Archive for July, 2011

SIXTEEN DAYS SINCE I STOPPED SMOKING! I can totally keep this up. I can quit FOREVER. Thanks to this article at whyquit.com, I can tell you I am this much healthier already:

 

Within …

  • 20 minutes
Your blood pressure, pulse rate, and the temperature of your hands and feet will all return to normal.
  • 8 hours
Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream will have fallen to 6.25% of normal peak daily levels, a 93.25% reduction.
  • 12 hours
Your blood oxygen level will have increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels will have dropped to normal.
  • 24 hours
Anxieties peak in intensity and within two weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.
  • 48 hours
Damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal. Cessation anger and irritability peaks.
  • 72 hours
Your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free and over 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals it breaks down into) will now have passed from your body via your urine.  Symptoms of chemical withdrawal have peaked in intensity, including restlessness. The number of cue induced crave episodes experienced during any quitting day will peak for the “average” ex-user. Lung bronchial tubes leading to air sacs (alveoli) are beginning to relax in recovering smokers. Breathing is becoming easier and the lungs functional abilities are starting to increase.
  • 5 – 8 days
The “average” ex-smoker will encounter an “average” of three cue induced crave episodes per day. Although we may not be “average” and although serious cessation time distortion can make minutes feel like hours, it is unlikely that any single episode will last longer than 3 minutes. Keep a clock handy and time them.
  • 10 days
10 days – The “average ex-user is down to encountering less than two crave episodes per day, each less than 3 minutes.
  • 10 days to 2 weeks
Recovery has likely progressed to the point where your addiction is no longer doing the talking. Blood circulation in our gums and teeth are now similar to that of a non-user.
  • 2 to 4 weeks
Cessation related anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, impatience, insomnia, restlessness and depression have ended. If still experiencing any of these symptoms get seen and evaluated by your physician.

 

And I have all this to look forward to:

 

  • 21 days
Brain acetylcholine receptor counts up-regulated in response to nicotine’s presence have now down-regulated and receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months
Your heart attack risk has started to drop. Your lung function is beginning to improve.
  • 3 weeks to 3 months
Your circulation has substantially improved. Walking has become easier. Your chronic cough, if any, has likely disappeared.
  • 1 to 9 months
Any smoking related sinus congestion, fatigue or shortness of breath have decreased. Cilia have regrown in your lungs thereby increasing their ability to handle mucus, keep your lungs clean, and reduce infections. Your body’s overall energy has increased.
  • 1 year
Your excess risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.
  • 5 to 15 years
Your risk of stroke has declined to that of a non-smoker.
  • 10 years
Your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is between 30% and 50% of that for a continuing smoker (2005 study). Risk of death from lung cancer has declined by almost half if you were an average smoker (one pack per day).  Your risk of pancreatic cancer has declined to that of a never-smoker (2011 study), while risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus has also declined.
  • 13 years
Your risk of smoking induced tooth loss has declined to that of a never-smoker (2006 study).
  • 15 years
Your risk of coronary heart disease is now that of a person who has never smoked.
  • 20 years
Female excess risk of death from all smoking related causes, including lung disease and cancer, has now reduced to that of a never-smoker (2008 study).

RIP

Posted: July 26, 2011 in beauty, music is alive.
Tags: ,

Last week, I got a sudden feeling that the “monthlies” were just killing me. No, not those female monthlies… the monthly charges for random things that add up and steal all happiness from your bank account. I decided to take stock of what was auto-drafted from my account on a monthly basis (this is NOT including essentials, such as water, gas, electric, etc) and see what I could cancel to take back some of my hard-earned money. I was surprised by what I found, and happy with the results, and have been going a bit further into my dollars to save some cents. Here’s what I came up with.

1. DirecTV. I LOVE my DirecTV. I got a great deal on the monthly rate when I signed up. So why do they make this list? Movie channels. DirecTV gives you free HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz for however many months when you sign up – but, you have to call to cancel. Mistakenly, I thought this bundle would only cost me maybe $15 or $20 per month, so I kept them after the trial period ended. After noticing my bills creeping steadily higher, I called DirecTV to cancel the premiums, only to find out that I had been paying FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS PER MONTH for these channels. Jesus. They’re gone, and that’s $660 a year back in my pocket!

2. 24 Hour Fitness. Reality is, I rarely go to the gym anymore. It’s sad but true. In an act of major denial, I kept my gym membership just in case I decided to resume my formerly real commitment; but after two months of that, and the realization that these tiny monthly charges are dollar-ing me to death, I called and cancelled. At ~$35 per month, that’s at least $420 per year in savings. Are you paying for a gym membership you MIGHT use? Cancel it, and do something free instead. Go for a bike ride or take a walk if you feel so inclined – and if you don’t, nothing is lost.

