Enter to Win a FREE myCharge HUB Max Charger

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I took my mother and daughter on a road trip last month so they could visit with family while I attended a writing workshop nearby. It was an eight hour drive from Atlanta to Ohio and each of us had at least one device running at all times. At some point, my mother’s phone died and she needed to charge it, but I was using the only port available so we didn’t get lost in the boonies. Luckily, I remembered that I had an extra plug with a separate USB port in the trunk of my car and managed to hillbilly rig her phone for the remainder of the drive. It was unfortunate that this device only worked in the car because I sure could have used one at the hotel.

This was my second writing conference, and I wanted to stay connected in case my daughter needed something. So, I stuffed my purse with portable chargers and wishful thinking, feeling certain that my fanatical planning was going to pay off. Much to my chagrin, both chargers died after the first use and finding an outlet near a chair was next to impossible. In fact, the only time I was able to charge my phone long enough to make a difference was while I slept which—thanks to my friends—was very little.

There is nothing more frustrating than your phone dying in the middle of an event, but for a mother, it’s downright scary. In a few weeks, I will be flying to Baltimore to attend another conference, only this time my daughter won’t be coming along for the ride. Though I know she will be in good hands, I still need to hear her voice on a daily basis, and the thought of it going straight to voicemail makes my blood boil. Imagine how excited I was when the folks at myCharge asked me to review their best selling charger: The HUB Max 9000mAhGo ahead, twist my arm!

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I’ve been using the HUB Max for about a week now and love it. Not only does it allow you to take all the videos and pictures you need so you will never miss another memory; it extends talk time for up to 67 hours. This thing has kept my phones charged and connected like a boss. And, if you have ever been on the receiving end of a two-percent battery when your child is about to perform, you understand how valuable that can be. Yesterday, my daughter’s school had their spring performance–outside! There were no outlets or fans, just a solar powered nightmare from the blazing hot sun. While some parents were battling Mother Nature with a flimsy umbrella, others were sweating it out over poor battery life, but not me because I was chillin’ in the shade with an iPhone in one hub and a Bluetooth in the other. And by the time my daughter walked out on-stage, I was fully charged and ready to roll. Best part? I didn’t have to carry a freaking phone cord around with me all day because there are two built in to the device!

The HUB Max is a TSA approved device and small enough to store in your carry on luggage (note: you can throw into your purse once you leave the airport because it really is that small). It can also be used to charge tablets, GoPro’s fitness watches, speakers and a slue of other must haves. In the age of technology, this is the perfect accessory for any mom on the go and this week, I will be giving one away for free. Yes, you heard me right; I said FREE!

Now, before you get all clickety-split with your fingertips to enter this awesome contest, please be aware that it is limited to UNITED STATES RESIDENTS ONLY. I know, I know… and I apologize in advance to my overseas friends, but I feel quite certain that there will be more opportunities down the road, so make sure you follow me everywhere. For those living the US who are interested in entering, the retail value of the HUB Max is $129.99 (which is a small price to pay for one that works). The only downside I found in this device is that the charging port didn’t fit into my LifeProof case, but anyone who has one of their cases already knows this is an issue that is easily resolved by ordering one of these (note: this adapter is designed for iPhone 6S/6S Plus, but they do make others).

If you don’t win, don’t freak out because you can still cash in on a HUB Max up at 40% off the retail value via the myCharge website for a limited time only using promo code MOM. Also, be sure you are following me on Facebook and Twitter as I will be announcing the lucky winner online in a few days. Good luck!

Please note: this is a sponsored post, but opinions are my own.

Overcoming Stage Fright While Listening To Your Mother

Like most people, one of my phobias is getting up on stage in front of a live audience and uttering more than a sneeze. I am in awe of those who can do it calmly (and without carrying a flask in their purse); the ones that seem to have mastered the art of confidence and kicked anxiety to the curb. But this year, I vowed to step outside of my comfort zone and tackle that angst to the ground. It is 2016: my year of no fear.

When the producers of the LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER (LTYM) in Atlanta approached me last year to audition, I declined with a hardy chuckle, along with 99 reasons explaining why it was a bad idea. “I don’t do public speaking,” I told them, “I am much better on paper.” A few weeks later, I was invited to attend a BlogHer Experts Among Us pre-party for the LTYM show. As is always the case, I was the first to arrive and the only one at the bar. As I scanned the room, watching bodies rush past in a last ditch effort to hang another sign, I saw a woman sitting alone at a table nearby.

