My First Mammogram Was Not What I Expected (VIDEO)

I have a confession to make. When it comes to breast cancer, I’ve always been one of those people who assumes it’s not something I need to be too worried about, a.) because I’m only 36 and it’s not a major concern until I reach my 40s, and b.) because I don’t have a history of the disease in my family. And that’s why when I found myself driving down the highway on my way to get my very first mammogram a couple of weeks ago, I suddenly felt scared, nervous, concerned — and like I’d been slapped in the face with a dose of reality I hadn’t wanted to face up until that point.

Ever since I can remember, the thought of having a mammogram has absolutely terrified me. And it’s not even because there’s the chance that the scan could detect a lump in my breast that could potentially turn out to be breast cancer. Nope — it’s the mammogram itself that has always made my stomach turn — because I’ve mostly heard people compare it to having your boobs flattened into a pancake — something that isn’t remotely pleasant any way you look at it.

Back to why I wound up having my very first mammogram at 36 instead of the magic age of 40, which would’ve given me a few more years without having to face the dreaded squish machine. Even though I was scared to death to have one, I know I’m not alone, and there are plenty of other late 30-somethings in the same boat — and I thought maybe conquering my fear would help them muster up the courage to do the same. And that’s why I immediately answered with an enthusiastic “yes!” when I was asked to partner with Hanes and the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) in an effort to remind women how important early detection is in the fight against breast cancer. This is Hanes third year in partnering with NBCF, and since 2009, they’ve made cash and in-kind donations in the excess of $1 million in the hopes of encouraging women to get mammograms, and to become “comfortable with the uncomfortable.” In addition to donating $50,000 to NBCF this year, Hanes is also being kind enough to donate an additional $1,000 in my name to the cause, which is an honor — and very humbling.

Did you know that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life? Yes, one in eight. Think about that statistic for a minute the next time you’re out to dinner with a group of friends, or at a Zumba class full of women, or attending your monthly book club meeting. It’s pretty damn significant, to say the least — and that’s why we have to make it a point to commit to doing self-exams and getting mammograms — because early detection of breast cancer is our first line of defense against the disease.

And mammograms are essential as far as early detection is concerned — which is why the NBCF has made it their mission to provide free mammograms for women who cannot afford them. (How cool is that?)

Back to my experience.

I can’t lie — I didn’t sleep much the night before my appointment, and I can honestly still feel the butterflies in my stomach simply thinking about walking into the mobile Mammovan Unit that was sent from St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, CT — where I took a deep breath, changed into a paper gown, and prepared to do something I 100 percent had no desire to do.

To give you an overview of my experience, here’s a “Mammogram Monologue” I made. As you will see, my emotions after the fact were not even close to what I expected.

 

No, I’m not kidding people — it was such a piece of cake, I still can’t believe it! Yes, it was scary when I first went in, but I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of myself for taking the plunge, and for beginning my journey to getting regular screenings from here on out to increase my chances of living a happy, healthy, and breast cancer-free life — and being there to watch my son grow up every step of the way.

A mammogram is NOT something that should be feared. Again, breast cancer is a whole hell of a lot more terrifying than a mammogram. Remember that. I promise you won’t regret having yours done — and I’ll be shocked if you aren’t blown away by how painless, easy, and non-threatening the whole procedure is.

Doing anything for the first time is intimidating. But once it’s over, you’ll never fear it again. Schedule your mammogram today. And make sure to remind all of the women in your life how important it is for them to do the same.

Has anyone in your life been affected by breast cancer? Have you had a mammogram yet?

*Disclosure — I partnered with Hanes and NCBF to participate in this campaign, but all opinions expressed about my experience are my own.

The Pottery Barn Catalog Is a Bigger Buzz Kill Than Size Zero Celebrities

Yesterday started off as a lazy, chilly Sunday morning — one of the first Sundays in months that we haven’t had somewhere to be at any certain time. And since I’d been up super early with little dude, who has a terrible cold, the hubster even sent me back to bed for a few hours, which was semi-luxurious (and much appreciated). And after I finally made my way downstairs for the second time, this time around 9:00 a.m. — I made myself a steaming cup of coffee, and parked my ass on the couch to peruse the pages of the newest Pottery Barn catalog.

