The Best Advice for Decluttering

Even though it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet, my internal clock still has the urge to purge my home of unnecessary stuff: toys, clothes, expired food, my husband’s third boat, you name it. As I read stories in magazines and websites offering spring cleaning tips, all I keep thinking about is the cover story from the last issue of Breathe that I put out before I was [dry hard gulp] fired. If I had been braver back then, I would’ve shared what that experience was like. Maybe now I will. But not, like, right this second. Right now, I want to share the best cleaning advice that I keep coming back to every time I get overwhelmed with clutter. Because it really does make sense and it’s totally doable! I was lucky enough to have Kath Younger from Kath Eats Real Food write this piece. She takes very specific, relatable problems in different rooms of the house and then shares her solutions. Breathe has since folded so you can’t read this story in website form, but you can read it as a digital magazine via issuu. Just flip to page 18. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Is ‘Mompreneur’ a Bad Word?

image-2-1Earlier today, I fell into a stream-of-consciousness-like click hole on Facebook, during which I discovered Bump Water. The vitamin-fortified, flavored water designed for moms-to-be was created by two women entrepreneurs in Brooklyn (one of whom is married to a guy who lived in my neighborhood growing up, hence the six degrees of Facebook).

My first thought after checking out the Bump Water website was, “Shit, I wish I had known about this when I was pregnant,” followed by an involuntary twinge of jealousy for not having thought of this myself. My second thought, after perusing their press coverage and seeing outlets like the New York Post call them “mompreneurs,” was, “Blurg,” followed by a self-righteous, guttural harumph. 

I don’t know why, but the term “mompreneur” just irks me. Wait, I do know why. It just sounds condescending. Why isn’t Bill Gates called a dadpreneur? Or why isn’t a mom who is a cancer doctor called a momoncologist? I can only imagine that a female doctor would find that term insulting just as I’m insulted for women who are launching their own businesses (not an easy feat), and because they happen to be moms, are puffy painted as bored housewives who needed a hobby to keep them busy.

Then I started to wonder, am I the only one who feels this way? So I did what any person would do: I Googled it. In searching for “mompreneur condescending,” I found that I wasn’t alone. But what surprised me most was discovering that there’s an anti-anti-mompreneur movement.

Marika Jeziorek of Mom’s 2-Hour Work Day says, “By arguing ‘mompreneur’ is a negative word, you are reinforcing the negative connotation of ‘mom,’ and are thus not improving the status of women, but are rather pushing women to be ashamed and embarrassed of being mothers.”

I don’t believe by being anti-mompreneur that I’m bolstering a negative image for the word “mom,” but I do believe that whether or not you are a mother should have no bearing on your professional accomplishments. Should a mom who launches a product be seen in a different light than a business woman who doesn’t have children? Yes, moms are busy and have a lot to balance in their lives, but so do all women, and in fact, all people.

I remember when I was in my 20s and first started a blog. It was mommy blogger madness (another term that drives me crazy). All of these mommy bloggers were able to join with other mommy bloggers in special groups with spiffy blog badges … and I felt left out. Did being a mom mean that their opinions on a certain dishwashing liquid or beauty balm was more valid than mine? Why did companies pay moms to go all over the country (and the world) to try out their products and services? What if I didn’t want to — or couldn’t — become a mom? Would I feel permanently ostracized from these blogospheric and societal privileges? So, on the other side of the mompreneur coin, there’s that.

What do you think of the term mompreneur? Are you for it or against it?

Wordspotting #4

I’m sure someone (if not several) people have told you in your life that the more you read, the better your vocabulary gets. My problem is that I have a horrible memory. If I’m reading a book or blog post and come across a word I love, if I don’t write it down immediately, it’s gone. So in an effort to remember and use new-to-me words that strike my fancy, I’ve been jotting them down as I discover (and in some cases rediscover) them and then sharing them in an ongoing series I call Wordspotting. If you missed the first three installments, you can check them out here.
Most of the words in this post I found while doing my job, which is editing for a website called The Cheat Sheet. I read dozens of stories every day, which expose me to lots of interesting news, facts, trivia, and when I’m lucky, intoxicating words such as these.
Definitions via Google Dictionary.

