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Archive for December 31, 2013

2013: Beauty Resolutions… how did I do?

Every January brings new hope and the will to turn over a new leaf and make changes… often the steam in the engine of change disippates after a few months and the resolutions are completely forgotten by September….

These were my resolutions from January 2013…let’s see how I did…

My vision board for 2013

My vision board for 2013

#1: Accept the things I cannot realistically change (I am not getting surgery to tighten the flabby bits), take responsibility for the things I can change (I will use magnifying mirrors so I can see those chin hairs so I can pluck them), and just accept myself the way I am.
2013 was definitely a year of acceptance as my skin developed sensitivities and I had to learn that what worked in the past does not necessarily work now…. my new beauty mantra is “moisturize, moisturize, moisturize…”

#2: Take better care of my hands.  Give them some of the TLC I routinely give my face.  Moisturize them after washing. Wear gloves 100% of the time when doing dishes. Be diligent about daily sunscreen use.
I admit, I forgot about this resolution.  I did try to wear gloves most of the time while doing dishes and I always included them in my morning sunscreen slathering… but I wasn’t very good about moisturizing or reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.

#3: Learn how to shape my brows and then maintain them.
Well, this didn’t happen.  But I DID discover eyebrow gels (my current fave is Benefit’s Gimme Brow Volumizing Micro Fiber Gel) and that has gone a long ways to making my brows look neat and tidy most days.

#4: Use my skincare products for a reasonable length of time (at least a month) before trying something new.  Part of my addiction is to accumulate new products and want to try them all yesterday.  This year I will slow down and actually give things a chance to work…or not…and then blog about it.
I actually was able to follow this resolution until December when skincare kits went on sale… so now I have all the skincare I’ll need for several months!  You’ll read all about them in future posts!

#5: Get healthier by losing 25lbs and walking at least a half hour 5 days per week.  I would like to walk a 10k by the end of the year. I am also going to create a simple weight routine to build and maintain muscle tone.
Partially successful on this one.  I did lose 25lbs (and am now hovering around 165lbs). I walked 4 10ks this year.  Woo hoo!  I fell short with the strength routine… I had some good ones, but had difficulty following through. 2 out of 3 fitness goals accomplished.

#6 Eat more salads.
This is another resolution that went by the wayside after a few months.  It wasn’t all my fault… I think I was a little too gung-ho in the beginning… and then Mr. Junkie decided he didn’t want to eat more salads… and I got tired of making them just for me… and I eventually just stopped making them.

So, some successes.  Some not so successful attempts.  All in all, it was a pretty good year even if I didn’t follow my resolutions to the letter.  And good enough is truly good enough.

How did you do with your resolutions this year?

The Best of 2013: My Baker’s Dozen

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s time for year-end round-ups.  And it seemed only just that I create a list of 13 top items for 2013… and then I read the post by Paris at My Woman Stuff and she framed the year-end summary so beautifully, that I am going to use her structure and give you my list of bests of 2013.


  1. Best Makeup Tip I Learned in 2013:
    Defining my hooded eyes from this tutorial from Olivia at Into the Palette
  2. Best Lipstick of 2013:
    So many lipsticks, so little time…but one that I’m really enjoying right now is Mineral Fusion’s lipstick in Precious. It’s got shea butter and antioxidants — and it’s gluten-free, too! (Definitely want my lipsticks to be gluten-free… )
  3. Best Thing I Did For Myself in 2013:
    Go snorkelling in Hawaii on my 50th birthday… so many glorious colors, fish and corals and I got to say Aloha to a sea turtle!


    Hello Honu!

  4. Best Skincare Tip I Learned in 2013:
    With menopause come skin changes and the best defense for me is not to fight acne with acne medicine, but to add more moisture.  And thanks to to the on-call doctor at Kaiser who suggested using CeraVe moisture cream when my skin starts getting fussy.  This cream is packed with glycerin and hyaluronic acid which keep the skin hydrated but not greasy.  Although, I also learned not to fear oil on my face… a little argan oil is amazing!
  5. Best Budget Sunscreen Discovered in 2013:
    CeraVe Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, SPF 50.  I wore this all summer long and never once got burned.


    Best budget sunscreen

  6. Best Body Care Discoveries in 2013:
    CeraVe Moisture Cream… on the face, on the body, this stuff rocks!


  7. Best Eyeshadow used in 2013
    The most versatile eyeshadows I discovered this year was Urban Decay’s Naked Basics — I actually use this palette every day and it’s one of 2 palettes that I brought with me on my trip to NYC to visit the in-laws.

