I am currently blogging about everything. Jump in where you are and thanks for coming by!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Blue Christmas

I am basically a happy person. I don't go *looking* for things to be unhappy about. I partake in the news as sparingly as I can while still staying informed. My natural inclination is to look for "bright sides" and "silver linings". But there is something about all of the sort of compulsory good cheer around the holidays that sets my teeth on edge, like too sweet frosting. It ignores a lot of the very real aspects of the nativity story for one thing, a pregnant woman traveling over rough terrain, seeking only shelter to have her baby in peace. I think about Mary being far away from her mother and her cousin at a time when women were routinely attended to by family in their time of childbirth. I think about her flight to Egypt shortly after giving birth, running away from a genocidal king who is randomly killing newborns.

I also think about more modern concerns. People who are lonely, and depressed, away from their families or friends, separated by death or distance or disease. I worry about colder weather being brutal for the homeless and the poor. And then of course there is the existential dread that seems to come in December as well. Is it something atavistic in us that fears the longer nights and dead and dying plants? Is it the ending of the year but before the fresh and shiny and fleeting hopefulness of New Year's? I'm not sure.

I just know that even as a child I felt like I could feel my life slipping away at Christmas. At age six, surrounded by toys and grandparents and aunts and uncles, I turned to my five year old sister and solemnly told her, "Christmas will never be this good again."

So while most of the time I am baking cookies and visiting friends and even throwing god-damn compulsory caroling parties and trimming the tree, in the quiet times of the night, the long hours between midnight and morn, I think of T.S. Eliot's poem about a similar feeling of both joy and dread.

The Journey Of The Magi
'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kiking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

All this to say... a blue Christmas, a sad Christmas is Christmas still.

And now a weepy, blue, tear-stained playlist to get you through the worst of it.

Hard Candy Christmas
If We Make it Through December
Please Come Home for Christmas
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve
Someday at Christmas
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Merry Christmas Darling
That Was the Worst Christmas Ever
Christmas Lights
Christmas Time is Here
In the Bleak Midwinter
Stille Nacht
Walking in the Air

PS Why this stopped letting me embed links I do not know. Merry Christmas.

PS UPDATE: I think they are all embedded now. It's a Christmas miracle.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

On a bicycle built...for 5?

Remember that feeling, leading up to Christmas, where there was one physical object that you wanted with all of your heart? My mother stood in line at midnight once to get me and my two sisters those coveted circa 1985 Cabbage Patch dolls. Then one pre-teen year I REALLY really wanted a stereo for my room with double cassette decks, perfect for recording your favorite songs off the radio. I haven't really wanted anything like that in a long time.

I mean, I want a house. Okay. I bought a car a few years ago, but I didn't WAAAAAAANT it. I mean, it's a Hyundai. I bought it because it has a KILLER warranty and great gas mileage. It's a very grown-up version of wanting.

But this ridiculous bicycle, that is LITERALLY a "surrey with a fringe on top", I want it like 6 year old me wants a Barbie.

Am I foolish? This thing looks awesome RIGHT? I mean HOW CUTE WOULD THIS BE, all of us biking to the store or what not. Tooling around bike trails and having fun? I mean, the only thing keeping me from bicycling more often is the *crippling* loneliness and having to be the only one pedaling. I mean, that sucks, right?

I know, I know. There's a zillion reasons why I shouldn't get this, and it doesn't matter that I want one so bad. I know my parents won't get me one (nor should they). Husband said NO because he hates fun and loves to CRUSH MY DREAMS. I'm not going to buy one because I am an adult who has yet to make her yearly contribution to (or even start a) 401K.

The way I see it, my only choice is this...

Dear Santa,

I have been exceptionally good this year. I have cut way back on the swearing, I brush my teeth, I never, ever hit people with my car. So I was wondering, if you and the elves could whip me up one of these things, preferrably with the gold accessories package that includes LED headlamps and a wire basket trunk for some groceries. THANK YOU SANTA!

I'll always believe (especially if you get me one of these)

XOXOX-- Suzanne

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nailing It

I'm a nail biter. Always have been. Didn't suck my thumb, I bit my nails. I guess deep down I must be a worry-wart. Okay. Maybe right here on the surface I am a worry-wart. Anyhow the only way I have ever found to keep from biting my nails is to get regular manicures.

