highly allergic to splendor

“I shall be telling this with a sigh…”

I sat down a few moments ago to text my special friends about this but decided that you, gentle reader, would enjoy this tale as well. The tale of how I thought I was looking pret-ty cute this morning by adding a thin belt to my dress to accentuate the positive/eliminate the negative/pretend I still have a waist. The tale of how I drove 20 minutes in the pouring rain to the school I teach at, arriving just in time to walk to class with all the students. The tale of how I felt something hitting my thigh periodically as I walked, but checked my raincoat toggles, purse I usually tie my ID lanyard to, and my hem and didn’t feel anything unusual. The tale of how what I was feeling was my dang belt slowly falling off in the middle of the hallway because it was a fancy lady belt and didn’t need that stupid buckle and just gently lay itself inside itself like fancy lady belts do, until said belt slips apart and shimmies off your body onto the hallowed hallway of the high school. Y’ALL. My. belt. fell. off. today. And that has made all the difference.



Last night we had six extra teenage girls spend the night. I went to bed disappointed in myself, thinking I should have made some breakfast casseroles and cut fresh fruits and had popovers and jam waiting for them when they awoke. They’re still happily asleep, and will likely happily eat my extensive variety of boxed cereals. But still. Where does the hospitality guilt come from? I barely remember any of the many sleepovers in my life, let alone what we ate. (I do remember one crabby family –though not their name, house, or child– who asked me if I wanted butter OR syrup on my pancakes the next morning. me: “both?” them: (disgusted glances at each other about my lowbrow gluttony.)

I remember few other things from teen sleepovers:

  1. One friend had a waterbed but I think I mainly just fell asleep on people’s floors? Is this true? So lowbrow.
  2. I used to pretend to be the last one awake so I could listen to everyone talk about how I wasn’t awake yet. Clever!
  3. We were obsessed with SNL and David Letterman and reading aloud from horoscope books.
  4. Nope. Nothing else.

I don’t remember how I got to people’s houses. Parents? Annoyed parents? I don’t remember how often I spent the night. Every weekend? Once a year? I really have no recollection of what I ate, if anything at all. I’m guessing I packed my own bag of white powdered sugar donuts after the butter v. syrup incident?

I’m thankful for my friends then and their hospitality. And I’m thankful for my girl’s friends and their hospitality. There’s so much to learn from life by being in other people’s homes. Including this gem of wisdom I discovered in 4th grade: most people when brushing their teeth don’t let the toothpaste foam out of their mouths like rabid animals. They hold it in and then politely spit it into the sink. Y’all. Without spend the night parties I would still be functioning like a minty-fresh Niagara Falls. You’re welcome. Any time.

#bethechangeyouwanttoseeintheworld #butterANDsyrup2018




let’s all go to the lobby

Gentle reader,

As I sit here waiting for the snow to arrive, I want to reflect on how thankful I am for all the movies I’ve seen this perpetual Christmas break (“always winter, never school”). And I want to tell you why you should see them. And I want someone to tell me if I should give in to those pushy cashiers and just join the Regal Crown Club already? So here they are, in no particular order, Starla Goodrich’s Guide to the Movies She’s Seen So Far This Extended Holiday Season.

  1. The Greatest Showman. If you loved Jean Valjean in High School Musical with a trapeze-swinging Zendaya, then this is your jam. Amazing songs. Horribly inaccurate. Zac Efron is BACK, baby!
  2. The Greatest Jedi (or whatever it’s called). If you loved Princess Leia in Harry Potter with a purple-haired Laura Dern, then this is your jam. Amazing space wars. Horribly new-fangled. Luke Skywalker is BACK, baby!
  3. The Greatest Paddington (I confess I never saw the first one). If you loved Orange is the New Black in Stuart Little with an elderly-faced Hugh Grant, then this is your marmalade. Amazing prison reform message. Horribly makes me want to go to London. Bears wearing partial clothing is BACK, baby!
  4. The Greatest Post. If you loved Wilson the volleyball in All the President’s Men with an eyeglasses-fiddling Meryl Streep, then stop the presses. Amazing Trump impersonation by Richard Nixon. Horribly pushy about the freedom to tell the truth. Newspapermen with combovers is BACK, baby!

