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Yeah…it’s been a while. Again. In my world, “real life” tends to be a huge time suck. Between FT work, FT school, homeschooling the kiddos, family issues, health issues, and general all around “other stuff to do” blogging tends to take a back seat (or in my case, gets shoved in a box in the trunk and buried under the jumper cables and spare tire).

Changing seasons are traditionally difficult for me to deal with. Lately I’ve been snappish, crabby, and heading into my seasonal depression. Something had to change. I left work today in a bit of a funk. This is not unusual-I work in a very emotionally and spiritually draining field and leave work in a funk many days. I was just unwilling to inflict myself on the family in all my cranky glory.

So I did what any girl would do–went out for some pampering. Luckily, my budget had some extra space this month so I could have someone else pamper me for a minute without too much worry. So, I had my “once a quarter when I remember and think to get to the shop” wax. Unfortunately, facial hair is a part of my life, seems to run in the family. There are very few things that make you feel less feminine than a unibrow and ‘stashe. They had to go. Ten minutes and several red, shiny patches later and I’m heading to destination number two.

Now would be a good time to tell you that the word “salon” is not in my vocabulary. Having been broke for so long, I can barely justify a $15 wax job once a quarter. Still, I was in a funk and needed something so off I went to the discount hair cut place. (I’ve been told just venturing through the door makes me uncommonly brave–since my standard response to bad hair is “I can just shave it off”, I’m not sure how true that is). They were having a massive sale on their already cheap services so for very little cash I got a shampoo, light conditioning treatment, and hair cut. Once we were all satisfied with the results, I was off on the next (and final) leg of my journey–home for coloring.

I have never in my life had my hair professionally colored. Generally, Da Man, my little sister, or whatever random person I can grab off the street would dye my hair for me. It was a long process because for the past many years my hair has been down nearly to my waist. It just so happened that there was a box of color and highlight color in my bathroom just begging to be used. Lucky for me Da Man was willing to be impressed into service spot check the color application for me. Even better, he caved to peer pressure helped me place the highlights.

My head feels lighter, my eyes are visible, and I’ve got a shiny new shade going on. Magically my funk disappeared. Apparently, I need to get back to my little bits of luxury on a regular basis. Everyone is grateful for the change in mood, including myself.

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One of the most beautiful features on the human body is the eyes. It’s more than a color, shape, or size–eyes let you see the beauty within. The first time I notice someone, it may be because they’re wearing something interesting, saying something interesting, or any other reason. The first time I really see someone, I look to their eyes. There’s just something so mesmerizing about eyes.

It’s not surprising that I consider my eyes to be my best feature. If I want to feel beautiful, I may not put on full face makeup but I will almost always play up the eyes. For a quick job–a little liner and mascara and I’m out the door. For a more formal occasion (or when I want to feel my best), I’ll get out the whole kit. That generally involves paying someone to yank the unruly forest out from above my eyes–but sometimes I just groom them a bit and let it go.

The tools used are really the most important part of the job–I just can’t get my shadow to look right with those little sponge tipped applicators. No, if I want to look my best, I bring out the brushes. I have a variety of brushes, depending on the look I want. There’s a big, soft brush for sweeping color all over the lid, a more rounded brush for blending in the crease, angled brushes for more precision, and my favorite–a flat liner brush that I can use to create the definition I want right at the lash line.

You’ll rarely find me with a kit of colors, I’ve found that I rarely use more than one-two colors. I also tend to blend colors and textures in a different way. What can I say? I’m not your traditional girl. My current favorite is a soft silvery-purple cream by BeneFit. I use my fingertip to blend a little into my lid, highlight my browbone with a either a cream or pale purple and add a liner. Liner colors vary based on my mood–I range from soft brown pencil, to varying shades of purple or dark brown, to my current favorite–teal. Top it all off with a swipe of mascara and I feel like I can take on the world!

Most days, there’s nothing elaborate about my routine. I swipe on some liner, add mascara and walk out the door. Even without putting on anything else, I feel more finished and ready to face the day. With my limited time, I can’t aways afford the time to put a lot of effort into my looks. By sticking to my best feature, I can look great in 5 minutes or less.

I try to do something special for New Year’s Eve. Some years we have take out, some years I’ll make a special candy, cookie, or pastry. This year I wanted to make a special meal. Something to linger over and fill the house with delicious scents as we wave goodbye to the past and usher in the coming year.

In preparation, I took a good look in my pantry and freezer. While I wanted to make a nice meal, I didn’t want to break the bank to do so. Deep in the bottom of the freezer we found a leg of lamb that I had gotten on clearance during my last meat shopping binge a couple months ago. An idea was born–wouldn’t it be great to learn to cook something new using a new food item to celebrate the new year?

I have never in my life cooked lamb. I don’t even eat meat all that often. To say I was intimidated would be an understatement. Still, lamb is one of Da Man’s favorite foods and a celebration is the perfect time to serve up a favorite food.

Luckily for me, the blogosphere is full of many talented cooks who are willing to share their recipes and tips with the world. Off on a search I went. After sifting through and discarding a variety of recipes for lamb, I found Farmgirl Fare. Specifically I found this recipe for slow roasted lamb.

I chose her recipe over others because it uses items I keep on hand and it created a one-pot meal. Since Da Man does the clean-up, I wanted to keep the mess to a minimum. I did make some changes to reflect our personal tastes.  I made several small slits in the lamb and slid in pieces of sliced garlic. Rosemary was used in addition to the oregano in both the lamb and potatoes. While I did use her idea for adding the chopped lemons to the potatoes, I forgot to drizzle the potatoes with olive oil. Still, this was one of the best celebratory meals I have ever cooked.

The meat was increadibly tender and flavorful (as judged by the soulful moan escaping from Da Man when he took a test taste) and the lemons added some extra zing to the roasted potatoes. I served this with my homemade crockpot applesauce, some fresh tzatziki sauce, simple steamed veggies, and some fresh bread from a grocery.

Later this evening we’ll toast in the New Year with some  Blueberry Wine from Leelanau Wine Cellars. Add in a midnight snack of cheese, olives, and bread and we have a perfect celebration!

Women, Communities, The Internet and Hippymom

In the first of what promises to be a hilarious un-foodie series, Melia bakes a pie… and more.

Luscious Decadence has cake, so there.

The dragon that came to LadyHawk. Amazing.

Moves in Curves speaks to us en français!

MamaBirdie’s fear is nothing but fear itself.

She’s hot! MamaBirdie just goes with the flow.

Love returns with some yummy garden goodness.

LadyHawk is grounded… in earth.

Melia talks, uh, period.

As a new season approaches, HippyMom says its time to let go.

Yummie is all about comforting rituals.

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