Me 2.0

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This haircut is just the gift that keeps on giving.

Let me explain.

It's kind of crazy how I'm rediscovering what the hair that actually grows out of my head feels like. How I am amazed every morning with a new revelation on its texture, temperament and form. If you missed the memo, a little over 2 months ago I cut my hair. A LOT. I went from 26 years of chemically relaxed hair to a short, natural cut. This afternoon, my beautician cut off the remainder of the straight part.

When I first saw my hair, I was shocked. It was so much shorter than I expected. I worried - what would my husband think? What would my MOM think? Do I look like a boy? After the gut reaction to focus on others passed, I noticed a calm rush over my being. I was enthralled with the look and feel of if - how each tiny hair formed a perfectly spring-like individual coil. How soft it felt as I ran my hands through it. How what I thought was the natural pattern of my hairline began to fill in after nearly 3 months with no relaxer.

On my last trip to LA, I had breakfast with a colleague who transitioned to natural hair just over 2 years ago. She explained to me how each section of her hair had its own shape and personality. The front of her hair was soft and wavy, while she called the section in the back an "Angry Black Girl". Now that all of the perm is gone from my mane, I too can see and feel the varied textures and tones of my hair. I'm amazed by its variety and elegance. It gives me pause that I spent so many years trying to tame its natural beauty - force it to assimilate.

In many ways, my newfound-hair-freedom is reflective of a greater transformation. After years of holding back my opinions for fear of not fitting in, refusal to experiment with fashion because I was not a cool kid, masking my full personality to appear more professional, I've finally come to a point in my life where I'm ready to claim every part that makes me ME. I am loud, opinionated, silly, rowdy, quirky, intelligent, wise, fashionable, and unique in every way. I will no longer apologize for being every part of who I am. And the more that I claim my authentic self, the more comfortable I become in my own skin.

It's funny - all of this self-love seems to coincide with a fresh momentum in my professional life and freedom in my journey of motherhood.

Life's hard enough. Don't fight against who you really are.

Welcome to BadAssMama 2.0...




Fashion's Night Out

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Fashion's Night Out is next week! The BadAssMama is partnering with celebrity makeup artist (and guest blogger of Makeup Mondays) to present a fabulous and FREE FNO event in New York next week. We want to see YOU there!


Confessions of a BadAssMama - The Relapse Edition

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Remember when I said that I was a "recovering perfectionist"?

Yeah, about that...

Apparently I am smack-dab-in-the-middle of a vicious, full on relapse. It's not the perfectionism that bothers me, per se. It's all the pesky symptoms that accompany it (kind of like those HORRIFYING prescription medication commercials that say a drug will help quiet your overactive bladder, but may make your face fall off...). Symptoms like:

  • Tension headaches
  • Shoulder and neck pain
  • Self doubt, accompanied by extreme self-criticism
  • Short temper
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite, followed shortly by
  • Binge eating
  • Fits of Martha Stewart-like cleaning and organizing mania
  • Recurring nightmare that I did not graduate from college because I failed to turn in a final paper
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • General PMS-like symptoms
So, the perfectionism in and of itself is a walk in the park. It's all the crap that comes with it that's driving me bonkers. I think it might have something to do with my slightly-more-full-than-usual plate.

First, we have the back-to-school crazies. Victor's nursery school teacher came to visit this morning (what a sweet tradition! I really like her....). The visit was wonderful. Both Victor and Angel are excited for their new adventures at a new school. I dropped their paperwork and supplies off to the school office this morning (one week early, just like a good little book worm). Their personalized backpacks and lunch boxes should be here any day now (the superhero ones we bought earlier in the summer apparently violate the school's "anti-violence" policy...). I signed up to be class parent, blocked off time to attend the new parent tea and took off the majority of next week so that I could be there for drop off AND pick up at their new school.

I'm also entering a particularly busy season professionally. At my day job, I am at the tail end of budget season and preparing for a major partner meeting. So, in addition to the back-to-back-to-back meetings that make up my day-to-day existence, I am juggling drafts and re-writes of multiple presentations, re-negotiating a major deal while closing a series of renewals, finalizing my long range plans across three different and differently-challenges lines of business and formulating how to meet the multi-million dollar budget task that fell into my lap on Friday (fun!).

