Category Archives: Thoughts and Opinions

My Favourite Bloggers and Online Communities

As a casual/amateur blogger, I am always seeking to find inspiration and support through following some amazing people and communities. These blogs and websites continually motivate me to stay positive, be creative and also to go after what I am passionate about. I am so thankful for finding these incredible people, who I follow on a regular (sometimes daily) basis, and am happy to share them with you now!

In no particular order…

Frocks and Frou Frou

Image from http://frocksandfroufrou.com/

Image from http://frocksandfroufrou.com/

Frocks and Frou Frou is the very first plus-size fashion blog I ever followed (back in 2009!). From the moment I found the blog through mutual friends on Facebook, I fell in love with blogger Lilli’s classic yet unique and quirky style. Being an Australian blogger based in Melbourne, Lilli also provides some fantastic feedback on purchasing from some of the major plus-size brands, as well as some easy-to-follow DIY projects. Her style of writing is friendly, informative and easy-to-read, and she has a very supportive fan following. For any of my plus-sized friends, I highly encourage you to follow Frocks and Frou Frou!

The Militant Baker

Image from http://www.themilitantbaker.com/

Image from http://www.themilitantbaker.com/

If you’re looking for empowerment and positive body talk, this is the blog to follow. When I first discovered the diverse and supportive community of plus-sized bloggers, this is the blogger that they all mentioned as an inspiration. Jess now not only pursues her body positivity on a full-time basis, but also runs some epic conferences over in the US, which would be amazing to attend one day! In particular, the first post of Jess’ which I read (my favourite too) is this: http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2013/03/things-no-one-will-tell-fat-girls-so-i.html

I highly recommend following Jess if you’re someone who is looking for a body-positive online community, as well as looking at how to love your body better: whether it be plus-size, average or skinny!

Offbeat Bride/Home

Image from http://offbeatbride.com/

Image from http://offbeatbride.com/

If you’re getting married, I am now introducing you to the Mecca of resources. Offbeat Bride was the only blog/medium (they also have a book) that gave me realistic expectations for my wedding, and helped me plan a unique, affordable, quirky-yet-beautiful wedding. After unsuccessfully getting any inspiration through common bridal magazines (seriously…I only found a handful of weddings under $20, 000 in these magazines, which was ridiculous), it was such a godsend to discover this website. The community is HUGE, and the forums are incredible for finding DIY inspiration, advice and ideas. However, this website doesn’t just stop at weddings – they also have a massive section dedicated to life/living/home in general. The posts relate easily to everyday life (especially if you’re a crafty/arty/creative person), and you can easily find yourself spending hours on their sites gaining more and more ideas for future projects.

Gorilla Wolf  (check out their TwitchTV Channel here)

Image from http://www.gorillawolf.com/

Image from http://www.gorillawolf.com/

My absolute go-to for anything gaming-related, Gorilla Wolf are probably the newest group of peeps I follow on a regular basis. Gorilla Wolf is run by Dom and James, who are aiming to make this their full-time pursuit. I discovered Gorilla Wolf through my husband when we started to watch video game streams on TwitchTV. After spending ages trawling through the channels to find an entertaining Zelda play-through, we found these guys doing such an entertaining job at Majora’s Marsk (they were terribly lost though, haha). What kept us watching these guys is their entertainment value, dedication to investigating and reporting on new games, and their massive commitment to making their chat and followers as engaging as possible. We watch their TwitchTV channel on a weekly basis, and are so excited to see where the future takes them. If you’re after good gaming commentaries and play-throughs online with a friendly fan following, check out these guys ASAP!

The Adventures of Modern June Cleaver and Amelia Jetson

Image from http://junebugsandgeorgiapeaches.blogspot.com.au/

Image from http://junebugsandgeorgiapeaches.blogspot.com.au/

June and Amelia, two best friends run an amazing website which follows their retro and vintage-inspired fashion adventures. These two are my absolute inspiration when it comes to perfecting the vintage/retro look. They are such friendly and positive ladies too, and are willing to help out fellow retro fashion bloggers – they are so supportive and active on Instagram! Whenever these ladies share their outfits, they always link to each piece in their outfit, making it so easy to track down. These lovely ladies also host giveaways on their website from some incredible brands such as Erstwilder and Deer Arrow.

Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing

Image from http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/

Image from http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/

This lady and her amazing blog have inspired me to try and re-start one of my favourite hobbies from when I was younger: sewing. When I discovered her blog, little did I know that she also had a book. Within minutes of discovering her blog, I also found myself purchasing her first book, and I now also own her second book based on casual vintage. Gertie has a way of explaining her sewing projects in an easy-to-follow manner, and always includes pictures in her steps (I tend to get lost when following sewing instructions, so this is hugely helpful!) Gertie also creates patterns sold through Butterick, and also shares these through her blog. Her passion for sewing, as well as seeing the projects of her followers, makes this blog a fantastic creative outlet for those wishing to get some much-needed inspiration. She’s made me start the adventure of sitting with my sewing machine and tackling some long-awaited projects!

Who do you look to online for inspiration? Feel free to share your thoughts 🙂

This post was polished by Page & Parchment.

What you need to know about having Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum

So you have heard me mention NLD recently, and you probably want to know what the hell it is I am talking about. Or maybe you’ve just found out you have NLD and now want to know exactly what you’re in for. Either way, here’s a post letting you know all about it:

Firstly, this post is based purely on MY experience of this chronic medical condition. I am in no way medically qualified and I highly encourage you to speak with a GP or dermatologist if you have this condition to find out what treatment options are available to you.

So, what the hell is NLD?

Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (say that three times in a row!) is a condition with no known cause or cure, and where treatment options vary from person-to-person. It is a skin condition where raised, hardened spots appear on the skin. These can take many forms and are frequently lesions, rashes and ulcers. They most commonly appear on the shins or legs; however, there are cases where these appear on the feet, arms, face and more delicate areas of sufferers.

The name is a bit of a mouthful so I’ll refer to it as ‘good old NLD’, only without the ‘good’ and with a fair bit of the ‘old’. Haha.

NLD is a rare medical condition; however, there is research that shows that it is more common for Type 1 Diabetics to have NLD, although they are unsure why. It is also common enough for an NLD sufferer to be diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and it is believed that approximately 0.3% of the diabetic population have NLD. The condition is also linked with those who have rheumatoid arthritis, and sufferers of NLD are warned that they may also develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Despite popular belief, NLD is not caused by poor diabetes control. In fact, my diabetes is the best it’s ever been and my NLD is at its worst. Fantastic diabetes control can help with the healing process; nevertheless, the cause of NLD is not reliant on how well you actually are.

How painful is NLD?

It’s hard to explain the pain of NLD. If the lesion or spot is just a raised, red scar, the discomfort you’ll experience is just an itch or like a rash or dermatitis. However, if you’re like myself and have ulcers that like to open up, the pain is similar to anything from a second to forth degree burn. When my ulcers are open, I generally have a sharp pain in my leg, which is made worse by standing or walking. It’s at its worst when I first wake and it is normally not until lunchtime (and with lots of sitting) that this pain subsides. This pain quickly reappears if I’ve walked too much during the day, or will hang around all day if I’ve slept weirdly on my leg.

How to you treat NLD?

Good question! Treatment options vary with each individual and, from what I have read on some online support groups, there’s no one way that has been entirely successful in clearing up a person’s NLD. There’s suggestions of steroid shots, treatments with topical cortisone, even tanning (what the?!) as ways to treat the condition. I won’t be able to seek a more long-term treatment until my NLD spot has healed completely into a scar again – this could take years – so for me right now it’s about the regular cleaning and dressing of the wound. I find that, for me, the best products to use on a daily basis are Betadine (the iodine in this helps kill any nasty bacteria) and Solugel (this protects the new healthy skin growing across the ulcer and helps immensely with the itchiness!). I am a massive fan of using an Adaptic gauze – which has a slight coating of Vaseline which helps the creams settle in place – and then covering the lot in a cohesive bandage which allows the ulcer to breathe a bit easier than other types of bandages, plus it’s a beige colour which isn’t as noticeable.

Is there a cure for NLD?

