Chipotle is a Better Parent Than Me


Sticks ‘n stones, Chipotle, sticks ‘n stones…

Lately I’ve been worried that Chipotle has taken my place in my children’s hearts.

This is not unfounded: daily they beg to be ushered into her stunning yet classic bosom that cradles them in both soothing white lights and astonishing modern efficiency. Huffington Post once raved, “What Goethe was to German literature in the 19th century and Picasso was to European painting in the 20th century, Chipotle is to chain-restaurant décor today: the one model whose influence no rival is able to shirk.”

Meanwhile, clearing a space on my cluttered kitchen counter or computers-and-homework-laden dining room table normally takes at least five minutes — time none of us really has to spare. Sadly, I am no Goethe or Picasso of the suburban homemaking set. Score one, Chipotle.

Next, moving on to the heart of the matter, are the meals themselves, which are “served with integrity” at the monolithic Mexican Grill. Sometimes, oh so naively, I feel I could take her on that note. Especially since there are just a handful of options to satiate my kids’ hunger — burritos, tacos, bowls, and salads — and they inevitably order the same things over and over again.


My repertoire is far more varied than Chipotle’s … and yet, sadly that doesn’t seem to matter. There’s just no way my meatloaf or garlic roasted chicken or spaghetti squash casserole can compete with their goddamn steak or, Lord have mercy, sofritas.

I’d make a joke here about how they must sprinkle their food with crack, but A#1) That would be super ’80s of me and B#2) They don’t add anything unpure to their food. An analogy to Walter White’s flawless meth would probably be more on point, but also far more desperate. And if I even knew WTF rice bran oil was (because it’s in a lot of their food), I’d venture a guess that was the key. If only I could replicate it at home…

Speaking of food standards, Chipotle and I are totally on the same wavelength: we both strive to serve non-GMO, locally sourced produce and other ingredients, and Responsibly Raised® (their trademark, not mine) meats. The difference is I am ridiculed and told, “there’s nothing here to eat,” and even my “healthy” junk food (i.e., Trader Joe’s Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips) is rejected, while they scarf up her warm Masa chips that are lightly dusted with some unidentified lime-ish flavor. That can’t be all-natural… or can it? My children could live on that shit (which, technically, they actually do) and probably grow up healthier and stronger to boot. Like the kids in their award-winning scarecrow animated short film who line up to break the cycle of industrial food and choose to “cultivate a better world.”


While I serve pork chops, the one meal the kiddos kinda like, Chipotle has currently removed carnitas from their menu, thanks to their commitment to animal welfare and sustainability. Apparently one of their suppliers wasn’t meeting their stringent requirements, and conventionally sourced pork is not an acceptable option. As I cringe behind a hot wall of shame, I cede this point to Chipotle as well.

And while you might think that Chipotle is winning just the hearts of our children, lemme tell you, their “Cultivating Thought Author Series” campaign says they are vying now for their minds as well. With the faux-innocent query, “Must a cup, or bag, suffer an existence that is limited to just one humble purpose, defined merely by its simple function?” the bitch threw down the gauntlet and hauled in superlative literary giants and thought leaders to write custom “two-minute reads”:  Amy Tan, Walter Isaacson, Neil Gaiman, Augusten Burroughs, Jeffrey Eugenides, Julia Alvarez, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis, George Saunders, Steven Pinker, Sheri Fink… Jonathan FUCKING Safran Foer, for Chrissakes! — and comedians, too: Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Bill Hader, and Judd Apatow. And if the writing doesn’t get you, the killer hipster illustrations will.


Depressed and frankly feeling a bit defeated that it’s Chipotle, not me, that finally got my children to read Amy Tan’s musings on Ghosts over guac and chips, the indignities continue as I glance at the bag I got along with my mouth-watering sofritas bowl and see this quote by the holder of the Guinness World Records’ distinction, “most translated book by a living author,” Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist):

“We all, at some point, grow old and acquire other qualities, and these can always be turned to good advantage.”

MOTHERFUCKER! Did Chipotle Just call me old??! And is she trying to tell me in brilliant literary fashion that my worst fears have been confirmed… that I have, in fact, been replaced by a burrito? *Sigh* and thank you very little, Chipotle, for handing me a goddamn barbacoa-scented existential crisis.

