About the Author

Photo by Melissa Martin Ellis.

Lisa Smith Molinari is an award-winning syndicated columnist, author, blogger and speaker who came about this business in a weird sort of way….

Lisa grew up in a small town in the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania, where life is more about high school football and hunting season than corporate takeovers and cultural events.  Being somewhat chunky and insecure, Lisa thrived in the manageable environment of her little hometown, attaining some social status in high school as evidenced by her election to the position of Class Clown in 1984.

Although Lisa intended to shake the dust of her small town off her shoes and go to college, she ended up at Miami University in Oxford, OH, an even smaller town.  Worse, she discovered that her hard-earned bachelor’s degree really only qualified her for entry-level sales positions (a plumbing supply company offered her a job selling urinal screens and tank bulbs.) So, she did the only reasonable thing: she went to law school.

After earning a coveted spot on the Law Review and graduating cum laude, Lisa was on top of the world, envisioning a future that included promotions and partnerships. What she didn’t know was that she would fall in love with a military man,  have a bunch of kids, move all over the world, and neglect her legal career to manage their hectic military life.

One winter, while her husband was deployed to Africa for a year, Lisa began jotting down her observations as a way of coping with the chaos of handling the three kids, the dog, and the household alone. Before she knew it, one of her essays got published in The Washington Post, and the rest is pretty much history.

Twenty-three years in, Lisa is still attempting to manage her family.  She does manage, however, to publish her weekly column, “The Meat & Potatoes of Life” in military and civilian publications, including Stars and Stripes, the newspaper for the US Armed Forces at home and abroad. Lisa and her family are currently stationed at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

~ ——– ~

  • Column:  “The Meat & Potatoes of Life,” appears weekly in civilian and military newspapers, including Stars and Stripes, the newspaper for the US Armed Forces.  Lisa’s work has also been published in The Washington Post, Military Spouse Magazine, HuffingtonPost.com, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Providence Journal, several anthologies, various magazines, websites, and other publications.  See In Print” page for specific details.
  • Awards: In 2013, Lisa was a winner in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Annual Contest, and a finalist in the Robert Benchley Society Annual Humor Writing Contest. Lisa’s writing made WordPress’ “Freshly Pressed” list three times, and her blog was voted a Top Military Family Blog, Top Parents of Teens Blog, and Top Military Mom Blog on  Circle of Mom’s  website.  
  • Associations: Lisa is currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and is a member of the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Group, the Association of Rhode Island Authors, and the Newport Round Table Writer’s Group.
  • Speaking:  Lisa’s speaking credits include the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Conference, the Heroes at Home Military Spouse of the Year Awards in Norfolk and Jacksonville, public readings, radio interviews, event emcee appearances, and other engagements. Please see the “What’s Cookin'” page for specific details about past and upcoming events.
  • Contact:  If you would like to feature “The Meat & Potatoes of Life” in your publication or website, or if you are interested in booking Lisa for an interview or as a speaker for your event, please inquire at meatandpotatoesoflife@gmail.com.


Comments: 36

  1. montana happy April 1, 2016 at 6:20 pm Reply

    Great blog – just discovered it. I just started blogging myself. I love your sense of humor and honesty…

    • Lisa Smith Molinari April 7, 2016 at 9:12 am Reply

      Thanks Montana Happy – I write a newspaper column, and so those columns make up my blog. So I always have to have a particular word count and follow journalistic rules. When your blog is not tied to a print column, you are free to roam wild! But I think it helps to be consistent in length, genre and voice. I stray in genre sometimes – I do mostly humor/slice of life pieces, but sprinkle in some serious topics regarding military life and current events. Good luck with your blog, I’ll have to check it out!

  2. Behind the Story November 5, 2014 at 4:06 pm Reply

    So, you’ve been a comedian most of your life. That must be why your humor sounds so natural. I, too, was what some people now call a trailing spouse. I was a teacher when my family moved overseas. For a long time I thought I’d come back to teaching, but after twenty years of living first in Manila and then in Vanuatu, I decided to take up writing.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari November 7, 2014 at 11:02 am Reply

      Cool — writing suits a mobile lifestyle.

  3. read April 19, 2014 at 2:53 pm Reply

    Good blog post. I definitely love this site. Continue the good work!

  4. globalnewsgarden January 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm Reply

    What an interesting biography! You have a wonderful blog!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari January 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm Reply

      Thank you!

      • schultztaylortaytaysauce286 April 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm Reply

        Came across this blog for a writing assignment, and am now a reader! I’m in the process of marrying my fiancé and moving to Ft. Carson with him, from Ohio. It’s great to know that this is out there, and I feel a lot less unsure about my move and future!

        • Lisa Smith Molinari April 10, 2014 at 10:40 am Reply

          Ohio is cool (went to college at Miami U!) but Colorado Springs will be awesome! The military newspaper there is the Mountaineer. My column is carried by about 16 military base newspapers, but I don’t think I’ve contacted the Mountaineer yet. I’ll give it a shot, and maybe you can read my columns the old fashioned way – in print! Thanks for reading and good luck with your move. Military spouses are a supportive bunch, so reach out to other wives when you get there! Congrats on your marriage too!

  5. Margarita January 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm Reply

    Found you through one of the local papers here at Fort Campbell. Love your writing. Witty, smart and descriptive. I share a similar story. No kids yet but I married my high school sweetheart a year and a half ago (after college and some work experience) and now we live in Kentucky in a much smaller place than the big city lights of NYC I always imagined. Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you. Glad to find you!


