Enter Epic Thread Love!

Meet my new website Epic Thread Love where I share all my favorite clothing, accessories and maybe a few home accessories here and there too. This is what I’ve been working on instead of blogging for the past two weeks, in between chilling out and watching a bit of TV!

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Quilted Biker Coat

 

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Bold Floral Skater Dress

 

 

TIARA-DRESS-SUN-MOON-STARS-motel

 

Sun Moon and Stars Dress

I hope you like it and please follow me my page on Facebook too so you can get updates of what I’m sharing!

I’m going dark

It’s time to accept that my ambitious optimism is actually unrealistic expectations this time.

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As I’ve said before, this blog was intended to preface some self employment opportunity. I’ve been working toward some things to that end, the internet marketing diploma I just did and the website I’ve started, as well as the t-shirts I tried to get sold and the few bits of clothing I tried to get orders for. What I’ve found is that it’s going to take a lot more time and energy than I have at the moment.

I’ve barely been able to keep up with this blog, which I love having as an outlet, never mind get properly started on anything else along with it. Also, even though I’ve not really accomplished all that much I’m totally exhausted. I never really relax. Every evening I’m here blogging or doing social media, or doing course work (which is done for now thankfully) or staring at my computer screen feeling guilty that I’m too brain dead to be productive. Sometimes, I spend time with family or friends, but very rarely do I have a night to just veg out in front of the TV and do nothing. When I do, I feel guilty because I’m always behind on what I want done. Once every few weeks I pass out at 7:00 putting my daughter to bed and stay there until 6:00 in the morning.

I’m taking a break. I want to watch the fourth season of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and maybe something else after that. I’m going to pare down blog posts to a couple a month, and they will be more documentary than commentary. I’ll try to stay up to date on Facebook and maybe will be more communicative there than I have been in the past, kind of like micro-blogging. I’ll try to keep up with Twitter a bit if I can too. I have this clothing website I’m working on which I was really excited about so I’ll get that finished and launched and see how much time it takes to keep it up to date before deciding what to do with it. I’m hoping it will take no more than one evening a week or so.

We’ll see how I feel in a month, or three, or maybe more. So maybe I’m not really going dark, just a bit shadowy. Hope you all understand.

Where is this blog going anyway?

I’ve had a week or so off from blogging due to being stretched too thin, tired, having house guests and a cold. I’ve spent some time trying to clean up a long post on some thoughts on me and my life with regards to feminism, but I’m trying not to be whingy and it’s not working out very well. I don’t want this blog to be about me complaining all the time. I do have opinions and complaints about a lot of things, but for the most part I’m an optimistic person. I want to be uplifting and full of light, not all dark and moody.

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Missy Vintage posted my guest post for her blog today, about my love for 70′s fashion. As I reflected on my writing in someone else’s very cool, successful, purposeful blog, I pondered what’s going on with my own. What is the point and where is it going? I know the answer to the first question, but not the second. I’m not a fortune teller and you’d have to be one to know where my whim is going to take me next! The truth is I have lots of ideas about where to take this blog and it depends on my mood, my tiredness, the time of day, week, month, what I think at any given moment.

I like to have this blog as a creative outlet because I’ve always wanted to write. I used to write journals and stories and those types of things but this stretches me to write a little bit better because people are going to see it. I have a long way to go, and one of the things I’m looking at doing is writing courses (as in, taking courses to help me write better, not creating courses), but the one thing that experts say is just keep writing as much as possible. It’s hard going when the only chance to write is at the end of a long day, but I try.

I started this blog with the intention of documenting the creation of some kind of micro business. It was either the ground breaking clothes buying platform (not micro), or the t-shirts that would open into an entire line of clothing. I’ve found rather quickly that it will take a lot of writing to get enough followers who might also be interested in my t-shirts. Like, years. That’s ok though, I can shelve that and look at it again in a while. I have so many more ideas about how to spend my time anyway!

I’m building a new website where I can share all my favorite clothing, so virtual shopping will feature here a lot less once it goes live. I also have an idea for another one, but hey one thing at a time right? Anyway, here are the different directions I may take this blog as time progresses:

More recipes: I do keep intending to post some of my favorite recipes more often in here. I have so many healthy and not-so-healthy favourites!

More feminism: Sometimes I just want to keep on about feminism and how it can do better. I think it’s been hijacked and perverted in places, but I still agree with the majority feminist opinion that it’s just about making women and men equal.

Kids and homeschooling: I’m not sure how much writing I want to do about this, but I can’t promise it won’t sneak its way in as the years progress. My oldest turns four in March and should officially be in school the following autumn, but there’s no damn way I’m sending her there. I’m a rebel that way.

