General Life Tips, Good Old Fun

How I Dye My Hair At Home | Brown Ombre

I’ve been dying hair since I hit the two digits mark, wait no I started dying hair way before that. I must have been seven or eight. Back then, my mom would dye her hair on a regular basis. Almost every single month. I was the one that always got the job. It was rough in the beginning. I couldn’t care less about being careful about not getting any dye on her forehead, ears, and neck but as time passed, well I kind of figured the art of hair dying out. Eventually, I got quite smart and decided to charge my mom for every hair dye session. I demanded R20 so basically €1 at first and gradually increased my price. She eventually started to ask someone else. In my defense, it was always over the weekend and that’s when I could do what I want and not worry about school. I was about sixteen when I dyed my own hair for the first time and quickly discovered there is an art to it too. This is how I dye my hair at home.

Part One

The final result I’m going for is a natural looking ombre but I had to dye my roots or top part of my hair first. In September I dyed my hair bright red and my roots were starting to show. So, I knew if I wanted a natural brown ombre look I had to dye my hair in two sessions. I do want to add one thing before I explain to you how I dye my hair. Red hair dye is incredibly stubborn to get rid of. It always somehow peaks through and can take you a few dye sessions to fully get rid of. This is what happened to me. I only dyed my hair my natural hair color once and immediately went over the lighter color the next day. This lighter color only brought out that red. So, if you would a brown ombre look with no hint of red (that is to say you previously dyed your hair red) you will have to do so over a few months. You will have to start off with dying your entire head your natural or root color. Allow that color to settle and wash away and then dye your entire head in your natural or root color again. I would probably do this about three times to be safe before I apply the light color. What the light color does it opens up your hair follicles so if you still have a red base to your hair that will come to the forefront. In this instance, I didn’t think of the red color peeking through and just applied the lighter color and this basically undid all the dark brown color I applied the previous night. I do quickly want to add that I’m not a hairdresser. This knowledge is just what I’ve gathered over the years and this is what has happened to me.

Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s explain how I dye my hair at home. I took a ton of pictures, or well the husband took them but I will explain each step fully and just add the picture as a little extra guidance.

Step One

Comb out your hair. The last thing you want is to have knots in your hair. If you dye your hair with the knots in, the color will take place in some funky ways. Basically, when you unknot your hair some of the hairs that were in the knot won’t be freshly dyed. I always dye my hair when I know there are no extra products in my hair and it needs a wash soon. What I mean with that is, your hair needs to be product free, no mouse, gel, and spray. I also don’t like to dye my hair if I washed it the night before. I feel like this does extra damage so I will always wait about two days before I dye.

Step Two

I divide my hair into two sections and find my middle part. I then start right in the middle by concentrating the dye brush on my roots. I do both sides of the part before I would take the back of the brush and section my hair. I basically make a new part just on the side and then toss the hair to the opposite side. I will then place the hair dye on the roots on both sides again before using the back of the brush and making a new part. I will do this until I’m all the way to my ear. I will then go back to the first original middle part and repeat the process on the other side. Make a new part with the back of the brush, dye on both sides, new part, dye on both sides and etc.

Once I have dye on my roots on the front part of my hair I will move on to the back part. This is where things get a little more difficult because you are dying at the back of your head. You will go mostly by feel but you can turn to the side and take a peak after every new part. I have a lot of confidence in my skill so I just do it by feel. I start off by bring the front part to the front and making a clear path at the back. It will basically be a wonky line from ear to ear. I find the part that is completely dye free. The top is the front part of your head that is dyed and the bottom is the start of the back of your head. This is quite difficult to explain. I’m so happy I have pictures. The process is very similar than before. You find your starting point, dye on both sides, make a new part, dye on both sides, make a new part and repeat until you get to your neck. I always make sure to really get all of those baby hairs at the back of the neck and brush them all up. If you get to this point all of your roots are dyed.

Step Three

I go right back to the beginning and start at the front of my head. I part my hair in the middle and start at the top and slowly work my down to the bottom. One side at a time. I will take small sections at a time and apply dye to the dry hair. I only dip in once and apply lightly before I rub the dye in my hands. If you’re are dying your entire head you will do this with all of the dry hair in your little section but if you’re doing an ombre you will stop in the middle. I will then flip the little hair section to the other side of my head and pick up a new bundle. Apply enough dye to cover everything, rub in and then flip to the side. Pick up a new bundle, apply the dye, rub, flip, new buddle, apply the dye, rub and flip. Repeat till you get to the ears and repeat the process on the other side of the head. It’s very similar than part two.

