Thursday, May 29, 2008

We could survive for 121 days

if we were willing to eat the cats and their food, as well as our leather clothing.  Who would eat a pink suede motorcycle jacket I ask you?!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Broke Down

Is how I feel.  Busted.  Crazy.  

I've been killing it at the gym, and I'm proud of that.  Really.  Except I'm tired.  I've been hitting Pilates (love), planning to hit cardio kickboxing Friday and H2O on Saturday morning, then Boot Camp on Monday.

Today was spinning.  I don't have words for what that felt like.  I alternated been praying the Lord's prayer to get me through the 3-minute drives (takes about 30 seconds), and praying for Jesus to return at that precise moment.  It was that serious.  And my bum hurts from sitting on that hard seat.  A gel cover is in my future, I feel certain.   I let the gym soaked in sweat top to bottom.  

So I've been lazy blogging the last couple of weeks since I've been in the gym six days a week trying to prepare for my friend's wedding and get into my dress.  Which zips as of today,  and that is good.  But it's not quite pretty, 
so I still need to drop a few pounds.  Six weeks and three days, and I'm giving it all I've got.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Friday Talk: Makeup Mistakes--Evening Makeup

I will recommence with brushes in a future post, but someone specifically asked about fancy-schmancy evening looks, and with all the upcoming weddings and graduations, I thought I'd get on this puppy now. So let's get down to business on night looks.

First of all, most of the daytime rules for makeup STILL APPLY! You still choose one feature to highlight, generally eyes or lips. You still choose colors that work for you, albeit generally more intense colors. You still don't wear colors that match your clothes just because they match your clothes, although if those are colors that work for you, go for it.

So say you've got a fete coming up and you want to feature your eyes. Great choice! First, consider what you're wearing. For an upcoming wedding, I'm wearing a turquoise dress. Now, with my coloring I can wear turquoise shadow, and I'm considering it. I'm also considering going with gold shadows and accessories. It's best to choose a contrasting color for the feature you're choosing, so you with something that contrasts your clothing in a shade that works for you. If you're fair, go with a wash of color. If you're dark, go intense. If you're afraid of a lot of color, go with an intense liner or eye color used as a liner. I plan to wear a color like this Electric.

You want to do the smoky eye, eh? Ok, first of all, don't automatically think black and dark grey. Just go with smoky shades of colors that look good on you. Brown or hazel eyes? Try this or this. Blue eyes? This is lovely, or this. Greens, I like this for you.

And please be sure to slap on several coats of mascara after, and only after, you curl those lashes. I know the thing looks like a medieval torture device, but at least your lashes will look amazing. Recently I've fallen in love with the Cover Girl Lash Blast. Good length, passable volume, and super cheap. If you want to try your hand at false lashes, a few tips: first, use lashes that are just two
or three stuck together, not a full strip. Curl your lashes, apply mascara, stick the lashes on the outside of the eyes (they look
more natural this way), then cover the line with liquid eye liner. This process is not for the faint
of heart.

Oh, you chose lips instead? No prob. First, refer to my previous post about lipstick mistakes. Remember the sloughing, the clear liner, the lip brush. For evening, you can punch up the intensity of your lip color, just remember to go in shades. It's like a paint chip, you normally don't want to go with the darkest or lightest colors except when you're looking to make a splash.

As I said before, if you're going with red, watch your skin tone. Porcelain skin? Blue undertone? Go with a blue-red. Yellow or olive? Go with a warmer, orangier red. Remember that the more blue red a lipstick, the whiter it makes your teeth look during that grand gala. You'll want to make a REALLY clean line with reds.

That's not to say that red is your only choice, or even your best one. Experiment with pinks, berries, bronzes, brown-based hues (carefully, carefully). See again my previous post about lipstick mistakes. Generally, brown is one of them.

Good evening makeup marries perfection and a little something that's off-center. A perfect face is boring, as is the expected, so I'd love to see what you do with your mug for your fancy events, so let me see them!

Fussy tends to like a little more natural look than yours truly, so go check out what she has to say about the whole makeup shebang!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A rebuttal

*Warning.  Today's post contains sensitive information regarding pro-choice and pro-life topics, personal to my life.  

