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The Queen of Darn Near Everything

On Being A Surrogate Mom

Every Day is an Adventure, Family Time, Giving Back, Health = Happiness!, Living a Royal Life, Mothering 101, Serious Shit, You Can't Make This Shit Up!
Amanda and Xavier

Surrogate mom Amanda and Xavier- Olivia’s dad

Amanda

I’ve known this bubbly, fun and vivacious woman for a few years through one of my networking organizations I attend.  When she attended one of my recent comedy shows I was amazed, when, in passing conversation she mentioned “when I was a surrogate…….”  A surrogate mom? Yep, a surrogate mom!

I will admit, I was intrigued.  All we tend to hear about surrogate moms, and the surrogate situation typically are the “horror stories” that make the news. A mom goes to court to retrieve her child, months or years after a family has lovingly raised the child as their own.  The story of a couple who refuses a baby they have had a surrogate carry, because it wasn’t “perfect.”  Any number of tragic stories have made headlines over the years, and we have all seen them played out, often with a tragic ending for a number of the people involved.

I always wondered who would choose to be a surrogate.  And why.

So, when Amanda mentioned she had been a surrogate I was intrigued!  I asked if she would consider an interview for my blog. And…… of course, she readily agreed!

Tell Me Your Story…

I asked. She answered. And now I know just about every damned thing there is to know about being a surrogate. (Or at least more than a darned lot of people know!)  Or maybe not, because I’m really not smart enough to have thought of all the questions I should have asked.  That being said……… I’m happy to tell you what I WAS smart enough to ask, and if you think up 2,569 other questions, pose them to me, and I’ll bet, sure as shit, Amanda will be happy to answer them for all of us! ‘Cause that’s just the kind of person she is!

The first burning question I had for Amanda was, “What in the world made you decided to become a surrogate?”  She explained that she had done quite a bit of volunteer and charity work throughout her life, and while a lot of it was great, the impact that was made felt very temporary.  You feed someone a meal, and in a few hours they are hungry again.  You give a homeless person a blanket, they are a bit warmer, but their homelessness isn’t necessarily solved.

But, she explained, “I wanted to change someone’s life, and nothing changes your life more than having and raising a child.” How flippin’ profound is that? (Don’t let anyone say that Amanda is just another pretty face!  Hell no, she is PROFOUND!)

Since I knew that Amanda has a husband and 3 children of her own- I of course wondered how the decision to become a surrogate affected her family. She said that her husband felt that the decision was totally hers, and he was very supportive of it. Her twin boys were almost 3 at the time- and really didn’t even seem to notice.  Her daughter, Kylie, however was 5 and felt that most the people they came in contact with should know, loud and clear, that her mommy was having a baby, but it wasn’t theirs!  THAT got a lot of different reactions, as you can well imagine!

Surrogate mom Amanda with Olivia

Surrogate mom Amanda with Olivia

Traditional Surrogacy vs. Gestational Surrogacy

Talking about the details of how being a surrogate works would make your head spin! Details you would have NO IDEA about, would take a novel to spell out.  The first decision is whether to be a “traditional” surrogate, meaning your own eggs are used, or being a “gestational” surrogate.  In this case, an egg “donor” supplies the egg, and you carry the baby to term.  Gestational surrogacy is the type that Amanda chose, because, as she said, she “just couldn’t imagine her own child walking around out there, without any involvement or communication.” She described herself as kind of “being the oven” until things were finished out!

Typically, surrogates go through an agency, and the agency makes sure that all the legalities are being followed and everyone is doing what needs to be done in the proper manner. There are a number of “rules” you must follow to become a surrogate.  One that REALLY surprised me is that you must have already given birth. I had no idea that was a rule! I pictured a perfect surrogate being a young, single woman! But nope!  And, if you are married, the husband must be willing to support you being a surrogate. That one makes sense to me! It’s hard to show up at the company Christmas party with a VERY expectant wife, and tell everyone from the office the child isn’t yours— if you aren’t FULLY on board with the whole concept!

So, once you get past all of the complicated laws, rules, procedures and paperwork, it’s time to move forward and start the process.

Andrew, Amanda and Xavier. You can see the bond between them in this picture!

Andrew, Amanda and Xavier. You can see the bond between them in this picture!

Who Makes the Choice?

Amanda told me that as a surrogate, you can be as specific as you want as to what parents you choose to work with.  You could decide to only accept a “traditional” married couple. Or a single mom. A single dad.  A specific race. If you only wanted to work with a family that had certain religious beliefs, you could choose specifically by that criteria. As the surrogate mother, you can completely decide what criteria is important to YOU.  Whatever YOUR criteria is, that is the only IP (Intended Parents) the agency would match you up with. And the same goes to the Intended Parents and their choice of a surrogate.

Amanda said she didn’t care about most of the criteria I mentioned above.  Her biggest concern was that the adopting parent or parents be someone who was open to maintaining communication throughout the pregnancy and after the birth. She wanted the Intended Parents to be involved.  One of the first people the agency suggested to her was a single IP in Hong Kong.  Amanda knew that it would be realistically impossible for him to be at any regular Dr. appointments, possibly miss the birth of the baby and the time difference would make communication difficult overall, so she turned down the match.  When the agency contacted her and let her know they had a gay couple in Manhattan who wanted to be involved with the surrogate throughout the pregnancy, and were open to keeping in contact after the birth, Amanda knew she had found the perfect match.

