Two Pretzels

April 5, 2017

I can change my mind, right? Re: chokers

In the past I've bemoaned countless times on this blog one fashion-related accessory quite religiously: chokers.


I hate them.

Why? I think Britney Spears made me do it. That copious amount of chokers she wore (and still wears) all the time drove/drives me crazy. I mean, in the pool? At the gym? At the grocery store? Enough with the choker. Gah. Can you please wear a longer necklace? Just once?

In addition, the name kills me. Why, on earth, would I want to wear something that chokes me? I mean, let's be honest -- bras after 9 pm are bad enough as it is. I certainly don't need something that could potentially affect my breathing.

So, then I saw this.

And I thought... well... I mean... it's cute. And it's $14 here.  And here's a $19 one.

I think my love for velvet trumps my disdain for chokers in this situation.

It's like rock, paper scissors and the paper (the velvet) covers the rock (the choker).

So there.

I said it.

SOME chokers are cute.
Most are not.
Many look like dog collars.

I *still* don't think I would. Negative. But I wouldn't say mean things about the girl who does.

**NOTE: I still hate most halters.


April 2, 2017

Stencils, Stellar Marketing and Mr. Rogers.

So I was recently searching on Amazon for some Easter stuffers* for the girls and smiled when I clicked through the images on this product offering.

Let me set the stage.

I searched "crafts for eight-year-olds" and ran across stencils. I mean, who doesn't like stencils? Good 'ole fashioned fun.

*Not sure if I should be using the word "stuffers" to describe what I'm going to place in the girls' Easter basket. Seems like I should have used "gifts" instead, since "stuffers" connote Christmas stockings. Hmm... I'm just go to go with it. But you have my word that I will not use it for Valentine's Day [stuffers] or St. Patrick's Day [stuffers]. Too weird.

Looks legit, right? I mean, it looks like you even get a pair of scissors.

So I click through the pics and I see this.

And I (might have) spit out my tea and laughed at my computer.


You're going to need to see this better.

PLEASE tell me that you're smiling at the absurdity of this.

In addition, please tell me that you are smiling at the awesomeness of this.

This, my friends, is solid marketing. They look like perfectly nice people. In fact, I kind of want to know them. Too funny.

Still want the stencils? You can see them and maybe, just maybe, experience your own, "WOW, thanks Mom!" moment, too. They're here.


Did I buy them?

Um, no.

But I did put this COLOR-CHANGING MR. ROGERS MUG in my cart.

Um, I sure did. And I'm hoping for a speedy delivery, too. (Pun intended.)

(His outer garment changes color!)

Mr. Rogers Cup here.


"I hope you're proud of yourself for the times you've said 'yes,' when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else."

-Fred Rogers. The sweetest man who ever lived.


Happy day, friends. Happy day.


March 28, 2017

Adios aluminum. In my deodorant.


"When you know better, you do better."

Ugh. The most frustrating statement EVER. This little, seemingly innocuous assertion is a LOADED gun. Take for example you find out that a certain blue-boxed macaroni and cheese contains some not ideal ingredients, so you stop giving it to your kids and by effect, yourself.

When you know better, you do better.

You learn that your favorite shampoo features an array of ingredients... like formaldehyde. Boom. No more of that favorite smell.

When you know better, you do better.

I mean, then there's bleach. I'm of the generation that still thinks that the smell of bleach means it's really clean. As it turns out, vinegar (ironically, the smell of Easter eggs) can do the same job.

When you know better, you do better.


In an effort to be more open-minded and think beyond what I mindlessly do just because I've done the same thing for years, I've decided to switch my deodorant to a a more natural alternative. I've given up my cucumber "goes-on-clear" and also my name brand "clinical" [insert furtive brow lift and concern] deodorant and now I have have a jar.

Of deodorant.

That I rub on my armpits in the morning.

(I know.)

I mean, there it is.

It's not pretty. But if anyone can rub anything on my armpits it should be me, right? I mean, they're mine.

