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bikini bod
Bitch’in Life, Parenting

How to Get a Bikini Body

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Step 1: Get a body (if you don’t already have one).

Step 2: Buy a bikini (if you don’t already have one).

Step 3: Put the bikini on your body and voila! You’ve got yourself a bikini body.

Step 3.5: (Don’t forget to stop giving a shit about what other people think. You didn’t care about being judged anyway — did you?)

I think by now we’ve all heard that one and all the many variations on that theme (“how to get a beach body,” “how to have a bikini ready body,” yadda yadda). I give great props to the body positivity movement because the truth is we are all beautiful.

But even Oprah loses sight here and there of the stuff we all know to be true. She might be the high priestess of loving your own “best body,” but weight loss is still what she chews on regularly — it’s both an ongoing focus of her eponymous media (200 articles and counting on Oprah.com) and most recently, led her to put some serious cash where her mouth is with a $12.5 million investment into Weight Watchers. (And in true Oprah fashion, she maybe lost a little [26 lbs. as of the spring] but gained reportedly more than $2.5 million for each pound she’s lost. That would make me give my bod a little extra rich love, I’m just sayin’.)

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how to declare your independence
Parenting, Pop Culture

How to Declare Your Independence Without Screwing Everyone Else

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Last week I attended Politicon, a non-partisan, “unconventional political convention,” which had panels, discussions, a marketplace, movie screenings, live podcasting, an art gallery and something really interesting: the actual coming together of people from polar opposite sides of the aisle to discuss what the $^#%%@ is going on with this crazy world of ours.

That the convention, planned ages ago but never more timely, was on the heels of Brexit was both prescient and foreboding at the same time.

The main panel I attended pitted liberal activist and pundit Van Jones against conservative author and personality Ann Coulter. I was ready for a crazy smack down, but actually, it was a pretty levelheaded discussion about a variety of topics where both parties often agreed to disagree as civil folk tend to do.

Not to got all doomsday on you, but I’m pretty sure the pair were at least half the Horsemen (Horsepeople?) of the Apocalypse when they started the discussion by coming together on the same point: people are pissed because they’re suddenly in touch with feeling like their needs and desires aren’t being remotely addressed — never mind represented — by the people in charge. They question the process, reject authority and are pretty positive if they could just grab the wheel from the elites, they’d steer this party bus back on track and headed to a much brighter future.

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bitchin fathers day gift
My Bitches, Parenting

10 Unique & Personal Gifts You Can Give a Dad for Father’s Day

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My dad has a standard answer whenever we ask what he wants for a special occasion like Father’s Day.

It always starts with “nuthin’, I have everything I need,” and ends with (after additional prodding) “OK, socks and underwear.”

As a child I couldn’t think of anything more boring. As an adult and a parent myself now, I can appreciate the idea that banging on all cylinders at all times means there’s no time to shop or fret about holes in inopportune places. Toss in the horror that is laundry, and it’s easy to see why being presented with, say, a month’s worth of fresh, unscathed skivvies is an unmitigated luxury.

Nowadays, there are a million “unique” gift ideas out there for dads, most of which seem related to the three Gs of fatherhood: golf, grilling and guzzling. If the dad in your life is a carnivorous alcoholic putter, then finding the perfect gift for him is a breeze. If, however, you are looking to break free from the stereotypical presents and also reject giving the predictable (and still pretty boring) gifts of socks and underwear, here are 10 original and personal ideas that don’t, in most cases, even require wrapping:

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the funny thing about vaginas
Humor, Parenting

The Funny Thing About Vaginas

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I’m calling it here and now: 2016 is the Year of the Vagina.

We are in a post-modern vag-world now, y’all. Our nether region, once taboo in mainstream media, has become a pretty much daily staple, thanks to celebs like Kim Kardashian, whose Constagrammed cooze and serial spreading for mags is surely an inspiration to us all and Gwyneth Paltrow, who’s opened our eyes to the Mugworth V-Steam (“an energetic release — not just a steam douche…”) as a the “it” girl of spa treatments and homemade lube alike.

Although these bold illustrations surely indicate that penis envy is out, cooter coveting is in, the vaginal tipping point for me is the idea that periods are FINALLY FUNNY.

