The Blathering, Part 1 (Los Angeles)

When I heard about the Blathering get together I knew I wanted to go and I thought it would be a great way to take a mini vacation for the weekend. Jennie asked if I'd like to take a longer vacation and explore California and I just couldn't say no to that. I would have been crazy to pass it up and I'm so glad I didn't.

We left my house at 5 AM after I'd had no sleep that night and drove the three hour drive to Austin where we flew from to get to LA. (It was cheaper to fly from Austin.) We must have driven for two hours before the sun even came up and I was uncustomarily chipper and excited despite the lack of sleep. Our adventure was just beginning and I was giddy at the prospect of the fun to be had. Our flight was actually not until 7 PM but we were hopeful that we'd make it on to the earlier 11 AM flight which, thankfully, we were able to do.
We arrived at LA and got a hot car that fit right into the LA scene. A Ford Focus. We were the envy of all those people. You could tell that the BMW owner's were all Whoa, those ladies are ON FIRE with their hotness and we were all Uh huh, you know we are.
Jennie picked a lovely hotel one block from Rodeo Drive called The Crescent Hotel. It was gorgeous and perfect for our short, less than 24 hour stay. We chucked our baggage into the room and headed out to explore this land of large boobs and excessive amounts of shops. We stopped for lunch at a place called The Farm and started our trip the way all trips should start. With Champagne. (This was a recurring trend on this vacation and I was all to happy to partake.)
After lunch the only logical place to stop next was Crumbs Bake Shop where we ordered two of the most beautiful cupcakes known to man. Unfortunately the peanut butter cup cupcake on the left was thrown in trash in favor of keeping our waistlines in check after we toted it around for days. I mourned it's passing for an appropriate amount of time.

Jennie and I walked around Rodeo Drive and I admired the pretty store fronts and I mentally shopped in all the expensive jewelry stores. Rodeo Drive was fancy, don't get me wrong, but I was surprised it wasn't more fancy. I suppose all the fancy camera work that I've seen over the years on TV had skewed my view a bit. It was a lovely place to be and I really enjoyed the architecture and how it varied from building to building, unlike most of Texas. I saw buildings that looked like they stepped right out of old world Switzerland that neighbored buildings that were ultra modern and stark white. I loved it.

We attempted to make our way via taxi to the Hollywood Walk of Fame but our cab driver failed to tell us it was a billion minutes away in the traffic so we hopped out mid way before we were forced to give him our worldly belongings to cover the fare. We stopped for drinks on our way back and then I forced Jennie to walk in Beverly Hills in the dark on a bike path that neighbored the main drag. I think she hated me for it because she thought we were going to get mugged and stolen but I had my karate chop arms at the ready. Obviously we made it just fine. But we were so exhausted from the getting up early and traveling that we totally took naps before dinner. How lame! We were in LA, napping! But it was so lovely, I would do it over again.

Back story...Jennie is in publishing and one of the authors she knows lives in LA and he graciously agreed to hang out with us and grab some dinner. His name is Keith Stern and he wrote a book titled "Queers in History" which is a totally fascinating encyclopedia of people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual. I read the book on the plane ride and I was so interested in this book. I was a total goof and asked him to sign my copy.

Keith drove us around pointing out people's homes and telling us interesting stories. We saw the home Michael Jackson died in and people, I was surprised to see that there was some sort of party going on. We also saw Tom Cruise's house and they must have had 15 garbage bins outside. He took us to dinner at a place called Ketchup where the whole place was lit in red lights and I got the largest portion of hummus I've ever seen in my life. It could have fed 6 people and then some. It was a lovely night filled with conversation, sight seeing and good food. Except this food. This was quite possibly the largest hamburger I've ever seen in the history of hamburgers. Also, see the red light the entire place was bathed in? It was disconcerting at first.

After dinner everyone obliged my desire to take in a trip to Millions of Milkshakes which I can now honestly say was a total tourist thing that I fell for and the milkshakes were excessively sweet and not worth the almost $5 I paid for mine. Live and learn!