In short – no. Not yet. NLD fits into a myriad of other chronic immune conditions where the cause and cure are relatively unknown (or a definitive answer hasn’t been discovered). I’m a bit of a lucky-duck: having three conditions that are all chronic, immune, and based on unknown cause with no known cure. Because of this, many doctors seem to hypothesise that the cause is related to a dodgy immune system (I won’t even try to explain or justify this, as I have no idea), but all medical professionals I have seen have agreed that this condition does not go away. I will have this red, protruding mark on my skin for the rest of my life. When it is closed and ‘healed’ it is similar to a port wine stain in appearance and I know I must one day become accustomed to having yet another aspect of my physical appearance grabbing people’s attention.

What can you do to help someone with NLD?

While having NLD really blows, there are people going through life with worse conditions or experiences to deal with. If anything, NLD has helped me become more compassionate, especially towards those who have medical conditions and are in similar situations and even more so if it’s chronic or immune related. I feel enormously for anyone who, like me, tends to get sick all the time thanks to having a terrible immune system. Naturally, most of us are pretty tough cookies (or we pretend to be); however, it’s really nice to receive support from those who care. So, how can you help someone with NLD, or a similar chronic immune condition? Everyone is different, but I do know the following: those suffering from a chronic illness or condition don’t want sympathy; they want you to understand. Take the time to research and read up on the conditions so you can really acknowledge what the person is going through, as well as considering how this impacts on their day-to-day lives. Knowing that someone has cared enough to take the time to learn about what you have to deal with on a daily basis and to tell you that they ‘understand’, and especially knowing that it’s honest and genuine…that is such a wonderful thing.

This post was polished by Page & Parchment.

“It’s not a Tamagotchi, damn it!” The 10 things that can annoy every Diabetic with an Insulin Pump.

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Image from: https://www.etsy.com/listing/96309366/fingerprick-pod-wearer-1-pen-ink?utm_source=Pinterest&utm_medium=PageTools&utm_campaign=Share

 

  1. You will be asked “Is that a pedometer/pacemaker/pager/tamagotchi?” *facepalm*
  2. Your pump is/was worth more than pretty much everything you own. I remember when I first got my pump in high school and then realising it was worth more than my first car (which I had just bought)…you feel quite nervous having something so valuable just attached to your skirt. I know health insurance in Australia has made pumps way more affordable now, but around the world these beeping machines are still very costy.
  3. You have to ensure you put the pump cap on before hugging your significant other (if you’re not wearing much….) otherwise the scratches the pump site leaves on them will cause unnecessary and awkward questions from others about your antics.
  4. Forget wearing any tummy-revealing outfits in summer (such as a bikini etc) but NOT because it doesn’t suit you (I completely agree that anybody is welcome to wear a bikini, regardless of your body type, if you love yourself and have the confidence!) It’s because of the rashes and scarring of old set pump sites and how irritated they become when the teeniest bit of sweat is nearby.
  5. That moment of panic when you take out an old pump site and blood goes everywhere. Sure, you see blood everyday when testing blood sugar levels, but there’s nothing like having a burst of blood come out of your stomach from nowhere. Try to avoid doing set changes near carpet, or white kitchen counter-tops (I speak from experience, oops).
  6. Feeling like a badass at an airport when having to get special clearance to get through security without going through the x-ray machines….Oh wait, did I say bad ass? I meant pain in the ass.
  7. You can’t really be spontaneous when having a pump. Do your friends want to throw you into a pool? Nope, not happening. Does your significant other suddenly initiate some intimate time? Oh wait…you have to awkwardly take off your pump first. Road trip? You’d better make sure you have enough insulin juice for the trip? Bed time? Nahhhh you need to do a set change first. It makes any spontaneous action attempted by others awkward as you have to prep, regardless.
  8. You’ll never be able to carry a small bag anywhere. If you like to travel, at least 1/3 of your luggage will be taken up with pump supplies (usually double the amount needed for the trip), a spare insulin pump and the myriad of documentation you need to prove that you’re not a terrorist (true story: I travelled through a regional airport in Australia which had absolutely no idea what my pump was, and thought I was trying to do something illegal. Which was annoying.)
  9. Wearing pumps under clothing can be hard. Pumps can be quite heavy, and if you’re only using the band of your undergarments to keep the pump in place, there’s potential for wardrobe malfunctions and accidently dacking yourself. Again, true story.
  10. You find yourself carrying strange things with you on a daily basis for pump maintenance. For example, I always carry AAA batteries (the pump’s battery of choice) and a stack of 5-cent coins (the coins are the perfect size and type of metal to open up the pump’s battery compartment without damaging it).

