Friday, April 30, 2010

I found this, posted in my Livejournal five years ago

From the movie Waking Life (emphasis is mine):

"The reason why I refuse to take existentialism as just another French fashion or historical curiosity is that I think it has something very important to offer us for the new century. I'm afraid we're losing the real virtues of living life passionately, a sense of taking responsibility for who you are, the ability to make something of yourself and feeling good about life.

Existentialism is often discussed as if it's a philosophy of despair. But I think the truth is just the opposite. Sartre once interviewed said he never really felt a day of despair in his life. But one thing that comes out from reading these guys is not a sense of anguish about life so much as a real kind of exuberance of feeling on top of it. It's like your life is yours to create.

I've read the postmodernists with some interest, even admiration. But when I read them, I always have this awful nagging feeling that something absolutely essential is getting left out. The more that you talk about a person as a social construction or as a confluence of forces or as fragmented or marginalized, what you do is you open up a whole new world of excuses.

And when Sartre talks about responsibility, he's not talking about something abstract. He's not talking about the kind of self or soul that theologians would argue about. It's something very concrete. It's you and me talking. Making decisions. Doing things and taking the consequences.

It might be true that there are six billion people in the world and counting. Nevertheless, what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms. Makes a difference to other people and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we should never simply write ourselves off and see ourselves as the victim of various forces. It's always our decision who we are."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DBAJ - it's that simple.

I'm considering making this into a banner for my classroom. (I'll edit my list, of course.) I need someone with fancy graphic design/lettering skills to make it look professional.

The single most important rule of Ms. Ngo's classroom is
DON'T BE A JERK.

Examples of jerkiness include (but are not limited to):
  • Making racist, sexist, homophobic (or in any other way discriminatory and prejudiced) comments.
  • Making comments as described above and then trying to ARGUE with me that it's acceptable language (true story, by the way)
  • Bullying another student
  • Being disrespectful when there's a sub
  • Talking when other people are talking
  • Talking when other people are trying to concentrate (ie, during a quiz)
  • Talking during a movie (this applies even when you're out seeing a movie in a theater)
  • Coming in late when we've already started class and making a LOUD entrance
  • Stealing my pens, pencils, markers, or any other classroom supplies (that I paid for with my own money!)
  • Cheating in any way, shape, or form, on anything. Especially if it causes the other person, who had no idea you were cheating off them, to get in trouble too.
  • Taking home vocabulary books (that are checked out to MY name, by the way!) and never bringing them back, or allowing them to be torn to pieces in your backpack
  • Stealing my Twilight books from my SSR shelf!!!!!!!
  • Leaving paper, trash, etc. all over my room
  • Lying to me about why you need a pass to leave the classroom
  • Whining. Period. You're not always going to get what you want. That's life. Deal with it.

*Cue theme song from "Psycho"*

Run 5:00, Walk 1:00
30:00
2.16mi

It was hard, but probably harder than it needed to be because I was still pissed off because of something at work today, so I was running on angry. I did not feel in control of myself while I was running - my limbs felt a little full of flail, I was getting a side stitch, my stride didn't feel smooth.

I did start to feel better towards the end, and then I felt like I could keep going for another half hour. (I didn't though.) My run today felt like it went by SO fast. Like, all of a sudden, I only had one rep left. That MUST be a good sign.

Review: Urban Decay's Surreal Skin Cream to Powder Foundation

Click to go to the official product page on UrbanDecay.com
It took me a while to warm up to this product! Considering how excited I was about it and how much I wanted to love it, it actually took a long time (and many trips to Sephora) before I finally decided to buy it, and then many more weeks of swatching it on my jawline occasionally and not being particularly impressed with it.

Part of it has to do with the shade - I wear Hallucination in their other foundations, as well as their concealer, so I automatically chose the same for this one. And... it was just a little bit off. The shade was a wee bit darker than the other Hallucination foundations, and the undertones are kind of... different. The Surreal Skin mineral makeup matches me perfectly, but this one does not. So that has been my major gripe. (I could, of course, try a different shade, but at $34 a pop, that's not a great idea for me.

But as far as the application goes, it's quite lovely. It comes with its own brush (cruelty-free!) in a compartment underneath the pan, and it's not some dinky brush either. While I still think it is best applied with your fingers, the brush is actually really good for applying and blending. It does change from cream to powder instantly, and it feels really light on my skin, even after building the coverage a little bit. It does make my skin have a little bit of that powder texture, but hey, we can't ALL be MAC's Skinfinish Natural, right? :)

(I swear, my vehicle was not in motion, and I had not even left the parking lot yet when I took this photo.)

All in all, not bad. I'm actually liking it far more now that I've given it an honest try than when I was just messing with it. It's not my favorite, but for convenience (it's in a compact, rather than a bottle or a tube, and if you use the brush, you don't have to get your fingers dirty), it's pretty good. I'm not sure if the next lightest shade would be better for me - I guess I'll have to go play at Sephora some more :) But my ill-choice of color doesn't change the fact that it's a lovely foundation to apply.

And the compact itself looks awesome by the way - purple with the cool swirly designs on it. It's definitely an eye-catching object to pull out of your purse.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Procrastinating

I would rather ____________ than grade these essays!!!!!!!

