Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.
-Henry David Thoreau

I'm sure I could be doing more of this. Good project to work on this weekend!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Je t'aime, Bourjois!

After a rather dreary day, I think now is a good time to talk gush about the makeup company I mentioned earlier, Bourjois. As some of you know, I'm a sucker for anything French. After a vacation in Paris, I brought home clothes, a handbag, and the desire to emulate the style that French women have in abundance.

While shopping around in Ulta's collection of "fancy" makeup, I came upon a display that included Pretty in Paris sets and little pots of powders with names in French. Needless to say, I was THOROUGHLY intrigued but still cautious enough to look into the brand before I bought it (I don't use makeup brands that test on animals). The history of the company is fascinating - in 1863, Monsieur Bourjois created the first powder blush for stage actresses in Paris, and Bourjois has been going ever since. I was happy to find that Bourjois is authentically French, not a company capitalizing on the idea of being French.

I have the popular Ombre A Paupières Wet and Dry Eyeshadow in 2 shades and, of course, Our Signature Blush. I love the colors and textures, and the lovely fragrance of the makeup is a nice touch. If you're interested in Bourjois makeup, you're in luck because Ulta is offering a 20% off coupon online (code 85525) and in store (print coupon) through February 2, and this time it includes Bourjois! I'm thinking of snatching up one of the Pretty in Paris Sets. Let us know what you get and how you like it!

If you want help with application techniques, check out the instructional videos from Mademoiselle Bourjois.

More on Venus/Jupiter/Moon Convergence

Another article on the convergence of Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon. This one is from NASA and it's pretty good so I thought I'd share. Enjoy!

judging the heart of a man

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
-Immanuel Kant

Kant has lots of great quotes, but this one is especially important to me.

Groups I support:
The Animal Rescue Site
Humane Society of the United States

Monday, January 28, 2008

Venus, Jupiter, the Moon, and Beyond

Venus and Jupiter are coming together as you read this and will be closest around dawn of February 1 (not sure if this is relative time). They are bright enough that I think we'll be able to see it with the naked eye, though I'd like to see it through my telescope. The moon will join the party soon after. I can say I'd love to see it with the best of intentions, but dawn is so, so early. We'll see.

More information from can be found here.

I was curious about the astrological take on this kind of convergence, so I asked my friend Persephone's Gate to give me some insight on what's going on in the skies. She told me that a Mercury Retrograde starts today:

Basically it's a good time to finish anything that you have left's also a good time to revisit issues that previously you didn't feel complete about, because if you don't they will just rear their heads again later when the energy shifts again. On a more mundane level, it's a time to double-check any kind of written agreements, instructions, etc. Travel is likely to be delayed - have a Plan B in mind, you may need it! Communications in general are more challenging under a mercury retrograde.

You can find out more about Persephone's Gate at her website, where she offers pottery she has made and tarot readings. I've had a tarot reading from her and it was thoroughly interesting and enjoyable! The site is under construction, but you will still find out a little about what she does and how to contact her.

insert catchy title involving "Lost" and "found" here

Lost is almost back!! We are huge Lost fans - I won't say HUGE because we don't go as far as playing the online reality games or Fantasy leagues or any of that - but we DO read up on spoilers, theories, mysteries, screen caps, etc. We've spent the "Lost off season" rewatching Seasons 1-3 on DVD, looking for Easter Eggs on the DVDs, watching mobisodes online, and catching up on spoilers and theories (see the LostPedia link to the left). I think TPTB on Lost really did themselves a disservice in the way they aired Season 3 because the season was fantastic when watching the episodes back-to-back. Taking breaks in the middle of a season is one of the dumbest things to come to TV, for any show.

One of the best extra features in the DVDs' commentary has to be any commentary from Dominic Monaghan. Lost just isn't complete without the DMS (Dominic Monaghan Show). Poor Charlie......or is he?? ;)

This will be a good week - Lost starts the new season on Thursday (a one hour recap episode followed by the one hour season premier) BUT they are also airing a special encore version of the Season 3 finale on Wednesday night, enhanced with text "pop ups" of back story and special secret stuff. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Be Done With It

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you should begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

A helpful quote, even if it is hard to do!

