This is Where I Meet Hot Country Rockstars, Go To #BlogHer16 & Say Awesome A Lot

The Definition of awesome

“Just so you know, I’m not going to be available for anything remotely domestic or marital related for at least a week,” I said to Dave on the first day of August.

“And that makes this week different than any other week, how?” he snarked.

Yeah, and you thought I was the funny one. (I am.)

It was actually a lie, because I had no plans on Tuesday, so I did fulfill the domestic/marital duty of making dinner and was even nice enough to do the dishes, but that’s where I drew the line. His sassy comment meant he wasn’t getting lucky. (Plus it was Tuesday. What kind of married people get busy on a Tuesday after 22 years of sharing the same last name?)

But, I digress.

The first day of August, marked my first week of having anything at all to do this summer. Yes, that’s right, all summer long I’ve been a Facebook voyeur, watching my friends travel to marvelous places like Cancun, Barbados, Costa Rica, shit even “just” Oregon while I’ve been working all day, only to go home and lose brain cells watching the Bachelorette. (Don’t judge – and if you subscribed to my newsletter you’d know why.)

And as JoJo and Jordan start their new life together (or the next six months, which is about as long as I give them), I too have finally started my new life. Or, at least (less dramatically and more truthfully) I’ve finally started to have some fun this summer.

It’s gone a little something like this:

Monday, August 1st: Cards Against Humanity

My writing group got together and played the ever awesome Cards Against Humanity where tough choices like this had to be made.

Cards Against Humanity White People Like
The answer is obvious.

There was a lot of laughing. And drinking. And even some crying (because we love each other that much). I got home at 1AM. (Yeah, this suburban mom’s has gone rockstar.)

Tuesday, August 2nd: Got My Ass Up After Five Hours of Sleep & Went to Work Like a Boss

Reverted to my boring suburban ways as noted above (i.e. watched season finale of The Bachelorette.)

Wednesday, August 3rd: Cetaphil Party at Cool Celebrity-Owned Restaurant

I was lucky enough to get invited to a party for awesome and influential bloggers thrown by Cetphil. And by invited I mean I was the awesome and influential Kim Tracy Prince’s plus one. The party was at Jessica Biel’s Aw Fudge on Melrose where everyone who works there looks like (and probably is) a model. (Seriously people, the servers are HOT!) The party was top notch. I learned all about Cetaphil (which, BTW, my kids’ pediatrician has always recommended for them), met some fantastic people including Whit Honea (he’s awesome – read his stuff) and Fab Mom Jill Simonian, and got a bitchen swag bag from Cetaphil that included these that literally saved my life (or at least my face) this week full of late nights.

#Cetaphil #MyCetaphilFamily
This is how you throw a product party – with plenty of swag and sangria! #MyCetaphilFamily

Thursday, August 4th: #BlogHer16 Expo

I hooked up again with the awesome (and influential) Kim Tracy Prince where we met our friend Rina Baraz Nehdar at the #BlogHer16 Expo.

#BlogHer16 Expo
Hanging with Rina and Kim at the #BlogHer16 Expo

For those of you who don’t know, BlogHer a website that hosts the world’s largest conference for women bloggers and content creators. (And yes, men can go too. If they want.) This is serious business people. Some of the sponsors were Go DaddyHerbalife, Staples, Go Rving and Best Buy; and this year’s keynote speakers included Sheryl Crow and Kim Kardashian West (I know, but seriously, if I had been able to shove a copy of Frosted Cowboy in her hand so I could snap a picture and post it on Instagram do not think for one second that I wouldn’t have done it) among many, many others. Thursday night, attendees were invited to a huge expo hall where companies wooed bloggers with their wares. We were given huge (and heavy) swag bags upon entry that included everything from Vagisil to vitamins to VELCRO to vibrators. (Okay, I might or might not have stood in line at a booth to get the vibrator.)

BlogHer16 Swag Bag Tweet

 

I got to meet many women IRL (including the Awesome Angela Amman pictured in the pink blouse in the top of this post) that I’d only known online and the complimentary wine was surprisingly tasty. My favorite item in my swag bag was this beautiful necklace from Saressa Designs  supplied by a company called The Artisan Group who bring small craft items to celebrities. (So I guess that means I’m a celebrity now!)

baby bezel pendant from saressa designs
My new favorite necklace. (I’m wearing it in the top photo and the photo below.)