On the BadAssMama Enterprises front, I am in final prep mode for the fabulous and FREE Fashion's Night Out Event that I am hosting next Thursday with celebrity makeup artist and author, D'angelo Thompson (have you RSVP'd yet? It's going to be INCREDIBLE!). I'm drafting a presentation on Daring to Design YOUR Best Life for a national conference in mid-September, editing two separate book proposals and preparing to launch the next phase of my business plan (more on that later!).

Last, but not least, my parents are in town for the next 2 weeks helping to fill the gap between summer camp and back-to-school. They are a lifesaver. I truly don't know what I would do without them. I am enjoying having them here (I love my life on the East Coast, but miss my family terribly). I love watching the boys spend time with them and how my mom automatically jumps into mommy-mode and plans meals EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yet, in spite of all the joy that comes from having family in town, my pesky perfectionism compels me to jump around, silently screaming, "Look at me, mom! See what a good wife I am? Look at me, dad! See what a good mother I am?" Which often results in mood swings varying from utter euphoria to extreme bitchiness in roughly 3.5 seconds....

Some of you might be thinking, "What the HELL is wrong with you, woman? Of COURSE you're stressed. You're doing too damned much!" To that, I would reply, "Why, yes....yes I am". But, here's the thing. I'm enjoying all of it. It's like my dreams are coming true right before my eyes. The problem is not the amount of activity, it's my propensity to want to do it all RIGHT NOW and ABSOLUTELY PERFECTLY.

Like any addict, admitting that you have a problem is the first step - and that's where this blog is like heaven to me. Just the action of writing about my feelings and motivations have lifted a tremendous amount of weight off of my shoulders, and allowed me to re-focus my energy into what really matters: the fact that I am making steps toward creating the life of my dreams on ALL fronts. It's not going to be perfect. Hell, it may not even be pretty. But these are MY dreams.

And I refuse to let perfectionism turn them into a nightmare...


Beauty Mondays with D'angelo Thompson

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Questions Please...
By D'angelo Thompson

All women  are not alike, certain products work for some and not for others. Always inquire about products, sample before purchasing and if you find something you love buy multiples especially a set for travel and a set for home.


-- 
D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author
www.dangelothompson.com

Back-to-School Blues

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I love back-to-school season. Always have. And as my boys prepare to start "big boy" school, I am abuzz with excitement for the great memories and new adventures that await.

So why am I an f'ing mess?

The first signal was the ever-increasing-frequency of my "disagreements" with The Hubs (translation - I'm biting the poor man's head off on at least a daily basis). My patience is non-existent. My nerves are shot and I'm suddenly feeling fat, exhausted and unaccomplished.

To the untrained eye, these symptoms might be mistaken for PMS (possible, but unlikely). But, after spending some quality time with a top notch therapist I've learned that these are my early warning signs for the twin demons of depression and anxiety. My perfectionism kicks up a notch, everything gets on my nerves and I get the sinking feeling that no matter how much I seem to be accomplishing, I am woefully unprepared and under-qualified for any task at hand.

I'm not sad that my boys are growing up, or longing for the lazy-hazy-days-of-summer (any mother will tell you that the big chunks of unstructured time is enough to drive you crazy at least once per week). When I really slow down and think about it, I think it's about the change in routine. True, the school year is chock full of routine: Re-set kids bedtimes, pack lunches, morning marathon, drop off to school, dash to the train, meetings-meetings-meetings, dash back to the train, dinner, homework, piano, bath, books, bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But this year, the boys are starting a new school in a new town. My morning routine of dashing around the corner to daycare or nursery school is no more. I have to account for traffic, drop off for two (the same location will make it a bit easier, grant you), navigating a new train station and its own parking nightmares, new train schedule, etc. There's nothing terribly frightening about any of these things, but as any working mother knows a good routine can be a lifesaver. So when the routine that has pulled you through for nearly 6 years is about to change, that might be cause for a bit of panic.

In the end, I know that I'll make it through. There will be a few bumps in the road, missed train connections, late morning arrivals. Hopefully no more yelling than usual. But I'm giving myself a moment to mourn my beautifully orchestrated morning routine...

...and looking forward to settling into a new one. 

