Jersey Girls Love Their Barefoot Sandals!

Ahhh…Oyster Fest 2014.

Lobster rolls, crab cakes, clams, oysters, beer and…bling?

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Something I’ve always loved about the festivals in Jersey is that they celebrate small business owners.  We always find interesting products in our travels and if they are any bit girly, Lulu is at the table, front and center, ready to patronize.

Yesterday was no exception.  Lulu found Jersey Girl Barefoot Sandals and fell in love.  It really is such a clever product – jewelry for your feet that you can wear with or without sandals.  There were all types of designs to choose from.  Of course, Lulu decided she needed an anklet to match each of the sandals.  She’s such an easy sell…just like her mother.  =)

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Here is a snap of Lulu and Bev Beveridge, entrepreneur and one of the co-owners of this super-creative venture, showing off their foot candy!

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I was really impressed with the selection of styles and the price was reasonable – we paid $10 per sandal, which any woman knows is a bargain for bling!

This is a pic of yours truly and Bev.

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Check them out on Facebook!

And don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card by clicking here:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f30243524/.

 

Download Your Own Sleepover Pal!

On Saturday night, I reached a milestone in my parenting career. I knew the day would come when I would run out of excuses… Lulu hosted her very first sleepover.

This was a monumental event, folks. Lots of prep time and a slight bit of panic on my part since sleepovers are all about the execution – snacks, activities, movies, snacks, games, American Girl dolls, SNACKS.  You get the idea. I wanted to bring my A-game to this soiree. So we went to a fabulous kid-loving dinner at Friendly’s, where I participated in a binge fest filled with hamburgers, chicken fingers and a delicious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup sundae. I’m still nauseous thinking about it.  But damn, it was GOOD!

Once we got home, I figured they wanted to just do their own thing, right?  Who wants Mom hovering?? So I put on a movie and all five of the kids watched and played together. Then ate again?!?!

But they quickly exhausted all of their entertainment options. They were bored by the movie, bored with their dolls, and bored with their iDevices.   That’s when they came to me. At ten o’clock at night!  I just wanted to do my nails and go to sleep.

“Mom, we’re bored. What should we DO?”

“Lulu, what about…” I rattled off a million and one ideas and the verdict was bore, bored, and BORING!!!!!

What the heck???

And…LIGHTBULB!

The Sleepover Pal!   It’s an interactive app that generates a virtual sleepover companion for your kids. It would have a unique name, face and voice (all customizable). Your kids can craft their pal however they want.

Courtesy of spongebob.wikia.com

Courtesy of spongebob.wikia.com

 

Parents can select a scope of activities that they want offered to their kids for the event and the Sleepover Pal will execute!  The same ideas I offered up would be so much more enticing if they came from an app, don’t you think?

The Sleepover Pal can come up with age-appropriate conversation topics, use pop culture references, teach the kids how to play new games, tell jokes, whatever activities that the parent selects!  Parents can enter the names of all the kids so the pal can address everyone directly. Artificial intelligence at it’s best.  It’s freaking BRILLIANT, right???

The Sleepover Pal will be the chief coordinator of the sleepover. All for the bargain price of…..FREE??? Jeez, if this app existed I might have caved a lot sooner… =)

Still Waiting For The Fun Part To Begin

I had high hopes for today. Anticipated precipitation morphed into a 75-degree morning. Got my workout done early so I could gather my bearings before the kiddies appeared on the scene. All packed up for a day at the shore, well before Lulu and I had to leave for tumbling. All of the makings for a promising day. Until everything came skidding to a literal halt.

With five minutes to spare, Lulu and I were driving to the gym, belting out “Let It Go” by Adele Nazeem (LOL) at the tops of our lungs. I was caffeinated and looking forward to the one hour of peace and quiet I get during the week. But the universe had other plans.

Just as an aside, I love it when I’M the one in control of the universe. It’s way more fun that way. But we’re not talking about one of my books here.

The sound of the explosion nearly made me drive off the road. Who the hell shot at my freaking car? Oh wait…that wasn’t a gunshot. It was my damn tire.

