A give-and-you-shall-receive giveaway

If you follow me on The Twitter you might have noticed that I got all philanthropist on you lately in the name of an organization called Feeding America which is doing ridiculously amazing things to help feed families in America. I came across them in Real Simple magazine and while the cause is worthy all on its own, what really struck me was how such a small donation could have such a profound effect on so many.

A $1 donation will help feed 8 families. Eight.

Then I read some of the sickening facts on hunger in America on their site. It was startling. I looked up my local food bank in my area (you can too on the website) and saw just how many pounds of food per year – more than 16 million in my supposedly cozy suburban So. Cal community – are being served thanks to Feeding America and its partners.

Knowing what I know now, I couldn’t not donate.

I have a hard enough time explaining to my boys each year why we donate toys to Toys For Tots and Spark of Love. Why there are some kids who wake up on Christmas morning and don’t have gifts – nevermind families who don’t have food to eat… Right here in our own community. Right here in America.

So today, as we sit down with our families on Thanksgiving, thankful for all we have today and everyday, I’m going to urge you to consider donating $5 to Feeding America so that 40 families who don’t have enough food to eat on any given day, let alone a feast on Thanksgiving, might have something to eat tomorrow because of your generosity.

If just 5 of you donated $5 to Feeding America, that would equal 200 meals for families.

If 20 of you donated $5 to Feeding America that would equal 800 meals for families.

I understand money is tight for so many this year. It’s no different for me. But I know that I can give up a venti holiday drink at Starbucks one time and there is my $5 donation.

To up the ante, I am going to give away a $25 my good friend Emmie and I are giving away a $50 Starbucks gift card to one random person who donates to Feeding America between now and this Sunday, November 27, 2011 ending at 9:00 pm PST. For every $5 donation you make to Feeding America, please leave one comment on this post as an entry. (For example, for a $20 donation, please leave 4 separate comments, etc.)

Please be sure to also visit the fabulous Jett Superior who is my partner-in-crime in this giveaway-goodness, hosting a giveaway all her own on her blog in the name of this fantastic cause.

If you decide to also blog about this cause or if you do a giveaway, please link up below. You can follow Feeding America on Twitter here, following along and re-tweeting by using the hashtag #giveameal.

And if you and your family need help this year, that’s what Feeding America is for. You can find out how they can help you here.

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving.



First, a huge thank you to everyone who donated, shared this post, tweeted/re-tweeted, Facebooked and more… Remember that Feeding America needs donations year-round, not just Thanksgiving time, so if you’re looking for worthy causes to support, check them out.

Just from the comments on this post, we surpassed my goal of donating enough money to provide 4,000 meals… donating $530 which provides 4,240 meals to hungry families in America. Additionally, people have tweeted and emailed me without commenting, so who knows just how much we’ve really accomplished. I do know one blogger, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated $700 though her company who then matched her donation ($1400), providing another 11,200 meals alone. Donations big and small, they all count so thank you so much.

I used Random.org to find a winner of the $50 Starbucks gift card…

And the winner is…

Congrats Nicole Elizabeth!

And thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who was so very generous!

Annual (odd) holiday shopping guide

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had a bit-o-difficulty getting into the holiday spirit this year. But whether I’m ready for places like Target to look like Christmas threw-up all over their aisles, well, it doesn’t really matter because there it is – merry this or that, joy! peace to the motherfucking world! and other holiday obscenities all up in my scrunched up face.

Regardless of my bad, bah humbug attitude, some of you are already shopping or at least planning your shopping so I thought I’d post a couple of cool websites and gift ideas I’ve come across that might help you find the perfect something-something for someone(s) on your list.

Because let’s face it, even if they’re only $9, no one needs another chenille throw for their couch this year.

I was reading Real Simple magazine (which, come to find out, isn’t for simple minds like mine but for people who want to organize, simplify and find a bajillion rather bad ass solutions for every day life) when I came across Spoon Sisters. The gift ideas on this site are endless, people.

Just a few examples:

Arrrgh matties! It’s the Pirate Handbook! $18.95

*shakeshakeshake* It’s a Magic 8 Ball Pen! $7.00

Recipes for the Regularity Challenged? Yep. The Un-Constipated Gourmet Cookbook! $16.00

Fashionable knitting? Please! Vogue Knitting – Gloves and Mittens. $24.95

Robot Matryoshkas! (Also: Monsters, Chalkboard, Paint-your-own, etc.) $15.50

OUCH! *BAM* POW! Comic Strip Bandages! $6.25

and a ton of other cool stuff.

