Monday, April 30

Water Fast Day 6

 "Fasting is not a cure. It is a process that may facilitate the body's own healing mechanisms. It is a gift to an overburdened body. It can be extremely effective at creating an internal environment where the body can do what it does best - cleanse and heal itself." - TrueNorth Health

So I wanted to share something amazing with you all today, because I'm totally shocked about it as well. Unfortunately, I've had a pesky spider vein on my outer upper thigh since high school. It's always been a pinkish purple color and is right where the leg meets the end of a chair. No coincidence right, because it's from all the sitting that I do. Creating art, video games, computer usage, classes, etc. which I'm sure have all been hard on that little vein. I would never ever considered having surgery to get it removed because a family member once told me that her friend went in to get some spider veins removed for health and cosmetic reasons, and eventually the doctors had to amputate her leg because they messed up so badly and she didn't react well to the surgery. That is terribly sad. Always heal, never cut away, that's my philosophy.

So I started getting acupuncture done on it, which helped quite a bit, but it was something that took several treatments and the vein would always return to it's normal dark color after awhile. Supposedly if one has enough acupuncture treatments on the vein it will heal itself and get use to pumping fresh clean blood. That's why it's important to get all of the stagnate blood out so that the vein can continue working properly.

Well, I noticed when I was bathing that my vein is healing. No joke! I'm so surprised by this and didn't even think that water fasting would help it. It's a soft light pink now, no purple at all and it's barely visible. That is amazing! I only wish I did this before wearing all of my shorts at Disney World. I could have saved a lot of concealer. So check out the picture below. I'm incredibly happy about this. Go water!

Here's the video for the day: why wheat is so bad, and the difference between fasting and starving

Woke at 9:00am
I didn't sleep well last night, because I couldn't turn off the brain. It had nothing to do with fasting, I just had so many creative things to think about that it kept me up. It's funny how I wanted this time to rest and relax, but at the same time I'm thinking about all of the things I could be working on like artwork and YouTube. Oh well, I'll have a chance to continue with those soon. So I woke up and didn't feel like I needed more sleep. I brushed my teeth, went downstairs, grabbed my first glass of water for the day and went to meditate in the sunlight. After that, I finished reading AAU's new A/Journal, and got my second glass of water for the day. I'm still not hungry, and surprisingly I'm not having cravings anymore either. Everything's going great.

Ooh la la! My vein, right next to the freckle, is almost invisible.

I'm doing good, but still a bit sleepy. I'm enjoying my second glass of water and just relaxing today. I plan on catching up on reading and maybe more phone calls to my family.

I'm having an awesome day. I'm on my 3rd glass of water, have been answering online messages, and have been watching and reading the articles on Eliina shared this with me, and I've been loving it. Learning more about meditation inspires me to keep going with it. So far it's been great for me, even though it's only been a few weeks. Love it!

Still doing good! I'm drinking my 4th glass of water, and just got out of the bath. I love baths; they're nice because it's a time to reflect and relax. I tried to meditate again, and I didn't do too bad. So now I'm going to call my mom and have an awesome long conversation.

I'm enjoying my day, but it was a bummer that I couldn't get a hold of my mom. I'll have to try again some other time. Anyway! I'm enjoying my 5th glass of water and I'm going to watch some more water fasting videos on YouTube. It's always nice to learn more about it.

I'm doing okay now, my abs are sore again though. Water fast workout! So this night might be a more relaxed night for me. The couch has my name on it and I'm going to watch Thor.

Thor was good, good enough anyway. I'm a little bored of superhero movies, but I was curious nonetheless. I watch all of Natalie Portman's work, so that was the main reason. Also, Thor looks like Basch fon Ronsenburg which is awesome! Okay then, after my last glass of water, I'm off to bed. Night.

Read more about my fast:

Sunday, April 29

Water Fast Day 5

Day 5, wow, it seems like time has flown. Everything is going great so far. I'm not really hungry, so that's good, and means that I don't have to break the fast. The first signs of true hunger during ketosis means that I'm ready to eat again and it's time to break the fast. Also, I've noticed how amazing my sense of smell is. I can pick up the faintest smell of food. Even watching movie made me realize how food is everywhere, it's all around us. All of these terrible queues to eat poorly. It fascinates me, because before, I wouldn't even notice, but every time I see food I just can't concentrate on anything else. These are all cravings of course, not hunger.

Another thing I want to mention today is that I noticed the cyst on the top of my left wrist is the smallest it's ever been. Check it out in the picture down below. I've had this little bugger ever since early high school. A weight machine feel on my wrist, and I developed a cyst. Not knowing any better I had two surgeries to try to remove it, but it came back both times just as large. This is the one and only time I will ever let a doctor cut me open. Never again, because it did nothing except leave me with a scar. It's faded now, but I can still see it and it's a reminded that nothing is worth surgery, good or bad. I now know that there are better ways of dealing with it. Natural ways that help just the same.

Over the years the cyst would grow and shrink based on the dairy that I was consuming, because it's mucus forming, or overexerting the wrist. Which will cause the body to try to strengthen the joint with the cyst. Acupuncture helps a great deal too. When I noticed it growing because of working too much, I would go in to have it poked, and it would shrink down again. It would take several appointments though. So I never thought in my wildest dreams that water fasting would help this. I should have known though, because when fasting the body feeds off of all of the bad diseased tissue.

Also, this video is super cool. It talks about juice fasting and why it won't produce the same results as water fasting. Take a look.

The differences between a juice and water fasting:

Woke at 8:00am
Haha. I woke up, went to the bathroom, and plopped down in bed to sleep some more. I didn't wake until 10am.

Hey look Mom, I'm a contortionist! Jokes aside, the cyst on the left wrist is barely noticeable.

So I got up for real this time, drank my two glasses of water, and I notice that today is not as bad as yesterday morning. It seems like I can function a bit more properly. So that must be my body fueling itself off of fat. By the way, my torso looks amazing, even though it's a little sore like I had a workout of something. After just one day of ketosis, I can't pinch as much belly fat as I could before. I just went to Disney World and ate like mad, so I put on a half inch that's totally gone now. 

I'm doing well. I'm not hungry, but I feel a slight pressure in my head. I'm sure it's just a little detoxification going on. Another thing that's surprising to me in how light I feel. My chest is strong, like I can breathe better. My pulse is steady and beautiful today, so yup, it's a good day.

Wow, how time flies when I'm talking to my sister on the phone. We had a great conversation about everything under the sun. I'm doing really well right now.

Still talking one the phone and doing good! I'm on my 5th glass of water for the day and am still not hungry.

I'm doing good with the exception of a slight headache and aching legs, but it's getting late, so this time of night seems to be more challenging. I'm having my 6th glass of water and after I'm done I'm going to bathe again because I still smell awful and soaking my legs would feel nice. I can't wait to smell normal again. It's so weird and I'm not use to it.

