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We Can Be Heros

September 5, 2014 on 8:31 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

Schools now have signs announcing Anti-Bullying Zones, but sadly kids still get bullied, and we all know the results can sometimes be deadly.michelle-212

As a child, I was bullied by a popular sixth-grade Barbie-doll lookalike who enjoyed reminding me how un-Barbie I was.

One day the teacher left the portable. There was a rush of whispers, desks were jerked back and there I stood face to face with my tormentor.

Little did Barbie doll know that my dad had taught me to throw a killer punch. My fist made contact with her nose; there was lots of blood. The next thing I knew the teacher was sending bloody Barbie with two friends down to see the school nurse.

I was ordered out of the room. My teacher stepped out of the portable and before I could defend myself, she said, “She deserved that!”

I was never punished.

Last year my son’s elementary school principal called me. Apparently Joshua, who has the biggest heart ever – I mean, I installed it myself – had been smack talking with two boys. She told me that the kids weren’t in trouble. They thought they were all goofing on each other.

What they didn’t realize was that one of the boys was internalizing it all; he went home and said that he didn’t want to come back to school.

I told my son that although the child may have been playing along, inside he was hurting.

“Next year you’re going to middle school and I want you to be a hero,” I told him. “If you see someone being bullied, I want you to be the one to step up and defend the kid. No one likes a bully. If you say something, others will get behind you. If you see a kid eating lunch alone, go talk to him. That’s who I want you to be, Joshua; I want you to be a hero.”

We need heroes.

We need our kids to care about other kids, but they won’t unless we tell them we’re expecting it.

As for my tormentor, she ended up with a broken nose that led to a nose job, making her even more Barbie-esque.

Me, I ended up with a badass reputation – no one ever bullied me again. In fact, they were afraid, so I used that and always stood up for the little guy. I keep my cape in the closet.

Mall’s fair in love & war

August 6, 2014 on 8:53 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

There’s almost nothing more exciting to a parent’s ears than the sound of school bells ringing in mid-August; it’s like the sound of children’s laughter, only better because there are no kids involved.michelle-204

After a long, hot summer filled with children – mine and others’ – just the thought of them going back to school is enough to make me giddy. No more sharing my home office with TV-watching, kitchen-destroying, crumb-leaving kids.

I know we’re getting close to school time when I start slipping that phrase into everyday conversation: “Well, you won’t be bored for long; it’s almost time to go…back to school.”

You can also tell by watching TV; you’ll see more and more back-to-school commercials. That’s the one catch about your kids going back to school: the shopping.

If you have a son, it’s no big deal. My 11-year-old hates shopping. It’s the worst thing you can do to him. As soon as we cross the threshold into the mall he starts grunting, “My feet hurt” – this from a kid who could walk across three Florida theme parks in one day, without a lunch break, if you just throw him an ice cream cone.

Joshua’s shopping experience was pleasingly painless. We actually did it on FaceTime while he was with his grandparents up in Boston. Is technology amazing or what? I pointed my camera to items on a website and he either said “OK” or “no way.” A few clicks and a few pair of cargo shorts and T-shirts later, we were done. Everything will be shipped to my door. The hardest part for him: putting it all away.

If you have a daughter anywhere in the neighborhood of 11-15 years old, then my friend, you’re doomed.

My best advice is to bring comfortable shoes, tissues for dressing-room meltdowns, a snack – you don’t want her to get “hangry” – and all the patience you can muster; this is a strange kind of war. While you’re on the same side, you still have to defend yourself. Think before you offer an opinion, any opinion – think hard.

So buckle up and keep dreaming; those bells will soon be ringing for real.

Augh, it’s August

August 1, 2014 on 8:56 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

Poor August. The eighth month of the year doesn’t have much going for it. Unless it’s you’re the birthday or anniversary of you or someone you love, August will just pass you by.Untitled-1

Living in Florida, I’ve often wished it away as the proverbial exclamation point to our hellish summers.

