31 Oct 2013

Let the (dreaded) 30 day shred begin!

At the beginning of 2012 something weird happened to me and I started to enjoy exercising. It started off slowly with frequent long walks and similar things that were already familiar to me. A couple of months later I did things I never thought I would do, did exercise videos on a regular basis and started jogging and then running.

At the end of the summer I managed to get my first every sports injury when I injured my knee (ITBS, Iliotibial band syndrome). That took away some of my enthusiasm since I really loved running and started to get faster and run further.

When one door closes another one opens and I started going to yoga and fitness pilates class. During the winter the knee got better and I went to all kinds of fitness classes and enjoyed trying new things. In the spring I started running again and everything seemed great.

Until I again got ITBS at the end of June. After that I pretty much lost the brightest fitness spark. Things got even worse in the fall when I ended up getting cold after cold and couldn't do anything fitness related without getting ill again.

Now I've been well for a couple of weeks and am starting to find my way back again. Fingers crossed and knock on wood that it'll be fine now health wise!

I'm going to do a  pretty intense but still quite soft start to get back in shape by doing one the exercise programs by Jillian Michaels, my favourite TV personal trainer. I really like her style! (I'd probably be crying all the time if she were my personal trainer! I'm so sensitive...) I've done the program once before so I know it works well and you see progress in both strength and endurance quite fast. I'm of course talking about the wildly popular 30 Day Shred.

I just finished doing the first day of level 1. I'm luckily no way near as beat as I was when I did it the first time ever last year. I used 2 kg dumbbells and did soon realise I'm unfortunately not in shape to finish the whole thing without taking short breaks in the strength portions of the program. After a couple of days it'll hopefully go better. And I know it will, it has before.

The great thing about the 30 Day Shred is that you work both strength and cardio. The program is quite intense and you feel you get a decent workout even though it's just about 25 minutes long with(!) warmup and cooldown. And you don't need anything else than a pair of dumbbells and a mat.

In about 30 days time I will feel more powerful and in better shape! Well at least I hope so, but in case I get a set back again I'll try not to let it get me down this time and just remember it's certainly not the end of the world if it takes me more than 30 days to do the program. I might also start mixing it with some other of her programs since I have several of her dvds.

Feels good to be going in the right direction again!

29 Oct 2013

Skulls on nails

A year ago when I was browsing Youtube for nail art designs with skulls or skeletons for my Halloween outfit I saw this easy and cool looking nail art tutorial by SimpleNailArtDesigns and decided to try it out. 

Unfortunately I don't remember which exact nail polishes I used, but since it's just very basic black and white it doesn't really matter.

I did have a small brush and a dotting tool to make the design. Which reminds me I should get a new small brush in case I want to do nail art in the future, I think I threw mine out when I went through my nail accessories last time since it looked so bad.

Quite impressive design with not so much effort. I think almost anyone could do this with just a little practice. 

28 Oct 2013

Halloween me times two

I've been to two Halloween parties in my whole life. First time three years ago and the second time last year. Halloween is getting bigger here in Finland, but it's still not something everyone celebrates every year.

Both times I went to a Halloween party, I first searched the internet to find a look I could get inspired by and perhaps recreate at least some parts of. My makeup skills are pretty limited after all, so I tried to look for things that would make me look very different but would be easy enough to do.

Since I've at times been in blog hiding, I haven't posted the Halloween looks here so thought this might be a good time to share what I did. It's not every day I put as much effort into my makeup. Just today I got asked if I'm still ill since my eyes look so bad. Thanks, but I'm just not wearing any makeup... 

The look I went for last year was inspired by several skeleton or skull looks I found on Pinterest. This pin in particular was what made me want to try to do something related to that theme.

skeleton inspired makeup - photo by Mr A.

For the outfit I got a couple of very affordable things off eBay, the skeleton hand hair pins, a skull dress and skeleton tights. The wig I had from my first Halloween outfit. All in all very cheap outfit.

For my first Halloween party I found the inspiration in one of my favourite Youtube channels: Julia Graf aka MissChievous. Her Dead Creepy Doll look was something I wanted to try out. You can't really see the eye makeup so well in the picture, but I thought it was pretty cool with red and blue veins around my eyes. Quite creepy.

dead doll inspired makeup - photo by Sister J.

To complete the look I got a cheap wig off eBay and a dress on sale that I thought fit the theme.

No Halloween party invitations or plans for this year so I doubt there'll be a new look anytime soon. But who knows, maybe next year! And I might do some Halloween inspired nails if nothing else. We'll see. I did do Halloween nails last year so have to dig in my pictures to see if I find the pictures.

27 Oct 2013

Polka Dot Pumpkin

Candle lit polka dot pumpkin

Today it was time for an annual tradition I have with a couple of my friends. When Halloween starts approaching we carve a small pumpkin and place it on the grave of our mutual friend. We've done it every year since she passed. It's one of the ways in which we honour her memory.

Since we are certainly no experts at carving pumpkins, it's always a surprise to see what it ends up like. This year one of my friend's had seen on television, on Finland Swedish lifestyle program Strömsö, how they made polka dot pumpkins. So we decided to give it a go! We didn't exactly have the right kind of tools at hand, but managed to make pretty okay dots using a potato peeler.  It turned out pretty cute and different to what we've done before.

