Category Archives: Beauty

Tahoe Winter 2015

There have been a handful of things keeping me super busy lately. One of them is that last weekend, Drew and I took B to Tahoe for a winter extravaganza. We rented a house with the Jameses and Molly, and spent 3 nights there hanging out.

We got there first, and while we were unloading the car, an 18-year-old kid pulled up in an SUV and said, “Hey, you guys moving in?” “Yes,” we said. “Okay, good to know. I’m going to make a phone call.” Then he got back into his car, talked on the phone for a minute, and then drove away. We were a little baffled – and concerned – but before I could call the rentals manager, she pulled up behind our car. She was kind of freaking out, and said that the cleaners thought we were coming the next day so they hadn’t finished. So she ran inside and cleaned the bathroom sinks and the stovetop. So that was kind of weird.

It’s not very snowy in Tahoe right now, but we did have an ice patch of our very own in a shady spot of the yard.

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Actually, it was probably good that the roads were basically clear so the drive was quick and safe, and the boys could run around outside in every free 15 minutes to keep them from going crazy.

The first day we went into Tahoe City where there was a playground near the beach. We went to the water’s edge, where there was about 6 feet of ice, and taught the boys to throw rocks (um…not our brightest moment) to break the ice. B brought a rock home with him, which I keep forgetting about, but I’m pretty sure is still in the diaper bag.

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IMG_9040The second day, we went up to Mount Rose to find some snow – it was still pretty icy, but Drew could pull B around on the sled we brought him. We also saw one stupid teenage boy after another sled down a hill and very nearly go face-first into a tree. Literally. Also, a woman went down another hill on an inner tube, jumped a little hill, and was 2 seconds away from shooting out into the road – if her inner tube hadn’t suddenly popped. She was laughing. We were all worried that we were about to see someone – tree guys or inner tube girl – get really hurt.

Luckily no one did. And we slipped and slid around on the ice until it started to get too dark.

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On our drive back to the house, we realized that Mount Rose is in Nevada – B’s first trip out of state!

The only downside to the trip was a slight fever that the boys seemed to be passing back and forth. Neither was down for long, but we were dosing them both with Tylenol all weekend. On our third night, B was up literally every 45 minutes, actually crying. Not just whimpering. I’m pretty sure neither Drew nor I slept more than 2 hours altogether. It was one of the worst nights of my life, especially since we weren’t sure what the problem was. He wasn’t feverish all night – just upset.

Finally at 5am, after many times of being up, of shhhhing him, of asking what was wrong, Drew brought him into our bed and we both sat there going, “What’s wrong? What do you need?” He finally croaked out “Wawar!” Water?? I felt like such an idiot. Was he just dehydrated all night? Could we have solved this 8 hours ago?

I think we were all suffering from the altitude a little bit. My skin and my lips were so chapped – and I think we were all dehydrated. Luckily a couple days back at sea level and we’re all back to normal.

It was a classic case of “I had so much fun! And I’m SO GLAD to be home!”

(And fun fact: I just found out we’re getting our whole security deposit back – so that’s nice! I’m always a little nervous about that.)

 

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I Got Layers

I got a haircut today, perhaps the first one in a year. And I was thinking about how it’s basically my fantasy to have a hairdresser standing behind me in the mirror, looking thoughtful, and then they say, “Would you trust me to try something different here?” I would be like, “YES!” But what happens instead is they ask what I want, and I stammer out some haircut terms I’ve heard on TV, and then I either walk out looking much the same, or maybe with shorter hair.

Today, I look much the same. But in a good way. I like my new layers, and I enjoyed the “treat yo’self” feelings of someone else washing my hair. But it still makes me think of this blog post I wrote in 2008 about getting my hair cut in New York, the first time (since the age of 6) I got bangs.

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Hairdressers, and the Women They Laugh At

America’s Next Top Model.  Project Runway.  Tabatha’s Salon Takeover.  What Not To Wear.

These are just a few of the shows on TV now that take ordinary people who look like me or only slightly better, sit them down, and employ a professional to tell those ordinary people exactly what is going to happen to them.  Be it color, cut, makeup, or wardrobe, those people can rest assured that they are not being judged or made fun of, but that said professionals are there to help them look beautiful.  Is it really hard to believe that while watching the stylist of ANTM hack off Samantha’s long blonde hair, or give Elina a curly red weave, both of which come out looking amazing, that I can only say wistfully to anyone who will listen, “I wish Tyra Banks and her stylists would show up here and make me over!”

