Thursday, June 30, 2011

Update in My Life

Good news everyone!!  I'm BACK! last 99% of me is back.  The right side of my face is still kinda sore and tight, as if I was bruised there, and my hearing is still kinda sensitive.  But I don't care!  At least I have my taste buds back!!  Food is YUMMY again and I've been buying all my fave foods just to remind myself why they're my fave foods.  *sigh*  I can eat again, drink without a straw...  Life is good!  The 1% I mentioned earlier, only I can really notice.  I'll just wait patiently for it to fully return to normal. 

I've discontinued my acupuncture treatments thank goodness because I am not, nor will I ever be, a big fan of needles and shock therapy.  I've just been massaging the area to get it to loosen up.  I'm very thankful to Dr. Yan of Alameda for my speedy recovery.  He was very patient with me and was very careful not to cause me more pain than I can handle.  So THANK YOU!!

Work has been extremely busy.  That's why when I come home I immediately feel like getting comfy in my jammies and losing myself in one of my e-books.  That's heaven to me!  Maybe with an occasional glass of wine, or hell pretty much anything with alcohol, as a bonus.  I'm very grateful that this weekend is a three day weekend!  HIP HIP HOORAY!!  That means an extra day I get to sleep in.  Sahweeeeet!

Anywho...I finally got around to taking a self-portrait with my camera.  You like?  I did a little photoshop magic, maybe covered up some zits ;) and voila...there's my new profile pic.  I have to say that I normally don't have to use the healing brush tool since I inherited fantastic, usually blemish-free, skin from my Mumsy.  But stress always has me breaking out like craaazy.

Well, it's getting late and I'm in the middle of a book that I just can't seem to put down (don't you just love books like that).  So if you don't mind (and even if you do) I'm signing out now...  PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!  (Seriously though...that would be really nice...)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adventures in Photoshop

I'm definitely still a newbie when it comes to working with Photoshop CS4.  Honestly, when I open up the program I'm overwhelmed with all the toolbars and buttons that are available.  I just wanted to show my progress after taking that photoshop class.  Here are two samples:

I know the differences are a little subtle with this one but I think the flower in the second picture seems more alive and "pops" off the page a little more.

You can definitely tell the difference right away in the last photograph.  The scenery was a little hazy that day, as you can see.  I wanted to bring out a little more color and I wanted the focus to be on the cute little girl just sitting there watching all the birds.

If you want to see a higher quality version of the pictures you can click on them in my blog slideshow. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunsetting Weekend

Just thought I'd share this photo of the view from my balcony I took with my phone.  I love the contrasting colors.  It is the perfect ending to a perfect summer weekend. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Update on Acupuncture Treatment for Bell's Palsy

I will never, ever be comfortable with acupuncture treatments.  It doesn't get any easier to lie there and let my doctor poke me with needles then zap those needles with electricity, making my face twitch uncontrollably.  UGH!  It hurts...I don't know why everyone says it doesn't. 

Anyway, it's been about two weeks since the Bell's Palsy diagnosis and the start of treatment.  I've finished all the meds I was prescribed and I'm just continuing the acupuncture treatments now (on my 6th).  My face is still mostly paralyzed.  The only improvement has been my lower jaw (able to move up and down) and my eye (can blink and close when I will it).  I still don't have my sense of taste.  I miss my taste buds!  I'm hoping they will return from their hiatus soon.  Everyone is BBQing and I can smell it but it's torture cause I can't TASTE it!  *sigh* 

This has been my first week back at work and I have to say it hasn't been that bad.  My face and eyes get tired easily and I have to take multiple breaks from the computer, but all in all everyone has been really understanding.  I still feel like a spectacle.  I know my face looks strange when I talk.  I have to talk slowly and make sure my mouth moves as precisely as I can make it so that my lips don't trip all over themselves.  Other than waiting for my lips to catch up with my thoughts, I'm fine. 

I'm looking forward to the weekend (YAY Green Lantern is out!!).  The weather is supposed to be amazing (thank you mother nature) and it seems California weather is back on track.  I recently joined a local photography club and have a  photography class tomorrow morning that I can't wait to dive into.  I'm really enjoying my camera and working with photos on photoshop and I want to focus more energy on that. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gorgeous Bling

I have an incredibly talented, oh so stylish gal pal who makes beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry for me to wear. I just purchased this ring from her recently and I'm in LOVE.

The translucent pink and purple color is perfect for summer.

