Monday, December 24, 2012


Fireside ©shaunachan2012
fireside ©shaunachan2012
It is often around the backyard firepit where the depth of our discussions tend to grow.  There is something about the slithering flames and upward fleeting of glittery sparks that get the synapses firing.  

Though our intentions are good, we've come to no definitive answers about much of anything in particular.  Just more possibilities.  Our changing minds burning across ideas, leaving white hot ashes of the old ones behind still glowing then dimming.    

Fortunately, this refocusing happens almost painlessly.  I suppose it is so, because the simplicity and warmth of a gentle set of flames makes for such a peaceful setting.  A stick's poke at the glowing branches ignite a brief excitement of fireflies, and a new topic arises.

Changes are afoot.

In all of it, I hope to continue posting here.  It will likely be necessary.  In fact, this blog may in some ways return to its roots.  The place where things get sorted out.  Where I may come for a bit of fireside reflection.  

I worry I'll have time for little else.  Yet, I hope to continue to devote time to the YouTube channel.  I do enjoy posting videos there and have plans to do much more in the future.  I'll elaborate more on this later.

In the time since my last post of any kind, the world has gone mad, it seems.  A thing I have noticed, though, there are voices of reason not only enduring but presenting  themselves stronger than before.  Thank heavens for this!  We can be somewhat assured all of humanity is not yet completely lost.  

I don't think I'll say much more on this, as the sadness is quite profound.  Any solutions will take kinder hearts, deeper understandings of human nature, and courage.  Lots of it. 



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Make a Wrapped Wire Ring!

We have a tradition of sorts around here.  Each of us owns and often wears a wire ring or two that I've made out of wire.  Something like these...
On occasion, I'm asked to make a few more for close friends of the family.  The simple wire rose ring has been dubbed, the "family ring".  

I'm not sure where I first found the design, though I'm certain it isn't uncommon.  So, I thought I'd share with everyone how they can make they're own.  Maybe start your own tradition! 

Here's a little video in which I show how to quickly make a wire rose ring.  If you have any questions, private message me, or leave a comment below.  And thanks for checking out the video!  
Materials used:
  • Artistic Wire--Gunmetal Color--20gauge
  • Graduated Wooden Ring Mandrel (for ring sizing)
  • Unmarked Wooden Ring Mandrel (for shaping)
  • Jewelry Wire Cutters
  • Flat-tipped Chain Nose Pliers
  • Round-tipped Chain Nose Pliers 
These items can be found at craft stores, on and sometimes even at Walmart.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Simple Face

Recently, I did a video for a dramatic makeup look using my favorite black and red eyeshadows.  That post here: 
Right after I finished that video, I swiped it all off and put on a slightly more natural look~so I could run some errands without getting too much attention.  haha! (O.o)

Since the camera was right there, I filmed the "natural look", too!  Here it is...
Enjoy! (^.^)/

I decided to stick with a BB cream by Garnier in the light/medium color, instead of using a foundation.  This particular BB cream gives my skin a moist dewy feel.  It also contains a sunscreen and has a slight tint, though the coverage is light.  It's perfect to use for a simple every day face, since it goes on smoothly without caking.  

Now, I do use a lot of CoverGirl concealer in fair, because I have dark circles under my eyes and a bit of redness here and there.  Also, the concealer gives a contouring effect.

To cut down on shine, I dusted lightly with CoverGirl Professional Loose Powder in translucent fair.  It feels clean without the heaviness. 

For my brows, I used a light taupe/brown color from the Coastal Scents 26 Shadow & Blush Palette.  This just fills them in a bit.  

Just a hint of color goes on the lid of the eye.  I used the highlighting blush from the same Coastal Scents palette.  The color is very pale and is in a matte finish.  Subtle, but it brightens.

The crease has a darker brown color from the palette.  I blended it out almost completely with a fluffy brush, since all I wanted was just a hint of a shadow.  

An even darker brown shadow was used as a liner, again, from the same palette.  I used a small flat rounded-tip brush for this.  

I finished the eyes off with Maybelline's The Falsies (flared) Mascara in very black.  Though in the video I think I said it was blackest black.  Honestly, I think they look the same.  I've used them both and can't tell.  (^.-)

For the lips, I wanted to stay very neutral.  Mostly, because it's more natural looking.  But also, my lips are a bit uneven and thin.  This helps to keep the focus off of them, I think.  I used a Maybelline lip pencil in toast and topped it off with Maybelline lipstick in totally toffee.  

Oh, I almost forgot the cheeks!  This is important, since blushes can help a lot with contouring the face.  To keep it simple, I decided to forgo the Coastal Scents 6 Contour and Blush Palette.  It's my favorite contouring palette, but I use it more for dramatic looks.  Instead, I decided to use the blushes in the 26 Shadow & Blush Palette.  I chose the shade that is more brownish for contouring the hollows of the cheeks, temples, forehead and under the chin.  Then for the apples of the cheek, I applied the more pinkish brown tone.  I used the palest color to highlight my cheekbones.

I think that completes the face. (^.^)/

Thanks for checking it out!
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Okay, So What Is This Influenster Anyway and Why Join?!

You may have seen my previous posts about the free VoxBoxes I've received from Influenster and wondered what it's all about.  Maybe this post will help explain what it is and why I like it so much!

First, to get the in-depth scoop or to get yourself started right away in the Influenster community, go to . 

Now, here's my take.  

Influenster is a place for those of us who like to try out the latest products, and some of the oldies, too, and share with the world what we like or don't like about them.  You know, influence people!  So, if an influenster likes something or not, they're sure to let you know, either by word of mouth, on Facebook, Twitter, or on just about any other social network.  Also, Influenster is a great place to see what others are thinking about products.  It's a community of trendsetters!  

Influenster is also just a fun place!  I find I'm making new friends within the Influenster community, which is just one of the many bonuses of signing up.  Some of the other fun things to do include unlocking what they call "badges" and possibly being selected to receive free samples to try, so that you can share the 411 about them with others.

For example, here's a pic of what was in the first "VoxBox" I received:
Influenster Mom VoxBox 2012

And the second!
Influenster Naturals VoxBox 2012
Pretty neat, huh?

