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Free Schoola Kids’ Clothes Donation Bag to Support Art Classes! {Back to School}

imageRaise your hand if you’ve been decluttering, organizing, or shopping for back to school clothes already?  All parents are in various states of back to school frenzy right now, and I’ve got something exciting that’s going to make your life easier. 

Schoola is a site that takes donations of used kids’ clothes and sells them at deep discounts to earn money for schools’ art and music programs.  That means you can clear out your child’s outgrown clothes and buy cheap school clothes for this year in a snap!

  Click here to get your FREE donation bag!

Back to school is one of our favorite times of year at Home Ever After.  Right now, I’m working with Yick Wo Elementary in San Francisco to earn money for their art program.  When you request a donation bag from my  link above, Schoola will donate $1 to Yick Wo and $2 out of every $5 will go to YOUR school of choice!

A quick note:  This is a sponsored post, which means Schoola is compensating me to help get the word out about their amazing store and service.  My opinions are honest, as always, and I don’t share causes if they’re not worthy.


How to Donate Used Kids’ Clothes to Schoola

I know you want to declutter and send your kids’ outgrown clothes to Schoola! You’ll be helping other frugal parents get great affordable school clothes for their kids and helping Schoola give money to schools to fund their arts programs. Here are the easy steps to get you donating clothes to Schoola this BTS season.

  Step 1: Click this link.

  Step 2: On the Schoola page, click the “Donate to Help” button.

  Step 3: On the Request a Bag page, fill in your mailing address (so they can send you the donation bag) and a zip code for a school in your town you want to earn money from your clothes.

  Step 4: Click the “Get a Bag!” button. That’s it!

Schoola will mail you a donation bag the next day to fill up with your used children’s clothes. Mail it back to Schoola (the shipping is already paid) and 40% of the sales of your donated clothes to the school you chose. How Schoola Works

What?  No Music Class?

As a professional writer, creative arts programs in K through 12 schools are very important to me.  I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska and the public schools there still offer art, gym and music classes as a regular part of students’ education. 

When I moved to California, I was shocked to find out that students don’t have music class as a regular part of the week.  My son’s last 2 schools didn’t have art class or gym class either.  The schools didn’t even have gymnasiums!

I’m a singer.  I’m a screenwriter.  I’m a graphic designer.  Being a creative artist is not only in my soul, it’s an integral part of my profession as well.  I found my love and passion for these creative outlets WAY back in elementary school. 

I remember my music classes and art classes from elementary school vividly, even though they were decades ago.  From the minute music class ended on Tuesday, I looked forward to my next  class on Thursday.  In retrospect, I cannot imagine what school would have been like with no specials (art, music, gym). 

The video below shows how requesting a free donation bag to send in your kids’ used clothes can help Yick Wo Elementary school get their art class funded:

 
Click here to get your FREE donation bag!

Make sure you head over to Schoola to do your BTS clothes shopping too.  The prices are amazingly low, so don’t wait to shop the deals.  I spotted a red Disney Belle from Beauty and the Beast shirt this morning on Schoola.  The retail price was $16.99, but the Schoola price was just $3.80.  By the time I went back to complete my purchase, the shirt was already sold!  Don’t wait – shop Schoola now and avoid the back to school store crowds.
 
What are your best memories of art and music from school? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.  What questions do you have about Schoola and how it works?
 
 
FTC Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Schoola and contains Danelle Ice’s honest opinions.

Make Time Count: 2 Hour Weekend

Coffee with Home Ever After

Good morning, friends!  Grab your coffee (or tea or water or other refreshing beverage) and make your time count.  You’ve got 2 days of weekend and – even if you’re the busiest person around – you’ve surely got 2 hours in there that belong to you.

Take those 2 hours (or 3 or 5 or 10) and do something deliberate that helps you achieve one of your life goals.  It may be as simple as writing an email, researching a school program, creating a resume, or reading a book.  The first step in any direction is the same size as every other step: small.

YOUR weekend (the time that you own for yourself to decide/do whatever you want) may be only 5 minutes or a scant 2 hours, but it is enough to make forward progress on anything you want!

Make Time Count

If you haven’t written down 5 life goals yet, that’s a perfect place to start today.  Write down 5 things you’d like to accomplish in your life.  They don’t have to be lofty and there is no right or wrong choice. 

For example, one of my husband’s life goals is to watch every Academy Award® winning movie for best screenplay in order from first awarded to most recent movie.   It’s not on my list, but for him it’s just right.  A step toward that goal is as simple as making a list of the movies, borrowing one from the library, or watching one of the films.

