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POP Went My World

March 6, 2011

Our little superhero

Friends. It’s been a while. I realize the likelihood of anyone sitting around wondering why MOMnPOP inexplicably fell off the face of the earth is slim to none. And although I hate excuses, just for the record, I have a really good one.

We’ve all heard that life has a way of throwing curve balls. And that you never can tell what’s going to come your way. But three months ago – the Monday after Thanksgiving – my husband and I were on the receiving end of one of the more extreme turns the universe could possibly serve up. It was Monday, November 29, when our first-born – our handsome, hilarious and precocious 4-year-old son, Julian – was diagnosed with an inoperable malignant brain tumor.

Heavy, heartbreaking, unthinkable and insanely anxiety-inducing are just some of the adjectives that could describe what went on over the holiday season and the start of the new year. The intense ups and downs and dramatic details are too many to recount here. I find each day to be a new and different exercise in mental toughness. But for all the difficulties we’ve had to face, it should be noted how many unexpected gifts we’ve received too – silver linings, an abundance of blessings, moments of humility, the reliability of old friends, the introduction of new friends, small miracles and fresh perspectives on this very short and precious gift we call life.

Julian’s safe right now, but he’s far from being out of danger. He’s had to endure so much: admission into five different hospitals, six operations (four of which were brain surgeries), an uncomfortable familiarity with the inside of an ambulance, and an entrance into a rare and very special community at the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Which has become our home away from home as he receives a second round of radiation therapy and comprehensive care under some of the best doctors in the world.

So yes, life took a dramatic turn, and I’ve been busying myself with priorities way more important than new music, media mania, latest trends, good design and funny videos. But now that I’m getting some footing back, some balance in a new life that is now intertwined with the heartbreaking realm of pediatric cancer – I’ve been thinking about how to use this space. Not sure I’ll ever be back to daily posts, but I think I’m ready to return to writing.

So, after three months of being all-consumed with the not-so-small-task of trying to save my son’s life – I’d like to use this space when I can to relay interesting insights and lessons I’m learning along the way. And for my own sanity, I think it will be good therapy to mix in some of the things that have always interested me and continue to make me laugh as the world goes on around me.

Good to be back. I’ve missed you. To learn more about our campaign to save our little superhero, please visit The Team Julian Foundation.

Let the Holiday Movie Season Begin

November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving weekend is famous for big shopping, but it also marks the start of the holiday movie season with lots of family-friendly, feel-good films – and traditionally a handful of Oscar contenders.

Lots of big titles releasing in the next few weeks. Check out USA Today’s Movie Calendar or IMDB’s Holiday Movie Guide detailing everything coming up through the end of the year.

Family fare includes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Tangled, The Nutcracker in 3D, The Chronicles of Narnia,Yogi Bear and Jack Black in Gulliver’s Travels.

Personally, I’m looking forward to more adult subject matter in films like Fair Game,   Blue Valentine, and the already buzzing-with-Oscar-chatter The King’s Speech,

And we all know sequels rarely deliver greatness, but I think we can we all agree that we’re at least hoping for a few good laughs from Little Fockers.




Green Bean Casserole Snobs Rejoice

November 23, 2010

World's Best Green Bean Casserole

Food on the brain this week – right along with all that we have to be thankful for, of course. I’m not hosting the main event this year, but I do take my contribution of the Green Bean Casserole to two separate feasts very seriously for the coming holiday weekend.

I found this recipe to The World’s Best Green Bean Casserole two years ago, and mark my words, I will never use another again. Once you taste this, you’ll understand why.

It’s simple. Use fresh ingredients and commit a bit more time to snap the beans, wash the mushrooms and make it all from scratch. It takes about 40 minutes to prep, can be made a day ahead, and do consider doubling the recipe.

For such a favorite Thanksgiving dish, it’s all well-worth skipping the canned version.

And so as not to be a total Casserole Snob, I do allow myself the shortcut of buying the onion topping. Lots of good gourmet options at the market, and I certainly have nothing against the ‘ol trusty French’s version.

The Boss + Neil Young Cover “Whip My Hair”

November 22, 2010
tags: ,

Bruce Springsteen and "Neil Young"

This came up in a few different coversations over the weekend. If you missed it, here’s Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young performing their cover of 10-year-old Willow Smith’s pop hit “Whip Your Hair.”

Watch the video here.

Careful – the pop sensation turned folk song will become lodged in your brain for a minimum of one hour after watching this.

MOMnPOP’s Guide to 2010 Holiday Gift Guides

November 21, 2010

Oprah's Ultimate List of Favorite Things

Gift guides. So very helpful. But they’re everywhere right now. Need help navigating? Here are a few of our faves as you prep for the holiday gift giving extravaganza.

  1. Etsy’s Gift Guides – Tons and tons of unique gifts from amazing crafters and artisans. It’s organized by price point, interests and the person i.e. him, her, baby, coworker, etc.
  2. Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things 2010 – Ultimate because it’s her final season. Talking to a friend Friday morning, she wrapped things up by saying, “K, gotta go, Oprah’s Favorite Things is about to start!”
  3. Gwyneth’s Gift Guide – Featured in her weekly newsletter on, Gwyneth put out some super cute finds – especially for kids and moms.
  4. Real Simple’s Gifts Under $100 – The most comprehensive I’ve found. Editors even broke the guides out into tots/tweens, mothers/grandmothers, fathers, husbands/brothers and so on.
  5. The New York Times Gift Guide – Equally expansive and always in good taste, these useful lists are categorized by books, electronics, music/theater, home, travel and more.
  6. Refinery29’s 50 Gifts Under $100 – For the very fashionable.
  7. TreeHugger’s Holiday Gift Guide 2010 – For the eco-conscious.
  8. CNET’s Holiday Gift Guide 2010 – For all things techie.
  9. Inc.’s Gifts That Give Back – For feel-good gifts that give back to those in need.
  10. Chic ‘n Cheap’s Blogger Gift Guide – Lots of unique finds by bloggers who love stylish things.


