Thursday, March 24, 2011


So today was the end of the first rotation of Bootycamp!

BFF C and I joined up when we were starting the Raw Food Challenge (raw food post to come!). Bootycamp would be two mornings a week for 6 weeks, each session lasting for 1 hour.

We have a great little group working out together at a park down the road. The trainer is great and friendly and nice (even though we jokingly send her evil looks when she gets us to do another set of bloody lunges...). We do everything from laps of the park, lunges, squats, numerous variations of sit ups, boxing, circuit training around the play ground, to pull ups (I am the group champion in that one. And only that one), throwing and catching balls.

Doing it in a group with a trainer has fantastic motivations associated with it.  I know that if I had been doing a lap in the park alone, I would have stopped and walked. And I definitely wouldn't have done 3 laps!!! It really does keep you going and if you are at all competitive, the group pushes you further than you might if you were on your own.

During the first session we did a fitness test to see what our base levels of fitness were. Mine were...hmmm...let's say not so great. The test involved the Beep Test (anyone who has done it hates it!), holding the plank for as long as possible, push ups, wall squat and I am sure there was something else, but I may have blanked it out.

Today, we did the fitness test again to see how far we'd come. Thank god there was a super duper improvement in my stats! It is fantastic to see these sorts of results because it makes me more motivated to do more. And I am seeing changes in my body - slimmer arms, tighter torso (The Man is just hoping the...ahem...special bits don't shrink too much!).

It can be quite challenging waking up at 5.30am to get there for a 6am start. But I learned that while it was hard to get out of bed, I always felt soooooooooo much the better for attending. And it really showed the rest of the day with more energy, sharper focus and psychologically feeling great that I had done something fabulous for my health.

So, because I have a goal to be fit and fabulous for 30 (which is not too far away - May 17 everybody!), I've decided to invest in the next round and continue on next week.

Plus I'm continuing with Yoga, though I've not scheduled much time for it lately and I disappointed my lovely new yoga bud Mrs M by canceling on her this week (tsk tsk Arienne).

Here's to shaking our Booooooooties :)

How do you keep fit and motivated?

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How much is that doggy in the window?

I have always wanted a dog. Unfortunately our international jet setting lifestyle (ok, that totally sounds more exciting that it actually was) didn't allow for it.

I had hermit crabs and fish for a little while. A little while that really didn't last very long...I think mum had to flush the toilet a few times...

I finally got a cat when I was 9 years old and we were living in Perth. I was ecstatic. Sooty was amazing! We got him from a litter of kittens my sister's bestie's family cat had. I saw him when he was only a few days old and couldn't wait to take him home when he was old enough. We came up with the original and unique name Sooty because he was white with black patches everywhere.

Sooty used to sleep on my neck when it was cold and would wake me up by licking my hand or my face on school day mornings in time to get up and get ready (I never knew how he could tell the time). We even took Sooty camping with us one and put him on a leash (I love my mother for engineering that!). I was in love with him and his nature.

Unfortunately Sooty also like sleeping underneath the neighbour's car. I still remember that day with clear devastation. We'd been lucky enough never to have any sort of death in the family until then (I'm sorry Whitey the fish and Harry the hermit crab just didn't count). I don't think the neighbour had any idea that she had run over Sooty as she was backing out of her driveway.

I remember finding him and wondering why he wasn't reacting to my calling his name. I went up to him and he was still breathing. I screamed for mum. I didn't know what was happening, only that there was something wrong. Mum came and my sister and my step-dad. Mum lifted him up and we scrambled for the car. I remember holding Sooty in my arms while we were racing to the vet with Mum and my sister Liane and I all bawling our eyes out.

I remember the last breath he took. Gosh, I'm getting tears while I am writing this. We were too late. There was nothing the vet could do when we eventually arrived. It was hard and there was a massive hole in my life.

A few months later, we got another originally named cat we called Snowy. I know you'll all be surprised to find out that she was white. She was a bitch. Quite snooty and I remember being attacked when I came downstairs in the middle of the night. She had this habit of hiding behind bits of furniture and jumping out to scratch and gnaw at your legs. Always fun when you're half asleep.

Snowy lasted a long time. She only passed away a few years ago in Perth. She would have been around 17 or 18. Snowy gave birth to some kittens as well. One of which we kept. Liane called her Lightning and then when we moved overseas and came back my step-dad had renamed her Charlie.