Life can seem too busy for getting what we want if we allow ourselves to get overwhelmed and caught up in the everyday mundane busy-ness of getting by.  Don’t let this weekend slip away without getting one of your steps accomplished.  Just break down your goals’ steps and make the time for one step this weekend. 

Make time count for your 2 hour weekend.  Have a great Saturday and remember: make your DREAMS happen, don’t just let LIFE happen to you!

Signature Danelle

Snapshot of Our Life: Almost the End of Summer

Kids Playing Chase Truett Prynne Home Ever AfterIt’s the end of summer in most places, and everyone’s getting amped up for back to school, goaded by the store school supplies displays.  

Here in Southern California it’s summer all year long.  I’ve been taking advantage of the stores’ summer clearance sales to stock up on frugal kids’ summer clothes like swimsuits, shorts, tank tops, and beach supplies.  We’ll still be using them year-round.

Of course, I’m a sucker for back to school and have started shopping for school supplies and fall clothes too.  The new fall colors and plaids always get me.  Plus, I found some amazing pink glitter office supplies at Staples and Walmart yesterday.

Some days all you can blog about is what you see around you.  That is the snapshot of our life.

Snapshot of Our Life: Almost the End of Summer

Where are we?  Greater Los Angeles area, California

What is the temperature?  70 degrees

What did I do today?  Today I put up an owl bulletin board in my dining room, played Candy Crush, worked on a client’s back to school campaign, made lunch, watched part of Frozen, cleaned out my email, wrote a blog post, and cleaned the house in preparation for my mother-in-law’s visit.

How am I feeling today?  I am feeling tired today – I haven’t been sleeping well lately.

What do I look like today?  No makeup, didn’t comb my hair.  Pink shirt and jeans. 

What does our living room look like?  The living room is clean – it has way too many toy boxes.  I think it’s about time to pack away some toys to the garage and stir up the new-ness factor for the kids.

What did Michael do today?  He worked at his day job today.

What did the kids do today?  Prynne has a fever of 101, so she’s been a sick girl who gets to stay in her jammies on the couch today.  Watching Frozen with a big box of tissues helps.

What was the menu plan today?  The menu plan is on hiatus because of my crazy work/travel schedule.  We’re scavenging in the kitchen this week.

What is planned for tomorrow?  Tomorrow I’m going to finish writing my current feature-length film script.  Michael is on kid duty and we kick off “Operation Get Ready For Grandma” (i.e. house cleaning).

Extra kid stuff:  Seven (4) has been on thumb-sucking tough love for the last month.  I made her a thumb chart and she’s been sleeping with band aids on both thumbs the whole time.  She hasn’t gotten a good night of sleep through the entire process, which means we’ve been having a lot more behavior and attitude problems with her.  This is the toughest habit to break so far; Seven has been a thumb sucker since she was 2 weeks old.

Truett (6) continues to protest the library summer reading program with every fiber of his being.  He desperately wants that free ticket to Lego Land, almost as much as he wants to NOT READ any books. 

Prynne (3) potty trained herself last month.  I bought a special brand/color of pull-ups just for her and that was enough to make her decide she was done with diapers.  She’s been going in the princess training potty for 2 months now and most naps and nights wakes up dry.  Prynne is my earliest potty trainer of all the kids.  I have a stack of 5 diapers left.  It’s a strange paradigm shift realizing that I’ve bought my last box of diapers.  EVER.

Don’t forget to jot down your snapshot today!

Design H_

Sex Tape Movie Review: Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz Capture Essence of Marriage and Blogging

Danelle Ice at Sex Tape Screening

Mommy bloggers are deranged sex maniacs.  No, that’s not right.  Mom bloggers are foul-mouthed neglectful matriarchs who exploit their families in hopes of financial gain.  No, that’s not right either.  There are so many ways the message of the new film Sex Tape could have gone wrong but didn’t.  Sex Tape hits the mark with realism and desperation that no married person leaving this film can ignore.

Last week I went to the advance screening of Sex Tape, directed by Jake Kasdan, to prepare for my interview with Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, and Jake Kasdan the next morning.  I expected a funny movie about a couple whose home sex tape accidentally gets uploaded to the cloud and the misadventures that result from them trying to delete it.  I hadn’t been expecting such a thought-provoking film with a truth-capturing message.