Still doing great, and the bath was nice. I think it's inevitable to be smelly though. My body is just getting rid of so much garbage. So yup, it's bedtime for me soon. I'll get one more glass of water and relax before I sleep. Goodnight everyone, and pleasant dreams.

Read more about my fast:

Saturday, April 28

Water Fast Day 4

I'm so excited about today, because this is the first day my body goes into full ketosis. This means that the body is starting to fuel itself off of fat instead of using glucose. That means bye-bye cellulite and belly fat. Oh yes. I don't have too much to burn, but it's definitely enough for short fasts. Again, an average to thin person can do 21 day on water, no more. So it's super important that I rest today. Even moderate exercise/movement can detract from it.

Going into ketosis even helps to rid the body of bad muscle tissue, like water retention within the muscles. That way when one gets off the water fast, better more pure muscle mass can be built up. I'm excited about that, because that's sexy! I'm all for quality tissue. Also, the body will rid itself of and burn any cells and tissues which are damaged, diseased, aging, or dead. Therefore new healthy cells grow faster to replace them. It doesn't get any better than that.

Dr. Alan Goldhamer talks more about the benefits of water fasting:

Woke at 8:05am
I woke naturally again today, and tried to get up because I didn't feel as bad at first. But as soon as I got downstairs to get my water I felt the nausea start creeping up again. So I took my water and sat in the sun that was pouring through the window and got my 10 minutes of sunlight for the day. After that I laid down on the couch for another hour or so.

I'm staying here most of the day. I'll wrap myself up in the furry blanket and chillax.

Ugg. Still holding in there. This is my roughest time of the day. I don't feel hungry, but I feel a little nauseated still. I'm smelly too! I'm so surprised by how bad I smell, because I haven't smelled in years, both bad breath and body odor. I know it's gross, but it's a good thing. It's just crazy how the body secretes all of the buildup garbage through the pores. So I've been going through clothing like mad, and I'm going to get in the shower again. With just water of course.

Ahh! That shower was nice. One thing I have noticed is that my skin is doing well. Earlier this week when I went out and had Thai food, I broke out like mad the next day. I should have known too, because Thai food, as yummy as it is, always does that to my skin. It's because of the hot spices, oil, dairy, and peanuts. My body just hates me for it. Although, after the shower I notice how much has healed already. My complexion is nice again and my skin is soft, with the exception of some dark scars that take a few weeks to heal.

By the way, I'm chatting live of Deviant Art if anyone out there wants to join me. Here's the link. Feel free to drop in and say hi.

Still chatting on DA and doing good. I'm on my 5th glass of water. Also, I noticed my abs getting sore, I wonder if the fat burning has begun!

I'm doing great and on my 6th glass of water. Chatting on DA is sure keeping my mind off of the fast. It's nice to just sit and relax. Also, I'm not hungry right now.

One thing that I find fascinating is that I'm not hungry, but I'm just craving food. Purely because of addiction. Oh! And last night I dreamt about ice cream, but I didn't get to eat it in the dream. So maybe that was a good sign. Also, I started playing Final Fantasy VI. I started last night and I'm about 50 minutes in. It was good so far, but I want to take it slowly because of my energy levels.

So it's the end of a good day, and I'm quite happy overall how this one went. Surprisingly I'm not weary, dizzy, or hungry. Ketosis sure is a beautiful thing. I have also read that if I get hungry again, truly hungry not cravings, that it's time to break the fast even if I don't make it to the seventh day. I'm hoping that I'll be good though and it will be a very successful first fast. Night Night.

Read more about my fast:

Friday, April 27

Water Fast Day 3

I'm definitely struggling more with this day than yesterday, which is interesting because I guess everyone reacts differently during the days. According to my reading, yesterday was suppose to be more problematic, but today is worse for me for sure. I'm doing alright though. One thing I did want to point out is that the begin of the day, right before one gets their first glass of water and the end of the day when all of the hunger cravings kick into full gear are the worst times.

For some inspiration, here's an amazing video about how water fasting helped this woman:

Woke at 8:15am
Today was a rough start. Just like the other nights, I slept well with the exception of getting up to use the bathroom all the time. For the most part I fell asleep fast, so it was a good nights sleep. Waking up was the problem. I felt dizzy, almost numb, and hot. So I brushed my teeth, which have been extremely clean and glossy by the way, and tried to get up but I couldn't. So I went back to bed and fell asleep for a few more hours.

It's a wonderful day.

I naturally awoke, and tried to get up again, despite how crappy I felt. I brushed my teeth again and went down stairs to have my two glasses of water. I started to feel better after that. It's a beautiful day here in Northern California, so I'm probably going to go outside later to soak in some sun for about 10 minutes and get my daily vitamin D. I want to start getting a little more sun, again 10 minutes a day is all one needs, because my massage therapist told me that my dry skin could be from a lack of vitamin D. Which makes sense to me because I'm a vampire, and I always have dry skin. With the exception of being down in Florida recently, my skin was awesome and well behaved, so being in the humidity and the sunlight was probably a good thing. Not too much sun, but I shouldn't be afraid of it either.

Doing way better now. I'm not really hungry, I'm just kinda tingly allover. Like a weird numbness, maybe the blood is starting to flow better. I'm partaking in my 4th glass of water and just finished watching a bunch of game play videos on Dragon's Dogma. That game looks badass, and I might want to pick it up. So that made me happy to be excited about a game. It's been so long it seems.

I'm okay, I just got back from a very short walk outside. I mostly just sat down on a rock and soaked up a bit of sunlight in the garden. It was nice. Also, it's time for another glass of water.

Still doing good. I'm not too hungry, but it's still the middle of the day. I'm sure it will get harder at night again. I'm also noticing some light pain in the left elbow. I hope that it's starting to heal up.

So I'm noticing that I'm sore everywhere and cold. I have a sore right ankle, left arm, tummy, neck, lower back, and both legs. It's like I got hit by a ton of bricks. So it might be couch time again.  

I'm doing okay now. Resting helped, but I'm going to stay on the couch for the rest of the night and then just go to bed. Tomorrow ketosis starts and I'm excited about that because that's when the fat and toxins really start melting away. Goodnight, talk to everyone tomorrow.

Read more about my fast:

Thursday, April 26

Water Fast Day 2

I've heard that the 2nd day is the hardest. Over all days one and two are the worst because that's when one is truly getting use to being on only water. After the 3rd day the body will enter ketosis which means that all of the reserves from previous feeding are burned off and one starts to burn fat reserves instead. This I'm really excited about, because this is when the true magic happens and all the bad stuff starts to disappear. Remember that when water fasting the body will only rid itself of harmful things like toxins and excess fat. There is a big difference between this and starvation. Most Americans or people from 1st world countries have plenty of fat to fast for weeks before starving. For longer fasts, it's important that you consult a doctor like the ones up at TrueNorth Health.

