Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tool Kit!

A few weeks ago my boyfriend took me to Target where I was intent on getting a tool kit. I had been researching them online and I had finally narrowed it down to the Stanley Ultimate Tool Kit in purple but they only ship the item to stores and sadly there is no Walmart nearby. So I figured I'd just find one at Target and sure enough, they carried a slim selection. After much deliberation between a Durabuilt Household Tool Set (with the 4.8 volt cordless screwdriver; which had all the pieces I'd want but was a name I was unfamiliar with) or the Black & Decker 133-pc. 18V Home Project Kit (which is a brand I trust, but didn't have all the items I usually want). I ended up going with the Durabuilt kit but upon inspecting it when I got home I ended up not liking the basic... feel of some of the pieces.

About two weeks later we ended up returning it and instead going to Home Depot but the sad thing was that they don't really carry starter tool kits. They carry one for the Husky brand but not for anything else, which really frustrated me. We did find some decent Husky tool kits but then the one item I used the most -- the hammer -- just looked flimsy. And truth be told, based off my old kit, I wanted a much better hammer. I must have spent 30 minutes in the aisle trying to figure out whether or not I should get the tool kit.

In the end, I got the Husky 123-Piece Multi-Purpose Tool Set (even though I hate the damn hammer) but overall, I love all the other pieces. I now own two hammers, neither of which I like but one day perhaps, I'll get the Husky 20 oz. Steel Rip Hammer.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Losing Weight or Changing Lifestyles

I wrote about this in The Long Hair Community and I sort of wanted to post about it elsewhere potentially in depth.

I've always seemed to have a problem with loosing weight or maintaining my weight -- I've had unhealthy eating habits so I have a huge focus on trying to remain happy and healthy when attempting to loose weight. For a bit of background, I was overweight as a kid, then as a teenager, the pounds fell off as my depression skyrocketed. I went into a stage of anorexia and then bulimia which ended quickly after a stint in the hospital. I regained the pounds when I ended up on antidepressants and then when I got off of them, my weight went back down. My weight increased slowly over time even though there were no changes to my diet since my hospital release (which was back in 2001) and I've been battling my weight since then. In 2009, I became worried that my frame and weight weren't in a good place, so I hired a trainer but only lost 5 pounds. In 2010 I decided to stop trying to loose weight and instead focus on habits.

Now this entire time, there are a few things to mention. I don't like junk food and I'm not kidding, I'm also not a chocolate fan. I don't like sugar either and I tend to go all vegetarian at times (but I am not a vegetarian). My eating habits have been as always, on the healthy side but there were a few crutches along the way. I'm hypoglycemic and anemic so sometimes dieting would throw me for a loop. So here are the gradual changes I made -- they were simple and spaced anywhere between 1-2 months apart.

