Prologue to a Twins Blog

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Can't Believe My Family Forgot My Birthday!

To say that I am a HUGE fan of John Hughes' teenage classic movie Sixteen Candles is a complete understatement.  In my teenage years, I watched the movie religiously on my birthday every year from 14 until I left for college.  I have countless memoribilia including an original script and re-invented myself in high school to BE Samantha Baker.  I've seen the movie well over 40 times and can run along with the dialogue as I'm watching the movie.

I assume that you've seen Sixteen Candles, but if you haven't it's about a girl, Samantha (not Sam!) Baker, who is celebrating her sixteenth birthday, but her family is preocupied with her sister's wedding and totally forgets about it.  Meanwhile, she loves a popular boy, Jake Ryan, who she thinks doesn't knows that she even exists.

Sadly though as I got older the movie became less important to me, but I never forgot Molly Ringwald and Samantha Baker.  About a year ago, I picked up Jen Lancaster's new book, at the time, If You Were Here.  The title is a hat tip to the song at the end of the movie when Samantha and Jake are sitting on the dining room table over the birthday cake.  The book is about a couple who by complete luck purchase Jake Ryan's gorgeous home (it actually exists as you'll see below in a moment!).

The memories of the movie that this book brought back was wonderful!  I picked up a copy of the movie on DVD and had to watch it after years of not seeing it.  Let me warn you though, watching it as an adult was very different from watching it as a teen.  Oh my goodness - swearing, drinking, sex, heavy partying, hazing, nudity - it has it all.  I don't think I'll be allowing my kids to see it until they are 50.  I was horrified that I loved such a movie so I put it away and was disappointed with myself for liking it in the first place.

Fast forward a year and we had an opportunity to visit Chicago in January.  I've never visited Chicago before but the weather was going to be ZERO degrees while we were there so no walking around downtown for us.  I suggested that in our free time we take a drive out to the suburbs and "OH, while we're there let's go visit all of the famous places in Sixteen Candles."

In preparation for seeing these iconic locations, I pulled out the movie again to watch before we left.  I have to say seeing it a second time as an adult/mom reminded me of why I loved the movie to begin with.  Samantha is just picture perfect cute, but still a little edgy.  Here she is trying to have a fantastic birthday and all of this crazy stuff is going on around her.  That's exactly how I felt as a teenager - just being a good girl and trying to get through all of that junk.  Always feeling like "I'm a good kid, when was it going to be my turn?"  I'm happy to report that I became endeared to the movie once again - the message was loud and clear...good wins all in the end.  And the best part is my very own Jake Ryan watched the movie with me this time!

The first stop on our Sixteen Candles tour was to the beautiful town of Glencoe.  This town was gorgeous and I immediately fell in love with it.  Glencoe is home to the church used at the end of the movie where Ginny, Samantha's sister, is getting married.  It is also the location where Jake stands next to his red Porche 944 waiting for Samantha.  We parked and I jumped out running over to the spot where Samantha saw Jake for the first time.  That's me - the blue blob on the stairs!

I assume the church understands when a 40-something woman comes to the church jumping up and down and has her husband park in "Jake Ryan's Spot" that she is a Sixteen Candles fan! 

Isn't the street pretty?  Here's where Jake parked.

At the end of the street that the church is on is Lake Michigan.  I was amazed with how beautiful it was.  The skies in Chicago are so blue and it reflects off the partially frozen water.

The next stop on our tour was Samantha Baker's house.  John Hughes used the outside and the inside to film Sixteen Candles.  I didn't get to see the inside, but here is the outside.  It looks exactly the same as it did in the movie.

Finally, we went to see "My Boy Jake's" house.  The house is a million dollar home right next to Lake Michigan in Highland Park.  Here is his garage that Farmer Ted pulled out of when driving Carolyn home in the Rolls.

Again, from what I understand John Hughes' used the outside and inside of the house for filming.  Here is Jake's house below.  It's actually set back further from the street than it looks.  I had to zoom in.

I've got to say, quite embarrassingly, that our Sixteen Candles tour was much more magical than I had ever expected.  I loved every minute of it (although my twins were "bored!") and my husband was a good sport driving me all around the suburbs.  It was a dream come true for me.

Can't make it to Chicago?  No worries... all of these locations can be seen on the web using Google Maps.  How cool is that?!

Let me know below if you are a Sixteen Candles fan too!  Or, if you haven't seen it as an adult, watch it and let me know what you think of it now!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Things I've Said in 2012 as a Twins Mom

Happy New Year!  I usually prepare this post in November or December, but 2012 got the best of me so this is the first opportunity I've had lately to sit down for some creative writing. 

Every year I put together this list of the things I've repeatedly said through the year.  I have been doing this for a few years now and I have to say that it's really fun to look back at previous years and compare verbage.  There are a lot of similiarities - that's for sure!

