Make-Over on the Make-Up

If you know me, I often wear a bare face. I’m pretty bad at putting make-up on and sometimes I won’t want to wear it simply because it’s a pain in the ass to take it off at the end of the day.

My day-to-day facial regime is quite simple; most mornings, I use a wet cloth to wash my face. Sometimes I put on facial cream and under eye cream, but usually there are zero products on my face.

Granted, I know I need to work on my make-up application skills. I do actually enjoy it on the rare occasion, but realize that if I am going to be networking and doing interviews, I should get more practice with my make-up. My good friend, B., bought me gel eyeliner last Christmas, but I draw on wings with the dexterity of a 3-year-old. Then I just get very self-conscious when I’m wearing it …. sigh.

I had intended to go into Sephora during the summer and do a make-over, plus pick up some new products. But things got busy and I just wanted to go out and have fun …. needless to say, it fell on my list of priorities. The biggest issue is actually just finding vegan and cruelty-free products*. Usually, I use ignorance as the main excuse, and decided it was time to do some serious research.

I knew it would be a pain in the butt, but this morning, I finally did it!

It took about 2 hours to make sure every thing I purchased was entirely vegan, including make-up brushes**. Honestly, I’m glad it’s done. I’d been putting it off for quite a while and just need to cross it off the list.

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*I currently use blush and bronzer from Physician’s Formula, but not every single of their products are vegan. Same for Urban Decay. This makes things a huge headache in general because fully vegan brands tend to have a very small selection of products.
**I once accidentally bought a generic Sephora-brand brush, only to realize it was made with boar’s hair. Went and got a refund.

Net Worth – July

Again, kinda behind on my posting. Here’s my net worth for the month of July, calculated about two weeks late. Better late than never.

Summer’s over and I’m done playing. Just got back up north and am now on day 4 of the new school year. Today, we will be doing a one-hour orientation with the students and then tomorrow, classes start.

Being down after vacation isn’t unusual. It is projected, as I am still waiting on reimbursements from work, specifically travel (~$100), school supplies I purchased (~$1000) and the math conference from May (~$600), but included these sums as if I were already paid back.

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Katy Bowman: Nutritious Movement

Since my yoga intensive with Kathryn Bruni-Young, I’ve been looking for more information on mindful movement. I started with the reading list that our instructor gave us and bought the book, “Move Your DNA”. Katy Bowman’s book has blown my mind! This book isn’t about exercise. It’s actually about how we move and how we can improve our movement to reduce strain, injury and stress.

While I’m two-thirds through the book, I’ve already started making some small habitual changes in my day-to-day lifestyle. These changes do not take extra time:

  • Sleeping without a pillow: Here are some reasons to ditch the fluffy stuff. I have been now sleeping without a pillow for 25 nights now*, with only one cheat night. I’m not doing it for gimmicky reasons; in fact, I’m trying to fix my the neck position as my head is often pitched forward away from my shoulders**. After reading the blog post, I looked at some vacation photographs and was quite appalled when I saw how bad my head posture was. So if I’m in a neck-forward position for 8 hours at night, would it not affect my daytime posture?
  • Developing calluses on your hands and feet: What? Having calluses on our hands are good? Yes, the increased thickness on your skin actually allows you to adapt and feel various surfaces better. If you don’t work in manual labour though, you probably have soft and sensitive skin. While I had a great summer, the worse part of it was that I lost my calluses from disuse!!! I noticed they were sloughing off 3 week ago …. so my palms are baby smooth again. Kinda mad. I was working on them too while weight-training for 7 months!! I suppose it has been no surprise since I’ve been on summer break …. sigh. Take a look at your own palms; it’s likely you need some work too! Take your shoes off and run on the grass. Climb a tree! If you’ve got a chin-up bar at home, go hang on it for a couple of minutes. Give your skin a workout.
  • … which begs the question, what about barefoot walking? I’d love to start this, but no, I won’t be barefoot walking soon, although I did do a bit in the city. Up north, the gravel is waaaay too sharp! But I’ll be making my students walk barefoot (with socks) in my classroom this year for the first time.
  • Walking for nutrition: I don’t walk a lot in the north; over the past three years, I have been driving a lot for food. The native reserve is literally about 1 km long, so it shows how lazy I’ve become. Even J. chides me but it didn’t sink in until listening to Katy Bowman’s book. Nutrition doesn’t include just the macronutrients, micronutrients and the vitamins; it should include the task of acquiring and collecting food. Think of the ancestral habits; you had to forage, hunt, gather and walk. Even as a university student, I remember sweating as I carried large bags of food back home. I didn’t have a car then. Not that I’m going to become a farmer anytime soon, but I’m making a better effort to walk to the grocery store. I know when it gets cold and I get very busy, this may change, but while it’s warm, we will definitely be walking to the store (see picture above). J. pointed out that when you are carrying the necessities, you don’t have as much space in your bag to carry junk food.

