Get Lit Presents: The Classic Slam!

Classic Slam is around the corner.
I first learned about Get Lit: Words Ignite at ONE Women and Girls and a year later, am proud to announce that I have joined them as part of their advisory board. Not only that, but I get to be one of of the judges at the Classic Slam Final this Saturday, May 2ndat the Wilshire Ebell Theatre downtown. I am honored and excited and I hope some of you will join me and the INCREDIBLE young poets of Los Angeles.

Stories are the great agents for change. Let us elevate the voices of our young people and applaud their courage to turn themselves inside out and slam their words against our ears.

Because THIS is power. THIS is change. THIS is the future of Los Angeles and the world. THIS is what poetry does for young people. It moves. It shakes. It revolutionizes.
I'm in Phoenix for the next three days so will unfortunately be missing the semi-finals, but for those looking to support teen voices and get inspired by the FUTURE of Los Angeles, tomorrow night (April 30th) and Friday night (May 1st) the 4th Annual Teen Poetry Slam Quarter and Semi-finals will be hosted at LA Theatre Center. (See below for more details.) Go to for more information and purchase your tickets, here! 
I hope to see some of you Saturday night! it's going to be EPIC. Go in, Poets!



a day altering work of staggering cleanliness

The following post is sponsored by Homejoy. You can read more about Homejoy, its founders and philosophy, here. 
Every day, at around 9am, I get home from dropping all four kids off at school. It is then that my work day begins. Unfortunately, because I work at home, my work day begins in a house that has dishes in the sink, milk still out from breakfast and a mess in every room that I feel like I must clean because, well... it's hard to work in filth, you know? I need some order in my court before I serve...

I do the dishes.

I neaten up.

I sweep.

Dustbust. (The vacuum is way too much work. The dustbuster on the other hand is alright.)

And then suddenly it's 10:00 and I haven't eaten breakfast yet and I have an hour until a post is due and three hours until school pick up and and and and suddenly, my work day is over. Except it isn't because if I don't finish x and y by EOD, I will have double the work tomorrow which, no. SO! When the kids are down I work until bedtime. Rinse, wash, repeat...

Since the twins started school and Tamara left (sniff!) I have been on my own cleaning wise, save for the three times (in almost a year) I've hired help. In a perfect world, I would hire someone to come once a week, but financially speaking, that isn't going to fly.

I had never heard of Homejoy until a few weeks ago and was of course BEYOND thrilled to "give it a spin".


And so it was. I logged into, picked a time that worked for me and two days later, Miriam knocked on the door. Miriam was cool and funny and had nothing but praise for her experience with Homejoy. (Homejoy works similarly to Uber/Lyft where independent contractors can make their own hours/schedules.)

I set up shop on the front porch with my computer so that I could continue to work from home without getting in her way and from 9-2:30, Miriam whipped the house into shape like whoa. I went ahead and took some before and after photos because they are fun.

First, we'll start with the twins' room because, HA!

IMG_9108 IMG_9109 IMG_9111 (at some point, you just give up.)
IMG_9125 Oh, hey! That's... yeah. Yeah!
IMG_9127 IMG_9126 IMG_9124
I am just now realizing that I never did a post about the twins' updated "big kid" room complete with twin beds (Ikea), bedding (Target) and carpet + storage ottomans (also Target). Everything else is unchanged since they were born and, if you're looking for sources, you can go here. Also, here, here, and here and here's a video of what the room looked like once upon a time when the twins were newborns. Sigh. Moving on! 
Looks good, right? If only it lasted longer than six minutes! (It looks like the "Before pictures" once again and has since Bo and Revi came home to a clean room and were like, THIS LOOKS GREAT! LET'S THROW EVERY TOY IN THE AIR TO CELEBRATE!)

