Friday, May 8, 2015

The motherload.

With Mother's Day upon us this weekend I've been thinking a lot about the women who raised me -- which was no small feat.

These are three strong, amazing beauties.
This was my Grandma Ewart, my mom's mom. 
Her name was Emma but she apparently didn't like that name.
She changed it to Emily and went by Lee. These things that make me think of her:

  • Cream of Wheat with globs of real butter and heaps of brown sugar.
  • Baking. Christmas cookies. Those peanut butter cookwith the Hershey's Kiss pressed in the middle. Any kind of homemade cookie.
  • Day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches on homemade rolls with mayo and cranberry which were better than dinner the night before.
  • Camping in the Catskills. I only camped with Grandma and Grandpa Ewart in a camper where you slept in the part over the drivers seat. 

My dads mom, Ella. We spent every Sunday at her house. 
I think of Grandma when I:

  • Hear about or see photos of an old Woolworth's five-and-ten store.
  • Frank Sinatra. She still loves him, sings along with him, and refers to him as "her boyfriend."
  • Card games -- bridge and solitaire. She's 94 and still plays them.
  • The song "Stormy Weather." Belted out at any party, wedding, holiday or opportunity where a microphone was available.


This is my mom. 
She made me who I am today. I'm very lucky. 
Growing up I remember my mom:

  • Had the Time Magazine cover with John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever on it hanging in her closet.
  • Made every holiday extremely special, especially my birthday.
  • Was home waiting for me when I came home from school.
  • When I was sick and had to stay home she would make me soup and bring it up to me in bed on a little tray. She would also roll in a small, black and white TV so I could watch The Rockford Files while I ate lunch. 
  • Took me to see the "PG" version of Saturday Night Fever in the movie theatre even though my dad was against it. Empathized with me when I didn't get into the million things I tried out for. Made fancy dinners like tomato noodle dandy and beef stroganoff. Drove me everywhere. Doll cakes. Bought me that ESPRIT sailor dress she knew I really wanted. Banana bread. Always cheered for me and was there for me when others weren't. Made our house feel like home to all of my friends. 

I'm lucky that today Mom lives just a few blocks away. Today she loaned me her car because mine is in the shop and we may go for a walk after dinner tonight. 

Grandma Ewart passed away a few years ago, she was able to meet my first born and I was happy to go back for one last Thanksgiving sandwich with her.  

I miss my grandma Ella back in New York. We talk on the phone and she's still sharp as a tack. She likes to try and argue with me about politics. She still calls me "baby." She would sing "Stormy Weather" over the phone anytime if I asked her to. 

I can only hope to be half as smart, helpful, kind, funny and nurturing with my boys as these women were with me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Roller girl.

When I was little I used to love to watch the women in my life primp -- put on make-up, do their hair, perhaps indulge in a refreshing splash of Jean Naté.

When I had sleepovers at my grandma’s I’d lay on her bed and play with this set she had -- a little matching tray that had a hand mirror, a brush and an empty container of dusting powder that contained an ancient puff and a faint musty smell. Grandma would roll her hair up for the night in those pink old school rollers, the ones with the two separate pieces, put a little shower/night cap on. We’d retire for the evening in her bed falling asleep on our sides facing the little TV cart she’d roll around the house as Johnny Carson lulled us to sleep.

When I was older I would lay on my moms bed, watching her get ready for a night on the town. I’d admire her pretty bottle of Paris perfume and paint on lipstick with a little brush from her Mary Kay lip palate as she rolled the ends her Dorothy Hamill style bob up with those spiky Clairol hot rollers with the u-shaped hooks. You remember, the ones that you didn't dare rest your head against anything for fear of a spike going into your brain but they made your hair look real pretty? Those.

I have found a new curler that I am currently freaking out about. And good news, it requires no protective cap, no heat and no spikes.

Benefit’s new Roller Lash mascara is theeeee shit. It might be the best mascara I’ve ever used. There, I said it. The last time I said that was about They’re Real mascara, which is also put out by benefit, so I don’t really feel bad about it. They’re still getting my 24 smackers for a tube of mascara.

Now I don’t like to spend 24 of my hard earned dollars on mascara but here’s the deal -- this stuff is amazing and it works, so I will.

I’ve said before I have puny lashes. I think they've all broken off over and over since I’ve been curling my eyelashes with a metal curler every day of my life since the 7th grade. 

I have challenged many mascaras before with their promises of curl, length and volume and come home both broke and disappointed.

