Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shameless & Obvious Self-Promotion

Good morning, loves! 

I don’t do this often {more like ever} so I don’t really feel bad about doing a little shameless self-promotion today. Plus, I’ve worked hard for it and want to celebrate so celebrate today we shall!

I arrived at work this morning and pulled up my email to find that the lovely folks at BlogHer are featuring another one of my posts today as a ‘Member Feature’! This is the second post in a little over a month that BlogHer has picked up from me so to say that I’m beyond honored and ecstatic would be a huge understatement. 

Credit: brenneman.
This is a piece I wrote back in June after talking with some of my other girlfriends who are struggling with raising strong-willed children. I received a lot of great feedback on the post but more importantly, it meant the world to me to be able to help the mamas and papas going through the same struggle because y’all – the struggle is real. 
So if you have a moment, stop by BlogHer today and give it a read and let me know what you think. As always, I appreciate your love and support of our blogging community! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's the Little Things: Delicious Recipes - Tomato Pie

If there’s one thing I love during the hot summer months, it’s tomatoes. Combine this light, delicious, and filling veggie with a simple, easy to make dinner and you have one happy momma. 

Enter tomato pie. 

If you’re not from the South, chances are you’ve never heard of tomato pie. This is very unfortunate BUT I’m getting ready to change that for y’all and rock your tomato lovin world. Read on, get thee to a grocery store today, eat, and thank me later.

This recipe for tomato pie that I adapted from Paula Dean is amazing plus it’s quick and easy on the budget. Now how can you say no to that? Truly, it’s the little things that make me oh so very happy.

Here’s What You’ll Need:
  1. 5 tomatoes, peeled and sliced (Roma work best)
  2. 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  3. 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  4. 1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
  5. 1 cup grated mozzarella
  6. 1 cup grated cheddar
  7. 3/4 cup mayonnaise (or half mayo, half Greek yogurt for a healthy option)
  8. 2 Tbsp fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
  9. Salt and pepper

Now Make It:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice your tomatoes and set aside on a separate plate. Sprinkle with salt and allow to marinate for 10 minutes. Use a paper towel to pat fry the tomatoes and make sure all of the juice is out. (You don't want wet tomatoes or your pie will turn out soggy).
  3. Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Cut into slices and serve warm. 

Voila. A mouth-watering taste explosion. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bloggers, I Beg You, Please Stop...

Over the last few weeks, I've been bothered by the blogging world. Don't get me wrong - I love blogging and I love my blog BUT if I'm being honest, we all have some really bad blogging habits that need to cease and desist. I know that I've been guilty of some of these things in the past but I'm working on getting over it and moving forward. 

Fellow bloggers, please knock off this crap with me, won't you?

{ONE} Constantly Apologizing for Absence or Radio Static

I've never really understood why bloggers feel the need to constantly apologize for being away for a few days or taking time away from their blog. Is this really worth an apology??? Did someone die as a result of your blog absence? Is a reader hyperventilating into a brown paper bag because the refresh button on Bloglovin fails to load a new post from you? What emergency, in the blogging world, could there possible be to warrant apologies?

We all have lives, families, commitments, and extra-curricular activities outside of the blog. Shouldn't this be understood but more so, shouldn't we all be adult enough to understand this? None of us are curing cancer. It's a blog. Take time away when you need it and stop feeling bad for doing so. You are an adult. You owe no one an apology or an explanation for how you spend (or don't spend) your time. 

Cut that shit out. 

{TWO} Stifling Your Voice

I've said it before and I will say it again - what is really the point of having a blog if you aren't willing to stay true to yourself, your content, and if you're not willing to write about the things you want to write about. 

Often times as bloggers, I think we fall into this horrible trap of believing that in order to get/maintain readers and sponsors, we have to think a certain way, write a certain way, and keep everyone happy.


I don't know about you guys, but I can spot a fake blogger from a mile away. My bullshit radar is so honed in to fake that I simply refuse to invest my time into people who aren't willing to be who they are. Give me a person who is flawed, open, and genuine with their readers and I'll be a fan for life. THAT'S how you get and retain your readers. 

Do you. We all know your life isn't roses all the time. You are human. Don't be afraid to show it. Find your voice as a blogger and let it roar. Be yourself and get your own style because that's what people respect. People don't want perfect - we want to be able to relate to you and perfect isn't it. At the end of the day, you're only accountable to you

{THREE} Pettiness

This is pretty simple. Means Girls is a TV show. It shouldn't be a way of life. Shit's getting old, y'all. 'Nough said?

{FOUR} Stressing About Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, GFC Followers, Blah Blah Blah...

Are you waking up each morning genuinely disappointed that you haven't racked up a million followers overnight? Get over it. You're not Lady GaGa. 

It's very simple - some days you're up and some days you're down. It's called life. Your blog will take time to grow. Stop checking your blog stats a million times a day. What are you really expecting to find there? A smiley face? But seriously guys - just stop. Isn't life hard enough and don't we all have bigger fish to fry than constantly fretting over these things? 

Give it time. You will get there. 

So there's my opinionated post for the day. Just a few things to consider stop doing. I beg you. Now get out there and kick some ass. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Finding a Way Home

When I heard about Robin William’s passing last night, I wasn’t surprised and shocked to hear the news as most people were. Instead, what I felt was an immense amount of sadness and a deep connection to a man I had never met and all I could do was shake my head and say a prayer. My heart immediately knew why he had left this world because my life, like so many millions of other peoples’ lives, have dealt with, and been affected by, depression and mental health issues. 

