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Getting Nailed

I’ve been trying to be smart about money lately.

(Yeah, I actually typed those words.)

It’s something I should have been doing all along anyway, but lately with uncertainty about my job, and with the holidays coming up, I’ve been cutting back on the non-essentials.

Like getting my nails done. I like my nails to look neat and clean, and my cuticles get a little gnarly, so I was going every other weekend for a mani/pedi.

manicure-1Plus, it’s an hour to myself to sit and relax, reading a trashy tabloid while someone massages my hands and feet. And even though the place I go isn’t very expensive, it adds up. So I’ve started giving myself manicures and pedicures at home. Now I remember the real reason I’ve been paying money to have someone do my nails: I suck at it.

I look at it like painting a room—it’s all about the prep. I’ve been getting my nails done for so long that I know all the tips and tricks the manicurists use, but somehow the whole thing never comes together for me.

I don’t keep my nails long—I like a little length, but not much beyond the top of my finger—and I like just the edges rounded a bit (not square and not oval). But when I’m done wielding the nail file, it looks like I hacked at them with a saw. The nails are a little asymmetrical and they’re always still a little raggedy.

I soak my hands in warm, soapy water to soften up the digits, I push my cuticles back and I slather on lotion. I dab a little rubbing alcohol on each finger to absorb the oil from the lotion, and make sure everything is dry for the polish.

And the polish is where everything really goes wrong.

I will usually go wild with color on my toes and keep my fingers more natural unless they’re a nice length and look somewhat even. Otherwise, my hands look like Britney Spears’ in her crazy days…

Nice manicure

Nice manicure, Britney

But whether I use a more natural color or something bolder like Opi’s Lincoln Park After Dark, the result is the same—the polish looks like Ray Charles was turned loose with some spray paint.

I apply the base coat, and no matter what I do, no matter how flat and stable I keep my hands, the base coat seeps into my cuticles and builds up in the edges. I try to smooth it out, or clean it out with an orange stick, but it just stubbornly slides back into the cuticles. I wait a minute for that to dry before I apply the main color, but it doesn’t matter. The base coat slides down the same way, collecting into the cuticle. And if I’m using color, especially a dark red, the color settles in making my cuticles look like I’ve been gnawing on them for lunch—they look red, dry and ragged.

I apply the polish the way the pros tell you—just three swipes of color: start in the middle, then do one side of the nail and then the other. I try to keep the right amount of polish on the brush, but no matter how many times I swipe it against the opening, it’s too much. It glops and goops. I try to clean that up between coats, but if I use polish remover and a little brush, the remover oozes into the polish, making it an even bigger mess.

The next coat is supposed to add more coverage and smooth everything out, but it always seems too thick, too viscous. And then I have to wait an eternity for that mess to dry before I can even tackle the top coat.

When all is said and done, I’m left with nail polish that peels and bubbles, cuticles polished like an old window painted shut, and raggedy-ass nails.

And, of course, the more it peels, the more I peel it. And the more raggedy my nails get.

Manicures and pedicures are suddenly starting to feel less frivolous and more of a necessity. I may have to do the unthinkable and cut back on my Starbucks. Or food. Or something.

Random Tuesday Thoughts (Facebook Friends, My Hero And, Well, You’ll See)

randomtuesday

Most mornings after I’ve settled in at work I’ll log into Facebook and see what’s going on with everyone. Yesterday morning there was a friend request that I was happy to see, and then there was a friend recommendation. I’m not always sure how Facebook makes its recommendations. It’s usually based on something legitimate like the high school you went to, the year you graduated or mutual friends. But every now and then there are some random ones. Like the one recommending my husband’s second ex-wife. Now, after about 14 years of not-always-peaceful co-existence, arguments, and awkward family gatherings, it’s pretty clear that me and this woman are never—not in this life or in any other—going to become friends no matter how much Facebook wills it so. But I’m still curious because she is not friends with any of my friends or my husband. I’m not friends with their son online either—in fact, I don’t even know if he’s on Facebook.

I have to admit though, I’m dying to see what her profile looks like!

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Google Search is endlessly fascinating to me. I get about 15 hits a day based on this post about Bejeweled Blitz. Apparently, I’m not the only one with a wicked addiction to this game. I also seem to get a lot of hits for Bret Michaels, Neil Diamond (mostly inquiring about his marital status), and for Costco. But the last couple of days Google sent a handful of people to me for the search “pants crap.”

Aside from wondering about the person who types these search terms, I couldn’t figure out what hell it had to do with The Daily Snark. I Googled “pants crap” and I never did find a connection to this blog—the closest thing I could find was this post with the word “crap” in the title, but my search opened up a whole new world to me. Apparently, there are anonymous groups dedicated to this. I made the colossal mistake of clicking on a link to see if they were support groups or fetish groups. Guess what? There’s a whole community of people who do this. ON PURPOSE. I don’t mean to shout, but OHMYHOLYHELL.

