The Movie Problem

As I mentioned earlier in the week, MGM and the babysitter watched the opening credits of a movie last weekend that was deemed “too scary.”

Even though the TV quickly was shut off, the damage was done. 

MGM was crying about the movie’s beginning and said that he couldn’t remember exactly what was scary about it, but he knew it was scary – so scary that he couldn’t even try to remember it in order to explain WHY it was terrifying.

For reference, this movie was “Cowboys & Aliens,” a 2011 movie starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. I haven’t seen it, but the plot according to Wikipedia looks pretty stupid. 

As a pure outsider, I would deem it “scary” in the sense that relatively high-profile stars were somehow coerced (blackmailed?) into appearing in this theatrical dud, but not “scary” in sense of Things That Go Bump In the Night.

But I’m also not nine years old.

Spouse and I felt bad for MGM to the point that we acquiesced to his request to not sleep alone.

I let him sleep with me in our king bed (with Spouse relegated to the guest room or sofa) for two nights, and then I began to get suspicious over his pleas that the “Movie Problem” was still in full force.

Exhibit A:


This card shows some Minecraft toy sets that are available for purchase.

Close up of the accompanying note:


I think I’ve been had.




Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Overload


The Trader Joe’s October Flyer arrived yesterday.

I get a weird thrill out of reading this each month, mentally filling a shopping basket with frozen Indian entrees, unique cheeses and salted caramel everything.

This month TJ’s went on pumpkin overdrive. 

Here’s a partial list of all of the pumpkin-y goodness:

  • Pumpkin bread and muffin mix (also comes gluten-free)
  • Honey roasted pumpkin ravioli
  • Pumpkin toaster pastries
  • Pumpkin spice granola bark
  • Pumpkin biscotti
  • Pumpkin panettone
  • Pumpkin spiced pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate pumpkin spice salted caramels
  • Pumpkin pie spice cookie butter
  • Pumpkin Joe Joe’s sandwich cookies
  • Pumpkin ice cream
  • Mini pumpkin pies
  • Pumpkin macarons
  • Pumpkin bread pudding
  • Sticky pumpkin cake
  • Pumpkin cheesecake
  • Pumpkin pie mochi ice cream
  • Ginger pumpkin mini ice cream sandwiches
  • Pumpkin spice granola
  • Pumpkin waffles
  • Pecan pumpkin instant oatmeal
  • Pumpkin rolls with pumpkin spice icing
  • Pumpkin O’s cereal
  • Greek pumpkin yogurt
  • Cold pressed pumpkin harvest juice
  • Pumpkin spice almond beverage
  • Pumpkin spice caramel corn
  • Pumpkin tortilla chips
  • Pumpkin soup crackers
  • Pumpkin cranberry crisps
  • Pumpkin cream cheese
  • Pumpkin spice rooibos tea
  • Pumpkin butter
  • Pita crisps with cranberries and pumpkin seeds
  • Chocolate mousse pumpkins
  • Pumpkin pancake mix (also comes gluten-free)
  • Pumpkin scones with maple icing
  • Pumpkin chai spice loaf
  • Pumpkin vinaigrette
  • Petite pumpkin spice cookies
  • This pumpkin walks into a bar cereal bars
  • Pumpkin spice chai
  • Pumpkin spice coffee
  • Pumpkin body butter


  • Pumpkin flavored dog treats

Really, this is too much.


This guy wants those pumpkin waffles



J. Crew Signet Bag

Have you seen these J.Crew signet bags?


Starting at $128, they’re cute and well-priced.



Image from J.Crew

The best part is that you can customize the bag to make it your own with tassels, monograms, coin purses and customizable tags  (I would definitely get a gold one that says “Fancy”).

Here are some ideas:


I love the contrast of the red bag with the blue key fob:


This one might become mine. I’d add the gold “Fancy” tag and a leopard coin purse.


SlimCado Review

Are these showing up in your local grocery store?


It’s a SlimCado, Yo!

SlimCados are billed as having half the fat and 35% fewer calories than regular avocados, so when I saw them in the produce aisle I had to have one.

Spoiler alert: SlimCados aren’t new. They’re a 100+ year old variety that was given a marketing makeover.

In essence, they’re oversized avocados grown in Florida and they’re usually two to three times the size of what most of us think of as an avocado (that would be the Californian Hass variety). SlimCados have smooth skin and a large pit.


And they are terrible.

Part of what reduces the fat and calorie content of the SlimCado is the water content, which is much higher than what we think of with regular avocados.

End result: SlimCados are watery and not creamy. Their flavor is bland. Take what you love about an avocado, subtract 90% of your expectations, and you’ve got a SlimCado.

