cracked foundation

by Lara on March 18, 2014

in beauty

I’m going to be 35 on Sunday.


3 – 5

A couple weeks ago, suddenly and as if to throw this point in my face (literally), a frown wrinkle set in between my eyebrows.  Wtf.

I stared at it in the mirror and made a bunch of faces to see where this wrinkle came from.  How did I do this to myself?

Disapproving disgust is apparently a look I give quite often.

So, of course, I went into a mass panic and bought some Neutrogena “Rapid Wrinkle Repair” junk with hyaluronic acid and retinol.  It works.  In almost 2 weeks, I’ve seen a major difference… like it’s pretty shocking.  I have hope.  It’s also made my skin a little flaky so, I’m going to have to dial it down a notch. (I was putting it on my face over 3 times a day. I kinda lost my mind.)

I used to joke about how tough my skin was, that I could scrub my face with Ajax and it would be fine.  I don’t know if it’s age, or medications, or this wretched Winter, or what other fresh hell has made my skin go to the dogs.  It gets red and unhappy after St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub, which never used to irritate it.  My combination skin is more erratic, with weird dry patches and pores going “heeeeeyyy look at meeeee!”  My tiny broken capillaries have gone rogue and all splotchy.  The fat in my face is changing and shifting. It’s all happened so rapidly that it’s kind of shocking.

I stole my neighbor’s latest InStyle magazine (she moved and they keep coming here) and saw an ad for Sephora’s new Pantone skin matching service called Color IQ.  Yesterday after work I drove to the mall in sleet to fix my goddamn face (or at least cover this crap up) and have some ladytime pampering.  (Department store makeup ladies frighten and fascinate me all at once and I’ve seen nothing good come from a counterside makeover but I was desperate.)

I recommend doing this on a slow night.  I received all the attention with no one looming.  The sweet girl (Bri) working the testing area all alone on a Monday night was such a sport.  (She said I looked like Snow White so I immediately wanted to put her in my pocket.)  She gave me a Vitamin C face wipe to remove makeup off my cheeks and neck and then gave me a dollop of moisturizer to replenish my skin and I sat in a tall chair while she placed a handheld device on 3 points – my neck, cheek and forehead.  It gave her a calculation and she did it again on my other side to see if the readings were the same. I’m a 1Y06, which is light with slight yellow undertones.

So, we went to a small tablet and talked about what kind of formula (liquid/powder, etc.) and coverage I wanted (sheer, medium or full).  I wanted liquid with medium buildable coverage so after she tapped around the screen, I put in my email address to send myself my foundation matches.  Then she walked me through the matches, explaining that some were more sheer and some were super matte and some had a reputation for oxidizing on oily t-zones.  Girl knew her stuff.  I picked a few, based on some reviews I’d seen online and she painted me up with one on my left side. I just couldn’t figure it out but something wasn’t right.  This is one of those moments where you need to speak up and be honest with yourself and those trying to help you.

The lighting in Sephora is nuts.  She got me to stand in 4 different places with a hand-held mirror to get a good sense of it.  We both felt that the recommended shade was a little too yellow so, she picked one shade lighter and did up my other half and it was perfect… like so perfect.  The Pantone match is simply a starting point.  You may have to make some adjustments.

With this service, they’ll let you take a few samples home to try out but I was sold on Lancôme’s Teint Visionnaire Skin Correcting Makeup Duo.  It’s a liquid foundation with an adorable perfectly matched cream concealer built into the cap and is supposed to genuinely “correct” your skin over time, with 20 SPF built in – a mega foundation – a lot of bang for your buck.  It sets fairly quickly and lasted all day today.  I’m really pleased with it so far and got 2 compliments at work today, that I looked “pretty.”  I’ll take it!

Lancôme Teint Visionnaire Skin Correcting Makeup Duo

I know I know, this shit is expensive.  We all have our things we spend stupid amounts of money on but; considering it took a year to finish off an even smaller bottle of Givenchy Photo’Perfexion Fluid Foundation, this is roughly 16 cents a day to put my best face forward.  Suck it Trebek.

