To Infinity and Beyond!

Guess what, guess what, guess what?   It’s Space Week!!

I’m not even a good enough writer to convey my excitement but I am going to try.

The Science Channel has taken a page from Shark Week’s book and made it even better.  This entire week starting tonight at 9 pm/cst they are running every space show imaginable beginning with the touchdown of the lander Philae on the Rosetta Comet live.  They will not only be running the normal programs like my favorites How the Universe Works and Through the Wormhole but they are starting new ones such as Strip the Cosmos, Which Universe Are We In?, and Powered by Space. I am breathlessly waiting on Which Universe Are We In? like most 20 years olds would a 1D concert.

I am a space nut.  Every single night, I go to sleep watching either How the Universe Works (it used to just be called The Universe but I guess that wasn’t catchy enough so they changed the name) or Ancient Aliens.  I have seen every episode of every season multiple times.  It is my background noise for when I am cleaning or doing my nails or browsing the internet.  The only thing that is ever on my television is the Science Channel, H2 or football, everything else I watch from my laptop but they are still playing on my TV in the background then too.  I cannot get enough of wormholes, black holes, outer dimensions, dark matter, supernovas etc.

When I was 11 or 12 years old my cousin Heather and I started an Astronomy Club out of her walk in closet and we were serious.  We had posters of the planets (Pluto was still a planet then bless him), we had notebooks full of universe facts, drawings of comets and asteroids and we met several times a week.  Of course, we didn’t let anyone else join because we felt that no one would take it as seriously as it deserved but it was great.  This was the beginning of my fascination with the stars and beyond.

I think one of man’s greatest achievements is the space program.  We have gone to the Moon, landed multiple rovers on Mars, have a space probe that has made it all the way outside of our solar system and we are fixing to land on a comet.  This takes such massive amounts of time, patience and brain power, the likes you can’t even imagine.  Think about it, Voyager launched in 1977 and has just now exited our solar system and Philae was launched in 2004 and will finally meet up with the Rosetta Comet tonight  after traveling an estimated 4 billion miles.  I can’t travel more than 100 miles without massive planning so 4 billion seems almost made up.

I am going to wind it up now before I really get going and bore you to tears but if at all possible, round up your family and watch a little slice of history being made tonight.

I often like to dream that in another dimension I am a famous astronomer/physicist and Pluto is still a planet.  Also, this post is in no way sponsored, just in case you thought I was popular enough to be paid by the Science Channel.

comet pic

Yadda Yadda Yadda

Warning – This is going to be a rambly one.

I have 723 going through my head and I am not going to be a productive person anytime soon.

First off, it is freezing. I know, I know. It’s not that cold but shut up, because yes it is. I have no idea why, but every year starting the week it decides to hit around 50 degrees at night, I become part polar bear. I want to eat my weight in carbs and then hibernate in my cave (bed) until spring. If only I could grow that luxurious fur coat, I would be fine with it. My brain also slows way down at the beginning of the cold season. I’m pretty sure it’s in shock, but I am too cold to figure it out. The good news is that it only takes me about 2 weeks of cold to acclimate and be normal again. The bad news is that I live in Arkansas and it will probably be January before it decides to stay cold for 2 weeks.

On top of the cold, it is Halloween week and busy, busy, busy. There are costumes to make, a house to decorate and carbs to bake. By the way, I am still finding hardened candy in my kitchen. The latest was behind the Keurig, go figure. I have a question. Does anyone else buy candy around the beginning of October for the trick-or-treaters and then have to buy more the day before because you ate most of it? That is why I’m running to Wal-Mart this evening.

I can also tell that it is the start of the visiting season because the traffic volume in my house has more than doubled. What I find hilarious is the fact that I didn’t clean my house for any of the family/friend visits, but spent about 5 hours cleaning for the bug man. Another question. Does anyone else make sure to leave one little area of the house slightly messy when they clean for company so that no one thinks you just spent the past 5 hours cleaning? Just did that yesterday.

Finally, my most anticipated/dreaded football game is this weekend. I love love love/hate hate hate when we play the Broncos because it’s mostly always guaranteed to be a great game and the hype is just contagious. I really delight in listening to the media pretend to be football experts and then explain how they weren’t really wrong (they always are) after it is all over. Go Pats!!

Sorry this was so disjointed, but after my brain thaws and I settle into the rhythm of the holidays, hopefully I will start to sound like a normal person again. Well, as normal as I ever am anyways.

bed cold outside pic

Holiday Masochist

I have always been obsessed with holidays.  My inner child wakes up and goes berserk.   Every year when October comes I get giddy and start a whirlwind of decorating and craft making and every year I have a meltdown because I am a failure at DIY.  I know this about myself and yet year after year I just keep trying.  Pinterest has just made my obsession/failure infinitely worse and still I pin all year long just to be ready for the holiday season.  This year I was excited because I thought “Woohoo, I have a blog now and I am going to do some cute easy crafts and make a whole post to show the world my brilliance”.  I realize the whole world will not be reading this but a girl can dream. 

I decided that I would make Jack Skellington cake pops and paint a monogram pumpkin for the big holiday tutorial post.  I mean really how difficult could that be?   I obviously need electroshock therapy because I will never, ever learn.   Needless to say, my meltdown was of epic proportions this year and I am still finding hardened candy coating in weird places throughout my kitchen.

For those of you into torture here is the link to how to make the cake pops.

Seems pretty straightforward right?  Well here is a picture of what they should look like and a picture of exactly how far I got into the process.

JS cake pop good     So cute right?

bad cake pops     My version.