I’ve also watched several streaming movies during this block of time off. Few are worth mentioning (that Christmas prince thing is at the top of the self-harm list), but Sing Street was lovely with great music and exactly like the all-boys school I went to during my expat middle school years. Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, The Disaster Artist, The Florida Project, are all on the to-see list if we can just get the google weather app to keep threatening snow until Valentine’s. ❤


seasonal effect disorder

I think I’ve missed the window to successfully wrap up the Christmas season this year. I mean, it’s double-digits January for goodness’ sake! (I don’t know the exact date because I’m still on community college teacher vacay. Holla! <–this is another cool teen word that only I am apparently using). The tree et al. remain up and around us. This didn’t feel as awkward a few days ago when it was still Christmastide (see The Church calendar) and the grandparents who got iced out from giving our kids presents were visiting. All was still Holly and Jolly (those are not the grandparents’ names, but wouldn’t those be good ones? I’m still partial to “Gingy”, rhymes with stingy, or cringe-y (#somanyteenwords), and comes from the Latin “gingerbread man in Shrek”, but I’m open to suggestions from the baby. Also no one is having a baby.)

SO, here we are on January ##, and there continues to be a 9-foot tree coated in crap in my dining room, along with all the international nativity scenes I thought were so festive, as well as stockings still hung, Christmas cards still taped to the wall, and a stray outdoor holiday pillow I noticed earlier on the front porch. We did not put out our giant inflatable snowman and reindeer this year (#bombcyclone #electricitybetterusedindoors), or those would be sagging sideways in the front yard too.

TO TOP IT OFF, all of my people have gone back to school/work/playing Wii in the $10,000 dorm room, so this has become a one-gal job, or something that is going to ruin everyone’s weekend (not including you, Mr. B.M.O.C.*–better. make. obscene. cash. *someday).

Where are you in the holiday recovery, gentle reader? Where are you in the how much you’ll judge us if we just leave it up until next year? Where are you in the process of helping me find all the Pinterest pins on how to decorate your tree with pink and red hearts, add googly eyes to those folks’ holiday family cards, and make your stockings into Valentine’s card receptacles? Tis the season!

Or ’twas.

puttin’ the teen in 2017

My good friend/person who gets my kids if my husband and I die in a fiery crash on the eleven interstates next to my house, Katherine, recently wrote on HER blog that I should get back to MY blog. Subtle. Since I last posted, I’ve moved to a new city, moved to two different houses, gotten a new job, settled three kids in new schools, and then settled them again in three more schools, and watched my beloved president leave and be replaced by my unbeloved president. Hard times, y’all. Hard to be funny and creative in hard times. But also hard to be funny and creative in happy, content times. And I find myself rather happy and content most of my days. Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool. Of course this means someone might start makin’ trouble in my neighborhood soon, but then I can move to Bel Air, etc.

AnyWAY, recently Katherine wrote something on her blog that I liked and I thought, huh, I could do that. Start off easy. Remember my password. So here we have it: “Starla Goodrich’s What Worked for Me in 2017 but Mainly Just the Things I Can Remember from the Past Months Probably.” Thanks, Katherine. You’re the best.

  1. Putting on a stocking cap and socks when I am cold. And also this vest. It’s way healthier than napping/hibernating and cheaper than multiple daily hot showers.
  2. YMCA 9am classes. You can find other exercise exploits on this blog, but for now this is working. I love me a group class. Especially since I can’t quit after 20 minutes because everyone else in the class is 10-30 years older than me and doing just fine. I may post a photo* of my missing saddlebags in a few months if it all goes well. *Cliffhanger!!!
  3. Writing “pay the bills” on my calendar. Genius.
  4. Teaching more classes for the local community college. It paid for college tuition for at least one of my children AND gave me something to do all day. AND it taught me more cool, teen words like “extra” and “you’re a liberal”.
  5. Keeping an index card grocery list on the counter for my people to add to. Genius again.
  6. Keeping a list on my phone of movies to watch and places to go out to eat. We are not a people who think well when we are bored or hungry, so this list gives us an informed jumping off spot to fight about, instead of just our usual complaining.
  7. Turmeric! and all the other spices I can buy 1/4 t. of at my local food co-op. #cheapcheap #funfun and I’m supporting something local, and something weird, but the rich people kind of weird where you see kindergarteners nursing but don’t have to step over crack spoons to get your groceries.
  8. Crocheting when guests are over and I want to shut down and phone scroll. It’s much more socially acceptable to avoid eye contact and lose focus when you are holding a ball of yarn. GENIE-YUS!!!
  9. Cooking instead of ruminating on all the things I could worry about (See newfound love of turmeric above). Maybe it’s the control/focus you need when baking? The guarantee of a beginning, middle, and end? For the first time this year I made: copycat Panera broccoli-cheddar soup, the best lentil shepherd’s pie, golden lentil soup, flourless chocolate cake, and homemade salad dressings (if I were in the mood I would link you to all of these. just google them). Old faves still include: Amy Jo’s granola, Smitten Kitchen blondies and brownies, lasagna, banana-chocolate chip muffins, and avocado feta dip. (See newfound love of YMCA classes above).
  10. Should there be ten things?? Hanging out with my kids one at a time. They’re charming then, aren’t they? I seriously should have scheduled them in when they were younger. “Sorry, your time was 4-5pm. Now it’s your sister’s. Better luck next week.”

