Friday, March 30, 2012

Bright Lips and Me

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. Aliens totally came and abducted me on March 9, and took me to another planet where I had to engage in lots of sick, twisted alien sex and they only brought me back when they couldn't take anymore of my incessant talking and begging for internet access! It was so, so bad, you guys. But the food was actually kind of good, so that's why I've gained four pounds. IT TOTALLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT I'VE STARTED CONSIDERING "Dove Chocolate Bar and Diet Coke" A MUST FOR DRIVING HOME. Why would you say that? You just hurt my feelings.

Ok, yeah, whatever. Let's just blame my absence on it being March. March blows. Like for real--there is a proven thing about light or something and how it makes people depressed in March. I read it on the internet, so it is totally true and I could totally go out and eat seven cheeseburgers, kill a drifter, and become a raging Black Eyed Peas fangirl, and everyone would totally be like, "Whatevs! It's March!"

It is, I should say though, hella warm outside. I hope it is for you too, because that helps, you know, with the March-ness of it all. As I write this, it is a perfect 69 degrees outside, and it is 11:15 in the morning. That's awesome. I love it. I am wearing (this kind of makes me feel sexy, telling you what I'm wearing. Is it bad that I sometimes think about taking up phone sex as a career? Like seriously think about it?) a black maxi dress from The Gap that I adore and plan to buy many, many more of, a denim jacket with holes from the J.Crew outlet, a sparkly necklace, and gold gladiator sandals from Lands End Canvas. And I am so feeling the outfit. Is it seasonally appropriate? Probably not. The shoes definitely aren't. But here's the thing--you guys, my 13 year old likes these shoes. She thinks they are pretty. And they are something I picked out. So you understand that I have to wear them all the time, right? And it's a shame that my boss is gone and nobody is really around to see my finery. What is awesome is that I have spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in front of this two-way mirror that separates his office from the common area and putting on lip gloss. And that's where this post comes in.

I have never been a bright lip girl, except for a very brief period when I was around 7 or 8 and became obsessed with Mary Kay Fuchsia cream lipstick. I have always used tawny shades (the recently discontinued Buxom Dolly is a favorite). I like Clinique Black Honey, but even that, when layered a bit too heartily is a bit much for me. When I wear bright lipstick, I always feel it dates me a bit. Like I'm 29 before lipstick, and a solid 52 after. And no one wants 52. Unless they're 55.

But bright lipstick is hot this year, and well, really, it's hot all the damn time. I have always wanted to be the MAC red type girl, who just pulls out a tube of real lipstick (not gloss or anything with a wand) and puts on a creamy, matte stripe of color and rocks it. It's the part of me that will stay 13 forever and worship anything Gwen Stefani-esque. So, I tried. And really, lipstick is a cheap little trick, so you can try them and then become disgusted with yourself and have another--kind of like an order of McDonald's fries or a Kardashian.

First I bought Revlon ColorStay in Top Tomato. I had read a lot about it, and it looked familiar, like a gloss or something. And I'll tell you--people love this stuff. It has a devoted following. I really kind of hate it. First off, sure it adheres to your lips after a little bit. But for that first little while, it gets EVERYWHERE. On your teeth. Around your mouth. The teeth thing, though, is what killed me. Suddenly, I was my fifth grade teacher, Ms. McReynolds, whose husband drove a Mustang and who once gave me a 70 on a science test because someone else cheated off of my paper without my knowledge. I WOULD RATHER LOOK LIKE SADDAM HUSSEIN IS WHAT I AM SAYING. And then, it kind of flakes after that so you end up with it kind of peeling off, which I guess could have been my dry lips and the fact that it was February, but well, let's blame the product because that is easier. I tried to mitigate this by layering Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Rose over top of it, and really, the color of that combo was really pretty, but there was a bit of hassle there and I am not the one for hassle.

