Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Card For The Recession

Here's a Christmas card I wanted to make and send for these tough economic times, but my husband said no:

Neal Conan of NPR's "Talk of the Nation" read it on his show this week when I submitted it for a segment on "Holiday Cards For The Recession." I thought I'd share it with you, as I suspect the Ungirdled have more sophisticated tastes than my better half and would appreciate it too!

Best wishes to you and yours for a very merry holiday season and a healthy, happy, love-filled, and PROSPEROUS new year!

Photo for album cover came from here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Homemade Funny Family Christmas Cards

Every year we like to do something silly for our family Christmas card. Thought I'd share a few ghosts of Christmas cards past.
The one above was featured in our local paper.

The one above was featured on "Live With Regis & Kelly" and in our local paper!

More to come! In the meantime, happy holidays and best wishes for a new year filled with love, laughter, good health and happiness no matter what holiday you celebrate!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ungirdled Finds For Fall (And An Overdue Apology!)

(I know. I know. It’s been a loooong time. A real long time since I’ve posted, and I apologize. Truth is, I’ve been busy working on a shop on (if you haven’t visited, you really should – sooo much cool stuff by thousands of great artists and crafters. I’ll post more on my humble little etsy shop once I get it all set up.

The reason I began work on an etsy shop is because, while I have found it really fun and personally rewarding to write this blog, I found out that blogging pays very little in the way of cash, moola, dinaro. At least for me. The upside is that I have made so many new friends and met so many wonderful folks – readers and bloggers - from literally all over the world! Everyone has been so kind and supportive. I wish mortgage companies, car insurance companies and colleges would accept blog love as payment, because I am truly grateful to have received so much of it, but alas, they won’t. So what I decided to do was try another way to make some serious coin and blog every once in a vs. several times a week. So that is what I shall do. I greatly appreciate you and thank you for your continued friendship, encouragement and Ungirdled Passion!)

Fall Fashion Find!

Don't you love flower pins? I have found a great source I wanted to share: a wonderful artisan named Wendy Allen selling under the name Miss Fitt & Company. See her goodies here. I bought the three pins pictured below. They are listed under “bits and bobs.” Wendy crafts them so they work as a pin or bobby pin. I bought a similar type of pin at J. Crew for twice the price and I love hers more. I am pinning mine on jackets, scarves, and purses - maybe even shoes! There are three types of flowers and lots of color combinations. These are the three I chose:

My pins arrived promptly, and I think were even prettier than pictured. (Each pin varies since they are handcrafted.) I am now jonesing for one of her Hibiscus Mufflers:

Ungirdled Fall Food Find!

We recently (FINALLY!) had a Trader Joe’s open in our city. I have discovered many things there my family loves. We love their Rosemary Ham (in the cold cut section) with their asiago cheese slices on a sandwich. Their Southwestern Chicken Quesadillas grilled on your stovetop and served with their fresh salsa (I call it pico de gallo) and homemade quacamole are out of this world. I concocted a new favorite recipe that is really easy (Ungirdled) and the perfect food for fall and winter colds using their Thai Shrimp Gyoza (I call ‘em pot stickers). You can find them in a gold bag in the frozen section. (If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you could substitute frozen potstickers from your grocery store.) I use two bags for my family of four, because we are part pig. We usually have some leftover for a lunch or two the next day.

Ungirdled Gyoza (Potstickers)

• Two 16 oz. bags Trader Joe’s Thai Shrimp Gyoza

• 1 bag shredded broccoli slaw from the produce section

• 4 teaspoons minced garlic or to taste (I use the kind in a jar from the produce section)

• 2 teaspoons minced ginger or to taste (Again, I use the kind in a jar from the produce section)

• Chopped green onion for garnish (plus it’s good!)

• 3 cans chicken broth (more if you want a lot of broth!)

