How I Part My Hair

I never realized how controversial a hair part could get. You want to know which way I part my hair?  Depending on the day, whichever way it looks the least dirty.  Truly that is it. Whether my hair will be a side part or down the middle is solely based on which style looked more acceptable post dry shampoo. 

If you see me with my hair slicked back and in a bun- understand that you should not get too close to my hair. On a slicked back bun day I have likely gone one day beyond what you would consider an acceptable time to not wash one’s own hair.  Sorry, not sorry.  Washing my hair yesterday would have robbed me of the 20 minutes it took me to help my daughter with her math homework.  You see it requires me watching several you tube videos where some nice lady teaches me how to do common core fractions, so that both my children and I can survive this afternoon without anyone banging their head against a table. 

There are so many things to worry about. I’ve never wished to be a dog more in my entire life. Between having survived year one of a global pandemic, worrying about my parents and basically all the “elderly” people in our lives, stressing about our children’s well being and also teaching them at home, worrying about our businesses, worrying about our society as a whole, a toxic presidential election, plus the other day to day shit of you know, being an adult, now I have to hear that there’s a movement of Gen Z kids telling me I can’t side part my hair anymore because it makes me look old?! 

Young ladies, gather around.  Let me tell you a story about a lady who DOES NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT! It also leaves me wondering how do you have time for this shit?

Why don’t you do things that would actually be, I don’t know, helpful?  For example you could send me your playlists. I admit it- your playlists are probably better than mine. You know what else is helpful?Those tutorials. Honestly if not for you I would not know how to do my hair when I do find the time to wash it every 4 (ok really 7) days. 

As I have been trying to tell you dry shampoo saves lives.

Classic Camarones Enchilados (Cuban Shrimp Creole)

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Ani Mezerhane

I love a one pot recipe. Makes cooking and the cleaning so much easier. This recipe will take you up to 40 minutes tops, and if you make the sofrito ahead of time, it will take you not even 20 minutes. Great for a weekday when you are short on time. The best part is, it’s delicious and in my opinion so comforting. Enjoy!

  • 1 cubanelle pepper, finely chopped  
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped  
  • 2 white onions, finely chopped 
  • 26 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Parsley, finely chopped 
  • 1.25 – 1.5 pounds, large shrimp, peeled, devained with tails on 
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup extra Virgin olive oil 
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt
  • Pepper to taste 
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes 
  • 1 packet of Sazón con achiote 
  • 1 teaspoon of creole seasoning 
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce 
  • A few threads of saffron, bloomed in 1 cup of seafood stock 
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of brandy, I like Cardenal Mendoza 

In a large sauce pan, add onions, peppers, red pepper flakes, Sazon, salt and pepper. Sauté for 8 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and cook but don’t let it burn.

Once softened, pour in tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire, cardenal Mendoza brandy and saffron with water. Cook for 5 minutes on high so that it begins to boil. 

Dry the shrimp. Sprinkle creole seasoning,  salt and pepper on the shrimp. Sauté for 3-6 minutes in the sofrito or until they are bright pink and curled up. Mix each shrimp to assure both sides are cooking.

Add parsley and serve.

Cuban Natilla

This is my all time favorite Cuban desserts, of all Cuban desSerts and if you know anything about Cuban desert- you know there is some serious competition. Each bite is a creamy, luscious, spoonful of heaven. I have always been intimidated by it. It seemed too delicious for me to attempt to make it. I imagined it had to be complicated or out of my skill level. Enter Chef Ani Martinez. We got together and made it a few different ways. Finally we found the easiest and best (in our opinion) way to make it smooth and creamy, and it really doesn’t take too long to do. It’s also very straightforward, and just requires about 15-20 minutes of your time. So get out your leche condensada people, it’s go time:

  • 1 can (12 oz) of evaporated milk
  • 1 can (14 oz) of condensed milk
  • 20 oz of whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean cut lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons of natural Tahitian vanilla
  • Ground cinnamon for dusting

In a blender add the egg yolks, salt, evaporated milk, condensed milk. Add the whole milk into the empty can of evaporated milk, use a spoon to scrape the sides and get all the evaporated milk, and add half the can of condensed milk (this will total about 20 oz and help you scrap down all the gooey sides of the can.) Blend on high to incorporate.

