Monday, March 23, 2015


Here's the thing.

I have to get a sweater finished by Tuesday. And by "finished" I mean knitted, buttons attached, ends woven in, and blocked. I also still have to sleep, work, and feed myself.

This may become a problem.

Who knew babies were ready to be born so fast? It seems like I started planning this project a couple of days ago, not over nine months ago. This is messed up. Clearly the baby is not ready and needs to wait to be born for an additional week in order to give me ample time to complete her sweater.

I've been knitting like a fiend. Here it is on Sunday morning.

And here it is before I went to sleep last night.

Now all I have to do is finish the yoke, weave in ends, sew buttons, and block it. That can happen in a couple hours tonight, right?

Probably not.

How much blocking does a sweater really need?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Brother's Glasses

In the last week, The Brother texted me this:

And then this:

All of that proves that The Brother needs either 1. laser eye surgery or 2. a backup pair of glasses. One of the two.

Also I found this:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lip Balm That Doesn't Suck

Oh, yes. I finally have broken down and decided to share my knowledge with the masses. If you know me, you know I love lip products. I love colors, stains, glosses, tinted balms, and regular old lip balm. But this is not a beauty blog. No. This is a Horrible Nightmares of Laura's Life blog and a This Funny Thing Happened blog.

So why am I talking about lip balm? Because one of the biggest horrors of my life is how flipping dry my skin is.

You have no idea. My skin is so dry, it is oily. My skin is so dry, it makes itself break out unless I put layer after layer of moisturizers on it every morning and every evening, without fail. It is so dry that if I try a new product in a Birchbox that I haven't used before and that product is drying, my skin decides it will give up all of its moisture and become like the desert sands.* My lips are no different. They are constantly dry and chapped unless I use lip products all day, every day. This is probably why I became obsessed with lip products in the first place.

I have tried many lip balms. Most of them suck.

That EOS stuff everyone carries around, the one in the little balls that look like anatomy if they're in the wrong color? They don't help. If you don't have dry lips, they're fine. If you do have dry lips, they'll make your lips feel better for a bit but won't moisturize them at all. When the balm wears off, you're back to dry lip misery. Mostly they're just good at being colorful and round.**

Chapstick? You're crazy. This is like smearing wax on your face. It does nothing.

Burt's Bees? I love the minty-ness of this, and it is good at protecting your lips in case you mouth-breathe a lot or have a cold, but it does nothing to moisturize at all.

Nivea? Whatever. Someone told me to try this one winter. I put it on once, laughed, threw it in a drawer and have never used it again.

So what works? I have compiled you a list. It is a countdown of the three best lip products ever. Enjoy.

3. Most Affordable Solution: Aquaphor Lip Repair. This is brilliant. Jennifer told me to try this years ago, and for the first time ever, I felt like I had soft lips. They weren't dry or chapped. They felt good. I used this obsessively for years. Only this winter did I stray.

There were a few reasons I decided to try new things. For one, it makes my lips shed dry skin like a snake the first time I apply it each day. That's not really a bad thing, because it spared me using any kind of lip scrub to achieve the same aim, but it made mornings pretty gross some days. The only other problem is that the moisture didn't last very long before I started to feel my lips drying out. I kept a tube of this everywhere to avoid it wearing off.

Aquaphor is terrific if you want help without spending a lot and don't mind reapplying several times a day. It's only about $3.50, and you can find it almost anywhere in the pharmacy lip care section, so it's a good choice if you want local and affordable.

2. Best Tinted Lip Treatment: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. This is lovely. It's easy to apply, it comes with its own color (but only if you want it to), and it has SPF 15. I just picked this up in Chicago at a Sephora because I kept reading about how much people love it. It lives up to the hype.

It's a longer-lasting moisturizer than the Aquaphor PLUS prettier. It also means I can skip lipstick and just wear this all the time. I got the shade Passion, but they are so sheer, I doubt there would be a color that wouldn't work with everyone's skin color. All of them worked on my ghostly pale self. It's pretty expensive, I think at Sephora I got it for $22.00, but I find it's worth it. I like tossing it in a bag and using one product instead of two.

Before I stop talking about Fresh Sugar...IT COMES WITHOUT COLOR. Try this.

1. Vastly Superior to All Other Options: Kiehl's Lip Balm #1.  There is a reason why #1 is in the NAME of this stuff. This lip balm got me through lip surgery. It kept my dry skin from messing up my stitches, kept my swollen lip from getting all parched, and I think it helped it heal. Now that I'm recovered, I put it on once in the morning and I don't need to do it again all day, even when it feels like it's worn off.

