beach ready for summer
Bitch’in Life

7 Ways to Get Yourself Ready for a Kick Ass Summer

Memorial Day is upon us, and if you think preparing for summer is as simple as whipping out your white jeans and stocking up on sunblock, then perhaps Mr. Heat Miser has already gotten to you… melting your brain into a puddle of listless, lazy-hazy-dazy cells.

Once upon a time, summer was a snap, and the only stressors you had to deal with was trying to find a dry swimsuit to wear to the pool or finding a missing flip flop. But as an adult with a day job, offspring (if you’ve got ‘em), a couple of pets (ditto), and about a zillion other 24/7 obligations (ok, we all have THAT), summertime tends to boil down to a hot mess of schedule-shifting chaos.

They call it a break, which unfortunately can be quite literal. As in break your spirit, if you’re not careful.

With that in mind, here are 7 ways to get yourself ready for a kick ass summer:

1) Make yourself a super fun schedule: Why should the children have all the summer excitement? Think back to the joys of camp — one of the best parts was having a boatload of activities to do every single day that kept the routine fresh, enjoyable, and a welcome break from the normal school year grind. So here’s a good idea: be your own camp director, and calendarize activities that you can look forward to. I’m talking about beach days, sailing/waterskiing/boating, going swimming, hiking, doing an art or craft project, playing tennis or other outdoor sport you enjoy, and even taking a nice, phat middle-of-the-day break for general recreation where you can sit on your ass and play jacks if that’s what you want to do. (And OF COURSE that’s what you want to do… that’s what I want to do anyway.)

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Bitch'in Body Positivity
Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

Body Positivity for the Mom Bod

As the days heat up and we all start stripping down for spring and summer, it’s high time to give it up to the Body Positivity Movement, which is all about appreciating yourself from head to toe, and accepting yourself exactly how you are.

Fat, thin, busty, flat, voluptuous, lean… stop labeling, start loving. Screw our crazy cultural norms, and get radical with the whole shebang.

And it’s not just about weight — over at Fuck Yeah Body Positivity, we’re reminded that it’s all about “reclaiming all aspects of our bodies which society has deemed unacceptable. Whether you are skinny or curvy, short or tall, light or dark skinned, clear skinned or pimpled, you are beautiful…”

This from a 22-year-old woman named Katie — I love her blog for all her enthusiasm and support. So when my 14-year-old daughter laments about her “gigantic hips,” I send her in Katie’s direction. Or in Jes Baker’s direction. (Just because I know telling the kid she’s “fat like me doesn’t necessarily help… nor does the ye olde “joys of child-bearing hips” lecture, either.)

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where the time goes

Moms, Here’s Where the Time Goes

Where did the time go?

You know what I’m saying — it feels like just yesterday that gorgeous girl who looks like a princess in her strapless prom gown was a toddler playing dress-up. That handsome young dude holding up his driver’s license was last seen playing with trucks on the living room floor. Even the dog who used to have a thick, dark coat that gleamed in the sun when she romped and played is sporting grays and spends hot days napping instead of frolicking.

Where does the time go? is the popular refrain when we look at pictures of our growing, growing, (sniff) gone babies.

As we age especially, time feels like an over-caffeinated bitch, speeding away and laughing at you as it leaves you in the dust desperately trying to figure out where the hell it went.

Neuroscientists like David Eagleman have good explanations for why this is  — beginning with the fact that the passage of time is a perception, not a clear-cut sensory experience like smell, touch, taste, and sight. While these faculties reside in distinct areas in the brain, time is embedded throughout the senses  — for example, in the persistence of a smelly diaper, the eternity of a screaming child’s temper tantrum, or the endless throb of a finger burnt when hurrying to make dinner.

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use your illusion
Pop Culture

How to Use Your Illusion

This past week was a banner one in terms of pulling back the curtain of popular culture, and being able to truly see the driving forces behind a couple of gods — one Olympian (Bruce Jenner) and one rock (Kurt Cobain).

Well, at least get a closer look at how mere mortals can use their illusions to not just mask, but also fuel, pretty grand ambitions.

Bruce Jenner’s magic trick was convincing the whole world he was the epitome of manhood when he won Olympic gold for his Decathlon performance in 1976. For a while, he was even able to convince himself that the urge to express himself as a female that started from a very young age could be tamped down and ignored.

While his athletic career clearly wasn’t solely formed by a painful secret, it was, according to Bruce, the driving force that pushed him harder than anyone else and propelled him to become a world champion.

That he pretty much concealed such a gigantic revelation through 425 episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians — “The one true story in the family was the one I was hiding and nobody knew about it,” he told Diane Sawyer — was a feat perhaps even more spectacular than his earlier athletic achievements.

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Breakfast club
Bitch’in Life, Parenting, Pop Culture

Are We Still in The Breakfast Club?

Remember The Breakfast Club?

Thirty years later, and the question remains: which high school trope were you — the princess? The athlete? The brain? The basket case? Or the criminal?

Better question: which high school trope are you still?

