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Morning Photo Op and a Juicy Friday Five

1 Jun

I woke up this morning and my hair looked like this:

The result of falling asleep on wet hair. All those gorgeous waves that my hair will never hold in real life will be gone the second I hit them with a brush. Not exactly appropriate for a day at the office, but if I were going to the beach I would be all set.

Lest you think I always fall out of bed with beach-ready tousled hair, usually I look like this in the morning:

what? this is what i look like before coffee.

Given that I woke up with the first one, I’m taking it as a sign that this Friday is going to rock.

On to the Friday Five!

Life is just a bowl of….

cherries!

Told you I was cherry mad right now. I have a ton of them hanging out in my freezer right now, so I wanted to look for interesting ways to use them. I know many of you won’t have the experience of picking boat-loads of cherries this summer, so everything on my list of things to do with cherries can be done with frozen ones from the store.

Of course, you could always just make tons of cherry lime granita. So far that’s working for me! Ok, here’s five things I want to do with frozen cherries. Click the photos below for links. Here we go!

cherry-cubes

This totally isn’t my photo, but I did put some of my cherries in ice-cube trays and made ice cubes. Everyone who comes over to our house gets a glass of sparkling water with cherry ice cubes. It’s very fancy. Unlike above, if you choose to make cherry ice cubes I would highly recommend you stem them and pit them first. It looks cool to have your stems attached, yes, but having stems in your glass when you’re trying to enjoy a tasty beverage isn’t fun. And give your guests a break and take the pits out. No one wants to break a tooth on a harmless-looking cherry floating innocently in their glass.

frozen cherry mojitos

Um, yes! This recipe is very similar to my granita, but slushier and boozier. Both are a win for a hot summer day in my book.

almost instant cherry frozen yogurt

almost instant cherry frozen yogurt – gluten free!

I want to make this so badly it’s not even funny. Four ingredients, all healthy enough that I could legitimately eat this for breakfast and not feel bad, and ready in less than a minute? I’m sold.

Fresh berries with sugar and cream has been a guilty pleasure for years. So when I saw this simple dessert with frozen cherries, coconut milk, and dark chocolate my mouth began to water. Apparently the coconut milk freezes on the cherries and makes a texture like ice cream. I’m going to the store tonight to pick up some dark chocolate.

cherry vanilla pops

No matter how hard I looked, this Pinterest dessert didn’t have a link to a how-to. However, the concept seems is simple enough. Vanilla pudding, greek yogurt, frozen cherries, Trader Joes Tart Cherry Juice. Blend in a blender, pour into molds. Yum!

Do you know any ways to use frozen cherries I should try?

Friday Five – Before We’re 30…

27 Apr

My girl Sunrise sent me an article via Huffington Post of a list originally published in Glamor magazine called “Turning 30: 30 Things Every Woman Should Have And Should Know.”

photo from magculture on flickr

I understand this list has been passed around from girlfriend to girlfriend, so perhaps you’ve seen it before? In any case it is a fabulous list – and you know how much I love lists of things to check off before turning 30 – so I had to share my favorites. I couldn’t just pick five, so I took my fave five things we should do, and my fave five things we should know. Check out the full list here, then add your two cents in the comments!

By 30, you should have …

A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.

A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.

A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.

By 30, you should know …

How you feel about having kids.

How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.

That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.

Wether you’re looking forward to 30 or are hip and happy on the other side, what do you think we should have/know by 30?

Friday Five – The Worst of the ‘Wisdom’ I Get From Moms

6 Apr

image courtesy of inthefresh09.com

Every now and then I hit my threshold of listening to unintentional stupidity. Since I’m a married woman who does not have children, and society is ever-pushing us into the next stage of life, I get more unsolicited random ‘advice’ from mothers than I want. To be fair, the amount I want is none, but even so, I usually can do pretty well for awhile at brushing off comments as they come. But every now and then I’ll get a bunch in short order, and I’ve got to let it out somewhere. So I submit for your approval a collection of the five most common and innane things I hear from those who bear the title “Mom.” Because I have to rant/laugh at it all, or I’ll go crazy. Who’s with me?!?

