Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fangirly SQUEE - Lizzie Bennet Diaries

This post is labeled "television," but this is not a tv show.

Hi, I'm OBSESSED with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and am currently annoying everyone I know on Facebook by posting GIFs and links to LBD fangirly stuff that I've been finding on the internet. Like this adorable clip of the actor and actress who play Darcy and Lizzie on some random internet -a-thon thingy. Um, getting ahead of myself here.

LBD is a modernized version of Pride and Prejudice, told vlog-style through videos on Youtube, as well as through other social media outlets like Twitter and Tumblr. The story has been updated and Americanized, and the characters feel very real and authentic - SO real and authentic, that each one has his/her own Twitter account, and the show is done in real time, so it's no surprise that there are people out there who were shocked when they found out that this is a scripted show with actors and stuff, and not a real vlog that features a girl named Lizzie Bennet whose life happens to resemble one of the greatest novels of English literature.

I'm sure you're well acquainted with my wide and far-reaching love of Jane Austen and particularly Pride and Prejudice. That book is gold to me. And I'm very critical when I feel like an adaptation doesn't get it right. (Ahem.)

So when I first heard about LBD from one of my friends on Facebook, I was like... WHAT IS THIS? And when I looked at the website, I was super confused. Vlogs? Twitter? Lookbook? WHAT? I just want to start... reading or watching or however this thing works.

Sometime last month over a weekend I marathoned through all the episodes that were currently available at the time and just totally fell in love. LBD is smart and fresh. The writer did an amazing job of adapting it, and the actors do an amazing job of making the characters seem like real people while still maintaining the crucial aspects of their characters. In particular, I'd actually like to shine a light on Lydia's character - in the book, she's one-dimensional and easily hateable. The LBD version of Lydia is so much more complex and layered, to the point that I really don't want her to have a bad ending. Like, I really want her to come to her senses and realize the weight of her decisions.

And then I remember she's a fictional character, and her story doesn't really get to change, ultimately. It's CRAZY how real these characters feel - probably because these characters currently exist in my time, in my language, in all the universes I inhabit. They even interact with fans! The characters respond to fans! And actually, so do the actors. But seriously, the characters have more followers than maybe even the actors themselves do. I love, love, love, love this experience of rediscovering my love for P&P through LBD (not like it was ever missing), and RIGHT NOW IT'S CONSUMING MY LIIIIIIFE.

And I'm not the only person who feels this way - I came to LBD kind of late in the game, and I'm just now discovering the hugeness of the LBD fanbase. It still feels pretty obscure to me because so few of my friends have even heard of it (and mostly it was through me anyway), so I am just dying to reach out to other people who are fans. PLEASE, I need someone to SQUEE with me over the video I linked to above, because in my brain, I'm imagining that it's not Ashley Clements and Daniel Vincent Gordh (the actors) being silly and dancing, but Lizzie and Darcy in some weird alternate universe where they've already both acknowledged their undying love for each other and Darcy is having a rare moment of letting loose. (Also, dude, DVG is kind of hot. Seriously. This entire cast is the most attractive cast overall of any P&P adaptation I have ever seen.) When I see this photo from their cast party, I'm like, OMG IT'S LIKE WE'RE LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE!!!!!

Yes, I am a fangirl. I am fangirling in a way that I haven't done for a really long time because there isn't much in this world that I feel is worth being fangirly about. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, however, TOTALLY is. I will be so sad when they finally end (because the book doesn't go on forever, right?)

Go on. Watch it. Catch up. Then squee with me.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Urban Decay stash

How else would I kick off my two-week winter break than by staying up late to reorganize my makeup?

It all started when I went on a trip to Ulta (because I had a major coupon to use before Monday), and as I was standing around in the Urban Decay aisle, I started swatching their random shadows on my hand to create my own palette. (I wasn't actually going to buy shadows to create my own palette, because you know how I feel about their palette system, but I figured since I had all these shades at home, I could just use a Z-Palette.)

This inspired me to go home and depot my Vice palette and my Naked Basics palette. I like to have my makeup organized a certain way, and since I already have all my other UD shadows organized into Z-Palettes by color family, it kinda kills me to still have two separate palettes all by themselves, not arranged how I want them to be. 

