Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Crap....What's My Age Again?

Sometimes I forget how old I am. Seriously, I have to think about it.

I downright refuse to act 30.....something.....ha ha. SHHHH! 

I take it as either I am too old to care, or I have convienced myself that I am forever and always 27.  I have no idea why that is the age I have thought I have been forever.  Truly, no idea, but I think I am stuck at this age forever.  I rarely think of my age, and that is most likely why other teacher's at work act surprised when I am fully up to date on the latest songs and technology. They act like at my age I should be over all that, and just be happy with what was cool in 2003.  But I refuse to act my age, whatever THAT means!

Because there are days I kinda think I look as BADASS as THIS :

I mean  look at that!?!?! That is full on swagger to the max!  Sometimes you need to feel like a badass ?  Why fall into a box? What is a typical 30 something, divorced, mother of 2 boys supposed to act like? What box am I supposed to fall into? I refuse to fall in line!

 I like being nerdy, silly, random me and all that entails. 

 I enjoy wearing Converse All Stars and jeans over "mom jeans".

 I like cheap glittered holiday jewlery from Walgreen's over Tiffany's.

 I will buy junk food merely because it is seasonal and/or "ALL NEW".

I own Pokemon tshirts, Harry Potter Tshirts, Ghostbusters T Shirts, and Game of Thrones Tshirts to name a few - that I wear, not my kids.

I would rather eat  hot wings and drink a beer on a date than go to a 5 star resturants.

Just to name a few.


This most likely stems from the fact that I still think it was the 90's only 10 years ago. I am living in the 90s in my head....shhhhh.

ANYWAY - long story short. I DON'T  CARE!  I am going to do what makes me laugh, what makes me smile, what makes me happy, what makes me - ME for the rest of my life. No more hiding! 

So below this post is ME! No makeup and what I do best - CAR KARAOKE! Yep - post workout, no makeup on,  singing along to Taylor Swift. Totally me! Warning: in car rides I will sing...quiet at first and when you try to fall asleep it gets louder. LOL

So today's swagger lesson - always be you and be proud of you.  You shine from the inside out when what is inside is allowed to be free. 

My life is awesome, and I am so happy with where I am and who I am.  So, if singing in the car is silly and immature, and taking video of it is childish, well then FUCK , I guess I am not a real 30 something mom of 2, but at least I am ME! 


Enjoy and until next time...SWAG ON! 

Follow me on twitter : Irishbelle2000
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20140929_173504.mp4 from Molly Ann Burns on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Will Die Without My Trapper Keeper!

Few things thrilled me more as a child than the back to school season. I would pour over my supply list with eagerness. Pondering what each 2-pocket folder or composition notebook would be used for. I loved school and I loved the start of school even more. To this day, as a teacher, nothing compares to the first day of school. But anyway...back to school in the 80s meant back to COOL!
I mean seriously! Look at that hair! I am still jealous. As a Catholic School kid I was banned from these rad looks. I always looked on with envy as kids got to pick out their back to school outfits. I was lucky to get a new pair of saddle shoes to match my plaid jumper. I never could rock the big bangs or get a perm. Which in retrospect might have caused my baby fine hair to fall out, so I am good with not having had a perm.  No big hair for me... :( 
I believe I was asked to make a "scary face" here - yeah I totally delivered. LOL

So, back to school time was also the time that you started to define yourself for that year. And without the fashions of JCP to show off your personality us Catholic school kids had to rely on our school supplies.  THIS is where THE TRAPPER KEEPER came in. This little beauty of plastic organizational bliss showed the world who you were. With one small Velcro flap could define your status and style on that first day. I recall my mother begging me to "JUST PICK ONE MOLLY! THEY ARE ALL THE SAME!" as I roamed the school supply aisle at Kmart.  She didn't understand the pressure. I had to find the perfect one! It had to speak to me. This was a matter of status MOM!

She would offer them all ...

Mom: "OOOH, this one is nice. It has a hot air balloon on it. How about this?"

Me: "GAWD! Mom, NO! that one is like totally lame-o!"

Mom: "What about this green one with kittens in a grassy field?"

Me: "No animals! No dogs, no cats , and NO HORSES!"
I knew 5 people who had this one for sure!

Mom: "There are plain ones. Maybe we can get stickers and you can decorate it yourself?'

Me: "NO! Like, gag me with a spoon! That is for sure nerdy to the max!"

Mom: "This one has race cars sweetie, how about that?"

Me: "UGH! I am not a boy!"
Standard "boy" Trapper - car and lightening bolt, very 80s.

It was no use! I had searched the store all over....found NOTHING! I went home, defeated. :(

The next day my Mom returned from her errands with a "surprise" for me. "I found you the perfect Trapper!"

I was scared shitless! My mom's taste and mine have NEVER meshed - I was prepared for the worst, and good thing because.....


HOLY CRAP! My mind raced! I said NO ANIMALS! She brings me this!??!!? School starts tomorrow and I have puppies in the grass on my TRAPPER!!!!!!?????? WTF?!?!?!

I had no choice. I spent that year with the puppies. I was mortified and my dreams of looking so cool and mature were dashed the second my Trapper's cover was revealed. I was immediately 4 years old again. :(

I was 7 dammit!

Well, I survived that year, and magically my Trapper disappeared on the last day of school. 

I plead the 5th! LOL

Anyway, the next school year rolls around and THIS time I found the perfect one. In fact my next two were 80s perfection!

I remember you fondly, my friend.

If I could turn back time, you would still be mine!

