Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I did!

I didn't call the dermatologist, but I went to a dr. The (still) recurring rash is a staph infection on my face. So, why all-of-a-sudden do I have this rash all the time? I can only ponder, but I think all of my weight gain has most likely maid me somewhat insulin-resistant (pre-diabetes kind of thing) which makes me susceptable to things like this. Aweshum. I have a cream for it that's supposed to make it go away, and it works...until I run out. Then it comes back. I hope it goes away for good one day!

So, how're things in my life? I'm doing a hairdresser apprenticeship these days. Everyone in the USA gets really confused about what an apprenticeship is so I'll break it down quickly; instead of going to an academy for a year to become a stylist, I will be undertaking this apprenticeship for 3 years at the end of which I will recieve the same qualification as if I'd gone to the academy. The difference is that you study 8 hours a day at the academy, just learning and practicing, and I only study once a week as an apprentice. I spend the rest of the week working in the salon and learning by experience. So, for example, if I spent 3 months of my training days doing men's haircuts then, once my manager thought I was proficient enough, I would actually start cutting mens' hair in the salon. So at first I'd do men's cuts only before progressing on to girls' cuts and eventually ladies cuts on a case by case basis until, towards the end of my third year, I'd be doing most everything a full stylist does. The reason why this is more attractive to many girls than going to an academy is that it doesn't cost them anything, we actually get paid throughout the apprenticeship whereas some acadamies can charge up to $100k for a year's course. You also get a lot of hands on experience and get to know the ins and outs of working in a salon in real-time in a way you just can't in a controlled classroom environment. Your skills also often become much more refined by the time you're a full hairdresser because you have so much experience.

That said, I would MUCH rather just pay the money and go to an academy if I could and be done within the year. Sure, I might not be as skilled as someone who spent 3-4 years in an apprenticeship, but I'd still have my trade certificate, I'd still be cutting hair and I bet that I *would* be as skilled as them after being in the industry for 3-4 years except I'd get to be doing it with full qualifications. Unfortunately I don't get this opportunity in Moranbah, so I'll have to be happy with my apprenticeship. Lucky for me the people I work with are really fun! It's not that I'm not grateful to have been offered this apprenticeship, because I am. I know this is what I want to do in the long run and this is the venue to get there...I'm just impatient and wish I could reach my end-goal sooner rather than later!

At this stage in my apprenticeship I'm just doing general reception and house-keeping in addition to some shampooing. That's as far as I've progressed after 2 months. They did tell me that for the first 6 months I'll be mostly cleaning, so I'm not complaining. I knew what I was signing up for. I'm just, as I said, impatient. I feel like I've spent so much of the past 5 years on hold and I'm ready to get started!

Something I haven't thought about much that I feel a bit worried about is how hairdressers are percieved in the USA. Something I love about Australia is its egalitarian culture where, very literally, a hairdresser has as much respect in the community as a doctor or lawyer. It's easy to forget that it's not that way in Texas, that without a degree you're a somewhat lesser member of society. Nevermind that so many women get degrees they barely use before quitting their jobs to stay home with their kids. They'll still be better than me because they went to college and got a degree they can sit on "just in case" one day. It's the American way! lol I'll have to brace for that because I used to be in a similar frame of mind so I can empathize with why people react the way they do. I think part of me was always too afraid to they call it cosmetology over there? I can't even remember anymore...anyways, I was always afraid to pursue this field because it is seen as lesser in the US. It's a job you must only do when you're not smart enough to go to college. I only ever considered it as something to do to pay my way through school. How silly is that? But if I'd gone to college and gotten a degree in something useless like art, I'd be cool because I'd have a degree. (but where's my job?)

I feel confidant that this skill will mean I'll always have a job because people will always need their hair cut. This industry is so huge I can go as big or small as I want. I could rent a chair in a local salon, or break into the wedding industry specializing in up-dos and formal styles, or who knows? Maybe I'll have my own salon one day. Maybe I'll have a mobile business where I cut and color hair in your own home-- no fancy salon experience but also no need for a babysitter and I could come at 2am if that's what worked with your schedule. Who knows. I love that this is also a super flexible job where you can easily only work during school hours when your kids are older and still be home in time to pick them up. It has positives all across the board! I know this is the right thing, even though I'm feeling impatient right now. I also officially have to wait at least 3 years before we try for babies now so I'll prob be 29 at the youngest before I'm a mom. That was the original plan anyways though, so God knows what's up!

