Friday, October 18, 2013

Healthy Go: Two Steps Back

Last week's view, from the top of the Building E stairs.
I am either consistent or consistently inconsistent with this journal (and with My Year of Health).

I was steadily moving forward and building up my healthier habits up until around July when I stopped exercising for the most part. Since around September, I have been snacking on bad stuff and not being so mindful of what I was eating. I was still eating healthy things but I threw in some potato chips and such.

I have also had one soda. It happened because our fridge broke down and I was desperate for a drink, our water filter also being broken, and someone brought me a soda, so I drank it. I am not tempted to have more.

And, I’ve been feeling the weight of it all, a little literally and mostly figuratively.

I haven’t gone up a size but my gray shorts are feeling snug again.

I usually don’t write about things that are trending but this one is related to Healthy Go. From around the beginning of 2013, I have been following Maria Kang’s blog. She has been labeled as the “No Excuse Fitness Mom.” Maybe you have seen the controversial image: a lean and young-looking woman in a sports outfit with three boys ages 3 and under, with the phrase “What’s your excuse?”

The picture has caused a storm of comments. People are either in support of and inspired by Maria, or they are offended by the image. From what I understand, the picture gained attention in her local area several months ago and now has gained national attention.

I am on the side of being inspired by Maria. It’s fairly difficult to offend me in general, and since I’ve been reading her blog and seeing her other candid photos, I do not find anything offensive about Maria or her No Excuse photo. She seems sincerely moved to inspire others to choose a healthier lifestyle. She posted the photo on her own sites. In some of the other photos on her sites, in more close up shots, she shows and points out her stretch marks. She has been very open about her health journey.

Maria also reminds me of one of my good friends, Shayna. Shayna’s been into fitness for most (if not all) her life. She also has three young boys – she is a wonderful mother – and her physique is similar to Maria’s (which makes me want to say, to those making comments that a woman with that physique cannot be a good mother, “Shove it”). Fitness is a part of her lifestyle. When I used to work out with Shayna, she did not let me off easy – and I loved it!

The fact is that people make excuses, not just in the area of health but in other areas of life as well. Why I won’t get that job. Why I can’t go back to school. Why I can’t leave this unhealthy relationship. Why it’s okay to steal this small thing, or that I told that little white lie. Why I haven’t approached my friend in reconciliation. Why I shouldn’t share this on my site. Sometimes, we’re not even aware that we’re making excuses.

I made excuses all the time about my health, which led me to this point where it is more difficult to change vectors and more urgent that I do change, and I am still making excuses. I have to fight the excuses before I can move forward in any actual change.

This past week, someone on a personality type forum posted Maria’s No Excuse photo asking for opinions about the message being received, not about type. The comments were mostly negative, which irritated and saddened me, comments which were definitely fit-shaming. The next day, the photo had made national news, and in the same forum it was posted again to note it.

I decided to read what others outside of the forum were saying, looking mainly for the positive, supportive thoughts. I came across people who definitely had reason not to be fit but who also made the changes in their lifestyle anyway and are more fit now – people whom are physically limited or disabled in some way, people probably with certain genes which limits them in some way, people who are in their 60s. They had excuses they could rest on and people wouldn’t fault them if they did, and yet they pressed on to do whatever it was they could do.

To do whatever it is one can do, in order to achieve what they want, killing off the excuses – I believe this is what Maria intended to inspire.

If it doesn’t inspire you to action, then find something that does inspire you in what you want.

After all of that, yesterday, I was inspired to fight back my excuses. I packed up my devices and set out for the stairways. The week before, I had done only 5 flights of stairs, up and down. Yesterday, I did 13 flights. My backpack added about 10 pounds.

I don’t know if I will be doing stairs every week, but it is something and I can build back up from there.

Here’s to the next step forward!

Last week: view from Building E.
Last week: view from Building E.

Last week: more artichokes,
my best results yet!
This week: Honey Ginger Salmon.

