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project you Pursue your passion one dream at a time.

A Role Mommnye Magazi 011 Holiday 2

How Happy Are You? Discovering Your Inner Yogini

Holiday How-Tos

● Dealing with Leftovers

● Shopping on a Budget

● Gifts that Give Back Role Mommy is an online community, events company and a resource for busy parents to rediscover what made them tick before kids. Whether you’re an aspiring writer, an entrepreneur, parenting expert or a mom in need of a good laugh, answers and inspiration, then is the perfect place for you.

Subscribe to our “Role Mommy on the Run” newsletter and if you’re a parenting blogger, join “The List” and receive invitations to events, media opportunities, writing assignments and much more!

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Table of Contents 4 Editor’s Note

Happy Holi-daze


Between us

21 Weekend in Madrid

One woman’s shopping adventure.

5 By the Numbers

24 How Happy Are You?

6 Drink a Little, Read a Little…

26 Be Your Own Health Care Advocate

8 Presents with a Purpose

23 To Grandma’ s House We Go!

10 Decisions, decisions

fun stuff

How much those 12 days of Christmas will really cost you. The best wines for the best books. The joy of giving.

What to eat -- and what not to eat.

12 Hoiday Budgeting 101

‘Tis the season to reign in spending

14 Best Buddies, Best Gifts Ideas for the women in your life.


One mom’s definition of happiness. Why looking out for “YOU” is the most important. De-stress your travel with these ideas.

25 The Ultimate Gift Planning a special mother/daughter trip.

30 Be a WOF

Learn what it means to be a Woman on Fire.

31 My Celebrity Crush

A gay dad’s encounter with his TV love.

15 42 Things to do When You’re 42…

32 Discovering My Inner Yogini

16 Holi-Dog Days

36 My Ode to Football

Ideas for the New Year.

What one Dad will do for his daughter.

17 Ideas for Holiday Leftovers

Transform what’s old into what’s new.

18 Brunching Your Way into the New Year Five ideas for a memorable 2012.

20 Revamp Your Retirement Savings Money smarts to jumpstart your year.

Tapping into the “Om.”

What are you doing Monday night? This gal is watching the game.


Pursue your passion one dream at a time. Editor in Chief

Beth Feldman Passion: To inspire others to stop talking about what they want to do and show them how to just do it!

Managing Editor

Jeanne Muchnick Passion: To live life to the fullest.

Art Director Katie Schlientz Passion: To make the world a more beautiful place, one page at a time.


Toby Amidor Erin Botsford Mitchell A. Chaitin Maria Colaco Danielle Feigenbaum Tammy French Ashley Grimaldo Elizabeth Mascali Cristie Ritz-King Eric Ruhalter Dawn Sandomeno Alma Schneider Mary Lynn Strom Andrea Woroch

Role Mommy is an online community and events company dedicated to inspiring today’s busy parents to pursue their passion while raising a family. Role Mommy hosts online writing and career workshops as well as events that bring entrepreneurs, authors, parenting experts and bloggers together to share how they’ve reinvented their lives while raising a family. For more information, visit and

editor’s LETTER

Happy hol-i-daze


ere at Project You, we’re always a little late to the game when it comes to the holidays. Since you’ve already purchased the must have toys of the season for your kids, bought another ugly sweater for a distant relative and racked up several gift cards for your kids’ teachers, the mailman and newspaper delivery guy, we’re here to remind you not to forget about yourself or the friends in your life who are always there to commisserate with you over the fact that these days, life as you know it just doesn’t seem to be your own. Once we hit the holidays, most of us are maxed out - not just on credit cards - but on finding any time for ourselves. Between work, family, holiday parties and all that shopping, it’s no wonder most parents we know are battling colds, flu, bronchitis, struggling with their weight or facing more serious health issues that they’ve neglected as a result of the demands of parenthood. As we approach the new year, it’s time to start thinking about YOU for a change. Plan vacations with your girlfriends or in my case, take your mom away for a long weekend she’ll always remember. If you’re hoping to keep your weight in check (hard to do while party hopping from one holiday event to another), then Food Network contributor Toby Amidor will provide you with a personal roadmap of low calorie food options. Plus, the gals at Partybluprints are back with a fabulous New Year’s Brunch menu that’ll have your guests salivating. If you’re determined to get in shape, then check out Cristie Ritz King’s yoga adventure with Gwen Lawrence, a pilates master who trains professional athletes and celebrities. Plus, Mitch at GayNYCDad reveals his celebrity crush (Bridesmaid’s Melissa McCarthy) and our favorite dad humorist, Eric Ruhalter offers his latest Kid Dictionary definition of the month. We also share an important essay by Role Mommy writer Danielle Feigenbaum whose life as a busy mom was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. And don’t miss our contest opportunity for amazing writers. We’re on the lookout for the best in blogs and you might have just what we’ve been searching for. Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanza to everyone. Here’s to another holiday filled with wonderful memories, an abundance of joy and lots of great gifts! Best wishes,

