My advice to Molly Sims after her interview with People magazine…


baby cryingWhile my children beat each other to a pulp in a game they called, “Who Can Tackle The Other Person From The Couch Without Causing Bleeding?” I snuck away to my computer to play a game of “I Should Be Working But I’m Checking People Magazine Online Instead.”

But it wasn’t the usual headline about Kim Kardashian’s ass or which celebrity couple is “surprisingly” breaking up that caught me eye. No, it was this headline:

Molly Sims: My Baby Has Only Cried 6 Times – Ever!

I had to read it because obviously this was a case of an editor picking a completely ridiculous headline. Like the time I read an article about breastfeeding and the headline was “Boobs or Bust.”

But unfortunately,that wasn’t the case.

It was a case of a celebrity not knowing when to just keep their mouth closed.

Molly Sims is quoted as saying, “I don’t know why, but I make calm babies. She’s probably cried six times in her whole life! I don’t know how.”

Oh girl. Oh girl. Oh girl.

You are a mother now. Without realizing it, you have been brought into a special society of women. And in this society, there are rules. Kind of like the fight club but without Brad Pitt. Though, damn, that would be some awesome mom club.

The greatest of all the rules is not to gloat.

What I mean is this. It’s awesome that your baby hardly cries. Honestly, considering your gorgeous, rich and annoyingly tall, it seems perfectly fitting that life gives you a chill-ass baby.

However, life doesn’t give everyone a baby that hardly cries. Life gives mothers colicky babies, babies with pain, babies who can’t figure out days and nights, and babies that are just plain pissed.

And how do you think those mothers feel when they read that your baby only has cried six times in her first two months of life? The mothers who are pulling their hair out, not sleeping, over-caffeinating, and basically just trying to survive.

Look, I’m not telling you to lie. Definitely don’t do that. What I am telling you is to know when NOT to say something.  You are a public figure. You get asked all sorts of questions about things I can’t even imagine. But when it comes to babies, just remember that millions of moms are reading. Sometimes it is better to say nothing at all than say something that makes you look cocky and bragging.

And I like ya, girl. I have since you kicked ass on Las Vegas. So take this from one mom to another. Telling the world about your baby’s lack of crying is only going to make mothers around the world cry themselves.

Now get back to your very-silent baby and let us mothers with crying babies go back to reading about Kim Kardashian’s ass.

Thanks.

 

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Flat Martini goes on an EPIC Girls Weekend!

Oh my oh my oh my! When I set the guidelines for Flat Martini to visit everyone, I had no idea that Jessica from the awesome blog Domestic Pirate would take them and BLOW THEM OUT OF THE WATER! This girl took Flat Martini on an adventure that made the olives pop out of his drink! There’s love, tattoos, and oh so much more that you have to see for yourself.

So after reading their hilarious journey together, be sure to go visit her blog and follow her on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. She’s definitely worth it!

jessica domestic pirate

Hi all. Flat Martini here. Allow me to show you what makes up “An Epic Girl’s Weekend.”

1 shaving legs

It starts with preparations. Can’t have an epic girls weekend with prickly legs, so, Step 1 was a close shave.

2 gathering makeup

Gathering makeup. It takes a lot of makeup to look like you aren’t wearing makeup. Can’t forget deodorant, either, because a lady isn’t supposed to smell like anything other than butterfly farts. Male butterfly farts, because ladies don’t fart either.

3 picking accessories

Accessorizing is important. And it takes foreeeeeeevvvvveeeerrrrrr.

4 cleaning kitchen

If you have children, you must make sure everything is clean and functional before you leave. Because Mommy Guilt.

5 buckle up

Pick up your bestie since middle school. Make the car rental guy double over in laughter, say “Shit” and “Fuck,” and give you a free quarter tank of gas. Then Buckle Up, Buttercup. Safety first on girl’s weekend.

Drive for several hours listening to them chat about the biggest clusterfuck of topics you have ever heard. Wife swapping? Check. Essential oils? Check. Disaster relief for third world countries? Check. Nasty husband foot warts? Check. I wish I could have drank myself.

6 watching tattoo

Stop for a tattoo?!  What kind of chicks am I hanging out with?

7 getting tattoo

Peer pressure.

8 tattooed

You don’t think I’ll regret this, do you?

9 manicures

At another bestie’s house we did group manicures. I guess this is a thing? Girls really do sit around and do their nails together?

10 pikeplace

Sight seeing! Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle was pretty cool, even if the traffic was just as terrible and the people just as weird as all the memes on the internet say. It wasn’t even considered odd for two grown women to walk around with a laminated clip art Flat Martini.

11 hawaii

We experienced Hawaiian BBQ at our lunch stop with yet another bestie. Sure, she’ll commit to one man for the rest of her life but she can’t pick just one friend!

12 quick change

No place to change from day to evening? Just use the back of the car! Though ‘Quick change’ may not be the most accurate of terms.

13 3d martini

It happened. We were sitting there, waiting for the rest of our party to arrive when the waitress brought Her over. Oh, she was gorgeous. Glimmering green, her glass damp from condensation, cucumber garnish set just so…

14 selfie distraction

Quick selfie break! I was walking on air. I barely needed my hostess’s purse to prop me up. I was a laminated clip art martini in love.

