Tag Archive | beauty

My Magic Shoes

magic shoes

These may look like just another pair of sneakers to you.  The kind of shoes you might wear when you run to the grocery store, pick the kids up from school, or take a trip to the movies.  But they’re not.  They’re my magic shoes.  Unlike Forrest Gump’s magic shoes, mine won’t straighten out my legs or make me dance like Elvis Presley.  They also won’t take me back home with three clicks of my heels like Dorothy’s magic shoes.  But their magic is no less transformative or amazing.  When I decide to lace up these shoes, I have only one goal in mind – to be the best version of myself.

The girl wearing these shoes battles with the lazy girl in the flip-flops everyday.  She doesn’t always win.

She isn’t interested in taking a nap.

She doesn’t waste the entire afternoon watching TV marathons of her favorite show.

If you offer her a doughnut, she’ll probably tell you to go shove it up your ass.

She has no time for self-doubt, insecurities or excuses.

The words “I can’t” aren’t in her vocabulary.  But the words “BRING IT ON” sure are.

She doesn’t give a shit what you think of her looks.  She doesn’t need your approval – in fact, she’ll probably tell you to go shove that up your ass too.

When she has her magic shoes on, you’d better not ask her for anything.  She won’t cook you a meal, blow your nose or listen to you whine about your problems.

When this girl looks in the mirror, she sees nothing but strength staring back at her.

Instead of obsessing over physical imperfections, she says a silent prayer of thanks to her body for letting her do whatever she sets her mind to.

She thinks she’s beautiful.

She knows that the feats she is incapable of accomplishing today, will be what spurs her on tomorrow.

She doesn’t compare herself with other women.  She only wants to be stronger and faster than the woman she was yesterday.

She’s crossed a few finish lines in her life.

She doesn’t glow or perspire – this girl fucking SWEATS.  A lot.

She likes to play her music loud, though she’s usually too out of breath to sing along.

When those shoes are on, she puts herself first – it’s okay, you can call her a selfish bitch.  She doesn’t mind.

Endorphins are her drug of choice…. though she may need an Advil or two at the end of the day.

She aspires to inspire – both herself and those around her.

She knows that some things aren’t possible.  But she’s going to try anyway.

Then after she’s succeeded in pushing herself past her limits, she settles her heart rate back down to a normal rhythm, peels off her sweat-soaked shirt, and unlaces her magic shoes.  For the rest of the day, she has a smile of satisfaction on her face and a swelled sense of pride because she knows that she defeated the lazy girl in the flip-flops today…. and she looks forward to their battle tomorrow.

I hope she wins.


Not By the Hair of My Chinny Chin Chin

I admire women who are confident enough to embrace their imperfections and find a way to grow old gracefully.  I don’t want to be the kind of woman who has a plastic surgeon on retainer or one who is still wearing Juicy Couture when she’s fifty years old.

The way I see it, there are two ways to approach aging:  you can either try to hide your imperfections and wind up looking like a bald guy in a bad toupee; or you can let nature take its course and save yourself a lot of money on plastic surgery, beauty products and bad rugs.

He should have spent his money on a cruise to the Bahamas instead.

I do have my limits though.  When nature goes beyond a few grey hairs or wrinkles and starts throwing weird gender curveballs, even I have to say screw it to the growing old gracefully crap.  On some level, men expect to lose a little hair when they get older and women expect their boobs to sag.  But when women go bald and men get saggy boobs, something has gone very, very wrong.

I may not be battling male-pattern baldness (yet), but there is another masculine issue I’m trying to contend with – I’m starting to look like the character Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.

A chick with a goatee? AAAAAGGGHHHHHH!!!!

There are a lot of guys who can rock a goatee, but I’m not one of them…. probably because I’m not a guy!!!   It makes NO sense.  I never participated in medical experiments for money, never lived near a nuclear power plant, and I’m pretty sure none of my immediate ancestors were gorillas.  So what’s with the freaky facial hair??

In my early 20’s I laughed about the one stray chin hair that would occasionally crop up.  It was funny for a few reasons….

  1. There was only one of them.
  1. Everything is much funnier when you’re young, stupid, and don’t realize the middle-aged crap that’s waiting for you around the corner.
  1. By the time it was discovered it was about four inches long, which gave it kind of a circus-freak-show quality.  And who isn’t entertained by freak show oddities?

Inevitably I would spot the errant chin hair when I was outside my house – a quick glance in the rearview mirror when the sun hit me at just the right angle, or in a public bathroom underneath the unforgiving florescent lights.  Then I was left to wonder how long it had gone undetected and how many other people had noticed it before I did.  But one quick pull of my tweezers was all it took to return me to my normal, non-freak show appearance.  No big deal.

It became decidedly less funny when that singular whisker got lonely and thought it was a good idea to invite all of its hairy friends to come live with it – on my face.  I thought my new goatee was a byproduct of my second pregnancy (the hormonal gift that keeps on giving) because they seemed to coincide with each other.  But it could also just have been the first, in a long line of reminders that I’m no longer in my twenties.

