25 Things All Women Should Be Able To Do Before The Age Of 25


As the Month of November leaves us and December lands on our doorstep, chaos ensues.  Busy and hectic days are upon us.  It’s hard to find time to sit down for a moment and think, let alone, find the time to pound out a well written blog post.

As is my usual habit, December posts tend to fall by the wayside.  This year, rather than taking a small holiday hiatus, I’m going to concentrate on writing just a few original posts. In between those posts, I’ll be sharing articles and essays and interesting tidbits that I run across from a variety of venues.

So, Enjoy!! Take time to savor the month of December. Slow down when you can, look around, open your eyes and really see all that this magical month has to offer.

25 Things Every Woman Should Be Able To Do By Age 25



Here are 25 things you should aim to learn how to do by age 25 — or whenever you get around to it.

1. Negotiate a raise. Women –especially women of color — earn less than their male counterparts If you don’t think you are being paid what you are worth, know how to ask.

2. Whip up a signature drink. Bees Knees, anyone?

3. Give unwelcome news with tact and compassion. There are times when brutal honesty is OK — and times when it is not. Learn the difference, and practice being an effective communicator.

4. Put together furniture. You’ll feel so proud every time you sit on that IKEA sofa that took you three hours, two beers and one private temper tantrum to assemble.


5. Read and think critically. Don’t believe everything you are told. Know how to read between the lines and analyze something for yourself, whether it’s the morning news or someone’s convoluted Facebook post.

6. Spell properly. If you don’t know something, look it up.

7. Be a good houseguest. And for the love of god, write a thank-you note.

8. Understand your finances. No, your student loans won’t magically go away. Yes, you should put money into your 401(k), especially if your company matches it. And so on. Financial literacy isn’t something you learn in school, so you’ll have to take matters into your own hands. It’s worth it.


9. Have fun on your own. Not everyone is built for traveling the world solo, but being able to entertain yourself is a seriously underrated skill.

10. Make at least one simple, nutritious meal. 

11. Trust your instincts. Constantly second-guessing yourself is exhausting.

12. Walk away. From a friendship, a job, a relationship, an argument, and anything else that you know in your heart just isn’t right.

13. Advocate for yourself.  Ask your doctor for a second opinion if you really think something is wrong. Ask that manspreader to move over so you can sit down. And don’t let anyone steamroll you into making a decision until you’re ready to make it.

14. Perform simple repairs. YouTube will teach you how to sew that button back on or use a power drill to re-hang that badass feminist print.

15. Say “no.” It’s a complete sentence.

16. Cut yourself off when you’ve had enough to drink. Enough said.

17. Stick to a budget. Apps like Mint and You Need A Budget make this easier than ever.

18. Take rejection well. This one is easier said that done, but as Aaliyah famously said: “If at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and try again (you can dust it off and try again, try again).”

19. Use the items in your toolbox. Because the days of paying your friends down the hall in beer to hang your pictures are over.

20. Argue without losing your cool. If you can stay logical when you are angry, any conversations you have in the midst of conflict will be far more effective.

21. Speak passably in public. Be prepared for that future work presentation, maid of honor speech or casual toast at a party.


22. Tell a totally inoffensive, hilarious joke. Bonus points for clever puns.

23. Apologize with sincerity. No matter how old you are, you’ll mess up and get things wrong sometimes. But how you react after the fact is up to you.

24. Go a full day without complaining. You’d be surprised at what you learn.

25. Make a new friend. The squad goal of #NoNewFriends can’t last forever. You can do it! After all, you’re a grown-ass woman.



Mamma Mia!!


It’s Monday morning and normally I’d be pulling the house back together from the weekend.  Instead, I’m having coffee with one of my besties, Jeri.  She and I have a standing coffee date that I wrote about here.  Thursdays are our day!  We meet come rain or shine, snow or hail.  It’s written in stone and nothing comes between us and our coffee dates.

Except Dr’s. appointments.  More recently because of repairmen who seem to only be able to make house-calls on Thursday mornings.  What gives! 

So we’ve adjusted and tweaked our schedules a bit.  Monday’s are now the day.  (At least for the immediate future.)  Our coffee dates have turned an ordinarily dreaded and hated day of the week into a day that I now look forward to.  Hurray!!  Monday’s are fab!

