Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sugarpill Firefly individual false lashes

They're so pretty :)

New lashes from Sugarpill

I'm trying to be very conservative with these - I have butterfingers when it comes to individual lashes, and I've already lost one to the deep dark recesses of the area underneath my desk :(

I also bought the Whisper eyelashes, and I'm waiting to create an actual eye look to try those on.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Okay, some pictorial evidence

I was debating whether to post this or not, but I thought about it, and... I'm not ashamed of myself or how I was looking. And this is a photo that everyone has seen before, so it's not like it's a secret how big I was.

On the left is me in February, about a couple weeks before I decided to start Paleo. So, about six weeks ago.

On the right is me from this past Sunday, ending my fourth week of eating clean and healthy.

It's not a drastic difference, but it's noticeable. And it's enough to motivate me to continue.

Bronze green

- Too Faced Shadow Insurance (what? I have a sample)
- UD Chase all over the lid
- UD Darkhorse into the crease, blended well
- UD Loaded to darken the crease, and to define the outer V. Also smudged into the outside third of the lower lash line
- UD Zephyr as a browbone highlight and in the inner corner
- UD Kush smudged along the rest of the lower lash line
- UD Blackout used as a liner along the upper and lower lash line
- MUFE Smoky Lash mascara
- Ardell lashes #108

Yeah, now you can buy all of those above UD shades as eyeshadow singles. In fact, I just used 6 colors. You can fill a Build Your Own Palette with those six. =P

Chase, Darkhorse, Blackout
Zephyr, Kush, Loaded

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Open Letter to Urban Decay

Photo from UD's FB page

Dear Urban Decay,

I have been a fan of yours since I was fifteen years old. I'm nearly 30 now, so we've been "together" for half my life. So please take what I say into consideration, because I mean it in a "caring, sharing" kind of way:

Yeah, all the new eyeshadow singles in their shiny new cases are pretty, but anyone doing the math could see that paying over $100 for to create a 6-shadow palette is ridiculous, considering how you've released two mega palettes with 12 full-size shadows for $50. Seriously? What are you trying to pull? Palettes are supposed to be CHEAPER.

And your new pop-out system is dumb for those of us who've been longtime fans/eyeshadow collectors and who've already been seeking a streamlined solution for storage. I have to say, MAC had the right idea, because their Pro Pans (which are CHEAPER than buying the eyeshadow single) are just the magnetic pan by itself, and they fit in a number of different palette systems. Hell, Urban Decay, YOUR eyeshadow pans fit into these palette systems too - I've spent many long hours going through the trouble of depotting them. But now, I can't use any of the new pop-out eyeshadow singles with my palettes (unless I depot them, which is irreversible), and I can't use any of my existing depotted eyeshadows with your new palette (unless I just stick magnets in the bottom and just accept the fact that it's going to look weird).

You see, Urban Decay - the thing is, I kind of feel like you're always screwing over your loyal fans in some way or another. It's nothing major, and nothing malicious, but doing stuff like including the exact same eyeshadow shades in five or six (or almost all) of your palettes (you even repeated the same color in BOTH your Naked palettes!) or including the same eyeliner with everything (I had to give away a bunch of my Zero pencils!) punishes your longtime fans by having us waste money or space on things we already have. Because of course we're going to keep buying them if you throw in one or two "exclusive" colors (that you end up repromoting anyway). (Truly. My hand has been forced.)

Sometimes you get it right, like the original Naked palette and the Anniversary palette, but then stuff happens, like how the Naked palette was unavailable for months, and how the Anniversary palette packaging was beautiful but impractical and is now unavailable anyway, and both can still be found on Ebay for upwards of $90, which benefits neither you nor your customers. Sigh.

The palette case itself looks cute, but bulky. That's nice that it comes with an eyeshadow brush and an eyeshadow (Walk of Shame), but what if people want to buy multiple palette cases? Then they're stuck with multiple brushes and eyeshadows. Not a smart move.

In sum:
- Offer a discount if people are buying a palette case and multiple shadows
- Offer the palette case at a substantially cheaper price, without any extras
- It's too late now, but switching to a metal pan system would've been the better way to go.

Urban Decay, my dearest, if you are as good as they say at listening to your customers, then please think through everything I've said. I want us to have a long and healthy life together, but not if I feel like you're trying to screw me over.

I'll be watching you.

Yours sincerely,

Paleo DAY 30!!!

I did it! I made it to Day 30!!

If you know me at all (or have even been following my blog for a while), you'll know how momentous today is. When have I ever stuck with a diet for a full 30 days, seriously? And I feel no need to stop. There's no "FINALLY I'M DONE" because I don't feel done. I feel like I could do this some more.

Starting weight: 203.5
Today's weight: 190.9
Pounds lost: 12.6

And even more telling than the numbers is the way I look and feel. I've been posting weight loss updates because it's the only tangible thing (well, I suppose I could've done measurements), but the larger benefits are not about weight loss. I didn't even start this diet because of weight loss (though, I knew it was a bonus). I started it because I wanted to stop feeling so sluggish and lethargic all the time. I wanted to eat cleaner, healthier, and better for my body.

