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To the people who were disgusting on Caitlyn Jenner’s Instagram

This is a rant folks. I can’t stay quiet. I get a sick feeling in my stomach when people are mean. So I have to say something about the way I feel. It just isn’t right that there’s so much hatred. Hatred veiled as either freedom of speech or a religious privilege. I don’t get it.

When Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Award of Courage at the Espys recently, the speech she made was so compelling and compassionate. I am sure that the transgender community was applauding her stand of courage, yes courage.

Not the kind of courage it takes to head in to battle as a service man or woman. Yes, those people ARE heroes. Without question.

Not the kind of courage it takes for a person fighting cancer and knows the treatment is hard and painful, but has no choice otherwise.

It’s the kind of courage after years of being told one thing is the way it’s supposed to be, and then defying those ‘norms’ and stepping out as an individual. It’s the kind of courage that someone decides after 65 years, they want to be the person they felt they always were.

lgbt equality caitlyn jenner

The comments on Caitlyn Jenner’s Instagram post were horrifying. I guess it’s no surprise that folks are put off by an American icon, a former Olympic champion all of a sudden changing genders. But really? Does it require so much hate? I won’t post any of them here. The language and words used are ugly. You can see for yourself in the link I provided, or not and just believe me.

Clearly she deserves the award considering with all the backlash that’s out there, she still steps forward proudly as who she wants to be. That’s called COURAGE folks! She is a hero in the sense of the word for standing up to who she is, and for the others that want to be who they want to be.

I don’t think straight people in this country understand what the LGBT community suffers through constantly. Whether in the past or even now in the present. The bullying, snide remarks, the comments by politicians and lawmakers that degrade them, the struggle to walk down a street and not be picked out for looking effeminate or butch and beaten up. How many times have you heard, “I love the gays, but….” “I have gay friends, I do. But…”

What is different to you, doesn’t need to threaten you. Someone else’s hero status doesn’t take away from another hero’s status.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton is my hero. Susan B Anthony was arrested for voting. She wasn’t allowed so yep, they threw that nice woman in jail. She was quite the activist in those days. Bet you didn’t know that, huh? She lived true to what she believed in, and she made life easier for those that came after her. That’s a hero.

Alice Paul founded the National Women’s Party. These women fought for my right to vote. To be counted. They endured jail, violence, brutality, isolation; all for my right to vote. That’s heroic.

If you thought the scene in Game of Thrones was horrible with Cersei walking naked, and that damn woman and her shame bell, and the crowd being absolutely cruel, then why would you cast insults and sit comfortably at home wishing death or destruction on a person because of their choice on no longer being a man? Should we go back to the medieval days and live in fear or persecution if someone decides they don’t like what you’re doing? “Did you hear, the Jones’ ate meat on Sunday, that’s a sin, we should go burn down their house.”

Caitlyn came forward knowing this would be hard. And she has at least a team of people to help her. She has the financial luxury of security and privacy. She can afford her medications, surgeries and wardrobe.

But for someone in Smalltown, USA who decides they want to do the same, yet they can’t afford any of those things, as well as they need to fear their very life when they step out their door because they’ve put on a dress, or lipstick, whatever; you think that’s okay?

 

People- heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They are the heroes to the people they are standing up for.

The people who want to change their gender are not doing this like they change a tattoo. They want to be happy, to be free with themselves. They aren’t pedophiles or rapists. They don’t troll women’s bathrooms for the thrill.

Gay people being allowed to marry doesn’t take away from your marriage. Just like my right to vote didn’t take away from all the white men voting. Yeah, only white men got to vote for awhile. There was that whole slavery thing.

 

Why is this so hard to understand?

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now. Just remember, what you say is an arrow that can’t be put back in the quiver. What you write, is a stone thrown that can’t be unthrown. Are you part of a solution, or the problem?

Your ideas, beliefs and opinions are not the right ideas, beliefs or opinions. They’re just yours. Just like mine are mine.

And like Caitlyn Jenner said, ‘being different isn’t a bad thing.’

caitlyn jenner speech quotes

caitlyn jenner arthur ashe courage espys lgbt

 

 

 

 

 

How to dress for a summer wedding

how to dress for a summer wedding frugalista blog

When you get an invitation to a friend’s wedding, do you get as excited as me about the prospects of getting a dress for the occasion? Because let’s be honest- that’s really the first thing I think of!

Of course, after my internal good wishes to the happy couple. But next- what to wear???

I probably own at least 20 (ahem, cough-cough) dresses, or more. I haven’t counted. What I know is that I can’t turn down a dress that makes me feel pretty when I try it on. If the 50s came back and ladies wore dresses like Grace Kelly- I’d be set. Not that I WANT to go back to the 50s, oh you know- minus the civil rights, lack of proper birth control and a whole bunch of other stuff… but I digress.

