Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Health and Fitness Update #1: Getting Started





As the creator of the hastag #ChubbySwag you’d think I’d embrace my plumpness and happily munch through a bag of Cheese Puffs without a second thought. 



This isn’t the case.



After years [decades] of disliking my looks and loathing my figure, it dawned on me that I was just as miserable at 130 pounds as I was at 230 pounds.  Your size doesn’t matter, I realized, your physical and mental health are what is important. 



While I have consistently looked after my mental health for years, I realized I had been neglecting my physical health for quite some time.  After a couple of medical crises rocked my family earlier this year I realized that the time to take control over my own health was now: I needed to lose some weight, start eating healthier, and get into a workable exercise routine.  Weight loss is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer; now that I am in my thirties, time is running out for me to reduce the risk of developing these life threatening disease. 



I began my weight loss journey about a month ago by starting going to the gym in my condominium community and doing an hour workout.  Exercising alone, I realized, wasn’t enough to shed the pounds; instead, I needed to be mindful of what I was eating, how much I was consuming, and how I felt when I when I did eat.   



To help keep myself on track, I rejoined Weight Watchers Online and have been diligently tracking what I have been eating and paying close attention to portion size.  When I felt bored, instead of chowing down on a bag of candy, I would do something constructive like grade papers, read a book, write, or work on my blog.  If I felt sad, and there are at least a couple days a week when I feel blue, I’ll try to talk to my mother about how I am feeling or go for a workout.



I’ve found the easiest way to get exercise in is to engage in activities I would do otherwise but with greater purpose.  For instance, now that summer is upon us, I like to go to my community pool and swim laps.  I love swimming to begin with, but laps give me a fun and challenging way to burn off some chub and get stronger in the process.  If I can’t make it to the pool, I like to spend time either walking incline intervals on the treadmill or doing mountain intervals on the elliptical.  Also, I get a mini workout on weekdays when I walk to and from the bus stop.  When it comes to exercise, it’s vital that you make physical activity part of your daily routine; the automatic your exercise becomes, the better. 



In the two weeks that I have been back on Weight Watchers I have lost 5.2 pounds and have increased my stamina exponentially.  Even though I have a long way to go in my weight loss journey, I know that I am taking the right steps and getting ever closer to my health goals. 



What tips do you have for healthy weight loss?
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet





When it came out a few weeks ago, Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere Velvet both stunned and divided the online beauty world.  Most bloggers were shocked that Chanel would launch a new foundation with so little notice and modest fanfare.  When the product made its way to counters, however, it seemed the foundation was more divisive than previous releases from the brand. 



How does it compare to other Chanel foundations?



In many ways, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet is meant to be a counterpoint to the brand’s much beloved Vitalumiere Aqua foundation.  Both products promise a skin-like light to medium coverage that is virtually weightless on the skin.  The real difference between the products is their finish.  Vitalumiere Aqua leaves a luminous dewey finish on the skin whereas, true to its name, Perfection Lumiere Velvet dries down to a satin-like velvet matte finish. 



When you swatch both foundations, the first thing you will notice is that Perfection Lumiere Velvet is more watery in consistency than Vitalumiere Aqua; interestingly, the viscosity of these foundations seems to run counter to their staying power.  The thicker Vitalumiere Aqua was formulated with dry to normal skin types in mind but is notorious for its short wear time.  Conversely, the water-like Perfection Lumiere Velvet was formulated for combination oily skins and has a strong eight plus hour wear time. 





What is my impression of the product?



I have been using Perfection Lumiere Velvet for three weeks straight and have been impressed both by its coverage and its lasting power.  I have oily combination skin and I often struggle with makeup meltdown during my long workdays, even when I am wearing silicone-based primers.  Perfection Lumiere Velvet is the only foundation I have ever used that will last an entire workday without breaking down, even on twelve hour days. 



If I am having a “good face day” or I am not bothered about covering ever imperfection, I can even get away without wearing concealer because the product provides fantastic coverage and seems to blur imperfections.  Even with this great coverage I am still able to see my freckles through the makeup and my skin looks like skin, just perfected.  Dare I say, this foundation is Holy Grail material?  But with a $45 price tag I would expect the product to be this game changing!




Like its name implies, the product dries down to a velvet matte finish that doesn’t leave your face looking cakey or dry.  Instead, the foundation leaves the skin with a healthy sheen while keeping oiliness at bay.  Truly, a non-oily luminescence is something this greasy gal never thought she would see . . . but see it I have!





What should you know before you buy?



It is important to note that this foundation dries down to a velvety matte finish and has many of the same draw backs that other matte foundations have.  The product has a tendency to cling to dry patches on the skin and takes on a powdery consistency as it is blending into the skin.  Even on my oily skin it can cling to healing blemishes or chlorine dried patches; I always make sure to moisturize properly and let the moisturizer sink in before I apply the foundation. 



If you apply the foundation with your fingers, as Chanel recommends with their water-based foundations, this powdery finish can begin to feel like cornstarch; I prefer to dot the product on my face with my fingers and then blend it in with a stippling brush. 



Like all Chanel foundations, Perfection Lumiere Velvet is heavily scented.  If your skin is very sensitive you may want to either give this product a miss or apply a primer before you use it.  That being said, my skin is SUPER sensitive and I haven’t had a single allergic issue since I started using Perfection Lumiere Velvet.