1. Quotidian

  1. of or occurring every day; daily.
    “the car sped noisily off through the quotidian traffic”
    • ordinary or everyday, especially when mundane.
      “his story is an achingly human one, mired in quotidian details”

2. Eponymous


  1. (of a person) giving their name to something.
    “the eponymous hero of the novel”
    • (of a thing) named after a particular person.
      “Roseanne’s eponymous hit TV series”

3. Swashbuckle

[By no means a complex or new-to-me word, I just love that it exists and hate that it’s so typecast. It’s not used enough outside of the pirate realm and I think it should be.]

past tense: swashbuckled; past participle: swashbuckled
  1. engage in daring and romantic adventures with ostentatious bravado or flamboyance.
    “a crew of swashbuckling buccaneers”

4. Corporeal

  1. of or relating to a person’s body, especially as opposed to their spirit.
    “he was frank about his corporeal appetites”
    • having a body.
      “a corporeal God”

5. Kerfuffle



BRITISH informal
  1. a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views.
    “there was a kerfuffle over the chairmanship”

6. Castigated



past tense: castigated; past participle: castigated
  1. reprimand (someone) severely.
    “Some lawmakers, military analysts and former soldiers have castigated both the White House and NATO for failing to understand tribal conflicts.” ~ The Cheat Sheet

    What are some of your favorite words? 

A Little Viral Media Humor For You.

Writing for a social sharing site is WAY different than writing for magazines. This story from Upworthy offers keen insight on why we choose to click on and share certain stories from our Facebook feeds and favorite websites. It’s a theory called the ‘curiosity gap’. And whether you’re a writer or not, the psychology behind it is very fascinating. If you’ve visited The Onion’s new sister site Clickhole, you’ll see how they brilliantly satire the whole concept.

Unless you are in the viral media biz, you aren’t going to get this, but I was so pleased with myself I had to share:) LOL!





Time is On My Side. (Yes, it is!)

clockI’m happy to report that the reason I’ve been absent from my blog lately is a good one… I’ve been busy with work! So busy in fact that I’ve had to enlist some help with Jed beyond his preschool hours. Starting today, his favorite teacher is taking him after school once a week for a few hours so I can have more time. I’m so thrilled with this extra time, I’m practically giddy! I have so many things that I want to do that I have to remind myself, this will happen every Wednesday, not just today. How many people can say they look forward to Hump Day?

I hope you don’t think I’m a horrible mom because I’m happy about this extra time without Jed. It’s not about not being with him… it’s about doing things that I simply cannot do when he’s here. Here are a few things I hope to tackle today:

  • Work projects. These comes first!
  • Shower. Yes, I have to put this on a list or it doesn’t seem to happen. It will be 12noon and I will have been on the computer all morning in my PJs, then time to pick up Jed…
  • Taxes. No, I don’t have the seasons mixed up. We are just the ultimate procrastinators and our very FINAL extension deadline is Monday. From April.
  • Walk the dogs. This is a walk for me and for them. I’m trying to exercise more and a walk up and down our road is quite literally a hike up and down a mountain. With Jed, we get halfway down and he wants to be carried. That’s not a workout so much as a death march.
  • Blog. Check!
  • Put new batteries in our mantel clock. It’s been 9:50 for more than a month. Time is not on its side.

What do you do when you find yourself with the precious gift of time?


My husband, the writer.

I usually reserve my bragging rights for Jed, and even try to keep those anecdotes to a minimum. (I’m aware that he is not the only smartest, cutest kid in the whole entire world.) But today, it’s the other guy in my life I’m proud of.

When Dave first came to me and told me he wanted to start his own online magazine, I felt a tad territorial. I wasn’t going to pee on our laptop or anything, but the publishing industry, and writing in particular, was my wheelhouse, my career path. He had been blogging for a bit, but I didn’t think he was serious enough about it to take it to the next level. Here we are, a couple of years later, and not only is his own magazine doing well, but he’s also pitching and getting asked to write for others! He can do something that not a lot of people can do well, which is write in his own voice. You read something of Dave’s and you can hear him talking to you as if he’s sitting right next to you, or 100 feet across a crowded room (his voice really carries).

This month, he has a story in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine called “Fly Fishing 101”, and I had to brag on him a bit. Even if you’re not into fly fishing, it’s worth a gander… he’s pretty damn funny. It’s a quick read if you have a few minutes this weekend. Happy Friday!

He even has a cover tag:)

NaNoWriMo Recap and the Creative Order

November was National Novel Writing Month, and I signed up for the challenge to write 50,000 words of my novel in 30 days. I will go ahead and say that I did not reach this goal, but I did come away with solid foundation for my novel (almost 8,000 words), which is a lot farther along than I was a month ago!

Lather, rinse, write!