In this modern age of easy to wear fashion and an almost ‘anything-goes’ dress code, I still like to put forth my best effort and wear what makes me happy.

We recently attended a wedding in Hayden Lake, Idaho. The setting was beautiful. It was an after 5 wedding which can mean a number of things: Black Tie and formal. But considering the setting and the possibility of 90+ degree temps, I didn’t know what could happen. And most often a wedding that is Black Tie will indicate on the invitation and our friends had not stated that. But I knew they had impeccable style, so I had to bring my A game. When you receive an invitation and you’re not sure about what to wear; consider not just the setting, weather, and time of day, but the couple’s personal style as well.

I took two dresses with me for the weekend. I had a long chiffon maxi, and a shorter, fit and flare style. I figured it was good measure to have a back up in case we wanted to head to a nice dinner, or meet up with wedding party friends, or guests for any gatherings/cocktails/brunch, etc.  Thankfully, the temps cooled down considerably for our weekend, so I knew what to wear to what.

Our first night in Idaho, McSweetie and I went to dinner just the two of us. It was nice and relaxed, but I still wanted to feel special. So I opted for the fit and flare dress. I lucked out and found this Taylor brand dress at the Nordstrom Rack for a fraction of its full price!! And do I feel like I’m channeling my inner Grace Kelly? Yes!

 

 

 

 

Taylor dress from Nordstrom/ Nordstrom Rack Shoes from Nordstrom and bag from Big Buddha

Taylor dress from Nordstrom/ Nordstrom Rack
Shoes from Nordstrom and bag from Big Buddha

taylor dress collage

 

For the big day, which was a wedding at a country club, I chose the chiffon maxi from Eliza J dresses. Eliza J knows weddings! Whether you’re in a wedding or a guest, mother of the bride or groom, there are so many choices. The floral design of this, with the defined waist and halter shoulders seemed to feel effortless. I loved the color scheme and accessorizing my jewelry and makeup around it was fun too!

 

 

Eliza J dress from Nordstrom, retail $158.00

Eliza J dress from Nordstrom, retail $158.00

 

 

 

 

 

Eliza J dress, wedding, frugalista blog

Sandals from Marshalls, bag is Big Buddha

 

frugalista blog, eliza j dresses, weddings

This backdrop- COME ON!
Earrings, Kate Spade, lipstick- Anastasia of Beverly Hills in Carina

 

So maybe now the next wedding invitation you get in the mail, you’ll have ideas and enthusiasm for dressing up, just as much as I do! Happy wedding season!

Thanks to Eliza J for sending me the dress, thanks to McSweetie and our friends for a fabulous weekend, and thanks to Hayden Lake for being such a gorgeous setting!

 

 

 

Holding down the fort

holding down the fort by frugalista blog

 

McSweetie and I went away for a weekend without the kids. It was nice. I mean, except for the 5 hours of bickering in the car or how he doesn’t wear his seatbelt for the first 30 seconds of driving, WHY? and then his tendency to take 10 minutes to figure out which beer on tap he wants when we order at a restaurant worse than Sally in When Harry Met Sally. BUT OTHER THAN THAT, we had a great weekend. For real.

The kids are 15 and 12. Still too young in my opinion to leave alone over night. Right? I was wondering this and wasn’t sure what the rule was. My kids are mature and have been left alone quite a bit during the day or whenever we go out. But overnight? That seems weird, right?

We had my sister in law and niece stay with them for the first night. They were in town visiting, so I designated them as their babysitters. It worked out great! Thanks Katherine! They got to do fun stuff during the day and then she was the designated adult to stay in the house.

So what if Emma forgot how to turn on the dishwasher and had to text me for directions. That’s a minor detail. Okay. Let’s be real. My kids are really bad at housework. They need constant prodding to do laundry or pick up after themselves. They never clean the cat box, although Emma is really good at looking after her hamster. For 15 and 12, they are behind when it comes to household tasks and knowing how to do them. Is this because I’m a control freak and only like the way I do it? Shhh. We can talk about that another day.

What I’m trying to say here is, I had really low expectations while we were away.

The second night we were away, they slept at my parent’s house. My folks brought them back home before we returned. This was good so that they could let the dog out to pee, and settle in and it saved us a trip to get them.

It was so nice to come home. The kids were greeting us enthusiastically, and even the dog was happy. She was dancing on her back two feet. We hugged and danced in a circle for a bit. And that wasn’t even the best part.

