Thursday, April 25, 2013

Psychic Pots!!!

I figured it was time I get back into makeup. I know these posts have been pretty sparse lately. I have been running the idea of a beginner friendly, quick and easy neutral look over in my brain for a while now, and what better time to bring it to you than today?!?

First, you're going to gather your tools and products.

Brushes! I know this looks like a lot of brushes, but I promise - each one has a purpose. Don't be intimidated.

Products: Top to bottom: NYX eyeshadow base in white; Brazen brow powder in Clara; MSC Psychic Paper, Dirty Chai, Fresh Pots!, and Snuffy; UD 24/7 liner in Rockstar; IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes! mascara, MSC shadow primer, "Optimus Primer.

Start out with a clean face. If you're not fresh out of the shower, do a quick wash, or a once-over with  a cosmetic or baby wipe. Be sure to gently clean your eyelids, as they can get grimy and oily, too.

Once your face is clean, apply your Optimus Primer. Do that from lid to browbone. They apply a *very light* amount of shadow base. You want just the barest trace of it, as shown above. Shadow bases can be applied with fingers or a brush; I use my finger.

Next, using your UD 24/7 liner in Rockstar, line your lower waterline and lash line. Now, if you're like me, your waterline never lines quite evenly. That's alright. Do the best you can. You'll be going over the liner later anyway. Rockstar is kind of a purpley-brown; don't worry about that. It works, I promise.

Grab your Bdellium 777 brush and Dirty Chai. If you don't have Bdellium brushes, use a small to mid-sized soft shadow brush.

Apply Dirty Chai using fluid strokes to your entire lid.

With your Bdellium 781 (can be subbed with a medium, semi-stiff crease brush,) pick up some Snuffy. 

Use your brush to "draw in" a cut crease and the outer 1/3rd of your lid. It's going to look like a hot mess right now. Don't worry. You'll fix it in the next step.

Now grab a short, dense, fluffy round brush. This is a Sonia Kashuk for Target brush. Best $6 I've ever spent.

Using your fluffy brush, blend Snuffy down and in to your Dirty Chai. Snuffy goes on very coppery, but has an almost pressure-sensitive quality to it in that it rubs down to a darker, more mellow warm brown.

With your Bdellium 716 (can be subbed with a medium-stiff well pointed pencil brush,) pick up some Fresh Pots!

Using that crisp point, line your upper lash line with Fresh Pots!

Once you've lined your upper lash line, use the same brush to set your 24/7 liner on your lower lash line and water line. To do that, just lightly pack the shadow on top of the liner.

Now, using a mid-sized medium stiff shadow brush (This one is by ELF Studio,) pick up some Psychic Paper. Psychic Paper is a matte, while the rest of your pigments thus far have been either satin or glitter. That's alright. It meshes well because MSC mattes go on and blend like buttah.

Swipe Psychic Paper from your duct, up your arch and to your brow, being careful not to overlap too much onto Snuffy.

A closer shot of Psychic Paper. It's a very subtle highlight color, but oh-so-pretty!

Using the brush you used to apply Psychic Paper, blend ever so slightly down into Snuffy and Dirty Chai. You just want to eliminate the line of demarcation, you don't want to further dilute your colors.

Fill in your brows and add some mascara!

Bam! An easy, somewhat smokey day neutral in just a couple of short steps. This look is perfect for the gal (or the mom) who is on the run and pressed for time and patience. 

As always, stay Madd, darlings!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Feminism in my life.

"Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.[1][2] This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment." -Wikipedia

I think feminism may have been bred into me. I was born to a single, 20 year old woman, who was determined to make her way through college and make a life for us. She did that. She struggled through school with a toddler to get her Bachelor's in science, and then she went out into the world and made a name for herself. She now has two Master's degrees and is the head of a nationally recognized biotechnology program at a local college.

This post isn't about my mother, though.

This post is about me, and how being a feminist affects every single decision I make in life. This post is about how I've bred feminism into my own children, both my daughter and my son. This post is about what feminism means to me.

As a rebellious teenager, I defined feminism as being able to run around and do what I wished, date however many men I wanted, and have my world on a plate with no social repercussions. I bought myself birth control, and I worked a job where my co-workers were predominantly male. The misogynists I knew called me an undisciplined slut. I disagreed. I still disagree. 

