Live From Disney World

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm in Orlando for my second Disney Social Media Moms conference. It's been a bit of a whirlwind and it's only our second day.

We took a redeye Wednesday night. I'm still trying to figure out if it was a good idea. Our idea was to have dinner, get on the plane, go to sleep and wake up in Orlando. A medical emergency on the plane changed that plan a little. Thankfully the person is OK. But it made for a really long day.

Yesterday we walked Epcot for a few hours and then met up with the rest of the conference for dinner on the beach in front of the Yacht Club. After dinner we let Tyler go back into the lazy river while we had cocktails in the jacuzzi. It was a great day and perfect evening. Until.

Phil accidentally dropped my phone in the jacuzzi. Now, since I've had a smartphone, I've become somewhat of an addict. I'm very overprotective of my tech. Kudos to the ladies at the bell desk for getting a bowl of dried rice up to our room within minutes. They must have seen the distress on my face. The phone is still in the rice. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I like attending this conference because it's different from some of the others I go to. We've had two fantastic speakers talking more about personal branding, purpose and passion than working with products. It's refreshing.

Yesterday was Take Your Child to Work Day. Sometimes I wonder if Tyler understands what I do and that it's more than playing on the internet. On the way here, he said, "thank you for being a blogger so we can go to Disney."


I love that kid.

*Disney is providing fantastic meals and entertainment during the conference.

My 40 Before 40 List (Sort of)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I've been sitting on this post for so long, it's almost irrelevant. I started my 40 Before 40 list and have been stuck at thirty for about two months. I'm not sure what that says about me. Either I don't have a lot of ambition or I feel pretty satisfied with the things I've accomplished so far.

'40 Motel' photo (c) 2008, Columbus Neon - license:

In no particular order, here is my incomplete 40 Before 40 list:

1. Learn how to use my camera
2. Take a really good picture
3. Have a reason to need a passport
4. Go away for the weekend with my husband
5. Go away for the weekend with just the girls
6. Learn a new computer program like Adobe Elements
7. Define my business goals and make a business plan
8. Earn enough money through the business to hire a cleaning service
9. Take Tyler to the Midwest meet his extended family  
10. Renew my wedding vows
11. Be on TV more, I really enjoy the news segments I've done
12. Be a guest on a podcast or other online show
13. Learn how to do the smokey eye
14. Own at least one pair of fabulous designer shoes
15. Define my "style" and start to shop accordingly
16. Take a photography class
17. Have a spa day with my mom and Gramma
18. Have a Girls Only day at Disneyland
19. Do something that really scares me
20. Attend CES, Blog World or other non "mom" conference
21. Buy another lens or other piece of camera equipment
22. Go to a taping of the Ellen Show
23. See all the movies up for an Oscar before Oscar night
24. Go to an Oakland Raider game in Oakland
25. Have a grocery trip where I buy at least $200 worth for less than $30
26. Pay off my credit card
27. See Air Force One in person and/or meet the President
28. Do a 3 Day walk in another city
29. Own at least one fantastic handbag
30. Spend a day at the beach riding my dream bike, the Karma by Electra

And that's where my inspiration stops. Do you have a bucket list post? Link to it below so I can possibly steal some of your ideas.

Attempting to Embrace the Chaos

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lately I've been trying really hard to embrace the crazy. I threw my hands up and cried 'Uncle.' My Type A, anal side is having a hard time accepting the reality of how frenetic our lives have become lately, but the practical side is encouraging the the Type A side to take deep breaths and realize things will slow down soon enough.

I think it would be easier for me to let go if my mom and I hadn't had a few 'discussions' about everything from the state of my carpets to my son's wrinkled shorts. We're having one of those mother daughter moments where advice is really criticism in disguise. I've had to defend the choices I've made (or not made).

She doesn't understand why I can't "do it all" while one of the first things she did after my brother moved out a few years ago was hire a someone to clean twice a month. Things got heated. The phrase 'cleanliness is next to Godliness' was used. I realized I was on the verge of saying things I would end up regretting only after the satisfaction of getting the last word wore off.

Here's the thing: no, you can't eat off my floors but why would you want to? I have a perfectly good (and clean) kitchen table. My carpets are embarrassing, but the couch is clean. Sure, you'll have to move a pile of laundry to sit down but at least it's clean and folded. No one who comes into my home is afraid to sit down or eat anything I've made.

When I look back on my childhood and tell stories, I don't say, "man, my mom sure kept a super clean house." Instead, I talk about the green cookie jar that was always full of homemade cookies, us going shopping, her taking me to the library and buying me Sweet Valley High books, taking me to our local indoor pool and to the skating rink.

I don't think about our house or the laundry, I think about my mom herself. And that's what I want for Tyler. I want him to remember getting excited when I made his favorite meals for dinner and that I was at almost all of his practices and games. I also want Tyler to see me doing things that make me happy.

Am I happy that my house is a mess? No. It drives me absolutely crazy. But I decided awhile ago that I'm not a maid. I've already tried spending two hours a day making sure the house is exactly the way I like it (basically, perfect) and I've also tried screaming at my family to get them to help out more. Both ways left all of us miserable. I was resentful that I spent so much time cleaning for two people who could obviously care less and they got tired of me nagging.

