Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Work Widow

I am a work widow.  I'm not sure where the name came from, and I am by no means comparing my life to that of an actual widow, which would be terrible.  The term refers to those of us whose husbands work insane hours, far away, out of state, etc.  I'm not talking 40 hours a week with weekends off (I have no idea what that would be like), I'm talking about a group of wives and moms who are basically on their own most of the time.  In my situation, my husband works in Texas.  I live in Las Vegas.  We see him a few times a year.  It works for us for now, but I can't wait for it to be over when I move back to Texas in July.  There is no substitute for not having daddy around. 

I am blessed in the fact that I have family around.  Before I came back to Las Vegas I was a work widow with no family nearby, no friends, in a dump town with nothing to do but go stir crazy with a toddler.  My husband would go to work before dawn and come home long after our son had gone to bed.  Basically, even when we lived in the same house  I never saw him. 

I have quite a few friends who are work widows as well, and we share the same concerns, such as the re-entry process when our husbands come home, finding time to yourself, and trying not to lose it when your husband does come home and thinks he can take over when you are used to doing it all yourself.  I guess that is kind of why I am writing this post, and, if anyone actually ever reads my posts, let me know if you are a work widow and what works for you and what doesn't.

On a side note, I am so glad that I started the 40 day self makeover thing last week, since I just found out that I get to see my husband in three weeks!  The upside to being apart is that I can surprise him by looking better than I did a few months ago, and that is great motivation.  Trust me, when you take the time to take care of yourself, your husband will notice.  Remember when you started dating your husband?  If you were like me or pretty much any other girl out there, you tried to look cute and impress him.  Why stop after you get married?  I know that when I see him, I want him to be impressed, so I am going to kick this 40 day project into high gear.  More on that later, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Skin Care Update

My 40 day project for my face is going well!  For once, I am actually sticking to the plan.  I haven't seen huge improvements yet, as it has only been a week, but there have been small improvements that motivate me to keep going.  Instead of showing one product at a time, I thought I would share them all in one post.

So here goes:

#1  The most important part in any skin care regime is to exfoliate and get your skin ready to take on the products you are going to use.  The best product I have found is old faithful, the Microdelivery Peel from Philosophy.
#2  I wash my face with a Clarisonic.  It truly lives up to the hype, just as Sonicare toothbrushes do (they are made by the same people).  It gets your skin super clean without stripping it.  I use the Deep pore cleansing head, (#3 in the picture) since my skin is not sensitive and I love how these clean a bit deeper than the regular or sensitive head.  Of course I use the Clarisonic with #4, my Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash - see my post about that here.

Each morning and night, after washing my face, I follow up with #5 the Clinique Dark Spot Corrector.  I have terrible hyper pigmentation and scars on my face, and this stuff works.  I have tried just about every brand of spot remover, but I keep coming back to this one.  Every few months I switch it up since my skin seems to get too used to it, and then I go back to it a few months later.  Does that make any sense at all?

Finally, at night, I follow up with a dose of Argan oil (#6) on my face.  I have used argan oil for some time on my hands, and honestly never thought about using it on my face.  After all, I am prone to breakouts and acne, so the thought of putting oil on my face was not exactly appealing.  I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that it would not make me breakout, and it is better than any other night cream I have ever tried.  Just make sure you get 100% PURE argan oil, not some synthetic, mixed with chemicals bottle of junk.  A little bit goes a long way, so the bottle lasts forever.  I get mine at Whole Foods.  I have probably had this 2oz bottle for about 6 months.
In the daytime, I use a basic Olay sensitive skin moisturizer with SPF.  I no longer allow my face to leave the house without sunscreen, but I have a sensitivity to Avobenzone, a common ingredient in facial moisturizers.  The Olay cream does not contain it, so it works for me.

So that's the routine!  It seems like a lot of work, but I only use the Micro Delivery once or twice a week, and the rest is daily.  It seriously takes me 5 minutes to do all of this. 

Remember, we deserve to feel our best, and I feel so much better now that I am taking better care of myself.  When you feel proud of how you look, it gives you a little boost of happiness that carries over into all aspects of your life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shirt Labels for Disneyland

I am a paranoid mom.  Very Paranoid.  I have an innate ability to see the death/kidnapping/bad side to any and every situation.  I have not (yet) lost my son, but it is something I always worry about.  When we are out, we might as well be strapped together with velcro, since I am scared to death that someone is going to try to take him.

Enter, Disneyland.  We are getting ready to take another trip there, and it is a prime situation in which to lose your child.  The good thing is that the folks at Disney are experts at dealing with lost children.  Look around the next time you go.  A child will be crying, with that bewildered look in his/her eyes, and within seconds several cast members appear out of thin air.  It is like magic.  When they rescue said child, they take them to a Lost Child center where coloring books, crayons, and other fun things await them until their frantic mother arrives to collect them. 

