On Glasses and Makeup


The other day a 2nd grader made a comment about my glasses, which I’ve been wearing nonstop since January.

“Mrs. Kendall,” she said. “I think you’re pretty, but you’re a million times prettier without your glasses.” I laughed and told her she’d have to learn to like my glasses because I can’t see without them.

I didn’t take offense. Kids are honest, and she prefers me without glasses. I know my glasses–red, heavy and large–are arguably man repellers and not for everyone. I like them, and I’ve grown so accustomed to them that my reflection in the mirror looks odd on the rare occasion I don’t have them on. I have only one problem with wearing glasses. I can’t wear mascara. When I do, my lashes brush up against the lenses and smear my vision.

Here’s the thing; I shouldn’t wear mascara with or without glasses. I’m allergic to some chemical in most mascaras. Whatever it is burns my eyes something fierce and makes them red and glassy. Tearing up while wearing mascara is like splashing my eyes with rubbing alcohol. You would think this would be enough of a reason to forgo wearing mascara. It was not. Instead, I’d wait to put on mascara until right before “the event” so I had an hour or two of comfortable vision. (?) If I had a long commute to where I was going, I would put on my mascara in the parking lot. No sense wasting good eyes on the drive! And yes, I tried many of the natural mascaras on the market. Those produced some of the worst reactions for some reason.

I also rarely leave the house without makeup. I wear Garnier’s BB Cream and dark circle eye roller, which I then seal with a powder. Once I’m done, I add a little cream blush and tinted lip gloss because the unnaturally smooth and uniform appearance of my skin reminds me of a corpse. Finally, I fix my eyebrows with a gel, making sure to hide the scar I have in my right eyebrow. This is what I do on most days, and what I did in the above picture. On very, very special occasions I will use eyeshadow and eye liner and, yes, mascara.

At night I take it all off with an oil cleanser, also by Garnier. I follow that up with their dark spot mask and lotion. (I swear, this is not a sponsored post.)

My skin has never been in such poor condition. I have dark circles from lack of sleep and genetics. My skin is uneven, dry, and rough. My cheeks will itch for no reason. I get breakouts. There is a dry spot on my chin that I pick at repeatedly, often without realizing it. You can see it peaking out of my makeup in the picture. I didn’t realize it was so bad until twice I went without makeup and twice people asked me about the bruise on my chin. Both people jokingly asked if the Mister punched me. Nope! That skin damage is self inflicted, thanks. (I just caught myself doing it just now. I do it a lot when I’m thinking, reading, editing, etc.)

I don’t think it’s the products because my skin was worse before I started using the oil cleanser a few weeks ago. This post isn’t a slam on Garnier products.


This is me on the day of my high school graduation in May of 1990. Maybe June? Point: almost 24 years ago. A lot can happen in 24 years.

I rarely wore makeup, not even to my graduation. My skin! I can’t believe how fantastic my skin looks, and how absolutely clueless I was about my fantastic skin. Sure, my eyebrows are an uneven mess and my hair is crawling up my skull like a cresting tsunami, but my eyelashes were naturally thick. Not as thick as they appear in the picture–that’s just a fortunate lighting illusion–but thick enough that I never wore mascara. Far thicker than they are now. (Eyelashes thin with age, sadly.) I never wore face makeup of any kind. Blush and eyeliner, sometimes. At night, I splashed my face with cold water. I did the same thing in the morning. That was my grand beauty routine.

If I could blame the condition of my skin on one thing, even though I know it’s not just one thing, I would point the finger at regular makeup use. When I graduated college and started working, wearing makeup, everything went to pot.

Nicole linked to two interesting posts on her weekly round up on Friday. This one, by 25 year old Man Repeller Leandra Medine, talks about why she doesn’t wear makeup. The other link, by Jezebel, rightly argues that going without makeup isn’t that big a deal–or shouldn’t be.

Those posts got me thinking about my face, what I put on it, and why. I should toss out my mascara now while I’m feeling empowered (haha). More food for thought: Jessica Ledwich’s Monstrous Feminine series, featured here.