The proud dads-to-be with Amanda during her pregnancy.

The proud dads-to-be with Amanda during her pregnancy.

A “Match Made in Heaven!”

Amanda said that the intended parents, Xavier and Andrew flew all the way out from New York for their “in person Match Meeting” and everyone immediately felt like they had know each other forever.  They all hit it off immediately, and became instant friends.

Her “matching” family had already chosen an egg donor.  Amanda explained to me that getting two women and their “cycles” matched up is really complicated. There are drugs involved for the both the surrogate and the donor which really mess with your hormones, and can give you symptoms of PMS to the EXTREME! Something I didn’t know was the IVF drugs don’t stop once the egg is implanted.  You must continue using them through the first trimester of the pregnancy. Needless to say, ladies, if you had extreme PMS type symptoms for months on end, your husband would have to be a SAINT to be supportive of the decision!

Once the two women involved (in a gestational surrogacy) have their cycles lined up, they must rendezvous in the same location, so that the egg can be implanted into the surrogate. Amanda explained to me that the implanting of the egg isn’t exactly the most delightful procedure.

In Amanda’s case, there were 16 eggs extracted from the egg donor and fertilized, 5 of which progressed into healthy embryos. When it was time for transfer, 2 of the embryos were implanted and the remaining 3 were frozen for future possibilities.

Baby on Board!

Although Xavier and Andrew were not in California for the transfer, they all kept in constant contact throughout the pregnancy. They flew out for both the “confirmation of pregnancy” (an ultrasound to verify implantation and growth) and the 20 week anatomy ultrasound, where they confirmed the baby’s gender with 3d images! At 37 weeks and 6 days, Amanda went into labor and Xavier and Andrew hopped on a plane! Because labor was a bit of an early surprise, Xavier and Andrew missed the birth, but got to party on the plane with Amanda and Neil’s delivery room updates, and they arrived at the hospital just a few hours later!

The lovely little girl that Amanda helped to bring into this world is named Olivia and she is nearly 5 years old. Amanda, Olivia and her parents are all amazingly close.  Amanda’s whole family went to New York to celebrate Olivia’s first birthday.  Most of the family were there for her 3rd birthday, and last year Amanda and one of her twin boys went for her 4th birthday.

From front row to back: Maximus, Amanda, Kylie, 2nd; Michael, Olivia and Andrew, Back: Xavier

From front row to back: Maximus, Amanda, Kylie,
2nd; Michael, Olivia and Andrew, Back: Xavier

Not Your Typical “Surrogacy”

Amanda explained to me that she has a VERY atypical relationship with the family she was a surrogate for.  Olivia actually calls her “surro-mom.”  Amanda’s kids are referred to as “surro-siblings.” The titles along with this close of a relationship is not the norm for a surrogate and Intended Parents, but it works for all involved in this particular situation.  The interesting thing is that Amanda showed me a picture taken in June of her son and Olivia.  Although they share no actual DNA, you would SWEAR that those two children are siblings! They have the same heart shaped faces, and even the same shape to their feet!  Crazy, when you consider that Amanda didn’t donate her eggs!

When Olivia was 2, her parents asked Amanda to be a surrogate for a sibling for Olivia. The whole family flew here to California to be present for Amanda’s 3rd ultrasound, and it was there they all found out that baby Ava had stopped growing and no longer had a heartbeat. Needless to say, everyone involved was devastated at the news.

There are risks in every pregnancy, and obviously surrogacy pregnancies are no different. Amanda told me of one friend who had had her own child, then was a surrogate.  Something happened, which resulted in her needing a hysterectomy after the surrogacy.  She had wanted more children of her own, but that plan was changed.

Amanda, Olivia and Maximus

Amanda, Olivia and Maximus

Another friend of hers has 4 children of her own, and has been a surrogate 4 times, resulting in 5 children!  She loves it, and it is fulfilling to her. (Honestly, I can’t in my wildest dreams imagine being pregnant that many times!  Ouch!)

The question outsiders always discuss, wonder about and have questions about is the financial aspect of being a surrogate.  Amanda mentioned to me that often, people’s first response is, “You make BANK on being a surrogate, right?”  Ummmmmmmmmmmm…. no, not really.  Amanda shared with me that each independent agreement and each agency varies in their packages, but typically an amount is agreed upon for carrying the baby.  In addition, there are amounts laid out for the “transfer fee” (relating to implanting the fertilized egg), travel expenses, medical bills, a “missed work fee” and other things. Other agencies offer an “all-inclusive” type of contract that should cover all of the fore-mentioned occurrences.  And while it may sound like a lot to some, as Amanda said to me, “If you’re looking to be a surrogate for the money, you are in the wrong business.”

Personally, I can’t imagine WHAT amount of money would make it worthwhile to me! I know what pregnancy did to my body in the past, and believe me, it wasn’t pretty! Then there is the weight gain, the discomfort of pregnancy, tiredness, nausea………. on, and on, and on, and on. OK- I’m not gonna lie here. Give me 5 million dollars and I’ll be your surrogate.  See, we all have our price!  For that amount I can disappear for a while, have the baby, get my body rebuilt, and reappear, looking trimmer and better than ever!