Jennie got blisters on her feet and my feet were filthy and we went back to hotel exhausted and we both crashed within minutes. Our first day on vacation was a total hit. We had the LA experience in a small dose and it was the perfect amount of time. Little did I know that the best was yet to come...


The Blathering...

As I was driving home last night I was mentally preparing this blog and I must have thought of a thousand ways to say that it was one of the best vacations I'd ever had. I mentally used words like Amazing, Spectacular, Exciting, Superdooperawesome and a ton of other words to accurately describe my time in California. In the end I settled on Incredible. I had such an incredible time from the moment we hit the road at 6 AM on Wednesday to the moment I walked through my front door last night after 10 PM.

I don't even know where to start to properly capture all of the awesomeness but I'm going to do my best, in a series of posts coming soon. For now I'm sorting through pictures (mostly of the food and drinks we consumed, it's an obsession apparently) and relishing in the new friends I made and counting down until next year. We are doing this EVERY YEAR, Right?
All you ladies are awesome, beautiful and just so damn cool. I am proud to say I danced at the gay bar with all of you and laughed with all of you and shared a few days with all of you. These memories are something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It was just an amazing trip that I am so proud to have been a part of.


13 things you need to know

For my Blathering ladies....there are a few things you must know about me. Things that hopefully will make you still like me.

  1. First and foremost I am a vegan. I eat no animals or animal products (eggs, dairy, butter). I try to be highly respectful of other people's choices and I try to not be one of those vegans. Don't worry too much about what I'll eat, I manage pretty well.
  2. I can eat an entire bag of Oreo's in a sitting. (Accidentally vegan! SCORE.)
  3. I am a bit of a jewelry whore. I obsessively collect jewelry and admire other people's bling. The surest way to my heart is to wear shiny things! If I grab your hand or stare at your chest it probably means I'm just looking at your jewels. Do not karate chop me, please.
  4. I am people watcher by nature. If you catch me staring at you please consider it a compliment and if you feel so inclined, please stare back.
  5. I'm Italian and come from a VERY LOUD FAMILY. Therefore, you may need earplugs.
  6. I say 'douche bag' A LOT and well, it offends some. Please disregard my foul mouth and know I'm not calling you a douche bag.
  7. I keep saying I don't drink much, which is true. But this probably means I will drink excessively and be even more loud, if that's possible. Also, wine makes my face turn red.
  8. I will profess my love for my iPhone and my children with similar fervor but please note, I love my children more, I promise.
  9. If you leave a magazine around (especially a cooking magazine) I will likely pick it up and start reading it. (Elizabeth, you are warned. But I won't ask to borrow it because I probably wouldn't return it. Ha!)
  10. I don't talk religion or politics as a general rule. Not because I don't want to discuss or even debate, but because I feel that I'm not knowledgeable on either topic well enough to hold a conversation that sounds very intelligent. Even though we may think totally differently on the right to choose or who our president is, I know we can get along because there are so many other things to talk about. Such as reality TV!
  11. I don't do movie quotes. I have the memory of a small ant so they are basically lost on me. But I'll probably laugh anyways just so I don't feel left out.
  12. I'm traveling with my dear, lovely friend Jennie. Her husband is my ex-boyfriend and really it's old news by now. I totally claim her as my friend and love her dearly and we know our relationship was odd at first but I'd say we're over it. You'd have to be over the awkwardness of it all to sleep in the same bed on a road trip, right? You can read more about this here or here.
  13. Lastly, I've been a mother for nearly half my life. My oldest son is 14 and my youngest son is 2.5. I LOVE MY BOYS TO NO END. Please ask me about them, I will talk all night if you let me.

I can't wait to meet you ladies and get to talking about all sorts of things! Also, I'm super bummed some of you can't make it like Danielle and Raven. Can I bring you on a stick?!


