Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas From A Toddler's Eye View

   This Christmas in our household was quite the whirlwind... as per usual. But not for the usual reasons. We were all on again off again sick and none of us was much in the holiday spirit until we came right up to Christmas Eve itself (That's when things started to become fun). I wasn't even all that enthusiastic about listening to Christmas music this year, and that is saying a lot. But something else was different in a good way... the trappings seemed less appealing than normal this year, but the message felt much more front and center despite my melancholy. I may not have put decorations out until the last minute, but this December I can say I prayed more than I have in the past. When I did skip over a carol on my holiday playlist it wasn't because it wasn't jolly enough... it was to jump ahead to the songs that really captured the purpose of our celebrations.

   Then, as they always do, the actual days of celebration came. We were in the midst of it. And this time around I felt present almost the entire time... I got to step out of the "Mom seeing Christmas through her child's eyes" roll this time and settle back into my own personal point of view.... but, frankly I don't have much of a desire to write out my experience from that perspective. It's mine and I don't feel it needs a recap... but in looking through my pictures I realized that my (new to me) camera lens had it's own agenda separate from mine. It seems to have wanted to make sure that I didn't miss out on Christmas from a toddler's eye view... and if I do say so myself the story it tells is quite compelling. Have a look for yourself:









When you're a toddler, and the first grandkid in the family, you get the distinct pleasure of helping to blow out birthday candles no matter who they are intended for... in this case Umpa. Yes, my Dad was born on Christmas day!



Flashlights, suspenders and ties make Awesome gifts...



And books filled with dinosaurs read by Grandpas bring great joy!




Big boy underwear belongs on the doorknob of our front door... DUH!



Candy canes can be found in every corner of the house...



...and "Batman Car"s can bring hours of entertainment!



Dinos eat gummy snacks




...and every little thing makes you laugh.

There is one thing I got a picture of from my perspective that is worth sharing though... and that would be this:



Yes. That is a red velvet cheese ball. You're welcome.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Real Time Writing: My Reaction To Senseless Violence

   This has traditionally not been a place for content aggregation. I have lines and dividers in my head as to what I have designated each of my social media outlets for and have been mostly very strict with my blog. Other places I have allowed my own lines to blur quite a bit to suite specific situations and circumstances, but I have tried to remain very ridged in keeping this blog a place for personal creation. My own content. But, while some of the content I will be aggregating in this post is my own, some is not, because I feel it is important enough to warrant a "more serious" platform than a retweet or facebook share.  And frankly, I don't have many more words left on the subject than those I bled out yesterday in the events immediate wake. I still to this moment feel very drained of my biggest natural resource, words. Cohesive thoughts even.

    So here to start are the words I could form, that in haste made their way to Facebook before I could fully fathom the thought of piecing together a full post over here... but now, in hindsight I realize that they were more than enough, if only for the reason that they are, still, all that I have:


   I don't have much to add to that, from my own well of thoughts, feelings, wisdom, etc. But I do have a link or two I would like to share with you from other people and sources that I find to be of value in this overwhelming wake.

   The first is from Kim over at Momma by the Bay in regards to media, children and the dangers of how media coverage efforts negatively effect survivors, specifically children survivors. Her account of her own personal experience with school violence and prodding reporters is absolutely chilling and blood boiling at the same time. To The Media, Regarding Newtown

   The second is this heart wrenching article written by Liza Long over at Gawker with the telling title I Am Adam Lanza's Mother. This particular message hit so incredibly close to home as I spent a decent amount of time myself in and out of mental health facilities as a teenager, observing first hand a wide spectrum of the effect that mental illness can have on a person as well as the endless miles of red tape and paperwork and hoops set ablaze for frightened and bewildered family members to navigate. It's a scary place. Our culture is quick to diagnose and prescribe, but still so incredibly unwilling to acknowledge the extremes of mental illness. The reality of it.... just, read the article, it's so, so very important.

  I thought there was more.... but I seem to have lost track of the "good" stuff I read since yesterday... and I just don't have the heart to be searching for more information on this tragedy. A friend did share this link that, while not directly related, is so very, very related in an indescribable way. For when there is tragedy, somewhere else, in that moment, someone is doing an incredible good on behalf of another human being. Kindness still exists. Let's amplify it: 26 Moments That Restored Our Faith in Humanity.

