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project you Talking with Angie Harmon A reading list for you (and your book club)

Pursue your passion one dream at a time. A Role Mommnye Magazi 11 Spring 20

Why Moms Rule: A Tribute to the women in our lives 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


Every Issue: 4 Editor’s Letter

A Tribute to Moms

5 Between Us

Spending time with Angie Harmon, Road Tips, How to be Happier at Work, Summer Reading List plus more.

12-14 Charge It

Five-Minute Fixes to Glammify the Most Harried Moms Plus Shopping Smarter

15 Money Talks

Getting You and Your Spouse to Talk Finances.

16 Party Time

The ABC’s of Outdoor Entertaining.

17 Your Self

Boost Your Brain Power.

18 F  amily Travel

26 Want to Lose Weight?

19 Your Home

28-31 Mom Musings

20 F  eel Good

32 Being a Parentless Parent

21 D  inner Mom

34 If Cancer is a Gift, Why Can’t I return it?

Your summer adventure awaits.

Spring cleaning with your family’s health in mind. 10 Tips that Can Change Your Life (in 10 seconds or less). “Dishing” at the Dinner Table.

23 Baby Talk

Beyond Coco and Suri.

24-25 Your Kids

Fun in the Sun with AnnieWear; A “Sweet Tweets’ lunch.

Real Diets (not fads) for Real Women. A roundup of essays on the mother/child relationship.

An excerpt from Allison Gilbert’s new book.

One mom’s brave foray about one of life’s hardest subjects.

36 Why Summers & Camp Belong in Maine Oh those starry nights …

40Last Laugh

Oh, Brother Comic Strip Winner.

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.


Mark Allen Judy Antell Jennie Baird Candida Canfield Maria Colaco Danielle Feigenbaum Linda Grant Allison Gilbert Dayle Herstik Susan Hirshman Amy Tara Koch Brandi Koskie Elizabeth Mascali Rebecca Morley Eric Ruhalter Dawn Sandomeno Brant Secunda Jen Singer Lenore Stoller Laura Wattenberg

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

Contact us cover photos: ©



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011


A Tribute to Moms W

elcome to the May/June issue of Project You. Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’ve lined up a fabulous array of heartfelt essays, informative articles, fabulous finds, travel destinations and much more. In this issue, my own mom (see photo on right) shares why we’ve become the best of friends, while our Managing Editor, Jeanne Muchnick, takes the opposite approach and lists why she’s not BFFs with her daughters. Best selling author Allison Gilbert writes how her parenting skills have been impacted by not having her own parents in her life, and poet and grandmother Dayle Herstik reflects on her own amazing mom - who lived 99 years and touched countless lives along the way. In every issue of Project You, we tackle the topics forever burning in our minds - like what diet plan we should try for upcoming bathing suit season (as well as year-round). Brandie Koskie at Diets in Review gives us the 411 on her favorite diet plans and Women and Men’s Health offers an excerpt from their latest books devoted to losing weight based on your gender (so you can help your hubby as well as yourself). Have trouble discussing finances with your significant other or do you find yourself hiding certain purchases from them? Money expert Susan Hirshman gives advice on why you’re not alone. Dare I insert a pun in here and say it’s “Priceless?” (This being a magazine that prides itself on its humor, I say “Yes!”) Indulge yourself with five great fixes from “Bump it Up” author and trend expert Amy Tara Koch. Plus Traveling Mom writer Judy Antell offers offers some great travel destination ideas and tips to keep your kids occupied during long road trips. One of our most poignant stories comes from cancer survivor and writer extraordinaire Jen Singer, who introduces her latest labor of love, Parenting with Cancer - a one stop resource and online support system for parents who have been diagnosed with the disease. On a lighter note (and because beach season is around the corner), we also feature an interview with Pam Dorman, an editor and publisher who truly has the Midas touch when it comes to best sellers. Pam cuts to the chase and lets us in on the books that should definitely be on your reading list this season. So what are you waiting for? Get ready to dive into Project You and feel free to share with friends, family and perfect strangers in need of a good read! And to all of you -Happy Mother’s Day.

Beth Feldman Editor in Chief


Talking Motherhood with Angie Harmon by Linda Grant

It doesn’t take celebrity magic to get your kids to eat veggies (really!)

Courtesy of linda grant

S Angie Harmon shows her talents in the kitchen.

trikingly beautiful, luxuriously, flowing hair and all legs - that was my first reaction when Angie Harmon walked into the room. Admittedly, I have been a fan since her “Law and Order” days playing nononsense Assistant District attorney Abby Carmichael and now in her current role-playing tough Detective Jane Rizzoli on TNT’s “Rizzoli and Isles.”  Can you tell, I like strong women? I met Angie at an event to launch The Great Veggie Adventure, Hidden Valley® Salad Dressings’ search for a new kid-friendly vegetable.   There is a show business saying – never play opposite kids and animals, they will steal the show. Given my iniprojectyou




Look Ma, we’re playing with our veggies!



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

because she was walking too slow. Since she was under the weather, she couldn’t do much about it (but be a bit embarrassed). Sound familiar? “Who is your Role Mommy?” I asked next. When asked this question, most people go with the tried and true, ‘my mom’ but Angie countered with Jackie O. - a response, I loved. “Jackie O, comes to mind because of her grace and style and that she tried to keep her children’s lifestyle as normal as possible.”   Fans of Angie Harmon can look forward to seeing more of her this summer when “Rizzoli and Isles” returns this spring to TNT.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out. There is a reason it’s one of cable’s highest rated TV shows. ■

Linda Grant is the Founder/Editor of where she writes about her adventures raising her adopted daughter in downtown New York City. And don’t miss Therapy Thursday where Linda discusses challenges all parents face. You can find her on Twitter@NYCSingleMom.

