Movie Magic: The Distinguished Panel Speaks

OK, friends, it’s the home stretch. Three days until the Oscars.

I have made huge progress in my personal preparations. And while this may not include trivial things like seeing a single film on the Best Picture roster, I have the big stuff covered.  Meaning, I know exactly which yoga pants I’ll be wearing for the red carpet coverage and which snacks I’ll be consuming during the 17-hour awards broadcast.

So I’m pretty much ready.

Earlier this week, in the spirit of such thorough preparedness, I shared my list of favorite Oscars winners past. Today, I’m bringing in the real experts* to tell you all about the very best in film.  Please welcome today’s panelists:

Ninja Mom

Honest Mom

Frugalista Blog

Let Me Start By Saying

Toulouse & Tonic

Wendy Nielsen

Bad Parenting Moments

Mommy Shorts

Paige Kellerman

*Qualifications for being a real expert include prolific and hilarious blogging capabilities, with some convictions about movie-watching on the side.

OK, ladies, we’ll start with the obvious question: What are your three favorite movies ever (not necessarily in order)?

Ninja Mom:  I hate me for saying this, but Ghostbusters is the only movie on the list. “Tell him about the Twinkie.”

Honest Mom:

  • When Harry Met Sally: I will love this movie always and forever, amen.
  • Star Trek (2009 movie): Call me a sci-fi dork, I don’t care. It’s exciting, funny, and has one of the best openings to a movie, ever.
  • Tangled: Great songs, fun plot, and I can watch it with my kids. And Flynn Rider is hot.

Frugalista Blog:  Rear Window, Bridesmaids & Gone with the Wind.

Let Me Start By Saying:  Pride & Prejudice (1995 BBC version with Colin Firth), Anchorman and Gone Baby Gone.

Toulouse & Tonic:  The Princess Bride, Willow & The Wizard of Oz (Do you think I have a type?)

Wendy Nielsen:  Some Kind of Wonderful, Never Been Kissed & Good Will Hunting.

Bad Parenting Moments:  Blade Runner, The Wizard of Oz & The Big Lebowski.

Mommy Shorts:  Amelie, Adaptation, Edward Scissorhands & Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I know that’s four but it was already hard enough not to include Better Off Dead and Raising Arizona. Also, I just realized I have two Nic Cage movies on my list and I now consider him one of the worst actors ever. What happened?

Paige Kellerman:  It’s hard to pick three, but a few I enjoy, over and over, are Starsky and Hutch, Serendipity & Pride and Prejudice.


I am a chronic movie quoter.  It’s a problem. Which movie quote(s) are you most guilty of repeating?

Ninja Mom: “Cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria!” See above (Ghostbusters). I never said I was proud.

Honest Mom: “These aren’t the [insert object to replace “droids”] you’re looking for.” Any red-blooded Gen Xer can quote Star Wars on cue. If you can’t, I’m a little suspicious of you.

Frugalista Blog:

  • “I will be proud to partake in your pecan pie.” (When Harry Met Sally)
  • “It’s all ball bearings these days.” (Fletch)
  • “Put the lotion in the basket” (Silence of the Lambs)

Let Me Start By Saying:

  • “I wanna say something. I’m gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don’t, send it right back. I want to be on you.” (Anchorman)
  • “I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” (Anchorman)
  • “I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.” (So, pretty much, all of Anchorman.)

Toulouse & Tonic: “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”  (I am a TOTAL Princess Bride geek.)

Wendy Nielsen: “I’m not Josie Grossie!” (Never Been Kissed)

Bad Parenting Moments:

  • “Well, yeah, you know, that just like your opinion man.” — The Dude (The Big Lebowski)
  • “Well, THAT escalated quickly.” — Ron Burgandy (Anchorman)

Mommy Shorts: “It smells like a used diaper filled with Indian food.” (Anchorman) My mom and I use it all the time. But only to each other.