I've been kicking this post around in my head for a few weeks, and figured today was as  good a day as any to finally address it.   A friend of mine from a looooooong time ago, whom I only know casually now, posted a blog about her being pro-choice and her litany of reasons.  Three years ago, I would have agreed with them.  Five  years ago, I would have fought for them, and eight years ago, I was in a position to make that choice for myself.  

Out of respect for her, I'll not quote her directly, but suffice it to say that she and her husband have been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years, and are finally expecting with the help of IVF.  Now, I know that many committed Christians think IVF is wrong, and you will not find me among them so long as all the embryos are used and not destroyed.  This is a personal conviction, and I don't expect anyone else to share it.  

For as long as I can remember, I have been pro-choice.  I called the people who disagreed with me "anti-choice" instead of "pro-life".   I'm the child of a teenage mother myself, and things were never easy.  When I was nine, my stepfather said something to me after I declared that  I was a Democrat to the effect of, "You of ALL PEOPLE can't agree with them on the abortion issue".  That's an old wound.   I'm still a hardcore believer who happens to be a Democrat (technically a left-leaning centrist).

In any case, yes I was pro-choice until (and for some time after) I got saved.  I looked for liberal Christian theology to back up my position and, as I'm sure you can imagine, I found it.  But it never sat well in my spirit; justification never does.  We are called to holiness, which my friend and pastor John defines as, "always knowing what is right, doing what is right, and requiring of others what is right".  Not exactly an easy thing to aspire to.

My friend whose blog post prompted this one, she thinks that it's ok to terminate a pregnancy because she can say unequivocally after undergoing IVF that this "mass of cells" was not a child.  I have a feeling that's grief talking, but I can't speak to that, having never been in her 
position.  My point is not to argue that  a pair of cells is now a human person.  I don't know when we're ensouled, though I'd rather err on the side of caution.

But what I hope my friend learns, now that she's pregnant, is what it's like to be a mama bear.  That the heart 
of a mother is to protect, to  cradle, to sacrifice for your child.  In the 
movie "Enough", we hear the line, "You have a divine  animal right 
to protect your life and the lives of your offspring", and I'm not sure 
I've heard many truer things.   

I've had four chances to do this mothering thing, and only three I've taken.  I lost a lot when I made the choice to allow, nay, pay, someone to kill my child.  I  lost friends.  I lost 
innocence.  I lost a chance for God to show His love for me by 
bringing my sin into the light AND blessing me with a child.  And of
course I lost him, my would-have-been firstborn son.  

And I miss him, more and more acutely as I watch my other three
 grow.  He would have been the perfectly ordained big brother for 
the rest of our growing clan.  I'll never know the extent of what I've done in this life, how deeply I broke God's heart, what 
exactly I've missed.

I am a mother to four, not three.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my Window
...A cheery sun, and the prospect of getting outside with the kids

I am thinking...that since I failed to get my life in order and priorities in line by myself, God has taken some steps to get my attention.

I am thankful for...the worship leader at my church who preached the message yesterday. It was timely and convicting.

From the kitchen...say it with smoothie! And I made some beeeeeautiful bread last night, probably my best looking loaves ever.

I am creating...time to read

I am Target for new workout clothes and a Pilates mat (hopefully), to BJ's for more lettuce, and to the gym for a workout

I am around the house clothes, nothing special today.

I am reading...Memoirs of a Geisha

I am hoping...for some balance this week, no matter how much work God gives me.

I am hearing...the Firecracker get toothbrushes ready for herself and her brother, and the Look Alike's sweet baby sounds beside me.

Around the house...I need to mop floors wash windows.

One of my favorite homemade salad dressing; the family seems to love what I've made in the Blendtec.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The and gym today, gym Wednesday, small group Thursday, Friday is the Music Man's last day of school so we'll have to do something to celebrate, birthday party for a friend on Saturday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...this is the dress I found this weekend for a wedding in July. hopefully boot camp at the new gym will kick my tush into shape, because it's gorgeous and I'm not quite in shape for it yet.

Now go see Peggy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Brand New Meme!

*Links are fixed!

