It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

My favorite time of the year is upon us again!  It’s football season!!  There is nothing better than the weather getting cooler, the leaves turning colors, the leggings coming out of hibernation and the old pigskin being thrown about.  Plus, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. (Patriots pullover hoodie hint, hint)  There is just something about this time of year that wakes me up and puts pep in my step.  As soon as September comes, I download the schedules and apps, pull out my teams paraphernalia and start craving cheese dip.  I read Yahoo Sports and NFL.com like it’s the latest Robert B. Parker novel and I plan my entire week around the games I cannot miss.

I am not a people person.  I don’t go to parties, bars or anything bigger then lunch with a maximum of 2 friends except during football season.   During this time of year, I become a social butterfly.  I don’t know exactly what it is but from September through January, if I am not going to a get together, I am planning one.  I start baking and decorating like I am possessed by Martha Stewart.  I love how everyone comes together on the weekends, and win or lose shares at least 4 hours of good-natured taunting, yelling and suspense.  I absolutely adore how diehard fans will root for their teams no matter how horrible they are playing.  Ok, now I am making myself nauseous with the sappy, but someone really needs to do a study of what kind of chemicals my brain releases during this time of year and figure out how to prescribe them.  We would all be much happier and I would be rich.

I know this post is short but I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Football Season and may all your teams make it to the play offs!

santa football

Bare Canvas

Foundation comes in many textures, colors and mixtures but once you have found the right one it will transform your face.  My philosophy when it comes to foundation has always been less is more.  I have found that if you choose the right shade and type of coverage you really need very little product to smooth out your skin.  There are basically 2 rules to foundation:  1. Always match the color to the side of your neck because your face is never just one color.  2.  Use foundation only to even out your skin tone, never to cover up imperfections. That is what concealer and correctors are designed for.  I tend to have several foundations on hand at all times and I have listed my 4 favorites that I currently use.

If you are struggling with application, skin problems or just trying to choose a brand, I wholeheartedly recommend visiting Lisa Eldridge.  She is a legend in the make-up industry and there isn’t a problem in the cosmetology world she cannot fix.
found pic1

Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse           $9 for 1 fl oz

I consider this my everyday foundation.  I actually don’t wear make-up everyday but it sounds better then saying my going nowhere special foundation.  I originally purchased it because the reviews gushed that it covered wrinkles like you had been airbrushed.  Well, that is taking it a little far but it has a beautiful, slightly dewy finish and if you wear a primer underneath then it will last all day.  It feels very light on my skin and I have never found it cakey even after powder application.  I use a stippling brush for light coverage or a paddle brush when I need a bit heavier application.

Rimmel 25 hr. Lasting Finish          $7 for 1 fl oz

The 25 hr is my going somewhere special for summertime.  I tend to be a bit oily, especially in the heat of summer and this is the best foundation I have found for actually staying put all day long.  I don’t know about 25 hours but I will at least promise 10.  It has a built in primer and does dry quite matte, so I do add a luminizer to my cheeks and center of my forehead when I want a little dewiness.  This foundation is a bit heavier and has what I would consider a medium coverage but it is not uncomfortable or cracking.  I use a stippling brush for a light application or a beauty blender if I need a little more coverage.

Bare Minerals Powder Foundation          $29 for 2 grams

I have been using Bare Minerals for over a decade now and I still absolutely love it.  It is my “no make-up” make-up that covers like a full coverage foundation.  I do tend to get dry patches when I wear this for an extended period of time, so I save it for when I want my skin to look flawless but not made up.   It leaves a velvet finish to the skin and I rarely have to use setting powder unless I am having a particularly oily day.  This also feels very light and breathable.   I use a kabuki brush for a fuller application and a stippling brush when going a bit lighter.

Mehron Celebre HD Pro Cream         $15-$20 for 9 oz

This is my absolute, hands down favorite foundation that I have ever used.  It is a potted cream foundation that is silicone based and will pretty much make your skin look like you are 25 again.  It is lightweight to the point of forgetting you’re wearing it and it doesn’t crack.  I cannot say enough about how wonderful this product is, however there are a couple downsides.  First, it is not sold in the United States.  I order it directly from the Mehron website and had to use a MAC color match to find my color.  Second, if you have oily skin you do have to powder often due to the silicone base of the foundation but through some miracle of technology the foundation itself does not wear off.  I apply this with a damp beauty blender sponge.

