1. I wonder if the solar eclipse energy is not just a fierce shot of the feminine (hello, Luna love), but also a bit of balance. Light and dark. The shadows dancing during the day.
2. I broke my new pair of shoes and dropped my house key in in the middle of a busy street while walking O to school this morning.
But, while out on errands (read: window shopping), I found the perfect new kettle, the most adorable Autumn + Halloween decor, a rug (that I am OBSESSED with) for the courtyard, and the perfect modern industrial basket for the stack of blankets I like to keep available for snuggling on the couch.
3. I am convinced shelf bras in camis are not meant for large breasts. It feels like I've Ace bandaged myself.
4. Leaves aren't changing color here quite yet, but the air . . . oh, the air is changing. Persephone's return is near and it feels like Hades is exhaling.
5. There are days when I feel as if jeans are too constricting and overrated, and days when I wish for the most perfect bell bottoms with a thick hem and a perfect flare.
6. Why is the queue at my daughter's high school almost full an hour before school even gets out? I don't remember school pick up and drop off being this chaotic or stressful for my parents.
7. Why do songs sung in Hawai'ian get me all choked up? Like, I get legit emotional. Past life grief, maybe?
8. And when can I get my feet back on that sacred soil? Even if it feels wrong to be a tourist there. Like, I love it, but it feels wrong in a way, too.
9. I'm not me when it's summer time, and I feel like I wait all year for September 21st.
10. Freyja is just about healed and I just ordered two mini dresses (in black, of course) to rock her in the Autumn.
Mini dresses. I haven't worn mini dresses since junior high. Who am I?
1. I looked up content versus happy. Happy, by definition, seems to be a state wherein all your wants and needs are met. Contentment, on the other hand, comes about when you may not have everything you want, but have everything you need and are no longer disturbed by desires of more.
2. I sat in our freshly swept courtyard today, after having slept in and awoken to a sweet six-year-old's arm draped across my chest, after having witnessed my 17-year-old doing a happy dance in my bedroom doorway, after greeting my 13-year-old in his room and finding he'd neatly made his bed, after kissing my husband good morning as he was in the middle of washing our daughter's car in the front yard, and … I realized I am content. I am happy. How lucky am I to have both.
3. I want floor cushions for the courtyard, I think. And a low coffee table. A tray of candles. I want this space to be the space we step out barefoot and feel embraced.
4. Music. The curating of perfect playlists. The way one sets a mood by simply pressing Play.
5. Beef carnitas and salsa fresca.
6. "Are those gladiator sandals?" he asks. I laugh because they sort of are and sort of not what I would normally wear, but I feel like my wardrobe needs to grow up a little.
7. Tattoos have a way of teaching you the beauty that can be found in pain and the art of being patient.
I am certain I need at least two more.
8. The peeling stage is still gross, though.
9. The part of my kettle that moves the cap that whistles melted. Shouldn't these parts, all the parts, be heat proof?
10. No coffee for the last week. I miss the scent, but not much else.
1. Matte grey nail polish. It must be almost Fall.
2. The tub in our master bath is so deep I have to hold the sides to climb inside. I wonder sometimes how I won't drown in there, and realize a bath may never be relaxing since I have no chance of getting any taller.
3. Maxi dresses are life right now.
4. Catching up on GAME OF THRONES. Season six. Even knowing the spoilers, I'm still caught off guard in all the best ways. That is what amazing storytelling creates.
5. Appreciating the uncurated. But only briefly. Because mess makes me claustrophobic.
6. Text message typing interrupted by the person you are texting, and the serendipity of knowing they were thinking of you at that same moment, too.
7. En garde, Monsieur Soleil!
Be with someone who would slay the sun for you.
8. Eagerly anticipating the first foggy, rainy day. Now that the deck is done, the courtyard needs attention.
9. #FreyjaOfTheThigh. Baby steps toward self-love. Adorning the thunder with the goddess of love and battle and witchcraft. Plants with healing properties. A compass so I never lose my way and, if I do, I am never truly lost. Layers of pain open to healing, in more than one way.