It's the simple things

I really don't like cold weather. I would rather be sweltering hot and dripping wet from all the sweat. I loathe cold weather that much. But there is something to be said about the cooler weather that comes right before the bitter-ass cold. The simple things are the best things, most of the time. Here's my list of things that are making me happy about the cooler weather (inspired by Jess).
  • The ability to drive with the windows down and the music turned up and not frying is always a bonus. One of my favorite things in the world is to do just that. It makes me happy to jam out and drive my little red sports car. I'll never be a mini van kinda girl.
  • A dear friend, Abbie, made me a lovely scarf for my birthday and I just can't wait to wear it. It's hanging in my coat closet just waiting to be worn. Not much longer, scarf, not much longer.
  • Hot coffee. I drink way more coffee during the cooler months than I do during the summer. Hot tea, also!
  • Comfortable sweat pants. I wouldn't dare wear sweat pants outdoors (unless I'm working out) but I simply adore coming home from work and slipping on a pair of loose, comfortable sweat pants. I kind of hate wearing shorts to bed in the summer and I look forward to sleeping in my ugly, grey sweatpants.
  • Jackets. A good jacket can mask a multitude of body flaws in addition to being warm and stylish. I recently got a new jacket from the Gap (that I can't find online, sadly) that I just can't wait to wear.
  • It's always nice to be able to use the oven and relish in the heat radiating from it as opposed to cursing the fact that you have to turn the ac colder to offset the oven. Also, cookies!
  • New tv programs! FINALLY I think all of my shows I've been waiting for have started airing. I have every day of the week full with things I just have to watch. Thankfully I have a DVR with fast forward so I only waste half the time sitting on my arse watching TV.
  • Not having to have a cute pedicure is always a nice little break from my routine appearance checklist. Especially since I had my one big toe nail removed from an injury and it's taking freaking forever to grow back.
  • Not having to stress about swimsuits for a few months is a total bonus.
  • I love LOVE LOVE when I workout and get all sweaty and then go outside in the cold weather and instantly cool down. It's a highlight of my workout.
  • Snuggling on the sofa with Jackson and a "blankie". I have this blanket that used to be my Grandpa's and it's a billion year old fugly brown shag carpet looking thing that's falling apart and I love it. When I'm sick it's my go to item to snuggle with. I just washed it in preparation to snuggle on the sofa.

What are your simple things that you are looking forward to this fall?


Not that I need to buy anything

I've been doing a lot of online shopping these days, probably because my lust for all things new far exceeds that of my budget. I find myself adding things to the online cart of different websites and then closing the browser window before I can whip out my credit card. I'm sure the credit card companies are cursing at me under their breath and my bank is probably hailing my praises. Such conflict! I do, however, have a few birthday gift cards burning a hole in my wallet. Also, fall weather is coming so it's only natural to need/want new things, right? Yes, that's what I thought.

First, I just love Francesca's online shop. I find that their actual stores are so jam packed with clothes that it's a turn off. Plus the dressing rooms are just so tiny. I do, however, love the online shop. Last time I ordered a few dresses online they all fit and I ended up keeping them all. Since I had such success I am now looking at the tops they have and I love this one. I am so obsessed with grey these days! This top looks like it would be simultaneously comfortable and cute at the same time. Plus, I love the built in necklace look. At $34 I'd say it's a steal.

I have grand illusions that belts make me look slimmer. It's probably a fashion fact, but I just don't know that I always know how to wear them properly. I love to wear clothes anf acessories that are loud and colorful and interesting. As I get more comfortable in my own skin I find I am more willing to put myself out there, style-wise. This belt is proof of that, I think. I love the 80's vibe it give and the silver buckle is so graphic. The sunny yellow would be a perfect foil for a grey shirt or just the right dress. I even have a multi colored floral blouse this would pair perfect with. The faux leather makes me swoon.

I got a $50 gift card to Anthropologie (my new favorite store EVER) and it's been itching to be used. I have no qualms spending $50 or more on a piece of jewelry that I love and I LOVE this necklace. It's quirky and fun and different. At $48 I consider it a cheap way to dress up any outfit. I know some of you will look at that and think OH MY GOODNESS that's the ugliest thing I've ever seen and I'd have to reply with something like SWEET! This means you won't be wearing it and I'll be the only one. I really do like the interesting, funny, odd, strange jewelry pieces, they make me smile.