Sweet Michelle from Life With Three tagged me for a brand new meme, and she was tagged by Darcie from Such the Spot. As Michelle warns, so will I. This sucker is long. :)

Favorite person (outside family)? Oh come on. One person? I've got a top six list for today (in a meandering order) Lisa, Ginger, Mitzi, Lia, Laura, Karen

Favorite food? This is totally not fair. I loooove food. I consume fully 1/3 to 1/2 my daily calories in Green Smoothie, so we'll go with that.

Quirks about you? I walk on my tiptoes most of the time. No idea why. I hate birds and fish. Ick ick ick. I like mustard on sweet corn.

How would the person who loves you most describe you in ten words or less? My husband, and he says, "wicked smart, really funny, beautiful" (liar), "great cook, wonderful wife/mom"

Any regrets in life? Yep, one big one. And hopefully I'll meet that baby in heaven one day.

Favorite Charity/ Cause? Heifer International

Favorite Blog recently? Nesting Place

Something you can’t get enough of? Research. I'll do it until my eyeballs are about to fall out, then do it some more (after I find them, of course).

Worst job you’ve ever had? The one day I did telemarketing. One. Day. Because people who know me know that I don't do the phone.

What job would you pay NOT to have? Fast food tester.

If you could be a fly on the wall, where would you be? At the home office of my job, just so I could know what in the world is going on with that sucker.

Favorite Bible verse right now? “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”- Ecclesiastes 11:5

Guilty Pleasure? America's Next Top Model

Got any confessions? Sometimes I crave junk food. Like really crave it.

If you HAD to spend $1,000 on YOURSELF, how would you spend it? Oh my. I love clothes to no end, but I'd probably buy a handbag. I always carry my LVs, but I might go Gucci this time.

Favorite thing about your house? That my family is in it. :)

Least favorite thing about your house? The constant mess and lack of storage space.

One thing you are bad at? Cleaning

One thing you’re good at? Baking

If you could change something about your circumstances, what? I'd make us debt free a little early (one more year, then it's just the house, God willing)

Who would you like to meet someday? my father

What makes you feel sexy? really high heels

Who is your real life hero? Ginger

What is the hardest part of your job? My paid job? The politics and uncertainty. My real job? Making sure I give enough love and discipline to the little creatures I've been given.

When are you most relaxed? After a nice leg massage before I go to sleep.

What stresses you out? Uncertainty. So that would be like everything. :)

What can you not live without? My kids. I think all kids under the age of 8 smell like ketchup and are grubby little things, but they're so stinking fantastic.

Do you agree or disagree with the recent article that reported that blogs are authored by narcissists? In some respects, I agree; this one certainly is written by a gal who struggles with her pride every day. But I don't think the desire to be known is narcissistic, it's more about how God made us. He made us to long to be known, then fulfills it in that He knows that every hair on our heads has been counted.

Why do you blog? To work out who I am in this family, to chronicle this time in our lives when we're still a little family, to be honest about my struggles with weight, faith, mothering, everything.

Who are you tagging?

New/Newer bloggers - Melissa and Sandy

Bloggy friends -ElleBee Amy (and check out Amy's jewelry here)

Bloggers you’d like to get to know better - Navalgazing Midwife (just a warning, there's a naked woman birthing at the top, use your judgment when opening the page), One Thing

Bloggers who you don't think will respond, but you hope will - Sara and Journey Mama

Okay - rules:

1. Answer the questions (Did I really have to include this as a rule? Duh!)
2. Link back to whoever tagged you
3. Tag eight bloggers to do the same, 2 from each category.
New/ newer bloggers (since we want to share the love and send them traffic)
Bloggy friends
Bloggers you’d like to get to know better
Bloggers you don’t think will respond, but you hope will

Good luck and have fun!

Interesting Wake Up This Morning

This morning I was in bed with the Look Alike and the Firecracker Princess (who, without fail, comes into my bed every morning after the Music Man leaves for work). I was in the dreamy place, snuggling with my girls when I heard the Chubby Cheeked Monster talking and singing in his crib. I love listening to his little guy thoughts, so I lay there for a few minutes as he attempted to sing his ABC's.