Doing OK, Essentially



Buddy naps

It’s been a little over a week since we let Buster go, and several of you have asked how the rest of us are doing. Thank you for that. Mikey and the Mister prefer not to think about it and Nico likes to look at pictures of him. I’ve taken to calling Nico “Buster” for some reason. I guess I have my first second-born on my mind. I’ve avoided blogging, mainly because to access my pictures I have to scroll through dozens and dozens of pictures of Buster. I’ll get there. It’s only been a week!

The Monday after Buster died, the Mister had to leave for another business trip. Buddy seemed unsettled by the combined absence of the Mister and Buster. For the first couple of days, Mikey would find him waiting at the kitchen door. That broke my heart. He slept nonstop, refused to eat, and eventually developed a mild ear infection that I was able to treat at home. He rarely eats breakfast these days. His stomach gets upset, but his appetite always returns for dinner. The knee of his left hind leg, which he injured right before he turned 13, bothers him all of a sudden. He won’t put but the minimum weight on it and he occasionally slips on the hardwood floor. Last week, I tried to take him on a walk around the block, which he normally loves. He went less than a quarter of a mile before I had to turn around and carry him home. We worry that he’s lonely during the day.

Buddy sleeps with Mikey every night now, and this weekend, when I had a mild fever, he slept with me.

So, that’s the update. We’re doing OK, essentially.



Speaking of fevers, I treated my own this weekend with peppermint oil. I’ve never done that before, and it actually worked! The Breathe oil I use on the boys when they’re sick, and it seems to work well. Much better than the vapo rubs I’ve used in the past. I’ve even used the Breathe on Buddy, since his lungs are crap. (They’re safe for dogs–I checked.)

Comfort Food

Comfort Food

I craved healthy food when I was pregnant with Mikey. I remember sitting on our brown leather sectional, barely 14 weeks along, with a bowl of clementines in my lap. I ate a 5 lb crate of clementines in less than a week. How fortunate for me that is was December and they were in season. Aside from my craving for clementines–only clementines, not citrus–I craved bean, rice, and cheese burritos from Miguel’s Jr. Never in my life, before or since, have I wanted a bean, rice, and cheese burrito. I like beans, I like rice, and I like cheese. I don’t like them fraternizing in my mouth or my tortillas.

Years later, I ordered a BRC burrito from Miguel’s Jr. out of curiosity. I remembered distinctly how good they tasted when I was pregnant. They were so good, my mouth would water as I unwrapped the burrito and I savored each bite until I hit pay dirt: that end of the burrito where the tortilla is double thick and rolled into itself.

To my empty womb, the BRC tasted like baby food, which is exactly how beans, rice, and cheese burritos always taste to me. I can’t get behind food you can eat by pressing it against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. I just can’t. Vile, mushy food.

And then, Nico.

Two things happened within seconds of Nico’s conception. I got heartburn and I craved McDonald’s chicken nuggets. No, it was worse than that because it wasn’t an isolated nugget craving. I craved nuggets, fries, kielbasa (??), pizza, hamburgers, junk food of all kinds, and beer. It was like I was gestating Bluto from Animal House.

This is all apropos of nothing, except that Mikey is sick and all day yesterday he wanted a salad. That’s all he wanted. That, and eggs. I didn’t have all the ingredients for a salad, but I must have made him 4-5 eggs throughout the day. His favorite comfort food: crispy fried egg over black beans. The black beans I saute in coconut oil and Herbamare seasoning.

Mikey and Nico have opposite taste in food. Mikey likes watery foods like salad and fruit. Pizza. Tacos. Or, casseroles. Cheesy, gooey, rich casseroles where everything is all mixed up and touching. (The horror, the horror!) Eggs are a favorite, but that goes without saying. So are beans, rice, and cheese all mixed up like pudding.