Another non-leather score! These boots are so sweet, I cannot even stand it. I have no clue what I'd wear them with, but I just love the button detail and the slouchy look. If I could wear skinny jeans (haha) these would go perfectly. I'm on the fence about these because usually I have an idea what to wear something with. If you bought these what would you wear with them? Or maybe you hate them in which case I give you permission to skip this question.

More grey! I saw this dress on Target.com and it looks so adorable. The reviews were very positive as well. It seems to be made well and is a perfect transition dress from fall to winter. Target has gone up in style as of the last few years and I've found several pieces that I'm quite impressed with and the price is right. I think dress would be lovely with red pumps and black tights as shown here on the model. Perfect work attire.

Oh Etsy. I love you and your quirky crafty people that make gorgeous, funky necklaces just like this one. I am in love lately with long layered necklaces that dangle and swing and just look like a perfectly jumbled mess of beautifulness. This necklace fits the bill perfectly. I can imagine wearing this with simple earrings and a handful of bangle bracelets to complete an outfit. Why am I not independently wealthy? WHY?

Are you doing any online shopping lately? Tell me what online stores you frequent so I can pretend shop there, also.


A break from reality

In one week and one day I'm getting up at the ass crack of dawn to prepare myself to fly to California to attend The Blathering. Boy do I need it, too. In between washing scads and scads of toddler underwear from potty training accidents and all this crazy rain we're having, I need a vacation.

Did you see the part above about potty training? No? Well then, let me say it another way. WE'RE POTTY TRAINING AND I MIGHT DIE. I had the Directv people over yesterday to install a new HD dish (the picture quality is quite impressive) and the husband/wife install team was quit amused about my little man running around in his Lightning McQueen skivvies. They were less impressed when he peed on the floor in the kitchen. Let's just say I'm glad I have very little carpet in my house right about now.

Back to vacay talk! I missed BlogHer this year, I just wasn't feeling it so The Blathering is a mini gathering of bloggers and I'm so looking forward to it. Jennie and I are leaving a few days early to take in LA, Carmel and San Francisco and see the lovely scenery along the way. I can't wait to see the beach and maybe walk in the sand for a bit, considering I never see the ocean. The rental car is squared away, the hotels are booked and all that's left is to pack our bags. Oh, and I suppose waiting for the CLOCK TO HURRY UP AND GET TO NEXT WEEK.

If you have suggestions for things to see or do or eat in LA, Carmel, San Francisco or Sacramento...please pass along whatcha got. We're open to anything and everything (except maybe illegal things, maybe.)



One of the few regrets I have in life.

I don't inherently believe in regrets. I think that regretting things is just a waste of time and a total downer. Sure, I wish I could make different choices, pay more attention to other's mistakes and learn from them but I don't worry myself to death about something that is already done, something I can't undo. I find regretting things such a time suck. But...there's always a but, isn't there?

When I was 12-years-old I went to visit my family in Missouri like I always did during the summer. I remember feeling like a small child even though I was working my way toward being a young adult but not feeling anywhere prepared for what that meant. I had little responsibility, as most 12-year-olds do. I had to keep my room clean, help around the house, babysit my little brother's on occasion and really that was about it. I'd say I was your typical preteen. I was vastly irresponsible when it came to many things because I was just young and well, 12.

That summer I was given a gift that I wish I could just give back at that moment and ask for it later. My mom had spent years amassing a large collection of charms for her charm bracelet. I remember it was a heavy piece of jewelry that had so many charms I don't even know that I looked at them all. I hadn't found my deep love for all things sparkly yet but I knew this was an important piece of my mom's history. My grandma (my dad's mother) had been keeping this bracelet for all those years waiting to give it to me. She was so proud to pass it along to me and told me stories about how my mom and dad (divorced when I was 6 weeks old) had spent summers at her house as teenagers and how my mom was like her daughter. This bracelet represented my mom and her young adult life. Each charm represented something important to her, stories I would give anything to hear now.

I'll never know those stories because I lost that bracelet. My memory is incredibly fuzzy about it all now, but I remember telling my grandma that I stuffed the bracelet into the sofa at her house. I don't know why I would have done something like that, but that was my story. She ripped that sofa apart and found nothing. I wish, more than anything, that I could go back and relive those days of that particular summer and make that bracelet appear. I wish I could have taken care of my mother's history properly.