My love affair with BBC America

Saturdays are once again awesome, thanks to BBC America. Our DVR fills up with lots of good stuff then. We may be a season behind in Doctor Who, and we may have already seen the current "new" season when it was running on the Sci-Fi channel, but that doesn't change the fact that I LOVE DOCTOR WHO. Everyone has their favorite Doctor and sidekick, and Barty Crouch, Jr. and Martha Jones do it for me. I think I'm in the minority with that one, but I don't care. Christopher Eccleston was good...I'll keep my thoughts about Billie Piper (and Rose) to myself...but I love David Tennant and Freema Agyeman together. I also think they had some of the most interesting adventures. I finally got a chance to see the Christmas special "Runaway Bride," too, and I think Catherine Tate and David Tennant will also be good together. Have to wait to see that, though. My only complaint with Doctor Who would probably be the overuse of "scary exclamations" of some of DW's foes. Did anyone else think the Daleks' "EXTERMINATE!" and Cybermen's "DELETE!" were virtually identical? Lame.

Anyway...back to the lovin'....

Another show that is back with a new season is Torchwood, a Doctor Who spin-off. I love the weird alien stuff, Welsh accents, naughty humor. And who doesn't love Captain Jack Harkness? He certainly gets around. I hear we're only a week behind the UK on this one so that's good!

Some other shows I've enjoyed on BBC America are Life on Mars, a show about a guy who has an accident in 2007 and wakes up in 1973 (or does he?), Jekyll (with the incredible James Nesbitt), and MI-5, all of which have finished their runs as far as I know. The ending of Life on Mars STILL has me thinking. MI-5 has more seasons beyond the last one that aired, but I don't think I'll be as interested with the direction it'll be going. What the heck happened to the Gil Mayo Mysteries? The real mystery is figuring out how BBC America decides on its lineup.

Bargain Hunt is another guilty pleasure. If you haven't experienced David "The Duke" Dickinson yet, you're missing out. ;) Bargain Hunt is a game show where teams are given money to buy antiques that they'll later try to auction for a profit. The fun part is they rarely make a profit. ;D

Last, but not least, The Graham Norton Show is consistantly hilarious and inappropriate. It's not for everyone, but I never laugh as hard as I do during The Graham Norton Show.

Any other BBC America fans out there?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Touching My Toes

I am more flexible now than I was in Middle School.

I started practicing Yoga around 2001. I used videos and books in the beginning and eventually had the opportunity to attend classes at a gym. It helped me perfect what I already knew and learn new poses, but I didn't like the gym and eventually dropped my membership to save a few bucks. Back to relying on my own memory, videos, etc., I don't practice nearly as often as I should, but I still have a regular series that I do whenever I feel like it, just to get my blood moving and muscles stretched.

I do a combination of child's pose, upward facing dog, and downward facing dog. I really like how this combination stretches my back, front, and extremities. I always start in child's pose, then move through upward dog, downward dog, and back to child's pose (rinse, repeat). When I'm feeling ambitious, sometimes I throw in a pigeon pose or forward bend. This short series of poses does a world of good and usually makes me end up thinking "I need to do more yoga" - but if I had a dollar for everytime I said that about something....

Does anyone remember doing those fitness challenges in Middle School? For me, the dreaded activity was always the V-Sit. You sit with your legs out straight, about 4-6 inches apart, and see how far past your feet you can reach with your fingertips. I struggled to touch my toes, much less reach past them, but I think I could wipe the floor with that darn V-Sit now! Or at least I could when I was at the height of my Yoga practice. ;)

Do you do Yoga? Any poses you particularly enjoy doing?

Friday, January 25, 2008

We've all got it coming

I agree that we've all got it coming, but can't we enjoy other people getting it first?
-Stephen Colbert

This cracks me up. I heart Stephen Colbert.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

seeing yourself

It is as hard to see one's self as to look backwards without turning around.
-Henry David Thoreau

I love this quote. Thoreau is another topic I will explore later...I have more ideas than time right now!