Step Four

Once all of your hair is dyed, I will take whatever dye I have left, put it in my hands and massage it into my scalp. I will always make my hair into a pony and put a decent amount of dye at the back to make sure that if I put my hair into a pony everything will be dyed. I just go nuts, really get the leftover dye everywhere. I always allow my hair to sit in a little bun at the top so if you give yourself a little once over when you’re done, you will be able to see if there are any parts that are still dry. I will also make sure to get all of my baby hairs around my ears, forehead, and neck at this moment. Of course, when you are doing an ombre you can’t go too nuts and you definitely won’t apply a large amount of product in your ponytail hair or the bottom part of your hair. I’m struggling so much with explaining everything.

Part Two

It’s time to add the lighter color and bring your ombre to life!

Step Five

It’s very similar than step three in the part above but instead of applying the lighter color at the top ends of your hair you concentrate on the ends. Stop roughly in the middle, rub the product in and then take a comb and brush everything in. I simply combed my hair with my fingers. Don’t worry about getting the lighter hair product to high in the hair. What I mean with that is that you don’t want a clear line at the back of the head where the one part is dark brown and the bottom part is light brown or even blond. By combing it a little higher you will have a blended effect. Wait let me try to explain that again. You brush on the product at the bottom part of your hair starting in the middle, rub in the product properly and then comb through your hair with your fingers. The leftover product on your clove will do the blending for you. Only a small amount of the lighter hair product will be on the upper area of your hair. Oh, my this is really hard to explain. Originally, I refused to get hair dye with any bleach in and had hoped that the lightest blond hair dye that is bleach free would lighten my hair enough to get the ombre effect. My hair looked very natural but quite dark and it wasn’t the ombre effect I wanted so I went back a few days later and bought bleach. I repeated the entire step five or ombre process and washed it out after 25 minutes. I wanted the golden brown ombre effect but if I would have left it on for longer, I’m sure I would have walked away with blonde.

 

Picture 1 with pink pants is without bleach and picture 2 with the blue shirt is with bleach. Blue shirt hair is also before hair mask so the hair looks dry.

Step Six

If you use any bleach, apply a shit done of hair mask on. I put quite a bit of product on the next day and left it in my hair the entire day. Bleaching and hair dying as a hole dries out your hair. If you want healthy looking hair that feels nice and soft a good hair mask once your done will do it wonders. I will do this twice a week until my hair recovers from the three hair dye sessions.

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I used Garnier hair dye as I love the conditioner they supply in the boxes. It is also a brand my mother loves. I bought the L’Oréal Ombre box when I saw that I needed a bleach.  My end result does have a bit of the red in. As I mentioned before, I put the lighter color over my newly dyed natural/root color and this just lifted all of that dye from the day before and the red just popped. It basically removed the dye there. I don’t love the red hint but it doesn’t look too bad so I decided to leave it as is. Next time I will just be more cautious about it. Again, I just want to make it clear that I’m not a hairdresser. This is just how I dye my hair at home. I do ask that you limit your expectations. At the end of the day for a full professional look you will have to see a hairdresser. If you’re dying your own hair for the first time just fully prepare yourself for some oopsies. You’re not going to get it 100% perfect on the first try. Best of luck!

Before I leave here is some pictures of my hair, dry and refreshed after a hair mask the night prior.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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General Life Tips, Mental Health

Building Healthy Habits One Day At A Time | My System To Achieve My Daily (New Year) Goals

It’s the new year and I don’t know about you but I always like to start my year with a long list of things I want to accomplish in the year. Nine out of ten times it’s nearly impossible to keep it up. As this list is basically the instruction manual for this perfect human being. There are two things wrong with this instruction manual. One) Perfection is unattainable. Two) The new year new you bullshit can be incredibly harmful to your mentality. Now, don’t get me wrong. Trying to incorporate healthy habits in your life is pretty damn great but you shouldn’t wait for a new month or a new year before you start. Start the day after you decide that hey I want to stop smoking. Don’t wait two weeks for the new month to quit. Start immediately. Don’t wait till you finished the last pack of smokes. Start immediately. You’re just signing yourself up for failure if you put a date on it. The month will come and you might come up with some excuse to push it to the next month and before you know it, it’s months later and here you are, still smoking your days away with the promise to quit at the start of the new year. I don’t know why I always use smoking as an example but you get what I’m trying to say right?

This is what I wrote on my list last year and right next to it is how many times I accomplished it.

