Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Don't Wanna Be A Greaser



Ever since I had my "makeover", I've gotten a little more into products. I've always used a dry shampoo here and there, because I'm only a two or three day a week hair washer. My hair gets dry and damaged easily and it's thin. It looks like there is a lot of it, but there isn't. I can wrap a standard hairband around my ponytail three times. I also don't have time to wash my hair everyday. I'm already late for work daily as it is.

I usually buy my hair products in CVS because it's next to my store and convenient. Not shampoo and conditioner, but the products you use after washing- like heat protectant, shine spray. dry shampoo. But CVS changes the products they carry and raise their prices all the time. It's ridiculous. Sometimes, stuff in CVS is three times the price it is in the supermarket, Target, or Harmon. I don't care how convenient it is, there are just things I can't buy knowing it's a total rip-off. I'm like a contestant on The Price Is Right. I actually know what stuff costs and where. Batiste dry shampoo is like six dollars in Target, but when CVS did sell it, I think it was around nine dollars. I just looked on their website and it wasn't even on there anymore. Another example though, is make up. This Almay stuff I use is $17.49 in CVS but nine dollars and change at Target, Harmon, etc. Even my prescriptions that don't go through insurance are often twice the price at CVS. It's highway robbery.

The first one I ever bought was Psssst. That was horrible. I sprayed it on and I looked like George Washington. My whole head had white residue. Then I tried Batiste, which was recommended on a message board I frequent. It comes in a bunch of different scents. It was fine if you don't spray too much, but I didn't love it. It still had visible residue. As did CVS brand, which was probably next.

I saw Salon Grafix (SG) brand one day and bought that. I LOVE it. It's the only one that doesn't seem to have any visible residue and you don't feel it on your hair. Some of the others I could feel. It changed the texture of my hair like I put some wax in it. Like thickening up pancake batter or something. Yay!

Of course, that is no longer at CVS. Awesome! I'd also just got an express keratin treatment (the one that only requires your hair to be perfectly straight and unwashed for only 24 hours), so I was concerned about ingredients. Shannon, who did my keratin, only said not to shampoo with anything that has sodium chloride in it. Of course I went down the rabbit hole of reading about keratin treatments and what else to stay away from to make it last. E and I spend forty-five minutes reading shampoo bottles in Harmon one afternoon looking for the various "bad" ingredients I'd read about. Cousins, if you will, to sodium chloride. Then I started reading the backs of the dry shampoos because I was thinking- well, they're still technically called shampoo....

I had a twenty-five percent off coupon for CVS so I bought Nexxus dry shampoo. It was expensive, around fifteen dollars. I had the coupon so I bought it anyway. Nexxus has a good reputation so I thought it could be decent. Nope. Residue and sticky hair.

I went to TJ Maxx the other night because I had to pick something up at Toys r Us next door to it, and I didn't want to go home. My eight year old was acting like he was four, and I needed a break from him. I was just going to walk around like I used to do in Loehmann's. However, just an FYI, TJ Maxx is NO Loehmann's. I don't care if other TJ Maxx stores are "better" than Paramus, nothing, NOTHING, will fill the gaping hole in my heart that Loehmann's left when they closed. Anyhow, in the ginormous, disastrous, dirty mess of TJ Maxx, I found some other brand of dry shampoo, on clearance for two dollars. I decided for two dollars, I might as well try it. Nope. It sucked too.

So the verdict for me is in. It's SG or bust. I'm sure they have it in Harmon, so next time I go to Bergen Town Center, on the way back home, I'll have to remember to stop in there. If you have any other recommendations, I'm all hair.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Take the G.L.A.M. pledge!

 
Make the Dream of Prom a Reality for a Young Woman in Need!  

Take the $5 G.L.A.M Pledge Today! 
Calling all Magic Makers! Please consider sponsoring a young woman in need for her prom. For just $5 (tax-deductible dollars), you can outfit a girl with a prom dress, accessories, and makeup so she can feel confident and beautiful. Many of our girls are in foster care or shelters, and this gives them the chance to feel "normal" for a day and participate in senior prom with everyone else. Take the Pledge!
If you're unable to donate, please join us as a volunteer! You can sign up here: Volunteer    

http://www.wgirls.org/take-the-glam-pledge/




Our Mission WGIRLS is a philanthropic organization of women dedicated to empowering women and children in underserved communities by volunteering and providing support, while training our members to develop them into effective volunteers.
Our Vision WGIRLS believes that all women and children regardless of race, religion or financial situation, deserve access to quality education, healthcare, strong, positive influences for themselves and their children, and a safe and loving home. To that end, the WGIRLS creates programming and supports partner organizations who share our mission to meet the following goals:
Encourage all disadvantaged women and children to rise above their circumstances in pursuit of education, financial independence and self sufficiency
  • Provide quality healthcare to disadvantaged women and children
  • Provide quality education and career opportunities to disadvantaged women and children throughout our local communities and the surrounding areas
  • Afford disadvantaged children and their families’ amenities such as new clothing, toiletries, school supplies and gifts during the holidays so that they may experience a sense of pride and normalcy in their everyday lives
  • Provide a safe haven for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse
  • Provide a safe and welcoming environment for the children of disadvantaged working mothers