So before I got to the fun part of the day, I sat on the phone with GEICO for half an hour, waited for an hour in a CVS parking lot for my tow, missed tumbling, and paid for a new tire.

Still waiting for the fun part to begin. But I’m hopeful…I’ve got some friends who can cushion the blow. No pun intended.

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The Famous Hervé Leger Bandage Dress…And No, You Can’t Wear Spanx Underneath

In my past life, the one I refer to as “B.C.S,” 60% off and Hervé Leger would be a magically dreamy combination.  Just FYI, “B.C.S.” stands for Before C-Section.

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

Now, those sales only depress me.

Don’t be fooled.  Hervé Leger’s iconic “hold you in” bandage dress is NOT a miracle corset, no matter what anyone tells you.  They may push your assets up but they don’t hide ANYTHING.  If you have any bit of a bulge (and one too many C-sections will most assuredly result in one of those), save yourself the imminent disappointment and find an empire-waisted option.

Normal childbirth didn’t destroy my midsection.  I had a slammin’ body after Lulu was born.  It’s true, though a little narcissistic.  I looked so much better than I ever did before kids.  And since I was only 31, I barely had to do anything to maintain my figure.  Ahh, the good old days when I actually HAD a metabolism…

But things are very different now.  Lulu’s dramatic entrance pretty much guaranteed that C-sections would become my preferred delivery method in the future.  Next came Cooper, then came George, whose birth clinched the reality that my pre-C-section body was gone forever.  I can do T25 from now until Kingdom come and it has essentially no impact on my stomach.  Couple that with age, and Hervé Leger becomes a fond but distant memory.

It’s okay, though.  I’ve come to terms with it.  I just focus on accentuating other areas now…areas which haven’t been devastated in the aftermath of childbirth and half-hearted attempts to nurse.

I have to admit that every so often, it would be nice to take advantage of those damned sales now that I can actually afford the dresses!

Life’s just full of jagged little pills, you know?

Unrequited Love…At Three Years-Old?!

My two little boys are obsessed with girls.

Cooper is marrying Gracie and George is in love with Juliet.  

What the heck is going on here???  They’re 3 and 4!!!!

Just as an aside, Lulu is 8 and has yet to utter a sweet word about a boy.  I hear about how rude and yucky and annoying they are, but the desire to marry any of them?  Ah, no, nothing along that front, thank goodness!  Not ready for that one!

My dad laughs and often says he didn’t know what PLANET he was on until he was 8.  Yet somehow, these guys are goo-goo eyed…and sometimes that leads to D-R-A-M-A!

Just this morning, George and I were chatting as I changed his diaper (because I can’t get my act together enough to commit to potty-training…argh!  Please don’t judge me!).  I asked him which little girl in his class is his favorite.

The name that emerged was “Doo-eee-ett.”

Hmmm.

If I didn’t know he had a girl in his class named “Juliet”, I’d be scratching my head.  But I do, so I didn’t.  =)

Now here’s the thing.

Another little cutie in the class has him in her sights.  Unrequited love at the tender age of 3!?

And forget that we don’t know if Juliet is even aware that my little Don Juan is alive! 

I’m SO not ready to deal with this!  

I Can Do Just About Anything With A Smile…Just Pop That Cork For Me, Would You?

Bath time isn’t fun.  It is AGGRAVATING.  And STRESSFUL.  I repeat myself, over and over, and nobody listens.  Corralling two little naked boys while I try to run the water and pull out the pajamas is like trying to corner a rat.  My blood boils and I struggle to keep the expletives locked up tight.  It’s hard, but I manage.  For the record, I’d manage better if I prepared myself with a couple of glasses of wine.  That’s when things run like a well-oiled machine.  Okay, fine, that’s a false picture of my alcohol-infused reality but whatever.  At least I’m relaxed.

This week I’ve been graced with the presence of Lulu at bath time.  She really is such a wonderful big sister and as much as her little brothers annoy her, she adores them and vice versa.  Each night when she ASKS me if she can give them a bath, I leap at the chance to sit on the sidelines and comment on Goodreads posts while she deals with their squirming and splashing.