Again, one has to get over this hurtle on the 2nd day. So this is a good time to talk about some of the normal symptoms of fasting, which I'm already noticing that I'm experiencing some of them.

They are: A foul taste in the mouth, fatigue, bad body odor, bad breath, trouble sleeping, restlessness, irritability, dizziness, aches and pains, nausea and vomiting, rashes and discharge, and healing crisis where the brain makes you think that your going to die if you don't eat (not a joke, and it's perfectly normal). 

Here's another informative video on water fasting:

Woke at 9:00am
I didn't sleep very well last night, because I needed to use the bathroom so much. So I would wake up to pee and then it would be hard to fall asleep again. I just found that I was awake. Not necessary thinking about food, but more so things that I want to accomplish. Like current goals. Over all though it was a good night. Morning not so much, I enjoyed my sleep, but the landscapers woke me up with their electric hedge trimmers. So I was up, but when I got up to start the day, I felt nauseated, and decided to hit the bed again. I sleep for another hour until 10:00am.

This is the size of my glass of water. Yum! Breakfast.

When I got up from bed again, I felt rested and much better. All though standing is tough, so I sat down as soon as I reached the couch downstairs. I had two glasses of water, just like yesterday, and I felt fine. I'm not hungry at all, just a tiny bit weary.

I feel A Okay and am going to get another glass of water soon. I need to catch up on more messages too.

Still doing really good. Not hungry and enjoying my 4th glass of water. I'm actually surprised, because this day has been easier for me than yesterday.

Still doing great. I feel a little bit hungry now, but I'm not hurting, dizzy, or weary. I really do feel pretty normal. Also, I've been watching a ton more videos on the subject, and they're so inspiring. I truly believe that water fasting is a cure-all for modern diseases that are caused by excess, like my wrist/arm problems: Too much video games, painting, and computer usage over the years.

My upper right leg is throbbing slightly for some reason. Something is healing perhaps? Not sure. Other then that I need to pee again. I seriously need to live in the bathroom and it's time for my dinner water. Also, I'm going to pop in an evening film. A Dangerous Method is my choice for the night. I love Keira, so I can't wait.

Doing okay, but I'm hungry again and I've got a little bit of a sore throat. It seems that night can be one of the worst times, because that's when I want snacks, like bad evil snacks. A Dangerous Method was good but I liked The Tourist better. It's always interesting to think about these types of movies though, A Dangerous Method that is, they leave you with more thoughts. Things to ponder over and think through. That can be fun. I'm going to finish my 7th glasses of water, which was one less than yesterday, and go to bed. Night.

Read more about my fast:

Wednesday, April 25

Water Fast Day 1

I wanted to start out by sharing a little bit more about water fasting. Here's a video that's a must watch. If you have to take something away from all of these post I'm writing, just please spend the time to watch this video. It's a bit long, but I've seen it twice and find it fascinating. Especially if you're new to fasting, or know nothing about, this is a great place to start.

A lecture my Dr. Alan Goldhamer as to why water fasting is awesome in so many ways:

Woke at 8:30am
So it's Day 1 of the water fast and I feel fine, nothing different at all, and I'm so happy that I finally have this time off. I made sure I have lots of water filtered for the day and everything is gone from the refrigerator. I had a tall glass of water just like every morning, followed by a lukewarm cup of water in my tea cup. Just to stay in tune with my usual morning intake. 

My refrigerator. Just water, nothing more.

Still feeling fine and am using this time to catch up on emails and do more research about health and fasting. I noticed I have to pee like mad and I am starting to feel a little hungry so I grabbed another glass of water. I'm on my 3rd glass for the day.

I'm feeling great, just chilling, laying down, and am absolutely fine. Stilling using the bathroom every 15 minutes it seems. Enjoying my 4th glass of water and I'm not really feeling hungry anymore.

So I'm hungry now, because it's past lunchtime. I usually eat around 1:00pm ish because it's good to keep on schedule, so my body is like, "Did you forget about me? Waahhh!" I'll be alright though. It's probably time for another glass of water. I took a warm bath too, sans any Epsom salt, essential oils, or soap, and it was a good way to relax. Also, I felt my left hand starting to throb just a tiny bit. Let the detoxing begin!

I'm doing okay. Definitely hungry and starting to think of food more often, but it's okay. Also, I have slight pressure starting to built up in the temples. Not quite a headache, but getting there. Again, that's good. That means I'm starting the process. I'm on my 6th glass of water now, and I'll have a 7th soon.

I popped in The Tourist, to take my mind off it for a while. It was great by the way, and I really enjoyed it. I don't understand way others didn't like it (or that's what I heard) I thought it was a charming film, and it makes me want to see Eurupe. Oh how I yern to travel. It would be a dream come true.

Well, I definitely have a headache now so I'm just chilling on the couch. I'm enjoying my rest time, but nighttime is always the hardest for snacking. I'm terrible, because it's not even raw fruits and veggies that I crave. I want like a whole pizza or something. And donuts, and other bad foods. Of course that won't happen, but it's interesting how my mind is going there and not to good wholesome things.

That pretty much wraps up Day 1. I've got my 8th glass of water, and after a few late night emails I'm off to meditate before going to bed. I feel a little better now because most of the cravings have subsided. Tonight I'm not going to set the alarm clock and just sleep in. That will be so nice. I don't remember the last time I've done that. I don't even do that on weekends, so what a treat indeed. Goodnight.

Read more about my fast:

Tuesday, April 24

I'll Be Water Fasting for 7 Days

Water fasting is one of those amazing things that I learned about recently within the past few mouths, and ever since then I knew I had to incorporate it into my lifestyle. I have been doing a ton of research to education myself about the benefits of water fasting and have decided to do my first one starting tomorrow. I also talked to my massage therapist and he, like others as well, have said to save it until this time of year when the weather is warmer because it's less taxing on the body and is more relaxing, unlike the cold winter months would be. Most people fast twice a year because of this, once in the warm springtime and once again before the weather gets too cold in early autumn. Think of if like housecleaning the body.

A little bit about water fasting:

So first things first, water fasting is a safe and effective way to heal oneself. It gives the body a break from digestion, and if one is eating a poor diet it also provides a break from all of the terrible foods as well. It's a way for a person to clean out years of toxins by simply drinking water to wash the cells clean. Personally I don't have any major health issues, I don't take medications or supplements, and have been living a balanced lifestyle consisting of proper diet and exercise for years now. So check with your doctor first if you're interested in more, or have any concerns.

