Story Time

My Shoulder Injury | How It Happened And My Recovery

I’ve mentioned my shoulder injury here and there on my website and if you scroll back on my Instagram you will find pictures and updates about the journey but I figured why not put it in a blog. This way all the information can be on here. Now I just need to think how technical and factual I will get in this post. I guess I will see how it goes.

Alright so the best place to start is; how did I injure my shoulder? I briefly mentioned it in my airplane horror story but why send you there if I can sum it up here? You should still go give that blog post a read. Yes self promotion at its finest, but seriously it’s quite an entertaining read. Go read it. I will link it below to make things easy for you. I know I’m going of subject a little but you’re still here right? Right? Don’t go! Come back!

Baby come back! Song reference for the win!

I’m going to copy and paste this part because well I already explained how I injured my shoulder so prepare for some sense of déjà vu. There was two hours in between my flights and not a lot of time to spare. My two flights were literally at the opposite ends. I was so close to my boarding gate when it happened. Someone called: “Cassandra!” Cassandra being my name and the chance that there was another Cassandra in the airport, in the exact location I was at 2am in the morning is so small I responded to my name in a panic. Now you got to know I was mid run (trying to find and get to my gate in time) and carrying a shit ton of weight on my one side. The beloved laptop that I’m using to write this very blog. With all my important documents in the mix my laptop bag weights over 10kg. The weight is not that important but just the action I took when I heard my name. I turned to the voice so quick, I got whiplash. Whiplash alone is nothing pleasant but the weight threw things off even more. A horrible snap sound followed and a blaring pain shot through my entire body. The pain so intense I nearly screamed like a little girl and dropped my laptop. The searing pain made it unbearable to even lift my arms or move a inch. The last thing I wanted to do was fly for 9 hours.

The rest of this post is all original content and I’m sorry that I’m bubbling so much. I have no idea why. It’s just how this story is coming out from my mind and I try to keep my blogs free and true to my personality. How ironic that my little explanation on why I’m all over the show and constantly off topic only took me further off topic. I will however get my shit together and really explain shit. Oh wow so much shit. Okay. Sorry. I will start now.

After the injury I took a few days of rest. I was hoping it would be one of those things that would disappear with time. If I remember correctly I took a week and a half off from any strengthening training. Eventually I barely had any pain or discomfort so I figured it was something of the past and the muscle simply healed itself. It happens right? It took me one training session to irritate the so called ‘healed’ muscle and frequent pain and discomfort became a part of my life. I again took a week and a half off in hopes that time would heal my wound. Again I tried another training session after the time has passed and regret. So much regret. It then occurred to me maybe I wasn’t giving it enough time and all my training session did was just making it worse. So I vowed to take an entire month off from training and if the pain doesn’t go away I will see someone for it.

The month passed and the pain didn’t go away. I do want to add at this point all of my pain was in my neck. Sleeping was agony. I then figured the best person to see was a chiropractor. My spine was out of alignment (I think it’s been a year, something wasn’t in the right place) and he snapped it back for me and promised within a few days the pain will be gone. Almost immediately the pain moved from my neck to my shoulder. I waited a week before I figured the pain won’t go away and I need help. At this time my father was seeing a physio for one of his injuries and he discussed my pain and she recommended I come in to see her. So I went. I was desperate for pain relief and I wanted to get this injury over with and get back to training. I had two sessions with her. The first one she pressed and pulled out the needles for pain relief. If I remember correctly she said that the muscle was tense or something like that. She promised that within a few days the pain will be gone. Guess what? It didn’t happen so I went in for my second appointment after a few days and again the same treatment. Pressing, probing and needles. Promise of pain relief…if I’m honest I don’t think the physiotherapist knew exactly what muscle I injured and thus the treatment wasn’t working.

I moved back to my mother’s place and found a new physio almost immediately. My new physio struggled a little to find the problem as it’s such an uncommon injured muscle. So when the first treatment didn’t work she figured it out. Once the root of the problem was identified we could finally treat the cause. This was when I could really feel the difference. My shoulder was finally healing. With regular appointments and with the right treatment things were looking up. We came to a point where it looked like my shoulder was only a few treatments from good as new. I was back at my father’s for the weekend. He needed help with renewing the water in his fish pond. I told him that my shoulder wasn’t ready for it but he couldn’t do it either and as my body is younger I had to step in and I mean literally step in the gross water pond. His fish was dying. There wasn’t anyone else that could do so Cassandra to the rescue. I hated every second mostly because I couldn’t see the fish and the water was dark, muddy and slippery. Gruesome. Anyway I had to fill a bucket and throw it out the side. I tried to keep the bucket as empty as possible so the weight won’t be too heavy. Using only one arm was difficult and I felt like eventually I would just hurt my other shoulder so yeah. Both arms in and the frequent movement coupled with the weight just threw my shoulder three months back.

