Sunday, October 28, 2012

Breathtaking South Lake Tahoe

My hubby and I were due for a vacation.  We own a timeshare and we needed to do something by the end of the year or we would lose the opportunity.  We decided we would go to the Tahoe Seasons in South Lake Tahoe.

Hubby was really excited to go hiking, swim, walk around...  That all went out the door when the weather turned on us.  Who knew that there would be a freak snow storm this early in winter?  We certainly didn't.  

It turns out, it was a blessing in disguise.  It gave us the opportunity to see Tahoe in a whole different light!  It was a rare opportunity to see the fall foliage in full bloom with a fresh layer of powdery snow blanketing it.  I posted a bunch of personal pics on my Instagram account under the username, ooi0katzy0ioo.  I'm a big foodie so I love going on vacation and taking pictures of all the yummy things I eat.  You'll see a lot of those in the account.  Believe it or not, all those pictures were taken AND EDITED with my iPhone 4S!  Even this gorgeous panorama below:

I took this on the shoreline while the sun was setting.  I was worried it would be too dark but it came out better than I expected.  If you'd like to see more just watch the slideshow below or click on it and it will take you to that album on my photography website: Johanne Moore Photography.  Happy clicking!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Fave Fall Trends 2012

My Fave Fall Trends 2012

Fall has to be one of my favorite seasons.  Do you know why?  The rich colors, textures and BOOTS galore!  I'll give you a run down of just a few of my fave trends.
  1. If it ain't "baroque" don't fix it!  HA!  What was big on the runway for fall were baroque inspired prints on dresses, skirts, blouses, even purses...pretty much everything.  The luxurious print adds a touch of class to any outfit and makes for a bold statement, like the sweater dress I feature above. 
  2. Floral!  I'm a girly girl and when I saw all the floral prints out in stores (shoes, bags, tops, bottoms) I was in heaven.  Obviously, I would have to keep the rest of my outfit simple to balance out the busy print and, just like the image above, I would also pair it with some rugged/ripped skinny jeans just to tone down the overtly girlyness of the blazer.  I would also choose some studded, spiked, moto-inspired boots or booties to complete the outfit just because I always like pairing opposites.  This blazer is a great piece to add to your work closet.  
  3. Bring out your WILD side!  Snake, zebra, leopard, crocodile...  Fashion is a ZOO right now!  I love all the animal prints and animal embossed leather that is saturating the stores.  Sam Edelman, one of my fave shoe designers, came out with an on-trend spiked, snake print, leather, crossbody satchel that is to die for.  Pour la victoire came out with a color-blocked, crocodile-embossed, leather satchel (loving the pop of burgundy on the sides).  Both purses have feminine shapes but the animal embossed leather and hardware keep it young, modern, and oh so CHIC!
  4. The color of amour.  Red, deep red, is the color of the season this year as you can see from the various items above.  It adds a beautiful pop of color to any outfit.  
  5. Booties!  Who doesn't wear boots for fall?  Remember when over-the-knee was THE boot to wear?  Well now the fashion pendulum has swung the other way to their shorter counterpart, the bootie.   A great pair are the Sam Edelman wedge booties seen above.  They take advantage of the on-trend color, which is gorgeous, and the comfy wedge heel assures that you can walk in them.
  6. Man it UP!  Yea I said it!  Men's-wear inspired shoes, like oxfords and loafers, are everywhere.  Dolce Vita, another one of my fave shoe designers, captures multiple trends in one shoe: crocodile embossed leather, cap toe, and men's wear inspired.  What more could you want?  
If you liked any of the items above, you can click on the links below and get them for yourself.  Have fun shopping for fall! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Presidential Election Season
If you live in the United States and are paying attention to the news, or watching TV, or even listening to the radio, you know that we are closing in on our presidential election.

You can expect the mud slinging, the exaggerations, the political ads from politicians and various organizations championing one proposition over another.  Sometimes, I just get sick and tired of hearing, seeing and reading it all.

I always wanted to be an active participant in our government.  I even look forward to getting my jury summons and always wish I could be chosen (still haven't).  However, being a responsible voter is a lot of work!  Why?  Because I constantly have to research whether or not what I'm being told is the TRUTH!  Honesty is hard to come by within politics.

As I prepare to watch tonight's town hall debate between Governor Romney and President Obama, I can't help but remember their last debate on Oct. 4th.  I know I'll probably get a lot of flack for this, and I did at work, but both candidates LIED.  OMG, you'd think I cussed out the President according to one of my co-workers.  She was so offended and couldn't believe I would say something like that about our President.  I kept telling her that I said both candidates but apparently I could say whatever I wanted about Governor Romney.  She asked me to send her proof so I did.  To me, exaggerations and inaccurate numbers are lies especially since I have no doubt that they, with all the resources they have access to, are aware of the exact numbers.  It's all about spin.  She's being naive and sensitive because she is for a particular candidate (Obama) and refuses to hear anything negative about her favored candidate.

