Monthly Archives: October 2015

Lips Injections: Before and After, and Please Don’t Be Judge-y

I decided to have the lip injections (Juviderm) that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago done for a little plumping. I’m still bruised but am overall really happy with the result. They look just like my regular lips but more, well, plump. With less receding-ness going on. I still feel a bit as though spending money for this is vain and unecessary, and if you feel that way too, well, stop reading. Anyway, before and after below. I am not wearing lip liner in either pic, and I did not go out of the lines on the bottom one.

Before injections.

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Why I Hate Umbrellas but Love Nordstrom Rack

We don’t seem to use umbrellas in Northern Colorado. It doesn’t rain much, and it usually stops early and dries quickly. Also, everyone in Colorado, including middleaged women, is obsessed with the outdoors; I guess it’s not “cool” to carry an umbrella. Even MAWs put on our mountain climbing jacket with the oversized hood and head out. And we do NOT hunch our shoulders or duck our heads. We walk proudly through the rain, even if inside, we’re cursing the weather.

Last Thursday, though, Nordstrom Rack opened in our town, and I took a stand against being umbrella-less. I took extra care with my hair and makeup because it depresses me to be in a dressing room and see how pasty I look in that light, and how flat my hair gets from pulling items over my head. 

We get over 300 sunny days a year here; Thursday, of course, was pouring rain. (I tried to think of a metaphor like pouring cats and dogs only better, but nothing’s coming. Suffice it to say it was pouring like a motherfucker.) I searched the house for an umbrella, because I didn’t go to all that effort just to have the rain ruin my hair. I  found an oversized one in the garage (which I now realize is a GOLF UMBRELLA, the source of the problem) and was thrilled with it. At first.

So: I get to the car and unlock it, and realize the umbrella is longer than my arm and wider than the opening of the car door. I try to sink backward into the driver’s seat while simultaneously closing the umbrella like graceful women do in the movies, but, like a giant grabby octopus, the umbrella snags itself between the car door and the car itself, making it impossible to close either the umbrella or the door. I turn the umbrella sideways; rain pours onto my boots. I lean out to click the little clicky thing. An additional bucketful of water pours onto my shoulder; more rain drips into my sleeves and collar. I get the damn umbrella closed; now I am holding it straight out of the car, at arm’s length, as though I am about to joust. I wonder what to do next (but am secure in the knowledge that, if a dark knight on a horse appears with a lance, I am well prepared): I can pull the umbrella into the car, across my lap, and onto the passenger seat, but that will shower water everywhere. Also, I suspect the umbrella will not be satisfied with the passenger seat: it will want to reach across the console and share my seat because it hates me. Maybe I should have initially crawled into the BACK seat, left the umbrella to drip on the kids’ seats, and climbed over the console to the front.

Finally I jump out of the car, open the back door, shove the enemy onto the floorboards, and fling myself into the front again. I’m sure you’re wondering how my hair survived: surprisingly, it was fine. Unfortunately, I was sweating furiously from exertion so I can’t say the same about my makeup.

Nordstrom Rack held crowds of women and squeezing through the aisles was a challenge, but we were all in a good mood and feeling festive, as though a throng of friends had come home for the holidays and we were all enjoying our little shopping spree while waiting for the rum punch and figgy pudding (which never came, might I add).

Despite the lack of refreshments, the trip was a success: I bought a pair of ballet flats , a blouse, a “fashion leather” jacket (which I think means “it’s not real leather but we think it still looks good”), a belt (reversible, brown on one side and gold on the other), and a lightweight, drapy sweater.

Free People sweater, Jessica Simpson ballet flats, Michael Kors belt

Couple of tips for shopping at the Rack:

1. Get a cart. It’s best if you bring a ton of different sizes into the dressing room because there aren’t many attentive sales folks to find your sizes. Without a cart you will be hauling too many clothes around, and the arms of the shirts will drag along the floor, and you’ll trip on them, potentially ruining a great outfit.

2. Tell the person who hands you your number at the dressing room to NOT GIVE AWAY YOUR CART. I lost mine and there were no more to be had. When I tried on shoes, I had too much to carry and it was very awkward (though I still managed, bless my heart).

3. If, like me, you balk at buying $40 or $60 or $80 bras at Vicky’s Secret or even Macy’s, definitely check out the Rack. I got a perfect DKNY T-shirt bra for $16. It’s very supportive (it tells me all the time how nice I look).

PS: Just remembered I also got a black Calvin Klein blazer. Everything together was only $250 (shoes, sweater, blazer, jacket, belt, shirt). Impressive, Jen. Very impressive.

I Refuse to Name this Post

I quit. I can’t do it anymore. 