If you’re not interested in the book or are not able to get access to it, you can also check out her podcasts, called Katy Says. It’s done in a dialogue format and are about 30 minutes long each.


*The boyfriend complained that my head was sneaking up and trying to get onto his pillow the past two nights. Maybe it was my body unconsciously navigating itself to a source of heat …

**The issue might be linked to my rounded shoulders and weak serratus.

Monthly Goals – July

Another meeeeh month for goals.

This has been partially affected by Evernote’s recent changes to the pricing plan. I’d been riding it for free for quite a number of years now, but as of July, basic (free) users will be able to use Evernote only on two mobile devices. This makes it harder for me to update, considering that I work off four devices (i.e. iPad, cellphone, work laptop, Macbook Air). Honestly though, it’s probably mostly my fault that I haven’t been keeping on top of things.

So rather than just write a bunch of failed goals, here are just my health ones. Whatevvvvs. The summer is for emotional, physical and mental recharge time. Goal achieved.

  • Drink smoothies (0/5): Nope, I didn’t even try on this one.
  • Try new forms of workouts (5/5): Played at the obstacle course park in Toronto, Iyengar yoga, Indian clubs, Pilates/reformer, ring work … next year, parkour park!
  • Get a massage (5/5): Part of my preventative mental and physical health care. I hate paying a lot, but I indulge at least once or twice a year. This was great! $60 near my mom’s house. Sighhh … too bad I can’t claim it.
  • Start using MyFitnessPal (4/5): J. from my course encouraged me to just do it. Yeah, it’s annoying but don’t think too hard and just log the meals. Right now I’ve just been collecting data. I would like to break down the pattern of my macro-intake so eventually I’ll analyze it in early September (August might be a bit crazy).

Turtle Care: Switching to an External Filter

One of the big issues with caring for an aquatic turtle is cleaning the tank. I’d used with small internal filters, mainly the U-series from Fluval. The U4 filter, for the past 3 years, did a decent job for a few weeks, I really did not look forward to cleaning it out as the water got dirty.

Needless to say, a bad habit began and the cleaning periods were farther and fewer in between. I realized and came to terms with the fact that I was simply putting off getting a filter that would better handle the mess. This was definitely a necessary task for the summer, but I had been putting it off considering that I was still concerned about the condition of his shell* and had prioritized a vet visit over everything else.

Today, I stopped by the Scarborough location of Big Al’s and finally purchased an external filter. I had never used an external before, but I was recommended the Cobalt E-X-T canister filter ($170) with a 3-year warranty ($45) that they kept on file. I am not risking having a machine that doesn’t work.

When I got home, it was quite a task to squint and read the itty-bitty font on the instruction manual. I did a quick search and found that the company actually makes videos that teach you how to set up the equipment (why the staff did not tell me this is beyond me).

It took a couple of hours for my mom and I to fully figure it out but it is properly running now! The motor is strong enough that you didn’t have to prime the canister, but if we had filled it with water prior to running it, the process might have been a bit faster. Either way, this is a super easy system to run. I put Honu back into the tank as he already was getting tired of waiting in the bathtub**.

Super excited to have this running and I hope it will work great when I bring it back up north. The only thing I have left to do is to order some carbon replacement since the store was out of stock today.