If any of you are interested in browsing her ever-expanding collection, just check out her website: WorkPlayDate.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Civil Rights Movement Within My Lifetime

CNN Article: California Same Sex Ruling
Judge Ware Upheld Judge Walker Ruling (Court PDF Document)

It is hard to believe that, in this day and age, there are still government sanctioned forms of discrimination in the U.S.  Our government is supposed to protect the rights of all of its citizens without regard for specific religious beliefs yet many states still insist that marriage is still only reserved for heterosexual couples. 

This is why I rejoiced at reading the above article.  I have been following the California Prop 8 issue ever since I voted against it back in November, 2008 but the legal battle over gay marriage began long before that.  (If you want to see a timeline click here: LA Times: Proposition 8 Timeline

While I am happy that Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling (which I read in it's entirety and can be found here: Judge Walker Prop 8 Ruling) was upheld, I know that it will not end until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews this case and ends it one way or another. 

For now I hold out hope that some day everyone will see the parallels between this and interracial marriages before.  Gay, straight, you can't choose who you love.  All partnerships/marriages deserve the same benefits under the eyes of the law across all states.  One should not be held in higher esteem than the other.  It is a choice to blend your life with someone else's and that choice to make that committment should be celebrated regardless of the couples' gender.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Rising Cost of Education

CNN Article: Rising College Costs Price Out Middle Class

Like many of you out there, I attended a graduation party last weekend.  Friday, Saturday and even Sunday there were graduation ceremonies happening everywhere.  Traffic was crazy and restaurants were all booked.  Congratulations to all you new grads out there!!  I wish you luck finding a job and your parents luck in putting up with you since you'll most likely move back home during this terrible economy.

Anyway, I read this article on CNN regarding the rising cost of higher education and how it's impacting the middle class.  It's something I've already thought and talked about with friends and I'm wondering why it's only coming to light recently.  This has been an issue for awhile now.  It's why I find it hard to accept that while tuition costs are rising we are paving the way for illegal immigrants to attend colleges while we subsidize their tuition.  Tuition continues to rise while many lose their jobs.  If you've ever had to fill out financial aid forms you would know that you or your parents would have to be practically broke to qualify for government aid.  It seems to me that the pursuit of higher education is becoming more and more elitist and cyclical.  You can't get a good job without a degree, you can't get a degree without the money, you can't get the money without a good job...  See the pattern?  So do I and it gives me a migraine.  Let's say you do go to college at whatever the cost which = $$LOANS$$.  The average college graduate is then stuck with $20,000+ in debt without a guarantee they'll find a job once they hit the real world.  How long is it going to take them to pay that off? 

President Obama wants the U.S. to be competitive in the global market but how can we when most of the population (middle class) can't afford to send their kids to school.  We then have a massive work force with untapped potential because of their inability to move up.  Think on that!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Illegal Immigration

Alabama's Tough New Immigration Law

CNN recently posted a story where Alabama, following in Arizona and Georgia's footsteps, signs a tough new immigration bill into law.  I applaud the states who are trying to address a controversial situation that, it seems, the federal government is ignoring or incapable of fixing. 

As a naturalized U.S. citizen with parents who worked their butts off to go through the legal channels in order to come to this country legally, this issue is personal.  These laws aren't anti-immigration.  They are anti-illegal immigration.  Don't confuse the two.  I certainly don't.

I know that this country, unless you're a Native American, is made up entirely of immigrants from different countries around the world.  I welcome and enjoy the smorgasbord of cultures we have, especially in the Bay Area in California.  However, I don't like the idea that 12,000+ undocumented/illegal aliens are allowed to just stay and take advantage of government programs.  Their children, at least in California, are allowed to receive reduced in-state tuition rates when it's already so hard for most to afford the rising cost of education.  They are employed by businesses trying to save a few bucks instead of hiring a legal resident of this country.   What was the point of my parents petitioning the government, filing paper work, paying fees, and waiting years and years just to come here?  Tell me how that is fair?  Tell me why we let that happen?

Those who choose to stay here illegally just spit on the efforts of all immigrants who wade through the lengthy process of citizenship.  It's selfish to want the benefits of being in the United States, of being a U.S. citizen, but not abiding by the laws of this country and going through the federal immigration process.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 7...

