I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mama Needs a Break

So.....you may have noticed I have not blogged in nearly 3 weeks.  I'm pretty sure, even with my inflated sense of self-worth, you are not really missing this.
But I needed a little break.  From pretty much everything.  Sometimes things get rough and you have to pull back. Plus, the Olympics are on.
So I'm not blogging right now.
My kids are eating an extra-ordinary amount of cereal for pretty much every meal.
My house is at that just barely maintaining level.
Clean clothes are found in the dryer.
The dog is totally neglected.
My potted flowers on the porch keep totally wilting before I remember to water them.

But in the end, none of that really matters, and in another month, when school starts up, I think I'll start to feel like myself again and the world will go back to a level of normalcy.  I always perk up a bit when it starts to cool off.
Until then, try to cope by watching the Olympics and eating popcorn and Popsicles.  That's how we're doing it at my house.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Review: The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood

I cannot believe that I have not read this book.  I have heard of the title, but never about the book.
Set in a vague future, the United States has become Gilead, a totalitarian state ruled by some sort of fundamentalist Christians.  In the name of protecting women, their rights have been stripped away.  Reading of any kind is forbidden; even the names of the grocery shops are reduced to pictures to keep women from needing to read.  Women do not own property and cannot have money.  All are watched to make sure they do not deviate from the structure and those who do not are taken by the "Eyes" and are subjected to public hanging or sent to work camps.  Sound a little Orwellian?  Yes, but here the target is specifically women.
There is still a distinct class structure, however, and while there are women who are married to powerful men they aren't allowed out in public, but instead are protected at home.  There are also "Marthas" who serve as the working class to clean and serve the wealthy and the "Handmaids" who are merely bodies meant to produce babies.
For reason, in this world, there are few children; it seems that the chemicals and pollution have rendered many people infertile, as a result, the wealthier more politically connected are given "handmaids" one of many allusions to the bible where Rachel gives her handmaid to her husband to have a child.  In these households, an handmaid is assigned and is required to engage in a fertility ceremony with the hope that she will prove her worth (and ultimately save her own life) by conceiving a child with the husband.  It is disturbing.
Disturbing because the ideas that bother me the most in the story are only slightly exaggerated versions of religious and political discourse we hear all too frequently lately.  Women should stay home and have children, educating women is unnecessary because they do not need to pursue careers, men are the heads of the household--it is a feminists nightmare. What is most surprising about this particular aspect is that this book was written in 1985 not 2012.  In a year when women's health has been on the chopping block and the government, in the name of morality, has threatened almost every aspect of Women's health care, the book feels very current and the message is very clear...we have to be careful.  Even something as "good" as religion can chip away at the very rights our great-grandmother's fought hard to make certain we would have.  
I think we take our freedoms for granted, and while I am not advocating that all women stand up and march into the workforce if that is not their cup of tea, maybe we should assert our right to birth control and fair pay, because even if we don't need or want it we should have control over it.

This book won a ton of awards when it came out and was listed in the last decade as being on the American Library Association's top 100 list of most frequently challenged books (I think that's the new way to say banned...).  It was made into a film in 1990 with the screenplay by Harold Pinter and starring Natasha Richardson--I'm going to see if my library has it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dressing For the Holiday: Independence Issue

So you may be wondering what is appropriate attire for an important national holiday like Fourth of July.  Well, I'm here to help you out, seeing as how I am an expert on what people should wear when you want to look the part.

Classic American:
Anything that invokes thoughts of Uncle Sam AND beer cans automatically = American
Eagles.  The Animal of choice for festivities

Or if you are a little more adventurous, there are copious outfits out there that have probably debut in soft porn films...I wouldn't know, because I don't do that kind of work...but if the economy keeps at it, you never know.  In fact, I would guess that based on the number of outfits like this that aliens could see from the internets, that when they here they might be surprised by the people they found.  Really surprised.

American bar-girl or Western is always patriotic
And there's this for the sun-conscious:

Or for the classy and fashion forward:

With the right staging and lighting, you too could wear a flag and look all flowy and artistic

Or feeling Patriotic about Prom?  There's a gown for that:

Or, if you are in the Miss USA pageant.  I love this one.  You can read more about that here.

Or Maybe you are feeling super patriotic and also really like fireworks.  How to combine your two loves?  Luckily for us, Lady Gaga solved this problem for us.

Maybe, you're not the full costume type?  And you are a wee bit thirsty all the time?  This classicly American bit of haberdashery might be just the ticket.  Especially for those really long fire works displays.

So never fear.  There is something everyone can feel comfortable in.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Liebster Award

So Apparently another blogger, Love Always, Jamie nominated me for a Liebster Award.  Thanks Jamie!  To be honest, I had no idea what it was, and a google search didn't get me much further.  I do, however, think it seems to be a fun way to spread the word about newer bloggers.  So I'm going to further the Liebster cause and keep the good feelings going, because you know what? It DID feel good to have a new person come take a peek at my little blog and deem in worthy to pass along.  And in my experience, feeling good is rare and worthy.  And if I nominate you, and you aren't into feel-good but not exactly real award nominations?  No biggie.  But I read your blog (or have read it at least once), and since the whole purpose of writing a blog is a fleeting hope someone will read it, please know that and be of good cheer.

So here's how it works:

The Liebster Blog Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. 
Liebster, in German, means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. answer the questions the tagger has set for you plus create 11 questions for the people that you tag
3. choose 11 people and link them in your post
4. go to their page and tell them
5. no tag backs!

#1 So here are 11 Things about me: ( I pretty much pulled this off a prior thing I wrote about myself...)