   I apologize for the lack of editing. On this and other recent posts, while I'm at it. I'm finally beginning to realize that this is what blogging is really about. Real time writing. Not perfection.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hands That Feel Like Home

This is a love letter.

But not to a person... only a part of a person. A part of this person. The part of this person that physically embodies all of the qualities that the owner loves as a whole. Her hands.

My hands.

These hands.

Only now am I realizing how much more they mean to mean than even my eyes which I guard fervently as if made of precious gemstones. These hands instead are scarred and yet still sacred. Neglected and yet the most loved body part of all. The only really, for which I have not at one point or another given myself grief. They have never felt inadequate. I have never looked at them and thought that they were too big, too small, too fleshy or round or otherwise wrong.

These hands have never betrayed me. They've always done what's asked of them even when that very thing was self-destructive in nature. Even when I used them to hurt myself... they were still, in those moments, tentative, apologetic... even unexpectedly gentle. I have used them to do bad things that is sure but though they obeyed they always had in them a bit of beautiful defiance.

They have also been responsible, to a point, for everything I've done of which I am proud. They are the vessel that transfers these words from my my mind into readable text... on paper, on a screen. With a keyboard or with a pen. They at times make music... and at others they caress. They paint detailed intricate designs on faces of women who long to feel beautiful... including the one to which they are by association attached. They change diapers, stroke toddler curls and sometimes with a tinge of reluctance and love they spank. These hands they love the dirt... almost as much as they love running water. One on of these hands is a finger and on that finger resides the most important piece of jewelery I will ever own. The other is connected directly through bone and skin and blood to a stretch of embedded ink that reminds me who I am and to whom I belong. Sometimes these hands are well nourished and aptly decorated... but mostly they are slightly dry and sporting cracked nail polish.

But in spite of what the world may see. In spite of the things they are and are not capable of. I have never seen them as anything less than perfect. And anything less than mine. I may chew my hangnails and I may rip torn fingernails away with my teeth... but there is no part of my body that has ever felt more me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Forest of Fog

   I should be writing about all of the events that I haven't gotten around to posting about yet... Thanksgiving, Christmas Kickoff, my birthday... our first official masquerade event... but, really, right now I am so beyond emotionally drained I wouldn't even know where to begin. So many good things have happened since I last updated the blog, and I am SO grateful for them... but some other really important stuff has fallen apart, and I just can't focus. Have you ever been in one of those weird hazy, this-can't-be-real type dazes? Like you're caught in a fog trying to read road signs in an unfamiliar place? Because that is where I am right now. I feel like I am constantly on the verge of crying but I never quite know whether out of happiness or sadness... because it's as if they are both physical entities literally sitting on my shoulders threatening to duel it out, and I'm simply overwhelmed by their constant bickering. And just when I think to myself "silence would really be better than this", silence comes and I feel so completely bewildered and alone. Silence of course being symbolic of a break from (what feels like) external emotional stimulus... every once in a while a feeling of strange calmness settles in and that sensation scares me most of all. It scares me because my addictive history with the numb sensation. It scares me because "Something big just went down, how can you not care... even if just for a moment?".

   But one can only care so much before something inside them shuts down in need of refueling. And I haven't refueled in quite a while. Someday I will learn to fill up before my tank runs dry, but for now it would seem my gas gauge is either broken or routinely ignored. And although I feel the later is more likely true, and under normal circumstances I would apologize for that (because of how my negligence in taking care of myself adversely affects other people)... I. Just. Can't. Not this time. Because I don't have even that much to give in this moment. I can't think through another apology. I've been doing nothing but, for what feels like a month now. And I don't take any of it back. I have done wrongs and I have made attempts to rectify them, some successful and others not, but either way my regret and guilt is there, and I do want very badly to repair all broken bonds... but right now, at this moment there isn't much of me to bond onto to. If that makes any sense at all.

   Then, just when I get a bit of a grip emotionally some physical ailment pops up and sweeps the rug out from under me. I don't want to dig too deep here on this point because I logically know that fear has a very strong grip on me in this moment... but suffice it to say that a repeat offender is making itself hard to ignore in that physical wellness category of my life and while I have been trying to ignore it, because of what it could mean for me, I am going to have to seek out an answer soon. So, if you are reading this and you happen to have a spare moments worth of emotional energy to say a prayer on my behalf or send some positive vibes this way I would really greatly appreciate it.

