Every year I make myself the same promise:  Start shopping early so I’m not the asshole sweating it out at Walgreens on Christmas Eve wondering if my secret Santa would prefer windshield wiper fluid or blackhead scrub.

The key part of that sentence is “every year”.  Unfortunately I’m not great at learning from my mistakes *pours more tequila in blender* and I’m sure this holiday season you will again find me perusing the pharmacy aisle for stocking stuffers at the 11th hour.

But this year, I’m going to help one lucky reader avoid the gift giving time squeeze because I am giving away three great prizes that you can give to that special someone, or keep for yourself (I won’t judge).

Prize #1:  Personalized container from Take This Personally.

Stacey is an amazing artist and can pretty much paint whatever design you want on a handy personalized storage container.  The winner will receive a small container (like what is pictured here) but she also does cups, platters, popcorn sets, beer steins and just about anything else you can think of.  For real… just imagine how together you’ll look if you have the foresight to PERSONALIZE SOMEONE’S GIFT.  I mean HAVE SOMEONE PERSONALIZE SOMEONE’S GIFT.  This gift is the perfect mix of cute and practical, sort of like your “yoga” pants.  Simple to order – just give her a shout out on her Facebook page.  You’ll need to order by December 5 to make it in time for Christmas, and November 30 for Hanukkah.

2.  Copy of the children’s book Absolute Mayhem by Kelly Suellentrop.

Absolute Mayhem GraphicsKelly is a local (St. Louis) author and this book is precious beyond words.  It’s a story filled with imagination and fun and the illustrations are adorable.  My kids ask to read it every night, and what parent doesn’t love getting new books for their kids to further their learnin’?

It is available for pre-order on Amazon now and will be printed and in your hot little hands in early December.  It’s also easy to frantically wrap in the driver’s seat of a mini van outside your college friends’ annual holiday party.

3.  Moonstruck Fiber Lashes from YouNique

Okay.    mascaraSo here’s the deal with this little gem.  If you haven’t used it yourself, you have probably heard about it because oh my god it makes your lashes look amazeballs.  I recently had a night out with my fancy friends – the friends who have tried every beauty product known to woman (and man, god love their patient husbands) – and we talked about this mascara for A HALF HOUR.

Imagine giving this as a gift and everyone would be all “Look at you and your knowledge of beauty and fashion” and you would be all “Yeah no doy I’m awesome” and you would for shiz be the winner of Christmas.  Or something.  Check out the mascara and tons of other awesome products on her website here.


1.  ‘Like’ the Facebook pages of Take This Personally, Kelly Suellentrop and No Lash Envy.  I’ve even provided hyper links for your clicking pleasure – you’re welcome.

2.  Then leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me the weirdest gift you’ve ever received.  Could be holiday-related, or birthday or anniversary – whatevs.

I’ll randomly pick a winner on Monday, November 24 so rub your lucky rabbits foot, nail a horse shoe above your door then throw a salt shaker at your kids and maybe this year you won’t show up at your in-law’s house bearing gift wrapped hemorrhoid cream.

CONTEST RULES:  Contest open to legal U.S. residents age 18 and over.  Family members and advertising partners of site administrator are not eligible to win.  Winner will be randomly selected among eligible entries on Monday, November 24 at 12pm CST.  Prize may not be redeemed for cash.  Winner will be notified via Facebook, Twitter and email.  If winner does not claim prize within 24 hours, alternate winner will be selected.

DISCLOSURE:  I was provided services, goods and/or monetary compensation for this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 



The Big Wine Trough In The Sky


Sitting in the carpool lane gives a woman a lot of time to think. Time to think about what she’s going to make for dinner. Time to think if her yoga pants have exceeded their expiration date. Time to think about when the neighbors are going to start complaining because her unkept lawn is starting to encroach onto theirs. And, unfortunately, time to think about more unpleasant things, like what if an airplane fell out of the sky onto her mini van, leaving her husband to raise three girls solo. And while I’m sure my husband would be fine if left to his own devices – our girls would grow to be the cutest little linebackers the St. Louis Rams have ever seen – there are a lot of details I worry about. Like, who’s going to teach them about the pitfalls of lip liner? Or how to make a pair of yoga pants stretch for six days in between washes? And what about the house? Who’s going to remember to change the Air Wicks, or know which patch of weeds to ignore (Hint:  All of them). I shudder as they pile into my mini van, oblivious to the value I bring to their lives. Sadly, I realize that my husband has no idea what I do here all day, let alone appreciates it. Dead […]

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I Went To My High School Reunion (And Survived)


I am going to let you in on a little secret.  Brace yourselves because it’s probably going to come as quite the shock. I haven’t always been this cool.  It’s hard to believe as I’m commandeering a mini van filled with screaming children around town, but there was a point in my teenage years when I could have passed for a middle aged man. For the most part, my life has been uphill from there.  I mean, I hate to brag but I own a Sonicare and once had a date describe my propensity for eating buffet food as “impressive”.  Mailing in my RSVP I was pretty sure a lot of people were going to see me and kick themselves for missing out on this hot action twenty years ago. “Which sounds more enviable – recording artist or gymnast?”  I asked my friend Heidi as we wound down our three-hour road trip and neared the town limits. I had strong armed the one person from high school I keep in touch with into going with me because while I was feeling brave about facing my past, walking in by myself was another whole story. I inhaled and adjusted my Spanx. The first item on our weekend agenda was the Homecoming parade.  Our class had a float and we were going to be on public display […]

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Thoughts Before I Run My First Marathon. Or, My Last Will And Testament.