As we settled in, Emma told me that when they got back to the house, Owen emptied the dishwasher and put away the dishes, and she had noticed the dog had a messy backside after going out to poop. Wiping the dog’s butt with paper towels was only making it worse. So she needed to bathe her. She put her in the kitchen sink, which the dog hates, and had to keep her from jumping out. She hollered orders at Owen to grab a big towel (he came back with the largest beach towel ever) and hand her the soap. She said they were a tag team like in surgery. She said it was fun. I was thrilled to hear they didn’t leave the messy dog around with shit smears for me to clean up!

I was impressed! Emptying the dishwasher, and a washed dog? I’m the luckiest girl ever!

Emma shared that once Owen was done in the kitchen, and had finished his dish duty, and the dog was drying, he sat down on the couch and let out a long breath. It must have been from all the messy dog excitement.

He announces: “Being a mom IS the hardest job. I only did one mom thing emptying the dishwasher, and I’m already tired!”

No kidding buddy.

It’s stuff like that that when you hear it, it just makes this whole mothering thing worth it.

Did Emma smack Owen in the arm at dinner when he got in her way over the milk? Yeah. Oh well. Kids are still kids. They are not perfect. But it’s good to know that left to their own, I can count on some things getting done!

We just need to work on the laundry stuff next.

 

An air purifier you need

We are having the worst summer or the best summer, depending on how you look at it. I hate the high temps.  It’s been a solid 3 weeks of 80 degrees and reaching into the 90s here in the great Northwest. I’m DYING. I know that is overly dramatic (ahem, hence my byline) BUT, seriously, this isn’t cool. Knock it off Mother Nature! You’re pissing me off. And the forecast this week is for mid 90s. Seriously. I’m starting to look forward to Christmas at this rate.

We don’t have central air. Most homes in Seattle don’t. If we lived in Texas we’d be sitting pretty because this would seem like average summer weather and we’d have our air conditioning cranking out to keep us cool. Instead, we have fans. And screens. So we wait until 10 o’clock at night when it’s cool and open everything up and blast whatever cooler air there is outside to bring inside. As well as hope and pray that none of the neighbors are using their fire pits which just sends campfire smoke straight into our house. That’s a whole different rant from me!

Thankfully, we have a portable a/c unit in our master bedroom that hooks up to our window and we can run that for a couple of hours to cool off just our room. Owen has been sleeping on the floor with us because his room is still 90 degrees even at 10 pm, and he has a loft bed. That means, he’s 5 feet off the ground and heat rises, so he doesn’t want to sleep up there!

What does this all have to do with an air purifier you ask?

Well. With the ratchet nasty air quality we are having because of the extended heat, that is leaving a hazy film in our sky, AND the constant running of fans and a/c units, my skin and sinuses are not happy.

venta airwasher frugalista blog

This is not me. Duh.

BUT- to the rescue is the Venta Air Washer. What is a Venta Air Washer you ask? Well it’s the finest German engineering for a humidifier and air purifier there is.

venta airwasher frugalista blog

Small, medium, and large. Pick your size, Goldilocks.

My first experience with a humidifier was way back when Emma was 2 and she had the worst croup. It was the first time she was so sick. It was Christmas Eve and I didn’t know what was going on. The doctor said when she coughs like a barking seal, she needs a humidifier in the room she’s sleeping in. I had never used a humidifier before. We went to Rite-Aid and bought one. It was decent, I guess. It had these gauzy filters inside that needed replacing often. If you didn’t replace them, they would mold and then of course, you’re pushing moldy air around and that isn’t healthy! I was grateful for the effects of the humidifier for Emma’s cough, but it was such a pain to maintain. It would get moldy quickly and it was loud.

When the Venta company reached out to me, I was very curious to see their product. We haven’t had croup in this house for years! Yes, I have still considered a humidifier, especially in our room while we sleep to improve the air quality. Now at least allergens, pollen, dust, (even bugs) are getting filtered out without having to even think about them. I don’t know how to explain the saturation of steam in the air as a function of temperature- and if I did, you wouldn’t believe me, right? But I do know that the Venta is pretty freaking simple.

venta airwasher frugalista blog

See the wheels turn and then the fan spins. Got it?

You take it out of the box, add water and plug it in. That’s it. Yes, you have to add water every day. Yes, you do need to clean it out once in awhile, but it’s gosh darn easy.

If your family is in need of something that will work like a Mercedes on the Autobahn to improve your indoor air quality, whether you just want to, or you need to for medical or allergy reasons- check out the Venta Airwasher. It’s ausgezeichnet!

 

I was not paid for this review. I was given product for the purpose of the review only. All words and opinions are my own.

