Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Confession #30 - Mascara

I saw a picture of Martha Stewart on the cover of her Halloween 
edition magazine for this year, and it got me thinking.

For the longest time I have been 
- (just as the rest of you have!) - 
on a quest for the most perfect way to display my eyelashes.
What is up with that??

Well... eyelashes, to your face, are the equivolent of a picture frame you hang on a blank wall. (Your eyes are the picture ☺)

They are the biggest accessory place for your face, too!
Where else can you do the most without getting ridiculous?

Ok, too ridiculous.
(Hello! Are those fingers?? :oO )

As a kid/pre-teen, I loved the models on TV for the mascara commercials,
who have perfect eyelashes.

Which are in no way accomplished by the mascara, but are just amazing in general.
I longed to have those full, luxurious eyelashes.

Who hasn't?? 

Not the crazy "whoa-your-eye-is-totally-a-bird" kind...

...but just some nice, luxe lashes.

Don't get me wrong.
I do like my own eyelashes. know, just as well as the next woman in the room, I have the deep-seated prehistoric need to desire more from my appearance. 

(What is wrong with all of us??? Another blog for another day...)

My point - 

Confession: I love mascara.

I found a new, fun mascara - that I've been using for about 2 weeks - that I love, but I am slightly embarrassed to admit WHY I love it. First, let me introduce you to my dynamic duo:

These... I use a lot lately.

The eye liner... I started using when I started applying my makeup while playing my part in the 'Savior of the World' production back in November 2010. I felt... embarassed? To wear so much makeup at the time (for me, it was a lot)... but for me, the liner works so great for my eye - it makes my eyelid appear smaller, so I appear more awake, which is terrific for me! 

The only down side to this liquid liner is that you have to be very careful when you apply - and where on your eye you apply it. It is soooo not water-resistant. Don't put it in between your eyelashes unless you want black eye crusties an hour later.

Yeah, you heard me.

The mascara... I ran out of my usual brand, and randomly picked something from the Maybelline section. A hundred years ago (ok 6 years ago) Maybelline had been all I'd used. I got the "classic" pink tube of death with the green lid. 
Why? Why do they still make that? 
So... I went back and got some real mascara. It was bright and happy, so I bought it. 

I literally put it on and while my eyelashes weren't a bunch thicker, it intrigued me. 
Later that night, I took a shower - ok let me insert here that I am a horrible care-taker of my face. I wash it in the shower, and moisturize it when I get out.
The end.
Anything more than that, and my brain sits on the couch with a bag of Cheetos. So... I don't use makeup remover... I use face wash in the shower, and carefully scrub with my scrubby gloves.

So! I took a shower, and washed my face and everything, and get out, and dry my face, and go to apply my moisturizer and I had a moment where I looked in the mirror.


This mascara is really REALLY waterproof!!!

We're talking... the most durable mascara I have owned to date. I actually couldn't get it off my eyes. "What?! I have to go buy makeup remover now?? Whatever..." (my brain processes) "...nahh I'll just get it in the shower tomorrow."

Hey, I've got little kids. I can be lazy sometimes, right?

Day two.
Mascara - still totally in tact. Lucky for me I didn't sleep on my face by accident and kink my eyelashes funny... yikes. Didn't flake or rub off at all. (No raccoon eyes!)

I'm thinking... this mascara... maybe it was supposed to be used to make tires but got re-directed by accident...

I shower, repeat surprise face, and lazy thought process, and crawl into bed.

Day three.
Mascara - STILL not budging. Grateful again for no face-sleeping.

Day four. 
This is getting serious. I am not a barbie.
Not that that has anything to do with anything, but things are getting a little ridiculous.
After four showers, I spend a little extra time scrubbing and using a different soap... and the mascara gives way. Maybe I will have to invest in makeup remover after all. 

So... I love this mascara, totally for being superhero durable.
(I am an emotional lady. I have my needs.)
If you need durable, 140% waterproof mascara, this stuff is for you!