This post isn't going to have an eloquent, or even logical end... because this is all I have got. And now you have it to, if you want it. Or whatever.

Merry Christmas.



Friday, November 9, 2012

How I Revive

   I am an introvert. I can fake otherwise when needed, but really, it's in my bones. In some ways to an extreme. I know I've written on this before, but one of those ways is my core need for alone time. Completely alone. Not just "we'll give you some space" but all the way alone. What I do doesn't change for the most part, during that time, but what a lot of people don't understand is the basic level of mental and emotional work involved for an introvert that comes with knowing that there's a slight chance someone might hear what your listening to or walk through the room your in to get to the bathroom. It is really ridiculous in some ways  but I've found it to be true. The best example I can think of for this is my varying degrees of comfort and rest during my child's nap time. When he is actually all the way in a deep sleep (quick moment of thanks for video monitors), we're at home just the two of us I can do just about anything I feel like doing aside from blasting loud music or movies, but listening/watching is an option. Reading. A relaxing bath. Working out. A lot of great things are options. But I still feel trapped and worried. And let me just say that going up to get him after his nap is one of the best parts of my day, so it's not a bad trapped... just, still ever so slightly draining. If he's restless or taking a long time to fall asleep then my stress level surges almost past the point when we're both awake in the same room together... because, darn it, he's supposed to be sleeping and I can't focus on anything until I know for sure that he is. Save for a few rare exceptions, the only time I feel like I can truly charge my batteries is when I am completely alone.

   In that respect, this has already been the best day I've had in ages. I know I get to go be social, in a way that I am excited about, later.... but this morning? Pure alone fuel. I can blast my music, and I have been, but if I just don't feel like it then I don't feel bad because there's no one here that I feel I have to answer to as to why the option matters if I'm not going to exercise it! And again, 99% of the time I could do the same things I've been doing this morning with no questions, and in fact with the blessing of those people whom I share my life with (and love doing so). But it's just not. the. same. Logical or not.

 Photo by Lindsay Grace Designs - March 2012

   And speaking of exercising options... God, does it feel good to really get into exercising, specifically hooping, again after a semi extended hiatus. As I mentioned in my previous post, I kind of lost motivation for some of my healthy habits when I purged an unhealthy one that had crept up. I didn't trust the actions because my motivations are so capable of, and prone to morphing... into something bad. So I walked on the treadmill here and there, which felt pretty good, but strangely enough I gave up the physical activities that brought the highest level of fun into my  fitness life. I missed my hoop. Today for the first time in months I really let go and got into a rhythm. And it felt like a windows down car ride and great conversation with an old friend in the crispness of early fall... with a spice latte in hand. It was so invigorating and cozy at the same time. I am on a high and can't stop smiling right now. I am so impressed by the marvels of muscle memory... the fact that after spending so much time trying to master a trick going in the opposite direction that comes naturally to me, all it took was a break and a renewed excitement for the activity, the fun of it not the mechanics... and I got it mostly down in under 40 minutes!

   Sorry for gushing. That's not normally me.... but that's what I've got right now. What is fueling you these days? What is your go-to recharge activity? When was the last time you did it?



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Who Likes Leaves?

This kid. That's who...


   Yes indeed. He is in fact my son... not that I was wondering, you know since I gave birth to him and all that jazz. But I do watch a lot of horror movies so you just never know. Except for right now. Right now I know.

   This November I am grateful for actually experiencing Fall this year. For soaking it in much more than the past few. And mostly for watching my kid do it too. Watching him go out of his way to crunch through any leaves in our path (or even remotely close to our path). For his obsession with candy corn and trick or treating. For the enthusiastic way he says "shoes on!" as he points to the back door. How much he loves all things apple and pumpkin related. How the Great Pumpkin sounds like 'Gate Punkin' rolling off his little tongue. And Snoopy like 'Soupy'. 

   Just... all of it. 