Monday, April 3, 2017

(Updated) Mommy Makeover: Part 7: The Finale

**I updated with make-up info and Kathleen's contact info below**


My last treatments of the Mommy Makeover package have been completed. My days of leisurely beauty treatments have finally come to an end after two months of back and forth to Englewood/Englewood Cliffs. While it wasn't always easy to take off work just to work on my beauty, I enjoyed it immensely, and it gave me a renewed motivation to take daily care of my appearance. I'm still not going to wear make-up every day, or wash my hair daily (or even every other), but as Rhonda, the head expert in charge, at Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center said, I have a new spring in my step. That translates to not walking around like the Frances McDormand character in Friends With Money. "My arms get tired..." (B's favorite line)



My last appointment was to be at Iluminada Studio, where I was getting a pedicure, wax, hair wash/blow-out and style. Originally, it was supposed to be a manicure, pedicure and blow-out. I get a special manicure though, due to my genetically weak nails, and they don't do that there. Sobeida, the owner, was more than happy to substitute the manicure out with a waxing. Six one way, half a dozen the other.

Well, I wasn't taking a pic of my wax
The lady who does the waxing and pedicure is the same person who did the paraffin wax treatment on my hands and the massage the last time I was there. Her name is Beatrice Diaz. I've gotten waxed at like four different places over my time of doing this, by probably like five different people. For those of you scared of getting a Brazilian, if it was like ten years ago, I would say you should be scared. The old kind of wax did really hurt. Now, they've come up with basically ouch-less wax. I started going to European Wax Center like two years ago and it was like a different world. Totally different wax than I was used to when I'd be in a woman's townhouse, sweating and gripping a stress ball because of the pain. I don't know what kind of wax they use at Iluminada, but this was either the gentlest woman or wax or both that I've experienced yet. I really could've likened it to kitten licks. Ok, maybe it wasn't kitten licks but it certainly was bearable. Beatrice then gave me a great, relaxing pedicure. It was the first time I had one since the fall, I think. I was REALLY due.

Kathleen Stolarz and her friend Kathy Sudol came at noon to do my make-up. They also do make-up for weddings and other events as a team. Since this was the culmination of all the work that had been done on me in the past two months, I was to be camera-ready so that BC Magazine would have photos of my transformation for the story they are doing on this makeover giveaway. Kathleen is who did my Dermaplaning and chemical peel a week prior. They brought their whole giant metal "Caboodles" case filled with MAC goodies.

This make-up team was like having Erika Jayne's glam squad. I used to like when I'd be at the nail salon and to move things along, they'd give me one person on one hand and one on the other. This tag team effort this time wasn't just for time saving, but they work off each other picking colors and lashes and whatever else went on my face. I felt like one of those Farrah Fawcett heads/busts when I was kid. Or like they were doing surgery. It was with such care and precision. I couldn't believe how easily they got these giant Ardell lashes on me. Especially considering it takes me like thirty minutes to get them on myself.


Make-up Talk: 
They used the Mac eye shadow palette called "Warm Neutral". Before the foundation went on, Smash Box "Photo Finish" foundation primer was applied. That helps smooth out any fine lines wrinkles, camouflages any large pores, and helps the foundation goes on like paint. Then, the Mac "Studio Water Weight Foundation SPF 30, NC 27 was applied over the primer. After that, they used a Mac bronzer. The color is "Golden". Finally, they put on Mac blush named, "Blush Baby". The lashes used were Ardell in "Mega Volume". The liner was Mac "Fluid Line" in "Black Track". The lipliner was NYX brand and the lipstick was Mac "Half & Half" and mixed that with Mac "Brave". On the eyebrows, she used a powder bro duo in Anastasia in "Soft Brown"

Kathleen asked me if she gave me a MAC eyeshadow palette, would I promise to wear it. I told her that I would, only if she sent me explicit instructions on what to do with them. Of course, no one in town will recognize me if I start showing up to school pick-up with all this on, but that's fine. E will know me. She gave me these little SkinCeuticals serums too but I need directions for those too.

For facial treatments, call her at Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center. Her phone number for make-up is (201) 417-0101 and her email is makeupbykathleen@yahoo.com

Hair:
I put this in because it's cute- That's Shannon
After Kathleen and K finished my make-up, it was time for my blow-out and style by Shannon. I was excited for this, because the last time, I didn't get the full benefit of Shannon's work. I had gotten the Express Keratin treatment so she couldn't style me since I had to have my hair perfectly flat and unwashed for twenty-four hours. Shannon was unaware she would be in any photos, so she wasn't exactly thrilled that I was having pics snapped from every angle, but she was lovely about it. I often forget most people are not like me in the way of not caring at all whatsoever if my best side is not showing in photos going public. Clearly, since I posted pics of my fat for the Cool Sculpting entries.

