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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



project you

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

nd AB ookA



.net ABottle

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 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.

Book: Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman 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: Prizes 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) ✓ Choose… 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 ✓ Choose… 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

resolutions 42 Things to Do When You’re 42

© CGinspiration

In my ongoing quest to do what I love despite work, family commitments and not enough hours in the day, I’ve decided to come up with 42 things I’d like to accomplish over the next year. By Beth Feldman ❑T  ake my mom to Spain for an unforgettable birthday celebration....Check! (You can find our adventure on page 21). ❑L  ose 15 pounds - no this time, I really mean it. ❑G  et back to singing more than just once a year. ❑P  lay tennis with my husband on a regular basis. ❑T  ake my son away on a special trip. ❑P  lan my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah and not get stressed out along the way. ❑ Girlfriend retreat with my closest friends. ❑ Get published in one women’s magazine. ❑ Put the gadgetry away when I come home from work. ❑ Tell my husband and kids that I love them very much even though they sometimes drive me nuts. ❑ Read at least 10 great books. ❑ Go to at least 5 movies by myself. ❑ Take my husband to see the Book of Mormon ❑ Plan to return to Jake’s

Resort in Treasure Beach, Jamaica ❑ Plan a mediterranean cruise for my entire family to take place in the next two years. ❑ Re-connect with old friends. ❑ Call my old friends more often. ❑ Don’t let work stress get to me. ❑ Learn yoga and clear my head for once. ❑ No more Diet Soda! ❑ No more splenda! ❑ Enjoy drinking water ❑ Attempt to jog 1 mile on a treadmill ❑ Attempt to jog 1 mile on a road ❑ Take dancing lessons with my husband. ❑ Get back into fitness classes at my gym ❑ Throw one dinner party where I actually cook and don’t cater in. ❑ Be comfortable wearing a bathing suit this year. ❑ Bat Mitzvah Botox...or Knee Fat Lipo - that is the question? ❑ Finally learn how to ski.

❑ Travel more with my family - travel less without my family. ❑ Surround myself with positive people and purge the pessimists once and for all! ❑ Be candid with people who truly piss you off. ❑ Pay it forward to givers. ❑ Stay away from takers. ❑ Volunteer my time to causes I feel truly passionate about. ❑ Encourage my kids to give back to the community. ❑ Smile more, stress less. ❑ Do what I love, love what I do.

❑ Convince loved ones in my life to take a leap of faith and do what they love too. ❑ Be a cheerleader for those individuals who are truly making a difference in the world. ❑ Write about what I love.




project you E By Eric Ruhalter

Eric Ruhalter studied economics at Dickinson College, in Carlisle PA, where he learned, first and foremost, that he’s not the least bit interested in the theories and principles of economics. So rather than study, he began spending most of his time writing. Don’t tell his father. He works in television in New York City, and resides in New Jersey with his wife, Kara, three children, and their two cats who will not stay off the dining room table no matter what Eric says or does to them. (Eric often speaks in the third person with hopes that it will make him seem more important.) 16


Holi-Dog Days

very single year, pretty much since she could talk, my daughter has asked for a puppy for Christmas. Do you know what I do NOT want? A puppy. Do you know what I’m picking up on Saturday morning? A puppy. That’s going to be Maya’s present this year. I know she’ll live up to her commitment to take care of it. And I know that this will be a lucky dog that will be very very loved. Just not by me so much. I do “love” dogs. However, I don’t want to live with one. It will bring chaos to an already chaotic place. In the spirit of the holidays, however, and to reward my daughter for being so wonderful day in and day out, as well as to help her develop her sense of responsibility, she’s getting her “treat.” She deserves this dog, so while I’m not willing to embrace this idea, I’m willing to tolerate it. (Read: Won’t be first to clean up his excrement.) And feeling the way I do it’s easy for me to question the merit of this Puppy as a “Present” As, is it really? A “present?” It’s a “responsibility.” And a “chore.” And it’s “like having a baby who makes you go outside in the freezing rain to wait for them to go pee.” But a “present?” I don’t know. I guess that’s not my problem. But I hope it makes for the Merriest Christmas ever for my little girl. And that this dog knows better than to chew any of my stuff. ■

KidDictionary Word:


(sher-TERBD) adj.: The annoyed state of a child who just received an article of clothing as a present.