  • Meditate 3times a week — Mediated maybe once in the entire year.
  • Workout 5 days a week — Maybe for about a month, two months max.
  • Drink 2litres of water every day— lol no.
  • Drink green tea four days a week — If you put all the days that I drank green tea together we would probably be around 20.
  • Eat no meat once a week — Never even occurred to me.
  • Wake up early in the work week (Mon-Fri) — I had about two months of this. The rest of the time I read till about 9am.
  • Drink smoothies twice a week — No. I had five days I drank a smoothie every day but other than that the year was a year of almost no smoothies.
  • Eat one cup of vegetables and one cup of fruit every day— No although I do eat vegetables at every meal and will eat fruit every day if my favorites are in season. Yay, we can tick one of them off!
  • Do yoga once a week — I didn’t do a single yoga session in the year 2018. I stretched maybe once but it wasn’t yoga.
  • Eat candy only twice a week — I’m laughing so hard right now.
  • Work on my mental health once a month for a week – This is my most ridiculous goal ever. It’s incredibly important to work on your mental health EVERY SINGLE DAY. It can be the little of things but you can’t ignore the importance of mental health.

There is a lot more but those were the main things. Most of these, if incorporated in my daily life, would improve my health but I can’t expect to suddenly overnight do all of these things. It’s way too overwhelming. I would add so much pressure and stress on my own shoulders that it’s almost frightening. But I do want to eventually incorporate most of these things. Like that really famous saying goes; Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’ve all heard this saying at least once in our lives but there is a reason why it’s so famous. It’s fucking true.

A while back I started this experiment that turned into a big success. It was where I rewarded myself with one euro every day I don’t eat candy. I realized that I needed the motivation to help with my biggest unhealthy habit but I also really liked being able to tick something off on the calendar. I print out the month and I get to scratch the block out if I went without candy. It made me so happy to see the big picture of the entire month and it also showed habits. If you look at my candy calendar from November you can see that I eat candy on Wednesday and over the weekends. Those are the days that the husband is home. I made a vow to never buy candy for myself. So, only when the husband is home and able to buy candy, did I eat candy. It was just really interesting to see. I will talk more about the candy and all of that jazz in an upcoming blog. There is so much I can say.

november candy

Getting back to the calendar, it made me happy to color in days so I figured why not work with this. I mean I’ve learned now that I respond well to this system. So I created a new calendar and chose the four main healthy habits I want to incorporate right now. Oh wow, that is a messy sentence. Sorry about that. Let’s try that again. I realized that I’m not going to achieve all my goals overnight and that I needed to choose only a few and concentrate on those for about six months. Once they are like second nature to me, then I will choose the next four and then etc.

This is the four I’m going to start off with.

  • Do a short workout from Monday to Friday.
  • Wake up (read, get up) early from Monday to Friday.
  • Drink a cup of green tea every single day
  • Drink 2 liters of water every single day.

This is how my calendar looks like. I just made a simple table in Microsoft PowerPoint. 16 columns and five rows. Table one is the first fifteen days with a little picture of my healthy habit and then table two is the other sixteen days for the months of 31 days. On the shorter months, I just erase the extra columns. I just post the two tables next to each other on the fridge. It’s really simple. If I would want too I could add my candy on this calendar but I like my special candy calendar too much. My brain works in mysterious ways.

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The idea to use the calendar system popped into my head in the second week of December. It wasn’t a great month to build these healthy habits and on most days I only colored in one box out of the four but I’m being very gentle with myself. I realize that I’m not going to get all four boxes every time. I realized that it’s going to take some time to make this a habit. So I’m giving myself just that. Time. I know life is going to happen sometimes and I won’t be able to tick all the boxes every day even after six months and that’s okay. If I can tick those boxes 80% of the time then that’s really fucking great.

This system works for me, someone who gets overwhelmed really quickly and needs to color in boxes to stay motivated. I encourage you to explore different options and until you find a system that works for you. Best of luck for all of your goals for this new year and try to see the big picture. 2019 is only one year of your life. You don’t have to achieve everything you possibly want to achieve in your lifetime in one short year.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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General Life Tips

Dutch Beauty Products I Use And Love

Before you start reading this blog, I just want to point out that some of these products will probably be available in other parts of the world. What products they are and where they are available is your guess, not mine. I’m way too lazy to actually look into this. For a change, I’m not going to have a long and super boring introduction and instead I’m just going to jump straight into the products.

