Category Archives: BREAKING DIRT!

President Obama and I Shop Together


Obama, the Gap, shopping, minimum wage

Daddy bought presents at the Gap. I’m going to score SO many points with my family when I get home!

Considering my daily uniform is typically running pants and a workout shirt and Obama’s is usually a gorgeous custom-tailored suit and tie, I have to admit, I was a little surprised to find out we both shop at the Gap.

Ok, fine. POTUS probably doesn’t binge shop regularly for 1969 broken-in skinny jeans and GapFit long sleeve Motion shirts with the little thumby holes like I do.

However, on Tuesday, March 11, President Obama stopped by one of their Midtown NYC stores to promote a minimum wage campaign that’s designed to inspire business owners to increase the minimum wage for U.S. workers. So he was there. Just like I am often sometimes.

While the President basically posed for photo ops and offered up one-liners for the media, he did manage to pick out a few super-duper conservative pieces for the fam (He refused v-necks for his daughters in case of slippage. I smell a post-presidency teenage rebellion…), including a light blue workout jacket for Michelle and two button-down sweaters for his daughters, one in coral and the other in light pink.

Obama, shopping, Gap, minimum wage

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP

Obama, Gap, minimum wage, economy

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP

So you can pretty much expect all three items to sell out right… about…now.

My favorite part of the whole show?

The relentless salespeople who drive me nuts explaining the benefits of the Gap credit card each and every time I shop there, who refuse to accept my respectful rejection, which usually sounds something like, “Oh, no thank you, but my husband will divorce me if I open another credit card,” apparently had the balls to ask the President of the United States if he wanted to open one too!

His answer? “I’ve got one card. In fact I don’t always carry my wallet. I brought it specially for you.”

Way to stay strong! I bet the APR alone is a killer (I literally have no idea what that means…)

Although I’d never go for it myself, I can’t help but feel a little bad for the checkout clerk. I bet the commission for getting the President of the United States to sign up for a Gap card is huge.

*In honor of the President stimulating the economy at the Gap, I’m sharing my friends and family Gap online discount code that will save you 40% off of your entire Gap purchase–enter FAF40 at checkout. 

See, you shop because you’re saving, the Gap makes money, they hire more workers, they can pay them a higher hourly rate because you shopped, and all is right in the world.

It’s like the Lion King but with clothes, so I like it even more than the movie. And that’s a good movie! 

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Damn, And I Had Planned To Take Life Lessons From The Bachelor!


Guess I’m gonna to have to keep looking for a new spiritual leader. I was really counting on following the genius that is Juan Pablo–you know, this season’s Bachelor. After all, he’s on TV so he must be smart! But then he opened his mouth and said this…

THE BACHELOR, Juan Pablo Galavis
ABC/Craig Sjodin

The Bachelor’s Juan Pablo Galavis offered a very candid answer when he was asked his thoughts about the possibility of a gay bachelor starring on the ABC hit reality series.

“I respect [gay people], but I honestly don’t think it is a good example for kids to watch that on TV,” the former Venezuelan soccer star told The TV Page on Friday, Jan. 17 at a network party in Pasadena, Calif.

“Obviously people have their husband and wife and kids and that is how we are brought up,” Galavis says in an audio recording. “Now there is fathers having kids and all that, and it is hard for me to understand that too in the sense of a household having peoples. Two parents sleeping in the same bed and the kid going into bed. It is confusing in a sense.”

The single dad to daughter Camilla added that he “respects” gay couples and their desires “to have kids,” as well as they are “more pervert in a sense.”

“They want to be parents,” the first Latino bachelor added. “So it is a scale. Where do you put it on the scale? Where is the thin line to cross or not? You have to respect everybody’s desires and way of living. But it would be too hard for TV.”

In a joint statement, ABC and the show’s producers said: “Juan Pablo’s comments were careless, thoughtless and insensitive, and in no way reflect the views of the network, the show’s producers or studio.”

—Additional reporting by Kristin Dos Santos (Taken from E! Online)

I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt as he did say in a follow up statement that English is his second language, and that he may have used the word “pervert” wrong.

