20 Things about Ren

1. In 2009 I had my gall bladder taken out. Because I was so fat at the time, the surgeon didn’t take much care with how he sewed up the holes he made and as a result, my belly button is inaccessible.

2. I used to self-harm as a youngster. I have scars.

3. My favourite gemstone is Labradorite.

4. I cannot stand watching a television series the old way anymore. I need to binge-watch from the first episode to the last. Unfortunately this often leads to me wanting to kill people who will not shut up about what’s happening in a show as it’s being aired week by week.

5. I have a Reverse Bucket List – it contains the stuff that I have done as opposed to the stuff I want to do, because why pine about stuff you’ll never really get to do in life?

6. I hate exercise.

7. I have embraced “The Selfie” and take many of them for myself and others. They help remind me that I am not an ugly person. Sticks and stones break bones, but words scar for life. I lived for way too long thinking I was ugly because that’s what people told me.

Renlish.com - Selfies

8. I can’t eat bread anymore without feeling sick – but I’m not gluten intolerant.

9. I think the kerfuffle over raw eggs is fucking ridiculous. I eat raw cookie dough that has egg in it and have done so since forever. My mother used to give me raw eggs at my request – and yes, I would eat them. I clearly haven’t died from it.

10. I don’t understand how people like the taste of fizzy drinks.

11. My favourite sort of wine is late harvest white. It’s sweet and flavourful rather than tasting like…. well… fermented grapes.

12. I am a major procrastinator. I am writing this list instead of doing stuff like feeding my cats and doing my laundry…

13. I haven’t ironed anything in YEARS and totally judge people who iron stuff like sheets and underwear.

14. I am addicted to popping candy.

15. I am VERY addicted to The Sims 4. (And I promise Sims Saturday will return.)

16. I am not very good at keeping up with my friends but my friends know who they are and that I would be there with a shovel if any of them needed help in hiding a body.

17. I want children but I am pathologically afraid of and disgusted by pregnancy.

18. I will be a Crazy Cat Lady in my twilight years.

19. I believe that the human race is not inherently monogamous and we are all capable of having many great loves – and not necessarily one at a time.

20. I am addicted to French Bulldog accounts on Instagram. They are the cutest dogs ever.

Road-tripping with RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance

Disclosure: this is a paid post for RACV sponsored by Nuffnang.

RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance
A late Summer evenin’s drive…

Until we got a little busier with Life and Stuff™, road-tripping was one of our favorite things to do almost every other weekend. We’ve spent many a Saturday and Sunday traipsing around the waterfalls of the Otways and enjoying the wealth of fresh produce of the Jindivick region on the (slightly defunct) Jindivick Food Trail… not to mention a plethora of other places around Victoria.

Unfortunately we also have horrible luck with our cars. Terrible luck. The Worst Ever.

The manbeast is a little worse off than I am – if he so much as looks at anything vaguely mechanical in the wrong way, you can be guaranteed it won’t work the next day. (Really, I’m not even going to mention the way the engine literally fell off his motorbike. That was FUN.)

Me? I just do silly things like leave my lights on or lock my keys in the car.

Or end up with flat tyres that I still don’t know how to fix by myself.

Yes, I am such a helpless nuftie sometimes, though in my defence, I do know how to check my oil and know exactly where the transmission fluid goes! Moving on!

With our horrible bad luck in mind, being members of RACV’s Emergency Roadside Assistance has been a no-brainer. I’ve used RACV for my insurance needs for my entire driving career and in that *cough*twenty*cough* years, I’ve been a member of the RACV’s Emergency Roadside Assistance service.

Frankly, I wouldn’t be without them. They’ve been my heroes more times than I would care to admit. Even as recently as last month I had to call them when my car decided to pack it in on the way to work for reasons known only to itself. They made what could have been a disaster of a day easy to deal with. With no one else I could contact to help me out, they were there as they pretty much have been for nearly two decades. They’re heaps more helpful than relying on a mate who might have better things to do or a reluctant family member to meet you with a set of jumper cables.

