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Archive for January 31, 2013

A Girl with Glasses

When you reach a certain age, no matter how well you were able to see before, you will need glasses.  The average magic age for this is 40. And I was no exception.  Shortly after turning 40, I discovered that I had trouble reading and needed ocular assistance… and soon after that, the middle distance began to get a bit fuzzy. Finally, I had to admit that I needed proper glasses a couple years later.

(Bizarre Aside: When I was a teen I developed astigmatism and needed glasses to correct for the wrinkles in my cornea… but they somehow straightened out as I grew older.  The astigmatism returned in my mid-40s, but as of my last exam in January, it is now gone again.)

Everyone looks better without glasses. It’s true. Even Robert Redford (who still is hot after all these years) looks better without glasses.


Without glasses 

With Glasses

With Glasses










And Johnny Depp (be still, my heart)… dashing with glasses… but smokin’ without…













I’d rather not wear glasses. They get foggy and  they slide down my nose, but without them, I just can’t see anything that requires close-up resolution.  I can’t figure which button is pause on the DVD player. I can’t read instructions on a face mask. I can’t see who is calling on the cellphone. Alas, I need those glasses.

Back in the day, bifocals were clearly split lensesbifocals.  Thanks to innovative technology, there is no longer an obvious break between distance and close-up prescriptions.  One correction, two corrections, three?  That’s between me and the optometrist…

Other great glasses breakthroughs: plastic lenses, UV protective coatings, and anti-glare coatings.  Glasses have come a long way… but they still sit on your face and distort they eyes.


Still, it’s better than not being able to see.  And since I have complicated eyes, even if I got contacts, I’d still need reading glasses… sigh.

I got a brand new pair of glasses last week.  And, much as I hate having to wear glasses in general, I like this new pair.  They make me feel pretty spiffy and it’s nice to be able to see clearly again.


Here’s hoping they make me look like a hot librarian…



Monday Blog Love: Dress with Purpose!

I have been called frumpy… by a friend… and I have to admit, it is probably true.  My usual week-end wear is a pair of trusty blue jeans, a hand-painted t-shirt and a pair of sandals… it’s winter now so I have turtlenecks under the t-shirts and clogs instead of sandals…  I know I can use some help.

However, help is usually expensive and entails buying a whole new expensive wardrobe. I think of help and my budget waves its little white flag and declares broke-ness..

It ain’t necessarily so!

Dress With Purpose: Then, Now

Manda shows off different ways of wearing key wardrobe items

Meet Manda of Dress with Purpose. She not only believes that dressing purposefully is affordable, but also that it is empowering and energizing, too.  As a wife and mom who has gone through many size phases in her life, she understands the power of positive self-image and the clothes you wear are key to not only projecting that image to the world, but reinforcing it for yourself.

Have you ever worn something in such a yummy color that it made you happy all day long? Then you have experienced the power of purposeful clothing.

Each day, Manda posts what she is wearing as well as where she got it and how much she paid for it.  You soon realize that this girlfriend is a champion bargain shopper.  She’s the friend who always scores that deal and looks fabulous… the only difference: Manda will teach you how to do that, too.

Dress with Purpose is not only a blog, but Manda’s business.  She helps women find their personal style, helps them look at their wardrobes critically and keep those wonderful pieces that really work and assists in finding new solutions for the things that don’t work so well. In addition, she’ll give you shopping hints OR go shopping with you to help you find the best items for your style within your budget.

How awesome is that?!

I am meeting with her one-on-one for a consultation this Wednesday to see if I can get some style pointers.

Alas, if you live outside Southern California, you can only draw inspiration from her blog… but if you do live anywhere within driving distance of San Diego, give her a call and see if she can help you, too.

Sunday Pix: A stroll around SDSU

We moved to San Diego in August 2000 when my husband got a tenure-track teaching position at San Diego State University (SDSU). Over the years we’ve lived near campus, on campus and now in a house not too far from campus.  Our vacations revolve around spring breaks, conferences, summer breaks and sabbaticals. And I have taken classes there, taught henna workshops there, and worked there.

SDSU is a constant in our lives.  It’s a beautiful campus with many buildings in that lovely Mission style that Southern California is renowned for.  Here are a few photos from a few years ago when we used to live on campus as part of the Faculty-in-Residence program.  Much as I hated the 3am fire alarms (when the whole residence hall had to troop out into the parking lot until the Fire Department came to check it out and give the OK to return), dinners at the campus cafeteria, and the communal laundry room,  I did enjoy walking on campus and just enjoying the scenery.


Hepner Hall


A row of arches


An unexpected lovely corner

Friday Fitness: Planning for Success


Another successful week to report!  .7 kg or 1.6 lbs lost.  More importantly, I lost an inch from my waist and 3/4″ from around the upper arm.  I still can’t fit into my old blouses because of upper arm flab, but I can see progress… and that’s very motivating.

