Cheers to new faces, places and hand sanitizer that doesn’t smell like a Vodka shot

Goodness gracious. Can we say a collective hallelujah for this new normal?

For fresh air and maskless faces?

For seeing loved ones and finally going places?

Before I start singing along to my own post-quarantine country song, I need to express how thankful I am.

And can we please talk about hugs?

Who else missed hugs? I think I’ve hugged every person I know since I was vaccinated. And I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to all the acquaintances I hugged after the mask mandate was lifted. I know we may not be close and Lord knows it must have been awkward for you, but I needed it.

I consider myself a social butterfly by day (and sometimes an octogenarian by night) and being cooped up for a year was not easy. It was hard on so many and there’s so much to be grateful for, and so much to reflect upon.

Without getting all sappy, I have to admit, since the quarantine ended, there are days I think I may be turning into a human version of a Golden retriever. And we’ve always had Goldens, so I know these traits all too well.

Let’s see, I’m happy.

I always need to tinkle.

I’m grateful.

I like cute sweaters.

I’m loyal.


My hair is highlighted.

I’m overly excited about leaving the house to do anything. As long as it involves leaving the house.

In the car, I like having the window down to let the breeze blow past my crispy, quarantined hair, roots and all. I exercise in the morning so I can sneak in as many treats as possible throughout the day.

I’m also like a Golden mama to my kids, making sure their needs are met especially after this past year, which is one of the reasons this site collected so many dust bunnies. I couldn’t really talk about everything that was going on as a mom of teens because I wanted to respect their privacy. And God knows there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to parenting teenagers and college-age kids. But this is me NOT talking about them. And this is me venting about other things because it helps prevent me from wandering around my yard in foam rollers waiting for them to come home by curfew.

(Everyone is healthy and great btw, my husband included and I’m so grateful to have everyone home for the summer, except when it’s close to dinner time and everyone is suddenly hungry and I’ve totally forgotten to get anything except snack food at the grocery store. There is nothing exciting in the kitchen because I’ve been too busy doing other things because I don’t have to wear a mask any more. They will have to be happy with chicken parm for the upteenth time, thank you very much.)

And then there’s the flip side to my Golden behavior, when I crave quiet time from everyone and everything. Turning a milestone age combined with all the new post-quarantine commotion is a lot. I mean I love activity, but I’m exhausted from it too. Sometimes I need to find a quiet space and just be.

Sometimes I get tired from smiling and close my mouth. My Golden does this too. I keep checking to see if my mask is swinging from my face, but it’s gone. It’s just the skin under my chin. And that’s ok, because I’m thankful to feel my face again rather than fabric.

Golden-ness aside, cheers to no more mask-ne (Mask Acne). And washing and drying masks. Oh and cracked hands, dry from all the hand sanitizer. Palmolive would have been welcomed, but Instacart didn’t always have it in stock.

Have you noticed that hand sanitizer smells like liquor? Finding sanitizer that offers a pleasant aroma rather than one that smells like a shot of Smirnoff has been an art form in itself.

I have to admit, as I watched many people accomplish lifelong bucket lists during quarantine, I was just happy to get through each day with my sanity and health in tact. Crossing off my to do’s. Finishing a conference call. Catching up with friends on Zoom. And getting dinner ready by 6 pm. That was good enough for me.

There were days when I thought I’d never leave the house. The computer. The phone. Or the kitchen.

There were afternoons I thought I’d end up circling my yard in a shower cap.

But I didn’t.

I mean, I guess when I look back upon the past year, I didn’t really accomplish anything noteworthy. Some wrote novels. Some got in amazing shape.

Others threw out anything that didn’t spark joy a la Marie Kondo.

I ate enough tortilla chips to feed all of Texas. I did aerobics. (Yes I said aerobics). I got on my Peloton here and there. I met deadlines, I laughed and spent glorious quality time with my husband and kids. (We played a lot of poker.) I stayed in touch with friends, and I folded a $hit ton of laundry. Not necessarily in that order.

I also watched a lot of Hulu and HBO. And often pretended the characters (Carrie and Miranda especially) knew me.

It was awesome and at times, borderline pathetic. Yet weirdly cathartic.

Then again, I never wandered around my yard in foam rollers and slippers. And I tried my best to be positive (not Covid positive) despite it all. So maybe I accomplished something worthwhile after all…

Spreading some sanity during a quarantine

I don’t need to remind you of what’s going on in the world. I hope you and your family are staying healthy. And sane. Aside from all the family bonding, I think there are some silver linings in all of this. As a 40-something mother of two teens, I’ve realized I have to maintain some semblance of sanity and take each day one at a time. (Or I’ll end up wandering around my yard in a robe and pink foam rollers.) So…..I have come up with a list of things that are helping me stay sane and I had to share them with you.