• Few dashes sesame oil

• 3-4 tablespoons peanut or canola oil

• Soy sauce

To accommodate all the potstickers from two bags, I use too large nonstick skillets. Divide and preheat the peanut or canola oil along with a dash or two of sesame oil in each skillet. Place Gyoza flat side down and sauté on medium high heat for four minutes or until skins turn slightly brown. In the meantime, mix chicken broth, ginger, garlic and a few dashes of soy sauce together in a large bowl. When potstickers have turned slightly brown, divide and top them with the broccoli slaw. Divide and pour the chicken broth mixture over each skillet. Cover skillets, reduce heat and let it all steam up for 6 or 7 minutes then serve topped with green onions. Those who like things hot can add red pepper flakes. This hot, garlicky, gingery broth is just what the doctor ordered for a cold, and it's really tasty! Enjoy!

Photos from the Miss Fitt website:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yoga - Let The Spirit Move You

Seems many are enjoying the benefits of yoga. I, too, have tried this meditative, beneficial and ancient discipline from India. I have found many of the poses tough to accomplish or hold, however. Come to find out, there's a real secret to mastering these exercises. The technique is as old as yoga itself. Simply, you must let the spirit move you. The spirit can be gin, vodka, or rum. It really doesn't matter. What matters is that you are open to the spirit and committed to obtaining the positions. Below is photographic evidence of the effectiveness of employing this principle. Buddhists hold that "meditative absorption" should be combined with mindfulness in yoga. I know many Ungirdled Women join me in the belief that alcohol absorption is a quicker way to relaxation and inner peace, as well as an aid in conquering difficult yoga poses. Below, we have traditional yoga practitioners on the left, and Ungirdled practitioners who have allowed "spirit" to move them on the right.


Excellent for back pain and imsomnia.

(I ask you, who has the most limber vertebral column here?! The yoga devotee on the right is obviously feeling NO back pain and insomnia is a thing of the past!)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

This position calms the brain and heals tired legs.

(It is evident to me that the student on the right has achieved total calmness of the brain)


Position stimulates the midrift area and the spinal column.

(Personally, I think the student on the right is very clever to incorporate

a bench in the stimulation of the midrift area


Position that brings the sensation of peace and calm.

(The practitioner on the right is so calm, he can perform this pose right on a city street!)

Ananda Balasana

This position releases the sacrum and low back and opens the hips

(I don't know what a sacrum is, but I think the dude on the right looks very open.)


Excellent for the shoulder area, thorax, legs, and arms.

(Our champ on the right is also getting a nice mud treatment for his cheek as he holds this pose, making the "dolphin" a multi-porpoise exercise! They charge a FORTUNE for mudpack treatments in those swanky spas. Smart!)


Tones the body, and builds flexibility and helps get rid of "stress."

(Who looks the most uptight to you here?)


Position of total relaxation.

(Who do you view as more relaxed: the chick on the mat on the left, or the dude
soooo calm, he can maintain this pose on a public bus? 'nuff said, me thinks!)

I hope you've found this information to be enlightening and helpful. Just thinking about it makes me anxious for my next yoga session, and why not? It's five o'clock somewhere!

(Special thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law for emailing these photos!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The S Word Has Hit The Fan

I know, I know. I’ve been slackin’ on blog posts. Most of it is due to the S word hitting the fan. Yes, school has started. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness has ended. I’m trying to accept it with good spirits (the best gin, vodka and rum money can buy) and keep a brave face, although not an attractive one when you must rise in the dark and rattle the monkey cages of Things One & Two to get them going.

One of the reasons I dread school starting is the early wake-up time. Thing One has to be at his bus stop at 6:30 AM, while Thing Two has to be at his at 6:45. I drive them to their stops, as each are about a half mile away, and while that’s not a bad walk, everyone who owns a teen knows it defies the laws of nature for them to be awake at that time let alone awake and coherent enough to walk that distance. It takes a good hour and about 73 ounces of Mountain Dew before such a thing can even be considered.

