Wake Up with The Busy Mom Guru

Wake Up with the Busy Mom Guru

Anyone who knows me knows I haven’t left the house without make up since the age of 13.  Seriously, except for my immediate family and my children, no one knows what I look like without make-up.  NO ONE!

For years people have complimented my skin.  I’m not entirely sure why because truthfully it is pasty white and never tans.  I admit except for some brow lines I am relatively wrinkle free, but that is more from my limited sun exposure due to burning and never having smoked.  I can’t lie, I do come from some good genes.  Grandma Stretanski never aged.  From 45 till the day she died at 81 the woman looked exactly the same and I am pretty sure the only products she ever used were Dove bar soap, Jergen’s Lotion and a tube of Cover Girl Lipstick.  Grandma Casey was a similar story, until severe illness finally robbed her of her flawless skin.

Good genes aside, I can honestly say that now that I am 40 it requires a little more work to keep my skin looking nice.  Gone are the days when I could ignore my face and skip washing off my make-up for a week at a time.  My skin routine is firmly established and never skipped these days.

So, what do I look like without make-up.  I am going to show you.  Warning, it ain’t pretty.  This is possibly the scariest thing I have ever done.  So, here goes.  This is me make-up free, in my pajamas, bed head and all.


Okay, so now you know.  I wasn’t kidding about that plain pasty white skin.  But luckily for me they sell beauty in a bottle.  I am very serious about getting as many toxins as possible out of my beauty routine.  In the last couple of years I have done a lot of research on parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulphates, and other toxic chemicals in the products we use daily.  While I wish I could say everything I use is totally safe and organic the truth is sometimes you have to chose function over organic.

The beginning of any great look is a great foundation.  Here is my secret, True Match foundation and Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer and Brightener.


 I used to use really expensive items from top brands and spend a fortune, but you know what, these work better!  Honest.  A few dots of foundation are smoothed all over,


In the inner corners of my eyes, around my nostrils, and on any blemish I use the Age Rewind Concealer.  Then lightly tap with a finger until everything is smoothed out.


The Age Rewind Brightener is used under the outer eye area to open the area up and fake being awake.  I also use the applicator and run it down the center of my nose, then blend it all in.


Next comes cheeks and eyes.  I use dark brown L’Oreal Eyeliner and smudge it a bit.  At Sephora I found the most adorable compact from Tarte, an all natural mineral based make-up.  A little blush on the apples of my cheeks and light on the lid, dark in the outer corners, and white at the base of the brow.



Then I take a clean brush (I love my Eco Tools) and blend the three colors together until you get a seamless eye shadow.

After the shadow I have to deal with my eyebrows, or lack there of.  Usually I have really long bangs that hide them, which suits me fine, but a really bad hack job left me with ridiculously short bangs and suddenly my brows could be ignored no longer. Not only are they sparse, but they don’t match.  One has a lovely arch, the other goes straight across.  One gets plucked from the top to lower it, the other get plucked from the bottom to raise it.  Yeah, its a pain in the butt.  I really needed help.


Browzing from Benefit came to the rescue!

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This stuff is the bomb!  The little chiseled brush and the wax perfectly outlines your brow, and allows you to draw in some where there are none.  Then the blender brush and the pigment fill in and replace what nature forgot to give you!  It even comes with a super tiny set of tweezers to get rid of those out of place hairs.  Ta Dah!!


Finally to wrap this whole thing up is lashes and lips.  I have tried organic mascara.  Do yourself a favor and save your money.  They all flake and smear within hours.  Totally wasted my money.  But, I did find an amazing substitute for lipstick!  Lipstick is one of the most toxic products women use because we actually ingest it when we eat or lick our lips.

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I love Lancôme’s Definitions in Brown and Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Raisin.  Burt’s Bees is made from all natural plant based products and yet has awesome pigments.


My make-up is now finished but not my beauty routine.  Below are the products I use to keep my skin healthy using as few chemicals as possible.  First is cleansing.  I used to use Olay Cleansing Wipes but decided to go for an organic solution a while back.  Green People Cleanser and Make-up Remover and a package of Honest Baby Wipes work better than the Olay and are seriously chemical free!  To scrub off dead skin cells and keep skin glowing I love Alba Pineapple Enzyme Scrub.  After cleaning and sloughing, I apply the tiniest amount of Josie Maran Organic Argon Oil.  One of the big shockers for me when I turned forty was the return of teenage zits.  Seriously, now I have to fight wrinkles AND acne?  How is that fair?  Anyway, Argon Oil ended up being a real blessing.  Who knew it took an oil to fight an oil?


