Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Muk Curl Stick

So my mum recently got married. And, for the wedding, her hairdresser/make up artist did her hair in a half-up, half-down style, with really pretty curls all over. In the few days leading up to the wedding, mum told me all about how the hair trial went, and that the hairdresser used the Muk curl stick, and how fantastic it was, and that she really wanted one.
There's a few things you need to know about this situation. My mother and I have pretty different hair. I was lucky enough to inherit the dry aspect of her hair, and not to inherit the curls, the frizz or the amount of it. So when something works in my mum's hair, that's a pretty damn good indication it will work for everyone else.

Look at all that pretty, pretty hair!
After seeing how gorgeous her hair looked at the wedding, I could not help it but buy her one for her birthday. And I may have also bought myself one. Because, you know. YOLO. Life's too short to not own amazing curling irons.
I bought it on sale from My Hair Care. They have free express shipping for orders over $50, so mum and I both got our orders within two days even though we live in different states. Winning.

The Muk curl stick is a clipless curling iron, with three titanium interchangeable barrels. The barrel sizes are 25mm, and two conical barrels, one at 25-19mm and a 25-13mm. Obviously, this is good because it's like getting three curling wands for the price of one! In the box there's some instructions, and a heatproof glove. 
I personally found the heatproof glove doesn't fit my long skinny fingers too well, so I tend to not use it. But I have also burnt my hand, so maybe don't take my advice on that one. 
The cord is a swivel, which is nice to stop tangles, and it's also super long so you don't feel tethered to the powerpoint. 

There's three heat settings (210C, 170C and 130C), and I personally just stick to using the 130C setting because my hair is damaged enough. There's a red 'on' button, and you use this button to cycle through the heat settings. Super duper easy. 
I found at first changing the barrels to be a little tricky. There's two release buttons, on opposite sides of each other on the curler body. To change the barrel, you hold these down, pull the barrel out. Then, you align the holes up with the one you're popping on to the curler body, and click it in. I found the pulling out part a little tricky, because it's quite secure on there. I was also scared of pulling too hard and breaking the clip or something. It does seem really sturdy though, and I found that holding down the release buttons and wiggling the barrel as I pull it out makes it come off easier. Just a tip. 

I have really loved playing with this since I got it, and cannot recommend it enough. 
It heats up fast, although there is no beeping or flashing lights to tell you when it has heated up enough, which is one of my pet peeves with hair electricals. I have been dealing by hovering my hand over it until it feels hot. Apart from that, it is super easy to use. Like I mentioned, there's one button so there's not really any need for instructions. 
I love the variety of looks you can create with this. I've gone for defined curls, as above, and also looser curls / waves, as below. 
In the above photo, I used the 25-19mm barrel, and ran my fingers through after all the curls had cooled down. The photo above was taken about 7 hours after I first styled it. I lightly sprayed some hairspray over my whole head. 

I wore this hair look to work, without using any hairspray and it lasted the entire 6 hour shift, as well as lasting well into the night when I got home. I tie my hair up to sleep, and the curl definition was still there in the morning, even after I brushed through my hair.

I am just obsessed with these waves! 
For this look, I used the thickest, barrel at 25mm, and brushed through the curls with a paddle brush once the curls had cooled down.

And, just for reference, mum's hair in the photo at the top lasted all night long for the wedding. The curls hardly dropped at all (although quite a bit of hairspray was used). 

Have you used the muk curl stick? What are your thoughts?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dermalogica Haul!

When I got the email in my inbox that BrandsExclusive were having a sale on Dermalogica, I jumped right on that. Dermalogica are one of my favourite skincare brands because their products just work.

I picked up this normal/dry skin kit. It contains a 50mL special cleansing gel, a 10mL gentle cream exfoliant, a skin hydrating masque (sample size), a 50mL multi-active toner, a 22mL skin smoothing cream and a 4mL intensive eye repair. Part of the reason I got this was because it had products I already know and love, and in a convenient travel size. I also really wanted to try the gentle cream exfoliant, so I thought this would be a good way to trial it before plunging in and buying the whole thing.

