Go ahead, call me ‘bossy!’

The Girl Scouts and Sheryl Sandberg, a Facebook executive and author of the best-selling book “Lean In,” recently collaborated on a campaign designed to encourage girls to become leaders. The “Ban Bossy” campaign harnessed the star power of Beyoncé, the political punch of Michelle Obama and the emerging sympathetic face of motherhood, Jennifer Garner. Its website uses videos and predesigned graphics with quotes from these high-powered women. The campaign also offers merchandise encouraging ideas to help build girls’ self-esteem. The initiative’s goal is to have all girls fight to “Ban Bossy,” which organizers have declared the new “B-word.”

The statistics are jaw-dropping but unsurprising to any parent of a preteen or teen girl. Between elementary school and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys’. Girls are called on less often in class then boys and are interrupted more, all according to the Ban Bossy website.

The Ban Bossy premise is that when a young boy is assertive (read: a leader) he is thought of in a positive way, but when a little girl is assertive, she is labeled “bossy,” sparking a spiral of self-doubt and fear.

Though I wholeheartedly support Sandberg’s other “lean in” efforts – especially a new partnership with Getty Images that supplies realistic photos of women in the workplace – I think she and the Girl Scouts are off base with this campaign.

The word “bossy” isn’t the problem. I think it’s a branding thing for them: “BAN BOSSY!” Everyone likes good alliteration, right? Through personal experiences, the founders of this campaign have had negative experiences with it, but I find no offense with the word.

In fact, I have embraced it over the years. I have a T-shirt that has the word splashed across it. Ironically, to me, the word is empowering, not demeaning, stifling or an insult. Having said all that, I’m glad the discussion is happening! If it promotes conversations about young girls and their place as leaders, I’m in! Let’s talk about it! (I’m bossy like that).

Where I think this well-intentioned campaign goes wrong is its negative focus on the hapless word “bossy.” The Ban Bossy campaign’s main logo is the word bossy with a red strike through it. Girls with stern looks holding up signs with the “anti-bossy” image come across as – ironically – well … bossy. There is just simply nothing inspiring about it. It gives too much power to a word.

No one from Lean In or the Girls Scouts consulted me before they launched the campaign (the very nerve!), but if they had, I would have offered up some more positive monikers. I personally lean toward “Like a Boss” or “Your future employer. Be nice.” I would much rather have young girls surrounded by positive words, images and advice.

Putting aside the issue I have with banning a word that I kinda like, I love the campaign’s goal: to encourage girls to be more confident and comfortable in leadership roles.

I urge you to take a look at the Ban Bossy website at banbossy.com. The cruel twist of the campaign’s name and focus is that the site provides an enormous amount of good, positive stuff! There are some great articles for parents of young girls, and commentary from leaders on how to encourage girls to lead and be brave. Some of the material talks to girls directly about how being called bossy shouldn’t hinder or slow them down. But in the end, I want to teach my 12-year-old daughter that it doesn’t matter what label you are given by others, or what name you are called. It’s how you answer that is important.

A Babydoll by any other name

My son, Ben, has an older sister, so it’s the natural order of things that he would get some hand-me-downs: helmets, videos and sometimes, sadly, girl things. Not princess outfits or Angelina Ballerina backpacks, nothing like that, but he did get stuck with his sister’s nickname. It is the endearment that is always tip-top on my mind.

The name had just become a habit, “Please come here, Babydoll.” It would easily flow from my lips when I would drop him off at preschool, “Have a good day, Babydoll.” I used it all the time – every day.

Then, one day on the way to school he said with all the seriousness a 4-year-old could muster, “Mom, could you not call me Babydoll? Not with my friends there.”

How could I have done this to him? Yes, don’t call a boy Babydoll. This should be obvious. It’s like a double insult: “baby,” only the worst insult you could lay on a kid, and “doll.” Do I really need to point out the travesty of calling a young boy “doll”? I mean, it’s not like I dressed him in heels and a tiara and sent him off to school, but Babydoll! Boy-image killer.

I knew I had to make things right for him.

