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

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.

Nothing is Neat

photo-40My best friend’s neighbor is dying. By the time you read this, likely, he’ll be gone. This boy is only twelve years old. Twelve. His loss is such a profound injustice to his family and friends and the natural order of things. My heart breaks each and every time I think of him and his parents.  I have never met this boy or his family, but losing a child is a parents’ very worst nightmare and this is now their reality.  

My own reality, as of late, has been so much more mundane.  We have been living through the addition of a master suite. Our house is considered homey/cozy/really small and was a two-bed one-bath home to our family of four and two dogs.  Soon, our kids will have their own room, the dogs will have a safe haven from the kids, and the mad scramble for one toilet, is, thankfully, (sort of) over. 

We decided to stick it out and brave through the construction, naively thinking it can’t be that bad. It can. Every day I pack up the kids and the dogs and a pack n play and snacks and extra clothing and we move out for the day.  We come back home just in time to unpack everyone, make dinner, have bath time, stories, bed, then make dinner for me and my husband. The other day I couldn’t even remember the last time I showered. I knew I had (I hope I had) but couldn’t pinpoint exactly when.  

Our house is covered in layers of dust and debris. The refrigerator is empty, my toddler has decided now is the time to start potty training, so pee, all the time and everywhere, is part of my daily repertoire. The contents of various rooms and closets are strewn all over the house. Literally there is stuff everywhere in places they don’t belong, stacked high and wide. My bathroom is mildly disgusting, bills may or not be getting paid and lunches are mostly being made although I can’t say I haven’t forgotten once or twice. No one is sleeping well and the kids have taken to singing, “shake your booty! Shake your booty!” until almost 9 o’clock (they are 2 and 4.5). On another night recently at about 1am, every one of us simultaneously screamed and/or cried.  

I am feeling unkempt and discombobulated and deficient in every way; trying to find and order tiles and a toilet and flooring and making decisions as to where an outlet should lie and wipe snotty noses and remember to eat and clean up pee and get the kids to all the places they need to go and be a good wife and mother and have completely lost what it means to be good to me. And all the while, in all the chaos and self-pity a little boy is dying just a few miles away.  

I think of him and hold my healthy kids closer and breath a little deeper at how fortunate we are and my first-world problems seem… absurd. But then again, I am still feeling lost and depressed and unable to enjoy this all-for-the-greater-good madness. And so nearby, a small life is about to let go and a whole tribe of people are forced to say goodbye. I am feeling displaced emotionally and physically and we chose this and it is almost over and life will be better for us.  This other family doesn’t have it as good. They are saying goodbye to the life we continue to build.  So, I’m left feeling shameful about feeling the way I do in the face of such loss which just creates more anxiety spilling over into my daily motions that already feel extra heavy and just hard.  

Friends say my feelings are reasonable and valid. But is that all a copout? Is it really “all relative” like friends say? I don’t know. No, we aren’t facing death but parenting through such chaos is uncomfortable and I’m losing elasticity in my patience.  And every moment I think of that little boy I try and find clarity and perspective underneath all this dust.  And every time I think of his mother, I wish I had a moral to this story for her. A neat, wrapped up, it’ll all be better ending, but I don’t. And maybe that’s the moral – nothing is neat. Not birth, not life, not death, and definitely not my mundane day to day.

In Memoriam Christopher Joseph Wilke

 5/25/01 – 3/20/14


I Don’t Always Drink Wine, But When I Do I Get Drunk And Take Bad Selfies

bliRyEZ69uCqguMfz9vlQbpmnzEFYKpjQOpHQF1PcHwIf you follow me on twitter/instagram/facebook, you probably couldn’t ignore the fact that last week I hosted the opening party at the BlogHer conference – the Sundown Soiree, because everything at BlogHer has a fabulous name — sponsored by Eppa Sangria and Soybu, maker of awesome yoga gear. (See? There’s me taking an extra obnoxious selfie in front of the ice sculpture in 104 degree San Jose heat.)


I know what you’re thinking: “Who in their right mind would hire Morgan to host a party for hundreds of paying conference attendees?” I thought that too, but then I considered the source. AN ALCOHOL COMPANY WOULD. Because I am a lot of fun, you guys. Especially since if you’ve been reading for any amount of time you know that alcohol is not my poison and I am therefore fantastically lightweight.

