4 Minutes with the TechnoViking

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I went to pick up Roomie from work. The kids get a kick out of going up to Daddy's office, and it was an even bigger treat that day because Daddy had lollipops.

As the kids enjoyed their lollies, Roomie handed me his earphones and said, "Have a look at this." What followed was 4 minutes of the most surreal, fascinating, bizarre piece of YouTube video I've seen in a long time. I was riveted...





Which would you prefer: 4 minutes of tabata or 4 minutes with the TechnoViking?

I know which one I'd choose!

All Heil TechoViking!!!

Guilty Pleasures...

Roomie refused to get me anything on my Wish List for my birthday this year. Actually, it's like this every year.

Why? Because my list is populated with things I want for the house... a new credenza for the dining room, a new grill machine, a new storage ottoman/coffee table for the livingroom, etc. He says that gifts should benefit the recipient alone, not his/her spouse or kids.

Okay, he's got a point.

So, after thinking long and hard, I asked him for the latest issues of my favourite girlie-girl magazines, In Style and Allure.

I love these suckers! They're fun, inexpensive, and something I wouldn't normally buy for myself. I love seeing what's on the runways this season and how the hottest celebs are wearing their hair and makeup on the red carpet.
I used to buy them all the time, but these days I just can't justify the expense. I can't imagine spending $6 months every month for a book of advertisements that will ultimately end up in the recycling box! Argh!

So, they will forever more be a birthday treat.

Anyway, I was flipping through my lovely InStyle, and on the last page, was their regular feature on Guilty Pleasures. November's was Keri Russell's. I was inspired.
So, because I'm still sick and still too cranky to write anything too deep or profound (that would be too painful), you get another glimpse into the fluffy side of Nenette's brain through my own list of guilty pleasures...

Accessory Addiction?
I'm not really into bling but I rarely ever leave the house without my bracelets -- a dark green jade tortoise woven bracelet, a gold teddy bear charm bracelet, and a gold watch bracelet -- all worn on my left wrist. Bracelets on my right wrist bug me when I write.

Fashion Passion?
My sarongs! They're a cool, airy skirt in the summer and a soft, warm scarf in the winter. Everyone should have at least one of these babies! I got turned on to them when I started teaching hula again. Now, they're my summer uniform here in my hot and humid town.

Karaoke Song?
Donna Summer's Last Dance and anything by Barbara Streisand. My girlfriends and I have spent many a drunken night singing "You don't bring me flowers"... ah, good times...


Bad Movie?
Grease 2 holds a special place in my heart - although Roomie would say that my favourite bad movie is Mr. Baseball. Michelle Pfeiffer is super cool in this movie. I knew every single song and would sing to them. I don't know how many times I've seen this show.

Midnight Snack?
Garlic Fried Rice. A yummy, yet high cal, way to use up last night's leftover steamed rice. My ultimate comfort food that reminds me of my lola (grandmother) who raised me my first 3 years on this earth.

Beauty Binge?
Fruits & Passion's Jasmin Body Milk. I use this in place of perfume, and smooth it on my neck, wrists, and cleavage. Reminds me of my other lola who used to grow sampaguita bushes in her front yard in the Philippines.

Celebrity Crush?
Guess. (Hint: If you don't know, you need to read more LifeCandy!)

Okay, now, your turn. What are your own Guilty Pleasures? Hit Comments and let us know!

Turkey Day Greetings...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my US family and friends!

Enjoy your turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy! May you have many wonderful things to be thankful for!

Much love,
Nen

Just for Me

When did buying tealights and mascara become a luxury for me? Why do I feel guilty every time I buy a new lipstick at Aveda even though I completely scraped out my last tube the previous month? And how often does Roomie have to nag me to make a massage appointment for myself before I actually feel like it's justified?

These were the questions that went through my mind on the way home from my friend Cindy's candle party (where I bought the tealights, btw). I was actually giddy with my new purchases... it was almost absurd. LOL

I think back (way back) to the days when I used to consider going for massages, getting regular pedicures, and having weekly sushi dinners scheduled activities, things "we just did", and de rigueur. Now, they feel like extravagant, wasteful dissipation.

The only yet extremely significant difference is that I'm a parent and homeowner now. Time, money and energy are all going into the care of my kids and the maintenance of our home.
Spa facials, dinners at posh restaurants, and a night of dancing are fleeting and pale in comparison to the warm little hugs, the stories and funny little jokes shared, and the unsolicited "I love you, Mommy"'s which will be with me forever.

