June 30, 2010

Brooke Shields is a shyster

Full disclosure up front: I am probably the last person on earth who should be writing anything about makeup.

Foundation makes me break out. Blush makes me look like I should be crawling out of those tiny cars with my fellow circus clowns. Lipstick...just calls attention to the fact that I have no lips.

But the one thing I do wear is eye makeup. And while God gave me big brown eyes, He didn't see fit to also grant me long, beautiful eyelashes to match. So when I hear the siren call of a mascara commercial pimping "Fuller, longer lashes!" I sit up and pay attention. I have gone through multiple drawers-full of tried-and-failed lash lengtheners, lash strengtheners, lash plumpers, lash fullifiers... It's like my own personal Quest for the One True Ring.

So I'm watching TV the other day and I hear Brooke Shields start giving the usual "longer, fuller, darker" spiel. LATISSE®! It's fabulous! It helps you GROW MORE LASHES! It's backed by science! And experiments! And...scientists who do experiments!

But...wait. A prescription? Irritation? Permanent pigmentation? A list of side effects that lasts longer than the rest of the commercial?

Why, Brooke Shields? (I have to refer to her by her full name. She's Brooke Shields.) Why are you promising lash superstardom, only to sour it with a 30-minute disclaimer about how this product is probably going to make my eyeballs fall out?

I've done some research (by which I mean I've spent six minutes skimming the Latisse website; that's how I roll), and while the "possible increased brown iris pigmentation that is likely to be permanent" is disturbing, this freaked me out the most:

"Also, it is possible for hair growth to occur in other areas of your skin that LATISSE® frequently touches."


So...since I am super-uncoordinated and am likely to accidentally smear this stuff everywhere...I'm going to end up with HAIR on my eyelids, the tip of my nose and the middle of my cheeks?

And, it might not work at all. OR, it might only work on one of my eyes and not the other. And then my friends will all start calling me Half-a-Tammy-Faye-Bakker.

AND, even if it worked for both eyes and I didn't look all wonky and lopsided and hairy, the super-lash effects stop as soon as I stop using the product. So I'd have to keep using (and paying for) it forever.

I'm sort of feeling like my short, stubbly, non-prescription-enhanced eyelashes are A-OK.

I'm disappointed in you, Brooke Shields. I really thought you were better than this.

Then again, you were married to Andre Agassi when he was wearing that fake mullet, so clearly your judgment was already in question.

June 29, 2010

Sometimes life is kind...

...and it lets the things that are tasty also be good for you.

Case in point, the avocado (good fats are awesome), red wine (relaxing and also good for the heart, thank you) and my latest obsession:

Bacon Alfredo Pizza

It's pizza. With spinach. And tomatoes and cheese and alfredo sauce. And BACON.

Oh, dear sweet bacon.

My tastebuds adore you, but my slightly-over-sized posterior, sadly, does not.

Except! When you're on this DELICIOUS pizza made by Lean Cuisine! (Who are, in my opinion, the heroes of the frozen-dinner world, as their stuff (mostly) tastes pretty darn good, has (mostly) no preservatives and is (mostly) reasonably priced. And Kroger is always having sales during which T and I pack our standing freezer so full it's ridiculous.)

And...bacon? No longer just a fat-filled, unrealized dream. Now a fully-realized, satisfying reality. In my tummy.


Do you partake of the food that is frozen? What are your faves? Any I absolutely have to try? (Keeping in mind that I'm violently allergic to basil, which, sadly, most of the best frozen dinners seem to have.)

June 24, 2010

A little cross-promotion

A while back, I welcomed my boss friend, Maura, to the blogosphere. Since then, she's been a total rock star blogger over at 36x37, forging bravely ahead in her quest to do 36 things she's never done before by the time she turns 37.

This week, she invited me along to one of those firsts: Her first time eating sushi. It must be said: Maura hates all things of the sea, particularly fish, particularly those of the raw variety. But she was a trooper, choked it down and then happily went on to eat all of the offerings in her Bento box that didn't once have scales.

