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Netflix,Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

Hope you all had a Happy Stranger Things 3 Fourth of July! Wait, you didn’t spend yesterday binging Netflix’s Stranger Things Season 3??? I have a tween and a teen girl so, forget the fireworks, we were glued to all the action happening in Hawkins and in awe of the kids in the Stranger Things cast. They are all so grown up.

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Parenting Teens

I have a special place in my heart for Stranger Things because it not only reminds me of my youth, but my girls are around the same age as the kids in the show. I’m living Stranger Things. This Netflix binge is something the girls and I laugh, cry and bond over. Remember the Stranger Things 13th Birthday party we threw for Bella? Still one of my favorites.

Stranger Things 3: It’s 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer’s heating up. School’s out, there’s a brand new mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the cusp of adulthood. Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic, and they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger looms. When the town’s threatened by enemies old and new, Eleven and her friends are reminded that evil never ends; it evolves. Now, they’ll have to band together to survive and remember that friendship is always stronger than fear.

11 Reasons Why You Should Binge Stranger Things 3 Today

Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown1. Big Kids, Big Problems

The kids are older and behave so. People have coupled up and the storylines are relatable not only to your tweens/teens going through the same thing but for the parents having to navigate the murky waters of first loves too. Someone met a girl at camp. I adore the bromance between Steve and Dustin. If the Eleven and Hopper relationship evolution in Stranger Things 3 doesn’t make you cry, you are dead inside.

2. Girls Rule, Boys Drool

Steve is fulfilling his destiny and winning for the first time ever. Steve might actually win a fight and, no spoilers, but a lesson in humility and an open mind might make him a better person. Mike and Lucas learn a few things about how to treat a girl, the hard way.

Hopper. Joyce, Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

3. Adulting, it’s complicated

Hopper and Joyce…Jopper? Does anyone need a love story more than these two? Also, a steamy near affair Mrs. Robinson style. Not going to tell you who but you might not be surprised.   

4. The 80’s nostalgia will bring all the feelings of childhood back.

If you were alive in the ’80s or love 80’s movies be prepared to have flashbacks to every 80’s movie you’ve ever seen, in the best possible way. Be prepared for your kids to ask for all the 80’s styles that you rocked back in the day. FYI, they are available now at Hot Topic. Of course, they are.

5. There are far worse things than demogorgons…like way worse.

I thought the Demogorgon and Demodogs were disgusting but there is something much scarier and Stranger Things 3 brings it to you courtesy of all the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana.

Netflix Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

6. There is a healthy dose of girl power.  

Girls rule Hawkins from powerful Eleven to sassy Max, no B.S. Joyce to Suzy in Utah. The girls of Hawkins are tough cookies and even Nancy is giving the Wonder Woman pose this season. Go, Girls. Your girls will walk away from this season feeling empowered and elevated.

7. The Cold War is now.

You think the Russian interference now is scary, wait until you get a load of the Stranger Things 3 Russians. Nyet, thank you!

8. Something terrible happens to someone you love to hate.

We get the backstory on one of our favorite characters that we love to hate. We find out they’ve had it rough and just need a break. Self-sacrifice will leave you in deep need of Kleenex.

9. First LGBTQ character introduced in Hawkins.

It happened fast but we are pretty sure that one of the Hawkins kids is out. The best thing about it was that it was a no big deal moment. For the ’80s, that was everything. Bravo Stranger Things 3 cast and writers for keeping it 100. Never doubt that Hawkins is woke.

10. Life in Hawkins, Indiana will never be the same again.

A major character dies. I can’t tell you who because I’m not a jerk but have.all.the.Kleenex. I was ready to riot. Let’s just leave it at that. If it turns out to be real next season, I still might. I will tell you that if this character actually died, Hawkins will never be the same again. Also, there is a major shift and our gang gets separated.

11. Watch to the very end of the credits for a super plot twist.

PLEASE WATCH THROUGH THE CREDITS!! If you don’t you are going to miss a major clue for next season and you will spend the next year crying over the state of our favorite characters’ existence. The ending is hopeful.

Hopper, Joyce, Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

READ ALSO: Parent Guide to Teen Slang

That’s all the non-spolier reasons that I can give you to binge Stranger Things 3 today! Now, I’m off to plan our Stranger Things 3 Halloween costumes. I mean, the Fourth of July has passed so basically, it’s time for pumpkin lattes, right?

Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brownI am obsessed and we’re about to re-binge the entire series tomorrow.

If you already binged Netflix’s Stranger Things 3, let’s discuss in the comments.

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the haunting of hill house, Why You Should Watch the Haunting of Hill House, Netflix, Shirley Jackson, horror series, hidden ghosts

I see dead people everywhere. Did you see all the hidden dead people in The Haunting of Hill House? I’m not just talking about the obvious 3 or 4 that everyone saw. If you’re looking for a great horror series to binge watch this Halloween season, Netflix has got you covered with Mike Flanagan’s contemporary horror masterpiece.

Darkness. Dysfunction. Grief and so many ghosts. Some houses aren’t meant to be lived in. With an intro like that, how could I not watch The Haunting of Hill House? I binge watched The Haunting of Hill House in a weekend because one episode in and I was addicted. More than addicted, I was engrossed. It is horror for smart people.

The Haunting of Hill House is a well-written haunting. Flashing back and forth between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it in the middle of the night. It is layered and nuanced so completely that it feels almost familiar to you and in a sense that makes it even creepier. It’s relatable. Not because most of us grew up in a haunted mansion, filled with supernatural ghosts lurking in every corner but most of us grew up in a family. Mine, big and connected in all of its dysfunctional glory.