This morning, while catching up with each other and everything that’s happened in our lives since last week, we decided that we’d make this upcoming holiday season super special and go see a play in the city.  There’s nothing we love more than to spend time downtown.  The people, the lights, the beautiful river walk, the restaurants and lively bar scenes make for such fun.

So, a play for the holidays it is!!  It was all decided!  After discussing it for a while we settled on  Mamma Mia!!  YAY!!

I was put in charge of looking for good seats.  No problem!  I love this kind of task.  I’m a self-declared event planner.  I could plan, coordinate and execute events like there’s no tomorrow!  A regular party girl, that’s me!  Now that I think of it, I probably should have been a concierge at some big, swanky city hotel or high-end specialty retail store because of my love for (a)  events, and (b) all things swanky!!

After coffee, I raced home and got out my computer.  I looked at the seats that were still available for the date that we had agreed upon.  Lots of availability popped up.  Hurray!!  I carefully studied the seating chart (just as a professional event planner would do!) and chose two seats where I knew there would be nothing obstructing our view.  We were on our way!!  Great!

Or, so I thought.  I went from the “select your seat” page to the  “security” page” when things started to go awry.  What is with these security pages that pop up all over the Internet when trying to purchase any kind of venue tickets?  They’re annoying.  And, impossible to read.

The security screen that popped up informed me that in order to help “fight bots” I was to type the letters that appeared on the image in front of me.


Huh?  It was like trying to decipher Russian.  No, it was worse than Russian.   The image I was staring at was like a big mass of scribbles.  Who could read it?  Not me.  And worse yet, there was a timer counting down the number of minutes I had to complete the purchase before I would lose the seats.  It was making me nervous.  It had big red flashing letters that said “You’ve got 3 minutes before you lose your selected seats.”  YIKES!  I quickly typed out random letters that I thought I was seeing.  Nope.  Wrong letters. Nuts!  A new combination popped up.  It was worse than the first set of letters.


I glanced up at the timer..  “You’ve got 1 minute 32 seconds before you lose your selected seats.”  Good Grief!  I was going to lose my perfectly thought out seats if I didn’t guess the right combination.

I noticed a large button next to the alien image. It said to click if you wanted a new image.  YES!  I want a new image!  An image that people can actually read!  I clicked the button.  Nope, couldn’t read the image either.  I was starting to sweat.  My fingers which normally sailed over the keyboard effortlessly now felt damp and clumsy.  I think I was making typo’s but what did it matter?  I was randomly guessing and typing  any old letters in hopes of hitting the jackpot.

And then – “ding ding ding” – the page went black.  My shoulders slumped in defeat.  My hands fell off the keyboard and down to my sides.  I had lost our seats.  I stared at the blank screen.  What had just happened?  If these sites have an option to press a button for a new image, then they must be aware that nobody can read their STUPID IMAGES in the first place!

Well!  I was going to give somebody a piece of my mind!  I was going to call the theater and demand to talk to the manager.  I wanted those seats that just two minutes ago were in my online cart.  I was going to tell them that no normal human being on the planet can decipher what that secret scrambled image says.  Ever.

I quickly googled the number of the theater and called it.  It rang a few times and then was picked up….. by a recording.   Oyyyyyy!  Another pet peeve!  I listened to a mechanical sounding voice on the other end and was given a list of prompts.  I pressed the number associated with talking to an agent and was transferred.  The phone rang again.  One ring…two ring…three ring…  BINGO!  The line was picked up…by a recorded voice.  It stated that tickets could only be purchased at the box office and that the box office was only opened during performances.  Some good that would do me!

Okay, it was on to plan B.

Or, plan A revisited.  I went back to the theater’s website.  This time I was prepared.  I knew what was coming.  I plugged in all of my information.  Our seats were still there.  Hurray for small miracles!!  I added them to my online cart. Andddd, there it was.  The crazy security image.  I stayed calm and stared at it.  I plugged in some letters.  Wrong.  Tried again.  Nope.  And one more time.  YES!  It worked!!  I had no idea what letters I had plugged in or how I got them to work but I wasn’t going to question it.  I hit “purchase” and Wallah!!  The tickets were ours!  Mamma Mia here we come!!

