Sunday, January 29, 2012

A day at the San Diego Zoo in pictures

Recently Dylan and I spent the day at the San Diego Zoo and it was the perfect day. A few clouds and sprinkles, but we didn't mind - this meant less people.  We spent almost 8 hours walking around the zoo and I took over 100 pictures! Yes, we have been to the zoo many times before ... but this was my chance to play with my new camera. The subjects were so accommodating that I just kept clicking away.

These are just some of my favorites.


And I loved capturing these priceless candid shots of Dylan trying to climb on the polar bear statues. His pants didn't make it very easy - he kept slipping off. We both laughed so much.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Amazing Adventures of Captain Don!

I don't know about you, but I love reading stories to my son. Even though he can read to himself, it's still fun to read aloud and get lost in the story with him.

Last week I saw a post on twitter about a great book for kids on whale watching from Dana Wharf. The first 10 people to reply would get a free copy of the book. I never reply - because I never win - but this time I did, and I got a copy of the book.

Knowing nothing about the book, I didn't know what to expect. Would it be age appropriate for my son?

Was it just a book advertising whale watching trips at Dana Wharf? To my surprise, this turned out to be the cutest book I've seen for kids on what to expect on a whale watching trip. For this reason, I had to share it with you.

The Amazing Adventures of Captain Don! is written and illustrated for kids of all ages. Everyone from a toddler to a 10 year-old will love this book. I love this book.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Pinewood Derby is Serious Business

For those of you who have sons in Cub Scouts, you know that the annual Pinewood Derby is serious business. Not just for the kids, but for the parents (mostly the Dads) - because the parents are usually the ones doing most of the wood cutting and sanding. Sure, the kids paint the cars and help, but really how much can a 7 or 8 year old do with saw? Well, at least safely.

This year was Dylan's third year racing in a Pinewood Derby. He has yet to win. And I found out that this was my Dad's 21st pinewood derby car to help make.

Being an Eagle Scout, he has raced his own cars as well as those of his sons, and now his grandson. I stay out of it because it's just too much pressure to have the perfect car. The perfect weight. The perfect wheels.

In my head I'm thinking 'people, it's a piece of wood' - but I know better than to say this out loud around the guys. I may be a girl, but I'm not stupid!

Dylan named his car the Silver Bullet. He drew his own bullet on the car and decided to put a driver in the car. What kind of driver do you put in a pinewood derby car? A LEGO driver of course!

Like I said, this is serious business. The boys have to pass inspection and certification at check-in. From here the cars are taken and the boys don't touch them again until after the race. This stops people from adding weights or anything that may give their car an advantage after the car has been inspected. Shocking, I know, but it has happened. (I told you this was serious business)

Each car races in four heats, a different lane each time. This keeps it fair in case one lane happens to be slower than another. The car who wins the most heats will win for that level of Cub Scouts.

Dylan's Silver Bullet won 3 out 4 heats. Proud day in our household and proud day for Grandpa.
After building and racing in 21 Pinewood Derby's, this is only the second time he has stood in the winners circle.

So happy and proud of my little guy. We had to go out and celebrate.

Where? Icicles of course! 

He didn't want to leave his car or trophy in the car, so we brought them with us. I think he secretly wanted people to ask him about the trophy - and that's totally fine with me. he deserved a little recognition and praise. After all, he just won the Pinewood Derby!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beautyisms - an ideology

Have you ever had an idea that rolls around in your head with all the other marbles, but somehow gets lost among the daily to-do lists?

Well, I did - and last week that little marble finally made its way to the top of the to-do list. I've been so consumed with transforming this idea from a marble rolling around in my head to something actual, that I've been ignoring this blog a bit. So be forewarned, there will be a heap of blog posts coming soon. :)

However, in the meantime, I would love for you to check out what my little marble turned into. Many of you know that I have a deep love for beauty, makeup, skincare, and anything remotely related. After ending Shel Cosmetics, I started writing beauty articles for OC Moms - eventually adding Beautiful You Mondays to this blog so that I could get my weekly beauty fix.

Well, it just wasn't enough.

Beautyisms is my new blog that will be strictly beauty. Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about makeup, product reviews, skincare, and even some daily beauty deals.

Life with Dylan will continue, but as a lifestyle blog.

The beauty stuff will be over at Beautyisms. Check it out, with my soft-launch (as I still have work to do on the blog) and follow @beautyisms  - the ideology of beauty has just begun.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grandma's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Some people have childhood memories of warm chocolate cookies and a glass of milk - for me it's oatmeal raisin cookies. My grandma made the best oatmeal raisin cookies and I remember helping her make them just like it was yesterday. I would kneel on the chair so that I could reach the counter and help her measure the ingredients. When she wasn't looking I would sneak some of the cookie dough - a taste for each phase. First the sugar and butter, then when the flour was added, and finally when the oats were mixed in.

