Archives for March 2011

Thursday Ten: Wanderlust and Spring Edition

1. As y’all know, I was in and out of Dallas this weekend – what some of you might not know is that I am extremely petrified of flying. The thing is that I had two pretty okay flights this weekend. I didn’t sweat, cry, or hyperventilate. In fact, I don’t BELIEVE I showed any outward signs of fear (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Were you on the plane? No. THEN YOU DON’T KNOW. I was probably TOTALLY OKAY.). Now? I totally want to go EVERYWHERE! I have a couple trips on my calendar already – but I want to ride the wave of not feeling throw-uppy about being up in the air. I have always wanted to see the world – see more than my own backyard. I would love to travel more.

2. Guitar lesson this morning went fabulously. Funny what happens when I actually practice. Ah, yeah. I was struggling with a piece of the music (That’s nothing new) and my teacher had me break it down measure by measure – at one point playing one measure probably ten times in a row. By that last time, it was becoming instinct for my fingers to just know where to go next instead of my brain and my fingers not cooperating and missing several notes. It’s funny – this morning, I couldn’t do it, couldn’t play it… now I can. Whee! Success!

3.  Sometimes I read something and it really resonates with me – today that was Austin Kleon’s “How to Steal Like an Artist”definitely worth the read if you want to pop on over there (after you’re done with this extremely interesting list, of course) and read it.

4.  Spring break starts tomorrow – hold me. We’re gonna have to get creative with the schedule around this casa in order for everyone to stay sane and for me to get work done while the kiddarooni’s are off for the week. Everything will work out – but there may be some Netflix streaming of Pinky Dinky Doo involved so I can get my work done. We’ll get it. We’ll be kicking off the break with The Princess’s friend spending the night tonight. I picked up some Freschetta pizzas (Blissdom sponsor love – I hate frozen pizza, but this is good stuff and it means I don’t have to do real cooking tonight – which is REALLY good!) and maybe the girls will watch Tangled… Again.

5. This is one of those weeks where I’ve looked at my iTunes library, gotten twitchy and then pleaded with people for music recommendations. I’m still in my big puffy heart love mode for Ryan Adams (and his cover of “Wonderwall”) – but also on my radar now is Frightened Rabbit. I downloaded two songs from their “The Midnight Organ Fight” album – and really enjoyed them. Worth checking out.

6. I attended parent-teacher conferences at Pumpkin’s school the other day – and was pleased that her teacher noted – as I had – just how much she’s progressed in the past few months. When Pumpkin was in preschool, she had a pretty rotten preschool teacher who told me at one point that she didn’t think my daughter would be ready for kindergarten this year – and I really put a lot of thought into making the decision as to whether she’d go into Kindergarten or Young Fives this year. I followed my gut – and Pumpkin’s teacher said that she has no doubt in her mind that Pumpkin is more than ready for first grade in the fall. Reassurance, for sure.

7. As I type this, I’m eating a precisely measured mixture of Special K Vanilla Almond cereal and regular Special K (really, not at all precise. A bit of one, a bit of another, a quick toss with the spoon – voila). Nobody grocery shopped this week – and yesterday, in lieu of buying REAL food I bought about four boxes of cereal (I also bought five boxes of Kleenex and a can of Suave’s new dry shampoo that smells a little too sickly-sweet-fruity for me to use on a regular basis). If I could live on cereal, I probably would.

8. This morning, I opened my eyes at 7:15, looked at the clock and about jumped out of bed. AFTER SEVEN?!?! I thought for sure Pumpkin would be downstairs sitting on the couch, eyes glazed after having snuck in 90 minutes of television but it turned out… she was still sleeping. I think she’s still sleeping off this double ear infection because for her to sleep past six is nearly unheard of. Nice, though. Is it too much to hope she repeats it tomorrow?

9. For a lot of people, today is kind of a big deal. Something to do with baseball or something? Snort. Yeah. I’m not really a baseball fan, so for me – it’s just Thursday… but happy day to those who are excited about the next several months of baseball. (My favorite part about baseball is… Oh wait. I don’t think I have one. But hey everyone! Have fun with that!)

