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HATER REHAB: My hour with Kim Kardashian

I recently gained a new perspective for Kim Kardashian, one of the Key Note Speakers at BlogHer16. Her two mantras were universal and useful.

“Be the best you – do what is within your comfort zone and what makes you feel confident!” 

“More Love, No Hate.” 

We all have a right to define our personal boundaries. We also have a right to our personal reaction when those boundaries are crossed. Sometimes these actions result in a traffic jam of haters.

I’m not just exposing internet trolls here. Everyone’s interacted with at least one other person resulting in our strong reaction to their action: “MFer cut me off!” …or inaction: “Why didn’t they thank me for the date?”

Here’s where it gets all Fox in Socks, while we discuss our actions following our reaction to the other person’s actions.

Reality Check

  • Mind Control – I can’t telekinetically take over their car forcing a safe lane change. Nor will a bird from you make them feel regret. Hateful comments won’t cause Kim to live your definition of life.
  • Assuming, it’s true – You know what they say when someone assumes. We truly have no idea what goes on in others’ lives. Be compassionate with friends, family and strangers – we all carry the burden of our own personal stress and goals. Kim challenges her haters to sit down and talk to her.
  • Don’t Should on Others – This tells more about us than them. Perhaps you’re not feeling like the most confident you, offloading on or trying to control others really won’t improve your mood.
  • What Is My Motivation – Actors question this a lot when considering how to deliver a believable role and speak authentically – as should you when considering your ACTion.
  • Spoon Full of Sugar is BS – Sorry my beloved Mary, P. but sugar coating only makes you feel like you’ve delivered a pretty gift when the recipient can still see the shit through the wrapping.
  • We Have a Right to our Opinion – True, just like we have a right to ignore it.
  • Just don’t Joust – Engaging in battle takes everyone farther from that day’s goals – everyone’s late, flustered, mad and hopefully nothing worse. Kim ignores haters so it’s not their voice she hears, but her own guiding her to be the best her.

 

Hater Rehab:

  • Was your intended response meant to get respect or get even?
  • To make people feel better or worse?
  • If the latter, for either, is respect deserved?

Unless someone is about to chase their Pokémon into a busy intersection, respect their path. It’s not our place to interject or attempt to convert their reaction to one we are satisfied with.

All together now… we all have a right to our opinions, our reactions to other people’s actions (which we can’t control). We only control and take responsibility for our actions. Nobody makes us feel anything we don’t want to.

That crazy driver didn’t make you mad. You chose to get mad in reaction to a near miss. Did you go on the date so you would get thanks and brownie points or did you go on a date to spend more time with someone you have feelings for? Seen too much of Kim lately? Lest you forgot, you’re in control of how much internet and social media enters your home or the teachable moments (as opposed to swift judgement) that can result.

Finally, she shared how she and her husband Kanye have helped bring out the best in each other – which is what loved ones do. As Kim will tell you, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself!

 

 

 

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MIDLIFE MOTHER’S DAY REMIX

Am I the only one who was glad to not be harshly yanked from my dream of driving down a scenic cliff side road in a vintage convertible with sun on my face, breeze in my hair only to find cinnamon toast showering her sheets as the kids get ready to rumble?

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Even as  youngsters, holidays never started at the crack of dawn. For my now tween and teen – Rewritten Mother’s Day rituals (as they dawned on me today):

Sleep in or entertain yourselves until the clock passes 10am – This morning I am loving watching them sleep, listening to their snoring like I used to when they were babies in their cribs. Advanced kid move: If you wake up early, silently read in bed or make a list of 10 things you love to do with Mom.

The little (free) things matter most – While I love any great adventure that the kids dream up, please know that one sibling-bicker-free day, not having to repeat myself/find it for you or the gift of a longer-than-fleeting smile while your games reload makes me feel rich! Advanced kid move: Good long hugs earn you almost anything.

Leave no trace – As the amazing day you planned draws to an end, put the house back into better shape than when you found it without Mom lifting a finger. Cinnamon toast in bed – you strip the sheets and wash them. After the celebrations make time pass too quickly – go work on your homework without being told so her glow doesn’t turn to glowering. Advanced kid move: Set up the next day in advance so Mom eases her way into Monday, too – backpacks and sports gear packed, clothes out, lunches made (bonus points if you make Mom’s lunch), coffee machine locked and loaded.

cleanAll Mom’s deserve days of appreciation for their relentless dedication! For me, laying in bed since I woke up 3 hours ago, blogging from bed, looking forward to watching a mom rom com and take a walk together will be the best Mom’s Day yet.

Photo by SprayedOut.com

Here’s to you (& single Dads who mother too) and those many who support you all in being the best mom’s ever! Thanks to my kids whom I love more than words and who truly amaze me every day!

BUZZFEED STANDARD TEST FOR PARENTS

Earlier, before my kids asked me “What do BuzzFeed employees do all day?” I’d already answered BuzzFeed’s call for participants to retake the SATs as an adult.  As was never the case in school, I immediately raised my hand, squirmed in my seat and made a case to Pick Me! Pick Me!

1) I enjoyed taking the SATs!

2) My kids & I watch at least one BuzzFeed video a day.

3) It would tweak my kids perspective of me!

I’m not looking for Cool Parent Points.  My goal aims to keep the kids in line with Dazzle and Awe (Jazz Hands optional).

DAZZLE:  Sometimes we parents need to reveal our “true selves” to our kids. Not the psycho I become after 10pm if they’re not asleep, but the woman whose interests extend beyond their school, sports and upbringing!  They know I write, but writing is a solitary sport that occurs when they’re asleep or away.

Usually they see me erring to the conservative, strategic, rational side of responsibility. If I lead them outside the box to pursue dreams with a passion, they know I’ve got their back. Also knowing I have outside interests assures them that I won’t eventually throw myself from my empty nest.

AWE: I could barely contain my excitement but stayed strong and looked forward to the big reveal.  It’s so hard to surprise my teen and tween, and they’d never considered that they’d see me from the opposite side of the flat screen! No way, not even possible!

I like my kids to remain a little afraid about my mysterious powers that achieve the impossible AND control their universes.  When I say “If I get late night calls saying you’re causing trouble, I’ll immediately contact my friend the policeman/double agent/paintball hitman to forcibly remove you from your friends so quickly they’ll think you were instantly beamed into another dimension.” I want my kids to believe it could happen!

REWARD: As a single working, blogging parent, this opportunity rewarded me and restored me! Or the galaxy found a creative way to make me get a haircut and maybe try a little blush sometimes. Either way, I’m still glowing and buzzed!

FACTS ABOUT BUZZFEED YOU MAY OR MAY NOT ALREADY KNOW:

  1. 300 employees work just in BuzzFeed studios – where they create memorable videos
  2. It can take 5 rounds of interviews to get a job there – but to preserve their unique environment, it’s a necessity.
  3. The bar that you see in videos at their office isn’t a real functioning bar. WTF?! What, that’s fake?
  4. Buzzfeed’s mascot is the Corgi
  5. So what are BuzzFeed employees doing:  For a 3:13 minute video, the shoot took about 90 min (x3 pairs). Then the employees spend the rest of the next 7 business days editing!
  6. They shot the video with 2 Canon DSLRs
  7. Instead of a clapboard, they really clap to start a scene

 

#BUZZFEED #BUZZFEEDLIFE #BUZZFEEDPARENTS

WORK FIELD TRIP: Ran off to the circus!

Julia Cameron calls this an Artist Date, I prefer Work Field Trip.  

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I’ve already mentioned how the invitation to attend the Premiere Event for Cavalia’s Odysseo in Irvine this weekend already fulfilled my dreams!  This show, and this assignment, took me on a creative journey magically stirring something awake in my soul. When I received another invitation to attend press preview day, I immediately accepted this gift.

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As with many favorite childhood trips, my experience started from the freeway once I spotted the flags atop the tent.  The idea that the largest touring show in the world sat on land where nothing existed a week before astounded me.

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I mingled with other bloggers, press, and VIP guests. Though many were there for an assignment, most bubbled over with passion for horses, music or art.  

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Hah! My gear vs. their gear – I need an upgrade!

The show itself was more spectacular and high-energy than expected. The beauty of the show overwhelmed me and invigorated all of my senses.  Each act flowed into the next gracefully – even the 18-ton merry-go-round!.

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Even more amazing, we received behind-the-scenes access from Odysseo’s Founder, Normand Latourelle.

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Odysseo’s Creator: Odyssey = Journey with O = “eau” (water) at the end of the journey

He explained that computers traditionally direct musical cues for a show of this caliber. Because this show features live animals with individual temperaments, this show’s cues come from a live director. With the timing of so many seemingly death-defying acts, timing was crucial.

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The live music added a delicate veil of beauty to our experience.

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Conversations with performers brave enough to leap from their career paths to follow their passion truly inspired me.  One performer studied marine biology before attending circus school, another hoped to earn money while studying for the Bar exam. Some turned their professional riding into performance careers.

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Most people I know dreamed of joining the circus at least once in their lives. The nomadic family lifestyle mixed with the artistic beauty and danger of a circus mystify and entrance us.  

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WTF: Way too fast – can’t wait to see the full-length show!

Normand pointed out what I feel represents the true beauty of the show:  With the many different breeds and cultures represented here, everyone gets along. They believe that peace is best for a beautiful show. It’s been thrilling spending my hours on a “job” submersed in such creativity and such beauty.

 

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Lea Riviere Mixed Media on Canvas

 #OdysseoOC

BRAINSTORMING TO BECOME A BIG-TIME BLOGGER (OVER BREAKFAST)

While trying a new recipe, hoping for our first Pinterest Proven Project, an idea hit me about changes to make to become a Big-Time Blogger!  When I say “idea,” I mean tupperware, jammed into my highest shelf leaped at my forehead and splashed into the crockpot – soaking before cleaning.

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My creative closet of “ideas”!

My first thought wasn’t home organization, remodeling or brighter home lighting.  I realized the rarity that I’d been afforded uninterrupted brainstorming on a weekend morning with my kids at home. More time means more assembly and prep time for recipes, and blog posts! What granted me this luxury to make Breakfast Crack Casserole?

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Bottom of skillet – Roll of biscuits

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One trick: Butter in skillet while heating oven means nothing stuck!  

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BEFORE: Dump it all in skillet – EASY!

1) MORE SLEEPOVERS

One naturally assumes that 2 kids + any friends = CHAOS.  Ironically, it works the opposite! When friends occupy my kids, my mind doesn’t constantly flip through the Masterful Mom rolodex of ideas to entertain, mitigate, or heal them. Without whining and bickering streaming from their mouths, creativity floods my brain’s bandwidth. Plus, with more tasting buds around, the “proven” rank increases in value.

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2)  FULL TRANSPARENCY

For the steady flow of friends, waivers, disclaimers and photo releases must reiterate to parents that when I’m suddenly free to blog, their child could appear in a post!  Parents must clarify – real/nick/no names, full/no face shots? One must disclose potential food allergies and sign extra forms for high-action posts.

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3) PROHIBIT PRIVACY PIRACY

When creating or writing, part of the joy comes from finding your boundaries and bounding through them. However, my kids show me I’m pushing it, hence the wacky or straight face photos.  Though they’re down for repeat adventures, they get fed up when I can’t get the photo right the first time. Obviously certain rooms provide rewarding respite.

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OK, really SNL Kristen Wiig, a great influencer of fun faces.

4) GRATEFUL GOALS

Some of my goals include: More social media followers than followees; Pushing positivity; Invitation to getaway; Writing my future. Yet, I’m grateful anytime I get a new idea, don’t burn a new meal, or share a great experience with my kids. Don’t forget to celebrate each little accomplishment and when I say “celebrate,” I mean dance in the endzone!

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AFTER – Where’s my sriracha?!

With Breakfast Crack casserole fueling the kids, they’re off and running! I try to keep up big time!

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WTF: Warm, though furry! Safe to come out now?!

COMMUNITY GATHERING: Going to Hell in a Handbasket

For some reason, a church group, who shall not be named, ruined their California vacation saving our high school from Hell. While claiming to be Christians, they are known for not living by the Golden Rule “Do unto others…” nor the Mommy Rule “If you can’t say anything nice…”

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I support Freedom of Speech but don’t agree with the church’s bully tactic spreading hurtful negativity to students still making up their minds about their place in this world. The community immediately rallied to support our students. I haven’t protested anything before, but felt strongly about protecting my town.

I’ve never really felt like I belonged to any community before – more like a long-term visitor. I moved around a lot throughout my life and had never lived anywhere longer than 5 years.  When I first moved here I felt like I was fleeing one life and throwing myself into another. Next thing you know, 10 years have passed and I’m settling in.

I shy away from confrontations, religion, and politics. I also didn’t want to greet the group with hate. My rational brain tried to follow and understand the church’s love logic though they’re pretty tight-lipped. They don’t talk as much as they hold signs. Nasty signs. I was nervous for my reaction.

Hundreds of school students and parents assembled with supporters from neighboring towns.  I was immediately swept up and woven into the colorful, compassionate community tapestry. Love tied us together.

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When the 5 or 6 members of the church group appeared, I was shocked to see how young two of the members were. These kids should’ve been in school, yet here they stood facing down hundreds of people.  I wondered if they were as nervous about us as I’d been about them.

Love drowned out hate. The church group’s chants were muted by our voices singing “Love Is Love!” Their disgusting signs covered by our messages of love. Within 30 min. they were gone. While their elders may have taken us in stride, I can’t help but wonder if the younger members recognized the difference between their community and its definition of love and true loving, supportive community!

Our students learned that love wins!

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I purposefully left out the Church’s name and demonstration photos so they don’t get more publicity. The message was more powerful than their presence in this piece.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU DIDN’T WIN THE POWERBALL

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With last night’s record-breaking $1.6 billion dollar powerball, how many of us spent $2 adding wind to our sails, wishing for the windfall and the endless possibilities of an open horizon?  Experts came forth publishing pounds of advice for what to do if you win. What about those of us who now realize that the winds did change directions and now we must responsibly navigate this drastic return to reality.

  • Protect that ticket and take your time– Don’t shred that ticket yet. In California alone, over 3.5 million people won something in the drawing.  Don’t rush – the longer you take to check your numbers, the longer you can believe you won a big prize! But hey, if you spent $2 and win $4, you doubled your money. Call it gravy if it’s small, if it’s large then sock it away (see #3)!
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There’s Hope! WTF: Wow, the FUNDS!

  • Don’t quit your job just yet – (Hopefully you didn’t already do it last night). Here’s where you count your blessings. You have a job, a steady income. You have co-workers to commiserate around the watercooler with about how you always visit THAT winning store except this time. Your career goals from before that Powerball dream rolled in are still intact, so find that magic – or dream better dreams!
  • Hire professionals – Most millionaires are such because they don’t spend like they are one.  In other words, consult professionals, bring your Powerball dreams of a new car, or Tahiti vacation to them and they’ll overhaul your income/expenses so to get you on a plane sooner than you ever thought.
  • Change your address and go unlisted – In order to reach those dreams, cut out distractions: Political mailers, advertisements and incentives to tempt you away from your financial goals.  Turn off the phone and check out regularly for a bit to center and be mindful of your surroundings and your path.  

So although the immediate results varied, the advice and end result could still be the same.  Plus, people always appreciate experiences more when they worked to finance them (parents take note) so you are probably better off in the end.  

That being said, I’m curious about where everyone wound up.  Share your stories!

Best Dinner in the Universe

If you put your desires out into the universe, sometimes the universe answers.  Turns out, I put out a beacon into the Yelp Universe – just a simple truth, “Honestly, I’d love a gift card from [Bristol Farms] sometime because there are so many fun distracting foods and things I would try.” Their amazing webmaster Nicole heard, made my year and sent me a gift card!!  

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Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I jumped onto their website. Immediately, “New! Blue Bottle Coffee…” [Click!] grabbed my attention. Scooping 5-day old news about the “best iced-coffee drinks in America” now being sold at Bristol Farms revved up the mommy blogger wanna-be in me!

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Something for them for dinner, something for me for cooking!

Until my disastrous kids’ lunch offering brought me back to reality and guilt drove me to do dinner better.  

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Mommy got distracted by Facebook.

Frantically, I reviewed their online recipes!  While I love the idea of cooking complex meals on weekends, I decided on dinner that would taste elaborate, but was simple: Grilled Teriyaki Albacore with Wasabi Butter. Facing my fears directly, the butcher de-skinned the fish fillets (the gal before me did the same, not just me).

Their home brand teriyaki marinade streamlined preparations.

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A domestic goddess took over my body making chive and wasabi butter, briefly wishing for a butter mold.

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Then the wasabi burnt a hole through to my senses returning me to my kitchen.

While the flavors set for an hour, I fed my inner goddess enjoying the (strange) pairing of poke and Blue Bottle Coffee.  

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Half Salmon, Half Spicy Tuna –         All delicious!

George Foreman relieved the outdoor grill (El Niño warning). It felt devilishly rebellious scooping the flavored butter onto the fillets.

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Keeping it simple, I served the fish with rice from last night’s Chinese Dinner and frozen organic kid-friendly peas.  

Dinner’s served! 

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“WTF: Wait THAT fish…I thought you said fish sticks.”

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“I don’t like albacore!”

Turns out, my son loved it.  He even got seconds of the fish (usually he fills up on carbs).  My daughter completely surprised herself by surviving eating that much “chicken.”  (Auntie P, next time we’re down if she asks about albacore chickens – play along.) Best part?!  Inhale… No stinky fish smell!

To cap off the evening – fun hazelnut-filled mini beignets! Too fun to pass up!

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Mini beignets! Dangerously easy to pop in your mouth!

Thank you Nicole! What a deliciously fun close to our holiday season!

Tell me when the universe responded to you!

 

PRICELESS COLLECTION!

With two children being promoted to new schools (one starting Middle School, one moving to High School) I spent the whole last semester lamenting how quickly years pass. My teenage son fans those fears stating “I’ll only be living with you for 4 more years!” He’ll already be eligible for a learner’s permit two months into his freshman year! Just. Not. Ready. Breathe! THEN my baby left the Elementary School that anchored us into our new normal when I got a divorce. Time marches on!

You ever notice just how much crap you accumulate in that time? Or is it just me? Before, during, after and in between moving I go through stuff streamlining and purging so my family will stop watching Hoarders waiting for me to star in an episode. While my collection of books extends past their bookshelves, overall I am not a huge collector because a) I get distracted easily and b) the minute I miss one, I stop since I won’t have a perfect set, plus I waver on getting 1 or 2 of everything (only to wind up at zero) so if they become valuable, neither child will feel slighted (the thrifty side of OCD).

So color me crazy, but I return with renewed energy to collecting rituals, adventures, or favorites that we can do together. “Experts agree” that we should collect experiences, not things!  The most logical argument pointed out that iThings are exciting at first until the next version comes out or you see your neighbor with the latest innovation. Then you are less excited til you get the next “best” thing. Experiences, on the other hand, grow fonder in our minds the more time passes. With time, the small issues (such as a snoring roommate you hope to leave in international waters) dissipate leaving you either able to laugh about mishaps or forgetting it overall since you were in an exotic locale when it happened.

The clock is ticking! When the kids leave I can only hope they have bags overflowing with amazing childhood adventures and the desire to return home for new ones.

Fortunately for me, social media keeps better records than my travel diaries did.

Vegas Road Trip!

So you got into the MCM program…now what?

It took me 4 years of college and another year into Grad School to figure out these tips for maximizing my mindful learning. While this was geared towards USC Annenberg’s MCM Program, these tips are easily applied to any schooling experience you’re going through in a formal program or even in a 1-day class.

So you got into the MCM program…now what?.

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