my daily makeup..!

i spent christmas in nevada/utah this year... with my all of my sisters for a short holiday getaway and to celebrate 2 of their birthdays. it was while i was packing for the trip, forced to only bring what was really neccessary, that brings me to today's post: for someone who doesn't think she wears much makeup on a daily basis, i sure realized i kinda do!

throughout high school and into my college years, i was a complete minimalist when it came to cosmetics. mascara, eyeliner and chapstick - blush, for those special occasions - and i was good to go! heck, i didn't even know there was a difference between body lotion and face moisturizer! not to mention - completely oblivious to items such as - primers, highlighters and translucent powders!

fast forward several years... and although i still achieve the same basic look as i did then... i've realized it def takes a lot more product to get there now, smh. why is that..? old age, i tell ya.

dorothy's everyday must haves..!
1.bare minerals - medium tan 2.bare minerals - warmth 3.bare minerals - faux tan 4.bare minerals - pure radiance 5.bare minerals - mineral veil 6.bare minerals - warm radiance 7.nars - blush in orgasm 8.nars - 9947 eyeshadow palette 9.smashbox - hybrid 2in1 luminizing primer 10.nars - striptease lipgloss 11.toofaced - shadow insurance 12.hip cream eyeliner - 905 black's the most wonderful time of the year!

...did i mention i put up my christmas tree? i actually did this the day after thanksgiving, as a distraction to keep me from munching on all the delicious leftovers! haha. that, and the fact that christmas lights never cease to lift my spirits and make me smile regardless of the mood i'm in, so i jumped at the earliest opportunity i could put it up without judgement, lols. love, love, love! <3

'tis the season to be jolly, may your holiday be merry and bright!

in the mood for scrapbooking :) mmm'yeah.

although scrapbooking is a therapeutic pass-time that allows me to organize my collection of photos in a meaningful format, i've found myself guilty of cheating on it with summer these past several months. as if that weren't bad enough, my sewing machine has also been getting plenty of action and attention from me too, but now that the weather has taken a drastic drop... there's not a more perfect time for me to once again cozy up inside the house with these nostalgic memories.

they say we take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone - and making the time to revisit and sort out these developed vignettes of my life to rekindle a much neglected love is just what i'll do! now that everything is out and in sight... here's to hoping i'll be able to complete a few more of my books in progress this winter; a few pages at a time!

...if youre thinking "wow, what a mess!" this is actually organized in my own messy way! eheh.

getting ready for winter!

here's a peak at my coldpack i’ve prepared in anticipation for this next season’s adventures in wisconsin! with all the redundant complaints, year after year… i'm convinced i'm one of the only homegrown souls that have actually come to terms with our sporadically harsh winter cycles and see the beauty in it!

anyways, my entire outlook is… rather than wasting the season complaining about the cold and avoiding all unneccessary contact with the outside world, focus on what i do enjoy, and direct my energy toward exploring those interests - while maybe even integrating new activities too!

so i assembled a cold pack, my version of the antithesis to a picnic basket if there was one, to accompany me while i hang out with winter once he gets here! :) i already know i'm going to have as much fun as i do my springs, summers and autumns.
  • leather mini backpack
  • thermos
  • microfiber fleece blanket
  • tin can (for food)
  • cloth napkin
  • eating utensils
  • mason jar (for drink, snacks or food)
  • ice skates!
  • books
  • oh yes, and if you look closely... i have a mini bottle of my favorite wine :) don't judge me.