Another thing I hate about the start of school is my inability to say no to volunteering. Actually, I have gotten better about it, as I am doing less this year. I think part of the reason I find it hard to say no is it seems the same 30 women volunteer and do EVERYTHING for the PTA. Many of these women work full time outside the home. And always look impeccable. And are always organized, friendly and nice! I feel like if they can do all that and volunteer so much, I should step up and do something every year. I am in total awe of these wonder women and, of course, really jealous. This envy was the inspiration for the greeting card idea shown upper right. I have never actually known a PTA president on Prozac, I just love alliteration and the way this character allows the green-eyed monster in me to poke fun at the women who can do it all, since I am so jealous I can't . (The greeting card publisher bought the line – see it here – but did not buy this particular one.)

Anyhoo…if you have kids who have recently started school at your house, you have my sympathies and you all have my promise to try and do a little better at posting more often! Happy school daze!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Letters To Manufacturers & The Deciders Of Things

One huge, affluent segment wields more spending clout than any other: Ungirdled (aka Baby-Boomer) women.* We are the most consumingest consumers.  We’ve also been around the block.  Because of this and the fact that we are running low on estrogen, this makes the people who should and WILL tell manufacturers and the powers that be HOW things should be.  Following are a few of my questions and ideas.  I am sure you have plenty, too! (do I feel the start of a series coming on?)

Dear Women’s Magazine Editors & Publishers:

Why do you always promote the latest diet and exercise regimes on your cover ALONG WITH a picture of a decadent cake or pie you’re also promoting the recipe for? 

Also, why to you feature pants that cost $730 and blouses that run $255 and boots that cost $500 in your fashion pages when the average reader could never dream of spending that much on a single piece of clothing or pair of shoes?  You must we aware of this with all the coupons and articles on financial advice from Suze Orman and others you print. 

Dear Slim Fast Shake Makers:

Orange and vanilla shakes are nice, but why not make your products in flavors we chubbies really like?  For example, Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie, Hot Krispy Kreme Donut, Whopper with fries. 

Dear Pet Food Manufacturers:

Lamb and rice is a nice flavor for dogs’ kibble, but why not make flavors dogs really seem to go for?  Ideas include:  crotch, cat feces, garbage, expensive shoe, furniture, and homework. Maybe if dog food came in these flavors, dogs would not destroy these things around the house, dogs would be happier, and your sales would go up.  You could help out wild birds by making wren and finch-flavored cat food, too.

Dear New Home Developers:

Why do you insist on taking down every tree in a new development and then naming streets after them?  Is that like a memorial?  I think we’d all rather you leave a few of the trees and name the street Concrete or Asphalt Lane instead of taking them all down and then naming streets Elm or Maple. 

What letter would you write?  Please hit the word “comments” below and let us know!

*Mary Brown, Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., Marketing to the Ultimate Power Consumer—The Baby-Boomer Woman

Monday, August 17, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

August 15: National Relaxation AND National Failures Day!

Saturday is National Relaxation AND National Failures Day.  Coincidence?  Let’s nonsensically ponder it.

Some would say if you relax too much, you’ll fail at life. As a society, our nation seems more driven than most.  We enjoy far less vacation time than most European countries.  Our average annual paid vacation time is 8.9 days, whereas most European countries’ is 20-25 days. Have we failed to relax? Despite fewer vacation days, our nation is more obese and debt-ridden than ever before. So, while we are failures at relaxing, perhaps we are successful at being complete failures!  Should we, as a country, be celebrating one or two holidays on Saturday? 

 ...but laziness offers immediate gratification!

Birthday card available here.  Copy inside continues to read "Hope your birthday is especially gratifying!"

Speaking of failure to relax, school starts back soon, and I am already dreading it.  This is one area I am working to be more Ungirdled about.  I am constantly worried if I should be pushing  my children so they won’t “fail.”  Thanks to their teachers, peers, and society in general, my boys already seem to feel pressured enough to do well in school, take AP classes, and make sure they have enough extracurricular activities and community service hours for college applications.  Consequently, I often find myself telling them to relax, that there’s a college for everyone.  Summer comes, and for the most part, they become sloth.  I know that this is largely due to the pressure they feel during the school year, and they just shut down in recuperative protest.  