In a bowl mix together the cornstarch with the water until it is completely dissolved.

Strain this and add to the blender. Mix on high again, scraping the sides to be sure everything is incorporated.

Add this mixture to a heavy bottom pot and turn heat to medium. Add the cinnamon sticks, and the vanilla bean being sure to scrape out the seeds.

IMPORTANT: Mix constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Once you start this recipe you are committed for the next 12 minutes.

It will start to thicken after about 6 minutes.

BE PATIENT. If you feel the bottom of the pan is sticking don’t scrape it. Just let it be and slowly mix the top portion only.

Drop to low once you see it thickening and cook for another 5-7 minutes on low stirring slowly.

Strain this mixture into individual portions or a large ramekin. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Let it set in the fridge a few hours. Serve with toasted pound cake.

The Best Homemade Brownies

I bribe my kids. There I said it. They do their homework, treat. They pick up their room, treat. They put their shoes away, treat. I learned this method from getting and training our puppy. It’s extremely effective. Stumbling upon this recipe has made bribing them much easier. The best part is how easy it is. I got it from Love and Lemons and my daughter and I now make it about once a week. It takes not even 10 minutes to mix it all together and throw in the oven. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar*
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil**
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish (not a 9×9 dish or your brownies will overcook) with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, water, and vanilla.
  • Sprinkle the dry mix over the wet mix and stir until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan (it’ll be thick – that’s ok) and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake for 40 to 48 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs attached (note: it’s better to pull the brownies out early than to leave them in too long). Cool completely before slicing.*** Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. These also freeze well!

Notes

*If you’d like to reduce the sugar, I’ve had success with 1 cup granulated sugar instead of 1 1/2 cups.**I like to use olive oil because it’s what I keep on hand and I enjoy the pairing of olive oil with chocolate. Keep in mind that you will taste it here. For a more neutral flavor, use canola oil.***When these brownies come out of the oven, they’ll be super gooey in the middle. Allow them to cool completely, about 2 hours, before you slice into them to give them a chance to set up. They’ll continue to firm up the longer they’re out of the oven. If you still prefer a firmer brownie, store them in the fridge.

SW 41: It’s Been A While…

Happy New Year

Happy 2021.  I think that by February we should probably stop saying Happy New Year! But it’s the first time in quite some time that I’ve sent a newsletter, and it only felt right to start there.  

I think we can all safely agree that last year, 2020, was an utter calamity.  A complete shit show wrapped in a dumpster fire that just wreaked havoc on any and everyone in it’s path.  

Our family has been very fortunate to have steered clear of COVID, but we were not without tragedy.  We lost my grandfather, Cesar Odio, to a very aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.  It was brutal for us, as it was about 3 weeks from the time of diagnosis to the time of his death.  There was not much time to process or cope. 

In the last three months, I have learned that grief comes in waves and these waves are very unexpected.   This last weekend was his birthday.  He would have been 85.  I wanted to send this newsletter last week in celebration, but it hit me that it would be the first time since I started this blog, that I would send a newsletter out and he wouldn’t be reading it.  I chickened out.

Every time I sent a newsletter I always knew at least one person was going to read it, and that person was going to be Beto (our nickname for him).  I knew without fail, I would hear from him after to tell me what he thought.  Sure enough a few hours after sending, there would be the reply I was waiting for.  A quick little something like this: 

I realized last week, that this would be the first time I would not be getting a reply like this back.  I’m not saying this to you for pity.  I’m not looking for one of you to send me this reply.  In fact what I think we can take from this, is a little inspiration to bring a little Beto to the people we love in the world.  Encourage your people.  Show them love.  Be their fan.  

