Feeling flat after New Year

The end of the year is always busy. Then boom! The New Year is here and in swing and you feel flat and a little left behind. Have you ever felt that other people appear to be refreshed and take on the challenges of their New Year resolutions but you are lacking the energy to start back at the gym or running 10km?
p1090685That exhausted, irritable feeling accompanied with mental fog could be caused by inadequate diet, insufficient Vitamin B, insufficient magnesium or the incorrect amount of exercise.
Exercise is the last thing you feel like doing but it will improve your fatigue levels. Trust me! Remember to start slow and work your way up. Start with only 10 minutes on the first day and 15 minutes on the next. Then do 20 minutes of exercise, working up to 30 minutes per day in a week. You can increase from this base to work toward your goals. The National Physical Activity Guidelines state that 30 minutes exercise per day is the minimum level for good health. Warning – check with your doctor before starting a rigorous exercise program. Over-exercise can also cause fatigue. This is best dealt by health practitioner.
Making sure your diet has the 3 Fresh (fresh fruit, fresh vegetables & fresh herbs) will also make a difference to your energy levels. Amber coloured foods will help revive you. Some that provide energy are fresh fruits such as bananas, grapefruit, mangoes, pawpaw, peaches. Fresh amber coloured vegetables like yellow capsicum, corn, yellow squash & yellow tomatoes will give you a boost. It is also considered that eating these colours may improve your mood.
Vitamin B is found in seeds & grains, sunflower seeds, almonds, rice bran, legumes, potatoes, mushrooms, soybeans (edamame), spinach, cauliflower and citrus fruits. Proteins for example egg yolks, salmon, dairy products and most meats also contain Vitamin B. Including fresh herbs such as alfalfa, cayenne, dandelion, fenugreek, parsley, sage & watercress can be additional ways to boost your Vitamin B intake.
Almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybean, wheat-germ, yoghurt, fish, prawns and green leafy vegetables are all good sources of magnesium. Adding in a few herbs like alfalfa, cayenne, dandelion & peppermint can contribute to maintaining your magnesium balance.
Supplements are always an option to boost your dietary intake of vitamins and minerals. Many of our vegetables are now grown in less mineral-rich soils than before. Storage and cooking can also deplete some of the minerals and vitamins from our food. Supplements are good when dietary intake is inadequate. Be aware that magnesium can affect some prescription medication. Always consult your health professional before incorporating supplements.
p1000647Feeling healthier internally will give more energy and improve your mood. If exercise, diet and supplements are not working and you still feel fatigued, see your health practitioner.

I am not a health professional. The above information is merely information – not advice. If readers need medical advice, they should consult a doctor or other appropriate medical professional.


Purging Your Wardrobe

Confession time.         I have a lot of clothes.       More than I need.      And shoes……. we’ll talk about them another now. My habit of culling my closet had sadly been neglected and it was time to get some organisation back.
I have a large bedroom with a tinsy walk-in robe. Since I have to share with big Al I have less than optimal space for clothes. Usually I will go through my closet at the end of each season and throw out what I did not wear in the past 12 months. I will also check my up-coming season clothes for out of fashion items or where the gremlins have snuck in and sewn the seams tighter.
I used the 3 pile method, “Keep”, “Undecided” & “Dispose of”. Anything to “Keep” was kept on a hanger and put on the clothes airer. I had one pile for “Undecided” and another for “Dispose of”. Working through every article until everything has been moved out of the closet and assessed. This takes time as you need to be ruthless and unemotional.p1010516This is the perfect time to give your closet area a thorough clean. The amount of dust that can accumulate here always amazes me. Vacuum and wipe down walls, shelves, hanging rails and drawers. Now your closet is ready for every “keeper” to be put back.
Organise all similar articles together. All jeans together, next to other pants, then skirts. This way, all bottoms are found in one area when you need to co-ordinate an outfit. Do the same with tops, all sleeve-less together then t-shirts, button up shirts then others, separating Summer & Winter weight. At this stage you could even sort by colour, if you really wanted to make choosing outfits simple. Separate Summer & Winter dresses and hang, doing the same for coats and jackets. Now step back and check it out. Looks good huh?
Now the “Undecided“ pile. Go through each item. Look at what you have kept and ask “Will it match any ‘keepers’?” “Does it fit?” “Do I feel good when I wear this?” If you can answer yes to all of these then put it in your closet with similar items. This is a hard one but you need to be candid in your answers. How many grey t-shirts do you need? If you still can’t decide or are struggling, you may need a second opinion. Ask a friend you trust to be honest in their answer. Or put it in another room or store in a suitcase. If you don’t go looking for it within 3 months then let it go.
The “Dispose of” pile now needs to be sorted. Again use 3 piles, “Bin” “Sell” “Donate”. Any damaged, stained or torn items need to go in the bin. Anything that may be slightly out of fashion or shows signs of wear but are still good can be donated to charity, or given away. Anything still with a tag or only worn once (we all have them), try selling on eBay or other online site. You could have a swap party with your friends and trade any of their discarded items.
Take time to look at your work. You should feel accomplished. There is a liberating feeling that comes from minimising and sorting. Once you have organised things so they are neat tidy and orderly, it saves time and does give a sense of harmony.
The challenge now is to keep it that way. Each week spend 10 – 15 minutes tidying your closet so you can find everything easily.

