V-day thoughts and Brow Love!

Hello to all my Internet (secret and not so) Admirers!

Probably not going to be you if you try to go to a nice restaurant on Feb 14.

It’s already February – how did this happen?? Next week is Valentine’s Day!  You either are like “woo” or “boo” although a few of you are “WOOHOO!!!!” – much like the house I passed on my way home from dinner with Captain Wentworth last night that had a full-on Christmas level lighting scheme and major heart shaped décor going on!!  I’m going to be sexist and assume that’s a female who decorated that house and by GOD her mate better deliver next week or she’s totally gonna craft them a noose with raffia and glitter, that’s all I’m sayin’.

My current thoughts on Valentine’s day are summed up thusly.  All is well with Captain Wentworth and we have exchanged those three little words (“You are cool.” No, wait. “Like your butt.”  No that wasn’t it either, hmmm…) so 2019 Valentine’s day by default is a big thumbs up.  It’s also fun when you have kids because you get to put together vday cards or bake cookies and make them little presents and they are super happy which is cute!  Last year I was single and I have to say – folks, if you are online dating right now – GET OFF THE GODFORSAKEN APPS!  It was like the proverbial singles club meat market of days of yore when people actually used to meet without electronics involved!  I’m talking you’d exchange 2 sentences with someone on an app and they were like “…this app sucks – GIVE ME YOUR NUMBER!!  Let’s be REAL – WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF????????”  You.  You sir.  You sir are *exactly* what I am afraid of!

So I repeat, shut those profiles *down* for the next two weeks people – It’s hell out there!

Speaking of hell – try going to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day!  You’ll be lucky if the you can get into Denny’s or the 99! Better to do dinner at home the night of then do dinner out a few days before or after – although the Saturday after will also be pretty slammed. In any case, whether you are in romantic love with only yourself (which you should be in any case, cuz you rooooock!) or also in love with a significant other, or even a wee one, I wish you a very lovely Valentine’s Day full of beauty, joy, and awesome take-out cuz I’m telling you the restaurants are fucked, don’t even do it. ❤😃

Product Review: L’oreal Paris, Unbelievea Brow Gel, Light Brunette = 5 stars

Joan Crawford. Terrifying.

Yes, yes, I know the name is ridiculous but guuuuuuuurl (and you 2 guys reading this part!!!) it is AWESOME.  This is hands down the most perfect eyebrow product I have used so far, and I’ve been filling in my brows at least a little bit for at least 12 years, I think. Why fill your brows?  Well see for yourself below.  I personally feel it lends a certain youthfulness to the face to have a fuller brow, as long as you don’t go crazy with it and look like Joan Crawford (who had completely normal eyebrows when she was younger if you go back and look at older pics!).

Left brow = before gel, Right brow = after.
Yes, this picture sucks, I know.

I love this product because it’s a doe foot applicator so it doesn’t drag on your eyebrows like a pencil or brush with wax, and then there is a little mascara brush AND little make-up brush so you can comb thru and set your brow with precision. Plus it’s more or less waterproof although I’d have to do a swim test to really know for sure as I’m not hopping in the shower then taking a selfie for you guys – my beauty blog dedication only goes so far!  But I will say after I wash my face it’s still halfway there, which is handy if you are on vacay and don’t have all the time needed for your normal toilette! 

I used the Light Brunette shade and it is absolutely perfect for my dark brown hair and again, fills smoothly without giving you the ubiquitous Joan Crawford-type look you see going around! I wholeheartedly recommend!

And with that! Time for a coffee…  Maddy ❤

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Hello 2019!

Holiday Wrap-up & Coconut Oil Fails

Dear Superior Subscribers and Righteous Random Readers,

You have survived the holidays! Have your credit card statements arrived from last month yet? (OUCH.) A local radio station here is giving away “4K a day” to help people pay for their Holiday spending bills. Is this really what the early Christians had in mind when they started celebrating the birth of Jesus? Everyone going into debt for the holidays? The utter commercialism of a holiday based on the birth of a man who really just wanted us all to be good to one another in the most basic, loving, and humble ways? Am I starting to whine like Charlie Brown? Maybe.

