Monday, September 21, 2015

Password Notebook

A long time ago I used the same password for every site.  It sure was easy and fast. But like I said that was a long time ago and we all know now (thanks to hackers) that we have to have a different password for every site. In order to keep up with all the different passwords I started a password notebook. My first pw notebook was a small 2 x 4 pad and not in alphabetical order. I just added the passwords to the notebook as I went along. That didn't last very long because I filled it quickly and started having a hard time finding the passwords. Over the years the notepads got bigger and bigger. I finally learned through trial and error what makes a good password notebook.  Here's what I learned:

1. Make sure your notebook is big enough to fit all the info so you don't have to start a new notebook every  couple of  years.  This is 5 x 7.5 notebook amd has 192 pages.
2. The notebook should be in alphabetical order according to the website name. Make a section for each letter in your notebook. It's so much easier and prettier if you use stickers.

3.  Write in pencil. I used to write in ink but when I had to change the password I had to mark through the old password making the notebook look messy and taking up unncecessary space.
4.  When placing the letter stickers in your notebook don't give every letter equal number of pages in between.  Some letters require more pages than others.  For example:  I don't have many accounts at sites that start with F but I go to many sites that start with S or T.  So allow extra pages in between for those letters.
5. If you have more than 1 email or your spouse is also using the pw notebook, make sure you also specify which email along with the password
6.  Make sure your spouse puts the notebook back where it belongs after using it. There's been many a time when I had to go looking for my pw notebook because "someone" didn't put it back in its proper place. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Star Wars Light Saber Father's Day Card

This is the Star Wars themed Father's Day card I made for my husband in 2014.  My original idea was that I would be able to change out the glow sticks. I painted the plastic holders black and glued them to the card. I didn't glue the glow sticks but they kept rolling off the card and therefore, was forced to glue them down. Another mistake I made was I didn't buy fresh glow sticks. They glowed but not very well in the dark. I should have tested the sticks before Father's Day. I was actually finishing up this card the morning of right before church and didn't have time to run out and buy new sticks. Oh well, live and learn.  It still turned out pretty nice if I say so myself.  

Sources:  Tim Holtz stickers, Dollar Tree glow sticks, glitter paper from Joann's

Old glow sticks don't glow very well in the dark. 

inside of card

My children do not smile for pictures. It drives me mad. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mineral Oils and Parabens In Mario Badescu Products

I'm feeling duped. I thought Mario Badescu was supposed to be a great company that I could trust. After using their products for almost a year I just now discovered that there is mineral oil, petrolatums and polyparabens in their eye creams and moisturizers. As I was brushing my teeth I glanced at the ingredients on the back of the Special Eye cream I had just ordered and was shocked to see propylparaben and mineral oil (they list it as Carnation).  I was quite taken aback by this discovery. With toothbrush still in my mouth I started rummaging through my medicine cabinet to look at the other Mario Badescu beauty products and I found paraffinum which is still another word for mineral oil. SERIOUSLY?! I can't believe I have been paying good money for mineral oil products. Mario Badescu eye creams are $18. I might as well have been using drug store brands at a much cheaper price. But money isn't the issue, I avoid using Equate, Vaseline and many other brands because of the mineral oils, petrolatum and parabens and their potentially harmful effects.

The only reason why I looked at the ingredients is because my friend posted a picture on Facebook and I thought that my eyes looked dry and tired which made start thinking about my eye cream. I wasn't sure if I was just getting old, it was just a bad picture or if my eye cream wasn't working. Low and behold, I think the eye cream might be the culprit of the dry skin around my eyes. Why? Because mineral oil does not add moisture to the skin, it only locks in moisture. But I am using the eye cream to get moisture, not create a barrier! There's no moisture to lock in. Duh! What a waste of time and money.

