Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vegan Ice Cream Rocks at Van Leeuwen in Brooklyn

Today, the kids and I went to Trader Joe's. We took the double stroller, which was quite an endeavor in itself.

On our way back home, we walked up Bergen Street and saw a familiar site, The Van Leeuwen ice cream shop! I'd been meaning to check it out for some time. Especially because my kids' last name is Van Luyn, which is super close to "Van Leeuwen." Hooray!

The double stroller was filled to the top with groceries. The kids were really sucking at walking home so upon spotting the Van Leeuwen ice cream shop, I decided to bribe them.

"Who wants ice cream?!" I exclaimed/asked
"Me!" Shouted the kids.

We entered the Van Leeuwen ice cream shop and I noticed a sign for "Vegan Ice Cream." It looked delicious in the picture, but I was suspicious. I bet it tastes like cardboard... I thought.

Betsy, the lovely girl behind the counter, handed the kids and I a giant scoop of chocolate vegan ice cream to share.

I took a bite, and I immediately tasted a combination of coconut and chocolate. It was delicious and tasted nothing like cardboard.


Thank you to Betsy for taking these stellar photos.

I highly recommend the vegan ice cream! WOW! Go to  Van Leeuwen in Brooklyn!

Have you gone yet?
You should eat it.

Breaking Down

I cried today.
I cried because of what I couldn't control.
I cried because I couldn't fix what is broken.
I looked at my hands and I wished they could fix things.
I willed them to work on my behalf.
I begged them to make my life better.
Only they just stood there with warm soapy water dripping over them from the kitchen sink.
My vision was blurred from the tears, but I could see the dishes in a pile. They were all different colors; green, red, yellow bowls.
I pleaded with my hands. Please, please make it better.
Stop my life from spinning.
Help me to stand still.
They didn't hear me.
The water rose in the sink.
It rose and filled the sink to the brim. My eyes widened as the water continued to
grow in circumference.
I felt a warm sensation at my bare toes. The water was dripping onto the gray tiled floor. It moved up my calves. It continued
to consume my thighs.
The warm water lurked and climbed up to
my trunk.
I begged my hands to help. Stop this.
Make it cease.
They didn't listen.
The water worked its way up to my neck
and finally my face.
My whole body was surrounded by warm
all-consuming water. I tried to move my arms but they felt like flippers.
I was stuck in a gelatinous existence.
Help me hands.
I am moving through water.
S        L      O      W     L    Y

S        T         O         P
M   Y            H       A    N    D       S

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Embracing The Black Sheep

When I was a child, I was "the good girl."

My older brother was the wild rebellious teenager, while I got good grades and stayed quiet. I tried not to upset anyone or hurt anybody's feelings.

Eventually my brother transformed himself from a wild teenager to a highly successful PhD.

And I was proud of him.

However, there I was feeling like the black sheep of the family. I was the fuck up.

Even though I graduated from New York University with a decent GPA.

When I turned 22, something inside me began to change.

Despite my success as a writer, I still felt insignificant. I couldn't hold a job for more than six months, I had difficulty in romantic relationships, and I had a terrible time managing money.

I was a volcano filled with lava ready to burst.

My 20s were filled with anger and resentment.

I wiled out. I went a little...okay a lot...crazy.

My family didn't know how to handle my behavior and frankly neither did I.

I was going through the adolescence that I never experienced. I was changing into a woman and I was fighting it all the way.

There I was on the brink of becoming a butterfly, my wings convulsing in fear.

I wasn't ready or maybe I was.

Maybe I was.

Those 10 years from 22 to 32 were a roller coaster of emotion. I hurt a lot of people including myself.

Now I am 33. It's the best year of my life, my Jesus year as I've heard it called.

I have two beautiful children.

I know who I am.

I am ready to face the world.

Yes, I am a black sheep. I am proud of my black curly fur. It has some tangles and there are tumbleweeds stuck in it, but I'm beautiful.

See me.

Hear me.

Embrace me.

Watch me.

