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A sequel for a Prequel

A sequel for a Prequel

Sarah Monahan and characters from House of the Dragon, sitting on the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones

Last night I got to go to the Sydney Red Carpet Premiere for House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones Prequel.

I had just started packing up all my clothes into Leave Here bags and Take Home bags when my best friend invited me at midday for the 5:30pm event, so I pulled my dresses back out of the bags, and decided which to wear.

I had been staying in Newtown, before moving to Bondi, which is famous for it’s thrift shops, and I had bought several dresses there in case I needed them, and I’m pretty happy I did. I was only going to be in Sydney for two weeks originally, and didn’t pack for the two months I’ve actually stayed. I’ve bought a couple of new everyday items that I do actually wear almost everyday, but red carpets, people expect your to be a bit fancier, and heaven forbid you wear the same dress twice.

I’m frugal, and I don’t believe in buying something to wear once and discarding it, because fashion is one of the biggest polluters on the planet. So having a bunch of boutique thrift stores was fabulous. I could grab something that I was pretty sure nobody else was going to be wearing, since it wasn’t going to be whatever was new and trendy, it’s so much nicer on my bank balance, and I can feel good about recycling a piece of clothing. It’s amazing how many dresses in the second hand shops in Newtown look like they’ve been worn once for an Instagram picture and are now discarded.

I did buy something new. For the Big Brother event, I had bought a pair of sneakers from Bared Footwear. They are the absolute best shoes I’ve ever owned. They were spendy, but completely worth it. I have worn them every single day. Shopping, long walks, dinners, events. They are my new favourite shoe, and I don’t see myself buying anything else from now on.

So I thought I’d give their heels a go. I considered a low heel, but my husband via phone convinced me to get a pair of tall heels that I could have for nice nights out. A pair that would go with everything. So I grabbed these gorgeous silver heels, and they actually fit perfectly. I felt like Cinderella.

silver heels from Bared Footwear

I did fuck up and catch the wrong bus to the premiere, and then walked 1.4kms down a sharp incline to the event, so my feet were pretty upset by the time I got there, but I think I’d have been crying in any other pair of heels. Or would have pulled them off and gone barefoot.

They looked fabulous on the red carpet though, and that’s all that matters, right? Haha, no. From now on, I’ll uber, but I’ll still wear the heels. The block heel and perfect arch made them surprisingly comfortable to walk and stand in, and they’re not so tall that I teeter like the uncoordinated shrimp that I am. I’m also impressed cause after all that walking on pavement and cobblestones, they sole looks brand new. The other pair of heel I had brought with me from the US looked destroyed after one wearing on a Sydney street. So I’m pretty impressed.

I, and the new shoes, in my thrifted dress, made the paper. 👍

So don’t think you need to spend up huge, or buy all new stuff for an event. Hit up the thrift shops and recycle something. Make sure the pieces you do buy new are things that you’ll wear over and over again. Buy natural fabrics. Shop local. This thrifted dress is actually an Australian designer, made in Australia, and silk. I hit the “Small on the Earth” jackpot with this one.

How to Change Your Mind

How to Change Your Mind

I had been watching Netflix, and had it on pause for a while, and it started showing me screenshots of a bunch of different shows. I kept seeing this one called How To Change Your Mind, and I figured it’d be something about meditation or life affirmations on how to change your mid in stuff like politics.

It turns out, it’s a four part series on psychedelics and how people see the world differently after taking them.

I recently had a conversation with someone who told me they took some psychedelics to heal after a sexual assault, and how it worked for them. Gwyneth had an episode on her show about people traveling to Jamaica to take them to also heal from traumas.

This series wasn’t just a show about taking drugs, it actually had a fascinating historical perspective on how things like LSD started, and how they were used for healing purposes before the 1960’s free love movement took it out of healing facilities with careful monitoring and then Nixon came down and hated anyone who was free thinking, and started the War On Drugs.

As someone who hasn’t done any interesting drugs, apart from trying pot a couple times, I found the whole series fascinating. It’s only four episodes long, and each one focuses on a different psychedelic. The fourth episode was my favourite, as it dealt with peyote and whether non Native Americans should use it.

The series isn’t just about drugs, it’s about how people who take these substances become connected to the earth in a way that most people aren’t. They see plants breathe. They understand how the earth gives us life. How we’re all connected. Someone back in the black & white days suggested we should put it in the water supply to make everyone calmer and get along more. In this time of everyone fighting and growing division, it might not be a bad idea.

I gave this series two thumbs us 👍👍. because it’s not just a documentary on healing with natural substances, but about our environment and how we can all be connected to it.

What to Wear

What to Wear

Real talk.

It’s always fun going on TV, or going to a movie premiere and having your photo taken. 

But let’s face it, it’s different for boys and girls. 

Men can turn up in pants and a T shirt, and wear the same one to every event, and nobody bats an eye.

Women on the other hand are expected to front up in a cocktail dress and heels for a 5 minute chat on a morning show, and heaven forbid they ever wear the same thing twice. That would get everyone chatting, in the wrong way. 

But it’s ridiculous. First of all, women should be allowed to turn up wearing whatever they’re comfortable in. If they want to wear nice pants and sneakers to a morning show, they should. 