MOOC’s: Massive Open Online Courses; these are free university courses! I love education and thought about blogging my way through a few, or more than a few. Maybe I can put together my own undergrad degree. I mean, only I would recognise it, but who cares?  Those are the only rules I live by anyway.

Digital marketing education: I’m about to finish my second diploma course by Shaw Academy, in Online Marketing this time, and I really quite like it. I’ve ordered the text book the Chartered Institute of Marketing use in their industry leading Digital Marketing Diploma and thought I’d self study it for a while, along with a course I found on SEO and a couple of MOOC’s on the subject.

I’m not sure I can mash all this stuff together into one blog, but maybe I can? Why not? I’m not a laser focused kinda person, why would I have a laser focused kinda blog right?

Why you should stop fat shaming

Whenever there’s an article on the web or a status on Facebook trying to promote healthy body image or stop fat shaming, there’s always that person who thinks its a good time to point out that being fat is unhealthy. I’d like to point out that being judgmental is also not healthy.  These people love insisting that if the fat person would just exercise the same sort of will power as they do, they could be healthier, fitter, sexier people.  More worthy of positive assessments perhaps. Anyway, whatever it is, I’m here to explain why they are just clueless.

Losing is harder than maintaining

Eating 1800 calories a day to maintain a slender figure is not the same as eating 1800 calories a day when you’re slightly over weight and maintenance is 2300. We are not simple balloons who can be filled up or emptied at any whim. If you’ve never had a need to lose 20 pounds or more then you may not know this. You certainly can’t appreciate it, unless maybe you’ve tried to gain 20 pounds and had a hard time doing that. Our bodies fight to maintain our weight. We have hormones like insulin, leptin, and ghrelin that work hard giving us cravings, rationalisations and making us ravenously hungry. Losing weight, being in a caloric deficit, doesn’t feel the same as maintaining or eating maintenance calories even when the number of calories is the same between those two different sized people. It hurts physically, mentally and emotionally. And it’s only when all our ducks are in a perfect row that we can actually manage to consistently lose significant amounts of weight over time.

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Cortisol.

Stress makes it harder. If you have a crap job, a crap relationship, small children, or any constant low level stress that you have to endure, losing weight is going to be harder, if not  impossible. At the same time while we can exercise our willpower we also have finite amountsso if just living your life day to day spends all your patience and will power, adding weight loss is not going to be practical. This reduces the number of over weight people who will lose weight this year significantly on its own. Maybe if our society was a bit more civil and equitable it would be easier.

 The media and body image.

We all know that the media is at fault for giving us all unrealistic body image issues. Because of this overweight people will be fighting themselves and their self image. Hating themselves, in part because of people who fat shame. In many cases it’s not until we can actually truly accept ourselves for who we are, the size we are and everything before we can even get to all the other steps necessary to lose any weight. I only read half the book Overcoming Overeating but completely agree with the narrative which tells about how sometimes you cannot get anywhere until you stop trying so hard. Also, you can look at my post How I came to accept my body for what it is. (Note: I’m now a lower weight than ever since I started trying to lose it.)

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Fast food market, crap food market, food scientists

Multi-billion dollar companies spend millions if not billions on food scientists who research how to make us all addicted to their crap products that make us fat. An ex food scientist in this Guardian article says, “These products are designed to keep you coming back to eat more and more and more.” The WHO acknowledges that it’s largely the fast food market making us fat, and it’s known how much money goes into making those products hard to resist. I can’t emphasise enough how good they have gotten at making the physical product hard to resist and the marketing of that product has become so much more sophisticated. They are using a lot of research to manipulate us into getting fatter and unhappier. None of this is our fault. The only fault lies in continuing to allow them to do it.

Lack of knowledge,

If you don’t know what to eat, what to avoid or how to cook, it’s going to be really hard to manage weight loss in the long term. The diet market sells lies all over the place. Do we eat 1200 calories a day or 2000? Do we walk, run or lift weights? Do we eat calorie controlled ready meals or our own cooked meals? Is all of this wrong? The diet industry tells us there are pills and shakes and diet plans that will magically make us thin. Even shoes and leggings can do it! The fact is, even though there’s always that person saying that it’s obvious what you should and shouldn’t eat, it’s not true. I have lost weight eating burgers, tacos, and take out because I know how to make those kinds of decisions. If you eat plain porridge for breakfast, a salad for lunch and plain chicken with broccoli for dinner, you are going to be so under nourished you’ll gorge on some biscuits before the end of the week for sure. And all those people trying to sell you diet plans aren’t helping you learn either. It takes time, effort, trial and error to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.