But is this way of living actually doing me more harm than good? Am I compromising my effectiveness as a parent by not allowing myself a break, a treat, time just for me? And what am I teaching my children about treating one's self with care and love? Am I unknowingly telling them that I'm not worth it, and that when they become parents, they must forgo any personal pleasures for their families?

Good heavens, I hope not!

I started this blog to express myself as more than just a mom, and as I write this, I see that I've been remiss in honouring that non-mom part of me. This has got to change. Oh, I'm not going to go back to monthly massages and weekly sushi again - I still have a mortgage! But I will make it a point to enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer a little more often.

3yo/5yo Conversations from the Next Room

(FYI: Lucai is 3yo MN's nickname for 5yo LA...)


"Hello? Where's my 100 dollars?"
"Lucai, I'm the dragon!"

-----

"Oh, Lucai!"
In a sing-song voice: "Just a minute, I'm just taking a picture of my butt..."

-----

"You know what I'm making, Lucai?"
"..."
"I'm making soup!"
"..."
"You lie down... You're in a cave!"
"What?"
"You like soup?"

-----

The 3yo walks in with a long piece of tape on her nose...
"Lucai, I'm pretending I'm an elephant."
"Okay. Are you lost, elephant?"
"..."
"You want to eat?"
"Ask me if I want dog food."
"You want dog food, elephant?"
"Okay."
"..."
"HEY! Lucai! That's not dog food!"
"I'm pretending it's dog food."
"Oh, okay..."

Reaching Home (& Blog!) Design Perfection

Photo: Kipple Multiplies by Nenette

This morning, Roomie & I were enjoying a rare un-interrupted cuddle on the livingroom couch when I told him I wanted to move the furniture again.

"But I thought you liked the shelves there."
"No, you liked the shelves there."
"So, is the couch moving too?"
"Yup, over by that wall."
"You said you liked it here."
"Under the window?! I NEVER liked it under the window!!!"

Okay, I've just gone from zero to sixty in a millisecond, worked myself up, and now I'm screeching like a banshee. Great.
Suddenly looking quite frightened, Roomie is now wondering how this cuddle went so wrong so fast, and hopes his crazed wife doesn't rip his head off.

This happens often. Not the screeching banshee bit - although Roomie might disagree - but the constant moving, changing and shifting of things in my environment... It could be anything from my furniture placement, my blog design (more on that in a minute), to which cabinet the straws are in this month.

I may sound fickle, but there is a method to my madness. You see, I'm no designer, and I rarely ever have a "Final Perfect Vision" of where things should be. For me, design is an iterative process; I change something, see if it works, then if needed, I change some more.
I guess you can say that I design as I write. I type or scribble madly, then edit and move sentences around until I love it, am happy with it, and truly feel it conveys my message.

Do I ever reach perfection? No, but I come pretty damn close... just enough to make me happy yet keep me from getting bored.

The same thing holds true for my beloved blog. You may have noticed that its design has changed a lot over the last month. I...
- changed my profile picture from the cartoon avatar to a real picture of me, then back again to the cartoon avatar.
- removed the "Life. Simply Sweet. Less Crap." wordings over my profile pic, then put it back again.
- added and changed the About page a couple of times.
- changed the words beside the profile pic numerous times.
- removed and put back the email subscription form and the "live traffic feed" widget.
- widened the screen to allow the second column to widen as well (probably less obvious).
- added, then removed, then added and changed the Adsense ads.

And those are just the smaller, more recent changes. If you've just started reading me (and welcome, by the way! :), here's a rundown of the 3 major changes since this blog was born...

March 2007: Blog created under http://crondance.blogspot.com, titled "My Body is a Temple", as a CRON for Longevity diary.
July 2007: Changed URL to http://mybodythetemple.blogspot.com to conform with the title and to encompass not only my CRON practice but my entire healthy lifestyle.
October 2007: Moved blog to my current URL (still hosted by Blogger, of course!), drastically changed my layout and blog 'look', and now I write about my healthy lifestyle, my desire to improve my life and my world, and my belief that living simply is living sweet.

I'm still trying to find perfection or, at least, satisfaction with this new layout, so expect to see some more changes. But, so far, so good, don't you think? Any suggestions? :)

My Morning Routine

Photo: Sun Rise over Sydney by glennharper

I'm a morning person. Always have been.
I love to get up early, have the first of my many cups of green tea for the day, and watch the sun come up.

As long as I have a good 6-8 hours of sleep the night before, I can even wake up happily to an alarm clock.