Either way, it was a problem that was no longer resolved by a quick yank of my tweezers.  Now it was a daily project to make sure I didn’t walk out of the house looking like the bearded lady.  No matter how much time I spent yanking hair out of my face, there was always one or two (dozen) that I missed.  I swear I heard my tweezers groan at me one day as if to say, “Sorry Hun, this ain’t gonna cut it anymore.”

Even though I was already getting my eyebrows and lip waxed once a month, I was resistant to waxing my chin at first.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it was because I knew tons of girls who waxed their eyebrows and lip – it seemed as mainstream as getting your hair dyed.  But I had never once heard about another girl waxing her chin.  Ever.

The hairy cheese stands alone.

Once tweezing became a part-time job, I finally caved in.  During one of my waxing appointments with Geri (my professional waxer), I casually said something along the lines of, “While you’re at it, why don’t we wax my chin too.”

Even though Geri spends most of her work days elbow deep in women’s unwanted body hair, I still felt embarrassed to draw attention to an area of my body that by all gender rights, should be naturally hairless.  So I tried to make it seem like I was enjoying the hair being ripped out of my face SO much that I hated to see it end with just my eyebrows and lip.

Geri made waxing my chin seem like a normal occurrence – maybe in her line of work it was.  She talked about other female clients who came in with 5 o’clock shadow on their face and quickly followed up that statement with, “But you’re nowhere near that bad.”  I love her.  With that one comment, I went from feeling like a circus freak to being as normal as apple pie… or at least as normal as this apple pie….

After the waxing was done, I wondered why the hell I had waited so long.  Sure, my chin felt like it was on fire, but in just a few seconds the wax had accomplished what it took my tweezers forever to do – my face was as smooth as a baby’s butt…. or a normal woman’s face.

I’m wondering if this is the last of the embarrassing facial hair problems or will muttonchops be next?   Will I get to the point where it would be easier to have Geri cover my entire face with hot wax rather than doing it piecemeal?  She could put it on like a mud mask, and then rip it off in one big sheet.  Sure, my eyebrows would come off in the process but at least the painful part would be over quickly.  And I think I could live without eyebrows – works for Whoopi Goldberg, right?

Blissfully hair-free

I don’t think waxing is a permanent solution though.  Eventually I’m going to get to the point (in 30 or 40 years) where I don’t give a shit about getting rid of my facial hair anymore.  Then my grandkids won’t want to kiss me because prickly kisses from Grandma are gross.  Or worse – I’ll get into a horrible accident while I’m still young, wind up in a coma in the hospital, and my loved ones will be too busy crying to remember to wax off my goatee.  (Note to my family:  If I die looking like a Billy goat, I will haunt your ass forever.)

The only real solution to the problem is laser hair removal but it’s EXPENSIVE.  What I need to find is a philanthropist who is uninterested in ending world hunger, saving poor children in third-world countries, or finding a cure for cancer.  Someone with several thousand dollars burning a hole in their pocket, who would rather see me hairless than make the world a better place.

Mr./Mrs. Moneybags, if you’re out there, I promise to be the perfect charity case.  I’ll send you monthly pictures of my hairless face, write you letters about my new life outside the freak show, and (as a one time special gift), I’ll mail you my old tweezers with your name embossed on them.  I bet you won’t get a sweet deal like that from the guy over at the Christian Children’s Fund.

Obviously he doesn’t give a damn about
making the world a less hairy place to live.

10 Reasons to Hate the Season

Now that Memorial Day is starting to fade in our rearview mirror, the first stirrings of summer excitement begins…. unless you’re like me.  Summer always brings out the worst in me – my bitchiness, insecurities, and total intolerance for anything not made of ice cream.  While everyone else revels in the sun, I retreat to a dark corner like a mole and complain about the heat and humidity.

I’m not saying that summer doesn’t have some redeeming qualities; there just aren’t enough of them to keep me happy from June through August.  But there are plenty of things to make me UNhappy for those three months….

Tis the season of sweating for no reason:  When the temperature starts to climb above 85 degrees, my internal cooling system kicks into high gear and I begin to sweat profusely.  I don’t need to be running a marathon or shaking my ass like Ricky Martin for my sweat glands to shift into hyper-drive – blinking seems to be enough.  And I’m not talking about girlie perspiration (or “glowing”); I mean the kind of sweating usually reserved for farm animals.  If I dare venture outside my air conditioned home for more than 15 minutes, the climate inside my clothes begins to feel like a terrarium, and small rivers of warm perspiration trickle down my torso and pool in my underwear.   Sexy, right?

Turn off the air conditioning? Surely you can’t be serious?
I am, and don’t call me Shirley.

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity:  The saying “out of the frying pan and into the fire” is used when a problem goes from bad to worse.  Well, when you add humidity to scorching heat, it’s more like out of the frying pan and into a giant sweaty armpit.  In that oppressively moist environment, my good hair days vanish right along with my will to live.

Cruel-tea:  The first thing I do in the morning (after cursing at my alarm clock) is fill the kettle with water so I can start making my tea.  Any human interaction before I’ve had that first sip is a recipe for disaster.  It seems that the amount of tea I drink is directly proportionate to how well I play with others – it’s like liquid Prozac.  But in summertime, when the heat and humidity are cranked up to ten, a hot beverage is the last thing I want anywhere near me…. which doesn’t bode well for the people I live with.