When he started to get louder, I decided to go check on him. I gingerly extricated myself from the girls and went to his room. At which point horror ensued. Normally when I come into his room in the morning, he gives me a huge smile as I say, "Good morning Sunshine Boy"! But this morning, something was different. He was curiously all the same color, when I distinctly remember him having on lime green pajama pants. And a diaper. And the pile of, oh goodness, no wonder the boy wasn't smiling. He thought his little life was over when mom discovered what he'd done.

I was calm because I was too tired not to be, but I was not happy. There was poop all over the crib, the boy, the bedding, and CCM's beloved doggie. I cleaned him up, stripped the bed, and turned the washer up to Scalding Burns, aka Hot. Yes, we have the water heater regulated to avoid burns, but I'm a serious wimp when it comes to hot water. The Music Man insists that my showers are "cold". There's a reason no one lests me do the dishes by hand, but I digress.

Anyhow, the boy knew he'd done something wrong when I snatched doggie out of his hands and prayerfully tossed him into the washer, hoping he'd make it through. Seriously, the boy loves that dog, I hope he comes out all right...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day 1 of the Prayer Chllenge

Yesterday, after all that, I forgot to pray for my husband. Undeterred, I started this morning. I got up at 7 to work, then I remembered I couldn't before my boss came online because of the flux of the Job Which Must Not Be Named. So I did what any mom with some time to kill does: went to my closet and tried on a dress I haven't worn in four years as a possibility for a wedding in July. It doesn't. Yet. I've got 8 weeks and three days, so it's a tall order.

Then I decided I'd pluck my eyebrows, which were desperate for some shaping. That took a while. Checked back, still no Boss Who Must Not Be Named. Decided I should actually pray for my husband, I spent some time in prayer, then decided to read my morning Proverb.

*As an aside, I've been really, really bad about Bible reading lately, so I decided to read a Proverb in the morning and a Psalm at night, thereby at least getting some Biblical wisdom each day.

And wouldn't you know, right when I was finishing my Proverb, guess who signed on? Guess He wanted me to read before I worked, eh? Sigh.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


If there's one thing I find complex about the Christian life, it is prayer. I think it's because I can't figure out this relationship between predestination and free will, and it leaves me in knots. John says that some guy (knowing him, it's probably AW Tozer or Chuck Swindoll) says not to try to "unscrew the inscrutable". OK, so I kind of get that, but it's hard to reconcile the two, that's all.

Anyhow, so this battle rages on in me, and makes me wonder about the purpose of prayer. I mean, if God already has decided the outcome, why pray? But if He knows we will or won't pray, why pray? The Bible shows that He was moved by the prayers of the righteous, so I don't know where that leaves me. At the end of the day, I pray because Jesus told me to.

Prayer for me is more than the ACTS formula we learned at church camp or a litany of requests. It's a time when I try to press in and have a conversation with the Living God, whose promises are always yes and amen.

But you know who I ifnd it hardest to pray for? My husband. I read about women who pray for their husbands tirelessly, praying without ceasing. This is an admitted area of weakness for me, and I need (of all things) a blog challenge to kick me in the pants and get me where I need to be.

If you want to join me, head on over to Blessed to Be Home and sign up for a 30 day challenge to pray for your husband!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my Window...sunshine with lots of leaves and debris from the crazy winds we had yesterday! Pine needles even pierced the delicate leaves of my pepper plants. :(

I am thinking...that my green smoothie tastes a bit flat today, added too much water.

I am thankful for...a fun trip to the farmer's market and library with the Frecracker Princess on Saturday.

From the kitchen...we're trying grilled portobellos tonight

I am creating...a workout program that I can stick with long-term.

I am the gym this afternoon

I am wearing...jeans and a new green t-shirt that I found on sale for $2.50 at Michaels.

I am reading...Girl Meets God, still. Just finished The Maker's Diet.

I am hoping...for a better balance of working and my little ones, and to have a salad start dinner every night like we did when I was young.

I am hearing...the Firecracker Princess bemoan the fact that the Chubby Cheeked Monster is eating a peach other than the one she got him from the fruit bowl. Pure drama, that one.