I tried all  these products out and shared with everyone I know personally (and in the online world) what I really truly thought about them.  I blogged about it, tweeted it, made a video unboxings.  Oh, when I really like something, I make videos about them individually!  Here's an example:

Pretty much, when you join , in order to receive the free samples, you need to agree to share your opinions and fill out surveys.  Sounds easy enough.  For me, it's actually lots of fun!

Alright, I've not been part of Influenster for very long, but even in the short time I've been with the program, I've seen some positive changes they've made to the website.  So, if you were ever thinking of joining before, and were maybe turned off by the way the site was set up previously, you may love the new stuff they've got going on.

First of all, the site's appearance is greatly improved!  It has a cleaner look.  Navigating through it makes more sense and is just easier.  It's also much easier to edit your profile.

One of the other new features is the point system they've set up.  Now, you can earn points in addition to earning the badges.  So you can challenge yourself and test how influential you really are and have some competition with other members of the community.  Who wouldn't want to get "Expert Badges" or attain a super high "Influenster Score"!  A fun game, to be sure.

In addition to all of that, for those of us who like to blog, vlog or just socialize on social networks, joining Influenster gives you a chance to fine-tune all those skills.  And it helps us stay-at-home moms to stay connected with the rest of the world! :o)

Here, I sample the Shea Moisture Baby Bar Soap
from the Naturals VoxBox.  Good Stuff!
Okay, I'm sure there are some other features has to offer that I may have forgotten to mention.  So, what are you waiting for?  Go check it out and see for yourself!  And more importantly, have fun! (^.^)/

Sunday, October 14, 2012

REVIEWS! Naturals VoxBox 2012

As mentioned in my previous post, I made a review video for the Naturals VoxBox 2012 that I received from!

I'll just put it here, for those who prefer the live action reviews. \(^.^)/


Disclaimer:  Once again, I should mention, I received the VoxBox absolutely free from Influenster in exchange for my sharing my opinions about the products contained in it.  No one has paid me for my reviews.  Visit for more information about the program.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

VoxBox Naturals 2012 Reviews!

It's review time, at last!

I've tried all the items in the VoxBox Naturals.  I'm ready to let you all know what I thought of them.  And, though I'm not super crazy about all the products, I do appreciate that they are natural and are all basically pretty good stuff!

So, let's get started...  Oh, and by the way, I'll also be posting a review vid on these a little later.

CleanWell Individual Hand Sanitizer Wipes:
$29.99 for 50 pouches   
The CleanWell Hand Sanitizer Wipes are said to kill germs without the use of alcohol, by using all natural ingredients.  It is also supposed to moisturize, be gentle to the skin and be easy on the earth.  While I believe these claims may be true, I was only given one sample packet, so it was difficult to put it to the test.  

When I used the product (I wiped it on my hands and across my neck) the first thing I noticed was the strong citrus scent.  For quite some time after using the wipe, the strong scent seemed to linger.  It was reminiscent of a bug spray.  I really wanted to like the wipe, because it would be a great natural product to use on my children.  However, the scent stayed for quite some time and, at least to me, was not at all pleasant enough for me to want to use it again.  

Still, the idea of a natural sanitizing wipe is fantastic.  So, if the scent were improved a bit, I'd go for this product.  It didn't dry my skin out at all.  I felt as though it left my skin clean and moisturized.  The bonus is that it sanitizes, too!
$28 for box of 20 effervescent powders
$39 for box of 30 effervescent powders
$39 for box of 12 shots
EBOOST is a dietary supplement drink mix.  It comes in four flavors; Orange, Pink Lemonade, Acai Pomegranate, Super Berry.  You can get them in effervescent powders or in shot drinks.  The product is supposed to boost immunity, mood and focus.  

First, I received only one packet, so I cannot say for certain if this product does what it claims.  The problem I had with it is the flavor.  I received the orange effervescent powder.  

I mixed the powder with water, as directed, and added a little ice.  It became fizzy.  The flavor reminded me of a very dry, unsweet sort of Perrier water with a hint of orange.  Or, an orange chewable vitamin.  Maybe it is what Alka Seltzer tastes like?  This may not be a horrible flavor to some, but for me it was a negative.

Were I able to get past the taste, I think this product may have done some good for me.  It is loaded with vitamins and natural ingredients and comes in convenient packaging.     

$5.99 for 2.3oz stick
GeoDeo is a 97% natural 24 hour deodorant.  It's ingredients are to help detoxify and help clear out impurities in the skin in a gentle effective way.  It contains volcanic minerals, Icelandic algae, enzymes, bamboo, aloe and vitamin E.  These ingredients do the job of moisturizing and healing the skin while detoxifying and neutralizing odors.  

Although I essentially like this product, the odor neutralizing properties didn't seem to last an entire 24 hours.  By the end of a day, I could smell a slight musky scent, though it wasn't horrible.  I did put GeoDeo through a rigorous trial, which might explain the end result.  

Throughout the days I had used this product, the air conditioning was not working in our house and the air was pretty hot and humid.  I also had completed a workout or two, rode my bike a few miles and took a couple of walks/jogs.

GeoDeo is very gentle and non-staining.  It has a very nice light and clean scent in the package, though the scent seems to dissipate after the product is applied.  I like that although it is intended as a deodorant, it also seems to help with wetness.  Despite the workouts and my hot house, I felt pretty fresh most of the day.  

This is a product I would likely purchase in the future for those times when I just want to feel clean, without the sticky and thick antiperspirant I normally use.  I suspect this product may work better over time with repeated use, though it isn't mentioned in the product description.    

The Original Dish Drying Mat:
The Original Dish Drying Mat is for putting those hand-washed dishes on to dry.  It absorbs 4 times its weight in water.  It has a foam core sandwiched between absorbent microfiber.  

Well, this product pretty much does what it says.  It isn't fancy, which may be it's only drawback, and a minor one at that.  The only thing I could come up with to spruce it up a bit was to add colors or maybe a pretty pattern.  Otherwise, there really aren't any cons. :o)

I like that the mat is super absorbent and cushy.  I can put glasses on it without worry they will slip off.  And, there's no mess of water traveling across the countertop.  Also, this guy is machine washable.  It has a loop on it for hanging, too, which can help dry it out or store it until next time. 

LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer:
$2.87 to $2.99
LypSyl Intense Protection LypMoisturizer contains Swedish beeswax, organic shea butter, and vitamins A and E, to moisturize, soften and protect lips.  It comes in a cute package!    


I use LypSyl every day.  It goes on smooth and soft and keeps my lips soft for most of the day.  It protects my lips from the wind and seems to give them slight refreshing tingle.  The packaging is easy to use and cute; it has a little bee for a slider.  :o)

$3.99 for 40 servings
$6.99 for 140 servings
NECTRESSE is a natural sweetener from the makers of Splenda.  It has a blend of monk fruit, sugar, molasses and other natural sweeteners.  This sweetener has no calories!

From what I can tell so far, there are no cons.  My only curiosity is with the ingredient erythritol.  This is considered a natural ingredient and my understanding is that it is safe.

I like this product because it looks just like sugar and tastes like it, too!  

I first put it on my finger to taste it and found the texture and flavor pleasing.  I can imagine putting this on strawberries to sweeten them and enjoying it.  I did use Nectresse in a glass of iced tea.  It tasted just like tea sweetened with sugar.  Nice product!  I would have liked to have received a few more packets to test, but I suppose I'll just have to go out and buy my own.  :o)

SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Baby Bar Soap:
$4.99 for a 5oz bar

SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Baby Bar Soap contains no sulfates and is gentle for babies and children (and adults, too!).  It calms eczema with its natural ingredients of shea butter, argan oil, chamomile extract, frankincense and myrrh.  

No serious cons to mention, really.  I thought the scent was a little masculine, but it does dissipate quickly after use.  My young daughter loves the scent!

SheaMoisture Baby Bar Soap is one of my favorites products from the VoxBox.  I love how moisturizing it is and look forward to trying it out during the winter, when our skin is driest.  

I used this on my kids and found it to be soft and gentle but effective in cleansing.  I also used the soap on my face.  My skin was not tight and dry after use.  Instead, I found my skin to feel nourished and clean.  The bar seems as though it will last a long time and it lathers well.  Nice!

So, there you have it!  

It was loads of fun receiving and sampling these products in the Naturals VoxBox from  Which, by the way, I received completely free, in exchange for my sharing what I thought about them.  

I hope you found these product reviews useful! :o)

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Black and Red Makeup Look

Here it is!
If you find watching makeup tutorials fun, you may enjoy this.  Or if you just want to hear some peaceful music~~
Either way, I hope you like the vid! \(^.^)/

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Black and Red Makeup Look Vid Coming Soon!

Now that the VoxBox unboxing is done, it's time to move on to another makeup vid!  Purely for kicks, o'course.  And, it's nice to get some ideas for a Halloween-ish look.  Okay, I still have to review the VoxBox items, but in the meantime, I want to put stuff on my face.  haha!

Here's a little preview of the black and red makeup look I've done.
Black/Red Makeup Look
Black/Red Makeup Look (Photo ©shaunachan2012)
I'd better to editing that video.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Purely Awesome! Naturals VoxBox 2012 Unboxing!

The Naturals VoxBox 2012 from has some interesting and really nice products in it!     And when I've tried all these lovely things out, I'll be sure to post a follow-up and let you know what I thought.

Also, there's been some changes on  Now, if you want to be an influenster, you'll need an invite.  There are loads of other fun new features, too!  So head on over to the website to find out more!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Naturals VoxBox 2012 Unboxing Coming Soon!

Got the VoxBox completely free from    

Recently, I received the Naturals VoxBox from Influenster!

Which means, I need to do a video very soon!

That is, when my voice recovers from this touch of laryngitis. haha! Of course, I could do a video without talking and just point out what I have. Sort of an avante-garde approach. With music and maybe some fancy graphics. \(^.^)/

It could be interesting, and may just happen. Stayed tuned!

Just a little, tiny, wee peek at what's inside...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fresh Makeup Look for the "Feeling Crummy" Days

When I'm feeling a little under the weather, as I have been lately, it helps to put on a face and get on with the day. So, I made a little video about it. Nothing fancy, just a simple quick look to help brighten the mood.

Basically, it's all about keeping makeup light, while still getting enough coverage to look less zombie-like. I've tried just washing my face and leaving skin bare, but the dark circles under my eyes make me look worse than I actually feel! haha!

Even though I don't go out much lately (it's too blooming hot outside!) I still like to have something on my face. I feel more polished and alert with my mask on. For me, it's fun to play in the makeup!

Oh, I like to pretend I'm not a girly girl and that things like nail polish and blush don't matter to me. Really, there are loads of other things I find more entertaining.

Still, truth be told, I enjoy experimenting with the different looks eyeliners and shadows can give. And sometimes, the pigments and potions help me pretend I feel fabulous, even when I don't.

So here's to face paint and the joys it brings! \(^.^)/

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Bit of an Off Week

Sleeping Bunny (c)ShaunaChan2012

This week has been a bit off.

There's a summer cold of sorts going around it seems. Sniffles, sneezes, aches and more. In recovery mode as we speak.

I'd planned to run in the new shoes, though I've only managed a couple of workouts. The running will have to wait. The illness has sapped my energy. That, and the 100+ degree heat. A swim seems more appealing, right about now.

In the meantime, I've been working on other things. And gearing up for another school year. Looking forward to it, and not.

This year marks the first for the littlest one in the house to go to school. Pretty exciting, I must say. Though, he's not thrilled about it. He's tried to convince me he has no need for school, since he knows his numbers and letters already. What more does he need to know? Somehow, I'm not convinced his obsessive playing of Little Big Planet has truly prepared him for the real world. (^.-)

When school starts, I'll be kicking the fitness into high gear. I'll be posting videos about the workouts I'm doing and what I've accomplished with them, in case someone might be interested.

Of course, I'd be doing all this right now, before school starts, but for some reason all that time I was supposed to have during summer vacation has eluded me. Maybe, just maybe, there'll be some time when the kiddos have their own business to take care of.

Earlier today, I stepped outside to test the air. The sun is searing. I can smell the crisp death of yellowing grass. It's a touch warm, to be sure. And though the pool water has reached bathwater stage in temperature... tonight, I'm going for a swim!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Kicks

My Vibrams (Photo:  ©shaunachan2012)
My Vibrams--KomodoSport   Photo: ©shaunachan2012

The new shoes have arrived!

No excuses now. I'll give them a try tonight and see how it goes. My first impression, they feel really nice. A bit snug, because I chose to pick a size down instead of up. I'm in between sizes. Some people say to do that, pick a size smaller, so the fit is better and the feet don't slide around. Some say they like a little extra room, so they choose a size up. Me, I like 'em as they are. Snuggie!

I've jumped in them and jogged around the room. Maybe not a true test, but so far so good. Fit like gloves. Feels a bit like walking around in nice socks. I'll have to give them a go when I'm doing the TurboFire later. It might be a little better than working out barefoot, like I have been doing.

We'll see! I'll be sure to let you all know~~

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Going for a Jog

I wasn't jogging when I happened upon this double rainbow event the other day. Though surely, such a sight would be an inspiration for some positive thing.

Instead, we were on the road after a bit of shopping at Academy, the sports shop. A sudden downpour happened that day, which was actually quite thrilling. Our little spot on Earth certainly could use the rain.

Soon, there'll be some jogging to talk about. I may blog, or vlog, about it. It'll be an adventure. I've not gone for a proper run in quite some time. Sure, I've been biking and doing loads of cardio. Running is sort of another animal, I think.

Maybe if I keep track of my journey here, or on YouTube even, I can hold myself accountable. Or at least watch my own progress. That'll be fun! Maybe. Haha!

Oh, and I've got some new shoes to try!

Yep, I've fallen for the hype. I'm going to try out the Vibram FiveFingers. I've not received them yet, though they are due to arrive very soon. The model I'm getting is the Vibram KomodoSport.

Now, I know, some people think these are some crazy shoes. But I've got a pretty good reason to give them a go.

I get shinsplints. Pretty bad ones. Even when I used to regularly train for running track. I get the painful shins particularly when I wear traditional running shoes. You know, the ones with the thick cushy soles, especially on the heels. I feel better just taking off my shoes and running in my bare feet. When I'm working out, doing the TurboFire, I don't wear shoes at all. My legs thank me for it.

It's probably not a great idea to just go running across the pavement, or even in the grass, with no shoes on. The Vibrams will provide just enough coverage for my feet, without the unwanted heft and odd angle of the cushy heel most shoes have. And, because they fit like a glove, the toes will be able to articulate and grab uneven surfaces better. Hitting the off-road trails would probably be pretty awesome in these shoes!

Some people have said they do yoga in their Vibrams. I may try that. Or at least do TurboFire in them, to test them out.

I suppose that's about it for this post. At least, until the shoes get here!

I've still got some videos coming up fairly soon about how amazing TurboFire has been for me. I'm going to do a before and after vid! Scary stuff. (O.o) Haha! I don't really care to see what I looked like before I started the workouts. But, it's necessary to sit with that reality. And maybe someone out there will be inspired by it, and get themselves back into shape! \(^.^)/

If you are someone who's interested in seeing what TurboFire is about, or any of the Beachbody workouts, you can check out my website: Just give it a browse, or ask me any questions you might have. Also, if you want to give some of the workouts a try, there's a link to my shop on the site.

I look forward to showing everyone, including myself, how Beachbody products helped me get my life back.

You all take care out there! (^.^)/

Friday, July 13, 2012

How to Clean Up Background Audio Using the Free Audacity Editor

I thought I'd do a quick tutorial about audio editing.  Particularly, since I do quite a few voice-overs lately and need the audio to sound clean and nice.

I've used a few audio editors.  Some were supposed to be good stuff!  But, Audacity, impresses me with all the features it has.  And, it's free!


When I first came across the noise removal feature in Audacity, I thought it was magical.  I have been able to filter out all sorts of miscellaneous, extraneous and downright distracting background noise from my voice-over recordings.  I know there is other software that does this, but... did I mention Audacity is free?

Here's the link, if you want to get Audacity for yourself and see what I'm talking about.

Oh!  And here's my wee little tutorial.  There's loads more I could tell you about the software, though I'll leave it at this for now.

By the way, choose the HD option and turn up the sound to better hear the noise removal tool's skills. Which probably means it's best viewed on YouTube and not here. Ah well.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Death of the Endless Inspired Makeup Tutorial

For a bit of fun, and to answer any questions some have had about this makeup look, I made a tutorial.  In it, I show how I did my Death of the Endless inspired look for my A-Kon 23 cosplay.

The makeup is actually quite simple.  For the most part, I wanted a pale look, without an overly chalky look.  Also, it had to be easy so that I could do it fairly quickly for all three days of the convention, with the hope it would stay on for quite a few hours!


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Review: imPRESS Press-On Manicure

Recently, I had the pleasure of testing out imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails.  I received these guys in the Mom VoxBox from Influenster, I mentioned in a previous post.  Check out the unboxing  HERE  to see what that's all about!

Please watch my (somewhat awkward) review of imPRESS nails to see what I thought of them.

There will be more reviews and random videos coming soon. Don't forget to Subscribe to me on YouTube so you won't miss them! If you're already subscribed, thank you! \(^.^)/ Check out my YouTube channel HERE.
More coming soon~~

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Shooting the Moon

Moon Photo ©shaunachan2012

Yep, it's the moon.

I've got probably hundreds of moon photos stored somewhere on laptops and memory cards.  They all look pretty much alike.  Ha!  And yet, I still keep shooting the moon.

It isn't that I expect it to change much over the years.  Who knows?  What if it did???  Now there's  a thought!  (^.-)

Still, it's like home.  It's comforting to see it hanging there in the sky.

I need a better lens to take moon pics.  Something that will get a bit closer.

This particular pic was taken with my Nikon D80.  The lens, 85mm prime.  The f-stop I set to f/8, in hopes of getting the image a tiny bit sharper.  Since I didn't use a tripod, I didn't want to get the aperture too small.  I set the exposure time to  1/60 sec, again because I didn't bring a tripod.  Next time, maybe.  And finally, the ISO at 200.

It's not the best pic o' the moon, but it looks like... the moon.  (O.o)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

My Fitness Journey--P90X, TurboFire, and Shakeology!

Okay, ladies and gentlemen. People have been asking some questions, because they've noticed something really different about me. Yes, I've lost loads of weight. And I'm not done yet!

 This is a project of mine. A choice I've made to keep myself around a little longer. For the kiddos' sake, among others. And because it's just nice to feel really good. Really, really good!

 In the upcoming week or so, I've plans to post some pics, or even a video of this transformation that began sometime in March of this year. For now, I'll tell you how I'm doing it.

 It all started with this guy, believe it or not...

Yep, P90X. I completed this workout a couple of times. I lost about 20 pounds with Tony Horton and the P90X crew. And as many have said of the workouts, I hate 'em, but I LOVE 'em!

 P90X workouts are fantastic. I've never felt stronger. But still, something was missing. I hadn't changed my lifestyle. I was still eating the same junk and let life sort of get to me. So, any results I got slipped away. It was time to start again, with some modifications. About three or four of them. 

The first and biggest change, my diet! I mean, really big change. One of those changes that you just don't turn your back on. 

 I gave up meat and nearly all dairy! I say "nearly" because, until recently, the diet supplement I've been taking, Chocolate Shakeology, had a bit of it included. And now, they've got a vegan version of it! I look forward to giving it a go very soon. I'll get back to this in just a second, because this stuff has made a tremendous difference in the results I'm getting with my workouts and needs to be mentioned.

 Now, I love P90X and will always have a fondness for it. But, I could feel myself wanting a bit more of a cardio workout. I was getting some bulky muscles and was really wanting a leaner look.

So, the second change I made, was my workout.  And this is it...


TurboFire! Love, love, love this! 

 This workout is saving my life, to be sure. I know, it might sound corny, but it's true. Chalene Johnson is such a wonderful motivator. I'm now doing things I never thought I'd be doing at my age, and after having 3 children, all because of her. There's something about what she says that just clicks and makes you push harder. I'm not ashamed to say, she's even made me cry! Inspiring, that woman is.

Alrighty, I guess I'll call this the third thing I changed, though it's really a fantabulous addition to what I've already been doing.  The aforementioned, Chocolate Shakeology!  

As I said before, I gave up meat and most dairy.  My diet consists of veggies and loads of fruit.  Not much bread in there, though a bit on rare occasion.  Sometimes, I'll have nuts or seeds with my salad.  Though I avoid most fat.  Already, this diet makes me feel much better than I have in years.

What Shakeology has done is supply me with tons of nutrients that I might be missing if I don't eat enough fruit and veg.  Which is actually hard to do.  Unless you sit at a salad bar all day!  Or, you could juice your fruit and veg to get lots of nutrients packed into a glass.  Not a bad option, if you've got the time to prepare the juice and the money to buy lots of produce.

Well, I don't have much of either.  Time or money.

That's where Shakeology comes in.  Okay, it appears to cost a pretty penny, if you look at the price per the entire month.  But really, it breaks down to about $3 or $4 dollars a day.  Not bad for something that gives you pretty much everything you need!

Someone pointed out a nutritional data site, that listed Shakeology as being pretty darn healthy, called  . While I knew the stuff in it was good, I never really knew how it compared to other foods until I looked it up.  Very interesting.  I was sold!

Now, another really cool thing I've noticed about Shakeology is, the weight I've lost while using it, stays off!

There's this 3-day fast you can do using the product that has helped me lose up to 8 pounds in 3 days.  Some people have lost up to 10!  It sounds crazy, but it actually works.  And the best part, the weight stays off.  At least it did for me.  But, now, I didn't go out and eat a pizza after the fast.  I continued with my low fat vegetarian diet and made sure to keep my workouts on track.  This leads me to my next big change.
Change #4, my ATTITUDE!

Yes, this one might be... No, it IS the biggest one of all.

The whole project will fail without the right attitude.  It is a choice.  There's no one else but me to blame for my poor attitude.  I can choose to be positive and do the hard work to better my health, or not.

This time, I've pretty much chosen to do the work.  There are too many good reasons to do it.  And now, it has become a habit, a lifestyle.

Sometimes it helps to just focus thoughts a bit.  Think about how many aspects of life improve when health improves.  It pretty much changes everything.  In a good way, of course.

When I think about how much money I've spent on purchasing P90X, TurboFire and Shakeology, I don't cringe.  Because, I know this was money well spent. An investment in my health, in my life.  And, yeah, this stuff simply works!  I believe in it enough that I decided to become an Independent Beachbody Coach, so I could share what I've learned with other people who are ready for big changes in their lives.

If any of you have questions about what I've mentioned here, drop me an email and I'll get back to you!

More about this journey, coming soon~~

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Influenster Mom VoxBox 2012 Unboxing!

Yes, I'm finally posting this!

I've actually had the VoxBox for a few days now, but I've just now got the unboxing video posted. So here it is!  In it you'll find a bit of information about and the VoxBox program.

My daughter and I had a pretty good time filming this.  I had to edit out loads of our goofiness.  It might be fun to make an outtakes video.  Though we do get obnoxiously silly, so I can't imagine who'd watch it!  Haha!

As for the VoxBox itself, it's pretty cool!  If you've skipped the vid and didn't see it, here's a pic of what's inside and a bit of detail about each item were you to purchase them.

Influenster Mom VoxBox 2012
Ivory Bar Soap: $4.27 for 10-Pack bath size bars
DenTek Comfort Clean & Fun Flossers: $1.99 to $2.99 for full packs
Stash Tea Superfruits Tea Sampler: $3.50 (And Nektar Sweetner)
Quaker Soft Baked Cookie: $2.69 for box of 6
imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails: $5.99 to $7.99
The Original Dish Drying Mat: $4.99

So far, one of my favorite items is the imPRESS press-on manicure.  Who knew?  I'm normally a bit too busy to worry about my nails and I don't do acrylics.  When I polish my nails, the paint chips off the same day.  I'm a mom, it happens.  The last thing in the VoxBox I'd concern myself with, I thought, is the press-on nails.

But, surprise!  I really like them.  I smell a review coming on.  That'll probably be my next post.

I've been trying out all of these items and will be sure to let everyone know what I thought of them in a week or so, as per agreement with .

Oh, by the way, I got the VoxBox entirely free from  And they did not pay me a thing to tell you that!

All I did was register with the site, fill out some lifestyle surveys, and agreed to share what I thought about any products I received with all of you.  This month, I was lucky enough to be chosen to receive the Mom VoxBox.

That about wraps up this post.  More to come!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Something a Little Different--Upcoming VoxBox Vid

The other day, my eldest daughter encouraged me to check out a website called where I could do a survey and get free samples of stuff to try in a what's called a VoxBox. Then, I'd need to do a review of the items, let people know what I thought, maybe in a video, on Facebook, or on a blog.

This is perfect for me! I've been looking for more video ideas to do this summer, aside from the usual tutorials I've been doing. And getting free stuff in the mail is always fun!

So, I went to the website to sign up. Also, I unlocked several "badges" by answering questions about myself. These badges help them decide what type of VoxBox might suit me. The more badges I have, the more likely I'll fit the criteria to receive different types of VoxBoxes. For example, this month is the Mom VoxBox with items geared more toward moms in it. Since I am a mom, I qualified, and was lucky to be selected to receive it!

Now, I know I won't likely receive a VoxBox every month. After all, it is a free service, unlike some of the other paid monthly subscription services you can sign up for to receive samples, like Birchbox or GlossyBox. Still, it will be fun to see what types of VoxBoxes I qualify for and actually get.

I'm still waiting for my first VoxBox to arrive.  When it does, I'll let you know~~~

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Make an Animated GIF (With Text That Isn't!)

Please choose the "full screen" viewing option to better see the vid.

This tutorial is in the can, as it were.  Gone to press, done, fini...  And so on.  It was a fun one!

Yes, the time on it is correct.  I was working in the wee hours of the morning to get it ready for posting.  It was a request by a viewer, so I wanted to get it done as soon as possible.

O' course, technology always tosses a wee wrench in the machine.  I'm learning to frequently save my work in prep for software crashes.  Of which, I only had a couple!

Now, before anyone says anything (not that I expect anyone to, but just in case), I do realize there are likely even better and more "pro" ways to get the GIF-making job done.  Me, I improvise and figure out what makes sense to me, that I can somehow relay to others.  I hope it makes sense to everyone else, too!

It's funny...  I never thought I'd be making animated GIFs again.  It seems though, Tumblr has made them popular again.  And maybe other sites, as well.  For me, it was MySpace, back in its heyday.

Making an animated GIF back then, the MySpace days, was pretty exciting.  A person who did this didn't have to rely on those sites where you have to copy code and paste it to get the image.  It's nice being able to create your own stuff.  And now, with today's software, it's so much simpler!

The first time I tried Photoshop Elements 7.0, I was discouraged.  I wasn't sure it even made animations.  But, it does.  And it's pretty awesome.

Now, on to the next project.

I've got some new software coming.  An update to Serif's WebPlus X4 I've been using.  I had skipped the X5 version, since there wasn't much that I needed in it, and I'd heard it was a bit buggy.

Now, WebPlus X6 is out!  I'm looking forward to the new features.  One being the ability to create a website for mobile phone viewing as well as the full-sized site.  This should be fun!

In the days to come, there'll no doubt be mention of the new software as I test out its stuff.

More later~~

Monday, June 04, 2012

Post A-Kon23--Mode Recovery

A-Kon 23 is in the can.  Done.  Fini.  And so on.  I've got some things I'd like to say about the event along with a few pics and vid for illustrative purposes.  Though, at the moment, I'm in recovery mode.  For now, I'll just say it went as expected.  Purely energized chaos with loads of awesome mixed in!

More later~~~
Time for a swim~~~

Monday, May 28, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

Recently, time was up on our cell phone contract.  Normally, this is cause for excitement around our house, because it means we all get to choose new phones at a discounted rate, if we prefer, then renew the contract.  And we usually do, get new phones that is, since we wear out our phones like tennis shoes.  As for the contract, well, I guess I can't complain.  The service is good, Verizon, though the price is steep.

So, here is where our tiny dilemma starts.  Okay, first, I know this isn't the biggest deal in the world, since there are loads of far more pressing matters to attend to.  But here we were, our old Blackberry Curve cell phones in hand, a contract expiring and a decision to make.

Now let me say, I'm fond of my Blackberry.  It has loads of useful stuff on it.  And use it, I did.  Enjoyable, the way the tiny qwerty keyboard feels smooth under my fingertips, its delicate clicking and pleasing resistance as I type with my thumbs.  I was a fast thumb-typer.  I say was, because things have changed a bit.

As a clan, we sat at the dinner table tossing about ideas of what type of phone to get.  We all agreed, they had to be smartphones, since we travel, do work and things; and we all needed to get the same ones, for ease of communication amongst ourselves, affordability and so on.  Blackberry phones have a neat little messenger feature.  You can send messages to other Blackberry users without paying extra charges for text messaging.  A lovely feature, to be sure.  One I wasn't sure other smartphones, such as the iPhone, would have.

Yes, I was a bit ignorant about the iPhone.  And I was outnumbered.  The clan voted for the popular guy.  The guy without the pleasing tactile keyboard.  My thumbs were sure to miss that keyboard.  I fought for the Blackberry, though I admit it was weakly, since I, too, was curious about trying something sleek and fun.  Because let's face it, the iPhone is pretty much fun.  There are apps to be had and such.  Blackberry has those things, though occasionally buggy and sluggish.  Even still, I'd grown fond of it.  And, boy, was it durable!  I can't tell you how many times I've dropped my Blackberry, watched the battery and its cover skid across the floor, only to reassemble it with nothing broken and everything working good as new.  A tough guy, that one.

In simple terms.  Blackberry Curve is awesome for straightforward "get the job done" kind of things.  Its durable and the keyboard is easy to use.  You can changed the battery if necessary.  Here's a thought... Do I need to send in my iPhone to do the same?  I don't even know.  Or is it as disposable as everything else out there appears to be...  Seems a bit pricey to be treated this way.  Whatever the case, my Blackberry was a good phone and it was an older version.  The new stuff is likely an even better product.

My feelings have changed some, now that the new guy has arrived.  I'm finding it difficult to defend my old phone, faithful as it may have been.  But it's only because I like to be entertained, and shiny new things entertain me for a little while.  Haha!


Now, the iPhone.  We opted for the iPhone 4, since none of us could justify the need for the 4S version.

The new guy arrived packaged quite nicely.  The box a simplistic clean design, normal Apple fashion.  It was easy to get the phone and its goodies out.  Immediately, I turned the phone on and in no time at all, the phone was set up.  That was too easy, I thought.  At first, the touch screen keyboard was a bit maddening.  If I were to say a negative thing about this phone, that's the one thing.  I still don't know how people type with their thumbs on this thing!  Other than that, I've had nothing but fun adding music and apps to it.  There are tons of apps.  Loads of them are messengers--just what I was looking for.  I've googled things, watched videos and even checked out my house on Google Earth.  All the things I'd do on my laptop.  It's so fast!  The screen resolution is beautiful.  The camera is wonderful.  There are so many things you can do with this phone, I haven't even scratched the surface.  It isn't just that you can do things with it, it's that you can do them quickly and efficiently.  Nice.  Oh, and you can make phone calls, too.  Haha!

I suppose for now, we're iPhone peeps.  At least, until the next shiny gadget comes along. (^.-)      

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Death of the Endless Cosplay

Death of the Endless Cosplay--StarCat70
 A-Kon 23 is fast approaching.  It can't be helped, I'm a bit excited and naturally looking forward to the madness that is an anime convention.

In order to prepare for the occasion, we needed a rehearsal of sorts.  So, photo equipment was dusted off and put to use.  Which, incidentally, reminded me how we could use some decent lighting!  I'm looking for a few pieces, such as a good softbox or two.  Sometime in the future I hope to obtain a fair set up.  Until then, we'll make do.  And depend on the touch of Photoshop for effect.

As mentioned before, my cosplay is Death of the Endless.  Gothic, indeed.  I suppose it suits me, as far as choice of clothing color goes.  Black it is.  Easy, goes with everything.

This week will be a busy one.  Things concerning school will need to be wrapped up for summer vacation.  All of us welcome the break.  There are other projects in the works that can only be completed during the summer holiday, I've been anxious to get started.
Death of the Endless Cosplay--StarCat70

But of course, the one event weighing on our minds at the moment, A-Kon!

Thus, the day was spent gearing up.  Practicing our makeup application and costume wearing.  Testing out the durability of both items.  Yes, some of us even went shopping all decked out.  I think fellow shoppers enjoyed the show.  It certainly makes one's day just a little more interesting to see anime characters walking the aisles.  The girls were asked to pose for photos a few times.  O' course other questions were asked about just what in the world we were doing in such get-ups.  Now they know about A-Kon.  Judging from the smiles on their faces, they may just show up at the convention!

Death of the Endless Cosplay--StarCat70

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Little Rose

It was "Field Day" at the younger daughter's school today. It was late in the day when she showed me the rose tattoo. A little something she got for the occasion.

The temporary tat suits her. Rose is her middle name, which is reason enough. And too, she is lovely as one.  She is also quite resilient.

The other day, I was in the garden trimming the rose bushes.  One bush, that blooms deep red, had gone leggy and flowerless, as it is normally known to do this time of year.  It is most likely meant to climb.  The other bush grows much too close to the climber.  It is my daughter's rose.  She chose it for it's lovely coral-pink hue.  I worry for that bush, so I often trim back the larger one's tendrils to give it room to breathe.  And breathe it does.  It is a frequent bloomer.  Right now it is covered in blooms.

To be sure, trimming roses takes a bit of care.  In my haste, I'd brushed my bare arm against a stem. A fair thorn stuck itself in the flesh.  A touch painful, yes.  A bruise appeared a day or so after the incident.  My reminder not to be taken in by the light sweet fragrance, dismissing the strength underneath soft petals.

There is more I'd care to write about on this night, though my eyes are daring to shut.

Until next time then...~~~<<3


Friday, May 18, 2012

Speaking of shoes...

...those are some shoes.

This pair makes me about 6 feet tall!  I can't wait to wear them for A-Kon.  Let's hope the ankles don't snap.  Yep, that's me standing in them.  Though I didn't buckle them up completely.

A little preview of my Death of the Endless cosplay, sans makeup, proper hair and a decent pic!  Haha!  
But, with some sensible shoes.  

Slightly Odd--A Note to Self

Sometimes, I have those moments of sheer awkwardness.  I know, we all have such times.  It doesn't seem to change much even when you get older, I've noticed.  The difference now is, I don't really care how odd I may appear to others.  Age has its benefits.

It's funny the things you tend to remember from your childhood.  When I was a kid, I used to like to dress differently than other kids.  It was the age of rap music and break dancing, so I sported some sweet Nike shoes and some fat neon laces.  I thought it was cool.  And I could dance, too!  Which probably surprised some people.

But, it wasn't cool.  Apparently.  At least to some of the more, shall we say, "acceptable" kids.  One of them made fun of my shoes, saying they had bumpers on them like footwear for the mentally challenged.  Everyone laughed.  Nice boy, that one.  The class comic.  He fixed it, though, years later.  He actually asked me to watch movies with him once.  He even gave me a heart-shaped box of candy one Valentine's and apologized for being a jerk.  Sort of.  What he actually said was, "Let's face it, you were kind of a dork."
Nope, I didn't forget that.  And I never faced it, because I'd always thought he was kind of the dork, among other things.  O' course, I never watched movies with him either.  I envisioned some sort of Carrie scene unfolding.  And the candy, well, I hesitated a bit, but it was chocolate!    

Still, unkind words like those of Mr. Hilarious were said.  Kids made fun all the way up to the high school years.  I suppose it happens to the best of us.  And, really, it steels you for the real world.  Because you realize, you don't need to be popular or travel in a pack to be cool.  I often wondered if they ever felt comfortable in their own skin.  Those cruel beings.  Comfortable enough to walk the halls alone or have lunch solo, like a few of us did.  To see one of them in college, as I often did, was an eye-opener.  There was real fear in their eyes.  Flocks of students they didn't know, who couldn't give two hoots about their own shoes even, must have shaken them to the core.  Satisfaction, indeed.      