I knewww I was a talented event planner!

Move over Hallmark, there’s a new card in town.

Have you noticed those funny little ecards that are all over social media sites?  You’d have to have been living in an isolated cave not to know exactly what I’m talking about.  They’re everywhere!

I started taking notice of them about a year or so ago.  But in truth, they came onto the scene in 2007 – (I googled it!!)  They have their own Facebook page with well over 1 million Likes.

They’re brilliant!  And witty!  And quite honestly – completely truthful and accurate.  They say in one line, what most of us try to stammer out in a long-winded, beating around the bush, run on sentence.

I like to email them to Clark sometimes.  They easily convey, what I can’t seem to get across to him.  Like this one….





There’s many advantages to sending eCards.  They’re free.  They’re delivered automatically to our electronic devices & received immediately with a few clicks of the mouse.  There’s no limit to the audience in which you can send them to.

The Weight Loss Friend

losing weight

 The BS’r


 The Selfie Abuser


The Grammar Nazi


 The Screener


 The Facebook Creeper


The Employer


The Fraud


The Gym Member


The Interupter


And finally – The Online Addict….


The Taxi


Life moves on.

I’ve always used that statement flippantly.  An off the cuff phrase.  It has an entire new meaning to me now.  It’s deep and meaningful and a statement that is intertwined with healing and moving forward.

It’s Thursday.  That means I’m on my way to meet my very dear friend Jeri for coffee.  She’s the kind of friend anyone would be lucky to have.  Always happy.  Always smiling.  She makes me laugh.  When she walks into a room there is an energetic force that enters with her.  Everyone loves her.  I’m happy because we’ve set up a standing weekly date on Thursdays to get together to meet for coffee.  Or manicures.  Or lunch in the city.  Or just so we can talk.  And lately, I’ve been doing all the talking.  And Jeri listens.

It’s been an emotional few months.  The loss of my Mom hit me hard.  It hit all of us hard – my siblings, my kids, my nieces and nephews.  It also left a mark on my Aunts and Uncles and, well, pretty much anyone who knew her.  She was lively and young at heart and fun.  She laughed a lot.  And made you laugh.  She was someone you loved spending time with.

It’s an emotional process learning how to say goodbye to someone you love.  It’s hard to move on because there is a daily sadness that washes over you.

And Guilt.  You feel guilty just for going about your daily routine.  I guess because somewhere down deep that means that you are starting to face that fact that this cherished person is really gone.  But you don’t want to acknowledge it because that means that it really happened and that it’s not just a dream.  A bad dream that you are waiting to wake up from.  You want to hang on to every last piece of this person for as long as you can.

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There is a recurring dream that I have often.  I’ve experienced the same one repeatedly – over and over for years.  It comes to me at night when my mind is supposed to be shut down and relaxed.

I dream that I’m back at school again.  I’ve returned there in my dreams for years.  It’s never as I remember.  It’s always in a different town and with a different group of people from my life, past and present.  But, the theme is constant.  I can not remember the last time I went to class.  I can’t find my classroom or my locker.  When I finally do find my locker, I can’t remember the combination.

Somewhere towards the end – and always right before I wake up – I realize that everybody is graduating and moving on except me.

I haven’t had this recurring dream recently.   No.  It has been replaced by a different dream.  One that does not come to me at night, but one that is on my mind throughout the day.  Everyday.

I’m driving in a taxi with my mom.  I don’t know where we are but it’s in some big city.  We are riding along and suddenly the taxi pulls up to the curb and stops.  My mom turns to me, smiles and gives me a hug, opens the door and then steps out.  The taxi pulls away from the curb again.  But, I’m still in it.  I turn to look out the back window and can see my mom standing on the corner where she had gotten out.  She gets smaller and smaller until she is out of view. I can not see her anymore.  And then, she is gone.

I’m moving forward and going on with my life and she is not with me anymore.

Every now and then you get to the point where things start to make sense again.  Your routine as you once knew it feels somewhat back to normal.  Then the sadness washes over you again.  It can be set off by any small thing.  A song.  A picture.  An upcoming holiday.  A dream you have at night.  A thought during the day.

