a pretty in the city gal on her way to debt freedom & healthy living a day at a time, who fills her time with yoga, music, books, baking and much much more. won't you join her?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

30 is the new Hot!

The funny thing with weight, and indeed, life, is that you rarely feel completely satisfied. I look back on my early 20's and know I was so concerned with my appearance at that time, but really, I was very fit and perfect weight for my age/height.

Today, I look at myself and again, want to change things. Are we ever really happy? And if we're not, what do we do about it? I try to be quite proactive and move my body and eat healthy, but sometimes fall short on actually achieving this.

SO I've chosen the milestone of turning 30 to get things done by. Food / Body / Mind.
Seems as good an occasion as any to make my dreams a reality. All I need to do is follow the path.

Here is the path:
* morning walks before work
* yoga yoga yoga, because I know this does the trick for me
* drastically cut back on alcohol
* healthy food. Takeaway be gone!
* savings in the bank
* no credit card debt


Cook once, eat all week

Isn't that a great plan? I need to start eating better, and I think a big part of why I don't is disorganisation. I have a pretty busy schedule, like most folks, so I think to plan in advance is the key here. I'm sure of it.

So I'm going to have a weekend of doing some shopping and prepping. We don't have much bench space at my work so I need to bring prepared meals, so I reckon even container-ing up meals for each day to just grab and go will be happening.

Does anyone else do this? Tips? Advice?

Some meals that are going to be prepared:
Bean & tuna salad
Chickpeas are Go!
Couscous & Roasted Vegetables
Grilled field mushrooms with fresh corn salsa
Spicy lentil patties (with chickpeas)
Sweet potato + bean burger

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Chickpeas are Go!

This is what I'll be whipping up this week!

Roasted onion, chickpea + buckwheat salad

POINTS Value: 1.5 Servings: 6 Preparation Time: 15 min Cooking Time: 120 min Level of Difficulty: Easy
With a nutty taste and a chewy, wild rice texture, this dish is delicious served hot as a side or cold as a salad. The sweetness of the roasted onions lends an especially nice flavour.

1 cup raw buckwheat
1 spray Gold n Canola Canola oil spray
2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cup canned chickpeas
1/3 whole stock cube, (vegetable), dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water
2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbs fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbs fresh mint, chopped

To prepare buckwheat, place the grain in a bowl and pour in enough water to cover by 10cm. Allow to soak for at least 12 hours. Next day, bring 4 cups of water to the boil over medium-high heat. Drain buckwheat and add to saucepan. Simmer gently or until grain is tender, about 25-30 minutes. Alternatively, skip the soaking process and increase the simmer time to 2 hours. Drain and rinse under water.

Preheat oven to 180C. Spray a large baking tray with oil. Add onions to pan and roast, turning occasionally for 30 minutes, or until golden. Add buckwheat, chickpeas and stock to onions. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring occasionally, for a further 30 minutes.
Toss salad with parsley, coriander and mint and serve.

This salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. It is delicious served hot or cold. Try using pearl barley in place of the buckwheat for a yummy alternative.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Yummy Yummy Num Num

Macro Wholefoods is the most delish, tasty healthy shop in the world, full of natural products and organic foods. So can you imagine how my heart soared when I was on the bus last week, going past the closed down juice store on King Street and saw a MACRO sign there. Yep, I literally swung round on the bus seat and gasped aloud!

And today - the fab news that Macro have opened their first stand-alone cafe right here in Newtown! Yum! Everything a healthy little bean could dream of.

Ohhh it's a good week!

Anyone for a delish breakky soon?


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Sunday, March 18, 2007

It's all about Synergy

For the first weekend in a bit, I had a free Saturday. Yep - no teaching, no appointments, no nothing : ) So what did I do? Sure, I enjoyed a sleep in and an afternoon nap, but more than anything I enjoyed my 4pm yoga class at Synergy on Australia Street. I come back to my original feelings about bikram - I just don't see why you need to go in false heat when you can sweat like you're in the middle of a sauna by just working working working!