READ ALSO: How to have the Creepiest House on the Block

The relationship dynamic between the Crain family gives a depth and meaning to the story that leaves you invested in a way that most horror stories do not. The flashbacks between the present-day dysfunctional adulthood of the Crain siblings and the memories of an innocent childhood when their parents moved them into a fixer-up mansion for the summer. The fixer-upper that was supposed to be the way to build their dream home turned out to be full of more ghosts than anyone could have dreamed and altered their family irreparably.

I think most of us can see a bit of ourselves in the Crain family scenario. No one grows up and stays the same. I have 6 brothers and sisters and our dysfunctional childhood, though it bonded us like members of the same platoon in war, is also what made us the adults we are today. As we grew up and tried to outrun our own demons, the distance between us grew and while we share a past, our paths have diverged. That’s life.

The Haunting of Hill House uses genuinely disturbing imagery to set the tone. There is something about wide-eyed, innocent children being terrorized by things that appear and disappear and go bump in the night that is unnerving. I got goosebumps several times watching the series. Upon watching it a second time, it got scarier because I saw more lurking malevolent spirits.

the haunting of hill house, Why You Should Watch the Haunting of Hill House, Netflix, Shirley Jackson, horror series, hidden ghosts

To see Crain siblings grow into damaged adults as a result of the things seen and unseen that happened to them in Hill House left me feeling truly sad for the loss and fracture they had suffered. It was as if they all tried to avoid one another to avoid having to remember that horrible thing that happened to them as children.

READ ALSO: Best Horror Movies to Watch with Your Teens

The show is filled with terrifying sights and sounds – a dead mom trying to drag her adult son into an open grave; a flying man with no face; a half-bodied zombie in the basement attacking a small child in the dark. Each attack, around every corner, something more sinister lurks. By the time you’re done watching, you’ll feel like someone is watching you.

It’s obvious from the start that Hill House has effectively placed a supernatural curse on the Crain family and that, try as they might, there’s no outrunning it. Far from making matters predictable, this conjures a dread that, punctuated with the occasional boo from beyond, becomes cumulatively suffocating. 

The Haunting of Hill House is very scary at face value. But when it holds a mirror up to real life, that is when it truly grabs hold and refuses to let go. It’s that familiar feeling of déjà vu and knowing that if it could happen to this seemingly normal family, it could happen to anyone…even you. This is why I think you should watch the Haunting of Hill House.

the haunting of hill house, Why You Should Watch the Haunting of Hill House, Netflix, Shirley Jackson, horror series, hidden ghosts

Have you seen it yet? What are your thoughts on the Haunting of Hill House?

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Netflix, roadtrip, Streamteam, travel, children

The holidays are my favorite time of year. There is just something about the chaos of it all that makes me energized. I thrive on the craziness. It’s my happy place, especially when you add in baked goods, holiday music and all the twinkling lights your heart can desire. There is one part however that I could give a good pass on; holiday travel.

It’s not that I don’t like traveling. I love it. I love visiting family. I love going home. I love seeing new sites and old ones too. I even love the actual act of traveling…the journey, not just the destination but during the holidays, traffic is a special kind of hell. Everyone is trying to get somewhere and all of us are getting nowhere fast. There is nothing I hate more than being stuck. The worst kind of stuck is in an enclosed compartment for long hours with no possibility of escape and children.

My children have fortunately inherited my wanderlust and verve for life. They’ve unfortunately also inherited my lack of patience. On the precipice of tweendom, they are far more pleasing travel companions than they were as toddlers. Aside from the occasional, about 25 times an hour, inquiry, “are we there yet?” they tolerate long trips very well. Nothing a pair of good noise canceling headphones can’t rectify. But when they were tiny, as cute as they were, they were the worst.

Road tripping with toddlers is not for the weak. A few years back on a quick trip to Virginia to check out the city for a job move, we found this out the hard way. The girls were just about 2 and 4-years-old. We decided in our youth and naiveté that a long drive across the country was just what our sanity needed.

The area was one of the most gorgeous parts of the country that I’ve ever been. The weather was perfect, the scenery beautiful, large metropolitan cities concealed by nature. There as nothing not to love about the destination.

The 12-hour journey with toddlers, however, left much to be desired. My, otherwise, sweet loving girls apparently had a time limit to being constrained in those 5 point harnesses. On a good day that was a trip across town. You can imagine their state of mind at the very thought of taking their very first long road trip imprisoned in those body shackles.

My rambunctious eldest insisted on asking, every 20 minutes, “Are we there yet?” I always thought that question was a parenting cliché but now I realize that it is, in fact, the truth of traveling with children. I never realized how frazzling that could be to me as a person. I thought “those” moms have no patience. Just say, “Not yet, in a little while.” Why all the overreaction? Then I realized that it can actually bring you to the brink of insanity and make a grown woman ugly cry if asked in the right voice and enough times over a 12-hour period.

While the oldest was hitting us with the barrage of “Are we there yet”s the youngest was freaking out over a gnat. Yes, a gnat, that supposedly must have been the scariest, meanest, baby eating gnat you ever did see because, god bless her little bitty heart, she screamed bloody murder for at least 3 hours of the trip. We were all ticking time bombs.