What is it that I can no longer do? LIFE. I cannot do life today. Tomorrow I will get my life mojo back. But not today. I’ll spell it out for you: Today, I refused to:

–drive Michael and his friends to a movie

–drive Michael and his friends to the corner store to buy candy

–take Lizzie to JoAnn’s for craft stuff or to the Halloween store

–make Lizzie’s doctor appt.

–make my own doctor appt

–make an appointment to take the car in

–talk to the person about the shitty job they did on the blinds

–walk the dogs

–put on shoes

–answer questions: any question, from any person

–make a plan (any plan, for any thing)

–look for anything

–put my shoes away (they’re sitting on the floor because I took them off and refuse to put them back on)


These are the shoes I refuse to put on or put away. Jessica Simpson, from Nordstrom Rack.

–put categories or tags or images into this blog post*

–get Michael a band-aid or even commiserate with him when he said he cut himself with a knife. (Is blood dripping on the floor? No? Then it’s not a problem. Yes? Then get your own band-aid and then clean up the floor).**

–use correct grammar or punctuation or proofread or edit

–go to the movies with Paul

–leave this chair

–wash my face (but I did brush my teeth)

–hold my rabbit (but I did feed her)

–tell anyone about my day

–ask anyone about their day

–answer the door

–answer the phone

–wipe a counter or empty the dishwasher or clean dishes out of the sink

–find the Ibuprofen for the kids. Sore throat? Headache? Sorry. I think it’s in one of the drawers in the bathroom. You can find it. (They are old enough to do this. They are not five or even eight. So back off.)

–call anyone on the phone (Wait, I did call someone. I called Paul, from the family room. He was in the den. I coughed and sniffed and told him that I wouldn’t be at work tomorrow, I was going to have to take the day off because I was very ill. Yes, he’s sort of, but not really, my “boss,” so I figured I’d give him a little warning. He told me to go to bed and to take it easy and to not hurry back until I was totally better. It was very sweet. But I think he was just playing along with me.)

–feel guilty when Paul acts pathetic and sad because I am sitting alone in my chair. All day. 

There are many other things I didn’t do today, like go to war or find a cure for AIDS or build a tree house or dig to China or go hunting for a heffalump (anyone?). But at least nobody ASKED me to do these things. The things above that I refused to do were either asked of me or expected of me (some of them expected of me by nobody but me). Anyway, I also refuse to write any more today.

*I know I refused to put any pictures in this post, but the shoes make me happy (even when I refuse to put them on) so I threw them in here as a bonus.

**There was no cut on his arm, from a knife or anything else.

5 Steps to Subtle, Sultry, Smokey Eyes

Here is why I am qualified to offer this eye shadow lesson:

1. I’ve recently talked to a couple of “makeup artists” at Sephora and they showed me how to do eyes, so clearly I am well-educated in the art. Also, having bought way too many Urban Decay color palettes because I appear to be addicted, and having spent way too much time playing around with them and making myself late for things (sorry, DeAnna), I thought I’d share some of the fun I’ve been having;

2. Angel told me she liked the way I did my eye shadow, on a day that I had experimented with “smokey” eyes, so I am obviously a professional. (And don’t go all, “Who the hell is Angel? Jen should really tell us who she’s talking about,” because I’ve written about her a number of times, and I’ve told you that she is my sister-in-law and one of my very bestiest of besties, so pay attention, people! I will not be explaining this again.)

Smokey? Or bruised-looking?

Anyway, here’s how I’ve been doing my eye shadow. A few things to note:

1. I thought this was bullshit, but it turns out that it really does help to have a variety of brushes. Depending on the firmness or softness of the bristles, the thickness of the brush, and the shape of the brush, you have more control over how the eye shadow goes on.

2. Make sure to tap off the excess from the brush before you apply it. If you don’t, flecks of eye shadow will sprinkle onto your cheeks like fairy dust and no matter how pretty the color is, you probably don’t want it on your cheekbones. (Also, it won’t make you able to fly no matter how much you clap your hands and believe in fairies, so don’t bother. I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work.) Additionally, you are more likely to get a clump of color in one spot when the brush first touches your skin. In a similar vein, avoid using a heavy hand when applying it. Brush very, very lightly. If you apply the eye shadow with too firm a hand, it is harder to spread the shadow evenly and harder to blend. (The Sephora lady showed me the truth of this but I don’t feel like taking more pictures to prove it, so you’ll have to trust me. Which I hope you do. Because if you don’t trust me, why are you reading this in the first place?)

3. I had a third tip, but now I can’t remember it, and don’t tell me I probably only had two but only thought I had three because I have ADHD and tend to forget pretty much everything (see what a convenient excuse it is?). I KNOW I had a third tip, because I specifically went back to the sentence above that says, “A few things to note,” and changed it from “a couple things to note,” because I wanted to be specific and a couple means “two” and a few means “three,” so what the hell was the third tip? argh!

