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Arden Raine is an ex-theatrical making sense of life through many lenses.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Not the post You were expecting

So four weeks ago my mom died. Two days before Mother's day. You all know how that day has been for me historically.

Today's post isn't about that.

It's not about how in the last 4 weeks every aspect of my life has imploded in some fashion.

It's not going to be about my incestuous half brother who's doing 30 years in prison for hurting his daughter the same way he did me. (I'll unpack that later as well as my mom's stuff. Just not now.)

It's not about the death of  man who mentored both me and my husband a week later.  But this is a bit about that.

This post isn't about the illness, aggravation,  depression,  grieving, loss, anger, idiocy, frustration that has weighted me down to the point of breaking in the last 6 weeks.  Because I haven't.

This post is about the friend who reached out about her suicidal thoughts. Who reached out after she was supported and safe to hold others up.

This post is about bravery.

In a friend reaching up while reaching down. I see you Jenni!! ❤❤

The joy of watching another friend be brave enough to dream and make it realized.  Go Shawn!!!!

It's about the beautiful bravery of a man dying of cancer and his living family sharing that journey. His journey as he had shared so many things with all of us kids he mentored. Don't think that the night you and your wife came to my door and dragged me to dinner when I hadn't eaten in a week didn't change my whole world. There was before the McCreary's and after.

This post is not about my anxiety and fear and doubts.  But of all the folks who have let me rant, cry and fume over my life these last few weeks. Thank you guys!

It's about me being able to stop and worry about others and laugh with folks who share their tragedy is comedy moments.
Sunny you win. Groundhogs running over your feet will always win.

This post is about my gratitude to so many of you.  To the choices you all make to be beautiful in your own life messes.

To support others not tear them down.

This post is about life being lead well.
It's about healthy boundries with toxic people.

It's for those folks who constantly are my rocks and I in return I love to be there for them. Kim is is especially for you... I love each and every one of you!

Life is too fucking short.

Live it kindly. Live it fully. Dream. Do. Fail. Be a mess. Talk about it all. For the love of all things holy. Talk about all the bits. The good. Bad. Ugly.  Secrets rot and fester and kill joy, passion, will to live.

A week ago I wasn't sure if I would make it through one more minute of the badness. I thought I'd break in half if one more bad thing...

Not one, or two but a flood more came knocking. But here I am focused on the good shit. The good folks. I am focused on how fucking lucky I am. How much love I have built around myself by being only willing to let folks who really love me surround me.
I am willing to trust. I am willing to be excited.

So I plan on dreaming a bit myself. And for once in my life not being afraid that the world will crush those dreams. So what if they fail? No big deal. I get to dream again and again and again.

And I want you guys, especially you my biddy hen friend 💗🍷💄, along for the ride.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sweet Libertine Cosmetics (A review or perhaps a love story)

