Cotton Ball 5K

Whew!  The 3rd time IS a charm.  After being too tired or too rained out for two other 5Ks this spring/summer, I finally got one under my belt this year!

OK, yeah...I didn't RUN it, but it still counts right?

This was my second time volunteering in the annual Alki Beach 5K Walk & Run, which benefits Northwest Hope and Healing.  Northwest Hope and Healing is a non-profit organization which provides emergency financial assistance for women who are undergoing breast cancer treatment at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.  Assistance with basic living expenses like rent, childcare and groceries.

And wow that was a lot of hyperlinking in that last paragraph.  But really good stuff - please check it out.

So, how do you volunteer at a 5K?  Well, the way I did today was one of the easiest jobs ever - walk the course at the very end, to help let the police and others know that they could start re-opening the roads again.  That's it! 

There are a ton of both new and old memories woven into this event...starting with the neighborhood.  Alki Beach is in West Seattle, and there's a ton of family history here on my Dad's side of the family.  My grandfather grew up in West Seattle in the 1920s.  He and my grandmother later raised my Dad and Uncle in this same neighborhood.  I have enormously fond memories as a kid of the long drive from my house growing up in the suburbs over to West Seattle for Sunday dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Countless, joyful times. 

And the newer memories are from my dear friend P, who inspired me to start training to run 5Ks a couple of years ago.  She and I used to work together and I'm so glad we still keep in touch despite super busy schedules.  P's both run and volunteered in this 5K before, and I was so happy she asked me to join her again this year.

What can I say...this just FEELS good all around.  And it's a nice change of pace getting out of the suburbs and into a wonderful, older neighborhood in the city, right on the salt water of Puget Sound.

OK, getting up super early on a Sunday morning is not my favorite thing to do, but once I got up, got dressed and on my way to meet P for our carpool, I was smiling.  P showed up with S, an exchange student from Japan who is staying with a friend of P's while attending college here.  S was a good sport - I wasn't sure if she knew entirely what this event was going to be all about but I admired her spunk and enthusiasm.  And her English was pretty good too!  Far better than my Japanese for sure, ha.

We arrived at Alki Beach around 8am.  Damn, that fog was thick but thankfully it was not as chilly as it was last year.  I remember borrowing knit running gloves from P at the last minute!  And also having to put our t-shirts on over our jackets! This year it was not cold, but that fog didn't burn of AT ALL.

Yep, that's Yours Truly in this week's picture - that's a fivenineteen first, everyone.  Had it not been so foggy there would have been a spectacular view of the Seattle skyline behind me.  Believe me.  P and I were so bummed because we really wanted S (the exchange student) to experience the view.  But the darn fog never burned off.

The one challenging thing about walking at the tail end of a 5K is, well, keeping your pace just right.  You don't want to 'hover' too close behind the last group of walkers.  And, you want to make sure you start walking truly after everyone else has started.  With about 1200 people participating we had to wait several minutes before we could take to the street and start.

This race goes up and down Alki Avenue - a very flat, fast course.  At the halfway point the course does a 180 turn and heads back down the street, finishing at the same place we started.  Even though I was walking at a very slow pace with P and S, I was looking forward to a quick gulp of water at the water stop.  NOPE.  No water stop at the turn around point this year!  If I had been running this race I would have been extremely pissed.  Yikes.

Other than a few late stragglers we had to corral (how in the hell do you show up over one hour late for a 5K? Baffling.) the three of us had a very nice, relaxing stroll.  And we even finished in around 1 hour 15 minutes.  MUCH faster than last year.  Feels kinda cool walking over the finishing line and hearing the emcee announce, "...and our last walkers have just crossed the finish line...".  Meanwhile we didn't even break a sweat.

So although the fog kept its iron-clad grip on the neighborhood (hence my 'cotton ball' post title today), we had a wonderful morning volunteering.

And on the drive back to the suburbs?  Glorious sunshine.  Even Mount Baker was out.  Too funny how socked in Alki was.

Now it's time for a nap.  Until next week, everyone! 


Sunshine, Iced Coffee, Billionaires and Pedicures

Finally.  Sweet, glorious summer.  REAL summer.

Excuse my 5th generation Seattle bias, but when the sun shines here, there's nowhere on Earth more beautiful.  I snapped this picture with my phone killing time before my pedicure yesterday.  One of those blissfully indulgent Saturdays where that was the only thing on my to-do list.  Rough life, right?