Ok, one more thing about this stuff, and I will advise you not to read this paragraph is you are a) one of my children or b) my mother in law or c) if you have a weak constitution and/or have considered voting for Santorum. The ColorStay side of this does not really hold up to pressure. I wore this on Valentine's Day. I wore it with a black dress and heels and a red cardigan, and I came home and found that my husband had cleaned our house and washed all the diapers, and I'm a woman and the smell of PineSol is a total turn on--I'm not going to front. So within about 15 seconds of me arriving home and realizing that my children were at my MIL's, I wasn't wearing the dress anymore. And maybe I was really happy about the house or whatever and a bit more enthusiastic than say, I would be at the office, but by the time I stopped to check my appearance, I had this stuff up to my hairline. I am not kidding. I looked like a teenage prostitute from a Law and Order episode with Chris Noth in it. Now, I found that really sexy and my husband did too, but yeah, COLORSTAY MY ASS.

Oh and I should mention that my mom told me I looked old in this. MY OWN MOTHER. Fail.

So then I bought L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in British Red. It fit my requirement of being in a little gold tube. I had images of me pulling out this bad boy and being a grown ass woman applying her lipstick and drinking a vodka tonic and having someone murdered. Ok, not really. I drink gin. And really, at times, I like it on me. It is a good, solid, coral red. But the thing is, it's just not me. I can put it on in the morning, feel pretty good about it, and then about halfway through the day I catch a look at myself and all I see is "LIPS" which is a let down because usually I see "BOOBS." I kept justifying it, saying that I should buy some lipliner (I KNOW) or I should be better about reapplying it, or put some gloss on it. But really, it just comes down to the fact that it is not me and I don't like it that much. So I start realizing that not only am I never going to be an Olympic gymnast, now I'm not going to look like Dita von Teese either. FUCK. Pass me that caramel mocha, you guys, cause nothing really matters anymore.

And it smells like my grandmother. Which is a total potshot, but really, you should go sniff a tube.

So I kinda gave up, and thought I would make do with my last tube of Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Cherries in the Glow, which may have been discontinued because I can't find it anymore. And I chalked bright lipstick up there with math and the Lord of the Rings novels as things that I will never, ever get to participate in. But then this little beauty walked into my life:

What you are looking at is Mary Kay NouriShine Plus Lip Gloss in Rockin' Red. It is bright. It is color saturated. It is red. And yet, it is a gloss. It is shiny without being sticky, and it makes your lips feel so, so good. I adore it. It makes me feel like my lips are a part of my face again, albeit a brighter, happier part of my face. I think, personally, it is the matte bright lip, but given a spring update. And lest you think that this is the only bright option from Mary Kay, I will also say that the Mango Tango, a very bright orange-y coral is FABULOUS. And the best part? It has no discernible scent at all. I have to say as well that it lasts a lot better than other glosses, although you will want to reapply it because it feels so nice on the lips. You guys? This is a Holy Grail type product. And I don't throw that around lightly.

The other product I have found that gives me the bright lip I want without any of the uncomfortable old lady-ness of a lipstick is Revlon Lip Butter in Lollipop. I read about it on Wardrobe Oxygen, thought I could ignore it, but found myself at Target looking at it and realized that I really had to have it if for no other reason than just to say that I went there. Yeah, bright pink. I OWNED YOU. I wore it with a black and white wrap dress that I got at Old Navy on clearance for $10.94 (!!!), and I loved the look of the bright lip with the pattern. It did not, however, jive with the coral trench coat I wore over the dress that night. So I had to go back to my tawny gloss. And that was kind of an a-ha moment for me, this moment of realizing that clothing and lip gloss can clash and totally screw with a look. OMG, WHO KNEW!?! (Everyone in the world, I would say.) I plan on wearing it a lot more this summer--have already tried it with a neon yellow striped tee that I picked up, and it felt fresh to me. Once again, the formula is rich and nice and kind of luxurious feeling.

So the moral of this whole sad, disjointed story is that a) I spend way too much money on lipgloss and b) My lips are delicate little flowers and must be babied with things like "butters" and "nourishine." I am much, much too soft for a lipstick. And too young. And will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Stay tuned, my little chicken kievs! I have a bunch more product reviews to do and also, I, at some point, want to really start delving into my very complicated relationship with food because really, I don't understand it, and maybe having four people read about it can shed some light on it. Because the internet provides me therapeutic care as well. Obviously.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Today my daughter turns 13 years old.