Manicures around here can run anywhere from $12 to $35 depending on where you get them. The basic service is the same, your nails are cut and shaped, your cuticles pushed back, a clear undercoat, nail polish in a color you choose and a top coat. You may or may not get a moisturizing hand massage depending on your preference.

I chose a $12 place last time because, let's face it, I'm broke. The place was clean and pretty but not fancy. The nail tech tried to immediately upsell me to the gel manicure. I don't like them. First of all they claim to last for 2 weeks without chipping. Well, mine didn't chip, but they peeled off in big sheets after a few days. I also don't like putting my hands under UV light. I haven't spent most of my life cloistered in libraries and living rooms to go around getting age spots and wrinkly hands NOW. And it looks like I'm not the only person who thinks it's a bad idea.
According to Dr. Chris Adigun, in a recent interview with Teen Vogue,
UV lamps are not regulated, so each one might affect you differently. "The strength of the bulb varies from one manufacturer to the next, which makes it very difficult to assess the risk level at different salons," she says. You might be telling yourself that the amount of exposure is so short and infrequent, but your visits to the manicurist add up.

I declined the gel manicure and settled in for the the regular manicure, making sure to remove my credit card before we began. Nothing worse than trying to dig out your charge card and chipping your fresh polish!

My manicurist wasn't very chatty, which I always find odd since you are basically sitting across a small table together holding hands, but to each her own. I sort of zoned out until I looked down in sudden pain because she had decided to cut my cuticles without asking me! Her cuticle trimmer was so dull it felt more like she was just ripping them off with a grapefruit spoon. So, moral of the story, when you sit down always state your cuticle preference. I never like to have mine cut!

The rest of the manicure went eh, okay.

It got me to thinking, maybe I need to just learn to do manicures at home? I mean, $12 isn't a ton of money, but my nails weren't shaped all that well, I was forcibly de-cuticled, she tried to bully me into a gel manicure and seemed put out when I refused. Maybe the nail tech at a $25 salon might be nicer, but that's a LOT of money to shell out. Plus I'm always concerned I'm going to get a horrific infection at nail places. I mean, it can happen to anyone, even Paula Abdul!

If there's one thing Pinterest loooooves to do, it's to tell you your nail game isn't even *on point* much less on fleek, bae.

(I'm not sure what any of that means.)

Pinterest also loves to give you nails for any occasion:

Disney Trip
Wedding Day
Graduation Day
Rainy Days
Mother's Day
First day on the job as an astrophysicist

My current nail color is Vixen Pump.
Vixen pumps are for when your vixen backs up and needs to be pumped out. And we all know this is especially dangerous in the winter with freezing temperatures.

Honestly, how do they come up with these names? My favorite shade of red is OPI's, "I'm not really a waitress." That's it. That's the name of the color.

Imagine that rainbow for a minute, "I'm Not Really A Waitress" "I just can't cope-acabana", "Call Me Gwen-Ever", "Thanks A Wind Million", "SwimSuit...Nailed It", "Wharf, Wharf, Wharf" and "Suzi and the 7 Dusseldorfs"

I can only imagine these color design meetings happen under the influence of a lot nail polish fumes and the marketing team is sitting on individual bean bags saying things like, "What if the color blue to me is totally different than the color blue TO YOU?" and then they order Taco Bell for lunch and we end up with a shade of cerise nail lacqer called "Bob Carp Rama Lama WHEE!"**

**Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved OPI people!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The House That Jack Built

You ever feel like you can't get on top of one chore because 17 other things have to be done right NOW? Like I really need to set the table, but that means I have to move these school papers, but don't lose them because there is a permission slip in there for the horse farm field trip, plus an invitation to a birthday party at that jumping inflatable place, plus somebody's homework on the Peloponnesian War. Now I have to get the last of the breakfast dishes off the table, because somehow I missed this teacup saucer someone decided to eat an egg off of and now the yolk has super glued this spoon to it and these juice glasses are possibly never going to come clean at this point. Okay, now the mail, is this a bill? Is this a statement? Is this a real piece of mail from a friend or one of those typefaces that look like handwriting? How did we get signed up for Highlights magazine? Who ordered Highlights? Why are we subscribing to a magazine we read for free at the Doctor's office? Why are there American Girl doll shoes on the table? WHY IS THERE AN ACTUAL PAIR OF SHOES ON THE TABLE?! OMG, will the owner of these smelly lime green sneakers PLEASE come and get your shoes before I lose MY ACTUAL MIND. Okay, now I need to wipe the table down, potentially with bleach, why can I NOT FIND ANY PAPER TOWELS?! OMG!!!!!!

