Thursday, August 26, 2010


I am back from my Girls’ Weekend, and let me just begin by saying, this: a plain, old massage or pedi at a regular salon/spa will never, ever compare to my spa-venture. I am forever spoiled.  My friend, Ann, and I had been planning this for a year and a half. Sometimes when I plan and plan and build it up, there’s a tendency for the experience not to live up to my extremely high expectations. So not the case, thank goodness!

We went to Boyne Mountain in northern Michigan. We stayed at The Mountain Grand Lodge and went to Solace Spa. Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised when we walked into our room.

Rustic Mountain meets Shabby Chic

View from Our Room
Friday night, we kept a low profile so we would be ready for our 10am Gentle Yoga(ish) class (really just stretching without all the poses and connecting with breath). We checked into the locker room and got our locker. And by “locker”, I mean a charming closet with a robe and towel. And by “locker room”, I mean a luxurious space with tons of products to use.

I felt that if I was truly going to embrace this spa-venture, I should try The European Spa Bathing Ritual. For those novices like me, first you get as “nude as comfortable,” and for me that was my tankini (as opposed to other women who were walking around nude as nude). (And if I looked like that, I may have done it, too). It’s like circuit training for the elimination of toxins from the pores. There are three stations: a whirlpool, a steam sauna with eucalyptus, and a cedar sauna. (The steam sauna was my favorite; who knew humidity could be so relaxing if I didn’t have to chase The Babes at the playground). After each station, a quick, cool shower is suggested. I repeated the process before I took a real shower with lovely lavender- scented products.

Then I got dressed in my ultra cozy robe and sipped on pear-infused water in this private, dimly lit waiting room with chaise couches where silence was strongly suggested. (And let me tell you, it was so quiet in there that the person next to me eating a strawberry sounded likes he was riffling through a bag of chips). My masseuse came to get me for the Silky Smooth Treatment. My whole body was exfoliated, rinsed, sprayed, and moisturized with these wonderful rosemary-scented products. She worked some serious magic because I was beginning to feel a strange sensation: relaxation.

Afterwards, I was offered more pear-infused water and strawberries before I was whisked away upstairs (still in my comfy robe) to the salon for my manicure. During this time, she offered me a glass of champagne. So here I am, sitting in this incredibly plush robe with silky smooth skin, looking out at this beautiful scenery through floor to ceiling windows, sipping on champagne, getting my nails done thinking I had died and gone to spa heaven. And the manicurist could not have been nicer.

I didn’t know something like this even existed. I mean I’ve read about them in fairy tales found in US Weekly, but I didn’t know they were available to us mere mortals. I have lived a sheltered life when it comes to spa treatments. I got a massage done at the gym once, and I had to walk out right into the busy hallway. Total mood killer.

I didn’t realize how the European bathing ritual and distance away from the general public really boosted the overall spa experience. The Relaxation Room was like a little cocoon. The serenity gained on this trip has completely inspired me to incorporate bits and pieces of this experience into my regular life (until I can scheme a way back there). I am not going to consider pampering a luxury; it made me feel too sane and peaceful. And everyone wants to be around a sane and peaceful person as opposed to a stressed-out maniac.

So I’ll start doing yoga again since I hadn’t realized that I had been holding my breath for the past two years. I am going to use their lavender lotion and use eucalyptus oil in my shower every once in awhile. (Now I just have to work on finding that robe. . .) I am also going to attempt to recreate the feeling from the relaxation room. (Suggestions)? And also, Champagne should not be just for special occasions. Because champagne makes everything special. Even Thursday nights while watching Jersey Shore.

In other lessons learned that weekend, ridiculous and desperate drunk guys don’t get any cuter with age . . .or with kids. More on that next time. . .

Sounds  juicy, right?

Anyway, enough about me and my spa-venture. How are you doing, Friends?

NOTE: No one from Solace Spa or Boyne Mountain compensated me for this trip.  This is all me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spa Weekend 2010

The time has come. I have been planning this weekend for a whole one and half years. I am going 4 hours away to pampered. And it couldn’t come at a better time. I am looking forward to taking a break from the following:
- Jack ass office staff that won’t give me any information regarding Marie’s sleep study. They have it, and she needs an appointment with a specialist, but they won’t share it with me.

- The Dream Cruise weekend which is like Christmas around here. Therefore, the specialist’s office is closed until Monday.

- Mama Mia. Marie wants to watch that movie all. the. time. I really liked it the first 53 times, but seriously, I can only listen to Chiquatita for so long before I start to twitch.

- Blogging and all social media. I need to unplug. I know I haven’t been reading and commenting on blogs lately. I apologize. Things have been just a bit crazy around here.  I promise to check in with you next week. I miss all of you, Friends!