10. Photos taken that will never be shared publicly. And wondering if that's why I take them.
Raising a strong, fierce daughter has been (relatively) easy because she comes from warrior blood.
Dragon ladies and bruhas, shield maidens and hustlers.
Women who know what it is to not just survive, but fucking thrive even through adversity.
Raising strong, fierce boys is where my worry lies. Will they be good men? Compassionate and kind, quick to help without need for reciprocity? Will they stand against oppression and abuse? Will they be more than bystanders in life?
And then I remember they have warrior blood, too.
I remember the lineage of women who once held them in their wombs.
I remember that I married their father because he is a good man and I knew he would help create good men.
I remember my boys never fail to temper their ferocity with the size of their hearts.
. . . lest their sister kick their asses. 😜
It's been … well, far too long since I've sat with a deck.
Sometimes I worry that they'll forget me or we'll forget each other and have to rebuild our relationship. And then I remember that's not how it works for me. They'll chastise me, sure, but the energy is there, the way we understand each other doesn't change.
Sometimes I wish they coddled me, allowed me to only see the positive to a situation. And then I remember we don't work like that, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
A quick spread to check in with myself.
"What do I need to know about 1) myself, 2) my body, 3) my art, and 4) my future career?"
1. The Fool.
2. Six of Pentacles, inverted.
3. Page of Wands, inverted.
4. Three of Cups.
All reminders to find my footing and not be afraid to take that first step, be gentle with myself, put in the work, and find my community.
And, yet again, I am reminded why I come back to the cards time and time again.
* Deck: LinestriderTarot by Siolo Thompson
What to you is most holy?
The way they smell fresh from sleep. That dimple in his left check. "I love you" whispered after hours of talking in the dark. His freckles. New pajamas on Christmas Eve, and their eyes on Christmas morning. Driving in the desert, the windows rolled down and the night air warm against my skin. The sun as it slips into the Pacific Ocean. Starlit skies above redwoods and pines. Her fire. Hot coffee and a cold porch. Paper marigolds and candles to light the way. All the in-betweens.
And the way they are my roots and my home, the archives of my heart.
Fire pits and bistro lights and sage leaves on embers. Nature conservations where coyotes roam free, laughing all through the night. The power of three. And seven. Everyday altars around every turn. Dried pomegranates and foxglove, Nag Champa and anointing oils. Black ink and black clothes and black hair and black kohl. Or maybe just coffee brown kohl. But smudge and lived in. Brick red lips and white nail polish. Crisp, white linens. Rain and fog and the gloom that settles in like a soft blanket. The way flannels always feel like slipping into familiar skin. Blank notebooks and long novels and the way both feel like possibility every time the cover is first opened.
I couldn't sleep last night.
It was him sleeping on a separate air matress, that felt continents apart, to accommodate the almost 6-year-old who wanted to sleep between us.
It was the frigid, but welcomed, breeze whispering its way through the open window. Because how could I tell it no after days of sweltering heat?
It was the way my left hip kept sticking to the plastic, air-filled bed even as every other part of me was covered in goosebumps. How do you sweat while you're freezing, I wondered more than once last night.
It was the now nearly empty house, the creaks and groans amplified against the bare walls and cold floors.
So, when I woke this morning, after a fitful sleep, to a blanket of grey, my heart felt comforted.
The sky felt just like me--a little gloomy. Grey. Inclined to move slowly.
Some people love sunny days. They throw on the least amount of clothes as is considered legally decent and bask in the glow of that glorious star. They drive with their tops down (cars, and maybe clothing--no shame), and live for summer.
I want wicked witch clouds and the boom of thunder. I want the drip-drip-drop of rain falling (I loved that part in BAMBI). I love a good chill in the air, a fire in the pit, and a comfy blanket on my lap. I love the way I feel when I'm wrapped in his arms or a cardigan (or both if I am lucky), and the way smoke curls become graceful dancing tendrils against a slate sky.
I am not a child of the sun. I never have been. Not in the way I see others loving it.
I don't need sunshine.
I need melancholy.
I want grey.
