Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fuck You Very Much! (A Rant about "The Maid")

I'm just going to warn you right now.  This is a rant.  Because someone said something shitty to me, whether or not they realize how shitty it is I'm not sure.  But it was enough to disrupt my brain space and I'm going to let it all out here because we could all use a little reminder to think before we speak (let's NOT talk about my Open-Mouth/Insert-Foot Disorder right now, OK?)  Also....super thanks to my awesome Bloggy Friend, Oooops, I Said Vagina again, for letting me steal the phrase "Fuck you Very Much" from her "BitchFest Series"


Today, someone asked me what I was going to do when I couldn't afford a maid.

My answer?  I can't afford one now, but I don't really have a choice.  If I want my floors mopped I have to deal with the shame and the embarrassment of having to ask someone to come over and do those things for me and I'm fortunate and lucky to have someone who helps me out for very little in return.  I wish I could mop my floors like everyone else but I can't.


SO FUCK YOU VERY MUCH!

I have a back injury.  Apparently, because my injury isn't apparent to everyone, I don't need mobility assistance or look "injured" or "disabled"...I must not need help.  This cannot be farther from the truth.  I need lots of help.  I'd like to be cured, but I can't afford doctors.  Isn't that sad?  I was injured on the job through no fault of my own.  Long story short, after a year of treatments for an incorrect diagnosis my claim was denied by Workman's Comp and I had to quit my job at the employer with the excellent health care because I wanted to pursue my case legally.  You can't bite the hand that feeds you.  My current employer offers the worst insurance ever with even the most basic routine care being expensive; I'm afraid to go and get treated for my current condition. 

It's been nearly 3 years and I've tried alternative therapies...yoga, core strengthening exercises, chiropractic care, decompression therapy, massage, acupuncture and countless others. I've even visited a Shaman (Sha-woman?).   I've paid for everything out of pocket and I could just puke when I think about how much money I've spent just trying to feel better.  And what makes it better?  Not much.  I've taken pills, rubbed on creams, and used enough ice to home a small family of penguins.  Global Warming isn't to blame for shrinking ice caps...my back is.   If I don't do anything...like pick up my nephew for a hug, drive in a car for more than an hour at a time (say, to visit my relatives who live nearly two hours away), carry groceries up the stairs or do anything that might involve lifting over 30 lbs or repetitive bending then I'm OK.  I can't even lay in bed for a full 8 hours of sleep without hurting. 

I experience pain every day.  Sometimes it isn't bad, other times there are shooting pains down my ass and into my leg that hurt so much I can do nothing but sit there helplessly and cry.  Spasms mean I can't sit comfortably through an entire movie.  Sometimes it hurts just to walk. The depression that comes from living in chronic pain, combined with feeling like I can't do anything without "angering" the injury can be crushing.  Thinking about the future only makes it worse... I'm 27 and I have no children, what if I get pregnant or decide I want kids...would it be the most unbearable pregnancy ever because of this injury?   Could I even have kids in spite of not being able to pick them up for fear of not being able to function?  I have no answers and it makes me sad.  It is even more depressing for someone who believes in and wants to try everything once.  I still try to "have a life", and sometimes I pay for it dearly in the days following.  I am ashamed to say that I once considered suicide to escape the pain, because I don't know what the future could hold, because between the pain and the legal paperwork and the inability to get help I've often felt like I was/am losing my fucking mind.  This is no kind of life.

I like to tell people THE SPOON THEORY in an attempt to help people understand.  While I don't have Lupus like the woman in the story, what I can do and how much I can do can be very limited.  That being said...I discovered soon after I was injured that there are things I could not do around my home without pain.  After 8 hours of working, sometimes I have just enough left in me to make dinner and maybe do some laundry before I hit that "too much" point and start to hurt.  Sometimes, one activity can ruin an entire day. 


Living in a mess is depressing

 ...especially when you know that once upon a time you bleached your floors weekly.  What makes it more depressing is trying to deal with the mess day in and day out while you're hurting and never getting anywhere.   I would spend entire weekends cleaning so that I would have time to do it (because I'm not as fast as I used to be), the energy to do it, and then the recovery time to sit on the couch in pain and tears before returning to work on Monday. That didn't leave much room for fun, or a life.  So...I posted a status update on Facebook that I was looking for someone to help out for a decent price for some extra cash.

An old friend from high school messaged me and offered to come over and give me an estimate.  We worked out an agreement and she has been helping me out ever since.  Truth be told...she does way more than we originally agreed upon and I try my best to be grateful.

But what people need to understand is this: I don't fucking have a "maid".  I don't live in the lap of Luxury and this damn sure isn't a luxury I can afford.  I pay her 10% less per hour than what I make to come over and clean.  And for the record, I don't make much.  I've had to tell her not to come over and clean because I can't afford to pay her; not only does my inability to pay mean that I have to live in a mess, but then she also doesn't get that extra income.  I've gone without because having her come over was more important.  I don't have a maid, what I have someone who is kind enough to come and help me out for a small fee because I cannot physically do what needs to be done around my home.  While I pay considerably less for her services than what normal people pay for a "maid", I also provide her with all of her supplies, feed her dinner and usually clean side-by-side with her doing what I can do.  