THESE two Trappers were so me! They were cool, yet understated. LOL. I mean LOOK at that splatter paint on the "tropical" one! Its art! Classy!  But yet, back in the day this little overpriced binder meant so much. It was a representation of you, and I loved it.  I loved it a little too much that I recall being in tears one day during our first fire drill. I was not aware it was a drill and thought it was the real deal. I was sobbing because I was afraid my Trapper Keeper would be lost in the flames. Yeah, I REALLY needed to get my priorities straight.

So as we head back to school I like to remember my back to school moments in the 80s. It was more than back to class, it was back to the little social experiment that school was. It was the little bubble that you learned about yourself and life in. It was where even the little things , like a Trapper, helped you make a statement in this little bubble.

I miss the Trappers and their crazy covers. Maybe they will make a real comeback one of these days. Until then, I have my memories. Sometimes, sometimes when I hear that distinctive sound of seperating velcro my ears perk up, and I think, maybe , oh maybe, someone has a Trapper nearby!

Happy Back to School to EVERYONE! :)


Follow me on Twitter, Irishbelle2000
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See you all next time! :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Another year - another move

I am delirious!!!!!!!!  I  have spent, God knows how many days, moving car loads of things from my apartment to my townhouse and it has all come down to THIS - THIS is the only thing that makes sense to me anymore! I can't stop watching this cat when I should be packing more boxes! I think this cat is my soul animal......

OK Swagermomma - WAKE UP!  YiKES
Saving money on movers by driving myself crazy!
Yes, I am moving, again. I have spent about a year here in this super swaggy apartment that is in the shadow of the Golden Dome, mere blocks away from "the House the Rockne built", a brisk walk to the peaceful lights in The Grotto, and 3 blocks from the unmistakable scent of sweat and stale beer that IS THE LINEBACKER LOUNGE (you have to have been there - I highly recommend going but NOT until 2 am on a football Friday). Living here has been a great experience. One that I feel blessed to have had. I am glad my kids had a chance to live this semi-urban existence next to campus. They loved the idea of being "on campus" and they would like to pretend they were students at Notre Dame when we would walk across the street to the playground on campus.

This was a perfect fit and exactly what we needed - at the time - now we need to move on.

At the time - I was begging to leave my house and needed somewhere to escape - to rebuild - and be me. I just wanted someplace familiar to escape to and Notre Dame was it.  I was going CRAZY in that house, slowing losing my soul and my mind.....

I totally can relate to that poor woman! 

It was here that things started to get better for me. I started to eat again. I started to smile again. I started to get my our routine. I found a way to remove what was my past from defining me - I was free to find happiness.  
Yeah, that pretty much sums it all up. 

This might sound awful but people would hear I had gotten divorced and was moving away and would pause, give me a pity gaze and say "Aww, I am so very sorry."  My quick reply has been, "Well, I'm not!".  To be quite honest, it was the best thing for me. It was time. It had been brewing for years it and it was time. 

Living here  on campus gave me a chance to be free. It was my time to WAKE UP!
Yeah, not gonna lie, this was on my ipod for a while there.

 It was here, on my nights without the kids, that I hung out with some amazing bartenders at the Irish pub downstairs. I would get free Jameson and diet Coke and just talk to them about life. I would take my notebook and start blog ideas while sipping a whiskey and watching the late night crowds. I met some interesting people and had some great conversations. 

It was here I went on some of my first dates as a newly single woman. I was clueless in the dating world and interested to see what life had in store for me.  I met a few people, had a few nice dinners, but nothing that really was me. I felt like I was settling so I stopped looking and stopped going out on dates.  But THEN... BAM!  It was here that I started talking, online, to my now amazing boyfriend (@audiobox19). NEVER imagined I would find someone so wonderful!  It was here(through the magic of twitter, blogs, and facebook) that we met. 
Super happy, lucky grateful girl I am :)
This online meeting only began because I started blogging - and made friends in the blog world.  FOREVER thankful for THAT - because we are too awesome and I am incredibly happy that we found each other, in the crazy internet based way that we did - its a great story :) that keeps getting better.

So here I say goodbye to a place that gave me so much.

It was here that I found the strength to start a new chapter. 

It was here I promised NEVER to compromise who I am. 

It was here I decided I needed 3 tattoos in 2 months! (LOL) Still considering more.

It was here I learned that I am stronger than what others believed I was. 

It was here I  that less is more - and money doesn't buy happiness. 

It was here that I saw my two boys take on such a huge life event and they didn't let it stop them from having fun and staying the happy, loving, adventurous boys they are. 

It was here that I started over.  It was my wake up.....

And now as I sit here on my last night I think about all those things.  All that is left here are the big pieces of furniture, a few clothes, and some snacks. I am taking the new life I am building and the stronger person that I became while here.  I am ticking down to the last moments of my wifi connection and wondering how it will feel to wake up someplace new...... again. This is the 8th move I have made since I left for college, but a new morning in a new place is always an adventure and a fresh start. 
Another key - another door

We will be living a more "kid friendly" life in a townhouse back in the place we left - Elkhart.  Its closer to my job and the kids' school. It has a yard and most importantly a attached garage! OMG - I never will take an attached garage for granted EVER AGAIN!  Walking three flights of stairs with groceries did wonders for my legs, but I will just to to the gym from now on! 

I am excited to keep moving forward with my life.  I am so happy right now and see so many good things ahead for me and my boys.   There so much to be thankful for and happy about in my life right now. I am grateful for all I have and I am happy that I can share my story with you all. Hope I didn't bore you tonight as I get nostalgic about my time here.  