Yep, I was SOAKED at the end of the class! Sure, the humidity was a big factor, but this class got all of my muscles moving and working and there was a really great energy in the class. Even the teacher (Stu?) said thanks to everyone at the end of it all, because he could feel how positive everyone was.

A few new poses and sequences that I really enjoyed (don't you just love when a new teacher presents things differently?) and the deepest paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) I think I've ever done!!! When it's hot, heat is your friend - it really deepens your flexibility and you have this ability to go deeper into poses than you usually can.

So add this hot weather, plus Stu pressing me down for what felt like minutes and minutes, meant that my forehead was pushing down on my shins, my hands were wrapped around the soles of my feet and I couldn't have been any further flat if I tried!

OH MY GOD I felt SO elated as I was walking out of class! And mind you, this past week I've actually been feeling a little low. So this was just what I needed - to get the energy moving round, to get the endorpins all sparkly again, and to start to believe in my strength - emotional and physical - again.

Here's to a week of continuing with this energy:
* home cooked meals
* healthy and regular snacks (2 hours, protein)
* reduced alcohol
* 2 x yoga classes (apart from teaching)
* 2 x sessions walking/running
* 2 x spend free days

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Moving on... A good step

Today I caught up with a beautiful friend – completely randomly, at the bus stop in fact! I’d not seen her for about a year and a half…. We just started moving in different circles, started new jobs etc…

And in that time, she has lived in Melbourne for a year with an amazing job, she lived in China for about 4 months with the same job, and then had a holiday for a few weeks in New York and London.. and she is just radiant. We had a big chat about old friends – new friends – moving on – finding yourself, and right now I’m very happy.

Usually I’m one to see people coming home from amazing life changing journeys, and I feel terrible because I’m still sitting here, nothing new, just moving along the same old path. But since we had seen each other, I’ve changed careers and have stopped going out like I used to, I’ve found things that make me smile and I’ve followed that path.

You know, nothing beats traveling to come into yourself. But me, I’m happy that I’ve also had a few life changing experiences over the last few months/years.

And I like where I am right now.
Confidence, fleeting as it may be, is a great thing, very attractive, and very comforting.

Happy weekend all. X

Ps – finally cooked a yummy homecooked tomato and pasta stew dish, DELISH! Bring on home cooking, healthful food and filling meals : )


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Anyone for ratatouille?

Woollies used to have a great, home-made tomato delish filled Ratatouille dish that I used to live on when I first moved to Sydney.

I haven't been able to find it for years but I'm so keen to find a yummy ratatouille dish to make myself, at home. I know.. it's all about the spices, so does anyone have a recipe they can recommend??

Yum Yum!

with thanks x


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Green, Gorgeous & Inspiring Blogs

** A work in progress list... the blogs that are rocking my world at the moment, and the bigger world in general.

Makes me green with delight :)

A Path to Simplicity

Cindy's Porch

Daily Granola

Enough! (a Sydney compact who go without spending for a year)

Fix (an artist stops spending money for a year)

No Impact Man (a New Yorker who swears off plastic, goes organic, turns off his power, composts his poop and turns into a tree-hugger)

No More Stuff (a Melbourne compact who go without spending for a year)

The Compact (the original SF group who decided to go a year without buying anything)


Celebrate Earth Hour with Yoga by Candlelight

Yoga means UNION - the union of not only body & mind, but between individuals and the environment we live in and on. As yogi's, we have a responsibility to tread lightly on this environment and decide on what kind of mark we will leave behind us.

Saturday March 31 is Earth Day in Sydney and in other cities around the world. To lessen the load of carbon emmissions to the environment, it's as simple as switching off your lights and appliances for a minimum of one hour, at 7.30pm.

As Gandhi said, BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD. One person's actions impact on their immediate environment, but a million single people doing the same thing make these actions more widespread and more lifechanging. What kind of environmental footprint are you leaving?

