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Archive for April 29, 2013

Advice for the the morning after…

In the immortal words of Billy Crystal as Fernando on Saturday Night Live, “It’s better to look good than to feel good…”

It was a rough week-end… prom in Pomona had me driving for 2 hours, then slam-drawing for 4 hours, then 2 hours of driving home, in bed by 1:30ish am… then it was up at 8am and off to a festival until 5pm…followed by dinner with old friends… needless to say, I needed a little help to look a little better than I felt…

Here’s what I do to make sure I don’t look like death warmed over after a night of no sleep and too much junk food.

1. Drink a ton of water.  After the initial coffee to keep me awake, I stick to water the rest of the night.

water bottle

2. Make sure I take off my make-up before hitting the hay.  Even if it’s just using a wet wipe, removing make-up is crucial…especially eye-makeup.

3. Use a hydrating sleeping mask.  I like Baviphat’s Paprika Sleeping Mask

4. The next morning, drink at least 2 glasses of water first thing.

5. Use a hydrating mask before you shower.  I like Skin Food’s Rice Mask.  It really softens and hydrates tired skin.

Photo from

Photo from

Skin Food Rice Mask Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclomethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Prorylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 80, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Butylene Glycol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Water, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Sorbitan Stearate, Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Sucrose Cocoate, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Butylparaben, Parfum

6. Use a good moisturizer.

7. Wear a brightening foundation or BB cream.

8. Wear blush.  It’s amazing how just a bit of blush really wakes up your face.

9. Neutral eyes… no need to draw attention to any residual redness…

10. Bright lipstick… distracts attention from tired eyes and helps perk up your complexion. (I’m loving Kat von D’s Foiled Love Lipstick in Beranice, a warm metallic poppy red.)

And voila! You look like a living human instead of a zombie (even if you feel like the living dead…)


Sunday Pictures: Women Rock

What a crazy, busy week-end!  Yesterday I drove up to Pomona to do henna at a prom and today I did henna and glitter tattoos for Women Rock, a day of pampering and fun at Liberty Station on Pt. Loma.

It was a gorgeous day at Liberty Station...

It was a gorgeous day at Liberty Station…

Today’s event had a lot of different vendors — and it was so much fun connecting with everyone and seeing what they offered.

The vendors were on either side of a long hallway at the Courtyard Marriott at Liberty Station.

The vendors were on either side of a long hallway at the Courtyard Marriott at Liberty Station.

Sherry Austin of Accessorize Me with her dazzling array of affordable bling

Sherry Austin of Accessorize Me with her dazzling array of affordable bling.

Nicole Wright with her hand-made line of natural skincare products, Skinwise.

Nicole Wright with her hand-made line of natural skincare products, Skinwise. I am definitely test-driving one of her products in the near future!

Cupcakes from Brilliant Treats...nom, nom...had a few samples of those beauties!

Cupcakes from Brilliant Treats…nom, nom…had a few samples of those beauties!

14-year old Journey and her hand-made tutus for little girls.

14-year old Journey and her hand-made tutus for little girls.

A photographer captured every moment (and got some henna as well...)

A photographer captured every moment (and got some henna as well…)

There was live music...

There was live music…

In addition, there was chair massage from the talented folks at Massage Envy on Pt. Loma as well as acupuncture treatments and brow waxing.  Other vendors included Royal Wine Tastings, hand-made glass pendants, and a patio hydroponic gardening system.  All in all, an interesting mix of folks and a lovely event.  Definitely doing this one again next year!








Let them eat bread…

Natashastan bread, that is…

When we lived in England many years ago, we enjoyed a wonderful multigrain bread that we found in Sainsbury’s: Turkestan bread. It was supposedly the staff of life for those hardy souls who lived in the rugged mountains of Turkestan… a hearty bread with nuts and seeds and a big flavor.

Alas, when we returned to the land of White Bread, only memories of the golden brown delicious goodness lingered.

More than a decade has passed and still, the memory of that pinncacle of breads remains strong.

And in the absence of a real recipe… I made one up and called it: Natashastan bread… it’s a meal in a slice!

Fresh from the oven...

