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Archive for the ‘Role Models’ Category

Serves me Right

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:07 AM
Monday, January 14, 2013

It all felt very right, very – “communicative.” In the car last week, when my 6 year old daughter asked me a really thoughtful question, “Are all girls born with a teeny tiny baby in their tummy?” I was excited at the prospect of helping her to understand – just a little – about the biological beginnings of a baby.

She already understood that only women get pregnant, and so by extension, it made sense that she would imagine all girls would hold the teeniest, microscopic baby in their tummies until they were finally old enough and ready enough to be Mommies and really ‘grow the babies.’

I told her she was very close in her guess – that when girls go through the process called ‘puberty’ – when a girl’s body goes through many changes and becomes a woman’s body – one of those changes is that she gets ‘eggs’ in a special part of her body called the ‘womb,’ – eggs that are basically “half a baby” only super teeny tiny. (No, I didn’t elaborate, nor did I explain anything about the ‘1 egg per month/period’ thing. Let’s let the child live in a blood-free fantasy world just a bit longer, shan’t we?)

At the same time, I added, boys’ bodies go through puberty and when THEIR bodies change from boys to men, they get these things called ‘sperm’ which also have all the ingredients for half a baby. In this way, when the Mommy and Daddy are finally ready to ‘make a baby,’ the baby is made from the ½ baby in the dad and the ½ baby in the mom, and becomes a ‘whole baby seed’ that grows inside the mom.

The few questions that followed were lively and logical, and didn’t lead us down any paths I couldn’t answer for her 6 year old capacity to understand. (She didn’t wonder too deeply when I contradicted her claim that “that’s why babies can ONLY come when a Mom and Dad get MARRIED” – I did tell her it can happen other ways but that, bottom line, there has to be the ½ from the boy & the ½ from the girl to get the whole things started.

I was faintly glowing all evening from having such a successful ‘mother-daughter’ talk – and then forgot mostly about it until the next evening, when Rachel announced knowingly to her older brother: “Did you know you are pregnant with half a baby? It’s true! Ima told me!”

Sigh…

I think I should have just changed the subject back when I had the chance.

c/xo,

 

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

And the moral of the story is: Never try to have "that talk" with your child. Ever.

Flashback Friday! (Ode to Andy)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:07 AM
Friday, December 7, 2012

Most Fridays, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Ode to Andy – the BLOG

He was in the first (and only) rock band I ever interviewed. He was in Kingface, one of the way coolest bands in DC when I was growing up. He was cool – really cool – and such a nice guy. He wasn’t ever slimy. He is Jewish. Andy Rapoport.

Andy Fucking Rapoport.

Which, by the way, is the tile of his blog. His blogs are hilarious. But his Facebook postings are even funnier. How does he drink Red Bull, vodka, and Budweiser for breakfast every other day and still appear healthy with his wits about him? How does he think of all those funny things to say, and funny observations about life? How does he never tire of posting pictures, song lyrics, videos, and ruminations? Andy Rapoport.

Andy Fucking Rapoport.

This is a guy I haven’t physically seen in forever. Fifteen or twenty years at least? (I’m only twenty-eight, don’t get confused, my childhood existed in a time warp.) These days… I read Andy’s updates every day, all day. He has made Facebook a funny, friendly place. The employees lounge. The water cooler. Andy Rapoport.

Andy Fucking Rapoport.

I have a husband, I have many friends, I have kids, I have a family. But today, Andy Rapoport, I write an ode to you. Because, quite simply, you make me laugh, out loud, every day, and sometimes I snort too.

Plus you were always a really nice guy.

The End.

c/xo

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

The man himself

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Mindy For President!

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:07 AM
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I never really got hooked on The Office, so I actually had zero percent idea of who Mindy Kaling was, and was really surprised when HuluPlus offered me the chance to preview an upcoming pilot episode of the new ½ hr comedy, The Mindy Project.

Who was this unknown chubby Indian girl staring at me from the show’s artwork, so happy and confident, with her REAL NAME in the show’s title? What rock had I been hiding under that I didn’t know who she was already? (The ‘mom of 3 kids’ rock, duh.)

Usually I start watching these ‘teaser’ pilots on Hulu and then stop 10 minutes (or less) after I started – because, let’s face it, most new TV shows are terrible.

Not this one.

This one?

Is HILARIOUS.

Mindy, you are my hero.

I don’t know how she managed to do it – in one show, put all the things I’ve grown & evolved into thinking are WAY cooler than every other status quo represented in most half-decent shows on TV – and forget seeing them in any awful TV show, i.e. most of them: being a smart woman, being over 30, being non-white, not having a ‘sample-size’ body, being educated, being an OBGYN for God’s sake, believing it’s better NOT to have casual sex but instead to wait until you are not a teenager, with someone stable & ideally waiting to do it with someone you will stay married to your whole life….

