The Parent Party Scene

There’s something that’s been bothering me and I wanted to discuss it today.

I need to preface this post with a few statements: First of all, this post isn’t written from a  “sour grapes” angle. I’ve had opportunities to jump into this party scene and I’ve politely declined multiple times.

Also, I’m the first to admit it and my life is boring as shit. Sure, there was a time in my life when I went out late, drank a lot, had inappropriate conversations with people and did some things that I really shouldn’t have. BUT, I was also like 24 years old and didn’t have a family or children depending on me at home. I rather love my current lifestyle and, while I’m glad that I had (most of) the experiences that I had in my early 20’s, I wouldn’t go back to that pace of life for anything. ANYTHING. Give me my orthotic slippers, fuzzy pajamas and Bravo TV marathons any day. 

So, here goes…

Continue reading “The Parent Party Scene”


5 things I get done before 7 a.m.

My weekday mornings begin early…I mean real early, girl.

My alarm goes off at 5 a.m. This is partly because I have to get my kids to the bus stop early and I need a few moments to collect myself before they wake up for the day.

Here’s what my average Monday through Friday mornings look like during the school year. All of these things happen before 7 a.m.:

1: Upon getting out of bed, I’m immediately met by 5 (6, if you count the fish too, who’s not pictured) hungry–obviously malnourished–pets, on the brink of starvation. They get fed first because they’re loud until they’re fed. Who owns who?

2: Before I do anything else, I take my multivitamin. I LOVE this multivitamin because it’s a liquid and it tastes divine (peach mango flavor). As soon as this stuff hits my system, I feel like I can take on the world. For real. I buy it from my local holistic health care practitioner, but Amazon sells it too. Link HERE

3: Next up, coffee. In between the vitamin and coffee, I guzzle a glass of apple cider vinegar/lemon water. By then, my coffee is cool enough to drink. I got Kevin this coffeemaker for Christmas and we love it. Turns out that, when you have a 12 year old coffeemaker, you’re drinking some shitty-ass coffee and you might not even realize it. This new coffeemaker has upped our coffee game considerably. Link to coffeemaker HERE

This photo was taken one morning last week when it was particularly cold here. Tino was questioning my bus stop wardrobe judgement.


A few things happen between coffee and taking the kids to the bus stop. Actually, a lot more than a few: I empty the dishwasher, do my blog reading, make breakfast for the kids and assemble lunches for the kids (they make their lunches the night before, but I pack everything into their lunch boxes for them in the morning). None of these things are particularly photo-worthy though…

4: After all of that, it’s time to go to the school bus stop at the end of our street. The bus comes at 6:30 a.m.–which is stupid early, but when my kids ride the bus, it saves me from making the 20 mile (roundtrip) drive to their school, which takes about an hour out of my day. The kids like riding the bus–it’s social hour for them–so that makes it easier.

5: As soon as I get home from the bus stop, I make all of the beds in the house (provided that my husband is up already–sometimes he’s not and so I passive-aggressively slam bathroom cabinets and turn on lights around him to show my jealousy and remorse that he gets to sleep later than me). #supermaturewife #alsowelladjusted

To be fair, I enjoy getting up early. I need quiet time to myself in the mornings to prepare for my day ahead. I don’t think that I could function as well if I had to start all of my “mothering duties” the minute that my feet hit the floor. So, this is what works for me and my family. 

What about you? What things do you get accomplished in the morning? 

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Friday Favorites–Frugal Friday

I don’t know about you, but we’re in a major “budget triage mode” around here, trying to contain the financial hemorrhaging that the Holidays caused.

I was working on a thrilling Friday Favorites post about my favorite underwear, which happen to be $17 a pop, when I realized that encouraging you to buy those undies right now didn’t jibe with my own, personal seasonal spending freeze–and maybe you’re experiencing the same thing.

Alas, don’t fret, Grasshopper, I’ll likely tell you all about these magical $17 underwear next Friday–but this Friday, I decided to highlight a few of my current favorite indulgences that cost very little (a Netflix membership) or nothing at all.