There is a store in California called Daiso (originating from Japan). Everything in Daiso is $1.50 an item. I shit you not — there are like 100 things at any given time in Daiso that I would be super psyched to get as a cute little gift. They are incredibly adorable things! Stationary/art things. Kitchen things. Little wacky doodads. Friggin’ wasabi peas, whatever! I’m not that picky! Just don’t give me a box of smashed secondhand candy like I received one time as an emergency gift back — I’m good, thanks.

I just don’t think we should all be going into debt when the true measure of your philia for each other, to me, is the following:

  1. How good were you to each other this year? Did you make a positive impact in the lives of those around you? Or an indifferent, or worse yet, a negative one?
  2. When you saw that your loved ones (or even just that old lady at CVS struggling to find the right sinus medication!) needed help — did you offer to help? Maybe not every time, but when you could?
  3. Did you smile and compliment someone randomly when you honestly felt they deserved a compliment, even though you were perhaps in an airport security line in the middle of the night because your ex husband is an asshat and booked your kid’s flight back from California for 5AM? Too specific? Just me???

Anyway! You know, stuff like that!
Let’s all be nicer, and more considerate to and understanding of one another for 2019. Let’s spend quality time together. Let that be a better measure of our love for each other over the things we can buy. Give it the inherent value it deserves.
Then go ahead buy me those $1.50 bunny shaped post-its and pens from Daiso, ‘cuz I got you the cute little sushi plates, and everyone’s happy! ;-p

*********

Gift-giving Note: Captain Wentworth got me some reeeeeeeally nice stuff for Christmas as noted in my last post. And I got him… a bottle of wine! ARGH!!! :-O However! I gave him my gift first and we hadn’t even discussed exchanging gifts, and blah blah, back pedal, back pedal anyway! I’m not saying I will match the expense level (‘cuz am pretty sure the expense level exceeded the entirety of my 2018 xmas budget, eek!), but next year, as a conscientious gift giver, I will certainly find something profoundly more meaningful than a tasty bottle of vino!!! However, at least I can say, that if my appreciation for him and his qualities as a person could be measured, boxed, and put under the tree, I’m pretty sure it’d take him at least a few hours to finish unwrapping it all.
🙂  

Coconut Oil: Use with Caution or Risk the 80’s “Wet Look” (which was only really ever sorta hot in a Robert Palmer video, let’s be real)

So recently at my Writer’s Group, a certain curly haired colleague of mine arrived and pointed out her new hairdo. (You said I could use this in my blog, P, haha!) I thought her hair was wet, like, freshly showered, still damp — wet. She told us how it was in fact, not wet, but it was a coconut oil conditioning treatment fail, and she had already washed her hair once or twice to remove, to no avail!

A similar look to leftover coconut oil!
https://www.pinterest.com/brttnyta/my-hair-experiments/

Yipes! I have put Argan oil in my hair and it was great, not greasy at all! But Argan oil is not quite the same as coconut oil as far as application as a conditioning treatment in your hair. Argan oil melts right in and does not have to be washed out. Coconut oil is a different animal (eeeer, plant. eeer, plant based derivative? whatever!). I discussed this with Katie Abdou
— author, friend, and beauty maven extraordinaire, as she had an excellent, and not 80’s at all experience with coconut oil conditioning.

Coconut oil saved my hair after a bleach disaster in my dreaded, and very brief, red hair phase. It’s extremely nourishing to the hair, but also extremely heavy. I usually soaked my hair in it, wrapped it in plastic, then a towel, and left it over night or for a few hours while cleaning the house. After, it took a good two to three, or sometimes even four shampoos to get it out. When it was at its worst, I did this treatment to my hair once a week. You definitely have to wash your hair VERY thoroughly after using it, especially if you have fine hair like me, but it can be hugely beneficial to dry or damaged hair.


— @KaitlynAbdou (Twitter)
This curly soft hair. YAS!

So P!
Keep on scrubbin’ that head, girl! You were on the right track, just a few more washes to go!

And with that, I wish you all a fabulous weekend ahead!

Time for a Coffee,

M!

