Monday, February 28, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget.

My picture for this one would be of a specific person, and I can't really post just post this person's picture, for obvious reasons. And I can't even post a picture of anything associated with this person without it being really obvious, so...... let's just leave it at that. :(

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel

Um, I'd kind of die of happiness if I got to go on a Jane Austen tour:

JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) sponsors a different tour every year, of various Austen-related places. This summer, they're going on a Sense and Sensibility -inspired tour. I really, really, really want to do a P&P -inspired tour sometime, or maybe Persuasion, since they go to Bath AND Lyme Regis.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fun with color

I was taking a look at the Burning Heart palette from Sugarpill Cosmetics:

And while I LOVE the idea of such bright, pigmented colors, I had to ask myself... would I really wear these colors? Do they even look good on me? I wear purple a lot, so that one isn't an issue, but red, yellow, and orange? Really?

So I decided to break out my trusty ELF 100-color palette and test them out. (Keep in mind, of course, that there's no way these ELF shadows will be as pigmented as the Sugarpill ones.) Eyeliner is Zero by Urban Decay.

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 19 - A picture of a habit you wish you didn't have.

This for sure goes along with "my biggest insecurity."

Oh, how I wish I could quit you...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 18 - A picture of your favorite place.

Only fitting, since I'm leaving my favorite place to go home today...

I regret not getting a chance to go hang out downtown this time around, but when I come up here, I don't have my own car. As nice as Beaverton is, Portland is really where my heart belongs, because Portland is where I went to college, and college is where I really started figuring out who I am. To me, Portland is Powell's, record stores, Mio Sushi, fareless square, the Crystal Ballroom, Cup and Saucer, cheap parking garages, thrift stores, Regal Fox Tower, and lots of awesome vegan food. (No, I'm not vegan, but I like vegan food.) Portland is where my adult life started, where I learned about activism and strength, and where I would pick up and move IN AN INSTANT if the opportunity presented itself.

I love Portland.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: A Two-fer, since I missed yesterday's

Day 16 - A picture of you and your friends.

I don't have one picture with all my best friends together, since my group of friends is comprised of people from different parts of my life, so here are a whole bunch:

Day 17 - A picture of your biggest insecurity.

My weight is my biggest insecurity. I think I look really fat here. :(

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die.

I want to complete a marathon. At least one, and sooner rather than later, but for sure, before I die, I will complete a marathon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without.

This is my family. (This photo was taken in 2006 at my grad school commencement at UC Irvine.)

I can't imagine my life without them. I'd be nothing without them. I'm lucky that I've grown up with such a solid family unit - I grew up spending lots of time with both my immediate family and my extended family, so I feel very fortunate that I've had so many people in my life to care about and who care about me.

My brother and I have always gotten along, and I'm glad for that, because I can't imagine being one of those people who never speaks to my brother. We're four years apart, and I think that gives us just enough distance to get along really well. We are there for each other. When I first got pregnant and my parents were *NOT* happy with me (understatement of the year), my brother was the family member who helped me stay strong. When he first got engaged and my parents were *NOT* happy with him, I did my best to support him. Sometimes "kids" understand each other better than "grown-ups" do, and so we've always had each other.

My mom is tiny, but she is strength. She holds a lot together even when things are rough. There is always some drama going on with her side of the family, between her siblings and my grandma, and my mom (who is the second eldest of the seven kids) is usually the sounding board, which means that she carries a lot of the weight. She has always been a working mother as far as I can remember, but we've never lacked for her attention because she still puts in more than 100% when she gets home at the end of the day.

My dad is the one I'm more like. My mom is cute and bubbly and chatty - my dad is not as much of a talker, but when he has something to say, he will say it. My dad is the one who first taught me how to play the guitar and who kind of instilled the "techiness" in me because he shows me how to fix my computer. He sometimes seems like he is all business, but he also has a very caring, nurturing side. He is awesome with kids - almost every single cousin I have on either side of the family ADORES my dad (as does Jolie, needless to say). He made us freshly squeezed orange juice when we were younger, and now that we're adults, he makes us espresso.

