My cell phone thieves are uploading selfies to my cloud

On a recent trip to Seattle, I thought I lost my cell phone at the Space Needle. After GPSing my device, I saw a blue dot pulsating down a street no where near the 605 foot tower.

My Samsung Galaxy S4 was on the move. Without me.

Clearly, someone had stolen it. I bemoaned the loss of all my contacts, writing notes, reminders, pictures and more. Then I remembered that my photos automatically upload to my cloud, so maybe it wasn’t as bad because my pictures are what I valued most.

I checked the cloud and not only were my pictures there, but also images of strangers. There were shots of a young couple taking selfies while out to eat, in front of a Christmas display, at home with their pet bird and even snuggling in bed.

About two dozen pictures of these thieves in their 20s, with my damn phone. Some of the photos are blurry and upside down, we all know how it takes a bit of time to get used to a new phone. Others are roadside views of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. There’s also a few snapshots of a little girl.

The whole thing is frustrating. I know, cell phone theft and much worse happens every day. But still, those punks stole from me and now they’re out cavorting with my phone. Some people have no shame.

Anyway, check out this slideshow of my sticky-finger cellphone bandits and see if you recognize them. If you do, can you call the police and then give me a quick shout?

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Netflix #StreamTeam: Being thankful for friendships

I’m writing this post as a member of the Netflix Stream Team and have been compensated for it, but as always all opinions are my own.

It’s the time of year where people are talking about the things that they are thankful for and in talking to my 7-year-old he said he was thankful for his friends.

We’ve been in Portland for a year and a half and though it’s had it’s ups and downs, I’m glad Logan hasn’t had trouble making friends. Part of it is his personality and the other part is I’ve admittedly become the kind of mom that I swore I wouldn’t: The Overscheduler.

In an effort to meet folks, I dove us head first into football, soccer, swimming, Cub Scouts, day camps, blah blah blah. I’ve since scaled back a lot, which is much better for my sanity, but we have made some good friends in the process.

Netflix has agreed to do a spin-off of this Emmy-nominated series that my kids love.

Netflix has agreed to do a spin-off of this Emmy-nominated series that my kids love.

While talking with Logan about his friends, we went on an interesting tangent, as that often happens. This time it went to the friendships on the TV shows he likes to watch. For example, Logan and his 3-year-old brother have stumbled into Justin Time on Netflix. It’s an Emmy-nominated show about a kid who runs into some sort of trouble like how to work as a team or staying focused. Then Justin and his bud Squidgy solve the problem through time-travel adventures with their friend Olive.

Even though it’s aimed at preschoolers, both of my kids love it. I think the creators are on to something because earlier this month, Netflix announced it’s creating a Justin Time spinoff to start streaming in 2016.

The other shows that are in high rotation in our Kid stream are Wild Kratts and Phineas and Ferb.

I actually like these series and the way they show how friends can help friends solve problems together. If you haven’t seen them yet, check em out. Honestly, a few weeks ago was the first time I’d heard of Justin Time, but whenever the boys watch it, they snuggle up on the couch or bed, take turns holding the Kindle and giggle throughout the episode.

The sound is music to my ears.


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Wordless Wednesday: The Three Loves of My Life

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Relax, Relate, Release: The Friends in Barbados

Every year a group of women who met in college fly from all over the U.S. to, as Whitley Gilbert said, “Relax, relate, release!”

And I’m so fortunate to be counted among this tribe. Three years ago, we went to Bermuda, then it was Belize, and last year was Turks. I didn’t go to Turks because we had recently moved to Portland and it just wasn’t a good time for my family.

But this year, it was awn! Wild dogs couldn’t keep me away. In the weeks leading up to vacation, the group, which we call “The Friends,” were chomping at the bit to leave. Some girls were already packed a month before the trip. Not me, I finished packing as the taxi pulled into my driveway. (No lie.)

Dinner at The Beach House restaurant.

Dinner at The Beach House restaurant.

