Don't you just hate when people post photos that make it seem as if their homes are always perfect?

Yeah, me too ;)

Weekly Column | Taking A Bite out of a Big Little Apple

Click to Read the Full Column: Taking A Bite out of the Big Little Apple

A near riot occurred Friday outside an Apple store in Beijing as fights broke out among people trying to be first in line for the new iPhone 4S, Apple said.
Two weeks ago I would have rolled eyes at that as a sign of the Apocalypse. For years I resisted having a smart phone. I figured that my being a reasonably capable person would easily compensate for the fact that my phone wasn’t terribly bright.

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (And Sleeping and Soccer and Standing Around Feeling Pretty Fabulous).

Disclaimer: Country Outfitter, a retailer of Cowgirl Boots, sent me these Dan Post Women's Maria Boots to review.

I’m not sure if I should be flattered, or devastated, that Country Outfitter generously offered me a pair of boots.

I fear that some sort of bat signal (boot signal?) went out. Or  perhaps there was a staged intervention masterminded by family and friends to finally drive a stake through the heart of my played-out faux-Ugg sheepskin boots. Whatever the cause, I am not proud but, rather, thrilled because (bias alert ahead): I love boots. If I could live my non-barefoot days completely in boots or sandals my feet would be forever happy. I used to love high heels but let’s face it, I’m not 18 and pretending that I could star in a ZZ Topp video at any moment in three inch heels no longer suits me. Those darned heels just kept getting stuck in the soccer turf and are no use at all if you slip on a grocery store grape. 

I also have a couple of these in my life and, frankly, they scoff at kitten heels.


Penny is saying “bring it on ya’ big sissy! If I make a break for that fence you’ll never catch me in heels!” (I’d never catch her in track shoes, but we digress).

I’m not some “Easy Endorsement Annie” casting my love to just anything that comes down the pike.  I’ve turned down some strange reuqests because I’m not that kind of a gal, and I don’t guarantee glowing reviews. I’m what you call a tough customer. Both in my expectations of a product and the fact that I cannot have anything nice. 

Because walking around is something it seems like any amateur such as myself can do, I felt comfortable agreeing to give the following wholly unbiased review:


These are the boots out of the box. I cannot tell a lie. The smell of fresh leather was strong and enticing. This is new high for me as the scent of “pleather” from my previous boots was not nearly as alluring.

A good portion of my readers tell me they read me because as urban or suburban dwellers they enjoy living vicariously through my “fish out of water” act of a woman generally lost in the wilds of rural America (newsflash: it’s not an act). Accordingly, many of them are going to have the knee jerk reaction of “cute but I don’t need cowboy boots because there isn’t a single rodeo on my horizon.” You would be wrong my friends. Oh so wrong. (Not about the rodeo of course. I mean if you want one, go find one. I can highly recommend the cowboys – and the fried cheese. The hats are also darling). Even if you aren’t a Rodeo Gal you may still be ignoring the absolute best, classic boot right under your nose – or toes.


If you don’t think western style boots “work” with your non-rural lifestyle, think again. They do. When worn with jeans these are just really rockin’ boots, pure and simple. (Lovin’ that Whiskey Brown color and we’ll just ignore my acid-washed ‘80’s jeans for now ‘m’kay?) Seriously, I’ve been wearing these for nearly a week now and not a single person has asked me where I left my cows.

There actually is a pretty significant heel on these boots. Accordingly, I felt I walked a little taller and could have totally kicked butt in the grocery store or soccer game, had the situation presented itself. (Fortunately it did not).


Even with the heel, these boots were amazingly comfortable. I wore them morning through night and never experienced the throbbing foot pain of death that so often caps off the end of a cute-boot day. There was no breaking in period. I am not privy to the technical details of boot construction beyond saying learned things like: “Adorable!” Suffice to say that there is padding stitched in to the bottom of these boots that perfectly cradles and supports the foot. I am a huge fan of this padding.

Road Test: I put these on out of the box and wore them … everywhere. All the time. I wore them morning through night. One day I wore them for 18 hours straight (yes, really). In every instance my feet felt as good when I took them off as they had when I put them on.


These boots are made for soccer!

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The final road test: How do they wear out and about? I’m not going to lie. These are not gripping snow boots with radial tire treads (thank you Dan Post because, frankly, that look is so not cute).  While certainly not sled-and-ski wear, my feet stayed dry and comfortable for short inclement weather jaunts. Even in the slush and snow they didn’t put me on my rear end even once. (<—This is saying something as “Grace” is definitely NOT my middle name, any part of my name, or really ever uttered in conjunction with my name). I’m only five days into these boots but I can also say that I see the leather only getting better with age. (<—this is what people who don’t take care of nice things tell themselves. It helps me sleep at night).

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The verdict: These are the most comfortable boots I have ever personally worn that didn’t double as house slippers. Apparently quality materials + quality constructions = quality footwear experience. Who knew?

Consider breaking out of your “suffer for beauty” footwear mold and consider seeking out real boots made my classic boot makers for authentic, attractive, quality construction and footwear that doesn’t make you want to cry.

If you do, you are going to look stylish from the street to the soccer field and all environs in between.

And if a rodeo breaks out, you are so there.

Life Lessons

From Facebook: I have failed as a parent. My son (14) can dismantle a firearm, chop firewood, load and manage a wood burner, set up camp and survive for days by himself and repair most small electronics with a butter knife and sheer cunning. This same boy just stood in front of the washing machine, perplexed, and said "Mom how do you work this?"
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Confessions of a True Life Slacker Mom

 Weekly Read | Confessions of a Real Life Slacker Mom 

Excerpt: (Full Column linked above).
there is a trend among “Mommy Bloggers” and the media in general to portray parenthood as “the hardest job you’ll ever have.” Hardest? Really? Isn’t that a bit much? I’ve not gone to war, mined coal or even pumped out a middling sized septic tank but I bet such tasks are pretty grueling.

Challenging? Absolutely. Exhausting? You bet. Still, I find it difficult to digest that parenting is the hardest job I’ve personally ever had. The most important, certainly, but I’ve definitely had less pleasant work environments. In parenting I laugh a lot and the company is infinitely better.

Clearly, I must be doing it wrong. 


So ... everyone keeps a bag of this in their kitchen, right?

J&K&apos;s Other Excellent Adventure

Hmmm ... Creepy clown, disembodied head, cool vintage camera and a panic (?) button that had Jaime leaping out of her skin? Priceless! Good times.

Full Circle

While cleaning out the attic playroom, these toys were hauled down to the porch to be donated.

They've been there since last night, but walking up to the house this morning I caught my breath.

There was a brief period of time, in my children's toddlerhood's, that this is where these items lived. Many hours were spent on this porch in rest and play. " Just like mommy" and "I be this and you be you." I sipped untold gallons of invisible, pretend tea from tiny plastic tea cups right here.

And then I blinked. Then they grew. And now we've come full circle.

Back to the porch with you old toys.

Just for a moment could we "just pretend" again?

Moves like Jagger

Grunge filter by nature and photography. Jagger as a 70's dog, and possible member of the James Gang.

Guess who just got an iPhone and is probably going to torture her friends with photos of her dog - and her own feet?

Planning a Party? Cue the Chaos

Party Perfect

Twas’ an hour before the big holiday dinner and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except me as I was finishing all the cooking and baking. The stockings were hung, er, folded, carefully along with the rest of laundry mountain that had recently been cut down to size.

Perfect. We had reached the peak of holiday preparation, the pinnacle of bated breath and “any minute now” perfection. The house shone. The floors were swept, the pillows were plump, the air was fresh. All was peaceful and well in Holiday Host World. Everything was “perfect.”

As if on cue Mr. Wonderful chose to restring a fishing pole in living room. Naturally.

In another corner one small wonder decided to sprawl on the oh-so-perfectly arrayed sofa. Tossing all the pretty blanket throws and pillows, he arranged them in a slumped pile on the floor.

Someone turned off the soft jazz that was playing for ambiance in favor of something loud on TV.

My other small wonder removed the candles and decorative tray from the coffee table to make room for a craft involving glitter and glue.

Never mind that we were due to eat shortly, one (usually the youngest, cute one) wandered into the kitchen to forage for a snack. Crackers are always a good choice as they provide optimum crumb scatter in the shortest amount of time. The only thing that would make a bigger mess would be raw oatmeal or bread crumbs. I wouldn’t put it past them not to decide on one of those just for the challenge.

Cue. Finally, the crunch of gravel announced that our guests had arrived. This was the signal for someone to race to the guest bathroom as if on a mission. Their sole purpose appears to have been to lift the toilet seat, wet all the towels, and leave at least one cabinet door open. Classic overachievers, they went the extra mile and spit toothpaste into the sink. 

This is where I interject the fantastic family anecdote about the time Mr. Wonderful showered in our guest bathroom shortly before a big party. Hours later, at the end of what I felt was a fairly successful social event, my best friend took me aside to ask, laughing, if the men’s underwear hanging over the guest towel bar was a joke or some kind of a statement? She needed to know whether to chuckle or be offended. 

Yes, my friends, for the entire evening, as guests filtered in and out of our bathroom, my husband’s briefs had been hanging on our guest towel bar like an overly personal hand towel. Mr. Wonderful could only say, later, “So I DID take a clean pair in there? I wondered where I’d set those down!” Martha Stewart eat your heart out.

Telling this story from time to time I am invariably met by the opinion, always of fellow women, that I have such a wonderful, healthy attitude about these challenges. So accepting, seeing the humor and all. Wrong. Please don’t give credit where credit is not due. I am not naturally sanguine on the subject. I have come by this acceptance through trial by fire. 

War. Mr. Wonderful and I, normally disgustingly happy, spent the hours just prior to our firstborn's 1st birthday party screaming bloody murder at each other. At one point I would have cheerfully killed him if I could have figured out how to hide his body and explain his absence during the party. I also knew in some dim portion of my furious mind that he was likely to be the only one with the ability to assemble the baby’s little red wagon. That probably saved his life. 

I can’t be certain but I think we were fighting about chairs. Folding chairs versus stacking chairs maybe? There may also have been an altercation over balloons. 

That, then, is my memory of my son’s first birthday, me freaking out because I HAD A VISION and he wasn’t cooperating to bring it to fruition. I honestly don’t remember what we decided on the chairs OR the balloons, but I remember being frazzled and unhappy and wishing the whole thing would just be over. Hardly the basis for warm, wonderful memories. Happy birthday baby.

Today I accept the reality that parties, like life, are rarely perfect. Embracing a happy family holiday means embracing the HAPPY FAMILY – not perfection: fishing tackle, sofa sprawl, crackers and all.
When it comes to fretting over perfection (and guest towels) you’re wise to keep both brief.