And then later, staring blankly at the straight bourbon you're sipping, over the stainless steel sink you keep wanting to replace, you realize it's not the table. It's the everything.

Dear Reader, I have a bad case of the Everything.

It all started when I decided to do something "Pinteresting" and try and use Pinterest boards to update my wardrobe. Actually, a little background might be in order; about a year and a half ago my husband and I moved with our two kids into my in-laws house. We were relocating to the city they live in, we needed seed money to start a new business and it was either start the business or get a house. So we took a leap of faith and it's been great. My in-laws are wonderful babysitters and roommates. My kids are getting lots of up close and personal time with their grandparents. There is almost always someone home to lend a hand, all in all it's a lovely thing.

BUT now my worldly possessions and I all live together in a guest room. So when I try and get to my closet to pick out an outfit, I find myself tripping over the box of extra school supplies I've been meaning to drive out to my storage unit, but haven't. Or I am temporarily housing the big sewing project I am working on but I don't want to leave on the dining room table. There's an unfinished quilt on top of the box where I store all of my sweaters/jackets/scarves because there isn't room in the closet. The "reading" chair in the corner is always covered with a box that contains at least 499 pieces of a 500 piece puzzle, a bare minimum of two kids clothing items that need mending, the extra blanket that we may or may not need tonight due to temperature variations, the shirts my husband is sorting for Goodwill and last week a literal partridge in a pear tree that had escaped being placed in a Christmas storage box. All of this flotsam and jetsam invariably slides off onto the floor blocking my access to at least 1/3 of my dresser drawers and rather than try and deal with the mess I decide I can dress myself just FINE from the remaining 2/3 of the dressers, plus whatever I hang on the back of the door as a "clean enough" item.

DON'T act like you don't have any "clean enough" clothes. You know those pants you wore for 2 hours to Mass on Sunday? Unless you spill communion wine on those suckers you are wearing them to work on Monday. That clean blouse you temporarily changed into so you didn't wear your Tori Amos Under the Pink 1994 Concert t-shirt with the hole in it to the Piggly Wiggly? That gets hung on the back of the door until the the door hanging organizer-thing becomes so loaded with clean enough clothes, bathrobes and tote bags that it tips precariously and prevents you from successfully closing the door.

Now I realize, to my horror, that due to unrelenting bouts of the flu, a batch of headlice and one documented case of dysentary I haven't washed anything but sheets and towels for three months. Plus there was that 6 weeks without a washing machine AT ALL because the dang thing broke under warranty which meant using the Service Provider from Sears who proceeded to break the washer in a new way, order new parts, get the wrong parts and then only truly fix the washer once Husband successfully located the leak that he was originally contacted to fix.

Plus, I haven't bought anything new in over a year because I knew we would be moving soon and the less I have to put in a box the better. Which means I have been wearing clothes that range from "retired ballerina working in artistic non-profit" to "inmate work release program" often in the same week.

So, it's a little bit like the House That Jack Built, I have to be able to fix the Everything by breaking it down into doable somethings. For instance, getting caught up on the laundry so I can see exactly what clothes I have to work with might be a logical Step one. Then getting rid of clothes that don't fit, I don't like, or aren't wearable for some reason is Step two. Getting all of the stuff out of my room that really belongs in my storage unit, that sounds like a Step "Husband, please get this stuff out of here" to me. Then I can address things like clearing off the hanging organizer on the back of the door and making sure the reading chair stays clear enough to actually read in.

