Passing the Baton

I’ve been running for a longer time than I have the brain cells to remember, but I must have started around my oldest son’s age. Which would have made me a middle schooler. What I do remember in mental high-def was getting up super early before school—while it was still dark out—and cracking an egg into a glass, which I would drink before my run, its sliminess tempered by the dash of vermouth my dad suggested I add. 

Yes, this was the early eighties, and Rocky Balboa was my idol in all his raw egg chugging glory. And over the years, I can’t tell you how many times I have run up stairs or a hill imagining I was the Italian Stallion on his famous sprint up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the chords to “Gonna Fly Now” blasting through my head. Once, I even ran up those iconic steps myself, throwing my arms up in triumph when I got to the top.

But lately my runs have been harder and shorter, with me feeling more like the aging Rocky from his latest movie, Creed, and the only sound between my ears is the recurring ring of a four-letter word. STOP. 

I can’t help but wonder if I’m approaching the end of the line of finish lines.

Teach Kids Gratitude (And Maybe Someday They'll Thank You)

Much like turkey leftovers and food comas, my rerunning of this previous post has become a Thanksgiving tradition. Not because I'm too tired or lazy to write something new (okay, that might have been the case last year) but because we ALL need reminding to be happy with what we have, myself and my family included! Just the other day, we got my daughter a tank full of fish, and only  a few hours later she started begging us for a mouse. Clearly I have more work to do! But I'm 'tank full' for her, and I'm 'tank full' for all of you, my loyal and supportive readers! Hope you eat, drink and love until your hearts and bellies burst.        

 XO Michelle              

help children be happy with what they have, michelle sassa, feminine mystake
We’ve nicknamed my daughter “Ms. More” because, since the day she was born, she's always angled to get more than she has. If I agree to let her have one cookie, she immediately wants two. Before I’m even done reading her a bedtime story, she’s already asking for another.

How To Brainstorm A Book

Guest Post by my writing partner, Anna Mitchael

So this is the thing. We didn’t actually start out writing a hilarious book about a twenty-something young woman searching for herself in the halls of an advertising agency. At first it was going to be a mystery with a male hero who goes looking for a troupe of dentists that kidnapped his pet walrus.

Michelle and I outlined the idea, then took it into an ad agency and we were like ‘HEY GUYS!’ (We screamed because it’s always really loud in ad agencies. You think it’s going to be quiet because, after all, aren’t these people being paid to think? But thinking only takes up 2% of every hour. The other 98% of the minutes are the preparation for thinking—the stretching of the legs, the shooting of the shit, the playing of the ping pong. Loud stuff.)

Why the World Needs Weirdos

The world is ruled by freaks and geeks. True fact. That boy from your third grade class who used to dissect flies with his pen cap? He’s now an MIT grad making robotic limbs, and the ‘popular kids’ who made fun of him are bagging his groceries.

Weirdos are, by definition, unique, eccentric, curious. They’re the folks who don’t just think outside the box, they live there. It’s never occurred to them to color in between the lines. What makes you weird makes you wonderful. It’s also the secret sauce for a successful life.

Here’s why you need to let your freak flag fly:

Real Life Peggy Olson

Psst. Can you keep a secret? Mad Men was my favorite TV show. Like ever. Shocker, I know, since I am an advertising copywriter. And my debut novel Copygirl chronicles the (ahem) fictional exploits of a female copywriter trying to beat the boys' club at their own inane game of keep-away. Not unlike Mad Men's Peggy Olson.

Eviction Notice to My Kids


TO:                 My three children, ages 12, 9 and 9

FROM:           The Dept. of Housing


PLEASE TAKE NOTICE THAT among the numerous grounds for eviction, you are in violation of the following:

a. Failure to Pay Rent
Tenant(s) have not contributed a dime towards this household, save for that time someone’s wallet spilled out on the kitchen floor and they opted to leave the coins wherever they rolled (thanks so much for the gratuity). In addition, tenants have provided no assistance to electric and water bills, other than to ensure each stays so high that their landlord / father must drink heavily on a regular basis.

