1000 Laps

This January, I set myself a challenge I considered already way back in November.

It was pretty straightforward – Swim 1 000 x 25m laps. In a month.

Today, with a whole one day to spare, I swam the last lap.


Difficulty: Moderate

Physical difficulty – I split this into roughly ten sessions, 50 x 50 in each. That should be doable for most people, provided you’re a decent swimmer. If you don’t swim regularly, give yourself a month to get used to long distance swimming before you set this goal. I’ve also found that if I swim too many days in a row, I get shoulder pain.

Psychological difficulty – this is the hardest part. Long distance swimming in general is a psychological challenge. The counting is hard to maintain, hence why I made the choice to use a 50m pool (fewer numbers). Swimming too many days in a row is also psychologically challenging. Others find it difficult to deal with the monotony of lap swimming.

Setbacks: Sunburn. I got sunburn twice this summer, both times it hit my face. Once was during this challenge and as a result, I took a week off. This meant that I had to compensate for a whole week’s lost workouts. I ended up swimming later in the day to decrease my UV exposure. And yes, I do wear sunscreen. The day I burned my face, I applied sunscreen 3 times in four hours or so.

Things to keep in mind: It’s super easy to get dehydrated. The water helps cool you down, so you don’t feel like you’re overheating. You still sweat though. Remember to drink water. Also, sunscreen.

Affordability: Pretty decent. The place I swim at charges about 5 dollars per entry and they have loyalty cards as well.

Physical benefits – I’ve noticed that swimming has gotten easier. 50 laps have become my standard workout when I swim, and that’s longer than before. I feel slightly stronger, especially in my legs. No noticeable physical changes.

Psychological benefits – Most of the time, swimming is the closest I get to mindfulness. It’s a good way to cope with stress and to get away from things. When I’m in the water, I can’t check my phone or sneakily read emails (I’ve caught myself working mid-workout before).

Thoughts: Mostly, this has been a good challenge. The last 50×50 today were rough for some reason. I think having to take a week off due to sunburn meant I had to really make a point to fit all the sessions in. If it hadn’t been for that, I think I wouldn’t have been so fed up with it at the end. A few days of somewhat bad weather didn’t help. So yeah, use sunscreen.

Would I recommend this: Today? No. If you ask me tomorrow, I probably will.


10k Steps Challenge

Last week, I did a 10k steps a day challenge. Naturally I thought it’s something worth writing about, so here we are.

What’s the challenge? It’s exactly what it sounds like, the challenge is to take at least 10 000 steps every day for a week.

Was it completed? Yup

Was it difficult? I think I had one day where I struggled, but on average I found it very doable and manageable.

What’s the point? The point is to increase your physical activity without necessarily dedicating time to exercise. It’s to show yourself how much you can actually do just by focusing on walking.

Was it helpful? I think it’s quite helpful when it comes to remembering that days when you don’t have time to go to the gym aren’t necessarily wasted from a health or fitness perspective. It’s also a good motivator because literally every step you take helps you reach that goal.

Will I do it again? I plan on doing this maybe once a month, especially if I don’t think I can fit the gym into my schedule.

Any problems? Like an absolute idiot, I decided to break in new shoes. Bandaids and Compeed are your friends. My heels are still essentially open wounds. So yeah, don’t be an idiot.


Character Creator: Abigail (Stardew Valley)

Now, there are two things that make translating Abigail’s look difficult. Firstly, she’s portrayed as pixel art. Secondly, her most characteristic feature is her purple hair.
Thus I decided to exaggerate certain aspects of her look but also kept it close enough to where people would recognise the character if the person wearing it wore some type of costume. Sometimes, it’s very liberating to use a character to draw inspiration from rather than trying to copy their look completely.

Step 1: Pale foundation.
Since Abigail is very fair skinned, I used a foundation that’s a few shades lighter than my current skin tone. For this, I used the BCD cushion from TonyMoly. I also decided to keep the dewy look to give the illusion that it’s a natural skin tone rather than opting for a more matte & fuller coverage foundation.

Step 2: Shape
In terms of highlighter, it took me a while to figure out what to do. Abigail’s face is fairly round compared to the many highly contoured looks we often see today. To draw focus to this without looking too bloated, I used a blend of Too Faced’s Unicorn Tears lipstick and a slightly pink toned lipstick (forgot to write down which one, sorry) as a combined blush-highlighter. It was surprisingly discrete and worked to make my face look slightly round and young without being too distracting. The slight addition of the pink colour brought some life into the look without looking too harsh.