I haven't been the easiest kid to raise - yeah, I always got good grades and never talked back, always came to family events, but then I have been through a tumultuous relationship, changed my major from biochem to English, and then got pregnant out of wedlock. They're not the perfect family either. But at the end of the day, we love each other, and we're thankful for each other, and we'd rather spend time together than not. And I'm very lucky to have the family that I have. For better or for worse, I would not be who I am today without them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

30 Things Item 20: Make some really good guacamole!

So, usually when one thinks "Jane Austen," one doesn't automatically think of guacamole. However, as my good friend Cristina and I made plans to get together while I'm up here in Portland, we both decided to get a couple things out of the way that we've never done before: she's never seen the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, and I've never made guacamole before (that didn't involve the packet of powdered seasoning), so we decided to do both. Because snacks with movies are good, and so is getting one of my 30 Things items done.

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist.

Well, what do you know?

I've actually been waiting for this blog topic to come up because my favorite band is RADIOHEAD and they just released a new album - by surprise! - on Friday.

New promotional photo!
Earlier in the week, on Facebook, they simply posted a link and "Thank you for waiting." And of course, we were all like, WTF??? And when you clicked the link, it took you to a website for their new album, with buying options and such. So of course, every single Radiohead fan just about pooped their pants. They told us that it would be available digitally on Saturday (yesterday), but then they ended up making it Friday instead.

And then the next day after their official announcement, they posted this:

And then we were even MORE excited!

I've had a chance to listen through once or twice, and I really like it. I swear, I'm not just saying it because it's Radiohead. (Though, Radiohead have rarely done anything that I don't like.) It's short, only 8 tracks, and it's really good background music - and I mean that in a good way. It's an album that you can put on and have playing while you're working, sitting, talking to other people, etc, and it's not going to intrude on your day, but it's also really GOOD music - when you WANT to pay attention to it, it definitely gives you something to pay attention to. That's what I mean when I say good background music; it's there when you want it to be, and when you need it to be in the background, it can be. Calling something good background music is a compliment, in my opinion, because it requires certain characteristics to fit that description.

Anyway... there are only 8 tracks, so I hope Radiohead will be releasing another album in the near future, because I like where they are going with this one.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 12 - A picture of something you love.

As much as I complain about it, I do actually love being an advisor. I love my officers and my co-advisors - I think we're an awesome team, and I will be sad when my kids graduate this year, since I've been with them for four years.

(I won't miss the workload and the stress though.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sweet Libertine swatches

I finally received a couple of my big orders from, and four of the shadows caught my eye especially - they are GORGEOUS, vibrant colors, and I had to crack them open right away to swatch them:

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 11 - A picture of something you hate.

I would prefer not to give attention to something that I hate, but since you asked...

I might've posted this once before - it's children, protesting on behalf of Fred Phelps/Westboro Baptist Church. It's one thing if you're a hateful adult who has lived in the world and formed your own bigoted opinions (and that is indeed bad enough), but these are CHILDREN. Children who don't know any better. I'm so disgusted.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FO: Tulip Top


This is the Tulip Top from SnB: Superstar Knitting. It's knit with Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (as called for by the pattern) in Nymph (blue) and Cotton Ball (white trim). For whatever reason, I ended up with a whole extra skein of the blue, even though I did everything as specified in the pattern and it fits fine.

It was a pretty easy knit - it was a good combination of mindless knitting and pay-attention knitting. AND the sleeves didn't require much (just the ribbed edging). I thought the yarn felt rough in the skein, but the knitted fabric is actually really soft, and it's the perfect weight for a springtime sweater.

This is the second pattern from SnB:SK, but the first one I knit ended up being off size-wise. This one came out perfectly, and I think it will be a staple in my wardrobe for a long time. And that bow is so durn cute.

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 09 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.

