First Favorites of 2018! (January Favorites)

January was interesting… it seemed to go on forever, and yet it was a great month!

Without the usual blathering, may I present some of the “little things” I enjoyed in January:

 

1). The Florida Project

 

 

You may already know how I feel about The Florida Project if you’ve read my “non-review movie review” about it. If you haven’t, and you’d like to, it’s here. We found this to be Just a wonderful film, with the best acting I’ve seen from Willem Dafoe (whose acting I’ve always enjoyed, anyway). I highly recommend it!

 

2). Sumo – January 2018 Grand Sumo Tournament (Basho)

Sumo, Japan’s national sport, is one of my favorite martial arts/combat sports to watch. There’s a Grand Sumo Tournament in Japan every other month, and we watch them all – the “Grand Sumo Highlights,” that is. There are 15 days in the tournament, and we watch each day’s Highlights (on YouTube). Some tournaments are more enjoyable than others. We didn’t much enjoy last November’s tournament, but January’s was amazing… it was probably my favorite of all the tournaments I’ve seen!

Early on in the 15-day tournament, we were impressed with the rikishi Tochinoshin – one of our favorites – when he came out looking like he’d been training hard. We rooted for him to win the championship (Emperor’s Cup), and win it, he did!

For those who don’t know, this is Tochinoshin, the first European to win a Grand Sumo Championship since 1972!!

 

Tochinoshin receiving the Emperor’s Cup (January 2018)

 

Tochinoshin is Georgian. His actual name is Levan Gorgadze.

 

Tochinoshin (January 2018 Grand Champion)

 

 

3). Glitch (T.V. series)

 

 

Thanks to Netflix, we have access to all kinds of wonderful international T.V. series, and this is the latest we’ve started. Glitch comes from Australia with a great cast and an intriguing sci-fi mystery storyline. There are two seasons so far, and we just started the second.

 

On to food…

 

4). Cherry Pie Larabars.

 

Cherry Pie Larabar

 

This is getting predictable, I know. I still enjoy those apple pie Larabars – and all the other ones I’ve written about – but cherry pie Larabars are my favorite-favorite so far. They’re tart and just barely sweet enough to be sweet, if that makes sense. I love cherries, but these bars taste more like cranberries to me. They remind me of this cranberry quick bread recipe someone in my family used to make at Christmas. Very festive, Larabar.

Cherry pie Larabars have three ingredients: dates, almonds, and unsweetened cherries.

 

5). Lifelight meatless pastas (esp. Wild Mushroom Ravioli).

 

Lightlife meatless pasta (esp. wild mushroom ravioli)

 

This month’s favorite processed vegan food discovery award goes to Lightlife for their frozen meatless pastas. My favorite is the wild mushroom ravioli… so flavorful and hearty!

 

6). Baby sweet potatoes.

 

Mini sweet potatoes

 

We found that mini sweet potatoes come out creamy – buttery, even – and delicious after 20 minutes in the steamer. They’re a treat hot or cold!

 

7). Coconut yogurt bowl with berries and seeds.

 

Coconut yogurt with berries, hemp seeds, and chia seeds

 

You may have seen this on Instagram when I posted it recently. I’ve been enjoying plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt with a little bit of light agave nectar, hemp seeds and chia seeds (a heaping tablespoon of each), and whatever berries we have on hand. It’s so tasty and satisfying!

 

Products…

 

8). The Body Shop Oils of Life intensely revitalizing facial oil.

 

The Body Shop Oils of Life intensely revitalizing facial oil

 

Being that I’m a skin care junkie and a devotee of The Body Shop, I went a little crazy when said establishment had their Black Friday sale a few months ago. I stocked up on some favorites, and I also ordered some new products to try.

I’ve been using these Oils of Life products since the middle of December, so I’ve had some time to decide how I like them. I like them a lot, as in, “I will re-purchase before I run out” a lot. The two products I use are the facial oil (above, #8), and the night cream (below, #9).

I’ve seen mixed reviews of the Oils of Life line. Many reviewers were turned off by the products’ fragrance, saying that they thought the scent was terrible, overwhelming, or both. This seemed to be the number one complaint about this line.

I don’t mind if skin care products are scented as long as I like the scent, and I love sandalwood and other woodsy, warm notes, so the Oils of Life products appeal to me even more because they’re rich with such a fragrance. Oils of Life, to me, smell like a Buddhist temple. Or like a man who smells great. (haha)

That aside, I’m very happy with the way these products work on my skin. I use the oil twice a day and the night cream at night, of course. I put the oil on first, then layer other products over it. I use an overnight mask over the night cream.

(About the pricing: this is The Body Shop, and The Body Shop isn’t drugstore cheap, but it’s not La Mer, either.)

 

9). The Body Shop Oils of Life intensely revitalizing sleeping cream.

 

The Body Shop Oils of Life intensely revitalizing sleeping cream

 

(See above for the text!)

 

10). Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus extra moisturizing hair detangler (for kids).

 

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus extra moisturizing hair detangler (for kids)

 

This product for towel-dried hair is just refreshing and pleasant. I found it in the kids’ hair care section at Target.

 

That’s it for January! Onward with the new year.

In a nutshell. (December Favorites!)

Happy New Year! I can’t say that enough. Every day since last January, 2017 showed no sign of ending anytime soon, and now, at long last, it’s over. At the same time, the year went way too fast. 2017 was the split personality of years in my life, and it leaves me excited for 2018.

I’m starting 2018 with a new approach to these “monthly favorites” posts: I’m going to answer three questions about each “little thing” on my lists, rather than writing paragraphs about them. If I have something more to say about something, I’ll devote a separate post to it. Starting now, these posts will be more visual, less blah-blah-blah.

 

1). Darkest Hour

 

 

What I liked: The acting, the direction, the musical score, the story of Dunkirk from the back end, Gary Oldman’s make-up and costume, the overall quality of the production.

What I didn’t like: It dragged slightly in some places, but not enough to lessen my regard of the film.

Would I recommend it? Yes, especially if you enjoy biopics.

 

2). Black Mirror (S4)  (T.V. series)

 

 

What I liked: Every story in every episode, the writing, the direction, impact/thought-provoking nature of the stories, the big philosophical questions raised, the overall excellence of the production.

What I didn’t like: ?

Would I recommend it? Yes. You might enjoy this even if you’re not a fan of sci-fi thrillers.

 

3). The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (T.V. series)

 

 

What I liked: The writing, the acting, the costumes and set, the entertainment factor, the film’s freshness and overall excellence.

What I didn’t like: Some of the humor fell flat on me.

Would I recommend it? Yes.

 

4). I Love Dick (T.V. series)

 

 

What I liked: The story, the writing, its presentation as art, its unapologetic rawness, some of the acting (mainly Kathryn Hahn’s).

What I didn’t like: Just that its IMDB rating is much lower than I’d expect it to be. In my opinion, this series is curiously underrated.

Would I recommend it? NOT TO EVERYONE. If you’d rather not see sexually explicit stories and raw, “artistic” story-telling of such material, I would not recommend.

 

5). Mom’s cooking.

 

Okara with brown rice and furikake

 

What I liked: Everything, meaning the tofu and the okara pictured above. Mom brought freshly made tofu from the little tofu place in my hometown’s J-town (Japan-town), so it was the tofu of my childhood. It’s nothing like the prepackaged tofu you get in a box in the supermarket.

Okara, by the way, is Japanese for “rubbish,” in a sense, from what I understand… as a dish, it’s the scraps leftover from the making of fresh tofu. You could buy it in bags and cook it up with dashi (Mom used plant-based dashi), seasonings, and finely chopped shiitake mushrooms, green onions, and carrots. It’s one of my favorite home-cooked dishes. Grandma used to make it just for me!

What I didn’t like: That it was, perhaps, the last time I’d eat it. With the closing of the little family-run tofu factory (there’s no one left to take it over), fresh tofu and okara may be a thing of the past.

Would I recommend it? Yes, but this is irrelevant, of course.

 

6). Dave’s Killer Plain Awesome Bagels.

 

Dave’s Killer Plain Awesome Bagels

 

What I liked: High nutrient density in a bread that seems like a cheat-day indulgence.

What I didn’t like: ?

Would I recommend it? Yes. I’ve been eating one of these a day almost every day for over a month, and I’m not tired of them yet.

 

7). Apple Pie Larabar with peanut butter.

 

Apple Pie Larabar with peanut butter

 

What I liked: Peanut butter on an apple pie Larabar is as delicious as peanut butter on fresh apple slices. It’s a satisfying nutritional powerhouse of a treat.

What I didn’t like: ?

Would I recommend it? If the apple/peanut butter flavor combo appeals to you, then yes.

 

8). Cara Cara oranges.

 

Cara Cara oranges

 

What I liked: These beautiful red-fleshed navel oranges (they are not blood oranges) are incredibly sweet and juicy, and they have just a hint of tropical flavor.

What I didn’t like: ?

Would I recommend it? Yes.

 

9). Acure The Magical Wonderfluff Overnight Hydrating Booster Mask (argan + gardenia extract).

 

Acure The Magical Wonderfluff Overnight Hydrating Booster Mask (argan + gardenia extract)

 

What I liked: This overnight mask makes my skin look more smooth in the morning. It goes on like a thick lotion that dries into a pleasant, slight tightness; it’s not sticky, as other overnight masks often are. I layer this on over my nightcream every night.

What I didn’t like: Its schoolroom fragrance (paste, maybe?) is somewhat strange, but actually, I don’t dislike it. It may be a turn-off for some people, though.

Would I recommend it? Yes.

 

10). OGX Shea Soft & Smooth Creamy Hair Butter.

 

OGX Shea Soft & Smooth Creamy Hair Butter

 

What I liked: Just that it actually works to smooth out the frizzy fly-aways all over my head, and it doesn’t make my hair feel heavy or greasy.

What I didn’t like: ?

Would I recommend it? Yes.

 

The End. How’s that for succinct?

Until next time!

Do I look like June Cleaver?

It’s been a week since I complained about my rat’s nest hair and how it was dropping loose hairs into my face and interfering with my gym experience.

“Nothing works,” I said in that post. “If there’s a solution short of shaving my head, I want to know.”

One friend from BodyPump joked, “A shower cap!”

Another friend supplied a pic of a lady wearing a shower cap, all smiling and done up with makeup and looking like she also had a vacuum cleaner and high heels.

The next time I went to BodyPump, I gathered my weights and came back to my spot to find a shower cap lying on my bench. It didn’t take a PhD in psychology to figure out who put it there.