Step 3: Lipstick
Abigail has fairly bright pink lips that look rather natural on her. However, that simply wouldn’t work with my current hair colour and would have made it look weird rather than close to the original. Instead I used a purple toned semi-sheer lipstick that has enough pink in it to work for the look, but that’s also a shade compatible with my hair. For this, I used Revlon’s Colorburst lip butter in the shade 085 Sugar Plum.

Step 4: Eyes
Abigail’s artwork hints at purple eyeshadow and a lot of mascara on the top lashes. The lower lashes are left bare and no eyeliner is used. It took three palettes to get a look I was happy with. I started with some of the original Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion all over my lid to make the colours pop a bit more. I applied the shade Milky Way from the Galaxy palette all over my lid and brow bone as a transition colour, used Serpentina’s Venom in the crease, and covered the lid with Cosmic. Then I went back in with a combination of two of the purple/burgundy shades from the Sleek palette in the outer v to add a bit of dimension (and help blend). Lastly, I used the shade Moon in the inner corner of my eyes to brighten things up a bit. Add two layers of Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara and you’re almost done.
The very last thing I did was to use the shade Venom from the Serpentina palette to fill in my brows. Considering it’s a very pigmented and very very purple shade, it worked surprisingly well and helped make the look feel more like Abigail.
Palettes: BH Cosmetics’ Galaxy Chic (shades – Moon, Milky Way, and Cosmic), Kat von D’s Serpentina (shade – Venom), and Sleek’s i-Divine Vintage Romance 141 (unnamed shades).

“Hitting Pan Challenge” Kinda.

Realising I have a tendency to jump between products without actually finishing them, I decided to revive an old makeup challenge. It’s essentially called “hitting pan” because why not get straight to the point. The idea is to commit to using up as many of your products as possible, or in the case of powder based products, hitting pan.

Thus I’ve decided to create what I call a Priority Bag. Simply a makeup bag in which I keep products I want to use up for one reason or another. I keep it right where I normally do my makeup to encourage me to reach for these products out of convenience.

It’s a mix of skincare and makeup, to encourage me using at least some of it even on days when I don’t plan to wear makeup.

So far I’ve finished the makeup wipes and used the powder foundation and lipstick almost daily. I’ve also been pretty good with using the essence and skincare mini. Additionally, I’ve found that this has encouraged me to use more sheet masks, which my skin has been pretty happy about.

The bag contains everything I need for a complete look but doesn’t lock me into wearing any specific look since I can still switch it up if I want to.

Contents: Innisfree green tea essence, moisturising skin care sample from BareMinerals, NYX eyeshadow palette, primer, and bb creme, Estee Lauder mini lipstick, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, an eyeliner from Marc Jacobs, a palette from Sacha cosmetics, a Geek Chic powder foundation, and a setting/no sebum powder from Innisfree. I’ve also thrown in some random samples just to encourage me to try something different.

The photo on the right shows a quick everyday look I put together using the items in the bag.

Afterthoughts: mini fitness challenge

So, I made it through this very easy challenge. Yay.
I met my goals every day and only settled for the minimum once, which I’m pretty happy about. One thing I did like about it is that it allows for great flexibility, something that is welcome. Most challenges I’ve seen online have been incredibly rigid and focus more on doing set numbers of things instead of encouraging consistency or improvement.

Knowing I can swim 80 or 90 laps in a day without exhausting myself is really promising considering my end goal is to swim more than 120 laps. It was also helpful in helping me deal with waiting for my final grades and not collapse into a little pile of nerves. The day I had scheduled as my day off after the challenge felt really weird, I walked around with this feeling that I’d forgotten to do something.

I can’t say it has really made me more motivated to exercise than before, but it hasn’t made me less motivated either. I’d say the greatest positive aspect is that I know I’ll be able to reach my goal without having to go into bootcamp mode.

Exercise Challenge: Day 3 of 7

Swam 40 laps x 25m breaststroke.
My body was not too keen on the whole idea today and I coaxed myself to the pool with the promise of ‘buying coffee along the way’. As a side note, my shoulders, neck, and head have begun to hurt as a side effect of swimming. Apparently it’s not good to hold your head in a weird angle for well over an hour.