Around the house...library books on every surface, laundry that needs to be folded, and windows in desperate need of washing.

One of my favorite things...snuggling this morning with the kids. They're a bit congested from the weather change, making they especially snugglicious.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...go to the gym today, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, work (of course), learn to sew, group on Thursday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing for you... Am I the only one who didn't know that garlic is HUGE from the garden? And that the green part is super tasty in a salad?
Go see the fantastic Peggy, you know the drill. ;)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday Talk: Makeup Mistakes--Brushes Part I

Today's makeup mistakes will be in two parts, because I cannot possibly cover all you need to know about brushes in one post. Yes, it's THAT much, and I'll attempt do dive into the depths of this hideously complex subject in a mere blog post.

First of all, let's talk about what brushes are NOT. They are NOT (did we get it, NOT) those foam applicator things that come with your eyeshadow. They are NOT those anemic 1" scratchy things that come with your blush. They are NOT the foam rounds that come with powder. Those are life support for your cosmetics. They are the 911 call and and an emergency tracheotomy. Perhaps I watch too much Gray's Anatomy, but I'm serious about this thing. Don't be a babbitt, break free from convention and invest in some brushes.

As for brands, seriously pretty much anything you buy will be a good choice (except that set, you know the one, the one that's $4 at CVS for a "set" or comes free as a GWP when you buy your mascara). I will suggest a few in particular, but know that I tend toward the department store end.

If you're a Target-obsessed gal, the Sonia Kashuk line is totally serviceable, as are the Essence of Beauty brushes at CVS. I've never tried the brushes at Ulta, but I've heard excellent things about them. Be warned that these shed some with the first several uses, but tend to stop after that.

Today we're going to talk about the essential brushes: foundation, powder, blush, and eye shadow. You can do just about everything you need to do with these four. Next week we'll talk about specialty brushes, and what you might want to add to your basic four to achieve your personal makeup style.

Foundation brush: Many people have never heard of a foundation brush. It's a synthetic bristle brush that you use to (of course) apply foundation. It gives you a significantly smoother application, and has the added benefit of requiring around half the foundation you'd use on a sponge. And please don't ask what happens if you use your fingers. You just shouldn't. Period.

Start in the center of your face and work outward. You're doing this because most people, if they have some redness, it's in the center. You need more coverage in the center and less toward your ears. Go OUT and DOWN. You need to brush down so as to not ruffle the tiny hairs on your face, down will give you a much smoother application. I like Lancome's foundation brush, because the bristles taper slightly at the end, allowing you to get in the nooks and crannies.

My caution with the foundation brush. Use less than you think you should. You can always add more later. After you've applied your base, you can grab a sponge and lightly blot away any excess.

Next we come to a powder brush. This one isn't too complicated, just choose something big and fluffy. A powder brush feels like your biggest luxury, it's poofy and girly. Firefox's built-in browser spell check tells me "girly" is not a word. I beg to differ, Firefox. I use Lancome's, but I really love Chanel's. Ask ElleBee if you'd like a review of that particular one, I know she owns it.

On to blush. This one can be a bit tough because there are shape options. My personal favorite for a blush brush is a flat top. That's because it allows you to do a little sculpting when you have not-so-prominent cheekbones as I have. It's great becuse it gives you a broad swath but also precision and good blendability due to the increased contact area. You can also do a brush that's like a mini-powder brush, and that's fine. Here I have both the Lancome and the Everyday Minerals. At first these flat-top brushes feel really tight, so you'll have to be somewhat careful not to look like you've been hit with paint balls on your cheeks. Remember, tap and swirl. Tap the brush lightly onto your cheek, then swirl it onto the surrounding area.

Finally for today, let's talk eye shadow. For your basic eye shadow brush, go with something that's a medium width, and not angled. Those brushes can be difficult to use and aren't super practical in my experience. I generally use the one in the Mary Kay brush set (not a bad overall choice and totally affordable, though I don't like an angled cheek brush). OK, let me say here and now that I'm all about natural hair brushes except for foundation and concealer (and one for cream shadows, but that's later). It's really hard for synthetic brushes to hold onto pressed cake powder shadows, though they do ok with loose shadows. While it's all a personal preference, I'll suggest any newbies try the natural hair brushes. They're shaved, so the animal was not harmed. I'm all about cruelty-free (was a vegetarian for 13 years) and want to feel good about the products I use.