She could have been a doctor, but she’s just my mom – (repost)

Author’s note: I originally posted this last year on my mom’s birthday. It’s her birthday again today and it deserves to be read again. I couldn’t have rewritten it any better.

Love you Mom.

 

 

*******************************

(2014)

It’s my mom’s birthday today. She is 73. Sorry mom. I suppose divulging your age is the first rule of lady code I just broke.

Well, I say wear your age proudly. Because when you’ve lived 73 years and seen what my mom has seen, I think you just throw your hangups about age out the window.

My mom is my compass. She’s my lighthouse in the dark. She is my mom and that’s my everything.

I am probably one of the luckiest humans to have such a woman in their life that breathes into her hope, inspiration and security.

My mom doesn’t have it easy. She takes care of my sister, who is disabled. Mom has had her own bout of hardships. Three joint replacement surgeries, a life saving surgery when her intestine was blocked and she could have died. OH, and she’s a cancer survivor. So, there’s that.

Also, when you’re born in Frankfurt in 1941 you are surrounded by a world at war. To think this little being and many others like her, came in to this world under Germany’s darkest years. But if there’s a light one can not extinguish even during this dark period, it was my mom coming forth. Little Uta. I think she was born speaking and solving problems, but that’s just my admiration for her. I know she was a regular little girl, a person with her own hopes and dreams before she was my mom. It’s hard for us as children to picture our parents as people. I mean, you’re telling me they had lives before they devoted it all to us? Indeed. This is a hard fact for my own children to accept sometimes. When you wear the badge of ‘MOM’ it’s hard to be seen as anything else.

Sure like other children, I have fond memories of the way my mom smelled (Chanel No 5 during the 70s) and the smells of her kitchen too. We would have her homemade pizza every Saturday night. We watched the Muppet Show from our kitchen table my dad built. Kermit was smaller then on the 18 inch color television that wasn’t even remote control yet.

But I also have memories of my mom when I was in high school and college. The morning after a late night out, she would sit on my bed while I would sip a cup of tea she brought me. I’d share details of the night like I would share to a girl friend. I would preface certain stories with, “Okay, you’re not my mom right now, what I’m going to tell you.” And she would listen without raising an eyebrow. She didn’t judge or scoff. Let’s be real though. I was a pretty square kid. I didn’t really drink, I never did drugs, I was usually home by midnight, and my male conquests were theater boys I would crush on from afar only to find out they were gay. Translation- I didn’t get much action in college!

So there really wasn’t a whole lot for her to judge me on anyway. BUT, I still felt comfortable sharing all my funny stories, crazy happenings when there were some, and girl to girl details only other women get.

I remember one time either in my early adult years or when I was still in high school, my mom and I were having a heart to heart. In one of her somewhat bleak moments, she said to me with tears in her eyes, “You know, I could have been a lot of things. Maybe a doctor. Maybe a scientist. But I’m just a mom.”

It broke my heart. How could this woman not be satisfied with anything more than being my mom?! Had she been a career woman and not stayed home with her kids, what would life have been like? Selfishly, I was glad this was all she was. My mom. Our mom.

But I told her that she is more than ‘Just a Mom’. She is patience, and trust, nurture and light. She helps the downtrodden, she advocates for the helpless. She friends the homeless and the addicts. She counsels the stranger she strikes up conversation with.

She is an amazing woman that is more than just a mom. But a person who betters this world just by living in it. She raised me and my brother and sister. She looks after my dad and is his partner of 55 years. She reads and swallows up information by the libraries. She is one of the smartest people I know. She can cook up a pie crust and help you with your 401(k) paperwork. I don’t know how this woman does it.

Did I mention she moved here from Germany when she was 17 after marrying my dad? They had my brother a few years later and within less than 10 years had their own two children and fostered troubled children. Mixed race children in the 60s! They took a road trip with their black foster daughter and their own two children down to Atlanta. The guts they had. This is how my parents live. By example.

So yeah. You turn 73 with 3 grown kids of your own, 4 grandchildren, a husband you’ve been married to for 55 years; you wear that age proudly.

And mom,  if you ever think you’re ‘just a mom’ and there was something else you could have been, think for a minute the lives you’ve touched. The ripple effect of what your living has created. How there should be more people like you that are as selfless, reliable and loving. I have never been more proud of you to just be my mom.

Happy birthday.

 

She could have been a doctory but she's just my mom by Frugalista Blog

My mom in the 1950s.

Is anyone even listening anymore?

Frugalista Blog Is Anyone Even Listening Anymore?

photo from Google images via brandisre-designed.blogspot

I love social media. I do. I admit. I am on my Instagram all the time. I’m checking out what people are commenting on my Facebook page, I definitely check my comments on my YouTube channel often! But it’s pretty self serving. I want to see what people are saying to me, or about me. Did they read this post or that? Did they click ‘like’ on my picture?