The way I left it with my mom was to tell her that I don't have to do things the same way she did. We don't have to be the same kind of mom. She's a great mom and I like to think I'm doing a pretty good job myself. But, that doesn't mean I have to follow in her exact footsteps. And it definitely doesn't mean I should feel guilty for doing what works for us. Things may be crazy, busy and messy but we're having fun. At the end of the day, that's really all that matters.

Photo credit:

12 Cheap or Free Cookbooks for Kindle | Frugal Friday

Friday, April 13, 2012

I want to make better food choices for us, but I really don't like to cook. I used to, but now it's more like a chore. "What's for dinner?" are three words I dread hearing. I figure if I can gather enough recipes to start varying what we eat, maybe I'll start to enjoy cooking again.

I've been using the library to check out cookbooks. It's been a great way to know if I want them before I buy. The two titles I have now are Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook and Eat Cheap, But Eat Well. Both are really good.

My other resource for cookbooks is Amazon. I go to the site a few times a day to look at the Kindle book offers. I've been able to grab several free and really cheap items that way. I look through the books on my tablet and decide if they're something I want to own or just borrow from the library. Today the cookbook section is pretty heavy with deals so I thought I'd share*.

These are two I can personally recommend. I've been reading Stephanie's food blog for at least a year, probably longer. I was so happy for her when she announced her first cookbook deal. Both of her titles are on special for $3.03 today.

I've also started to go to NPR for book and cookbook recommendations and they have these titles by Melissa Clark as one of their top choices for 2011 and 2010, respectively ($2.99 and $3.03). At this price these will  make excellent gift closet items.

These I can't vouch for but the prices are definitely right. All are .99.


All I can think of with these two is comfort food. The biscuits on the cover are making me drool ($2.99 and $2.51).

Phil's family spends a week camping at the beach near our house. Everyone takes turns making dinner. Last year was our first time getting our own campsite and I think the boys are going to want to camp more often. I can send them on their merry way with a cooler full of ready to heat meals. (free)

Tyler has been complaining about his lunch being boring. I told him picky eaters don't have many choices. Since this title is free, I thought we could go through it together and come up with some new things he may want to try. I love that the book is by bloggers!

I really hope I can get my kitchen mojo back. Tyler has asked a few times to help with dinner and I'm ready to let him.

What are your favorite cookbooks?

*I am an Amazon affiliate and these are affiliate links. You help keep me Starbucks card loaded when you make a purchase. Amazon prices change fast so always confirm the price before you add it to your cart. You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books!

It's Official, I Am A Hockey Widow

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

So, here's the latest development. Now, in addition to worrying that my son will get hurt on the ice, I have to worry about my husband too. Hockey has almost completely taken over our house. Why couldn't they want to take yoga?!

Books and Stuff

Thursday, April 5, 2012

This post isn't really "about" anything. I started three other posts about books and reading but they didn't have enough meat to stand on their own so I combined them into this random one. Do I know how to sell my blog, or what?

Are you tired of me talking about books? I hope not. I really, really love to read and so many in my circle do too. If I had to start from scratch with a blog, I would really consider one solely about books and coffee. Maybe I'd call it Good Books and A Cup O' Joe.

Or, I mentioned on Twitter that I'd love to work in the book section of Costco. I see people reading the covers of books I've read and sometimes I can't help but offer my opinion. I still feel it's my social obligation to tell everyone not to bother with the first 100 pages of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.


Are you listening to podcasts? I am. I hardly ever listen to the radio anymore. I recently found Books on the Nightstand and I really enjoy it. Part of me wishes I hadn't heard of their site because now my list of 'to be read' is beyond ridiculous. They posted a link to a fun little reading test from Staples. Take a look and see how fast you read. I'd love to know your score. 


I'm reading The Night Circus and I'm enjoying it. $10 says someone will try turning it into a movie. I think it could be visually stunning and have the most amazing costumes. If you listen to The Nerdist podcast, the book totally reminds of Neil Patrick Harris. I can't explain it, you'll have to take my word for it (or listen yourself, it's a great podcast though NSFW). Next I'm either going to re-read A Discovery of Witches (with book club) or read Roses by Leila Meacham. My mom read it and said it was great. It's 609 pages, so I hope she's right.


What podcasts are you listening to? Have you read anything I need to know about? Do you read books multiple times or just once?

4/11/12 Update:
So, I realized yesterday I forgot the real reason I started this post. I was going to let you in on a little secret. I found out about a great site for free and cheap Kindle books. It's called Pixel of Ink. They post several offers a day across different genres. I admit, I've never seen an offer for a well known author, but it's been a good way to discover some new authors. It's been easier for me to keep up with Pixel of Ink on Facebook than remember to check their site. Enjoy!

Sh*t My Husband Says

Monday, April 2, 2012

"Dogs eat their own poop, should we do that too?" 

That was his comment after I told him about January Jones and her freeze dried placenta pills.

My Attempted April Fool Joke

Sunday, April 1, 2012

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