And look at that view.  This is the marina at Carillon Point in Kirkland, WA, just about a 10 minute drive from my house.  It was a postcard-perfect day...and while it's hard to see in the picture, you can barely see the outline of the Olympic Mountains along the horizon toward the right.  If it was a little less hazy they would have been out and proud, sprinkled in snow.  That's Lake Washington, looking west toward Seattle.  All glisten-y.

My pedicure was not until 4pm so I had about an hour to walk around and drink in the sun and the view.  Carillon Point is a wonderful collection of shops and restaurants along the marina, and there's a very nice hotel and spa too.  I grabbed an iced coffee at the Starbucks and just let myself mentally unwind.  And remember.

This place is so deeply steeped in memories.  How many hairstyles did I go through over the 10 years the hair salon was here?  I remember my brother and sister-in-law's rehearsal dinner in 1997, in a gorgeous room with a view just like that picture.  And I was chosen to participate in a Neiman Marcus focus group here a few years ago - a bunch of us met in a conference room in one of the office buildings.    

I walked out onto the dock as far as I could, looking out over the water, feeling the warm breeze wash over me. Huge boats. This is where I had a first kiss with my then-boyfriend in 2000.  Wow...ten years ago!  I thought back on all of that, my mind floating, then suddenly heard a large whooping and cheering back on the marina steps.  What was it?  Oh, there was a wedding going on too - this place is hugely popular for that!

Later I strolled back to the marina steps and watched kayackers paddling along.  For all gorgeous the weather was, the lake was pretty choppy.  I giggled to myself, remembering probably one of the most original first dates I've ever been on.  This was around 2005ish I think.  I met D online and after some emailing and talking on the phone he asked me to dinner.  But no meeting at the restaurant for us, oh no no no...we met at a boat launch ramp where he was waiting with two kayaks.  Yep, we kayaked to Carillon Point, tied up along the dock right near the Beach Cafe and had dinner!  Oh, and paddled back too, with a gorgeous sunset behind the mountains as backdrop.  It was kind of fun making an entrance to the restaurant via the water.  Looking back on it, was I crazy?  I mean, a first date...on the water?  If I'd been the least bit worried he could have been psycho, meaning that I could have ended up at the bottom of the lake, I wouldn't have agreed to it of course.  My gut was right - and he and I did go on a few more dates after that. Nice guy, but the chemistry wasn't quite clicking for us. But I gotta hand it to him for being a perfect gentleman and very funny.  And creative!

So I headed into the spa, dizzy with memories and sunshine.  This was my second pedicure with S in about two months and I think I will stick with her. That's pretty huge in my book because I probably get pedicures two or three times a year at the most.  Not really a priority for me, or I just do my toes myself.  But S is amazing.   She is absolutely meticulous with her work and it shows.  No complaints here.  A 90 minute pedicure?  Ahhh.  Who knew there was topcoat with UV protection in it?  

S has a whimsical sense of humor - she just cracks me up.  And we can talk hockey too - she's from Vancouver originally (go Canucks!).  Too funny how I sit here trying to remember some things we talked and laughed about.  My mind is blank, but trust me, we were giggling the entire time.

Oh wait, I do remember one thing.  We were talking about travel and I remembered oh yeah, I've got to get my passport renewed.  She said oh yes, you better get right on that!  Why?  She is convinced I'm going to fall in love with and marry a handsome, Swedish billionaire.  Named Sven.  And a girl's gotta have a passport ready for those spur of the moment trips!

Ummm, I'm OK with this.  Really and truly.   


Holy Cow, am I Eating Again??

Again? Already thinking about what to cook for dinner tonight?  After last night's Seafood Fest?

I have that wonderful post-bloat feeling of fantastic food at a fantastic party.  And I feel relieved that I don't have to wear anything snug today.  Just another lazy Sunday, where the only thing on tap is making a run to Goodwill, read and pick up a few things for dinner.  No hockey tonight.  Summer season wrapped up with a disappointing shootout loss in our playoff game.  I had a major Silpada jewelry event that same night which trumped hockey (rare, because hockey is usually on Sunday nights), so I found out about the loss through my teammates.  Bummer.  Is it October yet??

Yes, Goodwill.  A purge here in the ol' townhouse is very, very overdue.  Sometimes I struggle getting going on a home project.  I get overwhelmed and then end up procrastinating, doing nothing.  I look at the clutter building up here in the home office.  And the guest bedroom which is still crowned the Room of Crap and Good Luck Getting to the Ironing Board.  Hmmmm.  This is NOT OK!! 