So, long story short, my job is a lot of cleaning at the moment but it won't last forever. I'm nervous about what people will think of me back in Texas if we do end up moving back that way some day, but acknowledge that this is the right thing for my family's and my future and that we'll possibly be even more secure job-wise than if I did get a degree. I'll never know for sure, but I'm really enjoying this work and that's enough for me!

On the diet front, I've lost 20+ lbs! I'm still 60 lbs overweight. That's not 60 lbs I have to lose to be my dream weight, that's 60 lbs just to get out of the "overweight" range. ::sigh:: I'll keep on truckin!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Someone Call the Dermatologist!

Ok, so one of the most embarrassing moments of my life was in January 2008 when I had two teeth abscess simultaneously and right next to each other, the trauma of which caused my lower jaw to swell a good 2 inches away from my face. It was the most pain I've ever endured and it took days for the swelling to go down. To add insult to injury, and purpose to this post, I had what I thought was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic in the form of an itchy pustule rash all over my face and neck.

I was happy to put this scary experience behind me forever until 3 weeks ago. It was the day I was leaving my parents house to come back home and I woke up with what I thought were just itchy eyebrows. Intensely itchy. I thought maybe I'd just gotten some cleanser stuck in them from inadequate rinsing the night before, and didn't think much of it. Fast forward to 10pm PST: 16 hours later, I'm in LAX and my flight is boarding soon but my face is on FIRE! My whole face is itching like crayzay. God bless small miracles and the tiny tube of hydrocortisone I find in the terminal book shop. I make it through 10 hours of the flight, I've slept well, and I'm going to the bathroom on the plane to freshen up, put some makeup on, take a "spit bath" with some Wet Ones; I look in the mirror and my face is blanketed in tiny white pustules. They're EVERYWHERE!! My memory flashes back to 2008. These bumps are much smaller than the ones from them, but they are definitely the same thing. I panic and try to scratch them off my face with my fingernails. They're popping, but BOY does that hurt! I stop scratching. Dammit. What the hell have I done to myself??? What is causing this shit??

I do something brave then. Stacy would be unimpressed, but I disembark my flight....are you ready? WITHOUT ANY MAKEUP ON! I know. Shock. Horror. I looked like I'd stuck my face under a broiler or something and it BURNED and ITCHED and whyyyy? What is causing it?? 42 hours after initial itchy eyebrow attack, I am home and I am sleeping. The next day my face looks a lot better! No new bumps. Two days after that, there's still some redness, but it's even better than the day before. And it just goes away on its own.

Then, 3 or 4 days ago, I got what I thought was a small break-out on my cheeks. This is really unusual for me because my skin is usually pretty clear and, if I do get any pimples, it's always on my chin. I decided to ignore it and hopefully let it go down on its own. But it stayed bright red, 3 or 4 tiny red bumps, and then there were some coming on my forehead. No itchyness though. But then, yesterday, I woke up and it was....dun dun dun....itchy eyebrows! NOOOOOO!! And then the itchy face all day long, all day long, itchy, itchy, itchy and then this morning it was the white bumps when I woke up and now I ask WHYYYY????

Someone call the dermatologist, my skin is freaking out. Could it really be something I'm ingesting? Was it ever the antibiotics in the first place or was it something topical? The only thing I can think of recently is these Neutrogena makeup remover cleansing towlettes I've been using the past week but it's neutrogena! They're supposed to be great for sensitive skin and this stuff in particular is meant to be so gentle you can even use it on your eye makeup.

I'm frustrated. I have bumpy skin and I want to know why. I'm too vain for this shit.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Soy Latte anyone?

Upon receiving my issue of Frankie magazine this month, there was an article reviewing various non-dairy milks. What timing! The article gave resounding applause to Bonsoy brand Soy milk so I, assuming this person who's been doing this whole non-dairy thing for longer than I have knows what their talking about, embarked upon a non-dairy treasure hunt of sorts to Cole's. (the only grocery store in town.) I'd noticed the other day they had a broad selection of non-dairy milks in the refrigerated section, so I headed there first. Alas, no Bonsoy. :/ So I picked up a litre of Sanitarium Organic soy milk and thought I'd call it a day. But then, a flashy flashbulb...err...lightbulb went off in my head: the long-life milk shelf in the coffee aisle!! So I rushed over to the coffee aisle and was welcomed by a cornucopia of non-dairy milk choices! Inluding, sound the trumpets, Bonsoy! I clutched this cardboard box of hope in my arms like a newborn baby and carried it home, praying all the way it wouldn't taste like...well, disgusting.

