Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pancake Picasso

Today I'd like to highlight my newest hobby/craft: pancake art.

Turns out if you try for a kangaroo, you'll end up with a half-decent obese squirrel.

The trick to a good pancake animal is to pour everything much skinnier than what you want your end result to be. The batter spreads out way more than you might think (note: my medium is a standard add-water Krusteaz mix. Obviously you could make your batter thicker to prevent so much spreadage, but I like to maintain the flavor integrity of the pancake as well. I won't make a dry pancake to make my art easier. I believe true art comes at the intersection of taste, aesthetics, and the thrill of the challenge of nature painting on a 350 degree canvas).

On top we have "Lumpish Bear." In the foreground is "Frida Cowlo." Unfortunately one of her horns got lost in the flip.

 This next piece exhibits a technique I like to call "interval batter application." I use it to add detailing to the interior of the pancake plain, in this case to add eyes and tusks to my shapely walrus. To do this, you apply small amounts of batter in the shape of the details you want to highlight, and then wait a bit. When you know some cooking has occurred (about 20 seconds---more time will give you more definition), add the next layer of batter. Let that layer cook, then flip (or add another layer! Let your soul guide your art and your spatula) and behold your masterpiece.


"Breaching Walrus"

Below is an example of a portrait where I probably should have used the interval batter application. The elephant has great form, and I think it really exudes the spirit of the savannah I was going for, but the it just begs, "Where the heck is the elephant's ear??" Answer: lost in the abyss of the silhouette. Some interval batter application hear would have allowed me to first establish an ear, and perhaps a brooding eye (elephants never forget), and only after those were set would I have add the rest of the body. A masterpiece crippled by my lack of foresight.

Also not the scruff on the elephant's underbelly: a sign I was too violent with my flip, leading to what experts call "batter drag."

Here's an example of what happens when you apply your batter with a heavy hand. See the head? Exactly. The poor giraffe's head has been enveloped by the surrounding batter, which was applied in excess. Despite this flaw, please note the beautiful texture on the legs, reminiscent of the stained glass of the Catedral de León, achieved by a variation on the Interval Batter Application in which details are formed not on top of one another, but beside each other (while still using timed application of course).

"Stately"

Graham is a great consumer of the arts, as is Patch, his loyal stuffed bear.

Here you go, Patch.

Ruby is also exploring pancake art, though her exploration has been more organic and free-form. She loves the interplay of texture and shape. While she hasn't developed a mature appreciation for pancake illustration yet, I know she's building a strong foundation for the traditional pancake form: the circle.

Ruby seen here enjoying a piece I titled, "Flat sphere."

I'm thinking of writing and self-publishing an e-book for beginning pancake artists. I'm toying with the title "Flapjack Fugue," or maybe "Flour, Water, Baking Powder, Egg, Spirit." Maybe I'll start a Kickstarter. You, dear readers, will be the first to know.

Until next time, happy pancaking.

**Please document and share your own pancake art journey with #pancakespirit.**

Peace.

5 Gifts for Your Toddler

Christmas presents for your kids: a compendium. (Graham, read no further)

This year we decided to go with "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read." Adopting this little rhyme as a gift philosophy accomplishes a few important things: 1) I feel smug about being above our society's obsession with more stuff, 2) I save time and money, and 3) "Santa" can still bring whatever the heck (s)he wants.

Speaking of Santa, I waffled a bit about propping up a mythical fat white man (in our house he's white ... also, Mormon) as an important part of the holiday, but in the end my magical memories of my own childhood belief in the man spurred the next generation of deception. Fingers crossed Graham and Ruby will still believe in Jesus.

Here's what's on its way from Amazon:
*You may notice a dearth of presents for Ruby. That's because she is seven months old (today!) and doesn't care. I may buy her a Christmas dress, which everyone knows is really a present for me.

1. Something Graham wants: I asked the boy what he wanted for Christmas, and he vaguely replied, "Toys and balls." I pressed for more information, so he specified, "Red Balls." Easy peasy.

Rudolph.

2. Something Graham needs: if you know Graham, you know he runs around in a little pair of fake Crocs most of the time. He can put them on himself (usually on the correct feet), which is great for me because I'm lazy and hate bending over to do anything except maybe pick up something delicious I dropped. Also, I've been putting off buying him "real shoes" because I read Born to Run which convinced me that being barefoot is optimal, so I didn't want to ruin his little shoe-virgin feet with rigid-soled light-up blasphemies like this:

If you mix epilepsy, sugar, Kanye West, and moldy cheese together, and then feed that mixture to an African buffalo, this is what will get pooped out.

