People I Want to Punch in the Throat


Overachieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies

By now we have all heard of the adorable little Elf on the Shelf. Almost everyone I know has one.  Some people even have two!  (Now I'm having guilt for not having two, because apparently I need two because when my kids are adults they'll each want one from their childhood.  Ugh.  Not looking forward to that conversation with the Hubs when I tell him why we need another Elf.)

The Elf is a handy little thing to have.  The little bastard keeps my children in check this time of year.  When there is even a HINT of rebellion all I have to do is say, "Elf" and they snap back in line.

The Trouble with Ta-Tas

If you follow my personal page on Facebook, then you know I had a little trouble with my boobs last week. I know, I know. I'm always having trouble with my boobs, but this was a new, even for me. My friend Nicole invited me to a fancy gala. I'm usually in pajamas on a Saturday night, but there's something about Nicole that makes willing to put on not just pants, but a dress even, and leave my house. So I said yes when she asked me. But I needed to wear a dress. I didn't want to buy a new dress and I had a dress in my closet but it needs a special low cut bra. (Side note: when you're a woman with breasts of a certain size, you need some serious structure and a low cut bra never cuts it, so I don't buy that shit on the regular. Because of this, I didn't have the right bra in my bounty of boulder holders.) So, I trekked to the mall and tried on a trillion titty traps (haha, like there'd be a trillion to choose from. There are exactly two in my size). I got the right bra but when I put it on with the dress, it was like, "Oh shit! My eyes! So. Much. Cleavage!" Basically, my boobs were poking me in the chin. And my dress was screaming, "Mercy! Mercy! I can't take anymore!" and it was popping wide open for the world to giggle at my goodies.

I realized I just needed a little tape. How do the movie stars do it when they show just enough side boob, but not all of it? How do their nipples literally hold up a dress? I figured there must be magic tape out there! So I did a Google search and I came up with something called Hollywood Fashion Secrets Tape. Aha! I knew there was something! So I bought a tin of the tape.

Here's the thing about this tape. I'm sure it works great if you're just trying to keep a small gap in your shirt closed or if you want to keep your necklace in place or something simple and easy like that. But if you're working on an engineering project that requires a third hand, this is not the tape for you.

I was devastated. So I turned to the "real" Google, my Facebook friends. I asked them, "Is there such a thing as double-sided duck tape?"

After many suggestions that included things like "rubber glue" and "Velcro strips,"  a friend told me a secret: "I used to work in a bridal store and we gave brides rolls of double-sided carpet tape and called it 'dress tape.'"

WHAAAAAT??? That sounded like just the thing I needed, but I knew I'd need help, so I contacted my sister-in-law Ida.

Ida isn't an engineer or a fashion designer or anything like that, but Ida is the person I call when I need shit done, especially if it involves my boobs.

Wait. That didn't sound right. Maybe I should explain.

Let me take you back many, many, many years ago. Ugh, so many years ago. Remember how young we were, Ida?? It was my first time meeting Ida. In those days she was my brother's girlfriend and they were serious, but I didn't know yet she'd be my sister-in-law. I'd flown into town for a wedding and I'd tried to pack light. I thought one bra for the entire weekend would suffice. I'd forgotten that the dress I'd packed for the weekend required a special bra. The special bra would minimize (aka SQUEEEEZE) my boobs to smaller size and allow me to button the front of the dress. My normal bra was like, "Fuck that, I need my space" and would not allow the front of the dress to button.

And so I found myself locked in my brother's bathroom topless and panicking. I'd brought nothing else even remotely appropriate for a wedding. I didn't have time to run out to the nearest department store, get measured, and hope I'd find another bra that would wrangle my girls into submission. What the fuck was I going to do???

That's when I heard a gentle tap on the door. "Jen, everything okay?" Ida asked. "We need to go soon..."

"I'm coming..." I whimpered. "I just need a few minutes to, uhhh..." I looked around frantically, hoping I could MacGyver a solution. Like what? Make a bra out a bath towel and toothpaste?

"Jen?" Ida whispered. "You don't sound okay? What's going on? Can I help?"

At that moment I knew I needed help. I didn't have another solution. I couldn't ask my brother for help. (VOMIT.) I couldn't even ask the Hubs for help. He wasn't the Hubs yet. He was just some guy I was dating and I couldn't tell him all my secrets yet! Ida was my only hope.

Shamefaced, I unlocked the door and let her in.

"I can't do up my top," I cried. "I packed the wrong bra."

Ida surveyed the situation like a pro and did some quick calculations in her head. Finally, she nodded with certainty and asked, "Can I touch you? I'm going to have to touch you to help you."

"Just make sure your hands are warm," I said.

"I'll be right back." Ida went out the door and I heard her assuring the menfolk that we'd be ready soon. I heard her rummaging through cabinets and drawers.

When Ida came back she had a large roll of duck tape and a pair of scissors.

"Oh God," I whimpered.

"This will work," Ida reassured me. And then she went to work duck taping the shit out of my boobs.

You know those cartoons where people work so fast that clouds of dust puff up and you can't see what's happening and then the dirt clears and the transformation is revealed? That's how I felt that day. Ida worked fast and furious and then stepped back to admire her work. I looked in the mirror.

I'm not going to say they looked good. In fact, they were a little square and definitely off-center. BUT that dress buttoned up and that's what I needed.

