My Bizzaro DIY Mother’s Day Gifts-


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An Atypical Mother’s Day Present

I do love flowers, don’t get me wrong. I love chocolate too, and a day at the spa–well, that’s something I simply adore.  I’ve only had two Mother’s Days (not including the one where I was pregnant). In those two years I’ve watched my awesome hubby struggle with what kind of gift to get me. I mean, what kind of present really expresses how much someone means to you? Big G really is a sentimental guy at his core, and doesn’t ever want to do half-step anything. So this year, when he was asking me about Mother’s Day, during what I secretly call the pre-holiday interview, I mentioned that I wanted something that was going to last. I’m not big on jewelery, and getting an appliance as a gift sends my inner feminist into an angry whirlwind, so we discussed getting a tattoo.

At first Big G wasn’t a big fan, but as the conversation progressed I began to explore how grateful I am to even be a mother at all. After all, the whole reason we decided to have Little G was because after some regular exams brought back an unfavorable test result, my doctor’s recommended treatment had a significant chance of making it impossible for me to carry a pregnancy to term. “If you want to have a baby, I’ll let you put off treatment for a year, but that’s as far as I’m willing to wait,” my doctor told me. I remember the way I felt as if a clock was ticking down the moments until I would have to be treated, and how scared I was that I didn’t get pregnant the first month we tried. Once we were pregnant we moved onto worrying about moving before I was too pregnant to handle it. The walls of my one bedroom apartment began to close in on me as my belly grew larger, but we found a way. We always find a way to get by, and if we don’t find a way, we make one. It’s the best part of our family. The end of my pregnancy was torture. I had kidney stones twice. While treating them we discovered that Little G was breach, and didn’t look like she was planning to move. I cried as the water birth plans we’d made began to fade away. Twice doctors tried to turn her, a pretty uncomfortable and unnerving procedure that is pretty much what it sounds like, they push your baby from the outside, guided by an ultrasound, to get her into position. The first doctor hadn’t clipped her nails and my belly was covered in scratches and my confidence was bruised. The second time we were warned that should she not turn, we were going directly into the operating room for a cesarean. The night before was awful. Both of us were scared. Both of us were disappointed that the birth we’d wanted was not taking place, and most of all, both of us were worried about our Little unborn G.

No, the turning didn’t work, and, yes I ended up having a c-section. It wasn’t what I’d planned, but it was still one of the most incredible things I’d ever experienced. One minute we were a family of two, and a moment later we were three. Big G, Little G, and me. But that was only the beginning. Adjusting to motherhood was difficult. Trying to breastfeed was a painful disaster. Trying to stop breastfeeding was just as bad. Formula was expensive, finances were tight, and then there was the fear. SIDS, viruses, vaccines. I would sit perfectly still at night listening to the sounds of her stirring in her bassinet, just so I knew she was alive. If she was too still I’d get up and run my finger along her hand to see her reaction. I was constantly convinced she’d died. I was never withdrawn from her, but post partum depression didn’t leave me unscathed. I cried in the shower, sad about the scar across my belly. But I got through it. We found a way.

Motherhood and marriage has it’s ups and downs, and my experiences have been no different. We always find a way…or we make one. We are built to survive.

So after research and several long talks, we found something we liked. A quote by Hannibal who was faced with crossing the Alps- Aut inveniam viam aut faciam” – “Either I will find a way or I will make one”.  Once we read it, it was decided.

Now that you’ve heard the story, tell me what you think of my Mother’s Day present:

Creamy baked penne with chicken

Photobucket

Metzger 4–Thanks for the Memories…RIP J.

I’m not sure what prompted me to do it. Boredom maybe. I was tooling around Facebook reading statuses of people I knew a lifetime ago. I guess that sparked curiosity. I typed an old friend’s name into the Facebook search bar and when I started reading his wall I saw messages from his friends’ and family speaking about how much they miss him, and what a wonderful person he was. The past tense told me that my old friend had died. Scrolling back I saw that his last post was in October.

