Friday, September 1, 2017

Healthy Go: Updates, September 2017

Post originally published by Jennifer X on Born Jennius, 01 September 2017.

Here I am again.

It’s been a while since my last Healthy Go post. Or, a post of any sort. I almost had this up in June, which would have been good because I think the original HG post was a few years ago in June. Almost doesn’t count.

Let me start again anyway.

I would like to stop saying, “I’m at my heaviest weight ever” eventually. Today is not that day. HG isn’t really about the weight, but that stat can be an indication of how I’m doing with HG things. I don’t own a scale at home, but the last official weigh-in at the doctor’s office was back in March of this year, at 184 lbs.

No matter the condition of my health, that is too much weight for my 5’2” frame.

I have had low energy levels and energy drops sometimes. I don’t move around as easily as I used to. I don’t fit most of my clothes. The extra weight is not helping my bad leg. I can tell that I’ve lost a lot of strength.

I’m uncomfortable. Time to rethink things and make more adjustments to improve the condition.

Even though I don’t always post for HG, I’ve continued with the journey - obviously not very well looking at the current situation, but I haven't given up at all. One of the recent life changes has been going from part-time back to full-time work. I had been working towards cooking more often and eating better foods, which was good because when I went to FT, I was in a comfortable enough rhythm with cooking that I’ve been good about preparing most of my work meals. I take the bus to work early in the morning, so I prepare breakfast and lunch (and sometimes snacks). In May, I bought 5 of my work meals; I think that will be my limit going forward. In June, I only bought my food one day (two meals); we had a farewell lunch for a co-worker who’s moving on to a better situation for him, so I consciously made the decision to get lunch with everyone else. I had been quite sick the week before, so I also decided to take that day to have other people make my meals and bought my breakfast.

I might have gained maybe 1 or 2 pounds since that March weigh-in, but I don’t think it could be much more than that. Going by the way my fitting clothes fit, I think I’m in maintenance – better than gaining more extra weight at this point.

I have noticed some health improvements with the changes in eating habits, which will probably be the main subject of a future HG post. A few other topics I’m thinking of writing about include:
  • Current work meal preps
  • HG goals
  • Helpful resources
  • Things I’ve learned
  • Am I going Vegan?
  • What Have I Been  Eating?

Not every post will have a clear main topic as some will be a few smaller updates, like this post. I don’t have a sense of how or when I’ll get back to posting regularly yet.

If you’d like to see some of the things I’ve been eating and other (possibly HG-related) content, I post rather regularly on my Instagram (@bornjennius) – you’re welcomed to join me there.

Otherwise, that is it for this post. I hope to see you around.

Thank you for reading! You are welcome to leave a comment and/or question(s) in the section below :)

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Disclaimer: I am not a professional health anything. I am a health trekker, updating my audience with the different sights, and hopefully encouraging others on their own journeys. I am moving towards a healthier lifestyle in a slow and steady approach. Please consult with your doctor before starting a new regimen.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Introduction to My Debt & Learning Simon’s Lesson

Post originally published by Jennifer X on Born Jennius, 28 August 2017.

At the beginning of the year, I had five debt items: 4 student loans and 1 credit card. I just paid off one loan, so now I have four debt items!

Having created a spreadsheet to help me manage the debt and paid off that first loan, I revisited and reworked the spreadsheet. I managed to “knock off” 3 more months of payment. I say, “knock off” because in reality I have yet to pay it all, so depending upon what happens in the future (like emergencies, etc.) that may have an effect on the debt reduction plan, it may have to be adjusted by adding months back – let’s hope that doesn’t happen!

At the moment, I plan to be debt-free by May 2021. It could happen sooner, and hopefully not any later.

All that sounds great, like I’m doing well, but to get to this point where I’m managing debt rather than trying to fend it off took years of building up general money management tasks. I still have a lot of room to grow. To be honest, it’s still quite intimidating, to think of how much things cost, to weigh the consequences of financial decisions, wondering if I’m making good choices, etc.

One keeps moving forward.

Earlier this year, I had received a letter about how I had enough student loan debt to apply for “loan forgiveness.” I would love to not have to pay any or all of my financial debt. However, my debt philosophy is “If I borrowed and used the money, I will pay the money back.” If I borrowed money from a personal relation and that person wanted to forgive the debt, I’ll take their kindness because that’s how personal relationships should be. I would never forget that kindness and I enjoy being generous to those I care about (when I can afford doing so), so I figure things work out in the end. I hope they see it that way too.

A little more on personal-relation loans: something from the TV show 7th Heaven regarding such has stuck with me for years; I apologize if I’m a little off on details as I have not reviewed the episode recently. It was when the Camden Family sat down with one of its members, Mary (played by Jessica Biel), to discuss where she was in life. The sense of the matter was that she had lost her way, her focus. The future she had envisioned for herself was gone and she was having trouble finding a new vision. She had become indebted to her family.