I could sit here and recount all the wonderful memories that we've had together--the trips to the zoo, the shopping trips, the times that I walked her around campus when I was in college, making up funny stories about the statues. But really, you know, you don't care. Those are nice, I guess, to hear, but you weren't there to feel the sun on your arms, to hear her giggle caught on the wind. So you don't know what an amazing child she is and you don't know how much I love her. Or maybe you do. Maybe you have your own kid who is sunshine and laughter.

I could also bemoan the future. She is turning 13 after all, and of all the ages that a parent says to someone else that their child is, 13 is the one sure to get a groan. We are all conditioned to think pretty badly of teenagers, and for good reason too--have you been to the mall lately? HOLY SHIT. They're horrible! But really, although I know there are rough times ahead, I'm sure it is something we will get through. I'm just going to keep her away from the Insane Clown Posse and any boys named "Spike."

I won't do either of those things in this blog post. What I will do is make a confession.

She's 13 today. And I only have five years left with her before I let her go into the mad, mad world. And I miss her already.

Today she walked out of her room, wearing a tight t-shirt with some character from Cartoon Network on it that said something about a moustache, inky skinny jeans, and a flourescent green hoodie. In her hair was a black sequinned headband with a huge bow on it, and she was wearing those orange Dr. Seuss Chuck Taylors. She could be seen from SPACE. But all I could think about was that someday, she is going to walk out of a room, carrying a bag, and I will not be worried about being late for work. I will be worried about leaving her behind in some dorm room with some kid whose parents very well might be homicidal maniacs who let their unsocialized child do nothing but play video games and drink Mountain Dew. THE HORROR. I will worry, and she will not be there to laugh about it. She will belong to the world then.

I am on the downhill slide with Gabby, I guess, and I think it hurts me the most of anything. Gabby has always been with me. She left home when I did, I packed her away to college with me, she moved across the country and moved back with me. She has always been there, by my side. And part of me wants to let her go a little, to see her flourish the way that I know she can, but the other part wants her to mine-all-mine forever. But she won't be.

And dammit, 13 is making me think about that all day. Maybe it is the cruelest age.

But instead of reveling in my own sad-sackedness, I will tell you this about my daughter. She is truly an individual (as the above outfit can attest). I asked her last night what she wanted me to fix her for dinner tonight. We had thought of making ribs or something similar to surprise her, but you never know, so I thought to ask. She thought for a bit, and said "Grilled vegetable skewers." Um, ok. Then she qualifies and says she wants it with hummus and pita (homemade if I can swing it--and I can't today) and tabboulleh. And I sat there and thought, "WHAT IN THE HELL?" When it is my birthday, I go into definite EAT ALL THE THINGS mode. But here stands my 13 year old, telling me she wants to eat VEGETABLES on her birthday?!?

I either did really good with that one, or I totally screwed her up. I'll let you decide and judge away. But at any rate, I'll fill her up with veggies, and see how long I can keep her.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Blah Day

There is all manner of severe weather going down in my neck of the woods. Tornado watches and warnings and OH SHITS are running rampant through Facebook. Every other status quotes something about "tornadic" activity (I am still trying to figure out if that is a real word). Hell, my kids are getting out of school an hour early today because of it.

I know this is bad, but I'm not much for weather-y shenanigans. When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me that the mountains were around us to protect us and that was the good thing about living where I did/do. (She didn't mention that was the ONLY good thing.) So when I see this stuff, I'm kinda like, "OK, whatever." THIS IS ALL BAD. I KNOW THAT. My family all hates me for it. In a way, I am a stunning daredevil of weather related phenomena. I have a very self-destructive sense running through me, and I think this is part of it. Some people abuse drugs, some develop eating disorders, and some are just general "Fuck it!"'s about questions of personal safety. That's where I come in.

I also eat food off the floor. There. I'm not afraid to say it.

Anyway, I'm not feeling super awesome today anyway, and I'll tell you why (and no, it doesn't have anything to do with eating something gnarley):

Fucking ab exercises.

Yesterday we started our March challenge as a family (run/walk a mile and read for 26 minutes each day). I happily loaded my group into the car after work (some more grudgingly than others) and we took our walk. I didn't have high hopes for Sam, who said he had already walked a mile that day. That little nerd, though....HOLY CRAP. That kid ran his mile. It was amazing. Especially given that he is pretty short with little strides. He would run for a while, notice that he was a good deal in front of us (especially at the beginning before Alice allowed us to put her in her stroller), stop and play with sticks, and then run again. I was so, so happy. How he learned to do that, I'll never know. Maybe Batman: Arkham City taught him? In that case, thanks, BATMAN!!!

