Fun Stuff The Ultimate Gift T
By Beth Feldman
his past fall, my mom and I set off on an adventure to Spain. While we were only spending a quick weekend away in Madrid, we were determined to carve out time for some serious retail therapy. After an evening flight zipped us across the Atlantic, we arrived Friday morning, dropped our bags off at the hotel, and literally shopped till we dropped. Here’s what we found along the way...
Boots, Boots, Boots! Why should Puss have all the fun? When find it in New York too, but at that moment, I felt as if I had hit it comes to boots, Madrid has cornered the market. As we Spanish gold. walked along Puerto del Sol near Plaza Mayor, we encountered Trendy dresses, belts and bags - During any shopping trip, dozens of shoe stores and I must have tried on nearly a dozen there’s always one store you wished you had made a purchase pairs of boots. Unfortunately, since I’m plagued with big calves, and for me, Desiqual was the one that got away. We wandered I couldn’t find a style that suited my fancy, but trust me, if you into the store at the start of our shopping jaunt and I instanthave normal size legs, you won’t be disappointed. ly fell in love with their bright colored patchwork bags, belts, Gorgeous Leather Belts and Bags: As dresses and flouncy tops. While I dewe stumbled across dozens of souvenir cided not to make an impulse buy, I shops with handbags and accessories regretted it the next day when I met made in China, I was determined to find a woman in our tour group who had a authentic Spanish leather. Ironically, I gorgeous bag that she had purchased found exactly what I was looking for in from—you guessed it—Desigual! the lobby of our hotel, the Westin PalWhile the store was closed when we ace. Founded in 1846, Loewe Madrid tried to return, there is a silver linhas become one of the most exclusive ing. It turns out Desigual has stores leather retailers in Spain and they sell in Manhattan and Westchester, New gorgeous hand bags and belts. In a moYork. Shopping anyone? ment of weakness, I treated myself to a Flea Market Finds - By the time Sunreversible chocolate/black leather belt day arrived, all the stores were closed, with gorgeous sterling silver buckle. but that didn’t stop me or my mom. Fashionable Winter Coats Anyone? After visiting the Prado museum, we Even though we were thousands of hopped aboard a double decker tour miles from home, we wandered into bus that drove past the El Rastro, the Zara- which has stores in the US, but biggest flea market in Madrid. Since I’ve never hopped in (what was I thinkthe crowds were gi-normous, we opted ing?) After perusing the racks, I fell in to buy our souvenirs right near the love with a charcoal gray coat with a Prado and even purchased a gorgeous Mom and I on a quick shopping cape and hood ensemble that felt so Euoriginal oil painting by a local street break. Notice the silver belt ropean and chic. Sure, I can probably artist for $60! ■ buckle I’m wearing...one of my fabulous finds in Madrid.
Be a WOF
Tap into your inner passion but being a Woman On Fire By Jeanne Muchnick
hat are you on fire about? That was the hardships of aging parents. Me? I talked about question posed at a recent “Women on my midlife career crisis transitioning from “old Fire” tea I went to at Lady Mendel’s in media” to “new” and how I’m still struggling to New York City. And, boy, did it get me thinking. find my place. We all want to live our lives with passion and What I found so rewarding was the love in integrity. Women, especially. We thrive on shar- the room – the connections I made in a short ing – and spilling – as a way to better ourselves, three hour period -- that made me feel like I had learn from each other, and draw inspiration from known these women for ages. I later told my siseach other’s energy. Which was what I found ter, how incredible it was what you’ll say to perso amazing about this late lunch/early dinner. fect strangers. And how awesome it can be, how Life Coach Debbie Phillips does this tea parties those who don’t know you, can have such clarity and vision on what is best for you. These regularly across the country, assembling a vawomen really listened in a way that felt riety of women across all walks of life, safe, secure and authentic. most of whom have never met (in my I left the tea feeling recharged, like group, half had been before and sort my battery had been rebooted and of knew each other, half didn’t). It was like going to a therapy session TheDinnerMom.com that the world – even the new media one – could be my oyster. The wom– but with 12 therapists offering aden had made me feel good. And I felt vice instead of one. good knowing I had helped others. It Debbie starts off the teas welcomalso was pure bliss to completely disconing everyone and doing a little ice-breaknect from the world (no cellphones allowed!) er by asking everyone where they grew up, and and sit and enjoy a leisurely tea with a successlater, after we’ve networked and munched on ful Life Coach who knows how to steer the conscones and tea sandwiches, what we were “on versation in ways that kick start your brain, all fire” about. Some were there because they were wrapped in a warm hug that assures you you’re sober 20 years and counting, others had started never alone. new businesses or had found new careers postDebbie is all about listening to your heart and raising-their children. Others were more emothe “inner flame” that guides us, if only we would tional: A woman thinking of divorce and trying listen. Check out her site, but more importantly, to be strong about it, a single mom struggling think long and hard about how to invest in yourwith her new empty nest, a woman dealing self and make 2012 your best year ever. ■ with her dysfunctional family, dealing with the
Jeanne Muchnick has published hundreds of parenting and lifestyle articles for various publications and websites including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Woman’s Day, Parents, and Westchester Magazine. Tonight, she’s having her “famous” mustard chicken for dinner (go to her website for the recipe.) 30
Jeanne Muchnick, right, poses with Debbie Phillips.