Here I come.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Real Meaning of Names

There are a lot of name books on the market. But you don't need to purchase any of them, because I am about to reveal the true meaning of men's names. These are individuals you have undoubtedly met in real life. Ready? Here goes:

David - Davids are know-it-alls. If you are named David, you know absolutely everything about everything and you are an incredibly irritating person. There is a 50 percent chance that you are an asshole.
Justin- If your name is Justin, chances are you are unnecessarily attractive.
Jordan- Have you met Justin? Oh that's right, you're the exact same person!
Jason- Jasons tend to be hot but are also really fun to hang out with. They also love sports.
Arthur- I'm sorry!
Daniel- Daniels are geeks but they're generally harmless. Chances of being an asshole average around 10 percent
Mike- You can pretty much talk to Mike about anything.
Michael- Stop taking yourself so seriously and call yourself Mike. What the fuck is wrong with you?
Carl- People are actually named Carl? I thought that name just existed in Gary Larson cartoons!
Simon- You're probably British. If you're not British you are smart! But not the British kind of smart. I mean intelligent. Also you have a middle name.
Kevin- You are either a harmless meathead or just a nice guy.
Andrew- You're probably weird but I still like you. Unless you go by Drew. In that case we have problems.
Chris- If you're attractive and you know it clap your hands! You want everyone else to applaud too.
Matt - Matt meet sarcasm. Oh right, never mind you two are best friends!
Brian - I like you!
Bryan- I do not trust you whatsoever.
Robert- Who the fuck do you think you're fooling?
Bob- That's more like it.

I hope you've enjoyed my psychological name profiling. Now go find Daniel and marry him!

My Inner Fuck You

Before I came to BlogHer, I was scared.
I've been a writer since the time I was six and could operate my mom's electric typewriter. But despite the fact that others have said these words to me "you're a really good writer." I've been filled to the brim with doubt.

No matter what anyone told me, I felt I wasn't good enough.

Yesterday, that changed.

Something clicked.

I felt the metaphorical light switch turn on in my being.


I'm sitting in my hotel room with my roommate Trish. She's engaged to Louis C.K in case you were unaware.

I'm telling her about a disparaging text message I received from a family member. A message that crushes my soul. A message that digs deep into my confidence, takes out a giant red boxing glove and punches me in the face.

She turns to me, looks me dead in the eyes and says:
"Sarah, you have to embrace your inner fuck you."

And I got it.

It doesn't matter what this person thinks of me.
It doesn't matter if they approve.

What matters is how I feel.
What matters is what I want.
What matters is my voice.
And in that moment I found my voice. It was raspy and it hadn't been used in 33 years, but I opened my heart and that voice began to erupt.

Fuck you.
Fuck you insecurity! Fuck you to the voice in my head that constantly tells me "you're not good enough, you'll never make it as a Blogger, you can't do this, give up."

Fuck you! Pack your fucking suitcase, and get the fuck out of my house.

The truth is, not everyone is going to like me, and I don't fucking care. Because I like me. I have a voice and I'm not afraid to use it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

BlogHer13' - Open Mic, and Meeting Real Humans That Exist on The Internet

My experience has been a whirlwind. Being at BlogHer13' has been surreal to say the least. When I stepped off the plane it was hard to process the fact that I made it here.

I've had so many wonderful experiences since being here.

Here are a few I'll share:

I had the pleasure of reading at open mic night for Listen to Your Mother Creator Ann Imig 
It was so funny. My roommate Trish wanted to read at this event, and I came along.

All of a sudden I heard "Sarah!"
I turned around, and there was Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing. I've known Steph online for years, and I worked on 5 Minutes For Parenting with her.

When I saw Steph's face (and her cute little striped sweater) I was kvelling. I felt at home!

Something ignited inside me. All of a sudden I felt I could do this, I could read in front of these people.
Then I saw Ann Imig sitting there in her gorgeous green dress, and I introduced myself.

I was already having kind of a shitty day, but when I saw the bowls to submit your name to read your funniest/most heartwarming/best blog post, I thought "what the hell!" Seeing Steph and Ann gave me a second wind.

So I charged my phone and threw a paper with my name into the sea of other papers with other people's names.

I auditioned for Listen to Your Mother in New York with my piece Unintentional Natural Childbirth. I decided in that moment that I would read that very post!

Being up at the podium was thrilling. Knowing people were listening to my words was gratifying.

Thank you Ann and Steph for that opportunity!

The next day, I ran into Jason Mayo at lunch! We had some great conversations and he gave me some sage advice. Thanks man, you know what you did ;)

I also had a chance to chill with Tanis Miller  She's fucking awesome. She's also a Libra!

This afternoon, I was the mic wrangler for Tanis Miller and Jenni Chiu's session on blog storytelling. 

I finally got to meet Jenni from Mommynanibooboo. I've read her for years, and I admire her candor. 

Thank you, Jenni. You are a real person. It meant a lot to meet you. 

Rita Arens and Julie Godar and I had a fun conversation about astrology. Rita is an Aquarius but she's got a moon in cancer, so she's sensitive. Julie is a  June Gemini. We talked about how crazy May Geminis are :D

Also penguins! 

