Monday Morning Time Capsule (Yes, I Know It’s Tuesday.)

6a0133f30ae399970b01b7c6cc9cc3970b-800wiYou guys. In the words of the great sage The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, my life’s been flipped turned upside down. Eventually I’m bound to blog about something other than making the transition from work-at-home-freelancer to work-in-an-office-staffer, but for the moment it’s kind of all consuming. For starters, everything that would have been on the top of my to-do list has been eclipsed by a whole new kind of to-do list that has left me feeling strangely out of touch with my old life, and the online community (you guys, and my friends and colleagues on the independent web) who were so instrumental in this weird and sudden left turn I’ve taken into corporate life. Albeit a super cool and totally creative one. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to land than BuzzFeed.

6a0133f30ae399970b01a511f84be2970c-800wiMy friend Ilana Wiles at MommyShorts.com along with her partner in creative crime, photographer Raquel Bianca, have been capturing the Monday mornings of Moms all over the U.S., and I was super honored when the project’s sponsor, Allstate, selected me to participate as the sole blogger in the series. (Well, except the inimitable Ilana herself whose own Monday Mornings shoot with Raquel inspired the rest of the series.) If you don’t know Mommy Shorts (unlikely) or haven’t checked out the full series, you really should. It’s phenomenal.

6a0133f30ae399970b01a511f84ca3970c-800wiWhat’s surreal about seeing what Ilana and Raquel captured about our morning, is that it’s a routine that had evolved for us over five years, and suddenly no longer exists. The events of morning Raquel joined us just a few weeks ago have disappeared into distant memory. That day I woke up at 7:30, Dee had to be at camp (loosely) by 9am, and then I came home to tackle my amorphous work day. Now that I’m working at BuzzFeed and have someplace to be each day, Scott’s taking over most of the child care duties, and Dee’s got to be at Kindergarten by 7:45am, our morning, and every aspect of it, feels almost unrecognizable.

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I couldn’t be more grateful that the opportunity to participate in this project came when it did. It’s instantly become a treasured memory for our family. 

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For the full photo shoot, and my interview with Ilana (who is basically my blogging idol, by the way) visit MommyShorts.com like, RIGHT NOW.

Social Good: The Opposite of Internet Trolling #Blogust

[Megan Thompson, Health Aide; Senator Dianne Feinstein, me, and fellow Shot@Life Champion Shannon Des Roches Rosa discussing malaria eradication in the Rayburn Office Bldg. Washington, D.C.]

I think for a lot of independent bloggers, we start out with a small idea we’re not sure anyone else will care about and through the generous nature of humanity we find ourselves connected to hundreds of thousands of like-minded (and not so like-minded) smart, passionate people. Maybe, like me you started you blog because you just wanted a place to archive weird stuff you found online. Maybe you started a blog because you were getting married or found out you were pregnant and wanted your friends and family to be to follow your journey from far away. Maybe you started a blog to get free samples. Whatever the impetus, I don’t think very many people start their blog with the idea that they will gain social influence or a attract a large audience.

But when it does, when you find yourself standing on a platform you never meant to build with a megaphone in your hand and the attention of more people than you could ever possibly fit in your home, there will inevitably be a moment where you step back and look at this thing you’ve created and think: “Okay…NOW what do I do with it?”

For me personally, and certainly for the amazing bloggers participating in #BLOGUST, the answer was clear and unwavering. Social good. This past March I had the honor of participating the Shot@Life Champions Summit in D.C. and it was undeniably a life altering experience and absolutely a milestone first for me. What this organization does, and the collaborative, innovative way in which they do it inspires me every day, and getting to actually stand beside the people running it and talk to our representatives directly about the issues we’re fighting for was revelatory for me in terms of how I want to use my life. Which is why I’m so excited have been invited to round up Blogust 14′s second week of posts for you. I hope you have a full cup of coffee because I’m hitting you with a pretty incredible bunch of reads. LET’S GO!

And then, before I knew it, I was on a different highway entirely.

Working Mom

My career has been a long strange trip so far, and it continues to be, in just the best kind of way. Yesterday I became a Parenting Editor at BuzzFeed. And Dee started Kindergarten (ish). So more to come. Lots to say, like always. But for now, I really just wanted to say hi, I’m in New York for a few days, the weather is weird here but I love it anyway. I’m insane with happiness (for once), and I can’t wait to share my new adventure with you guys.

And also thank you friends and lurkers, y’know for reading my blog and stuff. Without you guys visiting me here like you’re doing right now, not to mention encouraging me with your very existence, so many of the best things in my life may never have come to be. ::FIST BUMP::

Pain Management

EyeballWhen I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I was 23 years old. I have vivid memories of my first treatment with an acupuncturist — a middle aged man who quietly explained as he worked that he believed fibromyalgia often formed in people who didn’t speak about how they felt. At the time, I was baffled. I talked all the time. I was practically an open book. I laid perfectly still while this incredibly gentle man shuffled softly around the table, explaining the varying views on the illness, his sweet voice belying the force with which he laid in to each of the eleven diagnostic pressure points, causing my vision to go white from the sheer agony of the exam.