Having a maid might be a really nice thing for some people, but having a "house helper" out of necessity isn't really nice and not just for financial reasons.  The first time she came...I cleaned for days because I was so embarrassed about the condition of my home. The anxiety and depression was crushing.  It might sound like a dream to not HAVE to mop and I wish that was my situation; I can't even begin to explain what it is like to not be ABLE to do something that is so routine, normal and necessary.  It's a complete 180.  Having to ask someone to come in and clean up after you because you can't is embarrassing.  The fact that my home, without her, deteriorates into a sticky, grimy mess and there isn't much I can do about it is humiliating.   I've explored alternative options like steam mops, Swiffers, and Swivel Sweepers.  I've spent lots of money on that crap too. Sure, I can do all kinds of preventative things like never spilling on the floor, wiping up small spills when they happen, taking a little time out of every day to clean up the messes that happen in life....but sooner or later you have to do the job the right way with a good old fashioned mop. 

People have asked me why I don't have my family help me.  And you know what?  The other members of my family have their own stresses, pains and lives...not to mention they have their own households to clean.  If I called my mom to come over and help, she would be there in a second.  But somehow through all of this I still have some kind of semblance of silly pride that says "I'm a fucking adult and I'm not going to ask my mommy to come clean up after me".  My siblings are working and going to school, or raising children and taking care of their own homes.  I refuse to be a burden.  Perhaps my pride is silly, but at least I can say I worked hard and paid someone to come over and do this shit...I didn't just sit there and demand or rely on the goodwill of others.


So...to the person who said that to me: 
Fuck you Very Much!  

While I'm sure it looks like I must have it easy because I have someone to "come over and clean", please keep in mind that I still work in order to pay her to come over and do all of the shit I physically cannot do-that's money out of my pocket making my budget tighter and I'm not making it YOUR problem, so fuck you very much.  Fuck you very much for your snide ass tone like I'm too fucking lazy to take care of my responsibilities and I have my priorities wrong.  Fuck you very much for making me feel even shittier about the fact that I can't do something as simple as mop my floor without being useless the rest of the night.  Fuck you very  much for treating me like finding a solution to a problem is an act of laziness, would you prefer it if I just went on disability and let your tax dollars and the state pay for someone to come in?  Fuck you very much for being physically able enough to sit around and judge people without fucking knowing what it's like to not be able to clean up your own messes in your own goddamn home.  Fuck You Very Much for being able to mop your floor and not have it lead to sitting there and wanting to die rather than deal with the pain anymore just because you wanted a clean kitchen floor.  Fuck you Very Much for opening your trap about things that don't involve, concern, effect or impact you in any way...I hope you NEVER have to know what it feels like to be in chronic pain, unable to do one of the most simple activities of daily living and have someone say something shitty to you like you did to me. 


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear Facebook...I'm NOT Ready to Date Again.

Dear Facebook,

I love you dearly and we've really shared some great times together.  All of the funny memes we laughed about, all the vague status messages we've passive-aggressively written, stalking my ex-boyfriends together and giggling at what they’re dating now, the current events you made sure to let me know about, and excitedly watching as the “Like” numbers on our status messages climb…it’s all really been special. 

We've had our rough times too.  Sometimes I've felt like you suggested certain people as “Friends I might know” just to hurt me.  Not to mention all the times I've mistakenly accepted a Friend Request only to end up having to block them for psychotic behavior because something about you kind of makes people crazy.  And I’m not going to lie…I’m starting to think that our relationship, with all the time we spend together and the fact that we are so dependent on each other, might not be so healthy.  But lately, I’m growing really concerned about something you've been doing.

We've been through a lot together when it comes to my relationships and you’re usually one of the first to know when my relationship status changes.   You've been the fly on the wall for so many flirty comments and the occasional sweet IM, and also brought me words of support from my friends and family during my worst breakups.  I really appreciate how supportive you've been throughout the relationship I left behind and the healing I've been going through, but…I’m really not ready to meet anyone new.  So while I’m sure you just want to see me smile again and excitedly check my messages all day, I need you to stop trying to get me to join online dating sites.



I'm not sure where this came from.  I've never even been on a bike, and I'm sure that is at least a prerequisite for this site. 



"Michael" has been a regular guy, a cop, and a doctor.  Thanks for recognizing that I love a man in uniform (cops, firefighters, UPS drivers, prison inmates, security guards...yeah, we all know I have a problem), but I'm pretty sure they don't want ME on Christian Mingle.  

I get it, you’re just trying to help.  But encouraging me to “Meet this Big Rig driving Cowboy” or showing me random pictures of men from websites who would probably try to exorcise my demons before trying to date me is not what I need.  And what makes it worse is that through all the things we've been through together, you just keep sending me these advertisements to meet people I would not be interested in dating on sites I’m not interested in visiting.  And Plenty of Fish…really?  Have you so easily forgotten the weirdo I met on there the last time I was single and looking?  Not to mention that a certain recently estranged husband of one of my favorite relatives has recently signed himself on there like a total Skeeze.  Don't get me wrong, I liked the guy and thought he was attractive enough...before he started acting like a skeeze.  Now,  I would die if I signed up and they tried to tell me he was a match for me.  DO YOU HEAR ME? D.I.E.  And this is what else is on that site...


...and this isn't going to get you anywhere with the local girls




I don't think I can afford the luxury of this guy's company.  He ended the section with a link to a YouTube video.  I've seen too many things on the Internet NOT to be afraid.  For all I know, it could be him doing the Drake Hands thing.  I don't know.  That was bad enough the first time. 