I also bought a 250mL size of the ultracalming cleanser. Although I love the special cleansing gel, this one is also recommended for my skin type so I thought I'd try it out.

And I picked up a 150mL bottle of precleanse. I love this oil cleanser for removing my make-up, and the smallest amount goes such a long way so I know this bottle will last for ages!

What are your favourite Dermalogica product?

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Monday, April 28, 2014

My Week in Pictures #50

(Apologies in advance that these are all instagram photos)

I am counting down the days until my next pole performance, and trying to squeeze in as much practice as possible in between class and going to the gym. I've started putting together my routine, and practicing the moves I definitely want to include. I have 5 weeks until performance day, and a lot of practice to be done between now and then! 

Wearing a lot of curls in my hair lately, courtesy of my hair curler. Watch this space, because I'll be having a review up later this week! 

Picked up this crop on sale last week. I am in loveee with it and kind of sad I discovered it as we're heading into winter. For more details check out this post. 

In probably the most exciting news this week, I got accepted into ANU's GDLP course. To be admitted as a lawyer in New South Wales, not only do you need to undertake a Bachelor of Laws, but you also need a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. This is the 'practical' aspect of the qualification, and I'm so freaking excited I get to complete mine whilst finishing off the rest of my BA / LLB. Which means (if all goes to plan) I will have completed all the necessary qualifications to be admitted as a lawyer by the end of this year. 

Catching up on Game of Thrones on the way to a meeting after work on Tuesday. The hour long journey between Miranda and Bondi Junction is the perfect length for a GoT episode. 

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Fitness Friday: Dealing with DOMS

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is that dull, achey pain in your muscles you get 24 to 72 hours after a workout. It's painful, and the symptoms can last for seven to ten days. Some people like the onset of DOMS, because it indicates you've worked the muscles to a sufficient intensity.

Unfortunately, when it comes to treating DOMS there's a lack of consensus as to what actually causes it.
Believe it or not, many scientists now believe that lactic acid is actually not involved in DOMS, as it does dissipate within an hour of finishing exercising, which is way before DOMS happens. Although there is a lack of consensus, many put it down to micro-tears within the muscle, that occur during eccentric contractions of the muscle (such as running downhill). That being said, it's also been proven in research that DOMS does not necessarily mean muscle damage. There is also some literature that suggests neurological factors come into play. I'm not really going to deal with those in this article.

All this means that there's also some confusion when it comes to treating it. It's pretty much in consensus though, that training with DOMS isn't conducive to improving performance, and can in fact cause injury. So if your legs are killing from those squats, lay off the leg exercises until you're feeling better.

For this reason, it's essential you schedule rest days into your workout routine.
If you're a beginner and you're weight training, progression in loading and increasing reps should be gradual.

It's widely acknowledged that taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen, found in nurofen) can help to alleviate the pain. Note though, this is essentially a mask for the pain, and isn't actually treating the cause of the problem. That can be fine though, when paired with rest.

Getting massages can also help. Although research has been done, it's still unclear as to why it can help alleviate the pain. (There is a lot of scientific literature on this, with a lot of scientific terms) Personally, I find foam rolling my muscles when they're sore (which is a form of myofascial release - similar to what you would get from a sports massage therapist) really helps my muscles feel better.

Usually following DOMS, the muscles contract and become tighter, and stretching can help alleviate this. I find gentle stretching really beneficial. Just remember to never, ever stretch on cold muscles.

So really, the only proven method to alleviating DOMS is waiting it out. Don't risk injury by further training the muscle. You can take ibuprofen minimise the pain and help you get through your day. I personally find foam rolling and gentle stretching (while I'm sore, but also straight after my workout - ALWAYS cool down) really helps my muscles heal faster. There is the theory that it increases blood flow to the area, which assists with healing, but there's not that much scientific evidence to back this up. I also feel that staying active during the DOMS phase makes it go away quicker than if I were to do nothing during that time. Proper nutrition is obviously also important; your muscles can't repair themselves without the proper vitamins and minerals to do so. Basically, DOMS is really complicated, and can really put a dampener on your workout. Just don't let it dissuade you from continuing to be active.

