And I have better posture for doing it. Mom will be happy.
The last year I have had many many changes and life events going on. Some were AWESOME and a few were some that will make your hair grey.
That’s life honey, not for sissies.
The ONE THING that I have learned is the old saying:
I know, cliché, but it’s freekin true.
Sooo, in the last year or so I learned some things:
I don’t lose weight when I am stressed therefore I will never get divorced because the Divorce Diet will not get me a new man.
I will NEVER EVER rescue another dog with the REMOTEST DNA of Chihuahua in it.
Do NOT buy the cheap pads. Poise all the way!
When your parents become hard of hearing, it’s really not that bad. Except for the TV that I can hear from Florida. And the yelling.
When you travel especially overseas, you really only need 2 pairs of black pants, Uggs, ortho inserts, a camera, a jacket and deodorant.
Centre Court Wimbledon IS all that and a bag of chips. Or a glass of Pimms. Oh, and don’t make fun of the “Ugly English Old Dude” sitting next to you. He just may be the president of the All England Club…
I totally fan girled over this beautiful young husband I met at an AirBNB we stayed at in England who’s best friends with Andrew Lincoln. THAT was embarrassing….
The correct pronunciation of the word HAM in Spanish is ‘hambon’ NOT ‘jambone’.
I love Guatemala.
I still dig through and buy dead’s people’s stuff (estate sales)
My mom is seriously a trooper – we took her on a pass (not recommended) to Amsterdam and Germany this past spring. Surprise! There are very few escalators in European train stations.
I started my own skin care franchise. Yep, you heard me right the first time. E-commerce all the way baby, work from home and can still junk, travel and write. Because the former three can’t pay all the bills. And I get to dress up nice again, go to a couple of meetings, a convention, and meet some pretty awesome, normal, and driven women. And the product works.
I’ve also learned about patience, love, forgiveness, prayer, charity, dignity and hope.
And I guess those were my most important lessons this year!
When you held her swaddled in that pink blanket in the hospital and as a toddler full of spit and fire you took photos of her like this:
And then as a Senior in high school, you paid a professional photographer for a photo like this?
As a semi professional photographer myself I’ve made the choice to limit my senior shoots to those that I know. I don’t really promote it but that’s because I don’t want to face the uncomfortable shots that some of these kids want. And my research of many senior photogs is that they are too-but the high school senior isn’t, and sometimes, neither are their parents.
It’s that time of the year-Senior Photos-a lucrative industry these days. Oh no, you don’t just get the draped graduation picture any more. Parents are paying upwards of thousands of dollars for professional shots of their high school senior. Overall, most are very tasteful, but a few (girls) especially walk that fine line between artful and trashy.
Parents pay big money for the congratulation ads in these yearbooks. Most have shots from toddler to teen. And the ads are for the most part very tasteful and charming. But that teen is also plastering the photo you didn’t include on Facebook and Instagram that looks like an audition shot for late night Cinemax.
Just thought I’d let ya know.
I saw one shot on Instagram last year that was unreal-while beautiful, it was obvious she was naked from the waist up, Hair blowing behind her, a studio shot, and she had her arms crossed over her chest and face in a model type pose. And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t putting together a portfolio.
I get it, in this day and age, all of our kids want to be fabulous. Famous. Your social cred is dependent on the amount of likes you get on Instagram. And it practically begins at conception.
Our kids have had cameras and video cams in their faces since they ceremoniously traveled down the birth canal to arrive in our selfie obsessed society. Hell, even ultrasounds have gone 3D.
Then, we document every triumph and tragedy of their small lives from day one to the day they graduate from high school.
Then come the senior pictures.
I really don’t get it when we push push our kids to be moral, be inclusive, be thankful, go on mission trips, go to youth group, excel in school, be strong, be proud, and then allow them to pose for a kitten shot for senior pics, or the shirtless “I have more abs than you do” shots that I’ve seen some of the guys do.
These kids may be 17 or 18, but remember, I have a feeling that when gorgeous Ashley is interviewing at the law firm in 7 years, she’ll be cringing at that sex pot shot she did in high school.
Just because they are seniors in high school still doesn’t mean they make the best decisions. You are paying for it. Have a conversation with the photographer. If you want that kind of shot, fine. But I’d be present for that shoot. Stay in the background. Let them have their 15 minutes of fame.
You won’t regret the tasteful shot.
She will regret the tacky one.
