Author: Sarah

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Planting Trees at the Ranch

Planting Trees at the Ranch

plant label for Australian Outback Plants Red Gum

We were a day late for Earth Day, but we spent Saturday out at the ranch, finally planting all the Australian Eucalyptus trees I bought a couple months ago.

The ranch is full of red dirt, with mesquite and cactus, but it could easily double in a movie for Outback Australia. It’s over 100 acres, and Matt’s parents are doing some wildlife management on most of it, but we decided on the acre where we camp to plant a little bit of home, so I bought some Australian natives.

After doing a search on the interwebs for Australian Natives, I came across Australian Outback Plants who had a huge variety of Aussie natives. I messaged them to get advice on what would grow best in my area, and the my surprise, the owner called me back. Paul Chambers is another Aussie Expat, who started with a bag full of seeds, and now sells plants to all the major stores in the US. Yet, he still called me back personally, and we had a good chat about the land, the soil, the weather, and he said if I made a list of what I wanted, he was doing a trip through Texas the following week, and would deliver them himself on the way. 

That was a couple of months back, and Paul delivered my 11 trees, and gave me two baby ones, out of a massive semi trailer on his way to Houston. We were still having major freezes, so we put them in the greenhouse at Matt’s parents house, until a couple weekends ago, when everything started to bloom at the ranch. Apparently once the mesquite blooms, the freezes are done. The cactus is covered in flowers too, and I’m looking forward to prickly pears soon!


cactus flower

So we pulled out the bobcat, put the driller on it, and dug some holes.

We bought a bunch of dirt, because you’re supposed to plant them with 50/50 good soil, and whatever they’re growing in. We got them all in the ground in one day thanks to modern machinery, and then we used our water tank to go around and give them all a good drink. 

Hopefully we get some good rain this year, so they can all grown big and beautiful. I strategically planted them all so that I could see most from our outdoor sitting area, with the bigger ones west of the camp, to provide some summer shade. 

For our first set, I also bought all different kinds of Eucalypts, so we can see which ones do the best, and then get more of those later. 

We also put little cages around them all, because one of the miniature donkeys had found them very tasty, and was ripping whole limbs off some of them. – Bad donkey!

If you’re in the US, and looking for some Australian Natives, call Paul at Australian Outback Plants. Their website is super comprehensive, and has good details on each plant. They’re also on Facebook. He’s also a really nice bloke, and I’d buy from him again any day. He sells to Lowes and Home Depot, but I’d rather give my money to a supplier directly. 👍 The plantation is out of Arizona, so if you’re in the south, might be a pretty easy trip to get some plants, otherwise, they will ship them to you. 


Customize your own shoe

Customize your own shoe

I’m an absolute sucker for a wingtip shoe, and while I love the traditional black and white, I squeal like a little girl when I see a fabulous bright color combo. The biggest problem is nobody makes the color combo ones in smaller sizes. Or at least I thought.

This week, Travel Fashion Girl sent out a newsletter with a bunch of golf related outfits, including shoes. I hadn’t thought about the fact that if you can walk for hours on the course in a shoe, it’s probably comfortable enough to be out sightseeing in. There’s lots of casual looking golf shoes these days, but I really like the old school dressy ones.

So I was searching around, and looking for traditional golf wingtip shoes in kids sizes, which didn’t appear to be a thing. But I did find a site with size 5 golf shoe at FootJoy, and then I discovered, you could customize them, to have any combination you wanted, and then your shoes would be YOUR shoes!

I played around, and I think this might be my dream shoe.

Yes, they’re expensive, but they’re custom, and it’s golf, so it’s not going to be cheap. But it’s probably worth paying extra to have something that exactly what you’re always dreamed of, not just getting something you kind of like… For me, the fact they make a size 5, instead of starting at a 6 like most people is a big deal. They also come in narrow, medium and wide widths.

It’s not just the wingtip either, there’s a couple different styles of shoes that you can customize, and they can be in your hands (or on your feet) in 2-4 weeks. Design your own or make give someone an amazing gift.

Here’s a more casual sneaker style I played with.

Do you know of anyone else that lets you customize your shoes like this? Leave a comment below.

Just FYI, this isn’t a sponsored post, I just thought it was really cool.

Shoe sizing consistency?

Shoe sizing consistency?

It’s normally clothes that we have trouble with, since there’s no consistent size guides anywhere in the world.

Usually with European to US sizing, there’s about a half size discrepancy, with some people saying a 34 is equivalent to a size 3 kids, or 4 Ladies, and some people claiming the same with a 35.

Normally the Japanese size is spot on, because it’s an actual measurement, and it gets pushed over to the others well. But even then, I can be a 4, 4.5 or a 5 in ladies shoes, depending on the brand.

