How to stage your Kitchen for an Open house

I’m still on the open house merry-go-round. Every Saturday is filled with cleaning, polishing, staging and vacating with children and dogs in tow. I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate this routine.

But as much as I hate it, I’ve become excellent at it. My house looks freakin’ awesome when I leave it and I love coming home to it. It looks amazing for about 2 minutes. That is the two minutes it takes for the girls and Lola to walk through it and leave a trail of mess in their wake.

But my hell is going to help you. After 5 months of open houses, and 5 months of inspecting other open houses, I’ve realised THE most important things to focus on are the kitchen and the bathrooms.

If the kitchen is messy, cluttered or dirty it affects my entire impression of the house.

My top tips:

  1. Scrub the entire kitchen from top to bottom, including the kick boards and cornices
  2. Polish the sink, taps and mixers. If your taps are dated or broken, replace them. This is an easy and cheap way to modernise your kitchen
  3. Replace broken tiles
  4. De-clutter. Get rid of everything. Any sign of life. Stickers on fridges, unpaid bills, dishwashing detergent, get rid of it all!
  5. Add life back in. A nice, neat, envy inducing life. Fresh fruit, flowers and the ‘special’ tea towels, the tea towels you never really use. If you want some inspiration for styling your kitchen, I’m loving the kitchens in The Kitchen Place website.

This was my inspiration The Balwyn Classic Kitchen:

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The results: The Wernicke Classic Kitchen

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6. Then add some personality; these are the interesting bits that stop it from looking like the last kitchen they inspected.

DSC_0033          7.  At the last minute, empty the bins, because you don’t want your gorgeous house smelling like a dumpster. Then light a scented candle. Make it a good quality candle, nothing cheap and lavender like. I love a clean scent and my current favourite is Woodwick odour eliminating Clean Rain scent.

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If you can’t save your kitchen with a little simple updating, then definitely consider starting over. The investment is completely worth it. The Kitchen Place is a great place to start and make it so easy to get started. 

Post in collaboration with The Kitchen Place.

Valentine’s Day: Our Engagement Story

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. We weren’t one of those couple that got engaged on Valentine’s Day but with the romance in the air, I’m sharing our engagement story.

Valentine’s Day: Our Engagement Story

It was the first of January 2000. I received an early morning call to say a family member uncle had been admitted to Intensive care and it didn’t look good. So I crawled out of bed, shook off my mild NYE hangover and grabbed the first outfit I could piece together. I remember it clearly. pair of beige linen shorts, a navy Esprit singlet (no bra) and a black pair of Colorado slides. My hair was knotted back into a messy bun and I was barefaced.

My boyfriend of six years offered to be the driver from Paddington to Ipswich. On the way, I can remember making a joke, that if he ever proposed to me I’d probably say no but he’d have to ask to find out. Funny joke! We stayed for a few hours and on the way home, my boyfriend asked if I felt like a drink at Mount Coot-tha. Er, Yes!

It was about 5.30pm, we were starving and decided to join the pensioners for the early bird special instead. While my boyfriend perused the menu, I slipped off to the bathroom to see if I could improve my appearance. I had no supplies, so I tried to ‘de-crease’ my shorts under the hand dryer, I used a little water to tame the frizzy hair and pinched my cheeks to add a little colour to my exhausted face. I didn’t even have a lipgloss hiding in my bag!

I came out and sat down with my boyfriend and admired the view. After a few moments, he asked “What’s that?” and pointed to a small box hiding on the table. I assumed it must have been left by some happy reveller the night before. I shrugged and he suggested I check it out. I picked it up and tried to open it but couldn’t, “It’s locked“, I tried again and sitting inside was a perfect, solitaire diamond ring. I must have looked confused and then I asked “Is this a love ring?” (we had joked about love rings for years), “No“, then I realised it was an engagement ring and I said “I guess I would say yes after all“. Cheers and claps from all the waiters and retirees near us.

My husband didn’t realised that he never actually asked, he always thought he had.

Do you have an engagement story? I’d love you to share it.

We were married 1 year and 9 months later.

PS: I always regretted wearing a tiara. 

