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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Down Dog Is for the Birds? Nope, It's for the KIDS!

Down Dog Is for the Birds? Nope, It's for the KIDS!

If you know me, you know that yoga is my second religion.  Which means that most of the time, I am a lapsed yogi.  But, like my Catholic roots, I am comforted by the fact that whenever I am ready, and whenever I need it, yoga is there, patiently waiting for me.

You may also know how much I love a good cause.  I took an Archetype quiz recently that ranked me squarely as an advocate.  More than anything else.  

When I saw that there was a local event that combined advocacy and yoga, I knew that I had to be there.  So, this June 8, 2014, I will be in Fenway Park, doing yoga on the warning track, in support of the Red Sox Foundation.  (It's on a Sunday, so I am going to say that this counts as church!)

The Red Sox Foundation endeavors to support at-risk children in the Boston community.  This yogathon will benefit two programs: the Red Sox Scholars and RBI Youth Baseball and Softball.  You can read all about them here.  In my former life, I worked at the Colonel Daniel Marr Boys and Girl Club in Dorchester so I know how important it is to have high quality programs for at-risk kids.  

In addition to the very cool crowd of yogis who will be joining me on 6/8, our class will be led by none other than the lovely Mandy Ingber!
"Having the body you want begins with loving the body you have."  Mandy Ingber, who many may know is Jennifer Aniston's yoga guru and friend, is the founder of Yogalosophy.  She is a celebrity fitness, self-love expert, speaker, producer, instructor and author.

I am so excited to be a part of this event.  My kids are beyond thrilled to come watch me down dog on the warning track, and visit the Expo in the stadium.  Won't you help support my fundraising goal, the Red Sox Foundation and kids in Boston?  You contributions are greatly appreciated!

And, of course, a quick shout out to the major sponsors who are helping to make this day a reality!

Saturday, May 17, 2014
Summer Sun, Something's Begun!

Summer Sun, Something's Begun!

It’s mid-May and we’re almost there.  Where?  Almost into spring in New England!  We should be knee deep in it by now, preparing for the impending heat and humidity, but over the years, it seems to me that the seasons have shifted forward a little bit.  I am finally sleeping with the windows cracked at night, opening them wide in the mornings to let in the fresh air.

This is the time of year when everyone thinks about a summer regimen.  When we have finally shed the dead skin of winter and are prepping it for the sun.  We know, or we should, that a skin care system is a 365 event, unless you are a mole, because the sun doesn’t just come out to play in the summer.  But, it’s on your mind now, and in every commercial and on every end caps at every store.  So let’s talk about skin care.

The average woman is exposed to a ridiculous amount of chemicals each day, coming in contact with more than 200 in the products she smears on her skin.  (60% of those chemicals can be found in the bloodstream.  Who wants that?)

When my oldest was born I began a quest to try to reduce the amount of toxins we ingested, either through products or food.  This is an ongoing battle that will probably never be 100% finished.  Every day we encounter an unknown number of things that are outside of our control, so we do the best we can where we can.

Enter Block Island Organics.  First, they’re local to me here in Rhode Island, and that’s a win.  Second, they’re organic.  Which means that there are no harmful chemicals.  And, third, the price is reasonable.  In an effort to keep prices affordable, while all of the ingredients are safe, some are not certified organic.  To certify that a product is free from harmful things is extremely expensive, yet it costs nothing to poison us with chemically laden products.  Go figure.

You can check out each of the ingredients in Block Island Organic Sunscreen and even see the Environmental Working Group's ratings in terms of safety.  

The most important test for me was the family test.  My 'roommates' are super active, always moving and they HATE to be slathered with sunscreen.  I try to do it early, because often can be a challenge, but keeping up is important.

Right now, our beach bags have old bottles of Coppertone Sport, which is what we used last year.  It’s not on the good list at all, in fact making the top 10 worst sunscreens.  I don’t buy it, but the hubs prefers how easy it goes on, doesn’t run, feels clean, and most of all, works.  So these were the standards he would hold any and all other products to if they were to make the grade, and the coveted spot in the beach bag.  And the kids follow his lead, so it would be three to one if I couldn’t find something good.

Are you on the edge of your seat?  Holding your breath with anticipation?  Don’t be silly.  You know I am going to tell you that this product hit the mark.  I don’t talk about stuff that we end up hating, or would never buy.  So if it makes the blog, chances are that it makes the grade…and the bag!