Books Reincarnated

books not dead pic

I was tagged in a Facebook Challenge this week by my Uncle Tony to list the top 10 books that have influenced/informed me.  Normally, FB challenges are just easy, fun little exercises that take up all of 2 minutes of your life and you move on.  This challenge took me almost two days.  I am an obsessive reader and read at least five books a week.  They are like crack to me and I am really not picky what flavor they come in. (Does crack come in flavors or is that an open market?)  When I finally had my list whittled down to 10, it came time to tag my friends/family and that is when my brain went into overdrive as it has a tendency to do.

I wanted to tag my children of course, but only one of them really reads and that got me to thinking about children reading and then that got me to thinking about what they do for fun if they don’t read and then that got me to thinking about video games, TV and the internet and then that got me to thinking about the influences on their lives etc.  I will stop now but I just wanted to give you a glimpse of my inner psyche at work.  Now onto the point, which is that although everything today is digitized including books, it is still a form of reading only now it comes with challenges.

When my children were born, I made it a mission that they would be able to read by preschool and they did.  However, only my daughter learned to read using actual hand held books.  My son was a little harder of a nut to crack.  He did not enjoy bedtime stories, he wouldn’t sit still long enough to look at a picture book and he had no use for even the shortest of comics.  I did not let this deter me in the slightest.  I went online and did some research and was introduced to Leap Frog and Elmo’s ABC game and video.  We were in business.  Not only was Elmo on constant repeat singing to us the alphabet but he would throw in a couple 123’s just to keep us on our toes.  We went through 2 leap frogs by age 4 because they were just not built that sturdy back in the day but it worked!  That was one life goal I could cross of my list only I didn’t realize that a whole new set of problems was on the way.

The internet and gaming world were just getting started 15 years ago and I was not yet aware of the dangers that lurked there.  I learned caution very quickly thanks to a site that will remain unnamed popping up when we were looking for kindergarten project ideas on the internet.  I have the image of this website still seared into my brain to this day.  His father immediately put parental locks on the computer and the television and we did our best to shield them both through at least elementary school. It has not been easy and there were several discussions (fights) about what was age appropriate (I still think SpongeBob was fine at any age) but technology is a powerful tool and with any tool you have to learn to use it responsibility.

Most importantly, you have to teach your kids to think for themselves.  It is almost impossible to keep up with technology, plus kids learn how to bypass control locks quickly so it is imperative that they learn how to navigate through this not so new “technological” world safely and with an understanding of accountability.  They have to be able to differentiate between what is right and wrong or make believe and real life because you are not always going to be there with a parental control button.

As a bonus, I have inserted my Top 10 Book List read by age 25 below.  I know you were all dying of curiosity.

1) A Wrinkle In Time – Madeline L’Engle
2) The Giver – Lois Lowry
3) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
4) Anne of Green Gables Series – Lucy Maud Montgomery
5) The Hobbit – Tolkien
6) Spenser Series – Robert B. Parker
7) Tiger Eyes – Judy Blume
8) What Dreams May Come – Richard Matheson
9) All Beverly Cleary books (sorry if that’s cheating)
10) Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Mildred D Taylor

So Fresh, So Clean

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be an entertainingly informative and creative outlet for the chaotic mess that is my brain.  I promised myself that I would not conform to the “textbook” blog and would write whatever made me happy.  Well, one of my various personalities is feeling neglected so my girly, girl side is getting a beauty page.  I was reluctant to give in at first because I did not want to alienate half the world’s population, but I compromised by letting my girly side have Wednesdays for beauty and the rest of the week I will post my normal random wisdom.  I have always found writing in the middle of the week difficult anyway so this will be like giving myself a treat.

facial beauty pic

In my first beauty post, I want to show/discuss some of my favorite skincare items.*  I began to develop tiny wrinkles around my eyes and mouth around age 30 and lost my mind.  I started a full-fledged buying spree of every wrinkle reducer, skin brightener and moisture renewal product I could find.  I bought high end, low end and infomercial products looking for a miracle cure.  Now eight years later, I have calmed down a bit and am learning to accept there is no magic eraser but the following products are still pretty good.

Philosophy – Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash     $25 – $27 for 8 fl oz

I love the Philosophy brand as a whole but the Microdelivery is probably my favorite.  The scrub particles are very fine so I don’t feel like I am grinding rocks into my skin and it rinses off very easily leaving my skin feeling smooth and soft.  I am not a big fan of scrubs because a majority of them make my face develop the dreaded cyst spots that never ever seem to go away but this one is quite gentle.  It’s also great as an allover body exfoliator.  It is the go-to scrub I use before applying any self-tanner.

