Facebook and My Kids: Am I over-sharing?

January 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm , by

There are different kinds of people on Facebook. Personally, I fall somewhere between the kind that can’t eat lunch without sharing what kind of salad dressing they had, and those who you forget are on Facebook because they never post or comment. I post a few times a week — sometimes more (sorry!) — but I always try to make it funny, interesting, or just plain cute (it helps when your kids are adorable!). Some might think I over-share, especially when it comes to my kids. I mean, I once posted a video of Lily at age 2 sitting on the potty singing Beyonce songs. (What? It was cropped from the waist up!) Here’s my theory: I share with my Facebook friends what I would share with a real friend. Sure, there are co-workers and business contacts that I count among my Facebook friends but they’re only the ones that I’m actually friends with in real life. I’ve had some random publicists (that I’ve never met!) try to friend me and I’ve said no. For those people, you can follow my fashion posts on twitter @lhjFashionLady or read my blogs on lhj.com or even just pick up the magazine to see my stories. (Ugh – writing that list makes me feel like I’m everywhere! Aren’t you sick of me? Why are you still reading this?)

I have a friend who has vowed to raise his child “Facebook-free”. It should come as no surprise that I don’t know anything about his daughter. I think of Facebook as a nice place to share some stories. In fact, my husband has several family members in Argentina who have never met our kids but get to know all about them via Facebook. How is that a bad thing?

I’m certainly not a private person (I mean, why should I care if someone wants to see Sophia’s latest fashion ensemble? I mean, she is pretty cute!) but I suppose I could use a good “friend clean-up”. I mean, why am I letting the guy who was a cocky jerk in Jr. High enjoy beautiful pictures of my kids? Admittedly, I only accepted his friend request to see if he held onto his good looks or if he got fat and bald. Answer: It was the latter and for some twisted reason that kinda makes me happy.
So, I’ll do a little friend housekeeping (goodbye Jr. High jerk!) but for those of you that I keep on my list, you can count on me to keep over-sharing everything about my kids, my husband, my job, my blogs, my vacations, my house, and my life. And if it’s too much for you, go ahead and unfriend me. I don’t mind.

Can This Marriage Be Saved? I’m a Churchgoing Mom … But I Almost Cheated

January 13, 2012 at 10:10 am , by

Oh, love in the time of Facebook. Such innovation. Such connectivity. Such possibility … that your high school flame will friend you and want to reconnect in a more-than-friendly way. (We’re onto what that “poke” button is for, Mark Zuckerberg. How sly of you.)  That’s what happened to Jenny, 38, wife of Tom, 36. Her old sweetheart Grant came-a-clicking and before she new it, she was in a hotel room with him. Read on to find out what transpired, or check out the full story in our February issue, on newsstands now.

Jenny’s turn: Jenny was feeling trapped—Tom is a workaholic, and all the couple ever talks about these days is how to homeschool their kids. All the parents at their church do it, and the couple was supposed to take it on together, but now Jenny basically does all of the work, and occasionally Tom makes a bossy suggestion. With all of this on her plate—and all of the housework—Jenny doesn’t have time for the gym, Bible class or coffee with friends, so she started spending hours on Facebook to feel less lonely. That’s when Grant sent her a message. They started talking and texting, and Grant made Jenny feel like herself again, which she really missed. Eventually, they decided to meet up and spend the day together. Jenny lied to Tom and had dinner with Grant. Every step of the way, she knew it was wrong, but couldn’t help it—until her kissed her in their room at an inn. Jenny immediately felt awful and told him to leave, and she went home the next morning and told Tom everything, sobbing. Will she be able to convince him that he’s the only one she truly loves?

Tom’s turn: First of all, there’s no way he believes that Grant didn’t spend the night with Jenny. Does she take him for an idiot? He was shocked when Jenny confessed, but looking back on everything he can’t believe he missed the warning signs. Their cell phone log shows 300 pages of calls between Jenny and Grant, and Tom always thought she was just excited to reconnect with her friends on Facebook—not her ex-boyfriend! He knew the homeschooling was hard on her, but he didn’t think it had gotten this bad. If he ever cut Jenny off when they were talking about the kids, it was only because he hates arguing. He can’t believe she’s done this to him—and he’s not sure he can move past it.

