Sunday, December 9, 2012

What's On Your Face?

1.) Nude 2.) Base 3.) Shadow 4.) Finished

I get a lot of questions about what sort of make-up I wear and I always say, "I'll tell you guys later," but then never do. Not to keep it a secret or anything like that, but because I wind up blogging about something else entirely and simply forget. I've been wearing the same few things, when I'm wearing anything at all, for about as long as I can remember. It's a quick polished look that can be lightened or darkened depending on circumstance and is altogether cheap.

I have used top of the line cosmetics that will run you an entire paycheck and dirt cheap cosmetics you can find at any convenience store known to mankind. Honestly aside from a couple of things (longevity, color intensity -- both of which can be worked around) I've noticed no true difference. In fact, some of the cheaper brands have actually not only out-performed their expensive counterparts but also improved my skin.

For daytime wear I apply:
  • Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Pressed Powder
  • Bonne Bell's Shadowbox
  • Revlon's Colorstay Liquid Liner
  • Bonne Bell's Lipblush

For evening wear I apply:
  • Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Pressed Powder
  • Wet n Wild's Coloricon
  • Revlon's Colorstay Liquid Liner
  • Clinique's Different Lipstick
This is a very simple, natural look. As such it should only take 10 minutes. Natural is nice because it isn't false advertising. When you wash your face you're not going to look like a totally different person afterwards. I did this with a compact mirror while breastfeeding, it's that easy. Seriously.

I start with a simple mineral pressed powder, forgoing any sort of primer or foundation. My powder of choice is Physician's Formula Mineral Wear in translucent light, because I have the complexion of a ghost. Rather than apply it with the included brush, I use a third party kabuki brush, tapping off excess powder before application. This way I recieve lightweight, even coverage. Enough to protect me from the sun, but no where near enough to hide my freckles. Why mineral rather than talc? Because mineral powder is lighter and happens to also improve the quality of your skin when applied. Rather than dry it out or clog your pores, like talc often does.

I haven't noticed any difference applying my cosmetics over a primer and foundation just clogs the pores. If you need it, use it -- but if you can go without it, I highly recommend that you do. In the rare case of blemishes, I apply just a little foundation to the spot only, not all over. The idea is to minimize the appearance of the blemish without aggravating it or making the issue worse. My foundation of choice is Neutrogena's Skin-clearing Foundation in Fair which not only sits lightly on the skin but also works to help correct the cause of blemishes.

On my eyes I usually wear Bonne Bell's Shadowbox in Cafe Classics combined with Wet n Wild's Coloricon in Silent Treatment. I use the lightest color from the Shadowbox along the brow bone and the shimmery peach color over my lid. For formal or evening wear I mix the medium brown and the darkest color from the Coloricon and apply it to the crease of my eye. For a more dramatic look, apply the shadow wet rather than dry.

I pull the look together with a thin line of liquid liner along my lashline. My preferred liner is Revlon's Colorstay Liquid Liner in dark brown, not black. It's waterproof but easily comes off when you wash your face -- unlike many liquid liners I've tried. It's also light, so your eyelids don't feel weird with it on. My lashes are naturally long and thick, so I tend to go without mascara.

For my lips I wear Bonne Bell's Lipblush in any color, because they're all nice and glossy with only a little pigment. They also happen to soften my lips more than most glosses I've paid five times s much for. If I want more color I opt for something a little costlier. Only because of all cosmetics, lipstick is the only one where it is absolutely imperative it stays in place. You do not want it smeared off of your lips or caked on your teeth when you smile. I like Clinique's Different Lipstick in Water Violet, but I don't think they make it anymore. I smooth it on and press my lips together, blot with a square of tissue paper and then reapply to my top lip and press again.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Profound Sadness

Peace + Peace = 4
As many of you recall, my mom could not make the 3000 mile journey to be at my side when I had my son in October. Originally it was a question of spontaneity. Airplane tickets tend to be absurdly overpriced if you have to purchase them last-minute (especially cross country) and since you seldom know exactly when to expect labor, that's how she'd need to buy them. Even so, she was going to do her best to stash some cash so that she could be there.

