Category Archives: funny stuff

#Friday Reads: Bring on the Laughs with Razor Girl and First Star I See Tonight

This week’s theme is humor. I tend to write with a slight sway to what I’m reading, and since I’m pushing towards the end of a contemporary romance that will hopefully be infused with a marbled layer of chuckles, humor I need.

Humor I got.

Book 1: Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen.
Carl Hiaasen is ALWAYS good for a laugh. Wait, no, I’ve known people who have suffered stomach cramps from doubling over in laughter while reading his books. And because truth is stranger than fiction (especially in Florida), many of  Hiaasen’s nut-job characters and insane situations are inspired by news clippings. Here you go: Woman Crashes Car While Shaving Her Privates –your real life Razor Girl. I still haven’t figured out if Hiassen satirizes or merely exaggerates the impossible realities of our beloved screwball state, but as always, his humor hits razor sharp.

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen

The new full-tilt, unstoppably hilarious and entertaining novel from the best-selling author of Skinny Dip and Bad Monkey

When Lane Coolman’s car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an ordinary accident is anything but (this is Hiaasen!). Behind the wheel of the other car is Merry Mansfield–the eponymous Razor Girl–and the crash scam is only the beginning of events that spiral crazily out of control while unleashing some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page. There’s Trebeaux, the owner of Sedimental Journeys–a company that steals sand from one beach to restore erosion on another . . . Dominick “Big Noogie” Aeola, a NYC mafia capo with a taste for tropic-wear . . . Buck Nance, a Wisconsin accordionist who has rebranded himself as the star of a redneck reality show called Bayou Brethren . . . a street psycho known as Blister who’s more Buck Nance than Buck could ever be . . . Brock Richardson, a Miami product-liability lawyer who’s getting dangerously–and deformingly–hooked on the very E.D. product he’s litigating against . . . and Andrew Yancy–formerly Detective Yancy, busted down to the Key West roach patrol after accosting his then-lover’s husband with a Dust Buster. Yancy believes that if he can singlehandedly solve a high-profile murder, he’ll get his detective badge back. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy’s future will be as surprising as anything else he encounters along the way–including the giant Gambian rats that are livening up his restaurant inspections.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (September 6, 2016)

Book 2: First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
While many readers may have caught on to Susan Elizabeth Phillips stories a good decade or two ago, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m late to the contemporary romance party. Phillip’s books pretend to fall into the crossover category: they’re released at hardcovers on the mainstream fiction shelves, so readers who are above or afraid to pick up a skinny Harlequin paperback can read without having to explain. But I’ll let you in on a secret: though they are sometimes labeled as “romantic fiction” they are still  romances. Funny, flirty, and zany romances. Why else would Phillips have won the prestigious RITA award four times and be a recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award? Try one, you’ll like it…

 First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

A no-nonsense sports hero and a feisty female detective go head-to-head in this funny, fresh, seductive novel from the award winning NYT bestselling author known for her unforgettable characters, heartfelt emotion, and laugh out loud humor.

He’s the former quarterback of the Chicago Stars football team.

She’s trying to make a success of her very own detective agency.

Her first job? Follow him. Let’s just say it’s not going well.

Not well at all….

Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. The problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.

Which is why a great detective needs a first rate imagination. “The fact is . . . I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just . . . mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding that Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham,, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants just might be an intrepid detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.

From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.

Series: Chicago Stars
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (August 23, 2016)

Are you reading anything good this week?





Shocked Mom Wins the Internet #it’saboy

surprise it's a boy
Never trust an ultrasound.

This shocked mama just discovered that the baby everyone had said was a girl was, in fact, a boy. Surprise!

Australian mum Koto Nakamura had been told she was expecting a girl. According to Today Parents, they’ll have bundles of pink gifts and supplies to return since their little guy proved to be sneaky during the ultrasounds.

Nakamura’s priceless reaction to the news was even captured on camera by her birth photographer Jessica Jackson.

I’m pretty sure I made the same expression after my ultrasound.Then I went to the parking lot and sobbed. I, however, had several months to adapt to the concept of raising a boy, not seconds.

Don’t worry, according to Today Parents, all is well, and the couple is delighted with their new baby boy.


See the full story on Today Parents.

