March 28, 2011


When one thinks of manners, they don't often think of APPEARANCE as registering on the "rude richter scale." But when you really think about it, it kind of makes sense. Your outward appearance speaks volumes and often sets the tone for how YOU feel about yourself.... And we all know the saying... if you don't feel good about yourself, no one else will.... Well, today my partner Lisa Gache and I explore this subject and talk about why maybe my mom uniform of yoga pants and an American Apparel pullover is sending the wrong message...

Ø Moms, set your alarm so you have enough time to take care of yourself along with your family in the morning.

Ø In addition to laying out your children’s clothing, be prepared and lay out clothing (or makeup) for yourself the night before.

Ø Dress appropriately for the occasion. If you are going to the park, wear clothes that are not restricting and choose flats rather than heels. For a parent/teacher conference, a pair of slacks and a blouse make a nice statement. Dressing for the gym? Finish your look by adding a stylish casual jacket or sweater.

Ø Dedicate a quick minute or two for some careful grooming. Regardless of how rushed you are, wash your face, brush your teeth and hair, put on a bit of face cream, foundation, mascara and blush. You’ll be good to go!

Ø At the very least, maintain your poise and walk with good posture. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and move gracefully, heel toe, heel toe. This exudes confidence and strength.

Ø A smile makes up for everything. Even if you had minimal time to put yourself together, donning a smile endears you to everyone. (Just make sure you brushed those teeth!)

Speaking of appearance, let's get out of our yoga pants and in to something hot this Spring together! Join me at the Lucky Shops LA event on April 8th and 9th! Enter "PERFECT" in the Promo Code for a 10% discount on tickets!

March 25, 2011


What do you do when your kid won't sleep? No, I mean WON'T. SLEEP. And I don't mean a 5 month old who sleeps for 5 hours at a time and wakes up to feed, for the occasional 2 am or 6am feed. (Please, cry me a river). No. I mean, a 3 1/2 year old who can walk, talk and "Beautiful Mind," him AND you out of any sleeping scenario.

What. Do. You. Do.?

Traditional sleep training doesn't work because he doesn't stay put. As stated, said child will waltz right out of room, plop down with me on the couch and ask me what song they're singing on American Idol.

Crying it out doesn't work because, in addition to having neighbors, words have replaced tears. On any given night, at any point during the night, I hear, "Mommmmmmmmmmmmy, I neeeeeeeeeeeeed you." Or "Moooooommmmmmmmmy, I had a bad dream." Or "Mommmmmmmmmmmy, why are windows square?"

Yes. At any given point during the night, my son can go from a totally typical, desperate, scared place to a full fledged philosophical discussion.
"Mommy, you know what. would. be. so coooo-uhhhl??"
"Whaaat," I whisper, tucking him back in... at 3am... after changing his pull up he demanded needed changing.
"Iiiiiiiiif. Um, um, um,"
"Shhhh. Yes. Shh.... It's sleepy time."
"Noooooooo mommy, no. I have a ca-westch-un."
"How. do. people. maaaaaaaaake.... houses?"
Think about that question.... Just think about it... At 3 am....

ANYWAY, the point that I'm getting at here, is that I need a miracle and am feeling desperate. Without question, it's time to pull out the big guns (no pun intended) and use BRIBERY. Clearly, taking things away never worked, so perhaps it's time to GIVE. REWARD. ENTICE.

And since, my child has already had his fair share of cupcakes, lollipops, stickers, movies, and "super cool" trucks, I needed to take it up a notch.

"Jonah, what TOY do you want most in the whole wide world?"
"A shooter gun."
"A WHAT??!?!??!"
"A shooter gun."
"What's a SHOOTER GUN?!" I asked horrified.
Barely able to contain his composure, he says fast and excitedly, "A shooter gun is wh-what- you-push-it. And. You. Push. Green button. And. FIRE! SHOOTS! OUT. And the purple. Button. AND YOU SHOOOT IT. And it goes SHOOOTER. And there's FIRE. SHOOTS out."

Before I go any further, let me say this: Guns terrify me. I want nothing to do with them and frankly, the right to bear arms is a notion that freaks me out and disturbs me greatly. That said, I understand that boys will be boys... and though the word "gun" or "shoot" (not to be mistaken with "shit," which I have been known to say from time to time) is NOT something I have personally uttered around my son, thanks to life, media, friends and just plain evolution: He wants a "Shooter Gun."

Bribery, I believe in. Guns, I do not. But for the sake of sleep, both his and mine, it is time to pull the trigger. (No pun intended. Again).