I hadn’t spoken to him in years. I think the last time we’d communicated was right before he got married a few years back. I remember seeing people post congratulations on his wall. During one of my periodic friends list clean ups I’d deleted him. Our lives were in different places. It seemed silly to expose him to my banal status updates, and I’m not a big fan of people I don’t really know, having such intimate knowledge of my family. I was happy to know he was happy. There was no need for anything more.

I find myself very affected by this new knowledge. It really feels like there is one less light on in the world, and it makes me sad to know he’s gone. More than sad, though, I’m feeling extremely nostalgic as I remember him, and the adventures we had together. He was a significant character during a very significant year of my life.

It was some random twist of life that brought him into my life. In fact, a random twist that brought us all together as college freshman back in 1999. We were living on a campus that was unofficially designated for the Engineering majors, but also acted as overflow from the Main Campus. I was there because that college was not my first choice. On the very last day of the deadline I accepted the space they’d offered me. I’d wanted to go somewhere else, and spend an entire summer convincing myself that I’d made the right decision. Had I accepted earlier, I’d probably lived on College Ave, but my lateness secured me a triple on Metzger 4. When I moved in that first day, tucking my pink plaid comforter over the matching sheets, I had no idea what kind of mayhem laid before me.

I can’t speak for other people’s freshman experiences, but mine was filled with a cast of characters who would each imprint themselves on my life. One thing was for sure, there was copious amounts of alcohol involved. I rubbed the backs of numerous floormates as they puked the contents of the night into a garbage can. There were drunken confessions made to one another, about fears, virginities still in tact, unrequited loves. There were immature wars between the Koreans, who clung together from the start, and the rest of the floor. There was napster and photoshop. Naive forrays into the mysteries of casual sex, and one night stands would take place. Pranks. Drinking challenges. Puzzles to be solved. I won’t call it the best year of my life, but if I had to choose one year to relive, this year would be in my top five. It wasn’t all fun and games. Rivalries were formed, alliances made, feelings hurt, relationships torn apart. Furniture was destroyed, windows broken, incredible messes made, and fires were literally set. It was amazing, and terrible and something I enjoy thinking about despite it, and because of it all. It was a coming of age year, for lots of us. Virginities were lost. People came out of the closet. Identities began to bloom. At least one person met their wife that year.

J. was a friend in the most platonic sense. He was devoted to his girlfriend, and I was…well I just had my sights set on other guys. Although the whole floor was incredibly amicable (minus the Korean mafia), we tended to group together. I had a complicated relationship with one of the guys on the floor, and would spend most of my time in his room, with his roommate(who went home to his girlfriend every weekend). They’d both graduated from the same high school and had an incredibly delightful bantering relationship. Somewhere along the line J. completed the foursome. He was a comedic addition, whose mischief added a much needed punch to our lives.  We’d all hang out in R. & E.’s room, at first spending hours trying to figure out the math puzzle E had created. There was a message within a pattern of letters he’d hung like a border on his side of he room. J. would change their computer password, using the screensaver to leave them a clue to what the new one would be. He masterminded pranks, painting dirty pictures with detergent on the walls of their room, so it was only visible under the new blacklight they’d installed. Once we removed all of R’s furniture from the room, and even changed the answering machine message so it was just E’s room.

He totally ignored the rule that freshman weren’t allowed to have cars, and we would go on late night driving adventures, sometimes stealing pumpkins from the lawns of the nearby homes, one time coming home with a plastic Joseph from a nativity scene. It became the indicator of whether or not he was on the floor. If Joseph was lit, he was home.

Somehow we evolved into spending every Tuesday together. He had this endearingly obnoxious way of screaming my name from down the hall, and beating on my door until I emerged, ready to leave. We’d go to the dining hall, then we’d embark on some kind of expedition, usually involving some kind of shopping. I’d never known anyone like him. He wasn’t afraid to speak or act. If he was thinking it, you’d know it. He didn’t follow conventional rules. Once we went to the store for him to buy clothes, and instead of taking a pair of pants to the dressing room, he dropped trow and tried them on right there in the middle of the store. If he couldn’t find me, he would yell my name from the opposite end of the store, navigating towards me like a game of Marco Polo, where I’d reply with his name until we found each other.