August is downright depressing (and oppressing). It’s hot, sticky and the epitome of the dog days of summer.

Every other month has its star moment:

  • January starts off exciting; you can turn over a new leaf on New Year’s Day.
  • February celebrates lovers on Valentine’s Day. There’s also Groundhog’s Day, and don’t forget sports fans’ biggest day, Superbowl Sunday.
  • In March, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. March also boasts Mardi Gras and the beginning of spring.
  • April has April Fool’s Day, Easter, Passover and Patriots’ Day – or as we call it in Boston, a good excuse for a Marathon Day.
  • May is known for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, two holidays that should be held in reverence and given a special spot on the calendar. For the geeks, May the Fourth be with you on Star Wars Day.
  • June is synonymous with the Summer Solstice and Father’s Day.
  • July’s got the 4th, when America declared its independence – a holiday now remembered for its fanfare, fireworks and even Captain America’s birthday.
  • September has Labor Day and the Autumnal Equinox, along with Grandparent’s Day on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
  • October has Columbus Day, Yom Kippur and of course Halloween.
  • November gives us Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Black Friday. (Does the last one really count as a holiday, though?)
  • December is the mother of all holiday months. We have the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah and New Year’s Eve, and if it isn’t enough, there’s always National Fruitcake Day on the 27th.

But poor August – if you Google hard enough, you’ll find “holidays” in August. According to HolidayInsights.com, August hosts National Watermelon Day on the 3rd, National S’mores Day on the 10th, Left Hander’s Day on the 14th and National Marshmallow Toasting Day on the 30th, in case you didn’t get to pay it proper homage on the 10th.

The name game

July 25, 2014 on 9:11 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

All the world loves a lover, and when those lovers are celebrities on the verge of having babies, we’re all about being in the know.michelle-201

Will it be a boy or a girl? Who will it look like? And of course, the ever=important question, what will the name be?

If you’re a fame-lovin’ celeb, you’re not going with a simple John, Michael or Julie – those are names for commoners. You’re a true artist; you have to show the world your creativity by providing a one-of-a-kind moniker for your little magpie.

Some examples:

  • Gwyneth Paltrow’s and almost-ex-husband rocker Chris Martin’s kids, Apple and Moses.
  • Kimye (Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) named their baby North; little North West hopefully will never need a GPS, as direction should be second nature.
  • There’s Bruce Willis’ and former wife Demi Moore’s trio of girls: Rumer, Scout LaRue and Tallulah Belle. My ears are ringing just thinking about them being called for dinner.
  • And of course, one of my faves, Penn Jillette’s daughter Moxie Crimefighter, who will most certainly turn out to be a superhero or at least own a cape.

As for the Hollywood royalty still expecting, I thought I’d make it easy on them by picking out a name best suited for their stature.

  • Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are expecting; since it came as a bit of a surprise to both, I’d go with baby Punk’d (it’s also unisex).
  • Chelsea Clinton and husband Marc Mezvinsky are going to make Bill and Hillary grandparents. I say go for it and name the baby POTUS.
  • Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz will soon be a dad again. He and model Meagan Camper are expecting their first child together. Wentz has a 5-year-old son, Bronx Mowgli, with his ex-wife Ashlee Simpson. In keeping with the tough city attitude, name it South Central.
  • Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan are due this fall. As Downey tweeted to the world on July 9, 2014 “Yo. Susan. Me. Baby. Girl. November. Scorpio?” This one is easy, if it’s a girl: Iron Maiden.

If you can’t take the heat…

July 18, 2014 on 9:16 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

The lyrics say, “Summertime, and the living is easy,” but if you’re a work-at-home mommy home with her kids for the summer, trust me, it’s anything but easy.michelle-198

Couple that with their boredom, your frustration and their infuriating expressions. Add to it their manipulation, demands on your time and you have something that could boil over into a nice little episode of Snapped.

One thing that people who work from home all have in common is the understanding that people, especially your friends and relatives, don’t believe that you’re actually working – not even my kids, who actually bear witness to me in front of my laptop typing furiously or talking to people on the phone.