It was a disaster from the start.  First, I forgot to cut off the outside which I thought sounded stupid anyway but it turns out those little hard bits don’t crumble and you get lumps.  Second, if you didn’t already know this let me tell you that white chocolate chips have about a 5 minute window of melting time and you will totally miss that window if you are watching the Patriots score 3 touchdowns in like a minute.  I was mad but on a football high so I just threw away the chips and decided to use the almond bark I had left from the last time I made covered pretzels.  It looks the same melted and it is delicious so why not?  I will tell you why not…Almond Bark is about 5 times thicker then melted chips and the minute you dip your cake pop into it, it will be sucked down like quicksand.  If you do manage to dig it out, the coating dries so heavy your ball slides down the stick and falls apart.  This is when candy started getting thrown around the kitchen and my football high quickly deteriorated to tears and I started to ask anyone that would listen what was wrong with me and why was I such a failure at things that women have been doing since the dawn of time.  It wasn’t pretty.

My second failure of the weekend happened because I have really, really wanted a monogrammed pumpkin for a couple years now but thought it was silly to pay so much money for a plaster pumpkin with some paint on it, so I decided to make one.  It would have saved me so much time and sanity to have just plunked down the $30 but I’m a glutton and only learn through extreme pain.  I went ahead and put a picture of what I envisioned and how the project actually turned out below.  Honestly, it could have been worse and I have put the pumpkin on the mantle but it is far from my the beautiful vision in my head.

good s pumpkin   Why would I pay good money for this?

painted pumpkin   This is exactly why.

I did do one thing this weekend that I am quite happy with and that was my Jack Skellington jack-o’-lantern, but I feel bad counting that as a win because even kindergartners can carve pumpkins.

carved pumpkin

Happy Halloween!!!

Fruit bats taste nasty I’m sure.

Who would have thought that an Ebola epidemic could provide so much ridiculous entertainment?  I do not find the death of over 4,000 people funny in the slightest.  I think it is horrible and I pray that their families find peace.  However, the constant barrage of false information, people panicking on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter etc. and the myriad of memes that have popped up make me laugh in a kind of exasperated way.  My son comes home every day from school with a new story about or way of contracting Ebola.  It has almost become a routine that has replaced “So, how was your day?”

This meme might be my favorite so far even though it should read “Say Ebola one more time.  I dare you.” but I don’t know how to make meme’s so it’s close enough.

samuel jackson ebola

Or this.  I can’t decide. #4 and #5 are very important.

ebola no nos

Seriously though, Ebola is a horrible virus.  I am not saying it isn’t but if you educate yourself (boiling yourself with salt water just makes you need skin grafts) and use some common sense it’s pretty low key.  I would much rather the public focus on stopping rape, murder, child molestation, and curing AIDS (or at least releasing the cure to the public).  Also, if you feel you have extra time on your hands, you can volunteer at the local children’s hospital, retirement centers or women’s shelters.  I feel like this would save a lot more people and make us feel better about ourselves. It has to be a better use of our time than sitting around binge reading every Ebola story released while working ourselves up to panic attack level.

Confirmation info of Ebola in United States  http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/united-states-imported-case.html

Overview and facts http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ebola-virus/basics/definition/con-20031241

But I’m keeping my bra.

I hate to label myself.  I believe that labels are stifling and generally don’t encompass my entire belief system but one of the few labels I will wear is feminist.  It is a no brainer to me and I am always quite shocked to find out that all women and men do not feel the same way. Technically, I’m an egalitarian with a side of feminist but one label at a time please.

Before I go any further, I am going to stick the definition of feminism/feminist in just to clear up any confusion and/or ranting that is probably already building up.

Feminist – Advocates of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Pretty simple isn’t it.  There is no mention of man hating, sexual orientation, or abortion rights. It doesn’t even state that only women can be feminists.  It just means regardless of whether your reproductive parts are on the inside or the outside of your body, you should have the exact same chance at life be it success or failure.  It is a travesty and quite frankly baffling to me that Feminism is still a necessary movement in this day and age.  The feminist movement should be a footnote in history books that future generations struggle to understand, the same way we do when we learn people used to think the world was flat or it was dangerous to bathe with water or the moon was made of cheese.

I believe that women are amazing.  We are loud, quiet, quirky, cranky, brilliant and dingy.  Our bodies are beautiful, our brains are diabolical and with a little help we grow the next generation.  Women are pretty much the jackpot of the species.   Great women, mediocre women and evil women deserve the same treatment as their male counterparts.

I am very fortunate in that I have never experienced true inequality in my life.  I have been lucky enough that feminism was just a word that went hand and hand with the 70’s movement  and bra burning until adulthood.  In my late teens, I remember disbelieving that women were actually stoned to death for disobedience until reading an article in Time magazine.  The first real inkling I had of war crimes towards women came from watching the movie Tears of the Sun, which came out in 2003.  I was furious.  I felt actual terror at the thought of all the women who had been raped and mutilated with no way of fighting back and no justice system to turn to.  I know it sounds naive but until then I really had no idea.

I have learned a lot since that movie and made it a point to teach my children that there is a world outside of their own.  I want them to believe that the world is a spectacular place but also understand that injustice and inequality exist and that each person can make a difference.  I never want my daughter or my son to feel inferior.  I also never want them to treat anyone else as inferior to them.  I want them to understand that although all people are different they are all still equal and without this diversity the world would be a dull and boring place.

Here are a few links that I feel explain better than I ever could how important this really is:

Emma Watson #heforshe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Dg226G2Z8

Hague/Jolie Declaration of Committee to End Sexual Violence in Conflict http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27769132

MENA Rights for Women http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/MENAProgramme.aspx

chucknorris

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