Paige Kellerman: “I drink your milkshake.” (There Will Be Blood)


{The mention of a milkshake evokes Snack Break inquiries from the panel.  This quickly deteriorates to angry demands for an Extended Wine Break. Once I am able to reconvene everyone with full wine sippy cups, the discussion resumes below.}


In the movie version of your life story, which actress plays the role of you? 

Ninja Mom: Surely someone has dibs on Tina Fey. Maybe Tina will let me play her in the movie version of her life.

Honest Mom: Julia Roberts. Because I laugh big and loud like she does, my hair is kind of like hers, and I think my mom actually may love her more than me. Seriously. My mom has seen every Julia Roberts movie ever. It’s a little weird.

Frugalista Blog: Kristen Wiig– because she’s so goofy and makes all these facial expressions. Or Amy Poehler because she’s so funny. I guess I see myself as funny.

Let Me Start By Saying: Anne Hathaway. I’ve been told by multiple people that she’s the younger, brown-haired, brown-eyed version of me, and she’s clearly more talented than me, so yeah. I’ll take Anne.

Wendy Nielsen: Rachel McAdams because I was told once I looked like her!

Bad Parenting Moments: Lena Dunham. She’s short, funny, a tad crazy and our boobs are simpatico.

Paige Kellerman: Morgan Freeman. Doesn’t everyone want to be played by Morgan Freeman?

Own up: Which really bad movie(s) do you watch anytime you come across it/them on TV?

Ninja Mom: The Blues Brothers. Though I’d argue it’s awesome.

Honest Mom: 17 Again – Good Lord, is Zac Efron adorable.

Frugalista Blog: Step Up – Channing Tatum (hubba hubba) and Mean Girls (It’s not bad, it’s good actually, but I always watch it!)

Let Me Start By Saying: Step Up – OMG the dancing!  Notting Hill – the adorableness and Brit humor! But my real addiction is comic book/sci-fi movies. I can’t turn them off: Thor, Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, all of that sort. I’m obsessed.

Wendy Nielsen: Any Lifetime movie that features Tori Spelling.

Bad Parenting Moments: Showgirls. Every. Damn. Time.

Mommy Shorts: City Slickers. I used to watch that movie every time I felt depressed in high school. The scene where they finally bring the cows home just makes me happy.

Paige Kellerman: Mean Girls and Shawn of the Dead … Every time.


{Objection from the moderator:  There’s no way *none* of them get sucked into A Walk To Remember.}


Naturally, you’ve just been tapped to host the Oscars and you have no blogging conflicts to keep you from flying to Hollywood — so who is your top choice for co-host? Why will your Oscars be the most highly rated ever?

Ninja Mom: Matt Damon. Shut up. I want to smell and maybe caress him in a loving way that makes his clothes fall off.

Honest Mom: Tina Fey. DUH. We’d be the most highly-rated ever because of her awesomeness  — and because of my answer to the next question. Best. Awards. Ever.

Frugalista Blog: Oh my God!! This is my dream! That and going to the Oscars, being nominated for an Academy Award and winning. Okay, I will host with Hugh Jackman. He’s hosted before and he and I will do a musical number. Of course, it will start with him in a bath, naked, or a shower. Not sure which. I will come down on some harness and do Cirque du Soleil maneuvers. Not that I’m very acrobatic, but I just want to. Also, I can do trapeze, so we’ll have to throw that in somewhere. Oh wait – I just thought of host idea #2. Steve Carrell or Ben Stiller. OR Robert Downey Jr. And it would just be a bunch of comedic one-liners and hilarious quips. And Robert Downey Jr. will be shirtless. And maybe in a shower.

Let Me Start By Saying: I want to host with NinjaMomBlog’s Nicole Leigh Shaw. I think we’d be just the right blend of stand-up comic, ridiculous movie knowledge, and hotness. Like a poor man’s Tina Fey/Amy Poehler, but with greater height distance between the two of us.

