Author: Stephanie

And for the first time in my life I am Team Angelina

angelina-jolie-hot-pic-300x300I’m not a big Angelina fan. Obviously she’s gorgeous, there’s no denying that. But I just…don’t love her. And not even in the fun love to hate her in the way I cruise GOOP and enjoy-hate Gwynnie. I just, don’t care for Angie. I’m still team Jen on that front, although I certainly think Angie did Jen a favor. If Brad’s that dude…let him go, and also someone make that man bathe for the love of God! I once had a run in with her dad, I was very pregnant with Max while she was pregnant with the twins and I was leaving a store as he was entering. He quickened his step to open the door for me and gave me the sweetest smile, then looked down at my gigantic belly and smiled wider. He said hello and asked how I was feeling, then told me to have a good day. It was so…genuine. So sweet. But that has nothing to do with this.

Angelina and cancer. Ugh.

Surely she knew there would be backlash. No matter what someone in the public eye does  there will always be someone else who will vocally disapprove. But I bet it took her by surprise that it was cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge (who has since “clarified” her comments which is PR code for I said what I meant but then people got pissed so I had to make it better). In her original statement she said that Angelina had not made the brave choice by having a double mastectomy, but rather ‘the most fearful choice one could make’ and that Angelina should have faced cancer head on. What is head on?

I respect Etheridge. She is one hell of a fighter and she has experience with this that makes it hard to be objective. But is she right? Did Angie make a fearful choice?

I say no. She did, indeed, face it head on. With 6 kids (is that right? I’ve lost count, but OMG aren’t they all cute?), an 87% chance of cancer and having watched her mother pass away from cancer she did the brave thing, she nipped it in the bud. Pun unintended, but you know…whatever works. But this is brave in another area, one that most of us don’t have to think about. Angelina is a STAR. Yes, she is indeed a good actress, but let’s be honest most of her success is due to her allure, her raw sexuality. She is both powerfully sexual – almost predatory- and yet remains fragile. She is the fantasy. This? Is not a fantasy. This brings her body to a human level. Of course she has the best doctors and the best care and should she ever do a topless scene again I would wager that no one could tell anything was done.

But to put all of that aside easily and chose to have your much beloved by all breasts removed because there is a chance you might get cancer? Brave.

Another thing that makes this a brave choice is that in true Jolie fashion she is not only speaking out about it but working so that this is available for ALL women. Not that everyone would make the same choice she did, to have a double mastectomy, but to have the test which now comes in at over $3000. With knowledge comes power and if women who have a family history and meet the qualifiers want to get this test we need to make it available and covered by insurance. Then armed with that knowledge they can make the right decision for their family, whatever that might be. What is it about our cultural mindset that we can’t seem to get it into our heads that preventative medicine is actually cheaper?

Angelina did more for breast cancer awareness and research than any Facebook meme could dream about. She hasn’t shied away from speaking about it, but she waited until she was ready to do it on her terms putting her family first. That is brave.

Etheridge’s clarification reads:  “I don’t have any opinion on what she ‘should have’ done. All are free to choose, I only objected to the term ‘brave’ describing it.”

I can respect that statement, although I disagree. Brave is relative to our own obstacles and fears. Angelina faced all of hers “head on” and that is brave.

 

What do you think?

It’s better to be plain.

photo credit Road Theatre

photo credit Road Theatre

Let’s call him Brandon.

He was young and handsome, with a devilish glint in his eye. He was charming and charismatic, like most of the men in my class at acting school. We sat in his car outside my Pasadena apartment talking late into the night, in the way that only 20 somethings can, still enjoying the new found freedom of apartment living and bar hopping. Leaning our heads back on the headrests and alternately staring into one another’s eyes, both of us summing up whether or not we were either tipsy enough or attracted to each other enough to kiss. I was fresh off a heartbreak that really wasn’t a heartbreak. You know, when you’re more upset and sad about the way it went down that the actual loss of the person. My pride was hurt, but my actual heart wasn’t. It was a very confusing time to be me. Mix in some heavy duty insecurity and a hard core eating disorder and I was ripe for the picking.