I could go on and on.

Except it’s time for the next episode, so gotta run!

Until next time, readers… when I explain to you why you should also be watching The New Girl, Gossip Girl, Revenge, The Good Wife, and tell you the tale of how I finally healed from my breakup with Grey’s Anatomy (ie, watching all these new shows and not having any patience for that crazy show that jumped the shark already a season or 2 ago)…

c/xo,

 

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Had to channel my inner 12 year old for this baby. Nailed it!

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I’m not Martha Stewart (but my daughter is!)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:07 AM
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Many of you know me. I’m hard-working, caring, a great writer (& obviously not afraid to toot my own horn cause I’m also a Leo!)… Bottom line, I have many wonderful qualities and I’m not ashamed of them.

But I am a little ashamed… of my complete and utter lack of talent or desire when it comes to anything in the realm of home decorating.

In my house, don’t be shocked to walk by ancient photos framed in even more ancient frames – mis-matched, of course. Bookshelves in random areas like the hallway, stuffed with appliances, tools and “stuff” that doesn’t fit anywhere else.

The stains on our couches? Look, I tried to clean them! They don’t come out!

The lack of proper utensils or matching plates for more than 4 people? Who knows what happened to those 20 other matching sets over the years!

The bare lightbulbs here and there? The nails without pictures, and the pictures without nails, leaning haplessly against the walls on the floor?

What do you want from me?? We can’t all be Martha Stewart!

Though apparently, our daughters can.

My youngest daughter already shows great promise in the realm of the visual arts. I’m told by her teachers that her careful “coloring inside the lines” foretells great things for her future – decorating and other.

But meanwhile, the actualized talent of my 6 ½ year old is quite exciting. I mean, that girl can organize and decorate a room! She doesn’t just clean up and then stuff all the crayons, hairbands and tiny toys into one box and shut the lid (like I MAY have POSSIBLY done once or twice) – she actually takes the time, effort and care to sort them and arrange them in a visually pleasing way.

She loves to draw, paint, and do crafts, and yes – to decorate our home. Often I’ll find a new picture hanging from the hook in my bedroom where the curtain ties hang.

“Surprise!” The picture shouts at me, with its rainbows, hearts and beautifully red-lipped girls, “at least someone in your house thinks about making it look pretty once in a while!

Dear readers, my daughter has set the Martha Stewart bar in our house, and she has set it high.

Alright, little lady: Game On! I learned how to draw a ‘legible’ picture by the age of 40 – this old dog’s got some home decorating tricks up her admittedly partially-stained and in-need-of-patching sleeves!

Until we meet again…

c/xo,

 

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

"What you need a little menorah? Sure, I'll whip a little something up for you. One sec - TA-DA!"

Three Year Old Wisdom

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 9:00 AM
Monday, December 3, 2012

Overheard last week in our morning drive to school:

(8 yr old) Yehuda (trying to get his sister excited): Esther – you can go to Disneyland when you’re five!

(3 yr old) Esther: I don’t WANT to go to Disneyland!

Yehuda (knowing how much his sister absolutely loves & is borderline obsessed with princesses): But Esther! Disneyland has PRINCESSES!

Esther: When I’m five, I’m going to HATE princesses.

….

6:45am on Sunday – Esther lies on her back in the bathroom next to her nighttime diaper, as I get dressed. The door is open between my room & the bathroom. ["Dipe" is shorthand for "diaper".]

Esther (in a sing-song voice): Pee pee dipe, pee pee dipe, coming to destroy you! Pee pee dipe, pee pee dipe, coming to destroy you!

Me: Wow. ‘Coming to destroy me?’ That’s pretty dramatic.

Esther: Noooo! Not you…. coming to destroy a BEAR!

Me: Ohhhhh. Got it.

….

This morning, as we are all racing to get dressed before driving to school…

Esther (sing-song voice, her tonality EXACTLY matching Psy’s): Hey! Woppem Gangnam Style!

:)

And with that, dear readers, I leave you. Happy Monday!

c/xo,

 

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Hey folks! Whomp'em Gangnam Style! (she hasn't nailed the 'holding the reigns' bit of the dance move yet. I give her a week, tops.

Color Blind

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:46 AM
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It happened. My kids were introduced for the first time to the “N” word.

To my knowledge only white Jewish kids go to their day camp, and I have no idea how or why the word was uttered, then passed around like forbidden cigarettes, each kid trying the poison out on his or her tongue. But at home, my son asked me if I knew the “bad word – ‘Ni—ck’…”

Nick??

