Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taking a blogging break--but first, my Thanksgiving Day forecast!

I'm going to be taking several days off from blogging to spend time with family during the Thanksgiving holidays.

In the meantime, I pray a wonderful Thanksgiving for everyone who reads my humble little blog!

One tradition I've continued through my years of blogging has been my humorous Thanksgiving forecast.

No, it's not original to me--it's something I picked up in radio, and who knows who originally came up with it, but it's pretty cute!

This year I decided to do it audio style. It's only a little over a minute long, but if you'd like a grin, give it a listen!

Check this out on Chirbit

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cool Stuff I've Seen on Pinterest Lately

OK, so I'm late for The Vintage Apple's Oh How Pinteresting Wednesday, but I'm going to go ahead and share some of the cool things I've seen on Pinterest lately. (What is Pinterest? Basically it's an online collection board where you can "pin" and "re-pin" photos, images, recipes, name it. It's a treasure trove!)


This is a wall decal! Adorable or what?

A pretty illustration of various teas

Duchess Kate...lovely as always

Red velvet brownies with buttercream frosting? Uh, yeah, I'm on board.

Such a pretty bedroom...

Yep...with two rowdy little boys (now grown-up!), I learned to pick my battles...and times to panic.

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

THE most amazing scarf-tying tutorial you'll ever see. A tour de force.

I am loving this show!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Today is "I Love to Write" Day!

From the website:

“My goal for I Love To Write Day is to have people of all ages spend time writing,” says John Riddle, Founder. “They can write a poem, a love letter, a greeting card, an essay, a short story, start a novel, finish a novel…the possibilities are endless. But I want people to take the time to put their thoughts down on paper. They will be amazed at the results. Writing can be fun, but also challenging. People need to be challenged, and writing is but one of many creative ways to express yourself. I am very excited because I Love To Write Day activities are already being planned all across the United States. When people become stronger writers, they become better communicators, and everyone wins.”

I have always loved to write--it's almost as natural to me as breathing. That's one of the reasons I love to blog. So this is a day I can definitely get behind!

I encourage you to write something today. In the meantime, here are some images and quotes to celebrate the day!

"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop." ~Vita Sackville-West

“From a thank-you note to the sonnets of Shakespeare, writing reveals the things of our hearts. Through writing we share everything from our summer vacations to fictional worlds filled with wonder. We write from the depths of our heart, the edge of our funny bone, and every place in between. And the only prerequisite is that you do it from your own heart. Even in our technology-driven world, writing keeps us connected and provides a conduit for our creativity.”--Thomas Smith

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Visible Monday: Breaking the rules with eye shadow

(OK, first off, don't laugh at me for another self-taken picture in my car! This time with my seatbelt on, no less!) This usually happens because my make-up is freshly done, I'm getting ready to leave for work, and somehow the lighting tends to be good. Whatever works, you know?

All the subject of eye shadow and sometimes breaking the rules.

The make-up Powers That Be will often tell you:

--not to wear eye shadow that matches the color of your eyes
--not to wear eye shadow that matches what you're wearing
--older women should only wear neutral eye shadows

On this occasion, I brazenly did all these no-no's, and I liked it fine!

I resisted the urge to photo-shop so I could realistically show you what these colors looked like, by the way.

Also, note to self (I'm still learning...), next time, take a picture of your eyes CLOSED as well.

Here's what I did:

--used a tiny angled brush to apply Clinique eye shadow in "slate" to define my eyebrows

--applied Elf eyelid primer to my entire above-eye area (more on primer in a moment!)

--brushed Estee Lauder matte eye-shadow in "sandbar beige" over entire above-eye area---this sets the primer and gives you a nice canvas for the rest of your shadow look

--applied Ulta eye shadow in "envy" in eye crease and outer corners of the lid, blending carefully

--went over the crease with Clinique "slate" eye shadow, blending carefully

--applied Elf cream eyeliner in "gunmetal" above the upper eyelashes

--lightly went over the eyeliner with Clinique "slate" eye shadow to set it

--below the "water line," applied Ulta Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in "emerald"

--lightly went over that with Ulta eyeshadow in "envy" to set it

--applied Estee Lauder black mascara in "Sumptuous" both on top and bottom lashes

(I know it sounds lengthy, but it actually doesn't take that long to do.)

