On Optimization

Optimization (from Wikipedia*): …the selection of a best element (with regard to some criteria) from some set of available alternatives.

I’ve been thinking on the goal progress post that I made earlier this month and started to about ways that I can meet my health goals more easily. Also, I have started to follow some psychologists/psychiatrists with different specializations (the goal here was to help me decide on what I want to focus on for my Master’s degree). Well, one of them had linked to a series of articles about a person spending a month trying to better different aspects of his life (waking up, working, and using/being in the bathroom), which brought up several ideas that I think I will incorporate as part of my trying to overhaul my daily routine. Then randomly, as part of this weird Facebook game that a lot of us are playing (where you comment on a ridiculously old post), one of the posts that showed up was JadedSecurity’s detox blog. I had tried to remember what it was not too long ago because there were some smoothie recipes on there that I had wanted to try.

So, after all of this thinking and reading, I have identified four types of mornings that I need to prepare for: (1) weekdays when I work from home and have a client in an earlier timezone, (2) days where I travel for work, (3) weekdays where I am in a different city for client work, and (4) weekend mornings. Regardless of the type of day that I have ahead of me, I plan on spending part of the afternoon/evening getting ready for it (laying out clothes for the gym and for work, prepping my to do list for the next day, etc.). I am also enforcing a kind of “lights out” time at night in order to help make sure that I’m well-rested (and it will help me with my reading goal as well).

For weekday mornings where I am either working from home or am in a different city for work, I plan on waking up at around 5 AM in order to wash my face, brush my teeth, and hit the (apartment/hotel) gym for some quick cardio and body weight workouts (100 push up app and 100 curl up app). I found that after working, I do not feel like exercising and just want/need to unwind (usually by watching tv, but am thinking of changing that to yoga). Afterwards, I’ll go back to the apartment/room in order to shower, change, and do my hair and make up (even though I’ll be working from home in one of these scenarios, I want to get in the habit of still trying to look nice during the day. Even if I just throw on jeans and a t-shirt instead of PJs). Breakfast for the next few weeks will be a smoothie with lots of protein and some fiber in order to help me speed past this carb funk I’ve been feeling lately. For home smoothies, I have a Ninja Pro blender and I just bought a travel blender for me to use while on the road. Also, I have the aeropress that I can use (and should have been using) in order to avoid sugary Starbucks drinks while traveling.

Travel days (especially ones where I have an early flight) basically means I will do everything mentioned above, but will not be able to hit the fitness center for my morning cardio. I will still try to do my body weight exercises, though, so that way I feel ready for the hectic day ahead of me. Breakfast out of SEA is pretty easy for me now since Beecher’s opens at around 5AM and I can get some cheese, dry almonds, and cranberries for breakfast or a salad from there without any croutons.

Weekend mornings are kind of tricky. It is the only time where I do not have to be up at 5AM in order to have time to do stuff before work. However, I have a self-imposed goal to climb Mount Sai by the end of the year and have a Tough Mudder thing with L I want to be ready for in September. So on these mornings, I will allow myself to sleep in, have a protein-rich breakfast, pack some snacks and water, and hike Chirico Trail. This trail is down the street and has an incline that is steeper than Mt Sai (although much shorter in length) so that I can train. As an aside, during the week if I have time I will be doing longer hikes in the afternoon in order to prepare for the length of the Mount Sai hike as well.

I know the weekend days sound similar to the different weekday ones, but the main difference is the diet I follow for the rest of the day. Basically, working from home days will consist of 2 smoothies (breakfast/lunch) and then a dinner (lean cut of meat and some veggies). Travel days are going to probably be eating out the entire day, but trying to follow the same pattern for meals as I do for dinner when working from home. Days where I’m in a different city will consist of a breakfast smoothie and then lunch/dinner following the same rules for a “normal” dinner. Weekend days will probably be all normal meals (unless I do a lunch smoothie instead. I still don’t know how that is going to work yet). Also, I will drink 64+ oz of water a day and be better about logging things in MyFitnessPal.