Somehow we ended up on the subject of my ex and how it all happened. There was another girl, you see, as there frequently are. She was gorgeous. She was talented. She was mean as a snake. Worse than all of that put together, she was better at being eating disordered than I was.

It was only when I was hospitalized the first time for my eating disorder, at 24 and after my second heart “incident” ,that I realized there is competition among us, the eating disordered.  I sat in group therapy at a treatment facility without an ED specialized unit and listened to people of all  walks of life tell horrific stories, the details of which are still fresh in my mind all these years later. There was only one other girl besides myself who was eating disordered. Her hair was cropped short, for the electric shock therapy she received twice weekly, and she folded perfectly in half on her metal folding chair in the cold therapy room. Her knees up by her face and her feet on the seat. her hands pulled inside her sweatshirt sleeves as she spoke. But all I could see was the space. There were probably 4 or 5 inches from the tips of her toes to the end of the seat. So much space. She was so thin. I was so jealous. Even know typing this I feel myself flush, my heart speed up a visceral reaction to the remembrance.

Later that night in my room, alone. I tried it. No metal chairs of course.Our rooms were an attempt to provide a home-like atmosphere while ensuring there were no sharp edges where we could injure ourselves, either on purpose if we were suicidal or accidentally from passing out.  I had bulimia. Girl had anorexia. A much more desirable eating disorder. In the hierarchy of eating disorders it’s the tops. Every night since I was 17 I had prayed that God would take my bulimia and leave anorexia in it’s place.  An unanswered prayer as it were. So it was that I tried to approximate the size of the folding chair and measure myself against her. I was barely 90 pounds at that time, a skeleton, but my feet left no space at the end of the chair. I didn’t measure up.

“Just once I want to be one of the beautiful people.” I said tipsily to Brandon. The girl whom my ex had become fascinated with, as everyone was, definitely qualified as “beautiful people.”

“No, you don’t Stephanie.” He said staring into my eyes and moving the tiniest bit closer. “It’s better to be plain. Like you.”

Then he tried to kiss me. I laughed, though I wanted to burst into tears from being told out right that I would indeed, never measure up, never be beautiful, never be the thinnest, the most talented, the desired one. But somehow, I laughed. Then, finding some self esteem somewhere I opened the car door and got out.

 

That thing where you don’t have a dad…

He takes such good care of his baby brother. He learned that from his father.

He takes such good care of his baby brother. He learned that from his father.

Sucks. I mean I don’t ever remember having a dad, but now that I have a husband who IS a dad and his dad who is such a dad I see, truly, how much it sucks. I never even really knew when Father’s Day was growing up because we just simply ignored it. My mother not acknowledging it’s existence and so it never really entered my world. But now? Now I celebrate like crazy because great dads are a thing of beauty. And I am so blessed to have my husband and my father in law in my life, my father in law shows me what it would have been like to have a protective dad, he doesn’t want me making long road trips alone with the kids and checks and double checks that all the doors are locked and the kids are all safe. It’s pretty cool. My husband can take a grumpy crying kid and have them laughing and dancing with in minutes. It’s his super-power.

This year we went low-key for Father’s day. But I will tell you this much, it was wonderful. And I hope Zach knows how much I love him, and how much the boys adore him. Father’s day isn’t a sad day for me, it’s one of gratitude. Thank you Zach, for being an incredible husband and a wonderful father.

Friday, I’m in love.