While surrogacy is not something I could ever imagine doing, (not to mention, I’m about 5,000 years too old to consider it at this point) I’m glad that people who can’t have children can have the option. And women who consider it a true gift to others can decide to become a surrogate.

Hopefully, this article helps you to understand surrogacy a bit more, from the standpoint of a woman who has been through it, and that you can see the positive that can come from it! My eyes were sure opened as to the details of making surrogacy work!  I’m sure that Xavier and Andrew are happy to have Amanda as a part of their family’s story!

Dads Xavier and Andrew with Olivia

Dads Xavier and Andrew with Olivia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mysteries at Maxwell Mansion

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Two  “Old Treasures” in Lake Geneva

Don and I discovered The Maxwell Mansion, in beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin two years ago.  Before our annual trip to the mid-west to see my family, we decided we’d like to spend a few nights up in Lake Geneva, for some well deserved “alone time.”  A little research on the internet, and we decided between one of two beautiful places in Lake Geneva.  It would either be The Baker House, or it’s sister property, The Maxwell Mansion.  A few phone calls were made and we found out that there was literally “no room at the inn” for The Baker House, so we made reservations at Maxwell Mansion.

The bar at The Baker House is really fun!

The bar at The Baker House is really fun!

The Maxwell Mansion is right up my alley!  Built in 1856 as the summer home for a prominent Chicago surgeon, it was the first mansion built in Lake Geneva- long before the enormous lake front mansions you see there today.  The property is two blocks from the water, but at that time, he owned the property all the way down to the beach!  Now a small boutique hotel, it is made up of three buildings, the original mansion, the stables and the carriage house.  Being the “lover of all things old” there was no question in my mind that we would stay in the main house.

Next to the "Stable rooms" at The Maxwell Mansion

Next to the “Stable rooms” at The Maxwell Mansion

The rooms inside the main house are more “period” style, while the stable rooms are a bit more modern and elegant.  All the rooms I have seen are nicely done and very well appointed!

 Ulysses Grant Slept Here….

For our stay we booked The General Grant Suite, and were happy we did!  The suite is named after Ulysses Grant, who was said to have visited there in the 1800’s.  The suite is generously large, with both north and south facing windows overlooking the beautiful gardens, a lovely sitting area in front of the fireplace and a HUGE bathroom with a period claw-foot tub. I couldn’t have been happier with the hotel or the room!

This was our bathroom at The Maxwell Mansion. I couldn't wait to get in this tub! It was so beautiful!

This was our bathroom at The Maxwell Mansion. I couldn’t wait to get in this tub! It was so beautiful!

The property is made up of many pretty areas: gardens, fountains, verandas, a pool and a Bocce’ ball court.  Inside has a lot of little treasures too: a small “media room” with a cozy red velvet booth that can sit about 6-8 to watch a movie, their Apothecary Bar (which was named to honor Dr. Maxwell’s profession), their beautiful “ballroom,” perfect for a small wedding or intimate party, a living room, and other lovely public areas.

Drinks at The Apothecary Bar two years ago when we stayed at The Maxwell Mansion

Drinks at The Apothecary Bar two years ago when we stayed at The Maxwell Mansion

What we didn’t know when we decided to stay at Maxwell Mansion is that some say it is haunted.  (Not that that would have changed my decision to stay.  I’m always open to meeting new friends!)  The first afternoon,  after going out on one of the lake boat tours, and a lovely lunch, Don and I decided to take a little nap.  We laid down, and dozed off.  A short time later I kept hearing someone  walking around upstairs.  I was really frustrated, because it was so loud that I couldn’t sleep!  Later on, when Don woke up I complained to him how loud the footsteps were. He hadn’t heard them, because he sleeps like a log. When we left later to go to dinner I looked back at the windows of our suite and realized that there are no floors above our room!  Back to the hotel I asked the desk clerk if there was an attic, and if so would someone have been up there working that day. She assured me that there was no attic above our room…….

The next day, my niece Kelly was going to bring my daughter Alyse, who had just gotten in from San Diego up to Lake Geneva.  My niece and I have a long standing tradition that every time I’m in town (and the weather allows) we go up to Lake Geneva and hike part of the perimeter of the lake. The mansions surrounding the lake are unbelievably beautiful, as is the view of the lake, and we never tire of it.  The girls showed up for our walk and the first thing my daughter said is “Mom, did you know this hotel is supposed to be haunted? I read all about it!”  I can’t say for certain if it was the ghost I was hearing walking around the day before, but it seems like perhaps it was!

This week,  on our annual mid-west trip, and decided to take our usual trek up to Lake Geneva.  One of the reasons is that we are looking to put on a special party in the future, and have talked about doing it up at The Maxwell Mansion.  (Ah………. the mysteries surrounding the mansion just seem to build!)  We decided to stop in and look at the hotel with the party in mind.  It proved to be just as beautiful as I remembered it!

On our walk this year. This mansion is one of the classic mansions I've admired since I was a child. Rumor has it that it is now broken into condos, which still would be pretty nice! There is a pool on the roof!

