Friday Faves: Creating Good Habits

One of the good things about being 52, aside from not being 53, is having a handle on what makes you tick.

I’ve got to tell you though, for about the first 40 years on this planet, I had no idea what made me do the things I did and feel the way I felt. Ladies and gentlemen, this is why therapy was created. After about a dozen years of staring at my bellybutton on Jennifer, my therapist’s, couch, I have a pretty good idea why I can’t really cry (except during The Blind Side) and what made me think having hella kids was the right move during my 20s and early 30s.

Last month, I brought up to Jennifer how I couldn’t seem to knock things off my to-do list — everything from not finding a significant other to getting rid of the pile of clothes on top of my washing machine (I couldn’t decide what to do with it, vacilating between selling the mound — like my son’s fairly new and outgrown Vineyard Vines dress shirt and a pair of NWT denim Bermuda shorts from Old Navy I thought would be cool but instead just made me look like a dork or donate). And then where to sell and/or donate? Or should I just give the whole pile to my cleaning lady and let her send it all to a church in Honduras.

I relay all this to Jen, who does a really good job at not rolling her eyes while I’m looking at her, and she starts to say something about habits — which intrigued me. I am a very habitual person. I was a committed smoker for about two decades — because how could you not end a meal or enjoy a cocktail without a cigarette? And for a long time, I’d brush my teeth after dinner so I wouldn’t eat before bedtime. They were things I didn’t even think about.

Later that night, I found myself heavily stalking writer and happiness guru Gretchen Rubin’s website, in particular posts about her book Better Than Before, which is all about habits. She says, “Habits are the invisible architecture of daily life. We repeat about 40% of our behavior almost daily, so if we change our habits, we change our lives.”


I downloaded the book and listened while walking the dog and driving out to Penn State, and was really inspired to adopt habits that would help me accomplish goals and check things off my list. Rubin says that when it comes to habits, there are four types of people, and after a quick quiz, I learned that I was an Obliger. I need accountability in order to make me do things, and that’s totally true (except sometimes, even letting people down doesn’t stop me from rampant procrastination).

One of the biggest things that have helped is Rubin’s suggestionto eliminate decisions. Like, I know when I wake up, I am going to go downstairs and meditate for 10 minutes and then write in my journal. I used to lie in bed and wonder what to do when the alarm went off early, and sometimes just snoozed until I had to get up to get my 16yo off to school. Now, the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. and I am heading downstairs to sit on my couch in the dark listening to my meditation app and surrounded by animals licking themselves (Airpods help).

In the last two weeks I have:

  • Pitched a piece to the Washington Post
  • Signed up to take a class with a writing teacher I’ve been stalking for years
  • Gotten rid of household items that have been cluttering the corners of my not-so-new-house for 3 years
  • Meditated 20 days in a row
  • Gone on a date
  • Donated the pile of clothes

I also love Rubin’s Happier podcast, which she does with her sister (Liz Kraft, a tv screenwriter) and Liz’s podcast Happier in Hollywood. I now refer to Rubin as “Gretch,” which is what her sister calls her, and tease her while listening to her podcast.


I’ve done a few rounds of this meditation app’s courses — guided by Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe’s amazing Australian accent — but then found solace for a while in more woo-woo loving kindness meditations. What I love about Headspace is that there’s nothing to think about, you just continue on the course you’ve chosen (currently I’m working on Prioritization, before that: Productivity) and press play. For accountability junkies, the app also congratulates you for your streak. Recently, I’ve even been doing some of the sleep meditations — there’s tons to choose from — while listening to the storm coming from my sound machine (see below). It’s quite lovely.

iHome Zenergy Sleep Machine

I’d been using my iPhone as my alarm for the last year or two, but hated having it right there next to me, tempting me to get lost in its hypnotic blue light when I was up at 3 a.m. Then, Jennifer the Therapist told me about this baby, and I bought it the next day. The sound options are amazing. I do not love the light situation although I kind of like being awoken by the soft “Dawn” whitish/bluish light that accompanies the sounds of waves crashing on the beach and seagulls squwaking. You can try to adjust settings on a Zenergy app, which is not very good, but gives you the option of waking up to the various sounds, the radio or connect via bluetooth to your phone. Just don’t do what I did when I pulled it out of its box, which was to immediately cut the wire for the radio antenna off the back of the machine. It annoyed me and was weirdly impulsive and unusual for me. Maybe the universe didn’t want me listening to any more NPR.

Killing Eve

ARE YOU SO EXCITED for everybody’s favorite cat-and-mouse duo to return this Sunday? I cannot wait and if you haven’t yet watched Season 1, start bingeing today.

Get in the Groove


Finally, I just discovered In the Groove, a A Lifestyle Destination for Age-Defying Women, and — with articles like “20 Stripe Tshirts You Can Wear All Season” and “Welcome to the Vagina Revolution!” — I have a feeling there are some long and deep internet rabbit holes I’m about to fall into this weekend.