Top Things I've Said in 2012 as a Twins Mom

1.  That's for sure! Followed by my daughter's "You know what?" and "pretty much."

2.  Can you all go to the bathroom?  It's time to leave.

3.  Please sit down while you're eating - you should know this by now.

4.  It's time to get ready for school!  I feel like with each new day it's like you've never gotten ready for school before.

5.  Hold on to the railing when you're on the stairs - you should know this by now.

6.  Oh, there's a good sale going on at the Vera Bradley outlet.

7.  I don't know why I bother talking, no one listens to me anyway.  Perfect example... I said to my husband "hold the box from the bottom, the handle is broken.  Hold the box from the bottom, the handle is broken." What does he do?  He holds the box from the handle and drops it! 

8.  My 5 year old flip phone is great and I'm beating the system.

9.  I'm not going to worry about it.

10.  Well, I cleaned the kitchen!  This was a big year for my husband's career and personal achievement.  Whenever he came home with a fantastic announcement about some award or recognition, after the appropriate congrats I would say "Well, I cleaned the kitchen."

Enjoy 2013!  And, may this be the best year yet for all!  What things do you hope to say the most in 2013?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Fun with Raw Foods

The first time I ever heard about people eating only raw foods was a few years ago and I thought it was Crazy! That’s crazy with a capital C. How can one go through life without eating foods that have been toasted, warmed or cooked? No soups, no cereal, no bread, no crackers, no junk food for sure, no steak, chicken, pork, turkey – not even the fake stuff or garden burgers. No more popcorn or French fries – my two favorite foods on earth. I thought for sure it was impossible.

About a month ago I was flipping through my book catalogs scoping out new books for the bookstore and came across Ani's 15-Day Fat Blast by Ani Phyo which focused on losing weight by eating raw foods. It peaked my interest so I bought the book and was just WOWED! She lays out a raw food plan which encourages your body to lose weight in 15 days.

Sounded good to me and there have been a few things that I’ve been tired of lately – eating the same old foods over and over again – basically I was tired of eating junk. I was also tired of letting the twins get the best of me and not finishing projects that I start. I thought if I tried this plan for 15 days it would accomplish two things for me – it would give me the sense of accomplishment and completion and also force me to eat new foods that I wasn’t normally eating. It was a win-win for me. Of course, there was also that 20 extra pounds that’s been with me since the twins were born. It would be nice to finally lose the extra weight.

Most people become a raw foodist after going through the “food continuum” of eating everything, changing over to vegetarian, then becoming vegan, and then going to raw. I skipped over all that and went right to raw foods. As a junk food junkie, it was a drastic step, but as Ani said it’s only for 15 days. Of course, at the end of 15 days she is convinced that you will enjoy eating this way all the time and that you will remain a raw foodist either 100% or as much as possible.

I was never a good cook so for me a raw food diet made sense. I immediately realized how easy it was to be on a raw food diet – throw 3 – 6 ingredients into a blender and done. I’ve made all sorts of foods this way. I’ve also prepared salads, snacks, and dessert in literally minutes. The blender I use is the Ninja system which I bought at Kohls on sale.  I've even used it to chop nuts with no problem.  It pulverizes everything and is really easy to clean.

I am now eating foods that I love and being introduced to eating them in a whole new way. Dates and celery were never high up on my food list, but I’m finding that I actually enjoy eating them. I’m also enjoying eating coconut, nuts, raisins, avocado, homemade salad dressing, kombucha (a fermented tea beverage), carob, coconut oil, kefir (a non-dairy based probiotic drink similar to yogurt), and kale (a type of lettuce that I had never knowingly tried before), and many other foods.

Some of these foods on the list you may think are fattening like nuts, coconut and avocado, but according to the raw food experts these are nutrient dense and healthy foods. I had been avoiding them all these years even though I enjoyed them because I thought they were fattening and unhealthy. I remember when the movie industry switched from popping their popcorn in coconut oil because they said it clogged your arteries and, in my opinion, movie theater popcorn was all downhill from there. Now they don’t even pop their own popcorn at many places.

The first day trying raw foods was in a lot of ways easier than I thought, but it was also very difficult. Ani’s plan had me making smoothies 4 – 5 times a day the first 3 days as a detox and break from chewing – that’s a lot of smoothies to drink. I had strawberry smoothies, blueberry smoothies, pear smoothies, pineapple and kale smoothies. I also had vegetables as smoothies (which she calls “soups” in her book although they aren’t heated). I had to pull out my blender and learn a new way to prepare foods.