Life is wonderful - enjoy it - and make it all your own!

Get ready for Swaggermom's continued adventures in ELKHART!  LOL 

Stay Tuned :)

Swagger on! 
Follow me on Twitter @Irishbelle2000
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Craigslist Dress Scam

The gown.
There is is...creeping me out everytime I look upon it. It just hangs there in the playroom closet. Waiting. Watching. Reminding me. In a twisted irony it doesn't fit me anymore - much like the marriage it represented - it just didn't fit. Looking at it sends me into a panic attack. Pass me a drink! UGH!  It was time. Time to hit this bitch to Craigslist.

How do you price a gown bought in 2000? I am sure I paid well over $1200.00 for it at the time. It was the third dress I tired on while at Bridals By Lori in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, if you are a TLC watching fan you will know exactly what store I am talking about.

Yes, this woman who wants to "Jack you up.." for Prom made a quick sale out of me and my Mom the day I came in for my gown. She knows her shit and she found my dress in 10 minutes. It was a done deal before I even looked at anything on my own. It was a "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" for wedding gown purchases. NOT - the elaborate display they do for the show. I must not have paid enough for that.

I loved my dress, at the time. Looking at it now turns my stomach. It also is not ANYTHING I would pick for myself now. I don't ever see myself in a gown that large and puffy. It had a cathedral length train that was detachable and bead work and a terrible amount of layers underneath. I recall the one time I used the restroom in it. I needed three of my bridesmaids to help me. Yeah, the dirty work of a bridesmaid - hold my dress so it doesn't fall in the toilet. Great! Yeah, now I would find something much more fitted and simple and maybe short- more me. This dress - is so not me. I would NOT say YES to this dress EVER AGAIN.

When I took the dress from the house Mr. Ex Swag said to me , "Hey, don't sell that, you may want to give it to your daughter one day or wear it when you get married again." WTF?!?!?! Of all the stupid shit I have heard in my life this topped them all.  I stopped and about lost my lunch at that statement. Collected my thoughts and turned to reply.  I had to.
"Um, ok Mr. Ex. Swag - you are assuming a whole shit ton here.
1. Assuming I get pregnant again.
2. Assuming I have a baby girl.
3. Assuming I get married again.
4. Assuming I will WANT to wear a dress I was married to my EX in?!?!?!
5. Assuming my fictitious daughter will want to wear a dress made out of the material I was married to my EX in!?!??!
6. That is the craziest thing I have ever heard - ugh!",

It had to be the strangest thing to fall out of his word hole, that I had heard,  in a while besides; "I don't find you attractive anymore." - that has to top it. LOL - Ahh good times.

ANYWAY.....so here I am with his dress and about to move AGAIN. Like hell I am hauling this beast to another closet. Its time to sell it.  So, I set it up on Craigslist. I got a few messages but no one followed through. Then a text on a Saturday night - at midnight.

This guy, "David", he named himself. HAHA - as in David's Bridal I am assuming. Anyway, David wanted my dress, but lives out of state. This is where it gets weird. I know its Craigslist - I should expect weird- but I think he was using me to launder money. He wanted me to do the following:
1. Meet a shipper he just arranged (at midnight mind you) at any location I choose.
2. Was going to put $1250.00 in my paypal account on Monday, hours before I meet the shipper. This is $400 above my sale price.
3. Take the extra $400 to pay the shipper
4. Keep the $850
 Instantly my mind went..JIGGA WHAT!?!??!??! JIGGA WHO?!?!?!??!?!?!

  Ok, that was a nice dance break - always love a little Jay-Z in the afternoon. 

But, hold up......something here DID NOT feel right.  I mean, I am supposed to front $400 cash to a shipping company to ship a wedding dress? David can't pay them on credit card in advance? Who charges $400 to ship a dress? And Bekins Movers (the company David said he is using) is a moving company not shipping. So my fear is that I would front $400, give my dress, and the money he sends never clears Paypal. So I am out a dress and $400. YEAH- sorry David you are out of luck. 

So I text him back that I don't feel comfortable with this and its a no go. He replies "I am a God Fearing Christian and I would do nothing against God's will." Yeah, this was a HUGE red flag and I knew I made the right choice. Whenever someone brings up their religion as a reason to trust them I usually start to back away quickly.  My reply "That's great, good for you. But my will says not to do this. No sale! Sorry." 

That was the last time I heard from David.  I hope he found a wedding dress. 

So, my dress is still here..waiting to move on....maybe I should try Ebay?

As much as I want to cut loose of this dress, I couldn't fall for this slimy scam. This dress represents my past - and its not who I am now. This dress filled with fancy beads, tons of fabric, that weighed heavy on my shoulders is not me, and truly never was.  I am a happier, simpler, lighter now, and wouldn't have it any other way. I know this dress has a home somewhere, just like my past has a home in my mind where I don't think about it much. I move forward seeing the good ahead and don't let a huge, over beaded wedding gown slow me down anymore. And its all good ;) 
The back - kiss my ass dress - its time for you to find a new home!
 I truly wish the dress all the best. I hope you had the time of your life in my closet for the last 14 years. LOL

 Stay tuned, I swear I will write more  :) Maybe even a vlog again...LOL. Fingers crossed. :) 
Swag on my friends!
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Swaggermom! :) 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pokemon Takeover of Swaggermom!


That lyric is not just a catchy phrase - it is a command from Pokemon central that my kids will gladly follow! Swaggermom world has been overtaken by Poke-balls! Yep, BALLS!