On our walk this year. This mansion is one of the classic mansions I’ve admired since I was a child. Rumor has it that it is now broken into condos, which still would be pretty nice! There is a pool on the roof!

This Diamond Is Not Too Rough!

The four of us took our walk, then decided we wanted to get a little something to eat and drink.  We visited a newer local restaurant, called Flatiron Tap and sat outside.  We have found in the past, as with many “tourist areas” some of the restaurants leave a bit to be desired.  Flatiron didn’t disappoint! The food was great, the service pleasant, and they didn’t seem to mind us taking up real estate for an extended period of time! We were lucky enough to have one of those perfect summer days!   We were  enjoying the afternoon, visiting, eating and playing cards when a local couple sat down next to us. We began to banter back and forth, and they suggested we go with them later to The Maxwell Mansion to see a mystic named Joe Diamond.  I was surprised to find out that the mansion also had a Speakeasy, and it would be open that evening!

Kelly and John during one of the card tricks Joe Diamond did with us.

Kelly and John during one of the card tricks Joe Diamond did with us.

I totally suffer from FOMO-(Fear of Missing Out), so I was thrilled with the idea!  At the appointed hour, armed with the password of the day for the Speakeasy, thanks to our friends, we went up to the mansion! WHAT FUN!   We went in to the Apothecary Bar, got some of their fabulous drinks, whipped up by their mixologist, and we were settled just in time for Joe Diamond, to come up to the table we were sharing with our new friends, Melanie and Chris.

Melanie, Patti & Kelly

Melanie, Patti & Kelly

We were absolutely blown away by Joe’s talent!  He regaled us with card tricks for a few minutes, then blew us away by doing a bit of mind-reading!  I still can’t figure out how in the world he came up with the name of a friend I had in mind for one of his tricks!  It was CRAZY! Joe entertained us for well over half an hour, then we went on down to the Speakeasy.  What fun, having to come up with the password to be allowed in, then entering the secret little bar!  There was a pretty good crowd in the bar, but we found a few empty couches in the back and made ourselves at home.  In the center of that room is a pole that obviously is structural to the building.  I’m not even going to mention the pole dance that one of the males in our group put on for us with that pole.  It just might embarrass John to be pointed out in such a manner! (I should make him pay some blackmail money to keep me from publishing them!)

Melanie, Patti and Kelly wearing the crazy hats available in The Maxwell Mansion

Melanie, Patti and Kelly wearing the crazy hats available in The Maxwell Mansion

The evening ended with all of us going out back to the lovely veranda, enjoying the fireplace and conversation with some new friends. Part of our group had a rousing late night game of Bocce’ Ball, which I was told they won.

When we made our first visit to The Maxwell Mansion we weren’t disappointed.  Our visit this time around didn’t disappoint either!  I think next year we will have to try another few days there, or at The Baker House!

 

 

Life is Worth Cheering About!

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When I Die, I Want To Be a Pink Firework!

I didn’t even know it was possible.  Until last night.  I didn’t know that after you die you can have your ashes made into FIREWORKS!  Seriously!  You can’t make this stuff up!  (Well, you COULD make it up, actually I guess, but I’m NOT making it up!)  Where did I find out this profound and amazing way to get rid of yourself after you’ve gotten rid of yourself?  The movie POM. That’s where!  More about that in a minute, because actually, going to the movie is what this article is about.  But I digress, once again, to becoming a firework.  Since it IS a real thing, I’m just laying it out there for everyone who is left behind after I’m gone.  If they don’t take my whole body for science, and there is anything left behind, please make me into a firework.  Or two.  Pink would be my preference, unless they can do one that explodes into a crown shape. Then I’d prefer to be a crown shape.  Maybe gold.  Or a pink one and a gold crown. Whatever you can do to make the biggest possible SPLASH as I am remembered for the last time on earth.  I want to go out with a BANG!

OK, now that THAT is settled……… on to what the article is REALLY about.

POM Movie Madness!

Girls night out a few nights ago was to see the new Diane Keaton movie POM.  This is a movie about a bunch of women in a retirement community who decide to form a cheerleading group. We had a group of 12 women, ranging from 50’s to the just-past-mid 80’s.  And, you know me.  We can’t just go to a movie, walk in and sit down.  Heck no!  We needed to add a little SPICE to the event…….. so about half of us went dressed as……. what else?  CHEERLEADERS!

You may think that would be the silliest or stupidest thing in the world.  Go right ahead and think that.  I know better.  Maybe YOU wouldn’t do it, but that’s probably because you aren’t nearly as much fun as I am.  And my friend Stella is. And some of my other friends are!

Gerri, Patti, Stella as a blonde!) and Barbara enjoying Happy Hour!

Gerri, Patti, Stella as a blonde!) and Barbara enjoying Happy Hour! BTW- This is Gerri’s actual cheerleading outfit from high school. And it fits her perfectly!  I can still fit into my things from high school too.  I fit into my earrings.  That’s what I fit into.  It just isn’t right when people do this to you!

Here is the thing folks.  I’m WAY past the stage where I worry about what people think of me. No matter WHO you are, there are gonna be haters out there.  Even if I was the most perfect, smartest, most together person in the world (I’m none of those things and never going to be…. but IF, it’s an IF I put out there) there would still be haters with something negative to say.  So, I don’t worry, I don’t care. I just go ahead and be outrageously FUN, and enjoy every darned minute that I can in life.  After all, like I often say- YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO CALL IN YOUR CHIP!  It could be tomorrow. Or next week.  Or when you are sleeping tonight.  (That’s a kind of creepy thought, huh?)