Juan Pablo, I think you’re an asshole. Wait, I may have used the word “asshole” wrong. Nope. No I didn’t.

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The Day Julianne Moore Called Me To Talk About Her New Project: Freckleface Strawberry Dreamtime Playtime


Julianne Moore, Golden Globes, apple store, iPad, iPhone

Julianne Moore and daughter Liv Freundlich
Image by Getty

Last Thursday was pretty major for me. Julianne Moore was launching a new digital app and I had been asked to cover it.

So there I was sitting in my friend’s kitchen, waiting to interview a major movie star over the phone and I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. I certainly wasn’t prepared for Julianne Moore to call my cell directly. So when an unknown number popped up on my phone, I answered it, assuming it would be one of Ms. Moore’s people. However, proving she’s as down-to-earth as I had hoped, this happened…

Me: Hello?

Caller: Hi Jo? It’s Julianne Moore! How are you?

(HOW AM I??? Well, I’m dying because you, amazing Julianne Moore, called me, plain, old Jo Aaron. The mom who just dropped off her two kids at preschool, and is now sitting in a friend’s kitchen, playing on my iPhoto because I forgot to ask for her wi-fi password. I’m worried I’m going to sound like an idiot or ask you a question you won’t like. What if I stupidly call you Demi? Why didn’t I think to use the restroom before the call? I’m also worried about finishing on time because I have to pick up my kids at school because parking over there is tough and it’s freezing today so I don’t want to make them walk too far to get to the car…oh, the stress!)

ME: I’m great! It’s so wonderful to speak with you! Thank you so much for your time…

Turns out, she was impossibly easy to talk to so we chatted about everyday stuff like the freezing cold weather here in Chicago and out in NYC, where Moore lives with her 2 kids and husband; how it’s hard to do the urban commute when the temps drop so low; and that while she was thrilled to win last year’s Golden Globe, she was eager to hop a flight home to NY so she could catch her son’s basketball game.

Of course that last one was more her than me, because I do not have a Golden Globe. On the other hand, I definitely appreciate how important it was to her to be present for her child. After all, good parenting is a universal concept for those of us that believe in it.

Ultimately, we discussed Moore’s new app, Freckleface Strawberry Dreamtime Playtime. It’s the actress and author’s second app based on her best selling Freckleface Strawberry book series. This app is intended for kids 4 and up to help them build their math skills through fun games. The main character is voiced by Moore’s beautiful look-alike 11-year-old daughter, Liv Freundlich, and she does a fantastic job. We talked about whether or not Liv has aspirations of following in her mom’s silver screen footsteps.

“I don’t know, she’s just 11, so she [Liv] has lots of different interests. She takes piano and she sings, and I think she likes acting. She also loves fashion right now, but she’s 11 years old. When I was 11, I wanted to be a museum curator, so not that we always know. But she did such a great job as the voice. She’s so adorable, and approachable, and real as the voice. That’s what I love about it. She’s a real little girl. That’s when they [children] listen—when they know they’re listening to a child, rather than an adult doing a child’s voice,” Moore told me.

She couldn’t have been more correct. My own daughter had a blast playing with the app. Each time she got a correct answer, Freckleface Strawberry (Liv) would say, “superb”, and I could almost image Moore saying it herself.

The Freckleface Strawberry Dreamtime Playtime app is now available at the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini for $2.99. I highly recommend trying it out to encourage early math skills for little ones. Plus, Julianne Moore called me on my cell phone…I mean, how cool is that???

Julianne Moore, Hollywood, star, celebrity

Julianne Moore and her family at her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony
Image by Getty

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Grammy Uncoverage


I wasn’t going to be the blogger who posted each time an award show airs, but since I watch as part of my real job, I have to say something about what’s going on on my TV right now. To start off, I’m watching Fuse News with Alexa Chung (who is so desperately thin, she looks like she’d like to eat one of the celebrities she’s interviewing) and some other dude, on the red carpet of the Grammys because my cable is out so we’re getting spotty channel coverage. I’m a huge celeb junkie, so I’m pairing Fuse (which by the way is the WORST interviewing I’ve ever seen ever–literally) with online photos and I only have one thing to say. Gross.

