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January 2012
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March 2012

This is the short version

Lamest reason ever not to post?  My nails are too long.

Fingernails 004

Yes, I know some ladies would love to have natural nails that look like this but trust me typing with them is a serious pain in the ass. It is typos galore and double letters everywhere. I seriously do not know how ladies with fake nails even do it.  My nails grow so fast I have to cut them at least once a month, and I don't give them a trim either, I cut them down to about 2mm in length and now they are already up to 7mm. Chance's are the same but I'm cutting them every other week or sooner. I think he's going through a growth spurt.

Other reasons why I haven't blogged, the short answer...

Stomach flu

Tons of work

Velentine's day (school parties shouldn't be that much work)

Chance gets a cold/pink eye

Trip to Disneyland

Some of those things happened simultaneously or in quick succession. And do you think I packed a file for our trip?  No, I did not.  Just as the edges started to fray into fabric catching, scratch myself accidentally, rough spikes.  The point is I'm sick of 'em (and of fixing typos) so I'm going to expound on all of that later after I cut my fricking nails.                  - wg


Stop Them Cold

Thanks to Walgreens for underwriting this post. I was paid as a member of the Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all mine. Visit http://www.discoverbeautywithin.com/

This opp came up to write about Winter beauty and I got kind of drooly. See, over the years I have amassed a good amount of knowledge about everyday beauty and I have no one to talk to about it!  Most of my friends don't really wear makeup. As a teenager I had, and still have, skin issues (pimples! at my age!) so I learned all about good skin care regimens and makeup and all that jazz just for my own self-esteem.  And you know, if you're going to put all that work into your skin, you might as well have some great clothes to go along with it. As well as shoes, of course. I'm just saying.  Anyway, I have friends who know where to go now when they have a beauty question or just want to raid my extra stores of makeup (don't ask) but I don't often get a chance to lay down some general guidelines for the Good Of All.  (This is awesome! I'm like a beauty philanthropist!)

The most important thing I can say about Winter beauty is moisture!  This seriously cannot be stressed enough.  Winter weather is ironically drier than Summer, even with all the snow and rain. The cold just sucks moisture right out of your skin. Then, of course, you're also moving from cold environments into heated indoor environments and that puts stress on your skin as well.  Those two are bad enough alone but then throw cold and flu season on top of it and you could seriously wake up one morning with a preview of the wrinkles you'll have in ten years. (That happened to me with this last flu I had because I got so dehydrated.)  So here are my tips...

1. Drink a ton of liquids. I know this is harder when it's cold but switch out your usual cool drinks for warm ones (I personally love hot lemonade) to keep up hydration. This is not only good for your skin but it'll flush toxins out of your body for overall health during flu season. The same rules also apply if you go out partying... if you drink alcohol, drink water to replace your fluids!

2. Use a toner.  A toner can be your best friend. It resets the

Neutrogena

pH balance of your skin to neutral so you don't get too dried out from soap or too oily in reaction to the dry elements. (Yes, that does happen!)  I recommend splashing toner on after you get out of the shower or wash your face and before you do the rest of your skin regimen.  Neutrogena has a great non-alcohol based one (which is perfect for older or sensitive skin) that I use over my whole body.  I simply put it in a spray bottle and spritz every place that feels dry.

 

3. Use moisturizer!  And not just your face. Remember the rest of your body and lips, too. My legs get super dry in the Winter so I have lotion just for them and my feet.  I know a lot of people don't want to bother with multiple products (one for the legs, one for the face, etc.) but if you're going to invest anywhere, invest in your skin.  It's healthier and your body and your mirror will thank you later.  Which brings me to another point, do not forget SPF!  Even in winter your skin needs protection and the vast majority of products include it anyway so you really don't have an excuse not to. Olay has a wonderful line of face creams (that I think are comparable to high-end moisturizers) that can fit almost any skin type, and they've also expanded into body lotions as well.  You might have to experiment a bit before

Olay

you find moisturizers that are right for you but shopping at a drug store won't break the bank.  Many lip balms also come with SPF specifically for Winter conditions.  If you're really money tight here's a saving tip... find a face lotion that you like but comes in a larger bottle and use it for your whole body.  You can even dab a little on your lips at night (eye cream works great on lips!).  It might not be perfect for every dry bit of you but some moisture is better than going without.

 

4. Cover up.  Lots of people are shy about accessories, so Winter is the perfect time to try them out!  It's important not only to moisturize your skin but to keep it as unexposed to the elements as possible.  Gloves, hats, and scarves are practical and fashionable!  If you're new to accessorizing try picking one item that you love at first site, like a soft scarf or pair of gloves. Start with neutrals and then build up to bolder colors as you get used to the way these items look on you. Or, if you're already a hat and scarf person, jump into one in an unusual color.  However, with all those extra items piled on for Winter there is a trick to balancing your look.  Basically you want an emphasis on one area (or two areas that are far apart).  Say you're wearing a neutral scarf and hat, then you could wear red lipstick for a pop of color. If you like to dress up your eyes, wear bold colored gloves.  Wearing bright lipstick, tons of glittery shadow, a rainbow scarf, and a hat goes over the top. 

Rainbow scarf

 

The general rule is you pick one area of your face to emphasize, either lips or eyes, but in Winter you do have to take your accessories into account.  Because I already have bright red hair and glasses I tend to keep my day makeup pretty neutral, especially if I'm wearing a hat, too. (BTW, if you're going out for a night on the town, you could totally break this rule and vamp it up. Nighttime always allows for bolder colors. However, I still wouldn't recommend the rainbow scarf with a party dress. But a boa? Sweet!)