He went home almost every single weekend, to see his girlfriend, whereas I stayed and partied as much as I could. Only once did he go to a party with me, and he ended up saving me after he’d noticed I was acting strange–I’d been Rufied. He was why I got home safely. Over winter break, with $40 in my pocket, I spent almost an entire week in his town, bouncing from his friend’s couch, to his house, to his girlfriend’s house until my Mom broke down and recovered me.

After I failed my first semester and stopped living there, we saw each other less. R and I broke up for good. E and I were never really friends. We didn’t really see one another much. I think I saw him two years later, because I was visiting R, and they were roommates in an apartment by then.And from there…well be just both grew up and moved on.

I don’t actually have any friends that I’ve kept from those days. I have a few faces on my friend’s list that make me smile when I see a new baby, or pictures of their recent luxurious vacation, but just recently, my last tie from those days was dissolved, and the cheese stands alone. I’m not upset about it. I mean, I only lasted that one year, and only half of that as a full time resident. It’s awesome to hear that one of us has gotten married, another has moved across the country, yet another is hoping to work for NASA. Seeing the transformations from our 18 year old days to our 30s is jarring too. I know there are more lines, more curves, and more scars on my own body then back then.

It’s sad to hear that a light on Metzger 4 has gone out, but I’m glad for the memories. It’s something we all share. A moment in our lives we can’t go back to, but we get to relive every time someone talks about their freshman year.

Thank you Metzger 4. We were hardcore. We were the floor we could never ignore.

Are we desensitized to rape culture?

A friend of mine recently posted the following image on Facebook:

It’s a band poster for a show. The band claims they were trying to depict the alternative lifestyle of bondage. Is that what you see? My friend sure didn’t see it. She’s a doctoral student at The University of Southern Mississippi, where these posters were hung. She immediately posted this picture and called her fellow students to arms, to deface this poster, and the others like it.

She brilliantly took to the campus streets and wrote on the posters, leaving the number for the rape hotline, and other messages like, “Who owns your body?”.  Can we get a round of applause for her?

The issue got some local media attention, and my friend was interviewed in the local paper. Pretty awesome, in my book. The problem for me is that heroes like my friend, willing to take a stand against images of women being brutalized, are so few and far between, and the number of people who even notice the image in the first place are so gigantic. The band front man claimed ignorance, stating that he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. Truthfully, I believe him. He didn’t think it was a problem. Other students around campus were equally unaffected, but thought that people would go to the show as a result of the image alone. Now with all the publicity they’re getting, they might even sell out.

The problem isn’t that the band guy used the image. It’s that he didn’t think it was a problem. This woman is just a drawing. She doesn’t have a past, or family, or a story behind why her hair is so long. She isn’t real, so it should be okay? Right? I wonder if how the public would react if we took an image of a soldier, it doesn’t even have to be an American soldier, it can be as non-descript as this woman. This soldier could be bound in the same way as this woman, with the same headline, as this band poster. How do you think it would go over? I’ll bet there’d be a lot more than a few students protesting. I’ve actually been playing around in my mind’s eye, swapping out the image of this naked woman, and interchanging different kinds of clothed males, and each one is pretty jarring, and would probably gain as much attention for being out of the ordinary, as it would for being offensive and scary. A mailman, firefighter, and dare I even write it…okay…cop? Crazy to think that images of bound men IN CLOTHES, could inspire more shock than a naked woman, but that is exactly the situation here.

Most of the student body didn’t even notice it. Of those who did, only a select few complained. So what the rest of the student body, and likely most of society, is essentially communicating is that an image of a bound, naked, woman is not offensive. This is as easily blended into the scenery of our lives as the rest of the billboards and posters– Tide, Bounty, Coca-cola, and brutalized women–none of these raise an eyebrow anymore…that is unless you’ve got laundry to do, or forgot the paper towels again.