So I had to throw on my dynamic duo to show you them in action.

This mascara was made for Wonder Woman.
That must be it!
Glad they leaked their secrets to Maybelline.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Confession #29 - I HATE Terrible Drivers


Ok let me clarify on this, I would like to explain that I believe all drivers are terrible drivers. Yes, even you are a terrible driver. And I am also a terrible driver. BUT.... there is a line. I have a theory, that we are all varying degrees of awful drivers, but some drivers should not be driving at all. 

We're talking the cream of the crop.
This is what this post is about.
The people who would drive away without unhooking the gas pump.

This is about the drivers that could be replaced by giant albino squirrels 
and you wouldn't even be able to tell the difference.

(Bet you didn't think I had a picture for that, didja?)

Confession: I loathe horrible, rude, despicable drivers.

This seething hatred began stewing back in late 2005.
It was a situation similar to this:

It was cold, winter, snowy, and I was 8+ months pregnant with my first child.
I ran to Target on my lunch break from work, to grab something, and I had to be fast.
Upon emerging from said Target, I discovered that someone had parked so close to
either side of my car that there was no hope of me crawling inside.
I was furious.
My giant belly was going to prevent me from getting in the car anyways,
 but now there were only 3 or so inches of space on either side.
They were in my spot!
I totally did not understand how someone could be so rude.

I marched back inside the Target, steaming, and asked the security person if they
 could help me find a way to make an announcement or something,
 so that I could get back to work! And that they could move their car.
Regrettably, the security person informed me that they would do no such thing.

So I waited.
And waited.
Ages later, a little old asian man emerged - probably pushing 90, but in bad condition.
I stood behind him, staring at him, as he sloooooooowly put his groceries away.
(In hind sight, if I had been more Christlike, I should probably
 have helped him put his groceries in his car?)
(Whatever! Move your oldsmobile!)
He looked at me, finally, as he walked to his drivers side, and - 
glared at me. Yes! Glared!
Then looked at my car, and the space I had, and smirked.

What?? Where is your heart?
He sat in his car for ten minutes.
Doing nothing. But occasionally checking to see if I was still standing in the cold.
Anyways I will get off my complainer's box, and tell you that the long story
short of it is that eventually he moved his car and I went back to work.

But this certainly helps me segway into my second opinion.... :o)
(The first being that SO many people need to learn how to park.)

SOME older civilians should NOT be allowed on the road!!!!

My ex-grandfather-in-law would actually scrape the side of his house occasionally
 while pulling into his driveway. He drives on the other side of the road sometimes.
 He swerves. There is a long list here!
And yet - when he went to get his license renewed, they approved him!
Who knows. 
Old people. Bad idea.
"Which one is the brake again?" is not a moment I want anyone to be having.

I also have a problem with those giant, oblivious SUV drivers (or other large vehicle)
 - who cut you off, pull out of a driveway without looking at oncoming traffic... etc. 

Oblivious drivers are the worst!
"Nobody else is on the road. OOO look! A penny!"
- or -
Seriously people. Just... just look, before you plow over a pedestrian, or my car,
as I'm driving on the road and you are pulling out of Meijer.

You KNOW that has happened to you in front of Meijer! RIGHT?! 

Or how about the multi-tasking people. Not to pick on moms, or women,
but we naturally take on more than we should anyways, right?
(So why should the car be any different?) 
We have a consistent rule in my car that nobody bothers the driver. 
Occasionally, I get questions from the back seat:
"Mom - can you open this for me please?"
"Mom! Can you get (blah blah) toy for me please?"
"I dropped it!! Mom!!"
To which my response is always along these lines:
"Would you like me to help you, and we could get in
 an accident over your toy, or can you be patient?"
To which their response is always:
"...I'll wait."

Put it down. Just... do it when you get there.
I'm glad there are laws now against texting - that's irritating.
Above all, the most irritating is when people are texting at a red light,
and then when it turns green they are still not budging.
Nevermind that when they do it while they are driving they are a
billion times more likely to run a red light, or blow over a peddy.