Friday, August 5th: Old Dominion at The Ventura County Fair

I had to skip BlogHer (and Kim Kardashian) so I could see Old Dominion play at the Ventura County Fair with my friend Simmah. And if you are not familiar with them, do yourself a huge favor and listen to their album, Meat and Candy NOW. It’s so good! I entered to win a Meet and Greet pass on their website and the music gods were smiling on me because I won!

Old Dominion Meet And Greet
Hot country rockstars & happy me!

And even though this is by no means my first backstage rodeo, I was nervous and giddy and forgot to tell them how awesome they were at Stagecoach in my allotted 60 seconds with them, but I did tell them how much I loved their songwriting and in particular how the song Nowhere Fast gives me all the feels. (Like, seriously, it’s so good!) And then I told them they really suck at Twitter. (I told you, I was nervous. Plus, they really are very bad at Twitter.) They were awesome though, so nice. I’m pretty sure they all want me. (Don’t all hot country rockstars secretly pine away for 50-year-old suburban women who babble on non-stop for 60 seconds at a meet and greet?)

Old Dominion Matthew Ramsey Meet and Greet
Matthew Ramsey totally checking me out. Or defending the band’s lameness on Twitter. In my perfect world both these statements are true.

Saturday, August 6th: #BlogHer16 Convention

I got my tired ass out of bed much earlier than I wanted to attend the final day of the BlogHer convention with Rina and Kim. I’m talking a marathon thirteen hour day.

There was delicious food, engaging keynote speakers, informative workshops, and tons of schmoozing. The convention has such a fantastic energy. Highlights for me were the “The Pitch,” where five innovative women pitched their businesses in hopes of earning a $50,000 prize, hearing Lucy McBath of Mothers of the Movement tell her heartbreaking story, listening to Mayim Bialik talk about her website GrokNation and watching the pilot episode of the Amazon Prime show One Mississippi  and the Q&A with the show’s star and creator Tig Notaro afterwards.

And then there was dancing. From 6-9 we took over the Conga Room at La Live and partied like rockstars. Or, like suburban moms in a club before it was even dark outside who were happy to be on a dance floor letting loose after a long weekend instead of at home cooking dinner for our families. (Which is kind of like being a rockstar, right?)

Sunday, August 7th: Warped Tour

Speaking of rockstars, I did not sleep all day Sunday like most people would after a week like I had. No, I got up like the baller that I am and took Marley to the Warped Tour in Pomona which 65 miles from my house and was about two degrees cooler than the surface of the sun. If you are unfamiliar with the Warped Tour you must not have a teenager who likes to listen to music where the word “singing” should be replaced with “screaming.” (Lucky you!)

So, yes, I am freaking Mother of the Year. And I looked like it too. After a week of looking totally cute for country rockstars and parties I put on the most suburban “Suburban Mom Running Errands” outfit I could find – a brightly colored tank top, baggy shorts, this cute baseball hat, and tennis shoes and stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of black. (And no, you do not get a photo of that!)

The good news is, I have friends in high places and after a little bit of confusion (and maybe some begging) was able to score a wristband that gave me all access backstage where I was able to find a lovely couch under a tree at the commissary patio and sat there all afternoon reading my book. (Yes, I brought a book!)

Okay, maybe I’m not such a rockstar after all. But I don’t care. I ‘d earned the rest.

 

P.S. If you have read this entire post the real rockstar is YOU! It’s so freaking long. Thanks for sticking with me. You’re awesome!

 

Thanksgiving is Over but I’m Still Thankful

My Thanksgiving this year was lovely. We went to my aunt and uncle’s house and I ate enough turkey and carbs to fuel a small country for a week. Okay, I’m exaggerating. Obviously. I didn’t eat that much turkey.

Chandler is away at college in Washington D.C. and didn’t come home. It’s too far, too expensive, and he’ll be home in two weeks for winter break. He was invited to my friend’s for dinner (she lives in Virginia) and to a couple of teammates houses for the weekend, but declined all offers and stayed in the dorms with what seemed like very few others. (Most of the kids at his school are east coasters.) He wasn’t sad, so I tried not to be sad even though he probably had Easy Mac & microwave popcorn for dinner. I missed him like crazy but am so thankful he is living his dream.