The last thing you need here is a lecture, but living in this world is hard enough.  Especially now with all the negativity and division in the news cycles and in our feeds.  Be someone’s Beto.  And if one or two of you want to write back telling me how wonderful I am, I am not above admitting that I would obviously love that.  

xoxo,
Cristina 

The Big Reddit Short 

At this point you have heard about what happened in the stock market last week. You have been hearing the words Gamestop, short, hedgefund, Robinhood and so on in your feed in some form or another. The story is big. It has so many moving parts and could seem really intimidating for most of us who have no idea how any of that stuff works.

To be able to completely and thoroughly understand what happened last week, would take a lot more than reading a blog post. Especially this particular post, as I am in no way an expert in this area. So I naturally thought it would be fitting for me to give you a breakdown. Don’t worry I googled, watched MSNBC, and asked my husband to explain about 100 times. I got this. Ready? Click HERE for full article.


Standouts of the Week 

Mercury Retrograde.  I am sorry if I am the one that is breaking you this terrible news, but Mercury has indeed been retrograding down on all of us.  Please don’t comment to me telling me you don’t believe.  The universe is working overdrive right now.  Everyone I know is coming in hot.  I repeat, HOT!  On the bright side, it’s a built in excuse if you happen to lose your shit on one of your kids because they still haven’t put their shoes on.  Click HERE for a how to survive retrograde guide. 

Golden Globes Nominations Announced. I love to see the list of nominees, and see what movies or shows I might have missed.  This being the year I thought I had finished Netflix, turns out there are a few things I didn’t catch.  (Hillbilly Elegy, Black Monday, Unorthodox) I think they missed some Comedy actor and series nominees (Insecure and Never Have I Ever).  I mean look I watched Emily in Paris twice I enjoyed it so much, but should it have been nominated for “best” meh.  Unconvinced.  There is also a little controversy over Bridgerton not receiving any nominations.  Again- as someone who watched Bridgerton (probably more than twice) were you really watching for the writing, acting, and the compelling storyline? NO ONE BELIEVES YOU. However you decide for yourself.  HERE is the list for who is nominated and HERE is the list for who was “snubbed”.  This picture of the Duke was totally just to thirst trap you. 

Netflix Moves fast.   Netflix is already working on adapting the Gamestop short fiasco (see above or anywhere on the internet) and they have cast this guy: 

How many times can one be thirst trapped in one newsletter?  They have cast Noah Centineo, and I look forward to how the somehow get him to take his shirt off at some point in the film.  

Jeff Bezos is Retiring. That’s it.  Just thought you should know.  Can read full article HERE

TV Addict Update  

As we have established, time and time again, I watch too much TV.

HERE are my top shows of 2020.  Did I miss any?

What’s on my list to watch next?
For Drama?
Your Honor (Showtime): Starring Bryan Cranston who just got nominated for a Golden Globe for his role.  He plays a judge who has to help his son create an alibi after getting involved in a tragic accident.  You can click the picture for the trailer. Haven’t seen it, but I heard it’s excellent.  


Sports Entertainment
Tiger (HBO):
 I have heard from countless people that this two part documentary on Tiger Woods is incredible.  It’s about his career, all that drama (that I had completely forgotten about by the way).  Going to check it out. 

Have a suggestion? Let me know

Wreak:
Wreak is a verb that means “to inflict” or “to carry out.” It’s most commonly used with havoc. However, it can also be used with other words, like ragerevenge, or destruction. Someone who wreaks vengeance inflicts punishment on those who hurt them.

2020 wreaked havoc
If you have a monthly prescription that costs you too much out of pocket go to Goodrx 
This is not an ad, I just think everyone should know

The Big Reddit Short

At this point you have heard about what happened in the stock market last week. You have been hearing the words Gamestop, short, hedgefund, Robinhood and so on in your feed in some form or another. The story is big. It has so many moving parts and could seem really intimidating for most of us who have no idea how any of that stuff works.