DIY 100% Natural Oat Mask     $3 for a ginormous box

I have only recently started using this but I swear it makes my skin feel brand new.  I was hunting the internet for a new moisture mask and came upon this little gem.  All you do is take 100% natural oats (like you eat for breakfast), grind them up and mix them with a little warm water until they form a slight paste and apply to your skin for 3-5 minutes then rinse.  I personally use a toner beforehand to make sure my skin is clean and relatively oil free but it is not a requirement.

Roc Deep Wrinkle Serum     $20 for 1 fl oz

This product has been my absolute must have for the past year.  Roc’s products contain Retinol which really reduce the appearance of my wrinkles.  My face also feels tighter and appears more vibrant.  You apply a thin layer to a cleansed face and neck before using your moisturizer.  I recommend using a sunscreen anytime you use this product because it does make your face more sensitive to sunburn.  The directions state that you can apply the serum twice daily but I find that my skin will get dry and irritated with more than a once daily application.

Clean & Clear – Morning Burst     $5 for 8 fl oz

I had never used a drugstore facial cleanser until I discovered Clean & Clear and I cannot praise it enough.  Its main claim is skin brightening, but it does so much more especially for the price.  Morning Burst contains caffeine, lemon and papaya which not only makes it smells divine but it wakes both me and my skin up in the morning.  It leaves a gentle tingle to your skin and is not drying in the slightest.  I find that this product will actually help open up my sinuses during the dreaded pollen season as well.  C&C do a whole range of these cleansers which I have tried, but I keep coming back to this one again and again.

*I am in no way a beauty guru or professional.  I am just stating my opinions and what works best for me.  This post is also not sponsored by any of the companies listed above. 

Positive Cynicist. You heard it here first.

I have been surrounded by actual loving, caring people since I was 10 years old.  My adoptive family contains the most affectionate and supportive people the Universe has ever seen.  Despite this, I am still highly skeptical every time I meet anyone with even an iota of kindness.  My knee jerk reaction to hugs from people I have just met is an eye roll and an internal judgment of “faker”.  Don’t start, I still hug them back and smile.  I just have an internal debate with myself for about 5 minutes afterwards.

I have always been a cynical person but I don’t actually consider that a negative.  I prefer to think of myself as a positive cynicist.  (I know it’s not a word.  I don’t care.)  I will go ahead and define this so Webster won’t have to call me and ask.

Positive Cynicist – a person who internally knows everything will turn out shit but really, really hopes it doesn’t.  Example:  Every time I meet a new person, I think in this order “Oh, they sound pretty interesting maybe we can be friends.  No jackass, you can’t be friends because you’re terrifying and they are stupid.  How do you know they are stupid?  We just met them.  Firstly, because they started out with a hug not a handshake and secondly, because they said howdy instead of hello.  Well maybe they are from a different culture and hugs are the norm.  Excuse me, the norm?  What culture would that be exactly Care Bear Land?”

Ok, surely you get the picture by now.

Anyways back to the topic I wanted to discuss geez, I am not sure people are innately good.  I know that there are plenty of times throughout the week that I have to internally command myself to be nice or to give a respectable response.  My first reaction to almost any situation is never positive or helpful and I find pretty much anything that is inappropriate hilarious.  I cannot be alone in this.  It would almost be egotistical of me to believe that everyone else is good and pc except me.  I often wonder what kind of place the world would be if we let whatever internal personality we had be free.  Of course, I am not sure we would actually have a world for long if that happened but it might be interesting for a while.

Another side note since I can’t stay on topic today obviously.  Someone recently stated to me that all babies are born psychopaths and it is up to the parents and society to show them how to become loving, contributing members of society.  I mentally stumbled upon hearing that because, if this is true then so many of my life questions have just been answered.  Of course, it also makes parenthood scarier than it already is, but my kids are pretty much grown so oh well.

Now before the psychoanalyzing begins just let me state that I am highly self-aware and know that pretty much every thought in this post is supposedly not “normal” and these symptoms point to many diagnoses that end in path or disorder but I assure you my mother had me tested and I am borderline fine.

cynical

The Ugly Head of Guilt Needs a Makeover

I am not good with extremes or black and white.  In my opinion, the entire problem with the world we live in today is that too many people take a rigid view of right and wrong and seldom leave any room for the gray areas.  I could write a whole book of examples on why staying in the middle and keeping an open mind would improve all areas of life but I am too lazy.  Instead, I am just going to impart some wisdom and vent a little bit.

Selfishness is a sin.  Society teaches us this from childbirth on into adulthood.  I, respectfully of course, disagree.  Yes, the total selfishness that causes harm to others makes you a douche canoe, but once again that’s an extreme and I don’t deal in those.  I think that to become a balanced, contributing member of society you have to have at least of measure of the “sins” like ego, selfishness, laziness etc.  The only members of society that can claim to be without these things are insane cult leaders and boy does the world need more of them.