So, you surround yourself with your support system.  You spouse.  Your kids.  Your dear friends. Thursday’s with Jeri.

It’s a process.  One day at a time.

Life moves on.

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Dear Mom


Dear Mom,

Last Saturday I was signed up for a computer class.  I grabbed my laptop and headed towards the front door.  As I walked past the front room to turn off the TV, the Olympic Hockey game caught my attention.  The USA was playing.  There are a few Blackhawks on the team and I saw Kane whiz by.  So I sat down on the arm of the chair and watched the remainder of it.   For the life of me, I now can not remember who the USA was playing but I remember that it was an amazing game.   We ended up winning in a shootout.

Sitting there and watching that game made me late for my class.  But it didn’t matter.  As I turned off the TV and stood up to leave, my phone rang.  I thought about not answering it because I was running late, but something prompted me to pick it up.  So I juggled the heavy things I was carrying, freed up my right hand and answered it.  It was Tim.  I could not understand him.  Something about you.  He was talking in broken sentences.   I caught bits and pieces of it.  Panic started to rise in me.  And then, my heart stopped.

I don’t think I could have ever been prepared for that call.  I don’t understand how this could have happened.  You did everything right.  You exercised and ate right.  You lived an active lifestyle…..

The week was a blur of emotions.  The phone calls started immediately.  The txt’s came, too.  And the condolences via social media.  Isn’t it odd how fast word spreads now-a-days?  It’s rather comforting to know that when tragedy strikes, we are instantly lifted up in prayer.  Amy immediately jumped on a flight from Houston to Chicago.  She got in late.  (Well, late for me. You know how I love to be in my pj’s early.)  So I picked her up at the airport and we drove together in the dark to get home.  Home to Indiana.  Home to where we were raised.  Home to gather together with our other siblings.  The drive was hazardous.  I was white knuckled by the time I got there.  I’m not sure if it was because we were driving through whiteouts on icy, snow covered roads or if it was because I was holding onto the steering wheel a bit too tight for fear of what lie ahead for all of us.

Bruce took the week off of work.  He was by my side every step of the way.  Tim, Bobby, Nancy, Amy and myself – along with our spouses –  all found comfort in being surrounded by each other.  All week.

I miss you so much.  I can’t believe I’m never going to see you or talk to you again in this lifetime.  There’s so many things I still want to ask you.  And talk to you about.  And tell you……

Scottie got the job.  Remember I told you about his interview?  You said you would start a Novena for him.  Did you have time to start it?  Bruce and Lauren are going on a long weekend somewhere.  They are waiting to see which flights are open.   Remember the first time Bruce Robt. flew in to see you and take you to lunch?  He talks about it often.  That visit was the first of many trips back and forth to visit you.  In his words, “Grandma is the coolest!!”  Brian has a lead on an internship this summer.  He’s working hard and continues to keep his GPA up.  And he loves the college life.  He has become so independent.  It’s hard to believe he is almost done with college.  You were right.  Time does go fast.  Too fast.

You were taken from us way too soon.  The thought of never seeing you again or talking to you in this lifetime is too much….

Me?  I miss you more than words can describe.  My heart is heavy and I walk around with a pit in my stomach and a constant feeling deep inside that something is wrong.  I know you always told me that your prayer was that when your time was up, that the Lord would take you quickly.  He heard your prayer, Mom.  But I have a huge hole in my heart because I did not get to say goodbye to you.  I did not get to tell you how blessed I was to have you as my mother.  I wanted to be next to you when your time came to leave this earth, holding your hand and telling you how incredibly much I love you.  To tell you that I will miss you.  And that I will see you again one day and until that day, pray for me.  But God had a plan for you and He decides when our time on earth is done.  He decides when to call us home.  And in my heart I know you are in a better place.  You are at peace.

So Please, Don’t worry about any of us.  Right now our hearts are heavy.  But through our faith and in time, our feelings of sadness and devastating loss will be replaced by happy memories of our time spent with you.  I’m going to miss you so much.  I already do.  I can not thank you enough for the strong faith you instilled in me and for the unconditional love you showered me with.  I’ll pray for you everyday.  And I know you’ll pray for me, too.