I’ll leave you with one more picture from BlogHer 10.
There's Amethyst Moon with the yummy street meat.  Isn't this a great pic of her?!

Have a great weekend! Do you have any fun plans?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BlogHer Part 3 – The Unplanned Moments

I think this will be the last of the BlogHer installments. I had fun talking about the Mouthy Housewife Happy Hour, the breakout sessions, and now I’ll conclude about the splendor of spontaneous moments. I love to plan, and it serves me well, but I am glad that I also left room for these little gems a chance to materialize.

(Otherwise known as how I Embarrassed Myself Yet Again)

As you know, I was afraid of connecting with no one and having to eat my lunch that would have consisted of a Cliff Bar. Thankfully, that was not the case. Maria and I met her friend from We were also joined by some other women at the table. So we all started to hand out our business cards. Laura, Gretchen, and Amy give me their cards. And here begins the scene titled How Erin Makes an Ass Out of Herself. . . Again:

Me: Amy, you look really familiar.

Amy: I just wrote a book.

Me: What’s the title?

Amy: When Did I Get Like This?


Amy (graciously): Yes, that was me.

Gretchen: Didn’t she look beautiful?

Me (adrenaline still hasn’t had a chance to dissipate into untraceable amounts): YES, SHE DID! YOU LOOKED GREAT!

End scene with them going back to their regularly scheduled conversation.

Yes, I did it again. I sounded like a screaming preteen at yet another Twilight meet-n-greet (like I did with Wendi Aarons at the Mouthy Housewife party). Seriously, I need to get a grip on my gushing. Sorry, Amy, if I frightened you with my overzealous response. I swear I leave the house and socialize (when I am not watching The Today Show). It’s just when I am trolling the aisles of Kroger for groceries with The Babes wearing my Mom Uniform, I don’t usually run into writers of books I want to read.

Everything after this conversation was pretty much a blur since I felt like I made a total ass our of myself and couldn’t leave the table since that would have meant eating alone in the bathroom. And you all know how I feel about that.

Old New Friends
I was so excited to meet The Culture Mom  and La Mere Joie. I have been commenting on their blogs for awhile so it was exciting to finally meet them. I felt like I was meeting old friends, yet for the first time face to face. They were both so sweet. I am glad I had a chance to connect with them. I only wish I had more time to chat.
During this time, I learned that La Mere Joie was Amethyst Moon. *

After the awesome keynote speaker, I took me and my 3 GIGANTIC bags of swag to The Green Affair. I was s exhausted; I knew that it was time to go home. I was looking so forward to Sparklecorn, but alas, I felt the opposite of sparkly; my head was swimming with all my new experiences, my swag bags were rubbing the flesh away on my shoulders, and blisters were forming on my feet.

At this time Maria texted me to see if I wanted to meet up with her for dinner. I really wanted to hang out with her again, so we met in the lobby. At this time, I saw a woman who I thought was someone I knew. (It’s hard to tell with those itty bitty Twitter pictures, right?) When she told me her name was Amethyst Moon, I couldn’t believe it! What were the chances? I told her La Mere Joie was looking for her. Maria met us, and we decided to go get some street meat from this vendor that has a 45 minute wait for his food. And it only cost $6! Marie, Amethyst, and I ventured out to the famous (or infamous) Hallal for the chicken platter.

We sat by the fountain outside the Hilton, looking at the Radio City Music Hall sign, eating our absolutely (and surprisingly) delish food, and chatting about our lives. And I think this was my favorite moment of BlogHer. No pressure, just talking about our lives. Then it occurred to me that this was like blogging but in real life. I knew Maria, we met Amethyst, and we all just started talking. That feeling of connection I get from blogging was happening right here outside all the planning and fanfare of BlogHer. It was awesome!

Doesn't that look delish?!  All for $6. WIN!

There's the lovely Maria.  This meal was her awesome idea!

Final Impressions
There is  a whole new world out there I didn’t even know existed. There are so many avenues to pursue with blogging. I was in awe by these women who followed their love of writing which then led them to have these amazing opportunities. I was also thankful that I was able to meet some of my blog friends in person and meet a lot of new people, too. I left BlogHer 10 feeling both inspired and motivated.

So BlogHer 11, I need to start saving NOW. . . unless you have a lay-away plan because that would be great, too.

*My crude attempt of foreshadowing. What can I say, I am still working on my craft.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BlogHer Part 2: The Conference

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this out. When I got home after the added on family vacation time, I hit the deck running taking care of some issues with The Babes. Here’s my first installment of my take on BlogHer Conference. Keep in mind that I only went for Saturday, and this was my first time attending the conference.