Fresh from the oven…

Natashastan Bread

1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Whole Grain Hot Cereal With Flaxseed2/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill – Organic Whole Grain High Fiber Hot Cereal With Flaxseed (because I ran out of the first cereal; you can use either one or the other…)
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill White Bean Flour
1/2 cup Spelt flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups (or so) unbleached white flour
1 tsp yeast
1/4 cup molasses
5 cups water
1/2 cup plain kefir
1 tblsp salt
1/4 cup flaxseed oil
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup golden raisins

Make hot cereal with 3 cups hot water. When soft, put in a very large bowl.  Add 1 cup white flour, 2 cups water, yeast and molasses.  Mix well.  When bubbly, add in the salt and oil. Add in the whole wheat flour, bean flour and spelt flour.  Mix well and let sit for about 4 hours or so.

When you return, add in the kefir, and the remaining ingredients except for the white flour.  Mix well and let let sit for 4 or more hours.  I covered the bowl and left it in the fridge overnight, then removed it the next morning and let it come to room temperature.  Once it’s room temperature, add enough white flour to get a good dough.  Divide into 3 loaves.  Knead each loaf, using as much white flour as needed to keep it from sticking.  Knead each loaf until it feels like a cohesive creature.  Form into loaves and put into baking pans.

Let rise until doubled, then bake at 325F for about 1 hour. Check for doneness with a toothpick or bamboo skewer.

The nutritional analysis of this recipe comes from which has a very cool feature that analyzes any recipe!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 77 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 154

Calories from Fat: 31

% Daily Value*
Total Fat: 3.5g

0% TransFats
0% Cholesterol
Sodium: 203mg

Total Carbohydrates: 26.3g
Dietary Fiber: 2.9
Sugars: 1.2g
Protein: 4.7g

Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 4% Iron 13%
Nutrition Grade B+
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet
Nutritional Analysis
  • Low in saturated fats
  • No Cholesterol
  • High in Selenium


Friday Fitness: Moving right along


It’s been a pretty good week for diet and exercise. I had 2 days of above 10,000 steps and increased my average walking speed from 143bpm to 146bpm.

My walking speeds are determined by the music I listen to — and I love Podrunner for its funky, old/new house music mixes.  The mixes are organized by bpm so you can choose exactly which speed you want…and there are also variable speed mixes and interval mixes designed to help you train to run a 5k, 8k and 10k.  I am currently using the Gateway to 8k mixes to boost my speed and duration on day when I have more time.

And they’re all FREE!  Yep.  Sin dinero.  How awesome is that?!

fat woman cartoon

Continuing the 5:2 diet: I find Monday is an easy day for fasting, but choosing the 2nd day becomes more problematic when my schedule changes so quickly… I had planned on Wednesday, but later changed my mind to Thursday since it was a day off…but then Hubby had to host a department guest and we ended up going out for dinner in Old Town, San Diego… lots of ambiance, and no low-cal options.  I’m trying again today, but we’ll just see how it goes; the current plan is to grab dinner before the Schopp Lecture this evening… but it could easily turn into an invitation to dinner with the speaker… and then the calories will be much harder to control.  I usually don’t consider fasting on week-ends and this week-end is no exception; I’m working a homecoming in Pomona — so we’ll be grabbing something on the way up…and then on Sunday, I’m working Women Rock! event so there will be no fasting then either.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter too much and I shouldn’t stress if I don’t manage to get 2 days in on any one week.  The big picture is what’s important.

This week’s big picture: down 2.2 lbs, making it down 6.6 lbs since April 1 and down 10 lbs since March 5 (when we got the Aria scale).  I lost another inch from my waist and a half inch from my hips…the upper arms are holding steady…but I know they will have to budge soon…and I’m lifting weights to help them along…

And I think it is a trend now: when I eat a lot, I really can’t eat more than 600 calories at a time…and then I’m not hungry for a long time.  But if I graze, then I can consume thousands of calories without even noticing…. and also that a single caramel fudge brownie has 450 calories while a large plate of homemade mac and cheese has only 300 calories… looks can be deceiving…


Monday Blog Love: Diane Jarvis-Schuller: Photographs Never Forget

Each Monday I share a blog I’ve recently discovered and want to share!