Wendy Nielsen: Ryan Gosling!!  My Oscar telecast will be the most highly rated telecast because everyone loves The Notebook and they’ll think Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are hosting!

Bad Parenting Moments: Amy Sedaris. Amy and I hosting would be like Cirque du Soleil filmed at the landfill. You wouldn’t be able to turn away.


You’re all fabulous writers. So, which {real/existing} movie do you wish you had penned?

Ninja Mom: Ishtar. If I’d written that I’d know there was nowhere but up from there.

Honest Mom: The Twilight series. Who would’ve thunk vampires and wolves could be sexy? Big-money genius, right there.

Frugalista Blog: This is 40. Story of my freakin’ life. Minus the surprise pregnancy.

Let Me Start By Saying: Amelie felt like magic. Memento was brilliant. 50/50 because a hilarious cancer movie? Impossibly possible. Looper was so original. Slumdog Millionaire was a rich web with tactile love.  Signs was funny and deep and layered and it still gives me the creeps.

Toulouse & Tonic: Princess Bride.  You probably could’ve guessed that, right?  There is just so much funny packed into one movie.  No other movie is so quotable.

Wendy Nielsen: Wedding Crashers or Bridesmaids

Bad Parenting Moments: Lost in Translation

Mommy Shorts: Adaptation — so freakin’ clever.


Once and for all: How do we get the winners with long speeches to shut the hell up and exit? Because the orchestra thing obviously isn’t working.

Ninja Mom: Anal tasers.

Honest Mom: Put one of those trap doors in the floor. When time’s up? Buh-bye!

Frugalista Blog: You get the floor to open up and they fall through like on the Ellen show when she plays a game.

Let Me Start By Saying: Hole in the floor, when the time is up, the lever is pulled and the person falls into the press room.

Wendy Nielsen: The mic needs to drop into the ground!  Or have they already done that?

Bad Parenting Moments: Dangle a martini on a fishing line in front of them. Like a carrot to a donkey, they will follow

Mommy Shorts: I say go old school. Canes seem very effective.

* * *

Please join me in thanking my fabulous panel for this lively and informative look into their minds.  Now you know what fuels these gals.


Well, that and the wine they are still drinking.  I can’t get them out of my house.  It looks like we’ll have to sit here together and watch Anchorman.


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Finding the Funny: Holiday Edition

Finding the Funny Holiday Edition

The holidays are busy, right? Especially when you decide to co-host a party with 16 other people two weeks before Christmas. Yep. Today I’m teaming up with My Life and Kids, Kelley’s Break Room and 14 more bloggers to bring you a special Holiday edition of Finding the Funny! Because I don’t really feel like finishing my shopping or repeating this scenario from last year just yet.


How to Link Up


Bring us your holiday funny and distract us from baking, shopping and overdosing on egg nog. Link up as many posts as you want — old or new — as long as they’re related to the holidays and will make us laugh. Your post will show up here and on 16 other blogs. It’s basically instant Internet fame.

It’s easy to link up:

  • Click on the “Add Your Link” button at the bottom of the page.
  • URL: Copy and paste the URL of your blog post (be sure to use the exact post URL).
  • Name: Enter the TITLE of your blog post – this is what will appear below your post picture. (Limited to 30 characters)
  • Enter your email address (don’t worry – this won’t be shared.)
  • Click on NEXT and choose an image that will appear in the link up.
  • Stick around and read the other posts and get ready to laugh!

Meet the Bloggers


All 17 of us will be sharing your posts on our blogs.

My Life and Kids

Kelley’s Break Room

The HillJean: Because My Life is Fascinating

The Fordeville Diaries

Frugalista Blog

Hollow Tree Ventures

Honest Mom

House TalkN

I’m Still Learning

Let Me Start By Saying

The Mom of the Year

Mom’s New Stage

Motherhood WTF

Ninja Mom

There’s More Where That Came From

Random Handprints

Toulouse and Tonic

Link up!

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Attention, All Husbands

I know how to drag out a birthday, don’t I? 