Thanks for listening!             - wg

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Explosive forces and other matters

So last week was a bust. The type of bust that happens to bubbles where spit and other microscopic repercussions go flying. The kid came down with stomach flu last weekend, the extreme kind of stomach flu, and then me and Keen both got it in rapid succession.  It was ugly.

Last week was also a busy week.  There was the Science Fair, and a field trip, and I had a bunch of articles I was trying to get done.  I felt really badly about it but I had to pass on all the materials for the Science Fair to another parent even though it was my idea and I had said I would supervise and all that.  My (and my stomach's) bad.  I also bailed on the field trip, and the articles... well, I'm still working on those.

But let's talk science!  This year for the Science Fair Chance decided he wanted to ask some of his friends to do a group project. Boy, was that a mistake.  Picture three hyperactive boys whose main interests lie in wrestling, screaming, and running around, all of whom want to do volcanoes and have the attention span of gnats and you can pretty much imagine how our project went. *must not freak out!*

Luckily, volcanoes are not allowed so I suggested perhaps they might be interested in studying volcanic, or igneous, rocks - word of the day!  A nice fun age-appropriate topic.  Out of the four projects entered by first graders, three were scientific experiments, ours was a collection of rocks. 

 

027

 

(Barely able to get them to hold still for a picture.)

 

027

 

We came in fourth.  However, we the parents made sure they had fun, learned something, and did some actual work.  I'm not down with that whole "parents doing the project for them" deal.  (And in a town of engineers you see some doozies of "no way in hell a kid built that" experiments, but this year wasn't bad.) So despite some disappointment at the very end I think it went OK.

Besides, I think the boys' favorite part was the running around and screaming. Together.

                 - wg


22

Today marks the 22nd anniversary of my first date with Keen. Obviously, he did pretty good on that first date because I'm still around. That's right, representing the commitment, bitches!

I stumbled across this. Strange and winding as it may seem, it says a lot of love in a few words and I know it will make Keen smile.

Caterpillar found note

Honey, you are my caterpillar.  Love you!        - wg

P.S. I'd also like to give a shout out to my dear buddy, Cynical Dad, who is celebrating his wedding anniversary today. Congrats!


Everyone wants to be heard

I've been reading this book, I Am in Here: The Journey of a Child with Autism Who Cannot Speak but Finds Her Voice, by Elizabeth Bonker and Virginia Breen. I was trepidatious approaching this book because, frankly, it's about special needs and I don't read many books about special needs. I do plenty of research but I don't read many personal accounts.  See I've got this really good tough front going on, but inside I can get kind of gooey.  And special needs is one of my trigger points.  It can make me frustrated and angry and very determined, or occassionally, really unexpectedly emotional.  Much of this is not because I have a son with special needs, but because I have a special needs brother. Sometimes there are events that trigger early memory flashbacks and their emotions. It's like getting hijacked.  For example, once a friend of mine in college had a seizure on campus and I was calm through the event, knew what to do, put my jacket around him, waited for the paramedics, etc. Then when I walked away later I completely broke down. Sobbing in front of strangers, snot running down my face broke down, and unable to get out the words, "My brother used to have seizures."

So I guess what I'm saying is I don't read that many special needs books, I don't watch that many movies, because they scare me. I'm scared of getting emotionally hijacked. I already live it, you know?    

That big long aside being said, when I heard about this book I wanted to check it out despite my fearful gooey innards.  The book is co-written by Elizabeth and her mother, Virginia.  Elizabeth is (currently) 13-years-old and cannot speak, but she is highly intelligent and learned to communicate through a letterboard and eventually, typing. Then she began composing poetry.  This, of course, caught my interest!  The book is a collection of Elizabeth's poetry and comments, along with essays by her mother about their journey with autism.

I've been really enjoying it. Virginia talks about the emotional aspects of raising two children with autism but she is also straigthforward about therapies and treatments.  She's obviously a very proactive, solutions-based person.  In my experience these type of people are more optimistic, and less defeatist in all aspects of life. She owns her own venture fund and I particularly enjoyed when she related how certain business practices can also relate to managing a special needs diagnosis.  I worked in high-tech for a long time, including four start-ups, and I could understand the mind-set she describes.  In business, as with special needs kids, you have to be relentless and very dedicated to step-by-step processes but you also have to be flexible and creative as hell, and occasionally you have to make some leaps of faith.  Speaking of faith, she also talks about its place in her and Elizabeth's life, and how it is Elizabeth's own perspective that has affected her most profoundly.

Going back to Elizabeth, I was really interested to read her poetry.  I started writing poetry young and I am always excited when I hear of someone writing at a young age.  That kind of love of words seems to be innate so most who have it do start writing early, but I can't say we live in a society that always nutures it.  Her poetry reads a lot like the poetry I was writing at those ages. Granted, Elizabeth definitely addresses her own struggles with autism, especially people's reactions and her frustrations, and her emotion really carries through.  But she also writes poems about world peace and faith and the beauty of nature in the way that most thoughtful, mature girls her age write about these topics. It is both touching and comforting and, for me, I think that is where Elizabeth most strongly proves her point that yes, she IS an aware, regular-in-all-the-ways-that-count 13-year-old girl. Even though she is trapped is autismland, Elizabeth has found a way to soar above it. 

Although, our special need situations are extremely different I still really liked the book and I really liked who it was about.  Virginia and Elizabeth are people I'd like to meet.  I felt like the book was very hopeful, and relatable, and informative, and I think it could be equally helpful for people who are interested in autism but have never experienced it.

And you know what? It didn't make me break down.             - wg