And that’s when everything took a turn for the worse and officially went in the shitter. It never fails — every single time I so much as glance at the nauseatingly perfect pages of the Pottery Barn catalog, I instantly feel a wave of depression coming over me, and I start to wonder where in the hell I went wrong in life.

*Before I go any further, if your house really DOES happen to look like the Pottery Barn catalog, please know that I mean no disrespect. I envy you, and I totally want to be you when I grow up.

Because somewhere in between trying to raise my 6-year-old to grow up to be a decent human being, working full-time, running back and forth to various activities on the weekends, doing multiple loads of laundry and finding multiple excuses NOT to put it away once it’s folded, which leads to me doing even more multiple loads of laundry because I can’t seem to find a fuc&%ing clean outfit anywhere in my closet — and still managing to get in a few hours of relaxation and quality time with my family each week — let’s just say making my house into my own, personal Pottery Barn-like oasis has taken a bit of a back seat.

But still, I just can’t seem to resist torturing myself with that damn catalog every time it arrives in my mailbox — even though my self-esteem plummets to a new low every single time I open it. You know how seeing pictures of new celebrity moms who are suddenly back to a perfect size zero a mere eight weeks after giving birth (yes, I’m talking to you, Kristin Cavallari) makes you feel like a fat, frumpy, 35-year-old piece of shit who used to be hot and virtually cellulite-free in another lifetime? Yeah — that’s pretty much how the Pottery Barn catalog makes me feel about my lifestyle. It’s like the potential for my home to somewhat resemble those rooms is there — but I’m lacking the will power and determination it takes to actually do something about it.

Allow me to further prove my point with a nice, little visual comparison. Pottery Barn has a decor collection they call “The American Classic.” Um — their American Classic and my American Classic are two completely fu&%ing different things. (For the record, I think my American Classic is way more worthy of having the word “Barn” in the title.)

PB "American Classic" Living Room

 

My "American Classic" Living Room

 

PB "American Classic" Dining Room

 

My "American Classic" Dining Room

 

I rest my case. And don’t even get me started on the fu&%ing holiday issue.

Does Pottery Barn give you an inferiority complex too?

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons Turning 35 Can Kiss My Ass

Well, it happened 10 days ago, and I’m still not over it. Yes, I’m talking about my 35th birthday and yes, I’m referring to the mid-life crisis I’ve been having in the months leading up to my 35th birthday that has only gotten worse SINCE my 35th birthday.

Bottom line — I’m just not ready for this shit. And by shit, I mean being a fu*&%ing 35-year-old woman as opposed to a cute twenty-something whose ass is still at hip level and who doesn’t start falling asleep on the couch if I’m not upstairs in my bed by 10:00 p.m.

 

This may or may not be me in about 10 years.

Image via Smath./Flickr

 

Hell, even ages 30-34 didn’t have me quite this freaked out, and those weren’t really all that damn different from 35. But in a sense, they were, because I was still in my EARLY 30s. And now I’m over-the-hump, so to speak.

And to help plead my case, here are 10 great reasons why turning 35 can kiss my cellulite-ridden 35-year-old ass. (Bye, bye Mom Sexy.)

1. For the months of July and August, I pretty much ate and drank whatever I damn well pleased, and I didn’t work out, minus a kayak trip across Boothbay Harbor that left my arms feeling like jello. And you know what? I gained a good 10 pounds…which I’m having a bitch of a time trying to lose now. But what really sucks is that 10 years ago, I would’ve had every single one of those 10 pounds off simply by cutting the junk for a few days. But at 35, after over a week on the WADS diet (no wheat, alcohol, dairy, or sugar), I’m down a whopping 3 pounds. What. The. Fu&%.