So... Off to Toys R Us we go. I make it very clear what our mission is: He will choose a "shooter gun," (Which at this point, I pray actually exists and isn't something that is behind a glass case and requires a driver's license). I tell him, that after he selects his toy, we will take it home, wrap it up, and write out a chart (see picture) stating all the rules -- rules, which he obviously defies nightly and need to be nipped in the bud. (FYI, we came up with these rules together. And yes, he did make it clear that he should be allowed to call me or get out of bed if he also has "Fro Up.")

We went over the plan a dozen times before we got to the store, and a dozen more inside the store. THANKFULLY, after rows of totally inappropriate toys that could actually harm a child, we found what I deem: A SHOOTER GUN.

It basically, makes "Buzz Lightyear noises!" It's called a "fire blaster." The middle turns around, lights up, and makes Space Mountain sounding noises. OKAY, fine. NOW we're talking. A boy toy I can wrap my head around.

Well... I'm pleased to say, that night one was a success. And as I type this, the beginning of night 2 seems to be working too.... Many people asked what I'll do after 5 nights... if he'll expect more bribes... Well, I have no idea. Feel free to shoot me some suggestions. No pun... Well, you get the idea.

March 24, 2011


Just in time for Spring, I'm giving myself a mini (major) makeover - in the wardrobe department. I was contacted by LA Stylist Robin Saperstein, of High Heel in a Haystack, to see if I'd be interested in having a fashion makeover. (Hell to the yes!) Next week, she'll come over and in about 4 hours, we'll go through my closet and try on EVERYTHING.

Robin will help me decide what to toss (donate to charity) and what to keep. Based on what we keep, she'll not only help me organize my closet, but determine what goes with what. Basically, I'll be shopping my own closet! Love it. After our session, Robin will help assess the style/wardrobe areas that still need some zsjuszing and completing-- we'll come up with a budget and then go shopping . I am desperate for a wardrobe overhaul (for obvious reasons, see closet #1 left).


AND speaking of shopping... Perfect timing! Because I'm heading to the Lucky Shops LA event on April 8th and 9th and want you to come too!!

Click HERE to order your tickets and enter "PERFECT" for the Promo Code to get 10% off!!!

With up to 70% off on the newest Spring styles from top designers, this is the place to take to revamp and restyle!

What item or key pieces do you think are missing from your wardrobe?

PS. There's still time to enter my giveaway... click here for deets!

March 22, 2011


Tori Spelling is seriously one cool chick. She's fashionable, funny, and what I consider to be the best multi-tasker on the planet. From television, to books, to her handsome husband, to her most prized possessions, Liam and Stella, it seems like there's nothing she can't do.

I'm excited to share an interview I did with Tori for my friends at Red Tricycle. Check it out!

As most of us scratch our heads amidst work deadlines, packing lunches, soccer games, and the occasional date night (huh?), wondering where in the world they sell that magical pill called “Balance,” there is one mom who seems to be able to manage it all…and then some. Actress Tori Spelling is a working mom who does it all. From acting, to her acclaimed reality show, to her New York Times best selling books, and children’s clothing line inspired by her two darling tykes Liam, 4, and Stella, 2, Tori is one multi-talented (and multi-tasking) mama. Now, she’s branching out even more. As an avid collector and design lover, she recently opened up invenTORI, an antique store in Sherman Oaks, east of Los Angeles. LA Mom Blogger Jennifer Brandt, of Perfectly Disheveled, caught up with Tori to get the scoop on her new venture, life in LA with kids, mom clothes, and everything else in between.

Red Tricycle: How did you come up with the concept for invenTORI? Did you have most of the merchandise already?
Tori Spelling: I’m an avid collector of antiques. Over the years, my passion grew to the point where I had to put so many beautiful antique pieces in storage. So, I decided to open a store filled with my antique furniture and share with everyone my personal inventory. Then, we decided to stock it with new merchandise for home, kitchen, bath, kids, pets, garden,etc… All the things that we carry are personal favorites of our family—things we always use. I also love to stock items made by fellow mompreneurs!

Though you’re a “90210″ girl, the Valley has really become your home. Tell me about picking a location for the store.
We decided to open our store in the Valley because I think the area is so family-oriented. We spend a lot of time there and I love our power block. My friend Lisa Rinna’s shop, Belle Gray, is on the corner of block before us and my friend Leslie, an amazing caterer, opened her delicious cafe Sweet Butter next door to us. We are three moms making it happen! Love that!