Check out her latest post to read about the experience (and to see an awful picture of me holding the biggest piece of salmon sushi on God's green earth). And if you haven't checked out her blog before, give the rest of it a look -- it's fabulous. :)

And! Coming sometime in the next few months: I plan to join Maura for another one of her firsts. I won't blow up her spot; I'll just say it's a spa treatment that isn't for the faint of heart...

June 22, 2010

Happy birthday, Linda!

OK, my friend's name is actually Tamara. It's her birthday today.

I call her Linda because, one time, in college, we met some boys who decided they'd rather guess our names than ask us. Because we were 19 and 21, we found this hilarious and endearing rather than lame and vaguely creepy. :) And they thought she looked like a Linda (she doesn't; she looks just like a Tamara).

Something else you should know about my friend Linda? She's amazing. She's one of the best listeners I've ever met. She has the greatest, loudest laugh. She's an encourager, and she always tells you the truth. And she gives some of the best hugs, ever, in the world. When Tamara hugs you, you know she MEANS it.

Tam: Happy, happy birthday!! I hope today is a day filled with all the things you love the most, and that, even for five minutes, you get to do something JUST for you.

I love you to pieces. :)


June 21, 2010

It's officially summer!

June 17, 2010

Tasty, science-y, with a dash of weird/adorable

My latest DVR go-to:

If you haven't heard of the show, it follows head chef Omar Cantu and his kitchen staff at his restaurant, MOTO, in Chicago. The hook: They use their kitchen like a laboratory, take experimental cooking (yay!) to a whole new level, and then serve the best results to their customers.

Since it airs on Planet Green, all the episodes/experiments have a green bent to them. For example, they invented edible (and, therefore, easily degradable) packaging material:

They created packaging peanuts that looked, functioned and actually protected a shipped glass vase just like their Styrofoam counterparts, but tasted like popcorn, strawberry and other flavors and were completely edible. (Note to the creators of the Touchdown/Butter Jesus: NOT a good idea for the next iteration.)

Since my kitchen doesn't include a centrifuge and a supply of liquid nitrogen, it's highly unlikely I'd be able to actually make most of what the team is doing, so the appeal of the show isn't personal instruction. Their experiments are just really...cool. :)

And socially relevant: In one show, they propose a solution to world hunger by creating dishes out of edible plants that normally are too bitter or nasty to actually eat (e.g., marigolds, and the weeds growing out of your sidewalk) but are made tasty by first eating Miracle Fruit, a fruit that fools your tastebuds into thinking bitter/sour things taste good.

What completely hooked me into the show: the staff, all of whom are adorable and totally excited about their experiments and how it might actually make a difference in the world. Omar (who was homeless as a kid, and knows from hunger) gets so little-kid-excited about things like shooting bratwursts with paintballs filled with hot sauce that I just want to put him in my pocket and carry him around.

Even if you don't really care about cooking (I generally don't) or if you don't give a crap about the environment (...), the show is just really...cool. I know, I already said that. But it is! They make fake sushi out of watermelon! And a chicken nugget using only things a chicken would actually eat! And EDIBLE PACKAGING PEANUTS!

Oh, just go watch it.


June 15, 2010

Pride, tears and spilled milk

Not quite 25 years ago, my life changed.

Up until then, I had been queen bee around my house. And after eight years as an only child, I was pretty used to it. Just me and my parents. We were a unit. The Three Musketeers. It worked.

And then, suddenly, there was this loud, screaming thing in the next room. And my fellow Musketeers were spending an awful lot of time with it, and not nearly enough time playing Chutes & Ladders with me.

I remember asking my mother, "WHEN is he going to STOP CRYING?" Like, he's cute and everything, but really? With the crying?

Really. Not only was he there to stay, he was moving into my room. The fact that I got the big room upstairs all to myself helped soften the blow. Sort of.

And so it went. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but the little loud screaming thing in my old bedroom at some point became my little brother.

And oh, how I loved and hated being his big sister.

