Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Looking back

It's the last day of the year. At midnight tonight, I will be popping open a bottle of champagne with Steve and toasting to 2012. But before that, I thought I'd take a minute to look back on this year.

The past year wasn't an easy one. Financially, it was one of the hardest ones I've faced in a long time. I've been unemployed for just over a year and the job market for editors, writers, and journalists hasn't gotten any better. I believe I've applied to every job out there at least five times each, and I've revamped my resume countless times.

I've also had to deal with a lack of healthcare and the headaches that seem to be mounting in intensity. While I've been able to remain on my preventative prescriptions because of generally affordable generic drugs, what I need is a solution to the ouchies. Solutions require healthcare.

Fortunately, I'm still collecting unemployment. While it is a lot less than I was making, it is enough to keep me housed and fed. And for the rest, I have Steve. I've already gone on and on about how amazing he is and how much he's done for me. This year would have been much harder if it wasn't for him. I'm a lucky lady.

I've talked about the power of positivity in my blog before. It's something I've struggled with, and this year put it to the test. Faced with financial insecurity, constant pain, and an unsure future, there isn't much room for positivity, but I tried. And for the most part, I succeeded. The trick is to focus on the good. It's cheesy, I know. But it's been working.

Want to know what I've got that's good? It's silly, but I'll share.

When I'm sinking, I think about my adorable nieces and how lucky I am that I live so close to them and I can see them whenever I want. I think about how lucky I am that I have a boyfriend who adores and spoils me. I think about how fluffy Maya is and how great it is when she snuggles with me on cold days and becomes my space heater.

I told you it was cheesy. But it's what I've got.

So that was my year. No money, but lots of love. I can't wait for 2012.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wen Hair Care follow up

It's been way over a month since I've been using the Wen hair care system so it's time for my post mortem.

I didn't love it. The promises it made just didn't come to fruition for me.

Things I liked:

  • It was an all in one. I didn't have to shampoo and condition separately.
  • My hair was initially shinier and fuller.
  • The leave-in conditioner was wonderful. My hair was incredibly soft after one use and definitely made the cost of the starter kit worth it. 

Things I didn't like:

  • My hair was a oilier than I am used to.
  • I had to use a LOT of product. The instructions said 8 pumps or more for long hair and I usually ended up using more. The instructions made a point to say that you can't use too much product, which felt like a self serving instruction. It felt like they were saying "use as much as humanly possible so you can buy MORE!!!" which didn't sit too well with me. 
  • After a few uses, I didn't notice a difference in my hair. I expected softer, fuller hair, but although my hair was softer, it was flat.
  • Ordering the product online or over the phone meant being forced into an automatic shipment plan. Because I wasn't interested in having additional products shipped to me automatically every month, I called as soon as I received my package to cancel the automatic shipments. I had to repeat to the person on the phone over and over again that I had absolutely no interest in the automatic shipments. They were hellbent on keeping me on file. 

Between the intensive leave-in, the styling balm that I gave Steve, the wooden wide tooth comb that I still use daily, and the daily leave in conditioner, it was worth the initial trial. My biggest problems with the Wen Hair Care System were with the way the product was sold and how customer service is handled, not the product. I've heard that people with different hair types from me have had wonderful experiences with Wen, but I wouldn't buy it again.

On to the next product!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A love letter

Warning: sappiness and gooey love within. You have been warned. Read at your own peril.

I am in love. I never thought I would be. I hoped for love. I dreamt of love. I thought I knew what it would be like. I thought I knew what he would be like. I thought I knew what it would feel like. I was so wrong. It's even better than I thought it could be.

When I was younger, I thought that the man I would spend my life with would be my other half. He would be my knight in shining armor. He would sweep in on a white horse and solve all my problems and we would live happily ever after and life would be complete once he was in my life. Now that I'm older, I know that love doesn't solve your problems, but having someone who loves you makes your problems easier to bear.

The man I love brings me joy. He makes me stronger. He makes me laugh. He understands me. He has seen me at my best and my worst. He's my best friend. He's the first person I want to talk to in the morning and the last person I want to talk to at night. He knows me better than anyone else. He sees my weaknesses and doesn't judge me for them, but allows me the room to grow and become a better person.

Babe, I can't give you the world for Christmas. I wish I was rich. I would buy you iPads and mixers and cars and guitars. But I can't. You have been so amazing to me and I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you. I used to hate Christmas. Now I look forward to sharing this season with you. You've turned me into one of those sappy, lovey, gross, happy people! I love you. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nutella cookies

Tonight is the annual cookie party! This is my first year participating. I'm super excited! I'm making a cookie I've never attempted before. There was a toss up between my classic chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate red velvet cookies, or Nutella cookies. Nutella cookies won the popular vote. So Nutella cookies it is! I fricken LOVE Nutella. I could eat Nutella on everything.

Here's the (incredibly easy!) Nutella cookie recipe:

1 cup Nutella
½ cup Sugar
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Blend all ingedients together.
Form into 1 inch balls.
Place on a cookie sheet.
Press down firmly with the bottom of a glass.
Bake 7-8 minutes or until set.

The dough is very dry so I put on gloves and mixed it by hand. The heat from my hands melted the Nutella and helped it come together. The cookies came out a bit thinner than I wanted them to, so next time I'll flatten them less.

I doubled the recipe for the party. I'm also not posting this until 7 pm because the party is at 7:30 so no one can steal my recipe :)


I totally won!!! My cookies took home the "Most Creative Cookie" prize!!! WOOHOO!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Night terrors

The last few nights have been pretty dramatic in the Haydia household. I live on the first floor of an old Victorian house. In my bedroom, there is a fireplace that's been boarded over. I use the mantle as a backdrop for my vanity and I have a mirror propped up under it and my dressing table sits on the hearth. I used to love my fireplace. Not anymore.

Two nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I heard scratching. I assumed we had a mouse. We occasionally get a field mouse stuck in the house and Maya usually chases it out. No big deal. She's a good hunter. So I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, assuming Maya would deal with it and I made a mental note to walk carefully in the morning, just in case.

Fast forward to the next night. The scratching was louder. Much louder. Still, I ignored it. Maya was on the prowl, all good. I figured I would set a mouse trap or something the next day and I tried to go to sleep, but I was starting to worry.