It was really important to me that she be there. I've been in the hospital a lot and she has always been by my side. Being admitted without her seemed like a frightening and to be absolutely candid, saddening idea to me. I was a little bummed by the mere prospect that there was even a remote chance she'd be unable to make it. Finding out I would likely have to be induced was almost a relief, even as much as I did not want to be induced, simply for the fact that it would give my mom a heads up to make arrangements to come out here.

So when I called to let her know there was an official deadline in place as to how far my doctors would allow this pregnancy to continue, I was excited. When I dialed her up on the telephone there was something in her voice that suggested something was amiss, but her boss' wife had been being especially cunty lately and I attributed it to that. Looking back, I should've known better. The good news was that my grandfather had plenty of free miles to fly with and could very likely fly them both out here for next to nothing.

When I went into labor naturally the next morning, I texted her while waiting for my contractions to reach the five minute mark to let her know she should grab my grandfather and hurry to the airport. That's when, as recounted in my blog about my labor experience, she informed me she would be unable to make it due to having the flu. I was upset by this but had bringing a new life into the world to distract me from how sad the idea really was -- for her to miss the birth of her grandson. She promised to make the trip to meet him as soon as she could.

The days after delivery all sort of blurred together. One week turned into two and before I knew it, it was Halloween. My favorite holiday next to Thanksgiving. My grandfather was at my mom's house, so we decided to Skype. He doesn't know how to operate the program, so the only time he gets to see me is when he visits my mom's house, two states away from where he lives normally. I was really excited to introduce them to Jude in real-time. It was also nice because I could also introduce them to Aaron's parents, who were over at the time. They've been wanting to meet for a while now, so this would be perfect. Unfortunately with company over and with mommy duty never ending, I ran out of hours in the day and we had to postpone the call until the following day.

The next day, I got my mom and grandfather on Skype. I was so happy to see them both. It had been a tough few weeks postpartum. Adjusting to life as a parent is no easy feat. Seeing my own parent was extremely comforting. She did it alone. Immediately I knew something was off. My mother, who has never worn a hat in her life, was in one. "You're in a cap," I remarked curiously.

"I am," she responded. I shook the strangeness out of my mind, because she's not opposed to trying new things and introduced her to new grandson and Aaron's parents. Then she teared up a little and apologized for having to tell me this way, with company present. I boggled for a minute, wondering what she meant, and then she simply blurted out the news, "I have cancer."

Anyone who knows me knows how rarely I cry. Especially in front of other people. Yet the moment that word left her lips I just burst into tears. Unable to hug my mom, I hugged Aaron's. Aaron appeared from the back room and guided me into the bedroom for some privacy, baby in one hand, phone in the other. There my mom and grandfather tried to console me and the only reason I was able to regain composure was due to this singular thought: she has cancer and yet she's the one trying to comfort me. How ridiculous.

She assured me she was responding well to treatment and revealed that she had known for some time now. She made up the story about having the flu because she didn't want me to relate the birth of my first child to her having cancer. Then she removed her hat to show her bald head, having already lost all of her hair to the chemo. All of her lovely red hair. She looked good though. Her skin was luminous and her eyes were bright. Illness and radiation hadn't made her any less beautiful.

Since then I've learned it's lymphoma, a very aggressive form of cancer, but also completely curable if caught in time. So there is hope. It will be a while before she can come out here, since she has to plan the trip around the breaks in her chemotherapy, but with any luck I'll be able to hug her directly after the holidays.