Face

Skincare

I’m going to start with skincare because well that’s where I want to start. My skincare routine has always been simple but surprisingly I’ve kept up with the routine since puberty. I have two routines. In the morning I cleanse my face with cleansing water and then moisturize my face with the day cream. I then apply my make up over that. Oh, I should totally write a blog about all the products I use for a full face everyday makeup look. It’s actually quite simple and my everyday look takes me 15 minutes max to complete as where if I do a more full glam look it can take me over an hour. To steer myself back to the topic of skincare, my night time routine is just as simple. I wash my face in the shower with my face scrub and then apply my night cream. I apply a face mask once a week and that’s it for my skincare routine. Nothing to fancy but it keeps my skin nice and healthy. I do believe that healthy skin (or well everything really) comes from within. The supplements I take for my PCOS surely helps with the appearance of my skin. Also, a healthy amount of water per day helps.

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I bought this cleansing water at Action. It was my first time buying from the brand. I haven’t really found a cleansing water that I’m obsessed with. I’m still exploring and jumping from one product to the next one. I mainly just require the water to be sensitive on my skin type and remove all makeup and dirt from my face. I don’t have any complaints against this water at all but I probably won’t buy it again. I do usually steer toward the Nivea section. Only because Kruidvat sometimes have a 2 for 3 special.

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I started using this day cream from Hema about two months ago. I really like it and would definitely purchase it again once I finish this container. It makes my skin feel so soft and it works great under my makeup. I have dry skin and this is just heaven for it. Definitely nourishes as they promise. This is one of those age prevention creams. I read online once that it’s important to take measures to prevent wrinkles before you get them.  That’s mainly the only reason why I bought this one. This is the golden box one for 6,50 euros.

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I love this face scrub. I always get the same product. It works. I really don’t have much else to say. It works for my skin. I normally buy this at Kruidvat when they have a sale on.

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This is my night cream and it’s pretty damn great. It smoothing and makes my skin feel so good. The natural glow is pretty damn great. I’m really happy with the face creams. I have no idea if it’s actually doing any age rewinding or any of that stuff but hey it makes my skin look great so sign me up. Once again it’s from Hema and it’s 6,50 euros.

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This is my new facemask. I’ve been using it for two months and it’s my new favorite. I used to always use the facemasks by 7th Heaven but eventually switched over to this one as I could get more uses out of the product per euro. I’m all about saving them coins.

Makeup

I’m a drugstore makeup queen. The most expensive makeup product I own is 26 Euros and I saved for a long time to buy that. I like to keep it affordable because well I don’t want to spend big coin on makeup. Or well anything in my life. Clothes, shoes, nails etc. I believe that a 15 euro foundation can be and sometimes is, better than a 150 euro foundation. Also, the things I could buy with that money is just insane. Even if I had 150 euros to spend on a foundation, I never will. So what I’m trying to say is my makeup is drugstore and some of the brands you can only find here in the Netherlands.

If I want to buy makeup I always go to Kruidvat first. They have a bigger collection of different brands that etos or Hema. If I don’t find what I’m looking for or I want to try out another brand I will go to the other two shops. I love essence make up. They are very hit and miss. Some of their products are just amazing and others are pretty shitty. I don’t like their eyeshadows at all. Etos makeup is the same. It’s a hit and a miss. I personally haven’t really jumped into their makeup line and tried out everything mostly because I have what I need and I know what I like from a set brand and purchase it again (and again) but sometimes I need to find a new product and I don’t have a favorite, that’s when I explore different brands. That’s a lot of unnecessarily explaining. I personally just love their foundation and concealer. Will insert pictures in a bit. I did buy one of their mascaras’. It’s not my favorite and I won’t buy it again but it gets the job done and I will use it till I finish it or it expires.

Nails

I’m obsessed with colorful nails or having my nails all done up. I hate acrylics or anything damaging so I stick to good old nail polish from the drugstore. Although I’m not picky with all the fancy stuff that can come along with nail polish, I am picky about the quality of wear. What I mean with that is, it needs to look good on my nails for at least three days before it shows wear and tear. That’s it. I also don’t want to spend more than 5 euros on a bottle of nail polish. My favorite and go to brand for nail polish is Hema. They last long enough for me and their color range is good enough. If I’m looking for a specific color and Hema doesn’t have, I will buy an essence polish but they wear out quickly. Here are daily pictures I took of my nails to show how the Hema nail polish wear. I do want to add while doing this ‘experiment’ if you will, I was going about my normal way of life. I washed dishes and cleaned the house. I washed my hands every time I went to the bathroom. Basically, my nails got into contact with water and soap. I applied my face creams and all that jazz. I dug out stuff from my dog’s mouth when he ate something he shouldn’t eat. You know the everyday type of things. I removed it on day 6 because we had a date the next day and I wanted my nails to look fresh but otherwise I reapply nail polish every week. A new color every week of course.