Now that that's settled, please be sure to PAT on your eyeshadow instead of sweeping wildly from side to side. You'll get a much better color saturation and you won't get the dreaded raccoon eyes from the powder falling underneath. It takes some practice, but you'll get it soon enough. And when the powder DOES fall, just roll a Q-tip under your eyes to collect the excess.

Finally for today, be sure to clean your tools. You use your brushes every day, and they need to be cleaned weekly (ideally), but not less than once a month. You can wash them with a brush cleanser (diluted with water at a 1-to-1 ratio) or with whatever you use for your face. Try not to get the casings wet because we don't want the hairs to stay wet and rot and break off. Seriously. Just blot them onto a paper towel until no more color comes off, then lay flat to dry on a towel overnight.

OK, now that you've got your face on and are presentable, so go see Fussypants. She's about to have a baby and could use the company!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fearless Now

Sheri Carr used to be the worship leader at my church, and her album drops today. I went to the release party on Saturday night and bought two copies, and it's really fantastic. Sheri's voice has this sweetness that is utterly charming, but a steely strength that comes only from being rooted deeply in Christ. And really, isn't she just adorable?

Also, my pastor's son Jesse wrote "You Are So Beautiful"on the CD. Vineyard music is well known for amazing worship music, and I can't recommend this project highly enough.
Please go check it out and be blessed.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook--Cinco de Mayo


Outside my a cloudy morning, with birds singing happily and an overgrown yard

I am thinking...that I'm so blessed to have a job, no matter how I feel about it.

I am thankful for...a husband who is really, really trying

From the kitchen...we'll have something Mexican, it's Cinco de Mayo!

I am creating...a surprise in my head, and if it occurs, I will have pictures to post!

I am bake bread today with my new grape sourdough starter. It smells very yeasty, without commercial yeast.

I am wearing...the green t-shirt that I was wearing in the food processor green smoothie debacle.

I am reading...Girl Meets God

I am hoping...that a young girl in a crisis pregnancy will make a better choice than I did back then.

I am hearing...The Firecracker Princess sucking her thumb next to me, and the Look Alike breathing hard

Around the house...the living room needs to be seriously worked on, but otherwise we're doing ok. I love clean bathrooms.

One of my favorite things...talking to faraway friends who God brings to mind prophetically in dreams.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...a run today, Music Man's concert tomorrow (he'll be home late, so I must entertain the kiddos from breakfast until bedtime), a run Wednesday, group Thursday. I think that's about it for this week.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing for you... This is a new variety of tomato I'm growing in my garden this year. I figured it was a better picture than the compost heap. :)

Now that you're hungry for some summer tomatoes, go on over and visit Peggy at The Simple Woman!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

New Green Smoothie Recipe

Since I talk about the green smoothie like ALL the time, a few people have asked about the recipe. Mine is a mix of GreenSmoothieGirl and GreenSmoothieExperiment (warning, this is a weight loss blog) with my own edits because I'm allergic to the amazingly juicy deliciousness that is mango. Sigh.

These days it's:

2-3 c. spinach
2/3 heart of romaine lettuce (I just chop them into thirds and use two each morning)
1 large collard leaf, stem removed
1 piece of kale, small to medium
1 T. flax seed
1 T. agave nectar or honey (or stevia if you prefer)
2 c. water

When that's nicely blended, usually about 60 seconds I add:

1 kiwi
5-6 strawberries
2 ripe bananas
1 c. cantaloupe
1/2 c. blueberries
1/2 c. raspberries

It's so tasty. Soooo tasty! Please let me know if you try it, I'd love to hear what you think.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Picture Overload

I thought I'd show some pictures since I tend to be painfully bad at that, so this is a sort of strike while the iron is hot melange.

This is my first attempt at ice cream in my Blendtec, and it was a sort of soft serve triple berry. The Music Man declared it his favorite ice cream ever (I didn't like it quite that much, but it was tasty).