Friday Faves: What I Read This Summer

When my kids were young enough to come to the beach with me every day, but old enough to get themselves to the pool or spend the day trying to sell friendship bracelets up by the cabanas at our club, I’d squeeze in a lot of reading. I’d sit in a circle on the beach with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, and after we’d finish talking about funny things the kids did or our latest concerns about what the kids were watching or eating (we were young mothers, of course), we’d pull our books or newspapers out of our beach bags and quietly read alongside each other in the sand.

A few times, we all headed to the family cabin in the Poconos, and I am being very generous with the term “cabin.” It was pretty rustic — think outhouse and no running water — and had been furnished with the hand-me-downs of extremely frugal people. The kitchenware was mismatched and the stacks of bedding kept in a trunk in the living room had been worn thin with use. But despite its lack of creature comforts, the cabin sat a short distance from a lake that we’d ride our bikes around at dusk in search of beavers building dams and once, a mama bear and her cubs crossed the road right in front of the cluster of cousins that had zoomed ahead of the grownups. We’d drive over to the falls and slide down the rushing water into the cold dark pool below and eat a picnic of sandwiches and chips perched on the flat rocks overlooking the water flowing downstream. But in between adventures, we’d make our way out to the porch looking out over fields of foxgloves and teepees the kids had fashioned out of long tree branches, and settle in to read. With no TV to watch and still in that blissful era before iPhones and Instagram, the kids would pull out the latest Harry Potter of Captain Underpants and join us in the shade. 

Nowadays when I go to the beach, there’s a lot more talking than reading and I’m as guilty as the next guy of looking at my phone and falling down long and twisty Internet holes. So, it was nice this Labor Day to sit quietly with my older two kids (so far, the biggest of my readers) under the beach umbrella and read for most of the afternoon. It helped that both my daughter and I were finishing books that we were loving and couldn’t put down. That’s how I felt about (almost) all of the books I read this summer: they kept me coming back and I was sorry for (most) of them to end. Which, to me, is all you can ask for of a book.

Less (Andrew Sean Greer): It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year and was what I had been (reluctantly) finishing up on the beach on Labor Day and I cannot recommend it enough, especially if you are turning 50. I think Arthur Less’s story will resonate with anyone of us who has lived a life. Less is a struggling novelist who decides to avoid his former lover’s pending nuptials by accepting a series of invitations (teach a course, be up for an award, celebrate somebody else’s 50th) that set him traveling across the globe. Here’s my favorite exchange.

Less smiles. “My birthday is in one week.”

“Strange to be almost fifty, no? I feel like I just understood how to be young.”

“Yes! It’s like the last day in a foreign country. You finally figure out where to get coffee, and drinks, and a good steak. And then you have to leave. And you won’t ever be back.”

AUDIO: My Year of Rest and Relaxation (Ottessa Moshfegh): A lot of times I will listen to the audio version of a book and become convinced that simply reading it would never have been as good (that was my experience with Lincoln in the Bardo, for sure). Such is the case with this story of a 20-something woman living in Manhattan during the summer of 2000 who decides to escape the sorrow in her life by spending a year asleep. Enter the wackiest, prescription writing NYC shrink and whiny best friend, and the narrator does a terrific job giving each character a distinct voice and personality. The final line of the book is everything. Haunted me for weeks.

Pachinko (Min Jin Lee): It took me until about two-thirds of the way through this generational saga set in Japan, which focuses on its Korean refugees beginning in the 1930s, that Pachinko wasn’t the name of a major character in the book. “When are we going to meet her?” I kept wondering as I looked at the illustration of the woman on the paperback’s front cover (it is not a spoiler to tell you that pachinko is a Japanese pinball game). Loved learning about the splitting of Korea and how kind of horrible the Japanese were to them when they fled their country and how displaced the Koreans were in their new home. Good insight into what it must feel like for all those refugees wandering around the globe, forced from their homes and unwanted in other countries. Hard to imagine.

The Woman in the Window (A.J. Finn): Fast. Fun. In the “Gone Girl” vein of unreliable narrators. Made me glad that for all the red wine I drink, I steer clear of prescription meds. It makes you see things. Maybe.

Calypso (David Sedaris): What can I say? I’ve loved Sedaris since I heard him on NPR reading his “Santaland Diaries,” when I pulled into my driveway and then sat, laughing as he threatened to have some mouthy kid — waiting on-line to see Santa — killed, until the end. This new collection of essays seems to have more of a thread running through the pieces than his other books, which I really liked. It kept a lot of the stories in context. One of the most alarming is the tale of a lipoma he had removed from his back and what he did with it. Strange and hilarious. The piece about his sister, Tiffany’s, suicide remains heartbreaking, no matter how many times I read it.

Look Alive Out There (Sloane Crosley): More collections of essays and maybe funnier than Sedaris, I am completely obsessed with Crosley and have wasted way too many hours stalking her online and reading everything she’s written. To wit: “Around this time, I began dating a younger and emotionally unavailable man who was completely wrong for me in every way but anatomically. So I fell for him.”

Gilead (Marilynne Robinson): The exact opposite of every book listed above, this slow contemplation of life and religion — written as a letter by a man at the end of his to his son — is no page turner. But it’s a beautifully written exploration of the relationship between fathers and sons and the inner workings of an Iowa preacher nearing death. Heavy.

Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie): Don’t be imposed by its size, this is a compelling, but dense, story of a Nigerian woman’s experience moving to the United States and a lot of comparisons between Black Americans and Black Non Americans (her labels). There’s also love and tons of humor. Plenty of the book is also set in Nigeria, which I loved getting a glimpse into and am fascinated by black hair politics and how long it takes to create those elaborate braids you see some black women wearing. I fell down such a deep Internet hole investigating the author and have watched both her Ted Talks (“We Should All Be Feminists” and “The Danger of the Single Story”) multiple times and find her utterly charming and sassy. I was so obsessed with her, I even Googled how to pronounce her name.

Would love to know what YOU read this summer and what you’re planning to read this fall! If you are like me and have a book-buying problem ( I have SO many piled up next to my bed rn), I highly suggest (if you are local) that you use River Road Books as your official pusher to get your next reading fix (the only compensation I receive from them for that plug is great conversation when I go in to browse). 

Also, if you are tired of having to come find me, may I also suggest you sign up to have me come to you? Subscribe in the box below and my latest posts will appear magically in your inbox. Voila!!


Friday Faves: Bra-llelujah People!

Just a heads up: things are getting less-than-sexy around here.

When I was younger woman — with younger feet — I’d listen to my mom going on about the importance of comfortable footwear, showing me the latest pair of Sketchers or New Balance sneakers she’d just order online, and I’d be teetering around in high heels and think, “Sucks to be her.”

Well, obviously you know where this is headed, as I’ve already admitted here to wearing on the reg boots that resemble the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter and getting shots in my feet  so I can, like, wear Birkenstoks.

Now it seems that same sensibility has traveled northward on my body and is affecting my choice of brassieres of late.

During my final days at Athleta, a period we refer to around here as The Big Legging Grab — when I was buying things left and right from that place on the pretense that, without my 50-percent discount, I would never be able to shop there again — I stocked up on a sports bra that had become my undergarment of choice due to the extreme level of comfort it provided. It had just the right amount of compression to hold everything in, but didn’t dig into my torso — that area right under your boobs, that really should have a name — like my regular Double D Wacoal underwires.

Okay, let’s pause and discuss the importance of a good bra, especially when you’re old and stacked, like me.

After 50, my priority shifted from wearing something cute — I mean, as “cute” as a Double D can be — to wearing something comfortable. I realized early on that this particular Athleta sports bra was doing absolutely nothing for my physique, but decided to overlook that compressed, uni-boob look in favor of how comfy the thing was. Like practically wearing nothing but, honestly, I find wearing nothing both uncomfortable and slightly unwieldy.

Ladies, you get it.

And then there’s that whole phenomenon of what happens to your body after you hit the half-century mark. It’s like you’re one of those candles stuck into a bottle of Chianti at an Italian restaurant and are beginning to melt. Like someone lit the wick at the top of your head and everything has started to drip.

But recently, I went to buy a pair of jeans and the saleslady was my age and of course, the conversation eventually drifted to our shifting bodies and boobs in general, and she pulled the bra strap out from under her t-shirt to rave about her Spanx bra.

“Spanx makes a bra?” I wondered aloud, and she said it was great under everything — t-shirts and sweaters — and that she wore it every day.

Gentlemen, you have no idea how hard it is to find a bra that works under a t-shirt, where after 15 minutes of wear, your boobs don’t start spilling out of the top or that’s not digging a trench into your back and creating a big ripple under the fabric.

I got a total bee in my bonnet for this bra and, needing to see it in person, drove 45 minutes to the closest Spanx store to me here in New Jersey to give it a test drive.

I bought two, a black and a nude, and they’re all that I wear, alternating accordingly.

It turns out, the style I bought is dubbed the Bra-llelujah and you will be yelling the same thing once slip it on. It’s not Spanx-y, tight compression. It’s not like the “medical” undergarment that Tina Fey talks about here.

It’s just nice and smooth, and the front closure provides smooth, full coverage and the wide straps don’t dig into your shoulders but they also stay put. But most magical is the extra-wide band in the back that somehow smooths out that whole situation so you avoid wincing when you give your rear view the once over.

The Bra-llelujah comes in a padded and unlined version, and I opted for the latter as all that extra padding just adds to an already generous bust and, frankly, just makes me look dumpy. I like the minimizer effect and unlike the sports bra, my front view has a little more definition.

Depending on your cup size, there are a variety of styles to choose from and I have my eye on a lacy number I’d like to add to the bra stable at some point. In the meantime, although the bra doesn’t resemble anything I can remember from Harry Potter, its magical properties — able to obliviate and levitate the bustiest of busts — is as impressive as a hat that can sort.

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Friday Faves: Audio Edition

This fall, I’ve spent a lot of time wandering around the woods with my dog and listening to a variety of audiobooks and podcasts wearing my groovy new over-the-ear headphones. I have either really big or really small, like, ear openings because I could never get earbuds to stay in my ears. It would be so annoying to be marching around, anticipating one to pop out of my ear at any moment. It kind of detracted from the whole listening experience.