It’s that service that I rely on to be there when I’m traveling long distances on my holidays and during my day-to-day commutes. They’ve been invaluable to me and a reassurance that if I need help, they’ve got my back.

So here’s my tips for road-tripping these school holidays – or any time you feel like going for a drive to places unknown…

  • Check your oil, fluid levels (water, transmission, etc) and tyre pressure before you head out. Also make sure your car kit is in working order and your spare tyre is in good condition. Why tempt fate?
  • Take snacks! The occasional treat makes a long drive bearable.
  • If you have kids, pack a play kit with stuff that they can do in a moving vehicle and maybe even something they can play with while you’re making a pit-stop.
  • Take a camera and leave it somewhere visible in the car – it’ll remind you to get out and explore along the way to your destination.
  • Consider getting yourself covered with RACV’s Emergency Roadside Assistance, for help when you need if you need it so that you’re not caught out on the roadside with narky bored kids or a partner who will say “I told you so!” if you don’t.

Check out this link about how RACV’s Emergency Roadside Assistance services can be heaps more helpful for any emergency while you’re traveling.

No I won’t “suck it up”.

You see me whine on Facebook about being sore and tired. You sit there and smile knowingly or roll your eyes because you’re a gym-goer too. Or a runner. Or a crossfitter. Or an otherwise Tough Mudderfucker, but you’re not me. You know all about muscle soreness and recovery and optimal heart rates and that fabled exercise high.

You think you can say certain things to me that I will react positively to – because we’re friends.

Backstory.

I’ve just started back at the gym and back into regular exercise after watching my weight change eight kilograms in the wrong direction. For someone who was already around 102kg and has fought tooth and nail to get down from 152kg, that’s a scary number to see again. So I’m back at the gym. I’d love to go back to my personal trainer but even at $20 for a session (and I feel I need at least three sessions a week to be worth anything to me health-wise), I can’t afford it. So I do it on my own and try to do a good, honest job of pushing myself.

But you know what? This shit’s hard.

So, yeah, I complain.

Occasionally, like today, I write a mildly amusing-to-me comment on Facebook expressing my current hatred of whoever invented gyms and that I was sore and that I was going to make myself sorer by subjecting my body to yet another session of physical torture known as working out.

What I got in response, among other things, was being told to “harden up, princess” and “suck it up, cupcake”.

Ha ha, right? Really funny. Ren’s just whinging again. Let’s poke fun at her. She won’t mind.

She does mind.

OH BOY, she does.

Yes, she is whinging again but she just needs a little support. Sometimes she needs to be coddled because, heaven forbid, she’s feeling more than a little fucking delicate at that moment. She might actually need for someone to remind her why she am doing this when she hurts from repeated sessions of “sucking it up” and to keep going when tears of actual physical pain are mixing with sweat.

I do “suck it up”.

I am “hard”.

And you will hear/see/read me complain because that’s what I do when I’m feeling bad. Because, fuck you, I want someone to tell me that this IS WORTH IT.

What you don’t see or hear about is the way my hip joints grind so painfully the day after a particularly hard session of squats and treadmill work that I can feel the sensation of it in my back teeth. What you don’t see or hear about is the way my lower back throbs for days because I was stupid and just so happy to be moving that I forgot the “Ren can’t run or jump” rule but did burpees, star jumps and jogged in place on solid concrete for ten minutes.

So DON’T tell me to harden up. I do this shit in SPITE of how much I suffer for it in the days following.

I have to balance what I do in order to be able to walk the next day (if not the next hour) because I’ve got other shit I need to “suck it up” for and get done.

I love my friends but sometimes I really want to smack them up the back of the head.

With a shovel.

Renlish.com
Words to live by.

Shit my dad says… on Facebook

My father’s been posting some absolute crackers up on Facebook recently. Just thought I would share a few of my favourites because he’s a funny bugger and makes me giggle.