It wasn’t the friend who first commented, because she lives in another state. It was the guy who posted the shower cap lady. Cue jokes about me wearing the shower cap in class, which will never happen. He declared it himself: “Kristi will wear a shower cap the day I quit complaining about lunges.”

Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

I did a dress rehearsal, anyway, to verify that the shower cap wouldn’t work. And it didn’t. The elastic band wasn’t that elasticky, and my hair is very resistant to staying where I put it.

Do I look like June Cleaver?

 

THIS ISN’T WORKING

 

I’m pretty sure that’s also my expression when loose hairs fall in my face at the gym. It’s not “I wish I was holding a feather duster instead of a dumbbell.”

(In case you’re wondering, the outside of my right eye is red because I managed to tear my conjunctiva while doing absolutely nothing. It’s fine. My eye doctor prescribed antibiotic eye-drops, cold compresses, and ibuprofen. It will heal itself.)

Remember when I needed a shower cap for real, but couldn’t see shopping for one? Two people gifted me with shower caps after that, three years apart from each other. The first was my sista-from-another-mother, and the second was my sister-in-law. I thought that was a weird coincidence. That’s what sisters do, apparently.

But I digress. The jokester responsible for this post – let’s just call him “Ron” – has been walking a thin line with me at the gym with his antics; this shower cap was his crowning achievement, to date. I should start a petition to double our lunge tracks.

About the rat’s nest on my head. (My gym pet peeve.)

Most gym pet peeves have to do with people being rude: hogging the equipment, leaving sweat on the equipment, resting on the equipment between sets, leaving weights lying around instead of re-racking them, talking on the phone or texting while chilling on the equipment, etc.

None of this is cool in my book, either, but I only have one major gym pet peeve, and that is my own hair. My scalp releases loose hairs that sabotage my workout. Who else has this issue? If there’s a solution short of shaving my head, I want to know.

My hair gets on my nerves more than anything else at the gym. It literally gets on my nerves. I try not to let it, but it’s easier said than done. When a hair falls out and lands on me, it hijacks my sensory nervous system so the strand of hair is all I can feel. It’s hard to ignore.

The problem is that my hair is a rat’s nest, more at the gym than anywhere else. Here’s my hair after my workout yesterday morning:

 

Post-workout, 8/10/2017

 

If my hair only looked like a rat’s nest, I wouldn’t care, because I don’t care what I look like when I go to the gym in the morning. I put on sunscreen, lip-gloss, and clean clothing, and I’m good.

The problem is that my hair behaves like a rat’s nest. It doesn’t stay together. It gets pulled apart simply by existing. At some point during the workout, people will see me doing stuff with one hand while I’m frantically clawing at my face with the other hand. Usually, the hair lands in my mouth or in one of my eyes. I sometimes find the hair plastered across my sweaty cheek.

This happens every time I work out. Without fail. No matter what I do. I will spend long minutes beforehand sliding my fingers through my hair and removing loose strands. I’ll do up my ponytail and repeat the process, also removing loose hairs from my bangs and the sides that don’t get pulled up.

Nothing works. Headbands? I wish. I’ve tried. They don’t stay on, and then I have two problems.

I know this is petty and ridiculous. I AM grateful to have any hair at all, but having hair doesn’t make me immune to annoyance when the hairs try to blind or choke me!

So my hair is a rat’s nest at the gym. It gives the term “gym rat” a whole new meaning. Fine. I just need for the nest to hold together until I’m done with my workout.

[/shallow rant of the day]

 

Cycling back around. (June Favorites!)

I’m going to let the pics do most of the talking here, but I do have some blurbs to go with them (some more blurby than others). It goes without saying that I recommend everything on this list! (The foods are vegan and the products are cruelty-free, as usual.)

Getting on into it: some of my favorite little things from June!

 

1). Wonder Woman (film)

 

 

I already dedicated an entire post to this superhero movie, so rather than repeat myself here, I’ll just direct you to that post: If you’re interested, click here to read my thoughts. (The link will open the page in a new tab; whatever glitch was causing my links to open in the same tabs has been fixed.)

Suffice it to say that we highly enjoyed this film.

 

2). Okja (film)

 

 

Joon-ho Bong’s stunning feat of cinematic wizardry brings to life the story he wrote about the plight of an engineered animal and the girl who loves her. While love, loss, loyalty, and identity comprise some of the story’s themes, desperation is the dominant mood… in every character, at every level. Okja is a study in ethics, a socioeconomic commentary set in a fantastical world that’s yet real enough to be imaginable.

 

3). black-ish (T.V. series)

 

 

The comedy series black-ish is thought-provoking comedy gold; once we were able to access it again, we were thrilled to be able to pick up where we left off. We’re nearing the end of season 3, and we’re still laughing! For us, black-ish’s brilliant writing and the performances of its actors amount to unparalleled hilarity in television.

 

4). Tofurky hickory-smoked deli slices.

 

Tofurky Deli Slices Hickory-Smoked

 

As far as food is concerned, it’s more fun to talk about the processed stuff, so here we are again!

Tofurky’s deli slices, now. I’ve enjoyed all of Tofurky’s deli slice varieties for years, but in June, I cycled back around to the hickory-smoked flavor. I’m still going strong. I love the peppered flavor, as well. Tofurky does a good job with these slices!

 

5). Van’s Power Grains waffles.

 

Van’s Power Grains waffles

 

Actually, since I do cycle through foods, I probably post repeats in these “favorites” lists more often than I think. I know for a fact that I included these waffles on a favorites list from last summer. Van’s Power Grains waffles are delicious and satisfying, firstly, and secondly, they give you 10 grams of protein per serving (2). They prepare themselves in the toaster oven. What else could I want in a waffle?

 

6). Dave’s organic thin-sliced 21 wholes grains and seeds bread.

 

Dave’s thin-sliced 21 whole grains and seeds bread

 

As a breadaholic, it’s my inclination to try new breads all the time. We’ve been fans of Dave’s breads for several years now, so we weren’t surprised to find that we love this thin-sliced version, too. For one thing, the smaller slices perfectly accommodate the deli slices and the sliced Daiya cheezes we eat. Comparatively, the larger breads seem awkward.

 

7). La Costeña jalapeños.

 

Costena jalapeno peppers

 

I’ve also cycled back into a jalapeño pepper kick. (Haha! Kick! Get it?) I’ve been eating these peppers with sandwiches instead of dill pickles… savory sandwiches, that is. Personally, I wouldn’t eat these alongside peanut butter and jelly.

 

8). Maitake Mushroom (supplement; Solaray).

 

Maitake mushroom supplement

 

I’ve updated my daily supplement regimen with the addition of ‘shrooms: Maitake Mushroom (Solaray). Each capsule is a triple-mushroom threat with 600 mg maitake mushroom, 180 mg shitake mushroom, and 180 mg reishi mushroom. The reported health benefits of these mushrooms are numerous; click the links to read about them. (Again, the links will open the pages in new tabs.)

 

9). OGX Orchid Oil shampoo, conditioner, and color-protect oil.

 

OGX Orchid Oil shampoo & conditioner and oil

 

I finally ran out of my OGX Vitamin E shampoo and condition and went to repurchase them, but when I got to the shelf, I found OGX’ Orchid Oil shampoo and conditioner, which I didn’t recall seeing before. Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve gone looking for hair care products.

It seems that this line isn’t just safe for color-treated hair, but it was formulated specifically for it. I’ve been putting dark brown color in my dark brown hair that’s naturally – but not uniformly – reddish. When the color fades, some parts look artificially red, even though the reddish color is real. I also have a silver hair here and there, and it’s a mystery why my hair comes out blondish in some pics. Mixed chick hair identity issues!

I went for the Orchid Oil line, and I’m digging it so far. I haven’t refreshed the color in my hair in quite a while, so when I finally do, I’ll really be able to see whether these products extend the color’s longevity. I got the oil to mist on as a detangler, too. OGX claims that all of these products provide broad-spectrum sun protection, which, if true and truly effective, would be a great bonus.

 

10). New prescription sunglasses.

 

Selecting frames for sunglasses (Instagram 05/30/2017)

 

I Instagram’d this pic when I was trying on frames at my optometrist’s office. These sunglasses are nothing short of life-changing. They arrived a week or so into June, and I still can’t get over how great it is to be able to see everywhere at every distance while wearing sunglasses! My old ones were single-lens, the prescription was wrong, the frames didn’t fit correctly, and one of the lenses kept popping out.

 

That does it for June. I’ve already got a list going for July!

Staring at the rafters, waving at stars (December favorites!)

December irks me with all the chaos it creates in my agenda, and yet it thrills me because I enjoy the holiday season, and it’s my birthday month. I had adventures: I went to a party and consequently began my fight against PTSD-related claustrophobia (attempting to close myself inside a coffin-like tank filled with water, aka sensory deprivation tank). I simplified my life by switching my glasses lenses to progressives, and I actually like them because lo, this time they were done right. We saw three good movies, two of which I included in the Favorites list below. I had a weekend to myself (when Callaghan went out of town) during which I went alone to watch an exciting and intense UFC fight card (which included Urijah Faber’s last fight!). I had lunch dates with a few dear friends, one of whom introduced me to a tantalizing cuisine I’d never tried before (Malaysian). I met some good people. December ended with Callaghan’s sister and her two boys coming to visit (they’re still here), and that’s been fun, beginning with the fact that Christmas + kids = Good Times. And on the penultimate day of the month and of the year, UFC 207 happened. We left the sports bar on a thrilling high note, especially because of our girl Amanda Nunes (still the champ)! To say that the year ended on a bang is an understatement.

Also, I ended up getting a decent amount of writing done.

December had its trials and tribulations, too, because that’s how life works… everything can’t be all good all the time. On the not good side, Cita has been struggling to heal all month, and we’ve been struggling to help her. She’s a battle-scarred mess with wounds that aren’t healing. She’s been to the vet numerous times. She’s in convalescence and being a very good sport about it. I’ve never seen such a fearless and stoic cat (who talks trash, but can’t fight her way out of a paper bag). Loving and affectionate throughout it all, Cita is a walking contradiction with tremendous heart, and we wouldn’t have her any other way. We just need to get her healed. The next step will be, once again, to attempt to integrate her into the household with Nenette.

Getting on with the list of little things! December favorites:

 

1). Hacksaw Ridge (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick-com-hacksawridge

 

Hacksaw Ridge is an important film, an excellent film. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you, Mel Gibson. The man did indeed create a film to bring to our attention the heroism of a young man who literally dodged bullets unarmed while rescuing others in the bloodiest battle against the Japanese in WWII. This is a true story, and it is unforgettable.