Nico likes things plain and solid. His favorites are roasted garbanzo beans or tofu, both over brown rice. (Don’t be too impressed–the beans/tofu are hardly low fat by the time I’m done with them.) Hamburgers with mustard and pickles, no cheese. Pizza. Anything fried. Sweets of all kind, especially chocolate. He likes sour condiments like pickles and mustard (Mikey despises both) and absolutely, positively despises anything rich and…{{shudder}} creamy. Yogurt, melted cheese, and eggs have all caused him to vomit on sight. I wish I was kidding. The Mister thought Nico was exaggerating two weeks ago when he said he couldn’t bring Mikey’s plate to the kitchen without throwing up. He wasn’t. One look at Mikey’s slightly dried out scrambled egg crumb had Nico head first in the trash can. Later on he thought about it–just thought about it!–and barely made it to the bathroom.

Sometimes, because we’re terrible people, we like to tease Nico and tell him we’re having cheesy scrambled eggs with a side of yogurt for dinner.

Speaking of food, I still haven’t finished our last book club pick. A nonfiction book about food: it’s like I was begging for failure.

The book was great when I read it, but as I read it I also experienced that heightened level of stress I always get when the conversation turns to dieting or, in the case here, not dieting. When New Year’s came, I got all wrapped up thinking I needed to eliminate everything bad always and forever. Luckily, I was able to talk myself down from the ledge before I dipped my toe in a pool where I should never, ever swim. Every time I get the urge to diet, God nudges me. A girl confides that her mom calls her fat and that she needs to diet or no one will like her in high school. Another girl tells me she’s on a diet because she’s fat. Nowhere, on any planet in this galaxy or the next, is she fat. Then there was that Biggest Loser shocker.

And then the most recent nudge, which came while writing this post. I was link hopping, looking for a good Biggest Loser link, and found the link above. I watched the video thinking it was about Rachel, but no, it was about Jillian getting in trouble for giving her contestants caffeine supplements. Jillian refused to admit wrong doing and stated it was no different, and probably better, than unlimited coffee consumption. The pointed look she gave the other team makes me think that’s essentially what they were doing.

Unlimited coffee? Caffeine supplements? That’s a pro-Ana trick, and quite possibly the oldest one in the book.

I’m glad I’m no longer dieting and happy that I walk every day. I just need to keep reminding myself that 30 years of dieting mentality isn’t going to resolve itself over night.

Just Because

A little break in the routine, just because.


First, Happy 40th Birthday, Heather! I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

Next, a few links left in the comments yesterday. The links left in the comments are always good. The links and posts to my wall on Facebook are always good. I welcome both. They’re inspiring, so don’t be shy.

Sometimes the links are so good I plan to go back and organize them in a post for myself (and others) to refer back to as needed. In the spirit of my year of no procrastinating, I’m actually going to do it. Now. Today. This is it. A post about posts or people you have found inspiring on the subject of aging.

  • The Gardener’s Cottage is a blog about simplicity, vegan cooking, gardening, and style. Janet is over 50 and kicks ass in a multitude of ways: garden, house, fashion. I’m going to add the fact she lives in Redlands to that list, even though it makes me sound completely biased. I am, of course.
  • Privilege is another style blog for the 50+ set, though Lisa writes about more than style. This post on Ryan Gosling was spot on.
  • Susannah Conway wrote the best post yesterday on The (Delicious) Truth About Getting Older. We’re both 41, which I did not know. Also, she links to several posts on aging. It’s on my agenda to take time to read those posts today.
  • Jeanine has had great luck with oil cleansing and mentioned Andrea Dekker as a good source for more information. I’ve done oil cleansing in the past and didn’t have luck removing my mascara without my eyes stinging, but I want to try it again.

If I missed something or someone, it was by accident. Please let me know and I will amend the list! I know someone, somewhere, mentioned having a Pinterest Board of women over 30. I think that’s a great idea. So great, in fact, I’m going to copy the idea and make mine about women over 40.

I went to the library yesterday to pick up a book for Nico’s teacher. While there, I decided to pick up a book on beauty for women over 45 that I read about on Goodreads/Amazon/The All-knowing Internet during one of my bouts of panic last week. Well. I found the book on a shelf with All The Over 40 Books. I left the library with one book for Nico’s teacher and 31 books on aging gracefully for me. I’ll be 65 by the time I finish reading them.