But then, she was gone. I don’t know what happened. One minute she was there in front of me, full of wonder and life and the next…

15 emotional eating

I wished I could drink myself, again. But at our destination for the weekend, the Seattle Mom Prom, the tables were filled with candy. I drowned my sorrows in the company of Moon Pie & Kit Kat.

16 boobs

The cleavage at this fancy party helped, too.

17 dressup

I perked up eventually.

18 mom prom

19 d.j. vinny

Tried out the turntables. Apparently you need longer arms to be successful.

20 prom

21 cardsagainsthumanity

What’s a party with an after party? Ain’t no party like a filthy minded party of moms without their children around.

22 morning after

The morning after though…

Girls clearly have more fun.

Until next time,

Flat Martini

P.S. Could you help me find my dream girl? I can’t get her out of my olive.

We were at Terra Plata in Seattle. You were green and gloriously 3D. I am white as a sheet and laminated paper. I couldn’t do anything but stare at you, mouth agape, eyes wide, as the condensation rolled down the sharp angles of your chalice onto your stem. Your cucumber garnish quivered each time you were raised to my friend’s lips. I longed to wipe away the gloss that was left upon your rim. Sadly, I became distracted, and you were whisked away before I could properly introduce myself. Please, Goddess of Cocktail Delights, have pity on my poor, flat heart and let me know you felt the same connection I did. I await your response, eagerly and with bated breath. Forever yours, FM

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My first family camping adventure…


Okay, so you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m not exactly the sporty, outdoorsy type. Don’t get me wrong, I love a leisurely bike ride that doesn’t require me to sweat, go up hills or figure out how to use the gears. But in general, I like to sleep indoors whereas bugs and things that cause swelling do not typically enter.

However, I married a man who has a deep, and I mean deep, love of all things camping.

And marriage is about compromise.

Well, honestly, our marriage is usually about him compromising because I’m so damn stubborn that he just throws his hands up most days and yells, “Uncle.”

But every once in a while I feel bad about my bossy nature and decide to throw the guy a bone.

Camping was my bone. My very big, not feeling natural to a New Yorker, bone.

So the husband went to the sporting goods store, spent our retirement money on supplies, and we were on our way. And this picture was how it all began. The fakest smile I have ever sported in my life. The one we put on for our children every time they say, “watch me!”

fake smile

But then this happened.

her first firsh

My girl caught her first fish ever. And to see the smile on her face and the pride she wore for the rest of the day, well, damn. It’s pretty amazing.

And then this happened.

drinking

And camping got kicked up a major notch. And a special thanks to Dana Zucker from TriWivesClub for donating to the “Danielle needs alcohol to survive camping” campaign. Your donation was greatly appreciated.

But then, after all that. This happened.

rained out

Thunderstorms came blowing in and we had to pack up and head home a day early.

And you know what’s weird? And scary? And slightly unnerving?

I was bummed.

No really. I’m not kidding.

I was actually bummed to not finish the experience. To get a taste of it all and not be able to do all the things we hoped to do.

So it looks like I might go camping for a second time sometime soon.

You’ll probably want to mark this date on your calendar. I can only assume Armageddon is coming with this unbelievable news and change in the atmosphere. Get water and canned vegetables immediately. The world is definitely coming to an end.

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Flat Martini goes to Daytona Beach!


I’m Jenny Kaelin and I’m not a blogger, just a huge fan of Martinis and Minivans.  When I heard about Flat Martini going on adventures, I just knew I had to be a part of it and that he had to come to Daytona Beach.  It made my day when I found out I was selected to hang out with Flat Martini for a while!

Everyone was super excited when Flat Martini, aka Flat, arrived in my mailbox.  Of course there was a lot of explaining about what he was and what it was about, but everyone loved him!  My neighbor’s daughter, Jasmine, insisted on being the first to have her picture taken with him.

flat3

Flat’s first stop was the beach.  He was quite adamant that you don’t come to Daytona and not go to the beach.   Unfortunately, it was quite windy and hard to get a good picture of Flat and I so he picked this one to show off the beauty of the beach.

flat 4 again

Flat met some of my husband’s coworker’s and thought they were a lot of fun.  He even worked with them for a few hours.  Apparently he’s pretty good at swinging a hammer and using a drill.  They said he was a huge help and is welcome anytime!

flat2

Then it’s Bike Week 2015 in Daytona Beach!  Flat had tons of fun and met lots of new people but the camera we were using went MIA.  We did manage to get one picture on the way down there, however poor Flat is stuck in the saddlebag on my neighbor’s bike.  He still wanted to share the picture though…..such a good sport!  He’s super excited about Biketoberfest in October.  He wants a redo on those pictures!

flat5 again

Flat was even in town for my son’s 15th birthday!  We all went to a hibachi grill.  I begged, pleaded and attempted to bribe my son into letting Flat cook with him, but apparently he was being the typical “it’s embarrassing mom” teenager.  Flat understood and even managed to calm me down.

hibachi

Finally, Flat’s last excursion during his stay was a BBQ/pool party.  He was so excited to be there!  In fact, he was first in the pool!  Of course he had me hold him as he’s not much of a swimmer.

flat (1)

I had a great time visiting with Flat and hope he had a fantastic time too!  He’s a great sidekick and is welcome anytime!