Watch this video and hear it from a Doctor:


A big thanks goes out to Dan McDonald and the people over at TrueNorth Health Center for educating
others about the power and effectiveness of water fasting. It truly does promote a healthy lifestyle.

How to water fast:

It may sound as simple as just drinking 7-10 glasses of water a day, but there are a few things to note before getting started. First off, do your own research about fasting. There are loads of good books, videos, and websites containing information about it. Some of which I'll discuss in future posts, because I'll be documenting the process here online. It's also important to slowly ween oneself off of solid foods before starting. I have a friend that does 20+ days on water at home (so I'm not concerned with my seven days) who informed me that it is best to do a few days on juice before starting on water. So, that I have: The last two days I had blended smoothies all day, followed by just juice (sans the fiber from blending). That way my body is slowly getting ready mentally and physically for the week ahead.

Some people prefer to use distilled water, because it's considered the most pure. That's not necessary though, so I will be drinking purified filtered water. Perhaps that's something that I will do in the future, but just try to get your hands on the best water that you can find. Note that this means only water for showering or cosmetic purposes as well. No soaps, makeup, deodorant, toothpaste (if you're not eating anything this is not a big deal, because most tooth decay is caused by junk food anyway), perfume, etc. can be used. It's only water, inside and out. 

Also it's important to set aside some time for bed rest. It is most ideal to relax and spend your time laying and being mindful about the experience. Strenuous activity is not recommended, and rest is crucial. According to True North Health Center, "Rest must be encouraged since even moderate activity can significantly increase the metabolism, altering optimum adaptation to the fasting state." So yup, I'm staying in bed or on the couch for most of my days.

Benefits of water fasting:

Aside from cosmetic reasons, like weight loss and clearing up the skin over time, water fasting can help internally as well. Some of which are, but not limited to, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, diabetes, lowing high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, joint pain, eczema, allergies, helping with future digestion, increases the metabolism, and decrease or eliminates headaches. It's basically a natural cure all! But again, if you are ill you must check into a proper facility or get examined first to know if fasting is right for you.

Water fasting is also a mindful and mental way to relax and bring balance back to one's life. In this modern world people are overworked and stressed to the point were we can all use a good reboot, myself included. A lot of great teachers and health educators over time have talked about all of these amazing benefits, and mentally they are just as important as the psychical.

My personal goals:

The main reason I'm doing this is to rid my body of all the garbage that I put into it over the years which stays in the cells even after all of this time. I didn't start cleaning out, eating right, and exercising regularly until around the beginning of 2008. So that's years of waste and toxins that I'm sure are still there and affecting me. That, and all of the cosmetic products that I have used over the years I'm sure are lingering around still. I will start doing better with that as well.

The issues that I've had with my arms and wrists because of art, computer usage, and video games is another huge reason. I'm confident that this will help. Maybe not this first fast, because I have read that the joints take way longer to reach and clean out, but I'm sure it will be a good start.

I've heard good things about the senses improving, like sight, and hearing. That would be a cool plus. Again, I would have to continue more in the future to reap benefits like that from longer fasts.

Getting rid any excess fat is good. Also, aiding the growth of healthy muscle tissue because of the water. Only bad stuff disappears from fasting if done properly. "Bodybuilders who fast one day a week actually gain more muscle mass faster because the body is cleaner and more efficient." - Markus Rothkranz.

Helping with blood flow and circulation. Again, I sit a lot because of painting and my legs hate me at times. So I hope that this will help too.

Mentally I feel overworked, and I have been really looking forward to doing NOTHING. This will be the first time in my life and I am so ready for it.

I've also read that fasting helps increase the growth hormone because of all the water (I believe the doctor mentions this too at the end of the video above) which would be great. I'm all for that.

Lastly, there have been countless studies suggesting that people that eat less live longer healthier lives than people that don't. Most of the diseases of the modern world are from excess, not deficiency. Of course I want that, so here I come water!

There you have it. I plan on posting daily about my experience. Wish me luck, those first 
three days will be the most challenging. Also, if you've fasted before please feel free 
to comment below and share your stories. I would love to hear from you all.

Read more about my fast:
♡ Claudia

Cherry Blossom Festival 2012

This weekend was a crazy one for me. In a good way of course, but very busy. Just like the Chinese New Year Parade, things did not go according to plan for this event either. I was extremely late waking up on Sunday because on Saturday my friends and I were playing Heroscape until 2:30 in the morning. Mind you we started our game at 6pm ish, so it took us about seven hours to finish after subtracting the one hour dinner break. It was worth it though, and oh so much fun. But because of it, I decided to get my sleep and just leave as soon as I could. When I got downtown it was already passed 1pm so I knew that I was missing the parade. I figured that was okay and I just took my time and enjoyed the walk over to Post. St. 

Another thing that was super cool is that it was Earth Day as well, and there was another celebration for that going on at the Civic Center Plaza. How wonderful! It was my type of crowd and there were interesting guest speakers, cool art, good music, huge solar panels energizing the displays, organic food, etc. Perhaps I'll have to spend some more time there next year. See what neat things one discovers if they slow down a bit and just go with the flow. But alas, I could hear the parade drums sounding, so that reminded me that I best continue on with my journey.

Eventually, I got up to Post St. and saw the the parade was already ending. I was right behind it, so if I wanted to see even a little of it, I had to continue walking along with it. Unfortunately the closer I got to Japantown the crazier the crowds got, to the point where I just couldn't see anything anymore so I gave up. Oh well, it's something to do for next year, right? 

After that, I got some yummy free samples of SoyJoy (which I called lunch), wandered around the mall a bit, and headed over to the main stage to watch the cosplay awards show. It was a lot of fun, and I stayed for the singing and dancing as well, but that was all I had time for because I was on way to to hang out for dinner with an awesome friend. Which was just as fantastic! Love it!

Here are some photos of the festival as promised:

Beautiful City Hall

A Taiko Performance in the Plaza

Hurray for More Drums

The Queen and Her Court

Dancing in the Parade

I Really Have No Idea

A Beautiful Day in JTown

My Lunch

Oh My Cuteness!

Zodiac Train

4th Place Cosplay Winners

3rd Place Cosplay Winners

1st-2nd Place Cosplay Winners

It was good fun and I'll definitely have to make this an annual thing. 

Friday, April 20

I'm Going to the Cherry Blossom Festival

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you all know that I'll be hitting up the Cherry Blossom Festival this Sunday in San Francisco. If you see me walking around, say hi! That would be cool.

April 21st-22nd
Japantown, San Francisco

So yup, I'm excited because this is my first time going. I want to get there early before the parade begins to take pictures of all the lovely cosplayers. Then I'll just frolic about for the rest of the day soaking it all in.

It will be good fun,

Thursday, April 19

Is Using Bamboo Flatware Better for Your Health?