Monday, November 5, 2012

Confessions of an Addictive Personality

   I have a confession to make. A pretty serious one that I wasn't really planning on making public via my blog any time in the near future for many reasons. Several of those reasons being a possible hit to my level of credibility to those I don't personally know, potential worry in the hearts and minds of people I do know closely (whom I care about deeply), and the early release of some personal information that could take away some of the mystery and intrigue that might drive people to want to read my book... someday, when it's finished being written... But, as a result of some inspiring discussion during Adult Sunday School at church these past few weeks, I feel compelled to share something about myself with the world that I think could help provide some validation and comfort to people out there with similar struggles. People who have overcome an addiction only to find themselves a period of time later heading down a similar path only with a different vice. So there it is, I don't have an addiction (right now), but I do have an addictive personality.

   Before you roll your eyes and think to yourself "who doesn't?" or "that's not even a real thing" let me tell you what I mean... share a little bit of my story, however silly it may seem on the outside. Those reading this that knew me when I was high-school aged will not be surprised by this but others may be... I dealt with some rather serious substance abuse and self injury issues. Went through both inpatient and outpatient treatment at a behavioral health center, meet with multiple counselors and therapists, and spent several years attending NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings. With the help of my family and several key professionals I was able to really turn things around. Save for one relapse in each of those separate, but simultaneous, addictions I stopped using drugs and cutting myself. That was a LOT of work and at the time it felt like more than enough... and so I continued to smoke (cigarettes) for several years afterwards until I "quit". Quit being in parenthesis because what I really did was go from smoking nearly a pack a day (sometimes more, sometimes less) at my peak, to smoking a cigarette here or there on special occasions when I was out with friends or was extremely stressed. That did lead to a increase in use for a short span of a few months in the midst of wedding planning back in 2008 in which I even began buying full packs on my own again and stashing them in the glove box of my car to save for the next night out, but inevitably giving in much more frequently than intended.

   Many people wouldn't see the above as being enough to make a case for an addictive personality with smoking being such a widespread habit in our society and something that is physically difficult for just about anybody to quit once they've started... but the thing is this, outside of one particular vice that crept up more recently, everything that has seeped its way in since my extreme days of drug use and slicing my skin open, has been relatively tame. Outwardly and inwardly difficult to detect. Some of it downright ridiculous.. like this next one that I'm going to share with you. So please bear with me, and if possible try to keep the chuckles to a minimum. ....I got hung up on pizza. No, seriously. Not just overeating, but a specific emotional dependency on this one food above all others. I know... but, really, I ate pizza almost daily, and many times multiple times a day. If an uncomfortable emotion reared its ugly head so did an insatiable craving for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle food of choice. I gained weight, had to have my wedding dress let out (then taken back in when I stupidly decided to balance my pizza habit with gross Lean Cuisine frozen meals to lose what I had gained in such a short time frame), and wound up having to take prescription medication for acne that seemed to show up out of nowhere (go figure). None of these things was I able to put together until after the 'phase' had run its course. This particular addiction ended naturally when I got pregnant and lost my insane obsession with the food. I still like it but am in no way the fanatic that I was.

   The next one in line began sort of in the middle of the last one, that one being the internet. And this is my first time saying anything about it to anyone, ever, because it's still going on (strong) and there are just too many things that the internet provides that I am not willing to give up, mainly this blog. My writing is one of the healthiest habits I have... but the truth is the rest of the internet is usually what is getting in the way of it. When I go weeks without posting it's generally not because I'm out doing interesting things living an interesting life that I can in turn write about... it's because I'm caught up compulsively refreshing my Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest feeds. Seeking the instant gratification that they provide all the while digging the hole that is my need for validation deeper and deeper by the minute. Hours pass every day while I sit staring at a screen, be it the desktop, laptop or phone (usually phone) comparing myself to the entirety of the internet, but contributing little to nothing. This problem, I know, is far more widespread than people with an addictive personality, but I consider it a valid chapter in my book of addictions because of the risks I have willingly taken to spend just one more minute browsing... risks like, at the time, losing my job. It never came to that of course. But people were getting in trouble for it every day. My backlog of emails got bigger and bigger and still, every time eyes weren't on me I un-minimized the tiny, almost unreadable window I had tucked away behind my inbox. And I REALLY hate admitting this now so publicly, knowing that the people on my team who I let down by doing this could read it someday. I am SO sorry. Truly.

   I typed that last sentence then checked my Facebook despite my best intentions to finish this. Get it ALL said...