    Urban Decay's Naked Basics

    Urban Decay’s Naked Basics

  8. Best Spa Experience I had in 2013:
    I only had one spa experience in 2013.  But it was pretty darned awesome.  I definitely recommend Spa 33 for a delightful and affordable spa experience.  And you do a massage, sauna, oxygen treatment and then a facial for a full day of blissdom…
  9. Best BB Cream in 2013:
    Actually, my favorite BB cream of this year turned out to be a CC cream: The Face Shop’s Aura Color Control Cream.  It has a lovely texture, good SPF and lasts all day even in hot weather.
  10. Best Personal Growth Experience of 2013:
    Attending the Henna Intensive Retreat in September.  This was a fabulous week-end in the mountains full of art, great people, and tons of inspiration.  It was just what I needed to halt burn-out… and I found some fun eyeshadows (from EyeCons), too!
  11. Best Concealer Used in 2013:
    L’Oreal True Match Concealer Crayon.  Good color match, great coverage without looking cakey, easy to use and cheap affordable… what’s not to love?

    L'Oreal TruMatch Concealer Crayon

    L’Oreal TruMatch Concealer Crayon

  12. Best Travel Experience in 2013:
    A week in on the big island of Hawaii!  The Big Island has so much diversity, great snorkelling, lava fields, tropical rainforests, volcanos, glorious beaches, and fantastic restaurants.  I hope we get the chance to return soon!
  13. Best Skincare Product Discovery in 2013:
    The Face Shop’s Chia Seed Skincare line.  It’s light, moisturizing and layerable.  I love how it makes my skin feel!

    The Chia Seed Skincare set

    The Chia Seed Skincare set

    Thanks again to Paris B for this great list!

    What are your top 13 for 2013?

Tagged! Christmas Questions

Tine at Beautiholics Anonymous responded to a Christmas tag… and I’m picking up the ball!

Our XMas "tree" from 2010 at the in-laws' house.

Our XMas “tree” from 2010 at the in-laws’ house.

1. Do you prefer a real Christmas tree or synthetic?
We never have a tree because we always visit the in-laws for Christmas and they have a tree.  As a kid we had a re-usable synthetic tree that got a little more abstract each year.  It was a lot of fun putting together the puzzle of that tree!  We had a real little tree in a pot when we were first married and spent Christmas in our tiny flat in Keele, Staffs, UK… and then we planted it in the forest later in the spring. But since we’ve returned stateside, the XMas trees are in NYC and our house just has a few decorations and lights.

2. You’re in a coffee shop, it’s December, what do you pick?
I had a pumpkin latte a couple weeks ago and it was too sweet!  So I’ll just stick to my regular latte.

3. Whats your favourite colour scheme for decorating the tree?
We have no tree… and the Mother-in-law changes things up every year.  One year there is a small synthetic tree with blue lights, the next no tree but a big poinsettia, and the following year, a white synthetic tree.  They’re all nice.

4. Giving or receiving?
I love giving the perfect gift… but that gets harder and harder each year.  Mainly I just enjoy the thrill of seeing everyone open stuff and seeing the surprised faces.  Last year we gave his Mom a case of super-hot habanero potato chips… THAT was a great surprise!


These are super hot! She LOVED them!

5. To mince pie or not to?
I personally love a mince pie.  My grandfather was British so I grew up with proper fruitcakes, plum puddings and mince pies.  However, I married a New Yorker with strong Korean heritage.  Mince pies are just not on the menu at the in-laws…

6. What’s your traditional Sunday lunch?
Lunch is usually at Dad’s house and is a buffet spread of cold cuts, cheeses, German apfel pastries and all the Christmas goodies from relatives. Then we go home for traditional Christmas dinner: Turkey, stuffing, Korean Black rice, garlic broccoli, pureed turnips, cranberry sauce, gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetarian stuffing and kimchee.  And then everyone falls into a food coma while watching Christmas movies on TV…

7. Christmas day fashion
Black pants and some sort of tunic top.  This year I’m going to wear a black top with a red cardigan and some glorious Indian pendant.  It’s NYC; funky sweaters are against the law.

8. What’s your favourite Christmas song?
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” — I just love the tune and always have.

9. What’s your favourite Christmas film?
“It’s a Wonderful Life”

10. Open presents before or after lunch?
Before lunch and after breakfast bagels

One Sentence Saturday — Love this Quote!