YtKwgGAWa5hXLknlx5b-RRv0JWxDLR0hLLVXtwnbptsAlso Barbara Jones. The fabulous lady above. I adore her. She is always asking me to do cool things for work. Plus she knows that I will shamelessly take to the dance floor solo at any party to get things moving. Even if it’s 103 degrees and we’re outside in San Jose. I will still do that for you, Barbara, because I know how to fucking party. (I also know how to give myself heat stroke, but that’s neither here nor there.)

lUNGRORzQOOc0kmV0oGA-_BTy9VAXpfuYfYarLm9o2w,1vKyioJ2Xb-P2a-T-v4y7rv7jusH5c7INW-vDrm3Lao-1Seriously, to borrow from my dear friend Heather B (pink top, as opposed to my other dear friend Heather S in the tank, because 80s) I don’t know what I did right in life to arrive at the point where I was hosting a party for Sangria and Yoga, but one of my missteps must have led me in the right direction, no? Above, my co-hosts and I (from left that’s Heather, me, Heather, and my beloved Jenny) smile for the camera. Below we look super breezy.

KvyUTlb9JBC0IgH9it-PAxJe8N1zZnqwSS9AICi_0DI,HyvsUEHc82QjD4MfuX1sKYHoKx0XW37-l22vf8RZ2e0Alright let’s talk about the Booze, because that’s what they’re paying me for. 

bWb4jA8H-0G255VafJSwZCzvTlCNogZkvkQHPWPY5A8When I was in college, we used to make Sangria in big old pots that we stuck in the fridge for days, waiting for our chopped fruits to soak up the wine and vice versa. In my early twenties I found a tapas place in West Hollywood that made the best white peach Sangria I’d ever had, and I spent many an hour happily spending all my petty cash there chugging it. But eventually I moved to the Valley and without ambitious room mates or work mixers I think I went years without a taste of Sangria — one of the few boozy drinks I actually think tastes good. And then Eppa sent a box of their finest to my doorstep and I drank Sangria every night for a week. This stuff is really good you guys. And if you just take a glance at the label and buy some fruit to match it, let me tell you it is freaking off the chain delicious. Fresh mango and frozen blueberries in Eppa’s white Sangria? Don’t mind if I do. (Pro-tip, pour the Sangria over frozen fruit rather than ice and you’ll enhance the flavor rather than watering it down.) (Eppa didn’t tell me to say that, I figured it out all by myself. Trial and error, yo.) It’s good stuff, it’s organic (win) and you can buy it at Whole Foods. Also, from now through the end of August Eppa is donating a portion of their proceeds (up to $25,000) to the store’s Whole Planet foundation, which funds poverty alleviation around the globe (double win).

image-4[Me and Tiffany. Deep love, steeped in Sangria.]

image-8My face on a sign! Fancy! Anyway, the party was a hit, the Sangria was delicious, the sweat-wicking yoga clothes were a bonus for such a hot day (thanks Soybu!) and the ice sculpture miraculously did not melt!

image-9[The beautiful Lucrecer and I. Man I love going to BlogHer and seeing all my people.] 

bwKTyup8p6mf_S2bO7W6KECfrqeCkjgYi9ZLeYQqoOIYou can tell I had a good time when I voluntarily drop into Cobra pose and hold it through a whole slew of photos after five glasses of Sangria. Above me, the Eppa crew, the Soybu crew, and the One2One crew celebrate a successful event. Techmama’s Beth Blecherman met my challenge at the door. Heather B (probably the most serous yogi in the bunch) laughed at us. Ow my arms.

Gr_RJw1o6IQ1-KFNZwlXBDSJqlVkSj7FjbVtkHPywrULast thing. All the clothes (dresses, yoga gear, even the wraps) in the photos above are by Soybu and you can get your own at a 25% discount just for making it this far through my post. (Another win? They use recycled polyester in many of their clothes.) Just enter the code #NamastEPPA at checkout to claim your discount. I don’t have a booze discount for you, but trust me when I say you want to get yourself some Eppa stat. I’m partial to the white mango peach, but the red pomegranate blueberry is damn tasty too. 

DrunkenTreePose [A big thanks to the One2One Network for sponsoring this post and inviting me to host the party with all these fabulous folks and hooking me up with their products to boot. EPPA! That's also Greek for cheers, you guys.]

*party photos by Farah Braniff except the drunken tree pose which was taken by Heather Spohr and the selfies which I took myself..* 

The New American Dream According To Kurt Cobain & TuPac


When I was in high school, I had a part time job. For $5.75 an hour I scooped no-carb, sugar-free fro-yo and pieces of broken up heath bar into a blender and then handed over said concoction to other high school students, parents taking their kids out for making the honor roll, boyfriends and girlfriends who didn’t yet know they were boyfriends and girlfriends, and friends, so many friends. I still, to this day, have vivid memories of getting off work after a shift at Humprey’s Yogart Cafe — a sort of create your own adventure with fro-yo, and piling into my tiny Volkswagon Jetta with about six girlfriends – blasting The Verve Pipe’s “We Were Merely Freshman.” Or maybe “I’ll Be.” Edwin McCain was it? 