Living Room: Before
IMG_9104 IMG_9103 After:
IMG_9134 IMG_9135
Archer and Fable's Room: Before
IMG_9119 And after:
IMG_9137 And before
IMG_9116 And after
IMG_9138 And before:
IMG_9118 And after:
IMG_9136 And before:
IMG_9117 And after:
IMG_9139 Dining Art Room: Before
IMG_9105 And After:
IMG_9132 Our Room: Before
IMG_9113 "Pin this"
IMG_9112"Pin this, too"
IMG_9130 Not a total Betty but a vast improvement. P.S. Hey, Elsa.


Beyond a clean house (for a day, anyway) I was able to get a day's worth of work done before school pick-up which NEVER happens. AKA, Hal and I caught up on Mad Men. (Is Don Draper dying? Is he already dead? Will he "fall" out of his office window in the season finale? Has he already jumped? Is Don me? Is Don you? Is this thing on? Who's on first?)

But, BY FAR my favorite part of the cleaning service (minus the clean house part) were all the goodies left behind... between the toilet paper and the paper towels and the sinks and the mints, I felt extremely special and fancy. Also? Miriam was awesome. 
IMG_9131 IMG_9133 IMG_9120
Thanks, Miriam! Thanks, Homejoy!


Interested in giving HomeJoy a spin? From now until May 12th, get $25 off your first cleaning by clicking, here. Thanks again to Homejoy for sponsoring this post! 

Tracking Pixel

one cannot spell postpartum without art and tum

IMG_7709 34 weeks pregnant with the twins

This week on I wrote about the juggernaut that is body image. 

...As an adult, I have learned to embrace my body as a thing I am okay with not loving all the time. In other words, I have made peace with the parts I cannot help but loathe. Instead of trying to embrace my body, I have embraced my inability to, and found peace through accepting that I was never going to be the body confident superhero I always wished I was. And that? That has set me free...
IMG_9219 Yesterday. My "baby bump" never quite went away. 

...When I gave birth to my first daughter, I decided to forgive myself for all the times I cursed my reflection when I should have been in awe of it.

Since then, I have learned to embrace my body by looking, not in the mirror, but through it. 

...And yet. There's still that nagging voice—the one that reeks of criticism and shame and self-loathing... the voice that appeared somewhere around my 13th birthday and has loitered within me for the last two decades...
....Which brings me to last week, when Revi came home with her "Happy" collage and the words she dictated to her teacher that read, "Mama's tummy makes me happy." I mean. Of all the things in the world, that is what she picked...  My post c- section/lumpy/bumpy/bulge-y belly?
Amazing. And all at once I felt my heart punch THE VOICE in the chest.

"Take that, voice! You don't know shit, voice! YOU DON'T MATTER ANYMORE, VOICE."

I think a lot about body confidence. I live in Hollywood where youth is bought and sold...  The girl who once begged her parents for liposuction has become the woman who refuses to color her hair. I want my kids to see what age looks like. I want my daughters to see that I can rock some gray strands and still be beautiful and confident and powerful. I feel the same way about my emerging wrinkles. My lines...

I want to battle the voice that has, for as long as I can remember bullied me into thinking I wasn't _____ enough.

And every day I do.

I have taught myself to compensate with a rebellion against my own self-doubt, substituting insecurity with a sing-it-sister kind of self love. I have become militant in my need to keep my natural hair color and parade around my house naked and unafraid so that my kids can see my lumps and bumps and scars and grays and know that THIS is what a 33 year old mother of four looks like. 

...It is liberating to know that I can own my body in front of them in ways I cannot with myself... Having daughters gave me NEW mirrors to stand in front of every day, and it has made all the difference.  Their pride in my body—Revi's happiness— has liposucked the shame out of my soul...

ED: I told Fable I was going to write this post and asked her if she would draw a smily face on my belly to illustrate Revi's collage...  She did. And then she kept drawing. And then Bo and Revi joined her until they were all drawing all over my belly and IT WAS AWESOME. And then I thought about "pregnancy belly art" and how rad it would be if we could, as a community, come together and do something similar for our postpartum bellies...

With our KIDS' drawings.