It was frustrating as prior to the fish pond I was so close. I could smell the finish line. I was falling more and more off track. Strap. Ouch. Probe. Press. Strap. Ouch.  Probe. Press. Strap. The cycle continued till eventually the day arrived where I could start recovery reps which is basically a modified exercise. Wall push ups. At this point it’s been close to 12 months and I was ready to put the shoulder injury behind me. I can’t really express the joy I felt when the physio cleared me for more training. She advised a few movements I could do and at the pace I should go. I’ve been training my arms very slowly as to this day if I push it too far the pain comes back. I’ve been meaning to see a new physio here in the Netherlands for a check up but I guess now that this is going up I really should just get it over with. Hopefully it’s all good.

For the people who might be interested in some technical stuff here is part of the letter my South African physio wrote for my new physio.

“She had hurt her shoulder with a  ‘above head’ movement. M Serratus anterior was definitely involved and weak with tests, which I thought was the main muscle of injury. All scapula humeral muscles were involved at that time due to pain, inflammation and immobilising of the shoulder by the patient, due to pain. I have worked a lot on fascia release and re-educating the correct movement patterns. We have strapped (leukotape…rigid) it several times to take some load off the shoulder girdle muscles. That seemed to work really well. Her shoulder is getting stronger and she is almost pain free!”

That’s about it. Sorry if this blog has been all over the place. Basically the road to recovery has been long and I’m still not back to normal arm strength as my shoulder is still sensitive to weight and movement.

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Link to connective post:

The Airplane Flight Straight From My Nightmares: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/08/the-airplane-flight-straight-from-my-nightmares/

Fitness Tips

One Week Challenge | 5 Minutes A Day!

This week is the last week of September and that got me thinking. September has been a slow month for me training wise. I wasn’t getting all my sessions in and strengthening workouts hasn’t been a thing for me. Now I could wait a week and restart everything with a bang in October or I can start now. What better time than the present?

Although I want to challenge myself and get active this week I also don’t have a lot of time on my hands. I’m knee deep into studying and improving my Dutch as a big immigration test is coming up and I need to be 100% ready and comfortable with the language. One of the lovely girls I follow on Instagram posted about a 2min fitness challenge to test your level of fitness in certain exercises and I thought it was a wonderful idea! Thus I incorporated it into this challenge week.

This is how it’s going to work. For seven days I spend five minutes on 3 exercises that I spread out into four groups; legs, arms, abs and full body. Basically let’s say its leg day and I have 2 minute squats. I put on a timer for 2 minutes and squat as many times as I possibly can while keeping a good form. That’s about it. It will only take 5 minutes (Well technically 5 minutes and thirty seconds! There will be a 10 second rest between sets but finer details. 5 minutes sounds better…) out of my day and the burn will be for real.

I’m super excited for this challenge and I can’t wait to get started! Feel free to join in on the fun and challenge and remember to use the hash tag #fitcouchpotatochallenge to connect! Don’t forget to stretch with warm up, rest between sets and to cool down! No one wants an injury on their hands!

Monday: Legs

2min Squats

2min Knee Ups

1min X Jumps

Tuesday: Arms

2min Bicep Curls

2min Plank

1min Tricep Dips

Wednesday: Abs

2min Sit Ups

2min Leg Raises

1min Scissor Kicks

Thursday: Full Body

2min Squats

2min Sit Ups

1min Push Ups

Friday: Abs

2min Ab Bikes

2min Hip Lifts

1min Heel Touches

Saturday: Arms

2min (Lying) Reverse Fly

2min (Lying) Over Head Arm Extension

1min Push Ups

Sunday: Legs

2min Step Ups

2min Mountain Climbers

1min Lunges

!!!LET’S DO THIS!!!

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Story Time

Life After One Month Of Marriage | Lemon Meringue Recipe

They say once you get married everything changes. I don’t know who this ‘they’ is but I don’t see their point. The only thing that changed is now Onno wears a ring.

Excuse me while I get sappy for a few sentences. Onno is truly the best thing that ever happened to me. I met him when I was 19 years old. I just started to discover myself as an adult and he pushed me (gently of course) in the right direction by encouraging me to always follow my dreams and never apologize for being quirky. I learned from him and I taught him a few things as well. We grew together. I’m in no way the same person I was when I met him but that’s not a bad thing. Onno once said that he had a feeling before we met. He just knew that this was it. I’m truly so grateful to have found my soul mate so early in life. Each moment we spend together just makes my life oh so much brighter and I look forward for all the memories we will make together.

You’re only married for one month once so I went all out with the celebration. My morning started with running to the shop to get ingredients for my special lemon pie and balloons. I made lemon meringue (lemon pie with meringue on top) many times before and boy did I get cocky. I didn’t feel like it was necessary to follow the recipe. Happily luck played in my hands and I managed to save the pie and follow the recipe before things went south. As the pie cooled down and cleaned the kitchen before it was time for the balloons. It was a full time job and absolutely draining to blow up the balloons and hang them with Speculoos around. He found the entire process very now what’s the word…it angered him. How dare I spend so much time on this air pumping machine and not cuddle with him? I took me a hour and a half to set everything up. My thumb is still numb from the balloon pump. Afterwards it was time to start with dinner. I wanted the food to be ready five minutes after Onno gets home as I know my husband comes home starving. I also made one of his favorites, lasagna. As the food did it’s magic in the oven I rushed to get ready.

