Friday, August 16, 2013

C2C! Countdown to College

Oh's here! How could it be? That little baby you were just reading Goodnight Moon to is packing up and moving on to college and you are..........................FREAKING OUT! other way to put it! It's freak out and melt down time time...... But it's ok. You are not alone! Before you go too far over the edge, congratulate yourself on a job well done! You got them here. A few all nighters (more than a few? a few scrapes, hurt, got them here! And, you have figured out a way to pay for it! (still figuring? That's ok to0!) And now it is settling in.....they are really leaving! WOW!

With all of the hustle and bustle of packing and paperwork and double checking everything here is a list of a few fun and often forgotten things to drinking does not appear.....but then again, neither does breathing! Both are expected and necessary! Here ya go!!

1. Save a few bucks for giftcards for those places you see around campus that might be saving graces....Starbucks (free wi-fi) Dunkin Donuts...that Caramel Iced is good for study, etc! Send these to your student when you feel the need to me they will appreciate this more!

2. Submit the college, awards, scholarship info to your local paper. These are usually free and are great treat to send in the mail to your student! Awwww, proud parent!!

3. Rural or city campus require transportation! Gas card or bus pass? Whatever it is figure out how to get these and send to your student from time to time! Getting there is half the battle!!

4. Pop some money in their pockets! Pants pockets that is! Sneak into the suitcase and pop in a few singles to surprise the brainiac............that lil bonus may be just the trick to brighten their day!!

5. Go ahead.....mark your calendar.....every 30 days or so (at least through Valentine's Day) pop a care pack in the mail. Corny yes.........but snacks go a long way in getting info from dormmates....if it ever comes to that! Wink wink!!

6.Write a letter. Yep..... a letter. In the car, driving home....tissues out! Translate those feelings into words! Write a letter.....letting them know what this time means to the letter to your student at graduation!

7. Instagram, Twitpic,'s all good but after a long night and a little homesickness, looking at your smartphone just isn't cutting it! But a framed pic on the nightstand can soothe the soul. Go ahead! Frame it!

8. Rather it's your child, a family member, or a student you mentor....everybody needs a one time gimme. A no questions asked help. Write it on a card and put it with their things. Drinking, bad dates, bad dudes, and mean gals.....whatever the me. I got you. Write it. Give it. And mean it!! No hassle!

9. A roll of quarters please. And.....a crash course on whites and coloreds......clothes people! Clothes!

10. Finally, you've done it all and made the drop. The dynamic in the house has changed and you are sure you have forgotten reach for the phone....just a quick dial......A FRIEND! Not your child! NOT YET! Let them settle. Let them learn. Warn your friend in advance so they can talk you off the ledge. Remember the wine and the fine job you have done in preparing them..........and know that  this is a great problem to have: Loving your child so much that it's hard to let go. But because of that will do it and they will show you...they are ready! Real talk! Follow me @realtalknic

Monday, August 12, 2013

I fell in love at a cemetery!

Some people have sunsets and a knight in shining armor…….my story is a little different. I fell completely in love on a rainy day in a Philadelphia cemetery.
I met my future husband while working retail for a luxury brand as a teenager. He walked in wearing a Pelle Pelle jacket (ladies from the 80’s? You know the look, hmmmmm mmmmmm) and a bad boy attitude. Being the good girl that I still am…..I couldn't resist!

We dated between 2 states. He was as fascinated with my suburban upbringing as I was with his inner city one. We liked each other. It was comfortable. We moved easily from fancy dinners to drive- thrus with a soundtrack of Babyface and Boys2Men playing softly in the background.
I was a starving college student holding strong to my independence. I may have been broke but I didn't show it. I had my own. When he filled my gas tank up after a visit he had no idea how grateful I was. He was generous with all things except long conversations. Being the chatterbox that I am, I filled those late night phone calls with plenty. He listened.

After a few fun months reality set in……where was this really going? Two people so very different are destined for ruin for sure. I played my mother’s mantra (soon to be mine with my own daughter) in my head…..equally yoked. Equally yoked.

I started rehearsing the exit conversation. You know the one that goes, “I really like you but….”  Somehow the timing was never quite right.  More fun times. His smile… God, this is tougher than I thought.  Just when I decided I needed to make a move, I mean, he is really nice but he is not interested in college, I am never living in a city, come on….where is this going……he picked me up for a dinner date.