  • He threw up on me.
  • I could no longer run around or make noise during what was now "nap time."
  • I believe I've mentioned the screaming, which didn't seem to stop as he got older.
  • He learned to climb stairs and discovered the joy of raiding his big sister's bedroom. My Barbies and then my CDs had never known such abuse.
  • He eventually developed an opinion about which Saturday morning cartoons we should watch, and it was useless to try to argue.
  • He once dumped a whole half-gallon of milk on the kitchen table while I was watching him, just because he knew I'd have to clean it up.
  • A whole new litany of heretofore unknown phrases came into play: "He looks up to you; set a good example," "You have to share!" and "Oh, what could he possibly do to your {doll/book/game/CD/blanket/puppy}?" (The latter was followed shortly by the object being, of course, completely destroyed.)
  • He knew he could hit and kick me with relative immunity, because I would get the "you're older, he doesn't know any better" speech, and I couldn't hit him back.
  • When he was mad at me, he told me I was ugly. "He doesn't know what he's saying, and no, you can't say it back. You're older and you know better."

He was kind of a serious pain in my ass.

But then: His face would light up when I came into the room, and he would smile big and run and hug me.

He called me "Non" until he was about four, because he couldn't quite manage "Shannon." I loved hearing him call "Nonnnnnnnnnn!" and knowing he just wanted his big sister.

He found me hilarious. He had the orneriest smile, and whenever I tried to make him laugh, he always, always obliged. When I took some lettuce, threw it in the air and told him it was a tossed salad, he laughed about it for a week. (In fact, he still finds that funny, for some reason.)

And he trusted me. When he was about four, he ate some pills, thinking they were candy. He was terrified to go to the hospital to be checked out, and hid under his covers, refusing to listen to our parents. It wasn't until his big sister came in, gave him a big hug and explained what was going to happen that he knew everything would be OK.

When we weren't trying to kill each other, we were buds.

(How 'bout those glasses, eh?)

Since there are eight years between us, you can't really say we grew up together. We were always in completely different phases of life: When he was in grade school, I was in high school. When he started junior high, I was already in college, and by the time he turned 15, I was already living on my own, with a full-time job, in the "real world."

In a lot of ways, we had separate childhoods. And in a lot of ways, his was a rough one. He had a lot of ups and downs, and for a majority of them, I wasn't around.

And I regret that. I wish I'd been there. I moved away, I got married... I was living my own life, it was bound to happen, and we still connected--when things got really bad he still, miraculously, sometimes sought my advice--but... I wish I'd really been there.

That's why I was so honored that, this past weekend, he wanted me there.

At 24 (almost 25), he has turned some major corners. He has a beautiful daughter. He owns a home. He's becoming the responsible adult we all knew he would become...eventually. :)

And this weekend, he passed another major station on the Adult Train: He became a husband.

I wish I could put into words how I felt watching him go through this milestone. He was a little boy playing dress-up (albeit still in shorts, on the beach), saying those important words and making promises that were so adult. It was absurd!

But then, it just seemed to fit him so naturally. He was a father, still learning but clearly tuned in to his daughter's needs. He was a man, so clearly smitten with his new bride that it was impossible to miss the love and respect and joy and excitement that eminated from both of them. And he was calm, taking in everything, confident that all the details would come together and that, even if it didn't, it would be OK.

As a big sister who still usually sees him as a "little" brother, it was amazing to see.

He's created his own little family, even as he's still a part of mine.

Brittany: Welcome to our family, and thank you for making my brother so happy. I can't wait to get to know you better. (And I'm still really sorry I accidentally dumped Diet Coke on your wedding dress. Oopsie. But it's probably best you know now that I'm really klutzy. You may want to wear old clothing to Thanksgiving.)

And to my stinky little brother: Wow. I'm so proud of you and the man you're becoming. You'll probably always sneak up behind me and goose me, and I'll probably always want to punch you a little. And I'm still a little bitter about having to clean up that milk.

But I'm so glad you're my brother. And I can't wait to see what's next for you. Whatever it is, I know you can handle it. And if you ever find you can't, I hope you know you can always call me, even if it's only to laugh again at my stupid tossed salad remark.