Will someone please get me a margarita and a blindfold?:  Sounds like ingredients for a hot date on a Friday night, but those things are also necessary if I want to go bathing suit shopping without crying.   Everyone has body parts they don’t like…. as I get older, that list seems to get longer and longer.   I normally don’t have to deal with more than one of those problem areas at a time.  When I go shopping for jeans, I can concentrate all my self-loathing on my thighs; shirt shopping, it’s usually my upper arms and boobs.  But bathing suits shine a big, fat spotlight on all of it at once.  So, why the hell would I want to spend three months in a garment that makes me want to put my head in the oven?

When I complain about having to wear a bathing suit, my sister argues, “Have you seen some of the women who go to the beach?  There are ones twice your size wearing bikinis.”  No I haven’t seen them because I’m too busy giving the death stare to this girl sitting two towels over…

Lawnmowers, they’re not just for grass anymore:  From September through May the time I spend on hair removal is minimal – I shave just enough so I’m not mistaken for Bigfoot.  But when bathing suit season arrives there is nowhere for my unwanted body hair to hide, so I’m forced to spend an extra half hour in the shower making sure I’m well landscaped.  At this point, I think the only body parts I don’t either wax or shave are my eyelids and tongue.  If I ever get rich, the first thing I’m going to spend my money on is laser hair removal – a college fund for the kids can wait.

This is what I look like before I shave….
Is it any wonder I take so long in the shower?

Put your best foot forward:  Once the weather starts to heat up, I retire my Ugg boots and pretty much live in my flip-flops.  I love the convenience of being able to slip them on and go, but like everything else about summer, there is a downside.  My once hidden appendages are now on display for all to see.   I’m not self-conscious about my feet – they’re actually on a very short list of body parts I happen to like.  But I wasn’t born with naturally pretty feet; they require a lot of maintenance to keep them looking nice.  It’s a necessary evil though because if I left them to their own devices, they would look like something out of the stone age – fine if Fred Flintstone needs help peddling his car to work, but otherwise kind of nasty.

If you think I’m kidding, check out these BEFORE and AFTER pictures….


Sand crotch:  This is one of the most unpleasant experiences you can have at the beach – second only to seeing a fat guy wearing a speedo.  Delicate girlie parts should NEVER come in contact with something as abrasive as sand.  Why the hell hasn’t anyone invented a bathing suit that doesn’t collect ten pounds of sand in the crotch?  Here’s a tip for all you clothing manufacturers out there – forget the Snuggies, make a bathing suit that doesn’t sag down to my knees when I get out of the ocean.   Millon dollar idea right there, people!

I know exactly how you feel, kid.

The brownest thumb on the block:  I am the Jack Kevorkian of the plant world…. actually, I’m more of the Ted Bundy because none of my plants begged me to kill them.  In winter, my brown thumb is camouflaged because everybody’s garden looks like something out of a horror movie.  But in summer, when my neighbor’s yard looks like the Garden of Eden, mine still looks like a Tim Burton creation.  I used to buy new flowers for my garden every year; each time thinking that THIS was the year I would manage to keep them alive.  After a decade of unintentional herbicide, I finally gave up hope and bought non-flowering plants that even the apocalypse couldn’t kill.

Thank you Hostas plant for giving
my brown thumb the illusion of being green.

Buzzzzz off!:   Insects are everywhere in the summer.  I can’t even escape them inside my house because the sneaky little buggers always manage to find a way in.  My son, Aidan, is a bug magnet.  The first time  he comes in covered in bug bites, I know mosquito season is upon us.  It’s not enough that the blood-sucking parasites eat him alive, they also leave behind an itch that makes him want to claw his skin off.  Luckily, bugs don’t seem to find me too tasty, but they still annoy the hell out of me.  They buzz in my ear, feast on my children, and cause my son to shriek every time they fly anywhere near him.

Remember how I asked people to invent a bathing suit that didn’t collect sand in the crotch?  I’d forgo that if someone could come up with a way to eradicate mosquitoes from the planet.   According to this really smart science lady we wouldn’t miss them.  I’m inclined to agree.

No more classes, no more books, time for Mommy’s dirty looks:  I can remember being giddy with excitement about the last day of school when I was a kid.  As the school bus pulled away from the building, unwanted notebooks, papers, and textbooks were shredded and thrown from the windows like confetti in a ticker tape parade.  The summer and all its possibilities stretched out in front of us, and once the bus turned the first street corner, school was already a distant memory.

As a parent of two school-aged children, I’m finding it hard to muster the same enthusiasm for the last day of school that I once had.  Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy summer vacation… for the first three weeks.  Once mid-late July comes around, the excitement over alarm clock-free mornings and freedom from schedules wears off…. then I realize there’s still another month to go.  It’s no offense to my children – I don’t like anybody enough to want to spend 24/7 with them.  I need my daily dose of solitude, and if it’s not given to me freely, I have to get creative….

How do you guys feel about summer?  Do you give it a happy thumbs up or a sweaty thumbs down?