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

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.