A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011
Melissa McCarthy in a scene from “Mike & Molly.”
My Celebrity Crush Y Melissa McCarthy shows her “real” side. By Mitchell A. Chaitin
ou know how you think to yourself, “You about being large in an industry where the talk know you’ve made it when….?” Well my always goes back to her being overweight. She “when” occurred recently when I got to also shared about trying to keep some normalcy meet my celebrity crush at an Ivory Soap event. in her life as the mom of two young daughters, Not only did I get to meet Melissa McCaespecially after her winning an Emmy. rthy, star of Mike & Molly–I got to make I confess, I had been watching her for her smile most of the evening. She struck me as So what does one say to their cemore “real” than many other celebrities. lebrity crush? I’ve read enough in I suspect she’s tired of the red carpet GayNYCDad.com my blogging career to know I can’t treatment – just my hunch, but when ask the same questions she gets all you’re the mom of two young girls, the time. I need to bring something your focus is not on celebrity living as different to the table – after all, I want much as saving for the kid’s college and her to remember me for at least a minute enjoying their youth. Which is why I always after she’s on to her next event. go for the parenting questions when I’m at a “meet And so: I took the honest route–this after scrap- and greet” like this. Parenthood is what keeps these ping my way to the front of the media horde that celebrities grounded, and this is what we all share, was scrambling for her attention. I told her I was no matter who’s “famous” and who’s not. a gay dad blogger and was part of the “chubby I admire too, that she is not the stick figure chasing” crowd that thought her large TV co-star, stereotypical Hollywood star. She is a large Billy Gardell, was quite attractive – she was hys- woman who doesn’t hide her body--she walks terical at the thought! She promised to tell him, if around proud, making her–at least in my humble for no other reason, than to see him turn bright opinion–a real role model. It was a real pleasure red. I got my moment! to meet a “star,” someone who had just been on Melissa had a personal assistant/publicist/pit- stage winning an Emmy award, and who ten minbull who was more than happy to keep us “little utes later seemingly enjoyed talking to some rent people” away from her. But Melissa wasn’t hav- stabilized guy from down the block. ing any of that; until she was needed on stage, The biggest reward? My 8-year-old son loves she was more than happy to share her time with the show and thinks his dad is “cool” for meeting all of us non-traditional media types. She spoke “Molly” from Mike & Molly. ■
©2011 Warner Bros. Television. All Rights Reserved.
Mitchell A. Chaitin
“Daddy Mitch” is a NYC-based stay at home dad who blogs about the fact that his 8-year-old son has two dads. His biggest joy? Sharing with the world the fact that we all have more similarities than differences. Go to www. gaynycdad.com for more information. projectyou
Discovering My Inner Yogini I Thanks to a new DVD by Gaiam, I’m all about the “om.” By Cristie Ritz-King
Yoga instructor to the stars Gwen Lawrence debuts her Gaiam Fit Body Yoga DVD at Laughing Lotus in NYC.
A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011
used to hate yoga. I kept trying classes at the suggestion of other people. “It will help your asthma.” They said. “You’ll feel better after long runs.” They promised. But all the chanting and incense coupled with my utter inability to quiet my mind meant sure failure for my life as a yogini. I was an athlete after all. What use did I have for yoga? It was just another four-letter word. Ten years and three kids later, I have a profound appreciation for yoga. After trying just about every conceivable exercise that a busy working mom can fit into her life, I went back to give yoga a try. To my surprise, I realized it was exactly what I needed. Like running, yoga gives me a chance to focus on my own wellbeing, guilt free, for a few hours a week. As a mom, that is a rare but valuable gift. Unlike running or spinning or many other effective, but high-impact exercises, yoga is good for all of me. There is no pounding or straining, just stretching and realigning and breathing. What more could my tired body ask for? Coupled with running it is the perfect one two fitness punch. Yoga is the yin to my fitness yang if you will. While I practice regularly, I still don’t go all in for full-blown meditation and I’m not, like millions of other women my age, a devotee of Bikram. Instead, I’m more of a community center yoga girl -- a middle of the road yogini who is happy to find the 60 (or 30) minutes of peace when I can get it. Which is why, when I was invited to attend a class with Gwen Lawrence, at the very hip Laughing Lotus Studio in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, I jumped at the chance. I knew of
Writers grab a yoga mat and stretch away the stress.