Sometimes when I am writing my blog, I troll Facebook looking for inspiration. What I love about social media is it shows me that no matter how disparate the groups of friends I am looking at — peeps from childhood, high school, camp, college, post-college, early mommy group, parenting buds, or “other” — we have so much in common.

And not just the urge to take and share pictures of frosty cocktails, our feet at the beach, our kids/pets/significant other (not in that order — pets usually come first =), cooking/baking gone good/bad, and/or inspirational/funny quotes.

The human experience has a lot of overlap, especially the emotional components. The exteriors may look different, but the interior impulses are all the same. We’re just looking for connection to soothe the rough spots and know that we’re not alone in our suffering. (#Buddha, #tbt)

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Bitch’in Life, Parenting

Date Night Disaster

It’s official: I’ve lost all confidence in date nights.

Before I give you the latest blow to the ever-popular, eagerly anticipated weekly(ish) ritual, let’s backtrack a minute and explore the evolution of the date night.

BC (forget before kids, I’m going all the way back to before commitment), there was no such thing as date night. There were nights, and some of those evenings had dates, and as I recall, those things ran the gamut from awkward and painful to hot and amazing.

The one thing that dates have going over date night is the element of surprise. Moments of mystery. And the best of them have an unanticipated happy ending (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more).

Once you’re in a long-term relationship, date nights take on new meaning. Sure they’re a little forced, and of course the fact that you already know your date intimately saps some of the electric energy, but without the ritual, the chances of an awesome, albeit anticipated, happy ending decrease accordingly (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, etc.).

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new beginning
Bitch’in Life

New Beginnings: The Good, The Bad & The Cute as Hell

It’s that time of year again; as winter recedes, spring bursts forth full of new possibilities.

I embrace change, even though every new beginning is some other beginning’s end (at least according to my old pal Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger and also the more contemporary, albeit one-hit wonder band, Semisonic).

That said, change is never easy. Take for example this here Bitch’in blog and its spanky fresh look. It’s been two months in the making, with a fair amount of agonizing over the new direction. Most significantly, I make the tough decision to shed the kitschy/campy collage vibe of the original design that included elements like a basket of laundry, a wood-paneled station wagon, “mom” tattoo, and even an apple pie…. with my stalwart Bitch’in Suburbia mascot standing guard over it all.

When I paired it all down, the thing that it comes down to is the writing. My mitts (in dishwashing gloves or not, although who doesn’t multi-task?) On a keyboard.

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Parenting, Pop Culture

Stunt Penises & Other Things I Wish I Hadn’t Shown My Kids

Ever feel like you needed a parenting do-over?

I took my kids (14 and 15-years-old) to see the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart movie, Get Hard, and even though it had an R rating, I figured, how bad could it be?

Answer: When you have to ask, how bad could it be?, employ the Sandler Rule of Abysmal One-Step-Beyond-Humor, and make an educated guess that you’re better off playing Cards Against Humanity with the kiddies instead.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet (and I wouldn’t recommend it), heres’ the premise: a wealthy Wall Street prick, James King (Will Ferrell), is convicted for fraud and sentenced to ten years in San Quentin; to help prepare himself for his time inside, he enlists the only black man he apparently knows — his car wash guy, Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) — whom James pompously states that “statistically speaking” he’s clearly been to prison and therefore can get him ready for his stint in the can. Trouble is, Darnell is no con, although he happily cons James to get $30,000 out of him to use as a down payment on a new house.

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Bitch’in Life

Three Surefire Steps to Get Unstuck

Isn’t feeling stuck the worst?

I’ve been in a little rut of late — while I can picture myself flying, making gigantic leaps forward, in reality I can’t shake the feeling that I’m wading through glue.

This kind of things happens, when “diversions” like the daily grind, shifting schedules (youth sports, anyone?), and a whole host of external influences demand your presence, NOW, on the gerbil wheel of duty, responsibility, and obligation. As the days wear on and that thing keeps on churning, you can easily get stuck in the deep groove it makes; stranded on the edge of a depressing abyss where on the other side — and seemingly out of reach — are your creative commitment, personal goals, and artistic vision.

The good thing is about being stuck is that it’s not blocked; stuck is temporary, and even if part of you feels like it can’t go one more step, the other part of you can shimmy, pivot, and wriggle your way into freedom.

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Bitch’in Life

How to Celebrate Every Day Without Really Trying

In the last couple of weeks, I have been a celebration jet setter. I’ve been to a bat mitzvah, a milestone birthday party, and a wedding vow renewal.

In between those big ass celebrations, there have been several smaller local ones. Even my Facebook timeline has been exploding every single day with invitations to wish somebody a happy birthday.

The curmudgeon in me had a minute before this festive month of March started in earnest. There’s been a lot of present shopping, with loads more to come. There were plane tickets to purchase, hotel rooms to book, dog sitters to hire, schedules to be shuffled, work days to be taken off, clothes to be dry cleaned, panty hose (!!) to be purchased, and all of that required time, money, and super human planning.

Getting prepared for the onslaught of festivities was busy, to say the least, and so to keep my focus, I wouldn’t miss it for the world became my mantra.

And so, I haven’t. And a few funny things happened on the way to each party…

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