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My Favorite NYC Photo

On Saturday, fourteen of us cabbed to John's Pizzeria for the most incredible New York pizza.  I'm still having visions of pizza dancing in my head.  (My visions might make me drool just a little bit, but I didn't just say type admit that.)

On the way to John's, I sat up front with the cabbie.

He scared me.

At first.

And then?

He didn't.

His initial gruffness turned to cautious friendliness, followed by outright delight.

His name is Spiro. 

This photo of Spiro is my favorite photo out of the zillions I took during my six days in NYC.

Everything about it says "New York" to me.

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Thank you Spiro, so much, for allowing me to photograph you!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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California – Here I Come!

I'm headed back across the country today.  I won't arrive back to The OC until fairly late tonight.

I hate traveling.

I hate traveling all the way across the country even more.  It makes for a very long-ass day and a lot of exhaustion.  Making today's trip even worse, I seem to have come down with my son's stomach/fever bug last night … just in time for the trip home.  Is there anything worse than being sick and having to stand in lines at airports, or sit squished like a sardine on a plane?

Bleh!

BUT …

I've had a great trip to New York.

Great!

I have forty bazillion photos to go through when I get home.  I have so many stories, events, sights to share with you.  It will probably be Wednesday before you see what I consider a "normal" post from me.  In the meantime, I'll be filling in with some New York photos with a little drivel on the side. 

I hope you'll be patient.

Have I mentioned my feet hurt even when I'm not on them?  I haven't stopped walking in days.

Also, can you believe I've had to act like a girl sometimes while I was here?  I couldn't wear my usual jeans, tee-shirts and flip flops every moment of the day.  (I did sneak them in a lot though!)

At one point, I had to return to my room for a boobage adjustment.  My daughter snapped this rare photo of me in a dress.  I just HAD to share, because I never, ever, wear dresses. 

Boobage

See?!

Proof I really AM a woman!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Top of the Rock

On Thursday my daughter and I went to the top of the Rockefeller Center.  I don't usually post pictures of my kids but I asked, and she gave me permission to share this photo.

TaySuz
It was (so) hot and humid that day … we look a bit wilted.  It was a lot of fun anyway.  The views were incredible. 

I went a little nuts with the photography while I was up there.  (And yes, I AM living with my arm taped up and covered with pain med patches ….  Why do you ask?)

I can't wait to share more about this trip, but I barely have time to breathe – I'm nonstop busy.  I'm having lots of fun and meeting some amazing, interesting, people.

Smooches to all of you!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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New York City’s Finest

I'm not in Orange County anymore.

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And there really is no place in the world like New York City.

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At least he has an okay body …

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I mean, it could be worse.

(And now I can say I've seen an almost-naked Naked Cowboy.)

© Twenty Four At Heart

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I’ve Arrived in NYC

I got into NYC around 8 p.m. last night.

I woke up at 4 a.m. yesterday morning to begin the travel process.

I'm tired.

I had a layover in Dallas where I heard a lot of cool Texas accents and saw people in cowboy boots and cowboy hats.  I don't see a lot of that in The OC.

I love New York City.  I haven't been here in four years and there's no other place in the world like it.  It's hot, humid, dirty, bustling and vibrant.

The process of getting here was long, but also painful.  I had one large (!) bag on rollers which I checked.  I put some camera gear and my laptop in a backpack to carry on, thinking it would be easier on my arm than trying to carry a tote.  The backpack was very heavy because I have a big ass camera plus my laptop was in there. 

Well, the thing about backpacks is they pull BACK on your shoulders.  Pulling BACK on my bum shoulder HURTS.

A.lot.

Some very nice men helped me get the backpack in and out of the carry-on bins, but I still had to walk around 3 airports with it.

My pain was through the roof by the time I arrived.

The good news?

I saw Dr. Painless the day before I left to come to NYC.  He gave me some pain patches that go directly on my arm/shoulder and work for twelve hours.

They're like a miracle drug … instant relief!

Where have they been the last four years?

I'm so thankful Dr. Painless is in my life.  Honestly, I don't know how I'd be able to handle this trip without his help.