Valentine's Day: Our Engagement Story

Daily Style: Festival of Change Launch

On Friday I headed to the launch of the Festival of Change at the new Think Education Campus in Brisbane, overlooking the Story Bridge. This is a pretty impressive place! It is unlike any other Campus I have ever seen. It’s so full of natural night, brightness and fun.

Festival of Change Launch

The Festival of Change was opened by the impressive Linda Brown (CEO of Laureate Australia), the Honourable Peter-John Langbroek (Qld Minister for Education and brother of Kate Langbroek, who knew?) and the charming Stephanie Rice (3 time Olympic Gold Medalist).

Festival of Change Launch

What did I wear?

I thought about going corporate and serious, but who am I kidding. It would have felt like a costume. It was a warm day, we had a bit of walking to do and I am a Style Blogger. I pulled out my current favourite dress. This is a Liberty Linen dress in Natural from Bohemian Traders $129 with their Peasant Plaid shirt tied around my waist. This shirt is on sale for $39, originally $109. I threw on my favourite Lillian Nai Gypsy Sun Dance backless boots to match the blue in the shirt and a tan bag to match the tan in the boots.

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First I was photobombed by Lola, then Riley had to get in on the action. These dogs either really love the camera or thought I might be convinced to play ball.

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My School Formal 1989

After reading Emily’s post earlier this week, and the realisation that it’s that time I year again. I have decided to share my formal photo. I only have one!

My School Formal 1989

It was 1989, I was obsessing on Bret Michaels, singing along to “I would walk 500 miles” and I was wearing layers upon layers of black bracelets and nurturing my thick brows. I’d recently killed my hair with another perm and a round of streaks, it was the only way to get a similar volume and texture as Madonna.
School Formal 1989
My parents were both working, so it was up to me to apply my own purple eyeshadow, tease & lacquer my hair and drown myself in Opium. I was so proud slipping into my Purple Studibaker dress and purple Shoe Biz stilettos. I had worked hard for months at Chicken World to buy them.

Thanks to nature, my tan was uneven. My arms were a deeper brown and I had tan lines across my back, but this is what everyone rocked in 1989.

We danced for hours to Milli Vanilli, The Bangles, The Backstreet Boys, Roxette, Madonna and Guns n’ Roses.

I’d LOVE to hear about your school formal.



Mini Room Makeover under $250

When I was offered the opportunity to collaborate with Super Amart and do a mini room makeover I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve been watching The Block and I’m totally inspired. PLUS, my upstairs lounge room had been taken over by my children, with their unused toys, WII, games and laundry. It was the perfect storm.

I broke the news to the girls, waiting to hear complaints but instead they were pretty thrilled and insisted on helping with the makeover. My Mini Blockheads.

Mini Room Makeover under $250

We decided to focus on a Koi Painting painted by my very clever Aunt, Ellen S Designs. This painting has special meaning and I love the yellow, orange and red in it. Focusing on these colours will lighten up the area and make it ready for Summer.

Mini Room Makeover under $250

The little Blockheads went nuts in the store and hunted down the mini jars which came in a set of three, these were the perfect colours. They also found this gorgeous, soft Coral Ombre throw and a yellow placemat. They convinced me we needed the yellow to break up the red and place under the single scraggly, pot plant we own. All decent Blockheads know that it’s all about the soft furnishings.

I discovered and insisted upon this lamp, I loved the Moroccan feel of it. The girls resisted this but I knew we needed something significant to compete with such a large TV. When we got it all home and put it all together, I was thrilled with the results. I was exactly what I was hoping for.

Over time I would love to add a coffee table, few more cushions, a soft rug and a big, green plant to the corner area, but that’s an expense for later.

The girls were thrilled to be able to donate 3 large bags of toys to charity, I was happy to achieve this in under $250 and my husband was happy that he didn’t have to put any new furniture together. All winners!

Mini Room Makeover

Mini Room Makeover under $250

All items bought from Super Amart Lawnton – Mini Ginger Jars $32.95 | Coral Ombre Throw $69.95 | Peggy Ceramic Table Lamp $129.95 | Yellow Cancun Placemat $6.95 | total spent $239.80

This post was in collaboration with Super Amart, I received a voucher and payment.

My Tae Kwon Do Tournament

There is no beauty or style posts today, because I am sore and too lazy to put an outfit together. So, instead I’ve decided to tell you about the tournament yesterday that is the cause of my soreness.

