Sunday, June 15, 2014

In appreciation of my Dad

While enjoying an extra helping of blue cheese on the yummy salad I had for lunch the other day, it occurred to me that I used to hate the stuff. I used to call it "Dad's stinky cheese." And then I started thinking about all the other stuff I didn't like as a child but have grown to appreciate as an adult (Brussels sprouts, wine, sensible shoes), and THEN I started thinking about my father, and how it's father's day, and I should tell him how much I've grown to appreciate his stinky cheese. And how much I continue to appreciate HIM.

I have written before how my father was my first model and helped foster my love of beauty products. He's also helped foster my love of reading, an interest in history, and my fascination with pop culture. He's always been on top of the latest gossip - both of the celebrity and non-celebrity variety, and his love of music and musical films has definitely been passed on to me.

What I have grown to appreciate most about my Dad, and I appreciate quite a bit, is his love of a good story. Growing up hearing his yarns would sometimes make my eyes roll, sometimes embarrass me - but you know what? They were never boring. A lot of them had to do with trying to kill/maim/embarrass his younger siblings, some of them had to do with his various jobs and travels, some of them had to do with my mother, and most of them were pretty interesting...the first time I heard them. But you know, I've been alive for four decades, and I could have sworn I've heard all of my father's stories at least a dozen times.

I wonder if my Dad was trying to tell me a story here
Last year during one of my visits home he surprised me though. During a rambling conversation about how DC had changed since he lived here 40+ years ago, he casually mentioned that one time he had tea and scones with Ezra Pound on the grounds at St. Elizabeths Hospital. And I had to stop and say EXCUSE ME WHAT? He was surprised I had heard of Ezra Pound. I was surprised my father had never told this story. I heard him tell the story of impaling his brother with a homemade spear about 50 times, but never this charming story about driving from West Virginia with a family friend to visit with a famous poet.

It was then it dawned on me that my father probably had a ton of stories I had never heard - and probably several of them are way juicier than how he got lice that one time from playing with the kids of the local prostitute. And I needed to tell him how much I enjoy hearing his tales, so hopefully I get to keep peeling at the layers that is the onion of my father's kind-of-fascinating life.

Happy Father's Day.

Meditatio  by Ezra Pound

When I carefully consider the curious habits of dogs
I am compelled to conclude
That man is the superior animal.

When I consider the curious habits of man

I confess, my friend, I am puzzled.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Pop culture obsessed

I have said in the past that I am a makeup geek. Well, low and behold, I have discovered I am not the only one. And that there is not only a website with that name, founded by a fellow makeup-aholic named Marlena, but that they sell makeup! I happened to see an announcement regarding some of their new eyeshadows - and I saw that one of them was called Pop Culture. And it was a beautiful blue/lavender purple color. I knew right then and there I had to get my hands on some of that. I mean, this eyeshadow was obviously made for me: a makeup geek with a pop culture obsession and a weakness for purple.

Clockwise from top left: Cosmopolitan, Cocoa Bear,
 Pop Culture, Barcelona Beach.
Makeup Geek (MUG) eyeshadows are easily compared to MAC - they come in pans about the same size, except MUG shadows cost $5.99 each, and MAC cost like $15. To the right you see I made myself a little quad of MUG eyeshadows since I can't live on pop culture alone. (I am using a $1 ELF compact - I try to be a somewhat frugal addict.) These shadows are BEAUTIFUL. Soft, nicely pigmented, easy to blend, and really long lasting. Over primer (which I always wear now), they've lasted all day on me with minimal fading or creasing, which is amazing. I will definitely be buying more. Best of all, it's a cruelty free brand. :)