I have two:

My best friend Becca, whom I first met before the start of our freshman year of high school - we were all standing around waiting to take the test to get placed into Honors English at Notre Dame. And now, our 10-year high school reunion is quickly approaching. We've been through a lot, good and bad, but I know I can always count on her to give it to me straight. She is warm, caring, sees the good in everyone, and takes care of everyone.

My life partner and baby daddy, Jimmy. We met the summer before our sophomore year of high school - we were both young and cute and eager to spend time together. We've somehow managed to stay together through a lot of distance and turmoil, and somehow we've ended up, over twelve years later, with the most special little girl we could have ever asked for. He is someone who relentlessly refuses to settle for status quo, never just accepts what is fed to him. He is somehow able to be both a rapid thinker and a deep thinker, and I always have trouble keeping up with his thoughts. He is a playful and loving father, and I think that Jolie gets her quirky sense of humor and her perceptiveness from him.

Monday, February 14, 2011

NARS Shanghai Express

Another one to add to the red lipstick file! :)

This is a beautiful matte brick red that is more red than brown. It's just a hair brighter and redder than Viva Glam I. It is a little drying, but the formula is very light on my lips - a lot of times when I'm wearing lipstick or even just lip balm, I'm VERY conscious that it's there, but with this one, it almost feels like I'm not wearing anything at all.

This also happens to be the priciest lipstick I own now, though not by much - it's two dollars more than Urban Decay's lipsticks (but a good ten dollars more than MAC's).

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 07 - A picture that shows your true self.

I wasn't sure how to answer this one either - do I post a picture of myself knitting? Skating? Eating lots of cheese? All of these things are my true self.

And then I decided to keep it simple. I generally post a LOT of pictures of myself wearing makeup, so... here's who I am, underneath all that - no makeup, wet hair, bleary-eyed, photo unretouched, early in the morning before the first footprint has been made on the fresh surface of my day. It's not glamorous, it's not even pretty, but it's truly me.

Sorry, took this one with my iPhone

Happy Valentine's Day, from Radiohead????


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 06 - A picture of somewhere you've been.

This is the London Eye, a huge-mongous ferris wheel that goes really really slowly. You get to see incredible views of the city from inside one of the pods.

When I went to London for the second time ten years ago (after graduating high school), the Eye had been built by then. It was pretty awesome - the trip consisted of tours of various places in England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Other than that and one trip to Mexico, I haven't been out of the country since. I'm not much of a traveler, but if I were to plan a trip now, I would definitely go back to England and do some sort of lit nerd tour :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 05 - A picture of your favorite memory

You know, I'm not even entirely sure that I could pick a favorite memory. I'm not even sure how I would pick it. And then to find a photo of it? I don't even know if I can remember such a standout moment from my childhood or teenage years that I would have an actual photo of.

But here's one from my adult life that I will remember forever, that I will never regret, and that will stay with me until the day I die:

The birth of my daughter. For which I refer you to my epic blog post in which I describe the day in detail. Memorable not just because it was the day she arrived, but also the manner in which it happened.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February Birchbox

I've signed up for this service from, where for $10 a month, I receive a box of 4 or 5 deluxe health/beauty/lifestyle samples to try out (meaning, not just the little one-use foil packets) from high-end companies. I just got my first box from them, so I thought I would take a little more care to document this, because I'm SUPER excited:

Have I teased enough yet?

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 04 - A picture of your night.

I didn't go to derby practice last night because I wasn't feeling up to it, so I stayed in, and did what I always do when I stay in: mess with my makeup.

My latest thing is trying to decide whether I want to keep my MAC Russian Red lipstick - since I usually gravitate towards blue-based reds that are darker, this lipstick is something totally new for me, being brighter and more orangey on me (even though on other people, it's more pinky/blue-based).

So I took this photo of myself to consult with people online about what they thought. What do YOU think?

Please bear in mind that my eye makeup was from earlier in the day (and why would I completely redo my eye makeup just to test out a lipstick?) - I would NEVER purposefully wear green eyeshadow and red lips. I definitely subscribe to the "Wear neutral eyes with red lips" rule.