While there are a lot of annoying things about having an insulin pump (which I thought I’d share on here so you can see the humour), the positives definitely outweigh these things. Since getting an insulin pump in late 2006, I’ve been able to live a relatively normal life. I also can call myself a part cyborg, which is pretty cool. 🙂

This post was polished by Page & Parchment.

Week 4 Update, 2015

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Hi everyone! Sorry for the delayed post: as it was Australia Day yesterday, meaning that I didn’t do my weigh-in and coaching session until Tuesday (today), I thought I’d wait to post this week’s review. I also had a horrible day today thanks to anxious thoughts and lack of sleep, so this post is a couple of hours late anyway. Sorry! Lots of epic things have happened over the past week at least, so without ado, here’s my update:

-First thing first, I have started an epic Youtube series with my wonderful husband, where I’m guiding him through the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time game. This game is what I’d classify as the first video game I ever played, and the one that inspired my love for the Zelda culture and gaming series (I like to think that I have a specialised knowledge on the culture in the Zelda gaming series). Our series of the “Let’s Play” of this game will include both of us discussing the culture, philosophy, history, video game design and techniques and pop-culture references as we go. If you’re keen to watch, access the link HERE. I hope it’s entertaining and enjoyable 🙂

-This weekend, my amazing husband also showed me how to make resin pieces using some silicon and latex molds. We used some of his miniatures to cast some resin, and I found it a relatively easy and quite therapeutic process (as I get to have my craft on). As a result, I am feeling ready to start making my own resin jewellery pieces. I am hoping to sell these, therefore please let me know if you’d be interested in helping me out with my craft hobby. I am aiming to make a lot of sparkly and fabulous nerdy jewellery items, including:

-Zelda Triforce earrings, necklaces and brooches

-Doctor Who Tardis glittery earrings, necklace and brooches

-Star Trek Sparkly and glossy insignia badge brooches

-Glittery heart earrings and brooches

-Glittery star earrings and brooches

-Glittery geometrical  earrings

-Resin rose earrings, necklaces and brooches

-Japanese inspired pieces

At first, I think I’ll start out with offering to sell these to friends via Facebook until I feel that I am confident/ready to sell on Etsy. I’m hoping to buy some supplies to get started this week, and will share what I’ve made on Facebook and here. Hoping I’ll have some amazing things to share with you 🙂

-This week, I’ve had to yet again make health a priority. Unfortunately, due to a combination of things including the warmer, humid weather, my ulcer has opened itself up again. It’s making it incredibly painful for me to walk or stand for long periods of time, especially if I’ve tried to walk lots the previous day. As such, I’ve been trying to rest my leg. I really need to see a specialist for it again, however unfortunately finances and not being able to arrange time to do so is making it near-impossible at the minute. Regardless, I decided to focus my energy on doing something else to help out my health this week in trying some more yoga. As a natural stress-head, I’ve heard wonders about the value of yoga again and again; even in the very easy stages of just learning to breathe and stretch. This week, I’ve managed to do little 10 minute stints of yoga in the morning or evenings throughout the past week, and a 30 minute meditation yesterday. I feel this is helping me relax, refocus and not stress as much, and it’s something I can do while I can’t be doing mega step amounts each day. I’m definitely going to try and give myself at least 10 minutes a day to do some basic yoga!

-Even around a buggered-up leg, Australia Day parties and needing to rest, I somehow still managed to lose 200 grams. It’s not much, but it’s enough for me to feel accomplished and that I’m progressing down the right path in making myself a healthier person. I’m continuing to make good food choices throughout the day, however I tend to get a bit distracted at home, when I’m bored or around tempting food choices. Pretty good effort considering everything that’s happened this week!

-Argh, I haven’t managed to get up-to-speed with my reading goals. However, as an alternative Ray and I have managed to start looking at other forms of media on a regular basis…in the form of gaming videos/streams. Over the past week, we’ve found an amazing duo of guys who run an awesome gaming stream and company, and I am aiming to do a great post about them in the near-future. It’s been awesome to spend time with gamers, watch some epic gaming and connect with peeps around the world.