I’ve been so lucky to have my guest bloggers drop by throughout May to celebrate with me.  And today, I have the final of my three guests — Erin from I’m Gonna Kill Him.  I think we can all agree that she knows how to get your attention before you even read a word — how’s that blog name for getting the message across?  In fact, I’m going to ask her if she’ll provide a pro-bono branding consultation to the local window cleaners in town called Peeping Tom.  Because their truck is freaking me the hell out when I see it near my house.

There’s really nothing better than a very bold and very funny writer with a fabulous and precisely placed vocabulary.  Bonus points that it’s often at the expense of her husband.  

When I met Erin around this time last year, she had just had her third child in three years — so I was duly floored that she can manage to string two consecutive words together, never mind a fantastic blog.  And today we get to peek at a rant to her husband — birthday style.

Husbands of the Internet, take note.


{Kim recently turned…well, she turned an age. An age that was one year greater than the age she was before her birthday. And that’s why birthdays are inherently disappointing. You never wake up on that day, suddenly feeling younger and looking more vibrant. And as you age, people figure that you’re so enlightened and wise to the world that you don’t care about the trivialities of birthdays. But I am not at all that enlightened.}

I hate to point out the obvious, that it’s my birthday. I’m sure you’ve been thinking about what to get me. It was so obvious you spent a lot of time thinking about it last year. The way a mayfly spends a lot of time living. I don’t want to be one of those people who expects the whole world to sit up at attention and throw me a goddamn ticker tape parade and cast a bronze statue in my likeness while hot, sweaty people wave flags with my face on it and eat $15 empanadas named after me because it’s the day that I became a piece of data to be captured by the U.S. Census. That said, when I wrote my wedding vows and then wrote yours for you, I included a whole section about honoring my birthday, and I sort of expected that you’d internalize that point till death do us part. Or till I am REBORN as some other life form at which time the duty of celebrating my birth will fall to some other organism. I’m not even going to think about the possibility that I may be reincarnated as something that doesn’t recognize birthdays, like a Jehova’s Witness or some species of marlin, so I hear. Speaking of fish, you could take me out for dinner. I mean, it doesn’t take a lot of brain power to recognize that I’m no Barefoot Contessa in the kitchen. I’m really more like that waste-of-space husband, Jeffrey, who must believe his testicles will dry up into a heap of dried mustard powder if he even steps foot in the house before an entire Roast Capon has been plated and brought to an outdoor table overlooking the ocean. No, I don’t want to go to the ocean. I just said the word ocean. Going to the ocean involves wearing a bathing suit, which I haven’t done since the birthday I turned 14. That was the last documented moment I have been glimpsed in a bathing suit, and I appreciate you realizing that I have that discomfort and that’s why you bought me that sarong printed with palm trees and people sitting in hammocks for my birthday 3 years ago, but I never figured out how to use it. It ties 50 different ways but I couldn’t find a single way that made me look like a human fucking being in a piece of fabric instead of a beluga whale who swam headfirst into the sail of a windsurf. I realize that I made a lot of marine references just now, but I do not want to go the aquarium. I’m not in the mood to de-suction the kids’ mouths from glass spattered with penguin shit nor to bribe the security guard to let us leave the facility through any exit, even through the drain of the tank containing the orca that became deranged from swimming in a circle day and night, just to avoid walking through the gift shop. If we could stop by one of the ladies’ department stores – one of the expensive ones that I don’t normally go to because the sales staff looks disapprovingly at the kids because they’re not wearing shoes or pants – because they sell the anti-aging creams that they actually call serums and put in glass bottles with pumps. I can’t be sure if they are why Cindy Crawford’s face looks like the new drywall in fancy subdivisions, but it’s certainly not because of those fucking mutant melons that doctor in France harvested.  I just want to pump that serum onto my face and neck and sit alone in the bathroom and read this magazine that I bought from the grocery store instead of just flipping through the whole thing as a man buying beef jerky and sour cream dip breathed sour air on my shoulders. I want to read every page of it and study the pictures of this woman wearing a sarong in all 50 ways that it can go while somehow not looking like an asshole in 48 of them.