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Hair

I talked about my hair care awhile ago here on my blog when I shared my story from the bleaching and how I recovered my hair from all the damage. I didn’t really talk about the products I use and why. I know for a fact that one of the products I love you can purchase in South Africa because well I always bought it there too.

I have two main products I use for my hair. A hair mask and a hair oil. The hair mask is something I do twice a week and leave in for about 30 minutes and the hair oil is something I add when I feel my hair is a bit dry and needs some love. The hair oil I use also makes my curls pop. Here is a before and after of my hair mask. The before picture is the state of my hair after a few days of no hair oil or any extra treatment or love. As you can see it looks like dry and sad. The after picture is taken the day after treatment.

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That’s about everything or the main products I use. I have extra bits that I whip out on special occasions. Before I wrap up this blog I just want to clarify that these products work for me. What might work for me might not necessarily work for you. I have dry and acne prone skin. I also have dry and damaged hair. I hope this blog was helpful.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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General Life Tips, Mental Health

I Rewarded Myself With 1 Euro Everyday I Went Without Candy For A Month

I truly just had the best idea ever! Honestly, I’m giving myself a massive pat on the back. It’s such a great idea someone should pay me to solve problems creatively.

So, I’ve made it absolutely no secret just how much of a sweet tooth I have. The amount of candy I consume isn’t healthy. For my teeth and for the fat around my belly. It sure as hell doesn’t help with my acne breakouts too as I always flare up after a candy binge. I know this and for the last few years, I’ve tried everything under the sun to find balance with eating candy. I really and truly want to find that fine line of balance where I still enjoy a packet of wine gums here and there but I don’t have the desire or habit to do so every three days.

Just to give you a crystal clear idea just how deep my candy addiction runs, here are some of the blogs where I’ve talked about it.

An Unhealthy History | What I Used To Eat In A Day — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/04/an-unhealthy-history-what-i-used-to-eat-in-a-day/ —

I basically ate candy all day every day. I remember quite vividly that I would go to the tuck shop at school and instead of buying proper food for lunch I would overload my hands with all types of candy. I would then go home and eat candy after school and sometimes would even have candy for dinner. Yes, I would eat candy for dinner. No wonder I have so many cavities.

My Nutrition Plan For 2018 — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2018/01/03/my-nutrition-plan-for-2018/ —

Again, I’ve set a goal for myself candy wise and only kept at it for two weeks max.

Nutrition Class 3 | Carbohydrates | Part 3/3 — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2018/03/19/nutrition-class-3-carbohydrates-part-3-3/ —

The Slap of Reality series I had going for a few weeks there is the one thing that helped the longest. I think I went without candy for two months. The longest candy free time in my entire life. It’s the series where I would physically measure the sugar amount in the candy and put the two next to each other. This was a very eye-opening experience.

The Northern Lights For 365 Candy Free Days — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/12/22/the-northern-lights-for-365-candy-free-days/ —

This is probably my favorite twist to trying to eat less candy. It was the right step forward but once it became quite clear that we wouldn’t have the funds for this trip, I caved and only one month in, went full out with the candy. But I had the right idea. Dangling a juicy carrot in front of me to motivate me to not eat candy is the right way to go because clearly the weight gain and toothache don’t motivate me enough.

Before I share my brilliant idea, I want to talk about why I love candy so much. No, it’s not because the delicious treats are great to snack on or because they’re convenient. I think it goes deeper than that. In all of my challenges where I tried to set a goal to go without candy for a set amount of days, I always strived well till I had a bad day. Just recently I finally shared that I suffer from depression. I have quite a bit of bad days. Days where I don’t even want to get out of bed. Days where life is just too much. They are truly dark and scary days. In those days I want comfort. Comfort food. Comfort movies. Plain old comfort in the form of cuddles. And most of all, I want comfort snacks. In those dark days, I want my favorite meal (a tossup between Spaghetti and Pizza), my favorite soft drink (cherry coke) and my favorite treats (wine gums, m&m’s and vanilla ice cream). Now eventually I want to learn other habits that I can turn to on my dark days but at the same time, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO TREAT YOURSELF. In moderation of course. I’m still very much so a work in progress and I’m working on improving my mental health every single day.