I had another acupuncture appointment yesterday morning. My jaw ached so badly afterwards. Dr. Yan concentrated on the lower half of my face since it really hasn't been responding as well. Lying there, with my eyes closed, needles in my face and electricity running through me let me really think. Weird right? I need to take care of myself! I went to work yesterday. Why? Emotionally and physically I just wasn't up to it. The medicine had me all jittery, I couldn't concentrate and I would cry at the drop of a hat. Steroids are no joke! After having that heart to heart with my boss I realized that I do need to take some time off. Work will be there when I get back. What's important is to get back to being the best me.

I'm truly grateful for all the caring people I have in my life. My family, my friends, my co-workers... This experience has been so emotional for me. During my walk I called up one of my girlfriends to let her know what was going on. I really need to learn not to hide from people when something is going on in my life. What am I afraid of? She was understanding and told me just what I needed to hear. Her and her hubby are such sweethearts, even sending me flowers.

They are so beautiful. Brought a smile to my face.

The sun is still out so I think I'm gonna go for a walk with my Mumsy then try to eat some of that watermelon she brought me. She's a momma... She's constantly trying to feed me, especially since I haven't been eating much. I can't help not having an appetite without my sense of taste. Anyway, I'm out...for now.

Monday, June 6, 2011

2nd Day as a Pincushion


Never thought I would ever let myself undergo a treatment.  I can't believe I let someone stick needles into my face.  *shudders*  Just thinking about it gives me the creeps. 

My second appointment wasn't as bad as the first since I already knew what to expect.  I was still nervous and the needles, going in, still hurt, especially the ones  that went in my cheek and on my forehead.  Those pressure points may be more sensitive than the others, I don't know.  The electricity used to stimulate the muscles/nerves in the right side of my face still hurt!  After the appointment, my head and jaw ached.  It was unpleasant, to say the least.  I just hope it's all worth it and that it works.

So far I can force my right eye to close.  That's pretty much it.  Oh, and my face isn't as droopy.  I still can't blink normally, taste is still missing, and no other movement in my face.  My only consolation is that it's only been 4 1/2 days.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 5, 2011


It's been an eventful last few days.  It all started on Thursday, June 2nd.  Work was stressful as usual so I decided to go out to lunch with Mumsy (nickname for my mom).  The weather has been strange and unpredictable.  Even though it was sunny outside, it may not stay that way for long.  When it was lunchtime, I decided to bring my umbrella just in case it started pouring.

As usual I met her outside.  I am lucky enough that my mom works across the street from me.  It is very convenient to go have lunch at least once a week.  That day we decided to go to Hahn's Hibachi, a Korean BBQ restaurant.  I ordered a hot bibimbap with beef (basically a bowl of rice in a sizzling pot topped with the meat of your choice, veggies and a fried egg that you mix together) and she ordered a combination BBQ plate.  It smelled so good.  The waitress gave me my coke and the side salads that came with our meals.  I took a sip of my coke and dived into my salad.  It tasted like it usually does, their dressing slightly sweet.  However, and this is the unusual part, I lost my sense of taste!  My tongue felt like there's a film covering it that prevented me from tasting my food.  I thought to myself, well that's odd.  But I chalked it up to the dressing just coating my tongue.  I washed it down with some of my coke, which now tasted like carbonated water.  Disgusting, but anyway, I pushed the salad aside and decided to wait for the main dish, one of my faves at this restaurant.  My mom ended up finishing my salad.  Our main dishes finally arrived and I seasoned it with soy sauce, as usual, and mixed it together.  When I tasted the dish I was surprised at how bland it was.  No matter how much salt and soy sauce I put in the dish it was still bland.  Mumsy and I agreed that it was strange since, upon tasting the food herself, she said it was flavorful.  Even dinner that night, my favorite corned beef and cabbage, was bland when that dish is usually very salty.

I woke up the next day to learn that my ordeal had gotten worse.  As I was brushing my teeth and went to spit out the toothpaste, I wasn't able to pucker my lips.  I ended up dribbling it down my chin.  I looked at myself in the mirror and to my surprise and horror, I was unable to move the right side of my face!!  No matter how much I tried I couldn't smile, wink, or doing anything with the muscles on the right side of my face!  I was horrified that while my left side was moving as usual, no expression came out of the right side and it dropped slightly downward.

I went to work and called my doctor for an urgent care appointment immediately.  Thank goodness I was able to be seen later on that afternoon.  As nervous as I was I started typing in my symptoms on the internet and lo and behold all my symptoms matched one disorder.  Bell's Palsy.  My heart dropped to my feet and I began tearing up.  I read all the research I could find to be fully informed, however, I didn't lose sight of the hope that I may be wrong and the doctor would be able to tell me something different.  I told my boss, who I'm very lucky to have a good relationship with, and she was very understanding and slightly worried for my behalf and to let her know what was going on and what the diagnosis was.