I love this stuff. I will never go without it. If it were possible for me to marry it and have its babies, I would. That is how much I am committed to my Kiehl's Lib Balm #1. Hands down, this is THE BEST lip balm I have ever come across in my life. You have to try this, you just have to. For as fantastic as it is, the $7.00 price tag is NOTHING.

I took a picture for you. Look at that. I go the extra mile for you guys.
I used a tube of this all winter long, and I'm not even half finished with it, so it lasts for ages longer than my Aquaphor ever did. I'm ordering two more to keep on hand, because I am so terrified that my current tube will decide to vanish somewhere, leaving me bereft. It does come flavored, but I prefer it not to have any taste or smell, so I'm sticking with the plain.

* I'm looking at you, Roloxin Lift Revitalizing Facial Treatment. You even made my hands dry. I wanted to kick you in the face, but you don't HAVE a face. Maybe that is why you suck; you don't understand faces.

** Disclaimer: I have an EOS in mint I use after I use my actual lip balm just so I can smell mint. That is the only purpose it serves. I bought it to test it after hearing multiple people recommend it. Those people didn't actually have chapped lips.

One more note: No one gave me samples or anything for these reviews, I tested them after buying them with my own money. If someone someday decides to give me free lip balm, please make it the Kiehl's.

Friday, March 13, 2015

I Might Not Have a Wicked Scar

I went to the plastic surgeon for the first of two follow-up appointments. The doctor literally spent two minutes in the exam room with me, so it was speedy enough to make me resentful that I had to drive an hour to reach the office, but that's okay. I did get sweet tea while I was there, so I consider that trip a success.

The doctor told me that within the next two months, my scar would "mature," which made me think of cheese or wine or something, but no. I have had multiple wicked scars mature, and the two months time frame is so a lie. The scar from my massive surgery (the one that involved gutting me like a fish and stitching me back together) didn't lose the red-purple coloring for years. It also didn't smooth out or soften for years. I'm not looking for this scar to be finished changing in two months, because that's not what really happens.

Apparently, the doctor said, the color will leave, it will smooth out, and it will be less thick. Since it has almost no color now, it is already smooth, and there is only one place I would consider thicker than the rest of the scar, I take that as meaning: "It will practically vanish, but I can't say that in case something doesn't vanish completely, because then you will sue me."

I was going to walk around telling people I'd been injured in a shark attack, knife fight, traumatic fan-related accident, or a tragic collision with a hummingbird, but I might not get my chance. Seriously, I have had zits that have looked worse than this scar. So good for the multitude of doctors that told me they wouldn't remove the potentially-harmful-but-turns-out-not-so-much-really mole, because the plastic surgeon did a way better job than anyone else would have. I am seriously impressed.

Here is visual evidence of improvement:

I am wearing foundation in that picture, but seriously, when am I NOT wearing foundation? At the gym or at my house. I use a relatively low-coverage foundation applied sparingly, just to even my skin tone. This is how the scar will look every day, unless it fades even more and then I will forget it exists. Here's what it looks like if I put no makeup on it. Incidentally, that was taken while I was waiting for my appointment yesterday in the exam room, on a chair that looked like it should have had restraints built in. Scary thing, that chair. I'm using Mederma on the scar every morning, but I'm not sure how much of a difference the gel is making. There's no way of knowing what the scar would look like without Mederma unless I didn't use it, and I am not making half of my incision a control group.

While I wouldn't want to repeat getting my face cut up and slightly rearranged, I have to say, it hasn't  been terrible. I'm glad I went where I went, the doctor and nurses were fantastic, and I'm glad the maybe-deadly-but-actually-not mole is gone. So, if something weird happens to your face, go the plastic surgery route if you can. My insurance company covered almost everything because of the health risk of the mole, so check with yours before you discount going to a plastic surgeon. I assumed going in that plastic surgery = all out of pocket, and that was not the case.

Oh, and I promise this is my last post forcing you to look at my lip, so if you're squeamish, you can breathe a sigh of relief!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sneezy Wheezy Laura

While I was on vacation last week, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago because I love me some Dutch painters.

Pieter Claesz. PIETER CLAESZ.

Oh, look, a lion! Also various buildings.
We started with my aunt's favorite part, Impressionism. I used to be crazy about the Impressionists, but then I became obsessed with certain Dutch Golden Age painters. As one does. But we started in Impressionism, because my aunt. She doesn't get to go to museums of any sort as much as Mum and I do, because she cannot convince my uncle or cousins to come along. We discovered this and decided to remedy it, because Mum and I are museum people.