“We are all so worried about what everyone else is thinking, but  of course,  the only thing that really matters is what we think of ourselves.” Diane Keaton in POMS

So, instead of worrying about other people’s impression of me, I just constantly think of something new, something fun, something entertaining that I can partake in, and invite those around me to join in.  Sometimes it’s a bit much for others’ taste, and they don’t come along for the ride.  Sometimes they come along for the ride, but they aren’t sitting in the front of the roller-coaster (that seat is reserved for Stella and me anyway!)  They may take a seat further back, where they can be a part of the fun, but not quite so far “out there.”  That’s all fine and good too!

Stella and Patti. We both have no problem dressing up in any costume, any time, for any event! Any excuse for a costume is fine with us!

Stella and Patti. We both have no problem dressing up in any costume, any time, for any event! Any excuse for a costume is fine with us!

Years ago I volunteered for hospice. I sat next to the bed of a number of people as they took their last breaths.  Never once did I hear a person say, “Gee, I wish I didn’t dress in that silly costume that time” or “Gee, I wish I hadn’t had as much fun in life as I did.”  NOPE.  The regrets that I heard about in life were that they had worked too hard, or worried to much about unnecessary things, or they hadn’t taken time to be with their friends or family enough, perhaps they wish they had traveled more.  My only regret will be – no matter HOW old I am when I die, is that I didn’t have more time.  I will know though, that I spent my last years having as much fun as I possibly could, and that I filled every moment I could doing things I love.

One of our late arrivals, Bella was pretty impressive with the splits! I never could do them, and no chance at all now!

One of our late arrivals, Bella was pretty impressive with the splits! I never could do them, and no chance at all now!

That’s what  I am referring to when I talk about Living a Royal Life.  Many call it Living Your Best Life.

Living a Royal Life

There are so many quotes that I love about what others think of you, but this is one of my favorites:

“At 20 we worry about what others think of us.  At 40 we don’t care what they think of us.  At 60 we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.”  Ann Landers.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU!  It doesn’t matter and THEY don’t matter.  Be outrageous.  Be silly.  Look like a nut!  It’s worth it, believe me!

Are you MAKING memories in your day to day life?  Are you experiencing fun times, and enjoying adventures, big and small in your life?

If you aren’t- what will it take to make your life a life you love?

Maybe you need a “cheerleader” in your life, to help you be on the winning team!  There are a bunch of great cheerleaders in this group- give one of us a call and we’ll be over, Pom-poms in hand to help you to Live a Royal Life!

This was most of the "whole crew" from last night! Just ready to walk over to the movie!

This was most of the “whole crew” from last night! Just ready to walk over to the movie! Our ages ranged from 58-86! Now THAT is a bunch of winning cheerleaders!

BTW-  The POM movie is great. Get out and see it while it is in theaters if you can! (Check out POMS trailer here!) We all enjoyed it and the sweet  life lessons that were taught in it! (Not to mention finding out you can be made into a firework after you die!)  We also had a great time at Happy Hour at 333 Pacific in Oceanside, (Their happy hour includes $8.00 vodka specials, and the BEST brussel sprouts and calamari!  YUM!) Then we walked the few blocks over to the Regal Theater. I’m sure there are people who are still wondering WHAT the heck they were seeing as we paraded by with our pom-poms! We had a few other patrons ask to take our picture and the manager of the theater asked if they could put us on the Regal website……….

So there you go.  Silly fun, yes!  A fabulous memory of time with the girls too! It’s what Living a Royal Life is all about!

FREE EVENT TICKET CONTEST!

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Who Wants a Fun Night Out On Me?

If you read my blog, you know that I am ALL ABOUT women having more fun! I believe that to “Live a Royal Life” you have to schedule fin into your life.  “Girl’s Night Out” is an UBER important part of the “having fun” concept.  Sometimes, I hear the lament, “I just can’t afford it”…….. OK girlies, I’m taking away ALL of the excuses now!

I am giving away a FREE TICKET valued at $35.00 for an event a friend of mine puts on every year! My friend, Mandy Rodriguez puts on a dance party that a fabulous group of women attend each year. The event happens this Saturday, August 25th, from 5-10 PM at Springhill Suites in Oceanside.

I love to reward my subscribers with occasional contests and “freebies” and this is just another bit of fun I want to bless someone with.

Mandy is one of the most fun DJ's around, and the ladies that attend are some of the dearest to my heart!

Mandy (of Mandy Mixes)  is one of the most fun DJ’s around, and the ladies that attend are some of the dearest to my heart!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Now, God knows, Mandy can’t ADVERTISE this as a “girls’ dance party”, because sure as shootin’ some jackass would spring forth and claim discrimination……. but, we are just a bunch of women who love each other’s company and have a great night out without the guys!

Remember the fun you had dancing with your girlfriends in grade school?  Middle school? High School?  Well, it’s not to late to STILL enjoy dancing with the girls!