I Love You,

“We never really get over devastating loss. In the thick of it, we almost stop breathing; sometimes even wishing we could. And we know deep within that we will never be the same. Yet, one day we feel the sun on our face again. We find ourselves smiling at a child or a joke or a memory. And at that moment, we realize we are finding our way back. Changed forever? Yes. But also softer, deeper, more vulnerable and more loving too. And we are breathing again…..”


Happy Birthday Facebook!

social-media-likeThis week the country is celebrating Facebook’s 10th birthday.  In honor of this, everyone with an active Facebook account has been given a gift of their very own personal slideshow.  A Facebook movie!   It’s a composite look at your Facebook life, from the past 10 years, in 62 seconds.

What a brilliant marketing ploy!!  (not that they need it)  They’ve chosen the perfect instrumental music to accompany these award-winning clips.  Your heart will swell as you watch the short videos of your life from the past ten years flash before your eyes.  And they’ve created these for all 1.2 billion Facebook users worldwide.  Amazing!

That is, unless you are not an avid Facebook user.  Depending on how much time you have spent on FB and how much content you have posted and shared, you will either see the personalized video, a collection of photos or a simple thank-you card.  Wow, a card.  That’s kind of like winning the booby prize. Yikes!


Clark was a little miffed that he only got the photo composite rather than the video.  Oh, he spends just as much time on Facebook as I do, but he basically lurks rather than getting into the meat and potatoes of posting.  I think it’s a guy thing.

Myself?  I am well aware that I have spent wayyy too much time posting comments and sharing pictures.  But really, who hasn’t?  It’s the tech age, after all.  We get our news and up-to-date info sent directly to our electronic devices.  Or, immediately at the click of the mouse.  We can spend a few hours or so each day on Facebook and be caught up on what’s going on in the life of our friends.  Or, non-friends.

facebook-friendship-relationship-problems-friends-sympathy-ecards-someecardsSo, These uber awesome Facebook movies have provided us with just that kind of information.  I’ve had a ball spending the past few days looking at everyone’s clips.

Some of the movies that have flooded my news-feed…..

  • The Twenty-Something Friend – This person’s video is filled with shots at parties and large gatherings.  There are lots of selfies and they are constantly surrounded by a lot of other twenty-somethings.  They help me to remember how exhausting being twenty-something was.
  • The Thirty-Something Friend – These movies are filled with shots of young parents with growing families.  These 30-somethings have morphed from a group of selfie-obsessed friends into responsible young adults.  We see glimpses of their kids sporting events and family outings.  The friends in these vids look exhausted while the kiddos look as tho their energy never runs low.
  • The Forty-Something friend – They’re married, have had children and have purchased a home.  They’re in the midst of what is seemingly a successful career.  And we’ve witnessed it all through FB.
  • The Non-Friend – This person’s movie shows up on my news-feed and I have to wonder… who in the world is that?
  • The Acquaintance friend – I really never knew much about their personal life.  Until now.
  • The Adult-Friend – OK, these are the gold medal of videos. They cause me to choke up and get misty eyed.  They are filled with shots of family and friends and grand kids.  They tend to emphasize relationships and family.  Most have pics of loved ones who may no longer be with us.  I could watch these over and over again.  And cry each time.

Love it or not, these timeline look-back videos are here to stay.  They were created in the perfect Facebook time frame and set to the perfect instrumental music.  So sit back and enjoy.  I’ve had so much fun watching them the past few days.  I happen to fall into the MOM-Group.  We Moms were probably the first ones to call our kids after seeing our vids.  “It’s Great!!  I Love It!  You’ll love it, too!..” And our kids probably smiled and rolled their eyes and thought to themselves..  “Oh boyyy….” 

Congratulations Facebook on 10 accomplished years.  And here’s to information overload never slowing down!!




What’s that you said?

viaggia rest

Clark and I were out for dinner with some good friends this week at a wonderfully quaint Italian restaurant in the city.  We had never been there before.  Our friends had and it was one of their favorites.  With good reason.  It was charming and the food was amazing.

It was located on a street lined with hip bars, mom and pop stores and other trendy eateries.   It was in a section of the city that had a specific neighborhood feel to it.  The bars were filled with young patrons.   The trendy restaurants were packed with hungry diners.