Happy New Year and here’s to hoping I find plenty more time and life to write!

pretty sure there is a magic bullet.

gentle reader,

in honor of your faithfulness i have decided to continue sharing with you my journey on life’s highway of physical fitness pursuit. this may or may not also be motivated by discovering i had taken a nap on top of a cookie. also, bathing suit.

at last week’s school auction, i walked away with not one, but two “free month” memberships to workout places in town. this is the story of workout place #1. part A. in a series.

1. you are probably asking yourself, ‘how did she decide which place to choose first?’ i had heard from a friend that place #1 offered a fitness evaluation/intake type thing. huzzah! tell me my flaws, calibrated and calipated (that is not a word but there should be a verb for what those fat pinching calipers do). ALAS, this choice was all for naught. i just signed my name and got taken on a tour.

2. The Tour. just past the smoothie bar and lemon leggings is the locker room. Dede (who wore a badge with the phrase ‘there’s no magic bullet’) happily explained how to use a locker, while i happily focused on not staring at Elderly Woman’s Butt in a Locker Room #4,065.

LADIES! what is the deal? i will never be old enough to be naked in a locker room. ever. i want to google ‘history of locker rooms’ right now, but i fear it will just be a series of flabby white rump photos. NOTE TO SELF: i will not be using the locker rooms.

as we exited, Dede made sure to point out that NO TEXTING OR TALKING ON CELL PHONES was allowed in the locker room. oh. okay. ‘how about taking photos of naked lady butts with my phone? is that allowed, Dede?’

3. my goals (besides never seeing another woman’s backside): maximize the heck out of this thing. i will be at the rooftop infinity puddle from 9am-2pm every day catchin’ some rays. i will also be taking every class called, ‘Stretch.’ i am also open to taking whichever class gets the most votes here: ‘Baby Boot Camp’ with someone else’s baby; something called, ‘R.I.P.P.E.D.’ or R.I.P. for short i think; or ‘Pedal & Kettle’ which i’m pretty sure is riding your bikes together to the popcorn store. vote early and often.

good luck out there. hydrate and stretch. hydrate and stretch. and, sorry, Dede. there is a magic bullet. it’s called underwear.

‘yoo hoo! big summer blowout…’

with more wintry weather on its way, and a few inches of snow still covering the ground, and the temps struggling to get to double digits, i thought i would take a moment to share my most helpful WINTER STORM EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS TIPS. i would have published these before the storm a few days ago, but i didn’t want to jinx myself, or risk the chance of all of you snatching up the necessary supplies before me!!! here goes:

1. FREAK OUT. like curl up in a fetal position. worry. worry publicly on facebook. whine a lot to your husband. yell at your kids that you all might die if they don’t learn to shut the front door within .38 seconds of opening it. accuse your husband of not caring about anything and/or reference the semi-obscure Grasshopper and the Ant story.

2. go to the grocery. i recommend 7:30am or 9:30pm to avoid the crowds. you will win this thing. necessary supplies aforementioned include: sticks of butter, sugar, vanilla, brown sugar, cocoa, hot cocoa, chocolate chips, and milk. then go back to the store an hour later for guac, chips, sausages, cheeses, poptarts, bread and toilet paper. you’re ready! this should hold you for a week.