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PS that painting in the background was a gift from one of my host kids (sorry for the white lie. Onno painted it a year or so ago and he doesn’t want people to know so shhh don’t tell him! The host kids did actually paint something for me. It’s in the office.)

I never did my makeup and hair that quick. Just before Onno arrived I put on a very romantic fireplace video which brought everything together. The timing was perfect. Onno arrived and boy was he surprised. I think he expected a nice cooked meal but the house fully decorated? Why would I go so far for our one month mini-anniversary? Well because I love my precious Dutch boy so much and his been so great to me. We immediately devoured our food and damn did it taste like heaven. My taste buds had a field day. It was so good. I’m not even tooting my own horn it was that good. Ask Onno. His my husband…he won’t lie. After dinner we enjoyed the fireplace and talked. It was amazing. I went on and on about babies and kids (Onno is no longer scared) and our plans for the next few months. Dessert was heaven and the perfect touch to the evening. It was truly a great evening. Private, romantic and delicious.

It’s been a wonderful first month and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with my husband. I figured I can’t have this post without my precious husband making a guest paragraph. Hence why this is going up so late on a Friday. Onno is a very busy working man and he needs to proofread my entire blog before it can go up. Enough of me. Onno’s turn!

“I came home so surprised! This was all so unexpected but then again knowing Cassandra you could expect the unexpected. I loved the surprise and the amazing decorations in the house. Oww and the food… now that was literally the best I’ve had since I can remember. The lasagna was heaven, that lemon cake (which I now know was a close call) was a dream. I had the most amazing evening. Let me also use this time on Cassandra’s blog to echo her sentiments, I have to excuse myself for the sappiness as well. Every time I see my wife, coming home from work or just lying next to me in bed, it creates a little spring in my heartbeat. Cassandra has enriched my life with a sense of purpose and a future to work towards together. I love you so much my sweetheart”.

PS I only read Onno’s paragraph just before posting this and I’m blushing!

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Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDfjXj5EGqI

Lemon Meringue Recipe

lemon meringue

Crust

1 packet of marie biscuits. The brand isn’t that important as long as it is thin vanilla cookies.

100ml of melted butter (unsalted)

Crush the biscuits, you can make it completely fine or you can have so bigger bits in for that extra bit of crunch. Mix the biscuits with the melted butter and spread it out even on your pan. Pop it in your oven at 108˚C for 5 -7minutes. Keep a close eye on it. You don’t want your crust to burn!

Filling

1 can condensed milk

125ml lemon juice (You can buy this or you can freshly squeeze a few lemons. For a extra zest you can add some fine grated lemon skin to the filling. Do this at your own very lemony risk!)

2 eggs (You gonna have to divorce the egg yellow from the white. I’m sorry to be the bringer of bad news.)

50ml caster sugar (Super fine white sugar.)

Grab your mixer for this part! Throw your condensed milk into a bowl and add the lemon juice steadily while mixing the batch. Keep your mixer on a low speed. Mix till it’s a stiff pasta. In a separate bowl mix the two eggs yolk (yellow) and mix till it’s lightly and spungy. Mix the two batches with a spoon. Be gentle. You don’t want to disturb the mixture or mix out the air. Now add this mixture onto your crust (this after the short bake in the oven) and pop it back into the oven for 10 minutes (still 180˚C).

Meringue

It’s time to use those two eggs whites (depending on the size of the pan I will use one more egg white just so everyone has enough to go around) and caster sugar! Make sure they is no egg yolk in the batch or your egg white won’t work. Clean your mixer (oil and egg whites aren’t friends) before you start. First beat the egg whites on a low speed. Once the eggs are close to the soft peak stage you steadily add the sugar. You want hard peaks so make sure to time it all right as you don’t want stiff peaks. Spread the mixture evenly over the top of your pie and use a spoon to make little designs or peaks in the meringue. Pop it back into the oven till it’s nice and golden. Let it cool for 30 minutes before digging in. I prefer a few hours of chilling in the fridge before I dig in. Mostly because I feel it gives the crust a bit of crispiness. I hope you enjoy!

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22 August 2017 || Never in a million years did I think I’d find someone so utterly and completely perfect, someone who would make me happier than I ever dreamed I could be, someone that would touch my life so profoundly and just give me a whole new reason to breathe. But then I found you and realized that everything I anticipated you to be doesn’t even compare to who you are.

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Fitness Tips

Bicycle Tour Update | Mini-Tour

So I’ve been mentioning the change in plans all over my previous post which is bicycle training week 9 – 10 in case you were wondering without much explanation. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to lay it out for you all but I’m going to try my very best. First I should probably explain the entire tour briefly for those who are new here. The link will be below for all the finer details but to sum it up: The plan is to cycle the Netherlands in May 2018. Approximately 3235,4km. 100km in 31 days. 145 towns. The first original plan was to cycle 180km everyday in two weeks which is absolutely ridiculous and far from reality. Okay so now that you know what the current plan is I can explain why things have changed.