Contact us cover photos: ©



A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

Beth Feldman Editor in Chief

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By the Numbers

Ever wonder how much it would cost to buy your loved one all of the 12 days of Christmas gifts? Here’s the breakdown:

Total cost $24,263.18

The 364 items repeated across all the song’s verses would cost $101,119

$184.99 Two turtle doves $125 Three French hens $150 Four calling birds $519.96 Five golden rings $645.00 Six geese-a-laying $162.00 Seven swans-a-swimming $6,300.00 Eight maids-a-milking $58 Nine ladies dancing $6,294.03 Ten lords-a-leaping $4,766.70 Eleven pipers piping $2,427.60 Twelve drummers drumming $2,629.90

© dhanford

Partridge in a pear tree

The PNC Christmas Financial Services Group, Inc projectyou



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Drink a Little, Read a Little (Not necessarily in that order…) You know that white wine goes with chicken and fish; red with beef and pasta dishes. But do you know what to read with a white or a red? By Tammy French

Book: This is Where I Leave You,

by Jonathan Tropper Fiction doesn’t usually make me laugh out loud. This book did. In a nutshell, Judd’s wife left him for his boss, he lost his job, and his father died. What’s not to laugh at? Wine: Markham Sauvignon Blanc 2007 This wine is dry and tart; the perfect complement to the author’s wit and sarcasm.

Tammy F rench

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A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

Book: The Book Thief,

by Markus Zusak The Book Thief is heart-wrenchingly sad but beautifully written. The story, as told by Death, follows Liesel, a girl who is sent to live with foster parents in Nazi Germany. Its story starts with the death of Leisel’s brother, and as Death watches, she steals her first book. Death can tell you the rest.  But take my advice: Have some tissues handy for the end. Wine: Montinore Estate Pinot Noir 2008 This wine is deep with a spicy taste; Thief leans toward the dark, but has hopefulness as well. That yin and yang makes these a perfect match. And they’ve both made it to my top ten lists of 2011.

Book: Me Talk Pretty One Day,

by David Sedaris If you need an escape from the stress of holiday chores, this is it. It’s not LOL— it’s LSHIC: I laughed so hard I cried. In the first half of the book, Sedaris writes about growing up with his crazy family in North Carolina, but the tears of laughter fall later when he tells of his life in France. “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (the essay from which the book gets its title) is about his hilarious effort to learn to speak French. Wine: Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Crisp and refreshing, just like Sedaris!

images courtesy of vendors


Book: Before I Go to Sleep, by S.J. Watson

Book: Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman

Every night, Christine goes to sleep, and every morning, she wakes up not remembering the day before—or anything that’s happened in her adult life. Calling it a “page-turner” is an understatement. It was so suspenseful, I read the entire book in one day (ask my kids; they had Oreos for lunch that day). Wine: Blackstone Merlot 2009 This Merlot is mellow and smooth, and uncomplicated enough that my focus stayed on the book. With Blackstone, you get a lot of bang for your buck: it’s inexpensive, but it doesn’t taste it.