A friend posted a picture on social media of a company that had a line of mineral eyeshadows that were based on the beloved TV show Firefly.
Thus begins my saga...
I really loved the idea and went to the site  http://sweetlibertine.com/ and saw the gorgeous pigments for myself. Alas I wasn't able to purchase at that time. But I did share the snot out of the link via my own social media page. Geek girls rally behind nerdy things!
Fast forward about a half a year...
I decided to try Sweet Libertine cosmetics. I knew I wanted pigments from the Firefly + Serenity collections.
My first order was of Browncoat, Reaver's Space, and a non collection shade called Fiasco. Little did I realize what I had begun.
These mineral pigments are beyond amazing. So rich and beautiful.  They stay really well without primer and are darn well unmoveable when applied with an eye primer. Most products are vegan but certain shades are not but are clearly marked.
I apply them mostly dry, they blend like butter. But add a few drops of saline  (I like Dollar Tree's Pure Eyes) and the pigments can be used as liquid liners. Or use as creme shades that are deeper in color than when applied dry.
Each order arrives wrapped in sweet tisse paper with a logo sticker and satin ribbon and comes with free samples. These details are so above and beyond the price point (around 6.00 per 5gm pot) that it's mind blowing!!
Did I mention that Sweet Libertine Cosmetics is a small business? Sarah (the owner) is based in Cincinnati Ohio so I consider it local to me here in Pittsburgh. 
I will loudly trumpet my love for local businesses, and woman owned businesses especially make me glad to share my love!
Since my first order I have reordered 5 more times. My 5gm pot total is 16, with 2 more on the way. 6 of those colors were purchased directly due to the samples coming with each order. (Best marketing device ever.) And I have also ordered several eyeshadow sample 10 shade packs (each sample is 4 -5 applications) and other samples which I will review later.
I have product from several other special collections: The Valentine's day XXX collection which is a yearly limited run with adult themed names and luscious colors and from the Something Happened on the Day He Died collection  which was inspired by David Bowie,  and even from Friendship is Magic collection though I bought the shade Diamond Dogs as my own Bowie tribute.
Sweet Libertine also has mineral correcting powers, blushes,  highlight, and mineral veils .  I have purchased samples of all of these.
I wasn't sure about the Translucent mineral veil powder sample but it grew on me. I plan to order a full size soon.
I tried the yellow correcting powder but it was too pale for me and make my under eye grey and ugly. Sarah has a FB group and has asked about the correctors and will be adding more to the line. She has a full line of shades. I will definitely try these again once a peach type shade is available as my under eye is a deep blue tone that yellow doesn't really correct.
I purchased one of each blush shade: Spry, Radiant, Dewy, and Glowing. Spry is a rosy tone, Radiant (my favorite) is a warm peach tone, Dewy is a soft peach with shimmer and Glowing is golden with shimmer.  I use Dewy and Glowing as highlights only as they are extremely sparkling and I felt like a two bit vampire the time I wore as blush! (Speaking of vampires, there was at one time a Buffy the Vampire Slayer collection!)
My deepest desire is for the eye pigments!  I seriously have purchased for the creative names alone (XXX collection: Sparklecunt, Fuck Me Pumps, and Crotchless Panties) but even cute/clever names aside the colors are always lovely and wearable. Even the glitter shades.
I use my pigments all sorts of creative ways. I have added them to clear nail polish for one of a kind looks, I  have added them to melted bases and made lip tints. And very little of the pigments are needed to shade this way.
So much value!
One last thing in my love note, the service is beyond fabulous! Twice now Sarah has gone above and beyond for me personally.  I wanted the shade Jayne's Hat from that very first picture shared. It wasn't in stock when I had placed my 1st order. And I had literally placed my second order when the next day Jayne's Hat came back into stock. I mentioned this on the group FB page. And Sarah messaged me immediately and added the new pot to my order without charging me extra shipping.
She's quick to contact and is so very kind. I think this is a one woman show. (Not sure but I believe that to be the case.) All these pigments are created, named, packaged and sent by her. I'm just in awe of the loving care tied into each item.
Run, don't walk, and try Sweet Libertine Cosmetics now!
(I am in no way being paid for this review. I have purchased all products reviewed.)
Photos: Double row swatches are purchased shades application wet and dry; single row swatches are current samples applied wet and dry; me in a smokey eye look created with Sweet Libertine Cosmetics.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dear Kidlet (part3)

Here we are with only 5 days left of our first summer vacation.

I'm  so proud of you. You faced some fears over the last few months, you'll be swimming soon. We had lots of fun checking off all your summer fun list items.

You were supremely patient  with your mom as she spent weeks making jewelry and then winded up selling nothing.

So I want you to remember playing in the park.  The solid month of rain we had this June. How we played on the renewed front porch.

STEM camp, even though we only went to half of them.

Reading lots of books!

4th of July fireworks on the bridge with Uncle C.

Uno, endless games of Uno.

Your yummy kindergarten green beans. You grew those kiddo! We'll be snacking on them this fall because I froze them. Picking tomatoes and sunflowers.

Wigglers 1-3 all leaving your mouth. The Tooth Fairy was seriously worried #3 was going to be a June loss! Whew! It made it's debut in July.

Camping with Uncle C and David. Night fishing and Daddy catching his first ever fish at age 48!

Going to the zoo with Aunt S.

And how can we forget Lego Pirates of the Caribbean game and Lego Jack and his grand disappearing act. How did he end up in the camping gear???

Song of the Sea and Nocturna.

Drive-in Minions. Star gazing. Meteorshower where only Mommy got up.

4 day weekend with Ninny and Buppy! Emma, Kennywood and the zoo!

Playing at the Thing.

Swiming with cousins, lake swimming, Palace of Gold, McConnells Mill, endless trips to ice cream.

There was some loss too. Dunner's Oak being set on fire. Mr. Thomas dying. The slide at the park being smashed then boarded up.

Your best buddy going to a different school this year. He's still just 3 doors up and I set a play date tomorrow so that technically scratches off the last item on your list!

We sheltered it all together. I truly hope it was the best of summers. We still have a few more days. I had a great time with you. And your Dad and I love you to the moon and back!

My wishes for next week's new beginning for you: Have fun; Make some more friends; Please behave on the bus this year, please; Always having the fast undies for gym days; Having a teacher you love just as much as Mrs. B!

You're one step closer to Big kid and we are so excited for you! But it's still okay if we call you kidlet for just a little while longer right?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ephemera (Story Track #14)

We spent the cool morning moments chatting on the immeasurable quality of the night bloomers.

Awash in the scents of heady locust bean blossoms and lilting honeysuckle.

