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Crowd-sourcing my Vanity

16 Oct

What’s a social media gal to do when faced with choosing a pair of eyeglasses? When in doubt, blog it out!!

Comment below your favorite eye glasses. Wanna try a pair yourself? I loved the handy dandy webcam functionality at Coastal.com

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My 2 Days in Seattle

23 Jul

It was a bold strategy… invite 30 of the West Coasts largest social media influencers to your city, put them up in a nice hotel for 2 nights, give them cash, and let set them free. No restrictions, just an all expense paid trip for 3 days and 2 nights in Seattle.

I couldn’t believe it when Klout informed me that I had been chosen for a Klout Perk sponsored by the Seattle Visitors and Convention Center Bureau. The SVCC decided to host some of the most influential people on the West Coast, in hopes of luring nearby people to spend 2 days in Seattle. They have a website dedicated to following the tweets of the selected curators. I was categorized under Music, Arts & Culture, and it was great that @SeattleMaven served as the cyber hostess: serving up points of interest to any of us who checked in or tweeted around Seattle. She even hooked me up with Seattle Mariners tickets!!

Our room at Hotel Andra was spacious as well as gracious,

We were put up at the Hotel Andra … I never would’ve guessed that a boutique hotel could deliver such quality service and quiet rooms. We usually stay at the Hyatt, but I can see us returning to Hotel Andra in the future…it was that lovely. The hotel staff greeted me with 2 VIP tickets to see King Tut at the Science Center, a nice welcome note and an invitation to contact them if I have any questions. We were located perfectly between downtown and Belltown, so we were able to walk or bus anywhere. The weather was typical….socked in with fog in the morning, and lovely in the evenings.

Lola was a great restaurant with a Greek inspired menu.

And the food? I’m so used to Portland being a foodie city that I forget that Seattle also has a wonderful and diverse food scene as well. From chowder at Ivar’s to breakfast at Etta’s and everything in between, we never missed a meal, or a cocktail hour!! Stumbled upon the series of Tom Douglas restaurants, and ate our way through half of them over the weekend.

We were instructed to turn on our location device on our smart phones, and to tweet with the hashtag #2daysinSeattle. It allowed them to track us and also allowed us to see where other influencers were in the city.

But, pictures speak louder than words…. check out my visual tweets here.

Why I can’t stand Fifty Shades of Grey

3 Jul

I finally did it. I caved.

I downloaded the ubiquitous “50 shades of Grey”. I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. I’ve heard the media rave about this racy trilogy. To be honest, I found it completely unbelievable and ridiculous.

Not because it’s written from the point of view of Anastasia Steele, 24-year-old virgin  who falls for Christian Grey, a 27-year-old self-made gazillionaire who owns a corporate dynasty while also learning to pilot helicopters and who has a penchant for the BDSM lifestyle (Google it if you don’t know what ‘m talking about)

Not because it is basically Twilight, with Subs and Doms instead of vampires and werewolves….

Not because it reads as if written by a high school girl, with a few big words thrown in here and there, meant to impress: yet falls short of the mark. It’s badly edited and the cadence often feels rushed. The characters are rather one-dimensional, and if I never the words “mercurial” or “inner-goddess” again I’ll be grateful.

It’s mommy porn. A  guilty pleasure. A Harlequin romance novel on steroids.

But this is not why I find Fifty Shades of Grey unbelievable.

The reason I find it completely unbelievable is because we are to believe that the heroine of the story, Anastasia was able to make it through college at  WSU in Vancouver, Washington without a laptop or a cell phone…. really? What parent in 2011 sends their child away to college without a laptop? or a cell phone? Completely unfathomable. In  fact, a recent study points to full time college students owning both a laptop and a cell phone, with 35% of college students owning 2 laptops. So when Christian Grey gifts Anastasia Steele with her first laptop and her first cell phone, I found the rest of the novel impossible to read. I don’t care how steamy it is or how dreamy they are.

As an added treat, I give you Ellen DeGeneres reading 50 Shades of Grey:

Objects in the Rearview Mirror…..

24 Apr

This Blog started out being about Mommy stuff…. then it moved to Social Media Stuff….. and now It’s about to change again.