Snowy and Charlie had great lives together. When mum sold the house in Perth to downsize to a smaller townhouse, it was stipulated that the cats went with the house (thankfully I was overseas or I would have had a bit of a tantrum about that one!). Amazingly the new buyers were American missionaries with young children and they loved the idea of the cats.

That house was known locally as The White House ( was white) so it suited having Americans in there. We kept in touch with them and they told us a few years later that they had renamed the cats Hilary and Monica. Who knew they'd have such a great sense of humour.

When they were moving back to the States, we got to have Snowy and Charlie (we couldn't call them anything else!) back.

Just after that time, I was moving to Melbourne to live with my Dad. I forgot to tell him a small detail. When I arrived at the airport and got my luggage, he went to go and I said "But Dad, we've got to get Charlie!". Haha, mum hadn't told him. We had a great 7 months in Melbourne together, before I moved back, with Charlie, to Perth to finish high school.

Dad  is hilarious with animals. He never admits that he loves them but he totally secretly does. When we were in Switzerland for Christmas just now, we'd ask him if he needed any bread or milk or ingredients for the evenings dinner. No, he didn't, but he needed bird seed and cat food for the neighbourhood animals that came to visit him...

I've been living in Sydney for about 11 years now. I managed to finally live in a place where I could have a cat (at least secretly...). So about 5 years ago, I imported Charlie back into my everyday life. She is nugget of love. She's 20 now (which is about 1 million cat years old) and still going very strong. She just can't jump as high as she used to and she doesn't care about birds like she used to (displayed very well by her 'couldn't care less' attitude towards a pair of minor birds that constantly eat her food right in front of her).

 Charlie likes to sleep with her tongue sticking out of her mouth. Have you ever touched a cat's tongue?? It is weird. Seriously. But addictive.

Her paws also cover her cutie pie face when she has a snooze (which is about 22 hours of the day. the other 1 hour is made up of meowing for food and conning anyone who walks in the door that she hasn't been fed twice already and the final hour is made up of gorging herself )

The basket I bought for her is actually a bit of a tight squeeze so she spills over the sides. But hey, it is cute, so I didn't buy her a bigger one.

Those are the two evil birds that eat her food. Charlie doesn't move from that position. They just go around her.

Well...this didn't really end up being a post about dogs did it?? Sorry for the false advertising, I kind of ran out of steam before I got onto the canine species. Perhaps the next one will actually include my story about puppies.

How have pets changed your life?

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Speeeeeeeeeeeech!

Putting my best foot forward :)

Well. The Speech. Some of you may have been reading the lead up to the event with these posts (feel free to read for the first time or for a refresh!):

23rd January 2011 - Post
8th February 2011 - Post
15th February 2011 - Post

The day of The Speech started off extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeemly early. Bosslady was picking me up from my house at 5.50am (and I hadn't fully packed the night or days before because we had our massive launch event on the night before and I was up practicing the speech I hadn't looked at since the Toastmasters practice run) so we could drive to Canberra for a 9.15am arrival.

It was quite a fun drive down since we were both trying to practice and drive and give pointers and discuss what to expect (and the nerves were slowly building in me...). Bosslady has done a few talks, but this was my first one in front of a 'crowd' of people that I didn't know.

We arrived in Canberra with what we thought was plenty of time to spare. Until we hit Canberra morning peak hour traffic. So we ended up actually arriving at 9.45am for a 10am start to the International Women's Day talk that we were the main event for.

Then technology didn't work as well as we thought it would. Typical!

But the people that greeted us were wonderful. Warm, friendly and engaging. Women started coming into the room and filling out the seats and it was great to see that it was a pretty good turn out.

Very soon it was Bosslady's time to be introduced. She did fabulously and I almost (almost) forgot that I was up next. The audience seemed really connected with what she was speaking about and there was a great Q&A session.

All of a sudden it was my turn. I admit I had a bit of a shaky start by going blank for the longest 3 seconds I'd experienced in a long time. I felt my voice was really rattling when I actually started speaking, but then I broke the ice by speaking from the heart - that I was really nervous because it was my first time speaking in front of an audience but that I hoped that they would bear with me. And I managed to get into the swing of it and adapt the prepared speed to the room and the timing.