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My bite of The Big Apple. My trip back home to New York


I’m from Long Island. So that means that when I was a teenager I had large, permed hair and one earring with a key dangling from a hoop like Janet Jackson.

Last week we visited my parents and family still living there and it was definitely one that constantly put a smile on my face. If you have never been to New York, stop what you are doing and buy a plane, train or bus ticket right now. You could drive yourself as well, but the large number of curse words that would come out of your mouth attempting to drive around might cause you alarm.

I can’t tell you how much I loved this trip. I was trying to place my finger on exactly what made this trip different from others and it finally hit me. My kids are one year older than the last time we went. And that year has made a huge difference. We don’t use strollers everywhere, we don’t change diapers and we can actually talk to them about the things we are seeing.

Things like Friendly’s ice cream and how it’s the most amazing ice cream on earth. Let me put it this way. If you believe in God, I’m sure that he created Friendly’s ice cream on the 8th day when everyone thought he was resting. Plus, they give out free balloons to kids. Or grandfathers.

Dad and  balloon

Living by the beach growing up was amazing. As a teenager, I would escape to the beach at the end of our road when I was feeling teen angst and just sit and write horribly-rhyming poems. Now, I sat and watched my children laugh down the peer and find seashells. The circle of life.

kids on beach

And I smiled the biggest smile when my children ran to the big Dum Dum statue from Night at the Museum when we went to the Natural History Museum. They hugged him as if he was an old friend they were finally reunited with many years apart. An old friend that doesn’t talk, is the size of a house and is also made of stone. What a friend.

hugging dum dum 
kissing dum dum

And look at my mom showing a view of Central Park to my daughter from the museum window. A cute moment where I looked like a psycho stalker taking pictures behind them without them knowing…

mom and addi

My heart was full when after the museum, my cousins and family came out to meet us for a big old picnic in Central Park. Seeing our children play together was absolutely awesome. However, not as awesome as getting my mother to take her first selfie.moms first selfie

And when the family fun was over, it was time for macaroons, martinis and merriment with my agent Jessica Sinsheimer. You knew it was going to be a hilarious time when we started the night off with a trip to the store Intimacy for bra fittings. Now you might be thinking, “What the hell did she just say?” ‘

But it’s true. I went bra shopping with my agent. (Disclaimer: She didn’t see my boobs. That would be horribly awkward. For her. She waited politely in the waiting area.) Intimacy is a store that doesn’t use measuring tapes or devices to see the size of your girls. Nope. Their trained salespeople use different bras to determine the best fit for what you are looking for.

Of course, I was looking for boobs that made me look 20 and didn’t go down to my ankles. Surprisingly, they were only able to accommodate the latter. This pic was from before the appointment. After the fondling and boob touching, I was happy as a clam.bra shopping

After boob-land, I got to pretend that I stay out late and go to hip places like blue-lit lounges and Soho restaurants. Of course, I fell asleep on the train back to my parents house and might have drooled on my Target fake-silk shirt, but either way, it was a blast.

jessica and i

blue lounge

And in the end, when the week of merriment and fun was over, I boarded the plane home with my kiddos (hubby had to come back home early for work) and I felt complete joy in my heart from all the great memories made.

That is, I felt joy until my son figured out that he could fart on command. Figured it out on a crowded plane with two hours still left to go and a sister that wouldn’t stop pulling his finger.

World, please take this as my official apology for the air quality that occurred in the atmosphere for those long, painful hours… Trust me, I’ve never wanted an oxygen mask to drop down more in my life.

tooting

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The many facial expressions of Flat Martini!


When I went to BlogHer for the first time a few years ago, I was amazed by the kindness of the fellow bloggers I met. It was where I first learned that we are all part of this crazy insane world and need to work together, rather than against. And no one understood that better than the amazing women behind Science of Parenthood – Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler. I instantly formed a friendship with them that has only grown and made me appreciate all their kindness and talent.

And so I was THRILLED when Jessica wanted to take Flat Martini, our little cocktail of love, out for an adventure. And my oh my, did she ever! Jessica and Norine just published the second in their hilarious series of books. It’s called The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets and it’s getting awesome reviews. I also love it because I was in the original book, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets.

And so Jessica brought Flat Martini along on one of her press stops. (You can see the finished taped segment by clicking HERE.)  I should add, Jessica is an illustrator so these pictures are just freakin’ awesome.

So without further ado, here’s Jessica and my laminated lover. And be sure to stop by Science of Parenthood on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tell them that Martinis and Minivans sent ya!

Jessica Sign

“Hey Flatty, can I call you Flatty? Cool.

pic 1

So Flatty, what say we take a little trip this weekend? Where to? Why, fabulous Kansas, of course! We’re going to the KU graduation, doesn’t that sound exciting?

pic 2

No? Well, how about this–while we’re there we are going to have our three-to-four minutes of fame on the Kansas City Live’s morning show to promote The Big Book and the Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets. Pretty cool, right?

pic 3

Limo? Ah, no, there won’t be a limo. Nope, no private jet … Actually, you’re going to have to ride with the luggage.

pic4

I know. I’m sorry.

