the goldfinch by donna tartt is worth its weight in words

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is worth its weight in words

Last week, author Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize in the fiction category for her gripping novel, “The Goldfinch.” As it happens, also last week, I finished reading “The Goldfinch” for my book-optional book club, which was a massive undertaking considering it’s 784 pages (2095 on my iPad!) and in those 784 pages not much good happens. However, despite its density and its darkness, there is a light that makes it shine.

The reasons Tartt won the coveted award are myriad, such as her descriptive writing style and her tender grasp of the human spirit. “The Goldfinch,” only the third book of her career, is as much of a masterpiece as is the painting that lives at the heart of the story.

Stephen King’s review in the New York Times captures the essence of the book better than I ever could:

“’The Goldfinch’ is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind. I read it with that mixture of terror and excitement I feel watching a pitcher carry a no-hitter into the late innings. You keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but in the case of ‘The Goldfinch,’ they never do.”

It can’t be sugar coated. Even with her remarkable writing, I found the book a little hard to read at times, due to its darkness. However, I liken it to “Les Misérables,” in the way that

15 quotes i want my kids to live by

inspirational quotes to pass on to kids


1. “When you feel like you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

2. “When we bring what is within us into the world, miracles happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. “Always look on the bright side of life.” – Monty Python The Life of Brian

4. “Shame is a wasted emotion.” – Kurt Hummel, GLEE

5. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandala

6. “If it’s not ‘Hell Yeah,’ it’s ‘No!’” – Derek Sivers

7. “The grass is greener where you water it.” – Neil Barringham

8. “A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can’t go

copa di vino has a cinderalla story that moms and winos want to know about

If you like wine, you are going to like this blog post. It’s a sponsored post, but you’re still going to like it. And? All opinions are my own.

Last week I was introduced to one of the most genius products created for wine lovers. Are you ready for this? Wine by the glass, Boom!

new winery at Sunshine Mill Copa Di Vino as seen on Shark Tank

Yes, beer lovers can swig straight from the bottle, and now, so can we. Equal rights for boozers.

Copa di Vino is a fledgling winery from The Dalles, Oregon; a Cinderella Story of sorts, born out of a desire to help a community, preserve history, and answer the prayers of wine drinkers everywhere.

Check out this quick video to learn more about the Copa di Vino story and to see how a little company with big dreams turned a rundown old flour mill, Sunshine Mill, into a mecca for making mommy juice.

Stay tuned for an upcoming installment of my “Holy Crap, I Love That!” video series where I feature

do you kiss your kids on the lips?

is it okay to kiss your kids on the lips?

Do you remember the overly affectionate Vogelcheck family of Saturday Night Live fame?

Do you kiss your kids on the lips like the Vogelchecks?

Okay, so, the Vogelchecks take kissing just a wee bit too far for the sake of hilarity (and if you haven’t watched one of their skits, Google it now), but I’m definitely a fan of lip kissing my kids and was surprised to find out that not all moms feel the same way.

The other day, when dropping my 5 year old off at Kindergarten, I gave her a quick, loving smooch on the lips. In mid-kiss, we heard next to us, “Ewwwwwww,”

I looked up to find one of her classmates, another 5 year old, giving us stink eye. I looked back, quizzically, to see if her utterances of disapproval were really referring to my kissing my daughter goodbye.

“Ewwwww!” she uttered again.

“What?” I replied, probably more defensively than I should have being the adult in the situation. “I was just giving her a kiss goodbye. Do you not kiss your mom on the lips?” I asked curiously.

And she came back with, “NO! I do not kiss my mom like THAT.”


Lexi and I looked at each other, laughed, and gave each other one more big smackaroo on the lips, while the other little girl rolled her eyes and walked away.

This interchange has stayed with me since that day and though I stay firm in my belief that kisses on the lips are what make the world go around, I wonder if I’m the odd one out. I kissed my parents on the lips as a child AND as an adult; I also kissed, and currently kiss, friends, other family members, and even some special people in my life like my senior year English teacher who was invited to my wedding and I would kiss any day of the week because she listened to me bitch about boys in high school AND she got me to love reading), and I turned out somewhat fine.

Now, every time Lexi and I bring it in for a big smackaroo, we say “give me a Z kiss,” named after the little girl who didn’t approve, and I plant one on her like we’re Bogie and Bacall.

So, what about you? Do you kiss your kids on the lips? Do I need to be worried about this family habit of ours (as long as it doesn’t turn Vogelcheck-ish)?

sports-related performance anxiety, quitting sports and balancing sports with school

tough parenting questions about sports and kids on Fox 5

This week’s Ask the Moms segment was shot on location at Petco Park, in honor of Opening Day, and featured several sports themed questions, including:

- How to help your kid who has performance anxiety
- What to do if your kid wants to quit a sport mid-way through the season
- How to help your kids balance school, sports, extracurriculars etc.

We needed umbrellas and a good sense of humor for this segment since it began raining just before we went live. Also? I dropped some Jay Z lyrics, so I’m feeling pretty solid about this one.

leave gwyneth paltrow alone

Why Gwyneth Paltrow needs to be left alone via the Mama Mary Show

Hey all y’all stone throwers . . . leave Gwynnie alone.

Seriously, enough is enough.

Yes, her recent quotes to E! about working moms were painfully disillusioned, entitled, judgmental, ludicrous, off-putting and a host of other not-so-endearing adjectives, BUT, she does NOT deserved to be dragged through the virtual mud in the way that she has been for the past week.

She’s a woman and a mom, now a single mom, trying to get through life, the best way she knows how. Granted, “her way” is annoying to most of us, mainly because it’s privileged and out of our reach–our budgets don’t allow most of us to buy $450.00 Veronica Beard Tuxedo pants or to travel to exotic spa destinations like the ones she promotes on And our jobs don’t pay us the millions that she gets paid. And yes, that annoys me, mainly because I’m green with envy.

However, that is her reality. If we jump down her throat and judge her harshly, then we’re doing the same thing we’re accusing her of doing.

I’m going to bat for this woman for several reasons:
#1 – She’s a former UCSB Gaucho, and therefore cool, despite all of her actions that tell us otherwise.

#2 –  She’s a member of the Dead Dads Club and her interview with Oprah about her dad was one of the inspirations for my book.

#3 – She’s a bit like Claire Standish from Breakfast Club, who likes sushi for lunch. She’s pretentious but misunderstood.

#4 –  I have hit a rough time in my marriage and can’t even imagine what it’s like to have something as private and painful as a divorce to be exploited and examined via every possible publication and website known to man.

The bottom line is that she is human and,