And, I'm not even including the guy whose headline said "My Penis has a Mullet", the married guy I used to work with, or the 3 guys I went to high school with.  For the record, I had to sign up in order to get all of that fun information.  Yikes.  Do I get credit for that?

So I need you to cool it right now.  Stop pressuring me...it's giving me some serious flashbacks to the days when the school's Guidance Counselor would come in and give us talks about Peer Pressure and make us role play.  *Shudder*  Or worse...when we had to take DARE classes and pretend to try and give or sell each other drugs when we didn't really know anything about them.  I mean really, of all the times I smoked pot was offered marijuana back in the day, no one ever awkwardly held it out to me and was like, "Hey...uhhh...want some....uhhh...marijuana cigarette?"

Facebook, while I understand you're all about "connecting", the best way to get over someone isn't to get on top of someone else...or under someone else.  Whatever.  You know what I mean.  But you need to seriously quit hounding me.  All that extra stress could lead me to actually searching for guys on Craigslist and not just laughing at the ads from people in my area.


Little interesting factoid about this guy...I've also seen his posts (he uses the same picture) looking for threesomes in the "Casual" section.  I can't help but think he probably cries after sex... and that would probably be a lot more awkward if three people were involved.



Fetishes amuse me.  Usually.  This is just confusing. (and FYI, I edited out the XXX photo that was included with this ad.  You're so welcome) 


This just sounds like some sex slave/trade scary shit.  Seriously.  If this is real, I wonder if dude realizes how effin' creepy he is. 


Don't worry about me.  I'm ok.  I'm enjoying my freedom.  I have plenty of time to start something serious with someone later on if I want to.  And it's not like I'll end up alone...if all else fails, I have a solution!


 Three words: MAIL ORDER HUSBAND.

So until I'm ready to actively start looking for another relationship...let's just cool it, ok?  Let's go back to posting memes and playing Candy Crush until I'm ready to puke.

With Love,

The Cheese One



P.S. Yes....DARE is a great program that is super helpful.  But...it was awkward and you know it.

P.P.S.  I really did sign up for Plenty Of Fish to get those screen shots.  I've already gotten a message...damn it.


Friday, October 25, 2013

5-Minute Friday: Together

One of my favorite bloggers, Joy Christi at ComfyTown Chronicles decided to try something new on her blog today called "5-Minute Friday".  

    Five Minute Friday


I felt inspired and let's be honest...I've been neglecting my poor blog and the folks who actually read what I have to say.  So, let's try this....

Together

When I started looking into this 5-Minute Friday thing...everyone has cute little blogs and stories about the word "Together" and their friends, families, and husbands.  

But honestly, the first thing that came to my mind right now was... "I'm glad we're not TOGETHER".

This break-up has been by far the worst in my entire life.  Not in terms of being the most heartbreaking...but in terms of being the most tedious, psyche damaging, embarrassing, exhausting and scary.  The relationship deteriorated to the point where it didn't really feel like we were a couple anymore, but more like going through the motions together. 

You can be alone and not be lonely, I've always believed that.  But damn, I gotta say laying in bed together and feeling like the loneliest person in the world was one of the most awful feelings I've ever had about a relationship I've been in.  I didn't realize you could be with someone and eating together, watching t.v. together, shopping together, laying in bed together...hell, I'll put myself out there and even say showering together....and still feel like the only person on a large planet. 

And while I've dealt with some sadness over recent events, and while I still feel hurt and embarrassment....what I feel the most is joy and relief that we are no longer together.  In the month since it ended...I've had bad days.  I'm not going to act like he left and everything got hunky frickin' dory.  I've had some downright shitty ass days where I wish he was there to talk to or just vent to.  But then I remember that all the things I wanted from him as a partner when we were together...he didn't really do.  After awhile, it seemed to me that we had a difference in opinion of what "together" really meant.  When I said "together", I meant that we weren't just in a relationship together but we were a team; We were working on common goals, wanted the same things, and everyone was working together supporting each other, leaning on each other, and taking care of each other.  I can't really say what "together" really meant for him, but I often felt like he considered "together" to mean that we were "in a relationship" (aka not sleeping with other people and saying "I love you"...the end) or we did something together because we occupied the same space even if we weren't interacting with each other.  And I look at the things I've been doing with myself and my time and my life since then...and the reality is that a relationship should enhance your life journey, not take you away from it.  And the two of us being together wasn't enhancing mine.  I had deserted my journey to travel his and try and make it better and in the process I lost my way and ended up in places I didn't want to be. 

Almost every day I do something that I wouldn't or couldn't do before, and every time I do I think..."damn, I'd have never done this if we were together."  Or I remember what shitty thing he would have said or done  if I did something new or try something different from what I've always done before. 

Maybe that isn't what anyone had in mind about using this word for this Friday's Topic, but this is what it is evoking in me today.  I'm glad we are no longer together.  Glad enough to sing a goddamn Taylor Swift song....WEEEEEEEEE  EEEEEEEEE ARE NEVER EVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting over a Break-up

I'm not over it yet.  Let's be upfront about that.  I'm still working through it and some days I'm confident and I'm a champion and I'm awesome and life is beautiful, and other days...I kind of just want to stay in bed.  And I won't lie...people who have mutual, amicable breakups leave me completely puzzled.  It seems I'm attracted to the type with severe personality issues that seem to think a breakup means you have to go all out to hurt and attempt to destroy the other person in whatever ways imaginable.  Unfortunately, people who act like that only really succeed in destroying whatever tender feelings or good opinions of their character might have remained.  I'm not friends with many of my ex-boyfriends for this reason.  Isn't that sad?