An oldie, but a goodie. It’s about witches, but not the Halloween kind. It’s magical and realistic at the same time; it’s about love, but it’s not a “love story.” It’s unique, exhilarating and upbeat (and not at all like the movie). I was breathless at the end. Wine: Markham Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Lush and rich, and surprisingly well paired with chocolate desserts! Wine, chocolate and love—is there a better combination? ■

Tammy French is a mom of two and has worked in the publishing industry for 15 years as a writer and an editor. You can read more of her book and wine recommendations at projectyou



project you By Katie Schlientz

➌ ➋

Presents with a Purpose

Wrap your holidays with a new kind of warmth – the joy of gifts that give back.


ant to feel good about all that money you’re spending this holiday season? Make your “something special” even more extraordinary by choosing among the following gifts where a portion of proceeds go to charity.

➊Sago, A Very Special Service Dog Did you know that it takes approximately $25,000 to breed, raise, and train a service dog? Pawsative Tales, Inc. is a non-profit organization that helps ease the cost by providing funds for the training of service dogs that help people with disabilities. ✽ My Pick: Sago, A Very Special Service Dog is a beautifully illustrated story that teaches children about service dogs and how they should be treated. Proceeds from Sago ($15 for the soft cover) go to New Horizons Service Dogs, an 8


A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

organization that partners trained dogs with disabled children and adults.

➌ Gifts that Give The shtick: Select the cause you love, shop for what you want, and—voila!—for World of Good every $5 you spend, $1 goes to the by eBay charity of your choice. There’s lots of gift selects to choose from—apparYou can find anything and el, home decor, jewelry, and beyond thing on eBay these days, thanks (think The Leukemia & Lymphoma in part to the World of Good. The Society or The Ronald McDonald site is the world’s largest multiHouse, among others). seller shopping center for socially ✽ My pick: Sure I could get this Thymes and environmentally responsible shopFrasier Fir Votive Candle elsewhere, but at ping. Check out the “Goodprint” label on each a mere $11 with $2 going to charity, it’s a noproduct to see how your purchase contributes. brainer. My grandmother, a breast cancer sur✽ My Pick: This adorable blue and green owl vivor, will love the gift and make me feel good is going to go perfect in my nephew’s nursery. about giving something so meaningful. Made with recycled materials, the $20 gift helps

Katie Schlientz

create employment for women through Trillium Artisans.


➎ ➍ TOMS

images courtesy of vendors With TOMS’“One for One Movement,” a pair of new shoes will go to a child in need for every pair of shoes purchased. As of September 2010, TOMS has provided over 1 million pairs of new shoes to children in need across the world. Even cooler? TOMS has recently expanded its line to eyewear. With this purchase, TOMS will give sight to a person in need… ✽ My pick: My mother in Syracuse, NY – known for its frigid winters --is going to keep her toes toasty in these $89 Highlands Fleece Botas.

➎ Hooray for the Underdog Sending out holiday cards this year? How about helping out some animals in need at the same time? Photography team Janet Healey and Joe Grisham feature rescued animals on their fun greeting cards. Do you know how long it took me to snap a picture of

my dog Stella sporting antler ears last year? This is so much easier—and cuter (sorry Stella)—and it helps pets find good homes. My pick: Box sets of 20 start at $14.95. Plenty to send out to the family.

➏ Oxfam America Unwrapped Talk about a “win-win:” You pick the gift, your recipient receives a great card featuring the item you selected, and someone in need gets a donation. Oxfam America is an international relief organization that creates solutions to poverty and hunger. You can provide essential animals like honey bees ($18) all the way to a camel ($125). ✽ My pick: By purchasing a cow for a family for $75, you can provide an entire economic support system that will provide milk for that family to sell and it even mows the grass! This is the perfect gift for that “hardto-shop-for” person on your list. ■

Katie Schlientz has written for a variety publications including Woman’s World Magazine, InTown Westchester, and The Bridal Book. She graduated from Canisius College and is the proud owner of a Master’s Degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. When she’s not writing, Katie is designing for her company, SophistiKate Design. projectyou



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contest Project You’s 1st Annual Blogger Contest

Are you a blogging pro? Or do you have your favorite blogs bookmarked in your internet browser? Project You wants YOU to vote on our Facebook page for the best bloggers of the year! ● How to enter: Visit the Project You Facebook page, and tell us the web address of your favorite blog (and why you love it) in the comments section of our contest post. (Look for the fun image above!) ● How to win: The bloggers with the most votes (ie. comments) will make it to the second round. The top three bloggers will be seleted by the Project You Magazine staff! ● Prize: P  rizes will be announced on our Facebook page soon, but the top three bloggers will score a write up in the “Love Yourself” issue of Project You (hitting sites everywhere in February 2012!)