Shannon expertly curled my hair and then Shannon, Kathleen and I took a bunch of photos. Seeing the hair from the back in the photos was so amazing to me. It looked like the hair you pin to Pinterest. It didn't even look like me, to me. If only I had someone to do this to me daily.

I have to point out that Iluminada is the most laid-back, relaxing kind of place. It was a Wednesday, all day, and no one seemed harried or crazed. It was very zen in there. I can see people feeling very happy and pampered, as it should be. I just don't think that's always the case. I went somewhere near where I live, once, for just a blow-out, and it felt so stressful in there. Just really loud, tons of people, and everything moving really quick. That's fine when you're in a hurry, but if you really want to just luxuriate and be taken care of, Iluminada is the way to go.

After Shannon styled me

Then we were done. It felt so...bittersweet. I felt and looked great, had spent the day getting beautified, had fun conversation, and took the photos. I had given both Iluminada and Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center each a card and a bell cake from Zadies, to show my appreciation, but there will never be enough appreciation. I never could've or would've done any of this. They made me stop in the middle of my chaotic schedule, running from work to E's activities, and endless errands, to take care of me. It was definitely a huge treat. I'd turned forty and wasn't that thrilled with the toll age was taking. I just didn't have the time or means to do anything about it. Sobeida, Rhonda and both of their staff did that for me. They gave me a much needed and belated fortieth birthday gift.

I told Kathleen that any time she needed a model to do live social media posts of procedures, I'm her girl.

Really, I can't forget to thank my husband, B, for which this would have never happened at all had he not entered me in this giveaway in the first place! So, thank you B for giving me the gift of turning back time on my face.  From now on, I only want beauty treatments as gift!

And yes, we did go out that night to dinner. I couldn't waste the make-up and the outfit just on going home to watch The Voice.


Makeover Part 1
Makeover Part 2
Makeover Part 3
Update on Cool Sculpting 
Makeover Part 4
Makeover Part 5
Makeover Part 6











Friday, March 24, 2017

Mommy Makeover Part 6: Surprise Extras


Goody Bag from ARC/Kathleen

I thought my last makeover entry, part five, was going to be the last treatments at Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center before my last time with the crew at Iluminada Studio, getting the blowout, wax, make-up and final photos. I was incorrect.

I had an appointment with Dr Freund scheduled for Wednesday evening, the twenty-second, just to check the results of the Belotero, and make sure everything was good. I saw the doctor, he and I were both happy with the results, and I was going to leave. I'd remembered Rhonda had mentioned she'd like me to use a retinol creme or something, and to remind her. Now that my face treatments were done, I thought it was time. Dr Freund said Rhonda was there and to go to her office.

I went down to see her and not only did she give me a retinol product to take home, she wanted to introduce me to Kathleen Stolarz, who would be doing my make-up the day of the last treatments at Iluminada. She's an esthetician at ARC.

Retinol product

I met Kathleen and she was super nice and of course, has luminous skin. She looked me over, as Bryan and I do lamps. In my head I was laughing. She immediately just threw out there that I'd be a perfect candidate for Dermaplaning and some kind of peel. I'm extremely happy with everything they've done so far, so I was in for whatever they were going to suggest. Kathleen felt that if I had the Dermaplaning and peel, when I'm supposed to get the make-up done in six days from then, it will go on much smoother and nicer. Great, I was game.

When I said I could come back to do it the next day, Rhonda was fine with it, and booked it with Kathleen. Doing these extras was over the original budget plan, I'm sure, but they were cool with it. Again, like I've said about them before, not only is it part of their mitzvah of making over a tired, busy mom, but word of mouth is priceless and goes a long way. Why wouldn't they want the best results at the end of this? They do, so they certainly have gone above and beyond in making me happy, look good, and fix my physical flaws to the best of their ability in the short time we had. They all really care. It's kind of amazing, especially in this world of only caring about the almighty dollar.

I came back Thursday, to see Kathleen, and she went right to work on a warmed table, in a heated room. All of which was fantastic. She did the Dermaplaning first, which takes off any and all dead skin, plus any little hairs or peach fuzz might be there. This actually did feel like the famous kitten licks I like to reference so often. I didn't see what kind of tool she used to do it, but it didn't hurt. When she completed that, she did a peel for sensitive skin, which she refers to as "the red carpet peel". It's the one you'd do if you had an event to go to in a few days and you wanted that red carpet kind of glow the stars have. Who wouldn't be down for that?