Anyway, enough about me.  Here is my list if How to Get Over a Breakup!

1. Go ahead and think about it and let it all out.  Don't get obsessive, don't drive yourself crazy and most importantly DON'T PRETEND EVERYTHING IS FINE.  It is OK to consider why the relationship ended, the good/bad points of the relationship, mistakes you both made, cry about the loss and hopefully reach a point where you can be at peace with the situation.  In order for relationships to work, both people need to be happy and if both people in the relationship weren't getting what they needed, it would have ended sooner or later.  Letting out the grief, feeling the feelings and getting to a place where you can recognize how it might not have ever worked is healthy. 


2.  Remove reminders of them from your life.  To this day, songs on the radio take me back to 17, riding shotgun in my High School Sweetheart's '89 Chevy Beretta as we drove to Krispy Kreme for a Hot Chocolate late at night.  While those are pleasant memories now, when we broke up I avoided Krispy Kreme until they went out of business, hid those cds, every picture, the shirt I used to steal and wear to bed and his favorite hat. The idea of trashing them hurt, but it hurt to have them in my recovery space; Now, I'm glad I saved those memories.

This is always my first step when it comes to breakups.  Some people call it removing Memory Triggers; I call it taking my space back.  In just about any relationship, there will be an accumulation of memories/things.  The best advice I can give is to remove those things and have a space that isn't tainted by what was or reminders of what could have been.  As a sentimental person, I would never say to get rid of things as you might want the memories later but when the hurt is fresh I think it is best to put everything away.  I return their personal items, then stash away every trinket, every favorite movie, and take down every picture.  I'm a very scent-sensitive person...so during this last breakup with the BTW, I packed away EVERYTHING and then shampooed the carpets, bought new sheets, and bleached stuff.

3. Stay AWAY!  Once you've gotten to a point where they have their things and you have yours, you need to keep your space sacred.  In my opinion, this means your head, heart and body too.  While you might have agreed to be friends or have some kind of platonic or pleasant relationship, while you're getting over it is not the time to do it.  So...don't hang out with their family, no calls/texts/online interacting up to and including Facebook.  In my experience, it is best to stay away until you're both in a place where you can converse on a strictly platonic level and without old arguments or issues, feelings of wanted to get back together, ect.  The best way to gauge this is asking yourself if you can picture them dating someone else, if the answer is no then you probably should not meet up for coffee. 

4. Get your things.  This is directly related to numbers 2 and 3...respect their right to their own space.  If you were the one who ended the relationship, don't give them a reason to be contacting you to meet up.  And...you never really know how people are going to react, so it's best to have your things under your control versus left with someone who is experiencing hurt and heartache as well.

5. Surround yourself with Support.  I can without a doubt say that I'm surviving this breakup because the day it happened and for 2-3 days after my mom came over and sat with me every night.  We didn't do anything, we had dinner and we talked when I needed to.  And without her I'd probably be in a much worse place right now.  After that, I had my sisters, my brother, my nephew, and my friends;  Everyone was available or made time for me.  Surrounding yourself with good people is one of the best things you can do.

6. Don't rethink your decisions.  We've all done it...questioned whether or not we made the right choice.  If it was your choice to leave, don't rethink it.  Once you start adjusting to not being in the relationship (and possibly finding yourself feeling a little lonely), it is easy to start downplaying the problems in the relationship, maybe even looking for reasons to reconnect.   If you weren't the one who ended it, don't think you could change it or go back and fix it or that things could be better maybe.

7. Take a Break.  While I think social media can be an excellent way to stay  in contact with people especially when you're feeling like you need support, it can also be a double-edged sword.  If you don't block your ex and you have lots of friends in common, you're just going to see their little avatar over and over again, have to see their opinions, maybe even see when they decide to move on...all things that will hurt. Not to mention, if you're like me and have open-mouth/insert-foot disorder there is a chance you'll say something you wish you hadn't.  And while it might seem like social media is a good place to vent, it can also be an window of negativity into (and out of) our lives.   Sometimes, it helps to get away from the things we can encounter via social media...like pictures of happy people and their happy families (because, yes, I get bitter for a little bit), or people who want to be miserable while you are trying to find the silver lining.

8. Write it down.  Try writing your thoughts and feelings into a journal, or poetry.  While I'm not currently journaling, I can say that writing poetry (even if it was just for me) and writing in a journal is what got me through being a teenager and a breakup or two since then.  Writing my feelings down helps me get them "out" and can help me process them.

9. Find a new way to cope.  Writing isn't for everyone.  But if there is anything I've learned in life, it's that pain can spark creativity.   Music, art, even knitting are all really great ways to occupy your mind and your hands.  Whatever you do, don't seek "revenge"....it doesn't promote healing, it only feeds bitterness and hatred, things no one needs.

10. Change your Schedule.  One of my biggest struggles in getting over this last relationship has been the changes in the schedule.  We were living together and his schedule was different than mine.  I was preparing dinner late at night for him to have a hot meal, spend some time together, and go to bed.   That is a pretty extreme schedule for someone who needs to get up at 6:45 to start getting ready for work.  It has been almost a month and every night I feel like I should get up and start making dinner and the time he would normally come home, I find myself listening for his car and looking out the window.  I didn't realize it at first, but in a way I had become very used to winding myself up and internally preparing myself for when he would be home.  One of the hardest things has been getting over that hump.  I'm still struggling, but what I've found helps is doing things that make me tired earlier, or finding things to do when I would normally be getting up to make dinner.