So, I used my boxcutter to pry out the plastic tray where all the pans were, and then I popped them onto a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 250 for just a few minutes. 

Jimmy: "Why are you cooking your makeup??"
This is enough to melt the glue a little and allow me to pry out the pans themselves and affix labels to the back with their names on them. The Vice palette pans were VERY easy to pop out, which probably meant that they weren't glued in very well, but the Basics palette was - OMG - almost impossible, and had to go back in the oven quite a few times. I had a couple sort-of casualties - I totally broke my Walk of Shame from the Naked Basics, but I wasn't too worried, since I actually have the single-shadow version of that one, and I also broke (to a lesser extent) Chaos from the Vice palette, which I don't have another pan of, but it's VERY similar to a couple Sugarpill shadows, so I am not worried about using it up and running out.

I decided to omit "Foxy" because it was already available in Naked 2, and I added my Naked Basics colors to my current Pro Palette containing the other two Nakeds and the 15th Anniversary palette. (Basically, it's all the skinny pans.) While I would throw ALL my Z-Palettes into my bag in case of a fire, this particular one is absolutely my go-to. My Holy Grail. I travel with this one. (And it doesn't go in the checked luggage, either!!!) If you think about the fact that each skinny pan is a full-sized shadow (weight-wise), there is over $750 worth of eyeshadows in just this one palette alone. (Not saying I paid that much for them all - there's a reason why palettes are often a smarter choice than buying individual shadows.)

The Vice palette shadows got incorporated into my larger stash. Which is QUITE large.

A closer look at each palette. No, I can't identify all of the shadows by sight. (But lots of them, yes!)

My HG palette



Blacks, grays, whites, silvers


Reds, pinks

Browns, beiges, taupes (though, I may move some of these)

Peaches, oranges, yellows, golds
I know what you're thinking: "Why on EARTH would anyone need so much eyeshadow?" Well, sir, to you, I only have this to say:

Stay colorful, my friends!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream

I've only recently started looking into this BB cream craze. So far I've only used the Garnier one (which by all accounts isn't that good), and as far as I can tell, if I want the good stuff, I've got to go Asian.

Now, I know nothing about Asian brands and wouldn't even begin to know where to find them. There are TONS of Asian stores in my town, of course, but where do I even start? This is a whole new frontier of beauty for me, since I'm about foray into a product I'm not familiar with as well as brands I'm not familiar with. Checking out eye shadows from Asian brands is one thing, since I know how to shop for eye shadows already; how do I know what's a good BB cream?

Thankfully, in today's age of the internet, there are reviews EVERYWHERE, and the major perk of being late to the party is that there have already been tons of other people who've spent their time and money exploring different BB creams so I don't really have to. And there are websites I can order from so I don't have to walk into an Asian store and stand around looking like an idiot because I don't know what I'm doing. (I did have one evening of standing around looking like an idiot at Sephora because I went there to explore the BB creams they had on hand.)

It was important to me to find a BB cream that actually matched my skin tone. Most Asian BB creams come in one shade, and it's not "I'm Californian and I spent the summer running outdoors" tan. I got a recommendation for Missha's Perfect Cover BB Cream, and when I found out it came in deeper shades, as well as a smaller "travel-size" version, I knew I had to give it a try. (I didn't want to spend an entire 30 bucks  on something I wasn't sure I would like or use.) I ordered myself the small one in #27 Honey Beige.

Upon first swatch, I noticed 1) it feels a bit thick, which I would expect from a product containing sunscreen, and 2) it smells like "old lady makeup," like, what I would find in my grandma's vanity table when I was a kid. But it didn't feel too heavy on my face, it blended out really nicely, and it actually gives quite a bit of coverage!