“Hello!” I cheered; hoping she would invite me to sit down, “Are you here for the BlogHer event?”

She smiled and said that she was, and then asked if I was performing in the LTYM show that weekend. “Hell no,” I shouted, “I don’t do that sort of thing.” As we continued discussing the program and my exaggerated neurosis over participating, she assured me that it was a worthwhile experience and told me to consider it for next year. Then, she asked for my business card and made me promise to think it over. That woman turned out to be Elisa Camahort Page: Co-Founder of BlogHer and she called me out in front of the entire crowd later that night when she asked Sassypiehole to stand up and face everyone. I almost died while hiding underneath a brown pleather chair, until a voice shook me back to reality… “Hi!” she said, “Remember me? I’m the one who sent you that tweet a while back asking if you would audition. Now you have to do it!”

I have always believed that if something is meant to be it will be and for me, that something was Listen To Your Mother. Though my application was submitted a day late, and I had no idea what I was going to write about, the producers of the show believed in me enough to talk me off the ledge and aid me in conquering self-doubt. I won’t say that I killed it on stage because there is nothing worse than arrogance, but I do feel like I took a giant step forward, and there is nothing stopping me from doing it again. It’s a shame it took me forty-nine years to listen to my mother because she knew I had it in me all along. Below is my story, as told during the 2016 LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER SHOW in Atlanta—LIVE, on stage! The video will be available on their YouTube channel this summer. Be sure to subscribe to my page and/or follow me online for more information.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

My mother was a scientist in the 1970s. Okay, I lied… she was a hairdresser, but that’s kind of the same thing, isn’t it? I mean, minus the tissue samples and shrunken heads? The woman LIVED to experiment, and for those of us lucky enough to share space with her in small-town suburbia, she was more than just mom; she was Arlene Scissorhands, the Nutty Professor of symmetry.

At some point during her career as an amateur stylist, my father built a salon in our basement. He installed everything a budding beautician would need, including a salon chair, shampoo bowls, and a wall-mounted mirror that I used to glide my jelly-covered fingers down while listening to scandalous rumors and choking on massive amounts of hairspray.

From the time I was in diapers until I was old enough to ride the school bus, ”The Mom Squad” remained in our basement. They became like family to us, and my mother could not have been happier because the one thing they all had in common was that each of them was a close friend–of hers. They went to high school together, had dinner together, and knew her well enough to turn down any progressive offers she might have up her sleeve in regard to their bristly tresses. I wish it had been the same for me.

It was easy for my brothers; being boys and all, but I was the only girl. I had long, straight, mousy brown hair that kissed my back when I walked, and for some reason, my mother despised it. She would uproot it daily, into the tightest bun imaginable, and threaten to ground me if it ever came loose. On days when a bun didn’t strike her fancy, she would either substitute it for a super-tight ponytail or pigtails that wouldn’t budge. Either way, it always felt like I was wearing a stone helmet dipped in superglue, and I was miserable.

In the summer of 1973, there was a power struggle between my mother and me. She wanted to “try something new with my hair,” and refused to take no for an answer. Looking back now, I believe she must have been channeling her inner Mia Farrow because she was desperate to give me a Pixie. For weeks, I rejected her proposal and, whenever I complained about the heat, she would laugh maniacally and tell me how much cooler I’d be if I just cut my hair. So, after listening to her over-glamified portrayal of movie-star madness for an entire season, I finally caved. “Seriously, how bad could it be?”

The morning I gave her permission was like Christmas to my mother. She didn’t spray me in the face like she usually did when I leaned back into the sink, and she never once pinched me for squirming. Instead, she smiled as if it were her wedding day, joyfully clipping off the last of my hopes and dreams. I remember looking down with tears in my eyes; watching, as the elongated filaments of my youth cascaded down to the black, rubber mat on the floor. The battle between us was over and that bitch won by a landslide.

Imagine, if you will, Uncle Jesse from Full House or Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 2, remember the hair? My mother hadn’t given me a Pixie; she gave a freakin’ mullet. My right ear stuck out like it was permanently looking for something and my oversized teeth had doubled in size. I looked like a damn Chia Pet with the face of a six-year-old girl: a man-child with sprightly attributes. My brothers had better-looking hair. It was horrifying—the kind of thing that drives a person to chug a glass of Barbicide; it’s a good thing she kept that shit up high.