Not only am I going to give away a FREE TICKET to the event, I’ll also buy your first drink!

So, here is how it works.  I am giving the ticket to someone who has never gone to Mandy’s dance party, and is one of my subscribers.  You can text or email me, tell me you’d like the free ticket, and MAYBE you want to give me a reason why I should choose YOU to go! Or, get really clever, and tag me on your facebook with why YOU should be going to the Dance Party next Saturday…….. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.

You can text me at 800-680-9133 or email me at [email protected]

If you are the lucky winner, you will get a free swag bag from me, the ticket to the event, the EVENT swag bag, a drink and the opportunity for you and I to get to know each other better AND a chance to meet a group of fantastic women……. AND dance your butt off all night! That’s like a win-win-win-win-WIN!

What are you waiting for?  Isn’t it time to get going on winning this contest?

 

Living a Royal Life, Part 3 of 3

Every Day is an Adventure, Living a Royal Life, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!, Travel and Adventure, Uncategorized
Living a Royal Life. What does that mean to you? for me it includes travel, lots of fun, delicious food and time with my man! My Royal Life may not be YOUR Royal Life! That's OK!

Living a Royal Life. What does that mean to you? for me it includes travel, lots of fun, delicious food and time with my man! My Royal Life may not be YOUR Royal Life! That’s OK!

Living a Royal Life

I have previously released 2 videos in this series. This is part 3 of 3.

Are you living you best life? If your life isn’t all that you want, and you feel like you are leading a mediocre life — what do you need to do to improve it?

This video gives you some moresteps to help you lead your best life.  You must first decide that you DESERVE to lead a “Royal Life.” No one else is going to give you the perfect life.  No one else can decide what your perfect life even IS!

If you want to improve your life, expand your tribe, add to your bucket list and make each day better than the last!

Here are your steps to you holding your head up high, wearing your tiara and learning that it doesn’t matter what other people think about you. Once you learn to “do you” and are comfortable in your skin, other people’s opinions don’t matter.

I hope you enjoy this video, and if you do —- share it with a friend who might also like to Live a Royal Life!

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to both my blog and my Youtube channel, so that you don’t miss any of the upcoming series and other fun and fabulous articles, events and adventures!

 

Living A Royal Life, Part 2 of 3

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, My Humble Opinion, Royal Ramblings!

Living a Royal Life

A few weeks ago I published the first video in a series of 3 videos on how to Live a Royal Life.

This is part 2 of 3.

If your life isn’t all that you want, and you feel like you are leading a mediocre life — what do you need to do to improve it?

This video gives you some steps to help you lead your best life.  No one else is going to give you the perfect life.  You need to do what it takes to make the happiness in your life happen.

Here are your steps to you holding your head up high, wearing your tiara and learning that it doesn’t matter what other people think about you. Once you learn to “do you” and are comfortable in your skin, other people’s opinions don’t matter.

I hope you enjoy this video, and if you do —- share it with a friend who might also like to Live a Royal Life!

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to both my blog and my Youtube channel, so that you don’t miss any of the upcoming series and other fun and fabulous articles, events and adventures!

The “Berry Delicious” Martini

Cocktail Time, Entertaining, Living a Royal Life, Martini Magic, Martinis, Sensational after 70!, Sexy After 60!
Berry Delicious Martini. (I'm admitting it right now- I had to use my daughter KT as the hand model. WTF has happened to my hands? They look 100!)

Berry Delicious Martini. (I’m admitting it right now- I had to use my daughter KT as the hand model. WTF has happened to my hands? They look 100!)

A Fun Summertime Drink!

I’m known  for creating a “signature drink” for all of my parties.  If I’m out at a restaurant and they have a martini menu, I pour over it looking for some tasty concoction that I might be able to plagiarize and make for an upcoming event. I call this “R & D.” You might think that stands for Research & Development.  I guess you could call it that…… or Rip-off & Duplicate! However you want to look at it, with a bit of knowledge as to what the ingredients are in a drink, I can form my own delicious version to share with my friends.   I can’t tell you how many drink menus I’ve snapped pictures of, so I can recreate my own tasty drinks.

Recently, I  created the Berry Delicious martini for my girlfriends at our monthly Bunko.  It was refreshing and perfect for summer.

I chose to “sugar” the rim, because I always love it with fruity martinis- not to mention, it looks so much more festive and fun!  You can make your own sugar, or take the easy way out!  I recently found some really nice colored and flavored sugars at Home Goods, in the section where they keep all the food items.  The colors are crisp and fun, and it’s a lot easier than mixing food coloring in with the sugar at home. (Also cheaper, and better than the ones you find at a liquor store. They seem to not clump up as much.)

If you are entertaining a large group, and want Martinis as your signature drink, use my trick to make up large batches.  Make up some of the martini ahead of time, freeze some of it in small round plastic containers and/or in ice cube trays. (if desired, put some blueberries or blackberries into the ice cube trays so they look nice as they melt.) Then for the event, put the martini mix in a big drink dispenser, or a punch bowl, and use the frozen martini cubes to keep it cold without watering down your delicious concoction!

A toast to you! My Bunko Ladies Enjoying The Berry Delicious Martini

A toast to you! My Bunko Ladies Enjoying The Berry Delicious Martini. They are always willing to try out my new concoctions each month!