So I let him choose his new name. After going through our options – Little Man, Dude, Blue Power Ranger – he came up with Dinosaur. He wanted me to call him Dinosaur instead of Babydoll. It was a little bulky for a nickname, but Dinosaur it was.

Everywhere we went, he was “Dinosaur this” and “Dinosaur that.” It made people smile in line at Trader Joe’s and strangers would join in at the park, “Hey Dinosaur, you’re going to fall off there if you’re not careful.” It was fun, but I missed calling him Babydoll, just a little.

Then one day, I was driving him home and I accidentally let it slip – Babydoll. “Oh, gosh, Dinosaur, I’m so sorry.” He was understanding and said, “It’s OK, you can call me Babydoll sometimes. I miss that.” (Yea!) He then quickly made sure to make one stipulation: “Just not in front of my friends.”

It was a deal. We shook on it and everything.

It’s been much different raising a boy than I thought it would be. Much more tender and sweet than one would think. Even though I had two brothers, the gentle love I have for my son always surprises me.

One of Ben’s favorite books when he was a little boy was “Where the Wild Things Are.” He loved when I read it to him. I have only one issue with it: I don’t care if it says Max came home because he was hungry. We all know he really came home because he missed his mom. But, I’m letting Max stick to his story. I get it. It’s important to be tough.

It’s a balancing game for moms of boys.

My son turned 10 years old a few weeks ago. That little boy who came home from the first day of kindergarten with a Spiderman Band-Aid. The one who had an invisible friend named So-So who lived with us for years. The one who believed in magic. He is now living in the world of double digits. His thoughts are now consumed with times tables, Minecraft and karate.

He lost a tooth on his birthday and he put it under his pillow. As he did he told me, “Most people don’t know this, but the Tooth Fairy usually leaves a little bit of glitter behind when she takes a tooth.”

“I’ve heard that, Babydoll,” I slipped. I think just the idea of him talking about the Tooth Fairy and reminiscing all day about the things he did as a little boy made me forget the rule. “Oh, so sorry!”

“That’s OK, Mom. No one is around to hear you.”

Channeling my 5-year-old

Now that I have turned 5, I wish I would have appreciated how much fun my days as a little kid were; dumping mountains of food on the floor whenever I felt like it and never having to clean it up; not having to walk all the way to the bathroom to pee; and having a stroller. Dude, that was sweet! It’s a little sad I let those days slip away without much of a fight.

Now that I’ve turned 5 so much is expected of me. The weight of being the one who always has to come up with the “secretest” hiding places, defend my family from Dark Ninjas and think of the best words when we play MadLibs (which, by the way, are always body-function related: burp, barf, booger), is almost too much for one guy. The list of responsibilities is longer than my row of Matchbox cars.

Sometimes the pressure just gets to me. So, like yesterday, I’d finally had it. I was pushed into getting really mad by my mom after she asked me to fill the water glasses on the dinner table, I shouted: “Why do I have to do EVERYTHING around here!”

Of course, she just laughed at me. That’s the thing about being 5, grown-ups are always taking you seriously when you’re just joking around and then when you’re being as serious as you can possibly be, they laugh at you. They just don’t get it.

The only time I really feel like I’m understood is when I’m hanging out with my friends. Man, they’re the best. I don’t have to explain every little thing to them. They already know you always keep a slingshot in your back pocket, and that you never, ever take apart a perfectly assembled Lego Star Wars battleship – you don’t even touch it. And girls, well, girls are good for just two things – tricking and scaring.

Sometimes I just lie in bed at night and think about all the cool things me and my friends are going to do once we’re grown-ups. Then I’ll call my mom in to tell her. She always has smart things to say about them. Some good tips, like: “Make sure you and your friends wear big fur coats when you’re in Alaska” or “I think Charlie should first learn to ride a bike before you all pile into his helicopter.” She’s like that. Always thinking about keeping warm and not crashing into stuff.

Oh, yeah, I’ve got plans. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do when I’m old, but I know I’ll invent things and I’ll chew gum all the time and drink lots of Diet Coke. Now that I’m 5, all those sorts of things are not too far away.