*As an added bonus for levity, I’ve included a few related STFU Parents categories. Enjoy!

“You don’t understand [insert noun - life, unconditional love, sacrifice, happiness - here] until you become a mother.”

Really? (Somehow I have a feeling all my responses could begins with, “Really?”) I feel like I have a pretty good handle on all of the above. Do I have more to learn? Yes. Do I understand all there is to understand about any of the above? I’m pretty sure I’m not God, so no. But I feel like I do a pretty good job. I’ve seen parents who are horribly self-centered. I’ve seen parents put their well-being and happiness above the best interest of their child, sometimes to the point of abuse. I’ve seen parents so self-obsessed that their children are merely extensions of their egos. If this common mom saying were true, everyone would magically be imbued with all these qualities when they become a parent, and that’s just not how it works. Some of the wisest, most sacrificial people I know aren’t parents. (Mother Theresa, anyone?) To be fair, I do kind of understand this one. I definitely gained a fuller understanding of happiness, life, sacrifice and unconditional love by getting married than I had before. But just because I learned something through my marriage, does that mean I can say that my understanding is somehow better or more authentic than someone who is not married? Whether you really think it’s true or not, saying this out loud just makes you come off as a smug, self-satisfied, condescending jerk.

Related STFU Parents Category: Mommyjacking

“You’re tired? Try having a [screaming newborn, screaming two-year-old, a child with the stomach flu] keeping you up all night. Then you can talk to me about tired.”

Really? (Ok, I’ll stop after this one.) So just because I didn’t choose to pop out a kid I don’t have a right to be tired? Working full-time, keeping a household running while my husband is putting in 90 hour weeks for tax season, while making time to work out and have a social life doesn’t earn me the right to say I’m tired? Oh, right, because I choose to add working out and a social life to my time, I have no right to complain. After all, moms never get time for themselves, amirite? (Heard that one a lot too.) But guess what? Moms make a choice too: to have a kid. Just because a mom’s choice involved bringing another person into this world doesn’t mean they can plant the Mommy flag and lay claim to the land of tired. Suffering insomnia for weeks on end means I’m not tired? I’m pretty sure insomnia, especially caused by a migraine, is comparable to being up with a screaming kid. Inability to sleep no matter how much I want to? Check. Pounding head no amount of Advil can cure? Check. Looking like an extra on The Walking Dead at work the next day? Check. But what do I know? I’m not a mom. I’d never understand.
Similarly, we have “You think you’re busy? Try keeping up with two kids still in diapers. Then tell me you’re busy.”
Because no one who’s not a mom is busy. I hit three campuses across the Bay Area on an average day at work, and teach 15 classes of Preschool through 8th grade students. And run the errands. And do the cooking. And have a very busy social calendar. And mentor teenagers. And, and, and, and. Everyone is busy, especially if  you live in the California Bay Area. Get over it.

Related STFU Parents Category: Woe is Mom

“You think your job is tough? Try being a mom.” or “Moms have the hardest, most important job in the world!”

This one really gets me. Not because I think my job is particularly hard. As I’ve said, I have the best job in the world. No, this one gets me because some people have job titles that look like this: Neurosurgeon. Cardiothorasic surgeon. Heck, any type of surgeon. Commanding Officer of a platoon about to enter enemy territory during wartime. President of the United States. Heck, any job where the lives and wellbeing of more than 2.5 people are in your hands. Any  of the thankless jobs featured on Dirty Jobs that keep our society running by doing the work none of the rest of us want to do. Ever seen A Day Without A Mexican? Other jobs are hard. Other jobs are important. Get over it.

Related STFU Parents Category: Sanctimommy

“Get all your [sleep, travelling, sex] in now, while you still can!”