Ok. Last night. The scratching? INTENSE! Like loud, constant, awful scratching. And Maya knew exactly where it was coming from. She sat under my vanity and stared intensely at the wall, Blair Witch style. So I freaked out because I saw teeny wood chips coming out from under the wall which meant that IT WAS ACTUALLY MAKING PROGRESS GETTING THROUGH and called my sister, who sent over my brother in law. And when he came over he told me to look in my yard. And I saw two large deer standing under my kitchen window. And that's when I broke.

I had to go sit down. Maya was running in circles. My brother in law was shining a light under the wall and then a little black hand reached out and tried to grab the light.

Want to know what I was dealing with?

Here you go.

And this is no where near as loud as it was in person. It was LOUDER.

My brother in law got some rat poison and shoved it under the wall and taped it over and put a mirror and a box in front of it so Maya wouldn't get too close to it and told me we had to wait for it to die or else it might escape into the house and wreak havoc on me and my cat. So yeah. I had to stay in the house and wait for the poor thing to die. So now I have a vengeful ghost raccoon living in my walls.

UPDATE: (as of a few seconds ago) 

Maya and I were chilling in the living room as I have been avoiding the death chamber that is my bedroom and I swear we both heard scratching. I know she heard it because she had been sleeping like this:
and then we both heard it and I looked at her and she was sitting straight up staring at me. So now we have a zombie raccoon situation.

Oh! And the deer eventually found the driveway and wandered off.

I love animals. I love all animals. And I wrote this with a tilt to the funny, but I feel really bad for the little stuck raccoon. But it had to go. And I guess it was better to die quickly than to remain trapped and die of hunger? Either way, my brother in law wasn't going to open up the wall to get him out. I'm pretty sure it fell in from the roof and was stuck for a few days. And that's probably why I'm feeling so awful about it and don't want to go into my room. I feel like its tiny ghost is going to exact revenge on me for not being kinder to it while it was alive. I'm sorry, little raccoon guy! I don't have tools! My sister would have killed me if I cut into her walls! I'M SO SORRY RACCOON!!!!!

This is exhausting. I never want to sleep in that room again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Product review: Wen Hair Care

I was watching television with Steve late one night recently, and I saw a commercial for a hair care product called Wen. I was intrigued.

It claimed to replace traditional shampoo and leave your hair soft and healthy. Well, that sounds great! I'll try it! Steve, being awesome, said he'd get it for me if I wanted to try it, as he's a proponent of me looking good.

It arrived today. I opened it up, and unpacked the box. It contained:
Wen conditioner
Intensive Hair Treatment
Styling Creme
Texture Balm
Wide tooth comb

I gave Maya the box, and took the comb and conditioner out.

Here's me before my shower:

And here's me after my shower and several hours later at Steve's house:
Sorry it's so dark. My face is being lit by the light of his PlayStation. 
I used the styling creme on my wet hair before I blow dried. First impressions? I had to use A LOT of the conditioner. Like, way more than I thought I would have to use. Twice as much as I would normally use if it were a regular conditioner. It cut down on my shower time since I didn't have to shampoo separately. I put the conditioner on first, before body washing and face scrubbing, then washed it off last. That was a plus. My hair wasn't as soft as it promised it would be. I'm hoping after continued use it will do as promised. I'm not completely sold on it yet. We'll see.

I haven't used the intensive treatment or the texturizing balm yet. I will use the intensive treatment this weekend and report back. I had intended to use it today, but my primping time had to be cut short because Steve and I are meeting up with some friends at the Corner of Chaos haunted hayride and corn maze. That's why before and after are in two different locations. I'm so excited!

In case I don't blog before Monday, Happy Halloween everyone! Be safe!


I was asked some questions, so I thought I'd give some more information.

I definitely think it's worth checking out. For $30, you get a lot of product. A friend recommended the Fekkai Shea Hair mask, but at $30 for 7 oz, I think I will stick to the Wen system for a little longer. If the intensive treatment lets me down, I may splurge on Fekkai.

Also, Wen claims to be a natural hair product which is definitely a plus. Modern shampoos are very harsh on your hair, so I've been on the lookout for alternatives for a long time. I had tried solid shampoos and conditioners before but they left my hair dry. This is only day of this system, so I am still optimistic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween fun

Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year. I used to make my own costumes and my sister would throw these amazing parties. She lives in an old Victorian house and we would dress the whole thing up like a haunted house. So much fun. But since the nieces have been around, they've toned down the scary, and I haven't made a costume in years. I made my last costume in 2003. I went as Cleopatra. I hand beaded my gold gown and wig. I even made my shoes. It took me 4 months to complete.

One of the most fun I've had in recent years was helping a friend out who set up a haunted walk through for her little sister's Halloween party. I've been on haunted hayrides and haunted corn mazes and I love them (I'm going to one on Friday!), so I jumped at the opportunity to participate in one. We went to a thrift store to buy our costumes. I ended up with a white lace dress that fit horribly and thick black tights because it was cold. The others got more standard horror costumes. We had Mike Meyers, the girl who crawls out of the tv from the Ring, a female vampire, some scary hooded people, and a menacing lumberjack.

We showed up to my friend's mother's house with lots of spooky supplies and a basic game plan. We were going to spookify the backyard and scare the kids. Then we ran into a snag. The weather called for rain all evening. That did away with our plans for the fire pit and basically everything else out in the open. So we moved most of it to the first floor, into two outdoor sheds, and under a tarp below the deck. We had black lights, fake blood, fake heads, skeletons, random body parts, a smoke machine, and a strobe light.

It was all set up, we were dressed and in position, the smoke machine was going, the lights were flashing, but how do we get a bunch of 9 to 12 year olds to walk through like we want them to? I came up with a story.

While everyone waited in place, I went up to the party and gathered the first bunch of little kids around me. I knelt down (because I'm short, but not THAT short) and told them about my ex-boyfriend, who had a really bad temper was looking for me. And I'm super scared, you guys, and do you think you all can come with me, cause I'm really really really super scared and I don't want to go down there by myself cause I think he may be out there somewhere? And I put my hands out and the little girls closest to me grabbed on because I was starting to freak them out and one little girl asked me why my hands were shaking and I said "because I'm so scared!" and I think she was ready to cry. (Full disclosure: my hands used to shake all the time because of my headaches. For a while my doctor thought I had MS. I don't. They don't shake as much anymore, but it worked to my advantage that day!)

