Hypoxi Before and After

[trumpet fanfare] I’ve just received my before and after photos from Hypoxi, and … well…wow!  In just 12 hours of Hypoxi training, I’ve lost around 40cm between my waist and knees, and boy, can you see it!

To show you just what I mean, here’s my back ‘after’ photo with an outline of my ‘before’ photo overlaid:

Measurements: original > session 6 > session 12

83.5 > 79.5   > 77.9
96.9 > 92.6 > 87.8         +/- 9cm
100.6 > 99.4  > 94.7      +/-6cm
103.8 > 101.8 >  101.2
101.5 > 101.5 >  97.5
Relaxed Leg
59.6 > 58.6>  55.5
Contracted Leg
62.8 > 60.2 > 56.6
38.8 >   37.4 >  37.4
Total cm loss:  I’m calling that 40cm [38.9cm and a little over a kilogram of weight]
Looking at those measurements, I’ve officially dropped at least one ‘dress size’. What that means in practice is not so much that I need to go and buy a whole new set of clothes, but simply that the clothes I’ve been wearing all along just fit so much better. My skirts seem longer because the waist is sitting lower, the legs of my jeans are more comfortable, and so on.
Would I recommend Hypoxi for weight-loss and toning? Absolutely! I cannot fault the process, nor the results. The hardest thing has been setting aside the time to go do it – squeezing three one hour sessions into each week has been a challenge! [And, it IS possible to skip the “Michelin man suit” massage and just do the trainer, in half the time]. Ultimately, to put it into perspective – I could have spent that much time and/or cash at the gym, and not have acheived anywhere near as dramatic results. It’s not just the centimetres, either. My skin tone is soooo much better, and I’m feeling confident wearing above the knee skirts and shorts for the first time in ages. My core strength has improved, my posture’s better, and my uh, digestive system is working extraordinarily well.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out the photos, make your own judgement, and try it for yourself!

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Still need convincing? I have five $50 discount vouchers – if you ask me,I’ll give you one!

2012 Springtime Sample Sale

With all the beautiful new 2013 season gowns arriving at The Corner Store, I’m looking around The Store and once again thinking… there are just too many gowns here!

Since I’m not keen to repeat the ‘so many gowns the racks fell off the wall and broke’ adventure of earlier this year, the logical solution is to throw a sale. So… here are a few of my personal favourites – loads more styles and bargains in store!

You can find photos of some of these beautiful gowns on my pinterest board, but the best way is to come into the store and view them for yourself!

Please see below for sale T&C

Sample Gown: Jasmine F274R
Grecian style gown in chiffon. Sweeping Empire/A-line gown. Sweetheart neckline, button over zip back with button detail all the way down the train. Little sparkle detail under bust.
size 16
RRP$1790   SALE PRICE:  $650

Sample Gown: Jasmine F304
Heavy satin fitted ruched gown with flared skirt. Flower and diamante belt and detachable one shoulder strap. Button over zip back.
size 14
RRP $1750  SALE PRICE: $650

Sample Gown: Jessica Couture Nadia
Silk satin gown with ruched bodice and A-line skirt. Sequin detailing. Zip Back.
Size 14
RRP$2,200 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Jessica Couture Cicily
Grecian Style with lots of sparkle, wide shoulder straps with diamante and crystal detailing on shoulder and at waist. Silk georgette overlay and train.
size 16
RRP $2380 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Valencia Bridal V125
Pretty, delicate lace gown, strapless satin undergown with heather lace overlay
Ivory and Silver
size 12
RRP $1860 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Valencia Bridal v202
Structured, fitted gown with long sweeping train. Zip back.
Cream size 12 RRP $1820 SALE PRICE $550

Sample Gown: BelllaDonna Calllie
Vintage classic A-line gown with wide corded lace and ribbon wrap at waist. Zip back. Ruffled chiffon over bust, satin and chiffon skirt.
Ivory with latte ribbon
size 14
RRP $1650 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: BellaDonna Jana
Corded lace empire line gown with ribbon under bust, wide straps and deep V neckline
size 10
RRP $1820 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: SylviaRose Amber
Chiffon over satin gown, lace up back, heavily embroidered over bodice, with chiffon wrapping detail. Long train with beautiful embroidered detail
size 14
RRP $1640 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: Sugar and Spice 6211
Satin and organza gown with diamante and glass crystal beading under bust and at hip.
size 10
RRP $1920 SALE PRICE $660

And there are so many more I can’t find pictures for just now!

