Monday, 13 February 2017

The #debnelv3monthchallenge conclusion photo reveal

As you all know, I ended my #debnelv3monthchallenge a bit earlier than originally anticipated, since I was more than happy with the results I had reached as of the 2nd of February 2017 already.

This challenge was really great fun and I gained so much personally from it. I urge every single one of you out there that are reading this right now to at least give it a shot. What do you have to lose (except for weight that is)?

To recap briefly, I prepared for his challenge by firstly letting my overall appearance go and by gaining several kilograms. Once I was ready to begin my challenge, I gave myself three months in which to lose the weight and look/feel better.

I then planned out a weekly meal plan and exercise routine. The meal plan consisted of basic fruits and vegetables with only fish products as a source of meat (cutting out all red meat in the process). The exercise routine consisted primarily of aerobic/dance style workouts which I did on average for 20 to 40 minutes per day.

I upped my daily water intake and I treated my hair and skin with various oils and other organic remedies.  I also tried to minimise my stress levels and make use of yoga and meditation to centre myself.

Was I successful in what I set out to achieve?

Well you be the judge of that

Remember to keep checking my postings and blog to see when I release my e-book in which I shall be sharing all my hair, skin, diet, meditation and exercise tips, tricks and hacks. I have no idea when this shall be unfortunately as I have been incredibly busy as of late with all my writing endeavours, not to mention my impending Academics Can Kill Your Sanity.com website launch. One thing I can promise you all though is that the e-book will be finished and released in due time.

Thank you all once again for sharing in the experience of this challenge with me.

Let me know what you think of my results

Take care

Debbie Vermaak Nel

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Friday, 3 February 2017

Lifestyle trends: “Going Underground” Has A Whole New Meaning!

Normally if we hear someone speaking of “going underground”, we would assume that person means “going underground” in the sense of disappearing out of society for a while. However, the term “going underground” can literally mean you plan on living underground! What might surprise you even more is the fact that the concept of living underground is not a recent one and there even exists an underground town in Australia known as Cooper Pedy, which has been around since 1915!  You can read more about the town by visiting http://www.cooberpedy.net/ 

Interested in building an underground house of your own? If so, there are many companies that specialise in green building. For example you can visit http://kirknielsen.com/project/underground/  if you wish to view such a company. Incidentally they are the same company that built the structure you see below.

Many tourists flock to The White Cliffs Underground Motel in New South Wales Australia every year. Now I am not sure about all of you but I sure as heck won't be able to stay here! Hello claustrophobia! 

Cooper Pedy is by no means the only underground town around, in fact there are at least nine others scattered in different parts of the world. A good example of one being Dixia Cheng, situated in Beijing China. This city originally started out as an underground shelter for use during disasters and attacks.

A few years ago the concept house featured in this photograph below (known as Casa Brutale) was designed by a company known as Open Plan for Architecture. It was meant to be built overlooking the Aegean Sea in Greece but to my knowledge, up until now the company has not managed to find an investor for the project. 

If going underground is not your thing, you can always choose to live in a cave like Angelo Mastropietro. His house which he affectionately named The Rockhouse Retreat is all the rage!

So what do you think? Is underground living for you? 

Till next time

Debbie Nel


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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Healthy Lifestyles: Total Transformations - The #debnelv3monthchallenge conclusion

Hello all. Some of you might be wondering why I never posted a "week 10 and 11" update to my #debnelv3monthchallenge. Well there are two reasons for this. Firstly, I have been incredibly busy as of late with the impending launch of my Academics Can Kill Your Sanity website. Secondly, I have decided to end the above-mentioned challenge a little earlier than originally anticipated.

My previous D-Day was set to be the 13th of February 2017, however since I am more than happy with my progress I have decided that it is time to quit.  This challenge was originally started in order to prove a point to someone else but I can really say that I have actually amazed myself in all that I have gained from it personally.

The first thing I learnt is that by following the right eating habits and having a regular exercise routine, a person really can feel a million times better with recharged energy and a renewed zest for life! I have always been a bit of a fitness freak but I have never before taken it to the level I did now during this challenge.

