It’s Callaghan’s Birthday!

My birthday two months ago happened to fall on a blog Friday, so I felt I should address it. I said that I was 48 and still not wearing granny panties. Today, two months later and also on a blog Friday, it’s Callaghan’s birthday, so it’s only fair to report that he’s 47 and not wearing granny panties yet, either.

“What would your birthday reflection be as you turn a year older?” I asked him at dinner last night. Because, you know. Deep thoughts about life.

He considered for a minute, then said, “I came to the United States because of my two wives.”

I’ve known him for almost eight years, so I didn’t blink an eye.

“The first time I came to live in the States, it was because I married Magali,” he went on, speaking of his first wife. “The second time, it was because I married you. If I never married you guys, I never would’ve come to the United States. I would still be in France.”

I said, “You were a Russian mail-order bride.”

– because I was thinking of one of my co-workers from 10 years ago. The guy who got himself fired because he spent work hours shopping for Russian brides on his work computer, right out in the open in a common room. He met the woman through the online catalog, brought her over, married her, and then convinced our boss to re-hire him. He came back to work and his bride went to sell fancy perfume at Dillard’s. As far as I know, they’re still happily-ever-after. No green-card marriage there!

That’s one of my favorite love stories.

But my very favorite love story is ours. And today is the day that Callaghan can stop telling people that he’s two years younger than me. He’s only 14 months younger, and now you can see that on paper.

I went to meet him at his workplace yesterday. Before we went to lunch, I took some pics of him with a couple of bikes he’d recently finished. Here’s one:

 

Callaghan at work (with the Triumph Trophy SE he recently finished)

Callaghan at work (with the Triumph Trophy SE he recently finished)

 

Then we went to dinner later and we took this selfie with unfortunate lighting, which is the best kind of selfie:

 

Callaghan's birthday commemoration selfie. That probably sounds more formal than it is.

Callaghan’s birthday commemoration selfie. That probably sounds more formal than it is.

 

Happy Birthday to this crazy, hilarious, unpredictable, dreamy guy!

In other news… (random updates and my current source of motivation)

What’s been going on around here? Nothing earth-shattering, but here’s a brief, topical run-down in “In other news” format:

In other news, Callaghan has been sick with the plague. (Poor guy! The virus has passed through his system, and he’s feeling better now. So far, I haven’t caught it.)

In other news, I haven’t worked out for over a week because of an injury… a minor injury, but enough of one to keep me on my ass for a while. Tomorrow will be my first day back to working out.

In other news, we binged on Santa Clarita Diet. Pun not intended.

In other news, I have a new sidekick who lives next to me on my writing table:

 

Thomasina

Thomasina

 

(I named her “Thomasina” and she’s a succulent, an aloe, I guess. I’ve never met an aloe with such dark green spears.)

Sidenote: My writing table is getting cluttered, and that’s okay. I think.

In other news, my writing is going well.

In other news, I’ve decided to prepare for an apocalypse, because you never know. I’ve been putting together a grab-and-go apocalypse bag.

And lastly, in relation to my whole existence, I’m currently obsessed with this video I’m sharing here. My continuous cycle of musical phases begins and ends with Stevie Nicks. When I reach this part of the cycle, I watch this video every day, sometimes several times a day, starting with first thing in the morning.

Stevie Nicks has been my role model badass since I was 20 years old. I listen to all kinds of music, but it all starts with her.

I wish I could explain how Stevie’s live performance of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” (1976) motivates and inspires me. There’s just this progression, and I’m fascinated by her mastery of it as she carries the song up to its powerful end.

 

 

Have a great Tuesday!

“Dear Holly Holm:” (a rap in response to UFC 208’s main event)

I wrote this rap so Drake could perform it for Holly Holm.

 

thatasianlookingchick-com-holmvderandamie_ufc208

 

~~~~~

Dear Holly Holm (aka the REAL Featherweight Champion):

You won that fight, as everybody knows

Everybody saw it when she hit you with the blows

she threw after the bell.

Excuse me, the TWO bells; she did it twice,

fouled you against the ref’s advice.

(Which was bullshit, the ref should’ve dealt with it,

taken points from her score,

“Quoth the Raven, Nevermore” –

to borrow a line from Poe.)

Yeah she was good, but it was you

who threw that stunner of a wheel kick

and dropped her to the floor, schooled her with it.

And it was you who dropped her again

when you caught her with your bomb-ass

straight left punch.

She, on the other hand, never dropped you;

her biggest moments of glory came illegally,

cuz that’s how cheaters do.

Only an amateur gets “caught up in the moment”

as she said she did, seriously,

what a ridiculous excuse, she’s not an amateur, now, is she.

She was out of line,

we all saw her gloat when she walked away

the second time,

elated and proud because she knew

she would get away with it. And she did.

We watched the fight in a crowded sports bar,

not one person wasn’t outraged by the injustice of it.

Her cheap shots were the most damaging of the night,

no doubt they altered the outcome of the fight.

We were all yelling at the referee

because no one could know

how you would’ve fought had she not cheated.

She would have been defeated.

You were doing well, just warming up,

controlling the octagon and clinching, making her grapple

against the cage, totally dominating.

But the ref was against you, unquestionably,

so she was rewarded with a win,

inexcusably –

a championship belt won for the glory of fighting

a dirty fight. You were robbed,

and we hope you get a re-match, regardless,

so we can cheer you on when you show her who the Champ is.

 

Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208, GLOATING after fouling Holly Holm with punches after the bell

Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208, GLOATING after fouling Holly Holm with punches after the bell

 

Sincerely,

All of Us.

La Fin.

 

What I do for skin care. (HINT: SUNSCREEN)

Today, I’m obliging another reader request: a few of you have asked about my skin care routine, so I’ll go into it. First, let me state that as far as products go, there’s no one product that works for everyone – except – and this is a HUGE except – SUNSCREEN.

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. I cannot emphasize the importance of sunscreen enough.

After my recent mole-mapping (skin cancer check), the dermatologist remarked that my skin “looks at least 20 years younger than it is, and it’s entirely because of your use of sunscreen.”

Contrary to popular belief, if my skin looks young, it’s not because I’m half-Asian. According to the dermatologist, I didn’t inherit Asian skin. I inherited English skin, which is from my biological father’s side. The key is SUNSCREEN, and also certain behaviors, which I’ll get into in a minute.

First, I’ll continue on about sunscreen, because I’m absolutely fanatical about it, and I believe that all of you should be fanatical about it, too.

(I know I’ve talked about this before. I’m happy to talk about it again. It’s really that important.)

Sunscreen (plus covering up in direct sunlight, but SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN) could save your life. I did “tan” and unwittingly sunburn myself on ski slopes and beaches when I was younger, so I’m already at high risk for skin cancer. There’s nothing I can do about that. It’s like quitting smoking… I quit when I was 23, but the fact is that I’m an ex-smoker, and that puts me at higher risk for lung cancer (than the general non-smoking population). Point being, the damage has been done.

But it’s never too late. We can turn our behaviors around to prevent high-risk from becoming higher-risk and then hope for the best, right? Right.

Moving on to what I do:

Behaviors

  • Wear lots of sunscreen and avoid direct sunlight. I put on sunscreen even if it’s overcast outside, and even if I’m not leaving the house that day at all.
  • Drink a lot of water (for hydration).
  • Avoid alcohol (to prevent dehydration, which leads to loss of skin elasticity and subsequent formation of wrinkles and sagging).
  • Greatly limit consumption of sugar and other simple carbs such as white bread, white rice, white potatoes, and white pasta (simple sugars age your skin from the inside by breaking down skin elasticity and causing inflammation via insulin level spiking, which also breaks down skin elasticity).
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Take certain supplements (I list mine below).
  • I eat more processed food than I should, but I do try to balance my diet with fresh fruit and veggies (for veggies, I mostly prefer greens, cruciferous vegetable, and salads).

Supplements

I take supplements every day. These include the following, which are good for your skin:

  • Vitamin A (collagen production)
  • Collagen (I primarily take it for my joints, but it has the same positive effect on skin)
  • Flax seed oil capsules (omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Green tea capsules (antioxidants)

 

BioCell collagen supplement

BioCell collagen supplement

 

Now for topical skin-care. I like to layer products. As with most everything, you’ll see experts advising this, and you’ll also see experts advising against this. Do what works for you!

Here’s what I do, in order:

Morning

  • Exfoliate
  • Eye cream
  • Mist with water
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen

Night

  • Gentle cleanser
  • Vitamin E facial oil (with serum)