I tried to make it work.


I started by microwaving some asparagus spears and mushrooms, then added 3/4 cup of Egg Beaters. I cooked it in a round plastic container coated with coconut oil spray, which gave it a pleasing shape but probably poisoned me with innumerable endocrine disrupting chemicals.

I added slices of the SlimCado, salsa and crumbled feta to the end product:


The SlimCado was so bad that I didn’t finish it.

And as an avid My Fitness Pal devotee, I am usually all about consuming and recording the calories.

Not this time, SlimCado. Not this time.



Life is so humbling for me.

Spouse and I spent part of the weekend out of town (kids stayed behind at Fancy Pants Ranch with a 20-year-old babysitter), and it included two important meals. 

The first was dinner with another couple we do not know well, and I have to admit I was nervous going into it.

As a person who enjoys public speaking, live TV events and performing surgery, feeling nervous is an unusual state for me.

They are extremely elegant, worldly and sophisticated. Often, I am not.

While I joke that I am best described as someone with toilet paper stuck to her shoe, I discovered during champagne at their beautiful home that I literally had a wet leaf stuck to my foot. I discreetly removed it and put it in my Prada handbag. This may be the first and last time someone ever did that.

Ostensibly, the dinner was phenomenal. The food was great, the conversation flowed well and I left energized and excited for the future.

The next day we had breakfast with our friends P. and T., but there was also an agenda to discuss a huge undertaking we’ve got in the works.

That, too, went well, but the underlying stress of the weekend eventually caught up with me.

When Spouse and I returned home on Sunday afternoon, we were greeted with disarray.


Not quite this, but you get the idea

MGM (9) and Trixie (7) had taken every last pillow in our home (and I have an insane quantity of regular and decorative pillows) and created a fort in the living room. 

Our 15-year-old toy poodle had peed in our bedroom.

And pooped in the dining room.

A (nice) bottle of wine was empty, although I really can’t blame the babysitter. I might have done the same.

MGM was crying over a scene in a movie they watched that was deemed “too scary,” even though it had been turned off after the opening credits.

Toys were scattered everywhere.

Dishes were piled in the sink.

And then, Trixie was jumping on our ottoman into the pillow fort and landed just right so that she smashed and broke one of the doors on our TV cabinet.

I lost it. 

I yelled at her to look at what she did and she immediately ran off and started crying.

Spouse kept his head together and started in on the sink. The babysitter exited. MGM was still crying about the movie.

I was seeing red but pulled it together enough to make a first stab at apologizing to Spouse and Trixie.

And then realized I needed to go to the gym.

One thing I learned recently: when I’m in stressful situations, I should try to step outside myself and check in, asking myself how I’m feeling and why. This doesn’t come naturally to me. Maybe it’s obvious and intuitive to you.

What I understood in that moment: I’ve got a big, exciting new thing coming to me. And while all signs point to it being awesome, it’s still scary and there are parts that are going to be messy and not in my control. 

So I went to the gym with MGM and Trixie. A therapeutic treadmill hour later, we were headed home. I had (almost) forgotten it all.

At a stoplight, I heard a tentative voice from the backseat.

Trixie: Mom, are you still mad at me?

Gut punch.

My anger had diffused nearly two hours prior, but she was still wondering. I felt awful, as I should.

Me: No, Sweetie. I love you and am sorry for losing my cool. I’m not mad. I do want you to be more careful in the future, but I always, always love you.

She accepted the apology. 

Ever the comedian, MGM stepped in:

Just think, Mom, there could be seven of us! Then you’d really come home to chaos.

Again, life is so humbling.







Nearly 20 years ago I visited New York City for the the first time.

While Spouse and I did some cultural and touristy things (Ellis Island, Central Park), I spent an embarrassing amount of time shopping, eating candy from Dylan’s Candy Bar and consuming bagel sandwiches from delis across the city.

And I was able to check off a bucket-list item: getting a treatment at Bliss Spa.

At the time, Bliss was all the rage. Per Wikipedia: Bliss is “often credited for starting the mid-1990s spa boom.” I had to go.

My introduction to Bliss was at Bliss 57 NYC, which confused me by being on the third floor of a relatively non-descript office building. Once inside, I loved the witty decor and the famous brownie bar in the waiting area/lounge. I only had one treatment (a facial), but I could have stayed all day. Or all year.

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Screenshot from

Fast forward: Bliss has expanded (and diluted), changed ownership a few times, and my fickle tastes have migrated over the years.

Yet I still have a soft spot for Bliss.