2. Even though I bitched and moaned like a little brat because none of my dresses fit while I was getting ready for my husband to take me out for dinner on my birthday, I still went to said dinner (and ate a FAT steak) and threw on a pair of heels so I could at least salvage some shred of looking pretty. And the next day, I had foot cramp after foot cramp after foot cramp. All from wearing heels for two hours. (You just wait, Kate Middleton…your day is coming.)

3. I thought my boobs were saggy right after I had my son, and honestly, I didn’t think they could get any lower. But I was wrong. Gravity takes on a whole new meaning at 35 — and I’m only an A-cup. (Pathetic.)

4. Hot 20-something chicks with perfect bodies are even more of a buzz kill than they were when I was one of them. And if you’re 35 and say seeing their tight little tushes and flat tummies doesn’t bother you, try having a job where the majority of your day is spent looking at images of hot 20-something chicks with perfect bodies. You’ll start to self-loathe too…I swear.

5. Even though I’m old, I still have some shred of brain capacity left. Do the math — 15 years from now I’ll be 50. And 15 years ago I was in college, which seems like yesterday, which is a pretty good indicator of just how fast 50 is going to hit me like a ton of bricks. Fu&%.

6. Not only do I have problems losing weight and staying awake most nights…I totally can’t party anymore either. I tried it a few months ago and it was nothing short of a humongous train wreck — complete with the ugly cry, and one hell of a hangover the next day. (Man, I really miss the days when I could hang. I sure was a fun gal.)

7. It’s all over. And what I mean by “It” is all the good stuff you look forward to when you’re a hot 20-something chick, like getting engaged, having a big fancy wedding, getting pregnant, having kids, etc. For me, at 35, all that shit is over. I’ve run out of milestones…and it’s gettin’ to me a little bit.

8. The “responsible adult” thing has kicked into high gear. Nobody takes care of me anymore, which isn’t a bad thing, but it means I have to have my head screwed on straight at all times. Once in a while, it would really be nice not to be in charge of anything. But that’s never going to happen, because I’m 35 and being 35 means I have to act like a grown up. (Meh.)

9. I. Can’t. Remember. Shit. — And this really blows, because I’ve always bragged about my amazing photographic memory. But last night, I spent like 20 minutes looking for my son’s sneakers, and a couple weeks ago, I “lost” his school supply list, only to discover I had put it directly into a folder I’d made so I wouldn’t lose any of his important school papers. WTF???

10. It’s the beginning of the end. If I can’t lose weight at 35, how in the hell am I going to lose it at 40? And if I can’t walk in heels now, how am I ever going to pull off looking good at the upcoming wedding I’m in where I’m a bridesmaid for what will probably be the last time in my life? (Yay! A milestone!) And if I can’t remember where the hell anything is, just how bad is it going to be in another 10 years or so when I have even more shit to remember than I did before? Holy shit. I’ve HAD it with 35.

I think my BFF really summed things up best. Her exact words were, “Fu&% 35. Fu&% it to hell!!!”

(Amen, my dear. Amen.)

 

Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor, Maine Is a Small Piece of Heaven on Earth

Last week, my husband and I spent the most wonderful week we’ve ever had with our little dude at the Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor, Maine — and now I simply refuse to shut up about how amazing this resort is. It’s seriously the best kept secret on the East Coast — and in fact it’s such a gem that I almost hesitated to write a post about it because I don’t want to take the chance of people finding out my secret and crowding the place. But I couldn’t stay quiet about this little piece of paradise, because it’s one of those places you think only exists in movies or novels. (It’s very real, I assure you.)

Go ahead and drool a little bit if you want to. I did. More than once. It’s THAT gorgeous. Even though the pictures don’t really do the place justice.

I’m really, really good at finding perfect vacation spots, and I chose the Spruce Point Inn for our annual trip after doing a lot of research about the best family resorts in Maine. Up until this year, we’ve rented a cottage in Chatham, Cape Cod, and as gorgeous as it is there, we wanted something a bit different this time around, and we also wanted to go to a resort so we wouldn’t have to cook and we wanted to have our beds made each day. (And the fresh towels were a total plus too.)