I’m tempted to apologize for the exaggeration, and perhaps before this incident I might have, but this thing really did happen. We glaze over at the silhouettes of playboy bunnies imprinted on the mudflaps and air fresheners of thousands of vehicles, and that’s because we really are bombarded with the nude image of women through almost every kind of media. Without getting into that whole conversation, let me jump right to the point, we shouldn’t be okay with images of women being hurt! We aren’t okay with the images of anyone else being hurt. Let’s be honest, when you think about what a crucifix really is, just for a moment you get the hee bee jeebies, and that has had centuries of development as a symbol of life everlasting for millions of people. So how can we condone imagery that depicts torturing…anyone? This wasn’t a news story about something that happened, it was advertising! These people were trying to solicit business with this imagery, which not only indicates that they were unaffected by the image, but that they felt, and felt that other would agree, that this image was attractive enough to convince you to come see their band play. And then there were the people who were just unaffected by the poster, and it’s implications.

Now, let’s take things a few steps back. As women reading this, how many of you have ever had their asses grabbed by men you didn’t know? Breasts? How about going dancing? How many erect genitals have you had rubbed into your backs? Was this something that you welcomed? Was it okay with you? I’ve never met a woman who actually appreciated that attention. “Oh thank you for rubbing your erect penis in the small of my back! It was so erotic and sexy, and I would never have noticed you otherwise…” Another like-minded blogger at firsttheegg.com, posted about the concept of a “typical women’s” experiences with unwanted sexual touch. It’s so common place, getting grabbed on the subway, professional men standing too close and stroking your arm, being treated like a pet, an object intended for the male gaze. It seems like our lives, desires, and wants are secondary to this preliminary role in life. This is so ordinary in our lives that we don’t even talk about it.

The more we don’t talk about it, the more likely it is to be repeated to our sisters, our daughters, and our nieces. Maybe you’re not ready to admit it yourself just now, but you might be just like the students who didn’t notice. Don’t shut out the conversation out of guilt. Just promise yourself that in the future, you will notice. Maybe we aren’t all as brave as the faculty and students of Southern Mississippi who took action, but just talking about it, will at least give the braves one the courage to take action. I imagine that it is only with our help, that our heroes are motivated to stand up for the masses. I, for one, will do my best to stand up with women, like my friend, so that we don’t have to beat ourselves up with guilt when we realize we didn’t even notice.

Hilary Rosen: I invite you to do my job

Mitt and Ann Romney

Last Thursday, Democratic strategist, Hillary Rosen commented that Republican Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, was not someone “regular” women could relate to because she’d “never worked a day in her life”.  Just to put it out there, I’m not a huge Romney fan, and there’s no love lost between us. However, when I heard these comments I couldn’t believe my friggin’ ears! Has feminism really strayed so far?

Back when I was in college, minoring in Women’s Studies, the idea of being a stay at home mother frightened me. My own mother was a stay at home mom, although back then they called her a housewife, who deftly balanced the duties of raising three children alongside cleaning house, doing laundry, and producing the kind of home cooked meals that has made her a legend in our extended family. As someone who has never been a fan of cleaning, who would rather be lounging on the couch with a book than potty training a toddler, the whole concept wasn’t so much foreign as it was daunting. The discussion amongst my academic peers, however, was a fierce one. Was a woman who chose to stay home a traitor to the feminists who blazed the trails which opened the White House doors to women like Condlisa Rice and Hillary Clinton? Was a woman selling herself short by staying home? To add to the debate, there has been a huge trend of college educated,Ivy League, women choosing to to stay home with their children. Are these women abandoning their educations to eat bon-bons and throw cocktail luncheons?