To be able to completely and thoroughly understand what happened last week, would take a lot more than reading a blog post. Especially this particular post, as I am in no way an expert in this area. So I naturally thought it would be fitting for me to give you a breakdown. Don’t worry I googled, watched MSNBC, and asked my husband to explain about 100 times. I got this. Ready?

The story is not that simple. Nor did it happen overnight. I am going to try my very best to explain this as quickly and easily as possible.

First there is the original Reddit post, which noticed that some hedge funds were taking a “short” position on Gamestop. This came about 190 days ago. What is a “short” position. In it’s most simplest form, it means to bet against. So these hedge funds commonly “short” certain stocks, and while it is risky it usually ends in a big pay day, and it’s a way the market sort of self corrects.

*If you have not seen The Big Short– highly recommend, helps you understand the financial fiasco of 2008 and the cast is incredible: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Kendall from Succession, with appearances from Pharell, Selena Gomez, Snoop Dog, and this one here from Margot Robbie who gives you a quick “short” explanation.

Usually the companies that are the target of the “short” are failing or have diminishing returns and are on the way to failure. They do not usually begin to improve. THIS IS IMPORTANT because if anything was to happen such as the company gets bought out, or creates a new patent or gets a drug approval, this would cause “a short squeeze” and as the price of the stock rises, these companies have to pay the difference with interest. A short squeeze is bad, because it means their bet didn’t work out.

So if I’m a fund and I want to short the “Bananas” their stock is at $10, things are not looking good for “Bananas” company, it hasn’t been doing well for a while. But alas! Looks like it’s pandemic and banana bread is the new flourless cake. Everyone wants bananas! Bananas are taking off and now their stock is worth $50. My short has been squeezed. I’m covered in banana puree.

Shorting a stock isn’t free. Whoever is taking the short position borrows the stock. In a very complicated manner that probably no one really understands, the short buyer, in this case the fund, will now owe the broker, to get out of the short, they will buy the stock at its current price, thus paying the $40 difference plus interest, fees…

Gamestop, which is considered to be in a dying brick and mortar industry, wasn’t the “blockbuster” company you might have thought it to be. It had $100 million in net cash, so bankruptcy is not as imminent as many short seller may have made it seem.

Now, back to the story. After the original Reddit post, some time passes, and two eccentric big name investors come into the story.

Enter Florida. Because a guy from Florida is always involved. Ryan Cohen is the former CEO of Chewy.com, whom famously took his 3.3 billion dollar buy out and only invested only in Apple and Wells Fargo, for the last 3 years. Until Gamestop (GME). Cohen took out 6.2 million shares of GME on August 31 (raising the price of the stock, limiting the amount of available stock, and signaling Gamestop may have potential).

This leads to Michael Burry (Christian Bale’s character in The Big Short), taking notice and he began to see the short position and decided to buy a significant amount of shares (again raising the stock price and limiting the amount available). The Reddit plan was going according to plan.

The hedge funds had to make a decision. Continue paying the fees on their short positions, or close out their short positions by paying the much inflated new price of the stock.

At this point Gamestop has gone from being valued at $17 in early January to being valued somewhere at almost $400. The people who got in early, and were able to sell made up to $13 million. It led to stories like this:

Some hedge funds are estimated to have taken a hit of about 5 billion and had to be bailed out by the other funds. They will live to short another day.

Proving my earlier point about there always being a South Florida connection. The owner of one of these hedge funds recently purchased not one but two homes on North Bay Road. Ah… Florida.

I’ve really simplified this. There are so many layers here. Some other stocks were in play like AMC (as in the movies) and Nokia (as in the flip phone you played snake on). I am trying to just pull out the meat and bones for you because what has happened here is historic. Never before has “the little guy” been able to manipulate the system the same way big hedge funds do every day.