10. Finally… I try to not overwhelm y’all with mentions of it, but in ONE HUNDRED DAYS (holy cow – only 100?), I’ll be in San Francisco walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I’m 56% of the way to my fundraising goal – and every lil bit helps. If you want to support me, please click this link to donate. If a friend or loved one is fighting breast cancer or has lost the battle and you would like me to walk in their honor, you may message me – I’d be honored to wear their name on the shirt I’ll wear during the walk.

When the mirror is broken

I wanted a lot from 2011 – I wanted to go back to New York (a trip is on the calendar – NYC, I’m comin’ atcha this fall), I wanted a shampoo that smoothed the frizz (I think I’ve found one!), I wanted a better mile pace (it’s been too cold for outdoor running, so we’ll see… we’ll see), and most importantly, I hoped to make 2011 the year where I could be a little less…critical of myself and my body.

Why didn’t I just pledge to learn how to split atoms in my kitchen?

The thing is – there are certain changes in life that are easier than others to make. If I want to feel a little more rested, I could try to go to sleep a little bit earlier each night. If I’m feeling sluggish, maybe I can drink more water. Too jumpy? Cut back on caffeine. Jeans getting a little snug and I can cut back on the cookies and add a smidge more cardio.

Cause. Effect. Solution.

When the problem is your frame of mind, though, though the solutions may seem obvious, the implementing of the solutions isn’t always easy. Not necessarily. I can say to myself, “Self, STOP IT. You are being ridiculous.” And sure, maybe for five minutes, I can let myself off the hook and and be a little kinder to myself. Maybe five days even. Then a bad day hits, maybe I’m PMS-ing or retaining water like it’s my job and suddenly my inner critic has a thing or two to say.

I don’t like her very much.

She notices if my jeans are too tight, if my hair is frizzy. She spots the under eye circles or the subtle difference in the size of my thighs.

Nobody really likes that inner voice that much.

One of the things I did to combat that inner voice was to have my picture taken. When I was in Blissdom, I had two friends take my picture – two different occasions. I wanted to see me – through someone else’s eyes, through a lens. I wanted to try to remove the veil of criticism that usually layers how I perceive myself. With a photo, perhaps I could detach myself from the experience a little bit – take a step backwards and not form that immediate gut reaction, which could very well be… “Yuck.”

That wasn’t the case. I saw a smile. Strong arms. I saw laughter. My eye was drawn to those things I love and not to those I don’t. It was such an amazing experience – a game-changer, almost.

The thing is… we all have a body. We are all perfectly imperfect. We have qualities we love (even me!) and qualities that we don’t – and in the end, rarely is anyone else looking at us as closely as we are looking at ourselves (The exception may be the dermatologist when I go in for mole checks to make sure I have no skin cancer – he uses a magnifying glass to look at me, and that’s a little creepy and weird, yet justifiably thorough).

Odds are no one is ever going to see those things I see – and if they do, odds are, no one will care like I do.

It’s JUST a body.

Just. A. Body.

And everyone has one.

What I can do is be nice to it – I can feed it healthy food and lots of water, and occasionally some cookies. I can be active and let it move and get my heart feeling happy and busy. I could actually pay attention to the calendar (AHEM) and not be surprised or upset on certain days when my pants might feel tight and instead just keep it in my mind that it’s temporary and (yep) cyclical and soon enough, I’ll feel like me again.

I have a ways to go to completely silence that inner Sarah, but already there are days where she’s a little harder to hear, and days when she doesn’t show up at all. If I spend all my time worrying about what I look like in a bathing suit, I may never jump in the pool – and just think of all the fun I’d miss.

I’m a work in progress, always and still. But I’m getting there.


More Drips in the Bucket, Love Drop Style

Not that long ago, I told you about my daughter’s kindergarten teacher and how she has been teaching the kids about “drips in the bucket” – how we can add to, or take from, someone’s bucket with our words and our actions. Kind words and actions and love can add to that bucket, harsh and unloving words and actions take away.