The color is described, per the ColourPop website, as a "deepened blackened burgundy red" with a matte finish. Both products retail for $5 each (such a steal!), and the formula for both is creamy and lovely--no dragging or skipping during application. The only caveat? It can be a bit patchy, as shown in the following photo:
Admittedly, though, I had a lip balm on prior to application, so that may have contributed to the patchiness. On the other hand, the lip balm was gone by application and I had thoroughly exfoliated my lips with my GlamGlow POUTMUD Fizzy Lip Exfoliating Treatment before staring my makeup, so I'm not exactly sure what happened. I will, however, use this product again without applying lip balm or scrub and report back.
Oh! Also? I sort of love how the liner applied a bit more than the stix. The liner was full coverage at first swipe whereas the stix needed a bit of working with.
Additionally, as with some matte formulas, eating any sort of greasy/oily foods may wear a bit of the color away or cause the color to slip around a bit. Just a head's up.
That said, I would totally buy these products again. At $5 a pop, you really can't go wrong with Creature (regardless of the product), and if you're a vampy lip lover, you really should consider adding this gorgeous color to your collection.
* All photos in reviews are mine and minimally processed to be true to the product color. All opinions are my own and products have been purchased by me with my own funds unless otherwise noted.
how loud my
inner voice is
of never even
to pee alone.
- motherhood, Nicole C.
After almost 17 years of parenting, I thought I knew some things.
But, you know, one can never learn enough.
For instance, I used to think my Beasties were the reason my coffee always got cold before I could finish it.
I have realized I get distracted easily and move from task to task, so unless I am seated with the purpose of staying seated, my coffee is going to get cold--Beasties home or not.
Also, when you having to cook three meals a day every day, plus the occasional snack, you seem to think you're the type of person who needs three squares daily.
During the school week, I find I am more of a grazer than a full, sit down to a meal sort of eater. My favorite brunch these days, because gods know I rarely eat breakfast AND lunch if the kids aren't home, turns out to be antipasto, usually consisting of a fruit, nitrate free salami, and fresh mozzarella.
Like, it's been about four days of this as a meal for me.
I sort of love it.
The other thing I've learned is how loud silence is.
My inner voice is like an outside voice in my head, so I constantly have iTunes or Spotify open to drown out my overthinking.
What about you? If you parenting and are finding yourself in a new, no more babies underfoot phase, what are you learning about yourself?
I was thinking this morning, as I headed home without a car full of Beasties and wondering what I would do with my free hours, that this too is a sort of mourning.
The way I feel right now.
Lost. At a loss.
Not a loss loss, of course, but, still . . . a loss.
My ways of being, almost my entire adult life up until now, has had a little one underfoot in some way.
I have only been backseat buddy-less for three years of my adult life. Do you know what that is like? To always look in the rearview and see a face beaming back at you? To always buckle someone else in first wherever I went? To sit in a car, parked in front of Target or Costco or a school, hoping my phone battery would out last a nap?
Now, instead of settling in for a few hours of Mickey and Jake, snacks dotted about the coffee table and kitchen counters, I leave my keys in the door in case the school calls.
On his first day of Kindergarten, I came home and stared at the wall for twenty minutes, not sure what to do with myself. Today, his third day, I drove home after drop off and sat in the car for fifteen minutes.
I am having to relearn who I am when I am not holding a hand or wiping a nose or promising just one more errand and we can go home, okay, baby.
And the house? The house feels it, too.
It's quiet aside from my constant stream of music to fill the empty spaces.
Toys aren't scattered five minutes after I pick them up. The dishes aren't filling the sink just as quickly as I wash them. The fridge isn't opening and closing all day long, the rattle of condiment bottles signaling a sneaky snacker.
There is a melancholy in my bones.
A hollowness I can hear in the silence of the house when no one is fighting over who has to put the dishes away or gets a turn on the XBox, when no one is knocking on the door when I am just trying to shower, good gods, can't I just shower.
And I know this new normal will feel just like old normal soon enough . . . just soon enough for our eldest Beastie to graduate and move that much closer to her dreams independent of us. And then there will be another new normal that settles in like a blanket, muffling the hollowness and warming the melancholy.
But . . . still.
Still, I'm not sure where my place in this new normal is just yet.