Another Six

Walking,  1

Six months ago, I wrote two posts on weight and disordered eating. (This one and this one.) Yesterday I put them in my favorites page so I can find them easily. It’s a subject I don’t like to write about because I don’t know how to do it without sounding maudlin or, worse, making light of a serious disease. It’s a balance that, much like with my issues with food, I still struggle to achieve. I put them in my favorites because until I reread them for this post, I hadn’t looked at them again. This was a mistake.

I am uncomfortable with flattery or attention (all attention, positive or negative). I want it, but I don’t. I’m not sure why, but this is how I have always been. Both posts were well received. I received comments and links and emails of support and thanks even though I stated clearly in both posts that I was not one to admire. I don’t know the answers. I white knuckle through every day, holding tight to the thread of normal I can reach, and most of the time I feel it slip through my fingers.

When the comments and links and emails came in I did what anyone in my broken position would do. I took it all in and panicked. Clearly I wrote it all wrong. Clearly I put forth a false image. Clearly I bamboozled everyone. Clearly I needed to resolve the cognitive dissonance between my mind and my scale. So I gained back the 2 pounds I lost.

It was a failure and disappointment, but at least everything matched up.

Time went on, I met with Diane, and I lost the two pounds once again. I ramped up my exercise. I walked in triple digit heat for miles and miles. I wore a tank top almost everyday with my compression pants, which was huge for someone who the year before didn’t like to wear short sleeves.

I don’t like to walk around town in my workout clothes, and certainly not a tank top, but on May 14th I was hot after a very long walk and decided to brave the public. I considered it an exercise in body confidence, something Diane wanted me to work on.

There is something you should know about me. I’m shy and introverted, but only when it comes to talking about myself. If you walk up to me in a store and ask for help, I’ll gladly help you search the aisles for almond butter. I’ll talk to your kids or make small talk. I’ve asked check out boys about their piercings. In my experience, they kind of love it.

Walking, 2

I went to the health food store wearing my pants and tank top to buy my favorite vegan takeout sandwich and some coconut vinegar. While I was there I remembered these chips I really liked, so I went down that aisle to pick up a single serving bag. I was there when a woman approached me from behind and me, stupid, stupid me, thinking she was looking for almond butter, turned around and smiled.

She told me that it was obvious I needed to lose weight and then she launched into a series of diets tips, one of them being the ingestion of safflower oil. She even brought me a bottle.

I held up my hand and told her I wasn’t interested. I’m not sure if my face showed anger, shock, or hurt (I felt all three). She said she was sorry she offended me, but she was only trying to help me.

There is something else you should know about me. I don’t cry. The last time I remember crying was almost 8 years ago when my sister in-law’s father died, though I know I’ve shed a tear for mushy animal/kid stories and the like since then. But full on crying? No. So when I stood there in the cracker and chip aisle and stared blindly at a white box of gluten free rice crackers I thought to myself that would be a fantastic time to cry. Instead, I tweeted (!), texted Diane, and paid for my lunch–except for the chips. Those I put back.

I sat in my car and took my first bite of sandwich while thinking about not thinking. That bite sat heavy on my tongue like an unconfessed sin. Two minutes later the rest of the sandwich was in the trash uneaten. Within ten minutes I was at Target holding a large iced coffee and a hand-basket of Lean Cuisines. I didn’t eat another full meal until I’m not sure when.

And in that time, I gained 5 pounds.

By the end of May I was in a state and joined Weight Watchers. Diane questioned my decision. (Hah! Understatement.) She felt it would be a huge trigger for me and that nothing good would come from me counting and measuring and, besides, I’m being shamed in public for free, so why pay for it? (This pretty much sums up her thoughts on diet programs, and you won’t changer her mind. I’ve tried.) I was determined to prove her wrong.

I gained two pounds the first week, and I’m still not sure how I managed it because I was starving the entire time.

The next week I dropped the coffees, the diet food, and Weight Watchers. I ate ice cream. I lost the two pounds I gained.

I am still 5 pounds up from my last post. But then there is that woman who thought I lost 30-40 pounds. So, really, I have no idea what to think. And I that’s all I can do right now–not think too much about it and trust that everything will be okay.


Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.