Alright now the moment has arrived that no one was waiting for, drum roll please…my brilliant idea! So I asked myself, what is something else I’m super obsessed with but can’t get often because there isn’t always extra money lying around for it. MAKEUP! I’m a sucker for makeup and there is quite often products outside the daily routine that I have my eye on. Products I don’t need but boy do I want them. It’s always something a little more expensive that I need to wait to get for a special occasion. Currently, I’m dying to get my hands on this one eyeshadow palette and Christmas can’t come soon enough. So keeping in mind the whole dangle a carrot in front of Cassandra’s face to motivate her to go without candy for a day scheme from the Northern Lights idea, I thought hey why don’t you put money into a saving account every day you go without makeup? One euro to be precise. I transfer the one euro into the saving account at the end of the day once I’m in bed. I can then use that money to buy all the make up my heart desires. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. So I’m writing this blog on the 5th of September. I already ate some candy so I can’t get my one euro today but I’m really curious to see how the rest of the month will go. As I’m only going to upload the blog in October, I have some time to test how this idea goes and share it on here. Wish me good luck!

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Alright, this is a pop in at the 17th of September. We’re two weeks in and well I saved 2 Euros. A lot happened and there are two things I want to touch on here in this little update.

1) I’m an emotional eater. I noticed almost immediately when we got some bad news, my candy intake spiked. I wanted ice cream, candy and so much more to almost comfort and heal the wound. It’s a very toxic thing that I clearly haven’t given enough credit too and will have to do some research and learn how to deal with this. The last thing I want to do is restrict and be on this strict diet for the rest of my life. I want balance but I can’t stuff my face with candy every time I have a bad day. It’s not the best choice for me at that moment.

2) If I did eat candy a day, I would just go all out. I wouldn’t just limit myself to one candy bar or one slice of cake, oh no I already lost my one Euros so I should at least make it worth it. Go all out and stuff my face with all the candy I can find. This was well counterproductive. What’s the difference between spreading the candy out daily then going without for a few days and then catching up on that one day? So I decided to put in a clause. If I overeat on candy that one day, I need to withdraw 1 Euro from the special savings account. Since I’ve made this clause, I have hone back in on the pure amount of candy I eat on the day.

That’s about it that I wanted to share in this pop in. I’m starting my 31 days smoothie detox today so I’m very excited to well put 31 Euros into the makeup account. I’m confident that once I can actually buy a makeup product with the money saved, saving would go easier. So hopefully (hopefully my ass I’m going to do this. No ifs. No buts.) in two weeks when I finally finish this blog to have it go up on the 8th of October, my total amount in my little savings account will be: 18 Euros!

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Alright, I’m back now on the 7th of October, ready to finish this blog for tomorrow. Since my last pop in a few things happened. I’m not even sure where to start because when I say a few things happened, I mean a lot happened. This entire experience was very much so trial and error but I finally figured it out and it’s actually working.

There are three main things I want to talk about so I’m going to try to explain myself properly.

1) For starters, my self-control when it comes to candy has greatly improved. It took me four candy days to eat a packet of M & M’s. I’m not even kidding instead of inhaling the entire packet and then some on one day, I only ate a quarter of the packet. This is a massive step for me.

2) The next bit I want to touch ground on is my mental health and how what I eat affects it. I mentioned earlier in this blog that the reason why I struggle so much with candy as well I go for yummy food for comfort. I’m still learning how to improve in that category but what I started doing is simple. When I noticed that mentally I wasn’t in the best place I would take the dog for a walk and keep my mind active with other things. I would read a book, paint or just about anything to stop myself from stuffing my face in a desperate attempt to fill the void. For a moment there in this month, I wanted to do a smoothie detox for 31 days. That crashed and burned real quick. I’m just going to get straight to the point, it was too overwhelming for me and I couldn’t handle that emotionally right about now. I love biting off more than what I can chew. I put so much pressure on myself all the damn time. If I don’t I feel like I could be and should be doing more but I’ve learned, the hard way, that in order to live a happy life in harmony with my mental health, I need to adjust my way of thinking. The entire experience wasn’t a complete failure, I did learn if I drink a smoothie a day I don’t really get any candy cravings.

3) The last thing I added near the end was to mark the calendar. So, in the beginning, I would simply transfer the 1 Euros to the savings account just before going to sleep but I almost always forgot and my days would start to melt together and days would go by before I remember to transfer the money. The last thing I want is to work so hard on letting this account grow so I can get my makeup fix and then actually screw myself over by not transferring the correct amount. So I printed out a calendar where I simply color in the day I went candy free with the intention to transfer the money at the end of the month. This wasn’t only beneficial for my memory but for the motivation as well. It was one thing to see the account slowly grow but it’s a whole different thing to see the calendar grow in color and to make the calculations of how much money you get to spend on makeup at the end of the month.