And so far, it's worked. (Ironic, isn't it, that I'm typing about how great I feel while I'm laid up on my living room couch with a bad case of cramps. Even Paleo can't vanquish my PMS. But it's not as bad as it used to be.) I don't have midday crash anymore. In fact, I'm only tired when I don't sleep enough. Not only am I cooking more healthfully, but I'm just a better cook, period - the food I make tastes better, thanks to the myriad of Paleo recipes I can find online.

But the weight loss is a big deal for me too. This is the least I've weighed in two years, I think. Weight Watchers has worked in the past, but for me personally, it wasn't sustainable. There were too many loopholes. I was still eating bad food - I was just tracking it. There were recommendations for what kind of food to eat, but it still left room for me to eat whatever I wanted - and I thought that was a good thing at the time, but after having done Paleo, I've realized that I shouldn't eat what I want - I should be wanting to eat healthy, and I needed to learn how to do so.

So where do I go from here? Many Paleo people adopt an 80% approach, where they allow themselves non-Paleo foods every once in a while, but I'm not sure I'll do that. Partly because I'm worried about relinquishing control, but also because I'm worried about how my body will feel about it. The few times I've gone out to eat, I've chosen meals that were as Paleo as possible (yes, I did the annoying thing of making a bunch of substitutions and asking for no butter and all that), but my mouth would get irritated or my stomach would hurt afterwards anyway. As much as I crave blue cheese and donuts, I'm not sure it's worth it to deal with the aftermath. I think that I wouldn't be opposed to using honey or raw cocoa in my baking, but I'm not going to scarf down chocolate candy or put sugar in my coffee. I think I eat enough sugar already between all the fruit and Larabars.

So, for those of you thinking about Paleo or are starting it, here are my tips for helping to get through the first 30 days:

- Do your research and prepare yourself mentally. Paleo is kind of hard to just launch into - I read blogs and catalogued recipes and stuff for a WEEK, then had a "last hurrah" weekend before I finally started. I needed to be in the right frame of mind. Paleo is not something you can do reluctantly, because then it will suck a lot, and you won't stick with it. Motivation and knowledge will be important here. You have to WANT to do this, or else, you won't be able to. Seriously.

- Plan your meals... but also learn how to cook on the fly. It doesn't have to be meticulous, down-to-the-minute planning, but at least have a list when you go grocery shopping, and have some stand-by, go-to meal ideas for when you have no idea what you want to make, and just feel like throwing stuff together that you find in your fridge. Having adequate ingredients, and a good variety to boot, means that you'll be more likely to stick to Paleo meals rather than being like, "I can't find anything to eat or I don't feel like a huge elaborate meal, so I'm going to In n Out." Have some good basic items on hand (spices, chicken stock), freeze some meat, etc. Also, having good cooking equipment is a major help too - I ended up buying a slow cooker and a food processor, and I'm VERY glad I did. :)

- Read the ingredients label. Get to know the names of some of the other common forms of sugar and preservatives. Not all brands of coconut water are the same, for example - some are straight-up coconut water, others have sugar and "natural flavoring" (whatever that means). When you go to restaurants, comb carefully through the menu's descriptions and order substitutions when necessary. It's important to be hyper-vigilant about the food you buy, and sometimes it's a pain, but it's worth it.

- Eat mindfully and deliberately. If you're the sort of person who kind of mechanically just shoves food into your mouth just because it's sitting there on the counter, then STOP. Repeat this to yourself: Everything that you eat is a choice. Your brain had to send a signal to your hand to pick up this food item and put it in your mouth, so you can't say, "I couldn't help it" or "it was an accident!" Eating is never an accident. Just remember that when the cravings hit. If you "cheat," it's because you chose to.

- Leftovers are awesome. I've been cooking big dinners at night, and packing leftovers for lunch the next day. It's one less meal to worry about. And get used to eating non-breakfast foods for breakfast.

- Don't judge others, but do be ready with knowledge. Other people will ask you about Paleo. They'll want to know about it, and they might judge you. They might concern-troll you. I say, answer their questions and lead by example, but be careful not to make them feel bad. If you bust out with a whole "wheat is evil" sermon, they might resent you for it, especially if they're already feeling guilty/helpless about their eating choices. Be knowledgeable about Paleo, understand WHY you're doing what you're doing, but be cool about it.

- You don't have to do this FOREVER. As I said earlier, some people switch to a more manageable 80%-Paleo lifestyle after their first 30 days. You need a strict 30 days so you can detox, but after that, you can gradually re-introduce some foods if you really CAN'T live without them. (Do it gradually, because your body WILL be irritated with you.) Just don't go back to the way you were before. You should still be pretty judicious about what you will allow in your body. But you can breathe a little after. If you totally feel like you need to have a mocha frappucino, have one. Just not every day, okay?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thoughts in brief: The Hunger Games

Just saw the Hunger Games movie! I'm not going to go into explaining what it's about for the uninitiated, because anybody can google that. Just know that I'm a HUGE fan of the books, and that I've been excited about this for a long time. 

