Gone Fishing

I'm on summer vacation with my family, so I won't be posting regularly on here. Follow our daily adventures on Instagram if you like :)
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Storytelling 101: Learning from David Crabb

I took a storytelling class from David Crabb over the weekend. He's one of those teachers who are super supportive and positive with all the students, no matter what their exsperience level. Our class was filled with people like me---we were all just getting started in storytelling. As we stumbled along with the basics, he gave everyone the encouragement needed to continue storytelling. Even his criticism was brilliantly framed as, "So what did we want to see more of in this student's story?" instead of, for example, "What sucked about this story?" I would be shocked if anyone left the class without thinking they could someday be the next Moth Story Slam Winner. David's winning story is above.

Biggest lesson from the class for me? Storytelling is all about making the audience feel like they are having a spontaneous, almost intimate, conversation with you. The audience gets turned off when the story feels overly rehearsed. David told us if we say the same exact story twice, we're doing something wrong. I didn't understand this concept completely until I started trying to memorize my Mormon story. I wanted so badly to get it critiqued in class. Instead, I had to scrap it this time. I was trying to recite it word for word and it was totally boring. What was working on paper, wasn't working when I told it. The story I told on the second day of class was one that I didn't write down a single sentence. I was afraid if I did, I would ruin it. David said it's totally typical for writers to have a difficult time retelling their stories. Likewise, storytellers have the hardest time putting their stories down on paper. David Sedaris, he told us, was one of the rare talents--his written word is just as funny as when it's spoken. One in a million.

So beyond the people who heard my story in class, it's been floating in my brain. I've tried to write it this morning, but it was rough. Maybe someday, I'll have to set up a video camera . . .
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My Biggest Failure Update: I Never Brush My Kids Teeth Part 2

when they all had their baby teeth. Photo by Keith Pitts
To prepare for my storytelling class, the teacher asked us to bring a 2-to-3 minutes short story that shows an individualistic quality about our self. He suggested it be something we find a little daring to share. He gave us some examples like, "Everyone thinks I'm hard as nails, but I'm secretly a softie!" or "I know it sounds crazy, but I really do believe in angels!" I decided to go with something like, "Everyone thinks I'm a great mom but I've totally neglected to teach my kids the most basic personal hygiene habits." I reworked this old post to fit into his guidelines. I'm working on memorizing it before our Saturday class . . .


Unexpected Places in NYC: Randall's Island Park

I usually avoid anything that takes 3 trains to get to, but last Saturday I wanted to check out FLOW, Randall's Island annual summer art exhibit. I didn't take pictures of the art (except for this one on Instagram), but I totally think it's worth the trip to experience it and everything else the island has to offer.

Before we left, we stopped by Duane Reade (part drug store/grocery store/walk-in clinic) to get Owen tested for strep throat (negative) and pick up items for a picnic. I was shocked to see a Zabar's roast beef sandwich on an onion brioche roll for sale. Very impressed to see a chain drug store carrying a local favorite. My kids, however, were more stoked to buy the 99 cent American flags. They waved those things all day like the proudest Americans I'd ever seen.

After transferring twice on the train, we walked through the projects to get to the 103rd Street Footbridge which led onto the island. About a block away from the bridge, a woman yelled, "Girl--you're going the wrong way." Who me? With my red and blue striped backpack and 3 American flags hanging out? High pony tail? Riding a blue kick scooter with my 3 kids tagging behind on their matching red Radio Flyer scooters? As if were reenacting this parade scene from the Music Man? She must have been talking about someone else.

When we finally got to the island, we were ready to explore. We first noticed the smooth and wide path along the water's edge. Perfect for kick scooters, but I'm sure it would also be heaven on bikes or even foot.

It didn't take long to realize this ain't no Governor's Island with it's jazz lawn parties and artisanal food trucks. If that's what you're expecting, than girl, you're going the wrong way. Randall's Island is geared more for large BBQ parties, loud music, and rowdy sporting events. It's the wild west out there. And I totally adored it. It wasn't out of control though. The public restroom near the information booth was new and clean. I also saw a lot of employees picking up trash and emptying garbage bins through out the day. I appreciated their hard work and effort to keep the island tidy.

We stayed all day, took naps in the grass, got to see a lot of the island and all of the art. At times I pretended I was on the shores of Greece with it's beautiful white rock beaches, other times I felt like I was partying in the Dominican Republic, and then other times I felt like I was upstate roaming through a garden of wild flowers. It's hard to believe we never left Manhattan.
Owen was having such a hard time swallowing (in red). He was such a trooper. 
Keep reading for more pictures of our Randall's Island adventure . . .


Who Knows the Nose You'll Get and Other Meaningless Things

I look 14-years-old in this picture from open mic night. Just about the age my nose grew in. I always wonder if my kids will get it when they hit puberty. Actually, I'm giddy with excitement to find out. I'm used to mine now, sort of. The other day an ad popped up with before and after pics of someone who got a nose job. The results are always staggering from the profile, and I start to wonder what it would be like to chisel off an inch. But then from the front view, the results are so minimal. I always feel like they look the same. And then I realize it would be such a waste. I'd rather take a trip to Italy. I just googled "italian woman painting profile" and found my twin as captured by Leonardo de Vinci. Don't need much more validation than that. And even though mine still slightly larger than hers, I'll keep it.
images from Study of a Woman's Head
Keep reading to see a picture of me with a button nose . . . .


UPDATED! Culdesac: Fabulous Clothing Line Devoted Entirely to Boys

I died when I saw these images of my kids for Culdesac.  Founder and designer Hayley Parker has focused her attention to tailored boy's clothing and all I can say is thank you! It's about time someone did. Not that it stops Ella from sneaking into all the clothes, too. When it comes down to it, great pieces work on anyone. Even though it's a young company, Culdesac has already been sold in Barneys New York. Excited to see it grow even more. Aren't the clothes stunning? And doesn't Oscar have kindness and honesty oozing out of his eyes. UPDATE: Culdesac is having a sample sale!
Charcoal Suit Jacket: $40 // Charcoal Grey Trouser: $28
Available in Grey $22: BUY
Keep reading to see Owen's questioning eyes and Ella's surprisingly serious eyes . . . 


Open Mic Night Update: Loved It

Open mic night update: Spending a few hours with people completely out of my circle mommy friends was the best. I was beginning to think that all that existed in this city were playgrounds, instagram donuts, and tantrums. The Inspired Word crowd was a hodge-podge of people young and old, all different backgrounds, all different views, all different talent. I could be anyone I wanted there. I decided to call myself a storyteller. Since then, I've spent the week listening to the Moth and I even signed up for a storytelling class. It's funny how a sponsored post from the Go Mighty Team has pushed me into something so much bigger than I expected. I was originally doing it for the paycheck. But now, I realize, it's changed my life.

After the jump is the story I read last night. It was amazing experience. Next time, however, I'm memorizing it. That's my only regret. I have to warn you before you read. It's way more honest and explicit than what's normally on here. It talks about sex and my warped devotion to the teachings of the Mormon Church as a teenager. Some parts might make some people uncomfortable. Names have been changed. I'm looking forward to getting it workshopped at my upcoming class. Ignore any typos, it's meant to be read :)

Click through for the story. But first the sponsor info: Become a Summer Stunner! The Color Tour, featuring complimentary salon services with hot P&G products, will be stopping at a retailer near you. Click here for tour dates and more! #SummerStunner

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