Then there’s one of my favorite websites I’ve shopped at for a long time: Uncommon Goods.

Bottoms up! It’s Beer Making Kits! $15.00 – $40.00

Just a liiittttlllee more… a litttlllleee more… The OCD Cutting Board! $25.00

A colorful way to pass the days. Pop the Dots Calendar! $13.00

Rock out in style! Crocheted Headphones! $38.00

Um, hey there! It’s Kim the Talking Clock! $39.50

On a more serious note, in all the list-making and catalog-perusing and store-shopping this time of year, it’s easy for my boys to start getting greedy with the “I want’s.” This is why every year we have them participate in a number of charities like Spark of Love and Toys for Tots – a way for them to remember that this is the season for giving – not receiving – and as a reminder that they are very lucky kids – even when they don’t think so.

So when you’re making your list and checking it twice and shopping online via computer mice, think about clicking on over to Feeding America where a $1 donation will feed eight hungry families in America. EIGHT. For one dollar. Can you imagine if eight of you donated just $1? And then eight of your readers or Twitter followers or Facebook friends did the same? And then theirs? Food for thought, literally.

Happy giving.

Don’t eat Dr. Pepper flavored Jelly Belly’s before class and other things I learned my first week of MMA

If Mixed Martial Arts is 70 percent mental than I am shit out of luck, let’s just face it, because the day they cranked up the heat in the studio I was like “Oh cool, where’s the sauna?” but yeah no, it was just part of the cruelty to see if we couldn’t fog up the windows and mirrors. I, a survivor, went straight into fight or flight mode and wisely fingered “HELP” on the window, backwards even, so all the people who weren’t passing by could see it and come rescue me.

You know what? No one came. And I survived. And if you really don’t want to read any further, that’s the obvious spoiler to this little story: I survived my first week of MMA. But if you care to read on, I’ll just clue you in on a few things I learned along the way – which of course was all via trial and blatant error.

First of all, I’m not a total dumbass because I knew better than to eat before exercising vigorously. And I also knew you should be well hydrated. Give me some credit. So I figured just a big ass handful of Dr. Pepper flavored Jelly Belly’s should do the trick – not too much food for the tummy, a little (fine, a shit-ton of sugar FOR ENERGY!) and well, they’re Dr. Pepper flavored so that should count as hydration. All my bases = covered.

Good god, five minutes into my first class and I was like I HATE YOU JELLAH BELLAH’S! and eying the puke bucket which, as it turns out, you have to sign if you throw up in it. And then if you throw up in it again, you have to add a check mark next to your name. I was able to push aside my feelings of up-chucking in light of feeling the urge to pass out what with all the dizzy-dizzy-swirl going on. But I’m not a quitter – yet – so I was just like “Eh, it’s the florescent lighting! Keep going Megan!” and urged myself to SQUAT! SQUAT! SQUAT! riiiight up until it was time to do pull-ups on the rings and then I said aloud, “Yo’ Megan, now would be a good time to pass out if there ever was one.”

Turns out I carry all my weight in my knees. Pull-ups? Yeah. No.

To no one’s surprise, I liked punching the bag the most [Not to boast, but my arms are pretty built already. People ask all the time, "You work out?" And I'm like, "Nope. I paint my nails." My air-dry system is epic for the cuticles and the guns.] and I now have the bloody knuckles to prove I have anger issues getting out life’s aggression can be good for you! although it’s not very attractive with my lilac nail polish. Switching to a dark purple or red hue will definitely change all that. I’m also going to need to switch to a waterproof mascara because that shit did not hide my tears very sweaty perseverance and by the end of class between my long-be-gone make-up and ratted up hair, I looked like half Don King and half Tammy Faye.


But the hair nest was on account of the wrastlin’ I got to do. Well, in MMA it’s called ‘grappling’ but you get the point. Hair-a-flyin’ everywhere, drippy mascara eyes, sweaty armpits… I tell you, it was stuff beauty pageants are made of.

I only made my sifu yell at me once during class and that was when he was making us do some god awful arm exercise where we went from breaking a chain to milking a cow to juggling testicles and I just had to call him on it. “What are we doing? Huh??” I chuckled like NUDGE-NUDGE-WINK-WINK because c’mon! Juggling testicles? It was like the exercise was begging for commentary! When all of the sudden he *BOOMED* “UNBELIEVABLE! Megan!” (and not in the good way).

