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NaBloPoMo Day 30: Peace ahhhht

I was just about to go to bed, because it is now 10 pm and I have an 8am flight to catch. I then remembered that it is the LAST DAY of NaBloPoMo and I have yet to post anything today.

SO HERE IT IS.

POST

POST

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snoopy running

That’s how it is done. NaBloPoMo complete.

Now it’s time for some beauty rest.

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NaBloPoMo Day 10: Ten Things I like to Look At on the Internet @carnegielibrary @humansofny @The_Steel_Trap @theskimm @criminellelaw @mistyonpointe @usfws

I am one third of the way through NaBloPoMo, and I haven’t gotten distracted yet! Today I will share with you 5 things I like to look at on the internet. My blog reading has become kind of irregular lately, but there are a few features & blogs I just cant do without. These are my favs:

  1.  The Eleventh Stack— This is the CLPGH blog written by its employees with tons of excellent recommendations about books, movies, and interesting things in Pittsburgh. I can’t get enough of it.  I like that there are enough contributors that the blog doesn’t get stale, but also few enough that you can get an idea of each contributor’s style and preferences.

2.  Humans of New York.  Oh, all of my heartstrings. I think my face is leaking.

3.  Orcs of New York. For when I need a pick-me-up after crying all the way through the HONY site.

4.  The Steel Trap’s First World Problems. So real. So ridiculous. And it’s even more fun when I show my husband the posts and make him guess which first world problem was mine…


5.  The Skimm.  I reluctantly signed up for the Skimm, totally expected to hate it after a week and having to send a million “TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST” emails. It sends a daily email newsletter with quick recaps of the biggest news items, with links to more in-depth pieces attached. The style is sassy and entertaining, so it feels more like fun gossip than your dreaded 10th grade current events report.

skimm


6. Criminelle Law.  Her bio description captures it perfectly: Young lawyer navigating and puzzling a general practice firm of middle aged men.   So funny because so true.

7. Unbrave Girl.  Sally is an actual for-real-life friend of Sandy’s.  Sandy introduced me to her blog because she thought I would like it. She was right.  Sally’s way braver than she claims to be, and is totally making solo camping a thing. She makes it look so fun that it makes me *almost* want to camp. Almost. For now I’ll stick to solo-hotel-rooming.

8. Draper James.  I know it’s not a blog, it’s a shop. But this post is things I like to look at on the internet, so it counts. And I CAN’T STOP window shopping Draper James. I grew up in California and have spent the last 15 years in Pennsylvania. I don’t “get” the South at all. BUT THESE CLOTHES. They are so adorable I can’t handle it. I want them all.And I want to hate Reese Witherspoon because I am crazy jealous of her success, BUT THESE CLOTHES, I just can’t.

9.   Misty Copeland’s Instagram.  Misty is absolutely incredible. Full stop.

  10. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Instagram. Simply super cool.  

What have you been looking at and loving lately?

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December in a house of blue, white and silver

We don’t do any of that Elf on the Shelf nonsense. Not because I hate all things fun (which I do), or because I am lazy (which I am), but because I am Jewish. I admittedly grew up as one of those “lucky” kids, because my Dad is Catholic, so I got Hanukkah presents (eight days of socks!) and Christmas presents. Nonethless, I’m still not really into the holidays. I’m not a total Grinch. I love cookies, and I have a proper appreciation of A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, the John Denver with the Muppets Christmas Album and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” But that’s about as far as it goes. The holidays aren’t really my thing.

When Alex asked if I’d be willing to host the Pittsburgh blogger holiday cookie swap he was arranging, I said “sure!” …mostly because I knew that I would be the beneficiary of additional leftover cookies. But in the day or so before the event, I realized I was an odd selection for host, because literally the only holiday decorations in my house are the Hanukkah gel window stickies I bought my kid at Target to bribe her to act like a somewhat civilized human being.

The cookie swap was this weekend, and it went swimmingly. With all the cookies and joy and fun and sparkling wine, no one even mentioned my lack of decor. Success!