That’s the thing about us. We’re all so different, but we compliment each other perfectly. Some of us are hard-charging, uber-organized Type As, while others are more go-with-the-flow and whimsical. Many of us fall somewhere in between. We’ve got business executives, doctors, lawyers, members of the military, stay-at-home moms, single moms, not-yet-moms, married, single-and-fabulous, obviously we run the gamut.

Straight kickin' it at the Oistins fish fry.

Straight kickin’ it at the Oistins fish fry.

One of our core values is friendship. We value our group for its fantasticality and each other for who we are. One of the girl’s signature line is that “My friends are my family.” And I can say that I deeply love these girls and I feel they love me too. They’re the ones who don’t care that you do the ugly cry, will jump on stage with you to shake it even if though they’re the shy type, or they retrieve you from drinking with a group of thugs at a fish fry. (Don’t ask.)

In Turks, The Friends started a tradition where toward the end of each vacation we set two to three goals for ourselves to achieve by the time the next #girlztrip rolls around. To keep each other accountable, a group text messaging thread (is that what you call it?) was created.

What started out as positive, reinforcement and tips for better living, transformed into sharing the ups and downs of our daily lives. That in turn, brought us closer together.

When we met this year, most of us had achieved many of our goals of losing weight, getting promotions at work or advanced certifications and then we set new ones. I’m already excited for next year’s trip so we can see how far each of us has come.

It’s great that The Friends push each other to be better, smarter and happier. For me the best part of the trip was getting back in touch with myself. Connecting with these girls who know me so well brought me closer to me. I know that sounds strange, but it was really needed as I still feel like such an outsider in Portland. It’s getting better, but slowly.

At least I know that on the hard days, my besties are only a text away.

Dinner at Zen, which had the best sushi I've ever eaten. Ever.

Dinner at Zen, which had the best sushi I’ve ever eaten. Ever.

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Wordless Wednesday: A View From Above in Barbados

The Crane resort's private section of the beach in Barbados.

The Crane resort’s private section of the beach in Barbados.

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Netflix Makes Parenthood’s Final Season Not So Sad

You know how most of the people on TV are pretty, skinny and reflect the so-called vision of perfection? And how we’re not supposed to want to emulate that?

Let’s be real. Not admiring them is easy to say, hard to do. But there’s one TV show that I don’t mind trying to emulate: Parenthood. Hubby and I love that show. If you haven’t seen it/don’t know about it, it’s on NBC and focuses on the Bravermans.

Parenthood is a "dramedy" on NBC that first aired in March 2010.

Parenthood is a “dramedy” on NBC that first aired in March 2010.

They’re a family headed by patriarch Zeek and his wife Camille. They’ve got four adult children, Adam, the responsible one; Sarah, the free-wheeling single mom with questionable judgment; Julia, the hard-charging lawyer; and Crosby, the artsy musician who’s married to a black woman.

Then there’s their nine grandchildren, and we’re introduced to those ups and downs. Living with Asperger’s, first loves, first broken hearts, bullying, racism, drugs, pregnancy, the show walks the characters through such challenges.

This is the final season of Parenthood, but thanks to the magic of Netflix, I can still watch the Bravermans. I look forward to reliving the good ol’ days between Julia and her husband, Joel. The perfect tone the writers hit in depicting a biracial family that looks like mine. The closeness between Sarah’s kids, Amber and Drew.

I feel like they have the perfect family in that their family bond is strong, seemingly impenetrable. They have big gatherings, they share each other’s business, they’re messy, they say the wrong things, do the wrong things, but all have unconditional love for one another.


To me, that’s what family is about. I like a recent scene where Amber told Zeek that she was unexpectedly pregnant. She was bracing herself for his judgment, but the only thing that came forth was his tears of happiness.

I like the intergenerational connectivity. I sure hope that my grandchild is comfortable enough to talk with me about such tough topics. I certainly never would have discussed that with my grandfather. That’s not a knock on him, he was one of the nicest, most generous souls you’d ever meet. I’d just never tell him I got knocked up, I’d be a punk and let the family rumor mill handle that one.