The fact is it’s not simply a matter of making the decision to lose weight and following through. Maybe technically it is, but if you think human behaviour is that simple you belong in a different century! Losing weight is possible if you’re committed, but not obsessed. If you’re prepared and ready, you have support, the chance to pamper yourself and the resilience to get back up when you fall. I don’t want anyone to feel like you can’t do it. You can! It just takes a lot of preparation and commitment. Much more than someone who judges you could even dream of.  So if you’ve been victim to fat shaming idiots who think they know better, take heart. They are charmed, clueless and not particularly attractive themselves!

If you enjoyed this please visit and like my Facebook page and let me know!

The universe doesn’t care if you’re happy, but I do.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so eventually you trust no one but yourself. And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”

I found this quote and it resonated quite strongly with me for some reason, even though I also think it’s almost completely wrong. It’s attributed to Marilyn Monroe apparently but I found it on a page that says a lot of Marilyn’s quotes are not actually Marilyn’s quotes. I was looking for proof that the “imperfection is beauty” one is real. (Spoiler: probably not!) To me, the quote really just means, “live, learn, grow, move on” which is what caught my attention.

jewelledbutterfly

Jeweled butterfly pendant at Iridescence.co.uk

I try to post twice a week, in between my job, kids, home and husband but at the moment I’ve over-extended myself adding an internet marketing course, a new website I’m creating (!) and now, new and exciting crisis’ galore! So I found this quote, and decided to expand on some of it and basically just let you have a bit of insight into my head at the moment…

Everything happens for a reason: No I think the universe is chaos and there is no reason. We make our own reason for being. We decide what we want out of life and we decide if the risks and the costs are worth the benefits of trying to accomplish those things. Its not about what happens to us, it’s about what we do in response that is the measure of who we really are.

People change so that you can learn to let go: well maybe, or maybe they’ve changed so that they can learn to let go. Or maybe they’ve just changed so that they can be happier and it’s nothing to do with you. Maybe what’s necessary is for you to change so that you can learn to let go. Don’t make the mistake of thinking everything is about you. Again, it’s about your reaction to this change that’s important. If you need to let go, do it. If you need to hold on, then hold on kindly.

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Totally awesome hat by the talented Betsy Hatter Millinery

Things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they’re right: No, things just go wrong sometimes. But definitely try to appreciate them when they are right anyway! Most people have experienced this though; you are totally taking something for granted annoyed at it’s existence at all sometimes and then you get a little taste of losing it and you totally flip out, and change your tune. Try to take a moment every once in a while to appreciate the things around you that you may be taking for granted. However, if something in your life is toxic and needs to go, get it out of there!

You believe lies so eventually you trust no one but yourself: Please do NOT ever get to the point where you trust only yourself. That’s a good measure of madness right there for one. But also, we are not lone wolves. Humans are interdependent, meaning we need other people. Please try to find at least one person who you can count on to not screw you over. And then trust them fully. There’s nothing else like it.

And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together: This, again is not true, sometimes things just fall apart because of the random nature of the universe. However, it is definitely true that good things are almost always around the corner. You really have to believe that! No matter how bad things are it will not always be this way. I know how easy it is to believe that it will, when you’re down and feel hopeless. But if you’re going to have faith in anything at all it must be in the totally random nature of the world we live in and the fact that it will throw good things at you just as easily as crap things. You have to look for them sometimes. You might have to keep a journal of all the little good things, no matter how little. But do it. Because they will grow.

100 Happy Days can help with that. Do it if you need to. Please.

My diet break

Can I just take a minute to celebrate that I have now broken some sort of mental set point I had going on for something like five years! I could never get under this number and somehow, while I wasn’t really paying attention I just broke it! Woot!

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That happened of course before my diet break. I just finished my first diet break this weekend and I’m sure I’m a bit higher again. I’m not worried in the least though because it will be just water which will be lost again before the end of the week along with a bit more fat. I found last year that the best pattern for me is two and a half weeks “on” and then four days “off”. This was the most measured and reasonable break I’ve ever had though. I put that down to the relative lack of sugar in my diet right now.