First, JLo, what the F!!! You do realize that you’re having a mid-life crisis in front of the entire world, right? Seriously, combine your outfit from back in the day (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you probably don’t know who Jennifer Lopez is), your Jolie copycat dress from tonight, and that nude/crystal bodysuit that you love wearing on stage, and basically, we all know what you look like naked. Listen, it’s great that you think you can pull this dress off, and I love hate to be the one to tell you but there is a picture of you on Yahoo! in your current dress that shows a little celli. I’m not slamming you for having cellulite. Everyone has it–skinny, little model girls get cellulite. But if you have it, maybe cover it up with a dress that has a hem that’s a touch longer than your right butt check. But that’s just my opinion.

The second thing I notice is that there are four main categories of dress at the Grammys:

  • Dirty. Just rolled out of bed, don’t give a crap, people will think I’m cool because I’m so important, I don’t even need to shower before I show up to a televised red carpet event. People that fall in this category include Jack Black, Skrillex (whoever that is), Deadmau5 (again–who???), and, heartbreakingly, Mumford & Sons–because my kids love them.
  • Confused. Where am I? There are so many people who look like they are trying to get into a club instead of mugging for the paps, like that Big Bang Theory chick (why is she there?) She’s in a blazer and leather leggings. I wore the same thing to a parents night out event for my kids’ preschool. Even I probably would have changed into something a little more Grammys and a little less mom-actually-gets-a-childless-night-out-to-drink-wine. Again, that’s just me. It also pains me to say this, because I love her, but the outfit that Beyonce is wearing would have been my second choice for my parents’ night out. Just because you’re a mom now doesn’t mean you have to fire your stylist or wear high waisted tight pants that give you a camel toe. No, B, it’s quite the opposite!
  • Weird for the sake of being weird. There’s so much trying going on on the red carpet, I’m getting exhausted just watching these people try so hard to make it seem like being different is normal for them. Weirdo highlights include FUN. for wearing PeeWee Herman teeny, tiny skinny trouser suits that hit right around their delicate, sock-free ankles. I have to say, one dude in this look might have passed for ‘they’re weird but whatever’ but the trio of peddle pusher suits-on-men makes them look boy band-ish, and also makes me so happy that I’m not dating anymore because, if this is what men think is attractive to women, I’d be very single. About 80% of the rest of the crowd looks totally weirdo, even including Katy Perry, who I bet thought she was mainstreaming more than usual for her, but just looks like a mint green version of Morticia Addams. She also happens to look pretty pissed, so I have to assume she’s angry with boyfriend John Mayer because, well, he’s John Mayer.
  • Overdressed. It’s the Grammys, not the Oscars. White, flowing chiffon has no place on the red carpet, but no one called Taylor Swift to tell her. Or they did, but Taylor didn’t answer because she’s laying low since being called out for publicly humiliating every single male she’s ever dated. Taylor’s dress is gorge, but it’s just the wrong time. Don’t worry TayTay! With a track record like yours, you’re bound to be a bride enough times to wear a hefty number of long, white dresses. Ok, and now I have to deal with Rihanna–I love red, I love the peek-a-boos. I love the dress but I’m so confused (so you can also be placed in category #2.) You don’t even leave your house to hit up the grocery store without wearing some totally bizarre outfit, but now, for the Grammys of all places, you’re going ladylike? I just don’t get it. And by the way, if you have any intentions of standing next to your abuser boyfriend, who is in all white, you will look like you’re on your way to a Schaumburg prom.

So now’s the part of the post where I get to do my best and worst picks.

Best is easy for me–Jordyn Blum Grohl (Dave Grohl’s wife). She is wearing the black and white Marc Jacobs dress that almost brought me to tears the first time I saw it (in the Spring runway show, if you care.) Jordyn looks perfect. Period. Also, I think the Doogie Howsers look so fantastic. I’m just throwing that out there.

The worst is–OMG–where to start?

Since it’s not really fair to compare this crowd, I’m splitting the category into the worst dressed real-celebrity-so-you-should-know-better and the worst dressed D-lister. So the worst dressed real celeb award goes to-I hate this, but I have to do it-Adele. Darling, you’re supposed to walk the red carpet, not wear it! And the final worst dressed D-lister award goes to Lisa D’Amato. I…I…I just don’t know what to say. I think you wanted to be edgy-weird and Swiss Miss-y but it just makes me want to puke.

What about you? Who were your best and worst dressed?

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A 2008 Flashback


4 years ago, my husband and I sat up in bed, glued to the TV, waiting for whatever network we were watching to announce the winner of the 2008 election. I remember saying to my husband that it was so stupid of us not to go down to see Obama that night. It was historical in a way that no other election in my lifetime would ever be.

Back then, I had a blog that I basically used to share pics of my first born, but the day after the election, I couldn’t help but to write the following…flashback with me, won’t you…

The air smells cleaner; today is perfection; Mr. Pres-elect is a cutie…just a few of the things my friends have written on Facebook today.

And right now, in the background, I can hear Oprah’s famous whooping on her “Presidential Party” show that I actually convinced my husband to Tivo. Most of my friends, family, Oprah and Hollywood are as thrilled today as I am that President Obama and his beautiful, young family will be moving into the White House. Furthermore, the Dems have taken back the majority control of the government which is another win for “our” side.

Now, I’m not a political mind…I know the main issues, players, etc. but I will not pretend that I am as well-read as I would have liked to be going to the polling station at the school behind my house yesterday. I’m guessing that a lot of people I know are the same way, but I believe we have one thing in common as American voters-we want change. We know that how we are currently living in this country is not working and we’re terrified.

So although I celebrated at home last night as the news stations announced Obama’s victory, I was also a little nervous. I worried about the expectations the country has of this president. We need change immediately, but it’s not realistic for everything to be fixed at once. I think what we probably need to do is think of Obama as Spider Man. As the story goes, Peter Parker wakes up one day with super powers but instead of going and fighting crime right away, he takes a little time to hone his skills, and before long, he’s catching thieves in his web. I hope the American people, Republicans and Democrats, will allow President Obama to learn to scale walls before expecting him to swing from buildings.

I’ll admit 2 things:

#1. I am a comic book nerd (clearly).

#2. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I went to vote yesterday.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t re-read what I wrote in 2008 and taken my own advice. I was one of those who hoped that Obama would be more of a Superman rather than a Spidey, and change everything in 4 years. But that didn’t happen. It couldn’t.

Fortunately, in the end, I decided to give him 4 more years to perfect that whole swinging from buildings thing.

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Is It August Yet?


Sure, Natalie Portman, it’s all fun and games until someone gets lice.

I’m not one to write about religion. For one, it’s not my style to push my beliefs on anyone with the exception of beauty products and fashion advice, and two, I’m pretty sure the Jewish religion (which is what I practice) doesn’t want me as its poster child. But today, I have to get Jew-y with it because I’m having a total Passover moment. No, not a moment. I think I’m having a Passover month. Let me explain.

When Jewish people observe the Passover holiday, we pray from a book called a haggadah. In one of the haggadah readings, we recite the hebrew word “dayenu” which means “it would have been enough for us”. So let me connect the dots for you between Passover and my current life with my own personal prayer:

*If my son only had to have his tonsils out and not had to miss 2 out of 3 weeks of summer camp, dayenu.

*If only one of my kids had brought home lice instead of the whole family getting it during my son’s recovery, dayenu.

*If I only had to wash everything in my house due to said lice and my washing machine hadn’t broken down on me, dayenu.

*If my washing machine had broken and my water heater had not exploded all over our utility room causing a flood, dayenu.

Now for those of you who have sat through decades and decades of Seder dinners, you’ll be able to point out that not only is my family in a state of “dayenu” but we’ve also had the pleasure of experiencing a real life Passover plague! How lucky are WE???

So there you have it. All of my complaints in one post!

And yes, I know, I know, if all of this is the worst that happens to my sweet family this summer, then, well, DAYENU! But sometimes, it’s hard to see the light through the lice*.

*BTW, if you do get lice, you might want to check out the Hair Fairies (http://www.hairfairies.com/). Hair Fairies is a salon that specializes in delousing hair for people of all ages. It’s a national company, so check out their site for locations near you. They were amazing, helpful and sympathetic during my 24-hour freak out which ended with a clean bill of hair for my family of 4.

It’s SO hot, I could (ICE) scream!


If you live anywhere on this planet, you probably know that we’re having insanely hot, hot, hot weather throughout most of the US. If you live in Chicago, it’s the only thing you can talk about. So here we are, sweating our tushies off in not-so-Windy City and doing whatever we can to beat the heat. For some, that includes joining the masses on the shores of Lake Michigan. For others, that means staying inside and not moving for fear of generating body heat. My family has taken a different route, albeit, a much more fattening one…
We’re eating ice cream. Lots of it. And although there are some terrific summer dessert haunts around the city, we’re fortunate to live around some of our favorites.

At the top of our ice-anything list is black dog gelato in Ukranian Village at 859 N. Damen. This place is hot (literally, I don’t believe they have A/C) but the gelato is crazy-good. The lines can get Apple-store-long, and that’s not so much fun in the heat, but at this point, I’m so addicted to the stuff, that I’ve even made my husband leave parties and date night plans to make sure we get there before it closes. If you know my husband at all, then you know that he’s happy to oblige because #1-he loves gelato and #2-he hates going out and/or socializing.
Despite having 2 locations (the second is at 1955 W Belmont), they tend to sell out of my favorite flavors before I can get my fabulous, night-on-the-town-butt to the store. Regardless, let me just say, if you have 5 minutes left to live, spend it eating the goat cheese cashew caramel gelato. Once you’ve tried it, feel free to die and go to heaven.

And as of tonight, coming in at a close-ish second is The Purple Cow at 1740 W. Division in Wicker Park. This new neighborhood ice cream haunt, opened this week, kind of. After a few electrical issues before its grand opening earlier this week, the store finally opened its doors yesterday. We feel like we’ve been waiting and waiting for this place to open, and wondering if this perfect summer spot would even open during the 2012 season. You can imagine our delight to see signs of life and business on Thursday.

So since I promised the kids a special treat for not making me take them outside to play in the unbearable heat after camp, we made the couple of blocks walk over after dinner, and despite having to be outside to get there, and we loved the place! Good news…the ice cream is awesome.
The flavors seem to have been dreamt up by a 9-year-old, including birthday cake and Superman, which is a good thing. And to top that off, at 7:30 at night, in 100 degree weather with 1000000% humidity, we were greeted with a free sample of homemade caramel corn which kept my daughter from asking for her ice cream 2000 times before it was scooped and we were able to get a table for 4 in the tiny ‘scream shop. Small, friendly, and accommodating.

However, I wouldn’t be a future mother-in-law if I didn’t point out one tiny, little problem, and that is that I’m supposed to fit into a bathing suit in the morning and my scoop of chocolate peanut butter was probably the most offensive of all the high fat, high calorie flavors I could have picked. Alright, alright, that’s more my fault than the Cow’s. But don’t worry, I balanced out my guilt-inducing choice by stealing most of the frozen strawberries from my daughter’s cup. I figure the healthiness of her strawberry ice cream combined with the amount of sweat I produced walking 5 minutes home from dessert cancels out most of my caloric mistake, right?

Just hope no one moos at me tomorrow at the pool!

*I have not been compensated in any way to review black dog gelato or The Purple Cow. On the contrary, I have paid with both my wallet and my figure to dine at these establishments. With any luck, double chins will be all the rage come winter.

Stop Reinventing the Wheel


I think Tia and Tamera are adorable. I said it. I watched Sister, Sister from time to time and I actually like their reality show, Tia & Tamera, on the Style Network. They’re both cute, they’re honest but not in a mean Kardashian way, and they can make fun of themselves in a silly way. I like ‘em and I’m not apologizing for it.

So of course, when I was checking out People’s site and ran across this new mommy-to-be post, I clicked. After all, the headline was intriguing…

Tamera Mowry-Housley’s Blog: How I Found Out I Was Pregnant!

I was going to be really pissed (pun intended) if all she did was pee on a stick-it’s not exactly groundbreaking stuff. But that crafty headline made it sound like maybe she heard someone singing the catchy theme song from Sister, Sister (imagine me singing this) and realized that it was coming from her belly!

****SPOILER ALERT****

Apparently, even celebrities just pee on a stick to find out if they’re knocked up. That’s all Tamera did. The great mystery’s solved!

I remember being so excited to take those stick tests. I even took two home tests after the doctor called me to tell me I was preggers because I felt that my others that had come out negative (it was too early) had ripped me off from being able to see it for myself for the first time. My husband thought I was nuts because each time I’d show him the stick…he was like, “yeah, babe, I know”. But he’s a man, he doesn’t get that most surprises women get in the bathroom are bad ones (ie. stepping on a scale, getting a period, finding the first signs of aging in the mirror, etc.)

Anyway, getting back to T&T, since I can’t blame cutie-Tamera for smart, yet deceitful editing/marketing, a very hardy mazel on your budding baby and I look forward to reading all about the unique way you’re water breaks!

PS: While searching for some info on Tia and Tamera to add to this post, I came across this. It’s a little too much sisterly love for me…

Tia&Tamera: Tamera Drinks Tia’s Breast Milk

As my kids would say, eeeewwww! Gross!!!

Super Bonus from Super Mom


Lest you think I believe myself to be Super Mom, I don’t. This particular post is about a new mommy friend of mine who has changed my life with a super parenting tip!

The story goes…My kids started camp last week, so to say that we’re in a state of change is an understatement. Although my 2-year-old daughter is participating in her current school’s summer camp program, instead of mommy-n-me, she’s being dropped off and doing it like a champ!

My son, on the other hand, has started camp at the new school he’ll attend come fall for the very first time. So that’s a whole new ball of wax. And that ball of wax includes a new parking lot, new classrooms, new teachers, new friends, new pick-up and drop-off rules, and new ID tags on my keychain.

And to top it all off, my son is also required to be 100% potty trained. Now, my little pisher is about 80% trained which means that 20% of me is totally nervous all of the time, that I will receive an angry call from disappointed administration. Yes, I know. Welcome to my completely insignificant, over-privileged nightmare.

But what’s worse is that all of these cha-cha-cha-changes are taking a toll on my baby’s behavior.

To say that my son is laid-back and happy-bordering-on-ecstatic most of the time is pretty accurate. The boy’s smile and laugh are constant and contagious, he makes friends as easily as Lindsay Lohan makes career mistakes, and while my daughter doesn’t always love following my rules (hold hands crossing the street-NO!; don’t take your shoes off in the middle of Target-NO!; stop rubbing chocolate pudding in your freshly washed hair-NO!), my son isn’t usually the argumentative type. Not that he doesn’t have his days, but normally, he’s a pretty easy kid to parent. Until this week.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not like camp started and he turned into a teeny, tiny terror, however all of the sudden, the little dude who would jump when I said jump is being a little defiant.

For instance, our new school/camp dismisses the kids onto the playground where all the parents wait patiently, with baited breath, to find out who’s done what to whom from the teachers. As the kids are released out of the classroom onto the playground, they barely acknowledge the parents except to drop backpacks next to their feet for safe keeping, before climbing onto the nearest piece of equipment. And I’m not against fun. I’m not even against too much fun. After all, I’d like to think at the ripe old age of thirty blah, blah, I’m still more fun than you can handle! Oy, even I know that’s not true, but there’s nothing wrong with telling yourself a little white lie, is there?

Anyway, as I said, while I’m all for a little extra curricular activity following camp, at some point, it’s time to go home, eat lunch and take my a much needed nap. I appreciate that camp is sucking up all of my son’s daytime energy, but without a nap, he’s like a Gremlin after midnight, and I’m talking about Stripe, not Gizmo. So when a new mommy friend said, “You have your one bonus minute and then time’s up!” to her son and he actually complied, my head spun and I had to keep myself from shouting, “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”

What’s a bonus minute and what magical powers does it possess? I couldn’t believe how this Super Mom had gotten her kid to agree and, more importantly, STICK TO a one-more-minute-rule.

So with the pride of a mom who has discovered THE Holy Grail of parenting tricks, my new idol happily explained to a silent and eager group of parents, that she uses bonus minutes to get her kid to do what she wants him to do.