But with Amber and Zeek, it was a great moment and made me hope that one day I could have that. For it would mean I had a solid relationship with my adult children, and their own children and even maybe a great-grandchild.

I know that no family is perfect, but in my book, the Bravermans, especially with all of their flaws, are pretty dang close.

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Escaping to Hood River for the Hopsfest

It’s been too long. It really has. It’s been too long since I’ve written. My writing is the lifeblood of me and I’ve been too caught up in my busy-ness that I’ve been neglecting it and thusly me.

We were in Hood River this past weekend, seeking a nice respite from the demands on our time and attention. Hubby had been in India for nearly two weeks, and when he came back last week, he immediately jumped into work. I’m not sure how he does it, he was jet-lagged, but powered through his work day, soccer games and helping out around the house.

After flying solo for so long while he was more than half way across the world, I too was tired. I had a smattering of friends help out here and there, but no where near as much help as my life partner.

Hopsfest is a one-day festival where you can enjoy more than 65 draft beers.

Hopsfest is a one-day festival where you can enjoy more than 65 draft beers.

Once the weekend hit, we couldn’t wait to get out of Dodge to decompress and reconnect. Our reason for going that weekend is because it was Hopsfest, an annual celebration of beer. More than 40 local, regional and national breweries provide about 65 different beers on tap. We went last year and it mostly rained. We didn’t much mind, we find the Pacific Northwest rains charming, just a characteristic of the region.

A lot of people here are annoyed by or get angry at the rain. Lot of good it does them.

We got here on Friday about 5 p.m., Hubby had wanted to get here around 3 p.m. but I signed up to oversee our school’s biggest fundraiser and we’re in crunch time. I had to finish up a couple of must-haves with the school fundraiser and things related to our Cub Scout pack. (Yeah, we joined last year.)

You never know what you'll see at Hopsfest.

You never know what you’ll see at Hopsfest.

But Hopsfest was fun, Hubby went in the late morning for his VIP early entrance. As the beer drinker of the family he should maximize his time at the one-day festival. Me and the boys hung out at this sleek and sensible home built by an urban planner. I admittedly was emailing/texting/Facebooking for a couple of hours Saturday to iron out some wrinkles with my Scout responsibilities.

But soon I unplugged and we were off! The festival was fun, I did my usual swing by the Naked Winery booth. Since I don’t like beer, the festival is really pearls for swine when it comes to me, but I thoroughly enjoy the lone wine booth.

My favorite boot at Hopsfest, Naked Winery.

My favorite boot at Hopsfest, Naked Winery.

I also got lost in checking out the vendors and their wares. The Old Trunk had old album covers and neck ties turned into totes, and a different vendor had old children’s books rebound and filled with blank paper, transforming them into journals. What’s old was new again.

Album-covers converted to totes.

Album covers for bags.

But the best part was unplugging from the busyness and plugging into each other. We laughed, talked and acted silly.

Some of my favorite moments were:

  • While walking from the house we rented to downtown Hood River, we started singing. I swear this came well before the first drop of alcohol, but we began belting out one of Ethan’s favorite songs: Capitol Cities’ Safe and Sound. Soon Hubby found the song on his phone and played it while we danced and sang down the street. It reminded me a bit of the Whiz.


  • Logan and I had a long talk about friendship. How that just because he’s in Portland, all of his friends in Chicago are still his friends and when he sees them again, it’ll be like old times.
  • Listening to the boys laugh maniacally while playing in the loft.
  • Gasping for breath as the funniest man I know was cracking jokes. I’m glad I married him.

It was as if we were back in Chicago, like old times. What was old, was new again and boy did it feel good.



A view from the loft in our lovely Hood River home-away-from home.

A view from the loft in our lovely Hood River home-away-from home.



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BlogHer Recap: Growing your blog, kissing Piper and talking Scandal with Kerry Washington

I’ve sat down to write this post a few times, but there’s so much to say I’m honestly not sure where to begin. My journalism self demands: Get to the point!

