Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Lied!

Okay I lied. I said my anxiety story was to be continued, but I'm actually writing a book!

I want to keep the contents of the book private.

Be proud of me.

Panic at School - Age 15

Since I had my first panic attack my life was literally never the same. I woke up every morning with my heart racing. Yet I still had to go to school.

I attended F.H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art & Performing Arts. I was a drama major there. Ironically, I was acting every single day I went to school. My role was pretending to be "normal." I had to pretend that my heart was beating at a regular pace. I needed to make my classmates and teachers believe that I was just another teenager with ordinary teenage problems, even though this couldn't be farther from the truth.

Inside I knew that I was different.

I couldn't understand it. I was terrified of my smallness in the world. The universe was massive and I tiny in comparison. I couldn't process this concept.

Another thing that I continually harped upon was my fear of becoming an adult. I was used to being under the care of my parents. Once I began having panic attacks I was terrified of going out "into the world" and not having my parents to protect me.

What if I had a panic attack and no one was there to help me? I couldn't conceive of this.

One day, in my history class, I caught a boy staring at me. I felt strange. Clearly he liked me, but I didn't understand why. I was a freak. He didn't know who I "really was" inside. If he found out, surely he would change his mind.

Every day I would go to class and he would continue to stare. I fully believed that no one would even like me because I was different.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

To be continued.

Top Ways to Make a Little Extra Cash this Autumn

This is a guest post. Here are some suggestions of ways that you can make some extra money in the fall. 

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely had the added responsibility to entertain them during the summer holidays and while many of us have had work commitments get in the way, school holidays still mean having to fork out extra on childcare, clubs and play schemes that can cost a small fortune.

You may find, as your brood head back to school, that your rainy day slush fund is completely dilapidated and if you want to enjoy the coming months and Christmas, you will need to try and recoup a little cash.

Whether you’re looking at an October half term UK break at The Wave Hotel, Bognor Regis or you’re hoping to secure a last minute deal in the sun, making a little extra money will help you to achieve your dreams. Of course, you could always try your luck at the current Cushelle competition that has a family holiday up for grabs – you never know!

Don’t resort to more debt if you can help it – it’s surprising where you can make money if you really think about it.

De-clutter with eBay 
eBay is a marvelous online tool, especially if you have a lot of clutter. You never know what your junk is worth. From old toys and clothes to more valuable pieces like pottery and jewelry, you can sell whatever you like. Just be a little careful with listing brick-a-brack and things of poor quality – you may end up paying more in listing fees. That’s what these are for, anyway…

Car Boot Sales 
A popular jaunt for people of all ages, the humble car boot sale can help to sell your junk and make a pretty penny from it. Once you have made your pitch fee back, the rest is profit and as long as you don’t wander the stalls and spend it on more stuff, you will be able to pop it into your slush fund as soon as you get home.

Go freelance 
This may not be possible for people who haven’t got the experience, but if you have done any freelance work in the past, now might be the time to pick up the reins again. There are plenty of websites that advertise jobs that could be perfect for you, from writing and proofreading to data entry and graphic design. Use your skills to make you some extra cash!

Get crafty! 
If you have a talent, why not profit from it? From handmade wedding stationery to customizing shoes and clothing, find your niche and use it!
Give yourself a little more to play with this autumn with these handy ideas!

Friday, August 30, 2013

My First Panic Attack - 15 Years Old

I was 15 years old when I had my first panic attack. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was reading a comic book called "Books of Magic." My memory is foggy on this part, but I recall that in this particular comic, the characters from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series (Death and Dream) cease to exist. This concept of theoretically eternal characters dying made my 15 year old mind start to spin. The room was moving. I was dizzy. I sat up from the blue This End Up couch and found my mom in our West 87th Street apartment.

"Mom," I said "I need to go outside right now."
"Okay." My mom said grabbing her coat and not missing a beat.
I took her hand and we got in the elevator and headed outside to the front of our building. I could feel my heart racing uncontrollably.

"Mom." I said timidly. " I don't know what my place is in this world."

I looked up at my mother wanting her to save me. I wanted her to stop the sky from spinning. I needed my heart to stop racing. But everything kept going including my mind. It wouldn't stop. I couldn't stop it.

My mom just held my hand and told me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. After five minutes, my heart began to steady and slow down. But I was left with this unsettling feeling that one day, I was going to die.

Not only was I going to die someday, but I was very small in comparison to the rest of the world, which was rather large.

I couldn't get over how small I felt. I was an ant and the universe was expansive and I was drowning in the hugeness of it all.

I went to bed that night hoping that it would all go away by the morning. But when I awoke the next day, my heart was still racing.

I had plans to attend a comic convention with my best friend. I called her a few days later and told her I couldn't go. We'd bought tickets and everything.

"I don't understand." She said. "You were really excited to go. What happened?"

I tried to explain to her about the Books of Magic comic I'd read and how it made me feel. She tried to empathize, but she was disappointed that I wasn't going to the convention since we'd been so excited about it.

Weeks later, she experienced a panic attack too. She understood what I was going through. We didn't know what to call them at the time, so we labeled them "freaking out." When we experienced panic, we were "freaking out."