That’s about it for this week! There’s a lot more I could have written, however as I’m a bit fragile anxiety-levels wise, I thought it would be a bad idea. Here’s hoping this week is more positive and filled with crafty things and lots of gaming. I’m not sure what my post later this week will be about, so feel free to check back later this week for what could be a random (or awesome) post. Thanks for reading 🙂

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

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This. Image from Pinterest via http://roflburger.com/

 

Over the past few months, I have been reflecting on how far I’ve come career-wise in comparison to my teenage/child aspirations. So, I thought it would be fun to reflect and write a post about the different stages in my life and what I thought I’d be doing in the future. So, without further ado…

3 years old: Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I drew a face on my wardrobe because I believed it would give me an awesome talking wardrobe. It did not work, and I got into trouble for vandalising my furniture. As such, this dream had to be abandoned.

5 years old: Hairdresser. Because everyone else said they wanted to be one, and I was put on the spot to provide an answer for the school yearbook.

8 years old: Veterinarian. I loved animals and wanted to be like Dr. Harry from the Australian show Better Homes and Gardens (he used to have his own show). Upon finishing primary school and realising that a) you needed to do a lot of science and get a very high Year 12 school result, b) some animals would die regardless of how much you tried to help them and c) it was nothing like the Dogz and Catz computer games, I realised it wasn’t the career for me.

13 years old: Author. For some time, I was quite passionate about writing fantasy fiction. I didn’t know how to put this into a career at the time, and then realised that I had many other passions I wanted to try and pursue as a career that may be more rewarding financially, and more stable.

15 years old: Musician. Of course, there was/is a shortage of decent violists (for non-musical readers, this is someone who plays the viola, not the violin). Music was my passion and took up most of my life at this stage. I had been on several tours in Australia and overseas, and thought this would be my calling for a career. However, I quickly realised how competitive and brutal the music industry would be, and that it would drain the fun from having music as a hobby.

17 years old: Teacher. This was a very brief thought, where it quickly changed once I realised I would have to teach children and be somewhat disciplinary about it.

18 years old: Foreign Correspondent for Japan/Australia. Ahhh, when I thought that I could naively combine my two interests, Japanese and writing/Journalism into a career. Whilst this was my goal throughout most of my undergraduate education, I realised that I would never obtain the acceptable amount of language proficiency to do such a role. Plus, I also became quite cynical about journalism based on the amount of negativity that journalists are required to report on a regular basis (this was based on an incident where I directly saw a media crew showing no sympathy to a mother who lost her son to a natural disaster, where they pounced on her when she first arrived at the scene and was advised of his passing).

20 years old: Foreign Affairs/International Relations government worker. For various reasons, I feel I was pressured into trying to follow this career path, as I was told it was the only valid career path for me to take (because I was told my degrees were useless), and the only one where I’d be useful, earn decent money and have a future. Words cannot express how glad I am that this didn’t turn out, and I’m proud I’ve stuck to working on things I am passionate about (regardless of how much money it gives me or its value to society overall). If I followed this career idea, I would be a very negative, cynical, boring person stuck in a capital city that I think is a dead-end, and I would have never met my epic husband.

Random ages-

Lawyer: I thought being a Lawyer would be like Phoenix Wright. Turns out I was wrong. Objection!

Graphic Designer: Because I wanted to be a hip communications graduate. Considering I can’t draw very well…not a good idea.

Music Teacher/History Teacher/Japanese Teacher: Again, teaching. I’m also very put-off from pursuing teaching due to the current morale in the education sector, with broken promises of employment for the majority of new teachers and lack of resources/support.

Librarian: Ahhh books! Unfortunately, the librarian appears to be a dying industry thanks to the internet, and any librarian work is more about keeping things in order and categorised…I don’t think I’d be organised enough.

Blogger: Because I love to write, and write about things I love. However, I do need to pay the bills, so this wouldn’t work out.

Now: Even now, I’m still unsure as to exactly what my dream job is, or where I want to end up. Right now I am blessed to have an amazing work/life balance, where I can pursue studies in areas I am passionate about and spend time on my hobbies. Therefore, I think as a “grown-up”, I am happy living in the present; not worrying about whether I am what I wanted to be when I “grew up”, but being content with the opportunities I have now.

What did/do you want to be when you grow up? How did it work out for you? 🙂