Okay, so Liam and Stella decided it was time to bunk up, huh? First of all, where did you find their darling beds and secondly, how do you think they’ll do sleeping in the same room? Will it be a constant slumber party?
Liam and Stella have become best friends and have to do everything together, and they decided they want to share a room. It was also Stella’s big move into a big girl bed. I decided to go old-school wrought iron antique for their beds. I searched for a while, and then found two amazing ones at the Long Beach Flea Market recently. And, I just got these amazing quilts for their beds. Stella’s is a vintage-y pink/orange floral and Liam’s is a green monkey pattern. Since they are in Stella’s room, next I’ll have to redo her pink walls to make the room gender-neutral. I’m always up for a room makeover! I asked Liam “What will we do with your old room?” He replied, without missing a beat, “Oh, that’s where I will need to put a baby brother!.” Ha ha! They are at that age where they constantly ask for a baby. Liam wants a brother and Stella a sister, of course.


March 21, 2011


I would say my right hand has tingled, gone numb, and/or ached off and on for the last two years or so. Though I am plagued by hypochondria, this is one ailment I'm certain isn't fatal... Unless of course you start thinking about the radiation that could be permeating into my brain or ears or hand... But I digress...

No. My finger/hand/arm issue/disease is entirely impart to an electronic device/appendage that takes pictures (HD ones, at that), video chats, houses thousands of songs and useless games, and tells me where in Africa I can find a Starbucks.

I live for my iPhone. And my fingers pay for it. As do my friends and family.

It's obnoxious, I realize. I'm on my phone A LOT. But thanks to my dear friend and writing partner Lisa Gache of Beverly Hills Manners, I'm learning how and when to politely use my phone while in public.

Manners Monday Cell Phone Etiquette from lisagache on Vimeo.

Lisa's Cell Phone Etiquette Tips:

Ø Turn your cell phone off. At the very least, place your phone on vibration mode before meeting others so that you may be fully present to your situation.

Ø Communication is key. Communicate in advance if you know you will be receiving an important call. This will put others at ease rather than aggravate them.

Ø Never place your cell phone on the table in plain sight. Simply place your phone in your lap so that you may glance down to view the caller if need be.

Ø If you receive your important call, politely excuse yourself and conduct your conversation in private.

Ø Speak softly so that you do not disturb those around you.

March 18, 2011


Ladies, I don't know about you, but when I flip through all the fashion magazines, I am overcome with jealousy. Feelings of WANT and NEED become one and the same and I find myself fantasizing about an intense shopping spree (on someone else's dime) followed by a jaunt to the Amalfi Coast where I can wear this "weekend-Island-Date Night-travel" look inspired by said magazine. (A girl can only dream right?)

Well, guess what, I'm kind of going to make our/your dream come true. I'm excited to announce that I've partnered up with Lucky Magazine to bring you Lucky Shops LA. Lucky Shops is the Ultimate Shopping Event. On April 8th and 9th, Lucky will host an event where anyone (you!) can come and splurge without breaking the bank. DOZENS, and I mean DOZENS of incredible designers (Theory, Botkier, Barneys CO-OP, Rebecca Taylor, HauteLook and so many more), will be there offering incredible deals on this season's hottest looks at up to 70% off!

The best part: I'm giving away 2 TICKETS to this incredible event!

Here's how to enter... Ready? LEAVE A COMMENT HERE.

Yup. That's it.

Simply tell me anything... Why you want to go to this event, who your favorite designer is, what item you're coveting most this season... And I will choose 2 Random Winners plus 1 guest each to attend this event!

Want MORE chances to win? Okay. Fine. Here ya go!

1) Simply FOLLOW me on Twitter and RT this:

Does your wardrobe need an update? Follow and RT @Jennifer_Brandt to win a ticket to the Ultimate Shopping Spree! #LSLA

2) If you have a blog, link back to my "Shop 'Til You Drop" post and me know via my contact form telling me you did so, with the link so I can find it.

3) On the Perfectly Disheveled Facebook page, under the Photos tab, I have posted a "Prized Possession" Photo. Leave a comment there and tell me one of your wardrobe prized possessions (could be anything! An old college tee shirt, or favorite sun hat- anything!) One random comment could win!


PS. Oh, and who cares if you don't live in LA?! As Lucky says, "Come for the Weather, Stay for the Shopping!"

March 16, 2011


When Jonah was a baby, I read a lot of books on "Attachment Parenting...."

I think I missed the chapter about how to handle a child literally attaching themselves to you... when you're trying to make lunch, or get dressed...

... it was like an appendage... that I had no choice but to drag with me wherever I went....

I missed that part on Attachment Parenting. Especially the part where said child knows it's funny and knows you kind of think it's funny too.