Yesterday was our final Tae Kwon Do (TKD) Tournament for the year. My girls and I have been doing TKD for about 10 months. It’s been so much fun but a little scary at times. I committed to doing all the tournaments this year and I was determined to follow through on my promise to myself.

My Tae Kwon Do Tournament

When I arrived at the tournament my Instructor broke the news that I was the only person in my division and I was getting moved into another division for sparring. I checked out my new competition….they were youthful, fast, intimidating and wearing brown belts and black tips. These guys were 4/5 grades above me!

I felt like I had just been nominated for the Hunger Games…and there was no one volunteering to be my tribute.

For the next hour, quite a few people were coming up and warning me about my opponents weakness (none) and strengths (many). “Watch out her punches are quick and fast” “She can do flying, spinning kicks over anyone’s head” “She loves to connect, so keep out of her way” “She’s really strong

I had a mild panic attack. Went to the toilet about 6 times with nervous pees and I felt like vomiting. I strongly suggested all my friend and family go home early so they didn’t have to see this blood bath.

First fight
The first fight was against a tall, strong girl with two perfect french braids running down each side of her head and a very serious face. I’m going to call her Lara Croft. It was a blur, I know I was moving, I know I was blocking but I have no idea what my legs did. The one minute seemed more like 10. At the end I felt good…I was standing…that was a good sign. The judges were looking at their points and nodded to each other, then held up a flag symbolising who they think received the most points. It was me!! The crowd cheered for the underdog.

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Second fight
There was no break and I had to stay and spar the next girl. She was a wiry whippet, in a black tipped belt that the girls called ‘Cat Woman’. The name suited her perfectly. Her sparring stance was a little hunched with her hackles up and claws out. It was a wee bit intimidating. I remembered what my Instructor said about if you are confidence, you can really intimidate your opponents. I decided to project extreme confidence while inside my little mouse shat itself.

This fight was harder and this girl was really connecting. After taking I kick to the head, I realised I needed to fight smarter. I looked her in her sharp cat’s eyes and went in right up close, into her space and did whatever I did. 1 minute went up, and we tied. Which meant another 30 second fight. She groaned and I smiled. Remembering my extreme confidence.

Somehow I won! I was shocked Lara Croft and Cat Woman both beaten in our first rounds, then I got to sit out one match and let my tired body get a breath for my final around.

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My third and final fight
I was up against Cat Woman again, and they announced we were fighting it out for first and second place. Shit! Cat woman’s ears perked up. This was full on and cat woman got pulled up for too much physical contact a few times. I notice Cat woman was getting tired…she was not happy…. I noticed tears of frustration….my cat nip.

This match was tied again!!. Another 30 seconds. The crowd was excited, Cat Woman groaned and I smiled and said “Yay, this will be fun” while inside I was saying “shit, shit, shit” and trying not to pass out from exhaustion.

Fists, legs, everywhere. For all I know there was more than 2 of us.

Then we had to wait for the judges to decide…wait to see the flag…I couldn’t even look. Then I heard the crowd go crazy. The middle aged underdog took first place. Then I turned, saw my girls and their glowing, proud faces, rushing in to cuddle their red faced, sweaty mummy (then quickly backing away, grossed out). I could have cried. Almost but I’m a freakin’ warrior and we don’t cry.

What a day! I faced my fears and had one of the most memorable moments of my life.

Then to top of an awesome day, I received two Overall Champion Medals as well.

Now I am going to slow get up, crawl to the kitchen and will my arms to move to make me a cup of tea.

What’s one of your proudest achievements?

My Tae Kwon Do Tournament

In my Handbag: 7 Must have Handbag Products

After digging through old recipes, scraps of plastic and fuzzy mints, there are some products you will always find in my handbag. These are the items I will transfer between handbags, the items that remain after I toss out the old receipts and eat the fuzzy mints.