In summation, my 4-year-old was wondering if we were there yet, every single second of every single minute we were on the road. My 2-year-old was being terrorized by a gnat and screaming so highly pitched, that all the dogs of the world were seeking her out to eat her and end the misery. I was on the brink of insanity, on the verge of losing the battle and my poor beloved husband was trying to plot his course to the nearest gunsmith to rent a gun and buy a bullet.

Then I pulled out my bag of tricks because obviously, the 1200 DVDs that I brought were not holding their attention. First, we colored (you know those Wonder Crayola colors that magically appear on the special paper but nothing else. That’s what you think, but that’s another story entirely), then we colored the glittery ones, then we colored My Little Pony. We sang, only the songs that they know so we had Bella’s favorites, “Twinkle, Twinkle” and “Mary had a little Lamb” and Gabi’s favorites “Happy Burtday to you!” and ” Five, Five Dolla..Five Dolla foot long!”

Yes, my 2-year-old was obsessed with the Subway commercial jingle. Have you any idea how many times they used to play that thing? I do, because she sang it incessantly for her second year. Don’t get me wrong, in the right context, it was absolutely adorable. She was the cutest thing that ever walked the earth, besides her sister, of course, but everything in moderation. Interrupted only by the “Are we there yet?” inquiry of her sister.

So on the brink of insanity, on the way to the gun shop, we stopped at lunch to let them stretch their tiny legs at some wayward Wendy’s in West Virginia. Not my idea, have you seen Wrong Turn?

We got lunch, they had ants in their pants and couldn’t keep still. We got the food, the chicken flavored whatsamanuggets are not done, still doughy,”EWWWW, gross”, as my daughter liked to say. I returned them. We waited again, I returned with nuggets, all is good in the land.

Then a “fly” dared to descend upon the table. All hell broke loose. Toddlers jumping everywhere, screaming, crying, running away in terror. I mentioned it was a fly and not Godzilla, right? Not a horsefly, just a regular old house fly! In true fix the situation fast fashion, I took off my flip flop and the untimely death of one unsuspecting fly ensued. All was good in the land.

Then Gabs, because all of the attention we just received was apparently not enough for her, screamed, at the absolute top of her lungs “EWWWW, FAARTED.Stinks”. Absolutely, mortified, I say ” OK, honey, it’s OK.” Then I realize, amongst all of the commotion, she did not have any kind of flatulation incident. Apparently, she just thought it was funny and liked to take credit, really loudly.

The point of all of this recounted trauma is that I am so thankful for things like Netflix and noise canceling headphones and toddlers who have grown into tweens who now find many ways of entertaining themselves. Daddy’s hotspot has saved us all many times on long road trips to Disney.

If you are looking for something to binge on your next long trip. My top recommendations are Alias Grace, Godless, She’s Gotta Have it, Glitch, Frontier, Man Down and Stranger Things.

For the tweens, I recommend Riverdale, Stranger Things, Anne with an E and my girls’ favorite, Project MC2.

Netflix, Streamteam, travel, childrenFor the toddlers/preschoolers whom I adore, Octonauts, Beat Bugs, Super Monsters, PJMasks and Word Party which are all available for download.

Netflix, Streamteam, travel, childrenSpeaking of long drives to Disney World, did I mention all of the amazing Disney Movies that Netflix currently has in the queue? What are you binging right now?

Disclosure: I am a member of Netflix’s #StreamTeam but all opinions and genuine love for Netflix are my own.

 

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Netflix, Stefani Germanotta, Joanna, Lady Gaga, Gaga, Five Foot Two, Loss, Grief, miscarriage

Take my hand, stay Joanne
Heaven’s not ready for you
Every part of my aching heart
Needs you more than the angels do

 

Earlier this month, my Aunt died and suddenly, I was consumed with people and things that I had pushed down into the deepest recesses of my heart. I was stunned and shocked and it brought up all of these feelings of loss for me; from the life-changing loss of my own pregnancy to the close losses of my Uncle Ramon, my Uncle Narciso and then that took me down a rabbit hole of what ifs…what happens when my parents die. How will I survive? You survive by going on, putting one foot in front of the other and smiling when you feel like dying and wearing big sunglasses so no one sees the constant tears in your eyes.

I watched my uncle and his sons willing with everything inside of them to stay upright when all they wanted to do was collapse into that all too familiar, to me, fetal position on the floor. It’s been 5 years but I remember that feeling of utter hopelessness and unrecoverable loss that leaves you discombobulated and broken beyond repair like it was yesterday. All I could do was love them and try to be there to lean on.

Loss and grief are a bizarre thing. They can take any form they want at any time. I always refer to them as emotional time bombs but make no mistake, they can be absolutely nuclear on impact. One minute you are laughing at something funny you are remembering about the person you lost, then maybe you are smiling remembering their smile or the way they held your hand, then the next you are so angry that you want to punch the entire world in the throat and still in another you are overcome with sadness and emptiness realizing you will never hear them speak your name ever again and sometimes, that is too much to stay standing.

It’s bad enough when you are the one it’s happening to but it is so much worse, for me anyway, to helplessly watch as someone I love goes through it. All I want to do is make it better for them but I know from experience that the only way to truly get through it is to feel every single one of those feelings. It’s nature’s way of severing the tether in a slow, gradual way. Our minds can’t handle pure pain all at once. I remember feeling like I would surely break and yet, I survived. I am definitely scarred by each loss, some more than others, but they leave their mark.