Eric Ruhalter


The (d.a.) D-LIST of

Less Cheery Christmas Carols ● The 12 Days of Cleaning Up After Christmas ● Chest Hairs Roasting on an Open Fire ● Splinter Wonderland ● Frosty the Death Row Man

A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

● S leigh Brake Failure

Extradited to Town

●H  ark! The Herald Angels Escaped the Asylum

● Check the Halls (For Signs of Lice)

● I had a Little Dreidel, Till it was Confiscated by a TSA Agent at the Airport

● Rudolph the Reindeer Assassin

● Santa Claus is Being

● Have Yourself Arrhythmia

What To Do With Holiday Leftovers


Yes, Virginia, there is new life for all that ham … By Alma Schneider


he holidays abound with leftovers, which mean it’s pretty easy to get sick of ham and mashed potatoes – again and again. Here, some easy ideas for how to transform what’s old into what’s new – giving you time to relax and stay out of the kitchen.


Leftover latkes are the perfect accompaniment the next day as hash browns with your eggs. You can also throw them into omelets.


How many crackers do you end up tossing in the trash from various dip and cheese platters? Think outside the cracker box …..those tasty morsels can be ground up in a food processor to bread chicken tenders, make a crunchy topping for mac n’ cheese, or used as a thickener in certain sauces. You can even mix them into pasta dishes for extra flavor.

© YinYang


for quiches, omelets, quesadillas, and sandwiches. Don’t forget to save the hock for pea soup.

How many times do you spend a small fortune on gourmet cheeses only to have either partially Turkey: eaten rectangles or tons of different varieties at We all know about leftover turkey for sandthe end of the night? If they have rinds, freeze wiches but how about turkey salad mixed and save them for flavoring soups or riwith mayo, instead of chicken? Or Asian sotto. Take the cheese that you have turkey stir fry with vegetables, turkey salvaged, grate them or melt them potpies or even turkey inside of a suall down and put them in lasagnas, shi roll? Save the carcass, throw in pasta dishes, grilled cheese sanda pot with water and make a stock. TakeBackThe wiches, quiches or anything else Take as much turkey as you can from that calls for extra cheese. the bone, chop it up and freeze it in a ziploc freezer bag, making sure to reHam: duce the chance of freezer burn. Double Slice off unused ham, chop it up and freeze it in bag it just in case and you can pull out the defreezer ziploc bags. You can always use it later licious turkey months later. ■

Alma Schneider

Alma Schneider is a Licensed Clinical Social worker, food writer and chef . She is the founder of, a blog and consulting business helping people overcome their practical and psychological obstacles to cooking. She lives in Montclair , NJ with her husband and four children projectyou



project you

Brunching Your Way into the New Year By Elizabeth Mascali & Dawn Sandomeno


New Year’s brunch is the perfect solution for those whose intention was to entertain during the holiday season but just couldn’t get to it. It’s also a smart choice as it allows your guests a little extra time to sleep in before coming to your place for a few hours of eating, toasting and ringing in the New Year. Plus, with brunch served buffet style, guests can eat at their leisure from breakfast through lunch. Here, five tips for a memorable New Year’s day.



