4.30.2012

Two New Polishes

polishes

I feel like I'm always apologizing for being gone so long, so I'm just going to stop doing that.  I know that I post as often as I can (new baby + life seem to thwart my regularly scheduled intentions), and sometimes there will be pauses of silence in between.  So there, take it or leave it.

Sometimes it's just hard to keep a slew of interesting posts on deck.  Unless, of course, you want to hear me talk about my baby non-stop.  And some of you wouldn't mind, but some of you would... it wasn't really that long ago that I was an "I'm never going to have children!" type, so I totally get that mindset, and I want to respect people who feel that way.  It's not for everybody (kids, that is), and that's cool.

But I'm missing the real point here - nail polish!  I got two new bottles for my birthday (April 9th, so kind of a bit ago...) and I was excited to try them out.  In fact, I couldn't even decide which to use first, nor could I be patient and spread this out over two weeks.  I had to use them both at the same time.  You can see how I alternated the colors in the photos below.

The first bottle (on the left) is Betsey Johnson Too Too scented lacquer, which is Sephora by OPI - the official color name is "It's My Pink."  It looks a lot like 2-3 other pink polishes I already own, but the promise of SCENTED nail polish was too much for me to pass up.  Plus, it's a BETSEY polish.  I'm such a sucker for stuff like this.  I don't really need it, but it sucks me in.

...it really DOES smell like the perfume though!  After it's dried, of course.  Don't go huffing the wet polish.  Thanks.

The second bottle of polish was also purchased at Sephora.  The brand is Nails Inc. and it's MAGNETIC polish.  Whoa.  I read about this several weeks ago, and looked it up online, and it's pretty wicked.  You paint your nails with it, and while the top coat is still wet, you hold a magnet right up to the polish, and these dark black wavy stripes appear on the surface, only they're metallic and 3-D looking.  When I tilt my nails, the dark waves seem to move.

The magnet is in the cap of the polish, and has a little ridge to keep you from touching your wet nails to the cap.  Well, sort of.  I kept tilting the cap awkwardly and knocking the edge of my nail, causing me to repaint the top layer.  So be careful.  I chose the color "Houses of Parliament," which is a dark metallic-y purple.  Check photos below:

2 hands

Have you fallen victim (like me) to any of these new gimmick-y polishes?  What do you think?

now playing:
Televators by The Mars Volta on Grooveshark

4.13.2012

iPhone lenses

phone lens

My husband loves his iPhone.  He especially loves to take photos and manipulate them using iPhone photo apps, often layering and applying several effects to create one final image.  If you're interested in seeing some of his work, you may want to follow his Tumblr or Instagram feed, as he posts many of his finished images there (he often names the photos after songs, too - search hashtag "pictune").  One of his current projects is photographing star symbols whenever he sees them, but sometimes he creates them, too (hashtag "starpix"...)

One of the things he has been experimenting with is iPhone lenses.  Have you ever been to the Photojojo store?  It's really cool to do some fun photo-related shopping there, they have all kinds of accessories and toys and gifts for the photographer(s) in your life!  Anyway, Todd purchased the wide angle/macro lens set for the iPhone and he's been having tons of fun with it.  I thought I'd share some of the results with you here.

wide angle

The photos above were taken using the wide angle lens from Photojojo.  It's pretty incredible how it functions - when you buy the lens, you are also sent an assortment of very thin metal rings that are adhesive (there's a variety of sizes to fit many different models of cell phones).  The lens themselves are magnetic, so it's easy to stick them to your phone (and switch them out), once you attach the thin metal ring.  The ring is thin enough to accommodate your cell phone case, which is a necessity.

Photos above include a candid Iggy shot, the flowering tree in the neighbor's backyard, and our view from our back stoop towards the garage.

macro

The macro lens allows you to take super super super up close photos with incredible clarity!  The photos above (clockwise from upper left) include an extreme shot of my eye, a pencil and graphite, the up close center of a flower (see flowering tree in the previous set), and a stray pine needle on our porch carpet.

The best part is that these lenses were only $20!  Not bad for such a fun new toy.  Have you ever used anything like this?

now playing:
Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space by Every Time I Die on Grooveshark

4.11.2012

i'm a total cliche...

family
Above, left to right: my mom, me, Iggy, my grandma (my mom's mom).  March 2012.