7 Must have Handbag Products

  1. Lip balm. There is usually a few of these because I’m obsessed with lip balm. The moment I notice my lips are dry I can not think about anything else. It drives me to distraction.
  2. Perfume. My favourite perfume is still Florabotanica by Balenciaga. I loved this the moment I first smelt it and love it more every time I wear it. Just a little spritz and I’m transported to my favourite sexy, edgy, floral world.
  3. Issada Mineral Lip Crayon in Pirate. This is my absolute favourite lip colour. I rarely use colour but when I do, I want it loud, sexy and I want it to stay. This colour is freakin’ amazing!
  4. Hand Cream. I like one that isn’t greasy and soaks in immediately. At the moment is The Body Shop White Musk Moisturising Hand & Nail Cream.
  5. Paw Paw Ointment. This is a multi purpose product. I use it for my elbows, cuticles and even my lips when I’m in a panic and can’t find my lip balm.
  6. Tinted 30+. I use Image Prevention + Daily tinted moisturiser oil-free every single day and I re-apply if necessary. It’s the only product that doesn’t seem to block my skin. I apply it to the top of my hands when driving, whack it onto my shoulders if I’m caught out in the sun. If necessary I use it on my girls (and by girls I mean my daughters, not my boobies)
  7. Hand Sanitiser. Use this on everything…shopping trolleys…tables…handles, etc. I use it before eating out, after eating out…I’ve got issues.

What’s your must have handbag products?

In my Handbag: 7 Must have Handbag Products

I have a Confession…I am a terrible singer

It’s true. I am terrible singer. Some people have even said I’m the worst one ever. I have even tried singing lessons but that didn’t seem to help. They just gave me a little more confidence to care a little less.

I have a Confession...I am a terrible singer

I still try to avoid public signing. I would never do Karaoke and I mime the happy birthday song.

I have a Confession…I am a terrible Singer

BUT put me in my car and I never shut up. The music is always blasting and I will usually sing along…LOUDLY…to whatever is on the radio. I feel pity for my trapped audience because they hear the cat-screeching sound constantly.

Occasionally they do ask if I could just stop so they can appreciate the song but most of the time they just join in.

Are you a car singer?

Warning: I would recommend skipping this video but if you are a glutton for punishment…go crazy but turn the volume down!

Love the Whitsundays

Heads up….you are going to hate me!!

I recently had the most amazing experience at the Whitsundays thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland. This was connected to the Problogger Event Conference I attended on the Gold Coast last month. I was selected together with 3 other super, cool bloggers. I didn’t know these bloggers at all in the beginning but now we are amazing friends and had the most wonderful getaway.

It all started with a flight to Hamilton Island and it finished with memories that will last a lifetime.

Love the Whitsundays!

Love the Whitsundays

The Highlights

Lunch and Wild Oats Cabernet Merlot at Manta Ray, Hamilton Island.  Sitting on the sunny deck, looking over the Marina, eating great food, sipping delicious wine, laughing with new friends. It was a taste of things to come.
Love the Whitsundays - Wild Oats at Hamilton Island
The A-MAZ-ING luxurious Catamaran from Sunsail. We each had our own room and ensuite but spent most of the time hanging around on the front trampoline, mesmerised by nature. The smell, the feel, the heartbreakingly beautiful scenery.

Love the Whitsundays - Sunsail Catamaran

Sunsail Catamaran – Photo credit Valyn

Kroten Shoes from Sutton Street Shoes

Leslie our skipper. He was awesome and he had a story about everything. Seriously, whatever subject we brought up, no matter how random, he had a story about it. Plus, he cooks a mean breakfast BBQ and joined in every singing along…and there were a lot of sing alongs.
Love the Whitsundays - Skippy Leslie

Sunrise in Naras Inlet. The water was like glass, there was fog in the air, we were having a coffee on the back deck with our music quietly playing in the background. Before long we were all on the back deck belting out Bonfire Heart to the scared fish. Whenever I hear this song, I’m teleported back to this perfect moment.

Love the Whitsundays - Naras Inlet

Snorkelling around Dumbell Reef. I love sailing but I’m a little scared of the ocean. I’ve had a few scary shark moments and now I’m really paranoid. I did jump in the water (thanks to Leslie’s encouragement and a little trip in the dingy so I didn’t have to swim too far), I did have a mini panic attack, but I pulled it together quickly and discover the magical underwater world surrounding Dumbell Island

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Valyn – “Like a fish” ;)

Love the Whitsundays - Snorkelling

Photo credit – Valyn

The Fruit! The View! At Abell Point Marina! My body was craving fruit after all the rich PBEvent food. The fruit platter from Barcelona at Abell Point Marina was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. The fruit was so fresh and sweet we devoured it in minutes.

