Category Archives: life lessons

It’s Summertime And The Living is Easy!

Lifeguard Stand

After a month or so of some June Gloom, summer has hit LA hard!  We went from days in the mid-70’s to days in the 100’s.  This is something I was hoping to avoid as much as possible.

Luckily,  this year won’t be nearly as difficult as the last years.  While we are still in the same apartment (we didn’t feel comfortable moving since both of us are now working from home), we picked up a portable AC unit for the back office.  So now we have two rooms that are cool enough to spend some time in.  And since the new unit is portable and small enough to move about, we can move it into the bedroom if it gets too hot in there.

Finally, we can beat the crazy Valley heat!!

Of course, in full disclosure, the actually KEEP the cool in the living room, we had to go a little ghetto and use something to block the doorway into the hall o’hellish heat.  So we have a piece of white foamcore blocking it.  It stands about 3.5 feet high and it makes a HUGE difference in keeping that room cool.  At this point, I’ll take what I can get, and this sure as hell works.

It’s keeping things so much cooler that I actually had the brilliant idea to tackle the fridge…inside and out!  Of course, the sink is too small to fit the entire shelf and the drawers, so I’m dragging it all outside.  Shelf by shelf.  Piece by piece.  The half-shelves sure look good!

And I’m just telling myself, as I sweat through it all, that I’m just clearing the clutter and old energy to bring in something bigger and better!  I can’t exactly get a new place to love if I don’t love the place I’m in, right?  Or else it would just be more of the same.  And after nearly 10 years of bitching about this place, I figured it was time to learn to love it.

So a ‘cleaning we shall do!

My House is a Mess

And it’s freaking me out. Seriously.


I’m currently working on the holiday gift guides for ConstantChatter.  That means, I have a LOT of boxes, envelopes, folders, papers and packing peanuts coming into this house.  And like last year, it seems that I’m just stacking the sample products on top of other sample products.  Which really means I just have boxes filled with other boxes and envelopes and papers and stray packaging peanuts.

Add to that my husbands standard mess (socks, ticket stubs, guitars and guitar paraphernalia, CDs, magazines, work crap that I’m afraid to touch in case it’s important, etc.) and well, we’ve got ourselves a bit of a giant mess.

It might not have been too bad if the landlords hadn’t also decided that this is the perfect time to manure the yard.  And just the right time for that cat to do some massive shedding.

Yes, we’re a mess I tell ya!  And I’m still working on the gift guides, so I’m still a few days away from being able to do anything about it.

The sad part is that we decided that this semester, a portion of my UCLA money would go towards getting a cleaning lady.  Thing is, before I can even consider getting a cleaning lady, I need to actually clear the piles of clutter (or in the bedroom, clothes) off of everything or I’ll just be wasting the money.

Next year I’m starting those damn gift guides in September!

Weird Fashion Related Mistakes

I never said I was a fashion plate.  In fact, I blogged about being fashionably challenged some time over the summer.  While I have gotten a bit more fashionable since I started teaching again – I mean, considering I can’t teach in yoga pants and sweats – I’ve still got a lot to learn.

The other day I figured I’d head on over to Kohls and spend my well earned $20 in Kohls cash.  What better to spend my free money on than a new pair of slumming around jeans (I have enough nice trouser jeans, but nothing to schlep around it).  Easy, right?

Well, for the most part it was.  I decided on two pair; one clearance and the other on sale (don’t even get me started on what I ended up spending that shopping trip…I’ll give you a hint, it was more than my $20 in Kohls cash).

Fast forward to today and well, yesterday too…

I noticed that every time I entered or left a store (any store), I’d set off the security alarms.  I just assumed it had to be something in my purse (I’ll throw anything in there…why I love me a big bag).  Then today I set off the alarm again in Barnes and Noble.  Thing is, this time I was only carrying my wristlet.  So the only thing in common was me, my wallet and my phone.  Confusion.

When I got home I figured I’d better check out those new jeans.  Well, turns out it was just a stupid tag SEWN into the jeans.  Why would they use a security system sewn into the product if they’re not going to un-charge desensitize them before handing them over to me?  Crazy.

Oh well, it’s fixed now.


During this very same Kohls shopping trip, I thought I’d check out the clearance.  You could tell they’d just organized or cleaned up since all the bras were organized nice and neatly by size.  I took a quick peek and found two bras in my size; one black and lacy, one boring and beige.  Perfect!  And both were only like $6 each.  Total score.

Then some time yesterday or so, I was lying in bed (probably napping after class) and it hit me that I bought the wrong size.  I bought my old, pre-reduction size that I was over 10 years ago.  What the hell.

Guess where I’ll be going later this week?

I’m half-wondering what sort of message is in these two related, yet not, fashion mishaps.  Any idea?

Post-Halloween Life Lesson


Here’s what I notice…

When you don’t eat regular, American chocolate for a while and then eat it…it tastes like shit compared to European chocolate.