From the day that I had my first panic attack at age 15, my life was never the same.

To be continued...

Psychically Swindled

I was in the city today with Ari today going to pick up a check for transcription when a man stopped me.

"I'm sorry," he said "I normally don't do this, but I had to stop you because one of your spirit guides was calling out to me. Do you believe in spirit guides?"
"Yes, I do." I said.

There is a part of my personality that is deeply spiritual.

"I usually don't do this, but I do aura and energy work. Would you like a reading?" He asked.
"I'm sorry, but I have to go pick up a check." I said. " I can meet you back here in 20 minutes." I said.

He agreed.

Ari and I went to get my check and returned to the spot we were in previously.

We got some pizza and waited. I wondered if the man would return. He did.
"What's your sign?" I asked him.
"I'm a Capricorn."
"What's your moon sign?" I asked him.
"Oh, I never tell anyone that. Not even my boyfriend knows."

He was from L.A., he said. He told me that he did this energy work in California, and that he only worked with five people a year. He had one opening left, the fifth one, and that was reserved for me. He was smooth and well-dressed and wore designer sunglasses.

I told him I couldn't afford much for the reading. He said that was okay, and we settled on $25.00.
The reading was intense. He asked me to think of three questions I wanted to know the answers to. I did. He intuitively knew things about me before I could say them. He just knew.

He could tell that I was a creative person. He said that one day I would inspire a lot of people. That I would stop people from dying.

The man told me that he never stops people. That my spirit guide was tugging on his ear because she wanted to give me a message. She wanted to tell me that my life was going through a major transition. There was darkness surrounding me. It needed to be removed in order for me to succeed.

He said that I'd sought out healers in the past, but none of them had ever "really" helped me.

As the reading progressed, the dynamic between he and I began to change. He asked me for more money. He needed to burn three candles (with specific spiritual ingredients only communicated to him by my spirit guides) in order to help me. I told him that I could only give him a small amount of money, that I needed to pay my phone bill. He persisted.

I ended up giving this man $70 (which was way less than what he asked for by the way) so that he could light candles for me. $70 went from my hand to his.

He told me to make three wishes.

I did.

He asked for my phone number and I gave it to him.

I believed him.

Until he left. Then it hit me what had just happened. I called my friend Kay, and he confirmed what I already knew. I had been swindled. While I was on the phone with Kay at Target, a man on the escalator stopped me.

"Excuse me," he said, "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. I just want to let you know that a real healer wouldn't approach you on the street and give you spiritual advice. That's intrusive."
I looked at the man, from his dress I could tell he was a religious Jew.
"Okay," I said "but you probably don't believe in this stuff."
"Yes I do." He said. "I'm a healer myself. You think it's a coincidence that you're meeting me. You're bringing this energy to yourself." He said.
"What do you do?" I asked.
"I'll tell you," He said "But I'm in a bit of a rush since Shabbos starts soon and I'm meeting my wife. I've cured cancer and other major diseases." He said.
"Would you work with me?" I asked.
"Sure, but check out my website before you commit to anything."

He gave me his name and website.

"Can I tell you what I'm looking for help with?" I asked
"Of course." He said.
"I have anxiety." I said plainly.
"Your digestion is poor." He said without thinking. "You worry and you're not processing food properly, therefore you're not processing emotions properly either."
That blew my mind, because this man knew nothing about me and he was right. He went on to tell me a few more things that rang incredibly true but I can't remember them now. I do remember that he told me that it was important to get in touch with my faith. He said that would ground me.

I'm not quite sure what to think. I know that the first "healer" was a con artist. But the second guy seemed legitimate.

I do know this, I'm not going to let any more money escape my hands to spiritual healers.

Win a HALO SleepSack Blanket!

The other day I got an email from HALO SleepSack asking if my readers would be interested in learning about the HALO SleepSack Swaddle. Now my kids are older, but then I thought about it and realized I knew at least two friends who were pregnant at the time, and two others that had just given birth

I reached out to my friend Alana, who was expecting her fourth child and she agreed to review the HALO SleepSack!

Here's an adorable picture of her baby girl Izzy in the HALO SleepSack

Alana reports that the HALO SleepSack was a welcome alternative to the baby blankets they usually use. Look at Izzy. She's so cozy.

I can remember using the HALO SleepSack myself when my kids were babies. They slept well when they were snug and swaddled.

Want to win this blanket for your baby? Do you know anyone who's expecting a baby? This blanket is an excellent baby shower gift!

Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Win a Power Animal Tee Shirt from Mine is Yours Apparel

My friend Leah sent me a website the other day via my Facebook wall with one question "Giveaway?"

This website was Mine is Yours Apparel.

Leah and I have been friends for 15 years, and I always take her suggestions seriously. I checked out the site and I immediately fell in love with this shirt:

Messy hair is in y'all!

The Power Animal shirt is available exclusively from Mine is Yours Apparel, a local clothing company whose warehouse is...guess where? Brooklyn! That's right, represent!

So I wrote Megan at Mine is Yours Apparel and asked if she'd be willing to do a giveaway. She replied right away and said yes! It was one of the best emails I've gotten in a while. Megan, you're awesome!

