Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rainy days

The weather round here at the moment has been pretty rainy. Perfect for what I had planned tonight. I managed to score a free double pass to see I Give it a Year. Great film! I wasn't sold on it at first but by the end I loved it.

I went straight from work to the movie, so what you see here is what I wore to work today. I love wearing bright colours to cheer up a dreary workplace and I'm so glad I work in a place where I can get away with wearing the kinds of clothes I want to wear. I also love the miniature floral pattern on this dress, and how flippy it is. Perfect for those days when you're not feeling like having anything constricting your belly!

Dress: vintage, Canberra Vintage Fair
Jumper: Witchery
Scarf: op shop
Bag: vintage
Shoes: Acoustic Stomach

I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday

the pleated poppy blog

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Health initiatives I can get behind

A lot of clever health initiatives have caught my eye recently - here are two that I think are worth getting into:

Your Man Reminder

The original ad.

Ok, I admit, I hate doing breast examinations. They are uncomfortable and awkward, and as one of my male friends has said "Like trying to find a lump in a bag of lumps". (He was talking about testicles, and screening them for cancer, but I think the same applies here.)

But, never fear, Your Man Reminder (courtesy of {Re}think Breast Cancer) is here to add some humour to a not-so-fun situation. The basic premise of this app (and ad) is that, every month, a reminder shows up on your phone to do a breast check (a basic Touch, Look, Check), with some tongue-in-cheek eye candy to motivate you (they even include a woman for those that way inclined). Personally I don't actually find any of the guys that attractive (too manicured for my liking!) but I love the comedic aspect and the fresh approach. It proves that health doesn't have to be serious all the time, and that we can have some fun with it. Now to find a way to do that with endometriosis...

If I'm totally honest, I never checked before this app came out, but now I do more often, because it reminds me how important it is.

The updated version - now with more information.

You can download the app (it's free!) here (iPhone) or here (android).

Sign Up Sister

"Sign Up Sister" is an initiative of the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation (ACCF) to reduce the number of Australian women who suffer or die each year from cervical cancer. Once you sign up (with your name, mobile number, email address and date of last pap smear), they will send you out a reminder to get a pap-smear done every two years.

I think this is a great service, since in our increasingly mobile population, it is highly likely that many young women who are due for pap smears will not get their letter of reminder due to moving house or changing GPs. However, it's much less likely that they will change both their email and phone numbers during that time. (Eg - I've had the same email and phone number for the last 7 years or so, but have lived at 12 different addresses and have gone through about the same amount of doctors during that time).

Sunday, February 24, 2013


So very messy, but so very yummy.

This weekend Canberra has been humid and rainy, the kind of weather that makes me crave pho and bibimbap. I got my fix of pho at lunch today with a trip to Dickson (Canberra's equivalent to China Town), but I was still craving bibimbap, so I decided to try my hand at it.

I didn't really follow a recipe, I just read a bunch of different ones online for an idea of what it was, and only used sauces and spices that were already in my fridge. I am also not Korean. So this version of bibimbap is slightly bastardised, but delicious nonetheless.

  • ~500 g beef, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • handful of dried, sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch bok choy, chopped
  • garlic, finely chopped (I used 3 large, local organic cloves I bought from a friend - so good)
  • light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • sambal oelek, to serve
  • rice, to serve
  1. Put mushrooms in a bowl of warm water and soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Put beef in marinade of garlic, soy sauce (I used about about 3 tablespoons worth, but I just splashed it on), and honey.
  3. Prepare vegetables.
  4. Stir fry onion until clear, then add all other vegetables and stir fry until cucumber starts to become translucent, bok choy is wilted and carrot is caramelising. Put to the side. (In proper bibimbap, each veggie is stir-fried separately, but I am lazy)
  5. Fry up mushrooms for about 5 minutes. (If you're lazy or short on time you can always chuck it in with the rest of the veggies if you want)
  6. Fry beef until cooked. I threw it in with the marinade and used a slotted spoon at the end to separate it from any juices.
  7. Assemble beef, mushrooms and veggies on rice, and add sambal oelek to taste.
*Note: The jury is still out on whether soy is good or bad for endometriosis. Soy is a phytoestrogen, meaning that it is structurally similar similar to oestrogen, but derived from plants. Scientists still aren't sure whether phytoestrogens raise oestrogen levels or lower/normalise oestrogen levels in women of reproductive age. As endometriosis is an oestrogen-fed disease, this could have dramatic effects on the disease, either feeding it and making it worse, or blocking the uptake of oestrogen and suppressing endometriosis. More research needs to be done to fully understand the effects of phytoestrogens on endometriosis. For a full discussion on phytoestrogens and endometriosis, check out Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition.