If you are into the story, this is a good starting place for you, if my blog was the first place you started to read about it: https://thehustle.co/01262021-gamestop/

This guy is also a great follow on Instagram and gives a great perspective on what is happening: Dave Portnoy (President, Barstool Sports)

Click here for the 50 Best Memes on Buzzfeed like this one:

I left Robinhood and how they were involved out here which is a big part of the story. Nutshell: There is suspicion that Robinhood, stopped selling the GME stock in order to help the fund from losing more money. Robinhood argues that they just were maxed out and could not process any more purchases. There will be an investigation. Until then it is hard to say. I’m obviously going to keep following the story. Here are some links to get more information:

https://www.cnet.com/personal-finance/robinhood-why-it-stopped-gamestop-trades-everything-else-you-should-know/

https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2021/01/31/robinhood-explains-reasons-halting-trading-meme-stocks-last-week?email=robert.bustamante@gmail.com

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/gamestop-stock-plummets-short-squeeze-conditions-dissipate-citadel-melvin-capital-2021-2-1030028921

Fricase De Pollo

Being an active member of the internet, I have seen all the memes calling for bloggers to stop including a story before the recipe.

But this recipe brings back so many memories… haha I’m kidding. I will not bore you with the details. Just let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 8-10 chicken thighs (Bone-in, skinless) *See notes below
  • 2 cups mojo marinade (store bought is fine)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 ½  teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 red pepper (diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 cup dry white cooking wine
  • 2 healthy tablespoons of tomato paste 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup alcaparrado olives (pimiento stuff will also do)
  • 1 tablespoon olive juice from can
  • 2 packets sazon goya (cilantro achiote)
  • 2 small/medium russet potatoes cut into square chunks 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Marinade chicken pieces in mojo overnight or at least 30 minutes up to 24 hours.. 
  2. Once marinated, remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. **See notes below to know why
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt. 
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, over high heat.  Wait for the oil to get very hot. 
  5. Brown the chicken skin side down (in batches if need be to not over crowd the pan), will take about 7-9 minutes.  Then flip the chicken and cook for just about 2 minutes (doesn’t need to cook through).  Remove from pan and set aside. 
  6. Add the onions and red pepper to the pan.  Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, the sazon packets, oregano, cumin, and saute until translucent. Then add in the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. 
  7. Add the tomato paste and stir it into the veggies until it starts to look cooked out or about 2-3 minutes.  Add in the broth.  
  8. Add the wine to the pan and simmer with the veggies and paste for 5 minutes.  
  9. Add the chicken back into the pot.  Do not cover the chicken with the broth, want to keep the chicken braising without soaking the skin. 
  10. Simmer on medium/low heat  (covered) for 25 minutes, add potatoes, then simmer for another 25 minutes.

Notes

**Make sure to pat the chicken DRY before adding it to the oil. If you put them in wet you risk it splattering and burning you, and it will steam the chicken instead of browning. 

Best Shows of 2020

At this point we have seen all the memes about 2020, and thank God for them because they made this year even remotely tolerable.  The one that really struck home for me was the one about how this all could have been so much worse if it happened in 1995 and were at the mercy of that horrible TV guide channel.  I can still feel the pain of turning on the channel and just missing the information I needed, so I had to sit there and watch the entire guide go through again.  

I mean if we are going to be quarantined, this seems to be the time do it.   Imagine being quarantined, beach is closed, restaurants are closed, you’re fighting with your families constantly over what is and what is not safe, people you know are sick, homeschooling your children (when you’re terrible at math), worrying about our businesses, a presidential election- and only had MTV Real World to get us through.  Right? Nightmare.

Thankfully, we had so much more than Real World.  2020 was soul crushing in many many ways, but there was a lot of entertaining shows that came out this year.  Our TV pulled through. These are my top 8 that I feel you must absolutely watch if you haven’t already.  I mean what else are we doing? We have some more couch time ahead.