In the meanwhile, anyone have any particularly delicious recipes with ginger as the main ingredient? Cookies, tea, muffins, etc.? Easing her nausea from the radiation would be a fabulous gift. More  immediately useful than prayers or wishes (though please send those too).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mom's A Wizard

Usually I only sing or hum to Jude when he's on the brink of sleep, to help facilitate the process. Last night while Aaron was running out to grab us a bite to eat I decided to sing to him while he was fully awake. Best decision ever. No, really. I am a master of decision making.

Never before have I felt that amazing, like some fantastical creature of myth and legend. His eyes opened like little saucers, and I could see he was trying to figure out how the hell I was doing what I was doing. He grew completely still, watching me with intensity and drew in his bottom lip. Such an expression of wonder! I laughed until I cried. He looked like a curious owl. Then he cracked the biggest smile and didn't quit smiling.

Fast forward to this morning. Reflecting on it while looking at the picture above on my phone, I decided this was something that needed to happen. Maybe it was because Jude had woken me up so early and I was suffering from a touch of deprivation, or maybe I'm just a mad genius -- this was how I decided to spend the morning: transforming Jude into an owl using my phone and its stylus.

You're welcome.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

RE: Tony Stark -- I Mean Tony Harris

"Oh good," you must be thinking, "Yet another blog post concerning Tony Harris' recent outburst." Yeah, well, it happens, but you may find this isn't what you're expecting at all.

I want to start out by saying I am both a woman and a huge geek. I also want to start out with a disclaimer, because I think had Harris done that, he'd probably be in a different boat right now and not up Shit Creek without any paddles. In case this is the very first time you've ever read my blog: I deliver with a lot of hyperbole. So if anything that follows seems excessive, it was likely written that way intentionally for just that purpose. I also have a tendency to pepper my posts with accentuating swears. So if words that mean the same thing as their acceptable PC counterparts offend you, well, you should probably think about why that is.

When I heard of this now infamous Facebook post I went in wanting to get my feminism on. Everyone I know, male or female, was outraged by what this guy said and I get so few chances to exercise legitimate feminism. Much to my surprise however, upon reading what Tony Harris wrote -- I couldn't help but agree with him. Sure his delivery was lack luster and he certainly could have benefited from spell check, formatting (R.I.P. paragraphs), and possibly a stiff drink, but hey we've all been guilty of a rage induced tirade or two.

The common outcry from most people seems to be, "How dare you judge us!" while in the very same sentence calling him an asshole at least and at worst demanding his public castration. For his opinion. Castration. Now, firstly, I am damn proud to live in a country where expressing my opinion is not only allowed but encouraged. Opinions can't be right or wrong. They aren't fact, they're how you feel. People seem to forget that. You can no more accuse him of being wrong for what he said than you can accuse me of being wrong because I dislike summertime. It's how we feel. I don't know about you guys, but I feel that using people is wrong too. Maybe you don't, but it's whatever.

Second, you said it yourselves over and over again: how dare you judge? How dare you? You can object to an opinion, but it's kind of a dick move. It's far better (read: persuasive) to simply counter with your own feelings on the subject, in a calm and reasonable manner without damning anyone to the fiery pits of Hell. Judge not lest ye be judged, and guess what? We're all judging now, you and him. Not cool, man. Chillax. Go take a hot bath, drink some tea, and if you absolutely must, pop a frelling Prozac. I assure you the world is not so angry a place as you're making it out to be when you read one sentence, ignore the rest, and then fly off the god damned handle.

One of the very first things Harris says is that he is:

  • Referring to a very small group of people.
  • Knows there are exceptions.

He is not saying all women are cunts, or that all cosplayers are bitches. He's not even saying you, as a vag-wielding citizen of Earth need to prove your geekdom. Let's face it, if you're there because you can't live without the next issue of Spiderman, it's pretty fucking obvious, there's no need to prove it. He's saying if you show up to a con, be there because you absolutely love the content for which that con is about. Regardless of whether or not your titties are on display. Most of all, he's saying not to manipulate and use people, because that makes you a shitty person (no matter what's between your legs).