The answer, in my bizzaro opinion, is absolutely NO! In fact, the problem is that we think staying at home is a luxury reserved for the rich, when the truth is that often times the incredibly high cost of child care prohibits at least one parent from working outside the home. Since Little G has been born I’ve done the math, and discovered that I would have to make at least $70,000 a year to bring home a profit. Day care costs, commuting costs (either gas, or public transportation, and the cost of maintaining a vehicle), and the very basic wardrobe I would need to look professional in the workplace would cost most of my weekly salary. Then add onto it the tasks Big G and I would have to share, like cleaning, cooking, and delivering our child to and from daycare, there would be 3 full time jobs between the two of us. This doesn’t include taking the time to educate our child, because let’s be honest, our public school system doesn’t teach kids to read until they are 7 or 8, and the history books they use are less than fair to any other culture than the dominant one. And let’s be honest, I can’t command that kind of salary just now.

What baffles me is that we live in an extremely child centered society, where parents who do not send their children to a train schedule’s worth of daily activities are seen as neglectful. In my eyes, two parents working 80 hour weeks need a nanny, and nannies, my dear Hillary Rosen, are reserved for the rich.

What’s with this mentality that Stay at Home Moms are watchingGeneral Hospital all day long while popping truffled chocolates into their mouths? What housewifeactually does this? Between laundry, dishes, grocery shopping and Little G, I’m lucky if I get enough time to scribble in my blog. Maybe Ann Romney didn’t have to clip coupons, spend hours taking swagbucks surveys, or take on work from home jobs just to have spending money, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t worked her booty off. Let’s not discount the fact that she has had to play second string to a man in politics, soothing a bruised ego when a primary didn’t go his way, making appointments with Mitt’s personal assistant just to spend time with him, or raise her children with a man who was very likely in state less than 50% off the time. The fact that she’s done this job, and has had to LOOK GOOD while doing it, makes her a super hero in my eyes.

As for the feminists who think that stay at home parents are traitors to their gender, let me remind you that birth control wasn’t implemented so that you could stop breeding altogether (despite Betty Freidan), but to help you choose when you were going to start your family, or decide that you didn’t want children at all! Our foremothers didn’t sacrifice, or blaze trails so that we would HAVE TO work. They did it so we could have the choice to be breadwinners, instead of being forced to align ourselves with a man for our own livelihoods.We are fortunate enough, as a society, to live in a place where there can be a discussion about which parent should stay home, because we stay at home moms believe that having a parent at home, to nurse boo-boos, watch first steps, and EDUCATE our children is a more valuable way to spend our time then as a cog in the machine of capitalism.

Hilary Rosen, you should be ashamed of yourself for your words. Ann Romney, just like you, exercised her right to choose to work from home. You decided you’d rather have a stranger raise your kids, and that’s your decision. Perhaps you think that because Mrs. Romney doesn’t get paid for her efforts that she is not working. I would direct you to generations of slaves who would beg to differ. You would have been better off suggesting that she has never “earned a wage” in her life, because for all the strenuous, self-sacrificing, poopy diapers, baby food sneezes, skinned knee mending, and guidance she has never been paid a red cent. You should be saluting this woman instead of condemning her. I suggest you hit the internet and research how much a person would earn were they to do engage in a career of raising children, being a personal chef, chauffeur, teacher, and mentor, combine all of those salaries and see exactly what the job of being a stay at home mother is really worth! Shame on Hillary Rosen, and all of those who supported her sentiments.

I extend the invitation to you, Ms. Rosen, to come to my home for a month and do MY job. Let’s see how much you think the “regular” American woman would be able to relate to YOU then.

It happens to the best of us…it was my first time

We all do it. Walk into a room and forget what we went in there for. Leave the coffee cup on top of the car and drive away. Frantically search the entire house for the sunglasses that have been perched on your head the entire time. I do that stuff. All the time. I am getting better. In fact, in order to combat these mental failures I’ve created some pretty strict rules for myself. Like if I’m going into another room to get something I’ll say what I’m going in there for out loud, even if it makes me sound like a psycho. I don’t take my prescription sunglasses out of my purse ever. If I take them off in the house, they go in the case in the purse, no matter what. And the coffee goes in the cupholder, or I make two trips. Why, you ask, have I created these rules? Because I have a daughter. You see, I developed this theory that if I create rules and rituals to make me act more responsibly, I might actually become more responsible.