- eat a huge bowl of salad greens with no dressing
- get tattooed for four hours
- scrub dog pee out of the carpet
- watch a Drew Barrymore movie
- watch the Giants lose because they got shut out by the opposing team's pitcher
- walk 26.2 miles
- run on the treadmill next to someone wearing too much scent
- listen to the Backstreet Boys greatest hits
- listen to pretentious indie bands ruining songs I love by covering them
- count all the push pin holes in my wall
- take apart everything I've ever knit and wind all the yarn into balls by hand
- do the dishes
- watch every single episode of I Love the 80's, including the revamped new ones, with all NEW annoying, self-important pop culture commentators
- get yelled at by Jillian Michaels
- be in active labor without an epidural in the WAITING ROOM at the hospital for two hours....... oh wait...

I really should get back to my grading, I guess.

Think before you speak.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

woooeeee!

Run 4:00, Walk 1:00
30:00
2.14mi

Today felt much easier than yesterday! That must be a sign of progress, right? I wasn't even nauseous afterwards! I did feel my legs getting tight at times, and I was getting a side stitch towards the end, but I worked through it (strategic breathing and some massaging during my walk break), and I made it through. And I was NOT dying!

Also, my world has just been turned upside-down, because... I realized I've been tying my shoes incorrectly! Well, not incorrectly, but the way you cross over the laces and loops when you tie your shoes creates either a granny knot (which will loosen) or a balanced knot (which will hold because of a greater amount of friction).

You see, I've been having a problem with my laces coming loose even just after my warm-up, and as a result, when I start running, my leg starts hurting - the shoe is loose, so it feels like it will fall off, so that changes the way I hold my foot when I run, and that causes my leg pain.

So, some kind souls suggested some no-slip laces, but one person suggested that I check out this article, about looking at how I cross my laces when I tie them, and I tried it, and it was SPOT ON.

My mind has been totally blown!!!!

A calling - teaching tolerance

Every year, I teach The Laramie Project to my freshmen. I teach it in conjunction with Elie Wiesel's Night - the main theme I try to establish is that bad things happen when perfectly good people do nothing. And when I introduce The Laramie Project, I like to start off by giving a crash course on gender and sexual orientation - what does it mean to be gay or straight (or anything in between)? What are some myths and misconceptions about the queer community? And - more to the point - how might you be furthering the ignorance, hatred, and intolerance without even knowing it, and how can you stop?

It never fails to amaze me how much kids DON'T know. At their age, even though I had no formal knowledge to speak of, it already bothered me when kids said "That's gay!" or when someone would say, "Isn't being a gay man the same as being a woman?" (and it was obviously in a pejorative way, as if to say that being a woman automatically made you lesser). When I was in middle school, and going through a stretch at the end of 8th grade where some of the more popular kids had decided that they hated me, I would hear kids run by me and yell "Dyke! Lesbian!", and rather than yelling back any denials (because I knew they weren't actually accusing me of being a lesbian - they were just using those words as insults), I yelled back, "Homophobe! What, do you hate gay people or something?!?!?" The fact that they thought being a lesbian was a bad thing, an actual insult, made me more angry than the fact that they were trying to insult me.

I don't know why, but even though I identify as straight, homophobia has always been a contention of mine, and fighting against it has always been my passion. I can't explain it - it bothers me more than racism and ableism, and just a tad more than sexism, but gender discrimination and homophobia are closely related in my mind anyway. (Well, all the -isms are, because at the very core, they are all about preventing other human beings from having an equal chance at happiness and opportunity in life.)

Anyway... so, even though some people (even teachers, even teachers at my own school) would disagree with my decision, I think it's really important to teach tolerance, of EVERYONE. I don't think that it's okay to teach kids not to use the n-word, but then NOT address their use of the word "fag," you know? That's like saying, "Well, you shouldn't hate other races, but it's okay if you hate gays." I'm not trying to change people's religious beliefs or personal values (though, secretly, I would like to, VERY MUCH). There's a difference between disapproval and hatred. Everyone has their personal prejudices and their things that they disapprove of - it doesn't mean it's okay to treat a person with disrespect or to take away their rights as human beings. For example, I disapprove of evangelicals who go door-to-door, but I'm not going to bully one or threaten to beat them up if they don't stay off my porch. (For the record: I don't have a porch, and my condo building has a security gate. I'm safe for now.) I disapprove of who they are and what they do, but I'm not going to say that they don't deserve to live or that they shouldn't have the same rights that I do. But I guess not everyone sees things my way. There are people who think that all people who are not straight should not have the right to marry, the right to hold hands in public, or even the right to live. And that's wrong. I'm sorry, but it just IS. (No, wait, I'm not sorry. It's just wrong, period, and I don't mind telling you so.)

So I'm trying to fight the good fight, starting with my students. They don't know much. A few weeks ago, as I was about to show the infamous "morning after" scene of Zefirelli's Romeo and Juliet (where there is a pretty long shot of Romeo's naked butt), I told my kids, "If this makes you uncomfortable, you can look away." And one boy asked, "If you don't, will it make you gay?" And I was about thisclose to putting him on blast in front of the entire class (which I usually try to avoid doing, because teachers humiliating students does absolutely no good). But a part of me knew that he really had no idea and he wasn't just trying to be a smartass.

