Foto by Gino and Gratitude


Back in May I won a free photo session from Foto by Gino. The wonderful Jill of Scary Mommy was doing a giveaway and I entered – which I never do, because luck is not a word I’m familiar with.

But win I did, in so many ways. To both Gino and Jill, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This Gino – was not only funny, gracious and lovely – but he captured Alora’s personality perfectly. He let her be rather than directing her to do something.  He also didn’t strangle her when she got a little snarky, so really, he’s already a better mother than me.

Not that I strangle my child…….

Then he threw me for a loop and had me and Mike get in some of the photos. For the record, Mike does have two legs and I don’t always sit bow-legged. I’m just awkward.

We’re pretty much adorable otherwise.

Now I’ve got the task of picking prints. Which I want roughly….all of them printed in triplicate and then put upon canvas.

Damn you, Gino – why’d you have to be so good with a camera?


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For almost 10 years, I sort of lived in a bubble of privacy. I kept my little family close and never let outsiders into the world that had been created by the hands of myself and my late husband. To me, it was just too intensely beautiful and special for the whole world to be privy to.

When Josh passed the bubble became smaller and more restrictive. I didn’t want to keep some friendships going because I was afraid of the pain I would have to endure if I lost them too. In hindsight I know that this logic kept me from a lot of things I should have said and done. Some of these things I can change; some I have and some I will very soon.

By accident on my part, this blog happened. My best friend bought a domain name, my good friend Andy developed a site just for me (which is now a WordPress theme), and my boyfriend made a logo based off of one of my tattoos (which I’ve made him change so many times it makes his eyes bleed). They did this all behind my back as a birthday present and when I was presented with it, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I still don’t.

However in them thrusting me into the internet, I didn’t realize I’d find myself again. I’d been everything but ‘Adryon’ for so long and suddenly  there was a piece of me out there that I didn’t have to hide or edit and it felt good to share my food, my life and some of its quirks. I’ve made friends with people I’d never met and may not any time soon. There is a small community of people who want to read things I write, create dialogue on a number of topics, sometimes hurl insults, but often make me feel I am close to a light at the end of the cliche-as-shit storm. To those of you who see yourself in that statement, thank you.

I’ve been (mostly) keeping a secret for a week now. Due to the oddness that is my life I didn’t want to share my personal happiness because I was uneasy about who would find the information and distribute it in a distorted game of ‘Telephone.’ To those of you who see yourself in that statement, fuck you.

So on my parent’s 36th wedding anniversary, here goes:

I am engaged and I am getting married.

I am happy in ways that can not be quantified or put into words.

I am getting married and no matter who is reading this, I hope you know it is the most beautiful thing I’ve said in a long time.

Consider this bubble popped. Forever.


Thank you again. I love you. For cereal.


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5 Things About Me You (Probably) Didn’t (Want To) Know

Starting a few days ago, I gained a small amount of followers on Twitter thanks to the BlogHerFood 2011 Pity Party. While I am thankful, humbled and taken aback from the experience – I thought it only be fair that everyone know a few things about me.

Full disclosure and all that nonsense.

1. I’m a bottle blond. If you could take the brain space  that is filled with rap songs about butts and other inappropriate lyrics out of my head and replaced it with true knowledge, the world would be terrorized by my genius. You would be ashamed to know me, especially if we meet in public where others can choose the songs that play.

2. Mike and I are married. Except we’re really not. Huh? Whatever.

On a late November night in 2009, we were having a discussion about how you can now do just about anything online. I scoffed and said “besides being able to get married.”

A quick Google search later and we were happily eWed via the internet and after almost two years of completely non-existent wedded bliss, I am now happy to share our secret.

3. I used to be obsessed with Chinese literature and movies. I blame my sister for telling me I was actually left on the doorstep of my parent’s house by my ‘biological Chinese mother’. In her story, my mother and father were so ashamed of my Asian culture, they gave me plastic surgery to make me a blonde white girl.

I spent years trying to rediscover my “real heritage.”

4. When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to name my daughter Ariel Star. I’m sure that would have been a great choice if I desired my first and only born to be a pole dancer.

5. We don’t have cable in our house. When we made the move from Baltimore City to the suburbs, we wanted Alora to know the simple pleasure of knocking on a neighbor’s door and asking if their kids could play, rather  than watch 42 episodes of The Suite Life of Zach and Cody indoors.

We do however, have Netflix thru Wii and I fill my cable desires with reruns of Law and Order: SVU and episodes of My So-Called Life when no one is looking.

Christopher Meloni is hot, and he may be 50 years old, but I wouldn’t kick him outta bed for any reason.
Sincerely Yours,


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What Time is it? It’s ValentiMes!

Yes, yes, I know it’s spelled Valentines – but I’m a sucker for Teen Girl Squad and felt the need to rebel! In fact, we spend more time referencing Strong Bad e-mails around here than is probably healthy.

So Valentines Day is upon us – ungh. Thankfully, Mr. M and I don’t celebrate much between the two of us, but rather focus all that commercial-driven love on Lil’ A. Home girl gets her fair share of gifts, that’s for sure.

One reason we don’t get really into it as a couple is because Bediversary is the 15th, and between the two days, Bediversary is 100 worlds more important. Plus (and this is going to be gag-inducing) Mr. M makes every day a Hallmark holiday. Every single day I go into work, there is a love note waiting for me in my Gmail; he writes notes on the mirror after a shower and grabs my ass while I cook. No bouquet of roses, diamond earrings or other gift could make love more tangible. Ew, even I rolled my eyes.

Let’s say you and your hotpantsoflove do celebrate V-Day, but you’re sick of the same ol’ rigmarole and want to shake things up –

  • Make dinner together! Most restaurants fill up and over charge you for prefixed menus, and kick you out after a designated time so that other couples can eat. Take your time and make your favorite meal in your own kitchen. Be messy, create a new favorite desert, have fun!
  • Sheila over at Stylish Home wrote to me about something that warms my soul – vodka. She took the candy-infusing of vodka somewhere I hadn’t thought of: Conversation Heart Vodka. It might not be the right flavor for a bona fide cocktail, but more so a cute little novelty for the one you want to tell “Love U” or call “Hot Stuff.”
  • If you’re feeling a little naughty, a lot of liquor stores are carrying CREAM – an alcohol infused whipped cream. Sure you can top your drinks and deserts with it – or make bikinis and boxers that you can get a buzz from.
  • Go back to the place you first met or first kissed. Most likely it’s nothing glamorous, so it’s even more unexpected when you drive there for what seems like no reason. Maybe it was aisle three at the grocery store, a little hole in the wall bar, or your best friend’s basement. Go back (if possible) and share a kiss.
  • Picnic! An indoor picnic on the living room floor or outdoors at a busy place to people watch. Pack a little bubbly, some finger foods, and make a game figuring out how long the other couples you see have been together by their body language.

You don’t have to be in a relationship for Valentines Day. The most important thing is to show love. Maybe it’s buying your kid a stuffed animal and writing them a note reminding them how loved they are. Send your mom some flowers. Smile at the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, pay for the person behind you at the drive thru; everyone you meet could use a little extra love.

So, Happy Valentines Day! I love you all more than pizza. Which is saying a LOT.

Love love love,


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Kesha is a Cheeto

We do a lot of talking in our house. We create open dialogues with Lil’ A to keep her not only aware of where our moral compass’ point, or what we feel and think, but why we feel the way we do.

Since she is eight, most times dirty clothes can’t find their way into a hamper two inches next to her, but she can have thoughtful and intelligent conversations. It’s an interesting mix.  And because she is eight, she likes to push buttons.

Last weekend as we skipped down the aisles of Target she grabbed a book off the shelf and pretended to flip through it. It was the ‘biography’ of Justin Bieber (uhm, what?) and she made these huge exaggerated faces while looking at the pictures.

“Oh em gee! I love Justin Bieber.”

Name 5 of his songs. A real fan would know ones they don’t play on the radio.

“Well, I don’t actually like him. His girly face creeps me out. I just wanted to annoy you.”

You did well – put the book back.

Why does Mikie say that if music keeps up the way it is that we’re all doomed?”

Well…you know how we do a lot of stuff ourselves rather than buying something pre-made? That’s how Mikie feels about music. He wishes people would remember what it’s like to create music with feeling, to play instruments with their hands. You know how every song on the radio sounds the same now? It’s because it’s made with machines with no heart behind it. It’s pre-made music and they just insert some whiny pre-teen to sing over it.  It just gets under his skin.

“So it’s like junk food?”

I’m sorry, what?

“Like chips in bags. Factories and machines just toss whatever together, bag it and sell it. No love and no real hands involved when they make it. Plus they know someone will buy it.”

Yes baby, just like that.

