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There were five lessons I learned during my surf lesson that extend way beyond the water.
There were five lessons I learned during my surf lesson that extend way beyond the water.

Surf's up

I've been avoiding writing this blog since it means I am reflecting on my visit to warm, sunny Maui, which in turn means I am back home in the cold and back to the daily grind. The sour part of me wanted to muse on reasons not to take vacation since re-entry into real life is so difficult, but then I couldn't fathom the reality of a year without escape from everyday life into some tropical wonderland.

Instead, I have chosen to tap my fingers away for a much better reason – to share my adventure getting on surfboard for the first time at age 36 and the lessons I learned from the Papa heʻe nalu. (That's surfboard in Hawaiian.)
My husband and I went Maui bound for the second year in a row and this time, had only one thing on our leisure radar – surfing. Chuck set up a lesson at Maui Wave Riders where they specialize in "beginners and cowards."

I qualified for both. The ocean is an intimidating force when you were mostly raised on pavement. It's only been in recent years that I have even been exposed to open water and braved the waves. But, we were resigned to learn to surf on this trip. We were amped to yell our "Cowabungas!" and "Shaka Brahs!" (We learned real surfers actually say these phrases! Well, maybe not "cowabunga." And I learned there is a difference in the direction your hand faces as you flash "hang loose" with your fingers.)

We arrived in Maui late on Friday night and rose a few hours later stoked to catch a wave. We were the first students to arrive at surf school and as our co-pupils trickled in, we were impressed with the diversity of the bunch. But, we were completely fascinated with the instructors, each a living, breathing example of Maui surf life. They were amazingly friendly, relaxed and very tan.

Our instructor was yet to show up, but we were intrigued with stories about the sole female teacher, aptly named, "Sol" who would be our guide on the water.

Some sort of station wagon/truck/van (basically a vehicle exactly like you …

Create a long-lasting holiday look with these do-it-yourself tips.
Create a long-lasting holiday look with these do-it-yourself tips.

Makeup tips for the perfect smoky-eyed holiday look

'Tis still the season for non-stop parties, photo ops and public appearances, so add some holiday sparkle to your makeup routine!

The most requested look I get at this time of year is the "smoky eye," and I'd like to share my secrets for a long-lasting, sexy look that you can achieve on your own with the right products and tools.

I've added a glittery topper perfect for New Year's Eve fetes using my new go-to glitters by Eye Kandy Cosmetics. They are super-fine and really easy to work with, making fab shimmer attainable for all!

The key to this makeup is layering products and blending, blending, blending! Invest in quality brushes and practice using them to achieve professional, polished peepers. The products, brushes and step-by-step instructions are listed below, along with a video tutorial for my visual learners.

The look I do in the video is a cleaner, bronze-y version of the exact same makeup I'm wearing in the picture, except mine is a more messy, darker, rock 'n' roll translation using the exact same technique. Tweak the colors and the shape to make this beautiful look your own!

Have fun "making up," and may the rest of your holiday season be glittery and glam!

Suggested products:

  • Eye shadow primer (Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer)
  • Two soft, blendable eye liners (Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Pencil or MAC Eye Kohl) – one for eyelid and to line under eye and one very black to rim waterline. (You can use black for both like I did!)
  • Two eye shadows – one darker that coordinates with eyeliner for lid and under eye and a lighter shade for under brow bone (Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette)
  • Glitter (Eye Kandy Cosmetics Sprinkles)
  • Glitter adhesive (Eye Kandy Cosmetics Liquid Sugar)
  • Mascara (L'Oreal Voluminous)
  • False lashes
  • Lash adhesive (Duo)
  • Bronzer
  • Eye shadow brushes (MAC No. 242, No. 252, No. 217, No. 219, No. 224)
  • Glitter application brush(es) (Eye Kandy Cosmetics Brush Large and Small)

Step One: Apply primer to eyelid from lash li…

How do you know when to tune out the OPO?
How do you know when to tune out the OPO?

When OPO attacks

The effect of other people's opinions (OPO) can be extremely powerful. Input from a collective group can be helpful, valuable and quite constructive.

Just look at Yelp. I use this site all the time for restaurant and service recommendations. I employ the Yelp user reviews as direction to where to eat, who to get my nails done by in a foreign city or to choose a local florist to deliver an arrangement to an out-of-towner. I trust without question the opinions of complete strangers who offer star ratings, testimonials and detailed journals of their personal experiences regarding local businesses. Yelp has yet to be wrong.

On the flipside, there are times when unsolicited OPO makes its way into your life. There seems to be a particular phenomenon that when you share your medical adventures – everyone else wants to share too, and most of the time it's horror stories of pain, discomfort and gore.

When I recently relented and decided to finally get a cortisone shot in the tendon sheath that runs around the thumb and into the wrist to alleviate the physically limiting pain I was experiencing in my left hand, I was impaled by OPO – a bevy of well-wishing folks who detailed the humongous needle, shooting pain and general horror I was about to undergo.

By the time I arrived at the doctor's office, I was a blubbering mess. I commandeered my husband to be my official "hand-holder" and was resigned to getting the shot, regardless of the unbearable, bone-shattering pain "other people" told me I was about to endure. I was so worked up I was sweating, my stomach was in knots, nausea set in and at one point I thought for sure my body was about to hit the floor.

Then, the doctor came in and suddenly had second thoughts on whether the shot was the correct recourse. (That, or he viewed my pallor and decided I might need a moment before he shot me up.) He decided to do x-rays (to buy some time and) to be sure the joint was not the problem since at this point, I could not even f…

Seriously, guys. It's not that hard to put your cart back where you found it.
Seriously, guys. It's not that hard to put your cart back where you found it.

Go on, be pushy

I know who you are.

You are the lazy, rude, selfish person who left your shopping cart by your vehicle in the parking lot after you unloaded. You happened to be parked next to me and now your vacant shopping cart has migrated onto my bumper.

Or onto my side door. Or somewhere else in a vicinity all too near my car and not where an empty cart should be.

Would it really have taken THAT much more effort to walk a few yards to the shopping cart corral in the parking lot or better yet, to saunter all 50 yards back to the entrance of the store where fervent holiday shoppers await your cart to then reload with their goodies?

Tell me, please – what made you skip that one last step of your shopping trip, to forgo that minute or two more to push the cart back to a proper area?

Because now (as four-wheeled-metal-baskets-sans-brakes tend to roll if not suitably sequestered) YOUR cart that YOU were too lazy to return has left a permanent mark on my vehicle! Plus, since I do not want the same thing to happen to someone else, or have your cart take up a parking spot meant for a car, or just due to my personal problem with objects out place – now, I have to wheel your cart back myself.

Shopping carts were forged to be pushed: around the store, to your car and then back in as a common courtesy to other shoppers and the store's lot.

If you are too lazy to push it for a return trip, don't shove it out, I say.

Lug your bags in hand and leave the cart at the front of the store if you can't take the minute moments to return it to a proper receptacle.

This holiday season, give the stores you patronize and your fellow shoppers the gift that doesn't cost a penny – return your cart to the correct vessel or offer it to another retail patron as a gesture of good faith that they, too, will be pushy in a good way.