I'm just astounded by what kids these days don't know, and I think it's because no one will tell them. Sexuality is such a taboo topic - people don't even like to teach kids about sex and safety, let alone the complexities of something like sexual orientation and gender identity. It's a topic that is personal as well as political, and the funny thing is, the people who are the most vocal about it are the people who are the most strict, the most conservative. There are SO many people who have no problem saying sex is bad, people who have lots of sex are bad, people who have sex with their own gender are bad, people who don't identify as the sex they are born with are bad..... and they don't give a crap about who they're offending. But those of us who are here to preach equality and tolerance and understanding - we have to walk on eggshells? WE have to worry about offending people, when we just want everyone to get along? That's total crap. That makes me angry.

So I DO see it as my job to teach tolerance. If I don't, who will? I can't just pass it off as someone else's responsibility. As far as I know, other than in Facing History, no one really talks about this stuff. (And that class is an elective, so not everyone takes it, and it's for upperclassmen, and I think that teaching tolerance should start earlier.)

But I don't feel like what I'm doing is enough. I only reach two or three classes of freshmen per year... I know that's better than nothing, but I feel like it's not enough. I want to do more. I need to do more. I feel like my real calling is towards social justice issues, but I don't know how to get there. I would love to work as a Facing History educator/researcher (and I have in fact emailed the person I know who leads the local chapter) - maybe I should be showing other teachers how to address these issues in class.

I need a job where I can freely say, "No, that way of thinking is just WRONG" because that will actually be my job, rather than having to worry constantly about offending someone just because I'm trying to open their minds. I need a job where the will of the person who hates does not prevail over the will of the person who accepts.

Or maybe I just need to live and work in a place where everyone thinks like I do on the subject. Got any suggestions?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Note to self: I need one of those 80's-style terrycloth headbands

Run 4:00, Walk 1:00
2.14mi
30:00

It was hard, but I wasn't dying. In fact, I finished strong (though, I had to employ visualization and pep-talking to get through the last two minutes).

I can't believe I'm up to 4:00 now. That's awesome.

Squee!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Look, Ma! No vomit!!!

Run 3:00, Walk 1:00
30:00
2.11mi

Considering how the last time I attempted the 3:00 run interval, I threw up in my mouth a little, I think that I have definitely improved, and that slowing down my training program was vital. I felt strong, nothing hurt, was breathing a little hard, but not much harder than when I was doing the 2:00 interval. So I am HAPPY!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sylvi, in progress

Check it out!
It's been a while since I've posted about my knitting!
I've been working on Sylvi by Mari Muinonen since May of last year, and FINALLY I have all the main parts done, and it's all seamed together! I just need to do the hood and the flower petals - but it's not like those are going to go quickly either (especially the petals!)

Still, it's the most beautiful thing I've ever made, and the most ambitious, technique-wise. And, surprisingly, error-free (*knock on wood!*). I'm definitely proud of this thing, and I hope I will get a chance to wear it before the weather gets too warm - I would love to show this thing off in person :)

Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This weather sucks for running

Run 2:00, Walk 1:00
30:00
2.02mi

No, I didn't run outside. I had to walk to the weight room. I know, I'm such a whiner.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

It's not a new realization, but one I've been thinking about a lot lately - I'm very different from most people. I don't like the same things that most people like. I don't laugh at the same things most people laugh at.  I'm just different.

I'm not TRYING to be a contrarian. True, hearing something being totally hyped automatically makes me raise my eyebrows and approach it with skepticism, but I do ultimately make my own decisions about what I like (please refer to "The Twilight Saga," which is extremely popular, and I enjoy it anyway, despite the knowledge that I will be looked at as a weirdo or a teenybopper). I'm not one of those angsty goth chicks who automatically hates everything that is mainstream and popular just for the sake of being alternative. I just follow where my eyes, ears, and heart tell me to go, and they usually go somewhere... else.

There is no ultimate wrong or right in this situation, but it does get really frustrating when I don't like some of the things that everyone else I know seems to like. And before you ask me, "Well, why do you care what everyone thinks?", I will say that that includes some of the people I like most or care about most, so their opinions DO matter. I honestly couldn't care what the (faceless, nameless) popular media thinks I should like, but it does kind of rub me the wrong way when people who I generally like start getting on my case.

I guess the question that should be asked is not why do _I_ care what they think, but why do THEY care what _I_ think? If I don't like something, what's it to you? Does it offend your sensibilities? Does it make you think less of me? I try to be very careful to judge only the thing in question, and not the people who like them, so why are you trying to judge me?

I will never understand why people will not allow for difference of opinion when it comes to things that are basically harmless (tastes in music, tv, movies, etc, as opposed to political or social issues or something). I guess it's validating to know that other people feel the way you do, and I guess it's particularly validating when LOTS of people feel the way you do, and when someone disagrees with you, it can feel like a personal attack.

But still... I'm not judging you because you like PCs and I like Macs, or because you like Tumblr and I'm sticking with Blogspot. It's no skin off your back, so please get off mine.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Slow and Steady finishes the race, not Shin Splints Obtained From Pushing Too Hard

Run 2:00, Walk 1:00
30:00
2.02mi

Suitably challenging, comfortably hard. A little dizzy because I didn't have much to eat today, because of a dentist appointment.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ugh. What a day.