As I throw away the empty containers, I enjoy feeling like I’m messing with Chipotle’s spotless recycling record (yah, you might have saved 58,000 trees, beyotch, and reduced energy consumption by 95% with your PC, reused soda can lids, but the chain stops here…!). At this point, I know there’s no way I can beat her at any of her games…

And then my son pipes up, “Mom, can you help me with my homework?” While I know full well that he is light years ahead of me now in all of his subjects, I pretend I can, and I pull up a chair next to him to provide moral, if not actual, support.

Chipotle may have won my children’s bodies, minds, and yes, even spirits, but I still got the beans to beat her with: actual human contact.

So if you see me making homemade guac, just know that for my loved ones it’s free (NOT extra, so chew on that!)– and that’s just one more way my lovin’ beats Chipotle’s every damn time. Now excuse me while I go finish my sofritas…

And if you’d like to join the battle, one avocado at a time, here’s their double-secret guacamole recipe to make at home:

Chipotle’s Signature Guacamole

6 large ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup citrus (lemon and lime) juice
3 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cups red onion, finely chopped
12 large Serrano chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Using a fork, mash avocados with citrus juice in a small bowl.
Add cilantro, chopped onion, Serrano chili peppers, and salt.
Stir to combine.

Serve with lime-dusted tortilla chips and a crooked smile on your face to indicate that you know you’re beating the dip out of Chipotle.

Viva las madres y los padres… and viva las perras!

Recipe via POPSUGAR

50 Shades of Say: What Women Really Want for Valentine’s Day

Mommy Doms all of us

Mommy Doms, all of us

There is a fantasy at the core of 50 Shades of Grey that is the sexiest part of the entire experience.

And no, it doesn’t take place in the “Red Room of Pain.”

Although if you remove the floggers, whips, and restraints (or not — I’m not judging here), the essence of what’s so appealing remains.


And its corollary, submission.

Having a cool, assertive — dare I say arrogant — person telling you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how much to withhold and then release — hits our collective G-spots and is why 50 Shades of Grey, both the books and the movie, are so popular. (Well, that and the sex.)

We women make about 5,792 decisions a day that steer the course of not just ourselves, but also everyone around us. And for most of us, we are the Dom in every single relationship. I know in my household, nobody eats, goes anywhere, dresses, goes to bed, wakes up, or basically does anything without my participation and/or approval.

SNAP! (That’s the sound of the crack of my virtual whip.)

And also, ZZZ. That’s the corollary to XXX — it can be really exhausting to figure everything out and direct everyone all day long… without the benefit of a flogger or two, handcuffs, or a contract that everyone signs agreeing to doing exactly as I say when I say it and how I say to do it.

So for Valentine’s Day, in addition to sucking up the age-old tale of successful man seduces innocent woman and in the process heals himself by finding true love (totally Disney, if only Cinderella lost not a slipper but one of her Ben Wa balls or Snow White wore a dog collar crafted by dwarves and insisted upon by Prince Charming), the ladies will be lining up to take in the fantasy for 125 minutes of pure release.

What would life be like if someone else called all the shots?

I for one would enjoy that for a while.

I would love it if when I woke up, my day was already mapped out for me, relieving me of barking orders and plotting out everyone’s schedule as I make lunches and breakfast simultaneously.

It would be pretty awesome if in the middle of the day, someone led me to a “playroom,” handed me a key, and told me I could come and go as I pleased. (I will leave this one open-ended… let’s just say a special break room just for me — be it “play time” or nap time — would be amazing.)

I would be down with having someone whisk me away on a jet, especially during rush hour that in my world also normally collides with needing to be in 2-5 different places at the same time.

It would be divine at dinnertime when I have no idea what I want to cook if someone could silence my inclination to make something with chicken and demand ribs or sushi or something. (Wait, that’s my kids, pretty much every night… and still, they get chicken Let’s tweak this a bit and say that person would have the meal fully mapped out and prepared. Now that’s a fantasy I’d truly enjoy.)

Even bedtime would be a great time to follow orders to say, stop checking emails, ditch paying bills, and even to remember to brush my teeth. (Not that I need a reminder but it’d be nice to know someone else cares about my personal hygiene now that I’m in “the invisible years,” aka mid-life.)