This is my first attempt at sprouted wheat bread. I wasn't a huge fan of the taste, but I will try it
again, especially now that I'm making a sourdough starter with the yeast that's in grapes (wild), as well as water and flour.

My newly semi-organized pantry. It's hard to buy in bulk in such a small space, sigh. First row is grains (cereal, rice, pasta), second row is canned goods and my beloved organic peanut butter, third row is staples (the 1-gallon pails are sucanat and sucanat with honey), and the bottom is a gallon of honey, plus onions and sweet potatoes. Doors are mostly beans, which I use for
Ezekiel bread, as well as some dried fruit and nuts. Since I don't eat refined sugar, I have to have SOMETHING.

And finally, some of my grain. The three 6-gallon pails are organic hard and soft whites and hard red wheat. The 1-gallon pails are rye, barley, spelt, flax, and gluten. I also have 2 more 45 lb. pails of wheat in the garage. As for storage, they all fit under the desk you see in the kitchen, which techinally I use for more counter space (the toaster oven and griddle are over there, with a bookshelf for my cookbooks above.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Talk: Makeup Mistakes--Lip color

"If I had to teach someone just one thing about lip color it would be this: Find a lipstick that looks good on your face when you are wearing absolutely no makeup." -- Bobbi Brown, "Beauty"

You know, we expect a lot from our lips. They help us speak, help shovel food into our wide-open traps, kiss scraped knees, get bitten so to look innocent and alluring at the same time. That's a lot to ask!

I'm slightly self-conscious of my lips. Most people wouldn't notice until I say something, but I have a puffy scar on the right hand side of my lower lip. When I was about nine, I was enjoying a can of Hawaiian Punch after a soccer game. This was in a time where, to paraphrase Dave Chapelle, kids drank things with ingredient lists such as "water, sugar, and red". I vividly remember the day, sunny, mid-morning, on the soccer field closest to the concession stand. I typically enjoyed my drink with a big ol' dill pickle. Yum, yeah? Anyhow, I digress. As I was taking a big head-tilted swig, I felt something rumbling around in my mouth. Huh? To make a ridiculously long anecdote shorter, I got a bee sting. Which swelled to proportions like these:

Anyhow, so ever since, I've been particularly self-conscious of my lips. Here are some BAD things to do with your lips (regarding color people, get your minds out of the gutter):

1. Dark lip liner and metallic bronze lipstick. I'm guessing that you already know this. But please, PLEASE do not do this. I'll beg if I have to.

2. Matte, spackle-like lipstick. C'mon. Do you really want to use a trowel to smooth a beauty product? Do you want your lipstick to be able to patch holes?

3. Lips so shiny that they look like a slip 'n slide. I am so not ready to consider the thought of swimwear on these pasty thighs and 8 weeks postpartum tum. Please don't make me think about it when I look at your lips; that's just cruel.

So what's pretty on lips? Well first of all, let's talk balance. We need to pick up one feature to, well, feature. Eyes, lips, or cheeks. If you pick lips, you can do looooots of good stuff.

Like this:

Note the flawless brows, too.

If you're more into the natural look, check this out:

So what should YOU wear? First of all, I'd suggest that everyone wear SOMETHING. I typically choose a gloss on running-to-the-market days. Probably my all-time favorite is Chanel Glossimer in Unity. My first one was given to me as a gift for my wedding, and I flashed that thing all over Las Vegas during my honeymoon.

If you want to step it up a bit but still keep it natural, I have a secret for you. Nude lipsticks are almost impossible (but I do love Sugar Daddy). Go for a great lip liner, soften the edges with a lip brush, and dot on some clear gloss. It typically looks much more natural than lipstick, and has the staying power of liner.

For those nights that you need to go all out glam, you have some work to put in. First, be s-u-r-e to slough the dead skin off those lips. There are some good products out there, I like Mary Kay Satin Lips Lip Mask if you want a product. If you're a bargain hunter, an old toothbrush, wet and rubbed gently over your smackers will do just fine. Now you've prepped, let's prime.

A clear lip liner is a great secret weapon. It keeps color on your lips without smearing outside the lines. It's like a Magic Eraser for your lips, and this one's pretty good if you want drugstore, and the Benefit is great if you want to splurge a bit.