After this weekend, my bucket? It’s so full I need a backup bucket to catch the overflow. Yeah, it was that good.


For the month of March, the kick-azz group at LoveDrop has been working to help out my friend, Katie. I could rehash the details  – but you can just meander back in my archives and read about it, mkay? I’ve watched their plans unfold as we have prepared video for Katie, sent pictures, and there was scheming as to who would be there in Dallas to surprise her and how they would surprise her and what would happen.

The whole while I was thinking, Man. THIS IS SO FREAKING AWESOME. I wish I could be there. It was making me really sad that I wouldn’t – though I knew that no matter what, this was going to be an amazing day for Katie – people from all over brainstormed and really THOUGHT about Katie, thought about her likes and her interests and what they could do to make her happy, make her kids happy. They made mix tapes, sent books and gift cards, sent her to a hockey game. On top of all that, there were monetary donations to help put a dent in Katie’s medical bills.  People with no motivation except to do something nice for the sake of doing somethin’ nice.

I mean, really? It makes the heart swell, doesn’t it?

Monday evening, a little birdie asked if I thought I could make it to Texas if the planets aligned just so. Tuesday morning it was confirmed. Friday? I was on a plane to Dallas to join in the festivities.

Of course, Katie couldn’t KNOW I was in Dallas. You have to imagine how much it killed me to not be able to tweet about anything – like when Erica and I drove twenty minutes looking for IHOP when it was just across the street. (That was SO TWEETABLE, and I had to just let it go. Sigh. All for the greater good, y’all).


L to R: MaryAnne, Erica, Danielle, Danielle, me - prepping on Saturday to drop some luvvvv.

We shopped for Katie, there was cooking for Katie, baked cookies for Katie. There was even a trip to Hobby Lobby. We prepped Saturday and Sunday morning and when the love drop rolled around Sunday afternoon, it was a truly awesome experience. We got to surprise Katie and her kids. We got to shower her with hugs and love – with both tangible gifts and the intangible gift of community and spending time together eating and laughing and sharing hugs.

Surprising Katie with cookies - picture by @AngEngland


Alli & MaryAnne

It’s been a pretty amazing month watching how a Love Drop comes together. The guys that run the organization, Nate and J Money, are not only tremendously full of heart, but they are funny, sweet and really great to be around. I love the concept of LoveDrop – how a little bit can go a long way – even a donation of a buck a month can do great things. I’m kind of a Love Drop fan girl now. If you haven’t yet read about LoveDrop, check ’em out.

208 | 365

Nate & J$

After spending a weekend with friends – those who have been in my heart for awhile and those who I have just met but instantly adored – I felt truly lifted and blissed out. It was an amazing weekend – to not only get to bestow love upon a friend, but to watch others showing caring and kindness to someone you love? It’s a pretty good thing. Felt good. Drops in my bucket, baby.

This weekend was full of smiles and laughs and conversation. Time with friends, new faces, margaritas. Kindness, generosity, love.

All good stuff. Very much all good stuff.

Thursday Ten: IN like a lion Edition

1. Hey, March. I’m not sure you got the memo but this weird weather hooey you’ve got going on right now? You’re sort of supposed to relax, let the sun do its job and just let go of this whole “winter thing”. I’m tired of being cold. To be fair, I’ll give credit where it’s due – your ice display today is rather pretty.
The ice sparkles like glitter when the sun catches it

2. Pumpkin has had a nasty cough for a few days – and I’m grateful for our endlessly refillable liquid Albuterol prescription. Every year she gets this cough – and right now, she’s a pretty uncomfortable kiddo. Well, not right NOW. The Albuterol just kicked in.

3. My iPod Classic has decided it no longer wishes to function. This shouldn’t be a big deal – it was only working sporadically before – but now the stupid thing doesn’t power on AT ALL. WHEE. When I took it in to the Apple Store last month, of course it was working perfectly that day. The Genius complimented me on how well cared for my iPod is, and how I didn’t have a ton of stolen music on it (Uh, thank you?). Now? It doesn’t want to work – and I’m peeved. None of the troubleshooting tips from Apple’s support site are working – so if you’ve BTDT and have “fix it” ideas for it, let me know.