The typical summer day starts like this:

My daughter Emily: “Mom, are you working today?”

Me: “Yes, it’s Monday, typically most people work on Mondays.”

Emily (with rolling eyes): “Well you’re at home, sooo…”

(That’s the new teen-speak; they end lots of sentences with a long stretched out “soooo” or “weelllll” and “yaaaa.” Another teen-speakism is that when you want to emphasize frustration, you end each word with “ah.” Example: “No” becomes “No’ah,” not like the dude with the ark. Another example, I can hear her yell at her brother, “Let go’ah.”)

Back to the guilt of the day:

Emily: “So we’re doing nothing again today?”

Me: “No, you’re doing nothing again today; I’m working.”

(For some reason, since it’s her vacation, I’m charged with keeping her entertained, or so she thinks.)

Back into the “office,” I go commuting with coffee in hand. I try to explain to both kids to treat me like any other working parent. Respect my boundaries.

“Try and pretend that I’m at work,” I say.

(That’s when I hear it myself, “pretend,” right out of my own mouth.)

Me: “I mean pretend I’m away at work, at an office, someplace in Miami or North Dakota, you know don’t just barge in.”

Ten minutes later my cell phone rings, it’s “home” calling. Are they kidding?

Emily: “I know you’re at work, but do I have to make my own lunch?” (It’s 10 a.m.)


Spark it up this summer

July 9, 2014 on 9:30 am | In Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

OK, so I’m a little behind the eight ball getting swimsuit ready; it’s already summer, but as they say it’s never too late to start.new

There are so many great gadgets, and amazing websites and really helpful health information on the web all designed to help arm those of us in the battle of the bulge that it can be downright confusing.

Here is just one of my fabulous finds for getting fit.

I love SparkPeople.com because it has a little something for everyone: recipes, exercise videos, and an entire community of message boards with every topic under the sun. It has one of the best and easiest ways to track your food with a huge database that members can add to. You can track your fitness; it connects with devices like heart-rate monitors and activity monitors if you want to get real techy. You can also take it with you because they have not just one but a few different apps for your smartphone.

If you like a little competition, they have team challenges and you can earn points, trophies and receive Spark Goodies from other members for motivation.

You get your own page where you can blog, post photos and keep up with other members you friend, just like on Facebook. You can be a virtual social butterfly by delving into the community where you can find people with common interests or goals. Or you can be completely anti-social and just go there to track your food and exercise routine or watch videos.

Need to lose 50 pounds? There’s a board for that. Do you attend the University of Florida? There are 90 members on that board to greet you. If follow Dr. Furman’s “Eat to Live,” you’re in luck, because so do 2,612 members. Love watching The Biggest Loser for motivation? You’re not alone; 83,287 other members do too.

SparkPeople is one of the older health and fitness sites launching in 2001. It has grown by leaps and bounds. There’s so much to see and do, you’ll have to explore it all for yourself.

Best of all, it’s free.

Cooking for the apocalypse

June 17, 2014 on 11:53 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, Palm Beach Post | No Comments


Scouring the Internet for interesting people is something I take seriously, however the people don’t have to take themselves too seriously, and that’s the feeling I get when I ask you to extend a fist pump to the Vegan Black Metal Chef.

Oh yes, you heard that right, and if any group needs something to lighten up their stoic image, it’s the vegans, and the Chef does that with some freaktastic fun – more fun than you can shake your spatula at.

By day he is mere mortal Brian Manowitz, and in an interview on ABC News two years ago he said that he started the site as a way to explain what vegans eat and how to do it in a fun way. By the way, Vegans don’t eat meat or anything that comes from animals.

As the Vegan Black Metal Chef, Manowitz dons a skintight black outfit complete with chain mail, various spikes and makeup that looks very Gene Simmons a la KISS.

He has a flair that would make Bobby Flay cringe. Vegetables are chopped, or as he says, sacrificed. You don’t mash potatoes – you crush them with your mace and show them no mercy. He obliterates his meals into submission.