Making Mum Proud

A couple of days into my end-of-summer vacation, I was succeeding at my goal of cutting off all communication with the outside world. It definitely helped that the internet was dodgy where I preferred to drink my morning coffee, on the balcony overlooking the beach. After a few frustrating minutes out there waiting for my web browser to load, it would stress me out so much I was forced to flip down my screen and continue devouring my beach read instead. (The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. And yes, you will eat it up too.)

Our country could have gone to war or to Mars, or Lord help me, all the Fall boots at Nordstrom could have gone on sale, and I would not have known about it.

Still Got It

Whooping it up with my girls. And Captain Sparkle.
‘What is tonight’s challenge going to be?’ my bestie Melanie asked me as we sipped our vodka sodas, leaning against the bar that was holding us up. Our legs weren’t buckling from intoxication, but rather from the paddleboarding I’d done all morning while Mel and the other girls did a fitness challenge back on shore.

‘Challenge?’ I blinked, not comprehending. ‘You mean, like trying not to get fall-down drunk?’ After all, the girl had done like a jillion squats. And our other bestie Marisa is a notorious stumbler whenever liquor is involved, even when her quads aren’t sore.

It was day two of our annual girls’ weekend in Ocean City, Maryland, and we were at wildly popular nightclub Fager’s Island, where vacationers young and old come to revel amidst a back drop of DJ’s, live music and reckless anonymity. Also, more bachelor and bachelorette parties than the Las Vegas strip.

‘No, silly.’ Melanie shook her head, motioning to the colorful cast of characters pouring into the place. ‘We need a quest for fun. What kind of trouble are we going to stir up around here?’

Doing it All

There is this dream I have where I walk into my house after a day out at meetings (or shopping or the spa, if my subconscious is really feeling ambitious) and I'm greeted with the smells of a home cooked dinner waiting for me on the table.  It’s a balanced meal with meat and a side and veggies. Not just some slapped together cheeseburger on a paper towel with a handful of potato chips. And I didn’t have to buy the fixings for this dinner. Or prep it. Or even lift a finger to clean it all up. And in my dream, this isn’t Mother’s Day. It’s just an ordinary Tuesday.

The Fun Mom

Around here, Mom gets a bum rap. Dad is the fun one, doing all the tickling and wrestling and ball-throwing in the house. I’m that shadow in the background sweeping up the shards of the vase they just knocked over.

I even call my husband ‘Daddy Funtime,’ sneering as I say this to fully articulate that this is meant to be a negative connotation. 

Stop Signs: AKA Running Through My Life

The Women’s World Cup has begun (USA! USA!) and my husband was asking me about some of the players since I am still quite the soccer player myself so you’d think I would know that. But I came up blanker than a child who’s been asked how his day was, mainly because the last time these games were played, I was knee deep in young’uns and their whirling worlds with scant time to sit in front of the tube and watch. Sigh. I don’t even think I saw the Japan/U.S. final.

Big Mother is Watching

Some people volunteer for their child’s school because they are natural do-gooders who like to help and make a difference. Others pitch in to get out, be social, and get involved.

Me, I do it so I can spy on my kids and see how they act when they’re outside my four walls.

That’s why you won’t see me heading up any PTO committees, helping out in the school library or running the fundraisers. I like to be on the front lines, right there among the students, where putting my time in is rewarded with a window into my children’s school day. This way, I can find out whether they are good listeners, good sharers and good classroom citizens, or little bullies and miscreants, sniffing the magic markers and eating the Elmer’s glue.

Flaunt What You've Got

I’m not sure I’m allowed to tell you this, but my husband is getting a colonoscopy today, and in preparation, he had to fast for 24 hours and drink this colon cleanser called MoviPrep that was basically an exorcism of his innards. I’m talking emergency evacuation in a bottle.