First Impressions
TONS of people. And among all those people, not one needed my awkward attempt at describing blogging. SWEET!

The breakfast buffet felt like something out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. There was just an abundance of food everywhere. I felt like I could have totally been Augustus Gloop when he went crazy in the room where everything was made of treats. (But I kept it under control since it was rumored they were giving away sausage and pancakes on a stick at the Jimmy Dean booth). I did feel a bit like that new kid who didn’t know where to sit at the lunch table, but, luckily, I met some great people right away. Shortly after that, I met up with my friend Maria. She was awesome! I love reading her blog, and she was exactly the same in real life as she is in her blog.

I went to the How to Use Your Blogging to Make You a Better Writer. The speakers were Dianne Jacob, Mary McCarthy, Suzanne Reisman, and Jennifer McGuiggan. I LOVED this session. First, Mary was awesome! I told her that I was excited to meet her, and she remembered me as the one who was excited to get her coffee cup with the silly bandz. She was hysterical, too. And the coffee mug – awesome!

I really loved this session. A lot of what discussed resonated with me. Suzanne said that writing is generative; the more you do it the better you become. Suddenly blogging didn’t seem so frivolous. By blogging, I am not just to venting (which is reason enough), but I am strengthening my writing skills. A lot of what Suzanne and Jenna said just made a lot of sense about writing. I found it especially inspiring that blogging motivated them to get to an MFA. Suzanne also talked about how through blogging regularly gave her the discipline to write and complete a book. Seriously, how cool is that?!

The panel also talked about how all writers hear that sinister inner- editor and often feel like their writing is not good. They discussed how to manage that feeling and not let that get in the way of writing. I met Lindsay Maddox at this session, too. I loved her comments about formatting words and punctuation help develop a writer’s true voice.

The information shared in this session was so inspiring to me. Sometimes I feel silly or indulgent when I write. Hearing where the love of writing took these women thrilling to hear and renewed my sense of motivation.

I also went to The Evolving Publishing Ecosystem where Kamy Wicoff, Florinda, Penny Sansevieri, and Careleen Brice spoke. I learned how publishing world is changing. Writers are expected to have a web presence, self-promote, and connect with their audience with social media. There was also a lot of discussion on self-publishing. I really enjoyed learning more about book bloggers and their role in all of this.

I found this session so informative, especially as someone who left a completely different career field with no knowledge of how the publishing world operates. The conversation became a little heated when a publisher in the audience became upset about writers feeling frustrated about being more in charge of self-promotion than the publisher. Kamy Wicoff did a great job mediating the discussion. Also check out Kamy’s website for more resources on publishing and writing.

I skipped the third session to go check out the Expo Center. There were like a million booths. I left with three GIGANTIC bags of swag, so now I am an official swag hag. Check out these photos:
The Jimmy Dean Sun! Turkey sausage on a stick with a pancake, anyone?
The Honey Bear. Toss up who's sweeter, right?
Marie thought this was the coolest since she loves Toy Story.

This one is my fave! Wonder Woman is my idol! (And can you tell which pics are taken on a cell phone and which one is taken by a professional?  If not check out The Sun again).

Stay tuned for the next installment and learn about how I made a total ass out of myself at lunch and how one of my favorite moments involved street meat. Curious how food is the common denominator, isn’t it?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BlogHer Part 1: Mouthy Housewives Happy Hour

BlogHer Part 1: Mouthy Housewives Happy Hour

Friends, I made it home from BlogHer ‘10/family vacation. If you were following me on Twitter, (all 99 of you) (I was at 100. . . but anonymous left, I am guessing, because there was too much of a disconnect between his cool PR tweets and my fascinating laundry tweets), then you know I made it home with a close call. I do promise to give you the details in another post.

I kicked off my BlogHer experience with the Mouthy Housewives Happy Hour at the Forty Eight Cocktail Lounge. It. was. AWESOME! I wore a little black dress and strappy heels with my makeup and hair done by my team of 1 – me. I know it’s hard to imagine, so I took a picture since it would last long after my coach turned back into a pumpkin.

Prom? No, just on my way to the Mouthy Housewives Happy Hour!

I was so nervous when I arrived. As a junior high teacher, our staff gatherings were a little less. . . glamorous. Our Christmas parties were usually potluck at someone’s house. I usually watched in horror as married staff members hit on other married staff members, but I digress. A real splurge was meeting at the microbrewery or the pool hall. And this is all great, but never had I been to a party like this; white wine flowing like water with portabella cheese bits and tuna tartar being served. Not to mention awesome swag and sponsors and photographers.