I am a mother who struggles with depression. Most days are good. I am one of the very few, fortunate souls who have found a medication that works to fill in the gaps in my mind that otherwise without meds, would leave it imbalanced and incomplete. And while my medication works its magic quietly behind the scenes to keep my brain from turning on me, I know all too well that it will never be a cure for my illness and that at any time, my meds could stop working. It is always a game of Russian roulette. Some days are good, some days are bad. Step up to the plate and spin the wheel. 

Many people over the last 24 hours have made comments such as:

“I had no idea he was struggling.”
“But he was a comedian. He was always laughing. He made me laugh.”
“I never knew he struggled with depression and bi-polar disorder.”

And that’s usually how it goes but it’s also the point – depression doesn’t discriminate. Depression is real. It is a horrible, unforgiving disease that is relentless in consuming its victims. People who suffer from depression can't help their disease any more than they can help the color of their eyes. It is a medical, biological imbalance. And while most who suffer still cling to hope of a cure - or just one peaceful day - a large majority suffer in silence daily with no peace and no refuge. There is no hiding from depression and bi-polar illness. Instead, there is only masking. Mask the pain. Mask the struggle. Mask the voices. 

I know this game well. I’ve played it many, many times in my life. 

Smile. Don’t let them see you hurt.
Laugh, make jokes, and be “normal” so they don’t see the tears.
Talk and think positively to shut out all the self-hate and self-loathing.

It makes sense that most people would have never known Robin was sick and how he had the amazing ability to naturally fit the roles of drastic, struggling human emotion given to him with such ease. It always made sense to me. He was good at playing the roles of struggle and covering his illness because he was struggling

And I have too. 

I am a healthy woman. I have a beautiful daughter and loving partner. I have a great job, wonderful friends, and an amazing and supportive family…a great life yet – some days – this isn’t enough to fight off the demons of depression and the voices that tell me “You are not good enough. Nothing will ever be good enough.” My brain has tried to convince me many, many times that the world would be better off without me. That I’m no good. That I’ll never do anything right or amount to anything so why bother. My own brain – attacking me. 

With depression and bi-polar disease, your brain will lie to you, it will turn on you. Of course it’s all lies, but in a depressive episode, you can’t and won’t distinguish between reality and the lies. It is a gut-wrenching battle that never ends. 

If you take nothing else away from this post today, please let it be this: Those who suffer from any form of mental illness, whether it be big or small, are not flawed, crazy individuals. No one would ever choose to suffer from mental illness because that’s what it is – an illness. Just as you would have empathy, sympathy, and understanding for anyone going through another kind of illness (cancer, contagious disease, etc.), those suffering from mental illness deserve nothing less than the same compassion. If you are not familiar with mental illness in any of its capacities, I urge you to check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness website and get yourself educated on the facts of mental illness and do what you can to help those suffering find a way home. A way to peace.

When I heard the news of Robin William’s passing, all I could do was cry and understand because I have been there too. I know how close I’ve been to feeling his struggle and how his path could very well have been mine. 

Rest in peace, O Captain. My Captain. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Oh Hey, Friday {08.08.14}

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ready for the weekend. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Michael’s mother is visiting with us from California until Tuesday and is excited to spend lots of time with Chickie. It will also be her time to celebrate M’s Birthday since she was not with us a couple of weeks ago for the party. 

Grammy arrived last night and we immediately swung into celebration mode. Chickie’s favorite thing to do lately is play kitchen – she loves is obsessed with it. Michael and I had been looking into buying her a kitchen set for quite some time but when Grammy found out that Chickie wanted one, she graciously offered to buy one as her Birthday gift {thank you, Grammy!!}.

Chickie got to unwrap it last night {HUGE shout out to daddy who spent 3.5 hours putting this thing together!!} and I’ll just let this picture speak for itself. Needless to say, we have one very happy Chickie.  

I’ve always loved bath time with Chickie. For me, it’s my way of catching up with her for the day. I sit outside the tub and we just hang out, talk, and play in the water. The other night I noticed how long her hair has gotten and how beautiful her curls are. I remember during her first year how worried we were that she wasn’t ever going to sprout any hair. Safe to say that fear has ebbed. I just love baby curls.


I’m so ready for fall I just can’t stand it. Football, cool breezes, pumpkin farms, pumpkin spiced lattes, hearty comfort foods – YES. Let’s do this, fall.

I found out last week that my post, ‘Why I Don’t Feel Guilt as a Working Mom’ was picked up and featured by BlogHer. To say I was ecstatic would be a huge understatement. If you haven’t checked out the post give it a read and share with any of your mommy friends you know who may struggle with feelings of guilt as a working mom.

One of my biggest pet peeves in parenting is how companies and people will try to make dads out to be big, bumbling idiots as if they have zero idea how to take care of their children. 


My Internet find for the week completely debunks this notion and best of all, it’s Cheerios dropping the knowledge. If you haven’t seen this video, it’s worth a watch. I LOVE it.

Happy Friday friends! Have a fabulous weekend and thanks to Karli for sponsoring this fun and fab link-up!