Gwen from a few exercise TV segments I have seen of hers. She is a yoga teacher from Rye, NY and her background in massage therapy and fitness training makes her an athletes’ dream yoga teacher. Gwen teaches regularly and is also the yoga teacher for many pro athletes in the New York area. Her new DVD from Gaiam, Fit Body Yoga, is perfect for everyone from the reluctant beginner to the devoted practitioner. The class at Laughing Lotus was everything I hoped for. The studio manages to be both funky and gorgeous, with graffiti-covered walls and floor to ceiling windows throughout. And Gwen? She was as fantastic in real life as she is in the videos I’ve come to know at home. She worked us out with the precision of a fitness
professional and the softness and grace that are the essence of yoga. We held positions designed for tired arms and backs because she was teaching a room full of writers and she imagined (correctly) that we needed to make amends for days spent hunched over laptops. The class was challenging enough for yoga regulars but Gwen explained everything so that even the newest student could follow along. My only complaint was that she doesn’t teach closer to my house. The good news: thanks to her new Gaiam DVD, I can practice yoga like a rock star every day in my own living room. For information on her DVD visit the Gaiam website or Gwen’s personal site, YogaWithGwen.com. ■
Cristie Ritz King is a Certified Health and Wellness Counselor at Real Life Wellness. Cristie’s approach is based on helping people keep the joy in eating while being joyful about how great they look and feel! Cristie is also the Founding Editor of The Right Hand Mom Blog and Co-Founder of Jersey Moms Blog. She and her husband share their house with three silly kids and a cat that thinks it’s a dog which no one really minds. They are proud to call Red Bank, NJ home. projectyou
✽ Connect with Your Teens Through Pop Culture and Technology Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture and Technology helps parents keep up-to-date with pop culture and technology as a way of bonding with their teens, tweens or young adults. ✽ The Partybluprints Blog is a Real Girls’ resource for entertaining in style. Its mission is to bring you the latest news, hottest trends and most importantly, tips and ideas for entertaining in your home. Its mantra is “simple and special” – the rule for each and every post. ✽ TravelingMom.com is a survival guide for moms who travel. TravelingMom.com brings real life travel stories, tips and advice aimed at helping moms who travel achieve positive and smooth experiences whether they are adventuring with their families, staying at home, or traveling solo. ✽ Tammy blogs at Three Different Directions. She and her family are really just a bunch of geeks, spending most of their time in front of their pcs playing WoW, blogging and just spending time together learning more about technology and themselves as they go along. She recently launched an entertainment blog, Play That Now, where she talks about DVDs, Video Games, Music and Gadgets. ✽ Freebie Spot is a place to get a little something for nothing. Find all the great deals on the web including freebies, coupons, and more all in one spot. You can also find some great giveaway and product reviews as well as personal posts about my crazy kids. ✽ Motherhood Moment is a blog created by Bekah, who she shares tips on everything from saving money and time to meal ideas and free time activities. She is a work-athome mother of 1-and 3-year-old daughters.
✽ Biz Mommy provides inspiration, educational resources, mentorship and support for women and moms who want to start their own home-based businesses. My goal is to serve as a motivating catalyst for women to make the move from self-doubt and procrastination to fearlessly creating a successful blog and online business that they love. ✽ The 24/7 Mom Heather is a 30-something year old SAHM to 4 crazy kiddos (11, 6, 3, 1). We live in Iowa with our 5 budgies and 2 lovebirds. When I’m not blogging, you’ll find me out at the soccer fields watching of the many practices or games we go to, reading, or digital scrapbooking! ✽ Rural Mom is about empowering moms with the right information and tools to enjoy country life to the fullest! On RuralMom. com, you will find exciting article on women’s topics, reviews, green living, freebies, and a whole lotta frugal... from the desk of Barb Webb, author, eco-farmer, and mom of three. ✽ The Mom Jen is a former elementary school teacher who writes for The Mom Reviews, an online product review and giveaway site. She and her family love traveling around their home state of California reviewing hotels, restaurants, and family activities, parks and events. ✽ Go Graham Go is a savvy parenting blog featuring products, tips, and fun ideas for parents. Come find the best bang for your buck and collaborate with other parents! ✽ The Mom Trap is a blog dedicated to capturing the moments of motherhood, from the toddler years to the college years and beyond. ✽ Mommy PR is a group of 5 women who have varied backgrounds in marketing, sales and management. MommyPR.com specializes in Online Marketing, Social Media, Product Reviews & Giveaways.