From that point forward, hair was no longer a necessity for me; it was an extension of my mother’s fictitious personality. Farrah Fawcett? Brigitte Bardot? I think not. To her, those were styles designed for ordinary people and I was anything but. For the next ten years, I was Liza Minnelli, Dorothy Hamill, Florence Henderson, Joan Jett, and Burt Reynolds. And while my mother continued to hone her craft on my resilient short head of hair, everyone else’s kept growing.

For as long as I can remember, my hair has been a spinning wheel of uncertainty. It’s been every color under the sun and each one a different shade of short, but my daughter’s is quite the opposite.

The other day, I was combing through the rat’s nest that IS her hair. She was whining like she always does, screaming at me to stop pulling so hard, when I located the origin of pain. It had woven itself into her Rapunzelesque braids like a crotched afghan made from recycled yarn. There were tiny bits of blue bubblemint gum plastered throughout her disheveled mane and NO WAY to get it all out. In the minutes that followed, we both said things we shouldn’t have, until I found myself holding a pair of scissors and ending our fight in tears.

I now understand why mom cursed my long hair all those years. It wasn’t envy or beauty school wisdom; it was pure aggravation from listening to me gripe and moan while she did best to make me look presentable. My mother was a classic mix of cosmetology and desperation. She did what needed to be done to maintain her sanity and perfect her artistry. She was a beautician and, as much as she might hate to admit it, I know one day her granddaughter will look back on this time in her life and think, “Thank GOD my mom was a writer.”

Dental Phobia In Two Words 

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You know how… when you go to the dentist, and he gives you three intense shots of novocaine; the kind where he has to physically TURN his body to poke another piece of flesh… and while he’s pivoting and jabbing that fucking skewer into your gums, you secretly want to cry? And just as you begin to assume the worst is over, he starts drilling into your tooth and HITS A NERVE?! So you say…

Read the whole article… »

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If You’re GONNA Buy Cheap Liquor, Don’t Do It In Ohio

Last week, I loaded up my car with every necessity imaginable, including my mother and child. We were driving to my brother’s house in the middle of nowhere so that I could attend a conference in Dayton, Ohio. We were thirty minutes from our destination when I realized that my hopes of ever finding a supermarket had now been replaced by a lot of fucking cows. “Mom,” I pleaded in desperation, “can you do a quick search on your phone and see if there are any decent grocery stores nearby?” My mother, who was slightly more familiar with the area, just laughed. And then, a few minutes later, a caustic snicker rose above the backseat, “Well, there’s always STEVE’S.”

 

It was beginning to look like a scene from Deliverance when we stumbled across a refurbished supermarket from 1950. “I haven’t seen one of those in years,” I whispered under my breath. The last time I stepped foot inside an IGA was when my brother knocked over a shopping cart, broke a dozen eggs, and blamed it on me. “Sit tight,” I winked at my daughter, “I’ll be back in a minute.” When the doors opened, I was greeted by—what appeared to be—the surviving cast of Leave It To Beaver. Everyone was smiling uncomfortably and standing with perfect posture. It was weird. And the layout was the same as it was when I was four. The aisles were narrow, the uniforms were aesthetically displeasing, and I swear to God that the guy behind the meat counter had been dead for at least twenty years.

 

As I perused the shelves in search of organic milk for my scrupulous child, I spotted Mikes Hard Cranberry Lemonade—my mother’s favorite. “Why not?” I thought, “I’m sure it will taste better than whatever my brother has on tap.” When I got back to the car, I was excited to share my investment with mom. “Check it out!” I cheered while parading the bottles in front of her, “They had cranberry!” But just then, I noticed something strange. The liquid inside appeared to be a deeper shade of pink than normal. In fact, it sort of reminded me of the Hawaiian Punch we used to drink as children. It was disgusting. As I examined the label with a sour look on my face, the bold yellow ink to the right of the word “cranberry” caught my attention: + Passion Fruit. “PLUS passion fruit? WHAT THE FUCK?!” I mouthed in the rear view mirror. “Mom, are you gonna drink this?” Again, she laughed. “Hell no!” She declared, “Take it back.” At this point, things inside my head were getting heated. I had just driven eight hours with Betty White as a copilot and was ready to call it a day, and now I was faced with the delicate task of returning cheap liquor. I clutched the pink fuel with my eager fist, slammed the car door shut and made my way over to the counter. “Hello,” I smiled, waving the rosy-colored cocktails high in the air. “I was just here and purchased these for my mother. I didn’t realize they were garnished with passion fruit, and she is never going to drink them. I was wonder…”

 

“I’m sorry,” she intruded, “all liquor sales are final.”