Because I knew what I’d be eating, I went to the 5:30 AM boot camp class on Wednesday and the 90 minute 7:00 AM boot camp class on Thanksgiving Day, but skipped the 5:30 AM boot camp class on Friday morning and went on a hike with my friend Rita instead. (Not at 5:30 AM in case you’re wondering.) We were supposed to do a five-mile loop, but got lost twice and according to my step-keeper walked over ten miles. Then we went to brunch. Saturday I went to kickboxing, but Sunday I blew off my walk with my running group. Yes, you read that correctly, I said, walk with my running group. Some of us are walking now. Don’t judge. Walking is better for you anyway. Want proof? Read this article. (And ignore the fact that it has a picture of an old lady mature woman running.) I am thankful that at age 50 I am able to move my body so much. (Even if I was too tired to move it on Sunday morning.)

Mature woman jogging on beach
Quit running, old lady – it’s bad for you!

 

Friday night Dave, Marley and I went over to Rita’s house for pie and games. Rita’s sister was there with her eight year old daughter and Rita’s neighbor came over too. We played Guesstures, which is basically charades. When the game was over and Rita’s sister and niece left, instead of leaving like good people and good parents Marley convinced us to stay so we could play Cards Against Humanity. I knew what it was, but had never played before, and really should know better about letting Marley talk me into such things. If you are unfamiliar with the game their slogan is: A party game for horrible people. The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card. It’s like Apples to Apples, but wrong. So very, very wrong.

Here are some examples of the combinations you might come up with:

cards-against-humanity-question-and-answer-card
So wrong!

 

cards-against-humanity-question-and-answer-card
Even wronger! (Yes, I know that’s not a real word.)

 

cards-against-humanity-question-and-answer-card
Actually, this one is kind of right!

 

These are actually some pretty tame combinations. If I screenshotted some of the more risque ones I’d forever live in fear of child protective services knocking on my door. But Marley has played the game before. (At school!) And as we all know, there are some parents that buy booze for their kid’s parties because “everybody does it” and “all kids drink anyway” (newsflash: everybody does NOT and all kids DON’T). I’m not that parent. So if I play a party game with my fifteen year old where possible answers could be assless chaps or foreskin, I guess I’m not the worst parent in the world (and I’m thankful for that).

Saturday night we went to my friend Arlyne’s for her annual Saturday night Thanksgiving and steal-the-presents bingo. Rita was there and Lisa (who says I never write about her in my blog) was there which meant I laughed a lot, because Arlyne and Rita and Lisa always make me laugh. Once again I ate too much and drank too much, but felt so happy and blessed that a retail job in the 80’s netted me life-long friendships with some amazingly awesome people.

Sunday I’d like to say that I detoxed, but I had leftover butternut squash lasagna and cheesecake for breakfast and two glasses of wine with dinner. I did do laundry and wrote a little (very little) and dusted the TV. It was a lazy day. After dinner Dave and I watched the movie About Timewhich was written and directed by Richard Curtis, who wrote and directed Love Actually. (Which everyone knows is one of the best movies ever!) I loved it (British humor is the best) and balled like a baby at the sentimentality of it. At 9:00 I was too tired to watch The Walking Dead and was so thankful for my DVR.

My life is not perfect. In fact, if you want to know the truth it is riddled with problems and stress and is oftentimes hard. (Like, impossibly fucking hard.) But every day I take the time to recognize what I am thankful for, both big and small.

The beauty of the sunrise or a desert flower in a parking lot planter.

desert flower
Finding beauty in everyday places. (And then snapping blurry pictures of it with my cellphone.)

 

The laughter I experience when I’m with my good friends.

A gym with kick-ass classes and kick-ass people.

Children who are happy and healthy.

A husband who still makes me laugh and think even after knowing him for over 26 years.

Parents who are healthy. And wonderful.

Music that makes me sing along and dance in the kitchen. (Did I forget to tell you about Marley catching me dancing and singing in the kitchen when I was making sweet potatoes?)

My Snuggie that keeps me warm as I binge watch TV.

Wine that is cheap, but still pretty damn good.

cheap wine that is good
Bargain wine from Costco – cheap and delicious

 

No, my life is not perfect, far from it. But it’s also pretty wonderful. Really wonderful. I know that I am so lucky. And I choose to be thankful for all that I have – big and small. Not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

Every. Single. Day.

 

Photo credit of mature woman: here