I don't like complaining about work too much on public parts of the internet, so I won't go into too much detail, but yesterday was one of the longest days ever, and there were issues with students and staff all day.

First of all, it's the day before spring break, and the first week of standardized testing. Therefore, kids are basically unhinged because it's been a really unusual week schedule-wise, and they are ALL ready for a vacation. We all are (teachers too) because we haven't had a break since February.

Second of all, it's junior prom day, and for whatever reason, we can't make it through any major event of the year without some huge mix-up happening, or making people incredibly angry with us, or other people making us angry at them. And I'm a lot more emotional than Lisa or Michael, so I get upset REALLY easily, and when I get really upset, I have trouble shaking it off.

So, it was a day of frustrations and angry emails and students misbehaving, and I had a massive case of nausea and fatigue through it all (no I'm not pregnant) because the night BEFORE, I went to sleep late because Jolie was screaming and crying at full power for three hours straight. She wouldn't let me put her down the whole afternoon and evening (this is the usual age for separation anxiety), and when I finally got her down for a nap, she woke up screaming after half an hour. I think she is entering the age of night terrors, so she was inconsolable for three hours. She didn't want me to hold her, but she didn't want me to put her down, and finally, I just had to put her in her crib and shut the door and walk away, and eventually she wore herself out and slept the whole night.

So yeah... I was already tired going to work on Friday, and the entire day was just stress and frustration and ill-feeling. (You know it's a bad day when you have to write two referrals before you can go home.) I was totally falling asleep at my hair appointment. (I need to stop going there right after work, because I did the same thing getting my haircut a week or two ago.)

The fun part was putting on my makeup and getting dressed, though I was pressed for time because I had to make sure to eat dinner before I left, since they were only going to serve desserts at prom.

I made it on time, and was the first adult there. Note to all working adults everywhere: if you are assigned a responsibility that requires you to show up at a certain time, BE THERE ON TIME. Or, at most, be just a few minutes late. Don't be half an hour late. Don't NOT show up at all (as one teacher did). We were supposed to arrive by 7, tour the facility and get our front tables set up, and then start letting kids in at 7:30. There were adults who didn't arrive until 7:20 or 7:25, and we had to let kids in late. (And there were large groups of kids arriving early.)

Seriously, teachers, how can you expect kids to care about showing up to your class on time if you can't show up to your duty on time? Why is it okay for you to stroll in late but you get to give your student a hard time for stopping to pee between classes? Set the example please. It's your job.

Prom was eventually under way - the kids all looked spiffy in their fancy clothes. It never fails to amuse me how much the girls try SO hard to look all glamorous and grown-up, like a celebrity walking the red carpet at the Oscars. Girls, some of you can't even drive yet. You have no business dressing like a 35-year-old! And it's funny because what keeps them from actually passing themselves off as "older" is their mannerisms and behavior. There are certain life lessons you learn as an adult that show themselves in your eyes and your face and the way you carry yourself, and obviously teenagers lack that. So, until they grow up, they will always be little girls playing dress up.

There was finally the inevitable moment of having to approach the dance floor area. Most teachers hate chaperoning dances because of this - we don't want to see kids doing dirty grinding on the dance floor. We're supposed to go in and bust them (we have a no-freaking policy), but seriously? Who wants to even go NEAR people when they're doing dirty shizz like that? I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole.

And I'm NOT what you would call a prude. I am definitely not easily embarrassed, and I am of the belief that sex should not be treated as this dirty, shameful thing that society needs to hide and treat as a taboo. (In fact, I believe that if sex were treated as something normal and healthy and natural, there wouldn't be so many societal issues involving sexuality and certain gender issues.) I believe that teens should be taught about safe sex and protection, rather than just abstinence.

So what REALLY bothers me, then, is that a SCHOOL event is not the place to be getting your freak on. Sexual activity is normal and healthy and natural, but it does NOT belong in a crowd of two hundred people in a public place where there are also teachers and principals present and your parents are coming at the end of the evening to pick you up.

It also reeks of a lack of self-respect and respect for others around you. Not to sound antiquated, but have some goddamn decorum. Going to an occasion where you put on a tux or a fancy dress and there are table linens and fondue fountains is not the same as going to a sweaty nightclub in New York. I'm all for non-conformity and not caring what others think, but there are some instances where you SHOULD care about the impression you're making. I'm not a big fan of the word "slutty," because I feel it's very anti-feminist, but seriously, it's slutty, and I'm using that word to apply to both guys and girls. I highly doubt that these kids are mature enough to understand the concept of embracing their sexual agency and challenging the social taboo associated with sex, because that's a very adult concept (ie, Samantha from Sex and the City). I think that they are hormonal and self-entitled, meaning, they will do whatever the hell they want, and they don't care how it affects other people around them (ie, those of us who have to be there and really don't want to see that s***), because the only thing they care about is what they want and what they feel, and damn everyone else.

Anyway, off my soapbox now.

The evening was long, and I wanted to go nap in my car SO bad, but I definitely didn't want to get in trouble if something happened and I wasn't there. And I didn't want to leave other people in the lurch. I was pretty annoyed, at a number of things, and by the end, I was just sitting there, alone, glaring at nothing in the immediate distance, as a bunch of us teachers were waiting for kids to be picked up. I must've looked pretty miserable because our admin let us go. I hate being the downer all the time, but... I really just don't enjoy this part of my job, and I'm not good at pretending otherwise. At least I tried to be miserable sitting off by myself instead of sitting WITH the other teachers and being miserable.