First up–a Podcast that I adore:

Image courtesy of

The Big Boo Cast is brought to you by Melanie Shankle (link to her blog HERE) and Sophie Hudson (her blog HERE).

Maybe it’s because I’m born and raised in the South, but listening to these two Southern ladies talk makes me feel like I’m having a long phone conversation with my aunts, my old middle school friends and my favorite adult friends, all at the same time, while also eating a giant vat of banana pudding. Their humor tickles me and they talk about the stuff that I’m interested in (spoiler: it’s not heavy stuff) and, honestly, it just feels like home.

I often save their new podcasts for my daily dog walks and find myself giggling while traversing the hiking trails in my neighborhood–looking like a bonafide loon, I’m sure. “Oh, you know Jenny?..The one who laughs to herself while walking the Weimaraner?”


I put on a Rest and Relax-type of station on Spotify one day and I kept finding myself running to my phone to find out who this one particular artist was whose music kept playing on the playlist. It was Jose GonzalezHis songs also appear on the The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty soundtrack.


Gonzalez’ music is great, ambient music that I can put on and just largely ignore while I’m cooking or working around the house. The rhythms and guitar playing are fabulous and it appeals to me in a very “Iron and Wine” way. Here’s the video for one of the songs from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that I really like:



I’m surely the last person on the planet to finally watch The Crown on Netflix, but my husband and I have finally delved into it. Sadly, we’re only halfway through because we watch it at bedtime and, well, there’s something about staying up past 9:30 pm on a school night; dark and gloomy scenes from 1950’s England and mid-life that cause us to not be able to stay awake for a full hour of a show. BUT, don’t let this paint the series as boring–it’s not. I find it fascinating. And, now that I’m watching it, I feel like I know The Queen and her family in an intimate way–just like when I read The Royal We and felt like I was a close, personal friend of William and Kate’s from University (spoiler alert: I am, in fact, NOT).

Are you trying to reign in your post-Holiday spending? What frugal favorites do you have to share? 

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Drinking at the gym

…and why it makes me angry. 

I joined a Crossfit “box” (that’s what they call a gym in Crossfit lingo) a couple of years ago. I was looking to challenge myself physically a bit more than my classes at the YMCA could provide for me and I wanted to maybe even meet some people; make some friends who were interested in a healthy lifestyle. 

So, I joined a box in my area and showed up for my first class. As the front desk person was giving me a tour, she showed me the refrigerator that was stocked with bottles of water for purchase. I also noticed that the entire lower shelves were stocked with beer. I thought that was odd, but chalked it up to the owner maybe enjoying a cold beer when she was up there doing paperwork or cleaning or whatever. Who am I to judge?

Then, I started getting emails about a special Friday afternoon Crossfit class that ended with a “Happy Hour.” The photos showed up on my Facebook feed of the class participants, still sweaty and dirty from the WOD (workout of the day) doing handstand/kegstand-type of maneuvers, guzzling beer like college students. This rubbed me the wrong way. 

Then, at the holidays, there were several social get togethers both at the gym and at the owner’s home where alcohol was predominantly featured–and I don’t mean a festive glass of wine–I mean jello shots and beer bongs. 

It was very common for my fellow classmates to show up for the Monday morning class hungover, reeking of alcohol from the weekend before, complaining (or bragging?) about how much they’d had to drink over the weekend and commiserating over shared weekend shenanigans with fellow classmates and even coaches. 

All of this really made me angry. 

First of all, I joined a gym to try and engage in a healthy lifestyle. I hoped to surround myself with people who were health conscious and maybe not still drinking like college-age people at my age (40-something). Some of these heavy-drinking classmates were also mothers like me. I knew that I absolutely didn’t want any part of that scene.

Also, I learned that the owner of the gym is a recovering addict herself. I can’t speak to her current sobriety, but she was prominently featured in all of the social media photos cheering on the shot-taking and jokingly holding the beer bong for other gym members at the Friday Happy Hour class. 

