Category Archives: BREAKING DIRT!

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Binge It. Now.


Here are a few bad things that happened to me today…

  • I raced to school to drop off my kids so I could get to my doctor’s office on time for my early appointment this morning. Turns out my appointment is tomorrow.
  • I bought an oatmeal raisin cookie but it was really an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chips?! I couldn’t even count it as my fruit for the day.
  • The neighbor’s cat left a sweet little present at the bottom of the front steps of our house. That is, if you consider a dead mouse to be a sweet little present. I happen to prefer diamonds.

However, throughout all of this trauma (dramatic much Jo?) I managed to find a light at the end of the tunnel: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

In a word, this show is freaking awesome–ok, that’s two words, but you’ll forgive me the minute you start watching.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is Tina Fey’s comedy series for Netflix starring Ellie Kemper (The Office), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), and Tituss Burgess and it’s nothing less than totally delightful! Even Jon Hamm, one of my favorite people, Jerry Minor, and Tina Fey make guest appearances to up the funny factor.

Trust me, bad moods don’t stand a chance against this unavoidably binge-able show. Not even chocolate chip-raisin mix-up ones.

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Play-Doh And Other Inappropriate Kids’ Toys

toys, kids, parents, games


What’s worse than losing your job right before the holidays? Losing your job right after the new year. And if I were a betting girl, and I do love Las Vegas, so I am, I’m going to guess the person in charge of creating this toy for Play-Doh,

Play Doh, toys, Christmas, penis

Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain Playset

might not have a position with the company post-holiday season. Why you ask? The Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain looks innocent enough, you say? Check out the left corner of the picture above…the purple shot-looking device. Well, one mom claims it “ruined” her Christmas when she gave it to her child, and here is why…careful, Play-Doh comes out:

Play-doh, toy, kids, parenting

Photo from Twitter

Personally, I think this is the funniest thing is the world. Personally, I’m about as mature as a junior high schooler. I’m ok with it. Penises are hilarious, especially when they are plastic and come in a playset for your kids that they are supposed to, get this, pack Play-Doh into and then squeeze Play-Doh out of the tip. I mean, you can’t make this shit up! So in honor of the PR nightmare aka. the Play-Doh Penis in the Sweet Shoppe (I mean, I can’t stop!), and the new year that I can only imagine will bring many new PR nightmares for a whole bunch of inappropriate children’s toys, let’s look back at other not-so-appropriate toys for kids from years past…’cause they’re so damn funny! The Balzac toy, game, kids, parents         It’s a ball, balloon thing. Yo, toy manufacturers, here’s a little secret. These days, schools are allowing kids to learn how to spell by sounding out words and not correcting them. So if they want to spell ball sack, Balzac, than so be it. But do you really want your kids kicking it around on the playground? Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000 Vibrating Broomstick

kids, parents, toys, games, Harry Potter

Photo from TIME

When girls of all ages starting spending a LOT of time in their bedrooms with their new favorite vibrating toy, parents wondered if the plastic broomstick was the best money ever spent or if their 12-17-year-olds were really that into the little wizard boy? Oh cute, mom and dad accidentally bought their sweetheart her first vibrator. That’s special. To all you Potter freaks, it’s no longer on the market, so you’re out of luck. Barbie Sweet Talking Ken Doll

toys, kids, parents, games, dolls

Photo from Amazon

Can we call this one, Pervy Pervert Ken? I mean, you can record up to 5 seconds of anything you want and he’ll repeat it back. Ewww. Gross. Here’s the deal, when I was really little (confession time) I sat in my dad’s office and swore for about 20 minutes straight on a tape recorder. I said every single swear I knew and some poor secretary probably found it in his drawer and thought his daughter had major issues. There is no doubt in my mind, any child who owns this disgustingly creepy Ken will do something similar. Please don’t let me be the only one.

As I look forward to 2015, I can’t wait for what toy drama the year promises to bring…will it be another scrotum-like kickball? A don’t-let-your-daughters-near-this-doll Ken? A penis pushing Play-Doh? A mom can dream, can’t she? Here is the whole Play-Doh penis story at E! Online

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Post Emmy Fashion Coverage-Because I Have To.

2014 Emmys

I wasn’t going to do it. I was going to keep my mouth shut.

I didn’t even watch the whole thing because I’m trying to be nicer and not so snarky. I figured what I didn’t know I couldn’t make fun of. But then I went online…and I ended up watching 2-hours of the show and as many after shows I could find.

Of course, I’m talking about Emmy fashion coverage. 

Some got it right, like Julia Roberts (POPSUGAR).

Julia Roberts, Emmys, Awards

That dress and those legs. Wow! But jeez, I wish they would have muted her until she read the actual winning name. Regardless. She got it so, so right.


Anyway there was plenty of wrong, and I’m here to point it out…because it’s so much FUN!!!