    Back on a more linear timeline (forgive me, things tend to bleed together and overlap quite a lot) next up I discovered that what pregnancy cured in terms of unhealthy eating habits, my post pregnancy body pushed in the opposite direction. It started off fine and good. Really good actually. Healthier and happier than I had ever been. Healthier, happier and smaller. I began working out religiously and became completely obsessive about what I would and would not allow into my body. When I wasn't reading labels I was reading weight loss articles on any number of topics from the dangers of sugar to the proper balance between cardio and weight training and the best time of day to work out. If I wasn't doing either of those I was spending hours on Tumblr looking at pictures of incredibly tiny, fit, and many times underweight people, watching instructional workout videos to learn proper technique and reading "fitspirational" quotes. Workout done for the day? Doesn't matter I'm getting up and down from that chair anyways might as well do 10 more squats... while I'm at it 25 more crunches.... Surprisingly I managed to keep a relatively healthy attitude as well until I came nearer and nearer to reaching my goal weight. It was then that the voice inside my head wanting to see "just one less pound" on the scale got so loud I couldn't ignore it. I knew that despite my mouth telling everyone including myself that I would stop once I hit that goal ("which [is] technically within the healthy weight range for my height by the way"), it wasn't what I really intended to do. Thankfully around this time enough people took notice, and after confessing my unhealthy thought process about my weight loss to a few key people, the obsession faded and wilted away. Unfortunately so did a lot of my motivation to be healthy, because honestly I just didn't trust it.

   That last one was one of the more intense ones, especially having known some people who have struggled with eating disorders and the severe repercussions they can have mentally as well as physically. But this last one I have to share with you is the hardest and most embarrassing of all to admit because of what it means. Or what I fear it means. A higher admission of failure than all the rest. Because really what it is... what I'm admitting here means that some of the success I have claimed since that time of origin back in high school when my addictions began, isn't real. Wasn't real. Not a full victory anyways. A big one yes, that can't be taken away from me, but not a complete victory.

   ...so, here it is. I still self injure. Not with blades or pins or scratches of my fingernails... and well over 90% of the time with no blood. I do it with tweezers. I pick. When I get stressed or bored... or empty... I attack any stray hair on my body that resides below my collarbones. That's why the neat little white lines on my legs have darker tiny circles surrounding them. That's why sometimes I wince when putting my arms down to my sides after raising them. I feel so very gross admitting this... but it needs to be done. I almost never shave my armpits because there is rarely enough left to shave after my often daily tweezing sessions. And if I do it hurts like crazy so when it gets bad I just don't go sleeveless that day, even if it's 98ยบ outside. I even got lazer hair removal at one point last year, not to make my life easier by saving time in the shower, but so that there wouldn't be hair for me to pick... it didn't work. Sorry for any uncomfortable visuals I'm causing here. I wish I weren't... but hopefully at least some of you understand, I need to. I need to not brush it off or minimize it. I must expose this part of myself for what it is if I ever hope to heal from it.

   Also, caffeine....

   (Had, to break up all that seriousness)

   So, the thing is, I don't have a final statement here. A wrap up paragraph with an uplifting message of how I'm getting better now, or advice to share for those who have similar struggles. I got nothing. Nothing but this confession and a bit of a shift of weight from my shoulders to the pit of my stomach over the prospect of hitting the publish button. I can say I'll keep trying. Keep analyzing... keep my guard up against all of these things and the ones just chomping at the bit to take their place. But I have to say that I'm damn tired. Exhausted if I'm baring it all...

   ...and I am.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Scarecrow at The Door

   I'm pretty sure that just about everyone who knows me is well aware of my Halloween obsession... and so my lack of posting this month was probably assumed by many people to be a result of my being caught up doing Halloweeny (Leanne, that wordage is for you) things... and while I did do my fair share of spooky fun things this year, it has not been why I've been away. I have been writing things, stopping midway through, deleting what I've written, starting over and just plain procrastinating a lot... reasons for this may or may not be shared in the very near future. But I did want to hop on briefly and share a bit of our Halloween experience with all of you fine people. This was a milestone year for us in the TW household. It was Bastian's first year of trick or treating, and oh my, have I never seen a more excited child ever in my entire life! For days beforehand he ran around the house shouting "trick or teating!" (r's are still touch and go... candy coRn gets one but treating hasn't quite made the list). He had never done it and we didn't provide much of an explanation in an attempt to avoid even more begging for candy during the days leading up to the big event... so I'm blaming that one on The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Thanks M. Schulz!