In one night I caught up on the Season 3 finale of Broad City and a recent episode (#4) of Inside Amy Schumer, and found a wealth of menstrual material.

First off, Broad City’s finale about BBFs Abbi and Ilana heading to Israel on a “Birthmark” (riff on Birthright) trip had a hashtag that said it all — #therewillbebLOOd. (Periods aside, there was a freakin’ hysterical joke about the “mohel chai” club, too.)  The two-part finale was essentially a running gag about menstruation that started with Ilana going through security wearing a Shark Tank-worthy innovation: period-stained pants that kept drug-sniffing dogs from finding the weed she was smuggling in her vagina, and ended with her fashioning a homemade tampon for Abbi from a pita and various other, uhm, inventive materials that was mistaken for a bomb.

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when moms take baby steps
Parenting

When Moms Take Baby Steps

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Last weekend I went to my first baby shower in many moons…. ever since I said “goodnight moon” to breeding some 15 years ago.

The mom-to-be is in her ninth month; as I watched her drape tiny onesies, precious caps, baby gangstah hoodies, miniature t-shirts and wee shorts over her built-in clothes rack belly, I couldn’t help but let out a few involuntary gasps.

Not because the of wardrobe — although who knew that giraffes were the gender-neutral IT creature of the infant set nowadays? — but because of all the amazing things my mommy-to-be friend has to look forward to:

  • That feeling you get when you hold that previous tiny bundle in your hands for the first time and are hit by a zillion pound realization that NOTHING will ever be the same.
  • The first feeding, when “doing what comes natural” and breastfeeding is actually not all that natural, it turns out. Nor is almost anything maternal that you thought you knew. Much like Jon Snow, your little Wildling is proof positive that you know nothing.
  • Being annoyed in the hospital by the nurses waking you once or twice during the night to feed your newborn… only to realize once you get home that was the last good night’s sleep you had… ever again. Or at least it’ll feel that way.
  • Getting into a routine with the baby, which not only takes time but is also at the expense of all other routines — work, “alone time” with your partner, hanging out with your friends, your personal hygiene regime, your workouts, getting back into your non-maternity wear and well, everything.
  • Projectile poop. It’s a rite of passage, y’all.
  • The feeling that the only book you’ll finish reading ever again is the aforementioned Good Night, Moon. Even Dr. Seuss feels like heavy lifting in the early days. And forget that stack of magazines, newspapers and your own books, too. Your “mommy brain” is a combo platter of sleep deprivation, abject terror from looking up everything in the What to Expect… books and hormones. For all those aspiring dictators out there, if you could bottle the essence of mommy brain, you would NEVER be challenged because nobody would ever be able to read, think or effectively function other than burping, changing diapers, rocking and pacing around in circles with the ultimate goal of getting to nap time.

The list could easily go on, but the point is this: the initiation into motherhood has NOTHING to do with taking baby steps. It is all about a magnificent yet terrifying leap from the Mountain of Self into a deep, endless Sea of We. (Sea of Wee?)

For the first few years, things are a total blur. For example, one time in a total sleep deprived haze at a kiddie concert in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, I can remember begging my mother-in-law to promise me that things would get easier.

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the 4-letter word you must teach your kids
BIS Sez, Parenting

The 4-Letter Word You Must Teach Your Kids

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As y’all know, I’m not afraid of chucking a few 4-letter words out there in my blog.

But today I’m going some place different — it’s dark, it’s scary, and it’s not often the subject of an otherwise (relatively) lighthearted “mom” blog like Bitch’in Suburbia.

And that is exactly why I am going there:

Because I am a mother.

Because I am a woman.

Because I stand with Kesha, whose case against Dr. Luke will go well into 2017 if not beyond.
kesha on rape facebook

Because I am still outraged about UVA rape case, which thanks to horrendous reporting and a gross, potential “catfishing” scenario at its core, now makes it much harder for women to come forward AND be believed when they claim that they have been sexually assaulted or raped.

And while there is an endless amount of more becauses, I’ll go right to the one that makes it personal: Because I am a victim.

Which I was reminded of when I made a video recently for a contest aimed at igniting the conversation about feminism called #TheFWord, sponsored by SheKnows Media and the Ms. Foundation.