I was also really hungry the first few days and ate a lot of food (Ani says that quantity doesn’t matter, only quality on a raw food diet). Within a few days, I found my way and built a routine that I could stick with – smoothie and a banana in the morning, smoothie in the late morning, big salad for lunch, fruit or veggies in early afternoon, salad for dinner. I also started making yummy treats like raw trail cookies, raw brownies, and other desserts. Recently I picked up a few additional raw cookbooks and will add more recipes and foods to the routine. It really is a whole cuisine experience with so many options.

I have noticed that I have more energy, my brain fog is cleared up, and I’ve lost weight (at my last weigh in I lost 3 lbs in a week and that’s without exercising and still eating a TON of food including many of the so-called “fattening foods” listed above). I suffer from heartburn and acid reflux (started when I was pregnant with twins) and while I haven’t noticed an improvement in my symptoms I know that once I lose weight these will get better.

The only downside that I’ve found with eating raw is that is it expensive to buy so much produce – For example, I go through 2 bunches of bananas every 2 days. I once watched a YouTube video of a person who had a whole 4-shelf shelfing system and it was completely full of bananas. She would rotate her bananas depending on how the sun was coming into the room. That kind of commitment scared me to be honest. I couldn’t imagine going through all those bananas or tending to them so lovingly. Another YouTube video showed me what one person bought for a week of eating raw – she had beautiful arm muscles and now I know why… from carrying all that heavy produce.

Also, what worries me is that come winter in New England, I won’t be able to afford eating this way when the prices of produce skyrocket and it isn't so readily available. I’m also making about 3 trips to the store every week buying fresh produce compared to just once a week before. Come winter I like to hibernate – a raw food lifestyle is going to be harder to keep up, but we’ll see what happens. Even if I can maintain a 50% raw food diet in winter, I’ll be happy as long as the dark forces of Doritos don’t catch up with me and I am eating healthy food.

The other issue I’ve found is that my refrigerator is an avalanche waiting to happen. That’s my fridge at the top – it is chockfull and there is no room for anything else. I know I’m not supposed to store fruits and veggies in the same compartment, but I have no other option.

But regardless, the positives outweigh the negatives right now and it’s definitely been fun. Now I just have to get the rest of the family aka “the chicken nugget twins” on the same path. I’ll keep you all posted on how I’m doing (accountability is good!) and will post more information for those interested in trying out a raw food diet even if it's just for a few days.

Thanks for reading about my raw food journey! Let me know your comments, questions, or thoughts below. I love hearing from you.  Cheers!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Call for Contributors - Two Little Time: Twins Advice for the Hurried Mom and Dad

As a bookstore owner, it was bound to happen sooner or later – I would get the itch to publish a book. That time has come and I need your help!

Just because I’m a mom of twins doesn’t mean that I’m the expert on how to raise them, collectively we ALL are the experts, but we’re so short on time aren’t we?! That’s where the idea for my e-book came in. Two Little Time: Twins Advice for the Hurried Mom and Dad will be a collection of 5 bulleted “must know” tips and advice for raising twins from all of us.

This is a chance for you to get published, gain exposure as a “twins expert,” help other moms and dads by sharing your knowledge, and market your blog/website/business to the twins community. In addition, contributors can post Two Little Time on their website or blog to make available to their readers for FREE.

Interested in submitting an article?

It’s easy! Just come up with 5 bulleted tips/advice for raising twins/multiples; write a bio about yourself; read and sign the book agreement. Submissions accepted until June 30, 2012. All the juicy details are below in our Submissions Guideline and Book Agreement downloads (in PDF format).

Download our Submission Guidelines here.

Download our Book Agreement here.

Want to see the original blog post I wrote where I came up with this idea – visit my personal blog Prologue to a Twins Blog.

Thanks so much for your interest! Together we can make a difference… quickly.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Just in Time Twins Advice

I've been super short on time lately. I'm sure a lot of you are feeling the same way - never having enough time on your side.

However, my lack of time gave me a great idea for this blog post - quick tips to pass along to any hurried twin moms and dads-to-be.

Here are my top 5 quick twins advice for moms and dads expecting twins/multiples:

1. Read everything you can about raising twins (of course!) - Read books, magazine articles, blogs, and talk to as many people in the twins community as you can. Once you've built up a pretty good knowledge base, use what you've learned to form your own thoughts and ideas about how to best care for your twins.

2. Try to find the humor in all situations - This is especially important during the very stressful first year. My husband once came home to find me in my bra and underwear standing in the kitchen wearing one slipper while trying to clean up two simultaneous blow-out diapers.

3. Trust that you'll know what's best for your family at any given moment and follow your gut.

4. Keep your twins on the same schedule or don't - You will find what works for you and your situation. I didn't keep my twins on the same schedule because to me it was easier dealing with one baby at at time based on their needs at that moment.

5. The first year is the hardest, but it goes by quickly - Cherish is special time with your twins and try to sneak in as much sleep as you can.