And what really drew me to SPI is that we were still able to rent a cozy cabin to have a little privacy and space of our own, but we still had the advantage of all the amenities offered by the resort.

This was our sweet little one-bedroom home for the week, called “Little Spruce.”

(Yes, I had more than my fair share of cocktails on that porch each night. It was pure heaven.)

Little Spruce was more than enough space for my little family of three, and what I really loved about it was that there was a king sized bed and also a twin in the bedroom, so our little guy could be right there with us, but we could still shut the bedroom door at night so he’d sleep instead of being kept up by the TV (or my tipsy self out on the porch.)

But when we weren’t enjoying our adorable cabin, we were taking advantage of all of the other wonderful activities SPI had to offer. And by far, one of our favorite amenities was having a complimentary launch available to take us into town and to other areas around the harbor. Because when you’re in a town like Boothbay Harbor, the best place to be is out on the water. And the first time we set foot on SPI’s boat and were greeted by Captain Shawn, we knew we’d found our new favorite vacation spot. You see, the staff at SPI are incredible, and truly go out of their way to make sure your vacation experience is nothing but the best.

Just take a look at my little guy’s face as Captain Shawn took us out to Burnt Island, where he dropped us off to hunt for sea glass for a few hours. (Yes, there’s TONS of sea glass out there. We brought home like five bags of it.)

Is that the look of pure contentment on his face or what? And don’t even get me started on how picturesque and perfect Burnt Island is. Again, the photos just don’t do justice as to how breathtaking this place is. We even saw an osprey perched on its nest and watched it fly overhead numerous times while we were on the island. Just amazing.

And when we weren’t cruising around the harbor, we could be found kayaking, hiking, fishing right off the SPI dock, and yes — even swimming in the harbor. (No, it wasn’t THAT cold. Once you got in, it was actually very refreshing and rejuvenating.)

But you know what I really loved most about our time in Boothbay last week? The fact that we were actually doing things as a family instead of sitting on a beach and taking turns walking up and down the shore and building sandcastles with our son. I felt like we were introducing him to new experiences and taking him on adventures that he’ll never forget.

Of course, I’d be lying if I said the hubster and I didn’t squeeze in a little bit of downtime over the course of the week. SPI also offers a kids’ camp and a kids’ night out — so we took advantage of that a couple of times. I’d forgotten just how nice it is to sit in a lounge chair for a couple hours and drink wine read a book.

And I absolutely cannot wait to go back to SPI again to discover all sorts of new nooks and crannies that we missed on our trip to Maine this time. As my husband said many, many times last week — we only scratched the surface as far as how much there is to do on the mid-coast of Maine.

Oh yeah, one more thing — this is how pretty much every night was spent when it came time to fuel up for the next day — before heading back to SPI for S’mores most nights. (Yes, they even have a S’mores station.)

Take me back, please.

SPI is my new definition of heaven.

(One more quick note — I did myself a favor and left the laptop at home this trip. It was pure bliss not being tied to it, and it’s never coming on vacation with me again. EVER. But yes, SPI does have free wi-fi. I said I left the laptop at home, not that I was dead.)

 

’50 Shades of Grey’ Movie Better Turn Me On

If you’re a Fifty Shades of Grey fan, then you may want to quit reading this post immediately — because I’m not afraid to go against the masses and admit just how bad I think the book SUCKS. Yes, I said SUCKS — and I’m not making a reference to the infamous (and somewhat pathetic) bathtub scene. (How are they going to pull that one off in the movie if it’s not a porno flick?)

 

OMG. I was so excited to read this book after hearing all of the hype surrounding it. I even felt a little big naughty (in a good way) when I picked up my copy at Barnes & Noble. I was all set for a super guilty yet incredibly enjoyable thrill ride — but I found myself struggling to stay awake while reading this snorefest of a novel. (IT’S REALLY THAT BAD.)

