The FaceTune Challenge.

So. Remember my post about using Facetune, and then feeling guilty for making my skin so smooth?

FaceTune 1

FaceTune 2

I eventually did feel guilty enough to replace all of my profile pictures with the unedited images – they looked more like me, anyway. And the skin-so-smooth-I-haven’t-actually-had-that-since-I-was-seven was starting to annoy me.

But one night as I was lying in bed, recovering from a day of motherhood, I had a moment of curiosity: how far could I edit a photo? How far could anyone edit a photo? What are people truly capable of before publishing their Instagram selfies?

The above photos were taken by a professional photographer, in the right lighting, after I’d applied my makeup as perfectly as I could and brushed my hair just so. My hair was even enjoying a fresh cut and color from the day before.

It’s one thing to edit a photo that was already as good as I could look.

But could I edit a photo that was as bad as I could look?

I felt like the limits of iPhone editing needed to be tested – and it might as well be me.

So I took the worst photo I could, using the following “features” to make it especially bad:

– I used my iPhone’s front facing camera – those are always the worst, especially when shooting faces.

– The lighting was dim and atrocious.

– I was laying down, spreading my jowls out like the picnic table benches of my face.

– No makeup, obviously – and a real nice scab. Everyone needs a facial scab to look like the mugshot version of themselves.

– I was super tired, and it showed.

– I didn’t smile. Because this was supposed to be a challenge, after all.

So here’s my bad photo:

FaceTune Before


I transferred it to FaceTune and began working – I wanted to attempt use every feature they offered.

Here are the 15 Steps I used to “fix” myself:

FaceTune1. I used “Smooth” to get rid of all of my pores, sun spots, wrinkles, and freckles.

2. I used “Smoother” to eradicate my forehead creases.

3. I used “Whiten” to make my eyes less tired.

4. I used “Details” to make my eyes pop.

5. I used “Reshape” to make my jawbone more contoured (You can’t completely fix a laying-down jawline. But you can try.)

6. I used “Refine” to enlarge my lips, but not Angelina-sized.

7. I used “Patch” on my scab, my forehead Chicken Pox scar, and any and all other blemishes left over after Smooth and Smoother.

8. “Tones” was the most challenging feature to use – it was hard to get it just right without  looking like spray paint. But I used it to:

a. Change my eye color,

b. Change my lip color,

c. Put some color on my cheeks,

d. And take away a couple of under-eye shadows.

9. I used “Details” on my Eyebrows to darken them.

10. I used “Patch” on my left eyebrow, making it proportional in length with the other eyebrow – it has always been short on the inside.

11. I used “Patch” on my right eyebrow to get rid of flyaways.

12. I used “Defocus” on my shirt to make it less obvious that I was wearing my husband’s decade-old and quite pilling night shirt.

13. I used a Filter on the whole picture – Orchid.

14. I used a Lens to add depth – Holga.

15. I added a Texture because why not – Lumina.

And here was the final product:

Facetune AfterJust woke up! #Selfie #NoFilter #WokeUpLikeThis

Chris said I looked like I’d been animated – perhaps a Pixar character. I also look like I just got a root canal – but there’s not much you can do with lying-down cheeks.

However. The lesson here is clear. If I can do this in ten minutes with nothing but my finger, my phone, and a $3.99 app,

FaceTune Before and After

Don’t believe any face you see on the internet. Ever again.

That Time I Fought Captain Hook and Won (Sorta).

On Sunday night, Chris and I watched the next to last episode of Once Upon a Time’s Season Three.

It featured a lot of Captain Hook (Also known as the beautiful and charming Killian Jones), along with a good deal of time travel.

Captain Hook

My subconscious was greatly impacted by these things.

The first time I noticed it was when I stumbled to the bathroom around 1am – stupid water intake.

When I headed back to bed, I ran into the door.


Chris sleepily answered, “Are you okay?”

…except that I heard his response in Captain Hook’s indeterminately British/Irish accent.

Perhaps Chris was also dreaming about Once Upon a Time. Or perhaps I’m just psychotic in my sleep. Most likely the latter.

“Yes, I’m fine. I ran into the door. Hurt my foot.”