Read my interview with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel:  Sex Tape Movie Q & A


In portraying the essence of a married mommy blogger with a busy family and professional life, writers Kate Angelo, Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller dug deep to present a real picture of this uncharted profession.

There are two possible extremes when creating this portrait:

1- Play up the wife’s dark side with extreme ambition, greed, sexual aggression, exploiting her family for money, crudeness, not getting along with her husband, and setting a bad example for her children.

2- Play up the wife’s sweet side with extreme passiveness, Betty Crocker-ness, lack of interest in sex, complete focus on her family with a choice to not have a career or any professional endeavors, innocence, and dedicating her time to only her husband’s interests.

Sex Tape used neither of these stereotypes, but instead created a very real woman blogger and married couple that anyone could relate to.  It’s not easy to work when you have children.  It’s not easy to keep a strong romantic connection with your spouse when you have children. The challenge for today’s men and women is not to fall prey to the busy atmosphere of grown-up responsibilities to the detriment of your fun-loving romantic relationship.

Sex Tape: The Good

Jason told me in the interview that he hoped people came away from the movie laughing about the funny parts but also having a real discussion about their sex life and making their relationship a priority. He hit the mark 100% with his writing and performance.

We laugh with them, we feel desperate with them. The audience really goes for a ride with Jay and Annie for better and for worse.

Sex Tape is hilarious. The sex tape itself is only about 4 minutes of the film (no frontal nudity is shown and no – there isn’t really any sex) but the costumes Jay (played by Jason Segel) and Annie (played by Cameron Diaz) wear in their video and the skits they act out are laugh-out-loud funny!  If you have apprehension about seeing the movie because of the name, get over it.  You shouldn’t allow the name Sex Tape to keep you from getting the moral of the story, which is as far from sexual as you can get.

I loved the message of this movie and how the portrayal of the husband and wife was right on. This isn’t a stereotypical couple, with a perfect marriage that shows no wear and tear. They aren’t g-rated either (they swear, drink, watch porn, etc.) but they are good people who really love each other.

Annie is presented as a real mom who has professional dreams of her own beyond just being a wife and raising children. She expresses the conflict and guilt she feels about wanting things for herself and trying to balance her own desires with her family responsibilities.

I also applaud the accurate portrayal of Annie’s image dilemma: she wants to be true to herself and to her readers by posting honestly (as with the post about the state of her sex life), while at the same time she is under pressure to censor her truth because Piper Bros. wants only the happy/clean/wholesome side of her to show. She also has to consider that when she blogs about her relationship, she’s giving away intimate details about her husband that he may not want known publicly.

This inner battle of a mother, wife and blogger between honesty-in-all-its-shades and best-face-forward is so purely captured by the film that it could not have been written or acted better.

Synopsis

Jay and Annie are happily married and well into adulthood with 2 children.  He runs a radio station, she is a mom blogger, they are loving parents with busy careers who manage to have time for the PTA, loving their kids and loving each other.  Sounds perfect, right?

At the outset, we get a glimpse into Annie’s insights on the state of her relationship from the blog post she’s writing about the remembering first time she and her husband saw each other naked.  Here is a clip of the blog post that starts the film:



She is in the middle of a discussion with Piper Bros., a corporation headed by Hank (played by Rob Lowe), to acquire her blog.  They want Annie to be  the female face of their brand and are adamant about her having a squeaky clean image in keeping with their brand’s image.  They are concerned about the last blog post about her sex life, but make it clear that if that kind of content is ruled out, their partnership is likely to go forward.

Jay and Annie’s morning routine has them both rushing to work and meetings, shuffling the transportation of the kids to school, and mentioning in passing that they’d really like to have sex sometime soon.  We hear about how they’ve been thinking about the fact that they haven’t been intimate for some time but that they’ve both been too busy to do anything about it or – for that matter – even bring it up.

Danelle Ice at Sex Tape JunketFor a spontaneous celebration of her pending blog sale, Annie decides to send the kids to grandma’s house and surprise Jay with a romantic evening of sex.  She dresses up in roller skates and a skimpy outfit to hint at what’s to come, but the roller skates prove to be too dangerous as she slips and falls hard onto the floor.  Undeterred, they try for their spontaneous evening of lovemaking but find that they are both thinking of other things (kids, work, etc.) and it’s just too hard to focus on each other.

After nearly giving up, Annie suggests that they do all the positions in The Joy of Sex book and videotape their session on Jay’s iPad as something new and different.  This requires that they drink shots to get up their courage, but they finally succeed in making a 3 hour video of their attempt.