This causes me to worry that I am failing as a mother by not pushing them to do more in the summer.  I encounter lots of other moms who, since their children were five, have had them doing at least one sport year ‘round, doing a camp, class or other activity every week during summer break, staying active in church, staying on track to earn Boy or Girl Scouting’s highest honors, and more.  Some of these moms even send their kids to school when they’re sick (Motrin takes care of the fever, they figure, so what if he feels miserable and contaminates others?  He can’t miss school!)   These kids are like the army:  they get more done before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.  Their moms are busier than the busiest Hollywood agents managing their school careers and extracurricular activities.  Mine are nowhere near as busy, and I can't even keep my house clean or figure out what to have for dinner.

Even at the high school level, these mothers know every homework assignment, every project, and the date of every test.  During the school year, school truly is the center of the universe in our home, but I have to stop to remember what courses my boys are taking.   (I am able to name them all – but it takes me a minute!)  These mothers also know which teacher is best for every subject and angle and finagle for their children to get those teachers.   They’ve long known what each state college is looking for and constantly remind me it’s getting harder and harder to get in.  I have tried to keep up with these moms, but I’ve failed.  Miserably.  Failure is not an option for their kids.  Neither, it seems, is relaxation (not very often, anyway).  So, I have a feeling neither of Saturday’s holidays will be observed by these families.

We had a couple of families over for dinner this weekend.  One guest, a college professor and one of our best friends who I greatly like and admire, asked my two 16 year-olds what they wanted to do.  (“Do” as in study and then have as a career.)  My boys both said they didn’t know.  Her reply to me was a concerned, “Oh, you better get on them.”  She then turned to our 14 year-old female guest and asked her the same question.  The 14 year old was able to rattle off her life plan, including what neighborhood in Savannah she would retire in (this was after attending Yale and enjoying a career in genetics).  This caused me to plan on having another beer.

Some days, I get caught up in this rat race and feel like a rat for not having it together better and pushing my boys to do more.  Other days, I relax, feeling it will all be just fine.  I tell my boys that as long as they do their best, treat others right and follow their bliss  (that is finding their true calling, honoring their natural talents to fulfill their purpose) it will all work out.  I tell them that the true definition of success is being happy most of the time and being able to meet your basic needs and those of any offspring you have.  Then I realize I am successful by my own definition (or at least I have the happy part covered while I was smart enough to marry their dad who has the "meeting the needs" part covered) and wonder why I fail to relax about their futures.  

So, which holiday do l celebrate tomorrow?  I feel like most of the time I am too relaxed about my kids' school careers and futures, so I am consequently a failure, but that makes me pretty uptight when I stop to think about it, so I am a failure at relaxing, making me successful at failing.   Do I really deserve either holiday?  Or should I just relax about the whole thing?

Which will you celebrate? National Relaxation Day or National Failures Day?  Or both? Either way, have a great one! 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beach Etiquette - Missus Manners Guest Blogs!

Today, Missus Manners guest blogs with some tips on beach etiquette, which I find quite a coincidence, as yours truly lives at the beach and has been frequenting the shore as of late!  Feel free to print these out for beach goers you encounter who are in need of such tips.  Thanks for guest-blogging, Missus Manners!

Gentle Neanderthals Readers who happen to smoke, please know that most folks who visit the beach prefer to inhale the fresh salt air, not cancerous, noxious cigarette fumes, however classy and sophisticated you are while smoking.  ('tis hard to believe, I confess!)  Therefore, please consider your distance to others' beach blankets before lighting up.  Additionally, some folks feel your spent butts should be considered refuse and not beach decorations and wish you to kindly deposit them in the nearest waste receptacle.  

Similarly, Gentle Reader, when visiting the shore, most hope to enjoy the sights and smells of the ocean, and not (how do we put this gently?) that of which was once your pet’s breakfast now  used and redistributed.  If you must bring Rover, please obey the leash laws and bring a plastic bag for prompt waste removal. 