“I need to make a quick stop, that ok?” he asked.  Fine by me. Off we went. Not paying much attention to where we were headed, I sat back and watched the rain slide down the windshield. He held my hand. “I’ll be right back,” he says, startling me from my own thoughts. “OK,” geez, where are we? I look around and notice I am in the parking lot of a large cemetery. I see him go in the office and purchase a small bouquet of flowers. I watch as he goes to inspect his late friend’s grave site. Even through the rain I can see the sadness and the sense of responsibility all over him.  I knew at that moment  what I know to this day.

I love this man. This man that is so different from me. This man that hasn't had any of the same experiences I have had but what does that mean? Obviously, his upbringing was stellar enough to instill a sense of friendship so great it extends past the living.  While I watched him that day, I thought to myself, even when no one is watching he chooses to do the right thing. Even when others have dropped the ball, he is here checking to make sure things are right. If he will go this far for his friend what will a man like this do for his family?

Even after 24 years, and every up and down imaginable.....the answer's the same. Everything!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Experience is your best Teacher!

Every time my kids do something that raises my eyebrows or that I know is a mistake my husband will always say, "Experience will be their best teacher!" As much as I hate to agree with him, he is right.

I started thinking a lot about this saying and decided to shift some of my own habits. If experience is your best teacher, well......I needed to focus on creating more of them. Now more than ever I realize the importance of spending time and doing things not just having things. This is a difficult task for me, I mean, I still count the number of gifts under the Christmas tree to make sure there is even distribution. Ha! But really, shirts shrink, and flowers fade....but the memories of a great experience last forever!

Imagine my delight when I was given an Appetizing Adventure, Experience Day as a gift from my fantastic work team. It was like the universe talking to me. Oh boy!

You can grab a gift for someone, like yourself here!

So on the rainiest day ever (ok, maybe there have been rainier days but I was not out walking in them) my husband and I drove out to Manayunk, PA, without getting lost, whipped out our umbrellas and met up with 10 other umbrella carrying folks for the tour! This is really saying a lot because rain, tours, strangers.............these are not words that sit well for the big guy. He was giving me the, "you have got to be kidding me!" face. I, on the other hand, was screaming, "Buck up! It's an adventure!" heehee!

making the best of it!!!! lol

We had 6 stops and a total of 2 the POURING rain.....and you know what? It was FAN FRIGGIN TASTIC! You have to choose your attitude. And we choose to fully embrace the experience. 

1st up: Marchiano's Bakery - This was our favorite of the whole tour. You think bakery, you think sweets. Ummmm, nope! They do tomato pies and stuffed bread. Their cheese steak stuffed bread was to die for!
Here is the rest of the line up:
2. Rose's Water Ice
3. Tasty Twisters (Best pretzel ever and the average American eats 4 pounds of pretzels a year....Average Philadelphian? 24 pounds! Who knew!!)
4. Sorrentino's: Cheese-steak! Quality deliciousness!
5. VOLO Coffee House: Espresso!! Delish! Big huge windows, tatted chicks, organic loving families, and newspapers everywhere......this was the best people watcher place! And a nice place to dry up!!
6. Sweet Elizabeth's: Red Velvet Cupcakes: Cute, fresh, but I could have used a bit more sugar in my icing.....I'm just saying!!!

The food was great and my company was even greater! There was an old lady group moving faster than any of us. There was a trio in their 30's soaked to the bone with no protection and no complaints, and then we had the 2 students from LA touring while their Dad was at a dental convention. We walked up hills and under bridges and didn't feel so bad about eating so much because all of the walking cancelled out the calories. For sure.

My favorite part was walking in the rain on the Tow path beside the old canal. It was fascinating.
Huge revitalization going on there now and the focus is on being a neighborhood even though it sits in the middle of a big city. Hearing the history of how the town was named and how the textile industry flourished then floundered, seeing the row-homes that are over 100 years old, knowing that our 1st stop started as a bootleg sandwich shop in the basement of a family's home who lost their Dad and their livelihood but kept their Grand mom's recipes and hearing how the folks care about and for their neighborhood was, well, an experience. And it was my best teacher. Real talk!