In a cruel twist of irony, both of my children were born with a need for others to be happy and are sometimes very sensitive to the problems of the world.  Although, this may not sound like a problem let me assure you it is exhausting and heartbreaking to have to explain to your child over and over that life is not fair and we can only do the best we can with the tools we have.  Because of this, I have learned that selfishness is a necessity at times and have tried to pass this onto my children.  I have had to teach my daughter especially, that there are times where you have to cut the cord and step back from a situation.  We have had many discussions on how you can only try so many times before you get dragged so far down into something, it’s almost impossible to climb back up.  There is a difference between fixing a broken world and letting the world break you.  If that is selfish, so be it.

Personally, I usually don’t mind saying no or being selfish but lately guilt has reared its ugly head and decided to screw with my brain.  At what is probably the second busiest time I have ever experienced in my life (early stages of motherhood being first), my conscience has kicked in and made me second guess myself about 153 times a day.  Intellectually, I know that right now I really have to make sure I keep my life on track and not spread myself so taut that I snap, but emotionally I feel like I am letting key people in my life down.  I want to put up an Out of Order or an Under Construction sign on my front door and social media pages just so everyone will know it’s not personal but that I am doing some much needed maintenance in my own life.  If the guilt will just simmer down a bit then I hope to emerge shiny, fresh and full of energy, ready to tackle the world’s dramas head on or at least be able to visit my mother more often.

I am not the only person who has ever gone through this particular life problem and the world is full of far more important issues that I could be writing about but this is my blog and I already warned you that I am selfish.

personal growth

Saved by the “Selfie” Generation?

If you follow the “grown up” media i.e. Fox, CNN, Time etc. then you know the world is going to hell in a hand basket quick, fast and in a hurry.  Every new generation is said to be worse than the previous one, but I think that the upcoming young adults may yet turn it around.

Many, many times over my children’s lives I have uttered the phrase “Lord, help us all” when thinking about their generation being in charge one day but now that they are sort of grown, I find myself reevaluating.  My generation was raised to suck it up, be strong and to stay in your lane.  People rarely talked about mushy gushy stuff and you really did not air your dirty laundry to anyone and everyone.  We were taught there was one way to have a successful life.  You were supposed to go to school hopefully through college, get a good paying job, marry a nice man/woman, have a few kids, retire at 65 and then travel until you die. Guess what?  College degrees are worth crap, jobs of any type are scarce, divorce rates are astronomical and retirement is a myth, so we obviously missed something along the way.

Today’s young people are more sensitive, they have no filters and have never met a stranger, but who’s to say that is a bad thing?  The newest generations care about their planet, they care about the individual rights and equality of all people, and they care about being healthy and fit.  What I think is really great is that not only do they care about all these things, but they actually go out and do something about it.  The world has shrunk down to the size of your palm for this new generation and they take full advantage of this fact.  They ban together on the million and one social media sites and by sheer numbers alone effect change.  Don’t believe me?  Google “world change through social media” for endless examples.  Facebook alone is such a threat that many countries impose bans including China, Iraq and N. Korea.  They must be doing something right, because I guarantee you it’s not the 40+ year old demographic that is getting any social media banned.

I know they are not perfect.  They have no common sense, they really don’t speak any form of written language and the selfies alone make you want to slap the shit out of them but they are bold and adventurous.  They have no time limits, no travel limits and boundless imagination.  They do not understand the word can’t and have very few inhibitions.  I am pretty sure the young adults of today are fearless while living in a very scary world.

darwin survives

Don’t Poop Where You Eat!

gun-violence-alg_stop_sign

I just returned home yesterday from a 5 day trip to St. Louis where I was moving my daughter into her new apartment for college.  As I am sure you are all aware, St. Louis is a hotbed of controversy to say the least right now.

Just like you, I have no factual information on the Ferguson shooting nor am I going to express any opinions on the actual shooting itself.  I will say the whole of St. Louis is in chaos and leaving my daughter so close to this pandemonium was not exactly the easiest thing I have ever done.

What I will talk about and will never understand is WHY would you riot and loot your own city?  I understand protests, marches, sit-ins, petitions, etc.  I understand being upset, confused and frustrated.  I do not understand destroying the town you live in especially when you are not financially able to leave said town once it is destroyed.  The rioters are shooting each other, burning the only shops they have to shop in and destroying the property of their neighbors.  I would like to know how protesting a shooting by going out and shooting someone else makes sense to anyone.  And the violence just continues to escalate.  How do they not realize that if this continues, they will no longer have a place to call home?