Again in the sexy accent, “I’m sorry you’ve been hurtin’ your hands and feet so much t’night, Love.”

I got in bed, confused about so many things. My mind began churning at all of the questions.

Was my husband talking in a Pirate’s accent?

Am I awake or asleep?

Why did he say I hurt my hands? I haven’t hurt my hands. Has he traveled into the future and seen that I hurt my hands later in the night or something? I hurt my hand sleepwalking that one time…is he talking about “night” in a more general sense?

I feel it necessary to say that I distinctly remember having ALL of the above thoughts. Then I drifted off to sleep again, confused but cozy.

Until 2am.

When there was a Pirate on the end of our bed.

On the end of our BED, people!!

I lept out of my sleeping position and pushed him off the bed, where he presumably tumbled two feet to his death.

I heard a loud crash, then I felt an agonizing and stabbing pain in my arm.

That Pirate just slashed off my arm. My LEFT arm?! Seriously, dude? Have some respect for the left-handed woman.

Then the pain grew worse, and woke me up enough to realize that there was probably….not a Pirate lying in our floor, wounded by my heroic save of our Marriage Bed.

Then why was my arm hurting so badly??

I had no idea but considering that I’ve broken my nose and gone to the emergency room from sleepwalking incidents (and yes, those were two separate nights), I had no doubt that I was to blame.

For the second time that night, I stumbled to the bathroom. The pain was getting worse. My entire arm felt like it was being yanked, twisted, and set on fire in some sort of Sadistic Willy Wonka’s Torture Chamber.

I turned on the light and looked at my arm – no blood this time. An improvement!

….Were it not for THE UNENDURABLE PAIN.

I managed somehow to open an ibuprofen bottle and count out the maximum dosage (four pills. But I wanted more.)

Back to bed, where my water was on my bedside table.

But it was dark. And I’m left-handed. I reached out with my left hand and shrieked in pain at the movement. I had my pills in my right hand so there was no logical way to reach with my right hand. OBVIOUSLY.

Chris finally roused. I have no idea how that man can sleep through me fighting a Pirate off the end of our bed and getting mortally wounded in the process. Maybe because he’s had nearly fourteen years of practice.

“What’s wrong?”

He had noticeably lost his Captain Hook lilt.

I started crying. The pain was so piercing that I was sure I had decapitated my arm nerve.

“I can’t even reach my waaaaaaater!! And I need to take these pilllllls!! It hurts so baaaaaaaad!”

He handed me my water and started pacing.

“I can’t believe you’re still hurting this bad.”

“What are you talking about? This just happened!”

“Oh wait. You’re not talking about your infection from last week?”

“NO! Didn’t you see? I hurt my arm sleepwalking because there was a Pirate on the end of our bed! IT HURTS SO BAD.”

By this time, my fingers were curling up against their will and shot fireballs down my arm if moved. I was nearly certain that I had caused significant and irreversible nerve damage – I’d never be able to type again, to hold a pen again, to text again, to gently stroke my children’s faces again, to drive again, and I’d certainly never be able to unload the dishwasher or vacuum out the car again.

I began crying. Hard. Mourning the loss of my independence.

Chris paced. Faster.

“Do I need to take you to the ER?”

“Theeeeeere’s nooooothing theeeey can dooooo <sniff> to fiiiiix me!!!!”

“I will take you if you need me to. You have a very high tolerance for pain. This has to be bad.”

I began reminiscing on our last middle-of-the-night emergency room visit – one that required many stiches in the center of my hand. Every doctor and nurse in that hospital popped into my room to hear me say it.

“How’d you do that to your hand?”

“I was sleepwalking and dove at our dresser to save my baby from falling down the stairs. The dresser has very sharp drawer-pulls.”

A few minutes later, presumably driven by the last visitor patting them on the shoulder and saying “Go ask Room 130 what she did to her hand. You’ve GOTTA hear this one.”, another doctor would peek in on me, feigning care and empathy.


I wasn’t ready for that again.

So that Chris could get some sleep, and because there was NO WAY I could sleep or even quit whimpering from the ever-growing pain, I went downstairs and laid on the couch, where I began trying to remember my Human Anatomy education.