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147sThe last weapon in my arsenal is Roc Retinal.  No, this is not organic, but the truth is I refuse to grow old before my time and retinols plus sun screen really are the best thing out there for slowing down your skin’s aging.  So every morning this goes on before the make-up.  I apply it before I curl my hair so it has time to absorb.

I know what some of you might be thinking, good grief that is a lot of work, and when you break it down step by step like I just did, I admit, it does seem like a ton, but the truth is I get all of this done in about five or six minutes each morning.  The Browzing added an extra minute or two when I first started using it but like everything else I quickly figured it out and it just became one more step in the program.

If you use or like any of these products let me know how they work for you.  If you try some of these products from this post make sure to come back and let me know if you liked them.

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I Just Want to Pee

I Just Want to Pee

I have noticed lately that I have had several, okay more than several, near misses of almost wetting my pants.  Am I stuck in traffic?  No.  Am I out on the town and can’t find a restroom?  No.  I am inside my own house, and yet I am almost ready to pee my pants several times a week.

That’s crazy, right?  I mean, what the heck, go to the bathroom, shut the door, and take care of business.  Yet, if you are a mom, you know that it is not always that easy.  Here’s an example.

I am standing at the fridge picking out the ingredients for dinner.  My brain politely informs me that I will need to use the bathroom shortly.  Keep selecting ingredients.

Drop ingredients on the counter and run to the basement to see why one of my boys is suddenly screaming.  Separate wrestling boys, comfort the crier, go back up stairs and pick up ingredients that rolled off counter and onto the floor.

As I place the carrots on the counter the washer machine timer goes off.  Duck into the laundry room to put clothes from the washer into the dryer.

Now is a good time to go to the bathroom.  As I turn towards the bathroom I am cut off by the boys who each duck into a bathroom.  Okay, no problem.

I chop onions, peel carrots, and get chicken in the frying pan.  Now I am standing in front of the stove with one skillet and two pots a going.  I really need to go to the bathroom.

Hurry to the bathroom.  Oh sweet Jesus!  What the hell is that?  Never mind, I don’t want to know.  Grab the toilet bowl cleaner and the scrubber and scrub toilet sparkling clean.  Put cleaning items away.

Just as I am about to shut the door my youngest yells out that he needs me.  He is in a panic because he can’t find one of his new Batman Lego’s wings.  Spend five minutes searching the floor and bed.  Eureka, it was stuck between the mattress and the side of the bed.  I’m the hero who just saved the day.

AJ can’t find his iPod.  I tell him exactly where it is.  He says “Its not there.”  I say “Yes it is.”  He counters with a “No its not.”  I march though the house, pick up the iPod that was exactly where I told him it was, he grins sheepishly, and mumbles, “Thanks.”

Oh shit!  Is that smoke.  Crap…I forgot about dinner!!  Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!!

Run back to the kitchen.  The chicken is black on the bottom and stuck to the pan.  All the water boiled out of the carrots and they are scorched.  Take chicken out of skillet, cut away the burnt parts, save what is left.

Toss out the carrots, they are beyond hope.  Take out second bag of carrots to start all over.  While peeling carrots realize that I am actually doing the potty dance like one of my second graders.

Finally I put the carrot down, race for the bathroom, ignore the oldest as he tries to ask for my help yet again, slam and lock the bathroom door, yank down my pants in total desperation, and breathe a sigh of relief as I FINALLY get to pee mere moments before I had an accident.

Seriously, does this happen to you or am I just completely losing my mind?

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Today Will Suck So Go Back to Bed Now

Today Will Suck Go Back to Bed Now

If only we received some sort of warning! How many days in our lives would be so much easier if a giant speaker mounted to the wall just blasted you as soon as the alarm clock went off? Or better yet, maybe we could color code the walls of the room:

  • Code Green, you’re good to go, have a nice day.
  • Code Blue, your day will be mostly okay but you will have to deal with some unpleasantness during the afternoon hours, don’t worry, it won’t be a big deal.
  • Code Yellow, today will be difficult but nothing you can’t handle, proceed with caution.
  • Code Red, you are fucked, give up now and don’t…get…out…of…bed!