Like I said, after the first 1/4 of a mile when Alice insisted on walking and picking.up.every.single.stick., I was able to go pretty fast myself. Allie can definitely walk the mile, but I think she enjoyed being put in the stroller and pushed while some heaving mad woman pushed her and made stupid references to silent Russian films about the revolution. I was proud of myself. It was my first time out in a while, and it felt good.

I got home and I WAS INSPIRED. I made dinner and did my family reading, and then it was ON LIKE DONKEY KONG. I went through some old Fitness magazines that I was using to hold up boot shafts (roll 'em up, girls, and stick em in to store yo' boots!), and found this ab workout thing by that Jackie person who used to be on Bravo. Is she still on Bravo? I have no idea. Up until about three months ago, I my cable provider didn't offer Bravo or MSNBC because those stations are for THE GAYS and we should all be watching Pat Robertson anyway, you know. Anyway, I tore out the page and found my 5 lb. dumbbell which was hiding, interestingly, next to this stupid religious book about debt that my MIL gave to my husband and a dustbunny the size of my youngest child.

(Ok, the weather is really getting hairy now. I feel like one of those guys they send to the Outer Banks in a blue anorak to talk about hurricanes. I hope I don't die while I'm typing this. At least you'll be able to say, "She died as she lived: being stupid on the internet.")

I started doing the exercises while watching a tivoed episode of Snapped. Alice was sitting on the couch watching Angelina Ballerina on her iPod. She kept saying "What you doing, Mommy?" and I kept saying, "Exercising." I got to the fourth exercise of the five (first rep of all of them), and all of a sudden, I felt like I was going to puke. The urge was so strong, I sat down, put the dumbbell down and stared at the TV in disgust. How was I that out of shape? Alice then goes, "Why you stop exercising, Mommy?" and I had to say, "Don't rub it in, kid."

This morning I got up, and I just felt weird. Like really "off." I have kind of a sick headache, and I've been really lightheaded a couple of times. And I just don't feel like myself. I am wearing black leggings from Target, a spring dress, a scarf, my denim jacket, and a pair of Frye Harness boots. That means nothing to you, but really, if I'm wearing leggings and a dress, what I'm basically saying is, "Stay away from me. I'm a little bit bitchy today and the world hates me." It is my version of pj pants and crocs.

So I called my mom. My mom is an exercise and diet fiend, more out of necessity than anything else. She's one of these people who has insanely high cholesterol that is not easily controlled, so it is either take a medicine that makes her feel bad or be a little unhinged. She chooses being crazy. She confirmed that the ab exercises in P90X do that to her. She also thought I was coming down a bit from having a lot of sugar last weekend when we celebrated her birthday by getting pukey drunk on BabyCakes cupcakes. My 12 y.o. daughter had the wherewithall to step away from the sugar when she had had enough. We did not. Because we're dumb.

This is a really long way of saying two things 1) I am bored today, and I don't feel good, and 2) Ab exercises are the devil. I hate them forever. I am thinking of letting my belly get really big and floppy and walking around Wal-Mart in a pair of cotton pants JUST TO SPITE THEM. Pass the Ben & Jerry's, bitches. It's about to get fluffy up in here.

This is just another reason for me to hate Fergie.

*I should note that this is the second Friday in a row that I haven't done Fashion Friday. Last week was because of crazy work stuff--I have a half written post featuring a dress I bought that Wardrobe Oxygen also bought which is yes, awesome--and this week is because I am Oscar the Grouch in a scarf. Next week! When the sun will shine and my abs will be much happier with me.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My daughter hates me.

My kids' school is doing this program during the month of March. You can sign up and pledge to read for 26 minutes and run/walk a mile each day. At the end of the month, there is a 5K for the school. Everyone goes and walks around the town and you get t-shirts and the joy of knowing what you accomplished.