I’ve got to tell you, Flatty, I’m a little nervous about this interview. Will I remember what I should say? Become tongue-tied? Ack! I changed my mind, I don’t want to do this …

It will probably be fine. It’s just talking to a person, like you’re sitting in a restaurant, right? I can do that, maybe be a little funny. Right, Flatty?

pic 5 again

Flatty??

The next morning on the road to the studio an hour away

Oooooh, shit, Flatty, look at all this traffic!

pic 6

All right, all right … let’s just calm down. CALM DOWN, MAN. Let’s take a deep breath. Hooooooooooooo. Ok. It’ll be fine.

pic 7

IT WILL BE FINE.

20 minutes later

Phew! We made it with time to spare. See, Flatty? Leaving two-and-a-half hours early doesn’t seem so crazy NOW, does it?

pic 8

Ok, get changed, check the makeup, crap! These nylons are making me slip right out of my shoes. Whatever. Just scuff-shuffle out to the studio, that doesn’t look stupid AT ALL. Ok, sit up straight, try to find a position for your legs that doesn’t look super weird, fix hair, position book … LET’S DO THIS THING.

Four minutes later

Well Flatty, I’ve got to be honest. I’m not really sure how that went. I think my hair was in my face, and I was afraid to move it. I kept thinking DON’T MOVE YOUR HANDS AROUND! Eventually I just did it.  Also? I think I said “abbreviations” when I meant “acronyms”, then I think I might have corrected myself mid-stream. That’s bound to be awkward. And I know I was holding the book in such a way that the cover would be visible while I was sitting there. That probably looked odd, too.

It was all so fast that I forgot to take a picture, not just in the studio, but, more importantly, of my outfit. Goddamn it, Flatty! You were supposed to remind me! Oh well, whatever. At least I remembered to get this shot of us in the dressing room:

pic 9

Can you see the panic in my eyes? And I haven’t even had coffee yet!

Let’s remedy that RIGHT NOW.

pic 10

Whew. I’m glad that’s over. Now I have a whole week to obsess about how it turned out before it airs on the 26th. So that will be fun…

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The perfect way to celebrate her life…


I looked out at her and felt the tears start to fill my eyes. I’m not one to cry over small little details in life, but this was one I couldn’t resist. It wasn’t the first time my daughter rode a bike. But it was the first time we rode together. We went together on a family bike ride around a local lake and the girl who cried going down a miniature hill in our driveway just weeks before was now without fear zipping around turns and speeding down slopes.

It wasn’t just pride that made me tear up. It was the fact that today marks the 3-year anniversary of the death of my grandmother. The woman who lived in my house my entire life. The woman who taught me that tea really does heal wounds. And the woman who never leaves my mind. Every single day I think of her.

She would have beamed seeing my daughter peddling around that lake. She would have been amazed at her courage, at her determination. And because she was a nervous little Italian Catholic grandmother, she probably would have asked if her helmet was on properly and if we should make her wear knee pads.

So today my daughter made this day happy for me. She made me smile, she made me laugh and she made me happy. Just like my grandmother did.

 

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Flat Martini visits the Windy City!


I truly love folks that comment on my Facebook page or here on the blog. It’s so fun to interact with readers and laugh at some of their awesome observations and stories. One of my favorite’s is Micki Ansted. She’s always been so supportive – she “likes” my ridiculous pictures I share or just offers a kind word when I post something hard to write about. I’m grateful for readers like her.

So I was thrilled when she wanted to take Flat Martini out for an adventure. And to tell you the truth, I’m pretty sure our little cocktail of love didn’t want to come home after this visit! Come read their awesome week together…

micki ansted flat martini

Flat Martini arrived in the Chicagoland area just in time for a girls’ night from the 70’s! We loaded up on snacks and wine and wine and did I mention wine (?) to spend the night watching old shows and movies and talk and laugh about old times and future plans. We have known each other since 1st grade and although we lost touch we connected again after many years through the magic of Facebook. We lived in a triangle in the Back of the Yards neighborhood back in the day and now we live in what we call the Tinley Triangle. Still just steps away from each other’s houses. Love my girlfriends.

pic 1

One of the best things love about my girlfriends is that appreciate my inner beauty. And they also know that my outer beauty needs attention. A true friend will dye your hair and your eyebrows and not laugh in your face. Well, honestly, yes, we laughed… a lot. But I’m ok with that.

pic 2

Flat Martini wasted no time getting comfortable at my house. He really liked hanging out with the regulars. Those corks may or may not be from wine that I drank. And the sale sticker? Don’t judge me…

pic 3

White Sox Opening Day is a National Holiday as far as me and my pal Tracy are concerned. It’s a great excuse to behave badly and make memories – some of which are fuzzy. This was definitely our 13th or 14th or 15th year attending together. We had to sneak Flat Martini into the game – they check bags and contraband is confiscated. We really wanted him to join us but we couldn’t take the chance of bringing him in even with his own ticket.

pic 4

Flat Martini was very flattered that we asked him to pose in our 3.99 generation photo at my daughter’s baby shower. My beautiful mother is 91, I will be celebrating the 27th anniversary of my 29th birthday next week, and my baby girl is expecting her first child (a girl) any day now. Strong woman run in the family. God bless my son-in-law!

