fitness

Days 71 – 77 of My Fitness Challenge

Another week, another update … Even though I may not sound too enthused, trust me, I’m still excited and delighted about my progress.

I’m steadily losing ounces on my regimen. I say “ounces” because the losses have been small but accumulative. I feel like I’m not losing any weight then when I weigh myself, I see the scale is shifting, so I know that I’m doing something right. I’ve finally broken through my weight plateau and I anticipating getting extremely close to my weight goals within the next 4 or so weeks.

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I’ve also hit my healthy eating goals for the most part this past week. I had one day that I didn’t eat much – which is unusual for me – but on pretty much every other day, I ate well and gave myself little indulgences here and there. The hardest part of eating well was eating responsibly while I laid low during Tropical Storm (formerly Hurricane) Florence. It’s so easy to eat like an insane person when you’re in the house without much to do! Whenever I wanted to snack, I’d try to remember to work on a chore, instead. I got a lot done while I watched and waited to see if we’d be impacted by the storm.

This upcoming week should go well. I’ve already gotten all of my gym clothes washed and ready to go, and I’m starting my meal prep today, so that I can just grab my meals and go. I also have a light schedule, so nothing should get in the way of my gym time and healthy eating plans.

That’s all for this week’s update. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation

Making Dreams Come True Using Conscious Creation

Recently, I came across a post from my favorite LOA coach, Jeannette Maw. As it just so happens, she is launching a brand new course titled The Dream Render. Jeannette will be teaching participants how to manifest one of their big dreams in under 30 days. As someone that has personally worked with Jeannette and has seen what she can do, I have no doubt that this course will be a powerful one.

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Jeannette Maw of GoodVibeBlog and GoodVibeUniversity

The course kicks off on September 27, and the best way to take advantage of this awesome opportunity is to join Good Vibe University. I have an annual membership and it’s worth every penny, but there are also monthly options for those that want to test the waters.

To catch up with the latest over at Good Vibe Blog, check out the most recent post, 10 Insights From Studying Successful Creators. This will be a great way to get familiar with Jeannette’s work and perspective. While you’re over there, go ahead and read everything she’s written – it’s all great stuff!

Enjoy your Friday, friends, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

art · international

My Top Picks from Christie’s Asian Art Week Auctions, Part II

Happy Wednesday, friends! This is my final Asian Art auction post, and yes, I’m discussing the second half of the auction events happening at Christie’s. These auctions are happening on September 13 and 14, which will conclude the week of Asian art-themed auctions held by Christie’s Auctions.

September 13 begins with Masterpieces of Cizhou Ware: The Linyushanren Collection Part IV at 10 AM. This auction is small – it’s only featuring 41 lots –  but the pieces being sold are part of an exclusive private collection featuring pieces created with a Cizhou kiln. These ceramic items were once common in the 11th to 14th centuries but are treasured now for their fine detail and enduring beauty. My favorite piece of Cizhou ware is this polychrome censer (incense burner). The polychrome factor makes it unique from most of the Cizhou ceramics, which were mostly done in black-and-white. I love the rarity and the colorfulness of this adorable piece. I don’t burn incense very often, but if I had this censer, I’m sure I would be compelled to do so more often! This little rare beauty could go for $3,500 or more to one lucky bidder.

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A Very Rare Cizhou Polychrome-Glazed and Sgraffiato Censer

The Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art is a massive auction to be held over two days – both September 13 and 14 – and will feature nearly 300 lots. Since this auction has so many pieces, you can bet that the auction will be dizzying. From this auction, my pick is the rare pale greyish-green jade “peach” box and cover. This charming little box is an unusual shade and the finely detailed carving on the box make it a true treasure. At a little less than 6 iinches across, it’s also large enough to hold some treasures, too. The estimated selling price is between $12,000 and $18,000: this will make someone very happy should they win the auction.