First I’m going to go into detail with what’s wrong with my plan. I didn’t take any rest days into account. Which is a big problem on my part. So I brainstormed on how we can adapt our current plan to where we can take a few rest days but still stay in our 4 week time limit. As Onno can only take 4 weeks off from work we really had our hands tied. Now the most obvious solution was to just simply rack up the daily maximum kilometers. This however pushed it into the impossible realm. So I had to come up with a different solution. I spend days trying to figure this one out but nothing came to mind. How can I do the entire trip, take rest days and still do and see everything I want to do and see. I then asked myself how long would it take me to do this tour correctly? If I had all the time in the world; how long would it take me to complete the tour? I worked it out. It would take us 8 weeks easy with a decent amount of kilometers per day everywhere from 100km to 50km with rest days and time to explore and enjoy the towns we cycle to. There is no way Onno can take a straight 8 weeks off from work so my next idea was to split it up. To do one half so 4 weeks in May and the other half somewhere later in the year, when that would be I haven’t figured out yet. You see this is when we encounter another problem. In September my studies start and then my schedule will be in the hands of my university. Another problem we face is the winter season. We want to avoid doing the tour when it’s absolutely miserable outside. We also want to avoid the busy season of the summer. Our problem just wasn’t being solved. It threw me for a loop.

So I asked myself why did I want to do this in the first place? Was it the big goal of the challenge? Or is it a little more than that? Originally the idea behind it was I wanted to see and experience the Netherlands. My new country and why not do it in a different way than what could be expected? The Netherlands is all about their bicycles so the steps my brain took was understandable. Plus like I mentioned before. I love challenging myself. I firmly believe that the best things that happens to us is when we challenge ourselves. I brainstormed for another few days. How can I solve my problem? Eventually it clicked. I don’t want to just race trough the route, spend two minutes in a town before getting a move on. I want to hear nature. I want to smell nature. I want to hear my tyres on the road. I want to drive my husband crazy with my singing and nonsense. I want to stop in every town and take my photos, move in the town and get a feel for it. I want to take a moment and just enjoy. I want to stop aside of the road in the middle of the country and just enjoy the scenery for thirty minutes. I want to slow the entire tour down because in the end it’s not a competition or a challenge that needs to be completed immediately. I can take my time.

When this year started one of my new year’s resolutions was to move a total of a 1000km  for the year. This included walking, running, dancing, swimming, cycling anything that can be considered LISS. By the first of August I completed my goal. I still challenged myself. I still got up and moved. I still crossed that finish line. I had a few good months were my average kilometers was sky high and then I had a few months where I averaged with 2km a day. I still got the job done. I still completed my goal. So I’m going to incorporate that exact same mindset because as we all know…

Rome wasn’t build in a day.

So if you’re still with me here is my new plan. We’re going to cycle only a third of the Netherlands next year in May. 35 towns (we crossed out 4 to make the route smoother). Approximately 835,5km with a wide range of kilometers per day. Our maximum will be a 100km and so far our minimum will be 50km. Without any rest days so every day on the move we will complete this mini tour in 10 days. Onno will still take 3 weeks off from work and we will have all the control in the world. We can decide when and where we will stop for the day and how long we want to stay in that town. We go out and experience new things and these different parts. We can do so much more now. We can even add a few towns and go up to a 1000km and make it the near perfect third. This way when the mini tour ends we will have the room to have Onno rest a few days before he goes back to work. It’s brilliant and the ideal situation. If I could do the big tour like this I would do it in a heartbeat but a third is still a tour, just a mini tour.

You might still see a problem with my perfect solution or well not a problem just a hole. What about the other two thirds of the tour? When will you get that done? Honestly I have no idea yet. This entire tour has been a learning curve. I think we will try for late summer before school starts for the second part of the third but otherwise we still have next year. It might end up taking us a little longer to complete but again, in the end of the day if I still cross the finish line and I still honored my promise. Tour the Netherlands.

bicycle route website

Links to connective post:

Bicycle training week 9 – 10: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/19/bicycle-training-week-9-10/

Challenge: 3000km bicycle tour: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/challenge-3000km-bicycle-tour/

 

 

 

Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 9 – 10

10 weeks. It’s hell of long time and we are kind of scratching the surface with the whole bicycle training thing. I’ve never really been able to stay motivated for 10 weeks straight. Something I hope will change in the future.

week 9

We did okay this week. With only a few gym visits on the stationary bicycle with a semi high resistance and keeping up a somewhat high average speed. It took us awhile to get started and the first day I didn’t feel so great but it was one of those bleh days. To be honest we were hitting this wall. Motivation was dimming and it wasn’t as exciting to go for a ride. The miserable weather didn’t help as we made the switch to the stationary bicycle at the gym instead of going out in the cold on our bicycles.

Wednesday: 13km

Saturday: 21,01km

Sunday: 21,9km

week 10

The week passed without a single bicycle training session at the gym or outside. To be honest a part of it was laziness. I didn’t feel like training mostly because my motivation was completely gone. I’m not ashamed about it. It happens. I chose to climb of the wagon. I really don’t want to glamorize laziness or seem like I’m making excuses even thought I definitely do that sometimes. We’ve been slipping up these past few weeks. We started off with the bang; excitement was still oozing out of our pores, but as time progresses slowly that excitement started to burn out. It started to become a chore to get every single bicycle training session in with the husband at night. The tight time schedule, the never ending kilometers we need to ride. It just started to feel eh and the driving force was the fact that the big plan was changing. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. It’s just one of those things but the important part is how are you going to get back to it. How are you going to honor your promise? So I gave myself one entire week off, never once even considering a bicycle training session.