I had a feeling he meant something else.

“No,” I said. “I don’t know the bad word ‘Nick.’”

“Ni-G” he corrected himself. Then waited a beat. Then added, “er”.

My kids looked at me with wide eyes – they had absolutely no clue what the word meant, but they somehow did know that it was a ‘forbidden’  and ‘bad’ word. They quickly admitted that at camp that day, Yehuda had said the word (once) after he learned it, but Racheli had not said it.

What did it mean?  they wanted to know.

Holy unpreparedness, Batman!

I did my best. I told them my heart broke to think of anyone using that word, and that my heart broke to think that they would ever use that word or allow someone else to say that word in front of them. This signaled to the kids that the subject was as serious as it gets, because in our house we only use the concept of something “breaking our heart” if it is the absolute worst of the worst.

Then I explained how not too long ago, white-skinned people went to Africa and “stole babies and took people with black skin and kidnapped them” – in truth, I’m not sure if babies were taken, but I wanted to drive home my point and I knew my kids would immediately connect to the helplessness of a baby – “and brought them to America and made them slaves, treating them terribly – worse than animals – and that those same white people called the black-skinned slaves that ‘N’ word.”

I painted my two older kids a brief but vivid picture of why the N word should never be used and I believe I properly transmitted my horror.

I finished my short tirade with the reminder that they must never say the N word, they must tell anyone who uses it in front of them that it is never appropriate to use it, and that they must always remember that their beloved uncle and cousins have black skin and so this is not just random people we are talking about standing up for, it’s also their family, their flesh and blood.

Then my son held out his arm and said to me:

“I have black skin, right, Ima? You have white skin and I have black skin?”

And then my heart really did almost break – or rather, melt. Because they are so innocent.

I’ve noticed before, in stores, my daughters will often automatically choose the ‘black’ baby doll before they migrate to a lighter-skinned one. Esther once identified herself with a black girl cartoon character on TV (Super Why). And there was that one summer when Racheli got very tan and fell asleep on our couch, during a visit by my sister and her “light skinned black” infant son (my sister’s husband is a very dark-skinned African-Cuban man),  and Yehuda stared at the face-down body of his sleeping sister and asked me “How did the baby grow so big??!”

He thought Racheli was his little cousin. And I could see why, immediately, because Racheli tans like her father.

Their father – my husband – is ‘dark skinned’ in the sense that he gets super tan in the summer. And my kids are well aware that they inherited his beautifully tanning skin, versus their mother’s burn-friendly shade, because I mention it after most beach days.

“You have darker skin than me,” I answered slowly. “And your dad’s parents are from Africa – well, Morocco is in northern Africa…” Good God where was I going with this?

“… but you’re not considered ‘Black.’”

“I’m not?”

“No, people would not say you were black.”

Two sets of giant, curious eyes trained their questioning looks on me.

“So what color am I?”

“You would be considered white.”

What I want to write is this: What a fucked up world we live in.

But as I write that, just now, I immediately think: maybe yes, maybe no… but really what it is, is nuanced. Which is okay. Just not so easy to explain to a 6 & 8 year old…

c/xo,

 

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Family

Flashback Friday (Acid Trip, AKA Food For Thought, Part Deux)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:30 AM
Friday, July 20, 2012

Every Friday, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Food For Thought TWO – the BLOG

Staring at the title of my last blog, I realized there is ANOTHER story that same title reminds me of, that perhaps bears telling… The story of the last time I ate at a restaurant of that very name – Food For Thought – in Washington, DC, when I was seventeen years old.

The story of the one and only time I ever tripped on acid.

KIDS? If you are reading this, Mommy means “fell down when I tripped over some dangerous spilt liquid. Now, TURN OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Have they gone? Great. Here’s the story:

Back when I was seventeen, for some idiotic reason, I got it in my head that it would be a brilliant idea for me to try acid. Then, for an even greater idiotic reason, I decided not to do it in a safe environment with a group of close and trusted friends like I learned later it’s best to do, but instead, just to take a couple tabs while hanging with my best friend Ingrid.

SIDE NOTE: Mucho props to Ingie for navigating me through that entire night. Girlfriend, you were a trooper!

I can’t remember exactly when I took the acid – whether it was in my car or at the restaurant. I do remember that the first thing that seemed strange was my hands – they looked like they were digital, like they belonged to a computer program.

I went to the bathroom, and on my way back to my table, a guy came up to me. Blocking my path to my table, he proceeded to talk my ear off about my friend Ingrid – how he wants me to introduce him, he has a crush on her, can he sit with us, etc., etc.