I’m Baaaaaaaa-aaaack! Happy Holidays 2018!!

Hello and Happy Holidays to my dear Spectacular Subscribers and Ravishing Random readers!  Soooooo you may have noticed I took a WEE little tiny 4 year hiatus here!  Can I just say a HUGE thank you for you 29 subscribers who forgot you were subscribed to me and didn’t clean me out of your subscriptions!!  ❤  You are double the population of my twitter followers for the book I just published last month! (#sadirony). And yes!  I wrote a book!!!  I think it’s lovely but no one is buying it (see woeful 2nd half of today’s blog below).  If you would like a link to see my book on Amazon, please feel free to message me and I will supply it! It’s really quite an entertaining read (I say not humbly whatsoever)! 

So, for my blog reboot I am going to continue along the same themes of books, beauty, homelife, food, and of course writing. Some of you will notice from previous articles I am no longer married, but did in fact, after almost 4 years of being single, trade up for a far superior man I will henceforth call Captain Wentworth.  (You Austenites out there know what I’m talking about, right?)  {{Sly gangster style nods of appreciation happening towards phones and laptops by book nerds everywhere in cyberspace.}}  In fact! Captain Wentworth just gave me a beautiful 1869 first edition of Northanger Abbey/Persuasion for Christmas.  The awesomeness of the gift is only comparable to the even MORE lovely, “kindest and best of men” himself.  And with that, you can now wipe all the vomit off your phones and keyboards.  I will gush no more. I think.

Christmas 2018
DIY mani

Anyhoo! If anyone has any requests of things for me to discuss or review coming up, please feel free to comment down below, as I’m always looking for new items to discuss! I’m thinking the next post will be a holiday wrap up! And I really need to get back to documenting my diy manis.  I did a great one for Christmas and only one finger is still nice so here it is!  As always, I used Sally Hansen base + top coat, and in this mani I used a basic red OPI polish and the new “Resting Grinch Face” China Glaze glitter polish that just came out for the holidays! Also, very nice over black or a pewter shade if you wanted to work it into NYE!

Now see below for my new Author rant!

I bid you all adieu until the next installment!  I hope you all had the very Merriest of Christmases / a Happy Hanukkah, and that we are all looking forward to a most fabulous and prosperous New Year 2019 filled with love and fun!

And with that…

Time for a coffee!

–Mmmaddy

Confessions of a Nom de Plume

December 2018

I wrote a book! HUZZAH!!!

No one is buying my book! Boooooo. Hiss.

Aaaah the aching, empty, anticlimax of the (mostly) unread published author. For why do we write if not to be read? I suppose there is still the joy and catharsis in reading your own writing — in exercising your own demons and living your own fantasies spawned from the myriad facets of your subconscious self. But, damn it all to hell, I want the public to read my 20,000 words! My lovingly crafted, very much edited, painstakingly translated from my brain to the page over years and through much procrastination — 20,000 words. I don’t care if it’s just free at the library!  Someone read it!  I can’t even tell you right now the many reasons I want people to read it beyond the basic gratification of being read, because then I might expose myself, as I wrote the book under a (gasp) pen name. There goes the glory! You wrote a book, and NO ONE EVEN KNOWS YOU WROTE THE BOOK. You are published, but it pretty much feels like it didn’t happen.

Which begs the question — so why did I use a pen name? Why a pen name when the days of female authors being unread and discredited simply for a female name are long gone? Did I write some scandalous or salacious novel that would shock my friends and acquaintance? No.

Some embarrassing topic? Maybe? Sort of?  Not really.

Did I canvas a subject that may potentially get me sued for defamation of character and spawn entirely misguided Puritanical conclusions about my behavior? Yeah, it’s pretty much that last one there. Aaaand thus was born the pen name. So, what do I do about this? How can I market myself without exposing my identity? The answer is basically, I can’t really. Well, that’s not true. I tweet about my book using my pen name.  I even wrote a tweet that had over 5,000 impressions on twitter!  Sadly, of the 5,000 twitter streams being penetrated, it only got 3 likes. And 7 info clicks. And no sales or additional page reads whatsoever. Read as: viscerally, totally, and painfully — anticlimactic.