This is the pic that made me question my eye cream (that's me on the left)

I'm so mad at myself because I didn't do my due diligence. I started using Mario Badescu products on the word of a friend who has great skin. Over a year ago I was having some major problems with acne and skin irritations. My friend and I went to lunch and I was complaining about my complexion and my friend suggested I try using Mario Badescu. Naturally when she made this suggestion I looked at her face more closely and realized her skin was clear enough to not need base or powder. That to me was a testimony in itself. When we went to her apartment she showed me all her Mario Badescu products in her bathroom. Now prior to this she and I had some conversations about beauty products and what ingredients we should avoid like parabens. Because we were in complete agreement in our conversations I assumed that she and I thought alike and I completely trusted her suggestion on MB products. But we all know what happens when one assumes (ass-u-me). So I slowly switched to MB products. The very first item I ordered was Peptide Renewal Cream which does not have any mineral oil. Then I bought Peptide Renewal Serum which also does not any mineral oil. The next few products I ordered were also mineral oil and paraben free. So at that point I ass-u-me-d that MB was a trustworthy company that cares about what people put on their skin. Unfortunately, the next few products I ordered do contain mineral oils and parabens, but at this point I had already assumed all MB products are safe. I also thought that if my friend uses their products then it must be A-OK. On another note, I think I was also fooled by their sleek, white bottles and clean labeling. The white packaging looks so trustworthy like it's stating I am a pure and chemical-free product.  *thumps self on forehead*

Now if you're wondering what is this woman blathering about and don't understand why I'm freaking out then you must not have heard that parabens and minerals oils are bad for your skin. I suggest you Google the subject. Hundreds of articles and blogs discussing the cons of these ingredients will pop up. I am not a doctor or researcher so I can not explain in a scientific manner why they are bad for you.  So here is my assessment in my own laymen terms: mineral oil and parabens are cheap, crappy chemicals that companies add to products to lengthen the shelf life of the product and have a low manufacturing cost. It is no concern to them that their products are pore-clogging and potentially cancer causing because they are making millions of dollars in profit. Mineral oils may contain toxins because it is a derivative of petroleum. This is cheap, cheap, cheap. Any product made with mineral oil should not be high priced. As I mentioned earlier mineral oils only create a barrier between your skin and the air, it does not add moisture. The idea is that it locks in moisture by CLOGGING your pores so the moisture does not escape. But they won't advertise it clogs your pores, they will say that the products keeps your skin silky soft and moisturized.  As for parabens it could possibly be linked to breast cancer because they have found parabens in the removed tissue of women who have had a mastectomies. I suggest using a paraben and aluminum-free deodorant. They may not work as well but it's definitely worth it to be a little smelly and sticky as opposed to having cancer. When you shave your armpit, you may cut your skin, then you put on deodorant and the parabens & aluminum are in closer proximity to your breasts. (Full disclosure: I use 5 different types of deodorant and one of them is Secret. I still use Secret even though it has questionable ingredients. The other safer deodorants are not as effective and I use Secret in social situations that calls for something that will definitely work. However, I do try to avoid anti-perspirant altogether. I think anti-perspirants are even worse because they also clog your pores and you need to sweat to get rid of toxins.) So there is my view of parabens and mineral oil in a nutshell. Since I already deal with a myriad of other health issues I just don't want to take the chance on putting cancer-causing chemicals on my skin and clogging up my pores.

But this isn't just a woman issue, men should also be concerned about parabens.  From Readers Digest Best Health:  In a Danish study parabens could be detected in the blood and urine of healthy young male volunteers a few hours after paraben-containing lotions were applied to their skin. In conclusion since the chemicals could be absorbed, metabolized and excreted they "could potentially contribute to adverse health effect."   Read more at

So lesson learned, I will always read the labels of every product I put on my body regardless of a friend's opinion. Now I must find a new eye cream that doesn't have harmful ingredients and won't irritate my skin. Fun.

Back labels of MB products

Here are a few more "good" dermatologist-approved products that have bad ingredients. 