It has been almost a month since I spoke to a Behavioural Health Specialist.
About weight management.
Almost a month since I cried in her office when she said, "I can see how stressed you are about this. Food isn't enjoyable for you."
Because she was right.
Food had become a numbers game for me. Actually, food had been a numbers game for me for almost eight years before I stepped into her office.
Instead of "Oh, that cookie looks delicious," my brain would be busy calculating the calories and what I would have to do to earn said cookie . . . like do an extra HIIT workout or skip a meal. There were always deals I was having to make with myself in order to eat.
Just. To. Fucking. Eat.
It was the sickest, most insidious sort of ritual, logging into My Fitness Pal before and after each edible morsel passed my lips. I would plan whole days of meals just to make sure I didn't eat anything that might throw my numbers off.
And it didn't even help.
I have gained some weight over the last two years and have been trying desperately to lose it, switching up my caloric intake, switching up my workouts, switching up everything I could except for my body itself.
Because you can't just trade that in, you know.
No matter how much you might wish it.
Believe me . . . I've wished it.
But nothing was working, and I was feeling more and more despondent. Things that once brought me joy, like baking for my family, became things I did begrudgingly. Even brewing a cup of tea, something I used to do nightly as a ritual to relax, became yet another word problem I had to solve.
If I want two cups of tea with sugar today, that's six teaspoons of sugar a day. How many carbs am I consuming if I have two cups of tea and am I better off having coffee with creamer instead?
And she saw that. And I cried.
And then she sent me home with a prescription, only it was a different sort of medicine to take internally and much harder to swallow:
1. Step away from My Fitness Pal.
2. Enjoy your food.
3. Include fun activities in your workouts.
4. Try to get one more hour of sleep per day.
I probably don't have to tell you that I cried even more when she handed this to me, do I? I hadn't eaten without calorie counting in almost eight years. I hadn't enjoyed my food--really enjoyed my food--since I was too young to care about my thighs. And fun workouts?! How was I going to do that when I needed to kill myself on a treadmill and lift weights even when it hurt?
Don't even get me started on the more sleep part.
Basically, I left her office feeling like it was a waste of time.
But, I am nothing if not a Type A, eldest child, people pleaser, ever the instruction follower. So, I tried it.
I haven't logged into My Fitness Pal in almost a month. I try to sleep when my body wants the sleep and I try not to feel badly about waking late on the days I can sleep in. I sit with my food, and myself, and try to enjoy the company of both. And I workout when it feels good to workout and I don't workout when it doesn't feel good to workout.
And I am down four pounds over the last month.
This is the first time I have lost weight in a year.
This is the first time, in longer than eight years, I haven't felt at war with my body.
I brewed a cup of tea for myself and my littlest today.
And I am savoring them, slowly and deliberately, reveling in the amazing magic my dear friend Lindsay creates. Instead of forcing myself to eat egg whites on whole grain toast, I charred up three slices of sour Italian bread and ate them with cream cheese (my absolute favorite breakfast), the roof of my mouth torn apart by the crunchy, delicious crust.
If I get hungry, I eat. And if I'm not hungry, I don't eat.
Gone are the days of crying over having to eat another bowl of Greek yogurt just to hit my macros.
Yes, that has happened.
I am once again finding joy in the ritual that means most to me--nourishing those I love. Preparing dinner is cause for a kitchen dance party these days, and I save all the best bananas for my delicious banana bread. I no longer worry about my sporadic craving for pie, but rather find the easiest ways to make something simple, homemade, and delectable to share with my family.
I even plan on making an apple crostata tonight.
You're welcome to join us.
I promise there'll be tea.
Some days parenting feels like a battlefield and every word spoken is a canon set to light. So, I'm throwing up the white flag, and nursing my wounds with Ben & Jerry's.
It's the new moon, lovelies! Now is a wonderful time to start new ventures, plant the seeds of intentions, or let go of things that no longer serve you.
Did you know some believe new moon magic can be worked, and worked well, from the start of the new moon to up to three days after? Well, let's take advantage of this magic with a tarot sale here at The Wild In-Between!