As you're reading this list, add approximately two months in between each step. If you saw my post in the community, this is slightly more detailed then the original. I also did not count calories and I did not have a target weight to achieve. This was crucial to me since I wanted to make sure I was focusing on being healthy and changing my lifestyle versus trying to just loose weight.
  • I decided to eat a banana every single day. I would also try to eat a yogurt a day, but there were no restrictions on the type (Greek, low-fat, no-fat, chocolate, whatever). Drink a cup of water everyday. 
    • A single piece of fruit a day was mandatory in this new change -- I decided that bananas were the most accessible. If I ate any other fruits for the day, they would be in addition to the banana and not a replacement for the banana.
    • Yogurt was tricky because sometimes I couldn't get my hands on packs at Safeway and would have to buy singles at Whole Foods. This is why I felt like it was okay if I skipped it but I did try to have it as much as I could.
    • Sometimes I'd eat my banana with a spoonful of peanut butter.
  • Stopped eating toast for breakfast. I was eating just plain cinnamon raisin toast (with no butter or anything on top and then switched to cereal (only Rice Krispies or Cheerios though). 
    • I tried to have whole milk but usually only low-fat was available. It didn't really matter which I was having but I would take my vitamins right after eating my cereal and whole milk makes it easier to swallow them.
  • I then removed bread from other meals as well. So if I had a burger for lunch, I'd just remove the bun.
    • For those in the know, In-N-Out does a great protein style burger which is without the bun and wrapped in lettuce. 
  • Cut out rice and supplemented with either meat or vegetables.
  • Cut out condiments (this for some reason was the hardest thing to do). 
    • Mustard is my favourite and usually the only condiment I went after. The reason for this step was that I started noticing the mayonnaise (which I also love) on my burgers or being slipped into other meals. 
    • Another reason why this step is crucial and hard is learning to love meals for what they are at their basis. 
    • I stopped eating a spoonful of peanut butter with my banana since that became a condiment in my eyes.
  • Switched breakfast from cereal to plain oatmeal.
    • No sugar, no additives, no instant packets with flavour -- just plain oatmeal.
  • Ween down the portions, only slightly though -- so I'd give up meats at times and aim for more veggies or fruits for lunch only.
    • Sometimes whatever I had for lunch I'd split it and have the rest for dinner.
    • Not all meals could b split -- there's no point is trying to starve yourself -- be reasonable as you are weening the portions down.
  • Stopped eating known starches.
    • No rice, no corn, and no potatoes.
  • Changed my coffee habits:
    • Now this is an interesting one -- one thing I refused to do was stop having my mocha lattes. Remember, I'm anemic so a decision I made years ago was that I'd add sugar to my coffee in the morning and I'd have a mocha mid-day to facilitate the rest of sugar intake. Seems odd but this was the only way I could assure myself that I was getting a dependable source of sugar. (Fruits weren't enough for my body, trust me, I tried it). Mocha lattes were the only chocolate item that I had. 
      • At this point I switched my mocha lattes to cappuccinos.
      • Only used real sugar (no artificial sweeteners) -- so I used a whole packet now in the mornings for my half of cup of coffee. 
  • Yogurt now had to meet a specific criteria:
    • Whole -- they could no longer be non-fat or low-fat.
    • Sugars should be below 20g. 
    • Greek yogurts did not have to meet this criteria but they were a treat that I could only have once in a while.
    • Double check the labels and make sure they have the live cultures (some of them actually don't).
  • Allowed myself to have a sweet treat once a month . 
    • I know I said I wasn't a fan of junk food and right off the bat and usually I don't get cravings for such items. But I wanted to make sure that I did integrate a treat into my "diet." Treats weren't the enemy especially since the body could use a break from time to time.
    • You don't have to have the treat for the month but they don't rollover either. Take for instance the red velvet cheesecake that I had last night. My BF and I went to the Cheesecake Factory and after I had a SkinnyLicious Veggie Burger (ate the salad, the lettuce, the tomato, pickles, and the patty) we then ordered the cake slice and split it. The cake was a treat -- a happy indulgence because I know that tomorrow I won't want any other cake or other pastries. I don't think of it as "earning it," I think of it as a necessarily indulgence that is part of eating healthy. 
  • Dinner meals were lowered in portions. This now meant that all meals at this point were in lower portions.
  • Maximum target weight loss was established. I could NOT go lower then 110 (this is necessary since I have a problem with eating disorders).
  • Reintegrated condiments back into diet.
    • The beauty about this one is that by now I've established the joys of not have condiments with my meals so I noticed that the only condiment that I really enjoy having is pepper.
    • I did start having my spoonful of peanut butter with my pre-dinner banana. 
  • Added a muesli mix to my oatmeal in the morning. I now pour out 1/4 a cup of oatmeal and the rest of it I add a museli mix that is 35% dried fruits and low-fat. On days that I don't have museli, then I have a normal serving of oatmeal.
  • I enjoy foods on the weekend. (Note, I don't "treat" myself, I enjoy it for what it is -- so I might have a slice of pizza on the weekend for dinner but I make sure that my breakfast and lunch are healthy). I try to make sure on the weekend that I have two healthy meals for the day and one maybe not-so-healthy meal.
    • I eat healthy during the weekdays and try to have "simple" meals. Things that are lightweight and not drenched in condiments or extra things.