By the way, did it weird you out that I used the word “penetrated”? ‘Cuz if it did — right there, there’s the Puritanical thing surfacing from the deepest recesses of your mind — feign to deny it!  See. That’s why.  No negative personal assumptions garnered = pen name. Were I 23 instead of 43 and didn’t have a daughter (who’s friends, and moms have library cards and whatnot) this would be a different story.  I am not one to put my aspirations above my family’s domestic tranquility.  Domestic tranquility is a damn fine thing!  Anyone who has been divorced and has kids can back me upon this!

Thusly, my author self, on this one occasion, languishes in anonymity. However, a goal was completed.  Personal pride was won, and new lessons have been learned. First and foremost of those being: do NOT use a pen name.  :- p

Fin

Confessions of the Mother of a Picky Eater

5-29-mom

“OK, OK, stop being cute. I’ll make your damn flavorless butter noodles and 7 lettuce leaves with no dressing.” (sigh)

Before I had a child, I used to roll my eyes at the issue of kids who are picky eaters.  BK(Before Kids) I also liked to try and apply my dog training skills to child rearing.  “Well, if they won’t eat it just leave it out and eventually they’ll get hungry enough to eat it! You don’t want to spoil your dog…er, kid.”

Well, I have come to see that this tough love method doesn’t really work on humans.  Whereas a dog may abstain from eating their dog food temporarily in the hopes of eating table scraps, kids apparently abstain from eating particular foods because they inexplicably find them abhorrent and disgusting. While I am digging into a delicious pot of creamy gourmet crispy bacon-topped mac n’ cheese at a restaurant, my child is looking at me like “Barf!”  The same applies to all meat besides chicken legs and steak, any pasta that has more than butter and salt on it, salad dressings, and sandwiches(and the list goes on).

How did this happen to the once super well-adjusted eater that would happily eat a salad, chicken strips, salsa and hummus all in on sitting?  What happened to the chubby toddler who would eat a bowl of bean salad, a cup of minestrone soup and a ham and cheese sandwich?  Somewhere around pre-school foods started dropping off her previously wide open spectrum of edible delights.  The things she loves previously were now “gross.”  We hadn’t done anything differently at home — it just seemed to be a spontaneous thing.  Along with the food aversions came the weight loss.  She is a “normal” weight per her pediatrician, but when my child was always around 80-90% weight and drops down to 30% — it’s troubling, even if it’s irrational on my part.

Hence my inability to enforce the “tough love” and just let her starve one night when she rejects the pasta because I put too much parmesan cheese on it or whatever. The thought of her losing a couple pounds when she is already so slim is just not OK with me.  When I was growing up, my immigrant mother thought I was round and beautiful when I was clearly overweight in middle school, God bless her.  In fact I was called a picky eater growing up, but that certainly didn’t effect my weight, unless it caused me to eat more Chicken in a Biscuit crackers than whole grain breads — but who are we kidding — no one was taking about whole grains in the 80’s.  Well, no one that reached the middle school demographic anyway.

And so 5 days a week my cooking nights involve the meal for my husband and me, and the meal for the little Miss.  We will be eating homemade chicken curry over brown rice and she will be eating one of her 12 approved food items, and that’s acceptable, because counting the ribs on my 7 year old would not be, so there it is.

Mani of the Month

5 random compliments in a  week is pretty darn good!

At least 5 random compliments in a week is pretty darn good!

 

I can not tell you how many compliments I got the week I did this manicure.  Seems like everyone really likes the gold shatter over teal.  You can do this look with any teal/aqua polish and any of the gold shatter/crackles out there (if you can still find them!). Make sure you load the gold on there so it makes a nice constrasty pattern.

 

Books

You can check out my Goodreads to see what I’m reading right now.  I think I’m in a Regency phase right now — Navy SEAL theme goes right into Regency — obviously.

I am also wrapping up another Lux novel tonight I think.  I totally read the last page first, because I am naughty.  Another cliffhanger!  The next book isn’t even out until August — bah humbug!  This has been a fun series though, but I have a ton of series to finish so this will force me to get back to those, at least until August .  😉

And with that…

Time for a Coffee,

Mmmmmmaddy

 

 

 

Spring Books and Lovely Looks

4-29-14-booksAnnnnd just under the wire — a post for the month of April! Huzzah!