This mascara is different, it’s like it was made for my sad baby lashes -- the wand has what they call a “hook and roll” brush (patent-pending! SCIENCE!) that hooks onto your lashes and rolls them upwards, giving lift and volume.

You have to play with it, kind of learn how to use the brush to roll those lashes up. In fact I watched several tutorials of different women applying it and found it fascinating to watch as they squinted, stuck this brush insanely close to their eyeballs and rolled like experts. 

And once I got the hang of it -- wowza. I actually have eyelashes. And they look really long. And pretty.

And you know I’m a sucker for cutesy packaging, this mascara is like porn to me, I mean come on. Even if it didn’t work I just want to look at this pink and black retro goodness.

But it actually does work, so, that’s good, right?

The box said I can get rid of my eyelash curler but I’m not ready for that step yet. I must keep crimping and clamping them them before I curl. Old habits die hard.

I wish I knew how to quit you.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Local love - Okamura Farmacopia.

Sometimes you just need an hour. An hour that is just for you. It’s amazing what sixty little minutes of peace and quiet can do to kick start your soul.

It does help that if during these sixty little minutes there’s somebody standing above you making circular motions continuously with their fingertips around your eyes, like little spinning bicycle tires.

Recently I had a facial with Sherry at Urbaca Salon here in Portland and I’m still basking in the afterglow.

Sherry’s space at Urbaca is a mini-sanctuary with soft lights, pretty music and a bed that I was more than happy to dive into.

The facial she gave was lovely -- cleansing, hot bubbly steam, lotions, masks, lots of warm washcloths, oils, toners, massage -- an absolute treat.

Sherry uses her own line of products called Okamura Farmacopia that she created back in 2005.

Using as few chemicals as possible and only when necessary, the line is made here in Oregon and is truly plentiful -– cleansers, moisturizers, masks, tonics, beard oil for the fellas (again, made in Oregon.) 

Fantastic products with pretty packaging in little glass bottles, I was drawn to it before any of it made its way onto my face. 

I'm particularly in love with these aromatherapy toners.

I brought home two, one is the softening spray which is an essential oil blend of lavender, and chamomile to provide space for better communication and hope.

The vital spray is a blend of grapefruit, tea tree oil and juniper berry. It's good for mental/physical detoxing. I need this. If you don't, well, good on you.

I've been using these round the clock, as a pick me up or a calm me down. Clouds of it float throughout my house. I spritz it on my face, hair, bod, pillow, children -- wherever.

I love them. They feel cool and soothing and both smell like a giant massage/facial/pampering explosion.

I'm also trying the clear cleanse face wash along with the supreme creme moisturizer

The cleanser is a pretty blue-black color because it has charcoal in it to draw out toxins and impurities. The creme is good for my "mature" skin -- moisturizing while minimizing fine lines.

The thing that makes a facial with Sherry unique is the chakra energy balancing work she does at the end. 

I had pretty much passed out from being so relaxed but I could feel her down at my feet.  

She took her time, slowly making her way from my toes to the top of my head, placing her hands on different parts of my body, massaging, holding and tapping like a mini jackhammer where need be.

Afterwards we talked about what the different chakras were, how they related with what she felt on my bod and what it all meant. Eerily a lot of it rang true for what was going on in my life right now, particularly what was going on that day.

It was a little on the groovy side but I liked it. I found it interesting that I am well rooted with my ancestors, I have a good, strong intuition and that my sixth chakra (intelligence/vision/mental health/processing) is extremely overworked.

Which tells me I need like, a gallon jug of that vital spray to help my brain chill out. And that I could use more time with Sherry. Check out her products here or schedule an appointment for a facial or other treatment with her here.

Sixty little minutes can make your day/week/month/outlook on life much better.

Chakra Khan.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Duds.

I heart Valentine's Day! Let's celebrate love, hearts, perfume, quality chocolate, 
pretty flowers and quality chocolate!

I heart childhood memories of classroom parties, passing out valentine's and making cards for my parents like this:

I especially heart sickeningly sweet '80s teendom valentines! 
Bad poetry, red carnations, "Suddenly" by Billy Ocean and romantic nights like this:

Today, I don't need anything fancy for Valentine's Day. I just love you and want to spend time with you. But maybe you can get me a nice card, and some of that chocolate I was talking about.