 

If you could I know that you’d stay
We both know things don’t work that way
I promised I wouldn’t say goodbye
So I grin and my voice gets thin

Girl, where do you think you’re goin’?
Where do you think you’re goin’?
Goin’, girl?
Girl, where do you think you’re goin’?
Where do you think you’re goin’?
Goin’, girl?

 

I don’t normally find that any two losses are the same, not equal even to ourselves and they all manifest differently. Grieving is something so very personal. There is no right or wrong way to do it. We all just try to survive from one day to the next. The thing is it doesn’t just affect us. It has ripples and it changes everyone it touches.

Recently, I watched a documentary on Netflix, Gaga: Five foot Two and I felt a connection to her song, Joanne. I think by seeing the documentary and learning more about her life and the meaning behind the song, I could relate to her vulnerability in a way I never have before. I saw the woman, Stefani Germanotta, and not the icon Lady Gaga and honestly, I found her so endearing in her vulnerability.

Netflix, Stefani Germanotta, Joanna, Lady Gaga, Gaga, Five Foot Two, Loss, Grief, miscarriage

 

You know we tend to put up fences and build walls around ourselves to protect us from public scrutiny. I don’t just mean celebrities like Lady Gaga but each and every one of us. It’s human nature to preserve our most vulnerable parts. Mine’s always been more of a see-thru chain link that you can see what’s going on but still, I protect myself. That’s one of the reasons that I don’t do a lot of videos. You’ve read about my howling in pain and grief at the loss of my pregnancy but you never actually saw it because there’s a vulnerability even I can’t go to about some things.

Anyways, this documentary has me full of admiration for what Stefani Germanotta does and who she is in spite of however much pain she is suffering. She uses it to fuel her art. She is no one’s victim. She is honest, raw, funny and completely in love with her family and her fans. She’s a fierce and mighty woman and in her movie you see the sacrifices she makes for her art. She is a bootstrapper. This is something we share in common.

I have a theory that everybody in the world chooses to either be a victim and wallow in their circumstances or pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become stronger because of the hard parts. There is no such thing as try, we have to choose one or the other and do it. I refuse to lay down and give up; that’s not me. I don’t even know how to do that. I tried once. It didn’t take.

Netflix, Stefani Germanotta, Joanna, Lady Gaga, Gaga, Five Foot Two, Loss, Grief, miscarriage

 

I’ve been listening to Joanne almost constantly since seeing the documentary and it has become an anthem for strength for me. It’s about letting go, even when you don’t want to. It’s about the sadness and beauty in having had the chance to love someone, maybe even someone you never got the chance to properly meet, and the pain and vulnerability of maneuvering through those most painful moments in your life.

It’s about embracing that vulnerability, relinquishing control and giving yourself over to the acceptance of the pain of the loss. Swimming in the letting go, letting it wash over you like warm waves in the sunshine is the only way to become one with it. It’s the only way to survive it and it is beautiful and ugly and amazing and horrible all at the same time.

 

Honestly, I know where you’re goin’
And baby, you’re just movin’ on
And I after love you even if I can’t
See you anymore can’t wait to see you soar

Girl, where do you think you’re goin’?
Where do you think you’re goin’
Goin’, girl?
Girl, where do you think you’re goin’?
Where do you think you’re goin’
Goin’, girl?

 

Have you seen the Netflix documentary Gaga; Five Foot Two and if not, please do and tell me what you think in the comments.

Disclosure: I am a Netflix StreamTeam member but the above post about my new found admiration for Lady Gaga and my connection with the documentary Gaga: Five Feet Two and the album Joanne are all my own.

 

 

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Lilly Collins, Netflix, To the Bone, eating disorders, anorexia, To the Bone Realistically Portrays Life with Eating disorders, life with eating disorders

Have you ever watched a movie or seen a show and thought to yourself, “Damn, that’s me! That’s my life!” I know it happens all the time because the human condition is a shared one. We don’t live in a vacuum and life is just a series of conditions, right?

The other day, I watched a movie and I saw me, exactly who I once was and it scared me because, by the way it was written, it was someone else too. Someone else had been where I had been and that made me think again about whether or not my girls might some day go down that same path. It was the Netflix Original To the Bone.

I see me, or rather, who I used to be. The anorexic girl. The one with the conflicted home life. The Unpresent dad, the checked out Mom who tried to help in her own way, while at the same time refusing to admit that there’s a problem at all.

Denial. It where we thrived. My job was to keep my dirty secret. Their job was to pretend it wasn’t happening. I fell through the cracks of a childhood held together by rubber bands and chewing gum.

I was alone, so very alone with my disease. People don’t really want to know when these sorts of things are happening, even if they suspect or even glimpse it with their own eyes, it’s too uncomfortable to discuss; to face head on. So we all pretend it’s not happening. Meanwhile, a child is dying.

READ ALSO: A Day in the Life of a Girl with Eating Disorders

It won’t go away. It doesn’t just stop. Sometimes, the darkness is so enveloping and the loneliness so crippling that you hope they don’t notice. You’d rather just disappear into the abyss without any fanfare or long, drawn out goodbyes. You want to cease to exist and other people’s concern only serves to prolong your agony.

Lilly Collins, Netflix, To the Bone, eating disorders, anorexia, are eating disorders genetic? , raising girls, tweens, eating disorder, bulimarexia, eating disorders, anorexia, weight,Lilly Collins, Netflix, To the Bone, eating disorders, anorexia, To the Bone Realistically Portrays Life with Eating disorders, life with eating disorders

The worst part for me was realizing that I was so good at it. Worse, I was so good at hiding it and it turned me into someone I despised because the only way to survive is to lie. Soon, you’re lying about everything to keep the one secret that you hold dearest to your heart.