pic 5

At the shower, as chance would have it, three lovely ladies had one of those “this is awkward” moments when both great grandmother’s and a dear friend all coordinated their outfits. As young women this would have been horrific, but these ladies celebrated their good taste. Flat Martini on the other hand was a bit embarrassed so he stayed out of this picture.

pic 6

I recently graduated from college (yay me!) and we had our first alumni event at the Mid America Club on the 80th floor of the Aon Centre in wonderful downtown Chicago. Once again, our purses (and cars!) were searched and we were not allowed to bring in any of our own alcohol, so I sneaked Flat Martini in again. He enjoyed the networking and the view. I worked in this same building 37 years ago as a young girl right out of high school. It was amazing to me that so much time could go by and I could still navigate the concourse.

pic 7

My adventures with Flat Martini showed me that the passage of time is a strange thing. It goes by so fast and yet it feels like no time at all. My kids are grown up. I’m about to become a grandma. Life constantly changes yet so many things stay the same. Thank you for allowing me to share my small piece of time with you.

And Flat Martini is looking forward to his next adventure – and so am I!

 

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That time I got stuck with my hands in the air in a Target dressing room…


If you listened very closely on Sunday afternoon, if you paused around 2:30 pm and noticed that a shrieking sound was coming from the Midwest part of the country, well then you probably heard the sounds of my boobs being manipulated, squished and stuck in a tankini bathing suit in the dressing room of Target.

It is that dreaded time of year where women across the country scream uncontrollably as they attempt to try on bathing suits for the upcoming swimming season.

We grab that size 6 when we know we are really an 8. Or a 10. Or maybe even a 12. And we dig our hands in the top of the bathing suit to shift our breasts left, right, up and down in an attempt to make them fit into the suit.

And in the end, we are left with a suit that is half-way on our body, boobs hanging down below it and an ego that requires a pint of ice cream to recover.

And the worst part – yes, the very worst part, is that we are literally stuck there. Stuck with our hands over our heads, trying to desperately wiggle our muffin tops and droopy parts out of the sucking fabric from hell.

When we do finally remove ourselves from the spandex sausage wrap, we are exhausted. Absolutely exhausted.

Which, in the end, means that we are too tired to ever want to swim. Thus, not needing the damn bathing suit in the first place.

 

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Flat Martini goes on Spring Break! Martinis gone… uhm…not-so-WILD!


First of all, I knew Dana from Kiss my List was funny. However, I had no idea how funny until she wrote her post from the perspective of Flat Martini. That’s right. This week, we are hearing directly from Flat Martini himself. And he’s got a lot to say about his hilarious not-so-wild spring break adventures…

Check it out and be sure to head over to Kiss my List and say hi! Besides the blog, you can find Dana on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!

martini kiss my list

It’s Flat Martini here, hanging out with Dana and her family for the most awesome Spring Break ever.

I’m dreaming of pristine beaches, sitting poolside with an overpriced plate of nachos and being sipped in paradise. Imagine my disappointment when Dana finally pulled me out of her carry on, and I discovered that I was in a car, driving north. We’re both smiling, but I’m confused.

martini1

After driving for hours, we checked into a hotel and headed to dinner at Hairy Tony’s. I still had no idea where we were, but I questioned the wisdom in naming an eating establishment “hairy” anything. Tony turned out to be a lovely guy, although Dana did not let me meet him for fear of embarrassing her children. She did let me out for this photo opp, where my standard grin is actually more of a horrified grimace as I stand next to a huge golden statue of Hairy Tony:

martini2

The following morning, our Spring Break destination became clear. I was venturing into unknown territory: COLLEGE. Universities are typically the stomping grounds of my cousins Beer and Wine Cooler, although I have been to the occasional faculty party. Yet here I was, on a college campus, for what I would soon discover was Spring Break College Road Trip.

Stop #1 was a far cry from that pristine beach. Syracuse University, home of the Orangemen and colder than a frozen olive. I was not allowed on the campus tour; the high school junior would have been mortified. Dana did manage to sneak me out in the bookstore, though:

martini3

The next day we drove from Syracuse to Williamsburg – did no one look at a map while planning this road trip? The temperature went up at least forty degrees, though, and I was able to stretch out in the hotel after a long day in the car.

martini4

Stop #2 was the College of William and Mary. It’s a beautiful school, even in the drabness that is late March. Once again I was banned from the tour, but the high school junior did let me get in a photo with her after most of the crowd had dispersed. We happen to be standing in front of the Sir Christopher Wren Building, which is the oldest college building still in use in the United States. Two American icons, the Wren Building and me.

martini5

Dana let me shop in the bookstore again, and she giggled as she posed me with a hat and some sweatshirts. I was starting to enjoy embarrassing her kids as much as she was!

martini6

The family headed to Busch Gardens the next morning, and I couldn’t wait to ride all the coasters. Unfortunately, no one wanted to carry me around all day, so this was as close as I got:

martini7

I drowned my sorrows in myself all day, and tried to hide my bitterness when they finally came back to the car. But there is no use crying over spilled gin, and I was happy to visit our third and final college, the University of Richmond. It was a beautiful campus:

martini8

I know this road trip had to happen, but why didn’t I visit Dana’s family on a year they went to Disney instead? It did end well, though; I was lucky enough to be lying on the kitchen table when high school junior got her hair cut for Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths. She came home with her 9+ inches of hair, and Dana thought it would be hilarious to give me a ‘stache. What do you think?

martini9

Although we didn’t go anywhere glamorous, I enjoyed hanging with Dana and her family. Her kids were good sports; it can’t be easy to have a blogging mom who will do anything for a good guest post.