I didn't take a "before" picture of myself this morning, so you'll have to take my word for it when I say that I was a total wreck. I've been sick with some stomach bug for the entire weekend, have not been sleeping or eating well, and I pretty much looked like I was dying. Me in the photo above? A vast improvement. And compare my skin here to my skin from my review of UD's Naked Skin foundation. It's not really all that different, right? I'm wearing my normal moisturizer (Philosophy's Hope in a Jar), under the Missha BB cream, under UD's Razor HD powder (which is translucent) and setting spray. And my Tarte blush. I'm not wearing any concealer.

So, I will see how this wears as the day goes on. What I would like is for my skin to stay not-greasy (which, actually, the Urban Decay BB cream did a great job of doing) but also for it not to dry out. And I will have to use this consistently every day to see if my skin improves from using it. But it's so easy to use, and combines so many steps, that I don't think it will be a problem.

Monday, December 17, 2012

ChiaoGoo Interchangeables - Red Lace complete set

Usually when I post products on my blog, they're makeup and beauty products, but not today! (Tomorrow, probably =P) Today, I received my Christmas present early. (Because of course I picked it out myself. Who would think to buy this for me?) It's a fancy schmancy interchangeable needle set from ChiaoGoo:

ChiaoGoo makes some pretty awesome needles - I have a couple of their Red Lace fixed circulars, and they are quite lovely to knit with. Yes, I have LOTS of circulars, and I even have an interchangeable set (Boye Needlemasters, which I got from Michaels with a 40% off coupon, which made it super cheap), so why ask for this one? Well, when you knit as much as I do, you can tell the difference.

So, I like ChiaoGoo, and I like the fact that they sell a COMPLETE needle set with sizes 2-15. Other than the Boye set, this is the only other set to carry that range of sizes. They come with accessories and stuff all packed into a sleek little pouch that will fit perfectly into my new knitting bag (that I got for my birthday a week ago =P)

Zippered pocket on the front

Opened up

Inside the front pocket: stitch markers, end caps, turn keys,
cable connectors, and a needle gauge

Small needles

Large needles. Note how there is an extra row of pockets on both sides

The needle sizes are etched onto the tips! THIS IS AWESOME.
I can't wait to knit with them, and yet, I love how they look all perfect and pretty in their slots that I'm afraid to take one out. I am definitely never going to use those adorable stitch markers because I have a bad tendency to lose those little things, and therefore, I only ever use stitch markers that are totally cheap and ordinary and easy to find.

These are obviously not my first needles, and probably won't be my last. (I desperately want some Addi Turbo Clicks! Those are my holy grail needles.) But... like a good car, these will stand me in good stead for years to come.

Body-shaming and stuff

I follow a couple different feminist pages on FB as well as a feminist group on Ravelry, and one thing that always comes up is the issue of weight and body types. And recently there was a Kickstarter making the rounds on the internet where a young woman was hoping to publish a book of thin, "healthy" women because she feels that thin, healthy women are being persecuted in favor of slobby fat women. (I'm serious! "if it just makes it into the hands of ONE little girl who feels like she has to be overweight to fit in with the current 70% of the overweight population of America, and it gives her the strength to know that being healthy isnt a bad thing." Gurrrl, I don't know what world YOU live in where overweight women are the ideal, but it's definitely not MY world.)

She's right about one thing (ONE thing!): women who are thin should not be shamed for their bodies. But that's the extent to which I agree with her. Thin women should not be shamed. Fat women should not be shamed. All body types in between should not be shamed. No more of this "REAL women are ____" crap. ALL women are real women.

"But liek omgz. Aren't u saying it's okay to be unhealthy and fat?"

Yeah, I am saying it's okay to be fat. I am saying nothing about health, however, because being fat does not necessarily equal being unhealthy. And even if you ARE unhealthy (whatever that means), it does not mean that you deserve love or respect or happiness any less than anyone else.

Is it hypocritical of me to say all this considering the amount of time I've spent waxing philosophical on Paleo, running, and CrossFit? Honestly, no. I don't think it's hypocritical at all. Those are things that I took up in the name of health and recreation, not weight loss and certainly NOT "beauty." Sure, I lost a lot of weight on Paleo - but I didn't go on Paleo to lose weight. Sure, I'm happy I lost weight, but mainly because it's (slightly) easier for me to find clothes that fit and I can be a more efficient athlete carrying less weight on my frame.