*pssst, suesan... i made the pom poms and put them on my skates. idea, courtesy of your blog post! it was too cute and simple not to! ;D thank you!

shhh... la vie est belle!

and once again, the seasons click. i woke up to the first snowfall of the season here in northcentral wisconsin! it's indeed beautiful :) what an absolute difference a little white makes. i even enjoyed a hot cup of homemade chicken & carrot noodle soup out there this morning, to the backdrop of big, fluffy snowflakes taking it's sweet time!

let it snow, let it snow... let it snow. oh, the beauty you can find if only eyes were closed and hearts open. listen carefully, the silence is eye opening!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: tom kha gai

first and foremost... i love food! and therefore, one of my guilty pleasures is indulging in various cooking shows - and currently, it's been top chef!

the danger with that, though, is the delusion of thinking i can be just as creative using only the ingredients i have on hand... and before i know it, the show is on pause (because i get hungry) while i find myself scavenging around in my kitchen conjuring up my own creation! ;P haha. and much to my surprise, my dishes always come out awesome! lols. but then again, i'm biased.

limitless. flowers for algernon. understand.

...i was talking to a friend about the newly released film "limitless" the other day and how i thought it was a great concept, but lacked a proper screenplay and execution to do the storyline the justice it had potential for. he then mentioned the book flowers for algernon somewhere in the conversation... and so i recently picked it up and read it straight through.

before continuing, let me just say - at the risk of sounding like a complete nerd - i took it a step further by actually researching the author, daniel keyes, in detail after coming across a short summary of how this novel came to be the actual premise in which limitless was based upon... and wow. it really did give me a newfound appreciation for the subject matter.

definitely a great and easy read. i would highly recommend this to everyone. i don't know how it skipped my high school, but who knows if i would've appreciated it back then anyways. very poignant and insightful... and it was one of those literary works that deeply tugged at my heart strings from the very beginning.

going off on another tangent here, it also led me to read the novellette, "understand" by ted chiang. again, so good too... similar concepts :) again, highly recommended! click here to read it, right now - for free! and if you do/did, let me know what you think of it..!

♪ ♩ ♫ what is the light, that you have shining all around you? is it chemically derived?
'cause if it's natural, something glowing from inside... shining all around you. it's potential has arrived... ♪ ♩ ♫

rainbow cupcakes :)

i've been on a baking kick recently and was already smitten by the idea jamming a rainbow in a cupcake... but after making them, frosting them, and enjoying one, omg! these little cuties are like... a rainbow ;D in a cupcake!!! yes, i'm a dork! haha.

nonetheless, so gosh darn adorable though, they just make me so happy :) you've gotta be one cold, cold soul if they can't even brighten up your day, just a little!? and i can't seem to stop using exclamation points! hhaha.


on life, love, and the pursuit of happy'ness!

who doesn't want to be happy? just take a look at any moment of your life, any choice you make... isn't your intention to be happy?

and by happiness, i don't necessarily mean the pollyanna, silly-smile-on-your-face kind. what i mean is a deep sense of contentment, the capability of being peaceful and at ease no matter what, an inner knowing that things are just fine.

somehow true happiness eludes us, and here's probably why. even though we long for it more than anything, we make choices that derail us. we choose stressful behaviors, distorted beliefs through which we view the world... and emotional chaos. and in doing so, we interfere with our potential to be happy.