Long story, short: Due to a handful of factors, I canceled my membership to this gym. I’m not going to lie–the college student-like approach to drinking and socializing was a big factor, as was the owner’s laissez faire attitude about the drinking habits of the other gym members.

All of the drinking that was going on at the gym and with other gym members didn’t trigger me or make me want to drink–quite the contrary–but I did feel excluded. I had hoped to make a few connections at this gym, but it became clear to me that if you didn’t go out and drink with everyone else, you weren’t “part of the club” and this quickly became a “club” that I didn’t care to be a part of.

From what I see though, my experience at this “box” isn’t necessarily an isolated scenario. I see more and more gyms luring members with promises of social gatherings at local breweries and wine tastings and happy hour classes that end with drinks. I mean, there’s even a Wine Workout that someone came up with. I’m sorry, but…WHAT?



I’m not judging people who can drink socially but I’d really like to see a gym or a fitness professional NOT advocate drinking. Just for once. Not only is drinking your calories not a good idea if you’re trying to lose weight, but it’s also a dangerous habit to introduce to your members. 

Can we really not do anything without alcohol? Can’t we go for a few days a week without drinking alcohol, or is that unfathomable? 


What I’m Reading

If you saw my post about my 2017 goals, you know that I’d like to read more thought-provoking books this year. I typically read about 1-2 heavy-duty books a year and then “recover” with lots of “beach-reading” afterward. I guess what I need to do is find a happy medium so that I don’t need to binge read the fluffy stuff after a challenging title. 

That said, here’s what I’m currently reading:

The NestThe Nest is about a group of siblings who are awaiting the delivery of their “Nest”–the money they’re set to inherit when the youngest sister turns 40. This is a dysfunctional family and the characters are interesting and engaging. The Nest sucked me in immediately. I’m about halfway through right now and it continues to hold my interest.

What I’ve just finished:


I started reading Commonwealth right before Christmas and it left me wanting more each night, as I struggled to stay awake to read just one more chapter. Toward the end, the characters got a little fuzzy for me (could’ve been the general overwhelm of the holiday season and how tired I was each night before bed) and the ending fell a smidgen flat for me, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

What I’ve read recently:

The Hating Game: A Novel

Holy sexual tension! Um, this book was engaging in an “it makes me feel kinda funny, like when I used to climb the rope in gym class”–way, so, that alone kept me reading it, but I found the ending to be predictable and one dimensional. It would make for a good in-flight or poolside read though.


The Blue Bistro

Criminy! Again with the sexual tension! Like all of Hilderbrand’s books, this one takes place in Nantucket and it’s a feast for your imagination with visions of perfect, quaint little Nantucket lives. This book was an easy read and very predictable–which is sometimes all I can manage. Another good book for a quick weekend read. 

The Nightingale

So, I read The Nightingale back in the Fall and I adored it but…it gutted me. It is brilliantly written and tells an important story but, manalive, it chewed me up and spit me out. I highly recommend this book but prepare a few fluffy reads for your recovery from this one. 


What are you reading these days? Please share! 

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Friday Favorites–Lash Boost + Superhero

One of the things that I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is that my eyelashes just don’t have the oomph that they used to have. I’ve tried lots (LOTS!) of different mascaras. I’ve sold my soul to Ulta and Sephora and still manage to walk out with puny, little lashes.

Just before resigning to wearing falsies for special occasions, I considered eyelash extensions for about 15 minutes one day–until I discovered the time investment in getting them applied (and then filled every few weeks)–not to mention the cost! And the upkeep! (No wearing mascara? No sleeping on your side or tummy? And no rubbing your eyes? So many rules…)

So, when Rodan and Fields launched their new lash serum, Lash Boost late last year, I begrudgingly handed over my wallet to my friend/R+F Consultant and put my sad little eyelashes in her hands (figuratively, not literally).

Continue reading “Friday Favorites–Lash Boost + Superhero”


2017 goals

I’m an action-oriented, list-making type of person, so I enjoy the beginning of a new year and all of the promise and potential that it holds. I’ve never really been a resolution-maker but lately, I’ve grown accustomed to setting some goals and intentions for myself at the beginning of the year. 

