March 23, 2015
by admin

Healthy Cookbooks Remind Me Why I’m Not Healthy

good food dayI am trying to eat healthier.


It’s tricky to work in healthier foods when you have kids who only want to eat mac and cheese (and only the yellow kind, with the tube pasta), but for the sake of myself and my family I keep trying. My attempt to eat better is a work in progress that will probably end with me dying of a heart attack in my eighties after fighting with my nurse over my secret stash of Tootsie Rolls. (The first line of my eulogy: “Meredith Bland was full of love: she loved her children, she loved her husband, and, unfortunately, she loved her Tootsie Rolls. Which brings us to the reason we are gathered here today….”)

My latest attempt at healthy eating involved the new cookbook A Good Food Day, by Marco Canora. This book is beautiful: the photos are great, the recipes are clear, and there’s lots of helpful information about better ways to eat. Unfortunately, as I flipped through the pages, I realized that I will never be one of those super-healthy kale-eating smoothie-making people. I am not good enough for this cookbook.

Here are a few recipes, with the parts that are impossible for Meredith crossed out:

1. Buckwheat Groats with Apricots and Almonds

That sounds frickin’ delicious, but “buckwheat groat” is clearly something that gets cleaned out of a machine. According to Canora, however, it is “…actually the seed of a plant similar to rhubarb, not a type of wheat.” This makes me all kinds of suspicious. First of all, why can’t we say the name of the plant? What’s wrong with this plant that makes it unnameable in a cookbook? Second, why not then be honest and call the recipe, “Seeds of Unnamed Stalked Vegetable With Apricots and Almonds.” And finally, I object to using the word “wheat” for something that isn’t wheat. It’s like capturing an opossum and introducing it to everyone as your new cat. Nice idea, but it doesn’t work.

2. Dandelion Salad with Hard-Boiled Eggs


Did I ever tell the story about the time I was pregnant and nauseous and an old man started peeling a hard-boiled egg next to me?  It ends the way you think it does. And I know a lot of people who say that dandelion greens are delicious, I’m just not there yet. It seems like the kind of food you eat when you’re starving to death in a field, and it doesn’t kill you, so you put some olive oil on it and keep going.

3. Cream-Free Creamed Corn

See the discussion about the word “wheat” in number one.

4. Japanese Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Frittata

I can’t. I can’t go to the produce guy at Safeway and say, “No no, not regular sweet potatoes. I’m looking for Japanese sweet potatoes.” I do not have a big enough flounce or a tight enough asshole to pull that off.

5. Amaranth “Polenta” with Tuscan Kale

If the name of a recipe includes a food in quotes, I’m intrigued but not particularly hungry. And also, fucking kale. The end.


I’m going to stop there, but I think it’s clear why I will fail at health. All of the above recipes might be insanely delicious, but the chances that I will make them and that my children and husband will eat them are negative never.

I’m not writing off this cookbook, though. I tried two of the recipes and they were out of this world.

1. Roasted Broccoli with Hazelnuts and Pecorino

It was like the heavens opened up when I ate this broccoli. I mean…it’s the best broccoli I have ever had. Ever. EVER.

2. Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Porcini Mushrooms and Baby Spinach

Now, I had to make this using regular rigatoni and had to leave out the mushrooms because I wanted my kids to eat it. They weren’t excited about the spinach, but they ate it and said it was “okay.” I LOVED it. And if my kids tolerate something and I love it, I call that a huge success.

If I were a better person and someone who didn’t struggle with making cereal, I would make everything in this book and probably love 99% of it. The two recipes I did try were awesome. I’m just not a “Roasted Carrots with Millet and Mint-Pistachio Pesto” kind of girl. But if someone wants to make it for me, I’m all in.

Note: This cookbook was given to me for free by the Blogging for Books program. All opinions are my own.

March 6, 2015
by admin

A Crash Course In Cultural Competence

I am not culturally competent.

I never have been. It’s not something new that happened when I had children and stopped having time to read on the toilet — I’ve always been strangely behind the times. Wherever it is that people go to learn the things that everybody else knows? I don’t know where that is.

Indeed, if you’ve ever wondered who it is living under that rock, it’s probably me, hanging out with your grandmother, complaining about how we can’t understand what any of the singers on the radio are saying.

I decided it was time to educate myself about the latest trends in movies, music, social media, food, and books.


It is only because of my friends that I ever see movies in the theater. Normally I am a “wait till it comes out on Netflix in a few months” kind of gal. But I have friends who like to live in the world, and from time to time we get together to see whatever the latest book-to-movie release is. Cuz we’re nerds. Deal with it.

