Thursday, September 8, 2011

Update your reading list!

Just a head's up - most, if not all, things art and makeup have moved over to MMC Designs!  Please follow me there as well.  Thanks in advance!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

When life hands you lemons...

...You paint that shit gold.  With eye makeup.

Feeling in a bit of a slump, I decided to re-create in pictorial form an eye look that I did yesterday for a possible interview.  Didn't get the interview, but definitely went out looking FIERCE.

The original look in natural light.

Us girls with glasses have a unique challenge when it comes to eye makeup.  We have to go a bit bolder than most, but the worry about being TOO bold or downright tacky, is very real.

Below you'll find a look that works well for both day/business and night/casual.

First, let's look at our supplies:
Left to Right, top row: Unknown brow pencil, Hazel; Maybelline waterproof liner, Black; Estee Lauder Projectionist mascara, black; UDPP, Original; NYX eyeshadow base, Pearl; Madd Style Cosmetix eye pigments in Bubblegum Crisis, Phantasm, Revenge, and Bitch Slap.

Brushes below are a collection of Ecotools, Sonia Kashuk, and Essence of Beauty.

Now, on to the steps!

Step 1: Clean, naked face.  I prefer to do my eyes first and then apply the rest of my makeup.  Switch it up as needed.

Step 2: Primer.  Smoosh it alll around the eye, up to the brow, and the lower lash line.

Step 3: Shadow base.  I apply it with a brush, and then blend gently with clean (CLEAN!) fingers so that the end product is very soft.

Step 4: Gently pat Bubblegum Crisis along the inner half of your lid.  Draw an imaginary line bisecting your pupil; stop at the line.

Step 5: Take a blurry toddler break.

Step 6: Pat the outer half of your eyelid with Phantasm.  Don't worry yet about fallout.

Step 7: Blend, dahling!  Blend!  You don't want a definite line of demarcation, you want everything to flow together naturally.  Blend and blend some more.  I use the stubby floofy Ecotools brush above. 

Step 8: Line, dahling! Line! My eyes have gone through hell and back lately, so with them being as sensitive and sore as they are, they don't much like me lining.  Do a better job than I did.

Step 9: Using your pencil brush, apply Bitch Slap to your ducts and over your liner to set it.  Blend outward as you go along the liner, so that there is a gradual fade into the plain black.

Step 10: Using a nice, soft, floofy brush (like my white Sonia Kashuk above,) pat on some Revenge along the upper side of your crease to the top of your ocular cavity or your brows, whichever you prefer.  They're both the same for me. =P  Once you have it on there, go back to your larger floofy brush, and blend bitchslap up into Revenge, and Revenge down into Bubblegum Crisis and Phantasm.  Remember, NO HARSH LINES!!! If you can still see lines, blend more, using a back and forth motion for across your lid and up and down motion for highlight to lid/duct to highlight.  Don't touch the bottom lash line.

 Step 11: Apply Mascara.  No, those are not faux lashes.  Yes, they're really mine.

 Step 12: Wipe off the fall out (I use baby wipes,) put on the rest of your face and something other than a ratty grandma robe like I'm wearing above, and go rock the look!

What to do?

My post on Thursday centered on coping with the reality that is the other half of a blended family moving further than the other side of town.  Compromise is KEY, I said.  Open mind is KEY, I said.

Today, dear readers, I am not taking the high road.  Chalk it up to the migraine, the cramps from Hell, or even just a pissy mood, but understand this: I'm about to bitch and complain.
StepMC and I spoke a while back, when we learned first that StepMC was hauling across country.  I asked he+999-r if we could get the children together more often than just Pater Puerii's weekends, so that they could spend what time they had left together more often.  Her response... heh.  Hang on a moment, I need to mentally break a glass against a wall out of frustration.

Anyway, her response to me was non-committal.  However, in the next sentence, she stated "I'd like them to have as much time as possible but if she gets used to seeing [Blueberry Nights], it may be harder when we move."

Now, that sentence is one big oxymoron, is it not?

She has been utterly unable to accommodate even a single play date with the children, but she has been able to move heaven and earth to spend as much time as possible with a playmate visiting from Australia.

