Sunday, October 19, 2014

OPI Teal The Cows Come Home


I had planned to have a blog post up for Invisible Illness Awareness Week in September but because of, oh you know, brain fog and chronic pain, that didn’t happen. But don’t worry, I haven’t given up. I’m still working hard on that blog post. So far I’ve filled up 9 pages in my notebook- and most of that is just dot points! It’s epic. Eventually, I will have something substantial (and very belated) up for Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2014.
While you’re waiting for my brain to get its act together though, you can admire a gorgeous nail polish I recently wore: OPI Teal The Cows Come Home.


I just love the playful and punny name, don’t you?
It’s part of the OPI Brights Collection and is labelled as a deep turquoise colour, which, in my opinion, is much more of an ocean blue than a greeny-blue. Let’s call it an ‘ocean teal.’

This colour is quite classy and is especially stunning on long nails. With subtle silver flecks, it gives nails a gorgeous aqua shimmer that’s perfect for spring/summer.


I purchased this polish in January this year while holidaying in California. Looking at the bottle I knew I would probably love this colour on my nails, and I was right; it was love at first wear. It’s a polish that looks just as lovely on nails as it does in the bottle.


I applied 3 coats and noticed that wearing this shade helped me feel a little calmer. The formula made for a really smooth application and the pro wide brush allowed for easy, even coverage. I found this polish started to chip after a week of wear, which I think is quite good without using any gel product.

 
I am very impressed with this polish. It’s definitely a shade worth having. Stay tuned for upcoming manicures/nail art featuring this polish.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I didn't go to Lady Gaga's ARTPOP Ball. And I'm sad. Really, really sad.


Mother Monster, aka Lady Gaga, performed in Melbourne on the weekend. And I’m upset that I missed out on seeing her in all of her extravagant costumes and sparkler bra glory {cries}. I’m really sad, you guys.
When tickets went on sale for ‘artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball,’ I made the tough decision not to purchase any so I could save some much needed money. While this has turned out to be a wise choice given that medical expenses and natural therapies have been costing me a small fortune this year, missing out on a Gaga concert still hurts. A lot.
Having been to her ‘Monster Ball’ in 2010 and ‘Born This Way Ball’ in 2012, I know how awesome ‘The ARTPOP Ball' would have been.
There is no concert quite like a Lady Gaga concert. She’s extremely entertaining and she puts on an incredible show. Her beautiful live piano ballads are goose-bump-educing, and her catchy pop anthems always get me excited. To sum things up, her concerts are energetic, theatrical, and electric.
As a Christian, chucking on a Lady Gaga album is my guilty pleasure. I just can’t help but love her. She’s kooky, crazy, creative, and talented. I find her music oddly motivating. Things get done when there’s Gaga in the background. Blaring ‘Just Dance’ and ‘Telephone’ always brings me a bit of happiness on a bad day. Her music just helps.
After walking out of a doctor’s appointment feeling very down the other day, I found myself in need of a Gaga concert fix. To try and fill this void I’ve been binge watching YouTube clips. It’s not the same but it is the next best thing. Here are my favourites:
 
 Bad Romance


Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-ah! Roma-roma-mamaa! Ga-ga-ooh-la-la!


Telephone



Best. Song. Ever. Lady Gaga AND BeyoncĂ©? It doesn’t get any better than that.


Just Dance



It’s gonna be okay.


LoveGame



Lady Gaga and her cheeky metaphors! Pelvic thrusting and crotch grabbing aside, I can’t help but like it. Why must dirty songs be so damn catchy?!

Paparazzi



Looooove this acoustic version.


Poker Face



The stripped back arrangement at the beginning of this performance is stunning.


Marry The Night



My all-time favourite, kick-ass song. I just love the meaning and the inspiration behind it.



It has become my chronic illness anthem and is my go-to song whenever I feel like giving up. Singing “I’m gonna marry the night, I won’t give up on my life, I’m a warrior queen…” is kind of empowering. For me “marrying the night” is all about embracing chronic illness while still continuing to dream big.


Born This Way



I’m on the right track baby, I was born to be brave.


Judas



I'm kind of digging the green hair.

I really, REALLY shouldn’t like this song, but I do. It’s pretty awesome live. I’m much more a fan of the tune than I am of the lyrics though, just FYI.


You and I



My favourite Gaga ballad. Just gorgeous.


Do What U Want



I keep getting this song stuck in my head. It’s not good.

Dope



I have boot envy.

“I do not have to be high to be great. I do not have to be drunk to have a good idea. I can sit with my thoughts and not feel crazy. I can do it. I can do it without the dope.”
And this, my friends, is exactly why I love Lady Gaga. I find her honesty in this song refreshing and I really respect her as an artist.