I've chosen to try PiperWai, not because anyone sold me on it, but because Tom's and Young Living's haven't worked for me. (Apparently this deodorant was also on Shark Tank, a show I've never seen.) After this one I'll probably try Primal Pit Paste and Schmidt's, too.

So far, ladies (and assumedly no gents), so good.

PiperWai is charcoal based and it has a somewhat menthol-y / minty aroma. It apparently can absorb 1,000 times it's weight in moisture. Which means nothing to me. It comes in a glass jar for the hipsters and you scoop out about a pea-sized application with your dedos (fingers) and because I like play doh, I roll it into a ball and apply. (I don't think the directions indicate that you have to roll it into an actual pea-sized ball, but sometimes I'm literal.)

You find that your body heat welcomes the grey-ish putty and it melts away. Leaving you standing in your bathroom rubbing your under arms until nothing appears.

Now, I live in Cabo. It's extremely warm. And, I sweat. A lot. (Hello, it's 90 degrees.) And, I workout and thereby sweat, a lot. I also wash my hair no more than once a week and I don't like showering. (I'm really building an awesome case as to why to befriend me or go out to dinner with me, no?)

So, all that to say, I'm going to be tough on this hippy deodorant. And, so far it's holding its own.

Now, have I worn the deodorant with a really tight, under-the-arm shirt? No.

Have I worn it while wearing a white shirt? No.

Have I worked out with it? Yep. And I didn't smell. (I even asked others for their input. As you can imagine, they were pumped to be involved in this experiment.)

Does it easily wash off? Yes.

Is it disrupting my endocrine system? Not that I know of.

Is it cruelty free, vegan and gluten free? Yes.

Is it for men AND women and kiddos? Yes.

So, I mean, it is what it is. I'm giving it a whirl.

You can try it here.

Note: PiperWai didn't ask me to write this post. I'm doing it on my own accord. Let's keep aluminum in its place: the kitchen, not in our armpits.

**In addition, I am an Amazon Associate and have been for years. If you buy some piperwai through that link at the end, I get a million dollars. Or truth, just a bit of compensation.

NOTE 3.30.17: As of now, apparently the paste is not available on Amazon. (Which is crazy, because the night before I wrote this post, it was available. You can buy it on the website here.)


March 26, 2017

Book Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

(You're busy and you don't really have time to read mediocre books. I read this. Read my review. I promise I'd never recommend anything that is a waste of time.)

Book Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
Author: Mitch Albom

When I was in college, my dear friend and I braved an Ohio blizzard, complete with dangerous ice and potentially flying over the side of the expressway, to go listen to and hopefully meet Mitch Albom. Mitch was speaking at the University of Toledo and I think I was about 21 or 22 at the time and for years I had been listening to him on AM 760 out of Detroit. (I'll write another post later about how cool I am.)

He and Kenny made me laugh and smile… and I just thought Mitch was so cool. His music knowledge blew me away and he had this “Albom’s Albums” feature on the show that I loved. (And stop. "Album's Alboms." Exactly what I love.)

When others my age were listening to shock jocks, I had my Mitch. He had a kind streak. He loved Motown. I liked him. It was through his show that I discovered Warren Zevon and so many more incredible artists. 

As a fan, I remember him talking on the show about a book that he was going to be releasing: Tuesdays with Morrie.

I, along with most of America, read it. I even bought a copy and sent it to my 6th grade teacher. (Miss Sparks was amazing.) The book underscored just why I love Mitch Albom and it also spoke to the other thing that really gets me: relationships.

I believe that throughout our respective journeys, there are different characters and profiles that pop up… they sometimes jump in, push their way in, ease in or sort of appear and they shape the trajectory of our lives. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much.

This latest book by Mitch Albom is warm read, as all of his books are. But it’s captivating. And truth? As I finished the last few chapters I was crying… on a plane… trying to act as if I wasn’t crying on a plane.

“As life goes on, you will join other bands, some through friendships, some through romance, some through neighborhoods, school, an army.  Maybe you will all dress the same, or laugh at your own private vocabularly. Maybe you will flop on couches backstage or share a boardroom table, or crowd around a galley inside a ship. But in each band you join, you will play a distinct part, and it will affect you as much as you affect it.”

This book is a sweet reminder that you matter. That everyone has a story. And that life isn’t a result of chance.


March 14, 2017

Grieving the story. 27 years without my Dad.

When you're young, you think you know everything.

As the daughter of my Mom, there was a distinct point in time when I couldn't fathom why she made the decisions she did. Based on my life experience up until that point -- which was maybe, junior high or high school -- I couldn't wrap my brain around her. Her decisions, even the words that came out of her mouth. None of it made sense. I knew better. I thought I always knew better.

We were a study in incompatibility. She held a high bar... as did I. It seemed that both of us couldn't quite measure up.

The whole raising me to be a free-thinking, independent person may not have worked in her favor during my early teen years.

Ah, teenage angst. It was tough. Enter early adulthood awakenings and the formation of what I thought adults should be and it was a cauldron of searing judgements and frustration...mainly coming from me. (I wasn't easy.)

And then time went on. And I grew up. I got married and had a baby. And I also remember that exact moment when I was rocking my newborn baby girl...

...sitting in that rocking chair... the daughter of my Mom...

...and I remember that distinct point in which I no longer held any judgement on why she made the decisions she did... fact, it occurred to me that before me, and even after, my Mom was a woman with feelings and life experiences and thoughts and dreams and goals and passions and interests and beliefs...

...I realized that my sweet Mama, oh, my Mom... she knew all along that one day I'd know what she knew...

...that she loved me with all of her heart and wanted nothing but the best for me. That she did the best she could, with what she had, at that time.


And that's the circle.

At least it was for me.


With my Mom, I ran the natural timleine of emotions that I suppose a daughter runs:

I was in love with her and she was beautiful and perfect... then slowly the facade cracks and the child starts to press, and press, and press... craving boundaries and safety and most importantly, autonomy.  She pushed back. I pushed harder. She pushed harder. There were disagreements and periods of silence. There was crying... oh, so much crying. There were arguments. Doors slamming. Rules. Broken rules. Sigh... We didn't get along. Not much. There was the "I love you, but I don't particularly like you..." But... during all of this time, just to make it that much more complicated... she was sick... and it's really hard to hate your sick mom. Especially when she's the only parent you have. And as time went on... the iciness, as it always did, especially when she was sick... it dissipated until it just sort of became a memory.

We fought when we had energy and when it seemed like she'd live forever.

When it got a little scary, we retracted and were kind... because I think underneath we both knew how precious life was.


Tomorrow, the Ides of March, will commemorate, er... signify... um... mark?  Whatever. The 15th of March will mean that it's been 27 years since my Dad died.

I've lived a solid percentage of my life without him in it and there have been years when this anniversary would come and I'd feel... nothing. And there were years when I'd weep for what wasn't.

I cried for conversations that never happened.
I cried because he didn't get to see my sing in the choir concert.
I cried because I had no one to give the Father's Day craft to.

As I got older, I wept at the milestones and for them: high school graduation, college graduation... marriage. Oh, the marriage one was tough.

I've cried that he didn't get to meet my husband.
I've cried that he didn't get to meet my sweet girls.

Today, I'll be honest with you... I'm sad because we don't have a story.

I have this story with my Mom. But with him? It's different.

We just don't have it.

He died when things were still childlike and wonderful. (Which, some might say is a blessing... and I agree. It is.) I didn't have a pattern with him like I did my Mom. There were't really any conflicts or differences. There was just a 10-year-old little girl and her Dad, who battled cancer and then died.

End of story.

But... there's not any depth. There are no stories. I didn't get to create a relationship with him, as an adult. I don't know what his childhood was really like. What kind of student was he? How was his childhood? I don't know if he liked peanut butter. (I'm assuming that as my Dad he did.)