Believe it or Not: Candy Michael Jackson, Tarantula Art, and Robin Williams Immortalized in Toothpaste

*cue dramatic music*

The scene: It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in the Sunshine State.
Moments before the library doors opened to the public,
I strolled up to our customer service desk.

when suddenlyI felt eyes crawling over me. Huge, glassy eyes. Upon the wall hung this dead pop star:

Michael Jackson portrait made entirely of candyYes, it’s Michael Jackson.
Any yes, he’s made entirely of candy.

For once, words fled me. I wasn’t quite sure if I should be amazed or horrified.
I’m still not sure.

My fellow staff members and I used our keen investigative skills to deduce which sweet treats made up this oh so unique piece. While the peppermint background appeared obvious and it wasn’t hard to conclude his hair and suit involved various brands of licorice, figuring out his skin tone was far trickier. After a close examination, we decided that M.J.’s skin was comprised of a mixture of chemicals most closely resembling —gummie bears. Who imagined the legend would end up as sugar and spice and everything nice instead of Botox and silicone? meanwhileWe discovered Candy Michael Jackson wasn’t the only unique artwork installed that day.

To his left hangs:

Spiderman scene painted on a tarantual. Believe it or not. #it'sreal #freakystuff #geekeryYes, that is a tarantula.
And yes, that is a Spiderman scene painted on its cephalothorax.

Did it escape from the Neverland Ranch? Honestly, this dude creeps me out. But it led me to wonder what inspires an artist to paint in miniature on a arthropod corpse? How close must you get to create such details? Do you use a magnifying glass? Force you face to hover over its hairy dead legs for hours?

Spiderman painted on tarantula spider. #geekery #wierdstuffAnd where, for the love of God, did these pieces of art come from?


later on

I noticed an oversized portrait gazing at me from across the building. Over the bowed heads of patrons busily filling out job applications and playing Candy Crush, the dearly missed master of comedy Robin Williams stared soulfully back at me. At first, I believed the melancholy portrait to be  a normal oil paninting, but we know nothing about Robin Williams was ever normal.
(And I mean this in an awesomely amazing and reverent way.)

Robin Williams portrait made of tootpaste  For this Robin Williams was painted entirely with…TOOTHPASTE.

But this work was signed! I had a clue to the mysterious origins of these pieces.
The artist is Cristiam Ramos, and he holds the World Record for the creation of the sculpture of a full size motorcycle made more than 20,000 candies. Who knew?

stay tunedNext time we will explore the world of miniatures painted on dead butterflies:
The Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and even The Last Supper.

I MUST remember to take my camera back to work.



5 Audiobooks to Make You Laugh, Think, and Revel in Girl Power

Audiobooks are my new guilty pleasure. Since you can load them onto your phone, you can have them with you everywhere. They make traffic, housecleaning, and long lines at the grocery store a million times more bearable. And if you discover the right ones, you can challenge your beliefs, eavesdrop on secrets, slip inside another person’s life, and laugh so hard the guy in the car next to you will think you’re having a seizure.

I have little patience for bad narrators, one of the reasons I’m late to the audiobooks game. Seriously, I’ve given up on dozens of novels in less then a minute when the narrators sucked. (Over-enunciation does not make up for a complete lack of inflection.) The best way to avoid this: listen to books narrated by the author!

Total. Game-changer.

And when those authors happen to be brilliant comediennes, writers, and performers, the books will leave you circling your block because you don’t want to get out of the car before the chapter ends.

Here are five of my recent favorites:

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? With rapier wit, Moran slices right to the truth— whether it’s about the workplace, strip clubs, love, fat, abortion, popular entertainment, or parenthood (she has two daughters of her own)—to jump-start a new conversation about feminism.

“Do you have a vagina? And do you want to be in charge of it? If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.”

“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.”

Caitlin’s crude, crass, and almost ridiculously astute. She’ll have you saying, ‘Yes, oh my God, that’s it, that’s totally it!’ and ‘Holy $#@%, I cannot believe she just said that!’ between snorts of laughter. Her dirt poor hippie upbringing inspired her British TV show Raised by Wolves and although she had a bare minimum formal education, she landed a magazine job at 16 and launched her television career before hitting 18. She’s crawled through the underground music and pub scene, partied with Lady Gaga, and been named one of Brittan’s Most Influential Women by the BBC Women’s Power Hour. Eclectic, no?