Personally, I find that soy does not affect me. I still restrict my intake of soy to small amounts just in case it does have a bad effect, but I'm not a nazi about it. I love the taste of soy, and I figure that if I don't notice the difference, and there is no proven science as yet, then I can just have a little and enjoy living my life. It's really up to you and your body as to whether you restrict soy or not.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What it's like to live with endometriosis: Nausea

What I look like at the moment (via)
One of the lesser known symptoms of endometriosis is nausea. From what I've read, the cause of this symptom seems to be a combination of factors, but basically it boils down to the fact that there is a whole bunch of inflammation going on in your abdomen and that does not bode well for your digestive system.

I get at least a few days of nausea every month when I’m not on hormone medication (on the Pill I was nauseous every day, and I was nauseous for the first few months on the Mirena, with periodic nauseous occasionally later on).

I'm currently in one of those nauseous phases. It's been about a week and a half. I bought a whole bunch of food a couple of weekends ago to cook up like usual, but it is still sitting in my refrigerator as every day I head to the supermarket to get some more slightly unripe bananas and another litre of lactose-free milk (or potato at lunch for work... yum). (When I’m nauseous the smell of ripe bananas just makes me want to chuck). I’m not sure why I crave bananas and milk so much when I don’t particularly like bananas the rest of the time, but it’s what works for me and I can't handle anything else.

I’ve had this for a long time – I remember summers in highschool when all I could eat were bananas and milk until I felt better. It's another thing that I thought of as normal, but then realised that maybe it wasn't so normal to have week-long nausea for no particular reason when I was finally diagnosed.

Unfortunately the traditional remedies of peppermint tea and ginger don’t work for me, and the smell just makes me feel more nauseous (probably because I've tried to use it for nausea before!).

On the upside, despite the nausea, I am feeling the most consistently positive I have felt in a long time. I still get lower back (flank) pain about every other day, but the bladder pain is nowhere near as consistently bad as it was. It is so nice to get back to having (mostly) normal, functional days, apart from my actual period. I'm also finding that I get tired less easily, although I am still learning how to pace myself, every day. I'm so glad that I got a second opinion and had the Mirena taken out. I don't want to think about what I would've done with myself if I had stayed on it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

There's no womb in society for a tampon tax

Yesterday was a very inspiring day. I finally got round to watching a few videos that I had meaning to watch for awhile, and I was sent a petition that hits close to home.

The first thing brought to my attention was this petition about the tampon tax in Australia. This is something that has made me angry for a long time and I'm glad someone thought to make a petition about it.

Did you know there is a GST on Tampons because they are called a ‘luxury’?  I don’t know about you, but they don’t seem like a luxury to me. Condoms, lubricant, incontinence pads or sunscreen on the other hand are GST free. What’s with that?  

It’s a bloody outrage. Putting a tax on products women need as a direct consequence of their biology is fundamentally sexist.

Seriously - condoms and lubricants aren't taxed, but tampons are? No one is forcing you to have sex, but women have no choice but to have their period.

The second thing that caught my attention was a post on facebook by my brother - this video:

"There's at least ten things that we need to do... I'll walk with my car keys in my hand at night, I'll cross a street if there's a group of men on one side, I won't jog alone, I won't wear a short skirt out. Why? Because if I have to walk home alone I might become a victim and then I'll be told it was somehow my fault. I'll keep my porch light on, I'll look around before I close my door." There are at least a dozen things that women are made to believe that they must do to keep themselves safe. Now why is this normal?

I have always been passionate about women's rights, and I am unashamedly a feminist (by the actual definition of the word - that women and men are equal - neither is better - and that you should not be limited by your gender). I think that this guy sums the problem up pretty well. We can't ignore this anymore.