3. Netflix. The recent change in billing by Netflix prompted me to change my subscription. I’m not one of the people that is angry about the now-separate charge for streaming; I get it. Netlifx is still a great deal, and I’m sure their streaming selection will be expanded soon. My previous package was $18 a month for unlimited 2-at-a-time discs, bluray access, and streaming. With the increase, it was going up to $26. I removed bluray access and downgraded to 1-at a time discs, making my new monthly charge only $16. Over a year, the plan change will save me $120.

4. This next tactic can’t be given a set dollar amount, but I know it’s saved me bundles. You know the constant emails from every store you’ve ever visited and every website with weekly or daily sales? Bath & Body Works, GAP, NY&CO, The Children’s Place, Old Navy, ruelala, beyondtherack,  hautelook, ideeli, zulily, Sephora, LivingSocial, Groupon, you get the idea. UNSUBSCRIBE. There’s a link at the bottom of ANY email (and don’t get me wrong, they don’t make it easy to find it- but it’s there) to unsubscribe from future emails. Do it. A constant barrage of sales notifications doesn’t actually save you money, and it can often lead to spending more than you might have otherwise because you feel like you’re getting a good deal. Let’s take NY&CO for example. They send out GREAT email coupons – but, they post the same coupons on their website. Wait until you actually need clothes and are anticipating having to add to your wardrobe, and then check to see what deals they have going on. Don’t spend $150 a month just because they give you $30 off – that doesn’t mean you’re saving $30, it means you’re spending $120. Love Groupon? Me too. But seeing their emails everyday had me buying deals I didn’t need, and I wasted money by letting several expire. Get a Groupon app for your phone, and check it when you feel inclined instead of getting the daily email. Chances are, you won’t check it every day, and that may end up saving you a dollar or two. Don’t let something as simple as checking your email get you into a spending mindset. Unsubscribe – trust me, you’ll still get good deals. The only difference is, you’ll get them only when you need them.

5. Don’t pay for shipping – but don’t load up your cart to get free shipping, either. If you only planned to buy a $10 bottle of nail polish from Sephora, don’t spend $50 just to get free shipping. This goes for any website, and there are two choices: either suck it up, stop being lazy and just drive to the store (you’ll get your item faster anyway), or use http://www.retailmenot.com to find any ongoing promotions before ordering.

What are YOUR savings secrets? SHARE!

harry potter quotes to live by

Posted: July 21, 2011 in beauty
Tags: ,

Well, not really… it’s more like a newly-discovered extension of an old obsession, but let’s not get picky on the semantics, aright? So. Inked Magazine. It has tempted me from the shelves of many a Walgreens, but I’m not really a magazine girl so despite the obviousness that this would be a magazine that = LOVE, I’ve never grabbed it. Well today, in my mindless web browsing, I came across the zine’s website and can’t click away. There was even a recent feature on NY Ink (I love you, Ami James. Really, I do).

I can’t fully explain my love for tattoos and the incessant craving for more. I can tell you that I consider it a form of art, and I don’t feel like my exterior would be a true representation of my interior if it wasn’t inked. I’ve begun planning for a half sleeve, and I feel like I’m at a bit of a crossroads in a couple ways. First, I have to consider that I will likely be in corporate America for the rest of my life, so unless I move to a significantly more liberal city, win amazing artistic skills in a talent lotto so I can be my own boss,  or commit myself to wearing long sleeves and/or cardigans for the rest of my life, I will have to restrict my future tattoos to easily-covered areas such as back, shoulders and upper arms. That sucks. Second, my husband recently shared that he doesn’t particularly like heavily tattooed ladies. Aaaggghhh, a knife through my heart! So my challenge is to balance my desire for near-complete coverage (but no boob or chest tattoos; I like those areas as they are) with the knowledge that Texas is extremely conservative and my husband’s preferences to see his wife’s skin.

For me (and this is trending on soul-baring, so don’t judge), and I have to admit that I feel this is true for many people, tattoos are an outward expression of an inner emotion. Whether you’ve lost a loved one, or have an inner pain that you’ve fought to overcome (or can’t quite overcome), or identify strongly with some sort of symbology, baring it to the world is a way of facing it. It’s quite literally putting your heart on your sleeve, and it’s why I will never condone a tattoo that comes straight off a parlor wall. By all means, use displayed artwork in a tattoo shop to form an idea or to demonstrate to your artist what you’re looking for, but don’t use an exact copy of what’s shown. It’s not personal and you’re ruining the entire point. I also will not condone Powerpuff Girls or other TV cartoons of any sort. Thoughts?

