Am I a Funny Girl?

Back to School simplified with free tablet data from T-Mobile

cbias disclosure#TabletTrio #CollectiveBias
#TabletTrio box #shopSummer has been amazing, but it’s time to get back to school, and our transition this year is made easier with our new Trio AXS tablet that includes FREE MOBILE DATA for the life of the tablet!
Summer has been pretty low key for us; we’ve had a few family adventures, Max has done some awesome summer camps, but generally speaking, summer isn’t crazy with activities the way the school year is. Sports, scouts, friends, school… and that’s just Max! I still commute into the City three days a week, and work from home the other two, so for everyone in our family, time is at a premium from September until June, and anything I can do to streamline is a win.
I was able to pick up my new T-Mobile tablet in the Walmart electronics department, and it was easy to activate the monthly 200MB of free data; and it’s easy to add on additional data if I need it.
#TabletTrio in-store #shop
I love my smartphone, but I hate typing and reading on that tiny screen! I love having the mobile data available on the tablet so that I can take care of work issues that might come up while I’m on the go. Waiting for Max at the dentist, or soccer practice, or even waiting to bring home take out for dinner. My mobile data tablet allows me to keep getting work done.

Because I basically always have my tablet with me, I’ve also been known to use it as a bribe negotiation tool when I need Max to hang out for whatever reason… so here is a list of some of our Must-Have apps:

#TabletTrio Screenshot #shop #cbias

For work: As a social media and community manager, I have all of the basics installed on all of my devices: Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For the family: Google Calendar, so I can sync my and Jamie’s schedules, and we know what we’re up to. Monsta Points, a gamified chore chart to help both us and Max remember the jobs he’s responsible for, Kiddy Timer, to set time limits on anything from playing on the tablet to toothbrushing, and TeamSnap, for tracking all the craziness that comes with being a sports team mom. (Go Rockies!)

#TabletTrio Max using #shop

For Max: He gets 2 categories; school and Angry Birds, because I’m pretty sure Angry Birds is his love language. But when I want to steer him towards more scholarly fun, we’ve got ABC Handwriting, because he can always use the practice, First Grade Learning because OMG my baby is in first grade!! Freefall Money to help him get the grasp of coin concepts, and then Barnyard Math for elementary math practice.

What are your favorite apps for on the go?
How do you use mobile technology to simplify your busy life?

#TabletTrio Max smiles #shop


Oh, Monday

My office has a work from home day every week, and until last week, it was Monday.

I would sigh and try to sympathize with my friends’ “Eff you Monday” Facebook posts, but sitting on my couch at home, still wearing jammies and drinking my second cup of coffee made it tough sometimes.

Work from home Mondays allowed me to transition slowly into the work week… it was nice. Tuesday never seems as cruel as Monday.

But as a result, I have been in my office on about three Mondays in the two and a half years I’ve been there. Mondays are different.

So here’s how it went down, this first Monday in the office.

Woke up, went to kitchen to make coffee. We’re out of coffee.
Monday: 1, Lizz: 0

Ha! We have emergency K-Cups for just reason! Take that, Monday!
Monday: 1, Lizz: 1

Drive to the train station, park the car. I typed the wrong parking spot number into the pay machine. Like, it’s not even close. I parked in spot 468 and typed in 687 or something. In an effort to get ahead of the impending ticket, I called the support number on the receipt. Three disconnections later, I got someone to take my name and number so she can redirect me to someone who can help.
Monday: 2, Lizz: 1

I get to the train station and the escalator is out of order. In your FACE, Monday! I always take the stairs!
Monday: 2, Lizz: 2

I arrive on the platform just as the train pulls up. I don’t have my usual spot at the front of the boarding line, and I’m unable to get a seat. Damn.
Monday: 3, Lizz: 2

Gazing out the window of the train, the neighborhoods below look different, but I can’t place it. Oh! It’s their garbage day! I don’t normally see their trash cans out. I would hate to have Monday be my trash day, I think to myself. This isn’t a score changer, just a random observation.
Monday: 3, Lizz: 2

Ha! Someone got off the train! I got a seat, AND it’s on the not-facing-into-the-rising-sun side of the train. I’ll take it.
Monday: 3, Lizz: 3

Giant line at Starbucks, because it’s clearly the first day of a convention and they haven’t found any of the FIVE other coffee places within 2 blocks (and two of those are Starbucks)
Monday: 3, Lizz: 3

Watched homeless man almost get hit by taxi while jaywalking. Skid marks and fishtailing and everything. So close.
Monday: 5, Lizz: 3

And then I arrive at work..