Makeup Mondays with D'angelo Thompson

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Beauty on a Budget
By D'angelo Thompson

If you are beauty savvy but want to save money I suggest going to your local beauty supply store and splurge on lashes, eye and lip products- $20 can go a lonnnng way!



-- 
D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author
www.dangelothompson.com

We've Come a Long Way, Baby...

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For better or for worse. Those words sounded so romantic, so poetic on our wedding day. Little did I know just how real they would become over the course of our marriage.

Let's do the math:
  • 12 years together
  • 8 years of marriage
  • 2 mortgages
  • 1 two pound, thirteen ounce baby boy, born at
  • 32 weeks
  • 1 nine pound, 8 ounce baby boy with
  • 4 hospitalizations related to sickle cell
  • 5 surgeries (mine) 
  • 1 nervous breakdown (mainly mine, but I'm sure I'll drive Angel to have one eventually)
Yet, here we are. Older than at the beginning, with more gray and a few extra pounds. A lot more sleep deprived, a bit less spontaneous, but truly stronger than ever.

On August 15, 2004 I was blessed to marry my best friend. A man who knows me better than myself, who balances out my perfectionist/anxiety-ridden/Type-A madness with just the right combination of cool, calm and collected. He celebrates my victories, holds me in times of despair, makes me laugh and always has my back.

I knew that I loved Angel Torres shortly after I met him. What I didn't know was how much my life would change because of him. We have been through immense highs and soul-crushing lows. And through it all, we are still here. Still standing. Still laughing.

And still in love.

Happy anniversary, baby.

Beauty Mondays with D'angelo Thompson

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Are you ready for fall 2012?
By D'angelo Thompson

While getting everyone ready for school, work, etc..check in with yourself and examine your beauty regime. Fall/Winter is the best time to switch it up and try a  nice peel with a laser or acidic natural  products at your spa can help reboot your glow.

Beating Coxsackie Cabin Fever

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What's worse than a summer cold? A good old fashion summer-camp-infectious-disease. My boys have been home for 5 and 7 days, respectively, with coxsackie virus. Don't Google it - trust me, you don't want to see that nastiness. Basically, the virus is wildly contagious, seems to travel through swimming pools (or at least that's how my boys always get it) and is accompanied by high fever and a rash on the hands, feet or in the mouth. 

We got lucky this time around. Victor's fever stayed in the low 100's and the rash was not painful, - focused mainly around his palate and tongue. Angel's fever spiked higher and he had bad headaches for the first 2 days. His main complaint was swollen tonsils (this kid is a tonsilectomy waiting to happen...).

I stayed home with Victor last Sunday and Monday. By Monday night, Angel's fever spiked and we kept them both home from camp for the remainder of the week. The Hubs took the mid-week shift (God bless him), and I'm back on duty today. 

The hard part about this kind of thing is that after 3 or 4 days, the kids are bouncing off of the walls but are technically still contagious. Their immune systems are also suppressed from the crazy virus, so we didn't want to send them back to camp and risk picking up something worse. 

Today, cabin fever was in FULL EFFECT. They were literally bouncing off of the walls, so I blew up the bouncy house in the back yard and let them get the sillies out for a good 70 minutes. Then we had lunch and, thankfully, both boys (and The BadAssMama) took a nap.

During a break in the action, I took a peek at Facebook and saw that today (August 10) is National S'mores Day. First of all, why have I NEVER heard of this before? What an AWESOME "holiday!" The pictures took me back to my days as a Girl Scout making S'mores around the campfire at day camp, or low tech at home over a candle (don't judge me). 

I always keep graham crackers in the house, but alas I had no Hershey's bars or marshmallows handy (BadAssMama diet tip - if it's not in the house, I can't eat it). Making S'mores would have been a great way to transform our cabin fever into an awesome summer memory.

The good news is, there's always tomorrow! I see a trip to the grocery store in my near future, and a batch of ooey gooey S'mores (and memories galore) to share with my boys. 

Want to create your own campfire memory? Check out the Hershey's Facebook page for recipes and tips. Happy S'Mores Day!


The BadAssMama's Guide to Life

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A lot of people ask me how I do it - mom, wife, executive, blogger (all around badass...). My usual answer is "Caffeine and denial" (mainly true). Other times, I explain that I just don't sleep (also true). Or I'll say that I just keep running until I have a mental breakdown - roughly every 6 weeks or so (really true).

