Monday, 10 December 2012

Sunday 10: 10 must haves for your workout wardrobe

Now I know when you're working out you're getting sweaty and gross, but that's no excuse not to look good doing it! Going to the gym feeling good about yourself means you're going to get more out of your session, and if all that stands between you and feeling great before you even get there is an awesome pair of tights, then what are you waiting for?

10) Headband. Whether your hair is long or short, a headband not only keeps it out of your eyes, but will also keep the sweat out of your eyes! It can also keep your ears warm in winter, and keep those headphones from falling out when you run!

Whatever motivates you!
Maybe even make your own?
9) Inspirational Tee or Singlet. Sometimes you're not going to feel great heading into the gym no matter what you're wearing. Try wearing your favourite inspirational shirt - mine is an old Nike one that says "Lazy but Talented" and I don't know why but for some reason I feel like I have to prove the first part wrong! Lorna Jane and Nike always have great slogan tees.

8) Sweatbands and/or cycling gloves. Now if you're like me and you tend to get really sweaty hands, you may have noticed it's a bit difficult when it comes to push ups and other things that require your hands to be on the floor - yoga for instance. Fingerless cycling gloves are perfect for getting around this embarrassing problem. They allow you the dexterity of your fingers by leaving them exposed, but soak up the sweat from your palms, plus allow you to properly grip the floor. You can even get ones with a handy little towel patch to wipe the sweat from your brow. For those who don't have sweaty palm problems, wrist sweat bands are great for keeping the sweat from rolling down your arms and getting to your hands. Plus you can use them to wipe off your face.

My fave Lorna pants. Sad to be
shrinkingout of them!
7) Compression garments. You probably know these as skins, but they have come a long way in the last 5 years! Compression garments aid in muscle recovery, and reduce soreness post workout so you don't have to worry about being too sore for tomorrows workout! My favourite pair are actually from Lorna and have a python print - much nicer than my old bright red and grey skins pair! You can get them in short, 3/4 and long so there is something for everyone. You can even get them for just your calves, and you can get a vest form for the upper body.

6) A great hat or three. If you're working out in the sun, particularly in the summer months, you should never leave the house without a hat! Now while the best kind of hat for sun protection is without a doubt the sombrero, it's not exactly practical! I have different hats for different things. I have a straw wide brimmed hat for walking with the pram which is great because it covers my shoulders a bit too. I look a little like Eliza Doolittle meets Jane Fonda, but it brings a little class to the ensemble I like to think! For more active things, like climbing up Castle Hill, I have trucker style cap with a wide and long brim. This keeps the sun off my face, and the top of my head but still gives a little breathability. For water sports like aqua aerobics, I have my visor with the same kind of brim, but I always remember to put some spray sunscreen on any exposed parts of my scalp.

A must have for your tootsies!
5) The right socks. Now you might not think socks make a huge difference, but for some people they really do. Select the right sock for your activity. Running, circuit work, and high intensity sports mean your feet need to breathe, so look for a coolmax sock with a wicking capability. If hiking is your style, choose the right sock for the season, and your boot style. For summer hiking, you cannot go past Injinji bamboo liners with seperated toes. The natural fibre allows your feet to breathe, and wicks away moisture avoiding nasty conditions like athletes foot, and the toe segregation helps avoid blisters and painful rubbing. When hiking in Borneo these were all I wore with my boots, but they can also be worn as a liner under warmer socks in the cooler months, and they save you having to bother with wool between your toes! They are also great for sports that require you have a lot of 'feel' available in your feet like rock climbing, and can be used under swimfins to avoid rubbing. If you have sweaty feet to go with your sweaty palms, Injinji socks are great for yoga so you don't lose your grip on the earth!

4) The right shoe. Now that you have the right sock, you need to make sure you have the right shoe for the job! Getting fitted for the right shoe is imperative, but you also need to be able to tell your shoe guy what you will be using it for. It took me so long to find the right shoe I think Tim and Troy from Athlete's foot at Willows deserve trophies! I ended up in a men's shoe to get the best fit possible, but they are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn for sports, and they are MUCH more aesthetically pleasing than the ladies version of the same make! I do still wear different shoes for different things, obviously my hiking boots for hiking, and I have a pair of Nike Free Runs for using my recumbent cycle when I just really need something to grip the pedals more than anything else. Getting fitted properly is a must, and like doctors, if you're having a lot of trouble get more than one opinion. Remember as well that you should be replacing your sneakers after 6 months.