*He didn’t have shell rot but between his two visits, in December 2015 and June 2016, we resolved a nutritional issues. His scutes were falling off in brittle pieces due to the malnutrition and I had erroneously believed it to be shell rot.

**He actually broke a nail on the left paw in the tub from trying to claw his way out. When I went to put him in the tank, I realized this due to the streaks of blood on the side of the bathtub.


Back in Toronto

Got back in Toronto around 10 pm after a 10-day road trip. It’s been rad, making new friends and revisiting old ones. I even saw one of my former colleagues from South Korea; it has been 9 years since we last met up!

All and all, I covered about 1800 km, but I really had no intention of driving in the shape of a phallus …

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Take-Aways from Yoga Intensive

My 5-day yoga / mobility course finished yesterday. There was soooo much I absorbed, but a few things of note were:

  • More muscle awareness and activation is needed in yoga: Passive stretching is out.
  • I need to measure my macros: I’ve been meaning to start this, but my classmate J., who is a physiotherapist, assured me to just start logging on MyFitnessPal. She said I’ll slowly figure it out. While I was eating extremely well this week, I know that if I can clean up my diet even just a smidge, this could help me a lot with my overall strength training when I return to the squat rack. Here is my food intake from today. I look at the macros (i.e. carbs, fats, proteins, sugars) at the bottom and have no idea what they mean. It looks like I do consume ample protein though.


  • My shoulders slump … a lot: Just a couple of weeks, my friend did an exercise with me and suggested that I had weak serratus. This past week, my instructor kept cuing me to `draw my shoulders back`. ARGHHHHH. I need to revisit my Focused Flexibility plan from Gold Medal Bodies. I believe that working on the shoulder may help to stabilize and strength the area, which may reduce the tendency for my shoulders to slope.
  • My head slopes forward: This video suggest strengthening the sub-occipital muscles to help with this issue.


Crochet Night a.k.a. Giving Things Another Chance

I first attempted to crochet back in February. I didn’t have anyone to help me and only had a tiny 3.5 mm hook. I learned off a YouTube and while it was quite a struggle, it wasn’t bad for a first attempt.

Then my second attempt was even worse and I made some crappy triangle because I wasn’t checking how many stitches or whatever they’re called. So while a coworker gave me a 6.0 mm hook, I never found the initiative to buy more yarn and give it another go.

Tonight, as part of our 5-day yoga intensive, we visited a scrapbooking and craft store. The 6 of us had lots of fun (only one other person had crocheted before) and we got a lot of good laughs in. All the materials and support were given to us, including a teacher, yarn and a big fat 10.0 mm hook. After the first 45 minutes, it clicked and I actually finished a full headscarf! I’m so proud! Had so much fun!


Yoga Intensive with Kathryn Bruni Young – Day 2

Forgot to update in the last post that, while I’m no longer in New York, I’m not in Toronto either! I’ve gone off to Cornwall, Ontario, just 4 hours east for a 5-day yoga and mobility workshop.

Currently on day 2 and my shins are sore! Lots of great stuff that I have been learning about what good mobility and functional movement program looks like. In fact, we have been doing nearly everything except yoga.

I won`t write too much here, but you`re welcome to read some of my detailed notes that I`ve posted on my Cody App account. If you`re interested in learning more about the instructor, check out Kathryn Bruni-Young`s webpage or her Instagram account.

Here`s a fast motion video of some of the mobility work we did today. Enjoy!

New York City 2016

Last weekend, I was in New York City with my family. My mom, sister and I spent a couple of days to ourselves and then visited extended family in Queens/Flushing.

I know, I know … I haven’t been blogging as much the past few months. The convenience of microblogging on Instagram means that I simply just don’t post as often on WordPress any more! If you’d like to see some of our family photos, click here.



Addendum: I should also mention that the highlight of my trip is seeing the Louis Armstrong House Museum. No photos are allowed, but you can easily go on YouTube and find videos about it. The kitchen, good lord. The kitchen is the stuff of dreams!!!