Recently I was shocked to find that using metal flatware is problematic. Aluminum cause Alzheimer's disease, silver is extremely toxic, and stainless steal leaves poisonous metals behind, like nickel, every time you stick those suckers in your mouth. WTF right? I don't understand how I didn't hear about this sooner and how can the people that manufacturer these things sleep at night knowing that their products are causing others harm in someway? It boggles the mind. This especially affects individuals like myself that live on a relatively clean diet and good lifestyle habits in general, because we are more prone to heavy metal poisoning.

The same can be said for cookware and buying foods packaged in metal. Like mentioned in the "Stress and Winkle Tea" post, it's best to cook in glass because of similar issues. Then we have the metal food packaging problem, which is more commonly known, and most individuals have read about heavy metals leaking into your foods that way. Not to mention the fact that some cans have BPA lining. Yum! "Hey family have some BPA with your dinner tonight, it's to die for." Oh my goodness, no thanks.

So I found myself ranting to beloved Carin while we were on vacation at Disney World (of all places) about this matter and when I got home I found a package waiting for me. She had bought me a bamboo flatware set from as a gift. How cool! I'm so grateful and have been using them ever since.

Bamboo Studio Bamboo Flatware - $3.85

So yup, I totally love them, and the best things about it is that I'm not poisoning myself anymore. Hurray! They're 100% biodegradable, organic certification pending, and are reusable. It took a bit of getting use to though, because they are weaker than metal and therefore a little flimsy. After while you get the hang of it and know what type of pressure can be applied when using them. Also, I'm super lazy and have been throwing a few of them in the dishwasher to see what happens despite the warning to hand wash them. They are all fine, and I'm aware that hand washing will help prolong them, because they may crack over time in the dishwasher, but I'm not concerned. I do this with my large wooden spoons as well, and I've had them for 10+ years.

Also, bamboo is amazing. According to the flatware box: "Bamboo is one of the world's best sustainable resources. It can grow up to a meter or more a day and matures in 4 to 5 years. Bamboo takes in nearly 5 times the amount of greenhouse gasses and produces 35% more oxygen than equivalent stand of trees, making it an efficient replenisher of fresh air. By encouraging the growth and utilization of bamboo, we can begin to limit the negative impact we have on our environment." 

That sounds like a winner to me, and of course let me know your thoughts about this matter. 
Does anyone else use bamboo flatware? 

Love Claudia xx 

Tuesday, April 17

Greener Living: Top Tips for Eco-Living Around the Home

This is a guest post from Lisa-Jane Redskin, a freelance writer from England who believes all businesses and homes should embrace more sustainable practices whether it means sending less packages through Parcel Force or simply learning to use natural products instead of the popular brands.

Being eco-friendly, sustainable, or green doesn’t have to be hard at all, and can even save you some money. There are plenty of ways to change the way you do things around the house, and it is much easier to change your usual habits than you think.

Some things you may already know about, and hopefully there are some you don’t, but by doing all of them you will be making a difference, and contributing to the millions of individuals efforts to help protect our natural environment.

Keeping cleaning green:

When it comes to cleaning your home, no doubt your cupboard under the sink is full of nasty bleaches, cream cleaners, and other toxic chemical based substances. Ok, so these do have a purpose and you might think that there really isn’t an alternative to good old fashioned bleach, but there is! You don’t have to go out and buy these products when you realise that there are natural products available to do the same job.

To start with, ditch the cream cleaners for bicarbonate of soda. Just a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda on a damp cloth will have the same effect as cream cleaner when you start scrubbing your bathroom or kitchen surfaces. Vinegar is a fantastic substitute for glass cleaner, so fill a spray bottle with a half vinegar and half water mix and forget about buying more window cleaner. For disinfecting surfaces, a great substitute for chemical disinfectants is tea tree oil. Other essential oils can be used to, but tree tea oil is especially good at disinfecting surfaces, and leaves a pleasant clean fragrance too.

Eco-friendly clothes washing:

There are quite a few eco-friendly clothes washing detergents out there already, so if you’re not using one switch now. Also, don’t use the manufacturers recommended amount unless you’re clothes are really dirty, using just half will do fine. When you’re doing your whites don’t notch up the temperature and use more energy, instead just pop a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into the drum to give a natural whitening boost.

If you want to be super green, and do away with chemical detergent altogether, there is a pretty good option available. Commonly known as soapnuts, the drupes from the sapindus genus of shrubs contain saponins which are a natural surfactant. This means that there are a completely natural alternative to chemical detergent, and have already been used for washing in Asia for thousands of years. Try them and see, they are much cheaper and economical than normal detergents, lasting months if not years. If you can’t find any in your high street shops, order them online instead, you won’t regret it.

Lowering the amount of energy you use:

Living without energy entirely would be pretty difficult, but there are plenty of ways to stop using as much as you do. Until you really sit down and think about, you don’t realize that a lot of the energy you use is wasted. The first place to start is by replacing all your incandescent light bulbs with new energy saving light bulbs, but there is much more you can do. Get hold of a solar power charger for replenishing things like your mobile phone, tablet, MP3 player, and other electronic devices. A lot of energy is wasted by plugging these devices into the mains and leaving them in too long. On a similar note, don’t leave chargers plugged into the wall when you’re not using them, because they still drain energy whether something is plugged into them or not!

Avoid using a tumble dryer at all costs. These things use a ton of electricity to run, and in most cases you can just hang your clothes out to dry for absolutely free. If the weather prevents you from doing this, then use radiator clothes hangers to dry you clothes using their heat, then you are getting two uses out of your central heating energy.

Keep checking for alternatives:

Being green is a choice for now, but as time goes on it will no doubt become a necessity for everyone whether they like it or not. So always keep an eye out for new energy saving methods and innovative eco-living techniques to stay one step ahead!

Monday, April 16

Barnabas Collins of Collinwood Manor

My Thoughts
When I first saw this contest notification in my inbox, I was ecstatic because now I had an excuse to paint Johnny Depp. Johnny looks absolutely amazing as Barnabas, and the hair, makeup, and costume design is just brilliant. Like all Tim Burton films, I’ll be at the theater bright and early on the first day because I’m excited to see it.

Not only that, but the fact that Tim Burton’s involved with the judging made me so incredibly happy. It would be quite the honor for him to view my work because I have admired him since I was very young. For me it’s a way to give back to a favorite creator and visionary that has inspired me throughout my life.

After I finished thoroughly reading over all the fine print, I already knew the direction I wanted to take. I was going to create the portrait as if I was thee portrait painter myself. That meant oil on canvas/panel, or at least the simulation of such. So I envisioned myself sitting down with Barnabas at his Manor as his own privately commissioned painter.