But it turns out fake Crocs don't keep out fire ants ... so I've been meaning to buy Graham "real shoes" for a while. I found these, and love them:

Adorbs.

One reviewer noted, "I love Sperry Top-Sider shoes for myself so it was only natural that I would want to outfit my grandson with them. We are going on a cruise and he will be wearing them to board the ship. This is an incredibly good looking shoe that does not lose its style because it's for little kids. Love them and will continue to purchase for him as he grows up."

I'm going to trust this posh grandma's tastes ... I mean, her grandson is going to wear them while he boards the ship! That's basically the fête of the ocean, for those of you who don't know. It'll be like Titanic, but only in terms of style and glamour, not death. I only wish Graham had a grandma benevolent enough to provide Velcro boat shoes for him until he turns eighteen.

Someone boarded the ship wearing Walmart Uggs.

3. Something to wear: If you know about Graham's fake Crocs, you also know that our kiddo is super slim. This means pants that fit his waist give him a severe case of highwatering, and pants that fit his legs usually fall off his less-than-ample booty, exposing his cute, Pixar movie-themed underpants. The solution: suspenders. So functional, so hipster, so stripey.

These will turn Graham into a Newsie.

Wouldn't a belt be easier? Probably not for my recently potty-trained cherub. Remember: lazy mom.

4. Something to read: We checked Time Out for Monsters! out from the library a few weeks ago, and since returning it Graham has been requesting it. I like the illustrations, it's short, and it has a great twist at the end.

Dinosaurs+monsters+trucks=Graham's dreams come true.

 5. Whatever the heck Santa wants. This year it's a LEGO Duplo Building Set.


Timeless, no batteries (lazy mom), fosters development of spatial skills, promotes world peace, and is one of the few plastic toys I will endorse. Graham loves the small set he got from his grandparents, along with a few more he kind of accidentally stole from our neighbors, so I figured I should get him a few more.

Then of course there are the requisite stocking stuffer items ... I'm planning on some Goldfish crackers (Graham's cocaine), new socks, an orange (as large as possible ... the child's stocking is not small), maybe some bubble bath, candy, etc.

If I could change the rhyme (and I can because I AM SANTA), I might include some art supplies in the jingle, and maybe an outing/activity of sorts (my favorite type of present to give adults). Maybe "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. Something to do, something to make, because you need something to distract you while mom hides in the kitchen and eats cake."

Merry Christmas!
 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Three Reasons I Am Scrooge

I'm having trouble feeling the Christmas spirit today. Here's why:

1. You know those inflatable, light-up Christmas decorations that people put in their yard? I think they are super tacky, and I see them everywhere. Go back to the Macy's Thanksgiving parade where you spawned! Also, during the day when they are turned off and lying limp across the grass in nylon puddles, they look like sad Christmas pelts abandoned by a taxidermist halfway through a stuffing. I hope they catch on fire ... and then a tasteful wooden nativity scene rises like a phoenix from the ball of melted snowman skin.

Ok, this one might be awesome.

2. The WestJet commercial. I saw it posted on Facebook with something like "If this doesn't make you cry tears of chocolate milk and restore your faith in humanity and make you adopt a shelter dog ... you have no heart." Sign me up for the donor waiting list because, while it made me smile, all I could see was brilliant marketing ploy. Those sneaky Canadians, disguising a major PR blitz as a feel-good Christmas video. I want to know what they did for the kid who told Santa he wanted his parents to get back together for Christmas (they didn't include him in the video because he was such a downer). Did they wrap up a copy of The Five Languages of Love for him to read his parents? Or what about the boring-Bob who asked for socks and underwear? He smiled on camera, but I'm guessing that inside he was beating himself with a child-sized candy cane for not asking for something cool. Props to the kid who wasn't afraid of his greed and requested a tablet. I bet he was American.


3. Today while grocery shopping, someone jacked my freshly-rented Redbox movies out of my cart. That's going to cost me 29 large orders of waffle fries. I'm so ticked. I'm not willing to consider that they simply fell out of my cart and will get returned, because my heart is a few sizes too small for that kind of goodwill. Now I'll never get to see Anchorman or Turbo. Family movie night is ruined, not only because of the purloined DVDs, but also because I forgot to buy bacon. How can I make my new favorite pizza ever (loaded baked potato) without bacon?! That's right, I can't.