So here we go, my thoughts. In order as much as possible, but sometimes I digress.

Friday, March 23, 2012

One for my happy file...

I'm pretty pleased with myself today, because practice, I totally laid out my COACH.

This is not something that happens often, as he's pretty wiley and agile, that Carl. And I have to say that a lot of it had to do with his own self-admitted misjudgment of the situation (he forgot that we weren't on the same team), but I'd like to think that there was a bit of good timing on my part too. :)

He was trying to pass me on the outside, thinking that I was giving him a clear path, and I pretty much stepped right in front of him at the last second, and it was all over.

It was kinda cool.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Paleo check-in

Day 23 on the Paleo diet

Starting weight: 203.5
Today's weight: 192.9
Pounds lost: 10.6
Number of workouts this week: 2 derby practices (well, 3 if you count last night's)

I'm a little late on checking in this week - it was kind of a busy weekend.

So, oddly, my weight didn't budge even a tenth of a pound for almost a full week, until this morning, and all of a sudden, it dropped a pound. Weird, huh? I can chalk this up to a few things:

- I think I'm PMSing. I've been feeling crampy and emotional, and my chin is breaking out like it normally does at this time every month. The symptoms are a lot less than usual (probably thanks to Paleo), but still there.

- I didn't sleep much for the last week. Late nights, early mornings. Lack of sleep affects your cortisol levels and all that.

- I wasn't as vigilant about eating my veggies. I had what you could call a "lazy week," although I did not eat anything that wasn't Paleo. I just... ate a lot more meat and fat than veggies this week. It's what my body was craving. (Which is normal for that time of the month, isn't it?)

I'm pleased to have met the 10 pound mark. May there be many more.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paleo resources & stuff!

I started a new page with my favorite Paleo sites/blogs and recipes! Click here or click on Paleo-rific in my nav bar up above.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Paleo check-in

Day 15 on the Paleo diet

Starting weight: 203.5
Today's weight: 194.4
Pounds lost: 9.1
Number of workouts this week: 1 derby practice and a 10k yesterday

Lost a little less this week, but that usually happens on a diet - lose a lot at first, and then your body evens out. Still, losing is better than gaining :) 

Definitely feeling great, and I think my body looks different too. I'm down a notch in my belt (and could even cinch it two notches tighter if I wanted to, but I don't like feeling too constricted). 

Had my first and only non-self-cooked meal the other night - went to CPK with my parents. Didn't order pizza, of course - I ordered the field greens salad: field greens, grilled shrimp (no butter), bosc pairs, hold the candied walnuts, dijon balsamic vinaigrette (the only questionable item, since I didn't know what was in it - in hindsight, I should've gotten it on the side or not at all). My mouth was itchy and swelling within half an hour after! Who knows what caused it? I still blame the dressing.

This weekend I made the most FABULOUS carnitas. It was seriously awesome. We finished it before the end of the weekend.

I have to say, I THOUGHT I was a "food lover" before, when I was eating anything and everything, but now I feel like I have a much deeper appreciation for food and cooking, now that my tastebuds aren't drowned in sugar and salt all the time and I'm discovering new flavors and recipes!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

30 Things Before I'm 30, Item 23: Run a 10k

It wasn't my best race by any standards, but this race does have one important distinction: odd as it sounds, even though I've covered the equivalent distance in training runs and races, I've never actually done a 10k!

Considering the splendor and spectacle of my last race (the Tinkerbell HM in Disneyland), this race was completely the opposite - a small, local race with just over a hundred people. I don't remember the last time I actually had elbow room during a race :)

It was part paved trail, part gravel trail, and I gotta say, the gravel trail made me feel like sludge. I mean, I wasn't that well-trained/prepared to begin with, but feeling my feet sink in for that middle three miles made me feel REALLY slow and ineffectual. And of course, once I got back to the asphalt, I had a little more spring in my step.

It was a nice, beautiful day (though, it got a little blustery towards the end), and everyone was really nice, except for the goose in the parking lot that would not let me pass. Jerkface. (I mean it literally - a goose honked threateningly at me, not letting me get by on the sidewalk on the way to my car, and I had to cross the street to avoid him.)

So yeah... not my best performance (though, at 1:29:23, I met my goal of beating an hour and a half), but I'm glad I got this distance under my belt :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Paleo check-in

About to head out to Whole Paycheck. Just wanted to post an update.

Day 7 on the Paleo diet

Starting weight: 203.5
Today's weight: 197.1
Pounds lost: 6.4
Number of workouts this week: 2 derby practices

The first three or four days, I felt like I was dragging a lot (but I also didn't get much sleep those nights). I've been feeling less tired, and I think I've been sleeping better.

But excited about the progress so far. My muscles are starting to show more. I've been eating good, tasty food, and haven't had many bouts of cravings. So far, so good.