Recently I had the privilege of visiting The Haunted Mansion at Disney World, so I had the wonderfully eerie Victorian portraits still on the brain. I decided that it would be fitting to pay homage to young Master Gracey himself and pose Johnny in a similar way. Proud and tall, sitting with his left hand on his chest, but still a bit of a smug grumpy pants. The way that Johnny frowns is amusing; therefore I knew that part of his character had to be captured. I also drew inspiration from the Dutch Golden Age of painting, Rembrandt being my main influence. His beautiful self portrait “Portrait of Rembrandt with Gorget” had a similar color palette (depending on the photograph) as the film. So my painting reflected that and consisted of an array of pale desaturated greens and golds, complemented by vivid pops of red and deep navy blue. Like Rembrandt, I also wanted to render an affective chiaroscuro, not only because it's visual appealing but it's symbolic of Barnabas’ struggle with light and dark.

Painted in Photoshop with a Wacom in 18 hours over a 3 day period; all on one layer to help simulate real oil painting. I used the Standard Portrait Template (3125 x 2500), Fine Art brushes from my collection to create the texture and look of real paint, along with the grid method pioneered by Renaissances Masters to help keep proportions accurate.

Dark Shadows: "Barnabas Collins of Collinwood Manor" - Painting Steps
Level: Advanced

Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

Friday, April 13

Stress and Wrinkle Tea

A few months ago I stumbled upon Markus Rothkranz's YouTube channel and this amazing recipe for homemade pine, rosemary, and licorice root tea. So of course I had to share it with you!

Watch Markus' Video Here

First off, I want to say that I adore him. He really knows his stuff and I have learned quite a bit of new info already. Remember my post "I've Been Improving My Diet", that's all because of Markus' teachings. So yes, back to the tea, it's amazing and I've been making it a few times every week since I learned about it.

Pine needles, rosemary, and licorice root.

So all you have to do is follow the instructions in Markus' video. My portions, as pictured above, are a little bit smaller than his, just because of my saucepan size. Also, as mentioned, it's best to use glass to heat this tea in, because stainless steel contains nickel. Which is not awesome, and is poisonous. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time finding a glass pot/pan that can be used on the stovetop in any store. So sadly, I'm still using my stainless steel one with a glass lid. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would be most grateful. Another thing too to note about glass, is that it has to be placed on a cold burner and then heated to allow for the glass to expand properly. Putting a cold pot on a hot burner can break the glass.

After the tea is done after 20-25 minutes, one can partake and reap all of it's wonderful benefits. Mind you this tea takes a bit of getting use to, both taste and detox wise. The taste is a bitter/sweet concoction that I nicknamed "Medicine Tea", because it's not something I'm going to snuggle on the couch with, but at the same time it's taste isn't that bad that it would prevent me from drinking it. After awhile it isn't bad at all.

Second, is that the first time I drank this tea I had some detox symptoms. Which is good, because that means that it's doing it's job. I was surprised though, because I'm pretty clean to begin with, but it still made me nauseous. This made me release that I still had along way to go, and that's when I started to clean my diet up even more. I haven't been the same since, and I wish I would have done it years ago. So if this is your first time, fill your cup up halfway with tea and diluted the rest with hot water. That way you can slowly work up to a full cup of tea.  

One last thing is that I noticed that the pine needles leave behind a filmy white residue on the pan and lid that's a bit hard to clean off. Personally, this doesn't bother me too much because that's all I use the pan for now. Although, if you want to clean them properly all you have to do is soak them in or with a water and vinegar mixture for a few hours and it wipes right off.

Try this awesome tea out today! It's so easy that anyone can do it.

Cheers and happy tea making.

Thursday, April 12

Jagadaia Music Production Logo

A production logo that I created for Jagadaia Music.

Jagadaia Music Production Logo Breakdown
Level: Advanced

For more information, please read the YouTube info box.

Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Wiley Camper and Alvin Muolic.

“Om” by Jagadaia Music

Wednesday, April 11

7 Deadly Beauty Sins Tag

A fun little tag from Tina.

GREED - What is your most inexpensive beauty product? What is your most expensive?
My most inexpensive product is my Wet n Wild Kohl Eyeliner which I believe is like .99 cents. I love them to pieces and I've been using them since high school. Then my most expensive is my Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation in Soft Ivory. Foundation is just one of those things that you have to splurge on, because you get what you pay for. You have to find something that works for your skin type and a is a true color match, so it can be tricky. Personally, this foundation is amazing from an artistry stand point, but from a health standpoint it frightens me. I'm going to buy an 100% Pure foundation for the day and save this one for special occasions, so I don't have to expose myself to so many chemicals.

WRATH - What beauty products do you have a love/hate relationship with? What has been hardest to find? Oh yes! My Smashbox Eye Illusion shadow quad. This little bugger is fantastic for highlighting. Amazing I say! But, it's discontinued and when I ordered mine off of they sent me an old one that might be expired already. So that sucks, because it's brand new, but I can't replace it because it's discontinued. Oh what to do!

GLUTTONY - What are your most delicious beauty products?
MAC Lipglasses are yummy. Most people will agree that the vanilla scent is divine.

SLOTH - What beauty product do you neglect due to laziness?
False Eyelashes. I love the way they look, and would wear them daily because they make such a huge difference, but I'm just so lazy. Putting them on is a pain, worrying about them throughout the day is annoying, and then taking them off at night too. So I just wear them on special occasions.

PRIDE - What beauty product gives you more confidence?
My Chanel LE CRAYON KHÔL Intense Eye Pencil in Noir. This product is a makeup artist favorite used on Keira Knightley to achieve her signature smoky eye. So when I wear mine, I feel like a celebrity. Chanel is always very feminine and sexy.

LUST - What attributes do you find most attractive in the opposite sex?
Wow, this is very forward. Confidence, if you don't have this, nothing else matters. I learned that in acting class. As an artist, I tend to notice the details as well. A symmetric face and proper ratios are ideal. Someone that cares about their health is important. Height, they have to be taller than I am. Someone that's fashionable, has amazing avant-garde hair, and spends time on their appearance. It says a lot about a person.

ENVY - What item would you most like to receive as a gift?
An Omega Juicer model #8006. This would make me so incredibly happy, because being healthy is the most important beauty regime. It makes all your problems go away. We truly are what we eat, and beauty starts from the inside out.

So, what are your sins? Tag!
♡ Claudia

Tuesday, April 10

Gamers Get Girls

This is a guest post from Tony Shin of

Created by:

Monday, April 9

Take Time Out for Meditation

This is a guest post from Lisa-Jane Redskin, a freelance writer from England who writes about the home, personal finances, and relaxation.