The good news: tomorrow I'm narrating the Christmas program at our church party, and I'm using this as inspiration for my look:

I call it, "Silver Candlestick."
Just kidding. I'm probably going to be hidden behind the green velvet stage curtains, wearing a dress upcycled from an inflatable Rudolph lawn ornament.
 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Apple Sticker Hate

I love my iPhone. It is a great little thing made of plastic and metal and black magic. What bugs me, though, is how it came with two white Apple logo stickers. I don't recall signing a contract with Apple to provide free marketing (beyond using their phone in public while being such a chic mom, of course). It feels a little presumptuous, like they thought they were doing me a favor by providing the stickers for me to emblazon across my life, as if I wanted to trumpet my loyalty to their brand. I don't. I want to use my iPhone, but I don't want to use the stickers like some Steve Jobs's-embalming-fluid-Kool-aid-drinker.

psh.

To advertise not the Apple brand, but the resentment I now hold for their stickers, I've been brainstorming ironic places to put them. Here are my ideas:

-The back pocket of some mom jeans. Maybe I could pair the jeans with a black turtleneck to complete the look.

-Walmart toilet. Preferably clogged. If I'm lucky it will come off and adhere to someone's muffin top.

- The tub of witch hazel hemorrhoid pads I got when I had Graham (they have multiple uses, no judging)

Super cool(ing)

-The abandoned Kroger shopping cart in the yard a block away

-Kim Jong-un's Trapper Keeper

-An enormous diamond at the end of a necklace around Kate Middleton's neck

-A jar of moldy cinnamon applesauce

-The crumbly loaf of crock pot soap I botched yesterday

Sad, sad, little soap loaf. Not even Apple can save you.

-Use as a stencil for a lower-back tattoo

-I wish I could find someone who broke their arm, or leg, in a really stupid or embarrassing way, and then I would put the sticker on their cast and sign it, "An Apple for a Dummy."

-Use as a belly button lint protection patch:

Not my stomach.

So boo on you, Apple marketing team! Take your free stickers and put them on your grannies' pressure stockings!



Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Timely Invite

Yesterday I received an e-vite reminder for a neighborhood "Moms' Night Out." This month it's being held at "Witchcraft Tavern and Provision." This is probably an appropriate venue, because everyone knows that mothers are just witches in disguise.

I never go to the neighborhood MNOs, because I'm the only one in the coven who doesn't partake of that unholy potion ye mortals call alcohol. Although if there were a week I needed to drink away some of my witchy mother angst, it would be this week.

Graham is driving me crazy. Yesterday at play group he was most definitely "that kid"--you know the one who makes you forget that kids aren't capable of sin until age eight. Maybe he's realized that he gets a free pass until then so he's getting all his rascallity out before then. See what I did there? If you use the word "rascal" instead of "brat" it doesn't sound so bad.

Also, this week he pooped in the Chik-fil-A playplace and they had to quarantine the area while some poor lady cleaned it up. Meanwhile, another poor lady cleaned Graham up in the bathroom while her other child screamed bloody murder from her car seat in the corner of the stall. If anyone says "first world problems" to me about this ("At least you have a Chik-fil-A for your child to poop in!!"), I will Avada Kedavra you and then put your corpse, chunk by chunk, down my garbage disposal.

Today at toddler book club (yes, that's a thing, and it is awesome), during outdoor playtime, Graham dropped his pants and peed into a gravel-filled planter, as all the other moms watched. I was mortified. MORTIFIED. In late Middle English, "mortify" means "to put to death." This was true, in a social sense. I am socially dead to those mothers, I know it. Death by public toddler urination. Put that on my angel-shaped gravestone and try to mow around it without cursing.

Last night I was so frustrated by motherhood I had no choice but to end my sugar fast a week early (I lasted 20 days, though!) and self-medicate with two bowls of Rockslide Brownie ice cream, eaten as I watched Pacific Rim, a fun movie that required an insane suspension of disbelief. Why should we utilize our already-developed nuclear missiles against monsters from a different dimension when we can build massive, yet surprisingly fragile robots to karate chop them instead? Just wondering ... Then I was up all night with a sugar-induced headache that lasted until well into toddler book club this morning.