Kathleen gave me a little goody bag too. It has some NeoCutis Lumiere & Micro-Eyes eye packettes. Some Bio-Cream face cream packettes, and the Hyalis Hydrating Serum. I also got a SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore anti-aging treatment and an ARC lip balm. I'm so excited to try all these products, especially since I'm generally either a CVS product or Estee Lauder kind of gal.

When I was done with the Dermaplaning and peel, the best description of my face I could give, would be dewy. It felt way smoother than normal to the touch, and definitely to the eye. My friend Alex said, I looked extra smooth and moisturized, because I happened to see her when I got back to town, waiting for the kids to get out of school. I wasn't wearing any make-up and I felt like I still looked fine enough to see people. I thought I was going to be all red at the end. That's what I think of when I think of the words chemical peel. It wasn't like that at all. I just looked refreshed and dewy. 

I forgot to ask what these treatments would cost if someone was booking them, but I'm sure you can call and ask or do a google search of what stuff like this costs in your area. If you're in Bergen County, I highly recommend seeing Kathleen, who is at ARC on Wednesdays and Thursdays or Pam who is there every other Monday.

It's been a bit of chaos getting to all these appointments, but I'm not complaining, and I'm sad they're over. Maybe they'll let me be a guinea pig once in while? Barter lighting? On a serious note, I bought a big rainbow floppy hat for the beach (who *AM* I??), and I'll now be looking for a side gig to pay for all the treatments I want going forward. Obviously, now I want to do everything. And I'm never giving up the Belotero. Kathleen said I should do Dermapen again in the future and Pam told me I should do some other kind of peel to continue to try to get rid of my acne scars. The scars diminished greatly through all the treatments, but they're not gone. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

I keep feeling my soft face. I told E that my face feels like a baby's butt and he got hysterical. Then he said, "Ooh, can I feel?". He felt it, then it was the first thing he wanted to tell B when he walked in. "Mom's face feels like a baby's butt!"

Don't mind my crazy eyes. I still can't take a good selfie.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mommy Makeover Part 5

I went for the second to last visit of my makeover on Wednesday March 8th, 2017. I was going back to Aesthetic Rejuvenation Center, to Dr Freund, to check my Xeomin, have my teeth whitened, and to possibly get filler.

I got the whitening done first. I think it took forty minutes initially, then twenty, then ten, to finish the whole treatment. The product is called Opalescence. It didn't hurt or make my teeth feel sensitive during the treatment. I think for some people it must, because Shirley, the technician doing the procedure, kept asking if I was okay or if it was bothering my teeth. She was also just being attentive, but I think all of these whitening treatments can be harsh on the gums and teeth.

I took a Motrin before and after because you never know how the whitening is going to affect you. It was exactly like Zoom, which I'd had before. I got those little "zingers" after for about the next twelve hours. Like, where you're talking, and next thing you know, you get a zing, like a lightning bolt of pain. It's a quick hit, but some of those zingers could just about knock you to your knees. They lessen over hours though so it's definitely not bad enough not to do the whitening, but if you've never had it or haven't done it in years, you forget what those zingers are like!

The results were great. Not Ross from Friends, but natural whitening that just gives a brighter smile.

Opalescence syringe for teeth whitening

Filler Experience: 

Wrinkled & Wrinkle-Free

I have to say, I've rarely experienced this, which is sad, but this is one of the few times I can recall, not feeling like a doctor is all about the dollar. I spent a decent amount of time asking Dr Freund questions about the aesthetics part of his business (he is a dentist, with a dental practice downstairs). He had plenty of time to spend, I didn't feel rushed, and I could just tell by the stories he was telling me, that he really cares about what he does.

My friend told me that if I was going to do filler, the only filler I should do is Belotero. I'd never heard of it, didn't do any research, but I trust her. She does all these treatments, she researches, and her sister works in skin care. If I'm going to take advice about aesthetics from anyone, she'd be the one I'd pick. I'd heard of all the others- Juvederm, Restylane, etc. I'd seen one of them being injected into someone before and it looked thick and more painful. Both my friend and Dr Freund told me that Belotera is thinner than the others, like Botox. He did say that a reputable doctor shouldn't hurt you at all. I was still just more comfortable with getting Belotero so that's what I did.

Dr Freund gave me a lot of time on this visit, so I asked a lot of questions. He showed me how the fillers come, the syringes, and how all the others come mixed with lidocaine or without it mixed in, except Belotero. He said it's the doctor's choice what he wants to order, with or without Lidocaine. With the Lidocaine is a little more expensive, but the common sense is that you want your clients to have the most painless experience possible. You want repeat clients, so you make them as comfortable as you can. So because Belotera doesn't come pre-mixed with Lidocaine, he did mixed it in himself.  They also used a numbing creme for about twenty minutes prior to the injection.

It didn't hurt any more than Botox. That's little pinches here and there. It really wasn't anything like I thought it would be like. I imagined more pain and looking like Brandi Glanville. Glad to say that neither was the case. I could see results immediately though.