What do you find helps when you have DOMS?

Kent, Michael, The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 2007.

Nelson, Nicole, 'Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: Is Massage Effective?' Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, vol 17, issue 4, 2013, pp 475-482

Schwarzenegger, Arnold, 'Train through the pain?' Joe Weider's Muscle & Fitness, vol 62, 2001, p 206.

Van Vught, Nicholas, 'Varying Treatments of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in Athletic Training', California University of Pennsylvania, 2005.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Outfit of the Day: Is it Even Autumn?

Yesterday I headed out to Newtown to catch up with a good friend of mine who has been in India the past few weeks!

I decided to wear this crop top I picked up on sale at Dotti a few days ago.
I love the cut out at the front, and the black and white print. I also like that it's quite fitted.

I paired it with a black high waisted pleather skirt, and some black stockings to take the 'chill factor' into account. It was such a warm day, I definitely did not even need the stockings and kind of regretted wearing them.

On a completely unrelated note, it was really hard finding adequate lighting without shadows in my backyard to take these photos. Damn you afternoon sunshine! 

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where I Fits I Sits! #1

I thought this would be a fun post to have up every now and again.
Rommy sits in the funniest places, and J and I get a good giggle at it. So we thought we'd take photos of him sitting in funny places and on strange objects and post about it so maybe you can get a giggle too.

Because really, who doesn't love a cute cat picture?

We left the picnic basket out in the kitchen after unpacking it. Little Rommy-kins was straight up on it, having a sit. He may have also had a nap or two (or three)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Conference Haul!

A few weeks ago, J went away to a conference for work. I was pretty happy when he returned because he came bearing gifts (and of course because he was back at home)!! These were little samples and bits and pieces he received in a 'goodie bag' when they got to their hotel.

Aerogard Insect Repellant Gel (75mL)
I'm mildly allergic to mozzies, and get big welts when I get bitten so this is always good to have on hand! 

Nivea for Men Sensitive Protect Antiperspirant (22g)
I don't even care that this is for men, I claimed it anyway. Travel sized deodorants and anti-perspirants are great for throwing in my gym bag or my pole bag. 

Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion (29mL)
I have used this moisturiser before and really like it, so always happy to have a travel sized version. I love this one in particular because it is for chapped or cracked skin, which is great for my eczema. I will throw this one in my handbag. 

Scholl Dry Skin Instant Recovery Cream (2 x 3mL)
oh the dreaded sachet! This cream apparently exfoliates your feet and moisturises at the same time, making your feet gentle and smooth. 

Clear Scalp&Hair Beauty Therapy Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner (both 50mL) 
These are pretty much the perfect travel size shampoo and conditioner. Clear is a new brand on the market and I haven't had the chance to try their products yet.

Blistex Lip Radiance
Score! I love Blistex lip balms for when my lips are chapped so I was pretty happy to receive this. I love that it has SPF 15 too, as well as a touch of colour. 

Glam Manicare Express Nail Wraps
So the designs on these are not normally something I would go for (especially the funky coloured one). That being said nail wraps are expensive so I'm pretty happy I can try these ones out and then if I like them I can buy designs I actually would wear! 

Vaseline Health Radiance Ultimate 10 Anti-Ageing Lotion (25mL)
this bottle is so, so cute and tiny. I love trying out new moisturisers so it's good to get a good sample size like this one. 

Australis 10 hour wear waterproof eye pencil in Bombastic Bronze
I really can't say anything negative about getting this! This is a smooth, creamy eyeliner and is a really pretty colour. It's almost a shimmery brown, rather than a bronze. I've been eyeing these off in the shops so I'm pretty sure now I'll need to buy the rest of the range since I love this one so much! 