The Kickin’ It Old Skool Blogathon challenges us to share an inspirational quote.  Since we are doing a lot of travelling in the coming months, I thought this quote from Ursula Le Guin was particularly appropriate:

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
– Ursula Le Guin

And it’s good for me to keep in mind that craziness in planning that journey — such as striking out over and over again in finding a nice place within our budget in Honolulu before our housesitter moves in and we leave for sabbatical — and that all the sedatives for the cats make our hyper cat more hyper — THESE are part of the journey and I should accept and enjoy them… or at least not be too freaked out by them.


That’s the theory anyways…

Fitness Friday and a list of Firsts


Another less than amazing week for diet and exercise.  Between Christmas parties and Christmas baking, I’m prepared to chow down at all the eating opportunities at the in-laws…. LOL!

I did manage to walk 2-3 miles most days this week, except for yesterday when it rained. And since I’m delivering my betta to a friend tomorrow morning and working all day Sunday, the long 7-mile walk is starting to look like it’s not going to happen until January.  But still, I did at least move something most days this week… and this time of year, I will take that as a victory!

This afternoon I met with Preza Ford, trainer at 180 Fitness in Spring Valley — which is much closer than the previous place I went to in Ocean Beach.  We discussed my current fitness level, my goals and how to keep things going while on sabbatical — possibly in a 400 sq ft space (things are awfully small on Oahu!) I’ll actually meet with him in the studio for a session in early January — so stay posted!

And now for the Kickin It Old School Blogathon list of firsts:

  • Your First Job:
    Selling cameras at Dury’s in downtown Nashville, TN
  • The First Thing to Your Left:
    A very wiggly cat begging for attention
  • Something You Remember About First Grade
    It was a long walk from my house
  • The First book you ever read
    Dr. Seuss’s ABC Book.  I remember making the connection between “c” and camel!
  • The First Thing You Do In the Morning
    Feed the cats, then make a pot of coffee
  • The First Food You Knew You Didn’t Like
    Spinach. It was very bitter when I was little, but I tried it again as a teen and loved it!
  • Your First Memory
    Looking up in a tree and seeing a very large siamese cat looking down at me. (I was around 2)


What’s in my bag?

Today’s prompt for Kickin It Old Skool Blogathon: 10 things in my bag?

What's in my bag?

What’s in my bag?

In no particular order:

1) Emergen-C Vit C powder

2) Hello Kitty pouch with business cards

3) Microfiber glasses cleaning cloth

4) Portable office, complete with scissors, stapler and glue stick

5) calculator (for when you really want to know how much you are spending before you spend it)

6) Sucrets box with Ricola drops

7) Starbucks Instant coffee

8, 9, 10) Lipsticks in Peach gloss from Mary Kay, a reddish gold from Mineral Fusion and pinky-nude balm with SPF 15.

And my wallet, of course!


2, 4,6, 8…. free associate!

Here’s today’s prompt from Kickin It Old Skool

River — Rollin, rollin, rollin down a river… that song popped into my head and now will not leave!

Fresh — baked bread… some just came out of the oven… mmmm.

Escape — from Alcatraz… I’ve never seen than movie.

Moment — be in…. I have such a hard time with this except when I’m doing art.

Night — bedtime.  It’s late and time for me to call it a night!


Who Do You Love?

The Kickin’ It Old Skool Blogathon challenge for today is to share your loved ones!

Hubby wants as small an online presence as possible — so no photos of him… instead I will share a photo of Genghis Khan from the History Channel.  Mr. Junkie bears a strong resemblence to the leader of the largest empire in the world at that time. (And if he were allowed to smote students who do not study…)


Mr. Junkie looks remarkably like Genghis Khan minus the cool hat and armor. Imagine if you will, the conqueror of the whole of Asia in a NASA polo shirt and jeans, yielding powerpoint presentations instead of a sword…


Miss Java aka Princess Java aka Dumpling or Baozi in Chinese.  I guess she will soon be called Mandoo by her Korean grandma…

Miss Sahara, Trouble, Dust Devil aka Mafan which means trouble in Chinese.

Miss Sahara, Trouble, Dust Devil aka Mafan which means trouble in Chinese. In Korean, trouble is pronounced Sugo… In any language, Sahara is a difficult cat — she knocks over the garbage can, she pees outside the box and she beats up Miss Java.  But we love her dearly.  When she’s not being evil, she chases her ball in a track, kills strings and purrs louder than anyone!

