Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pride Celebration & Flag Raising Ceremony: Hackensack


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Culpability


B and I watched 13 Reasons Why last week. It was disturbing, as it should be. We watched it because everyone was talking about it, and I wanted to know why it was such a hot topic. Long story short- it follows the life and suicide of a teen girl, through tapes she made, explaining what every specific person in her orbit did to contribute to her suicide. It was how everyone failed her.

Now, I don't believe that one person can make another person commit suicide. I think they were trying to show how someone who is generally dramatic can take in all these separate events different than the next person, and you don't know what the building blocks are that can push a person to the point of no return. However- they did all fail her in different ways, which contributed to her feelings of isolation, loneliness, despair, depression, etc.

For me, it all comes down to empathy. The show is a little Heathers-like. Heathers for the current generation. Things happen that seem implausible in real life. Like, why is almost everyone an only child? Besides the point, but we found that odd. Anyway, what most of the characters were lacking was a general empathy for another human. Their first instinct, after each one listened to the tapes, except Clay, was to figure out how to get themselves off the hook. Especially when Justin mentioned killing Clay somehow to make it look like suicide. They all wanted Clay stopped, maybe not wanting to take it as far as Justin suggested, but that was their main concern. And they were all sort of surprised that their part really made that much of a difference to Hannah.

Even in the other side stories, it was all about covering their own asses. The girl who knocked down the stop sign that caused the car accident, Hannah being in the room, not stopping Bryce with Jessica. Justin not stopping Bryc or telling Jessica what happened after. No one stepping in during the fight outside between Alex and Montgomery. Even the school counselor! He was the worst with covering up, trying to cover himself! Everyone was just worried about themselves.

I was musing on all of this when the death of Timothy Piazza hit the news. That's the boy who died at Penn State after a fraternity hazing night. Again, just like in 13 Reasons Why, the first instinct was for the brothers of the fraternity to try to cover their own asses. They started trying to delete texts, photos, and whatever off their phones, Tim's phone, and get their stories straight. Of course, in this day and age, nothing is ever fully erased, and that's what really makes them guilty- the cover-up. It wasn't bad enough they had no moral compass whatsoever, to make sure no one got hurt in the first place, but then that they had none to make sure this particular kid was okay. They were like wild animals. Like Lord of the Flies, they just pushed him down, stepped over him, and treated him like he wasn't even a living, breathing human. There was no thought of how to take care of this person. These were supposed to be his "brothers" after such a night. Nevermind brother, had he lived, he should've pulled a Carrie on them after.

While I'm glad the brothers involved are getting rightfully punished, it's really all of us as parents who should be looking to ourselves as to what we are doing wrong. "What, us?", you ask. I have an elementary schooler- not a college kid! I have nothing to do with Penn State! I wasn't even in a fraternity! Oh, yes, we all have culpability as parents. How? Well, what the F are we teaching our kids?

We, as parents now, we are washing our kids childhoods from any pain, adversity, critical thinking skills. We are calling teachers, doing their homework & projects, emailing college professors, calling potential employers, writing resumes, calling bosses, cashing in favors. They can't even have monkey bars anymore- as soon as a kid falls and breaks their arm, the monkey bars are removed. Long gone are my childhood days of doing the monkey bars over a black top surface.

Class gets detention because some kids were disruptive, kid who wasn't talking comes home angry and upset. Generally a good kid, never gotten in trouble. Mom actually gets angry at the teacher. Why? Is it really that upsetting for child to learn that even though someone else made the call that caused the ship to hit the iceberg, sometimes the whole ship goes down? How about learning to cope with life not being fair all the time, and that maybe the bigger picture is that being part of a class is like being part of a team. That you're all responsible for making sure it's the best environment for everyone. Mommy and daddy can't just call every teacher, every year, when something isn't fair. Is it fair? Don't know- wasn't there. Not everything should be fair. I remember my sister and I fighting, my mom didn't want to hear it, who was right or wrong- we both got in trouble. I look at this the same. The teacher is one person. It's probably a class of twenty or more. Teacher may not be able to tell exactly who is disrupting, so she just punishes everyone. Not a new or odd concept.