I’ve been involved a postcard exchange called Liberate Your Art.  A bunch of us (more than 200 this year) made 6 postcards of our art and sent them off to Kat Sloma in Oregon — who organized, addressed and stamped them all — and then mailed them off… and now the postcards wander, ending up where they may.  I have received 4 postcards so far. You can check them out on my other blog: Musings of a Hennaphile.

And one of MY postcards was received by Diane Jarvis-Schuller from Vancouver, BC. So, I checked out HER blog…and was delighted to find a new place to visit for inspiration, a few yummy recipes and instructions for making a lovely bath salt. The photographs make me want to just dive in….

well, she IS a professional photographer, but also a person who muses, ponders, shares, and creates. Whether she’s relating about her adventures in canning or just talking about the recent dinner party she hosted, Diane makes you feel like you are a trusted friend. Put the kettle on and enjoy!

Friday Fitness: This and That

It’s been a rather low-key week. With the events in Boston and West, Texas in the news, I’ve really been aware of our fleeting existence and have been trying to appreciate everyone and everything in my life.  I am truly grateful that my friends in Boston are all OK and coping.  One of my friends lived through the fall of the Shah in Tehran, so the terror attack in her current home of Boston has brought back some memories… she has decided to continue walking her dog despite the citywide lockdown; terrorism only succeeds if it keeps you from living your life — so she is trying to live as normally as possible.



I have been trying to live as normally as possible as well.


I’ve walked at least a half hour every morning, and even walked a full hour on Thursday.  I like using Podrunner mixes to keep me moving to a steady pace.  And I discovered that I’ve improved my speed and endurance.  I am now very comfortable at 143bpm where just 2 weeks ago it felt like a challenge.  And I had 2 days at over 10, 000 steps this week.

No real weight training this week.  I’ve worked a lot this week and haven’t had the time for 2nd workouts… nor the energy…

fat woman cartoon

Week 2 of the 5:2 Plan
I read in one of the various books on the subject that fasting should make you feel like a cheetah — energized and ready for the hunt…


I just feel hungry.  Not all the time, but enough to make me wonder why I’m doing this.  It’s not as if my weight loss pattern is much different from just calorie-counting.

What I have noticed is that when I have a normal day and graze all day long, I am more hungry than when I fast and then have largish meals.  I’ve also noticed that when I tried to binge after a fast day, the most I could stuff down was 500 calories…. half a pull-pork sandwich, a baby back rib and some coleslaw… I used to be able to eat a whole sandwich, several ribs and a ton of fries…

I’m also starting to feel more picky about food.  If I’m going to have calories on my fast day, I want them to be real food calories instead of cupcakes…and that is starting to spill over into my regular days as well. If fasting is retraining my brain and my stomach, then that is a good reason to continue… we’ll see how I feel after next week.

The Good: down 1.9 lbs this week, bringing my total lost to 8 lbs since March 5.
The Bad: No change in inches at all this week. In fact, I can’t really tell I’ve lost any weight… clothes still fit the same (or don’t fit as the case may be)… I am trying not to feel discouraged.

But I really have no choice but to keep trying… I know in my brain that eventually I’ll lose enough that my clothes will fit again… I just hope it’s in time for summer.

Monday Blog Love: Science of Beauty

Each Monday I spotlight a blog I’ve recently discovered and want to share!

Sarah of The Science of Beauty is a beauty junkie with a PhD in Science, specifically wound healing. So when she talks about how products work — or how pseudo-scientific marketing is hype, you can believe her. Her goal is to talk about the products she loves in plain English.  OK. I’ts Australian English, but it’s clear and honest with just a touch of wry humor.

In addition to debunking popular myths about weight loss, she shares such gems as a portrait painted using ONLY OPI nailpolish…it’s amazing! You can spend hours just browsing her informative and interesting posts… please do!

Sunday Pictures: Mon Petit Chateau

I spent today at an event at Mon Petit Chateau in Chula Vista, CA. The theme was pre-Mother’s Day appreciation with vendors of all sorts — from tupperware to NuSkin to Jamberry to Wine at Home to me, your humble henna and glitter artist.