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Monday, April 21, 2014

My Week in Pictures #49


The weather is getting cooler, and my leather jacket has officially come out of the wardrobe. I am just so, so obsessed with these Black Milk Game of Thrones tights. I might need to go back and get the green pair? Wahhh I think an addiction has begun. Started reading book 3.2 in the series and loving it so far. 

I briefly took a break last weekend (11th-13th April) from the cold weather and headed up to sunny Queensland - my mama got married! She looked absolutely stunning and the smiles on both their faces was beautiful! :) 

It was at a boat club, so the ceremony looked out over this stunning view. Mother Nature gave us a fantastic sunset. My sister and I were both bridesmaids, as were the groom's two daughters. I really wish I had more photos, but I left my camera at mum's place when we came back :( 
Instead of bouquets we had these really pretty wicker hearts with sea-shells! 

Back to reality, and I've spent most of the Easter long weekend chained to my desk, trying to catch up on the uni work I fell behind in during the mad rush of mid-semester assignments. 
Had a lot of back-and-forth emailing with the subject co-ordinator for Business Law. There was an online test on the 10th April, but I couldn't access it. I was then flying out on the 11th, so couldn't do it then either. I applied for academic consideration - obviously it was the university's fault that I couldn't access the portal to do the test in. Spent most of last week trying to get access, again, to no avail. So I am getting a question emailed to me today at 3pm and I have 45 minutes to answer it and email it back. Talk about stressful. Wish me luck! 

Feeling pretty pleased with myself that I got this 8 angle yoga pose on my first try! I think I'm relying too much on arm and core strength though, and not squeezing enough with my legs. Practice, practice, practice and I'll get there. 

On Friday J and I celebrated our five year anniversary! 

Unfortunately the restaurant we were planning on going to for dinner has closed down. So we headed off to a local park for a lunch-time picnic instead! 

We played some cards, drank some sparkling grape juice (like the responsible adults we are) and ate lots of food. It was a perfect low-key afternoon hanging out with each other. 

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Fitness Friday: At Home Exercise Essentials

For the longest time, I have been unable to get to the gym. I either couldn't afford one, or there wasn't one close to me and let's be honest - if it's not within walking distance, I'm not going to go.
So I've amassed quite the arsenal of at-home exercise gear. Today I'm going to share with you my absolute essentials. Just because you can't get to a gym or workout class doesn't mean you can't effectively work those muscles at home.

at home exercise essentials

1. Foam Roller
This is absolutely essential for anyone who works out. It's basically a cylinder made of hard foam (there are different levels of hardness, as well as different sizes out there), and you roll on it to help release knots and sore muscles. I roll on my foam roller every single day because it feels just so damn good. 

2. Door Pull Up Bar
J bought one of these on ebay a few years ago, and I love it. It's so easy to quickly bust out a few pull ups and chin ups. The fact that it attaches to a door and is held up with tension means you don't need anything special or a lot of space to have one. 

3. Swiss ball
You can do so much with this bouncy ball of goodness. Using a swiss ball requires you to maintain balance, so your core will work pretty hard, even if you're not doing a core-specific exercise on it. For instance, use it to prop your feet up and do push ups. I love using mine to kneel on and try to hold my balance. 

4. Massage Ball
This spikey ball of torture is incredible at really getting into those knotted up areas. I love this for releasing tension I hold in my shoulders. This is a lot smaller than the foam roller so it can really concentrate on specific areas. This is one of those "hurts so good" pains. I also really like it for sitting on when you get that intense burn from too many squats. 

5. Dumbbells
These are awesome because they take up practically no space. We have two 3.5kg ones and I love them for conditioning exercises for my shoulders and arms. You can do so many different exercises with these, that target almost every part of your body. Get a couple in different weights and you've practically got your own at-home gym. 

6. Resistance Band
These come in a couple of different tensions, usually noted by what colour the band is. Basically they're a really tight bit of elastic. I bought one from Rebel that came with a door jam, so I can use it for more exercises than just lunges. I also use it wrapped around my pole or clothes line to do rowing exercises. Again, this little bit of rubber can be used for so many different exercises that target so many different parts of your body. 