Compare my photo to, say, this one of Dita von Teese wearing the same color:

(I'm just shooting myself in the foot, aren't I?
Who in the world would ever come out on top
in a comparison against Dita von Teese?)
It looks like a totally different lipstick on her because she's got totally different skin tones from me. (She also has the whole pinup glamour thing going on that suits the lipstick well. I have messy hair and a sweater.) But... can I pull it off anyway???

So... I haven't had a chance to test-run Russian Red in natural light yet. I really have to be careful with my bottom lip right now because it split the other day - it really hurts, and is slow to heal, and all my swatching last night didn't help. So I'm strictly lip balm until my mouth is all better.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 03 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show

I had a really tough time with this one - I have lots of favorite shows, and they're all old! I only watch two shows that are currently producing new episodes, and they both are dramas that have vampires in them, by the way (The Vampire Diaries and True Blood).

My favorite series*:
- Coupling (British)
- The Office (British)
- Kids in the Hall
- Heroes
- Battlestar Galactica
- Daria
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yup - coulda guessed this one, right?)

The one I decided to go with for this blog post?

This is the show that speaks to me the most, because it's got a little of everything that I love - mystery, science, philosophy, paranormal phenomena, mythology/folklore, horror, humor... even a little romance and flirtation.

The strength of this show lies in the writing and portrayal of Mulder and Scully - they are my two perfect people. Honestly? Aside from his preoccupation with aliens to the point of endangering his own life, Mulder is totally my type of guy: smart, a little broody, witty, understated smirky sense of humor, and really passionate. He (along with Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables) is the one fictional male I would actually want to date in real life. And Scully is my HERO. She is absolutely beautiful without having to fit the "hot Maxim chick" mold, smart as all get-out, strong, brave, and totally tough.

Don't get me wrong - I like the aliens and ghosts and weird things that happen in every episode (well, not so much the aliens - that storyline was kind of overly convoluted), but with any good science fiction series, it's the way that those weird things brings out the elements of humanity that makes good science fiction good. And the humanity of the two main characters (as well as the numerous side characters in the show, whom you also have strong reactions to) is at the very heart of this series. You are watching them deal with fear and doubt, with knowledge and ignorance. You're watching them try to make sense of things that normal people shouldn't have to make sense of, grappling with the fact that continually, what they know about the world is being turned upside-down, and then grappling with the fact that almost no one will believe them. This puts the two of them in a unique position of being able to trust only each other, and so you are also seeing this relationship develop slowly over the course of nine seasons (and two movies). You like each of them individually, but you LOVE them together - I had a hard time watching episodes that featured only one or the other, because their chemistry and interaction are what MAKE the show. The human element, rendered all the more important by the non-human elements, is the best thing about The X-Files.

I didn't start watching X-Files until 2009, well after the show was over, so I had the ultra-privileged position of not having to wait in between episodes and seasons. I blitzed through Seasons 1-7 in the course of a year, and then waited a whole year before I could watch the last two, which I knew did not have much Mulder in them. (Remember? I can't handle them being split up.) Robert Patrick does a fine job stepping in, but it's just not the same. But now that I've pretty much finished the whole show and know what happens (including in the most recent movie that came out a couple years ago), I can probably relax and go back and enjoy the non-Mulder episodes of the last two seasons.

I watched so many so fast, that I can't even begin to name my favorite episodes. I have to consult an episode list here. These are the ones that I especially remember. (Not going to even try to provide summaries - just go here.)