Yes, there are some eye shadow rules that older women should not regularly break. For instance, highly frosted and shimmery shadows are best avoided or kept to a minimum (I do use them sometimes, sparingly.)

And remember, blend, blend, blend. You want to avoid a "striped" look at all costs!

But some rules are made to be broken. Do it with class and discretion, but take a chance every once in a while!
OK, about primer

If you haven't yet discovered primer, let me introduce you to what will become one of your best cosmetic friends!

As you've already surmised, I'm a make-up girl. I pretty much never step out of the house without a full face of it.

For years, though, I was a prisoner to constant touch-ups. It just never stayed the way I wanted it to! Eye shadow gathering in the crease...smudges left and face make-up needing regular touch-ups as well. A pain!

When I started watching YouTube beauty tutorials, I learned about primer. Primer assures that you can put your make-up on in the morning, and by noon it looks pretty much the same as it did when you stepped out!

On my eyelid, I usually just use Elf eyelid primer. It costs ONE DOLLAR at Target (and some other locations.) I usually go over that with a matte color that's close to my own skin color. The rest of my eye make-up then stays on beautifully.

There are other, more expensive eyelid primers, but Elf works fine for me.

On my face, prior to putting on my foundation, I usually use Rimmel Fix and Perfect Pro. It's not expensive, you can get it at most drugstores, and it makes a world of difference.

I'm participating today in Visible Monday!

Join us! Click the Spotlight

Friday, November 11, 2011

What is a veteran?

I'm not sure who actually wrote this tribute to veterans, but it is definitely worth taking a moment to read. Thank a veteran today!

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.

You can't tell a vet just by looking.

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies
unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the
freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag."

--attributed to Father Denis Edward O'Brien/USMC

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My Review of Marilyn Monroe: The Biograpy by Donald Spoto

Such was the staggering fame and notoriety of Marilyn Monroe, that even my Sunday School teacher mentioned her as a sort of cautionary tale the Sunday after she died.

I was only 5 and a half years old, but I clearly remember my teacher pointing out that riches and fame had not brought Marilyn Monroe happiness...that she had killed herself despite all that.

I must admit, I've been curious about this legendary sex symbol/icon for some time. I've only watched a couple of her movies, but if you grew up a latter-fringe baby boomer as I did, Marilyn Monroe--even dead--was just there.

Even now, there are myriads of blogs, many of them by young people, devoted to iconic images of the movie star.

As Elton John famously sang about her in "Candle in the Wind," her "candle burned out long before her legend ever did."

I picked up Donald Spoto's Marilyn Monroe: The Biography somewhat at random at my public library. Turns out, I probably picked the least sensationalized, earnestly-endeavoring-to-be-accurate Marilyn bio out there.

Spoto presents a detailed, factual account of Marilyn's life. Apparently, to gain sympathetic publicity, she exaggerated the poverty and pitifulness of her early life--but the truth is bad enough.

Norma Jeane Baker (her real name, as most people know), never knew who her father was--it could have been any number of her mother's boyfriends. That mother, Gladys, was an unreliable and infrequent visitor in Marilyn's childhood, showing up occasionally to whisk her away from her foster family and then disappear again.

As Spoto relates, her entire early life was characterized by being regularly abandoned by the people who mattered most to her and who she most wanted to please.

As a teen-aged Norma Jeane Baker, Marilyn married 21-year-old Jimmy Dougherty to escape the orphanage where she'd been living. The marriage was short-lived as she became popular as a model and hungered for stardom

Spoto seems to almost minimize two disturbing childhood incidents of sexual molestation--one by a trusted surrogate father, the other by a boy around her own age. But there's no doubt that the magnitude of these incidents can't be ignored when it comes to their lifelong impact on her.

There's a sadness in her eyes here

As far as conspiracy theories about her death--that the FBI killed her, the mob killed her, Kennedy cronies killed her to hush her up--Spoto convinced me that these were all pretty much rubbish.

Far from carrying on any liasons with the Kennedy brothers (Spoto does admit to at least one physical encounter between Marilyn and JFK; none with Bobby)--at the time of Marilyn's death, she was happily planning remarriage to baseball star Joe DiMaggio--the one man in her life who really seemed to love her. (That despite the fact that during their marriage years earlier, his extreme jealousy and hair-trigger temper caused him to physically abuse her.)

Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio. He never talked about her after her death, but for 20 years afterward, he had flowers placed on her grave every week

Spoto also convinces me that Marilyn did NOT commit suicide...but that a lethal cocktail of accumulated drugs, administered by her controlling and unethical psychiatrist, actually did the deed unintentionally.

Despite my disapproval of Marilyn Monroe's lifestyle, choices, exhibitionism, whatever--this book left me with a profound sympathy for her. Here was a beautiful girl, actually smart and talented beyond what her dumb-blonde image often portrayed, who was completely unable to find joy in her short life.

Dying at 36, still in the prime of her beauty, she will remain forever young in the many iconic images of her that still circulate perpetually.

I don't think Marilyn Monroe committed suicide, but my Sunday School teacher was right about one thing.

Riches and fame didn't bring her happiness.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

National Young Reader's Day: Some of My Favorite Childhood Books

Today is National Young Reader's Day--"... a special day to recognize the joys and benefits of reading."

I've been a voracious reader since I was able to string words together. Interestingly, I don't have much of a memory of the books that were read to me before I could read myself, but I vividly remember the books I loved as a child.

Here is a nod to some of them.

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is the first full-length book I remember reading. I was eight years old.

This is a picture of the actual version I read. It was an abridged version, but I loved the illustrations. In my mind, that is still what Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy look like.

My Aunt Jean (sadly no longer with us) had recommended it to me, saying "You'll cry your eyes out and back in again!"

This was just before my family went to Beirut, Lebanon as missionaries. We were in New York City for several days before our ship sailed, and my parents bought me beautiful hardbound copies of "Little Men" and "Jo's Boys." I was in heaven.

This book laid the foundation for my lifelong love of The Chronicles of Narnia. I saw British friends reading it at Manor House School in Beirut, and that sparked my interest.

Even as a child, I was able to see the spiritual parallels. Years later, I made sure my own children read them.

I received this book as a Christmas gift when I was a little girl, and it was a treasure trove for me! I also loved Blyton's "Mallory Towers" series.

Source: via Cindy on Pinterest

This was the first Noel Streatfield book I read, but I think I probably ended up reading all of them. They were all about children who were very talented, either as skaters, dancers or actors. I enjoyed them immensely.

I was delighted when the books were actually mentioned in the movie, "You've Got Mail."

Those are just a few. You can read here about my other favorites, Auntie Robbo and Red Knights from Hy Brasil...and here about what my love of a childhood book has to do with a murder in an English village!

Reading enriched my childhood and continues to do so today!

What were YOUR favorite books as a child?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Visible Monday: One of my favorite cardigans

OK, I'm pretty new to this whole Outfit of the Day thing, so bear with me!

Several months ago, I entered a blog give-away at lovely AmandaBeth, and WON! My prize? This black cardigan from Fashion to Figure.

I love this cardigan. The ways to wear it are pretty much endless; it's comfortable and flattering, and has lovely detailing that didn't show up very well in my pictures.

On this occasion, I paired it with a long back skirt, a black tank and a pink scarf.

Cardigan from Fashion to Figure
Black tank from Gordman's
Skirt, Notations via Gordman's
Fishnet hose from Wal-Mart
Peep-toe kitten-heel shoes from Sears, a few years ago
Scarf given by my nephew Benjamin, bought on a missions trip to Malaysia

Had to show you the pretty detailing on the back!

I decided to experiment with the half-up braid look from Kate at The Small Things. Here's the tutorial.

Closer view of the pretty scarf. Yes, I took it in my car!

So, the blog that has brought me into the whole Outfit of the Day thing is Not Dead Yet Style, and I'm participating in Visible Monday!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Some Awesome New Blogs I've Found!

I've adopted a new life verse for myself. It's Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

As a news reporter, I'm constantly confronted with things that are disturbing and ugly--the violent side of humanity.

I have to stop frequently and remind myself to think about things that are just, pure, and lovely.

So I've memorized that verse. And I'm trying to surround myself with things that are in keeping with that verse...and that includes the blogs I read.

I have some amazing blogs on my sidebar...check all of them out! Of course, I don't blanketly endorse everything that's written on each one, but there's some good stuff there.