Courtesy of linda grant

tial impression, I was struck by Angie’s self-deprecating sense of humor, relaxed manner and her willingness to cede the spotlight to the patiently waiting children who were at the event willingly eating their veggies. As she entered the room, she was more interested in making the children feel at ease with her and it was evident that she is someone who is extremely comfortable in her own skin. That said, being a celebrity doesn’t exclude you from the age-old issue of getting your kids to love vegetables. she was somewhat hesitant to answer And like every mom across the coun- because she was concerned that her try, Angie oftentimes has difficulty two year old would be left out. As she getting her three daughters pondered, she mentioned “My fato eat their vegetables. One vorite gifts that I treasure the daughter just plain refuses most are the handmade ones to eat them. At the event, my daughters make.”   She Angie sought advice from talked about her daughter the kids at the event on how Avery’s hand-made Mothto get her girls to eat more er’s Day gift: an adorable vegetables.   We both learned flowerpot decorated with conthat if you let your kids be more struction flowers.   How sweet is involved in helping out in the kitchen, that?”  It was such an “awww” moment you might actually get a little more but I loved her self-deprecating recooperation. sponse, “Cliché, right?” I certainly did After making veggie pizzas with the not think so. kids, I had the opportunity to sit down During our conversation, Angie with Angie. Interviewing celebrities talked about not wanting to disrupt can be a little intimidating, especially if her children’s routine with the move to you have to be seated in chairs that feel Los Angeles to film her television selike you are going to fall over, but as I ries.   She didn’t want them to be out was struggling, she immediately made of school for long stretches of time, a me feel welcome by saying she had a couple of weeks maybe but not months tough time positioning herself when which as an Air Force brat who moved she first sat down.   We both laughed. a lot, I appreciated. I love when an interview starts off Of course, I couldn’t resist asking with laughter and as I previously men- the “are you just like me question?” tioned, she has no issue with putting Do you take your kids shopping with others at ease.   you? “Yes, even when I am sick.” She When asked what was the most mem- talked about a recent supermarket trip orable Mother’s day with her children, and how her kids ran through the store


Recipe for YOU

Did you know?

82% of  American teens say that mom and dad are either “very involved” (44%) or “somewhat involved” (38%) in their academic lives. ■ Source: Kaplan Test Prep’s survey

You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to make a nice salmon. Here, an easy dish from mom Candida Canfield Founder of Dinner In Hand (www.DinnerInHand. com), a home-meal delivery service in New Rochelle, NY.


courtesy of vendors

❏ 4 Center Cut Salmon Filets skinless about 5 to 6 ounces each ❏ Old bay seasoning ❏ 2 cups of Chicken stock ❏ ¼ cup fresh Lemon juice ❏ ½ cup Orange juice concentrate ❏ Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon ❏ S +P ❏ 4 TB butter ❏ 1 cup White wine ❏ Garnish with orange and lime slices

Lightly season salmon with Old Bay seasoning. Put olive oil in a sauté pan and heat the pan; put the salmon filet in the pan top side down for 1 minute -- till it’s lightly brown. Take salmon filets from pan and make the sauce. Reduce 2 cups of chicken stock to 1 stock. Add ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice; ½ cup frozen OJ concentrate, zest of 1 lime and 1 orange, salt and pepper to taste, 4 TB butter and 1 cup of white. Simmer for 25 minutes to reduce to sauce consistency. Add sauce to filets and place in oven for 5 minutes. (or longer if they are thick). Garnish with orange slices or slices of lime. Serves 4 ■

Wear what’s in your heart Looking for a special item for that one of a kind Mom (or anyone in your life)? Inyourheartny customizes lockets for you, with a portion going towards Glycogen Storage Disease, an organization near and dear to owner Jackie Vogel’s heart. Here’s how it works: You choose the charms (over 100 available) and basically design your own locket for a one-of-a-kind gift, ideal for moms, grandmoms, graduations, bat mitzvahs, confirmation, weddings and more. Filled lockets range in price from $50-$300. Entitled “What’s in Your Heart,” this line allows everyone to express what is in their heart, explains Jackie, a stay-at-home mom in Westchester, NY who sells a variety of gift items from her home office. In fact, she’s been known to chase people down the street to find out where they found that great necklace or jean jacket that their child is wearing – and get it for you. Over the years, Jackie has attended various trunk shows and fundraising events and has now brought her business to the online world. Her finds are eclectic - you will discover unique items that she sources from various vendors - anything from custom lockets to Moroccan tunics for women and girls and lots in between. “My goal is to find a treasure that will put a smile in your heart,” she says. Knowing that Project You staffer Jeanne Muchnick’s daughter suffers from GSD, Jackie is generously offering 15% of all online sales from Project You (excluding shipping) to this worthy cause. Once you are finished placing your order, enter “Project You” in the discount code box. Click here or call 914-413-0975.





On the Road Again...



Safety First: Do a pre-trip car check to make sure everything is running properly – especially if you’ve been trudging through snow and ice these last few months. Now’s a good time to change the oil, check your brakes, rotate your tires, and restock any fluids needed.


Pre-Trip Planning - Maps/Traffic/Road Conditions: Plan as much of your trip ahead of time (hotel, destinations, restaurants, etc.) and print out maps in advance. Also keep up with road conditions, construction, weather and traffic to avoid delays and make the best use of your time in the car. If you plan to do a lot of driving, consider using a GPS system such as Hertz NeverLost to help navigate new places. Go to neverlost. com and click on Online Trip Planning to get started. 


