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Archive for July 29, 2013

Snapshots from Heaven…

We got in on the red-eye yesterday morning… and are still adjusting to our regularly scheduled lives…

Here are a few pix from the other side of the Big Island…


Gold dust day gecko


Bee in Ohi’a Lehua


Heliconia Lobster Claw from the World Botanical Garden in Umauma.


Where the a’a meets the pahoehoe — two distinct types of lava


The Kiluea Iki caldera… a “bathtub” that was once filled with molten lava


Steam vents in the Kiluea Iki caldera


Glow from the active volcano vent at the Jaggar Museum…there is no spewing lava (that’s happening down the road at pu’u-o’o), but there is a constant plume of volcanic gasses which is most clearly seen at night.


The amazing purple Uluhe fern


Akaka Falls

We stopped by Akaka Falls yesterday on our way to Volcano. This part of the Island is lush and green unlike the almost stark landscape of Waikoloa.





Aloha from the Big Island

Aloha! Having a fabulous time in Waikoloa. I spent my 50th birthday snorkeling, meeting up with local henna colleagues and getting an amazing hot stone massage at the hotel. And the celebration continues!





Leaving on a jet plane…


Today I am off to Hawaii for a much needed vacation…

But before I get there, I have to go through the process of getting there. The airport security lines, the bad food and the cramped and very dry conditions once you get in the air.

Flying time from Los Angeles to Kona is about 5 hours.  Which is about the same as San Diego to New York — and we do that at least once a year to visit the in-laws… so I’ve had some experience in preparing for semi-long distance hauls.

1) Fashion goes out the window in favor of comfort.  I like stretchy yoga pants (although I probably have no business wearing them in public), soft t-shirts and knit jackets for travel.  I also wear dorky support socks because my ankles swell when I fly and my walking shoes (with elastic laces for easy-off at the TSA checkpoint)

2) I always bring a print magazine just in case my iPad doesn’t work for some reason so I have something to read.

3) I bring granola bars just in case things get really dire in the food department.

In addition, I bring along several key beauty items I’ve found useful over the years:


You can see that I used the manual beautysets program to showcase what I bring in my beauty carry-on…. It’s actually the paper that came with my Sephora birthday present and was recycled after this photo as a cat toy (my cats LOVE to dive under paper and then claw their way out…)

The items are not necessarily in order of importance.

1: Kleenex. Useful for so many reasons.

2: A scrunchie-headband/scarf hybrid that I found at a craft show… it works well as an eyeshade if I want to sleep and then covers my hair when I am ready to look presentable.  I usually slather a lot of leave-in conditioner when I fly, so my post-flight hair is not necessarily glamorous, but the headbandana covers practically everything so no-one will notice.

3: Emergen-C. This variety was on sale, but really any one will do.  Vitamins and electrolytes to put into your water.  Helps prevent dehydration and the vitamin C might ward off ambient cold germs… Maybe it’s a placebo, but I feel better when I drink this on a flying tin can…

4: Alcohol gel. For obvious useful reasons.

5: Crystal deodorant towelette.  I found this when we visited Aspen, CO.  I might need it after a long flight.  Not sure.  But it will be good to have if I do…

6: Samples of moisturizing sleeping packs. One the flight there and one for the flight home.  Sleeping packs saved my skin last year when we went on long cross-Atlantic flights.  They soak right in and make your skin feel like buttah. I will never fly without them again.

7: Cucumber eye pads.  Pre-moistened.  I found these at Zion Market and had to try them and figure a long flight is probably one of the few times I’ll be stuck in a chair not moving and can actully try them out…. I’ll report back on these.

8: Ahava hand cream.  I got this when we visited Israel, but it’s easily found in the US as well.  It’s a great hand cream that absorbs quickly.

9: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Rose.  This was part of my birthday package from Sephora. It was last year’s birthday treat and I liked it so much I opted to get it again rather than the Benefit sampler.  Moisturizing like nothing else, and a pretty pink color.

10: Urban Decay eye 24/7 eye pencil in Demolition, a very flattering dark brown.  I’ll slide this along my lashline just before landing for the illusion of being wide-eyed and alert.

11: Sample of Skinfood’s Mushroom BB cream to add a little glow before landing.  I just have a sample of this BB cream; it’s nice, though, and wears well.

12: Earplugs. Because airplanes are very noisy.