I am typing on a new laptop.  Excuse me, Toshiba (Satellite C75D-A) — what have you done to the keyboard that it looks the same as my last Toshiba, but causes me to make infinitely more typos?  I can barely get through a 2 sentence client e-mail without a typo, imagine formulating a blog post?  Torture!

But I digress. I’ve been reading some awesome classics, paranormal YA, and Romance, my usual eclectic fare. I am one book behind on my 50 book Goodreads goal for the year right now which meeeeans, I need to read faster!  Hah, since that’s not actually going to happen, I will use my usual cheat of reading a couple shorter Kindle books to bump up my numbers. What — like it’s easy to read 50 novels a year when you generally only have an hour to read every night?? Not so easy.  In any case, I have a few freebie Kindle romance books I downloaded that look possibly good, and very short.  Probably next up will be A SEAL’s Seduction, by Tawny Weber.

Now excuse me, but I couldn’t remember the name of the book but knew it had SEAL in it.  So I searched for “SEAL” in Goodreads. How many romance novels can there be about Navy SEALs after all? Um, apparently, many! <<<200>>> pages on Goodreads with at least a few of them being romance novels on each page!  WTF? There are whole series of SEAL romance novels apparently. Who knew?  This could be a Pandora’s box for me — you may never hear from me again after this because I’ll be on a Navy SEAL romance bender – I just, don’t, know!  Veeeeery interesting.

 

Beauty News

supercc_banner4I randomly picked up one of these new CC creams you have doubtless heard about.  I skipped right over BBs and went straight to CCs (insert bra joke: here).  In any case, I bought the Physician’s Formula Super CC + Cream in the Light shade and I LOVE it.  It’s just lovely.  It really does color correct very well — I’d say overall uneven color and even skin texture were improved by 80-90%.  Smooth a small amount on all over face, add just a TOUCH of concealer to any trouble spots, and voila! You are good to go!  OK fine, maybe add a hint of blush also — all ladies need some blush — anyone who denies this either has a fever or is sun-burnt — really, we ALL need some blush people.  Be that as it may, this CC cream is fabulous and I have already bought it twice at Rite Aid here in California for 40% off of $14, making it a serious bargain.  And for those who are too lazy to apply SPF30 sunscreen every day, it already has SPF30 in it — win-win!  It only comes in a few shades though — I hope they expand the line.  I am using Light right now and bought a Light/Medium for the summer months.

Give it a try!  And most places will return with receipt if you don’t like it, but I bet you will — so handy!

And with that…

Time for a… tea!  It’s 11PM, after all,

–Maddy

 

 

Hipster Holiday Idea

"Girlfriend in a coma, I know..." you friggin' LOVE this sweater!

“Girlfriend in a coma, I know…” you friggin’ LOVE this sweater!

Who loves The Smiths?

If your answer is “Not I!”, I will silently scream “How is this possible??” at you from my mind, but outwardly give no sign, because I don’t like to shout at people, because I AM NOT THOMAS PAINE.

Anyway!  I digress.  My husband is a huge Morrissey fan so I was sleuthing around the web looking for cool new Morrissey items and I found this sweater.  It is an epic example of Holiday vulgarity and I LOVE IT.  It seems to be currently sold out (website is a little confusing — look at URL), but when they re-stock I am definitely picking one up for Christmas next year (quick honey, unsee this now!).

Nail Update
I will post a shot of my glitter holiday mani on Friday once I’ve done it.  I tried a Sally Hansen blue crackle over periwinkle polish this week and it would have been lovely except that the crackle pulled apart the 2 coats of polish beneath it down to the bare nail in a lot of places.  Here is an image of that nail fail to the right (coming soon).

Book Update
I will finish Common Sense tonight — again, really worth a read historically.  Now it’s time to start up some fun Holiday reads!  What will it be?
Mistletoe Magic?
A Vampire for Christmas?
Angels at the Table?
I guess you will find out next week…

And have a lovely weekend, everyone!

