Winners Of The Three Necklaces Giveaway And Cravings Gifts

The winners of the necklaces (picked from are Jo, Sharon and Lyn. Congratulations! I will get those out to you this week! I hope you like yours as much as I like mine. And thank you to everyone who entered! I will have another giveaway coming up in December!

There are a ton of things on my wishlists, but it is the time of the year where it is about buying for others. That, coupled with the fact that I also have a few clothing related posts I will be publishing later in the week if all goes as planned (including a set of reviews going up tomorrow), means I don’t really feel much like talking about clothes today. Gasp! So, today let’s talk about gifts. Here are a few things I am excited about gifting this year. I cannot post a lot about gifts here, because my family reads this blog, but I will post a few things that they know they are getting or things I can recommend for a generic gift receiver:


I always get my son the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar. It is a fun way to countdown the time until Christmas. Yes, that is Darth Vader dressed as Santa Claus! I purchased mine at the beginning of November. I cannot believe it, but it is sold out online all ready. Amazon has it for a huge markup through a third party. I think that is ridiculous so I am not linking to it. I would recommend heading directly to your local Target or Walmart (our local Target was out of them as of yesterday) VERY soon to check their stock if you want one for your kiddos (definitely before Black Friday).


This year I was able to get my daughter Benefit’s Advent Calendar from Sephora during their 20% off promotion. It gets mixed reviews, but I think it looks perfect for a teenager. I also recognize that her gift cost double my son’s. I had to seriously question the purchase of this, but she is only living at home for a few more years. I want to spoil her while I can.

I cannot wait to watch both kids get their gifts and countdown the holiday!


I do not burn candles a lot. I cook way too much to do so. I like the smell of food baking and cooking much better than any candle. The candles I do purchase are, surprise!, food based. My newest favorite scent is the Oatmeal Cookie Candle from Anthropologie. I have been on a roasted chicken phase here (I still cook when I am sick. Moms cannot take a day off. I think it is about time we went on strike), so I have not burnt this yet. But it is sitting on my counter waiting for a day when we finally get take out.


I gift and get these duvet slippers every year. They are simply the best. Like pillowy clouds upon your feet. I highly recommend them. I have been purchasing them for years.


As a little girl, one of the best parts about the holidays were the Lindt Truffles my grandmother would leave out in candy dishes throughout her home. They were not as available back then as they are now. It was a big treat. I like to give these chocolates as gifts. Right now Costco has these giant bags filled with about fifty truffles for $6.99 (for a very limited time). I may or may not have purchased four and have two left. Don’t count on these as gifts, folks. Or buy more than I did. The peanut butter truffle?! I swoon. I need to go pick up more!

What is a generic gift that you always give out? I would love more ideas. I also like to buy colorful colanders on clearance at Marshall’s, etc. and fill it with a pretty kitchen towel, and goodies (perhaps some Lindt Truffles if you have more willpower than me). Tie it with a bow around the handles and you can punch a hole through a gift card and attach it to the bow. Phew! That was quite a visual. I will have to make one up and show you a finished colander soon.

Dear Children: The Cut


The hardest thing about being a parent (and there are many hard aspects to it, despite what you may think) is learning when to let go. Learning when to allow you to have your freedom. For eighteen years you are our responsibility and then one day, you just aren’t. One day you are your own responsibilty. If I never give you any freedom now, how will you know how to use it when it is finally all yours? Every bit of it.

How much space is too much?

How much space is too little?

If I let you go will you float away like a balloon and never return?

I’m having a hard time of it.

It would be an entirely easier decision if there were not crazy contraptions in the sky. Designed to steer you off course. There are balloon thiefs. And, worse, balloon poppers. There are balloon gangs. And, God forbid, balloon addicts addicted to getting high.


It is so so so so so so fragile.

And you are not of the age that you can understand that yet.

Last month, I let you go to your very first concert.

Without me.

I drove away and left you. A part of me felt empty. Disoriented. The mother beast in me was fighting with the fact that I had just left you. By yourself. Okay, you had two friends with you, but there was not an adult. It was such a tough decision. Did I make the right choice? Even dropping you off at the mall with your friends is hard.

You know I will not be giving you your online freedom until you reach eighteen. It is one thing to physically drop you off at a location with your friends where there might be predators. It is another thing entirely to let you navigate, by yourself, the entire dirty world of the internet where I know there are predators.

It is a scary world when the virtual one becomes more dangerous than the physical one.

God forbid those two should ever collide.

I recognize I am somewhat sidetracking, but it all has to do with the same thing. The ever so hard choices we parents have to make. The scary consequences we will have to face if we allow you to make the wrong ones.

And we will.

And I will.

And you will.

And I need to tighten this darn string. Because this letting go thing is killing me. And I have just discovered that the string of your balloon is tied directly to my heart. This is rather inconvenient timing. It is going to hurt to cut that string. It hurts when you pull on it. When you attempt to break free before the string has been allowed to fray. To naturally make the cut on its own.

I feel as though time is a pair of ruthless scissors.

The choices more important than helium or air.

I am the clown that cannot laugh. I cannot mold my balloon fast enough for the circus of life that awaits to take my creation away.

Life is not fair.

Nor a fair.

But I am preparing you for it nonetheless.

Those scissors are looming closer. They are so sharp. So cutting. So very dreadful.

It makes sense that their cut would hurt.

I just never thought it would hurt this much.

The Girl Who Almost Burned Down Her School


Ninth grade was a tough year. Is it ever not? I believe I was the only freshman in the history of teenage girls, to have my father walk me to my class on the first day of school. It was a tradition. I was not going to break it. I think my father was more embarrassed than I was.