I will be weighing myself in when I get home from this trip (Saturday AM) and then will not weigh in again until the end of the month. I’m stealing this idea from Jaded as well because I like the idea of using that two weeks to focus on developing better habits and being well rather than just the losing weight aspect. This will help me stick to the habits better because then I am not worried about not having immediate results for little time/effort.

*Yes, I know I cited Wikipedia. Shut up.

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Goal Tracking: Month One

In order to keep myself accountable to the goals that I set this year, I figure that it would make sense to post on my progress monthly. I had attempted to do a “regular” review last year, but didn’t really check in on my goals until I hit the 6 month mark. By then, I felt that I was already helplessly behind on a number of my larger goals. Also by writing up a review of the month as far as my goals are, I can quickly see what is and is not working.

  • Save at least $15,000 by the end of the year for the house fund.I think I am at about $500 for the month of January. I was really bad about splurging on birthdays (mine included), so I made up a budget for this month that should be easy to stick to as well as help me get on track with my savings goal.
  • Get healthy (physically): 3 month goal is to get back to being paleo/keto since that diet has worked very well for me and has had me feeling the best I have on any other eating plan/diet. 6 month goal is to get under 200# (something I have not been since I was about 15).

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.59.39 AM Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 10.00.46 AM

The top chart counts my steps throughout the month of January. You can tell the days that I am stuck at my desk for the entire day versus the ones where work ends up early enough for me to get a hike in. (NOTE: The green bars are where I have met and/or exceeded my 10k step goal.)

This second chart tracks my weight across the month. I am a little below (about 5-6 pounds) from where I started out the month. That huge spike you see in the middle of the chart? That’s my company meeting week in Las Vegas. Luckily, those don’t happen too often so I expect to see better results this month.

As far as getting back on paleo/keto, that is going pretty well. I have effectively removed everything in our kitchen and pantry that contained more than five ingredients in it and have significantly cut down on how much rice we have been eating (rice is kind of a big deal in our home). This month I also focused on making sure I drank 64 0z or more of water every day and am back on my daily vitamin regimen (4000 UI Vitamin D, a multi vitamin, fish oil pill, and calcium supplement). For this month, I am going to cut out beans, gluten free “cheat” foods (gf muffins, cereal, etc.), and chocolate.

    • Have no credit card debt at the end of the year and work together with M to raise our credit scores for when we start looking for a house.I am really proud of how I’m doing with this one. I have dropped our household credit card debt from about $8500 to $7400 this past month. (All wedding- and honeymoon-related expenses are now officially paid off!)
    • Talk with a school advisor at UW by the end of January in order to have a clear-set plan for me to apply for a Master’s program next year.Did not meet this one because I ended up sending an email to multiple, different schools because now I’m not so sure that UW is the school I want to go to for my Master’s. Not only because it is so fscking expensive, but they also require you to be in class the entire time. The alternatives that I have reached out to are a bit cheaper and all of them will allow me to complete my degree online.
    • I want to read 52 new books by the end of the year (fiction or non-fiction).I have read 2 books this past month. Time to get crackin’ on this goal.
    • Update this blog at least once a month with what is going on in my life.I’m totally counting this post as meeting this month’s goal and did better last month than I did for most of last year.
    • Save up to be able to get away for our one year wedding anniversary (right now thinking the San Juan islands or renting something off the Oregon coast).We booked the hotel room for a spot off the Oregon coast- it is going to be so nice!
    • Remove the (obviously) toxic people from my life as much as possible by the end of the month and keep an eye out for potentially toxic people. I spent too much time this past year with someone who hurt me deeply and repeatedly and I don’t want to go through that again.This is actually a bit harder of a goal than I had anticipated. What necessarily constitutes “toxic”? Maybe I just want to cut out people who don’t invest the same time/interest that I do? Or do I need to be more aware of how *I* feel and act around others and then use that as my basis for not spending my time/energy on those people? I’m obviously still working on this.
    • Be able to hike up Mt Si within a reasonable time by the end of the year.Starting to make progress on this one. Mount Si is an 8 mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of about 3150 ft. This past month, I have started hiking some of the longer trails again in order to get used to moving around (I stopped hiking mid-November for the winter). This month, I plan on alternating long hikes with trips to Poo Poo Point (Chirico trail), which is a steeper climb than Mount Si is. By doing this, I should be able to attempt my first go at Mount Si sometime in mid-March.