Here’s hoping that you get to travel someplace wonderful soon!  What do you carry on the plane when you fly?

Friday Fitness: Swimming against the tide


It’s been another crazy busy, hot week. I managed to take a couple days off, but they were mostly spent catching up on all the chores that went by the wayside when my schedule filled to overflowing.  The hectic pace continues right through next week until Friday — when we get on a plane and go to Hawaii for a week. And then it picks right back up when we return — I have a gig 4 hours after we get off our red-eye flight… c’est la vie de l’artiste du henne…(as they say in badly remembered high school French)

Work is good.  Lots of work is great. I love my work (at least the artistic part)  But the work/rest balance has been out of whack for the past few weeks.  I am really looking forward to this vacation!

Since I have so little free time, I have started getting up earlier to walk longer and am now averaging about 60 minutes per morning at about 3.5mph.  This has significantly helped with my goal of getting 10,000 steps per day; when you put in 7,000 steps before breakfast, you know it’s going to be a great day!  And I’m pleased to report that for the past 7 days I have have met or exceeded the 10,000 step goal.

Strength training, however, has been put on the back burner until I have free time again….which hopefully will be the first week of August.

fat woman cartoon

However, despite an increase in exercise, my weight has not budged much, except to increase by half a pound.

There are several factors that may account for this. I stopped fasting because it’s just too hard when you are doing a day job and 2-3 gigs afterwards and getting home around 9pm to keep up with fasting (although I have stayed within a 1200 – 1400 calorie daily limit).  My salt consumption has increased due to a greater reliance on fast and convenience foods. The temperatures have risen and it’s not always easy to keep hydrated when working outdoors, so that could account for some water retention. And dear Aunt Flo, who had gone away for about 3 months, returned 2 weeks ago with no signs of leaving any time soon (Just love this menopausal transition!)

I am disappointed to be sure.  We are leaving for Hawaii next Friday and my 50th birthday is next Sunday.  I had really hoped to be slimmer by then.  It’s difficult to not get caught up in bathing-suit anxiety.

But given that my work schedule is going to continue its crazy pace right up until the night before we leave and then pick up again the afternoon we return… all I can do is relax my weight loss goals and just focus on getting 10,000 steps per day and making sure I don’t overeat, and get enough fruits and vegetables. Control what I can and don’t stress about what I can’t. Easy does it. 

Sunology Sunscreen Revisited

Back in May, I reviewed Sunology sunscreen for body. The short of it was that I found the Sunology product to be greasy and that it pooled when I “glowed” during exercise, but that it worked beautifully on my dry, parched legs.

Soon after that review went live, I received an email from Natalie at  McNabb Nutraceuticals, the company that makes Sunology products. She said:

I must admit when I first tried Sunology there was a bit of a learning curve. It doesn’t contain any water or fillers, so I had to learn to apply it in a similar fashion to applying foundation – by placing a small amount in my hand, using one finger to dot it onto my face and limbs, and then rubbing the dots in. When used sparingly like that, it helps to cut down on that oily feeling, not to mention it makes a bottle last much longer!


Sunology For Face sunscreen on my hand.

So, I felt I should give Sunology a second chance.  I do tend to apply a *lot* of sunscreen because I want to make sure all spots are covered.  But if a less-is-more-approach is what I need to make this product work for me, then that’s what I’ll try!

What the website says:

Sunology® is the only sunscreen in the world that contains VitaOleféra™ Complex™ and FSG Complex, both breakthrough ingredients derived from nature. VitaOleféra™ is an all natural complex of moringa oil, Anti-oxidants and Vitamins (A,C & E) which nourishes the cells of the epidermis. It is among the world’s most opulent exotic oils which enables Sunology® to be both healthy for skin and extremely water resistant. Because Sunology® is Concentrated, it should be used sparingly, not excessively.

