Am I a Funny Girl?

John Stamos playing a grandpa and other “OMG I’m old” moments

I got two emails on the same day recently, and both of them sent into a weird sort of “Holy cow I’m getting old!” and time is crazy and life is short spiral.The first email? A reminder for my 20th high school reunion. I would swear on a stack of Pearl Jam CDs and flannel shirts that 1995 was just, like, yesterday.The next email? An invitation to attend a sneak peek screening of the new John Stamos sitcom titled Grandfathered.

Unsure of what to expect (and a little bit in shock at the prospect of my beloved Uncle Jesse being a grandpa), I checked out the trailer online, and was instantly hooked.

The quick overview is simple enough; ultimate bachelor and restauranteur Jimmy (Stamos) learns that he not only has a 25 year old son from a long-ago relationship, but that his son, Gerald (played by Josh Peck from Drake and Josh), has a little girl of his own. Jimmy finds himself with an instant family, and all that entails.

Much like Full House did during my childhood in the 1980s, Grandfathered is taking a new look at what makes a family; more than just the nuclear parents/kids combo, the people who we surround ourselves with are the ones who matter. There are some really heartfelt moments in the show; besides the obvious gags that are kind of required (Jimmy’s first diaper changing attempt), there are lots of those sweet “Awwww” moments that make for great viewing for the whole family.

I’m really interested to see this more modern interpretation of both parenting and grandparenting; watching Jimmy navigate this new world for him, as he builds a relationship with Gerald, the son he never knew. (And Gerald’s mom? Are there still feelings there? Hmm… we’ll have to keep watching to find out!) grandfathered sweet moment The screening I attended at Blogher was hosted by none other than Josh Peck himself, who is adorable and charming. While I’m a new fan, he won me over in no time at all as he shared some stories about working with the famous Stamos (say that so it rhymes, please) and was very sweet to all of us. Josh Peck speaking

me and Josh Peck

I’m really excited for the show, and am hoping that it signals a return to the sun family-friendly sitcoms I remember watching with my parents as a kid. Are you going to tune in?

Don’t miss the series premiere of GRANDFATHERED Tuesday September 29 at 8/7c on FOX!

Want to start getting excited now? You can find GRANDFATHERED all over social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Amwell: the doctor in my pocket

amwell disclosureIf you had told me 25 years ago that I’d carry a phone in my back pocket, I wouldn’t have believed you.
If you had told me 15 years ago that I would carry both a phone AND a camera in my back pocket, I wouldn’t have listened.
Five years ago? I had no thoughts about the unlimited streaming entertainment I would always have, yes, in my back pocket.
And now? There’s a whole medical practice In. My. Pocket.

As we find our way through this ever more connected world, the possibilities of what we have access to becomes more and more mindblowing. The latest in these incredible connected developments? An app called Amwell, that puts a doctor on call at your fingertips, whenever you need it. Available for desktop, iOS, and Android, Amwell connects you with a variety of healthcare providers, via streaming video call, in a matter of moments.

category selection screen

There are medical, nutrition, and mental health professionals, all available any time you need them. I recommend setting up your account now though, so that if you have an issue come up, you don’t have to take the time to do it while you have a whiny kid or husband in the background, or you aren’t trying to do it when you aren’t at 100%.

It isn’t complicated, it’s all pretty straightforward information, but it isn’t something I’d want to deal with if something was already wrong.

Disclosure: Max is only acting sick; he was fine, and we had a lovely chat with the doctor, but we did not test the app in an emergency situation. We talked about red eyes from swimming, but Max is just posing for these photos. See?

max with thermometer

Anyway. The app.

Once we selected that we wanted to speak to a medical doctor, we were presented with a list of available professionals. You can see their credentials, read a short bio about their specialies, and then select who you want to speak to.

You’ll notice that the top two doctors are shown as “Available Now” and the other two are on “Waiting Room” mode, which just means that they’re seeing another patient and you’ll be waiting a bit. We chose Dr. Gabel.

doctor selection screen

Once we got into the queue, Dr. Gabel was in fact with another patient, so we had to wait just a couple of minutes. The aspiring Jeopardy contestant in me really enjoyed the scrolling slide show of health facts. Because yes, I really did need to know that germs in a sneeze travel 100 miles per hour, thankyouverymuch!

factoid while waiting

And then, it was our turn to talk to the doctor. A nice simple split screen, so I could see her and myself; I felt like there was enough room on the screen to show her something if needed, but I also felt like I could see enough of the doctor that I felt like we could really connect.