With humor, insight, and verve, How To Be a Woman lays bare the reasons why female rights and empowerment are essential issues not only for women today but also for society itself.

(Note: if you shy away from swearing and blunt conversations about your lady bits, this one’s not for you.)


Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Though familiar with Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live and her hosting events with her BFF Tina Fey, I’m rather embarrassed to admit I’ve never watched Parks and Recreation. After listening to Yes Please, I must watch Parks and Recreation. And I need Amy Poehler to be my new best friend. (The sweet, funny one.)

The audiobook sounds like a dinner party. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents—Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza.

Also included? A one night only live performance at Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience.

While listening to Yes Please, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don’t miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz,” the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs”—Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I’ve never watched The Office either. I’ve heard it’s great. I’ve heard everyone loves Mindy Kaling, and wants her wardrobe. The title grabbed me, as I’ve often pondered this question as I sat at home living my oh-so-fabulously social life of reading books and watching HGTV. This audiobook was cute, and I’d like Mindy to be my little sister—as long as I could keep my own family (though hers does seem quite lovely).

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.


Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s ‘Learned’ by Lena Dunham

Once again, I’ve never watched the controversial and acclaimed HBO show Girls (are you seeing a pattern here yet?). I think I’m too old to slip into the world of single twentysomethings navigating young adulthood in NYC. But I’m not too ancient to appreciate this hilarious, poignant, and extremely frank collection of personal essays by Lena Dunham – one of the bravest writers, producers, and actresses of her generation.

“If I can take what I’ve learned in this life and make one treacherous relationship or degrading job easier for you, perhaps even prevent you from becoming temporarily vegan, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile. This book contains stories about wonderful nights with terrible boys and terrible days with wonderful friends, about ambition and the two existential crises I had before the age of twenty. About fashion and its many discontents. About publicly sharing your body, having to prove yourself in a meeting full of fifty-year-old men, and the health fears (tinnitus, lamp dust, infertility) that keep me up at night. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you with this book, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or having the kind of sexual encounter where you keep your sneakers on. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a registered dietician. I am not a married mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in self-actualization, sending hopeful dispatches from the front lines of that struggle.”

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

Stylized Headphones v2 by algotruneman

Have any other audiobooks to suggest? I need recommendations, please!!!!

5 Audiobooks to Make You Laugh, Think, and Revel in Girld Power

(Sections of these descriptions via back covers or Amazon)

What I’ve been doing instead of writing, blogging, reading…

DIY Cork Reindeer

May I introduce my wine cork reindeer herd. Each of these little guys is hand crafted, which means a day full of finger-gluing, pin-stabbing, and craft-store-panic-attack fun.  But they are pretty damn cute.  Consider this my official Christmas photo, because I spent so much time on them, I neglected to photograph my own family. Priorities, you know…

Sucking Wind: The Real-Life Diary of a Couch to 5k (part 3—Demons and Angels)

Need to catch up on my Couch to 5k journey?
Check out PART 1: Easy Street and PART 2: Bumps in the Road.


W?D?   Maybe W5 D-infinity? I DON’T KNOW  F 9/12/14

What. The. Heck.

I’m restraining my language because I’m actually writing this two days later so I’ve had time to temper my utter pissed-offedness. (Yes, I’m making that a word.)

I’ve been hunting for new shoes, since my old ones look like this.

old sneakers

Yes, those are massive holes in the mesh toes. Tread is pretty much non-existent as well.

Since I am poor and doubt my ability to follow through, I’m not allowing myself to head off to Track Shack for a $100+ pair of running shoes. But lucky me, I found these neat-o trainers at Ross for $30. A steal for  Brooks minimalist trainers with glowing reviews on Amazon, right?

brooks running shoes, minimalist, couch to 5k

But while reading the reviews, I realized I AM RUNNING ALL WRONG. Totally wrong. I suck.

I run like I walk, landing on my heel. I didn’t realize I was supposed to land mid-foot. WTF.

I’ve always thought my hubby runs funny. When he races around the soccer pitch every week, he looks like he’s running on his balls the balls of his feet and his heels nearly kick his butt. It looks…weird. BUT HE IS TOTALLY RIGHT. Crapola.

So, after watching a ton of youtube instructional videos, I headed off to the gym with my new shoes. I figured I’d just go easy, running/walking at my own pace as I tried to run correctly.