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Dares, Goals & Guts

Project Extended Birthday continues!

My guest today is Elizabeth from Flourish in Progress.  If you’re not already reading her blog, consider this a public service announcement that your life is not as complete as you thought it was.  I have followed Elizabeth’s writing for a while, and she’s a total and complete badass.  I mean that as the highest possible compliment.  Her words are powerful, spot-on and pack such a punch.  She can make you laugh, cry and curse like a sailor equally well.  

I had the pleasure of meeting her last year at a blog conference in Boston, and she is as wonderful and entertaining in person as she is in writing.  Plus, I’ve never seen such a well-dressed, elegant woman start a pitch-perfect verbal bar fight quite like she could {it was totally justified, trust me}.  She prevailed, of course.

Her blog began as a way to chronicle her 30th birthday resolution of not shopping for a full year.  Yes, really.  Along the way, she acquired tons of followers and gave us some fabulous writing, including her not-to-be-missed Monday Dares series.  She was a BlogHer 2011 Voice of the Year and recently had her writing appear in — get this — The Huffington Post.  Which officially seals her position as one of my heroes.  

It’s such a treat to have her here — just don’t cross her in a bar.  

Thank you, Elizabeth!


I stopped making a long list of Ways I Will Vastly Improve Myself to ring in the New Year almost a decade ago. Sure, I still “commit” to one or two things at the beginning of the year, but it’s mostly because I need a quick and easy answer to spit out when those overly chipper women at afternoon pick-up ask repeatedly for a span of about three weeks in January how I plan to change my life for the better. I’d like to be honest and say the best way to boost my mood on a daily basis would probably be to stop making forced small talk with them, but who has that kind of courage? Well, maybe you do, but I’m a coward. I’m very self-aware of this flaw, but I don’t plan on changing any time soon, so I’ve learned to just put up with me.

Instead, I save all of my Self Improvement Goals for my birthday.

Some years, I can’t muster up much more than “Try really hard not to steal money from my daughter’s piggy bank because I’m too lazy to go to the ATM and I really want to eat lunch at the cash-only noodle joint.” This might not seem like such a big deal, but trust me, I wrestle with this on a weekly basis.  I have yet to pay her back a single penny. My secret hope is that she just thinks she’s an extremely bad money counter, and in fact, there were only $43 dollars in the bank instead of the $49 she thought she had when she last counted.

Other years, I mean business. My birthday is in September, so this usually happens after I’ve spent an entire summer reading self-improvement books on how to be happier or healthier or craftier or less ghetto. I’m still open to all the improvements listed. Except for the “less ghetto” part. If you took out that very integral part of my being, I’d just be an empty shell.

On my 21st birthday, I made a commitment to stop living on welfare. I was a single mom with a high school diploma and a 2-year-old. I felt trapped and I felt helpless. Actually, what I mean to say is that I felt hopeless, not helpless.

I had been stuck in a rut- moving from one temporary home to another, working menial jobs and barely scraping by. I didn’t think my life could be any other way.

As I woke up on my 21st birthday, the first words to cross my mind were “SCREW THIS.” That simple statement ignited a fire to climb out of the hole that I had dug for myself and to be the kind of person that my daughter would proudly claim as her ma.

It was slow-going at first, but that’s the thing about doing something hard. You’re unsure at first, maybe even afraid, but each step makes you feel more empowered.

My daughter recently turned 12. And I know now that all of it, every hard grimy little bit, was worth it.

Happy Birthday, Kim. I feel so fortunate that we crossed paths. If you are the picture of 40, then I can’t wait to get there.

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The Empress is in the House

Greetings from the other side of 40.

So it wasn’t as traumatic as I envisioned.  Mostly because I was distracted by revelry.  And presents.

Yes, my friends know me well.  I’m obviously a deeply complicated person.