So I walked them down the front stairs to the first floor entrance which was through the garage. Sitting at a table was the girl from the Ring. She was poking at a plate of jello entrails and grinning. I told the kids not to make eye contact and hurried past. They were freaking out. It was working. We went out into the yard under the deck which was covered with a tarp so it was all enclosed. With the smoke machine, it was hard to see and the fake blood was splattered all over the place. I walked them slowly through. Two of the hooded scary people were hidden in the corners and jumped out as we were nearing the exit. At that, the kids screamed and I started running across the lawn to the first shed with Mike Meyers chasing us.

The shed was shaped like a little house with windows and a little door. We had set it up as a sacrificial altar with our vampire and the Ring girl (who had snuck out while we were under the tarp) laying in wait inside. I led the kids into the shed and slammed the door shut behind them. Mike Meyers and I banged on the windows and walls while the vampire and the Ring girl did I don't know what to them inside for about 30 seconds, then I opened the door and yelled at them to FOLLOW MEEE!!! which they did, past the second shed, where MY "EX-BOYFRIEND" JUMPED OUT AT US WIELDING AN AXE!!!!!!!!! which he swung at me, then we all ran back to the house with all of us screaming.

We did it over and over for different groups of kids. It was starting to rain pretty hard, so we had to wrap things up. On the last run, instead of me escaping with the kids to the house, my "ex-boyfriend" caught me, dragged me back to the shed, and swung the axe then squirted me with fake blood, so the last thing the kids saw before they went into the house was me standing in the yard in the pouring rain with blood soaking my white dress, screaming my head off. I'm pretty sure all of those kids are going to need therapy.

It was seriously the best Halloween ever.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Million dollar ideas

I've had a slight fever for the past few days. At night, I get a bit delirious. In delirium, I get amazing, mind blowing, million dollar ideas. Steve and I usually talk on the phone around 10 pm when we're both ready for bed so we can say good night. For the last few days, I've been too hyper and fevered when he calls to be sleepy, so I've regaled him with my awesome ideas.

My latest idea is a phone service where girls can call in for an emergency bff. I'll explain.

You know how you have those girlfriends who you can always count on to hype you up or agree with you no matter how ridiculous you are? I know I have my crew of friends and cousins who have my back. Well, sometimes they aren't always available. They have lives of their own! Hence my call in service. I'll have a staff of sassy bitches who will agree with whatever you need agreeing with. Or will back up whatever annoyance you have. Or give you advice. Or tell you he's no good. Or tell you that outfit makes your butt look amazing. Whatever the situation requires. It will be called "Dial-A-BFF" and it will be awesome.

No one steal my idea. It's mine.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Target is magic

I just came home from a shopping trip at my local Target. It was my first trip there since they revamped and added fresh foods and an expanded grocery section. If you know me, you are aware of my love affair with Target. My reason for going today was to exchange the Ninjago Ice Dragon that Steve and I had bought for my niece's birthday for the Ninjago Earth Dragon because someone had already bought the Ice Dragon for her. (She is obsessed with dragons. My niece is awesome.) Unfortunately, the Earth Dragon seems to have disappeared between last weekend and this weekend. There was no trace of it in the store. Not even on the little cards on the shelves. So I ended up getting her the Atlantis Angler Attack because she was an angler fish for Halloween a few years ago and she is, as previously stated, awesome.

With mission "Hannah's Present" accomplished, I was free to wander the store. This is a rare treat since Steve doesn't have the patience to wander Target. He likes to focus. In and out. That's not how you Target! (Yes it's a verb now.) Especially after a redesign!!! I have to take in all the newness! Stuff is in different places! There's new stuff to be seen! I wandered around texting Anne for about two hours. It was glorious.

Highlight of the night: the frozen section has the new LED lights that dim when no one is in the aisle. So when you go through after no one has been there for a while, it's MAGIC!!!!!! You know how in the Billie Jean video, when Michael walks down the street and the sidewalk lights up as he steps on each block? Just like that. It made me ridiculously happy. Some woman ruined it for me the first time because I was just starting to bask in the amazing-ness when she barged ahead of me and lit up the rest of the freezers. Jerk. I waited for the freezers to turn off then RACED down the aisle with my cart. I told Anne about the excitement (via G Chat.) Her response? "You need to get out more." She may be right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Natural face exfoliator

I am starting a new series where I try things out so you don't have to. It will be my human guinea pig series.

Today, I am testing out a simple natural exfoliator.

The recipe:

1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon orange juice (freshly squeezed)

Mix and apply generously to the face.

Haydia before. Please note that I have not showered. Don't judge me.

I used a soy sauce bowl to mix everything in. 

All mixed! You'll have way more than you need. If it gets too thick, add more orange juice, and vice versa.
Tingly!!! I left it on for 20 minutes. 

This was taken right before I got in the shower to wash it off. Maya wasn't budging. Sorry. 
I wet it before I washed it off and gave my face one last scrub. You could feel the baking soda scrubbing your face.  

Done! After I washed it off, I moisturized as usual. My face is still tingly, super soft, and slightly pink. I can see a difference in the way my skin feels and looks. I will definitely be doing this one again. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mini calzones

I've been making an effort to cook more lately. Last night, I came home late, having done battle with tech service at Verizon, and was in no mood to cook, but I knew I had no food in the house. I had seen a recipe on Pinterest for simple calzones that I had to try.

1 package crescent rolls
1 package mozzarella (or pack of string cheese)
1 package pepperoni (I used turkey pepperoni)

Roll out the crescent rolls onto a foil lined baking sheet, sprayed with cooking spray. On each roll, at the big end, place 3-4 pieces of pepperoni and one string cheese or string cheese sized chunk of mozzarella. Roll up the crescent roll. Repeat for all the rolls. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Serve with pasta sauce for dipping. Dinner in less than 15 minutes!

Next time, I want to make dessert crescent rolls. I have Nutella. I'm going to spread it in the rolls and bake as usual. It should be amazing! Like breakfast chocolate croissants!