See? See that painting right there? Firstly, it is giant. Secondly, it is in a room where everything fell apart for me, nasally speaking. One moment I was happily walking along, looking at the adorable school children who had come on a field trip, the next minute I was making sounds similar to explosions and begging tissues off Mum.

What happened?


See, some lady walked through the room before me. And she was wearing the most potent gardenia perfume I have encountered outside of the sample bottle of that hideous (and sexist) Harvey Prince gardenia perfume that came in my Birchbox.

If you look below, you'll see exactly when my spirit died. Mum said, "People are taking their pictures with Vincent van Gogh! You need to do it!" I followed her over, stood still, let her take my picture, and then blew my nose repeatedly.

Vinnie and I like to hang out sometimes.

I sneezed through that whole museum. Nothing helped. I tried washing my face in the bathroom, and STILL I got no relief. It was nightmarish. I kept thinking the guards were going to ask me to leave, because my sneezes are loud normally, but in the echoing chambers of the Art Institute, they were nearly deafening. By lunchtime, I was half convinced I'd somehow contracted a cold. But no. Allergies.

I feel I should offer a blanket apology to all those who thought I was giving them TB or some kind of hideous cold virus by coming to the museum sick. I'm sorry I freaked you out, people. But blame Perfume Lady.

By the evening, I was feeling a bit better. I had to use my inhaler, though, so Perfume Lady owes me I think at least $27.00 or something for the medicine. I feel like I should be able to charge people who trigger my asthma attacks for the medicine I have to use. I mean, if she hadn't worn that perfume, I wouldn't have had to use my inhaler. I buy my emergency inhaler just to cope with people's perfume or cigarette smoke. I wouldn't have to if people skipped using perfume or smoking. I should be able to send invoices.

Sending invoices would be fun. I could put pictures on them.

I especially like the last one, because I have wanted to punch my allergies in the face for years.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Instead of walking, I am sloshing. It is very uncomfortable. Is it possible for a human to drown by drinking too much water? What qualifies as "too much," exactly?

I thought it would be a good idea to actually be hydrated. Hydration is good for you. The government says so, plus all sorts of fitness experts. Healthy people drink water. I drink...not enough water. Maybe like two glasses a day, plus milk, tea, and non-water liquids. This is not as good for me as drinking all of the water would be.

So I started using a planner. It's cute, right?

Using a planner gives you a blanket excuse to buy large quantities of Korean stationary and pens.

I thought, "They make stickers for water consumption! I should use something like this, to keep myself accountable! It will fix my sinuses. It will fix my LIFE."

I downloaded some printable stickers, printed them on regular paper, and used a glue stick. I can't find sticker paper. I think all these pretty planner-keeping people are making sticker paper up. It doesn't exist. It's code for, "We know how to make our planners pretty, and you are new to this. Let us haze you with fake sticker paper."

So far today I have gone to the bathroom more times than I usually go in one day. Is water supposed to do that? I would die if I were a teacher. I would suffer duel kidney explosion, and my students would stand over my dead body and drop spit wads into my open mouth as they waited for the principal to notice that I was a corpse instead of a responsible adult.

I stuck the fake-stickers into my planner for every week until after New Year's Day. That is many weeks. That is over half a year. I will not run out of water log "stickers" and then give up drinking water. Plus the little not-quite-stickers-but-also-not-bookmarks will stare at me from each week's planner page, telling me quietly, "You suck for not drinking water...this is why you get headaches and also why you are less pretty than you could be, if you drank water. Water drinking people are pretty people, without that fancy cream you bought. THEY don't have chronically dry skin. Their skin is made of velvet and the hopes and dreams of puppies and also angel kisses."

Those are some judgey water log faux-sticker-things.

The stuck-on-paper-bits say I should drink eight glasses of water each day. The Mayo Clinic says I should drink about "2.2 liters of beverages" per day. They count other sorts of beverages, including soda. They say it's not AS good as water, but as long as you don't feel thirsty, you're okay. The eight eight ounce glasses thing maths out to 1.8 liters. The Mayo Clinic says that's fine, so I'm sticking with that, since it's easy to work out. This means I need to drink three refills of my water bottle per day, total. That much water seems unimaginable at this point.

Why worry about doing this if even the Mayo Clinc isn't stressing? Because I want to stop drinking so many calories, that's why.

Being healthy is stupid. All it does is make me have to go to the bathroom.