 

2). Nocturnal Animals (film)

 

thatasianlookingchick-com-nocturnalanimals

 

 

Nocturnal Animals is a film written and directed by Tom Ford. Tom Ford as in fashion design. Tom Ford as in Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Considering this, we shouldn’t be surprised that every scene in Nocturnal Animals is a vision of artistry; Ford’s eye and talent for design translates magnificently to the medium of film. This isn’t his first film – it’s his second – but it’s the first that I’ve seen, and I admit that I wasn’t expecting to leave the theater quite so impressed.

As in Hacksaw Ridge, the acting in Nocturnal Animals is first-rate, as well. It’s always great when you go to the movies and find that you made an awesome choice.

The third film we saw was Arrival, which was also outstanding. The extraordinary Amy Adams once again! She stars in Nocturnal Animals, too.

December was a great month for movies.

 

3). Samurai “Strength” print (original art by David Lozeau).

 

The Fyne Art of David Lozeau - Strength (Samurai series)

The Fyne Art of David Lozeau: Strength (Samurai series) – signed by the artist

 

I reconnected with my biological mother in December (such a month!), who reminded me again of our Samurai ancestry. With that in mind, Callaghan bought me this print for my birthday: a portrait of one of my ancestors, haha! Seriously, though, I love this badass painting, and I love David Lozeau’s art, in general. Visit his site and feast your eyes.

davidlozeau dot com

 

4). The Body Shop Frosted Berries (holiday limited edition 2016) body butter.

 

The Body Shop Frosted Berries (holiday limited edition 2016) body butter

The Body Shop Frosted Berries (holiday limited edition 2016) body butter

 

This year’s holiday limited edition fragrance at The Body Shop is Frosted Berries… mostly cranberries “from North America.” (TBS is an English company; it’s funny to see what foreigners consider to be exotic on our side of the pond.) This scent is lovely. I stocked up.

 

5). The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil.

 

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil

 

I was eager to try this serum, and I’m glad that I did. My skin loves it. I put it on after I cleanse my face at night… this first, then eye cream, then night cream. I’ve always layered products on my face in both my morning and nighttime skin care routines, and this serum in oil is a wonderful base layer for the night. Its scent is lovely and light, too.

 

6). The Body Shop Rainforest Radiance hair butter.

 

The Body Shop Rainforest Radiance hair butter

The Body Shop Rainforest Radiance hair butter

 

More from The Body Shop! I discovered their hair butter, and a wonderful discovery, it was. I’m always looking for ways to smooth out my hair (which can never decide if it’s straight Japanese hair or curly ginger English hair). My hair is thin and fly-away and just plain frazzled these days, and this product has been helping.

 

7). e.l.f. Mad for Matte eyeshadow palette.

 

e.l.f. Mad for Matte eyeshadow palette

e.l.f. Mad for Matte eyeshadow palette

 

I don’t know how e.l.f. does it. They create gorgeous, high-quality make-up that’s not tested on animals, and they sell it at unbelievably affordable prices. This Mad for Matte eyeshadow palette is only ten bucks. It’s my new favorite.

 

8). Urban Decay Perversion mascara.

 

Urban Decay Perversion mascara

Urban Decay Perversion mascara

 

Urban Decay is the only high-end, cruelty-free cosmetic brand whose products I use (most of the stuff I put on my face is from e.l.f.). In December, I started using their Perversion mascara, and I’m liking it a lot. I can’t even remember now why I got it, since the e.l.f. mascara I’d been using had been a favorite of mine for months. For whatever reason, this higher-end mascara got into my makeup bag, and it’s luscious.

 

9). Trader Joe’s multi-grain sourdough (with sunflower and sesame seed) bread.

 

Trader Joe's multi-grain sourdough bread

Trader Joe’s multi-grain sourdough bread

 

I’ve found my new favorite sourdough bread! It’s at Trader Joe’s! This multi-grain sourdough with sunflower and sesame seeds is delicious! [/exclamation points] If you’re a fan of sourdough bread – and if you’re lucky enough to have Trader Joe’s in your state – I recommend that you run out right now and grab a loaf or three. You can thank me later.

 

10). Tofurky pizza with “pepproni” & mushrooms.

 

Tofurky pizza (pepproni and mushroom)

Tofurky pizza (pepproni and mushroom)

 

Because there are always those days where it feels like a good idea to turn on the oven and throw in a frozen, processed-all-to-hell pizza. This one is vegan, of course. It also happens to be gluten-free, which I usually don’t like. It’s good. It’s really good. Pricey, but good! It’s an expensive junky treat, and I love it.

That’s it for December! I hope your new year is off to a great start!

A comedy, a thriller, products, and food: August Favorites!

September! The month I start blacking out weekdays for 90 days, so I can ramp up my writing output. This means no social plans (i.e. lunch) with friends, and no appointments of any kind, unless drastically necessary. I do have a drastically necessary appointment at the end of next week. I’m hoping that’ll be the end of it until after October, at least. We’ll see.

Here are just a few little things I loved in August…

 

ENTERTAINMENT:

1). black-ish (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Black_ish

 

HI-LAR-IOUS. There are a few comedies we love and find funny, but no comedy has ever made us laugh as much as this one.

 

2). Orphan Black (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-OrphanBlack

 

We watched the pilot on a whim, and it grabbed us immediately. This actress is superb; her range is fully visible in this series. It’s really incredible to see, and the story is great, too.

 

PRODUCTS:

3). The Body Shop Honey and Oat 3 in 1 moisturising scrub mask [LONG-AWAITED RE-STOCK]

 

The Body Shop Honey and Oat 3 in 1 moisturising scrub mask

The Body Shop Honey and Oat 3 in 1 moisturising scrub mask

 

This is a repeat favorite. Here’s why, in case you’re interested. (If not, scroll on down!)

I put this on a “favorites” list back when I first started using it over a year ago. Since then, it’s become my HOLY GRAIL, RIDE OR DIE mask. (I went cruelty-free and had to stop using my Korean Epielle sheet masks, which I’d loved. I haven’t missed them at all with this amazing product from The Body Shop.)

Three months ago, I was running low, and The Body Shop was having one of their Buy 3 Get 3 Free sales. I went to pick up three pots of the mask.

It was out of stock, but I could get three of a different kind so I could take advantage of the sale, and then do an exchange. My name and phone number went on a long waiting list.

The shipment would come in “next week Tuesday.” It actually came in three months later. “It’ll probably sell out again right away,” the girl said.

It came in last week Tuesday. The earliest I could get to the store was Saturday, but on Saturday, we couldn’t do it during the day. So that night, we left our social gathering a little early because the shop closed at 9:00pm. I wanted to make sure I got the mask before it sold out again. OBSESSED.

Best news: there’s a rumor that The Body Shop is discontinuing the mask because they’re developing one that’s basically the same, but vegan!!

 

4). Shea Moisture raw shea butter deep treatment hair masque.

 

Shea Moisture raw shea butter deep treatment hair masque

Shea Moisture raw shea butter deep treatment hair masque

 

This item and the next are a part of my effort to rescue my hair from myself. I’ve been destroying it slowly over the last few years. I can’t be trusted with my own hair. But now that I’ve seen the error of my ways, I’m taking measures.

First, I’ve stopped pulling my hair back tight at the gym. That was the main problem, as it’s resulted in broken, thinning hair in the front. I’m now putting it in a loose, lower ponytail, and instead of using barrettes in the front, I’m using a thin headband. It doesn’t really work and it looks ratchet, but if it’ll help the situation, then great.

Secondly, I’ve started using this hair mask once a week. I’ve only used it twice so far, so I can’t say that it works and that I really love it, but it’s not terrible, and I do like it. I was just glad to have found an affordable, cruelty-free hair mask.

 

5). OGX Healing + Vitamin E shampoo and conditioner.

 

OGX Healing + Vitamin E shampoo and conditioner

OGX Healing + Vitamin E shampoo and conditioner

 

Now this stuff, I do love, and I will be repurchasing it. This shampoo and conditioner from OGX is meant to be good for damaged hair. I can see the difference after I use it, and bonus! I love the way it smells.

The best part is that it’s drugstore, so it costs half as much as I’d been paying for Living Proof.

 

FOOD:

6). KIND dark chocolate cherry cashew bars.

 

KIND dark chocolate cherry cashew bars

KIND dark chocolate cherry cashew bars

 

This is a glorified candy bar, but it’s nutritionally dense candy and vegan, so it’s not for naught. (<–haha Words)

 

7). Pizza pommes de terres.

 

Pizza pommes de terres

Pizza pommes de terres

 

I came up with this combination as an inside joke with Callaghan. It’s just two things: Amy’s roasted vegetable no cheese pizza, and roasted, sliced potatoes on top. (I use Peruvian potatoes. SO GOOD.) It’s currently our favorite way to eat pizza.

Oh, and I always coat my pizza with hot red pepper flakes, no matter what kind of pizza it is.

 

Pizza pommes de terres with hot pepper flakes

Pizza pommes de terres with hot pepper flakes

 

 

8). Van’s Power Grains waffles.

 

Van's power grain waffles

Van’s power grain waffles

 

Van’s has a new version of their waffles! I’m loving their power grains with 10g/protein for breakfast. I have two with peanut butter and jelly in the middle. Best breakfast sandwich ever.

 

the end!

 

What I’m Digging Right Now – October Favorites

The theme here is Halloween, obviously. This “favorites” post is late, so let’s get right into it, shall we?

 

1). American Horror Story: Hotel (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-AHSHotel2015

 

People either love this season of AHS, or they hate it. We love it. It was love at first step into the extravagant art deco set, and so far, there’s no aspect of Hotel that hasn’t impressed us. For one thing, we were happily surprised to find, right from episode one, that Lady Gaga can act (it was anyone’s guess how that casting decision would pan out). Hotel is a gorgeously done gore-fest of lavishness, and an equally gorgeously wrought mystery. Fine writing. Fine directing and acting performances. Breath-taking set. And that intro with its split-second, neon flashes of the 10 Commandments has to be the creepiest (therefore the best) yet – at least, it’s our favorite so far.