I didn't realize filler came by the syringe versus by the unit - like Botox, Dysport and Xeomin. Now I understand what it means when I see a special or Groupon for an aesthetics office where it says, "Buy one syringe, get the second half off" or something like that. I needed a whole syringe to fill the wrinkles under my eyes, above my cheeks.

I don't even know how to explain how amazing the results are. I have before and after photos, of course, which show it, but just the personal high of having them erased was awesome. It was like the Magic Eraser.

As I was sitting there, waiting for the numbing creme to do it's job, I noticed an advertisement for Bellafill. I asked what that was because I thought it might be related to the one I was doing, because of the name. I was told that it is a filler that is supposed to last five years for nasolabial folds and twelve months or more when using it for acne scars. Five years? My next question was then if it's a good thing to try to sell because it keeps people from needing filler for too long. I really liked the doctor's answer. He said that it's true that they won't need to buy filler, but it's still a positive to sell for them because then that frees their money up to get other things done. If they feel good and have good results, they're motivated to other procedures. I hadn't thought of it that way. Instead of having to make the choice then of filler or Cool Sculpting, their filler is taken care of, so they can try the Cool Sculpting. It makes sense. It's like wanting to be someone's one stop shop for treatments, instead of having someone go to shop around.

The Bellafill is an investment. I believe it's $1000 for one syringe or you can buy a box of five for $4000, so you get a deal. Then you always just have syringes "in the bank" for when you want to use them. The actual product expires, so you don't get that actual box of syringes kept there, but you keep your credit for fresh, unexpired ones. (I asked how long the product itself lasts). I would love to try that one day on the last of my acne scars. The before and after pictures are fantastic.

I asked on my out what a syringe of Belotera costs, and I was told it would be $750. That's why I feel like Dr Freund is just all about making people happy and having positive results. I asked for the Belotera, he didn't try to convince me to do something cheaper- I'm sure there has to be something cheaper. He just said, ok, sounds good, and did it, with a smile.

I'm THRILLED with the results. I asked how long it lasts and he said it really depends on the person. It could be anywhere from five to eight months. Or more. So we'll see. I just took a freelance writing job to pay for the next one because I'm never letting these wrinkles come back.

The only things left are at Iluminada. I'm getting a blowout, a pedicure, a wax, and make-up applied. Then the "Finished" photos. 




Friday, March 17, 2017

Calling All Wild & Crazy Parents

As much as I'd like to be Jersey Shore 2.0: Parent Style, I don't have time for this. However, if you have the time, your kids go to sleepaway camp or want to, and you want a great vacation that happens to be filmed, this is for you. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Kind of insane, but fun. If you're going to party anyway while the kittens are away, you might as well do it this way.

E needs about one more summer home (after this one) before he's ready for sleepway. Or at least just this summer home. But the way this is worded, it sounds like maybe they'll send your kid to camp as part of the deal? If so- JUMP ON THAT. Camp parents- we are well aware what just one summer can cost. If E was ready to go this summer, and they told me this was part of the deal, I'd be on that faster than I could pack a trunk.

It's all about making memories...and getting the good story!

Here's what they want from you:

1. Name and Age
2. City, State
3. Occupation
5. Husbands Name and occupation
6. Kids names and ages.
7. Your story-  who you are, who your married to, what is your life style like and why you are fabulous! 
8. Please include several pictures of you, your family and your home.


**Your kids do NOT have to already go to summer camp!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

First World Problem: iPhone Edition


This is probably going to be the dumbest thing you read today. If not the dumbest, the most superficial. I'm going to go on anyway, because I've been a two trick pony lately, only talking about beauty enhancements and politics. Now I give you something truly ridiculous, but something that I'm sure resonates with many of you.

I'm lost without my phone. Lost. Not just a phone- not a flip phone or a landline, but my smartphone. An iPhone 7 rules my life. I've succumbed.

I don't just mean simply addiction to being online or social media. I mean, I rely on it for just about everything. From the weather, to ordering my coffee, syncing my fitbit, synced to my fitbit for texts, looking people up on imdb, to using it as a second screen to do work, I realized the past two days how much I *need* it. Where am I supposed to take my notes on Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives to write my recaps, for Pete's sake??

Last Saturday night we went out with another couple, for dinner, practically at early bird special hour. Hey- I like to eat early. Steal bread early. The reservation was for six-thirty, and my funny, not-usually-punctual-but-punctual-for-me friend was totally on time. I thought we'd have dinner, maybe hang a little after, and still be home and ready for bed, at least by ten o'clock, the latest. Sure.

You know how it is when you like people, time flies out the window. Next thing you know, you kid is up until eleven, playing with their kid, your voice is hoarse from talking so much, you never looked at your watch, and you're cuddling up on your friend's giant bosom. While it was well worth it, we got home way later than we intended, which meant I wasn't ready to go to sleep until about one o'clock in the morning. I needed wind-down time!