My youngest daughter (12) needs open heart surgery. This is changing the focus of my life, and consequently this blog. I will be moving all social media related posts to my social media blog :

This blog will move back to its roots and address the challenges of raising kids with special needs. I apologize for the confusion. I may not even post publicly on here for a while, as the posts may prove to personal and painful for my family. I’m hoping that a year from now I can publish many posts on my daughter’s experiences, from diagnosis to prognosis and finally to health. I think writing the posts as they happen and publishing them later will prove to be the best compromise.

In the meantime, anyone know the most economical way to get my family to Disneyland in May? Hoping to make that happen!! (crosses fingers)

A Trunk Story: Kittehs!

12 Oct

So, I have two cats, a dog, and a husband who is less than enthusiastic about pets. The biggest issue seems to revolve around, of all things, the litter box. Our two cats love splashing around in their litter box, and my dog loves searching for buried treasure in there, so it has become a necessity to find away to cover the litter box. I was inspired by the Ikea Hacks website, but didn’t want to spend $60 on a brand new bench, only to cut a hole in it. so I went on Criagslist and found this little number for $20.

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I used my handy dandy Dremmel tool to cut a hole in the side of a used toy box…. carefully sanding the edges to keep the cats safe:

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Winston and Ralphie approve!! Note: There is only 14″ of headroom in this toybox, and I was afraid it would be too small for them to use, but the proof is in the tootsie rolls! (No, I would NOT post THAT photo 😉 They have been using it with no incident for 2 days now. Hubs is happy, Mommy’s happy and the novelty of it hasn’t worn off on the girls, who clean the letter every morning.
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Note…I lined the bottom with removable adhesive shelf paper to allow for easy cleaning, and I also threw in a folded over piece of non-slip shelf liner to act as an attractant to encourage more kitty litter to stay in the box…..so far the amount of litter on the floor is decreased by 99% (nothing is perfect, right?)  I also love how there is room to spare to hold the litter scoop…..which used to just sit on the side of the box and add to the  unsightly mess.

20111012-110839.jpgAll in all, it took $20 and about 20 minutes to do this project……win/win in my book!! Cheers!

Facebook for Embryos

2 Aug

 

Facebook announced this week that it was adding a feature to soon-to-be moms to add an unborn baby, with a due date to their family tree. Facebook for the not-yet-born.

This opens up such a can of worms for me. First of all, it is NOT an option for the father, only the expectant mother…what is UP with THAT?

But more importantly, I fear that the overly excited mom-to-be could be setting herself up for disappointment should anything go wrong in the pregnancy. What it, God forbid, a miscarriage occurs, or a child with severe medical problems is born?

I remember vividly the day I was told my baby was born with multiple midline birth defects. The minute I brought her home, I rushed to my “What to Expect When Expecting” book and looked in the back for the reference page for birth defects. It led me to one paragraph…telling me to seek help from a family therapist….not exactly what I was hoping to read :O

So, I put myself in those shoes again and imagine if I had announced to 3,000 of my closest friends on FB that I was expecting, only to have to delete the listing (sending a FB update announcement to all of my friends) if something were to go wrong?

I’ve seen ultrasound snapshots as profile pics, and I think that is great. But seriously….let’s not count our eggs before they’ve hatched…not meant as a pro-life/choice debate, but seriously!

I have had friends tell me in confidence that they had deleted certain friends because they talked incessantly about their infants ad naseum…this takes it to a whole new level.

What’s next? When a woman’s cycle is she going to be able to update her status to “might be expecting” with a drop down list of possible fathers to tag?

i carry your heart with me….

21 Jun

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
                                  e.e. cummings

That has been my favorite poem for as long as I can remember. This Father’s Day I found the perfect way to incorporate it into a beautiful and thoughtful gift, thanks to Hide a Heart and MCatherine Lunsford-Bowles.

Think about it: who has time to write flowery love notes these days?( I’m personally lucky if I get a pg-rated sext off to my husband once a day!!) Back in the day, Hubs and I were good about leaving love notes for each other regularly, but 15 years and three kids later, it gets a little more tricky…enter Hide a Heart.