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HFF is when I round-up the week in my world and bring you fun things me and my wacky friends did last week (sorry I am a little late). So I hereby dub today Better Late Than Never Because I Was Out of Town and It’s Hard to Post from a Smartphone Tuesday…
I visited one of my college BFF’s last week in Los Angeles. Many of you know I’m married to and airline pilot solely for the travel benefits. Hey, 25 plus years of free flights is worth the hassle of him wearing polyester uniforms, ugly underwear and t-shirts he has saved since high school.
So Live from Burbank! I scooted out here to review a Jason Bateman movie for Midlife Boulevard, shopped vintage studio clothing in Burbank, drank margaritas overlooking the LA Equestrian Center with a Willie Nelson impersonator while listening to the Swinging Armani Brothers, met an eccentric British owner of a thrift and prop shop that had an S&M Barbie and Ken (really)on display and a spinning globe hanging from the ceiling with aliens decorated in Santa hats. This place is way cool for a cracked southern suburban belle like me. I love finding out that there are way more crazies out there than me.
My girl friend out here has her own company that funds documentaries and raises money for green projects. When I arrived on Wednesday, she had just finished teaching a yoga class at the Hollywood Senior Center that was filled with fun retired gals and guys from the industry. That is just totally too cool in my book. Oh, and her hubs used to be an alien on Star Trek Next Generation and she knows some really fun peeps.
My sister from another mister – Menopausal Mom featured my post Love Me, Love My Cheeseburger on her Wacky Wednesday series. Check me out and definitely check her out too-she is amazingly funny and has been featured on some of the biggest humor sites out there.
I am really upset at my favorite mind-numbing reality show, The Bachelor. I was like a teenage girl so giddy about Juan Pablo and come to find out that he is OBVIOUSLY in this for the notoriety, not for zee loooovvvee. Anyway, we still watch it because anything to drag us out of reality for two hours is great and so I offer you the stupid reasons why we watch it.
On Friday, we ventured to the Venice beach area – I was able to whip out my phone and snap some crazy! Will be loading to my Instagram -follow me @hellomap!
The Olympics started this weekend and I will be covered up in blankets excited about watching skiing, skating and curling for 14 days. Because it’s the ONLY time I ever care about skiing, skating and curling. Poor Bob Costas, looks like the sheets in the hotel rooms are not doing his eyes any favors.
And RANT coming: Look, I am as progressive and wild as the next person but some of these ladies in figure skating are going down the Victoria’s Secret road and those costumes are starting to sport what I call skongs (skating thongs). I am sorry, but this mom would not let her teen go all butt-cheek on an international stage. It’s really hard to skate to Tchaikovsky with half your heinie hanging out.
Oh, and our snow it back here in Atlanta. The Mayor and Gubner are all over the TV having CYA news conferences preparing for the second round of #Clusterflake2014.
A Holiday Letter from Bob, the Payne Family Cat (as dictated to his staff):
First of all, I am very perturbed that neither me, nor my brother made this year’s Christmas card. There is a price to pay for that and it’s called the dining room chairs.
We are great.We still live in the same house, same neighborhood, with the same stupid Maltese next door.
I want to do my best to update all of you humans on what my humans are doing. I have taken over from the former feline, who split last year, probably because I arrived.
Female human Mary Anne is on the computer quite a bit. Which is a problem because the keyboard is for my pleasure, not hers. She is happy looking at something called Facebook, and writing things for her blog. She has had some success being published in anthologies but still has not created my picture book that I know will be a best-seller. She sold three houses this year, I am still waiting for my private carpeted 3 story condo. She has been collecting and selling stuff in an antique market and store and seems to really like that. The rest of the family does not seem to share the pleasure of her crafts being all over the kitchen table. But I do. At midnight…
The male human, John, is still flying international for Delta. Mostly to South America. He never brings anything home for me, just oil, coffee and wine. I am thinking the catnip from south of the border would be way better catnip than that crap they give me here. Just sayin…He takes the teenage human to some place where they shoot guns. Says if I keep up the scratching I will become a target. Whatever that is. He still steps on my tail.He thinks that it is cute.It is not. I will scratch him next time he does it, I promise you .
Kathleen Elizabeth (aka Katie) is now 18. She also brought me home a sibling. They call him Smudge and he is all white. He is a huge wimp. But he is fun to beat up. Katie is finishing high school.I do not think she will ever move out of my room. I am hoping that this will happen soon so I can have the whole bed to myself. She is this thing they call a teenager and the older humans must not like teenagers very much because there is much discussion about them and their antics.