I got home around one in the morning, and after winding down and removing ALL my make up and combing out my teased-up hair, it was another hour before my head finally hit the pillow, a full 21 hours since I woke up that morning. At long last.

(And then I had to get up early to tend to the baby.)

Bombshell Prom

Let it be known that I hate dances. I hated them in high school, and I especially hate them now as a high school teacher, because we're supposed to bust kids for inappropriate dancing, and that is just NOT fun. It's kind of squicky and gross, and no teacher wants to go near that.

But, I'll be damned if I don't take this opportunity to get all dolled up!

Dress by Pinup Girl Clothing, hair by my stylist Maggie!

 This is not how I looked for my own junior prom, by the way. Here's me at my junior prom TEN YEARS AGO:

 (Same necklace, though!)

I wasn't cool enough to know how to put it together. As a kid, your prom options are very generically satin and glittery, because that's all the big stores sell. (Even now, as I discovered when I went dress shopping. I ordered mine online.) But as an adult with my own vision and sense of style, this was totally fun to dress up for.

So, onto the part you really want to know about... my make up:

On my face:
- Stila One-Step - since I usually put on my makeup after showering (washing my face and moisturizing immediately), putting on my face at the end of the day was something different. I re-moisturized, waited a little for it to soak in, and then applied the One-Step, and it was PERFECT. Perfect matte finish, not too much coverage, and didn't look all powdery and weird.

On my cheeks:
- Laura Gellar Blush & Bronze - applied with an angled brush on the apples of my cheeks
- Lola Treat 'n Glo duo in Laid Back Chic - I used just the highlighter side, and since it's a VERY soft powder, I used touches of it, applied with the tip of my angled blush brush on my temples, cheekbones, forehead, nose, and chin

On my eyes (light this time!):
- Maui Wowie blended up past the crease
- Sellout to smudge the line
- Tokidoki Perfetto eyeliner - just a thin line along the upper lid and then flicked up slightly at the ends
- Urban Decay eyelash primer potion
- Maybelline The Colossal Diamonds mascara

On my lips:
- Urban Decay 24/7 lip pencil in Gash - outlined and then filled in the lips
- Urban Decay lipstick in Gash - on top of the lipliner fill, and blotted

I was going to do false eyelashes, but ran out of time. I also would've taken better close-up pictures, so you could see the detail of my makeup, but alas, an advisor's duty is never done! I was later than I thought. So here's the closest picture I managed to get (cropped from a photo with a student):

So, even though I didn't feel so great having to chaperone prom, at least I looked good :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Has anyone seen my lunch? I lost it about two miles back.

Run 3:00, Walk 1:00
Time: 30:00
Distance: 2.1mi

I feel queasy. The 2min interval was suitably challenging, but the extra minute, for mental and physical reasons, was HARD. I barely recovered in between. I mean, I survived it, and ran every interval, but I was NOT comfortable. I wasn't sprinting, but I was definitely approaching a wall there.

I've got some thinking to do, about whether I either want to increase my walk interval (because the running is only going to get harder from here), or to slow down the rate at which I'm increasing my run interval. From here on out, I pretty much am adding one minute (at least!) with each workout, and that might be too much for me to handle. I'm not sure I am ready to run a 4min interval tomorrow. And my marathon training program has its longest run interval at 5mins, and that doesn't come up until the second half, so... do I really need to be able to run a 30min stretch in the next two months?

If I increase every other workout instead of every workout, I will make it to running a 15:00 interval by the time I need to start my training. That should be sufficient, right? The marathon program starts at Run 3, Walk 2, then doesn't change until seven weeks in.

On the other hand, I'm fairly certain I could recover from any run interval in two minutes.

So, I don't know if I should adjust the run intervals, or adjust the walk intervals.

And please don't lecture me about how if I can't run for 3:00, then I shouldn't be attempting a marathon. I'm GOING to do it, and you can't talk me out of it. So just help me make it easier.

Victory is mine.

I lost four pounds this week. *pats self on back* Going by my starting weight in November, I've lost a total of 17 pounds (that includes all the skating-but-not-WWing that I did, and now I'm now WWing-but-not-skating-but-am-running). All things considered, I haven't been this weight for a few years. It's a nice feeling.

Must go running now! I am so tired today, I was starting to fall asleep during the Weight Watchers meeting. (Okay, it was a little boring and hokey too, and that didn't help.) I need some treadmill to get  me going.

A downer day, and it's only 10am

A few of the girls from my bootcamp class have announced on FB that they're official SVRG league members now. And while I am thrilled for them, I am finding myself thoroughly depressed. They are where I hoped to be, where I wanted to be so badly, but I'm not there, nowhere near it. It's really depressing me.

The truth is, I haven't skated since the end of bootcamp because I just can't bring myself to. It hurts a lot (and I'm not talking about muscles). I'm not angry or bitter towards anyone - I love those girls! - but skating has become touchy for me because I'm so goddamn depressed about it. I'm sad that I didn't pass, and I'm sad that I would've been a derby girl by now if I had passed, and even though I still love the sport, right now I just can't jump back on the horse because it still makes me sad. I don't want to get too in-depth right now, because I'm typing this from a location where I don't have the luxury of crying if I need to, but let that be an indication of how I feel - if I talk about it too much, I will cry.