  • Eye cream
  • Mist with water
  • Night cream

(I mist my face with water before putting on moisturizer because moisturizer works by locking in moisture. If there’s no moisture on your skin to begin with, the moisturizer is out of a job, and you’re wasting time and money.)

Once a week: Facial mask

Notes

  • I never rub my face dry. Instead, I press the towel onto my skin in different places, just to absorb the water. Skin hates it when you rub it with a towel. Skin also hates to be bone-dry.
  • I never go to bed with make-up on.
  • I use those white, non-latex triangle sponges for make-up application. I’ll take one and run it under water and then lightly squeeze a tissue around it, so it’s a little damp. I never wash and re-use them… I use a fresh one every time.
  • In sunscreens, I look for a broad-spectrum formula with SPF 30 and the highest concentration of zinc oxide I can find. Every single day. Rain or shine. Going out or not.
  • Any “anti-aging” products I use are from the drugstore. I haven’t ventured into the realm of prescription anti-aging products yet. The drugstore has some good products that aren’t tested on animals, and they’re much more affordable than high-end products, of course. While I have tried some high-end products, I always go back to drugstore products.
  • I keep my face make-up very light; I don’t like to feel my skin suffocating beneath heavy foundation. (<– I’m not sure how valid this concern is, but it’s my feeling for myself.)

Things I should be doing

  • I should be getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night (still working on it).
  • I should eat less processed food (at least I get in some fresh foods every day, too, as mentioned above).

Now to return to SUNSCREEN.

Here’s the scary thing: I’ve seen people on YouTube sharing their skin care routines, and I’m shocked by how many of them – pretty much all of them – omit sunscreen completely. They go from moisturizer straight to make-up. So while it’s never too late to start using sunscreen daily, I’m especially looking at you, younger people: Start now with the sunscreen. It could SAVE YOUR LIFE, and you’ll preserve your skin in the process.

Have I used enough repetition, caps, and italics regarding sunscreen? Good. My work here is done!

Sensory deprivation tank experience, Part 2c. (The experience!)

Now to describe my second experience in the sensory deprivation tank! First, I couldn’t have done it without Callaghan, my partner in crime. I was especially thankful considering that he took time from his super busy agenda. He’s signed up for the entire on-going effort, and I’m grateful to him for his moral support and commitment of time in this venture.

My goal this second time was simple: I just wanted to experience being in the tank with the door closed, if only for a minute.

 

Sensory deprivation tank (pic taken by Callaghan during my second attempt)

Sensory deprivation tank (pic taken by Callaghan during my second attempt)

 

(Never fear – I’ll have a new pic to accompany the posts I write about my third try!)

I started by getting in and stretching out on the water, lying on my front and gripping the lip of the door opening with my fingertips. If I didn’t keep that fingertip hold, I would’ve drifted to the back of the tank.

Once I had the feel of the water, I asked Callaghan to close the door and hang out right there so we could test how he could hear me through the enclosed tank. Here we found that I had to speak very loudly in order for him to hear me.

Then I wanted to test opening the door by myself. This turned out to be a good gauge of the extent of the battle ahead of me: I was able to push the door up, but it felt arduous. It felt like the door wasn’t opening easily enough or fast enough, because I could feel the water pulling at me as I was doing it.

At this point, it seems that any resistance I meet while pushing the door open will cause me to panic. I know that this is irrational (definition of a phobia)… of course some effort has to be made when opening a door. Any door. Doors do not open magically upon touch. The thing about this tank is that the effort involves some other element – the water – challenging my control of my body. No part of me is anchored anywhere when I try to open the tank door.

When you open any normal door, you’re on something solid, usually the ground, and usually while you’re standing. Your feet are rooted. I like being rooted. Being rooted in every sense of the word is essential to my wellness in every sense of that word.

Callaghan had to pull the door open the rest of the way, not because I physically couldn’t, but because I was starting to freak out. I didn’t want to get to the same level of panic I found myself in the first time.

So that was terrifying. I had to take a minute to breathe. After Callaghan talked me down from my ledge, we moved on to the next step.

The next step would not involve me trying to open the door. I would lay back on the water, he would close the door (I’m nowhere near ready to close the door myself, as that was what caused the fiasco that took place the first time), and I would stay in the enclosed tank for as long as I could stand it.

My anxiety was profound as I settled myself. He asked if I was ready for him to close the door. I said yes. I felt like I was bracing myself for that puff of air in your eye when they do that one test during an eye exam. Times 1,000.

He closed the door, and I closed my eyes. I focused on my breathing. So far, so good!

Lying on my back on top of the water, I tried to imagine that I was floating in outer space, since my body was suspended in zero gravity in the complete darkness. This worked at first, and then I felt encroaching panic urging me to open my eyes. I opened my eyes. My heart-rate went up more as my brain said YOU ARE INSIDE A SMALL TANK. I closed my eyes again as I reasoned with myself in a soothing inner voice. I tried the outer-space imagery a second time.

When I reached my threshold – past my threshold, actually – I called for Callaghan to open the door. He did and I sat up and I felt the cool outside air and I took a few deep breaths, and then I asked, “It’s been about half an hour, right? I was in there for around 30 minutes…?!” I was excited about my progress. But he said, “No. Not even 10.”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crestfallen to hear that after all the painful effort, it’d only been 10 minutes. 10 minutes is a good start, though, right? I was proud of myself for staying in the enclosed tank for 10 minutes, even though it felt like 30, at least.

The aspect of the tank that really started to trigger my next-level panic was the warm, humid air inside. It was stuffy. It made me feel stifled, like I couldn’t breathe physically, let alone psychologically.

When I go for my third try, I’ll pick up where I left off. I have until then to meditate on it and to practice the meditation I want to try in my next attempt.

Shadow and light: January 2017 favorites!

There were so many “little things” that tripped my trigger (slang I picked up in the army) in January, I almost couldn’t decide which to include in this list. I try not to go beyond 10 because 10 already makes the “favorites” post pretty long.

I enjoy raving about productions I loved watching, and foods I loved eating (usually processed food, but you know that by now, if you’ve been here for a length of time). If I tried any new skin care/cosmetic-type products, I like to share those, too, if I think they’re great and I’m still using them.

So this list is par for the course. As usual, the food items are vegan and tasty (to me, anyway) and not terribly unhealthy nutrition-wise. The products are cruelty-free, meaning “not tested on animals.”

Let’s get into it!

 

1). Passengers (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick-com-passengers

 

Passengers is candy, especially if you’re a fan of sci-fi action thrillers. You’ve got a guy who runs into some bad luck. Because he’s human and he wants to survive without completely losing his mind, he makes a decision that’s not the best for the other person involved… but in the end, the decision saves everyone, because the other person involved is a badass. That other person is played by Jennifer Lawrence, who does badasses pretty well. We were entertained and left the theater feeling like we’d spent a fun two or so hours that were worth whatever the tickets cost.

 

2). Hidden Figures (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick-com-hiddenfigures

 

Admittedly, we were lured to watch Hidden Figures partially because Cookie from Empire is in it. That would be Taraji P. Henson. With her versatile talent, she’s great in everything she does, but to me she’ll always be Cookie, just like Jeff Bridges will always be The Dude. Hidden Figures was high on my “to watch” list, anyway, though. I went into it already knowing that while it was a man who first went to the moon, it was a woman who got him there, so I was eager to watch the story unfold… and unfold well, it did. In Hidden Figures, we see the story (of these women and their roles in the historical NASA mission) told with focus on the social climate of the time, exemplifying ways in which segregation hindered progress. If you haven’t already seen this excellent and inspirational film, you may want to add it to your “to watch” list, too.

 

3). 2017 January Grand Sumo Tournament (Honbasho)

Sumo! We’re still obsessed with Sumo; we were thrilled that there was another Grand Tournament in January. Our question is, when will we see more Sumo incorporated into mixed martial artists’ game plans? It’s likely a matter of time before it joins the plethora of martial arts combined in MMA. Sumo is a technically intricate martial art, and it’s the most brutal one I’ve seen yet.

We wanted Kisenosato to win from Day 1 of January’s 15-day basho, and he did!! Behold the champion’s Tale of the Tape:

 

thatasianlookingchick-com-sumorikishi_kisenosato

 

 

4). The O.A. (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick-com-theoa

 

The O.A. was our binge-watch T.V. series of the month. (Thank you, Netflix, for releasing your series’ episodes all at once.) In The O.A., we saw nods to Netflix’ Sense8 and Stranger Things, both, and we enjoyed it as much, which is a lot. If you love a good dramystery (has anyone coined that term yet?) with a sci-fi/fantasy bend, you may enjoy this one, as well.

 

5). This is Us (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick-com-thisisus

 

Speaking of hybrid T.V. genres, here’s This is Us, a brilliant dramedy that captured our admiration and affection right from the start. It can’t be easy weaving hilarity into dramatic (sometimes heavy) scenes and situations, but these writers and actors and directors do it with aplomb. This is Us became an instant favorite of ours.

 

Moving on to products…

6). Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint and Rosemary body wash.

 

Burt's Bees Fabulously Fresh peppermint and rosemary body wash

Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh peppermint and rosemary body wash

 

The scent of this body wash is redolent of a sauna… to my nose, its combination of peppermint and rosemary gives off a very similar rustic, invigorating, and warm aroma. It’s unusual. The first time I used it, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. By the end of the shower, I realized what it reminded me of. Now I’m enraptured and I sometimes take two showers a day just so I can inhale this scent. I may have a problem.

 

7). Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm (Red Dahlia).

 

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm (red dahlia)

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm (red dahlia)

 

I added this tinted lip balm to my collection of Burt’s Bees lip products (which is getting slightly out of hand). What can I say? For over a year… maybe two… I haven’t used anything on my lips but Burt’s Bees. The Red Dahlia tint to this lip balm is similar to the Redwood Forest lip crayon that’s my go-to shade when I want more saturated color on my lips. I’ve had the tinted lip balm in Hibiscus, a pinkish shade, for a while now. I love that one, as well.

 

8). Pacifica Alight multi-mineral BB cream.

 

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream

Pacifica Alight Multi-Mineral BB Cream

 

This one’s a rediscovery: I found my old tube of Pacifica BB cream when I was organizing my life a few weeks ago. I used it the next day and remembered everything I loved about it. Its sheerness leaves a lovely, dewy finish on the skin (not sure how this would work on oily skin types), and it feels like you’re wearing moisturizer. I plan to repurchase this product when I’ve used up this tube.

 

Now for food!

9). Larabar Fruits & Greens (strawberry spinach cashew).

 

Larabara Fruits and Greens (strawberry spinach cashew)

Larabara Fruits and Greens (strawberry spinach cashew)

 

Okay, I found this bar to be strange at first. Like apple cider vinegar water, these particular Larabars were somewhat of an acquired taste for me… but it took just one before I was hooked. This bar gives you fruit, greens, and nuts compacted into a chewy treat that’s slightly sweet, and slightly tart. It’s made of plants and nuts. If you can acquire the taste, you really can’t go wrong with this! I keep one in my bag at all times.

 

10). Trader Joe’s Wild Rice & Mushroom Sausage-less Sausage.

 

Trader Joe's wild rice & mushroom sausage-less sausage

Trader Joe’s wild rice & mushroom sausage-less sausage

 

Trader Joe’s came up with this wonderful plant-based sausage that balances umami (savory) with salty in all its herbalicious glory. We love this stuff. I think there are other varieties of Trader Joe’s veggie sausages; we’re looking forward to trying them out.

That brings us to the end. I’ve already got some things on my list for February!

Sensory deprivation tank experience, Part 2b. (The “WHY?”)

Good morning! So. I said I would write about my second experience in the sensory deprivation tank, and I will, but there’s still so much interest in the “WHY?” that I thought I’d take today’s post to elaborate on that. If I also describe my second experience in the tank, this post would be too lengthy. Look out for that part next week Friday, if you please.

[Tuesday’s post will feature my January Favorites. Hello, February.]

*****

Q: WHY the insistence on this sensory deprivation tank?

A: I’ve been saying, “I’m working on overcoming my claustrophobia.” But being honest with myself, I recognize that answer as an abbreviation for: “I want to be able to keep my composure during claustrophobia events.”

Because in all likelihood, I’ll always be claustrophobic to some degree. No doubt I’ll improve, but I’ll never be completely stress-free in a small space, or while trapped anywhere.

I’m training myself to be mentally strong in the face of my phobia, because the ability to deal with claustrophobia would be the next best thing to not having it. It’s easier to approach the sensory deprivation tank with this mindset of acceptance. This is reality. If I do end up free of claustrophobia, great; if not, I should at least be able to handle it in a situation.

Naturally, PTSD is behind this, and I’m thankful for it. I’m always looking for exits, for the way out; always checking people out in the elevator, assessing threats and potential dangers, etc. At Callaghan’s company party in December, I realized that it would behoove me to assess the dangers within myself as well as the dangers around me.

One of the dangers within myself is claustrophobia. It makes me vulnerable.

For instance, if I meet with foul play and wake up in the trunk of the Bad Guy’s car, the last thing I want to do is freak out because I’m in the trunk of a car. I want to be able to stay calm so I can think and act. If I flounder in panic, I would be a victim… of my claustrophobia. I’d be a victim of myself. Not acceptable. Hence:

 

Sensory deprivation tank (pic taken by Callaghan during my second attempt)

Sensory deprivation tank (pic taken by Callaghan during my second attempt)

 

…here’s my dummy car trunk. Filled with water. Just as an example, of course.

That’s the longer explanation behind this sensory deprivation tank endeavor. I figure I train to be physically prepared for various situations, so I should also train for mental preparedness; I know my weak area, and I am correcting it. I need to be armed with the confidence of knowing that I can depend on myself.

I’m choosing the sensory deprivation tank route because I’ve learned from experience that an effective way for me to overcome a phobia is to confront it head-on. (Let’s please not talk about roaches at this time, though. Or ever.) After all, I overcame my elevator phobia by getting into an elevator every day to get to work. I had no choice! I still hate elevators, and being in one still stresses me out, but now I can take one without going nuclear in my head.

I hope this makes sense! Next Friday’s post will be about my second experience in the tank. Happy Friday, All.