11. Make a List of Reminders.  It's hard not to go back.  Especially when time moves on and you find yourself feeling lonely, or you happen to see them out somewhere and your heart feels those old familiar tugs.  On one of my favorite shows, "How I met your Mother", they characters write themselves a letter to remind them why they don't want to get back together with their ex.  I'm not saying you have to write a letter, but you should definitely make a list of all the reasons your ex was not the person for you and what you didn't like about them.  Don't be nice about it.  Don't sugar coat the information.  Put it all down like it happened and like it was...not the toned down version you tell other people so they don't think you're ex is awful.  You're walking away for a reason, write down every single one you can think of and give examples.  Write down the things you felt, or didn't feel and deserved to.  Write down the turn-offs about them that you just "overlooked".    

12. Take care of yourself.  I have found that I get nauseous when going through a break up...all the emotions running high, the upset, ect.  It is important to remember to eat well, keep or start exercising, get adequate sleep.  Don't let the stress of what is going on in your life make you physically ill.

13. Look good.  I've always been a fan of the phrase "The best Revenge is looking good".  But...that isn't the point here.  The point is that part of taking care of yourself is looking good, and when you're experiencing turmoil inside...sometimes it helps to be able to look in the mirror and feel like you look good.  A drastic change like a haircut or a new tattoo might not be the best idea (unless it is something you've been thinking about for a very long time, but if a new tattoo idea suddenly came to you in the aftermath you might want to reconsider it), but something small like a new cologne, a new shade of lipstick, or a new outfit can give you the little boost you need. 

14. Straighten out you life.  Yup....start organizing.  Cleaning out your space, moving things around, getting rid of old things (and maybe getting some new things) is an excellent way to occupying your time.  Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end...right?  So try to embrace it. 

15. Explore new paths of happiness.  Take a class, read that trilogy, start enjoying hobbies you always wanted to try but never did because now is an excellent time.  

16. Embrace it.  This part isn't for everyone, but if you're coming out of a particularly miserable relationship and away from someone who was particularly miserable, or made you miserable...then embrace it.  Enjoy being able to do the things you didn't or couldn't do before.  Enjoy having not to compromise with someone who wasn't THE someone.  Enjoy being free to find someone who might be better suited.  In the month since our break up, I've started to notice all the things that I love that I wasn't able to have before for whatever reason.  I was calling them "Hateful Little Happy Things" because it made me happy and it would have been something the BTW was "against".  For example,  I made Pumpkin Cupcakes with White Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Frosting...my ex wouldn't have touched them if I had begged.  I put the legs back on the bed because there was no one there to bend them or complain about how tall the bed was.  One night, I fried Portobello mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil, onions, garlic salt, and pepper and then topped it with Provolone cheese and ate it on a pita...I couldn't do that before because of the mushroom "allergy" he claimed to have (I suspect he just didn't like them because his mother didn't).  I've gotten new piercings.   Find the "GOOD" in "Goodbye!"


So that's it.  Those are my tips for getting over a break up.  I hope something helps you.  And here is the last thought I'm going to leave you with....Today, my good friend who is also going through a struggle posted an interesting status update on Facebook.  It spoke to me immensely. 


"It's much healthier to find a relationship that works for you and gives you what you need, than to cling to one that causes dissatisfaction.

Life is too short for this. 

Relationships should enhance your journey. The problem is, most people give up their own journeys to take on someone else's."


Monday, October 7, 2013

DYON: Vloggers I LOVE!

I learned a lot about what I know about nail care from trial and error, lots of magazines, and a couple of really great beauty school grads.  But I have to admit...from time to time, the best place to find tips, tricks, techniques and cute ideas is on the Internet.  

I've gotten a few requests to do some videos...videos aren't really my thing (I hate the sound of my voice when recorded).  What I will share with you, however, are a few of my favorite bloggers and YouTube channels that you can get great ideas, tips and tricks from.  These women have inspired my manicures a time or two!


DEEVINE DEEZINE
I've included a link to her video below the clip.  You can also find her on Twitter @DeeVineDeeZine.  She has some really great videos using regular polish, but where she really shines is with SensatioNail.  She is really my Go-To for Gel Manis.  Plus...she is super active on Twitter and will answer any questions you have.




MISSJENFABULOUS
One of the lucky girls who can be found under MISSJENFABULOUS on just about every social media site or check out her blog http://polishandpearls.com.  I only recently discovered her and I shared one of her nail tutorials last week on using straws for manicures.  I just think she is as cute as the day is long.  She does all kinds of things and is definitely worth checking out!





CUTEPOLISH
She's on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  Great, simple designs for beginners as well as more complicated ones for more advanced.  She's pretty awesome.  http://www.youtube.com/user/cutepolish






JULIE GRAF of MISSCHIEVOUS.tv
She does nails, make up, giveaways....check her out. 






ROBIN MOSES NAIL ART
I have a little confession to make...I can't keep up with her.  I don't feel that I'm at a level where her tutorials actually teach me anything...they just leave me envious and wanting a manicure from her.  I have learned some thing, gotten some ideas about colors and ect.  But...incredible and fun to watch!  See the link of one of my favorite manicures below.  



Please, handle with care.