This was the first time I’d been to Mon Petit Chateau. I suppose that without kids and living in Lemon Grove, I really didn’t have a reason to visit… but I am sure glad I discovered this little gem!  If I had kids, I’d be there as often as possible!

The entrance houses an expresso bar and pastry shop.

The entrance houses an expresso bar and pastry shop. The expresso is ground right before it is brewed and there are also fresh baked croissants, cupcakes, and specialty sandwiches.  I tried the Turkey Pesto Panini… yum!

The life-sized paper tree towers up to the ceiling

The life-sized paper tree towers up to the ceiling.

Inside the castle are costumes for wanna-be knights and princesses...

Inside the castle are costumes for wanna-be knights and princesses… There’s also a grocery store with play vegetables and shopping carts, a train and lots of puzzles.

The discerning Princess can also find attire in the Atelier...

The discerning Princess can also find attire in the Atelier…

There's also an attached boutique with too many adorable things... I wish these babies came in MY size...

There’s also an attached boutique with too many adorable things… I wish these babies came in MY size…

In addition to enjoying the surroundings, I got to draw fun, sparkly things as well!

In addition to enjoying the surroundings, I got to draw fun, sparkly things as well!

Although it was a gray and drizzly day, the spirits inside were bright and full of joy… and expresso…

I may have to borrow some children so I can go back!







Friday Fitness: First week of 5:2


It’s been a great week for fitness: I walked at least 30 minutes each morning, and even pulled out the balance ball for abs work. I upped my hand weights from 3lbs to 5lbs and started doing curls during tv commercials.  I’m feeling stronger, if not a little sore…

Stats from my Fitbit report:
Total steps: 49,601 (and I had one day at over 10,000 steps)
Total floors climbed: 67

Total weight lost this week: 1.2 lbs, bringing my total weight loss since we bought the new scale to 6 lbs.
Inches lost: 1 from my waist and 1 from my hips.  The upper arm actually gained 1/2 inch which doesn’t make me happy, but I hope it is due to extra arm exercises this week and that it will balance out in time.


fat woman cartoon

I am trying the 5:2 Fast Diet.
My first fast day was Monday.  The day part went very easily.  I skipped breakfast, had a 250 calorie protein shake for lunch (my usual lunch since I only get a 15 minute break), and then had a shrimp stir-fry for dinner (320 calories) for just shy of 600 calories for the day.

I felt great.  I had plenty of energy, no faintness, dizziness, headaches or crankiness.

But at 3am, it was another story!  I woke up with a start: I’m STARVING!  So I went to the kitchen and had a couple spoonfuls of non-fat Greek yogurt. And then I had a stomachache for about an hour. I spent the rest of a fitful night sleeping on the couch so Hubby could sleep with minimal interruptions.  The cats were thrilled, but I was not.

Tuesday was a normal day — with extra coffee to keep me focused during an afternoon gig. I am trying to stick as close to my recommended 1400 calorie range on normal days as possible and I was right on target for Tuesday. I had no urges to binge (although I did scarf down a very tasty bean burrito at the local cocina when my friends and I got together for lunch).

House Foods Tofu Shirataki Fettuccine Noodles Single Bag

Wednesday was also a normal day. I discovered Shiritaki noodles at our local “natural foods” store, Sprouts. Made from tofu and yam flour, these little noodles are only 20 calories per serving, whereas a cup of rice is 241. While there is nothing tastier than true Korean bap (rice), Shiritaki noodles are a good substitute texture-wise and they soak up the flavor of the sauce — so not delicious on their own, but quite nice as part of a dish.

Thursday: 2nd fast day.  The second fast was even easier than the first.  I did a 45 minute interval walk first thing in the morning, made my shake and then went to work. Business was really slow and when the weather started to turn, I came home early and was able to fit in a second walk before an evening appointment.  Dinner was a Kashi Chicken Fettucine Steamer at 270 calories.  Fast food, I know… but it’s relatively healthy and within calorie range. And then  I allowed myself  a before bed snack of a half cup of kefir: 50 calories and filled with calcium and probiotics.  It turned out to be the perfect nightcap as I slept right through the night with no hunger pangs at all.