That’s our family!  The girls are going to Grandma’s house this year for Christmas — and then we will leave them in New York while we go to Hawaii for sabbatical.  Yes, it’s a very long ways to take them and we probably won’t get them back before June (if ever) … but Grandma misses her cats and hubby would like family to care for them while we are away for such a long time.  Our housesitter is nice, but has no experience with elderly cats… We lost our beloved cat, Josiah, to catsitter negligence one year and that still haunts us.

Josiah, our sugar cat, had diabetes.

Josiah, our sugar cat, had diabetes which was well-controlled with daily insulin shots. Something happened with the catsitter — either the wrong dose was given, or more likely, no dose was given.  He went into a diabetic coma on Christmas Eve 2006 and died two days later. Rest in peace, sweet kitten.

Who’s in your family?



Friday Fitness: Faith, Hope and Love…5k

exercise-womanIt’s been a pretty good week for exercise… not completely stellar, but not couch potato either.

I picked a book up at the Library by Jeff Galloway called “Walking: The Complete Book”. And as I was reading, I realized that I only have 19 weeks before the Half Marathon!  And 2 of those weeks will be spent with the in-laws so I can’t count on getting regular exercise in.  Yikes! Time to start upping my mileage NOW.

Unfortunately, my life is not as neat as a training schedule.  Doing long walks on week-ends does not work because I work on week-ends.  So this week I aimed to do my 6 mile walk on Thursday, but after 3 miles I REALLY had to pee, so I went back home… and before  could sneak out the door again, it was breakfast time then I got caught up looking for housing in Hawaii… and the next thing I knew it was time to get moving for my noon appointment….

Long walk.  Next week. Sigh.

But tomorrow I am doing the Faith, Hope and Love 5k in El Cajon to help raise funds for JuJu’s Children Manor in Haiti. This organization sponsors is building a children’s home and sponsors children to attend school.


It promises to be different from any other race I’ve ever done.

Most races start at 7am. You arrive, get your bib, walk your fastest and then collect your t-shirt/medal at the end.

This race is all about teamwork — and if you didn’t register as a team, you can join one on race day.  And it’s not just a race… it’s a scavenger hunt!  Teams are given a list of clues and must follow the course and find the answers (and snap photos). Public transportation may be required to find an answer… winners are determined by both finish time and number of correct answers.

Things I would bring to an ordinary race: fanny pack, driver’s license, glasses, hat.

Things I need for the Faith, Hope and Love 5k: Backpack, jacket, map of El Cajon, pen, highlighter, water, snack, cell phone charger, cash (in case I need to take public transporation or buy an item to fulfill a clue). AND it’s OK to have a research associate on the home computer, ready to help out via phone, text or email…

I asked the organizer, Marie Champagne, how she came up with the idea for run and scavenger hunt.

She replied:” I got the idea of this run from So Glow, a similar 5k type of an event I participated in in September this year. I was surprised at how fun it was and how my fitness had improved.” Marie has raised money for Juju’s Manor by selling her quilted creations for several years.  This year she wanted to increase her efforts while raising awareness that much work remains to be done in Haiti to recover from the devastating earthquake of 2010. And the perfect way to do that was to marry her love of running (she started running about 2 years ago with a personal trainer at 180 Fitness) with a fundraiser in the form of a 5k.

Another motive for organizing a race was to bring people  to her hometown of El Cajon, CA, located in East County.  “I have lived in El Cajon since I was a teenager and am impressed with the new shops, culture, hometown-feel it has.” Exploring the town to find clues is a core component of the race. Marie did a test run of the event course “with the clues myself and had so much fun.”

Marie hopes this event will allow people to have fun while learning, running/walking, and fundraising for a great cause.  I think it definitely will be a fun race and I can’t wait!

Have you ever done a scavenger hunt race?

Kickin It Old Skool… 10 Things I Know For Sure

My current sunscreen collection

My current sunscreen collection

Kickin It Old Skool Blogathon!

1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: use sunscreen EVERY day.

2. Sometimes the best products are found in the drugstore (e.g. anything by CeraVe)

3. A little chocolate helps a lot.

4. Never underestimate the therapeutic power of furry love.

5. Consistency is key. Just showing up and doing something on a regular schedule is the key to fitness among other things in life.

6. Walking fast for more than 20 minutes can give you a “runner’s” high.

7. I will always have a lot to learn… and that’s part of the fun.

8. If at first you don’t succeed, take a break and re-read the instructions.

9. Oil-free is not always a good idea… even if you have oily skin.

10. If you’re feeling blue, crank up the Bhangra and dance around the room.