As I've matured, so have my views on feminism. Sure, I still believe all those things above, but I also believe that I don't have to be the bra-burning rebel I was back then. I can be a feminist and create change in much more subtle ways.

When pregnant with my daughter, I was convinced originally that I would have an abortion. It felt like having her would be untrue to my feminist roots. Then I made the choice to keep her. For a long time I felt guilty about that, like I had let down all the other feminists in the world by not exercising my right to an abortion. Then I had the epiphany that I did just the opposite - I used my power of choice. The day that dawned on me, many other things became clear. Things like the fact that I could also make the choice to be a stay-at-home mom, or a part time work-out-of-home mom without feeling like I was betraying my fellow women.

Like I said, these days I'm a bit more subtle. I don't attend as many rallies as I used to, but I donate to NOW and other women's rights organizations. I fight against female genital mutilation in countries and religions where it's still practiced. I do what I can to help support the ending of the sex trade and domestic abuse. I teach my children that women are people too. My daughter has a firm grasp on the fact that she can and will be whatever and whomever she wants and I'll stand by her 100%. My son, while only three, nurtures his baby dolls, enjoys having his nails painted, and is unafraid to play dress-up. I will continue to teach him that women are his equals, in all ways.

Feminism to me means that I'm unafraid to reach for the stars, and I'm unafraid to instill that in my children, as well. Feminism means that I'm a whole person.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kermit Gosnell, from a pro-choice perspective.

I know that many of my readers are here for my pretty makeup, my updates on my kids, information and camaraderie for those of us with special needs children, and the social/political pieces I do once in a while.  You're not going to find that today.  Today you're going to find the nitty-gritty and controversial. Today you're going to find outrage.

I am staunchly pro-choice. I'm liberal, I'm feminist, I'm pro-choice. I believe abortion should be legal and safe for every woman who may need one.

I'm conservative only in my belief that there should be an early cap on the gestational age of the fetus being aborted.

A human embryo becomes a fetus at approximately nine weeks of gestational age, and remains labeled so until approximately 20 weeks of gestational age, or when the fetus may be viable outside the womb. It is estimated that a fetus can feel pain as early as 18 weeks of gestational age.

Personally, I feel that abortions performed past 14 weeks of gestational age are too late.

Kermit Gosnell and his staff disagreed.

Dr. Gosnell, if we can refer to him as a physician (because he certainly didn't uphold the Hippocratic oath,) performed abortions as late as 26 weeks confirmed, with abortions as late as 30 weeks a strong possibility.

I'm not going to go into gory details. I'm not going to post public photos of the terminated infants, or tell you HOW he terminated them once they were delivered. (I use the term infants, because many of the bodies recovered were of viable babies, had they been delivered in a hospital setting with neonatal support services.) I'm not going to go into the details of his "trophies," his "disposal" methods, or his clinic conditions.

I am, however, going to tell you that as a pro-choice, liberal feminist, I am horrified.

I am horrified that he was able to convince his employees that this was alright. I am horrified that he made jokes about the infants he euthanized. Because really, that's what it came down to.  It was not abortion in most cases. It was cold-blooded euthanasia. Infanticide. Serial murder, complete with trophies from his victims.

The trial against this man, this monster, commenced on my birthday. In addition to being horrified by the events that led to this trial, I am horrified by the accusations being hurled regarding the lack of media coverage. Glen Beck asserts that the "liberal media" refused to cover the trial because they didn't feel that there was any wrong done. He referred to this monstrosity as "Margaret Sanger's dream come true."

None of that is correct. This is not what Margaret Sanger envisioned when she fought to make birth control available to all women who needed it. This is not what the supporters of Roe vs. Wade envisioned when they fought to have the legality of abortions upheld. This is not what any pro-choice, or even pro-abortion advocate envisioned. This is a crime against humanity.

I postulate that the media has been notably silent due to the complex nature of this atrocity. How does one approach such a thing rapidly with the aplomb required by a media outlet? The emotions evoked in anyone who has knowledge of this case does not lead to self-assured, unbiased reporting.