MCatherine Lunsford-Bowles is a successful recording artist and soloist turned entrepreneur. Decades ago, she and her husband came up with the idea of hiding a glass heart from each other as  non-verbal show of affection. Each would take turns hiding their special glass heart from each other. Once found, it was up to the finder to then re-hide the treasure, and the cycle of love has continued for decades for MCatherine and her husband.

Imagine: a way of expression that is not only non-verbal, but also re-usable and recylable? I was so excited when I saw it last weekend, that I snatched one up on the s pot and presented it to my husband on Father’s Day. He absolutely loved it, and he hid it for me immediately! The girls were so excited about the Hide a Heart concept, that I plan to get several for stocking stuffers next Christmas…such a perfect gift for so many occasions.

With so many weddings coming up this summer, I tire purchasing things off a gift registry…I understand the practicality of getting something the couple wants, but it takes all the spontaneity out of it when I am given a list of things I’m suggested to buy. I would MUCH rather send a check with a hide a heart!

And it’s not just for weddings…My friend who is moving away next month? I’ll be sending her off with a Hide a Heart. They would be a great way to incorporate future step children into a wedding ceremony…why not give your future bonus child your heart? She makes lovely purple healing hearts for people battling cancer and other long-term illnesses. Hide a Heart’s are available on her Etsy site, as well as in better boutiques in Oregon. MCatherine also has a fun blog.

You really can’t go wrong with Hide a Heart….enjoy!!

Social Media for the Dogs…..

26 May

Just a typical Sunday morning: wake up and check all my social media streams first thing. I’ve got my daughters trained to brew me a cup of coffee whilst I twitter away…..This Sunday it was a Facebook post from a friend that caught my attention: Anyone interested in a 4 year old female Labradoodle who’s fully trained?

Now my beloved dog Jetsie passed away last October, and I had sworn that I’d give the family a year to heal before we attempted to replace her. But rescue  labradoodles are not everyday occurrences, so my interest was peaked. The next step was running it by the hubs. We were on a walk of the Nike Campus and I picked my moment:

“You know, Bev just posted that there is a female labradoodle looking for a home, and if ever there was a breed I’d want to get for our family……”

I brace myself for the lecture about how our son is going to be travelling in the PAC-10 next year, and we should wait until the summer of of 2012….. but wait…What he actually says is:

“If you think it’s a good idea, and if you and the girls will take responsibilty for it, let’s go look.”

You could’ve knocked me over with a feather. Word to the wise: just when you think you know what your husband will think/do he will do a complete 180 on you and happily surprise you!!

So, long story short, we’ve adopted Sadie, and we’re happy to have her in the family. She is the best dog ever, and I have Facebook to thank!!

Bag Lady

18 Jan


I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve left my reusable shopping bags in my car, in my home, etc. Then I optimistically buy a new one at the store, and it just becomes this perpetual cycle of self-loathing. I am a good person, and I’ve always felt like and environmentalist in my heart…I remember several times on various choir tours where I personally got on the loud speakers and asked them to please not accept any Big Macs in styrofoam. I performed at countless Earth Days in Corvallis and Portland. I give to eco friendly organizations. I really try to do my part….but those stinkin’ bags…..they sit in my trunk, garage, kitchen….you get the picture.

Then last Christmas my mother gifted me the fabulous reusable grocery sack that has it’s own holder. It pops into my purse, and viola! Gone is my excuse for not having a bag.

reisenthel

The company who makes them is called Reisenthel, and they have an incredible line of market bags, from the mini/maxi shopper, to wheeled market bags, and even a very chic looking picnic basket. A shopping bag like mine can be purchased for under ten bucks on Amazon.com.

Just today I ran into another great bag option made out of Tyvek material for less than $3 at Alberson’s. Tyvek is suprprisingly thin, light, and durable. This bag is more compact when in my purse, but it is also a bit smaller.

I like them both, with the Tyvek bag being more reasonable, but I am now lusting after a Reisenthel carrycruiser! It has wheels, and would be perfect for Saturday Markets!!

From the Department of Nit-Picking

12 Jan

Ahhhhh Christmas. The many celebrations. The visits from out of town house guests. The parties. The cousin’s sleeping over….The head lice….