 

2). Scream Queens (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-ScreamQueensS12015

 

We were skeptical about this new series, so I’m thrilled to include it here as a favorite. Every episode of this comedy/horror series features at least one moment that causes us to hit “pause” so we can pick ourselves up from the floor. We’re always a little surprised when we bust out in spontaneous laughter during Scream Queens. Its random humor just strikes you that way, out of nowhere. The series spoofs horror films, so it appropriately stars Emma Roberts (American Horror Story) and, most brilliantly, Jamie Lee Curtis in essentially the same role she played in Halloween H20. Between Scream Queens and American Horror Story, we were set for Halloween all through the month (and between Scream Queens and Modern Family, we were set comedy-wise, as well). Oh, and did I mention that two of Scream Queens’ creators are American Horror Story’s Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk? There you go. Now go watch it.

 

3). Drag Bingo (Melonhead Foundation charity event).

 

Off to the Melonhead Foundation's annual Drag Bingo. This has to be my favorite wig yet.

Off to the Melonhead Foundation’s annual Drag Bingo. This has to be my favorite wig yet.

 

The Melonhead Foundation put on its annual Drag Bingo gala, so of course we attended. Where else can you contribute to a great charity while playing dirty bingo dressed up for Halloween while some of the finest drag queens around MC the event and provide the entertainment, and there’s dinner, candy, a costume contest, and mystery prizes? Don’t say I didn’t told you… if you’re in Phoenix next October, don’t miss this event!

 

4). Too Faced Born This Way foundation (Nude).

 

Too Faced Born This Way foundation in Nude

Too Faced Born This Way foundation in Nude

 

Don’t worry… I’m still an e.l.f. devotee, and e.l.f. is still the brand of cruelty-free make-up I mainly use, but I unexpectedly found myself purchasing this high-end foundation one day in October. What happened was I went to Ulta in search of the Urban Decay concealer I prefer – one of two high-end cosmetic items I use – and just when I found (for the third week in a row) that they were sold out of my shade, the Too Faced lady, who had been lurking further down the aisle in the Too Faced section, snuck up behind me and got her claws into my common sense and then her fingers on my face and next thing I knew, I was walking out of the store $40.00 poorer. But the little orange bag I held contained this amazing foundation, and I absolutely love it. (Plus, since I didn’t get the Urban Decay concealer, I only spent $10.00 more than I’d planned, anyway.)

 

5). Iced Coffee.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-IcedCoffee

 

Maybe it’s because October’s heat felt unusually extreme to me, or maybe the heat actually did register as unusual… in any case, I sort of fell into the habit of drinking iced coffee while home in the afternoons. I’d put the morning’s leftover coffee in the refrigerator, and then I had this fabulous, refreshing drink to look forward to later in the day. It became a special treat.

 

6). Tempe Farmer’s Market vegan breakfast burros.

 

Tempe Farmer's Market vegan burritos

Tempe Farmer’s Market vegan burritos

 

We live across and slightly down the street from the Tempe Farmer’s Market, so once we discovered that their deli offers huge, delicious vegan burros every day, it became challenging to go by without stopping in to pick one up. They’re a lot of food for a reasonable price, and there are all different kinds, so you never know what you’ll find. My favorite is the breakfast burro (the one on the right).

 

7). Frontera salsa (Jalapeño-Cilantro).

 

Frontera Jalapeno Cilantro salsa

Frontera Jalapeno Cilantro salsa

 

Even something as simple as an excellent salsa can add to the enjoyment of a whole month! We’d never tried Frontera brand salsa before, so when we spotted it at Sprout’s one day, we decided to try it. This Jalapeño-Cilantro one immediately became my new favorite jarred salsa.

 

8). Larabar (Cashew Cookie).

 

Larabar fruit and nut bars in Cashew Cookie

Larabar fruit and nut bars in Cashew Cookie

 

These little bars contain a mere two ingredients: Cashews and dates. That’s it. While these tasty and satisfying nutrient-dense treats aren’t cheap, they’re definitely worth it.

 

9). New Hair.

Finally! I had bangs cut! By Melanie, my fabulous hair stylist and friend! Finally, my hair is back to the way it was before I moved to France, it’s out of my eyes, and it’s much easier to control. I’m displaying this particular pic because you can see the shape of the cut, even though it’s wind-blown because I’m sitting at the bus stop in the early morning and there’s weather and lots of fast cars going by.

 

New hair with bangs and a little face-framing and layering.

New hair with bangs and a little face-framing and layering.

 

Hello, November! We’re already two weeks into the month, but it’s never too late to say hello.

Hair: My First-World NON-Problem

When you think about it, there’s something uniquely banal about complaining about our hair, and yet we (with hair) can all do it. Even if we don’t complain incessantly about our hair, we still have stories to tell when the subject comes up. This week at work, a few of us stood around one morning sharing our hair-related woes. We probably could have talked about it longer than we did. We took turns trading hair horror stories, and we weren’t running out of material.

Hair.

It’s going to seem like I’m complaining about my hair right now. But I’m not.

Here’s a selfie I took in the car the other morning:

 

No matter how it starts out, this is how my hair always ends up. In my face.

No matter how it starts out, this is how my hair always ends up. In my face.

 

That big chunk of hair hanging down the center sums up the general state of my hair. It’s in my face, or it’s stuck to my lips or eyelashes, or it’s windblown, even when there’s no wind. My hair strands are thin. I don’t just have fly-aways… every hair on my head is a fly-away. The strands fall out easily and copiously. Callaghan is always having to detangle my hair from the vacuum cleaner roller brush thing, and my fallen hairs collect in the corners of the bathroom faster than I can think to gather them up. After I wash my hair, I have to remove a solid mass of clumped hair from the shower drain hair-catcher.

If I don’t pull my hair back before I eat, a loose strand might find its way into my mouth, where it’ll tangle up with food I’m trying to chew, leaving me to attempt an inconspicuous fishing expedition. When I catch the hair, I have to pull it out of my throat, because it’s partially swallowed.

It takes skill to do that without hacking and gagging like a cat with a fur ball on its way out, because that’s what the strand is at that point. It’s a fur ball, and it’s gross. I’ve written about this before; truth be told, it’s probably only happened a few times in my life, but each time was the equivalent of a thousand because of the mortification factor. (Of course, this kind of mishap usually happens in a restaurant, when I’m eating lunch with, say, people from work.) I’m a cat mom, but my own cats never even hack up fur balls!

I’m always pinching at my face in attempts to remove a loose hair that’s bothering me, or I’m reaching under my arm to grab at the bottom of the outside of my t-shirt sleeve to capture the loose hair that I know is hanging there, since I can feel it brushing against my skin. This is my plight… pawing at myself in pursuit of the loose strand of hair that can be felt, but not seen.

Weightless, fine strands of hair. It’s unmanageable no matter what I do.

If there’s one kind of envy I have, it’s hair envy. I’m always admiring the thick and glossy hair on other peoples’ heads. (I have long leg envy, too, but my hair envy surpasses it by far.) I’m fascinated by hairlines that are uniformly dense and beautifully shaped from ear to ear. My own hairline is uneven, a little high, and it’s always been thin on the sides, up by my temples.

Some people have lovely straight hair. Some people have gorgeous curly hair. Mine is wavy, but not in a nice way. The strands go in conflicting directions. It’s wayward and fly-away and runaway and every other kind of a way you can think of. I have cowlicks, too, and those little, fine baby hairs springing out of my hairline in the front.

When it’s humid, forget about it.

Despite numerous articles on the subject, there’s no “best hairstyle” for my hair or face, because my hair defies reason regardless of the cut. Any style I’d want to achieve would involve painstaking effort, and I’ve never been a person who enjoys “doing” her hair. I fail at having super short hair, because it has to be manipulated into looking the way it’s supposed to, and who has the time or the patience for that? (A lot of people do, it seems, but I’ve never been one of them.) Neither can I seem to get myself into the salon regularly to maintain the cut. Every time I attempt short hair, I end up growing it out again, and then I complain about how long it’s taking.

If I did have a “best hairstyle,” it would involve having bangs, I think… but with my fine hair, bangs just look scraggly on me.

There’s no perfect product for my hair, either, though I’ve found a few things that kind of alleviate the frustration. Most “weightless” hair oils and serums do end up weighing my hair down, and they don’t miraculously tame it. I’ve totally accepted that I’ll never have a lush, satiny mane of hair, but I’ll take smooth hair. Every once in a while, I’ll unearth my hair-straightener, which helps with the texture somewhat… but even that consumes more time than I care to spend. It’s been months since the last time I did it.

Having said all of this, I insist that I’m not complaining. My point is that I’m thankful for my hair. When I catch myself staring wistfully at other peoples’ hair, I think of how lucky I am to have any. Since the Gulf War, I’ve said many times that I could never have a bad hair day, and that is absolutely true. I’ve never had a day that was actually ruined by my hair.

Dwelling on my hair and wishing it was different or more like someone else’s always makes me feel guilty.

My hair is my biggest first-world non-problem. It is what it is, and I’m lucky to have it.

I’m lucky to have access to a shower, and shampoo and conditioner and other products.

I’m lucky to have the means to get my hair cut, and I’m lucky to have found a fabulous hair stylist who’s an awesome person, too.

I’m lucky to be in good health now, because when I had active autoimmune diseases back in the 2000’s, my hair told the tale of those struggles. (That was when I shedded the most.)

I’m lucky to be in my late 40’s and still have brownish-black roots that grow in darker than the deep golden brown color I put in.

My hair is a good reminder to be grateful for what I have, and that makes it one of my favorite features.

What I’m Digging Right Now – September Favorites

I can tell it’s October. The shorter days, cooler mornings, proliferating Spirit Halloween stores (not to mention the Halloween decor and things in all of the stores), and the pumpkin spice explosion everywhere we look gives it away. I love October. I’m not sure if September seemed so long this year because I’ve been impatient for October, or if September just really kind of blew. I’m thinking it was the latter. However, September wasn’t without its list-worthy Little Things, and I’m happy to share them with you!

 

1). Empire (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Empire

 

We discovered Empire (created by the brilliant Lee Daniels) just a couple of weeks ago. Once we started, we couldn’t stop, and we didn’t stop until we were current, right up to Season 2, episode 2. Magnetizing.

First of all, Empire is Shakespeare from the very start. There was a funny moment when I turned to Callaghan to say, “This is King Lear!!” And right then, one of the sons actually said, “What is this, King Lear?” (Unsurprisingly, that son is one of my favorite characters.)

There’s no aspect of this series that isn’t rendered with spectacular quality and flair. Every detail is exquisite… every song could be a hit, and every rehearsal could be an award-winning video in its own right. The acting performances! The writing! The direction! The costumes! THE MUSIC. We’re Hooked with a capital “H.” (And that last episode! Lucious’ new song! That ending! Okay, I’ll stop.)

 

2). Modern Family S7 (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-ModernFamily_S7

 

All month we were eager for the return of our favorite comedy, and since September went on forever, the wait seemed terribly long. But Modern Family is finally back, and its unique humor is more on point than ever!

 

3). Make Me (novel by Lee Child)

 

Lee Child's 20th Reacher novel

Lee Child’s 20th Reacher novel

 

Obviously, this book was a favorite. Reacher re-appears in a small town, and he’s more bad-ass than ever. Make Me is actually one of my top-five favorite Reacher books.

Speaking of Reacher, can we talk about pancakes?

 

4). Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat Pancake & Waffle Mix.

 

Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat Pancake & Waffle Mix

Arrowhead Mills Organic Buckwheat Pancake & Waffle Mix

 

THIS.

This is your perfect, wholesome, five easy-to-read-ingredient pancake and waffle mix. The pancakes it makes are delicious, and that’s using egg replacer and almond milk to make them vegan. I took this pic last Sunday, when we ate them with Field Roast smoked apple sage vegan sausage, everything dripping in melty Earth Balance and pure maple syrup. The combination is sublime.

 

5). Raspberry Emergen-C.

 

Raspberry Emergen-C

Raspberry Emergen-C

 

Somewhere in early September, I mixed a packet of raspberry Emergen-C into a glass of cold water, and the resulting fizzy pink beverage was so refreshing, it became a daily afternoon treat. It wasn’t like I was an Emergen-C virgin or anything, but it just really hit the spot in that moment, and it continued to hit the spot every day throughout that long month. It’s wonderfully energizing, and even though I take my normal supplement combo every morning, who doesn’t like an extra 1,000 mg punch of vitamin C?

 

6). Pink Lady apples.

 

Pink Lady apples (this is a Cripps Pink)

Pink Lady apples (this is a Cripps Pink)

 

So sweet. So tasty. So crisp. It needs nothing! We’re still eating fresh pineapple like it’s nobody’s business, but with these apples, the first flavors of Fall have arrived.

 

7). New reading glasses.

 

New reading glasses

New reading glasses

 

I think I figured out why my old pair of reading glasses became ineffective: I cleaned the lenses exclusively with pre-moistened lens wipes. I’d been thinking that I just needed to take the strength up a notch, but these are the same strength as my old ones, and when I tried them on, I couldn’t believe how much better they worked! I guess reading glasses aren’t meant to last forever, anyway. Also, it may be a case of “all reading glasses aren’t made alike.” I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I have these now, and they’ve made a huge difference in my life!

Also, I only clean these glasses with soap and water. No more pre-moistened lens wipes.

 

8). e.l.f. Essential Volumizing & Defining Mascara.

 

e.l.f. Essential Volumizing & Defining Mascara

e.l.f. Essential Volumizing & Defining Mascara

 

I ran out of mascara, went back to the e.l.f. section at Target, decided to try this new (revised?) Essential formula, and a new favorite mascara was discovered. Two bucks, guys. Two. $2.00. That’s it. Stuff like this helps to balance out my more expensive cruelty-free products a lot.

 

9). The Body Shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Scrub Mask.

 

The Body Shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Scrub Mask

The Body Shop Honey & Oat 3-in-1 Scrub Mask

 

Okay, so speaking of more expensive, this isn’t the cheapest facial mask around. I processed a twinge of doubt while standing at the cash register, because honey & oat? Wasn’t this a ridiculous thing to purchase for such a price ($18.00) when I could probably mix up something similar in my own kitchen?

But I bought it, feeling appropriately reckless and guilty. And then I used it. And now I’m borderline obsessed, and to be honest, I’m kind of kicking myself for having gotten sucked in, because I’m going to want to re-purchase it when it’s gone, and I really don’t have room in my budget for luxuries like this right now. I can’t even explain this mask! It defies explanation. The entire experience and after-effect of it is fantabulous.

(See? That $2.00 mascara helps. Thank you for making awesome, dirt-cheap make-up, e.l.f.!)

 

10). It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum.

 

It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum

It’s a 10 Miracle Styling Serum

 

Due to the uncharacteristic and relentless streak of humidity we experienced all month, my hair was more impossible than usual (if there can be such a thing as “more impossible”) in September. It would have looked even more unruly if it wasn’t for this product by It’s a 10. I had a coupon for it, so I thought I’d try it; it’s cruelty-free, and it doesn’t have the overwhelming-fragrance feature that turns me off of most hair products. This is just a nice, mild serum that works okay for me. I’m glad for it.

That’s it! Happy Friday, All. =)

What I’m Digging Right Now – April Favorites

Some levity is in order around here, right? Conveniently, it’s May now, so I can rave about some of the Little Things that helped to make April enjoyable!

For one thing, we saw a phenomenal movie…

 

1). Ex Machina (film)

 

The movie poster in the theatre lobby....

The movie poster in the theatre lobby….

 

You know I love a good, well-crafted sci-fi thriller, and it’s been a while. I was just barely coasting along on the spectacular fumes of Pacific Rim when we walked into Ex Machina. I was almost skeptical going into it, but I knew that Luc Besson had nothing to do with this one, so I had high hopes that it wasn’t going to be another disappointment like last summer’s Lucy. We used the movie pass that Callaghan had gotten as a gift (thank you, friend!) and found ourselves stunned and in awe as Ex Machina dimmed the lights on its eerie, final scene. Certainly, the combination of elements made this film superb, but overall, I think it was the restraint used in its making that made it brilliant.

 

2). Mad Men (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-madmenS7

 

We’re having the same experience as most everyone who watches this series, I think: Mad Men’s last set of final season episodes isn’t striking us as being as purposeful as those in previous seasons. Whatever. Mad Men is back, and we’re loving it. The set! The hair, makeup, wardrobe! Mad Men is still my favorite period piece in television, and they’re killing it more than ever now that they’ve taken up solid residence in the 70’s. I almost don’t even care what happens at this point; I’m just there for the eye candy.

 

3). American Crime (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-AmericanCrime2015

 

Here’s a powerful new series that got right down to business and grabbed us by our throats. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s almost too ugly and depressing to watch… but it’s smashing.

 

4). Nurse Jackie (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-NurseJackie

 

We’re late arrivals on the Nurse Jackie train, but like the critic said, “You just want to keep on watching.” Yep. We plowed through the first three seasons in such a short period of time, I’d be embarrassed to say how long if I could remember when, exactly, we started watching it. We just started season four, I can tell you that much! The hilarious short (half-hour) episodes make this dark dramedy especially easy to binge-watch. It goes well with popcorn, too.

 

5). It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Plus Keratin.

 

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Plus Keratin.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Plus Keratin.

 

This is an old favorite! Since we’ve now got ourselves on a strict budget because of Ronnie James’ medical costs, I went digging around in places where I store things I haven’t used in a while, and I happily re-discovered It’s a 10. And guess what? This brand meets my recently established criteria for beauty products! Because of expenses, I’d been procrastinating on the hair care part of my 2015 New Year’s resolution to go cruelty-free with cosmetics and such, so I was pleased to find that I’d stashed away this pricier gem of a hair care item that just so happens to have not been tested on animals.

Shopping my home supply for forgotten favorites is the best.

 

6). Madagascan Vanilla Flower perfume oil (The Body Shop).

 

Madagascan Vanilla Flower perfume oil from The Body Shop.

Madagascan Vanilla Flower perfume oil from The Body Shop.

 

My search for a gorgeous cruelty-free fragrance finally led me to The Body Shop and its array of perfume oils. Back in the 90’s, I’d used the one called “Ananya,” which was finally, recently discontinued. I still have a little bit left in my last old bottle, but it’s been a while, and it’s not what it was when I’d purchased it… its potency has faded, and the scent is slightly off. So I went back to The Body Shop and happened upon their Madagascan Vanilla Flower, and I am in love. I’m not usually drawn to vanilla scents, but this one is different… it’s a deeper, more exotic vanilla with its warm, ambery-floral heart.

 

7). Earrings from Target.

 

Current favorite earrings - sparkly cluster studs from Target.

Current favorite earrings – sparkly cluster studs from Target.

 

This was just one of those silly impulse Target purchases, you know, when you run in to get some almond milk and you come out with three bags full of random crap. I’m proud to say that I’ve stopped with all of that this last month – somehow, and I know that many of you can appreciate the self-control I’m having to employ in this effort, haha! – but not before I found these earrings on clearance (back in March, I believe). Over the last month they’ve become my favorite uniform earrings to wear to work on days I don’t go to the gym. They’re just round studs made of little sparkly clusters. I think they’re perfect.

 

8). Arizona Yellow Bells.

 

Fragrant Arizona Yellow Bells on my desk at home.

Fragrant Arizona Yellow Bells on my desk at home.

 

Our Arizona Yellow Bells are all in bloom, and they are splendiferous! Callaghan surprised me with a vase full of them on my desk one day, where they perfumed my entire office with their rich, sweet fragrance. Arizona Yellow Bells are native to our desert, but I never experienced them until we moved into this house. There are two robust Arizona Yellow Bells bushes in our backyard, and they attract many a hummingbird, which we also adore.

While I’m at it, what would an Arizona spring flora favorite entry be without a shot of my favorite cactus blooms?

 

Spring in the desert is my favorite!

Spring in the desert is my favorite!

 

 

9). Rositas’ salsa.

 

Salsa from Rosita's.

Salsa from Rosita’s.

 

I have several favorite restaurant salsas around here, and this is one of them. Yesterday, I decided to pick some up on my walk home from work, and we had it for dinner. I love salsas that aren’t sweet, and this one is satisfyingly tangy and bold on the cilantro and onion… just the way I like it!

 

10). April Favorite pick for Ronnie James and Nounours: Bench & Field Holistic Natural Feline Treats (at Trader Joes’).

 

Bench and Field Holistic Natural Feline Treats.

Bench and Field Holistic Natural Feline Treats.

 

Kitties’ Auntie M. gave them these treats for Christmas, and the little guys went nuts for them. The day we ran out was a woeful one, indeed. What’s more, we couldn’t find the treats anywhere, and Ronnie James and Nounours wouldn’t eat any other kind. Catastrophe. Finally, we asked a sales person at PetSmart. They didn’t have the treats there, but she looked up them up and told us that they could be found at Trader Joe’s. Yes! We went to get them, and happiness has been restored.