Intimo's Contour sports bra, perfect
for getting sweaty but looking
and feeling groovy!
3) A great sports bra. Speaking of other things that must be fitted properly, ladies you must have those under shoulder boulders in the right sized holder. This goes beyond comfort, because breast tissue can be severely damaged if left to bounce too much. Sports bras come in 2 types: underwire, and wire free. Underwire does not automatically mean more supportive, and for some ladies myself included, wire free bras are more comfortable and supportive than their wired counterparts. When looking for a great sports bra, look for features such as a coolmax style fabric for the band to allow breathability, wide straps with a little padding to help absorb bounce, the option to cross straps at the back for high impact workouts, a minimum of 3 clips at the back, and of course the right cup and band size. At Initimo we have both underwire and wire free sports bras, so why not have a sneaky peak at the catalog! Like your sneakers, your bra will have a life of about 6 months, and you should also be refitted every 6 months to account for changes to your body, especially during weight loss, pregnancy, or weight gain.

2) Flattering tights/pants. The last thing you want is to feel self conscious when you work out. You become to concerned with whether your tummy is jiggling, or your shorts are bunching up, that your workout may suffer! But, a great pair of flattering tights or shorts that make you feel good can solve this problem! I have a pair of Lorna fold down half length tights that always make me feel a million dollars. They hold my tummy in and stop it from jiggling, which means I'm not concerned about the top I'm wearing either and I can just get on with it. I can fold them right up under my bra too if I'm having a real bad "fat" day. It might be the cut, it might be an awesome colour, it might be shorts with tights built in underneath to take away that bunching feeling, but a flattering pair of workout pants is a must to fend off using a fat day as an excuse not to work out!

1) Heart Rate Monitor. Your HRM will be your best friend when you work out - especially if you're like me and need a number to hit before you'll let yourself stop! Polar make these babies in all different colours too, so they need not be an eye sore! Keep track of your calories, how long you've been working out, and of course your heart rate to make sure you're not over doing it. You will feel great when you look down at the end of a session and see evidence of your hard work!

So there you go, a little fashion, a little fitness! Still brainstorming on what to do next week, but maybe it's a nice to have surprises coming up to Christmas!


Friday, 7 December 2012

Rest in Peace, Daniel

Today, 9 years ago, Daniel Morcombe disappeared from a bus stop on Queensland's Sunshine coast. Today 9 years ago, I was the same age as Daniel, walking from the caravan park at Cotton Tree, to Sunshine Plaza with two younger children in my care, on the Sunshine Coast. That day was the day it all changed. I remember the fear in my parent's voices, even Dad's, when he told me to get the others and wait, and that my friend's Dad would be picking us up and we were not to walk home, because a boy had been taken. I remember looking for Daniel for weeks after. I remember the years passing by, I remember wondering how his family was doing, and I remember the day they found him. I look forward to remembering the day they lock the scum who did this to him away for life without parole, as we all do.
And I will remember today, the day that Bruce and Denise, and Daniel's brothers, friends, and family get to lay their boy to rest, deliver him into the arms of the angels, and to finally say goodbye.

Today my heart is with the Morcombes and their friends, on a day that they not only say goodbye, but also celebrate the life of a sweet boy who in life bought so much light to everyone's day, and in death moves us all to teach our children to be safe. Australia will never forget you, Daniel. In this land you are immortal. 

Daniel would be so proud of his Mum and Dad, and I know that because what kid wouldn't be? Bruce and Denise, you have strived to make something good come of your own personal tragedy, and succeeded. We are all proud of you, and as a nation we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Without your tireless efforts to educate us all on the issue of child safety, who knows how many other families may have had to carry the same burden that you have done all these years. There is an old Irish saying, and that is "I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final goodbye" and that is what I wish for you today.

As sad as today has the potential to be, the girls and I will be going for a walk in our red shirts, with our giant red pram, and with smiles on our faces knowing that today is the day that Daniel finds peace, and that his death has not been in vain thanks to the tireless efforts of his wonderful and strong family. They have helped to build a safer Australia for my children to grow up in, and for that I am eternally grateful. 

Goodbye Daniel, you are forever loved, and will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, darling angel.

Bruce and Denise have asked that today we all wear red and a smile in memory of their sweet boy, so please don a red shirt, pants, whatever you have, and show you are there in heart for this brave family.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Food Tude II: The Associative Phase

So you've come through the cognitive phase of building and learning positive food tude, but it's not quite at the point where you just do it out of habit. What is this limbo zone?

Welcome to the associative phase! During this phase you are probably finding that while you don't have to think out every tiny little bit of every action, you still find yourself having to put a little thought into it. It is called the associative phase, because instead of actively thinking about each action (like weighing out ingredients, and constant calorie counting) you are thinking more of how the actions apply to the greater picture, thus associating the components of the skill - being portion size, healthy eating, and total calories - with the overall goal, in this case, weight loss.