Save Money on Gas: With gas pricing rising, consider ways to save at the pump. If renting a car, consider fuel-efficient vehicles, like those available in the Hertz “Green Collection” – including the Toyota Prius Hybrid (48 miles/gallon) or Nissan Altima/Toyota Camry Hybrids. Adjust your driving style to save fuel – according to, aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5 %

Fun Fact 8


around town. Finally, use GPS and plan ahead to avoid driving more than necessary if you get lost, and use apps that can help you find the best gas prices in your location. has a list of 10 apps, including Gasbuddy (free) which locates nearby gas stations and sorts them by price.


Refreshments & Nibbles: Pre-pack beverages and plenty of water to stay hydrated while driving in under the hot sun, as well as easy snacks like fruit and crackers (nothing sticky or that will melt, or too sweet/sugary) to nibble on. If possible, store snacks and drinks in a cooler to keep everything cold and fresh.


Entertainment: Bring portable DVD players, playing cards, music playlists, coloring books, etc. – any items that can help keep everyone happy on the road, whether it be friends, young kids, or grandma and grandpa. Traveling with a tot? Bring Nick on the Go – a game and movie player that’s preloaded with 40+ hours of top programming from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.


Comfort: Pack pillows, neck cushions, and anything else that might help keep everyone comfortable in the car. Also think about packing an easily accessible change of clothes for the little ones, and if staying at a hotel, have bathing suits and/or alternate plans in place – in case you need to kill time before check-in.


Rest Stops: Be sure to stop for breaks to use the restroom/ stretch your legs. Map out rest stops in advance, if you can, especially if traveling with young children. ■

With more than 8,400 locations in 146 countries worldwide, Hertz is the largest worldwide airport general use car rental brand. Visit to plan your next road trip or to learn about special offers and deals.

The average woman says she turns into her mother at age 32, according to a new study by Hallmark. Also of interest: one third of men admit they, too, have turned into their mothers. (Read more about mother/child relationships on page 28)

A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

© kzenon

With summer around the corner, Hertz Super Agents – Berry Ross (Los Angeles, CA), Rita Weber (Chicago, IL) and John Holt (Orlando, FL) off these road trips tips – including how to save money on gas.   Spring Cleaning: Start your travels fresh by cleaning the grime that’s built up on your car. Stock (or restock) your car with paper towels, tissue paper, wet wipes, small trash bags…products that can help you keep neat on the road. Also, empty out what you don’t need in your car – cutting unnecessary weight can potentially help you save on gas.

betweenus By Eric Ruhalter

Mother Knows Best

I am here today to applaud Moms. Specifically, I wish to applaud their muchheralded “Maternal Instinct.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned about “Maternal Instinct,” it’s that I don’t have any. Likely on account of I’m a Dad, but, to wit, you rarely hear people speak of “Paternal Instincts.” And that’s because there’s no such thing. When it comes to our kids’ safety, health, education or social acclimation, my wife seems to have a perfect handle on all of it. She knows what’s going on and what needs to be done. I play a very active role in all aspects of my kids’ lives, but I just can’t seem to get it as right as their Mom. I’ll make a big deal out of things that don’t matter, and blow off things that matter considerably. Show me a Dad who has Maternal instincts and I’ll show you a mom who only looks like a Dad. Because Dads typically just don’t have the same good sense as a Mom when it comes to their kids. Perhaps it’s because babies evolved and grew inside the mom’s body, whereas Dad merely, uh, … watered the seed. Perhaps it’s because, for close to a year, the entire start of the baby’s existence, mom and baby were in perfect synch. Every movement, every breath, every beat of one’s heart felt by the other, all pregnancy long. While Dad watched TV and  made sure he didn’t allude in any medium whatsoever to the growing size of his wife’s stomach. There must be something to all of that. Because from where I stand, the Moms really know what’s up. I’m saying this, of course, with hopes that no Dads read this, because surely they will band together and collectively beat me within inches of my life. Please don’t turn me in.  Thank you for your wonderful instincts and have a Happy Mothers Day Moms. You deserve it. ■

KidDictionary Word: MACOUSTICS (mah-COO-stiks) n.: The frequency of a Mother’s voice that her children find so easy to ignore.

Examples of Mothers’ Superior Instincts: SITUATION: Child Has Hiccups DAD’S SOLUTION:  Put baby  in front of 50 inch flat screen TV with blaring surround sound to watch the most horrifying scenes from The Exorcist to scare hiccups away. MOM’S SOLUTION:   Drink of water.   SITUATION:  9 Year-Old Boy Asks where babies come from. DAD’S SOLUTION: Introduce him to online amateur pornography. MOM’S SOLUTION:  Have ageappropriate discussion about clinical aspects of reproduction.   SITUATION:  Pre-Teen alerts you that school teacher seems to be attempting to initiate an inappropriate relationship with them. DAD’S SOLUTION: Ignore. Kids are always making up stories. MOM’S SOLUTION: Report immediately, follow up, tell other parents of findings, arrange meeting with school administrators.   SITUATION:  Child exhibits fear and confusion over the issue of death. DAD’S SOLUTION: Field trip to coroner’s office. MOM’S SOLUTION: Reassurance that he will have a long healthy life, citing examples of older relatives and encouragement to enjoy each blessed day of life.

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.) projectyou



betweenus By Brant Secunda and Mark Allen

10 Ways to Be Happier­— and Healthier—at Work According to the annual Conference Board job satisfaction survey, 52% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs. But it’s not the work that’s makes us unhappy -- it’s how we deal with it. Here, strategies to put into practice tomorrow.

Eliminate stress at work by stepping away from your computer.