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Country Spotlight: David Nail: Let Him Reign

January 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm , by

Photo: David McClister.

After occupying the country radio charts for a marathon 48-week stint, David Nail has finally been rewarded with his first, well-deserved number-one song: “Let It Rain,” the first single off of his The Sound of a Million Dreams CD. Now that he’s top of the heap, though, don’t expect him to lose the perspective he’s been given on his rise to that position. “There have been a lot of times over the course of my career that it didn’t look like I’d be able to make a record, much less have two out and get to travel the country and tour with people,” the Missouri native told me on a recent visit to the Journal. “My short-term and long-term goals are always one in the same. I hope to do something today that allows me a tomorrow. I hope to do something this year that allows me another year. I do not take things for granted.”

Case in point was his reaction to his Grammy nod last year for his vocals on “Turning Home,” off of 2009’s I’m About to Come Alive. “I can’t remember anything in my life being more unexpected,” Nail says of the moment he got the call about his nomination in the Best Male Country Vocal category. “It was just a whirlwind. I remember literally dropping to my knees and just being overcome with surprise and emotion. I kind of teared up a little bit, went and hugged my wife and said, ‘Baby, I’ve spent a long time trying to get people to like what I do. And evidently the people in this town like what I do.’ ”

Hear Nail sing three stripped-down songs for the LHJ staff after the jump.

His fans across the country aren’t complaining much, either. If you follow him on Twitter you’ll see that he not only talks the talk, he (excuse the word and phrase play) twalks the twalk of gratitude by maintaining one of the most engaging and appreciative conversations with his supporters—the Nail Nation—of any artist through that medium. Entertaining proof of this came when someone recently pondered about whether Nail himself actually signs the promo CDs that go out. Nail, in turn, tweeted back a photo of the stacks he was signing at that very moment as he watched TV, no doubt doubly endearing himself to anyone who might have been having the same doubts. (The bonus, by the way, of following Nail on Twitter is that you’ll get such in-depth college and pro sports analysis that by sheer osmosis you’ll be qualified for most on-air positions at ESPN.)

So, with a killer voice, his first number-one under his belt, a nation of loyal fans and a second album chock full of high-charting potential, Nail seems poised to make Nashville’s all-star team in 2012. That turns to speculation over what the follow-up single to “Let It Rain” will be, so in an homage to Nail’s athletic leanings (and, well, because I’m a dork) I couldn’t help but create my own next-single sports bracket for what I’m thinking/hoping for in terms of his second release. Check my brackets out after the jump and let me know if you agree. You’ll also find the video of Nail’s in-office LHJ performance after the jump, as well as to his takes on everything from where he fits into the current Nashville music scene and what charitable effort he’s passionate about, to why Taylor Swift reminds him of Garth Brooks, and more.

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Book Review: The Magic Room, by Jeffrey Zaslow

January 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm , by

As much as it pains me to admit this, I have become addicted to reality TV—especially wedding shows. And I mean all of ‘em: Say Yes to the Dress, Girl Meets Gown, My Fair Wedding, Bridezillas … the list goes on. They’re always all about the bride (duh), and, of course, the dress. Who will design it? How much will she spend? Will she bond with her mom over a box of tissues like she’s always dreamed?

It’s all so dramatic and that drama, sadly, often overshadows what weddings are really about (or supposed to be)—love. Oh, did all of those reality-show tricks make you forget? Jeffrey Zaslow, author of the bestselling The Girls From Ames, hasn’t forgotten. His new book, The Magic Room (Gotham), tells brides’ tales from the gown-hunting trenches, but from a genuine, warm-hearted angle that underscores the process as a special milestone for mothers and daughters.

The Magic Room chronicles the stories that happen inside Becker’s Bridal, a mom-and-pop boutique in small-town Fowler, Michigan. It’s no Kleinfeld, but its legacy as a bridal destination is just as impressive: Founded in 1934, it’s been owned and operated by nearly four generations of the Becker family.