Some sprinkles of sanity in light of the $h*t show that’s surrounding us:

  • Our roots. I believe roots will be back in style. I’m talking salt and peppa here. After the highlights disappear and our roots begin to sprout, I believe they will be back in style. If Sarah Jessica Parker could pull off dark roots and make them look adorable and sexy in the city, why shouldn’t we? Until this is over, may our dark headbands (the ring of wretched roots that surround our parts) unite us, girls. Oh, may we shine together.
  • Old pairs of pants will be like new again. Guess what? No one can see that you’re sporting sweatpants on video conference calls. They can’t see your flannel lama PJ pants on the call. So maybe, when this is over, our old pairs of pants will feel new again! (That is, if we can still fit in them.) And yes, I had to put down a sleeve of Ritz as I typed that.
  • Top prop. Speaking of video conferencing, you CAN make yourself look adorable and presentable. All it takes is a cute top! Why not pair a colorful blouse with those three-day-old sweaty yoga pants? That new blazer you found back when the stores were open? Grab it from your closet. It’s probably the only clean top you have right now. SO PUT IT ON!
  • The ladies are happy. This probably doesn’t even need to be mentioned. But for the sake of this space, let’s just say I have worn the same bra for eight straight days. Most of my friends have gone bra-less. Whatever floats your boat, ladies. Go for it!
  • Zoom loungewear? Remember 1970’s leisure suits? With all the quarantine comforts, could we see more and more people out in public sporting vintage loungewear as daywear? I cringe and cackle at the possibilities. leisure suits imgVector free image img
  • Quarantine parodies and dog videos. I have never watched so many parody dog videos in my life. And I can’t stop. I can’t believe I’m admitting this but I don’t think I will ever tire of quarantine dog videos where canines, in high-pitched human voices complain about their humans always being home. (I have a feeling my two Goldens talk about us when we’re asleep.)
  • Big brows. My teenage daughter has been encouraging me to grow out my eyebrows. Oh, it’s happening. At an unprecedented rate. I pray ungroomed brows will be back. In case you didn’t know, when you’re about to turn 49, you start to look like Andy Rooney in that area. (RIP.)
  • Shorter lashes. If stumpy, clumpy eyelashes are in, I’m the quarantine queen. Out of sheer panic, I purchased drugstore mascara recently and I think it has shortened the lifespan of my already wimpy lashes. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – you can use a filter to make yourself look better on video calls on days when you’re feeling especially crusty.
  • On toes and fingernails. I honestly wonder if Lee Press on Nails will be making a comeback. I had a pedicure about a month ago. You would not know this if you saw my toes. I cannot for the life of me remove the nail polish that has not chipped off. I have tried everything except paint thinner. I think the color is actually pasted on. Plus I have accidentally injured my husband in the middle of the night with my un-manicured nails knives.
  • Not touching hands. If not shaking hands becomes a post-quarantine habit, maybe moisturizing our hands will no longer be necessary? Can we talk about how dry our hands are with all the excessive hand washing? Mine are like sand paper. I could use some Polmolive right about now. I need to soak them for a month. I was going to give them an overnight Vaseline and plastic glove solution, but unfortunately, there are no gloves left in the free world.
  • Work it out. Maybe Jane Fonda’s workouts will come back? I have been taking walks, jogging or doing aerobics along with online Pilates classes to stay in shape. If we’re all working out at home and trying to mix it up, why not grab a can of soup and do like Jane Fonda did in the 80’s? Jog around the room. The yard. Do jumping jacks. Turn up some Bananarama. Feel the burn, ladies!
  • Dance it out. Another habit that has helped me stay sane is turning up my tunes while doing the dishes or fixing dinner. It’s all about dancing it out in the kitchen. I’m talking Stevie Nicks, Madonna, even the Beastie Boys. Oh my kids shake their heads in embarrassment. And laugh…with me?
  • Chopping expectations. We placed an online grocery order the other day, but it couldn’t be delivered. Many essential items, as I’m sure you have discovered, were not available. So we decided to make what we had left in the kitchen. After noticing all the leftovers had been devoured, we checked the freezer. And there, buried under waffles and a pint of ice cream, lay a single box of family size frozen lasagna. So we plopped it on a cookie sheet and baked it for 90 minutes. As the four of us huddled around the kitchen island, eating boxed lasagna and frozen creamed spinach, we could not stop laughing. It was not a proud culinary moment. (I’m not exactly a chef anyway.) But it was one we will never forget. We all giggled while we ate. And it wasn’t that bad. (Btw, this happened the day before one of us escaped to the grocery store for much healthier options.) Hey, in a quarantine, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, right? When my son went in for seconds, I realized that it honestly doesn’t matter. We are grateful. Giggling, but grateful. What matters is that we have our health. We have each other. And we have our sanity!

Are you ready for fall?

Holy Moly, it’s October. Seasons change quickly in New England. It can be a lot of fun if you just embrace it. I know, I know. You’re peeved about summer being over. I get it. It’s all about pacing yourself and making it enjoyable. Mum by mum.

Here are some tips to help get your home ready for the fall (even if you’re still wearing sandals and shorts) from my latest post on Providence Mom Collective. Enjoy!

How an obsession with celebrities (and shoes) helped shatter my writer’s block

Did you have any celebrity crushes when you were 12? Come on. I know you did. Me? Oh, I watched Family Ties religiously back in 1980-something every week, and I had like, you know, a major crush on Michael J Fox. Alex P Keaton to be exact. Marty McFly too. Let’s just say my friends and I saw Back to the Future in the movie theater five too many times.

