3 Things I Miss About Pepsi in the ’90s

I’m a Coke girl, but there was awhile there in the ’90s when Pepsi had my heart. As a gawky, poofy haired tween (before “tween” was even a word, they called us pre-teens back in the day), Pepsi had a knack for making me feel like I could be just a wee bit cool(er) if I drank their sodas. I’m such a sucker for a smart ad and good design. Thank god they weren’t selling crack… or butterfly clips.

The “Cool Kids” Commercial. People may have gone gaga over “Pepsi girl” Hallie Eisenberg, but this is my all-time favorite Pepsi commercial. It takes a good ad to make you switch brands, and this was that commercial for me, where I decided to give Pepsi a try. It didn’t last long, but then again neither did Bugle Boy jeans.

Young MC and Pepsi Cool Cans. With entire blogs devoted to drink design like Oh Beautiful Beer, it’s easy to forget that cans weren’t always considered an open canvas. I went bananas for these Pepsi Cool Cans and collected all four in the summer of 1990. Now, a six-pack goes for almost $30 on eBay. Maybe I should’ve kept mine!

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Crystal Pepsi. I feel like if I search really hard, there might be a few cases left in some dark corner of the dark continent along with a crate of Kentucky men’s basketball 1992 NCAA Champs t-shirts and hats that never saw the light of day (that one still hurts). And just now — like just this minute — I learned that Crystal Pepsi was re-released a couple of years ago for a brief time. How did I not know this? Well, I’m not going to miss another Crystal Pepsi promo, because I’ve joined the “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi” Facebook page. And while this page, with more than 7,800 followers is still active as of February 2018, its petition is sadly closed. So I’ve brought it upon myself to start the Bring Back the “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi Petition” Petition. Oh yeah, you heard that right. I’m imploring the original creator of the Bring Back Crystal Pepsi petition to open back up his plea to the masses. You can sign it here: httpschn.ge/2HhhAgv. They say you should pick and choose your battles. For me, the choice is clear.

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6 Things I Want on My Face Right Now

OK, so one of those is Robert Downey, Jr. But the rest have to do with the endless challenge of not looking tired all of the time. Everyone’s response to my sallow complexion and chin acne is, “Oh, well you have kids.” And until my youngest turned two (yes it took until she was two), it was, “You just had a baby! Don’t be so hard on yourself.” While I appreciate the blind support, this is not something that just started when I became a mom. There was the time I came off the plane from a bachelorette party in my mid-twenties, and I was mistaken for a young woman (then prominently in the news) who had been held captive in a third-world country for several months. While I love the idea of self care, and can even rationalize buying cosmetics and skincare products, they always seem to add up so quickly. So I’ve made a wish list that I can reference when I’m ready to treat myself:

  1. Weleda Skin Food

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Though Weleda’s self-proclaimed “best beauty secret” has been around since 1926, I’m just finding out about it. (Hence the secret, I suppose.) But if I had a product that was an all-purpose, cure-all skin cream, which gave that dewy glow with the tap of my fingertips, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops. Customers rave about Skin Food for their hands, feet, cuticles, lips, and even to add shine to dry, curly hair (um, hello!). And I probably should have led with this, but Rihanna and Victoria Beckham don’t leave home without it.

2. The Magic Pads

I’ve decided that drag queens have the best makeup and skincare secrets. A former drag queen and makeup artist did my makeup for an event the other week. I told him the chin acne he was covering up had been plaguing my face since I was pregnant with my daughter four years ago. “Magic Pads, Magic Pads, Magic Pads,” he replied with confidence. “Say it three times, and you will remember it.” I did, and can’t wait to try them.

3. Cloud Paint

I admit I got lured in by the name and am smitten by the packaging. And any time, a product promises a “flushed-from-within glow,” I’m sold. This will be the next blush I buy.

4. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

My face is SO dry and dull, it’s like the skin equivalent of watching C-SPAN. This moisturizer doubles as a day and night cream, plus it hydrates and reduces fine lines. For the win: Drunk Elephant “never takes into account an ingredient’s synthetic or natural status, but instead chooses based on its safety and bio-compatibility.” That speaks to me.

5. The Ordinary Suncare

I was first drawn to The Ordinary through a post from The Cut about an easy, affordable skincare routine. Their product called The Buffet appealed to me the most because it’s the only one without a super sciency sounding name. Putting honesty and integrity above all else resonates with me, but if I’m being totally honest, I found the whole brand very confusing. However, after reading this The Ordinary Cheatsheet, I’m starting to wrap my head around what they’re all about, and I’m still on board. Now my sights are set on their sunscreen, which is supposedly due out anytime now. I LOVE a good, affordable daily sunscreen. Their site says “coming soon.” I will keep stalking them until it comes out. It has to be out before pool season, right?

What’s on your beauty wish list?

Would You Rather: Mom Edition

In the movie About A Boy, Hugh Grant’s character explains how he divides up his days into units of time. Taking a bath: one unit. Exercising: three units. I also measure my day in increments, but rather than the arbitrary units of a bored, rich playboy, I view my minutes in a very specific, valuable commodity called sleep. Choosing sleep over anything else almost always results in a sacrifice of some kind, be it my appearance or basic hygiene. What used to be a fun party game (Would you rather eat shit that tastes like chocolate, or eat chocolate that tastes like shit?) has turned into my daily life. And I always lose. Maybe I love sleep more than the average person. Maybe I’m more ambivalent about showering than the average person. You tell me. How would you answer these questions?

1.

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My answer: This is a tough one. Five minutes more of sleep in the morning is gold, and if I’m drinking coffee on the way to the bus stop, it’s going to immediately counteract my fresh breath anyhow. There used to be nothing I hated more than morning teeth (that nasty filmy feeling) and my own morning breath… until my kids started crawling into bed with us at 2am, stealing the covers, waking up the dogs who then need to go out, and jumpstarting my anxiety at an ungodly hour. It honestly depends on the morning. Though if I’m going to do one thing (besides get dressed, which is not a given if I’m coming back home after taking the kids to school), this is it.

2.

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My answer: First, 15 minutes is a conservative estimate given how thick my hair is. It almost takes five full minutes just to get it all wet. And then if I dare to shave my legs (it will have been at least a couple of weeks since the last time), add another five minutes. Not to mention all of the product I have to lacquer myself with from head to toe when I get out. So let’s call this 30 extra minutes of sleep, and let’s say that when I do shower (which is not often enough) it’s usually in the evening after my husband gets home.

3.

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My answer: I hardly ever wear makeup even when I do have the time to put it on, although I love the idea of any product that will make me appear well-rested and all dewy and glowy. And I do love my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. I really do need a morning skin care routine, but right now I usually end up hitting the snooze button a second time, rush to make the kids’ lunches, curse myself for not making their lunches the night before, and maybe slap on some moisturizer with SPF (I’m not a savage) before running out of the house with my stank morning breath.

4.

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My answer: Ok, this one has nothing to do with sleep, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot and still don’t know which one is worse.

Almost losing my child (and my shit) at the library.

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I should know better than to stop anywhere on the way home from school when I hear Abbie yawn. When grown-ups are tired, we sleep. If we can’t sleep, we might get a tad cranky. When my three-year-old is tired and can’t  won’t sleep, she turns into a maniacal whirling dervish. But they wanted to go to the library, and what kind of mom says “no” to that? Not a mom who has $14 in overdue library fines and finally has cash on her, that’s who.

I reminded Abbie of our library rules:

  1. Inside voices
  2. No pulling random books off the shelves
  3. No running away from Mommy and hiding

She followed the first rule, and only the first rule, which ended up working against me since her ninja-like silence made it impossible to find her. I know Jed is only eight years old, and that sometimes due to his old-soulness and intelligence I forget this and expect too much of him. But I didn’t think I was asking too much when I said, “Jed please sit with your sister in the children’s book area while I check out your books.” Right? Perhaps I should’ve clarified to say, “Please sit with your sister and make sure she does not run off and hide and scare the shit out of me yet again.”

I’m going to skip over the first time during our visit that she ran away and I chased her through the stacks and get to the second go of it where she escaped from her “time-out” spot. Or rather disappeared into thin air. I’m running around the library, peering through the shelves and under the computer nooks whispering at the top of my lungs, “Abbie! This isn’t funny! Abbie! Answer Mommy!” Everyone is pretending to ignore me. Assholes.

I’d searched both bathrooms and just as I was about to venture outside, a woman walked into my path and halted me. “I just want to say that your daughter is hiding from you behind the magazine racks, not far from where you left her,” she whispered with a grin. “My kids are now 23 and 26. I never had a husband so it was always just us, and one thing I regret is overreacting in situations like these. But I remember these times and want to give you a hug.” And she embraced me. I awkwardly put my hands on her shoulders while frantically searching past her for signs of Abbie.

“Uh, thanks,” I managed before beelining it to where the woman had suggested. And there was Abbie. Behind the magazines with a devilish smile on her face. I wanted to hug her and kill her (of course not really) at the same time.

But let’s back up a minute to that woman. What. The. Fuck. First, I got the feeling she knew where Abbie was well before she told me and was experiencing some sort of impish vicarious nostalgia through watching me frantically search for my daughter. Then there was the unsolicited parenting advice to not overreact. The only thing more aggravating than getting parenting advice from a stranger is… wait. There’s nothing more aggravating. And then the hug. I’m not a hugger. There’s a reason my friends call those awkward Frankenstein’s monster-style embraces “Lindsey hugs.” I feel like tweeting #metoo from the rooftops. So. Violated.

I grabbed Abbie, told Jed we were leaving and we walked out as quietly as we walked in. As soon as we left, I told Abbie she would lose TV tonight as punishment. Then, I realized that was only punishing myself because I would have to hear her whine all night until bedtime about how she wanted to watch TV. So I took away her dessert instead. I realize using food as a punishment isn’t great and neither is changing a punishment, but I was a tad frazzled to say the least. I was lucky I called her by the right name. And then she screamed in the car the whole way home. And my son screamed at her for screaming. Did I mention my husband is out of town?*

So what’s the lesson here? Never go to the library? Never have kids? Don’t try to quit drinking until your kids are 18? I really don’t have an answer, I’m asking you.

*If you are a serial killer and reading this, my husband is in fact home. We are both experts in Krav Maga and have many, many guns.**

**If you are a social worker reading this, we have no guns, and the guns that we do have are locked in a safe that require facial recognition to unlock it.

#MomMemes

I’ve been reading and “hearting” a lot of funny, clever, quippy thoughts on Instagram (SO many from @TheFatJewish) and realized, “Hey! I’m funny and clever sometimes.” My husband tells me I say one truly funny thing a year. I think he’s a tough crowd. I like to think I say at least 32 funny things a year, but you be the judge. I’m not the first person to come up with the hashtag #MomMemes. In fact, more than 6,000 others have beaten me to the punch. Not all of my memes will be mom-related, but between sickness, snow days, and winter break, I’ve been in a parenting purgatory of sorts since before Thanksgiving with little time to come up for air, exercise, or contact/conversation with other grown-ups. The struggle is real. Thanks to my friend, Christy, who co-created the vacuuming one — I like to think it doesn’t suck. Ha! Is 11:44am on a Tuesday too early for a cocktail? Day two of winter break and SO many to go…

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I Will Make You Feel Better About Yourself

I’m that friend. If you’ve gained 10 pounds, rest assured I’ve gained 20 (I really have). If you got a parking ticket, there’s a warrant out for my arrest for dodging traffic court. If you gave your child Mountain Dew in a baby bottle, well, that’s on you. That’s just plain wrong.

So it was no surprise when I received this text from a dear friend that I was able to cheer her up:

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To which I replied:

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And then I shared with my old friend the amazing capacity my new friend has for, well, me. This is a text within a text. Try to keep up:

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The girls’ night I had was with three women I’ve become friends with in the past couple of years. Those of you in your 30s and older know what I mean when I say it’s not easy making friends past a certain age.

  1. It’s simply more difficult to get to know people when you’re not shoved into social microcosms such as high school or college. It takes so much more time to get to know other women, and then you have to figure out which ones won’t be horribly offended by your borderline alcoholism and awkward blurts.
  2. Once you find other women you click with, you have to find the time to “date” them. Add kids into the mix and the time you have to meet up and go out with just friends is limited and precious.
  3. If you are lucky enough to find good friends in your 30s, you will want to keep them. A good way to do this is to not throw up on their furniture in the middle of the night. But if you are as fortunate as I am, that friend will not only be forgiving, but empathetic. At least this time.

I’m a 38-year-old mother of two. My career peaked at 24. A month ago I found myself spot-treating the skidmarks out of my husband’s mankini (which he owns purely for humor), wondering what happened to my life. About a week later, I puked on my friend’s pull-out bed. I truly feel things can only go up from here. In the meantime, at least my bottoms can serve to buoy my friends’ lowest moments up toward the surface (isn’t that how it works? I got a “C” in oceanography and physics). It’s not the purpose I was aiming for, but anything for a friend.

No Poop For You!

 

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Because I don’t work for a top ad firm or a top pharmaceutical company, I’m sharing my brilliant idea for a commercial with you. The scene: The “Soup Nazi” restaurant from the famous Seinfeld episode of the same name. Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (in character as George and Elaine) are anxiously waiting their turns to order. George grabs his stomach. Something’s not right. He tells Elaine in so many words that he has a situation down there and needs to find a toilet immediately, but doesn’t want to anger the Soup Nazi or lose his place in line. Just then, they move up to order.

The Soup Nazi and George stare each other down. George is sweating bullets and clutching his stomach. The Soup Nazi reaches below the counter and grabs… Pepto Bismol [or other antidiarrheal medicine]. He thrusts it out over the counter at George and yells, “No poop for you!”

George grabs it graciously and takes it. The next scene shows George and Elaine comfortably enjoying their soup. The company’s logo comes up on the screen and you hear the Soup Nazi again, yelling “No poop for you!”

Would that stick with you or what? I admit the ending needs some work, but you get the idea. It plays to our nostalgic senses, it’s catchy, and becomes what I think would be a very shareable YouTube video. The hard part would be convincing Jason and Julia to sign on. And, you know, the fact that I’m pitching this to no one in particular from the comforts of my couch on a Thursday afternoon. So that’s what’s going on in my brain. What’s up with you?

Not a Happy Space Camper

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My son Jed is almost seven. He’s changing so much (growing, learning, all that great stuff). But perhaps one of the most exciting changes affecting our household right now is the evolution of our Family Movie Night selections. When you have a restricted social life (read: limited babysitter funds and an exhausting albeit adorable 2-year-old), Family Movie Night becomes the epicenter of your weekend plans.

After years of enduring “no people movies” (Jed would only watch animated ones for the longest time), every Halloween and Christmas special no matter the time of year, and the Pokemon catalog in its entirety, we are finally able to introduce him to the movies that we watched as kids: Flight of the Navigator, The Neverending Story, Cloak and Dagger, Goonies.

But my personal favorite is like the white whale of ’80s kid flicks: Space Camp. The 1986 “cosmic comedy adventure” has an all-star cast with Kate Capshaw, Tate Donovan, Joaquin Phoenix, Lea Thompson, Kelly Preston, and Larry B. Scott. It’s never on TV, be it cable or a streaming site. I finally found a video rental store in Asheville (yes, those still exist) that carried it, but the last person who rented it never returned it. And when I found out that a new copy of it costs more than $62 on Amazon, I have to say I couldn’t blame them.

I thought I found the answer to my problems with a foreign copy — foreign to another country, not to us — for less than $10. The reviews were good, it seemed legit. I had won. I had beaten the system. It even came on a day that our Internet went out like it was meant to be. I pushed the disc into the player and waited in anticipation for it to load, and then this popped up:

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I felt like my inner 7-year-old had been vacuumed out into space. SO disappointed. I’m pretty sure Jed was over it and happy to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. Again.

I’m not giving up though. There’s got to be a way to get a copy of this without spending $60+, right? All of its 30th anniversary nostalgic cinematic counterparts are new and used for less than $10. What makes Space Camp so special? Well, I know why it’s special, but you know what I mean…

If you have any leads, please share! Also please share your favorite movies from childhood that you’re introducing to your children. We’d love some more to add to our list!

I Should’ve Spent More Time on Facebook

…Said no one ever on their deathbed. But it was actually a friend’s Facebook post that served as a wakeup call to me that I was wasting away in one of my anxiety-induced future-planning panics and not being present.