Ha. I looked like a drunk toddler on skates. Even holding on to the sides or front handles of the treadmill I was all spaghetti legs. It hurt. It felt wrong. I couldn’t breathe after 30 seconds. Did I mention it hurt?  (My lower shins are still KILLING me two days later.) I barely made it 2 miles with a few 90-sec runs in there.

And now I don’t know what to do. Trying to run in “proper form” (mid-foot strike, heel-to-butt gait) feels utterly wrong.

Should I start over on Day 1 with the ‘correct’ form, even though I feel like I’m on artificial legs? (Bad old-timey wooden fake legs, not those cool new blade runner versions.) Or should I keep running like I have been these last few weeks and continue to work on my cardio and stamina?



 Monday 9/15/14

It’s currently 80 degrees with 90% humidity out and I just attempted a run/walk. Outside.

sept 15 temp

Did I travel to the backwaters of Indonesia or the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil? No, I’m just another idiot savoring fall in Florida. For those of you up north, you may wonder what 90% humidity feels like. A blanket of water. Being locked in a bathroom with a bag of freshly mown grass and the shower cranked to near boiling for a half hour. I was sweating worse than a 300-pound man in a sauna. And that was just after WALKING to the end of the block.

After the last debacle at the gym (which I am still smarting from) I decided to try running on pavement instead of a hamster wheel. I could control my pace and my form more. And I did. I also dropped back to the 90-sec runs. My shins still hurt from Friday and my right arch is complaining like a bitch, but I pushed through—moderately. You see, I think lungs don’t quite know how to process this much humidity. Many people only feel it when they are (a) sitting still  in a steam room, or (b) laying in bed, miserably congested, with their room-sized humidifier spewing an eau de Vicks Vapor Rub into the air.

Who suffers this way for fun?

Just call me the Anastasia Steele of Couch to 5k. However, my unbelievable naivete revolves around running, and there were no sexy young billionaires luring me along. Too bad.

Ran/walked/gasped for about 40 minutes. Per Map My Run  – 2.81 miles.


Wednesday 9/18/14


{cue dawn breaking or something}

After my last few attempts, I was not looking forward to today’s run. I felt crummy and only pried myself out of bed because my cats were playing tag on top of me. With claws. Anywho, I ate breakfast late, so I couldn’t run/walk outside before it became too beastly. Almost didn’t go at all.

Then I remembered my gym has an “easy” yoga class at noon, and my muscles were pretty desperate for some stretching. By the time I dragged myself to the gym, I had about 20 minutes to spend with my dear nemesis, the treadmill.

What would happen if I just ran slower?

tina fey high fiving a million angels



I warmed up for a couple of minutes. (Really I was just getting my Kindle turned on—finally reading OUTLANDER. OMG. What the hell took me so long?) Then I set the speed—not at a “run” 6 mph or at a “jog” of 4 measly mph—but right in-between.

And I ran/jogged/whatevered for A MILE. Without stopping. Or dying. Holy Schlitz.

It was a 12-minute mile, but who cares? I could have kept going longer, but I really wanted to get in some yoga, and you can’t sneak into class late. I wasn’t striking totally on my heels, but somewhere a little farther forward.  I’m not sure it was precisely midstep, but who cares.

It felt brilliant.

I can do this.


Any of you runners have any advice for me? Is it better to run slowly to build endurance then worry about speeding up later?

Sucking Wind: The Real-Life Diary of a Couch to 5k (part 2—Bumps in the Road)


Sucking Wind: The Real-Life Diary of  a Couch to 5k (part 2: Speed Bumps)

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

{Catch up on my journey with Part 1: Easy Street here.}

W4 D1: Friday 8/22

This training session about killed me. This one was NOT fun. Those little three minute runs had me feeling like this whole couch-to-5k thing would be a piece of cake. Then the damn app demanded that I jump from 3 minute runs to 5 minute runs. Be still my beating heart. My face feels like it’s a tomato about to burst and my heart is going to explode. I tried not to envision what would happen when I passed out on the treadmill—how I’d likely nail my head on the side rail, hit the belt, and be flung to the floor like roadkill. To keep from hyperventilating, I took my dad’s advice: sing. So I looked like a tomato-faced idiot, singing and trying not to swear as I ran.