but happiness is absolutely within your reach. my reach. our reach. in fact, it's closer than close! try this, make a study of your thoughts and emotions. see what makes you unhappy, then plant your feet firmly in the land of happiness. sounds too simple, right? ;P
  1. take responsibility. dont blame others, turn yourself into a victim, or wait for someone to come and save you. if you want to be happy, take the bull by the horns. be willing to figure out how you stand in the way of your happiness.
  2. embody enthusiasm. be willing, open, courageous, and humble. admit what isn't working and be available to the possibility of real inner change. keep your quest alive.
  3. drop your old baggage. nothing kills happiness more quickly than old hurts, resentments, and grudges. if you are spending your precious time stuck in a sad story from the past, realize that you are being affected way more than anyone else. wrap all of that pain in a vast cocoon of love, then move on with clarity and grace.
  4. become intensely interested in your inner life. the cause of unhappiness is the playing out of conditioned habits that dont serve you. find out what they are and use a laser focus to see how they work. with your new-found awareness, make healthy, life-affirming choices.
  5. question your beliefs. we unknowingly build our lives around distorted beliefs and expectations. put every thought under the microscope for examination to see if it is actually true. you will undoubtedly find that you are living through a veil of confusion and limitation. be willing to step away from these familiar and cherished beliefs and see everything with fresh eyes.
  6. appreciate presence. happiness is found here, in the eternal now – not in the past or future. relax. let all efforting fall away, and receive everything just as it is. luxuriate in the wonder of your senses as you go about your daily life.
  7. study your emotions. life becomes heavy and burdensome when we are ruled by difficult emotions. the medicine for this emotional pain is interest and attention. stop telling yourself stories that fuel your emotions. rather, welcome the direct experience of the feelings and the sensations in your body. let them be without needing to get rid of them. over time, they will lose their power over you, and you will be at peace. the clouds will lift, revealing the happiness you have been searching for all along.
  8. live from your heart. shed every thought, emotion, and habit that no longer serves you. what is left? love. let love permeate your conversations, activities, and the way you treat yourself. in any moment, ask, “what would love do?” then do it. savor the deliciousness of a full and open heart.
  9. choose freedom over fear. fear is another happiness-killer. know when fear is driving your choices, and choose otherwise. meet fear with love, then have the courage to act on what you really want.
  10. let happiness pervade your life. every moment presents the opportunity to be happy. if you doubt me, just take a look at your own experience. when you break it down to its bare essence in the moment, you will realize that a choice is always possible. nag or be silent, self-criticize or self-love, sustain stress or take a deep breath, perpetuate a habit or unravel it until you just cant keep it going anymore.
when we are at peace with our own experience, we can’t help but be happy. nothing is in the way. we see through the fog of faulty beliefs and dramatic stories, leaving us available to consciously choose happiness – now, and now, and now.

i feel like it's not until we let go of preferences for or against that we will start seeing problems melt away. feelings come? no problem. strong sensations? no problem. bliss overflowing? no problem. everything welcome just as it is.

and yet people still ask me how i do it? hmmm.

alexis bailly vineyard!

...since april, my dear cousin E has been wanting to play matchmaker and set me up with her friend M. over july 4th weekend, i found myself in the twin cities - where they're both from - and the timing just seemed to work out when i finally agreed to meet him. like most everyone i cross paths with, we hit it off fairly well :) so well, that i agreed to come back for a date the following weekend since i was going to be there again for a friend's bachelorette party.

truly... one of my best dates ever. if that's what you call it? haha. it was actually a series of little dates during the 3 days i was in town that included a hip hop show (dessa, cecil otter, a wolf and her claws - wow!) the first night i was there, an outing to the alexis bailly vineyard in hastings, minnesota for an afternoon of wine tasting and bocce ball that saturday. followed by a sunday brunch at a neat little finnish bistro in falcon heights. a stroll through the zoo... dinner, and concluded with a double movie date with my girlfriend before bidding farewell.

here's a fun[ny] fact: little did i know that M's buddy who i met during the hip hop show, he also joined us at the vineyard, was going to end up being our stripper for the bachelorette party saturday night too. lols.

thanks for being such a gentleman, M! if only all blind dates were like this! :) i'm smitten.

a peace of me.

another weekend in cornucopia, wisconsin with my favorite people! unwinding, fishing and taking in the wonderful landscape of the greatest of the great lakes. oh, the stillness and sense of peace i find in the northwoods :) this is lake superior... beach bonfires were how we undressed our evenings and consumed the darkness while the sun woke us with warm kisses. <3

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: the power of 5!

i was first introduced to the power of five philosophy in my early twenties while doing some random reading and it's stuck with me since! the 5 form the basis of concepts that have been around for centuries in various cultures and these guidelines, in my opinion, do in fact improve health and cooking moreso than simply following diets and/or recipes. after all, i'm a believer in that anything in moderation isn't bad for you.

