21 Apr 2015

My First CrossFit Open Experience

CrossFit Open 2015

A few weeks ago I competed in my first CrossFit Open.

The CrossFit Games is an annual competition which aims to find the fittest man and woman in the world through a series of gruelling tests or competitions which athletes need to complete either in the fastest time or heaviest weight. But before an athlete can qualify to compete in the CrossFit Games, there are pre requisite competitions that they need to enter and win, to filter the best, or the fittest in the world. The CrossFit Open are the first round of competitions an athlete needs to enter.

14 Apr 2015

5 Things I learned from The Digital Picnic Workshop

The Digital Picnic Workshop

I recently attended a social media workshop ran by The Digital Picnic. TDP is ran by two amazing woman, Cat & Cherie, who are experts in the field of marketing and social media. 

TDP only started towards the end of last year and initially only ran in Melbourne, as the two owners live there. I personally wanted to attend just so I could meet Cherie. I have been following Cherie and her former blogs, A Baby Called Max and Raising Master Max pretty much since I had Eli. 

I loved reading her posts because they were so honest and her words were like as if you were having a conversation. It just seemed whatever she we going through at the time, I was experiencing something very similar, and I agreed with a lot of what she had to say on topics or experiences. Our first borns  are a few months apart, and so are our second borns, so again I could relate and empathise with her even more. Connecting virtually with someone through personal stories was something I found fascinating, something I enjoyed, and so I wanted to give back too. 

I started this blog to capture snippets of my life. At the time it focused a lot on my day to day parenting experiences. Which I'm glad I did, because when the boys have grown and raising babies are never going to happen again, I have some place to look back and read about that time in my life. I shared what it's like raising two boys with severe food allergies and other medical experiences. I discussed a little about things that interests me like finance and CrossFit, and now I share planning celebrations cause I like that stuff too.

As soon as I walked into the room I bee lined up to Cherie, put my arms out and gave her a big hug. I was just over the moon to finally meet her in person. I could put a voice to the words I've read over the years, and listening to her talk throughout the day, she talks just the way she writes - gentle, intelligent with humour mixed in. I also got to meet the lovely Cat, who has so much knowledge and able to share it in a way that was easy to understand. I found myself just nodding, with "Ah huh" moments to everything she was saying.

They top 5 things I learnt from the social media workshop are:

1. Renaming images for search engine optimisation (SEO)
I purposely share a lot of images on this blog, trying to include an image for every post I publish. However I never rename my images, keeping the file name the same as whatever name the camera has allocated it. To optimise my images I should rename them using SEO friendly keywords. For example IMG0003.jpg is not as useful as fresh-apples.jpg 

It make sense. I mean go to Google now and search for anything you want. Your results will display web results, but there is an image option right under the search box, and usually images are within the first couple of results anyways.  

2. Understanding the affect of Facebook likes vs engagement
This was an interesting topic. I remember seeing a meme my sister put up, it was something along the lines of "All I see on my news feed is people getting married and having babies, I'm just planning my next holiday." There's a reason why we see those popular announcements of friends and friends of friends, because the more it is liked the more it is shared. 

You have say 200 friends on Facies but its seems only 20 of them are actively over using it? Or why is it that your feed is full of things the same "over active" Facebook friends are liking? Again its because of how you may have interacted with that friend (via like, comment or share) on Facies that has allowed them to be coming up on your feed more frequently than others.

There's so much more to learn about the affects of likes and engagement, it's a separate workshop in its own. 

3. What tools & apps to use
Yes there are so many tools and apps out there today. Sure many are free and some do different things better than others, so one app a person uses may not be useful for another person. I am the type of person who tries or uses a product based on other people's recommendations. So if the owners of a small, but thriving social media business is recommending particular apps to use that have made their lives easier, I'm downloading those apps. 

4. Understanding analytics & measurement
At the start I would post things at an adhoc basis, and maybe in the past 8 months I got a bit more strategic about what and when I post things online. During the workshop we spent some time understanding the importance of reviewing your site, or social media engagement patterns. I also finally got to understand what some of the Google and Facies categories or headings mean, and what behaviours are desirable. 