Click here to vote now!


Decisions, decisions Good news: You can keep your weight at bay this holiday season by making smart (er) choices. By Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN



o you toss your good-for-you choices out the window come holiday time? Think about these last few weeks of 2011 as the last inning of a tied baseball game. This is the last time this year you’ll be able to make healthier decisions. So make them count!

✗ Instead of… Eggnog ✓Choose… Apple cider, wine, or champagne. One cup of traditional eggnog has a whopping 350 calories, 19 grams fat, and over 50% of your daily recommended amount of saturated fat. Cut your calories by two-thirds by sipping on a cup of steaming apple cider or 5-fluid ounces of wine or champagne. Both have around 120 calories and are fat free.

✗ Instead of… Mini hotdogs (a.k.a. pigs in a blanket) ✓C  hoose… Shrimp cocktail with sauce

© CareyHope

Four mini hotdogs will run you around 310 calories and 22 grams of fat—plus these babies are packed with a laundry list of preservatives and additives most of us can’t pronounce. Opt for 4-ounces of shrimp (that’s a couple of jumbo) with 2 tablespoons of sauce for around 130 calories and 2 grams fat.

✗ Instead of… Rib roast ✓ Choose… Baked ham A large chunk of rib roast can weigh in at over 1,000 calories and contain almost double of the daily recommended amount of

saturated fat. Even if you stick to the 4-ounce portion, you’ll still be chomping down on close to 430 calories and over 50% of your daily recommended amount of saturated fat. Instead, opt for 4-ounces of traditional glazed ham with 250 calories and much less artery clogging fat.

✗ Instead of… Scalloped potatoes au grain ✓C  hoose… Roasted brussel sprouts or sautéed string beans

A serving of potatoes au gratin weighs in at close to 400 calories and 14 grams fat. Instead, go simple with your veggies by roasting, broiling or steaming them. One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has 65 calories and one gram fat while 1 cup of sautéed string beans (cooked in 1 teaspoon oil) has about 85 calories TobyAmidor and 5 grams fat.

Toby Amidor

✗ Instead of… Apple pie a la mode ✓ Choose… One medium cookie or bite-sized goodie

Don’t end your meal by downing close to 550 calories on pie and ice cream! Instead, scan the dessert choices and choose 1 small piece of your favorite treat like a cookie, piece of chocolate or peanut brittle. You’ll cut back on several hundred calories in a flash. ■

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University and a nutrition expert for She has appeared in a variety of media outlets including Good Morning America Health, Good Day New York, Self Magazine, Us Weekly Magazine, WebMD, and Working Mother Magazine. projectyou



project you Holiday Budgeting 101:

Tips to Keep Over-spending at Bay ‘Tis the time to pull back the spending reigns and prepare for holiday gift expenses. During a time when most shoppers are reducing their spending altogether, it’s especially important to make a realistic budget for your gift list. By Andrea Woroch


hile the following tips are intended to help you manage holiday spending, many are applicable to saving money all year ‘round.

is not letting it eat into the money required for everyday items, including food. Consider developing a menu for the week to reduce unnecessary food purchases, and use websites like to develop dishes around what Make a budget. you already have in your pantry. When you do The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2011 head to the store to stock up on provisions, Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Sur- arm yourself with printable grocery coupons vey reported that holiday shoppers plan to spend from such sites as CouponSherpa. an average of $704.18 on gifts this season, representing a slight decrease over last year. Making a Trim your gift list. budget is a no-brainer, but challenge yourself to The spirit of the season often yields nevgo under budget this year. Track your spending er-ending gift lists, especially when you’re using the Toshl app to keep tabs on what you’re surprised by presents from people who didn’t shelling out and how much you have left. make the cut. Trim your gift list to essential recipients and come up with inexpensive toCut down on dining expenses. kens for everyone else. Homemade goodies, ‘Tis the season for holiday dinners at expensive cards with heartfelt wishes and offers of serrestaurants, but this expenditure is the last thing vice (babysitting, for example) are great opyour budget needs. Replace the annual white-tablecloth celebration with an intimate gathering at home. Guests can bring a dish to share and everyone can comfortably converse without interruption from servers or obnoxious patrons.