“With added vitamins and minerals,” it says. “OMEGA 6:3 Enriched” and “with Menhaden Oil,” it says. Ronnie James and Nounours just say, “MOOR PLEEEZZZ!!!!”

The thing is, while we were medicating the Wrah-Wrah to heck and back, these treats were the only consolation prize we could offer him. They got us all through and ended the sessions on a happy note.

 

That about wraps it up for this favorites list – Happy Friday, All! =)

The Spirit Animal Question (and my hair needs a cut)

Ever since I heard someone say that their spirit animal was Jackie Chan, I’ve been trying to figure out what mine is.

I used to think that my spirit animal was the wild horse, but that ended when I moved to France and found myself living with the presence of a gigantic horse that was on our land there. He wasn’t wild, but I think he was there to show me the error of my previous thinking and the extent of the unhorsey quality of my spirit. I still love the vision of running, wild horses… it’s just that the reality of being near a horse is different for me, I guess.

Exhibit A:

 

Clearly, I'm taken aback here. Also, this was taken in April (2013), and I remember how cold it was. I'm wearing a thick sweater under that jacket.

Clearly, I’m taken aback here. Also, this was taken in April (2013), and I remember how cold it was. I’m wearing a thick sweater under that jacket.

 

Look at the body language here! I’m not at ease. I’m smiling a little, but I’m leaning away from the horse, rather than toward him. He was a nice horse, though.

There was also a donkey there, and that was a totally different story. I adored that donkey. We called him Buddy.

 

Buddy! We often gave him treats. Here's Callaghan feeding him an apple.

Buddy! We often gave him treats. Here’s Callaghan feeding him an apple.

 

Our neighbor put a sign on the gate that proclaimed “Âne Mechant” (“Mean Donkey”), which we didn’t understand. That donkey was an absolute sweetheart.

Anyway, spirit animals. I’ve taken online quizzes that ALL tell me that my spirit animal is a wolf, but somehow, that doesn’t seem right. Something of the feline persuasion would make sense, but if anything, I feel more like an honorary cat due to being a cat mom. There’s a difference between being an animal and having that animal as a spirit animal. I can relate to the Wrah-Wrah better than I can relate to most people, but I don’t feel that I’m being led through life by a cat.

Okay! Different subject, since I came across this picture as I was going through my pictures from France in search of the horse and the donkey:

 

Me with short emo hair in France.

Me with short emo hair in France.

 

…and I do need to get my hair cut. Here’s a selfie I took by the elevator at work yesterday, specifically to see the length of my hair:

 

What is this length...

What is this length…

 

I’m not going to cut my hair short again, but I’m considering going for longish bangs, and maybe some long layers.

On that note, I’m off to get ready for work. Have a great day, guys!

What I’m Digging Right Now – December Favorites

December is over! 2014 is over! Today, I’m going to rave about stuff (aka little things) that made the magical 12th month of the year even more magical, and next week, I’m going to rave again about the little things from 2014 that topped them all for a “best of” list for the whole year.

For December, I’m starting with entertainment, because as we all know, that’s one of my favorite types of things… and a great month for that it was, indeed. Three movies knocked us out with their awesomeness in December. Let’s get right to it.

1). The Babadook (film)

thatasianlookingchick.com-thebabadook

So we were scrolling through our favorite movie-watching site one night and decided to take a chance on yet another horror flick. Good call! The Babadook was intense and intensely gratifying. It more than made up for all the horror flicks that left us feeling wistful for well-crafted terror, because The Babadook is the very definition of well-crafted terror. It scared the hell out of me. It was completely enthralling.

2). Big Eyes (film)

thatasianlookingchick.com-bigeyes

My birthday was two days after Christmas. We went to the movies that afternoon, because my idea of a good birthday includes a movie date. This year, we went to see Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. We’re ardent Tim Burton, Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz fans, and I love movies based on true events, and I love art, and I loved that for the second year in a row, my birthday movie featured Adams and her stunning talent. Last year’s American Hustle was excellent… and Big Eyes followed suit, to the surprise of neither of us.

First of all, I was fascinated by the story, itself. Since I’d always known the painter of those pictures to be Margaret Keane, it was interesting to learn the history behind the phenomenon and take in a few details about the art world that I hadn’t known before, as well. I’m surprised that no one made a movie about this story before, but I’m happy that they waited until now, because now we have Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. I’m eagerly waiting to see how many Oscar nominations this film rakes in, like American Hustle.

3). The Interview (film)

thatasianlookingchick.com-theinterview

Think or say what you want about the hype surrounding this movie or the movie, itself; we thought it was freaking hilarious. It had us rolling from that ridonkulously absurd opening scene with Eminem, and the ridonkulous absurdity continued… the actors never dropped the pace of their comedic timing. We saw The Interview on Christmas day, at home, computer hooked up to our T.V., voilà! Our first ever new-movie home viewing experience! The novelty and hilarity of it made for an extra enjoyable Christmas. I hope no one dies because of it, though.

4). Bikram yoga.

Bikram Yoga.

Bikram Yoga.

I’m so grateful to say that there was something fabulous every day of the short holiday break, and on the 26th, the fabulous little thing was my first Bikram yoga class in about 10 years. It felt marvelous, and I was reminded of why I’d enjoyed yoga so much in the first place. Graciously invited by a friend who practices the art at the newer Bikram establishment, I walked in without an idea of how my body would behave or react throughout the series of poses. As it turned out, my muscles still knew what to do, though at the surface level, I couldn’t remember how the mechanics of some of the poses worked… it was a strange juxtaposition.

Aftereffects? Physically, I never reached the depth of the pain I was sure I’d experience in the following days. The day after, I felt it in my lower body, mostly in my hamstrings and hip flexors… but it wasn’t that bad. I went beast mode in Body Combat class as usual without the help of Advil (I’d been prepared to gulp the Advil in order to do Combat, but it wasn’t necessary). The following day, I felt the soreness in my upper body, mostly in my triceps, lats and along my spine… and again, it wasn’t at all as severe as what I’d thought it’d be.

In other respects, I felt great. The meditative 90-minute practice brought back everything I loved about Bikram yoga. It was energizing, centering, grounding, and I was very glad that I went.

5). XXL WaveMaster heavy bag.

Thanks to the arrival of my XXL WaveMaster heavy bag (standing), our car no longer lives in our garage.

Thanks to the arrival of my XXL WaveMaster heavy bag (standing), our car no longer lives in our garage.

For Christmas, Callaghan offered me what he knew I’d been wanting for a long time: a heavy bag! Body Combat class has been (and continues to be) awesome, but I’ve really been missing making actual contact with my strikes; I love it, and I’m badly in need of target practice. It’s been too long. I went online and identified the bag I wanted. It’s the extra-large WaveMaster, and it’s since taken up residence in our garage.  More on this later… it deserves a post of its own! Suffice it to say for now that I’m completely stoked and can’t wait to start training here at home to supplement my group fitness workouts.

6). HeartFire Botanicals Chocolate Orange sugar scrub.

Chocolate Orange Sugar Scrub from HeartFire Botanicals.

Chocolate Orange Sugar Scrub from HeartFire Botanicals.

This scrub is the creation of a good friend who recently started making and selling her own healing personal care products, and my dry winter lips love it as an evening exfoliating treatment! My lips have been so soft since I started using it. She gave it to me for Christmas, and I already swear by it. Her site is here… check it out! (I added the link to her shop in the sidebar here, too.)

7). Got2B Rockin’ It 4Ever StyleSpray dry shampoo.

Got2B Rockin’ It 4Ever StyleSpray dry shampoo.

Got2B Rockin’ It 4Ever StyleSpray dry shampoo.

Dry shampoos and I got off on the wrong foot. The one I tried last year? Turned my hair gray. I mean, it sprayed on white, and the discoloration was ridiculously difficult to correct. I couldn’t massage it out. I couldn’t brush it out. It was such an annoying experience that I returned it and assumed that dry shampoo was just something I’d do without… until I ventured to try again with this Got2B product. I’ve been enjoying the Got2B Guardian Angel heat-protectant spray so much that when I found this dry shampoo next to it in the drugstore, I sprang for it. It turns out that this brand of dry shampoo is magic in a can! It also sprays on whitish – I guess they all do…? – but my hair easily returns to its color after working in the product and brushing it out. I put it through the ultimate test and used it the day after a Body Combat class after which I did not wash my hair (I come home from Combat with my hair soaked in sweat, so this was gross). The next day, the Got2B Rockin’ It dry shampoo make my hair look and feel like I’d actually washed it. Amazing. Sold. Will re-purchase!

8). Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution Relax & Relief with Eucalyptus and Spearmint.

Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution with Eucalyptus Spearmint.

Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution with Eucalyptus Spearmint.

I took a hot bath the evening I went to Bikram yoga, and it was this concoction of Dr. Teal’s that went into it. I actually wanted plain Epsom salts so I could treat the water with some essential oils I already had, but I ended up going for this one with Eucalyptus and Spearmint. It provided a thoroughly relaxing experience, and as mentioned above, the post-yoga soreness I’d experienced in the following days was minimal and short-lived. I’m not sure how much of that I can attribute to these bath salts, but at the very least, I can say that they made for a wonderfully relaxing bath!

9). Birthday flowers.

Flowers for my birthday!

Flowers for my birthday!

Poor Callaghan. My birthday is on December 27, so he has to think of double gifts for me during the holidays! When he asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I thought of the expensive heavy bag he’d gotten me for Christmas and just said, “Flowers from Trader Joe’s!” Because there was really nothing else I wanted. Callaghan’s artistic talent extends to flower arranging, and I love the quality and selection of cut flowers at Trader Joe’s, so we went there on my birthday and came home with the enormous selection of blooms he’d chosen. Later, he presented me with three gorgeous arrangements (only two are shown in the picture because the third one fell casualty to Ronnie James). I am lucky.

10). Sumatra coffee from Starbucks.

Ground Sumatra coffee beans from Starbucks.

Ground Sumatra coffee beans from Starbucks.

Okay, so I grudgingly admit that our new favorite coffee happens to be a product of Starbucks.

When I was in college, I worked briefly as a barista at a small independent espresso shop that specialized in roasting beans to sell to customers as well as to distribute to other coffee shops. I worked there just long enough – almost a year, I think? – to develop a familiarity with a dozen or so Arabica coffee beans from around the world. Of the blends and straights our Master Roaster (who was from Italy) produced daily, the straight Sumatra quickly became my favorite.