And the kid being upset? So? Is it that bad for the kid to be upset? I think the lesson is what the kid does with that feeling of being upset. Does the kid retain these feelings and decide to tell the teacher that it wasn't fair HERSELF? Does the kid swallow the feelings and just live with it? Does the kid decide that next time, they tell the disruptive kids to knock it off? There are so many opportunities there to learn coping skills. Mom said- "well, the kid was just upset because they never got in trouble before". Well, I think they ought to know what it feels like by that point in life. Even if it was punishment given somewhat "unfairly".  Now the kid knows what it's like to get punished just by association. Maybe unwarrented in this situation but will be likely thought about when it is warranted. If the kid is so upset, why not tell her to talk to her teacher about it. Tell the teacher that she thinks it was unfair, then let her listen to the teacher's explanation and digest that? That helps her more than emailing the teacher to tell her that you weren't happy with the punishment as a parent.

In E's class, they were doing a project on biographies. From what I understood from him, each kid was supposed to come up with three possibilities of who they wanted to do their report on. Then they'd be paired up with someone who agreed on one of those choices. If they didn't agree, they had to find some common ground to pick something. E had Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, and someone else. The kid he was paired with wanted to do it on an author. They ended up with Babe Ruth because they couldn't agree. Baseball was their common ground.

Was E thrilled? No. He was annoyed. Did I care? Well, sort of. E is not a big fan of school in general. Instinctively, I'd like him to be able to be interested in what he's having to work on. Second, he told me that the teacher said Michael Jackson is an inappropriate topic. I was annoyed because I don't think Michael Jackson is inappropriate. He knows how/why MJ died. I wasn't annoyed enough to call the teacher about it. I probably could've because even if she thought it was inappropriate, now I have a kid asking why and what if I hadn't discussed the nitty gritty of MJ's life, that put me in a weird position. The reality is- her classroom, her rules, and I realize that there is always a lesson to be learned. He can't just do what he wants, he needs to work within her parameters of the assignment, and it was up to the partners to work out who to choose as their subject, without mommy running interference. 

Kids are not learning how to fly or cope. If they don't learn how to deal with disappointment, work with their peers, have empathy, show compassion, learn that life isn't always fair or fun, early on, as elementary school kids, they're never going to learn it. They're being taught that appearance is everything (I don't mean physical- I mean keeping up "appearances"), that mommy and daddy clean up messes, and they are always "too young" to have natural consequences.

There is a program tonight in my town about the drug problem in the high school, in the town, in the county- probably addressing all of it. Why should there have to be a program? Well, because we're not even allowed to DISCUSS people's kids in town stealing or being passed out on the lawn of one of the schools. Because "watch what you say, they're someone's children!". Well, guess what? A natural consequence of stealing or passing out on public property is embarrassing your parents. Maybe if more people were talking about it, the kids would be more afraid of doing it. Instead everyone tries to bury it, the unpleasantness, in the name of being "neighborly" and/or not "kicking people when they're down". NO. It should all be discussed. Would I be embarrassed if it was E? Of course! That's why I'm talking to him about it all now. Does that guarantee it won't happen with him? No, of course not. But it's something. He is being taught that we are not his friends. We're his parents, and we're not going to put up with that behavior. If he does something embarrassing like that, then he and we, will all suffer the consequences of his actions.

Bubble-wrapping our kids from failure, independence, making choices, critical thinking, accountability, and looking out for more than just themselves is doing a disservice to us all. Any one of our kids could end up being Timothy Piazza, his parents, or one of the eighteen charged in his death if we don't start allowing our kids to figure some stuff out on their own BEFORE they get to the age where they're supposed to know the difference between right and wrong. We become a nation of a lot of people just worried about themselves.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

LGBTQ Activist Motivation



The other day, I wrote about the car line at school and the lunacy that apparently goes on all over the country on school car lines everywhere. After I wrote that, I got to school and had to tell a dad to turn his car off for idling at least twenty-five minutes. I was behind him eating exhaust with my Greek yogurt. Had I not been behind him, I probably wouldn't have noticed the idling, because that's not my thing. I care about it, I think people are jerks when they're doing it, but it's not my passion.

