Here, Let Me Help: Mascara Edition

If you’ve never noticed, the subtitle of my blog is, “A Guide to Life and Other Quandaries.” As you can tell from previous posts, I am full of all kinds of knowledge. And you should definitely listen to me because, as I’ve mentioned before, I have a website. On the internet. That’s basically like a Ph.D.. So, perk those ears up people, ’cause you’re about to get a dose of the ol’ Crutchfield learning magic.

I’ve decided to start a new series called “Here, Let Me Help,” wherein I give you all kinds of advice you didn’t ask for. You’re welcome, kittens. I know there aren’t enough people with opinions this days. I’m here to fix that.

First up in the “Here, Let Me Help” catalog: mascara.

Now, now, not everyone uses mascara, but if you do, you’ve likely run in to a host of problems. The mascara must be scrubbed from your face like barnacles from a ship’s hull. The mascara flakes and leaves black streaks like you’re a member of KISS. It gets all clumpy and looks like you put fake spider legs on your eyes. “Bahhhh!” you say as you shake your fist at the sky.

KISS members in full make up on stage.

The KISS look may not be the one you’re aiming for.

Well, fist-shake no more, readers. Instead, let me help. This mascara here, L’oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara, to-ta-lly works.

 

L'oréal Paris Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara

This business is legit.

This will not flake. At all. Like, not even after you leave it on for three days because you’re too lazy to wash your face. (Not that I’ve done that.) It also won’t run, not even a little!, if you cry in your kid’s pediatrician’s office. (Not that I’ve done that either, I just think maybe you’ll  do that some day.) You don’t have to break out crazy chemicals to get it off either. Just put some warm water on your closed eyes and pull it off gently.

I don’t know what’s in the stuff—probably fairy blood and magic spells from Michelle Obama—but it’s so great that I don’t even care. (Sorry innocent fairies.)

So there you go. You’re all squared away with your mascara needs, ladies and gents. Need advice on something else? Ask away. I’m here to help.

I didn’t get paid to write any of this because that’s not a thing around these parts. (That doesn’t mean you *can’t* pay me, L’oréal. Especially if you use chocolate as currency. Preferably this.) These are my honest little opinions straight from my heart/brain area. If you could gaze into my perky little perfectly-mascaraed eyes you’d see nothing but sincerity. 

Admit You’re a Feminist for International Women’s Day

Back in 2012 I realized I am a feminist—albeit with a little hesitation. Claiming to be a feminist, after all, can carry a lot of pressure, and a good deal of judgement. People see feminists as shrill, bossy, angry hordes of women coming to rip men apart with their pointy feminist teeth. Snap!

I am a feminist graphic with empowered fist

So I thought, “I’m not shrill or angry. I don’t want to chew on the souls of men…maybe I’m not a feminist.”

We’re also in a really interesting time in history. It’s like the smelling salts have been snapped, and we’re all getting a jarring new look around. Organizations like Miss Representation, Feminist Frequency, and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media are doing the painstaking work of really inspecting what we see and hear in TV, film, and advertising. Through that process a lot of really normal and accepted stuff is being called out as sexist. Misogyny lurks under so many things we really dig (Blurred Lines, anyone?), and one of the roles of feminism is to really look at our world, and call creepy, sexist BS for what it is. But if you’re in the shower singing Blurred Lines and thinking, “This is my jam!” and then you read about how it’s a bunch of creepy, sexist, BS that normalizes rape, suddenly you feel like a creepy sexist who normalizes rape culture. Hmm…(It’s okay. You probably aren’t.)

Feminism also tackles a whole host of topics, some of which might make you uncomfortable. Like the roles of women (and men) in the workplace. The roles of women (and men) in the home. And reproductive rights, which necessitates the use of the word vagina. (Why is vagina such a scary word, you all? 7th graders say it in health class.)

And that stuff? That makes feminism feel like a club that you’re not in.