(Yes. Those are actual statistics.) 

(Caption: "AHHHHHHHHH!!!")

Something else that bothers me about multi-tasking drivers is that
I just... don't understand why you would put your passengers at risk,
or yourself, or what's in the car at the time.


Another thing that really gets me face-palming my head mid-traffic...
getting cut off by someone who doesn't know how to merge,
doesn't know how to change lanes, doesn't know where they are going, etc.

Google Maps! DMV! Pay attention!

I guess you could lump them in with the oblivious
 "there-is-nobody-else-on-the-road" types as well.


Ok so let me power through the rest of this post.
Some people are so stupid.

Alright - I'm going to admit that Once Upon A Time...
 I had some road rage.
But now? None. Why? That is personal, relating to the passenger that was usually
 in the car. But on my own, or with my kids, or any body else on the planet in
 the car with me... my road rage is zippity-nil-no. 

It is annoooooooying when - for instance - when I'm delivering a cake, so 
I have to drive the speed limit or just above 
<insert dramatic gasp>
And I look in the mirror and there is some business suit bdub guy swerving
to the left and right, talking angrily to himself, and waving his hands like an idiot,
like he is going to fly over me with the hot air he is producing.

Road rage. What a waste of energy! 
I have another theory. This applies to many things. 
If I can't control it, and I'm not going to do anything about it, or if I can't do anything
 about it, I am NOT going to let it bother me, or complain about it, or worry about it.
Because it is a WASTE of my energy.

So seriously guy.
You can't drive my car, or calm my screaming baby, or help me drive any faster
that the old lady in front of me, or teach my teenager how to signal better,
or whatever, so pull the stick out of your whatever and take a chill pill. 

The BEST case of road rage I have ever experienced involved my husband,
less than a month ago.
(I'm going to put him on the spot because it just made my day, my week, my year.)
We were driving home after the kids and I had picked David up from work,
and we were stuck in rush hour traffic. In front of us, someone was braking enough
 to leave two car lengths of space ahead of them.
We all are barely moving. I casually go around.
Said guy behind us - or to the right of us? - or where ever he was - becomes furious.
...I have a reflex to be scared of furious crazy men, 
(Pff who knows where that came from, right?) 
So I look over at my husband, David, and I say something about how
 that guy is super angry about nothing.
I probably look worried.
The guy pulled his car up to the right of our car, and paced us in traffic, rolling down
his window and yelling at our car - all of us, inside, but we can't really hear him.

David makes my day - he puts his fingers in his mouth and makes a face at him,
blew a giant raspberry on the window, (or some such response), totally
 breaking the tension in our car. It made the crazy angry driver guy more furious,
but also weirded him out.
Success all around.

I couldn't help but laugh so hard I cried.
The guy was so angry, and we were just ...laughing!

Terrible? Maybe.
But maybe someone spit in his cheerios.

And last... but definitely not least.
My biggest hatred.

Don't you understand??? -

In fact, once upon a time, when I was working in Lombard - and my oldest
was a baby (I know! Hate me now.) I was on my way home, on I-88, taking my exit,
and I was being tail-gated by a semi truck.
I SLOOOOOWED down. Way down. And I rolled down my window.
The semi inched closer to me, and honked.
I threw the whole bouquet out the window at him.
(Ok, if you know what this is, then you had the same fabulous YW leader as I did. ☺)
(If you do not know, I will explain that once upon a time, I listened to my YW leader explain how when someone angers her on the road, why should she give them one finger, when she could give them the 'whole bouquet'? I have since always applied such wisdom ☺)
(It is the holding up of all your fingers. Like you are cupping your hand, but sticking your fingers up.)

Why tailgate? It's not going to make me go any faster, but it is going to make me want to
get out of my car at this red light and tell you what I think of you endangering me and
my children on the highway! 
Once, my employer told me that when he gets into those situations, he advises me: 
"Keep a bat in your trunk or something. Always make them think you're a little crazy."