It’s like having a babysitter I don’t need to pay!

Now for the aftermath…

Who CARES that the towels are flung all over the place and there’s toothpaste caked on the sink and faucet and the shower curtain is hanging on its last ring?

I can fix all that.  But since I CAN’T be tipsy every night of the week, I will continue to welcome the help.  Until Lulu comes to her senses and realizes she’s getting the short end of the stick here.

Please Don’t Ask Me About The Shower Scene…

My house is crazy-noisy.  Like, ALL THE TIME.

My husband and Lulu constantly break out into song…about anything that comes to their minds and at any given time.  Sometimes, they take turns with piano accompaniment.  Angry Bird telepods are forever sailing through the air.  Super Mario 3D World…UGH…the music alone makes my ears bleed after a while.

So just imagine how challenged I am to craft erotic scenes with this non-stop activity.  Three little kids, climbing on top of me, whining, crying, yelling, tattling…SIGH.  Getting through those scenes is always a major accomplishment, trust me on that.

Quick segue..I don’t know if you have ever heard of Fiverr, but it is the most awesome site EVER!!!  You need something, get it there…for $5!  I just got a kick-ass logo from Sami.  She turned my extremely non-committal requirements into the fabulous logo you see splashed across the top of my site.  Love?!?!

Anyway, I showed the last image to my dad this morning and it prompted some chatter about my book.  It was very basic at first, like the type of romance, the premise of the story and the point of view of the characters, blah, blah, blah.  But then he asked the dreaded question I knew I’d have to answer at some point but didn’t care to really answer EVER.

The hand rises to cover one half of his mouth, just in case the kids are in range.  “Does your book have…um…sex scenes in it?”

Eeek.

“Yes, Daddy, it does.” <CRINGE>

A nod.  Then, “Are they…graphic?”

Ack.

“Yes, Daddy.  They are explicit.”  <ARGH!>  (Please don’t ask me where my inspiration came from though, because THAT would make me uncomfortable.)

He took it in stride, though.  (No Daddy, I don’t really write porn.  Just a few little spicy takes, that’s all.  Almost perfectly innocent.  Except for that shower scene…)

My dad is difficult to read (no pun intended).  He almost never lets you know what he’s thinking.  Great freaking poker face if I ever saw one.  He doesn’t need sunglasses at all.  But even though he’s all calm on the surface, in his head, he’s totally freaked out that his little girl is writing about raucous bedroom romps that our friends and family might read at some point.  I know he’s also thinking about how my mom is going to take that when she finds out.  That’s  conversation for another day, though, preferably after I’ve had several Manhattans.

Sorry guys, little girl’s all grown up now.  =)

We All Have Delusions Of Grandeur…Don’t Be Afraid To Indulge

Sometimes I wish I was more like Lulu.

Yes, I admit I’m a little envious of her height, gorgeous thick hair and huge green eyes (sadly, none of which I can be held accountable for).  But it goes way beyond that.  She’s got such amazing self-confidence.  I’ve never met someone who was so comfortable in her own skin.  Self-esteem practically oozes from her tiny pores. 

When Lulu decides to do something, it’s as good as done.  Noting stands in her way.   She faces situations head-on and accomplishes everything she sets her mind to.  That bit comes from me.  =)

But here’s the key differentiator.  Everything Lulu does is tinged with positivity and tenacity.  She’s never afraid to fail.  It’s never even a consideration.  SO unlike me.  I question everything and second-guess myself constantly. 

Do you know what happens when you get consumed with self-doubt?  You miss out on opportunities.  Unless you have a few vodka sodas to loosen you up.  Then it’s not so terrifying to get up on a stage in five-inch stilettos and belt out a few verses of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” at live band karaoke.  I always dreamed of becoming a pop star and that night, for five minutes, my delusion became a reality.  Kind of.  Well, at least I didn’t tumble off the stage or crash into a speaker.  Definitely a success in my book.  I drowned my insecurities with some yummy cocktails and ta-da!   My dream became a reality.