Statistics on global warming
* The production and use of energy in Australia provides 69% - the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and is the greatest contributor to global warming. (CSIRO)
* By 2100, up to 15,000 Australians could die every year from heat-related illnesses and the dengue transmission zone could reach as far south as Brisne and Sydney if we continue to allow greenhouse gas emissions to increase. (Australian Medical Association).
* 2005 was Australia's hottest year on record, with an annual mean temperature 1.09°C above the average. (Australian Bureau of Meteorology).
* There has been a 30% reduction in snow cover over the last 45 years in the Snowy Mountains. Areas with at least 3 days snow cover annually are predicted to shrink by between 39% and 96% by 2070. (Murdoch University).

** Join us for a special evening on March 31 at Yoga by Candlelight, at Queen Street Yoga Studio where we'll be having a fun yoga class and special speaker to celebrate Earth Hour. Cost: $15/$12.50 with multi-class yogi pass. Bookings are being taken now.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Big Fab n' Healthy Money Blogs

**A work in progress, here are some blogs that give some wise advice!

Blogging Away Debt
Change can be a Good Thing
Creating Stillness
Escape Brooklyn
Festival of Frugality
Let Us Go Then
Make Love Not Debt
Molly's Brother on a Budget
Not Made of Money
Single Ma's Fabulous Financials
The Bright Side of Debt
Tired of Being Broke
We're In Debt

Links about Shopping Sabbaticals:
The Compact

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Musings for You (yes, You!)

Of all the people in this world, there is only one YOU. Let your light shine!

Kiss someone you've always meant to OR plant some tulips.


Woohoo for Saturday Nights

+ peppermint tea
+ puppy cuddles
+ pat & stick’s home-made icecream
+ my cute blue pinafore dress (this winter, it’s all about the pinafore!)
+ the journal project
+ Kikki-K
+ a new budget system

- puppy poo
- debt
- seratonin levels
- pimples (I’m not a teenager, you know!)


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hump Day Rules!

Test perfumes until you find your favourite
add essential oil to a water spritzer and spray your house or office!

Even the tiniest little step today...
will mean you are farther ahead than you were yesterday!


Monday, March 05, 2007

Mind, body & soul detox

It’s time for a Shiny Detox. I’ve been feeling a bit blah lately and it's time to start putting steps into action to change my life. It's exciting, but the time is now. (Hold me to this, guys!!)

* Depression is both a mind and body thing, and one of the strong pieces of advice (that worked for me) from a beautiful and inspiring lady, was fake it till you make it. It’s time for a bit of that for me.
* Also, I saw a great post on 43things which I adopted, and it is: Say one night thing to myself in the mirror everyday for a month. Simple, yet perfect. I have decided to not even worry about boys yet or wishing/wanting a relationship, but instead, I’m going to start to love and respect myself. How can I expect anyone else to when I am severely lacking that?

* No/extremely limited alcohol this week. Got to instead fill up with herbal teas, juices, and lemon and water. Need to stop this terrible habit I’ve gotten into.
* No/extremely limited takeaways this week, Lots of fruit and veg instead, and home prepared meals. Got to stop the addiction to sugar!
* Walking : ) I’m house/puppy/kitty sitting for a friend as of tonight, for one week. I need to twice daily walk her pooch, so this is a good start. I also want to start the Couch to 5K plan this week.
* Multi-vitamin, plus milk-thistle and evening primrose oil tabs each day
* Paint my toenails : ) and share other pearls of simple wisdom from the books Cheer for Yourself, The Woman’s Book of Simple Delights and The Little Book of Wellbeing.

* like chicken soup for the soul.. I have to read positive books, surround my self with light tv shows and music and people. I need to just enjoy being happy for a while.
* Little stuff – like flowers in my home (done).
* Share a quote I like each day on my blog. Something that lifts me up.
* Where does a money detox go? I’m putting it here as well, because I really need to have a spend-free week (except for essentials) this week to make my soul happy too!