SOOOOOO.....somebody (wink wink) recently introduced my children to the joy that is Pokemon. They are now official addicts to all things Pokemon. I am slowly learning what this new world is all about, and I have to say this Pokemon stuff, it RULES!  To be honest, I needed a break from the 4000 piece LEGO sets, hearing the "Everything is Awesome" song on repeat all day, and the constant fights over who gets to use the "special pieces" as a "Master Builder".  I needed a LEGO break - Pokemon to the rescue! I am forever grateful to our Pokemon Master. :) 

So, tonight, I let the boys explore their Pokemon love my making a video, because that is what a blog family does...LOL. It is unscripted and they had a great time. Its again, SwaggerMom style - low budget and one take. We had a good time making this, and hope it adds a little fun to your Thursday night.  Side note - I have been told that my only "Poke-power" is my pretty good Pikachu voice. Hey, at least I am still cool in their eyes. So I will take that complement as a win.


Swagger on and enjoy :)

Follow me on Twitter - @Irishbelle2000
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

90s Teens RULE!

I'm writing again! I have some feelings for your faces soon, some awesome, new, amazing, fantastic, handsome, clever...oh wait...focus...writing about that soon - but I need to perfect it. In the meantime I have been thinking about my teen years a lot , and I think being a teen in the 90s was 'DA BOMB!

I don't mean to brag but FUCK YEAH - us teens in the 90s were pretty fucking badass back in the day, and we have all pretty much maintained a level of awesome into our mid thirties. Do I dare say it...swagger?  I have come to the conclusion, in my ripe old age of 36, that growing up in the 90s has given me and my peers a slight advantage in maintaining levels of cool as we grow up.  I mean, anyone who remembers the 80s, didn't come out of it with a raging drug addiction, and can name at least 5 original Smurf characters is winning in my book.

 Let me elaborate...

Swagger Mom's Top (oh fuck I dunno how many) reasons why kids of the 90s Kick ASS!!!!

1. Anyone who could deal with the bipolarness (is that a word?) of the evolution of 90s music is a well rounded SOB who will NEVER judge anyone based on their musical tastes.  I mean really, we started the decade with NKOTB at the top of the charts, a little GnR mixed in, THEN slid into the Alternative/Grunge world, throw some amazing brit pop  and hip hop in there,  then crawled out into a glittery Britney Spears toxic dream!  We like it all! We have confused Pandora, Spotify and Itunes-Genius and we are proud of it. Side note - Admit it- you all STILL love this song, know all the words, and HAVE NOT A CLUE what is going on in the video. It is soooooo 90s.

2. We rock because we hit the thrift shops before Macklemore was telling us about "poppin tags" and sheets that smelled like piss. I recall Saturdays with my friends hitting Goodwill and Amvets for used clothes all the time. I had a little league tshirt I rocked for months with bell-bottom corduroys! Rock on! Nobody thought I was strange...well if they did, I never heard about it.

3. We rock because before we hit the thrift shops in the late 90s we wore the SHIT outta the JCPenny catalog. If it matched...we wore it! I mean look at this stuff! We wore this crap with pride ya'll!  You talk about the Honey Badger not giving a fuck.... us preteens of the 90s clearly didn't give a fuck!
Don't they look happy in their new fall gear?

4. We had Channel One News! - enough said!

5.We rock because we had Wayne's World.  So help me if date a man who has no appreciation for that movie. I will walk - I swear to God he could look like any member of NKOTB and if he hates Wayne's World I will toss out the door.  I could write pages and pages about this movie - but basically it was THE movie that we all loved and remembered in our preteen years. Before we could all quote Adam Sandler movies, Tommy Boy or American Pie - there was Wayne's World. 
"What am I gonna do with a gun rack?!??!"

6. We rock because we DID NOT HAVE CELL PHONES!  Maybe the occasional "car phone" for emergency use only..but no social media, no facebook, no twitter, no snapchat, no kik, no instagram, no text messages, no instant access to ANYONE! We  had friendships and relationships face to face. We talked on the phone for hours. We waited for voice messages when we came home. We didn't check our phones every 5 minutes or update our status' every hour.  We lived and died on call waiting and caller id. We still were able to have dates, meet up with friends, and survive without the use of smartphones. How did we do it??? We are survivors bitches! I dare any kid now to live a day without their smartphone.  They wouldn't last an hour.  My college dorm at St. Marys had land lines  - single ring meant it was an on campus call (boring), but a double ring meant it was an off campus call  ...OMG OMG OMG its a boy calling!!!!.....maybe a Notre Dame boy! I shit you not, you hear your phone go on a double ring and you will run out of the shower and down the hall to catch that call. No joke - I have seen it first hand.
Look at that BEAST of a phone! Talk about ease of use and portability! Bag phone was where its at!

7. Rollerblades! It was THE gift we all wanted one Christmas. I recall getting a pair and then realizing I had NOWHERE to use them, no ride to take me to a roller park, and no one to skate with...so yeah, Christmas 1993 fail!
 Also, wearing rollerblading gear as everyday fashion - it was HOT! HAHA - who doesn't love spandex shorts and tank tops on the daily? We all looked amazing! Paired with some Reebox pumps, about 5 pairs of multi-colored socks stacked up, a kickin side pony-tail and a fanny pack and we were ready to hit the mall. No wonder I NEVER had a date in Junior High! Yikes! 
They look so bitchin'!