Oh, and also, I love you.


(More pictures of the family vacation-slash-wedding to come!)

June 14, 2010

How I know I'm in desperate need of a nap

I just walked from my desk to the printer and back again with my sandals on the wrong feet.

It took me more than 50 steps to realize something was amiss.

I'm thinking bedtime will immediately follow my arrival at home post-work today. Hopefully I can make it that long without drooling on my shirt.

(The shoes above aren't mine, but I think they're cute and I sort of want them.)

I'm super tan right now...

...and a pretty big event happened in my family this weekend.

But my post about that won't be ready until tomorrow. :)

So, in the meantime, please enjoy this picture of Bubba, taking part in his favorite pastime:

Just hangin'.

What, did you need me for something?

Stay tuned for more on this weekend's events...

June 9, 2010

All fiesta'd out

Sometimes it's hard being Murray.

June 7, 2010

How did you come up with your moniker "Written Permission?"

OK, first of all, time to acknowledge that I have been majorly neglecting Formspring. Bad WP! So plan on seeing a mini flood of these over the next few days...

I have wanted to have a blog for years and years, but my day job was so demanding that it just didn't seem feasible. When I changed jobs two years ago and I actually had a little of that work-life balance, I decided it was time to do something for myself. Even though I was still busy, I gave myself "permission" to do it anyway. (See what I did there? Eh? Eh?)


...I'm really glad I did. :)

Ask me anything

June 3, 2010

I'm sorry, who said the what now?

There are many reasons you may see a few days go by without a new post from me.

Often, it's because life gets in the way.
  • I have a full-time job.
  • I have a husband I (gasp!) love hanging out with. :)
  • I have family and friends I crave spending time with.
  • I volunteer.
  • I have other writing projects in the works.
Life happens. I know you all get that. Life happens to you, too, of course.

But sometimes, it isn't life -- it's me. I get in my own way.

I'm not talking about writer's block (although I get that, too, from time to time). This is something that actually kind of makes me fear for my own sanity.

I'm not sure how other bloggers get their ideas, but for me, they usually come in flashes of inspiration (whether or not it's a good inspiration is a completely different subject altogether). The problem is, these "flashes" usually happen at the most inopportune times:
  • While I'm driving
  • In the middle of a conversation with someone
  • While I'm doing yard work
  • Juuuuuust as I'm falling asleep
  • During a conference call at work (Note to my boss, who graciously reads this blog: Just pretend I didn't say this one. Hee.)
None of these situations lends itself to either A) writing an actual post or B) writing a well-thought-out description of the central idea of what I want to say. So I end up trying to later decipher things like this:
  • "The meaning of telephone poles." {Voicemail left to myself, accompanied by Lady Gaga playing in the background and the sound of rushing wind}
  • "Is Facebook destroying us as humans? Deep discussion. Reconnect: No Growth?" {E-mail sent from my phone while I apparently was half-asleep}
  • "Gum: Pervasive smell. Why?" {Note hastily scribbled on the back of a receipt and then crumpled at the bottom of my purse}
  • "Just one sound required" {Post-It note on my desk at work}


By the time I'm able to revisit these at a convenient time for writing, not only do I have no idea why I thought it'd make an interesting blog post, I have absolutely no idea what I was thinking at all. Gum? Facebook? TELEPHONE POLES? Was I high?

So don't think of these absences as me being neglectful. I'm really just doing you all a favor by waiting until I have a semi-formulated thought.

I'll get back to you when I have one. :)

June 1, 2010

An unusual embrace

I found this picture on another blog and kind of fell in love with it.

When I read a great book, or when I'm writing and really in the zone, or when I hear someone who is extremely well-spoken, I feel this way.

Embraced by words.

As though they themselves are embracing me, holding me, soothing and reassuring me -- completing something in me that, without them, sits unfilled. (I feel similarly about music.)

Words are always there.

At a time when so many people (especially young people) are learning to write in text-speak, when those of us who actually care about the written word and "doing it right" and "the rules" are seen as archaic and out of touch -- I love this image.

I'm Reading:


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