I had nightmares when I was pregnant. You know, the kind where the stroller rolls down a hill, or a striped shirted burglar snatched my baby from right out of my arms. I hadn’t even met her, and I already didn’t want to lose her. That’s the crazy. Plain and simple. I love my girl. So if there was a way I could resolve some of the minor forgetfulness I suffered from, then that left more room for me to concentrate on never letting her put her fingers in the electric socket, touch the stove, or lock my keys in the car with her in it. Except for that last one…

I hate when they say, “It happens to the best of us”. It’s not true. The best of us do not do this. They never, ever, EVER do this. That’s why they’re the best of us. You should know that I am not the best of us. Before Little G, I’d locked my keys in the car several times. Once with the car running, on my way to somewhere that was an hour and a half away, when my husband (the guy with the only other key to that car) who was car pooling in his bosses’ car had just arrived at work. Since I was pregnant with Little G, over two years ago, I’d made sure never to do it. Ever. I was the best of us. And then, just like that, I wasn’t anymore.

Of course I was rushing. I was late to my first event with my new job. I’d gotten caught up with my other two jobs, and lost track of time. I’d carefully packed my purse with everything I’d need and more for several hours in AC. I had Little G’s little suitcase all packed up with everything she’d need for 12 hours at my parents’ house. Little G was being completely uncooperative, as she tends to get when she’s excited. So I cut my purse search for my keys short,  leaving the front door open just in case the keys weren’t actually in there. I load up the front seat of the car, keeping Little G next to the car door so I can stop her from running into the street-should she be so inclined. Of course as she’s standing there she’s messing with the buttons, but it’s not a big deal, because my hoopdie’s power locks don’t work on the passenger’s side. Every now and then that side’s switch will lock the passenger’s side door, but in my car, in order to power lock the door it has to be done from the driver’s side.

So I get Little G into her car seat, and go into my purse for my keys. There’s so much stuff in there. All the stuff I that doesn’t start my car. In one of those split second moments of inner conflict I decide to close the car door because I’m only going to be a second. I run into the house only to discover that the kitchen table is not holding my keys. They must be in my purse. Okay, run back to the car, grab the handle, pull- oops. Whatever, I go around to the driver’s side, grab the handle, pull–oh shit…oh no. Oh my God Grace is in the car. Oh shit.  Oh shit Oh shit.

My phone is in the purse. Grace is smiling. So I run back into the house for the land line, and…it’s dead. WTF! What do I do. I run back out to the car, Grace is excited to see me. I check my neighbors houses. No one is home. I try to flag a car down off the street. No good.

I go back in the house pop open my laptop and google “how to break-in to a car”. Nothing immediately helpful. I run into the closet and find a wire hangar. I try the passenger’s side door again, you know, in case I’m hallucinating, but I’m not. I pull harder, in case I’m the Hulk, but I’m not. I climb up on top of the car to try the sunroof, but I remember that Grace is in the car and shattered glass isn’t a good idea. I try the hatchback. I try the hatchback harder, in case I finally got my Hulk strength. No dice.

I run back in the house, pull up Facebook and post on my bestie’s (who is meeting me at my house in 15 minutes) wall, “I locked my keys in the car with Little G in it, come to my house please”. I run back out and spend the next five minutes trying to get Little G to undo her own safety restraints, you know, cause she IS a genius, except not that much of a genius. All she’s doing is touching her finger to mine through the window and smiling. I run back inside, and my brother, 200 miles away, has posted asking me if he should call someone. I reply, “Call Dad”. Okay, calvary is on the way. I look down and notice that my black pants now have a tear in the crotch. I don’t care.