Berry Delicious Martini Recipe

I don’t make my martinis really strong.  I’d rather people have fun and enjoy the drink – than get intoxicated and act like idiots.  You can make yours stronger if you want. Most martini’s you get out are primarily the alcohol, with just a splash of the juice for flavor…… adjust as you see fit.

I chill all the ingredients ahead of time, and actually put my alcohol directly into the freezer for a day or so ahead, so it’s frosty cold!

1 Part blueberry or raspberry flavored vodka

1/4 Part triple sec

2-3 Parts Blueberry Lemonade (I use Simply Lemonade with Blueberry)

1/4 Part Simple Syrup (optional)

Put all ingredients in a martini shaker and shake, or  if making a larger batch, put in a pitcher drink dispenser or punch bowl.  Stir, and add the ice you made with the martini mix to keep it cold.

Pour into martini glasses that have had the rims “sugared.”

Garnish with 4 or 5 blueberries on a toothpick, or just throw 3 or 4 berries into the bottom of your martini glass.

Another pretty garnish is a fresh cherry when they are in season.

Martini's in a punch bowl

I used this punch bowl to make martini’s a few weeks ago for a large party we had. They must have been good, because I went through 6 punch bowls in the first hour….. Can you IMAGINE if I tried to keep up with making them by the shaker full????? I would have gone bonkers!  Making them this way allowed me to enjoy the party! At this particular party, I didn’t serve my drinks in my martini glasses, because we were going to be out around the pool, so I served them in Mason-Jar glasses and called it “punch.” For another event, I’d have martini glasses ready, and call them martinis!  It’s all in the presentation ladies!

Living A Royal Life… Part 1 of 3

Adventures With Attitude!, Every Day is an Adventure, Living a Royal Life, Royal Ramblings!, Sensational after 70!, Sexy After 60!

Living a “Royal Life”

Do you feel that you are living life to the fullest? Is your life meeting your expectations, or are you often left feeling disappointed?

I believe that everyone can, and should lead what I refer to as “A Royal Life.” This isn’t the life that the monarchy is living in Buckingham Palace.  It isn’t the life that William and Kate are living……  It’s living YOUR BEST LIFE, while in the midst of “real life.”  We can all take simple steps to improve our lives and to make our life happy, fun, fulfilling and prosperous.

If you think there is room for improvement in what you are receiving from life, please take a look at my attached video.  It the first video  in a series of 3 videos- Living a Royal Life.

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to my blog so that you don’t miss any of the upcoming series and other fun and fabulous articles, events and adventures!

Slumber Parties Aren’t Just for Kids!

Adventures With Attitude!, Cocktail Time, Every Day is an Adventure, Fabulous After 50, Raves & Rotten Reviews, Sensational after 70!, Sexy After 60!, Travel and Adventure
Stella, Susan DeVincent - KYXY Morning "DJ", and Patti.

Stella, Susan DeVincent – KYXY Morning “DJ”, and Patti. I think this woman is too pretty to be a radio DJ- people need to see her!

Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun!

If you know me, you know I’m all about incorporating ANY and ALL possible fun into your life. Being open to the spontaneous, the unusual, the silly.

Last night we did something fun, and a bit different. One of the local radio stations has put on a women’s “slumber party” for a few years running.  I’ve wanted to go in the past, but the only way to get tickets is to “call in and win”, and I seldom have much time for that type of contest, and when I did try, I didn’t win……. (poor, poor little me!)

Lucky for me, last Wednesday I attended a networking meeting, that I LITERALLY just decided to attend about 1 hour before it’s start time. (Then almost didn’t make it, because I went TOTALLY to the wrong place, wrong town…… blonde moment, another story for another day…..) But I digress……

Leona with my slumber buddy!

Leona with my slumber buddy!

The Ticket to the Fun…

So, I went to the networking meeting, and a woman there asked if anyone would like tickets to the KYXY Slumber party.  YES, YES, YES!  I’m always up for fun.  She gave me some tickets, and I was thrilled for the opportunity!

My first order of things to do was to ask my “bestie” Stella if she wanted to go. We then also asked our friend Leona, and plans were made.

What Do You Wear to a Public “Slumber Party?”

Yesterday afternoon Stella said she wasn’t sure what to wear.  I had the same quandry….. Since around my house we sleep nakey, I didn’t think my sleeping attire would be appropriate for the KYXY event………

Stella and I are SO much alike in that we love to do any “theme” up to the max, and we don’t care WHAT anyone thinks……. So Stella came up with the idea of going in frumpy robes, curlers, etc……

I jumped at it.

Don was going out the door for something, so I asked if he could stop at Rite-Aid and pick up the craziest slippers they had.  He came home with pink kitty “beanie baby” slippers.  OK- they were a child’s size, as that’s all they had, but I squeezed into them. (They “made” the outfit. Always accessorize properly ladies- it’s one of the rules of dressing like a diva…..)

Leona wasn’t up for making a complete ass of herself in public, but she said she didn’t mind going with us that way.

We’re Bringing “Sexy” Back….Or Not!

So, we were off and running with the idea.  Stella came up with some ridiculous hair rollers.  I had some curly roller thingys I had bought a few months ago that didn’t work at all. I was going to do a video of me trying to use them, but of course THAT never happened. So, I incorporated those into my beautiful “do.” They worked perfectly for that!

