Monday, November 26, 2012

Holidays on Paleo

So I've just finished my first Thanksgiving on Paleo, and well... it wasn't really ON Paleo. But I didn't go completely off the rails either. I pretty much stuck to eating turkey and sweet potatoes (though, they were probably not prepared with Paleo ingredients), and while I did indulge in some pie and ice cream, I did not eat any stuffing or bread. Which I am fully capable of eating in HEAPS, so I forced myself to stay away. (We will not speak of an ill-advised break a couple weeks ago when I ate about 8 Roti Buns in a period of 24 hours. I spent the next 24 hours COMPLETELY miserable.)

So now I'm back. I gave myself yesterday and the day before to stretch out my goodbye to dairy, and today I'm back to the straight and narrow. Well, kind of. At the moment, I'm out of some Paleo staples (clarified butter, coconut flour, coconut aminos), but I'm substituting the best I can (organic grass-fed butter, tamari) until I get a chance to hit up Whole Foods again.

The truth is, I like being on strict-ish Paleo. (Exceptions are made for dark chocolate and using agave nectar in my cooking.) I need to set boundaries for myself, or I start to teeter off the edge a little bit. I need to be reined in. Plus, it kinda makes me feel special :)

I know what you're thinking - restarting a Whole30 after Thanksgiving? Yes, I might be nuts. But you know what I also am, right this minute? Tired, sluggish, not alert, and rather ill at ease. I have no interest in waiting until the new year to get back on the wagon because that's still over a month away, and I could do a lot of damage in that amount of time. Literally, damage - I'm fully convinced that I suffer from gluten intolerance, and since getting my gallbladder removed, my body doesn't really love it when I eat dairy either.

So, yeah. That's that. I don't know if I'll be SUPER strict. There are some tiny things I have to allow myself or else I'll go nuts. And I have to work within my budget. But other than that? It's on!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Socks!

I finally finished both socks! (You can see the photos of the first one here - obviously, I'm not going to bother taking special photos of the second sock alone.)

I decided that I wanted to give these socks as a birthday gift to one of my good friends from work, Kaila. She has been my friend and mentor since I started teaching, and she is one of the most hard-working and inspirational teachers I know. (In fact, I have future-dated this blog post in case she reads my blog, so even though I'm typing it on 11/18/12, it won't be published for another week.) I decided to make the gift look a little extra special by printing out a "label" to package the socks, and I made a card to go along with them:


Here's a close-up of the label, below. I purchased a pdf collection of knitting-themed printables from Laylock.org, and it includes a bunch of cool things like care tags, note cards, book marks, bookplates, etc.


For the notecard, I pulled out a quote from the Yarn Harlot's The Secret Life of a Knitter. I thought it summed up really well why I wanted to give my friend these socks. (I know that my decision to make them was just to fulfill a goal, but the fact that I chose to give these to someone I care about instead of just keeping them for myself or letting them sit in a drawer means something.)


I pasted the quote on the front of a single-panel notecard and wrote a personal message on the back. I hope she likes her gift :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Breaking Dawn, Part 2 - MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS

There are UBER spoilers for this movie, so if you want to be surprised, do NOT read on.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Race recap: Mermaid Run 5k, San Francisco

Before I start, let me just say this: I am NOT built for San Francisco. I have about five heart attacks just trying to drive through the city. Driving up steep hills makes me fear for my life. While we still made it to the race on time and in one piece, it was still a little panic-inducing when we missed some turns and ended up having to drive all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge and then back. (Oh well, I've really only been across it a couple of times, and it was a beautiful morning to be there.)

I was joined by Becca and my friend/leaguemate Amanda for a fun, easy 5k. I've done a Mermaid Series race before - they are totally chill, all-female, and very empowering. They have AWESOME, unique participant shirts and cute finisher necklaces. It would be like if the Nike Women's Marathon offered shorter distances and didn't charge you a week and a half's worth of grocery money.

I figured this would be a great way to get myself re-motivated after taking it easy for a couple weeks to recover from the marathon. Also, it kills me that one of my goals for before I turn 30 is to run a 5k, and while I completed the goal by MOSTLY running a 5k, I still hadn't run one in its entirety since 2005, when I was running more regularly. So I wanted to meet that goal.

Luckily it was sunny out, after being wet all week (down here in Milpitas, at least), but it was freeeezing. We parked at the end of the marina parking lot OPPOSITE the start line, so we had a long way to walk in the cold. That's the first time I've ever seriously considered running a warm up, because I really wanted to literally warm up. I knew I didn't want my jacket with me, but I regretted leaving my gloves as well - it wasn't until about a mile into the race that I could start to feel my fingers again.

The only problem with races like these is that there are a LOT of race newbies. Which is fine - I fully support newbies! - except that a lot of these women clearly had not been briefed on race etiquette. If there is one thing that totally gets my goat, it's people not staying to the right when they are going a slower pace. Runners to the left, walkers to the RIGHT. I hate having to use extra energy and muscle power to get around clumps of women four abreast, leisurely taking up the entire width of the race path with their flailing arms and tutus. (And of course they don't hear you coming because they've got earbuds in and/or are Facebooking pictures of themselves ON THE RACE COURSE.) It's inconsiderate and entitled, is what it is - I'm glad you're happy and excited to be doing your first 5k, but BE CONSIDERATE. I know it's supposed to be a fun run, and far too short to waste so much time griping, but you HAVE to be considerate of other runners. Especially runners who are, you know, running and have time goals and stuff.