  • 50 SPF (maximum allowed under FDA 2013 Rules)
  • Active ingredients Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide derived from natural sources
  • Does not contain Oxybenzone, Avobezone, Octisalate, Homosalate or other chemical active ingredients
  • Made with VitaOleféra™ to moisturize the skin
  • UV MicroReflexion™ reflects the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays
  • FSG Complex™ to aid skin health
  • Water resistant up to 80 minutes (maximum allowed under FDA 2013 Rules)

Active ingredients: Zinc Oxide 10.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.5% Purpose: Sunscreen

Inactive ingredients:C12-C15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylene Diamine / Hydrogenated Dimer Dilinoleate Copolymer Bis-Di-C14-18 Alkyl Amide, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glyceral Isostearate, Polyhyroxystearic Acid, Hydrated Silica, Dimethicone / Methicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Feruloyl Soy Glycerides.
My Conclusion: I decided to try the facial sunscreen for my tests. I was originally nervous about putting something so oily on my face which is going through a change-of-life oil shift, but I did it in the name of science… AND it worked beautifully! I followed Natalie’s suggestion and applied it the same way I apply foundation (in my case, BB cream) and it absorbed quickly.  There was a slight heavy feel and it did leave my face shiny, but it acted as a fantastic primer and the oil did not affect the performance of any of my BB creams. I test drove this on dry days, cool days, hot days and hot and sticky days.  And under all conditions, I had no run-off or meltdown — and despite working outdoors during peak hours, it protected my skin from sunburn.
I can now rank this on par with other 80-min water resistant sunscreens.  It has similar goopiness and also performs just as well.  In addition, it leaves my skin feeling super-soft . I appreciate that it’s one of the few sunscreens out there that meets the Environmental Working Group‘s tough standards.  All of Sunology’s products received high marks from the EWG. Neither CeraVE nor EltaMD have products approved by the EWG.  And although, that’s not a deal-breaker for me, I do appreciate products that do meet those standards.
(Side note: EWG discourages the use of powder sunscreens because of the possibility of inhaling possibly carcinogenic particles.  I happen to really like powder sunscreens as a final coat of sun protection, but will now be more mindful of creating dust clouds when using them.)
And just in case you are still on the fence about using sunscreen every single day, here is an infographic about sun damage from Sunology.

about sun safety.

Sunday Pictures: A trip to Zion (Market and Taegukgi BBQ House)

One of our local Korean grocery stores recently reopened after a major expansion project. Zion Market was once a small, specialty grocery with a cramped parking lot, but now boasts a mega-store complete with K-Pop kiosk, a Korean cosmetics kiosk, a Paris Baguette shop and The Face Shop as well as a travel agency and a jewelry shop — in addition to a super-sized grocery store with tons of fresh produce, meats, tanks of live fish, a whole aisle of kimchee and tons of other Asian specialities.

It’s like a quick visit to Seoul without leaving San Diego (except for the meat department where all the butchers spoke Spanish, but the signs were in Korean).


Live blue crabs only $4.99/ lb!

Since shopping on an empty stomach leads to bad decisions, the Hubby and I decided to check out the restaurant attached to grocery.

Taegukgi Korean BBQ House (All You Can Eat) — what an great name!  The interior made us feel as if we were in a nightclub with its lighting and big-screen K-Pop on one side and big-screen baseball on the other. Each table has a gas grill in the middle and you are served little dishes of vegetables: pickled radishes, hot pickled cucumbers, bean sprouts in sesame oil, an interesting apple-potato salad (definitely NOT traditional).


Traditional kimchee, fermented pickled nappa cabbage and hot peppers

The waitstaff fires up the grill and brings meat for you to cook right there at the table.  A huge exhaust hood sucks up most of the smoke, but by the end of our third entree, we had to have a new grill plate because the smoke was getting too much.

Cooking spicy squid over the tabletop grill

Cooking spicy squid over the tabletop grill

Everything was so tasty; we especially liked the spicy squid which was flavorful but not overly chewy.

아주 맛있었어요. a-ju ma-si-sseo-sseo-yo.

아주 맛있었어요.
a-ju ma-si-sseo-sseo-yo.
< It was delicious. >

What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon!  And if you want to visit Taipei instead of Seoul, 99 Ranch is just down the street!

Happy Birthday, USA!


I hope everyone is having a fabulous day!  I decided to play hookey from working at Spanish Village in Balboa Park today since I’m still losing my voice by the end of each day.  A day of not talking non-stop would probably be helpful. And time spent with the Hubby is always nice.

We don’t have big plans (especially since I just made the decision to stay home after losing my voice again last night). A walk at Mission Trails? A nap? But we are defnitely going to grill up some salmon, red bell peppers, summer squash and potatoes (all American foods).  Watermelon or grilled pineapple for dessert.  Then we’ll watch the fireworks on TV since I hate fighting traffic and crowds.

Do you have any holiday plans?