Kids, Legos and Leftovers

 

When my mom passed away years ago, leaving me to raise my much younger brother and sister, I learned a few essentials pretty quick. For example:

 

Stepping on a Lego causes a sensation akin to stomping on a rusty bear trap. In a field of rosebushes. Barefoot.

 

Little boys will put anything and everything in their pockets. Seriously, I’ve found money, mud, bugs, candy toy soldiers and various unidentifiable objects shriveled up sadly on the bottom of my washing machine over the years.

 

Hell hath no fury like a little girl catching you throwing something away. No matter how old, broken or outgrown, it’s THEIRS and tossing it is a personal attack. I’ve smuggled broken pencils and headless Barbies out of the house like a Columbian drug lord. And perhaps the most important lesson of all…

 

Families are expensive.

 

Like, really expensive. Food, shelter, clothing, utilities, karate lessons, dance class, track meets… it all adds up pretty quick. Next thing you know, you’re Ebaying the ever loving heck out of your closet and garage, trying to drum up money for a prom dress, skate shoes or groceries to keep a 16 year old boy fed. (You’d be surprised. They can put it away.) Now don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t give back a single moment for all the jewels in the crown. They’ve brought more meaning to my life than I ever thought possible, and I’d give anything to make them tiny again. But still, in the still moments of the night, I can almost hear the forlorn sobs of my distraught wallet; weeping alone in the darkest corner of my closet.

 

That’s why I love getting to write for websites like Smart Living by Fingerhut. The whole site is full of awesome, money saving tips and tricks. It’s all about making more of what you have, and that’s something anyone with a family can appreciate. Like this article, about creative ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers. Which, incidentally, works really well with leftover weeknight chicken, turkey, or pork, too.

 

So what’s your favorite money saving family tip?

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Italian Jeans, Baby

So, I was pretty stoked to discover that my article on men’s Italian jeans is (drum roll, please) the number two search result on Google. As Mr. Powers would say, Yeah, Baby!

 

Check out this work of SEO fabulosness here:

 

http://www.internationaljock.com/articles/mens-italian-jeans.html

 

And then buy a pair, because International Jock is a rockin company that does all kinds of cool things, has smoking hot models (of both the male and female variety) and is run by the kind of people whose business you want to support.

Writers Write!

 

Writers write!

When I first set my stubborn Cuban-bred mind to become a wordsmith, that was my mantra. I sat down at my clunky old computer one fine afternoon and decided that I was going to do it — finally!– I was going to follow my passion and disregard every well-meaning piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. I was hereby a writer, dangit, and writers WRITE!

Well, what nobody told me was that writers also have to pay the rent and keep the lights on. That’s when I set the idea of Barnes and Nobel book signings and long lines of adoring fans waiting overnight in the rain to scoop up my latest novel on the back burner. Hey, it’s not that I gave up on my dream, but no one wants to fight Big Earl for the least soggy box under the overpass. I became a freelance writer, picking up various jobs writing for websites, advertising companies, online magazines, and the occasional BDSM club. (Rent, remember?)

And along the way, I discovered something fascinating. I wasn’t stewing at the keyboard every day, sobbing into my latte about how I’d sold out and become something I was ashamed of. Instead, I was  having a great time. I was writing! And learning all kinds of various things, which is awesome for a word nerd. I picked up a job writing about lingerie and swimwear for a fabulous company. I learned how to write radio copy and heard my work on the air. I found out that leather chaps can chafe a little if you’re not careful…

At any rate, I’ve come to love my job as a freelancer, as it affords me the opportunity to explore and write about just about everything. Do I still yearn to see my name on a hardcover, clutched in the hands of a slightly rabid fan who secretly dreams of tying me up, Misery style because they can’t get enough? Of course. Which is why I’ve worked writing fiction back into my 3 year plan. But I’m not sure I’ll ever give up the freelance gig completely, because I’ve really grown to love the freedom it gives me to explore things I might never have written about otherwise.

Well, unless I fall into a soft patch and stumble across a winning lottery ticket worth a couple mil. Then you’ll find me on a private yacht, heading towards the Greek Isles as I dictate my memoir to a cute scribe with broad shoulders…