7. Yoga Block
I bought two yoga blocks for a couple of dollars on ebay - these are literally just blocks of foam so you really don't need to fork out a lot of money for them. If you're new to yoga or stretching it can be really helpful to use a block as an aid. Some purists are really against using aids, but I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with using them if you need it. You're much better off using an aid and getting the full benefit of a pose, than not being able to do the pose properly at all. 

8. Skipping Rope
I love my skipping rope for quickly fitting in some cardio for a warm up. If you can't get to the gym to run on the treadmill, and you don't like running in the streets, a skipping rope could be your answer! There's also something fun about revisiting something you used to love as a child. Skipping really requires nothing before you begin so it's a great exercise to do regardless of your current fitness level. 

9. Yoga Mat
I love my mat for stretching on. Carpet is slippery, and my house is full of it, so I find the sticky-ness of a yoga mat really helps me hold stretches longer. I don't have room at my place for a designated 'exercise area', so rolling out my yoga mat really helps me to get into the exercise frame of mind as well. Yoga mats are not absolutely essential, so if you feel you're doing fine without one you don't need to rush out and buy one. I just find that it helps increase my level of comfort when stretching. 

What essentials do you use when working out at home? 

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

March Her Fashion Box

I was pretty happy when I got home tonight to find that the postman had left me my March 'HFB' box sitting under my awning. Yayyy! This box was super duper late ... because as you may know, it is April. 
Apparently there was a delay with receiving something, but we were told not to worry because these boxes were the biggest and best so far because it was their birthday issue. There was even a little something extra in the boxes for us!
Hearing this, I was obviously excited and growing more and more impatient as the days went by and I received no tracking information. 
So what was inside? 

Looking like a pretty good mix of items !

The ring was the first thing I noticed when I opened the box, and I absolutely adore this! This is like quite a lot of the other costume jewellery rings I own, and I know it will fit in nicely with the rest of my wardrobe. 
(RRP $12.95)

The other big fashion item was this necklace. It's a bit different, but I kind of like the heavy chains and the little jewels. In the mini HFB magazine it's been styled with a white shirt, and I really like that look so I can't wait to give it a try. 
(RRP $29.95)

The last big fashion item was this moon print scarf. It's big and black / white / grey tones go with everything so I'm positive I can work this into my wardrobe. 
(RRP $32.95)

The beauty items! 
We got an 'Outrageous Volume mascara' from Designer Brands. I'm not that fussed with this brand of cosmetics and am yet to find a product of theirs that I actually really like. I'll still give this a go and hopefully it's not too bad. 
(RRP $9.99)

Now don't get excited. I know that lip product looks remarkably similar to a Revlon lip butter, but it is in fact a "Colour by TBN moisturising lipstick". I've never heard of this brand before, and the blatant rip off packaging kind of bothers me. That being said, the colour I got is a really pretty frosty pink so it is a welcome addition to my collection. 
(RRP $3.50)

I was pretty happy to see the includsion of Argania hair oil in this box. I freaking love oils, and I know my dry hair will drink this up. We received a generous 5mL sample and I cannot wait to get this on my locks. 
(RRP 34.99 for 100mL; $5.99 for 5mL)

I've mentioned before that I'm not into fake tanning, so I wasn't that fussed to see this bottle of Le Tan in Le Can. I might give it a go one night when I'm looking for something to do. 
(RRP $15.49 for 150g; $6.99 for 45g)

And the pumice stone. This was apparently the bonus gift. Meh.
I'll put it to use but honestly, I'm a little let down. 

We also received a little lolly mix as well which was a nice touch. I'm not a massive fan of lollies so will be handing these over to J to indulge in. 

Overall, I really like the contents in this box. I do feel though that my like for what I received is a little hampered by my disappointment. I just can't help that I feel disappointed that I waited so long for this, and that my expectations were so built up. I don't see much of a difference between the products in this box, and the products I've received in previous boxes - nothing in this box particularly screamed "this is a special present for it being our birthday" and overall that left me feeling a bit sad and meh. 

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