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Rare Pale Greyish-Green Jade “Peach” Box and Cover

The showstopping auction is the Qianlong’s Precious Vessel: The Zuo Bao Yi Gui auction on September 13. This auction has one lot but it’s quite a beauty and it is estimated between $4,000,000 and $6,000,000. This vessel is over 3,000 years old and the bronze is well preserved. If there is any auction that you should attend, this is the one. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an item this significant be sold to the public.

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The Zuo Bao Yi Gui (Early Western Dynasty, 11th – 10th BC)

 The last auction to discuss is the Fine Chinese Jade Carvings from Private Collections on September 13. As it just so happens, I love jade and selecting just one item from the 107 lots available was a tough task. My choice was made a bit easier when I laid my eyes on the White Jade Butterfly Plaque. The impeccably preserved plaque has lots of fine carving and the milky colored-jade catches the light beautifully. The lovely butterfly has an estimate of $4,000 – $6,000. 

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White Jade Butterfly Plaque (18th – 19th Century)

Well, that concludes Asian Art Auction week’s top picks. I hope you get a chance to view some of the auctions scheduled and see what items you are drawn to. You can learn a lot about yourself – and art in general – just by listening to your personal tastes and exploring those notions, hunches and inklings further.

Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty · luxury

Beauty Review: BITE Champagne Discovery Set

Happy Thursday, darlings! I’m relaxing before a hectic week and I figured I’d tell you about a product that I’ve been reaching for – consistently – over the past few days. I purchased the BITE Champagne Discovery Set a few weeks ago. I’d sampled the BITE Multistick in Cashew a while ago, so I knew that I loved the shade. However, this set seemed like a good way to get a lot of bang for my buck.

The set contains, as mentioned before, the Multistick in Cashew but also has a Lip Pencil in shade 036 and a lip gloss in Champagne. The Multistick and lip pencil are both listed as being “matte rose taupe”, while the gloss is a “metallic champagne with nude and gold”.

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Lip gloss, lip liner, and multistick

Swatch (from top to bottom: Champagne Pearl lip gloss, Multistick in Cashew, 036 lip liner), with and without flash

I tried different combinations of the multistick, gloss, and liner on my lips, but I had to add my trusted dark brown liner because, to be frank, I looked like a caricature without it. There’s something about lighter-toned lipsticks that just isn’t flattering on me. However, when blended with a deep-colored liner, the colors immediately become more wearable.

Lips filled with BITE’s 036 lip liner (no other product)

Multistick in Cashew layered over 036 liner

Multistick, lip liner, and a generous application of dark brown liner blended in (from local beauty supply store)

Same as above, but Champagne Pearl gloss in the center of the lips

Anyway, back to the products. The multistick isn’t exclusively for lips: it can be used as eyeshadow or blush. So, I applied it from lash to brow, blended lightly, threw on some gel eyeliner and mascara, and took a pic. I like it better as an eyeshadow, though it’s a nice nude (when paired with a lip liner).

Multistick as eyeshadow

The lip liner is a nice mid-toned neutral, and, to its credit, it’s a cool nude, which can be difficult to find. I love the texture and how perfectly it matches the multistick. The liner would be great for “lightening up” some of my deeper toned lip looks and making them more suitable for day wear.

The Champagne Pearl gloss smells minty and has a nice taste. The shade is very close to Extraordinary Smile, a liquid lippie that I purchased from Glow by Melodye a while back. You can see the review on Extraordinary Smile here, but I took a side-by-side pic. Champagne Pearl is a tad lighter, and has a smoother texture than Extraordinary Smile, but the lighter hue means that it will need (you guessed it) a dark liner to be more wearable. Even then, it’s giving me early 2000s vibes, so it’s a bit dated for my taste, though kind of cute in its own way. This gloss is very golden – like, really, really golden – and very shiny. This is definitely one that is more suited to evenings out on the town.