1. Max and the solar lights 2. Huck in an epic ensemble 3. Do You Hear the People Sing? 4. Captain Hook (complete with ruffly shirt) by Max

1. Max and the solar lights 2. Huck in an epic ensemble 3. Do You Hear the People Sing? 4. Captain Hook (complete with ruffly shirt) by Max

Every morning during the school year the Boss would ask “Is there no school today?” He hates to leave me, but once we get in the car to head to school he is happy and he races into his room with barely a wave tossed over his shoulder to me. This week it happened…he sat on the couch drinking his oj and said with a heavy sigh; “I miss school” Oh, you said it brother! I think he will thrive next year going five days a week. We got the official letter that he is in the class we wanted and I flat out did the Meposian Dance of Joy and texted a picture of it to my friend K, who’s daughter will be in the same class. Dance of joy all around!  Huckleberry has taken to wearing his brother’s chonies over his diapers at all time. The rain had us cooped up all week and it was world war two over here, brother vs. brother. Guess who is the bully? The tiny Huckleberry rules with an iron fist.

We are working on it.

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Anything Goes as the Kennedy Center- My mother in law got us tickets to opening night for Zach’s Father’s Day present and I am still tapping my toes! Back in the day I could really tap and I am seriously considering taking some lessons again. Tap is good for the soul. You can’t be unhappy when you’re tapping. Mad? Tap it out. Sad? Tap it out. Happy? More tapping please! I wonder if I can get a neck brace before tap class because if Hopscotch does me in I can’t imagine what tap would do.

Karla Reed’s instagram feed and Pinterest board for her outfits of the day. Her style is awesome and she thrifts like a fiend. I am not sure how all of her thrift finds are JCrew etc but dang if she can’t put together an outfit! And now she is pregnant so if you are too you will find great inspiration there!

Kate Spade sooooo has my heart with this necklace. No, no… THIS ONE! Why am I not a billionaire yet?  I’ve been wishing on the stars for ever so long…

hydrangeas

This week the hydrangeas in our garden bloomed like crazy and every time I look at them they make me happy. I think next to Peonies, these might be my favorite. Added bonus? My new Ikea Rast hack nightstands. Even Zach said “those look great! ” When you can’t find what you want….MAKE IT!

What are you in love with this week? I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Happy Friday, everyone!

btw none of the links to stores are affiliate links or anything. Just stuff I fell in love with this week~! 

Get in shape, girl.

I injured my neck the other day playing Hopscotch with the Boss. Well, that’s not entirely true. I aggravated an already aggravated neck which was first aggravated by painting the kitchen cabinets. Because aging is awesome that way. Actually, the first time I suffered this particular neck injury I was in my early 20’s and it happened while brushing my hair. So I can’t fully blame it on the tick of the clock…but at the time of the terrible brushing incident I worked part time at a chiropractor’s office who hooked me up tout suite with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. This time? Not so much. A heating pad and some naproxen while begging your four year old not to body slam you repeatedly is not quite the same as daily ultrasound and adjustments. Thus this has been a slower recovery. I thought I was doing well but then the rock hit the eight space and I jumped, jumped, jumped on one foot and HOLY CRAP MY NECK! Skillz. I got em.

all snuggled up after Disney SMMoms with a heating pad and a four year old.

Something else happened mere moments before I was distracted by my creaking painful neck. I became acutely aware that as I hopped and jumped certain areas of my personage were wobbling and jiggling. People, it was not cool. Not cool at all. So I was resolving (in my mind, silently) that it was time to get in shape, girl. The main problem is that while once I took dance classes and did the New York City Ballet’s warm up on DVD, now I am not sure that my brain could a. remember all that or b. learn new. It struck me that what I really needed was a work out dvd that consisted of choreography and routines I was familiar with. You know, a 45 minute work out consisting of the Fresh Beats, Wiggles, Imagination Movers and such.

I already know the moves and the words to sing along, I bet I could get the kids to do it with me and honestly, I am so easily winded these days (which is hysterical to me since at one point I lived on Diet Coke and Marlboro Ultralights and could dance for hours, now? clean living? Out of shape) that I bet it would be a great work out. Who’s with me? Could this be the new Zumba? Combo kid-gym-mama-work out? I think I am on to something and I am totally going to investigate this…as soon as I can move my neck.