March 15, 2011


Last night on the season finale of "The Bachelor," Brad Womack chose Emily Maynard, the single mom from Charlotte, N.C. who's tragic story of love and loss literally brought tears to my eyes each and every time she told it. I don't know if it was how perfectly put together without looking cheesy (like bachelorettes so easily do) she always was, OR the fact that she was a single mom, but I was rooting for Emily from the beginning. Sure, the fact that she seemed closed off and dull concerned me, but the old producer (Bachelor producer, in fact) knew that there HAD to be more. That this guy could not be falling in love with someone that's not giving him annnnnnnnything back.... Right?! (Of course, he is a guy. And guy's like a good chase... )

Anyway, in my mind, Emily proved she loved Brad when she grilled him on their final date about how ready he was for the "real stuff." How ready was he for emergency room visits and sleepless nights with a child? How ready was he for temper tantrums and grocery store meltdowns? Certainly, this talk is anti-bachelor on the romance front. It's not about connection and chemistry and amazing dates. It's about PARENTING and that is what is REAL. I thought it was brilliant and his reaction and anger about this topic made sense when she revealed at "After the Final Rose" that he had a temper. THAT IS NOT GOOD. But I digress...

Back to the talk about parenting... I thought it was so interesting that Brad's family liked Emily MORE when they knew she was a mom. His sister in laws admitted it made her relatable-- that she GETS it. That she's part of their club. And a club it is indeed. People on twitter and FB are slamming her, wondering where "the sweet" Emily went-- but I have to tell you, I LOVE that she said they have some things to figure out. I love that she's not willing to marry him this second. Are people forgetting she has a child? Granted, part of her reason to stall may be about the jealous feelings and the fact that he talked about how much chemistry he had with Chantal blah blah blah... But the fact that she's not going to settle and needs to see how they are in real life-- YES. Good for her. I was relieved. And as awkward and produced as the reveal about their problems, honestly, I think it was GREAT that Brad admitted it was TOUGH. That it's not fairy tales and people want it to be, but that's not the truth. To me that shows me that he actually DOES get it. That he's seeing what being in the trenches (with a single mom) is like AND that he's been through a little therapy.

Okay... A couple of random thoughts about The Bachelor in general...
  • I definitely could have done without the group therapy session at the "After the Final Rose." A little cheesilicious for my taste.
  • This show makes me want to whiten my teeth.
  • Do you think Neil Lane really cared about Brad not proposing the first time? In any case, LOVED the ring. GORGE.
  • I'm not going to lie- I liked Chantal's map of love idea that she gave to Brad on their final night. Super clever and cute. "She traveled the world for him." So great. I may have to borrow that idea. Though the map of Los Angeles is kind of unimpressive.
  • Does anyone want to just take a moment to say WTF about Chantal's nouveau riche family? With her outfits, I have to admit, I didn't see that comin'!
  • My money is on Ashley (bad eyebrow, weird cheek biting, Ashley) for the next Bachelorette. Any takers?

March 14, 2011


Manners Monday: Road Rage! from lisagache on Vimeo.

Many months ago, I was driving with Jonah and running late (as usual). We pulled up at a stop light and though the light was green, the car in front of me decided to slow down and virtually stop. I laid on my horn and without thinking said, "GO! DOUCHE!" Sure enough, not two seconds later, a little gold fished crusted mouth, as if he were driving himself, blurted "Gooooo. Douuuuuuuuuuuuuuche!"


There's no doubt about it. When it comes to setting a good example of manners for Jonah, I have two unfortunate things working for me: I swear like a truck driver, and I drive like a truck driver. The combination of the two makes for some gnarly road rage.

Though I'd like to blame Los Angeles drivers for their poor driving skills and bad manners (um, I'm signaling! Let me IN!), I realize that I need to take it down a notch, especially when little J is in the car with me. Well today Lisa Gache and I decided to talk about how easy it is to let your manners get run over by road rage... especially during carpool drop-off... (Oh, yeah. You know the rude moms I'm talking about. Are you one???)

Want to tame your road rage, Lisa suggests:

Ø Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination

Ø Refrain from cell phone conversations when entering the parking lot so that you can be present to the situation at hand

Ø Don’t sweat the small stuff, if someone’s driving is bothering you, take a breath and count to ten

Ø Lay off the horn and the profanity, especially if children are in the car, you don’t want to set a bad example

Ø Never give someone the “finger.” It is just plain rude!

March 10, 2011


Though bedtime has become a battle in my house as of late, there are actually a few sweet rituals that have little to no hysteria-three year-old-hostage stand-off- negotiation type qualities. One of those rituals happens to be a discussion about dreams... After I've told him a story about how houses are built in a factory run by five men named Bob, Steve, Joe, Fred, and Roger (don't ask), I rock him in the chair and tell him to have sweet dreams. Of course, conversation ensues...