Back outside I try to use the hanger to fit in between the seal in the car door. It’s not working, and I’m ripping the seal. Shit. I smile at Little G, who smiling broadly. My bestie arrives first. That’s when the tears start. It’s the relief. That, it’s going to be okay feeling that lets me cry. She gives me her phone. I call my Dad’s house. No answer- good that means he’s on his way. I call the police and they tell me their sending a car right away. I call my boss and tell her what’s going on and that I’m going to be late. I run inside and change my pants. When I get back my Dad is there…more tears. He’s got his own hangar–he’s always prepared. The police get there a minute later. He pries my door open with a wedge and uses a slim jim type thingie to push the power lock open, and voila! “You’re my hero!” I tell the policeman, as I reach in for my cherub who says, “You did it, you saved me!”

That’s my girl. She thought it was an adventure. It was.

I told the story a dozen times afterwards. To the lady at the bank. To the guy at the Quik Chek. To the man at the black jack table. They all said the same thing, “It happens to the best of us”. No. It doesn’t, but that’s okay. It happened to me. Luckily that was two days ago, and I’m 2 days into being the best of us. Cause Lord knows that shit will never happen to me again.

 

Has it happened to you? What’s your worst locked in/out story?

Juicing Trend vs Smoothies

Blackberry, pineapple, strawberry, banana smoothie

Smoothies are cheaper and better for you

Juicing is not a new trend. It’s just caught the attention of lots of health nuts out there. Every time I hear about juicing I think of this episode of the Cosby show where the kids make a mess out of their juicer with grapes. We had a juicer too when we were kids. I also had this (political) uncle who was into juicing. He came over one time and made me some carrot juice. I was astounded at how many carrots it took to make a small glass. There was a period of a week when my Mom made us some fresh homemade juices, and then, just as it arrived, the trend was over.

I can’t help but feel nostalgic when this new trend hits my Facebook feed. Just last week my BFF and I went to pick up a juicer for her. I have cousins, friends, and Facebook acquaintances all juicing, but it wasn’t long ago that smoothies were the name of the game. I’m a big fan of smoothies myself, and decided to do a little research to find out if I should jump ship and fork over the dollars for a juicer.

Why juice?

The idea behind juicing is a good one. You can certainly eat up more fruits and veggies in a glass of juice than eating them. Plus you can make some awesome combinations that will help you get the vitamins out of veggies you don’t like to eat regularly. Throw some spinach in with strawberries and bananas and you can’t even taste the spinach. It’s a total win.  Cooking fruits and veggies can leach out most of the important nutrients, leaving you with only some of the benefits of having forced down those brussel sprouts. Stick those veggies in the juicer and you get all the vitamins. It’s a win!

Why not Juice?

The problem with juicing has always been three-fold. First of all the mess. The juicer we had as kids was a real pain in the tuckus to clean. You had to peel, skin, and pull out seeds, which took forever. Technology, however, has really taken that problem away. Modern juicers have an easy filter so you can just plop the fruit right in and voila–juice! They’re much easier to clean nowadays too!

The other two problems haven’t been solved by technology. First of all, it takes a good amount of fruit and veggies to make juice. So prepare to invest a significant amount of money in produce. That’s not a bad thing though. The juice does fulfill the sweet cravings in a healthier way. So you can just shift the cookies and candy money to your fruits and veggies. The other problem is the expense of the juicer itself. My BFF’s juicer, a Hamilton Beach, with a coupon, cost about $45, and they get more expensive with better features. I’ve heard of people spending an average of $300 on juicers, and some of the really super duper awesome ones can run you upwards of $2K!

The investment is really in yourself, and your health. If you know you’re not getting the fruits and veggies you should be, then it’s worth a little extra expense to make healthy lifestyle switches.

Smoother than a smoothie?

So what’s the difference between making smoothies and juicing? And which is actually better? I’m not surprised to discover that smoothies are actually better.

When you make a smoothie you can put anything in it. Protein powder makes a smoothie into a meal. Coconut oil turns a smoothie into a weight loss supplement. Anything you can imagine can be tossed into a smoothie and whirred away into a glass filled with vitamins and nutrients. Some vegetables hold most of their nutrients in the fibrous parts of them, including the skin, which you don’t get from juicing. The same flavor combinations can be achieved with smoothies, and you can blend them with other food groups to make a well-balanced glass of healthy.