And that in itself is hard. I recently went to the BlogHer conference and I learned more about my craft, was so inspired by my peers and reveled in the greatness of being without my Hubby and kids. Having time away from my everyday cleared space to think about where I want She’sWrite to go and how I can get there. I’m sure ya’ll don’t want to hear about my navel-gazing so I’ll share with you some of the conference highlights.

  • My friends. This undoubtedly is my favorite part of any conference. Who doesn’t like to reconnect with old buddies? I’m still homesick for Chicago, so this was an especially lovely treat. Plus I always love meeting new people, and the atmosphere at BlogHer makes it so it’s easy to find kindred spirits. I met a slew of them. The first post-conference blog that I wrote was about them. I’ll share that with you guys later this week.
My girls, Natasha from and Dwana from

My girls, Natasha from and Dwana from

  • Netflix. This wasn’t an official BlogHer activity, but as a member of Netflix’s Stream Team, we got to tour their oh-so-cool headquarters, ask executives questions and meet the real Piper from Orange Is The New Black. I even kissed Piper Kerman! #teamnoshame

Smooches! This is Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is The New Black.

This is Piper Kerman, a good sport and author of Orange Is The New Black.

  • Kerry Washington. She spoke at one of the keynote sessions and it was refreshing to hear her anxiousness on going back to work as a new mom as well as her passion for being politically active. That was instilled in her when she was young. Her parents even took her out to dinner to celebrate the first time she was able to vote.
The beautiful and humble actress Kerry Washington, well-known for her lead role in Scandal.

The beautiful and humble actress Kerry Washington, well-known for her lead role in Scandal.

  • VOTY! Voices of the Year celebrates some of the best blog posts in BlogHer Land. I always enjoy anything that recognizes quality, heart-felt writing. Last year I was one of the lucky ones who got to read her essay before the crowd and this year I was able to take in others’ soul-baring essays.
Meet Janelle, the mom behind Renegade Mothering. Besides being a VOTY reader, she was my insta-soulmate.

Meet Janelle, the mom behind Renegade Mothering. Besides being a VOTY reader, she was my insta-soulmate.

  • Arianna Huffington. I wouldn’t say this is a highlight of the conference, but it was one of the more notable moments. At a keynote she was talking about her newest book, “Thrive.” She was making all of these platitudes about women and how strong we are and we have to make sure that we’re well-rested before we do anything else. And for me it fell flat. Here was this woman who was advising a room full of sleep-deprived moms to rest. Most of us don’t lack sleep because we want to walk around like zombies. It’s a peril of the mom job. Not to mention we’re all bloggers and The Huffington Post does not pay its bloggers. I couldn’t get over that. How does a blogger “thrive” under such a pay structure? Still yet, many women were inspired by her talk, gave her a standing applause when she was finished and hordes of them scrambled to get inline for their autographed copy of her new book. So who knows, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to hear her message.
Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post and Guy Kawasaki, an early Apple executive.

Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post and Guy Kawasaki, an early Apple executive.

  • I’m Enough campaign. I met a kickass rocker chic who had amazing shoes and a even-more-amazing perspective on what it means to be “enough.” She’s the driving force behind The Mrs. band and she plays the drums. I can’t wait to share more with you on their #imenough project.
Andra Liemandt of The Mrs. band, a rockin' group from Austin, Texas.

Andra Liemandt of The Mrs. band, a rockin’ group from Austin, Texas.

  • Celebrity sightings. OK. Confession time. I do enjoy me some vapid entertainment. After a rough day, instead of treating myself to something sweet to eat, I like to buy what I call “Mind Candy.” Those celebrity magazines. Anyway, Khloe Kardashian was there, the line to get a picture with her was astronomically long. I just took a few pics from the sidelines. I also got a pic with David Tutera, who has amazing eyebrows! But the best was Rev. Run. He was DJed a set at the closing party. All I kept thinking while shaking my groove thang was “There’s Rev. Run! There’s Rev. Run!”
Me and David Tutera, wedding planner extraordinaire. Khloe Kardashian waiting for pictures with her fans.

Me and David Tutera, wedding planner extraordinaire. Khloe Kardashian waiting for pictures with her fans.