A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

Basic Brunch Tips (excerpted from Plan to Party):

selections. Keep it simple! Identify which serving dishes and utensils you’ll need for each menu item and arrange Set dishes, napkins, and flatware near your them on the buffet surface. This can be a time buffet.  If you have enough room to seat all sucker if left until the day of the brunch.  Use your guests, preset your table with place cards extra place cards to identify each dish. If space and allow each guest to find their spot, fill their allows, place an eye catching floral arrangement glass and then take their plate to the buffet. in the center of your buffet. If don’t the space, This prevents a balancing act with create small satellite arrangements, beverage and utensils.  If you don’t and place them throughout the area have enough space, make sure where your guests will be dining you bring in extra seating and and mingling.  Resist the temptaoffer flat surfaces for drinks tion to add sparkle to your buffet nearby. with candlesticks – they’re never Depending upon the number a good idea when guests are of guests, collect a variety of reaching and may be distracted by chit-chat in the buffet line. dinner dishes from your kitchen Set up a separate dessert buffet and borrow the rest. Do the same with luscious and decadent desserts. for flatware. Having a variety is very vintage.  This saves you money on paper Everyone will remember this! Include cofproducts and generates less waste. fee, tea, cream, sugar, spoons, dessert plates, Set up a “help yourself” beverage station with and napkins. For more tips on planning your Brunch a signature cocktail (our favorites: French 75, sparkling wine, Prosecco, Champagne), pitch- Menu, visit the PartyBluPrints website. ers/carafes of fruit-infused water, sparkling waFor more ideas and inspirations for hosting ter, and iced tea.  You may choose to offer wine a brunch, visit and beer, but don’t get into offering too many and type in “Brunch” in the search field. ■


© Alexandra Mascali

Yummy desserts will leave your guests happy.

Elizabeth Mascali and Dawn Sandomeno are party and lifestyle authors, bloggers, and social media hostesses. Their first book, PLAN TO PARTY, (Yorkshire Publishing) offers ideas from their blog andis a go-to resource for home entertaining. projectyou



project you

Revamp your Retirement Savings You want to quit working eventually, right? Here, answers to jumpstart your new year. By Erin Botsford

Learn more about retirement from this book, available at



A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

The steps:

● Reignite Your Dreams – Honestly assess where you are in your life and where you would like to be. Write down your ideal place to live, what you want to be doing, and who you want to be with. ● Quantify – Determine your expenses based on the following: needs, wants, likes, and wishes/desires. Everyone defines these factors differently so outlining them will clearly show you your lifestyle, investment risk tolerance, and what you consider a priority in your life ● Define your expected sources of income – Figure out how you will pay for everything. Will you receive income from a pension, social security, and/or other dependable income sources, such as rent, royalties, or payments from a settlement? ● Calculate Your Existing Financial Resources – Determine the liquid assets that you could turn into investments to provide income to support your lifestyle. Examples include cash savings, stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts ● Find the Gaps – Calculate whether you have enough money to live your desired lifestyle. Subtract the total amount needed from you anticipated income to determine if you have a shortfall or surplus. ■

Courtesy of erin botsford


on’t we all wish we had a Financial Fairy Godmother that could guide us towards the right money path? Especially this time of year when it seems like money is going out the door faster than it is coming in? Which is why we turned to Erin Botsford’s new book, The Big Retirement Risk, to help you get you where you want to go – in other words define your Preferred Future based on creating a Lifestyle Driven Investing plan.

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Between US Weekend in Madrid Who needs another handbag? My mom’s 70th birthday, called for some serious across the pond shopping.

Our whirlwind weekend adventure in Spain included an amazing sightseeing trip to Segovia

By Beth Feldman


hen I was growing up, my mom always told me that every day was a holiday - which meant as friends celebrated Christmas or Chanukah, we never kept track of how many gifts we’d be getting that time of year. Instead, if I wanted a clothes, or a pair of shoes or a remote control Barbie car, I simply asked for it and if mom had the time and the cash available, she’d get it for me. Did that make me spoiled? Not really - it just made me less fixated on waiting until the holidays to get a special gift from my parents. As I grew older, I was fortunate enough to be given the gift

of travel. From the time I was 10 years old, my parents took me with them to see the world - from Israel, to Italy to Greece, England and many places in between, I spent quality time with my parents - visiting ancient ruins with my Dad and finding the best shopping deals with my mom. When it came time to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday this year, I decided I wanted to truly make it special. Sure, I could buy her a piece of jewelry or a fancy handbag, but this time around, a wearable gift just wouldn’t do. Instead, I wanted Mom’s present to be something the two of us could treasure projectyou



project you I’m convinced the villagers featured in this painting were the inspiration behind the characters in “Shrek!”