5 min warmup | run 3 min | walk 1.5 min | run 5 minutes | walk 2.5  min | run 3 min | walk 1.5 min | run 5 min | 5 min cool down


W4 D2 8/25

Damn five minute sprints. The app calls them “jogs” but I’m not sure what the difference is between a jog, a run, and that heaving “I’m going to die feeling.” Need to find some more music, something I can sing along with. Yes, I know I’ll look like a fool, but it will be far less embarrassing than than scoring a concussion after passing out on the rotating belt of evil. But I did it…and since I was at about 2.5 miles once the app finished, I did two more “jogs” to push me over my 5k. Take that.

5 min warmup | run 3 min | walk 1.5 min | run 5 minutes | walk 2.5  min | run 3 min | walk 1.5 min | run 5 min | 5 min cool down (+2 more song-length sprints)


W5 D1  Monday, 9/8

You might have noticed I’ve had a bit of a time lapse…yeah, that’s what I’ll call it. The five minute sprints are killing me, so last week I did my own thing and worked on them some more. Uhm—extra-credit time instead of remedial class, right?  I’d peeked at Week 5’s expectations of three 5-minuts sprints and got scared. But I did it today. I did it wearing my Hot Pants, even, so I’m extra gross and sweaty. (Hot Pants are these neoprene biker shorts I was once sent as a product for review. See enlightening post here.) Don’t know if they’ll help sweat away the annoying ripples around my waistline, but worth a try.

The music selection on my phone needs updating and the app I’m using for training is a royal PITA, so I listened to Pandora on my Kindle while I read JoJo Moyes’s ONE PLUS ONE (recommended++). First station up: Alternative Endurance Training. Worked for a while, then I got over Muse and switched to 80s Cardio. Pour Some Sugar on Me had me giggling and flashing back to doing the Barefoot Mailman Scout Hike when I was about 13. Don’t laugh. That was brutal  35-mile 2-day hike along the beaches of South Florida. We carried everything we needed—tents, clothes, food, ect. It was hot. It was long. I had blisters and chafe marks for days. But I did it—I kicked butt in an event dominated 95% by boys. And one of the songs that I blasted through my Walkman (**oooh, flashback***) was that Def Leopard glam rock classic. Granted, at 13, I had no idea what it really meant.

If I could do it then, dammit, I can do it now.

5 min warmup | 5 min run + 3 min fast walk X 3 | added another 2 3-min runs to make 5k




40 Things I’ve Figured Out at 40 (that I wish I’d known at 20)

It’s official. I’m old. At least, I always imagined 40 was old—middle-aged.  My mom was 40 when I went to college. AARP somehow has my address already and they’re not afraid to use it. Strange silver corkscrews occasionally spring from my scalp.

But I don’t feel old.

I do feel wiser. Slightly. I still have so much growing to do, so much to learn and accomplish, but as I unwillingly cross into this new decade, I can appreciate the insight I’ve discovered the hard way. Some of these little croutons of knowledge I still force myself to digest each day. Others I chant like mantras. All of these tidbits I wish I had understood twenty years ago.