5. Making a good impression
This is probably marketing or social media 101, but never neglect the importance of a clear and direct bio across all your social media platforms. It's the first page they hit and potentially the only one they'll look at, so ensure you impress your customer, reader, clients. Make sure it sells, they know what products you offer or what you're about - don't leave them guessing. 

The Digital Picnic runs workshops through out the year and if you want to learn more about social media as well as strategies to thrive in those areas, I can't recommend the workshop enough. They also offer other workshops targeting email content and photography too. 

This is not a sponsored post, I just love sharing my experiences. If you found this post interesting too, feel free to share. 

Have you attended a social media workshop before? What was the one key message / knowledge you took away from it? 

Linking up with Jess

10 Apr 2015

Colourful Birthday Party Inspo

A casual picnic for a sweet little girl's 1st birthday.

No theme for this celebration but Miss W's mamma loves colour and wanted lots of it for her daughter's 1st birthday party.  She got lots of ideas from Pinterest, so most of the party food, cake decorations, crape paper garland and invitations were DIY. 

On the menu, family favourites that Miss W's mamma knew were popular, and that she could prepare days ahead, including grandma's sausage roll recipe, spring rolls mini quiches, mini pies, fish fritters, fresh corn, fried rice, salads, mini rolls, BBQ chicken, fresh fruit, rocky road, brownies - lots of home cooking with help from family. She also made Miss W's birthday cake! 

What a colourful celebration!

Party Vendors & Details
Cupcakes: Katrina Tanhueco email: katsmile@bigpond.com
Decorations: Poppies for Grace 
Party Supplies:  Discount Party Warehouse
Meat pies & sausage rolls: David Jones food hall 

If you would like to share and submit a past party you've hosted get in contact! Email me on gen.y.mum@gmail.com would love to feature your event on here! 

Linking up with Sonia

7 Apr 2015

Wiggles Concert

A few weeks ago I took the boys to a Wiggle's concert. Like most kids between the ages of two to five, the boys love them! As soon as they hear the opening song on tv, they stop whatever they're doing and are hypnotised by these five singing and dancing adults, and their group of merry friends.

We watched them locally as they were touring, hosting several concerts in various parts of Sydney, running a few shows a day, so the shows were a little more intimate.

The boys seemed to have enjoyed themselves. As soon they saw Anthony, Simon, Lachy and Emma came onto the stage they were once again frozen. I guess they were so surprised to see their favourite characters live, so it took awhile for them to start participating.

I also enjoyed myself. Those Wiggles know how to entertain a crowd and had a good mix of story telling, crowd participation and a few jokes even a parent found funny. Lots of jokes and innuendo made about Emma and Lachy's now publicly announced relationship.

Who's your child's favourite Wiggle? 

Linking up with Jess

31 Mar 2015

The Truth About CrossFit

Open Workout 15.5 (scaled)
Calorie Rows + Thrusters 20kg  
27-21-15-9 reps for time

It's been a little over a year since I started CrossFit. I am one of the converted who now loves it, but I thought I'd share some real truths about the sport. 

1. It's All Mental
Coming into CrossFit I thought it was all about making muscles and becoming stronger .... It is. But the greatest challenge is the mental side of it. The actual workouts aren't that long, usually anything between 10-20 minutes. Sure there's a few challenging movements but you think to yourself, 'Yeh I can do this, I can keep up'. Then a few minutes (or seconds) into the work out and you're having doubts. Your body wants to stop already. For me its telling myself to keep going when I hit that point, or not letting the fear of pain, failure or doubt stop me from performing. 

2. It's Not Glamourous
Sure you'll start to see tone and definition as your body becomes stronger, but one thing I didn't realise is, achieving this comes at a price. Practicing moves takes it toll on your body. There are the shin grazes, collar bone bruises, rope burns and my favourite ... hand calluses. Then there's the risk of serious injury if you're not careful, and completing the moves with proper form.