There are never good days. It’s just a series of days you control better than others. You are being held at gun point in a prison of your own making; your head. There is no escape. There is no chance for parole. There is just a life sentence and, if you’re lucky, a life lived in daily recovery. Every day, for the rest of your life, you have to choose life because the alternative is that you die. You will literally die.

Though it may seem soothing and tempting, the thought of no longer having to endure; but the fucking guilt of it all is unbearable so every day, you get up, and you make the choice to live or to die.

For 8 years, I restricted and threw up every single day. Every single thing I ate. I threw up. I never binged, unless it was on alcohol and that was more to forget the world of shit I was living in, the complete loss of control and the fact that I was really hungry. I was starving in every sense of the word.

Five years before that, I began dieting. It was my gateway drug to starvation. I was 12-years-old when my journey started. 12, the magical age of awkward bodies caught between a child and a woman. My dad suggested that maybe I needed to “run more”. That was enough especially at that time in adolescence when you gain weight, right before you begin to develop and everything goes to the right place. You know, the exact same age as my daughter is today.

I’ve spent my entire motherhood tenure doing everything I can to not repeat this cycle. Here we are. This precipice that silently scares me to death. I’m constantly looking for all the signs. But I’ve done a good job. She thinks she’s perfect. She loves herself and her body. Then, it happened, beyond my control.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Healthy Daughters

As we were leaving the pediatricians office after her well visit last week, our dr was telling the girls where they rank on the charts. My 12-year-old has consistently ranked around the 98th percentile since birth. But this time, the new dr ( a female and girl Mom) told her “your BMI is a little high, so technically you are overweight.

I shot her a death stare as I wanted to murder her on the spot but didn’t want to make a big deal of it in front of the girls. She continued, but that’s to be expected in a girl your age because most girls put on a little weight during puberty before everything goes where it’s supposed to go.

I saw the gut punch on my daughters face. I felt the humiliation of being told that you’re not perfect. Then, I saw her second guess what she’s always known about herself … we she good enough?

I spent the ride home assuring her that the doctor said this was normal at this age. I assured her that she eats right and is very active and an athlete. She trusts me because I’m her mother. She accepted my words. But I know that now, forever, the seed of doubt has been planted and that crushes me.

Words have weight. Thoughts sometimes should be kept inside your head. Actions are forever.

I know there has been some controversy about the movie To the Bone. But coming from someone who knows, I think it was far from making anorexia seem desirable, or acting as if it stems from a desire to “look skinny.” The writing is sensitive but unsparingly real because it comes from personal experience. There were lines in there that only someone who has suffered from eating disorders would say or know. An anorexic can spot another anorexic from a mile away.

It’s the directorial film debut of Marti Noxon, a writer and executive producer on such shows as UnREAL and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and to write To the Bone she drew on her own battle with anorexia. (The film’s credits note that it is based on actual events.) I wouldn’t recommend you show it to your teen daughter but as a parent of a teen girl, or someone who loves someone living with this disorder or even for the girl surviving it…this movie, in my opinion, is a must see.

Have you seen To the Bone and what were your thoughts?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team, so I binge a lot of Netflix, but my opinion about To the Bone and my personal experience with eating disorders are all my own.

 

 

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Netflix, stream team, orange is teh new black, glow, sons of anarchy, friends from college , GLOW, Dear White People, Ozark

Ever find yourself wondering how to survive summertime parenting? Oh yeah, it’s definitely different from school year parenting. Sure, at first you think it’s going to be all sleeping in and hanging out and then you realize that you’re not on summer break, just the kids are. You, my friend, are about to start working double time. That’s when your “oh Ish” moment hits you like a ton of bricks.

Summer has been blasting by and I still feel like I haven’t slept in. Well, I lied, there were those 3 days back in June where we all slept in until 10 a.m. Yep, those were a magical 3 days and here it is time for school to start back in a couple of weeks.

I don’t know about you, but when I am immersed in chaos all day, I need downtime…”me” time. Just me. It’s not about being selfish, it is about survival. During the school year, it’s nice because the girls go to bed on a schedule and I know after 9 p.m., I can spend a couple hours catching up on my favorite shows before going to bed. That’s my “me” time. Me, just chilling out, not having to be anywhere or do anything or be anyone to anybody. It’s my 2 hours of the day that are just.for.me.

Netflix, stream team, orange is teh new black, glow, sons of anarchy, friends from college , GLOW, Dear White People, Ozark

I know that it sounds crazy that only 2 hours of the day are for me, but if you are a parent, you understand. The moment that baby comes into the world, you are forever number 2 in your own life and with each child, you fall further down the line. If that’s not how you are rolling, please tell me your secret because by the time I get everyone else taken care of…I’m just too tired to care about me. My priority is sleep but before I can sleep, I must decompress.

What do you do to survive summertime parenting and decompress?

The thing is during the summer months, this entire situation goes to hell in a handbasket. Sure, it is filled with long days at the pool, traveling, sunshine, barbecues, entertaining, bike rides and all that stuff your pasty white life is missing the other 9 months of the year so how can you refuse when your child, who only has 6 more summers in your house, asks you to forgo your “me” time for some “we” time? You don’t. You give her all of it because damn it, 6 more years is not long enough.