There is a small part of me that wishes I had a sign around my neck saying, "Please.  Handle with Care.  Fragile."  In my funnier moments, I'd hang a phone or a tablet around my neck and play the "Fragile" Scene from "A Christmas Story" over and over again.  Because that is how I feel right now.... FRAH-GEE-LAY.

I've struggled with what to write for over a week now. I recently posted  about the changes going on in the Cheese and Beer Home.  Like anyone wants to read that...everyone has problems, and no one wants to read about them.  Our relationship is no longer and it happened in a terrible way; I'm hurting and will hurt for a long time.

That being said, the rest of the world feels so abrasive right now.  Every social action feels like a move while wearing overly tight, flame retardant pajamas.  The slightest bit of perceived attitude from a stranger via social media feels like a slap in the face.  Inappropriate jokes made by a coworker feels like a harsh and wicked personal attack, instead of just a rude comment by a socially retarded buffoon with a history of insulting me.  Today, I'm feeling like an exposed, raw nerve. 

I'm fortunate to have friends both in my daily life and those that have really come out of the woodwork to support me; People I've known for years, people I haven't been close to in a long time and people I only really know well via Facebook.  Moments like this will truly show you who cares for you, who is attracted to drama, and who is going to leave you lying wet and soggy in your own tears and snot.  I've been lucky to have so many people message me, call me, wish me well, invite me out...and quite frankly, handle me with kid gloves as if they know how shattered I'm feeling.   And thanks to those people, I'm able to hold it together. 

While my situation right now is taking a toll on me, I am managing.  I'm in one piece.  I am working.  I am functioning.  And I am actually doing all of these things.  I'm not the girl who came to work during a break-up who tears up every 45 minutes and runs from the room.  I'm not sniffling in the corner all day.  I don't think I look like I should be in a commercial for extended-release anti-depressants.

But...I broke down last week.  Because someone I've been open with openly attacked me about the very sensitive situation I find myself in.  I have no other words for a when someone comes and rubs things in your face to purposely hurt you in a situation that has precious little to do with them other than knowing you from work.  And while that was awful and hurtful, it made me think about how what he said to me really hurt...but how I might have handled it better if maybe, just maybe, other people had been kinder to me that day.

And that is my message.

Handle with Care

And it applies to the waitress, the cashier, the man holding open the door, the person who hands you your coffee at the coffee shop.  In your every day interactions with people...just be nice.  To look at me, people might not know what is going on, but being treated like a human being, even in the most casual way, means the world right now.  The Dalai Lama said it best:

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

And that is what we should strive for in our casual interactions with others, especially strangers.  We have no idea the struggles the strangers around us face every day.  I recall one Christmas when I was working as a cashier at a popular retail chain.  A woman came through my line and as I was checking her out she mentioned that one of the wreaths she purchasing was for her father in the nursing home.  I asked her if she would like me to put that in a separate bag for her, and she asked me why I would do that.  I told her that it was to make it easier for her so she didn't have to dig through the bags, and then I asked her what other items needed to go with it to be taken to him.  After I finished checking her out, she stopped and touched my arm and thanked me.  She started tearing up, and told me that no one else would have done that and she really appreciated it. 

It was a small thing for me to do.  Really...it is nothing for a cashier to use an extra bag or double bag something, but to that lady just being courteous seemed to make a little bit of difference.  And I can't help but think that when the world is kind of shitty, at the very least it would be a nice thing if the strangers we encounter are kind or at the very least...neutral to us. 

Be kind to each other.  Handle each other with care.  We do not know the struggles of the people around us, the least we can do is be decent.


DRIVE-BY CUPCAKING!!!!

I have a confession to make.  I am a Drive-by Cupcaker.

It all started one night when I decided to make champagne cupcakes.  I'd been looking at the recipes for weeks and debating whether or not I could give up some of my precious champagne (I was REALLY into Peach Bellinis at the time).  Then I stumbled across the birth announcement of a baby girl to an ex-boyfriend and I decided to make bright pink cupcakes to celebrate.  The result was champagne cupcakes, with bright pink, vanilla Italian Buttercream and decorated with white sugar pearls.




I made a single batch but somehow managed to end up with over 4 dozen cupcakes and no way to get rid of them.  The boyfriend-that-was didn't sound thrilled with them (he was picky...Champagne cupcakes and Italian Buttercream was just not the boxed cake mix and canned frosting he grew up with so it must not be good, or something equally silly-and this, ladies and gentlemen is part of the reason why he is the boyfriend-that-WAS), so I needed to find people to eat them.

I could take them to work, but even on my busiest day I can barely get rid of more than maybe 15 cupcakes...and that is with handing them out to people merely for walking in the door.  So I packed up cupcakes to take to work with me.  I packed up cupcakes for the boyfriend-that-was to take to his work and still had more than a dozen left over.

 When I cook or bake, I usually get a lot of comments from people who want some and so that night I decided "Why not?"  Then I packed up two pans and hit the road.  The first stop I texted my friend, told her I was going to cupcake her and run and that is when it became a Drive-by Cupcaking.  She came out with a plate and snagged a couple and went back in; I didn't even get out of the car.  I texted people, some I just showed up at their door.   Sometimes I stayed for a bit and visited, but I mostly just knocked, dropped off cupcakes and left.  If I knew where they lived, knew they were home, or was able to get a text message from them, I stopped by and dropped off on the way to my final destination: Mom's house.