For now it’s cool just living with mom and my sister. Sometimes when we’re all together in the morning watching cartoons or whatever I like to snuggle up to my mom real close, like when I was a little kid, and just cuddle. She says I’m not too old to do that still. I mean, I’m not going to tell my friends I like to do that, but I’m glad it’s still OK …even though I’m 5.

Basking in the beauty at the Beachcomber Cafe

I don’t know how it its that I’ve never eaten at The Beachcomber Cafe. It’s so quintessential Orange County that it seems like every citizen of this county has had to have dined there, at least once. With fresh food and unique cocktails the cafe has quickly become one of my favorite haunts. The open-air patio offers sweeping views of the coastline and if it gets too chilly, the friendly staff will offer diners a warm blanket for their laps.

The cafe was once one of the many quant cottages that pepper the intimate coastline of Crystal Cove State Beach. It was transformed into The Beachcomber Cafe in 2006 by restaurateur Doug Cavanaugh, of Ruby’s Cafe fame. (See my interview with Doug here.) In the short time since it opened it has been acclaimed by Gayot and Open Table as “Top Outdoor Dining Experiences in the United States.” Not bad and right here in our own county.

It takes a little work to get down to the cafe — either by shuttle or hoofing it — but it’s well-worth the time. Get there early as the waiting lists begins to grow starting at 10 a.m. You can book a table online at Thebeachcombercafe.com.

My boyfriend, Tim, and I had loads of luck on our last visit. It was a warm and crispy clear November morning in Crystal Cove. We only waited about 15 minutes for our tiny table.

When I mentioned I had never had a Bloody Mary Tim ordered me one promptly at the Bootlegger Bar that’s located directly behind the restaurant. It immediately became my favorite cocktail and I have not had its equal since — though I have tried them on several occasions since Beachcomber.

The menu for breakfast isn’t as expansive as most breakfast establishments, but what is offered is fresh, simple and fantastic! The menu rotates seasonally and always offers one omelet, scramble and frittata.

For me the specialty breakfasts are the show stealers. Apple Pecan or Coconut Macadamia Pancakes look delicious but for me, The Florentine Benedict is the clear choice for best on menu. They also offer a Traditional and Crab Cake Benedict. You can go to the Beachcomber website to see what is being served right now.

The lowdown on The Beachcomber Cafe


Breakfast is served from 7 to 11:30 a.m. Lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dinner (yes dinner!) is served from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.


Park in the Los Trancos parking lot off PCH. The shuttle cost is $1, one way. Kids under 12 are free.

Boozy fact

Full bar

Show stealer

The Florentine Benedict

Insider tip

The cafe offers rentals of beach essentials like beach chairs and umbrella rentals during the summer months.