4. It’s hard to type with a five year old in your lap.

5. Musically, I’m loving Bob Schneider’s “40 Dogs”. Still. I can’t remember if I talked about this last week or not. But I love this song.

6. I just finished reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver and was completely blown away. It is one of the best – though, bone chilling – books I have read in quite some time. It was difficult to read for long stretches, the subject matter makes it so – but the way the author weaved words together was so beautiful and heartbreaking. I’d definitely recommend it (though I recommend doing as I did and following it up with something lighter – I read a novella by Nick Hornby to sort of “cleanse my palate”, so to speak, from the book that preceded it).

7. Still playing “Banana Pancakes” in guitar lessons. Yeah. Back to working on bar chords.

8. In the scope of posting number 7, I put on Banana Pancakes and have listened to it three times now. Yes, it takes me that long to write these lists. Can’t you see that it’s just raining? There ain’t no need to go outside…

9. I’ve realized in the past few days that I probably totally UNDERUTILIZE Linked In. I basically ignore everything that comes through – because it’s not FUN like Twitter or writing my OH SO FASCINATING blog. Of course, LI actually has a purpose.

10. My daughter just had me put a side-ponytail in her hair, a la 1985. Sure, everything old becomes new again… but somethings ought to just stay in the past. LIKE THE SIDE PONYTAIL.

Whatever Happened to What’sHerName?

When I was younger, I had several friends that I spent time with on a regular basis. Of those friends, there were a few that my mom just did not care for. She’d, whether or not she was aware of it, turn up her nose or adopt a certain tone when I spoke of those friends. At the time, I  didn’t get it. What was her problem? She didn’t have to hang out with them. They were my friends.


Now I get it.

The Princess is quite social. Initially, her circle of friends consisted of the other girls in our neighborhood (there are several – though most are two to three years older than The Princess). Given the proximity, these girls are the friends she plays with most frequently – it’s far easier to trot through the backyard or around the block than it is to call someone, make plans, convince a parent to drive someone here or us to drive her there, and then sort arrangements for getting back home.

Proximity is not necessarily the best way for a child to choose friends. Proximity seems to breed desperation – as in, I know that they’re not very nice and that they make me feel badly when we play together but they’re here and if I’m not playing with them then there’s no one else to play with. Proximity – it poses rotten challenges.

Recently, the two neighborhood girls snubbed my daughter. “Ummm, we’re playing with our iPod Touches and since you don’t have one, you’re going to have to go home.”

Maybe it wasn’t all about the iPod. Maybe it was. Maybe they just didn’t want to play with The Princess at the time (which is fine – that happens), but to tie that to a material object – we have this thing and you don’t have this thing and therefore because we have something you don’t. you don’t fit now – well, I don’t like to get all helicopter mommy, but frankly, I was pissed.

I told her, “We don’t choose our friends based on things they have or don’t have. We are friends and we spend time with people because we like to be around them.” I don’t want her trying to keep up with the Joneses – she’s EIGHT.

And so I find myself, like my mother, when the names of those children come up. Thinking, “Wouldn’t you rather play with so-and-so? She’s such a nice girl!”

I ran into so-and-so’s mother at school a couple weeks ago – and we chatted amicably in the school hallways about how much I missed having her daughter come play at her house and she missed having my daughter play at hers. We joked about how sad it is for moms – our daughters end up in the same classroom, they become close friends, we get used to these friends of our kiddos’ and then? Next year, new classroom, a whole new slew of friends.

Her daughter had encountered some mean girls in her class, as mine had found them in our neighborhood – and as parents, sometimes you have to sit back, keep your lip zipped and STAY OUT OF THE HELICOPTER. But, you can’t help but wish that your kids would gravitate towards the nice kids.

The Princess and So-And-So ended up getting to hang out for several hours last weekend. They had an amazing time, they didn’t bicker, they didn’t fight about things they have or don’t have. It was just…good.