I’ve been reading a lot about training for 10ks.  Most plans are for running a 10k rather than walking one. However, the goals all look about the same: increasing speed through intervals, cross-training,  increasing distance and having at least one rest day. Prevention Magazine has a walking program and the process is the same as a walk/run program, only without the running, but it isn’t focused on a specific distance goal.

Looking back on my log, I can see that I’ve neglected days of rest and haven’t been cross-training enough. I also haven’t started including long distance walks.  My longest walks are about 3 miles, or a 5k.

So, my plan needs:

  • challenging workouts to push my limits
  • easier recovery workouts
  • strength training
  • rest days
  • a reasonable ramp up of distance so at the end of 9 weeks I can walk 6.2 miles comfortably
  • flexibility to adjust to crazy mornings

This is the plan I came up with.  It includes a rest day and also has a long-distance day.  I can switch my distance day pretty easily if I need to work on Sunday.  I can also trade out some walks for DVD workouts in case of inclement weather (like this morning).

Do you have a fitness plan?  What is your goal and what does your plan include?

A tale of two liners

A smackdown between Revlon’s Colorstay Cream Gel Eyeliner and Cailyn’s Gel Liner.


I bought the Revlon liner at Walgreens for around $8.  I found the Cailyn liner at Marukai Living for around $18.


The Revlon cream gel liner comes in yummy colors (I chose this gorgeous plum) and has a brush that is cleverly concealed in the cap.  When you remove it, you are supposed to be able to click it into the cap for a longer handle.  My brush refused to click into the cap and the cap portion kept falling off of the brush.  Great idea; didn’t work for me. The formula is creamy and glides on beautifully.  Some people have complained about the thickness of the brush, but I found it to be perfect for most of the time.  I just use a much thinner brush when I want a thinner line. This liner has great saturation of color and really stayed put on my upper lashline, but smudged into a puddle under my eyes within a few hours.  Four out of five stars.


The Cailyn gel eyeliner is almost twice as expensive as the Revlon one, but also has twice as much product, so I think the price evens out.  There were just as many color choices for this liner, but I chose a neutral charcoal (although the green is mighty tempting) The Cailyn liner also has a built-in brush, but this one actually does snap into the cap for a longer handle. The brush is bit on the thick side, but with practice can be used to make a thinner line. The formula, like Revlon’s, is creamy and very nicely pigmented. It glides on smoothly. This eyeliner claims to last for 24 hours… and I believe it.  I put it on and it didn’t budge all day until I took it off, even on the lower lashline which usually smudges all but the most persistent products.


Although I really like the Revlon Colorstay Cream Gel Liner, I LOVE the Cailyn gel liner.  And the fact that Cailyn is also mineral-based and hypoallergenic just adds to the love.

Have you tried either of these eyeliners?  How did you like them?

Visions of beauty

I know, it’s almost February, but I finally finished my vision board for 2013.

A vision board, for those of you unfamiliar with the concept, is a visual wish for what you want.  It’s not goal-setting, but is about the outcomes you want.

Usually I make my yearly vision or dreamboards with a group, but this year I was working and couldn’t attend. Sigh.  So I decided to collect images and do it myself.

My vision board for 2013

My vision board for 2013

It was interesting to see what images and words popped out as I sat down to create this board.  It was originally intended to be about getting fit and losing weight…but turned out to be about aging joyfully and embracing my fifth decade. I have no idea how this will translate into goals and action steps… or even if it needs those things. Certainly getting fit and losing weight is a big part of living well, but there are many other factors that I’ll figure out along the way.

In the meantime, I’m happy with this vision for 2013 and am keeping it in my office for inspiration. The one I made last year was all about emerging (from bad times, debt and a lack of confidence); it certainly came true as 2012 was indeed a year of new beginnings and renewed confidence.

Have you ever made a vision board?  Have any of your visions come true?


Hit or Miss: ELF Primer/Sealer Combo

I love a good combo product; saves space in the already crammed cabinet, and usually saves money, too.  ELF cosmetics are already very cost effective and usually high quality.  So when I saw this little number at my local Target, I had to get one to check it out.

ELF Eye Primer and Liner Sealer

ELF Eye Primer and Liner Sealer

ELF Eye Primer and Liner Sealer: It has a stick primer on one end and a sponge-tip brush in a liner sealant on the other.  It was around $3 (as I remember).

What a clever idea, I thought.  This will be perfect for travel….