It was our senior year of high school and in a few months we would all be headed in opposite directions of that tiny empty parking lot in the middle of the San Fernando Valley. We sang our hearts out – we – the screenwriting major, the poly-sci major, the communications major, the women’s studies major, the business major, and me – the film major. We were all so sure, and why not? We were Reagan kids. We were the MTV generation. I had a friend whose first words were “Tom Petty” and another friend whose dad was an actual Heartbreaker. We grew up in the 80s and 90s, during the big self-esteem movement when our baby boomer parents were trying to take their experiences from the 60s and 70s and turn them into a revolution in the home. Unlike the parents of the Mad Men era, our parents told us everything we did was great and that we could be anything if we just worked hard enough. (My Mom still has a habit of complimenting even the most inane things I do, like making a peanut butter sandwich.) We were privileged, and protected, and promised. We grew up believing you get good grades, you go to college, you build a career, you get married, you buy the house, you claim your American dream and happiness is all but delivered to you in a flowery envelope with a Forever stamp and left in the mailbox just outside your picket fence. 

Our parents were not wrong. But they weren’t exactly right either. The American Dream is, well…a dream, a fantasy – a distant one at that. The path our parents and grand parents have taken is worn and jagged now, and not the direct highway to “success” it was once hailed as.

The question I’ve been mulling over is what my MTV generation of parents will teach our kids? Will we also tell them they can be everything they want if they just work hard or are we too cynical now? Will we teach them the lyrics of Nirvana and Tu Pac as opposed to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez as more accurate portraits of what are country truly is about? How will I tell Dee that I actually do not intend to pay for a private university when my own parents never held me back from attending one of my own? How will we explain to our kids that the system is often rigged and hard work sometimes does not actually pay off? That sometimes you need to have what they call “luck” which actually is not always really luck at all, but sometimes more of a combination of race, class, and inheritance? When I talk to my peers and fellow moms and dads about this, what I find is that none of us have the answers. Everyone is beating their own path. But, I have to believe that we’re getting closer to redefining the American Dream on our own terms, and that is the stuff dreams are made of.

[I'm acting as a paid ambassador for Scholarshare this year, which couldn't be better timing because the education I've gotten from our meetings has woken me up to a whole world of future plans that I need to be making and following through on. Also they don't get to tell me what to say.] 

Silly Toy Company, Pills Are Not For Kids.

10475672_10152535341432171_4187068539234187791_nI take four medications each day. My husband also takes a couple. My four year old daughter, Delilah, has on more than one occasion expressed an interest in having her own “vitamins” like ours. I probably don’t need to tell you our medicine is stored high and out of reach.

photo 2More than once, I’ve explained to her that while the “vitamins” are helping Mommy and Daddy, her body is actually producing everything she needs on her own, which is even better, and medicine that she doesn’t need could actually hurt her. It’s a frequent discussion. She still thinks we’re cool and wants to be just like us.

photoThis past weekend, I celebrated BlogHer’s 10th Anniversary in San Jose with a few thousand other bloggers. Also in attendance? A plethora of brands who had paid good money to put their products in front of all those publishing Moms. Amongst them? Bright Starts, a major producer of baby toys.

photo 3I stopped briefly at their booth where they slipped a padded envelope into my hand emblazoned with their logo. Press materials, I figured, and I dropped it into the branded swag tote I’d been issued earlier.

And then this morning I started to sort through what I’d been handed. I opened the envelope, and I pulled out this very authentic looking pill bottle jam packed with candy, prescribed to laughter lover, and imprinted with the seal of the “Bright Starts Pharmacy: Where Fun Comes From.” Delilah was standing next to me and wondered aloud if they were for her. One of the below bottles holds enough xanax to euthanize a shetland pony and the other contains red hots. Can you tell which is which?

photo 1What in the actual fuck, Bright Starts? How many people did this concept go through before you allowed your PR team to hand out pill bottles filled with candy for parents of small children to carry home alongside branded stuffed animals and cookies with hosting company logos on them? And what exactly were all of them taking? Is this really where you think the fun comes from? 

Pills are not funny. They’re not toys. They’re not even swag. They’re deadly when placed in the wrong hands. So what were you thinking Bright Starts? 

Thanks to commenter Monica Brady for sharing this image:

Update:  Bright Starts rep Allison Nacalik called me today to talk about the ill-conceived swag. The company did not defend their decision to use pill bottles as a part of what they called their Baby Laugh Index “Prescription for Laughter” booth experience, but rather wanted to apologize for what they tell me they now see as a serious error in judgement. They have agreed to send out an email to all BlogHer attendees tomorrow highlighting the importance of pill safety for children and families.

And I only play sanctimonious every third Monday.