 

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Hike Log: January 26, 2015

Hike Name: Little Si
Date: January 26, 2015
Location: North Bend, WA
Length: 4.7 miles (roundtrip)
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft.
Highest Point: 15500 ft.
Notes: The day after my birthday, I had the unshakable need to go out for a hike and was lucky enough to have end work for the day early. So I went out and decided to hike Little Si again. It was a lot warmer than it was back in November when I first did this hike, but it was still a crisp and gorgeous day. I was also able to decrease the amount of time it took me to do the hike (about 3 hours or so the first time and about 2.25 hours this last go), even after taking the time to sit up at the top and look around. Usually, I’m all about doing the round trip hike as quickly as possible (while still taking a selfie at the top), but I am planning on taking more time once I reach the destination and do some reflection. Or take a little notepad with me so I can write. After coming back down from Little Si, I felt a lot more refreshed and things that were bothering me earlier no longer did.

Links to Pictures: Tottenkoph’s Flickr account: #Little Si

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Meal Plan for the Week of 1/18

I just got back from a week-long team meeting in Las Vegas and am definitely going through the same kind of good (for you) cravings that I usually get when I come back from the week long stints for BSidesLV/BH/DEF CON. Luckily, this time I wasn’t as “bad” as I usually am when I go to Vegas, but I definitely put on a few pounds while I was there (but also gained some muscle — yay!). So today, we put together another meal plan/shopping list like last week. The only difference is that a few recipes are going to call for an immersion blender (we picked one up on the cheap after Christmas), but those recipes can probably use a potato masher or food processor with similar results. Also just like last week, I provided links to recipes and a shopping list so that way you can remove items that you already have at home. M is doing streudels for breakfast this week because he bought a large container of them while I was in Vegas and still has some left over.

Sunday
Breakfast N’oatmeal and coffee Streudels and coffee
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Turkey BLTA rollups, applesauce, carrot sticks, and cucumber sticks
Dinner Pork chops and apple sauce
Monday
Breakfast N’oatmeal and coffee Streudels and coffee
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Turkey BLTA rollups, applesauce, carrot sticks, and cucumber sticks
Dinner Roasted red pepper & goat cheese chicken alfredo
Tuesday
Breakfast N’oatmeal and coffee Streudels and coffee
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Turkey BLTA rollups, applesauce, carrot sticks, and cucumber sticks
Dinner Cracklin’ chicken with roasted cumin carrots
Wednesday
Breakfast N’oatmeal and coffee Streudels and coffee
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Turkey BLTA rollups, applesauce, carrot sticks, and cucumber sticks
Dinner Shrimp cocktail salad
Thursday
Breakfast N’oatmeal and coffee Streudels and coffee
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Turkey BLTA rollups, applesauce, carrot sticks, and cucumber sticks
Dinner Coconut chicken curry
Friday
Breakfast N’oatmeal and coffee Streudels and coffee
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Turkey BLTA rollups, applesauce, carrot sticks, and cucumber sticks
Dinner Chili
Saturday
Breakfast N’oatmeal and coffee Streudels and coffee
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Turkey BLTA rollups, applesauce, carrot sticks, and cucumber sticks
Dinner Chili dogs

Shopping List

pork chops
pink lady apples x7
apple juice
chicken breast
spaghetti squash
roasted red bell peppers
small container half & half
4 oz goat cheese
2/3 c parmesan cheese
spaghetti
cinammon
streudels
bananas
ground flax seed
almond milk
vanilla extract
chicken thighsx2
carrots
cumin
chili powder
paprika
oregano
ground beef
fish sauce
hot dogs
diced tomatoes 24 oz
dark red kidney beans
red bell pepper x2
mayo
shrimp
spring salad mix
turkey slices
avocado x5
plum tomato x5
bacon
baby carrots
cucumber
coconut milk
green curry paste
garlic
baby spinach