   With Halloween falling on a Wednesday, which the Husband normally has off of work, we had planned to have a casual get together at our house and make his first trick or treating trip in our own neighborhood. Life working the way that it does, things changed and in order to fit in some other crucial things into our schedule, we wound up taking the party to my parents house since just about everyone else was working that day anyways. This played out incredibly well as a good portion of the people who weren't going to make it all the way out to our place then got to see our adorable little scarecrow in action.


   And an adorable scarecrow he did make... thanks to days upon days of battling with my sewing machine. But in the end it was worth it since a) it turned out to be even cuter than I had imagined and b) it only cost me roughly $8 in thrifted supplies and a Walmart roll of yellow yarn that made excellent "hay". My costume was quite as awesome or cost effective but overall I was happy being the crow that my boy scared all day. The skirt was the costly part and once I am in possession of more feather trim (yardage was miscalculated during the supply acquirement phase of costume making) I will have something I love to wear sans homemade wings and black face makeup/paint.


   Daddy wasn't too enthusiastic about any of the options available that would bring him into our costume loop (and I don't blame him, we're both pretty picky when it comes to costuming) and so he went as Dean Winchester from one of our favorite shows, Supernatural.  We made two short rounds trick or treating the first with my sister and the second a while later after we had a chance to warm up and get some food, with my best friend since high school. Grandma took photos and kept him occupied handing out candy to the other ghouls and goblins, which turned out to be the favorite activity of all. All in all it was just too much fun!



    We hope that you had as great of a time as we did, and had some spooky fun this Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Not Creepy, I'm a Mom

   Yesterday Bastian had his first haircut, and I have been grappling with how to describe that experience in words. Explaining why exactly mothers get SO attached to their little ones hair... and I can't. I just can't. All I know is that they (the ends of hair that were snipped) were the beginning of something  that will be in constant motion for a long, long time forwards. The first pieces to curl and twist... tangle, even become noticeably visible to all those people who loved asking "when is that boy gonna grow some hair?" The very ends of which being the only hair he had when he was born. Probably some of the only cells that haven't much changed since then, aside from the distance from his scalp of course. It's similar (but so very different) to that first haircut post wedding when you realize while staring at the clippings on the floor that "this is the hair I got married in!"

  
   Then there is the whole, he's a boy no longer a baby thing. A boy who needs haircuts. A boy who washes his own hands, brushes his own teeth and as of two days ago, occasionally pees in the potty! I feel like yelling "Why did nobody tell me this was going to happen", but the truth is that they did. There was just no way I could have known just what they meant. And I will continue to not know... until suddenly I do. By force. Because really there is no other way.


   And all I will have to show for it is these blurry pictures and a few curls neatly tucked away in an envelope somewhere. Don't snicker, you know you have one too.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Masquerade Madness

   A few weeks ago I officially began work on a project that I am incredibly excited about. It would seem that my love of bold, wild, dramatic make-up is paying off in a way that I could never have even hoped for... I am currently putting together looks that I will be providing as a freelance makeup artist this New Years Eve (in addition to select other December dates) at, get this, a masquerade ball.

   I am pretty sure that I have been talking about how much fun it would be to go to and/or host a masquerade ball for about as far back as I can remember. While other little girls were dreaming of being Cinderella as she was whisked away by Prince Charming, I was taken by the lovely masks and dresses...  then when I saw the Ever After version? It was a done deal. Someday I would attend one of these balls. Not for the guy or the attention... not even revenge (er, justice?) but for the costumes! of those glorious costumes!

   All that being said, this is going to be yet another picture heavy post. A preview if you will. More heavy writing content to come in the very near future I promise (my notes to self are brimming over and overflowing every which where with ideas for great topics and other inspirations so be on the look out). For now I would like to share some images taken by the talented Lindsay Grace and few by myself (the ones in which Lindsay is modeling). All looks were inspired by video tutorials on the Klaire De Lys Youtube page.

  Our first look is a simple, yet stunning lace detail on the eyes and glittery lips for those feeling a tad frisky but not so brave as to get a full face look. These are modeled by the lovely Danielle Slater.  This look was done using a liquid liner, lash glue, rhinestones Lime Crime's Lipstick in Chinchilla with loose silver glitter applied directly on top.



















