Friday, May 30, 2014

Big Primpin’

Dear Ann,
I feel like ever since the kids came along, my beauty routine has taken a back seat. I’m lucky if I brush my hair and/or teeth before I get out the door. I think I still have some make-up brushes…but what are those for again?
Will it be okay if I just give up now, please?
~ Making-up is hard to do

Dear Making up,

While I would normally say, “Fugheddabout it”, “Hakuna Matata”, or “You’re already least on the inside”, it so happens that I can dispense some actual time-saving big primpin' tips that even the busiest of mamas can manage. I know, I know, why is your Ann Abler trying to do anything other than pardon your sub-par primping? It’s because I have discovered that with minimal effort you can achieve maximum results slightly better than sub-par results. Also, I had some pictures in mind for this post.

Since We, the people, love numbered lists, here are my 

No offense, Brobie.
1.     CAR TWEEZERS. Though many of us amply-haired ladies might not admit it, we love/hate the rear view mirror during daylight as would a vain vampire. While the sun won’t melt off our faces, it will expose a scary amount of sometimes terminal hair. That’s right, I said terminal. Click if you dare. Having a pair of tweezers in the car will not only save you time and give you something to do if your kids fall asleep, but can also spare you the embarrassment of showing up somewhere looking like Brobie.

2.     COVER GIRL AquaSmooth Compact Foundation. Since you may have slight signs of skin irritation from following tip #1, I have thoughtfully suggested a remedy for the redness. Am I being paid to say this? NO. Will I gladly accept thanks in the form of free AquaSmooth Compact Foundation? YES. This compact is a must have, unless you have perfect skin, in which case, I'm not even sure I can speak to you right now.

3.     ACROBATIC APPLICATION. If you have a toddler, then you know that playing in a small puddle or stream of water is surprisingly mesmerising. Simply sit your kid on the edge of the sink, with your leg positioned behind him. This is a great time for him to brush his teeth, if brushing means sucking the toothpaste off the brush and asking for more. Use this time to do some stretching while you apply your basics, whether that be moisturizer, foundation, mascara or lipstick. Note: Only attempt this if you are limber, agile, and attentive (and remember, this is an advicetainment blog).

4.     HOME HAIR SALON. Look like you just stepped out of a salon…or at least Supercuts. Get your little girl to groom you. The more pretending you insert in game, the more likely she is to stick with it, and give you a decent style. Tell her that her tip is riding on it.  
Have baby lift pinky for extra points

5.     BABY BRUSH-CLEANING. Now, this may not be the recommended way to wash your make-up brushes, but if it’s this or no washing at all, then, well…actually, it’s still a toss up. 

You can always give up now and go full unkempt cavewoman, but unless you’re married to a fellow troglodyte who doesn’t mind small creatures living in your hair, then you may want to take my advice.  

Now say two Hail Mommies and try to muster up enough energy to swish around some mouth wash. 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Dear Ann,
I’m a stay at home mom but sometimes fantasize about going back to work. I feel guilty that I'm not fully enjoying and appreciating being home with my kids. But I miss sitting at a desk, drinking a coffee, and looking at spreadsheets. Do you think I should go back to work?
-Nine to Five Nostalgic

Dear Nostalgic,

Of course you fantasize about going back to work. Where you were paid. In money. And talked to adults. And could pee, all by yourself. Yes, there were terribly boring meetings, stressful deadlines, and office politics. But have you witnessed kid politics? Way more stressful, and the HR director, AKA Mommy, is constantly having to do harassment training seminars to a very unresponsive - even belligerent - workforce.
Let’s fantasize about your return to work together—first, a long drive listening to adult music and not having to turn around to look in the back seat ever. Wait, even better, a car with no backseat. Wait, how about a Vespa? And you look like this woman here, who definitely isn't covered in spit-up.

You pull up to your tall, glass, clean office building. You wait for the elevator sipping your second solitary chai latte of the day. You ride the elevator. Alone. It is white, and quiet, and clean. You stroll to your cubicle. Also, white, and quiet and clean. You have one small plant that needs water very very rarely. You sit down. You put on your headphones, and type numbers into a spreadsheet. No one needs you to pour their orange juice for them. No one needs a diaper change. When you have to pee, you go pee. Sigh. It sounds so calming, doesn’t it? Now, tear your eyes from this beautiful blog for a moment and look around your living room. Yes there are toys, and Cheerios, and socks, and filth, and laundry, and tiny trucks to step on. But also sitting there, painting each others' faces with your make-up, maybe with some yogurt in their hair, are your sweet, smelly, needy, lovable children.