This shirt is not only an amazing design, but it's super comfortable too. I feel like I'm wearing pajamas.

Another cool thing about Mine is Yours Apparel  is they include a packet of seeds with each tee shirt you're sent in the mail!

Want to win this awesome tee shirt? Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wordless Wednesday - The Four Faces of Samara

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Money - I Want to Understand You Better

I've said this frequently:

"I hate money."

What I really mean is "I don't understand how to effectively manage money."

Over the past three decades of my life, I've made some notoriously poor decisions managing (or rather not managing) my finances. I've wracked up credit card debit. I took out a car loan on a new car that I was unable to pay after a few months.

The people in my life who saved money were mysterious super hero like creatures that possessed a skill I didn't seem to have, although I envied and wanted it.

Last night, my friend Donna and I went out to dinner.

I confessed to her that I was in a deep financial hole at the moment. I was overdrawn a significant about of money in my back account. Before you go judging me, it's not because I was compulsively spending money, it's because my student loan lender decided to take out my payment four days early.

Donna and I discussed some of the reasons I'm always broke. The truth came out:
"How much do you go to the bakery?" She asked.
I was already embarrassed.
"Um, two to three times a week." I confessed.

I've been buying muffins and coffee at this particular bakery two to three times a week. That's five dollars a day x three days a week. That adds up to $60 a month. Now that's only if I buy a coffee and a muffin for myself. If I factor in food for the kids it's more like eight dollars a pop. So eight dollars x three times a week = $96 a month.

$96 a month could buy me a whole lot more than a handful of muffins and coffee. That could be one week's worth of groceries.

This proved to me that the "little things" add up to a "big expenses."

Donna and I agreed to work together and create a budget for me. I'm finally recognizing that managing my finances is a problem for me and I'm dealing with it.

Today, I walked into the bank and made a payment plan to pay off my overdrawn account. It was scary and nerve wracking but I did it.

I called all three of my credit card companies and found out what I owed them. It was terrifying but I did it.

I made a payment plan with one of those companies to pay off the money that I owe them.

I'm proud of myself for facing this demon of mine. I've hid for so long behind the reality that I have a hard time managing money. But now I'm being honest about it and I'm willing to learn to change my ways.

My goal is to:
1. Pay off debt
2. Save money
3. Improve my credit.

I know I can do this. The first step is acknowledging that my behavior needs to change, and I've done that.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hey Asshole! Stop Holding The Doors! - Another Glorious Non-Journey With The MTA

Today I got on the B train at West 4th after waiting a good 20 minutes for it to arrive.

I boarded the train and we went two stops downtown. At Grand Street I heard the notorious jarring sound of the train doors attempting to close, but they were stuck.

"Please stand clear of the closing doors!" The train conductor shouted. I don't know why he bothered to say "please" since he was shouting.

The doors open and shut again. I could hear that same unpleasant sound as if something or somebody was stuck in them.

"Please STEP AWAY from doors so the TRAIN can LEAVE the station!" Shouted the conductor.

Clearly, the person who was holding the doors was not giving up so easily. A moment passed, and there it was once again, the sound of the train doors opening abruptly and attempting to shut.

"PLEASE LET GO OF THE DOORS!" Shouted the angry conductor.

The passengers that were near the aforementioned doors leaned in closer to see if they could see through the window down to the end of the train car and locate the individual who was holding up the B train from moving.

There was silence for 10 minutes. The doors were shut and the passengers on the B train sat there angry, probably hungry, and ready to just go home. I don't know about them, but I was two stops from home at this point.

All of a sudden out of absolutely nowhere (remember it had been silent for 10 minutes) the conductor got on the loud speaker and said to the entire train:

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a door problem!"

I wanted to reply "NO SHIT!"

The entire train started hysterically laughing. Way to bring New Yorkers together with some broken ass doors!

The train then sat there for another 10 minutes before the conductor came on the loudspeaker one more time:

"This B train is now out of service! Please exit the train!"

The entire train sighed and a fair number of people started cursing loudly as well as under their breaths.
We all got off the platform at Grand Street to wait for the next train. As the "theoretically broken B train" exited the station every single door on that train was closed.

I have no idea what to think.

Did the asshole who was holding the doors break the train temporarily?
Did that really just happen?
How were the doors working miraculously two seconds after we all exited the train?

Who can solve this mystery?

Thanks MTA for another ridiculous non-journey home.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Win a Hip Hop Nutrition Facts Tee From Local Celebrity

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped this guy on the C train. He was wearing the dopest tee-shirt ever. It looked like this:

After some expert internet research, I found out that this awesome shirt is made by Local Celebrity! I wrote to the company and asked if I could do a review and giveaway of the Hip Hop Nutrition Facts shirt on my blog. Jordan over at Local Celebrity graciously said yes!

Check me out yo! You know you want this shirt too!

Want to win the Hip Hop Nutrition Facts shirt from Local Celebrity? Enter below! Word!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ari Writes Stories at Night

Ari is five years old. Every night for the past week, Ari and I have started a new tradition. Together, we write a story.