I've been blogging since 2009. I've poured my heart, my soul, and my insides into this space. It hasn't always been pretty. There have been ecstatic moments, there have been horrific ones. I've lived here. The couch is worn, the cushions are faded and it may smell like nag champa, but this space is mine.

I want it to grow. I want people to read my words. 

Thank you to my mom, who encouraged me to come to BlogHer. 

I was afraid to put myself out there in an overt way, but I did it.

I'm not afraid anymore.

There's an apple tree with a big bright red ripe apple. I can see it. I'm going to climb that tree, pull the apple down and taste a long satisfying bite. As a chew, I will taste my dreams realized. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

BlogHer Day 1

Greetings from Chicago! Wow! It's been a whirlwind adventure so far. First of all, thank you to everyone who generously donated and shared the fundraising link to get me to BlogHer13. I am touched. Special shout out to my soul sister Donna who made a special top secret move at the last possible moment to get me here. I love you infinitely.

Yesterday I woke up at 4:30 am and got on the Long Island Rail Road with a giant backpack.

I got to the airport and ran like a zebra with it's tail on fire being chased by a lion to get my boarding pass at the automated machine for JetBlue flights, then to the security line. I could feel the sweat dripping down my face as my matching backpack and purse went through the security check.

Of course (since I was already running late for my flight) The TSA decided to stop me and demand that I empty the contents of my reusable water bottle, because clearly it's hazardous to other people's safety.

And then they made me throw out my hairspray.

After I begged them to let me go, I ran my zebra ass to the airplane on got on the flight.

I was flying standby but thankfully I got on the 6:47am flight to Chicago! I sat next to a pisces man who told me about how he got into Harvard back in the 1980's and rejected it to go to Fordham. He regretted that decision, but admitted that he was poorly advised. We exchanged contact info.

The flight attendant (Rene) was born one day after me on October 18th! Wee!

Then we landed and I was starting to get nervous:

But I calmed down eventually and started talking shameless self-portraits:

Then (with the help of the nice pisces Fordham alum) I found the EL train! I got the Chicago version of a metrocard, but clearly not from this machine...

Then I met a man on the train named Dave who was missing two fingers. He told me the story of how he lost them while using a table saw. He was a Cancer.

Finally, I got off the train and walked the gorgeous streets of Chicago:

With the help of some nice construction workers I found my hotel, and checked into my room. It has an amazing view:

After that I registered and headed into the conference.

I attended a workshop on how to make your blog into a book. It was incredibly informative and gave me a lot of insight into the publishing world. It was led by Melissa Ford who blogs at stirrup-queens and Hannah Kaminsky a vegan cookbook writer.

I feel like I have a strong foundational knowledge of how to write an agent query and book proposal now. Thank you ladies!

After that I met up with my roommate Trish and her buddy Stefanie. I love these ladies. Here's Trish and I at a wine bar that overlooks the river:

In the afternoon we headed over to The McCormick Convention Center for the BlogHer Expo. There I handed my business card to 234902384234902098 companies and took very silly pictures:

Then Stefanie, Trish and I went out for deep dish pizza and saw Chicago at night, which was stunning.

So far it's been a blast!

Can't wait to see what today holds!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

What You Might Have Thought of Me in High School

I went to F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art & Performing Arts. I was a drama major.

The people in the drama program were notoriously extroverted. At 15 years old I had an extroverted side, but I also had a deep rich internal world that I wouldn't let anyone penetrate. I was in my own head a lot. I was thinking about the world and my relationship to it. I was anxious and I was depressed. I was having existential crises on a daily basis.

I would wake up with my heart pounding, scared that I was going to die some day.

Meanwhile, everyone around me was laughing and putting on lipstick.

I can't imagine what other people thought of me.

Maybe they thought I was a snob, because I was shy.
Perhaps they thought I was an elitist because I was afraid to share my real feelings about things for fear that my peers would call me weird.

I didn't know that a panic attack was something I couldn't control.

I felt weak. I felt different.

I used theater as a way to cope with depression and anxiety.

I transmitted all my pain, all my anxiety in acting. When I performed Anne Frank, I became her.  I used my pain to make art.

But other people didn't know.

They probably thought I didn't want to talk to them.

That wasn't the case.

I'm not in pain anymore. I've healed.

I wonder how they perceived me...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Circle Line 42 Drawing Contest - Win an IPad Mini

Circle Line 42 is having an awesome contest! If your child is under the age of 12 all they have to do to enter to win an IPad Mini is draw themselves on a Circle Line cruise!

Click here to find out more!

The kids and I will be attending a Radio Disney cruise on 8/10 with Aunt Mint.

Hooray! More on that soon!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Slow Down You're Going Too Fast...Crash!