After a stressful day, dashing everywhere and trying to fit everything in, a great way to relax and de-stress is through meditation. Meditation is a calming mental exercise which can ease anxiety, tension and stress. Some have also found it helpful with anger management issues, so is has a wide range of purposes.  It can induce mental tranquility and physically calm the body by emptying the mind of unwanted thoughts, problems and irritations.

Health Benefits

Apart from relieving stress, meditation is said to be able to lower blood pressure and even relieve pain. Many people use it to ease a headache and some fans also say it improves focus and concentration even improving your efficiency. Yes it is a win-win practice without any downside or side effects.

There are different types of meditation but all aim at relaxing the mind. One of the most common forms is transcendental meditation, TM which involves repeating a word, phrase or sound, called a mantra, over and over again. It is totally effortless and as a result makes the mind quieter and more settled. Anything that requires effort will keep the mind busy which is opposite of the state meditation aims to achieve.

Your DIY Guide to Meditation

It’s easy to teach yourself to meditate if you haven’t got the time to go to a class or there isn't one nearby for you to attend. You can spend as little as 15 to 20 minutes a day meditating to reap its relaxing benefits but some people find it so rewarding they do it for up to an hour a night! As you practice more regularly your random thoughts diminish and the meditative state becomes easier to maintain.

Firstly choose a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or disturbed. In front of the television is a no-no and playing music can also be distracting; total silence is best. So switch of your mobile phone – people can live without contacting you for 20 minutes to half an hour. Sit in an alert but relaxed body position either in a comfy chair or in the classic meditation position, crossed legged on the floor, in the lotus position if you find that comfortable.

Keep your head upright and close your eyes to avoid any visual distraction and it also aids concentration. Try to stay as still as possible, while breathing deeply, slowly and rhythmically through your nose. Focus on something like your breath or imagine something like a candle and start repeating, either a word or phrase over and over again.

If you find your mind starting to wander simply note the fact and bring your thoughts back to your meditation focusing on either the image, your breathing or the mantra. To help them feel relaxed even more and feel calm some followers of meditation like to light a candle or even a joss stick.

Other Types of Meditation

There are other types of meditation including what’s called mindfulness meditation which focuses on the present moment by moving your concentration through the length of your body from the tips of the toes to the top of the head. The mental body scan is usually done while lying down with your arms stretched out down in front of you and the palms facing the ceiling.

Breath meditation is another type when you focus on breathing, inhaling and exhaling steadily. Simply breathe deeply and slowly through the nose. Observe the breath as it flows in and out mentally feeling your stomach failing and rising.

Afterwards many people say they feel incredibly calm and relaxed and are less likely to lose their temper or get worked up about trivialities. Many people allocate a set time everyday to practice meditation for example as soon as they arrive home from work or just before going to bed at night.

Everyone needs some ‘me’ time, it can make you a nicer, gentler and calmer mother, colleague or partner. You will feel calm just as when you’ve sorted out the day's work. So do take the time out of you busy life to meditate it’s not being selfish, so don’t feel guilty.

Friday, April 6

Animal Kingdom

Photography from my wanderings around the beautiful Animal Kingdom.

Also check out the Animal Kingdom Photography Video here:

Thursday, April 5

Magic Kingdom

Photography from my fantastic adventures at the Magic Kingdom.

Also check out the Magic Kingdom Photography Video here:

Wednesday, April 4

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Photography from my amazing stay at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.

Also check out the Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Photography Video here:

Tuesday, April 3

Look of the Month :: Spring 2012 :: April

In honor of my trip to Disney World I thought that it was fitting to create this month's digital face chart on my most worn vacation look. I'm an extremely light traveler, too extreme sometimes, but that's okay. Makeup is never a problem. I'm great at mixing, experimenting, and improvising. That's what's so wonderful about being a makeup artist! I love bringing small compact multitasking products that I can mix and match to get different looks depending on my mood, clothing, and the time of day. An example of one of my all time favorite products is MAC's Paint Pot in Bare Study. It can be used as a lid primer, lid color, under eye corrector, face highlighter, and lip highlighter. It's super easy to use and I prefer the warmth of my clean fingers to pat the product into skin before it sets. No makeup brushes needed. It's perfect for outdoor vacations, because it doesn't budge and is sweat and water resistant.

Extra virgin olive oil is another travel must-have. I bring it in a small three ounce dark glass bottle and use it for a facial moisturizer, makeup remover, and body moisturizer instead of the chemical-filled lotions provided by the hotel. Lastly, Bare Escentuals brushes are a dream, because they're tiny and can fit easily in one's suitcase. This is actually why I prefer them period, because I don't need a lot of room for them at home as well.

Also, I wanted to note that this look was inspired by the fresh day looks of Disney Princesses. Focusing on soft dewy skin, rosy cheeks, loads of lashes, and a natural lip. Which made for a wonderful lightweight spring look that could be applied in 10-12 minutes and was perfect for the weather.

The current look is:
A P R I L  2 0 1 2

Color inspiration:
Pale blue, dusty rose, chocolate brown, white, and silver

Current motivation for the look:
Disney princesses, warm weather, and early mornings

Previous Looks this Year:

J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 2

F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 2

M A R C H  2 0 1 2

Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


Monday, April 2

My Return Home After a Wonderful Adventure

It's hard to describe how much this trip meant to me, but as I'm sitting here sunburnt, sore, and sleep deprived I wish it wasn't over just quite yet. Here's a little recap of my fantastic trip down to Florida.

~ The Resort ~
 Midnight at Coronado Springs.

As previously mentioned, my friend Charlotte invited a handful of her closest friends down to Disney World for a magical week of theme park hopping, birthday fun, and good food. We stayed at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, a beautiful themed hotel "that evokes the spirit and romance of Spanish-colonial Mexico." Alvin and I arrived the night before everyone else in the group, around midnight, and the place was just amazing. So quiet and peaceful. No one was there, but the picturesque grounds were still lite up, and gave me a wonderful first impression while personally being escorted to the room. The day was just as brilliant as the night, full of bustling travelers and lively animals (I saw crows, storks, ducks, lizards, squirrels, and rabbits to name a few).

~ The Magic Kingdom ~
Nom nom cotton candy.

So of course we had to hit up The Magic Kingdom on the first day, that's just a given. What was nice about staying at an actual Disney Resort was the fact that they had bus transportation to and from the parks. Which was awesome, because one doesn't have to worry about driving or taking a taxi. It's all provided. As soon as I got there I had one thing on the brain: Cotton Candy! Being nostalgic about eating this tasty treat in the park, I had a mandatory quota of one per day. So sure enough, right there at the beginning of Main St. I partook in some of the most awesome cotton candy of all time. Gotta start the morning off right!