Ari dictates the story to me, and I transcribe it in a black and white composition notebook. So far, the stories have been about cats, an octopus child, watching TV and eating dinner. Those are some of the things that have been included.

Every story ends the same way: "And then the whole village went to sleep."

I didn't intend for this to become a tradition (oral storytelling that is) it just sort of happened. It's fun, but I don't want it to replace the act of reading stories.

My mom read to me every night. It started with picture books, and then (as I got older) we moved on to chapter books. I want to continue that tradition (of reading aloud) to my kids just as my mom did for me.

With regard to Ari's stories, after he's done reciting them, and I record them in the notebook, the most fun part of this activity is reading them aloud. I read him his masterpiece and he hears what he created out loud.

You never know, this could help him learn to read!

Do you read to your kids every night? Would you try oral story telling with them too?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Anxiety Impacts My Business Decisions

I manage chronic anxiety every day.

I see a therapist and I'm currently taking medication for it. In addition to these "Western" measures, I also meditate daily and keep a journal. However, anxiety continues to impact my daily life, regardless of my diligent attempts to address it.

Once of the ways in which it affects me is with regard to business and employment.

For example, if a company seems interested in hiring me or working with me, I have difficulty "playing it cool."
I might receive an email that says:

"We'll contact you if we're interested in working with you."

For someone like me (who manages chronic anxiety) that statement is difficult to comprehend or deal with. In my mind I'm left wondering if the company will ever be back in touch. Here are some thoughts that may go through my head while I'm waiting to hear back from a company:

Will they ever reach out to me?
Is my blog good enough?
I wonder if I should check in with them again?
If I check in with them too much they'll think I'm crazy, even though I'm not crazy I'm just anxious.

I literally have to force myself from checking in with companies or people that are interested in working with me, because I know that my anxiety will scare them off.

It's sad really. Being anxious doesn't define me. It's just something that challenges me. In some ways, it has strengthened me as a person. I have to deal with physical and emotional symptoms that impact my daily functioning. But I don't stop. I don't let it stop me. I still work hard to obtain my goals in life.

I want to be a published writer.
I want to work to promote brands that mean something to me.
I want to be recognized for my work.

The funny thing is despite struggling with anxiety, I still have managed to work successfully with major companies on my blog over the years. The evidence indicates that I am competent at what I do.

Writing this piece is brave.
I am brave.

So if I have obsessively contacted you, don't be scared. I'm just anxious. Nothing more, nothing less.

I am also a writer, an actress, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter and someone who loves her life.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Win a Robot Backpack From Crocodile Creek

It's back to school time y'all! I wrote to Bill over at Crocodile Creek and asked if he'd be willing to do a backpack giveaway. He graciously said yes!

Today I am giving away this totally awesome robot backpack!

Your kids want this.

What I love about this backpack:

  • It's large enough to fit a standard sized folder 
  • It has a designed water bottle slot on the side
  • It's sturdy and well constructed
  • It's colorful and awesome!

Ari is obsessed with robots, so this is pretty much the perfect backpack for him.

If your child likes flowers more than robots (and you win this giveaway) this beautiful backpack goes to you:

Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Giveaway open to U.S. residents only

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why I'm "Always" On Facebook

"You're on Facebook a lot."
"You're funny on Facebook."
"I see your posts on Facebook."
"You = Facebook."

I've heard all of those things. The people that said them are right, I am on Facebook a lot. Some of the people saying that they see my on Facebook all the time are being judgmental. Perhaps they think that I have no life and spend my entire day posting random shit on Facebook.

I've also heard passive aggressive remarks that go like this:
"Facebook is such a time suck. I never go on there."
"I don't have time for that."

Translation, "you're a loser because you're on Facebook all the time and I am superior to you because I have an important life and I'm too good for the Internet."

You know what, good for you! If you don't go on Facebook that's wonderful. I'm glad you're enjoying your life. I'm happy for you! But don't make me feel badly about the fact that I am enjoying posting random shit on Facebook.

Things I like to post on Facebook:

  • Pictures of my kids being silly
  • Pictures of my kids being adorable
  • Pictures of my kids period
  • Pictures of cats
  • Pictures of weird things I see on the street including strange street signs and street performers
  • Funny articles 
  • Informative articles 
  • More cat pictures
  • Pictures of myself when I feel attractive or (what the Internet calls "selfies".)
  • Links to my blog
  • And the most frequent thing I post - Random thoughts that I have in my head that I'm afraid I'm going to forget unless I type them out. 

Yes, I am on Facebook a lot. But remember this, I have two kids. I am with my children 24 hours a day. Sometimes, I need a break. That break includes Facebook. I can skim my newsfeed and read funny articles that other people have posted. I can look at cute pictures of my friends' kids. I can read funny blog posts. I can take a break.

I want to make something clear, just because I'm on Facebook frequently doesn't mean that:

  • I'm ignoring my kids.
  • I don't go outside
Half the time I'm posting shit on Facebook I'm walking with the kids in the stroller, or I'm at the playground sitting down for a moment. This is the joy of having Facebook mobile. 

My kids are loved and I spent time with them, Facebook posting or not. 