You’ll notice it says “9 Mins Left” up at the top; we were given a 10 minute appointment with Dr. Gabel, and I’m not sure what would happen if we were to go over that time. I would imagine you’d have to authorize further charges. (A nutritionist appointment is 30 minutes, a mental heath session is 45 minutes)

dr gabel screenshot

A visit on Amwell is only $49, and in many states, they can even call in a prescription for you to a local pharmacy. (The app asks you where you are and will let you know what’s available and what isn’t as part of the sign up process) I can definitely imagine using this when Max has one of those random ailments that are hard to describe on the phone, and I know that there are times I’ve wished I had access to a nutritionist, just to answer a couple of questions.

Want to give Amwell a try for yourself? Use the promo code HASHTAGFREE and your first appointment is no charge. It’s FREE!

What will you use your free visit for? Save it for a medical issue, chat with a nutritionist, or take advantage of the mental health services?

Summers are made for iced tea and Scrabble

cbias disclosure#MeandMyTea #CollectiveBias

#MeandMy Tea Bigelow and Scrabble

Thankfully, I have many memories of summers spent with my grandparents. They moved out to California’s Gold Country from Rhode Island when I was about seven, and lived with us for a few months while they decided where to settle down for their retirement. Once they found a home in a tiny town called Plymouth, we made regular trips to visit; the whole family at first, and then just my sister and I would go, giving our parents a break.

We did lots of things on those trips; I remember Grammy making full Thanksgiving dinners in the middle of July, walking downtown to get ice cream, swimming at the local community pool, playing with the kittens that lived in a neighbor’s backyard. But those memories are fleeting. There are two things that go together, that are forever embedded in my memory when I think about my mom and my Grammy.

Iced tea and Scrabble. They would play for hours; game after game, on the back deck overlooking Highway 49. They drank gallons of sun tea, brewed in a big glass jar with lemons silkscreened on the sides. The sound of Scrabble tiles rattling in their bag, the one homemade letter “R” Grampy had made to replace a lost tile. THOSE are the memories that are indelible in my memory.

Mom and Grammy in 1961.

Mom and Grammy in 1961

My mom says that Grammy has simply always played Scrabble. She remembers being recruited to babysit, so that Grammy and her friend Dottie could play. She doesn’t really remember when they started playing together. I don’t remember when I started playing, either. It’s just always been a part of my memory.

Plymouth Porch #MeandMyTea

Grampy, Katie, me and Grammy in Plymouth, 1984

All I know is that even now, I can’t resist the lure of that slim burgundy box and the clink of ice cubes floating in a glass of iced tea. Iced tea has always been a “grown up ladies” drink, because of my mom and grandma. While they always drank classic black tea, I have expanded my own selection. I love Bigelow’s original, Constant Comment (it was my drink of choice throughout my pregnancy). The I Love Lemon made my sister and I feel like adults, sipping it carefully, even as we loaded it with enough sugar to make it sweeter than soda.

Grammy 2015 Scrabble

Grammy and Scrabble, May 2015

And now, we’re passing on the tradition to another generation. Faith, my sister’s oldest, recently joined us for her very first Scrabble and iced tea afternoon, in my parents’ backyard. Josie joined in a little bit, but wasn’t really interested in the game part, and just wanted the iced tea with blueberries we were drinking.

Game play Scrabble #MeandMyTea

I used a fruity tea, and added lots of lemons and blueberries to make it extra special. By using an herbal tea, we get all of the “grown upness” for the kids, without any of the sugar of other drink choices. The fruit just makes it pretty and sweetens it up just a tiny bit.

Pom Pizzazz #MeandMyTea [ad]

Bigelow is the perfect choice for our family tradition; it’s 100% American made, by an American family. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, Bigelow began in New York City, where Ruth Campbell Bigelow developed the iconic Constant Comment tea, and has expanded to a worldwide market offering more than 130 varieties of flavored, green, organic, herbal, decaffeinated and iced teas.

Bigelow cheers #MeandMyTea

You can find many varieties of Bigelow tea at Walmart, so it’s always easy to find the perfect flavor. I always stock up on the variety packs when I’m buying, so I have lots of options to offer people who might stop by.

Bigelow in-store #MeandMyTea

As a homeschooling mom, my sister is always looking for ways to help her girls learn on the go, so she was thrilled when Faith got really into Scrabble, and kept trying to come up with the most challenging words she could think of… it’s a great place to use newly-acquired vocabulary for an incoming 4th grader!