Fangirling at The Born This Way Ball.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I've been a bad blogger. So here's the most popular posts of 2013.


I have been such a terrible blogger lately. Ever since I’ve returned from my holiday in California things have been such a struggle and I have been finding it really hard to keep up with regular blogging. My writing has been suffering a lot because of brain fog and quite often it takes me 3 hours (even longer) just to write a paragraph. It’s frustrating and exhausting.
I’m finding the cognitive side of CFS more challenging this year. My brain just isn’t functioning like it used to. Writing can deplete me of all my mental energy quite quickly and I need to be very careful that it doesn’t prevent me from doing other things that nourish my soul, which is also why my posting can be very sporadic at times.
With that said, I am slowly trying to get back into this blogging thing. I need to write. I have to keep pushing through. I have to keep going.
So thank you, dear readers, for sticking around and being patient. Thank you for encouraging me to keep going when I’ve wanted to give up on blogging. Thank you for believing in me and this blog and what it can be. I have big plans for this blog and I know that God does too. I’m glad there are so many people who can see its potential.
To make up for the lack of posts lately, I give you the 10 most popular posts of 2013:

From the rambling archives…
 

Because chronic illness is hard. Really, really hard. It just isn’t fair and it’s okay to admit so every now and then.

#2. Whatever.
 
That moment when chronic pain makes you depressed and all you want to do is stay in bed, curl up in a ball and be like: “YEAH, WHATEVER!” So. Over. It.

Prednisolone moon face, I do not miss you.
Some sunshine and happiness for a change. See! It’s not all doom and gloom around here.
 

 
Trying to get things done without any energy is like trying to start a car without any gas; it just doesn’t work. UGH.


 
You guys just love my angsty rants with colourful language. Such a drama queen, I am.
 
From the creative archives…

 
A wickedly rich chocolate cake.

My favourite spring mani to date. Although, I’ll admit, my grass looks much more like mangled seaweed.

 
It’s popular because it is so very bad.

 
You guys also enjoy my cake disasters.

 
Thickers + embossing = love.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Priceline skincare haul.


Last week wasn’t a good week for me but I did manage to drag myself down to Priceline to take advantage of their 40% off skincare sale. Besides a load of laundry it was the only thing I achieved that week {pats self on back}, and thus it was the highlight. You know you have a chronic illness when shopping is an achievement to be proud of.
To be honest with you though, even before illness intruded, a trip to Priceline would often be a highlight for me because I freaking love that store. It’s just paradise for beauty junkies like myself.
Having a good skincare/beauty routine has become even more important to me since illness. Sure, there are plenty of days when the simple basics are a struggle, so brushing my teeth and standard showering is as good as it gets. There’s times when I don’t feel up to exfoliating or having a facial. Often I’m too exhausted to slather myself in moisturiser after a shower because I feel like I’ve just run a mini marathon. My hair can go unwashed for over a week. (Thank God for dry shampoo!) However, if I feel like I can push things a bit, I like to invest my energy into supercharging my skincare routine because it makes me happy.
I look forward to using my favourite (or trying a new) body wash/scrub. I find making my own facial mask relaxing. Sloughing off dead skin cells keeps my skin healthy and makes me feel fresher. I love massaging in some moisturiser and enjoy its brightening, soothing, hydrating and therapeutic effect. All of these things can instantly make me feel a little better about myself. They improve my mood when I’m feeling down, so I do them as much as I possibly can.
Sometimes after a bad pain night I like to try and have a relaxing DIY at home pamper day. A bubble bath, manicure, facial and a foot spa is the best antidote for stress and anxiety caused by relentless chronic pain and fatigue.
So it’s not surprising that a trip to Priceline brightens my spirits. Whenever they have a skincare sale I like to stock up on old favourites and grab a few new products I’ve been wanting to try. Here’s what I picked up:
 