Here's another post that I've been writing in my head for a few weeks now.  That seems to happen a lot... but I feel the need to share with you some of my recent inner brain dialogues, and perhaps shed some light into my lack of any kind of recent outfit posts or things of that sort.

I gained WAY more weight than is considered "healthy" when I was pregnant.  I can try to blame it on the fact that I'm only 5'1" and carried a slightly above-average sized baby... or I can admit that while I was pregnant I ate whatever the heck I wanted, and in whatever the heck quantities I wanted.  I think during my first trimester I existed solely on pasta with olive oil and parmesan cheese, and ramen noodles.  Mmm... pasta...

So, now that Iggy is two months old, and I still cannot fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, I am now enrolled in the Weight Watchers program.  I'll also admit here that this isn't the first time I've been a member.  In fact, I've lost weight twice before with Weight Watchers.  I was working on a third time when I found out that I was pregnant and had to quit - until now.  I've never actually hit my goal weight during my previous WW stints, although I got close... but I think I'm determined enough and have what it takes to do it this time.  I think that's why I'm sharing this story with you now.  I'll make it official and I'll have more accountability to follow through on my plans.

Right?

I hope so.  Tomorrow is actually my third week at WW since I started.  I had a great first week - a HUGE loss - and an average/ok second week.  This week was two days of Easter celebrations (translation: eating), plus my birthday, which was on Monday (by the way, Happy Birthday to me).  I may not see a loss at all because of this.  Hopefully I don't gain.  I'll keep you updated from time to time, and I know not every week will be successful, but I refuse to give up.

Even though, down the line, another baby will happen and I'll have to deal with the whole gain/lose circus all over again, I'm determined to make it much much easier the second go-round by starting off at a much better place than I did.  Oh, and not gorging myself on pasta.

sandwich

One thing I've been amusing myself with is taking pictures of my food.  For my birthday, I got the iPhone 4S (much better camera!) and here's an example above.  I made myself a yummy sandwich of marinated teriyaki tofu from Trader Joe's on sprouted wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, dijon mustard, and laughing cow cheese wedges.  It was good and low in points.

Got easy healthy vegetarian recipes for me to try on Weight Watchers?  Lemme know!

now playing:
Black Bomb (Jerry In The Bag) (with Trent Renzor) by Josh Wink on Grooveshark

4.05.2012

DIY: Non-tangle Earbuds

One of the things I love to look for on Pinterest is ideas for projects and things to make. I loved the look of this particular idea: “How to Prevent Earbud Tangles with Old School Friendship Bracelet Knotting” – details are found on the Contemporary Farmgirl website:

http://contemporaryfarmgirl.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-prevent-earbud-tangles-with-old.html

…so I won’t do a full DIY tutorial here (you can use her blog post instead, she’s done a really complete job of explaining all of the steps).

But I was really happy with how my earbuds turned out in the end, so I thought I’d share some photos with you here:

ear buds

I learned a few things in this process. My earbud cords were longer than the traditional “free” pair that you get with your Apple products; therefore I needed more embroidery floss than suggested in the tutorial.  Also, I neglected to read carefully and should have knotted the two sections with the earbuds starting from the actual earbud down – I, instead, worked from the “Y” split to the earbud, and it was a little tricky at the end trying to knot around a floppy earbud end… but not impossible.

What do you think? This took me a weekend and one additional evening’s worth of work to complete this. Do you think you’d have the patience? At least in the end you have some pretty spiffy earbuds!

now playing:

4.03.2012

Iggy @ 2 months

instax

At the risk of overwhelming you with pictures of my child, I thought I'd do a little 2 month check-in on Iggy and how he's doing.  As you know from yesterday, I went back to work this week.  It was extremely hard.  I cried when I went to sleep Sunday night, I cried when I left my house with him, and I cried when I dropped him off at my mom's.  Did I mention I was sad?

Iggy had his two month checkup last week.  He's about 11 1/2 pounds, and super cute.  Everyone always asks if he's sleeping through the night (is he supposed to be at 2 months?), and no, he is not.  He does sometimes sleep for 4 or 5 hours at once, and that's always nice when that happens.  But sometimes he sleeps for 2 hour cycles without fail and demands to eat.  That's pretty tiring.