Oddly, this is the comment I most often get from people who seem desperate to induct me into The Cult of Mom. It comes right before I hear, “But I can’t wait until you have kids! You’ll be the best mom ever!! You’re going to love it!!!” Not really making a great case for yourself here, ladies. What if I don’t have a burning desire to backpack in Europe? Does that mean I’m doomed to be forever unfulfilled because I didn’t fit it in during the third of my life without kids? What about after kids? I’m looking forward to exploiting my empty nest syndrome, thankyouverymuch. There’s a reason all the moms I hear these things from have kids under the age of ‘teen.’
So life stops once you have kids? Really? You want to cop to having a boring life and blame it on your kids? I’d say blame it on yourself. We make time for that which is important to us. Need extra sleep? That’s what babysitters are for. Want to go on a trip? That’s why we have family. (Blood born or chosen.) Want more sex? Well, that’s between you, your spouse, and The Guide to Getting it On. We’re also told that sex goes out the window after marriage, and I know many married couples who would disagree with that. (That’s assuming you had sex pre-marriage, of course. I didn’t, so I can only speak to the joy of the after.)

Related STFU Category: WTF of the Day

“Just wait until you have kids. You’ll say/do all this stuff too!”

Um, no. No I won’t. I am blessed to have lots of absolutely sane friends who also happen to be parents. If they’re obsessed with all organic food, they keep it to themselves. If they are fanatical about using cloth diapers, they don’t berate other moms for making different choices. They’re respectful, and they don’t make me feel less-than because I’m not a mom yet. My BFF Melissa in particular is awesome at being a parent who raises two kids that are more well-rounded and loved than any I’ve known, while having boundaries and making lots of time for her husband, her girlfriends, and herself.
When I hear this from moms, I think about that thing we heard in college. You remember, everyone said how drinking only made the real you come out. Alcohol takes away your filter and gives you an excuse to follow your inner desires. There’s a reason they call it ‘liquid courage.’ Well, I replace the word ‘alcohol’ with ‘parenting.’ In my experience, having a child gives some parents an excuse to let out all of the parts of their personality they’ve kept hidden for fear of public shunning. If you’re a closet narcissist, your children are the most perfect beings ever to grace this earth. If you’re a hypochondriac, every cough turns into a frantic call to the doctor. If you wish you achieved more in your life, your children represent everything you wish you could have been. And on, and on, and on… I have a lot of qualities I’d rather keep under wraps, but I also have a pretty good sense of when I’m pissing people off. To be fair, I don’t always care to change if I sense this, but still. I also have friends who I fully expect to snatch me bald-headed if I start acting like a stuck-up self-important parent. Or if I call them to say hi, only to put my three-month-old on the phone for ten minutes at a time because she’s just so cute! Or if I start pushing The Cult Of Mom with a side of breast milk-laced Kool-aid on unsuspecting non-parents. Sorry, I’m not going to obsessively talk about my baby’s bowel movements on social media sites. Not going to happen, because I’m NORMAL! Just because you do it does not make it normal.

I know I’ve come off just as self-righteous and pompous as all the moms I claim to abhor. Please know it’s all in good fun. Kind of a ‘laugh at it before you cry’ kind of thing. Because I really do hear these all the time, and I Do. Not. Get. It. I do not get the need to push your choices or life-stage onto someone else, especially one as completely life-altering as becoming a parent. I’m happy to be a DINK for now, thank you. I’m loving it, I’m living it, I’m owning it. I’m sure when the time comes I’ll love and love and own parenthood too. But not just yet. And I solemnly swear that if you are childless when I have kids, you have my permission to kick my sanctimonious @ss if I do anything that would land me a feature on STFU Parents.

So what do you think? I know I’m not the only married-without-kids gal out there that’s gotten burned by The Cult of Mom, so share your story. What do you do, laugh or cry?