Rainy days are always the best days for baking, so yesterday I decided to make a batch of my grandma's oatmeal raisin cookies. Oh, the memories it brought back. I tasted the dough at each phase of the mixing just like I did when I was a child more than 30 years ago.

And when the cookies came out of the oven ...

I ate one. OK, so I ate two. Still warm with all the chewy goodness melting in my mouth.
When was the last time you made cookies?

Do you have a favorite cookie from your childhood that you make?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Beautiful You Mondays - Golden Globe Awards

Award season has started and the internet is filled with who wore what and who had the best makeup. Twitter was crazy last night and the blogs were posting in real-time. Today the fashion sites and newspapers are posting pictures and opinions.

Next week the magazine covers will be adorned with Golden Globe beauties, along with the famous best dressed and hit and miss lists.

My favorite had to be Nicole Kidman. She looked amazing. Showing off her slender, yet hourglass frame in a Versace gown with just the right color of beading to compliment her hair color. Nicole's makeup was just the right amount and her skin looked beautiful as always.

While I love watching for the dresses, the hair, the makeup, the jewelry, and who showed up with who - I noticed something very different this year.

The shine. The wrinkles. The heavy makeup on some. And the natural beauty on others.

Funny, because most of the pictures I am seeing today don't have these flaws. The talk of edited photos has been quite popular lately, including this "fake commercial" (made to look real) for Fotoshop by Adobe. This is just another example of how women can't always believe what we see in the magazines or on the internet.

I enjoyed seeing some of the older actresses actually look their age - Meryl Streep never tries to hide her age. While Jessica Lange looks like a plastic catastrophe. I love her as an actress, but I wish she would have not done so much to her face.

The one woman who stood out for me, more than just her face, was Angelina Jolie. Aside from her thin frame and gorgeous dress, her face is what seemed to look different in every picture I saw. Definitely not the same face I saw on my television. In some pictures her skin looks very pale and white, almost like a geisha. In  others she looks tan and flawless. On the television she looks shiny (even oily) and sick with sunken eyes and dark circles covered by layers of makeup.

Don't get me wrong - I think Angelina is a beautiful woman and I believe what she does for children and the United Nations is wonderful. I just don't like when women look up to these people and aspire to look like them when what we are seeing in the magazines is not always what we would see in real life.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five on Friday - Fun with Names

Remember when you were a child and you would write your name and make up something for each letter? It could be something funny, a word to describe you, a place you wanted to go, or pretty much anything you and your friends decided it would be.

I've spent a lot of time in the past month reflecting on myself and this week I'm going to reflect on my son. His name has 5 letters, so it's prefect for this weeks Five on Friday post.

Demanding. Not in a bad way, but demanding of my time. It seems like everything he does demands my time or attention. At times I feel like saying "do it yourself, I'm trying to read this magazine" and then I remember he's just a child. I'm his mom and one day I will wish a little voice was saying "Mom, can you help me with this?"

Young. He can carry on a adult conversation better than some adults I know. He knows things that I don't. He is almost as tall as me and can wear my shoes. But he is also only 8 years old.

Laughter. Ever since he was a baby and I heard his first giggle he can make me smile. His laugh that is infectious. He also knows how to make me laugh. He will make a funny face or strike a pose and before I know it I am laughing so hard my sides hurt.

Animal Expert. Yes, technically that's two words, but it's true. This kid knows more about animals than I ever thought was humanly possible. At age 3 he knew the difference between a squirrel and a chipmunk - heck I don't even know the difference! He thrives on memorizing animal facts.

Nerd. I mean this in the nicest way. He would rather read a book than play outside. He got excited on the first day of school when he got a planner and a real textbook. Tuesday is his favorite day of the week because that's when he has Science Club. He loves math and he thrives on getting good grades. Totally not me when I was a kid!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Instagram

I'm quickly learning that Instagram can be just as addictive as Pinterest.

LEGO's, Drive-thru and Target - yep, that was my week via Instagram.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Star Wars Jedi Master Training

Dylan doesn't just like Star Wars, he lives Star Wars. He has memorized every character, the planet they come from, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

This video captures what Dylan does on a daily basis. He's getting pretty good too.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Five on Friday - Memorable Moments

Everyone has good days and then there are those days that are better than good. These days I like to call the best days of my life. Sometimes these days leave something in our lives that will last forever - other times these days come and go with only a glimpse of what could have been.

Either way, they are all memorable moments. At one point in time, these moments were the best days of my life.