Champagne Pearl with dark brown lip liner

For comparison: Champagne Pearl by BITE on top, Extraordinary Smile by Glow by Melodye on the bottom (with flash and without flash)

So, all in all, this was a pretty versatile set. With a couple more products thrown into the mix, the colors are all extremely wearable and can easily go from day to night. I don’t think I’d purchase the set again, but I look forward to using these products and trying some more from BITE Beauty in the future.

art · international

My Top Picks from Christie’s Asian Art Auction, Part 1

Happy Monday, friends! Of all of the Asian Art Week auctions being held during the first half of September, no single auction house has as many events as Christie’s. Christie’s is having eight events – far more than I could comfortably put in one post. I will be breaking my top picks into two different posts, as there is no way that I can adequately discuss all of the events without separating them a bit.

Christie’s kicks of Asian Art Week with one auction on September 11 and three on September 12th. The first auction is Fine Chinese paintings, with pieces created during multiple dynasties and previously held in prestigious private collections. This one has 132 lots: a substantial amount for an auction that leads a week of activity. My favorite piece from this collection is Traveling in Autumn by Li Xiongcai (1910 – 2001). Whenever I think of autumn, I think of vividly colored trees and a tinge of warmth in the landscape. However, Xiongcai’s work evokes the feeling of late fall: cooler temperatures, barer tree, and only glimmers of the copper-hued leaves that were in place just weeks prior. This more somber depiction of autumn is unique and refreshing, and, since it could easily sell for over $15,000, it’ll probably be a popular painting among the bidders.

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Li Xiongcai (1910-2001), Traveling in Autumn

After a full night’s rest, bidders can get ready for some whirlwind activity on September 12, when Christies will be hosting three Asian art auctions. The first auction – South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art – starts at 10 AM, and it sure to bring out some unique buyers. With a little less than 100 items up for auction, this sale may be brief but it will no doubt also be impactful, as the items being auctioned reflect a typically underrepresented group of artists and artisans. My favorite piece from this collection is Untitled (Street Scene) by Syed Haider Raza (1922-2016). While Raza was born in India, he spent most of his adulthood in Paris. I saw shades of Post-Impressionism when I looked at the setting and brushstrokes features in this painting. This painting could easily sell for $35,000 or more.

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Syed Haider Raza (1922 – 2016), Untitled (Street Scene)

If contemporary art isn’t your cup of tea, bidders can check out The Ruth and Carl Barron Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles: Part VI. I’m not a huge fans of snuff bottles but I can appreciate the artistry of them. My favorite is the Molded and Carved Biscuit Snuff Bottle featuring an elaborate dragon carving on the exterior. The dragon is depicted as it catches a flaming pearl in its mouth, and its body and tail are set against a carved background of clouds and fire. It’s quite an eyecatching piece, and is estimated to be auctioned somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000.

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Molded and Carved Biscuit Snuff Bottle (Wang Bingrong, Jingdezhen Kilns, 1820 – 1850)

Finally, the auction activities on September 12th end with the Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art sale starting at 2 PM. The lot that made me swoon was the Gilt and Polychrome Wood Book Cover. I love any and all things book related, so it should be no surprise that this book cover was my favorite item of this auction. The fact that it came from Tibet – a country that isn’t featured as much in the popular auctions – made me love it even more. This 800 year old treasure will be the crown jewel of someone’s Asian art collection – I can feel it!

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Gilt and Polychrome Wood Book Cover (Tibet, 13th Century)

That’s it for the first half of my Christie’s art auction picks. Look out for Part 2 coming soon!

fitness

Day 64 – 70 of My Fitness Challenge

70 days in, and things are still going well. I worked out more this week, and I did what I said: I planned out my meals a bit better so that I could more healthily during the week.

gym

Did I still indulge in treats on a daily basis? Yes, I did, but despite that, I didn’t gain any weight. In fact, I was down a few ounces at my last weigh-in, so things are still moving in the direction that I desire. However, some more intense workouts are on the agenda for the upcoming week: I want to end the last 30 days of my fitness challenge on a strong note.

As promised, I’m sharing my typical menu with you all. For the most part, I eat this way daily, since it’s easy, affordable, and healthy.