He pondered on the magic that makes these ephemera uncatchable to my folks' chemistry.

Oh sure we humans can simulate these ghost scents. But true Mock Orange is like a sugar spun treat on the tongue.  Filling the lungs and bring ecstacy then forever gone on the exhalation.

Jasmine becomes a lead bludgeon in our hands that beats the faculties to numbness in a cloud around each crisply dress elder woman.

Synthetic Gardenia is a razor that slices deeply into the sinuses and carves its initials into your thoughts.

Our synthetic renderings can mimic the top notes sure. But they fall cloying and heavy upon the pallette;  linger like yesterday's fish fry; and induce not bliss but skull splitting rebuke.

So instead of debate his point of view , which I find all too correct to rebut. I sat with him and just breathed in my favorite memories: part morning mist, part locust bean bloom, part honeysuckle,  and part quiet company.

Monday, May 11, 2015

An Un-normative Mother's Day

As you know, historically Mothers Day (pre kidlet) was a day of exquisite pain and loss for me. A day of constant reminders of broken ties and broken hearts.

Then I had my daughter. And while the sentiment of Mother's day was not one I actively sought or engaged in I found comfort and peace with the day.

This year was different for me. Unexpectedly so if I am completely honest.

My kidlet,  now a big kid in school, became obsessed with the idea of a day long mom fest. Something I never wanted or needed before. The secretive planning with her Dad. The hinted breakfast in bed and Mom is awesome activities were whispered and giggled over for the last 2 weeks.

I found myself actually looking forward to her excitement and her pride in having me as her Mommy. She couldn't wait on Friday to gift me with her school made treasure.  I cried at the sweet handwriting and the adorable card claiming that we like to clean together.  What? Seriously? Cleaning?  Okay baby. I love you too!

I had to hide myself away during the Lowe's build Saturday morning and walk eyes shut so I didn't ruin my surpise for the next morning.  And I did so happily. 

I was a kid waiting on Santa. Heck the tooth fairy visited Friday night. Magic was afoot! My Grove's Beltane was a truly mystical Saturday afternoon and I was poised to tip over into the full on Mother's Day mode! I wanted it badly, embarrassingly so. Who have I become?!

Let me caveat that I do not begrudge any woman her joy in Mother's Day. I do not find fault in the happiness and closeness it brings many. I also deeply and intimately know the pain of those, motherless,  childless,  alone, and grieving who find MD a yearly reminder of sadness and anger and loss.

But for me looking forward to Mother's day is unheard of and unexpected.  I was joyous to no longer dread the day. That was gift enough for me.

So when my child asked to leave me alone yesterday to go off with her Dad and Uncle to finally fish I had to say an emphatic Yes! (It must be noted the men in my life thought it would make me happy to have a me day. They were being thoughtful and I appreciate that effort. )  She has longed for that moment for a whole year. She and her Daddy got their first licenses Saturday night and the pride and joy radiated of my kid like waves of heat from a pot belly stove. Not a chance in hell would I stiffle that enthusiasm.  No matter how strangely sad it made me.

I spent the whole day alone. And truth told a goodly portion sad and hurt. I cried over my own broken maternal connections.  And I missed not being able to get breakfast in bed.

I was happily given my hand made card and wooden planter so lovingly made by my daughter and husband.

I was proudly shown the carefully selected geranium and lavender plants that were my motherly honors. And I love them!

Then without a wave goodbye they left.

I know that I did the right thing.  I know that if our vehicle could carry 6 I would've been right in the thick of it yesterday. 

I would've watched the near misses and the first casts and the boredom of fishing in the hot sun. They had a ball. I am so grateful for that and to the amazing fathers who made that experience possible!

They took the cousins home then came back hot and content.  I was hungry and trying not to be hurt (I could've said no way to the fishing after all. But that would've been so wrong of me to do.)

We quarreled over dinner and I got to have what I wanted only by default and then we fussed and cajoled kidlet through her meal so we could take her mini golfing. (A promised event from Saturday she didn't get to do because I was selfishly socializing still at Beltane.)

So I was feeling like an ass by this point of the day. Angry with myself for being upset. Angry at myself for being selfish.  And frustrated that on the day of celebrating being a mom I felt like the single worst mom ever. (A feeling I often have as I suspect most moms carry.)

And then magic happened.  We went mini golfing.  We played and laughed and argued and corrected and enjoyed each other.  We revelled the families around us. All of us with our small kidlets. Spending that hour engaged washed away all the negative impact of Mother's Day for me.

I wasn't wallowing in past pain. I wasn't kicking myself for feeling adrift. I wasn't doing anything more that playing mini golf,  badly, and enjoying every minute of being together.

We haven't felt like that in a while. I haven't felt connected to them in a while. And I know that has been my own fault.

