Saturday, November 23, 2013


I had the opportunity to attend the "Exclusive Blogger Event at Fair Oaks Mall"* hosted by Andrea of The Real Housewives of Northern Virginia on Thursday night, a few hours after the news (pun intended) I told you all about in Friday's Facebook update!!!:

It was SUCH a great time!

The invitation informed us that we would be the first eyes to see the brand new Michael and Son's play area that would be unveiled the following morning.  I had to check it out and get a sneak peek before bringing the boys the next day. 

I've seen the blue and white Michael and Son trucks all over the Northern Virginia area for the last couple of years and was surprised recently when they did an addition on a beautiful corner lot home.  Before that home overhaul I thought they were strictly electrical and plumbing.  After visiting their site just now, it's apparent that they do A LOT, if not all home stuffs!  The hyperlink will bring you to the About section on the site and if that doesn't make you fall in love with the owner, I don't know what will.  Nothing like learning your work ethic from your dad and continuing his legacy with pride and accountability. 

The invitation also told us we would partake in the "Taste of Fair Oaks" with eats from Champs, Lucianos (best pizza ever!), and Sbarro's followed up with pictures with Santa and the Ice Princess. 

I have to be honest, when I read the section on the invitation about pictures with Santa, that is what sealed the deal for me.  I'm not sure if I've ever had one (sisters?)... 

The entire night felt like a dream come true.  Mall, food, friends, Princess, Santa, super secret unveiling, all with


Don't you dare judge me! 

I haven't been to the mall without the boys since God knows when...and I never really went to the mall before having them so it was all very exciting and new. 

Since starting MagnifiCuffs and having to put myself "together" for networking events (ie, not wear stained shirts and high water skinny jeans) I have become a total consumer.  Looking at all the beautiful shoes and clothes and jewelry without being head butted by a toddler was very fun.  I actually shouldn't call myself a consumer but more of a window consumer...since the money isn't available (yet) to be an actual consumer.  Luckily I have a couple AMAZING girlfriends who let me "check out" clothes from their closets so I'm not wearing the same thing over and over and... 

I digress. 

So I rode to the event with one of the authors of Go Kid Trips and since we arrived a little late there weren't two seats together.  Luckily there was an empty seat next to my girl Carin of Memoirs of a Clueless Woman, who was sitting next to Heather of Spunky Real Deal who's doing a review and give away of MagnifiCuffs soon! and who also took this shot of me:

Ms. Heather says this is "Artsy"

We chatted, learned about the new play area (which has a flat screen tv and power outlets around the outside perimeter!), chowed a bit at Champs, saw the play area, and ate at Luciano's. That's when my homegirl Cherry of Ungcredibows made her appearance.  She got stuck in traffic. 

Once we got to the center of Fair Oaks Mall the cameras came out.  Actually Carin and Heather had theirs out the whole time...I just get overwhelmed or forget to take mine out (which would be bad if the babysitter needed me!). 

Cherry, Carin, Ice Princess, Marcian, Heather

Below are more pictures from the night.  I had such a fun time and really enjoyed the company, the great treatment we received and the food.  Have I mentioned how delicious it is to take a break from the vegan shtick? 

My Hand on a Polar Bears Hand Print (w/MagnifiCuffs on my (Erica's <3) sleeve)
All I want for Christmas is help (maid, sitters, chef, sewers, web developer, marketing rep, lawyers, designers)
Channeling my inner Tamara from RHOC

12 hours after our blogger event, I was back at Fair Oaks Mall with the boys.  They absolutely loved the new play area, especially the hyper color mat under the paint brush when you first get in the play zone.  (That was totes my fave part too...besides the outlets...hahaha).

The Boys Love It!

Side note:  the developer of the Michael and Son play zone said that the zone is made of an anti bacterial material, polyurethane, so germs can't fester and multiply.  The entire zone is soft, including the floor, so everyone's shoes must be removed (parents included).  Fair Oaks Mall also has a cleaning crew that wipes down all the surfaces twice a day.  Since we have sworn off the mouse place after 2 doctor visits within 24 hours of visiting that joint twice in the past month, this makes mama very happy!

*As stated in my Mission, no monetary compensation was provided for this post and it wasn't a requirement that I write this to attend the event.  You all know that I am a big fan of highlighting peoples/places that are doing great things and treating people right. 

Thanks so much to Andrea of the Real Housewives of Northern Virginia for hosting this, and to Ed Cassidy the Senior Marketing & Sponsorship Executive, Taubman Fair Oaks and the other staff members involved in creating such a memorable and fun evening for so many of us!  Mama needed that night out.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Last week I went to an event and had a fire lit under my bum and wrote the post below.  I didn't publish it because I thought maybe I was being a weirdo.  I am aware that I have beyond the average amount of paranoia so try to limit my projections. 

After a conversation tonight with a gal I met at last weeks event, it became apparent that we need to not think that we are at fault or there is something wrong with our way of thinking, especially when we are erring on the side of being too cautious.

Is the world a beautiful place?  Yes.  It is so beautiful! 

I would sincerely like to think there is more good than bad, more beauty than evil.  Although I would love to believe that, it doesn't mean I go around with my head up my ass assuming that since I'm a good person, bad things (or people) can't happen to me. 