That was back in 1994. I blame my snotty attitude toward Starbucks on my experience working with the Master Roaster, but really, I never preferred the taste of Starbucks coffee. Thus, it was a total surprise when Callaghan found a bag of ground Sumatra one day in December and my Sumatra love was promptly rekindled by its excellence… and the name on the bag was Starbucks! Guess where he found it? At Target. Of course.

That wraps it up for December… Happy New Year, everyone, and happy Friday! =)

My Lone (odd) Hair.

Maybe you woke up this morning thinking to yourself, Self, I wish to read something totally random and maybe even bordering on TMI about someone. Well, in case you did, I’m here to oblige.

I think many of us have an odd hair, right? You know the one. It’s that hair you find springing out from some inexplicable part of your body, that one hair that makes no sense. It doesn’t seem to fit there. It’s either totally isolated from other hairs, or it’s a one of these things is not like the others kind of things.

I remember when, as a child, I was watching one of my Aunties doing her makeup when I caught the unexpected sight of a single hair sprouting from the back of her shoulder. When I asked her about it, she said, That’s my special hair. I won’t pluck it. I thought I heard something in her voice suggestive of the unspoken belief that the hair was good luck.

Well, at some point in the last few years, I discovered that I, too, have an odd hair. Mine is on my left leg, just above and to the left of my kneecap. What makes it especially odd is that it’s the only hair on my legs, which is probably the only reason I noticed it. It’s lone. I’m not sure what’s more unusual… the hair itself, or the fact that I otherwise don’t have any leg hair at all.

(I did have a little leg hair when I was younger, but even then, the hair pattern was extremely sparse – there were large areas on both sides that were totally hairless – and the hairs were thin. I could get away without shaving, and that was just on my lower legs. I never had hair follicles that produced hair on my thighs. Now, I just have this One. Lone. Hair.)

I’m indifferent to the hair until I notice it in the shower, and then my thoughts are consumed with what to do. I always think, I should pluck it. It’s incongruous. Then I remember my Aunt saying that she wouldn’t pluck her “special” hair, and I reconsider. Now I’ve gotten to thinking of naming the hair, because if I’m going to hang onto it, it might as well have a name to go with the identity it’s earned just by being a weird thing in a weird place.

 

My left knee, complete with a bruise under it (typical). I drew a helpful arrow pointing to the Lone Hair, since the hair refused to be photographed. If you look really close, you can see it.

My left knee, complete with a bruise under it (typical). I drew a helpful arrow pointing to the Lone Hair, since the hair refused to be photographed. If you look really close, you can see it.

 

At first, I thought of giving the hair a standard name, like Tabitha, Elsbeth, Ramona or Leigh. But the more I look at it, the more I think it looks like a Harvey Keitel. I know. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. The hair just looks like a Harvey Keitel, or maybe it’s the sound of those syllables that seems so appropriate. Whatever the case, Callaghan agrees. Harvey Keitel, it is!

Happy Friday, All. =)

What I’m Digging Right Now – August Favorites

August was interesting. It brought death, storm destruction, unpleasant dental work and a diagnosis of asthma for the Ronnie James. It also brought much in the way of good times, a new home and a new job for Callaghan.

At work, the fall semester started, and my Monday that week was epic: I started it first thing in the morning at home by spilling a full, large mug of coffee all over myself, the couch, the floor and the inside of my bag, which was sitting (open, of course) on the floor. How to start your day! Bathe in hot coffee! Such literal, caffeinated ablutions sanitize the early-morning mind. That’s how I saw it. Too bad about the almond milk, though.

Coffee scent still wafts out of my bag every time I open it. It’s not a terrible thing.

On that note, let’s start with entertainment!

 

1). The Killing (T.V. series)

 

thatasianlookingchick.cm-the-killing-season-4-poster

 

Netflix released the fourth and final season of The Killing on August first, and we greedily absorbed it all in two days. It’s over now, and we’re sad about that, but I’ll tell you what… rarely has the final episode of a series felt so satisfying.

I think I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: we’re hard-pressed to explain how The Killing’s Linden and Holder endeared themselves to us so completely.  Our favorite aspect of watching the series was witnessing the development of these characters and their partnership over the arc of the four seasons, but in fact, we loved everything about it. We found the haunting crime drama to be intriguing and masterfully-paced. The city of Seattle was depicted as mostly rainy and gray, and it seemed to be cast as a character in and of itself to gorgeous effect, veiled more in lyricism than grunge. The actors’ performances were exceptional. The plotlines for each of the seasons kept us quietly on edge. We enjoyed seasons one, two and four the most, but each season built on the last while revolving around unique plotlines (with the exception of season two, which was part two of the opening season’s storyline). Overall, we would say that The Killing is a brilliant and underrated series.

This brings to mind an incident that occurred in the store the other day: I was approached by a guy who wanted to know whether we had cable at home (evidently he worked for a cable company), and when I said no, he asked why not. I answered, “Because Netflix.” He was annoyed (maybe because I laughed, which was probably rude, now that I think about it) and pretty much stalked away with a black cloud over his head. At least we didn’t upset him more by telling him about the other internet resources we use for watching all kinds of movies and T.V. series!

 

2). Rage in the Cage (August 9, 2014).

 

Rage in the Cage at the Celebrity Theatre was good times!

Rage in the Cage at the Celebrity Theatre was good times!

 

It’d been too long since I’d attended a combat sports event at the Celebrity Theatre, so when our friend and Body Combat instructor said that she could get us a good deal on tickets because she was going to be working the event as a ring card girl, we gladly seized the opportunity. Not only was it fun to see Izzy at the event (it was like a preview of her participation in the natural physique competition she ended up dominating at the end of the month!), but the fights provided rock-solid entertainment. It was awesome to see that two of the night’s winners hailed from Arizona Combat Sports, the gym where I’d trained in Muay Thai back in its earlier days. The next Rage in the Cage event is in October, and we’re looking forward to it!

 

3). White peaches.

 

The white peaches have been so good, we haven't been able to get enough.

The white peaches have been so good, we haven’t been able to get enough.

 

We devoured white peaches all month… the ones at our favorite Fry’s were fabulous (maybe they still are), and we couldn’t get enough of them! You know how it is when you bite deeply into a piece of fruit and it’s just so satisfying on every level? It’s like that with these peaches. They’re sweet, fragrant, juicy and dense. For me, nothing signals or defines summer as convincingly as certain stone fruits – peaches, cherries, apricots and plums.

 

4). Vegan donuts at Whole Foods.

 

Why?! And why do they have to be so good?

Why?! And why do they have to be so good?

 

Leave it to our favorite Whole Paycheck Foods store to start stocking their bakery with vegan donuts. There’s nothing healthy about these deep fried, refined carb- and sugar-loaded delectables; “vegan” isn’t necessarily synonymous with “healthy,” and treats like these donuts are a great case in point. I feel a bit sheepish admitting that I’ve eaten something like five of them since I discovered them just a few weeks ago. Now I need to develop a will power specific to these donuts. Or not.

 

5). Little Ranch House in the Desert.

We’ve been in our new house for two days, and we all love it! We feel like we’re home, and all the space is a wonderful novelty for the kitties. We adopted them from a small apartment in France, and they’ve lived in nothing but equally small spaces up until this move. It’s been funny watching them here… it’s like, they have so much space, they don’t know where to go first. The bed is still their headquarters of choice, though.

 

Day One in the new house: Ronnie James purring in contentment on our bed.

Day One in the new house: Ronnie James purring in contentment on our bed.

 

6). Framed “Not Cal” decal.

 

NOT CAL in a frame!

NOT CAL in a frame!

 

I finally got this second NOT CAL decal framed! I put it in my new home office, of course. I love it.

 

7). göt2b Guardian Angel Gloss Finish Flat Iron Balm.

 

The hair product that guards against heat even when you don't use heat.

The hair product that guards against heat even when you don’t use heat.

 

This is good stuff. I picked this up in August thinking that I would start using my straight-iron again, but I discovered that I like what it does just by itself, as a leave-in treatment on dry hair. It adds a little something (I don’t even know what, really) that I like to my hair.

 

8). Manifesto (perfume).

 

Manifesto, the way to end the summer.

Manifesto, the way to end the summer.

 

In August, I started wearing “Manifesto,” which caught my eye because of its name. It amused me because of the Unibomber. (Not that I in any way condone, support or agree with the Unibomber and his activities, mind you. Just… you know. Manifesto.) Then, of course, there was the fragrance, itself! Made by Yves St. Laurent, it’s lovely with its body of white flowers, woods and vanilla. I think it bridges the summer and fall gorgeously.

(I wear perfume strictly for myself, by the way… because I like it, and because of what it evokes for me. I wore fragrance long before I ever wore makeup. It’s a personal thing.)

 

9). Paws jewelry.

 

Favorite impulse buy of the month: paws jewelry from Michael's. (Photo from instagram.)

Favorite impulse buy of the month: paws jewelry from Michael’s. (Photo from instagram.)

 

We were on an errand at Michael’s when I saw this cheap little set of costume jewelry. Paws. They were near a Halloween-themed display, so they may have been a part of that, which would make sense… I’m more prone to impulse-buying when Halloween things are out than any other time of the year.

 

This brings us to Ronnie James’ and Nounours’ “Favorites” pick for August!

 

10). Feliway.

 

A Feliway'd Nounours on the eve of our move.

A Feliway’d Nounours on the eve of our move.

 

Feliway is a product consisting of synthetic feline pheromones – undetectable by humans – emitted by a plug-in device similar to a plug-in air freshener. Our vet prescribed it to Ronnie James as a part of his treatment plan for anxiety, which was aggravating his asthma and causing him to over-groom himself. It works, and it works really well! Feliway mellows kitties like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We had the first one in our bedroom in the apartment before we moved, and now, in the house, we have an additional one – so, one in the living room, and another in our bedroom. Kitty bliss. =)

 

That wraps up my “little things” favorites list for August. Welcome, September!

I’m Getting My Hair Cut.

(Sub-title: A Hair Elastic is a Good Thing to Have at a Lunch with a Group of People.)

(Sub-title, la deuxième: File Under “Mortifying Incidents of the Sort You Know Could ONLY Happen to You.”)