● Stand up to your office chair. It’s great that you have the newest ergonomic chair. But if you sit in it all day, you’ll reduce the amount of fat-burning enzyme called lipoprotein lipase by a whopping 94%. To keep this enzyme active and burning fat requires only 30 minutes a day of standing up to read, talk on the phone, or consult with a coworker. ● Embrace the power of repetition. If you struggle with boredom from doing the same activities over and over, try embracing the repetition. Start to see chipping away at the same tasks day after day as powerful ways to reach your financial and professional goals. This is similar to the way our ancestors could plant an entire hillside with corn by hand, one kernel at a time, year after year. ● Change your routine to prevent monotony. Like the idea of cross training for athletes, workers can stay mentally fit by mixing up the routine. If you work 9-5, try working 8-4. If you always check your email first thing, do something else for the first hour. Rearrange your office. Try making calls instead of emailing.

● Slow down to get faster. If you consciously slow down, take time to think things through, finish one task completely before going to the next, perhaps even ignore incoming calls and emails temporarily, you’ll find that your productivity will increase along with your happiness. ● Take time to feed and water yourself. Don’t skip breakfast. And eat small healthy snacks every couple of hours, such as fruit, yogurt, almonds, dark chocolate, and soup. Keep a liter of water on your desk and sip it all day long. ● Weightlift for your soul. “Weightlifting for the soul” is giving up negative thoughts that weigh you down. The next time a negative thought comes into your 10


A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

● Look at the now. Let go of perfectionism. Instead of focusing on absolute perfection, try to give the best you can in the moment, even if you know on another day it might be better. ● Keep making deposits. View your physical, emotional, and spiritual health as a bank account that should always be tended to. Being healthy goes hand in hand with being happy -- in and outside of work. Every day you are sedentary, eat bad food, or indulge in negative thinking is a withdrawal. Every day you eat well, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, exercise, and are optimistic is a deposit. ■ Shaman-healer Brant Secunda and world champion Ironman Mark Allen teach seminars worldwide on fitness, health, and well-being. This article is adapted from their new book, Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You (BenBella Books). Find out more at

© acilo

● Stop procrastinating for five minutes. Do you put off working on large projects or tasks as the deadline gets closer, and then eat yourself up with worry at night obsessing about them? Commit to something for five minutes, period. Once you start, you might find it’s not that bad.

mind, force yourself to restate it to yourself in a positive way. So, “This is a waste of time” becomes “What can I learn right now?”


Bookmark This

By Jeanne Muchnick

An interview with mom of two–and book editor extraordinaire Pam Dorman–on what we should we reading this summer AMANDA




love books. And though I try to read them year-round, I find – like most moms – that summer offers the best opportunity for sinking into a chair (make that a beach chair, please) with the latest “hot” tome. Which is why, when Project You Editor Beth Feldman told me Pamela Dorman, Vice President and Publisher of Pamela Dorman Books/ Viking, the woman credited with introducing the world to Kelly Corrigan of The Middle Place, Kim Edwards of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary was practically her neighbor – the two live in New Rochelle, NY and have kids on the same softball team – I jumped at the chance to get her take on what I should be reading. (Note to Pam: Forgive the run-on sentence and please don’t hold it against me when I bring my own book to you one day.) Pam, a mom of 12-year-old twins, is known for spotting debut novels that have gone on to sell millions. Since her imprint’s inception, she has published numerous debuts, including the New York Times bestselling Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, and Paolo Giordano’s critically acclaimed novel The Solitude of Prime Numbers. Project You: What draws you to certain stories? Do you have a favorite genre? Pam: While I’ve been involved in memoirs like Kelly’s [Corrigan], I mostly do fiction. I always look for a sense of story and a sense of character. It’s always the character and the voice that draw me in first. You are known for finding authors that are a) women and b) not brand names. Why is that important to you? Or maybe I should ask: IS that important to you? It’s funny, I’ve worked on all different kind of books in my career – I worked with Stephen King for l0 years and did thrillers and some real grisly novels – so not all of my books have been geared toward women –but essentially I would say my taste seems to reflect other women’s taste though I have to say it’s very heartening when a man has read The Secret Life of Bees and says he loves it. I do think, for many of us editors that the most fun thing is to find a new author where you think, ‘Oh my God, this person is incredible.’

It’s very rewarding on many different levels to find that person and to help bring that book to fruition. Do you feel everyone has a “story” in them? I’m always encouraging but in reality, I don’t think everyone has the gift to write a book. They might have a good story – but it’s not necessarily destined to Follow us be a book. To be a writ- on Twitter! er you have to be committed to that more than anything. I know firsthand how difficult it is. My dad was a newspaper man and freelance author. What are some of the books you’re reading now? I honestly don’t get to read nearly enough for pleasure, though I always want to. On my

list of summer reading is The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. I did love The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, whicih I snuck in over Christmas. What do you think will be “hot” this summer in terms of summer reading lists? 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson is a story that takes place just after WWII about a Polish family separated during the war and how they all come back together and try to become a family again. Another book I think women will love is The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes. It starts with a woman in a terrible accident who doesn’t remember much about her life but finds a note that is clearly not from her husband. I also recommend The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano, a profound story about adolescence. I also think Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington is hugely memorable and moving. It’s about a young girl whose father is unexpectedly sent to Iraq. Another wonderful page turner is Deep Down True by Juliette Fay about a middle aged mother going through a divorce. I also have to mention Luanne Rice’s latest book, The Silver Boat, another heartwarming yet heart-wrenching portrait of three far-flung sisters who come home to Martha’s Vineyard one last time. ■ projectyou



chargeIT! By Amy Tara Koch

Five-Minute Fixes to Glammify the Most Harried Women

Got a busy life? You’re not alone. Whether you have six kids or a booming career, life can get crazy. But, a chaotic life is not an excuse to look schlubby. The trick? Having an arsenal of five minute fixes at your disposal to get yourself together in a snap. Here, our round up of fashion and beauty products to nip “slob-it is”  in the bud with a “toolbox” of arsenals.

