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“Diary of a Wimpy Kid- The Ugly Truth” Tour and I was cool enough (for one day) to hang on the tour bus. (Part One)

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid- The Ugly Truth” Tour and I was cool enough (for one day) to hang on the tour bus. (Part One)

Totally got to hang on the Wimpy Kid bus. And, yes, it rocked!
Totally got to hang on the Wimpy Kid bus. And, yes, it rocked!

My cool points totally went up this week when I was able to meet the author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book series, Jeff Kinney and the two stars of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Movie, Zach Gordon (who plays the main character Greg Heffley) and Robert Capron (who plays his best friend Rowley).  To be perfectly honest, I am not sure what I expected but no matter how awesome I thought these guys would be, it didn’t come close to how amazing Jeff and these young men actually are in person.  Totally a ZOO-WEE-MAMA kind of day! (And? I really want that bus. It might be hard to maneuver in the carpool lane but I am guessing I would be taking half the school home if I did drive it. But it was suh-weet!)

It truly was a pleasure to be able to sit down and talk with Jeff, Zach and Robert.  I was joined by fellow bloggers Gretchen aka Texan Mama and Crystal of Crystal & Co. along with Matt Mungle of the Dallas Morning News and The Mungle Show.  We all jumped right into a conversation. I would call it an interview because we were of course asking questions but it honestly felt more like sitting down with good friends and friends of my kids.  For every question we asked, we were delighted to be entertained with a anecdotal stories from their every day lives. They drew us into their circle as if for that time, we were one of them. (Let me be the first to say, I would be honored to be a part of the Wimpy Kid Crew anytime, any day.) I guess that is one of those things I love about being honored to do these type of interviews: I am able to become a part of the lives of people I truly admire for even a little while. Sometimes, too drawn in as evidenced by my joking, laughing and not so reporter-like questions. But what I do and do well, is ask the questions the core audience want to know. At least, I think I do.

Me with the Wimpy Kid Crew along with bloggers Crystal and Gretchen
Me with the Wimpy Kid Crew along with bloggers Crystal and Gretchen

So are you going to share the interview, Jenn?

Of course I am. That is Part Two.  Part One (This, duh!) is the part where I tell you about the people and a bit about the experience.

1) Yes, Jeff is really as humble, kind, and awesome as you think he would be.

2) Both young stars are the type of young men you would want your own kids to be friends with. Polite, funny, kind, and normal! (That is a great thing.) And I have to add for Robert that in the movies they put him in really tight vests that were not the most flattering on him but he really is a fit, good looking kid without a bowl cut.  Oh, and that Zach’s hair really doesn’t have that part in his bangs and it doesn’t stand up in that back like it does in the movie. I just had to clear that up for them. Since we’re tight now. (Or so I tell my kids so they will keep thinking I am the coolest mom ever!)

3) You have to go get the new book Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth today. Seriously. If you have kids who have read the series, this is a must have. If you have kids between 8-15, you have to get the whole series. I promise it is worth it.

4) A little peek into something many people may not know about The Diary of  Wimpy Kid book (and I tell you this so that if you are sitting back thinking this is not for you because your kids are either non-existent, too young or too old) Jeff Kinney actually wrote this book for adults.  Sort of a nostalgic look back at the time we all went through and did our best to survive. Yes, this book was written for adults. Find out what Jeff had to say when I asked him how much of the book he had to change in order for him to adapt it to a younger audience…

Do you want my little black book?

Do you want my little black book?

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I have no style. None. No. Wait. I do. My style is “I work from home so I can wear my pj’s and socks all day and no one cares” OR when I need to get dressed up I have “I am a PTA mom and can get away with jeans and t-shirts because kids make messes” style. So I have style. In fact, Nina Garcia (best known for her appearnace as the unerring, fromidable fashion judge on Project Runway), author of The Little Black Book of Style says I can have my own style. Though I know that is not what she had in mind when that message came across. Actually, I really did like the message that I can create my own style. One that makes me feel confident. (And I do mean beyond pj’s or jeans and t-shirts.) I love that there is such a strong emphasis on “being your own muse” and creating your own style. Without the freak.

As for how much I will actually get out of this book, probably not as much as someone else who is out and about in the “real world” more than I happen to be. I am not sure the book is the right fit for me, but it is nevertheless and incredible book. My favorite section? The Fashion Cliff Notes Decade by Decade. The illustrations are beautiful! Ruben Toledo is an illustrating master.

I do recommend this book for women who are looking for a bit of style guidance. It is a great, quick read with incredible advice from people who know fashion and style. I even learned a thing or two about ways to update my style. Just because I am a PTA/Soccer mom doesn’t mean I have to look like a slob. And just because I will never wear anything that is fresh off of a runway doesn’t mean I cannot have style.

Style is internal. And everyone can create their own. And good style? It will bring out your confidence. And any woman who has confidence is beautiful!

I am giving away the free copy of The Little Black Book of Style! Do you want a copy? Just comment and let me know about your worst fashion mistake. If for no other reason than I need the entertainment! The winner will be chosen at random. I look forward to reading what you have to done horrible in the name of bad fashion!

Book Review: The Big Payoff

Book Review: The Big Payoff

[Editor note: The following is a review of a book I received complimentary and was asked to review. In the future, all reviews will be handled on a separate page of my blog. Thanks.]