So I did what any pre-teen would do and wrote a fan letter to Michael J Fox. I found his address from Tiger Beat magazine. (Along with thousands of other girls, I’m sure.) In my form fan letter, I asked him if he’d ever consider marrying me. I also told him I thought he was a total fox.

In case you haven’t guessed, I never heard back. (Maybe it was the “fox” comment?)

The good news is, celebrity crushes come and go. Although my heart was wrecked because I would never become Mrs. Alex P. Keaton, I moved on. I became obsessed with Kevin Bacon. You know, Ren from the original Footloose? I never wrote a letter to him. But I pinned a lot of his posters up (thanks to Tiger Beat) in my room. Just think. For a time, my wall was only one degree separated from Kevin Bacon.

So, yeah, I guess I had an obsession for celebrities. Maybe I still do? Thankfully, my husband of 24 years is understanding about my celebrity “friends”.

It’s not like I ever sent Carrie, Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte fan mail. I only fold laundry and laugh along with them as they banter over brunch, being their stylish selves, chatting about everything from sex to the city.

My husband will walk in while I’m in the middle of folding to remind me, “You know they don’t know you.”

As if that has anything to do with it.

I mean I don’t get THAT crazy about celebrities any more. Well. There was that time I saw George Strait in concert and Faith Hill was a surprise opener. My husband recorded me as I cried tears of joy in the middle of This Kiss. To be fair I was on my second beer and it had been a very long week.

I also get excited about celebrity and royal babies. (I’m still shaking my head over Apple. Was Gwyneth fond of fruit?)

So when I was on Poshmark a couple weeks ago, my favorite fashion online consignment store, I didn’t think it would be any big deal that I waited for a pair of Tory Burch flats to go on sale. I was super busy with other work, suffering from writer’s block and passed on them when I learned the price. Then when I received a special discount offer via direct message, I realized I HAD to have them. They’re white, green and navy with a nautical rope pattern and well, they’re Tory. So I made an offer. After hitting purchase, I noticed it was from a Posher named Jen Lancaster. The name sounded familiar. Too familiar. Wait. Could it be THE Jen Lancaster? Nah. Then I read her About the Posher bio and IT WAS THE FAMOUS AUTHOR! You may have heard of her? She has written tons of books from Bright Lights, Big Ass to Bitter is the New Black. As if the titles don’t spell it out, she’s very witty, snarky and dry. She never holds back and she was quite an inspiration to me when I first started blogging. (I appreciate how she and I both reference characters from John Hughes movies, because they, after all, are so intricately tied to childhood memories.) So,  she’s a bad ass author and she owned the shoes. And she was selling them to me! Oh m Gee! And she was following me on Poshmark?  Shut the front door!

I immediately turned 16. Well, 13. I sent her a direct message and explained that I was a fan, but not a crazy fan and how she inspired me, yadda yadda yadda. Which, now when I look back on it, probably made me sound like a crazy person. Fan-effing-tastic. But guess what? She not only mailed me the adorable shoes, she included a handwritten thank you note, a pair of earrings and a copy of her book called Things I’d Tell in Bars. It was so thoughtful.

Jen's Shoes

No Tiger Beat magazine or fan form letter involved. It was a sign. It had to be, right? Of what, you ask? That I needed a pair of Jen Lancaster’s Tory flats to give me the kick in the (big) ass to get back to writing here. My home blog base for writing out loud. Thank you, Jen!

Queen of distractions


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So, hi. I know it’s been a while. Did I mention that my oldest child is graduating from high school in the next couple of weeks? As a mom, it feels surreal. Wasn’t he just learning how to roll over in our first apartment? I realize he’s old enough to vote (thank God). And go to college, which he is this fall. I’m fine, really. I’m so excited for him. Proud of him. But holy schnikies.  You never realize what this feels like until you’re a mom of a teen who is about to graduate.IMG_9608

I’m so thankful for distractions. Meetings, track meets, lacrosse games, banquets, calls, girls’ nights out, lunches, Netflix parties for one. I’ve had all of the above, thank you very much. I am the queen of distractions. My friends and I joke that we are a lot like the dog in the movie Up that has a voice simulator. Even in the middle of a life or death mission, the minute he sees a squirrel, he runs to it. To avoid the inevitable.

In this scenario, which is my so called life, the inevitable is change.

Graduation is coming soon. I’m excited for my son and his friends.

But holy…“Squirrel!”

This is big.

I’m fine. I really am. I’m a mom of teens. I know how to adapt. Heck, ever since I was a teen, I’ve been the master of adapting to change. Moving from Texas to Rhode Island in the middle of high school can have that effect on you. Imagine showing up on the first day of school in cowboy boots pronouncing your Rs. In the middle of a Rhode Island suburb. That’ll make you grow up fast.

I’ve had a lot of distractions over the past few months. I ended up getting lost in everything except my saving grace. Right here. Write here. Where I usually spit things out on the page so quickly, they don’t take up as much space in my mind. The truth is, I’ve been writing professionally, but not for myself.

I’ve been distracted. Too distracted for my own good.