This is the phase where I currently find myself. For me, this phase means I don't need to look up recipes anymore because I know the ingredients and the process, and also that I don't need to necessarily plan my meals out. I still need to count my calories but I can do it on the go a bit better, and I can choose what to have based on where my calories are at for the day - and I'm comfortable doing it. I think about my choices more in the context of how this will effect my weeks results, more than how many calories this meal will leave me for the rest of the day.
But do I trust myself in a food court yet? Not entirely. Do I still need to remind myself to stick to the right portion size, and to ask myself whether or not I am hungry in my gut, or hungry in my head? Of course.

The associative phase is when you are at your most vulnerable. It can be easy to get your teenager hat on, assume you know everything, and make mistakes. It is make it and graduate to the next level, or break it and go back to square one, and if you do break, you have nobody to blame but yourself. The cognitive phase taught you to say no to temptations, count your calories, think about everything you are putting in your mouth and to get comfortable with the idea of dieting, so do you know what that means? You should know better by now! Any mistakes you make are on you. If you've made it to that phase, you can say no, and you can make the right choices, so you need to keep going.

This is the longest phase, the phase where you are most vulnerable to relapse, the phase where you have to prove to yourself you can do this, and to be serious with yourself that you want this.

But keep going! It will be so worth it, because when you get to stage 3, you are homeward bound!

To be continued!


Monday, 3 December 2012

Sorry for going MIA last week...

Hello my lovlies!

I am so sorry for going MIA the last week! I had a very bad week health wise, my iron took a big crash and then I thought Thursday it was fine so I climbed up Castle Hill with the Townsville 12WBT crew, but that only made it worse come Friday morning! I spent almost all of yesterday passed out in bed because I couldn't even summon the strength to sit up! But I have been to the doctor this morning, she gave me a few shots, and sent me for some more tests to make sure everything is okay. It should be fine, it's likely to do with the Townsville heat really ramping up and hubby having been away stressing me out just being all a bit too much for my body, even if my mind didn't think so!

Another update is that I have signed up to become an Intimo stylist here in the Burdekin! I have been looking for another way to help women feel good about themselves, and Intimo shares my passion for making women feel confident and beautiful, so I took the plunge and joined the family! SO you will now also see yet ANOTHER tab up the top for my Intimo business, where you can click on, see all the new releases, hostess promotions and more! You can also order and book a party (Burdekin region only) through that tab where you will find my Intimo contact details. I can take orders from Australia and New Zealand, but I am still working out the details for international sales :)

As a result of all the crazy nonsense of the last week or two, I'll be postponing Tubesday this week to be Thursday, just to give myself some time to catch up and organise myself for what I am going to say! I will be addressing the very hot issue of "real women" in magazines, in particular Cleo, and pointing out a key flaw in the argument of both sides of the battle. Also, part two of my Food Tude series, the associative phase, will be up this week, as well as my first recipe in the Food Tude tab so stay tuned!


Monday, 26 November 2012

Sunday 10: What the fashion industry could do to make our lives easier!

So while I do love fashion, there are many things that really do annoy me sometimes, and it goes beyond the fact that it's all so expensive here in Australia! These are those things!

10) Stop bringing back things from the 80s. Everyone says they have such bad fashion memories from the 80s, such bad hair, bad acid wash denim, etc, etc, and this includes designers and fashion experts. So why are you bringing it back?! Leave the 80s in the 80s people.

9) Stop telling us we can't put things in the dryer. Jigs up, we've all put something in that wasn't supposed to go in and it was fine 9/10 times. 

8) Stop trying to make androgyny cool. It's not. It's never going to be, so move on. We live in an age where we as women need to be proud of our bodies, not try and make them look like they cold pass for either male or female. 

7) Nobody likes ironing. Nobody likes to iron, and we know there are plenty of fabrics out there that don't require ironing. We're also pretty sure you could develop all of the others to follow suit!

6)  Stop bringing in styles that are literally flattering on nobody, then telling us all we must have it. The prime example of this was "the sack dress" that was hot to trot in the mid-late 2000s. If you were flat chested it made you look more flat chested, if you had big ta-tas it made you look like you were wearing a circus tent, and in general, it gave nobody anywhere any shape without the addition of a waist belt, yet was constantly designed to be worn without the belt. Another similar look is high waisted "mum" jeans, that we are seeing coming in again this season. The number of people that these flatter is so tiny that I don't even know how they're turning a profit on it. There is a gorgeous would be supermodel lady that regularly goes to the same coffee shop as me and my friends, and she is built like Kate Moss and she can't even pull off those pants. 

5) Market appropriate collections to appropriate age groups. Mid-riff tops for 10 year olds are not cool! Mid-riff tops for 18 year olds (while tacky) are at least fairly age appropriate. Marketing the same clothes to women in between the ages of 40-60 as you would to those aged 65-85 is also not appropriate. It's insulting. 

4) Realise that humans come in all sizes and that includes their height. Be you male or female, you may or may not have encountered the problem of pants being too long or too short, or sleeves that don't quite reach and vice verser. The fashion industry needs to realise that people are just as varying in height as they are in general shape and size. The US has this fairly well covered with jeans available in many different cuts, sizes, and leg lengths. In Australia, the leg lengths are there but very generic. A short leg on me is too short, but regular is too long, and not just by a fraction, to the point that to take them up would lose the cut. It's not a big ask. This goes for shape wear as well.

3) See that big breasted women deserve pretty bras too, and not all of them are a size 14+. I have a few friends who are very well endowed in the boob department, and a common complaint they have is that the only bra's they can get are ugly nanna bras. For some, who are small in size but big in boob, they find simply finding any bra difficult. Big breasted women need bras more than any of us, so why do they struggle so much to find something that fits both their size, age group, and personality? There is a clear hole in the market so why hasn't someone outside the industry of party plans filled it yet? 

2) Design collections intended for the high street with the average size woman in mind. So many collections in department stores and alike really do not cater for the average size woman. Be it the cuts, fabric, or even just the size availability, I am seeing less and less of it in this age where we are supposedly glorifying the "real woman." I wanted to buy a Cue dress from Myer here and I needed a 14 but they only stock sizes 6-12, even though Cue make them up to a 16. Why? When the average Australian woman IS a size 14, do they not provide for her? On top of all of thise you find things that are available in bigger sizes that have no business being available in that size because either a) they are the things from number 9 and flatter nobody, or b) nobody in their right mind who was that size would wear it anyway. Enough is enough. 

1) Introduce uniformed sizing. I find it interesting that in some stores I'm a size 10, and in others I'm a 16. Some places I'm an XS, and others an XL. Why is there not a uniformed size for women? Men are lucky, its all inches/centimetres, an 87 is an 87 no matter where you go, and it almost seems like even the shirt sizes of S,M,L are all the same across the board too, but not for us ladies. As a mother who lugs a double pram wherever I go, I often don't get time to try anything on, or I can't fit my pram in the change room to do it anyway. If I could go into a store, and buy a skirt in the right cut for me, just by looking at the tag and knowing it would be the right size, my life would be SO much easier.

Some of them are trivial but annoy me to the ends of the earth, others are a real issue, but I wish someone would address them all anyway!


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

What every military family wants civilians to understand

Last night I posted a link up to an incredibly honest and important blog post entitled "Dear Civilians: What Every Military Wife Wants You To Know." It is however written from an American military perspective, and while they have it harder than us in the aspects of open ended deployment, Australian military families do it just as tough because we don't get most of the perks people think we do.

As a military spouse, I constantly feel like I don't belong. I feel that I am somehow neither a married or single parent. I feel that I have no real home, and I can't get attached to this house that I bought my babies home to because I will have to leave it all too soon. I don't get to put height markers on doors, or paint my childrens' bedroom. When I was pregnant I didn't get to nest like everyone else. I don't get to chose where I live. My job interviews get wrapped up as soon as the perspective employer finds out what my husband does for a living. I am scared to put down roots anywhere, because I know that at any point I need to be able to dig them up and move, and pretend that it's all okay.

I'm like a water lily, beautiful and strong on the surface, carrying the weight of many frogs on my leaves, and the rain gliding off me like it's nothing, but underneath I am a mess of tangled, unanchored roots, reaching down into the depths longing for the substrate, and constantly floating along wondering when the water will get shallow enough for me to finally reach.

So here are some additions to the article from an Australian military perspective on not only deployments, but how different our life really is to yours. These things are on top of the struggles with employment, babysitting, and support that spouses and families deal with.

"Bush Trips"

Also known as "going out bush" "going out field" or "going on exercise", this is basically when the serving member goes off for a number of days, weeks, sometimes even months, to the middle of nowhere for a simulated training exercise. For most of us, this means days, weeks, and for the very unlucky, months, of absolutely 100% no contact at all. Sometimes you might get a lucky sneaky sat phone call, but most of the time you're on your own. The other wonderful thing about these trips is that the dates are never set in stone, and even if the unit tells you they are, a seasoned military wife knows they're lying (because they can't even be sure the higher ups wont change their minds), and to expect their partner home when he's home. I have gone 6 and a half weeks at the longest without hearing hide nor hair from my husband, looking after teething twin terrors, trying to keep the house clean, keep us all fed, fixing broken appliances, and generally feeling trapped by my own circumstances, and longing for Thursday coffee walks so I can have another adult to talk to.