   Next we have Miss Lindsay Grace (my beautiful and talented sister) in a full mask look with added rhinestones detail on her shoulder. Both shadows used in this look were from the Sugarpill Heart Breaker palette. The lipstick is Kat Von D's Oh My Goth (my new favorite lippie). And of course there is plenty more of the lash glue and rhinestones as evident in the photos.



















   Last up is the look I did on myself using the already mentioned Heart Breaker palette in conjunction with Sugarpill's Burning Heart palette, some glitter and a scrap piece of lace to create the pattern.



















   My Aunt who will be providing musical entertainment with her husband at the same event also began work on a Monarch butterfly and we put together a sparkly design for those daring ladies with backless dresses... but those will have to wait until a later date.

If you were going to a masquerade ball and could have any look you so desired what would it be?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Steam, Dirt, Leaves and Other Fall-Like Things

   Autumn is sort of sacred around these parts. These parts being my household... or perhaps just in my own mind. And in my heart. I have written about the magic feeling of Fall several times before, but I just can't help but revisit it. There are some things that seem to be an endless wellspring of inspiration and to me that is what this season is. However short and fleeting it can be here in the Midwest. I have been doing my best this year to indoctrinate Bastian into my Autumn loving ways. To step out of my normal lazy, indoor prone ways and say "Yes" to as many "Outside" requests as possible, despite the added work of finding socks and coats and a hat... which never all wind up in the same place from the day before.

   On one such day last week I did a better than normal job of documenting our adventure. In fact I took 197 photos before nap time that day... The leaves haven't done a lot of changing yet and a lot of green remains but there was the telltale nip in the air, so we bundled up and headed out. First to the backyard where toddler boy would be fenced in and Mommy could do some reading while he played... but he soon noticed that just on the other side of the gate to the front yard there was some oddly thick and smoky looking air flowing out of a tube-like thing off the side of the house... this was too fascinating to ignore and so we ventured out past the gate "Close a door" and learned a bit about "SEAM" (meaning steam, obviously). The wide eyes of a little boy playing in the mist and fog that seemed to appear like magic, despite my knowledge of its roots in the laundry room on the opposite of the exterior wall we stood beside, was enough to make me feel the wonder of "how does it work?" a bit myself. One of the saddest things about growing up is in losing that sense of amazement over the littlest of things. Things that don't seem so very little, when you are. Little yourself. Having kids of your own brings this back, at least temporarily, and of course vicariously by nature... but still, magic nonetheless.

   Eventually the steam ceased and our adventure moved onward and outward into the front yard, then to the driveway and finally to a patch of dirt where the grass has refused to grow all summer directly next to the fence to the backyard... as close as you could be to the backyard without being fenced in. Just enough rebellion to make it fun. New and different. But still home. Still ours. We collected the few fallen leaves and threw them into the air with wild abandon. We ran back and forth so fast that we toppled over upon stopping to change directions. And then we sifted through dirt. First with sticks then with fingers. We poured it down the front of our jeans to see how it would land or fall. Then we tried to stow some away in our pockets for more fun at a future time... but by then our noses were cold and red. Almost as icy as our fingers. And so went inside for orange Oreos and a bath. All of which were met with the same level of excitement as the dirt, leaves and steam. Oh to be a two year old boy.

   See for yourself:




Sunday, September 23, 2012

Schizophrenic Style: Scarecrow Chic

   On Thursday I made a shirt. Or more accurately I followed instructions as my mom laid out practical plans on how to go about creating a shirt I had visualized in my head... because I am really out of practice when it comes to sewing.  But, the shirt is finished and I couldn't be happier.



   Have you ever picked up a piece at a thrift store and instantly imagined it as something else. A much better version of it's current self, but even better than that, a one of a kind piece... a piece that when inquired about you can legitimately answer "Oh this? I made it!"Well this was one of those garments for me. I didn't get a before picture (shame! what kind of blogger am I?) but it's not hard to visualize... it was your basic XL mens dress shirt. Ah but it was the prettiest plaid made with some of my favorite colors. It screamed Fall, and so for a couple bucks I threw it in my cart and brought it home... where it stayed... in a pile of "to alter" clothing... FOR. EVER.