We headed out. The Hubs gave my chest a funny look, but wisely did not comment.

It was close to ninety degrees that night and at one point I could feel sweat loosening the gum on the tape and I could feel tiny pings as the tape lost its grip. "Ida," I whispered. "I think I'm going to blow."

Ida shook her head. "A few layers might go, but you'll hold. And if you don't, I'm prepared." She opened her purse to show me the roll of tape and scissors tucked inside.

The tape held that night and Ida and I formed a bond that cannot be undone.

This week, almost 20 years later, she came to my rescue again, showing up at my house with double-sided carpet tape she'd found after scouring at least two hardware stores. I didn't need her hands on help this time, but it was nice to know I had her on speed dial in case I needed her to handle my hooters.

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Mom Hair Don't Care

I shared a picture on my Facebook wall to show off my new t-shirt. I was quite excited by this shirt. I thought it was a funny shirt. I thought it was the perfect shirt for me. My Facebook friends were like, "Yeah, the shirt's cute or whatever, but what is going on with your hair? It looks ah-may-zing?! What are you using? Tell us the secrets!" And then I was like, "Ohemgee, I'm a freaking rock star! That's it, I'm going to bed, because this day isn't going to get any better."

I'd already been planning to blog about my style, because when I put on pants Facebook is like, "Jen!! Over here! Over here! Who are you wearing?" and I'm like, "Vera Wang. For Kohls." 

So here we go, this is the first installment in the style guide of a 40-plus, minivan-driving mama. 

We'll start with the hair since that's trending right now. I woke up this way:

I have naturally curly hair that I used to blow dry and flat iron into submission. But a few years ago I decided to stop fighting with my hair and just embrace it and let it do what it wanted. Unfortunately, when left to its own devices it just goes frizzy instead of soft, springy curls. The good news is science has heard curly-girl cries for help and there is a crapton of good products out there now to enhance your natural curl.

Matrix Total Results Curl Please Shampoo & Conditioner. It all starts with the shampoo. I use curl enhancing shampoo and conditioner. I've tried a bunch and this is the one that works the best for my hair. I can definitely see a difference on days I don't use it. My curls don't hold up as well in the summer's humidity or the dry winter weather.

Morrocanoil Curl Defining Cream. This stuff ain't cheap, but it's magical. You don't need much. In fact, too much makes your hair "crunchy." Sometimes I just put this in and call it done. When I do that, it looks like this:

I use a little Morrocanoil Cream and then I let it airdry. If I have an early morning appointment, I wash it the night before and let it dry overnight. I don't blowdry my hair anymore. I find that helps a lot when I curl it.
Side note: I also like this Morrocanoil product. I only use the teeniest tiniest amount every so often to make my hair more manageable. I use it on Adolpha's hair too and it's a miracle worker on her thick, wavy, tangly hair. 

Once it's dry, it's time to curl it. I have fine hair, but I have a lot of it, so I divide it into sections when I curl. This was a trick I learned on the internet. I'd been trying to curl my hair without sections and it just didn't look as good. I didn't think I needed sections because I didn't have long thick hair, but sections are the key.

So, you'll need some clips.

I need two or three at a time to section my hair. I section my hair into two to four levels depending upon how much curl I want.

The curling iron is very important too. I've used curling irons in the past and been very disappointed with the results. I realized it was because I was being a cheapo. It's amazing what a quality curling iron can do for you. I use the Hot Tools Professional Ceramic and Tourmaline Extra-Long Barrel Curling Iron/Wand 1 1/4 Inch. I have a 2 inch barrel too, but I don't like the results as well. It works well for Adolpha's long hair. It makes my hair straight.

I've had my curling iron for about three years now and it still works great with no problems. It heats up fast and makes my curls smooth and shiny, no matter how frizzy my hair was when I started. My hair takes curl very fast, so I turn it fairly hot and move quickly. The other thing the internet taught me was you have to curl in BOTH directions. I curl away from my face, but some of the sides and back are curled toward my face. You can just sort of practice and play around and see what looks best for you and your hair. Also, the first time I curled my hair it took forever and looked really terrible when I was done. I didn't section it, I didn't have the iron hot enough, and I didn't do a mix of directions for my curls. It takes some practice, but I'm literally the worst at spending time getting ready and even I figured this out, so you can too. I can curl my hair in about 5 minutes now. No joke, this is the easiest hairstyle I've ever had. 

I usually finger comb through the curls and sort of fluff them together. If I want more of a wavy look, I comb through them with a wide-tooth comb. I finish with either spray wax or styling wax. For both of these I've tried many brands and my favorite is Sexy Hair. Particularly, Sexy Hair Play Dirty and Sexy Hair Control Maniac.

Hairspray doesn't really work for me, the curls fall out and my hair gets flat, so spray wax is a great in-between product. It can give me bigger hair and keep the volume if I want that. I usually use it when I'm getting all fancy. 

Whereas, the styling wax is a good everyday kind of product. It gives high shine and keeps everything in place, but it can kind of weigh down the hair. You'll have to experiment with how much is a good amount for you. I use the tiniest bit. The picture that made everyone excited was with this wax. See how shiny it makes your hair?

I hope this helps! Good luck and let me know in the comments what other products you'd recommend for curly hair. I'm always looking for something new to try!

Oh, and also, you can get the t-shirt here.

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