me, I would say yes.

For the huge Senate ballot paper (which measures in at just over a metre!) you used to be able to say, very simply – Number one box above, or ALL the boxes below. Now, it is a minimum of 6 above, or 12 below.

Here is a great post from Antony Green about the new changes.

Working the election is a really long day – you start at 7 (booths do not open until 8am) and you finish when the votes are counted *and* fully accounted for. How long that takes depends on how good at maths your Polling Place Manager is. The second time I worked an election, we were delayed by an hour because someone had done some maths wrong. It was late in the very long day, everyone was tired and starting to get a bit snappy and jumpy.

It should tell you everything about how tired everyone was that *I* was the person who figured out what was going on with the maths. I failed maths in school, LOL! We finished that day around 11:30pm.

This also taught me to bring along a packet of chocolate biscuits to hand around for dessert, because by that time of day blood sugar can be running a bit low, so a little treat tends to perk people up a little.

You might be wondering, how do people count – and handle – those massive ballot papers? The first thing you have to do when you open the Senate ballot box is UNFOLD all those papers. This can take over an hour just by itself depending on how many people voted there and how many staff you have on hand. As you unfold, most people tend to pull out votes for the major parties and put them aside, just to make the sorting a little easier when the time comes.

You also put aside any “artistic” votes, completely blank papers, or clearly invalid votes. Listen, people. If you are going to draw genitalia on your ballot paper, USE THE WHOLE CANVAS if you want to impress the polling staff. Do not just draw genitals at the size you are used to seeing them, AKA the size of your parts. You have a metre. Make the most of it!

If you want to write a funny note, the polling place staff are the only people who will see it. Writing in Mickey Mouse does not make anyone laugh. We’ve seen that so many times before, but if that is how you want to waste your vote, totes fine with us.

The things I have seen, I really wished I could take photos of, but that is Not The Done Thing. I’m fine with that, though I feel like the AEC are really missing an opportunity to throw a huge art exhibition with some of the genitalia drawings. Last election there was one enterprising individual who drew a tiny male genitalia in every single box on the huge white ballot paper. Work like that should be appreciated, not just stored in a (large) plastic bag for all eternity.

elections

Goal Met, Part 1

redtime

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!

goalmet

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.

food1day

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.

food1aday

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