I have also learned that I was too thin to begin with before starting this challenge. My original weight was 55kg before I packed on the pounds needed to embark on this journey with all of you. Although my doctor has been telling me for years that I was actually underweight according to my height and other factors, I chose to ignore him. However I have come to see for myself that he was indeed correct!

I originally gained just under 11 kg for this challenge (10.9kg to be exact) and for a while I had a bit of lag in shedding the pounds (with factors such as Christmas not helping much). This lag did a lot of good though, in that it helped me to really "see" what I looked like at pretty much every kg loss.

I henceforth came to the conclusion that the weight that suits me best is 59kg in that it is the weight class at which my eyes don't look sunken and my jawline does not appear so thin. As far as my other goals are concerned, I am very happy to report that these have all been reached with no problems. My skin is back to the way it was originally and my hair has never looked better.

I shall be keeping my photo reveal date as 13 February 2017, unless something else hampers my schedule.

That's it for now. On a last note though I want to add a message to all the ladies out there: - It does not help you look like a stick figure as it really does not suit anyone and it's not worth the price of your health.

Till next time, take care

Debbie Nel


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Monday, 23 January 2017

Lifestyle trends: Van living!

In the past when we thought about vans, we thought of them in the lines of being transport for mass amounts of people or even as little take away businesses at best.

However these days vans have become a lifestyle trend for many in that vans have become the housing solution of choice for quite a few couples! Even families with children are choosing to live in vans!

But just why has this trend picked up though? Well for various reasons actually.  For starters the cost of living/housing has become so expensive that humanity has decided they need a cheaper alternative and what could be cheaper than living in a van?

Others have decided that they are tired of living stressful lifestyles and opt to live in vans due to the freedom and stress free existence that living the life of a van nomad will grant them.

Since van living is so cheap, many bloggers and other “internet employees” have opted to live in vans so that they can quit their day jobs and just survive on the small incomes their online jobs supply them with. In fact, some are even calling van living the “New American Dream”! 

This is all good and well but I must say that to me, van living is a sure way to live the “American Nightmare”! Why I say this is simply because we are living in the 21st century. An era filled with crime, especially rapes and murders. Therefore I do not see living in a van (or any mobile home for that matter) as being a smart life choice. 

This rings true for any country in the world and not just America (since van living has turned into an international modern day trend). It is simply just not safe enough anywhere anymore for people to go around living in vehicles that offer little to no security whatsoever. 

The idea is nice, this much I will say, but unfortunately reality is a bitch.

Till next time.


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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Cultural Life(style): Mehndi - Can your traditions kill you?

As everyone knows, Mehndi has a role in most Indian rituals, festivals and ceremonies. Mehndi is primarily applied/ done with henna and what many people don't realise is that henna contains a small percentage of an agent called Lawsone, which is very bad news substance.

But just what is Lawsone? This is the question many of you are probably asking right now. Lawsone is "(2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone), also known as hennotannic acid, which is a red-orange dye that is present in the leaves of the henna plant" - source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Lawsone. Okay, so why is it important to know that henna contains a substance called Lawsone and why is this Lawsone substance dangerous anyway? Well the answer is quite simple, Lawsone is in fact linked to the production of cancer cells. Yes you read correctly, your Mehndi traditions can give you cancer!

I am sure most of you are shocked after reading the above since henna has always been seen as being a super safe product due to the fact that it is natural. It is just for this reason that people are not aware of the risks associated with it. In fact due to its risks, it is not only users of Mehndi tattoos that should be wary but everyone that dyes their hair with products containing henna as well.

So called black henna is especially dangerous to one's health because it is often just a normal, dangerous dye/chemical disguised and marketed as pure henna, even though it is not henna at all! This type of "henna" can cause severe skin burns which often result in horrid blisters and bad scarring.

Always make sure of the source of the henna products used on you to ensure that they are indeed real henna and natural. Then again since natural henna contains dangerous Lawsone, the best would be to avoid all henna products entirely for the sake of your own health. Safe alternatives do exist and included substances such as Jagua, which is a safe extract from a fruit known as Genipa Americana (source: https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Jagua_Tattoo). For an extensive list of other safe henna alternatives, just do an internet search regarding the topic.

To all those who read this article, please inform all your loved ones of the risks involved when it comes to using henna.