4 babies

Iggy smiles on a regular basis now, and focuses on faces and objects.  He's more interactive than ever, so it's pretty fun to sit and try to get him to make noises and "talk" to you.  He's just discovering his hands, which means that if his hands show up in front of his face, he sucks on them.  He enjoys having "tummy time" in short bursts, and arches his back so his front and back ends curl up from the floor - it's pretty funny.

2 babies

Above are a couple of my favorite shots of him.  Even though he's still so little, he can sit in the Bumbo chair (if you don't know what this is, it's a molded little seat that perfectly puts him into an upright sitting position, see picture on the left) and it always makes me giggle to see him sitting like a little man.  The photo on the right is from tummy time a few days ago.  I love to lay on the floor and talk to him; his wrinkly little forehead just kills me.

So, now you probably understand why I'm so sad to go back to work.  Could you stand to leave this little guy?

now playing:
I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Darkness on Grooveshark

4.02.2012

brain space...

school stuff

Today I have to return from maternity leave.  I have to go back to work.  I don't want to go back.  I REALLY do not want to go back.  Having time off with a new baby (plus a few weeks beforehand of bed rest with nothing much to do but think) really creates a lot of opportunity for soul-searching and deep thought about careers, relationships, family, friends, and life in general.  I've been avoiding thinking about work, because I knew how much I was dreading it.  I haven't talked about it here because I've been trying to make a conscious effort to be more positive.  But now here it is, and I have to go back...

I am a good teacher.  I am a really good teacher.  But teaching has never been my long-term plan for my life.  I love art, and when I was in college, my parents pressed me, "How will you make a regular paycheck doing art?" and I told them that I would teach it.  Seemed like a plan.  And I like kids, so it all seemed to fit.  But teaching art isn't just "art" and "kids."  I wish it were so simple.  Then I might not hate going back so much.

I hate grading.  I wish I could just make art for art's sake with the students and have that be good enough. I hate testing, and assessing, and proving that what I do is important... or at least, trying to prove that what I do is important.  Mostly that all falls on deaf ears.

I don't want to create a plan for how I (as an art teacher) can help improve students' reading and math skills (scores) in my classroom.  If I wanted to teach reading or math, I would have gone to school to be a reading or math teacher.  I don't want to keep track of missing work or send makeup work for so-and-so who's absent for this extended vacation or special meeting or band lesson or any other number of reasons a student might miss my class, because, after all, it's "just" art.  I don't want to have to call home or send emails because of missing work.  I hate all of that.  I really don't care.  Just show up and make art.  That's what I really want to do.

I'm sick of not being treated as a professional, like my job is "lower" than others.  I have a Master's degree.  I have National Board Certification in my subject area.  I paid my dues.  But I am not paid.  Not fairly, anyways.  I've (and the rest of the teachers in my district) have been without a contract for almost a year now.  The community thinks that it's "our" fault, the teachers, because we're "greedy." They say we need to get a taste of what "the rest of the world" is dealing with.  Are you kidding me?

I watched a movie this weekend.  It's called American Teacher, and by the time I got to the end of the movie, I was crying.  Serious tears streaming down my face.  It was hard to figure out why.  Partly because I sympathized with most of the people in the documentary, partly out of jealously because one of the teachers got to take a year off of work to stay home with her baby, and partly because I wished I was one of the many former teachers in the film who were able to leave the profession.  

There's nowhere for me to go!  The biggest kick in the you-know-where is that I HAVE to keep this job... You know, if I want to keep my house and all.  I can't just pack up and go.  The economy sucks so hard that I'd never find a job other than burger flipping right now, and heck, I'd gladly burger flip, but it doesn't pay enough!

I hate the current climate in society that accepts (and even encourages!) teacher-bashing.  Every single ignorant person I've heard make an anti-teacher comment is using FALSE information, or is completely making stuff up!  I do not work a 6 hour day!  I do not get three months "off" during the year!  I'm not lazy, and I'm not greedy.

What am I?  I'm tired.  I'm beat down.  I'm ready to give up.  I'm stuck.  I'm without choices.  

So much for my positive streak.  Promise to be more upbeat next time, just gotta get this out.  Thanks.

p.s. (I originally wrote this yesterday, but seeing as it was April 1st, I wanted to make sure that there was no confusion, and that this was in no way any kind of an April Fool's joke.  It's my 100% honest opinion on the matter.)

now playing: 
Die My Darling by Kittie on Grooveshark
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