The Fine Print

Please note that these gowns have been our store samples, and may have been tried on by many people. Most sample gowns are as good as new,and all are definitely discounted [most priced below cost – up to 70% off RRP!]

Gowns are offered for sale on an ‘as is, where is’ basis. Cleaning, or any alterations for fit or hem is not included in the price of a sample sale gown.

The terms of this sale are strictly ‘first come, first served’, no holds or layby available, sorry.

The Most Beautiful Crash Test Dummy of Them All

I like my body. It’s strong and healthy, and 99% of the time, I think I’m cute, or even gorgeous. Oh, sure, my thighs rub together, and if I don’t dress carefully, I’m prone to a muffin top, but I like how I look, and I’m in far better shape than I deserve, if you consider how little effort I put in, and I’m incredibly comfortable with how I look. That’s not to say I wouldn’t change some things if it were as easy as turning a dial but, on balance… well, if I actually had longer legs, I wouldn’t get to wear those cute platform wedges.

Brides ask me, all the time, what I’d recommend for this problem, or how would I handle that situation*. There are many different companies advertising many different things. I don’t want to just parrot the information from the promotional fliers, that’s no help to anyone. I started thinking – how great would it be to have someone you know and trust go test out some of these fantastical claims, and report back. And the rest is about to be history.

Purely for research purposes of course [grin] I’m embarking on a series of adventures in self-improvement – some quick fixes, some more long-term. I’ll be posting before and after pics, and giving a running commentary on how easy, or uncomfortable, or embarrassing, or unpleasant, they are.

It’s a point of integrity for me that any review I make is honest, and unbiased. Which is why I’m posting my first series of ‘before’ photos today,** and crossing my fingers that at the end of the course, I’ll have impressive  ‘after’ photos to put next to them.
With each of the treatments I’ll try, the evidence should speak for itself.

10-10-2012: The Before Photos  [I decided not to embed them in the post. They’re definitely not my best angle, and someone has to think of the children!]

So, to my first adventure:

From the website:  “HYPOXI combines alternating high and low pressure with exercise to help target fat in those areas which just won’t budge. The simple 30 minute workout is safe, pain-free and completely natural – helping your body to tap into stubborn fat stores while you work out. In just 12 sessions, clients can lose up to 30 centimetres from their problem areas ….”

With claims of fat burning and cellulite reduction, sculpting great legs and a flat stomach, and you can do it in your street clothes, during your lunch hour. For a gym rhino [not bunny!]  like me, it sounds like the perfect workout. If it can do all that, it’s going to be awesome!  Though there’s no specific diet or ‘homework’ exercise to sign up to, it’s still a big investment of both time and money – the double whammy treatment program I’m trialling will take 15 hours, and cost a little over $500. I’m working with Nicola at the Nelson Hypoxi Studio [there are Hypoxi studios throughout the country and around the world]

I’ve been for my free intro session, where Nicola talked me through the process, and gave me a taster session on the machines, and today was my first treatment.

I started with the Michelin Man costume, I mean, HypoxiDermology.
Getting suited up was like being on the other side of a gown fitting. Thankfully, Nicola knew what she was doing, pulling and prodding to get it properly fitted, buckling and zipping until I was completely tucked in, and hooked up.  I lay back on the bed, and… well, that was pretty much it. The machine did the rest of the work – by sucking all the air out of the suit, and then magically performing a mechanical ‘cupping’ massage using hundreds of pressure chambers. It felt kind of weird at the intro session, but this morning, I didn’t even notice it.

After I’d watched a bit of telly, painted my nails, and thought about getting Nicola to pass me my knitting… it was time for part two, the L250 Trainer. There is a TINY bit of work required on this one – underneath the hood there’s a set of bike pedals, so I’m not totally just kicking back and relaxing. Really.

While I’m cycling the vaccum pump is again doing its thing, changing the pressure so that the blood flow increases. It’s zero impact exercise, and I spent most of my time chatting or reading a book.
Tough workout this really is not!

Workout completed, I put my feet back into my impractical wedges [I had to dig deep into my closet to find a pair of pedal friendly shoes] pull my skirt back on over my tights, and just like that, I’m on my way. It’s hard to believe I’ve just done a 1 hour ‘workout’!

Followup: It’s been a busy day since then, and it’s well past bedtime as I write this. I’ve been thirsty, and had a bit of a headache this afternoon [note to self, when they suggest drinking extra water, you should totally do that] and my legs are pleasantly weary. I’m looking forward to my bed, and expecting to fall asleep the instant my head hits the pillow, for a change.

I’ll have updated photos in a fortnight [and I have to admit to being curious about playing ‘spot the difference’ with them] so…. watch this space!