I definitely experienced a Code Red on Thursday, only I didn’t know I was going to have a Code Red until I was knee deep in shit with no shovel in sight.

The morning started off with the weather man announcing an Alberta Clipper (for non-Michiganders that is a quick & heavy snowstorm that comes through fast and furious and is gone in about four hours) smack in the middle of the evening commute. Still, I had an easy drive in, maybe it would be late arriving and the commute would be spared.

I was at work about an hour when I learned that my days of gainful employment might be coming to an end. The writing has been on the wall for a long time with my district, it is no secret that we are operating with negative funds, but there was always a little glimmer of hope that we would survive, but after the closing of other school districts last year, ones much larger than us, and the new push to end public schools as we know it, it appears I am currently teaching on the S.S. Titanic.

Of course I get this news 12 hours after my husband and I booked an $8,000 trip to Florida to see Disney, Universal, do a little fishing, and basically give the kids one of those trips of a lifetime.

To say this little bit of news made me a tad gloomy would be an understatement. Through the course of the day more and more news came through the grapevine, much of it contradictory, but none of it good.

Of course my darling students decided that this day would be the day that they would fight and argue with each other nonstop and ignore pretty much anything I had to say. Skirmishes that had started at home the night before were carried over into the classroom. This behavior only intensified after lunch due to another indoor recess because it was too cold and the snow had indeed started to fall just like the weatherman predicted.six mph

A crappy day finally came to an end, but thanks to that Alberta Clipper the roads were snow covered and had yet to be treated. The boys were scheduled to have dentist appointments at 4:00 and 4:30. After driving 20 minutes and traveling four miles on the freeway it became very clear that we weren’t going to make those appointments. A quick call to the dentist pushed the appointments back thirty minutes. Surely we could make those, right? Nope. My usual half hour commute became an hour and a half. At one point I was stuck traveling 6 mph for over fifteen minutes.

When I finally get home, the house was a mess because the boys had been home by themselves. They ransacked the snack foods and beverages and left their garbage everywhere. I made a quick dinner (frozen fish sticks and French fries) and decide that the day had been so stressful that I need a little me time.

As the hubby walks in the door I walk out to go to the hair dresser. A root touch up and a blow out would help to lift my dark mood. I should have known better. After all, I had already been knee deep in shit all day. What was I thinking, getting my hair done on a Code Red kind of a day?

bangsTwo hours and $60 later I walked out of the salon with butchered bangs and flaming red roots. Let’s just say when your stylist says, “Oh wow, I can fix this,” while rinsing out your color, you know you are screwed. As for why he dyed my roots fire engine red I can’t say. He was supposed to be dying them brown.flaming red

To make this Code Red day suck even worse, I couldn’t even have a glass of wine because of a little kidney problem. So I didn’t even have the luxury of crying myself to sleep while guzzling a little, or a lot, of alcohol!

Once the boys were in bed my husband and I logged on to the computer and cancelled my Disney vacation for the second time in two years. Apparently Karma is convinced I am to never see Florida. I can’t lie, cancelling that vacation again was heart breaking and after it was done I hid in the bathroom to have myself a little cry.

Still, behind every Code Red day comes a silver lining if you are willing to look for it. My husband and I talked it over and decided that if my district goes under I will take a year or two off and get a Master’s Degree in Special Ed. With more and more autistic children entering the school systems every year we feel this is a job that will be in demand.

Plus, this opportunity will let me be a stay at home mom for a couple of years when my oldest son really sort of needs me to be there for him, and it will give me more time to devote to my writing.

fixed hairWe won’t be flying to Florida this February, but instead we will drive to St. Louis this summer to visit some awesome friends. It is something we have been meaning to do for several years but haven’t had the chance.

Finally, even my hair got fix. Saturday morning the salon worked to recolor my hair. It had to be dyed twice since the first time turned it purple, but they finally got it right the second time and even offered to give me free highlights in two weeks if I want them. I am undecided about letting them touch my hair again but if I do I will post pictures.