Then I scroll through Facebook and the news several times a day. It’s all rather depressing. I thought the country was pretty divided back in ’04 when Bush first sent us into Iraq and folks were pissed off about that. You either were for the war and patriotic, or against it and treasonous. Or so it seemed. Social media barely existed back then.

Now we’re no different. We squabble about gun control and civil rights. I scratch my head and look at the calendar. Yep, 2015. And we haven’t evolved.

In fact, it’s worse. And I’m probably guilty of it too. Here’s how it works: You hear something awful happened. You post the news articles about it. Then a few days pass and the bloggers start writing their opinions and trying to get clicks on their site. There’s always a ‘this’ side and a ‘that’ side. You’re either on ‘this’ side, or you’re on ‘that’ side.

Something as straight forward as a church shooting in South Carolina has divided people. An evil act committed by a white person against black people, for the sole reason that they were black, and nothing more, is still bringing about argument. How is there any arguing? What is there to argue?!

Then there’s the Confederate Flag. Well, I guess by geography and ideology, I’m a Yankee. So what do I know about the Confederate Flag? When I was a kid, I just thought it’s what decorated the General Lee, the car driven by Bo and Luke Duke in the Dukes of Hazard. When I grew up, I knew it represented the South in the Civil War. But I didn’t put much thought into it.

Not until this week. The more and more I read about the history of that flag upsets me that it’s 2015, and states IN OUR UNITED States of America, still fly that flag high and are PROUD of it. What are you proud of?

The indentured servitude of a race of people that worked for free to for the success of the white plantation owner? Oh well, there were some nice plantation owners, and gosh darn, they housed and fed these people, so you know, how bad could it be? **bangs head against desk.

There’s this period of history called World War 2. Remember that? This guy Hitler invaded most of Europe and killed more than 6 million Jews in the attempt to rid this world of non blue-eyed white people (more or less). They flew a flag called a Swastika. If you think the Swastika and the Confederate flag are different, then you clearly haven’t read enough history.

Sorry. I got side tracked on my opinion of things. I realize that. I just feel an oppression of any race or religion is something that doesn’t need to be argued or defended. There’s right and there’s wrong, and that’s wrong.

So back to my original title of this blog post. Is anyone even listening anymore?

And it’s not even the Charleston tragedy that makes for debate. Let’s talk about Obamacare, gun control, immigration, gay marriage, transgenders, trophy hunting, vegan diets, police brutality….

How many things do you see in the news and your Facebook feed a day? How many come from headlines that are trying to make you read and feel something? What’s the source of the story?

You see the headline, click on the story and feel your blood rise. Your pulse quickens. It strikes to the very base of what you believe either for it or against it. When you share the article on your own news feed, are you telling people, “this is how I feel, take it or leave it”, or are you saying “I hope you read this and gain a new perspective”?

Everyone is talking, but no one is listening.

You can get people riled up over sunscreen. Yeah. Sunscreen. Mention you are wearing SPF at the beach and people are either for you because they have had a bout with a sketchy mole, or you get the folks telling you that you need Vitamin D and sunscreen is toxic. Want to mention you brought your kids to the doctor and had them vaccinated? Or forget that. It’s just going to start an argument that vaccines cause developmental delays or Autism. Big pharma can’t be trusted. I mean, come on. They’re just LETTING us die of cancer to make money. Everyone knows hemp and carrot juice cures cancer.

Climate change is fake. It’s Al Gore’s mission to take over the world with Leonardo DiCaprio and other Prius driving celebrities. Forget about category 5 hurricanes and drought. We don’t need to worry about Florida falling in the ocean in 100 years. Go on. Burn those fossil fuels. But wait, I drive a 12 year old minivan. Is that bad?

I don’t eat meat but I like Doritos. Am I contributing to the destruction of society by supporting Frito Lay?

I feel like anything I do or say is going to be argued against. And sure, I speak up and spout off about things I care about. And I’m sure the person arguing with me cares about their perspective too. We all have a story, we all have a point of view.

The kids and I met President Obama last year. Pretty cool. But not everyone thought it was cool. I get that. But hey, be happy for us because we were happy. I don’t care what you think of the guy (well, I kind of do. I would think you would respect his office and his position, but well… I’ve seen a lot of the opposite lately.) at least scroll on by, or just be polite. It’s one of those things we do as grown ups.

But if you disagree with something on Facebook, or anywhere for that matter, do you have to say anything really? What if you just ignored it? Conversation and discourse is great. But it’s only productive when it’s done with sensitivity, compassion, and intelligence. Lately, I’ve done a lot of scrolling!