Sounds wonderful, right? It is. Mostly. Except, even though my heart wants to give her all the “we” time I can. My brain needs a break. I need to decompress before I explode. She’s off for the summer because of school but I still have to work, now with kids home asking me to stop working to go someplace or do something or swim or bike or hike or make brownies or have a gaggle of 12-year-old girls spend the night. Do you have any idea how much 12-year-old girls talk? More. Than.me! I didn’t even think that was humanly possible.

So, I do all the things. I never exhale until they go to bed, which is no longer between 8 and 9 pm. Nope, I have 2 tweens, so sometimes while I’m trying to decompress bingeing out on  GLOW, Friends from College, Sons of Anarchy, Dear White People, Ozark, Orange is the New Black or The Incredible Jessica James (yes, I binge more than one show at a time) on Netflix, they saunter in at 10 p.m. to tell me what Kelly and Amy said about Jessica and Brittney and I listen because I’m a mom and pretty soon, they won’t want to talk to me at all. It’s like they can feel the shift in the universe when I start to relax and they can’t let that happen.

Netflix, stream team, orange is teh new black, glow, sons of anarchy, friends from college , GLOW, Dear White People, Ozark

 

Though I must admit, sometimes, I want to run my head into the wall because I just would rather find out what Jax is going to do to Clay than why one 12-year-old girl thinks another 12-year-old girl doesn’t like her because she didn’t notice that she was wearing a new bobbi pin. I mean cheese and rice; how many years did I endure Calliou? Calliou!!!That whiny little bald child and Max and a Ruby, where were their parents? Not listening to whining, that’s where. And now, they won’t even let me get through one episode without busting in to ask me why the sky is blue?

Don’t get me wrong, I want to know everything my girls want to tell me. I am all about the open dialogue but remember when the kids were toddlers and they kept asking for water from the bed so they could stall out bedtime? Yep, I think talking this bobbi pin situation is a bedtime stalling technique and I’d just rather turn my brain off and watch the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling body slam each other all over the place. I don’t want to worry about how a bobbi pin is going to put my tweens into therapy. It’s too much.

I really think my bingeing makes me a better mom to them. I need that alone time to feel like a person who has adult thoughts and isn’t just someone’s mom. Seriously, I’m so used to being referred to as Bella and Gabi’s mom that I find myself in the grocery story walking between a person and a shelf saying, “excuse us” even when I’m alone because, really, I’m never alone. As a mom, my kids are always with me, on my mind. I desperately need those bingeing after dark nights to center.

I hear things like yoga and working out help too but really, I’d rather just take a hot shower, throw on my pjs and chill with the Big Guy (or alone) and watch Netflix in beautiful silence, with only the sweet sound of Jax Teller telling people to get the eff out of his way or he’ll shoot them in the face. Call me weird, but I find it quite soothing. The point is I don’t feel guilty about bingeing. I need it. They need it. You need it.

What do you do to decompress? Do you ever sneak and binge watch shows? What’s your favorite Netflix sneak and binge?

Disclosure: I am a Netflix Stream Team member but my full on Netflix addiction was in place way before I was part of the team and the tips to survive summertime parenting are all me.

Netflix, stream team, orange is teh new black, glow, sons of anarchy, friends from college , GLOW, Dear White People, Ozark

Update: So as I was looking for pictures for this post, I realized my kids are awesome. We had so much fun this summer but still, even with all that love I’ve got for them…I need some for myself too.

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Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

Are you a cheater? Have you ever told the person that you love the most a lie to satisfy your own id? I think most of us have, right? At first you think, who’s it going to hurt. Don’t ask; don’t tell. More like take the junk to the grave. If you’re going to cheat, the least you can do is keep it to yourself. Telling your partner that you’ve cheated is not going to help them at all. You did the crime, now do the time. Live with your guilt.

You see, this is why the Big Guy and I can’t ever do the Netflix and chill thing. He is all about the chill part but not about the Netflix binge part. I’m a closer. I like to pick my show and then binge it to the end. I am nothing if not committed to finishing my shows. So sometimes, I have to cheat.

He knows I do it. We don’t discuss it. It’s not a big deal. We are open about it. I am just not built to be a once-in-awhile show watcher. We’ve actually just given up trying because it’s just too frustrating and someone always gets hurt so we’ve decided it’s just easier if he does him and I do me.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

For example, we started watching One Day at a Time Together but he likes to savor the moments and draw out the season. I am more of a wham! Bam! Thank you ma’am! Kind of a gal so he falls asleep and I watch until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Needless to say, I finished the series in a weekend and he still hasn’t caught up. It really was THAT good.

Then there was A Series of Unfortunate Events that we just couldn’t agree on a time to watch it so I watched it with the girls and he watched it while we were at ballet. We all agreed that the show was definitely cheat worthy because we all loved it.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

But then there are shows like the Santa Clarita Diet that we all must watch together. It’s the kind of show that brings us back together and reminds us of why we fell in love in the first place, because we just get each other completely.

I’d definitely hide a body for him and I’m pretty sure he’d do just about anything in his power to keep me from turning into a zombie. I mean, I’m pretty difficult just when I’m hangry. I’d never cheat on him by watching the Santa Clarita Diet alone.