“So, you’re saying Ke$ha is a cheeto?”

In more ways than one, my princess.


Side note: In no way, is this a post regarding packaged foods, because if you know me or have read more than this post, you know that mama loves a bag of Hot Fries like her own child .

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Full Circle

Nights like last night really mess with my head. I get confused when the line between being an adult versus being an over sized child, gets a little muddled – as it so often times does.

My daughter started playing the viola this year. I use the term ‘playing’ loosely, but you get the idea. There have been many nights of hearing her play what we think was Jingle Bells over and over again.

It was quite the journey to the concert. It had surprised me when she came home and declared she wanted to play in the orchestra. After her first practice she had screamed about how confusingandboringandawfulandstupid playing the viola was. I prepared to return it, but she soldiered on and I couldn’t have been more proud.

On the drive to school, she sat in the back seat with furrowed brows and rubbed her hands. “I really hope everyone likes the concert.” I could only smile as I recognized the nervous but ecstatic look in her eyes.

I sat in the auditorium with Mr. M, my sister, and my parents. It’s always a strange feeling being in the audience as it wasn’t that long ago I was the one on the very same stage doing a lip-sync routine to a Spin Doctors song….and performed as Wanda the Witch in “A Computerized Christmas.”

It’s also the same stage where during the 4th grade talent show, I had attempted a jump rope routine in front of the entire school and my leotard straps repeatedly fell down – my non-existent breasts shown to the world. I can still hear the snickers.

Now my baby was up there; confident, talented, and beautiful.

Her viola teacher? The same teacher who taught me how to play the clarinet when I was her age.

My parents? Halfway through the concert, sitting behind me, my Dad made some sort of fart joke to my mother, who broke out in laughter and neither could stop. They still embarrass the crap out of me.

My sister? We commiserated over our mutual parental shame and she even let me take her picture. That’s her down there! She said “I better not see that crap on your blog.”  I didn’t agree! Even better, no one took any photos of me. Score.

Mr. M? I’m pretty sure under that coat is some shiny armor. He not only puts up with my nonsense, but my family’s as well.

And my daughter? She kicked ass.

I want to be like her when I grow up.

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30 Day Shred: A Vlog

After working a full time job and then coming home to a hungry daughter and rugged man, I can’t say that at the close of the day, exercising is my priority.

I am a food lover obviously – so I don’t do diets. That is a quick fix that will only end up failing the day you decide to eat whatever weird food you haven’t been allowed to have for 3 months. The answer is super simple and obvious…burn more calories than you consume. I watch my portions but I know I still need to move my ass in order for the equation to have a solution.

I often exclaim, “I want to be a runner!” and Mr. M will be supportive and tell me to go running whenever I’d like. He says things like “Babe, even if you only make it to the end of the street, at least you’re doing something.”

Then like any blogger nerd, I was chilling over on the Twitters and I see Stay at Home Babe mention something about a 30 Day Shred. She’s all “Look at me with my utter adorable-ness…blah blah…30 Day Shred.” Me, in my infinite lumpiness, got a little bit motivated, as I enjoy torturing myself knowing someone, somewhere is doing the same thing. Then All Things Fadra jumped on board and my full-on Aries desire to participate in things kicked into gear.

I wanna sweat! I wanna shred! I wanna embarass myself all over this darn internet!

Lil’ A and I found the 30 Day Shred DVD at the ol’ Tar-jay for a whopping $9. She said she would do it with me. And she did. She even was nice enough to say things like Why are you panting? and I feel really sorry for you.

Part of the deal is that after the first workout, we had to immediately videotape ourselves….and I did. So, hello world – this is me. Sans-makeup, full of sweat and unable to walk:

Adryon Sweats?

(And yeah, I don’t know how to embed the video – so sue me.)

Won’t you join us in our misery life change?

Love –


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A List: Sunday Style

  • I was asked to submit a recipe for a cook book this week. It had to be a crab recipe and being from Maryland, this of course gave me extreme recipe-writers block. However, after much brainstorming, it has been written and photos taken. Now, I just have to get around to the ‘hitting send’ part, which makes me squiggly.
  • I bought myself a pair of new tennis shoes and jeans today. I love the shoes, but am too afraid to try on the jeans in case they are too small. If that happens to be the case, please find me in the empty bath tub with a bottle of booze.
  • My daughter told me that if it were legal and she could get her first tattoo today, it’d be a Pegasus fighting a unicorn. I am considering doing a DNA test on her to convince me I’m actually her mother.
  • Did you know the word Pegasus is capitalized, however unicorn is not? Me either. Thanks, spell check!
  • Wait, if I was actually born in Arizona, am I allowed to say I’m a “Maryland girl?”
  • I’m going to San Antonio for a week long work meeting in March. In my off time (which is not very much and in the evenings only), can anyone suggest something to see? Places to go? Restaurants with the best food to shove into my face?
  • I’m typing this when I said I would clean the kitchen. Then Mr. M took my kid to go see his mom – and I’m not even sure if I have a kitchen anymore. La la la la laaaaaa.

Blissfully Ignorant –


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I have kept journals from the first time I felt an emo thought. I used them to vent in a way I thought was more healthy than holding all the teenage angst in. Each journal is a volume of ridiculousness  following my  melodramatic story.

My first journal starts around age 14 when my first month-long boyfriend gave me one for Christmas and then broke up with me a few weeks later. I wrote in that sucker every day contemplating the reason he did not loveth me anymoreth. Except I did it through poetry. Bad poetry from a heart broken 14 year old.

“I find myself drowning – in letters never written,
I let myself remember – kisses never given.”

What does that even mean?

Then there’s the journal in which I chronicled the drama of my 16 year old self’s relationship with a 25 year old. He loved me! He loved me not! (Illegally, I know.) The detailed scrawlings of our hours long phone calls, and the 13 break-ups we had over the course of a year.

I had a pager in that journal – I had forgotten all about those things.

“You attempt to romanticize my pain by reassuring me that you loved me at one time or another.”

Haha – I wasn’t lying – ridiculous.

I have a ‘not a girl-not yet a woman’ journal in which I grapple with how “mature I am” (ha) compared to other teenagers. There’s accounts of my struggle with sexual assault, self-image, the product of a four year long crush and contemplations of my future.

“Having to face the realities of my own bullshit just wasn’t enough for me. I have infinite words of frustration and confusion on the tip of my tongue.”

Are you traumatized yet?

Fast forward to the ‘Oh shit, I’m pregnant’ journal in which I fret over completely screwing up a tiny human being with my inadequacies as a soon-to-be mother.  Also included are the first few months after my daughter’s birth with pages full of wonderment and shameless adorations of my love for her.

“I am a belly full of life and an undiscovered love. I am swollen with happiness and an unknown joy – yet simultaneously drowning in fear and self loathing. I fear I will fail as a mother. It is frightening to imagine an unselfish life but how BEAUTIFUL to imagine a whole made from two parts that share a love more infinite than any other feeling that presently resides.”

Last night I stumbled on my ‘widow’ journal – which I started 2 days after Mr. J passed away. It is crammed with drunken scribbles, poems, letters to him, confusion, disbelief, guilt, and love. There are inserted pages that I wrote on my typewriter. The whole thing is a pretty ugly project. I’ve never let anyone anywhere near it.

I’ve been pseudo blogging for 8 months now, and the one thing I rarely touch on here, and most times in my ‘real’ life, is the loss I faced. Partially because it is a part of my life that I am too afraid to share, and partially because the entire situation was such a clusterfuck, I never thought I’d be able to make sense of it out loud. In doing so though, I’ve kept myself from healing – and from sharing. I’ve taken away my own voice, which might not only help me, but possibly another person feeling the same way. Life isn’t always black and white. Neither is love. Neither is death.

I still have not been thoroughly convinced he is gone – not sure if I ever will be. I know what I saw, but the hunt of even the possibility will either heal me, or one day commit me. Everywhere I go, everything I do. He’s there.”

Part of my plan for 2011 is to be a better human. In every sense – mentally, physically and spiritually. I need to face my hurt, and my demons – share my joy and utter hopes for the future. So, as this little site is my current journal – I’m going to be more open, going to share more.

For Christmas, my friend Andy bought me a new journal; bright red, leather, and completely empty. With a life so full of love and joy I can not wait to fill the pages.

To a new year!


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“My Temple’s Been Invaded and There’s Nobody Guarding It”

I tried to find a cute little quote about control or anxiety to start this post with….but none were able to summarize my not so shocking situation in a condensed sentence. It has become larger than life.

I remember vividly when I realized life ends and sometimes there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. I’ve never once talked about what I saw, or what I went through with anyone and locked it away. I became a prisoner in my own head and there was no turning back. Continue reading

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