the 5 senses food should be enjoyed with all five of the senses: taste and smell... sight, which in some cultures is just as important as taste. its the artful arrangement on appropriate tableware that can add so much to the enjoyment of the meal and enhance the entire experience.
touch is also important; especially the texture of the food itself, which should be varied... as well as the tableware it is presented on as it is customary to hold vessels and utensils in your hands.
hearing, while being a bit more obscure, also figures in! for instance, to give due respect to the chef, a quiet atmosphere is appreciated, so that you really appreciate the marvelous experience!

the 5 colors the prevalence of the five colors – white, black, red, green and yellow – has been a tradition in many asian cultures since buddhism arrived from china in the 6th century. it is believed that all five colors be incorporated in every meal. while i dont always follow this, i do find that following the five colors rule does indeed boost the nutritional value, as well as the visual enjoyment of the meal. bento, for instance, includes white rice with black sesame seeds, a red umeboshi, a slice of sweet yellow omelette, and green beans with black sesame sauce. being mindful of this practice will help you serve balanced meals with the proper vitamins and minerals.

the 5th taste salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and… umami. recently, much fuss has been made over umami, touted as the fifth taste. umami comes from the japanese word umai, meaning delicious, and can be described as savory. it infuses everything it touches with a full-flavor deliciousness.

the 5 ways the preparation of the dishes is also important, and here, there are also five methods: raw, simmered, fried, steamed and roasted or grilled.
as a child, my mum always prepared several dishes... it didnt make a difference if it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. there was always a subtle flavored/textured boiled or blanched greens dish... or alternatively a delicate soup of simmered meat and vegetables.
from there, the flavors and textures just get progressively more substantial; perhaps some crispy porkchops, or grilled fish, etc.
at the same time, the meal is neutralized with - a common staple in asian households - steamed rice. and dessert is sometimes served as well. always light; perhaps a slice of cucumber lightly dressed in palm sugar!
it wasnt until i was aware of the power of five that i began to realize this progression of flavors and preparation methods has been ingrained in me since childhood... and that it was surprisingly similar throughout the world, naturally observed in many asian cultures.

the 5 attitudes more esoteric are the five attitudes in the partaking of food. these come from the buddhist faith, and provide the foundation for the japanese attitude towards food by cultivating a spirit of gratitude.

- i reflect on the work that brings this food before me; let me see whence this food comes.
- i reflect on my imperfections, on whether i am deserving of this offering of food.
- let me hold my mind free from preferences and greed.
- i take this food as an effective medicine to keep my body in good health.
- i accept this food so that i will fulfill my task of enlightenment.

...all this was triggered because i wanted to share my breakfast :) on the up side, theres nothing better than great food with a side of intellectual substance to start my day!

recall walker... kill bill rally!

first and foremost, let me preface what's to follow by saying: i like to think politics and religion is like a penis. it's perfectly fine to have one. heck, it's great to be proud of it! but please, don't go shoving it down anyone's throat.

with that said... i'd just like to share these photos from earlier this month when i traveled down to our state capitol in madison, wisconsin to show my support for my family and friends - teachers and public union workers - who would be been directly impacted by governor scott walker's 2011 budget repair bill... in regard to collective bargaining rights. but it has to do with so much more, and not money! however, i'll avoid going into it on my blog.

but as the average american citizen, i realize that i may be ignorant to political motives which i find are subjective anyway - depending on each individual or group of individual's true intention. i understand that any objective is debatable and can be cleverly manipulated and argued - afterall isn't that essentially politics? but rather than trying to point the finger on one concrete motive and directing blame from thereon forward, i believe we have the responsibility to look at this issue on an abstract level and, instead, scrutinize its ripple effects and the impact it'll have in the long run - for every one.

but in a society like ours, although we've gone a long ways from history, our political forum - like any business - still has its own agendas... where all we can do is continue to do what we can within our ability! and in governor scott walker's defense... yes, he is doing exactly what he said he would do. but that doesn't mean we need to accept it if we so passionately are against it in regard to the approach.

in any case, this was a very powerful and peaceful protest to have been a part of! and from an entirely different perspective, the artsy fartsy in me also noticed a lot of creativity involved as well :) haha, to each their own!