Yesterday, I came out of acupuncture. I made my way to my car. It was 8pm. I pulled out of the parking spot I was in. It was 100 degrees outside and I was tired, very tired. I'd spent the day teaching 11 two year-olds.

President street was dimly lit. I turned away for a split second, and I felt it. Metal collided with metal. My body jolted. The car flew up in the air and came crashing down with a thump. My heart left my body.

When I came to, I was in the car, stuck. I was attached to the wheel of a black vehicle. Behind me was a van. The impact from the crash had pushed the van from the street onto the sidewalk. 

It was surreal.

I was unreal.

A woman came running out of her building:

"You could have died!" She shouted. 

A man came and asked if I was all right.
"I think so. I'm just shaken." He gave me a hug. 

It was just me. My kids were at home. Thank G-d they were not there. Thank everything, they were safe.

Two elderly women came out of their building.

"You could have died!" Repeated the woman on the street. "You could have died."

"Can you please stop saying that?" I asked her "I have two children. I'm going to cry."
"That's not what she means." Says one of the elderly women. "Come here." She embraces me. "Do you want some soda?"

I am crying.

"Sure." I say. She goes inside and emerges with a cup of cola with ice. 

The man comforts me. He says the street is poorly lit. It's not my fault. He stays with me until Wil gets there. The police arrive shortly. They take a report. 

I am alive. I am so thankful I am alive. 

I'm lucky it was just me in the car. And I'm lucky to be alive. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Inspiration comes in spurts.
When it hits me I feel a gold glittery light enter my chest and disperse itself through my body shattering into tiny pieces, entering my bloodstream and turning what was red into bright gold. I am electric, charged, and the golden blood rushes through my veins, from my heart into my arms and through my fingertips. My hands are vibrating with words, they can't stop, they don't stop, they won't stop. They keep going.

I have a lot to say, and it's coursing through my veins.

This spirit wants to be heard.
Who are you?
What do you want to tell me?

It's my grandmother. She wants to tell me something.
She wants me to write.
She wants me to use what I have and share it with the world.

"Let it out!" She says "Share your gift."

I'm listening to her.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dear MTA Closing the Doors on a Stroller is Not Okay

Dear MTA,

This is probably the worst thing you've ever done. It was at the Atlantic Avenue station during rush hour. Exactly 8:24am on Friday 7/12/13. Copious amounts of folks were exiting the train. Just as the people were done exiting I started to push my stroller (which is enormous) on to the D train. As I was doing this, the train conductor decided this would be an appropriate moment to close all the train doors. Are you fucking kidding me?

Do you realize how dangerous that was?
Do you understand that you could have broken my children's fingers?

You really need to get it together!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Samara Can Walk and She's a Bad Ass

Today I took Samara to school. Ari stayed home, so it was just the two of us. Since I returned the shitty $27 stroller to Target, all I have left is the double stroller. I wasn't about to take one child in the double stroller. That didn't make any sense. So I carried Samara to school in a sling.

She stayed in the carrier the entire train ride and half of the walk from the train to school. Then she said "I want to get out!" So I took her out and she held my hand
and walked down the street.

On the way home from school, perhaps she was less tired, because she walked all the way from school to the train, down several flights of subway stairs, once we got to Brooklyn up several flights of subway stairs, then down the street, and finally up three flights of stairs up to our apartment.

Samara is a bad ass. She can stand tall and proud and walk miles. Well maybe it was more like a half a mile and she stopped at random building gates, but still. I am proud of my girl!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dear MTA, One dollar is too much!

Dear MTA,

Today I was with my daughter at the Grand Street subway station. I had to refill my Metrocard because it only had $1.25 on it. As you know, it costs more than that to ride the subway these days, and that ride is not worth more than a dime if you ask me. I know you haven't asked me, but I'm telling you anyway.

Anyhow, I inserted my Metrocard into the vending machine because all I had with me was my debit card in terms of funding for this expenditure. Well, as soon as the Metrocard entered the machine it got stuck! I was extremely surprised as that has never occurred in my entire native New Yorker life.

So I did what any reasonable human being would do under these circumstances, I went up to the token booth (yes I still call it that even though we've moved on to Metrocards) and asked the woman sitting in the booth:

"Hi, my Metrocard is stuck in the machine, what do I do?"
"Did you get a receipt?" She asked.
"No, because it's stuck in there and the screen is frozen."
"Here's an envelope. Send your card to this address so you can get reimbursed."
"Well I would do that except my Metrocard is actually stuck in the machine and now I have to pay an extra dollar to buy a new Metrocard."
The woman just stared at me. Samara ran away towards the Metrocard vending machine.