While I do heart Valentine's Day and all the things mentioned above, I do not heart the following Valentines:

Fifty Shades of Grey Bear.
Mr. Grey will see you now. Then he will seduce you with his silky, smoky Grey fur; smoldering Grey eyes; 
a handsome Grey suit and silver tie. He even comes with a mask and handcuffs. You can’t help but submit to loving him. This was all taken from The Vermont Teddy Bear Company website and no, I am not kidding. 
If you enjoy a stuffed toy that is into BDSM then this is the bear for you. 

Mall Jewelry. 
He got me an Open Hearts necklace and an Eiffel Tower charm for my Pandora Charm Bracelet. 


Drugstore Purchase.
Because I have enough mugs. And I don't want a plush novelty. 
Especially plush novelty in a mug. I really don't.

No wonder I've never liked these conversation hearts...they're just lousy Necco Wafers 
pounded into a heart shape. All these years I never knew. 
Crazy 4U? HOT CHA? OH YOU KID?!? I don't think so. 

Happy lover's day all. Put on "Songbird" by Kenny G, have a slow dance and save that last piece of *quality chocolate por moi.

*Quality chocolate is a giant, delicious box of Scotchmallow's from See's Candies. In case you were wondering.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Turn on those sad songs.

Sometimes I need a good cry.

Music is very important to me and music makes me cry. Music makes me cry a lot, probably more than most people. Certain songs some make me really sad in a very happy way -- it's weird. Here are a handful of ones that get me -- put the needle on the record. I will cry, it will happen. 

*Side note -- this list does not list the obvious cry-songs; including but not limited to:

  • The entire "Les Misérablessoundtrack.
  • That song by Train that talks about finding yourself via fried chicken and the "best-soy-latte-that you-ever-had."
  • Any background music from "Terms of Endearment" "Rocky" or "The Elephant Man."

But duh, those are pretty obvious, right?

"King of Pain" by the Police.
I was never the biggest Police fan but something about this song always got me and still does. It's kind of haunting, those same piano chords over and over, that "klink klink" that sounds like water dripping on a tin can, and Sting saying things like "There's a rich man sleeping on a golden bed, there's a skeleton choking on a crust of's a pretty heavy, little-black-spot-on-the-sun-today song. Poor Sting. He'll always be the King of Pain.


"You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones.
Because, of course.

"I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues" by Elton John.
This song is just so pretty to me. And sad. And so pretty. And Stevie Wonder plays the harmonica on it. I love my '80s Elton John -- "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)" gets me big time too. I of course also loved this epic video on MTV when I was younger. When Elton sings the "I simply love you more than I love life itself" part my heart aches real bad. That's a good song.


"Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd.
Didja think "Comfortably Numb" was gonna make me cry? Nope. It's this one that makes me think of college (naturally) and my roommate playing this in our living room on his guitar. Good lord, that's depressing. Don't think of that. It really is a lovely song.

"Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac.
Stevie is all feathers, lace, crystal balls, leg warmers, spinning in circles and splits in front of antique mirrors in this video and she's beautiful. It's more melancholy than sad, but it’s all Stevie -– and her voice is so fantastic it makes me teary.

After listening to these four songs I am exhausted and nostalgic and sad and happy. I will sleep well tonight under a warm blanket of pretty melodies, memories and images of Stevie Nicks dancing with three little faerie girls on the edge of a cliff.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Purse schmurse.

The day before Thanksgiving my car was broken into and my purse was stolen -- passenger side window smashed and purse nabbed. 

I know...I know…I shouldn't have left my purse in the car. But I was just running into school to pick up the boys. And I've left my purse on the floor of my car for years as I’ve done this same routine week after week after week. And yes I know now that was a really dumb thing to do.

I was really sad and upset. Then I got really mad and upset. What a pain in the ass.
My purse was gone. I thought to myself and said out loud a million times MY LIFE WAS IN THERE.

My wallet with credit cards, checks, insurance information, and exactly one dollar and fifty cents in cold hard cash.

My newish glasses were in there that I had obsessed over and saved up to buy.

My cute cosmetics bag, with too much goodness to even get into. I hope those thieves enjoy and appreciate really good lip gloss.

And my PT Cruiser was now officially a PT Loser – with plastic taped over where a window should be.

The next day was Thanksgiving. And I stopped being mad and sad because I was too busy focusing on my family, the Macy’s parade, putting a turkey in the oven and how could I possibly get more carbohydrates into my body.