#185077520 /  Catherine Lane

#185077520 / Catherine Lane

  1.  It’s okay to admit that you don’t know something and/or ask for help.
  2. You judge yourself much harsher than anyone else ever will. No one else will ever notice 99% of the things you criticize yourself for.
  3. Realize that people aren’t mind-readers. They usually don’t comprehend how their words/phone calls/tardiness/silence affects you so much.
  4. Learn to let go. That friend who burned you, the guy who dumped you, the loved one who passed away. Whether it’s forgiving, forgetting, or just moving a loss to a less focal spot in your mind—let it go.
  5. Yoga can be as amazing for you outside as inside. Namaste, my friends.
  6. There is no reason to be out at 2 a.m. unless someone is in the hospital.
  7. There is no reason to be awake at 3 a.m. unless someone is puking or crying. (Okay, so people might have been doing this at 20.)
  8. Wear that bikini like crazy when you’re 20. Just because you can wear a bikini at any age, doesn’t mean all of us should.
  9. Your mom is right most of the time.
  10. Cleavage does not equal sexy. You can turn heads in a turtleneck if you radiate confidence.
  11. Don’t let anyone tell you how to parent. Or when to become a parent.
  12. Wearing all the “hottest” trends doesn’t impress. Find your happy niche between. And stop reading Vogue. Now.
  13. Negativity is like a riptide—it will suck all the joy from your life. Avoid negative people, even if they’re family.
  14. What you believe in will change. Maybe not cataclysmically (like going from a faithful Catholic to a devout Hindu) but your beliefs will evolve as you cope with devastating blows and your view of the world broadens.
  15. Jump out of that perfectly good airplane and bungee jump off that bridge while you’re ten-foot-tall and bulletproof…and before just imagining it makes you nauseous.
  16. Credit cards are evil.
  17. Those statistics classes you thought it would be no big deal to skip in college—they will haunt you in your nightmares forever.
  18. Wear sunscreen. ALL THE TIME. Skin cancer sucks.
  19. Blow drying your hair straight every day will fry it by the time you’re 30.
  20. Freckles are beautiful. So is pale skin.
  21. Take more computer classes. You can never learn enough.
  22. Always pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Listen to NPR. Yes, that butterfly blown from the sky in the Middle East will impact your life.
  23. Don’t be so afraid to flirt. Harmlessly, of course. Just because you smile at someone doesn’t mean they think you want to marry them.
  24. Stop being so afraid to fail. So being so afraid, period.
  25. Try running. Or some sport. You won’t always be able to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for dinner and fit into your jeans the next day.
  26. Write more.
  27. Learn how to cook, clean, and do laundry properly. You may never like doing any of those things, but you will have to do them (even if you share responsibility). You won’t have a maid.
  28. You’re life will never unfold as you imagined it. There is no straight line to follow; instead life’s path is more like a twisty skein of yarn. There is no “should have been.” Don’t beat yourself up for what you have not accomplished. Celebrate what you have done. You still have time to find your dreams, even though those dreams have changed.
  29. Not much in life is easy. Learn to fight.
  30. It doesn’t always pay to be the good girl. They get steamrolled, taken advantage of, and are accused of having no guts. Some rules can be need to be broken.
  31. But breaking some rules may break you. Other people will get away with murder. Literally. You’re not that slick. Think before you do something stupid.
  32. Pets are good for the soul, even when they break your heart.
  33. Appreciate the ordinary.
  34. Spend less. Save more.
  35. Stop judging other people’s relationships/bank accounts/tastes/lives. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. And you’re not responsible for their decisions.
  36. People can and will change—but not in the ways you may want.
  37. Stop craving things you can’t have. It will only make you miserable. Cherish what you DO have.
  38. Time does go faster as you get older.
  39. Never stop learning. You don’t know it all and you never will.
  40. You’ll never know if the best is yet to come, so enjoy each glorious/horrible/ordinary day.


How about you? Do you have any nuggets of wisdom you’d wish you’d known when you were younger?


Weird, Wild, and Crazy Toys for Kids

As the 2013 holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, I’ve been scouring Amazon for the most unusual gifts in cyberspace. Let me tell you—there are bizarre toys and gifts out there, and I’ve culled some of my *favorites* for your shopping pleasure. ::ahem:: A few of these products are rather ingenious. Others are crude and gross beyond belief (which means I’m sure many kids would love them). Will Santa be placing any of these presents under your tree?

Daddle - The Dad SaddleDaddle (the saddle for Dads) This one falls under the ingenious category. Some dads will probably love this. (That bit of padding will save their backs from bony kid bottoms). Others might feel slightly offended that fatherhood has rendered them to farm animal status. Either way, it could make for some entertaining Christmas morning video—just practice the toddler riding skills a safe distance from the Christmas tree.

poo doughPrank Star Poo-dough  Just what every parent wants to see—their kid mushing a pile of poo on the kitchen table. This “delightful” gift even comes with two tones of brown dough so you can customize (the manufacturer suggests adding yellow dough so you can create corn kernels and peanuts). What parent wouldn’t love this? N.A.S.T.Y.


unicorn meatCanned Unicorn Meat This isn’t real meat—unicorn, mystery, or other. Instead, you open the can to discover a dismembered stuffed unicorn. The bottom of the can pops right off so you don’t even need a can opener. Perfect for the little girl with an unhealthy obsession with unicorns? Thank you, ThinkGeek.