Typical Daily Menu

  • Prior to eating: water or hot tea with no sweetener
  • To break my fast: Fresh fruit (this week, it was peaches or a small container of berries)
  • For lunch: Pre-made salad, frozen entree, couple of bite-sized pieces of candy.
  • Snack: Fruit medley or avocado with salt & pepper
  • Last meal/Dinner: Homemade soup, pasta with some sort of protein, one or two glasses of wine, ice cream

For my pre-made salads, I usually purchase something from Ready-Pac Bistro. They make a variety of salads, many of which are vegetarian, that have everything you need for a delicious, satisfying and healthy meal. I typically use only half of the enclosed salad dressing, so that I can minimize my sodium intake.

Speaking of sodium, there tends to be a lot of sodium in any sort of pre-made or frozen food items. As a general rule, it isn’t good to rely upon these too heavily, as too much sodium creates a whole other set of problems. However, when time is short, we do what we must, so I will grab a Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice or (my favorite) Amy’s frozen dinner.

salt

Too much salt can cause major issues

I don’t believe in depriving myself, so I am sure to eat as much as my heart desires during my eating window. I just eat a lot of “good” stuff and only have a few treats per day.

That’s it for this week’s update. I’ll be back next week with more info on my journey. Talk to you all tomorrow!

art · international

My Top Picks from Bonham’s Asian Art Auction

Happy Saturday, friends! I’ve got more of my top picks for Asian Art Week. Today’s post is all about Bonhams Auctions. Bonhams refuses to be left out of the Asian Art Auction fun: the auction house will be having three auctions featuring Asian art exclusively. Just like in my last post, I’ll be focusing on just a select few items from the sales that caught my eye.

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The first auction is on September 10 at 10 AM EST. The sale – Chinese Works of Art and Paintings – features just a little less than 300 lots covering several different historical periods. I swooned when I saw these stunning silk robes. The vibrant hues and intricate detailing are the things that dreams are made of. Every now and then, I want to rock the traditional dress of a different country, so this is right up my alley. I love both the blue and red robe, and I’d gladly wear both! The robes could easily sell for more than $5000, per the auction estimates.

Two Han Lady ‘s Embroidered Silk Informal Robes

The other two auctions will occur on September 12. Earlier in the day, the Ancient Skills, New Worlds: Twenty Treasures of Japanese Metalwork auction will occur (starting at 10 AM). This carefully curated selection of 20 pieces from a private collection will sell quickly but the items are all distinct and unforgettable. The piece that I adored is this iron and gold miniature cabinet. This cabinet is a marvel: the perfect blend of strength and style, it is one of the most ornate pieces in the collection. This shiny jewel could easily sell for more than $30,000.

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Komai Otojiro, Iron and Gold Miniature Cabinet

Finally, at 1 PM on September 12, Bonhams will have its last Asian-themed auction, the Fine Japanese and Korean Art auction. Kudos to Bonhams for being one of the few auction houses to have a sale devoted exclusively to art originating from outside of China. While I love China and Chinese art, I enjoy browsing a collection that focuses on different Asian countries. This auction is predominantly Japanese art: out of 307 lots, roughly 10 of them are Korean.  From the Japanese art, I found I was smitten when I saw the small lacquer writing box. I loved its elegance and the fact that this beautiful box held writing instruments. Even though I won’t be bidding on this beauty (it could sell between $4,000 to $6,000+ at auction), I love the notion of having a luxurious container to hold your writing utensils. That’s an idea I may have to try for myself.

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Shiomi Masanari, Small Lacquer Writing Box

When it came to the Korean art in this auction, I really liked the calligraphy attributed to Kim Jeong-Hui. There’s something minimalist but still very lavish about this fine piece. The timeless nature of this piece is especially impressive when considering the fact that is is over 200 years old. Also, the simplicity of the design means that it could hang in any room of a home with ease. Prices for this one could soar over $4,000, and it’s easy to see why.

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Calligraphy Attributed to Kim Jeong-Hui

Those are my top picks from Bonhams’s Asian Art Week. This auction house has fewer pieces overall but the focused themes make Bonhams’s events stand out among the other auctions occurring during Asian Art Week. Be sure to check out their catalogs and see if anything catches your eye!