Recipes

N’oatmeal: http://taylormadeitpaleo.com/2013/08/05/oatmeal-minus-the-oats/
Turkey BLTA roll ups: http://www.ourpaleolife.com/2013/03/turkey-blta-roll-ups/
Apple sauce: http://www.whatmegansmaking.com/2011/10/crockpot-applesauce.html
Roasted red pepper & goat cheese alfredo: http://www.laurenslatest.com/roasted-red-pepper-goat-cheese-alfredo/
Cracklin’ chicken: http://nomnompaleo.com/post/74180911762/cracklin-chicken
Cumin carrots: http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2011/01/13/cumin-roasted-carrot-coins/
Coconut chicken curry (recipe uses shrimp): http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/10/thai-green-coconut-curry-shrimp-with.html
Paleo Mayo (if you don’t want store bought): http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/2010/06/03/the-secret-to-homemade-mayo-patience/

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Meal plan for the week of January 5

I started to send my little sister my weekly meal plans and grocery lists in order to help her get used to meal planning/budgeting on her own. Evidently, she really liked it (this week was the first list I sent to her) and she posted it on FB and suggested that I shared it all. So, that’s what this is and I apologize for the length ahead of time.

The first part is the actual meal plan. I split breakfast into two columns because M does not like eggs. Also, I originally wrote everything up in Excel, hence the weird borders that I’m too lazy this morning to fix.

Monday
Breakfast Rice, miso soup, egg, and fish Rice, miso soup, and fish
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Chili dogs
Dinner Orange chicken with rice
Tuesday
Breakfast Rice, miso soup, egg, and fish Rice, miso soup, and fish
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Greek salad
Dinner Baked cod with coconut shallot sauce and green beans
Wednesday
Breakfast Rice, miso soup, egg, and fish Rice, miso soup, and fish
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Greek salad
Dinner Thai basil beef balls with “pasta”
Thursday
Breakfast Rice, miso soup, egg, and fish Rice, miso soup, and fish
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Greek salad
Dinner Baked chicken thighs with a mornay sauce and garlic broccoli
Friday
Breakfast Rice, miso soup, egg, and fish Rice, miso soup, and fish
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Greek salad
Dinner Spicy beef scramble with roasted sweet potato
Saturday
Breakfast Rice, miso soup, egg, and fish Rice, miso soup, and fish
Snack Trail mix
Lunch Greek salad
Dinner bbq chicken wings with baked beans

Next, I sent her the grocery list. I listed out the ingredients for everything except for breakfast and the trail mix so that way she can go through and get rid of anything on the list that she may already have in her apartment.

Green onion
Orange juice
Chicken thighs x2
Broccoli crown
Small container of whipping cream
Butter
Creamy almond butter
Grated cheddar cheese
Raw honey
Cod (if out, get a comparable white fish)
Coconut milk
Small shallot
Green beans
Spinach
Black olives
Feta cheese
Spaghetti squash
Spaghetti
Rice
Coconut aminos or tamari
Coconut oil
olive oil
lemon juice
garlic
large can crushed tomatoes
small can tomato paste
diced tomatoes
red bell pepper
Ground beef x2
almond flour
fish sauce
large sweet potato
Sriracha sauce
cinnamon
kale
curry
bbq rub
bbq sauce of choice

And then finally, I sent her a link to recipes that I am using and then provided her the recipes for the other stuff that wasn’t obvious (like baked cod).

Recipes:

Orange chicken: http://www.health-bent.com/poultry/paleo-orange-chicken
Granola: http://www.preppypaleo.com/2012/09/paleo-breakfast-cookie-granola.html
Thai basil beef balls (for the “spaghetti” on Wednesday): http://www.health-bent.com/beef/paleo-thai-basil-meat-beef-balls
Roasted sweet potato (For Friday): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/roasted-sweet-potatoes-with-honey-butter-recipe.html

Trail mix (for snackies):
Unsalted almonds
Unsalted cashews
Dried cranberries
Dried blueberries
White chocolate chips

Coconut-shallot sauce from “Primal Blueprint Healthy Sauces, Dressings & Toppings” (for Tuesday):
Ingredients
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small shallot
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c coconut milk

Instructions
Warm olive oil and butter over medium heat then add shallot. Saute for 3 minutes
Add lemon juice and saute for 1 minute then add coconut milk.
Bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes, stirring as sauce thickens.