You’re never going to bring a person to Jesus by banging them on the head with a Bible. Right? So switch it up. Think for the other side once in awhile.

Maybe this blog today isn’t making a lot of sense. Maybe it’s rambling and whiny. I guess I’m just tired. Tired of no one listening.

Beauty Box 5 June Box- This might be the best one yet!

Frugalista Blog Beauty Box 5 June review

Hey folks,

I needed to tell you about this month’s Beauty Box 5. Because it’s So. Freaking. Awesome!

For me, what makes a great subscription box is generous samples, and a mix of full size products as well as stuff that I’m interested in, like nail polish and eyeshadow!

To review, Beauty Box 5 is a subscription box service sending you cosmetic goodies to your door each month. You can pay monthly at $12 or $8.25 per month if you pay for the year in advance.

The first product that caught my eye was the Nails Inc. nail polish in this adorable pink shade. Nails Inc is a brand available at Sephora and this is some good stuff. The bottle included is full-size and even though I have at least 100 polishes (shut up, you know you’re jealous!) I don’t have a color like this one. #NailsInc

Then when I saw the eyeshadow palette staring me in the face, I got really excited! What is this brand? LOL? I’ve never heard of it. But this was another full size diddy. It’s the Rotational Eye Shadow palette in So Rosemantic. I won’t lie- these six colors are bright and really pink- but look lots of fun. They’re located out of France and Australia. How cool is that? #LOLCosmetics

The Herbal Essences body wash and the Simple Skincare cleansing water are great to try. I’m not sure if the body wash is as orgasmic as the shampoos like in the commercials. But I’m willing to find out. Also, cleansing water is the new beauty trend and you need to try it!

I think I actually squealed when I saw the deluxe sample of Urban Decay Cosmetics Perversion Mascara! I love this mascara. It makes your lashes such a deep black without being clumpy. #UrbanDecayCosmetics

There was also a $20 gift voucher for Gorge Hair to order their haircare products. That’s an awesome bonus!

Beauty Box 5 offers you to shop in their online boutique, you have chances to win free product and credit by sharing on social media, and there’s always something new to discover.

Hey- I’m a beauty addict and they keep surprising me- so that’s impressive!

Let me know if you check it out.

Frugalista Blog Beauty Box 5 June

My kids are growing up and it’s freaking me out!

I’m sitting here in my room, typing on my lap top. My bedroom window is cracked open to let in the fresh air of this June rain we’re having. It’s nice. Refreshing.

But also, about a half mile away is the high school. And it’s the last day of school, class just let out and I can hear the cars honking, the tires squealing, and the shouts of ‘no more teacher’s dirty looks’. Well, not that last part. But amongst all that hoopla is Emma. Her last day as a freshman. She’s off to spend the day with friends and I texted her to be careful and watch out for the crazy drivers because kids are stupid. And kids are stupid when they are goofing off especially.

So I just get to sit here and fret over my kids being out in the big wide world. Which isn’t even the real BIG WIDE WORLD yet like the kids who have graduated this year and what their parents must be feeling! This is what keeps big pharma in business- the Xanax that parents like me will be popping like PEZ squares to keep from literally pulling out my eyebrows one hair at a time.

Owen is thrilled to have his first year of middle school under his belt and tucked away for good. Not because he enjoyed it, but that means he’s down to 2 more years in that place and he can’t wait to get out. Face it. Middle school sucks. He’s doing well, and it’s not horrible, but it’s still- well, middle school.

Middle school is only fun in your 40s when you’re at a themed dance for other moms and bloggers. But the real middle school is just shit. What is with the administration being so freaking uptight? I guess when you’re dealing with 1,200 11-14 year olds, it makes you kind of a tight ass.  You breathe wrong and the Vice Principal hands out a detention.

But high school has been the opposite. Emma has flourished as a freshman and has enjoyed more autonomy, responsibility and new friends than ever before in a school. She’s been lucky that her teachers ‘get’ her. During her health class when they were in the Sex Ed unit talking about STD’s, there were wooden penises on each desk to be used for a demonstration on proper condom application. Emma picks up her wooden penis and shouts to the teacher, ‘Hey! Look at my woody!”

Thankfully, the teacher burst into laughter and said that in all her years, she’s surprised that Emma was the first one to make that joke. Emma was just all, ‘How can you NOT make that joke?”

Also- just the idea of kids her age becoming sexually active- I mean. No. Just no. But I’d be dumb to pretend that’s not the case, so that’s why we talk about stuff all the time. Because OHMYGOSHNOTMYBABY!