And that's where I'm at right now. I try to avoid anything that says low fat or no fat (though sometimes I allow my Greek yogurt and peanut butter to break that rule). I eat all the normal stuff with my BF, but we've kind of compromised. If we're eating pizza on the weekend, then I get a veggie slice and I'll be eating healthy during the work week. I stay away from starches (like corn, rice, or potatoes) and I try to stick to mostly veggies.

I think the most important thing is that sometimes, a slow change can really help. That entire process I outlined took about a year (honestly it was more like a year and a half) to achieve but because it was kind of drawn out, making slight changes along the way didn't make it feel like a diet but rather a lifestyle change. I think the most important thing was monitoring my attitude and not my food.

Snacks: 1/4 a cup of oatmeal goes a long way, if you have nuts make sure you limit the amount (I generally go with less than a handful), or fruits.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hair Rant

I'm supposed to be on break from writing about makeup and the like but that doesn't mean I haven't been experimenting with a few things here and there. I have held off on trying totally new items and finishing up a Project 10 Pan, but for some reason everything is taking much longer to finally finish (I'm looking at you Bobbi Brown blush). In the meantime though, I've tried to reshift my focus back to natural and eco-friendly products which means that a lot of the items I have in "stock" aren't aligning with those goals (and I'm looking at you Illamasqua blush). Now considering that several of these items don't align just right, I have been considering returning them or attempting to exchange them. The problem is that I've had them in storage for so long that it isn't that simple. For instance, I can't really return a blush I barely used that's still in the box but I've had for a year. (Or can I?)

The makeup is a lost cause, but what isn't is the shampoo and conditioner. But therein lies the problem and my hoarding tendency. I'm down to the last bit of my Renpure Organics "I Love My Hair!" (which has no parabens, sulfates, gluten, phthalates, or propylene glycol) and I do a quick check of my inventory.

  • Nuance Salma Hayek Mamey Fruit Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner
  • L'Oreal EverStrong Reconstruct Rosemary Juniper Shampoo and Conditioner

On the surface, they look okay -- they have some kind of "This does not contain _____" which is usually the signal for "good for my hair." But then there was a moment, a moment that I forgot a while ago. See a while ago, prior to actively trying to stay away from parabens, silicones, dyes, etc., I was using Whole Foods 365 Shampoos and Conditioners. They were perfectly fine for my hair, I actually wasn't trying to achieve anything, I just noticed they were marginally cheaper in a place that I could buy mango slices by the container while worshiping Zoya nail polishes. But then I started using Suave Professionals Rosemary & Mint Shampoo and Conditioner and my hair threw the haterade down. I stopped using them and then switched to Organix (back when they were explicitly sulfate and paraben free -- their website claims that they still are but if you check the bottles, all of those notices have been removed).

Anyhow, as my Renpure Organics bottle is nearing the end, I grabbed the bottles of Suave Professionals (which I put in storage instead of tossing. What the hell, past self? What the hell.) and after one day of using it, my hair is once again throwing down the hate. So I head to the storage shelf (this is also known as my closet) and grab the Nuance Mamey Fruit and the L'Oreal EverStrong. And so my face palm moment began because I made the same mistake that I made two years ago.
  • Nuance Salma Hayek Mamey Fruit Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner
    • Paraben free and not tested on animals.
    • That's all fine and dandy but this also has SLS and 'cones.
  • L'Oreal EverStrong Reconstruct Rosemary Juniper Shampoo and Conditioner
    • SLS free
    • Cute, but not paraben or 'cone free.
Back to the store all four bottles went. What sucked though was that Renpure Organics wasn't in stock -- nor were any of the organic shampoos or the [SLS, Paraben, and 'Cone (hereby called S-P-C)] free that I'm used to seeing in drugstores. My staple (Garnier Pure Clean [Note: This is not SLS free but it is free of parabens, 'cones, and dyes which is a happy compromise.]) was out of stock at the first store that I went to so then I spent a while hunting through all the shampoos and conditioners to find a replacement. Finally I gave up and went to another store. 

I grabbed some bottles of the Pure Clean shampoo and conditioner, but wanted to check to see if anything fit my criteria. I found the Shea Moisture Organic Shea Butter Curl & Shine Coconut & Hibiscus Shampoo but not the conditioner so while I didn't end up getting that, I did keep it in mind for the future. Then I moseyed on over to the Halloween section, which is inexplicably in the same aisle as the baby section and there is was: a wider selection of S-P-C free items. I ended up getting the Garnier Pure Clean along with a bottle of Disney Baby Daily Naturals Shampoo because really, I need to try it.

There are two morals to this story:

  1. When you can't find proper SLS free, paraben free, and silicone free haircare items in your local drugstore, check their baby aisle because so many of them exactly what you might be looking for.
  2. Disney will always find a way to get to you.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Type C's, where are your flashlights?

This weekend was the Russian River Beer Revival and BBQ Cook-Off, which meant that I had another outlet to exhibit my organizational skills (or being kind of crazy in terms of organization, whatever). Anyhow, at some point during the trip, I recalled a moment in a college mathematics class where my professor tried an interesting approach with the group. In order to help us understand ourselves, he had us take a personality assessment quiz -- specifically the DISC.

I'm not going to get into the DISC since to be honest, I'm not really sure why it was selected for that particular class but, I'll get into the "C" part of it. DISC stands for: Dominance (Drive), Inducement (Influence), Submission (Steadiness), and Compliance (Caution or Conscientiousness). For those interested, most of my information is coming from the Wikipedia entry so I'm going to keep this light, otherwise you can read about it there.

  • Drive: Described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering.  
  • Influence: Described as reflective, factual, calculating, skeptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact, pessimistic, and critical. 
  • Steadiness: Described as calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. 
  • Compliance: Described as careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, and tactful. 

Now the one thing I remember the most about this assessment was that when the professor got to the part about the type "C" all he said was those of you who had flashlights, pull them out now. So the few of us that did, pulled them out and put them on and he said that we were the type C's of the group -- the ones that are always prepared for some reason. The interesting thing about this assessment is that on that same token, low "C" scores are those that are described as being "self-willed, stubborn, opinionated, unsystematic, arbitrary, and unconcerned with details," which is actually also just like me. I'm a Sagittarian after all and why shouldn't I strike out against myself? Perhaps we should keep astrology out of this one, but I wanted to touch upon the Myer-Briggs model.

For those unfamiliar, the MBTI is 16 different types that are represented by 4 letters. You can read more about each type at Wikipedia or you can take a test (there are several online, so take your pick). I personally tend to teeter between INTJ and INTP (though it has been a few years so that might have changed). But since we're on such a topic as personality, other things to keep in mind is that I'm a Pottermore Ravenclaw and Koerdis, the Tilirreh of Blue.

Wait, now... what did you learn from this post? If you haven't learned anything about me just yet, then let's go back and try again. I have a long running list of many different personality tests. But like Jack Skellington (lulz, you thought you wouldn't get a Disney reference), "What does it mean?" Well, it doesn't really mean anything. You are you who are and who you've allowed yourself to be. You are how you shaped yourself and no quiz can tell you that much.

Sure, I can say that I'm a type "C" and that's why I'm always prepared. Or I can say, I'm always prepared because my dad taught me how to always be prepared. It just sounds easier going with the former, rather than explaining the latter. And sometimes, I think that's what a lot of people mean. "I'm this way because of my personality type because I don't feel like explaining that that's just who I am." To each their own.

By the way, where's your flashlight?


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