Spaghetti sauce (for Wednesday):
Ingredients
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 regular sized can of diced tomatoes
red bell pepper
handful of spinach

Instructions
Cut up bell pepper and then mix all ingredients together and then season to taste. We usually do a mixture of garlic, oregano, rosemary, basil, and thyme.

Mornay sauce from “Primal Blueprint Healthy Sauces, Dressings & Toppings” (for Thursday):
Ingredients
1/4 c whipping cream
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp raw almond butter
1 c grated cheese (cheddar is best in our opinion)

Instructions
Warm cream over medium-low heat while in a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat and then whisk in almond butter.
Slowly pour the heated cream into the almond butter mixture and bring to a gentle boil, stirring continuously while it is coming to the gentle boil.
Simmer 3 minutes and then slowly stir in the cheese and then serve immediately.

We usually lightly cook our green beans with some butter and a pinch or two of brown sugar, but you can prep it however you guys like.

Spiced beef with kale (for Friday):
Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
small bunch of kale
1 tbsp olive oil
curry powder (to taste)

Instructions
Cook ground beef in a pan seasoned with salt.
Once cooked, add olive oil and kale. Cook together until kale is softened.
Add curry then serve over the sweet potatoes. Top with Sriracha if desired.

BBQ Chicken wings (for Saturday):
Ingredients
BBQ rub (premade because I’m lazy)
Chicken wings

Instructions:
Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Coat the chicken wings/legs in the rub of your choice and place on the baking sheet (it is a little crisper if you put it on top of a wire thing that hovers over your baking sheet, but that’s not required).
Place baking sheet with chicken in the oven for 20 minutes, flip and then put them back in for another 15 minutes or until they are done and the outside looks nice.
Dip in bbq sauce and chow down.

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2014 to 2015

While we were growing up, there was always a big to-do around New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Tottenmom would make us spend NYE cleaning and getting things done around the house because we wouldn’t be allowed to do any of them on New Year’s Day. She told us that whatever we did on the first of the year, we would end up doing the rest of it. So I’m spending today in as positive as a mindset as possible and starting to establish the good habits that I want to continue with during the new year. 2014 was kind of a mixed bag of good and bad. The good involved getting married to a smart, funny and all-around wonderful man, making some new friends, started a new job that I’m loving, and my cousin is up visiting for the holidays and looking to establish residence up here. The bad included some self-inflicted depression, anxiety issues getting a bit out of hand, my gram passed a few weeks before the wedding, and a friend that I’ve had since middle school had used us, lied to us, and owes us a bit of money that we now don’t expect to get back.

Despite that last bit, I’m entering the new year feeling optimistic for what lies ahead. It will be a hard year for some of us, but the possibilities for good that it holds at this point are endless. As for new year’s resolutions, I want to have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals in order for me to be able to get to where I want to be at this time next year. So, here they are (in no particular order):

  • Save at least $15,000 by the end of the year for the house fund.
  • Get healthy (physically): 3 month goal is to get back to being paleo/keto since that diet has worked very well for me and has had me feeling the best I have on any other eating plan/diet. 6 month goal is to get under 200# (something I have not been since I was about 15). 9 month goal is to get to the weight that is considered healthy for my height.
  • Have no credit card debt at the end of the year and work together with M to raise our credit scores for when we start looking for a house.
  • Talk with a school advisor at UW by the end of January in order to have a clear-set plan for me to apply for a Master’s program next year.
  • I want to read 52 new books by the end of the year (fiction or non-fiction).
  • Update this blog at least once a month with what is going on in my life.
  • Save up to be able to get away for our one year wedding anniversary (right now thinking the San Juan islands or renting something off the Oregon coast).
  • Remove the (obviously) toxic people from my life as much as possible by the end of the month and keep an eye out for potentially toxic people. I spent too much time this past year with someone who hurt me deeply and repeatedly and I don’t want to go through that again.
  • Be able to hike up Mt Si within a reasonable time by the end of the year.
  • Go on a camping trip with a group of friends this summer.
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A quick update