Also, what I wish for myself is not what I wish for other people - because I wouldn't dare wish for someone else. It's not my call what someone else's body should be like. It's not someone else's call what MY body should be like.

Can we please just mind our own business and our own bodies and stop telling other people what to do with theirs?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Totally Naked.

This morning I decided to use ALL THE NAKEDS!

- Chopper all over the lid (from Naked 2)
- Faint in the crease (from Naked Basics)
- Naked to blend out the crease (from Naked 1)
- Virgin on the browbone (from Naked 1)
- Crave along the upper lash line to define (from Naked Basics)
- Eye pencil in Stray Dog along the lower lash line
- UD Supercurl mascara

- Lip pencil in Wallflower (no, I don't own the pencil in Naked =P)
- Lipstick in Naked (now discontinued - but you could use the Super Saturated Gloss pencil in Naked?)
- Lip Junkie gloss in Naked

- UD Naked Skin BB cream (not yet released!)
- BeneFit Boi-ing concealer
- UD Naked Skin foundation
- UD Razor HD powder
- Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Blushing Bride
- UD De-Slick setting spray

You can find Urban Decay's current selection of Naked products here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Twelve for 12/12/12

Twelve awesome things about my 2012:

  2. I PRed both my 5k and my half-marathon times.
  3. I ran the most races I've ever run in a single year. (I swear these aren't all about running.)
  4. The Psychopathogens go UNDEFEATED in their first season.
  5. Rollercon 2012
  6. Paleo
  7. The Hunger Games movie
  8. My Little Birds cardigan
  9. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
  10. Sugarpill's Heartbreaker palette
  11. I took a picture with Demanda Riot
  12. I TURNED 30, BEEZIES!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Things Non-Knitters Say

I know I've covered this before in this post, but I feel like this bears rehashing. The holidays = I am knitting a TON right now = I hear stuff like this more often because I am seen knitting more often right now than at other points during the year.Also, the holidays = I'm more grumpy than usual.

"I wish I could knit. It's hard."
I'm going to borrow from Whole30 and say that knitting is NOT hard. Advanced calculus? Hard. Kicking heroin addiction? Hard. Disciplining 37 high school sophomores? Hard. Knitting is NOT hard. It takes time and practice though.

"I don't have the time or patience to knit."
If you have the time or the patience to sit around waiting for your doctor's appointment or to watch tv, then you can knit. I actually have a hard time sitting around and NOT knitting. Like right NOW. If I weren't typing this blog post right now, I'd be knitting, since my students are watching a movie right now.

"You should make me something!"
And here are some things that YOU should do: You should pay me! You should learn how to ask nicely! You should assuming that my time and labor are freely given!

"If I pay you to make something, how much would it cost?"
I do get people who ask me nicely to make things, and I'm much more likely to respond nicely in those cases. But I do feel it's my responsibility to then tell them, "Even if you paid me minimum wage, plus the cost of materials, it'll still cost a lot..."

"You should totally make a bunch of those and sell them!"
I appreciate the compliment, but I just don't have time. Also, I don't like when my hobbies start to feel like work, which it totally will if I have to make a bunch of the exact same thing over and over.

"Why would you spend all that time knitting that when you could just buy it?"
Because handknit merino-and-cashmere lace socks are TOTALLY the same as a bag of tube socks from Walmart, right? As I've said previously, most of the things I want to make are not things that can be found in stores. And sometimes it's not even about the object at all - it's about the act of making something with my two hands, of creating and crafting.

"Is that for your daughter?" or "Is that for a baby?"
I don't find these questions offensive, but I find it curious that people assume that knitting is only done for babies and small children. Or the assumption that if a woman is knitting, she must be pregnant? At any rate, I rarely knit for littl'uns anymore because what I've learned since becoming a mother is that they grow much faster than I can knit.

"My mom/grandma knits. Isn't knitting for old people?"

The worst offense, to me, is when people touch my knitting without asking me first. ESPECIALLY STRANGERS. Like, I understand that it looks pretty and soft, and people feel compelled to touch pretty and soft things, but for the love of god, if you're handling my knitting (my hours and hours of hard work) WITHOUT MY PERMISSION and you mess something up, I WILL CUT YOUR FACE.