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My hero...

My hero...

This guy? He’s my hero. He is the defender of all things Mo. I’ve had a rough week or so and he’s been there for me, listening, giving advice (when asked), and stands behind me when things go upside down. In a few weeks, we’re going to be celebrating our 10-anniversary and I can’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

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I switched my drink at Starbucks last week. For years, I’ve gotten my venti Skinny Vanilla Latte every morning, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. But a friend of mine recently read my tarot cards and told me that if I wanted to bring change into my life, I needed to change up my routine. Simple changes bring bigger ones. I’m sure it has someting to do with being open to new opportunites. I’m not sure why I decided to enact change with my cofffe, but I’ve started drinking a venti misto, which is half coffee, half steamed milk. And I add a packet of Splenda. I’m kind of digging the change. I’m not sure if it’ll stick, but for now I’m test-driving it. However, it turned the staff at my Starbucks upside down.  I’d walk in, and by the time I got to the register my drink was there. I just had to pay. I didn’t have to say much more than good morning and thank you. So when I told them I was changing my drink, all of the employees went into shock. There was a disturbance in the force. Now they view me suspiciously. I may switch back, but then again, I may try something entirely different. I’m feeling kinda wild.

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For more randomness, don’t forget to check out Keely’s blog at the Un Mom.

A Few Things I Can’t Live Without. Seriously.

There are a couple of things I can’t live without. Well, I could, but I’d prefer not to. They aren’t over-the-top indulgences and these aren’t products that I’ve been asked to write about (because, you know, this blog is so big time that advertisers are clamoring for my opinion, yo). They’re just simple things that make me look and feel better.

Neutrogena Body Oil (Light Sesame Formula)

This is one of my favorite body products…ever. About 10 years ago I started using this in the summer to try and prevent my skin from looking like a handbag after being in the sun. Plus, it gave my skin a nice healthy glow. Now I use it year-round because it keeps my skin all moist and soft. I slather it on after my shower in the morning and it stops the alligator skin from happening. It’s not super greasy either so you don’t feel like you bathed in an oil slick after you put it on. (About $10, but almost lasts a year.)

Neutrogena

Smooth like buttah

St. Ives Intensive Healing Advanced Therapy Lotion

I am a lotion junkie. I put it on my hands and feet in the morning, when I go to bed at night (and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and slather some on), and I keep some at my desk so I can put it on during the day. It’s rich and feels kind of silky. And it’s fragrance-free so you don’t smell like someone’s grandmother. My hands and feet tend to get kind of dry, and this stuff rocks. (And, yes, I use this with the Neutrogena.) Target usually has it on sale for about $4.

intensive-healing

So soft...

L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I rarely leave the house without a stitch of makeup. I’m shallow like that. At the very least I’ll swipe on some mascara just to make my eyes look a little more open. I don’t really need length or volume (surprising because my lashes were so long as a kid that I cut them much to my mom’s horror!), but this is the only mascara (about $8 at most drugstores) I ever bought that goes on easily without any clumping or flaking. Just a few swipes and I look doe-eyed (or at least awake). Unlike some other mascaras I’ve tried, it looks pretty natural.

The brush is twice as thick as most mascaras

The brush is twice as thick as most mascaras

Starbucks Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte I hit Starbucks every morning (at least during the week) for this. It’s non-fat milk and sugar-free vanilla so you don’t go cross-eyed from too much sweet and sugar. If I’m really having a rough day, I’ll add another shot to kick the adrenaline into overdrive. Priceless.

And they even spelled my name right

And they even spelled my name right

Now if you have a good anti-aging cream, let me know. I’m still on the quest for a good one.

Is This Thing On? (A long post about why I haven’t posted…and how my mother drove me nuts)

Not only have I not written here for about 10 days, I haven’t even looked at this blog. Is anyone still around? *crickets*

It’s been a brutal week. A week full of extreme ups and downs, family taking over my house, a business trip and insanely long hours at work. For the first time in a week, I’m starting to feel a little human. But just a little.

My parents spent Father’s Day weekend at my house. They’re older (my dad is 80, my mom is 76) so although they still travel quite a bit, there are no quick up-and-backs for them. They live two hours away, but it’s too much for them to drive up, hang for the afternoon and then leave at night. So for a Sunday afternoon barbecue, they arrived at about 4:00 Saturday afternoon. And as much as I love them, they’re not easy house guests by any stretch of the imagination. My mom just can’t sit still and relax. She’s not happy unless she’s into everything. Like a toddler.