Netflix, cheater, cheating, binge-worthy shows

 

But then again, I won’t lie, when House of Cards returns this May, I won’t even pretend that I’m not doing it. The simple fact is that I will be cheating my way through it within a weekend. But don’t feel too bad for the Big Guy, I’ll be doing the Netflixing but we’ll be doing the chillin’ together. He’s the only one I ever want to Netflix and Chill with. I mean come on, I’m a show cheater not a real one.

What Netflix show can you not help but cheating and watching ahead on? Come on you can tell me, I won’t tell anyone.

Disclosure: This post was not compensated though I am a member of the Stream Team. All opinions and binge watching habits are my own.

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Netflix, Stream Team, Best binge worthy shows, winter break survival

Thank God for Netflix. If you are like me, you are just about winter break-ed out(or is that broken? Because I’m feeling pretty broken right about now) of your kids. We needed the break, no doubt but we’ve done the family time thing and the sleeping in and the movies with a tween girl sleepover thrown in just to round things out.

We’ve moved on to bickering, under each other’s feet, no idea what day this is part of winter break and I think it’s the perfect time for us all to fall into separate show holes. If we’re being honest, I’ve been falling into one every night after the girls go to bed until about 3 a.m. every morning (next week’s going to hurt when I have to get up at 6 a.m. again). Thankfully, I am a Netflix stream team member so I can blame all my binging on research, right? Lucky for you, I’ve done the research so you can fall easily and cozily into your very own Netflix show hole for the remainder of your winter break.

Thankfully, I’m a Netflix stream team member so I can blame all my binging on research, right? Lucky for you, I’ve done the research so you can fall easily and cozily into your very own show hole for the remainder of your winter break or do a little Netflix and Chilling with your favorite guy or girl.

Here are some binge-worthy shows that I’ve discovered lately, perfect for your show hole viewing pleasure.

The Crown: A young woman rises to rule an empire amid the challenges of the modern age. Peter Morgan’s masterfully researched scripts reveal the Queen’s private journey behind the public facade with daring frankness. If you like period dramas, you will love this series.

Wentworth: Wentworth is set in modern-day Australia and focuses on Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) when she first enters prison after being charged with the attempted murder of her husband.[2] Bea is separated from her daughter and sent to Wentworth on remand, where she lives in “an uncertain limbo” until she is sentenced. Starting at the bottom of Wentworth’s hierarchy, Bea is forced to learn how to survive in prison. Think Orange is the New Black with more drama.

 Velvet: The young heir to a fashion empire falls in love with a humble seamstress. It sounds simple but it is amazing and is full of twists and turns and beautiful fashion and people.

No Second Chance: After surviving a brutal attack, Dr. Alice Lambert wakes up to learn that her baby daughter is missing and faces pointed questions from the police. This series takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and you won’t believe the end of series 1.

CrazyHead: Prone to hallucinations, kindred spirits Amy and Raquel embrace the roles as “seers”, individuals who can detect the hellish true forms of others.

The OA: A woman missing for 7 years turns up at a hospital with strange scars on her back but can’t- or won’t- reveal where she’s been. This series will give you all the feels and question everything you know. It is an amazing story with a one-of-a-kind plot.

Sense 8: Eight strangers around the globe find themselves connected — first by a violent vision, then by their shared ability to connect with one another’s thoughts and actions, and finally by the urgent need to find out what happened and why.

Case: Case begins with a teenage ballerina being found dead hanging from a noose above the stage in a theater. A gruff police investigator and disgraced lawyer end up setting about solving the case with many familiar avenues uncovered: the girl comes from an abusive birth-parents situation; her adoptive parents have secrets; her sister is involved with some sketchy characters; there are voyeurs at play, blackmailers, and statutory rapists.

Captive: This documentary series reconstructs history’s most complex, high-stakes hostage negotiations as kidnapping victims recount their terrifying ordeals.

Medici: After his father’s murder, banking heir Cosimo Medici battles opponents of his artistic, economic and political visions for 15th-Century Florence.

Chewing Gum: A pent up Tracey channels Beyonce to try and seduce Ronald, her virginal boyfriend. But mild-mannered Connor seems to like her just the way she is. This show is absolutely hilarious.

If you need binge ideas for the kids, so you can get a few minutes to get a shower and find some clothes that fit, here are a few I found that my kids think are pretty awesome.

Chasing Cameron

Troll Hunters

Fuller House

Minions

ZOOtopia

Lost and Found

And Don’t forget about the Netflix New Year’s Countdown so you can countdown any time during the night with your little ones. There are 10 choices: Chasing Cameron, Fuller House, Word Party, Luna Petunia, Beat Bus, Puffin Rock, All Hail King Julien, Skylanders Academy, Project MC2 and Troll Hunters so something for everyone! The best part is, especially with the little, little ones is that you can do it at any time; all the excitement and none of the meltdowns! Happy New Year!

What’s your favorite show to binge watch on Netflix this winter break?

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Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

In 2000, I was newly married and everything in life was ahead of me. I stumbled onto the show Gilmore Girls and I fell in love at first show. You see, I never had a great relationship with my own mom. There was nothing wrong with our relationship; other than we are complete opposites but I love my mom but we were never “friends”. My best friend in college had that kind of relationship with her mom and I was always envious because who wouldn’t want their mom to be their best friend. Gilmore Girls was a wonderful representation of what I dreamed of having with my mom and exactly the kind of relationship I hoped to someday have with my own daughters but it was all hypothetical.