I've been disconnecting.  I've been tied to my electronic escape or my artistic endevours or my religious pursuits or my 'free time'. And I recognized my own feelings of guilt about being so aloof and distanced.

So lots to think upon. Lots to process.

May your days be filled with small connection.  Don't feel sad when others share their happiness.  Try to embrace it.  It can help sometimes to soften the edges of your own pain. Don't let expectations ruin a perfectly good afternoon.

And enjoy Mother's day if you want to. Insulate if you need to. Rage and mourn if it is what you must. Respect that for some the tidal wave of all things warm and motherly is hurtful but we don't begrudge you, your happiness.

Most of all be gentle with yourselves.  No matter the origin of Mother's day nor it's commercial aspects we all can make of it as we will.

I'm looking forward to another year's worth of perfecting my role as Mom. I fall and I rise. I  succeed and I rejoice. But at the heart of all of it is a child, that we created, who just needs a mother's love and guidance. And for her I'd stay home alone forever if it meant her happiness.  I'd eat dry toast and know it a feast.

I guess it was a happy Mother's Day after all.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Hemlock Owl (Story Track #13)

Hemlock Owl spirit don't give a....

Hemlock Owl drinks the nectar of death. It don't matter to him that Socrates or Plato or one of those fucks died.

Hemlock Owl rides the wave and tames that pony.

Hemlock Owl is so bad ass he doesn't even hide himself like other dryads or pansy faekin.

He's all: "What!?" And "That's what I thought."

Hemlock Owl needs nothing.  Well maybe he needs woodpeckers.  Those cats eat 4 times their weight in bugs a day. But thats it!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Trichotillomania and me

*This began as a Facebook status but is important enough to share here.*
I have been having a bad time with my Trichotillomania.
That is an obsessive compulsion to pull out one's own hair.
On YouTube I found a beautiful British Channel 4 documentary titled: "Girls on the Pull". 
It's in 2 parts and though I cried through most of it, I see what those girls are going through and realize how lucky I am. And so happy that those women found Lucinda Ellerby, the salon owner who specializes in helping those with Trichotillomania. 
I have had Trich since age 11, so for 31 years it has been my companion.
I have many times stopped and restarted the pulling.
As life and anxiety drag on my resources the trich becomes a means to buffer myself from that anxiety. I have come to see it as a gentle reminder to self care and revisit my therapeutic toolbox.  But I do not berate myself for the relapses.
My last restart began, unsurprisingly,  with the miscarriage last year. And has ramped up lately with the dual upheavals of kidlet's school problems and home worries. Nothing earth shattering but honestly I have pushed my own needs/self care to the back burner and the Trichotillomania is a wake up call to take better care of myself.
My lovelies I am sharing this not because I am in any way in crisis.  I am not. But because of the stigma and self loathing that trich can imprison a person. Obviously not me as I rarely wear make up anymore and am open about Trichotillomania.
I didn't know what Trichotillomania was until I was in college. It was that dirty secret I had to try to hide because it embarrassed my family. Too many who have trich feel this way.
I have since accepted my pulling as the act that it is. It is my body's way of processing high levels of stress and fear.
So if you see me with less eyebrows or notice my bald spots and want to talk about it- I am ALWAYS willing to do so.
4% of the population has this disorder.
That's a lot of folks under a lot of heavy-duty shame and stress (for the most part).
What I can say is it can get better. Self love and care can do so much. But science do not understand (yet) what causes Trichotillomania.  There are no cures (yet). There are some therapies that may work but there's not yet something that medicine and point to and say: that's why it is and this is what causes trich so here's how we combat it.
But it can get better.  Not everyone loses the hair forever.  Some never can grow back what is lost. Some find that after their first bout they never experience it again. For some it's constant. For me it's situational. 
But know I am using my toolkit to counteract the behavior.  Somedays I am amazing at keeping myself trich free. Sometimes years! Sometimes months, weeks, days, hours or minutes.  Each is a victory in its own time. Celebrate those victories!
If you have Trichotillomania and want to talk. Message me. If you do not have trich and want to talk, message me.
And again: I Am Not in Crisis! I am working through the issues that are behind the behavior and doing amazing at removing the triggers. (I have a lot of triggers. Lol) So don't worry.  I am alright.
If I was hiding my trich. You'd know I was in over my head! I love myself too much now to ever feel ashamed of my body.  I have worked hard to see myself as the beautiful soul I truly am. So if I have pencil brows it's because I want them not because the trich must be hidden. I wasted decades in my youth on such self destructive behavior.
And I recommend: "The Gifts of Our Compulsions" by Mary O'Malley.  It has helped with a lot of my compulsive behavior management/recovery.
As always be kind and find the beauty of this day!
Lucinda Ellerby