Block Island Organics went on smooth.  I was surprised at first, and figured that it had separated in the package and wasn’t mixed together.  My past experiences with natural sunscreens hasn't been good.  But this one was just fine – that’s how it’s made.  It smelled clean, if at all, as it has no fragrance added.  It rubbed in easily, with only a few spots (eyebrows, chin lines and scalps) requiring a real good effort to blend.  It lasted for hours and left no tacky, sticky, icky residue that I feel comes with some more natural products. 

All in all, this crew probably wouldn’t have noticed if I blindfolded them when they applied the product, but, it was reassuring to get thumbs up all around.  So, this summer, we will fill our bags with Block Island Organics and know that we've got a safe, local product that keeps us enjoying the summer sun as long as it’s shining. (May that be a LONG, LONG time!)  And, we'll be living the BIO mantra, "Play smart, play safe."

Follow Block Island Organics on all the social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.  If you visit their website and sign up for their email list, you can get 15% off of your online order.  AND, as May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, you can enter to win a prize pack that includes sunscreen, sunburn relief, a tee shirt and towel.

Disclosure:  I received free samples of Block Island Organics to try.  As always, opinions are all mine!

Friday, May 9, 2014
Happy Mother's Day to ME!

Happy Mother's Day to ME!

I am so excited right now, I can hardly stand it.  My new essay on motherhood is over on Scary Mommy today!  It's not your typical essay on motherhood - it's not fuzzy and warm, cuddles and kittens.  But, that wouldn't be me, now would it?

Pop over and check it out - make comments and share it.  And thanks in advance for all of your support!

Thursday, May 8, 2014
Suck It Up, Buttercup

Suck It Up, Buttercup

I’m holding a grudge and it’s getting in the way of my happiness.  And what pisses me off is that I know it’s wasted energy, and I know that it is keeping me in a stuck place and I know that no good will ever come of this shitty, catty anger I am hosting and I STILL can’t get it out of my head.  Or maybe it’s my heart.  It’s definitely in my gut.

I believe, more than anything, that people should be authentic.  There is NOTHING in this world that pisses me off more than fake people.  You can usually spot them a mile away.  They smile CONSTANTLY, compliment INCESSANTLY, and are generally choking the air out of the room with their phoniness.

And yet, sometimes I miss the signs.  I like to believe that all people are good until proven otherwise.  My husband, on the other hand, believes that no one is good until proven otherwise.  He has a solid core group of friends who have earned their place in his circle, whom he trusts, and whose company he thoroughly enjoys.  (That doesn’t mean that some of his friends aren’t assholes, in my book.  But guys have a much better view of the world, and sometimes the people you want to go drinking with are, in fact, assholes.)

I don’t like assholes.  I don’t think that they should be in my universe.  I want all the people in my circles of friends to be good, honest, authentic, genuine people.  They don’t have to have anything in common, except for those traits.  They can live in different places, like different things, be totally different.  They just can’t be assholes.

So, back to my bitter pill.  There is a fox in my hen house.  She came in as a seemingly genuine, authentic person but has since proven to be otherwise.  I thought she came from good stock.  Her family is incredible.  She had a good upbringing.  And yet, her roots have gotten shallower, and shallower, and shallower, as every year has passed.  Theoretically speaking, a swift wind should knock her right over like the tree in my yard.

And now I am stuck in mud.  I can’t avoid her because we have very overlapping circles.  And I suck at being phony.   I could forgive her for the thing that she did, but that requires me to rise above, and I just told you:  I am ankle deep in mud.   

So I keep chanting mantras.  Be a bigger person.  Rise above.  The only person you are hurting is yourself.  Vibrate at a higher level.  Don’t fall into the trap.  Blah, blah, blah.  I had hoped that the constantly, nearly OCD-like repetition of these things would release me from my hate space.  But, the tricks aren’t working.  I don’t feel an ounce better.  I don’t feel lighter, freer, or better.  I am just fucking pissed.

I’m not interested in explaining why I am angry.   I don’t feel like articulating the infraction that this person did, the proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back.  I don’t want to give any more food to this noxious weed.   I get fired up about it, and then I get mad that I get fired up. 

So, what’s a modern girl to do?  I “unfollowed” her on Facebook.  I took her out of my notifications.  I paused over the “unfriend” and block buttons but didn’t pull the trigger.  I can’t explain why.  It’s probably the healthiest option, but there is that piece of me that needs to keep tabs on her – to not turn my back on her, lest she stab me again.