She’s overcome so much in the way with her health issues; maintained a great GPA and has signed up to be the football team’s water girl/ team manager in the fall. What the hell you ask? Same here.

She knows little about football, isn’t athletic, but apparently is a hoot and a half filling the giant water jug and taking it to the field for the players. And the coaches like her and think she’s responsible. So hey, good for her.

Emma will also be taking Driver’s Ed this summer. Driver’s Ed. She’ll be maneuvering a car in traffic. Among other cars. And drivers. I mean, that’s how it works, I know. But still. OHMYGOSHDRIVERSED!!!!

SEX ED AND DRIVER’S ED!!! My baby!! I need to get a grip.

Owen is happy to be a 7th grader. He keeps counting the days to when he’s in high school. And then eventually both of them will be on their own and won’t need me for everything (thank GOD) but I will feel useless and it will force me in to some hobby or crisis that will cause me to wall paper our house in hideous floral patterns and install track lighting. Maybe even wear elastic waist pants.

I guess I have to just sit back and enjoy the bloom that emerges from the flower. It’s so freaking hard though!

Everyone knows that the best thing is for them to leave the nest, but I just don’t want them to fly too far.

I’ll stop making metaphorical comparisons to nature and my children growing up.

I was kind of hoping that as my kids got older I would like them less. You know, the teen years being so awful and all, it would just make me glad that they move out and go off to college. But it’s the opposite that’s true. They’re pretty cool though. We have fun together and I love them even more now than when they were born. Dang it!

My kids are growing up and it's freaking me out

 

Break Up With Your Makeup- 2015 edition

Frugalista Blog BreakupwMakeupup

I have exciting news! Once again, I am teaming up with Galderma and their #BreakUpWMakeup contest! Because I know that we can use makeup as a curtain to hide behind, but we need to let our true selves shine through. Right? Come on! Join me. Last year they sent me to the Emmys after that contest, and this year, the prize is a trip to New York! You know you want to win it. I’ve never been to New York. (Cue break screeching sound) I know! Broadway dreams and everything, and this girl has never set foot in the Big Apple. I need to fix that.

You know I suffer (and I say ‘suffer’ mildly, it really isn’t that horrible in the scope of life and things, but it’s such a pain in the ass) from Rosacea. Rosacea is basically like pimples on your face that don’t go away. It can be a cluster of red bumps or a flushed complexion. Maybe it includes broken capillaries and really red skin throughout your whole face. Or maybe like me, it’s a smattering of bumps that usually come out when I use products that irritate my skin, I’m in the sun too long, or I have been drinking alcohol.

I remember the days of high school and college when I wouldn’t think of stepping out of my house without makeup. The shame was too enormous! My pale eyelashes, my barely-there brows, and oh, the giant zits on my chin! Good grief. I even worked in cosmetics in my early 20s and it was so difficult to come to terms with the fact that my skin was not behaving! I had the best of products at my disposal and I was still a mess.

Even now in my 40s, I deal with ‘bad skin’ days. Now you can add wrinkles, sagging, and giant Louis Vuitton bags under my eyes that go with the ‘bad skin’ days. Or, Bad Face days.

But as a teen, you might think that having acne or Rosacea, even Eczema can be world shattering and kill a social life or your Instagram feed! Don’t despair!  You are not defined by your complexion. And take comfort in knowing there are products that can help.

A routine of proper cleansing, and the right moisturizers as well as acne products and medications can really help.

Galderma is behind a prescription Rosacea medication as well as several products like Cetaphil that are formulated to be gentle on the skin, whether you suffer from acne, Rosacea or Eczema.

Follow the graphic below to enter for a chance to win a goody basket of fine products and a chance to win a trip to the New York Film Festival in September!

Also, there are helpful links and tips for getting that complexion so that you can be comfortable in your own skin.

Here’s a fun thing too-

Post a selfie on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook (by June 25, 2015) with the hashtag- #BreakUpWMakeup as well as loading your selfie to the contest including 100 words on how you stay confident on ‘bad skin days’.

Because folks notice your smile, your laugh, and your kindness, more than they notice your pores!

Kudos to my 15 year old who is in the ‘won’t leave the house without makeup’ phase of her life to be brave to post this!

This post is sponsored by Galderma. All opinions and words are my own.

Emma 15 and me, 42 sans makeup!

Emma 15 and me, 42 sans makeup!

 

 

Good luck! And I can’t wait to see your no makeup selfies!

Saved by the Bell- make that, Saved by the BlogU

My husband travels infrequently for business. I would say a half dozen times a year. And probably 2 or 3 of those trips might be for a conference. When he comes home he’s always soooo tired. I mean, how hard is it? You sleep in a nice hotel, get meals out and stand around and talk to people. Big deal. And he complains how his feet hurt. But he’s a guy and he wears flat shoes. How can his feet hurt?