During lunch today, I decided to copy/paste my hike logs into the official Washington Trail Association’s collection of hike logs so that others could see it if they were planning hikes. I mostly did this because some of these trails haven’t had any updates to the hike since summer! While you submit your hike log information, it tells you how many days it has been since you hiked it, which led me to find out that my last hike was over 30 days ago! And then I realized I haven’t made an update in about as long. [Insert shocked/sad face here]

So, in the past few weeks, I have been pretty busy and there was even a period of a week and a half where I didn’t even have a computer with me. It was weird and awesome at the same time. During that week and a half, M and I traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida, to spend time with my friends and family during the Thanksgiving/Christmas shopping season. I was planning on live-tweeting the dinner because of the things that comes out of my family’s mouths, but I ended up drinking a bottle of wine by myself and wasn’t able to tweet. After Thanksgiving, M and I used the rest of the vacation more or less relaxing. At one point during the weekend, I remembered that tottenmom was starting a new job and was scared to think about what she would wear (my mom hasn’t really updated her wardrobe in a while because the bank required her to wear a uniform). So, I removed everything from her closet and then took her shopping. She ended up looking really good, got a lot of compliments, and no longer looked like she would blend in with the couch/draperies. So that was a win.

The rest of the week was spent mostly hanging around my parents’ house (where I grew up), playing Pokemon with M, eating at places that were bad for me, and then going to the Florida Aquarium (pics here). I was also really happy because I was able to spend time with my three dearest friends while we were there as well as I got to give my goddaughter a big ol’ hug before she got sick and we had to fly out.

So, that has been more or less what I have been up to since my last post. Now on the health side of things, I’m sitting in SMF, waiting for my flight, and looking forward to being home for the last few weeks of the year. I have successfully been able to drink almost a gallon of water every day for the past three days and feel great. So I think I will try and keep that up even after being home. I have been averaging about 2.5 miles a day, but plan on increasing that to 5 when I’m home. I have also been successful (mostly) in getting back in the habit of eating paleo. The mostly is because I have had a glass of wine with dinner each night as well as an AMAZING souffle that I was not going to pass up while I was traveling. Other than that, nothing I have consumed has had more than 5 ingredients. I will make a separate post later with pictures and recommendations for food in the Sacramento area if anyone is interested.

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Book Review: “Social Physics…”

I have a problem. No matter how many books are downloaded and ready to read on my Kindle, I almost always end up buying a physical book (or two) while I’m at the airport. It starts out innocently enough. I’ll have an hour before boarding so I’ll just browse through the books to see what is out there. Then I come across books that sound interesting and then I end up with an extra 5 pounds in my carry on. Oh well, that’s how I’ve come across some really good and some not-so-good books.

One of the most recent acquisitions from Sea-Tac was the book Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread – The Lessons From a New Science. It mainly focuses on “idea flow” or, rather, the way that information is exchanged within any given social grouping (friends, businesses, cities, etc.). The ideas that were touched on in the book were pretty interesting, but something that seemed to take away from the message of the book was the fact the author mostly spoke about studies he (and sometimes his students) were involved with. Granted, it is nice to know that the dude knows what he is talking about, but it would have been nice to hear about other studies/books on the subject as well. There is a point where it starts to make your book sound like a resume or that you need to reassure yourself that you’re a real scientist and the author had hit that point for me.

Writing style aside, the ideas presented in the book were actually pretty interesting to me and align with some of what I want to study for my future Master’s degree. A couple points the author made really hit home when I thought about them in context of the hacker and infosec communities. Specifically, at one point the author talks about the importance of diversity and states “When everyone is going in the same direction, then it is a good bet that there isn’t enough diversity in your information and idea sources, and you should explore further. A big danger of social learning is groupthink.”  