In recent months I've found some more wonderful blogs that enhance my online experience and therefore, my life.

Here are a few of them:

I love this young woman's vibrant spirit, lovely style and missional heart. Right now she's on a visit to China, which seems to own a big part of her heart.

Over50Feeling40--As I get older, I never want to "give up" when it comes to my looks or my style! Blogs like this encourage me to be the best "woman of a certain age" that I can be.

This is from Pam's mission statement:

"Just after my fiftieth birthday, I received a brutal wakeup call….my new driver’s license came in the mail! I looked at the woman in the picture and was shocked…she looked elderly, worn out, and downcast. She was overweight and wearing an oversized, man’s polo making her appear much larger. She had no makeup and frayed, greying hair. The picture communicated that she was tired and had given up on herself. On that day in 2003, I realized that I had given everyone in my life (my family and students) every drop of my time and put myself on the back burner. I began with vigorous determination to reinvent myself. The journey has led me to fun, joy, peace, confidence, and new directions…but is a continuous process.

"Therefore, my mission with over50feeling40 is to inspire women over 50 to look and feel their best… to strive to be women of strength and dignity…and to enjoy every single day of life…one day at a time."

I've been following Anita for some time, and I truly love her unique blog! Anita doesn't post every day, so a new post from her is an event!

She displays gorgeous images and ties them all together with writing that is nothing short of poetic. I have commented to her that her blog is like an oasis of loveliness on the internet. It's like a little visit to a beautiful, relaxing and encouraging place.

The following blogs inspire me with fashion and beauty in my previously stated goal of "being the best 'woman of a certain age' that I can be"!

Tanesha Aswathi is a stunningly beautiful young woman who embraces her God-given shape. She posts outfits of the day that are absolutely gorgeous. I enjoy checking out the styles she puts together.

Kate Bryan of The Small Things

Kate is a professional hairstylist with some awesome YouTube tutorials on hairstyling and other style advice. I've really been enjoying both her tutorials and her blog.

So take a few moments, check out these blogs, and enjoy the loveliness!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

From the Archives: My Family's Evacuation from Lebanon

(This was originally posted in July 2006, when some political turmoil in Lebanon was again prompting the evacuation of Americans from the country)

The current Lebanese evacuation brings back memories of June 1967

The ongoing evacuation of Americans out of Lebanon brings back a lot of memories for me, because in June 1967, it was happening to me.

I was 10 years old, and I remember it very well. My family had been in Lebanon for a little over two years, my parents being missionaries with the Baptist Bible Fellowship International missions board.

I have wonderful memories of my time in Lebanon. As children do, my younger sister and I adjusted quickly to life in a foreign country. (My older sister, a teen-ager, ended up returning to the United States early so she could finish high school in the States. At the time, it seemed like she had been gone forever, but in reality she left Lebanon less than a year before the rest of the family did.)

There's no doubt that my time in Lebanon had far-reaching effects on my life.

A shot of the Beirut coast (via)

When we were evacuated out of Lebanon in June of 1967, I was in the closing days of fifth grade at American Community School in Beirut.

Leaving American Community School

My experience at ACS had been quite positive, but it had had some low spots. First of all, having spent the previous year and a half at a British school (Manor House School), I didn't know how to play American games like kickball and baseball. My attempts to do so were abysmal, and I got made fun of. (To this day, the thought of having to play a team sport of any kind makes me cringe, and I generally avoid it as much as possible.)

ACS was also my first introduction to the concept of the classroom bully. In this case, the bully was a girl. Her name was Lisa Harrison, and she was formidable. She pretty much ruled the schoolyard via threats and intimidation. She wasn't a big girl, but she had a flair for tyranny that belied her tender years.

I can vaguely remember her threatening to beat me up at some point, and I remember quaking in fear of her. I can also remember her picking on me for one thing and another--really stupid stuff which today I would just laugh at, but as a skinny little fifth-grader (yes, that was the last time in my life I was skinny), it was all pretty traumatic.

As I look back on it, she just may have been jealous of me. My teacher, Mr. Frank Ford, was wonderful, and I guess I was a kind of teacher's pet. It wasn't unusual for Mr. Ford to praise me in front of the entire class. I was the kind of student who tried very hard to please.