Monday, April 12, 2010

woo-eee!

Run 2:00, Walk 1:00
30:00 - 2.03mi

Holy geez, that was quite tough. I was started to breathe a little heavy by the last rep, but I survived it, and I managed to recover well enough on the one minute walk interval, so I'm pretty pleased with how I did :)

So far, so good

I decided last week to re-join Weight Watchers, and so far, so good. It's not as hard as I remember it being, and I think it's just because I've got motivation on my side, and I'm more settled in to my routine. (Before, I was trying to do Weight Watchers, and derby, AND go back to work from maternity leave at the same time. Something had to give.) I also ran four times last week, which is awesome. I can't remember the last time I was so motivated to run - I'm feeling good, and I'm feeling strong, and I'm excited for my workout every time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Congratulations, self!

You've officially completed your first full week of running!

Interval: R1, W1
30:00
1.9miles

Felt great! Even though it was a morning run (which I haven't done in a while). Legs did not get tight or heavy. Was strong all the way through.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Review: Urban Decay's Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer

At last!
I've been waiting for UD to release a tinted moisturizer! I liked their Surreal Skin mineral powder, and their liquid surreal skin was just okay. I don't even actually need that much coverage, and even though I have numerous other face products/moisturizers that I love, I was really excited, because UD is my favorite brand, and I wanted to see how theirs would be.

It's not yet available at our UD counter, so I had to order mine. I normally wear Hallucination in UD's foundations/concealers, but... that's not an option for these TMs. From what I could tell of the "swatches" on the site, I was probably right in between Bulletproof (medium) and Bodyguard (medium light), but I wasn't sure. I decided to go a little darker, just because I know that summer's coming up, and I know I will be out running a lot, so I will definitely tan.

And I was right - Bulletproof is exactly my skin tone, but a shade tanner. Not so tan that I looked weird, but I think I looked like I had a bronze glow. Nice.

The coverage was excellent (just barely there, but definitely there), and I have to say that I LOVED that it was a light texture. I have Stila's tinted moisturizer with SPF 30, and it really is thick like sunscreen. (I like it too, but that's my one complaint.) UD's feels like a moisturizer. My skin felt soft all day. I didn't put powder over it because I didn't want that much coverage.

Urban Decay, I love you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Picnik fun


Today's workout

Run 1:00, Walk 1:00 - alternate for 30:00

Total distance: 1.9 miles

I was worried about how I'd adjust from walking 2:00 to walking 1:00 - getting half as much rest for each interval. But I must be in better shape than I thought, because it wasn't bad at all. I don't remember making this transition easily the previous times I've tried this program.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Today's workout

Same as last time: Run 1:00, Walk 2:00 for 30 minutes. Same mileage and whatnot.

My knees felt better this time. And I was recovering faster. I was watching the clock during my walk breaks to see how soon I felt "ready," and I think I was recovering in a minute. Which is good, because starting tomorrow, my walk breaks are only 1 minute. Yeeps.

Official Weight Watchers weigh in (Wednesday is my day): 192.4 pounds. On the downside, I've lost less than a pound since my last trip to the doctor's last month (and I know it's my fault). On the upside, I've hit my 5% weight goal that was set the first time I joined WW. So, I'm lighter in general, even if at a slower rate. Hooray!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Messing with Picnik

I've been pretty interested in pictures lately, and a big part of pictures (sometimes) is "post-production," as they call it in the film world - the effects you add AFTER you're done shooting. I just found out about Picnik.com, a web-based photo editing site, and it's everything I've ever wanted to learn on Photoshop, but totally easier, and cheaper (free!!! and even the premium account is cheaper than Photoshop!)

So, here are some examples. I'll give the original and then the edited version.

A photo from my beauty blog:
This is the original.
Edited
I can't remember what all the changes were - I did some softening, I raised the highlight level, I did the "vignette" effect, which does the blurry black edges. I upped the saturation level a little bit too, I think. Or I might have done none of those things, and completely forgotten :) I was just messing around.

One of my knitting projects:
Already a bright photo with lots of strong colors

Edited
I wanted to make my photo look kind of old and vintage, so I did a 60's effect, and again, I messed with the saturation and brightness.

Original
Edited
Stronger color, softened, vignette edging. Jolie looks super pinky :)

Oh, forgot to log last night's workout

It's the most important one: Workout #1! The first step is the hardest.

Treadmill set to 1% - will stay at this elevation for a while - will only note if it changes
Ran at 4.6mph (13:02 pace), walked at 3.0 (20:00 pace) - will stay at this pace for the whole time - will only note if it changes

Workout:
(Run 1:00, Walk 2:00) for 30:00

Logged (does not include warm-up and cool-down):
1.75 miles in 30:00

An Open Letter

Dear Weight Watchers:

When I click on Points Tracker, I expect you to take me to my Points Tracker. I am sick to death of being taken to your "What's New" page. "What's New" has ceased to be new to me. I'm tired of seeing how excited you are about your iPhone app. I may be one of five people in the world who don't have an iPhone, but I'm a paying customer nonetheless. Fix your goddamn website.