Yesterday, I also posted that I had shirts made on CafePress in their online marketplace. They're the shape of NJ (and now a few other states) in the colors of the gay pride rainbow flag. I didn't start out making a whole online store. I wanted a shirt for ME. I literally could not FIND a shirt in one of these t-shirt sites with this particular NJ flag. There were others - "distressed", with a heart, but not with JUST the simple rainbow flag. I had to have a guy in Bangladesh on Fiverr make me one to use for the shirt. I'd made one from a similar NJ pride flag I'd found on a site, but I wasn't in love with it. I showed that shirt to people and they loved the idea. So, now, I have a whole online store.

I posted about the "store" on Facebook. My friend private messaged me, applauding my commitment to LGBTQ rights but has always wondered what my motivation is for this particular cause. I thought about how twice people I grew up with assumed I was either gay or my kid was gay or transgender because of my level of support. It took me like a minute to think of what I wanted to say, and this is basically what I came up with:

It's a few things. One of the big ones is that I still can't even watch the news. It's overwhelming and gives me extreme anxiety. I used to watch the news like times a day. I haven't watched the news since the inauguration. I catch things and I read articles that I want but i can't ingest all the rest. Every time I catch something, I feel like we're being Punk'd. I had to pick one basket to put my eggs in. 

There was much more that I said to my friend, and I even typed it out and elaborated here. I just feel like it's almost redundant at this point. I saved what I wrote and I made eventually put it out there, but the bottom line is- I need to feel like I am actually making a difference. Getting a guy to stop idling is nice, but that's not the difference I'm interested in. I can't do something on a national level, but I'd like to help people who need help. This is the cause that makes the least sense to me as an issue for those "against". To me, it's just about being human. People just being allowed to be who they are, live and let live, hurts no one. That there are actively people trying to make law to make people's lives less than, less equal, less quality, just because of their own personal feelings, is angering to me on a level I find hard to articulate. It's also based on a hypocrisy I find unsettling and really dangerous.

In my small action groups, focused on a main issue, that's where I feel I can actually make a difference. I can't watch the news and just see bans on groups of people, the appointment of unqualified people taking over positions that will ruin public education, the environment, send us to war, etc. because there is nothing I can really DO about any of those things. I can make calls and send emails- which is great, and I'm doing. But I need a stronger local focus where I can really feel the difference. Like, for instance, in both Glen Rock AND Ridgewood this week, two groups I'm in were able to mobilize people, made numerous appeals to the town councils, and finally got the unanimous votes to be able to fly the gay pride rainbow flag for the month of June in both towns. That's finally a small win, but a win nonetheless, in this whole mishegoss that's been since January 20th. Even in the meeting in Glen Rock for the vote for the flag, it FELT nicer. It FELT like we did something special to bring the community together instead of continuing to let it be torn apart. It's nice to feel part of something positive.

If you want a shirt, I have NJ Pride ones up, Proud Ally, Proud Ally Glen Rock, Proud Ally Ridgewood, and some other states and different combinations. This was the easiest way to give everyone access without having to be involved with orders and money. I'm hoping a bunch of us will have them for the ceremonies in Glen Rock & Ridgewood when the flags are raised.  

*I can add states, and wording, but the process isn't quick. If you want something specific added, just let me know and I can try to get it up there. Just really check each listing to make sure it's what you want before ordering. I did my best, but I'd never done it before and it was tedious and time consuming. I know there were some tech mistakes but I think they're all fixed now. 