No dogs on the patio

Instagram must

Shot of your cocktail from the Bootlegger Bar

10 things mommy will stop doing this new year

1. Searching for reasons to go to Target.

2. Making excuses for the tooth fairy. If she misses my kids’ house I’m not going to cover for her again.

3. Saying to my kids, “I’ll be right there,” when I know perfectly well I won’t be right there.

4. Asking my 12-year-old daughter if I look cute in skinny jeans. The truth is too painful for both of us.

5. Regretting that I ever wore overalls, pregnant or not.

6. Buying bananas. We all know they will never get eaten.

7. Considering food stolen from my kids’ plates as containing zero calories.

8. Worrying! (Pray more.)

9. Answering, “Hi Hungry, I’m mommy,” every time my kids say, “I’m hungry!”

10. Stop referring to myself as “mommy.”

The real skinny on baby showers

Driving to my friend Jen’s baby shower, my daughter Emily asked, “Why do they call it a baby shower, anyway?”
“I think it’s because when you become a new mom, you don’t get to take very many showers,” I said. “So we throw mommies-to-be one big shower before the baby comes.”
Cue the rimshot: “ba-da-bum, ching.” No giggle. Nothing. She just blinked at me. “Okay, Sweetie,” I told her, coming clean. “It’s really because we shower the mom-to-be with gifts for the new baby.”
This was Emily’s first baby shower, and she was pumped, dolled up and brimming with questions. Then she asked what we were going to do at the shower. I told her we’d open gifts, eat fancy snacks, play games. She perked right up at the games idea. “What kind of games?”
I could’ve told her about the Baby Food Game or The Safety Pin Game, but I didn’t. Maybe it was my unrelenting need to mess with my kids, or maybe it was the Frappuccino talking, but I launched into a list of games that I thought would much better reflect the true parenting experience:
The Eating Shameful Things Game: Shower guests are given a plate of pizza crusts, dried out mac and cheese, sticky Goldfish crackers and cold French fries. Whoever eats it the quickest wins a prize.
The Feign Sleeping Game: While all the guests are seated in a circle, one at a time they lie in the middle while everyone makes the loudest noises possible to try to “wake” them. Whoever can pretend they’re sleeping the longest wins! Not recommended for co-ed showers; the men smoke us every time.
The Find Something to Wear Game: Place each player in front of a closet packed with clothes, but only a few things that actually fit. Give them 30 seconds to find something to wear. All the moms will gasp in sympathy as the mom-to-be reaches for the pre-pregnancy jeans.
As a mom who is 12 years into her parenting gig, I guess I feel a little, I don’t know, jaded. No, not jaded – more like a wise old mommy sage, like Maggie Seaver or Clair Huxtable. (It really is sad that all of my parenting role models come from ’80s TV shows.)
Whenever I go to a baby shower, I feel the urge to paint a more realistic picture of parenting for the mom-to-be. I want to bring the Pottery Barn Catalog and go through it page by page. “See this?” I’d say, pointing to the perfectly groomed children seated quietly around an uncovered pine table doing a craft. “This isn’t real, you know. You don’t dress kids in satin and give them glue.”
But once we got to the shower, like always, my heart started to melt. I was swept up in the music, the melon balls, the memories of my first shower.
The reality of parenting isn’t the same as we thought it was when we held up booties and footie jammies to “oohs” and “aahs” at our own showers. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less wondrous. Being a parent is better than you could ever imagine and impossible to explain, and it brings you immeasurable happiness and joy. So why not celebrate with cupcakes and a mountain of gifts?
Welcome to the Mom’s Club, Jen. It will be fantastic. Just don’t think about reaching for those pre-pregnancy jeans quite yet.

Contact the writer: sbroughton@ocregister.com

Hello! We are now coming to you with your OC Register!

A great family resource at your doorstep.

In the morning my mom and dad gather the Orange County Register from their driveway, lay it out on the table before them and methodically go through it, section by section. For more than 20 years it’s been as much a part of their morning routine as a cup of coffee, and they have taken note of the recent changes.

“I just love what you’re doing with the Register!” my mom told me. She’s been delighted with the expanded coverage and redesign, and of course it’s all my doing. Like any good mom, she credits me with all of the positive changes that recently have infused the OC Register with new life.

Though I’d like to take all of the credit for the paper’s transformation, my role is limited to OC Register Family magazine. Publisher Aaron Kushner is the man leading the about-face of our county’s paper by pouring in the resources, hiring more reporters, redesigning the community papers and adding a weekly glossy magazine to subscribers’ growing benefits.
That’s where I come in, Mom.

In this, our 15th year of publication, OC Family magazine – now OC Register Family – begins to be delivered atop the Orange County Register once a month. We are part of a four-magazine rotation that includes OC Register Metro (formally OC Metro) and two editions of the new OCR Magazine, which will stylishly highlight the lifestyle, fashion and people of Orange County.

Fresh off receiving the Bronze Award for General Excellence from the prestigious Parenting Magazine Association, we plan to continue our coverage of parenting issues that impact Orange County moms and dads, and we’ve expanded our content to include an At Home section (“Celebrate spring with a garden party,” Page 50), more teen-focused coverage with the addition of Dr. Jim Burns (Confident Parenting, Page 32) as a columnist for Teen Years and an additional feature story. Subscribers also will see more current topics — including articles on single parenting, homeschooling and talking to your kids about sex – beginning in this issue with demystifying the digital world of our kids (page 81).

“We are here to serve our community first,” Kushner told a room filled with Register employees during a recent town hall meeting. That’s our mission and that’s what folks like my mom see in the pages of their beloved newspaper.