Nearly all will agree the sound of waves crashing on the shore is one of nature’s most soothing melodies.  Why override Mother Nature’s wonderful composition with the vocal stylings of Ghostface Killa or Snoop Dogg played at the highest volume on your portable music player or radio?  While tastes in musical artists vary, I think we can all agree the WAVE station plays universally pleasant music.  Let’s all tune into it while at the oceanfront, shall we?

For those of you with young children screaming and crying on the beach, you are in luck, as Missus Manners is an expert in child psychology.  She has been trained to recognize that when a young one is continuously screaming and crying, it can be interpreted to mean that the child is not enjoying their current predicament and should therefore be removed from it.  

Some pointers on beach attire:  Please keep in mind one should select at least his or her usual size and not three sizes smaller than what one would typically wear when selecting a swimsuit.  Choosing a large enough size will make us all a lot more comfortable.  Perhaps your desire to share your many tattoos, no matter where they appear, accounts for your preference for more skimpy fashions, but Missus Manners assures you that those special areas should only be shared with your significant other Neanderthal.

While we're on the subject, thanks ever so much, Gentle Reader, for your willingness and enthusiasm to turn the beachfront into a Discovery Channel special on the mating of your species, but perhaps we should leave such an education to a private discussion with the parents of our young beach goers.  

Finally, dearest beachfront tourist, you should know that while you may consider the local seagulls cute, exotic creatures that are entertaining to feed bits of your sandwich to, beach residents see your coaxing them as an irritant.  If you absolutely cannot refrain from feeding the vermin seagulls, please do so far away from other beach goers.  As hard as it is to imagine, not everyone adores having these squawking, defecating rats-with-wings dive-bombing them as much as you seem to. 

As always, Gentle Reader, I am glad I could be of service.  If you have any beach etiquette you would care to share, please do so by clicking on the word "comments" below and adding your advice.  Toodles!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Breastfeeding Doll Keeps Things Tit For Tat With Bottle-fed Dolls

Some days, it’s hard to come up with a blogging topic.  Other days, simply keeping abreast of the news pays off.  That is the case today.

Spanish toy manufacturer, Berjuan, has just released "Bebe Gloton," reportedly the first-ever breast-feeding doll for children.  No joke. 

In keeping tit for tat, Bebe Gloton (which, when translated, means Baby Glutton) is meant to act as an alternative to bottle-fed dolls.  The new doll comes with a halter top adorned with two daisy blossoms that, when worn, fall strategically over the child’s nipples.  When the mouth of the doll is placed on the daisy nipples it begins to make sucking sounds.  Yes, it is as creepy as it sounds,  evidenced in this You Tube video:


The idea behind Bebe Gloton is to reinforce the idea nursing is natural.  Well, so are the tender breasts and bleeding nipples that come with it, but from what I could tell, Bebe Gloton does not address this. I understand the doll is not yet available in the United States, but you know it’s just a matter of time.  There are some things I think we should consider before it hits our shores.   Isn’t this doll sexist?  I mean what about the boys?   Of course breastfeeding is the natural, healthful way to nourish your baby, but whatever happened to good ol’ imagination?  I never liked the idea of “urinating” dolls (another "natural" thing) either.  If we want to keep it real, how about dolls complete with dwindling bank accounts due to the hospital charges and equipment costs that come with having babies?

Since we’re getting girls ready for womanhood, should we have menstruating dolls?  How about a perimenopausal one with irregular cycles and chin hairs you must pluck?  After all, while we learned about caring for babies and handling our periods growing up, no one ever told us about the changes that come with getting older.   Finally what about the little girls who have their hearts set on growing up to be like Kate Gosselin or the Octomom.  What does this doll say to them?  I mean no woman is born with 6-8 daisy blossoms for nursing.  Oh, wait.  Do you think mother nature was trying to tell us something? 

Sorry to go on and on.  Just had to milk this one for all it’s worth!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hey, Wasn't That Us?