Fast forward five years and I had my own little girl. I remember watching the opening credits of Gilmore Girls rolling with Carole King singing Where You Lead in the background and my toddler dancing to the music and my heart filled with so much love that it nearly burst because it was everything I felt for my daughter. To this day, every single time I hear that song, I smile because I think of that great, big love that I have for my girls; the unbreakable love and sisterhood that you can only be felt between a certain kind of relationship between a mother and daughter. It’s the kind of relationship I have with my girls.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

Fast forward, 11 years and here I sit Thanksgiving weekend watching Gilmore Girls; A Year in the Life with my two daughters and all I can feel is blessed. When I first watched the show, the relationship between Lorelai and Rory was something I wished for but never had and now, it is something I have times two. I know not every mother and daughter have that symbiotic, complete each other’s sentences and thoughts, talk in circles; six degrees of separation logic understanding but we do and it is even more special than I ever imagined.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

I know that the show was a writer’s creation but the relationship, there had to be some foundation in reality to actually “get it” so dead on. It exists.

Spoiler alert; If you haven’t already seen it and don’t want any spoilers, stop reading now.

I love the way the story picks up a decade or so later. It gave us time to see growth in the characters. It gave Lorelai and Luke time to figure stuff out, it gave Rory wings to fly and get some distance and become her own woman and it gave all the characters time to expand and contract; become three-dimensional, not simply two-dimensional caricatures of reality. Sometimes life is hard and sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned and sometimes your person can’t fix all of it. Bad things happen to good people and life is complicated and messy and it can’t all be wrapped up fully in a nice bow in an hour-long episode; only if it were.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

Relationships are work and sometimes people have to get hurt to learn their lessons. That is life and we don’t always make the right choices. Sometimes we follow our hearts and it leads us down a path of reckless abandonment and, while it might be the greatest adventure of our life, it just isn’t realistically feasible to sustain long-term. Sometimes we have to let go before we’re ready. Sometimes we have to fight for what we want and sometimes life throws us so many curveballs that we just don’t know which way is up but in the end, life works out even if it’s not the way we planned because that is what living is all about; the experiences…the journey. It’s all our journey.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

Gilmore Girls; A Year in the Life was unexpected for me. Things didn’t go as planned but I loved seeing the progression. It’s like going home and catching up with all the people you grew up with. Most of the time, the reality is very different from what any of you imagined it would be but it’s okay and it’s just nice to have those people who you knew when. I loved watching it with my own Rorys (wrapped up together in a soft blanket as we ate pop tart biscotti and Red Vines) and I loved the messy way it all turned out because, in life, there is seldom a direct path from point A to Point B but you can get there a million different ways.

Gilmore Girls, Raising Girls, Netflix, StreamTeam

I don’t know what Netflix plans to do but I would love to see more of the Gilmore Girls and see how their messy wonderful story turns out. It ended in a way that the reboot almost felt like it could be a repeat. Things were similar but at the same time, completely different and unfamiliar. Nothing was as we expected and at the same time, it was exactly as we left it. I don’t want to spoil anything for my fellow Gilmore Girls fans so I will leave you with this; if you loved the original Gilmore Girls franchise, you should watch A Year in the Life with an open mind and an open heart and remember that the good parts of life are seldom planned and all the real living happens when your plans go out the window.

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Halloween, binge worthy shows, Netflix, Stream Team

It’s Halloween and all things creepy are going on in my house. Halloween is our favorite holiday. We love to be scared and dress up as a family. Each year, we try to up our Halloween game a little bit more from the previous year. This year we let the tween chose the costume theme and drumroll please, thanks to her love of all things Cirque du Soleil Kurios and a binge watching of Steampunk’d, we are all going to be dressing steampunk this Halloween.

Now, that would all be awesome and good except for one small faux pas. All three of we girls in the family ended up with the exact same costume. Yep, you heard me right, I’m going to be “that” mom this Halloween. I swear I’m not trying to hold on to my fleeting youth by dressing like my tween.

It just so happened that the 9-year-old and I got the same dress, just slightly different because it was the only Steampunk costume around that didn’t look pornographic on my boobs. Hers has a mesh covering on the neckline. The tween went completely off script and ordered a costume from some obscure costume shop…she missed the fine print about it being located in China! And that my friends are why that costume has still not arrived (don’t order costumes from Light in the Box..unless you’re planning on ordering in July if you want it by Halloween.)

So today after school we made a detour to Spirit Halloween and guess who else is now wearing the same costume as her little sister and her mom? Did I mention that I am mortified? My husband the Steam Punk gentleman and his three steampunk triplets! How embarrassing, right? Now, how do I rock this damn costume better than my tween? Because it has to be done. I can’t be outshined by an 11-year-old!

But before all this costume drama unfolds this weekend, this weekend I will be binging on all the Halloween shows I can fit into my days…sort of like the way you binge on Halloween chocolate on Halloween night after the kids fall asleep. You know what I mean, don’t play innocent.

If you are looking for some great Halloween favorites to binge watch on Netflix here are a few I’d recommend!

Horror Series
Containment, Stranger Things, American Horror Story, IZombie, Scream, The Walking Dead, Penny dreadful and The Vampire Diaries.

Classic Horror Movies
Children of the Corn, Curse of Chucky, The Amityville Horror and HellRaiser.

Halloween for the Family
Hotel Transylvania 2, Addams Family, GOOSEBUMPS, Girl Vs. Monster and Practical Magic.

What’s your favorite Halloween movie or show?

Disclosure: I am a Netflix stream team member but all opinions on best Halloween movies are my own.

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