For eggplant parmesan, “Boil some water for the pasta as you recite the dark one’s name. Heat some olive oil in a pan as your eggplant meets its fate.”

Really, you have to see it for yourself. I recommend Soupocalypse, where you can learn three soup recipes: potato leek soup, Asian dumpling soup and matzo ball noodle soup.

Parents beware: although I can promise you’ll pee your pants laughing, this isn’t for kids. I learned that when I was screening this with my 11-year-old son Joshua, who soon learned that the chef has quite the potty mouth, much like his mother. So OK, I let him watch it, it’s just too funny.

For a good, deep belly laugh – and who couldn’t use one of those – you’ll not only learn vegan recipes, but if you listen closely you can actually hear the spirit of Julia Child crying. (Kidding!)

Check it out: www.veganblackmetalchef.com.

Cardassian v. Kardashian

April 7, 2014 on 11:57 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

michelle-168My husband and I are closet Trekkies, although we don’t go to conventions, speak Klingon or dress up in costumes, and just to be clear, we don’t live in our parents’ basement.

I would say we are weekend warrior Trekkies, channel surfing the TV offerings – if there’s nothing good on, there’s always Star Trek on someplace.

My husband outscores me in Trekkiedom. He’s probably watched every episode, seen every movie and even ventured into Deep Space Nine. I, on the other hand, have watched a ton of Star Trek, and can’t remember any of it, so each one is new to me. I’ll watch intently while my husband gives me the back story, regardless of whether or not I ask. He can also quote some of the more important lines, again, regardless of inquiry. He’s so Trekkie, he’s just told me that I’m wrong and the correct term for avid Star Trek fans is actually Trekker (thanks).

Anyway, we were watching Star Trek – me half listening with my laptop open, him at full attention as if he was on the bridge – when I hear something that caught my attention. Picard was talking about the Cardassians. I turned to my husband laughing about how funny it would be if the Kardashians – sisters Kim, Khloé, Kourtney, Kendall and Kyrie, along with mom Kris and stepdad Bruce Jenner – were all in space. I then thought, well, aren’t they?

To prove it, here are some comparisons that make me think they just may be distant relatives.

  • Cardassians are famous for their photographic memories. Kardashians are famous for selfies.
  • Cardassians seek dominance in a social setting. Kardashians are dominant in a social setting, especially ones of their own making.
  • For Cardassians, education is power and joy is vulnerability. For the Kardashians, education is knowing a Louboutin from a Manolo Blahnik, and joy is bagging an elusive Birkin bag and tweeting about how you did it with more selfies.
  • The Cardassians’ mental training is so disciplined they can deflect a Vulcan Mind Meld. The Kardashians have trained the paparazzi so well, they can’t deflect anything.

It’s an eerie resemblance, right?

How do I love thee…let me count the marriages

February 3, 2014 on 12:03 pm | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

It’s February, and that means love is in the air thanks to that sappy Hallmark holiday known as Valentine’s Day.michelle-151

As Cupid’s arrow strikes, we fall into an insane state. Our minds are fully occupied with our betrothed. But often we wake from the trance only to find that the arrow has become a dagger in our hearts.

With this in mind, let’s play a game. Guess the celebrity relationship status – extra points if you know how many spouses, their names and the longevity of the marriage.

Kim Kardashian: If you’ve been keeping up with Kim she has been married twice, first to Damon Thomas and then to NBA player Kris Humphries. More interesting was her wedding which played out on TV (“Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event”) at a cost of $10 million, however it’s rumored that between endorsements, exclusive photo rights and the TV show, they didn’t spend a dime. Perhaps the fairytale title that left out any mention of Kris was the telltale sign of things to come. The marriage lasted 72 days.

Britney Spears: Brit had a Vegas wedding to her childhood friend, Jason Alexander; the marriage was over in 55 hours. Her next marriage was considerably more successful – Kevin Federline, two years and two kids.