And it went great (at least for a first timer!). There was eye contact and nodding from some individuals in the audience. I felt like I was speaking and they were actually listening (yippeee!). I got a nice round of applause and Bosslady was happy too.

Overall it was a great experience and I would really love to be up in that sort of space again. I think I could fall in love with speaking. So watch out, I may be shouting at you from a podium one of these days...

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weddings, I love them

I am totally a romantic at heart. I've always daydreamed and fantasised about love. I used to write poetry for my first boyfriend (hindsight puke). I love romance. I cry when I get flowers. Give me a rom com any day.

So it is actually quite funny that I never fantasised or planned my dream wedding. Such a girl in some ways and sooooo not in others (I think I get ready for a night out faster then most men I know).

And what is actually a little more interesting (you might not think this is interesting at all...sorry) is that I love weddings. I always cry. And it doesn't matter if they are happening live in front of me or on a movie. I get soppy, and my makeup mucks up and I'm discreetly trying to find a tissue (or wiping my face on anything handy including a scarf...yes, it has happened - what class and sophistication I have).

So, it was wonderful that our friends were getting married last weekend in Port Macquarie which is supposedly 4.5 hours north of Sydney (Google maps is a total took us like 5.5 hours to get there and 6 to get home. Okay there was traffic and an accident, but still...just wanted to have a whinge). The trip was worth it!

It was a wonderful wedding, and so great to see it all come together so beautifully after being involved with some of the smaller details (putting together the invites on a hungover day, going to dress fittings, helping choose shoes)!

I love the now Mrs T! She was absolutely stunning and her husband was glowing too. They are such a fabulous couple and great individuals. I am so appreciative that she is such a great friend in my life.

 The bride to be prepping before the wedding. Ken behind her is a blow up sex doll that was representing the Groom's best friend in his unfortunate absence.

 Some of the posse waiting for the bride (great friends Mr S and Ms T were our awesome partners in crime for the weekend)

 The colourful old work crew, so great to catch up!

 The newlyweds about to sign the official documents

 Blowing bubbles never gets old...even when you're 'old'

 Mr S and Ms T at the stunning wedding location

 There was not one good photo of me off my camera, so this was the best one I could find (with The Man) and you can't even see my dress :(

 Did I mention how much I love skinny black ties?? How gorgeous is this pic (and the guy in it is not bad either!!)?

 What beautiful table settings for the wedding!

 Okay, you can see my dress a little better. The girls having a laugh around Ken (he did get his package out numerous times during the evening)

 We actually got a photo of the 6 of us!

We had brunch at Mrs T's family house the next day. Here is a koala that was sitting in the tree at the front of their home. Yes, a real, live, wild koala. AWESOME!!!!!!

So it was a memorable weekend. So full of fun, happiness, love and joy. I'd love for more weekends to be filled with this much hope, dancing, laughter, dreams, travel, sunshine and great company. I love celebrating and connecting. Maybe I will start planning my dream wedding...

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Land Ahoy!

Being the fabulous girlfriend that I am I missed The Man's birthday. Not because I forgot or anything (I'd like to think I'm not that horrible!), but because I was away (well, I had to get up at 4.30am and leave the house at 6am on the day of his birthday... and be off to Canberra and Wagga Wagga for a few days). So really, we only saw each other for 2 seconds.

This is The Man...aren't his eyes dreamy?

So, I tried to make up for it. I was searching for something I thought he would love and after a few days, The Idea came to mind. If I haven't shared already, The Man is Hungarian. And he came to Australia almost two years ago because he had a dream to be near the ocean and loves almost everything to do with ships and adventuring.

It wasn't a massive idea, but I bought us tickets to sail on a tall ship in Sydney Harbour at Twilight. Here are some pics of the evening:

 In front of the boat as it pulled up. And a recognisable landmark behind us.

 The long horse face next to the round moon face...

 The weather wasn't the greatest...But the beauty of the harbour shines still!

 Ahoy Captain "The Man"

 View back towards the city from Rose Bay
 It was raining and then overcast and then there wCeautiful light.

 Going under the Harbour Bridge

 It was a tad pouring. We all looked fabulous in translucent ponchos...

 I taught The Man the term drowned rats.

 Drying off with some shots...Yes, it is logical.