We pulled up to our destination.  I loved the looks of it!  We handed the valet our keys and headed into the restaurant.

As we rushed out of the cold and in through a large door to the warmth, we were hit with the wonderful aroma that is so common to many Italian restaurants.  The smell of garlic, freshly baked bread and Italian food wafted through the air.  The sounds of ol’ Blue Eyes or some other familiar crooner could be faintly heard over discreetly hidden speakers.  It mingled with the loud voices and conversations that filled the room.  The place was packed.  Pretty much every table was filled and there were people waiting for their names to be called for their reservations.

Viaggio9As the guys walked in behind us, my girlfriend and I were already busy checking out the room for the best possible table to sit at.  She and I have been known to point out a table to the maître d’ that we’d like to dine at.  Our hubbies (and kids) have gotten used to this.  They know that we are  particular about where we want to sit.

We followed the hostess to a lovely table that was in the middle of the room.  As we got closer, I realized that my girlfriend and I were going to have to squeeze ourselves between the chairs of the surrounding tables to get to our seats.  This concerned me.  I was wearing my new cape-like poncho!  It was fur-trimmed.  The fur added so much to it ~ but it also made it bulky.  Especially for squeezing in between chairs of busy restaurants.

The hostess politely offered to take our wraps and hang them up for us.  How sweet! Tragedy avoided!  I handed my fancy new cape to her and did my best not to bump anyone’s chair surrounding me as I slipped into my seat.  It was easy to get around Clark’s seat because he was not in it yet.  He was already in the bathroom for what would be his first of many trips there.

I was so pleased as I looked over the great menu.  So many great choices.  I looked around the room.  I loved this place!  It was crowded.  It was bustling!! It was hip and cozy.

whisperingIt was also very loud. I looked up and noticed that Clark thought it was loud, too.  So did our friends.  I could tell by the way everyone craned their necks in and turned their ear towards the conversation.   Didn’t our parents do this?  Wasn’t this a sign that your hearing was not as sharp as it once was?  I tried not to think about that.  I just craned my neck in the direction of whoever was talking and tried to catch a word here and there.

The busy server made his way to the table.  I craned my ear up towards him as he quickly went over the specials. What was that?  What did he say?  I smiled and nodded and decided just to order off the menu instead. I had asked him a few questions, tried my best to lip read his answers and made my selection.

We ordered some wine and settled into the rhythm of the place.  I liked it here!

A little while later I could see our food coming.  We were getting hungry!   Our waiter set the tray down next to our table.  He started passing out the dishes.  He put mine in front of me.  Looking down at it, my eyebrows furrowed together.   Good grief, what was that?   It was huge! My girlfriend said it resembled a family size meatloaf.  Right there on my plate sat dinner for six.

Our waiter then put her meal in front of her.  It was gargantuan, as well.  I pointed my ear towards her as she explained to him that he had made a mistake.  She told him she did not order that.  He assured her that she did.

Clark’s meal was next.  Why, his meal was nothing like ours!  It was not supersized.  His meal was the size of a hockey puck. It was small and compact.  He looked at me from across the table and said something.  I craned my ear towards him.  I thought I heard the word tasty.  I smiled and nodded at him.

There was lots of laughter at our table during the meal.  There were lengthy, animated conversations.  Some of it I caught.  Some, I did not.  It made me think of dinners out with Clark’s parents before they surrendered to hearing aids.   You just knew they did not know what was being said because they just sat there and nodded.  Now I was the one nodding.  And Clark was nodding.

When did restaurants get so loud?  Do the modern design trends and open layouts amplify the noise?  Are there any restaurants out there anymore where you can have a conversation without being forced to shout? Do Restauranteurs intentionally create an atmosphere that is “high energy”  and loud because it lends a certain appeal and brings in more traffic?

Or, is it simply that we are aging.  We are becoming our parents.  What once used to be a commentary from the older generation about how loud “this or that” restaurant is, is now becoming my generation’s mantra.

After we were done with our meals,  we sat and enjoyed each others company in the overly loud, wonderful space.   It was good to be out with these dear friends.  Nodding and grinning.  And if I was honest,  I’d have to admit that the loud atmosphere did add to the spirited energy level of the evening.

What a great night!