When the 50 Shades of Grey books first became a phenomenon, I wrote about the real mommy porn, which is the fantasy that we’re locked away from the world where nothing is black and white, but instead is a nice, soft, comfortable grey. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, and a hottie whispering in our ears reminding us to just breathe.

And I admitted that would be excellent… for maybe 50 minutes or 50 seconds.

But then back to real life where the truth is that I’d like to have some say in the matter.  And at least 50 shades of it — from I got nuthin’ to add to do exactly as I say or I will hurt you. (I mean that figuratively, of course.) And in the real BDSM community, that’s the point of differentiation from the fantasy presented by 50 Shades of Grey as well. (For more on that subject, check out this excellent article from The Atlantic, “Consent Isn’t Enough: The Troubling Sex of 50 Shades.)

While I know books and movies like 50 Shades of Grey and TV shows like The Bachelor are great guilty pleasures, I also hate the idea of some guy calling the shots while the women just wait… and wait… and wait for their turn. Without their needs and desires every explicitly discussed or addressed.

Perhaps that’s why the role of Dom of the House is so desirable: it fills a very specific need — to have an important purpose and play a significant role in someone else’s life.

This, as it is with any other relationships where there is an unequal balance of power, is not to be taken lightly. And it’s also important that you don’t hang your whole identity on it, either.

So if you hear me uttering my safe words — I got it – just know that as much as I’d enjoy someone else calling the shots on Valentine’s Day, I’d like my say, too. While there’s nothing wrong with getting tied up, spending even 50 seconds tongue-tied would be a little over the edge for me.

Now enjoy this spoof on 50 Shades of Grey (ok, it’s an ad, but good one) … and Happy Valentine’s Day, my bitches!

Blog Image Source: Zazzle

Questioning #LikeAGirl is Just Like a Girl


#LikeAGirl – eyes throw daggers, arm throws fastballs

While Super Bowl XLIX is now a somewhat distant memory, I can’t get one moment out of my mind…. and no, it wasn’t Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll’s “Super Blunder” when he had his QB throw a pass, “waste a play,” and lose the game. (That was a #LikeADamnFool moment if I ever saw one.)

It was the airing of the #LikeAGirl ad, where grown women, a man, a boy, and some little girls demonstrate what it means to “run like a girl” and “fight like a girl.” There is a lot of silly, limp-wristed flopping around to demonstrate the stereotypical “women are the weaker sex” scenario — sadly conveyed not just by the males in the bunch but also by the grown women, too.

And the of course the little girls, who presumably have not yet been gripped by low self-esteem or subjected to antiquated, un-PC, sexist perceptions, proceed to run hard, punch fiercely, and generally kick ass.

For those of us who like to keep score, this campaign sponsored by Always — the feminine protection product that ironically makes me feel like I want to lay down and take a Victorian-era nap vs. be active and bold in the modern world and use a tampon – has been around for about a year. The intention, which is to bolster self-confidence in teen girls, is awesome, albeit a little cloying.

(I personally have mixed feelings about advertisers like Always and Dove that poke a woman right in her most private parts, aka her emotions and feelings of being “less than,” to drive sales. Then again, as a marketing person myself, I say bravo for scoring a direct hit because it sure worked on me! I’m freakin’ blogging about it, for Pete’s sake!)

It didn’t take much digging to find out more of the impetus behind the campaign with this quote by Lauren Greenfield, the filmmaker and director of the #LikeAGirl video. “In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes firsthand,” she said  “When the words ‘like a girl’ are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with Always to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine ‘like a girl’ into a positive affirmation.”

Loads of peeps agreed with Greenfeld. From the Twitterverse:

Still, as an old-school communications major, I can’t help but think about Marshall McLuhan’s observation, “The Medium is the Message.” In this case, showing a dumb ass dude “fight like a girl” in a year where the NFL has been addled by horrifying cases of domestic violence and child abuse at the hands of its players, I couldn’t help but feel manipulated by the airing of the #LikeAGirl spot.

If you dig deeper into the psychology of abuse, shame is the root cause and net result. The very point of #LikeAGirl is to shrug off the embarrassment of being “the weaker sex” and present an empowered self to the world. So the irony is pretty rich, especially given the context.