I am definitely winning. It has now been TEN DAYS since I last smoked. If you’d have asked me ten days ago whether or not I’d make it to this point, that’d be a big, definite NO. And here’s something funny that’s come along with it… my face. The oiliness. It’s retreating. Have cigarettes been the culprit all along, or is it that I’ve gone back to using witch hazel as a toner… or both? Either way, I’m not complaining.

Every morning when I come into work, I have to readjust my chair depending on which shoes I am wearing. Yesterday it was nice and high because I was wearing nearly-5″ heels but today I am wearing flats, so when I sat down this morning my feet barely touched the ground… like elation, but chair-induced.

Okay, so I’ve been using this AMAZING powder that I got in an AMAZING sample kit from MAKE UP FOR EVER – it’s their HD Microfinish Powder and I adore it. Come to think of it, maybe this powder is the reason my oiliness is retreating… whatever. It’s a mystery I’m not inclined to solve. This powder = dusted silk for your face. As devoted as I am to foundation, I could seriously put this on solo and be comfortable going out. Total 12/10. I also got a sample of their Smoky Lash mascara – I love the depth of the black, but I find the mascara really drying and irritating. It flakes all over my undereyes (which is a big no-no for me; my dark circles make it imperative that nothing else of a bruised coloration ends up there) and makes my eyelashes feel dry and clumpy, not soft and feathery. Because the color is so great, though, I’d give it a solid 6/10. The third MUFE product I received was an Aqua Eyes eyeliner pencil in Mat Black – penned as an eyeliner “formulated to glide on effortlessly and withstand the most extreme conditions, it stays put on eyelids without melting for precise application and intense color throughout the day,” I have to say they hit the nail on the head with that one. Remember that scene in SATC2 where SJP buys the kohl eyeliner at the shoe shop in the market in Abu Dhabi? And then she totally smokes out her eyes and almost makes you forget that she’s aged at all? Yeahhhh, it’s like that. Aiden will always make out with you if you wear this amazing, smudgy, darker-than-dark eyeliner.

Work is driving me absolutely batshit insane today and I’m working through lunch, so I leave you with this:

You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice. [Steven D. Woodhull]

What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it. [Antoine de Saint-Exupery]

my friend says goodnight.

Posted: July 14, 2011 in beauty

image

In a continuance of my weeklong Harry Potter mania, I played with green. Well, I wanted to play with green, didn’t have enough green, and then called in the help of a friend, who brought me an ENTIRE BAG OF GREEN! Oh, the joy. Colors used are [base: Urban Decay Green Goddess], [innercorner: L’Oreal 936 Blackened Smokes Silver], [outercorner: Lorac Jade], [outercorner: Urban Decay Zero], [eyeliner: MAC pencil in black/Urban Decay Zero], [eyeliner: Urban Decay Ink for Eyes in Loaded], [middleoflid: Urban Decay Graffiti], [waterline: MAC pencil in black/Urban Decay Zero], [mascara: Urban Decay Supercurl].

So here’s the beginning:

yes, i am as tired as i look! plain face.

And then we have to bring in the tools, so here’s my little brush basket of my favorite and most often used brushes, as well as the giant bag of GREEN, without which this post would not exist. The green smokey eye shown here took I think six brushes (or five? or six?), the products above, and five or ten minutes from beginning to end… but less than a minute to wash off completely so I could go to bed with the above clean face. 🙂 No makeup in bed! EVER! The day will never come that I am too tired or too drunk to wash my face before I go to sleep. Seriously. That’s so nast.

Okay, enough of that rant. Tools and green:

 

brushes!

bag of green!

So, Urban Decay Green Goddess to start, and that’s just on the mobile lid. Then I had the hard task of sorting through all the beautiful shades at my disposal to see which would blend best and easiest (I wanted this to take ten minutes or less!). The ones listed above made the cut, and so it began. I decided I wanted it to be moderately wearable, which to me translates into black eyeliner contouring the eye (which for me means ROUND!) on both lash lines and the water line, and then outwardly radiating shades of green, darkening in gradients from silver to black. I did not use a blending brush because it’s my humble opinion that a ring finger gives a much lighter touch and a much more controllable blending experience than any brush. I’m a huge fan of finger blending. It’s good shit.

Urban Decay Green Goddess and MAC black eyeliner pencil, only on upper and lower waterlines

Adding Lorac Jade to the outside

So here we go, ten minutes later and all done! I could totally rock this to see HP… too bad I’m team Gryffindor…

big green eyes

i was watching

Posted: July 12, 2011 in backtalk, beauty, music is alive., talk, vids

this beautiful video, and I saw Adele with a cig, and it is testing my resolve.