I also bought my first pumpkin pie of the season. I'm so glad it's fall!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I can't help but remember

For the last 10 years, I tried to pretend that this day was a day like all others. I almost succeeded today, but the news coverage has been more overwhelming than usual. Every channel I turned on this morning had the memorial on. I went out for breakfast and everyone there was talking about it.

Since I can't escape it, I choose to think of the aftermath. Not the angry, "get those bastards at any cost" mentality that came out of some. I choose to think of the outpouring of love. The feeling of solidarity. That the attack was an attack on all decent human beings. That only a monster could do what they did. 

The following is an article I recently read on the Mental Floss website, titled "We Are All Americans: The World's Response to 9/11," written by Haley Sweetland Edwards. This is how I choose to think about today.
A decade ago this week, people all over the world stood shoulder-to-shoulder in mourning, solidarity, sympathy and friendship with the people of the United States. Here are a few of those international reactions, both organized and spontaneous, that occurred in the days following September 11, 2001. 
In London, the Star Spangled Banner played during the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, while traffic came to a standstill in The Mall nearby.
In Beijing, tens of thousands of people visited the U.S. Embassy, leaving flowers, cards, funeral wreaths and hand-written notes of condolence on the sidewalk out front.
In Moscow, women who spoke no English and had never been to the U.S. were captured on film sobbing in front of a makeshift tribute on a sidewalk, and every single church and monastery in Romania held a memorial prayer.
In France, a well-known newspaper, Le Monde, ran a headline reading, “We Are All Americans.”
In the Middle East, both the Israeli president and the Palestinian leader condemned the attacks, and made a show of donating blood.
Kuwaitis lined up to donate blood as well. Jordanians signed letters of sympathy.
In Tehran, an entire stadium of people gathered for a soccer match observed a moment of silence, and in Turkey, flags flew at half-mast.
In Berlin, 200,000 people packed the streets leading to the Brandenburg Gate.
A thousand miles south, in Dubrovnik, Croatia, schoolchildren took a break from classes to bow their heads in silence.
In Dublin, shops and pubs were closed during a national day of mourning, and people waited in a three-hour line to sign a book of condolences.
In Sweden, Norway and Finland, trams and buses halted in tribute, and in Russia, television and radio stations went silent to commemorate the innocent dead.
In Azerbaijan, Japan, Greenland, Bulgaria and Tajiskitan, people gathered in squares to light candles, murmur good wishes and pray. And in Pretoria, South Africa, little kids perched on their parents’ shoulders holding mini American flags.
Firefighters in Hungary tied black ribbons to their trucks, firefighters in South Africa flew red, white and blue, and firefighters in Poland sounded their sirens, letting loose a collective wail one warm afternoon.
Cubans offered medical supplies. Ethiopians offered prayers. Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan offered their air space, and dozens of other world leaders called the White House to offer their support.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Canada, Albania and Sierra Leone marched in the streets in shows of solidarity, and mosques in Bangladesh, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and Sudan trembled with clerics’ condemnation of those “cowardly” and “un-Islamic” attacks.
Lebanese generals convened to sign letters of sympathy, and in Italy, Pope John Paul II fell to his knees in prayer.
Albania, Ireland, Israel, Canada, Croatia, South Korea and the Czech Republic all declared national days of mourning, and the legendary bells of Notre Dame echoed throughout Paris.
In Italy, race car drivers preparing for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix silenced their engines, and in London, hundreds stood quietly during the noontime chimes of Big Ben.
In Belgium, people held hands, forming a human chain in front of the Brussels World Trade Center, and seventeen time zones away, strangers in Indonesia gathered on a beach to pray.
In India, children taped up signs that read, “This is an attack on all of us,” and in Austria, church bells tolled in unison.

Read the full text here: --brought to you by mental_floss! 

If you get a chance, also check out the Mental Floss article about Gander, Newfoundland, and some of the many unsung heroes of 9/11.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The power of positivity

At my last job, one of my coworkers was an almost impossibly positive person. My work bffs and I referred to her as Sunshine because it seemed as though nothing could get her down. She was a genuinely happy person. If it rained, she would talk about the delight of walking in the rain. If it snowed, she talked about going home and building snowmen. She was the master of looking at the bright side of life. At first, I thought it was an act, or sarcasm, but she was genuinely a positive person. As a sarcastic East coast girl, I did not understand. It made no sense. She's... happy? Like, all the time? She... finds joy in everything? I didn't know people like this existed!

Thinking about her, I realized that I had a lot to learn from her way of thinking. I've struggled with depression for most of my life. I've been medicated. I've been to therapists. But it's my way of thinking that's been my main problem. I realized that I had to change.

When faced with something new, I don't want my first reaction to be negative. It's been hard to retrain my brain. I have mental battles when I want to be mean, but I force myself to be nice. It's been working. Instead of being unwilling to accept a situation, I've made an attempt to find the good in whatever it is I'm faced with. It's reformed my whole outlook.

I have lots of things in my life currently that I can be down about, but I choose to look at what I have to be happy about. Yes, the problems and the crappy stuff will be there even if I ignore them, but I choose to stay positive. And that choice keeps my head above water. I have my bad days, and I do allow myself a good cry every now and then. But after that, I go back to positive thinking. I remain me, just a happier me. Haydia 2.0, if you will.

It's a big change, and it seems to be working. I feel happier. I'll report back on this in a few months.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Maya cat

Maya turns 6 today!

A former coworker was a volunteer at a shelter. One day, she came to work with a story about a kitten the PSE&G guy had found in a dumpster and brought in to the shelter. She said the tiny kitten was a little snuggler and wouldn't stop talking. She showed me a photo and I fell in love. The next day, she brought the kitten in and we hid her in an empty office the whole day until I could take her home. That was 6 years ago. Maya is still a snuggler and still won't stop talking.

When I introduced Maya to my niece Hannah, Hannah was 2 years old and I had only just stopped being her full time nanny, so she was insanely jealous of Maya. She insisted that I call her Hannah-Maya and she would crawl around and purr and meow. She still does.

I am an unmarried, childless, unemployed, 31 year old, cat loving woman. What does this mean? This means that I am a crazy cat lady with too much time on my hands. So I have planned the ultimate hypothetical 6th birthday party for Mai Mai!