What quick tips can you share? Please post below!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Magazine Addiction

I am a magazine junkie and have been since I was a kid. My magazine tastes have changed over time, but the excitement that I hold for magazines has not.

There are so many factors as to why I love magazines as much as I do - the fun of opening my mailbox and finding something other than bills, the distraction it gives me from the daily grind, learning about new things and getting inspired, the glossy photos that make everything look perfect, and with each issue there is something new and exciting to read. I also especially love international magazines although subscribing to them is pricey so I tend to pick these up when I travel.

I found a fellow magazine junkie in @tracizeller over on Twitter. I love hearing about people's favorite magazines so I asked her if she had a list of the magazines that she reads posted on her blog. She didn't, but then I realized that I didn't either!

Here is a list of the magazines I subscribe to:

Just for Fun

People *

US Weekly

Entertainment Weekly

Fashion & Beauty

People Stylewatch


New Beauty *
(I get this through the Beauty Test Tube on


Unique Homes

Canada's Style at Home

HGTV Home *

Women's Mag

Woman's Day *

Ladies Home Journal

Working Mother - Didn't know I subscribed to this, but it started showing up one day.

Health & Cooking

Women's Health

Taste of Home Healthy Cooking

Wegman's Menu


Travel + Leisure *

Conde Nast Traveler



Inc. *

Internet Retailer

Website Magazine

* I starred my favorite magazine in each category.

Buying Magazines and Saving $$$
In my opinion the BEST place to buy magazines is through If you're not familiar with eBates, when you're ready to shop for something you first go to their website and look for the store that you want to shop online at.

When you find the store, you'll notice a % next to their name - that's the % cash back you'll get if you shop at that online store by using the link provided on eBates. Each quarter eBates sends you a check of your earnings.

I typically use through eBates which depending on the time of year can save me 26 - 52% off magazines (between Thanksgiving and New Years is the highest % back). If you want to sign up for eBates and give me a perk in the process, I've posted my Tell-A-Friend link. No pressure.

Post in the comments section what magazines you like to read and why you like to read them - I'm always on the prowl for new magazines to read!

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best of 2011

Every year I put together a list of the best books that I've read that year, but I'm doing things differently this year since I'm getting bored of routine. This year I've put together a list of the best things I've enjoyed this year entertainment-wise, but I'll start with the best books as a tribute to what I usually do.

Best Books

Dangerous to Know (Lady Emily #5) by Tasha Alexander
This is the 5th installment of the Lady Emily series and I think it's the best one yet. The 6th book was recently published and although I purchased it the day it came out, I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm really excited to and hope it's even better.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
A fun romp through 1930's New York City high society.

The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn
This is the book that the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper was based on. The movie wasn't very good in my opinion, but the book was awesome! I read the book before I saw the movie.

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
I really enjoyed this older book by Susanna Kearsely and while I'm not one for romantic themes I thought the author handled it perfectly. Great flirting descriptions!

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
The cover of this book instantly attracted me (see you can judge a book by it's cover) and I bought it on the spot. I really liked this story of a heartbroken woman who travels to Bainbridge Island in Washington state to visit her aging aunt. Full of heartfelt moments and family secrets - loved it.

The Sweet Life in Paris: A Recipe for Living in the World's Most Delicious City by David Lebovitz
Even though I don't cook and I'm on the opposite end of the foodie spectrum, I'm attracted to books written about eating or cooking in Paris (My Life in France by Julia Child made my list last year). This book does not disappoint in any way. Incredible recipes which one day I hope to try and I love David Lebovitz's breakdown of the french/Parisian culture. Who knew a pastry chef could be so funny!

Best Movies

The absolute best movie I saw all year was Crazy, Stupid Love - if you haven't seen, just see it already!

Midnight in Paris

It's Kind of a Funny Story

The Prestige - this one is my all time favorite movie and I did watch it again this year. You can't go wrong with a cast of Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Cain, David Bowie, and the guy who plays Niles on The Nanny, Daniel Davis.

Cutest On-Screen Couple

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone

Best TV Shows

Hot in Cleveland on TV Land

White Collar on USA Network

Good Luck, Charlie on Disney

Melissa and Joey on ABC Family

House Hunters on HGTV

Usually Burn Notice on USA Network would be on this list, but I gotta say it's getting a little repetitive. When you're a spy, there are only so many things you can do and say that's new I guess.

Best TV Series

Lark Rise to Candleford from BBC on PBS

Downton Abbey from BBC on PBS

Favorite Actors this Year

Ryan Gosling

Emma Stone

Bruce Campbell - he's on my list every year since 1988 except for his work in Bubba Ho-Tep (Sorry, Bruce!)

Matt Bomer

Kevin Spacey

Ed O'Neill

So, what were your favorite things in 2011? Let me know below I'd love to know.