My dear Nostalgic, you can go back to work if and when you wish or need. But you know that sitting there, in your perfectly quiet cubicle, with your perfectly done nails, and that delicious uninterrupted latte, that you’d also be missing this. It’s just kind of how our minds work as parents. We want breaks from our kids, but want to be with them all the time too, forever.  It’s kind of awesome, love and stuff, but it also sort of sucks sometimes. Don’t worry - I won't get at you with some live in the moment embrace the chaos bullshit. I just want you to respect that its OK to want a break from your children without feeling guilty about it. You just need to decide if it means going back to work or going out for a walk by yourself. And by walk I mean drive, (or cab) and by yourself I mean cocktails with girlfriends.

Your Ann Abler

Friday, May 23, 2014

Penitence for Play Land

Dear Ann Abler,

I know they underpay their workers and make foodstuff that is more stuff than food, but the kids have so much fun in the McDonald’s Playplace, that I sometimes climb down from my moral high horse and head on over. I confess that while they’re safe in the winding tubes of that wonderland, I pretend I’m alone while I consume my coffee. Can you absolve me so that my conscience is cleared and I can continue to indulge in this practice?

I’m lovin it

Dear Lovin It,

If Justin Timberlake associated himself with the masters of the McRib, how bad can it be? He is America’s golden boy whose abundance of charm inoculates him against criticism, and we must not question his choices. While you’re right about their low-paying practices, and calories from questionable content, the question at hand is how to sustain your sanity for one more day.

If Justin Timberlake associated himself with the masters of the McRib, how bad can it be?

17 Foul Ingredients AND free coupons? Score!
Having little ones is hard, as every parent (and parenting blog) will tell you. Parenting can slowly strip you of a sense of self, if you don’t take a moment now and then to breathe deeply and think your own thoughts. Yes, being a parent can provide you with deep personal discoveries, wonder, joy, and growth, but it can also stress you out and suck your brain dry. So I say pick your battles and take on the corporate giant tomorrow. You deserve a break today! 

To lighten your load and purge that pesky guilt, you can shower the McEmployees with gifts. If that surpasses your penitence price point, then bring them some employment applications from Starbucks. I believe Starbucks gives benefits if you work 20+ hours a week, and I imagine you get to be jacked up on the java juice for most of that time. 

If you want to just sort of stick it to the McMan, then fill your kids up with a healthy breakfast and only order the coffee for yourself. Now say 4 Hail Mommies and have it your way.

~ Your Ann Abler
p.s. Colbert explains it all much better

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Dear Ann Abler,

My kids are obsessed with Full House. I never actually enjoyed the show, even when I was younger. Sure Uncle Jesse is hot, but the stories are so sappy and I’m tired of my children telling me, “you got it, dude!” It’s everywhere I look…everywhere I go…I’m considering cutting it off completely, but the kids might revolt. I need my Ann Abler, STAT.

~ Have Mercy

Dear Mercy,

First off, it could be worse. The fact that your children are saying, “you got it dude” is far better than the things they will be shouting at you in their teens. Secondly, I have a solution.

Here is how to handle watching Full House without gagging on the cheesiness. I first thought of making this a drinking game, but then decided to do a healthy version, replacing directives like “drink!” and “chug” with different exercises and stretches. However, please feel free to replace “take a drink” for any of these, if you’ve had a rough day. The work out will wait until tomorrow.

Your Full House Fitness Plan:

  1. Start your warm-up by jogging in place when you hear the “ahahahahhhh”
  2. Do five jumping jacks when Kimmy Gibler insults Danny Tanner.
  3. Do some neck rolls (to match your eye rolls) each time the music informs you that a tender moment is occurring and that you should be feeling some feelings.
  4. Do ten push-ups whenever uncle Joey’s mom jeans appear on screen.
  5. Do some stretching while Uncle Jesse has his heart-to-heart with one of the girls. Most likely it will be Michelle, as it seems the producers of the show realized the Uncle Jesse + cute toddler combo made it fun for the whole family.
  6. Do a forward fold each time the studio audience says “aaawwww”. Not only are forward folds great for releasing lower back tension, but this will also allow you to look through your legs and AWAY from the TV.
  7. If you say a character’s uber-predictable line before they do, you get a free pass on the next exercise.
  8. Do 20 sit-ups whenever Uncle Jesse flirts with a foxy lady, or says “hubba hubba” and/or “have mercy”
  9. Do 10 jumping jacks when Danny Tanner realizes that maybe he doesn’t have it all under control and needs a little help from his friends.
  10. Do 15 squats if Stephanie or D.J. get jealous of Michelle.
I could probably think of a few more, but I would rather hear some suggestions from others, whether you love, hate, or love/hate Full House. There are so many memorable moments, predictable plot lines, and scrunchy-inspired styles that have not yet been mentioned. So…please share your ideas for Full House Fitness right here in the comments section, on  Dear Ann Abler's Facebook page, or on Twitter (#FullHouseFitness and tag @DearAnnAbler). 