Alas, walking into a salon is not a screen test to get on one of these shows, and after today, I think I have nearly as high a level of Salon Anxiety as I do of White Coat Syndrome.  (White Coat Syndrome being, of course, that uncontrollable anxiety around doctors, even when they are doing the most unobtrusive of check-ups.)  For weeks – possibly months – I have been talking to myself about getting bangs.  Studying other’s people’s bangs, trying to fold my hair across my forehead looking into a mirror, and going through magazines and online articles about Best Bangs For You.  Finally I made an appointment at Nola’s in our neighborhood (it’s Salon backwards, how clever is that?) and I went down there this afternoon.

They are all legitimately Irish, which is charming as all get-out, and they’re very nice people, but I do not speak the salon language.  I had, however, spent days prepping my explanation of what I wanted, so that when she said, “What are we doing today?” (in an Irish accent), I replied without hesitation, “I would like to keep most of the length, but do some shorter layers for body, and also I think I would like…bangs.”  (Note: I had promised Liz I would say “fringe” but I was too nervous.)

She sat me down and started combing and everything was great, until she held a up a piece from the back and looked at me in the mirror and said, “How long would you like your layers?”  And I couldn’t even respond, I had no answer.  I pretty much said, “I don’t know.”  I don’t know!  Long enough to keep with the length – short enough so they are layers?  Why can I not go into a salon and say, “Make me pretty”?  I think she might have laughed at me a little bit when I said I didn’t know – I think this was the same girl I had last time, months ago, and we had a similar run in: When it was time for the blow-drying, she said, “How would you like it dried?”  And I said, “So it’s…dry?  And pretty?”  And she said, “Would you like it straight, or flips…?”  And I said, “Flips?”  And she said, “Flips?”  And I said, “Yes, let’s do flips,” which ended up being curls at the end, which looked lovely, but she did laugh at me a little bit then too.

So today she had to tell me how long she would do the layers, and I said that was great, and she continued cutting.  When she got to the bangs part, she combed them out and then said, “You’re sure?” in the way that you would confirm the first cut of any big operation, and I said, “Yes,” and then watched my blonder front hair fall into my lap.  She blew them out and sort of curled them under after she had finished everything else.

I love the layers, partly because they are all flippy at the ends (see? flips).  The bangs I am not so sure on.  To my still a little shellshocked eyes, I look like a cross between Peg from Lady and the Tramp, and a 12 year old at a school dance in 1998.  Drew, who says he would tell me the truth but who I don’t completely trust in for the whole truth, says it looks like Anne Hathaway’s hair in The Devil Wears Prada.  He just knows I think she’s beautiful though.  So I am still unsure about them, although I sort of wish I had gone with my hesitant instinct and not done the bangs – I can always start pinning them back and let them grow out.  C’est la vie.

Also, why is it that no matter how much makeup I put on, I get in the chair with nothing to look at but my face and my wet clumpy hair hanging all over or clipped on top of my head – and I am always ashamed with how I look.  It must be the wet clumpy hair, but I can never prepare myself for that.

In short, please, TV (Bravo in particular), stop lying to me and making me think that hairdressers want to tell me exactly what they are going to do to make me beautiful.  Also, if there is anyone out there who is a hairdresser, I will pay you good money to be a Tyra Banks to my Lauren.  Doesn’t that sound like a good deal?  Also, Liz, I hope your wedding is themed “Full House children” because then I will fit right in.

[The best part is, I then included a picture of myself with my new bangs, which I remember thinking was so weird-looking, but it really just looks like me now, except like seven years younger. Oh, and these are the bangs that ended up growing out and disappearing. This new iteration of bangs that I have now started in 2010.]

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The Road Not Taken: A Lesson in English and Life

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

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This is one of my favorite poems, for three reasons.

1. I love the rhyme and the meter of the poem. I love reciting it. There’s something so musical about the ABAAB and the iambic tetrameter. I loved studying poetry in school, and sometimes I really miss it.

2. I love the message of the poem. But stay tuned. Because:

3. This poem doesn’t actually mean what everyone thinks it means. And here’s your English lesson for today:

In the early 1910s, Robert Frost became friends with another writer, Edward Thomas. They would go for walks through the woods, and Thomas was constantly moaning about the fact that they had taken the “wrong” path – and missed something amazing on another path. Frost wrote this poem in 1915, a sarcastic answer to Thomas’ worry that he was always making the wrong decision.

If you dissect the poem, there are three instances where Frost admits that there is no “better” path:

“as just as fair”
“the passing there / had worn them really about the same”
“both that morning equally lay”

The closing stanza is a sigh from someone looking back on opportunities lost. Frost is gently mocking the narrator (and Thomas) for fretting over missed opportunities, and for not seizing the opportunities that one is presented with.

I freaking love this poem and the story behind it.

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Today was my last full time day at my theatre job. On Monday I start a new job as an Executive Assistant, in an office full of brand new people. This was my choice, my decision, and it was a hard decision, but I still think it was the right decision.