Old is New on Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise”

November 19, 2010

I know more than a few near-and-dear who are gonna love this.

Out this week, The Boss just released a two-CD set – as well as a deluxe set with a DVD  – featuring 21 songs that didn’t make it onto Darkness on the Edge of Town back in 1977.

Read a review and the whole back story here at the Chicago Tribune.

Or see and hear about it from the man himself below.

Handsome Grays and Blues and Carbon2Cobalt

November 18, 2010

Signature grays and blues in this Orkney Islands Plaid Shirt

The onslaught of holiday catalogs stuffed in my mailbox and piling up on my desk. Extra thick and glossy versions of the familiar, but many titles I’ve never heard of… which makes me wonder how they found me.

But one I decided not to throw in the recycle bin is Carbon2Cobalt, a site with cool clothes with a rugged, relaxed style for your main man.

Inspired by carbon grays and cobalt blues, the brand was created and launched by Matt Cooper about two years ago in Santa Barbara with orders available online and through the catalog. Read more via SBDigs.

Some other faves – and possible gift ideas – include the Cloud 9 Sweater, Gloaming Cashmere Sweater, and the Superlight Down Vest.

Take a look around to see what you like at

Listen to This: Belle & Sebastian

November 17, 2010

New Music by Belle & Sebastian

A hunt for new music led to the discovery of Belle & Sebastian, a Scottish group who just released, “Write About Love.” It’s mostly sunny and peppy with a big lean toward ’60s pop.

With a much bigger following across the Atlantic, they’ve been on the indie scene since 1996. This being their ninth studio album, I’m looking forward to all the catching up I have to do.

Norah Jones joins in on the very mellow “Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John,” and I’m really enjoying the much more upbeat, “Come On Sister.” Both can be heard here on TwentyFourBit.

Try out their cover track Write About Love, (below) – you might be surprised to hear that that’s actress Carey Mulligan singing along.

RedLaser App: Your New Shopping Secret Weapon

November 16, 2010

Shop smarter with RedLaser

Just read the Top 10 Must-Have Apps for iPhone from The New York Times. The one that most impressed me that I had never heard of before was RedLaser, a free app, that just may be your best shopping mate through the holiday season and beyond.

…Well aside from your new Sassy Gay Friend, of course.

Download RedLaser and you can scan any product’s bar code to see the price, and whether you can get it cheaper at another store or at an online retailer like Amazon.

The other cool option? Say you’re in Target or a toy store and spot some items you know your itty bitty would love, but you don’t want to buy it just then. Scan it and save it to a list of gift ideas for whoever you want – then pull up the handy list when a birthday or holiday rolls around.

Food Rules for Anyone Who Eats

November 15, 2010

A great gift for anyone who eats

I came across Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan at Border’s the other day. Small enough to fit in your purse and inexpensive enough to buy as stocking-stuffers for anyone you care about – this book is filled with simple reminders of basic principles you probably already know — but all too often forget.

Basic answers to big questions like, “What should I eat?” Mostly plants. “How should I eat?” Not too much.

Boiled down and compiled from the author who wrote “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, and “In Defense of Food”, some of Pollan’s tips include:

  • It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.
  • Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of milk.
  • Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
  • Eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored.
  • Do all your eating at a table.




The No-Fail New Baby Gift Guide: 5 You’ll Want to Give and Receive

November 13, 2010

Sterling Classic Dumbell Rattle by Lunt

My little sis is having a baby. Heading to her shower this weekend got me thinking about the gifts I’ve most loved giving and receiving since entering Momhood four years ago.

If you’re thinking of straying from the registry – or looking for a “Welcome to the World” gift after the happy arrival, here is MOMnPOP’s No-Fail New Baby Gift Guide.

  1. Sterling Silver Anything – Simply the best. Whether it’s a rattle, spoon, cup or comb, this gift is destined to be a cherished keepsake. Lunt and Tiffany & Co. offer outstanding pieces, many of which can be engraved. Plus, sterling has natural antimicrobial properties which new moms like to hear.
  2. Swaddling/Receiving Blankets – Made of muslin and bamboo, Aden + Anais make the cutest, coolest, softest swaddlers out there right now. Available here at Layla Grayce and Target, they are so amazing I almost want to endure another pregnancy just to wrap a newborn in these. Almost. Before these hit the market though, I used SwaddleDesigns for both my babes. In fact, the Little Miss adopted her polka dot version as her go-to at bedtime every night. Gift sets available at Nordstrom and BabiesRUs.
  3. Personalized Blanket – I’ve ordered the personalized cable knit blanket from Elegant Baby for probably 10 new sweet peas over the last couple years. Well-priced and good options for embroidery, just make sure you get the correct spelling of the new babe before ordering. I have to say though, I’m slightly annoyed they aren’t offering the blanket in brown anymore. 
  4. Baby’s First Library – When in doubt, you cannot go wrong with books. Grab some classics like The Little Prince or anything by Shel Silverstein, your own favorites from childhood, or a bunch of board books like I Love You Stinky Face, Goodnight Moon, On the Day You Were Born and anything by Eric Carle or Sandra Boynton. Use a modern, organic receiving blanket (see #2) to line a handsome little basket mom can use in the nursery, and voila! A well-read child.
  5. A Love of Music – Three CDs every nursery should have:

Have some other favorites? Post them here!

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