I'm also not "addicted to Facebook." If it disappeared tomorrow I would be just fine. I didn't have a Facebook account for 27 years of my life, and I was a fully functional human.

The point is, it's just a place for me to take a break. And hopefully I make you laugh every once in a while with my random head thoughts. 

End of Facebook rant. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Girl on The N Train Who Could Have Been Me

I met a girl on the N train. She had shaggy blue hair. She wore a navy dress with polka dots and clunky black platform boots. She had a septum ring. She was beautiful.

"Hey, where did you get your boots?" I asked her.
I didn't care where she got them. I just wanted an excuse to talk to her. I wanted to know more about her life.
"Oh these? Trash and Vaudeville," she said. "But you could probably find them online."
"Cool." I said "I can't wear heels because my feet are sensitive. I love platforms."
"Where are you from?" I asked.
"Really? You have no accent."
"Yeah, I've been here since high school."
"Oh, where did you go to high school?"
"Oh! Me too."
"Oh yeah, what was your major?"
"Drama. Yours?"
"Yeah, you look like an art major."
We laughed.
"All of my friends were art majors." I said.
"I hated LaGuardia." She confessed.
"Me too!" I said. "I felt like everyone was just as talented as I was. There was so much competition. But the administration stood behind people they believed could make it. I wasn't one of those people."
"Yeah, totally." She agreed.
"Where did you go to college?"
"I didn't."
"What are you up to now?"
"Well..." she began.

She was 21. She was homeless. She didn't know where she was going to sleep that night. She wasn't a drug addict. She was a normal girl who had no place to go. I asked if she could stay with a friend. She said she was waiting to hear back from someone. She hadn't eaten in three days. She'd been picking up random bar tending gigs to try to stay afloat. My heart ached for her.

I suggested she try to work at the Union Square Farmer's Market.
I told her to apply for a job at a local comic shop I knew was hiring.
I wanted to save her.

She was 21.
I was 21 once.
I was lost.

I floated from one friend's couch to another's.
I knew this life.
I know this girl.
She is me 12 years ago.

My hair wasn't blue, but I was aching inside.
I didn't know who I was or where I was going. I was completely alone.

When she got up to exit the train in the village I stared at her stockings. Through the holes I could see red scratch marks. I wondered if she was hurting herself.

"It was wonderful to meet you, lovely." She said as she danced off the train.

I will think of her tonight as I go to sleep. I hope she has a place to rest her head.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"You've Heard of Peter, Paul and Mary?" "I'm Not So Much Familiar WithThe New Testament." - Soul Doctor on Broadway!

Thanks to the lovely Holly at Culture Mom Media,  my soul sister Donna and I went to see Soul Doctor on Broadway 

Soul Doctor is based on the true story of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

It's a musical journey that begins in Vienna. We follow Shlomo from the time he's a small child in Europe all the way to the United States where he transforms from a Rabbi into a rock star.

Along the way, Shlomo meets countless women who change the course of his life. One of them is the one and only jazz singer Nina Simone. Simone and Shlomo form a musical bond from the moment they meet. Their connection transcends the lines of religion as Shlomo visits Simone's church and performs his music to her congregation.

As Shlomo finds his way in the world his family doesn't quite understand his path. It takes Shlomo's father dying for his mother to realize who Shlomo is inside.

Soul Doctor is about identity. It's about finding out who you are through music. As I watched Shlomo struggle with his inner self, I felt deeply connected to him. I know what it's like to question your life's path. That is the essence of this musical.

In the end, Shlomo finds himself in Israel and the audience feels a sense of relief.

I couldn't help clapping and smiling all through this show. The music is infectious and it makes you want to dance! Ultimately Donna and I left the theater with smiles on our faces and a good feeling in our hearts.

For more information on Soul Doctor click here!

Win a Flexi Leash For Your Dog! Woof Woof!

My niece has a beautiful Portuguese Water Dog named Lucky.

Lucky is the kind of dog that loves freedom. One day, Francesca (my niece) and I were talking, and he suggested that we write to the Flexi USA company to see they would let us try out one of their leashes on Lucky. Look at my little entrepreneur in the making. :)

So together, Francesca and I wrote an email to Flexi USA, and I got a lovely response from Tori in the marketing department! She agreed to let us try out the leash and give one leash away!

But first we took lucky for a walk on his new leash. He loved his new found freedom.

Lucky enjoyed his freedom on the Flexi leash and Francesca remarked (on our walk) that it would be a great leash to use when she takes him to the park!

Tori was nice enough to throw in some poop bags!

And a super cool Flexi leash key chain! 

Do you want to win a Flexi leash for your doggy? Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bloganizer- Organize Your Blog World

I've been blogging since 2009, and I have a confession to make. I'm disorganized. Yes, I write frequently. Yes, I read other blogs. Yes, I post on Facebook and Twitter.

But I also do these things:

  • Forget to read blogs that I love
  • Forget to comment on those loved blogs
Enter Bloganizer!

Liza created Bloganizer in order to help Bloggers organize their blogging life. 

Trey is Bloganizer's V.P. of Connections.

I met Liza at BlogHer13' in Chicago and we instantly hit it off. She's a Sagittarius! 