This year is going to be a weird holiday season for us. Due to the aforementioned Catholic dad, I grew up every year having a Christmas tree at his house. During my college and law school years, I did not have any Christmas tree, but I didn’t have anything else either, so I didn’t even notice. When Mr. Beez and I got serious, I expected him to have a Christmas tree. He had no such intention, because although he personally is not Jewish, “we” are Jewish, our (later to come) family would be Jewish, and we have a Jewish house. So no Christmas tree.

We spend Christmas with his parents. They have a tree, and holly decorations and a ham. Santa visits Baby Beez at her Grandma and Poppy’s house. She has a stocking there. But Christmas, really, was his mom’s thing. She did the decorating, the shopping, and a lot of the cooking. She passed away in October. This Christmas is going to be a big change. It’s too much for Baby Beez to lose her Grandma and Santa in one year. I did the shopping (of course, nowhere near as extravagant as when Grandma was in charge). We’re changing up the menu. Instead of ham, we’ll make prime rib for dinner (which is my Dad’s tradition). And on Christmas evening, we’ll hit up the movies and get some Chinese food, as a nod to Jewish tradition.

This afternoon, I got my act together on the one Hanukkah tradition from my childhood that really “makes” the holidays for me. The Hanukkah box. Here’s the idea: when you have Christmas, you have a Christmas tree to put presents under. When you have Hanukkah, you have to put the presents somewhere, so we wrap a box in paper and put them there. It’s the Hanukkah box. Past years, I’ve used the largest cardboard box I can find sitting around. This year, I decided that I’m sick of trying to line the inside of a stupid box with wrapping paper (an obnoxious task), so I wanted to buy a Rubbermaid type box, and wrap it once and use it year after year. We’ll just put it in the garage in the off season. Baby Beez and I also picked up a bunch of overpriced bows at Target to add a little extra flair (seriously, I spent about $40 on bows today. What is wrong with me?)

hanukkah box

Tonight, our Hanukkah box went live. It’s early enough that we can briefly admire it before the holiday starts on Tuesday evening, but it’s not sitting around long enough that its temptation becomes unbearable for the small person. Also, I’m happy to say that in contrast to past years’ too-small boxes, where gifts were spilling over all over the place, this Rubbermaid behemoth was just right.

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Today is the day! Celebrating my birthday with @runDisney @CMNHospitals and @PCPgh

Today is the day! Celebrating my birthday with @runDisney @CMNHospitals and @PCPgh

IT IS MY BIRTHDAY.

lolcat birthday

I mean, if you haven’t heard me talk about it nonstop for at least the last seventeen days, well here you go! THE DAY IS TODAY!

office-birthday

And I just know everyone out in internet land has been looking forward to this day every bit as much as me! So here we are! HAPPY DAY!

So what am I doing to celebrate? Going to work. Having a practice group meeting over lunch. Ya know, keepin’ it real. But Mr. Beez and I will also be seeing a 3RFF movie with our friends at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, so that’s pretty cool.

But you know what would be SUPER COOL? Celebrating my birthday with me! I am clearly so shy and reserved. Which is why I’m flat-out unsubtly suggesting yinz get me birthday presents, specifically the birthday present of supporting me as I fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. You know, MONEY FOR THE SICK KIDS!

My family has been so incredibly lucky that Baby Beez has been a generally healthy kid. The worst we’ve gone through is that a couple years ago, she came down with croup. We had to go in to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s ER, and then she had the breathing treatment, and then she had to stay for observation overnight. And even though it was a fairly minor ailment in the universe of childhood ailments, it was still a scary moment. As parents, we felt out of control and scared, and all we wanted to do was make our little girl better but we couldn’t do that on our own. We were so blown away by the attention, care and kindness our whole family received at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Baby Beez was cared for with skill, and we as her confused and helpless parents were cared for so amazingly as well.

We have several friends who have children who have needed much more complex and frightening care. Children who have needed multiple surgeries, children who have been fighters from the day they were born, and children who must and will continue to fight every day. We are lucky that we have good insurance coverage, and that in our visit to Children’s Hospital, we didn’t have the added stress of trying to figure out how her care would be paid for. That’s why I’m asking you to help me raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals– to fund critical treatments, equipment and charity care for kids in our community.