Guest list:
Steve (he's a CCM* but almost didn't make the cut due to allergies)
My sister's 5 cats
My 2 nieces
Steve's inside cat
Steve's outside cat

Fancy Feast (my baby only turns 6 once)
Pitr Pats
Tuna water (oh yeah!)
Cat nip, but only for the adult cats

I considered a bouncy castle, but with the claws, it would have been a disaster.
Instead, boxes. Lots of boxes in all shapes and sizes, scattered around. Maya has a serious box habit.
Also, laptop stations for butt warming.

Goodie bags will include:
Sparkle balls
Cat nip puffs
Crumpled up balls of paper

Happy birthday, baby. Mama loves you.

*CCM: Crazy Cat Man
I am a CCL: Crazy Cat Lady. Together, we are a CCC, or Crazy Cat Couple.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On funerals

Yesterday was incredibly sad. The sight of the baby in a coffin is one of the most awful things I've ever seen. It was heartbreaking. And seeing how destroyed my cousin and his wife were was hard to take in. I've been to many funerals (a perk of having a huge family) but this was by far the saddest.

As is Muslim custom, the viewing at the funeral home was brief, with a short talk given by the Imam. After, we all went to the burial ground for prayers graveside. We each gathered a handful of earth, split it in three, and tossed it into the grave. My cousin and other male relatives began to fill the grave. Then the back hoe came. That part is awful, watching this huge machine fill in the grave. And it takes a long time. I stood there with my cousins. It was comforting to have them there.

My paternal grandmother (who passed away in January) is buried not far from the baby's grave. After the funeral, a bunch of uncles, aunts, and cousins walked over to see her. One of my cousins pointed out that her grave site number, 130, is easy to remember because her birthday is January 30. I thought that was sweet. And it does help. The first time I went to visit her, I couldn't find her. I had forgotten her number. (Her permanent marker isn't in place yet. We have to wait until the ground settles because it's a flat marker, not a large headstone.)

Afterward, we all went to my cousin's house for food and company. A bunch of cousins wanted to go to the movies, so I joined them. It was nice spending time with them and sharing a much needed laugh. It made the day bearable. I only wish the circumstances of us hanging out could have been happier. It seems like I only get to see most of them at funerals.

So that was my Tuesday. And me being me, I had a huge headache the whole time. I took pain killers before we went to the movies and got pretty loopy. I think my cousins were amused.


I completely forgot this part! Between the burial and my cousin's house, my sister and I went to buy samosas and pick up the nieces. We went to Shalimar in Edison. Because I hadn't really eaten, I ordered a samosa and butter chicken to eat while our order was being made. My sister went out to park the car and saw two of my cousins on Oak Tree.

I was sitting at a table next to a young black lady with a baby in a stroller. We started chatting. She was having difficulty eating while holding the baby, so I offered to hold him while she ate, since I was done and just sitting there waiting. She gladly handed over the little guy. So I bounced him around and chatted with him while she ate. I noticed he had a bandage on his arm so I asked if he was ok. She said he has thalassemia and had just come from the doctor's office for tests. I asked how old he was. She said he will be 4 months on September 5. I almost started crying. The baby who's funeral I had just attended would have been 4 months on September 6. It was an incredible coincidence.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sad day

My family lost its newest member today. My cousin's son passed away this morning after fighting to hang on to his life for just over 3 months. He lived his entire short life in the hospital.

He was born with a slew of medical problems. I take solace from knowing that he's no longer suffering. 

I am heartbroken for my cousin. I can't begin to understand what he's going through. The funeral is tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Loving yourself as is

I recently read an article on Huffington Post about body image and its effect on your love life. It's no secret that I have self esteem and body image issues. I don't find myself attractive. I've never been thin, and having been off certain medications and being mostly sedentary since I've been out of work, I've gained weight. This is one of the reasons I've been avoiding social situations recently. (To anyone who's invitation I've declined lately, my apologies. I'll see you in the winter under a layer of sweaters.)

I know I'm not ugly. I'm just not comfortable with my appearance. I've never been. But I am with someone who thinks I'm beautiful. And that helps. In his eyes, I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. And hearing it from him almost makes me believe it.

So back to that article. It talks about self confidence and how it affects people's perception of you. Now, I have self confidence, just not in my physical appearance. Does that make sense? I have conviction in my thoughts and opinions, but not in how I look in dresses and skinny jeans. Does one enhance the other? Does confidence have to be tied to physical appearance? I do love myself as is, but there is an asterisk next to that. I love my mind. My body, not so much.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Going strong after a whole year

Yesterday was Steve and my first anniversary. We celebrated by him taking a half day off of work and going bowling with me. It was fun! I had a Groupon for 2 hours unlimited bowling (including shoe rental!), but we barely lasted an hour. He kicked my butt. I apparently suck at bowling, but got points for style. (I would only get a strike if I didn't look to see what I hit. Try it! It works!) After bowling, we went to the mall and then Target to kill time before dinner.

We went to one of our favorite restaurants, Go Sushi, for dinner. He had vegetable gyoza and beef negimaki, and I had the sushi special (tuna avocado, shrimp avocado, and to mix things up, the Alaska roll.) I believe I went wrong with the Alaska roll. I totally got food poisoning. I'm currently on my couch in the fetal position. I didn't sleep at all last night and all I've had to eat today is ginger ale and Pepto.

So our anniversary was slightly less than romantic. Thankfully, Steve is the best boyfriend ever and did not complain even though I kept him up all night and he had to be up at 6 am for work while I get to lounge around the house all day. I love that man. Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boys, look away. This one's for the ladies.

I've decided to come clean with all of you. I don't use tampons or pads. THERE! I said it. (I feel so much better now.)

For about 7 years, I've used a menstrual cup to deal with my period (the Diva Cup, specifically.) I've always felt that there is a stigma around girly products and periods in general, and no one talks about it. But this cup is too good to keep to myself, so I'm sharing.

A menstrual cup is made of silicone and you insert it. The difference between the Diva Cup and tampons? You only have to empty the cup once every 12 hours or so, and it's reusable. I haven't bought tampons or pads in 7 years. SEVEN YEARS!!! It sits low in the vagina and forms a seal to capture any fluids. And because it's made of silicone, it warms to your body and you can't feel it. I've had only 2 accidents since I've been using the Diva Cup.