I could go on and on about how I have come to this epiphany about being a preteen and then teen in the 90s.  I think we had it pretty damn good.  It looks like the teens of now are looking back at us and seeing what awesomeness we were! I can't walk through a Macy's juniors department without thinking I am in an episode of Blossom.
Like, Whoa!
Half shirts, flower prints, flannels around the waist, leggings, over-sized sweaters, overalls and babydoll dresses - oh my! Maybe its the current teen generations way of saying - "You rock kids of the 90s! We missed out!" Yes, yes, y'all did.

So, to all my friends who think being in their 30s now sucks.....shut that shit down! We grew up in the best time possible and it made us the swaggy badass adults we are today!

Rock on kids of the 90s!  Just wait till we are all in our 70s - we are going to be the coolest grandparents on the block!

Ooh yeah! 1991 all up in your face! Me in my white jean glory! Headband big enough for ya?

"Party on Wayne!"

Til next time - swag on!

Next time - well, you will see :)

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Friday Night Wine!!!!!!!

Hi Ladies and Gents! So it seems I have a Friday night free....so what do I do with my solo time in my apartment? I decided to review a bottle of wine recommended to me by two blog buddies, and I am so glad I did! So here it goes.

1. I am not, nor do I pretend to be a wine connoisseur. I am a mom who likes to drink wine.

2. I am not an alcoholic - I just like to drink. Take that for what you want.

3. I am not crazy - I just like to video myself drinking wine. Problem?

With that out of the way we can move ahead. So the wine in question is 19 Crimes.
Here is a rad video about this wine...

It is a red wine from South East Australia - and HOLY SHIT - as I am typing this I realized it is 13% alcohol/volume! WHOOHOO! This is good stuff!

So basically I like it. I will buy it again. Its a tad heavier than I like, but for the price at level of tipsy you will become off of it - its a wine win in my book! 7 out of 5 stars! Oh my, think it is time for my silly little video to do the talking/typing...whatever.


As you can clearly see I have no problem making an idiot out of myself on camera in the name of alcohol. But I enjoyed it and I hope you at least smiled a little.

Now go check out my friends Brian of www.reviewtheworld.com and Chris: Audio-Alpha, review the same wine.

Click the link people! You will be happy you did!

19 Crimes Review by Chris: Audio-Alpha and Brian of Review the World

Both awesome guys from Cincinnati and I am honored to be part of the review team for this project! 

I assure you, it will far surpass mine in quality and entertainment value. And remember - keeping swagger means finding time for you, for fun, for being silly - no matter what. Whatever keeps you sane keeps your swag on!  I am 36 - I am not dead!

Get your wine and swag on!  Just like the master of all swag! Neil FUCKING Diamond! Sing it Neil!

Until next time - hopefully sooner than later.
Cheers and have a great weekend!
Follow me at
@Irishbelle2000 on twitter
@Irishbelle78 on instagram

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stale Chips and Forgotten Friendships

Holy Shit!

I am 36 years old! How in the hell did this happen? I swear it was 1990 only 10 years ago. I don't feel 36 at all (or whatever that feels like). I think I am more of a 29..ha ha humor me here.  I just cannot wrap my mind around being over the hill of 35 already!

In my old age (ha ha)  I have realized that I need very little to survive.  I have left so much behind. Things that to this day I have not missed or looked for. I moved from a home of almost 5000 square feet to 1100sq feet. That means I took only what I needed to survive.... yikes,  instantly I am transported to this moment when I say that line....

The morning of my birthday we had a snow day called for school, and the boys and I were trapped in our apartment for the day. Yes, me and a 7 year old and a 5 year old in an apartment - all day! Times 2 days of this, plus the weekend we had already. I needed to find a project to busy myself and to make use of this time before I lost it completely.  Enter my unorganized pantry. It was organized at one point, but now it was a complete disaster.  I struggle to not label myself a hoarder, but I think I may fall into that category. Food goes in - never comes out!  But my apartment is clean people - just don't look in any closets or drawers. SHHHHH!

Begin the great clean out. Ok - so what did I find back here. Oh, let me get really embarrassed now.  Stale raisins, opened and stale Cheerios, a bag of Halloween Oreos, a bag of popcorn dated July 2013 , and GASP an unfinished and stale bag of Doritos - I am ashamed. This is just a few of the highlights. 
my shame

Sorting though all that nonsense on my birthday I came to a "light bulb" moment.

Throwing away shit feels good!

Throwing away shit feels really good!

Throwing away shit feels really fucking good!

All this crap I had in this pantry that I didn't really need anymore was blocking my view of what I needed. The items I use daily, and the staples every pantry needs to function. I had filled this pantry with garbage and it needed to be purged.

Then, hold on, it got even deeper. As I am dragging a bag of stale crap to the trash chute - I think about the people I have in my life. Not about dragging them into a trash chute..literally, but figuratively.  I have a problem with collecting people and never letting them go. They sit around in my life (getting old and stale and useless) but I just can't part with them. They have been negative and downers and don't offer any use other than to piss me off.  There are a few people like that in my life that I need to just be an adult and move on from. They are not a positive force in my life, they are blocking the few of the essentials and I need throw them away.

 Just like when I left my life in 5000 square feel behind - I took only what I needed to survive. Such it is with the people I choose to surround myself with. Yes, have certain relationships fallen to the side - you betcha'! But with those out of the way I see the ones that truly I need to survive. Those other ones were cluttering my view of what I really needed - positive, supportive, loving people who care about me, my kids, and my future - genuinely.

You have no idea how much better this is!
 No more cluttered pantry. No more cluttered mind. No more collecting people who don't care about me and letting them sit around and never leave. I cleaned out this closet bitches!