Sincerely, Your Back-On-The-Wagon Client Who Already Hates Having To Track Points But You're Just Making It Worse By Having A Buggy Website.

Monday, April 5, 2010

So, I've decided to re-join Weight Watchers.

I admit it. I need diet help. I suck at monitoring my diet.

I hated doing the points monitoring, because it meant that I had to spend SO much time thinking about food, but... maybe that's the way to go. Maybe I HAVE to think about food ahead of time, because mindless eating is what gets me overweight - all the crazy pigging out and stuff.

There are so many things to think about... I'm not good at all this stuff. Right now, I'm going to try to meet my points totals and when I get better at this, I will start trying to figure out how to hit every food group.

I plan to go to the Wednesday night meetings to weigh in. I have no idea what I am now. Wish me luck!

Keep swimming or die

Apparently I'm like a shark: When I had derby, and Trojan Olympics, and whatever else I was doing, I could do it all. Now that I have nothing going on... I completely crash. I work, I go home, I hold my baby, I feed her, and then I conk out on the couch for a couple hours. Even on the weekends, when I could sleep and wake as early or late as I wanted to, I would hit the mid-afternoon drag and I just wouldn't be able to keep my eyes open.

What's happening to me? Is it a form of depression? Is it my body just trying to catch up after months of running around frantically? Is it my sudden lack of exercise (and resulting lack of endorphins)? All I know is, before I was doing LOTS, and now, I feel like I can't do anything. (Except buy lots of makeup, apparently.)

I've got to start running soon, in order to be in some sort of decent shape for marathon training. But how do I get my butt to the gym when I can't even stay awake by 4pm? You know, when I was doing derby, and I was really tired after work, I would NOT let myself nap before practice, because it makes me disoriented and dazed and completely destroyed my focus. I think I need to stop napping. And get moving.

You know, I was so proud of myself for going down a pant size (well, depending on the brand) last week, and it would really be a shame to go back up. I need to make some PLANS, honey. And get back to being badass.

This afternoon: grocery shopping, Giants opening game (early start, so early finish), and I think I will make myself go running after that. I've been feeling like deadweight lately, and I'm the only person who can change that, so... I need to change that.

And TOMORROW, I am definitely going skating at night. I need it. I've been having second thoughts lately about September bootcamp, just because... if I'm really going to commit to training for this marathon, I don't want to risk getting injured doing derby. But, I suppose, if that's going to be my logic, then there's no reason why I should wait until September to quit. So, I think I will wait and see what kind of progress I'm making in either venture. If I'm not much better at skating by September, and I'm totally on track with my marathon training, then I think I will know what path to choose.

Duping in reverse

Okay, normally when you're looking for a dupe, it means that you're trying to find a cheaper, more easily available version of something that is (obviously) expensive or hard to find. But today I'm duping in reverse:

Yesterday being Easter, there was nothing open except for my local Walgreen's, so that's where I decided to pass some time (I need to pick up some baby items), so of course I spend a lengthy amount of time browsing the makeup section.

I've seen the following palette many times, but this time I was actually considering getting it. I've seen lots of "brown eyes" palettes, and I've even tried Almay's before - they have lots of purple palettes, and then THIS one, which is very not purple:

What the heck IS "light interplay technology" anyway?
I decided against getting it, because I was sure I had those colors already: a salmon-y peach, a dark brown, and a cream color, all shimmery. And low and behold, I did, in my Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows:

So here's what I used on my eyes:
- Chessur (aka, Chopper) all over my lid
- Mad hatter (aka, Twice Baked) blended into the crease
- Drink Me, Eat Me (aka, Sin) as a highlight (I know, not cream, but cream looks weird on my skin)

Plus Zero eye pencil and Colossal Diamonds mascara.

And here's the result. Does it make my brown eyes pop? UD doesn't have Almay's "light interplay technology," but I don't even know what that means anyway - UD is more pigmented and shimmery than Almay shadows anyway, IMO.

Ta-da! So that was duping in reverse - I used the high-end cosmetics that I already had to mimic a drugstore look :) But hey, since I didn't end up buying any more makeup, it saved me 8 bucks, so there we go.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Today's look: Easter Candy Pink

I don't actually celebrate Easter, but I do love chocolate... and eggs...

Here's how to get your pastel groove on...

Products I used:

Urban Decay Book of Shadows II, Ink for Eyes, and my MAC triumvirate of pink lips. Also, Maybelline's The Colossal (the new one with "diamonds," whatever that means. Whatever, I saw no diamonds!)

The eyes:
Sphynx, all over my lid - this color looks like what would happen if cotton candy and bubblegum got into a fight and bled all over the place.

A touch of Twice Baked, blended into the crease with a crease brush. This color is like a chocolate brownie with flecks of gold glitter in it. (Tiny glitter, not chunky glitter.)

Ink for Eyes in Demolition, which is literally a plain dark brown. Urban Decay NEVER has plain anything (except for Zero, their black), so this is the first brown with no glitter, no green, no gold, no plum, nothing else. Just brown. And I love it.

And then topped with some mascara, and voila! Give me some Easter candy!

Other notes: I traced a light line of UD's eye pencil in Underground under my eyes just to add some shimmer interest, and I'm wearing my Laura Gellar blush to add some pink to my face.