  1. The Morning Show: (Apple TV) Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, and an amazing Billy Crudup return.  It’s loosely based on Matt Lauer, but the writing is clever and almost every scene you are moved to re-examine a position or see a different perspective.  The acting is incredible, and did I mention Billy Crudup is back?!
  2. Little Fires Everywhere: (Hulu) Based on the best selling book, starring Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, and Joshua Jackson (yes Pacey).  It’s a mystery over who started a fire, but takes you through difficult family topics and race in such a deep and moving way.  
  3. The Undoing: (HBO) a murder mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end.  Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant (like you have never seen him) star alongside Donald Sutherland and his eyebrows.  Side note, his eyebrows steal the entire show whoever is responsible for styling them deserves a raise! You must see this show just to see Nicole Kidman’s wardrobe if for nothing else.  
  4. Ted Lasso: (Apple TV) I cannot stress this enough, this show is an absolute must.  The writing on this show is enough to move even the grumpiest person to a smile.  It is hard to even really capture in any amount of words how subtle yet magical this show is.  It’s the exact thing we humans needed in a time like this.  Run if you have not watched this one. full review HERE
  5. The Queen’s Gambit: (Netflix) this show wins you over almost as quickly as Beth Harmon (main character) can outsmart someone in a chess match.  It’s smart, and completely outside what you are used to watching.  There is also such a special attention to detail in each scene from the backdrop to the clothes.  It’s just such a great watch. 
  6. Tiger King: (Netflix) It’s an absolute dumpster fire or a documentary, but you have to watch it.  I mean at this point most of us have right? But this is for the one or two of you who think you need to hold off or it isn’t for you.  This should not have been for anyone, but you cannot stop watching.  For the record, Carole Baskin totally killed her husband.  There is no other alternative. 
  7. Never Have I Ever: (Netflix) Mindy Kaling is the mastermind behind this gem of a show.  This show!!! I loved it so much, I watched it twice.  Once alone, and once when I forced my husband and he unanimously agreed that this show is great.  I’m a sucker for a highschool drama, and this one had all of that but so much more.  It was funny and full of heart.  Not to mention it is narrated by John McEnroe which in it of itself should be enough of a hook for you to check it out.    Full review HERE
  8. My Octopus Teacher: (Netflix) This is a documentary that just sneaks up on you.  In a year where we all had so much struggle, this documentary really shows you that we are resilient.  It’s beautiful and profound, and I am convinced more than ever that octopus are aliens and we don’t deserve their majestic presence here.  Great to kill an hour or so and there is so much for you to take from it. 

Honorabe Mentions: Normal People (Hulu), The Fight Attendant (HBO Max), Bridgerton (Netflix and AMAZING)

Ted Lasso, 2020’s Hero

Nutshell: Apple TV, light, unexpected, like a big warm hug, husband loved, Sudeikis, absolute must watch

CB Rating: 9.2

Oh, what to say about Ted Lasso that would correctly sum up your urgent need to watch this show.

On paper, you will hear what this show is about and some of you may be turned off. The show is a classic fish out of water story. Ted Lasso, a classic all American mid-western football coach ends up in London coaching soccer. I need you to stop. Full stop. Hear me out. You must give it a chance. I challenge you to watch two episodes and not see what I see here.

The show starts slow and it never really picks up, at least not in any way that you are expecting or traditionally experience these days.  I can’t fully explain how, but somewhere after the second episode you really start to just love this guy and the entire cast really. This show was able to bring perspective while at the same time making me laugh out loud.

He is a classic Kansas boy down to the college football coaching career, and we find him somewhere in London somehow coaching a soccer team.  How is this even a concept for a show? But it just works.  The underlying story has been told, but the take on it is so fresh.  This is one of the few shows out there that leaves you feeling good when you’re done. 

The cast is eclectic and mostly made up of people you’ve never really seen before, and by the end of the season they become people you cannot live without (i.e. Roy Kent, sigh).  This show slowly brings you out of this rut that 2020 has dragged you into.  It is vulnerable, honest, and funny in the most unexpected of ways. 