Mornings are a special time for me. The first couple of hours really dictates how my day goes, so I have to be very careful with how I spend that time.

If you've been with me since early on, you'll know that I've had some issues with productivity and time management. So, I've made it a point to observe how my day progresses with each change in my morning routine.

One thing that stands out to me is, if I wake up and just plant myself in front of the computer, I'll be there all day, surfing in seclusion (Damn you, StumbleUpon!), jealously guarding my territory, glaring at anyone who dares suggest I let them read their email. No work gets done, and I'm a grumpy mess all day.

So, based on that and many other observations, I've come up with a routine I've been using since the dreaded Big Binge. I've come to really enjoy starting the day this way. Check it out...

- Wake up, and try to sneak downstairs without waking the kids. (If they do wake up, they can have breakfast, watch tv in another room, or play on their computer.)
- Head to the bathroom and put on contact lenses.
- Make a cup of green tea and a light fruit breakfast.
- Eat while reading blog stats. (I don't even look at email at this time, or I'll be tempted to start replying and get sucked into the vortex.)
- Exercise: I stretch first, making sure I do hasta padangusthasana (with a strap right now) because I have tight hamstrings. Then I do 5 Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations... more if I'm feeling really happy about it. This is key! I never feel sluggish thanks to this.
- Then I read email, feed the kids (if they happen to be awake at the time), or do anything else that needs to be done.

As for writing, I don't write in front of the computer as often anymore. I do it the old fashioned way... pen and paper. It's fun, portable, less noisy, compact, and fast -- my handwriting's even gotten faster!
I can do it anytime, anywhere, even when I can't get my hands on a keyboard. It's great, and I get more done! Productivity rising...

So, how about you? What's your morning routine? Share with us in the comments...

When All Your Stuff is at the Bottom of the Ocean...

Back in 1996, before we became lawfully-wedded roomies, Roomie and I lived in Hilo, Hawai'i. The picture above is the lagoon just outside our apartment. You can even see our lanai (balcony) if you look at the upper righthand corner of the terracotta-coloured structure in the background.

Destiny led us to Hawai'i when Roomie was offered a position as Instrumentation Engineer at a telescope on Mauna Kea, one of the Big Island dormant volcanoes. Because he's no fool, he accepted the job. And because I'm no fool, I followed when he asked me.

Truth be told, Roomie never really asked me to go with him.
"Yes, I did ask you because I wanted to find a job in Hawai'i or some other warm place so that my girlfriend would want to come along."
"I think I would've remembered that."
"You never listen to me!"
"I do! Did you even consider that maybe that conversation was all in your head?!"
"..."
"What did you say, Mumbly Joe?"
"...maybe..."

Anyway, I digress...

Although we had a lot invested in this, our biggest and farthest move to date, Hawai'i was really just another stop in our adventures. Being in our mid-/late-20s with no commitment to mortgage or children, we were always on the go, moving from apartment to apartment, job to job, trying new things, and enjoying this fun and carefree time.
In retrospect, our possessions were few, which probably facilitated our nomadic lifestyle, but at the time, we thought we had a whole lot of crap... a huge dresser, a futon & frame, a retro diningroom table with chairs, a trunk, a coffee table, a non-stick pot, a cast iron pan, dishes, and of course our computer. Apparently, it wasn't that bad because the movers easily packed our belongings away in a mere 6'x6' wooden crate for transport by boat to Hawai'i.

Roomie then hopped a plane to start his new job and waited for our things to arrive 3 weeks after. Meanwhile, I stayed behind (in an empty apartment with only a black-and-white TV and futon mattress) to finish the last 3 months of a job contract with the railway.

As I counted the days before I could join my sweetheart, I was blissfully oblivious to the crisis unfolding in Paradise. You see, there was a very real possibility that our belongings were at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Roomie told me that, when he found out, he went through a whole gamut of emotions... shock, then disbelief, then panic. Who could blame him? There he was, all alone, in a foreign land -- foreign for us landlocked prairie people, at least -- with NOTHING.

Then the most curious thing happened. Suddenly, he felt free.
In a split second, he realized that if our stuff was truly gone and lost, he had nothing to worry about. The possible demise of our belongings were not his fault, so he was free of any guilt. And anything we would need could be easily covered by insurance and his new income. For a while, he enjoyed the feeling of not being weighed down by stuff.

And THAT is a feeling I've been chasing for a very long time.