I’m a Christian, so where’s my Christianity?  I’m supposed to turn the other cheek so she can slap me again, or something like that.  I’m supposed to give more than I have already given.  I am supposed to stop swirling in negativity, lest all I see is negativity in all of the beautiful things in my life.  The good people in my life.  The honest, authentic, wonderful people in my life.  Of which there are 99.9999999% more than this one, tiny, broken piece.

I wish someone could give me a diagnosis.  Assess my symptoms and say, “You have about 10 more days of this virus and then it will run its course.”  I don’t want to be a chronic sufferer.  I don’t want to be bitching about this for another day, or week, or minute.  I want to be healed.  I want to be happy.  For the both of us. 

Usually, when I write things out, I see the logical conclusion.  I find the answer to the problem.  In this case, I know all the answers.  I’ve taken all, or most of the pills.  Maybe I washed them down with insincerity, and that’s the difference.  Maybe I felt that I was the victim and I have been waiting to be validated.  To be surrounded by clucking, nodding sympathizers.   But, what would that accomplish?  Who would it serve?  Or wouldn’t it be more likely that it would keep me stuck in this place?  Allowing me to wallow in self-pity?  That’s no prescription for healing.

I learned the other day that the lotus flower grows in muddy water.  That it pushes past weeds, fish, insects and murk to bloom.  It is stronger because of its circumstances.  It shines its beautiful light in a dark place.    It’s time to use the mud I am standing in for something good; to see this moment as an opportunity for growth.  Or maybe just to make a face mask.  Either way – I’m not sinking any more.

So, as the saying goes, it’s time to “Suck it up, Buttercup.”  It’s time to make a swift exit from the pity party I have been attending, and head home.  I am the designated driver – no one else can take responsibility for my emotions.  It sucks, it hurts and it probably won’t be the last time someone disappoints me. 

The truth will set you free.  But first, it will piss you off.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
F**k Wordless Wednesday -- I Want to Talk

F**k Wordless Wednesday -- I Want to Talk

As it turns out, I am a horrible blogger. Anything I have to do on a consistent basis is unlikely to get done. I suck at this.

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, that this isn’t working for me. I have lots of journals that are 90% empty. My first diary is 90% empty and I couldn’t wait to get one when I was little. I struggle with writing things down.

At heart, I’m a talker. If I lived in a Star Trek era where I could video diary, I imagine there wouldn’t be enough storage for what I could dump at the end of a day. I talk to myself ALL the time. I make lists, I offer encouragement, I solve world problems. But my brain moves too fast for my hands, whether writing OR typing, and invariably, any brilliance I might have to offer fades into the ether.

I envy my journaling friends. Those who have trunkfuls of their lives, who have self- analyzed and problem solved their experiences, who are wise beyond their years. I have taken workshops and webinars; I have felt the immense weightlessness of offering up your soul to the pages of a book. I have wanted to be a writer for my whole life – to offer my wit and wisdom, my snark and sarcasm, my heart and hope. But, it’s not sustainable for me. My life will always get in the way of my blog. And while that shouldn’t matter, I should write what I want, when I want, the person who invented search engine optimization would suggest otherwise. It’s quantity. It’s consistency. Quality? Meh.

I wish someone could just follow me around, recording and editing my thoughts. There are plenty that would be worthy of attention, and lots more that would end up on the cutting room floor. But it would be on the outside, and I wouldn’t be carrying it all around like a spare tire. 

Maybe my pants would fit better.

I know that journaling is not for anyone else. That it is for me, and me alone. But, it’s exhausting, both emotionally and physically. It’s tedious. I like to talk it out...maybe talk it to death. When I talk, I see words in my head. I am processing and talking all at the same time, editing on the fly and adapting without the need for ripped up pages, or white out. I am auto-correct. I can string the words together like I am choreographing a dance or composing a masterpiece. I feel magical.

But then, something happens when I put pen to page. I get lazy. I don’t want to rewrite anything. I am so opposed to editing that I skip parts that might make a narrative pop. I scrape the surface, never digging too deeply into things or describing things in great detail. Personally, I tend to love books that are fast paced and filled with action and dialogue. If you take more than three sentences to describe something, or no one speaks for two pages, I am not reading it. I don’t care if you won an award, or you are a classic. I can’t take it.

Maybe I am not a writer. Maybe I am supposed to find a way to talk to you. This may be why I so love social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...make me happy. Short, quick bursts of words. Speaking little but saying volumes.

Life is a conversation. Who wants to talk? 

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