I decided to do some due diligence on room organization techniques by researching on Pinterest. My main problem is that my living situation is temporary (in fact we should be moving this Spring) so I need a system in place that is both temporary and portable. Then I can get down to the serious business of being a ridiculous Pinterest fashion model for you all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Inevitable

Eventually you hit a patch where you have to blog about not blogging. This is that post. But fear not! I will be back on to daily posts again soon and I will keep you in the loop for my biggest Pinterest project to date. In the mean time I am making so preparations for the most challenging of my Pinterest experiments yet.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fashion Forward Fitness

Sometimes I forget that I'm a middle aged, middle-class white lady. I mean, I'm not, not really (that's a whole other post) but that's how I move through the world. All the tell-tale signs are there, I drive a miniature SUV, I have two kids, I work in an office and God help me, I have a Fitbit.

You guys know about this thing, right? A rubber bracelet with a fancy wi-fi connected pedometer in it. I can't help myself, I love the damn thing. Last night I walk/jog/hopped in place while watching Agent Carter on TV till I got in my 10,000 steps. I had only had it since 6 p.m. that same night. BOOYEAH. The same small shameless part of me that loves tweeting my opinions on television shows, loves the connectivity of the Fitbit. Like my pal Erica in London is kicking arse on walking down presumably cobblestone streets; Sheba has walked the entire length of India in her neighborhood; Cindy is powering through snowdrifts as tall as my head in Minnesota somehow.

Let's face it I am far too social and far too competitive not to love a Fitbit.

So I decided to see if anyone had any magical pins about how to use the Fitbit, especially with a sedentary desk job. Instead I find this:

Because a rubber bracelet that costs more than a week's groceries is simply not enough, one must get it a golden bangle bracelet cover up.

Or perhaps you'd like to peruse an entire Etsy store (because Etsy, because why NOT?!) that is made up of fashion accessories for your little rubber bracelet. Because that thing with the fake pearls and the lobster claw clasp doesn't look crazy at all.

I did also get tired of the expected but annoying to me "weight loss Fitbit miracle" pins. It's very hard to find information on health for women that isn't directly tied to weight loss. But there is so much more to health than the scale, like aerobic fitness, muscle tones, endurance, flexibility, and strength, right? But no, I definitely need 68,000 reminders that not only am I not pretty enough, that my exercise monitor must also adhere to a purely aesthetic measure as well.

So anyhow, we can consider this a sub-genre of Pin that I will not be re-pinning, because having a working pedometer, a smart phone to use with it and safe streets to walk down? That is an overwhelming amount of privilege and maybe I need to stay aware of that.

Also, if I was going to do anything with it, I'd just Bedazzle the motherfucker.

Fitbit shown here with author's genuine rhinestone studded hair clip from the late 1990's.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Stitch in Time

Pinterest is the perfect website for sporadic obsessives. About every 6 months or so I get obsessed with crocheting. I prefer to do simple, fast projects that give maximum reward in the least amount of time, scarves, baby blankets; I can make a pair of baby booties in 45 minutes. These projects can be found by the thousands on Pinterest, linking to everything from humble personal blogs to big time fiber artist time sucks like Ravelry. My personal favorite pins always seem to lead back to my internet secret best friend, Mikey, at the Crochet Crowd. He's a charmer and a damn fine fiber artist and his instructional videos don't stop in the middle and say repeat for 15 rows, he just keeps stitching and chatting and you can crochet right along with him.

I even have my own board just for crochet projects, Crochet Away the Day, because when I get a day off to stay in bed and binge on Netflix (just like you, don't you judge me) I like to have something to do with my hands. It's also a way of deflecting nosy parkers who want question the validity of your life choices, like the decision to watch all of House of Cards in one sitting whilst never changing out of your pajamas. You can look at them angrily and imply that if you don't finish this blanket we may not all make it through the winter. Also if you crochet a large enough afghan you can by means of stealthy camouflage disguise yourself as a pile of blankets and pillows should anyone come by looking for something annoying like food or medical attention. Pro Tip: use your headphones on your laptop, lest the person seeking you hear the sonorous southern tones of Kevin Spacey's Francis Underwood and give you away.

I probably shouldn't even tell you this, but only slightly less popular than the "How To Wear an Infinity Scarf" pins, are the "How to MAKE an Infinity Scarf" pins. You can throw yourself at the mercy of the cruel gods of Tits Mountain, but I've had enough.

One thing I've done that I think is sort of cool is to have my daughter, who is a beginning crocheter, take long pieces of scrap yarn and have her chain stitch them into ribbons. I use the ribbons on presents that I wrap with my *unconventional* wrapping materials like brown paper bags or the Sunday comics or butcher paper upon which the girls have colored. It adds a nice little homemade touch even if the present inside is just some plastic junk made in China.