I’m absolutely obsessed with this idea and after a month I can say with full confidence that it’s working. The best part is you can do it too! It doesn’t necessarily have to be for makeup. I mean in a few months I will probably find something else I really want but don’t have the money to spend on it. You can use this technique for video games, a new phone, a new book and etc. Literally, anything that you always want but never have the money to spend on it. It also doesn’t have to be candy related. You could reward yourself 1 euro every time you don’t smoke or drink or every time you go to the gym. The possibilities are endless. I mean look at cigarettes. How much money do you spend on the death as a stick per month? Do you want to quit? Reward yourself for every day you don’t smoke a single cigarette and eventually, the math will make sense. You can start of slow too. Let’s say you normally smoke ten per day. You can then say if I smoke 5 today I get to put 1 euro (or a fair amount in your currency) into a special account and with that money I can buy this thing I’ve been keeping my eye on. I think you catch my drift. Now I don’t think this will work for every person but hey try it for a month. If it works, great! If it doesn’t then what did you really lose? Whatever money you did manage to put aside you can easily use on something else you need.

I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life. It works. I mean I get the fancy makeup that I don’t necessarily need but I want and control my candy intake (so my health will improve) at the same time. It’s a match made in heaven. If you do end up trying this please let me know! I would love to know how this worked for you.

PS I’ve saved 17 euros since the 5th of September. Considering it took me two weeks to figure everything out, I would say I did pretty damn good.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Animals, General Life Tips

We Got A Puppy And This Is What I Learned

Onno and I’ve discussed about getting a dog for a really long time. I’m a dog person. Nearly my entire life, we’ve owned a dog. It feels natural to me and after a few years I always miss it. Onno has never owned a dog in his life as his father is allergic to the furry animal. We decided that once we have our house with a nice backyard, we will get our dog. We also had the breed down because well I’m obsessed with a golden retriever and nothing else would do. Flash forward to buying a house, renovating that said house and working in the garden. Once we moved in and finally start to work in the backyard, we started to browse the internet for our new family member. We found him just as his breeders placed the ad for him and his four brothers. The ad was placed just after he was born (2-3 weeks) so we had more than enough time to finish the garden and prepare our home for a dog. We called the lady and we made an appointment to choose and view the dog in three weeks.

I could barely contain my excitement and slowly started to buy anything dog related we might need minus the big stuff. Mostly just toys and his blanket. Finally the Saturday I was waiting for arrived. We drove through all the way to the South of the Netherlands with our new car to see our puppy. It was a part of the Netherlands neither of us has been too before so it was exciting to see how the area looked like. A lot of farms. I kind of liked it. I’m all about the country life but there is this fine line I love, but that’s a blog for another day. Back to the puppy, we arrived and I practically drowned in puppy love. Dankie immediately climbed into my lap and started to play with my hair. Stole my heart right then and there. We want the pink dog! He wasn’t pink of course, but the breeder had color collars on the dogs to tell which one is which. We stuck around long enough for lots of cuddles and drools, one container of strawberries (The breeder owns a strawberry farm. The freshest strawberries I’ve had in my entire life.) before we headed back, incredibly excited for the end of July. We of course didn’t leave without taking pictures of Dankie.

For preparation of welcoming a new fur baby in our house, we worked on the garden almost daily. It was a rough and dirty work. We literally laid down the grass the day before we got Dankie. His bench/cage arrived a week before that and we had a hick up with his food. The company send two bags of the wrong food and it took us over a week to get the correct bag of food. A few days before we got Dankie, we also got his food ball and more toys. The last bits of pieces. In between all of the shopping and slaving in the garden, I was reading a book about puppy training. As mentioned before, I’ve had quite a few of dogs in my lifetime. All of them turned out to be decent happy adult dogs. Decent as my one dog has the bad habit of jumping onto people and scratching the living hell out of them. A habit all puppies have, a habit that I never learned to nib in the bud before it became a habit. Oh wow that’s a lot of habits in one sentence. My brain nearly hurts. Anyway so I know enough about dogs but I wanted to go the extra mile. I also knew that having a dog here in the Netherlands is a lot different than what I’m used to.

In South Africa most of our dogs sleep outside in a kennel. Some dogs aren’t even allowed inside the house while others are allowed to come inside for a few hours. Others will also have the dogs just sleep inside the house and have free rein. There is a lot of different type of dog owners out there. We personally always had an outside dog. Our dogs sleep outside in the dog kennel but can come inside throughout the day. But here in the Netherlands, things go a bit differently. No dogs sleep outside, mostly because in some winters it snows. You can’t exactly have your dog sleep outside in that type of cold weather. Maybe quite a bit of the year it’s okay but definitely not in the winter. Anyway, so here most dogs are inside dogs. They sleep inside and spend most of their day inside. I knew that this would mean more training for the dog. I need to properly house train him. I need to teach him to stay of the couch and bed and many more. Hence why I spend two weeks reading the most boring book ever. I learned a lot though, but some pages were mind numbing things.