I went to my doctor's appointment.  I told Mumsy to come with me since, as my mom, she was worried about me and I kept her in the loop as to what I thought it might be.  She also knew the symptoms and was afraid that it might be Bell's Palsy as well.  The doctor confirmed my fears.  The cause is of course unknown but I've been prescribed a corticosteroid as well as antiviral medication to combat the disorder.  The doctor also asked me to consider to take some time off from work as anxiety could aggravate the disorder.  She also said that I should be careful and monitor my eye's dryness due to its inability to blink when I'm working in front of a computer.  After the appointment Mumsy suggested that I see an accupuncturist, one that her and my husband have been seeing, to help with stimulating the nerves and muscles in my face.  Even though I fear needles I agreed to it only because I wanted to make sure that I did everything I could to speed up the healing process.  I'm determined that this paralysis will be temporary. 

With a sense of dread, I woke up this morning knowing that I'm going to an acupuncturist who will then stick needles most likely in my face.  My husband and Mumsy accompanied me.  Dr. Yan, after hearing my mom's message about my diagnosis and need for treatment, was kind enough to open up his office outside his normal working hours.  The appointment lasted almost an hour.  The needles weren't nearly as painful as I thought although the pricking did hurt.  The most painful part of the treatment was feeling the electricity travel through the needles and stimulating my muscles, making different parts of my face twitch.  The pain was bearable and would only be really painful when the electricity was too high, which Dr. Yan toned down as soon as he heard me cringe.  The good news is I can now, if I concentrate hard, close my right eye fully whereas before it was still slightly open no matter how hard I tried.  I still need the eye drops to keep them lubricated and the eyepatch at night to keep them closed because my right eye's natural blinking ability is still missing.

This is all pretty surreal and I can't believe I'm going through this.  Why me?  What caused it?  No one can give me a straight answer.  The disorder has made me extremely self conscious about my face.  I see a significant difference when I look in the mirror, especially when I talk.  Not only do I look different but eating and drinking have been quite a challenge.  I don't have full use of my mouth and have the embarrassing tendency to drool or have food leak out of the right side!  Suffice it to say that eating in public is not my preference right now and let's not mention that I still don't have my sense of taste.

I hope this episode will pass quickly.  I'm taking my meds and will have another acupuncture appointment early Monday morning.  I will keep you all informed as the days/weeks go by with my progress and hopefully I will always have some good news to share.  Goodnight.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nails Shattered!

Last night, as you all know, I bought all the new colors of O.P.I.'s Shatter polish. As soon as I could I started pairing which colors would look good as a base for each shatter polish. I came up with this first pairing.

I took a gold polish called Bling Dynasty by O.P.I. and paired it with the turquoise; a pastel yellow polish called Spark by Orly and paired it with the blue; a hot pink polish called Jolene by Zoya and paired it with the white; a pastel green polish called Green Apple by Orly and paired it with the navy; and lastly a pastel pink polish called Mod About You by O.P.I. and paired it with the red. This was just my first pairing. I wanted to see what they all looked like on me. This is how it turned out.

Super cute! Anyway I decided I really liked the look of the gold base and turquoise shatter so I cleaned up my nails to start over. This time around I put a Seche Base coat on first.

You should always put a base coat on first because it protects your nails from the nail polish and helps prevent discoloration of your nails. After that I proceeded to do my nails in the gold and turquoise color. I also decided to put a little bling for added drama. This is how it turned out:

What do y'all think? I think it either looks like a peacock or a reptile. Either way I think it's very cool.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oh My Nails!

As I've mentioned in my profile and in a previous post, I'm definitely a girly girl. I thoroughly enjoy doing my own nails and saving money in the process. I do like being pampered so I will go get my feet done by a professional but the color and decor on my fingernails are totally all my idea.

To my surprise and delight, when I just happen to stop by my local beauty supply shop, I find not one, not two...but FIVE new colors of shatter nail polish by O.P.I.

I am so excited that I just had to share the news! Aside from the black and silver, which I already bought, they now have white, blue, turquoise, navy and red. I cannot wait to try out different color combos. Soooo...I'm signing off to go do my nails! I'll let you know what it looks like later. ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone