The UN-Holiday Gift Guide

Instead of coming up with a list of the latest must-have gifts, I thought I’d approach gift-giving in retrospect, with my UN-Holiday Gift Guide. These are the things that I love and use daily, and honestly don’t think I could have gotten through the year without them!

Of course, I fumbled with a few slideshow formats (how does Babble DO that??) and finally gave up and put it in my Amazon Store. Might as well, as you can buy just about anything there, including OBGYN supplies. Truth.

There were a few things I COULDN’T find on Amazon, so I’m listing them here. They make my life worth living. Good example: I couldn’t get Guy on Amazon. Perspective.


 And now, the things I couldn’t find on

  1. Lo & Sons bags. I am almost afraid to look, because they may not be making the bags I have anymore. Especially because I got the second one for a steal as they were getting rid of the old line. I cannot say enough about how well constructed, pocket-thoughtful, and useful these bags are. I use The TT computer bag as a purse, and if I have to travel, I use The O.G. I especially love that it has a zippered slot for a pair of shoes so they don’t touch your clothing. Genius. OMG I just looked and they have added all sorts of new bags, including one called The OMG. OMG!
  2. Marie Antoinette cotton nightgown. You heard me. Order in white. Your man will not be able to sit still around you.
  3. Gap underwear. Yummy , comfortable, sexy, and they last. LOVE. Order one cup size down, fyi.
  4. Big Pharma (price and mileage may vary). Self-explanatory.
  5. Malibu Beach RV Park Hoodie & tShirts. My kids each brought me back something from the RV Park when they went to Disneyland with Dad. I love them.
  6. Warby Parker Eyeglasses (frames and lenses included for $95, plus they donate a pair to someone in need for each pair you buy. I have four.
  7. Epiphanie camera bag. I have the Clover in pink, and while pricy, they are a perfect solution for those who want a camera bag that will keep everything compartmentalized and SAFE, while looking like anything other than a camera bag. Just ask Karen Walrond.
  8. Camera straps. I can’t find where I got mine, but I’m a braces and belt kind of girl. I use both the wrist strap and the shoulder strap, and the kids know they’d better be well and truly strapped in if they want to touch my camera. I always support Etsy, so that’s where I’m sending you!
  9. Physicalfix. I could devote whole posts to this (and have), but I can’t stop raving about it. Physicalfix is an online exercise/training program that constructs workouts tailored specifically to your body, strengths, goals, equipment handy, and time to devote to exercise. The best thing is that you can do it without leaving the house or having anyone watch, which for me is the single biggest barrier to exercise. I never exercised until this fall, and I’m down 14 lbs and am growing a six-pack. I have a waist again. Guy is chasing me around the coffee table. I no longer think that lipo is the only way for me to get my pre-baby body back. I’m a believer. And I pay for the program, not the other way around. I’m a paying member, and fully recommend you check out the food logs, weight trackers, and the bangin’ bod on this guy. Pfix President Josh Zitomer is a former strength trainer for the NY Jets, and a celebrity trainer (no, he won’t tell me who), and a lot of other things I can’t list to do him justice. He is sincere, hardworking, supportive, and dedicated to all his clients. That’s right, he WILL check in on you. He’s also a little bit crazy in that he does Triple Iron Man competitions and is training for the Death Race (HOLY SHIT, watch the video describing it. Only THREE people finished last year.). He has become a great friend, and I will support what he does as much as possible.

Next post: my favorite books from the year. There are a LOT of them.

Boot Camp, Day 5

I’m sick as a dog, and waited until Guy was in bed, but I dropped in my pjs and frickin’ DID IT. Plus 10 on the elliptical. I don’t get it. Why was this so easy tonight, sick and all? I whipped through them. Unbelievable.

Too whipped to type much more than my feedback, and, technically, that’s pasted:

I did it! Taking a long time to type but I did EVERYTHING except the mountain climbers. Bare feet + carpet = thumbs instead. I DID 25 PUSHUPS! That was the first set, I did ten the second, then five on my knees and the rest on my face. Guy as my witness.

By the way, Josh, what’s up with the completely exhaustive yet seemingly sparse list of exercises on the activity log? Milking cows? At different speeds? Unicycling? Ski machine but no elliptical? Archery and auto repair but not sex? Not even married sex? First-three-month-sex? Kids-are-gone-for-the-weekend sex? Come on, man! Get on that pick list. I’ll even help. With the pick list, that is. The rest is your wife’s job.

Just sayin’.

Boot Camp… Still Day 2. Crap!

I posted already today, didn’t I? Well, shit, since I opened the tab already, you’re getting another one (Hey, that’s not a bad pickup line. Yes it is. Don’t try it. Have some respect.)

Feedback form popped up again after today’s workout. I gotta be totally honest with you here: I didn’t follow EXACTLY along for EVERY exercise. Whenever I wanted to throw my chair at the screen (but didn’t because it’s an Aeron and together with the screen they’re worth more than I sold my last car for) I did something else. When Josh dropped for pushups, I dropped. And did something else. Once, I tightened the underside of my chair. And I ran downstairs with last night’s wine glasses and put them in the sink, and RAN BACK UP. Also? When I see those jump squats, I do Thumbs. I’ll do Thumbs all day long, along with crunches, toe touches, and side to sides. All. Day. Long. But I can’t hang in there for all them jump squats. Four pregnancies have made those… avoidable. So to speak.

Left a daily comment:

Did you experience any pain during this workout?  YES

Where did you feel pain?  EVERYWHERE

Just the second day grumpies. OMG. Pushups kill me and I have to do this when my smartass son isn’t here telling me how many HE has to do in conditioning. Or my mom, either, for that matter. Yes, she can do more. By the way, I fall over each time you say “this is for the core… think about something else… whatever you do, don’t think about the core.”

Too tired to screen capture today’s log, so I’ll just say it: One fruit and yogurt smoothie and two Fresh Express Strawberry Fields Kits. That shit’s addictive.

Buckle-down time

Argh! I have been horribly remiss in updating here. Now that I’m all better, Guy’s vacation week is over and he is back to traveling all over the damn place, his kids are with their mother, and my kids are back to the regular schedule, I have to do some serious buckling down.

First, the book. WRITE THE BOOK. It will not write itself no matter how much I shame it. It is like a two year old. Dancing around without a diaper.

Second, a BIG PROJECT. It will be fantastic if I can pull it off, with substantial bonus for finishing within an impossible timeframe, but I’m built for speed at the last minute. (And yes, I will be charging you full freight if I pull this off. And if I do, I expect you to hand me the contract for moving your shop! I so love when the people on either side of a deal know exactly who and what they are working with. Clarity abounds.)

Oh! I have lovely new curtains in my office so the cheap, aluminum blinds don’t sear vertical patterns into my retina once the sun starts moving to this side of the house. I spend the latter half of each day crouched behind my gigantic monitor, shifting my chair and turning it bit by bit as the sun moves and occasionally shoots through the little string holes and lasers my vision to pieces. By dinner time I am crouching with my chin near the desk, the monitor tilted down, and sitting nearly parallel to the windows.

Office Curtains

So, we have new curtains. Sheers on the way. Double-hung, lined, and pretty fucking pricey. This is where I spend so much of my time, and I have to be saner than usual this summer. Moving my desk downstairs with six kids on summer vacation is not an option. Plus, I can see the pool from here and shout out the windows whenever someone tries to surf on a plank of wood or sets up a ramp near the water.

We did kitchen drapes too, since Guy’s parents are here and are amazingly handy. We had a production line going, with his mom ironing, me organizing and threading, and the guys installing the hardware. Plus, we found a chandelier in storage that Guy’s grandfather made out of stained glass, Craftsman-style. The difference is amazing.

Yes, we have decided to stick it out one more year in this rental as the housing market is awful and the inventory stinks. The only places available around here either have horse property where the house is not much better than the barn, or nestled along one of the many windy, solitary roads in this town along rain-saturated foothills that have been coming down and becoming part of people’s yards. I’ll stick to the builder home in the gated community. Dated interior, but safe from flooding or landslides.

Which is just the right amount of sanity for now.

Now, that is, that Logan has made the Little League Majors All-Star Team and will have daily practices, games, and events through the end of July. Did I mention that all of this takes place 15 miles away, over the mountain? Near his father’s house? And that his father is out of town for ten days? And we will have their terrier puppy? I must have mentioned it. Because as hard as I try to block it, there it all is again.