When it was Simon’s turn to speak (the brother who tends to be scrupulous towards saving money), he talked about repaying debt to family first. He said that it was a way to show who you are and the kind of person you want to be. What Simon said was the part that still sticks with me; I took it to mean more than about financial loans, but that is the topic of this post.

A few years ago, around 2013, let’s say, I wasn’t going to have enough to pay my tuition. I borrowed money from my brother. Understand that I could never pay back my parents for everything they’ve given me. I could also never truly pay back my brother for how he’s always taken care of me. And I’m not talking here about times people paid for me and wouldn’t take money back and such. This loan, and I saw it as a loan, was significant for me. I don’t like asking people for money, even for donating to good causes that I care about (I’m working on that part though).

My brother probably never expected to see that money again, and being such a great older brother and family man that he is, he probably didn’t think of it after – I don’t know. He gave me the money and then never mentioned it again. He has always looked out for me, and our parents, but that financial loan changed the dynamic for me. It was an opportunity for a lesson, for what I consider to be and refer to as Simon’s Lesson.

When I got a job, which my brother brought to my attention and so was instrumental in me getting it, the first thing I did was to save up enough money to pay back my brother, with interest also because that’s how much he means to me. It was my Christmas gift to him at the end of that year. Outside circumstances made it an odd exchange, as I just handed him an envelope with the money and a note but he wasn’t in the mood to open it right then; it kind of was better too, so he wouldn’t give it back and so I didn’t have to see what his reaction was.

Anyway, I paid him back and I learned Simon’s Lesson. Paying my brother back felt good, of course, as it spoke to how I value my integrity. Hopefully it also told my brother that I appreciate him, that I want our relationship to be good with nothing hanging over it. Money has a way of coming between people and oftentimes, we let it. I didn’t want to let it come between my brother and I – let the last bite of cheesecake do that!

To further illustrate why one ought to pay back family first, remember that loan collecting agencies like private loans, government agencies (like for federal student loans), or banks, don’t care about you personally. They want their money back for sure, but once you do pay them back, that is end of transaction. They don’t care if you invite them to your wedding or not. They don’t care if you get sick. They don’t want to go on a hike with you.

But your family might just. Pay back your family first.
Obviously, it helps to have a great family, and I happen to have one of them. Even if your family and/ or friends are not so great about money loans, keep in mind the person you want to be whether anyone else knows it or not.

I’m not a financial/ debt wizard. I haven’t read much/ taken courses/ attended seminars about how to manage money. I’ve picked up little things here and there, figured out how to make things work for my circumstances, and adjusted as circumstances have changed.

If you have significant debt, I recommend getting started in attacking it. It may seem overwhelming now, but one has to start somewhere. It does get better as one goes on, learning more, applying more, and with increasing confidence.

And I’ll be on my debt-free journey alongside you on yours.

It’s possible to become debt-free. I’m looking forward to it!

Thank you for reading! You are welcome to leave a comment and/or question(s) in the section below :)

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017 Spring Sephora VIBR Sale Purchases

Post originally published by Jennifer X on Born Jennius, 30 May 2017.

Last year, there were several makeup launches that I definitely didn’t want to miss out on and I also purchased a few things for friends. Therefore, by the end of the year, I qualified for the Sephora VIB Rouge tier for the first time. I don’t plan on making it a second time, at least not anytime soon.

I thought I would make good use of the Rouge status while I have it, except for the complimentary makeovers because I don’t go anywhere and probably won’t have much use for them. The Spring Sale is for 15% off.

Rouge started shopping on the 18th of April, with VIB on the 19th and BI (for 10% off) on the 20th. Rouge and VIB could keep on shopping the sale until the 24th; BI could shop the sale until the 23rd. A lot of numbers, I know.

The first items I purchased online because they weren’t available in stores. They were two of the Viseart 12-color eyeshadow palettes in 02 Bohême Dream and 09 Bijoux Royal. I’ve taken note of the favorable reviews of these eyeshadows but what really pushed it over to the “Buy Me (Eventually)” list in my mind was a video that Stephanie Nicole did: [Viseart & Muse Beauty Pro Interview w/ Demo of New Theory Palettes]. To hear about how the company works and how choice the products are among professionals, I was very much intrigued. Eyeshadows are one of my weaknesses when it comes to cosmetics.

Viseart 02 Boheme Dream & 09 Bijoux Royal
The palettes are pricey up front, and so I had originally planned to buy them in the fall, which tends to have better deals. However, Viseart posted in a few Instagram (IG) photos that these two particular palettes (there are 8 others, permanent, I think) are Limited Edition (LE) and will be going into the vault at the end of the year. Also, these two were the only ones that had been on my wishlist for months. I didn’t want to chance them being sold out during the fall deals, so I bought them now. My eyeshadow inventory is starting to be overwhelming for me, so these might be the only two I ever get, but there are others that I might want (much) later.