But unless you’re the mayor of Crapville, you’re probably a feminist. Here’s a test to find out:

  1. Do you think women are just as important as men?
  2. Do you think it’s wrong and bad for women to be beat, groped, harassed, or raped?
  3. Do you think that babies need parents, and that women and men should be allowed to take time off from work when said babies are born or adopted?
  4. Do you think men can be whatever kind of person they want to be? That they don’t have to be strong, or violent, or void of emotion?
  5. Do you think women can be whatever kind of person they want to be? That they don’t have to be subservient, or demure, or “pretty”?
  6. Do you believe that all people are valuable and we should treat them that way?

Did you answer “yes” to most of those? Well, friend…you’re a feminist.

We’re not going to agree on everything. We feminists—we’re going to have differences and diversity just like anyone else. We’re going to muddle through all of these topics, push back on norms, and bumble around quite a bit. And you’re not going to feel like you’re doing it right.

But you don’t stop being a parent because you don’t know all the answers. You don’t stop voting just because the issues are complicated. You don’t stop shopping until you straighten out your economic theory. You dive in. You work it out. You take it easy on yourself and your fellow humans. You know there’s room to grow.

It is actually important to use the F word

The more people freely say, “I’m a feminist,” the less people will associate feminism with harpy witch women who hate men. The more men say, “I’m a feminist,” the more we can use feminism to improve men’s lives too. (Want to see a man doing some badass work for feminism? Look no further than your favorite Star Trek captain.) The more people throw their weight behind feminism, the faster we’ll progress.

And you know what? We need feminism in a bad way. Click that link and check out aaaaaall those reasons.

I promise once women get equal pay, I won’t care if you call yourself a feminist or not. When women and girls stop getting raped, then executed for it, I’ll leave you alone. When girls don’t get shot in the head for wanting education, when parenthood and earning a living can co-exist, when johns are prosecuted more than the underage prostitutes they rape, when women earn the same pay for the same work—WHEN I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE A LIST OF THIS CRAPPY STUFF, we can abandon the word feminist on the side of the road. It will have served it’s purpose. Until then—and it’s gonna be a while—pretty pretty please use that F word.

So, congratulations! You’re a feminist!

Go celebrate International Women’s Day by claiming feminism as your own. Tell your friends and family to join in on the fun. Let’s make a ruckus and do some good work. I’ll raise a fist in the air for you.

WordPress.com Now Supports Embed of Getty Images; I Blow Up Your Eyeballs

I love putting pictures in my posts. Because pictures are pretty. And sometimes you can find a picture of a red panda cracking up at your jokes.

So imagine my delight when the WordPress.com News blog made this little announcement:

Earlier today, Getty Images announced a new embed feature that will allow people to access and share photos from its extensive library of images for non-commercial purposes. We have been working with Getty Images over the past few weeks and are excited to bring this feature to WordPress.com!

I was like this:

And this:

There are so many images at my fingertips! The whole attribution thing is SOOO much easier! Plus, you never know when you’ll need a picture of a robot, getting ready to have a great time with a beach ball.

Not all of the images are available to embed in this super fancy way (getting a little greedy if we want that, no?), so every now and again you’ll have to deal with the disappointment of not being able to embed a picture of a cat raising it’s arms like it’s saying Hallelujah in a Pentecostal church…but pfft, you’ll get over it. Because there’s kitty with a tiny hat on:

And a kitty whose super power is being cute:

And, if you’re feeling a little crazy, this kitty:

There’s also a lot of non-kitty images (but seriously, there are so many kitties).

In fact, the other day Getty Images announced the Lean In collection, “a library of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them.” I commented on Facebook that I wanted to start a business, just so I could use all those badass images of women being awesome and showing normal signs of aging, and girls doing stuff other than wearing dresses. Like so:

Now I don’t need to start a hair-combing karate machinery business. I can just use the images in a meandering blog post. Total win.

So be on the look out for more awesome images here. I promise to slightly scale down my use of cat images (a little). If you’re a blogger you should definitely go check out the full Getty Images catalog. That’s a whole lot of fun right there. A whole lot of it.

Happy Friday, friendsies.

Make This and Put it in Your Face

Of course you want to eat this Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Waffle. Why wouldn't you?

Of course you want to eat this Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Waffle. Why wouldn’t you?

Look everyone! I’m a food blogger!