Checking the Twitter feed, I reply to someone, trying to be helpful, and instead accidentally engage a conspiracy theorist. Oops.
Monday: 6, Lizz: 3

The rest of work is uneventful and normal, other than my inability to remember that it’s actually Monday and that planning something for Wednesday does NOT mean it’s tomorrow. Also have an incredibly productive afternoon meeting with 2 co—workers.
Monday: 6, Lizz: 4

Walking to train station from work, I trip. Being a highly experienced klutz, I am normally able to catch myself and can’t even remember the last time I actually fell. Until today. Full on somersault, ass over teakettle on the sidewalk. Skinned my knee, possible hole in my favorite jeans, my wrist hurts and I smashed my hip pretty good, too.
Monday: 11, Lizz:4
(Points awarded for knee, wrist, hip, jeans, and pride injuries)

I’m a little afraid to continue keeping score, Monday.

I’m calling a mercy rule.

See you next week, though.

You’re going down.

Camp Galileo: Adventures Down Under #review

camp galileo disclaimercamp galileo bay areaThis summer, the one between kindergarten and first grade, has presented some new challenges for us when it comes to child care and how to keep Max engaged and entertained during summer break.
Last year was easy; he just stayed at his full-time preschool until the week before kindergarten started. This year, it wasn’t that simple.
With family trips and our weird work from home schedules, we had to cobble together a summer of child care, including the on-campus company he goes to during the school year, an outdoor adventures camp I’d won admission to, a week with my sister and his cousins, and Camp Galileo.
Before Camp Galileo reached out to me, I’d heard of them before… offering one week camp sessions at a bunch of Bay Area locations, they often appear on those “What to do with your kids this summer” lists that are so popular at the end of the school year.
Galileo offered four different themes this summer, and I let Max pick. Of the four, it took him no time at all to choose the “Adventures Down Under” camp, because he has been talking about wanting to visit Australia since last year. (Sorry kiddo, this is the closest you’ll get for a few more years)
The other themes were Galileo Road Trip, The Incredible Human Body, and Leonardo’s Apprentice.

We arrived on Monday morning for the first day of camp, and I was instantly impressed with how organized they were. No fumbling for paperwork, or unsure staff members. It took only moments to get him checked in, I verified his after-camp care, and he was all set to enter through the “Fun Machine” into his Galileo experience.

camp galileo fun machine

Pick-up every day was an adventure; he would climb into the car bursting to tell about things he’d learned, or done. He’d be covered in paint from head to toe. (Seriously. Face and body painting is a big thing, and he loved it! Thank goodness for washable paint though, amirite?)

camp galileo face paint

After the first morning, a streamlined drop-off allowed Max to be greeted, by name, in front of the school and he hopped out of the car without my even needing to park. Win.

Parents are invited to come to camp on Friday afternoon, to see a bit about what they learned, crafts they made, all the good stuff of camp. I loved getting to see all of the different groups; the younger kids were adorable, of course, and seeing the older ones who really put Galileo’s emphasis in innovation to work.

camp galileo classroom wall
camp galileo anemometerEvery staff member I encountered was like my childhood memories of camp counselors. Silly and fun, with crazy hats and attitudes, I knew that Max was in great hands with people who love what they do.

Each day had a dress-up theme, from Jalloween (Halloween in July) to Crazy Hair Day; just the right amount of silly to temper the learning that was also happening every day.

camp galileo jalloween

Max can’t wait to go back to Camp Galileo next summer, and he’s already asking if he can go for two weeks instead of just one. Who am I to say no?

camp galileo max classroom

Want more info? Connect with Camp Galileo on their website, Facebook, and Twitter!

It’s almost time for #typeacon! Worth it? YES!

I had heard great things about the Type A Parent conference long before I ever attended. Fadra calls it “blogger grad school,” and I had heard nothing but rave reviews from other friends; the content is top notch, Kelby and her team are super organized (Type A, duh) and the parties are fab.
I was thrilled when I found out that I am both a blog partner for this year’s conference, AND I will be speaking, as an expert roundtable called “The Hybrid Life: Juggling a Blogging and Marketing Career”

It’s all very exciting.

20131001-154705.jpgI finally made it to Type A last year, a wrote a post about my experience, called “The Schlep” Because a flight from the Bay Area to Atlanta isn’t the most convenient thing ever, and anytime I can use a word like ‘schlep’ in a title, I’m in.
Type A is a great size, especially if the thought of giant crowds of people is a little terrifying… don’t get me wrong, I love me some giant conference experience, but sometimes it’s also nice to not be overwhelmed with what seems like your ENTIRE internet materializing in front of your eyes. ;)
There’s so much to love about Type A; chances to build real relationships with brands, enough down time to get to connect with other bloggers on a real level, this year is the second year of the “We Still Blog Awards” and community keynote, and I loved the Blogger Town Hall open conversation, which is a highlight of the weekend.