I'm very grateful to have access to the following website: FactCheck.Org.  They are a non-biased, non-partisan, NON-PROFIT group that research all the statistics and claims that politicians throw around.  They then publish their research, with sources cited, on their webpage.  This is how I figure out whether or not someone is telling the truth or not.  It will be the same website I check after I watch the second Presidential Debate.  I just hope that people, including my co-worker, realize that politicians lie. It's what they do.  I've accepted it and work around it by doing my own research.

Monday, May 28, 2012

My First Doll Faceup!

I've recently delved into my creative, artsy side.
Because of this I bought my first two resin, ball-jointed dolls. They are fully customizable as long as you know what you are doing. Although my dolls came to me with a faceup, some dolls come completely nude and without a face/makeup, I wasn't happy with my most recent doll's face. She is a white skin and had a faceup that had red undertones. Therefore, she looked like she had allergies and her eyes looked very irritated. The artist also got waaaay too happy with the red blush and gave her rosacea! >_< Haha...

Here is a stock photo of her with the default face up:

As you can see, the face up has a lot of red.  While it looks good on this particular skin doll (I think it's an island skin) it looked HORRID on the white skin.  So after a lot of fretting and researching, and I do mean A LOT, I decided to undertake my first face up!

First I removed her default face and sprayed her with Mr. Super Clear to protect and help the pastels and watercolor pencils adhere to the resin.

Then I did the blushing with flesh and light rose tones.  I made sure to get inside the nose and ears as well as lightly dusting the contours of her cheeks.  I also colored in the lips with a very pale pink and darkened the inside of her mouth with a deep rose color. 

Then came the eyebrows, the inner eye liner, lip lines, as well as a little hint of pink at the inner corners of her eyes to give it a little more depth and realism.  The eyebrows were pretty hard to do and I'm not completely happy with it but it's the best I can do for now considering it's my first time.  I'll probably end up redoing this face up once I get better at it.  (I'm thinking of buying a used head on Den of Angels, a BJD doll forum, and use it for practice face ups.)

Next came the eyeshadow, winged eyeliner and drawn-out bottom lashes.  The bottom lashes were HARD.  I practiced and practiced on a piece of paper till I got the lines and pencil pressure just right.  Not bad for my first...

Then I attached new eyelashes to her eye sockets and put a little gloss on her lips as well as the inner corner of her eyes.  It's really coming together now!

VOILA!  I'm finished.  This is what she looks like with her eyes in and wig on.  Not bad right?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Into The Woods We Go

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugI am absolutely in love with using natural light in my photography.  I like my subject to be surrounded by nature.  This is why I was so excited when I got my first BJD.  I pictured Alythia as a druid or wood nymph.  Her look isn't complete.  I'm playing around with wig styles and color as well as eyes and clothes.  I'm still working with another artist on her outfit.  In the meantime, I'm not going to stop photographing her when I get the chance.  The weather was too good to pass up and I was in a beautiful garden setting.  Hope you like it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sharing the Road - What It Actually Means for Bicyclists...

My Bike - Street/Mountain Hybrid
Bicycle injuries: Is the right-of-way fight getting ugly? - From

I recently read the above article and I immediately just had to put my thoughts down.  I live in a very bike-friendly city (Alameda).  We have bicycle lanes up and down the main streets of our small city and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't see a bicyclist sharing the road with cars.  I myself, occasionally, ride around on my bike, especially when the weather is warmer.  I'm more comfortable biking around my neighborhood than I would be bicycling in a big, urban jungle like San Francisco.  I know there are plenty who do it but there are just too many cars, trucks, buses, subway cars, etc. that could run me over.  While I may have the right of way on my bike (and maybe you do too), the big, hunkin, metal car will always win! 

With that said, I really didn't like the tone of this article that seeks to blame only the automotive vehicles on the road for all accidents between them and cyclists.  The following link has the laws that bicyclists in California must adhere to: California's Bicycle Laws (DMV Website).  It even states, "Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations.  Refer to the California Driver Handbook to become familiar with these rules."  I KNOW there are bicyclists out there who have no respect for cars and vice versa.  They do not follow the laws and they act as if it is the always the driver's responsibility to look out for them.  I think it goes both ways!  I don't drive around thinking other cars need to watch out for me...  That's a great way to get into an accident!