I made myself a promise to use this week to reevaluate things and shape the plan to fit reality and still honor our goals. I took some time to test my loyalty to the promise and goal I made for myself. I wanted to see if it’s truly just a chore or is it something I truly want. Do I have a passion for this tour? I also asked myself why I was doing this tour in the first place? What started it all? Once I found my answers I was able to become motivated again. My excitement grew once more and now I know that this is truly what I want. Yes some of the big plans are going to change but the big picture will stay the same.

For a very full of depth post about the new plan please feel free to follow this link: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/19/bicycle-tour-update-mini-tour/

 

Self Love, Story Time

My Husband Chose My Look For The Day | Bucket List

I’ve brought up my age and bucket list on here before, all in one title if I’m being specific. It’s been awhile since I’ve ticked something off my list and as we have quite an empty weekend I figured why not now? This is kind of a challenge floating around on YouTube but I’m also genuinely curious to see what my husband would put together.

So the challenge is basically my husband will go through my wardrobe, throw an outfit together but it doesn’t end there. He also gets control over my make-up, so what look I will be going for my eyes and lips. He also gets to choose how my hair is going to look; straightened, curled, up, down etc. He also needs to accessorize my outfit with some type of jewelry. Afterwards I need to go out and about in the public eye for a minimum of two hours.

The Outfit Process:

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We started with pants. I laid down all the long pants I own which I might add is on the low side and I asked Onno to pick his favorite three. He took his task very seriously and took his time choosing. “I don’t know the next round yet so I need to pick strategically.”

It was quite cute if I’m honest. The top three options was my black, dark blue jeans and my black leggings. Next up I took out all possible shirt options and asked him to choose his top three. It was interesting what colors he moved towards.

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He ended up choosing a three quarter sleeved light blue striped shirt – a shirt I often wore in South Africa in the colder weather. He also chose a long sleeved grey shirt which I have had for years now but I don’t wear that often. It’s a bit tight on my arms. Last but not least he chose a very summery and cool flow and large orange shirt that I stole from my mom. It’s one of those with the big little wings on the side. I then asked him to choose the actual outfit.

“I’m leaning towards the black with something colorful at top.” At this point I was really just hoping he won’t go for the orange shirt because well it’s raining and cold outside. He chose my leggings and the light blue shirt. Two things I would never put together as a public outfit. It’s very casual. Usually I go for a shirt that’s long in length that would cover half of my butt or a dress. Mostly because I want to hide possible canal toe or panty lines.

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For accessories I just asked him to choose one type so a necklace, bracelet or earrings. Onno leaned towards earrings and again he picked out his top three before making his final choice. I personally would’ve chosen the pearls or panda because it would suite the casual and natural look Onno was going for. Onno however chose the watermelons. I’m not mad. I love watermelons.

Unfortunately Onno had no choice when it came to my shoes and jacket. I only have one perfect jacket and shoes for this type of weather. It was cold and raining as usual here in the Netherlands in case I didn’t mention it before.

The Make-up Look:

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Next I gave Onno all my eye shadow pallets and asked him to choose his top three. He went for two very colorful pallets with the shirt in mind and one very natural earthy pallet. 90% of the time I always go for the earthy and warm tones for my eye look. He did the same thing with the lip products. He immediately leaned towards bright colors; red and almost all my pinks.

I think he played it very safe by choosing a pallet that I would use normally and matched it with a light brown liquid lipstick. I never match an earthy eye look with an earthy lip and I almost never really use this pallet mostly because it’s not so great.

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I used the bronzer shade on my lid in a oval shape and the purple metallic color in the outer corner of my lid to darken my crease. Now usually I would put a bright glittery color on my lid close to my lash line to brighten up my eye and have my eyes appear more open. I have hooded eyes so this is an important step I always take in my eye shadow routine. None of the light colors in the pallet was pigmented enough to show, so my eye look did turn out very dark.

The Hair Look:

Of course we can’t forget the hair. I really had to help Onno with this one because honestly the man is clueless when it comes to hair. I never really go all out with my hair. I have two looks I mostly rock when out in the public eye and I mostly have braided hair at home. So I just walked him through his options: my natural hair loose, my natural hair in a back pony, low pony, side pony, low side pony with the same options with straightened and curled hair. Two braids, one side braid, French braid, pony braid and all of those in a fishtail braid. Of course I brought up my messy bun which is my usual.

I never really straighten my hair or curl my hair with the iron mostly because I’m trying to grow out my hair and keep the damage to the minimal. Onno loves my straightened and curled hair and couldn’t choose between the two…so my hubby went for both. Bottom part of my hair straight with the top part in wavy curls. It took me a hour to do this. I would never think of specially styling my hair when it’s raining outside mostly because it’s a clear waste of time. What the hubby wants he will get.