for a lifetime. And that’s why I decided to whisk her away for a weekend in Madrid. When it comes to my mom, she deserves only the best in life. We both share an incredible bond with one another - she’s more than just my mother - she’s my best friend. When I was a teenager, I used to spend my weekends shopping at the mall with Mom. She’d be the one schlepping me to voice and dance lessons and when I had a problem, Mom was always there to listen and at times, provide a shoulder to cry on. Although she had a grueling full time job, Mom always managed to be there for me and for that, I am truly grateful.

like it popped straight out of a storybook. They say the castle from Sleeping Beauty was based on the one in Segovia and I believe Shrek was set in this quaint village too. In fact, there’s a painting in the castle whose townspeople bear a striking resemblance to the entire cast of characters. We also learned while the castle had been destroyed by fire (it was re-built in the 19th century), Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand met there with Christopher Columbus to discuss his plans to explore the New World. When we returned from Segovia, Mom was feeling a bit under the weather and though I attempted to drag her to a few more stores, she Fast forward to my was simply too out of sorts, so we took a taxi ideal getaway….. back to our hotel. Mom felt terrible that we Since Mom was about to leave the East Coast couldn’t extend our evening and I re-assured her and head to Florida, I decided I had to make our as long as she got a good night’s sleep and felt travel plans pronto and so, with the help of my better in the morning, it didn’t matter that we travel agent friend, we booked a weekend get- missed a few shopping opportunities. The next away to Spain that included time to shop, eat, go day, we hit the Prado Museum and then hopped sightseeing and shop some more. We literally aboard a double decker tour bus that whisked spent our first day shopping in Madrid until we us through the streets of Madrid. By the time dropped, saving the next morning for an all day we turned around, our day was nearly over and sightseeing excursion to Avila and Segovia. it was time to say goodbye to Spain. And while The two of us marveled at the architecture, our trip was a short one, it didn’t matter. Mom the paintings, and the majestic churches. and I got to spend quality time together in one When we arrived in Segovia, I instantly fell in of the most beautiful cities in the world - sharlove. It’s one of those places that truly looks ing an adventure we both will never forget. ■ 22


A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011


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The Definition of Happiness Fatigue. Anger. Annoyance. Hardly the traits you’d use to describe a well-adjusted, happy person, right? Wrong! By Mary Lynn Strom


t’s 7:00 p.m. on a typical school night. My 3-year-old son, Matthew, is running down the hall. He’s butt-naked, with tears streaming from his Dora Explorer-sized brown eyes. “I DON’T WANT YOU, MOMMY!” he yells. “GET AWAY FROM ME!” He picks up his pajamas—the ones I’ve been begging him to put on for the past 15 minutes—and throws them down the steps. My 5-year-old son, Owen, however, is in a playful mood. So playful, in fact, that he’s smearing fluorescent blue toothpaste all over the white bathtub in the bathroom. “Please brush your teeth,” I say for the umpteenth time, feeling impatience pump through my veins like blood. I am tired and spent from a long day of children—my children—ignoring

The author, with her boys, Owen, left, and Matthew, right.



A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

my instructions and adding unnecessary cleanup to my own bedtime routine. Raising children with an extraordinary man—you’ll meet my husband later—in the suburbs of New York is what I’ve always wanted to do. Being part of a healthy family unit, watching two young boys flourish and grow, and creating a home full of domestic bliss may sound like a 1950’s cliché to some, but to me, this is unexplored, even privileged territory. I am thrilled with this life. It makes me deliriously happy. Except of course, during daily occurrences like this one, when my blissful existence feels more like—how should I put it?—a kind of fresh hell. Fatigue. Anger. Annoyance. Hardly the traits you’d use to describe a well-adjusted,