3. dig out that rotary phone and charge the heck out of every electronic device you own. also, write down the phone numbers you don’t have memorized (all) for when your cellphone dies and you almost do.


1. drip yo’ faucets. hot AND cold. the gentle rain-like sound will soothe you to sleep during one or nine of your panic attacks.

2. shower or take a hot bath every night to celebrate that you survived another day.

3. bake a pan of chocolate sugar survival treats every night. again, you have survived!

4. LAYERS. and by layers i mean smitten kitchen blondies on top of smitten kitchen brownies.

5. take a walk outside. i know. scary. but this will remind you that nature is not trying to kill you. yet. this also allows you to gauge how horribly ice-patched your neighborhood still is. and/or give you a break from your lazy-ass children.

6. have your children build an ice ramp to sled on in your neighbor’s backyard. #nolawsuit #getyourlawsoffmyiceramp

7. apologize to your spouse. thank him for warming up the car every morning. check weather.com obsessively. write something in your gratitude journal about how glad you are there aren’t any summertime weather emergencies right now.

ENJOY! this only happens once or forty-six times a year (here’s lookin’ at you, Boston!).

knick-knack, paddy-whaat?

***Nine Things That Are Not Okay***

1. These pants:

jogg khakis

2. These pants being IN.

3. The hashtag #joggjeans.

4. Maybe how mad I am about these pants. Maybe not.

5. How all the tacky uncool fashion from my childhood is suddenly in and only old people will join me in my totally legit judgment of such things.

6. Global cooling. Because p.s. you can’t wear joggjeans when there’s 83 inches of snow on the ground.

7. That there’s no matching blazer with elastic cuffs to go with these pants. Wait–is there?! I hope not, although I *might* be able to get behind this fashion trend forecast for Autumn 2015:


i digress. Back to things that are NOT okay:

8. Someone wearing these pants to a wedding, job interview, or in a 2-block radius of me.

9. That women will be forced to join this throwback/throw-up/just throw it out trend.

Oh, it’s coming y’all. Joggjeans are the gateway fashion to all that is unholy and cruel and ugly: knickerjeans!

knicker jeans




my true love gave to meeeeeee……

Today I made my kids a pie. I felt like I needed to show them how grateful I was for our last few weeks together. Technically we still have one more day of Christmastide (I might have made that up, but so did some other people on the internet. Google it.). I really like this idea of December 25th being the beginning of celebrations instead of the end of them. It takes some of the pressure off of getting everything done by a certain date. Of course I didn’t read about this way of calendaring my holidays until December 23rd, but I’ll be ready next year. In the spirit of the Christmas newsletter (which I predict will be making a comeback–mark my words! literally! with words!), here’s some of the highlights of this holiday season and all the blessings along the way:

1. I spent Thanksgiving weekend with a calendar on my lap mapping out 25 days of festive Advent fun/gifts/candy. Last year I dropped the ball on this family favorite and didn’t get started until around December 9th and even then just sometimes put a few band-aids in the mini-stockings as “treats”. Not so this time. I was ready. The kids’ favorite item? Breathstrips. Melt on your tongue breathstrips. Creepy weirdos that they are. Least favorite? The WRONG candy that I bought for most of the other 24 days.

2. I hit the jackpot when a friend hosted a gingerbread house decorating party. Check that off my “special holiday memories” list. And add it to my “special holiday memories with someone else’s mother” list.

3. I shopped local and liked all the presents that I gave. Especially the season pass to a minor league baseball team that came complete with a voucher to throw out the first pitch at a game. For. my. mother. #winning #allthehashtags

4. I got out of sending Christmas cards when the hubs volunteered to be in charge of these. His solution: send everyone back the card they sent us last year with the note, “Thinking of YOU this holiday season.” We may have been removed from some Christmas card lists. And some friendships.

5. I took my kids and my mother to “The Nutcracker” ballet, also known as “Herding Cats for an Hour.” I may have cussed in my head the entire time. I may also have had a 9-year old touching me the entire time and very loudly running commentary through the whole thing with zingers like, “This is boring,” and “That mouse king looks fake,” and “I like the Barbie version better.” yay……

6. Just under the wire we made fudge, jamprint cookies, and sugar cookies with royal icing. We. were. domestic. And we may have had to make two batches of icing because someone added/dumped peppermint extract into the first batch creating a delicious mouthwash-flavored holiday treat. See obsessive love of breathstrips above.