Over the summer I had the opportunity to visit Bliss’ Chicago outpost, which is one of my favorites in the chain. The perfectly framed views of Lake Michigan are stunning.

I got the Triple Oxygen Facial, one of their signature treatments, and a massage.

Usually before a spa service starts, I remind myself to be quiet, relax and enjoy the treatment. And then I inevitably talk through the whole thing.

I’m really curious about the steps, the products and the smells. Yes, the smells. I’m a sucker for skin care products that smell great, efficacy be damned.

Near the end of the Triple Oxygen Facial there is a part where an “oxygen spray” is blasted through an airbrushing tool. It takes a few minutes to complete, and the mist has a soft, powdery scent that I love. I asked the technician about the fragrance and she mentioned that Bliss 24 Heaven healing balm smelled similar.


Once the treatments were over and I had consumed more than my fair share of brownie squares (they still do this – yay!), I hit the retail area to bring home some of the Triple Oxygen experience for myself.

The tech was right: 24 Heaven balm *does* capture the powdery scent I love. It’s a bit too thick for summer skin but will be perfect for winter. I’ve been slathering it on at night.

For regular skin care, I have been into double cleansing for a while, which is basically washing your face twice – once with an initial pass to get makeup off and then a second time with a treatment cleanser.

Here’s the routine I’ve been using lately. All of these products are from Bliss:

Some specialists that get called in from time to time:

I’ve been more or less doing this for the past few months and have seen great results. Out of all of the steps on the list, I suspect Peeling Groovy is the one that is making the most difference. This is really excellent for brightening dull skin. 

If you watch carefully, they occasionally have discounts or deals. Currently they are running a promotion to get a free gift with a $100 order. There are several travel sized products (including one I want to try, Fabulous Makeup Melt, which is a gel-to-oil face cleanser), and they come in a cute cosmetic bag in signature Bliss blue. Here’s a pic:

Screen Shot 2016-09-24 at 5.55.43 AM.png

Bliss also has a deal where a set of two Peeling Groovy serums are 20% off ($104 instead of $130), so this would be enough to get the free gift and save a bit on the serum, which I plan to keep using. This is my favorite situation: a deal and a freebie on something I love and would buy anyway. Game on.


Today Is a Good Day


Yep, this is happening. Day off, y’all!

A few things from the week:



Medal Preview via RunDisney



  • Not that I have my eye on anything, but Nordstrom is having a Triple Points Event through September 25th. (Ok, I want this and these).


Have a terrific weekend.





Retro A-Frame Dollhouse

I spent countless hours playing with this Fisher Price dollhouse as a kid:


Not only did I imagine living a fancy life in an A-frame house, but I also really wanted to sleep in bunk beds.

And use a ladder.

Looking now, this play set channels Aspen in the ’70s. Minus the piles of cocaine.

Land of Nod just introduced this retro dollhouse that obviously gives a wink to the one above:

The furniture is killing me!

Can you see the macramé wall hanging?

The people who reside in this house are also totally awesome:


Fruit hair! I love it.

I may need to make this set mine.


Stuff That Popped Up On My Facebook Feed

Oh, Facebook, you know me so well.

Algorithmically, I seem to fit the demographic of someone who likes to drink wine (check) and shop online (CHECK!).

And sometimes I do both at the same time.

Here are a few companies that popped into my Facebook feed that intrigued me:


The Girlfriend Collective started showing up last spring. Much has been written about this startup that is giving away free (supposedly) high-quality, ethically-made leggings for the price of shipping and handling ($20). Ok, I bit, but my leggings don’t arrive until October so I will review them then.


This Hammitt cross-body bag is on my holiday wish list. I love the red zipper. This style is called the VIP clutch and comes in twenty color combos. Want.


The premise behind Sudara is one I can totally support: female employees are human-trafficking survivors who are given job training and employment. Read the story here. Sudara’s most popular products are lounge pants called Punjammies, although they have other cute leisure styles. I have a pair of capri Punjammies and an elephant tee that have both seen a lot of wear in the past six months.


Speaking of elephants, Ivory Ella is a mostly-tees company (and they are cuuuute) where 100% of net profits reportedly go to support the Elephant Crisis Fund. Again, I can get behind that. I might order some for holiday gifts, although I haven’t purchased anything yet.


Adorn Jewelry Designs is a local (Midwest) purveyor of handmade jewelry. My feed showed me a picture of this metallic stone arc necklace and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It looks like it would go with everything and at $35, the price point is terrific. Adorn’s Etsy shop also features cute earrings, including an adorable horseshoe pair.

I am such an easy mark.