Well, not really, but what am I anyway? I’m a lazy person in the throes of an existential blogging crisis of some kind, wherein I immediately convince myself not to write whatever I’m thinking of writing. It’s a jolly good time, I tell you.

So what should one do in this case? One should make this Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast Waffle and put it promptly in her face. And then one should tell you, dear reader, how to do the same thing because, in the words of Jean-Ralphio, “that shiz is straight up del-oy-cious.”

Also, one of my faves (Eden Kennedy) isn’t a food blogger either, but she managed to whip up this post/recipe thing so, you know, permission granted.

Okee dokey. So, a fab friend of mine was coming over for breakfast & I wanted to make something awesome. Naturally, french toast came to mind because it’s great. If you don’t like french toast, you should really see the doctor, because the awesome part of your tongue is broken. For shame.

My second thought was that I should make said french toast in the waffle maker for two reasons: a) I’m lazy, and it sounded easier and b) waffles have a distinct advantage over other breakfast foods, because they have neatly arranged nooks in which to store pools of butter and syrup. I bet the other breakfast foods feel a little self conscious when they think about it. (It’s okay, foods. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses.) (Except for this recipe which is all strengths, and may be my brightest moment ever.)

So, we’ve got french toast with magical waffle nooks. Sounds pretty good. But as I was perusing the internets for other little ideas, I came across a stuffed french toast recipe. And that’s when things got interesting. Because…um…well, if it’s not obvious—again—go see Ms. Doctor Lady, because you have lots of problems.

Enough Talking—Get to the Making

Step 1: Mix up the French Toast Stuff

Almost any recipe will work here. Just a couple eggs and a milk-like product of your choice…I throw in some cinnamon and vanilla because I fancy myself exotic. The only requirement is that you don’t use crusty, thick bread. Just use plain ol’ wheat or white sandwich bread slices. I think if you use anything thicker/harder you won’t be able to jam it into the waffle maker. And that would be disappointing.

Step 2: Cream Cheese Goo

Now take some cream cheese and powdered sugar and stick it in a bowl. Then mash those things together. I suppose you could use a mixer, but an enthusiastic arm with fork will do just fine. (My friend did this part, so maybe it’s INSANELY difficult, but I just didn’t notice. You all will have to let me know if that’s the case.) I don’t really have any measurements here because, let’s face it, if you can screw up cream cheese and powdered sugar you shouldn’t be in the kitchen. Like, ever. Just mix and taste and go with what feels good in your blessed heart.

Step 3: Slam the Sammie in the Waffle Maker

Spray/oil/butter your waffle maker. Just a little. Dip 1 piece of your plain Jane bread in your french toast egg/milk mix, and put it in the waffle maker. Then put a dollop of cream cheese on it. Next, dip another piece of bread and place it on top of the whole shenanigans. My waffle maker can fit four stuffed french toasts at a time because it’s the boss. Fill yours up with the desired/allowed amounts of french toast sammies, then slam that thing shut.

Step 4: Wait. Do Not Put Mouth on Waffle Maker

I tried using the auto timer thing on the waffle maker, but that didn’t totally pan out. So I just checked on it and yanked those bad boys out when they looked good and done. The cream cheese gooed out a little bit, but don’t worry about that. In a few short minutes you’ll be like, “Even if the cream cheese had sprayed on my face and burned me pretty bad, this would still be worth it.”

Step 5: Nom.

Slather it with butter and real maple syrup then try to maintain some decorum. Good luck with that part. If you have friend that will bring you tasty strawberries and a pretty tangerine, that might help you keep your business together because it feels like you should be fancy with such beautiful fruits on your plate.

That’s it! Go give it a whirl, friendsies.

If You Don’t Live Forever, You’re a Sucker

Plastic mannequin head with futuristic v shape

Mannequins are going to have scary faces in the future. You don’t want to miss out on that. Photo by Horia Varlan, on Flickr.

I kind of want to live forever. I know it’s crazy. I just…I do. Because I just have this feeling that if I die—if I slip in the bathtub and break my neck or die from an aneurism while pooping (those are real reasons people die, y’all)—I’m going to miss out on AMAZING stuff by like 5 minutes. And wouldn’t that be terrible? I mean—to die right before life and science get REALLY cool? I don’t know if I could stand it. Even beyond the grave. I’d be haunting the crap out of a bunch of people.

I think it was the iPhone that did it. Not the first iPhone, but the comparison between the first one and the current one. Because here’s the deal: if you bought the first iPhone, you got an 8GB cool phone with texting and apps and stuff for a whopping $599. That’s a pretty penny. No subsidies. No free phones for AT&T users. You just walked up to the counter, gave them your entire wallet, coughed up a little blood, and you got a fancy doodad in return. Now—just five years later—I can get an iPhone with eight times the storage space, more battery life and a much better camera for $200 less. Or, if I don’t feel like paying ANY money for it, I can get the iPhone 3GS that’s still better than the first one for exactly zero dollars. What a difference 5 years makes. In 5 more years they’ll be stuffing iPhones in boxes of Cap’n Crunch.

And that, friends, is the world we’re living in. Except the iPhone—as cool, glorified and worshiped as it is—is no where near the coolest thing on our horizon. If we can make it another 50 years—shit’s gonna get crazy cool. And that’s why I want to live forever. Or at least for another 50 years. Or 100. Yeah, 100 sounds better. Reasonable.

Anyway…

For your enlightentainment (mashing words together is fun), here’s a brief review of stuff that is going to happen to you if you don’t go and die like a sucker before the tech evolves. Better go get you some vitamins, because it’s gonna be worth it.

Fix Skin Cancer with a Band-Aid

Umm…yeah. With a freaking band-aid. Or, rather, a patch. Same thing. You put the patch on your arm for 3 hours, then a few days later for another 3 hours and—shazam!—no more skin cancer. That’s being tested right now. Isn’t that crazy?! The current treatment for Basal cell carcinoma involves burning, freezing, scraping or zapping with radiation. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather slap a patch on my arm. It’s like those stickers from Trader Joe’s, except that it HEALS YOUR FREAKING SKIN.

Print Some Organs on Your Home Printer

“Keep your liver, Mr. Donor-face-guy,” said everyone on the transplant list, “I’ll just print one up after I’m done printing the banner for my daughter’s birthday party.” Okay, it might not be that simple, but I kid you not, people are PRINTING. ORGANS. Printing them! Like a coupon for Trader Joe’s. Except that it goes in your body to save your life. (Trader Joe’s really needs to up their game.)

Anthony Atala at the Wake Forest School of Medicine has done some stunning work with regenerative medicine.  The school is working on printing skin with a souped-up inkjet printer that would totally change the way wounds and burns are treated.

Skin is cool, but they’re also working on printing hearts. Hearts! It takes 40 minutes to print with a desktop printer, then 4-6 hours later the muscles are contracting. And because these things are comprised of the patient’s own cells, there’s no need for rejection meds. The body just says, “Oh, sure. That’s cool. You belong here.” Work is being done with all kinds of 3D printing, and an 83-year-old woman just received the first 3D-printed jaw transplant.

Is your mind blown? Mine is. Cra-zi-ness. This stuff is happening right now. Can you imagine how cool it’s going to be when I’m 132? Real cool, you all. That’s how cool.

Stop Driving the Car Like a Schmuck—Let the Car Drive Itself

This one’s already happening, too. Steve, the first user of Google’s Self-Driving Toyota Prius, is legally blind, and—I assume—feeling like a badass. Granted, he used the technology to drive to a Taco Bell, so clearly he needs some guidance on where to actually go (Umm…Trader Joe’s. Obviously.), but hey…we all gotta start somewhere. Clearly, the technology is perfect for people like Steve because it opens up really practical solutions to problems he faces. But it would also be perfect for people like me who are tired of wasting drive time not practicing hip-hop finger dancing. I mean, come on.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of stuff that’s being developed right now. Like I said, 50 years from now—who knows!? We’re in a time where the technologies that are being developed are working in synchrony to create exponential growth, understanding and revolution. And, dammit, if I die two years before I have a Speech Jammer gun, a cyborg mouse, or an iPhone that can cook me lasagna, I’m gonna be pissed.

So what do you think? Will you be drinking bloody marys in a space car with me? Or does a robot-filled super future scare the plasma out of you? Don’t be shy, friends, let’s talk this business out.

Like Pulling Teeth (Also, Baby Animals!)

Big yawn

Photo by afsheen @ Flickr.

Sometimes writing—or being creative or doing things that are important to you—is like pulling teeth. Like pulling teeth out of a cranky dog’s stinky mouth. That is what this week is like. Doodie. That’s what I have to say about that. It’s doodie.

That happens sometimes, right? You think that you’re going to come up with something spectacular and earth-shattering. You’ll write the perfect blend of funny and poignant and everyone will read your post, laugh, wipe teensy tears from their eyes, and say, “Aaaaaaahhhhh…that was perfect.” And then each and every one of your readers will go to the store, buy a single, delicious bottle of beer, wrap it up and send it to you in the mail.

That’s what you THINK you’re going to do. Instead, you write 14 sucky drafts, look at Pinterest for an hour, then Facebook, then you browse through all your RSS feeds, go for a walk, juggle for a while, and come back to the same, insidious, blinking cursor that was mocking you two hours ago. (Curse you, cursor! With your continual, “What’s next? What’s next? What’s next?” Eff you, is what’s next.)

I checked out this thing called SuperBetter, a website that helps you get better at things you want to get better at. It’s like a game. And they talk about emotional resilience, and how it’s really key for all kinds of important things, like being awesome and opening jars (I’m paraphrasing here). I have the emotional resilience of a wet tissue hanging from a tree on a windy day. Hmm. Trouble.

I also read an article a while back about how positive thinking is really important for creativity. This is a challenge for me. My name means “blackness” or “dark”—what do you want from me?

Perhaps I (& maybe you too?) should work on these things.

To help strengthen your emotional resilience, SuperBetter said that for every negative feeling you have, you should try to create or experience three positive feelings. They recommend looking out the window, or doing an image search for cute baby animals. Since I’m also supremely lazy, I went for the animal search option. Not wanting to keep the treasure trove of tiny baby animals to myself, I’m going to share them here with you. Let’s watch these little cutie-wooties prime our creative pumps and next week we’ll take over the freaking world. Or maybe just you will. If you do, can you send me a beer? Thx.

And Now…Cute Animal Parade!

cebuella pygmaea

Photo by Joachim S. Mueller @ Flickr

A baby marmoset! And it’s like, “Whhaaa?” They’ve got one (two, actually) at the San Diego Zoo if you MUST! SEE! ONE! now.

Marmoset

Photo by Jessica Merz @ Flickr.

This guy lost his mustache trimmers!

baby_pygmy1

Photo by juliez_pics @ Flickr.

Awww…the wittle baby is cuddowing.

baby chinchilla

Photo by Greencolander @ Flickr.

It’s a teensy, artsy chinchilla.

everybody loves me baby

Photo by timsnell @ Flickr.

Looks like we can expect some monkey business…(wah, wah). The photographer says this guy “generally like[s] to stir the shit.” Awesome. Unless that was literal. You never know with monkeys.

And that’s the last one. I was going to include a picture of a baby kangaroo, but those guys do not leave their mama’s pouch, and, I’m not gonna lie, the pouch thing kinda freaks me out. So we’ll stop there. Share your favorite, positive mood-inducing photos and creativity-inspiring activities, too, okay? Sweet.

Lady Power! (Or, I’m Actually not a Lesbian)

Just look at those ladies! Tell me you wouldn't snuggle them…

It’s been brought to my attention that, sometimes, I sound like I’m into girls. Now, I do like lesbians. Well, I guess not all lesbians. How could I know that I like all lesbians? So I guess I’ll say that I have wonderful lesbian friends that I like a whole lot. But alas, I *like* dudes. Well, actually, I have a bit of a complicated relationship with Dudes, but I like one dude. My husband. I have a very awesome, uncomplicated relationship with him. Ack. This got super convoluted all of a sudden. Let’s start over.

I compliment ladies a lot. And I sometimes want to snuggle with them. I’ve mentioned being entranced by the adorable Mary Louise Parker and wanting to snuggle with Dr. Brené Brown. I’m totally goofy over Alice Bradley. And kinda lots of other women. I’m like that in person, too. Maybe worse. I kinda want to be uncomfortably friendly with a lot of women. Doesn’t everyone feel that way? Aren’t there some women that you think, “I could just snorgle her a little”?

I wrote a draft of this post and had my husband read it and he said, “Nope, you still sound like you want to make out with women.” So, let me explain a little more. When I say “snuggle,” it’s like I want to pinch cheeks and rub noses and squeeze shoulders. Kinda like you would with a kitten, you know? Like you see the little kitty, and you just want to squeeze it and talk through your teeth and say stuff like, “Awent you just the sweetest wittle kitty evoh?” and then the kitty looks at you like it’s kinda fun but also a little terrifying. That’s what I picture in my mind. Anyone? You know what I’m saying? You know that feeling when someone is just so remarkable and funny and awesome and beautiful that you feel like you can’t control yourself?

Maybe it’s just me. I’m aware that I shouldn’t actually do those things, though. I promise. You don’t have to worry about me if we meet in person. I think that I want to snorgle people, but I don’t actually do the snorgling. I’m not totally bananas, it’s just that…well, some women—a lot of women—are super amazing. And there’s something about the fact that women walk around oozing with awesomeness that makes me want cuddle strangers.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that those same women—the same women that floor me with how gorgeous and vivacious and smart they are—probably had a life experience not unlike mine. And my experience went something like this: be a kid, gain a teensy bit of awareness, hate yourself from then on. The de facto position of most girls as they grow is to be utterly disappointed in themselves. Criticizing your body and hair and teeth and laugh and knee shape is basically a full-time job from about age 10.

Love me some Tina Fey. Things would get real awkward, real quick.

I know it sounds dramatic, but I’m pretty sure that’s the deal. It was for me. And there’s some data to back it up, too. According to some research that Dove (the soap company) has done, only 4% of women worldwide think they’re beautiful. Holy crap! I personally know a boat load of beautiful women, and I see beautiful women all the time. Like, every day. So, either all the beautiful women gravitate to places where I can see them, or we women have a BIG discrepancy between what actually is (there are LOTS of beautiful women and you’re likely one of them) and what we think (we’re all a bunch of uggos).

And that’s just looks. When we get to the workplace, our intelligence takes a hit as we’re routinely valued lower than our male counterparts (the stats show we make 25% less just because of our boobs. Or maybe it’s the uterus. Both? Something about our lady parts is getting us in trouble.) Women hold a stupidly low percentage of power positions in government and we have a puny representation in the film industry as writers, directors, or producers. Even in cooking—a chore stereotypically thrust on women as their duty—when it comes to the role of head chef, women only eek out 15% of the positions nationwide. Chores at home go to the ladies, high-powered glam positions go to the men. Lame.

I’m sure I could continue this way for a while. Google easily coughs up a pile of reasons for women to say, “Hey, wait a minute…” But I don’t need to. The point is not that we need to boo-hoo ourselves OR poo-poo men, the point is that when I see women—smart, radiant, AMAZING women—I think the appropriate response is to be enamored. To be amazed. To want to snuggle up on the couch and soak in the goodness of another soul, and be at least one voice that says, “Hey, you’re kinda great.” Maybe it’ll rip a plot hole in the story we’re told. Maybe it’ll make a way for a tiny sapling of self-worth to break through the concrete that got poured over our rich lands. Or maybe it’ll just make for some super awkward moments. That’s entirely possible, too.

So, cough it up, people. Isn’t there someone who you think is so amazing that you want to snuggle them a little? Just a little nuzzling? Please, do share. Let’s compliment the crap out of each other for a while, okay?

—-

p.s. – Loads of love to the ladies in my life who have lost track of how amazing they are. You know who you are.

p.p.s. – Finding an image for this post was kinda infuriating. I searched for “women” which brought up a bunch of sketches of bare-breasted women. Really? “Women” = “something naked that I can do”? Come on, internet. Get your crap together. So, then I searched for “badass women” and got a bunch of pics of roller derby players, which was kinda funny.