Then tonight I told him I was going to a Relief Society activity, and he cried and said he wanted to come with me, and that warmed my heart, even as I expressed disbelief that he wanted to hang out with me after I'd been such a witchy mom to him all day/week. But Graham did stay home with Dad, and was happy to eat pizza that ended up in the garbage after he refused to eat it for lunch but was then saved from the garbage after he freaked out about it being thrown away ... don't worry, it was on top of something completely innocuous, on top of the garbage can ... story of my life right now. I went to the RS activity, a women's health night, where I learned all about the horrors of menopause and remembered how awesome it is that women can create bodies and have children. Then I remembered that I really do love Graham, and in that warm fuzzy moment, I could still remember all the bodily fluids he spewed forth this week, in vivid detail. And I came home to a house of sleeping babies, and was glad I went to Relief Society, instead of to a neighborhood drinking party, so I could appreciate the quiet with all my mental faculties.

Accio, Rockslide Brownie.


Dear Graham, I'm glad you haven't bitten me with those cute little teeth in a while.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Zombie Preparedness for Mothers

I was on a run last week, when I started thinking, "Oh my heck ... whhhhhhy am I doing this? I hate being in shape. I just want to be fat and full of waffle fries and perfectly happy. I'm not required to run three miles in my everyday life, so why am I pushing myself to be in shape to a level that I don't really need? As long as I can carry my baby and my groceries, run after my toddler, and walk up seven flights of stairs when I get lost trying to find a friend's apartment, I should be good, right? Why maintain a level of fitness that is completely unnecessary to my lifestyle?"

Then it occurred to me: zombies.

Goo.

One good reason to pursue a level of physical fitness beyond the needs of my everyday lifestyle is to prepare for the unknown--and that unknown could include the apocalypse/epidemic that leads to the earth becoming overrun by the undead, and I should be prepared to adapt to my new role as "prey." I've gotta be fast if I want to outrun an "I am Legend"-style zombie. And strong if I plan on carrying my cherubim while I run.

This got me thinking about all the things I should be doing as a mother to prepare myself and my children for the apocalypse.

1. Physical fitness (already described above). Get in shape, or be zombie bait!

2. Breastfeeding. If all the public service ads haven't convinced you yet that the breast is best ... let me. If our civilization crumbles, you know what will be hard to have constant access to? Clean water, and therefore clean formula. Even if you did have clean water, imagine securing and transporting any meaningful supply of those heavy tins. Nursing your baby means that as long as you scavenge enough food for yourself, you'll always have sterile food for your baby. And it will be warm, which will be a nice luxury for your baby in the midst of the horror that is the end of the world. So all you short-sighted formula-feeding moms out there, don't come crying to me when the zombies come knocking on your waterline. The end is near.

Zombie proof.

3. The Quiet Game. If you are dealing with zombies that become frenzied by sound (i.e. World War Z-style), then being quiet is a skill that you must teach your children. We use "the Quiet Game," where the last one to make any noise wins. In the real world, the last one to make any noise would avoid death long enough to make it to the survivor's colony.

Ruby understands she needs to take extra precautions to prevent dangerous, if adorable, cooing.

4. Obedience. As if well-behaved children wasn't incentive enough, let's add "survival" to the list of benefits to teaching your children when to shut up and do what they're told. I say "shut up" because when you're looting the RadioShack at the mall and there's a pack of zombies in the Forever 21 next door, you want kids who won't whine when you tell them what kind of batteries to cram into their backpack. Sometimes kids have great reasons to question the instructions they're given, but they need to learn to respect your serious face and obey immediately when the time comes ... and it's coming.

5. Flexible palate (i.e. not picky). The child who will only eat granola bars (she exists; I've met her) will be one of the first to die when the zombies take power, whereas the child with a less narrow dietary schema will survive, content to munch the mildewed carrot his mother found in the clenched fist of the half-eaten Kroger produce manager. You can discourage finickiness in many ways, but I've found hunger to be one of the best teachers. Graham eats what I've prepared or he doesn't eat at all. He'll thank me when his peers are collapsing around him for want of goldfish crackers, and the distraction provided by their demise allows him to outrun the zombies.

This is the face he makes when he likes something.