So, in honor of my new favorite makeup product, here are some of my current favorite makeup and pop culture/entertainment things:
  • Orphan Black - Folks, I am obsessed with this show. I am in awe of Tatiana Maslany's chameleon-like skills in portraying about half a dozen different characters on the regular - fully formed, unique women, who happen to be clones. Love the little bits of humor mixed in with the big mystery (that has to do with science!), and really appreciate Paul's abs. (I am very shallow.)
  • Mamrie Hart/You Deserve A Drink: This woman cracks me up on the regular. Love her quirky/weird improv-y Mametown videos, and her punny/funny You Deserve A Drink series, which besides a good laugh, provides some interesting cocktail recipes. Plus she wrote a movie, Camp Takota, and actually got it made, co-starring herself along with two of her best friends (who are also very funny ladies on YouTube.) I have much respect for a woman who will use just about any excuse to bust out a costume and a funny pop culture pun.
  • Betty Who - I've played her Slow Dancing EP countless times in the past few weeks. Feeds my love of catchy pop music that is a pleasure to listen to, no guilt involved.
  • Hold Still by Nina LaCour - so I think I've moved on from all my dystopian future young adult series to heartbreaking books about young adults dealing with some very real things. (My love of young adult fiction hasn't waned though.) This novel, about a teen dealing with the suicide of her best friend, was gripping, emotional, and at times uncomfortably honest. One of the best of my recent reads - which is saying a bit, because I think I've been on a bit of roll with good reads.
  • Stila Smudge Stick waterproof eye liner - my current love is specifically the Mint Julep shade. These puppies are so pigmented and easy to apply, and I love that they are true to the color of the barrel. Plus they really do stay put on the lower lash line for me.
  • Milani Brilliant Shine lip gloss in Luminous. Lovely peachy/bronze shade that isn't too sticky and smells a bit like vanilla. It's a nice neutral/natural shade that works well with the pops of color eye looks I've been enjoying wearing. I think it would look really nice with tan/bronzed skin as well. (Something I don't know much about, as I tend to stay pale year-round.)
Those are some of my favs. I'm always on the lookout for new things - if you have any fun pop culture recommendations, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, June 9, 2014

On friendship

I have definitely fallen way behind on my 2014 goal of writing regular/weekly blog posts. Sometimes work and life get in the way of sitting down and writing down things. Especially positive things. I want this blog to be a place where I share and talk about things I like/love/am enjoying, not necessarily a place to vent my inner crazy and air my frustrations. Although I've started about a dozen posts in the past couple of weeks, I have only gotten around to finishing one, and I really want to make an effort to get back on the writing wagon.

Because of stress/inner crazy/frustrations, and after a lovely little birthday visit with my parents, I've been taking stock of the important people in my life. The people I can call/email/text with a stream of consciousness rant, and they will listen. The people who can talk me off a metaphorical ledge. My nearest and dearest. The people who mean the most to me, but also the people I'm hardest on. My family. Many of them aren't blood relations, but we've imprinted on each other, and wherever life leads us, we always circle back together.

I am naturally an introvert, and have never had a very easy time making friends. I've never really been someone with a large social circle. But I've been really lucky that despite my sub-par social skills and hermit tendencies, I've managed to make some really good friends over the years. Friends who have helped me move, who have taken me to the hospital, who have traveled with me, and have provided free therapy. I'd like to think they stick around because it hasn't been all one-sided - I've also helped out during moves, pet-sat, visited hospitals, and sat up all night providing a shoulder to cry on. (Let me tell you, I'm pretty sure having to help one of my BFFs go to the bathroom after she had a surgical procedure made us sisters for life.) I'm not sure what stroke of luck brought these people into my life, but I am thankful they have chosen to stick around.

There have been friends who I have lost touch with over the years, and I often think of them. Some I drifted away from, some drifted away from me, and some just seemed to have fizzled. Living thousands of miles apart doesn't help to nurture a friendship, and sometimes, as you grow up, you grow apart. But even if you don't stay friends, you remember the time back when you were.

Maya Angelou passed away recently, and there were all kinds of tributes going around, with many posts of some of her more famous quotes. The one I chose, along with what seemed like thousands of other people, was "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I chose it because I agree with the sentiment - my nearest and dearest are the people who make me feel my best, who make me feel important and cared for, and I am incredibly thankful for that. I hope they feel the same way.