It’s HORRIBLY written. There’s no storyline. There’s no plot. And don’t even get me started on just how lame Anastasia Steele & Christian Grey’s characters are. I can’t even remotely stand either of them. In a nutshell, Christian is a total egocentric douche, and Ana is a total loser who has absolutely no respect for herself.

But I think my real problem with the book has to do with how totally unbelievable Ana & Christian’s relationship is. WARNING: If you haven’t read Fifty yet but plan on doing so, you may want to stop reading at this point.

Can someone please explain to me how in the hell Ana managed to have multiple orgasms on the night she lost her virginity — and wanted to turn around and have sex again (not to mention a little BJ action) the very next morning? Because I think that’s when the book really lost me. Because there’s just no way in hell anyone’s first time is EVER anywhere close to that pleasurable.

The night I lost my virginity? Yeah — it pretty much SUCKED. I was 17, and had no idea what the hell I was doing — and neither did my boyfriend (although he was totally adorbs — bless his heart.) We did it in his grandmother’s guest house, and to this day, I’m not 100% sure that we actually completed the act. And when it was over? He looked at me and said, “That was kind of weird.” (Just what every girl wants to hear after giving up her V-card.) He “disposed” of the condom, and then the next morning called me in a total panic because he’d thrown it outside and it landed in a tree and he was worried Granny would come home and find it. And that was the first and last time we ever “did it,” because he went back to boarding school a couple weeks later and dumped my ass. (Almost 18 years later, that still stings.)

Now, I’m not saying EVERYONE’s first time is quite as anti-climactic as mine — but Anastasia Steele’s experience? NO. FREAKIN’. WAY.

I was pretty much DONE with the book after that first sex scene, and I only made it about halfway through the rest before deciding it just wasn’t worth my time to finish it. I can cook up way sexier fantasies in my own head — I don’t need someone to write them for me.

And I can’t decide if that means I’m classy because I found the book to be so ridiculous — or if it means I’m really one very kinky bitch.

But either way — I’m done with the over-hyped Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon — at least until the movie comes out. And that shit better turn me on and get me all hot and bothered, or I’m gonna be really pissed.

Be honest, did you like Fifty Shades of Grey, and if so — why? Please…enlighten me.

 

Image via Barnes & Noble

Activating Your “I Don’t Give a Fu&%” Switch

On more than one occasion, you guys have heard me talk about activating my “I Don’t Give a Fu&%” switch, and what’s it’s done for my quality of life in general, and my personal sanity. And I gotta tell ya – I seriously can’t rave enough about this thing, and I firmly believe that everyone needs to turn their switch on for the sake of maintaining any sort of peace in life.

Of course, I have a pretty outspoken and ballsy personality, so going about my life and doing things without worrying about pleasing other people is pretty easy for me. But it wasn’t always that way. I spent the better part of my life up until a couple years ago being totally focused on what other people wanted, and trying to tell them what they wanted to hear just to make them happy, regardless of whether or not I was content with whatever decision I was making.

And honestly, living like that totally sucked. Without being all motivational and philosophical and all that bullshit, I can tell you that if you are living your life according to other people — then you really aren’t “living” at all.

Believe it or not, activating your “I Don’t Give a Fu&%” switch is a hell of a lot easier than you think. All you need to do is use that sentence as your personal mantra, and repeat it over and over again in your head (or out loud if you’re really feeling it) the next time someone does something to put you down, piss you off, or make you feel any less freakin’ amazing than you KNOW you are.