Hold the phone. I just came back from BlogU, a blogging conference. I’m exhausted. Instead of some convention center or hotel ballroom, our conference was at a college campus. The beautiful Notre Dame of Maryland. It’s such a small campus (I went to the University of Washington. That place is huge. Any campus after that seems small to me.) Talking to about 150 other blogger/writer/creative talent forces takes a lot from a person. It’s exhausting! Dancing at the #MiddleSchoolAwkward NickMom dance that Saturday night also is exhausting. And I WORE FLAT SHOES!

I came home and I was all, “McSweetie, I’m so sorry I never acknowledge your fatigue after a conference. Talking to people is tiring! Also, dancing 2 hours to 80s hits with a banana clip in my hair is exhausting too. I bet you don’t do that at your conferences.”  Nope. You can bet your Spanx, he does not.

Dancing in a banana clip? I will tell you more about that later. Trust me. It’s GOOD.

I’ve been blogging for about 4 years now. Sometimes that seems like an eternity. Sometimes I think how far I’ve come. Sometimes, I look at other people’s success and feel sorry that I haven’t come further. But you know what? That’s what is so cool about BlogU. The bloggers who attend BlogU come from all genres, social media reaches, and experience levels. Some have just begun. Some have had that VIRAL post, some are New York Times best selling authors, and some are media mogul powerhouses. What’s great about the community of writers that this weekend brings together, is everyone is accessible, everyone has a story, everyone has a purpose.

BlogU’s creator Stephanie of Binkies and Briefcases started this conference and builds this conference, literally from her garage! But what makes this so special? What makes it so awesome that folks like NickMom like sponsoring themed dances and Scary Mommy’s creator, Jill Smokler comes to give the keynote? The special sauce is in the people. And that there’s a spirit at BlogU. It’s going to sound corny as hell, but there is a spirit of trust and camaraderie at this conference unlike any other conference, that wants to see it’s attendees soar. That the next Jen Mann can be in the crowd.

But even writing that- ‘the next Jen Mann’ seems wrong. Because the individuality of each blogger is what makes them special. There’s only one Sass Mouth, or Real Life Parenting, or Quirky Chrissy. And they will get their success and blogger notoriety how they are meant to. Best selling author? Talk show host? Reality TV star? Who knows!

When you think of the endless sea of bloggers, you think how many more does there really need to be? And you even think about your own blog, ‘why bother?’ But then it only takes one person to say they read something of yours and it really related to them. Then you smack yourself in the forehead and say, “yep! That’s why I blog.”

It’s stories. And stories need to be told. Thanks BlogU for lighting that fire, or blowing on the coals to stoke them a little more. I have lots of stories to tell!

So I’m just gonna leave my #MiddleSchoolAwkward dance pics right here-

Left- photo booth sponsored by That's What She Said, Top R- Jen Mann, and Harmony Hobbs in the back! Bottom R- Kerry HouseTalkN and Nikki Moms Who Drink and Swear

Left- photo booth sponsored by That’s What She Said, Top R- Jen Mann, and Harmony Hobbs in the back! Bottom R- Kerry HouseTalkN and Nikki Moms Who Drink and Swear

 

 

Top right - Mommy Shorts, Bottom L- Nicole Shaw- Bottom R- Me- 2nd place WINNER #MiddleSchoolAwkward

Top right – Mommy Shorts, Bottom L- Nicole Shaw- Bottom R- Me- 2nd place WINNER #MiddleSchoolAwkward

Ellen, Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, Susan, Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, and ME

Ellen, Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, Susan, Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, and ME

Yep. This is how I dance. Elaine from Seinfeld just comes out. Notice the fanny pack, popped collar and sky high bangs?

Yep. This is how I dance. Elaine from Seinfeld just comes out. Notice the fanny pack, popped collar and sky high bangs?

 

Here it is. The best picture of all Middle School Awkward 80s themed shots. Taken by the fabulous Susan of Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, it looks right out of a Nickelodeon TV show. Yes- I’m ‘you can’t touch this’.

Saved by the Bell at BlogU15

Saved by the Bell
at BlogU15

 

If that’s not enough- there’s this. I think I made my kids proud. Thank you Kim from Let Me Start By Saying, for being my dance soul sister. Thank you Anna Bardsley for capturing the video. Click on the date below and it will take you to awesomeness. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to rub ointment on my aching feet. Something I didn’t need to do in 1985.

Wildness

Posted by Anne Bardsley on Saturday, June 6, 2015