One of the reasons I fell so far from my goal was that I picked up more freelance work a lot faster than I expected… and I’m not going to complain about that! I’m committed to my novel, but paid work has to come first. And, well, Jed really comes first. I’m learning to make myself write in the off-peak hours: when Jed’s at school, nighttime and weekends. These are not necessarily my most creative times, but beggars (and stay-at-home moms) can’t be choosers. I get my best ideas when I’m driving or in the shower.  I’m thinking of getting those bath crayons to use on the tile for my après shampoo brain bursts. And once when I was on the highway and had one of my revelations, I left an all too bizarre message on a friend’s voicemail. Luckily, she’s a writer, too, and wasn’t scared off by a message that involved late night greased-up twister and a has-been, almost famous rockstar. (Cell phone companies really need to allow you to leave yourself messages!).

I wish I would’ve pushed myself harder to meet my NaNoWriMo goal, but am happy that my excuses are positive ones. Hey, if I write 8,000 words a month, I’ll still have a first draft of my novel finished in five months! Not too shabby. It’s just a matter of balancing my “free” time between my novel, my freelance projects, housework and Jed. And I would like to squeeze in a workout or two every now and then. I hate schedules, but I think some sort of order is in order.

Do you stay at home? Work from home? How do you manage your time?

My new, budget-friendly laptop bag.

I had desperately wanted to be able to swap out “eco-friendly” for “budget-friendly” in the title of this post (or even better, eco-chic!), but with holiday shopping, my needs have taken a back seat… in an economy car that gets good gas mileage. I’m the Ford Escort of frugality.

I’ve been wanting and needing a new bag that not only fits my laptop, but can also squeeze in a diaper or two and wipes. Wallet and cell phone are optional, mere accessories. We’re talking about barebones basics here.  So I’ve been obsessively researching laptop bag options. At first, I thought I wanted this one from Keen:

But when I finally found a sample on super sale at Frugal Backpacker in person, its available colors in the only one they had left were, well, ick. (Made with repurposed materials, no two are alike.)

I love this one from Matt & Nat, but just can’t justify spending $180 on a bag right now. Oh, how times have changed.

But I’ve realized that any bag can be a laptop bag. It just needs to have enough room for your laptop. If you use a protective sleeve for your laptop anyhow, the protection inside the bag is pretty much a non-issue. Laptop bags, diaper bags, gym bags… they are all just bags with strategic marketing, and strategically placed pockets. So, today at Target, I bought this:

Only $25 (on special from $29.99), it has a huge outside stash pocket, small inside pockets for my cell, keys, pills (don’t judge), and mostly importantly, unlike my current work bag, it zips closed to keep out the weather. Plus, it resembles (at least from a slight distance) a much more expensive bag I’ve been coveting at a local boutique. No, it’s not water resistant, but it’s lined. I don’t plan on biking anywhere with it, or taking it camping, or standing outside in a downpour. But I’m pretty sure it can hold up if I need to make a mad dash from my car to the coffeehouse. And, did I mention it was only $25?

Rocking out my editorial swan song.

The last issue I put out as Editor-in-Chief of Breathe Magazine came out this week. I just picked up a copy this morning and reading through it was bittersweet. But I must say I went out with a bang, not a whimper. It’s a great issue! Kath Younger, healthy living blogger of Kath Eats Real Food fame graces the cover.

If you live in one of Breathe‘s distribution areas in the Mid-Atantic and Southeast (DC, MD, WV, VA, NC, SC, GA), pick one up! If you don’t know where to find it, contact the Breathe office. Otherwise, you can find it online here (although it’s never the same as feeling the pages between your fingers… I just love print magazines).

Advice for the working woman.

Just because I’m gainfully unemployed doesn’t mean I don’t have pearls of wisdom to offer you working women out there. Actually, this was something a friend emailed me three years ago when I was having a bad day at work. It made me snarf my latte.

I turned it into a post on a short-lived blog, and being that it’s NaNoWriMo time (made my goal today!), I’ll be re-posting a few gems from those days this month. If you were one of my tens of readers in 2008-09 when I blogged as Emily Postal, we can relive the glory days together:)

Originally posted September 25, 2008:

I emailed a close friend this morning, bitching about my job. I do that a lot. Her reply:

Here is a what I recommend…have fun with your job.  Listen to weird Indian music off your laptop and NEVER cover your mouth when you sneeze in the workplace…eventually they will promote you to an office!  I frequently have a contest with myself to see how far I can roll my chair away from people speaking in meetings…last week I made it into the hallway before someone asked what I was doing.  I told them I needed to toot.

Keep it light and have fun.

What are your working girl pearls of wisdom?