If you keep eating those Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups you’ll eventually start to swear they’re the best thing ever created.

Why is that?

PS – did you know that they actually make a perfume to smell like Reese’s cups?  Gross!


I’m Beginning to Think I Might Be a Little Too Old For This

I’m far too exhausted to sit down and do a recap worth anything.  Instead, here’s a little audio clip with some thoughts.

Am I Getting Too Old For This?

(I haven’t yet gotten the MP3 player to work, so feel fee to click the link and go directly to the page to listen…it’s only a couple of minutes long).


What’s Better Than a Free Mani/Pedi?


I can think of two things…1) knowing that because it was free, I was able to make a donation to the Susan G Komen organization and 2) having a free mani/pedi that actually lasts longer than usual (by my mani-standards anyway).

The other day I received a fun little email from my teaching assistant.  Turns out the local Aveda Institute (who knew we even had one in LA – they’re just a year old now) was giving away free services for a mere donation to the Susan G Komen organization.  So never one to turn down a freebie, I jumped at the offer.  Then again, I love all the cool products that hit the shelves each October in support of breast cancer awareness and will pretty much buy anything if it supports the cause.

Overall, it was an surprisingly pleasant experience.  The place was crazy crowded (it is a school after all) and I think they had an all hands on deck policy for the day.  So it was loud.  Louder than I expected.  But it was still the Aveda experience we’ve all come to know and love: hand massages, back massages and their yummy tea. And that made up for it.

So what if an express mani/pedi took two hours.

Yes, you read that right.  My file, buff and polish (the express part) manicure and pedicure took TWO hours.  It would have taken longer still, but I had her skip the top coat on my toes.  This in turn turned out to be a great thing since I nearly forgot that I had booked a client call that was scheduled to start in 10 minutes!

I learned a couple things from my reaction to this experience (and possible life lesson):

  • I was pleasantly surprised by just how patient and understanding I could be.  This was something new for me, as in the past, I would have been going crazy and fidgeting up a storm (if not getting a bit snappish).  But this time, I was able to just sit back and enjoy the experience for what it was – even though it wasn’t in the most Zen-like setting.
  • This was indeed a school and the students are really just learning and getting their much needed experience.  My gal assured me before we even began that she’s great on her own nails and has polished friends in the past, but um…and she left it there.  Meaning, she either hasn’t done this in quite some time or she’s still in the beginning of her training. And it showed.  But she actually did a great job. Sshe also worked as slowly as she possibly could to cut down on any mistakes.  For the most part, the only mistake was when she knocked down my brand new, first time being used, bottle of polish and it spilled everywhere.  It’s okay, I’ve done worse and have made both bigger and more expensive messes. It happens.
  • I was able to quickly and easily adapt to the fact that I wouldn’t be at the number I said I’d be at for my meeting that was scheduled.  Again, this is a pretty big deal for me.  Instead of freaking out (and messing up my nails), I simply called the client to let her know that I wouldn’t be at the office, but would be on my cell instead.  Since she wanted to do a conference with her partner, we just postponed for the 30 minutes it took me to get home and settle in.  No stress.  No worries.

And hey, the good news…my nails still have polish on with very few chips.  This is a first considering in the past nail polish has been known to start chipping the very next day. Then again, I’m also showering with gloves on so the manicure will last longer.  Goofy, I know, but my nails look so pretty…I can’t help it if I want it to last a bit longer.

So all in all, it was totally worth the time and I’d do it again (even if it wasn’t free for a donation).  If you’re local, check out the school. I think you’ll be pleased with both the prices and the experience.  Just be sure to allow yourself more than enough time between your appointment and anything else.  And you can get two hours of free parking at the lot on Broxton.

Who You Calling a Klutz?

Oh, me.

sprinklers_at_rosemaryYeah, I guess that could be true.  I have been known to trip over my own two feet.  It seems I can’t go for a walk in the neighborhood without stumbling or tripping over something – usually uneven sidewalks, unseen curbs (don’t ask) or sprinkler heads. It’s gotten to the point that my husband just keeps walking figuring if I’m really hurt, I’ll let him know.

And yes, once I was really hurt and ended up in the ER late that night (but left because the wait was too insanely crazy long).  My doctor actually asked me if I felt “safe” at home (embarassingly more than once) considering I seem to have so many klutzy, clumsy injuries (and yes, she knows my husband well).

One time, back when I was a teacher, I was going to try my hand at roller blading.  Now you’d think that what I’m about to share would be an injury directly related to actually roller blading.

You’d think.

Um no…I wanted to safely (ha!) step down the curb, so I momentarily stepped into the pine straw so I wouldn’t be able to roll.  And yes, I’m sure you guessed it…I managed to immediately go down twisting my leg something fierce on the way down. I had to go to school with my leg in a temporary cast thingie and walk with crutches for a couple of days.  So not cool. And of course I’m too honest to come up with a great story instead of the truth.