Yesterday: view from Building E
5 flights of stairs.
Yesterday: view from Building D.
5 flights of stairs.

Yesterday: view from Building ?
3 flights of stairs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The 2013 Non-Annual Non-Birthday Birthday Celebration of Jennifer

Broccoli with Parmesan cheese and Filet Mignon topped
with mushrooms and bleu cheese. 

The week prior to my birthday, I did a little makeup related shopping. I stopped by Sephora for the free birthday sample gifts that they offer. This year, it is the Watt’s Up! highlighter stick and the They’re Real! mascara, both from the brand Benefit. I don’t have a good handle of highlighter yet and so I don’t know if I’ll get around to trying this one out. I have already given the mascara a try and while I liked the volume and definition it gave, it’s not waterproof, at least on me, and so I don’t know if I’m going to keep trying it out.

Sephora birthday gift: They're Real! mascara and
Watt's Up! highlighter, both by Benefit.

Usually, I can walk into a store and not feel obligated or pressured into buying anything, but I decided to pick up a Nars blush. I’ve been hearing good things about their blushes for a long time, looking up reviews and swatches of them. Orgasm is their famous shade, but I went with Deep Throat (I know, the names; part of why I held out from buying any for so long) and it is so pretty! I’ve worn it twice so far but I will probably use it more for special occasions.

The reason I felt the obligation more was that I also asked for a foundation sample. The young lady who helped me, Katrina, did a wonderful job. She seemed to know what she was doing with the color-matching, making me feel at ease. She answered my questions and I ended up with a decent amount of samples for two foundations. I was very pleased with the service.

Nars Deep Throat (Sephora)
Charcoal Brown and Bamboo (MAC)

I also stopped by the MAC store. This trip had a little more purpose behind it – I am in need of more neutral and matte eye shadows. I am drawn to the satiny/ shimmery and bright colors that I am starting to slowly infuse more natural colors into my collection. I thought I was certain of which color I wanted, but as I swatched them in the store I wasn’t so sure. The lady who attended me wasn’t as helpful as Katrina. I did buy Bamboo as she had suggested, but I wasn’t that comfortable with the decision. Fortunately, the color has worked out and I am more at ease about it now. I also picked up Charcoal Brown and a good-sized sample of the Prep + Prime Translucent Powder; I am liking both so far. 

I used an ExtraBucks rewards at Longs’ (CVS) to get two more of Real Techniques Shading Brush. I have been slowly building up my brush collection; it is not even decent yet but getting there. I have been very satisfied with the quality and cost of the RT brushes so far. Each one has worked very well, and has been washed while producing no shedding.

The Vera Bradley store gives a good percentage off for a purchase during one’s birthday month, so I let Mom use it for something she might want. She found something she liked. Otherwise, I would have picked out an umbrella, but I am not in need of another one yet.

On the day of my birthday, it was mostly like any other day – I went with the family to run errands.

We had lunch at Sugoi’s. I think that was my first time there. I had the spicy ahi bento. It was very good and flavorful!

A philosphy book, Drawing: A Complete Guide by Giovanni Civardi,
and two Real Techniques shading brushes.

We stopped by Barnes and Nobles where I did pick up a couple of books. It’s been awhile since I’ve bought books that weren’t for classes.

The first book was one on Western Philosophy. When choosing courses, I chose to go for an English minor rather than a Philosophy one because with a rather heavy major, I wanted a minor that would be a mix of heavy and light subject material and course objectives; this is not to say that English was an easy minor but that it would also be enjoyable for me. The two introductory philosophy courses I was able to squeeze in were years ago, and so I look forward to reading more about the subject from a more recent publication.

The second book is Drawing: A Complete Guide by Giovanni Civardi. For my major, being able to draw well by hand can be very useful, even with the advances in graphic technology. I don’t think that the drawing courses at First College were adequate but I did have one good teacher at Second College. At the store, I looked through several drawing books, and while the ones in color looked pretty, I thought that the Civardi one would be more instructional. He included various examples that well illustrate his points. I especially appreciate the practical advice that he gives. I’ve already been diving into it and have been inspired to improve my drawing skills more; I did a sketch (from a photo) already so that in time, I’ll be able to see any progress.