OXYGEN TREATMENT: Bliss’s Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask increases circulation brightening a dull, exhausted complexion
Bliss oxygen mask, $52

HAIR MASK: Ojon Revitalizing 2-Min Hair Mask can be used at night before shampooing, this mask crafted of nine exotic oils and butters including Ojon oil hydrates and adds volume to lackluster tresses
 Ojon hair mask, $34

BRONZER: Urban Decay’s Baked Bronzer— Insta Luminescence is achieved with a dash of bronzer everywhere the sun would naturally hit the face: forehead, tip of nose, cheeks, décolletage
 Urban Decay BAKED Bronzer, $24 12


A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

WEDGE: COACH Jazlyn Wedge Makes you look long and lean while still being comfortable
 COACH Jazlyn Wedge, $198

MINERAL FOUNDATION: Bare Escentuals mineral foundation evens out skin tone and adds a subtle shimmer to a blah complexion
 Bare escentuals mineral foundation, $25

photographs courtesy of vendors

A BODY SHAPER: Donna Karan Waist Embrace to compress bumps and lumps
 Donna Karan waist embrace, $39.00

CREAMY CONCEALER:   The Undercover Pot by Laura Mercier camouflages dark circles and makes you look  more radiant than you probably feel
 Laura Mercier Undercover Pot eye concealer, $34

photographs courtesy of vendors

A HYDRATING MASK: Sk-II’s Facial Treatment Mask slap on before makeup to hydrate, plump dry skin and decrease fine lines and wrinkles
 SK-II Facial treatment mask, $90 (pack of 6)

A FAB GOLD CUFF: Kara Ross Small Shirt Cuff in Disco Python with Hematite A bold bauble glamorizes everything
 Kara Ross Disco Python Cuff, $315

SLIMMING JEANS: Miracle Body Jeans made with premium Lycra and Miratex fabric will make you look 10 pounds thinner
 Miracle Body Jeans, $110

Amy Tara Koch

Amy Tara Koch is a style expert, journalist and author of the pregnancystyle bible, BUMP IT UP: TRANSFORM YOUR PREGNANCY INTO THE ULTIMATE STYLE STATEMENT. She contributes to American Baby, People, The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, the Huffington Post, and more.

Diapers in your pocket? Try Diaper Buds!

15% off for Project You readers. Use coupon code “bud15” at checkout. projectyou



chargeIT! By Maria Colaco

Shop Smarter

This spring, take matters into your own hands and CHARGE IT! That’s right! Let’s treat ourselves to gifts we really want. After all, we’re always doing for others. The timing around Mother’s Day reminds us we need to also do for ourselves.

Two little lovebirds sitting on a branch… custom made to fit your family, this sweet necklace is the right accessory for spring. Menuet Designs, $36,

Picture this- you are at the mall with your antsy toddler and you spot a gumball machine that will buy you about 15 minutes of silence… how fab are you when you fish out that shiny quarter from your classic blue patent leather Tiffany coin purse. $75,

Catch little odds and ends or collect jewelry in this sweet MUSINGS TRAY made by Australian potter and poet Kylie Johnson. $48,

Being a mom your nurturing instincts never take the back seat. The FEED bag sold at Potterybarn stores is one guilt free indulgence. Proceeds from the sales of this bag go to support the UN World Food Programme (WFP) or UNICEF in providing children with healthy meals and water. Sales from one bag allows WFP to provide 50 school meals. This is one must-have that is a MUST. FEED 50 Pound Bag, $45,



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

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.

photographs courtesy of vendors

Ipad 2! Hey why not? You deserve it. $499,

moneyTALKS By Susan Hirshman

Money Honey

Are you and your spouse really talking when it comes to what you’re spending?

© hundreddays; © fpm


ne of the most difficult conver- people don’t know how much their spouse sations a couple can have is not is making. Generally, the problem is due about love or commitment. It is to the highly emotional feelings (self about money — how it is saved and invest- worth, self esteem, power, control etc) and ed and what it means for their lifestyle.” unresolved issues with money each This, according to a recent article partner brings to the table. The New York Times. So sit back and ponder: Do you agree? What does money mean I do. Why? I hear it practito you? How does cally every time I give a talk your upbringing to women and open it up for and past experiQ&As. The questions usuences affect your ally sound something like this: money attitudes? How do I start a conversation What stops you from havwith my husband about money? How ing these conversations – fear? do I ask my partner to see our finances interest? knowledge? lack of ownerwithout having him feel like I don’t trust ship? bigger relationship problems? him? How do we have a conversation Having these initial conversations may without fighting? not be easy but if you don’t have them Three words here…. communicate, com- you have a high chance of becoming part municate, communicate. Sounds simple, of the “if only” club. You may not know right? But as we all know “communicate” what the “if only” club is, but I am sure is not always simple – especially when it you know someone (dare I say more than comes to money. You’d be surprised (or one) who is a member. Do you have any perhaps you wouldn’t be) by how many friends, neighbors or family who were not involved in managing their finances only to find out in times of crisis that their husband was an overly aggressive investor, or he was loaned up to the hilt, or not saving for retirement, or not protecting the family from death or disability and so on and so on. What do you think are the first words out of these women’s mouths? Yep, you guessed it …if only I knew he was (fill in the blank), I would have (fill in the blank.) These scenarios break my heart, because they often

result in unfortunate outcomes that could have been avoided or at least mitigated, if they were only talked about. Therefore, the question I have is this: Will you be willing to bear some discomfort today to learn whether or not your future is on a path that will give you the greatest probability of success? As the saying goes…”just do it.” It’s a conversation you have to have -- and if it helps – print out this article and use it as a jumpstart for a discussion. ■ Susan Hirshman is president of SHE LTD, a consulting firm focused on enhancing the financial literacy of women globally. She is the author of Does this Make My Assets Look Fat?, a women’s guide to finding financial empowerment and success. projectyou



partyTIME By Elizabeth Mascali & Dawn Sandomeno

The ABC’s of Outdoor Entertaining

Spring means easy outdoor parties. Here’s How.