Exercise Challenge: Day 2 out of 7

Currently doing a small exercise challenge. It’s quite simple, exercise at least once per day for 7 days straight. I’ve got set rules in terms of my minimum: 40 laps x 25m swimming or 1 horseback riding class. If I decide to do any other form of exercise, it has to be a minimum of 40 minutes long.

The idea isn’t to become a fitness geek, but to start making exercise a part of my daily routine. I normally exercise 2-4 times per week and have done so for the past two months.

Since you didn’t get an update for day 1, here’s a summary.
Day: Day 1 – Sunday
Duration: 80 minutes.
Form: Horseback riding
Type: Dressage.
Notes: Tried a new horse and thus took it fairly easy as I was trying to get to know her rather than pushing her or my boundaries. Still, even light to moderate exercise makes you sweat in the sauna like climate we put up with yesterday.

Day: Day 2 – Monday
Duration: 2 x 45-50min
Form: Swimming
Type: Breaststroke.
Notes: Swam 44 laps (approx 40-45 minutes in duration) before taking a break due to the pool being invaded by kids and couples. Took a 15-30 minute break before I swam another 46 laps for a total of 90 laps in a 25m pool. My arms hurt, need to be careful so that I don’t spend all of my energy at the start of the challenge.

Tomorrow: more swimming.

B.O.M.B. Challenge


I’m always interested in challenges that haven’t been done to death and I recently stumbled upon this one. B.O.M.B. stands for Black Owned Makeup Brands and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. The aim is to complete a full look using only products from black owned brands. I decided to give it a go and spent a healthy sum on cosmetics from Sacha since it’s a brand that I’ve heard a fair amount about and one that is quite budget friendly.
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Makeup Without Foundation

wp-1471129694670.jpgYou have no idea how difficult it is to try to take a decent selfie in a crowded cafe with weird lights.

Lately, I’ve struggled to get excited about makeup. I’ve barely worn it and when I have, it just felt like an absolute drag. Beyond the usual ‘stressed and overworked’ reasons, it took me a while to pinpoint why this had become a thing.

See, one of the reactions I get to stress is that my skin breaks out. Not massively, but enough to where it’s noticeable if you know what it normally looks like. Late night shifts also make me neglects things like skincare and removing makeup. Applying makeup on skin that isn’t as good as it normally is just feels like an absolute chore. And so I just haven’t.

Today however, I tried a different approach. I decided to skip the two things that make me feel like I’m wearing heavy makeup: foundation & mascara.

I started out by applying concealer under my eyes (less than 6 hours sleep is so much fun) and on my nose (since it tends to look red without it). Beyond that I just did pinpoint concealing on any spots I could find. Skipped the brushes and just used my fingers. As always, the concealer I used was Urban Decay’s Naked Skin in Warm Light. I then used the beige no sebum compact powder from Innisfree and applied it all over to control for shine and slightly even out my skin tone.

I used a lib balm with a slightly pink tint to it from the Face Shop, a classic item that long time readers will have seen around for ages. It’s highly moisturising and brings a hint of colour without becoming too heavy or something you need to worry about staining or transferring.

Lastly, because my eyes tend to disappear completely when I wear a nude lip and a neutral dress colour, I used two shades from the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette. Along the upper lash line, I used the shade Cocoa Chili applied lightly just to add some definition you’d usually get from mascara. On the outer third of the waterline, I applied the shade Hot Fudge to substitute eyeliner.

Overall, this look feels very light, which is what I wanted and the main reason I used mainly powder based products. Not exactly a showstopper, but for a look that skipped out on foundation, I’m really happy with the way my skin looks.


Character Creator: Aela the Huntress (Skyrim)


Skyrim has an endless lineup of side characters and one of the ones who truly managed to stand out is Aela the Huntress. She’s a Nord and a core member of The Companions, a brotherhood of warriors that the player character encounters early on in the game. If you play your cards right, Aela can become your companion or even spouse. She’s highly skilled in Archery and is mechanically in the Thief class. Aela is a strong and honourable character who clings to her beliefs no matter what. In that regard one should perhaps say that her honourable side is subject to debate.

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