The honest answer is that I've learned a few tricks that help to keep me going - and keep me focused on the things that I really WANT to do. I do not believe that we can do it all. But by following a few simple tricks, you can do all that YOU want to do:

  • Embrace imperfection - As a recovering perfectionist, this is one of the hardest rules for me, but one of the most important. I've learned to embrace "good enough" and realized that my 60% is often more than most folks' 110%.
  • Stop doing stuff that you don't like  - I used to try to do everything: join the PTA, throw dinner parties, keep up with current events, attend networking events. While there are many things that I must do to keep my family clothed and healthy, there are lots of things that I USED to do simply because I thought that I was SUPPOSED to do them. So I ask myself a simple question before I do anything: Do I WANT to do this, or am I doing it because I'm SUPPOSED to? By cutting out all of the "supposed to's" I found plenty of time to do all the stuff that I actually want to.
  • Be selfish - I love my kids, my husband, my friends and family. But if I don't carve out time every day to do something just for me, I end up terrorizing all of them (plus everyone at my job and half the population of Twitter...). Being selfish is a virtue - put on your oxygen mask before you assist others. 
  • Drink wine  - or eat cake, or watch reality TV or read trash magazines or get lost in your favorite book. Whatever it is that brings you joy, find a way to make it a regular part of your routine.
  • Know yourself - I like to organize and plan. I appreciate structure and accomplishment. I am much better (and happier) helping my kids with homework and piano lessons, or snuggling with them over a few dozen books than rolling around on the floor playing robot for 4 hours. I may not be the "fun" parent, but I'm ok with that. Instead of being jealous over the way my husband can build a fort or block towers, I've learned to appreciate the unique way that I connect with my boys. 
  • Treat time like money - I used to complain that there were never enough hours in the day, even once I stopped doing the stuff that I was supposed to do. Then I read an incredible book called 168 Hours. After reading this book, I tracked what I did every 30 minutes for 2 weeks. I found that I could waste up to 3 hours each day on Facebook, Twitter, or watching yet another Law & Order marathon. While there's nothing wrong with these things, I learned to be more mindful with my time, and before I knew it I had more time to do the things I really want to do.
  • Celebrate your success  - It's oh-so-easy for me (and other Type-A-perfectionists out there) to focus on the next item on the to-do list rather than celebrating the small victories in every day. Did you lose 5 pounds? Instead of focusing on the 10+ you have left, celebrate the 5 that are gone! Finished 2 items on your 20-item to do list? Dance in your living room! You work hard every day. Celebrate every win, no matter how small. 
  • Be kind to yourself - At the end of the day, we're all trying our best. Cut yourself (and others) some slack and give yourself a break. You deserve it (even when you think you don't).

Beauty Mondays with D'angelo Thompson

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot
By D'angelo Thompson

I'm not talking about coffee but a firming/moisturizing or hydrating masque  once every two weeks can be an instant refresher to your skin. When applying masque also do neck and chest. My favorite brands are Dr. Perricone, Mario Badescu and or Amari Pacific.


-- 
D'angelo Thompson, make up, groomer, beauty educator, blogger  and author
www.dangelothompson.com

What Mom REALLY Means

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What Mom Said

What She REALLY Means


Honey, can you please help me with the laundry?

Do this laundry or so help me God I will shank you…

I’m going to bed early tonight

Right after I finish the laundry YOU didn’t get to, check homework, pack lunches, set up clothes for tomorrow and do 2 more hours of work

Mommy needs a minute, baby

Will I EVER get to pee in peace?


Don’t kick your brother in the pee pee

Don’t kick your brother in the pee pee

I’ll be right there

I’m going to hide in the bathroom with a magazine and hope you forget that you called me…

Sleep tight, boys
5am is NOT the new black. Please stay in bed until 6:30…7:00 if it’s the weekend

What’s going on up there?
Where is your father?

Don’t make me come up there!
Is there ANY wine left in this house??

You are not the boss, mister
I hope you don’t realize that you are the boss…

Mommy loves you
You are the most amazing thing that’s ever happened in my life. I can’t believe that you are mine