Other memories from that year: A boy, who I still remember the name of, being harassed for popping a pimple onto the mirror in the boys’ locker room. Our “real” school was still being built. We were all in trailers. There was no senior class. Let me take that back. There was no “class.” We could hear the construction crew working through our courses. It was a fantastic educational environment. Highly recommended. The boys’ and girls’ locker rooms were simple trailers with a lone mirror in each. It was the size of a small medicine cabinet. It was distorted and wavy. A huge splurge for the school.

I imagine poor Chris (that is what I shall call him) popping his pimple onto that lonely mirror. Someone seeing. An eruption. The finger pointing. Tough break. It followed him through the remainder of high school.

I had three body suits that year. Do you remember those? They were shirts that snapped at the crotch like baby clothes. Yep. And women wore these contraptions. Willingly. The opposite of a chastity belt. A fantastic trend. Girls will know what I mean here. Boys will be confused and wonder if I meant they really were the modern day chastity belt. Nope. I meant what I said. You figure it out.

I would alternate wearing them. I am a sadist.

Which brings me to my last memory: the girl who almost burned down the school.

Otherwise known, as me.

We lived thirty miles from school. My mother would drop me off in the front before making her way to work. Of course, being the true teenager that I was, I was neither grateful nor appreciative of this. In the classic teenage brain, this was her duty. What else was she going to do?

I remember I was wearing my favorite body suit. It was the color of pepto bismol and had a plaid pattern. It was the perfect outfit for mayhem.

My mother pulls up to the school in her white Ford Taurus. And just as I am about to get out of the car, smoke begins to pour from underneath the hood.

The car stalls.


My mother jumps out. Flames are starting to peek out from their hiding place in the engine.

“Get out!” My mother screamed at me. “Help me push this.”

In hindsight, I have no idea why she thought we needed to push it.

But it made no matter. I was not getting out of that flaming car. I mean, how embarrassing. So I sat there, in my bodysuit, with smoke billowing its way towards the windows.

It was a grand entrance.


My mother was determined. She was pushing that car.

I slowly crawled out of the car. Big exaggerated efforts. This was such an inconvenience.


I grab my side of the car. My mom grabs her side. And we push the car.

Ten feet.

Into a telephone pole.

Which immediately catches on fire.

Which is twenty feet away from a classroom trailer.

Which happens to be my first class.

So, we stand there and watch our masterpiece. Our beautiful creation. Our flaming symbol of panic. It was the poster child for what not to do if your car erupts into flames.

We were so proud.

My mother, being the pyromaniac that she was, urged me to go to class, as she stood and bathed in the embarrassing inferno.

I slunk into the classroom.

Nobody noticed. I was the only one sitting in a chair. The rest of the class, including the teacher, was positioned in front of the sad trailer window. The room was froth with excitement.

“Oh my gosh! That car is on fire.”

“Look at that pinto burning.” This one stung. I still remember it. My cheeks were red. And not just from the heat of almost committing a felony.

“It’s going to burn down the school!” This was met with cheers.

“Whose car is that?”

I kept wriggling in my seat. And not just from the bodysuit. I was one of three ninth graders in a geometry class full of tenth graders. This was way before this was a common practice in California. I had always been really proud to have my courses with the upperclassmen. But now, it was backfiring (ha, a pun) on me.

I looked at the chalkboard. I don’t know about you, but I was ready for some learning. Let’s get educated! I ignored the crowd in my peripheral vision.

Any day now. Come on, teacher! I sat up straighter. Let’s do some proofs!

The teacher finally noticed the freak. The one student staring blankly ahead. Sitting straight in her seat. Nose in the air. Chin proudly up. Pencil at the ready (better hide this from my mother. Good kindling). Her pepto bismol shirt covered in grey soot.

“Are you okay?”

Huh? Me. Am I okay? Um, I’m just trying to get an education here. Why would this be abnormal?

I blinked. My voice was shaky. I meant to say those words, but instead, “That’s my car,” creaked out of my mouth, unwillingly, like a teenager getting out of a car.


The teacher shouted. I immediately wished a lifetime of bodysuits upon her.

The class turned around. One giant eye in a giant head on a pack of teenagers.

I tried to act nonchalant. Yea, so. What of it? I simply nodded.

“Well, what are you doing in this classroom?” Asked the first teacher ever.

I simply stared at her. It’s the teenage super power.

“Get out of here. Go help your mom.”

I stood up. Shoulders slumped. Excited whispering behind me.

“Who is that girl?” Ouch.

“Do you think the fire is going to spread to the school?”

“Why did they push it into the telephone pole?”

I left the classroom. The giant eye burning into my back, granted the power from the flames out the window.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur. I remember standing there and watching the firemen put the fire out. My mother picking out a new car. A maroon Camry. So reliable it would last through my sister’s college years.

The next day, we went back to the scene of the crime. The telephone pole was black. This time my mother did not need to tell me to get out of the car. I jumped out.

I made my way to the classroom. I could see our creation out of the window.

I heard a whisper.

“Hey, that’s the girl who almost burned down the school.”

I gave them a look. My superpower turned full force. Quiet.

Another whisper.

“That was so cool.”

I sat there stunned. An inappropriate smile creeped its way onto my face.

Upperclassmen started talking to me after that. I wasn’t popular. But I wasn’t not. I had gained a certain notoriety. I was a badass.

“The girl who almost burned down the school.”

Hey, I’ll take it. It could be worse.

Poor Chris.


* This story was written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge on the Daily Post. It is sadly a true story. Told from the point of view of my not-nearly-as-nice-as-I-am-now teenage self.

And mom, I’m sorry. I love you!

* Want to continue the fun? See some of my similar stories:
“Happy Birthday, Honey”

Hulk Hands

Babysitting Woes

My Crazy Obsession