Mind you, it was also Daylight Savings Time. LOSING an hour. Yay for more light, not so yay for less sleep.

I had plans with the same friend in the morning at eleven, to take the kids somewhere for about an hour or so and we again, were on time. Then I had to get cake to go to our surrogate family for a special luncheon to see their family that was in from another country. People I hadn't seen since I was a kid maybe? Not sure when was the last time.

I was exhausted, but I also had plans after that to meet with a new friend who lives in my town. From Facebook it seemed like we share a lot of core values and a similar sarcastic humor. (I was correct- she's great). I was meeting her at the local pub at six o'clock.

I only had like FORTY-FIVE MINUTES between getting home from the luncheon and going to meet my new friend at the bar. I know I took my phone upstairs to check the weather for the week so I could set E's clothes out for the week. *Yes I do that. That's another conversation.* After that, it's anyone's guess. I could've sworn I took it back downstairs to plug it into a charger in the kitchen. I remember it was at around seventy-seven percent charged and I just wanted it to be as full as it could be by the time I left.

I realized that while I was laying out the clothes and putting away laundry between our bedrooms, I'd left the doors to the bedrooms open. We like to know where the cat is, and I don't want her in my little "dressing room" (really small third bedroom I use as my closet, make-up, junk room). I remember looking for her, going up and down the stairs, checking the basement. I don't know if I took the phone or not, because I was really ready to walk out the door. I found the cat, said goodbye to B and E, and I left.

I thought I had my phone. I drove the sixty seconds to the bar, parked, and got out. I didn't see my phone, but then thought it was in my bag. It wasn't in my coat pocket. I met my friend, checked my bag, and it wasn't there. I assumed I left it home. Enjoyed my time out immensely, but also wondering in the back of my head- where the F was my phone?

I got home and couldn't find it anywhere. B called it, and it went straight to voicemail. THAT, was odd. I never turn it off. Because it was offline, I couldn't use the Find My iPhone app. Not very helpful Apple. What's the point of having it if I can't track it regardless of whether it's online? I couldn't get it's last location either. I couldn't lock it or erase it. All those things can only be done when it's online. Awesome.

I still had hope. Our cleaning people have left things I hadn't seen in months on the counter when they left. Just out of the blue, found this or that, and left it for us to find. I thought maybe a different set of eyes could make a difference. Nope. I got home from work on Monday and still no phone. I bit the bullet and made a claim through Asurion, the phone insurance company. They send a new one out overnight.

Except this time, there was a huge snowstorm the next day. I knew logically, it wouldn't come. Knowing it was stuck in the facility in Mahwah, like twenty minutes away, was killing me. What was also killing me was that even if the Mahwah FedEx facility was actually open, my one and a half year old car WAS DEAD. I wasn't getting to Mahwah in the blue Mini Cooper. Sometimes we can't get up our non slanted driveway in the blue Mini! F'ing Jeep Renegade. You need an I.T. person, not a mechanic to fix no matter what, but whatever. *Again, another post*

I realized how much I use the stupid phone for everything! The weather, my calendar, looking stuff up faster than on my laptop! I felt like I couldn't do anything! It's how I take pictures of things to post on Tradesy to sell. I'd just taken pics of a bunch of handbags I want to get rid of, and I didn't have them. I have an iPad, but it's so clunky in comparison, and for some reason (I'm sure it's my non-techy fault), the stuff on my iPad is different than what's on my phone. I know, I know, Google photo backup, blah blah. I have all this, but it just was all going to take me more time to figure out than I wanted to deal with.

I TOLD YOU THIS IS A DUMB, FIRST WORLD PROBLEM. If you're thinking of all these things to tell me I could've done, or how it wasn't really that bad, please, don't bother. I'm fully aware of what I could've done or how I should just learn to live without a phone. I did live. I'm fine. I'm just musing on how I didn't even KNOW how much I rely on this stupid little thing.

Of course E got a casting call for a voiceover yesterday. Oh, and it had to be in an hour and fifteen minutes from when I got the call (email). Normally I'd take audio of him on my phone and send. I had no idea how to do this with the iPad. Luckily, I was able to download an app with a microphone thing that converted the recording to an mp.3. Nevermind this scenario, but I also submitted him for a casting call that they would've called me for, not realizing the only phone number they had for me was my cell phone. Oh well. I'll never know if he'd gotten a callback for that one.

I don't normally even TALK to anyone on the phone, ever. Except my one friend, lately, who seems loves the art of the actual call, so I'm getting used to that. She also happened to have my kid on Monday evening, for like four hours, while I had no phone. I had to give her B's number in case she needed us for any reason. Did I mention that B had a meeting out that night too, so if she'd called him, he wasn't home to tell me. I could get texts on the iPad, but I'd have to check every five minutes because it wasn't signaling my Fitbit.