I really grieve for the elderly and the children living in that neighborhood.  They have very little hope for escape and no way to defend themselves.  They are having to hunker down in the dark and pray that they not only wake up with their property intact but their actual lives.  The children are not able to go to school or even outside to play.  The emergency services are so overworked and spread thin that 911 is not even able to respond full time with ambulances or fire trucks to the actual life threatening emergencies that deserve their attention.

Quite simply, life is on pause while the neighborhood rioters wage a mini war on each other all in the name of stopping unnecessary violence.  The irony breaks my heart.

Unconventional Inspiration

I have never watched American Ninja Warrior mainly because if it’s not on Netflix or YouTube, I wouldn’t have any idea it exists but I have seen the video of #mightykacy Kacy Catanzaro and let me tell you I was blown away.  I sat through seven minutes of breath holding, tummy tingling suspense and by the time it was over felt like jumping up and doing a dance around my living room.

Kacy is my ultimate definition of “girl power” and a great role model.  This woman is 5’ tall, 100 pounds and made it through obstacles that many men couldn’t make it halfway through on their best day.  She is a powerhouse.  Of course, many will say that she has been training for this her whole life because she is a champion gymnast but that only proves my point.  This girl has been working on improving herself her pretty much since birth.  She didn’t stop after her gymnastics career was over and if you watch her face during the video, I promise you it never once crossed her mind that she couldn’t finish it.  I would kill for confidence and ability like that.  Just watch her in action.

I think this video impacted me more then it normally would have because yesterday I received the results of my recent blood work from the doctor telling me that I have high cholesterol.  I couldn’t even process this when I first opened it.  I know most of you are probably thinking that it’s no big deal, millions of people have it but to me it really was.  In my mind, I am still young and healthy even at 38 years old.  Of course the first thing I did was Google cholesterol and ways to lower it.  I really, really did not like what it was telling me.  It wants me to change my eating habits, start exercising and stop smoking. Yes I smoke.  It is my shameful vice that I can’t seem to shake.  I was a little overwhelmed because that is pretty much changing everything about me except for my vibrant, winning personality.  (Google probably thinks I should change that too but baby steps people.)

I have not always had such an unhealthy lifestyle.  I was quite an active child or tomboy as some say.  I played sports all through school and had a vague dislike of all things pink.  When my children were born, I was still quite energetic.  We played outside, went on trips to parks, hiked the mountains etc. but at some point around my first child hitting high school my activity level took a drastic decline.  I am not quite a couch potato but am closing in on it every day.  Any time I feel a little pudgy or vegetative, I will take up an activity like Pilates and get back in shape.  The moment I start to look and feel good however, I stop.  I am my own worst enemy.  It’s like my mind decides that if I can fit in my size 4 jeans again there is no point in working out and I can go back to couch grazing.  Of course with this attitude, I don’t stay in them very long and the cycle begins again.

Kacy’s run through that course was inspirational and motivating.  I watched her face and heard the crowd going crazy and started to think that if she can push herself to complete this monumental task then just maybe I can get through my own small one as well.  I know that it’s only a silly game show and I would normally dismiss it, but I will take inspiration wherever I can.  Mostly because Google says I have a lot of work to do.

getting fit pic

Superheroes

I am an honest to God superhero.  If you are a mom or dad whether biological, adoptive or guardian, than congratulations because you too are a superhero.  I will be sending you your cape in the mail.  Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Thor and Wolverine have nothing on being a parent.  (Too bad I still can’t fly)

I came to this conclusion yesterday while babysitting a precious 6 month old baby boy for 13 hours.  He really was a great baby.  He only cried once, took several naps, played by himself for periods of time and didn’t even poop, but I was still exhausted mentally and physically by the end of the day.  It made me wonder how in the world my children even survived to toddlerhood.  I am amazed at myself that I was able to raise 2 children to be at least semi normal and healthy with no hospital trips for exhaustion or mental breakdown for any of us.  I totally rock.

I had never really contemplated parenthood before yesterday.  Sure, I had bitched and complained about how hard it is at times but I had never thought of all the work it actually entails.  You have to be aware of this child at all times 24/7.  You have to make sure they eat, sleep, poop, play, learn and are active every single day.  You have to clean up the messes they make, hug and kiss them, and keep them medically healthy.  All this and more, while at the same time making sure you survive with at least a halfway normal life and a modicum of sanity.  That’s not to mention giving your partner the quality time your relationship needs to survive the next 40-50 years. It’s sounds impossible.

Holy schnikes Batman, that’s automatic Sainthood right there.

no capes