I think I hit my breaking point when I caught a nasty cold a few days ago. I took enough vitamins and supplements to bring a squirrel down. I tried to pretend I was Ok, and even managed to go out with my girlfriends. But by the end of the night, my voice got so hoarse, my inner Demi Moore was beginning to shine. My throat was on St. Elmo’s fire. I had no choice but to crawl into bed, exhausted both physically and emotionally. On one of the most beautiful holiday weekends of the year. I was protected from the sun, under the covers. In my room. I started sneezing and coughing at the same time. I’m calling it a snough. Not a pretty sight. I became glued to Netflix like the mom in the movie Joy starring Jennifer Lawrence (played brilliantly by actress Virginia Madsen, who never left her room).

Courtesty of Joy, 20th Century Fox

Photo from 20th Century Fox- from the movie Joy.

My TV became my best friend for two days straight. I’ve named her Fern. I binge watched enough shows that should have been spread out over the course of two months. I hid under the covers as the sun snoughed through the blinds. But no. I yanked the shades down lower. I looked out on my back porch a couple times, then slid under again. Blew my nose. And gobbled up The Imposters. Then Renee Zellweger in her new series. Distracted by her plastic surgery, or non plastic surgery but different and not-exactly-just-as-you-are-Bridget face, on one of the sunniest, clearest days of the year. I wasn’t going on a ferry. Or to a friend’s cookout. I wasn’t hanging with my friends and family. I wasn’t heading for dinner with my husband. Not with a high fever and a head cold like I had. Then I rolled out of bed today to a wake-up call. It’s a longer story, but the gist is my laptop was screaming my name. Fern needed to go bye bye.

I needed to get back here. Write here. Or else I’d end up like the mom in the movie Joy.

No one wants to be stuck in bed, lost in a land where Erica Kane’s twin lives on forever.

At least not when you have only one life to live. That’s another soap, another dish for another post. SQUIRREL!


So I think I may be addicted to Poshmark

It’s a good addiction, I promise. I had to share this piece I wrote for Providence Moms Blog , Why I Love Poshmark, for all you fashionistas out there. And for my friends (and especially my sweet mother-in-law) who are afraid to click on links, I have included the article below too. 😉 Enjoy!

Hi. I’m Jackie. And I think I may be a Poshmark addict. It’s been four days since my last sale.

If you’ve never heard of Poshmark, you might want to grab a chair and a chai tea. Poshmark is a website and the answer to any fashionista’s dilemma of finding fabulous clothes and accessories at reasonable prices. Think online yard sale, consignment store, and department store sale all rolled into one bargain burrito of a website with a dash of discounts you won’t find anywhere else. (Except similarly excellent sites like The Real Real or ThredUp, but I happened to find my home at Poshmark and I’m a loyal girl.)

Imagine a fire sale at Nordstrom, minus the crowds. Or eBay, only fancier, with no blenders or bedding sprinkled in.

If you’re looking for Gucci, they’ve got it. On sale. Tory Burch? J Crew Cuts? Poshmark. Has. It. I know I need to calm down. But hello, you can sell your nice but no longer necessary goods and buy other people’s nice but no longer necessary goods at a fraction of what you would pay anywhere else. Without leaving your family room.

It’s not all used clothing and accessories either. Some items are New Without Tags (NWOT), or New with Tags (NWT), or In Excellent Used Condition (EUC). (Part of the Poshmark lingo.)

They even have “vintage” items, even though I find 1990s vintage items almost laughable (because I remember exactly what I was doing in 1990). You name it: whether a blouse, blazer or baby bib, they’ve got it. And it’s being sold by Poshmark members. And it’s all legit.

So what’s the problem? There really is no problem, except the fact that I’ve taken this really awesome thing to an entirely ridiculous level. Which goes back to why I think I may be a Poshmark addict.

When I go out with my girlfriends and realize everything I’m wearing, from my dress down to my Gingham espadrilles is from Poshmark, I beam with a sense of “I bought it on sale” pride. (Grab a leather couch and I’ll share more about being raised to only shop the sales rack.)

It started about two years ago when a friend sent me an innocent invitation to join this designer dream world. After skimming and finding a few cute dresses and handbags, I went to the main page and discovered even more to-die-for items. I started friending people, or fellow Poshers, and then they started friending me back. The next thing I knew, I was making an offer on a pair of used espadrille wedges that were in perfect condition. And I won!

Let’s just say that it wasn’t long before it took on a life of its own. I would scour the site for deals and sell stuff simultaneously that no longer fit me or suited my fancy. Today, I have many items in my Poshmark closet that I’ve sold, but I probably have more items I’ve liked in other Poshers’ closets than I care to admit.

I’m also a loyal Posher. I don’t do deals with people who try to trick me to make an offer off the site. And if you follow me, I make sure to take the time to follow you back. I will also like items (that I actually like) from your closet. And I’ll take it one step further by sharing an item or two from your closet with my followers and on Pinterest too.

Then I go back to my real, off-line, work-from-home mom-of-teens life. And when I return to Poshmark, I realize there’s an array of new followers, and it would just be rude of me if I didn’t follow them back, right?