Use vinaigrette, not mayo to dress salads.

This is an excerpt from Plan to Party t’s been quite a winter, which hopefully means it will be quite a spring/ summer. Make it easy with outdoor entertaining and these simple tips to give your backyard bashes an A+.


Keep Your Guests Comfortable


Keep Waste to a Minimum


Here’s a cocktail that is sure to put some “spring” in your guests step! ❏ 2 oz. simple syrup ❏ 2 oz. fresh lime juice ❏ 3 oz. gold tequila ❏ 2 oz. orange juice Mix in cocktail shaker over ice. Pour into glasses and garnish with a lime wheel and orange twist. (makes two cocktails)




Mark your beverages. For disposable cups and bottles, use stickers that adhere to container. Using a permanent pen, have each guest mark their sticker with their name or initials. For glasses, use a removable adhesive or glass marker/tag. Put out a recycling bin for empties and point it out to your guests. Use renewable dinnerware or acrylic dishware and cloth napkins. For fun, you can purchase flag bandanas and use them as napkins.

Use vinaigrette, not mayo, to dress salads. Mayo can spoil with high temperatures. Don’t set up your buffet table in direct sunlight; use either natural shade or an umbrella as a buffer. For those sun lovers who forgot to put lotion on at home, put out some spray suntan lotion for easy and convenient protection from the sun.

Keep it Cool & Wet

For more ideas and inspirations on Outdoor Entertaining, visit us at PartyBlu ■

B C California Margarita

Keep it Healthy


Ice, ice and more ice. There is nothing worse than lukewarm beverages on a hot day. Make sure you have more than enough ice to continually replenish the supply. General rule of thumb is two pounds of ice per person. Hydrate your guests. Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand. Make sure to consider all your guests: adults, children and the elderly. Offer shade. Create some with a few umbrellas. You can also purchase a fan (or two) that mists while it cools – now that’s cool!



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011


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.

© LauriPatterson;© dehooks

Banish the bugs – One hour before guests arrive, light citronella candles or spray bug repellent around perimeter of party. Have individual wipes and/or spray on hand for guests’ convenience. Offer your guests the opportunity to “wash” with wipes and/or hand sanitizer. A must have at a picnic! Give your guests a place to kick back. Provide plenty of comfortable seating. Arrange one or two blankets on the ground or deck for the kids. If they have a spill, you can simply fold the blankets up and wash them later. Have an extra one just in case.

your SELF By Danielle Feigenbaum

Boost Your Brain Power I How one mom changed her life by following one book’s advice

f you’re like me and get migranes, then read this. I have suffered from these debilitating headaches for as long as I can remember. But because I didn’t want to be on medicine for the rest of my life., I looked into other options, namely the book. Power Up Your Brain- The Neuroscience of Enlightenment by David Perlmutter and Alberto Villoldo. Eating the The authors share how certain life right foods changes can make a huge difference in can make all how we feel starting with eating as much the difference. organic food as possible, especially fruits and vegetables. The doctors are not just focused on food, but also hit on the importance of aerobic exercise, yoga, dietary supplements and surrounding ourselves with positive people. The book is built around a five week plan to power up your brain where the authors suggest abstaining from caffeine, alcohol and processed food, while eating a reduced calorie, organic diet. There is tially rid my brain of those migraines withalso a recommended exercise regimen out the aid of pills. of 20 minutes a day along with 30 I’m proud to say that I’m halfminutes of yoga twice a week. I way through, and the most difknow, I know, you can’t do withficult part so far hasn’t been out your daily coffee, right? Plus, finding the time for yoga, who has the time to work out or the fasting (they suggest every day? That was what was three times during the five going through my mind as well. I weeks), but rather the lack of thought five weeks sounded reasoncoffee! The other thing I found able, though, especially if I could poten- hard to get used to was the suggestion to

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Three Ways you can Power Up Now

Try dietary supplements. A few examples are- 1,000 mg of Vegetarian DHA a day, 1 tablespoon of Organic or Virgin Olive Oil a day (consumed uncooked so add it to your salad dressing or drizzle over steamed veggies), 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil each morning (add it to your smoothie), 200 mg each morning and evening of Green Tea Extract. Exercise, at least 20 minutes of aerobics a day. This may seem daunting, but you can do it! Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a fast walk, run around in the backyard with your kids. 30 minutes of yoga twice a week is also key! Choose as many organic foods as you can. Focus on apples, peaches, pears, strawberries, cherries, imported grapes, celery, sweet bell peppers, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. The non-organic varieties are more likely to be contaminated.

smile at people when they cut us in line. After all, I’m a New Yorker! I actually did it, though, and felt incredibly at peace afterwards. Although I haven’t yet completed the full regiment, I suggest you read this book and be inspired to change your habits, your diet and maybe even your lives. Remember, we can do ANYTHING when we put our minds to it. Plus, I can't tell you how good it feels to go through a full day with no headaches.■ Danielle Feigenbaum, former 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.