Be a good parent: start preparing for the inevitable. Because you don't want this:

Zombie Graham!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fashion Icon Maven Personal Profile (FIMPP): Stephanie Mitchell

Now that I'm a fashion blogger, I realized I have to start talking about clothes ... and today I wore a t-shirt of questionable origins and a striped knit skirt Nathan calls my "clown skirt"--I got both items secondhand (and not in a fun vintage way ... more like in a "hey I don't want this crappy skirt anymore" "ok, I'll take it because it looks comfy and I can sew that little hole in the thigh" way) This look obviously can't be showcased today, at least not without some killer accessorizing ... but right now my only accessory is a scab on my chin.

Even though I am not bloggable today, I have someone who is!

That's right, it's time for the very first Fashion Icon Maven Personal Profile!!! FIMPP!! (rhymes with pimp, but without the dirty social connotations)

I'll be highlighting some of my best-dressed friends in this ongoing series.

Presenting FIMPP #1: Stephanie Mitchell

Stephanie is one of my BFFsince-the-preexistenceFFs. We lived down the street from each other in middle school and high school, and we were roomies in college ... basically this proximity, our shared clothing size, and her impeccable taste meant I was always borrowing her clothes.

From her "mugger in velvet" photo spread (Halloween '06)
I asked Stephanie to give us some insight into her personal style, and I also gave her the challenge of styling a few looks to help us grasp her fashion spirit. Here she is:

What inspires your clothing choices?

I draw most of my inspiration from the world around me! When I see an entire glass of milk that's been spilled on my kitchen floor before 8 am, I usually feel inspired to stay in sweats that day. If it's 5:00 pm and my husband will be home in half an hour, I try to channel a sort of old-t-shirt-wearing, Kim-Kardashian-but-with-no-make-up-or-drama-to-speak-of look. I think I've almost nailed it!
If you could describe your style in three words ... ?
1. Clothes
2. are
3. necessary
This does not apply to children 3 and under, although I do sometimes count a diaper as clothing (for the children, not me).

How has your style evolved as a mother?

As a mother, it's easy to just let your personal style go, in favor of other things like sleeping, or staying sane. But I've learned that you don't have to choose between style and sanity! I will say that one of my strengths is planning coordinated outfits for myself and my children. The best way to do this is for everyone to wear their pajamas all day long. In the summer, you can also do this with swimsuits.
What is your clothes-purchasing philosophy?
There are several approaches to clothes shopping, but the one I'm going to highlight is called "wearing the same things you wore in high school 10 years ago." I don't mean the same style, I mean the very same articles of clothing. I can recommend this because it's the only one I consistently do. Take this shirt I received in 2003:

2006: Quite possibly the best look I've put together with this piece
2008: It's colorfast like you wouldn't believe
2013: The shirt today. Funny, it's seemed to shrink in recent years...
Bonus picture: 
Kim, love your take on this timeless classic. You've created something that really speaks to what this top is all about.
I like to think of my style as constantly evolving, though. My dream is to someday dress as a real adult who wears accessories and stuff like that. Every BYU t-shirt that turns into cleaning rags is a step closer.

Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing a piece of your cotton-knit world with us!  And I love what you put together with that vintage tee. So much versatility with a piece like that--I think you nailed it.

Thanks to our first FIMPP, Stephanie Mitchell!
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BIG NEWS

Oh. My. Chevron. You guys.

I got an iphone, and nothing is the same. It's like I emerged from a cocoon of technological mediocrity, in tandem with the iphone as it likewise escaped its sleek white box into my waiting palms. I am now a butterfly.

iButterfly

I can do so much more with my life now. I can Instagram pictures of everything I eat. Oh, and everyone I love.

#thaigram
#grahamgram

I can read BBC (natch) while Graham pilfers pretzel goldfish from his friends at the park. I can read my scriptures on my phone at church just like everyone I used to judge. I can listen to Pandora while I run a route I'm mapping via an app that tells me just how much slower I am than I thought. I can do anything. I can even ... drumroll ...

BECOME A FASHION BLOGGER.

That's right. This is happening. So I was on my phone, testing my Spanish skills on an app that I selected because of its adorable bird mascot, when it spoke to me--not in Spanish ... it was the spirit of the phone trying to commune with me, not the app that kept blabbing on about how some niño wanted a red shirt.

Anyway, I listened, because when god starts talking, you listen, amiright?

Here's what happened:

iPhone: I have the. best. idea.

Kimber: Yes, my precious?

iPhone: How about you go put on an awkwardly-coordinated outfit, dig your non-prescription nerd glasses out of the costume box, and make your husband take take a hundred pictures of you posing like an amateur in the street in front of your house. Your neighbors won't think you're weird at all, probably.