1. Indeed Laboratories Pepta-Bright. This is a brightening treatment that is formulated with 7 powerful active ingredients which can help fade dark spots and restore skin’s luminosity. Yes please! It’s free from parabens and seems like a product that could be compatible with my sensitive skin. (Fingers crossed!) Indeed Labs is a Canadian skincare brand that has recently landed in Australia, and there seems to be a lot of excitement about it. I want to find out what all the fuss is about. I am hoping this product will lighten my acne scars and give my dull, dry and lacklustre complexion a little boost.
2. Lanolips 101 Ointment. I’ve been wanting to try this product for a while now. So many fellow beauty bloggers and Youtubers swear by this stuff. It’s a multipurpose balm but I purchased it with the sole intention of using it on my dry, chapped lips. So far it hasn’t disappointed.
3. Simple Radiance Brightening Eye Cream. Formulated for sensitive skin, this cream contains light reflecting particles which help hydrate and illuminate the delicate eye area. I recently tried a sample of a high end eye cream which I received in a Bellabox and really enjoyed the difference it made. I’m looking for a much cheaper product to use so I thought I’d give this one a try. I do have quite heavy dark under eye circles thanks to CFS, so I’m not expecting miracles, but if this cream can brighten things up a bit and make me look a tad less fatigued, I’ll be a happier woman.
4. Johnson’s Baby Sorbelene Cream. It’s not just for babies. I’m going to try this out as a cheap hand/nail moisturiser and shaving cream. There are lots of other uses for this lotion but I’m not going to talk about them now.
5. Vaseline Ultimate 10 Anti-Ageing Lotion. I’ve been hanging out for this amazing body lotion to come on sale ever since I received a sample of it in a Bellabox. It’s perfect for parched winter skin and it’s my new favourite body moisturiser.
6. Maybelline New York Baby Lips Color Balm in Berry Crush & Pink Lolita. These tinted lip balms are the best! They add just a hint of colour to your lips while keeping them moisturised. Perfect for achieving the ‘no-makeup’ makeup look. Because they were on sale for around $2, I decided to add 2 more shades to my collection. Bargain!
 
Good advice, I say.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Birthday treat.

Birthday treat. Mars Bar Mud Cake! Oh. Em. Gee.

In May I celebrated my twenty-sixth birthday. Although quite fatigued, I had a lovely day being treated to amazing food. My father took me to a bakery for lunch where I happily scoffed down a chicken pie and half of a Mars Bar Mud Cake which, let’s be real, is more the size of a jumbo cupcake than a cake.
Why did I only have half? Well because I’m now limiting refined sugar in my diet (with great success), but that’s a story for another time.
The array of cakes, slices, tarts and cookies on offer at this bakery were drool worthy. Had the glass encasing these glorious treats not been extremely cloudy I would have taken a photo. While I did find it a little difficult to make a decision, the Mars Bar Mud Cake just seemed to call my name. It was truly decadent, amazing chocolaty caramel goodness.
I spent my birthday being unusually excited about the future. It’s the first birthday since my diagnosis I haven’t completely freaked out at turning another year older and plunged into a pit of depression. I didn’t even freak out one little bit, which is weird considering that 30 is coming at me like a steam train. I am very proud of myself, and you should be too. Staying calm and content isn’t easy when dreams and years keep slipping through your fingers.
My twenties are supposed to encompass the best years of my life, and instead they have so far been filled with debilitating fatigue, unrelenting pain, pills, appointments, frustration – and trying to work out what the hell happened.
I’ve had to say “no” to so many things and I’ve missed out on some great opportunities.
My friends are out exploring the world. They are networking and expanding their friendship circles. They are thriving in their careers. They are getting married, buying houses and having babies. And I desperately want to do all that too. Yet I find myself still being a spectator, hanging out in polar fleece waiting for the day that I feel good. This is far from what I imagined my young adult years to be. I always thought that by now I’d be married (or at least be in a serious relationship) and teaching kindergarten.
Since my diagnosis in 2007, my birthday has become something I usually dread because it means I’ve lost yet another year to such absurd illnesses. I’m suddenly reminded of everything I haven’t been able to achieve and how much of life I’m missing out on.
But I’ve had enough time being sad. I’ve spent far too many birthdays grieving my losses and it’s about time that I’m thankful I get to turn another year older, because it’s a privilege that is denied to many.
I’ve slowly come to realise that there is still so much to celebrate in my life. Although it’s not your typical grown up kind of stuff, I am achieving things. And I am actually making new friends and connections; just differently and at a slower rate. Blogging has allowed me to do this and that’s something to celebrate and be thankful for.
It’s not just all loss. I have also gained so much – strength, creativity, compassion and a more positive outlook. I’ve come such a long way since my diagnosis, and even though my symptoms aren’t yet significantly improving, I have made huge progress.
I’m using chronic illness to my advantage and I’m letting it change me for the better. I’m making chocolate cake from lemons. I’m now making some pretty positive changes in my life; I’m eating healthier, I’m listening to my body, and I’m letting chronic illness teach me things. I’m coping with the crushing lows of chronic illness without a man by my side. I am more determined to dream bigger than I ever have. I’m navigating the health care system with very little help and I’m making big, important health decisions on my own.
I am now much, much less of a control freak. I no longer feel the constant need to please people and I’ve completely let go of my perfectionist ways. I am more certain now that God has ridiculously awesome, crazy things planned for me.
From that girl who was sure she couldn’t love her life with chronic pain in it I’ve somehow managed to morph into a woman who is now more creative, more passionate, more independent and more full of joy; a woman who is thriving with pain.
 

 

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