Now let's get to coloring. If you want to go with red, be sure to pick a red that matches your skin tone. If you're a cool tone (and most people aren't), you can wear the fire-engine, blue-based reds. If you're a warm, choose an orangier red. Probably my all time favorite is Sangria, and Estee Lauder says their lipsticks have a "delightful fig scent". How cute is that?

So here are my final tips to steer you toward the right shade:

Fair skin: Go with apricot shades (you know by now how much I love apricot, right? Believe me, it can be totally luminescent), or peachy-pinks. Avoid browns, they'll wash you out. Badly. If it sounds delicate or fresh, it's for you.

Medium skin: Roses, berries, mauves. Pretty much if it sounds rich or sumptuous, give it a try.

Dark skin: Deep plums, chocolates, wines. Basically, if it's something you should enjoy in moderation, rock it proudly.

So get out there and grab a new lipstick. It can make an amazing change in your appearance, it's relatively cheap, and heck, it's spring!

Go on over and check out Fussy and the other Fabulous Frump Fighters. I totally think we need capes or something to denote our fabulosity in the frump fighting arena!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Small Group

My posts are a little Jesus-heavy this week, I've noticed. Well, that's if anything could be BE Jesus heavy. I mean, if you own the whole world and all...

I've been in a small group since before I was a believer. Funny, right? To edit a super duper long story, I was in Mary Kay. I had a friend named Stefany who was a Christian (and everyone I was around in MK was pretty much Christian). I was talking to another gal about how I didn't believe in Jesus. She was 20 at the time, an absolutely a fantastic gal. Her response was an utterly sincere, "Really? Because I couldn't imagine living without Him". I was relating to Stef how astounded I was that anyone felt that way about Jesus, and she said, "That's how I feel, too". Huh? Had my friends been abducted and replaced by Jesus Freaks?

I launched into this long diatribe and presented "solid research" as to why this whole thing was just wrong. I had questions that she couldn't answer. Finally Stef threw her hands up and asked me to come to her small group the next night. I asked Patton if I could go, and he said "Yes, as long as you don't come home all Christian and stuff". No problem there, I certainly didn't plan on it.

I got ready the next night and went. I wasn't sure how you had to dress (it was church after all, right?). The church I grew up in had fairly formal dress; dresses are preferred for the ladies, shirts and ties for the gents. The Firecracker Princess was about 6 mos old at the time, so I was still trying to shed the pounds and only had one skirt that fit well; I clearly remember the struggle to find something that was appropriate and nice-looking.

As soon as I stepped into the Rowells' home, Ginger hugged me. Um, ok. Don't you KNOW that you don't touch strangers like that, weirdo? We all sat down, Stef introduced me, and I launched into my questioning. This went on for more than two hours, and by the end of the night I'd gained a great deal of respect for the man leading the group (John), though not discernibly closer to accepting Christ than I had been walking in.

But you know what happened? I came back the next week. And the next. And the next. And six weeks after my first visit, I took the plunge. Except I didn't know what to say, so I didn't tell anyone (How hilarious is that?) for another six weeks until I had a big blubbery breakdown one night, but that's another post for another day. But I kept going to group, and I often talk about how I had a small group before I had a church.

Every member of my original small group from three years ago is gone except for John and Ginger and myself. It's such a strange, transient group. I loved the security of seeing the same people every week, knowing where they were in their walk, feeling safe because they "knew my stuff", and it's not like that anymore.

I'm really struggling with group right now. I genuinely like the people there, but there's only one person I feel connected to besides the leaders (shout out to Jennifer and her girls), and even that's mostly unspoken. It's hard to reveal your struggles with someone who may not be there next week, and it makes trust and accountability almost non-existent. I've considered taking a break, but I'm not sure I'd ever go back. And what if, just what if, my constant presence is security for someone else?

I don't know if I keep going because it's a habit and just something I do. If it is, is that a bad thing? I guess I go until I get a clear release to STOP going, but I really wish group was a safe place for everyone, through consistent attendance and a strong base, where we could welcome new people but still have people we trust. Dare to dream.