Lisa Marie Presley: Four marriages. Her daddy may have been the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but Lisa Marie was certainly not the Queen of Hearts. Not only has Presley been married multiple times, she also qualifies for extreme short-term marriages. First, Danny Keough. Six years and two kids later, Splitsville. Twenty days later she wed the King of Pop, Michael Jackson; it lasted 20 months. It was then wedding bells for her and actor Nicolas Cage for 108 days. She has been married to Michael Lockwood since 2006; they have twin girls.

The eight timer’s club includes Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Larry King and Lana Turner.

Some exceptions are Denzel and Pauletta Washington, married 29 years; Billy and Janice Crystal, 42 years; Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson, 32 years; Meryl Streep and Don Gummer, 34 years; and Bill and Camille Cosby, 48 years.

Proving true love is meant to last.


November 27, 2013 on 12:11 pm | In Blog, General, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

There’s a new holiday for everyone, and it’s called Thanksgivukkah – OY!thanksgivikuh-150x150

It’s a twofer miracle that won’t happen for another 70,000 years. If you’re a Jew like me, you can kill two turkeys with one latke and have the relatives over only once.

A lot of people don’t even know what Hanukkah is about; who cares, it’s the Jewish way of one-upping the Christians’ Christmas. You get one day, we get eight nights.

Usually Hanukkah falls on or near Christmas, which makes for some real kid competition.

Growing up Jewish, you envied those Christian kids. They got to have a whole tree in their living room, tricked out with lights. On Christmas mornings, they’d wake at an ungodly hour, turn on the tree and rip open presents.

Christian friends thought that we got the better deal thanks to presents for eight nights.

Our parents tried to sell us that one.

However, eight nights of gifts isn’t cheap, so you got socks and puzzles. Trust me my Christian friends, you didn’t miss anything.

Thanksgivukkah celebrates two holidays that are based on miracles.

Hanukkah is about oil in the lamp that was supposed to last only one night but lasted eight. (What? I know.) Thanksgiving celebrates the colonists surviving their first winter. Even more miraculously, they survived the trip over here.

I guarantee there were no Jews aboard. After wandering in the desert for 40 years, we’re not taking chances like that again.

If there were, my grandparents’ “Escape from Tyranny ” would have looked like this:

“Harry, did you remember to pack your scarf? It gets cold.”

“Yes, Anna.”

“Did you bring the Dramimine? You know I get sick.”

“Yes, Anna.”

“I just heard from the Goldbergs who sailed 10 months ago. They said the food was terrible, there were no shows and the rooms were drafty.”

“Yes, Anna.”

“They said there are Quakers there. What are Quakers? Are they related to Wilford Brimley, or did they invent the oatmeal?”

“I don’t know, Anna.”

“I worry that there aren’t enough Jews over there to get a decent mahjong game going.”

“So, you’ll teach them, Anna.”

“Oh God Harry, no Chinese food – OY!”

“Stop – you’ll worry yourself sick, Anna.”

“Oh, that reminds me, did you bring the Dramamine?”

The Name Game

July 25, 2013 on 9:37 am | In Blog | No Comments

What’s in a name?

According to Shakespeare it shouldn’t matter to us at all. after all, “…that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”

And there’s nothing that smells sweeter than a newborn baby. So as soon as we found out that the Royal couple was expecting, the frenzy began.

From the initial belly bump to reporters hunkering down in front of the hospital, waiting to see when Kate would cross the threshold to deliver the would be King of England.

All of England and at least three-quarters of Americans watched the Royal baby’s progress.

While watching the show across the pond, we pondered about if it would be a girl or a boy.

There were bookies on both sides taking bets on all aspects – sex, time of birth, time of labor, weight, height and of course the biggie, the new prince’s name.

Maybe it’s just me, but I truly wanted Will and Kate to break with tradition and go with a name that hadn’t been used seven times, like Edward.