I started “dieting” on 14 July, counting calories to under 2000, but usually under 1800. I had already cut out most sugar from my diet so what I was focusing on is eating enough veg and controlling the high calorie foods. I tend to have greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast, unless I’m really hungry and craving carbs then I have porridge. Lunch is quite varied but I try to go for veg heavy soups or salads. I had falafel, hummous and salad in a whole wheat roll a couple days in a row which was so good. I’ll have to remember to do that again this week. I lost about two and a half pounds so that’s quite a good result. By the time diet break rolled around I felt so in control and not at all in need of it, but I know from experience it’s best to do it anyway, have a few indulgences and get back on the wagon.

Normally I have all sorts of sweets, snacks and cakes on my diet break and end up feeling sick by the second day. This time I didn’t have much interest in filling up with sugary things. I had some nice food that doesn’t fit well into a diet, I relaxed about having two glasses of wine in an evening and I enjoyed a bit of ice cream too.

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This is not my photo. Image source

Thursday: I decided to eat as normal until dinner which was to be home made pizza. I love this pizza and will have to blog about it someday! I had roasted red peppers, portabello mushrooms, and pepperoni on my half. It was looovely! I also had some wine which of course was also lovely!

Friday: Breakfast was cinnamon raisin toast with butter! Lunch has been forgotten about! Dinner was steak and spicy chips! More wine! Yum!

Saturday: Breakfast was more cinnamon raisin toast, brunch was bacon, sausage and egg sandwiches (2!), dinner was chicken parm with spaghetti. We had wine too and late in the evening before bed we dug out the ice cream out of the back of the freezer. It was a bit old but hey, scrape off the edges and yum yum!

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 This is my photo

Sunday: Breakfast was regular whole wheat toast with peanut butter, lunch was a picnic with the kids at the Dino park, roast beef and cheese sandwich, pom bears, some raw pepper sticks. Dinner was mac & cheese with bacon and roasted chicken stirred through. We were going to have margaritas to send off the diet break but my littlest one decided she wasn’t tired and gave me a hard time so I ended up in bed by 8:30! Boo!

Today I’m back on the wagon and not feeling too bad about it. I think I’ll be right back into the swing within two or three days. I’ll let you know if not though.

Have you ever dieted this way? I find that most people think it’s silly to “take a break” but people who do it have better results because you’re not faced with months of deprivation!

How to turn back the clock on your aging metabolism

You used to be able to eat whatever you wanted but now you can’t even look at a chocolate bar right? You and everyone else! It doesn’t need to be that way.

Your metabolism doesn’t just tank because you’ve gotten a few years older. It doesn’t work that way. If it did, everyone would gain weight, but not everyone does do they? Apparently if you’re not overweight by age 40 it’s unlikely to happen because at that point you just naturally eat less food anyway. (These are averages people!) What happens is that sometime between 20 years old and 30 years old you start to lose muscle. Until that time you are technically still ‘growing’ but then you reach your peak and it all starts to slip away.

Lets not forget the other stuff too, the lifestyle differences between a 25 year old and a 35 year old. A 25 year old tends to have lots of energy and is always doing things with friends and family, forgetting to eat lunch, not bothering with dinner, grabbing a couple of crackers and a banana instead. (WTF?) A 35 year old tends to be more likely to be married with kids. This means you are on a synchronised meal plan with your family. The routine is you come home and eat a big dinner with your family. You don’t even think about whether you want it or not anymore do you? In fact you DO want it, because you expect it.  But are you hungry enough for that big dinner after that big lunch you had?

Back to the muscle loss. Muscle as you know weighs more than fat. It also burns more calories than fat. Only a few per pound but it’s still true. So basically someone who is 70 kg but 15% body fat is burning the same amount of calories a day as someone who is 70 kg and 30% body fat.

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This woman weighs the same in both photos, her maintenance calories per day will be the same at both times in her life except that in the fitter photo she’s obviously working out more so her maintenance calories will be more. So she’s thinner, fitter, older and eating more calories. Granted she’s not eating chocolate bars all day, but she can have one now and then and not worry about gaining weight.

If you don’t do something about it, you will be losing muscle mass every year and replacing that body weight with fat. Then the fat burns fewer calories and you gain more fat. This is the rut we get into as we age if we aren’t careful.

So what do you do about it?

You pick up heavy things. You do squats. You do push ups. You eat chicken and eggs and other proteins. Resistance training and eating enough protein (.75 grams of protein per kg of body weight) are the answers to the aging, declining metabolism issue.

Resistance training resources:

I can recommend any of the New Rules of Lifting books for everyone.

Shape.com’s “Easiest Plan Ever”

Nerd Fitness Beginners Body weight workout

Spark People Full Body Strength Training

Now I’m not going to pretend that I always follow my own advice. I keep meaning to get back to my body weight routine. Maybe publishing this will spur me into action again!