We literally spent an hour in the hotel lobby of the Sheraton talking about our theater backgrounds, blogging, our mutual appreciation for curse words, and our crazy children.

When I got home to New York I decided to do something that people (especially those in social media) don't often do. I picked up the phone and called Liza. In this day and age where people mostly communicate through computers, I decided to kick it old school and speak to her on the phone like the humans that we are. 

Liza showed me about Bloganizer and how it works through a Google + Hangout. Let me tell you something, do not underestimate the power of Googe +. I was super impressed. She could see my computer screen and guide me on exactly how to use Bloganizer. It was awesome!

These are some things that Bloganizer is good for:

1. Keeping up with your favorite blogs:

When you sign up for Bloganizer (which is free) you can create a list of the blogs you love and read them all in one place!

2. Listing your giveaways

If you do product giveaways, Bloganizer is an excellent place to list them! As far as I know, there isn't a central location online to list blog giveaways. There are groups on Facebook but nothing like this:

Look! Here's my giveaway for Honest Kids Juice Boxes! Awesome!

3. Stay organized and on top of your social media tasks.

It's easy to become overwhelmed as a Blogger. However, Bloganizer is designed to quell that feeling.

If you blog, I encourage you to try it out!

Guess what? Liza didn't ask me to post this. I just love Bloganizer! So check it out yo!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Mother's Smell- A Memory

I remember the smell of my mother's coat when she came in from outside in the cold New York City winter. It was mixed with cool air and her distinctive perfume. I loved that smell because it meant that she was home for good. I didn't have to worry. I was safe.

Before I smelled that smell I would sit on the black leather couch and watch cartoons while I waited for her. Animaniacs, Batman the Animated Series, and Tiny Toons were some of my favorites. I would zero in on the television in order to escape the fact that she wasn't there. My mother was in a mysterious place called "work."

I remember her old work phone number 644-8100. There was a receptionist named Nydia who worked there. I would call and say "Can I speak to Liz Fader please?" It was comforting to know that I could reach her at any time if I needed to. I would call her multiple times after I got home from school just to make sure she was still alive.

My mother worked in public relations. She wrote press releases. She was great at what she did.

The hours I spent anticipating her return home as a nine year-old were palpable. I missed her.

But I was content to sit on my couch and watch cartoons because I knew that at some point that door would open and I would get to smell her and embrace her black down coat. That hug (that embrace) was wonderful.

The cool sensation of her coat and her smell made me feel whole again. If I close my eyes, I can still smell her.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Dream and Reality

I'm 33 year-old and I haven't figured out how to accomplish my dream; to make money as a professional writer. The challenge is, I have two little mouths to feed.

As I pursue my dream of publishing a novel, I need to have what society calls "a day job."
It's a stupid term, really. I don't want a "day job," I want my "dream job."

I love being around children. I enjoy teaching. I've worked as a substitute teacher for four years while parenting my children. I started subbing when Ari was one and continued to this day.  I worked through my second pregnancy teaching in the New York City public school system. But I don't have my masters degree.  I have one more year left to finish my M.S.ed, but it's not in early childhood education, it's in rehabilitation counseling.

I don't want to work in Voc/Rehab anymore honestly, but I need to complete my masters degree. It will allow for me to earn more money and get a job that supports my family financially.

I intend on returning to graduate school this year and completing my masters degree.

This is all well and good, but what about my dream?

I know I have to make money, but I want to accomplish my goal and live my dream.

I want to see "Sarah Fader" on the cover of a book. I want to believe that this is going to happen in my lifetime.

I'm not afraid to say "this is what I want." I have been afraid in the past. I've pushed my dreams down deep into a broken dilapidated wooden trunk, never to be heard from again. I didn't believe that it was possible to achieve them.

I do now.

I believe that I can publish a novel. But in order to do that, I need to keep writing. And in order to keep writing that has to be my sole focus. If I have a full-time job, I can't see how I'm going to achieve that dream.

I could think myself into oblivion.

I'm excellent at over-thinking. I should put that on my resume.

Maybe the key is not to think too much, and to make a plan. But what is that plan?

Only I know the answer to that.

Cultured Kids: Top Museums for the Little Ones in London

The following is a sponsored post, which I have been compensated for. I love London! I have fond memories of my semester abroad there, and I would love to take Ari and Samara back to the U.K. to visit some day. If you're planning a trip to London check these museums out! I know I will :)

Getting the kids out and about is part and parcel of the summer holidays; they’re a perfect opportunity to break the normal cycle and enjoy some quality time with your kids that ordinarily, you may not get. While there’s often plenty to do closer to home, a trip to the Big Smoke could be just what you all need, with endless things to do that will suit all the family.

Forcing them on a walking tour of London, to catch sight of all of the iconic landmarks, is one sure-fire way to make them cranky – it’s tiring for adults on sightseeing tours, let alone the young ones. Instead, plan child-friendly trips to attractions that appeal to the younger, inquisitive mind, such as the plethora of fun and interactive museums that the city holds. If you’re considering staying in the central London for more than just a day (after all, you will need more than a day to see everything you’ve been wanting to see), book into a Travelodge in London city centre and be a stone’s throw from all the major sights and child-friendly museums.

The sheer volume of museums that you could choose from in the city is exhaustive, but these three offerings are some of the most popular, for all the right reasons.

Natural History Museum
If you’ve ever been to a local natural history museum, you’d be forgiven in thinking that every museum of this ilk involves badly made papier mache models of dinosaurs and dust-ridden exhibits of taxidermy animals and skeletons. That’s not what this London beast of a museum has within its walls and is totally worth a visit. The life-size diplodocus that towers above you as you walk into the main foyer is a reason in itself to come to see what’s in store and that’s without even touching on the other fascinating displays and interactive exhibits that can be found here.

Science Museum
Even a child with the attention span of a gnat will find plenty to keep them enthralled at the Science Museum, with ample opportunity to get stuck into science and experience things for themselves. From hands on exhibits in the Launchpad area to a gargantuan telescope and the Legend of Apollo 4D cinema, all aspects of science are on show here. Plus, throughout the school holidays, you could treat your kids to tickets for The Energy Show in the IMAX theatre – perfect for the curious mind.

British Museum
It’s well worth a visit to the British Museum, if only to ogle for hours in the Egyptian section – kids seem to love it in there! With plenty of different trails to suit various ages, you can guarantee that the children’s attention will be maintained for as long as possible.
Make sure you check out the family events beforehand – a range of workshops are carried out throughout the summer holidays to keep idle hands busy.

If you have time, make sure you take your brood to the V&A Museum of Childhood too – they’ll love the exhibits on show and you will enjoy the trip down memory lane, too!

When Someone Tells Me "You Can't."

When someone tells me "you can't" or "that's not possible" something inside my core ignites.

I will prove that someone wrong.

I can and I will.
Oh, you don't know what you just did, someone.

You thought you were discouraging me. Instead, you are egging me on.

You thought you were telling me that you knew more than I do.

Well you don't.

Now, you've presented me with a challenge, not a road block.

I can.
I will.
Step aside.

By saying the words " Sorry, you can't accomplish that." What you did was make me 100 percent sure that I will prove you wrong.

I will succeed.
I'm stronger than your words.

In fact, thank you for telling me "you can't." I'm going to take those words, put them in my internal gas tank and rev my engine so loud it will deafen your ears.

I'll win the race.
I will do what I set out to do.

So keep telling me "you can't."
Because I can.
And I will.
Watch me.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Circle Line Radio Disney Cruise - Win Tickets!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to Lindsey over at Circle Line Cruises and asked if she would be interested in collaborating on a Circle Line Cruise Giveaway. She said yes! The kids and I were excited!

Lindsey provided me with tickets to the Circle Line Radio Disney Cruise for Saturday August 10th, one of Circle Line's many children's oriented cruises.

In true Sarah Fader fashion, I was running late for the cruise, and we just made it as the ship was taking off from the dock! I quickly said hi to Lindsey and scurried onto the boat with my giant stroller :)

The kids and I were safely aboard and we set sail!

Once we got on board, there were many exciting activities for the kids to partake in. But first, Samara had to put her Sophia the First crown on:

I could hardly get it off of her. Even now that we're back on land, she wants to wear it all the time.

There was a professional balloon artist aboard:

There was music and dancing featuring the Disney Junior Show theme songs! There was also a magician, who the kids could not get enough of!

And an amazing face painter!

These children (who are now art objects) let me take their picture after the final product!

There was an awesome announcer who narrated our journey.

We circled around Manhattan while the announcer told us about the history of the island with charisma and a few silly jokes. One of the highlights of the journey was when we saw the Statue of Liberty!

We had an awesome time, and I can't wait for the Circle Line Kid's cruise in September featuring The Berenstein Bears!

Enter below!

Two Scorpios and One Pitbull for Adoption

Today I set out to get a muffin at Blue Sky and I ran into this beautiful dog named Cookie:

Cookie is being fostered by Saul and Mike, a lovely Scorpio couple who live in Park Slope. They were both born November 3rd! We spent 45 minutes standing in front of Blue Sky talking about their astrological charts. 

Anyway, I really wanted to adopt Cookie. But my dad would kill me. So instead I'm writing about her and putting her into the universe for someone else to love. 

If you want her, she's available! She's the best dog ever. 

Look at her!

Cookie is about a year old and super sweet. If I had to guess her sign, I'd go with Cancer. 

Post a comment if you're interested in adopting her OR just tell me how cute she is!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Starting Shakespeare - Pyramus and Thisbe - A Bedtime Story

One day, I was looking at the Complete Works of Shakespeare that I've owned since my sophomore year of college. I kept getting this nagging feeling that I wanted to start Ari on Shakespeare, but I couldn't decide what play to read first.

I'm an actress myself, and a graduate of Performing Arts High School (the Fame school) so Shakespeare has been an integral part of my life.

I remembered hearing an audio version of A Midsummer Night's Dream when I was in the sixth grade. I've also seen multiple
productions of it, although I've never performed in one myself.

My recollection of Midsummer was that it was a fun light hearted play with mistaken identity and lovers getting mixed up. There are also fairies. Kids like fairies.