NY $pender

Another blog I love to read is NY $pender. Written by a fashionista in the Big Apple, NY $pender offers fun and interesting fashion news, as well as practical tips for everyday fashion and trends. I'm always drawn to blogs that aren't above and beyond my means or that don't focus on brands and stores that aren't even in my region. Rather than simply saying 'this is the dress and shoe you should have this season,' NY $pender will give you options and ideas that will enhance your own style in various aspects. I like getting a more personal take on a trend, rather than someone reporting that the trend exists, as if it's a newsflash that we'll just all run out and follow without thinking about it.

Ribbons Undone

There's no other way to describe it - I think Tori Amos is brilliant. Even more so after reading her book, Piece by Piece. Her songwriting goes above and beyond most artists today, especially in the way she can write from different perspectives or research a story, myth, or work of art and turn it into a concept for her music.

One song, however, is pretty simple. Ribbons Undone has a clear subject and meaning, and that's one of the things that makes it so charming. I love Tori's more obscure stuff because I know it'll be interesting to learn what it's about or take my own meaning from it, but this song always evokes such nice imagery about a mother and a little girl that I felt like sharing it.

an excerpt from Ribbons Undone:

she runs like a fire does
just picking up daises
Comes in for a landing
a pure flash of lightening
Past alice blue blossoms
you follow her laughter
And then she'll surprise you
arms filled with lavender

Yes my little pony
is growing up fast
She corrects me and says
'you mean a thoroughbred'
A look in her eye says the Battle's beginning
From school she comes home
and cries
I don't want to grow up Mom
at least not tonight

complete lyrics from: Here in My Head

Raging Rouge Contest

There is an incredible contest going on at one of my favorite blogs, Raging Rouge. You can enter to win a vast collection of Bourjois costmetics, a brand I happen to ADORE. I'll dedicate a post to Bourjois later where I can fully express my love. ;)

Raging Rouge is a great site for beauty advice and product information because many of the topics are not out-of-this-world expensive or hard to find, something that I find common on other beauty blogs. She writes great posts about accessible products for everyday women. That sounds a little 'advertisey' but I just like to promote stuff I'm interested in!

Sometimes I think I'm crazy for promoting this contest because it might decrease my own chances at winning. :/ I like the blog and the line of cosmetics, though, so I guess I'll be nice and give others a chance. Don't be surprised to find some of your winnings missing if you win and I don't, however. I WILL find you. ;)

a sparrow on my shoulder

I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.
-Henry David Thoreau

This is a great quote for any gardener. It reminds me of when a hummingbird zoomed right up into my face, checking me out. I thought I was SO special to have had this close encounter before finding out that hummingbirds are actually quite brave (and still zoom near me, chattering at me if I'm too close to their nectar). I am proud to say, however, that I think the birds got used to me rather quickly last summer and don't always dart when I am around. I'm hoping this will continue next summer because I plan on being outside a lot and enjoy having a yard that nourishes many types of souls. Now if only I can encourage some froggies to come back....

My Little Black Book

I'd like to formally welcome you to my new blog, Under the Myrtle Tree. I've thought about writing a blog for ages and decided now's the time. My Little Black Book is moving online, a place I spend a lot of time and do a lot of work. My Little Black Book is not what you think - when I was in my early teens, I started collecting thoughts, quotes, book excerpts, etc. guessed it....a little black book. I quit/gave up/lost interest in doing so around college. Then I started using a computer regularly and briefly got back into collecting the same types of things. It was sort of like taking snapshots of things I thought were special or interesting enough that I'd want to be able to look back on them later and remember what I liked about them or find new meanings from them. I guess this blog is the natural progression.

The title represents two of my interests that I think you will get to know better as this goes on: nature/gardening and Venus (in all forms of the goddess as well as the planet!). I like new and interesting plants, and I don't have a myrtle tree or know much about it yet, aside from the idea that it's a symbol often related to Venus/Aphrodite/Astarte. More on that later. :)