Friday, July 24, 2009

5:00 Fridays

Today's drink is one in spirit of the heart instead of top shelf spirits. I am at the Blogher conference toasting motherhood, food, writing, friendship, connections, laughter, and storytelling with new friends. I am meeting some blogosphere friends in real life for the first time (that's IRL for those in the Twitter and texting know), and it is truly exhilarating. We are a gaggle of quacks tripping over each other's words and laughing and poking fun and spewing sarcasm and jokes. Hugs all around.

Today I raise a toast to my new found drinking buddies. Grab your drink of choice and think about the friends and supporters and fans you'd like to catch up with.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blogher Packing Tips

I'm getting on a plane in 2 days to head to Chicago. My Blogher hymen will be popped at last. Blogher virgin no more! I haven't been on a plane without children in 6 years. No kids to entertain, bottoms to wipe in a cramped airplane bathroom, and juice boxes to smuggle, or fights to mediate. Since I didn't succumb to buying a Kindle, I'll be reading books and trashy magazines. Don't judge me if you're sitting next to me. I'll totally bust you for peeking over the spine of Us Weekly and People.

I am generally a great packer. I went to India for a week with a carry on bag once.

Here are my packing tips:

Don't pack underwear you have not worn yet. They might look pretty but make you pull out wedgies all day long. No one's gonna shake your hand if they see you with your hand up your crack.

Don't bother with shampoo and soap. Of course I don't mean don't bother using them; I mean don't pack them. The stuff at the hotel will be just fine. It's not the Motel 6, people.

Pack a cardigan. And throw in a jean jacket or just wear it on the plane. That goes with absolutely anything. But spare us the acid washed look.

Accessories are a girl's best friend. No one will notice you're wearing the same dress 2 nights in a row if you swap out your jewelry. A chunky necklace or fabulous dangly earrings will rock any outfit.

Shoes. Remember that looks and comfort are not mutually exclusive. You'll likely see me in the same black patent leather wedge sandals all weekend, night or day. Bring cute shoes that go with everything. Black sandals are the chameleon of the shoe world.

Bring a plastic grocery bag. I know, I know. You bring your own hemp bags to the store so you don't have any. I actually leave my bags at home sometimes because once in a while I need a plastic sack. If I have clean stuff at the end of the trip, I don't want it co-mingling with the dirties.

Lash Exact. Best. Mascara. Ever. You will need something to make you look awake. This magical mascara in the purple tube does the trick. And it's like 5 bucks at the drug store.

Aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen. Pick your poison. Vitamin B doesn't hurt either. Oh, and Tums. You'll likely be hurting so pack some relief.

Leave the linen at home.

Rollable fabrics are key. Jersey is my best friend.

Everyone will be wearing a little black dress. I too have the standard issue LBD ready to go. But we all need a piece de resistance. Mine is orange.

Don't pack outfits. Pack Garanimal style. Mix and match. All your tops should theoretically match all your bottoms.

Dresses are the most versatile thing in a summer suitcase. And the swingy shifts I wear don't require sucking in my stomach.

Lastly, bring pajamas! Your roommate doesn't really want you to make yourself at home and sleep in your birthday suit.

So what'd I miss? Anyone else have packing tips?

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Kidz Bop Suckz

I hate Kidz Bop. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. For starters I can't stand when companies spell words in a cutesy way, especially when it comes to children. Here I am trying to teach my just-learning-to-read rising first grader that the plural of "kids" does not end in a "z." Of course he argues with me because he holds up the damn Kidz Bop CD case as evidence. Granted, Bird is a contrarian by nature (just like Mac Daddy, ahem, just sayin'), but in this case he's not being argumentative. I am a mother and a marketer, and in both roles I can't stand cutesy spelling. It's no different than the nonsensical babytalk that the Rugrats and Wonder Pets babble. All that Ga Ga is Ka Ka.

Those baby voices and Kidz Bop make my ears hurt like the entire city of Cleveland grating their fingernails on a chalkboard in unison to the beat of Rock n' Roll Hoochie Koo.

Unless my children are the ones singing, I have no interest in hearing a bunch of kids sing. Sorry, folks, but that ain't music to my ears. Kidz Bop takes top 40 pop music and records a bunch of kids and tweens singing those songs, many of which would not make the parental rating cut in my house. When the lyrics include things like "just shut your mouth" or "stupid," I turn it off. Likewise when the lyrics crank out some homeboy garble and attitude like "witchchoo" instead of "with you." Obviously poetic license reigns in song writing. For adults. Kids's music is a different story. I cannot stand the too cool for school attitude and lost innocence of youth that Kidz Bop purports. Besides, the original is always better. Kidz Bop bastardizes the songs, making car rides painfully numbing.

I think such music perpetutates the grown-up-too-soon attitude, lack of manners, and disrespect in the same way that all that writing on the hiney of girls' pants does. It's simply not age appropriate, not that words sprawled across one's fanny is ever appropriate. My sons are almost 6 and 4. They got those damn Kidz Bop CDs in McDonald's Happy Meals, that are age appropriate (And save the McDonald's lashing for another day, folks. Yes, we eat there occasionally and dig it. Move off the soapbox.). Personally, I think it was a sucky move for McDonald's to include those CDs as a Happy Meal toy. I'm all for music instead of made in China junk, but at least make it good music that isn't so precocious. I don't know about you, but I see plenty of bratty kids running amok. The last thing I need is for those kids to start cranking out orders for chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side.

There's plenty of good music for kids out there. I don't buy a lot of music that is kid specific, but my boys do listen to music not in the kid genre that is perfectly fun and appropriate. Here's a sampling of some staples on our iPod:

Journey - especially Don't Stop Believin'
Abba - Mamma Mia is a crowd fave.
The Beatles - We even build an Octopus's Garden every time we go to the beach.
KC and the Sunshine Band - Boogie Shoes gets us all dancing.
Cats soundtrack - Magical Mister Mistoffeles just might be our next cat's name.
Jimmy Buffet - Chanson Pour les Petits Enfants is a sure fire way to chill out the kids. And it helps with the French lessons.
Squirrel Nut Zippers - Just fun to jam to
Beach Boys and anything beachy - Good ole happy tunes with a bit of shag mixed in
Bare Naked Ladies - Fun music, but I just tell Bird and Deal that the band's name is BNL.

And these days there are plenty of good bands out there geared toward kids. We just saw Dan Zanes a few nights ago, and the show was fantastic. I'm ready to be a groupie! The Sippy Cups are also fun without being dorky (OK, but a bit of dorkiness is part of their appeal.). They Might Be Giants is awesome music whether it's the original stuff or their kid stuff. I mean really, "A little birdhouse in your soul" is so lovely and lilting. And they all beat the freaking Wiggles by a long shot.

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