I know *I* have been silent for those reasons. Even formulating coherency in this post has taken me hours, and taken me through an exhaustive range of emotions. I cannot imagine how reporters who are dedicated to bringing the truth in a manner devoid of emotion are coping, especially now that there is public outcry over their inaction until this point.

Like I said, this is a human rights violation. This is a serial killer we're talking about. About the only thing that could have made this entire scenario more abhorrent would be charges of cannibalism on top of it all.

So no, I don't fault the media for being silent, any more than I fault myself for not having chosen to speak up until now.

I place the blame where it belongs, on the man who committed these sins, these evils. I blame him for shocking us into silence, into heartache, into an impotent rage over the injustice done to these women and these babies.

Remember, this is not a case of choice, this is a case of murder.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I started out this blog post saying I had no words. And then I realized I do.

I have words for the assholes like Alex Jones:

(Thanks Wonkette for the tweets.)

Those words include "You're a prick" and "You have lost the point completely" and "How dare you?"

There are no "buts" in this scenario. There is only "our hearts go out to."

This is a tragedy that did not just affect Boston, MA. This is a human tragedy. This is Columbine, this is 9/11, this is Newtown, this is all of us. This is our friends and our family. This is our neighbors, this is you and me.

Don't argue with me that there were "only" two dead, and there were "only" ~100 injuries (that are currently reported, anyway.) This was done with extreme malice and vitriole, this was done with hatred and evil, as were all the events I listed above, and then some.

I think the venerable George Takei put it best when he said "When tragedies strike, heroes rise to meet the challenge: the first responders seen sprinting toward the blast site, the runners who changed course to run to local hospitals to donate blood, and the fine citizens of Boston who at once opened their homes to marathoners in need of a place to stay. When we come together, we cannot be brought down."

So FUCK YOU, Alex Jones, and those who are on your heels with similar sentiments. You may stand apart, but the rest of us will stand together, and together we'll heal from this.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bug update

For those of you new to the blog, my son Riley, AKA Bug, has Neurofibromatosis type 1. (Also known as NF1.)

In short, Neurofibromatosis type 1 is a genetic disorder characterized by symptoms such as multiple large cafe au lait spots and axial/inguinal (armpit and groin,) freckling on the skin, tumors (called "fibromas,") on the skin, in the muscles, on the nerves, along the spine, and in the brain, vision problems, macrocephaly, cognitive delays and learning disorders, epilepsy, scoliosis, and fine and gross motor development delays.

It has manifested in Bug in that he has the cafe au lait spots, axial and inguinal freckling, one dermal fibroma (small skin tumor,) speech and motor delays, and macrocephaly, or a large head. Thus far, there have been no vision issues, signs of epilepsy, scoliosis, or severe tumors.

Today we met with his geneticist for his one-year follow-up exam. Over the course of the appointment, we discussed things such as Riley's first fibroma (on his lower back on the right,) his previous brain MRI, the course of treatment thus far, and predicted outcomes for the future.

His brain MRI showed no signs of tumors on the optic nerve (called optic glioma,) only some UBOs (Unidentified Bright Objects,) in his cerebellum, which are nothing to be concerned about and quite normal for a NF1 patient.

Doc said that he was unconcerned with the fibroma, and that there will undoubtedly be more that develop. Most "disfiguring" fibromas (Large ones on the skin, or ones deep within the muscle/running along multiple nerves,) would have already presented by now, so he feels we're "out of the woods" in that regard.

So far the course of treatment is to just sit back and monitor his development as he grows. The disease's progress is relatively chartable with his symptoms right now, as he is a "classic" case. His physician feels that he will definitely gain speech and articulation, but it may take time. (This was something that was great to hear, as his neurologist had left things very wide open, saying that he might speak, he might speak in a limited capacity, or he might never speak. Not very comforting there.) As far as the hypotonia and hyper-extension, that is something that will probably be a lifelong struggle. Having him in OT is a good thing, and letting him ride once a week is even better.

Overall, it was a good visit. It put some fears to rest and clarified a few points that we had been flailing around. (Mainly, "does he need a full-body MRI?" and "Does he really need another MRI in six months?")

I'm especially pleased to hear that there is confidence that he will begin talking. That is something that greatly stresses me out, something that I worry over almost irrationally.

So all in all, a good day!