dragon meat Canned Dragon Meat From the package: “The most dangerously delicious meat on Earth. From the Sisters of Radiant Farms, Scotland. One can contains 100% of your daily value of havoc, terror, inferno, destruction, magic, and rage. Also contains trace amounts of poetry and ballet. (*That part I like.) Warning: This is not an actual food item and is non-edible. There’s a stuffed dragon head inside the can. (SPOILERS!)”

fart blaster despiciable meDespicable Me 2 Exclusive Banana Scented Fart Gun I may be one of the only people with kids who has NOT seen Despicable Me (one or two). Apparently, a fart gun plays a role in the movie(s). (My hubby just confirmed that it’s VERY funny.) So, if you have minion fans in your house, why not get them their own Fart Gun. Not only does this toy gun makes a variety of fart noises, but it smells of banana.  Hey, you can pair this up with the poo dough!


Pig Out Pete game, puke game

Pig Out Pete Game  Plump Pete moves around, making gross sounds and throwing up plastic food. Players must match the food Pete upchucks with the color of food in their slime tray.  Billed as a “skill and action game.” Batteries required.

gassy gus Gassy Gus  A Gut-Busting Game that’s a blast!  Players use cards to feed Gus all sorts of gaseous foods – from broccoli to baked beans. With each tasty dish, players pump up Gus and watch his belly grow bigger until he has a blow-out. Players get a  stinky penalty. Whoever feeds Gus all his food wins.

*Theses last two ‘games’ sound like recipes for early-childhood eating disorders.*


plush organs   ‘I Heart Guts’ Designer Plush Organ Figures So how about instead you teach your kids about the good thing their guts can do? Every kid wants a Immense Intestine Plush – Go With Your Gut!or a Big Brain Plush – All You Need Is Lobe! to snuggle up with each night. If your kids approaching puberty, why not explain the birds and the bees with Womb Service Uterus Plush
or Having a Ball Testicle Plush . Yes, you can cuddle up with everything from a set of stuffed lungs to a cute little sperm. Unless you are a kid bravely battling a health issue, the question is why would you?


doggie dooDoggie Doo This game is back from the last list of different, disturbing, and slightly disgusting toys. Kids feed and walk the little plastic pup. When they squeeze his leash he makes a gassy sound that gets louder and louder until…plop! You have your own, fresh doggie doo. The first to clean up after the dog three times wins. I wonder if it is scented? Manufactures must think kids are obsessed with poo.


crystal meth rock candy, breaking bad candy

Blue Raspberry Rock Candy Crystals (1 Pound Bag)  This year candy coal in the stocking is totally passe. Breaking Bad has brought back the iconic (and often home-cooked) rock candy.  Hopefully your kid is NOT a Breaking Bad fan, but devotes of the show will appreciate this high-grade bag of crystals. I’d bet any kid would get a heck of a sugar high from ingesting this quantity sugary crack—but all perfectly legal. Perhaps this would be a better gift for your adult B.B. fan friends.


crib dribbler prank giftCrib Dribbler There’s a new trend in baby-training: the crib dribbler.  Just attach to the side of the crib, fill with your infant’s favorite formula, water, or energy drink, and like magic—a hands free feeding solution.

Yes, this is a PRANK.  It’s actually just an empty box—your real gift goes inside. Come on, can’t you just imagine your pregnant sister-in-laws eyes widening when she unwraps this on Christmas day? Or how about tucking the handmade, 100% organic baby blanket you made for your slightly crunchy friend’s baby shower inside? Make sure you have a camera rolling to catch the gasps.


So, are any of these products going on your holiday shopping list?



Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Camping Trip (a.k.a. how to freeze your a$$ off in Florida)

Camping with my family was just another part of growing up in Florida. I knew how to relieve myself in bushes and bathe in alligator-infested rivers before I could to read.

During my tween years, I was a member of a kick-ass Girl Scout troop. We camped across the country, crashed Boy Scout conventions, and beat them at their own competitions. (Yes, this girl whipped the boys canoeing, tent pitching, knot-tying, and lip-syncing to Madonna.)

I could gut a fish and even earned my hunter’s education certification. (Not that I’d EVER willingly shoot an animal—come the apocalypse, this girl will live off wild berries and palm hearts or something. Plus I couldn’t hit a target to save my life.)

But you get the point—I was outdoorsy.


I hadn’t spent a night in the wilderness (not counting the night I slept in my backyard hammock) for over twenty years.