1.12 - Beyond the Sea - Brad Dourif guest stars, and that's always awesome!
2.20 - Humbug
3.4 - Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose
4.7 - Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man
4.13 - Never Again - Jodie Foster as the tattoo voice! Scully gets some action!
5.5 - The Post-Modern Prometheus - I think this is the Cher one?
5.12 - Bad Blood - so funny!
6.4 and 6.5 - Dreamland and Dreamland II
6.6 - How the Ghosts Stole Christmas
6.14 - Monday
6.15 - Arcadia (just because it's hilarious seeing them pose as a couple)
6.18 - Milagro (the guy just stuck with me, I don't know why)
6.18 - The Unnatural - baseball episode!!! Of course I love it!
7.11 - Closure - haunting use of a Moby song, part 1
7.12 - X-Cops - just hilarious!
7.17 - All Things - haunting use of a Moby song, part 2 (though, unrelated to the first one)
7.21 - Je Souhaite
8.21 - Existence - the last scene = the moment we've all been waiting for
9.19 - The Truth, Parts 1 & 2 - the series finale!

I'm sure there are a bunch I'm leaving out - the summaries probably did not do the episodes justice. There are definitely lots of moments that are memorable, from episodes that might otherwise NOT be memorable, that I am not thinking of.

Mommy watched lots of X-Files while she was pregnant.
As you can tell, I really loved seasons 5-7 the best, not coincidentally the seasons where they started filming in LA and had higher production value. They were also doing a lot of episodes that were lighter in tone, funnier, and after watching season after season of really heavy, serious, spooky episodes, the funny episodes were just really great - like, you've stuck it out this long, so you get to be in on all the inside jokes, now that they have started making some :)

Okay, so... I've been going on and on about this show. I just love it. It's smart, it's scary, it's funny, and it really draws you in because you become really invested in Mulder and Scully - dare I say, even obsessed? Sometimes I actually MISS them. It's weird. I should probably stop watching so much tv.

*Note how my list of favorite shows, including X-Files, Vamp Diaries, and True Blood, consists of comedies that are not American (except Daria), and dramas that are not "normal human" dramas (either supernatural or sci-fi). Anyone care to analyze this?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Painted Ladies Weekly Challenge #3: Valentine's-inspired

Okay, so I know that it's supposed to be an EYE look that's inspired by Valentine's Day, but seriously, how can you have a romantic, sexy holiday without red lips??? They are the centerpiece of my look:

A not-too-dramatic eye look to complement the very dramatic red lips.

Here's what I used:


I got my new Z Palettes today! So I finally put all my BOS pans into them, and I'm so happy to present to you... my Ultimate Palette!!

I actually spent a good hour or two trying to figure out which shadows would make the cut. It took me so long because I wasn't actually at home with all my makeup, so I had to look things up, decide how many pans I could fit based on someone else's photo, decide which non-BOS shadows (if any) I wanted to include that came in the same size pan, etc.

Once I'd gotten all the colors that were exclusive to the BOSes, the remaining spots were taken up by either 1) pans I didn't already have duplicates of from other palettes (like Romp, which I do have a single of), or 2) colors I DID have a lot of, but that I really love (like Flipside, Shattered, or Flash).

Here's my arrangement:

Top row: Deluxe palette pans (Hey, they fit there, so why not? I couldn't get another row of the BOS pans in there)
Zero, Underground, Honey, Graffiti, Peace, ransom, Fishnet, Scratch, Shag

Row 2: Midnight Cowgirl (not from a BOS, but the only one Midnight Cowgirl pan I had, and the only Midnight Cow-anything shade that I actually like), Gridlock, Shakedown (obviously not the same as the matte one), Homegrown, Flipside, Goddess, Psychedelic Sister, Flash, X

Row 3: Nylon, YDK, Loaded, Kush, Shattered, Jinx, Rockstar, Ecstasy, Snatch

Row 4: Sidecar, Stray Dog, Protest, Money, Painkiller, Radium, Romp, Bordello (I love this one!), and Scandal

Bottom row: Suspect, Mushroom, Absinthe, Misdemeanor (it broke! :( ), Haight, Mayhem, AC/DC, Sphynx, and Sin 

So that is my "ultimate palette," just because if I lost it, I would be REALLY hard-pressed to replace most of those colors.

The rest of my square pans, the ones I had many duplicates of or that I didn't care for much, were relegated to the Miscellaneous Palette:

There were a select few pans that were able to fit in my large Zebra palette (which I posted previously), and those got to go there because there wasn't enough room in the Ultimate for them, but they weren't quite "Miscellaneous."