There have been so many times that my hubby and I have driven around, in Alameda, Berkeley, SF, and we've nearly gotten into an accident due to a bicyclist speeding by, running a red light or through a stop sign.  They weave in and out of lanes and make left turns without signaling.  Are they crazy?!?  One of the reasons why I refuse to drive around SF and Berkeley (I let my hubby do it! LOL) are the crazy bicyclists with a complete disregard for the rules of the road.  It's really such a shame that they are always crying foul and blaming motorists.  Then, the article points out, blaming police as well?  I think police don't do enough about ticketing bicyclists who disregard the vehicle code.  It's a shame that I always seem them getting a pass.

That's enough venting for today.  I'm a bicyclist that is well aware that I'm taking a major risk riding with traffic.  I follow the laws, have all the proper equipment and avoid busy intersections when I can.  That's the most I can do and I wish all bicyclists would do the same.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Burst of Nail Artistic Expression

I don't know what's different about today but I had the biggest itch to do my nails!  Yes, my nails!!  And not just slapping on some color.  No...  I felt like doodling, like really doin them up.  So I sat down and thought about what I wanted on my nails.  I ended up doing something different for each nail just to see how it looked.  I was going to choose, in the end, which one I liked better.  BUT...I liked them all so much that I decided to do them all!!  :)  Besides, they're my nails and if I want something different on each nail well then, that's my decision. LOL

From left to right: cake, cherry blossoms, panda, cherries, flower.
Like it?!?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What A Doll!

About a year ago, I saw photographs of an elfin creature.  The realism and fantasy in the photo was stunning.  Since then I've been researching how this person took this photo and what exactly her subject was.  

After a lot of googling I found out that it was a ball-jointed doll, specifically the ones made in Japan and Korea.  I like the Asian ball-jointed dolls (a.k.a. BJDs) because they look like anime character with their large doe-eyes.  

I finally bit the bullet and bought one and she arrived today!  I couldn't believe the level of customization that goes into these dolls when I was going through the process of ordering her.  Each company that makes them has a certain look and price point.  Once you've chosen the company and the look then you choose the skin color, body type, clothes, eyes, faceup (makeup), wig, accessories...  After all that you're guaranteed to have a doll with a unique look!  I can't wait to get more outfits, do some body blushing, give her a manicure then TAKE MORE PICS!!  Below is just The Beginning... *Peace*

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quick Update About Sally Hansen Nail Strips

I just had to post a quick update regarding my use of Sally Hansen's Salon Effects Nail Strips.  I can sum it up in one word.  IMPRESSED!  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of my nails because they lasted at least 1.5 weeks (approx.  11 days) before showing signs of wear.  To be honest they lasted far longer than that because I didn't need to change my nails until at least 2 weeks had passed!!

Some reviews reported that the edge near the cuticle was prone to lifting.  That wasn't the case with me.  There was a tiny bit of lifting on a couple fingers but it was only at the corners and it was very hard to tell that anything was amiss.  After the 2 week mark, which is way past the advertised use, the lifting started to cause the edge to chip away.  That was the only place that chipped.  You would think the tips of my nails would start to chip and crack but that didn't happen...ever.  The only reason I cleaned my nails was because it was showing a large growth gap and I could no longer ignore it.

I'm excited to put on the other design.  I believe that taking my time and being meticulous about the application of the strips (pushing down the edges and smoothing out the strip over clean and buffed nails) really helped make them last.  I would buy this again and all of you should if you want these beautiful designs on your nails!  *Peace*

Monday, February 6, 2012

Did Sally Hansen "Nail" It?

Ever since discovering shellac manicures, I've taken a bit of a hiatus in doing my own nails and nail designs.  I've been pampering myself by having shellac manicures done on my nails at my local spa, Jadyn Taylor, in Alameda.  The convenience of this type of manicure is that there is no drying time and they last 3 weeks or more!  My nails stay perfect and glossy as if I've just had a fresh manicure!!

What's the drawback then?  Well, I'll tell you...
1.  They can be a tad expensive.  It's an extra service on top of your manicure.  At most places, it doubles the price of your manicure (but still worth it because of the long-lasting, chip-proof manicure).  
2.  No designs!!  Need I say more?  You get one color and that's it so make sure you love it because it's at least a 3 week commitment.  ;)
3.  Limited colors.  Although I have to say that CND Shellac has been coming out with more and more colors lately, they are still on the more natural side (pinks, nudes, reds, etc.)