The Beckers have seen their share of brides and moms visit the store’s “magic room” (the mirrored alcove in which you’ll know if you’ve found the one—the one dress, that is), and Zaslow shares six brides’ unique life stories, including the meet-cutes with their fiancés and why they’re shopping at Becker’s, a store that’s become more than just a place you go to pick out a white dress. It’s where you go—with your mom by your side—to decide what you’ll wear on the day that your life changes forever.

One of my favorite brides was the spunky 40-year-old Meredith, who brings her mother and sister-in-law to Becker’s to her help choose her gown. Though 40 isn’t old, per se, it’s certainly older as brides go, and both Meredith and her mother were beginning to think she was never going to find someone to share her life with (she had even sworn off dating!). But one evening at a Polish social hall, Meredith met Ron, a 42-year-old “friend of a friend of a friend.” Now, she’s in the market for a wedding dress. Which one will it be? You may be surprised.

If you’re looking for a slice of truly homespun Americana that’ll make you say “awwwww” (or, okay, even if you just need something to fill the gap between Four Weddings and Brides of Beverly Hills) you’ll devour The Magic Room. Even I, a self-confessed wedding reality show junkie, appreciated the reminder that the big day should come with more than just glitz and glamour.


Can This Marriage Be Saved? He Cheats On Me During Business Trips

January 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm , by

Did you read that headline and immediately say, “Whoa!”  So did I. Let’s dive right in and find out what was really going on with this couple, Pam, 40, and Jack, 42. And be sure to read the full story for even more details.

Her turn: Pam’s adult life was a challenge from the start. After growing up with an alcoholic mother, Pam found out she was pregnant at 17. She decided to keep the baby, Zoe, and marry the father, but that quickly turned disastrous—he was abusive and Pam eventually left him. But then things started to look up—she got her GED and met Jack in class. She thought he was charming and fun, and after two years they were happily married. Jack even adopted Zoe, and a few years later twin boys Sam and Max were born. At about that time, Pam took motherhood on by storm and Jack threw himself deeper into his work. Over time this caused tension—Pam appreciates that Jack provides for the family but he never spends time with them or helps out with parenting. And now she’s discovered the kicker. After answering his cell phone one day, she heard the voice of another woman. She confronted Jack and it all came pouring out—he’s been having one-night stands when he travels for business. He says they mean nothing, but can she ever trust him again?

Jack’s turn: Jack, too, had a rough childhood and an alcoholic mother, so when he met Pam and fell in love, he was delighted. He and Zoe hit it off, he was finally doing well in school, and before he knew it, they were married, he was a new dad, and he’d earned himself a great (though intense) job. He doesn’t know how he came to start cheating on his wife—it’s just something that happened. After working long days on his many business trips, he’d meet up with colleagues, have a little too much wine and well, one thing would lead to another. He’s filled with regret, but he’s not totally giving Pam a pass. He thinks she treats him like an outsider when it comes to raising the kids and criticizes him all the time. He feels like he comes in last, and he’d prefers to retreat into his work than argue. Still, he hopes Pam can find a way to forgive him so they can try working harder on their marriage.

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Resolving to be a Little More Selfish