From today (August 3rd) until midnight of August 6th, the three most popular tarot readings here are on sale, and if you are interested in the new moon spread I created (as seen in the photo above), purchase the Four Card Tarot Reading listing. That spread is a doozy, let me tell ya!
So, yeah … tell me about the ways you use the new moon energy in your favor? Are you throwing cards? Casting runes? Planting actual seeds (I see you, my herbal lovelies)? I'd love to know.
I can't wait to throw for you, and hope all the intentions you're setting this new moon come to fruition!
Day 06: So tell me. If you were here next to me right now, and you granted me the grace of allowing me to hear. If your heartbeat sounded like a word, or a song or a whispered truth, what would I hear if I pressed my ear to your chest?
"I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean." Sally writes this, and I know it is true.
Not because it is empty, but because it is vast.
Because my heart is ever changing, always shifting with the currents of my life.
Because there will forever be unplumbed depths.
Because there is a howling, wind whipping against rocky cliffs, residing in my superior vena cava, ready to cleanse.
This is where my wildness is life blood.
Because there, right there, in my atria is where it all collects, fills me up. A dragnet of memories. Waves upon waves.
This is where it all begins.
Because there are aortic tides, and in each tide a name. A moment. A wish. They flow through my body, pulling me under, pushing me further.
This is where I am swept away.
Because there are chambers, vacant caves with the echoes of regret, wet and cold. There is no peace here, no silence-- just the roar of it all. It clouds my head when I shut my eyes tight.
This is where I am lost at sea.
This is where I take shelter.
My heart … oh, my heart as it beats, crashing against my chest, barely contained, is the sea monster and the siren. The lullaby and the danger.
- - - - -
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Normally, unless I have a specific question/issue I need to address, I simply ask the cards to tell me what I need to know for that day.
Today, though, I wanted to try something a bit different when it came to my personal tarot practice. Instead of asking what I need to know, I concentrated on how I was feeling and allowed the cards to tell me about it/how to address it.
Ennui is the feeling of the day; that listlessness plaguing my bones, moving me from one thing to the next without much direction or enthusiasm. The vampire's demise.
So, I shuffled the decks, one by one, while concentrating on how I feel, giving name to it, and this is what the cards provided:
1. The Nomad Tarot: King of Water/Cups, inverted (moodiness)
2. The Raven's Prophecy Tarot: Knight of Wands (take action)
3. Linestrider Tarot: The Chariot (willpower, control)
4. Madam Clara Sees All: Six of Wands, inverted (lack of confidence)
5. The Wild Unknown Tarot: VII of Cups (illusion, it's all in your head)
I don't know about you, but I find it oddly thrilling (and sort of messed up) to see ALL my decks collectively calling me out, telling me to get out of my own head and do something about how I feel. lol
It's been a hot minute since I have been by with a post, and I apologize.
I was waiting for something to write about, you know? It's sort of like me and tarot; if I try to do it daily, even as a routine, I get burnt out and have to step away to recharge.
Anyway, back to this post . . .
If you follow me on other social media platforms, you know that my beloved rust colored eyeliner--Sienna by Stila--is not currently available. Anywhere. And my one pencil is, basically, gone.
So, in an attempt to soothe my aching heart, I have been on the hunt for rust and copper colored liners and shadows. A replacement of sorts. A second choice. A rebound, you know?
Enter these liquid shadows:
The tube on the left is the Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash in Burnished Bling. It's double sided with an opaque copper shadow on one end and a copper glitter on the other. I swatched both on my hand and they not only dried quickly, but also did not smear after they dried down. The color of the copper shadow is rich and reflective, and so lovely. I doubt I'll get around to using the glitter, but even that felt smooth and glided on easily.
The tube on the left is the Maybelline New York Color Tattoo Eye Chrome Shadow in Bronze Sheen. This one is definitely a deep, bronze color and did not swatch as nearly as smoothly as the Revlon liquid shadow, but to be fair their consistencies differ. Where the Revlon is more liquid, the Maybelline formula is more like a cream. That said, the Color Tattoo formula is still gorgeous and easily wearable.