Between US happy person, right? But even at these trying child-rearing moments, if you ask me if I’m happy I’d give you a resounding, YES. Still, recently, when my sister-in-law asked me to write an essay about my own happiness— a subject, which everyone from Aristotle to Oprah has tried to conquer—I had to put my own state-of-being under the microscope: What is true happiness? Does it mean you’re never mad? That you never cry? That you’re never stressed out of your mind? That you’re always in a state of euphoria? Knee-deep in this essay, the questions keep coming: At 40 years old, I have a life filled with deadlines, “have-to” appointments, and a short supply of free time. Is this what it’s all cracked up to be? DON’T WORRY, BE…??? Twenty or so years ago, I remember sitting on my mom’s family room couch feeling decidedly unhappy. The spark inside me just wouldn’t ignite. When things were good, they never felt great. When they were bad, they never felt horrible. I wouldn’t say I was drowning in a sea of depression, but my emotional pendulum didn’t swing very far. I was stuck. And here’s the weird thing: Nothing was wrong. My magazine career was taking off. My phone rang off the hook with friends extending daily invites to fabulous restaurants, exotic parties, and intimate gettogethers. How could I be lonely if I was never alone? Perhaps I just needed more exercise. I joined a gym in hopes that an endorphin overload could summon my nerves out of their comfort zone and into the depths of actual feeling. But just like everyone else on the treadmills, I was exhausting loads of precious energy and getting exactly nowhere. When things didn’t improve at the gym, I changed how I spent my time: I worked more. I dated more. I socialized more. I left myself little time for serious thinking. This of course, was fruitless. After all, loneliness can tap you on the shoulder in the most crowded room, and Starbucks only keeps exhaustion at bay for so long.

There was only one thing left to try: therapy. I was more than a little reluctant: 60-minute sessions? Gulp. What would I talk about for a whole hour? What would I say? Ironically, though, talking about my unhappiness is where my road to real happiness begins. I won’t bore you with the gory details, but I will tell you that sitting in a high-backed chair in a bland, slightly dark Mount Kisco therapist’s office is where I began to understand that real happiness has nothing to with career, or Studio 54-caliber parties, or even exercise. Instead, it’s like a drum that beats peacefully inside of you, keeping perfect time with the rhythm of your life. In other words, I guess that’s my clunky way of saying that for me, true happiness is about living a life that’s in sync with who you are and what you want. Sure, it seems obvious but the truth is, achieving personal happiness takes a lot of hard work—those therapy sessions were grueling! Maintaining your own happiness is even harder. It’s kind of like working at a marriage: You have to constantly put it at the top of your priority list, while life’s everyday demons—the kids, the carpool, the dry-cleaning, work, deadlines, dinner—invisibly erode what’s not vehemently protected. That said, you can certainly be a happy person who has unhappy moments. Happy people, I believe, at times, get mad, they cry, and succumb to stress—but they always bounce back. And if you’re living in a perpetual state of euphoria, well, you can thank your medication for that. So today my own happiness comes from a life that agrees with me: living with a great guy—sorry, I never did introduce you, did I?— and going through the trials and tribulations of raising two terrific children. And while I’m not particularly excited about launching my kids’ usual bedtime routine tonight—after all, it’s probably going to include another pajama-throwing tantrum, streams of tears, and toothpaste where you’d least expect it— let’s just say, I wouldn’t miss it for the world, either. ■

Mary Lynn Mitcham Strom, the founding editor of the InTown Magazine network, and a blogger at small bites, has written about parenting, food, travel, and home decor for a variety of national and local publications. In 2006, she, she was named a “40 Under 40 Rising Star” by the Westchester Business Council. She lives in Northern Westchester with the three people who make her the most happy: her husband, Adam, and boys, Owen and Matthew. projectyou



project you

Be Your Own Health Care Advocate Why looking out for “You” is important as looking out for everyone else.