Here's the view from the window in my hotel room:

Nyc 

I'll have more for you soon, but I have to warn you the Internet at the hotel is painfully slow.  (Probably because there are nearly 2,500 Internet writers here creating an unbelievable demand for it!) 

If you don't see a post up for awhile you'll know I've given up in frustration!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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The Booty Mom

I'm making the long trek (!!) from Orange County to New York City today for the BlogHer conference.  I will be trying to get few posts up while I'm gone, but they may be appearing on a less regular schedule.  It will be very chaotic and busy (and fun) in NYC.  

Today, I am thrilled to provide you with a guest post by Shawn Burns – better known as Backpacking Dad.  Shawn isn't going to BlogHer this year, but he attended last year in Chicago.

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Ok, so that's not a very flattering photo of either of us, but ladies – Shawn is just plain hot.  And more importantly, he's a Nice Guy in real life.  How often does that combination happen?  Shawn has a beautiful wife and two adorable kids.

(How much do ya want to bet he's blushing now and regretting he ever offerred to guest post?)

I hope you'll give Shawn a very, warm welcome!

Thank you, so much, Shawn for offerring to fill in for me today!  

The Booty Mom

My son is in daycare three days each week. His daycare is a parent co-op, which means that every Friday I spend two hours at the end of the day chasing babies around and cleaning up the kitchen and disinfecting the toys. The parents are very involved in the daycare, serving on the board and in various positions for the center, like newsletter writer, classroom organizer, laundry service, or furniture-putter-together-of. On one particular Friday my son's class held a pot luck dinner for the families to celebrate a new group of babies and the "graduation" of older kids to different classrooms. I was still engaged in my co-oping duties when the other parents started to arrive with their dishes of food. I don't recall who arrived first because there's only one encounter that I remember at all: The Booty Mom.

She, well, uh…she invited me to check out her ass and I obliged and now I don't know what I'm supposed to do with the information I have about what her booty looks like. I mean, it was nice, I suppose. I don't know. I don't make a habit of looking at women's asses. I don't. I know, I know, every guy is always looking at posterior perfections, but I just don't. I keep my eyes where they ought to be. Usually. Unless I'm clearly invited to look, and then, come on, who DOESN'T look if that's the case? So what am I supposed to do? Forget I've looked at her ass?

How did this all happen? I know you're curious. Lurid hijinks at the daycare potluck don't come along every day. Well, not at my co-op. Maybe yours is different. Maybe yours is awesome.

So, there I was, minding my own business in the kitchen, when she came in, loaded down with trays. She was bringing food in from the curb while also wrangling one of her kids, and she was doing well. "So, ready for the potluck?" I asked her, giving her dishes a once over much more cursory than the one I would later give her, uh, dish.

"Yeah, this is crazy," she replied. "I can't believe how much food there is to bring in."

"It's a lot alright," I offered.

"It's especially hard," she began, turning away to make another run out the door, "when you're all bootied up." And with that she looked at me over her shoulder, then directed her gaze down her back while she flexed her foot up, raising her rear a little as she glanced toward it.

I was completely stunned. This really came out of the blue. We had had some chit chat conversations here and there about the kids and how they were doing and we couldn't believe they were going to be leaving the nice, sanitized, germ-free baby room and heading out to the toddler germ-zone any day now. But there was never even a hint that she would flirt like that. I was really thrown off-balance for a moment. And of course, I looked.

Who wouldn't look?

It's like being told to not think of a pink elephant. Go ahead. Don't think of pink elephants. Don't think of pink elephants showing you their asses.

It was only after a beat and a half of reflection that I realized I had gone to a place I shouldn't have. Because while I thought she flexing her foot to pop her ass out a bit, she was really just showing off her booty.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

As in "footwear".


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Because it's a classroom full of infants we all have to don little shoe covers when we come in. But we can't wear them out on the sidewalk and then walk on the carpet again. And we certainly can't wear them out to the curb to pick up food, so Booty Mom had to bring food to the door, put it down, then slip her booties on then come into the kitchen, put the food down, then go out the door, take the booties off and run out to the curb and do it all again. She was not, as I suspected, flashing her cheeks at me.