“being organised isn’t about getting rid of everything you own or trying to become a different person; it’s about living the way you want to live, but better.” Andrew Mellen

Dressing for the occasion

Recently I was at a conference where the dress code for each function was different. The first night was Cocktail with the next night Casual. The day sessions were Business Casual. The third night was Lounge Suit and the final night was Black-tie. Apart from having to travel abroad with a huge suitcase to fulfil this wardrobe I stressed about the dress standard for each occasion. Being underdressed for “Black-tie” or “Cocktail” would be a faux pas but then so would being too overdressed for “Casual”.

Casual is like “come as you are” but the key is dressing suitably for the event and the company you are with. Nice shorts or jeans teamed with a blouse or t-shirt, a sundress, or a skirt with t-shirts would be appropriate for women. Casual button-down shirts, polo shirts or t-shirts with jeans, long khakis, cargo shorts or khaki shorts would be apt for men. Even with the “come as you are” look casual clothes should not be torn, dirty or have holes.

Smart Casual is probably the most prevalent party dress code but it can be the most confusing. Nice tops or blouses with jeans, pants or skirts or even sundresses are generally safe choices. A blazer is a handy “accessory”. It can basically dress-up your whole outfit. Wear it with the sleeves pushed-up during the day or down for evening. For guys, chinos are a combination of both smart and casual. Dark well-fitted jeans can also be suitable with a button-down shirt. Smart casual shorts are mostly tailored, fitted and above the knee. Again, a blazer for guys will really spruce-up your look.

Business Casual
for girls can vary but traditionally sheath style dresses, or dark shaded pants or skirts, in black, grey or navy have been the safest choices. Teaming these with coloured blouses, scarves or belts add a little personality to your outfit. The casual businessman needs a collared shirts but no tie is required. Crisply ironed pants and a tailored jacket will complete the look.

Lounge suit
is usually the dress code intended for people to attend events straight after work. Conservative is the look required. Girls, a smart dress or business-like attire (think working in a bank) teamed with heels is appropriate. Guys, if possible change from the suit you have worn that day into a fresh, dark-coloured suit, but you can lose the tie if you wish. A jacket or blazer is vital. Jeans are definitely not appropriate.

is a little dress with a knee, or just above, hem length for mademoiselles. Your LBD is a safe bet. Some tailored pants or skirt suit matched with a nice blouse will also work. Choose your accessories with a bit of bling and great shoes. A nice pair of tailored pants and a shirt would be sufficient for gentlemen. Top it off with a blazer or jacket for a more polished look.

Semi-Formal is similar to cocktail dress code. A cocktail dress or tea length dress is quite fitting for ladies. Men should wear tailored pants and jacket with a crisp shirt, tie and jacket.

Black-tie requires a formal gown for women. Generally it should be long enough to touch the floor and should cover enough of your cleavage that some is still left to the imagination. Men should wear a tuxedo or dinner jacket with matching trousers and bow tie.

Formal or White-tie is as formal as you can go. Ladies, a full length ball gown is a necessity. Long white gloves are discretionary. However, your best jewellery and high heels are a must (think Cinderella). Gentlemen, the event necessitates a tail coat, preferably black, with matching trousers. Shirt studs and cufflinks teamed with a white vest and a white bow tie are required. Only black shoes and socks will suffice.

Conforming to dress codes also requires thought about the location. For example, a semi-formal beach wedding would be more relaxed than a semi-formal wedding at a country club.  The host and other guests invited also comes into play.  Is it a work function with employers, that you need to impress or are you with your old friends?

One important key is to always wear clothes that fit you well.  This will constantly look more presentable than ill-fitting clothes that are too tight, too loose, too short or too long.

“A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear” – Unknown

Quick way to Hem Pants

Have you ever noticed someone in pants that are too long and the hem is torn and tattered? Apart from “How untidy!”, have you thought “What a waste of a good pair of trousers”.

Ideally the best answer is to find a friend who knows how to sew a blind hem and persuade them into fixing your wardrobe. This can become costly in terms of cocktails on your next night out. It is understandable that not everyone can sew but there are a couple of tricks that can save not only your image but also a pair of pants and your money.

A short-term fix is double sided tape. This can easily be applied to the inside between the pant leg and where the correct hem length for you would be. Shorter trousers in an instant.  This is also very handy for when your skirt hem has come down and you only have 5 minutes before a meeting. Only one problem with this is if you wash in hot water it will lose its adhesive over time.

Double-sided Tape

The best trick I have found is iron-on webbing tape.  You simply trim the length you want and iron it on between the 2 layer: the pant leg and where you wish the hem to be. Just like magic.

Iron-on Webbing

It is most important to make sure you measure the legs against each other so they are both the same length. Monumental error – one pant leg shorter than the other! Or maybe you could start a new fashion trend. Not sure it would catch on.

The iron-in webbing tape’s adhesive holds well under heat from both the washer and dryer. It is inexpensive and can be found in major supermarkets and fabric shops.  This solution is definitely heaps cheaper and quicker than a tailor.