In case you don’t quite catch my drift…here are a few examples:

To the person who cut me off on the highway in the pouring rain last night and almost made me veer off the road –

“I Don’t Give a Fu&%

 

To the lovely people who have labeled me as a “sell-out” for choosing to do what is right for ME by going back to work full-time -

“I Don’t Give a Fu&%

 

To the people in my life who get all bent out of shape because I don’t stay in touch with them (even though they don’t make an effort either) –

“I Don’t Give a Fu&%”

 

To the people who are so unhappy in their own lives that they can’t resist trying to bring down people around them -

“I Don’t Give a Fu&%”

 

To the people who are too chicken shit to admit when they’re wrong, so they just continue being self-righteous assholes because they have nothing better to do with their time -

“I Don’t Give a Fu&%”

 

And to the people who have made me doubt my own success, attractiveness, and self-worth over the past almost 35 years? Guess what? Those feelings did not last, because –

“I Don’t Give a Fu&%”

 

Oh, and one more — To the bitch who called me out on my own Facebook fan page and told me I swear too much and there are more polite words I can use?

FU&% You — cuz I Don’t Give a FU&%!

 

Whew. I feel better now. Give it a try — I PROMISE you, it works.

Four Leaf Clovers Are a Crock of Shit

Are you at all superstitious? You know, like do you believe it’s good luck when a ladybug lands on your arm or when a bird shits on your head, or when you find a four leaf clover? Well, I can’t really vouch for the ladybug or the bird shit, but I can tell you that four leaf clovers are freakin’ wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Believe me — those little fu&%ers bring anything but good fortune.

Of course, when little dude found one outside last Wednesday at the camp he attended for April vacation, we were all jazzed about it. I mean, what are the odds of a 6-year-old magically finding a good luck charm in the yard at the local middle school? He brought it home that day and we ooh-ed and ahh-ed over it and all that good stuff — and we went out for a nice family dinner complete with drinks, steaks, and a few laughs.

But when we got home that night, we realized we were in for a real treat — because the grinder pump in our house totally burned out, making it un-fixable.

And for those of you who are city-types or live somewhere a little less primitive than northeast Connecticut, grinder pumps are exactly what they sound like. They literally “grind” up the shit and pump it out to the street, where the city sewer system (I said it was primitive out here, not completely uninhabitable) sends it off to the sewage treatment plant.

And if your grinder pump doesn’t work, then you can’t put anything down the drain — which means you can’t flush the toilets, take showers, use the sink, run the dishwasher, etc. (Basically all the things that signal me to get the hell out of dodge if I can’t have them).

Little dude was already in bed that night, so we did the whole, “if it’s yellow let it mellow,” thing — and I put plastic bags in each of the bathrooms in the event that one of us had a code brown. (Thank GOD no one did).

And then the next day, the hubster went to work, and little dude and I went to my mom’s where we could shit, flush, and shower (duh), and sometime around 4 p.m., Mr. Grinder Pump Man came out to the house and installed a new system to the tune of a few thousand dollars. (FML).

So — we went to bed in our house on Thursday night broke, but completely ecstatic that we could once again run the water and live like civilized people.

And then fu&%ing Friday had to roll around.

At about 3 p.m. or so, I made a brief phone call to my mom — and started swearing and saying, “Oh my GOD!” over and over again while talking to her — and told her I’d have to call her back because my fu&%ing ceiling was leaking and dripping onto my couch.

 

WTF??

 

Isn’t that lovely? Not exactly a sight you want to see right before you kick off your weekend. I was CONVINCED that the master bedroom toilet (the source of the leak) was about to come through the damn floor and wind up ON MY COUCH — but then the hubster came home, shut off the water, drained the leak, cut a hole in the ceiling (holy fu&%ing shit), and found out that a faulty pipe was the culprit. (Apparently the asshats who built this house 5-years-ago don’t know SHIT about plumbing).

The hubster spent most of this weekend fixing the leak and repairing the ceiling, while I drank plenty of wine and vowed never to let anyone in this family pick up a fu%&ing four leaf clover again.

Ok, enough bitching and moaning. Time to go pour a wine and give the four leaf clover that’s still sitting on my windowsill the finger.

(Little dude is still SO proud of that damn thing, so I don’t have the heart to throw it out. I told you guys I was the world’s best mom.)

*HOLY EFFIN’ MOTHER-FU&%ER – As I was finishing up editing this post…the FU&%ING POWER WENT OUT. OMG. You seriously can’t make this shit up. FML.*