In order to be up-to-date on the cinematic front, my friends and I went to a movie theater that serves alcohol and saw Fifty Shades of Grey. I was nervous about this because I can be a bit of a prude: watching people do it on screen while I sit in a dark room surrounded by strangers makes me feel icky on the inside. But I swallowed my fear and a large Diet Coke and went for it.

Everyone has been giving this movie a bad rap, saying things like, “It’s the worst movie ever made.” Let me tell you something — if you think Fifty Shades of Grey was the worst movie ever made, then you have not seen The Smurfs 2.

I thought it was hilarious. When he walks into her room while she’s sleeping, gently sits on the edge of her bed and says, “The woman who gave birth to me was a crack addict. And a prostitute,”  I almost choked on a Milk-Dud. And when he says, “If you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit for a week,” and she says, “…What?” I mean…how could you not love this movie?!

One and a half thumbs up.


I went to iTunes to see what the best selling albums are these days. Number one? The Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. I heard that when I saw the movie, so I am already ahead of the curve! Woo hoo! I decided that was cheating, though, so I looked at number two: Taylor Swift’s 1989.

That’s the year she was born.

I was in the seventh grade.


Taylor Swift was actually responsible for my first “I’m too old for this now,” moment. a few years ago I was in my SUV, driving my twin toddlers to the park, when her song “We Are Never Getting Back Together” came on. I started singing along, until she got to the part where she says:

“Ugh…so he calls me up and he’s like, ‘I still love you,’

And I’m like…’I just…I mean…this is exhausting, you know?

Like, we are never getting back together. Like, ever.'”

And that’s when I realized that as a mother of two in her mid-thirties, I can’t pull this song off anymore. It has been relegated to the iPod, along with that Kesha song about how the party don’t start till she walks in.

I’m going to skip this album.


Just the term “social media” makes me tired. I love myself some Facebook, but that’s all I need to keep track of the various people in my life. Instagram and Snapchat have no place in my world. I just don’t take that many pictures of my day-to-day life. Look, here’s what I’m doing now:

See? Now what? I don’t get it.

Besides, most of the new social media seems to be geared toward getting you the highest number of dick pics in the least amount of time. I don’t need that anywhere near my life.


Paleo! Everybody wants to eat like cavemen and leave out all the preservatives and such! Okay! That sounds healthy and sadly lacking in cake.

I don’t know much about the Paleo diet, so I visited Paleo Grubs and checked out their list of “Foods to Avoid.” These include:

  • Artificial ingredients                    That sounds hard.
  • Soda                                               I’m out.
  • Partially hydrogenated oils         I don’t even know what these are.
  • Junk food                                       Okay. That’s bad for me.
  • Fast food                                        Ditto. I’m on board with this plan.
  • Grains                                             Wait…no grains?
  • Dairy                                               Or dairy?
  • Processed food                              Or corn dogs?
  • Legumes                                         The hell is wrong with a bean?!
  • Potatoes                                          Forget it. None of this makes sense.


I can easily stay modern when it comes to books, right? I read constantly! So I was feeling pretty positive when I looked up the New York Times best-seller lists. These lists were populated mainly by American Sniper, The Girl on The Train, and Fifty Shades of Sweet-Jesus-Mary-And-Joseph-How-Many-Of-These-Are-There Grey. 

I’m only interested in American Sniper for the fake baby in the movie, and I’ve read The Girl on The Train and two of the three Fifty Shades books.


As long as Taylor Swift doesn’t write a best-seller, I am golden in terms of book culture. Now I’m going to go drink another latte with artificial sweetener in it, eat a muffin, and not look at any pictures of penises for the rest of my day.


I wrote this post for Netflix in honor of their new original series, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. In the show, Ellie Kemper plays a woman held underground for years as part of a sister-wives cult until she is freed and moves to New York City to start her new life. The show comes from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, so that should sell you immediately. If it doesn’t consider these facts:

1. The women are referred to in the media as “the mole Women,” which they hate.

2. The theme song consists of a man saying, “They alive, dammit!” And “Females are strong as hell!” Just that. Back and forth. Awesome.

3. I was introduced to the term, “foot slut.” And for that, I am forever grateful.

You can start streaming The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TODAY on Netflix!