I had a great time with friends, met new people, walked away with some great takeaways, and just really felt like it had been a worthwhile investment of both time and money.
So, will I see you in Atlanta? Because I’ve partnered with Type A, I’m so excited to be able to offer this 25% OFF discount code, but act now, because it’s only good today! Use the code BLOGPARTNER to save 25% on your pass! It’s already worth every penny, so fewer pennies is even better!
Click the button to register, and don’t forget the discount code, BLOGPARTNER:

Type A Partner

The above is an affiliate link, so I am paid a portion of your ticket price. It does not impact the amount you pay, so I really appreciate you using my link! Thank you! :)

On Robin Williams and me.

I’m struggling today.
The heartbreaking news of the world’s loss of Robin Williams has hit me hard.
It’s hit most of my generation hard.
We grew up with Mork and the Genie; were inspired to read the classics, and to stand on tables and carpe diem.
I’m heartbroken.
There is so much pain; unarmed teenagers being shot in the street, six year olds dying of cancer, the terrors in the Middle East.
The world is hurting.

I woke up this morning, and thought hoped I might be OK today.
And then I saw the quote that Zelda Williams’, Robin’s daughter, Tweeted:

photo 1

And I cried.
The sadness washed over me in a way that is hard to explain.
Because if depression can take a man with all the resources at his disposal, how am I supposed to survive it?
How am I supposed to go on, if even he couldn’t fight it off?
We lost him.

I want to share what happened in my mind this morning, but first I want to be clear: I am not going to injure myself. I am, thankfully, far enough on the other side of a dark place that I can see myself going in that direction, and I can power through. Today. Sometimes, I can’t. I’ve come closer than I care to consider, on a day so much like today, when I’m grasping at straws.

As I walked to work this morning, crying behind my sunglasses, my “happiest” playlist blasting in my ears, these are the things that went through my head, and my heart:
This is the worst.
I wonder what people would say if I were gone.
It would be nice not to hurt any more.
It would be so easy.
I’m tired.
I shouldn’t be thinking these things.
*Change to Pharrell’s “Happy” in my ears*
But still, just to be done.
It would be so easy.
I should call one of those hotlines.
Hell, I tweeted it out myself last night.
Nah, I don’t want to waste their time.
I’m sure there are people who are more in need than I am.
I’m not worth it.

THANKFULLY I am far enough past my most recent darkness to be able to stop it there.
Because I AM worth it.
Because I might have called today, because I’m teetering, but can step back from the edge.
And I started to draft this post in my head.
Because that’s what depression does. It lies and tries to drag you down with it.
But I fight daily not to let it.

I got to the platform and was waiting for the train. After several moments, I pulled out my phone, starting to type a text to a friend.

photo 2

Before I could hit send, I felt a hand on my elbow. “Hey, it’s great to see you!” Hugs are exchanged. Before me stands a friend from Facebook, someone from my moms group who I’ve never seen before on my commute.  We make small talk for a moment, and in a lull, she looks at me and asks “Are you OK?”

Even with hiding behind my big sunglasses, she asked.

Did she save me?
Maybe not today, but today the depression wasn’t winning.
If it had been?
She would have evened the score in my favor.

 If you are struggling, even just a little bit,
The world needs you. Please, reach out.


There are people who want to help.

Do this, not that: Spirit Week ideas for #BackToSchool

I always loved Spirit Week at school, the opportunity to dress-up in fun ways, to be silly and creative beyond my usual “school clothes.” And again, it was one of the things I was so excited about when Max started kindergarten. I was a little disappointed when I learned that themed Spirit Days weren’t something they did at his school, beyond wearing school colors on Wednesdays…

But I was thrilled when, about three weeks before school let out for summer, I got a notice that they had a whole week with daily themes for dress-up! We excitedly reviewed the days and planned what he could wear. My heart sank a little when I saw some of them, though. I’m on board with pajama day, and crazy hair day, but nerd day? Encouraging kids to “wear your too short pants and wrap some tape around your glasses and dress up like a nerd”? How is this a good idea?

But I digress.

While “Nerd Day” might have been popular when I was a kid, it isn’t something that I’m comfortable encouraging  Max to participate in. We talked about it the night before, and we agreed that dressing up as a nerd wasn’t a fun idea. And it inspired me to create this list of Spirit Week ideas.