Friday Five: I’ve Got to Give Thanks

30 Mar

photo from reasons to breathe on tumblr

This week has been a study in highs and lows for me. I feel like I’m playing that game with my high schoolers where we go around the circle and say the best and worst things that’s happened to us this week. But instead of doing that, I’m going to focus on the highs. Here are the five things I’m grateful for this week:

My mom had her birthday, and we totally surprised her with Neil Diamond tickets!
Trust me, if you knew my mom, you’d know this is a big deal. She still talks about the one time she saw him in concert when she was pregnant with me, and The Jazz Singer was regularly on in our home growing up.

Our anniversary vacation is booked. We’re going to Mexico, baby!
We’ve never been, so if you have any suggestions on things to do in Puerto Vallarta, send them my way.

Girlfriends to go swirlin’ at Aqui’s with.

Having similarly obsessed girlfriends and their husbands to watch Hunger Games with.
We had a pre-party. With HG-theamed snacks. Because we’re cool like that.

Our newest dog is good at entertaining himself.
He makes up games for himself that keep him occupied for hours and make me laugh out loud. It’s great.

What are you grateful for this week?

100th Post and a Giveaway!

23 Mar

image from the interpreter

100 POSTS!!!

I can’t believe it! When I carved out my little cornet of the internet on November first, 2011, I didn’t honestly know if I would stick with this more than a month. I didn’t think anyone would read or care, but 100 posts later we’ve had some good discussions, I’ve had an essay published on a major online community, and I’ve made friends I never would have met otherwise. I know it’s not as big as, say, a year’s anniversary, but for a lady notorious for starting projects and not seeing them through, 100 posts is a pretty big deal. On this auspicious posting occasion I feel like it’s a good time to looking back on all that’s happened in the last 4.5 months. Oh, and celebrate with a GIVEAWAY!

I’ve gotten tons of questions and comments on the rotating art gallery I use as my header. I’ve talked about how much I love the artist, the lovely Nidhi Chanani of San Francisco, and even dedicated one of my favorite Friday Fives to how her art perfectly illustrates my life right now. Nidhi has graciously agreed to help celebrate my 100th post by giving away a signed copy of her gorgeous book Everyday Love. It’s an 8×10 soft cover with 96 pages of over 98 of her gorgeous art prints. Help me thank her for her generosity by heading over to her etsy shop and checking out the book for yourself. See below for how you can win a copy of this gorgeous collection of some truly unique art.

It’s Friday, boys and girls, which means that 100th post or not, it’s time for a Friday five. I wanted to share five of my favorite experiences since November first, when I started this blog. Here they are, in no particular order:

Going away with A before tax season started, and starting a new tradition.

Visiting my little sis and seeing some seriously amazing art.

Going on a spiritual retreat (sadly without A) and further cementing some already amazing friendships.

Writing this, and having some amazing conversations with my girlfriends as a result.

Joining a gym and committing to make time to put my health first. (Btw I found out last night that I’ve dropped 4% of my body fat in the last three weeks. I’ve lost 7 pounds of fat and gained five of muscle. Boo yah!)

So that’s my Friday Five. Now, on to the GIVEAWAY!!!

Enter to win a signed copy of Everyday Love by Nidhi Chanani up to four times by doing the one or all of the following:

  1. Leave a comment below telling me one of the best things that’s happened to you since November first, 2011.
  2. Follow my blog via a reader or email. (Enter your address in the field on the top of the right sidebar for an email subscription.)
  3. Tweet a link to this giveaway.
  4. Share a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Google+.

If you choose to do any of options two through four, please include them in your comment. (If you already follow my blog through a reader or email, include this in your comment as well.)
For example, here’s a sample comment:

One of my favorite experiences has been crossing three goals off of my life list since November. I already follow Bigger in Real Life by email, and I tweeted about your giveaway and posted about it on my wall. (Or whatever the Fbook lingo is. Ya’ll know I’m not down with the FB.)

This person would get four entries into the drawing for Nidhi’s book. Comments will be open until 9:00pm PST on Monday, March 26th. The winner will be chosen through a random drawing, and I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, March 27th.

Good luck everyone! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

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