Jolie's first playdate

I was so busy posting pictures on Facebook yesterday that I didn't blog anything :)

So, Jolie had her first playdate with baby Mai. Mai is the daughter of my friend Le from high school, who is in town visiting from New York. They are three months apart, but are pretty much the same size because Jolie was a little small (preemie, remember?) and Mai was a little big. (In fact, as far as birthweight goes, I think Mai was twice Jolie's weight - 8 pounds vs. 4 pounds.)

Le and I had been in communication CONSTANTLY since she found out she was pregnant - since we weren't far apart in terms of due date, it was like having a pregnancy buddy, and we've been following each other's babies since they were born, so it was really great to finally have them meet. We hope that, despite being on two different coasts (I'm in California, Le's in New York), they could grow up to be friends.

Here are some photos from yesterday's playdate:

Brunch at Bill's - their first meeting. Mai tries to eat Jolie.
"What are you doing with MY mom?" Mai is still trying to eat Jolie.
Aww, former ND girls and future ND girls :)
Playtime on the mat!

"Why are they yelling at us? What are they saying?" "Dude, I dunno."

Mai starts to roll over into Jolie. Jolie's not sure what to do....

So she puts her hand on Mai's face, and Mai grabs Jolie's arm. All the adults in the room are in HYSTERICS.

Mai still trying to eat Jolie. Jolie not amused.
All in all, they really seemed to like each other. Jolie was smiling and cooing at her "Ngo sister" and seemed to like Mai instantly. (Both mothers have the same last name - though we're not related - but the babies have different last names because of their fathers. Also, both babies are part-Vietnamese!)

So yeah, yesterday was baby overload. Le and Mai will be back for summer, so we're hoping for lots of trips to the beach and swimming in the pool!

The Adventures of Jolie and Mai to be continued :)

New camera, new photos of Jolie!

Tax return = I can buy myself something I can't normally afford. In this case, it's the Canon Powershot SX120 IS.

I'm trying to learn more about the specifics of photography. I found a good site that illustrates the ideas of ISO, aperture priority, and shutter speed, and while my new camera is not even a DSLR and doesn't have nearly the same range that those cameras do, I have to say that the new pictures I'm taking are already better, just because this one is so much better than my previous camera in terms of its features. And it's totally easy once you figure out the vocabulary.

So without further ado, here are some new photos I took of Jolie, just hanging around:
oh hai!

Seriously, stop taking pictures and PICK ME UP.

Really? I have to get all the way from one side of the bed to the other by myself?

I'm sick of this crawling s***! Please pick me up!

Yay! Baby, blanket, and bear... what more is there to life?

Bear is my best friend :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New at Sephora: Tokidoki!

Tokidoki is a Japanese-inspired line by Italian artist Simone Legno. Just like another Japanese-inspired line (Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Lovers comes to mind), it's cute and colorful, and has just enough of a touch of badass to keep it from being totally Sanrio. The line includes apparel, accessories, handbags, and... makeup.

Sephora has JUST started carrying Tokidoki cosmetics (literally, a couple days ago), and I have to admit, I was drawn in by the packaging - the single eyeshadow pans are shaped like a heart and crossbones! The colors are cool! If UD is edgy and glam, then Tokidoki is edgy and cutesy.

I hauled myself to my local Sephora to check things out, and decided on their Cromatico eyeshadow palette in Diamante, and their eyeliner pen in Sabochan (black).


So, first up: the Sabochan eyeliner pen:

I have to say, this is my new favorite liquid liner. I'm not exactly steady-handed, so true liquid-liner brushes can sometimes be sloppy for me. So, I have tried to find some felt-tip liners that I liked, and they've all gone on unevenly, or not opaque enough. And this one was just perfect. (See swatch photo way, way below.)

Next: the palette. Technically, it's a palette, but if I start calling it The Cube, this is why:
This is the in-box packaging
The Cube
 Doesn't Tokidoki win the Best Presentation award? And that's not all. It's a cube, but the eyeshadow pans themselves are not cubey. So what did they do with the rest of the internal space?


 That's right. A cute little character charm.


Admittedly, I'm not familiar with the characters, so I don't know which one this is. Though, since the palette is called Diamante, I would guess that this is the character Diamante?

Okay, so on to the shadows themselves:

Clockwise from top left: Diamante (glitter), Rubino (shimmer), Nancy Rocks (shimmer), and Romeo (shimmer); all except Rubino are available as singles.

The texture is smooth, but it's not as pigmented as what I'm used to from UD. But still, they're decent. I'd say they're on par with the Kat Von D shadows I've tried - it just takes a couple more layers. There are two other palettes (Adios, which is white/silver/gray/black, and Bastardino, which is gold/browns/green), and they both look awesome. I chose this one because I wear purples most of the time. (They have another fuschia-purple single called Killer Candy, which I plan to get in the future.)

So, here are the swatches:
Rubino, Diamante, Romeo, and Nancy Rocks, and Sabochan beneath it
As you can see, shadows are sheer-ish, and the liquid line is PERFECT.

So, some action shots. I'm wearing Rubino alone (I used a clean brush to blend into the crease), with Sabochan and (MUFE mascara):




Love! I will definitely be back for more Tokidoki. Especially since it's a bit less expensive than what I'm used to.