And now, Time for a Coffee,

Maddy

Health and Beauty Bytes: Minor Job Hunting Depression

Holy CRAP, these jobs suck!!
“Holy CRAP, these jobs suck!!”

Dear Awesome Subscribers and Lovely Random Readers,

I am a week behind!  Had a bit of writers block actually, but as they say, the only way to get through it is to go ahead and pick up the pen (or keyboard really) – and just get to it, so here we go.  File this one under Mental Health Bytes!

Angst = Decent Part-time Job Hunting

So one of the other reasons I did not post last week was that a large chunk of my time was devoted to looking for good part-time jobs online.  This happens to me periodically when my freelance graphic design business has a lull and I think how nice it would be to have a regular paycheck again (and am avoiding doing more marketing, etc.).  However, in the immortal words of Anastasia Steele, “oh my!” – through my extensive research (one extensive week, on East Bay Craigslist), I have re-confirmed that part-time jobs are just terrible!  I mean awful.  And many times absurd.

Here were the two main offenses:

Number One: They pay next to nothing. 

I am in my late 30’s and am trying to confine my working hours to when my child is in elementary school (8:10am – 2pm, or then pay $500/mo. minimum for after school care). Granted, my “next to nothing” may not be your “next to nothing.” However since I graduated college with honors a few years ago (a few + 10) and was making over $22/hr. at my last 3/4 time gig (Office/Project Manager/Designer, pre-bambino), the thought of trudging through an enormous laundry list of office tasks for a sweet $12 an hour ($4 less than my first job right out of college!) –  just sounds demoralizing at best.   These companies who are not required to provide benefits to their part-time employees should really compensate with a few more dollars an hour, just out of common decency.  Of course I am speaking to how things are here in the Bay Area where gas is over $3.50/gallon and a small bag of organic apples is $6.

A wage of $12 an hour, minus tax and the commute cost, would not even buy me 2 bags of friggin’ apples for an hour’s work – that just sucks.

Smeagol knows what's up: "BOOKS! My precioussssss..."
Smeagol knows what’s up:
“BOOKS! My precioussssss…”

Number two: Unreasonable Demands

I see a lot of office jobs that claim to require heavy lifting.  I cannot lift 40lbs. on a regular basis unless most of that 40 is comprised of my child, and even then only barely. So right there – there goes like 40% of the part-time jobs.  Why did the Library Clerk’s job I applied to last winter list that in their criteria?  Obviously I lied, and said I could lift it, because I would love (LOVE!!!) to work at the library (cue Smeagol voice: “Books!  My preciousss!”).  However, after a 2 hour long online application process, I was eventually denied due to “insufficient library experience” – and this was an entry level position. So apparently having managed corporate offices, reading 40+ books a year, and visiting the library every week does not mean you are equal to the task of shelving books and scanning patron’s items in/out.  Not that I’m bitter.

I will also file under “Unreasonable Demands” the plethora of jobs that request only “entry level applicants” or people of a certain age apply – such as the office staff job I saw last week that said the “ideal candidate” would be under 23 years old.  What?  Really?? I just went back to Craigslist to find that job posting so I could link to it here and it appears to have been removed.  I wonder why?  Blatant ageism, perhaps?  I’m not even OLD and I’m offended! Bah humbug!

In summary, the only thing worse than looking at the current (pitiful) available jobs in the East Bay would be to get called for an interview for one of them and be asked “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”* and other equally absurd questions they throw at you these days.  So if you too are keeping an eye out for a good new part-time job, God bless you, and good luck – it’s rough out there!

Quick Book Update

Oh I am liking Last Sacrifice SO much more than the previous Vampire Academy book! I’m at 62%. I will admit I still do a little description skimming, which is a bit naughty, but the dialogue, action, and plot-line are much better — looks like it will be a great end to the VA series.

For those that are missing my nail posts — I will debut my signature Holiday look next week — it involves a polish that  looks *exactly* like vintage glitter to me — one of my all time favs — you shall see!

And now, time for a coffee,

Maddy

* My husband was actually asked that question during an interview. Tragic.