I received the following email today.  It took me for a nice little trip down memory lane and thought it would take you there, too.

An Ode To The Ungirdled Woman's Childhood:

A little house with three bedrooms and one car on the street

A mower that you had to push to make the grass look neat. 

In the kitchen on the wall we only had one phone, 

And no need for recording things, someone was always home. 

We only had a living room where we would congregate, 

Unless it was at mealtime in the kitchen where we ate. 

We had no need for family rooms or extra rooms to dine, 

When meeting as a family those two rooms would work out fine. 

We only had one TV set, and channels maybe two, 

But always there was one of them with something worth the view. 

For snacks we had potato chips that tasted like a chip, 

And if you wanted flavor there was Lipton's onion dip. 

Store-bought snacks were rare because my mother liked to cook, 

And nothing can compare to snacks in Betty Crocker's book. 

Weekends were for family trips or staying home to play, 

We all did things together -- even go to church to pray. 

When we did our weekend trips depending on the weather, 

No one stayed at home because we liked to be together. 

Sometimes we would separate to do things on our own, 

But we knew where the others were without our own cell phone. 

Then there were the movies with your favorite movie star, 

And nothing can compare to watching movies in your car. 

Of course there were the picnics at the peak of summer season, 

Pack a lunch and find some trees and never need a reason. 

Get a baseball game together with all the friends you know, 

Have real action playing ball -- and no game video. 

Remember when the doctor used to be the family friend, 

And didn't need insurance or a lawyer to defend? 


The way that he took care of you or what he had to do, 

Because he took an oath and strived to do the best for you. 

Remember going to the store and shopping casually, 

And when you went to pay for it you used your own money? 

Nothing that you had to swipe or punch in some amount, 

Remember when the cashier person had to really count? 

The milkman used to go from door to door, 

And it was just a few cents more than going to the store. 

There was a time when mailed letters came right to your door, 

Without a lot of junk mail ads sent out by every store. 

The mailman knew each house by name and knew where it was sent; 

There were not loads of mail addressed to "present occupant." 

There was a time when just one glance was all that it would take, 

And you would know the kind of car, the model and the make. 


They didn't look like turtles trying to squeeze out every mile; 

They were streamlined, white walls, fins, and really had some  style. 


One time the music that you played whenever you would jive, 

Was from a vinyl, big-holed record called a forty-five. 

The record player had a post to keep them all in line, 

And then the records would drop down and play one at a time. 

Oh sure, we had our problems then, just like we do today, 

And always we were striving, trying for a better way. 

Oh, the simple life we lived still seems like so much fun, 

How can you explain a game, just kick the can and run?   

And why would boys put baseball cards between bicycle spokes,   

And for a nickel red machines had little bottled Cokes? 

This life seemed so much easier and slower in some ways, 

I love the new technology but I sure miss those days. 

So time moves on and so do we, and nothing stays the same, 

But I sure love to reminisce and walk down memory lane. 

I would add:

When it came to bathrooms we had but one

You had to get in and out to get the job done!

At football games,we had cheer leaders who LED CHEERS

Instead of dancing girls made up beyond their years!

We rode to get ice cream in the back of an open pick up truck,

When finding a garden hose to drink from, we were in luck!

We played outside all day until called for our evening meal

Getting to go out to eat was quite a big deal!

It was OK for any adult - teacher, coach, neighbor - to tell you when you were out of line,

To your parents, having that support was more than fine.

We rode our bikes without helmets on our heads

We said our prayers before climbing into our beds

I long for the days of Beaver, Samantha, Ellie Mae and Andy

To me, those times were most dandy!



My recommendation:  go to BJs, Sam's Club or Costco, buy a big ol' plain one and get some fresh strawberries, blueberries, pineapple ice cream topping, crushed up Reese's cups, chocolate syrup, caramel topping, whipped cream and anything else you fancy and have a cheesecake buffet FOR DINNER!!!  (With the fruit and the CHEESE you got a couple food groups represented right there!)