Check out all the incredible partners who will be distributing Project You on their blogs and contributing to our magazine this year! Check out www.ProjectYouMagazine. com as more of our partners are featured! ✽ Sarah Peppel is a freelance writer, columnist, mom blogger (Genesis Moments & DIY Frugal), communications professor, speaker, actress and plain ole’ mom to her two growing teen girls. She is also president of womens ministries in her presbytery and president of the neighbor homeowner’s association. ✽ Momma Young at Home is a blog dedicated to family life, crafts, recipes, reviews, giveaways and more! ✽ Simply Being Mommy is a parenting blog written by Crystal Reagan, wife to one amazing man and mommy to three adorable children. She enjoys the finer things in life and is on a mission to find the most extraordinary products for you and your family. ✽ Dumb Mom is the brainiac behind the slightly-less-popular-than-it-rightfully-should humor and parenting blog, Parenting BY Dummies. She dicusses childhood, parenthood, and all the hoods in between as she partners with Dumb Dad in raising three sometimes-evil-but-shamefully-handsome boy geniuses. ✽ My name is Kimberly and at Pretty Pink Momma I enjoy sharing chic mom must haves and fab family finds. Product reviews and giveaways are offered weekly. I also blog about my three boys and my journey to become a healthier, happier me. ✽ At Just Precious, Julie Meyers Pron blogs about parenting and education from the perspective of the parent, the teacher and the PTO director. Readers love Just Precious for Julie’s positive spin and encouragement, her realistic look at all parts of education, and her entertaining parenting stories. The Ask the Teacher series allows parents to ask anything and receive frank, honest opinions on educational and parenting issues. ✽ Susan M. Heim, a parenting author and
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Chicken Soup for the Soul editor, shares her personal and professional thoughts and experiences on raising children in today’s world. Family-friendly product reviews and giveaways are often featured.
✽ Skimbaco Lifestyle by lifestyle expert Katja Presnal, offers inspiration to live life to the fullest from latest trends to healthy living. Skimbaco means enjoying life in the moment, it is your modern carpe diem.
✽ Woman Tribune is a daily-updated webspace for women that explores and discusses our Woman Wide World. It was founded with the mindset that no one has just one interest or one topic they like to read about and we strive to have a little something for everyone, regardless of their location or lifestyle.
✽ Obviously MARvelous is a site that combines the life and adventures of Mar, a funny, tattooed, outspoken wife and SAHM of 3 with awesome product reviews and giveaways!
✽ Cristie Ritz King is a writer, wife and mom of three and performs these roles daily, in no particular order. She blogs about her kids, pop-culture and all things music and television related at The Traveling Circus and as a founder of Jersey Moms Blog. On her business site, The Right Hand Mom Cristie handles her role as Baby Planner and Parent Educator much more seriously-although never too seriously.
✽ Have U Heard is a family friendly website that provides the latest in celebrity, entertainment news website. Have U Heard is the go to place for the latest in pop culture news, television previews and recaps.
✽ Confessions of an Overworked Mom is the place for busy moms to learn about ecofriendly, time saving, gourmet products. ✽ Shari Simpson is the editor of NJ Mommy Poppins and blogs at “Earth Mother just means I’m dusty”, where she expounds on mom-fabulosity, kissing pugs on the mouth. and bearing children in the nick of time before menopause set in. ✽ BabyNameWizard.com is the online home of baby name experts Jennie Baird and Laura Wattenberg. Baby Name Wizard’s addictive tools including NameVoyager, NameMapper and Name MatchMaker, are a fun way for parents andparents-to-be to explore a new world of naming choices. BabyNameWizard. com was named one of TIME’s 50 Best Web Sites and one of the American Library Association’s 30 Best Free Reference Sources on the Web.
✽ Visit Los Angeles Mamma Blog for money saving tips, product reviews, and musings on all things baby and toddler related.
✽ All Kids Are Celebs is a new website that features the child in your life. All Kids Are Celebs is a place for you to talk about the accomplishments and the funny things the child in your life says and does. All children are celebrities in their own right. You no longer have to be born into the right family or be related to a famous person to be a celebrity. All Kids Are Celebrities is a website that stars your child. You write the story, submit it (with or without a photo) and we’ll post it for everyone to see ✽ Cinnamon Hollow Reviews is owned by a stay at home mom of 4 who is always on the lookout for product and services to help keep the household running smoothly. Our mission is to bring products to families that help make their life a little bit easier and a lot more fun.