Keep safe



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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Creative Lifestyle: January is International Creativity Month!

Hello again! I have recently come to learn that the month of January is International Creativity Month. Yes, you read correctly! It is International Creativity Month, so let's get creative!

But just what is the point of having a month dedicated to a concept like creativity? Well, what few people realise is just how important using our imaginations and being creative is for our brains development, in that creativity and being imaginative helps to develop our problem solving skills. Creativity also helps to reduce stress and aids better sleep.

You are all probably thinking, "wow that is great, but just how can we be/get creative?" The answer is much simpler than you think and there are numerous ways one can be super creative, such as;

1. Making your own crafts - The internet is filled with home arts and craft projects so why don't you do a search and try some of those that appeal to you?

2. Visit museums - Although this is not directly linked to being creative, visiting museums and art galleries helps to boost and stimulate your creative side, as well as also aiding relaxation (not to mention stress reduction).

3. Trying your hand at painting on canvas - Small canvas squares are quite cheap and can be found at most arts and crafts stores. Why not purchase one and let your creative juices flow? You might surprise yourself and become the next "Van Gogh". Then again even if you paint more in the lines of "Picasso", there will always be someone your artwork appeals to (even if that person is just you yourself).

4. Get creative in the kitchen - Even baking and cooking can bring out your creative side. All you need do is let your imagination run wild. This is not only great fun but you are quite likely to create a few culinary masterpieces along the way. Even the total flops can be fun so don't be afraid and let loose!

5. Decorate! - Your home is your castle so decorate it like a Queen/King! In my opinion there is no better place to let your creative juices flow than in your own home. Not only is this loads of fun but it also helps you to make your living space "your own".

Whatever you decide to do I am sure it will be a super experience! Remember to encourage your friends and family to do the same and have a fabulous creative fest!

Till next time, take care



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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Financial life(style): Easy ways to earn extra cash / money in a tight month

We all have those months where we can't make ends meet (such as January for example) therefore I thought I would share some of my easy methods of earning some extra cash with you.                                                                                                                                       

  • Car wash in your backyard or at a public place - On a weekend you could open up your yard to those in need of a car wash. Just make sure to place a sign out front and within a few weekends you will be packed with cars. Get some neighbours involved too so that you can share the workload. Alternatively you could get permission from a shop owner to offer a car washing service in his/her parking lot over a weekend.   

  • Selling of baked goods - If you can bake, why not bake up a few batches of cupcakes or fudge to order? Just spread the news of your baking amongst your neighbours, friends and colleagues, and before you know it you will have orders coming out of your ears. I did this for years when I was in need of an extra income, and you can really earn quite a bit this way. Just make sure that those who place orders realise that you only bake once or twice a week and that you also do not take on more orders than you can handle. 
  • Mowing lawns - Own a lawnmower? Then why not make some extra dough by offering to mow the lawns of your neighbours (or others) over the weekend? The fresh air and exercise would be great for you as well. Just make sure to wear a pollen mask at all times whilst mowing, since the dust and other particles that become airborne during a mowing session, can congest your sinuses like crazy (especially if you are mowing many lawns in one day).                                                                         

  • Selling unused good on E-bay or other similar websites - We all have extra goods stashed away in our cupboards or in the attic/garage. Why hold onto these if you are never going to use them? Remember, "one man's trash is another man's treasure"- (Hector Urquhart).                                                                         

  • Renting out an extra room in your home - If you have a spare, unused room in your home, you could always rent it out for a few months if money is tight. There are numerous websites online that make provision for the advertising of these. Just Google the name of the country you live in, with the words, "spare room for rent" at the back, to find such websites in your specific country or area. On an extra note, always do a background check on any prospective renters, since you don't want to have a psychotic killer or sex fiend living in your house with you and your family.                                                             
  • Offering a house-sitting service to those who know and trust you - Many people don't take vacations due to the fear of having their homes broken into. You could offer your services (at a set fee), as a live-in minder for your friends, colleagues, neighbours and family when they are planning a trip. The fact that someone will be living in their house (and as a result will be able to take care of their garden and pets) will ease their burdens greatly. In the end you might even earn a bonus, due to the peace of mind you have created/given.

And that's that. If you have any other tips to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.


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