The Bijoux Royal came with the insert popped up, but I just snapped it in. If I press on it, I can tell that it’s a little loose but I don’t mind it. The shadows came intact, which is the important thing. I didn’t realize the insert was loose until I opened the palette. They’re almost too pretty to touch, but I also can hardly wait to dig into them!
Rouge could go in store on the first day of the sale, bring a friend who would also get the 15% whatever their Sephora level, and receive a special tote. I don’t have any friends who would be interested in coming with me for such a thing as far as I know, so I went during lunch to the store in the Ala Moana Center (AMC), mainly for the free tote. I’m running out of the color corrector that I have, so I picked up the Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach, and the free tote. [Note, 20 May 2017: it seems that the color corrector that I’m using up is either being discontinued or repackaged, so it might turn out to have been a good idea that I picked up the UD one at this sale].

Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Peach &
Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Medium-Light Neutral
I had planned to get at least a drink from Gloria Jean’s, but it’s not there anymore! I’m very certain that I saw it at the AMC last year in the newer section. We used to have one in Pearlridge Center (PRC) years ago and the only thing I would order when I went was their frozen chocolate drink. Maybe I just imagined that they came to the AMC. This has nothing to do with the Sephora Sale, but I wanted to mark it.

After work, I went to the store in the Pearlridge Center. I usually don’t care for double-redeeming freebies for anything, though I don’t think Sephora has an official policy about it. To me, it’s like taking advantage of a privilege. However, I did so this time with getting another free tote, this time from the PRC store. Since I’m Rouge status for the first (and likely only) time, I didn’t want to miss out on the tote (why I went at lunch) and wanted to see if the PRC store would still have it in stock if I had only gone after work instead – they did.

I had an idea going in on what I wanted to buy, but when I got there, I couldn’t decide on it. In the end, I bought the Belif True Cream Moisturizing Bomb and a travel size Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer.

Belif True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
I had used up a sample of the Belif True Cream Aqua Bomb earlier this year and liked it. In reviews on YouTube (YT) it seemed like people suggested the Moisturizing Bomb for those with dry skin, which I have. The Aqua Bomb is like a soft gel-like consistency whereas the Moisturizing Bomb is more of the traditional cream as far as I understand. I have two other moisturizers to use first, so I’m going to hold off on using this until probably the late summer when I finish one but I’m looking forward to it.

The UD Concealer was a last-minute decision. Now, the travel-size one is not a deal ($12 for 0.06 fl. oz., at $200/fl. oz.); the full-size is the better value ($28 for 0.16 oz, at $175/fl. oz.)(if I’m doing that math correctly). Another way to look at it (the way I usually think about such things in store) is that it would take 3 travel-size ones for the same fl. oz. as the full-size, but it would cost $36 total, more than the $28 of one full-size (rounded for whole product; technically 2.67 for $32.04). The same would be true if I bought the full-size @15% off; the full-size is a much better deal.

The reason I still bought the travel-size is because the last concealer that I had a few years ago I had tossed; I didn’t use it enough and it went bad. If I remember correctly, I didn’t like using it because it was quite thick. I intended to try another concealer at some point, and thought it would be the UD one, so I decided I would try it at the same time that I try the Color Correcting Fluid. The travel-size is in case I don’t like it or don’t use it often enough. Small price to pay for trying it out this time, in my opinion.

The travel-size only comes in two of the shades currently. I got it in Medium-Light Neutral, which I think is a good match (I swatched the testers in store). If it didn’t come in a good match for me, I would’ve gone for the full-size instead, even though the reasons given.
I recently got an email notice about the grand opening of Sephora at the Ka Makana Ali‘i location on the 28th with an opening celebration on the 29th. I might go to it, and if I go, I might pick up another item. I haven’t decided yet, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a store opening for any brand. [Note, 20 May 2017: I went, so I’ll work on posting about it sometime].

Either way, that is all I bought with the 15% off. All products in this post were purchased and paid for by me. Non-affiliate convenience links:
  • Viseart Eyeshadow Palettes - [Sephora]
  • Belif True Cream Moisturizing Bomb - [Sephora]
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid - [Sephora]
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer (full-size) - [Sephora]

Certain items may be available at other retailers; these links are to the retailers that sell these items and where I have shopped.

If you’ve bought something from the Sephora VIB Spring Sale, let me know in a comment below. Otherwise, have a great day and thank you for coming by!

Thank you for reading! You are welcome to leave a comment and/or question(s) in the section below :)

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