Super freaky eyes I know, but it had been a long week and a drenched outing!

So I have partially redeemed myself for abandoning him on his birthday and am back on full girlfriend status!

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

Monday, March 14, 2011

What a Week! Oh Blog :) Unofficial Week in Review

Oh blog I've missed you! Have you missed me? I didn't think that it would be possible but absence has made the heart grow fonder...

What a week ladies and gentlemen! It has been massive and busy and awesome.

The Man and I were talking the other day while walking to the bus stop about all the things that are happening at once:

Mum's here from Perth, Dad is coming soon, BFF C has moved out with her Man, Raw food finishing, The Man starting his role extension to the office, his birthday, his last week at college, him going on a business trip to Melbourne, submitting the paperwork to officially register our relationship with the government (weird I know!), the launch of the organisation I'm involved in, the speech at the government department that I've been practicing, going to Wagga to help run one of our workshops, fun time in Wagga, great friend's wedding next weekend, the Boss being on Channel 10 news.

I'm sure I might have missed one or two things but all these things have happened in the last week.

So, I'm feeling a little mentally exhausted and a little stressed about having had to be out of the office for a few days and all the little things that build up and can be a little time consuming to deal with or that can easily slip through the cracks. But...I'm also feeling good and excited and positive with a lot of what is going on.

I'll go into a little more detail about these happenings in the coming weeks and swing back into routine. Maybe have a few more punchy shorter posts. Let's see, but I'm back and won't let the absence stretch for any longer.

By the way...the bugs in the city are nothing, nothing, compared to the bugs in the country.

Until later my dears, make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reconnecting with My Dreams

I always find that the busier I am in one part of my life, the less I connect with my overall dreams and goals. I feel the need to make some space to reconnect with the big picture right now amidst this frantic pace.

This lesson comes to me time and time again. That the busy moments are the moments I need to have my schedule and routine together to ensure that I am tracking with things that are most important to me. Otherwise they get lost in the doing sphere of one area.

During these busy times date night, exercise, my focus on relationships, on other interests and activities go out the window. Of course we all have weeks where certain priorities take precedence over others.

And then the minute you don't have things scheduled that feeling of overwhelm creeps up where all the other things I should have done or should be doing rear their head. And I feel frozen in inactivity while my mind churns. Where shall I start? What should I do? Is this thing more important than that? Wait, they're all important...

The mental battle of spending some quality time with The Man (who I feel I have neglected a little, and feel even worse for because I also go away for five days next week including his birthday...Poor boy :( ) and sitting at the laptop to churn away on The Week in Review, Things I Love Thursday and February Review/March dreams. And the struggle between going to Yoga with a gal pal and sitting down and shifting through my finances. Between setting myself up healthily and sitting down to do some work to get a jump start on next week. To trying to clean the kitchen, do the laundry and working out job description roles and salary scales...

Can I fit all of that into the Sunday I have left and still feel refreshed and on top of things for a Monday of a crazy week ahead (coordinating workshops, doing the many final details for our launch event, going to Canberra and then Wagga for workshops and speeches, celebrating The Man's birthday a bit early, enjoying a relatively quiet hen's night out, having some meetings and doing all the other day to day work and trying to catch up from last week). Phew...

There are only so many things we can realistically do, so is it fair to beat ourselves up when we don't achieve them all? Plus ensure that we are looking after ourselves and ensuring that we are giving our souls the nourishment they need?

What a journey our lives are ladies!

So I'm going to pen this, go to yoga, come back and clean the kitchen and do some laundry. Spend some quality time with The Man. Reconnect with my dreams, plan the week ahead. Anything else will be a bonus. And I'm not going to be too hard on myself.

How do you feel during these times? What do you do?

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Raw Food Challenge Day #19: Challenges

Well, the last few days have been quite challenging. Being out and about a lot has been quite hard in respect to the Raw Food challenge. There are not many raw options available when you're out. Unless you are supremely organised and have a whole bunch of food with you. Raw in Sydney is not very good for spontaneity.

Last weekend we went for a lovely brunch with some friends at a cafe nursery with beautiful balinese decor. I pretty much could only have a fruit salad, then a fruit juice. Man I was totally fruited out. Then we decided to meet another couple and went to a cafe near the city. Unfortunately there was nothing available on the menu and I didn't want to uproot everyone and search for a more suitable location.