These are all very reasonable requests, despite having been presented in a very unreasonable fashion. There's nothing to disagree with there.

Keep in mind that as a comic book artist, he spends a lot of time at cons. Seeing this kind of thing (greedy women* manipulating naive men with their bodies) so much is probably ulcer inducing. Reaching a boiling point was inevitable. Granted, boiling over in public could've been avoided. We all make mistakes. As much as we'd all like to be from Krypton, we're human.

People seem to be getting hung up on all the words that would make Thumper's mom disapprove without bothering to consider the actual point. Which isn't entirely their fault. Incendiary words have that effect. You may be a very logical individual, but as soon as you see someone imply that even a handful of your sistren/brethren are rude cows, all that logic dissipates into a seething rage. Then you're both saying stupid shit trying to make your point while incidentally making your point lost, because the moment you respond in the same caustic manner everyone else just gets mad as well. It becomes Them vs. Us for no reason whatsoever. Way to go perpetuating a problem that wouldn't exist otherwise.

Should he have taken a deep breath and counted to ten before hitting post? Probably. Not because it may be construed as sexist or misogynistic but because your argument is invalidated by most readers the moment you start name calling. You may as well forget your entire point and just start screaming colors of the rainbow because it'll be just as effective.

You want to know what is truly ironic? All the White Knighting going on. Men being offended on our behalf because we have ovaries -- because a big scary man said something mean about some other people with ovaries. This is just as sexist as whatever might have been said to begin with! But I guess polite sexism is okay? Huh. Good game.

tl;dr: Stop being reactionary d-bags. If you're a nerd and I'm a nerd, what's the problem? Benefit of the doubt, exercise it.

*Secondary disclaimer: I know not all women are greedy and manipulative. I am, afterall, a woman myself.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanks For...

Jude's first Thanksgiving!
So people have been doing this, "Say one thing you're thankful for every day of the month..." thing all through November. I decided I'd rather just wait until November ended and post all of mine at once though, in no particular order. Efficiency!

30. I am thankful that there is always food on the table. If ever I am hungry, it's by choice.
29. I am thankful for the existence of video games.
28. I am thankful for owning our own vehicle. Walking is optional.
27. I am thankful for parcel services such as the USPS, Fedex, and UPS.
26. I am thankful that I can sit here making a list about what I'm thankful for.
25. I am thankful for our dishwasher, saving me time.
24. I am thankful for hot tea.
23. I am thankful for good, thought-provoking television shows.
22. I am thankful for hearing aids. The world can seem like a very lonely place when it's silent.
21. I am thankful for having a home of my own, but being welcome elsewhere any time.
20. I am thankful for Neelix and Intruder. They create quite a dynamic.
19. I am thankful for rainy days.
18. I am thankful for medicine, despite its cost.
17. I am thankful that nonprofit charities are a thing that exists.
16. I am thankful for lightly scented candles creating an atmosphere of calm.
15. I am thankful for public education, regardless of flaws.
14. I am thankful for the clothes on my back (and my feet -- nothing beats warm socks).
13. I am thankful for lanolin cream! lol.
12. I am thankful for books and the chance to enter another world for a time.
11. I am thankful for the ability to put pen to paper and create something lovely.
10. I am thankful for antiques.
9. I am thankful for the Internet: making a large world comfortably small.
8. I am thankful for democracy. Not everyone has a say in their government.
7. I am thankful for my friends, whether I know them face-to-face or not.
6. I am thankful for my health, as peculiar as it is -- I am alive.
5. I am thankful for holidays that bring us all together.
4. I am thankful for my family. My grandfather, my mother, and my second mother. My sisters, and my nieces and nephews. Without them I am incomplete.
3. I am thankful for the generosity of others.
2. I am thankful to have created a new life, and to have welcomed Jude to the world.
1. I am thankful for Aaron, who loves, inspires, and supports me. My life is enriched simply for having him in it.