Then the next day was the day after Thanksgiving (see how that works?) And I was happy. Because it’s officially Christmastime and we were downtown looking at the big tree, shopping and the boys were reading their lists to Santa Claus. Dean Martin was singing that weird version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" on the radio that I love and I was happy again.

I didn't have my purse with me, and I didn't miss it one bit -- because I really didn't need anything.

Me, the product junkie, armed only with a Cake Batter Chap Stick (which by the way is really delicious and hydrating) some loose change and a mint from a restaurant in my coat pocket. I was perfectly fine.

My shoulder didn't ache from my giant purse hanging off of it. My hands didn't have indentations from multiple shopping bags digging into my skin because I didn't have any money to buy anything. I was free! Free to pick up my six year old and swing him around. I gave him the change from my pocket to throw in the fountain in the mall. I watched him close his eyes and make a wish.

It was a different kind of shopping experience and on the drive home I felt guilt free and like I’d lost ten pounds. Which I probably did without the purse but also probably did not because of the stuffing and mashed potato sandwich I had eaten the day before.

As this week has gone on replacement cards have been coming in the mail, the window in has been replaced, I got a new driver’s license, and I bought a cheapie wallet at Nordstrom Rack to replace the fancy Kate Spade one I had purchased pre-kids many years ago.

I’m carrying around a new/old purse with these few belongings in it. And yes, I’ve been taking it in the school with me when I pick up the boys –- lesson learned.

But I don’t think I’ll fill this new/old bag with as many things as the purse that probably got shoved in a dumpster somewhere. Because I don’t need all that stuff. I thought I had to carry so much around with me, but not having all that stuff made me realize that I don’t.
All I need to carry right now is what I have on me: my license, my Chap Stick, a winning Scratch It ticket to redeem (FOUR BUCKS!) and exactly one dollar in cash.

I will replace my glasses because I loved them and because I need to see things. 
And the lip gloss. Because I need my lip gloss.

Lucky girl.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Generic post.

When I think of generic stuff I mostly think of things like this:

Or this:
And sometimes this:

That was until last week’s trip to Sally Beauty Supply -- where I discovered the generic deal of a lifetime.

I have been using Kenra Volume Spray 25 since I got off the Stiff Stuff in college. I’ve tried other hairsprays but I always go back to the giant silver can.
That giant silver 16 oz can set me back 24 smackers so usually, I went for the 10 oz can that is 17 bucks. I know is not as good of a deal but give me a break -- you know I’m no good at math.

I was out of my precious Kenra last week and happened to be by a Sally Beauty Supply store – I figured they wouldn’t carry it but thought, what the heck, I’m here…I’ll check. Plus I like going into Sally once in a while to check out their cheapie make up, maybe pick up a packet of a deep conditioning hair mask or the best nail polish top coat in the world.

When I walked in the door a display with this was staring at me:

I picked up the can. At first I was skeptical. I turned the can over. Then I was excited:

NINE DOLLARS AND NINETY NINE CENTS? That’s like…seven dollars less than I usually pay. Actually, that’s IS seven dollars less than I usually pay! (I'm rounding it up to ten you guys -- I'm not that bad at math.)

I looked to the cute young guy at the counter, I wanted to see what he knew about this whole generic beauty product racket that I’d never heard of. He was bald so he had some serious work ahead of him convincing me to drop a ten spot on this generic Kenra.

Me: “Have you heard anything about this? Is it really as good as Kenra?”
Hip Sally Guy“It’s a-may-zing.”

Me: "Really?"
Hip Sally Guy: “Come here. I love your hair.”

Now I’m excited.
Hip Sally Guy: (Flipping over the can) “Look at the back. It has the same exact ingredients as Kenra.”

We look together, and he’s right.
Hip Sally Guy“And smell it…it’s smells exactly like Kenra.”

He sprays some from the can, and he’s right.
Me: “It does!”

Hip Sally Guy: “I know, right?”
Me: “And it’s ten bucks?”

Hip Sally Guy“Right?”
Me: “Right?”

Hip Sally Guy: “I know.”
I buy the Generic Value Products hairspray and feel like I would had I bought ten bucks worth of scratch-its. Because it may work or it may be a dud, but hip, bald  Sally Guy had really made quite a case for it’s authenticity with all his reassurance, “rights” and “I know’s.”

The next morning, with a freshly washed head of hair, I gave generic Kenra a go.
And it smelled like Kenra.
And it held like Kenra.
And it lasted all day like Kenra.

I know.