My only memory of soy milk is of that line in The Santa Clause when Tim Allen chugs the glass of milk, pulls a face, and says "I think the milk's a little sour" to which the girl on the couch replies "It's soy milk, you said you're lactose intolerant." So, my whole life, I have assumed soy milk must be disgusting. Like sour milk. All thanks to The Santa Clause. God bless the media, right? So here I am with my Sanitarium organic Soy Milk and my Bonsoy Soy Milk (also Organic, but not labeled so.) I try the Sanitarium first because it's cold. Verdict: It's not bad at all! Surprisingly sweet (which I note later is due to added sugar. booo!) and a lot like Up-and-Go or, for you American's out there, Carnation Instant Breakfast. I pour the Bonsoy over ice, since it has yet to be refrigerated, tastes like milk!!! Oh my gosh! I find that I don't mind it at all! It's not bad! It's actually milky, albeit with a slightly mealy after-taste, but I can live with this stuff! Look forward to it even!

For those who know me well, you know that Milk has always been a massive comforter for me. I've drank it my whole life, plain, like water. I have a love affair with it. Nothing soothes me after a good long cry than a glass of milk. So, the discovery that Soy Milk is actually quite delicious, the fact that I could be quite happy to never drink dairy milk again...this is HUGE for me. Humongous. The gravity of it is enough to bring a full grown elephant to his knees. Really. I'm shocked at myself. Somewhere my 10 year-old self is gaping at me in horror and I don't even care! This is a miracle, for sure. :)

So now, the true test: how does it taste in coffee?

Soy Latte

I made my latte (or maybe it was a cappucino. I don't know, I'm not a barista!) with Bonsoy Soy Milk, OxFam organic fair trade coffee's Africa blend, and Natvia brand stevia sweetener.

It passes! I don't think I like the coffee Chris bought, this Oxfam one, but the milk itself doesn't taste bad! It only gets that mealy after taste if I let it get really cold but, as long as it's hot, it's nice. :) The texture is nice, and it wasn't hard to stretch with the steam wand either. I'm very very impressed. Also, Stevia is a sweetener that I've replaced Splenda with and I think I'm going to leave it out of my coffee. My morning coffee is one of my few indulgences when I'm dieting and I think I'm going to keep my teaspoon of raw cane sugar in there since the Stevia just doesn't cut it. It's really nice in iced tea though!

Nutritional Data

I was curious, from a purely nutritional point of view, how Bonsoy stands up to my usual Whole and Skim milks I use. I've never liked Skim milk much, it tastes like water. (Bonsoy has a LOT more flavor!) but, on a health kick, Chris has been buying it lately to use on cereal with whole milk to use in coffee. I grew up on 2% milk, which I don't have in the house at the moment or else I could compare it also. Bonsoy tastes most like 2% to me. It's not as heavy as full cream milk, but not as watery as fat free milk either.

One serving of each is 250ml.
I don't know what all of this means, I'm not a nutritionist. I just like that there's less fat and less sugar! There's also less calcium, but I'm not worried about that. I always get more than enough by the end of the day. I should say that none of these milks have added sugar, and that the sugars are natural from the carbs. I think that's where they come from. Ha! Again, not a nutritionist.

In all, I think my morning coffee rings in about 90 calories. 11 of those from my teaspoon of sugar. I think the yummy factor the raw sugar adds is worth 11 cals a day, don't you?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jet Set!

No sooner have I started really feeling the jetlag than I am hopping on another plane back to brisbane for Elisha's 30th bday bash at Cloudlound in Fortitude Valley. Claim to fame: I can pack a bag for 3 days and 2 nights in 15 minutes. :-D It helps that I really haven't settle back into the house yet so I haven't had time to fling all my things across its four corners yet.

We have a flight out tomorrow morning and will be there for most of tomorrow, all day Saturday, and are back Sunday evening. I have to admit that the last thing I want to do right now is hop on ANOTHER plane, especially since I haven't been able to see much of Chris since I've been back but it can't be helped. I've gotta be there for my Chica Beebs! Mel O'conner is coming too, I'm traveling with her actually and we're sharing a room at the Sebel together. I don't know what the plan is for tomorrow night but I want to budget HARD, because the last thing I need to be doing after last week is spend more money.