Is there some sort of small arm bone that could be fractured?

This feels just like that time in 7th grade that I broke my wrist. My fingers are definitely doing the same thing.

Maybe I never sleptwalked and really I have bone cancer and I just dreamed that I injured myself to explain the pain. Maybe I’m about to die! Or worse – my arm is going to fall off!

I guess I’ll have to get X-Rays tomorrow. And maybe an MRI. And a PET and a CAT. A full-body scan would be most efficient. But I can’t drive! And Chris has a deadline. I’ll get my parents to take me. NO – I’ll get one parent to stay with the kids and one parent to take me. I DO NOT NEED my kids jostling me right now.

Then I began thinking about the more serious repercussions of my injury.

This means that I have already broken my first New Year’s Resolution!

“I resolve to run into less objects, which leave mysterious bruises on my upper thighs [and arms] that I then spend days trying to remember what exactly I ran into.”

But I always blog about my sleepwalking injuries, so that will count as my second resolution.

“If that resolution doesn’t stick, I resolve to keep a bruise diary.”

Because it’s going to be a good one. Unless I’m dying of cancer.

Once I had everything planned out, the pain subsided enough so that I could sink into sleep.

I woke up Monday morning with nearly-fully functional fingers, no bruise yet, and just an extremely sore forearm, which led me to presume that I’d most likely live after all.

And I did look – and there was not a Pirate to be found in the entire house.

…But I do think my husband can see the future in his sleep.

2014 Parents Are the Worst.

Ten years ago, parents used to worry that their kids would embarrass them in the middle of their Christmas plays. Or kindergarten graduation. Or gymnastics meets.


They’re likely to pick their nose and rub their boogers on the child next to them, or perhaps pull their dress up over their head in the middle of Joy to the World, or maybe they’re that kid that sings SO loud and SO off-key that everyone else is giggling and pointing.

That was ten years ago.

Today, kids are much more worried about their parents embarrassing them.

Because 2014 parents are the worst.

Now we come outfitted with our iPhones and our iPads and our GoPros and our DSLRs and we’re trying to use them all simultaneously because we need video AND quality photos AND photos that we can immediately post to social media while still juggling all four devices. You know, to show that we’re engaged with our kid’s lives.

Noah had his preschool Christmas program a few days ago. I was puzzled when I arrived a few minutes early and found that we would have to sit near the back of the sanctuary, then wondered at exactly what time these other parents had staked out their spot.

Each, of course, needing an extra seat on the bench for all of their electronic equipment. The room was buzzing with brain cancer waiting to happen.

The director came up and made a few announcements, explaining where to go after to program, and then stating The One Rule.

“Remember – if you step out in the aisle to take photos, please go right back to your seat, as we want to keep the aisles clear.”

Whaaaaaat? Parents are going to paparazzi the children? No…..

I had possessed the forethought to sit on the edge of the pew so that I had an aisle view. I thought this was going to be to my advantage.

Here was my actual view of the Christmas Program.

Christmas Play View

As it began, the traffic jam was so intense that I was worried fights would break out over the best aisle spots. Then people gradually settled in with their iPad videography and various forms of photography, all assuming a graduated stance, one above the other, solidly staying put in the aisle.

Christmas Play View 2

It’s like they’d done this before or something.

But I couldn’t. It just felt too awkward – too exposed. And after all, they had asked that the aisles stay clear.

Apparently the other parents had heard “Let’s keep the pews clear” instead.

And so, I sat in my seat, and I quickly changed camera lenses. From my standard choice to my Veronica Mars Stalker Telephoto lens. Because that was the only way I was going to be able to snake through this crowd and see my kid.

Every now and then, there would a small window where I could nearly focus my zoom lens on him – but always with a head or device in the way.


Noah felt my angst, knowing his A-List performance had no chance of being recorded.


And superstar it was – watching his Music Director closely to see what he was supposed to do next, completely ignoring me and my mega camera lens.


Just like the classmates around him, he was fully immersed into this Christmas Program.


He was intensely focused on looking joyous,


On participating in all of the hand motions,


And never being distracted by his adoring fans,


…and all of their devices.

Because 2014 Parents are the Worst.