Everything is fine until the next day when Jay receives an anonymous text saying that they liked his video.  Because of Jay’s advanced syncing software app, the video uploaded itself to the cloud and to all the iPads Jay has ever given as gifts to their friends, family, the CEO of Piper Bros., and even their mailman.

Jay and Annie start rushing to not only find out who is sending the anonymous texts but also to recover all the gifted iPads and delete the sex video before anyone else watches it.

** SPOILER ALERT **

They find out that the texts are from their best friends’ teenage son, Howard, who has uploaded the sex tape to a site called YouPorn and will publish it the next day unless they pay him $25,000.

Meanwhile, they go to Hank’s house and try to find the iPad they’ve given him, while Annie is shocked at Hank’s un-squeaky clean image and Jay is mauled by the guard dog.

In an attempt to thwart Howard’s blackmail scheme, they break into YouPorn’s office to destroy their servers.  After crashing their vehicle into the building, they sneak into the building with their 2 children in the middle of the night and set off the security alarms.  YouPorn’s owner (played by surprise guest Jack Black) shows up and confronts Jay and Annie, believing them to be spies and saboteurs from a competing company.

It’s only because of the fact that Black’s wife reads Annie’s blog that he agrees not to press charges.  He agrees to take down the video and the rush is on to make it to their son’s graduation in a few short hours.  Jay and Annie come together as a team and realize that it was never about the video, but about being honest and connected with each other and really making their relationship a priority.

**END OF SPOILERS**

Sex Tape: The Bad

Obviously, Sex Tape is an R-rated movie and not meant for children or families. That said, there are some elements in the movie I felt were not necessary and could have been left out.

Language: There is a lot of gratuitous swearing in the film that was not integral to the storyline or the dialogue. The most common language: F-bombs, lots of them. If you’ve ever seen a Judd Apetow film, you’ll know the level of constant swearing you can expect in Sex Tape. I don’t have a problem with Jay and Annie swearing, because it lends to the realness of their characters.  But the sheer amount of swearing was unrealistic and, at some points, actually took away from the story because it was just too distracting.

Teen language: Howard, a young teen in the movie, drops a lot of F-bombs in talking to Jay. Jay also swears at the teen. This placed me in a spot of uncomfortability, because even though he’s an actor, he’s still a child to me.

Drug use: Annie uses drugs in one scene with the CEO of Piper Bros. I was really shocked that it happened because it seemed out of character for her. It also seemed like such a major thing that it couldn’t have really been trivialized later in the movie.

Sex Tape opens in theaters July 18.

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FTC: This is NOT a sponsored post. Advanced screening and press junket were provided to Danelle Ice as a member of the press courtesy of Columbia Pictures and Sony.

Sex Tape Interview: Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel Movie Q & A

Danelle Ice Cameron Diaz Jason SegelLast Wednesday, I was escorted by security into an advance screening of Sex Tape.  A woman guided me to my seat, where I arranged my pink leather jacket behind me in the comfy seat.  Sitting in the theater with my popcorn and bottled water, I wondered if I’d be leaving the theater 2 hours later having my expectations just quietly met or shattered.  Read my Sex Tape film review to find out and watch a special sneak peek.

Sex Tape, the new film written by Kate Angelo, Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller, directed by Jake Kasdan, stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel as a married couple who have fallen into the rut of everyday life with kids.  This movie was of special interest to me as a professional blogger because Cameron’s character in the movie, Annie, is a mommy blogger in the process of selling her blog to a corporation.

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Thursday morning, I headed to the Sex Tape press junket at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills to catch up with Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, and Jake Kasdan for interviews.

Interview with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel

Q: What was it like working with the 3 child actors?

Cameron: Gisele and Sebastian were unbelievable, they were just such good little souls and their parents were so sweet.  You never know what you’re getting with kids who act, you know.  You don’t know if they want to be there, or if it’s just the parents, or if they love it.

Jason: Or if they’re like (breaks out into song and dance).  Thank God I was never like that!

Q:  What did your friends and family think of this movie?

Cameron:  I don’t know.  None of them have seen it, really.

Jason:  Mine will see it tonight at the premiere, but I think they read everything that I do now ever since I surprised them with my p*nis in Sarah Marshall so they’re prepared and excited.