My current project is this scrap yarn, multi-colored afghan I am making for my husband. It is about 5 and a half feet long, but only about 2 feet wide at this point. I am hoping to get it done by his birthday in April and I can if everyone will just leave me alone with all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls already.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Itch is Back

Sometimes my life follows Pinterest, sometimes Pinterest follows life. Today life went to shit.

A little backstory actually, my family of 4 has not been well since before Halloween. We have taken turns getting stomach bugs, upper respiratory infections, influenza, ear infections and I think we even fought off a dose of Plague. So what would be the capper to this, the sickest holiday season on record?


(If you see a shower of frogs later, realize that God is just fucking with me at this point.)

Now one might not first think of Pinterest and lice as going together, but after my initial period of hyperventilating and cursing under my breath, I gathered myself and thought, "I could pin the hell out of this". See, when I said before that I have few areas where I consider myself an expert I forgot to add "Lice Killing Death Machine" to the list.

Lice fear me. I am the Bringer of Darkness, the Oncoming Storm to the little biting bastards.

Here's what you need:

A lice killing shampoo. Follow the directions on the box, it isn't like regular shampoo.

A few different nit combs, depending on your kid's hair length and texture the one that comes with the shampoo may or may not work. I prefer the kind with metal teeth, they just seem to be more effective. I particularly like the one sold by the Ladibugs.

That sucker will flat pull out a louse (mature bug), a nymph (immature bug incapable of reproduction) or a nit like, woah. They are pricey, but worth it. The rest of their shampoos and stuff I am not a huge fan of, but the comb is something special.

After the shampoo has been applied I do not use regular shampoo or conditioner for 12 hours, then I shampoo and condition the hair so it is very easy to comb through; because you are going to be combing a lot my friend. Set yourself up somewhere comfortable because this is going to take a while. If you have a kid with long hair you are also going to need a lot of hair clips or bobby pins.

Section the kid's hair into 4 quadrants. One part down the middle, one part going perpendicular to that, or like you drew a cross on the kid's head and you are dividing it into 4 sections. Starting at the nape of the neck section hair into very small clumps and comb it through. Wipe your comb after each pass onto a clean white towel or rag. Look to see if you are dislodging nits/lice. As each section is cleaned, twirl it up into a little knot and secure with a bobby pin or clip. Keep going, this will be tedious, but worth it.

You also don't need to go crazy with the house cleaning either. Strip the kid's bed, throw the pillows into the dryer on high for 30 minutes, wash and dry the sheets and blankets and they will be fine. You can use a lice bedding spray, but honestly lice don't like to leave someone's head, if they are in the mattress they are doomed. They can't live more than 48 hours off of your head and they can't hop and they can't fly. Once they are pinned in by the sheet or the mattress pad, they are toast.

I throw stuffed animals into the dryer with the pillows, BUT their fur can melt. If this is a precious, precious toy then simply bag the toy up in a plastic bag and leave it for 2 weeks. A louse can't live more than 48 hours off your head, but you want to make sure any little eggs they have left behind all hatch and die before you give it back to your kid.

The following day, just live your life man. You will have to re-treat the kid's hair in 7 to 10 days. DO NOT MISS THIS WINDOW. Mark it in your calendar, clear your schedule you must re-treat or your kid will get infested again.

In the in-between days of lice treatments the only extra precaution I take is in using an electrified nit comb, in fact I own this exact model from Robi.

I have used this successfully on my kids as well as some of my nieces/nephews and let me tell you it is so satisfying to zap the little bastards. I mean, the lice of course, not the precious, precious children. I have in fact never zapped the kids with it. I prefer to use my cattle prod for that.

I did find a good Pin today about lice though that I'd love to share. Although it is not as pro-pesticide as I am it has excellent facts about the importance of nit combing and debunks some common lice myths.

Just remember, if your kids get lice DON'T PANIC, comb their hair and apply alcohol (in the form of tasty cocktails) as needed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Wedding Day

Today was Marriage Equality day in my home state of Florida. Thousands of happy couples thronged courthouses and churches and LGBT community centers to get hitched. Scrolling through Facebook today was like getting to see 37 wedding photo albums all at once. It was so beautiful.