So I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a pickle. I could just go cold turkey and stop the madness. But what happens if someone makes an offer on my EUC Gingham blouse? Or the Tory boots that are no longer healthy for my heels?

It’s not like I’m buying things left and right. I’m browsing. And sharing. And selling. And having fun. Like going to the mall with my friends in 1983, minus the Orange Julius and metro fare. If this is my only vice, my only guilty pleasure, (aside from Real Housewives of Dallas) I guess there really isn’t a problem, is there?

Oh em gee, is that a vintage Gucci bag on sale?

Whether mothering toddlers or teens, have a Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! You deserve (a vat of wine) to be treated like a queen (a spa gift certificate would be awesome) on this day (every day) for all the wonderful things you do for your family. You really do.

Especially if you’ve got little ones.


Remember when they were this little?                  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! (Illustration from my book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker).


Then again, if you have teens, good lordy. Help. Us. All.

When your kids become teenagers, a lot changes. For one thing, you transform from a woman they once worshiped and missed when you left the room to pee to an unpaid Uber driver that embarrasses them daily. Our social lives on weekend nights are practically destroyed, not by dirty diapers, exhaustion or Drake and Josh marathons, but by waiting. The excruciating waiting. Our minds slowly turn to mush from all the stress waiting. Waiting for the text (or call) to know where they are. When they are coming home. Who they are with. What they are doing. When they need to be picked up. And if so and so needs a ride. If they are punished for not following the rules? Count on more waiting.  More greys. And more hairs to sprout on your chin.

I’m not saying it’s all bad. I adore my kids and I do realize they’re good kids. But it’s not easy raising teens. And to think I thought we’d be out of the woods after the diaper stage. Can you hear me cackling out loud? After the kindergarten stage. After the first year of middle school. You couldn’t pay me a billion dollars to go back in a Hot Tub Time machine that sent me back to junior high. (Oh I said it- junior high.) I’m very happy that I don’t ever have to go back to those gawky years, thank you very much. (Although I adored my childhood friends in Texas, my aqua jelly shoes and that Tiger Beat poster of Rob Lowe that every girl had in 1984.)

If you’re like me and enjoy expressing, blogging or sharing your feelings with good friends (over wine and cheese) about the joys and temporary insanity brought on by motherhood, realize that when they become teens, they start catching on. They don’t want their picture taken any more. They start paying attention to and getting annoyed by what you say and what you sing to in the car. And it’s all good. As long as you’re not writing about them. Which technically, I’m not doing right now because I haven’t included any photos, names or links. I realize I’m not big on brevity. What I’m trying to say is regardless of how old your kids are, try to treasure this time. They grow up really fast. I started this blog eons ago and I’m still a mom, no matter how old my kids are. So, have a good Mother’s Day. I mean it. You rock. Go get yourself a nap. A cold cocktail. Or brunch. I don’t know about you, but this year, I’m giving myself a little gift too. The gift of renewed, unabashed expression. I’m starting by posting this article. I have practically had cob webs on this blog (I still write professionally) but I think it’s healthy to get this $hit out. Don’t you?


There’s nothing quite like Pajama Jeans on Valentine’s Day

I can’t believe it’s almost Valentine’s Day. And my dad’s birthday! (Happy birthday, Dad!)

Are you prepared? We do something to celebrate the holiday every year. My husband and I have been married for 22 years. Because we tend to get a little tired of the same-old, same-old every Valentine’s Day, we do something a little out of the ordinary. We go all-out for birthdays, Christmas and our anniversary. But Valentine’s Day, not so much. We actually treat it as opposite day. Gag gift day. Kind of a joke day with some candy and other goodies to boot.

My husband is witty. He likes to use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to give me the cheesiest Infomercial-inspired gag gift possible. Through the years, he has given me a Snuggie (with a free reading light), Pajama Jeans, roses from the gas station, an As Seen on TV-featured “Ahh Bra” and the Time/Life Country Love Songs collection, which I still blast in my car. If you hear me singing along to Willie Nelson at a stop light, you’ll realize that it’s no joke how much I love that gift.

I can’t wait to see what he’s getting me this year. I’m secretly hoping for a useless As Seen on TV gag gift like this one:



Merry, merry Christmas

Just wanted to sneak in a little note to wish you a very Merry Christmas! With all the rushing around, it’s easy to forget the true reason for the season. (Who can blame us? The pressure to try to get everything done in a matter of weeks can be maddening.)

I’ve been guilty of forgetting what it’s all about some days too. The good news I think I’ve finally forgiven Santa for forgetting to give me Baby Alive in 1975. Hello, we were in Texas! We didn’t even HAVE a fireplace!)

Hug your kids. Be extra grateful for loved ones, near and far. (And for those really near, try to be patient with your 92 year old aunt, jello mold and all.)

The memories from these times last a lifetime.

This year, I’m incredibly grateful for my precious family and friends, …(and Amazon).

Wishing you and your family an incredible day! 🎄🎀💕🎄🎀💕

As Seen on Providence Moms Blog: Don’t Let the Holidays Stress You Out. Follow These Sanity-Saving Tips

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer. And holiday stress. So, what is a mom to do?Breathe in and out. And follow my holiday sanity-saving tips below.