Kimber: GREAT idea.

iPhone: YOLO

ignore the crushed beer can that fell out of my neighbor's recycling bin
oh ... what's that sound? perhaps the flutter of my authenticity flying away ... how can the iphone make me so iphony?
I'm sooo excited to share this look with you. You know how it's getting to be Autumn, so you want to break out your boot stash? But you are still attached to your flowy, summer-style cotton peasant maxi skirt ... so, mindblown, put them together. Peanut butter and jelly fashion, my friends.

thinking about Jack Kerouac, or else how the design on my skirt totally goes with the oil stains on the road

Then I knew I just had to complete the ensemble with my go-to chambray button-up. Because nothing adds working-class legitimacy to this Laura Ingall's-inspired look like chambray.


Shoes: Steve Madden, Tights: I forgot, Underwear: none of your business, Skirt: Target, Belt: Target, Top: Eddie Bauer, Watch: Husband's castaway (doesn't that sound like a great brand? .. or else a great name for a feminist band?), Eyewear: Amazon, Earrings: street vendor in Barcelona *elitist cough*, Hair elastic: Alexander McQueen, maybe.

This is just the nascence of my fashion blogger quest. Some other projects in the queue:

-I'm teaming up with the best little vintage boutique I found downtown. I'm going to be putting together a few looks from their new fall line. It's called Goodwill, which kind of sounds like Madewell if you squint your ears.

-Tomorrow we're having a guest post from one of my fashion icons. Her style is so inspiring--it's like her clothes could be my spirit animal. I can't wait to show you the looks she's curated!

hashtag nonchalant selfie

iPhone: All too easy.
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nutella and Eyebrows

I haven't blogged for a while because I've been too lame to write down all my awesome blogging ideas, and by the time I'm near a computer without a toddler simultaneously begging me to watch Barney (curse you, paleontological demon!!!), I've forgotten every intelligent thought I ever had and my brain is instead consumed with thoughts like, "I wonder how many more 'white beds' have been posted to Pinterest in the last 24 hours." Because on our king-size bed is a brown, fuzzy queen-size blanket that is ridiculously comfortable but also ridiculously ugly like brown mold, or the pelt of a plush bear. It's been there for four years, always "about to be replaced with something gorgeous."

So this will be a life update post, hopefully peppered with Nutella-fueled witticisms [note: Nutella over cookie dough ice cream (sans the cookie dough because I mined it all out a week ago) is distressingly underwhelming. The Nutella congealed on my spoon and it was not pleasant.].

Graham: Potty-trained, thank the universe. He's still hit-or-miss at night, but during the day he's doing great. We even have a great song about how to pull your underwear up when you're done. Ask me to sing it for you and I will. The word "booty" is in it.

He also had his first confirmed bad dream about a week ago, about a firetruck that "vroomed him." It was really sad, but also kind of cute that he has the verbal skills to tell us about it. He had another bad dream this morning about a lion. He ran into our room this morning, yelling "The lion bite my bum, Mom! He bite my bum!" Too bad he doesn't have a diaper for extra tush protection anymore. Also, his pants don't stay up anymore without one. Skinny little dude needs more Nutella in his life.

His first taste of Nutella.

Ruby: She had her four-month checkup today. 14 lbs, 3 oz. She's also 24 inches long, which makes me like her more than when she was only 23 inches long, because 24 is my favorite number.

FLUFFY
I know this is the Ruby section of the post, but can we talk about how I look in the picture above? I'm concerned about my eyebrows. Realizing I'd used my SAHMness to rationalize my descent into adopting the grooming habits of a turnip, I decided to reevaluate my beauty routine (ha!-as if I ever had such a thing!). I found this lovely blog, specifically this inspiring post on "4-Minute Mommy Makeup." I was enticed by the four minutes part, because the max I can go without one of my cherubim needing something is about five minutes. Also, her before and after shots really wowed me. So I defied almost everything I ever thought I knew about myself and bought a makeup brush kit and the other products she uses in the video (sans the uber-expensive eyeshadow palette) ... all the while feeling like such a poser. Anyway, I've been experimenting .... feeling like a prepubescent wannabee who's raided her mother's makeup drawer, except my mom never really wore that much makeup (hence my ignorance--I blame you, Mother!!). WHATEVER. Apparently "filling your eyebrows" is supposed to make a huge difference, and I can't decide whether it makes me look better, or else like Frida Kahlo (that would be worse, if there was any question. Sorry, Frida). The above picture is an example of my eyebrows in their "filled" state. Is it weird? Be honest. I'm serious, I want honesty. I had a friend once who did her eyeliner in a horrible, horrible way (even I, in my makeup novice-ness, knew it was bad), and I always hoped that if I ever fell prey to a serious makeup mistake that someone would gently lead me back to the fold of normalcy. So tell me if I look like a Furby.