In a year where there is so many negative things coming at you all day, this show just brings joy. The underlying story has been told, but the take on it is so fresh.  This is one of the few shows out there that leaves you feeling good when you’re done. It’s the tv equivalent of a big warm hug.

Ted Lasso is the hero this year needs. Click below to watch the trailer.

My Deep Dark Fantasy

Moms.

I have a deep dark secret fantasy.  I’ve had this deep dark fantasy for just about 10 years now. The idea came to me late one night as I was nursing and changing our then new born daughter.  Just the very thought of going through with this fantasy brought an immediate smile to my face.  Then the idea just started to grow and develop over the years.  

Now, three kids later, on those days where I can’t get more than three minutes and twenty four seconds to cohesively put a thought together.  Between the constant discussions of what is available for snack, negotiating screen time, or refereeing the 119th fight of the day my fantasy carries me through.  

I have, on occassion, shared this fantasy over the years.  Carefully.  I didn’t want to be judged or shamed for these feelings.  But what I started to realize is, this fantasy of mine, this fantasy that has blossomed and carried me through some pretty dark days of parenting, is not only mine.  The mom friends I have shared it with have always looked back at me with enthusiastic approval and have even brought fresh ideas to make the fantasy, better.  

So what is this super secret 10 year in development fantasy?  It starts with a holiday, whether it be my birthday, anniversary, christmas, or especially Mother’s Day-  my husband, who completely on his own has noticed how hard I have been working to take care of the kids and the house, gives me a card.  Now this isn’t any card.   This card holds a hotel room key.  This hotel room key is not to the local Holiday inn. No sir. I am talking about the Four Seasons, or The Ritz Carlton room key.  Stay with me.  

This hotel room key isn’t for us to share the weekend together.  No.  This super secret fantasy does not actually include another living soul.  This room key is just for me. To go alone.  By myself.  To this beautiful, cleaned by someone else room.  

Picture it.  I am in a car.  Listening to the music I want to listen to when I pull up.  The valet will say “welcome” and I will respond “indeed”.  I go straight up to my room, immediately undress, put on the plush fresh white robe and just throw myself on the bed.  Sometimes in the fantasy I do a snow angel move on the bed, sometimes I fall directly asleep.  Eventually,  I pick up the remote, turn on the TV, and  browse the “in theatre” movie options and then make my way to the room service menu.  

I pick the movie.  It’s not a cartoon, or an action drama.  It’s just a cheesy RomCom and there is no one around to offer commentary on how dumb it is.  I order myself a cheeseburger with french fries and a bottle of wine.  None of which can make me fat (this is a fantasy).  It arrives.  I watch the movie with a burger in one hand, sauce is probably on my face- I don’t care.  I’m alone.  I wipe the sauce with the french fry and eat it- because I can.  

I miss my husband and kids for a second because I have a heart. So I send a little I love you text and smile. Because when I look up, I’m still alone.  In a huge king bed.    I fall asleep.  In silence.  Alone.  I wake up in the morning, on my own. No alarms.  There’s no one jumping on me, or yelling, or asking if they can use an Ipad.  It’s just me.  I hear the birds chirping and I imagine some Frou Frou song playing the background.  Alone.

I think what my subconcious is trying to tell us, is that as moms, it’s easy to fill the day meeting the needs of the kids, husbands, other family members and dogs, but what we have to remember is that we are here too.  No we can’t escape to a hotel and make snow angels on the bed in a robe, but we can find a little time in the day that’s just for us.  We may have to lock a door or two to find it, but it’s essential.  

This year has been especially challenging and overwhelming.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Don’t be afraid to say, I need 15 minutes, alone, to just be me.  Taking off the “mom” hat and allowing yourself some time to meet your own needs, whatever that may be.  It will make you that much better when you return.