So the new headphones have opened up a whole new audio world for me and I can’t recommend them enough (NOTE: I’m no sound expert — I don’t know my bass from my treble — but these seem perfectly fine for the price).

What have I been listening to? I’ll tell you:

  • My kids are SO tired of hearing me talk about this, but the audio version of George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo was BEYOND amazing. Like listening to an opera or something really epic. It’s based on the true story of Lincoln going in the middle of the night to the cemetery to hold the body of his 11yo son, Willie, one more time. The bardo is that place in Buddhist tradition between death and heaven and hell and the cemetery is filled with a bunch of ghosts stuck there and voiced by tons of amazing people urging Willie to move on. Parks and Rec’s Nick Offerman and the writer David Sedaris voice two of the main ghosts and Meghan Mulalley is perfect as a cussin’ crazy lady. The story is interwoven with letters and other pieces that document the era plus there’s some old-timey Civil War music for good measure.
  • I found myself crying — yes, crying — walking behind my dog listening to Brene Brown tell me, “Not belonging in our families is still one of the most dangerous hurts. That’s because it has the power to break our heart, our spirit and our sense of self worth.” Yikes.
  • Do you know Jen Sincero? She’s a frigging badass and encourages you to be one, too. She also wants you to make hella money.
  • If you are insane and good at following through at things, like my BF, you can try listening to all 35 hours of this, like she just did. I thought about it for a hot second and then remembered I have a 6-hour maximum attention capacity.
  • I found an audio of Ann Lamott giving a workshop based on her popular Bird by Bird. The audio’s pretty terrible, it’s from the 90’s, but she’s so likable it’s worth it.
  • My 25yo son and I got hooked on this podcast on a drive home from somewhere recently and it’s only 6 one-hour episodes and worth finding out what happens in the end. It also made me rethink a guy I dated a while ago who I now think might have been homeless. Another yikes.
  • If you can handle any more news in your life, I’ve been enjoying The New York Times “The Daily” podcast, even though the host speaks so slow it’s like the show is geared towards folks who don’t speak English as a first language. Nice deep dives into the news of the day, be it Harvey Weinstein or net neutrality.
  • The headphones aren’t just for the woods. I’ve been waking up early most mornings and listening to this guided meditation and honestly, if we all did I think we’d all be a lot happier. And more peaceful
  • Sometimes, I don’t even wear headphones while listening to stuff. My girlfriend Alexa, who hangs out on my kitchen counter, introduced me to the Holiday Favorites station on Amazon that’s not the same old Bing Crosby/Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer routine. It made me feel really good about Alexa and forgive her for not knowing the answers to a lot of questions we pose and for also butting into conversations when she thinks we’re talking about her. Rude.

I’m always looking for new things to listen to so please share what’s got your attention lately!

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Friday Faves: Stuff I’m Legit Obsessed With

Let me just say that when I like something, I really like it. That holds for wine, Game of Thrones and certain ex-boyfriends. Oh, and outerwear. Can’t get enough outerwear.

Lately, I’ve been hot for a bunch of things and it goes without saying that two of them are Seed to Sprout’s Kimchi Rice Bowl (which I’ve eaten from lunch and dinner twice this week) and the pumpkin spice blend at Rook (which is where I’m headed when I’m done writing this). Need. Every. Day.

My kids are ob-sessed with these two condiments from Stonewall Kitchen (which we get at Sickles), which they slather on anything that’s not moving (watch it, puppy!).

Last weekend, my older daughter and I made took some coupons and made our fall pilgrimage to Bath & Body Works for our favorite candles. And even though it hasn’t been really autumnal here until today, that hasn’t kept me from burning this candle 24/7. It just makes me happy and smells better than the lingering stench from my 14yo’s football pads (honestly, that is a seriously smelly sport).

One of the fun things about working at my local athleisure emporium is digging through the online returns bin and finding a pair of shoes (since we don’t sell them in the store). I hit pay dirt recently and found these babies and wear them, literally, every day. Right there, I used the word “literally” in the right context. They are beyond comfortable, match everything and I get compliments galore. I am usually an 8 but my score was an 8.5 and even though the baby manager at the store cursed me for stealing them out from under her, her young feet don’t have the same concerns as my aging tootsies. Plus, they fit great. Buy them and then please write me a thank you note. Or send wine.

Oh, if you’re feeling fat like me and trying to be really good — I mean, really really good — here’s a teeny snack that I nibble on at night and it hits the spot and one bag in a mere 2 grams of sugar, which my friend Dan says is okay if you can’t live without sugar. Which I can’t (sns).

At the end of the summer, my oldest bf (this is not literal) came to visit for the weekend and proved that she is nothing if not a good friend. While I was at work folding leggings one afternoon, she drove around and kept herself busy and when she picked me up, handed me a bag from Lowe’s with a yellow plastic gizmo to unclog my shower drain. After a summer of both my girls home a lot, the shower in my bathroom would fill up like a tub in minutes. I told my pal and she took matters into her own hands. We got home and I was like, “I’m gonna go shove this down the drain,” and she was like, “I’m right behind you.” I unscrewed the drain and jammed the long thing in and gave it a twist and started to pull it back up. When we recovered from the horror that emerged from my shower drain — months and months of hair and soap scum — I asked my friend if she would describe it as the size of a baby squirrel. “No, that was a full-sized squirrel,” she said. Anyway, it’s a horrible reality (and I didn’t even go into the smell that burped its way out of the drain) but a magical way of dealing with it and way cheaper and safer than pouring gallons of Drano down there.

Finally, I am sorry to report that managing my facial hair has become a thing. Or, maybe it’s always been a thing but my uber-magnification mirror has just brought it to my attention. I mean, it’s not baby-squirrel bad, but still. At any rate, I tried scraping it all away for a while with this little gadget. But honestly, it kinda breaks after a few trips around my jawline. So this week, my brow lady suggested I buy this here doohickey and it’s battery operated and makes quick work of my de-whiskering. Am trying to lure aforementioned 14yo into the bright light of my bathroom so I can go to town on his new manly facial fuzz, which gives my beard a run for its money. It’s definitely baby-squirrel sized amount of fuzz I think.

As always, please feel free to share what’s changed your life lately. God know I’m open to any and all possibilities.

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Friday Faves: Jersey Corn Style

My 20yo, who’s a junior at a big state school, decided last minute to come home last weekend and take a break from exams, projects and weekend daging (day drinking+ rage = daging).

Naturally, one of the the most important topics of conversation as we prepared for her arrival, other than how she was going to snuggle me like a baby otter, was what would be on the menu for the weekend.

While my other children would be totally happy if I told them I’d just order a pizza for Friday night dinner, this girl has higher standards. Even away at school, she and her roommates cook dinner every night and I’m not just talking pasta with a jar of sauce dumped on top of it (which is probably more than I would have ever cooked when I was in college). They make curries and sweet potato hashes and work with ingredients like harissa and tempeh.

I remembered she’d pulled a recipe out of a Real Simple magazine that came over the summer that she’d pinned to the bulletin board in our kitchen but we never got around to making it before she left in late August.

/> Pasta With Chicken Sausage, Corn, Leeks, and Mushrooms


I took a picture of it and sent it to her and asked her what she thought and pointed out that one of the ingredients was in season right now here in New Jersey.

That cracked me up.

She arrived home just in time to help put it all together, which was perfect because there was a little bit of chopping involved — especially the leeks — and my hospitality major is a wiz at slicing and dicing things up. I am good at microwaving ears of corn and slicing the sweet, white kernels off the cob. The only change we made is, since we are spicy people, I used a hot chicken sausage. And I’m not super-mushroomy, so I didn’t go nuts with them. Just a handful for flavor.

It was so good. Like, so good. Her older brother arrived home and joined us for dinner and we kept talking about how yummy it all was.

We went out to an early dinner the next night and sat at the bar and drank smoky mezcal margaritas rimmed with some kind of magic dust and ate guacamole and tacos at my new favorite place in Asbury that I can’t stop talking about and honestly, it was a pretty perfect weekend.

I hope yours is, too.

Got a fave? By all means, please share.

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Friday Faves: Stuff I’m Obsessed With This Week

It’s the first Friday in August but honestly, by this time of the summer, all the days begin to blend. The only way I really can tell it’s the weekend nowadays is that it’s impossible to park near the beach and my adult children — who’ve “moved out” — are standing in my kitchen eating all the Tostitos in the pantry.

I spent some time this week having a mini reunion with a bunch of women I went with to St. Barths last summer. We gathered in Bay Head, a swanky beach town along the Jersey Shore, where one of the girls rents a house for the summer. We tried to relive the magic of the Caribbean via Jersey with cocktails and yummy food and a little late night dancing for good measure (apologies to the neighbors). It wasn’t quite the Beyonce situation that was St. Barths but it wasn’t shabby, either.

My girlfriend owns a store up in Chatham, NJ that sells tons of cute gifts and accessories so I always show up sans jewelry and just pick from her amazing array of baubles. I borrowed the cutest pair of yellow dangly earrings to jazz up the outfit I had on for dinner and briefly contemplated pocketing them the next day to take home. Always the ethicist, I instead asked her if she could get me a pair from her store and she said they were long gone.

“They sell them here in town!” she told me and explained how to navigate my way to the most darling shop (Carrie Dunham, 92 Bridge Ave.) owned by the woman who designs a handbag I have been lusting after for years. Those bags are kinda pricey for me right now so instead I picked up the cutest little polka-dotty number that’s perfect for holding my phone and lipstick when I go out. I was in a hurry when I stopped in and need to get back to give the place a more thorough once over. And a house of my own in Bay Head.
















Other stuff I’m heavily into this week:

  • These socks, which stalked me hard on Facebook for so long I finally had to relent and buy them. I know. I’m a part of the problem. But they’re really cute and soft and, what can I say, I’m a sucker. Plus, bumblebees.
  • I am really not into wearing real bras, which may because of all the pinching and wires or also may be because menopause has caused an expansion in that region. Whatever the case, I continue to be obsessed with these bras and we just got some cute colors in at work and had to buy 2 more. They’re not exactly the most supportive and probably not meant to be worn out to dinner but that’s just how I’m rolling these days.
  • I’m on a bit of a Netflix role and cranked through “Friends From College” in no time and am now working on “Ozark,” even though it got iffy reviews. I mean, anything with Laura Linney in it can’t be all bad. And it’s not.
  • No week is complete without a good cat video.
  • There are some mornings this summer when I wake up and look in the bathroom mirror that I’m surprised a glass of rose isn’t staring back at me. Between bars hawking “froze” and “Rose All Day” memes, it’s, like, everywhere. It stands to reason that they’d start selling the stuff in cans and now, they do. I picked up a 4-pack to bring with me to Bay Head and it was quite the hit. I mean, who doesn’t want to drink their fizzy cocktails out of straws? It’s just plain festive.
  • Finally, last Friday my Lady-cation pals and I went into NYC to see “Come From Away” on Broadway. We had gone on an adventure to Newfoundland last year and — after doing some shots and kissing a cod — have come to think of ourselves as honorary islanders. The show focuses on the days after Sept. 11, after 7,000 people flying that terrible day were diverted to the island and taken in by a small town there. It’s a fascinating bit of history and if you can’t actually get to Newfoundland, probably the next best thing. Plus, it’s trendy.

What are you obsessed with? Please share in the comments below because I’m always looking for a new bee in my proverbial bonnet.

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Friday Faves: Things I’m Obsessed With This Week

Friends, I know. I am a terrible pen pal. Honestly, this is probably why I don’t have any friends from grammar school. I’m just not great at staying in touch.

But I’m trying to turn over a new leaf.  I’m going to attempt to lift this blog from the hot and humid ashes of New Jersey in July on a little more regular basis. I’m hoping this doesn’t go the way of my knitting career or the time I thought I’d learn to speak Italian. Let’s just say, I remain monolingual.

So while I’m figuring out how to tell you about my second child moving out of the house recently or the surgery I had on my old lady foot, I thought I’d share a few things I am ob-sessed with lately. Here they are in absolutely no particular order:

  • Melissa Clark’s new cookbook, Dinner: Changing the Game. Historically, I’ve stopped actually cooking dinner — like, chopping or roasting — by this time in July. Usually by this point of summers past, we’re eating a lot of hamburgers or takeout. And I can’t tell you the last time I bought a cookbook and back in the day, I used to buy a lot of them. But with the interweb, I find there’s no need to pay for something when you can get it for free online. But this book is worth it and full of tons of great dinner ideas. So far we’ve made both the Harissa Chicken (you can get harissa at Trader Joe’s) and Sausage and Cauliflower (with cumin and Turkish pepper — which you can get at World Market) twice, but my 20yo has gone through and marked about a dozen other recipes with post it notes.
  • Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid. I’m on a reading roll and in under three days gobbled this slim novel that weaves a little magical realism with the story of a city under siege and the plight of refugees.
  • Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lesser. This is literally (okay, not literally) the Bible for figuring out how to make lemonade out of the lemons that life throws your way. I read it 8 or 9 years ago when my marriage was falling apart yet for some reason, it resonates even more now. The quote from Anais Nin in the book’s prelude says it all: “And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
  • This Ted Talk video. 
  • This New Yorker cartoon.
  • Selina Meyer. I’ve been watching Season 5 of Veep and during each episode, think, “I need to write down some of these lines.” The things they say are off-the-charts hilarious and vulgar. But neither pen nor paper was required to remember this beauty, which I’ve used already on numerous occasions (if you don’t like cursing, please do not click).

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Friday Faves: The Binge Watch

the-crown-netflix-queen-elizabeth-november-4-habituallychic-004Lest my readers think that all I do is fold yoga pants all day long, I’d also have you know that I watch a lot of television. As such, I consider myself a bit of an authority on what’s available for your viewing pleasure these days because if I’m not watching it, one of my four kids most definitely is.

As you might have read on Facebook, in between kitten videos and all that fake news, the holidays are upon us and you’ll need a reason to take extended breaks from all that family time and alleged good cheer. And it seems these days saying, “Sorry, I’ve got to catch up on my show,” is passing as a valid excuse for why we can’t (FILL IN THE BLANK):

  • A: Make dinner
  • B: Get out of our yoga pants
  • C: Shower

Okay, I made that last one up because when I try to avoid bathing for extended periods my children start to complain. But you get my drift. Having a “show” can be helpful for a lot more than just passing the time. It could literally save your life (cue dramatic bom-bom-bom).

I thought I’d introduce shows that aren’t necessarily the ones that everyone is talking about. Obviously, I’m totally committed to a lot of them. I’m completely up-to-date with “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards” and “The Walking Dead” (btw: What is up with this season? Enough with Negan already. Somebody please bash in his skull.). I watched all of “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “Gilmore Girls” (btw part 2: I wish I could insert emojis here to really express how crazy I thought the ending was.). And I’ve kinda stalled on a few shows I really loved for a season or two but just can’t finish, like season two of “Bloodline” and “Transparent” and season three of “The Americans” and “Orange is the New Black.” And I didn’t get all the way through season one of “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce,” “Odd Mom Out” and “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” so I don’t know if that says something about the shows themselves or my struggle with follow through.