By Danielle Feigenbaum

’ve always considered myself a lucky person. where I happened to remember to ask about that I grew up in a loving family with lots of won- follow up sonogram. It turned out the nodules derful friends. I was fortunate with the things had grown – and grown a lot. I had a biopsy and that matter in life, we all had good health and I the results were not good. The idea that I had never wanted for much. I married my handsome cancer was unthinkable. I’m only 36, not a smokhigh school boyfriend ten years ago and we have er, exercise, etc. etc. Plus, I felt fine. two amazing children. But, here’s the reality: On October 21st I had In 2008, I thought my luck was a total thyroidectomy and I now have to beginning to run out when, get iodine radiation treatment. When during a routine physical, the doctor recommended I follow up my primary care physiregularly, to rule out any cian examined my neck rence, I could only think in my head, and felt something hard. “I’m not making that mistake twice!” I got a thyroid sonogram It’s rather ironic that when I asked my which showed a few small nodsurgeon if there was any rhyme or reason ules, which I learned is very common. for me to have thyroid cancer, he simply reThe follow up sonogram six months later plied, “It’s just bad luck.” showed that the nodules had grown slightly, Fast forward to why I felt compelled to write my but I was told to “just keep an eye on it,” and not story. We all get so caught up with Life that we forto be too concerned. Well, we all know how life get the most important thing: Remember to be just is, you take care of your kids, your husband, as vigilant a health care advocate for yourself as the house, your job and, more often than you are for your family. Be proactive! Get a yearly not, you don’t take care of yourself. It’s physical by your primary physician (don’t just rely so easy to forget. on your gynecological exams - although you need That’s what I did. I forgot about the those too) Ask questions, get involved, stay on top nodules on my thyroid. After all, I felt of your health and, most importantly, take care of healthy, so I thought I was okay. Fast for- yourself. I learned that when you are proactive with ward to a routine exam this past August your health, your good luck can last a lifetime. ■



Advice for Good Care ● Be open and ask around. Once I started telling my friends what was going on with with me, I was amazed at how many people knew someone with thyroid cancer. One person even used the same surgeon as I did.

● Get at least two or three opinions (more than that will just confuse you). You will know in your gut which doctor or surgeon to go with. Do your research and get a few opinions on your condition.

● Don’t surf the web. If you want to do a little research online, be careful what sites you go to. WebMD is a good choice as is Thyca, which I used for my research. In general, most sites may just freak you out even more.

● Seek support. There are support groups for pretty much everything nowadays. You can find a support group in your area to talk about your condition and get useful information.

A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

© Creativeye99

Danielle Feigenbaum, former a Television Marketing and Promotion Executive at CBS and ABC Networks, joins Role Mommy and Project You as a regular contributor. Danielle lives in Westchester with her husband, Andrew and their two kids - daughter Alexa, 6 and son Jordan, 3.

Between US It’s important to keep your kids engaged on the

To Grandma’s House We Go!


Holiday travel tips to keep you sane. By Ashley Grimaldo Lacing Toys

alking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous. But a mid-transit chat pales in comparison to the distraction of driving with one (or two!) children wailing in the backseat. As parents, we can mentally cope with crying kids to and from the grocery store. But long-distance trips need more finesse. Here, a few ideas for glitch-free holiday travel.

Snack Container

A signature trademark of a kid-friendly car is a Hansel and Gretel-worthy crumb collection on every surface. If you can overlook this completely annoying parenthood perk, I applaud you; otherwise invest in some creative cups. Munchkin offers an ingenious design with handles and no spill rubber top--two for under $7. Sporting a similar design but with an attachable rope (and additional solid top) is the Spill-Proof Snack Buddy Cup from One Step Ahead.

© skynesher

Window Shade

Getting on the road is tough enough; stopping to shade a sunset shouldn’t be on your list of priorities. Grab a light-cutting window shade to curb the brightness. Measure your windows and buy the widest shade possible, making sure you have enough visibility in your back and rear passenger windows. Check out your options at Great Baby Products for window shade reviews.

Kids above age three (who don’t suffer from motion sickness) will work on lacing boards for hours. Growing Tree Toys has a fantastic range of simple lacing activities, like necklaces and ABCs, to complex connecta-dot boards. Bring a bucket to set in your child’s lap so that she can contain the blocks without dropping them on the floor.