WHAT? Yes, you heard me. Nothing like a day after Christmas run in with a cousin with head lice to put a damper on your Christmas vacation. Seriously, it’s worse than being snowed in, because you can’t just send the kids out to play.

I recieved the call from said cousin’s parents at 9pm the day after a Christmas sleepover, “Sorry, but we may have infected your kids with lice, seems ours has had if for a couple of weeks and we just thought it was dandruff.”

At this point, sheer panic set in. My oldest daughter heard the call and immediately started crying, saying “I have lice, I just KNOW it!”

I look in her hair for tell tale signs (there were none) and then try to soothe her “Now, now….you don’t know that, and there’s nothing we can do at 9pm….just go to sleep and we’ll look in the morning”

At 11:30pm she is standing by my bedside, with crocodile tears, and a live little bug that proves that her greatest fear had become a reality…..I could write a whole blog on how tenacious and petrified she must’ve been to stay up and actually catch one of those little buggers in the middle of the night in the dark laying in her bed….

By 6 am I am in full attack mode….I do my research, and settle on a plan of attack. I opt out of the Rid or Nix routes, because the efficacy rate has gone down significantly over time. Anecdotal evidence states that a combination of Lysterine and coconut oils will do the trick. I decide to try it, and it works!!

Here is what you need to combat lice without harsh chemicals:

1 bottle of lysterine (don’t go generic on this)

1 pack of shower caps (dollar store)

1 microfiber head wrap (dollar store) <<can substitute towel

1 bottle of coconut scented shampoo (I got White Rain at the dollar store)

1 bottle of dandruff shampoo (again, dollar store)

1 jar of coconut oil (find it in a whole foods store…so great to cook with)

1 lice comb (metal vs. plastic)

1 container dawn (to wash out coconut oil)

1 blow dryer (Or better yet a dryer bonnet if you have one!)

tweezers

roll of toilet paper (to dispose of lice bodies)

paper grocery sack

Method:

In a kitchen sink, douse head liberally with Lysterine. Place hair in shower cap. Wrap head with microfiber head wrap (or towel) and place under dryer for 20 minute intervals on and off for 2 hours. Rinse. Then warm 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil until just in liquid form (not too hot, as it can burn the scalp) and liberally pour coconut oil on scalp. shower cap and head wrap for another 2 hours. By this time, the Lysterine has killed most of the lice, and the coconut oil has suffocated the rest, and the nits (lice eggs) will be easier to get out with a comb. carefully divide hair into 2-4 inch square patches and secure off with bobby pins. go through sections with a knit comb, and be sure to do this in either full daylight, or near a good lamp. I set up a portable garage lamp in my kitchen, and sat my kids on bar stools…..

Everytime I found a louse, I pulled it with tweezers and wrapped it in a square of toilet paper before tossing in a paper bag. I found a total of 5 lice and about a dozen nits, but I’m pretty sure I caught this infestation within 48 hours of the migration 😉

When you have thoroughly gone through the hair (I pinned the sections I had gone through to the side, and then went back through them all piece by piece a second time when I was all done) then send child to the shower with dawn, dandruff shampoo and coconut conditioner. Use Dawn first (to cut through the coconut oil) and then use the dandruff shampoo as directed. Follow up by applying coconut conditioner in hair for 3 minutes, and rinsing. After all is said and done, be sure to manually blow dry the hair on the highest setting you can use and keep your child comfortable. The heat might must kill off any nits or lice you may have left behind…..

Some people swear by leaving the coconut oil in overnight, and I could see how this might work. But, I listed the steps above because I KNOW it worked for me, and we’ve been lice free for (knock on wood) 3 weeks and counting….why does my scalp itch so much right now? LOL!

One more thing: I was totally mortified, and afraid my kids were going to have to wear a scarlet L on their play clothes. I had called neighbors to explain the problem, and even called them back with various updates. I kept my kids from others for a full 4 days until I was SURE there were no more buggers to contend with, and STILL I felt an odd stigma associated with head lice. And then I tuned into the Ellen Degeneres show, where Madonna proclaimed that headlice was running rampant through her house right now…..

If Madonna’s kids can get lice and she can be open about it on Ellen, then I don’t mind blogging this…especially if it helps someone!!