So, now that the BTW (Boyfriend-that-was has really gotten to be a mouthful) and I are no longer, it is just me in the house and the landlord who lives in the apartment below.  And, for the record, he never took the cupcakes I packed up for him to work...I ended up throwing away at least a dozen. But I still want to make cupcakes, so what is a girl to do?

A Drive-By Cupcaking.




I'm not left trying to decide what to do with two dozen or more cupcakes.  I think having someone showing up at your door with ready-to-eat cupcakes, and a quick hello sounds kind of awesome to me.  I get feedback from multiple people...I get ideas on what I can do better, people tell me what they think of what I made, and it helps me to become a better baker.

Plus, is there better way to say "Hey, I really like you" or "I care about you, here's something to make you smile!" than randomly showing up, cupcakes in hand?  I don't think so.  The people who receive my cupcakes seem to agree...I'm still getting thank you's today.  But the best compliment I've gotten so far?  "Simple things in life is what people should appreciate!!  A cupcake delivery is one of them!!  :) !!!!"

We must! We must! We must increase our BUST!

*Originally written last Monday.  Sorry, folks, I'm playing catch up*

It was one of those mornings.  To make a long story short...I cleaned this weekend.  It is Oktoberfest weekend in my hometown, which means irritating college-aged kids from all over the state come to party; the upside is that they only managed to flip 2 cars this year, and there was no roadkill tossing.  It also means I didn't bother putting on a bra because I sure as shit wasn't going anywhere.  Plus, I signed up for Netflix, and like any new thing I had to sit and watch it for hours and hours.  I also drank wine.  And after I drank the wine, I needed pizza.

So...as things stand, I got a lot of stuff done.  I also didn't get everything done...like the clean laundry that is piled up in the corner of my couch to be folded.  I also got a lot of things shoved in corners that I need to go through.  Almost everything got rearranged.  Which leads me to this morning when I went looking for a bra and couldn't find one.

I messaged a bunch of my male Facebook friends and asked  about their underwear (now that I'm single, this might not be the best idea I've ever had).  What I learned is that men are not weird about their underwear.  Like...at all.  According to the like 5 people I asked they don't have certain pairs they keep for certain things, they don't keep certain ones on the off chance someone might see them, and the closest thing they had to "special" underwear were ones that were "funny" and they wore them all the time.

It must be nice to be a man.  I, however, have unmentionable problems.  I once had a wire snap while sitting in the front row in my college "Creative Writing" course 5 minutes before my professor read something I had written out loud.  Nothing like having your boob being simultaneously impaled and hanging all funny when everyone is looking at you.  I've watched enough episodes of Double Divas (on Lifetime after "Dance Moms") to know that Cynthia and Molly would have a goddamn field day with me.  On a side note...I freakin' love them and wish I was anywhere near the Livi Rae Lingerie store.  

I couldn't find a bra this morning, and I needed to go to work so you can only imagine what happened next.  I grabbed one from the drawer.  And I've regretted it ever since.  Women have 3 kinds of unmentionables (for you women who have underwear that matches, and men who don't understand) :

The Everyday Nothing special, wear them every day.  Sometimes vary in cut for style, but usually tend to be the comfy panties.  Also include the work appropriate bras, ect.

The Special Anyone who has seen "10 Things I Hate About You" probably remembers the part about black panties, this is the section you find them in.  The Special section is reserved for lingerie, and those special items that are too fragile, expensive, uncomfortable, or too nice for general wear (for some women, this might just be the one matching set...I know I feel really accomplished when my underthings match).  Also included in this category are the super fat sucker undies, control top panty-hose, girdles, and wonderbras.  Some of these items will not fit correctly due to the lack of frequent wear. 

The Damned Also known as laundry day panties, or granny panties.  Those special undergarments with exposed or missing elastic, maybe a cycle stain (I'm just keeping it real), saggy butt, and maybe even a few tears.  The Special bra that has a little tear or problem you keep reminding yourself to mend every time you see it or wear it, promptly wash and shove back into the drawer for the later that never comes.  Sometimes they're the most comfortable/ugly pair you own, and sometimes they're the pair that doesn't fit quite right but you just can't seem to bring yourself to get rid of them because they're practically new.

Which do you think I ended up with this morning when I couldn't find one of my Everyday bras?  I yanked one out of the garbage that I had thrown there 3 days before after snapping a wire.  Nope....too broken to function, and believe me...I really wanted that bra.  I tore up laundry piles...hoping at the very least I could find the black one with the convertible straps that makes my boobs look cone-shaped.  Nothing.  And then I opened the drawer and found the bra.  That push-up bra with the removable air pockets that I hadn't worn in years.  Yes even I, Aya of the Mountainous Bosom, has one.  The air pockets had been removed for a long time but even then it was an incredibly tight fit.  I tossed on work clothes and ran for the door.

I turned the corner at the end of my block and that is when it happened: the wire popped free from it's holding and promptly stabbed my in the left armpit, holding steady against my armpit fat like Dennis Quad in the mouth of the Sean Connery Dragon in Dragonheart until 7 blocks later when the right side decided to poke out.


If my boob had a face, it totally would have looked that uncomfortable.

I drove the rest of the way to work with my hands at 9 and 3, arms up and elbows out looking like I'm trying to air out my pits or doing Pilates (which I don't do, that shit hurts).  As I pulled into the lot, I scanned the other cars for people; As soon as I thought no one could see me, I was digging in my pits and trying to shove the wire back and rearrange the Grand Teatons.