I’m not saying they should have gone all rouge with some crazy moniker, the likes we see here in the states – especially with our celebrities:

Born to Holly Madison and Pasquale Rotella, meet baby Rainbow Aurora.

I have to admit it, I have no idea who these two people are, but I do wonder if they perhaps dabble in hallucinogenics.

We have no king, no royal watches, no pomp and circumstances like our allies in Great Britain

We did have the Kennedy’s for awhile.

They were a family steeped in tradition. Endowed with political power. A dynasty of journalists, charitable founders, and of course politicians – Senator Ted Kennedy and of course, President John Kennedy. They had lots of money and plenty of scandal, just to keep it all interesting.

These days, not so much. Lately we never hear from them.

Instead, we’re keeping up with the Kardashians – how embarrassing, The latest, Kim and boyfriend Kanye West, whose name will be carried on with baby North West. Which shows us just what direction we’re headed in.

Let’s do the Time Warp Again

July 18, 2013 on 8:06 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

Ah, the joys of homeownership. Having an investment, buying into a community, fixing your own toilet and with it, flushing your money right down into it, with new paint, laminate flooring and various chachkies that have somehow now become necessities.

Although the crash of the housing market was devastating for many, it also brought opportunity for some. With low interest rates and more realistic home prices, the time had finally came where we could put on our big boy and girl pants and dive into the commitment of buying a home.

After what hit the nation, and South Florida in particular, jumping into the market was akin to that crazy Flying Wallenda, Nik, who recently walked a tightrope over the Grand Canyon – well at least it was for us.

Finally after signing papers until our wrists went numb, the house was ours. Next came the big move – but that’s another story.

Now we’ve arrived at the settling in part. You start making your way through the cavern of boxes and begin the task of unpacking – which is a little like an uneventful Christmas. Ultimately you know what’s in the box, but since it’s wrapped up, you’re a bit surprised when you unwrap it.

If you’ve bought a modern turn-key house with stunning granite countertops and shiny stainless-steel appliances, you can stop reading here. You, my friend, will never know the joys of crossing a bridge through time.

Our house is in a time warp.
TIme Warp
Our mission, to explore strange new color pallets. To seek out new washers and dryers. To boldly go and convert the 1970s into the 21st Century, something that no one has done before.

For now our “new” home is decked out with avocado bathrooms, harvest gold carpet, busy wallpaper bursting with vines and birds that lovingly clash with patterned tile – all topped off with a groovy chattahoochee patio.

Mike and Carol Brady would be in their glory. Mike and Michelle – not so much.

Eventually we’ll drag this house, kicking and screaming into this century and make it our dream home. Until then we’ll be singing – “Here’s the story of a man named Brady…”

School’s Out for Summer – Bummer

July 3, 2013 on 9:51 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

When Roger Daltrey of the famed rock-n-roll band, The Who belted out, “There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”, he must have been stuck at home with his kids.

Is anyone else ready to pack a bag and just drive away until the end of August and the return of school? I leave my house feigning errands just to get into the car and drive around to gain my sanity.michelle-109-150x150

I have two kids, at the ripe, magical age of 10 and 13, and when they have nothing better to do, they torture each other. If they’re really board, they get the dog involved until the noise reaches a fever pitch.

Sure it all starts out as giggles and happiness, but, inevitably it ends in a screaming match and then of course, they call out for the referee – me.

Bare in mind, they know I’m working, but they expect me to be their personal concierge, a Julie McCoy if you will, but this is no pleasure cruise, in fact it’s the Titanic and I’m ready to jump ship.

While they amuse themselves with board games, video games and movies, they soon tire of this and call out for reinforcements, aka, their friends. This brings in more chaos and noise while they simultaneously raid the refrigerator.

The other sibling who is friendless for the day tries to insert themselves into the action, while the other tries to show the friend just who’s boss – It’s an unending battle.

Are you fighting the same war – or conflict? This, like Viet Nam, has no winner.

What do you do if you can’t run off to the Caribbean?

Go with the old theory – fight or flight. Since you can’t possibly fight, take flight my friend.