    I let myself become intimidated by how much I loved the fabric thinking that I hadn't the skill to do my idea justice, and so there it sat until Wednesday night when the scissors called to me. They reminded me ever so gently that a shirt unused out of fear of failure is no better than one unused due to an actual failed attempt at alteration.  And so I cut. And I measured and I cut some more. But ultimately I hit that impasse that makes a 25 year old women throw her arms up in the air and huff to herself... "I'm just going to have to ask my mother."



   Lucky for me my mother is both an incredibly skilled seamstress and an incredibly patient teacher. She gladly shared with me some of her best tricks and reminded me of many that she had once taught me before that I had forgotten. It wasn't but a few hours before, between the two of us, I had this new beauty to wear. A hybrid of some different styles I have seen here and there about the internet over the years. Something with a bit of my own flair.



   And now I throw my arms up in the air with a little bit of "I made that" pride and a lot of excitement. How about you? What have you made lately that you had been meaning to get around to for quite some time? What's still waiting patiently, softly whispering your name?





Shirt - Thrifted. Remixed by Me and my Momma
Pants - Gift (from Goodwill I believe)
Shoes - Target


Friday, September 21, 2012

Brilliant Bastian Turns Two (Part 3 Partygoers)

   As promised, the third and final installment of Bastian's birthday party recap mania. I will be going at this a tad bit differently, in that the post will be arranged by who took the pictures vs. the normal chronological start to finish nonsense... because, well, I didn't take many of my own during the party. I got a lot of the set up before hand and I pulled my camera back out just as most people were leaving, so first are my three good ones of the actual celebrating:









   Isn't my husband so incredibly handsome? I really do think so. And what is better than a Daddy who dresses up for his two year old's birthday party? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing.

   My sister (Lindsay Grace of Lindsay Grace Design) snapped these next two photos of the birthday boy himself as he entertained the crowd of partygoers with his wide eyes and beaming smile. Seriously, this kid is almost always happy but the word happy just doesn't cut it in describing how much joy he was obviously experiencing that day. Which was of course the goal so I would say check mark in the box on that one. The other goal was to have a ton of little kids over to celebrate with him since the company he normally keeps ranges in age from 23 to 63, and on that front I would also have to say that we succeeded. Not only did he have a yard full of kids to play with but he actually socialized with them quite well given his lack of experience in the area.






   The vacuum was a big deal seeing as he has, since first seeing "Mommy's vacuum" had both a strong fascination and even stronger fear of the machine... when it's on and Mommy is pushing it around being all noisy. I had a suspicion that all it would take to break the fear was a Bastian sized machine that he could hold the reigns on so to speak, and it turns out I was right! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

   The next couple of photographs are care of my father-in-law and they show a bit more of the activity and atmosphere of the party than the ones above, although I have decided to refrain from posting some of the more detailed photos I collected from various people that depict the playing, since, they are other people's children and I do not know just how they feel about people posting pictures of them on the internet... that being said there a couple that give a general idea of the festivities. A lot of running around, playing ball, twirling and throwing hula hoops, playing the kid sized piano and plastering fake mustaches and temporary tattoos all over one another.















   And this last set is of pictures I stole off of my sister-in-law's Facebook page (sorry Jenna). Bastian hasn't quite got the unwrapping presents thing down entirely yet, he still gets distracted between each gift and has to be reminded that there's more to open... but when it came time to blow out the candles on his cake...he was an old pro at it! How did that happen? When did my baby become a big boy sticking his face up into the fire with a hug smile and a mischievous laugh? Two. Whole. Years. Old.


















   And of course this happened...


   I had every intention when looking forward to writing these posts, to wax poetic about what it was like as a mother to watch her son as he turned two. From a toddler, a big baby like person, into a boy... but I'm finding the feelings of the day hard to connect to. I can't quite gain access. For fear or sadness or overwhelming joy I'm not quite sure... but I can say that birthdays are quite a different experience when they are not just the day that someone you love was born, but also the anniversary of the day that you gave birth. Became a mom. Met the person that grew inside of your belly for nine whole months. Your not just celebrating another year for that person, you are also celebrating another year of the person that they made you upon coming into this world. It is... frankly too much.

   So instead of trying to wrap up that serious thought eloquently and stumble trying to find something profound to leave you thinking on, I will share with you one last picture, courtesy of my best friend Leanne, of what a first time mother wears to her sons second birthday:


...and there you have it. Every last bit of it. I hope you enjoyed yourself. I sure did!



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