 

“Oh, that’s fine. I’ll just exchange them for a different flavor.”

 

“Um, we don’t do that here. Once you leave the store, we cannot refund or exchange any liquor sales.”

 

“Seriously? I was JUST here; look at the timestamp on my receipt for Christ’s sake.”

 

“I’m sorry. That’s the law.”

 

“The LAW?” *Laughs* “What is this, Mayberry? Are you like Barney Fife of the IGA world? It’s not like I’m gonna TELL anyone.”

 

“Sorry ma’am. It’s the law.”

 

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s not the law in Georgia.”

 

“Well, it’s the law here,” she demanded. “And we are not going to break it. Have a nice day.”

 

I may or may not have called her a hillbilly under my breath before storming outside. I mean, whom was she trying to impress with her law-abiding ways; the toothless trainee on register five? When I opened the car door, I was greeted by the clueless expression of an elderly skeptic. “What?” she hissed, “they wouldn’t give you a refund?”

 

“It’s against the law.”

 

“What?” she screamed, “That is bullshit. GIVE ME THAT RECEIPT!”

 

Now, I’ve known this woman a long time, and when she say’s to ‘give her that receipt,’ she means business. I watched as my mother wiggled her way out of the back seat, snatch the paper from my hand and seize the six-pack of faux liquor from the floorboard of my car. Then, without so much as a side-eye, she headed straight back toward the IGA to return the unwanted refreshments. I could not stop laughing. Curious as to what grandma had up her sleeve, my daughter chimed in and asked if she could go inside and watch. “Oh honey,” I grinned, “this is not something you should see.” It was a solid fifteen minutes before my mother resurfaced with the infamous pink potion still intact. She looked older somehow; defeated, and thoroughly pissed off. “So,” I taunted through the crack in my window, “how’d that work out for you?”

 

The story, as told by my eight-year-old daughter, goes something like this: So, grandma marched back into the store and demanded a refund, but the lady wouldn’t give her one. She said that, once you step foot outside of IGA doors, it is illegal for them to refund your money, but grandma didn’t believe her. She asked the lady if that was Ohio law or just the IGA law, and then accused her of pulling IGA rank. Then, she ordered the woman to call her manager. That’s when the lady claimed that SHE was the manager and my grandma said, “Well, then why doesn’t it say that on your name tag, BARBARA?!!!!

 

The next day was the first day of my conference and the beginning of the worst sugar hangover I have ever had in my life. Remind me never to buy cheap liquor again at the IGA in New Carlisle, Ohio. My mother is already working on a rough draft to the president. 

Turn Your Kid’s Crappy Artwork Into One-Of-A-Kind Jewelry

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Photo courtesy of TasarimTakarim via Etsy.
As a city girl, I keep a sharp eye out for modern trends. As a mother, it is always refreshing when they swaddle it in heartfelt sentiment, and what better way to express your affection than through the eyes of a child.

Yasemin Erdin Tavukçu and Özgür Karavit are designers from Istanbul, Turkey who believe that children’s art is the most important building block of creativity. Together, with Yasemin’s passion for painting and Özgür’s expertise as a sculptor and goldsmith, they combine the love and joy of a child’s drawing and mold it into thoughtfully crafted jewelry to be admired by all.

If the language barrier prevents you from ordering off of the website, Tasarim Takarim, you can visit their online Etsy shop. There you will see the quality of workmanship and uniqueness of each piece. All items are handmade to order using the following materials: sterling silver 925k, gold plated, rose gold plated, white gold plated, shipping worldwide from Istanbul, Turkey.

Please note: I have not ordered or received any samples of their work, nor is this a sponsored post, but I am curious to know if anyone has because these are freaking cool! Hmmm… I wonder what the turnaround time is for Mother’s Day?