Give back. Give something. Anything. Whether your time, your talent, gifts, or meals to those in need. Inspire your kids to get involved. Do something with a charity that means something to you. This can instantly put you in the holiday spirit and remind you and your family about the true meaning of the holidays. One of my local favorite charities is Ronald McDonald House of Providence. I gathered some friends recently to do a charity walk in support of RMH. It was an inspiring day! Find a charity road race in your area to help kick off the season in a positive way.

Be a thoughtful gift-giver. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Set a gift-giving budget that makes sense for your family. And remember, the more THOUGHT you put into the gift, the better.

-Decorate in stages. Don’t expect to put every holiday decoration up in one day. Be realistic. Make it a family affair. Do it in stages. Outdoor lights one entire weekend, wreaths the next. Then the tree. And so on, and so on. Start early so it’s fun.

Make holiday cards less taxing. Don’t worry about taking a professional family portrait for your holiday card every season. Use an existing family photo and create a card online using sites like, or You can also print existing photos and place them in ready-made photo cards found at card shops like The Paper Store. If you’re having a busy year, take a break and send an email card to loved ones. Or surprise them with a New Year’s card instead. Or have your kids create a Christmas drawing and make multiple copies and give them out as cards.

Create a new tradition. If you’re tired of dragging your kids to different places every holiday, create a new tradition and invite family and friends to your house. If you get stressed out about planning a party, remind yourself it can be anything you want it to be. Make the event more of an open house, prepare a couple simple dishes ahead of time, and ask people to bring items to help lessen the load. Remember, it’s not a contest. It’s about being together for the holidays.

Think outside of the (Big) Box. If you don’t know what to buy for someone, stay away from Big Box stores and visit local shops in your area. The gifts they have in store may surprise you. Plus it’s more fun!

Give something homemade. Make something homemade like cookies or pastries and place them in decorative baskets, boxes, or tins. Have your kids pitch in to make it even more special. These make thoughtful gifts for teachers, neighbors, friends, and relatives. Tie it with special ribbon to add a nice touch.

– Start a Secret Santa Swap. Talk to family members about starting a Secret Santa gift exchange to lessen the load. We do this with our extended family so you only have to buy one gift if you have 25 cousins and three aunts, for example. You can set a specific price limit so you’re respectful of everyone’s budgets. The idea also means less shopping for everyone. We use to help pick names for loved ones who live out of state.

Shop online. The internet is your friend this time of year. Use it to do all your shopping if necessary. But never leave your computer open to gift-giving web sites or you’ll spoil the fun. Either pin favorite items on or email yourself specific web sites so you don’t forget what’s on your list.

– Special messages. If you’re out of ideas for special people in your life, try a “homemade and from the heart” gift – a Holiday Memory Jar. You don’t have to be a Pinterest queen, I promise. This is something we’ve done for my mother and mother-in-law (and my grandmother who passed away last year). All you need: One empty mason jar, a bow and small pieces of paper. Divide the papers (365 individual pieces for daily messages or 52 for weekly messages) evenly throughout your family. Each family member (especially kids) writes a special or funny saying, message or memory on each piece of paper. The recipient can enjoy opening a new message every day of the year.

Host a Swap. Start a White Elephant or Yankee Swap gift exchange with friends or family members. Invite them to your gift swapping party and enjoy the evening over cocktails and appetizers. If this stresses you out, wait and do it in January!

Share Stories. Looking to give something a little different this year? Give the gift of family stories through a web site called Each week, a loved one answers prompted questions about their life and childhood and by the end of the year, they receive 52 stories compiled into a hard cover book for family members to enjoy. I’ve given StoryWorth to my husband and dad and they both say they’ve enjoyed it immensely. We look forward to seeing their private books in 2018. For more details, visit

Give experiences. If you can’t think of what to give that special someone who has everything, do something different this year. Give EXPERIENCES rather than traditional gifts. Make a Year of Wishes Jar filled with 52 pieces of paper listing individual weekly ideas for you to do together. Ideas can range from simple to extravagant, from going on a bike ride to tickets to a concert. Tailor the wishes according to that person and your budget.

Taking Some Quiet Time in Their Honor

Venting Sessions

In honor of Veterans Day, I’m doing something this week that I rarely do ­­– observing a moment of silence. Taking some quiet time in their honor. I know it’s hard to imagine, but it’s for something close to my heart. My grandfather fought in two wars and survived Pearl Harbor. He was an amazing man and went through more than anyone in our family could ever comprehend. As a kid, you hear war stories from your grandfather and then jump back on your Huffy, because it’s too much to take in. Can you imagine trying to tell your children today? When you really stop and think about what veterans go through, it’s mind-boggling. And not only their sacrifices, but the emotional roller coaster endured by their mothers. Can you imagine sending a child off to war? Your own child? Our mother’s mothers, our grandmother’s mothers and even our grandmother’s…

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Blogging Moms

I hope you’re having an awesome summer!

In case you missed it on Facebook (or maybe you’re not even on Facebook), I wanted to share my latest article from a site where I feel right at home (and I’m honored to be a contributing writer): Providence Moms Blog!  