And then of course there was the H8tr backlash with the #LikeABoy tag. Apparently there’s a “meninist” movement, too:

I liked this one:

When I think about why I’m so activated about this is probably because not only am I a vagina-totin’ American, but I’m also a parenting one. My daughter has never once thought about what it means to run, hit, or do anything like a girl, because she’s smart enough to know that her gender has nothing to do with her ability to perform on a sports field. And the way she plays is hard, competitive, and always amazing… #LikeAPerson.

That leads me to another aspect of the campaign that rubbed me the wrong way — when it says at the end of the ad, “Let’s make #LikeAGirl mean amazing things.”

Oh, you mean like having the ability to squeeze a several pound creature out of our tiny, centimeters large cervix? Wait, I think that that’s called MIRACULOUS, and it’s a super fun party trick that only X-chromosomal beings have the capacity to do.

While I’m all about joining ANYONE (even Always) in championing self-confidence in girls, I’m also intrigued that Always’ tagline is “Rewrite the Rules.” In a land where legislators work to keep gender inequality institutionalized, up to and including insisting that a woman’s right to chose — a law that has been on the books since 1973 — is chronically debatable, the task of shifting society’s perceptions of what females can and can’t do is an undertaking that perhaps only Wonder Woman could handle. And while she’s at it, maybe she could address the gender-wage gap in sports — while Title IX has gone a long way in leveling the collegiate playing field in terms of scholarships, even sports like tennis, which has an equal amount of fans watching both men and women play, show the ladies as making nearly 24% less in prize money in most tournaments than their male counterparts.

As a feminist, a meninist (cuz I have a boy too) and perhaps most importantly, a humanist, I really do believe that the conversation about treating all people equally is important. I loved what some of my MALE Facebook friends had to say about the ad:

Saw the ad previously on the Internet, and as a father of two girls, I thought it was awesome. Teared up a bit watching it during the game.”

“Liked the concept thought the execution was poor.” (NOTE: I like when women writer/directors enjoy the same scrutiny as male ones.)

“I like it because my daughter kicks ass!” (FULL DISCLOSURE: My #LikeADad hubby wrote that one.)

This particular ad didn’t make me tear up (although many do), but it did clearly stir some powerful emotions up in not just me, but in the 114 million people whose brains were zapped with a super blow to the current belief that #LikeAGirl should no longer be thrown around as an insult because girls are people, too. This kicks the taunt “like a girl” — which is to say wrong or incorrect vs. the “right” way, which is presumably as executed by boys and men — directly in the ‘nads. (More on this note in this excellent article from Jezebel, “Always Ad About ‘Like a Girl’ Taunt Will Make You Cry Like One.”)

Ultimately, flipping the switch on “like a girl” is as good for boys as it is for the little ladies. Because it’s the Y-chromosomal humans that are most often disparaged by being compared to females, be it how they run, fight, act, or look. In a world where #LikeAGirl means amazing things as Always urges, then we are taking care of everyone, regardless of gender.  See how that works?

So if you see me replaying the #LikeAGirl ad so I can really consider all angles, just know I’m not wasting a play — I’m taking this conversation and running with it to advance the cause of gender equality. And I’m doing so for a lot of reasons, but especially because I am currently yards-deep in the second half of raising my daughter (and you’ll know what I’m talking about if you read this great, viral piece by Whitney Fleming on Huffpo, “To My Daughter, At Halftime).  Perhaps if Pete Carroll had thought #LikeAGirl, he’d have realized that letting go in the final seconds of the last quarter is not an option — you gotta take that ball over the finish line to make sure the playing field is leveled and you’ve really, finally won the game.

If you haven’t seen the ad, here’s the extended dance-mix version of what aired during the Super Bowl:

5 Unintended Consequences of Facebook

Unintended Facebook

The downside of social networking

Has this ever happened to you?

You glance down at your email and see a “friend request” from Facebook. You think to yourself, “that’s nice, someone wants to be my friend.”

Upon further inspection, you see a name that you’d long ago forgotten about, thanks to time and its magical erasing qualities. All the healing of old wounds and so forth.