Roscoe, Willie, and the fish are fine.I do not like that Willie dog-the scruffy one. We are having daily standoffs and because of the baby gate I am winning. We hate each other’s guts. Roscoe is 12 and takes Valium. They would be better off to give it to Willie.I live inside because I am told that this family is tired of my kind bringing dead things in the house. That’s ok. I have managed to find dead lizards and present them to the owners. It makes them gag in disgust.That’s the kind of thanks I get around here for all my hard work.
The humans like to travel and leave us here all alone. Oh yes, someone comes in to feed us, but I would have really loved scratching my claws on the furniture in their condo in Florida. They also have created a very nice large tree with lights for Smudge and me to sit in. For some reason, they only put it up once a year, and only for a couple of weeks. Indian givers…
The animals and I have had a great year. We are looking forward to the new year. Except for Roscoe. He has to wear a special outfit called a Thundershirt and take extra Valium on those holidays with loud noises. Stupid dog.
And no, I did not eat that elf.
Wishing you and yours all the love, happiness and joy of Christmas and a terrific 2014!
After spending 24 hours in Amsterdam, the teenager and I took the ICI speed train to Schwelm, Germany where my sister has resided for 20 plus years. She met her German husband at a party in Manhattan in the late 80’s and after one week informed my parents that she was selling her stuff and moving to Germany.
That went over like the Hindenburg…
I admired her bravery and her chutzpah, as well as her ability to dive in to the language with no fear and no translation on German television (that was really there but didn’t know about until later). After a marriage and two children, she has a great life there with tons of his family and friends in her town, and the same everyday dramas that we have here, but with afternoon pastry and Prosecco on a weekend basis to make it all better.
The ICI train was fast, clean and roared through the Dutch countryside at a quick place. Immediately I found out the food car was the next car up so of course I had to check it out. A yummy ham sandwich on french bread and two cokes were served to me by an Italian man who called me le bella donna. Yes, he got a tip.
My sister lives about 30 minutes east of Dusseldorf in a small town much like the town we grew up in in Northern New Jersey. It’s also one of the towns that the Allies missed on their bombing raids during WWII so many of the old homes and town square are still intact, charming and from the 1600s.
I was really thrilled (said with dripping sarcasm) when 17 went off with her cousin and uncle on a motorcycle ride through the countryside when we first arrived. But she’s insured, it was all good.
Every morning we had fresh bread, butter, eggs and smoked salmon and every afternoon after a nap (they do this often-we should start) we took a long walk that normally ended up at a restaurant or cafe that served hot waffles, pastries, tea, coffee and or champagne.
One can always get motivated for a long walk when the destination includes food…
We traveled to the nearby town of Shlossberg to visit the castle there. It has been there in some part, since the 11th century and fought over, added to and finally restored in 2002.
We had such a great time visiting my sister and her family-as always, they were great hosts and took such good care of us. Even if she IS the skinny pretty one…
Where and when is our next trip? Not sure but the camera is always ready.
This month marks my one year blog-a-versary! Yay me.
I bet you didn’t think I would keep this up, did ya????
There has been a steep learning curve and I have enjoyed the ride all the way. I have also met some of the most talented, funny, creative, smart, and supportive people along the way. All new friends and they are like, totally awesome!
And as I approach the empty nest phase (hopefully…) of my life in a couple of years, I am trying to reel in my ADD and focus on one or two things that I have always loved to do.
Photography and writing.
I may even combine them here occasionally. (Oh God, I ended a sentence with an adverb. Don’t let the language police get me).
We all need a thing. It keeps us happy. Sometimes they are multiple things. Sometimes they change. Anything from Yoga, to collecting dead insects and mounting them in frames (ewww).
These things keep us sane and connected to our core by letting us express ourselves, our passions, knowledge, and helps us to meet new people and live life. I hope you have a thing that keeps you sane. Something that only YOU do. It’s important. If you don’t have one, find one!
I’ve done many things in my life. I am a classic multi-tasker and had a hard time saying no. In high school I played the violin, cheered, twirled, ran the newspaper, had a job, and was a member of just about every club. In college I paired it down a bit and concentrated mostly on fraternity parties, guys, some photography and making it to graduation alive and not in jail.
As a mom I have sold real estate for twenty years, had horses, played tennis, managed my neighborhood HOA and communications, photography, dealt in vintage items and collected them, tried just about every multi-level makeup company out there ( and I still need a face lift) and more.
Too. Many. Things.
And I was exhausted.
So I have decided to narrow my focus on my writing and my photography.
Oh I may sell a house or two and I still go junking on a weekly basis to find treasures and trash. And I probably will not get rich from it either. But you can bet I will be happy.
And I will document it with photos and funny stories. Because in order to write about life you need to live it.