As for which college the high school junior should choose? After learning the cost of college, I now know why college kids drink cheap beer. I’m going to encourage Dana’s daughter to apply for lots of scholarships, and seriously consider a state school.

Cheers!

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Looking for women going through a divorce right now…


divorceAlmost ten years ago, I went through a divorce.

As I sat, slumped over the chair in the waiting room of the divorce attorney’s office, my face pressed up against my hands tears falling between my fingers, I heard a soft voice speak to me.

“Would you like a tissue?” she asked.

It was the receptionist. She had walked over to me, a box of kleenex in her hand and a reassuring smile on her face.

I graciously accepted and started to look away. She took a deep breath and then she said the words that I will never forget.

“Just wait, dear. You’ll see the difference that a year makes.”

I’ve never forgotten that woman. I can’t remember her face, I can’t even remember the color of her hair. But I do remember those words. They played over and over for me like a favorite record every day of my life that first year.

They were so empowering because they were right. One year after my divorce, life was vastly different.

For many years I have dreamed of writing a book that is a collection of stories from women going through a divorce. The difference between my book and anything in the self-help section, is that I want to chronicle the difference in a year. I want to follow the lives of 25 women as they go through the first year of a divorce. To hear their struggles and applaud their successes. To not only show the world, but also the women themselves, exactly the difference one year makes.

I need your help.

I’m looking for women who are currently going through a divorce. I will only be using first names in the book so their identities can stay private, if they choose. I’m looking to speak with them over the course of the year, probably 4-7 times, to see how their stories unfold.

This is a project that I really believe in. I think it can help those feeling like they are alone in the strange world of divorce. It’s a scary, lonely world and I think people need to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Please pass this along to friends, family, strangers and heck, even that ex-boyfriend from middle school. Give them my email – martinisandminivans@hotmail.com and tell them to email me with the subject line: Divorce project. I want to hear from them. I want to listen.

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A letter to the girls in row 15 at the Garth Brooks concert


Dear Girls Next To Me in Row 15 at the Garth Brooks Concert,

There are many ways people stage an intervention. One is to gather family and loved ones together and approach you with their concerns. Another is to leave pamphlets and flyers about organizations that can help with your problem laying around your living quarters. But a little known one, one I’m going to use today, is to write a letter to strangers on a blog. Strangers that need help.

You two girls are beautiful, twenty-something year old ladies. You looked absolutely adorable in your camisole tops that don’t give you a shelf-looking bust like they do on me. You rocked your denim mini-skirts and cowboy boots in a way that would even make Jessica Simpson stop and go, “Damn, girl.”  And your long, dark locks were perfectly flat-ironed, even in the back where I can’t ever seem to get my miniature T-Rex arms to reach.

So, why, oh why, do you need to both make out with the same douche-baggy guy that you brought down to illegally squeeze between your two seats?

I watched as each of you thought it was entertaining to slip your tongue in and out of the mouth of a guy whose arms slung around each of your shoulders as if he was going to make a boob grab in the movie theater like a 13-year-old at any given moment.

And even though you both laughed and seemed to like the attention, I couldn’t help but notice as the other kissed the boy, you seemed uncomfortable. You both looked as if you were only doing this because the other was.

Now let me say something.

As a 40 year-old woman who has definitely made her fair share of bad decisions, I want to help.

I want to tell you that this guy is a dirt bag. If I were to truly believe that you two were in control, that you were the ones in power here, I would say, “You go girls.” If making out with the same guy makes you both happy, well then heck go for it.

But that’s not what I saw.

What I saw were two girls thinking they needed to do this to get the stupid not-even-hot guy’s attention. Two girls who thought it would be better to put this guy before themselves. Two girls that didn’t realize how beautiful they really were and how they would never need to share a man.

You two don’t want to do stupid things like this, it’s not worth it. Because decisions like this come pictures on Facebook, videos on Vine and whatever else stupid social media this guy can snap a picture of you both on and post it to his jerkwad friends. And then BAM, in an instant your reputation changes.

But like I said, if you really were the ones in control, the ones who wanted to do it, then I apologize. But as someone who has been that girl who cared too much about a stupid boy whose last name you won’t even remember in 10 years, I felt like I was looking at myself from many years ago. And it wasn’t pretty.

So, let me leave you with this, girls in row 15.

You can’t just be beautiful on the outside. Find it within and then don’t settle for anything less than someone seeing that as well.

And also, invest in a good bra. The way your boobs were jiggling all over the place will make them start hanging down to your knees before you even have children. I’m trying to save you on many fronts here.

Best,

The old lady sitting next to you at Garth Brooks (with the amazing husband next to her that respects, loves and thinks she’s beautiful inside and out.)