So, if I haven't given you your pink slip notice yet that you are on your way out with me, you are safe, for now.  I am a blessed girl to be surrounded by such awesome people, and moving forward I see great things ahead. Maintaining swagger by keeping a tidy pantry!? See, and you thought I had no good Mom Life advice!

Ok - phew that was a heavy blog - but I felt compelled to say it. I warned you all , this is a soapbox of random.

Next time - more on the light and fun side - I promise.  I also told you that with the new year I would be putting "feelings all up in your face"! See I deliver!  I love my friends - and know that I am not a rotting bag of Cheetos in your pantry of people. I strive to be there for everyone I care about - everyone.

Goodnight y'all, and don't be a stale chip!

Until next time...
Swag on!
Irishbelle2000 - Twitter
Irishbelle78 - instagram

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

East meets West meets South - in the Midwest

The Mall! In big cities and towns across the country everyone has "the mall".  We all have memories that come to mind when you think of "the mall".
All malls have an actual name but mallrats and mallwalkers alike always will refer to it as -"the mall".  Its part of the experience of growing up in America.  Entire movies have been made in homage to the mall culture.
In my preteen and teen years the mall was where I went to escape from my family and be 'independant' , even for a short time.  Wandering the aisles of Tower Records, trying on and never buying clothes, and just being a un-paying annoyance to the mall employees in general. I had it all, until I had to use my quarter and call my mom. She would then ride up in her Cutlass Cruiser to Lenox Mall and pick me and my friends up. But until that happened we were the queen bees of that mall, and most importantly its Food Court.
 As a teen being able to decide what you wanted to eat , when and where was a BIG FECKIN'  DEAL! The sights, the smells, the choices! It was always overwhelming and I usually went for my old standbys - the always alluring Chinese food stand. Today we are taking a trip back to a mall and reliving my mallrat days of eating Chinese food in the food court. Different state, different mall, but surprisingly felt very familiar to me. 
I live in South Bend, Indiana. This is  at the top center of the state of Indiana. Basically its Michigan, so much so that the area is nicknamed "Michiana" -jealous now?  The mall is not in South Bend. The mall is in Mishawaka which is a suburb of sorts (as much as a town the size of South Bend can have a suburb), and it is called The University Park Mall- because we are also the town that is the home of The University of Notre Dame - so sports and cornfields is all we got out here.  The University Park Mall has a food court and the name of this food court is - DRUMROLL PLEASE>>>>>Tidbits Field Food Hall!
 Welcome to our FOOD HALL!

 So I had my kids with me, and we were ready to make fools of ourselves in the Food Court - ahem, correction - Food Hall.  Here is Alex amidst the tables and chairs in the center of the Hall. All the various food stands surround this eating area in a kind of two semi circles.
He has no idea why he is smiling.   
My kids were thrilled to get out of the house for a bit. We were in the midst of a deep freeze here in Michiana and getting out of our tiny apartment was a BIG adventure during our Christmas vacation. This is also why the mall is practically empty while we were there. We were the entertainment for the Food Hall vendors. They appreciated our antics tremendously - I think.
 The big draw at the Food Hall is the "ride". My kids acted like complete nerds on this ride...I was so proud! My boys shouted "Yeehaw" "Live fast - take chances!" and a made up song called "This Ride is Creepy!" that I am angry I did not video. I was laughing so hard and fantically feeding quarters into the machine to keep this nonsense up longer.
We were mall entertainment for a while that day.

This kid laughs all day long- but riding a big blue dog is pretty funny!
So we settled in to get lunch. I spied two, count them, TWO Chinese stands to choose from. The first was Panda Express - a national chain that I have eaten a dozen times before. Its good, but I wanted to try something different. I scan the semi-circle and I almost had to rub my eyes in disbelief....there is was....
YES! Your eyes do not decieve you! In the middle of Michiana on a snow day in a deserted mall you can have it all! East meets West, meets South in the Midwest! - Chao Cajun! It is the Cajun Asian experience that I never knew I was missing!

Loved the little signs. Kind of wanted to snag the crab rangoon one, but those days are behind me.
So, ordering was already awkward here because the workers had witnessed my kids and I taking photos, singing weird songs on a ride, and generally being goofy in the middle of a deserted food court..ahem hall , sorry...for the better part of 30 minutes.  
I walked up and was instantly overwhelmed. Do I go Cajun or Asian? Or do I mix them? This was a cross culture taste mix I never knew was possible. Well friends, it is possible, here in beautiful Mishawaka, Indiana!

I decided on Sweet and Sour Chicken (my usual), beef with broccoli and udon noodles in a bourbon sauce...all served with a side of dirty rice or fried rice. Well, not being a fan of dirty rice I went for the fried rice - sorry ya'll I lose my Southern Belle card for that one.

The old standby - Chic-fil-A
Food in hand I went back to the table to eat. My children, being lured already by Chic-fil-A, were  3 nuggets deep in thier kids meal and wanted nothing to do with my Cajun Asian experiment.
The food smelled great and I was starving. I worked out that morning and ate nothing till this moment because this was DEFINITELY  not part of my diet and I wanted to enjoy every bite! I had saved up all day for this moment! 
Yep - a big plate of sweet and sour, bourbon glazed noodle goodness! CARB LOAD ME BABY!