Although it’s been barely one week into this diet plan, I am thinking about food differently.  The quality and the quantity.  And I’m learning that hunger isn’t always about food.  Many of my hunger pangs were distracted away by drinking tea or getting busy. Maybe with time, I just won’t feel hungry when I’m bored…

It’s a process.  And the first step is awareness.


Physician’s Formula Lippies…hit or miss?

I love the concept of Physician’s Formula cosmetics.  They have innovative ideas and clever packaging.  I keep wanting to like them.  The BB Powder was a big disappointment.  Do the lippies work better?


The first lippie I tried was the Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Glossy Stain


Physician’s Formula Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Glossy Stain — cute high heel charm!

The website claims:

  • Irresistable Sexy Color & Shine.
  • Innovative gloss+stain hybrid formula delivers richly pigmented color in an intensly glossy finish combined with our Sexy Boost Blend for the ultimate pout-enhancing effect. The result is full, voluptuous, SEXY lips!
  • Seductive scent and delectable flavor makes it irresistable to apply!
  • Kiss-Proof Performance: High-impact color takes long-wear to a sexy new level, lasts up to 12 hours (tested under controlled conditions).
  • Sexy Boosting Formula: infused with the scent of warm vanilla, “afterglow” illumination and pheromone-mimicking ingredients including clinically tested Androstadienone, Cocoa Extract (aka “the Love Chemical”) and ancient aphrodisiac Horny Goatweed to enhance your sexy side.

Ingredients: Water, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Trimethylsiloxyphenyl Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat., Octyldodecanol, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Cetyl Alcohol, Acrylates Copolymer, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sucrose Cocoate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Polybutene, Fragrance, Androstadienone, Epimedium Sagittatum Extract, Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Pregnadienol, Thedoroma Cacoa (Cocoa) Fruit Powder, BHT, Citric Acid, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethyhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Sorbic Acid. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Red 33, Red 40, Red 27, Red 27 Lake, Yellow 5, Blue


My take:  This smells nice, glides on smoothly and lasts a long time (but not through a big enchilada dinner).  Do I feel more sexy? Not really.  Sassy, perhaps. It’s a bright color — and I’m shy about wearing bright colors on my lips. Hubby likes it, but I feel self-conscious.  I’ll only wear this when I’m feeling very brave.

I bought the second lippie on my way to Palm Springs as an impulse purchase at a Rite Aid Pharmacy near Temecula.  I figured it was less fattening than chips.

pH Matchmaker Powered Lip Gloss


It’s pink…with shimmers… and boasts that it will adjust to my pH to create my perfect lip color…


Check it out! It lights up and has a little mirror on the side of the tube!

The website claims:

  • Makeup Powered by You!
  • 1st Ever Lip Gloss with pH Power Complex transforms into your perfectly personalized hue.
  • Fluorescein Based Dye-senses the pH level of your skin & adjusts within 60 seconds to create your perfect lip color.
  • Photochronic Powders-light adjusting pigments adapt to your environment so color looks the same indoors & outside.
  • Look your Best in Every Light!
  • LED-powered compact lights up and features a full-size mirror for touch-ups anywhere & everywhere!

Ingredients: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ozokerite, Propylene Glycol Ricinoleate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, BHT, Citric Acid, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain: Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Iron Oxides, Mica, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Red 6 Lake, Red 27, Red 7 Lake.

pH Powered Lip Gloss on left; Sexy Glow on right

pH Powered Lip Gloss on left; Sexy Glow on right

As you can see from the swatch, the lip gloss goes on sheer and pink while the Sexy Glow Glossy Stain goes on opaque.


The gloss goes from sheer to bright pink on me.

My take: I LOVE the package!! It makes me all geeky happy to see the little light.  The mirror is actually useful — even if the light is not. This goes on very sheer, but turns bright pink on me within 3 minutes. Once the glossy part wears off, the lips remain stained for hours and hours — even through big enchilada dinners. I am not convinced this is my “perfect” shade, but it is pretty for spring and I feel less self-conscious in bright pink than I do in bright red. So I will wear this when I wear bright clothing.


These are nice formulas with clever ideas.  I wish they came in more shades, but for the price, they’re fun and definitely push me out of my color comfort zone.