February 21, 2015
by admin

Ever After High: Because There Aren’t Enough Big-Eyed, Tiny-Skirted Cartoon Teens

Oh, Netflix. I’m giving you my disappointed mom face. It’s kind of like this:


(via Pinterest)

I’m part of the Netflix Stream Team, which means that once a month they send me a list of some of their programs and a theme to write about.  I love it because Netflix is my late-night lover (Oh, hello The Killing…I didn’t see you come in.) But this month Netflix asked us to take a look at their new original program, Ever After High. And then there was a sad trombone, and Meredith shook her head and whispered, “Aw, nuts.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 11.10.28 AM

(There they are, via


Now, I am a pretty laid-back parent. I don’t care if my kids pretend to play with weapons, or pretend to be soldiers, or play with Barbies; I don’t even care if they watch shows with characters that look like the ones in Ever After High. I don’t worry about my children’s play determining what kind of people they’ll become or how they’ll feel about themselves, because I think that what’s important is the example that their father and I set for them and the morals we raise them with. But when I saw these characters, I thought, Come on, Netflix. Did you have to?

The idea behind the show is brilliant: what would life be like for the teenage children of classic fairy tale characters? I love it. What a great story! There are a million fun places you could go with that. So why do we have characters who look and dress like…that?

I am all for fantasy — cartoons don’t have to look like real life and should be a little over the top. It just seems unnecessary for female characters to have eyes the size of saucers and skirts that barely cover their cartoon hoo-has. I’m no prude (well…maybe I’m a little bit of a prude) and for what it’s worth, my daughter LOVES this show and wants to watch it every day. And I let her because I have no problem telling her that those bodies are ridiculous in an orange-on-a-toothpick kind of way. And I definitely have no problem never letting her come close to wearing outfits like those. But I thought we learned from Bratz dolls that people don’t necessarily want their kids’ dolls to look like strippers on Halloween?

It’s a wasted opportunity. Wouldn’t it give our children more room to imagine themselves in these worlds if the characters looked a little more like real people? I’m not saying we give Snow White a c-section scar and her daughter a forehead full of acne, but maybe a girl that looks like she could hold herself upright? A girl who looks like she could walk across a room on her own power instead of collapsing on her teeny little legs, where she then dies on the floor because she is unable to drag herself to food with her stick-like arms?

Oh, well. Maybe next time.

February 11, 2015
by admin
1 Comment

I’m on Etsy!

Hey folks!

I got a great response to some “Honest Valentine’s Day Cards For Parents” that I made for Parentmap this week, including some people who wanted to buy them.

Well, now you can!

I’ve created an Etsy shop called The Pile Store. So far, I have exactly one card up there because I am self-taught and super slow. You don’t even want to know what I went through this morning figuring out how to get upside-down text in an Open Office document. You don’t even want to know.

All cards are PDF files you can download instantly and print at home.

I’ll be adding the rest, and maybe some new ones, today and tomorrow. And since I’m new to this, if you notice anything funked up please do let me know.

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Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 1.24.26 PM

February 6, 2015
by admin

Bad Taxidermy And Other Things (I am a headline wizard)

maxresdefaultIt was as a fan of The Bloggess that I first got introduced to the art of bad taxidermy. It turns out, there’s really no way of knowing how much you enjoy a photo of a mouse standing on a moped and smoking a cigar until you see one. And that is why I was pretty dang excited to get a copy of Crap Taxidermy by Kat Su through the Blogging for Books program.

There are some glorious images in the book, but unfortunately I am not as into taxidermied animals with weird eyes and grins as I am into taxidermied animals who are all dressed up with nowhere to go. For me, it was the last chapter of the book, “Anthropomorphic,” that was both a treasure and a treat. Call me crazy, but I find a mole mowing the lawn vastly superior to a rabbit with wings sewn into its back. So while most of the book was awesomely bizarre, the last chapter was a thing of dreams.


In other news, Friday the 6th was my last day as a staff writer at Mommyish. The other writers there are beyond the best and I became a better writer because of them, but it was time to move on. I’m looking forward to new opportunities, and to getting more time to devote to the blog again.

Speaking of new opportunities, an essay of mine has been selected to be part Jenn Mann’s follow up to her Amazon best-seller, “I Just Want To Pee Alone.” Yup, “I Still Just Want To Pee Alone” will be published sometime over the next few months, and in it will be a piece by me talking about why the post-child me would like the pre-child me to kiss her tender behind. There are many other phenomenal and hilarious writers involved in it, and I will send everyone who buys a copy either a) a puppy, b) a puppy wearing a cowboy outfit, or c) just a dog-sized cowboy outfit for you to use as you see fit.


Details to come!

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