 

We were that kid…

I have been sort of hiding away from the theatre. Right now acting is not really an option for me, with two kids here in the suburbs, and so I have tucked it away in a little corner of my heart pretending that I am not ignoring a part of myself. It’s okay, the trade off is so good for me that I don’t mind. I have two babies I love more than I thought possible, certainly more than I love the theatre and trust me, that is saying something. There is no place on earth (other than with my husband – who I met in the theatre- and my babies) that I would rather  be than the theatre. A small intimate theatre or a big house it doesn’t matter to me. The theatre is my Church.

Last night Boss caught a little bit of the Tony’s and was enraptured, disappointed when I made him go to bed so I promised him he could watch it in the morning. I grabbed my coffee, Boo had his milk and Boss his OJ and we sat down to watch. Or rather, I sat. The Boys moved closer and closer to the television with each number, but it was the opening that got Boss.  It got me. It was arguably the greatest opening number to any awards show ever and I vote Neil Patrick Harris for all the things. If you missed it check it out:

Epic, right? But man one part got me. We were that kid. I was that kid. Hell, I still AM that kid. I watched my sweet boys move towards the screen entranced and a part of me ached. Not just for myself, for my missing the theatre and the theatre family but for what I thought raising kids would be. I thought they would grow up backstage like so many other little ones I knew. I thought by now Boss would have been to may set builds and strikes. When the guy at Home Depot made a snotty remark about it being a ‘guys paradise” and Boss set him straight “It’s MOMMY’s paradise too!” I thought about how I had gained so many skills since leaving Los Angeles that would help with set builds and strikes. I thought of late night painting on Ouroboros and fighting down tears when we tore down the Woman in Black theatre set. I thought of Chicago SketchFest and all the fun we had in McFwap. I thought of the night I looked out at three thousand people as I raised my sword at the end of Antony and Cleopatra under the moon in Las Vegas. I thought of  the last monologue in Miss Julie and the night the knife stuck straight up in the floor when I let it slip through my fingers before Jean picked it up and sent me off to my death. I thought insecurities and  being scared shitless every time I took the stage and doing it anyway. I thought of how incredible it would have been for my kids to see me do just that…be scared and do it anyway. I thought of the people I thought would influence my kids and look out for them. Nothing extra was required of these people. Simply by my kids being in their orbit it would affect them. Certainly it affected me. I thought of my Fountain Theater Family and Road family and my heart ached like crazy.

When the show was over Boss turned to me and said “Mommy, I think we should do that.”

Looks like my kid is that kid too.

What did you think of the Tony’s? Have you given up a part of yourself to have kids?

(today is the last day to enter the Theraderm giveaway! DO IT!)

 

Friday I’m in love

Ah, this week. My kids were psychotic on lack of sleep and an abundance of sugar. Such are birthday weeks, no?

when your kid's favorite color is yellow, you end up in a yellow swimsuit.

when your kid’s favorite color is yellow, you end up in a yellow swimsuit.

This week I braved a swimsuit and went to go to the pool with the kids. It was so much fun I dare say we will do it again! Thus I have begun bathing suits-that-don’t-make-me-want-to-cry shopping. PS J Crew? I love ya, but your bathing suit section is basically a pro-ana website. Let’s get some models who weigh more than Boss, okay? It’s tough trying to find something not little old lady, but not string bikini. Mama’s belly has seen better days and I think everyone involved will be happy if that thing stays covered. In the immortal words of Boss “What HAPPENED to your tummy?” You, you little brat. You. And totally worth it. At the pool Huck made the ladies swoon, and if you were wondering which four year old boy was floated all over by the little girls, it was Boss. Of course.

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This week I also succumbed to the insane pressure to watch Game of Thrones and although I skipped the first season I hereby announce: I get it. I tried the Dr Who thing and it was not a love match, but this? This was really, really addictive. Also, I want a little dragon, like now! Side note: how hot is that chick? Hot.