J: What should I dream about, Mommy?
Me: Tonight, you should dream about chocolate chips, rainbows and Giraffes who play the violin---
J: No, no, no, Mommy. I'm going to have a different dream.
Me: Okay...
J: I'm going to dream about chocolate chips, rainbows, and fast, fast planes that go like this-shhhh shhhhh-shhhh- zooom! (he almost pokes out an eye).
Me: That sounds like a good dre---
J: But, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!
Me: Yes, love?
J: What will you dream about?
Me: Oh, I'm going to abouuuuut.... Mint chocolate chip ice cream, beautiful green trees, and----
J: No, no, no, Mommy. You can't dream about that. You have to dream about, um, um, um...
Me: Yes?
J: You have to dream about shooter guys-
Me: Shooter guys? That's scar-
J: NO! Mommy! You have to dream about shooter guys, a house factory, and marshmallows.
Me: Okay. Is that all.
J: Yes. That's all.
Me: Well... That'll be an interesting dream.
J: But, Mommy...?
Me: Yes?
J: You know what would be so coooo-uuuhhhll?
Me: What???
J: If you were in my dream.
M: Yah. That would be cool. You can dream about me.
J: Mommy, you could have the same dream... what I'm dreaming mommy, if you want.
Me: You want me to dream about the same thing as you?
J: Yah. You can, Mommy. You can do it. If you want, Mommy. You can have my dream.
Me: That's very sweet. Thank you. I love fast, fast planes.
J: Not fast fast planes mommy. Poop. You can dream about poop. It's very funny.
Me: Oh. Yes it is.
J: Do that mommy, dream about poop.

I think I just got "incepted."

March 9, 2011


This makes me happy.

My Nana & Papa on their wedding day... July 10, 1949

March 7, 2011


Manners were a big part of my childhood. From no elbows on the table to thank you notes, my mom was a big, big stickler for manners. "Thank you for the birthday gift..." "Thank you for inviting me to your miniature golf party..." "Thank you for coming to my Bat Mitzvah..." You get the gist.

Me & My Grandfather Ralph ("Papa") circa 1987 en route to a Cotillion dance

I believe that now, my behavior, thanks to a 3 1/2 year old sponge with an already saucy vernacular, is crucial. And though I am certainly not the poster child for all things manners and etiquette, my lovely book writing partner Lisa Gache of Beverly Hills Manners is. Lisa and I have teamed up to create a weekly video series discussing all things manners. From cell phone etiquette to road rage to how to tell your friend they have spinach in their teeth, we're going to dish about it all.

We want to:

· Raise the awareness level on manners

· Obliterate the stodgy reputation that manners are only for the wealthy and elite

· Provide endless examples of how manners are an integral part of our daily lives

· Make learning manners accessible, entertaining and fun

Enjoy and look forward to your thoughts!

When it comes to manners, what matters to you the most? What irks you the most?

March 3, 2011


I recently started blogging for a fantastic website called GalTime. Thought I'd share with you a post I wrote about being a single mom and how it's all too easy to live in "woe is me" land. While I certainly wouldn't consider myself the poster child for single mothers everywhere (as all of our journeys are so very different), I will say that I think my advice, though simple and very literal, could help ease some of the anxieties that all moms face- single, separated, divorced, dating or happily hitched. Looking forward to your thoughts....

Single Moms: How to Minimize the "Woe is Me"

While the Stay at Home vs. Working Mom debate rages on, I find myself fighting (internally) for a different group of moms who’ll never have to duke it out for the “Who Has it Harder” title.

Hands down, bottom line, no ifs, ands or buts: Being a single mom is harder than any Target running or career juggling mom’s life. Why? Because we have to do both of those. Simultaneously. And maybe (never) wash our hair.

I have a hard time, however, when our “plight” gets little sympathy. When people insinuate that single motherhood is a choice—that even if a woman chose to leave a marriage or (gasp) chose to have children without a partner, that the burdens and challenges she might face are her fault. Like, You made your bed, now lie in it.

As a single mom, this has probably been one of my biggest hurdles: How to allow myself to feel the stress, pressure, and “holy sh*tness” of being a single parent, without feeling guilty about how or why I got here. This is not easy…. especially when the second biggest emotional hurdle is pity. Oh, I do love a good pity party every now and again, especially on the days that absolutely nothing is going right. Flat tire? I’m alone. Big bill come in? I’m alone. Spill my Starbucks on my favorite dress? Son of a b*tch, and oh, yep. Still alone!

However, I’ve found that there are a few things that I can do to minimize the 'woe is me' sessions. Things that I can do to feel great about where I am in life, challenges and all.