Starbuck's Salted Caramel Frappuccino, water from Sugoi's,
and a Petit Chiffon from Liliha Bakery.

We stopped by Liliha Bakery. I picked up a Petit Chiffon for a mini celebration. It was good!

Later that night, I stopped by Starbucks for my free birthday drink – Salted Caramel Frappuccino Light – mmmmm! 

I guess I quasi-celebrated myself on the actual day this year. This doesn’t affect the post title, does it?

About a week later, the family took me out to dinner to celebrate. I chose to go to Stuart Anderson’s because I wanted the Mushroom and Bleu Filet Mignon – it is still so delicious! I also had a Raspberry Lemon Drop, clam chowder, broccoli with parmesan cheese, stuffed potato skins, artichokes, some strawberry cheesecake, and a chocolate torte. It was all good!


That will probably be the extent of the celebrating for this year. One never knows, there may be some rock-climbing or other gathering with friends later for which I might use the birthday excuse. I know, I’m weird about my birthday, as some of you already know and tolerate so patiently – thank you!

Thank you for all the birthday wishes on Facebook, texts, e-cards, and however else you managed to contact me!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The INTP Journey, So Far


In this post, I talk about my experience with the MBTI and Jungian cognitive functions in trying to find understanding about me. I am not an expert and I am still learning things about “Types.” I think the concepts are fascinating and can be helpful tools in creating/ building better relationships with people, I hope.

I first came across the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) through a Facebook quiz years ago. According to the quiz, I was an INTP. Interesting, but I put that to the side for possible exploration at a later time.

More recently, I had come across a suggested channel on YouTube. In browsing the person’s videos, one had a video explaining how one used to think they were one type only to realize that one is a completely other type. I thought that was interesting, and being that I had some time I could devote to figuring out if I am an INTP or not, that’s what I set out to do.

I took a few free online typing tests. The results of 5 out of 7 tests said that I was an INTP; the other two said INTJ. I read more INTP and INTJ descriptions on several sites, as well as a little on the other 14 types, and I thought I still related best to the INTP descriptions.

I thought that perhaps a forum might help affirm the INTP result for me. I landed upon one forum which I enjoyed, and so I joined the forum. What I appreciated about the forum was that I could browse around among what different types were talking about and such, I could interact with people of all types, and there was still a certain kind of organization to it.

In reading the INTP threads, I believe I was a little more affirmed in being an INTP. What other supposed INTPs were saying, as well as how they were saying it, resonated with me; I could also relate to what other types were saying about INTPs.

I still remained a little skeptical about my being an INTP; after all, I could be wrong, other people could be wrong, the tests could be wrong. There is a more official test that one can take, with a professional interpreter to help one figure out one’s type; I would possibly like to take that test one day to see how it goes.

The MBTI was based upon Carl Jung’s theory about cognitive functions; as one person has stated, the cognitive functions are the meat of the MBTI and I think there’s some truth to the statement in that it helps to clear up any confusion about the 4-letter type pairings. I read more about the functions. In doing so, I was affirmed again that I am an INTP.

All of this is to say, I am fairly certain that I am an INTP personality type.

For the past 3 months or so, I’ve been diving in to type stuff as much as possible. What I have gotten from this so far is a better understanding of myself and a relief in finding out that I am not so alien. In continuing my study of type, I hope to gain improved or new communication skills – better communication is the main thing I’m interested in at the moment but if other positive things come from understanding type, it would be welcome.

A 3-month casual internet study is not enough to master a subject, so one may take anything I say about Type with that in mind. I could be entirely wrong about anything I say but there’s room to learn more.

This has been my experience and understanding so far.

  • What is your personality type?

Previously related post(s):