The visual from his story, of him swinging his bat around talking to these people was hilarious. 
Maybe you had to be there.



Over all, if we could just pay attention while we are driving, that would be greeeaaat.
Pay attention, be courteous.
Be safe.

Now let's all go skip in a circle of ridiculous happiness and talk about butterflies.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Confession #28 - CHOCOLATE!!!

Beautiful, glorious chocolate.
Confession: There is no replacement for chocolate.

Chocolate is synonymous with happy. How many memories do you have, that involve chocolate, that ended badly? 
Exactly my point.

In my family, at Christmas time, everybody gets a chocolate letter from Santa Claus.
(Or St. Nicholas, whatever you want to call him by)

Chocolate is amazing! So many varieties and flavors!
A lot of thought has gone into chocolate.
Making it artistic, more delicious....

Or classic. :o)

But I have a theory!!!
If I crave chocolate, I've realized I might as well go straight ahead and eat it.

Why? BECAUSE - you know it's true - whenever you try and avoid chocolate, a pattern of events unfold.

First: One thinks, chocolate sounds delicious. But I shouldn't have it, candy/sugar/fat/etc is bad for me.

Then: One figures, if I snack on something else, something healthier, I will stop worrying about chocolate. 
First, something healthy. 
Then, something salty - obviously healthy wasn't doing the trick. 
Then, something slightly sweet, but not what I want. 
Like... oh, let's say raisins, for example. 
Still... one is not satisfied. 
After mowing through a variety of snacks, I just can't put my finger on it.

Eventually: One ends up eating the chocolate anyways, but kind of feels gross from eating so many other things too.

Satisfy the chocolate craving! It's delicious, and if it's dark, or whatever the other studies say, then it's good for you! It comes from a bean! It could easily be a vegetable! Right?? RIGHT??

But in moderation, it is just fine. And certainly better than blowing through my whole pantry. 

I love raspberry truffle loaf - I actually use the truffle loaf in a few circumstances. It's great as frosting, and also as a cake filling. It is a BIG hit as cake filling. It's part of The Christmas Cake. :o)
(See my cake blog for more information on The Christmas Cake)

Chocolate was a fun activity - as kids, my brother and I would sit down together when a new box of chocolates arrived (during Easter or Christmas) and use the "map" that came with it to find each chocolate and read the description of what was inside. Sometimes we fought about specific ones, but most of all it was fun to laugh at some of the flavors in there, and then try one of them. 
Sometimes, we dared each other to eat the most repulsive-sounding chocolate. 
Through these experiences, I can say honestly... fruit and chocolate together are not a friend for me.
Fruit + chocolate?
No thank you please.
Chocolate... is the best flavor ice cream.

As a kid, my favorite part of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was watching the opening credits.... all that chocolate... It was magical! And then to wonder what it would be like to go to a land made out of candy!

Which was great - but I came to the conclusion that it would probably be gross, if birds could poop on it. 
But it was insiiiiiiide... hmm.
I guess the only hazard there is oompa loompa feet in the edible grass.

ANYWAY! Maaaaagicalllllll.... choooocolaaate......

When I was a kid, I thought about what it would be like if the buildings were made of chocolate.

I decided that would be gross, because birds could poop on it.

(I think I had a thing about being pooped on by birds.)

Chocolate... also an art medium!

Look at these. Just.... just look.

Artful, magical, wonderful, glorious, delicious chocolate.
It's ok to be spoiled sometimes.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Princess Eleanor

August 9th, 2011
The Princess Dress

I have to start this post by explaining that for some reason, I am a total weirdo when it comes to autumn, and Halloween. It is my favorite time of the year. I just love the clean, crisp air... the crunchy fall leaves... the fun activities... candied apples, pumpkin farms, the ability to dress up as anyone you want - be anyone you want - for one day!... I just love it. Fresh, and wonderful.. reminds me of the first day of school... I just love it.