We're all older now.  I see how they've turned out through social networking.  Ah, the famous Facebook.  I'd like to think they are better people now.  Most of them rarely speak to me, still.  But it's sort of vanilla, anyway.  It makes little difference.  The world is far bigger than school and those we knew in it.  I wish everyone well.  Really.  Even the funny guy.  Surely he now knows how precious life is and how difficult it can be for youngsters and certainly for their parents.  He's got kids of his own.

Which leads me to another thought.  I wonder, do they, the "acceptable" ones, mold their own children to fit the mainstream?  Maybe the youngsters just naturally go that route.  Even so, I remember hearing of talk amongst the faculty at schools my brother and I attended.  They'd try to help students fit in by the mention of hairstyles they should wear and clothing that would be more appealing to the others.  If you were somehow different, they could fix that.  Egad.  I hope that practice has ended.        

Now, to me, sitting here with myself in the quiet, I'm quite satisfied with my quirkiness.  Though, when I venture out, I still get the sideways glances.  I've yet to fully understand.  I suppose they can sense that I'm slightly odd.  It's my own fault.  When I speak of a thing, whatever it may be, I may get too passionate about it.  My face is overtly animated, I think.  It must be.  Because an awkward moment happens.  It leaves people speechless.  Haha!  Or maybe, it's the shoes!

No matter.  I seriously think, the whole concept of squashing oneself into a mold of some sort of conformity is pretty much a soul-killer.  It's been tried, by me.  Normal, mainstream stuff.  Wearing the cropped "mom" pants, etc.  It always ends up some distortion of what's expected, though, with my nearly all black wardrobe and black fingernails.  It's not intentional.  It truly isn't about me thinking my style is better than another's.  Live and let live, I say.  Let's just face it... some shoes don't fit!  Wear the ones that do.

Namaste (~.~)






Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Mr. Superior

Saturday, May 5, 2012, the moon in its supreme, super-ness appeared.

I'd almost forgotten, I admit.  And this is not a likely thing for me to do.  Forget a celestial event, that is.  The sky, after all, is a haven.  An escape from the wicked, chaotic part of life.  Where I cast my gaze for hours, searching for wee specks of light hidden in the ambient glow of city light.

If I think too much of it, the night, the sky, the stars, my heart aches and my eyes will moisten.  It's time for a visit to the open places.  The countryside, where few go, where the peace of the natural is.  Where, in the night, there are sounds unlike any you'll hear by day.  The place where the sky is full of the stuff of the universe.  And a dazzling universe it is.  A humbling space that can not help but put awe in us.

Yes, I nearly missed the big moon.  Perhaps, I'd been avoiding it.  Because there was little time to savor its presence?    

Still, the talk of, let's just say, "Mr. Superior", crept into conversations on the social networks.  In quips.  And then photos of it poured in.  Not wanting to miss out, I hastily grabbed my camera, not concerned with the lens attached to it, and bounded out the back door for a peek.  The sky was hazy.  Even so, there it was.  A great glowing orb hanging softly in the aether.

At this, I could stare for hours.

I know what is lacking.  It's the wondrous conversations I've had before, with those equally fascinated with what lies beyond our sphere.  Those who would sit on blankets for an entire night, just to glimpse a meteor shower's fireball.  And once one had been seen streaking from horizon to horizon, burning so brightly you could hear its sizzle, still wait for yet another even better fireball, till the sun broke the eastern horizon.  

It can't be recaptured, that feeling.  Though I've tried.

I'll keep trying.




Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Full Circle

This is one of those days it should be raining.  But it isn't.  The pensive mood would appreciate a bit of gloom.  Though just a touch.  Only enough to sort out a thing or two.

It started with a dream, or perhaps it was a nightmare.  Depending on how one looks at it.  Whatever, it woke me at 3:50 a.m.  One of those rare dreams that leaves me breathless and shaking.  I blame it on watermelon.

Watermelon.  And the brief fasting/cleansing thing I'm doing.  It's supposed to be good for you.  You face your hunger in a different way.  Along with a multitude of other issues that pop up.  Those things you haven't dealt with for months, maybe years.  Those things a person often ignores by eating away the discomfort.  Some might use other methods.  I think mine has definitely been eating.  Mostly chocolate things with fizzy drinks to chase them down.  Not anymore.  For quite some time now, actually.  So, all that stuff from ago has reared its beastliness in a decidedly discomforting way.

Back to the dream.  It's almost faded from memory now.  Dreams often do melt away, leaving only bits of their essence.  It seemed my dad was there, but only his image.  His demeanor was different and quite unlike his gentle nature.  Instead, it was like someone else I'd known before.  An angry violent man who had lashed out at me on occasion.  What an odd thing.  In shadows, his figure stalked at me down a wet, darkened and misty road, a large plastic baseball bat held high in his hands.  The intent to kill evident in his voice.  The face shifted back and forth, from my parent to the dangerous man.  Dreams.  So strange.  I'm sure there was more.  Something that lead to this apex.  This moment where I'd surely meet my end.  I can't grasp it anymore.  There was music, though.  I suppose, influenced by the tunes I've been listening to lately.  Still, this particular song played again and again.  It's not a tune in English, still it's meaning is understood by me.  Too, I know that when I awoke, my mind was quite clear what all of it was about.  The images instantly making sense.

Of course, after a bit of calming, I looked to the aether and apologized to Dad for having had such delirium.  It wasn't truly about him after all.  Though, naturally, I do miss him.  Thinking of him brings tears.  

It seems the circle is full.  At least for many of those things from ago.  I'll leave them largely unmentioned for now, but they are being faced and put away neatly, having been dealt with proper.  So, it's taken a few years...  Okay, nearly all my life.  Better late than nay.

And the song?

A bit of explanation.  The group I've been listening to lately, D, I first encountered at A-Kon last year.  Their music is inspiring, interesting, intense and beautiful.  Maybe it is because they themselves are beautiful that I became so captivated.  That, and because Asagi's voice is so achingly beautiful.  A person has to see them live to know what I mean.  It's an experience.

The song, L'Oiseau Bleu by D.
Thank you ItachinoUchiha for sharing this video.