Later during a bout of insomnia I watched Behind the Candelabra in which Micheal Douglas plays Liberace and it was very good and very sad. The next morning it was all over the news that he contracted throat cancer from a certain oral activity with the ladies. This was far too much sexual information on Michael Douglas within a 24 hour period and basically caused my brain to break. Thus I share it with you…enjoy.

And now:

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Keeping with the pool theme, I am obsessed with Jergens Natural Glow sunless tanner. As a gal whose junior high nickname was Casper, as in the ghost, I can safely say I have tried almost all of them out there on the market and for the second year in a row, this one is tops! Get the foam, it has basically no smell and absorbs lightening fast so you’re not waiting around waiting impatiently for it to dry while your 2 year old bangs on the door screaming mommymommymommy!

Our favorite bedtime story right now is Pete the Cat; Rocking in my School Shoes. We can’t get enough and Boss has it memorized. It’s pretty much the awesomest thing ever except…

Boss’s love for So You Think You Can Dance. oh how I missed this show! And Boss does one hell of a good audition.It’s basically this, only not cause he is four and still has some righteous baby fat.

He has promised to let me record it this week. Please let that happen, because I would watch it all the live-long day!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, I am off to Disney on The Road today and then tomorrow it’s the last Little League game and a pool party.
Life is good.

What are you in love with this week?

{don’t forget to enter the theraderm clinical skin care giveaway!}

It was right about this time last week & home made pop tarts

It was right around this time last week that I suddenly realized that Huck’s birthday was upon us and that I had done nothing to plan for such a momentous event such as turning two. A quick text to friends saying Sunday! 3:30! Be there! And it was on like Donkey Kong.

Have I mentioned how awesome my friends are? They were all ‘hell yeah!’ that plus a text to Auntie Kelly informing her of an impromptu birthday part for the littlest Boo and the ball was rolling! Instantly she texted back pictures of cupcakes and ideas. We would grill for the adults and have Greek Orzo salad and for the kids? Well, kid food. Then she suggested home made pop tarts and I was all GAME CHANGER! The theme was easy, given our recent trip to Disney World and Huckie’s love of Mickey Mouse- baby brother lurves the Mouse- so I culled things we already had around the house plus some balloons and some home made Mouse silhouettes and we were good to go.
BooBirthdaydecorations
Little boys don’t care like Martha Stewart does, am I right?

I put out the baby pool, some sidewalk chalk and the slip n slide and hoped the rain would hold out till the kids got some playing in. Luckily, it did.  Also lucky we have a basement full of toys and had invited Boss’ favorite girl friends R and L. Someone asked if we had activities planned and I said nope, L&R are here…so they’ll run the show. And they did. Many games of tag and hide and seek and a tornado of toys later and it was cupcake time! Boss put his arm around Huckie to help him blow out the candle and it was pretty awwwwww-inducing if I do say so myself.
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Huck didn’t like the cupcakes at all.
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The next morning Boss wistfully looked at pictures of the home made poptarts and said “I wish I had eaten them all, I loved them so much.” Because I love you all so very much, and because Auntie Kelly loves me I have the recipe for you. It’s so crazy easy and I will now be bringing them to every little thing.  They are delish!

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  • Two ready made pie dough- thaw
  • mix 1 tbsp cornstarch 1/4 cup water and 1 cup jam of your choice (we used strawberry) in saucepan
  • heat until it boils
  • boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly
  • remove from heat, let cool completely
  • roll out dough and cut into even squares
  • fill with cooled filling
  • seal with a fork and prick 3 times to let heat out
  • place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 min
  • brush with beaten egg
  • bake at 35o till golden brown
  • let cool a little before eating, can be reheated!
  • Ice as you see fit.

Total hit of a hit party! Let me know if you try them. I am going to have to make some more because I can’t stop thinking about them!

{ps don’t forget to enter the theraderm giveaway! this skin care is awesome}