Feel free to share your This Day Sucked stories below.

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How to Prepare for Snowmageddon

How to Prepare for Snowmageddon

Here in frigid Michigan we just had ourselves a little snowfall (18 inches that fell on top of the 8 inches we received four days earlier) and are now dropping down to -35 below wind chills for the next couple of days.

Something a bit surprising, perhaps even a little shocking happened on Saturday because of the pending storm.  No, the amounts of snow were not shocking.  The bitter arctic cold isn’t all that shocking.  After all, this is Michigan, the land where a 40 degree day means a trip to the Dairy Queen.

No, what was shocking was that people lost their freaking minds!!  What happened to all the storm tested Michiganders that I grew up with?  And who are all these pansies that now live in this state?


On Saturday thousands of people made a run on grocery stores, big box stores, gas stations, heck even the Seven Elevens were cleaned out.  All day Saturday on Facebook, Twitter, the 6:00 news, and even morning radio broadcasts were stories and images of people waiting in line for over an hour to get their “emergency supplies.”  The shoppers who went out just to do their weekly grocery trip were in for a huge shock when they arrived at the markets.

People were grabbing eight gallons of milk at a time.  Fights broke out over bananas.  Seriously!  People were fighting over bananas.  Store clerks were spit on because they ran out of apples.  One Meijer employee reported that at one point the ticket counter at the deli department was 541 customers waiting to be served.

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By the end of the night store shelves were completely bare.  Old ladies had their buggies ripped out of their hands.  Stores shut their doors early because they had nothing left to sell and customers were getting angry.

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My mind was blown over and over again as I read the next twitter update or Facebook post.  Why is it that if a snow storm comes having bread and milk suddenly become a matter of life and death?  This morning listening to Dave and Chuck the Freak recap the craziness led to this post I am now writing.


Many cracked jokes or insulted the people who were panicking to get the items they needed to be snowed in for a couple of days.  While I agree that some people totally over reacted (are you really going to drink 8 gallons of milk before they spoil), what I found alarming is just how many people are truly unprepared.  All these families didn’t have enough supplies in their house to survive a 24-48 hour period?  In a matter of 10 hours dozens of grocery stores were completely stripped down to the bare shelves.  Fist fights broke out because of bananas.

If you really stop to think about it, this isn’t just a funny story to retell on a radio show or laugh at on Facebook.  This is a glimpse at people in general, and a peek at how fast things would fall apart if something really bad were to happen.

It serves as a lesson, that the best way to be prepared for a snow storm, or a power outage that lasts over a week, or just about anything, is to have what you need on hand, before you need it.  A lot of people went home Saturday night empty handed because by the time they got to the stores all the produce, dairy, and meats were gone.

Right now in your house somewhere you should have a Tupperware filled with just some basics.  Now that it is post Christmas and lot of stores have those giant red tubs with the green lids on clearance.  Get one and toss in:

  • Can Food
  • Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Granola Bars
  • Bags of Nuts
  • A Can Opener
  • Fresh Batteries
  • Flashlight that the kid haven’t broken
  • Candles
  • Weather Radio
  • New Toys from the Dollar Store
  • Coloring Book and Crayons
  • Package of Toilet Paper
  • $50 cash in smaller bills

You can get much more comprehensive lists from a quick Google search for FEMA or check out my post on The Zombie Apocalypse.  Plus you know what you family will and won’t eat or their special needs.  You don’t have to get all this stuff at once either, start picking it up here and there while you’re running errands.  The main thing is just to START.

Also, don’t wait for the last minute.  I admit it.  I went to the market to get bread and milk, as well as eggs, lunch meat, ingredients for a big pot of stew, wine, and a few other items, but I went on Friday and was practically the only person in the store.  I casually purchased my items, filled my gas tank on the way home, and then sat comfortably in my house on Saturday waiting for the snow to start falling.  The news was telling of the coming storm as of Wednesday so its arrival wasn’t that much of a surprise.

Do you have a story to tell from Saturday?  Share it below!
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Apps That Changed My Life!

Apps That Changed My Life

I am relatively new to the world of iPhone.  I have had my phone for exactly one month and now I honestly don’t know how in the world I ever lived without it.  When I say my entire life is on my phone I am so not exaggerating.