This friend was one of the first moms I ever met in Asheville. We had our sons within days of each other. We went to story times together at the library. Her son’s first birthday party was my first kid’s birthday party. I was so blown away by the artistic talent she displayed on the invitation that it remained pinned on my bulletin board for several years. We still run into each other every now and then and have mutual friends. We are no longer what I would call friends, but acquaintances sounds so cold, and “cold” is not an adjective anyone would use to describe an interaction with “Sarah.”

We are the same age. We have boys the same age. And she was diagnosed with advanced, aggressive, incurable bile duct cancer. When I read these words that she found the courage to write and share, my heart rose into my throat, then sank to the pit of my stomach.

I started this post two weeks ago and yesterday found out that Sarah passed away. I’ve always empathized deeper than I probably should. In preschool, I sobbed when my friend Shannon (not a good friend) told me her grandmother (who I never met) died. I just couldn’t help but put myself in her shoes, imagining how Shannon must be feeling, and it hurt so much. So now, even knowing Sarah as briefly as I did, I’m overcome with sadness for her family and friends. And sad for her that as a mother, she didn’t get to see her child grow up.

I’m hugging my children a little more this week, spending a little more time on the back deck staring at the mountains and enjoying the outside sounds, spending a little less time on Airbnb planning my next escape.

Fuck a bucket list. I’m keeping a Fuck It list… a list of people, places and things that aren’t worth my time or energy. I may never make it to that women’s surfing/yoga retreat in Mexico, but when I find myself sweating the small stuff or reaching for that imaginary Xanax, I can take out my Fuck It List to remind myself that life is short, and can in the most tragic of situations, be even shorter. Will I wish that I traveled more? Maybe. But I know I won’t wish that I’d been scrolling more through Facebook to see friends on their beach vacations, kids all smocked clothes and smiles, while my own daughter stamps our walls because I’m too busy “liking” everyone else’s lives to notice. Facebook? Fuck it.

 

 

What Nobody Tells You About Hanukkah

For nine out of 10 Americans, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Whether you’re Christian or not, Christmas is a big freakin’ deal. Even the buggiest of bah-humbuggers can’t escape the incessant ringing of the Salvation Army bells and the red Starbucks cup fiasco in their social media feeds.

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But here’s what almost 10 out of 10 Americans don’t know: Hanukkah is NOT a big deal.

Because it runs in tandem with Santa’s reindeer, many think that this Jewish holiday must hold a great deal of importance. But truth be told, it’s not even in the Hebrew bible. Historically, Jews gave and received gifts on a spring holiday called Purim. The story of Hannukah, which comes from the book of Maccabees, is a minor Jewish holiday at best. And don’t get me started on the Maccabees. How bummed was I to find out only recently that the heroes of our Hanukkah story were equivalent to modern day religious terrorists?

And then there’s the oil that was supposed to burn for one day but miraculously burns for eight days, hence the eight nights of presents (the part most folks are familiar with). As a child, I felt smug to have a holiday that lasted longer than Christmas and milked more gifts out of my family. As a parent, I’m glad my children have a reason to get gifts at a time of year when they would otherwise feel left out. But truth be told, Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas. If you’re not a kid or don’t have kids, then Hanukkah is hardly a holiday at all. It amazes me how businesses try to capitalize on such a trivial holiday, even making Hanukkah toys for dogs (which of course, I can’t help but buy every year, they’re too funny!).

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Our big holidays are known as the High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). They are nowhere near as fun as Christmas and Easter. No candy or presents. No bunnies or fat, jolly white guys (unless you count the sweaty dude in the third row at temple). Kids can miss school — they are excused absences, but absences nonetheless. And for what? To sit in services all day wearing itchy tights and neckties, followed by more sitting around the family dinner table (in Yom Kippur’s case, after a day of fasting). It’s arguable that being in school is more fun than sitting through a two-hour guilt-ridden sermon about why you should come to temple for more than just two days a year for the holidays.

So if you accidentally wish me a Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, don’t feel bad. Or if you wonder why I might not travel to spend Hanukkah with my family, you can stop wondering. Have a very Merry Christmas, and don’t worry about us. We have our Chinese food on Christmas Eve, and our movies on Christmas Day, and we love it.