So what do I do?  I play a mental game with myself, and break down an overwhelming task into smaller pieces.  Every time I need to go downstairs to the main living room/kitchen level here, I make myself take at least one thing out of the home office or the guest room that needs to go.  And I start a pile downstairs near the dining room.  Repeat as needed!  

Voila - in about 24 hours I had a couple large garbage bags full of old computer shit, knick knacks, books, jewelry, shoes and clothes that are ready for Goodwill! The cute, stuffed polar bear I won at the Puyallup Fair a couple years ago doing Skeeball?  Sorry, dude, you'll make a kid happy in your next home.  Remember the Left Behind book series from the 1990s?  I'd purchased the entire set over time and never cracked open a single one of them, despite numerous raves from many of my friends - even my grandfather.  Le Sigh.  If I haven't read them after 15 years sitting in my bookcase then it's time for someone else to.  Also in the "outta here" pile: a set of 4 glass beer mugs I maybe used once in 20 years.  THAT feels good.  I looked at the hodge podge of a dozen mismatched wine glasses currently on the floor in the guest room and considered getting rid of them too but I decided to keep them.  THOSE are good to have for larger parties.  I just need to box them up and get them out of the guest room!

Larger parties...what a segue. I've been looking forward to my new consulting firm's annual Seafood Fest.  The staff has been buzzing about it ever since I joined the group in July, and I'm sure they've been in planning mode far earlier than that. "Are you coming?"  "Can you make it?"  "Can't wait to see you there!"  I probably heard this every time I sent in a timesheet or collected my pay stub.  The energy was contagious!

And the party was amazing, just as I expected.  Our CEO hosted it in her home as she does every year, and just about everything on the menu was made by her and her team from scratch.  Right down to the homemade ice cream, her signature dessert!  Her home is fantastic for entertaining.  She has a front yard with enough room for a large table and chairs plus a couple of grills and a drink stand, a large kitchen and great room on the main level inside, and a huge back deck with room for multiple round tables, mingling and the incredible view looking west toward Puget Sound and across the water to the Kitsap Peninsula (and I think some of Whidbey Island too).  

I soaked in the view with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc and enjoyed meeting other fellow consultants and chatting with our CEO, T, and her team!  What a great team.  This really didn't feel like a work-related party...it felt like family.  Really and truly.  T LOVES to entertain...and it shows.  Party for 80 guests?  No problem, right? 

Seafood fest knocked it out of the park.  I'm kicking myself for not getting any pictures of the food with my phone but it was unbelievable.  This year the theme was Caribbean, so we had jerk chicken and beef on the grill, blackened halibut (our CEO caught the halibut herself off of Vancouver Island earlier this year - she had the video of it playing in the living room!), rice and bean side dishes, salads with papayas and mangoes, chips and wonderful salsas, and even a couple of pizzas!  Dessert was a choice of pineapple or lime-flavored cupcakes, and two kinds of homemade ice cream - pineapple and vanilla with a little cinnamon.  Simply incredible.

And the weather turned out decent too - it was a little cloudy during the day but thankfully burned off later in the evening.  This summer really hasn't been a summer, so I was happily relieved we had a warm evening last night!

Great people and great food.  There simply is no better combination out there.  And so many reasons to celebrate!

Now it's time to get started on dinner.  While I might not be super hungry after all that wonderful food last night, it DID inspire me to keep honing my cooking skills.  I'm pretty good at it, I must say!  Practice, practice, practice.

Tonight it's another dish from the Primal Blueprint Cookbook I've posted about a few times before.  Chicken and fennel stew with, onions, garlic in a broth of beer and coconut milk, garnished with fresh parsley.  Can't wait!             


...and the Junkie got Another Fix

Time for some FUN!  There's been a lot of subconscious fun craving lurking inside me...through the job change over the past couple months, the preparation, stress, networking, the car repair a couple of weeks ago..."known unknowns," as our instructor called them in a project management certification prep course a few years ago.  You know things are gonna happen, but you don't know exactly how they're all gonna unfold.  What's the craving?  Busting out the joy, fun and free spirit that is so part of me but tends to get shoved and squashed when life stress comes to the party.

And anyway, I haven't done any makeup-related posts in here in probably over a year.  Oh, that's right.  I did a few around May 2010 ("My Favorite Things").  And I remember exactly why.  I was so fucking pissed that my job start date was delayed over three weeks by stupid, basic, transactional paperwork functions that SOMEbody wasn't doing.  Waiting and waiting after my unemployment had run out and was turning down other interviews.  So I did those posts with a sea of anger whooshing through me.  Check the May 2010 archives if you are curious. I did them to kill time and keep me from going homicidal.  Kidding...sort of. 