Hope that helps! If not, there's always the option to Lean in - have the whole family dress as their favorite character as you watch it together. Side ponytails have a way of lifting everyone's spirits.
- Your Ann Abler

Thursday, May 15, 2014

When Hairy is Sally

Dear Ann Abler,
I spend way too much time dealing with my facial hair. I want my life back.
 ~ Hairy is Sally

Dear Hairy,

Embrace your obsession. Eradicate all hairs and all evidence that you are in any way a human animal. It recently occurred to me that I could try plucking my thigh-pubes (do those have a name yet, and if not, can we call them thighburns?).  I figured that if I got really into it and developed trichotillomania, that I could not only have a totally smooth surface from head to (formerly hairy) toe, but also be eligible for a mini-vacation at a mental hospital. It’s a win/win!

However, if padded white walls aren’t your style, then there are some alternatives. There’s threading, waxing, shaving, plucking, bleaching or becoming a baptized Sikh. You may have seen or read about this kick-ass Sikh woman who lets inner beauty be her beacon. She gracefully engaged commenters on reddit who were mocking a picture of her that showed her facial hair. So if you’re shopping around for a religion, check it out. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you, like many of us in this material world, can’t hang with a handlebar and aren’t saintly enough to proudly rock a ‘stache. Kudos to those who are into that spirituality and self-realization thing, though. They are probably reading something enlightening rather than this blogpost. Whatevs.

Found on
It was news to me to find out that these dark, coarse hairs that so many of us ladies would love to laser off are actually called terminal hairs. Terminal. So if you didn’t already feel shame about your stray eyebrows (which may have strayed all the way to your chin), the word “terminal” is there to help. Take comfort in the fact that most of us ladies are in the same predicament. I suggest that if you don’t already have one, find your pluck buddy – that person who promises to come pluck your unwanted facial hairs should you become unable to do so. Find that pluck buddy today, because you never know when you will be incapacitated, perhaps by trichotillomania-induced catatonia.

Hope that helped!

~ Your Dear Ann Abler

p.s. Question for the comments section: How come men can have what’s basically pubic hair on their feet and it’s cool?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Too Sexy For This Shirt: What has Laundry done for you lately?

Dear Ann Abler,

I feel like I never have time for housework. After playing with the kids, making dinner, and trying to squeeze in time to practice my bongos, I'm completely spent.

My family's dirty laundry is a stack of judgement staring me straight in the eyes.

Dirty Laundry Secret

Dear Dirty Laundry Secret,

You're clearly too creative and beautiful for laundry. Leave it and take a nap. Here's what you can say to that judgmental stack of stains:

Fuck you, laundry.
I think you'll find the laundry will understand who da boss after that. 


This was the first blogpost from your Dear Ann Abler, and I'm reposting it. There's probably a hashtag that will make this re-posting seem more intentional and acceptable. I'm off to go find that hashtag. (#RepostingRocks?). To help generate more original content, you can ask a question here or tweet it to @DearAnnAbler. C'mon, this world needs more blogposts!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spider Insider

We have another question from one of my myriad Twitter followers (myriad means around 60, right?).
@unique_miranda asks: @DearAnnAbler, my daughter's full of itchy spider bites. I've done everything I can think of. Wish it was me rather than her #mommyproblems.

Dear Unique,

You came to the right place. Doctors, shmoctors, right? Your dear Ann Abler has got your back. Here’s what you do: go rub every lamp in your house. If a genie comes out, make your wish. No genie? Try a local wishing well, or any ole’ fountain you find. I’m pretty sure it’s the chemical reaction of coin + water that makes the magic happen. I didn’t actually ace Chemistry, though; so don’t quote me on that. Wish still not coming true? Jiminy f*&kin’ cricket, I’m running out of ideas. Oh – that actually reminds me, go outside tonight and wish upon a star. That should do the trick. If that doesn’t work, I’d like to return my Disneyland Annual Passport. Passport to lies, I say.