Then I finally got round to watching this video that my dad sent me recently - it's all about a woman whose mum was diagnosed with cancer and instead of despairing, she decided to actually do something about it. I hope to do something like this about endometriosis. (Language warning, but seriously - she has so many good points. Also featuring Adrien Brody of Entourage fame)

90 % of cancers are curable if caught in stage 1. Why the hell aren't we teaching people how to look for them?... We've spent 40 years and billions of dollars searching for a cure and somehow neglected to share the one cure that we currently have.

So, inspired by those videos and campaigns about changing the world, I have decided to sign up for the conference Big Hearted Business. It is run by my favourite artist of all time, Clare Bowditch, and it's all about learning how to make a business out of what you love. While I am not looking to make money out of spreading endometriosis awareness, I think that I have a lot to learn when it comes to marketing ideas and organisational tactics, and so I have signed up (also, did I mention that I adore everything that Clare Bowditch does?). It is two days of fun and learning and I can't wait. It's not cheap, I haven't bought flights to Melbourne yet to go, and I am going completely on my own, so it is a bit of an investment and it is kinda scary, but so exhiliarting. If you're interested in similar things please check it out and let me know if you'll be joining me!

So far my campaign of writing to magazines to have an article about endometriosis included in an issue has not been very fruitful (apart from Madison saying that they would send it on to their features editor a few weeks ago...). I really do want to make a change in the awareness level of endometriosis and the way that it is viewed by those that do know about the disease. I want people to know that terrible period pain is not normal, fatigue is not normal, having pain when you go to the bathroom or have sex is not normal, and they do not have to put up with it just because it is "a woman's lot in life". I want to make a difference!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Flower Power

I'm not sure how anyone could be unhappy wearing this dress or these earrings. A few weeks ago we had a girls night out and I took the opportunity to wear one of my favourite dresses that I hadn't worn in years due to Canberra's consistent cool weather. I bought it at Retrostar - a store in Melbourne where they sell original vintage clothes and vintage clothes that have been altered to suit modern times. I always give it a visit when I got to Melbourne and I always have a tough time trying to decide what to buy. So next time you're there - go check it out!

Dress: Vintage (Retrostar, Melbourne)
Earrings: Vintage (my Granny)
Bag: Vintage
Shoes: Forever 21

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Guest Post: The Thrifty Challenge

Today I welcome Lisa from The Thrifty Challenge to share some tips for getting the most out of op shopping. We always have a lot of fun when we op shop together and I wish she lived closer so we could do it more often! Follow her country adventures and crafty tips over at her blog.

Hello Your Own Kind of Girl readers!

I’m Lisa from The Thrifty Challenge here to share all about my love of thrifted clothes, just like Libby. In fact it was probably Libby who first got me into op shopping and has helped me find some of my best bargains. I’m currently on a challenge to see if I can go a year only buying things from op shops and garage sales...and that includes clothes too. I did purchase a few items on a recent overseas holiday but apart from that have been wearing thrifted treasures (this doesn’t include shoes, pyjamas and other items I prefer new for hygienic reasons).

I thought I’d share a few favourite thrifted clothes and how I wear them.

This shirt is a thrifted country road find and for $2 from an op shop, it’s become the perfect country top. The bag was also thrifted for $1 and the hat for $1.

I love this spotty blouse which is great for work or casual days near the beach.

Op shops are also a brilliant place for dresses. I love this little dress I scored for $4. I’ve had it for years and it’s still a favourite.

With op shopped clothes it’s really important to start wearing them as soon as you can to make sure you will actually wear them. Be selective and don’t buy anything just because it’s cheap!

Once you’ve got some good basics then op shops are really the best place to expand your wardrobe for minimal cost. However everytime I get something new I get rid of an item taking up room in my wardrobe that I don’t often wear. That way my wardrobe stays neat and organised and easy to access.

Good luck thrifting for a new, cheap wardrobe :)

Thanks for having me Libby!

Lisa x

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Musings {07-02-2013}

I made these cookies the other day with Pumpkin Spice Kisses that I bought when I was last in the US. I brought them into work for morning tea and they were a definite hit. I totally recommend them. Next up I'm going to try these with the remnants of the packet.


(Thanks for passing this on Mum)

The Pill has developed into a medication for the disease of being female. 
A must-read for those considering taking the Pill, or for those who have never thought twice about taking it.