I remember being at Disneyland last year.  All week it was slow, not crowded, and I kept my son tightly in my grip.  Then came Friday night, and it was packed.  Travel lanes were restricted due to Fantasmic, and there were swarms of people EVERYWHERE.  If my son's hand had slipped my grasp for a second, I honestly don't think I could have found him one second later.  It was that crazy.  He probably still has marks in his hand from my nails digging in to him.

So this is what I do to ease my mind.  I print labels with his name and my phone number, and stick them to his shirt underneath his sleeve (kind of the armpit area).  This is a cheaper option than the rubber wristbands that you can order, and easier in my opinion.  You simply print out a sheet of labels before you go - I used the Avery Clear Labels #18660

Each day you are in the park, just slap one of those labels on your child's shirt.
The sticker goes on the outside of the shirt just under the armpit

  I also made sure my son understood that it was there, so if he did get lost he could tell the cast member that found him.  I have also heard that Disney cast members know to look for the label, but I am not sure if that is true or not.  Knowing Disney, it probably is true. 

A side note to the person who will inevitably comment that if you lose your child you shouldn't be a parent:  I used to think that way as well, and no, I have never lost my child.  But it is not outside the realm of possibility, and you can never be too careful.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Product #1

Since I am trying to make myself feel/look better in a span of 40 days, I thought I would share a few products with you, and this is my first choice.  This is quite possibly the greatest face wash ever created.  I stumbled upon it one day while buying another product at Nordstrom.  When I heard the cost, I said "no way am I buying that!".  Then they gave me a sample.  The sample container was about the size of 3 quarters stacked on top of each other.  It couldn't have been more than 1/2oz.  Basically, it was the size of one pump of normal face wash.
It lasted a week.  A WEEK!!  That's when I realized that it was worth every penny, and, in my frugal mind, about the same price per dose as the cheap washes.
Here it is:
I present to you, the Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash.    Also known as face changer in a bottle.  It really does work to resurface your skin.  Here's how it works:
Get your face barely wet (just enough so the wash can move smoothly around your face)
Use one pump, and massage it on to your face
Relax for a few minutes.
  Here's the creepy/great part.  As it is on your skin, you may feel some tingling, and after a few minutes you may actually smell the gross stuff coming out of your pores.
 I follow up with my Clarisonic, but I have a feeling it will work almost as well if you rinse it off like normal.

I am so happy I stumbled on this, before that fateful day I had never even heard of Elemis.  The bad news is this face wash is $50.00 a bottle.  It is certainly a splurge.  If you want to try it, I suggest going to Nordstrom and asking for a sample.  They are great with the samples.  After that, you will be sold.

As for me, I am trying to make sure I wash my face every night before bed.  There are two types of people in this world: those who make sure all of the dishes are done and all of their makeup removed before bed; and the rest of us. One of my 40 day goals is to be the former, rather than the latter.

It's Ash Wednesday!

Which means that I walked around all day with ashes on my forehead.  More importantly, it is a time of reflection, and a time to give up something that is tough to give up.  For instance, my 6 year old decided to give up being mean to mommy.  We'll see how that goes.
I will give something up, but I haven't quite decided what it will be.  I have so many vices, it is difficult to choose just one.

Either way, I have decided to take better care of myself for the next 40 days.  Not in a religious sense, just a personal challenge.  I have let myself go, I could say that I am just too busy, but the truth is I am just too lazy.  40 days seems like an attainable goal (we shall see), and I kind of want to see if I can make an actual difference during that time.   I need to get back in the gym, fix my face, as it is pretty much as bad as you can get at 34, and work on looking presentable every day.

The other day I saw a post on Clinique's facebook page, selling kits.  Pick which one you need! They said, with options of acne, dark spots, or anti aging.  "ummm," I thought to myself, "how about all three?"  My skin is in sad shape.  So I am going to try to fix it, and we will see how far I get in 40 days.  I would post a picture, but let's be honest here, I am not quite ready to do that.  Now, if I get to a point where I see a visible difference, I may be brave enough to post a before picture.  That day is not today.

Along the way,  I will post products I love, and I will try to use them faithfully every day.  Let's see what will happen over the course of 40 days.  If you want to join me, let me know!  It doesn't have to be your skin or working out, it just needs to be something you want to improve on, using the 40 day goal as a benchmark.