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A naughty fun read! My review of How To Punish Your Playboy by Mina Vaughn


mina blogOkay, so I’m going to share something here that I’ve never shared before. Naughty books make me blush, feel uncomfortable and immediately cause me to shove them back on the library or bookstore shelf. I read about 5 pages of Fifty Shades of Gray and felt like I was watching porn back in the 11th grade and Jeanine Laslo’s mom was going to bust us watching it in her basement. If I remember correctly, I actually spent most of the time in the bathroom pretending to have menstrual cramps just to get out of watching Edward Penishands. Yep, that movie really does exist.

But I decided for once, just this once, to step out of my comfort zone and read something a little on the naughty side. I did it because I really like Mina Vaughn. She and I are agency sisters at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. We both have the same amazing agent – Jessica Sinsheimer. And I was tired of wondering what all the hype over her books was about. It was time to see for myself.

Her latest book is called How to Punish Your Playboy. And if you are wondering about the “punish” part – yes, it is about a dominatrix. However, she’s a pretty entertaining dominatrix because she’s never actually done it before. The story follows Veronika’s first time as a “domme” and how she’s pretending to know what the heck she is doing. And of course, she surprises herself along the way, as well as her handsome new love interest, Aston.

Let me say this – it’s the perfect read for when you are away with your man and need to get the spark going. Or on a Wednesday night when the kids are asleep and you dare to get out of your yoga pants. It’s not so naughty that I feel like I need a shower and to go to confession. But it’s just naughty enough to talk about a world I would never actually participate in but am entertained to read about.

Did it make me want to become a dominatrix? No. But it did make me smile, relate to the main character’s insecurities, and just enjoy a fun “kink with a wink”, as Mina describes her books. It’s a book that is fun. All kinds of fun!

So I decided to ask Ms. Mina a few questions after reading it. Here’s her answers. They seriously just make me love her more…

What is the most embarrassing thing someone has said to you, or situation you have been in, with a reader of one of your books?

Oh, I’ve had people tell me that she and her husband dressed as my characters for Halloween and nobody knew them, but she didn’t care. I loved that a mom got dressed up as a Domme and her hubs was a submissive vampire and they just didn’t give a damn. :)

Why write naughty or dominatrix-style? What drew you to that style of writing?

Well, I was tired of alpha males. I didn’t want my heroines to be growled at or possessed; I wanted THEM to do the possessing. I loved the idea of girl-on-top fun, and that’s what I pursued. I wanted to empower and give fantasies that were really different from the norm.

What is something very normal, domesticated and perhaps even boring someone wouldn’t guess about you?

I cried when my bread machine broke. I loved that thing, and seriously, there is no better smell in your house than baked bread.

Describe your perfect date.

Lots of food, good food. Gourmet preferably. I love the experience of ordering, tasting, sharing. Then maybe we’d go do something cultural, like a museum or music. Then I’d beat the shit out of him. Kidding. I’d go shopping.

If you could step into the life of any of your characters for just one week, who would it be and why?

I’d probably be my original heroine, Cerise, because of all the fun dress up and role play she partakes in. Although I think it would be awesome to be a pin up model for a day, so maybe Veronika!

Word associations – what comes to your head first when I say the following words:

whip: thank you

smile: mysterious

manners: fuck em

vodka: cranberry juice

rain: nice smell.

What is the one book you have to have on your bookshelf no matter where you live?

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder– best book ever on writing! So simple, yet really helpful.

Many of my readers are writers – what has the book publishing process looked like for you? Tell us your story.

It was so random! I was querying with another book when a wonderful agent (Jessica Sinsheimer) asked if I had anything else. I reluctantly showed her my smut. I was mortified, but she was crazy about it! A VERY short time later she offered rep, I happily accepted, and we had a deal with Simon and Schuster within three weeks. It was a wonderful whirlwind!

 

So go check it out, folks. How to Punish Your Playboy is available as an ebook on Amazon for just $1.99 right now. I’m pretty sure the significant other in your life will HIGHLY appreciate it!

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The Breakfast Club – My China Wrap Up


They were five strangers picked to spend an entire day getting to know each other. Five different personalities from five different backgrounds. And by the end of their long day of confessions and experiences, they were bonded forever.

This isn’t just the plot of The Breakfast Club, that  also exactly what happened to me in China.

Five writers picked to go on this amazing adventure. None of us had really met before – only in passing and a few words spoken, if even that. Yet, one vacation later, we are bonded in a way that we’ll never be able to truly explain.

My stomach hurt often from laughing so hard with these women. From the long bus rides of stories we shared, to the grabbing on to each other for dear life while walking down dark Chinese alleys at 10 pm, we never stopped looking out for each other.

And on the last day, when we raised our glasses at our last meal together, we didn’t toast the adventure. We didn’t toast all the things we saw. We toasted to “family.” Because that’s what we became.

I saw such amazing things in China. Tea fields, temples, views from the top of Shanghai, acrobats, hikes that caused me to question my ability to move, foods that I never knew existed, gardens that make you breath lighter. I had an opportunity to do Tai Chi with actual Tai Chi masters. To create pottery with a woman who can create magical art with her hands. And to make and enjoy way too many dumplings.