And for that matter, if you're slower, line up where you belong, so faster people don't have to pass you. But then again, I totally underestimated my speed, because we took this one FAST. I ran as hard as I dared, and I did not stop.

According to my watch, Becca and I did mile 1 in 11:07 (and that was even with fighting through the overly crowded start), mile 2 in 21:39, and finished the whole thing in 33:31 (official chip time). I beat my 2005 time by over FIVE MINUTES.

I'm very proud of myself, although now I feel like the pressure is on for my next 5k, whenever that might be.

Short. Sweet. Fast.

Awesome.

Participant shirt

Finisher's necklace (both sides)

Photobooths are so fun!

The Nesquik bunny!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery Selection - photos and such

I've never tried Illamasqua before, but I've always wanted to - their products seem to lean more "artistic" than "beauty" (and that always gets my attention), and they consistently get good reviews from Temptalia. But I've never known where to start.


The Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery Selection seemed like either a good place to start or a bad one, depending on how much you like to gamble. It's a box of 10 full-sized products - two of which you know about ahead of time and the rest of which are a grab bag of mystery shades.

Now... I'm a bit of a gambler. I used to love buying mystery grab bags from toy stores (especially the Sanrio store, when I was a little kid), so this box seemed like fun, and since I had no idea where to start with this new-to-me brand anyway, I like the idea of them making "suggestions" for me. (It's a great way for me to sample their line, and it's a great way for them to get rid of random stock, am I right?) The value couldn't be beat - 10 FULL-SIZED products for $60 (even less, since I had a Sephora discount code)? That's $6 an item. Most drugstore products aren't even $6 an item anymore. A quick browse through the Illamasqua section of Sephora.com showed me that every product in that box cost at LEAST $20 except for the nail varnish:

Nail varnish: $14
Two lipsticks: $24 and $22
Intense lipgloss: $22
Sheer lipgloss: $22
Cream blush: $26
Cream e/s: Couldn't find this exact product on the site, but let's assume it was at LEAST $20
Liquid Metal cream: $26
Two medium pencils: $20 each

I figured that even if there were a couple shades or products that I didn't like, I'd still be getting more than my money's worth. As it turns out, I like pretty much everything!

First off, here are the two "known" products in the box:


Nail Varnish in Jo'Mina - I kind of LOVE purples, and I'm not particular about my nail polish. I've seen nothing but A+ reviews on Illamasqua's nail polish, so I'm totally cool with this


Lipstick in Fable - Honestly, this might be the only thing I got that won't really work for me. It's described as a matte bubblegum pink, and it's a little too bright/pale for my complexion, though it may be okay with a lipliner-base or a gloss on top, who knows.

Here are the mystery grab-bag products:


Cream blusher in Devour - NOT for the faint of heart! It's a bright red and VERY pigmented, but it applies like a dream. I will probably be applying this with a light hand, under my foundation.

My fingers slipped while I was prying the lid off! 
Liquid Metal cream pigment in Resolute - Creamy, pigmented, really beautiful. This is what I wanted Maybelline's Pomegranate Color Tattoo cream shadow to be, but it was just too sheer. I'm hoping to get a lot of mileage out of this one as derby face paint. This can be used on the body as well.


Cream eyeshadow in Peak - I'm a sucker for a taupey/beigey color, and like the previous two cream products, this one applies nicely. I'm not sure why I can't find this on either Sephora.com or Illamasqua's website. This will make a lovely base. It has a satin finish (or so I'm told).


The other lipstick I got was Drench, and it's a "matte berry pink." It's perfect - I LOVE it. It's bright and bold, but not scary; it's cheeky. It looks good with my skin tone.


Medium Eye Pencils in Severe (chocolatey brown) and Coax (white). Staple colors, can't go wrong with those. I haven't swatched them yet though, so I have no idea how they apply.


Intense Lipgloss in Indulge and Sheer Lipgloss in Electrify. A bright pink and a baby pink - again, staple colors. I haven't tried them yet either. The packaging is a little different from what you'd get if you bought them individually - I would've liked a wand applicator better than the jelly/rubbery thing, but I'll survive :)

So yeah, not bad, huh? There was really only one item that I kinda felt iffy about (the Fable lipstick, which was NOT a mystery product), and it's not because of the quality of the product, but just the shade. These are all QUALITY products, as one might expect, and for $6 a pop, you really can't go wrong. You could always trade or give away the colors that don't seem to work for you, although you don't have any individual packaging (what you saw in the first photo at the top of my post is what it looked like when I opened the box), so if you care about that sort of thing, then... too bad. Whatever, Sephora has a pretty good return policy. :)

If you've got a gambling spirit and get excited about mysteries and surprises (and you also want a whole bunch of Illamasqua for $6 an item), DO IT. GET THE BOX. It's totally worth it.