 Overall it was not a dissapointment. It tasted like is should have. The chicken was fried in TONS of batter and the sause was more sweet than sour, which I expect.  The beef and broclli was good, but not the best I have ever had. But,  the best part were the bouron glazed noodles. They had awesome flavor and mixed well with the sweet and sour chicken. It was a lot of food for the money. I paid $7.99 for all of this. I will also admit here that I barely was able to finish it.  It was all so heavy and filling that about 10 bites in and I was calling it quits. The owner noticed I had not finished and came out with a to-go box for me. He reminded me that "Mom's need to eat too!" - and sometimes honestly I do forget. 

So the food was good. It was filling. It tasted as advertised, and I am forever grateful that I can now say I had Cajun Asian food! 

Being sly trying to photo the Cajun Asian
It did bring me back to my teen years at first bite. Eating a plate full of carbs on a styrafoam plate, carried on a tray, in a food court filled with other temptations. It made me miss those days when deciding what to eat at the food court with your friends was the biggest decision you had to make that day. The food court/hall will forever trigger those memories - especially when I plate piled high in noodles and sweet and sour chicken is involved.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to the University Park Mall and to Chao Cajun. Hungry for more mall trips and chinese food stand reviews? OF COURSE YOU ARE!!!!! Click on the links of all my wonderful blogging friends who also did the same project as me.  Its like taking a vacation to malls around  America! Enjoy and thanks for reading! These guys are all great and you will love what you read! SO GET READING!

Will/Bill/Billy from VeggieMacabre - www.veggiemacabre.com

Matt from Dinosaur Dracula - http://dinosaurdracula.com

Brian from Review the World - http://reviewtheworldblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/food-court-chinese-group-project.html

Jay from The Sexy Armpit-www.thesexyarmpit.com

Side note - THIS place has amazing Chinese food in South Bend - Ho Ping House!
Any friends in town - THIS is where we are going!

  I mean look at the badass terracotta warriors defending it. No, seriously its good. It also is even cooler because it used to be a Denny's not so long ago. I think Ho Ping House may translate roughly to "This used to be Denny's". This will be my next project...I think....you will have to stay tuned. 

Until next time! 
Swag on! 
@Irishbelle2000 - Twitter

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Popping pebbles!

Were the spicy Doritos not enough?

Are you not entertained?

Just kidding - we are back! And we are giving you what you asked for - more videos of me and my boys trying strange foods. A new level of swagger is being achieved here I think. But hell, if it entertains you and brings you back - let us keep that camera rolling.

Today I thought I would be clever and switch regular Fruity Pebbles cereal with the new Poppin' Fruity Pebbles and see how the boys reacted. A lot depended on the element of surprise. I switched the boxes so they wouldn't suspect. Sneaky Swagger Mom, so sneaky.
Posing with box of "regular" Pebbles - unaware that the inside contained the Poppin Pebbles

Now I will leave the description of this amazing new cereal to my friend  The Holidaze. He did an amazing review of this product. Click the link here to go to his fantastic page, read more about it, and follow an amazing blog! DO IT! http://www.the-holidaze.blogspot.com/

Ok, so now you know what I am testing on my poor, unsuspecting children. So it all went down like this...

So, there you have it folks - my kids and I tried the Poppin' Pebbles and they want to eat it all the time. But for my money I want a whole box of just the green poppin' balls, and I want to wash it all down with a ice cold Coca-Cola!  THAT would be a "breakfast of champions"! I live on the dangerous side - I know! HAHA

Hope you enjoyed this little Sunday distraction. A lot more swagger coming your way. I promise it won't all be my kids and I eating odd foods. Some great stuff ahead - all random, all real, and all fun. 2014 - so far  I have no complaints, lets keep this up!

Until next time!
Swag on!
Molly - Swagger Mom
@Irishbelle2000 - Twitter
@Irishbelle78 - Instagram

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Spice up your snow day!

Its unbearably cold outside and I am stuck inside going on day 2 of a snow day.

I needed something hot - ASAP!  And since Johnathan Rhys Meyers has not called me back about moving into the vacant apartment across the hall from me ...yet, I needed to get some spice somewhere else.
Ahh, Johnathan Rhys Meyers - yes the apartment is still available - call me! 

Thank goodness there are Doritos! I live above a 7/11 and I found Doritos Flamas there the other day! I have never heard of these so of course I had to try, since - as I have explained before I am a Doritos addict.   So since it was a snow day and I was bored here is a glimpse of me and my boys eating Doritos..wow, and I wonder why I am still single! Enjoy! BTW - the whole video is worth it for just the last 5 seconds -watch the little one bottom right - priceless!

I hope you enjoyed our little experiment into video blogging. Who knows we may do it again. Although I hate my voice and my face on film so I will have to get over that first  - I sound crazy and I look bloated - nice right?!  As you can see we are not professionals and we don't edit. We are one take - 3, 2, 1, action over here. If you like that style you are in luck!

 Hope everyone is staying warm - if not add a little spice to your day with some Flamas Doritos - you won't regret it! :)  Although I think my little one will. ;/

Until next time - keep your swagger on!

@Irishbelle2000 - twitter
@irishbelle78 - instagram

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Eve Hell - Lessons Learned for 2014

 This was my "Coming to Jesus!" moment yall! In a locked bedroom with the bass line of terrible house music pumping through the floor. A moment I never saw coming.

I should have known better! I am a well educated woman, but the desire to have a kid free night out on New Years Eve sounded too good to be true and hard to resist.

Originally my plan was to stay home, eat Doritios, make a resolution not to eat Doritios anymore, eat more Doritios, watch Ryan Seacrest count down the year surrounded by bad pop music artists, and go to bed.  Sounds stellar right?? Well, only if it makes me as cool as these kids! OMG is that a VEST AND ACID WASH JEANS!!!!!