But there are a bunch of great shows that I watched and totally loved that are a little more off the beaten tv track. So, in no particular order:

  • Westworld (HBO): I have a very smart girlfriend who is really resisting this one because she’s tired of all the gratuitous misogeny on shows like “Game of Thrones.” She just can’t watch one more woman get raped right there on her tv set. I get that, but then I read a really interesting piece about why that’s not completely nuts and maybe kinda feminist and it made me feel better about liking these kinds of shows that flaunt all that violence against women. Anyway, yes, WestWorld has lots of sex and violence but it’s also chock-a-clock with amazeballs acting and ideas that are making me reconsider everything I’ve thought about life up until now. Like, I’m pretty sure I’m a robot. Confused? Just start watching and you’ll be having all sorts of existential thoughts, too.
  • This Is Us (NBC): Missing “Parenthood”? Here’s your antidote, being slowly dribbled out one-week-at-a-time on network television. But it’s so sweet and poignant that I can forgive the old timey notion of weekly television and advertising and look forward to each week’s installment. Plus, it has Jess from “Gilmore Girls” who’s a lot less annoying on this show than he was as Rory’s n’er-ds-well boyfriend.
  • The Crown (Netflix): I think I’d be as obsessed with this gorgeous series even if I wasn’t going to London in a few weeks. Not only is everything beautiful – the actors, the settings and everyone’s lovely and very proper British accents – but history lessons have never gone down so easily. The London Fog? WHO KNEW? Churchill was selected twice as prime minister? Who knew that one, either? Well, not me anyway. Might even watch again.
  • Stranger Things (Netflix): As a person with the TV viewing habits of a 13yo boy trapped in a 50yo woman’s body, this series checked every box of things that I love: monsters, kids riding around on bikes, Eggo Waffles. It’s set in the 1980s and is such a loving homage to the era and the Steven Spielberg-take on it. All my kids watched and loved it including — especially — the 13yo boy who watched it twice and follows all of the kid actors on social media. You’ll thank me.
  • The Fall (Hulu): As a single woman who often finds herself alone at home, I don’t even know why I’m watching this one. So. Damn. Creepy. But my very cute manager at the legging factory was raving about it so I was like, “Well, she’s a very nice girl and we seem to like a lot of the same stuff so I’ll give it a go.” Yikes. It’s about a straight-up serial killer roaming around Belfast (it’s a BBC production) and the detective who’s trying to nab him. But the nut job is the guy who starred in “Fifty Shades of Gray” and the detective is the very amazing and badass Gillian Anderson. I’m about halfway through season two. Please come hold my hand.
  • Jessica Jones (Netflix): Talk about badass. This one has all the bad stuff: sex, violence (lots against women and even a hand in a blender towards the end). But I still totally loved it, especially, or maybe because of, David Tennant who plays the very evil – yet kinda sexy and amusing – villain. It’s based on Marvel Comics characters and somehow ties into “Luke Cage” and “Daredevil,” which my daughter could tell you all about but I don’t pay much attention to. It was super fun to watch but, as with most of these shows, make sure your kids are in bed before you press “play.”
  • Sherlock (PBS): I was never a huge Benedict Cumberbatch person. Like, I kinda didn’t get it. But then I watched “Sherlock.” He’s very appealing as the pretty crazy detective running around London and figuring out the most convoluted mysteries. And his trusty sidekick, Watson, is played by Frodo Baggins so what’s not to like there? Really fun and yet another super-evil villain (MORIARTY YOU BASTARD) and I can’t wait for the next installment to come out, which is New Year’s Day on PBS.
  • Catastrophe (Amazon): Romantic. Hilarious. Devastating. Catastrophe, a British import, is all of those things. It’s what happens when a sexy one-week-stand results in a pregnancy and the ensuing messy thing we call marriage. And love. But the lead actress also does the writing for this as well as Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Divorce” on HBO, which I also happen to really like.
  • Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon): Two words: Bernadette Peters. Need more? Okay, behind the scenes at a financially struggling NYC symphony and the ensuing romances, politics and backstabbing. Really fun and, bonus!, Season 3 just came out this week.
  • You’re the Worst and Love (FX and Netflix): I’m pretty sure these are the exact same shows but somebody didn’t tell their respective networks. And it’s kind of weird because I really liked “You’re the Worst” and did not like “Love.”
  • Master of None (Netflix): All I have to say is that you know it’s a good show when you have legit romantic dreams about Aziz Ansari.
  • Unreal (Lifetime): I don’t know if I’d watch another season of this behind the scenes look at a Bachelor-like reality show because I don’t think the producers could get any worst in the name of ratings. But if you’re a reality tv person (which I am not), it’s fun to get a look of what might be going on when the cameras aren’t rolling. Plus, I’m obsessed with the tattoos the two female leads get at the beginning of season two. Badass.

What’s in your queue? I’m hot to watch “Poldark” and maybe finish up some of those shows I left hanging mid-season.

Or, maybe I should just read a book for once, because I just bought this and this.