Now that I have been given more bottles of wine than I can count, coupled with the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, I can’t be an ingrate and let them go unused.  So I’ll be on my couch with those items for a while.

And speaking of gifts, how about this?

Recently, I asked a few of my very favorite bloggers if they would partake in my extended celebration by writing something for my blog.  These are very funny, very talented women with wonderful blogs, fantastic storytelling skills and, presumably, little to no down time to spend moonlighting for my little corner of the Internet.  And yet, three out of four of them responded to me right away and said yes. How nice is that?

{As for the fourth, my guess is that she’s also knee-deep in Fifty Shades of Grey and couldn’t tear herself away.  That’s OK.  I totally get it.}

I asked my three guests to share something about a birthday in their writing.  Anything they wanted.

So today I am beyond thrilled to have Alexandra here, also fondly known across the blogosphere as The Empress.  Her blog, Good Day, Regular People, was one of the first I encountered and is still one of my daily must-reads.  You can also find her regular columns at Aiming LowFunnynotSlutty, Mom Renewal ProjectMilwaukeeMomsSprocket Ink, and TikiTikiblog. Oh, and she was a 2011 BlogHer Voice of the Year!  Her words of wisdom, sense of humor and pay-it-forward attitude are all priceless, and I’m really grateful she took the time to stop by.

I love birthday presents.  Thank you, Empress.


Fordy is forty.

She is 40 and I wish 100 percent A Very Happy Birthday To her!

Cher (of Who-needs-a-last-name-anyway) said she peaked at 40. She said it was the BEST GD freakin’ year of her life. In an interview, Cher said she never felt healthier, happier, sexier, hotter, more capable, than she did at 40.

All the insecurities of her youth? Gone.

All the self doubt and constant self scrutinization? Gone.

All the standing in front of a mirror with a microscope, all the filtering of what you might say so you don’t say it. Gone.

And she is right.

Hitting 40 becomes a time when you finally start to fall in love with yourself. Thinking maybe all those around you that love you, may be right about you being something special. You lose all the self absorption and realize there are people on this planet who count on you, like you, and enjoy knowing you.

Once you lose all the monitoring of self physically, mentally, emotionally, you become free to live your life and become your truth.

When you trade in the line-free eyes and foreheads, you gain a feeling of acceptance in return. Of saying, Yeah … maybe the thighs are a little jigglier and the upper arms a little flabbier, but that’s all right. It’s a sense of relief to say to yourself I don’t have to look good in everything anymore, and I’m Okay with this.

Other things become important, as they should.

We had our glorious days of youth in the sun. And now it’s time for us to share, let it be someone else’s turn. Let the under 40 crowd do what they do best: look seamless and line free.

Let us, the over-40 crowd, tend to all the rest: which is becoming worthy of those that love us and of the love we’ve been blessed with, over our lifetime.

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Crashing the Party

I totally owe you guys an update on the basement renovation.  And by “update,” I mean complete and total lack of any progress.  I also mean regression.  And anger.  And approaching the worst case scenario scale of the project.  Because I don’t remember signing up for the floors buckling in my living room — a full story above said basement work.  Or doors that don’t fit their frames anymore on the second floor of the house, accompanied by cracks in the wall.  Or a side of my house fully exposed to the elements.  Without heat.  As we approach the season of dropping temperatures.

But let’s save that for another day.  Who needs bad news going into the weekend?

Because, in the meantime, I’m really excited to have done my first guest posting gig.  Can you believe someone entrusted me to put content on their site ?

But Jennifer over at Take2Mommy did.  How nice is that?

Jennifer is a fabulous blogger and almost New Jersey-ite.  She has the dream gig of working from home, and writes about her adventures raising her two sons.  I’m crashing at her place today to talk about alternate career paths in my future and I’m really grateful that she let me stop by.

So please pop over and show her blog some love.  And pray for my basement renovation and sanity.  Because both are hanging by a thread.


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