Frumpy robes, face mask, rollers, slippers, and then, of COURSE some accessories- coffee cups and a teddy bear, and we were off!

Stella and Patti, in our frum attire, upon arriving at Harrah's

Our arrival at Harrah’s Casino. If this look doesn’t attract some stares, nothing will! Get a load of our attractive footwear!

Let me tell you…….. it take a lot of nerve to walk through a casino on a Saturday night looking like we did!  ESPECIALLY for two gals who don’t go out of the house without our makeup done, and a “real” outfit on- accessories to match.

But- there we went.  If you could only see the looks we got as we marched through that casino.  People were trying to figure out WTF they were seeing! Stella and I were definitely “bringing sexy back”……. in a WHOLE new way!

I have to say though- we were a HIT!  Other women put on jammies.  Some cute.  A few silly.  One or two a bit glamorous. But NO ONE went the frump route, with curlers and masks……. we were having our photos taken like we were Beyonce and Megan Trainor, or I-don’t-know-who! If we had charged for photos with us, we would have probably made more than most of the vendors there!

Stella, Susan DeVincent - KYXY Morning "DJ", and Patti.

Stella, Susan DeVincent – KYXY Morning “DJ”, and Patti. She was so sweet, and has such GREAT hair!

We were hardly through the door when Susan DeVincent and  the gals from KYXY stopped us for our photo, and we were up on the Instagram screen all evening, about every 60 seconds!

The big screen at the slumber party

We wee up on the “big screen” about every 60 seconds or so- front and center in our ridiculous-ness! Dorothy from KYXY on the left, Susan DeVincent to my right.  I apologize that I don’t know the names of the other KYXY ladies!

Sweating Like a Hooker in Church

The event was great fun. There were vendors, a bit of food, drinks and fun to keep us entertained all evening.  One of my favorite things was the zumba dancing.  Let me tell you though, doing Zumba in a big-ass frumpy terry cloth robe had me sweating like a hooker in church!  Not an easy feat!  I think I may have come up with a new workout medium! This is like a combination of hot-yoga and Zumba combined! I may need to copyright this!

Zumba

Hard to make out, but here we are doing “Zumba”- sweating it out! Me in the front left of group, Leona directly behind me, Stella in the middle of the group. On the big-screen the whole evening!

The “Queens” of KYXY

Susan DeVincent, Dorothy and all of the young gals that worked for the station were darling! So friendly and fun!  Anytime you asked them anything, they were nice and accommodating. They all looked fabulous in their cute little “jammy” ensembles!

A vendor sign- Be Creative, Be Confident, Be you!

Love this saying from one of the vendors at the event! Isn’t this what I’m always telling you ladies?

There were a lot of fabulous vendors- selling bling, nail accessories, clothing, CHOCOLATE, cake pops, t-shirts, jewelry and more. What woman doesn’t have fun looking at all the stuff we already have too much of?

Sign, says "Chic Happens"

Loved this picture in front of one of the vendors- Chic Treasure. After all- Chic DOES happen! Stella and I proved that one!

My only complaint was with the food. They had chips and guac, pizza and cookies.  I don’t know when in my life I have had worse pizza.  Even the pizza at Chucky Cheese back-in-the-day when the kids were small was 100% better than this stuff!  Harrahs’ – you’ve gotta’ do better than this. The cookies were just about as bad. KYXY- get some food vendors to come in and feed these women! I know there would be a lot of businesses that would LOVE the exposure! Give them free booth space and have them feed the women free.  A win-win for us all!

T-shirt at a vendors booth

This was a t-shirt one of the vendors was selling. #ChicTreasure. If it was a different color, I would have bought it in a heartbeat! REALLY- can you think of anything more perfect for “The Queen?”

One of the escape rooms had a booth, and on our way out the door we solved their puzzle. It took us some help from the guy running the booth to help us solve it, but we had a great time getting me unlocked from handcuffs before the clock ran out!

Patti at the Puzzalarium Booth

Patti at the “Puzzlalarium” booth. I’m holding the giant “diamond” which was in the secret box we uncovered!

Ladies, this is great proof of the one rule of life that I SO believe in.  Don’t worry so much about what everyone thinks! Don’t be embarrassed about being YOU! Go out there and live your BEST life, your authentic life, your fun life- and people will respond in a positive way to you!  If you have confidence – you can pull ANY damned thing off!  We had much more fun in our weird, attention catching get ups than we would have had if we “blended in!”  Every time I caught a view of myself, I couldn’t believe I looked that ugly- but it was worth every “ugly” minute!

Worshiping “The Queen”

Us with the young guy who came up and started “worshiping” me! Turns out, his momma’s name is Stella!

There were even a few men attending the event, and one came up to me and got down on his knees worshiping me! There you go- they know the Queen of Damn Near Everything when they see her even if she is hidden behind a face mask and frump!

A mother and daughter wearing matching jammies!

We thought this mother and daughter wearing matching jammies was so cute!

I’ve got next year’s outfits all figured out already- now I just need to figure out how to get an invite again!

Stella and Patti with a “birthday girl”- and she had a light-up Harrahs tiara!