We adventured counterclockwise, making Space Mountain the very first ride of the trip. Followed by Stitch's Great Escape, which saddened me because it use to be ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. I was dying to experience this attraction again, because when I was younger I closed my eyes during the entire thing. So as an adult I was to eager to retry it. It was pretty similar, but toned down for children and centered around the Lilo and Stitch franchise instead. Oh well. 

Traveling around the park brought back so many good memories, it was kind of like living in a dream because it was interesting to see the same things from and adult's perspective. Being in the park made me reflect upon the concept that childhood memories are always larger than life. Or maybe it's just that first experiences are always the most potent. 

Love zee pirates!

The last ride of the day was Pirate's of the Caribbean, my all time favorite Disney attraction. I was so excited to go again! A pirate's life for me, right? Well when we were in line the ride broke down, but I didn't want to leave, so we just waited until it started up again. Sure enough, after about 15-20 minutes of waiting (and mind you I don't care one bit because the queue is good fun for me) it started right up again and we got on one of the first boats out. Arrrgh! Well half way through the ride, the boat stopped moving and a cast member got on the louder speaker to tell us riders to stay put. After about 10 minutes of listening to "Yo Ho Ho" by the burning village area, we noticed a cast member in rubber waders pushing the boats over to the shore so that passengers could evacuate. By this time the lights were on and the music was off, so it was neat to see the ride in that state. But all I could think of was, "Damn my camera is full and I can't record this." It's all in my memory though. I will never forgot how incredibly awesome it was to be up on the land looking down at the river as if you were one of the pirates. Followed by seeing all the behind-the-scenes magic in the building as we exited out into the the back lot. All of the people were given a free fast-pass that could be used to pass one line in the park as a sincere apology for the issue. I didn't care one bit, and was just beaming from the once-in-a-life-time experience, so I was a very happy girl.

~~Animal Kingdom~~
So incredibly sad.

On Saturday we went to the Animal Kingdom and it was a gorgeous day. I couldn't have asked for anything better and there was plenty of shade to hide in. It was fun to see all the animals but at the same time I was sad for them, because I know we're the reason why they're there in the first place and don't have proper homes. They were either born into captivity or don't have any wild jungles left to roam around in. It's quite unfortunate that the park meant to honor animals is the same place that keeps them prisoners. They all looked so bored and miserable. Most of this park, especially the animal exhibits, was new to me. When my family and I last went in the 90's it was still under construction. That, and when I was younger I was a little brat, only wanting to go on the rides and not bothering with the gardens. So this time I truly got to experience how lovely the entire park is.

~ Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ~
Can I please live here?

This was the day that my sister Carin joined us for the first time. We went out to breakfast, at IHOP which was a good time to catch up because I was so excited to see her. I was glad that she and her friend decided to join us that day because it was everyone's first time at Harry Potter Land. I was thrilled! We practically ran to the back of the park to get there as soon as we could. I of course was smiling ear to ear, because I had been waiting so long to go, and at last I had arrived. So the first thing I did was stand in line for butterbeer. If you ever have the chance to get one, the frozen ones are just divine and my preference for that matter. I had four of them that day. I just wish that they had an alcoholic version so that it would be more accurate to the films. Also, this is around the time my camera died because I didn't bring the charger. I was so sad, but in a way I'm glad it happened because then I could just live the experience instead of being behind my camera all day long. I was always opposed to that, and here I am being hypocritical. So the butterbeer photo was my last one for the entire trip.

This thing gave me a million brain freezes.

Nothing could top Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey though. I actually teared up on that ride (the part were you fly over Hogwarts for the first time) I was so incredibly happy. It's been a long time since something like that has happened to me, and I was surprised by it. I knew that I would love it, but it really blew my mind. You feel like you're there. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever done.

After that we went over to The Three Broomsticks to have a feast. Like Great Hall style, we had an entire long table and it was covered in silver platters containing roasted chickens, ribs, scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob, cooked veggies, and salad. Again, everything was perfect! Perfect I say! Every little detail about this place was spot on. Moaning Myrtle was in one of the lavatories, Hogsmeade was good fun, and the designers found ways to incorporate characters and themes into the rides.

Another favorite was Ollivander's Wand Shop. The short show is fun to watch, and I was very close to purchasing one of them. If they weren't plastic, I would have, but I want a real wood one. Of course it would be Hermione's wand. She's my favorite character because I see myself in her, and we share the same birthday month, only seven days apart. So vine wood is the proper material according to the lore. Also, I wanted a Gryffindor sweater, but those things were expensive. So I walked away empty handed, but that's okay, at the entrance I found some cotton candy which was twice as large as the ones at Disney and a fraction of the price. I got four of them for the remaining days. The universe was on my side.

~ Epcot ~
This was Char's day. Epcot is her favorite park so we spent it there riding all sorts of awesome things. A lot of which were new to me because it's been years since I've been there. That, and just like Animal Kingdom, as children we didn't appreciate all of the attractions that weren't rides. So this time around I got to enjoy all of the countries, the architecture, and the gardens. We were also lucky enough to catch a taiko drum performance in the Japan area. The drummers were absolutely amazing, but because we were standing in the sun I got a little sun burnt that day. My poor toes have the most awful sandal tan lines now. I even had sunscreen on and I ate my watermelon in the morning because it's a natural sunscreen. It was still too much though, and well, yeah, now I have to get ride of those lines.

That night we all went back to the resort to get dolled up to head on over to Disney's Contemporary Resort to watch the sun set and have dinner at the fabulous California Grill. It was amazing and after dinner, drinks, and cake we all went outside on the balcony to watch the fireworks show from high on top of the resort. The best spot ever! It was so beautiful.

~ Hollywood Studios ~
Then lastly we hit up Hollywood Studios, formally MGM Studios. I love this place, and I remember it being a close second favorite to Magic Kingdom when I was younger. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the best thing about this park and this version is way better than the Disneyland version. We ended up riding it three times in a row at night when the line was nonexistent. Also, this was my very first time going to the Magic of Disney Animation as well. I was heartbroken when I was a child because it was closed, and at that time I wanted to work for Disney. So this time I got to go and it was amusing. College all over again, and we learned how to draw Chip. I ended up giving my drawing to a little girl and she was so happy.

Star Tours is good fun too. It's been redone, with 3D, has a variety of different scenarios, and C3PO now pilots the ship instead of the old captain. I missed him, but he's still in the queue all sad and retired. Again, it's best to ride this one at night a few hours before closing. There was no line, we learned a lot from the friendly cast member about the ride, she gave us the best scenario ever which included a crash landing at the end, one of us was picked as the rebel spy (it was Andre from GameXplain), and we had the ship all to ourselves. It was good fun indeed, and a perfect way to end the night.

So now it's resting time for me. I took the weekend to get back on track and catch up, so now I'm excited to move forward with new art, videos, and posts.

♡ Claudia

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