CeraVe Renewing lotion (this is a sample from the dermatologist)

Mederma (yet another sample from the dermatologist)

SebaMed Anti-Dry Night Intensive Cream

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weight Loss Journey, Entry June 10, 2014

June 10, 2014  
Last night I was reading "Paper Towns" and I went downstairs. It was before midnight. I ate a few Cheez It Grooves and a Smooze (80 calories). I don't know what's wrong with me. How can I keep praying to lose weight when I purposely eat at midnight? Oh gosh, I'll be fat the rest of my life at this rate. 


Smooze is a fruit ice treat I get from Whole Foods. It's super delicious and a great substitute for ice cream cravings. The best part is that it is low in calories. 

From their website: Smooze is the perfect way of capturing the freshness of the fruit and coconut milk. Smooze is rich in vitamin C and contains no high fructose corn syrup, no preservatives, no cholesterol, no trans fat, no artificial flavors and Smooze is vegan/dairy free and gluten free. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Weight Loss Journey, Entry May 21, 2014

The struggle with eating continues....

May 21, 2014
Such a fat cow. Why would or should I expect anyone to desire me? 
I wish I had the ability to control my eating. I'm out of whack. I'm screwed up. Been this way several years now. I'm fat. My husband too. One of us needs to get in shape and motivate the other. 
When I feel like pigging out I'm glad he understands. But other days I wish he would slap that cookie out of my hand. But he's not going to. Because he knows I would do it back to him and he doesn't want that. When am I going to hate being a big tub of lard more than I love food? I fail everyday. Everday I fail at my eating. Everyday is the start of a new day which means I failed the day before. 


(Later same day)
This is the daily reminder on my phone. 
Eat differently, things haven't changed in years. 

Eat differently. Think differently. Change your habits. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Weight Loss Journey, Entry May 12, 2014

I've had many days like this...eating when I'm not really hungry and eating until I feel sick.

May 12, 2014
Stormy Day
Why do I eat until I feel sick? I started off this morning pretty well. I ate egg whites, avocado and some corn chips & ginger tea.
When Erik got home from school I was slightly hungry but once I started eating I couldn't stop until I felt ill. I was aware of what I was doing but it's like I couldn't control myself. I'm so mad at my myself. What is wrong with me?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weight Loss Journey, Entry April 24, 2014

This is my second journal entry. I've already posted page 1 of my Weight Loss Journal. I've actually been writing about my weight for over 30 years but last year I made an official journal dedicated soley to weight loss.

I'm going to be as transparent as I can be about my struggles to lose weight. It is embarassing but I am only human. I am not perfect and I definitely struggle with food addiction. I have an addictive personality. Looking back on my life I've always been addicted to something whether it was muscians, drugs, shopping, smoking, collecting stuff, couponing, etc. Believe it or not, I was actually addicted to exercising in my 7th and 8th years of middle school but that phase went away when I got into high school. So now in my mature years I've turned to food because it is the only legal "drug" I can do and it's cheaper than being a shopaholic. The problem is that we all need to eat so it's not like people can see my food addiction like we can see a drug addict's problem.

What really doesn't help my situation is that I am an emotional eater. I use food to numb my feelings. I'm trying so hard to find a new way to deal with my emotions. I wish I was one of those types of girls who don't eat when they are emotional, but sadly I'm the type of girl that likes to eat junk food to assuage my feelings of turmoil.

The reason why this entry is from last year is because I didn't want to post my current journal entries without showing what I was going through and thinking last year.

Drawbacks of my journaling:  I am not consistent in writing in my journal so there will be huge gaps between dates. There is also misspelling and lack of proper English in my entries because I'm lazy and sometimes my hand starts to hurt so I rush through it.