My stomach becomes a little twisty ball of screaming nerves when I think of the charm bracelet. I could never replace it or make up for it, there too many stories that I could never replicate properly.

I wonder, sometimes, if there's someone out there who wears that bracelet. Maybe I dropped it on the plane on accident and someone found it? I wonder if that person appreciates all those stories they will never know. Perhaps they make up their own story for the previous owner of the charm bracelet. There could be a little girl who wears it on her too small wrist when she's playing dress up in her mom's closet. I hope that person, whoever they are, even though they will never know, loves that bracelet as much as my mom did. As much as I could have loved it.

I regret not holding on to that charm bracelet a little tighter. I regret not being able to get the stories behind those tiny charms. I regret letting my mom down. I wish I could call a do-over, I'd give almost anything.


Birthday weekend recap

This past weekend was probably one of the best weekends I've had in a long long time. It was filled with friends, family, celebrations, cupcakes, drinks, dancing and everything in between. I've never had a birthday that lasted for 4 days so it was a real treat for me, one I won't soon forget.
Thursday was my actual birthday, the day I officially turned 32 and was told that I'm "fully committed to my 30's now". It was a very low key day, perfect really. When I dropped Jackson off at his sitter's house, who happens to also be a close friend of mine, I was surprised with the yummiest chocolate/mint vegan cupcakes. OMG, they were heaven. Debi outdid herself! You are allowed to eat cupcakes for breakfast on your birthday, right? Good, because I totally ate one for breakfast.

When I got to work there was a pretty flower arrangement sent to me from my parents that had actual brussel sprouts in the arrangement! Later in the day my dear friend Jennie met me for lunch with her son, Kyle at a local Thai place. We got a chance to catch up and I got to hold Kyle for a bit and make stupid high-pitched noises in his face like adults seem to do when they get around adorable babies.

Thursday evening Jackson and I shared another yummy cupcake and went for a walk in the "jungle" as he calls it. It's really just the greenbelt by our house. We picked flowers and talked about how snakes were in the tall grass and how we needed to stay away from the tall grass and leave the snakes alone. He sang we happy birthday 3 or 4 times and y'all, it was SO CUTE I ALMOST EXPLODED.

Friday was a debacle with my driver license renewal that I won't even get into. I'll just say that I stood in line for two hours for them to tell me that I couldn't renew my license and now I have to wait 7-10 days and drive with an expired license because someone dropped the biggest ball they could drop. Moving on...

Friday night I gave myself a manicure and pedicure, watched trashy TV and read magazines. It was my own celebration with myself and I knew I'd need to rest, being old and all, to prepare from Saturday night.

I woke up at the ungodly hour of 7:30am because I was SO EXCITED about the day ahead. I actually went for a jog to prepare for the calorie-laden day. It was nice to have some time with my running shoes, good music and get a bit of sun.

The afternoon was filled with some shopping to get an outfit, Taco Bell for lunch and helping a bit at Jennie's house for her housewarming party the next day, a little more shopping and then I headed home to get ready. It never takes me more than 30 minutes from start to finish to get ready except for certain times. It took me FOREVER to get ready but it was fun to take my time.

Dinner Saturday night was a blast. The service was slow but I'm told the food was good (somehow I ate hardly anything because I was too busy chugging drinks) and the company was even better. So many of my friends and my family came, and I honestly got a little choked up because I felt so loved and special that people took time out of their busy weekends to be with me and celebrate. I couldn't have asked for a better dinner.

After dinner some of us made our way to The Glass Cactus where we drank, danced and had a FABULOUS time. Thankfully my brother was my DD so I paid no attention to the vast amounts of drinks I inhaled.

I danced with a few cute men (who didn't ask for my number, WTF), grabbed a lot of boobs (male and female), sang some Def Leopard songs, made new friends and just had a blast.