Well, is it? I have to say that this duo is a miss for me.  The eyelid primer is a bit dry and waxy (not unlike a concealer) and did not glide as smoothly as other primers (such as ELF’s eye primer for $1 that has a sponge-tip applicator).  The primer worked fairly well; my shadow stayed put for most of the day, but by evening it had all but faded away completely.  Other primers — and even some cream eyeshadows work better.  Now to the liner sealer.  This product does work fairly well. It’s not as good as Kryolan sealant, nor my beloved and discontinued Benefit SheLaq, but it works well enough for several hours.  The main downfall is that you are using the applicator then sticking it back into the sealant reservoir….and all the bacteria picked up from your eyes goes right into the product where it can happily multiply at room temperature…. yuck.  It may save time to never wash the applicator, but the risk of an eye infection is not a pretty option.   (I feel the same way about liquid liners… I like to make my own liquid liner with a drop of a sealant such as Kryolan’s and a smidge of powdered liner.  It’s more work, but much more sanitary.)


Have you tried this product?  What did you think of it?

Martin Luther King Day 2013

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!



I don’t remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I was 5 when he was assassinated. But I do remember growing up in inner city Nashville, and witnessing first-hand as old attitudes smacked into new laws and the old ways of segregation and racism began to crumble.

It did not happen overnight. I started school in Nashville in 1971, which was the first year of enforced bussing to integrate the schools. I was 7. We lived in a black neighborhood (because my mother taught at Fisk University and we lived in campus housing). I was the only white person on the bus.  When we got to Norman Binkley Elementary School that morning, there was a crowd of picketers waiting for us, angry white parents who didn’t want “niggers” touching their children. Needless to say, there was a moment of surprise when I got off that bus. And I got to endure the pent-up and passed-down racial anger from both black and white kids for quite some time before I was finally just accepted.

Later that year, we had a bomb scare; someone called to say a bomb had been planted in the library because of the “niggers” in the school.  We all trooped over to the nearby church to wait while the bomb squad checked everything out.  And none of us kids understood…why would anyone want to bomb children? For what?  If the bomb had gone off, all children would have been injured — not just the black ones… and the real stupidity of racism became clear.

We have come a long way since I was in elementary school.  We still have a ways to go.  But when I go to school groups or work with kids in libraries, I see children of all colors, children with hijabs, children with yamakas, and children with purple streaks in their hair.  And I see parents who don’t make a fuss, or necessarily notice the diversity.

If only Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been able to live long enough to see his legacy.  His dream lives on and is being fulfilled a little more each day.

Have you experienced racism or discrimination because of your differences? Do you see any progress where you are?


Sunday Pictures: January Flowers

It’s a gorgeous winter day and I want to share a little bit of what’s growing in our yard… it’s mainly scruffy right now and is in dire need of a trim (kind of like my hair…), but the yellow rose has begun blooming again and the lavender is going full steam ahead.




Fitness Friday: Getting into the groove


fat woman cartoon

It’s been a pretty good week.  I’ve had several insights into what bad habits contributed to my weight gain, and I’ve started to tackle them one at a time.  And I lost

.9kg!!! which is 1.98 lbs

Our scale has decided it no longer measures in imperial, and only does metric, so I’m getting good at conversions…

Woo hoo!

I realized that part of my problem is that I only have 15 minutes for lunch at work so I tend to eat a yogurt and then when I get home, I’m starving and I eat whatever is the fastest junk I can find…poptarts, chips and cheese, anything…

The second problem is that dinner is often later than when I start to get hungry. So from 6pm (when I start getting hungry) until 7pm (when hubby gets home from work), I snack.  And then I make dinner and we have a full sit-down dinner by 7:30ish.

Eliminating those 2 problems will go a long way towards solving this weight gain pattern.

So, I talked with my friend Kathy Selman who happens to sell Body by Vi products and decided to try the 90 challenge where I substitute 1 meal with a protein shake.  This is working well for me because now I am getting a more filling lunch with the shake than I did with a lowfat yogurt.

In addition, I decided to give PGX powder a try.  It’s an herb and fiber mix that when added to a beverage gets thick (kind of like very fine tapioca). The texture is not unpleasant and it has no flavor on its own, so it tastes like whatever juice I put it in. The fiber really fills me up and keeps me from getting the early evening munchies.

And then I decided to walk a 10k on March 30th. I can currently walk a 5k (and did so last November), but doubling the distance will take some training.  This race is the impetus I needed to start stepping up the exercise.  So I’m increasing my walk time (and thus distance) by a few minutes each morning.  And I’m wearing the weight vest (6lbs) every other day.  I have not been very successful in exercising twice a day, but I did manage to get a second session in twice this past week.

I’m feeling energetic and motivated.  I’m excited by the 10k… it’s the race I had been training for 4 years ago when my hips blew out (literally the cartilege wore through and my bones began to rub each other)… and I had to stop everything for awhile.  Now I am 2 years into life with artificial hips and ready to get competitive with myself again.  I may never  be able to run again, but I can walk, and that’s good enough.