Those moments when I get my mother. I hope they don’t start happening too frequently. Or involve NASCAR.

Thursday Ten: It’s St Patrick’s Day Edition

1. Happy St Patrick’s Day. If that’s your thing. It’s not mine. I am pretty sure that I’m not at all Irish so I’m fairly neutral to it, so… it’s nothing for me but if green beer doesn’t gross you out, have at it.

2. Annnnnd, it’s March Madness time. I always fill out brackets – even though I really don’t know anything about any of the teams because I don’t follow basketball. Do you fill out brackets? If so, who’s your Final Four?

3. New music this week? SO MUCH. Most of it is from the “everything old is new again” which is why I’m listening to Skee-Lo’s “I Wish.” (You miss this song, don’t you? I wish I was a little bit taller….)

4. Not to be that girl who blogs about the weather all the time, but it’s supposed to be nearly 70 degrees today. NEARLY. SEVENTY. DEGREES. {yay!} Winter has lasted too long, and while this weather is just for today only, I am glad to see temps above freezing forecasted for the next few days. SEE YA, WINTER.

5. And to celebrate the coming of spring, I schedule an appointment for a spring mani/pedi. Sigh. I love pedicures. It’s funny, because I mostly think feet are gross – and don’t really want anyone touching my feet or even really looking at them, and yet… Pedicures are heavenly.

6. This morning I took the kids out for donuts and coffee (a day early, as they have no school tomorrow), and ordered my usual cappuccino. I didn’t take my first sip until I got into the car. Memo to all barristas and future barristas: the foam on a cappuccino comes from MILK, and not massive amounts of whipped cream. I pulled the car over, thinking I’d just scrape off the whipped cream and the drink would be salvageable. Nope. Once I scraped off the whipped cream, it was just a latte. Ick.

7. My mom dragged me to see the Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston flick “Just Go With It”, over the weekend. It was brutally rotten. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie quite so horrible. Trust me. Even if you normally don’t mind Adam Sandler (and sometimes, I really think he’s hilarious!)… the movie was not a good one.

8. No guitar lessons this week because my teacher had a schedule conflict. What a bummer. I miss it tremendously. I, er… should practice. Yeah. That’s what I should be doing.

9. In an attempt to shake up my workout schedule, I added the Nike Fit Club training app (free!) to my phone. Amazing. Great workouts – varied levels of difficulty. I have now done four different workouts and feel completely exhausted (in a good way) when I’m done. Love it.

10. For next month’s book club, we’ve chosen Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. I’ve already read it – but it’s pretty good, so I’ll be reading again along with everyone else. This has been the downside to book club, I’ve found – I’m such a voracious reader that I’ve read a lot of the “popular book club” selections. Sometimes I decide to just re-read a book and not make a fuss – particularly if the book is good and I think others will really enjoy it. So – if you haven’t read it, pick it up and join me as I (re)read it.



TIL Tuesday – Love the Love Drop

There are a great many things that I love – I love cappuccinos from Starbucks and cheap funky $2 knee socks from Target – but one of the things I love most is an organization I learned about recently, and it’s already won a place in my heart. It may just be there forever.

LOVE DROP comes together each month to help one family going through a financially difficult time. It doesn’t take much to help out with a Love Drop – a donation as small as a buck a month still ends up making a huge difference. And when a Love Drop team comes together to help a recipient – WATCH OUT. The love that emanates from the amazing hearts of people… well, it’s a pretty awesome thing to behold

This month, the Love Drop team has chosen to help Katie. Selfishly, I am overjoyed – because Katie is a friend of mine. Katie would never ask for help. Her heart is tremendously huge and she is one of those people who enriches my life and my world – just by knowing her. Katie keeps me positive when I sometimes feel less than positive. And Katie keeps herself positive, even though things aren’t always easy. Here, I’ll let her tell you her story.


This month, the awesomeness that is Love Drop is reaching out to help Katie, and helping to put a dent in her medical bills. Next month, they’ll work their loving mojo to help someone else.