It is also important to know that the Beige tones in the line are more yellow in tone while the Beige Rose tones are predictably pinker.  Significantly, Perfection Lumiere Velvet follows the traditional Chanel shade spectrum, so if you know your color in one Chanel foundation you will quickly be able to match yourself to your color in this foundation.  As a point of reference, I have a cool skin tone and wear Beige 20 to cancel out some of the high redness in my skin; in MAC I wear an NC20 again to cancel out the ruddiness in my complexion.  There are nine shades in the line that cater more towards fair to medium skin tone; as such, if you are very fair or have a deep complexion you may struggle to find a color match.





What’s the bottom line?



If you have oily skin and struggle with makeup lasting on your face, this product is for you.  The foundation leaves the skin looking healthy and luminous while helping to keep oil production in check.  If you can bite the bullet and part with $45, Perfection Lumiere Velvet is worth every penny.
Monday, May 26, 2014

What You Should Be Watching: 3 Movies to Stream for Memorial Day



For many Americans, Memorial Day is a day off of work and an excuse to break out the barbeque; Memorial Day is also the unofficial kick off to the summer movie season.  On this day when we are meant to remember the ultimate sacrifice thousands of Americans have made, might I suggest spending part of your day streaming one of these war and military themed films:



Dr. Strangelove (1964, Netflix)—If you’re looking for a dark comedy, you should look no further than Stanley Kubrick’s classic Cold War comedy.  Peter Sellers and George C. Scott put in some of the finest performances of their careers in this film about an impending nuclear holocaust.  You will never feel the same way about Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again.”



The Invisible War (2012, Netflix)—This Oscar nominated documentary deals with the military’s largely ignored sexual assault epidemic.  The film highlights victims’ lack of physical and mental healthcare services as well as the absence of a credible judicial system to handle their cases.  Soldiers are not nameless, faceless individuals who are impervious to trauma; we need to do a far better job of insuring that support infrastructures are in place for assault victims.  Truly, one of the best ways we can honor our service people is to insure the safety, credibility, and justness of their institutions. 



Night and Fog (1955, Hulu Plus)—This short documentary was one of the first to look back on the Holocaust, barely a decade after Hitler’s death camps closed.  As it is vital that as a society we remember the important role that our armed forces play not only within our own borders, but internationally.  100,000 American military personnel died during World War II; we should honor their sacrifice and remember they helped save the world. 

How are you planning to spend your Memorial Day?  What films do you hope to see?
Sunday, May 25, 2014

What I Am Looking Forward to This Week #2



It’s Sunday night, again: the time I curl up with a sleep pug, a warm cup of tea, wait for the weekly Columbo episode to air, and reflect on the events I am most looking forward to in the coming week. 


Monday—Memorial Day
I am very thankful that I don’t have to wake up early for work tomorrow, but I am extremely thankful that thousands of men and women have given their lives in the name of our country.  Though I haven’t always agreed with my country’s political directions or military actions at home or overseas, I feel a tremendous debt of gratitude to the individuals past and present who have sacrificed their lives for our nation.  You can support the troops, but not the war; they are not mutually exclusive.




After I have said some quiet thoughts to those who have served, I plan to have a swim, eat a couple of hot dogs, grade, do some school work of my own, and binge watch William Holden movies.


Tuesday—Last Day at the Library for a Month!
Tuesday will be my last day at the library until the end of June.  The spring 2014 semester is all but over and the library will be closed until the summer session begins mid-way through June.  I LOVE working in the library; however, I am also looking forward to having a little bit less on my plate for a couple of weeks.

I imagine Tuesday will be quiet, so I will probably spend most of my hours on the desk working on a LibGuide or weeding.


Wednesday—Finishing Finals!
Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to finish my finals last week.  My finals are *super due* on Tuesday and Thursday.  I would like to have both of them completed by today at the latest.  My finals consist of one gigantic test (I have to score at least a 210-215 out of 300 in order to keep a B) and one revised short story.  I don’t like to save tests (especially) for the very last minute just in case there is a glitch. 

This term has been a trying one for me, so I expect to get at least a B in each of my classes.


Thursday—Decorating Plans
It’s been four months since we moved and I still haven’t decorated my room.  I have one unpacked corner and four bare walls; I plan to finalize my decorating ideas this week and start to make some initial decorative purchases this weekend. 


Friday—A Quiet Evening In
I’ve never been a party animal.  Loud noises, large crowds, and inebriation have never appealed to me.  Rather, Friday is best spent in the confines of my home, eating a yummy dinner and watching a movie with my mom and my pug.  For Friday, I am thinking Papillion (1973) and Chili’s chicken fajitas might be a good pairing.


Saturday—The Weekly Shop
Saturday is usually the day my mother and I do our weekly shop.  Sure, shopping for vegetables and toilet paper may not be the most glamorous of purchases, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I love using self-checkout. 

Sunday—The Home Stretch
Next Sunday will mark the beginning of June, the homestretch for many students and teachers alike.  Students tend to think that teachers’ lives do not extend beyond their classrooms; when we reach this point in the year, however, most teachers are longing for summer, too.  Only 16 days from here!