Find your THING.
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Many of you know that BC (my betrothed) travels internationally every week. Well, by travel I mean he is the head bus driver. All those years in the Air Force, protecting our country have been reduced to which first class meal he is going to have after take off.
So when we do travel to destinations that our friends go to overseas, we usually are there for a total of 72 hours and stay in cheap hotels near (read: metro ride) the tourist district and enjoy free wifi at the local McDonald’s (at least they have McWine…).
Our family vacation this summer was last week (long weekend) enjoying our non-rented, not on a beach but near a pool 1980’s cedar condo in North Florida. We met BC’s text boyfriend and his family there and enjoyed a stress-free, beerita-filled weekend with our kids enjoying the beach (90 degrees, no wind, sand flies) and touring St. Augustine.
What is a ‘text boyfriend’ you ask? BC and his college buddy text all day long about guns and growing hot peppers. So now they were in the same place and their phones were decidedly quiet. Thank god.
I got some great tattoo ideas at the beach, watched a kid pull in a small hammerhead shark right there like 20 feet from me (I have never moved that fast to get out of the water, ever.), made friends with some old guy from Oklahoma with no fingers looking for sharks teeth (which I found are hard to pick up with no fingers, just saying) sweated off 10 pounds of fluids walking around St George street in St Augustine in 90 plus heat, learned that the hot pepper sauce store there has an X-rated pepper sauce section, watched 17 fish for bass every waking moment around our lagoons in our complex-I don’t think she has EVER been outside that much in all of her short life.
Oh yeah, no XBox at the condo. And limited wifi.
We actually communicated. What a concept.
I took some photos of our weekend below that I would like to bore you with:
So while all of you are taking those 2 week trips overseas, renting a real honest to god place on the beach, seeing the Grand Canyon FROM THE GROUND, we are holed up in a 2 bedroom condo with 3 kids, 4 adults, Bud Lime, tequila, red wine and lots of beef.
But at least we are actually talking at the dinner table.
This is a newer version of a post I wrote last year and I have revamped it for the Generation Fabulous Blog Hop this month-a blog hop on transformative travel. And boy, has my travel changed in the last 25 years..
25 years ago I was set up on a blind date. With an airline pilot and former Air Force captain. In my single days, I had a cousin who was a Navy fighter pilot, who had come to visit me on leave and practically got us all arrested, drank every bit of my meager supply of booze, and scared off my girlfriends. I was NOT looking forward to this. But I was bored and didn’t have much else to do that Friday nite so I decided to meet whomever this was.
A year later we were married and living in suburban Atlanta. What was I thinking?
FLIGHT BENEFITS!!!!!!!!!!! Yippeeeee!!!!
Even if the uniform is all polyester and he wears a clip on tie. Wow, so hot….
So, over the course of our married life, we have been able to travel to some pretty great places around the world. Even if we do stay in the airline discount places and not the Ritz. For a mere 72 hours…
Besides-I consider a hotel with a door to the outside camping and I certainly won’t do that.
And the great part of this benefit is you usually get in the business class cabin space available. That is, until fares dropped, 9/11 tanked the airline industry, and it was cheaper to fly than take Greyhound.
The other benefit-or it could be a detriment, is that your child gets to fly anywhere too, and is eligible for business after the age of 8. So every time we have flown to Europe, 17 has flown in business class. Good or bad, it is a great perk.
So many people come up to me and say, “Wow, you must get to fly ANY where for free! Do you go with your husband on his trips?”
And to that I politely nod and say that yes, we go, yes it’s free, but not without some serious hiccups along the way. And I have to make sure I have plenty of my BP meds on hand because the life of an airline family flying what they call Non Rev (free) is not what it’s cracked up to be.
* We only get on after ALL the paying passengers, upgrades and re-routed folks get a seat.
* We pray to the weather gods because if there is bad stuff somewhere else it’s either gonna screw us or help us.
* I have become all to familiar with the exit row. And you can bet that this chick will be the first down that slide if I have to use it.
* Domestically, we do not get served food (if they have a meal on a 5 plus hour flight or international) until the paying folks get theirs. And we get what’s left over. So that butternut ravioli with the green sauce no one else wants? Yep, that’s my meal. Thanks.
* I am not an early morning person. But I had to learn to be because I have to count on all the rest of you lazy asses to miss that 6am flight so I can get on. So if you sleep in, don’t feel guilty, an airline employee just got your seat and is thanking you!
* I have learned to pack light. I NEVER check a bag-even to Europe. Because if I don’t get on, there go my clothes and granny pants to unknown destinations.