Normally when it comes to kids, they’re much more consistent. I’m a 3 in almost every brand. Until today.

I was going to order some crocs for the galley kitchen, because the Sperry’s I got are super uncomfortable. (Well, the ONE I can wear right now with the brace on the other foot) and I really wanted the Birkenstock Boston’s, but apparently they’re not currently being made in size 34.

So other yacht chefs told me the crocs were good, so I got online yesterday and was looking around, and then thought I better print out their size guide, just in case.

I’m glad I did, because I’d have ordered a size 3, and according to their size chart, I’m closer to a size 5, which I have never been anywhere else before in youth sizes. Unless they just skip the overlap and go straight from kids to adults, which would make them both unique and awesome. But, their guide says it’s a Junior 5, so then I’m confused again.

Crocs printout shoe guide

The Birkenstocks I ordered came with a handy size guide inside their box, so I decided to compare them. They’re not even close.

According to the Birkenstock guide, I’m a 34, and owning a pair, I can tell you they fit perfectly. They correlate the size as
EU 34 – US 3-3.5 – UK 2 – MM 220 so according to this, I should be a size 3 in US sizes, maybe a 3.5

Birkenstock guide from inside their shoe box.

But the crocs printout tells me I’m a 5 when I step on it. I actually went and put the quarter on the circle just to make sure it was printed to scale.

Just to make it more confusing, the chart has the conversions as well, and according to that, I am also a size 3…. so now I don’t know whether to believe the conversion chart, or the foot foot measuring chart.

I guess I’ll just have to go to a real store and try some on and see.

Anyone else have this problem? Crocs or any other brand?


Online size conversion guide for Crocs

I probably shouldn’t have pulled the foot out of the sock and brace for this photo, they’re look pretty gnarly! Excuse the ugly foot. 🦶

Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

I was making some sausage rolls on board the yacht today for the crew, so I decided to make a new video on how to make them. I have an older longer video on YouTube, but I figured I could make a newer shorter one for IGTV.

I’m always kinda surprised by how many times Aussie’s ask where they can get meat pies and sausage rolls in the US. They’re so easy and cheap to make. The longest part of the process is defrosting the frozen pastry. The prep is about 5 minutes, and cooking time about 25-30.

Give em a go. They’re delicious.

The not so fashionable boot

The not so fashionable boot

It’s not quite a fashion statement.

I’ve had a pain in my ankle for a bit that comes and goes, and this week it really hurt.

I went to my chiropractor, and he said it was time to see a specialist. One of my friends in Australia is a podiatrist, and she agreed on seeing someone local, since she couldn’t squish it over messenger.

It turns out I’ve got posterior tibial tendonitis, and apart from being on the same ankle that I broke pretty badly as a kid, the Dr said the biggest culprit was probably shitty shoes with no support. Which totally makes sense when you’ve got small feet, and it’s super hard to find adult shoes with proper arch support. Kids shoes don’t seem to have any, which is silly, given that kids feet are growing and need to be healthy too.

So while I sit on the couch, with this ridiculously large and heavy thing on my leg, I’m going back down the rabbit hole of finding petite shoes that actually fit, and that are also good for your feet. There will be no more, “I wear a 34, but the smallest you have is a 35, so I’ll make it work” or wearing a crap kids shoe with flat insoles.

A few years ago if someone said to me orthopedic shoes, I’d have died of how ugly they all are. But I’m surprised now at just how cute shoes with decent support have become. Now it’s just weeding through those and finding shoes that are both supportive and come in small sizes.

I broke down and got a pair of Birkenstocks this week. I had always thought them kinda ugly, but they’ve actually got some nice styles, although I was sad that their really cute wedges didn’t go small enough for me. Their kids arizona shoe, which is the one everyone instantly recognizes is damn comfortable though, and with the adjustable straps, can fit even a swollen foot. The best part is that their adult and child shoe has the exact same foot bed, so you don’t need to feel like you’re getting an inferior product by purchasing the kids size.

It only took me a couple hours to go from thinking they were fugly to me thinking they’re quite adorable.

I’m going to be making a list of brands or online stores where you can find not only petite shoes, but ones that are actually good for your feet. Cause what’s the point in wearing an adorable pageant shoe if it means you’ll end up in this stupid boot?

Leave your favourite shoes in the comments below and help your fellow shrimps out.

Here’s a link to the petite shoe sources page with what I have found so far. I’ll keep updating it as I find more.

Super Fast and Easy Makeup routine

Super Fast and Easy Makeup routine

A full face with nine products.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already noticed I don’t wear a lot of make-up.