It’s definitely fibromyalgie. He told me, barely speaking above a whisper. It’s very sad. The pain comes from inside. You have to treat it both on the outside, and from within.

I didn’t really believe him, this tenured professor of acupuncture, this kind, brilliant, internationally schooled man. The searing pain in each pressure point he touched confirmed his diagnosis, but I couldn’t wrap my head around his notion that this discomfort I’d been having was a physical manifestation of emotional pain I’d ignored.

A decade later, I understand Dr. Li’s words much more clearly. Salves and pressure points and medication and needles can alleviate the pain when it comes, but the more honestly I accept my own feelings, the more I let the bad feelings flow through me as easily as the good, the fewer flare ups I face. 

What Not To Do: I Got Botox And Lied About It To My Husband

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Nearly a year ago, a local plastic surgeon offered me essentially any medi-spa service I could dream of gratis, simply in exchange for writing about the experience. A pretty good deal, no doubt, but a seriously intimidating one for a woman who had never considered fillers as anything but a punchline. I came home to my husband and gently broached the subject.

“It was so crazy — they said they’d do anything I wanted. Botox, fillers, all that stuff … “ I told him tentatively, just putting it out there, crossing my fingers he’d respond with indifference. He didn’t.

“You’re not really going to do those things, are you?”

Dammit. I shrugged. “I dunno. No. I mean … I just … it’s kind of tempting to think about.”

He was basically shocked and appalled. I couldn’t blame him. We’re not those people. I mean, sure we live in LA, but we’re natives. We’re not those overly polished perfect people who come out here by the busload in search of stardom. We’re townies. We keep it real. Eventually, my husband whittled it down to this:

“Look, it’s your face. It’s my issue. You should do whatever you want. I’ve just been making fun of people with Botox for so long and I’d feel like I had to stop. And I just might judge you. I just might not be able to help it.” I laughed and agreed (I’d done it too) and I’d definitely have to switch gears to adjust to myself but I was still kind of tempted.

As I thought about it more, I decided I didn’t really want to be beholden to broadcasting my every medi-spa visit on the Internet. I took advantage of a few obscure treatments I thought would be cool to write about and called it a day. For a while.

Six months later I was sitting in the office of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon (go big or go home, right?) with my friend and Botox guru, EJL, discussing whether I should be getting 20 units of Botox to paralyze my overactive eyebrow or 16. Wait, what?

Somewhere between my husband saying “It’s your face, it’s my issue” and arriving at the office on Roxbury Drive all those months later, I had read a piece (I only wish I could remember which and link to it) in which a woman in her sixties admitted to withholding from her husband any minor enhancements she underwent. This was based on the simple premise that he saw her as youthful and beautiful no matter what, so why should she ruin that for him with her own insecurities? Having been with my husband since high school, I could get on board with that. Plus, I really really wanted to get Botox for my crazy eyebrow and this philosophy allowed me to do so with the least amount of domestic disruption.

So one evening, I told my husband I was going to a party at a friend’s medi-spa (true) without ever specifying why I was going in the first place. I shot sixteen units of Botulism into my forehead, and I liked it. Then I carried on with my life.

The thing is, my husband is my best friend. I don’t mean that in the obnoxious doubles tennis playing holier-than-thou way. I mean we both work from home, we met as teenagers, and we actually enjoy each other’s company. We get each other and talk to each other in a way that we just don’t with anyone else. Call it love, call it osmosis, either way, it’s been our dynamic through good times and bad. And for fifteen and a half years, I’ve never kept a secret from him.

Until I got the Botox.

Three days later I woke up to discover I had no movement in my forehead whatsoever. It looked pretty good, but HO-LY was it a weird experience. My first reaction was to run in to Scott and make him poke my forehead and watch me try to raise my crazy eyebrow. But I couldn’t. Because I’d lied by omission and I was in it to win it now.

The worst part was, my secret had me so pent up I was spilling it to anyone who would listen. Which made Scott not knowing feel that much weirder. I made it about a month before I finally blurted it out to him one night while we were getting cozy at a party. “Why would you tell me that right now? Do you feel better?” he responded. He was right. I’d chosen the worst possible moment to crack under the weight of the secret.

The thing is, my husband does think I’m beautiful no matter what. He also never noticed that I had frozen a quarter of my face. But now that he does know, our trust has been damaged. He can’t believe I would have gone and done something like that without telling him, and honestly … neither can I.