* for the record:  This series is not intended as a vehicle for radical self-improvement [though some of that may happen along the way], nor is it meant to be any kind of political statement on what beauty really means. I certainly don’t endorse any viewpoint which says a bride ought to do whatever it takes to look like a Barbie Doll on her wedding day. But here’s the thing. Wedding photos stay around for a very long time. And while I always begin with some version of, ‘hey, he knows what you look like, and he still asked you to marry him’, I think it’s reasonable to want to show yourself in the best possible light on your wedding day. What’s NOT reasonable is spending time and money on things that don’t work, or promise impossible things. Hence this series.

** The internet is a funny place, and I’ll admit I’m a little nervous about putting my cellulite up for the world to see, comment on, repost, or whatever. I’m naive enough to hope I’ll fly under the radar, but if the idiots come out to play, here’s my plan – Let’s not feed the trolls. If you see an unkind comment, just walk on by. I have the power of the delete button, and I’m quite able to use it, and once the comment is gone, if we’re not all busy posting shock reactions, then it will sink without a ripple. It’s a theory, anyway.

Twenty Years From Now…

Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now. you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things that you did.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the Trade Winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”

Twenty years ago today, I walked down the aisle and into married life. Far from ‘throwing off the bowlines and sailing away from the safe harbour’, our marriage has been an incredible safe haven – the home port from which I have been able to confidently face the next adventure, and to which I have gladly returned at the end of the day.

As the days have turned into years, it’s started to feel as if those years have turned back into days – I don’t know how we squeezed all those experiences into less than a month, but sometimes, that’s about how long it seems to have been.

A lot has happened in twenty years. As a f’rinstance, take another look at the photo for this post. That’s 1GB of 1990s technology storage – massive compared to the terabytes we carry around today. I’ve been married since before the world-wide web existed, longer than 50% of YouTube users have been alive, since the days when Prince Charles was still married to Diana, before Whoopie Goldberg hammed it up in Sister Act, before Boris Yeltsin was a household name, back when Mount Pinatubo erupted. WAAAAY back in the day.

Suddenly I’m feeling like I ought to be feeling old.

No-one is more surprised than I, to discover we’re so far down the track and still happily married. It’s not been an easy route – [you know me, I always want to know what might be up that other path, and in the past twenty years, we’ve travelled most of them] – it’s been better. It’s been worse. We’ve been comfortably off, and we’ve been totally, hopelessly broke. So far we’ve survived Norovirus, Crohn’s disease, infertility, parenthood, pets, prangs, and pranks.

There’s no magic formula, though. It’s not like we can map out a schedule, and say ‘do this, then that, and you’ll be fine’. I can recommend for you a large assortment of things you shouldn’t do, or say. There have been times when we’ve each said things we’ve lived to regret, days when the only reason to go home at the end of the day is because all our stuff was there. We’ve battled through seemingly irreconcilable differences, and come through that to be on the same side against some pretty insurmountable odds.

And, so far so good, we have both managed to love and to cherish each other, to remember that we chose and committed to this relationship, and ultimately, the only ‘trick’ is that each of us has come back around to choosing it again, and again, time after time after time.

And there’s the uncomfortable truth. In the same way that it doesn’t matter how shiny and perfect one face of a coin is if the other side is missing, it doesn’t much matter how hard one side of a couple works at the relationship, if the other side is missing, or fake. As awesome as I am [and so, so modest!] I have to acknowledge that a significant part of the success of my marriage belongs to the guy I happened to marry.

I’m looking forward to sharing the for richer, for better with him, and content that if there must be a for poorer, or worse, a death that inevitably parts us, [hopefully many, many for than another 20 years away], I won’t mind so much, if I can do it with that guy by my side.

Twenty years from now….

Wedding Planning Extravaganza: Nelson Wedding Show 2011

If you’re even remotely dreaming of getting married in the next few years, then the wedding expo this weekend should be at the top of your ‘things to do’ list.
This Sunday, 26th June, 9.30-3.30 at the Trafalgar Centre, $10/person.

It’s a great opportunity to get ideas and information, but most of all, it’s a really efficient way to meet with a wide range of vendors and get a feel for how they might fit with your wedding plans. It’s a really important factor in your decision-making, and usually, the only other way to do it well is by spending literal hours traipsing around meeting with vendors individually.

This Sunday, you have the opportunity to wander the aisles, checking out over 75 different options in one go, watching the way different vendors interact with people, and actually getting to see their setup.