At any given moment I am tracking my blog stats, updating the blog’s Facebook page, scanning the blog’s Twitter account, or reading the blogs of all my other mommy friends.  (The Mom Blog Community is amazing to be a part of.)

After that there are the updates to my personal Facebook page, reading emails, whipping out a quick text or two, or three, and of course jamming out to my favorite tunes.

One problem I had with my iPhone in the beginning, though, was sorting through the bazillion apps to figure out which were junk and which ones would honestly rock my world.  Of course I had to have Candy Crush.  I am embarrassed to admit that I am on level 401.  I am such a total addict that a Candy Crush Intervention at this point would be useless.

Still, I kept downloading and deleting app after app looking for the ones that really would make my crazy, busy, insane life easier.  Below is a relatively small list of apps that I use constantly.  The rest really ended up being junk that just wasted valuable memory space on my iPhone:

Cozi cozi 2

I have always been a paper planner kind of a girl, but I don’t live by myself.  Cozi really has changed my life.  One central calendar for EVERYONE!  Cozi is now the home page on the laptop and my son’s laptop.  It is on my phone and my husband’s phone.  It is the homepage of my school computer.  My husband checks it everyday at lunch time at work.  No more missed appointments.  No more double booking multiple activities.

Also it is a central grocery list and a central To Do list.  Add your contacts and you have an automatic address label maker for holiday cards and such.  The free version just gives you the calendar.  Upgrade to get all the bells and whistles.  Trust me; this is the one app worth the upgrade!!

Red LaserRed-Laser-app-image

See something fabulous at the store.  A quick pic of the barcode and in seconds you know that Amazon is selling the same item for $10 less and it qualifies for free shipping.  Or perhaps it is at the store across the street for $20 less.  This free app will help you save money on items you wanted to buy anyway!!  That’s what I call a win.



Retail Me Notretail me not

Your favorite pants from Land’s End just got a tear in them.  You want another pair.  A quick search on Retail Me Not lets you pull up a coupon to save $10 on a $50 purchase.  Whoo hoo!  Pretty much every store you can think of is easily searched for on this free app.

Kids-In-Mindkids in mind

This free movie review app allows you to judge for yourself whether or not a movie is appropriate for your child to view.  This app doesn’t rely on the PG or PG-13 ratings.  Instead they have a scale of 1-10 for three categories:  sex, violence, and profanity.  Furthermore, they actually list step by step any moment in the movie that might prove to be an issue for your child.

This way you are fully informed about the movie contents and can prep you child a head of time if there is one scene that might scare them.


Another free app and this one allows you to scan bar codes in the supermarket and find out what potentially harmful thing might be in the product you are thinking about eating.  I have big time food phobias (beaver anal gland juice and white paint to make food brighter to name a few).  So a quick scan tells me right away what NOT to buy, and then gives me safer alternatives to grab instead.


SleepMachinesleep machine

I have been sleeping to a fan my entire life.  I used to sleep with a 24 inch steel industrial grade fan running in the room.  I lived in a very noisy city neighborhood with people coming and going all night long, cars drag racing down the streets with their giant bass speakers vibrating a one mile diameter.  Without a fan to drown out all that noise I never would have slept because I am an extremely light sleeper.

Now I live in a quiet subdivision surrounded by woods where you can here a pin drop.  I am also married to a great guy who really wants to sleep in absolute silence.  However, after a lifetime of conditioning I still need white noise to sleep.  Just the sound of his breathing is enough to keep me awake at night.  As a compromise I downgraded from a 24 in industrial fan to a 9 inch plastic fan…on low.  But the sound still bothered him.

The SleepMachine app came to the rescue!  My favorites are Thunderstorm combined with Distant Thunder, Air Heater, and White Noise #4.  Bill now has the perfectly silent room he always wanted while I pop in my ear buds and fall asleep to rolling thunder in stereo surround sound.  The app is $1.99 and without a doubt it is the most value I ever got for two bucks.

Not to mention on more than one occasion I went on a vacation and FORGOT to take my fan.  Oh the horror!!  Five days and no sleep for me.  But since I go no where without my phone I will never be white noise free ever again.

If you know of an App that is absolutely amazing and I have yet to discover it please, please, PLEASE share it with me.  I am always looking to make my days run smoother and easier!

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