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ashes to ashes
Parenting, Pop Culture

Ashes to Ashes: Remembering David Bowie

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I’ve had Bowie on the brain for days now, ever since I caught my son listening to the Thin White Duke:

bowie_fb

Not that I didn’t pretty much always have Bowie on the brain: he had me trembling like a flower as a kid… back when that kind of thing happened on a regular basis.

Considering a slew of Tweets woke me from deep slumber last night to the shocking news of Bowie’s demise is just more evidence of how he spoke to so many generations of people with that otherworldly, unmistakable bombastic groove that fills your soul and makes you wish you knew life on Mars even one iota as much as Ziggy did.

There are so many songs in his repertoire that resonate, but one random tune in particular always stood out to me — “Kooks,” from the Hunky Dory album that also brought us the seminal, ground-zero Bowie anthem, “Changes.”

I loved it in my youth, but it was when I had started my path as a breeder that “Kooks” really kicked in:

“Will you stay in our lovers’ story
If you stay you won’t be sorry
‘Cause we believe in you
Soon you’ll grow so take a chance
With a couple of Kooks
Hung up on romancing…

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burnt out
Bitch’in Life, Parenting

10 Ways to Tell You’re Burnt Out & How to Reignite

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“I’m burnt out,” my daughter said to me the other day as we hurled down the freeway to her second softball practice of the day.

I glanced at her slouched in the seat next to me and felt a dark, deep pang of recognition. I wanted to nip off the next exit and take my baby home, but I also knew that she’d be letting down her team and her coaches, and we were almost there anyways.

So instead, I did the logical thing for an equally burnt out person — I commiserated.

“Yup, I’ve been up since 4:30 a.m. myself. I did a few hours work, ran to school to unpack two pallets of cookie dough for the baseball fundraiser, hauled boxes, distributed the stuff, ran home, started dinner, and now after I drop you off, I have to go to the grocery store, finish some editing, answer emails, feed you guys…”

This admittedly dickhead mom move was a classic sign of burnout, which, according to Psychology Today is a “state of chronic stress” that leads to:

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Are you a conductor on the Guilt Trip Express
Bitch’in Life, Parenting

Are You a Conductor on the Guilt Trip Express?

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I love a good viral video like the next gal, but last week, I instantaneously regretted clicking the “play” button on “Remember me… Mom wants son to call from college” uploaded by Ann Pinto McCarney (currently near 750,000 views).

“Hi, Liam. Remember me? I’m your mommy. I gave birth to you,” McCarney starts. ”Well, actually, I didn’t quite give birth. I had to have a C-section to get you out. A big scar and it hurt like hell, but that’s OK. Do you remember that it was me that gave you life?”

OY. I hear the woman — I pushed two watermelons out of a veritable garden house myself — but after five seconds of viewing I already felt guilty for not calling her.

And I’m not even Liam.

Gotta give McCarney props for her production choices. The camera is angled up at her, catching the side of a refrigerator and a cabinet — big clues she shot the video in the kitchen, which is the ultimate nurturing Mama’s home base. There’s a harsh reality quality in the clip, thanks to bright daylight (a late-night loving college student’s nemesis) and McCarney’s near constant mocking facial expressions.

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Parenting today in a post 9-11 world
Best o’ the Bitch, Parenting

Parenting Today in a Post-9/11 World

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September 11, 2001, I was doing what all young mothers do.

Separating from my child for the very first time.

Not that we were never apart. Hell, I was a working mom, so there were plenty of times when I saw my son for only minutes a day, as I often left before he was up and got home shortly before his bedtime.

But this was different. This time he was leaving the nest for his first day of preschool. He was only two and a half, but with a six-month-old baby at home and us considering a cross-country move, I needed a few waking hours to deal.

Dropping him off at his brand new preschool was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

Or so I thought.

As I left his school, a man stopped me and said, “I just heard the craziest thing. A plane flew into the World Trade Center.”

Before I could respond, he added, “Wait, what did I just say to you?” The man looked sincerely befuddled, with the same expression on his face as you have when you wake up from a nightmare.

I repeated the horrible thing he said, and he replied, “No, not one plane. Two planes.”

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