As if the food and wine weren’t enough, I met some fantastic people. Nicole from was lovely. I really enjoyed talking with her about blogging and our families. April Welch, The Mental Clutter Coach, was so interesting. Her adventures in tackling the issues surrounding clutter were fascinating. I spoke briefly with Maggie at CafĂ© Kel at was delightful. I also got to meet Wendi “Tha Dream” Aarons. We met briefly at the beginning of the night, and she introduced me to Tracy at She was so cool and very down to earth. Tracy wrote the book Rebel Without a Minivan. Imagine my horror when I vomited the fact that I have a minivan. Tracy still talked to me, despite Mini, and even offered a link to get some racing stripes to make her BA (that’s Dane Cook speak for bad ass). She’s a great example of an A-lister being totally cool with a little blogger like me.

At the end of the night, Wendi Aarons came back to talk with me. I was so incredibly nervous, I am sure I chatted on and on like an idiot. I think I mentioned how much I like to blog and write, but I can’t be sure because what I was saying was not the same monologue in my head which was Ohmygodjustshutupandlethertalkalready. So Wendi, I apologize if I acted like a pre-teen at a Twilight meet-n-greet.

And those were just the bloggers. The reps from sponsors were really nice, too. (Yes, I know they are supposed to be, but let’s just say some people are better than others). Sharron and Heather, reps for Whirlpool, were so nice. I loved hearing their stories of how they landed in New York City. The rep from LG, who I don’t remember her name, was really cool. I mean, how could she not? She did give me a brand new LG vacuum. She demoed how the vacuum could pick up glitter, and if it could pick up glitter, then I knew it could pick up goldfish crackers, right? I couldn’t believe it! I don’t even have to give LG my first born in exchange for this awesome swag! How sweet is that?!

Me and my new LG vacuum! Yes, I plan to wear that everytime I use it, too!

When it was time to leave, I wasn’t ready to go home. I mean, it took a lot of effort to look that hot. So I followed two ladies that I met earlier, Diane and her friend, to another bar. I enjoyed chatting with Diane about writing and our kids. She really was so sweet.

All in all I had a great time at the Mouthy Housewives Happy Hour. I am so glad that I went and powered through my anxiety. Because really, there ain’t no party like Housewives party!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bloging Like It's Twitter

Hi! I'm blogging from my email and watching Shrek 3. (ie: do not have high expectations).

We made it to New Jersey. The Babes did well. . . for 2 days in the car.

We are staying with family, which is awesome. any it's been awhile since they had any kids around so it's not childproofed. I am working overtime to head off any fragile glass decorations from meeting an untimely death.

I also realize how much of a circus it is with 2 kids when they're aren't any kids around. I am just so used to it, I don't even realize it. But I am well aware now.

Tomorrow I head off to The City to go to the Mouthy Housewives party. Yeaa!

I am trying to keep up on your blogs. I can read some, but having a hard time commenting. Please forgive!

Have a great day!


Monday, August 2, 2010

BlogHer or Bust!

Well, Friends, this is my last post before I head out to BlogHer. Why am I going so early, you ask? Well, I am making this a family vacation as well. The Babes, my Mom, and I will be packing up Mini and heading to New Jersey and New York to visit family. Then I am going to sneak to BlogHer on Saturday. I am so excited and nervous - I don’t even know what to think. So here’s my check list to make sure I all ready:

Tickets – check

Business cards by paper dahlia design co - check

Clothes for me and The Babes – check

Grown-up clothes that will NOT be ruined by macaroni and cheese (that orange sauce is like permanent marker, for Christ’s sake) - check

Snacks, snacks, and snacks – check

Toys/Books/ Entertainment – check

Telling that voice that won’t shut up about the guilt of going to SUCK IT – working on it

Toiletries – check(ish)

My primitive networking skills – check(ish)

Maps – check

My explanation pitch for blogging/BlogHer for some of the family that we are staying with since they don’t get blogging – check(ish) (Suggestions would be greatly appreciated for explaining blogging to a demographic that is not tech savvy).

My computer – no (I am not bringing it so I will be doing my best to check in with you on my phone, otherwise known as The Little Instinct That Could). (I also have learned how to blog with email, so we’ll see how that goes). (Oh, and I also FINALLY learned how to use Twitpic – yea)!

Which brings me to my next point, if you want to get a hold of me, use Twitter or text me. If you need my number, email me, and I will send it to you.

Looking forward to meeting you at The Mouthy Housewives Party on Friday night, seeing you at BlogHer all day Saturday, and then A Green Affair Party and Sparkelcorn Saturday night!

Travel safely!