For instance, instead of trying the almost-always-ineffective 1 more minute rule, she now lets her child believe he actually holds the power by giving him 3 minutes to play on the playground PLUS one bonus minute. It’s genius!

I mean, who doesn’t like getting a little extra sumpthin’, sumpthin’? A work bonus, Weight Watcher bonus points, the bonus round on a game show…bonuses rule! I mean, can you imagine going to Neimans and having the salesperson wrap up 3 pairs of Louboutins and a BONUS pair of Fendi motorcycle boots just to get you to leave in time for lunch and a nap??? So why not use the idea of bonuses on my son?

I tried it. And it works! Both of my kids have taken to the bonus minutes for everything from bonus TV time to bonus before-bed-books to bonus Superman flights on mommy’s feet (which I use to replace kickboxing classes and pilates all forms of exercise).

So while my sweet husband is still trying to stomach the expense of private education, I’ve already gotten schooled on the playground. And that, my frustrated mommy friends, is a total bonus!

A Really Good Mommy Timeout


Now, THIS is what friends are for!

I always find myself telling me husband all of the life lessons I hope to pass along to my kids. I want to teach them to be independent. I want to share some of the stupid things I did in my 20’s so they can avoid making the same mistakes (he agrees 100% with that one). I want to tell them that it’s a good thing to get your heart broken because it makes you more human. And I truly hope to share the importance of friendship. I’m someone who believes that friends can turn into family. And although I’ve gone through my life with an unguarded heart, dishing out friendship to almost anyone with a smile, despite what some might say about giving it away to easily, when it comes to friends, I still believe the more the merrier. Case in point:

It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m sitting in the Miami airport, listening to a young couple fight (while I pretend to ignore them), and finishing off a sack of Wendy’s. I can’t totally tell you what was in it because I’m eating it so fast and furious, like a prisoner released from jail after years of white bread and spam sandwiches.

But I haven’t been in prison. I’ve actually been at one of the nicest spas in the country, where you can happily order a quesadilla or dessert without guilt, because they make everything spa-size (that’s the exact opposite of super-size) and every last carb and calorie is counted for you.

It’s great unless you like food. Or you’re hungry. Which after a weekend of 2-bite meals, I was. So, despite my WW diet, I indulge in food that promises to keep me from fitting into my favorite skinnies.

But all my not-so-skinny-bitching aside, I was in Florida for a girls’ weekend and not just any girls’ weekend. This was a celebration of friendships with girls (I guess we’re women, but that makes me feel too old) that I’ve known and adored since I was 18. And because we like to party with a purpose, we were vacationing in honor of a girlfriend who has just endured a year of crap…the crap being chemo. I don’t know about you, but after kicking the you-know-what out of something that has kicked the you-know-what out of her every other week for months on end, girlfriend deserves a luxurious Canyon Ranch Spa weekend girls’ trip and pretty much anything else she wants!

So we partied. And we laughed. And we remembered “the time that…”. And we toasted each other. And we relaxed. And we even motivated enough to dress up and go out on the town for dinner.

We enjoyed a terrific meal at a Miami hot spot, where our entire bill was covered, along with a bottle of champagne, by the man at the next table who set his sights on the one of us who had most recently given birth…3 weeks ago. To say she’s a knockout would be an understatement, even post-partum. To say it reminded us of our single ladies days would be completely accurate. Either way, my husband was thrilled to have saved the money!

On the second day of our trip, we sunned and spa’ed. It was heaven. But much of that heaven for me was the company. I was definitely the odd man out, not that my friends would ever let me feel that way, but I was the only one who didn’t grow up with these girls since grade school. I was a friend of friends who needled my way into this magnificent group of gals. If you knew them, you’d understand. Their love for one another is heartwarming. They’ve been there for each other through bat mitzvahs, break-ups, careers, fiancés, weddings, the birth of each other’s kids and the death of loved ones. And the minute our friend got her bad news, they jumped on airplanes to come hold her hand.

That kind of friendship is genuine. That kind of friendship is special. And that’s the kind of friendship I can only hope my kids receive in their lifetimes.

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