And my husband had NEVER been camping—or the kiddo.

It was long past time to introduce my boys to the great outdoors.

So, when a Groupon popped up for a “campground resort” (a.k.a. KOA) practically around the block from kiddo’s soccer fields, I snatched it up. Though on the river and a part of a huge protected wildlife area, it was twenty minuets from home, and ten minutes from a SuperWalmart. Seriously. How rough could it be?

Being the ex-Girl Scout that I am, I made lists. I shopped for lanterns after carefully reading reviews. I dug through Pinterest for campfire cooking recipes. I forced everyone to pitch my parent’s old tent in the backyard so they had a clue what to do when I barked orders. I had this down.

The Morgan’s First Camping Trip was scheduled during Spring Break. The weather in late-March is usually gorgeous here in the Sunshine State—not too hot yet, but perfect for pleasant days at the beach and springs.The mosquitoes usually aren’t around yet to carry me away.

But this year, Spring Break was ridiculously COLD. Like we were running the heat at night. IN FLORIDA. Weather forecasters predicted a freeze night we were scheduled to arrive, so I pleaded with the campground’s office to push our reservation back a day, and we crossed our fingers for a speedy warm-up.

Yes, this is the SAME tent as above. I won’t mention how old it must be.

Upon arrival, the weather seemed glorious. The sun shined, the thermometer hovered in the 70s, and a dry breeze rustled the trees around the creek. We pitched the old tent without a hitch, unpacked, and explored. The campground centered around a huge old-fashioned Florida spring, and though the water remained at a chilly 72° year-round, kiddo was brave enough to play.  It was a good day.

Did I mention we have always used a gas grill at home? We brought along a cute little portable charcoal grill for cooking. We planned to toss firewood in later for our campfire and s’mores. Uhm—execpt we couldn’t get the damn charcoal to stay lit. Even with the handy-dandy fire starters I’d crafted from cardboard egg cartons, dryer lint, and wax.

So, diner was a little late, and my boys were ready to go all wildman and eat the meat raw by the time I warmed our food. When we tried to arrange the wood to make a campfire, the logs were twice the size of the fire pit/grill. And we had no ax. Well, shoot. Have you ever tried breaking up wood with a utility hammer? Not how Honest Abe used to split logs.

Once the sun went down, the temperature dropped. Rapidly. And the winds picked up. By the time we decided to retire into our snug tent, we realized it was going to drop back into the 40s overnight.

Then I discovered I didn’t pack our sleeping bag.

I swear, I packed half the house in the car. I remembered the air mattress, the air pump, the sheets. But no blanket or sleeping bag to keep us warm.


Hubby offered to drive out to Walmart and buy us a new sleeping bag. Stupid, stubborn me refused. We came with what we came with. If we were in the “real” wilderness, we would figure out how to survive.

Big mistake.

We layered every stitch of clothing I’d packed. Huddling under both sheets, the picnic blanket, the beach towels, and even the plastic table cloth, we tried to quiet our chattering teeth. Yes, I contemplated the whole bare-skin-to-skin method for warmth, but we were in public basically, with our snoring WARM kid not two feet away. I’d remembered HIS sleeping bag, complete with the zip-around-the-head warm hoodie.

We survived the freezing night, sleeping in freezing fits, as my frigid ass kept hitting the almost icy ground (turns out the air mattress had a slow leak, too.)

The next morning, we huddled outside, trying to light a fire for warmth in the wind.

We must have looked pitiful. So pitiful that our neighbors in their Mac-Daddy setup brought us some fresh wood to stoke the fire. (These pros pulled in with their fancy RVs and had canopies unfurled, fire pits roaring, steaks grilling, and booze flowing in less than ten minutes. I’m hooking up with them next time.)

Within hours, we shed our gloves and doubled-up socks and donned our swimsuits. We enjoyed a peaceful canoe trip along the gorgeous Wekiva River.  Later, we waded through a clear stream to the springs, where kiddo constructed cities in the sand and the hubby and I relaxed with books and beer.

We survived. My boys say they even had fun. We’ll try again soon. I’ve already bought a new tent.

Now I just need to remember the damn sleeping bags.


Hooking up with Mama Kat again. Come join the fun.

Are you a camper or is a Holiday Inn your idea of roughing it?