Rev. Run at the closing party. Photo by CrunchyMetroMom.

Rev. Run at the closing party. Photo by CrunchyMetroMom.

Even though it was only a weekend, so much was packed into it, BlogHer felt like a week-long event. I’m still digesting all the little nuggets I learned and connections I made. Are you ready to come along with me as I work to grow my blog? I’m sure it’ll be a fun, quirky adventure.

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Mom bullied at the beach for wearing a bikini

It was my friend’s first time in a bikini in 13 years. She was on the beach in Alberta, Canada with her two kids, relaxing under the sun when three people began to taunt her.

“It started with, ‘oh my god, look. Look! That’s f—— gross!’” Tanis Jex-Blake wrote in a private Facebook group we share. She opened her eyes to see what the commotion was to find two guys and a girl standing above her. They were talking about her body and specifically the stretch marks she’s earned for giving birth to five amazing kids.

My friend, a mom of 5, was taunted for wearing a bikini at the beach.

My friend, a mom of 5, was taunted for wearing a bikini at the beach.

Needless to say, my friend was crushed. Hours later she turned to our Facebook group that consists of moms who all had due dates of August 2007. She told us what happened, and shared her plan to post about it on Facebook.

Naturally, we were outraged. Not only that these three idiots hurt our friend, but because their behavior was disgusting. It showed a lack of knowledge and respect for women and our bodies and all of their beautiful shapes and sizes. How would they feel if someone did that to their mom? Or their sister?

It’s ridiculous that we’re so used to seeing picture perfect bodies on TV, the Internet and in magazines that we forget what real women’s bodies look like. Not to mention, thanks to photo editing, makeup and other tricks those women don’t even look like what’s depicted in the final product.

We’re starting to see more images in the public eye that reflect real women’s bodies. But we need more. Not to mention with all the hoopla over Hollywood’s latest baby bump, we need to celebrate all women whose bellies have been stretched to basically be studio apartments and whose breasts have nourished the previous tenants. It’s a beautiful reality of life.

Since Tanis put up her post,  she’s been overwhelmed by all of the positive feedback.

“I think it’s resonating with so many people, because all of us have been judged at some point in life, with by ourselves, people we know, or strangers,” she said. “And I’m sure every single person who has ever been bullied has thought ‘I should have said this, or I should have said that.’ Well, I did, albeit after the fact. Also, I’m just your average person, my body isn’t perfect, but it has done some amazing things.”

She’s even decided to team up with some other moms in her area to host a post-baby bikini sit-in to encourage moms to be proud of their bodies. I’m certainly proud of my girl. Tanis, keep on, keepin’ on.

Below is her original post:

“This is an open letter to the 2 guys and 1 girl who decided to skip work today in Sherwood Park where they were building a house, but instead decided to come to Alberta Beach to relax in the sun, enjoy the water and some beers.

I’m sorry if my first attempt at sun tanning in a bikini in public in 13 years “grossed you out”. I’m sorry that my stomach isn’t flat and tight. I’m sorry that my belly is covered in stretch marks. I’m NOT sorry that my body has housed, grown, protected, birthed and nurtured FIVE fabulous, healthy, intelligent and wonderful human beings. I’m sorry if my 33 year old, 125 lb body offended you so much that you felt that pointing, laughing, and pretending to kick me. But I’ll have you know that as I looked at your ‘perfect’ young bodies, I could only think to myself “what great and amazing feat has YOUR body done?”.

I’ll also have you know that I held my head high, unflinching as you mocked me, pretending that what you said and did had no effect on me; but I cried in the car on the drive home. Thanks for ruining my day. It’s people like you who make this world an ugly hateful place. I can’t help but feel sorry for the women who will one day bear your children and become “gross” in your eyes as their bodies change during the miraculous process of pregnancy. I can only hope that one day you’ll realize that my battle scars are something to be proud of, not ashamed of.”

Posted in Appetizer for Life, Health and Beauty, Motherhood, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Best friends at the beach

Best friends on vacation in Netarts Bay, Oregon.

Best friends on vacation in Netarts Bay, Oregon.

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