The men among you are no doubt thinking, ‘Bro, that does not sound fun.’ But I’ll bet my subscription to People magazine that more than a handful of you women–acutely aware that swimsuit season is upon us–had the same first thought as me:

‘Wow. How do I get my hands on a prescription?’

Sorry, Mom – (I Didn't Know What a Pain I Was)

Motherhood can be a thankless job, full of headaches and hair pulling. The only time my crew notices what I do is when I stop doing it. I have no clean underwear, didn’t you do the laundry? There are no more Cheez-Its, didn’t you go shopping?

I know appreciation won’t come ‘til later, if ever. So with Mother’s Day looming near, it’s high time I gave a honking big apology to the woman who thanklessly washed my day-of the week panties and kept me in salty snacks. Better late, than never, right?

Silly For Lilly: How My BFF Survived the Pulitzer for Target Launch

Guest Post By Marisa Coar

This tale comes from my BFF, and like all great war stories our friends tell, when I heard it my response was, ‘I wish I had been there.’ I made Marisa blog about it since I couldn’t…

Let’s just be perfectly clear–I don’t do color. Black and grey are the hues of choice in my closet. Every once in a while, I go buck wild and wear navy, but that’s really it. So when my southern gal pal Suzanne called me to tell me about the ‘Lilly sale’ coming up at Target and how she would be there at 6:30 am on Sunday April 19th, my reaction was flat.

I had no idea that Lilly Pulitzer, the high-end brand known for its Palm Beach-inspired, bright prints, had designed a one-time only, limited edition collection for the low cost mega chain. Or that this news was whipping women the world over into more of a frenzy than the movie release of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The 'That Won't Be Us" Illusion

We're so busy, we don't know whether we're coming or going.
My older brother called the other day to invite us to a little get-together for his son’s birthday. When he gave me the date, I checked my calendar then started laughing like a teen snorting cough meds.

“Bro, I’m triple booked then,’ I rattled in that same annoying laundry-list voice all the other grade school parents I know can't help using to quantify how unequivocally busy we are. 

Angelina Jolie and the Power of Knowledge

Did you ever experience that weird sensation where you learn something you never knew, then suddenly you start seeing it everywhere?

Quite recently, my something was the BRCA gene, and today’s news flurry over Angelina Jolie’s Op-Ed piece was the tipping point.

What the PARCC Taught Me

The End of Days is upon us. The Rapture. Judgment Day. Also known as PARCC testing time.

If you have children of school age anywhere around these parts, you know this WTF-of-a-standardized-computer-based-test is all anyone has been talking about this whole school year. It's even made us forget about lockdowns.

The three children I live with have taken to call it the CCRAP test, even though they have to cough up a dollar every time they say that. Worth every penny, in their books.

Do What You Love

At long last, the cover art for my first novel.
Originally, the title for this post was going to be ‘The Wai-ai-ting Is The Hardest Part.’ A subtle nod to one of my first rock loves, the poet god of telling it like it is, Tom Petty.

Then I thought maybe I’d be oh-so-clever, and change it up to ‘The Wri-ii-ting Is The Hardest Part,’ a not-so-subtle bow to how I’ve been spending my days and nights.

See, my writing partner and I are one spell check away from finishing our second novel. And that’s the kind of end line that deserves a YIPPEE-MOTHER-EFFIN-KAY-AY. Confetti, champagne and cheese fries wrapped in new clothes from Anthropologie, boxed together with a litter of baby kittens.

Brain Freeze

‘Heard you have cold weather coming your way?’ my mother said from the other end of a phone that was overlooking a Florida beach on a 74 degree day. (Granted, it has been “cold” where she is too, cold for this time of year, and the nights do dip down into the 50’s, poor mama).

And what she heard was true. We are about to get our coldest days of this year, barely above zero with a wind a chill making it feel far worse, right smack during my family’s annual ski trip.