  • The day I gave birth to my son. I think my favorite moment that day was when everyone had left the hospital and it was just me and Dylan in the hospital room. 
  • The day I got married and the day I got divorced. Yes, strange I know - but it's the truth. 
  • The day I saw my article in The Orange County Register. 
  • The day I passed the State Board exam and became a licensed esthetician. 600 hours of hard work had finally paid off - and I did it even though people said I would not.
  • The day I realized that I would do anything for my child. Even if it means sacrificing something I want or need. This is the day I learned what love really meant. 

Take a minute and think about the best days of your life. What are your most memorable moments?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Write What You Know

I started writing for OC Moms in late August and found that I really enjoyed writing for something other than my blog. I was able to reach a broader audience and start fine tuning my writing skills. 

If you have read any of my articles, then you know that I was mostly writing about things to do in Orange County with your family. 
(and if you haven't read my articles, look up and click the tab that says OC Moms Articles - now start reading) :)

Well, as much as I enjoy writing about fun activities and places to take the kiddos it was hard work sometimes. I would get writers block and spend hours just looking at the blank screen. Why was I having such a hard time writing about places I loved taking my child? Places that I knew readers would find fun for their families?

Then one day I was talking to a friend and she told me to find my niche. She asked, what are you passionate about?

I thought for a minute (insert light bulb over my head) and I said - Beauty, Makeup, Skincare. She said then that's what you need to write about. I pitched the idea and a few weeks later I wrote For busy moms: Easy homemade sugar scrub and that was where it all began. 

My editor liked it. Readers liked it. And the words just flowed across the computer screen - No more writers block. I was writing what I knew and it showed. 

I will now be writing weekly beauty-related articles for moms and I love it. Today's article talks about how at-home facials can refresh and rejuvenate busy moms

Future articles will include makeup tips, product reviews, skincare questions answered, and much more. 

Is there a beauty topic you would like to know more about? 
Let me know. It might just be the next article featured on OC Moms.

Wordless Wednesday - LEGO Portrait

Thanks to the LEGO Photo App, Dylan has become one with his favorite building blocks.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Follow your Passion

Have you ever done something for so long that you just burn out?
The thought of doing something one more time is just unbearable?
Well, that was me 6 months ago. After doing bridal makeup for close to 12 years, I had to just walk away. I couldn't imagine packing my kit one more time, or cleaning my brushes, or dealing with one more small cramped hotel room with poor lighting.

It felt great - no wonderful - to have my weekends back, but something has been missing. I started getting depressed and unmotivated to style my hair (the ponytail became my new best friend) and only wore makeup when I had to. This was and is not me.

I love makeup. Makeup is my passion.

I recently spent 2 whole weeks home with my son for the holidays and spent more time than I care to admit on the computer. Tweeting. Pinning. Googling. Writing. You name it and I did it. However, one thing I realized a few days ago is that all of this activity seemed to be focused around one thing - Beauty.

I was drawn to it. Makeup, skincare, beauty articles, and fashion magazines seemed to fill my days and nights. Is this just a coincidence? No. It's my passion - and I'm good at it. Beauty is what I know. I can pick apart a photo in a magazine and tell you what is real and what is airbrushed. I can take that photo and recreate the look. I can tell you which ingredients are good for your skin and which ones you should stay away from.

So I started asking myself why did I leave? Why did I give up on my passion?

The answer was really quite simple. I just needed a break.
Rather than quit, I should have scaled back. Less weddings and more photo shoots. More variety.

Sometimes it's good to take a break, but even better to know you still have a passion for something and just needed some time away to realize it. Michelle Fryer, Makeup Artist never left - I was just hiding out for a little bit - but now I'm back and ready to make 2012 amazing. One beauty article and one face at a time.

The Facebook fan page is back, Beautyisms is new and the website will be getting a makeover soon. Now it's time to hit the beauty stores and start revamping my kit!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Beautiful You Mondays - Makeup Brush Caddy

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for a new way to organize and make my life less chaotic. Spending over a decade of my life as a makeup artist, I have acquired quite a bit of makeup and makeup brushes. I clean things out on a regular basis, but I know there is always something new and better waiting to be discovered.

Over the holiday I tried getting caught up on my magazines - I'm up to November now - just shows you how far behind I was. Anyway, I found this great DIY project for organizing your makeup brushes while reading In Style magazine. How cool is this? No more fumbling through the makeup bag or plastic cup looking for the brush you want. Why didn't I think of this?

I did a little searching and found an etsy store that has something very similar (wonder if they got the idea from the magazine) - Address the Mess sells these already made ($25) for those that aren't so crafty or handy with a drill. I think this would make a great weekend project.

Find a friend who has a drill and make a trip to the art store or Home Depot ... before you know it, you will have all your makeup brushes standing at attention and ready to work their magic.

How do you store your makeup brushes? Share your organizing ideas in the comments below.