Every new path brings change, something new to learn, and new opportunities for joy.

Two roads diverged in a wood. And I.

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A 1-year-old is an unreliable wedding guest

A couple weeks ago, we took B to a wedding. A francy wedding.

(I meant fancy, but I accidentally typed francy, and I immediately fell in love with that new word I just created.)

This francy wedding took place at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in San Francisco. Drew and I were a little nervous about the whole day, for the following reasons:

a. wedding of a medium-close family member who might not be forgiving of 1-year-old antics;
b. ceremony at 3pm, reception at 6pm across the city;
c. our particular 1-year-old doesn’t always behave well in francy situations;
d. also we have to dress up

As a bonus thing to worry about, our car situation meant we were taking my parents’ bug, which is stick, so I had to drive.

We left plenty of time to get ready, get everything in the car, and get to SF. We got there about 10 minutes before 3:00, which was perfect. We parked right outside the church, which was perfect. I hopped into the backseat to pull B out of his carseat…and was greeted by an absolutely remarkable smell.

We opened the trunk (do you realize how small a VW bug trunk is??) and laid him down in it, button down shirt and all, to change his diaper. It wasn’t until I had the diaper half off, and Drew was digging through the diaper bag looking for the wipes, that I remembered I had used up the last wipe and forgotten to put a new package in. There were some exclamations of dismay. I mean, we were on the side of the road, outside a francy church, dressed in our best, trying to change our squirmy child in a trunk, and we had no wipes.

Luckily we had pacifier wipes, so we survived.

We got everything put together and went inside. The church was beautiful. We sat down in the back row, on the outside aisle, ignoring the waves from Drew’s family to come up and sit with them. Through a mixture of mouthing and mime, he told them, “Our kid is going to lose it so we need to be able to slip out quickly.”

We were sitting down for about 4 minutes, and the family members were being escorted in, when B opened his mouth and let out a “Aawwwk?” And then his eyes got big and he looked around, as he realized what a great echo there was in here. I jumped up and tried to jiggle him to keep him occupied, but once he started squawking, there was no turning around. We saw the bride come in, and then I ended up taking him out to the narthex, where we walked back and forth for the entirety of the service. Sometimes we went outside.

But B was smack in the middle of wanting to walk everywhere but needing to hold hands, so I spent an hour alternating between being kind of hunched over, and tossing his 25 pounds into the air to make him laugh.

After the service, we had all this time to kill, and we thought if we drove around he might take a nap in the car seat. Well, we were wrong. So we drove all around San Francisco, went up to Twin Peaks and got gas, and got caught in the worst ever traffic on the way downtown to the financial district, where the reception was.

Despite being the most anxious about the reception, it was actually really lovely. As soon as we got to the table, one of the waitstaff came over and said, “Do you want a high chair?” and Drew and I were both like, “YOU HAVE HIGH CHAIRS??” Also, the first toast of the evening was by the bride’s father, and rather than being champagne, it was a tequila shot with cinnamon and orange. So good. B lasted for a really long time before he started melting down (like 9pm – like 2 hours after his usual bedtime) – although right at the moment when we decided it was time to get him out, they started other toasts, and then one of the bridesmaids gave like a 15-minute toast and were trapped on the side of the room opposite the door.

Anyway. B’s first wedding, and it was francy, and it was inside a Catholic church, and it was late at night. And he did great!

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Blurry backwards camera!

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Gettin old

Post-college, I went for a couple years with no dental insurance, and consequently, zero dental visits. This eventually led to such problems as a cavity, which led to a broken tooth, then a root canal and a crown. Oh well…hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

Other than that, I’ve had a really good dental history. I might sometimes be a bit vain about it. (So maybe it’s good that I had to go through all that – it knocked me down a peg.) But now that I’m an adult with actual good health insurance (thanks husband!) I like to go frequently and responsibly.

My next appointment is at the end of June, and I decided instead of lying about flossing this time, I’m going to actually floss. So for the last week or two, I’ve created this new bedtime routine of brush, floss, mouthwash. It doesn’t take that much longer than just brushing, and it makes me feel super clean and self-righteous. Plus, it will hopefully pay off at my appointment.

I even added another non-teeth-related component to my bedtime routine: moisturizer. I haven’t really used it regularly, besides the cocoa butter during pregnancy, but I was realizing how much of me is constantly exposed to the sun, and how I’m kind of getting old and should be taking better care of my skin as well as my teeth.

Yup. Gettin old and boring.

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Make your own tumbler

Last weekend, Drew and I went down to Half Moon Bay to try our hands at glassblowing. It was a “bucket list” type of thing, and Drew’s idea to celebrate this kind of big birthday he was having.

The class was in this little studio next to a winery. Half Moon Bay is so charming. It’s easy to have a good time when you’re in the most beautiful part of the world.