I also asked for advice. Onno’s aunt has three golden retrievers and obviously knows the ins and outs of having a dog here in the Netherlands. The main thing that I struggled to wrap my head around is the whole bench/cage situation. It felt wrong, to lock up your dog in a cage throughout the night. Now I see it as his kennel. It’s his safe little place. No one else goes into his bench. It’s his bed. Of course it keeps him safe throughout the night while we sleep. He can’t chew and eat on our furniture (choking hazards) or raise terror for the cat. I will share a blog about bench training in more detail later but the quick rundown, get him excited for the cage. Play around it. Leave treats in it. I always have his favorite teddy in there.

In the beginning your puppy won’t have the ability to hold his bladder. There is more bathroom breaks. Heck the book said you should take him out every 30 minutes. The less he goes inside the house, the better. In the beginning, we would take Dankie out around 3am. Now Dankie sleeps through the night. After about a week of waking up at 3am and then 5am, with a dog refusing to pee…we just let him sleep through the night. He does sometimes bark in the middle of the night to tell us he wants to go potty but other than that, he can hold it and sleep through the night. Oh I should make a blog about house training. I just have so much to share. So much knowledge. Some has nowhere to go! Oh Dankie can also do a few tricks! He can sit, wait for his treat while sitting, lay down, wait ten seconds with his treat right in front of him before I tell him to go eat it, he can kind of roll over. That one is still a work in progress. Fetch is okay. It needs more work and I just started to teach him to shake my hand before he gets a treat. He is a very smart boy and learns the tricks quite quickly. Most of the tricks he only does with me, so he needs some more work.

Where was I? I was talking about something before it went off to so many babbles. Oh yes. The cage/bench thing. I think I said everything I wanted to say about that. Let me think. What else was there I wanted to say in here? How funny would it be if you could actually answer me right now? I would probably have a heart attack and ask why the hell you’re in my house at 8am on a Monday morning. Not cool buddy.

Oh yes. What I learned. So by the time I’m writing this, we’ve had Dankie for one month. I learned that patience and repeating things is the key. Patience because your puppy won’t know that this is what you want from him and repeating things because well it will take him awhile to learn it. Puppy brain and all. Plus he needs to learn the human language and that might take some time. It took me two weeks of constantly fretting over the dog, constantly taking him out before he got into the habit of going outside to potty. He knows he has to go do his business outside. We still have a few accident inside here and there. House training can take a year. My main advice is to always be excited for him/her when he goes outside. Make a big deal out of it. Your puppy wants to please you so when he sees if he goes outside, he makes you happy, he will do it again. We cheer, congratulate him and even give him a belly rub. If he does go inside, don’t punish him. It will cause mistrust and most of the time he peed there twenty minutes ago and he won’t connect your punishing him about this. Just clean it up and move on with your day. I know it’s frustrating but hey patience is key. Just study your dog, eventually you will be able to pick up when he wants to pee. The way he walks and acts before doing so. Then jump up and take him out.

I will be honest with you, the first two weeks of having Dankie was rough. I was an emotional mess, two minutes away from a mental breakdown, but the added frustration that I can’t really leave Dankie alone or do much didn’t help things. Dankie had a really bad case of separation anxiety. I’m not even joking. He would full on lose his shit when he couldn’t see me for five seconds. A week after we got him, I had to go to the dentist. I put him in his cage for that time. I was gone for a hour and half tops. He was screaming when I left and he was screaming when I got back. Now he is a lot better. A real big boy.

That’s about everything I wanted to tell you. Oh wait. I should explain the whole Dankie as name thing. I explained it a little on his and mine Instagram account but I should explain it on here as well. And yes he has an Instagram account. I will have a link at the bottom of this blog. So Dankie is Afrikaans for Thank You. When I was young my mom would tell me that you need to be thankful and say thank you every single day. A good lesson right? So basically I called my dog thank you because I found it funny. And now I say thank you 300 times per day. Maybe this is only funny to me? But yes. The name is Dankie. I was stuck between Happy and Sunny for a few months, but Dankie is just so original.

Alright now that’s everything. I promise. Before I end this blog. Here is a bunch of pictures of my second fur baby.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Check out Dankie’s Instagram! Just click on this link — https://www.instagram.com/dankieeey/ — and enjoy all the cuteness.