* Airline kids (at our specific carrier) can not sit in business until they are 8. So, if you are in business and a toddler is driving you crazy or a baby is creaming bloody murder, rest assured that it does not belong to an employee and that they actually PAID for that seat…
* International non-revving is a whole other goat rope. You have to have a Plan B. Luckily my Plan B is the fact that I have a sister in Germany and can get there if I get bumped. We left a companion last week in Brussels that did not have a Plan B. Not sure when she got home but we were the last flight out to the States that day. Hello expensive hotel room…
* The employees in other countries are by and large not directly employed by our airline and are either other airline’s employees or contract workers. They really could care less if we get on a flight or not. Especially those bitches at the DeGualle airport that work for Air France. They all are wearing the tightest pony tail imaginable and sniff at the fact that you are on standby. “Oh so sorry Madame, I cannot tell you what zee numbers are for zis flight even though I am looking right at zem on zis computer..”
* My parents were non-revving in Germany and the gate agent in Frankfurt got so frustrated with every body that he finally yelled, “I hate this fucking job. I quit!” Yes, that is what he actually said and did. Mom and Dad didn’t get on, and had to travel to Amsterdam with no luggage, spend the night, and try from there. That’s almost 48 hours in the SAME pair of underwear…See pack lightly above…
* It has taken me over 13 hours to get to Jacksonville, Florida (6 by car) 16 hours from Orlando to Atlanta via Washington DC (with a toddler-THAT was fun) and the same once from Orlando to Atlanta via New Orleans. I could go on but you get the drift.
* If I could have a dollar for every time the gate agent has placed me next to a fearful flyer I would be rich. But it’s pretty fun to experience when they are a drinker….
Because of this perk my daughter and I have had the opportunity to visit many cities we would never have dreamed of, visit friends around the US and meet great people.
We have learned one thing. If the trip is less than about an 8 hour drive in the car then we drive.
Yes, we are ingrained in to the Stand By (or stand and say bye bye) way of life. And now that the hubs has over 27 years of service (and a plastic set of gold wings to prove it), we do get on more often than not. With the great unwashed. In coach.
Check out other travel stories below!
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And by that I mean garage sale’n, flea market hopping, antique market snooping, estate sale searchin’, eBay’n and Craigslist stalking steals and deals. Especially of the vintage genre – old doors, windows, china, pottery, furniture, and a never-ending love of vintage handbags and jewelry.
So today I found a box in the basement of an estate sale full of these cute mermaid ornaments. Oh, and an octopus. With PEARLS!!!
I mean, who doesn’t need an octopus with pearls ornament????
I often wonder who the people are that open their homes to us hoarders collectors and what their situation is. Are they downsizing? Is someone getting a divorce? Are they (ack!!!!) dead? Did she catch him with the new cleaning lady, Lola?
Is this place haunted?
I watch entirely too much AMC…
These estate sale companies even have prices on the bars of soap in the bathroom! I kid you not. If it’s lying out, it has a price on it-old bras, panties, socks, toothbrushes, hair brushes -ewwww.
I also found a vintage real douche bag (of the plastic and hose kind…I know what you are thinking) with a $5 sticker on it.
BC is thanking God I didn’t buy that sucker and put it on eBay.
After all, how much DOES it cost to ship a vintage douche bag?
These are the important things I think about every day.
Have a great weekend!
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For those of you who know me well, I am addicted to great cards and accessories from different card and paper companies. I am such a paper snob. After all, I am Southern…
Even my wedding invitation were ENGRAVED. Yes, you could hold that baby up to the light. That sucker was engraved. And so were my thank you notes, by the way. Ahem. But that is soooo old-fashioned.
So it’s been a while that I have been excited about any new companies out there and I have not found many that turn me on. Oh I use a nice company for my photography, but the general public can’t use them, and they are okay, just not OMG I Need these cards NOW! kind of paper.
So I have found Minted. (Go ahead click on the link, you will be in love in about 3-2-1…).
Minted is a global community of independent graphic designers and an online store that prints and sells the best of their designs in the form of paper goods.
They have so many great and unique products. And I am going to move my photography business over there so my clients can have access to their awesome products as well. I love the fact that they change their designs often and have inspiration boards for us Pinterest fans to get more ideas.
And the mailed, personal card is not dead. After all, you go to your mailbox, sift through your mail, and which one do you open first? Right, the one that looks like a personal card. Don’t get me wrong-we’ve known this for years in the sales business. I challenge you to send one out to someone you care about this week!
Check out the gorgeous products on their site, and enjoy the inspiration…