But now here is this interloper in present day, and although ignoring it (path of least resistance) or declining it (active HELLS TO THE NO) are both viable options, the poke is there, and it’s a painful jab in the virtual ribs for old times’ sake.

While Facebook and all social media are amazing in many ways — for me, 99% of the connections I’ve been happy for, rekindling old friendships in a positive, fun, and even Zen way — there are the those sticky situations that can lodge in your craw and make you wish you could log off and hide under a rock until the next millennium.

Unintended Consequence #1: Facebook, which was meant to be a fun and instantaneous way to socially network in the present, can also be a painful way to reopen some formerly closed channels of the past.

This may seem like a dramatic response, but this most recent uninvited “friend” brought back a lot of uncomfortable memories from childhood. It wasn’t an ex, but it was a person who had a domineering presence tinged with unacceptable overtones that even as a kid I knew enough to feel queasy about. This person was never my friend, nor would he be someone I’d ever want contact with as an adult.

And although DECLINE was the clear action, the uneasy feeling of invaded privacy lingers.

That said, who the hell am I kidding? I’m a blogger that rants about my private life (as I am doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE for you lovers of existential crisis and other virtual reindeer games), and I am active on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter; yutz around on Pinterest; have a little dalliance with Tumblr going; and my privacy settings are set, but not often reviewed even as the algorithms change constantly. This from a person who has a BBF journalist that has literally interviewed more hackers than anyone else, and he was told by one of his interviewees “Facebook is gold for hackers.”

Unintended Consequence #2: Taking the “ignorance is bliss” route as you navigate public spaces is the surest road to bummer city.

Still, choosing to be involved with social media isn’t an open invitation for weirdness. And this wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered this scenario.

There was the woman who played an instrumental role in breaking up a close, real-life friendship I had. While her words and manipulations weren’t the entire reason things fell apart — there was plenty on my end that I took responsibility for, and equally as much from my ex-BBF — she was happy to fan the flames in a Mommy Mean Girl sitch that to this day makes my stomach hurt if I think too much about it. I put her on “ignore,” so periodically the friend request resurfaces. I think I take some kind of perverse delight in not letting her in without actively kicking her out, if that makes sense. Just an echo of the games people play when they want to be passive aggressive douchebags.

Unintended Consequence #3: I’m a passive aggressive douchebag, albeit virtually so.

Then there was the teacher who reconnected with me through an online alumni group, and proceeded to ask me if I was “still as pretty as I was in high school” and if my marriage was a happy one. While I could’ve easily shrugged off this line of questioning as the flirty musings of a man who nowadays was probably the same age as many of my friends and colleagues (since he was likely in his mid-20s when I was 18), instead it brought back a flood of memories of me feeling as if he liked me a little more than normal and necessary in a student-teacher dynamic. Having that old inkling confirmed made me first uncomfortable, then swiftly thereafter totally pissed. Nothing more disgusting than a decades-old, cold plate of lechery zapped by social media and served up hot ‘n fresh as if it would be more appetizing in the present day.

Unintended Consequence #4: Social Media boundaries can feel as flimsy as the loosely arranged string of pixels that they are.

As much “fun” as it is to point fingers at others, my own behavior on social media occasionally gives me pause. I wonder if I should “like” a photo of an ex, worry about saying stupid shit on comments, or even spend too much damn time studying other people’s lives like a voyeur. Once upon a time the past stayed where it was unless we very actively pursued rekindling old connections. Today we passively have insight into people we once knew when, and make assumptions about their adult lives based on food choices, drink choices, offspring, and other benign, yet ultimately intimate and possibly telling details.

Unintended Consequence #5: We social media addicts are all essentially creepy stalkers.

The question is, then, why do I — WE — feel so compelled to interact on Facebook and other social media if we know it is fraught with so damn many pitfalls? The answer, I think, is that it’s human nature to want to be connected with others. We want to be “liked,” and to know that out there in the big, scary world we have a friend… or two…. or 562.

So if you see me sending you a friend request, just know that despite the fact that I am an ignorant, passive aggressive douchebag that lacks boundaries and is essentially a stalker, I only ask if you are someone I really want to be connected to. And if we can’t meet face-to-face, well then, maybe Facebook really is the next best thing. (Or is it….?!)



Copyright © 2012 - Trudi Roth. All Rights Reserved.