I recently joined the great ladies at MotherTalk and I

Ayun and the Mamalama Ding Dong tour bus pull up for some coffee

Ayun and the Mamalama Ding Dong tour bus pull up for some coffee

imageIt is not often that I will find a person, place or thing to gush about.  Okay, I gush alot, but you totally need to understand that this particular gushfest involves a role model, a person I admire more than coffee (yes, that much) and a woman who took time out of a hectic publishing schedule to answer the questions of a wanna-be, naive author who had nothing to lose by bombarding her with questions.  Who am I talking about?  Why the amazing, cooler than cool, badder than bad Ayun Halliday.  (Ayun as is rhymes with ray gun, just so you know.) I will admit that I pretended to be all cool when she asked me to be on her virtual bok tour, but that lasted about 5 seconds before I fainted, came to and emailed her back an emphatic YES.  I have admired her for years, so it was a no brainer.

To celebrate the UK release of her book Mama Lama Ding Dong:  A Mother’s Tales From the Trenches (The Big Rumpus in the United States) she called upon several bloggers to host her tour bus for a day.  Today is my day, so pull up a cozy chair, grab a drink and sit back while I completely gush about this amazing woman and her writing.  (If you are not familiar with her, check out this interview to get to know her a bit better and then check out her website.  While you are there, sign up for The East Village Inky.  You will thank yourself (and me!) if you do!  We’ll wait here and braid each other’s hair until you get back.)

Back?  Good.  Now, let each of us Dare to be Heinies and dish about the book.

When I first read this description of motherhood in the chapter, “The Daily Grind”, I nearly wept with the realization that someone else not only felt this but ADMITTED it :

The pain of childbirth is a white hot constellation of torture, almost impossible to describe, remember impressionistically at best.  It inspires respect.Taking care of the little criminals day in and day out is another matter. Cutting their food into crouton-size cubes, wiping their spills and their heinies, washing their hair, forcing them to give the ball back, maneuvering them through the grocery store, clearing their mouths of golf balls, dice and Monopoly houses, goading them to pick up their toys, strapping them into the car seats they loathe, reading those hideous Richard Scarry books incessently…that’s like being eaten alive by ants.  Not even red ants, just the regular ones.

I fell in love as I read that passage and realized someone “got it” and was brave enough to put it out there.  I cheered her on while pretending silently that I loved the daily drudgery and didn’t feel frustration because that is what you do in Stepford.  In the coolness that is her New York neighborhood, you can say things like that.

imageHowever, when I read her exerpt on lice–the FIRST time–I laughed.  Oh, how horrible!  That is hysterical!  I cannot imagine! That was before my daughter had brought home lice.  When I came to that point in mamalama dingdong, there was no laughing.  I screamed, threw the book and began to weep before I remember that at one point I laughed.  Obviously if Ayun can laugh about the horror, I could try.

She writes: 

“Head lice were outed on the children’s program Arthur this year in an effort to de-stigmatize the problem. I guess I’m glad that lice have hit the mainstream, thought what’s next for Arthur and his pals? Heroin addiction?”

I for one was thrilled to read of the horror she described just to know that a bad-ass mom like Ayun could be infected with the dreaded lice, then a Stepford mom like myself, surely would not be immune. 

I wish I could quote this whole book to you, but that would be silly (and plagarism!).  I mean, you WANT your own copy.  You really do!  I have a copy if both The Big Rumpus (so dog eared it needs tape to hold it together) and Mama Lama Ding Dong.  I love them both!  (Okay, they are the same book with different names and different colors, but it feels so new and fresh to pretend that I am just now discovering the amazing Ayun Halliday.

Ayun is the kind of author who makes you feel as if you are sitting there with her sharing stories over a cup of coffee.  A woman you want to make your personal friend.  By simply reading her books, your cool factor is bumped up at least a notch or two.  She is just that good!  But don’t take my word for it, go get a copy of Mama Lama Ding Dong:  A Mother’s Tales From the Trenches (The Big Rumpus title=”The Big Rumpus”>The Big Rumpus in the United States) and laugh yourself into a new friendship with an amazing woman and mom!

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In all of my free time…

In all of my free time…

I guess since I have so much free time on my hands, I decided to add one more thing to my plate. I have thought about it a lot. I signed up for this a while back, but wasn’t going to say anything. But then, I thought, why not? I tell you everything else. (Well, almost.)

Yes, it is true. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Have I lost my mind? Probably! Am I excited? Sure am! Do I have any idea what I am going to write about? Sure, I do. I have about 35 ideas about what to write about. Figuring out which one I am going to do is the tough part.

Wish me luck. (And send me coffee!) I am going to need a lot of both!

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The day my what did what?

The day my what did what?

Kidlet Jr got a new book last night. He picked it out himself. Bought it with his own money. It was what he wanted to spend his money on. Want to know what he got? The Day My Butt Went Psycho. Yes, this is a real book.

This is the warning in the front of the book:
If you are a parent or a teacher or even if you’re just over eighteen, put this book down now! You won’t like it. You won’t understand it. You will be totally grossed out by it. It goes on for 3 more paragraphs.

It has some pretty great reader reviews on Amazon, too. What you have to know is that Kidlet Jr. hated to read. He thought it was silly and boring. He thought there was nothing about reading that he would ever find fun. Then he met Captain Underpants. I knew once he changed my name to Poopsie Pizzatush that I had created not only a reader but a reader who enjoys getting others interested in his books. (Okay, so the potty humor helped a LOT!)

I’ll let you know how the new book is. I plan on reading it this weekend. So if I come back talking about butts and farts and other such potty humor, it isn’t my fault! I swear! Blame it on Lumpy Pizzatush! It was his fault!

UPDATE: Okay, so I just went to Andy Griffiths’ website. Oh, the plethora of fun, potty humorish things to see. (You gotta try the Move Your Butt game. Sort of like Frogger, but with butts.)

Okay, I really need to go now. I think I set a record for the most times butt has been used in a blog entry. I need to go read something more age appropriate for a while.

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