familyTRAVEL By Judy Antell

Travelling this summer? Read this! F

The best laid plans always seem to go awry – but for this writer, its part of the adventure – and a great new way to discover the ultimate vacation

amilies tend to obsess about where they are taking their summer vacation, when instead they should be focusing on what they are doing. In fact, our Judy, her husband, and youngest most memorable family vacations have daughter, on a bike trip to Denmark. been to places we didn’t even want to visit. No, we were not forced to take these vacations. They were substitutions, but they turned out to be the best ones. Our first ‘miss’ was when we wanted to take a family bike trip in Holland. Apparently, so did every other family with small kids and cash to burn that summer (this was before the crash). Holland has miles of flat, easy biking, perfect for families, and Backroads, which offers organized family friendly trips, sold out of Holland vacations early in the season. we’d be fine. What we didn’t figure on was But they had the perfect alternative, hurricane season. A week before we left, Denmark. We hadn’t considered Denmark Hurricane Dean wiped out the beaches but it turns out this trip was ideal. Back- in Cancun. We were going to Club Med roads kind of steers families towards trips and when I called the hotel, they offered with same age kids, so our daughto switch our reservation to the Club ters, then 3, 9 and 10, had built in Med in Punta Cana. friends. We had plenty of famBecause Club Med is like a ily time and time to hang out cruise on land, with superwith the other adults. vised activities for kids and Travel Veggie Mom Best of all, Backroads so family activities like orgasteeply discounted the trip for nized water polo or volleyball our then 3- Year-old, she was games, soccer, roller blading practically free. But they still proand water sports, we had a blast. vided a top-of-the-line Burley trailer, Best of all, Club Med has a circus prowhich my husband and I took turns pull- gram, where kids learn to fly on a trapeze, ing. One mile for me, five for you. walk a tight rope, and flip on a giant tramAnd Nora was enchanted. She sat in her poline. They were all in one of the nightly trailer, listening to books on tape, singing shows. The kids and my husband snorsongs, and pointing out thatched roofs. keled while I read in a hammock, and we Hallie and Sela had no problem with the all went out on kayaks. My older daugh25-30 mile itineraries, and they all loved the ters, then 14 and 15, took yoga on the beach with me and a boot camp class in hotels, chosen for their appeal to families. an open air pavilion.

Lightning Strikes Again

A couple of years ago, we planned our first family vacation to Mexico. Though we knew it would be hot in August, we figured we would be on the beach or in a pool, so 18


A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

All inclusive

The food at Club Med includes three meals daily, with fresh fruit, salads, sushi and pasta cooked to order.

In a testament to how much we loved the Club Med Punta Cana, we returned when they renovated. The resort now has upgraded family suites with their own concierge (and seamless check-in) plus room service and a computer in the room with Internet - still all included! The suites have their own, quieter infinity pool. And yes, we did make it to Mexico the following summer. Club Med Cancun Yucatan has water skiing and wake boarding, plus the circus school. The beach had palapas where our whole family could lay out and recover from the non-stop activities. It was paradise - but that’s another story. ■ Judy Antell, a mother of three, takes her daughters Hallie, Sela and Nora on as many vacations as possible. Judy writes for TravelingMom. com, EveryTrail and Mommy Poppins. She loves active vacations so she doesn’t feel guilty about sampling the local cuisine and artisanal cocktails. You can find her blogging at

yourHOME By Rebecca Morley

Have a Healthier Home S

This year, go above and beyond your normal spring cleaning routine to eliminate harmful toxins pring is traditionally the time of year when we set aside extra time to clear-out closets, organize cabinets and dust forgotten areas of the home. While spring cleaning is a great start, it’s also an opportunity to make your home healthier by eliminating hidden dangers that may be putting your fam-

Lead-Based Paint

©; ©www.istock. com/Uberphotos; © davidf

Banned from residential construction in 1978, many people think lead poisoning is an outdated issue. But, it remains a leading toxin that leads to significant developmental, health and behavioral problems for children. If you live in a home built before 1978, call a professional to test your home for lead-based paint and lead dust. Also, have your water tested for lead in case of exposure through lead-containing pipes or faucets. Most importantly, do not remove lead-based paint by yourself. Ihome, ask for proof that they are certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a “Lead Renovator” to work in homes built before 1978. Federal law requires this certification.

ily at risk. Lead-based paint, carbon monoxide, and radon are some of the most common and dangerous chemicals found in the home. This year, add the steps below to your spring cleaning ritual to rid your home of any potential toxins that could by harmful to your family.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as “the silent killer.” You cannot see it, smell it or taste it. CO claims the lives of nearly 450 people in their homes each year. CO is produced by fuel-burning appliances and equipment. Homes with attached garages are also at risk, because vehicle exhaust can cause CO to seep into the home. CO poisoning can be prevented by proper care and use of household equipment. Have a trained professional inspect your home’s central heating system. Fireplaces and woodstoves should also be inspected each year and cleaned or repaired as needed. Install at least one CO alarm near sleeping areas and ideally, on each floor of your home.

Spring Clean ‘Green’

Take a “green” approach to spring cleaning this year: ✔ Minimize use of harsh products while cleaning. Simple soap and water or vinegar and water work just as well. Or, look for green certified products such as GreenSeal or Ecologo. ✔ Choose green flooring such as Green Label Plus Carpets to avoid contaminants and chemicals. ✔ Use paint low in chemicals that are compliant with GreenSeal for interior surfaces. ✔ Reduce your home’s energy use by contacting your state weatherization office to find a local energy efficiency program. Not only will this help you find more ways to go green, it can also help you identify any hidden toxins.


Radon gas is odorless, tasteless and completely invisible to the human eye and yet, exposure is extremely dangerous and accounts for 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Radon leaks into homes from soil through cracks, floor drains, well water, and more, regardless of whether the home is new or well-sealed. To make sure your family isn’t at risk, purchase a simple test kit at your local hardware store . If results reveal elevated levels of radon, hire a professional. Radon mitigation costs between $500 and $2,500, depending on your home. It’s even less expensive if you install radon resistant features at the time of construction. For more information visit: ■

Rebecca Morley Rebecca Morley is the Executive Director of the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), a national non-profit organization dedicated to creating safe housing for children. She has authored numerous publications, including the new book “Healthy & Safe Homes: Research, Practice, and Policy.” projectyou




10 Tips that Can Change Your Life in 10 Seconds or Less Excerpted from The Women’s Health Diet, courtesy of Rodale Inc.


Drink Your Milk. Think you’re getting a nutritional boost from your morning cereal? Up to 40% of the vitamins in fortified cereals dissolve in the milk. If you don’t drink the leftover milk, you’re not getting the nutrients!