Ah.

Well. Free ass look, then, I suppose. Score. 

DSC06097
© Twenty Four At Heart 

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Getting Ready

I can't even fake it – I'm busy, busy, busy getting my act together to go out of town.  

I ended up caving in and using the BlogHer conference as an excuse to shop just like a zillion other women do every year.  I wasn't planning to, but I've lost some weight over the last few months and as I pulled stuff out of my closet, nothing fit.

I picked up some skinny jeans (even though I'm NOT skinny), a few cute tops, a pair of flats, and a few much needed dresses for all the parties and events I'll be going to.

I haven't even departed for the conference yet, and this year is already a much different experience than last year.  The PR/marketing folks are out in droves with all sorts of invitations and offers.  It's flattering and overwhelming at the same time.

Ming Wang was even kind enough to gift me with an outfit for BlogHer.  I haven't had a chance to take a photo in it yet, but here's a pic with their model wearing MY outfit.

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They were kind enough to send me both the jacket and pants.  I will be supplying my own top – and I have yet to pick which one I'll wear.

I guess I'll have to pick a color that will look good with my purple hair.

Any suggestions?

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Purple, Purple, And More … Purple!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.

I spent the last couple days taking care of a very sick kid.  Apparently there's some type of summer stomach flu going around.  I thought we were going to end up in the ER at one point, but he's doing much better now.  Poor kid – it was a tough few days.  He was really, really, sick.  Please keep your fingers crossed I don't catch it this week as I get ready for, and depart to, New York.

The BlogHer conference is a Big Deal in the Internet world.  A lot of women dress to impress.  They're attending the conference looking for the biggest and best opportunities they can find.

Don't get me wrong, I like opportunities too.  The car accident just changed my perspective a lot.  Life is short and can change on a dime.  I'm at a place in my life where it's also about having fun and, most importantly, being myself.

PH1_2
With 2,400+ people hanging out together, I figured purple streaks in my hair would help me stand out in the crowd.   Last year I put in pink/fuschia streaks, but this year I'm feeling purple.

What do you think?

PH2 

The purple will wash out in a few weeks and then I'll return to my normal blonde locks.

I have to say, I don't think there are any other women with purple hair around here.  It isn't a popular look in the Money Town area.  Most of the women where I live look a lot like The Real Housewives of Orange County.  Oh wait, they ARE The Real Housewives of Orange County.  How could I forget?

Is it any wonder I don't fit in?

On Sunday I ran a few errands and then stopped into a Money Town salon to get a pedicure.  (The talons growing out of my feet were getting a little dangerous, and besides, I HAD to get purple toenail polish to match my purple hair, right?)

In any case, my purple hair caused quite a stir everywhere I went.

The thing about having purple hair, is – I keep forgetting I have it.

People stare at me and I think, "What are they staring at me for?"

Later, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a window and think, "Ohhhh, THAT!"

It's become an interesting study in human nature.  Some people stare, some comment, some send me scornful looks.

Sheesh!

Hey you, Money Towners ….

Have a sense of humor!  

Lighten up!

Laugh!

Life is short … why not have some fun?!

© Twenty Four At Heart

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Birds of a Feather

A lot of the piers at our beaches have drinking fountains on them.

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If fishing is allowed, they also have sinks and faucets for the fishermen/women to clean their fish. 

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Believe it or not, I've seen people drink from the fish-cleaning faucets oftentimes too.

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Personally, I think I'll continue to take my Sigg bottle with me for drinking my margaritas vodka water at the beach.

© Twenty Four At Heart

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The Insecure Woman’s Guide to BlogHer

**  To my non-blogger readers, todays "regular" post is right below this one.  Scroll down and enjoy!  **

So you've decided to attend the BlogHer10 Conference in NYC.

Congratulations!

Going to a conference with 2,400+ other women/people can cause insecurities in anyone, but especially for us writer/blogger types.  (We do like to hide behind our laptops, don't we?)