Out And About In The Public Eye:

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With the jacket out in the cold I felt a little more comfortable with my leggings. We first ran some errands before going for a small date at a coffee shop close by. There I took off my jacket and I have to say the entire look was a bit too casual for me but because my hair and makeup was all done up it worked in a way.

 

Final Thoughts:

The experience was quite interesting and although I wasn’t entirely out of my comfort zone it was still something I wouldn’t easily put together. I do think we were quite limited with the cold weather so I definitely want to redo this little experiment/challenge in the summer. My summer collection is huge as you would expect from someone who is originally from a warm climate. All in all the experience was fun. It was great to tick something off my bucket list.

This next part is Onno’s final thoughts: “I had a lot of fun choosing the outfit of Cassandra today, it was very interesting to try and combine the different elements into a complete look. The final look was, mostly because Cassandra can pull everything off, stunning. It was also fun for me to think about parts of her look I don’t know a lot off, such as her makeup, and learn something new. Overall it was a cool experience to cross this off the bucket list together!”

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Nutrition Tips, Story Time

I Have An Autoimmune Disease | Gluten Is My Devil

My first indication of a food allergy was around the age of sixteen. One morning after inhaling my usual corn flakes my stomach gurgled and I had to make a run for the toilet. The next day the same thing happened. Stomach ache and diarrhea after my bowl of cornflakes. Soon even eating my usual amount of cheese over my instant noodles didn’t agree with my body. I didn’t have any idea what was wrong or why my body was reacting this way. This was also around the time extreme and very painful stomach cramps and bloating appeared in my life. It was only every now and again but I can vividly remember a third of them.

Eventually I got the memo and started minimizing diary in my diet. Nothing extreme really. I didn’t have the knowledge or the interested to be honest to make big changes. It didn’t seem serious. So I can digest milk? What’s the big deal? I didn’t even know about the term lactose intolerant till I was nineteen years old. I’m not even kidding. Food allergies was an alien subject to me. It was around the time that I came to the Netherlands as an Au pair when I made the big switch. It was my first week here and my host mother asked me what type of milk I like. Out of a whim I said soya milk because my body doesn’t respond well to normal milk. I hated everything about the plant based milk. It took me two years to like it, but that’s not the point.

Once I started cutting out diary, the results were pleasing. Less bloating, less toilet stops but my stomach pain didn’t stop. It was something that I just accepted. I didn’t know why I was in so much pain which was happening more by the way but in my head there was nothing I could do about it. Eventually the frequency of the very bad stomach cramps got worse and the toilet stops raved up again which was strange as I really was careful with my dairy. It was around this point where I was learning more about healthier food choices and started to take note of things. Basically I was taking an extra two seconds to think what I was stuffing in my body before inhaling the food. It was a great turning point in my life. I was introduced to smoothies and vegetables started occurring in daily meals.

So as I mentioned before I started to get off track…my stomach pain wasn’t behind me and I had no idea what could be causing it. I started to hate eating. I didn’t know what I could eat without some pain and discomfort afterwards. No matter how hard I tried somewhere something in my food would make me sick.

One day my host mother and I sat down at the dining table and we discussed my health. She mentioned that she and her husband (they are doctors) thought I might be gluten intolerant that caused my sensitivity to dairy. It was the first time in my life I heard the word gluten. I had absolutely no idea what it was or what it would mean for my future. At first I thought: “that shouldn’t be so bad?” . I can cut out bread and pasta. You can’t hear my laughter but I want you to know that this makes me chuckle every time. Gluten is in everything honey. As a self test I ate gluten free food and the result was amazing. I was in no shape or form 100% gluten free but the little changes made a big difference. It was very clear that my body didn’t like the protein called gluten. I however didn’t want to change my entire lifestyle without knowing for certain.

To test if you’re sensitive to gluten you need to have gluten in your body. It makes sense right? I ate gluten foods for two weeks and it came very clear to me that gluten was the devil and it hurts me like hell. I was anything but surprised when my test results came through. I will never forget the day I opened that email. 28 January 2016. It was the day after I landed in South Africa after my au pair came to an end. Attached to an email from my host father was my test results. ‘It was just like we thought. You need to cut gluten out of your diet completely.’ By the 1st of February I was officially 100% gluten free or well trying my utmost best. It took me a few fails before I got the hang of it. There was a few slip ups with family cooked meals and my lack of knowledge of certain unexpected gluten products. Did you know even a chocolate can contain gluten? I sure as hell didn’t. After three months I knew my way around labels and had my set gluten free meals. I adapted. I’ve only willingly ate gluten twice after the 1st of February and both times I’ve regretted hours later.

The longer I went without gluten the more sensitive I became to the protein. Today products that may contain gluten is a big no and god forbid if we mix up the pasta spoon while we’re cooking. Or using the same toaster. It took me a few months before I wanted to know more. Am I gluten intolerant? Do I have celiac? Am I going to be gluten free for the rest of my life or can I eventually eat some of my husband’s pizza?