Despite the problems with P.E. and bullies, I still had wonderful experiences at ACS. I thoroughly enjoyed singing in the choir and participating in the Christmas Pageant. (No Winter Pageant or Winter Solstice Pageant for us! Christmas hadn't become a dirty word yet.)

One of my favorite childhood memories is when the choir got to sing on television at Christmas time. After the taping, I came home to a supper of chicken pot pie. I was filled with the joy and general good cheer of the Christmas season.

I can remember the first time I read something out loud in class, and being encouraged and praised for the feeling I put into the words. I'll never forget the passage:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them, - Ding-dong, bell.

It was from Shakespeare's "The Tempest." For perhaps the first time, I experienced the unique pleasure of reading words aloud, of using my voice to interpret the written word. I realize that pleasure every day now as a radio announcer and voice-over artist.

Some time ago, I drove through Santa Barbara, California with family on the way to Disneyland. I experienced a powerful feeling of deja vu--and then I realized Santa Barbara reminded me strongly of Beirut! This is another coastal view of Beirut via

And just before we were evacuated out, my class had been rehearsing for a play we going to perform for the school, in which I had a substantive role. It was a play about the Inca Indians and the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizzaro (why we were doing a play about that, I have no idea.) I loved it.

Of course, we never got to perform the play.

Saying goodbye

As hostilities heated up between the Arabs and the Israelis, things were changing. I can remember black-outs. I can remember the constant playing of martial anthems on loudspeakers. I can remember shopkeepers and business people who had previously been kind to us, suddenly becoming cold and aloof.

I can clearly remember my last day at ACS. Mr. Ford wasn't even trying to teach that day. One by one, parents arrived to claim their kids and prepare to leave the country. Obviously, this would be the last day of the fifth grade for all of us.

I remember my dad showing up at the door of my classroom, and being nervous and excited as I gathered my things and got out of my desk. What I wasn't expecting was my classmates gathering around me to say good-bye.

Most shocking of all? The "bully," Lisa Harrison, came up to me and hugged me with surprising emotion. Wow. Maybe she didn't really hate me after all.

That was really one of the biggest surprises I had experienced in my short life--that a person wasn't necessarily exactly what I thought they were, or at least that there were facets or layers to a person that weren't immediately visible. It's a lesson I've often had occasion to remember.

Leaving Lebanon

I remember my dad stopping at the U-S embassy in Beirut and getting instructions on what to do. We were given a sticker of a U-S flag to put on the front door of our apartment, proclaiming something to the effect of "This is the home of a U-S citizen...if you mess with it, you'll have to answer to the U-S government" (obviously, that isn't the actual wording, but it was the sense I got from it.)

We had to pack our belongings in big barrels, which meant we had to leave a lot of stuff behind. I remember one of my main concerns was the huge quantity of stories I had written on tiny little notebooks in tiny handwriting. I never did recover those. I think it would be cool to see those childhood scribblings now.

Another concern was all the baby clothes we had to leave behind. My mom was nine months pregnant with my younger brother (another big cause for concern for my family--she could go into labor at any time, and here were were being evacuated out of a country.) A friend had given my mom the hand-me-down baby clothes and blankets, but they were in really good shape. My mom had laundered them and they were at the ready for my new baby sibling, and I used to go sniff them and touch them in anticipation. For some reason it really pained me to have to leave those baby clothes behind.

Finally, my parents had made all the preparations, and we went to the American University of Beirut campus to await our evacuation.

We learned that Americans would be put on planes and flown to various points in that part of the world. (Obviously, the Beirut airport was still functioning, unlike in this current crisis.) Some fellow missionary friends of ours were going to Athens; someone else was going to Cyprus. We found out we would be going to Ankara, Turkey.

Long story short...

We flew out of Lebanon that night, and never returned. My dad tried later, but it never panned out.

I've often wanted to go back. Lebanon was a beautiful country and it holds many pleasant memories for me. Politics aside, on a personal level it saddens me to see it being devastated once again. The time I spent there has influenced me and enriched me for a lifetime.

Update: I hear from friends who frequently visit Lebanon that Beirut is doing very well now. The country has a thriving community of Lebanese-Americans that visit frequently. The little nation has born the brunt of a lot of political and military upheaval--I'm always happy to hear good things about it.--CS
Related Posts with Thumbnails