Don’t even get me started on the time I fell off a tree stump and managed to break my elbow mere days after moving across the country.  Let’s just say that I  have stories a’plenty about my (seemingly) clumsy experiences doing everyday, normal things.

Not that I’m any safer inside the house mind you.  We’re talking about someone that seems to be more than capable to walk into doorways, trip over the coffee table and well, slice my fingers just as neatly as I slice my vegetables.  My mama would be so proud 😉

So the other night I figured I’d sit down and start to work on my toes and do a little DIY pedicure.  I get out the clippers to trim and hmmm…seems one of my toenails is a little ripped.  I proceed to take off the polish only to realize that I’ve somehow, through one of my (seemingly many and far too frequent) stumbles, managed to rip nearly half the toenail completely off from the bed.  You’d think that something this extreme would have to to have hurt, right?

You’d certainly think it would.  Only I can’t remember any recent bumps or stumbles of any significance outside of stubbing my foot on our bookshelf about a week ago.  Nothing more than an “ow! dammit!” though.  Nothing worthy of ripping off half my toenail.

So now I must figure out how to polish a half-there toenail (a barely there, light pink maybe – not too fun for summer if you ask me!) and still treat myself to the occasional pedicure from time to time.  I wonder just how long it will take for the damn thing to grow back – research says about 9 or so months.  Fun.

Are you considered klutzy by those who know and love you?  What’s your most recent or humbling injury?

Photo by TheSullys

Makeup Primers, Oh How I Love Thee

I’ve known about makeup primers for a couple years now. I remember before I moved out here to LA, my girlfriend was in love with a particular primer (I don’t think Smashbox had their product out just yet). She’d pick up a new tube any time she came out here to LA. Sometimes I was lucky enough to even borrow it from time to time. Man, that stuff was impressive.

Then I moved out here to LA and the land of beauty and learned about the Smashbox primer that everyone raved about. I’ll admit that I’m not a religious user, though I do keep a small tube in my travel makeup case.

Nowadays, since I mostly use mineral makeup, I use a primer from Bare Minerals made to compliment the makeup and whatever stories they sold me along with the tube. If I’m wearing mineral makeup, then I’m wearing that primer. I like it, but I’m not so sure it works as well as the Smashbox primer.

But my favorite primer yet…shadow primer! Why did no one ever tell me about this before? I mean, it can keep your eye shadow on for the entire day. Seriously, I can nap with this shit on and I wake up (with sheet creases) and full shadow still on. It also helps to keep my eyeliner on longer. The fact the the colors are much brighter is just a pleasant side effect.

Since no one thought to tell me about what a difference shadow primer can make to your look (trust me, using my regular primer on my eyes didn’t make a difference like this), I thought I’d share my find with you. I can’t talk about what brand is better than another, but I can tell you that I’m using the Too Faced Shadow Insurance and loving it.

So if you wear any eye makeup beyond just mascara, give this a try. You can find them for under $20. Let me know what you think.

Talk About What Not to Wear

Did you ever have one of those days where you were totally focused at home, working like a worker bee, lounging about in well, lounge wear? I had no intention of leaving the house. I mean, I had work to do so it didn’t really matter what I was wearing, right?

I’m sure you see where this is about to go…

Then it was time take a late afternoon lunch break (and I was given shit for my bowl of Spaghetti O’s from quite a few). What a pleasant surprise to find yet another Real Housewives NYC waiting for me. Woohoo! I think to myself that this would be so much more enjoyable with a chai latte from Starbucks.

So off to the ‘Buckies I go. All is fine all is good. My chai is yummy. I get settled into the car to head back home and look down at my shirt.

Holy Shit!! It’s covered in schmutz and stains!

I was so focused on working all day (I set up a website and wrote an eBook) and I don’t think that I ever actually looked at myself in the mirror. I was all about being comfortable and focused. I did remember to at least brush my teeth, but no, not my hair.

What the hell.

All those fashionista-types tell us that even when working from home (or being a stay-at-home mom), you should still look good and you know, dressed. It’s like they knew that at some point we’d actually leave the house and be seen in public at some point.

Why oh why didn’t I listen?!?!

I keep telling myself that I’m just thankful that I don’t know all that many people that I’d be likely to run into accidentally. But considering I’m doing a lot more local networking, I could have easily, I mean FAR too easily been seen by someone I know and think how embarrassing that could’ve been.

So I’m going to tell myself that I learned a lesson in all of this and will 1) find comfortable clothes that actually look decent and 2) will be sure to look in the mirror before I even consider walking out the door. Better yet, maybe I’ll actually look in the mirror when I put clothes on!

Have you ever done something like this? Surely I can’t be alone here.

I’m not talking about looking back at old photos from the 80’s and thinking WTF – although who among us hasn’t done that before? But what about that whole having gone on with your day only to at some point look at yourself and have a “how the hell did I think this worked?” kind of moment?