Refrain from personal purchases.


Reduce everyday costs with resourcefulness.

This one is tough during a time when bargains abound, but it’s especially important to avoid making purchases for yourself when you still have people on your gift list. That same NRF study reported the average consumer will spend approximately $130 on gifts for themselves. Imagine the dent you could make in your recipient list using that cash.

The toughest part of budgeting for holiday gifts 12


A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

© LilliDay


Holi-Daze Shopping late (like NOW!) can help save you bundles.

tions for neighbors and coworkers and can be produced last-minute.

© ChristopherBernard


Research gifts to find the best bargain.

Santa never misses the mark by making a list and checking it twice, so take a hint from the jolly man in red and do the same. Once you develop a list of essential recipients, bargain shop for gifts before making your final purchase. It’s tempting to get all your shopping done over a weekend just to get it out of the way, but doing so means missing out on bargain-rich opportunities.


Know return policies.

Retailers tighten return policies around the holidays, so be sure you read the fine print before making a purchase. Price matching is all the rage these days, too, so it pays (literally) to know a store’s policy on compensating shoppers who find better deals elsewhere. Walmart recently announced it will provide gift cards in the amount of the price differ-

ence, and Bed Bath and Beyond will even price match items found on


Shop early...and late.

With all the advice circulating about when to land the best deal, it ultimately pays to shop throughout the holiday season. Make a game plan for Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases with these do’s and dont’s, and don’t forget about Free Shipping Day for last-minute items. The one-day online event is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 16 and features free shipping offers from over 2,000 merchants with delivery by Christmas Eve.


Pay with cash.

It’s not easy sticking to a budget and the holidays make the task even more challenging. Paying for purchases with credit cards is risky since the “I’ll pay for it later” mentality breeds over-spending. Opt to pay with cash and experience your hard-earned money disappear from your finger tips. This sight alone will make you think twice about unnecessary or overpriced purchases, and help you stick to your budget. ■

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. projectyou



project you

Best Buddies, Best Gifts

Where would we women be without the proverbial shoulder to cry on? Or drink with? Here, a way to show your girlfriends you really really appreciate them. By Maria Colaco

Maria Colaco

Maria Colaco writes about her life at NewYorkMom. WordPress. com. She is a dancer and choreographer in NYC and lives in the burbs with her husband, kid and giant dog. You can find her on Twitter at @pluslily. 14



our BFF totally deserves a little something this holiday season. After all—who was consoling you when that rotten-no-good-excuse-of-a boyfriend broke up with you, who held you back from harming your 5–year-old when he practiced his scissor skills on your gorgeous one of a kind Valentino, and who is always up for an impromptu girls night of movies and popcorn? Here, some awesome and fab gifts under $100.: For The Techy: Your tech savvy girlfriend is always looking for ways to carry her goods in style. This ultra trendy yet classic ipad case will have her looking sharp while at the office or laying poolside. Marc by Marc Jacobs Tech Pretty Nylon ipad Case; $68; For The Jetsetter: For all those impromptu weekends out to the country for wine tastings, whale watching

A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

or just plain ole girls’ nights in, you MUST have this carryall bag from Kleintools; $50; For The Fashionsta: It doesn’t get any better than Balenciaga on a budget! Balenciaga L’Essence candle, $65, For The Runner: Touch Screen Friendly gloves mean no more frozen fingertips when she switches her playlist mid-run. Lucy e-Tip Running Gloves; $30; For The Crafter: Skip the sewing books and go for the stencils. Not your grandmother’s stencils but the next era of art with the funky deigns of Ed Roth. Stencil 201 with Ed Roth; $25; For The Cook: How lucky are you to have a cooking friend? To make it nice for both of you, opt for the Paella Gift Set from SurLaTable. $66;

all images courtesy of vendors


Project You Magazine, Holidaze Issue 2011  

This is the 2011 Holidaze issue of Project You Magazine.

Project You Magazine, Holidaze Issue 2011  

This is the 2011 Holidaze issue of Project You Magazine.