You know that special type of embarrassment you get to experience when you’re dining out with people from your work, and you’re talking to your boss (who’s sitting directly across from you), and in between bites, your response to his question is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a hair in your mouth? Your own hair, which is below-the-shoulders long? And your first two or three attempts at removing it fail, and the ensuing hair-capturing ordeal unfolds into a drama that overtakes the conversation as you repeatedly grab at the side of your half-open mouth between words, since each time you try to nonchalantly continue your sentence, you realize it’s still there? And when you finally succeed at pinching it between your forefinger and thumb, you start pulling it out to discover, to your horror and disbelief, that it’s all tangled up in the food that was still in your mouth, so the hair is actually resisting removal… forcing you to yank on it? And by the time you manage to extract the hair from your mouth – drawing it out slowly and carefully in all its long splendor (surely it was the very longest hair on your head that somehow got in the way of the food in your chopsticks) – your poor boss and the co-worker sitting next to you are awkwardly looking around everywhere but at you, including at the ceiling, probably because they’re simultaneously grossed out and painfully embarrassed on your behalf? Long after their initial thought of, Oh! OH, well, um, this will pass evolved into the conundrum of oh DEAR, what’s the proper etiquette for this situation? Should I act like I don’t see what’s going on? as your struggles seemed to never cease?

Well, I sympathize with you. It happened to me on Wednesday.

 

The wayward hair originated from this.

The wayward hair originated from this.

 

So, yeah, the expression “foot in mouth” has a new counterpart for a different kind of embarrassing conversation kerfuffle: “hair in mouth” (while eating in a restaurant with people from work).

At least I could laugh when I described the scenario to Callaghan a few hours later. He laughed, too.

“Haha! That would NEVER happen to me,” gloated my bald husband.

“You’d better hope it never happens to you. If it did, it would be someone else’s hair,” I said.

It was almost as funny as the Great Toilet Paper Incident of 1999, which happened while I was actually at work at the University Registrar’s Office. I’m not ready to share that one just yet.

In all seriousness, though, I really am going to have my hair cut an inch or two, just up to my shoulders, I think. I’d been going back and forth on this for the last few weeks, and then this incident happened, and it kind of made up my mind for me. Funny how that happens!

 

Tamales, and other stories.

Good morning! My head is deep in a work project, but I’m emerging to present three vignettes of the last week (varying in degrees of quirkiness):

 

1). T-Shirt

I colored my hair on Friday, and it occurred to me that every time I do, I reach for the same t-shirt… not only that, but the only time I ever wear that shirt is when I color my hair. In light of the momentous realization that I have a designated hair-coloring shirt, I thought I’d honor it by doing a hair imitation of The Dude, who is pictured on the shirt.

 

I forgot to put on sunglasses, though.

I forgot to put on sunglasses, though.

 

I went with Dark Auburn this time, by the way, returning to my natural reddish shade (courtesy of my redheaded biological father).

 

2). Auto Service

We turn onto University from Roosevelt several times a week, at least, so I don’t know how it is that I never noticed the establishment RONNIE’S AUTO SERVICE until a few days ago.

You know this had to happen:

 

This was too easy, but we couldn't resist.

This was too easy, but we couldn’t resist.

 

I know, I know. But “Ronnie” by itself just isn’t right, especially if we’re talking about a service establishment. The Wrah-Wrah is a very helpful little guy. RONNIE JAMES’ AUTO SERVICE.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-RonnieJamesAutoService

 

(This picture was taken in France. I knew I’d find a use for it one day!)

 

3). Tamales

On Saturday night, I went out to enjoy the company of some friends at a country-western gay bar known as a popular dance venue, attended by gay and straight alike. As usual when I go out at night, I enjoyed the people-watching aspect the most. The late-night crowd looked to be typical as a whole, but one person stood out: An elderly Hispanic woman slowly making her way through the room holding a sign that read “TAMALES.”

 

Fresh homemade tamales... mmm.

Fresh homemade tamales… mmm.

 

She looked like a sweet old Grandma, totally out of place.

Sometime after midnight, we left and went to another LGBQT-friendly bar. This one was more upscale and situated in the Melrose District, and it was also a dance club spilling over with an energetic dance crowd. To my surprise, the same woman was there, weaving silently through the sea of people with her TAMALES sign.

It had been a long time since I’d been down to 7th Avenue in the wee hours of a Sunday morning.

“I’ve never seen anyone selling tamales in a club before. Is this now A Thing?” I asked, using the parlance of our times, as The Dude would say.

My friends hadn’t seen tamale vendors in clubs before, either. We jokingly speculated that TAMALES was a new gay bar code word of some kind, but now that I think about it, there’s nothing funny about it.

It amounted to a sad social commentary. The old woman is probably very poor, so she goes where lots of people gather (neither bar had a cover charge – admission was free), including gay bars in the middle of the night. It was nearly 2:00AM the last time I saw her. People tend to get hungry after dancing for hours, and I can see how homemade tamales would be a tempting prospect… especially if you don’t have to go anywhere to get them. It’s actually kind of a genius idea.

Now I wish I’d bought some tamales to bring home to Callaghan, who would have enjoyed them. Making tamales is a time-consuming undertaking that’s not something I’d do more often than once in a blue moon. Even at Christmas, I’d order my tamales from Los Sombreros or Manuel’s.

Speaking of moons, the Blood Moon of the lunar eclipse last night was splendiferous.

What I’m Digging Right Now – October Favorites

Good morning! I thought I’d take a minute to highlight some of my current favorite things, because it is all about “the little things,” right?

1). The fall air, crisp and cool coming in through the open window at night.

 

Nounours and Ronnie James love the cool night air, too.

Nounours and Ronnie James love the cool night air, too.

 

2). Fall-scented candles. My favorite so far is Yankee Candle’s Autumn Wreath.

 

Cheerful during the day, spooky at night, and it smells wonderful!

Cheerful during the day, spooky at night, and it smells wonderful!

 

3). The current seasons of Homeland, American Horror Story: Coven and Hart of Dixie.*

 

The great trilogy - our favorite series this season

The great trilogy – our favorite series this season

 

(And the combination of those above three things? Sublime.)

4). My new necklace in the shape of the state of Arizona, which I ordered online (it was my October “mois-versary” gift from Callaghan).

 

State necklace from Baublebar.com. I chose Arizona and ordered it in tortoiseshell with a heart cut-out where Phoenix is, with a 16" sterling silver chain.

State necklace from Baublebar.com. I chose Arizona and ordered it in tortoiseshell with a heart cut-out where Phoenix is, with a 16″ sterling silver chain.

 

5). Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Luna Bars.

 

They were on sale at Sprouts (5 for $5.00), so I took advantage!

They were on sale at Sprouts (5 for $5.00), so I took advantage!

 

6). Thug Kitchen, a food blog whose recipes are creative, scrumptious, healthy, easy and fun to read (if you share my sense of humor).

 

CaptureThugKitchen

 

7). Elevation Burger.

 

Quick! Someone in Phoenix, buy a franchise and open it now THANK YOU. =)

Quick! Someone in Phoenix, buy a franchise and open it now THANK YOU. =)

 

They have a vegetarian burger and a vegan burger, and the latter is a feat of culinary kickass by anyone’s standards. Also, their fries are fantastic and cooked in healthy olive oil. Okay, I’ve just decided that I’m going to make a list of “Top Ten Things I’ll Miss about Austin,” just so I can put Elevation Burger on it!

8). It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin.

In this little bottle, we have THE ANSWER to my current First World beauty problem (that’s a redundancy, I know), which is that my hair is in an unmanageable stage of growing-out bangs and an awkward cut with even more awkward layers and over-texturized ends. I’ve recently started dealing with the whole mess by pretending that the bangs already don’t exist, and the result is a cascading achievement of blah. ENTER THIS PRODUCT.

 

It really is a miracle.

It really is a miracle.

 

I’d been stalking it for some time, but its price tag had deterred me… until I saw it on sale at Target last week. It was still expensive, but I felt less guilty springing for it when it was $4.00 off (and I got the small size – 4 fl. oz). Turns out, it’s totally the miracle product it claims to be, so it’s worth the expense, as far as I’m concerned. See how shiny, soft and tame my hair looks in the above picture? That’s because of this stuff. That’s all I put in my hair after I washed it that day, and I didn’t do anything to it after that… it’s air-dried and uncombed. Seriously.

9). Movies about Formula 1 racing.

 

thatasianlookingchick_com-Movies-F1300

 

10). This Matt & Nat bag I unearthed from a pile in a thrift store for $9.00, a rare find.

 

It's large, in perfect condition and probably originally cost between $150.00-$200.00. I thrifted it for $9.00!

It’s large, in perfect condition and probably originally cost between $150.00-$200.00. I thrifted it for $9.00!

 

What are you crazy about right now?

—–

*Since I posted about our Pretty Little Liars addiction, we’ve lost interest in that show! Writing about it broke the spell, oddly enough.

I’ll Take an “E” for “Excuse”

“This is amazingly good,” said Callaghan at dinner last night. We were eating the thawed and re-heated vegetable curry I’d made and stuck in the freezer a month or so ago.

“Especially since you added the chickpeas,” I said.

“Yes! I added 45!”

“45 what? Chickpeas?”

“Yes.”

“You counted the chickpeas?” I didn’t really believe it, but you just never know with him.

“Yes.” He was very serious.

“YOU DID?

“No.”

I share this with you lest you think I belong to Mensa or something. Callaghan said his lines poker-faced, with not a hint of hesitation or a smile. He’s so good at that. You’d think I’d have learned by now. He messes with me like this all the time. I often fall for it, but even if I don’t, it still looks like I do because I can’t help but verify that I didn’t.

With all due respect and lots of affection for my blond girlfriends, I have to say that I sometimes consider going blond just to justify my “Did you really count the chickpeas?” moments. This is because I have a fair-haired friend who’ll say or do something ditzy and then exclaim, “But I have an excuse! I’m blond!” Well, I want an excuse, too. She’s not even as ditzy as I am, so it’s not fair that she has the excuse.

That aside, I admit that I sometimes wonder how I’d look with blond hair. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d make a radical change for no reason other than to satisfy my curiosity, and I could easily go back to dark brown if I didn’t like it. The only deterrent – and it’s an effective one – is the stress my hair would have to endure under the rigors of the stripping and bleaching process. I have this mental image of my fried hair breaking into pieces and falling out or turning orange or some such disaster. I’d twist L’Oréal’s classic “Because I’m Worth It” slogan into “Because I’m Worth the Humiliation of a Hair Coloring Experiment Gone Horribly Wrong.” I’d be a nightmare of a walking advertisement for L’Oréal, thanks to my own whims and follies (euphemisms for “bad judgment,” if we’re being honest here).

Anyway, I’ll keep my hair dark and healthy, and when I get old, I can use my age as justification when I forget why I entered a room. At least there’s that.