I didn't want to pay an extra dollar to get a new Metrocard when there was a perfectly good one stuck in the machine.

Now you may be thinking "So what? It's only a dollar!" But it's the principle of the whole thing.

What's the deal MTA. Why are you charging one dollar for new cards? Service has gotten worse and the train still smells bad.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

All Right MTA No Air Conditioning Was Bad But You Really Did it ThisTime

Dear MTA,

I have been on the D train sitting on the Manhattan bridge for exactly 23 minutes. There has been no explanation as to why we're delayed. I have my two children in a double stroller going completely insane on an unmoving train car.

This is completely ridiculous.

I am now 30 minutes late for work thanks to you.

Once again, why am I paying for a service that is faulty?

I have lived in New York City my entire life
and the train functioned better in the 1980s when it cost $1.00.

Please get it together.

Thank You,
Sara gū

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dear MTA Please Fix the Air Conditioning

Dear MTA,

Today it was 100 degrees outside. I was so excited to get on the D train and potentially get a seat. I had my two children with me in the double stroller. As the doors opened, I got ready to embrace the air conditioned subway car. I was excited, even though it was rush hour.

To my dismay, the subway car was crowded and hot. There was no air conditioning. I was devastated and dripping with sweat.

I don't believe it's too much to ask for the subway to be air conditioned when it's 100 degrees outside. I understand that shit happens and things break. I get it. The air conditioning was probably broken on that car.

The thing is, we're all paying $2.50 per ride. A ride on the train should be comfortable at the very least. I don't want to feel tortured while I'm waiting to arrive at my destination. I'm already cranky. I just want to go home.

Please fix the air conditioning on the broken cars.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Legoland Discovery Center - Wee!

Today, the kids, my mom and I jumped in the Fadermobile and headed up to Yonkers to visit the Legoland Discovery Center!

It was all my mom's idea. A couple of weeks ago she said "You know Saree," (yes I'm 33 and she still calls me that. What?) "They just opened a Legoland in Westchester. You should write to them and see if they want you to feature it on your blog."

She's such a Jewish mother. So I wrote to Legoland and low and behold, Legoland wrote me back. Gladwyn ( in the marketing department) said that Legoland would be delighted to provide me with press passes to visit the Legoland Discovery Center.

So off we went!

Legoland was loads of fun. When you first enter, you learn about how legos are made and kids get to create their own computerized lego creatures.

We also went on a Lego ride where we got to shoot Lego skeletons, warriors and bats! 

Samara made a Lego person friend. He rides a bicycle.

Ari made some cool Lego creations...

And he raced his Lego cars on the racetrack!

We saw the Lego version of New York City:

It was a hot day so eventually Samara ended up like this:

And Ari got a Lego Firetruck courtesy of grandma! 

Legoland is located in a shopping center. So after Samara decided to shed her clothes, we hit up Old Navy and got her a new outfit. Also, there's a pretty fountain. Look at it:

If you have kids and live in NYC, check out the Legoland Discovery Center. It's rad.

City Kid S'mores

When I was a kid, we lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in an apartment. It was fun growing up in New York, but there were things that kids did in the suburbs or the country that me and my brother did differently. One of them was camping.

Kids love S'mores. But when you live in New York City, a campfire is hard to come by. But one thing we did have was a gas stove. So all was not lost.

Yesterday I showed Ari how to make S'mores in an apartment. Don't freak out, he was adequately supervised during thus process:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Almost at My Goal - Who Wants an Amethyst Pendant?

So far I've raised $531 dollars toward my journey to BlogHer. 

I have a surprise for y'all. One lucky $50 donor will receive this amethyst pendant from Zachary Pryor.
He calls it Grape Soda Kisses:

If you donate $50 to send me to BlogHer, you can claim this for your very own. Be quick! It's going to go fast!

Click here to grab it

Teaching two year olds- wow!

I've been teaching two year-olds now for three days. It's intense, exhausting, exhilarating, fun, confusing, maddening and fascinating.

I've changed a million diapers. But I've also sang many songs, danced, made silly faces, created glittery hats, marched in a parade, made flags, read fairytales, and
played catch.

I wish I could show you how cute these kids are.

There's a lot of cleaning involved with this job too. I've cleaned this classroom way more than I've ever cleaned my own house.

My first day was a train wreck. A new girl wandered off and fell in the toilet.

But after that I started to get better at my job.

The biggest lesson I've learned and the
most important is this: slow down.

Yes, I live in New York City, one of the
fastest paced cities in the world. But these children have only been on this planet for two years and I've been here 33 years. There's a big difference.

Take it slow. Break every transition down. And most importantly stay consistent and sing a lot of songs. :)