Speaking of which, as promised, here are my favorite things I took home with me from Texas:

1: My bday gift from beebs; gold and khaki Coach Hampton signature turnlock tote and matching wristlet wallet/clutch

I can't find a picture of the clutch, but it's checkbook size and has a gold wrist strap so, when I don't want to carry my handbag, I can just pull the clutch out and be good to go!
I LOVE this bag. Because I'm tall and, well, a bit wide ;) I need to carry handbags in proportion to my size. Smaller handbags make me look a lot bigger than I already am, in other words. So I was walking around the Coach outlet and the bags I originally loved online just didn't work with my proportions. I was disappointed initially, but then I found this bag! I don't usually like the signature bags (the ones with the "C" pattern) but something about this bag, maybe because the C's are gold and sparkly, made me fall in love. I love the chunky zipper and the pocket on the front, and all the pockets on the inside really keep things organized. I NEED lots of pockets. :) love.

2. Kara's xmas gift to me, the Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 3

It's overwhelming how much I love this eyeshadow pallet! Plus it came with 2 eyeliners AND a shadow primer. This shadows are super pigmented, reflective and many of them are super glittery to boot! I'm going to be so sad when my faves start wearing down.

3: My New York and Company drapey tee

This is the comfiest tshirt. I want it in 15 colors and to never wear anything else for the rest of my life. Only complaint is that it's seriously flimsy fabric. Spanx will be required!

Concerning the Home

Chris and I have been talking a lot about home design in recent months and it's come to a point where I really have to start deciding what my style is!! I don't know how to describe what I'm looking for....maybe rustic? You know I love a good log cabin. :)

What I like:

I like old things. Call them vintage or antique or even new things made to look old, I love them. Give me peeling paint over a waxed finish any day!

I like midmod patterns for drapes, pillows and furniture.

I like a whitewash finish for furniture.

I like cozy, cluttered and lived-in vs. clean lines and minimalism.

I love bright colors. I love orange, turquoise and teal, yellow and red. Chris doesn't though...

I like crystal door knobs and cabinet/drawer pulls.

I like the contrast of rustic and modern in the same space.

I like wallpaper. A lot. Which is unfortunate since we're in a rental.

Those are the only things I know for sure. I'm going to be posting a lot more of my inspirations in coming weeks and, while it may seem a bit schizo at first, hopefully it will all be a lot more flowing and consistent by the time we're ready to make purchases.


I could make an entire post all about kitchens but, since we're in a rental and it would only be torturous to fawn over what we can't change, I'll start in the dining room. I want a white table for sure. I noticed a lot of designers putting dark brown chairs with the whitewash tables and I like the idea of some contrast, but I think I'd really like to have turquoise chairs or something like that.

Another thing I always wanted was a window frame mirror. I want to hang one on the wall opposite the table:

I want to hang pictures and frames on the wall right next to the table. I think. Our clock is there at the moment, but I saw this at Tilman's Roadhouse on my bday and had never seen it done so randomly before. Very cool. :)

(mirror collage is cool too!)

I WILL own the Michael Aram twig cutlery set one day. Mark my words!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Crystal Renn

For those of you who aren't familiar with Crystal Renn, she is most known for being the most wanted supermodel in the Plus Size modelling and fashion industry. I think one of the greatest reasons for her fame is the fact that she started out like any other model but, after struggling and overcoming an eating disorder, she gained some weight and started working the plus-size circuit. She's been on both sides of the industry and was beautiful! A lot of people rejected the idea of her as "plus size" because I think the largest she ever wore was maybe a straight-size 14. Plus size by Australian and UK standards, but not American.

Recently she's taken the weight off again and is sitting at about 140 lbs which, considering she's the same height as me, I'd wager puts her in about a US size 8 or UK/AU size 14.

Her as a plus-size model working a bikini. Probably obvious here why a lot of true plus size ladies rejected the idea of her as plus size but still, a healthier role model than an anorexic, no?

And here's some very recent shots of her as the face of the 2011 Jimmy Choo campaign looking much slimmer. Now, I've seen what they do in photoshop to these campaign models so, based on her weight, I know there's no way her tummy is anywhere near as flat as the campaign suggests. But still, good on her for getting even healthier still! She's at the ideal weight for our height now(she's the same age as me too which is cool :) ) so I think everyone should just back off. She said she'd have to develop a binge-eating disorder to maintain the kind of size the public wanted from her as a plus size model and that, at the end of the day, that's not healthy either.

Crystal Renn is the picture of health now and has a multi-million dollar campaign to boot. She's more of a role model than she's ever been. Where I used to look to her for inspiration since she was so gorgeous as a size 12 and that's a realistic goal for me to work towards, I look to her even more now that she's proven it's possible to pull the weight off even further and maintain that and be even healthier without having to go to a gym 6 days a week. I love her. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Choice


In summary, I am not a vegetarian. I'm not a vegan. I'll never follow either of these lifestyles perfectly because, at the end of the day, I do believe animals are here for our sustenance. However, I prefer to minimize the number of lives loss so that I might live. I'm currently exploring a more organic and vegan diet and am very curious about the positive impact this could have on my health and will be easing into it with a 6 week trial when I feel confident in my research. You don't have to agree with my reasons or the health impact either of these diets will have on my body, and I don't judge you for choosing differently, It's just something I've chosen for myself. If you'd like more details on why I made these choices, read further. Otherwise, you've got the gist now.