Some cons:
  • You have to be comfortable with your body. Insertion is INSERTION. You have to be all up in your junk. But it gets easy after a few tries. And shouldn't we all be comfortable with our bodies? (That's total bs, btw. It took me LOTS of tries to be totally comfortable with it. But it's SO worth it!)
  • It takes practice. I got the hang of it after 2 cycles. But after that, I didn't need backup pads.
The pros!
  • You can wear it anywhere: swimming, running (like I run. HA!), and overnight, without worrying about leakage. Once it's been inserted properly, it won't leak unless it's full. (The cup holds about 1 ounce of fluid, and the average period is 3-4 ounces over the entire cycle. The cup is usually less than half full in 12 hours.)  
  • It's the Ron Popeil Rotisserie Oven of period gear. Set It, and Forget It! I've actually forgotten I've had it in before. 
  • You NEVER HAVE TO BUY PADS OR TAMPONS AGAIN!!! I can't stress this point enough. It's environmentally friendly!
  • It's also very cost efficient. It costs about $25-30 up front, but you save so much more than that in the long run. The website says to change it yearly, but I've read testimonials that say they've used it safely for 10 years or more. I'm on my 7th year with the same one. I boil it between cycles and I've never had a problem with it.
  • You can wear it longer than tampons. I empty it once a day. THAT'S IT. I don't have to remember to bring tampons with me, or change it during the day. I clean it out in the morning, and again at night before bed.
So that's my take on the Diva Cup. They have a long FAQ on their web site if you want more information, and it is available for purchase online or at Whole Foods.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Exhaustion leads to creativity?

I had the weirdest dream today. I was extremely tired and slightly headachy, so I took a nap this afternoon. When I woke up, my head was filled with the strangest narrative. I tried to write it down, but could only remember fleeting details.

I need to sleep with a tape recorder next to my bed so I can get the details down as soon as I wake up. This is killing me. I've started writing it up. In my head it was a solid story, but now it's filled with holes. I'm pretty sure my brain just wrote my next short story without letting the rest of me know. I've spent the rest of today playing catch up with the story that has already been completed but hasn't found a way to escape my mind onto paper. It's frustrating.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A day in the life

As I've mentioned before, I'm currently unemployed. This means that I'm super bored most of the time. I would like to walk you through a typical day in the life of an unemployed person:

7:00 am: Maya wakes me up.
7:01 am: Realize that I have nothing to do. Go back to sleep.
10:30 am: Wake up for reals this time.
11:00 am: Breakfast (brunch?). Go online. Chat with Anne (for the rest of the day).
Noon: Check various job sites. Apply to everything. 
1:30 pm: To shower or not to shower? That is the question. (The answer is usually not to shower.)
2:00 pm: Read. Or watch a movie. Or clean something.
3:00 pm: Snack time!
4:00 pm: Craft time! Or more reading time. Or more movie time.
7:00 pm: Steve is home. Talk to him on the phone for a while.
7:30 pm: Dinner!
8:00 pm: Online some more.
9:30 pm: Steve calls for our nightly good night chat.
10:30 pm: Steve goes to bed. I try to sleep but cannot. More reading or online time.
1:00 am: Finally go to bed.

And repeat!

Some days I mix it up and meet Anne for lunch. Or go grocery shopping. But this is about it. I'm super bored.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

End of a nerdy era

Tonight (at midnight) I will be at the movies watching the final installment of the Harry Potter series. I was 19 when I first heard of Harry Potter. I was watching the Rosie O'Donnell show and she was GUSHING over this story about a boy wizard. I had to get it. This was the first series I ever bought all in hardcover, and I devoured them. I couldn't wait for the next one! It hooked me from the start.

J.K. Rowling is an amazing writer. Her writing style is simple, but she doesn't talk down to her readers, like so many other books for young readers. I felt like I was growing with her characters. And the fact that Harry was born the same year as me helped me connect with the stories. (I'm aware that this entire post makes me a huge nerd, but I embrace it.) I worked in Barnes & Noble for most of the book's first run, and the excitement around the book releases was always overwhelming. The release party for the last book was amazing. Kids were dressed up, the line for the book at midnight was the entire length of the store. And this was for a BOOK!!! A BOOK!!!!!!! As a book nerd, that brought me so much joy.

I watched the movies with the same excitement I had for the books. For the most part, the movies did the books justice. I went to the midnight showings for all except the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

So tonight, when the lights come up at the end of the movie, I'll be sad. This is the last piece of the Harry Potter phenomenon. The only thing left to wait for is the DVD release. And I know I'll be anticipating that as soon as I leave the theater tonight.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Television! I've not missed you!

I haven't had cable since 2003. That was the year I graduated college and got my own apartment, which meant that cable was WAY too expensive for me on my own. I've always been a big reader and watched a lot of DVDs so I didn't really miss watching TV.

Until yesterday.

I'm currently house sitting, and the house has CABLE. And DVR!!! And ON DEMAND OMG!!!! I spent just about all of yesterday watching TV. It was never ending. I watched Law and Order: SVU, Extreme Home Makeover (it made me cry), Whale Wars, How It's Made, some random wedding cake show, Extreme Couponing, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Say Yes to the Dress, and a show about killer crocodiles.

I realized that much has changed since I had cable. When did all those channels show up? There's a channel for everything! I don't remember there being more than 60 channels. There was only one MTV and it played videos. There was no cable box or special remote! I feel so old. "Back in my day...!"

I spent most of today reading to cleanse my brain. I'm going to be alright.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Controlling the fluff

I was petting Maya yesterday, and about an entire kitten's worth of fur came off of her. I decided it was time to groom her.

This is how we chill.

Maya getting brushed is a complicated ritual. I had to change into shorts and an old T-shirt and find her harness and leash. Then I had to catch her before she realized that I found her harness and leash, and wrestle her into it. Even before I get it on her, she goes flat and flips onto her back. Not easy to get it on her when her weapons are facing me. I finally got it on her, and we went onto the porch, with me carrying her because the harness and leash make her go into slither mode. We sit on the front steps and I make her sit down in front of me. And I brush. And she complains. I have the Kong kitty brush. I've found that this is the only brush that she will tolerate. I've attempted to furminate her in the past, and I still have the scars. So I brushed her, and she was good for the first 5 minutes. The problem is, she's got TONS of excess fluff and it takes forever to get it all. Maya got impatient. And started yelling. She would yell, then look back at me with sad kitty face on. So pathetic.

We were outside for about 25 minutes, and the amount of fur coming off in the brush never diminished. There were tufts of fluff flying around the porch. It looked like it had snowed. And still the fluff came off. It was NEVER ENDING. I finally stopped brushing her when the mosquitoes started biting. In 20 minutes, I got 7 bites. Not cool.

I stood up and attempted to brush the layer of fur from my clothes. This is why I have a special Maya-grooming outfit. I was wearing grey shorts and a blue T-shirt. By the time I finished, the color was no longer visible. I was covered in white. Looking around at all of the fluff flying around, I realized that this was that much less fur to fly around my apartment. And I felt accomplished. Maya was pissed. She chased around the fluff, trying to reclaim it.

I opened the door and tried to lead her inside but as I mentioned before, when she is in her harness she turns into a Swiffer. So I had to carry her in. I gave her her favorite kitty treats (Pitr Pats) and she settled down on the back of the couch. I swear she looks smaller now.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Movie magic

My cousin called today and we made plans to go see the midnight showing of the final Harry Potter movie (IN 3D!!!!!!!!!!!!). That got me thinking about my greatest movie experiences.

I love movies. I have Netflix and watch at least 4-5 movies a week, whether it's new or one from my DVD collection. I recently rewatched the LOTR movies (the extended versions, of course). And here is where I expose my geeky-ness. I have the movies in 3 separate formats. Original, extended, and special edition extended. Just wait until I upgrade to Blu-ray. Oh yeah.

I used to go to lots of midnight premiers. I stopped when my body couldn't manage to go to work on Friday after getting home from the movies the night before at 3 am. I guess I can't hang like I used to.

The best movie experience I've ever had was the midnight showing of the last LOTR film. I saw it at the new (at the time) theater at Jersey Gardens. This was the first and last time I ever went there. I was with my friend Larry and some of his friends. We got in line around 10pm and were no where near the front. It was madness. People were dressed up in costumes, yelling to their friends. It was like a big party. I've never felt such excitement.

When the film began, there was silence from the audience. We were all excited. We were unified in our geekdom and adoration of these films. And we were going to enjoy the crap out of every second of this final film in the trilogy.

The theater itself was awesome. The sound in there was amazing. When the Nazgul-birds screamed, it actually hurt. (I would like to point out here my insane need for accuracy. I actually looked up the proper name of the screaming bat-dragon creatures that the Nazgul flew. I am a nerrrrrrd.) The audience cheered, gasped, laughed, cried. It was a beautiful thing. Now all I have are these DVDs. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boredom breeds creation

Being home all the time is really boring. The novelty of not having to be anywhere has worn off and I really don't have much going on. Cabin fever has set in.

But I have been trying to keep myself busy. I read lots now (ouchies permitting) and have sewing more. I made a stuffed robot for the cutest baby boy I know, and Maya purses for the nieces. I also have a few ideas for stuff I want to make. I'm considering opening an etsy store, but I need to get a working sewing machine first. My crappy one broke making the robot. It died trying to sew felt. How sad is that?

I'm planning a massive redo of my apartment. I bought a bookcase from Target last week (which lived in my trunk until this morning when Steve was awesome enough to stop by before work to carry it in for me) and will FINALLY get my library under control.

I've also been hanging out with the nieces more. They stopped by yesterday morning (waking me up) and watched Monsters, Inc. with me. They also chased Maya around. She's still not fully recovered.

I'm looking forward to the 4th of July holiday. The nieces won't be around, but Steve and I will be hanging out. That's always a good thing. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

All is fair in love

I haven't written about Steve and me for a while. I have an update on the situation.
We saw each other last weekend and spoke sporadically throughout the week. I think we now understand each other better.
I love him and miss him. He is my everything. My lobster. My other half. But I understand what he needs now. And I will support him and give him the time that he needs because I know that in the end we will be stronger. I'm going to have a little faith.
I went to a memorial for my cousin's grandmother today. I thought of my own grandmothers a lot today. The takeaway message from today was that you should never miss an opportunity to tell the people in your life what they mean to you. It made me miss him immensely and I sent him a text to let him know I was thinking about him. His response was almost instant. And it made me very happy.
Sorry for being cryptic and sappy but it's almost 3 am, I'm feeling all kinds of stuff, and I wanted to tell you all that I'm ok. And that we are ok, and on the path to being awesome. <3

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Begging for universal healthcare

Hey everyone. I'm writing to you after three continuous days of agony. I've been mostly in bed since Sunday with massive ouchies of the head. I've tried doubling the dose of Vicodin. Didn't work. Doubling dose of Percoset. Didn't work. Sleeping pills kind of work, except for last night when I was up until 4 am contemplating lobotomies.

I used to be (mostly) in control of my headaches. I would get a really bad one maybe once a month. But the really awful ones that take me completely out of commission for days on end were rare. Now I'm getting them almost daily. The reason? I can't afford the daily medication that I used to take to control it. Why? Because I am unemployed and have no insurance, so a monthly supply of it is over $300, which I don't have, since I'm unemployed. Can you see a pattern yet?

Being without a job sucks, but doubly so if you have a "condition." I looked into getting health insurance as an individual, but the cost was insane for a single person with low income. And because I am a single woman with no kids and am not pregnant, I do not qualify for programs like NJ Family Care or Medicaid. So now I cannot go to my neurologist because I cannot afford it. I get freaked out, thinking that there is something seriously wrong, but I have no way to find out because I CAN'T AFFORD IT. I am 3 years overdue for an MRI to see if there have been any changes to my brain, but there is no way I can get one done now.

There were a couple of nights when the pain was unbearable, and under different circumstances, I would have gone to the ER. But I can't go because that would be one more bill. So I sucked it up and prayed for the pain to end.

There are other medications I take that I can afford because they are included on Target's and Walgreen's prescription plan, which cost around $4 for a month's supply. But these medications are pain killers, which are addictive, have really uncool side effects, and mostly don't work for me. The one I need to actually stop these headaches isn't covered.

I wrote about my interview last week. I didn't mention that after I got home, I was in agony for about a day and a half after. This all SUCKS. My life has to stop because of my uncontrollable brain.

Sorry for today's rant, but I'm frustrated and still in pain, three days later. It's an awful place to be in, terrified of getting sick. And I know I'm not alone in this.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wardrobe issues

Sorry for my absence, loyal readers. I had another life killer headache. Three days of misery! Fun times.

During my absence, I went into Manhattan for a job interview. Here's what happened.

I prepared all weekend. I laid out my outfit, bought new shoes, packed and repacked my purse, and gathered together my writing samples and resume. I was ready.
Day of the interview, I got dressed, then realized that my shoes were ridiculously uncomfortable, so I tossed them in a bag and put on flats. I wore my ModCloth River Boat Tour dress, with a shrug over it, and my patent leather Blowfish flats.

Then I drove to my parent's house in Elizabeth. My dad offered to drop me off at the train so I parked at their house to save on parking. My dad was adorable. He kept asking me if I was prepared and was I nervous. I was. And I said so. :)

So I'm on the train. And my mind starts working overtime. I get all panicky. "Is my dress appropriate?" "I think it's too short." "It's too wintery." "I look ridiculous." "I can't believe I wore this." "They won't hire me! I have no fashion sense!!!" and so on and so on. By the time I get off in Penn Station, I have convinced myself that I look horrible and need to change.

The sales girls helped me choose.
They were awesome.
So what do I do? I run into H&M. And while in H&M I remember that nothing in H&M fits me right, so I leave and go to Old Navy. I grab a skirt and shirt, pay, and change in the dressing room. I am now wearing this:

I had luckily brought the tote for my shoes, so I stuffed the ModCloth dress in there. I'm aware that I have issues.

So I take the subway to SoHo and arrive about 15 minutes early. I hang out in front of the building for about 5 minutes because I don't want to be too early, then go in. I change my shoes in the elevator.

I have my interview, and I think it went well. I really really hope it went well. It's definitely a position I can see myself doing well in.

I change my shoes again in the elevator.

And then I met up with my cousin and we got Americanized Dosa for lunch.

After Americanized Dosa, we go to UniQlo. I have beef with UniQlo. My cousin goes in and is looking for jeans. He is super hipster skinny, so we go to the women's department. He finds skinny lady jeans and purchases. While he is in the dressing room, I look around. Now, I know that I'm not a skinny girl. The skirt I got at Old Navy was a size large. I'm ok with my curves. I've come to terms with the fact that I will never look right in certain outfits. Some things just aren't meant to be worn by a person shaped like me. That said, I was looking around UniQlo and couldn't find anything over a size medium. There was maybe two size larges in the whole store. And these weren't normal size larges. I think their size large could possibly fit my 7 year old niece. Maybe. And only because she's really skinny. The shelves were packed with extra smalls. Seriously. I saw a girl working there who wasn't a toothpick, and wondered if she was ever able to take advantage of her employee discount. It didn't look like it.

So I left UniQlo feeling a bit down that all my clothes come from Old Navy and Target. But that's ok. The Target dress I'm wearing today cost less than a T-shirt at UniQlo. Win!

I got back to Penn Station and went back to Elizabeth. And was picked up by a very confused father. "Weren't you wearing black when I dropped you off?" "Long story, dad."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer reading list

I've been rereading books that I already own and love. It started when I reread the entire Harry Potter series in anticipation of the last movie. (Except book 6. I can't find book 6. If I lent it to any of you, please give it back. It's driving me crazy.) I also watched all of the movies again because I'm a geek that way and I have the time.

After I finished the HP series, I began reading all of Neil Gaiman's books again. He's my favorite author, and the 10th anniversary edition of American Gods (my favorite book) is coming out on June 21. I finished Anansi Boys and Neverwhere, and started Good Omens last night.

Other books on my to be reread list:
Smoke and Mirrors
Fragile Things
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
A Suitable Boy
World War Z
Sacred Games
Fight Club
and whatever else I dig up in the boxes that currently house my book collection.

Anyone have book suggestions?

Monday, June 13, 2011

All about eyes

Hi friends! Today I want to talk about eye makeup. I have bought, tried, and discarded TONS of mascaras and eyeliners. Here are my favorites.

I currently have three go-to mascaras. One for everyday use, one for special occasions, and one just because I love it.

My everyday mascara is Maybelline Full 'N Soft. I've used this since high school and it's never failed me. I don't like my lashes to be hard and spider leg-like, and this lives up to its name, giving me lots of volume while leaving my lashes soft.

My special occasion mascara is Maybelline Falsies Volum'Express Mascara. It gives me major length and thickness, but I only use it when I really need to add drama because it tends to flake off. It lasts FOREVER, so make sure you remove it thoroughly before going to bed or you will get serious raccoon eyes. It also lasted through tears at a friend's wedding. Bonus points!

My splurge mascara is Urban Decay Big Fatty. It works just like the Full 'N Soft, but it goes on much faster and smoother because of its huge brush. I've tried it in a few colors, but the basic black is the best.

I've searched and searched for eyeliner that won't smudge under my eyes. After years of testing, I've found a few that work for me.

My current eyeliner is Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On eye pencil in black. Application is smooth and it lasts all day. I use this on my upper lash line.

For drama, I use Smashbox Jet Set Eyeliner. This eyeliner comes in a pot and is applied with a brush. (I use the MAC ultra thin angled eyeliner brush.) I like how versatile this eyeliner is. It goes on much easier than liquid liners, but you can get the same effect. I used to use MAC Fluidline Eye Liner Gel and loved it, but I like the feel of the Smashbox better. I've also tried the Maybelline Eye Studio Gel eyeliner, which is half the price of the Smashbox eyeliner and comes with its own brush, but it doesn't go on as smooth.

For my lower water line, I use Hashmi Kajal, which I don't recommend for everyone. This is the eyeliner that I don't leave the house without. I usually buy it through eBay or Amazon, since I can't find it in Edison. It's a bit tricky to apply, but it puts color on both the upper and lower inner eyelid once you get the hang of it. It is smudgy, and gives you the smokey eye look with very little effort. I was going to make a how-to video for this, but there isn't enough light in my house. Sorry.