Disclaimer: My mother would not approve of the language (or the abundance of snark) to follow. Sometimes you have to use very small words to get your point across.


Still here? Cool.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a manifesto on breaking out of that Smart-OR-Pretty-OR-Strong box women find themselves shoved into in high school.

Apparently, breaking out of the boxes myself isn’t gonna cut it. To prove it, some genius writer over at GQ declared that actress Olivia Wilde’s performance in Third Person wasn’t convincing because her “ass was too nice to play a writer.”

Seriously, dude?




First off, I wasn’t aware that writing involved using one’s ass, but apparently that’s how it’s done at major men’s fashion magazines. Who knew? Apparently, the process is quite damaging.

Secondly, to be fair, GQ did apologize. One might hope that the original writer got his ass chewed for being a dumbass in public. Maybe they hired him for his looks?

Yesterday, Huffington Post ran a story titled “Powerful Ad Shows What A Little Girl Hears When You Tell Her She’s Pretty.” Essentially, the theory was that every time the girl’s parents told her she was pretty, she heard “you’re dumb as a rock and incapable of holding power tools because you’re pretty.”


So, now we’re not supposed to tell our daughters that they’re pretty, because being pretty means you can’t possibly be smart or capable.

Let me tell you what really happens when a girl never hears that she’s pretty: she grows up assuming that she’s not.

And that looking nice, or taking care of her body isn’t something she should do. She grows up assuming that romantic relationships are only for other people – pretty people – not for her. That she is respectable, but not lovable, because she’s not pretty.

I was one of those girls. I can’t remember a single time that anyone told me I was pretty until my freshman year of college, when I met the guy I would eventually marry. He’s been telling me I’m beautiful every day for almost 20 years. And still…when I look in the mirror, I don’t completely believe him. Still. Because if it were true, he wouldn’t be the only person who had ever said such a thing, right?

Writer at work

Am I insecure about my intelligence? No. Not in the slightest. Because when I was growing up, I heard how smart I was all the time. And I had the grades and accomplishments to back it up.

Am I insecure about my creative work? Nope. Because when I was young, I was told how good my writing was. And now I hear from readers how much they’ve enjoyed my stories. So yeah, I believe that I’m pretty good at this whole storytelling thing.

But pretty? I dunno. According to GQ (and just about every other societal message I’ve ever gotten), I’m too smart to be pretty.

I call bullshit. (Told you my mother wouldn’t approve of my language. Guess what? Smart girls curse sometimes.)

I have a daughter. She’s brilliant. She’s also adorable. And she has absolutely no doubts whatsoever about either of those statements.

photo 2

And fair warning – don’t get into a buffer sword battle with her. She’ll kick your ass. Just ask her brothers.


I envy her confidence. On some level, I’ve instilled in her the confidence I wish I had – then I’ve turned around and tried to emulate it.

So here’s to a generation of girls who are smart and pretty and confident, all at the same time. GQ, you might need to hire a writer with a great brain and a great ass.

Happy Friday!

Not that I’m ready for the weekend or anything…but this week has been beyond crazy. The kind of week that makes me really ready to step outside of reality for a bit and experience a little magic. For me, that means Date Night. When we were in college, date night meant dinner at Chili’s and a movie. These days, with four kids, it’s not so easy to head out for the evening, so date night happens at home. And I think it’s a lot more romantic – for one thing, there are no waiters interrupting that perfect moment to ask if you’d like a refill.

The magic starts with the setting. It’s amazing what glamour you can work with a few candles and a nice tablecloth. But the real star of the show is the food, so I thought I’d share a quick, easy, and magical date night menu with you, since it’s Friday and all.

Appetizer: Meat and Cheese Platter.

Arrange prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves on a nice plate. Add other meats, cheeses, crackers, or olives if you like. I like to set this out while I’m boiling the pasta, and we munch while we cook.

Main Dish: Fresh pasta with pesto.

Buy (or make, if you’re ambitious!) fresh pasta and pesto from the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Add sundried tomatoes cut into thin strips. Serve with bake and serve Italian bread and olive oil to dip.

If you have food allergies, make or buy gluten free pasta. Pesto contains pine nuts, so replace it with another sauce if you are allergic to nuts. A butter and olive oil sauce with a splash of the wine you’re drinking is delicious!

Wine: Rich, oak-y Chardonnay.

Dessert: Melon salad.

Cut cantaloupe or lemon drop melon (my newly discovered favorite!) into bite-sized chunks. Top with fresh mint leaves cut into thin strips, and drizzle with honey and limoncello. Let this sit while you eat dinner. Yum!

And no, I don’t have pictures because I haven’t made dinner yet. If you’d like to see what this all looks like, leave me a comment and I’ll post them on Pinterest 🙂