Comparing Ourselves to Other Women: She Said, We Said.

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it.

But you may not realize how harmful it can be. I’m not talking about eating gluten at midnight or consuming free celebrity gossip while waiting in line at the grocery store. I’m talking about comparing yourself to other women.

There’s nothing worse than comparing yourself to other women, especially when you become a new mom. Comparing myself to other moms brings out a side of me that thankfully not too many people get the pleasure of seeing (except, of course, my husband and kids).

The crazy thing is it didn’t start when I became a new mom. It started when I was pregnant.

Well into the first trimester of my first pregnancy, I’d look down at my 1999 (mom) jeans with a rubber band tied around the button-fly waist and think, “Well, this isn’t going to hold out much longer.” My husband and I hardly had enough money to pay for parking in downtown Seattle, let alone buy stylish “office-appropriate” maternity clothes. (I happened to be pregnant with my first child before Target or Old Navy launched their maternity lines. Yes, I’m that old.) I’d see all the hip young moms-to-be strutting around Seattle wearing designer maternity suits and stress out when I couldn’t find one that cost less than what my husband and I were paying on a monthly basis to rent our one-bedroom apartment.

I was excited about being pregnant, but didn’t realize the harm I was doing by comparing myself to other women so early on.


So I got creative. I stuck with basic black and consignment store finds and pressed on.

For another month.

The further along I got in my pregnancy, the more worries started worming their way into my head.

With random questions popping up, such as:

Why is that mom reading literature to her unborn child in the park? (As I put down a copy of US Weekly.) Will my baby come out humming Pearl Jam and asking about Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt?

Should I be teaching him a second language? (¿Dónde está el baño?) (I barely had enough energy to meet work deadlines, let alone cram in post-college Spanish sessions.)

Will my child be an under-achiever because I don’t play Baby Mozart for him in the womb? (As I turned up Cyndi Lauper in my car.)

How many more weeks can I stretch my basic black elastic waist-band skirt until it pops? (It popped about a week later.)

When it came to a delivery plan, I started to second-guess my choices based on what other mothers were doing, from Washington to Women’s Health magazine. Although I admired women like Ricki Lake who had a natural birth, I had an incredibly challenging first birth experience (including false labor, hemorrhaging, and surgery), which meant the word “Epidural” was my new best friend. I didn’t realize I’d be judged by other women for having one. And these were women who weren’t even my friends. They were women I’d met casually through birthing class, the doctor’s office or friends of friends. “Excuse me for not wanting to DIE in childbirth,” I’d think to myself. And because of the trauma, I was not physically able to breast feed. Lord knows I caught flack for bottle-feeding. I loved my new little guy, all 8 pounds, 9 ounces of him.

But I always ended up feeling like somehow, I wasn’t doing the right thing for him. My grandmother once told me being clueless is what being a new parent is all about. None of us know what the heck we’re doing when we become parents, but you have to trust yourself, open your mind, and know it’s going to be OK.

Sixteen years and two children later, I’ve had my fair share of re-thinking my decisions on everything from potty training to playdates. Honestly, I’m more concerned about curfews and college tours these days. But that’s fodder for another post.

I remember hearing moms brag about their 19-month-olds directing their urine stream perfectly into a Cheerio. (While my toddler son would turn to me and pause before peeing in a Pull-Up.) At the time, I thought I was a failure for not succeeding at potty training him at 20 months. Oh, we tried. My entire family knows I tried. But I can assure you, he did not go to preschool peeing into a Pull Up. He was fully trained a few months later and never had an accident.

Through the years, I’ve learned to stop.
To stop listening to the noise. The comparisons. The celebrity advice. And go with what works for me.

Oh, I enjoy learning from other moms. But I’d rather giggle with them. I find that the more confidence I have in what works for me and my family, and the less I compare myself to other women, the better off I am. (The better off we all are!) I’d rather laugh with other moms and celebrate our imperfections. It’s more fun (and a heck of a lot healthier) for everyone.

I hope you can find some time to visit Providence Moms Blog. I promise you’ll find something special written by fab moms who share pieces of wit and wisdom. And feel free to visit this link to find some other articles I’ve written too.

Maybe we can be friends on Snap Chat? Or not.


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I realize I promised I wouldn’t write about my kids any more. But as a mom of two teenagers, sometimes, to quote a line from Risky Business, you’ve got say, “What the f**k, Joel.”

I feel like I’ve been holding in gas for a year.

Besides, they’ll never read this, right? I mean, are you friends with your kids on social media? Let me rephrase that: Are you friends with your teenagers on ALL of their social media accounts?

Exactly. (No judging here, I get that everyone parents differently.)

I tried friending my 16-year-old son who opened a Facebook account solely for school-sports-team reasons. He politely ignored my friend request. A few weeks went by and I asked him about it. The boy inherited his father’s quiet, dry wit. He looks at me, laughs and says, “Sorry mom, it’s never going to happen.”

And you can forget Instagram or Twitter. I tried friending my 13-year-old daughter on both and during breakfast one morning (after sending her invitations to befriend the woman who brought her into this world), she basically said, “Nope. Sorry, mom” with her eyes.