Naturally, we were sitting at breakfast one morning, and I announce randomly to the kids - "Oh no!" (Imagine both kids, sitting at full attention, staring at me) "We haven't talked about Halloween costumes yet!"
Logan: "Oh no!!"
Eleanor: " - gasp - !"

I love my kids. Lol.

So after breakfast, we all piled together on our little ottoman and browsed the halloween costumes online. (Uh... with caution! WHO would let their 5 year old dress up like Freddy Kruger?? Parenting, people. Parent. See previous complaint post about people being dumb or some such similar nagging. Morons.) 

Eleanor concluded that she wants to be a princess. And Logan concluded that he wants to be Zelda-Leo/Ninja Turtle-Superman. We'll figure that one out later. :o)

So I got the crafy itch. I pulled down my magical purple box of crafty supplies, and pulled the lid off. It could have been dancing in sparkles, I tell you. It was great.

I pulled out some fabric scraps, and old t-shirt, and an old silk housecoat, and flipped the switch on my sewing machine. Two hours later (and one failed dress later.... luckily it will have a new home for someone who is a tid bit smaller than Eleanor is),  Eleanor's princess outfit was born. She wanted it to be "like" Rapunzel's dress.

I think I'll make another skirt eventually that she can wear underneath. This one (the white one) was made from an old t-shirt. The pink part is separate from the skirt - which I did, to be like the Rapunzel dress - which turned out to be a GREAT idea, because she can wear it over whatever else she is currently wearing. LOL.

Teeny princess.

The last picture is my absolute favorite. I love - love - love having a little girl. I love how girls and boys have their very own fun interests. Keeps variety in my house. :o)

Sugar Cube FHE

August 4th, 2011
The Sugar Cube Temple

So this sugar cube temple was part of FHE. I made the Moroni out of a little bell, and a little gold ball, and some wire. The windows are sequins.

It made me think though, what else could I make out of sugar cubes?! I can't wait to find out. 

By the way, this was super easy, and your kids would love doing it. All it is - sugar cubes, royal icing (to stick them together, and then decorate with), sequins etc- whatever you want to decorate it with. I stuck mine on some poster board, but you could also use a paper plate! You can stick things to it that are not edible, because you are not intended to eat it. (And don't. Sugar cubes are nasty.)

If you do make one, please! Let me know! I would love to see how they turn out.

Royal Icing Recipe: (makes about 3 cups of icing)
3 tbsp Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups icing (aka powdered) sugar
6 tbsp warm water

Beat all ingredients until medium-stiff peaks form. (It takes me about 5-7 minutes on my kitchenaid on 8. It's supposed to take 10 minutes with a hand-held mixer.)

*Keep your utensils grease free, keep a moist towel over the bowl while you are working with it. This will form a crust quickly, but if you want it to completely dry I would give it overnight at least. You could also experiment with piping designs on parchment paper, and letting them dry overnight, and then attaching them to your building. Or landscape! You could totally make trees if you wanted to. Ooo I wonder what a whole temple made out of royal icing would look like! I'll stop talking now. :o)

I Spy... With My Little Eye...

July 28th, 2011
The I Spy Bag

So... I have this thing (which I so genetically passed on to my daughter) with little things. Like... my whole life, I just am drawn to tiny miniature things, and details! Oh I love details. So I had been collecting a few tiny items (we're talking less than an inch big) that I was trying to figure out what to do with. I saw at this store, in the Children's Museum, a bag, with a plastic window, and inside there were... toys or buttons, that you could find! I thought that it was amaaaaaziiiiing - but not amazing enough for me to spend $20 on. 

Instead, I vowed to one day make my own. (One year laterrr...) I was looking in my jewelry box, and saw a tiny key. Aha! I didn't think I had that many little things... but for kicks, maybe I should round them all up together and find out. 

I had FIFTY-ONE little charms. Yes. Yes I think I have enough. 