Instead of Nerd Day, how about Someone You Admire Day? Or What I Want to be When I Grow Up? This allows lots of flexibilty for children to come up with something to wear. A child can dress up like a parent, or a teacher, a pilot or a construction worker. The possibilities are endless. Jessica‘s daughter’s school had a “Future Career Day” and her daughter dressed up like, yup, a blogger. Pink streak in her hair (not after me, after Jessica, but still!) and a WordPress tee shirt, all she needed was a computer and a Starbucks cup and voila!

career day spirit week

Rather than Culture Day, how about A Place I Love Day? This was a challenge for us; Max’s school did “Culture Day,” and for a school as diverse as ours, this is a good one. We have lots of first generation Americans in Max’s class, so finding something to wear to express their “culture” is easy. We saw lots of traditional dress from a variety of countries, and it was lovely. But what does a European mutt kid like Max wear? We’re English, Scottish, French, Irish, Welsh… all of the most generic of the heritages. Unwilling to buy him a kilt (which I probably couldn’t get him to wear even if I bought it!) we put him in this:

photo 1

Because he’s an All American kid, and what’s more American than baseball? You want to know what happened? His teacher asked, “Were you born at the ballpark?” and said this didn’t count. Challenging a child to dress for their birthplace is hard for someone, like Max, for whom his birthplace ins’t a signifcant impact on his identity. My friend Cam, from Growing Up Goofy, said that her daughter’s school celebrates as “Diversity Day,” and her daughter chose to celebrate differences by wearing 2 different socks that day. A great way for her to be able to express herself and still participate.

diversity day spirit week

Skip Twin Day, and challenge groups of kids to dress alike for Matchy Matchy Day, so that groups of three or more can coordinate what to wear and still participate. Imagine the heartbreak of the one kid in class who couldn’t find a friend to dress up with. By opening it up to larger groups and skipping the “twin” word, it makes it easier for everyone to participate.

Max’s school had a “Rainbow Day,” which is good in concept, but the execution leaves something to be desired. They assigned a color to each grade level, so third graders were all assigned green, first grade got red. The idea is cute, but Max was in kindergarten. Guess what color they were assigned.

rainbow day spirit week

White and kindergarteners? Not the best idea ever. I would instead suggest setting Rainbow Day as “Wear All One Color Day” so each child can choose their own color, instead of being assigned based on grade level. Because it bears repeating: Kindergarteners in white?crazy hair day spirit week copy

Still looking for more dress-up ideas? Here you go!

  • Pajama Day
  • Crazy Hair Day
  • Mismatched Shoe Day
  • Mismatched Everything Day
  • Dress Like a Hero Day
  • Hat Day
  • Tacky Tourist Day
  • Superhero & Villain Day
  • Ugly Sweater Day
  • Cartoon Character Day
  • Holiday-themed days
  • Dress Like a President Day
  • Backwards Day (Kriss Kross’ll make you what?!)
  • Dress Like an Olympian Day
  • Dress Like an Animal Day
  • Sports Team Day
  • Dress Like Your Teacher Day
  • 1960s Day
  • 1970s Day
  • 1980s Day (Sensing a trend, here?)
  • 1990s Day
  • Futuristic Day
  • Wear All Black & White
  • Tie Dye Day
  • Favorite Book Character Day
  • Sunglasses Day
  • Formal Wear

Do your kids have dress-up days at school? What are your thoughts on some of the more questionable choices? Do they do anything really fun? Share in the comments!
And thanks to Heather and Nazy for sharing their daughters’ Crazy Hair and Olympian Day photos!

Procrastination #30DaysofWriting #justwrite

There are dishes in the sink.
Max needs a shower.
I should put in that load of laundry.
Maybe now is a good time to clean out the junk drawer in the kitchen.
Or roll all that change in the big jar.
Anything to keep from sitting down to write.
If writing is a muscle, mine fell asleep and is now achy and cranky and doesn’t want to move.
Also, my actual muscles are achy and cranky because Pilates.
I’ve said this before; I need to keep up with it because then my brain gets rusty.
It’s like summer slide for grown-ups.
I want to sit down and write, I really do.
I want the words to come,
to overtake my hands as they fly across the keyboard.
I want them to flow out of me and across the screen.
I consider writing a poem, but then flash back to those terrible, terrible poems I penned in high school.
A post with all images is cheating, and I have no images to share.
I wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can handle right now;
I can’t believe Max starts first grade this month.
It isn’t good,
it isn’t strong,
but it’s grammatically correct
and I’m writing.
That counts, right?