My teens are still great, caring kids. Especially when they’re sleeping.

As if my social media life isn’t pathetic enough, a very dear friend recently introduced me to Snapchat. I’m still awaiting my kids’ friend requests. (I’m on there as Jackie Hennessey or ventingsessions – I can’t seem to figure out how to add SnapChat to my laptop. One thing at a time, right?)

I think I have 12 friends on SnapChat. I swear I’m not a social Shrek. It’s just that everyone I know my age has yet to open a SnapChat account, let alone figure out this app that is probably one of the most popular communication tools used by teens. Think trading notes in study hall in the 1980’s. My kids are constantly taking selfies, only to disappear into some God-forsaken social chat candy land. A place where rainbows and unicorns actually exist.

I personally like the SnapChat filters where it erases my stray eyebrow hairs and age spots. But my daughter claims I’m using it wrong.

“Doing what wrong? I’m responding to my friend’s Snap Chat text messages.”

“You’re not really Snap-chatting, mom.”

Whatever. As if. True story. I actually muffled these very words under my breath and went to my room to listen to Madonna on Pandora.

I do recommend trying out SnapChat. It’s like text messaging with Cybil Shepard filters. And it’s not about being the most popular. (Because apparently, I’m sitting at the lunch table of the misfits.) If anything, you get to learn why your teens are busying themselves in this fantasy land. If you ask me, it’s nothing compared to MTV in the 1980’s. But it helps you relate to their world a little. It kind of reminds me of taking Jazzercise with my mom back in the 1980s. We had fun. Until I turned 13. Skip, ball change, I love my mom. But to this day, every time I hear a De Barge song, I cringe a little, and experience PJSD post-Jazzercise-stress-disorder flashbacks.

I found a smiley face link inside the SnapChat app that allows me to share bitmojis. Bitmojis are basically cartoon versions of ourselves. Oh yes. Caricatures. You get to sport permanent eyeliner, a waist and you can wear skinny jeans that don’t fall off your butt. FullSizeRender-2

So my mom friend and I sometimes swap caricatures of ourselves playing the piano or hanging out on a sofa wearing skinny jeans. Another friend and I exchange laugh-out-loud bitmoji messages where we’re doing Karoake. And she’ll send selfies wearing a flowery princess crown. I do the same and have actually saved the photo to use as a potential Facebook profile pic. (Where I have hundreds of friends. (Or Twitter, where I have lot of friends too. 2,700 and counting.) IMG_6412

I know, I know. It seems like a total waste of time. But it’s a cool tool. And very 13 of me. But fun at the same time.

Just don’t tell my kids.

Listen Up, Moms


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There’s a show that’s coming to town that can’t be found in movie theaters, on Netflix or on Hulu. One that’s downright entertaining and inspiring. I’m talking about the 2017 Listen to Your Mother Show. If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s an on-stage show created by Ann Imig that features original readings by local writers in celebration of motherhood. If you are familiar, you’re aware that it is a Mother’s Day phenomenon that has grown from one performance in one city to 29 shows around the country. And it has featured some amazing people.


I felt the need to write about the Listen to Your Mother show because sadly, it is coming to an end nationally this year. The last Providence show is this week, Thursday, May 4. I’m honored to share the stage for the finale with cast members Karen CL Anderson, Liana Cassar, Elizabeth DaRosa, Brianne DeRosa (director/producer/cast member), Kirsten DiChiappari (director/producer/cast member), Chelley Martinka (producer), Magnolia Perez and Alexandra Vaillancourt. Proceeds from the show help support Foster Forward, an organization that helps connect mentors for children in foster care.
I recommend seeing the finale in your city. (It’s in RI on May 4 at the Providence Public Library at 7 p.m.). I’ve seen performances from the audience… and from the stage.
It’s been four years since I was a cast member of the inaugural Providence show. The bond formed with my Listen to Your Mother sisters in 2013 was real. It was special. And it was beyond words, yet it was all about the words we read aloud for the world to hear. The experience of being a part of this national show that gives Mother’s Day a microphone struck a chord within all of us, as we swallowed our butterflies and fears before taking the stage.
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The whole experience, from audition to final show, was so much greater than the sum of the parts. Each cast member, although talented on their own, shined a little brighter when we performed as a group. One presenter flowed to the next, sharing something different. Something special. A part of themselves. And no one left disappointed.
It was an experience I’ll never forget. And I’m so proud of the women co-producing this year’s show, my fellow 2013 LTYM cast mates, Kirsten DiChiappari and Brianne DeRosa and my friend and Rhody Blogger sister, Chelley Martinka.
I’m honored to be sharing the stage with an incredible group of women this year, including my friend, fellow Barrington mom, Liana Cassar. We’ve already laughed and cried together during rehearsals and the connection is real. This year’s ensemble is made up of remarkable women who have stories to share that will have you giggling one minute and grabbing a tissue the next.
For more information about the Listen To Your Mother Show, please visit
What: Providence Listen To Your Mother Show
When: May 4, 2017
Where: Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street
How: Tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets: www.ltympvd17.brownpaper