Shirt Shop-  http://www.cafepress.com/taraspride

Glen Rock Flag Raising: https://www.facebook.com/events/1899449010332544/

sample of what's in my online "shop"

Monday, May 8, 2017

Lunacy on the School Car Line


(Photo of a random school line)

We're going to talk about #firstworldproblems today. Today's problem: Car line. I've seen blog posts go around the internet about the school car line all over the country. Sometimes I'd read, but more often not, because my kid was too young. Now, that I've been dealing with the car line for almost three school years now, I have to say, it's absolute madness. Complete lunacy. I think I can tell you everything I need to know about a person by their behavior on the car line.

Not every school has a car line. Ours does because it's a small school, in a residential area, with no parking lot. There are few rules, but to keep things moving and safe, there are a couple.

The main rule is to pull up to the end of the sidewalk. Meaning the school is on it's own block, with one or two other homes before it. In the front of the school, you're supposed to pull up to the corner where the school block ends and the cross street is to the next block. Different grades line up in the morning at different areas of the school. That's not really anyone else's problem but the kid who may have to walk an extra few feet to their area, but they can manage. Nope. Certain parents think that they should just give valet service to wherever their kid lines up. No problem that there is a LINE OF CARS WAITING BEHIND YOU.

Same with rain. It's raining? Precious can't walk a few feet because he might melt. Sure, just full stop and TALK to your kid as there is a LINE OF CARS WAITING BEHIND YOU.

Now, if we all waited to get to the actual end before letting our kids out, we'd be on that line forever. So once there is a full line, as long as you're in front of the school somewhere, and not in front of the house next to the school, I think it's acceptable to let your kid out. If you can basically punt them out the door. If you're going to take forever, then it's best you wait to be the first care, and pull up to the end WHERE THERE ARE SIGNS THAT SAY- PULL UP TO HERE!

I don't know- I tell E to unbuckle as soon as we reach the house next to the school. I either pull up all the way to the end if I'm the first or second car, or I tell him to quickly hop out and then chuck his bag at him out my driver's side window.

Then there's the one that sits at the end, where people are waiting to move, after the kid's gotten out, and just texts. I don't know what's that important to text about while you're holding up a whole line of people, unless you're an on-call trauma surgeon, but please, go ahead and get that text out.

Those are the drop off rules- pull up, drop kid, go. Nope. Never easy. Someone always needs to be the snowflake.

Then, there's the chaos that's pick up. Pick up is a whole other animal.

There are now signs that explicitly say, "NO IDLING". I make sure that if it's cold for my thirty minute wait in the car (another story), I bundle up. Hat, gloves, whatever I need. Make no mistake, while I'm bundled listening to Stern, I can hear the hum of the car in front or in back of me, just idling away. "But Precious #2 or #2 & #3 or #2, #3, & #4 are in the car with me! They'll freeze!". I sympathize. The sign says no idling. Sorry about your Precious litter possibly getting cold. There are rules. Give them blankets. They'll live. It's like when I tell E- "I'M cold! Put on a jacket". Most likely they're all bundled beyond what they really need anyway. There's a car that idles every single day for like fifteen minutes and it drives my friend crazy. It reminds me of Brody in Mallrats going, "That kid is on the escalator AGAIN!". My friend doesn't really drink but this idling person could drive her to drink. Idling isn't really my hill to die on, but it's ON THE SIGN. So my issue is lack of reading comprehension, AND thinking the rules don't apply to you.

There is NO reason to idle. If it's too cold for you to sit there- you have options! Wear more clothes! If it's too hot- same thing just opposite. Less clothes. Don't feel the need to get as close to the school, wait a little and be on the back of the line. Park and walk. There are numerous other options! 

Then there are the people who are on the pick up line and GET OUT OF THEIR CAR to retrieve their child(ren). This isn't "preferred" or "VIP" parking in front of the school. It's line that's supposed to move more like a conveyor belt or assembly line. Grab and go, grab and go. Not, "well, I have a kindergarten kid. He/she needs help". NO. Then park, and walk. PARK AND WALK! I'm literally watching someone PARK on the line, then get out, greet their kid at the front school door, and walk the kid back to their car. Just look in my car- I'm screaming and cursing them out with the windows closed.

One time, a dad decided he didn't feel like waiting at the end of the line OR parking and walking, so he decided he'd just cut me off to park in front of me, IN FRONT OF THE PERSON'S DRIVEWAY who lives next to the school. People purposely leave that area open, because I don't even think it's legal to park in front of someone's driveway, for any length of time. It just also happens to be a douchey thing to do I actually got out of my car to say, WTF??!, after screaming at him to myself IN the car.  I knocked on his window and he told me to "calm down- I'll move if she needs to get out of her driveway". I don't know him, but if I ever see this guy, I'll be staring at him with WTF-face for as long as I live here. Special snowflake doesn't begin to describe that behavior....

I'm thinking that if people just followed the shortest, easiest list of rules, ever, for dropping off and picking up, there wouldn't be a need for a line or idling committee, or worry about safety, and we could all just go on with our day.

Drop & go. Then pick & go. Do not get out of your car, Do not stop wherever you want to let your kid out. Don't text at the front of the line because you feel people can just go around you. Don't idle. Do not pass go and do not collect $200 dollars....

It's a dog eat dog world on the car line. 






Friday, May 5, 2017

Be the Change



I really don't like starting an entry, then having to stop, coming back, and continuing, but damn, these days, I don't have a choice. Something more messed up is happening daily, so I have to keep adding. It's fine- because it gives me more ammunition to support my thoughts, but the breaks in concentration are killing me. I'm still having a very hard time writing here, trying to keep a balance between the superficial, fun stuff people want to read, and how I'm walking around, daily, feeling about humanity these days.

I don't feel superficial. I care that my hair doesn't resemble the powdered wig of George Washington, but that care is really at a minimum. It's more of an afterthought. I write about it though because this didn't start out as a political blog. I don't want it to be. It's just where I was taken by the events of the world now. When I started this blog, I was a relatively new mom and I was immersed in that new mom world. My struggle was in the balance between being a mom and being my own person outside of that. Now, I feel like I'm busier, but being a mom is more manageable for the moment. Eight years old, a boy, one child, isn't that challenging. At least not for me. It's the world around us that's challenging me- as a human, a writer, a suburbanite, a cultural (non-religious) Jew, a woman, a forty-something looking down the barrel of aging.

I'm the last person who should be trying to help anyone else manage their anger. I often feel like I'm one of the angriest people walking around. I'm going to try though. I've sort of found my own niche of contributing to the betterment of society without feeling just so overwhelmed with everything going on in the world, the country, in my county and town, and everywhere. I'm still angry about ignorance, actively trying to take people's rights away, the hypocrisy of Congress, hate crimes, and all the other atrocities but I've realized, we all have to make what's going on at least manageable on a day to day basis, or there is just no way to live.

I'm in all these "Action" Facebook groups, but I don't read the posts often. It's just too much and I can't get bogged down in fighting with people online. I'm just too easily incited. I can't just sit on my hands. Then, I find myself at two o'clock in the morning, my stomach burning, not sleeping, and cursing people out with my typing and my brain. Then I'm still yelling at people in the shower in the morning. It's a good thing no one is home when I'm in the shower. It's not productive. I'm not making Sebastian Douchebag from Bumblefuck (you know who you are) any more tolerant or enlightened. I'm just giving myself high blood pressure. Really, I've said it before, just fighting online and sharing articles is just Slacktivism. I had to make a decision to really walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I decided to talk to people OUTSIDE the computer and join some in-person groups.

A friend strongly suggested I'd be perfect for a local LGBTQ rights committee that she's on, and that's a subcommittee of a larger group who got together after the Women's March on January 21, 2017. The purpose of this sub-committee is to help with whatever we can do to further rights and equality in our town and county. There is a lot to be done. What's crazy is that I was about to type what we're working on, but I'm actually afraid. I'm afraid because I don't want those opposed to have an opening to try to block any progression. How scary is that? I'm not being paranoid either. Some Statler & Waldorf types found out there's a group pushing to fly the gay PRIDE rainbow flag on town property for the month of June (known as PRIDE month, when all the gay pride parades are all over the world).