And as much as I’ll take those things with me in life, it’s not any of those that will be my greatest memory.

My greatest memory is the people. The guides that nurtured us, the people who took care of us, and most importantly, the five women who became my family.

When I left on this trip, I wondered if I would find a peace from the chaos of my life. The stress of writing a book, the balance of work and family, the feeling that I was trying to juggle too much. Would I be able to truly unplug and breath in this experience wholly? What would I learn?

I’ll tell you what I learned.

Yes, you can unplug. When the places you go to have no internet. When you have no phone that works. You have no choice but to stop, focus on the people around you and live completely in the moment.

And I’m so grateful I did. Because that’s how I got to know the people.

And as for finding peace from the chaos of my life. I realized that I actually love the chaos. That I thrive on it. That it’s okay to juggling things, and it’s even okay to drop a few balls from time to time. It’s all part of the journey.

So as I wrap up this amazing trip to China with Mandarin Journeys, I want to say this.

Seize the moment. Don’t put off that trip you dream about taking “someday.” Don’t wait for perfect moments. Don’t go into experiences with everything perfectly laid out. Because the most incredible part of this trip was that everything was unknown. Every person, every moment, was unexpected.

And in the end, I walked away with much more than just memories and experiences. I walked away with Vera, Sue, Diana and Dana – I walked away with family.

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Flat Martini Goes to Disney World!


Oh, Flat Martini. You are the flooziest cocktail the world has ever met. You’ll just up and go with anyone who promises you a good time. And before I left for China, you headed to the happiest place on earth. Walt Disney World! Okay, well when you are a mother like me of two sweaty, whiny kids who are always asking for snacks sometimes it isn’t the happiest place on earth, but heck, when you are a cocktail, it’s a dream!

Kirsten Maxwell, from the incredibly fun and informative blog Kids are a Trip, hosted our little martini of love this week and I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit jealous. Check out their adventures. And be sure you stop by her blog and visit her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – it’s an awesome site for traveling with kids – especially those who have children with food allergies.

kids are a trip

My three children were quite envious of Flat Martini’s latest adventure and even offered to take his place on multiple occasions. My 8 year old may have even used bribery and the words “toys”, “money”, and “anything you want” may have crossed his lips when trying to convince Flat Martini to give up his spot in my carry-on bag. Why did my kids want to go on my Flat Martini adventure? Well, I was headed to Disney World, sans children and hubby, and my only sidekick was my trusty Flat Martini. The kids may never forgive me for this one.

Flat Martini was super excited as we explored Chicago’s O’Hare airport on our way to Orlando. We sipped on some Starbucks and perused the magazine rack, while we anxiously awaited our flight. The flight was uneventful, but once we arrived, Flat Martini couldn’t wait to enjoy some Florida sunshine!

In chicago

After slathering on the sunscreen, our first stop was the amazing pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs resort, where we played volleyball, splashed on the waterslide, and enjoyed some refreshing beverages (well I did at least). We had quite a day watching crazy kids wreak havoc on the staff, their parents, and one another, while we lounged poolside. The intense sun wiped Flat Martini flat out, so we called it a day. He stayed in the room to sleep it off while I headed out for dinner.

poolside1

The next day was the best of our trip. Flat Martini and myself went out to explore the parks and boy did we have a blast! The first stop was Animal Kingdom, one of my kids’ favorite Disney parks (sorry kids). It kind of felt wrong to be there without them, but Flat Martini turned out to be a fantastic partner in crime. We rode Expedition Everest (Flat Martini screamed the entire time and almost shattered his glass), pretended to be explorers on the Kilimanjaro Safari (where Flat Martini almost lost his lunch the ride was so bumpy), and enjoyed the Birds of Prey show (even though Flat Martini almost got carried away by one of the birds)! Flat Martini also tried his first Dole Whip treat, which he proclaimed was: “Delicious, a bit too sweet, and in desperate need of vodka.” I’m inclined to agree.

safari

Our day wasn’t over yet, so we headed to Epcot to check out the World Showcase. Flat Martini felt like he had died and gone to heaven! There was food and drink from all over the world, and Flat Martini even met up with some of his long lost cousins, including the Italian Margarita (who wasn’t flat by the way, go figure). After an evening of globe trotting and grazing, we found ourselves front and center for Epcot’s “Illuminations” fireworks show. Flat Martini couldn’t believe the heat coming off the water from the show and kept mentioning a fear of catching fire. Thankfully, he made it through in one piece and proclaimed the show a spectacular success.

France

The following morning, Flat Martini accompanied me to meetings and was able to meet some of my fellow travel writers. Little did I know, this little guy already had his own fan club, several of the writers in attendance knew about Flat Martini and his adventures. Dana Zucker from TriWivesClub and myself snuck off to get some pictures in the lounge during one of the presentations (shhh). We wish the bar had been open, so we could have shared a toast with Flat Martini, but hopefully you can see the dismay at our lack of beverages in this shot. Thanks Flat Martini for being a good sport!

need a drink

A big thank you to Flat Martini for being the easiest travel partner ever. No clothes to carry, no toiletries to pack, even security was a breeze. My kids still don’t understand why a martini got to take their place on a fabulous Disney World vacation, and they probably never will.

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