Natural looking foundation is really important to me.  I don’t want to look powdery or cakey in sunlight and you guys, that dark contouring/highlighting insanity looks creepy as hell in broad daylight.  I apply natural blush on the apples of my cheeks.  I don’t want to look gaunt or angular or sculpted.  I want to look fresh and glowy and rosy.  Honestly, I think this contouring madness makes you look old and straight off the set of Dynasty if you’re not an absolute pro.  It’s great for photo shoots and nighttime makeup but good lord I’ve seen some disasters downtown during the day.

This scares the hell out of me:

Kim countouring



Let me share a secret that will solidify all your suspicions of my absurd vanity – I bought that little double pack of mini evian facial sprays at Ulta a while back.  Frou frou overpriced water in a can.  I keep one in my makeup bag and one in my desk at work (office air is so dry).  After I’ve done my foundation/powder/blush, I do a quick burst of mist and everything melts together and it takes the powdery edge off giving it a natural finish.  Don’t tell me I can put water in a spray bottle.  This mist is magical!

Evian face spray

Next ridiculously priced makeup temptation I’m 99% sure I’ll succumb to soon?  Hourglass Ambient Lighting Power (and maybe the blush).  I played with it all last night and whoa mama, this stuff is lovely.  Dim Light is my shade of choice.

Are you going to get matched at Sephora soon? 

Have you mastered contouring or are your scared?


+ & –

by Lara on March 16, 2014

in + & -

+&-This whole post is a roller coaster

  • It’s starting to look like my dad won’t be building my house.  I’m actually not that upset about this.  First off, we won’t know 100% for another week or so.  The surveyor was told by the city that his rough plan looked great and to submit the finalized version.  Then the city rejected it for the 3rd time last week, asking for some more drainage calculations (was told to just take a wild guess by a city official.)  So, the surveyor did what he was supposed to do and submitted it again and we’ll find out soon if it’s good enough to get the seal of approval to break ground.  My father and I are so completely sick of the whole thing and agreed that if they don’t accept this last plan, we give up and he’s just going to sell the lot and be done with it… and I will start looking for a house again.  I mean, seriously, this has been going on for months.  There are a few reasons I’m not totally bummed. 1) the location wasn’t 100% doing it for me but was tolerable 2) my dad likes to start things and not finish them and doesn’t like to explain things when I ask questions so, I’ve had some anxiety 3) I still wasn’t 100% sure how everything was going to be financed since it wouldn’t be a conventional mortgage and there were all sorts of conflicts with the 1st bank we talked to from this being done by family for family 4) my dad bought this lot before I even started thinking about buying a house, it’s not my problem.
  • I’ve already started looking at houses again.  I’ve eliminated a few more neighborhoods and added some, driving around after work and this weekend, checking things out.  My dad wants me to get something super cheap that needs a lot of work and frankly, I don’t want that hassle and further expense (some things are within reason).  I’m buying what I want.
  • If my house isn’t built by my dad, I’m out a bit of money. I still have to pay the surveyor.  My dad is going to raise hell and try to get a refund for the application from the city (doubtful) and get the sets of plans back.  The plans cost a fortune but; I may be able to sell them on eBay.  I can return my house numbers to Lowes and I’ll keep the 3 sets of faucets I bought to possibly replace in the house I do get (or sell later).   Everything else I bought was just decorative stuff that I’ll still need/use.
  • I did my taxes and had to pay $100 (I have less taken out every pay check) but I get evaluated in a month and will definitely get a raise.
  • My firm is moving to completely renovated 20th and 21st floors this Summer. It’s been a whirlwind of scanning old crap into the system and shredding and consolidating. Everyone was promised their own office and then I found out all the assistants may just get glorified fancy cubes.


  • Living alone has really satisfied my hermit tendencies. I’ve turned into a day person.  I’ve only had 2 drinks in 2 weeks.  I have barely seen anyone outside of work and my dad the past few weeks.  I’m not complaining.  I’m saving a ton of money and I really don’t like many people. Ha!
  • I started that new painting with gusto and then stopped.  It’s been staring at me in my living room for over a month now and has become my personal shame.
  • One of those interesting people I went on a date with but felt nothing for turned into a sub-tweeting, passive aggressive facebooking, guilt-tripping fool because I don’t want to see him again.  Just because I don’t feel a connection with you doesn’t mean I’m a terrible person.  Also, desperation in a man is a HUGE turnoff.
  • Movies on demand at night are my thing right now.  Last night I watched Singles again for the first time in over 10 years.  Still relevant.  Still amazing.
  • It’s Sunday night and True Detective isn’t coming on.  How amazing was that show? Rust Cohle is pretty much my dream man.

Rust Cohle

  • I wore nothing but black/white/grey/touch of red or yellow for 2 weeks for the hell of it and felt really comfortable and put together.  I’m completely obsessed with this crepe blouse I got at Target and would wear it every day if I could.


  • I’m growing my hair out again, all one length. It’s to my chin now and about to enter the shitty stage. Not looking forward to it.
  • Why is everyone losing their mind over the new “Cosmos”? Did we not all grow up with NOVA on PBS? This is for kids!


no shame

by Lara on March 3, 2014

in life

It’s a snow day so I’m eating ravioli in my jammies on my sofa, watching a Sex and the City marathon.

My ex used to ask me if I was watching my “sluts.”  Sure am motherfucker! I’m a Samantha – always have been.  Weeeee!! The sluttiest one of them all!

All this “slut” action and the slut-shaming I experienced for the first time in my life last week, and the constant slut-shaming I’ve been seeing on Facebook lately have me fired the hell up.

Yep,  I got inadvertently slut-shamed by a guy who really thought he was an outstanding dude.  We were talking about kink – one of my favorite subjects – and he informed me that because he was “raised by women” he knew “how to treat women” and therefore couldn’t partake in rough play.  People, this is a load of shit.  Just because I like a slap on the ass every now and then doesn’t mean I’m riddled with daddy issues, or a slut, or that rough play between two trusting consensual adults is a wrong way to treat a woman – a woman who wants it, asks for it and establishes the boundaries.

On Facebook this weekend, a friend of mine posted some list of man tips, saying it was “perfect.”  One of them was, “If she’s taken it up the ass by more than 3 people, she’s not marriage material.”  And SO many people were on board with this!  What the hell does that even mean? I mean, the way guys push and push to stick things up our asses, NOW we’re sluts for caving or heaven forbid, actually enjoying it?

I have never seen so many man-children absolutely paralyzed with fear because they can’t handle a woman who likes what she likes and lives on her own terms.  So, when you’re afraid or intimidated, you  make assumptions to make yourself feel better, lash out and say nasty things about people whose story you don’t even know… and women are just as guilty of this as men.

I’m making it a point to rage against this!  I hope you do too!



let’s talk lunch

by Lara on March 2, 2014

in life


I’m out of my funk!  Been out of it for over a week, actually.  Thank you all for your sweet comments, texts, tweets, etc.  It means a lot.  Truly.

I was sending a lot of messages back and forth between a friend last week and I realized that getting off balance really throws me for a loop – working too hard makes me want to do nothing when I get home.  Staying at home too much makes me neglect my friendships.  Neglecting my friendships makes me get crazy social. Crazy social makes me want to withdraw.  OMG.  It will all work itself out.

I’m still enjoying being single.  I went on a few dates with some incredibly interesting/charming people but I want nothing more than friendship.

The surveyor submitted and informal plan to the city and they said it looked great and to send in a finalized version.  He did that last week and I’m still waiting for the final approval to start building my house.  Please for the love of god, let’s get this moving!