These men knew about the PRIDE flag proposal by the EARLY morning after it was presented to the town council. They are already planning to make sure that every legality is followed in flag etiquette. Make no mistake - this has way less to do about other-flags-flying-with-the-American-flag legalities and more a way to delay us being able to fly our flag this June. They said something to the effect of, "It's just not necessary. We don't have issues with that here". One, I wasn't aware we needed issues to fly a flag that symbolizes equality for all. Two, how is it that we DON'T have issues when the town just had and lost a lawsuit over a well liked and respected police officer from our police force being fired for being gay? Lastly, we don't have "Blue Lives Matter" issues specifically in our town, yet, while a gaffe on the part of Bergen County legally, we still painted the line in solidarity and unity with our police force. Don't tell me then that there is no "need " for the PRIDE flag to be flown. Besides, who doesn't like rainbows?

I went sort of off-course there, but what I was saying before the flag thing, is that I was able to find a smaller group, with attainable goals, in which to make myself feel like I'm being useful. Like I'm able to make some kind of difference. As a spin off of the LGBTQ rights committee, I was asked by another friend in that group to come to meetings and/or offer support to a group that's a little larger and broader, with members of my town and our neighboring town. The focus is a sensitive and inclusive approach to combating bias of racial, sexual, religious, ethnicity, gender, etc. in our communities. Supporting victims, developing education, raising awareness, are all under their mission umbrella as well.

I went to the last monthly meeting and there was a large focus on getting some kind of broader, more standardized educational programs about and during Black History Month. Just like with Statler & Waldorf, people tend to feel like if there aren't that many of a certain minority in their eye line, the need for proactive education is not necessary. It's really sad. I saw the level of ignorance on this topic in our own town Facebook group just last week. The school district superintendent brought in Debby Irving, the social justice educator and author of Waking Up White, to do a teacher in-service workshop during the day and a program for all in the evening.

Imagine there being push back for this? Oh, there was! Right away, a vocal townie, known for his conservative viewpoints, asked over and over, like a toddler, how much this program was costing. Then he and another one or two needed to throw in that they feel the money could've been better spent on assemblies about drugs. Because it's drugs that are the only or most important issue facing today's local youth. There were only a handful of other residents who vocally agreed or agreed in silence by liking the first guy's comments. The whole exchange just proved just how big the bubble is that we're living in, here in affluent, white suburbia, just outside New York City. If it's bad here, I can only imagine what it's like in other parts of the country.

At this meeting, a disgusting Anti-Semitic act that happened recently in a local middle school was also discussed. What happened, what the best course of action would be for the parents of the victim, the best repercussions for the offenders, etc were talked about. The thing was, the act itself was shocking to some who've never experienced Anti-Semitics, but there were many of us there, while horrified at the act, weren't surprised in the least.

We all have stories like this- some more or less awful, but experienced some form of Anti-Semitism nonetheless. I was listening to Howard Stern the other day and he was talking about someone calling him or someone a Sheini. He never heard that. It's a derogatory term for a Jewish person. It was in that moment that I remembered guys I knew calling another guy I knew that word as a nickname, a term of endearment. I didn't know what it meant then, but I did later on. If I remember correctly, the kid didn't seem to have a problem with it. But where did it even come from? Someone's parents? And why did they think it was okay to call him that? Why did he accept it? Did he feel he had to? I'll never know the answer. I do know it was wrong, all the way around. The things I see on social media lead me to believe they'd still think it was okay. The fact is, no one was calling anyone else wop, guinea, mick, etc, at least not as their actual name. Sheini was okay as an actual name though. Like, it rolled so easily off the tongue, it was one step away from being his name on the back of a sporting jersey.

I'm glad I was at the meeting though or I wouldn't have even known this happened. I was sitting there though, thinking about how many people in our area who have no idea any of this is going on. Then I wondered if they'd even care because it seems like so many people are only caring what affects them directly.