My Choice

A little over a year ago, I posted about my decision to start moving towards a more vegetarian lifestyle. In case you missed my original post, I'll explain a bit about my personal approach towards meat and animal by-products:

I am NOT a vegetarian. However, I do believe that all of us in the westernized world have become painfully detached from where our food comes from. I believe that if we all had to slaughter our animals before we would eat them, all of us would be a hell of a lot more conservative and thoughtful about how much meat we are eating. So I just try and be that thoughtful and conservative in my life towards meat and animal products (like eggs, dairy, leather, etc) in my day to day. Every peice of meat I eat or leather product I buy is a conscious decision. I take a moment every time to consider the life and death the animal may have had to endure to provide that product for me and I feel indebted and thankful. I'm grateful I don't have to slaughter my own meat because I don't know that I could, and the hypocrisy of that has resulted in a lot of long and deep thought for me.

Following a vegetarian lifestyle has been shockingly easy for me. Really. I have always said that could never adapt a vegan lifestyle though, because I'd have to lose all of my favorite things. I LOVE cheese and milk. I'm addicted. Literally, that's not a joke. I fully believe I have some kind of chemical addiction to the proteins in milk and cheese. I crave them! They make me happy. My heart sings for Babybel and fondue and margherita pizza. There's nothing like my morning latte to start the day. So when I started reading Skinny Bitch and they where hard-selling the vegan life-style I just sort of laughed it off. "no way!" I thought. I would never. I could never. It shocked me to say, by the end of the book, I was considering it. I mean, the book is extremely biased. There's a lot of obvious and unexplained holes and double standards in it that make me thankful I'm thoughtful and independent enough to do my own research before taking everything they say at face value. (there's quite a bit of fear-mongering in there that I don't buy into) But the thing that they got me thinking about more than anything else was the health effects of dairy on my body. The fact that I really do have a physical addiction to dairy to an unhealthy extent. They also spoke a lot about the effect that the additives and man-made ingredients can have on your system. And so I found myself considering veganism. Am I crazy?

I've started doing some of my own research to try and answer all the questions and fill some of the gaps the Skinny Bitch book created regarding levels of protien in the vegain diet, why B-12 is only in meat and where do I get iron from? I feel fully satisfied by the research I've done, and have decided to give veganism a try for purely health reasons. I have a little bit more research to do (you'd be SHOCKED how many things contain animal products, i.e. casien and gelatine) and I want to be sure I really do this right catalog the true effect this is going to have on my system so I'll start a 6 week trial when I feel confident I can do it right. Also, we have a LOT of food in the house that would be irresponsible to let go to waste on a whim so I need to reduce that stash before bringing all the vegan foods into the house.

Friend/Family and Stranger's Reactions

I'm so glad that Skinny Bitch touched on this subject because it is hard choosing to be different. The people closest to you start judging you and saying nasty things that, regardless of their intention, can be really hurtful. For some reason, everyone takes a person's choice to cut out meat or dairy extremely personally. I don't know why that is for sure. Skinny Bitch said it's because, especially when its for humanity reasons, people feel as though I'm judging them or that my calling my diet humane is also highlighting their diet as inhumane which can feel convicting to them. That makes sense to me. I have to say that it feels incredibly selfish for them to make my personal choice all about them, but whatevs. I feel better about it now that I can kind of understand why their impulse when I announce this decision is to say how they could never do it instead of saying that they're happy for me. Except that I guess no one really is happy for me.... (except Elisha. and Beebs. :) holla!) so I guess they just don't know what to say. My biggest reason for being afraid to take this step is that, if I stick with it, I'm going to have to explain myself to everyone around me for the rest of my life. So, I've decided to just not talk about it. When people try and attack me with "what about this nutrient and that nutrient and blah blah" I'm just going to tell them I don't feel comfortable talking about it. When people say "I don't think there's anything healthy about being vegan" I'll just say that I disagree and, if they try to argue with me, I'll say again that I don't feel comfortable talking about it anymore. Gosh, you'd think that I'd just come out of the closet or something! hahaha God gave people brains for a reason. If they're that curious they can research it for themselves. :)