Another huge thing – I finally pulled the trigger on getting my backpiece done! Here is my poor faded back in its current state.  I’ve never been happy with this, as it was a cover-up from an 18 y/o mistake:


(my poor coworker took this pic in a pinch)

Anyhow, I’ve enlisted Katie Davis at Salvation here in Richmond to do my back, which will incorporate and improve upon what I already have w/ my mom’s favorite flowers, ivy, a deer head with dogwood branch antlers and bees for my dad and my home state.  My entire back will be covered.

Here’s an inspiration pic:

Ryan Mason(artist: Ryan Mason)

I’ve saved up for this for a long time in a secret stash and start mid-Spring.  I’m terrified of the pain and super excited.  Wish I could start today!

Yesterday, I shared on Instagram all my food prep for lunches this week – 4 wraps, 2 Caesar salads and 2 mushroom cous cous w/ chicken + snacks for under $30:

lunch prep

It got a lot of positive feedback so I sent an epic message to a friend who wants to do this for her and her boyfriend.  So, here are my tips for a couple – which really aren’t that different for one person, depending on how you work it:

Here’s a shopping list/tips for you guys to fix your lunches for the week. My only concern is if you have all this stuff sitting in your fridge and ready to go, that it will also get eaten for snacks at night and grabbed for convenience for dinner. So, you really have to save this stuff for your lunches! (You can do a similar dinner plan too!)

You don’t want to eat the same thing every day of the week so, I try to get some variety in.

You need those generic plastic containers “soup/salad size”, snack size ziplock bags, those cute little containers for salad dressing and if you want mayo for your wraps, steal some packs from chick-fil-a (seriously). You will re-use the containers. Just remember to bring em home!

Here’s what I did this week: 6 pack of large spinach wraps ($3) (I made 4 wraps and will have 2 left for quick quesadillas for dinner this week.) If you’re prepping for both of you – then 3 wraps each for the week and NO quesadillas for you!

1 bag of matchstick/grated carrots. ($2 – these bags last forever in the fridge and will prob last for 3 rounds of this)

1 bell pepper – cut in strips ($1)

a 3-pack of romaine lettuce ($3) did 4 wraps and 2 caesar salads and I still have 1 bunch left for 2 quick dinner salads. You will need 2 leafs for each wrap and 1 head does 2 salads. You can prob do all six wraps and 4 salads with a 3 pack if you’re careful and clean up/use the beat up outer leaves. Separate and set aside your leaves for wraps first then chop the rest. I only put chopped lettuce and the matchstick carrots in the containers. Everything else is in baggies, cups, etc. It just lasts longer in the fridge.

For 6 wraps, I would get 1lb of deli turkey ($6-7). Divide it up in 6 piles to keep em even.

1.5 slices of cheese each so, 9 slices – I break them in half and run them down the middle on top of the turkey when I’m layering the wraps.

Then the 2 leafs of romaine, bell pepper strips (pat dry w/ paper towel and try to keep them on top of the lettuce – you don’t want the wraps to get soggy) and a handful of grated carrot, then roll up and wrap in saran wrap. I get everything in piles and ready then layer and roll like an assembly line.

For 4 salads, you’ll need 1 pack of fresh chicken tenders ($4 – about 2 tenders per salad, so count em in the pack). I season them w/ Mrs. Dash (or whatever) and sear them in a pan with some Pam spray. Let them sit then chop em up and divide into equal piles of pieces and put in 4 snack bags.

1 bag of generic seasoned croutons ($1), put some in snack bags – you’ll have some left for next week.

Bottle of Caesar Dressing ($2 – I like creamy) and put some in the little containers and add some grated/shredded Parmesan cheese on top. You’ll have a lot left for next week.

So, all your salad components are ready to go.

That’s 3 wraps and 2 salads for each of you. But that’s not a huge lunch. So for snacks – whatever apples are on sale and peanut butter in a cup, oranges (pre-slice if you want but apples get brown. I keep a knife in my lunch bag), celery w/ peanut butter or cream cheese, raw almonds (the little bulk containers in the produce section are cheaper than the name brands in the snack aisle), granola bars, cookies in snack bags… get this all prepped and ready too.