To remove the swatches, I used my Simple Foaming Facial Cleanser, and it easily removed the Revlon products with a bit of light rubbing, but didn't even fade the Maybelline Color Tattoo. That lovely little Color Tattoo eyeshadow also required a cotton pad and some micellar water for a clean removal. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, as I have oily lids and I'll gladly take a bit longer to remove my eye makeup (and maybe use a bit of coconut oil) if it means it stays on when I want it to.
Pictured with the liquid shadows are my recently acquired Real Techniques Bold Metal Collection brushes: the 301 Flat Contour Brush (left) and the 100 Arched Powder Brush (right). I've yet to use either (they arrived today, too), but both have über soft bristles and the handles offer a lovely grip. Both brushes were less than $20, and I am all about some affordable beauty. Plus, I own a few other Real Technique brushes and really, really enjoy them--most especially when one considers their price point.
So, if you'd like a review on these brushes in the future, or would like me to continue with makeup related posts, just leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.
I dabble in creative things.
For instance, I create digital and handdrawn designs to sell via Society6 and Skreened, and I once ran a business creating custom lettered art canvases and logos. I've handlettered a handful of tattoo designs, too.
Before that, I was a professional portrait photographer for a few years. On top of all that, I have coded, created art for, and maintained blogs for years upon years. Like, 15 years upon years.
All that to say I love Photoshop. It's a deep and unabiding love affair.
But this quick little tip/tutorial? Well, it doesn't require Photoshop (though you CAN use it, too).
For those who may not follow me on other social media platforms, Mr. McHotterson (that would be my husband) recently gifted me a 12.9" iPad Pro because I had been dying for one to use for lettering purposes. I love pens and paper as much as the next person, but I always feel like the paper becomes wasteful (especially when I am working for a client because I'm a perfectionist), and my scans are never as clean as my aesthetic would like--hence the iPad. This information is pertinent because part of this overlay tip was created using the ProCreate App on my iPad. This is what I am currently using for lettering, and I love it!
Also, while we're on the subject of apps, you'll need to download the AfterLight app. It is available in iTunes, Google Play, and Windows Store for $0.99. It is my main editing app for all things photographic (with VSCO Cam as a close second), and is definitely worth your 99 cents.
Let's get to it, shall we?
First, open your image in AfterLight and edit as you see fit:
Next, select the crop and rotate option to open those tools, then select the overlay option (circled in the image below):
Now, choose the image you wish to overlay on your original (this one was created using the ProCreate app, an Apple Pencil, and an iPad Pro). You can enlarge the image and position it around while in this window:
Then, decide how your overlay works best with the original image. For my image, I decided on Screen as the blending option:
Using Screen as my blending option allowed for my white lettering to stay opaque (though I did adjust that) while my black background virtually disappeared.
And here is the final, edited image ready to be shared on Instagram:
So, go, play around with your images to find what works for what you envision and have fun with this quick tip!
* Of course, as a disclaimer, I must point out using any art--drawings, illustrations, lettering, photographs, poetry, etc.--other than your own may be a violation of someone's copyright, so if you don't have express permission or know for sure you may edit the image, please don't.
"There are some things I know for certain: always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder; keep rosemary by your garden gate; plant lavender for luck; and fall in love whenever you can." -- Sally Owens, PRACTICAL MAGIC
It is the lightest cotton, and the bottom swishes around my feet in the Morticia-est of ways.
I wore it throughout my pregnancy with my youngest (though it isn't a maternity dress) and have kept it in heavy rotation since. I even wore it to the beach when Mr. McHotterson and I celebrated our 17th anniversary in Hawai'i.
I tell my husband often that, one day, I want a closet of all black clothing. Because it is the color I feel the best in, the color that feels most like me.
This dress? This dress is the maxi dress of my black closet dreams. When I wear it, I feel like a force. I feel powerful. I feel sexy (hello, cleavage!). I feel pulled together.
I do believe I will sob the day this dress falls apart.
Loud, heaving sobs.
The kind that come with hiccups and headaches.
Of all the everyday clothes I own, this is by far and away my favorite.
Do you have a piece in your wardrobe like this?