Barcelona Abell Point Fruit Platter Abell Point Marina, The Whitsundays

Whitehaven Beach. This is everything you can imagine. The sand is unbelievably white and soft and water so clear and blue. To stand at Hill Inlet lookout and look down at the swirling sands is a humbling moment. To see such beauty and perfection makes you want to cry and then crazy laugh and then do both at the same time.

Love the Whitsundays

Photo credit – Valyn

Whitehaven beach Whitsundays

Fish D’Vine Airlie Beach. You know I don’t eat seafood right?! I decided to jump headfirst into this fishy pond and try every piece of seafood they offered. And they offered buck loads. It was all amazingly fresh, clean foods. I ate fish, calamari, bugs and prawns but the one thing I completely loved and kept going back for more….Sashimi!! Oh my freakin’ goodness.

Fish D'Vine Airlie Beach - Seafood lovers heaven

Still on the Fish D’Vine bandwagon. They have a Rum Bar and it’s gobsmackingly well stocked. I couldn’t help but order a Mojito or two. THE BEST MOJITOS EVER!!! It is worth travelling to Airlie Beach just for this. It’s only 9am while I’m typing this and if they offered me one right now…I’d drink it and ask for another.

Fish D'Vine Airlie Beach - The Rum Bar

My travel buddies. We were complete strangers and now I adore these girls. I couldn’t have asked for better travel buddies. The bubbly, joyous Carla and Emma from The Merrymaker Sisters. They are like sunshine. Valyn from It’s all about Valyn, she is the sweetest, kindest and cutest girl ever!

The bloggers plus Leslie - Photo credit Valyn

Chelsea from Whitsunday Marketing & Development! Chelsea organised everything and planned the most wonderful getaway. She was our hostess but did so much more. Besides cooking, pouring drinks and not letting me help clean up, she joined in the sing alongs and didn’t cringed too much when I attempted the high notes.

Love the Whitsudays - Snorkelling Dumbell Island

Photo Credit – Chelsea

Now to top it off. Here is a little video I made:

I did not receive payment but the trip was fully paid for. All opinions are honest.
PS: Visit the Whitsundays 

Quinny Yezz Buggy Review & Giveaway RRP $499

You know how I have my finger on the pulse of all things cool…well I do! While I was at the Brisbane Pregnancy & Baby Expo as part of Blog Power Events, I came across the Quinny Yezz buggy. I was so impressed with the easy of use, mobility and brightness, I immediately arranged to host a give away.

And guess what…here it is!!

Quinny Yezz Buggy Review

It’s been quite a few years since I have needed a stroller. This was was extremely easy to put together and a dream to up and down. It’s products like this that make me clucky. Gorgeous, simple and smart products. To demonstrate the simplicity, I engaged the assistance of a 10yo with no stroller experience.

This buggy is perfect for a busy family. It is a great traveller, because it’s sturdy but folds up small and light (5kg) to fit into a plane overhead cabin. It has a shoulder strap to keep your hands free and make it easy to carry. This buggy is great for ages 6 months – 17 kg but it doesn’t allow the baby to lie flat.

It comes in 5 gorgeous colours. I picked the yellow because it’s like the Queensland sunshine and yellow is the happiest colour ever. I think it’s physically impossible for a baby to cry when it’s surrounded by yellow. I’m fairly certain there are tests out there that prove it.

If you would like to know more details. You can check it out here.

Quinny Yezz Buggy

Quinny Yezz Buggy Giveaway

Now you have the opportunity to win the super cool Quinny Yezz of your colour choice!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entries open on September 12 at 5am and close on September 29 at 9pm. Sorry, Australian entries only, sorry. The winner will be judged on originality and creativity. The most inventive answer will win and the winner will be emailed and must claim their prize within 48 hours.

What to wear when Travelling

I have a little bit of travelling coming up and I thought I’d share my perfect travel outfit when going on long drives or flights.

Imagine Kim Kardashian and then rule out anything you have every seen her wear. No spanks, no heels, no breath restricting outfits and little or no makeup.

What to wear when Travelling

  1. Stretchy jeans, pants or leggings. I love jeans and find them super comfortable but if you find them uncomfortable, go for a pair of pants or leggings
  2. Comfortable tee shirt or shirt. I prefer a tee shirt because they don’t crease
  3. A comfortable wrap top. I avoid anything with sequins, buttons, zips or hooks. Not only do they feel uncomfortable, things catch on them
  4. A scarf that can double as a blanket. Airplanes are cold and you might not be lucky enough to score a dirty blanket. You will pat yourself on the back when you wrap your snuggly scarf around yourself
  5. Shoes you can kick off. You don’t want to be stuck wearing uncomfortable shoes because you can’t get them off. I love boots because I can wear warm socks under them. My feet don’t smell and won’t gas the people in smelling distance
  6. Socks. To make sock puppets to relive boredom. No, these are to keep your feet warm

What to wear when Travelling

This is my perfect travelling outfit!

What to wear when Travelling

 I’m wearing

Just Jeans jeans (Found at DFO for a ridiculous $29) | Everyday Cashmere Pillar Wrap in Charcoal (gifted)  | JAG Striped Tee (on sale) | Everyday Cashmere Supersoft Scarf in Cobalt (gifted) | Grey studded boots (brand unknown) | Paklite Jet-Lite  medium sized in Gold Dust (gifted)

Hanging out with Siesta Hammocks {Sponsored}

I’ve wanted a hammock for years. I have always thought they are the perfect summer necessity. When I think of hammocks I imagined lazy, warm afternoons, books…naps…zz…zz. You can’t feel stressed when laying in a hammock.

I dropped hints, begged, subtly pointed them out but my husband was the voice of reason, he explained there was nowhere for us to hang one. It didn’t stop me from dreaming.

Hanging out with Siesta Hammocks

When Siesta Hammocks offered to send me one WITH A STAND, I leaped at the opportunity. The stand was so easy to put together, and comes with a bag so you can take it to the beach, picnics, camping or anywhere else. The frame is strong but super light.

Yesterday was an amazing morning in Redcliffe. There was not one cloud or any wind, so we decided to take it down the beach. THE BEST IDEA EVER! My plan was to read in the hammock while the girls played on the beach. I’m glad we got the double because as soon as I hopped on, then at least one kid and a dog follow me on. We would have been happy to stay there all day.

With Spring starting in a few days and Summer just around the corner you should check Siesta Hammocks out. They have a great sale at the moment plus have free shipping around Australia 

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What are your perfect Summer necessities? 

Running!!

Today is the first day of my new running routine. I haven’t done any running for a while but about a year (or two) ago I was running between 10-15 km a few times a week. I hope my body remembers something. Even how to put one doughy leg in front of the other.

To motivate myself, I’m using my foolproof techniques:

  • Bright colours
  • Great shoes
  • Comfortable clothes
  • an excited dog. When I tell Lola we are going for a run, there is NO WAY she will leave me alone until I follow through
  • Goal setting. Today, I’ll be happy with 3 kms. Not a huge goal, but a long way from sitting on my arse in front of my computer

Yeah, my hair is sticking up….I’m going to pretend it was on purpose!

running

Update: I managed 5 km in under 30 minutes. Yay! 

Running

 

Tae Kwon Do Update

I’ve been doing Tae Kwon Do for about 7 months now and I thought I was really loving it.

The class last night pushed me into places I would prefer not to go emotionally or physically. Let’s just say, my personal space barriers where completely smashed. I was wrestling 16yo boys and I spent way too much time with my nose shoved into their armpits. I’m gonna tell you…it wasn’t the lack of oxygen that was making me pass out. Plus, I am so bruised I can barely move this morning. Maybe I really am too old for this? What is the age cut off point for choosing to get beaten up at least twice a week?

Recently, I’ve began to doubt my devotion. I have been thrashed in tournaments, battered in training and almost publicly wet myself with nerves in gradings. I have stepped well out of my comfort zone and have medals, belts and bruises to show for it.

Tae Kwon Do

I keep going because I need to proved to myself that…

I AM NOT TOO OLD TO BECOME A BLACK BELT

I keep going because I need to prove to my girls that…

WE CAN DO THINGS WE ARE SCARE OF

I have another tournament in 9 days. I am terrified! I am scared of standing in front of a crowd, I am scared of fighting, I am scared that my body will be aching for days or weeks afterwards.

When was the last time you did something that terrified you?