We started reading a scene a night. I stop during the scenes to explain what's going on.

Today we read the scene where the players, Quince, Bottom and company are getting ready to perform Pyramus and Thisbe. Snug asks if he can play the lion because he's afraid to have real lines and he can handle roaring.

I explained to Ari that Snug was going to be the lion and he laughed and said:
"I can roar too! Roar!"

We both laughed. I love a
five year-old's perspective on Shakespeare.

I'm having fun remembering Midsummer as I reread it myself.

Would you read your kid Shakespeare?
What play would you start with?

Friday, August 9, 2013

What Do You Do When You Feel Sad?

Today I feel sad.

I decided to take a "not glamorous" picture of myself because I feel sad.

I look like a turtle in this picture. I'm okay with that.

I don't feel depressed (as I have felt in the past) but just a little low.

I'm not going to go into the reasons I feel sad, because they're irrelevant. I also have my period which (as you know) makes me feel less than great. 

I should feel happy, because Ari is cleaning the living room. But I'm sad

I accept the fact that I'm sad.

But I also want to do things to make myself feel "un-sad" or "better."

Some of the things I do when I'm sad to make myself feel better are:
1. Eat chocolate.
2. Call a friend.
3. Look at pictures of cats online.
4. Watch a really funny movie.
5. Write a blog post about how I feel.
6. Do something productive like the dishes.
7. Think about people that are less fortunate than me and feel grateful that I have a home.
8. Hug my kids.
9. Pet my cats.
10. Draw a picture of a tree.
11. Paint a picture.
12. Punch a pillow.
13. Hug a pillow.
14. Hug a friend.
15. Go out for tea with a friend.
16. I sing!

What do you do to make yourself feel better when you're sad?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Old Fireman By Ari

Ari wrote a story yesterday. As the Native Americans did, he recited his story aloud. My mom was there to record it:

I felt it was important to document this momentous milestone (Ari's first story) here. So without further ado, I present The Old Fireman:

The Old Fireman
By Ari

Once there was an old man. He wanted to turn into a fireman. But he couldn't turn into a fireman, because he didn't have magic. He visited the firefighters and he told the firefighters and he said:
"Can I be a firefighter?"

The fireman said "You can't be a firefighter." The fireman also said "you can only be a firefighter when it is Friday. But today is Monday."

So the old man went back to his old house. It was a dark time. The man was sleeping. And then it was morning time. The old man went to the fire station again. The old man asked the firefighter if he could be a fireman today.
The fireman said "Yes, so put on your boots and put on your hat. There is an emergency!"

Then everyone in the city was sleeping.

The End.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Win a Copy of Unstuff Your Life! An Interview With Andrew Mellen, Professional Organizer!

Today I interviewed Andrew Mellen, professional organizer.

I met him at BlogHer13' through Jason Mayo, who writes at Outnumbered.

Andrew and I met at Four and Twenty Blackbirds, one of the best pie places in the universe. Our goals were to do the interview about organization and then eat as much pie as humanly possible. We accomplished both goals.

Andrew talked about his organizational concept, the Organizational Triangle:
1. One home for everything - Everything in your house has a place it belongs.
2. Like with like - All cosmetics go in one box
3. Something in, something out - Do not bring something into your home unless you know what it is replacing and where it will live.

Want to know more? Watch my interview with Andrew below:

Enter to win a copy of Unstuff Your Life below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Andrew is running a series of back to school webinars! Get organized before your kids go back to school!  For more information, check out his site here. 

Writer's Block Can Be Fun!

I've been trying to write every day. But today, I have no idea what to write about. So I'll tell you a few random things I feel like sharing.

I can touch my tongue to my nose!

I have a lizard tongue!

Also I did all the dishes today! I'm so proud of myself.

My favorite color is green.

I'm allergic to cow's milk, although I found that out recently.

Look I'm purple!

I'm good at a lot of things, but organization is not one of them. I am (however) good at editing things like term papers and college essays for other people.

Do you like pie?

I like pie sometimes. But I really like cake.

I like cats because they're spiritual. I like dogs because they're friendly.

I like you.

Until you're mean, and then you'll make me cry.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Child Loves The Swing But I Want to Sit Down

When I take my kids to the playground, I'm assuming that I can just let them loose. This is going to sound horrible, but I do not want to play with them.

I'm taking them to the playground so that they can play with other children.

Inevitably, as soon as we enter the playground Ari asks me the same question each time:
"Can I go on the swing?"

It's like the curse of death.

Look at him! He's so happy on the swing!

But here's the thing, if he goes on the swing, that means that I cannot sit down on the playground bench and space out. I have to do work. I am required to stand there with him and push him.

Not only do I have to stand there and push him, but generally where I am standing is in the sunlight, so I am uncomfortable standing there and pushing him. Meanwhile, he's having the best time ever!

I feel guilty. I know I should entertain his love of the swings. I know I should do that because it'll make him happy, but I am exhausted. What I want to do is take a break! We are at the playground so that my kids can play and I can sit down.

Am I alone in this?

Am I a giant asshole?

Please don't say yes.

I already feel guilty.

Do you push your kids on the swings?