Another shot of my questionable eyebrows. Also, Ruby was filling her shorts when this picture was taken, hence my alarmed face.

Back to Ruby. She smiles all day--I love it. She rolls over on accident sometimes. Babbles when babbled to. Very tolerant of Graham's love. Ridiculously adorable in this robe, made by my best friend Stephanie.

Am I a Jedi?

Or am I a Sith Lord?!?

Nathan: His poor Honda has finally died, and he's currently looking for a replacement (a Toyota, the traitor). As an analyst by trade, this means lots of ... analysis. Also, he's getting his ACL repaired next week, so I'm excited to have him home, if incapacitated and whining for popsicles from his beloved leather recliner, for two weeks. A coworker invited us to the beach with his family last weekend, so we went and had fun.

Crystal Beach. I am a horrible mother and both my children got sunburned.

Kimber: Is self-conscious about her eyebrows. Cherry-picks the cookie dough from her ice cream, then is depressed about the cookie-dough-less ice cream mocking her from the freezer. Locked her keys in her van last night and so had to borrow a friend's car to take her baby to the doctor. Killed a spider that was building a web in her husband's hair tonight.

This isn't a great blog post, but I had this epiphany the other day: even Taza poops. I said it.
  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

White Girl Reviews Zumba

I started going to a gym a few weeks ago because I am too wimpy to exercise outside during summer, the idea of showering while someone else watched my children was appealing, and I wanted to try Zumba.



I've now been to two Zumba classes. Here are my reflections:

Zumba is dangerous. Two minutes into today's class I gouged myself in the forehead with my fingernail while attempting to do some elaborate Indian dance hand movement. Bollywood star I am not.

Zumba must be a thumb-biting response to centuries of white privilege. Because while my membership at the gym comes courtesy of my husband's energy industry paycheck, that salary can never buy me a Latina booty. Or rhthym rythm the ability to spell rhythm.

Zumba is not a great workout. Maybe it's the instructor, Marianna, catering the class to the majority of the attendees ... who are much older than me ... or else it's just the nature of Zumba. I don't care how much you sway your hips, stomping in a circle is not strenuous. I do work up a sweat by the end, but there's so many breaks between songs that I never hit that horrible/wonderful state where I think I can't go on but I do. Or maybe it's my past soccer experience where I considered two hours of conditioning in 100 degree weather "a great workout." Yes, I know I'll never attain that same level of fitness I so unappreciated as a teenager, but I'd at least like a taste of the burn, you know? What is a great workout is the "Body Works Plus Abs" class led by a fifty-something lady who kicks my trash and left me unable to fully extend my right arm after my first time. She doesn't wear silky capris with "Zumba" emblazoned across her behind, but she provides a much more intense workout. And she doesn't make impassioned bird noises randomly throughout the workout. And she doesn't make me listen to banda music.

Genie pants. Not only do they billow with the seductive power of the Orient ... they also provide a nice optical illusion that gives your booty super powers. Only three wishes, though, please.

Zumba makes me doubt everything I know about anatomy. While it's no revolution in terms of actual fitness achieved ... HOW DOES SHE DO THAT WITH HER BOTTOM? It's like it's not connected to the rest of her body. You know how black people are supposed to have an extra bone in their feet? I'm pretty sure Marianna has something extra in there. I try to mimic her booty-popping, but I end up looking like a tapir with palsy. I know because there are mirrors everywhere. I cannot escape the nightmare that is my frizzy-haired, red-faced, sweaty self. It brings back memories of the worst charades round of my life. I was at a weekend retreat with Nathan's engineering lab-mates and their spouses. The word "gyrate" came up on my turn. Let's just say all the engineers in the room were very puzzled at my, uh, performance. When I revealed the word after the failed round, they all said, "Ohhh, like a gyroscope?" Yeah, guys, just like a gyroscope ... not the inebriated stripper I was just channeling. That's Zumba.

Maybe Zumba could incorporate some whirling dervish dance moves.

Next up: yoga.