So, here's my full Z-Palette collection:

Space-saving, arranged more practically, easier to access. This was a fun project. I'm kind of sad that I've depotted all the palettes that I had wanted to. (There's no way I'm taking apart my Naked Palette.)

What to depot now? I'm holding off on my UD singles, just because I don't feel like I'm "done" with acquiring them yet. I DO, however, have a bunch of Wet n Wild trios that are begging to be combined... hmm... I'm going to have to wait until Z Palette's next sale...

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 02 - A picture of you and the person you are closest with

This is me and Jimmy - at my senior prom TEN YEARS AGO.
(I wish I had appreciated being even a juniors size 13 then, because I would LOVE to be it now.)

And this is us this past Christmas, with Jolie.

We've been together over twelve years, and there is no one who knows me better than he does. We've had our ups and downs, but he is someone that I know I can totally be myself around, and it's the same for him. He is absolutely the person I am closest to, and it has plenty to do with the fact that we've almost spent as many years together as we have apart - we're starting to get to that point. (And Jolie is "close" to me by virtue of the fact that she is half-comprised of my genetic materia and she sprang out of my uterus. That's pretty damn close.) (And also, it's her damn fault that I'm posting this at 5:45 in the morning, on a morning when I don't have to be at school early.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Month of Blog, part 3: Day 01 - A picture of yourself with ten facts.

1. My birthday is December 7, 1982
2. The seniors I'm currently advising are exactly 10 years younger than me. (I was class of 2001.)
3. I used to play piano, guitar, and bass. (Now I play roller derby.)
4. My favorite author is Jane Austen, and my favorite book is Pride and Prejudice.
5. Though I am widely known among my friends as a knitter, I actually learned to crochet first.
6. I am obsessed with red lipstick. My derby name, Viva Glam, is the name of my favorite red (MAC's Viva Glam I).
7. My running shoes are a men's double-E width. So are my boyfriend's.
8. I have a Master's degree in English literature from UC Irvine. 
9. I named my daughter after a David Bowie song.
10. I have a very real fear of zombies (or zombie-like epidemics spreading through the land). Like, I am absolutely terrified of a zombie apocalypse. The thought keeps me up at night.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Feminine, dangerous, and fun

Urban Decay's new palettes (that I posted about previously) are now available on their website.

So which one are you?

(They left out Midnight Cowboy. Probably because they know we scream at the agony of owning about five tons of that one particular eyeshadow. Still.... this one's my favorite one. Darkhorse is the only non-permanent shade in this one.)

(I like this one a lot better than I thought I would, actually, especially now that I know that the bottom row is not from the Black Palette. Still... there is such a thing as TOO MUCH OIL SLICK. Virgin and Rockstar are the two non-permanent shades in this one, and they are prettttttty. Not so dangerous. The Rockstar eye pencil is one of my favorite shades to wear - can't get enough of this one. Probably because they haven't released it with EVERY single palette like the black one. And I love that you get the Greed PP. Even though Feminine is my favorite color-wise, I would most want to buy this one.)

(Um... why didn't they just use all 6 colors from the Summer of Love collection? Aren't those all totally fun? All of these shades are available as singles.)

Ahem. I actually have ALL of these colors. Every single one, some of them *cough*Midnight Cowboy, Oil Slick, and Baked*cough* several times over, either as singles or from other palettes. And since I recently depotted all of my palettes to combine them into two or three giant Z-palettes, doesn't that make me feminine AND dangerous AND fun AND crafty?

(Okay, okay. I might cave and eventually acquire these because some of those shadows I wouldn't mind having more of, especially Darkhorse, Rockstar, and Virgin, which all originally showed up in palettes that are now hard to find. But they're not really a priority right now. They are nice to look at though!)

Which one are you?

Pause and reflect

I haven't written a blog post in almost a year. I've had a lot of stuff happen, some good and some bad, and I could've written a...