I've seen bad people, I've met them, and I've heard about them.  They are there.  They are here. 

Below is the post from last week and my attempts to help you see the bad in the world and tips on how to keep the bad guys at bay.


I went to an event last night.  It was a great time.

I met Carin of Memoirs of a Clueless Woman, my new networking bestie (and new personal close friend) at "our spot" then we rode together to the location.

We met a few people there who we knew would attend because of Twitter.  One of our favorite topics came up within a few minutes of being there.  Social Media, obvi. 

In our circle of about 5 girls I mentioned how I met one of the other bloggers at an event and we tweeted a pic.  One of my close friends sent me a comment and said, "I know her!".  It's a great first meeting story.  Each networking event I've been to this gal has been there.  We have known we will see each other in advance because of Twitter. 

After about an hour or so of mingling I had a concerning conversation with one of the gals there.  There's a guy who Tweets her.  She'll post a pic or a video and he sends her messages about how cute she looks.  He sent her a direct message.  She responded that she is married. 

She says "he seems harmless" "he's tweeting directly to me so anyone can see it on my message, or his page."  And "he has a picture for an avatar, it's not like he's trying to be anonymous." 

She uploaded a picture from the event and literally as we were talking about him, he tweets her that she looks cute. 

I became very uncomfortable.  Like raised blood pressure and racing thoughts uncomfortable. 

We talked about how to handle him and truth be told, I had no idea.   Anger the beast, ignore him, be polite?  I said maybe her husband could send him a message.  It sounded stupid when I said it.  What do you do?

She said she was about to head out and I kind of freaked.  I asked where she parked.  She said that she was just out front and pointed through the window.  I felt good because my brain had already decided that if she was in the garage Carin and I parked in, I was going to force my body guard services on her. 

There are lots of women and girls on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, that are interested in having men and boys let them know how attractive they are.  There are women that want to be oogled and lusted after. 

Then there are women who post pictures of events they go to as a way to represent their company, brand, or promote a company they are supporting.  Those women shouldn't be targeted. 

No woman should be targeted.


That's all I wrote that morning.  Back to right now after tonight's event.  I found out from the mutual acquaintance tonight that not only has this guy been tweeting her, he's been in the same vicinity as her at the same time.  Sketch!  Alert! 

Since I have no clue how to handle that guy, and gladly welcome comments from anyone who has a rational way to handle it, all I can do is provide some tips in the off chance that someone is targeting you.  Scary but this shit has to be said.

If you have to put your future whereabouts all over social media as a source of promoting or advertising an event, carpool with someone.  You can meet up at a location in between you two (that's what Carin and I do) or meet up a couple blocks from the venue.

On your person carry mace, a concealed weapon (with a permit of course), a pair of hair trimming scissors that fit in your clutch that you can grab and gauge a guys eyes out with. 

Take some self defense or martial arts classes.  Or even youtube some ideas.  If you have your hand flat with your thumb under the pointer finger, and hit someone in the temple next to the eye socket, (with the meaty part of your hand) you can kill them with 7 lbs of force.

Always tell your spouse, roommate, Aa (my sister, not alc anon), whoever your person is, where you are going and what time you should be home.  I write down the venue name and phone number for the babysitter just in case.  That way it's in writing too.

Make sure you have enough gas in your car to get there and back and to get lost (every freaking time I go somewheres new!).  Make sure your cell is charged too and that you have a back up charger in your car.

Know where local police stations are located.  The night before senior year my two gf's and I were harassed in our car by some hellyuns.  Their driver was pacing our car and throwing stuff at us!  We thought we were going to die.  After 5 minutes of us freaking out and then 5 minutes on the phone with a 911 operator who was unhelpful, one of us had the brilliant idea to drive to the police station.  The perps bounced as soon as they realized where we had delivered them.

If you have a set commitment that you go to, change how you get there.  Don't take the same route.  This was part of my FU (First Union) training.  I was a bank teller and responsible for receiving monies shipments.  The bank encouraged us to never be consistent.  I shall now blame them for all my inconsistencies.  Seriously though, in training they tell you to be hyper vigilante with your surroundings, take different routes and arrive at different times.  Same should be the case if you feel like someone may be targeting you. 

That's all I can come up with now.  I want you gals to stay safe.  If you ever need a carpool buddy, let me know.  Please trust your gut.

If anyone feels like it's more than a cyber crush and serious action needs to be taken immediately we can get a group to start a super secret hashtag about a fake upcoming event.  When the creep shows up to look but not touch he will be greeted by a bunch of husbands, brothers, friends with baseball bats.  You know, for a nice game of baseball. Just sayin... 

Stay safe and vigilant my beauties.

Friday, November 1, 2013


I want to do everything. I want to spend time with my friends and do quality outings with the boys.  I want to grow my business.  I want my marriage to be strong and husband to be happy.  I want to pay back all the people who have helped me by physically being there for them.  


After the meeting with Sonja and remembering the cute couples talk during the husband and my pre-cana and a speaker at a mortgage conference from 12 years ago, I need to create my personal diagram of importance.  

A flow chart of sorts.  

If I am ever feeling overwhelmed, pulled, or unsure of where to put my efforts, seek out the flow chart.  

For years the message to build one has been reappearing and now I have my tangy chart.  

Has anything been reappearing in your life?