I’d been under a lot of pressure the week before because I was getting ready for a business trip to Atlanta the day after Father’s Day. It was brutal. The stress was overwhelming. I was at the vortex of a shit storm day after day. It didn’t matter what I did, what I didn’t do, what I said or didn’t say, I just got hammered left and right. It was the kind of week that had me fantasizing about running away to a Caribbean island and becoming a bartender. So Saturday night when I started to come down from all the stress I just felt broken, old and beat up. I went to bed early, and Sunday morning after we went out to breakfast, I just wanted to nap for an hour before I had to start getting everything ready for our Father’s Day BBQ.

I went into my bedroom and closed the door and the second I started to doze off, there was a tap, tap, tap on the door. Without waiting for a reply (Hello! Welcome to my childhood!), my mom opened the door, saw me laying on the bed, immediately got all panic-y—What’s wrong? You aren’t feeling well? Do you need a Tums? Do you have a thermometer? She even felt my forehead to see if I had a fever. I told her I was tired and feeling achy and just wanted to nap for a bit. She agreed that was a good idea, but instead of letting me do that, she started looking around my room at all the clean laundry that was folded but not yet put away and started to make herself busy.

When I told her to Stop. Touching. My. Laundry. (nicely), that I just needed to be left alone for a while, she got all hurt and cranky. She left the room only to return 10 minutes later to ask if I had packed for my trip yet. When I told her No, as a matter of fact, I hadn’t started because she was running me ragged, she, of course, offered to pack me.

“Nah, I’ll do it later.” (nicely)

“But you have to cook for everyone later. Do it now.” (Um, hello? Who’s house is this?)

“I don’t want to do it now. I want to nap because I DON’T FEEL WELL.” (Teeth clenched. Trying not to get angry here, but ohmyholygod.)

“Well, I can’t believe you haven’t packed yet.” (Translation: What the hell have you done all weekend? Lazy!)

Sigh. It was an overnight trip, I already had my suit dry cleaned (ever time I put on a suit I am so grateful I can wear jeans to work most days) and I just needed to throw together a few things. Apparently, I’m still 4 and not almost 40 and able to manage my time.

I never did get my nap. She kept coming in and bugging me, totally thinking she was helping when the only thing she accomplished was pissing me off. If I called her on it, she just pouted. (My mother is the queen of guilt.)

I got up and just started cleaning up and cooking.

By 9:00 that night our guests showed no sign of leaving so, wonderful hostess that I am, I got up, excused myself and went to pack before my mom (or I) had an aneurism and went to bed.

Monday morning I went in to work for about an hour, and then drove myself, my boss and another co-worker to the airport for our Atlanta trip. I knew this was going to be a fast turnaround, but I had no idea how much it was going to kick my ass.

First of all, traveling with people for the first time? Sucks balls. Everyone has their own style of traveling. Mine is the Be The First On the Plane style. My boss’? It’s more along the lines of Let’s Mosey And See How Late We Can Be. We finally pile into the car, and 15 minutes into the drive he announces that he left his suit jacket in his car. Back at the office. So I had to turn around and drive back to work. We were flying out of LAX so we had to navigate the 405 freeway, the busiest freeway in the country. Piece of cake, right? Not. By the time we got back on the road, parked, shuttled to the airport, checked our bags in, and walked 60 miles to the gate, we were so late that the flight attendant sniped that she was about to give away our seats.

By the time we got on the plane, the three of us were snarking at each other. It was so bad, we had to call a truce.

We finally settled in, and realized we were surrounded by about a dozen horrible little brats. One kid was so heinous that he’d smack his mom when he didn’t get his way and she didn’t say a word. At one point the little darling grabbed my smoking hot coffee off my tray and swatted it on the floor, splashing the guy across the aisle. His mother did nothing. I almost grabbed him and flushed him down the toilet and out into the blue sky. And I don’t think his mother would have cared. She probably would have thrown a parade in my honor.

We finally landed in Atlanta at about 8:00 p.m. or so, checked in to the hotel, and met for dinner at 9:30. We finally got back to our rooms a couple of hours later and even though I was exhausted, it was only 8:30 at home. And I was so paranoid about waking up the next morning that I probably only got 2 hours of sleep. When my alarm went off at 7:30 it definitely felt like 4:30 a.m. I was broken. I drank gallons of coffee (sadly, it wasn’t Starbucks. I didn’t find one until I was thoroughly saturated with caffeine) to try to get enough energy to go down for breakfast.

Our first meeting was at CNN.

CNNjpg

And it was as intimidating as it was impressive. When we were waiting for our meeting to begin, the Reverend Al Sharpton walked by, and we could see into the various news studios as they pumped out hour after hour of news. I was hoping to run into Anderson Cooper, but no such luck. Maybe another time.