Oh yeah… warning. Profanity and political incorrectness to follow. If you’re a sensitive type, come back on Saturday.


“Went to see my shrink the other day, Bitch told me I had a split personality then charged me $180 fucking dollars. Gave her $90 and told her to get the rest off the other fucken idiot.”

What they should really say on those cooking shows:
“Hello and welcome to ‘Pointless Cooking That Has Nothing To Do With Anyone’s Actual Life’. Today, we are making a very complicated recipe, using ingredients you don’t have, utensils you’ve never heard of, and in a kitchen that is bigger than your whole fucking house”

Women fucking drivers! I was behind one on my way home from work and she indicated to turn left and what does she go and do? She actually turns left!
How am I supposed to prepare myself with these fucking mind games?

“Good afternoon sir, how can I help you?”
“Good afternoon sir, my name is Skhjdfhjnhjgjnmmdjudigih Ghjgiotjiobbkweiobnmflmknvn.”
“Really. Fuck that. Think i’ll call you Fred Smith.”

“So, they have landed a washing machine size hunk of junk on a comet, I am so impressed. Not. Why would you want to study the origins of the universe? Simple. There was this big mother fucking bang, all the shit went everywhere… and here we all are.”

“New commandment.
At work, thou shalt not touch, move, sniff or otherwise interfere with [Dad]’s new chocolate flavoured Macona coffee! Because if thou dost, thee will get slapped in the back of the head with a fucking fire hydrant.”

“That’s it, no more fucking Mr nice guy from now on. Sat down near a guy who looked down and out, asked him if he wanted to share a souvalaki… Told me to fuck off and buy my own!”

Renlish.com - Dad
“Yo, homies!”

Stan. Apparently the Biggest Deal in Entertainment.

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a sponsored post.

If you’re driving along any major roads at the moment, you’re bound to come across this billboard:

Renlish.com - Stan. Review
The fabulous Rebel Wilson on the Stan billboard.

Yep. Welcome to Stan, the new Australian subscription video-on-demand service which is apparently our answer to the very popular Netflix and similar services that are so popular in the States (and around the world).

Now, it’s well known that Australians are the world dominating force when it comes to pirated films and TV shows. We’ve all done it. We all have our reasons. Whether we are tight-arses and tip rats who don’t want to pay for DVDs, movie tickets or the rip-off that is Foxtel (our only “cable” TV service) or we’re just so damned sick of having our commercials interrupted by a few silvers of popular television every couple of minutes – that shit is just not on.

Ideally, Stan is the answer to this problem. A cheap, easily accessible on-demand system that doesn’t lock you into any contracts and doesn’t cost an absolute bomb. At the moment they’re even giving folks who sign up a 30 day free trial and to be honest, for $10.00 AUD a month, I can’t say that’s it’s not a bargain deal. A tenner a month is (generally) easy for most folks. So by that fact alone, this should be a winner.

So why am I so underwhelmed?

Currently, Stan has the exclusive airing rights to the follow up to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul. It also has the epic Aussie serial, Gallipoli. It’s using these two shows as it’s main draw card at the moment.

Unfortunately, I am not one of the masses who has enjoyed Breaking Bad… and I haven’t bothered with Gallipoli because well, I’m Australian. I KNOW that story.

What I think is bugging me about Stan is that there’s no real new content and there’s not a lot of what’s there. Most of what I have found is years old already with the exception of a few series and films like the Hobbit movies but as I said, most of it is old and, infuriatingly with some of the television series I am interested in seeing again are incomplete. I really am hoping that things like the original CSI will be made available in it’s entirety as opposed to starting from series 11.

ELEVEN!

Fuck’s sake.

Having said that, they do have a couple of old school favourite TV series like Drop Dead Diva and The Nanny  as well as gems like Star Trek (yes, ALL OF THE STAR TREKS) and there are a few cracking movies like Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing and Wolf of Wall Street available.