It was funny! Except my arms don’t think so. Now I get a little pump action going on the lotion and they start pulsing like “please don’t touch me.” So who’s the jackass now? Me. That’s who.

Obviously that’s true because even though I was so sore I couldn’t even sit on the toilet properly the next day (I just had to, like, fall onto it – stupid squats!) I was lured back under false pretenses to Kamikaze Kickboxing by the instructors the very next day saying that blahblahblah lactic acid blahblahblah it’s better to keep exercising blahblahblah it will hurt less blahbla– WAIT. What? It will hurt less? OKAY!

Bull. Shit. They’re a bunch of liars apparently. Liars who get their shits and giggles out of making people squat an unnecessary amount of times (“Get lower! Like you’re sitting on a basketball!” WELL I HAVE A BIG BASKETBALL OKAY?!), overheat in a studio that has a perfectly good air conditioning unit and who think it’s funny, I guess, if you’re so sore you can’t sit on the toilet — one of our rights as Americans thanks to the constitutional amendments, I believe.

There are parts of me that I never knew could hurt because I never knew they existed until now. Like stomach muscles. (I thought you birthed those with your children?) I’ve got bruises everywhere, chipped nail polish and missing hair too. And I’ll be damned if I am not in complete pain from head to toe, knuckle to ear lobe and vagina to elbow.

And here’s the craziest thing of all: I loved it.

Operation Eleanor: Halfway point

“I believe anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record of successful experience behind him.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Have you googled Eleanor Roosevelt quotes? Take two minutes to read through just a few of the great things that woman said (nevermind the amazing things she did) and you will understand why she’s our muse for Operation Eleanor – hence the name. Very inspiring to say the least.

And speaking of which, here we are now at the halfway point (how many of you are both breathing a sigh of relief like YES! HALFWAY! while also thinking DAMN! ONLY HALFWAY?!) through Operation Eleanor and I have to say what started as a mere whim of an idea has grown to be so much bigger and greater than I ever imagined. I never thought it would be more than a personal project for me but now that all of you are on board and blogging, tweeting, emailing all these truly inspiring victories (and god only knows the accomplishments you’re keeping to yourselves) I find myself more motivated and inspired and encouraged and accountable than ever. And that’s a really good thing.

It’s never too late to join in on the Operation Eleanor journey or to create your own. This is a personal project that everyone has done a little something different with… You don’t have to blog or tweet about it or even publicly declare your participation. This is your thing. But there is a great little group to connect with if you need or want it. (#OpEleanor on Twitter)

Most importantly, you need to know that your success will not lie in accomplishing 30 or 20 or 10 or even 5 specific things along the way. Those are just numbers and goals. The success will be in overcoming your own hesitations and fears, changing the way you think and make decisions about everything from the very serious and heavy to the silly and what-if variety. And there will be times when your success will come from “failing” to succeed at goal A, B, or C because the truth is, just yesterday, you wouldn’t have even attempted it. Your success was in trying. Give yourselves credit, give yourselves breathing room and give yourselves some slack. No one is keeping score, so you shouldn’t be either.

This will probably be the cheesiest thing you’ll ever hear me say on this blog, but I am really proud of all of you. I know how hard this month has been for me and I’ve only heard slivers of your challenges — and I am in awe. Keep going.

Lucky 7

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You. I don't even know how to tell you just how proud I am of you. How much I love you. How much you rock.

You are the best kind of friend a person could ask for, the defender of the playground, Mr. Do-Good, an amazing chef, the best assistant, the peacekeeper, happy-go-lucky, gracious and kind, a brilliant artist, a hard worker and so easy to love. 

Your smile – the one you were born with and has seemingly never left your face – is infectious and cathartic and it has brought me so much happiness.

You have brought us all so much happiness. 

Today is your 7th birthday. I can't believe it. Just yesterday you were all chunky legs and round cheeks and dimples. I hope you never lose those dimples.

You have grown up so much lately and I'm very proud of the little man you've become. While I hate to see the baby version of you disappear so quickly, I love watching you come into your own.

You're an amazing kid who is going to do amazing things. You already have. 

Happy birthday dude!

I love you.


Operation Eleanor: Here. We. Go.

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Are you ready? It's time to start our little big challenge! Operation Eleanor starts today.

If you're joining me on this adventure, you can already account for one of your 30 things: This. Doing this. Check today off on the calendar.

Be sure to link up below if you're participating and add your twitter handle in the comments. Use and follow the #OpEleanor hashtag on Twitter and Instagram too. 

Wishing you a very memorable November.