I actually love make-up, and really enjoy sitting in the chair and having someone else do my face. I even own a fair bit, but I don’t spend a lot of time making myself up. Most days I might just put on some sunscreen and a powder to get rid of the shine, but occasionally I’ll throw a bit more on, especially if we’re going out somewhere special.

My husband says one of his favourite things about me is how quickly I can get ready. If we’ve only got a few minutes to get ready, I can always throw something on, do my hair and make-up and be out the door in under 20 minutes.

This week I was having a High Tea with some other Aussie expats in Palm Beach, so I thought I’d make a quick video of the products I use to get that minimalist, natural look that works so well down here in South Florida. If you put too much on, it will all melt in this humidity anyway.

This routine works really well for me when I travel too. I can carry a tiny cosmetic case, and some of these items do double duty. I you like to travel carry on only, and want to spend more time sightseeing and less time in front of the bathroom mirror, then this is a good one for you. I think I actually got most of these items in Duty Free too.

Hope you enjoy.

Here’s all the products I used.

La Mer Sunscreen
La Mer Foundation
Naked Concealer
Benefit Gimme Brow
Guerlain Terracotta I got this in Duty Free, but Sephora might also stock it.
Lancome Definils
Mineral Fusion powder suncreen
Guerlain lipstick

Yacht Air Conditioning

Yacht Air Conditioning

It’s getting hot in South Florida!

I don’t know how the sail boaters survive summer in South Florida. I guess that’s why they all sail up north for the season, or go full tropical and head down to the Islands.

It’s only mid-June in Palm Beach, and it’s already getting too hot for our older AC’s on the boat to keep up.

I love our boat, but she was already 10 years old when we got her, so we knew there’d be a few things we’d have to fix.

There’s five AC’s on here, but right now, only one is working properly. So we’re currently looking into getting some new ones before it really gets hot.

Anyone here got any recommendations?

We’re currently looking at these MarinAire ones. We’ve heard good things, and they’re not crazy priced. Anyone got these units in their boat? Yay or nay?

Hope everyone else is enjoying this warm weather, and you’re chillin with a nice cocktail and caftan.

A post shared by Sarah Monahan 🦐 (@shrimptank) on

But Petite means small, right?

But Petite means small, right?

In fashion terms, Petite refers to height, not weight.

In French, petite means small, so people are sometimes confused by petite sizing. Many people think Petite sizing means skinny girls, and while slender women can be petite, so can plus size women. Petite refers to women under 5’4″, (162.56 cm) and doesn’t have anything to do with weight. Petite clothing can come in sizes from 00P to 14P, 16P, or even 18P.

There is also Petite Plus size clothing, or “women’s petite”. Most petite plus clothing comes in sizes from 16WP or 18WP to 24WP or 26WP.

Just like Tall sizes have longer leg lengths, arms and torsos, petite sizes are scaled down to be better proportioned on a shorter frame. Generally the shoulders are narrower, the arms and legs are shorter, and many designers also make the rise in pants shorter, so that pants are high waisted when they’re meant to be hip huggers. The area between the shoulder and bust is shorter, so that the dart go towards the nipple, not the navel.

Some ladies are true proportional petites, and some women may have longer legs and a short torso, or the other way around, and may be better off trying on both sizes, and wear regular sizes as tops, and petite sizes in bottoms, or vice versa. Sometimes even tall women can wear a petite size, depending on their proportions.

Some labels have patternmakers make petite sizes from scratch, and some places just “pink it and shrink it” which isn’t always a great fit. Petites aren’t just shrunken versions of regular sizes. They may still be muscly, or have large breasts, or look like regular height women in photos, so shrinking a pattern overall usually means arms that are too tight, pants that don’t fit over your bottom, or with buttons pulling at the bust.

A good label will also make clothing that actually flatters a petite frame. Just because you find a petite size of a dress you like, doesn’t mean it will be flattering. If all they’ve done is shrink a maxi dress with horizontal stripes, it might “fit” but it might not be flattering. That’s why you won’t find a petite version of everything in a store. Good labels will stick to making petite versions of things that will look good, like small patterns, vertical stripes, solid colors, etc.

Always make sure you look at the size charts when buying online, and if you can try things on in store to get a feel of a labels sizes, then you will know what works best for you later if you want to shop online.

So next time you’re out shopping, look for the petite section. Try on the same item in both sizes, and see which fits better. Don’t feel bad if you go up a size in the petites. They’re typically a half to one inch narrower in the waist, so you might be a 4R but 6P. Nobody else can see the label, so get what looks good in the mirror, not what size you think you should be.

Do something small

Do something small

When people talk about traveling to the past, they worry about changing the present by doing small things, but pretty much no one in the present thinks that they can change the future by doing something small.