None of these things normally happen- someone having my kid for hours, casting calls all at once, snow, work I'd planned on doing at home where I needed the phone in addition to my laptop, photos I wanted to post to sell things. It's like one of those laws- Murphy's or Karma, whatever- I don't know. Everything happening at the same time to show you just how the tiny piece of technology rules your life.

I got my phone last night. Just before I had to send the voiceover mp.3 in for E. I went to set it up, and of course, the SIM card was missing. I just about lost my mind. It turned out that it was stuck in one of the bottom flaps of the box. I was literally about to walk out the door to go to Verizon when I picked up the box it all came in to use to cart it with me. When I picked up the box, the card shook loose from it's hiding place. I was THRILLED. Not having to go to Verizon on Rt 4 at seven o'clock at night in the cold and snow? Awesome. My silver lining.

I'm back to being connect. Reunited and feels so good. However, I will forever be baffled by the mystery of the missing phone. I can't, for the life of me, imagine where it got to in that forty-five minutes I was home. The only plausible thing I could think is that in my exhaustion haze, I dragged it, hanging out the door of the car, to the bar, and it ripped off somewhere? And I ran over it? It's still "offline" and never turned on, so it would be weird if someone had it, not to connect it. I guess it could turn up, but I've really looked everywhere- inside, outside, you name it. I guess I'll just have to live not knowing this one, and being happy that the new one is here and fully functional!

That's all folks. Told you this was silly. I wasn't trying to be one of those "no technology martyrs" who give up technology for a week or a month or whatever. I clearly know that's not an option for me. I'm fine with my addiction, thanks.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Please Vote for Best Of Bergen 2017!




It's time to vote again & we would love your help!

You can write us in for 1-3 of your write-ins (Lighting, Lampshades, Lighting Restoration) and/or for Interior Design in the Home & Personal Services section.

http://www.healthandlifemags.com/bergen/December-2016/Vote-for-the-Best-in-Bergen/ 

Thanks- we really appreciate your support!! 

Also- find us on instagram @shadeofsoho and like our page(s)!  
Link: https://www.instagram.com/shadesofsoho/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shadesofsoho 

-Shades of Soho







Monday, March 13, 2017

YWCA Tiger Sharks Need YOU



The YWCA Tiger Sharks are looking for two assistant coaches for the spring team season, ASAP. It runs from March 22-June 20th (around). Someone with swimming experience who can help teach technique. The kids are 5 years old to 18 years old.

Contact Heather at 201-444-5600 x327

YWCA Tiger Sharks Swim Team

Also, there is still room on the team for kids also. There are tryouts on Friday, March 17, 2017 and then by calling Heather, you can do a try-out by appointment if you can't make it on the 17th. It's a really great, close-knit environment. E came from a big US Swim team and we've been much happier here!

Yes this is on his old team but it's the only one I had of him alone. Come join us on the Tiger Sharks!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

When We Rise



Two weeks ago, B and I watched the miniseries, "When We Rise". It was an eight part miniseries, shown in two hour blocks over four days. It's the timeline, from the beginning of the gay rights movement. It was extremely powerful and emotional. It wasn't just about gay or lesbian or transgender; it was basically the story of how any minority gets equal rights. The miniseries was actually an adaption of the memoir of the LGBTQ activist that started the AIDS quilt. He just had his book come out and this was the movie depicting his experience over the years since the early seventies.

I'm not even writing this because of the LGBTQ topic. I'm writing because watching this miniseries, it made me think about oppression, passion and activism. Switch LGBTQ with black or interracial. We had a time with black slavery. Segregation. There was a time interracial relationships were illegal. Now, if you said we should go back to slavery, segregation, and having interracial relationships/marriage be illegal, people would be up in arms, and calling you a racist. They wouldn't be wrong. It would also sound crazy to think we could go back to that. Because it's morally wrong and reprehensible. So how are other forms of discrimination allowed or okay?

Then I thought about passion and activism. What it means to really make a difference in the world. I watched as these gay, lesbian, and transgender people were threatened, shunned, beaten, raped, and arrested, just standing up for the same rights everyone else has. They didn't care about being liked or who they might offend. They just knew that they had to fight for what they believe in at any cost. They fought and fought and some, or many, died for their fight.

They believed in the cornerstone of those rights being just having the ability to live, free, equal and safe from harm. Those are just basic human rights, not just words on parchment. Like women should have. Like, Mexicans, Jews, Syrians, Africans, and everyone else should have. Unfortunately, all minorities don't have those rights.

I suppose you can say on the other side of that is also people standing up for what THEY believe in. However, I see the difference as this- one side fighting for all people to equal and the other side fighting to oppress and marginalize groups of people, using the defense of religion.

We don't have a national religion. The idea of a "free" country is not having religious oppression. I believe that equality means you have the freedom to practice your religion as you see fit, on yourself, but it doesn't give you the permission to push it on others. If your religion doesn't permit you to believe in gay marriage, abortion, or whatever- then you don't partake in them. I just fail to understand where anyone feels that their religion is superior or more right than any other and supercedes other people's ability to decide what they believe in. You can say all day long that my thoughts or beliefs are wrong based off your religion, but that doesn't make you correct.