I have committed to raising $1,200 for Children’s Miracle Network. I’ve put my money where my mouth is by contributing toward the commitment myself. I’m counting on you get me over the goal line. So instead of us going out for a drink or cup of coffee, please click on the image below to contribute to my Children’s Miracle Network fundraising campaign!

PS– If you contribute, I’ll write your name ON MY PANCE for the Half Marathon!

princess Half marathon

And since I know you are all looking for every possible opportunity to listen to me narrate all the things I think about all day, I have JUST the opportunity for you! I’ll be speaking at PodCamp Pittsburgh 9 this Sunday at 11am! I’ll be sharing about Finding Your Authentic Voice– how to express your true self, engage with your readers, grow your reader base, and even adjust that voice when the time and need is right. PodCamp Pittsburgh will be this Saturday and Sunday at Point Park University, and best of all– REGISTRATION IS FREE! So won’t you join me?

Podcamp9logo_header21


HAPPY NOVEMBER 18TH, YINZ.

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There she is, #MissAmerica

When a party’s a spinoff party, you know it’s gonna be good.

A few years ago, Sandy invited me to a Miss America party. The women who planned it had been throwing the party for many years, and decided they didn’t want to hold it anymore. After a year without pageant mockery, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I told Sandy we must must must throw a Miss America party ourselves! So we did!

The basic idea: All ladies party. Champagne a flowing. Since the pageant itself is on a Sunday night and we all work jobs where a Sunday night party is not a good idea, we DVR’d it, and threw the party the Saturday following the pageant. Each attendee signs up for a state, and builds a costume (whether pageant or state-themed is up to her). Each attendee brings a dish. There is a talent show. There are prizes. There is a crowning of Miss America. It is marvelous. And it was.

We started the evening with a marvelous red carpet. I was the reigning Miss America, and my job duties included looking faaaaabulous (look at that BIG HAIR) and crowning the winner!

Miss America

h/t to Rent the Runway for the faaaaabulous duds. Have you heard lately how much I love RTR? Now you have. Love it.

Our lovely guests began arriving, and with them, their lovely dishes. I didn’t think of this at the outset, but everyone made state-themed food! And it was amazing! Some things were the “official” adopted foods of the state, others were just very popular local dishes. My personal fav. of the night was the cheese with guava jelly rep’ing Puerto Rico. So good!

Miss America foods

Our emcee for the evening, Alex, did a great job of shepherding the festivities. We started things off with a little parade in the living room, each Miss announcing her state and the special features of her attire.

photo

Miss Missouri with the St. Louis Arch on her head, and Miss Idaho, covered in her state’s signature jewels!

Next up was the TALENT portion! We only had 4 or 5 participants, but this is the first year with this crowd, so that’s not bad for a start! Next year, I’m hoping we’ll have lots and lots and lots. I broke the talent show ice by lip synch ventriloquy to “Part of Your World” from the Little mermaid. Baby Beez spent most of the evening downstairs with daddy, watching Star Wars, but we did let her come up to enjoy the talent show. And enjoy it she did!

Miss Ohio's talent got nothin' on mine

Miss Ohio’s talent got nothin’ on mine


Miss Vermont did a stirring spoken word rendition of Whoomp! There it is!

WHOOMP

Then, after watching round after round of semifinalists getting the axe, it was time to crown the winner! Miss New York took home the crown, marking a 3 year reign for The Empire State.

Crowning

The group photo! Look at all these lovely ladies!!

Miss AmericaIt was so nice to be greeted with tons of facebook messages, text messages and emails about how much fun everyone had! The party simply killed it, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!!

As a sidenote, I won the best prize of the night, of literally having the best husband everrrrrr. The day of the party, he cleaned the whole house for me (while I ran around picking up last minute party essentials), even though he wasn’t even invited! he grabbed some snacks and some champagne and spent the evening in the playroom with Baby Beez, and didn’t complain in the least. And then, this is the sweetest part, after the party was over, I collapsed in bed because all that cleaning could wait til tomorrow. He, instead, stayed up and cleaned EVERYTHING up. And didn’t even yell at me about it (and doesn’t even seem to be mad!) He said he was happy I had a good party. Happy wife, happy life I suppose? In any event, I am #spoiledspoiledspoiled. #BestHusbandEverrrr