Sunday I woke with a wicked hangover that only napping, water and cursing could cure. By about 2pm I was good as new and ready to party some more so I headed to Jennie and Mike's housewarming party. They have such a great house, really. I'm waiting for the house across the street from them to go up for sale and I'm totally moving. ;-)

Jackson was with his dad all weekend so Monday afternoon we met for lunch where we had cupcakes and he got to sing me happy birthday again. He was so excited to blow out the candles and eat his "cakes". We managed to get into some swimming at his dad's apartment pool and ate a late dinner together where we talked about who's birthday is coming up next. He seems to think it's his birthday, of course!

It was just a great weekend all around and other than wishing Derick was here, I wouldn't have changed a single thing. Thank you to all my friends and family, I am so blessed to have you all. Truly.


32 is the new 23

Y'all, I'm 32 today. It's fantastic, really. I invite you to join if if you haven't made it yet.

Do you know the story of how I came to be? Not that sex part, but the rest of it? No? Well, let me fill you in on my history of before I was even a little tadpole growing all my body parts. Obviously this is a second hand story so I may have the details muddled, but I've heard the story enough times to know it by heart.

My mom and biological dad were married for five years and they had tried to have a child during those years. I would assume it was pretty frustrating and awful to want a child and not get one. But they tried and nothing happened.

After five years my bio dad (as he calls himself), gave my mom the boot saying he only loved her as a friend. So they seperated with the intention of getting divorced, moved away from each other and that was, as they say, that.

After a separation of several months (ish) they, AHEM, got back together for three days. Turns out the sparks where there for some things but not to reconcile the marriage. You can imagine my mother's surprise when she learned that she was pregnant with me not long after this encounter.

So you see, if were not for those three days back in 1977 I would not be here creating havoc and mayhem in the world. I'm pretty happy those three days exist and I'm pretty darn sure that my momma has enjoyed at least 85% of my time on this Earth. (We won't talk about the other 15%.)

So, happy birthday to me and thank you momma for putting up with me. Thank you to all of my lovely friends who've called, texted, Facebooked and Twittered today. I love you all.

Now, I need to get some hair color stuff because the gray is showing!


It's (almost) my birthday! It's Thursday! You are on notice.

For me, as I've gotten older, I don't really get very many things on my wish list (bummer!) but sometimes I'm surprised with a gift I've wanted. Other times I'm surprised with something I never knew I needed. I mostly make my wish list of stuff in the hopes that someone will feel it necessary to make me happy but also so I can bookmark the things I find that I love.
Here are a few of those things:

I love the sparkly nature of this ring ($75) and also how industrial it is. It's like a shiny crystal ball that's been in a factory for years and now it wants to be worn on my finger. I know, that makes no sense but when do accessories have to make sense? They just have to be something that makes you happy.

I'm not a beige person and doubt I ever will be. The color of this chair ($69.95) and the bright, colorful cushion makes me happy and that's what it's all about right? I honestly have no earthly idea where I'd put this if I did get it. If I had a covered porch (want!) then it would be an awesome addition. Or even a cute chair to sit and apply makeup.

I'm no Julia Child or Rachel Ray or whoever but I love LOVE LOVE cooking and chopping and measuring and just generally being in the kitchen. This is the quintessential cutting board ($57.95) for a serious cook. I don't quite fall into that category but I'd love to pretend and have fun chopping while I do it.

When I went to BlogHer last year there happened to be a Lush store across from the hotel room and the first day I was there I picked up one of these CoalFace Cleanser bars ($10.95) and fell in love. It made my face feel clean and ready to take on the day despite the black color of the bar. Even better, the bar is vegan! Bonus!

I think the idea of this "diamond" ring ($260) is brilliant. It's in the iconic shape and you get what the idea is without the price tag. Or the man to buy it.

I'm clearly not easy to pigeon-hole. I want a sterling silver "diamond" ring and a composter ($189.99). Growing my own garden and cooking a lot at home means I have a lot of organic waste that I could be using instead of filling up the landfills with. Here's my solution!

Anthrolopogie is the best store on the face of the earth and yet I rarely go there because I know I'll spend $500 in mere minutes on the adorable clothes, accessories and interesting books. Let's not even talk about the housewares stuff. Gift cards ($1,000,000,000.00) are the way to go with this store.