Right after we arrived, this other (older) couple came in and the woman started making all this annoying comments and asking too many questions. None of us – Drew, I, Doug (the teacher), or the woman’s husband – seemed interested in what she had to say. When he asked them what they were there to make (pumpkins or tumblers) she said they weren’t there for the class, that they “came in off the street.” But wait…hadn’t she just told us that they had to make a U-turn on 92 because they drove past it? So what’s the truth? She was crazy. Luckily they left right after that.

While we were waiting for the other two people in the class to arrive, Doug told us he would do some work on a project and we could watch. He was creating a decanter, because apparently some guy on the east coast is doing all this work with infused vodkas and ordered a bunch of “hand-made vessels.” He shaped this gorgeous decanter, it was so time-consuming, and then it cracked and he dumped the whole thing into this discard bucket. Yikes.

When the class started, Drew went first (thank goodness). Doug took him through the whole process, from start to finish. It’s harder than it looks – keeping the whole pole turning the entire time might be the hardest part, especially with gloves on. At one point I thought that we weren’t going to do any of the actual blowing, but we got to do that part too. Doug must have been teaching this class for a long time, because he’s got the system down pat – how much to let the student do, and how much to take over. I probably only did 30% of the work creating my tumbler, but I was so involved in the whole thing, and I did a little of everything.

There were some questionable safety issues – like when we were supposed to just leave the propane torch on, but it rocked on the base so you couldn’t set it down stable and walk away. But all’s well that ends well! We left our tumblers in the freezy box, and went back on Monday afternoon to pick them up.

Both our tumblers are a little lopsided, and we don’t have any immediate plans to actually drink out of them, but we love them both and they look so friendly together. And taking a glassblowing class was super fun and something that I would never have dreamed up on my own. I definitely recommend Doug’s class if you’re interested in stuff like that, or even if you’re not. You never know!

glassblowing

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The Loudest Man on Earth

I recently saw a staged reading of a show called The Loudest Man on Earth, by Catherine Rush. The play is about a hearing woman who meets a deaf man and they start a relationship. Her family’s not in love with the relationship, partly because he’s slightly older than she is, and his family seems to be out of the picture. He’s defensive about being deaf, and tends to be angry at the world. They go through a rocky period, and after that I don’t really want to give any spoilers.

The BRILLIANT thing about the play is that the man mainly signs (he does speak occasionally, which is a major plot point). The woman signs and speaks a lot, but there are times she only signs. The play is not interpreted, so there are scenes that are totally spoken, and scenes that are totally signed, and then some scenes are mixed. So it’s unlikely than most audience members would understand every single thing that is said.

It’s about communication, both between these two characters, and also between them and the rest of the world.

There are transitional scenes, where Jordan (the male character) is writing letters to Haylee (the female character), describing scenes from their life together. They’re entirely signed, and completely beautiful. They’re love letters, about their first date, or a story about him watching her while she’s sleeping, but also they’re letters describing his childhood and his relationship with his parents and his difficulties growing up and being completely unable to hear anything.

The play was gorgeous, and it was only a staged reading. I was teary through most of it, and I lost it at the end. I lose it a lot lately, so I know that’s part of it, but seriously, I’ve been so psyched about this script since the first time I read it months ago, and I knew it was going to be great.

I think a lot of what I loved about it was that I am enchanted by American Sign Language. When I was 12 or 13, and working at the camp my family worked at every summer, we met a guy a couple years older than me. He was deaf and most of my friends and I communicated with him primarily by writing. He would carry around a spiral notebook and we would just write back and forth. After the first summer though, a lot of us got interested in ASL and ended up taking classes, so in later years there was some signing (although still a lot of writing – and drawing).

In high school I ended up taking 3 semesters of ASL, which I used for my foreign language grad requirement instead of taking Spanish. As with many high school things, I regret not paying more attention, or practicing more, or sticking with it, or appreciating the opportunity I was given. My parents took the same classes, and it was fun when, for awhile, our family was signing to each other and practicing with each other and going to night classes together.

ASL is fascinating to me for several reasons. I love the grammar structure. I love the beauty of it, of watching someone who is fluent, and the grace and the deliberateness of each gesture. I also love the fact that even though I have forgotten almost everything from those classes 10 years ago, so much of it came back to me so easily. Watching someone tell a story in ASL is so much easier to understand than listening to someone tell a story in another verbal language with which you’re not familiar.

The story of The Loudest Man on Earth is not complicated. It’s a boy-meets-girl story. That’s not to say it’s simple or easy. But the twist to it just makes it something so special, in my mind and, I think, in a lot of other people’s minds as well. I sincerely hope to be able to see a fully-realized production of this play sometime in the future. Fingers crossed.

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