I’ll keep up the good work, Mom, (with a little help from the other hundreds of people here at the Orange County Register).

WIN! B.Toffee Easter B.unny Basket

If you know me, you know I like bunnies (see proof here). This time of year throws me deep into my obsession with those cuddly, whiskered creatures at every turn. That is one reason why I’m thrilled to offer this giveaway, it seems fitting.

Have you seen Orange County’s B. toffee Easter B.unny Basket?  It’s a  limited edition gift that comes with both milk chocolate and dark chocolate B. toffee all places lovingly in this adorable basket. Each comes with two 9-ounce canisters of B. toffee (one dark and one milk chocolate), a 6-ounce bag of B. bits, and a special 4-ounce Easter gift box customized by Betsy Thagard. It’s priced at $54.99 but I’m giving one away right here.

Simply leave a comment below to enter to win and I’ll pick a winner via Random.org on March 15, 2013.

If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won,  you can order a basket for Easter, just do so by  Friday, March 22nd via email to orders@Btoffee.com or phone at 949-722-9001.

More about B.Toffee straight from them:

B. toffee also offers customizable Easter boxes for personal and corporate gifting. Orders of any size can be personalized with special sentiments or company logos! Owner Betsy Thagard’s handcrafted toffee is the perfect gift for any occasion and can be purchased online at www.btoffee.com.

B. toffee is handcrafted in Orange County by Betsy Thagard, who makes her delectable toffee with only the finest, freshest and most natural ingredients, from savory butters, to premium Guittard and Callebaut chocolates. Combined, all the ingredients deliver a brilliant experience of warmth, sophistication and vitality. With an elegant balancing act of extravagance and pure simplicity, B. toffee exemplifies the ultimate indulgence.

For more information and to purchase B. toffee, visit http://www.btoffee.com and be sure to LIKE them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/B.toffeeBetsyThagard 


Popular BRUXIE offers new kid’s meal

Bruxie has been our favorite since my kids and I visited the first location in Old Towne Orange in 2010. We joined the line snaked around the little square building on Glassell Street not sure what to expect: everything served on a waffle? But it just took one trip to move it to top of the list of places they want to go when eating out.

With its unique take on the Belgium waffle Bruxie’s popularity has spread like wildfire. My favorite meal is the Roasted Mushroom and Goat Cheese waffle sandwich (pictured below) with fresh basil, arugula and balsamic reduction, accompanied with waffle fries and Bruxie’s Old Fashioned Pure Cane Sugar diet soda. I would love to try their other selections, like the Prosciutto & Gruyere or the Hot Pastrami, but I can’t resist the smokey, cheesy  goodness of my “usual.”

Last week the rapidly growing O.C.-based restaurant group announced they were adding kid’s meals to their menu beginning March 1. Though my kids liked to order off the regular menu, it did get pricey, so I’m liking this option. Nothing on Bruxie’s menu exceeds $10, but one they order a homemade strawberry lemonade or a chocolate shake and fries, the price tag gets hefty.

Though I do wish they offered a little more variety of sandwiches in the kid’s meals, you can’t beat the $4.95 price which includes waffle fries and a drink. The kid’s meals are limited to these waffle selections; Cheesy, S’mores and PB&J all served with waffle fries or the Brussels Waffle with whipped creme and berries.

“Bruxie appeals to a wide range of diners, and there’s no denying that we’ve become a hotspot for families. We’re always looking for ways to enhance the Bruxie Experience, so we’ve added options for our youngest fans,” commented Dean Simonmanaging partner of Bruxie. “Our kid’s menu highlights a selection of our most popular Bruxie sandwiches among children.”

I would love to see them add one of their breakfast sandwiches and a hamburger option, but from the looks of these photos below, most kids will find something they like …

Bruxie locations:
Old Towne Orange
Birch Street Promenade in Brea Downtown
Rancho Santa Margarita
On Facebook

(*Quote supplied by Mona Shah of Moxxe PR)


The Holidays at Disneyland Resort

The holidays at Disneyland Resort this year offer the same traditions we’ve all come to expect, but also, with the addition of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, new delightful details await guests.