1.I don’t make my bed on Sundays.  I like to pretend it is some meaningful attachment to keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, but really it is about wishful thinking—I always think I’m gonna get back in it and take a nap.

2. I have a deep connection to the earth.  Not as in “I want to save it” but as in my grandfather was a farmer and most of my childhood memories involve tomatoes—although I have an unproved theory that by composting, I WOULD save the earth.  This theory also involves keeping chickens—all of which would be done in wide brimmed hats.

3. I love movie popcorn.  I can eat an entire BARREL of it by myself.  It is an indication that I am aging that if I try to do this anymore, it doesn’t end well—so I don’t usually eat an entire barrel by myself.  Usually.  I have passed this love to Anna, and going to a movie with us and expecting to share the popcorn is an exercise in disappointment.

4. I don’t really like water much.  I love sitting near, sailing on, even skiing upon, but don’t much like to be in it.  Despite this, I have always thought snorkeling would be really cool, and I got a chance to try it out this year and it WAS really cool.  I swam with turtles.

5. I like the shape of my feet in socks.

6. I can’t put clothes back in my closet unless they are “ready-to-wear”—as in ironed.  This sometimes causes a bit of a back up in the laundry room.  I am also overly concerned with equality among my wardrobe and rotate individual items so as to provide fair wearing time—I think this is the remnants of wanting to color the same amount with each of my crayons, thus wearing down all the points the same.  Everything I colored as a child was a rainbow.

7. I love lists.  They make me feel like I accomplish stuff.

8.  I used to live in the East, and was considered a conservative.  Then I moved back to Utah and now I am a raving liberal lunatic.  I’m pretty sure my views didn’t change.

9. As a general rule, I do not sing or dance.  This is as much to preserve what little dignity I possess as to protect the sanity of others.  My children, however, are not protected under the “no dance no sing” clause and we all can belt a mean “Let it Be”.  I also make up wacky songs to ward off monsters or republicans and have some pretty good “moves”.

10.  If I did sing and dance I would want to be Hot Box Dancer from “Guys n’ Dolls”—mainly for the costumes.

11. I have learned that being clever isn’t as useful as being reliable.  Cleverness has its place, but being able to get things done is a gift.

#2 Jamie's questions
1. how would you describe your decorating style?
Simple clean lines.  Usually this transcribes into things that are way more expensive than you think.
2. if money were no object, what would be your dream job?
I would change jobs every couple of months.  I would just try out things...with substantial travel breaks in between.
3. when was your last haircut?
A couple of weeks ago.  In order to maintain my natural youthful beauty I have to get a little help...
4. what is your favorite beverage?
I guess legally I have to say caffeinated beverages since I think I am a registered addict.
5. what is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Have kids.  I still don't know how that one is going to end.
6. do you think opposites attract? why?
I'm fairly cynical about attraction in general.  It tends to be a waste of time and perfectly good emotional stability.
7. what "friends" character are you most similar to? 
I think if I didn't say Monica, people would correct me.  Yes, I am that girl.  And probably closest to Bree on Desperate Housewives.
8. if you could only listen to one song for the rest of the day, what song would it be?
Silence.  I don't want to listen to anything else played more than once.  The song on repeat at my house is "Moooooom, where are you!"
9. do you drink your cereal milk that's left in the bottom of the bowl?
I do not eat cereal.  Or drink Milk.  Milk in unnatural.  Other mammals wean themselves; we just moved to a different mammal.
10. what is your favorite clothing store?
Anthropology.  But in reality I pretty much only shop Target.
11. calling or texting? 
Texting.  It is efficient.  And I love efficiency.

#3 My Questions
1.  What is your favorite food that no one else appreciates?
2.  Top 3 travel destinations.
3.  If you could indulge regularly in some frivolous spa type treatment, what would you pick?
4. What name would you have given your child if you thought no one would judge you?
5. What Desperate Housewives character would your friends think you are similar to?
6. Favorite Musical
7. What "skill" (defined loosely) would you most like to develop?
8.  If you had to choose between your dishwasher and clothes washer, which one would it be?
9. If you could go for a ride with Dr. Who, where/when would you go?
10. What famous person would you add to your book club?

#4 My Nominations

and then frankly I had to quit nominating because every other blog I've ever read or heard of has at least a bajillion readers...and I am yet so small in bloggerdom. So five is good.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Deeper Questions of the Universe: The Maxi Dress

Ok friends, I am kinda into the Maxi dress this season.  I'm still not sure it is one of the those styles I should be wearing, but they leave me feeling less self-conscious about my thickness and are rather cool.  They are somewhat impractical if you have a lot of movement in your day.  Or ladders...I learned this the hard way the other day.
This one happens to be a maternity from Target
shhhh....don't tell
They are also everywhere and a fairly cheap addition to one's wardrobe. 
So what do you think?  Yay or nay?

*side note: I couldn't figure out how to spell self-conscious so I absently asked out loud.  Anna looked at me like I had just grown a second head and said, with absolute seriousness "self and then conscious."  I am raising a monster.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Recipe: Trifecta Salad

This is a summertime favorite at our house.  Healthy and light and really really tasty.  I actually take this to any potluck type dinner thing.  There is never another dish like it, and I repeatedly get asked for the recipe.  I often serve it with scoops chips because it makes a great "dip" and I like to scoop up as much as possible, but it is also great alone as a salad.  

1 each of red, yellow & orange bell peppers
1/2 red onion OR 2-4 green onions
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup feta (or to taste... I like a bit more)

Chop peppers and onion finely.  Mix everything together omitting feta if you will not serve immediately.  Add feta just before serving.

I also like to sub in 2 ears of fresh raw corn cut right off the cob for the can of corn in season.