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So, what’s the moral of this whole story?  Liquor up to face a challenge? 

Would it be horrible if I said yes?

Haha!  Just kidding.  No, I’ve got something a little better than that.  Consider the alternatives when facing a daunting situation.  Is sitting on the sidelines worth the risk of letting opportunities pass you by, simply because you were too afraid to fail?  I’m hoping your answer is HELL NO!  

Take the bull by the horns and get it done.  Life is richer when you have lots of failures to draw upon.  They’ll make you better equipped to achieve the successes.

 

 

 

My MARVELous Universe

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I feel like I live in an alternate Marvel reality these days.

Depending on the mood of my three year-old George, a.k.a. Tony Stark, I’m at risk for being blown up by his repulser.  And he’s a VERY temperamental guy.

Cooper likens himself to Captain America.  He’s got a thing for shields.  Also, he doesn’t like keeping his clothes on so a second-skin suit kind of works well for him.  He’s a little whiny at times, but who can blame him?  Saving the world is pretty exhausting.  There’s also no love lost between Cap and Tony, so he gets blown up pretty often too.

Then there’s Lulu.  She could sell ice to an Eskimo.  Though she doesn’t share the pummeling skills of the Black Widow, if put in a room with her for an interrogation, you’d end up beating the crap out of yourself.  Her rhetoric is as powerful as Black Widow’s roundhouse kicks.  Trust me.

Hulk…well, he’s just LOUD.  That’s my Hubby, according to my kids.  Plus, he’s green (Hulk, not Hubby) and that’s super cool just like Dad.

Nobody’s really interested in Hawkeye.  He’s only good for shooting arrows.  But what happens when they run out?  Then what’s his thing?  Good eyesight?  Blah!  Plus, Black Widow can trounce his ass.  Who’d want to be THAT guy?  I would personally rather be Loki.  At least he’s got a scepter.

Where exactly does this leave me?  Who am I??

Well, I’m the ringleader of this crew, the glue that holds the whole mess of them together, for better or worse.  I am…wait for it…Nick Fury, who is one of the greatest strategic minds in the world, a born leader and a master of espionage.  Totally perfect fit.

Daughter Of The Digital Revolution…And Her AG Cronies

The Crew

The Crew

Who knew that AGSM would open my eyes to how very inspirational my daughter Lulu could be?

AGSM = American Girl Stop Motion = YouTube craze = Lulu’s new favorite pastime

Stop motion videos are super cool, if you’ve never had the pleasure of watching one.  Lulu stumbled upon the YouTube channel and has been obsessed ever since.  An endless stream of hours with Mia, Rebecca, Caroline; sitting, standing, waving, climbing, dancing, and chatting.  But Lulu can’t figure out how to get herself out of the video and with stop motion, that’s a no-no.  The dolls come to life in these videos.  No human intervention is permitted.

Lulu watched and dissected the videos, almost as if to solve the mystery of a magic trick.  I was no help.  I’m not a videophile.  Some may say I’m a bit technologically challenged.  I can’t even figure out how to use our XBOX360.

She tried and failed, over and over.  Finally, she resorted to Google and was so excited to find instructional videos about how to make stop motion videos because, of course, videos about how to make videos are ubiquitous on the Internet.

Once Lulu had the camera app for the bargain price of $9.99, she was ready to flex her moviemaker muscles.  Except she quickly found out that stop motion is tedious as hell to produce.  But that only slightly deterred her.  She only threatened to throw her iPad out the window once.  I would have been so done long before that.

Lulu persevered like a champ.  And guess what?  She produced her own stop motion video.  It makes me a little dizzy to watch because she’s showing way too many frames per second, but we can fix that.

What happens when you have a kid who succumbs to frustration and shies away from a challenging endeavor?  Luckily I don’t need to worry about that.  Lulu’s dedication to achieving the final objective inspires me.  She won’t give up until she finds success.  At the tender age of eight, she already has the game of life down pat.

How can I ever be tempted to throw in the towel with such a source of inspiration surrounding me on a daily basis?

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