What is "normal"?

Mekayla Diehl, who didn't win Miss USA, is trending her "normal" butt off. She's being praised for walking out on stage in a bikini, despite not being as thin as the other contestants. There are so many things weird and a little bit wrong about this. First, I can't believe Miss USA is still on the air. These women are all beautiful, articulate, and well groomed to be in a beauty pageant, or become a trophy wife. Not to say Miss USA contestants don't go on to do wonderful things post pageant, but what you look like in a bikini is relevant...never, in real life....more
Denise I know. ;)more

Surrounding Myself with Beauty, Because It's Important

My grandmother is in her late eighties and still uses Facebook. Her comments are sometimes cryptic and often off-base, bless her heart, but at least she's participating. The other day she commented on a photo, "Jess your life is filled with so much beauty." I laughed, thinking "if only you saw my house and self right now." Then I was looking through some old pictures and realized that she's right, and it's not unintentional....more

Rewriting Your Love Story

I didn't grow up dreaming of my wedding day, so there were no preconceived ideas of what my love story would look like. Marriage was something that most people chose to embark on at a time in their lives when they wanted to build equity, and by that I mean have babies. People got married once they had achieved great jobs, expensive furniture, and ran out of things to do on a Friday night. That all turned out not to be true. I wasn't going to be one of those ladies who marries an executive in her early 30's with a destination wedding, and the merging of padded bank accounts....more
What a beautifully authentic and realistic story of love.more

What's the worst that could happen? Pre-school...

Banning words is so stupid, but if I never had to hear the word "pre-school" again, it would be too soon.This subject has been hanging over my head since Anna was two. In 2012, after some encouragement, and excitement about having a little free time for myself, I enrolled her in a nearby Catholic school in Texas. Looking around I realized that it was the norm, apparently. Once your kid turns two, they're sent to "school"...even if mom doesn't work. ...more

A Survival Guide To Parenting Teens

I'm not a big consumer of parenting books. I've owned four copies of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" over the years, all gifted, and all given away without being read. So much of what we need to know regarding sleep, feeding, bathing, and play with babies is a click away on the internet. As kids grow into adolescents, the problems aren't as simple as being hungry or over-tired. Our children are processing emotions and navigating social situations that they've never experienced before. Our questions get harder, and the answers get longer. Bring on the experts!...more

The Blog Effect : Have you experienced any of these?

This blog hobby has been a blessing to me, especially over the past year or two. I've found wonderful, inspiring women, made a little money, documented the highs and lows of parenting, improved my camera skills a bit, and I've learned a lot about myself throughout the process. The idea of personal blogging and "mommy" blogging [although I still hate that term] is fascinating to me. Imagine the horror of women 70 years ago, at the idea of sharing intimate details of our pregnancies and relationships with complete strangers? Some people, even today, find it uncouth....more

An "American Blogger" Review

I said I wasn't going to purchase the film "American Blogger", but then it was released early, and the minute it was available I bought it. The fact that it was only $9.99 was a big factor, to be honest. I didn't want my criticism and speculation to continue unfounded because of a measly $10. So, here's my take... ...more

How Much Do Braces Really Cost? I'll Tell You.

When the twins were six, we started talking about whether or not they'd need braces. It was an interesting topic for me, because I've never had them. I was excited. By the time they were nine, we knew the direction we were headed in, so I called a few orthodontists in Texas to get an idea of the process and cost. Here's what I didn't expect to find out—it's a secret. It's like Fight Club. Seriously....more
And why is it so expensive??? The little wires are put on once. Once! I would love to see a ...more

Does your make-up make you?

I wore make-up every day as a teenager, everywhere I went - a lot of make-up. In hindsight, I wish I had skipped the big southern bangs and mauve lip liner, and embraced what I now know was a sun-kissed, wrinkle-free, dewy, fresh face that I'll never see again. Sorry, no picture to prove it. Remember? ...more

Our first mythical bust