Now Sally Hansen's Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips has been out for awhile but I've never tried them.  I keep getting mixed reviews about them and was afraid to try.  The price was an added issue.  $10 for a one-use nail item!!  I get nail polish for cheaper than that and the bottle will last me a good long while!  I walked by the display last night and I finally bought 2 (it was buy 1 and get 1 half off).  I bought Mod About You (shown above with the contents laid out) and Aflorable (shown on the right).  I thought I'd try Mod About You first because I was much more in love with the Aflorable pattern.  I'd rather mess up with Mod than with Aflorable.  LOL

One of the selling points of this product is that it's easy and quick to use.  Unfortunately, that's not the case.  I have to say the prep time took me awhile.  I followed all the tips in the reviews I read.  I took my time making sure my cuticles were all pushed back, nails buffed and shaped, and free from any oils or dirt by rubbing acetone on them.  Once that was done I started matching the strips to each finger, trying to see which fit my nails the best and have them already laid out.  Youtube was very helpful in seeing exactly what I needed to do.  I made very little mistakes.  The one that I learned from quickly was to be careful using the cuticle stick given.  They say to use the stick to push down the edges and smooth them out.  Well if you rub it too hard on your nail it will scrape and/or move the strip!  So I didn't rub as much as just push down the edges to make sure they have adhered nicely to my nail.  All in all the entire process took me over an hour!  It wasn't quick and it certainly wasn't easy.

The other issue was about the strips themselves.  They tended to curl in on themselves so it was hard to line them up with my nail.  I also have both small and large nails and the widths of the strips didn't always match my nail.  It's not too noticeable unless you are really looking closely.  There's only a slight bit of my nail on the side showing.  I've sometimes missed that part when I've painted my nails myself.  It's not a big deal.  I took the extra step of putting a top coat, as many have suggested, just to give it that bit of protection and hopefully make it last longer.  Here's the final product:

Not bad right?  I love the colorful design and definitely not something I can do by hand.  All in all I'm pretty happy with the results.  It remains to be seen whether or not it will last the 10 days it claims.  For the price, I think I'd get them for special occasions but not on a regular basis.  It takes me the same amount of time to design my own nails using my Konad stamping kit, decals, or just by hand.  At least when I do it that way I know that it will last at least two weeks with my protective top coat and won't cost me as much since I already have all the materials.  I will definitely post an update as well as show what Aflorable looks like on me next time around.  *Peace*

Sunday, January 29, 2012

As Promised...It's All About The Food!

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Ahi Tuna Slider from Sliders With A Kick!

I am not one of those people who eat to live.  I live to eat!  I love trying and savoring different flavors of food.  I'm also completely willing to try anything once, as long as it's not ALIVE!  I draw the line there!! :)  That's why when my friend Holly told me about Food Social and one of their events, I was there!  Why would I miss coming to an event that showcased up and coming street vendors and their yummy food?!?

So on January 21st, 2012, at around 4:30 pm, my hubby, Mumsy, and I made our way to San Francisco.  Boy is it hard to find parking on 22nd Street in the Mission District.  The neighborhood was alive and kicking and we were lucky to find a spot to park that was only a couple blocks away.  Upon arrival I was immediately caught up in orgasmic, foodie smells, taunting me and telling me to hurry up and eat.  So began my foodie adventures that night!

I jumped into the nearest line and ordered the above slider.  I love sashimi and I'm quite picky about where eat it and what I eat so I was excited that Sliders with a Kick served ahi tuna.  Although the fish was extremely fresh and wonderfully seasoned, and the accompanying veggies gave the burger an unexpected pickled flavor, it was too small in proportion to the bun.  The bread overwhelmed the taste of the fish and veggies.  I threw away the top bun and just ate the fish and veggies over the lower bun and it was perfect.  Just enough bread with just enough fish that I shared with my hubby.  He loved it as well.  :)

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The making of my Burgogi Burger.

My next meal was the Burgogi burger that I found cooking outside on the balcony.  Mouthwatering beef patty with some bulgogi, a fried egg, and kimchi on top.  It was all tied together with a spicy aioli sauce.  TO...DIE...FOR!!!  I have only one little suggestion, which I would've done if I could've taken this burger home with me (it wasn't going to last that long!).  Because the kimchi's flavor is very powerful, it is hard to taste the rest of the burger.  The beef patty needs more seasoning, possibly seasoned the same as the bulgogi, then you'd be able to taste the meat in conjunction with the kimchi.  I would also have seasoned the egg as well.  This burger is a brilliant idea and a deliciously filling meal.  It's definitely the BEST burger I have ever had.

Yummy in my tummy.