I had some extra chicken tenders after just doing 2 salads and already had a pack of cous cous in the pantry so, I cooked that up and have 2 hot things to have with salad this week (and give me more variety), but I have a microwave at work.

If you want to do something like that too, you should get an extra pack of chicken tenders. You can also cook a bag of frozen ravioli and a jar of spaghetti sauce (add some of those grated carrots for extra veg) and divide it up in containers for a hot lunch. Progresso soups are usually $1 a can so you can pour one into a container and heat that up at work for something hot. Leftovers are awesome. Veg soup, chilli, most Italian stuff re-heats well. I pack everything up, toss a soda, some plastic silverware and napkins in my bag the night before and I’m good to go in the morning.

I still think the 2 of you can get this done for around $40 – 10 lunches! (not including the start-up containers)

What are your go-to work lunch favorites?


6 months of tears

by Lara on February 9, 2014

in life

It’s been a profoundly quiet weekend.  Maybe it’s the winter blahs but I’ve been inside my head a bit too much lately.  Friday and Saturday night, I couldn’t get off the sofa.  It was a friend’s birthday on Friday and I have a gift waiting by my front door but, I couldn’t muster the energy to go out in the cold.  I watched the opening ceremonies that night and I can’t even remember what I watched 24 hours ago.  Tonight will probably be the same – but with new True Detectives (love this show) and Walking Dead (feel obligated to stick it through).

During the day, I’ve gotten up early, puttered around the apartment and ran errands.  My apartment is spotless, all the laundry is done and I’ve prepped 5 lunches for next week.  It’s not some debilitating depression but through it all, I’ve been really sullen.  I even re-took the Meyers Briggs test and scored super introverted and emo from my usual so my mind is definitely in a weird place.  I’m on week 2 of Chantix again and I wonder if that’s contributing to the mood.  It’s always a wild ride with this crap.

Thoughts of my mom have been consuming me in bursts when I least expect it.  Whenever I talk about my job to anyone, I tell them that I had tears in my eyes the first 6 months I was there.  Yesterday I realized that maybe it wasn’t because the job was exceptionally hard to learn, but because my mother had just died and my life had completely changed and I was freaking the fuck out on the inside.  It’s always been easier to just blame the new job and not acknowledge everything else that was going on.  This thought, as obvious as it is, was like a punch in the face.  I feel like I’ve denied the loss of my mother the reverence it deserves…  that I’ve easily skipped over that little detail in everyday conversation, that I just popped into a new routine and embraced it like a soldier to keep myself from going insane.  So, I’ve felt a little guilty and shitty.

And I’ve also been trying to wrap my brain around my ability to go into autopilot when the going gets tough.  How many details in life have I missed?  How do I even know if I’m stressed if normal life to me is just a head-first push forward and then get surprised with an anxiety attack in the grocery store? Things are so much better than they’ve been in a very long time now so, what’s the new normal going to be?

All the thoughts.

Some other things bouncing in my head have been the fact that I won’t have kids.  Seriously.  Not. Happening.  I’m too selfish and I’m okay with that.  I have never once in my life wanted children yet, there’s still this disappointment that I never met anyone that inspired in me the secure feelings from being a potentially good father/provider to even reconsider.  I’m getting too old now and would never risk it at this age.  So all the childless men out there who do want families sure as shit don’t want a 35 year old woman whose ovaries are almost past their prime.  That’s fine.  I accept this.

I also never want to live with a man again.  (Now, this may change.  Kids no – cohabiting maybe.)  I don’t particularly like answering to anyone in general and love coming home to an empty home.  I have great friends.  So, what’s the point of dating?  Right now, there is none.  So is sex the only reason to establish any romantic connection?  I think so.  I think I’m okay with this.  I think.

So much reality smacking me in the face.

Maybe it would be a good idea to take things one day at a time. :)