7. We saw all three sides of the family–and I still got to sleep in my own bed every night. We celebrated with one side at the Red Lobster. It ain’t Christmas til you’ve had your CHEDDAR BAY BISCUITS!!!

8. We didn’t light anything/one on fire at the candlelight Christmas Eve service AND I got to hold someone’s baby AND the baby spit up on me AND my dress was so sparkly and awesome that you couldn’t even tell.

9. We totally forgot to leave milk and cookies out for Santa. But he left this note for us:

photo (1)

10. We had friends over for meals. For the first time in all of 2014.

11. Only one person vomited.

12. I listened to Christmas songs by Ceelo Green, Justin Bieber, Wham! and Sufjan on repeat. And our spinning Christmas tree still spins.

So, in conclusion, we pretty much rocked it this year. Just like in a real Christmas newsletter where everyone is always better than you. Happy New Year, Happy Christmastide and don’t forget, you’ve still got one more day to party it all the way up.

these are a few of my favorite thangs.

never to be outdone by Oprah (NEVER!), i’ve compiled a 2014 holiday gift list extraordinaire: Starla G’s Favorite Things!!! #evah

enjoy shopping local from the comfort of your local couch in your local living room on your local computer for these #1 gifties:

my husband and i discovered this when we stayed at our friend (we’ll call her cindy)’s house. it smells so good that we may or may not have bathed in it. in cindy’s tub. hey, cindy!  $28 (i know! but Ope gets to put fancy things on her list!)


this long sleeved layer has a built-in bra. Y’ALL. you can sleep in it and answer the door in it and not scare your children with what real breasts look like.  $19.90



Y’ALL. you can spend hours sorting these by genus and species and have leftovers for last minute gifts for random neighborhood children.  $14.99

4. BLOSSOM BLOUSE FROM LOFT. Y’ALL. this shirt looks like a soup but eats like a meal. it’s stretchy and dressy and no one will know if you wear it every day this winter because it’s so subtle.  $49.50 but get a dang coupon



Y’ALL. i don’t know how you’re gonna get this one, but you better figure it out. it’s like a ho-ho for your ho-ho-ho. $less than 3 if you only get one



Y’ALL. if you know anyone having a baby, get them everything on here. their baby needs to look like a small animal!!!!  $prices vary depending on how freaking cute the thing is that you are buying

7. PRINTS FROM LITTLE THINGS STUDIO. Y’ALL. so many favorites including this one and this one and some that are religious even. $various but affordable.

8. THIS TURKEY FROM GREENBERG’S. Y’ALL. order this smoked turkey. now. $worth it.—————-
Y’ALL. a must read. also a must use a british accent when reading. $money——————————-
Y’ALL. *tears* you need this if you are raising tween girls. you also need advil, wine, chocolate truffles and facebook.  $15ish (shop local. it costs more but you’ll feel better.)————————————–


Y’ALL. i’m pretty sure that my son’s entire high school basketball team complimented me on these. just sayin’.  $100————————————–

12. PIZZA FROM BENNY DELUCA’S. Y’ALL. feed the whole entire extended God love ’em bless their hearts family during those fun stress-free holiday evenings.  $32-35 for one pizza that may or may not fit in your car.



Y’ALL. not kidding. everyone loves sharpies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $10

14. EOS


Y’ALL. just buy them. in every color. you neeeeed these. $3-4



Y’ALL. this is for your friend who cusses. you love her, but she’s not quite right. $12


Y’ALL. this is THE color for winter. and spring. and summer. and my entire year for the last ten years.  $7?

****WAIT. does oprah have 72 things on her favorites list? including gold beats headphones for $700? i need to up my dang game.


Y’ALL. this baby purrs like a race car. it has a V6 engine and drives like a rocketship. you should definitely buy one for someone. $30,000+

Y’ALL. NUFF SAID. $bazillions

nothing but the best. right, Clark? $6.99
GENTLE READER, who needs 72? 19 is the perfect number of gifts to buy this year.

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