I know what you’re thinking “duh, Tottie.” But hang with me for a moment. He then (much later in the book) goes on to discuss how meetings where one or a few number of people leading the discussion in a meeting results in a lack of engagement from the others in the meeting as well as limits the amount of new ideas/solutions generated. To me, this can also be used to describe why we like hall/bar/lobby con more so than the actual convention itself. We are in smaller, tighter-knit groups where usually everyone is engaged in the discussion and as a result usually feel more fulfilled intellectually than we do after sitting in an hour long talk or panel. Generally, folks also have been saying that their favorite cons now are the smaller ones (Derby, shmoo, BSides x, etc.), which also facilitates our want/need to have these smaller/more intimate discussions.

Or I could just be extrapolating. Whatever. Point is, although I wasn’t a fan of the writing style, some of the points made and the data to support it was pretty interesting. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being this book is shit and you should only get it in case you have a toilet paper shortage and 10 being this book is the second coming of Christ), I’d rate it a 4.5.

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Highlightin’ and Contourin’

So, I think a little background is necessary since most people know I’m not the kind to go off and post about make up and shiz. I’m in North Carolina and have been in awe of how well put together everyone seems to look. While at dinner tonight, I was sitting at the bar next to this really pretty young woman who I was talking with once she overheard I was out of town. So at some point I made the comment about how nice everyone looks and how they seem to really take care of their appearance and she said, “Guuuuuuurl, it ain’t nothing but a little highlightin’ and contourin’.” Seriously, the “gurl” lasted a half a minute and she did the one eyebrow raise, so I feel like I should have known better.

After I talking with her for a bit longer, we paid our tabs and went our separate ways. Which involved me going to the grocery store for a bottle of wine and then the drugstore for some makeup. I had no idea what to buy, so of course I did what any self-respecting person would do. I Googled “drugstore highlight and contour”. And then I found a page that listed products to buy and had a youtube video on how to apply it. So, I bought the stuff, went back to the hotel room, poured a glass of the wine and started following along with the video. And took pictures along the way (below).

"before"

Me before I applied anything.

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Added some primer. Looking a little washed out, but that’s totally fine because I was flushed from the wine.

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Feeling a little concerned after applying the darker colored concealer as contouring. Kind of a mix between “playing with mom’s makeup” and “planning for plastic surgery”.

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But then I did some blending with a foundation brush and felt a little bit better. Still felt like someone who was trying out for a part in Lion King musical, but whatebur.

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And now highlighting! Which was weird because the only difference between the concealer and my natural skin tone was that it was slightly yellow-er.

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Then blending with the foundation brush again. FYI: You do that A LOT because if you don’t, you end up looking ridiculous.

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And now bronzer powder over the bits where you put the darker concealer.

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And then you blend again!

I’ll be totally honest. I was expecting to look kind of ridiculous, like some of the girls that you see photos of on Pinterest. But overall, it ended up kinda flattering. It probably helped that I tried to get colors that were at least semi-complimentary to my skin tone. So…yeah. That’s it. It ended up taking maybe 20 minutes and I could pass as a responsible adult who does responsible adult stuff, so I guess I will probably keep up with it. Next step: learn how to style my hair in something other than “down” or “in a ponytail”.

 

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Hike Log: November 13, 2014

Hike Name: Little Si
Date: November 13, 2014
Location: North Bend, WA
Length: 4.7 miles (roundtrip)
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft.
Highest Point: 15500 ft.
Notes: Can I just say that I love being on the west coast and working for east coast clients? The fact that they live in the future makes it so easy to go on hikes in the afternoon. Anyways, yesterday I hiked up to Little Si because I heard that if I made it up Chirico Trail (Poo Poo Point), then I could do this hike with little to no problem. And (luckily) those people were right. The start of the hike is hind of steep in the beginning, but evens out after the first .25 of a mile or so. There are signs along the way that let you know if you’re going the right way or if you’re inadvertently heading toward Boulder Garden Loop Trail (which can be used to get to the Mt Si trail). Like I said, after the first .25 mile it evens out for another mile or so and then the last part of the hike to the summit is a gradual climb as well. I also remembered to bring water up with me this time (yay!), but I didn’t dress anywhere near warm enough for this hike (boo!). It was a clear 41-46 F day and the winds really picked up once I reached the top. So I think it is about time for me to invest in some warmer hiking clothes and break out the thicker socks.

Links to Pictures: Tottenkoph’s Flickr account: #Little Si

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