Let's lighten up now, shall we?  This post is about nothing but FUN.  Well, makeup is always a joy to me, but this post oozes celebration down to its toes.

I've been wearing makeup over 30 years and have tried just about everything out there.  And I have zero brand loyalty.  When my favorite Lancome (liquid) foundation was discontinued after 15+ years, well, I had to try a bunch of others before I found a few new favorites. Favorites plural, not singular.  And they're not Lancome, although the Definicils and Hypnose mascaras are out of this world.  

Speaking of favorites, know this:  no one brand can kick ass in everything.  My opinion, of course.

I treated myself to a few goodies recently -  woohoo!  So let's take a look, starting from the top row, right to left.  (Sorry in advance - I don't know how to upload multiple pics in a post here for some reason).

Mascara!  Good grief I usually have about 8 or 10 in rotation at any given time.  Department store, drugstore - doesn't matter.  There are great ones out there in just about any price range.  And you don't need to spend $30+ on a mascara.  The more expensive ones aren't going to last much longer than drugstore ones typically.

So here we go, left to right, top row:
MAC Zoomlash in Plum Reserve - most of MAC's mascaras are great.  One thing I love is the price point - they run around $14 - $19, so about half the price of other department store lines.  I usually use Zoomlash in black, but this plum shade caught my eye online and I had to give it a try.  It's nice but doesn't have enough purple punch to wear on its own. Anyone else wear colored mascara back in the 80s like me?  I loved that trend.  Really and truly.  But it's a little too retro nowadays, so it's fun to just do a light coat of colored mascara over your basic black.  This mascara is perfect for that.  Department stores or maccosmetics.com.

MAC False Lashes - this is a refill I just picked up at the MAC counter at Nordstrom yesterday.  I got my hair cut and highlights touched up and had a blast doing a little shopping in person.  The MAC make up artists (MUAs) are great.  Super friendly, zero attitude.  This mascara really delivers - it's a little 'wetter' than others so start lightly and gradually add more.  And it comes off great with a little cleanser and eye makeup remover.  Department stores or maccosmetics.com.

Maybelline The Falsies in Black Drama - one of the grocery stores near my house had all Maybelline marked down 20%, so I got this for something like $7 or $8.  The brush has a curvy, spoon shape which I've not ever seen before, and it takes some practice to get the angle just right.  When you do...WOW.  I'm very impressed!  Doesn't flake off and washes right off too.  Nice work, Maybelline!  At drugstores.

Kat von D Tattoo eyeliner - Kat von D is a tattoo artist and has quite an impressive makeup collection!  I've used her mascara (should not be a surprise given my zero loyalty) but had not yet tried any liners.  I'm a sucker for a wonderful liquid or felt tip pen-type liner that doesn't budge and washes off easily when I'm ready.  And given 99% of my liquid liners are black, I chose the "Biker" shade, which is listed as "dark smoke" on the Sephora website.  Why not mix it up with a little grey?  

Here's where shopping online for makeup can be risky.  I like the long, thin stiff brush on this liner, but the shade is far too light grey for any oomph.  But at $18 it didn't break the bank and I'll probably use it on days I am not wearing much makeup.  I'll definitely test the other shades at Sephora before purchasing again if ever.

MAC Lipglass in All of My Purple Life - *raises hand*...I SWEAR I got rid of a lot of lipgloss overload I've built up over the past couple years.  I still have way too many.  I promisepromisepromise this wonderful, rich purple is unlike any I have.  Know what drew me in - along with the beautiful color?  It's part of the Bloggers' Obsessions collection.  I know, I know, MAC has a new collection coming out about every 10 minutes, and I've passed on quite a few recently give it's just re-packaging or shades I already have.  This collection is intriguing. 

MAC selected a few top beauty bloggers to create their own custom shade of lipstick, lipglass or eyeshadow at MAC's lab in Toronto.  What a dream come true, eh?  Amazing.  All of my Purple Life is a rich, purple/magenta shade.  And it makes these thin lips look super plumpy and full.  I'm in love!  This shade is much easier for me to rock than a red lipstick.  Get this while you can because it's super limited edition.  Only online at maccosmetics.com.  PS:  Why that name?  Find your old Prince album (cassette tape?) The Hits / The B Sides and play Erotic City.  It's the first line in the lyrics.  Genius!  Wow, that song reminds me of frat parties in college.  But that's another post. Everytime I comb my hair / thoughts of you get in my eyes...oh man, Prince! 