Off with the top

Scoop out the flesh

Make polka dots with potato peeler - creative thinking!


26 Oct 2013

The queen of crime fiction, an inflatable kangaroo and a pig head doughnut

First of all, I'm exhausted. But happy after a fun mini road trip to the Helsinki Book Fair. My parents got us free tickets to the fair and we got to ride with them there so it was excellent for our budget too. Woke up little after 6 am (on a Saturday, absolutely insane!) and headed towards Helsinki. We had(!!!) to be there before 10 am when it opened because my parents wanted to get a free paperback crime novel and signature from its author (first 500 only). The book is by Finnish author Christian Rönnbacka and called Operaatio Troijalainen. We got a signed copy too, personalised to us and everything, so it was quite cool. Seemed to be a good book at least based on the cover.

Pretty crowded
Then we browsed around the fair, bought a book to give our friends' children for Christmas, got some free magazines. At the same time I kept reminding myself of how many unread books I have in the bookshelf, so managed not to buy any new ones. I haven't really been in a reading mood lately but I've still been getting more and more books to read. Fingers crossed I'll soon be in the opposite kind of mood and start reading and stop getting more books.

After a couple hours of browsing, we went to watch one of Sweden's biggest crime fiction authors, Liza Marklund, being interviewed. It was a short, light and fun interview which went both in Finnish and Swedish. Well the thing about how the torture in her newest book is based on real accounts of torture wasn't particularly fun to hear... At times the interviewer, who was completely bilingual, clearly forgot which language she was speaking, so I wonder if those who didn't understand both languages could follow, but I thought it was good.

Liza Marklund on the right

Liza Marklund also signed books at the fair, but I didn't want to get the hardback version of her newest book (very much prefer paperbacks) plus I didn't feel like queuing either. I got to see and hear her and took some pictures, that's enough for me. Plus I felt a bit embarassed I haven't read the last two of her books and now three, since the new one is out. 

At the same time as the book fair there was the Food and Wine Fair upstairs. I was looking forward to tasting lots of different things and maybe buying something too. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed and there wasn't so much for me there. Cheese people, would disagree with me, since to me it felt like there was cheese wherever I looked. Oh and macarons, everywhere. Not that I don't like those, but it's funny how just a little while ago hardly anyone in Finland knew what they were and now everyone sells them. I can always make my own if I want them, although I probably won't since it was hard work, even though they turned out great the one time I made them. Actually even blogged about it here.

The whole of the food fair was a bit smoky, and soon we found out why. The Australian Barbeque Co. stand with its giant inflatable kangaroo and fake crocodiles. A bit morbid to have a big smiling kangaroo and then sell kangaroo burgers, don't you think? It seemed to be one of the most popular stands and people queued for the exotic croc and roo burgers. They did look yummy.

Smoky air around the Aussie stand

And as we are on the topic of food, or foodlike things anyway, on the way back home from Helsinki we stopped at a gas station and had the biggest and weirdest doughnuts I've ever eaten. They were like giant pig heads. Smiling pig faces. I could only manage to eat half, Mr A. consequently "had" to eat one and a half, poor guy.

Okay so it isn't exactly smiling, well you wouldn't be either

Now I'm sitting here wondering if I should just let the doughnut (or half of) melt in my stomach while sitting on the sofa or get my butt up from the sofa and onto the exercise bike and let it melt a bit quicker. Which reminds me that I should probably add a new topic to blog about, fitness related things. Believe it or not, that is now a part of my life even though the last half year it's not been going well due to injury and illness. But maybe more about that later.

Now onto the exercise bike it is! Butt up from sofa. NOW!

25 Oct 2013

Blog's got the (new) look

For some time now I've been writing blog posts in my mind almost every night when I'm trying to fall asleep. Never actually physically wrote anything down though. And problem is, I never remember what I've "written" in those moments between being awake and asleep.

Lately I've also been living a life of a bit of ups and downs inside my head and mood wise. Last time that happened I started to write blog posts again, so thought it might be a good idea to do it again. It's good to write things down, even though they might be silly small things or just pictures of nail polishes or cupcakes or some other random obsessions. Or just ramblings like this one.

What the blog really needed though, was a serious(!) facelift. For that purpose it's good to have a guy around who knows his stuff when it comes to these sorts of things. Thank you my dear Mr. A for making the blog look a bit more fresh and modern. He says it's still far from done, so we'll see what else he comes up with. This he did in a day and I'm quite happy with it even though he keeps saying this and that and this should still be fixed. The cover photo is one of my favourite pictures. It's taken by Mr. A in his hometown in the summertime. I love it! I'm not usually so much into pastels and soft colours, but in this picture it all comes together quite perfectly.

Better get to sleep now, have to get up early in the morning to go to Helsinki Book Fair. Among other authors, Liza Marklund will be there. She's one of my favourite authors so it's very exciting to get to see her and listen to her.

Looking forward to getting inspirations for future blog posts, maybe one will come to me again when I'm trying to fall asleep. And this time I'll try to remember it too.

Perhaps it's soon time for an encore?

Or perhaps even a comeback? 

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