On the 1st of September 2017 I took my results to my new doctor here in the Netherlands, he could tell me nearly instantly that I have celiac. It wasn’t a big deal at first. I mean I’m already gluten free. I know by now what products are trustworthy and what slip ups to look out for. It wasn’t something new, but as the news settled so did the emotions set in. It was just like oh holy shit this is going to be my life forever. I always need to check and ask about gluten. I can never try the native food when we travel. It took me few moments to adjust completely. Now I can learn more about celiac and in essence get to know my body even more.

If you want to learn more about celiac then please feel free to follow this link: https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/what-is-celiac-disease/

Links to connective blog posts:

How to go gluten free: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/09/going-gluten-free/

What I used to eat at my unhealthiest time: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/04/an-unhealthy-history-what-i-used-to-eat-in-a-day/

Self Love

How I Plan To Stop Body Shaming Myself

The other day I got to thinking about my body. Yeah I know. The warning alarms definitely sounded. These thoughts entered my mind and has yet to leave since I went court wedding dress shopping. I spoke about the event briefly on my socials while running on a little great dress high, but as time has passed those demon thoughts pushed itself back into my mind. My body is ugly. I’m too fat in my stomach area. I will be perfect if I lose more weight. I get so frustrated. I have all the tools and knowledge. I know in what area of failing. I know if I really put my all in it I can do it. I can lose that weight. I can finally have that toned and flat stomach with zero bloating. Then maybe finally I will be perfect.

What a load of bullshit. Fuck it. I’ve had these moments before. Some days I love my body even when I’m not as toned as I could be or have been before. On other days one dress can ruin everything. It’s not surprising. I’ve hated how my body looked for years now. It’s not suddenly going to disappear and never come back. It’s just not reality. Ignoring your problems and insecurities won’t make them go away. I’m just so tired of it. I’m tired of feeling uncomfortable and self conscious about my body.

“You will have the perfect body if you lose that last bit of stomach weight.” Fuck it. Fuck it all. Excuse my language but that’s just how I feel. I’m so sick and tired of counting calories, tracking my meals, forcing so many greens down my throat, counting down the time till I can eat again and saying no to that god damn cookie. I’m just so tired of it. I want to eat what I want to eat without feeling guilty or beating myself up about it. I want to be able to flaunt my stomach fat come bloating (instant six months pregnant bump) or not. I want to stop hating my body so much. I want to always love my body. Always cherish it. I want to stop preaching and start doing.

You know when I first started working on my body my goal was to lose weight, build muscle, challenge my boundaries, gain strength, push myself when I want to quit, eat healthy and enjoy life.

  • I have lost weight. I have gained some of that said weight back and then lost it again.
  • I have build muscles all over my body. For the first time in my life I have definition in my quads.
  • I have challenged my boundaries.
  • I have gained strength not just physically but in some way emotionally too. I can step back and access my emotions and not just have them run rampant.
  • And boy have I pushed myself. I have done that extra push up when my arms wanted to give out from under me. I cycled those extra 10km when everything inside my body wanted to stop.
  • I eat relatively healthy. I never go a day without some sort of vegetables and fruit. I make sure I get enough protein in.
  • And I enjoy life till this demon pops up and ruins it all. Fuck this demon. I won’t have you control my life anymore. I don’t want to care if I will never have a flat stomach or if it will take my three more years to have a full set of abs. My relationship with food has come a long way and still has a way to go.

I’m going to make a promise to myself right now. I’m going to stop caring what strangers think and say about my body. I’m going to shut that demon up when I even think about shaming my body. I’m going to rock my stomach fat because you know what? Life is honestly just too short. So I’m just going to do what makes me happy. I’m going to stay active, make conscious and healthy food choices whenever I can and I’m going to eat that treat. My body is perfect NOW.

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Story Time

The Airplane Flight Straight From My Nightmares

I can’t be the only one that despises anything related to the oh so famous metal bird. The idea of flying sends a little chill down my spine and not for the reason you might think. I’m perfectly okay with the actual flying part and in these last two years I’ve racked up quite a large amount of hours in the air. If only my experience in the machine was pleasant.

I was 19 years old when I flew for the very first time. The experience was new and aside from the fact that the gentleman seated in front of me took a bunch of pills which set a panic throughout the flight attendants. I must say it sure beat the entertainment system, I mean someone was being slapped through the face by a bunch of people. This was also the time I learned the hard way that taking the window seat doesn’t go well.

My fourth flight is the one that takes the candle as my worst airplane flight to date. It was my flight back to South Africa (from the Netherlands) after my tourist VISA (90 days) expired. I was emotional about leaving so that didn’t help. Two connecting flights. The first one took an entire hour to leave the damn airport. The air felt so stuffy. I was trying my best to stay patient and ignore the frustrating co-flyers but my patience level dropped steadily. Not enough to take it out on poor mothers and fathers trying their utmost best to entertain their children but enough to grow a fierce headache. All good so far right? A hour delay? That’s nothing. Oh I’m getting to the good part.

I’ve already mentioned the hour delay so I will jump right to the part that makes my teeth clench from actual physical pain. There was two hours in between my flights and not a lot of time to spare. If you’re a frequent flyer the chance that you’ve been to this airport is very high. Doha. Dubai. If you have yet to experience the luxury that is this airport to break it down its massive. Think of the biggest shopping mall or theme park you’ve ever seen and then triple that size. My two flights were literally at the opposite ends. I was so close to my boarding gate when it happened. Sorry I got to add some mystery here and really build the entire thing up. It’s a big deal to me.