    • Lisa Smith Molinari January 16, 2014 at 8:31 am Reply

      Hi Margarita! So glad you found me at Fort Campbell! I love feedback from military readers that are far away from me — I’d love to know how my column is doing at Fort Campbell so keep in touch! And yes, those curve balls in life just keep on coming!

  6. Tammy Sue August 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm Reply

    I found your blog through reading the reprints of your articles in the Seabee Courier, a newsletter on board NCBC Gulfport.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari August 22, 2013 at 3:51 pm Reply

      Thanks for looking me up Tammy Sue! Usually the newspapers get my column and print it first, and the I “reprint ” the column on my blog, often adding photos and more information. So glad I’m connecting with military readers!

  7. BulgingButtons July 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm Reply

    I’m glad you were freshly pressed, I’m enjoying your blog!

  8. ASuburbanLife November 20, 2012 at 7:12 pm Reply

    I love your blog! I’m glad you were Freshly Pressed so I could discover you; you have a new follower in me!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari November 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm Reply

      Thanks, and being Freshly Pressed has also introduced me to some great bloggers like you too!

  9. openedlunchbox October 4, 2012 at 9:34 am Reply

    Hi Lisa, I stumbled across your blog looking for some support in the military spouse lifestyle, when I saw you were from Western Pa. I am attending school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, graduating with my teaching degree in December of this year. Currently, I teach at Indiana Junior High. I often read the Indiana Gazette, and saw that is one of the publications your writing has been offered in. I just thought, “What a small world!” I love your blog, thanks for sharing.


    • Lisa Smith Molinari October 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm Reply

      Hi Jackie — Indiana Jr. High! My old alma mater! Yes, my column was published weekly in the Indiana Gazette for almost two years. It was fun and I have lots of readers there, but the Gazette would never agree to pay even a small amount for my work, so I had to find other places for publication. Glad you found my blog!

  10. grandmalin July 17, 2012 at 2:44 am Reply

    Hello! You’re “It” in a game of blog tag – if you’d like to participate, please click here:

  11. Pleun June 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm Reply

    Hi Lisa, I got tagged today and now I am tagging you! Check out http://pleunblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/tag-youre-it/ for the rules 🙂

    • Lisa Smith Molinari June 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm Reply

      I was always one of the last picked in gym, so this is very unnatural for me!

      • Pleun June 16, 2012 at 6:47 pm Reply

        I know, it is a lot of work, just see it as my token of appreciation for what you do. I really like reading your blog!

  12. Mike Farley June 13, 2012 at 8:11 pm Reply

    Lisa, did you fall off the counter?

    • Lisa Smith Molinari June 14, 2012 at 9:00 am Reply

      No comment….

      This was from a get-together with my writer’s group when we lived in Germany. We all decided that we needed new mugshots and other photos for our blogs, columns, whatever. We must’ve taken 10,000 pictures, and NONE of them were good. If they didn’t make us look fat or sick, they were blurry. At one point, I dressed up in the 60’s housewife get up and we were going to get some silly kitchen shots that would go with the “Meat and Potatoes” theme, but every pose was more ridiculous than the next. In this shot, I had truly given up and someone started laughing, and the rest is history. This was the only shot that I liked because I was truly cracking up!

  13. Maz June 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm Reply

    Lisa…find a swarm of bees my honey cause here comes the “smoke”!
    I love, love, love the photo and the bio!!
    I can see that exact photo on the jacket of your first book!
    You look like a serious humorist.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari June 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm Reply

      Thanks Maz — I just hope I don’t get “stung” with all the bees in this business!

  14. indiraadams April 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm Reply

    I stumbled upon your blog through Freshly Pressed, and because I loved your first post so much, I ended up reading just about all of your articles! They were so interesting and funny. You are a very unique person, and that reflects on your work. I look forward to reading your material!


  15. Simon April 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm Reply

    I love your stuff. funny, original, and smart. I love when WordPress helps me find great writers to read. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari April 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm Reply

      Simon, thanks to you too. Your blog is great, by the way – witty, relatable, and well-written. Good stuff.

  16. Kelly February 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm Reply

    Lisa, I just awarded you my very own made up status symbol… the LOL award, because I consistently laugh out loud when I read your blog. To check out the details, go to:


  17. Erin May 26, 2011 at 2:16 am Reply

    Hi Lisa,
    Congratulations on your “win” at circleofmoms.com. It’s an honor to be among such great women on the list. We are a unique group and have a lot to offer to one another and to the community. Keep up the great writing. (My sister and her husband graduated from Miami/Ohio, too!)
    Anyway, I just wanted to reach out to you. I’ll keep reading your blog. This has been motivation for me to write more. I also have a parenting blog at beentheredonethatmom.com, but right now I find that writing deploymentdiatribes is much more therapeutic, for obvious reasons.
    All the best,
    Erin Henderschedt

  18. eliza keating May 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm Reply

    Great blog..happy cruising..ELiza Keating

  19. karin November 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm Reply

    Love your story about trip to Italy!

    ciao da Roma,


  20. Patty Weaver Warren March 17, 2010 at 8:13 pm Reply

    Lisa, hello not too sure if you remember me.I saw we were friends with some of the same people on facebook and i just wanted you to say hi and that i love your articles! expecially the facebook one! how very true you are and soo funny! I too maried a military man o so long ago! on #2 now!! i would love to catch up however after reading your aricle ill let you befriend me if you want to! take care! Patty Weaver Warren p.s. love your profile picture!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari March 17, 2010 at 9:30 pm Reply

      Hey Patty — Of course I remember you! Glad you like the blog, and I will definitely “friend” you on FB!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: