Beauty Product Junkie Diaries

Hello.

My name is Mindy.

<hi, Mindy>

And I am a beauty-a-holic.

There is something so fulfilling about a bright pop of pink lipstick, a gentle sweep of shimmering bronze on your cheek, a fabulous smokey eye. I derive a great amount of pleasure from beauty products and am highly unapologetic about it. Sort of. Because if I suddenly was subjected to some sort of home inspection wherein I was required to answer as to why I have hoarded so many tubes and compacts I would lie through my teeth and explain that my husband often enjoys a transvestite kind of existence. That stash is his. (Sorry, honey. You did vow for better or for worse.)

A backstory:

1980-something. My mom loved Avon. For that matter, whose mom didn’t love Avon in the 80s? I remember so vividly watching her skim through those catalogs, tabbing the pages featuring something she couldn’t live without, while waiting patiently for her to hand me the little book of beauty so my eyes could take in all the colors and smells of the brand. And when her blessed order would arrive bursting with little frosty lipstick and powdery eyeshadow samples she would hand them over to me and I would promptly run to the bathroom to start making myself over.

Fast-forward a few decades and much of that history still rings true. The magic of makeup remains to be a very relevant part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

However.

I would prefer to have a little bit less of that magic. Drugstore sales, beauty subscription boxes, product samples and the occasional Sephora gift card have enabled me to stock up on quite a stash of beauty. I have enough makeup to satisfy the average human for years and my hubby in his transvestite phase for at least two weeks. That’s a lot.

So, I have began to amass my garbage, my empties, my used-up product containers in an attempt to educate myself on the compulsive shopping tendencies I have picked up as a debit-card carrying adult. I am also hoping that this will give me some true insight into what products work for me, meet my specific needs and aren’t just pretty in a package. (Although a useful product that’s pretty in its package is a double plus!) As part of my beauty diet I plan on also providing some reviews to help either encourage or discourage fellow beauty lovers from purchasing certain products.

That’s my plan.

Hopefully you will enjoy my beauty product junkie diaries. You can be assured that each review will be real, honest and 100% authentic to me. Which means it will have a bit of a Mindyesque spin. Okay?

Mindy, beauty product extraordinaire

A First Impression

To work towards my New Year’s Goal Number One, the hubby and I decided to join a gym. A real one. With treadmills. And elliptical machines. And various weightlifting apparatus (or would that be apparatii,Latin for causing immense pain). And trainers. And, perhaps the most intimidating, tiny little gym rats with butts so firm you could bounce a Hostess Cupcake off of them.

Right after signing on the dotted line, Jer, in the interest of full disclosure, promptly informed me he would most likely not be frequenting the facility very often. Because in order to qualify for the “corporate” rate we had to sign up together, he wanted to make sure I understood this was my dream and most certainly not his. I was on my own.

So, in a giant show of will and in order to start the New Year with a bang I hightailed my flabby little gullet to the gym bright and early on January 2nd. Now, I’m no beginner here, folks. It’s been a few years since I’ve darkened the doorway of a fitness facility but I’ve spent many an hour abducting and adducting in my less mature past and was very excited to get started again.

I signed in at the front desk with a gigantic smile and undoubtedly “New Girl” scribed right across my forehead, and headed upstairs towards my fate.

Problem #1:

In my excitement, and perhaps to prove to the front counter staff that this was not my first rodeo, I ran up the flight-and-a-half of stairs. Big mistake. I was already winded and had yet to set my eyes upon one piece of fitness equipment. After I managed to catch my breath I made my way towards the “Women Only” fitness room and beelined it towards an open elliptical machine.

Problem #2:

Due to a screaming case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot, I am currently relegated to non-impact cardio, and thought the elliptical was probably my best bet. What I had not anticipated was the coordination necessary to operate said machine. I stepped up onto the foot pedals, grabbed a hold of the moving handles and promptly dropped my locker key. As I bent down to retrieve the key, I apparently miscalculated the size of my tuckus in direct relation to the proximity of the lady working out beside me and proceeded to knock her off her elliptical. With my butt. Yep. My butt. I recovered quickly, and with an apology to my neighbor set off to complete my allotted 30 minutes, burning in shame, looking at no one.

Problem #3:

I had not given thought to how 30 minutes on the elliptical machine would affect my ability to walk straight, post-exercise. Once my cardio workout was over, in a rush to get off the God-forsaken piece of equipment I stepped down from the foot pedals onto shaky legs. I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed the vibrating floor and it became apparent that I was the only one experiencing this phenomenon. I backed up to remove myself from the bank of ellipticals and stepped right into the treadmill behind me, causing me to lose my balance on already faulty legs and sending the poor, unsuspecting jogger off her machine.

Needless to say, the rest of my workout was spent in utter horror and anticipation of ongoing humiliation. But, I made it through the debacle and even went back the following day. And, I am pleased to announce that I sailed through my next workout without causing bodily injury to anyone. Hallelujah.

So, I trudge on with pursuing my goal and hope that by this time next year it will become a non-issue and I can move on to more worthy causes, like learning how to pole dance.

How goes it for you? Are you making any progress?

Mindy

“Be Your Own Advocate”

I’ve been hearing a certain comment over and over lately and its severity really resonated with me today.

“Be your own medical advocate.”

That’s a pretty heavy load and one I’m not entirely sure I’m excited to tackle. I grew up, like many people I’m sure, with a reverence for doctors. Until recently, I would have never thought to actually question a diagnosis, load myself up with information before visits or double-check a doctor’s prescription. I believed that a medical degree afforded a certain amount of confidence and, of course, knowledge.

But, I heard a story today that chilled me to my very core and reminded me that doctor’s are human, and therefore capable of human error.

A friend of mine found out this spring that she has Stage-2 rectal cancer. As daunting as that is alone, the part of her story that really scared me was the road she took getting to that diagnosis.

Eighteen months ago, during a routine annual exam her gynecologist found some suspicious pea-sized nodules in her rectum. Not suspecting anything particularly harmful the doctor sent my friend for a closer look with a specialist. A colonoscopy deemed her free and clear. She was told the lumps appeared to be scar tissue and the doctor saw no need for further inspection. A note was sent to her gynecologist explaining the situation and away she went feeling slightly unsure but comfortable with the doctor’s decision.

One year later my friend began experiencing strange symptoms and went back to her gynecologist with questions. Given the nature of her symptoms the doctor referred her back to the gastroenterologist she had seen the year prior. This time the news was dire. The specialist was 99% sure my friend had rectal cancer and in her words, as told to my friend, “It’s bad. You know…the kind that Farrah Fawcett had?” Two months later, after a battery of tests and a slew of procedures she was officially diagnosed.

Cancer. The same cancer she was already suffering with twelve months before the diagnosis. The same cancer whose symptoms drove her to see a specialist. The same cancer that had been written off as “scar tissue” the first time around. The same cancer that had advanced from what would have been considered Stage-1 had she been diagnosed correctly the first time.

My friend has now endured 23 weeks of radiation and 2 rounds of chemotherapy, suffering burned skin and complete hair loss. Her determination is strong and her faith in God is stronger. She will find out in the next few days whether the brutal treatment she endured actually worked. She already knows that this was most likely her only chance at this type of treatment and the next step could possibly result in the removal of her rectum.

After telling me her incredible story she encouraged me to “be my own advocate.” Had she went with her gut reaction over a year ago and pushed that insensitive specialist to have the lumps biopsied, there’s a chance her cancer would have been caught at a much earlier stage leaving her more options for treatment and a better chance at beating the disease.

I have nothing but optimism that my friend’s check-up will go as planned and her cancer will have receded. But her encouragement to advocate for myself really struck a nerve.

For a whole host of reasons I’m not about ready to get into, the medical community is changing and it is now, more than ever, in our best interests to take an active role in our own health. It’s important to do our own research from reputable websites or books and magazines and arm ourselves with questions and concerns to be discussed at appointments. Gone are the days of just accepting a diagnosis at face value when our guts are telling us there’s reason for distrust. We have to be our own advocate or that of those we love.

So, there you have it. Remind your loved ones to get all necessary tests and screenings. If your doctor doesn’t order it, request it. Arm yourself with knowledge. And do not be afraid to question anything. Our health is precious and worth the extra effort.

Mindy

The Dreaded Picture

I’m fairly certain that most everyone has experienced this at one time or another.

How about you? Ever been featured in a photograph in a not-so-flattering manner? And upon discovery of said photograph a shock of shivers (and not the fun kind) trickle down your back at the realization that members of the public have not only seen you looking like this but it is now forever in existence thanks to digital media, a’la Facebook?

For some, perhaps the picture showcased a particularly unkind double-chin. For others it could have been a visual red-flag revealing one’s need to permanently remove a collection of turtleneck sweaters and acid-washed denim jackets from one’s wardrobe. Or, quite possibly, that small-rod perm you swore would transform you into an America’s Next Top Model jumps off the photo paper with a less than attractive effect.

For me, the picture only solidified a pressing feeling I’ve been unable to permanently tamper down. And God knows I’ve tried.

The picture reminded me (in a not so kind way) thatI have got to drop some pounds. I’m talking serious butter here, people.

The denial by which I have heretofore managed to utilize as a replacement for any real commitment to dieting has now forever been squashed due to the mental image now imprinted on my brain.

The dreaded picture.

So, you might be asking yourself, Mindy, haven’t you already made such revelations in previous blog posts, such asthis? And, didn’t you, in fact, enlist your husband to act as your Weight Watchers weigh-in coach?My answer would be a resounding yes. And that was a big fat ton of fun. Not. Weight loss is a process, people. Apparently, for this suburban wife it’s a long one.

So, what am I going to do with this newfound motivation-via-humiliation?

Well, I plan on taking a big, deep look at why I overeat and what I can do to work on that problem. And I also plan on finishing my recent Amazon purchase, the book, “If I Am So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?” by Brooke Castillo. I’ve only read a couple of chapters thus far but I really like the tone of the author’s writing and her attempt at bringing humor to an otherwise depressing topic.

And I’m all about the humor. I’m also all about finding the positives in negative situations.

Yes, I’m a bit of a chunky monkey. And, yes, I like to eat Cheezits. Lots of them. A weakness. But, I’ve got a host of other attributes that make up a whole lot more of who “Mindy” is than my pant size. Which, admittedly, is a little bigger this year than last year. But, this is why they make yoga pants. See? I’m all about the positives.

And I’m learning that it’s a lot more effective to focus on your attributes than to dwell on your negative characteristics. It makes much more sense to remind yourself what’s particularly “kick-ass” about you and once you’ve mastered the whole “loving” yourself situation, the rest will fall into place.

I admit that this post has been a bit therapeutic with some psycho-babble thrown in, but in true “The Suburban Life” form, I’m telling it like I see it.

Changes are afoot, my friends, and when I’m able to crop a proud “After” picture beside it, I’ll share the Dreaded Picture with you all.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my mom! Love you tons (no pun intended.)

Mindy


My dog has issues.

I’ve recently been presented with a new situation that is slightly concerning. This situation is unchartered territory for me and at this point I’m not entirely sure what steps I should be taking to avoid this complication.

You see…

My dog is scared of my exercise pants.

Due to the extensive rain and colder weather this winter I have been doing the majority of my exercising indoors. On any given day I could be “shredding” with Jillian, “cheering” with the DC Cheerleaders, “sweatin’” with Richard or “walking away the pounds” with Leslie. And, since we’ve recently acquired a flat screen plasma television neatly mounted above our fireplace in the front room (yeah…definitely Jer’s doing) I have been gettin’ my workout on in there. (Because, everyone knows, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders just don’t look quiteattractive enough on a standard screen without high definition.)

Now, normally, Lewis (the dog) is attached to me like a fly to a pile of poop. Wait. That would make me the ‘poop’. Bad analogy. Um, how about this one. Lewis is attached to me like candy to a fat kid. Dangit. Okay, you get the picture. He’s attached. Moving on.

A couple of weeks ago, I had just talked myself off the couchandLeslie Sansone was in my brain willing me to Walk Away the Cheezits.I headed toward the bedroom and my good ol’ sturdy exercise pants, my little buddy trailing closely behind me.

This is when I was faced with the new situation.

As Ibegan pulling up myexercise pants I noticed Lewis looking at me…his furry face riddled with fear.

“What’s up, buddy?” I asked.

He started backing away from me, slowly.

I stood there, my winterized legs (in terrible need of a shave) glowing brightly in contrast to my black lycra pants. I suddenly felt very vulnerable. Was it the sight of me in these less than attractive pantscausing his sudden trepidation? Were my white legs causing his imminent panic attack?

Watching him back away from me, I pulled my pants all the way on and reached down to quickly shove my feet in my Nikes.

That did it.

The little puff-ball beat feet and dove under Jer’s desk. If the dude could drive I’m pretty sure he would have been halfway across the country before I figured out what was happening.

Jer, who I forgot was at his computer and had sat there watching the entire exchange, said,”That was weird.”

“Um, yeah. What’s his problem?” I asked.

“I’m not sure. He’s under my legs though and I don’t think he’s moving,” Jer said.

“All I did was put on my…Oh. My. God. He hates my exercise pants.” Of course! Wait…what?

“Mindy, he doesn’t hate your exercise pants. Why would he? That makes no sense.”

“Um, I don’t know,Jer. But as soon as my leg slid into these things the dog freaked out. Okay? I need to go work out. We’ll figure this out later.” I stomped out, slightly affronted over my dog’s apparent prejudice against athletic apparel.

I started my workout, trying to shake the image of my little dog’s fear-filled eyes, shivering helplesslyunder my husband’s legs.

About halfway through my sweat-fest I noticed Jer had entered the room, laughing.

“What, Jer?” I huffed.

“I figured it out. I figured out what’s wrong with Lewis!”he answered, between bouts of laughter.

“Okay, what is it?”

“Every time you take a step on that hardwood it sounds like elephants are partying it up in the living room. The pounding is resonating through the house.” Jer was standing there, shaking his head. Proud of his discovery.

Hmmm.

“Jer.”

“Yeah?” he asked.

“Did you just compare me to an…elephant?”

“Um…huh?” Jer asked, his voice suddenly modulating like a pre-pubescent boy.

“An elephant, Jer? Really?”I asked.

“Bad analogy.”

Yeah.

So, as you can see, I find myself in a new situation. I apparently will need to approach my dog’s needs with more sensitivity. At the very least I should be working out with a lighter step so as not to resonate an elephant-like stompthroughout the house. Thanks a lot for that, Jer.

Mindy