Friends, Romans, countrymen.  Something really bad is about to happen.  This Sunday I am running my first marathon.  Okay, half marathon.  Okay okay… the split half relay.  But it is still 6.5547 miles… an activity that definitely falls well into the category Things I Have No Business Doing. My Friend Mandy guilted me into signing up about eight months ago when I went over to her house to give her and her newborn baby a visit.  I had barely sat down before she launched into a sales pitch of how she needed support to get her baby weight off and wouldn’t it be fun if we all ran a race together and oh by the way they serve beer at the end of the Rock and Roll one in October and YOU try saying no to some sleep deprived blubbering mess with big puffy eyes and a baby sucking all remaining life energy through her nipple trying to bribe you with beer while you’re holding a pan of lasagna on your lap. “Sure I’ll sign up,”  I said, slipping two Benadryl in her coffee and patting her head. Apparently my memory-erasing plan didn’t work because the following week she forwarded me a Groupon.  The jig was up.  She signed up on a team with her husband; I signed up on a team with my sister. […]

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The Pilates Girl on TV is a Sadomasochist (and a give-a-way)


This fall style inspiration is brought to you by Ross Dress For Less You guys.  So far I’m down about 7 1/2 pounds – the weight of an entire person.  When they are born.  You can follow along with me every Wednesday on my Facebook page when I share the results of that morning’s Weight Watchers weigh-in.  I may also ask for encouragement, prayers, mojo, donations and/or voodoo.  Because I’m not gonna lie this sucks ROYALLY and I need all the help and encouragement I can get. As awful as my mealtimes are, I will say that shopping is a lot more fun now that hangie downie thing on my stomach is beginning to retreat to the hell fires from whence it came.  I am starting to see the fruits of my labor, and those fruits are prominently displayed in this hot hot hottie dress. I’ve partnered up with Ross Dress For Less to show you some of their new fall styles, and lemme just tell you… this little number was $16.99. ALL THE YESSES. Right now they are running a promotion on their Facebook page to help give you inspiration for some fall looks, as well as a $150 gift card give-a-way. Here’s what you do: Visit their Facebook page to vote for your favorite fall blogger look Each week they’ll be sharing a […]

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Last year I was honored to be one of fourteen women to speak at St. Louis’ inaugural Listen To Your Mother show.  I was nervous because, like most people who choose to become a writer vs. a runway model, I’m more comfortable revealing my soul without people focusing on the fact that I carry 90% of my body weight under my chin. My friend Carrie came over to do my hair and make-up; you all helped me pick my outfit. The day the videos were published on YouTube I settled onto the couch, opened a fresh can of Diet Pepsi and hit play.  Though it was painful to watch myself on camera, I was relieved that everything on my body appeared to be in its intended place and I didn’t have any visible boogers. But then I started talking.  It looked like I was missing my bottom tooth. “WTF?”  I thought, my hand flying to my mouth to see if I had somehow missed my bottom incisor removing itself from my gum.  Nope, still there.  Was it just camera shy?  I ran to the mirror and noticed that it was there, but evidently over the past twenty years had shifted back into its preferred position – horizontal.  Sort of like my sisters.  Opah! I’ve been slightly preoccupied the past several years, and keeping three little […]

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To Lillian On Her Fourth Birthday


Dear Lila, A few weeks ago we were eating breakfast at a restaurant when a middle aged woman timidly approached our table. “You have beautiful girls,” She said. “Thank you!”  I postured, anticipating the motherly compliments that usually come with taking you and your sisters out in public. “I have two sisters,”  She continued.  “And that one…” she paused, pointing at you. “THAT one was born with a gift.” “Go on…”  I said, stuffing a sausage link in my mouth. “She’s your middle girl.  That’s special.  She’s going to grow up instinctively knowing how to be a leader and a follower.  How to protect and how to be vulnerable, asking for help when she needs it.  How to admire and appreciate someone who can do what she can’t, and how to teach someone how to do what she can.  She’s really lucky.  Not everyone gets that gift.” And just like that, she totally shattered the stigma I had always associated with being the middle child.  The guilt I carry around that it’s you who gets overlooked, lost in the shuffle, doesn’t know what role she’s supposed to play. But you’ve always known, even if I haven’t.  Your role is to make us all laugh.  To hop around instead of walk while you squeeze my hand and give random strangers high fives as you prance by […]

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