I mean, Lena (LATimes). What. The. Fuck. I am a huge Girls fan. So much so that I’ve every episode at least twice but holy cheese-us. It seems unfair of you to claim mental suffering and then wear this. It’s like not wanting to be made fun of for being a Kardashian but posting your ass on every public social media site. It’s just not fair. As far as I’m concerned, if we were friends I’d let you have it for this look, so here goes: Bjork, Andy Dick, and Mood Fabrics called and they don’t want their anything back. Lena 2014 EmmysThey saw your getup and they want you to keep it all for yourself because, damn girl, what the hell??? Are kids actually doing acid these days, because if you tell me you were sober when you picked this look, I cannot imagine what it’s like for you when you actually get wasted.

At least Lena Dunham went the creative route because her contemporaries, like Adam Levine (JustJared), decided to flick off the Television Academy by forgetting to shave and skipping the tie. Ok. We get it. You’re a “rockstar” and a “movie actor” since playing an asshole rockstar in Begin Again. Bet that role was probably a HUGE stretch from who you really are. Adam Levine 2014 EmmysBut as far as being a “TV actor”, please remember, you are a judge on a variety program on TV. You basically give a thumbs up or down on other people’s talent. That’s not acting. I’ve been doing the same thing at home since I started watching Star Search in the 80’s and no one’s inviting me to the Emmys. So throw on a tie and show some respect.

Same goes for you, Johnny Galecki (GQ). Yes, we’re psyched for you that you’re getting paid a king’s ransom per episode on the Big Bang Theory. Just a suggestion–rather than crapping on the Academy by snubbing their fancy party, next time, how about grabbing one of those easy-to-use clip on ties and at least feign humility now GQ, Johnny Galecki, Emmys, Awardsthat you’re middle aged rather than a bratty child actor? Seems like a small price to pay for the gazillions you make to be a TV star. You’re not saving lives there, buddy.

Who’s next?

Oh, Mayim Bialik (Fox News), you made it too easy. I recognize that this fashion choice was a religious one–I know you blogged that as an orthodox Jew, you wanted to look “hot and holy” but holy moly, you 503306591TM00116_66th_Annuamissed the mark. Girlfriend you have a great figure! You don’t have to show any skin from neck to ankle in order to check the 30-40 year-old box. Full coverage doesn’t have to mean Boca bubby at a black tie bar mitzvah, but you really took that theme and ran with it, didn’t cha?

I imagine Katherine Heigl sitting at home reading all of the awful things people write about her, chain smoking and swearing up a storm. That’s just how I picture her and if the rumors are correct, it’s going to get real noisy and smoky up in her house Katherine Heigl 2014 Emmysbecause the dress she wore at the Emmys was old-lady-hot-mess-ness. That long peach, quarter-length sleeve which perfectly covered those chicken wings that old women get when they hit their 30’s, high neck gown was something only Katherine Heigl could have imagined wearing to the Emmys as a little girl. She’s not a total stick in the mud–she did show a little bit of boob and who wouldn’t plotz over a dress with bodice detailing that hits you right smack dab on the nipples, or shall I say, on thy golden globes?! How youthful and glamorous! 

Actually, after seeing Katherine and Mayim, I can’t help but wonder if they use the same stylist? Just picture those two spending a day together at their stylist’s condo in West Palm Beach, sitting, ankles crossed, on a paisley velour couch, with their movie-star blue blockers over their eyes, watching models parade around in this season’s geriatric fashions, while munching on nilla wafers and sipping prune juice. G-d! To be young and famous!

I’m not bothering with Kathy Bates (Us Weekly) because that would be like bad mouthing the Pope. If she has a tribal meeting after the Jason LaVeris/FilmMagicawards show, who am I to call her out, right? She’s super famous, so I’m sure she’s really busy. Lots of famous people double book plans. 

Heidi Klum. (E! Online) I know she’s probably on a lot of people’s best dressed and I love ZP as much as the next fashionista out there, but let me shed some light here. Imagine if you will, that you are blessed with the body of a goddess. You are so tall that everything you eat goes straight to your hair, your stomach is a flat as Stanley’s (you know, Flat Stanley), those hip bones that everyone claims makes people look borderline anorexic simply make you look like a total supermodel, because you are in fact, a supermodel, yet, on one Jason Merritt/Getty Imagesof the hottest nights in Hollywood you decide to cover up all of your gorgeousness in melon fabric so no one can identify the lines of your figure. Oh yeah, and then you have wings on your sleeves so you actually look like an angel in case people forget that you model for Victoria’s Secret because in this dress, there’s no way people will remember you are a model. A bolt of fabric, absolutely, but a model? Not so much.

The rest of the worst are yours to look up…my where’s your-honor-able mentions include: 

Christina Hendricks, Laura Prepon, Sarah Paulson, Michelle Dockery, and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting











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 ( 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.


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