Check out all the incredible partners who will be distributing Project You on their blogs and contributing to our magazine this year! Check out www.ProjectYouMagazine. com as more of our partners are featured! tantrums. Joey is also co-founder of Moms On The Spot (www.MomsOnTheSpot.com - a video segment show) where she hits the streets with her partner Tara Bucci (www. BabyMommaBlog.com) to find out what moms really think about products, places and events. Safetly helmets included. ✽ Linda Grant is the founder and editor of NycSingleMom.com where she writes about her adventures raising her adopted daughter in downtown New york City. ✽ GayNYCDad.com is a review and personal blog about navigating parenting in NYC with an active public school attending child, who also serves as an assistant blogger! ✽ Rich Single Momma, chronicles Samantha’s journey to financial freedom. She also offers wealth, health, and single parenting tips and articles for single moms with a touch of humor and a lot of compassion mixed with tough love. ✽ Wrestling Addicted Mommy isn’t just another “mommy blog”. Gina tends to talk about life as a woman who’s also a wife and mother, she tries to be not only a family friendly blogger, but a blogger who can appreciate that even as a mother, we’re all still adults and women first and foremost! ✽ Jennifer’s blog is mami2mommy. Her family is from Peru; however, she was born and raised in New York. Coming from a bilingual family is probably the reason she often uses the word, “Spanglish” She currently I reside in Georgia with her husband, and 5-month-old son.
✽ Joey Fortman, a Philadelphia radio & tv host is the founder of Real Mom Media. Her site Real Mom in the Media is all about her life as a mom while working in media. You’ll find everything from TV segments to
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My Ode to Football This girl’s guide to the Super Bowl.
t’s Monday night. And instead of tuning into the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or Dancing with the Stars, this girl is curled up in front of my big screen watching football. Gasp! The horror! While I may need a ten-step program to overcome my football addiction, what’s more annoying is the reaction I get from friends and co-workers about my programming selection. While most of the talk around the water cooler involves American Idol song selections and who salsa’d their way to the top this season, I’m bursting with giddiness to discuss stats, touchdowns, and the latest updates on injuries. I mean, come on… Did you even SEE that play last night? Sigh. I didn’t think so. I love my circle of friends—I do!—but it’s very hard to find true fellow female football fans. Some girls talk the talk, but when it comes down to actually watching football, it’s a whole other ball game. I don’t want to discuss what player has the cutest butt. And I certainly don’t care what celebrity femme fatale the quarterback is currently dating. Kim Kardashian, PLEASE stay away from my NY Giants! You’d think the men in my life would be a little more accommodating… in fact you’d think they be
A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011
drooling over a girlfriend who believes fall Sundays mean football and either chicken wings in the oven or chili in the crock. But that’s not the case. My latest ex-boyfriend laughed at the thought of me joining his fantasy football league. (Maybe that’s one reason he’s an “ex”?) The hardest game to sit through, however, is on Super Bowl Sunday. While I love hosting—or even attending—what has the potential to be the party of the year, I grow increasingly frustrated. I love the Super Bowl commercials as much as the next guy, but I can’t stand the chatter that continues once the game is back on. Is it too much to ask to be able to actually watch the game? (Side note: we are speaking of the championship here!) I apologize in advance if I shush you during one of the most important plays of the game, but I promise to return the favor while you watch the talking babies, dancing chimps, and powerful pugs breaking down doors to tout the latest in consumer goods. So don’t judge me on Super Bowl Sunday, when I jump up to yell at the ref’s lousy calls, balancing a tortilla chip bathed in salsa in one hand and my glass of red in the other. It’s football, after all, and just like a true woman – I don’t want to spill on my new jersey. ■
© www.istock.com/ asiseeit
By Katie Schlientz
Worried about how to get dinner on the table when you’re NOT a cook?
So were these other busy moms...who found solutions in Dinner for Busy Moms (Plain White Press): Your book is chock-full of wisdom and humor. I really appreciate how your advice helps assuage the guilt I often feel when I serve takeout…again. I now have a firm conviction that no matter what ends up on the table, my family and I will eat dinner together.
—Marsha G., New Rochelle NY
You have made brilliant use of other’s tips, etc. Your approach to the whole book is fabulous. This should go viral.
—Laurie Z., San Francisco, CA
I started the book at 1 a.m. and finally put it down around 2:15 a.m... LOVE IT! ... makes me want to head out to the grocery store and fill my empty cabinets!
—Jenn K., Indianapois, IN
Go to www.thedinnermom.com for more info.
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