This year, I have some goals and I thought I’d share them here, in the hopes that they’ll inspire you and also hold me accountable.

Without further ado, here are my goals for 2017…

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Happy New Year!

I’ll be back full-swing later this week, but wanted to drop in and say Happy New Year! I hope that your celebration was just what you wanted it to be and that the new year brings much peace and joy to you and yours. 

It was a super low-key evening here (just the way I like it). 

First, the kids and I toasted to the new year with our sparkling grape juice, using our wedding crystal (which sees exactly zero action anymore)

Then we did a DIY “paint night” at home, courtesy of The Art Sherpa on YouTube. (Anna went “rogue” and decided to paint something else.) 

The finished products.

And no, that’s actually not supposed to be The Empire State Building in my painting, but that might be what I end up going with, since that’s essentially what it turned into. So, yeah…that’s the Empire State Building at dusk. Or something. 

Do you have any suggestions for blog posts that you’d like to see here? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!


Friday Favorites–Christmas 2016 successes

Whew! Christmas was a whirlwind around here…how ’bout for you?

Every year, it takes me by surprise how much planning we (I) put into everything–all for approximately 2 days of enjoyment. I spent countless time and energy on menu-planning, home decorating and gift selecting. I love it all so much, but man alive, does it go by quickly!

So, after having a few days to marinate on our Christmas, I thought I’d do a round-up of our Christmas 2016 successes today–from gifts to recipes.

Continue reading “Friday Favorites–Christmas 2016 successes”


Why “moderating” my drinking didn’t work for me

Years ago, when I realized that I needed to make a change in my drinking habits, I decided that I’d simply “moderate” my drinking. I’d make a plan and have “x” amount of drinks per week/day/event. This sounded way more doable than flat-out quitting entirely.

So, the first few weeks, it worked brilliantly. I held myself to that one glass of wine with dinner. Then, in the coming weeks, when confronted with the temptation to have more than my allotment, I bent the rules…just a smidgen.

Then, the next event or dinner out, the rules bent even further.

The next thing I knew, I wasn’t “moderating” my drinking at all. I was right back where I started.

You see, my brain is funny like that. It’s a master at talking me out of or into things. Here’s how the dialog went in my head when I was trying to moderate:

Jenny: “I’m only having 2 glasses of wine at the dinner out with friends tonight. That seems like a reasonable amount and won’t get me into too much trouble.”

Brain: “Absolutely! 2 glasses is the perfect amount! Let’s do this!”

Jenny (over dinner): “I’m having a great time! We’re enjoying a leisurely meal with good friends. Everyone else is finishing up their second drink too and the main courses haven’t even arrived yet. What should I do? I really want another drink…”

Brain: “You know, this IS a special circumstance. I mean, how often do you get to have dinner with these good friends? And, you got a babysitter, so you’re foot-loose and fancy-free tonight. I wonder if just 1 more drink wouldn’t hurt?”

The next thing I know, I’m in a pickle.

My brain talked me out of moderating so many times. It became exhausting trying to keep up with the rules that I’d established beforehand for my drinking and then keeping up with the change-on-the-fly rules that I had as the evening progressed. Then, after that evening was over, I had to reevaluate my whole system for moderating. It was way too much work and spent too much of my mental energy.

image courtesy of

That’s when I decided that I needed to abstain all together.

Abstaining completely took away all of that extra psychic baggage that I was carrying around, constantly dividing and multiplying in my head; negotiating and re-negotiating all night. Abstaining from alcohol set me free and made my decisions easier. It allowed me to be present. It took the guesswork out of drinking and eliminated those inner negotiations that made me crazy.

Moderating works for many people. It’s a good place to start if you’re thinking about curbing your drinking. It helps you to step back and take a look at your drinking habits. From there, you can determine if you can continue moderating or if you need to abstain entirely.

I wish I could have made moderation work for me–I really do–but in the end, I needed a finite rule to my drinking. I needed to stop completely. And this is what worked for me.

Have you ever tried (successfully or unsuccessfully) to moderate your drinking?