The Best Man on the Planet

someecards.com - I want to grow old and disgusting with you

I ABSOLUTELY feel this way about Stephen. I'm pretty sure he's in for a doozy.

It’s Valentine’s day today, and so I chose to write about Stephen, whom I love to teeny, tiny bits. Because he’s awesome, and he deserves a pile of words that tell him so. I’m a little worried, though, that if you’re single or not in the mood to believe in/read about love, you’re going to be bummed out now. And I don’t really like that idea. So, I found this thing on the internet. Just for you. It’s pictures of cat heads (and one dog head) shoved through bread products. God bless the freaking internet. Go look at it. I’ll wait.

Waiting…

Waiting…

…Okay, now that you’re feeling happy, here’s a gooey pile of love mush in honor of my incredi-husband:

Me: You’re my favorite person. You’re the best man on the planet.

Stephen: Thanks, honey.

Me: You make me believe there’s at least one other good man out there.

Stephen: Awww…thanks.

Me: He probably got in a car accident just now.

In light of recent times, struggles, et cetera…this conversation is actually saying a lot. It’s hard to believe in the goodness of men when you’re reading about pimps, prostitutes, and the men that buy them (read here and here if you’re wondering why I’m doing that). So, the fact that my husband is so wonderful that he makes me believe that there might be one other good man out there is significant. Even if I think that one other good man got in a car accident, so we’re back down to just one good man. (For the record, I know a good deal of good men. I do. I’m VERY thankful for you all, okay? Good.)

But my husband is the best man on the planet. He’s amazing. He’s smart and attractive and kind. He does the dishes every day (because I hate them. And I’m lazy. And he’s a little compulsive about it and could never wait around for me to get to it.). He also vacuums. He loves our kid. And he loves me. He’s unbelievably creative. And talented. And dedicated. He believes in the goodness of the world, and he gets sad when that goodness falters.

Let’s be clear, though: he’s not a perfect man. That’s not a thing. It doesn’t exist. See, he also falls asleep sometimes when we’re watching TV together, or sometimes when we’re talking. And once in a bar. I think he might have a mild case of narcolepsy. When he gets frustrated he pouts around like Charlie Brown—it’s sincerely absurd. He gets super weird in emergency situations (like the other day when our kid dropped a big heavy thing on her toe and I needed a band-aid—sheesh! Pandemonium!). And sometimes when he hurts my feelings he gets so mad and panicked and turned around that his apology hurts worse than whatever he did in the first place.

But I don’t care about any of those things. Those things are normal, and human, and everyone has them. Plus, my list of weird things is way longer than his. By a lot.

He’s not a perfect man, but he is perfect for me. Perfect. I love him more than anyone else in the world. He is, truly, my favorite person. He’s who I always want to be with. He made me love from a place in my heart that I didn’t know existed. I thought happy marriages were impossible. I thought that a loving, life-long commitment was a myth; like leprechauns or unicorns or non-pervy-looking mustaches. But what we have together proves me wrong every day. Every. single. day.

So, for that (and a MILLION other reasons), I say, “Happy Valentine’s day, Mr. Crutchfield. You’re swell.” And to all the rest of you out there, I hope that love, in its many beautiful, bizarre, frustrating and ridiculous forms, finds its way to your door. Happy Valentine’s day to you, too!

p.s. – I really wanted to put this video up there, but it has two cuddling animals, and if you’re REALLY bummed out about Valentine’s day I didn’t want you to be like, “Ohmigosh, even those two animals have each other! Sad face! Quiver lip!” so I didn’t put it up there. But I am putting it down here. It’s not that I don’t care about you and your feelings. I do. I promise. But this video is too crazy to pass up! The animals are cute, but the music! It’s nutballs! I love it. I’m going to sing it all day. Stephen will love that at dinner tonight. I’m a pleasure to be around, y’all. A real gem.

Workin’ Hard for the Money

work=awesome

Work = smiley faces and lightning bolts.