To end on a positive note, though, I appreciate any and all compliments, and the greatest compliment of all is when someone asks if I could teach THEM how to do it (and then they actually make the effort to learn how to do it!)

Monday, December 10, 2012

24 Things!

Okay, so, considering how I only gave myself 2 years to do it, I think it's pretty good that I got 24 of my 30 things done. The list has changed a lot from its first incarnation (which I don't even have a copy of, apparently!), but I think it's okay for one's goals and priorities to change, right? Things were added or removed because that was just the path my life took - for example, I had hoped to have a second child by now (or at least be pregnant), but I honestly couldn't imagine that now. I figure, it's okay to change your goals, as long as you keep having them.

So, here are the ones that have not gotten accomplished:

2. Read Sense & SensibilityMansfield Park, and Emma
7. Watch three Hitchcock movies I haven't seen before
8. Watch three Kurosawa movies I haven't seen before
15. Get a Jolie-inspired tattoo
16. Get a derby-related tattoo 
26. Get a tattoo to commemorate completing a marathon 

The tattoo ones were put off because I had anticipated still being actively involved in derby (it's not a good idea to do a full contact sport when your skin is raw and tender), though since I ended up only going to practice part-time these last few months of the season, the constraints have been largely financial. But they WILL happen.

The others are funny because you would THINK that it's a simple matter to read books and watch movies, but I honestly don't get a lot of quiet time to myself where I can fully focus all my mental energy. I can totally knit while Jolie is around, and I can even read junk books or watch junk movies, but I can't fully concentrate unless I'm sitting in a room all alone, without the entire rest of the world either distracting me or requiring my immediate attention. Hopefully I can start finding ways to make that happen.(Actually, the bath tub is a really great place to read. Not so much for watching movies though.)

So what now? I do have a sort of bucket list going, but they're generally a list of errant thoughts, and not any refined goals. My only definite goals at the moment are my 13 13's in '13 and my goal of completing the California International Marathon. But those are all running goals. And of course, I'll have to finish this list.

It's been an awesome ride. Looking back at my list, I'm amazed at everything I've done in just two short years. Cheers!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Race recap: Summit Rock HM

I knew it was going to be hard, but I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be THIS hard. Good lord, it took us an hour and a half to get through the first 5k! BRUTAL. To put things in perspective, our finish time for this half marathon (which isn't official, by the way, because we finished so late) is only an hour and a half less than our finish time for our FULL marathon. THAT'S how hard it was. It's the hardest half-marathon I've ever done.

Also, I am just not made for trail races. I tripped over a gazillion roots and rocks; I rolled my ankle; I even FELL because my shoes were totally caked in mud; and I have a big fat blister forming on the inside of my heel. (I had to tighten my shoes extra to deal with the terrain, and my skin did not love that friction.)

But we pushed on, and we finished it. Even if we finished half an hour after the course was supposed to close. (Bless their hearts, there were still tons of volunteers around, and they still gave us medals anyway!) And it was a beautiful, gorgeous day, and everyone on the course was so wonderful and friendly. And there TOTALLY was pumpkin pie at the finish.  Brazen, you're still number one!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm (BB cream)

Sooo. This past weekend I ordered the new Naked Basics palette from Urban Decay. I know it's generating a ton of buzz all over the blogosphere right now, but what I really want to talk about today is  the "Exclusive Early Release" sample I received with my order...

Urban Decay is releasing its own beauty balm, and included deluxe-size samples with its orders. I'm super excited about this (even though I totally also bought the tinted moisturizer). I will be glad to be able to try this before it comes out.

It does indeed come out of the tube looking kinda orangey, but it ends up being translucent. Which means it doesn't really give you any coverage. (I don't know a whole lot about BBs, but the one I do have - the Garnier one, which I know is not nearly one of the best - covers like a tinted moisturizer.) But it's supposed to be awesome for your skin.

Can't wait to try it! I wish they would tell us when the release date is!

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...