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Everybody has their own pet peeves. I hate when someone does the dishes and then leaves bits of food in the drain trap. It just wigs me out to see soggy cheerios and little pieces of unrecognizable food abandoned and looking for a proper home.

What I didn’t realize is that it’s possible to acquire someone else’s pet peeve. My husband Rick has a thing about toilet paper rolls. He’s a pretty laid back guy about most things so it’s strange that he gets his calvins in a bunch over toilet paper. So let me explain (this might not be as exciting as the “The Hills” but hang in there with me).

The paper has to roll from the top (not the bottom). I’ve never spent two seconds in my life thinking about whether I’m pulling the sheets from the top or the bottom (I’m just happy the toilet paper is there). But once I started living with Rick, I made an effort to make sure the toilet paper was unrolling his preferred way. It’s the least I can do for my husband – right?

Last week, I must have been in a hurry because I put the roll on the wrong way. I noticed it immediately. It was actually annoying me that it was unrolling from the bottom. And then I was annoyed that I was annoyed. Why did I suddenly care about this? Out of principle, I refused to fix the situation. Why didn’t Rick fix it? I have no idea. But I do know that somehow Rick had cleverly transferred his pet peeve to me. Very crafty of that guy.

I guess people can have enormous power over each other’s thinking. I can still remember how much I loved orange juliuses in high school. A trip to the mall just wasn’t complete without one – so frothy and orangy delicious. Until one day, my girlfriend Jordana innocently (or maybe not so innocently) remarked, “don’t you think they taste like baby aspirin?” I considered this. She was right. They did taste like baby aspirin. Yuck. That was the last orange julius I ever had.

But she is forgiven because Jordana is also the girl who introduced me to sushi, one of my food obsessions. The same goes for Rick. He may have turned me into a crazy girl obsessed with toilet paper rolls but being married to an incredible guy like him is more than worth the trade off.


The folks over at MTV are geniuses. I finally tuned into the reality show “The Hills.” Why is this show addictive? Everything feels so hokey (hokey is the lamest word ever but it really fits). For example, last week our girl Heidi who seems secretly evil or maybe just not that smart (I never saw the other seasons so I’m not sure) is upset that her new fiance Spencer makes big decisions without her. Are you addicted yet? I’ll continue with the suspenseful tale.

One of his latest romantic surprises is a tacky graffiti Hollywood mural on their apartment wall. But the 20-year-old blond Heidi won’t be pushed around any longer. Spencer walks into their apartment to find Heidi, with a paint roller in her hand, covering up the mural. Does anyone really believe that Heidi would paint the wall herself without seeking the assistance of a professional painter? At the very least, wouldn’t one of the MTV staffers do it for her?

Then to conclude this staged scene, Spencer takes the roller and finishes painting the wall himself to demonstrate that he now understands relationships are about compromise. Some production assistant at MTV must have thought this up. It all sounds pretty ridiculous and a bit like actually watching paint dry. So why is “The Hills” so entertaining? If you can explain it to me, I would love to know.

While on the subject of shows I hate to love, “Scott Baio is 45 and Single” is finally over. Chachi is engaged (at least for now) with a pregnant bride-to-be. That show was painful but there was something so compelling about watching the former teen star agonize over his commitment phobia. Plus, I love that Scott Baio has had the same haircut since the early 80’s. He may have trouble committing to one woman but he can go the distance with a hairstyle. Oh god (a.k.a. VH1), please let him do another season.

mama bird notes:
There’s really no way to smoothly transition from bad TV to toxic plastics but here I go. I’ve done some more research on bisphenol A, a potentially toxic chemical found in many brands of plastic baby bottles and sippy cups. Here is a great link that clearly lists safe and potentially unsafe bottles and sippy cups. Click on the link and scroll down to the bottom right hand side.


I like to be clean. Taking a shower each morning is really one of my non negotiables. I can go without a full night’s sleep. I can make it without coffee. But I really need a quick spritz with a little soap to embark on the day. If I have a few bonus minutes to shave my legs, then I really can rock it into high gear.

Keeping kids clean is entirely different. You really have to lower your standards. I try to make sure they are clean enough. My “clean enough” threshold means they might appear a bit messy and sticky but they still look cared for by loving parents. Often my baby Presley has bits of food stuck to her ears or cheeks (at my house we call this “cleaned daddy style”). And my toddler Dylan can spend a half hour at the sink putting on her makeup. That stuff doesn’t fully come off until a good scrub down at the end of the day.


Before I had kids, I never understood why a parent would let snot pour out of their child’s nose. Why don’t they just wipe it and keep the poor kid clean? It’s so gross. Of course, now I know better. The parents are wiping their child’s nose. They just can’t keep up with the non-stop faucet.

Nearly three year-old Dylan is learning the rituals of cleanliness. She regularly brushes her teeth (she does not always put on the protective eyewear).


She is also learning to wash her hands each time she goes to the potty. Well, sort of. I admit that I don’t make her wash her hands every time she goes to the potty. Gosh, I feel so guilty just writing it. Honestly, I don’t know how the girl pees so much. In addition to peeing in her pull-ups regularly, she is able to pee in her potty a million (o.k. eight or nine) times a day. Maybe those M&M bribes have something to do with it. I do try to insist on hand washing at least fifty percent of the time. And I always wash my own hands. Aren’t I the one who is wiping her anyway?

Given my natural tendency to be a neat freak, I’ve come a long way in accepting messy faces, stained t-shirts and sticky walls. I know now that when Dylan drops a tortilla chip on the city sidewalk, it is definitely still clean and ready for consumption (no matter how many dogs have peed there before).


Everyone is trying to scare the crap out of me. Every few days I receive an email warning me of yet another risk to my innocent, sweet children. There have been several major toy recalls with long lists of toys featuring characters like Dora the Explorer and Elmo. Elmo is so darling with that red, matty hair and perky personality. Now I find out he is just lurking in my toy bin waiting to share a little lead paint with my unsuspecting children.

Apparently, my baby bottles and sippy cups can’t be trusted either. How is that possible when they all have those cute little butterfly and teddy bear designs in such fun colors? But apparently many of them contain a possibly toxic ingredient called bisphenol A which can leach into the bottle’s contents (especially when they are heated in a microwave or dishwasher). Depending on what you read, bisphenol A is either completely harmless or quite dangerous. Who wants to take chances? So I rush off to Whole Foods to invest in a safer plastic bottle.

I’m barely back from Whole Foods when I have a new email warning me of the dangers of a magic eraser sponge. There are even pictures of a poor little boy who got serious burns on his face after using this cleaning product. I have never even heard of this Mr. Clean sponge that promises to magically erase crayon and marker from your walls but it sure looks evil. I’m thankful that I only use all natural cleaning products in my home. Phew. Looks like I escaped that one.

It can all make a mom crazy. Isn’t it enough to live in Manhattan where I jump into taxis without car seats and can’t avoid constantly hearing about the next potential terrorist attack on soft targets like the subway system? I do want to know about all these potential dangers but the knowing is also making me nuts. Plus, I pass these scary emails along to my friends. Am I forwarding important alerts or just ratcheting up the panic?

Luckily, my kids don’t know about all of this. My daughter Dylan still thinks that little redhead Elmo is the nicest guy in the world. Now that I’ve checked his product number and he’s in the clear, I guess I still like him too.


I can still remember my night with Shaun. He was my hardy boy who helped me believe in magic. It was my first concert and Shaun Cassidy could do da doo ron ron all night long. Of course, there were thousands of other screaming prepubescent girls there too but to this day I believe Shaun was singing to me.

This past week, it was Justin. You know, that guy who’s bringing sexy back. We had an intimate night together at a cozy little place called Madison Square Garden. Our evening was briefly interrupted when I ran into my daughter’s gymnastics instructor Joey in the cocktails line but I quickly refocused on Timberlake. This guy practically channels Michael Jackson with his dance moves (minus the child molestation baggage). He may not be the hottest guy in the room but my J.T. can do it all: sing, dance, play the piano plus he’s so sweet and humble with that Memphis accent. I can’t understand how Britney cheated on him.

My girlfriend Abby from high school hooked us up with the tickets. She loves J.T. too. We may get older but we never lose our crushes. Shaun was my first and I promise, Justin isn’t my last. My husband Rick has his own. Just ask him about Salma Hayek sometime.

mama bird notes
Speaking of my friend Abby, she has her own successful college counseling business. Check it out at Abby Siegel & Associates. And if you find me amazing seats to a Justin Timberlake concert, I’ll shamelessly plug your business too.

Also, quite a few readers have asked about our dog Martini. She is still living in Connecticut. We took care of her a few weekends ago (you may remember the dead bunny incident) when the family went out of town. Martini is really warming up to them and life in the suburbs. We miss her in the city. She sends a postcard now and then.

kelcey kintner


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