Listening to this barrage of crush-talk through my acid-soaked ears, he struck me as supremely hilarious. So, naturally, I started to laugh. And laugh. And LAUGH. I laughed so hard that tears began streaming down my face. And then – the tears streaming down my face must have confused my acid-saturated brain, tricking it into thinking I must be crying, because the next thing I knew? I was sobbing.

Sobbing.

Thus began my whacked-out acid trip ride. Ingrid helped me, got me out of Food For Thought, and got me laughing again. She took me downtown to the Vault and the Fifth Column – nightclubs which – as anyone who remembers those places will know – one should NEVER go when tripping. Full of fake, crazy people, too much music and stimulation, lights, people, movement, sound…

After that, Ingrid got me out of the club kid scene and over to her boyfriend’s apartment or his friend’s apartment, I can’t remember which. All I remember is a bunch of high school boys I didn’t know very well, kind of sweet, geeky boys, hanging out, doing nothing much. Maybe getting stoned. Waaaay too mellow for my crazy acid self.

So she got me out of there too, and brought me finally to the most Twilight Zone place in the metro Washington, DC area: Tastee Diner. (Did they name it that, knowing that stoned & tripping kids would endlessly freak out about the spelling of “Tastee”?) This would be the place you could take a SOBER kid and make her think she’s going insane… so tripping, I kind of felt at home.

The old waitress with the caked on makeup looked like she was wearing a mask that was partially flaking off. The salt and pepper shakers entertained me endlessly. People walking by were in my video game, blipping and bleeping as they walked past and sat down or paid their bills. I don’t think I was actually able to eat the food.

I do remember wishing that I could just stop tripping already, and when I DID finally stop tripping (the next morning, after sleeping it off), it was an easy vow to make, to never touch the stuff again.

Hey – thanks, Earlier Blog, for the memories!

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

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My New Crush

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:06 AM
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I have a confession to make. I’m cheating on you, Grey’s Anatomy. You too, House. Lie to Me, you left before I could say goodbye.

It’s just… House, you stretched to its breaking point my patience for falling in love with new interns only to see them kicked to the curb – and then Cutty left.  I’m not going to lie and say my personal issues with abandonment may have blocked my ability to enjoy or even watch your final season (I still don’t know who the “everybody” is who died in the finale episode entitled Everybody Dies)…

…But then again, as you yourself know all too well, everybody lies.

And Shonda, I tried to go with you to the new territory of Scandal. Sure, Grey’s Anatomy has become maddeningly incestuous, with each episode’s ‘medical mystery’ almost exclusively having to do with one of the main cast members.

I mean, come on, a PLANE CRASH? REALLY?

But Scandal was worse, with its almost-but-not-quite Aaron Sorkiian dialogue and didactic, sappy politically correct point of view that was soooooooooooo in my face with every scene that even this dedicated Ivy Leaguer-Democrat-Super Politically Correct gal just couldn’t bear to jump onboard that bandwagon.

But lest you desolate readers think these recent desertions of my small screened loyalties left me ONLY in the throws of the occasional Daily Show or Colbert Report… think again.

Because there’s a new girl in town. And her name is…

The New Girl.

Or, more accurately, Jess Day. Or, MORE accurately… Zooey Deschanel.

My new crush.

I’m not just crushing on HER, though she admittedly is flawless. I’m crushing on the whole show. I mean, come on, SCHMIDT???

SCHMIDT!!???!!!

All of you must immediately go out and buy a HULU subscription and watch all episodes of The New Girl, if for nothing else, the character of Schmidt. Who is brilliant.

PARKOUR!

By the way, if you have never seen the show, I must warn you that you won’t like the pilot much, and then you’ll be confused and maybe a little angry that the black guy in the pilot gets replaced by a similar but slightly funnier & better looking black guy from episode 2, onwards. It’ll take you about 3 episodes to get over it, and then another one or two to fall in love.

But you’ll get over it, I promise. Don’t give up on it. Her. Them.

And BTW, when you’re trying to figure out what to watch with the rest of your Hulu subscription time, might I suggest The B in Apt 23? It’s also a new gem, one of those incredibly rare shows that makes me happy and sometimes even laugh out loud.

Touch, on the other hand? I admit, I’m addicted… but it’s completely against my will.

Don’t get me started….

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

If I had a nickel for every freakin time Keifer says, "Hey, buddy, hey Jake? Come back here, buddy!"... Come to think of it, that would make an awesome drinking game. Anyone?