Hide – lock yourself in your room with a book, or movie and don’t come out. Not under any circumstances. If your kids can dial 911, they don’t need you. This technique also works as a great summer diet. You’ll forgo food and water in favor of peace and quite.

How does this work? When you’re not reacting to their battles, they get tired of fighting, or so they say.

Home is where the Home Depot is

June 20, 2013 on 10:01 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

There’s almost nothing as exciting, exhilarating and terrifying as buying a house…OK, well maybe having a baby -but  without the dirty diapers and 3:00 AM feedings.

Have you been out there lately?

From my own personal experience, it’s a literal rat race. Low inventory, a rise in prices and the very real threat of rising interest rates have put this race into high gear.

The situation is not for the faint of heart. It is wrought with disappointment. You see something you love and offer a fair price, only to find out you’ve been bested.

What’s happening?

Well, you’re not really competing with other buyers who are looking for a home to put down their roots. Instead, you’re up against investors who going in at asking price or a little above and going in with cash.

The game is stacked. You’re literally getting beat by investors who have discovered that it’s far more prudent to buy these houses and rent them out rather than putting their money in the rickety, risky stock market.

We’ll that’s what we’re hearing anyway.

Maybe they’re right. I have no clue about accounting, the stock market, interest rates, or good faith estimates – in fact if anyone even starts talking about numbers my eyes glaze over and I’m someplace in the Twilight Zone.

Instead, laminate floors, glitzy tile back splashes and paint chips dance in my head.

Ever since we began house hunting HGTV is like crack to me. I can’t take my eyes off those renovations – kitchens, bathrooms, back yards – I shed tears when the owners walk in and their jaws drop.

Gone is the avocado sink my friends. They can now reach culinary nirvana with their brand-spanking new kitchen, sparkling with stainless steel appliances, flanked by warm maple cabinets, granite countertops –  all atop a glowing hard wood floor….ahhhh.

Bye, Bye formica and linoleum.

After a long search, it’s finally over. We’re closing on our house next week.

We didn’t get a cookie-cutter in a gated community like we thought we would. Instead our house is circa 1981 – perfect condition, except for the dated interior. Look out Home Depot, here we come!

Just Breathe!

June 5, 2013 on 10:07 am | In As Seen In..., Blog, PBG Lifestyle Magazine | No Comments

We Floridians are resilient. We live on a peculiar piece of land that was once mainly swamp. We keep a watchful eye on the tropics, ever aware that something with a cute name, like the boy who sat next to you in social studies, can roar through your life and turn it on it’s head – hmm…much like he did.

We slather ourselves with sunscreen to care for our tender skin that the Florida rays would cook to a crisp, especially if you’re as alabaster as Nicole Kidman – and it would happen faster than her escape from Tom Cruise.

We are seasoned Floridians. We stand united in a storm. Calm, cool, well maybe not so cool, and collected – that is until they unleash the children from school.

Are you ready?

Summertime used to be when the liv’n was easy, that is until you had children. Gone are the days when you could take off in your car with a bottle of margarita mix and somewhat good intentions escaping to destinations unknown until you managed to get there.

Throwing caution to the wind, living with reckless abandon and driving to nowhere are not terms that come out of a mother’s mouth, that is unless you have a nanny or a personal assistant – neither of which are on my payroll.

This summer I will be the Julie McCoy of my ship. (For those of you under 40 she was cruise director on the television show, the Love Boat – her job, making sure you had fun.).

If I accept the mission instead of fighting the establishment, even I might manage to have a good time. Which is a lofty goal for me. I have a 13 year-old daughter (cue eye roll “what eva”) and a 10 year-old son, who thinks that farting is not just hysterical, it’s an art form.

They have gone from five and three in the blink of an eye.

This summer we’ll put it on cruise control – we’ll throw a little caution to the wind, live with somewhat reckless abandon – like an occasional FroYo, and drive to the beach armed with sunscreen.

I still may have to bring my margarita mix.

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