Given the choice between two similar, great options, you’re always going to go with the one that you ‘click’ with – whether that’s a good rapport with the people, or a preference for the colour of their particular version of things – and those are the kind of things you can quickly and easily get a feel for at a bridal show.

If you haven’t already, you still have time to enter the competition to win a wedding dress from Beautiful Brides of Hope, just by telling us about your proposal [enter here or submit to the entry box before 11 on show day] or tell us how you’d rock your frock and you could win the opportunity to do it in an awesome Trash the Dress photo shoot with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography [enter here]

As well as all of that, there will be three really practical, FREE wedding planning workshops, at 9.30, 12 noon and 3.00. I recommend you arrive early, and plan to stay a while – It’s going to be busy:
The first workshop starts at 9.30, as a warm up to the wedding show opening at 10.00, followed by a fashion show at 11, a second wedding planning workshop at 12, the winner of the Beautiful Brides of Hope gown will be drawn at 1.45, before the fashion show repeats at 2, and the show closes at 3 with a final workshop to finish up the day.

– Just for coming along you could win one of the following great prizes: a luxury night’s accommodation at The MudCastle,  $250 voucher for wedding decoration or hire items from Creative Occasions, Custom designed wedding bands from Glen James jewellers, or an engagement photo shoot from Tasman Photography.

I’ll be there, of course – the last site as you head out the door, and at the workshops – and I’d love to chat with you about what you discover, and how what you’ve learned fits into your wedding plans.

I’m looking forward to chatting with you see you Sunday,


Speaking of Trashing the Dress…

In preparation for an upcoming competition…
[The Wedding Whisperer and Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography are giving away a fantastic ‘Trash the Dress” photoshoot on the Classic Hits Morning Radio Show! Watch this space!!]
….I got to tag along while Becky got her dress trashed for the promo photos!

I’m always banging on about how Trash the Dress doesn’t mean you have to wreck your frock… well, this time was a little different:
Our intent is to create a tiny tad of drama – so… Becky got paintballed:image copyright Sandra Johnson
But the paint wasn’t even the worst of it!
After being splattered with fluorescent paint, image copyright Sandra Johnsonand then being instructed to pose demurely under a tree
[read: sit in the mud, in the rain, and smile!],

Becky’s coworkers
[oh so lovingly]
doused her with buckets of coloured water.
Have you noticed that it’s winter?  And did I mention it was raining?
So do you think it was warm water? oops. No, sorry bout that, Becks.
And did anyone bring a towel? Oh, um, no, sorry about that, too Becks…

image copyright Sandra Johnson

Yet she still smiled and laughed and just looked gorgeous, all the way through. Becky totally gets my vote for Nelson’s next top model!

This clip shows a little more of the process, see some more of the stunning photos [and what a good sport Becky was!].
You can get an idea of how cold it was when you spot me [around 1:30] in thermals, boots, hat and coat… and *I* was still cold!

If you’re inspired to give it a go,  just tell us how YOU would rock your frock, and you could win your own fabulous Trash the Dress photoshoot with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography. Enter online at http://www.classichits.co.nz

Confessions of a Confetti Lover part deux

While I was scouting fireworks for Guy Fawkes, I found some great spring-loaded confetti cannons  [the big ones shoot streamers up to 20 metres] and snaffled them up, thinking that would be my confetti fix for the next wee while. They’re very cool – palm sized or arm length tubes full of fun, and make me come over all Roald Dahl whenever I talk about them.

But amidst all the fizzwhiffling and bang!popping love, I apparently still have a soft spot for those handfuls of stuff for quietly showering the newlyweds. So when Shirley from Marlborough Lavender walked into The Corner Store today to show me their natural lavender confetti, I got excited about confetti all over again!

Marlborough Lavender have created beautifully packaged cones full of lavender heads, a deliciously scented, natural, environmentally friendly confetti alternative. Each cone has several handfuls of lavender, enough to share with a friend, or create a complete flurry of fragrant confetti. The cones are ideal for tucking into your bridal shoes or gown box as you pack them into storage, too.

Even better, it’s another local innovation, meaning you can support the local economy, the environment, and still have a unique and beautiful accessory for your wedding.

Being a local company also means greater scope for customising the boxes or other packaging to suit your theme and colour scheme. I know that Shirley recently harvested 1,000 head of lavender on long stalks, for a couple to strewe across the floor for their mediaeval themed wedding. Because scent is so strongly linked with memory, I’d bet that a whiff of fresh lavender will take them back to their wedding day, for years to come.

I’ll plan to get the details up on the website, or you can call into the Corner Store and see it for yourself!

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