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Wanna know the answer??

From my new fave blog...

How Changecanbeagoodthing paid of her $30k debt in 26months:

I stopped eating out, completely! I didn’t buy a meal out in a restaurant for at least 18 months!
I take my lunch to work everyday and I reuse plastic baggies whenever possible or put my food in reusable containers.
I cook in bulk and freeze meals for later.
I plan my menu based on what is on sale. I pass by each of the main grocery stores every day on my way to and from work, so it is easy for me to shop the loss leaders at each market.
I never passed up a free meal at my parents or my brother’s house and if they offered leftovers for me to take home, you bet I took them.
I learned to love eating meatless meals a couple times a week.
I have a friend who is a fisherman and when he offered up halibut and salmon, I filled my freezer.
I dropped my landline and just used my cell phone, and I reduced my plan on the cell.
I cut my cable and started borrowing movies from friends and the library.
I started checking out books from the library.
I read every book on debt reduction I could find.
If it was cold, I put a sweater on or threw a blanket over my lap.
I added an extra blanket to my bed.
I combined all my errands in one trip and planned my route before heading out in order to eliminate a lot of backtracking.
I never passed up samples in stores. (Costco is great on the weekends)
Instead of buying gifts for my niece and nephew for Valentine’s or Easter, I would bake them treats and we would go to the park.
I didn’t buy any new clothes for a really long time. I line dried my clothes instead of using the dryer, still do, the clothes last longer this way. I mended clothes when needed.
I re-dyed black clothes that had faded, they look brand new when doing this.
I kept the heat turned down as low as I could stand it.
For exercise, I quit the gym and started running again.
For my birthday or Christmas I would ask for clothes or necessities.
I sold books, CDs and movies that I didn’t need or want anymore on
When my brother had a garage sale I asked if I could put my stuff in it too and made a lot of extra cash on stuff I wasn’t using anymore.
Every little bit of extra money I had went to my debt. On payday, whatever was left in my checking account from the previous paycheck went to my debt. I
gave myself my own manicures and pedicures.
I went to the beauty college to get my hair done, still do!
I started taking vitamins and have been so much healthier since doing so.
I adjusted my withholdings to keep as much of my paycheck without having to pay come tax time. I usually get about $50 for a return.
I have a knack for finding change on the ground and I ALWAYS pick it up. You would be surprised how that adds up.
I recycled cans and bottles that I found while out on my walks.
I stopped drinking soda and I have never smoked.
I took my own shopping bags to the grocery store, they give a 5 cent credit for each bag.
Whenever I paid one debt off, I rolled that payment into the next debt in line.
I used up things I had on hand before buying new. (lotion, shampoo, toothpaste)
I cut my fabric softener sheets in half.I started doing some surveys online to earn money, there really are a few reputable sites out there!
I cancelled magazine subscriptions, you can read them at the library.
And, I learned to say No thank you, to invitations that would cost me money. I had to. I stayed home a lot! Sure, I missed going out with my friends, but I knew it was for a greater good and that I wouldn’t have to stay home on Friday and Saturday nights forever.

Every time I started to feel bad about not having much of a social life, I would look at the spreadsheet of my debts and the progress I had made. That usually made me feel better and motivated me to keep going. And the thought that once I was done paying off my debts I could save for a home of my own. Now that I am debt free I am very careful about how I spend my money. I think I learned a lot of good habits that I still practice. I have instituted the 7 day rule for purchasing things. If after 7 days I still want something and I can afford it, I will go back and buy it. Most times I have forgotten what it was I thought I wanted. I know some of my methods are a little more extreme than some people would be willing to do, but for me it worked and I feel like I am a better person for having gone through this. I think I am kinder to the environment, am less materialistic than I use to be and I am more aware of how good my situation really is in comparison to others in the world.