I spent the rest of my day with my cup runneth-ing over like Keira Knightley in a damn pirate movie.


Her cup runneth over so much that the utterly sexy Orlando Bloom cannot even bear to look anymore. 

At the end of the day, I was forced to suck it up, put my big girl panties on, and go shopping for a new bra.  I hate bra shopping, and you know why?  Because every time I do it, I have to face that they've gotten bigger.  Like, all the wishes for big awesome boobs I made as a kid just keep being granted...does the boob fairy have a Customer Service Department? "Excuse me, but I'd like to cancel my subscription of boob, please."   What the hell.  That isn't even a question anymore.  It's a statement. But I tell ya, once I found one that fit...it was awesome and I felt good.  

When I started writing this...I'll admit, I just wanted to whine about my bra and my gigantic boobs.  But then I realized that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And it got me thinking about how I should be nicer to my breasts, up to and including doing my self checks more regularly. My cousin said something that resonated with me October 2nd with this simple Facebook Status update:

 "I refuse to put some cutesy code words in my status for breast cancer awareness. Follow the guidelines for getting your mammograms and check your shit, ladies."

So take the same time it takes to read those messages, find "your" code, forward the message to all of your friends, and post the "secret code" status on your page to do a self breast exam.  Invite your significant other to do some handling.  Do whatever you need to do to get those checks done.  We don't need any more awareness...both men and women get breast cancer, and sadly most of us know or have known someone who has had it.  We need less awareness and more action.  If you need to be "aware" on Facebook, I'd love to see people acknowledging that they did their self checks and encouraging others to do so as well.

Get informed.  Follow the Guidelines.  Check your shit!

Learn how to do a proper Breast Self Exam HERE.

Learn about Breast Cancer, health, awareness, research, events and resources at the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website here that has links to other sites. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

DYON: DIY Nail Art Tools

I have a little secret...tools for doing your own nails don't have to be fancy and expensive and come from the beauty supply store or be ordered online.  Chances are, you already have things you can use or can obtain  really easily around your house or at your closest store for pretty cheap.  

Paintbrush (preferably skinny, square tip) This might cost you a little bit more because you can't use the cheapy ones from the kid's painting aisle as it needs to be able to hold up to acetone (unless you choose to use acrylic paint).  I seriously use a run of the mill paintbrush when I do French manicures.  The process consists of painting the tips the color you desire, and going back and using the paintbrush dipped in acetone to make the crescent shape.  Also incredibly handy for glitters and you can use the opposite side as a dotting tool. 

Shotglass Yep, I pour my acetone in a shotglass.  I've also mixed colors in it, marbled out of it and soaked off acrylics in it.  Very handy thing to have. 

Toothpicks Good for small dots and points.  Buy the ones with a point on one side and a flattened base for a larger size to try. 

Needles Use the head of a pin to make designs on your nails. Use the point for scrolling or thin lines.  For better stability, stick it into the eraser on a pencil. 

Tape Paint the desired color on your tape, let dry, apply polished tape to nails like a nail sticker and cover with a top coat.  Excellent for different shapes, striping, and color blocking.  Also REALLY handy for water marbling.  Check out @cutepolish for a really cute mani to do using tape




Lace/Netting Old fishnet stockings (what?  no one else has some of those laying around?), cheesecloth, the plastic netting from bags of produce (usually see them with onions, oranges, lemons), strip of lace, ect.  Fabric net can be used to dip in material and apply a pattern onto the nail, or wrap the fabric/lace around the nail and paint and then remove to see the pattern.  Plastic netting works really great if you tape or hold it on, paint quick dry polish over the top, wait and then remove for a pattern that can be left to look like fishnet nails, or painted to look like snake skin polish.

Straws  Carefully roll the edge of the straw in polish like you would a margarita glass (don't just jam it in polish) then apply to nails.  Or check out this video from @MissJenFABULOUS




Bobby Pins  Give it a bend and use it as a dotting tool. 

Cotton Swabs Good for clean-up around those edges.

Cotton Balls You need them for removal, but they can also be used for fuzzy manicures.  

Ballpoint Pen It works best if you can find out that is out of ink, but they make great dotting tools. 

Sponges A basic makeup sponge, not the kitchen variety but I wonder how that would work out... Anyway, your basic, cheap, triangle makeup sponges are great for things like marbled and gradient nails.

Avery Reinforcement Stickers You know the little round stickers they sell to reinforce 3-hole punch pages?  These can be used for half-moon manicures, dots, even french manicures if your nails are the right size. 




Garage Sale Labels Work the same way as reinforcement labels, they're usually larger.  I've heard these work really great for Ruffian manicures.




Stickers Small stickers can be used as nail art stickers.  Apply to dry nails, apply top coat.  I'm personally not a fan of this.  I like using the stickers for their intended purpose, however....I like to take the outline (you know...the "extra" that usually comes on sticker packs, the outline) and use them as stencils. 

Temporary Tattoos  This is also from a cutepolish video.  It can be hard to find certain tattoos that will fit or that aren't part of a larger tattoo.  But..I've been able to find things like stars, and "jewelry" tattoos that have made for some nail art.  I would suggest looking at Dollar Stores and Walgreens in the childrens section.   


@cutepolish tutorial from YouTube


How I used this technique

Plastic Wrap  Excellent tool for doing marbled nail art. 

Tea Bags Check out how to fix a broken nail in this video from DeeVine DeeZine @ghostbusterdeena