The mess is a factor here. I’ve never actually seen someone put apples into a smoothie, but I imagine you’d want to peel and seed them first, which can be a serious PITA. The other two factors, however, are highly reduced. First of all you get more smoothie from less fruit, and the technology is much cheaper. You can use a regular blender, or, I love my emersion/hand blender ($17).

The one thing that is certain is that juicing is definitely for people who have texture issues with their food. If you don’t want blackberry seeds in your teeth, juice away. If you don’t mind the thickness, then grab a smoothie.

Here’s my favorite smoothie recipe for the smoothie pictured above:

6 strawberries

7 blackberries

1/2 banana

4 slices of pineapple

3 oz orange juice

3 oz. milk

1/2 small cup greek yogurt

Put it all in a glass and stick your hand blender in until you achieve your desired consistency. Add more OJ if you want to make it thinner. Add 1 tsp coconut oil if you want to curb your appetite for the rest of the afternoon.

 

 

What’s your vote? Juice or Smoothie?

 

Put your Hoodie UP for Trayvon Martin- Our favorite heroes and villains put their hoodies up for Tray

By now you’ve probably seen Carmelo Anthony, PDiddy and the entire Miami Heat basketball team join together with their hoodies up for Trayvon Martin, a youth who was slashed down in his childhood because a member of the neighborhood watch deemed him “threatening”. This tragedy has sparked a movement where celebrities, students, and socialites have been putting their hoodies up for Trayvon Martin. Check out the latest group of celebs to get involved:

It’s a Girl Thing

A few weeks ago I posted about a friend I’d lost because of Facebook drama. I put on a tough facade, but it was something that I really felt sad about. I’m not the kind of person that makes lots of friends easily, especially with women. My BFFis a woman, but she’s pretty atypical like I am. We’ve never actually fought. In fact, during the time we spent apart, there weren’t any real bad feelings, we’d just grown apart. When we got back together it was with the appreciation of what we’d been missing. It’s a relationship based on love, and not on competition or catty-ness. We both want to see one another happy, and have worked to help one another through our lives.

When Miss A and I became friends, I’d sincerely hoped to find this in her too. It was going well until the big blog escapade, but with all of the hullabaloo going on in our lives, emotions were just running too high. Not to mention, the problem with the internet as a means of social communication is that intention, inflection, and context are almost impossible to convey accurately.

Miss A just had her baby, and it was a real sadness for me that I was no longer a part of their lives. Little G loves Little A, and every time she asked for her it renewed my sadness. I’ve been a virtual stalker. I’ve been reading her blog, and trying to keep up with her life, because no matter how stubborn I’ve been, I care…a lot.

Recently we started corresponding again, and we’ve even made plans to see one another soon. I’m a little nervous, especially if she reads my blog. What if it brings it all up to the surface again? What if she gets mad that I shared it all with the world, even though I didn’t use real names? What if the friendship we’d had has disappeared altogether?

I asked for advice from people I trust, and they told me that this is how girlfriends work. Sometimes they fight. Sometimes they fight for super stupid reasons, say ridiculous shit to each other and then make up without talking about it. I have to say it makes me feel uncomfortable to ignore an elephant, but sometimes it is best to put it all away. I think one of my biggest issues is in separating friends from family.

With a family as large as mine, and strict parents, growing up my only friends were my cousins. I mean I had one or two outside friends here and there, but I never slept over anyone else’s house or went to high school parties. It just wasn’t allowed. So now when I make friends, I can’t help but to bring them into my family fold. For the most part that kind of thing has worked out for me, but sometimes there is actually a separation between the two categories. Is this that kind of thing?

How do you do it all? Do you have a separate space in your mind and in your heart? Where do the lines get drawn? Comment here and teach a Bizzaromom a thing or two.

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