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Friday Faves: Book Addict

This is so not funny.

This is so not funny.

Hello, my name is Amy and I am a book-aholic.

You guys, I have a problem. Some people gamble. Some can’t stop buying shoes.

I am addicted to books. I love to buy them. I don’t necessary always read them. Or at least finish them. But I have a lot of them.

They sit in piles on my desk and my nightstand. They are stacked in my den and there’s even a few shelves of them sitting in my garage.

And I don’t just buy them for myself. I tend to buy tons of them for my kids, too. And when I was married, I’d often buy them for my then-husband in hopes he might open one up and read alongside me. When he had knee surgery I figured he’d have so much time on his hands lying around he’d definitely pick up “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” or one of the other five books I had gone out and bought for the occasion. Instead he sat on the couch for about 45 minutes after returning from surgery until he got antsy and went out to clean dog poop up in the yard.

There was a reason why his knees were shot. He was not one to sit around.

Over the last few months I’ve purchased a bunch of books either for my Kindle or an easy one-click order on Amazon Prime or at the nearby Barnes & Noble and recently from my favorite book shop around the corner. And while I wish I gave all my business to the local bookstore, it’s like I’m a junkie and just need a quick-fix when it comes to my book habit. I need to score them as quickly as possible once the urge comes in.

Really, if I just concentrated on reading the many unread books I already own, I would probably save half my annual income. Well, that might be an exaggeration. That would only happen if I stopped buying wine, too.

Here’s what I’ve bought either for myself or one of my sons since about May:

  • The Grapes of Wrath: I bought TWO copies of this. One for my Kindle, which I’m about six percent through, and a paper version for my oldest child after he finished East of Eden and was looking for something to read next.
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany: So of course, while I was at B&N buying Steinbeck’s classic, I also picked up a few others I thought my son might like, including this one — one of my all-time favorites — which I believe I read when I was also just home after graduating from college. It makes me want to go back and read all those John Irving books I loved.
  • Master and Commander: Another one for oldest guy. I remember how much my dad loved this Patrick O’Brien historical series about the British Navy and thought my son might, too.
  • A Window Opens: The author, Elizabeth Egan, is coming to our local bookstore next month so I stopped in the other day and picked up a copy to read in advance. LOVED. She’s the former book editor at Self who left to work for Amazon and the novel seems a thinly-veiled account of her experience trying to balance being the mom/wife/daughter/friend she wants to be with a ferocious corporate culture. Smart. Well-written. Funny. Love her and can’t wait to read whatever she writes next.
  • Good Mourning: Whilst at the local bookstore, I also picked this up after a rave review from one of the owners with whom I chatted while she rang me up. This is a memoir of a woman who was the event planner at THE funeral home in Manhattan. The place where anyone who’s anyone is laid to rest including Joan Rivers and Heath Ledger. I’ve read a few pages and it’s funny and engaging and who doesn’t want to know some of those secrets?
  • Getting to 30: A Paren’t Guide to the 20-Something Years: I bought What to Expect When You’re Expecting the second I discovered (perfect word) I was pregnant with my first child and it became my handbook during that and the subsequent two pregnancies (by my last they had invented this thing called the Internet so I didn’t need What to Expect to self-diagnose placenta previa or kidney failure any more). Over the years I turned to Dr. Spock, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Between Parent & Teenager, Odd Girl Out, Queen Bees & Wannabes and many, many more tomes for advice on how to raise my children. So why should this new stages we’ve entered — the post college period — go without a book as well? Good overview of the “emerging adult” and reminder of what a difficult time it is.
  • I Am a SEAL Team-Six Warrior: Memoirs of an American Soldier: It is my intention to get my little guy to read more this school year. Like, more than what his friends post on Instagram. That kind of more. So I’ve been looking for something he is REALLY interested in. And I found it in this. The subject matter totally suits his “God bless America/Young Republican” personality and he even read it while we sat waiting forever in the doctor’s office last night, so that is a great sign. I only hope he’s half the reader his brother (and older sister, I might add) are.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: What? We never owned this one? Of course we do. The older kids read it and I even read it aloud not once but TWICE to various sets of children. But somehow, it the great house decluttering of ’15, it got swept into a donate pile and given away. I know. It makes me a little queasy, too. But my little guy and I decided we were going to read this one together, not out loud but more like a book club and then hopefully we’ll go through the rest of the series in much the same way. I know. Rainbows and unicorns. I’ll keep you posted on how this fantasy plays out.

On a completely different note, I cannot let the import of this date go unnoticed and want to send my love to everyone today. Not just the many people directly affected by the terrible events of 14 years ago who lost so, so much on that day. My heart breaks every time I think about all the men and women who are no longer with us. That level of loss is unimaginable and I don’t pretend to know how it feels.

So today is a day of rememberance, and I want to remember not just all the lives that were lost. I also want to remember how the tragedy brought us all together as a country and reminded us how much we loved living here and our fellow Americans. Despite all of our many, many differences, I want to remember that underneath it all, our hearts all look the same. We’re all struggling. We’re all doing the best we can. Let’s try to remember that today.


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