I do know that he liked tea. Which is why I drink tea.
I also know that he liked SNL. Which is why I watch SNL.
It's funny how you cling to what you remember and you weave it into your story.


I'd like to think that when our parents die, or anyone for that matter, but especially the ones we are deeply connected to... I'd like to believe that they can still tune in and see what's going on with us if they chose. I'd like to think that he knows what I look like, who I am and what his granddaughters are like.

I also like to think that he met my girls before they were given to me. Does that sound hokey and implausible? I don't even care. I'd like to think that he met my girls before I did. I think that connections span life and death. I have a friend who grew up not knowing her grandma because she passed before she was born... but she's always felt a an unexplained closeness to her...

I'd like to think that even though we didn't get to know one another as adults, that when we do meet again, we'll immediately connect and we'll hug and we'll sit and all the years that have passed will melt away in that second.

I hope he recognizes me... and I hope he has that amazing hair that I remember.


These days I seldom reflect on being a parentless child. For the love, I'm nearly 38 years old. I'm not a child. Still, it's funny how as the years go on and the memories lose their clarity, the emotion is still there. The hole, it never quite closes up.

The grief, it doesn't go away, it merely changes shape.


When I was little I had a favorite blanket. It was my "silky." It was yellow and cotton and along the four sides there was a "silky" edge that I'd rub my fingers on as I fell asleep. It calmed me. Over time, that poor blanket, got thinner and thinner... I'm not even sure where it went. But I remember it, the comfort it brought me...

Today, I hold on just as tightly to my memories of my Dad. The memories are just as comforting as that silky edge of my blankie. I hold even tighter to my siblings, whom in their voices and laughs and mannerisms make me feel like I'm closer to him.

I am so thankful for the blanket of warm memories. I'm thankful that he was here and that he was mine.


March 2, 2017

A day in the life of the average harried Mom.

My desktop is a mirror of my life. In addition, I have 2 google chrome windows open with 15+ tabs in each window. What's that? "Multi-tasking isn't effective?" So I've heard.

As Moms, we're pretty much expected to be living leggings, no?

Leggings expand as necessary... and hold everything together.

We expand as necessary and for the most part... give the appearance of holding everything together, too.

Here's a confession: I rarely hold everything together. (Ask my husband.)


5:30 a.m. - Alarm goes off. I think, "Is my phone ringing? Didn't I just go to bed?" I get out of bed, walk to phone (turn off alarm) get dressed for workout. (My clothes are laid out from the night before.)

Two things: If the phone is close to me, I skip the workout. (Hit snooze. And... scene.)

If I don't lay out the clothes, I skip the workout.

6:40 a.m.  - Workout done and logged in my accountability group. (Love the ladies in my group. New group starting Monday -- see here.)  I have 10-20 minutes to do my "Miracle Morning". (Silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise (already done), reading my daily devotional, writing) before the ladies rise and "shine."

THIS IS MY TIME. I get up at 5:30 a.m. for me.


I hurry up, when I'm finished visualizing my peaceful life and thanking God for my blessings, I order some quick things off of Amazon to send to my MIL who is coming to visit next week.

February 26, 2017

2017 Academy Awards Red Carpet Fashion Recap

Wow! Yay! I loved this.

The Academy Awards are always my favorite. The dresses. Yay.

(But before we get started, did anyone see the part when the people came through the theatre? The ones who thought they were on a Hollywood tour? Did anyone notice that the ONLY celebrity to stand up for all of the tourists was Ryan Gosling? THIS IS WHY PEOPLE LOVE HIM.)

So, it appears that modesty was pretty on-trend at this year's Oscars: long sleeves and high collars. In addition, gold and white seemed to be popular. Interesting.

Ok, let's get this party started.

Um... Halle Berry.


This woman is perfection. (I mean, she doesn't get older.)

Ok, now the Versace gown: It's stunning. She's gorgeous. Her styling is lovely... and her hair? So, so great.


What kind of serum is she using? Halp. I want to know more.

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