I think it is a lovely idea. For one thing, our area is given to horrible health issues, mostly related to obesity and lack of education. This is inspiring the kids in our community to meet those challenges head on. I LOVES IT. When my son brought home the form, I basically told him that I was signing him up. Sam is a great reader (and reads for more than 26 minutes each day on his own), but we could all use a little help in outdoor activities. He seemed excited, and didn't really fight me on it at all. I was a little surprised by this, to be honest.

Then I got the great idea to do it as a family. As a group, we have let the fast pace of life, as well as the presence of the TV and internet get between us and reading as much as we should or could. And then there is exercise.... As I have related before, I do great during spring and summer with exercising. Winter notsomuch. So I need something to inspire me back into good habits. The kids and Matt do as well. After confirming with the husband, I made the executive decision that we would all participate together. I even thought of making our own incentives for good work and making a family challenge to read the most pages/walk the most miles. Seriously. When my mind latches onto something like this, I'm like one of those snapping turtles that you have to wait until it thunders for it to pull loose.

Gabby, however, was not similarly excited. She immediately told me that she had lost the form so I wouldn't be able to sign her up. I asked her to get one at school the next day. Sensing there was another excuse where the other had come from, I called the school and asked them to make sure she got an extra form sent up to her. She was not happy about that. I tried several times to get her to tell me why she didn't want to participate, and the most I could get from her was that her friends weren't doing it and that she "just didn't want to." I explained that we all needed the exercise, and that she, especially, had let a love for technology come between her and reading. I played the college card, telling her that reading now is her best bet at getting into and enjoying college (seriously, as a former test prep person, the only guaranteed way to get a higher verbal SAT score is to develop a love and taste for reading early on). She still abjectly refused to do it. She then said she didn't want to do it because she didn't want to get the free t-shirt because "they never fit right" and she didn't want to wear something like that. I listened to this, but told her it wasn't like I was asking her to wear it everyday, and that she could just put it in her drawer with the t's that she sleeps in.

Finally, she came up with this compromise, where if I didn't sign her up through the school, she would do the program, but not participate in the 5K. I briefly considered this, but decided against it. Her attitude was pretty bad about the whole thing, even going so far as to insult her brother and talking about how stupid the whole thing was. I didn't want a compromise to seem like an acceptance of that behavior.

So I signed the form and positively dared her not to turn it in. And this morning, I made her deliver Sam to the gym so that he could participate in the first pre-school walking work-out. I told her that she didn't have to walk herself, but that she would have to at least make sure Sam got there ok. She, of course, responded by not speaking to me on the way to school, calling me "mean," and slamming the car door in my face.

You know, I was a holy terror when I was her age. I remember yelling at my mom that I wanted to live with my dad, telling her that she was mean and stupid and OH MY GOD ARE YOU FOR REAL?!?! She got so used to it that when I pulled the dad card, she would just look at me straight in the eye and tell me go to pack my bag, that she would wait until he was home from work and call and see when he could pick me up. One time she dialed the number before I told her to stop and sulked off to my room to listen to Prodigy and plot my escape through any OTHER means. So I get it. I really do. Hormones are racing and things are weird and you have to deal with mean girls and first periods and people who don't understand you, because at that age, no one does. I try to tell Gabby that I do get it, but that I can't let this stage in her life keep her or the rest of us from enjoying ourselves. And deep down, I think participating in this with us will be enjoyable. I am deluded enough to think that.

I read these things on the internet about parenting, and so many of them say something to the tune of, "If your kid doesn't hate you, you're not doing it right." I can see that argument. As a parent, you have to toe that line between dictator and friend, and it is only natural that at some points, you are going to fall well over into the dictator side of things. And that's ok. We all--not just kids--need that sometimes. I have to say, though, from my standpoint, it does suck when your kid is so mad at you that they won't even look your way, that they won't even make a comment on the stupid Selena Gomez song that just came on the radio (btw, have you ever seen the video for "I Love You Like A Lovesong"? Gabby and I watch this on YouTube just to laugh at it. That is, when she is speaking to me). You don't want that at all, and any parent that says they do, is lying.

I kinda dread going home today, to be really honest, and part of it has to do with getting Gabby to do anything with this program. I hope she'll be fine with it when I get there. If she's anything like her mom, though, she'll be good and sulky, really wallowing in it by the time I enter the scene and try to ply her with buffalo chicken.

Ah, parenting. Yes, Snooki, this is what you just got yourself into.