I was there originally about the PRIDE flag being allowed to be flown for the month of June in two towns, and anything else LGBTQ related. Being there though, it felt good that there was a decent amount of people there- all people who are about action vs slacktion. I felt like I'm part of something bigger. I'm a part of groups on the right side of history. I'm teaching my son that I may not be home to hear about Ninjago and Spinjitzu but I'm out trying to leave him a better, more inclusive world than we're living in right now. I'm trying to channel all my anger and energies into positive so that when I have to look people in the face that I KNOW don't give a shit, or just don't think about anything more than what's going on in their own lives, I can do it without screaming obscenities and hurling insults.

The other night I had a craving for Rita's Water Ice. On the way there, I passed a street that I just happened to look down. About two houses in, one of the houses was flying their own rainbow PRIDE flag. When I got to Rita's, while I was on line waiting, I ordered my own flag. It came by Monday and I asked B to put it up for me when he got home.

Why does the flying the flag mean anything? What is it doing? Well, it shows that in MY house, we support equality. We support all kinds of people. It's not just about LGBTQ rights. It's about the lack of Black History Month education & out, loud and proud Anti-Semitism. It's about people feeling it's okay to openly say or even think that they liked our town, county and/or country, white and "the way it was", ie, Christian. It's about seeing it written or hearing that anyone that opposes Santa on Borough property is obnoxious and ruining Christmas. It's about those just repeating "All Lives Matter" when they don't really hear or understand what "Black Lives Matter" is about. It's male politicians saying rape is God's will (An Oklahoma politician did actually say this- there's video). It's fat cat politicians trying to pry health insurance out of people's hands while keeping the highest level of care for themselves. To me, the flag represents all marginalized people. Well, except the ones that only feel marginalized because they aren't feeling enough support for their hate and discrimination.

Flying the flag isn't changing law or policy. Flying the flag reminds me every day when I leave my house or come back home that there are people that need help fighting for what should be basic human rights. It reminds me that I can't just run on my treadmill and watch Real Housewives. I'm reminded that I'm part of a society with a lot of people that are at-risk. At risk of losing rights, health care, and/or their lives. I'm reminded that at any time, if we don't stand up for others, no one will be left to stand up for us.

The flag obviously means something because in the one town, at the town council meeting, as ten or more people got up to explain why it's important to them for it to be flown, they were all met with blank faces and silence. Then, a NO. Why? The usual bullshit answer- "What are we opening the door to? What if the KKK wants to fly a flag or be supported?" (paraphrasing) Biggest cop-out answer going. I'm pretty sure you can reject the KKK's request IF that was to happen. WHO would be asking for that? We haven't gotten a yes in our town either (although the mayor is for it, for the record). Still waiting.

At some point, you have to decide to BE action. B and I are watching that 13 Reasons Why series on Netflix now, and the most annoying thing about Clay, one of the main characters, is that he just had no balls. He just stood by while all this bullying, fighting, and crappy behavior was going on around him. No, no. NO. That's not what you do. You don't just leave things as is, and accept it. You don't just think about what you think affects you and your family. You show you're not going to take it and you get out and actually do something.

Update: I actually wrote this yesterday, now as the voting was going on for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I was trying to distract myself because the greed, corruption, lack of compassion and understanding of the people- It's literally too much to bear on a daily basis for me. It didn't change the real reason I was writing though- I was writing, in hopes, that maybe someone, anyone, will read this, and decide to take some kind of action to better society.

I'm disgusted by what went down. I'm disgusted that there are people I know who sit atop their high horse, thinking people should just "be" healthy. Should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and "do better". THen they wouldn't need free healthcare. The people I know who think and say these things are people who claim to have grown up in the school of hard knocks but really grew up in a sleepy WHITE suburban town with the option to play sports, take extra curriculars, and have opportunities they obviously took for granted.