Someone called: “Cassandra!” Cassandra being my name and the chance that there was another Cassandra in the airport, in the exact location I was at 2am in the morning is so small I responded to my name in a panic. Now you got to know I was mid run (trying to find and get to my gate in time) and carrying a shit ton of weight on my one side. The beloved laptop that I’m using to write this very blog. With all my important documents in the mix my laptop bag weights over 10kg. The weight is not that important but just the action I took when I heard my name. I turned to the voice so quick, I got whiplash. Whiplash alone is nothing pleasant but the weight threw things off even more. A horrible snap sound followed and a blaring pain shot through my entire body. The pain so intense I nearly screamed like a little girl and dropped my laptop. The searing pain made it unbearable to even lift my arms or move a inch. The last thing I wanted to do was fly for 9 hours.

Believe it or not, it gets worse. I got the middle seat. It doesn’t sound so bad right? I was in between two very large men that filled up my seat two and because I honestly didn’t want to share my personal space with these two strangers I tried my very best to make myself a thin as possible. This might come across as rude, but I want you to know I don’t mean it like that. I’ve been seated next to a little girl that barely filled her seat but was constantly in my seat with her toys. I also didn’t enjoy that experience. Okay now that we got that behind us let’s get to the part that actually made my entire trip worse.

These two men fell asleep on me. This could happen to the best of us I’m sure but it didn’t make my flight better to put it nicely. I tensed up which didn’t do my shoulder and neck any wonders after the injury. I had to fight the urge to cry from the pain shooting through my system. Oh but wait. It gets worse. Like seriously, how could it get worse? I mean just how much can a girl take before she cracks? I will answer that question at the end.

So I’ve mentioned the two men next to me and their complete disregard of my personal bubble. They also felt the great desire to strike up a conversation. Something I’m surprisingly not okay with. I love meeting new people but please don’t try to share your entire life story while I’m fighting the urge to throw up. My mother didn’t raise a twat so I friendly replied but kept the conversation brief. Again, these men disregarded my wishes. Before I could stop them, they whipped out their phones and proceeded to take pictures of me without my permission. At this point, I nearly lost it.

I can’t tell you why I never complained. To be honest I didn’t think I could. It was my fourth flight. I genuinely didn’t want to step on any toes. The flight however did manage to come to an end. Now, to answer the question: How much can a girl take before she cracks? It was landing. It dawned on me that it will be months before I see my loved one. It just made everything oh so much worse.

Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 7 – 8

Two months. Eight weeks. 56 days. 80 640 minutes. 4 838 400 seconds. It’s been quite a journey. I will be honest. There has been a few moments where the idea of throwing in the towel sounded absolutely dream worthy. Those moments passed and I’m sure they will come back, but I’ve set a goal for myself and I plan to honor my challenge. For myself.

Below you will find all the details but if you want to get updates as it happens, follow my Instagram page. There I share all of our routes. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then here is the short version. The plan is to cycle the Netherlands in May 2018. Approximately 3235,4km. 100km in 31 days. 145 towns.

week 7

The previous week Onno and I (mostly me) was out for the count with some serious cold. I like to think that my gum infection and the antibiotics made the healing period longer and it has nothing to do with my somewhat all over the show diet. It wasn’t bad but at the same time it wasn’t good. Monday I was still fighting the sniffles which set a large amount of panic as my wedding day was the day after. The rest of the week we took things slow and for a few days we barely moved. It was heaven! We did however got some bicycle training in. I mean if you don’t believe me then give it a few seconds.

Friday: 27,3km

Saturday: 19,9km

week 8

This week was so much better. We started going to the gym for their stationary bicycles. It’s moving towards winter here in the Netherlands which basically means it starts to get dark around 9pm. After Onno comes home and we have dinner and that said dinner is settled it’s already 9pm. Now bicycling in the dark doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world right? We tried that on Thursday and never again. My heart can’t handle it. Quite a big part of our bicycle ride was in somewhat creepy forest. I hated it. So for the rest of the week we chose the gym. It’s so easy; one hour on the stationary bicycle and I can even watch Netflix. It’s a great deal. We chose however not to do our maximum bicycle training which is a ride where we push and see how far we can go in one day. Our maximum ride is 64km at the moment and it’s been a few weeks since our last ride. Since we just recovered from our cold the last thing I wanted is to put excessive strain on our bodies. I did however revamp our overall training somewhat. Our bodies responded wonderfully to all the rest; it was like my body transformed overnight. Leg muscle is slowly becoming more prominent. I will share more on week 10 with comparison between body analysis composition test results. Wow that is a mouthful.

Wednesday: 25,05km

Thursday: 18,8km

Friday: 24,5km

Sunday: 22,42km

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Links to connective blog post:

Challenge: 3000km Bicycle Training – https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/challenge-3000km-bicycle-tour/ (long version)

Bicycle Training: Week 5 & 6 – https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/20/bicycle-training-week-5-6/