As told to Arianna Davis
Every single morning at exactly 5:10, it's time for my venti extra hot, extra foam, red eye caffè misto from Starbucks. I even grab one on weekends, since my body clock wakes me up early.
My husband told me that he recently asked my daughters whom they admired most. My 17-year-old said someone cool like Alicia Keys, but my 14-year-old told him: "Mom, because she's confident." That's the best flattery I could ask for.
Best Childhood Memory
At family parties growing up, we used to bring our pony, Strawberry, into the farmhouse where we lived in McLean, Virginia. For some reason, Strawberry could walk up stairs and liked to drink liquor. In high school, I threw a party while my parents were away and rode Strawberry into the house to show her off. After that, all the football players were like, "This girl is weird; let's get out of here."
Don't apologize for asking for what you deserve.
I know it sounds like working-mother guilt, but I love to take my daughters shopping. It's naughty to live vicariously through them, but I wore secondhand clothes growing up.
I'm a junk food addict. I work hard to stay fit and talk a lot about our country's weight problems, but as I say in my book, I have my own food obsessions: Entenmann's cookies, Domino's pizza, McDonald's French fries ... oh, my God, those fries. My mouth waters at the thought.
Also on HuffPost:
1. Because The Brisket Waits For No Woman
You can’t buy a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin after 10:30 a.m.; and, Austin’s famous Franklin Barbecue may open at 11:00 a.m., but it <a href="http://franklinbarbecue.com/" target="_blank">closes as soon as the juicy food sells out, usually by 1:00 p.m</a>. And don’t even get us started about <a href="http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/06/03/cronut-craze-creates-black-market-for-tasty-new-treat/">cronuts</a>.
2. Because The Pea Shoots Might Have Sprouted
In a world full of virtual pleasures and intangible rewards, there is something uniquely, uh, grounding about paying attention to what’s happening in your dirt. Or window box. Or fire-escape flowering pot. Did anything bloom? Did a family of snails colonize the tomato plot, patiently waiting to be named by your children? Did one tiny, perfect strawberry appear in the community garden patch, having ripened there in the sun all morning just waiting for you to come and eat it? Better get out there and check.
3. Because One Of The Best Parts Of Myrtle Beach Is The Anticipation of Going There
Of all the myriad pleasures vacation has to offer -- the refreshing vistas, the escape from the daily routine, room service -- one of its most bountiful is simply the idea of taking one. Savor that feeling of about-to-be-going excitement for a few extra hours. Today is not a workday. There are no household chores to do. There is only an outbound flight and a ticket with your name on it. <a href=" http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/04/18/8-insider-secrets-to-booking-cheap-airfare" target="_blank">Bonus: The first morning flight is usually the cheapest. </a>
4. Because It’s 75 Degrees and Sunny Now
… But it’s supposed to be 95 and humid later.
5. Because Sandwich Bags Can Become Fine Art
Of all the ways to infuse some whimsy into the everyday lives of your loved ones (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlaferriere/sets/72157605053629580/with/3840401116/ target="_blank">Hot air balloon rides! Tree house vacations!</a>), a decorated lunch has got to be the easiest.
6. Because Starlings And Cicadas Exist
You never know when the <a href="http://project.wnyc.org/cicadas/" target="_blank">natural world is going to surprise</a> and <a href=http://vimeo.com/58291553 target="_blank">delight</a> the heck out of you.
7. Because Organized Canned Goods Make Everything Seem Better
So, your to-do list of organizing projects needs its own to-do list in order to be manageable. Still, you can tackle at least one household project today, something simple, that has a concrete solution. I prep for success by avoiding interior-design blogs that set unrealistic expectations (love you, Pinterest, but come on).Then I put on some good music, give myself a time limit of 15 minutes and start organizing: the mail, or one kitchen cabinet, or the first-aid supplies. It has to be something on a small scale, something that is done when it is done, a check-off-the-list-able thing. The whole house isn’t going to be its best self today; but maybe, just maybe, one shelf can be.
8. Because There Is Always Something To See
Perhaps it’s a great work of contemporary art. Maybe it’s a <a href=" http://ridiculouslyinteresting.com/2012/12/22/children-not-looking-at-modern-art/#more-1543" target="_blank">super-awesome secret gate-to-another-dimension </a><i>next</i> to the stirring painting, like these kids found. All you have to do is go somewhere, anywhere, and stay open to the possibilities and you will almost certainly see something really worth looking at.
10. Because 20 Minutes = Total Workout
As the writer Jenna McCarthy <a href=" https://twitter.com/jennawrites/status/341934694771879936" target="_blank">recently tweeted</a>, “Doesn't it feel AWESOME to start the day with a ten-mile run??? (I wouldn't know either. But I can *speculate*.)” If you’ve been sitting around all winter/maternity leave/<i>Game of Thrones</i> season, here’s the good news: In just 20 minutes, you can get the benefits of a <a href=" http://www.oprah.com/health/How-To-Get-Back-In-Shape-HIIT-Interval-Training" target="_blank">high-intensity workout</a>. Today’s the day. Twenty minutes! That’s really it!
11. Because Your Dulcimer Isn't Going To Play Itself
Much has been written about the virtues of the early morning. Laura Vanderkam wrote for <i>Fast Company</i> about <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/1839987/what-most-successful-people-do-breakfast" target="_blank">five things you can do before breakfast that can make your whole day better</a> (and possibly, your life more successful) ,one of which is to take a moment for personal growth. As she writes, “Mornings don’t have to be a death march out the door.” Take a moment to consider the day ahead and connect with yourself. Whether it’s practicing your conversational French, perfecting your calligraphy or sketching the same view from your window every morning, spending a little moment in the day for a non-necessity, at a place in your brain that’s not all logistics, can yield immeasurable rewards.
Because Macaroni And Cheese Exists
Because <a href="http://www.oprah.com/food/Home-Style-Mac-and-Cheese-Recipe" target="_blank">Macaroni and Cheese Exists</a>
13. Because You Can Send A Postcard To Your Past
I am endlessly inspired by<a href="http://www.vivasnailmail.com/2013/05/15/college-mail/" target="_blank"> Viva Snail Mail!</a>, a neighbor’s old-fashioned-paper-mail-celebrating project. Recently, founder Melissa Lohman-Wild suggested sending a postcard to the current owner of your old college PO box, an idea I couldn’t have loved more. This has nothing to do with fulfilling an obligation (shoot, really need to check in on so-and-so), and everything to do with reaching inward by reaching outward. What would you tell your college-age self? Write it on a postcard and send it off. By briefly tapping your inner wisdom, you might make someone’s whole day.
14. Because Sometimes This Happens