Monday, February 4, 2013

An open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Dear Commissioner Goodell,
I am writing this letter as a concerned parent.  I am not sure when or why the NFL decided to make the Superbowl an adults only program, but I, like many other parents out there, am outraged.  It has become increasingly difficult over the years to watch it with my son, who is 6.  You see, children should be able to watch a football game without being subjected to half naked women (and men) shaking their "booties" and making inappropriate gestures.  After the Janet Jackson fiasco, the NFL made excuses and apologized, yet we all knew what you were thinking, and that was "ratings gold".  Nevertheless, you tucked your tail between your legs at the mercy of the FCC and had some relatively mild halftime performances for a few years.  Then came last year, and as I watched Nicki Minaj, a singer I had never even heard of, spread her legs and stick up her middle finger.  I hoped I could quickly usher my son out of the room.  This year, we were treated to Beyonce dancing in an outfit that could only be described as a stripper's castoff, licking her lips and finger and spreading her legs (her child must be so proud).
To be frank, I am not a prude, nor am I part of some extreme religious cult.   I just think that I should be able to allow my son to watch a football game without having to shield his eyes, or explain why that lady on stage is acting that way.  Nor should I have to explain why his favorite NASCAR driver, Danica Patrick, is in that weird, gross commercial, or why that man is in his underwear on TV.

"Sex sells" you will inevitably reply.  That would be cute if it were accurate.  The truth is that women account for 85% of the spending power in the United States, and many of us are mothers.  Don't think for a second that we don't take these things into consideration when buying, oh say, NFL tickets.  Look at the commercials that have garnered the most attention from last night: Budweiser's Clydesdales ad and Chrysler's God Made Farmers.  That alone should tell you what sells, and it is certainly not the atrocious slurping sounds of a model making out with a "nerd".

Take a look at record sales.  George Strait has sold over 68 million albums.  Beyonce has sold just 13 million.  For those of you who may say that he has been around longer, he has sold 14.5 million just in the time since she went solo.  If that alone doesn't prove that mainstream Americans appreciate talent even when it isn't wrapped up in spandex and fishnets, nothing will.

You see, commissioner, you can try to suck up to parents all you want with your "play60" and children's programs, but we see right through you.  You can't advocate for children, while at the same time making it impossible for them to watch the biggest game of the year.  If the NFL had followed the TV Parental guidelines, the game would have been rated TV14, for intense sexual situations.  But you don't care.  Funny that you don't , since those of us with the actual purchasing power in this country will keep that in mind.  Hope those teenagers you impressed with your halftime show pay the bills.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine's Day Pinwheels

Pinwheel from Oriental Trading
It's almost Valentine's day!  For me, that means helping my son get Valentines ready for his kindergarten class.  Of course, thanks to Pinterest, I was looking for something cute to do.   Fortunately for me, a few weeks ago I got the latest Oriental Trading Company catalog and saw these super cute pinwheels.  36 of them for $10.50?  Sign me up!  I had seen some really cute candy ideas; however, this year, Valentine's day falls after the start of Lent, so my son's teacher sent out a friendly reminder that a lot of kids give up candy for Lent.  (she's on top of it!)  Pinwheels seemed like the perfect alternative.  I dressed them up with a tag, and here is how I did it.

I bought this Martha Stewart punch around the page,  it is super cute.  I really wanted the dancing hearts one, but Michael's didn't have it so I had to let that dream go.
I got home, and started punching.  I have used paper punches before, but not a punch around the page one.  There is a learning curve, and the dimensions of your paper need to be perfect in order for all of the punches to line up correctly.  I did a 3.25" square, which worked out quite nicely, since after I did the corner punches I only had to punch one time on each side with the bigger punch.  Convenient, since I have to punch out 25 of these things and I would like to retain the use of my hands by the end of it.

The pinwheels are red and silver, and I really wanted the background paper to be red, yet somehow, despite my stacks of card stock, I don't have any true red card stock.  I have every other shade of red, but not red red.  Crazy.  I debated going back to Michael's, but quickly came to my senses and found a sparkly silver glitter paper that has been lingering in my stash for years.

I punched the 3.25" square of silver cardstock:
Look at the pretty little hearts left behind!  I am saving those for a future project.

Next, I cut out a 2.25" square of white card stock.  I inked the edges using a Martha Stewart petal ink pad.  I like the smaller ones for inking the edges of paper, you just lightly swipe it along the cut edges to add dimension.  Then I stamped it with a "Happy Valentine's Day" stamp that I also picked up at Michael's today for a dollar.  I had tried embossing it in silver ink, but it looked terrible. 

Next, I used some pop dots to stick the stamped square onto the silver punched square, tied it on to the pinwheel with some ribbon, and I was done!  Only 24 more to go!