I guess you could go to WebMD or a real doctor, but then we’d all be robbed of my words of wisdom and professional* feedback. (*Professional in that I have been paid to do work at various points in my life). Also, in my professional opinion, I would suggest not watching Arachnophobia right now. I repeat, do not watch Arachnophobia right now. Everything will be okay. I think. Especially if you found a genie. A #ProTip from my own daughter: she says that you should wish that NO ONE has spider bites. That would be a better wish.

Other than that…um…calamine lotion? And also, where were you that she got the spider bites and can I please never have to go there.

Now say two hail mommies and go look for a four-leaf clover or a lucky penny (also my daughter’s suggestions). Note (from my daughter, again): A lucky penny is NOT when you go into someone’s money jar and take a penny. It has to be one that you find on the ground.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

#ScreenFreeWeek According to Kids

Each Tuesday, for as long as I remember that this is a thing I'm dong, I'll be celebrating Twitter Pic Tuesday. I'll share something that made me laugh, smile, or "go hmm".

For our first Twitter Pic Tuesday, we have this from Bernie Kamphof's (@cows4milk), which was tweeted yesterday:

Who out there is doing this #ScreenFreeWeek thing? If so, is it ironic that people keep tweeting and posting about it on screens? Also, does no one trust the true facts that I thoroughly researched and shared in my last post?

Now, go follow your Dear Ann Abler on Twitter, and tweet me your latest sub-par parenting moment. Or any fun fail for that matter.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

iLove my iChild

This one comes via tweet from @martinisandmini

So letting my kids watch "Appisodes" on the iPad isn't the same as watching TV, right? Totally different parts of the brain, right????
- Martinis

Dear Martinis,

You ARE right! Totally different. The iPad trains the part of the brain that controls the swiping and selecting finger, while the TV develops the consumer section of the cortex, which teaches them to covet cheap shiny things from China. It’s important to remember that today’s iChild requires multiple sources of screen time to sharpen those skills of tomorrow. If we’re concerned about kids’ attention spans, we can take comfort in the fact that in the near future, human thoughts will consist mostly of 144 characters or less. Reducing a child’s attention span to that of a gnat will place him right on par with his peers. 

Luckily, some of the content targeted at our tots contains characters with British accents. As you may know, the British accent triggers a release of bonus points into the brain*. (*The brain works on an intricate point system, similar to Weight Watchers). You’ve got your Peppa Pig, your Mary Poppins, and Pocoyo (translated to British English and not ‘Merican English), all helping to pump up our kids' brain power. So, while your child may not get into Harvard, he will have the advantage of a British accent, which automatically qualifies him as an authoritative voice on everything. 

A study conducted on 0-3 year olds by pediatricians from the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York had the following findings:

The study showed there was no significant difference in testing scores between children who used touch-screen devices and children without the same exposure to touch-screen devices. However, results indicated that children who play non-educational games (ie. Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, etc.) have a lower verbal score on developmental tests.

Yes, BUT, how did each group of toddlers fare when fruit was thrown at their heads? Aha! Didn’t think of that one, did they? Skills of tomorrow, I say! Skills of tomorrow!
As Ilana Wiles (@Mommyshorts) has demonstrated in what I assume is a peer-reviewed and published infographic, toddlers love them some touch screen:

In summary, as long as we keep our little kiddlings engaged in other activities throughout the day, talk to them more than we tweet them, and make sure they see the light of day*, I think we’ll all survive. (*Just don’t ask me if you should use sunscreen).

Now say three Hail Mommies and check out Peppa Pig's Party Time App

Pip pip, Cheerio!

Question for my reader(s): What article(s) have you found most helpful/entertaining/depressing on the topic of kids & technology? Please share in the comments section or tweet @DearAnnAbler

Friday, May 2, 2014

Snack Envy

Dear Ann,
When did playdates get so fancy? I have fun with my playdate group, but lately it has become less about tiring the kiddos out and more about showing off a pinterest level snack buffet. Organic homemade health muffins? Strawberries cut into bunnies? What happened to just bringing some crackers, sometimes?
-Sad Bag of Snacks

Dear Sad Bag,
I have no idea how this happened, but can I be invited, like right now? I’m hungry and all I have in the house is old tortillas and dead lettuce. Keep attending these playdates and eat all the delicious food. Enjoy it. Take some home. Stuff it in your son’s pockets so it looks like he’s the culprit. Serve it to your husband and say you made it. See how long you can get away with it before they notice. When it’s finally your turn to host a playdate, drop a hunny at Whole Foods and dump everything onto your cutest plates and say you made it all. 
Don’t be jealous of their snacks. Remember, you’re the pretty one.

PS. Old tortillas microwaved + dead lettuce + string cheese is kind of a yummy taco, if you are tired/lazy/reallytired enough.