Before Roomie moved in with me, I had very few things. I didn't want to have the latest gadgets or gizmos. I still don't. It's my way of rebelling, I suppose. I grew up in an environment where the acquisition and care of material things seemed to come before all else... and I mean ALL.
So, now I'm decluttering, getting rid of the un-essential things I mysteriously acquired, and will work on saying "no" to any future un-essentials... because my kids, my roomie, and my peace of mind come first.

But do I want to get rid of everything? Can I sell/donate/get rid of everything I own like Karen Kingston did to fulfill her dream of living in Fiji, or like Jane Siberry to remove the things that weighed down her creative wings so she could fly? Am I really prepared to live minimally? And will I panic and worry like Roomie did even though we had so little back then?

I suppose this is an endeavour that will always require a good deal of intestinal fortitude, no matter how much or how little we start out with. As long as the feeling of freedom follows, I'll just keep going.

Conversation with the Donut Guy

LA (my 5yo) and I are sitting at our computers when LA pulls out his toy cell phone. He holds it to his ear and has a heated argument with the "guy" on the other end.

"NO, I TOLD YOU, I DON'T WANT ANY! GOODBYE!" He snaps the phone closed and stuffs it back into his pocket.

I turn to him. "Who was that?"

"Gerry Oliver, the donut guy."

"What did he want?"

"He keeps trying to give me donuts. I don't want any," he says matter-of-factly and turns back to his computer to read his feeds on BlogLines.

This is the same guy who introduced me to Facebook.

Ways I've Spent Money to Save Money... and look GOOD!

I will be 38 on Monday, November 5. And I'm happy to say I don't look it. In fact, I've been asked for ID countless times, which always gives me a little bit of a giggle and an ego-boost.

Is it all in the genes? A good deal is, but not entirely. As for the rest, no, I haven't made a deal with the devil, taken some weird placental-lining based concoction, nor do I apply make-up with a trowel. In fact, if you've read what's in my makeup case, you'll know I don't put on much.

No, I don't think it's necessary to spend a fortune to look good. But I'm not cheap either. I do think you have to spend big money on some things, so that you can save on other things. Not sure what I mean? Okay, let me show you how I do it...

Great skin means less makeup. Really, why do we use makeup anyway? To showcase good features and cover up bad ones, right? If your skin is a good feature, would you really want to slather on the makeup to hide it?!
For great skin, I scrub with water and a nice thick soft wash cloth. No cleanser for me because it strips my skin too much. Then I put on good quality moisturizer. I currently love Olay Total Effects, which is also the least expensive I've used. I'm always changing my moisturizer, but I'll never go too cheap with it. Thanks to this regimen, I have very few wrinkles, blemishes, and discolourations.
With a great canvas, I can make my eyes stand out with just drugstore brow gel and mascara on curled lashes. No eyeshadow required. Then I slick on lip colour (okay, I splurge a little on this because I love the smell and taste of Aveda lip stuff). And I look like I've spent a fortune on my face! (Sorry, JD, still no blush!)

A great haircut means less styling time and product. This is SO true. So, when you find a good hair stylist, NEVER let that person go! Some are lucky and find their dream stylist at Magic Cuts or some other economy salon. Most are likely to find theirs at an upscale salon that hires only well-educated and much-experienced stylists, which means $$$. But that's okay... Believe me, they're worth it.
No one else will touch my hair except my stylist Jane... okay, so she's expensive, but she always gives me haircuts that ALWAYS elicit unsolicited compliments.
Jane was the one who told me that with a great haircut - one that suits your hair texture and thickness - you won't need a lot of product to make it go where you want it to go. And this also cuts down styling time resulting in virtually wash-n-go hair.
Well, she was right. I just wash with an inexpensive grocery brand, and just before drying, I slick a very small amount of Aveda Confixor (because it just smells so good!) through my hair. When my hair is almost all dry, I twist it up into a scrunchie to boost my natural wave. Perfect.

Don't pay for expensive drop-in rates... register for the whole yoga session! This works 2 ways: you get fit faster because you're going to each class, and you're motivated to go to each class because you've paid for it all ready. So, you save by getting more classes, by staying healthy (don't miss work and save on doctor's bills), and by keeping your skinny clothes. This worked for me!

Get a pedicure for a whole summer of nice feet. I always get a professional spa pedicure in the late spring, and it usually lasts for the whole summer... Although summers here in the Canadian Prairies are short, so that's not such an impossibility. By getting it done by an experienced professional aesthetician, it gets done thoroughly and properly, saving time and money. And it really does last longer than if I did it myself. And that means, more beach time for me!

So, what are your "Spend Money to Save Money" ideas?
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