Did we have single parents in town? Sure. Did some of these people's parents receive some kind of government assistance? I believe so. Without which they probably wouldn't have been able to change things for themselves later on. I don't want to hear their sob stories about having to get reduced price or free lunch as their reasoning why everyone else should be able to change their own situations. Living where I grew up was still privilege- where it had to be 95% white, where it's assumed you're going to graduate high school, where there wasn't gang activity, no one was dodging bullets, and where kids didn't routinely need to make the choice of staying in school or quitting to support their family.

You don't have to effect change in a some huge gesture. It doesn't have to be in a big way. You don't have to march. You don't have to go to rallies. You don't even have to fly a rainbow flag on your house, as lovely as that would be. Sit home and make calls or texts to your assemblymen, congressmen, and senators. Use a pre-written script you find in an action group. Just because you didn't come up with it yourself doesn't mean it's any less of an action to call. Don't like the phone? Email. Write snail mail. There is always something you can do.

I'm not asking anymore. I'm begging you. Be the change you want to see in the world.

This is a video I think everyone should see- we NEED positive change. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Magic of YouTube


I know I'm late to the game but I just need to talk about YouTube for a minute. I knew you could get all kinds of tutorials from there. I have this weird thing though- I don't ever have the sound on my laptop or phone. I live in chaos. No, I thrive in chaos and noise. I could nap through my son's entire hour long guitar lesson. Electric guitar. In the next room with the door open. I have to really NEED to hear something to put the sound on either device.

We needed a new toilet seat for years. It's just not something you think about or remember. It's not like Home Depot is ever on my list. How do you choose a toilet seat anyway? I did go to Home Depot AND Lowes and was struck by all my toilet seat choices. They have one with a nightlight. Like we all haven't peed in the dark just fine until they came up with that one.

I don't wait for B to do things like change toilet seats. I had him put the flag up on Monday because when it comes to putting holes in the house, that's his forte. I don't have or know the tools needed for that. Nor do I want to hear it about making holes. It was also way too involved for me at dusk. The toilet seat didn't seem like it could be too difficult. YET, IT WAS.

Where the thingies are supposed to come out, in the back, that hold the seat on, were not coming off. I had no instructions on how to get this ten year old thing off, only how to get the new one on. The only thing I could think to do was try YouTube. And I'll be damned, there was a guy going through how to change this particular seat. Of COURSE, the guy said that this particular brand made ridiculously difficult to get off thingies, when every other brand in existence is simple. It turned out I did actually need B, and his tools. I wouldn't have known if I didn't watch on YouTube.

A few months later, I went to use the blender to make my meatloaf. Why I need the blender to make meatloaf is another story. When I turned it on, it was making a louder than normal sound. I took the glass part off and the coupler that moves the blade was completely destroyed. Someone mistakenly put the pieces back together in the wrong order and dead coupler. Well, I went on eBay, was able to get a coupler for my eleven year old blender for $7.99 with a tool that's supposed to help get the old one off. When I came in the mail, there were no directions and it wasn't something I could figure out on my own. I went to YouTube. It didn't work as easily as the guy on the video made it seem. Watching the video at least gave the pointers of how to get the thing off.

Tonight, we needed to cut the cat's nails. I had taken her to the vet to have it done once, but that is a giant pain. It's not easy to get her in the carrier. Then they do it, then I have to pay like thirteen dollars for it. I just thought we could do it ourselves. We tried twice. It wasn't easy- Kitty-High-Five squirms and doesn't like it. *understatement of the year* The last time, we got all but one nail and B gave up. This time, we started but she freaked and I only got two. B decided to check YouTube. We watched someone roll their cat in a towel and it looked so easy. So, we rolled Kitty in a towel and it WORKED. She just went limp. Like it was no BFD. *what the hell* I clipped, it took like thirty seconds and it was done.

YouTube saved the day. No more clickity-clacking on the floor, or who knows whatever she secretly messes up in between clippings.

You won't catch me getting make-up tips from teen influensters or anything (Sorry Christine, not happening), but you should know that you can find just about anything you need to know how to do on there. In case you're also late to the party.

Here's the cat video if, you too, need to cut your cat's nails and are afraid.


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.