Well I feel full just recounting what I had eaten!  Haha...  I was ready for my dessert and I found it at RSF Bakes.  I bought one plum and one apricot galette.  One bite of the flaky, buttery pastry and the sweet, ripe fruit and I was on cloud nine.  I literally closed my eyes and savored the moment the pastry crumbled and melted in my mouth.  I wish I had bought more.

RSF Bakes!  The plum and apricot pastries were the best!!

Unfortunately, I only have one stomach and that was all I could fit into it.  My tummy was well and truly satisfied.  The same couldn't be said for my poor hubby, which brings me to my other point.  My baby is a vegetarian/pescatarian for health reasons and the choices were lacking in that area.  That was why we had to leave the event early, to FEED HIM.  Hopefully, at the next event, there will be more vegetarian choices for those who choose to or can't eat meat.  But damn, even with the lack of vegetarian choices, my hubby, Mumsy, and I were still glad to have made it.  What food we were able to taste was delicious.  Count us all a fan and eager for more events like this in the future!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Food Social & WIX Event, Sponsored by Simi Winery This Saturday!
Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a BIG FOODIE!  So it's no wonder that I'm super excited about this Food Social event sponsored by Simi Winery and hosted at the WIX Lounge.  YAY!!  Saturday, January 21st at 5:00 pm there will be food, wine, and music at the WIX Lounge on 3169 22nd St., 3rd Fl., San Francisco.  What more can you want on a Saturday night?!?  It's not too late to RSVP by registering at their website posted above.

Of course I'll be taking pictures of all the food and people so STAY TUNED!  I'll be reviewing the food and you'll be able to see pictures of all the mouth-watering dishes I will taste.  Sample photos will be posted here as well as on my photography website:

Monday, January 9, 2012

No Smoking Please! :)

Smoking is terrible for your health and second-hand smoke is even worse.  That is why I'm so happy that the city of Alameda has passed an ordinance banning smoking in public areas INCLUDING inside apartment complexes and even outside on private balconies!  As someone who lives in an apartment complex, I'm thrilled!!

I'm a non-smoker and I absolutely hate it when my neighbors light up and I'm forced to close my windows because I don't want to inhale that nasty smell.  Winter months...I'm ok.  Summertime??  It's stifling hot on the 3rd floor and the only way to cool the apartment is to open all the windows and let the cool breeze from the beach come through.  Sometimes I just have to choose the cool breeze and deal with the second-hand smoke.  It's not worth closing up my apartment especially when the weather is hot as hell.  Soon I won't have to worry about that.  I'm also free to walk around Park St. and Southshore without inadvertently walking into a cloud of foul smoke.  *happy sigh*

Details of the unanimously passed ordinance can be found here: City of Alameda Smoking Policy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Woe is me?" I Don't Think So...

Steel Workers Spend Emotional Last Day at Plant

I found the above article while doing my daily perusal of the local news.  From the title and accompanying photos, I thought that gosh darn it here goes another company going under leaving former employees to fend for themselves.  Upon closer inspection, the title leaves much left unsaid.  In actuality, after an I-9 audit conducted by ICE, this man, David Herrera, along with many others are being laid off because they are illegal immigrants.  The I-9 audits check workers' legal status through the records they submit to their employers.

Pacific Steel had no choice but to lay off an estimated 200 employees because they couldn't prove their legal status.  What do I say to that?  I say there are 200 job openings available for unemployed, legal residents.  Come and get 'em!!  I'm sorry (Eh I'm really not) that you may find this a bit harsh.  As the daughter of legal immigrants who are now U.S. Citizens, I don't have any words of comfort for them.  While yes, I do sympathize and pity their situation, on the otherhand Mr. Herrera "always knew this could happen" and I'm sure he wasn't the only one!  This is what you risk when you come to the U.S. illegally. He wouldn't be in this situation if he had started the legal process for coming to the U.S.  He came to this country in 1991.  Do you mean to tell me that in the 20+ years he was here he never got around to fixing his status, trying to legalize his stay?  Of course not, because he doesn't have the intention of ever doing that.  Not when he can just wait till his daughter, who was born here and therefore automatically became a U.S. citizen, comes of age and petitions the government to give her parents citizenship.

I'm sick of seeing articles that wrongly draw on our sympathies.  Wrongly?  Yes.  Illegal immigrants come into this country illegally and in order to function in our society, have to forge documents and or steal identities.  They take jobs that can go to someone else who is here legally.  More importantly, they dismiss the immigration process that many others are trudging slowly through in order to get the chance to come to this country.  It isn't fair for them to "jump the line" and have no consequences for their behavior.  These are the consequences and rightly so.