Anyway… the other thing that irritates me about Stan is the site itself. I hate the layout. I absolutely detest that I cannot access a simple list of all the movies and shows available, firstly because I don’t like relying on what other people believe certain things should be categorised under (um, Basic Instinct is NOT a romance…) and secondly, the current system doesn’t show all the films on the site or it re-tiles things I’ve already scrolled through. Films that are clearly in the collection aren’t showing up when I’m browsing and frankly, I hate being told what other people think I should be watching.

Anyway, that’s my whiny-arsed review of Stan.

To sum up…

Pros:

  • Cheap – free for 30 days then $10.00 AUD a month (via credit card subscription).
  • No contract and pay monthly as you use – you don’t have to buy a block of time.
  • Fast even on a regular ADSL connection.
  • Accessible on multiple devices – Yes, you can get Stan on computers, tablets and smartphones. (Apparently, I haven’t tested this because my smartphone is not compatible with the Stan app.) This system also allows up to three different users on the same account on three different devices.  While it might be hell on your data usage, it might contribute to domestic harmony.
  • Unlimited access and streaming – you can stream as much as your ISP data plan allows.
  • HD streaming is available.

Cons:

  • Limited content at the moment – most of what is there is VERY old.
  • You have to download software (Microsoft Silverlight on Windows machines) to stream media as it doesn’t stream with native software.
  • Very clunky menu/browsing system.
  • Stream only, you don’t get to download any content…. well… officially. We Aussies are good about getting around that sort of thing.

Little Lotte, let your mind wander…

“Little Lotte thought, ‘Am I fonder of dolls,
Or of goblins or shoes?
Or riddles or frocks?
Or of chocolates?'”

Introducing the newest member of the Renlish clan, Lottie Elizabeth, my new niece.

And I love her name.*

Renlish.com - Lottie Elizabeth
Lottie Elizabeth. Already all classy.

She was born on February 18, at 10.22am, coming in at a respectable 8.51lb (or 3.86kg) and about 54cm long by c-section. Like her big brother, she’s long but will probably fill out quickly.

And the person probably the most stoked at having a new person in the family is my nephew, Phoenix, who has been wishing for a sibling for a couple of years now.

Renlish.com - Lottie Elizabeth
A very happy big brother.

“‘No – what I love best,’ Lotte said,
‘Is when I’m asleep in my bed
and the Angel of Music sings songs in my head…
The Angel of Music sings songs in my head…'”

*Yes, her name is taken from Phantom of the Opera.

**Because I would have killed someone if they called her Arizona.

Pictures of You

Hey you.

I remember you. You may not remember me much, but you are never too far away from my thoughts. A day rarely goes by when I haven’t thought about you a couple times at least. Is that obsessive? Maybe.

It’s not the weird “bunny boiler” kind of obsessive.

I just miss you. It’s been so many years.

So much has changed.

I miss you. I miss you an awful lot.

I’m still here.

Still listening to you. For you.

I owe you a hug. I owe you lots of things.

You left an indelible mark on me – as indelible as the tattoo you had done of the pendant that I gave you. I found that picture last night. It made me smile.

Never fade
Never die
You give me flowers of love

–The Cure, “Bloodflowers”

Sims Saturday – The Sims 4 – Casa Del Vinoduo

Another Saturday, another Sims build. This one I have been working on for weeks. It’s the biggest house I have done to date. I just wanted to make something huge and extravagant. It is extremely laid back in terms of furnishing, though I personally adore the kitchen and the ensuite bathroom in the master bedroom.

Renlish.com - The Sims 4 - Casa del Vinoduo
Front and rear of house.
Renlish.com - The Sims 4 - Casa del Vinoduo
Floorplan: (T-B) Ground floor, middle floor, top floor.
Renlish.com - The Sims 4 - Casa del Vinoduo
Alfresco views.
Renlish.com - The Sims 4 - Casa del Vinoduo
Favourite room views.

You can find Casa Del Vinoduo in the Sims4 gallery online right here, or through the game. Just search the hashtag #renlish or my EA username, renlish, to find it.

Finally getting some Hair Help.

So last week I decided to do the brave thing and look into getting some hair help, or rather, “helper hair” as so beautifully put by a couple of hair folks I follow online.  My loss has been such a slow, emotionally painful process that I am really the only one who notices on a daily basis unless folks actually take the time to look at me properly. Then they realise, “Holy shit, Ren! You’ve lost your hair!”  It’s been a massive blow to my confidence and self esteem to say the least and has been the catalyst for some major depression and significant weight gain.

Well, no, the emotional eating due to the depression has been the catalyst to the weight gain. But the hair thing hasn’t helped at all with that.

Anyway, after spending ages looking and websites that sold wigs and toppers (in Australia), I settled on easiwigs.com.au.  I had contacted a couple of other sites in regards to help but never received a response. Seriously, NOTHING turns me off a site that supposedly “helps” people when they don’t respond to a simple query, particularly when they invite people to contact them for help.

Whatevs.

While I didn’t bother to pre-contact easiwigs, I did find that they were the only hair folks that offered a colour ring loan scheme where you could purchase and return one and the money you spent on the ring is used as a store credit off a hair piece.  Works for me.  I have been having such a difficult time trying to choose colours that I realise that I really did need to see things up close and actually compare the shades available to what’s left on my own noggin. See, I am technically blonde, but I am literally the darkest shade of blonde before you could call me light brown. And I’m an ashy blonde at that. And you know what? That ashy-too-dark-to-be-blonde-too-light-to-be-brown colour is hard to find! ARGH!

So I was stoked when I got the colour ring in the post and rushed home to take a squizzy at the samples. I was actually really pleased to see these in person rather than rely on the computer screen. If I had, I would have made TOTALLY the wrong decision in colours. What I thought was a match clearly wasn’t.

Renlish.com - Jon Renau Synthetic Color Ring
Jon Renau colour ring for synthetic hair.

Of course I had a Moment™ when I saw the hair. This was happening. This shit’s real. Cue tears. Again.

I don’t have to get hair. I really don’t. I just look like a person with thin hair. But I’ve always had a head full of the stuff (fine textured as it may have been) and to lose a third, possibly more, of it in the last year after having been through various effluviums over the past few years has been hard to come to terms with. Seeing the balding patch at the front of my hairline and my widening parting has been more than a little upsetting to me.

Fortunately I don’t need a full wig yet – I honestly have no idea if I will ever get to that point. I suppose that’s the lucky thing about having androgynous alopecia. I am not losing big patches of hair and ending up with bald spots. It’s diffuse and constant all over. So I really only need what is called a “topper” (a hair piece that clips in on top of ones crown) at this point just to add a little more coverage and volume.

There are a couple of Jon Renau toppers floating around that I quite like – the med-length layered look is my typical style and there are some pretty ones in the synthetic hair so it made sense to go and take a look at the JN colour ring.

My perfect match – absolutely perfect – is #14 on the blonde collection (the darkest blonde). At a stretch I can do #12 on the brown collection (the lightest brown).

But do you reckon the toppers I like come in those shades?

BWAHAHAHA!

No.

I can see that this little endeavour of mine will take a little more patience and perhaps some compromise, particularly since I have to stick to the synthetic hair for the time being. The human hair toppers, while easy to be customised to my desired colour and style are more than a little out of my price range.

I’m trying to see the fun in it. I can go crazy colours. I can dye my bio hair to match. This can be a fun adventure instead of a trial. The positives can outweigh the negatives.

I’m not dying – and I can finally be a red head.

Revlon Colorburst – Holy Grail of Matte Red Lipstick!

I found it!

OMG! I found it and it’s perfect.

I finally found the Holy Grail of matte red lippy to suite my skin tone and not make my teeth look yellow. It’s the perfect hue of red with pinkish blue undertones that compliment my odd warm-cold colouring. Thank you, Revlon for your Colorburst Balm collection! It’s so perfect that I spent the afternoon road-testing lipstick instead of getting screenshots for my latest “Saturday Sims” build yesterday. (I’ll do that later in the week.)

I stumbled upon the Revlon Colorburst range a couple of weeks ago at Priceline (our Australian equivalent to CVS in America) and saw the display with all the pretty colours. I am naturally drawn to those sorts of “your lips but better” shades, so I aimed for a pretty mauve-ish-pink-ish-red-ish-brown-ish tone. Yesterday I just happened to be in Chemist Warehouse and saw that they had a full stock of colours on the shelf, so I grabbed two more that had caught my eye; two matte balms and one balm stain.

I love balms – I wear Lucas Pawpaw ointment on my lips all the time and I have Burt’s Bees balms coming out the wahzoo. I prefer tinted balms over lipsticks much of the time because I do get dry lips very often. Balms also tend to be more forgiving in a rushed application and you generally don’t need a lip liner or brush to apply. You get the benefit of colour and conditioned lips at the same time. But sometimes… Sometimes you just want “HELLO! COLOUR!” on your face. Tinted balms are pretty but they really don’t have that intensity.

Not Revlon Colorburst. I was pleased when I did the swatch test but I was a girly-squeal mess when I tried the colours on mah face. The colours were perfect and the texture of the product is silky smooth and light and not at all sticky like lipsticks and lip glosses can be. In fact, I pretty much forgot they were there.

The balm stains aren’t a true “stain”. They do not set on your lips as a stain as they’re sort of an odd mix of balm and gloss. That being said, they do wear very well. The matte balms colour pay-off is brilliant, even coverage and not at all drying! Having said that, I’d recommend conditioning your lips anyway just to avoid any flakies. Both formulas are not sticky at all. They go on so silky smooth and are a pleasure to wear. There’s an oh-so-slight hint of a minty perfume to them and a slight cooling sensation for a few minutes which surprised me but was nice once I got used to it.

Renlish.com - Revlon Colorburst Balms
Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain in “Adore” (550).

“Adore” (550) was the balm stain that I bought. In the bullet it looks like it would be way too dark. The balm has a dark red-brown hue which actually comes off as a deep orange due to the gold shimmer in the formula. It goes on very sheer. The photo shows a thick coat that’s been blotted and reapplied. Unfortunately the photo I took picks up very little of the goldish shimmer. It’s not overpowering and adds real warmth to the colour. Staying power of the balm stain is pretty good but worked much like any balm or gloss. It didn’t survive one meal though I did not expect it to.

Renlish.com - Revlon Colorburst Balms
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in “Sultry” (225)
Please excuse the wonky toothedness.

“Sultry” (225) is the mauve-ish-red-ish-pink-ish-brown-ish colour that is probably very close to the Pantone Colour of the Year, “Marsala” (which is much nicer than that freakin’ purple rubbish that “Radian Orchid” was) and wore a little darker on my lips than I thought it would when I swatched it in the shop. Either way, I still love it. It’s rich without being “in your face” colourful which makes it a very wearable shade even if you’re very fair like me.

And here ’tis… my Holy Grail…
Renlish.com - Revlon Colorburst Balms
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in “Standout” (250)

No words to describe how happy I am with this shade. It’s perfect. It’s HELLO RED! without making my lips look like a bee-stung mess. As I said at the beginning of this post, it’s that tone which is just right to not have teeth that look really yellow. This is “Standout” (250). I wore this shade for a good five hours straight. The colour did wear away a little bit at the corners of my mouth and faded slightly with wear but it does stay put. You’d need to reapply after a meal as it’s not a stain or similar to Revlon’s 12-hour lipsticks.

I love these to death and want more. I am clearly going to have to start wearing makeup to work so I can justify buying them.

You can get the Colorburst range for between $15.99 and $17.99 from Chemist Warehouse and Priceline.

See the full range on the Revlon website. Tell me which ones to buy next!

**Images taken indoors near a window, no flash.