Second of all, who is paying for all those outfits? Mother Nature. 

Buying an outfit to only wear once is ridiculous. Not just for your bank account, but think of all the clothing that women buy to only throw away. 

Fashion is one of the most polluting things on the planet. We should all be comfortable buying things we will wear many many times, and then actually doing that. 

I came out with a very small amount of clothes. I like to travel light. I was going to be here for two weeks, so only brought a few pairs of pants, 3 sweaters and three shirts. 

Then I attended some premieres, and thankfully I was staying in Newtown, so I thrifted some dresses. Super cute, easy on the wallet, and I didn’t have to feel bad I was buying something new.

I have bought a couple new pairs of pants, but they are ones I’ll wear all the time, as well as a couple washable merino wool sweaters, which I will also wear non stop. So I don’t feel bad about buying sustainable fabrics that I’ll wear till they fall apart. 

But tomorrow I’m going on The Morning Show. A quick chat, in the AM, and I’m searching for what to wear. 

I’m not going to wear a cocktail dress and heels. That’s just not me. Especially at 10am. 

So I’m going to exercise some gender equality, and wear pants and a top. Something I’m totally comfortable in, and something that I’d actually wear all the time. If I’m going to be talking about me, I think I should also look like me. 

The Shrimptank mantra is “Small on the Earth” I try to live it. Every day. 

So here’s my options for tomorrow. I’m going to let y’all vote on what I wear tomorrow. Pick from 1-12. Outfit with the most votes is what I’ll wear. 

Party Sneakers!

Party Sneakers!

So I’m currently in Australia, and I was only meant to come for two weeks. But then I decided to stay a bit longer, and then a bit longer again.

I had brought four pairs of shoes, which I thought was generous. I had a pair of black sling back heels, a pair of tan heels, both to go with outfits for either the court appearance or my media interview, a pair of white canvas sneakers, and cap toe ballet flats.

Problem is, I’m not a fan of heels, and the ballet flats were not a good fit. So I was down to the canvas sneakers.

So I’ve now bought two pair of shoes while I’ve been here.

The first pair were an Australian icon, the RM Williams boot.

I had RM William’s as a kid, and used to ride in them. I figured they’d be great for back on the ranch in Texas, and they make a nice dress boot while I’m in Sydney. Chelsea boots are having a minute, and everybody is wearing them with skirts and dresses as well as pants, so I decided to rock them on the Moulin Rouge Red Carpet.

It was a rainy night, so my feet stayed dry and warm while we walked from the performance to the afterparty. I’ve recently bought insoles for them, because there’s a weird line inside where there’s a piece of leather under the heel, that has a couple mm height that just cuts off under your foot. They’re also a hard sole, and my feet get sore if I wear them all day. They do look fabulous, and are very practical. I can’t pull off the skirt and boots thing, being so short. It just cuts my legs in weird places making me look shorter, but with black pants, it creates a nice long line, making my legs look longer.

Then I did a photo shoot for Stellar Mag, and they couldn’t find heels for me in my size. They ended up getting a nude pair of heels from Nine West, which were pretty, but just a bit too big, and super tall, which made my legs look amazing, but I couldn’t walk in at all.


stellar magazine australia

So yesterday when I went to the Big Brother Finale, I decided to wear comfortable shoes that were also cute. My capsule wardrobe here in mainly black, and I did also buy a pair of cute adidas shoes for a charity tennis match, and they’re great for daytime, but not for evenings. So I went into Bared Footwear, which is an Australian brand, who actually stocks a size 4.5 in store! 

I’ve been looking forward to visiting Bared, because I had found them online while in the US, and they fit ALL the Shrimptank criteria. They have my size, they’re designed by a podiatrist,  so I don’t have to worry about if it’s going to flare up my tendonitis. They all come with a Fit Kit, which has interchangeable insoles, so you can make them fit perfectly. They even had the little dots to put on your feet to help break them in. 

They give back to the community, donating 1%. They’re focused on sustainable sourcing and ethical manufacturing. When I bought them, there was no plastic packaging. Each shoe was in a fabric bag, and the box itself was the tote. They’ve got twine handles, so there’s no need for a plastic bag to carry them home in. I was so excited to actually try on a pair of shoes in a store, instead of ordering them online and hoping they fit. They actually measure your feet in store, like when you were a kid, and they brought out two sizes to make sure I got the right ones. 

Wearing comfortable Bred Footwear sneakers to the Big Brother Finale.

My favourite type of shoes are brogues, and they had a pair of Brogue sneakers, so I knew immediately which pair I wanted, but there was lots of other super sexy sneakers that stole my heart. They had sparkly ones, some with leopard stripes, and black or white soles. They even had ones with zippers if you don’t like laces. 

But I grabbed this pair, and I wore them to the Big Brother finale, with a long leopard print skirt, and not only did they look cute, but they were super comfy. We had lots of walking, standing and dancing, and they lasted all night, with no complaints from me about sore feet. So they’re a total winer. 

If I need dressier shoes, I’ll go back and get a pair of their heels. They had lots of really nice ones, but it’s still too cold for me to be wearing any of the strappy ones I liked. There’s a pair of wedges I’ve already got my eye on. 

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