For my friend Sian who is currently pregnant, her husband is almost never there for ultrasounds, antenatal classes, and test results. She is constantly told "he will be home tomorrow" but tomorrow means Tuesday next week when today is Wednesday, and so often Tuesday comes, and Tuesday goes and she is still alone and waiting.

A bush trip is like a mini deployment. For me, my husband's job is just as dangerous on home turf as it is in the Middle East, if not more so because they actually fire the guns here more often. That call to say something has gone wrong is just as real with a bush trip as it is with a deployment, the only saving grace is that the time frame passes much quicker.

You would think in the information age they could send out a text message with 24 hours notice of when they are due home, but apparently even so much as a "Private Smith is due to return from exercise in the next 24 hours" is too much to ask.

Things not to ask/say to an ADF spouse even during a bush trip include: "When is he due back?", "He's away again?", "At least it's not the Middle East", and "My partner went on a business trip to Sydney for 3 weeks once, I know how you feel."


People think we get free housing, free medical, great pay, and a whole bunch of other ridiculous free things. Not true.

First of all, we do get reduced rent but we still have to pay for our housing. We also get to deal with DHA, who are far from competent at their job although it isn't entirely their fault. Would you like to have a property manager who was managing half of the houses in town? Millions of houses across the country? They are going to slip up constantly just because it's such a huge job. It took me 8 months to fix a hole in our roof that had been there for 12 months already, and took one roof tile and approximately 10min to fix. Also unlike regular property management companies who you can threaten to sue if they don't hold up their end of the bargain, DHA is a federally run company and as such is protected by the crown, meaning we can't touch them. We also pay for much more water than we use as it is taken out of our pay, not billed to us like electricity.

Second, we don't get free medical. We haven't done for many years now. The serving member gets free medical treatment, however they cannot simply request to see a physiotherapist or chiropractor like the rest of us without a referral from the doctor, who can refuse to give such a referral, in which case they have to pay like everyone else. My husband was told by the orthopedic surgeon he was referred to that a knee reconstruction would be the best solution, but the military doctors said to make it cheaper, so he had an arthroscopy and lateral release instead, and less than 12 months later the problem was right back to square one. We do have access to Defence Health which is a private health insurance fund, but we have to pay for our health insurance just like the rest of you, and it does not come cheap. 

Thirdly, most defence members do not get paid very well. My husband is lucky to clear $50Kpa and we have to support 4 people on that because there is no support here to help me find a job. Some jobs in the military get paid better than others, and some people, like tradies (plumbers, electricians, mechanics) take side jobs to make extra money. To me, good pay is $70Kpa, and great pay is over $100Kpa. There are very, very, few military members who are on great pay, and they worked long and hard for years, perhaps even decades to get there, so don't let the television ads fool you. The only time the pay is "great" is on deployment, and it's hazard pay all the way. Oh, and if he gets injured and comes home early, you start getting taxed on an income you estimated you wouldn't have been, so you end up in trouble with Centrelink, and end up sometimes tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.

We do get 10% off at JB HiFi, and Athletes Foot, and a few other retailers about town, but really, so do seniors so you'll all get that discount too one day.

Things not to say regarding entitlements: "Yeah but medical is all free for you guys so what do you care anyway?" "Can't he get that done through work?" "What do you mean your rent has gone up?"

So read the above blog I linked to, remember what I've just told you, and don't believe the things you see on Army Wives, or rumours you hear, or stories that your grandparents even tell you because things have changed since the 1940s.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

TUBESDAY: A conversation with a man about women

I had a chat to my brother-from-another-mother Cyprian about what he thinks as a bloke, of the way women see themselves. Turns out that men and women see women very differently! Normally I am a very logical person, but it would appear it really goes out the window when it comes to my body image. So what pearls of wisdom did Cyp have for me? Well they were as pearly as anyone could expect from a bloke but that doesn't mean they aren't important!

So there you have it! There's someone in there worth loving, so dig a little deeper and learn to love them too. You will think you're just a beautiful as everyone else does when you do.

As also promised, here is the link to Facebook where you can follow the BID:

Another thing that I forgot to mention in the video is the new tab that you will all soon see at the top of the page. I have decided to share some of my good food tude meals - not 12WBT ones, that would be very naughty of me! - but some that I've made up myself that are tasty and good for you at the same time!