Flashback Friday! (What is WRONG with these People??)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:17 AM
Friday, March 16, 2012

Every Friday, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – What is WRONG With These People? – the BLOG

Okay, so you know how in my last blog I commented on the ridiculous store named FUK U?

(As ridiculous as they are, it occurs to me I’ve given them more press than I’ve given any number of my actual favorite places that actually DO deserve your business… I guess the saying is true, bad press is still press…)

Well, I’ve got another pet peeve. Move over, Tipper Gore: I’ve got a new congressional resolution for ya. Censor those god awful billboards that are up all over my city!

I admit, as a kid growing up “too cool for school” in DC, I railed against Tipper’s plan to put ratings on CD’s and records as much as anyone. How dare a grown up censor my music?! How dare that bloated, preppy politician’s wife decide whether or not I can buy an album, just because it has stupid curse words inside? Easy E was one of my favorite rappers:

I’m gonna hold it! And walk around the stage! And if you fuck up? I’m going to get my gage, and unload my barrel and laugh, cause I’m putting lead in your motherfucking ass. Psychopathic, but the hos are attracted, cause when I’m on hard? My dick’s at least a YARD!

…and I got straight A’s and went to Yale.

Suck on that, Tipper!

Until…

You know how everyone with kids tells you, everything changes once you have kids?

Yeah.

My son is now reading. I’ll bet you twenty dollars if we were to walk by that above-mentioned store, he would sound it out immediately and ask me what it meant. Hilarious, you pot smoking asshole who gave your store that name.

If I even THINK of my six year old hearing Easy E out of some stupid ass teenager’s car window… (AKA, my car window, 20 years ago. Wait, when I was only 8 years old? Never mind.) it’s a nightmare. How could I have put little ears at risk of such foulness, so cavalierly? Heaven FORBID a store would actually allow him to PURCHASE said item. Does anyone know Tipper’s current address? I’m ready to write her a donation check…

And Tipper, while we’re at it? Billboards. I don’t want to rate them. I want to ban them. Outright. I don’t want to infringe upon a company’s right to speak about their grizzly sex horror movie, but I DO want to thwart any and all plans they may have to advertise said movie anywhere my kids may pass by. It was ONE YEAR before a sign showing a graphic portrait of a zombie eating a half-naked woman was taken down just a half a block from my house (and a half a block from my kids’ old preschool). One block from that was a gigantic billboard for some other horror movie, I think it was called “The Eye,” which depicted a giant horrifying eye, held open by medical instruments while a creature climbed out of it.

I feel like A Clockwork Orange would scare my child less than some of these billboards.

Don’t even get me started talking about TV commercials…

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Awww, now look at that punim! What mother wouldn't want her daughter to listen to his music?

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Think Thin

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:34 AM
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So recently, I lost a bit more weight (yes, I’m already naturally thin-ish) and I got in pretty awesome shape thanks to the help of an amazing trainer that somehow was convinced by my ex-boss to train me for one month, for free. I’m trying to keep my body looking awesome for as long as possible, but I’m realistic.

Before, I had a trainer coming to me 4 days a week, doing a crazy training session for one hour each time, AND I was still doing cardio & Pilates on my off days. Now, I’m going to the gym most days, doing a cardio class here and there and once or twice a week, as much of a yoga DVD as I can bear before turning it off early and getting annoyed that anyone can really DO some of those crazy poses.

And I’m not in a fight with chocolate right now.

So, yeah, it won’t be long.

But in the meantime, I’ve identified the top most excellent thing that comes with being thinner than usual, and the top completely sucky thing. I know you’re waiting with baited breath, so enough of the introduction already! Here you go:

Being a bit thinner than usual is AWESOME because:

Clothes look better on you.

Ta-da!

And being a bit thinner than usual is NOT AWESOME because:

I’m freezing all the time.

Freeeeeezing. All. The. Time.

What is up with that? I go to bed at night with the heat cranked to 75, a down blanket AND a thick silk cover AND a t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt (over the short sleeve), flannel pajama pants, socks AND a wool sweater. In the immortal words of my father the lawyer,  “I shit you not.”

So… is it all worth it? The slim, lithe, make-my-clothes-look-hotter thinness?

I’m on the fence. Because I started to notice my neck skin the other day, and it looked a little looser than usual. Was I dehydrated? Aging quickly? Or was my skin slow to realize that it needed to snap back into place where a tiny layer of fat had been?

My aunt will no doubt admonish me for spending any time at all talking or thinking about how I look. After all, it’s the inside that counts!

I think I’ll have this peanut butter and chocolate chip “protein bar” (LOLOLOL) and ponder it…

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd learn photoshop and then I could stick my face on this body. But you get the idea.

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