I’m in awe of Nate and J Money, the guys behind Love Drop, and amazed at the power of what people can accomplish when they come together to do GOOD. These guys have a fan for life. I love them, I love Katie. If you have yet to check out LOVE DROP, please check it out today.

Thursday Ten: The COUCH IS NOT A CHEW TOY Edition

1. I just got back from Target. At Target, I bought a bunch of rawhide bones and chew toys for the puppy because IF HE DOESN’T STOP CHEWING UP MY SOFA I AM GOING TO GO NUTS. I think he’s just very bored (aren’t we all? Winter has gone on long enough) but… I would like to have some furniture left by the time the snow melts.

2. Music I’m loving these days? Jill&Kate. They are singer-songwritery, former backup singers for Kelly Clarkson. They even blog. I love when they mash up one of their songs with Jann Arden’s “Insensitive”. They have EPs available on Amazon and iTunes.

3. We wrapped up Mat Kearney’s “Closer To Love” this week in guitar lessons. We have moved on to Jack Johnson because I’m kind of sucktastic at the bar chords, yet. So, “BANANA PANCAKES” here I come.

4. I woke up to snow flurries outside this morning. Here’s a memo for winter: BE OVER. BE OVER NOW. PLEASE BE OVER FOREVER.

5. March is apparently National Reading Month – the elementary schools are celebrating big time, which is awesome. I love reading and think it’s fun and awesome and think it’s something kids should be encouraged to do from a young age – it’s not just educational, but FUN. Speaking of reading, I’m reading fluff now. The new Jodi Picoult book, “Sing You Home” is what I’ve been reading. It comes with a soundtrack – which I find odd. The melodies of the songs are actually quite pretty – but the voice? Meh.

6. Yesterday, I was thrilled to have gotten to watch a live stream on the internet of the shuttle Discovery’s landing. Amazing. I love technology. I love how you are able to see things as they happen – important things, history being made in front of your eyes. It’s not just blogs and Facebook, y’all. Technology brings history. Pretty freakin’ cool.

7. Starbucks dropped a new logo the other day in conjunction with their 40th birthday. I love it. I hated when Gap tried to change theirs (I’m still not sure that wasn’t just a publicity stunt). But the new Starbucks logo? I love it. I love the white space on the cups. I love that I overthink the Starbucks logo. I’m such a dork.

8. With the snow falling this morning, I thought I might try to indulge my need for cheap sundresses from Target. I hate wearing shorts, but I like to wear dresses when the weather warms (I used to wear shorts all the time… the older I get? The MORE I HATE THEM). I didn’t buy any dresses. Or that sweater.

9. I bought a huge tub of fortune cookies from Cost Plus World Market earlier this week. I am hooked on them. They’re small enough and low enough in calories that they nip a sweet tooth in the bud… AND I GET A CRAPPY FORTUNE WITH EVERY COOKIE! Yay. Really. I’m kind of in love with fortune cookies.

10. I admit – I’ve been watching American Idol. Last night, one of the guys sang Ryan Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up” and J-Lo didn’t know it. And “I know a lot of music but I don’t know that”. REALLY J-LO? Pffft. Get with it. And since I’m talking about American Idol, can I just say it strikes me as odd to watch Steven Tyler get these uber-big smiles on his face when people are performing? He’s not supposed to have a real heart. It’s supposed to be mummified and wrapped in cigarette ashes somewhere in his chest cavity.

O-M-G a V-L-O-G

Y’all. This is one of the most nervewracking things I’ve ever done. I don’t imagine I’ll do it often (or well!), but definitely wanted to give it a try to kind of break through the fear I have of the whole “being on the wrong side of the camera” thing. Music in the beginning is courtesy of Pumpkin’s headphone-less iPod (country music? Where’d my kid get the country music?).

So, this is me. If you have posted a vlog lately, leave your link in the comments so I can come over and see you.


Weekly Winners – March Sunshine Edition

For more Weekly Winners, head on over to see Lotus and  the rest of the participants.