Tonight I wanted to celebrate with my peeps in the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom Band and Color Guard.

Back to regular posting tomorrow, for today just celebrating the fact that no matter how long it takes... LOVE WINS!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Playing Dress Up

There was a brief period of time in my life when I was a fairly confident in my sartorial choices. I apparently asked my Mother when I was about two years old to please shorten all of my dresses so that the ruffles on my panties would show. I was all about the statement piece then.

Somewhere along the way though I lost my fashion mojo. I blame growing up in the 80's. How were you supposed to trust your aesthetic instincts when all around you stylish people were intentionally wearing parachute pants and acid washed jeans? Also my hair, curly and untamable, would not ever form those perfect tidal wave bangs. At this rate I was fairly confident that I was never going to grow up and dance on a Corvette in a Whitesnake video, so I devoted myself to more bookish and refined pursuits.

There was a period in the late 90's where my flannel-wrapped irony-drenched retro chic was in vogue in a sort of Daria meets Janeane Garofalo way, minus the black rimmed spectacles. And then I got married and had children. My fashion choices became, as they invariably do, about choosing something that doesn't show spit up. So after 12 years of child rearing and a career spent mostly in Early Childhood Education I find myself in my middlest 30's with no real fashion sense of my own.

I work for an artistic non-profit now that my kids are school aged and people there wear everything from those multi-layered artsy professional get ups to jeans and t-shirts. Mostly I wear jeans and the nicest blouse I can find in the clean laundry pile. It's a system that keeps me decent and clothed but not really stylish.

Search for #OOTD or Outfit of the Day or Stylish, casual, dressy or whatever descriptor you like in Pinterest and you will find thousands of head to toe examples of outfits. Some of them are laughably curated looks, like, no one on earth has ever held their purse this way. Or there's a thin line between hipster and homeless. But some of them seem, um, attainable? Like something I could wear and look like I gave a shit, but not like a give a shit about whether or not YOU think I gave a shit.

Take a moment. Think it through again, carry the one... you're with me? Good.

May I present... One of These Things is Not like the others.

The funny thing is, I think I got some of the details right, like apparently hair buns now are worn so high and tight you can go straight from brunch to auditioning to play Tuptim in the King and I. The jewelry is matchy, but not a set. My eyeliner game was ON POINT today y'all.

Sad eyed clown realness.

The bigger picture was sort of escaping me though. Like when saw the sandals in my closet I was all cute shoes! And then as I got out of the car they literally fell apart on me, like the front of the sole was flapping off the toe section. As I walked I made a jaunty little shuffle tap sound, but had to live in fear that the shoe would completely disintegrate, potentially in front of my boss. Apparently this outfit also required another shirt. Purusing Pinterest I see now that no one wears a single shirt anymore, unless you have an ironic cat sweat shirt, but even then you might wear a twee blouse with a starched collar under it. I am also currently sans sunglasses, which considering many of the looks I see with them, either sunglasses are instantly cool or half of the world's internet models suffer from the debilitating effects of glaucoma.

Today even my halting efforts to look polished were noticed and appreciated by the costume designer and project manager at work. She's a textiles artist by trade and she offered to help me come "shop my closet" and put together presentable outfits!!!! OMG. I think maybe my broken sandal was a Cinderella slipper! So, I'm going to take her up on it and I am going to blog the crap out of it, for you, for me, for AMERICA mofos.

Y'all are gonna be all

and I'm gonna be all,

Until inevitably I'm all,

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Eyes Have It

So the elusive and ever popular smokey eye make up technique. There are literally a squintillion versions of this thing on Pinterest. I ended up using a 4 step version from WikiHow that popped up when I narrowed my search down to Smokey Eyes for Brown Eyes. I liked this one because instead of just pictures it had videos.

Now the surprising thing I noticed about 90% of these eye make up tutorials was that they always included instructions for you to do the FULL slap and paint. I'm talking concealer, foundation and setting powder before you even ATTEMPTED to do a smokey eye. And not wanting to get into trouble with the Kardashian division of the Fashion Police I followed protocol.

I feel prettier already.