I wrote this entry in April but it was about December 2013 so that is why there is winter embellishments on it.
April 24, 2014


The last time I said "Screw it!" I don't care!" was this past December (2013). Those are very dangerous words. Every time I've said this and really meant it I gained weight. It's not good to despair or give up hope no matter what I feel emotionally and mentally. Last year I lost 10 lbs and was down to 165. I kept it off.
My dear friends from childhood, Julie R, msged me and said she would visit between Sept-Dec (for a Cowboy game). I thought I would use her visit as motivation to lose weight since we have not seen each other in over 20 years. Even though I knew she was coming I didn't have the right mind set. My head was not in the right place with dad's death. I always felt like something was wrong. I just struggled to keep the 10 lbs off. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around I felt like it was too late. Then Julie posted pics of her and her daughter in Paris and I saw how teen-tiny she was. I clearly remember thinking I'll never lose enough weight to make a difference before Julie visits so just SCREW IT I'm going to eat. And eat I did. I gained weight. So when Julie visited right after Christmas I was gross. Julie is so petite and I think she's the same size as we were in middle school. I feel like a monster next to her. I hate the pics from her visit. I look like a cow. The cherry on top was I broke out with allergies around my eyes so I had extra wrinkles making me look older.

So I must be aware and super determined to not give in the next time I say "screw it" and just eat. I need to work hard and keep it together. No more falling apart. Stop letting food assuage my emtions. In 2008 when I was very emotional about my husband (and his thing from 2001) I had just eaten a big breakfast and was sitting on the couch watching TV. I started to eat RiceWorks chips and I thought "I should stop eating" and then I thought "Who cares? My husband was attracted to a girl bigger than me. So it doesn't matter." And then I just ate non-stop. I think that day the death toll rang. Because my health deteriorated after that. I think not eating right, hating myself and not exercising caused health problems. Joseph Prince said when we hate ourselves the body breaks down.

So I'm on a new journey towards health. I don't hate myself, Bill and I have a fantastic marriage, and my mind set has changed. I just need the determination and self control. I need the Holy Spirit to really help me. I think I also ate because my spirit was hungry. Instead of feeding my spirit with the word of God I ate physically. But I'm back to reading the word too. I pray this time I finally lose weight and keep it off.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Foodie Journal, page 2

Yes, I am one of those people.  I take pictures of my food. This is page 2 of my Foodie Journal. 

Piranha's Killer Sushi
Several Locations in Texas
I really like this restaurant. I have not encountered a bad meal yet. When Piranha's opened a few years back there they had a chef that was also an artist. If our cell phones had cameras back then I would have taken multiple pics of the beautiful works of art we were served. I am talking about arranging the food to look like sculptures. These pics are from the location in South Arlington which recently went through some renovations. The food no longer looks like artwork but it is still delicious. I wish I could cook Asian food like this.
I believe this is Korean Beef Tenderloin. 

Blue Crab Fried Rice (already ate half before I remembered to take pic)

Chocolate Angel Tea Room
2 Locations:  Richardson and Plano, Tx.
This is definitely a girlie girl's tea room. There were several ladies wearing big hats and dressed up. The decor is shabby chic and it really is quite lovely inside. Although the day we took this pic it was over 100 degrees outside I felt so light and cool when I walked in because the colors are muted and airy. The menu consists of salad, soup, sandwiches and of course, tea. The food is affordable and tasty. Bonus: there are a few other fantastic boutiques in the same shopping strip at the Richardson location.

Half chicken salad sandwich, tomato soup and salad. 

National Chain
To be honest I have not yet had a regular beef patty burger. I always get chicken burger which can be fried or grilled. My boys tell me the beef burgers are the bomb.  I especially love the veggie frites and the smash fries with rosemary seasoning.
 For those who want less calories try the grilled chicken burger.

 Fireside Pies
Dallas, Plano and Grapevine locations
I adore the name of this restaurant. It just gives me warm fuzzies inside. We ate outside on the patio on a chilly winter night because there was a fireplace to keep us warm. It was bit dark though, not enough lighting making the ambience really great for lovers but for a family it was hard to see each other. A bit of an eye strain. The prices are a bit high for the amount of food you get.  The pizzas are not very big and cost $13-14. I would guess that they are about 10" pizzas. This is from the Grapevine location.

Come on!  That's all the salad you're going to give me for $13?!

