Dear mom, I was invited to a birthday party for someone that I don’t know, but I’m going with a friend who knows him. What should I wear?
Where’s the party and what’s the difference whether you were invited or not? Even if it’s casual don’t get too comfortable, no sweatpants, it’s still a party so dress partyish and dress for the place. Even if it’s at the beach no tiny bikinis, you don’t know these people that well…or maybe at all.

live with it

Dear Mom,  I just started a new job and I found out that I have been checked out on Facebook and google. I know that my new co-workers are using what they see to decide whether they want to be friends with me and to decide if I can be part of the group. Is this fair? I have changed a lot over the last couple of years and I’m not proud of some of the things that have been posted. What can I do?
It may not be fair, but if it’s out there for everyone to find you have no choice, but to live with it. You can try to explain that you are not proud of some of the choices that you made since we all have made bad choices, but if the new people chose to judge you by social media you will have to accept it. Your actions will speak louder than words so show everyone that you are not the same person that you used to be. Don’t ever post anything that you would not want your grandmother to see! We will all live and die by the social media…


be classy

mom, I got gifts for graduation, can I send email thank you notes?
It’s better than nothing, but not much. Someone was very nice to you and gave you a gift, it really only takes a very few minutes to write a note of appreciation back and it’s much classier.

give until it hurts

Dear Mom, I have a friend who is always volunteering to raise money for charities or save dogs or political causes or something. I think that it’s great, but I am the first one that she asks for a donation every time. Who is doing the volunteering me or her? I don’t always want to give her money- how do I say no without hurting our friendship?
If you have been donating all along she won’t be happy if you stop. Try to set a limit. Offer to donate ten or twenty dollars once a month to one of her worthwhile causes. That way she will know what to expect and you will know what you’re on the hook for each month.


cooking optional

If you would rather read a good cook book instead of cooking from it here are a few you shouldn’t miss…

Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan
Although it does contain four recipes, Michael Pollan’s new book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation is not a cookbook, but it is an excellent food book.

Cooking Confidence by Joanne Weir

to friend or not to friend?

Ask mom, I just started a new job and I got friends requests from people that I work with, but I don’t know if I want to be friends with them on Facebook. What should I do?
This is a pretty tricky question. On one hand you want to be part of the group, but on the other hand it’s really ok to keep ‘your work’ and ‘your life’ separate and in lots of ways separate is good. It’s a very personal decision. Make sure that you would be happy to have your grandmother read whatever you post or don’t post it!

love the earth day

my assistant and I are busy saving the planet- be back tomorrow


do you know what’s really going on here?

dear mom, I set up a fake Facebook account to find out if some of my friends went to a concert and didn’t invite me. I found out that there was more than one time that I was not included in stuff that they did. My feelings are really hurt. Should I say something?
You must have suspected that you have not been included or why would you try to find out? Instead of confronting the people that you thought were friends try to use this experience to figure out what’s really going on…were you invited in the past and never joined in? were the things they did things that you’ve said that you never want to do? was it very short notice and you weren’t there when the opportunity popped up? are these friends that are just “work” friends and not “social” friends and they made the distinction, but you didn’t? this will also help you remember that you can hurt people without intending to, but the result is the same…


shared wisdom

Dear Ask Mom- along with asking for advice, so many of you offer suggestions for dealing with life day by day and I’m happy to pass along your wisdom…the best suggestions are the simplest:
  • read a books about people who have overcome hardships with grace and dignity and learn from their life experiences
  • try to see things from someone else’s point of view and practice empathy generously
  • there is more than one right way to solve a problem
  • it’s more important to be kind than to be right
  • remind yourself that ‘it could always be worse’
  • never be harder on yourself that everyone else


if you’re a Mexican food loving vegetarian this will make your day…check out

Baked Black Bean and Avocado Burritos

Makes 8 burritos
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, finely minced
1 cup light or regular sour cream
2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 medium avocados, cut in 1/2-inch dice
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups salsa
1 cup shredded light cheddar or Monterey Jack

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine chipotle and sour cream in a bowl. Purée half the beans in a food processor; add to the sour cream mixture. Stir in the whole beans and corn until well combined. Gently stir in the avocado.

Warm the tortillas according to package directions. Working one at a time, spoon one-eigth of the bean mixture down the center of each. Roll the tortillas closed and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the salsa over the tortillas and top with the shredded cheese. Cover and bake 20 minutes until cheese is melted and burritos are warmed through.