Finger Puppets

For the dramatic types in your crew, a set of finger puppets can be a space-saving lifesaver. My favorite are high-quality puppets that tell a familiar story, like Thumbelina or the Frog Prince from puppet master Folkmanis, but folks on a budget can definitely afford IKEA’s popular set of circus characters or animals for just $4.99.

Favorite Music

Not your favorite music, mind you. Junior may not appreciate the vocal stylings of Rihanna for hours on end (and, honestly, you shouldn’t either). Enjoy some traditional Disney favorites and throw in some award-winning movement songs from Hap Palmer and Joe Scruggs to keep the mood kid-friendly. Bring on talk radio when it’s time for a snooze.


So what if you have to clean up the residue later! Bubbles are total fun for all ages, especially when the road seems never-ending. projectyou



project you

Ashley Grimaldo comes from a long line of penny pinchers and enjoys blogging on money-saving tips and advice for frugalminded parents. She lives with her husband and three children in Bryan, Texas. Ashley has been featured among such media outlets as Redbook, The Chicago Tribune,, and CBS News-Houston. 28


Small Baking Sheets

This ingenious idea from Family Fun keeps the ever-present I-dropped-it-on-the-floor wail at bay. Use a conventional (but smaller) lipped baking sheet as a drawing, magnetic and keepit-all-in-one place surface. Glue one or two layers of foam shelf paper on the bottom to make Barf Bag it less likely to fall and affix white contact paClose to 30% of people are susceptible to mo- per to the top for the drawing surface. Turn it tion sickness, and kids are no exception. The into multiple activities by attaching magnets barfies can strike at any time--there’s no guar- to buttons for checkers or bingo games. Older antee that your child will or won’t get sick on travelers might prefer a more sophisticated a road trip. Prepare for the worst by investing travel kit like this one from Martha Stewart. in a few leak-proof barf bags with fun pictures printed on the outside and show your child iPad how to “cough” into it if his tummy starts to No, I’m not a fan of hours of screen time for hurt. And bring an extra couple of towels just little eyes, but during a road trip this godsend in case. is a total catchall. From apps for all ages to music and movies, the iPad is the perfect deNeck Pillow vice for tiny travelers. Purchasing gift cards This is a tricky one. Your younger child may or at a discount from sites like GiftCardGranny may not like the feeling of something so close can help you pay for the pricey device at such to her neck. Try it on short stroller trips ahead retailers as Target and Walmart, who are curof time to practice. If your kiddo will wear it, rently offering deals on iPad 2 bundles. Then, she’ll be far more comfortable during naps. let your kiddos learn letters with Starfall or Pillow companions like the Dora neck pillow everything nursery-rhyme cooky from Duck attach to the straps of your car seat or stroller, Duck Moose. When all else fails, strap it to making it a bit more accessible. the seat and watch a movie. ■

A Role Mommy Magazine l Holiday 2011

© patrickheagney

Unless you have an older child, mom or dad needs to commandeer the liquid and blow them toward the back. The best bubbles on the market, hands down, come from Gymboree. These bubbles float forever and the solution never dries out.

project you

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 of my fabulous finds in Madrid.




project you

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 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

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

Fun STuff

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 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. for more information. projectyou



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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

Fun STuff

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,  ■

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. ✽ is a survival guide for moms who travel. 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. 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. ✽ 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 ( - a video segment show) where she hits the streets with her partner Tara Bucci (www. to find out what moms really think about products, places and events. Safetly helmets included. ✽ Linda Grant is the founder and editor of where she writes about her adventures raising her adopted daughter in downtown New york City. ✽ 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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project you

Katie Schlientz

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. ■

© 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.

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You have made brilliant use of other’s tips, etc. Your approach to the whole book is fabulous. This should go viral.

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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!

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Project You Magazine, Holidaze 2011, entire issue  

This is the 2011 Holidaze issue of Project You Magazine. Full version

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