 Well, at the last minute I was offered the chance to go out with a girl I went to St. Mary's College with - to of all things a huge house party - complete with DJs and bartenders!  This is kinda what I was envisioning.....

If only the party had been that cool. Anyway, as a single mom of two having a night out without kids is rare and so I jumped at the chance. Also note I have not been out for New Years since 1997. So, there is that too.

So I had my plans and I was ready to have fun with my girlfriend, drink, dance and ring in 2014 - because THIS IS MY YEAR!

Also note - this party is an hour and a half away in Ft. Wayne. I live in South Bend - this was not a simple drive down the street. This took effort. This took time and coordination.  Well, I arrive ready to have a great night. What do I see?

1. House is PACKED full of people.
2. House is SOOOOO loud with what I think they call "music" I can't hear myself think.
3. Bartender is overwhelmed and getting a drink is IMPOSSIBLE!
4. One of the 2 DJs is passed out next to his sound board
5. The ONLY music playing is techno house that was made by these two DJs.
Only photo I caught the whole night - for fear of getting my ass kicked. This is the state of music today. This is the sound board of the passed out DJ.

I recognize my friend and thank God there is someone in this maze that I know. We sit and chat and soon the passed out DJ awakens. He begins talking to us and then all of a sudden he switches into a British accent , and no this is not some clever party game..this shit is REAL! His accent is terrible by the way! My friend and I asked him to stop talking and his reply: "Ladies this is me real voice - bloody right.." - I think he was either high or an idiot, hmmm both.

YEAH, OK, We are going to back away now..slowly.  I so wanted to leave already, but I did manage to get a few drinks so I needed to stay a bit. It was still early. I was a guest of my friend and I didn't want to be rude and leave so early.  I liked seeing my college girl so I figured I would stay till midnight and then leave.

Time passed and I went to find a "Ladies Room"  and a place to hide in peace in this massive home. I get upstairs and I hear a FAKE British accent and panic. OH FUCK its that horrid drunk DJ!!!!!  I hear this terrible cockney accent getting closer behind me "Aren't you that Irish Molly???  Girl, I'm talking to you! You're pretty cute for fuckin Irish."  UGH - go away!!!! I was trying to find a room to just hide in until New Years was over and now this lunatic was following me! Fortunately, I didn't have to make small talk with this weirdo. He leaned against the door frame to try to tell me some story -which I believe was about how he already had a bottle and a half of Kettle One today and then promptly fell over and banged his head on the floor. Then crawled toward the bed in that room and I never saw him again. Yep - the life of a a techno/house DJ yall. FAIL.  Please note, I was laughing hysterically this whole time, but also ready to kick him in the balls if he tried to lay a hand on me.

So, now here I was. Changed into yoga pants and sweatshirt and chilling in a locked bedroom in a home I have never been to, in a town I don't know, surrounded by people I don't really care about Enter Twitter and my text messages to rescue me. Thank you!  It also made instantly clear to me that I (again to quote Clerks) - shouldn't even be here today! I knew exactly where I would much rather have been! UGH - LIFE!


Finally I heard the countdown. Ran downstairs, made the obligatory goodbyes and thanks. Grabbed my bag and headed out the door. I wanted to be home. I didn't care what time. I wanted to be home.  So  as I am running out the back door to get to my car I run into a fight. BAD TIMING. Large group of people, everyone is shoving, I get an elbow to the face and fall into the door frame (just like MR. DJ). It was the back of my head so no marks, but it hurts like hell today. So if you don't hear from me again, well you know what happend.
Less swollen today - fair skin bruises easy.
BUT OH MY GOD!!! I can't get outta here fast enough.

SO, driving home through the cornfields of Northern Indiana in now January and there is a snow storm.  What should have been an hour and a half drive home turned into 3!  SO I had a lot of time to think about my New Years Eve.
Here is what I learned at the House Party from Hell-


Don't wait around for life to happen! - Its not going to be handed to me, I have to actively make it happen. I am done waiting for someone to invite me to "house parties" full of weirdos. I can do better. 

Speak up and say what you want! - All I wanted to do while sitting in this hell was to talk to people I care about. Life is too short to not tell others what you are really thinking - in all types of relationships. Be honest, and tell others you care. If I like you, I will tell you/show you. I am very honest.  I need to speak up more and tell others what I want and how I feel - maybe they don't want to hear it - but life is too short to be quiet.

Don't settle! I settled for this party because I was bored. That was dumb! I should have stayed home.  The people I truly care about were not at this party and it was painfully obvious to me when I locked myself in that bedroom that I should have been somewhere else. I might not have been able to be where I wanted to truly be, but I would not have been wasting my breath in this hell party.

My new motto for 2014 :

I can't wait to start 2014!  I know where I want this year to go, and hopefully the people I want along for the ride are up for it.  That includes all of you - if you are reading this than you must give about my existence a little...LOL.

That night of hell taught me that life is too short to waste around people who don't give a shit about me! And its too short to not tell the people you care about how you feel. So get ready for some "feelings" all up in your faces this year! DEAL WITH IT!

Lets rock 2014! I wish you all the happiest of new years, but please note THIS IS MY YEAR BABY!  LOL JK - we can share the good times ahead.

Here's to US YALL! CHEERS TO 2014!!!! If I could sing this to you all I would!

Until next time.
Swagger on!
@irishbelle2000 - twitter
@irishbelle78 - instagram