You know how there's that idea that a girl goes out with "her gays" and gets a makeover and stuff? My friends Shirley and Sarah want me to warn you that your decidedly non-lipstick lesbian friends are perhaps not the best choice for this assignment. However they were wonderfully supportive and held the camera for me so I could bring you this stunning footage of an actual live embalming.

At this point I am wearing more make up on my face than I have worn in the previous 12 months cumulative. And I haven't even started on the EYE MAKE UP yet. In fact I am pretty sure if I go into the kitchen, press my face into a paper towel and pull it away I will have a miraculous Shroud of Turin style image there.But I press on, hoping that a smokey eye awaits me at the end of this journey.

All of the tutorials say you should put the "highlighter" shade or lightest of the three colors onto your brow bone, in the tear duct corner of your eye, this tutorial also says you should just go ahead and put the highlighter ALL over your lid.

I hate putting things near my eyeball, eeesh.

Then you add a medium shade to the lid, which seemingly obliterates most of the highlighting you JUST painstakingly applied? Okay. Then you add the darkest color in a backwards C shape from the crease to near the lash line. Uh-huh.

At this point I am just hoping I don't end up looking like star of Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon, but I'll take "pretty girl who lost a fight" and declare it a win.

Then you add mascara and eye liner. I'm trying to remember the last time I wore eyeliner and mascara at the same time and decided it must have been before I had kids, because at this point even LOCATING that much make up is pretty much a non-starter. I basically have to buy mascara every time I wear it now because I use it once and it joins up with all the lost socks and my car keys to head out and start a new life for themselves.

I am going all the way with this eyeliner though, I'm going to do little wings or cat eyes on the ends, because how else would you make yourself up for an epic game of Catan at your friends' house? I mean, Diva Fantastica or go home at this point, right?

How come the damn things are winging it on the inside corner or my lashes? $#*&^@#!%*%!!!!!! The girls come to my rescue with q-tips and sympathy.

I'm ready for my close up Mr. Demille.

So I add the damn mascara which is so old it may have been used by Cleopatra and I'm done, right? Yeah, no, if you have this much make up and you don't do your lips you look like a half painted mannequin head. This is turning into "If You Give A Mouse Some Bronzer" at this point. So, pucker up those lips baby, we're doing lip liner!

90's realness, bitches.

Now filled in lips, now a bit of blush, AM I PRETTY NOW?! AM I?! *sobs*

So am I a "Covergirl! Put that bass in your walk!" or am I "Easy, Breezy Bruise-a-full"?

My verdict, smokey eye tutorials are a WIN! My eyes look pretty good actually. I mean, it's clearly something I can practice and get better at, but it's not impossible to get good results on your first try. However, will I be using base, concealer, powder etc. etc? No, probably not anything more than a tinted moisturizer and I will use three very similar shades to make for a less dramatic smokey eye. I can see doing something like this for a Christmas party or going out to dinner, sure. I'd do it more often maybe except you all know what awaits you at the end of the night, right?

Anyone want to read my WikiHow on "Removing Make Up in 18 Simple Steps"?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Year Ahead

I am hanging with some good friends this year for New Year's Day. We are eating tons of food, watching football and generally having an awesome lazy day. No lie, no irony, I am so blessed. So I am going to try and hang onto this feeling and look forward with a positive attitude into the new year.

Perusing the New Year pins on Pinterest this morning I ran across a craft idea that I think will mesh well with my resolution to stay positive; a make-your-own time capsule to be opened one year from today.

2014 hasn't been perfect. I have had challenges and change and growth and all of those things that even when they are necessary are hard and uncomfortable and I've decided, really who needs it? Right? I mean, aren't we all Practically Perfect in Every Way? Let 2015 be a year where absolutely nothing interesting happens and I get to stay in a cozy cocoon of my own making.

But since I know that cannot happen no matter how much I wish, I am hoping 2015 let's me move ahead with perspective, good humor and the love of friends and family to sustain me. I hope I am more kind and more forgiving and more open to adventure and that I definitely eat more cookies in the New Year. That's the one resolution I can be certain I will do.

1. Eat More Cookies

A year from now I have HOPES for where I will be, I have plans to make things happen, but I also have the experience to know it isn't always a straight path from A to B.

I hope we all have the opportunity to try one more time to be that best, most loving, most authentic self, or at least to eat more cookies and share them with some friends.