Pei Wei
National Chain
When Pei Wei had asian cooks the food was excellent. In the past few years it has really gone downhill and it's just become a Panda Express. This day there must have been an experienced cook because the food was pretty good and not bland.

Krispy Kreme
National Chain
If doughnuts were good for my health and shrunk my waistline I'd be here every weekend. I especially adore that they glaze their chocolate covered doughnuts. Glaze and chocolate. goo. It's just genius. Some people say they don't like KK because they glaze the chocolate doughnuts. Why do I associate with these people? When I get a chocolate donut from other places and the bottom half is just fried dough with no sweetness I realize it was the wrong choice. Plain fried dough. Does that sound good? No, no it does not.
Fall flavored donuts: cotton candy and apple caramel.
 (I can spell donuts like this since they spell crispy with a K).

Olive Garden
National Chain
I find Olive Garden to be a hit or miss. Their salad is usually a hit, but sometimes their entrĂ©es can be a miss. When my homemade Italian food tastes better than the restaurant it is a definite miss. This Seafood Brodetto is a hit espcially on a cold winter's evening. 
Seafood Brodetto: scallops, shrim and delicate tilapia with spinach and mushrooms simmered in a light white wine and marinar-saffron broth. Served with toasted ciabatta bread.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Frozen Birthday Card

I share a birthday with one of my nieces. Though we are 35 years apart we love the same things such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, art and making desserts. This year I decided to make her a card for her birthday. I was sort of straining my brain for ideas for a pre-teen. I didn't want a card that was too juvenille nor too old and unrelatable. Thankfully I happened to look in my Stampler's Sampler magazine from 2012. SS had a cupcake challenge and had published the contributors' artwork and it inspired me. 
The lady in the picture above used striped paper for the paper liner but I used the backside of a Starbucks sleeve instead because it has the ridges similar to a cupcake liner. 

spray ink on cardboard sleeve

I just copied the outline of the icing from the magazine and shaded the edges. The rest of the card was easy peasy because I used Frozen character stickers, Olaf ribbon and cut out the letters on the Cricut. For the snow on the letters I used mica flakes. Add a few embellishments, put Olaf on foam tape so he is slightly higher than the cupcake and ta-da the card is done. 

(Ugh. I need to take photography lessons. I see the shadows now on my computer screen.)

The mica flakes around the letters was actually a happy accident. I used the Xyron to turn the letters into stickers and the edges were still sticky. So when I poured the mica on the flourish some of it got on the letters and I realized it looked cool so I just poured mica on all of it. 

I was told that my niece loves her card and in return she sent me a beautiful drawing of Persephone. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weight Loss Journey, Entry April 23, 2014. Our Dog Eats Better Than We Do

Last year my husband and I joined a gym and made a commitment to get healthy. We are so tired of being overweight. We look decent enough, but who wants to be decent? We want to be hot!

For a few months before joining the gym I had been writing down what I was eating in a spiral and it really opened my eyes to how easy it is to reach 1000 calories before dinner. I've never realized 9-10 chips is aproximately 150 calories and 2 tablespoons of salad dressing is easily 145 calories. No wonder I'm so freaking fat.

I decided to journal my weight loss journey. In my new journal I am going to record my thoughts, struggles, what I eat and when I actually exercise. I'm hoping that I can eliminate emotional eating by writing about my emotions instead of eating my emotions. I will also use the journal to keep me motivated and help me do better, eat better and exercise more often.

This is the first page of my journal. I realized while writing that my dog, Chimi, eats better than my family. Not only does she make better choices but we also make better choices for her as well--don't let the dog have chocolate or junk food she might get sick. My kids can freely choose their own food for snacking usually pick junk food. But our dog, she only gets junk food when it falls to the ground. Plus, our dog would rather have lettuce than Cheetos. She ignores the junk food on the floor and only when she realizes we are done eating for the day then she will eat it.  I think it's time to revamp my attitude towards food and start being mindful of what I eat and copy the dog. I also must start shopping wiser so my kids won't have the temptation of junk food in the house.

Journal Entry:  April 23, 2014

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