I thought I'd provide you with some helpful tips to assist you in overcoming your insecurity.

What the Insecure Woman Does in Preparation For BlogHer10: 

•  Go on a crash diet – immediately!

•  Become a Shred-Head or commit to some other exercise plan to lift your ass ASAP.

•  Get botox and/or fillers or whatever you have to do to look better.

•  Buy new clothes, nothing in your closet is remotely adequate.

•  Buy new jewelry, nothing you have sparkles quite enough.  Sparkles are a must!

•  Feel bad about the parties and brand events you haven't been invited to, it's probably because no one likes you.

•  Get a fake tan so your legs look good better in a dress.  (Turn orange like everyone else, you will be in room after room filled with many other orange women!)

•  Whiten your teeth until they nearly fall out.

•  Get a pedicure.

•  Get a manicure.

•  It is definitely time for some new makeup and perfume.

•  Change your mind about the nail polish color you picked and re-polish your nails again.

•  Fill your prescription for Xanax, Zoloft, and/or any other mind altering drugs you can get your hands on.

•  Buy a couple push-up, cleavage enhancing, bras.

•  Start packing days ahead of time and bring more clothes than you can possibly wear "just in case."

•  Pack a flask.

•  Wax your vagina.  (Just ask Avitable!)

•  Buy a net-book because your laptop isn't good enough.

•  Buy a camera so people think you know how to take great photos.

•  It is all about what people think of you, isn't it?

•  Buy Spanx at least one size smaller than you should with the hope it will shrink you down to the size you dream of.

•  Plan what sessions you'll attend, then change your mind at least twenty times before you even arrive at the conference.

•  RSVP to every party you can, even though you can't possibly attend all of them, in an attempt to be "seen" in the company of Very Important Bloggers.

•  Bring a separate suitcase just for your shoes.

•  Tweet repeatedly about everything you think makes you look like a Very Important Blogger yourself.  (This just might make other people admire you more and mask your insecurity.)

What Everyone Should do at BlogHer10: 

•  Be flexible.  No matter how organized you are, or how well you plan, things happen and plans need to be changed.

•  Take lots of showers – NYC is hot and humid!

•  Keep a schedule that works best for YOU.  You have a lot of options. 

•  Pace yourself.  You don't have to go to every.single.thing.

•  Force yourself to step out beyond your comfort zone.  You won't regret it.

•  Get some sleep.  If you run yourself into the ground during the first 24 hours, you won't be able to get the most out of the entire experience.

What NOT to do at BlogHer10:

•  Do not sit down at a table of bloggers and confide to them about that ONE blogger you think is a bitch.  They, most likely, consider her a friend and will immediately tell her what you said.  You will only make yourself look bad.  

•  Do not act like you're still in high school.  You're an adult now.  If you want to be treated with respect, act like one.

•  Do not assume everything is all about you, because guess what?  It's not.  Be flexible, make do with whatever is happening around you at the time, and you will be on your way to a much more enjoyable experience.

•  Do not let yourself get sucked into drama of any kind.  Just say no!

•  Do not kid yourself into believing this conference will make your blog world famous in a weekend.  Instead, take from it what you want/find helpful and most importantly, have fun.

•  I realize you're insecure (that's why I'm writing this post for you), but you must suck it up and actually leave your hotel room if you want to interact with other bloggers.  Interacting with other bloggers is actually quite fun.  Most of us are very nice people, but just like any huge group of people – not everyone in it will be a perfect friend-fit for you.

•  Do not push, shove, run, or act like a greedy whore in your attempt to snag-the-swag at events.

•  Do not convince yourself the goal of BlogHer is to rub elbows with Very Important Bloggers in hope their fame rubs off on you.  

Networking and talent are two separate entities.  

•  Do not bitch/whine/complain because, honestly, no one wants to hear it.  An incredible amount of work and effort goes into a conference like BlogHer.  If everything isn't 100% to your liking, keep it to yourself.  If you want to see changes, volunteer to help next year so you have more input.

© Twenty Four At Heart