Cameron: And I think that our friends who have children can probably really relate to it a lot.  That’s what this movie’s really about.  The sex tape part is… 4 minutes of the movie.  The real thing is about these people who really love each other, they know that they’ve married the right person, they’re not having a hard time in their relationship, they’re just having a hard time having this part of their relationship be a priority.

And it’s the night that they decide to make it the priority to communicate that to one another and they do something that feels authentic to them in the fun department to them of let’s try to get that spark back. Because of technology, the sh** goes awry.

Jason: I’ve always said (over the past couple days) that one of the things that I think will be really cool for married couples who have been together for a really long time – from my experience there are a lot of couples who are both sitting feeling separately like they both wish they were having more sex and neither of them are having the discussion.

So I hope when people see the movie, the car ride home there’s an interesting phenomenon where they laugh a little bit about how crazy it was and the adventure of it all and then there’s a little bit of silence and this real discussion begins about how we haven’t been having as much sex as we like.  As I was saying that just now, I pictured that my parents are seeing the movie tonight and will be having that discussion on the car ride home.

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573Q:  What were your favorite scenes?

**SPOILER ALERT**

Jason:  It was really exciting to shoot with Jack (Black) because we’ve known each other for a really long time.  We had a great time every single day.  We were in almost every  scene together for most of it…

Cameron:  Except for when you’re with the dog.

Jason: But it was really neat to have Jack show up and come in.  He was just so on it and so funny.  It was really cool, it was really inspiring.  All the nights with Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper were so much fun.

Cameron:  They made us laugh so hard.  Practically everything they said was ad libbed.

Q: What about body doubles?

Cameron:  The flip was a body double.  That was not me.  Not for him.  He did the head stand, that was fun, but that’s it.

Q:  How does it work with keeping in touch after you’re done filming?

Jason:  Well, we keep in touch and say hope you’re doing great, a little text.

Cameron: We kind of move on.

Jason:  I think it’s one of the side effects of the intensity of making a movie is you work really hard together for a short period of time and then you both go on to do other things and other movies.  We’re really excited every time we get to see each other, if we find out we’re going to be in the same city or at a thing together it’s always super exciting but that’s sort of the sad reality of it.

Q:  For the child actors, what’s your advice to them about moving on after a movie?

Jason:  It’s really the responsibility, I think,  of the parents to make sure that their child is capable emotionally of being able to handle it.

Q:  What’s it like to work with somebody that you’ve seen naked?

Jason:  We weren’t really naked.  Unfortunately, we were covered with modesty patches so it was more like going to the beach.  It looks like a flesh colored bikini from Cameron’s side.  For me it looks like snuffleupagus!

Cameron: Because you know we weren’t making actual pornography tape, you know what I mean?  We weren’t having sex.  It was movie magic.  There’s a lot of angles that we took the time to make sure that there was arms in certain places so you couldn’t see the modesty patches, that kind of stuff.  For me and Jason to be walking around with each other like, naked, that’s not really like a professional situation.

Jason:  I was told not to  – by the law!  It was much more like a locker room vibe.  It was sort of like a couple comedians high fiving.

Q:  What is your opinion of mommy blogging?

Cameron:  I think it’s great, it’s a brave thing to do.  You’re putting part of yourself out there into the world and as Annie, my character, sees, the content of her experience in life is being bartered.  She’s trying to make money off of it at the same time, she’s trying to see how much of it she can give and be authentic to herself and also not be too risqué and there’s a lot of questions about how much you give when you’re giving of yourself.

You also want to inform people, you want people to relate to you because you want to feel that there’s people out there who understand you because it’s a tough thing to do being human and being a mother and being a wife, having these responsibilities.

So, I think that it’s definitely one of those things that I say is brave to do but it’s also a choice.  It’s also a decision and it’s a new world, we don’t know what comes of it, we don’t know how it effects us, positive and negatively.  You’re on the  cutting edge of and the beginning of this idea of the internet and blogging and what that means to our society and to the generations and to the children.

You’re revealing about their lives to people, you’re not just sharing your life.  That’s what happens with Annie.  She’s revealing things about her husband that maybe he doesn’t want revealed.  She’s talking about her children that don’t have a choice.  I think it’s an interesting study in sociology.

The fun and laughter of the movie continued into the interview and we really had a great time talking about the making of Sex Tape the movie.   Sex Tape opens in theaters today, July 18.

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FTC:  This is NOT a sponsored post.  Advanced screening and press junket were provided to Danelle Ice as a member of the press courtesy of Columbia Pictures and Sony.