B gave his very respectful, differing opinion, to an article written by a conservative writer, and shared on social media, by someone he used to know. In response, he got a written verbal assault about women rallying and marching by someone claiming to be uber-religious and her reasoning was all about religion. It was totally judgemental, really off-base and off-topic. It's amazing that people can't see their hypocrisy at all.

Just because you practice a religion also doesn't automatically make you a good person. If you use your religion for discrimination or to hurt other people, you're bastardizing what most religion was meant to do. Sitting in a house of worship daily, weekly or monthly doesn't absolve you from the responsibilities of being part of a society. A society that needs to take care of and stand up for those who can't do for themselves. Be that children, seniors, vets, poor, mentally challenged, etc. Otherwise, we might as well act out Lord of the Flies. "Kill the pig...slit her throat!..."

It's also living a bubble life that's a huge part of the problem of people not seeing past their own experiences to what they could and should be doing for others. Buying a cup of coffee for the stranger behind you in line for Starbucks is nice, but it's certainly not changing the world. If someone is on line at Starbucks, chances are that they can afford their four dollar cup o'Joe. While it will make that person happy, it's not the act of helping that is for the betterment of society. It's giving one person a free cup of expensive coffee. Do it- it's nice. Just don't pat yourself on the back for it and then go back inside the comfy bubble, thinking your work is done.

International Womens Day was last week. A rally took place in my town to celebrate women and to bring awareness to the continuing lack of equality that women still deal with. I heard and read all kinds of things against the rally, from other women. Things were thrown out there like- "I'm not oppressed- I'm fine". Or- "Women got paid less than men under Obama, why do they have to speak out now?" And - "they're not rallying for me...."

It's amazing to me how easy to it is to live in that bubble. Again, reminding me of that poem, "First they came for X. I'm not X so I did nothing..." No, as women, we don't have equal pay to men, as a gender. YES, there are instances where you'll find the woman as the breadwinner. Those are certain situations, NOT the gender as a whole. You may have enough that you don't even have to work, so you feel that the women rallying have nothing in common with you. What about your daughters? Will you be cool with them only making seventy-two cents (or whatever it is, less than men, at any given time) on the dollar that her male counterparts make? You're okay with male counterparts thinking it's acceptable to grab her by the pussy? Make her reproductive choices for her?

Women celebrating women, working together for womens equality makes us stronger. Taking yourself out of the fight because you don't feel like you need it or that you're equal already just weakens us all. If you don't stand with your own people, who is going to stand for you?

Everything is not just about you. If you have children, you can't just worry about where they're going to have their birthday party or what sports they're going to play. Or even where they're going to go to college. Those are important in the minutiae of daily life, but they're certainly not the bigger picture. You want to make sure you leave the world at least little better than you lived through.

We only get paid what we do get paid because SOMEONE else rallied for THAT. I don't know what's so hard to understand about that. We only get to vote because someone fought for it. Hell, we don't have to wear corsets because someone fought for that too. You don't have to rally or understand the personal reasons other women choose to use their voice. Those other people are doing the work that you're able to reap. That's okay. Not everyone's a doer. I'm not active in the parent association of school. I don't volunteer in the school. Other people do. I reap the benefits of their involvement. It's part of being a society.

Just have some respect for what other people are doing to make society better for you, your kids, and your grandkids. And the kids long after that. Don't call those doing the work whiny or privileged. The reality is- the privileged ones are the ones not believing anyone has a reason to do it, or thinks it is not benefiting them. That's also called taking things for granted. I heard or read the saying- "Any time you're fighting against human rights, you're on the wrong side of history". I believe that.

Going back to When We Rise, those characters, some real, some were depictions of the kinds of people affected, they inspired me. I didn't care much what people thought before this, but now I really don't care. You're offended that I'm part of groups actually doing things to help large groups of people who are discriminated against? You think it's stupid, goof on me, or don't understand why I wear a "vagina on my head" in protest of misogyny? Oh well.

I'm not going to let my armpit hair grow out (like Roma Guy, When We Rise) or get arrested, but I'm not going to stop plowing through the hate, fear, and discrimination to help achieve equal rights for all. In the end, that's going to be the winning side, so you might as well get used to it now! Has there been some collateral damage from using my voice, that I wish didn't have to happen? Sure. I think there always is when you are part of a bigger movement you believe in. I haven't said anything I didn't believe, and I don't have regrets. I just wish this fight wasn't so bloodied. The collateral damage on my periphery was purely accidental and not intentional. I just have to keep plugging along, staying focused, and doing my thing.

I urge everyone to watch When We Rise. It's beautifully done and worth the watch.

Young Roma in When We Rise