I like working. As I mentioned before, it’s WAY easier than taking care of a kid. When you work, you get to hang out with adults and have conversations and you never have to say, “If you don’t use your manners you’re going in time out!” or “Not in your mouth, please.” It just doesn’t come up. Instead, you talk about the weather and things you like and then you get to do things that, hopefully, work out really great and then you feel awesome about yourself and everyone gives high fives and drinks brandy. (I actually haven’t been in an office since 2008, so maybe the brandy part is wrong, but the rest of it is right.)

Lately, I’ve been doing some work for some friends of mine, Paul and Amy Reams at Reams Photo in San Diego and I have to say, it’s awesome. A) I get to work for friends, which could be super weird and awkward but isn’t. It’s great. B) They’re RAD people and it makes me happy to help them. C) I can buy this track suit and look ab-fab if I want because they pay me in gold bullion. $40.80 worth of gold bullion.

I’ve always liked being a helpful person. I felt the same way when I worked for Rich and Susan Seiling at West Coast Imaging/Aspen Creek Photo several years back. A lot of my hours went to taking things off the Seilings’ plate, trying to make their lives easier and their business more successful. I like that. It makes me feel useful. I always thought I’d make a great personal assistant because I can buy lattes, put things on the calendar, and say, “Those pants make your butt look A-MA-zing.” really, really well. I could probably do all three at once. I know. I’m impressive.

So, with my fuzzy, helper feelings in abundance, I wanted to take a moment to highlight my past and present employers and what I did for them.

Reams Photo

Paul and Amy are rad (though I already said that). I’ve been helping them with their blog, and some social media/marketing stuff which is fun, but the SUPER FUN thing we’re working on is a contest that’s going on right now! I worked on this cute little graphic and helped them put the rules and stuff together. You all, you can win your whole wedding/engagement package from these people and they kick ASS at wedding photography. Plus, you get to use Pinterest, which is what you’re doing with your time anyway, right? (Right? Or is that just me?) If you’re getting married before February 14, 2013 you should go enter. For realsies. F-U-N. (And isn’t my graphic so adorable? I’m kinda in love with it.)

Inspired by Love Contest

Look, I made that graphic! And this contest is super awesome.

West Coast Imaging

Winter Oak Trio, Half Dome by Rich Seiling

I have this photo by Rich in my bedroom. These people don't mess. Image © Rich Seiling

I was at WCI (one of  THE best photographic printing studios in the country) for nearly a decade and did a TON of stuff for them over the years (like a swiss army knife of doing things) which was great for me, because I love learning new things. I mean, I worked in shipping, then prepared files for printing, then did printmaking, and worked on some applescripts (nerd) and a bunch of other stuff. It was fun, and hard, and enriching, and great. If you’re a fine art photographer or just want to make a print that will bring people to tears with it’s awesome-ness, call these folks.

Aspen Creek Photo

I helped the Seilings launch their sister company, Aspen Creek Photo, back in 2007 (I think, right? Hard to remember). Aspen Creek is kinda like the fast-casual version of West Coast Imaging. They make superb photos with super high quality materials (some of the same ones that are used at WCI) but aren’t quite as picky-to-the-nth-degree-obessive as WCI, and their prices are a bit lower as a result. A great option for photos you love and need quickly, but that you won’t be sending to the queen (those go to WCI).

And that’s it for sharing time, friends! Take a few minutes to visit these fine folks and give them truck loads of money. They’re good people AND they’re some of the best in their fields. Gold stars all around!

Tag Cloud Band Names

Hey guys. Stephen and I are sitting here, laughing about my tag cloud after a couple of glasses of wine and watching “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” so I thought I’d let you in on the forest of secret thoughts we’re having. It’s a magical forest, you all. Buckle your seat belts.

Tag Cloud

This is all you need to come up with a super awesome band name. You're welcome, internet!

Dangit. The photo isn’t uploading. Try #2:

Okay, there it is. My tag cloud. And held within its fertile loins (eww) are the seeds (oh, come on) for a fantastic band name. Here are some to get you going:

  •  Benjamin Franklin Candy
  • Dylan Failure
  • Truth Turkey
  • Killer Whale Lies
  • Kevin Bacon Kids

Pretty great, right? Don’t say I never gave you anything. I did. Right now. G’night, ye lads of…erm. Something.

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