There were some I had made (like a clay pie, and cupcake), things I had altered (like a lizard I had sewn a sweater on, and a plastic baby I had sewn clothes and a hat onto), things I had collected (a little mermaid from an ex-boyfriend, keys, buttons, my very first house key, a sandal that fell off a barette that was mine when I was a little girl, buttons, charms, etc) and things that I bought for Eleanor to play with (little animals, etc)... 

Off to Joann's, there was a vinyl scrap on sale in the scrap bin for just over $1. (Sold!)

I used some pink flannel that I already had, and for the other side I used a scrap of fabric from an old baby dress hand-me-down that had lived it's life, but had a super fun pattern on it.

I trimmed the front, totally lazily stitching the vinyl (wide stitches!), making sure the vinyl side was DOWN, and barely touching too... because if it catches... you are in big trouble. And your vinyl is full of holes. Yeah. Figured that out the hard way. ;o)

After stitching two sides of the vinyl to two strips of flannel, I attached the other sides of vinyl to more flannel, just laying it over top of the other edges and sewing a straight line. Hey, I'm not a sewer.

Wrong sides out, I stitched all the way around except for about a 2" opening. Then I turned it inside out.

I found these at Michael's - in the back aisle, by the "employees only" entrance - like it was secretly hidden... Apparently, this is very hard to find around here, since it took me FOREVER to locate them (JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby were totally out) - but voila! Polly pellets. Just what I need to fill my bag, and hide the charms/doo-hickys.

I dropped the charms and figurines and buttons etc into the opening in the bag, and then used a funnel to fill the bag with poly pellets. Not TOO full... as I later found out. (I emptied the whole bag in, because it filled it up with a little extra space, but then it was too hard to manipulate it around and find all the charms. It's ok because my daughter was mortified to see Ariel trapped inside, and I had to get her out anyways. ☺I ended up using just over half of the bag of poly pellets.)

Then I stitched the opening closed. Whatever that stitch is called where you go back and forth on the inside of the seam, to hide the stitches. :o)
I took a picture so I didn't have to explain it.

Ta-da! The bag, before I took some of the pellets out, was pretty heavy.

This is what my daugther saw, and then asked - with a very worried face - if I could 'save Ariel'... so I had to get her out, of course. I think this would have been more fun with around 20 charms instead of 50... but that is just my opinion. There are always 5 or more charms in the window instead of one or two, like the one I saw in the store... but it's still loved!

Of course, I want to take this to church - what a great quiet activity! - but I didn't want to toss it in the bag with everything else... (the loose snacks! the leaking juice! ahhhh!)...that can happen in the bag... because I don't want to think about how to clean it if that becomes an issue. SO.

I kept this packaging for my happiest-shower-curtain-on-earth, because it is sturdy vinyl with velcro button attachments on the inside.

I replaced the inside board paper with trimmed poster board, and put some stickers on the front cardboard part to read "I Spy"...

And now, it almost looks like I could have bought it. Instead of made it. The funny thing is... by the end of this, it cost just over $1 for the vinyl, about $1 for the posterboard, and about $6 for the poly pellets. Which is still less than the $20 they wanted, and I got to pick the charms I wanted in it.


Logan, the Kindergartener

July 27th, 2011
The Art Smock

When Logan's kindergarten packet came in the mail, with the hefty list of supplies he would need, my eyes caught on the line, "Please include 1 art smock (an old shirt, trimmed to wrist length) - label with child's name"...

This could go a few ways, I'm thinking. Old t-shirts... with gaping arm holes... hmm.
Logan's father donated a shirt to the art smockery. After a good wash, I trimmed the sleeves to wrist length, as instructed. It was SO boring. Maybe I have something wrong with me. Who knows. All I know, is that it needed to look less slobby.

Cue montage music, overlaying the video replay of replacing the shirt cuffs on the shortened arms, hand painting a Mario M with Logan's name on the front pocket, and sewing velcro on the inside of the button strip so that it looks like a button-up, but he doesn't actually have to button it. End montage music. :o)

The art smock of Mario is born. 
Logan is pretty excited. :o)
Secretly, I am excited too, because nobody else will have an art smock like it. :o)