January 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm , by

As a busy mom with 2 young kids, a full time job and a long commute, I usually face January 1st with the following resolution: I’m doing the best I can. The fact that I can hold it together at all means I’m doing okay so this year I’m not resolving to change a thing.
Well this year, I’m making resolutions. And lots of them. And even though I’m a mom, none of them involve my kids. You see, that’s the problem. When your kids are young, you have to focus on them. But over the last few years, it’s the other things that have slipped: I haven’t been taking care of me. So, here are my 2012 resolutions. Wish me luck!
1) MY RELATIONSHIP RESOLUTION: More dates with my husband. Some couples have date night every week, we have it a few times a year. And that sucks. We’ve always chosen other things to spend our money on but we’re starting to realize how important it is to take time to…ya know…talk to each other. We’ve already had 2 (two!!) dinner dates since Christmas so we’re off to a good start.
2) MY WORK RESOLUTION: Write more blog posts. I’m supposed to write posts every week, alternating between mom blogs and fashion blogs but I certainly didn’t get them all in last year. I’m shooting for at least 52 this year and I’m also hoping to write a few that are out of my comfort zone – maybe a few posts about my home renovations and maybe a health post about resolution #3.
3) MY PERSONAL RESOLUTION: Get healthy. I know it’s cliche to list “losing weight” as a New Year’s resolution so I’m aiming instead for getting healthy (and hoping the weight lose comes with it.) Three years ago, I lost 35 pounds on Weight Watchers. Sure, I loved the compliments and I certainly was thrilled with the way my clothes looked but the best part was how healthy I felt. I had so much energy. Unfortunately, I’ve gained back about 25 pounds and I’m so angry with myself! So I’m switching a few things to get myself back on track: oatmeal for breakfast (goodbye bagel day at work!), drinking more water, walking the stairs in the subway instead of taking the escalator (all 120 of them at my local station) and finding healthier afternoon snacks instead of seeing what delicious baked goody our talented food editor has for us to sample today. And of course, portion control, portion control, portion control! I’ll also be tracking points on my Weight Watchers app and I’m hoping to take off 25 pounds by my 40th birthday in June.
Is anyone with me on this one?
4) MY BEAUTY RESOLUTION: Wash my face every night. I know it’s gross that I’m not doing this already but my aging skin is not looking good (you did notice that I boldly mentioned the big age milestone I’m hitting this year, right?) and I want to do anything I can to help it without needles and knives (for now at least).

So there you have my four big goals for 2012. I figure if I put them in writing, then I’ll be more apt to do them. What are you resolving to do? Write it in the comments and make it happen!

Categories: Family, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: | 3 Comments

Country Spotlight: Margaret Durante’s Nashville Diaries

December 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm , by

It was so much fun getting to share a stage with Jason Aldean!

I’ve been writing the Nashville Diaries blog for five months now and things are getting pretty serious between us, wouldn’t you say? I guess that means I can share a secret with you then: I cried when I watched Taylor Swift’s 60 Minutes special over Thanksgiving. I bawled like a little baby, wondering what had overcome me. I guess what overwhelmed me was the way she answered her questions with such poise, all the clips of young girls crying and screaming for her at her concerts, and ultimately my desire to someday affect people the same way she does.

Still, when I saw her at a Christmas party the other day I couldn’t bring myself to tell her how much she had inspired me, let alone even just introduce myself. I’m still wondering why I hesitated—and it’s not that I’m too cool for school (which, by the way, is overrated and dumb). I think it was just that I was afraid of bothering someone who probably hears praise like that all the time yet, when I think about it, that makes no sense at all. True, the saying goes, “If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all,” but I think there should also be a saying that goes, “If you have something nice to say, then by all means, say it!” Well, at least I’ve confessed my sob session to you all and I’ve put it out there in the universe. In the future, though, I’ll try to remember that it’s never inappropriate to pay someone a heartfelt compliment, and that applies to all times of the year, not just when spreading Christmas cheer! (Rhyming is cool.)

Truth be told, emotions always run a little high for me around the holidays. The music business winds down for a bit this time of year and I’m, of course, excited about the holidays but I’m also anxious to tie up various loose ends before everyone takes a break. Don’t even get me started on my tendency to procrastinate when it comes to Christmas shopping. Luckily I have two very proactive sisters who have helped me quickly and painlessly get the shopping done for my family.

So much has happened in the past months that it seems like Christmas has totally snuck up on me. I’m getting ready to put a single out in March (I can’t wait for you all to hear it!) and a full album shortly after, so I’ve been in the studio working on getting everything just right. I also recently opened for Jason Aldean during CMA week in downtown Nashville right by the Riverfront, which was … AWESOME! I’m a big Jason Aldean fan so it was so much fun to share the stage with him. We were promoting an AMC show called Hell on Wheels, which has some very ruggedly handsome men and a post Civil War revenge plot—juicy stuff! I attended the CMA awards the next day, which was fun and surreal. I also spent a day giving interviews to all the radio stations that had traveled to Nashville to broadcast from Music City during CMA week. And then, last but not least, the LHJ Nashville Diaries Sweepstakes winners—Angie and her 10-year-old nephew, Jake—visited me. We got to hang out in the studio and Jake laid down some smooth vocals on one of my new songs!

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