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here are my personal steps to sultry eyes. They are all done in shades of brown and beige. I also included a picture of smokey eyes at the end. Same techniques, but in shades of grey and blue. 

Thin brush for shadow along lash line, wider brush for covering the whole eyelid


Clean eyelid, no makeup


Smudge a line of dark gray along lash-line using just the tip of the thin brush; make it a little thicker toward outside edge. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you will blend later. Also smudge just a bit of gray to the outside third of the lower lash line.


Add matte beige over whole eyelid up to the brow bone using the wide brush, then blend well with the fat brush.



Add slightly shimmery darker brown in middle of eyelid up to brow bone, feathering toward outside corner of eyebrow


Fat brush for blending; short, firm but soft bristles


Blend, blend, blend, then blend some more


Add mascara, wiggling brush at the base of the lashes to separate. I like to add mascara just to the very outside lashes on the lower lash line.


Note just a touch of smudged gray on outside corner of lower lid. I like to use it instead of eye liner, which is too heavy for me.



Same technique, with darker blues and grays



Smokey eyes. Looks like deep thoughts are running through my mind. That’s because I was thinking about the deep line running across the bridge of my nose. I want it gone, dammit!

HA! I remembered my third tip: for eye shadow along the brow bone, just below the eyebrow, use a flat brush and PAT it on, don’t brush. I don’t know why. The Sephora people told me to do it that way and I always do what I’m told.  I told you I had a third tip, and you doubted me. I may take away some privileges. Not sure. I’ll have to think about it and see if your behavior changes. So shape up.
*I appear to be feeling a little aggressive today and it looks like I’ve scolded you several times. I apologize. Maybe I’m a little nervous because this is my first tutorial and I’m afraid you’re being judge-y. So please don’t judge and forgive me for my attitude. And have a great day. And let me know if you try this out and if it works for you. And send pictures. And that’s all I have to say.

I Know It’s Unnecessary but I Really Want It

No, it’s not shoes…

Is it just Paul or do all middleaged husbands out there want your wives to have long hair? Paul seems to continue to see me as a teenager rather than a MAW and wants me to forever sport the same perky ponytail as I did in twelfth grade. But that once-cute ponytail has become increasingly less perky, and I wanted something short, sassy and fun. So I cut it off. (Sorry, honey!)

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Cavemen, Lizzie’s Fear for Her Life, and Rants about Gyms

Question for my middleaged women (MAW) friends: Did cavemen go out into the fields and lift boulders over their heads simply to improve strength and impress cavewomen? I’m about 95% sure not. I’m pretty sure they got enough exercise hunting mammoth,  being nomads, foraging for roots and nuts and such. In the winter, when they weren’t hunting and foraging, they probably sat around the fire on their mammoth-fur rugs and told stories and chewed on mammoth jerky. They got “exercise” by being active in the course of their regular lives. Sometimes that sounds delightful to me: spend all day in the fresh air, live a simple life (not easy, but simple), engage in a “job” that is related to actually living. It also sounds lovely to relax by a fire all winter, telling stories. Of course, they probably froze their asses off, they had no books, and I bet their stories consisted of:
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‘Let Me Just Get that with My Tweezers…’

“Mom, you really need to wax your mustache, because you’re playing with the little hairs and it makes them curl and that looks weird.” So said the daughter of a friend of mine. My friend wondered why none of her friends had told her she needed a good waxing. (Personally, I could use a good waning. But that’s unrelated and I’m determined not to go on too many tangents today.)

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5 Reasons Middle-earth Trumps Middleage (Which Would You Prefer?)

Comfort Can Be Dangerous

At church today, I got to talking about my latest blog post with a friend; when her husband asked what it was about, and she said, “Middleage,” he asked if that was at all like Middle-earth, which it is not. At all.

But after he mentioned it, I realized how great it would actually be if entering middleage really was like entering Middle-earth. My God, people, think about it!

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10 (Short) Steps on a Path of Dangerous Adventure

So, my middleaged friends, does happiness lead you toward the ability to find fulfillment in your life, or is it that doing the things that fulfill you leads you to happiness? I ask because I’ve been feeling happier lately (coming off a rough year) and have begun doing fun things again and I’m not sure which came first. If I feel like crap but continue to do things that bring me joy, will that lead to happiness? Or do I need to begin finding happiness in my routine daily life in order to be motivated to do the things that fulfill me? Ugh, blah blah, happiness blah blah fulfillment blah-dy-blah-dy-blah.

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Furiously Pissed that I’m Not Jenny…

Had such a great, long talk with one of my oldest friends last night (not old as in age, though I did remind her that she’s a whole two months older than me) and at one point she told me, “I love your blog, but you need to stop writing about fashion and start writing about getting hormone pellet injections in your butt every four months.”

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