3. It's Not Cheap
CrossFit is one of the most expensive fitness past times going at the moment. I go four times a week because if I didn't, it wouldn't be worth the money I pay for it. Why is it so expensive? My opinion, cause its still very new. But respecting all competition sports, you do pay a little more to play in competition environments. Thinking back when I played in basketball comps, it wasn't cheap. With fees for individual registration, team registration, court fees and uniforms.

4. You're Always Sore
CrossFit is a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training) so you're doing movements which shoots your heart rate levels really high, for a short period of time. It involves various cardio, weight lifting, and gymnastics type of movements. No two workouts are the ever the same, (except the prescribed bench mark workouts) so you're body is always in shock, always tested and unfortunately usually always sore.

It seems all I discussed were the negatives, so what do I enjoy about CrossFit? 

Changed My Body Image Perception
Prior to CrossFit I was obsessed with a number on the scales. All I cared about was losing the X number of kilos I put on when I was pregnant. Now, I don't care. I don't even get on the scales. I now understand and appreciate muscle mass, therefore the numbers on the scales are just a guide for me, instead of being my compass. I'm no longer wanting to be thinner, I want to be stronger. I am now drawn to a different body physic which, you can't achieve without carrying on some weight.

Learning New Skills
There are an array of movements in CrossFit and for me, it's going to take time to be able to even do them all. That's what I love about it. I don't know how to do everything yet, so there's so much to learn and to develop from, so its never boring and always challenging. I just want to practice and learn the skills as much as possible. The upside to it is at the same time I'm either losing weight, building up strength and or toning my body. I don't focus on the exercise component anymore, to me its just a bonus to the skills I'm learning. I'm actually a little disappointed when the WOD (work out of the day) is mostly cardio based.

Best Shape Ever
I've never seen my body transformed like this before. Sure I'm no where near '5% body fat and all muscle', but I have some muscle mass now compared to never having so previously. I touch my arms all the time cause I'm amazed by the muscle I can feel there now. Sure I've been thinner before, but I've never been this strong. I see some muscle tone on my back, I've never seen my deltoids and traps before, my quads are bigger and I don't mind. My core is stronger with little abs appearing, even when I brush my teeth my little biceps wants to say hi!

Good Vibes Only
Like I've mentioned, CrossFit is actually mostly mental. The same mental skills and emotions you battle at the box is easily applicable in life. Being a parent, a stay at home mum, living in this day and age where everything is instantly accessible, its so easy to let things around you affect you. The mental place I need to be when I do CrossFit I also channel outside the box. I know when to shut down thoughts of fear and doubt, as well as be more positive and optimistic about situations.

I've said previously anyone can do CrossFit and I still believe that now but, I probably wouldn't suggest CrossFit if you've done no form of exercise for awhile. The workouts are a shock to your body so you may end up having a poor experience - but you may be the exception and enjoy the pain. CrossFit is also fitting if you're naturally competitive, or have, or currently doing some form of sport. You will enjoy the competitive component of the sport. They say in CrossFit you're really competing against yourself, and you are. You want to beat your previous personal best or time, and or complete more reps unbroken. 

So I guess you're keen to see some before and after photos of me. Ha! I'm not going to share any on here, and admittedly I didn't take many photos of myself when I first started doing CrossFit. I wish I took some measurements of myself when I started, cause I don't know how many inches I've lost in various parts of my body. I have lost 9 kilos though and I'm pretty proud of that.

I just finished competing in my first CrossFit Opens and I'll share my experience and how I went in that in a future post.

If you'd like to know more or have any questions feel free to pop me an email, I'm more than happy to any questions you may have about CrossFit or more about my personal experience.

Linking up with Jess

20 Mar 2015

Spa Party Themed Party

Miss L knew exactly how she wanted to celebrate her 8th birthday. A Spa Party was fitting because she wanted to share her special day with her closest friends, doing fun girly things girls love to do. 

Each little girl got a robe to wear once they arrived. Pink lemonade in lit up cocktail glasses, strawberries, watermelon and fairy bread were served while waiting for all Miss L's little guests to arrive.

Once they were all there the girls were pampered with a spa pedicures, chocolate facials and a bit of makeup on each of them. Treatments were given by Miss L's mum and a friend helped with applying make up on the girls.

For the menu chicken nuggets, sausage rolls, party pies, french fries and mini burgers were served. 

At the end of the day each girl's got a bag to take home which included their robe, headband, towels, lip smackers, their cocktail glass and a cupcake.
Vendor and party details:
  • Foot spas: borrowed from various family and friends
  • Ikea: plastic bowls, mirrors, face towels, hand towels and bath towels  
  • Abcoe: cutlery, napkins, plates and light up cocktail glasses 
  • Local party novelty shop: milk bottles, straws, pom poms and other decorations
  • Girl's robes: made by a family member of Miss L's 
  • Cake: made by a family member
  • Alaroch: glitter number 8
If you would like to share and submit a past party you've hosted get in contact! Email me on gen.y.mum@gmail.com would love to feature your event on here! 

13 Mar 2015

Diner en Blanc Themed Baby Shower

A few weeks ago it was my sister in law's baby shower. She doesn't have any sisters, so my sister and I took it upon ourselves to plan her baby shower for her.

A few months prior we were thinking about what theme the baby shower would be, then it dawned on me ... "Why does it have to be all cutesy and all about the baby already?" When you become a parent, everything you from that point forward is about your children. Once the baby arrives there will be so many years of upcoming cutesy parties to throw, this should be a celebration of her. Her last hurrah! before her life completely changes, so cutesy was out the door and chic and celebration was in.

A remember seeing a photo from Blake Lively's baby shower. Words that sprung to my mind when I saw it were; celebration, love, sisterhood, rustic and life. I thought that's the kind of vibe my sister in law's baby shower should have. Roughly at the same time the annual Dine en Blanc dinner was held, and I was drawn to the all white theme the party is renown for. So I merged these two ideas together and an All White baby shower theme was set in motion.

The day was as beautiful as I imaged, and was one of the easiest parties I've organised to date. I think its all got to do with the people who helped me on the day. There's my sister who knows I'm particular, especially when it comes to how I do things, and I've been lucky to have a few friends who always offer to help, and knows how I operate too, so we all work so well now. I also lured some unexpectant friends of the mother to be to help on the day.

All the women wore white, except the mother to be - she can wear what she wants. There was white everywhere from the table clothes, serving trays, flowers, balloons, even the marquee was white.

Note: Apologies about the photo quality. I think someone must've changed the camera settings.

Vendor and party information:
  • Communicakeit : custom 'Baby Johns' cake topper. 
  • Cake'n'Pop : Snickers flavoured cake.
  • Balloon Elegance : 3 mega balloons with tassel decorations.
  • Pretty Up! : 10 floral mason jar centre pieces. 
  • Loomas: array of sweets and baguettes  
  • Other food: pasta, rocket and quinoa salads that various people made, father in laws famous deep fried lemon chicken, chicken skewers purchased from Coles, antipasto platter, arancini balls, and many guests decided to bring a plate of food on the day too.
  • I asked all my girlfriends to keep any glass jars they may come across several weeks in advance. I collected them and used as drinking cups on the day and used some to keep fresh flowers.
  • Drink dispenser : for fresh home made lemonaid and ice tea which, I borrowed from a friend.
  • Marquee : belonged to my in laws and proven to come handy over the years. 
  • Tables: we borrowed from people but I also purchased two bi-fold tables from Bunnings. 
  • Invitation : was created by my sister, copying an invite we liked on Pinterest and printing them onto 6x4 photo prints through Kmart's printing services.
  • White table covers: Kmart
  • Straws: local novelty party shop 
  • Tags: local novelty party shop 
If you would like to share and submit a past party you've hosted get in contact! Email me on gen.y.mum@gmail.com would love to feature your event on here! 
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