Depression, weeping fits, irritability, aggression, paranoia, guilt, panic attacks, loss of enjoyment, loss of inhibition, self-loathing... If the pill drives you crazy, you're not crazy: you're probably progesterone-intolerant. This isn't rare: 1 in 5 of women are progesterone intolerant.

I think the comments left below this study express exactly how I feel about the research that was done.

Journalist steps down from her job due to endometriosis battle
I'd love to be able to get an article like this into Cosmo (or equivalent) in Australia, but so far, no luck. Good to see it in other countries.

Reading: Nothing to Envy

Planning on reading Gone Girl next. Send any good book recommendations my way!

Finally, to all of you out there who are wheat/gluten free, I am trying to find ways to minimize the wheat in my diet. I find that, day-to-day it actually helps a lot with my back/flank pain, fatigue and brain fog to cut it out. (Makes me A LOT less irritable too.) So my question for you seasoned gluten/wheat-free people is - how do you make gluten free pancakes taste good? I had a massive craving the other day and made them but the only way I could make them taste good was through lots of toppings. So please send recipes my way :)
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday afternoon at the markets

A visit to the markets has become a regular part of my week. I love the atmosphere of being able to shop in the open air with sunlight instead of air conditioning and fluorescent lights. Sometimes I just throw on whatever is clean, but most of the time I like to get a little dressed up to make my grocery shopping that little bit less of a chore.

On Sunday I decided to give my new finds a whirl. I found both the bright pink pleated skirt and crazy 80s shoes at the Fash'n'Treasure markets on Saturday. They are both quite out-there items which I would probably normally wear with less crazy outfits, but I decided to go all out and I quite like the result.

Cardie: Gorman
Tee: French Connection (similar)
Skirt: Fash'n'Treasure, vintage, $10
Shoes: Fash'n'Treasure, vintage, $10

Sunday, February 3, 2013


This weekend I had a stall at Fash'n'Treasure with two friends. Fash'n'Treasure is a regular fashion market that happens every month or so at Exhibition Park in Canberra (also fondly known as EPIC). It used to be held at the Old Bus Depot Markets in Kingston, but was moved up to EPIC in the last year because it just got too popular.

We travelled convoy-style with our cars full of second-hand goodies waiting to go to new homes. We made cute tags (of course I didn't take any photos of them) and I also used some fruit-themed notes that were bombonieres from a friend's wedding a couple of years ago (you know who you are, and they are so handy!) as tags.

A couple of quick tips and notes about having a market stall:

1) Be organised: This means that you should not stay up til 1 am the night before because you put off pricing items for too long, leaving no time to see if your rack fits into the car without needing to be dismantled (spoiler: it doesn't) making you late to the convoy at 8:30 the next morning.

2) Price a little higher than you want to sell, and give people a "discount" on the spot. A couple of people were undecided about a few items and the ones I gave a slight discount to snapped it up straight away while the others that I did not offer a discount walked away. I ended up regretting not offering a slight discount to the others because those items ended up not selling.

My pricing system was this: the price of the item indicated how much I wanted to sell it. That meant that some pieces that other people would sell for much more money were super cheap (ie I really wanted to get rid of them) and some items I had priced a little higher people might think were overpriced (things that I might have wanted to take home with me but knew that I shouldn't).

3) What sells will surprise you. There were a few items on our stall that were consistently picked up but never sold. For me, this was a blue polka dot dress of mine. Almost everyone who came in to the stall picked up the dress and showed it to their friends but no one tried it on. I also had a bright yellow vintage Cue skirt that I adore but that does not fit me. I was really surprised that no one wanted that since when I found it in an op shop I snapped it up straight away! Just shows that people have different tastes.

4) Have fun! While I did make a fairly good profit, it still didn't pay as much per hour as my day job does. It didn't matter to me though as money making wasn't necessarily my main objective. It was just fun sharing my passion for good clothes with other people and giving my pre-loved clothes away to new homes where they will be loved anew.

I had so much fun on the day, fulfilling a little dream of mine to have a vintage shop. After trying it out, I don't know if I could hack it day to day (seriously, how do you price things??? Also, I am the worst haggler ever, on both sides of the equation.) I wouldn't rule out having another stall in the future though - it was fun playing shopkeeper.

Look out for a post on my finds at Fash'n'Treasure later this week (I restrained myself and only bought a couple of items).
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