So I tried to survive on a peppermint tea and the nuts I had in my bag. I really didn't feel very great with the lack of energy and nourishment. This diet, to be feasible for the next 10 days with a busy schedule, I've decided to expand my options to include raw fish. This means I can at least dine out a little easier with friends and a hen's evening I'm joining (thank god raw is over for the wedding!).

And okay, I have to fess up...My soul just needed a bit of something. Some nurturing that only warm food can bring. So I had a vegetarian noodle dish last night on Date Night with The Man. I know, I know...But I've been 100% raw for 18 days. I didn't even eat the whole dish! I had about half and was supremely filled up. So I listened to my body and I have to say I don't feel guilty because I know I needed it. And it wasn't chips or a fatty dessert!

And I soooooooooo enjoyed it :) I was full of appreciation for the warmth and the flavours. A plate of noodles never tasted soooooooo good.

The major thing I am missing is coffee. I went shopping with some girlfriends this morning looking for shoes for her bridesmaids who live out of town. I had never noticed how many coffee shops there were at that shopping centre! I had a fresh juice instead.

I have to say being without meat is not too bad. I'm craving things like rice and pasta more than I am meat... I feel like I'm making this big list in my head of all the things I want to have when it's over. Naughty! I don't want to have a week of eating all the more unhealthy meals just because I haven't been able to go near them the last month!

What I have found is being this strict with the diet is quite unsustainable. At least for me. I would recommend doing it 80/20. 80% raw food and juices etc 20% healthy cooked options. Moving forward I would like to have a strong foundation in eating a large portion of raw, but having other foods in moderation.

Otherwise I am still feeling good and seeing the benefits in my skin and body in general. My energy is much more consistent and my mental clarity is quite high.

Make it as you wish SSSs!
Arienne xo

I'm Here! International Women's Day 2011

Well Gals, I apologise for the lack of posts this week. I know, I know excuses shouldn't matter. But hey, too bad! It has been a very busy week in my world, and set to be even busier next week, so apologies in advance ;)

Work is really what has been taking up a lot of my space at the moment, especially as it is drawing close to the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day (it is on Tuesday 8th March 2011)! To find out more about this day we should all honour read here.

The non-profit I work for The 10thousandgirl Campaign, has supported the UN Women International Women's Day Breakfast that was held today with 1700 attendees!

Yesterday was spent volunteering our time to help stuff 1700 goodie bags and placing 1700 ribbons, chocolates and handouts on each place setting. Don't worry, it wasn't only the two of us, there was also handfuls of school girls, girl guides and the UN Women Breakfast Committee. My arm still hurts and I'm still a little dizzy from going clockwise around the tables (I knew I should have started going anti-clockwise...). Did I mention 1700?

We also donated a door prize of 6x Personal Finance Programs (which Sue Conde, the President of UN Women Australia commented on being a fabulous prize!).

On a more serious note, the breakfast was really amazing. The energy of all those women (and a few men) in that room was great. I was suuuuuuper impressed by one of the 16 year old high school speakers. Wow, talk about confident, eloquent and inspiring. She spoke about being the legacy of all the women who have come before.

Justice Unity Dow, an amazing woman from Botswana, was the Keynote speaker. Dow has been instrumental in bring gender equality to her country. Her linked biography is a rather dry version of her life. Her story was funny, endearing and insightful.

Many of us are so lucky to be living in a time where things for women have improved. And they've improved because of the struggles and hard work of women before us. There is definitely still a way to go with equality in pay. In may parts of the developing world there are still many, many issues around being female. If you haven't already, look at the organisation, The Girl Effect - they tell the story very well. When you empower and give opportunities to women and girls in the community, they can make lasting, positive changes in their community.

The Girl Guides were also there. I was a Girl Guide once, for about two weeks and then we moved and I got way too cool. My childhood best friend's mother was a guide leader and I remember my friend getting up to lots of mischief at Guide and Scout camps. I was really proud when I was around 8 and was a seconder (is that what they were called?) as a Brownie. Anyway, I was given this badge that I proudly wore around yesterday. How cool?!

So, when International Women's Day comes around, be proud and honour those who have come before us. Stand up and be heard when things aren't right. It is paramount all around the world that women's voices and concerns are heard at decision-making times.
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