After all, one cannot spell POSTPARTUM without ART and TUM....
And I don't know about you guys, but it's impossible for me to feel shame for a belly covered in the drawings of its former inhabitants. I MEAN THAT SHIT IS AMAZE.
Thank you for the body confidence, Coach Revi. I love you with my whole entire WONDERLAND of a bod. And indeed it is one... I know it is. Even when I don't. 
....You can read my post in its entirety, here. 


"A tree house, a free house, a secret you and me house..."

"A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house...

Meredith and I met in 7th grade, years after the treehouse was built by her father, Randy. I went home with Mere after school one day and as we came around the driveway through the gate, my mind blew through the sky like a shot.

"How is this... "

"My Dad built it before I was born..."

"Where do you..."

"There's a ladder on the other side of the trunk..."

"Can we, like..."

"Of course. Follow me..."

We slept up there often, and when we were older, snuck boys in,  made out under blankets damp from sea air and climbed through the skylight across the suspension bridge to smoke Marlboro lights under the stars.
my dad crossing the suspension bridge, three stories high
It was a fantasy world and although I truly appreciated it at the time, looking back on those quiet years of loud emotions, I feel a sense of wonder, awe and gratitude that dwarfs the love I had for this place as a teenager.
Fable chills in the treehouse's king-sized bed

I may have appreciated it in those days, but I didn't know how good I had it. I didn't know that waking up in a treehouse many a summer morning would be one of my great life privileges. And it wasn't until I saw it again, reflected back at me through my children's eyes, did I SEE it see it.
"This is where some of my fondest memories live," I told them, looking up.
... But they were already gone, sewing the seeds of their own memories, their eyes wide with "whoa..."
I know I've written about the treehouse a hundred times through the years, but I'd never featured it, here. I've never spent an afternoon there with my children. I've never shared Randy's story... the builder himself, who in the last twenty years has added an extra room to the main house as well as a third level and an elevator.

"It was getting too hard for me to climb up without it," he explained, "So I built a new way up."

Randy fell out of a tree in his early twenties. He should have died but he didn't. He should have been paralyzed but he was not.

The story becomes almost biblical in nature after that. Randy, after making a near-full recovery from his injury, decided he wanted to build a house in the eucalyptus tree in the backyard of the house he was (at the time) renting. And although he would never walk the same, he kept walking. And climbing. And building.

"It started with a platform and a fireman's pole... and then, over the years... I kept building."
IMG_8554 IMG_8555
Randy met Mere's mom soon after and later purchased the house they rented together, one block from the beach. Through the years, Randy added on to his treehouse.... the platform became a full-on house, followed by a suspension bridge that led to another level.  Then another. And then one day Randy taught himself to make stained glass and filled his treehouse with the most glorious rainbow windows...
What almost killed him became his magnum opus. And indeed it is. 
I realize I am in no way an authority on treehouses. However, I would venture to bet a million trillion dollars that in all the Architectural Digests in all the land, no treehouse has been built with the hutzpah this one has. Randy's story is one of fearlessness, determination and magic... and the treehouse (hell, the entire yard!) reflects that...

Build your world. 
Build it slowly over time. 
Build it well. 
Build it fearlessly. 
Randy also makes his own neon because of course
(read it backwards)
Neverland would be jealous. 
I wasn't fully aware of Randy's story as a teenager. I guess I didn't ask or maybe I was too busy trying to sneak boys up into the main house with Meredith, but listening to Randy as he re-introduced me to his magical world, I began to see his house through new eyes.
IMG_7278 IMG_8552 Meredith and the boys, on the other side of the suspension bridge
IMG_7286 Our boys.
Randy Becker's treehouse lives as a reminder of many things -- the magic of childhood, the growth of a personal dream... but perhaps, most importantly, it stands as a lesson that a great fall inspires an even greater climb.

And when the climb becomes too difficult? Build a new way up.  
IMG_8569 IMG_8566
I am ever so fortunate that my adolescent memories will always include within them such a magical place. And that my children, all these years later, get to experience it, too. Thank you, Becker family. Thank you, Randy.

...A street house, a neat house,
Be sure to wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all- 
Let's go live in a tree house.” 

- Shel Silverstien