CNNHummer

This was a news Hummer that CNN used for embedded reporters at the start of the second Gulf War. It's pretty bad ass.

Our next two meetings were across town, and by the time we were done at 4:00, we were all just dead.

By the time we arrived back in Los Angeles at 9:00 that night, we had been up, meeting and traveling for about 20 hours.

I was never so grateful to be sleeping in my own bed as I was that night. I was hoping to sleep in a little and take my time getting in the next morning, but because we had been out for two day, we were slammed. Three days in a row I was so busy I barely had time to run up the hall to the restroom.

Now? I’m (mostly) rested. And I have a short week ahead of me.

So back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Given the Opportunity, Most People Will Totally Take Advantage of You

Yeah, that’s a pretty cynical statement, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s true.

I don’t know if I’m more aware of it or if I’ve just had enough of of people’s behavior, but I’ve conducted an informal social experiment and have determined that sometimes people just suck.

Take this morning for instance. I was walking into Starbucks (as I usually do on my way to work) and as I opened the door I noticed out of the corner of my eye a woman approaching The ‘Buck, too. I started to walk in, but I held it open behind me so she could come in—she was just far enough away that I didn’t want to stand there and hold it open but I didn’t want to slam the door on her either.

Suddenly, the woman sped up and ran past me, pushing me aside and tried to jump around me in line. Now, at this point, I’m already approaching the counter, and the employees know me and my drink so they’re already ringing me up. She starts to move in front of me while I’m paying and demands to be waited on. The girl behind the counter (bless her heart) tells her she’ll be waited on when it’s her turn.

Order placed, money paid, I walk to the bar to wait for my drink. I’m chatting with the Barista, and she hands my drink to me—to my outstretched hand—and the woman who pushed me, swooped in and grabbed my drink out of the Barista’s hand and started to walk out.

Dude, I was PISSED. I grabbed her arm, told her it was my drink and demanded she put it down. She insisted it was hers. “Really?” I asked. “Your name is Maureen and you ordered a Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte?” She stared blankly. “Sweetie, I heard you order a small frappuccino, which is a SMALL COLD drink. This is NOT yours.”

She slammed my drink on the counter, sloshing it everywhere, and leaned over the bar and asked the Barista where HER drink was. The Barista told her she’d start it AFTER she re-made my drink (have I told you how much I LOVE my Starbucks?). The woman starts freaking out about her drink, badgering the Barista, telling her to hurry up, she’s gotta go.

Of course, I can’t resist. “If you stop harassing the girl, she can focus and get us both out of here.” (Translation: Shut your fucking pie hole.) The woman just stared at me like I’m the biggest piece of shit she’s ever laid eyes on.

My drink comes up and the Barista puts it directly in my hand so no one can grab it.

As I’m walking out the door, the woman rushes up behind me, drink in hand, and tries to push around me. I swung around and hold her to back the fuck off. I walked out the door and slammed it shut (like I should have done to begin with).

What the fuck is that?

Yeah, I got pulled down to her level, and I’m not exactly proud of it, but I’m not all that upset about it either. Sometimes you need to treat people the way they treat you. It’s not my style to be a bitch for no reason (Shut up! It’s not!), but if you push me, I will definitely push back.

But I don’t get it. Why do people have to be like that? I know it sounds like a naive question, but I want to know. Are they really that clueless about themselves and their behavior? Do they just drift through life without any thought to anyone other than themselves, or do they just feel like being mean because they can?

The sad thing is, it makes me less likely to do something nice for someone again.

Guilty Pleasures

1. Sitting at the bar alone in a restaurant with a good book, a nice dinner, a shot of tequila and maybe even dessert.

2. Reading Entertainment Weekly and Us Weekly in a hot bubble bath.

3. Fudgesicles

4. My morning sugar-free vanilla latte.

5. Watching really crappy reality TV.

6. A perfectly dirty Belvedere martini

7. Driving home from work with the top down and the stereo blasting.

8. A big dollop of whipped cream in a cup of coffee.

9. Fresh, clean sheets on the bed. With multiple pillows stacked on top.

10. Multiple pairs of my favorite jeans.

11. Sleeping in on a Sunday morning.

12. Opening a brand-new book.

13. Bacon. With just about anything.

14. Tacos and beer on a weekend afternoon.

15. A matinee movie on a Sunday afternoon.

Apparently, coffee and yeast infections go hand in hand

This is really a multi-faceted blog. Just look at some of the recent searches that have brought my many 4 readers here.

I mean, really, where else can you find marriage, Neil Diamond, coffee yeast infections, latte yeast infections (two searches on yeast infections? Really?) and an iPhone all in one place?