Moving on now, we have MAC Dazzleglass in Baby Sparks - MAC made the smart decision to have Dazzleglasses in their permanent line - thank you!  Love the 3-D sparklies and that signature vanilla scent.  This is sparkle that I can easily layer over a lipstick for work.  No disco ball lips here.  This shade is a pale pink with just a teeny amount of light violet twinkling within.  Love it.  Department stores or maccosmetics.com

Did someone say eyeshadow?  I won't even try to hide my overload.  Perhaps it's time to pair it down or just enjoy what I have but I'm only human, and, a makeup junkie who's not ready for 12-step.  LORAC, Stila, MAC...and Urban Decay.  Urban Decay sprang up and gave me a big ol' virtual smooch a couple of years ago and has given my trusty MAC some stiff competition!  Eeek, there goes my wallet.

So at the far left in the square pan we have Urban Decay Stardust shadow in Moon Spoon.  The Stardust shadows have 40% more glitter than their other shadows (so says their website), but promise not to have fallout or chunky glitter - both so annoying!  This is a nice, basic grey with a lot of sparkle, but it's not over the top at all.  Be sure to use a primer so your shadow has something to stick to.  I like to pat eyeshadow on at first with a brush (rather than sweep it) to get the first layer on evenly.  This shade doesn't have the color payoff of other Urban Decay shadows which surprised me a little. But the packaging is really unique - just squeeze the flexible outer frame and POP, the lid opens.  Sephora or urbandecay.com.

Next up is Urban Decay eyeshadow in Asphyxia - some of these names crack me up!  This is the lavender shade in the round, silver case, and traditional Urban Decay with the subway token design on the casing.  Honestly I haven't used this shade yet, but it's a sheer lavender with a little light blue duotone.  Why did I purchase?  Hmmm...would be great for a light, summer look or blended into a highlight above the crease.  Time to play! Sephora or urbandecay.com.

And staying with the (purely accidental) purple and grey theme in this last haul (ha), the other grey shadow here is MAC in Hocus Pocus - another piece in the Bloggers' Obsessions collection.  "Dark sooty grey with silver pearl."  This is exactly what it is.  My only complaint is it's in the Satin finish, which is probably the hardest MAC shadow type for me to blend.  Online only at maccosmetics.com

And lastly, the glorious Urban Decay 15-year Anniversary Palette - after snapping up all 3 Books of Shadows AND the Naked Palette, I caved yet again.  This collection promises all-new shades - zero repeats.  Good thing as I hear and read that complaint about the Books of Shadows frequently.

After getting my hair done yesterday, I stopped at Bellevue Square.  Seems I don't get to the mall as often as I used to given I shop online moreso.  But there's nothing like drooling over shoes and handbags at Nordstrom.  Chatting with the sales associates too.  Love it.  

Another must-visit is the huge Sephora store on the main floor.  I was greeted by the store manager who showed me the newest Smashbox eye shadows that had just arrived.  Looked pretty, but I explained I have never tried Smashbox shadows before - even though I love the Halo loose powder and makeup primer.  She asked if I'd be interested in having my eyes done and I said sure, why not?  A few seconds later, Josh, one of their MUAs, showed up with a big smile and we sat down and played with shadow.  After hearing me explain more about what I like and don't like, he whipped out the Urban Decay 15th anniversary palette and did a really fun look on me.  Dang, it's been years since I had anyone do my makeup so this was a great experience!  I told him I was pretty much up for anything and to just go for it.  After all, it's makeup - if you don't like something, you wash it off! 

This palette is gorgeous.  There's a great combo of neutral shades and some edgier, in-your-face shades that Urban Decay is famous for. The outer case is mirrored with a raised, purple-jeweled "UD" on the cover.  It sits in a square, purple velvet box (which is not in the picture, sorry). 

Josh did a smokey look with two of the deep brown shades and put a tiny touch of the teal green (Deep End) on my inner eye corners.  Wow!  Not what I typically do, but that's the idea!  It was fun to see how he used it and it did give my eyes a a nice pop.  I might try doing the same technique with a more toned-down color for work.  And he did a great job touching up my concealer and powder under the eyes when I told him the products I like.  Such a fun experience! 

Fun.  FUN.  Ready for much more of that this summer and fall!  Decked out in wonderful makeup, of course!