I think we’ve all seen the footage of the Sea Turtle having a straw removed from its nose. You’d think it couldn’t get any worse, and then you see the one with a plastic fork stuck in its nose…

The amount of single use plastics we use has gotten out of control, but we can all make small changes that will add up to a lot.

When you get take away food, and you’re going home with it, tell them you don’t need the plastic utensils. You can use your own washable ones at home.

When you’re at a restaurant, say no to a straw. Sip from your cup like an adult.

It’s a little harder when you’re out and about, but there are also small changes you can make if you plan ahead.

When I worked in an office, I always had a few of these Light My Fire utensils in my drawer. Then, whether I had brought lunch with me, stole someone else yoghurt, or got take out, I had my own spoon or spork ready to go. When I’m done, I just give it a quick wash and throw it back in the drawer. Also very handy when there’s left over cake in the fridge.

You can get yourself a whole kit if you’re the type who actually likes to bring your whole meal with you. These aren’t just good for the office, but picnics, camping, sneaking a meal into the cinema…
 I’ve got a set like this on the boat. They used to be in my Airstream, and I was surprised at how much I used that tiny strainer when cooking. They also all fit together nicely, so when you’re not using them, they don’t take up  a lot of space. This brand is BPA free, so it’s better for you as well as the environment.

If you can’t make it through the day without a pit stop at somewhere like Starbucks, get yourself a re-usable cup. They’re not expensive, and since most coffee chains these days give you a few cents discount for bringing your own cup, they’ll pay for themselves before long.

If you just really, really love straws, or drink in the car a lot and don’t want to wear your beverage, then invest in some re-usable straws. There’s so many different types. Bamboo, stainless steel, ones meant for slushies with a spoon at the end, ones made just for your Yeti cup, fat ones for boba tea, soft silicone and even ones that fold up and go inside a container you can put on your keys. Most come with their own cleaning utensil, but you can also buy some extra so you’ve got one at home and one at work.

Paper straws are also an option for the office, if you own a cafe, or are having a party. We all know kids love straws, and also lose things, so send them to school with a paper straw, or use them for birthday parties, sports days, camping, etc.

You can also use earth friendly plates at the same events. Made from various materials like palm leaves, bamboo or sugar cane.

If you’re into edibles, there’s a variety available, and you can even make you own! Perfect for serving an amuse-bouche. And you can also buy them pre-made if you don’t want a whole new kitchen gadget.

And if you need an extra sugar hit, these are great for the environment, but probably not so good for your waistline. But hey, who wouldn’t want to drink an iced coffee or glass of milk through a chocolate straw? It’s an adult version of milk and cookies.

These are all just small investments, but over time they’ll make a big difference.

Bar Shampoo – No Plastic!

Bar Shampoo – No Plastic!

Make an eco-friendly choice in the shower with Bar Shampoo.

I don’t remember the last time I bought shampoo. My husband travels so much for work, he always brings home those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner from hotels. Past of me feels bad about how much plastic goes into making all those hotel bottles, so I bring them home, so they’re not tossed half empty. We’ve got so many of them that I can now be choosy about which hotels he brings them home from…. When guests come over, they get their own little set up. I’ve even donated bunches of them to charities and homeless people.

Salvatore Ferragamo bathroom kit from the Rome Cavalieri – A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Many of the hotels are now moving towards the gym shower style setup and have the pumps in the shower. I love that they’re no longer using millions of little plastic bottles, but I also wonder whether some freak used the room before me and contaminated the bottle. I know there’s a lock on there, but I’m kinda OCD about things like that. On the plus side, if you do have a little container with you, you can refill it here. 😉

Shampoo and body wash in a pump dispenser.

Almost everywhere I go has the option of these two things, but if you’re going to stay at an Airbnb, or backpacking around to youth hostels,  camping or even going on a boat trip, you might not get given basics like shampoo. TSA has made it a pain in the ass to travel with liquids, and the tiny bottles don’t last long.

So I was pretty excited to learn about Bar Shampoo.

It’s just like bar soap, except it’s shampoo. No plastic bottle, no need to refill, no need to put them in a little clear plastic bag when going through the airport. At home you’re not cluttering up your shower with a bunch of bottles.

Just like regular shampoo’s, you can get different types. Frizzy hair? Check. Like different scents? Check. You can even get one with five different small ones so you can try them all and see which one you like best.

Best of all, many of these are not only better for the environment,  but better for you as well, since they don’t have a bunch of chemicals in them. Many of them are sulphate free, paraben free, and phthalate free, and made from organic ingredients. It’s a win for you, and the earth.

So next time you need shampoo, ditch the plastic and try one of these instead.

Let me know if you’ve bar shampoo, and what your experience was. Do you have a favourite brand? Does one work better than another? Are they easy to travel with, and what did you put your bar shampoo in for travel?