Katie helping Faith #MeandMyTea

I look forward to many more summers of Bigelow and Scrabble with my mom, sister, and nieces. Sometimes it seems like our family traditions are limited, so I have to hold on to the ones I can. And as I write this, it is HOT outside, so I think I should probably put another pot of sun tea out to brew.

What’s your favorite Bigelow tea flavor? Do you sweeten your iced tea, or no?

And do you have ANY suggestions of what I could have done with these terrible letters?

Terrible Scrabble Letters #MeandMyTea

 

 

 

 

Original Bomb Pops: An All-American Frozen Treat!

Thanks to Bomb Pops and Bloggin Mamas for sponsoring this post.
All Smiling Kids #BombPopMamas

Ahh, summer. Long lazy days, warm nights, and my personal favorite, Independence Day. (Which also happens to be my birthday. A coincidence? I think not.) When the weather heats up, there’s nothing better than a frozen treat on a stick.

Our personal favorite? The Original Bomb Pop!

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It’s the perfect refresher on a hot summer day, with three flavors in one, there’s something for everyone!

While homemade ice treats are great too, there’s nothing like the nostalgia brought on by biting into a just-soft-enough Bomb Pop.

They’re the perfect size, too. Not too big that I feel like it’s too much to hand to my three-year old niece, but not so small that Jamie doesn’t want to eat them, too. Basically, they’re the perfect summer delight.

Cheers Bomb Pops #BombPopMamas

The whole family can get in on the Bomb Pop fun! We picked ours up at Safeway, which is convenient since it seems like I’m there every other day anyway. Want to find them near you? Check out the website for a store near you.

Katie and Jose #BombPopMamas

BombPop.com is a whole ‘nother kind of party; check it out now for hilarious memes, photos, and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Bomb Pops.

So what could be better than talking about Bomb Pops? How about if I give you a chance to win some, too? We’ll be giving away EIGHT Bomb Pop prize packs, with product coupons, stickers, a hat, and more!

It’s easy to enter, just follow the instructions below.

Silly Faces #BombPopMamas

HOORAY, BOMB POPS!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tiny Differences

airport breakfastI’m sitting at the Oakland airport right now, waiting for my Starbucks breakfast to cool down from lava-like temps so I can eat it.
I love airports.
The constant change and flow of passengers is perfect for people watchers like me.
The lady with her bulldog in a stroller, the business men trying to out-boast one another with stories of conquests, the exhausted flight attendant who is hoping for a jump seat so she can get home.
Airports are a constant ebb and flow, and it makes me think about change as well.

I’m on my way to New York for my fourth Blogher, and about my 15th conference. I’ve done this many times by now, and it’s becoming old hat for me, but Blogher will always, always have a special place in my heart because Blogher11 in San Diego was life-changing for me.

My first conference, where I met people that led me down a new path, a new career, a different life, that has brought me more joy and fulfillment than I thought was possible in real life.

But that isn’t why I’m writing this post.

I’m remembering my first first Blogher, four years ago, and thinking about how much is different. I actually think I may have departed from this same gate, a nervous mama flying off, leaving her 3.5 year old at home for something other than a hospital visit.

I remember what I wore; a new dress I’d bought for the occasion. A red paisley sundress with a black belt wrapped around my rib cage. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the trend of the ribcage belt thing, but I wanted so badly to look stylish that I was willing to deal with the discomfort.

My hair was freshly cut and colored, my nails, finger and toe, were scrubbed, filed, and painted to perfection.

My suitcase, which had been checked, contained an empty duffel bag (I’d heard about vast amounts of swag I’d basically have thrown at me) and I’d carefully rolled all of my brand-new outfits to prevent wrinkles.

I wanted SO badly for everyone to like me.

Fast-forward to 2015, I’ve been through all this before.

The nerves are the same, but that’s as much from air travel as it is the conference. Going to Blogher is going home for me. It’s where my people are, and for many, it’s the only time I see them. I’ll have experiences this week that couldn’t happen anywhere else, I’ll make new friends, strengthen old relationships. I’ll schmooze the brands (Not really. I’m terrible at that) and yes, I’ll bring home some swag.

But my hair hasn’t been cut or colored in a year, my pedicure is several weeks old, and the only new thing I bought for this conference came in a subscription box, so it wasn’t even for this specifically.

Because it isn’t about what you’re wearing.
Or how your hair looks.
Or your nails.
Or the swag,

Blogher is about the community, and I can’t wait to get there.