Hold please, taking another moment to close my eyes and imagine myself throwing another glass against a wall.

She and I loathe each other.  There is no secrecy to that.  But Jesus God, you'd think that she'd make more of an effort for her daughter's sake, wouldn't you?  Though, this isn't the first time her duplicity, lies, insanity and false promises have had a direct affect on my child.  I can't imagine the hell it is on Pater Pueri to know that the woman who stole years from his other daughter is once again depriving her and throwing her love in the trash.  Pater Pueri and I have no love lost on StepMC, since I have never liked her and he has never loved her.  She can't hurt us in that way.  Kinder Major, though, she hurts to the core.  Over and over.  I don't lie to my child when she asks why she doesn't get to see Blueberry Nights as much as she briefly did.  I have explained that there is a difference between the adults, and StepMC is quite busy and unable to balance things any better.  Even with that neutral explanation, though, Kinder Major comes to her own conclusions, and they're often correct.

I just lost my train of thought.  Probably for the best.  One can only bitch so much in one day, you know?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bridging the gap: When blending families spans space and time

I posted over at Tales of an Unlikely Mother recently about the art that is blending the American family these days.  Now, here, I'm going to throw around some ideas for bridging the gap when moves, both physical and emotional, occur.

We have just learned that the beautiful Blueberry Nights will be leaving us for the other extreme of the country in a few short months.  We were aware the move was occurring, just not that the time window had become so small.

So what now?  We've worked so hard to make a strong beginning with our ragtag little family.  It seems almost as though we're being rent asunder in this moment, as the emotions that ride high on the entire situation are as volatile as the jet fuel that will take her 12 hours from us by air.

We're not, though.  We have a strategy, a plan, and a philosophy.  And we're going to share it with you.

Like blending the family to begin with, we start with an open mind, and when we're calm we acknowledge that there may be good opportunities present for our wee Blueberry Nights when she leaves with her mother.

We set up a fund to ensure that airfare one way or the other will not be an issue.  Obviously this is something that is fluid, and a backup.  Backups are your friend, though.

We talk with the children and let them know that they're not "losing" their sister, only that we're saying "See you later!" for the time being.  Never, ever, ever, ever discourage hope in your other children.  Kinder Major is working through some serious grief over this, and it's crucial to her well being that she understand that this does not mean she will never see her sister again.  It is also an unbreakable rule that the step in question not be bashed in front of the children, whether you agree with the separation or not.

Depending on how old your children are, they may understand that there was little choice in the matter, which is where we are with Kinder Major right now.  She finds herself angry at StepMC, and while I do not contribute to her sentiments in spite of having concurrent ones, it's important for her to be able to work through that anger, and not feel like her emotions have been belittled.  It's a frighteningly delicate line to toe, and one made twice as fragile by our own emotions.

PLAN.  Involve the siblings in planning how it will go when their other sibling(s) come home.  Kinder Major has thoroughly enjoyed and found joy in planning how Blueberry Nights' side of the room will be decorated, and how she plans to cook a day of celebratory meals in her sister's honor when she comes home to us again.

Talk about the other sibling.  Don't hush hush it with the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy, as that only leads to bitterness and resentment later.  Keep photographs, encourage laughter, allow tears, and roll with the punches.

Skype/gVideo/iPhone face time/whatever - and often!  There's nothing to say that the siblings can't do the same as they did when blending the families to begin with.  Let them talk as often as they want and time allows.  Set up those live feed at ballet recitals and plays, the soccer games and scout ceremonies.  Including the long-distance child and likewise, offer availability to be included.

As adults, decide on a family dynamic.  Ours is "seamless."  One word.  Blueberry Nights will step off that plane and into our home like she never left, with hugs and kisses from MamaAccidentally, a snack, and a good book for an afternoon story.  Pater Puerii will have his just-them time with her like he does with his other two children, and we will step in sync back into daily life as a family.

Lastly, the exact same philosophy that you took up when the family came together to begin with: Love begets love, and softens even the stoniest facades.  Love, the true love of a family, can be felt a world away, let alone a mere country.  Love hard, love freely, love often.  It can only do everyone involved good.