Ice It, Ace It. Drink a few glasses of icecold water before and during exercise. Studies show that it can improve endurance by about 23%. And ice water forces your body to expend calories warming it up, boosting your metabolism as well.


Lift, Damn It! Verbally expressing emotion while lifting increases muscle strength by up to 25%. Or get someone to scream at you: You’ll be able to lift 5 to 8% more weight if you get verbal encouragement from a workout partner.


Pick The Red One. Red cabbage has 15 times as much wrinkle-fighting beta-carotene as green cabbage. Red bell peppers have up to nine times as much vitamin C as green ones.


Spear A Hangover. To reduce the severity of a hangover, order a side of asparagus. When South Korean researchers exposed a group of human liver cells to asparagus extract, the extract sup-



pressed free radicals and more than doubled the effects of two enzymes responsible for metabolizing alcohol.


Listen To Your Feet. If you can hear yourself running, you’re setting yourself up for injury. Pounding the pavement comes from bad form. Keep your feet close to the ground and use a quick, shuffling stride.


Don’t Buy Wheat Bread. Huh? Isn’t it good for me? Actually, “wheat bread” is often just white bread dyed with molasses to make it look dark. Look instead for “100% whole wheat” or “whole grain.” Even better: rye bread. Swedish researchers found that 8 hours after people ate rye, they felt less hungry than those who noshed wheat bread, thanks to rye’s high fiber content.

A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011


Cheat With A Dumbbell. Lift a dumbbell weight as many times as you can. Then, when you can’t complete one more repetition, use your free hand to help push your weighted hand through another rep. Once you’re at the top of the move, remove your free hand and slowly lower the weight. Studies show that negative resistance exercises like this are more effective at muscle building than standard exercises.


Dry Off Head To Toe. After a shower, you’ll prevent a chill by drying your head and neck first. You’ll also reduce the risk of anything nasty from the shower floor making its way up your body. ■ Click on here for more information on the Women’s and Men’s Health Diet!

Photographs courtesy of rodale, inc.


Bribe Yourself Fit. Bet a colleague 50 bucks that you can stick to your workout program for 6 months. Studies show that those who do achieve an average 97% success rate. Alternate plan? Schedule your workouts, then put $5 in a jar for each one you make. Pledge the money toward something sweet, like a new bike or a trip to Vegas.

dinnerMOM By Jeanne Muchnick

“Dishing” at the Dinner Table What scares you most? Figuring out what’s for dinner or figuring out how to get your kids to open up and give you more than “I don’t know” or “fine” when you try to start a conversation?

© sjlocke


have to admit, both can be pretty daunting for the busy on-the-go mom. The trick is to avoid the mundane (i.e.” How am I getting to tennis?” “Who’s driving me to piano?”) and getting your kids engaged. Key to getting your brood to open up is asking the right questions. “Did you have fun at school today?” practically requires a “yes” or “no” response. Try, instead, to be more specific, “I heard you were learning about the Presidents. Who do you find most interesting and why?” Of course, in order to do this, you need to be attuned to what’s going on in your child’s life. Most teachers are available on Stop multi-tasking: email should you need to get a specific Sit down and listen handle on what your kids are learning that to your kids. particular week. Your other option? Keep up with your child’s homework assignments, term papers and tests, and peek that inspire and influence throughout a inside his textbooks. And talk to other lifetime,” assures Beryl Meyer, LCSW, is a parents in your children’s lives (often they psychotherapist in private practice in Nymight have a more chatty youngster that ack, New York. can lend some conversation fodder). The bottom line: We need to slow down Other tips: and show our kids we are listening to ✔ Start a New Tradition: Take a fork, tie them. This not only helps strengthen fam- a ribbon around it and call it the “talkily bonds but ensures good habits once ing fork” – (a big serving fork is good for kids reach those challenging teendramatic effect). Before everyone age years. After all, say experts, leaves the table, they need to the benefits of the family sittell a story. It can be about ting down to dinner together their day, or anything else, but they need to share someare as far-reaching as they thing. This works well with are immediate. By sharing, younger children who are talking, giving and receiventhusiastic about using their ing feedback and suggestions, imaginations and being the cenchildren gain confidence not ter of attention – if only for a minute. only as they tell their stories, but also as they participate in the verbal exchange. Applauding at the end of everyone’s story “Life lessons -- learning respect, recogniz- – however short or long, is also important. ing boundaries, appreciating the positive effects of constructive criticism, bonding ✔ Have a “talk about it bowl.” Literthrough laughter. . . all can occur within ally place a bowl or other container in a the dinner hour, and create memories central part of the house (the kitchen or

dining room table perhaps?) and encourage family members to put items in there for discussion later. It could be an ar-

Do’s and Don’ts Don’t Ask open ended questions like “How was your day?” Ask performance based questions that could cause stress. Pepper your child with questions while they are trying to eat.

➊ ➋ ➌ Do

➊ ➋

 e entertaining yourself, disclosB ing something about your own day

 ake conversation relevant to the M developmental ages and lives of your kids.

 sk fun questions the whole table A can answer like: What was the funniest thing that happened today? The most surprising? The kindest?

Involve your children in mealtimes.

✔ Be sporty. For those kids who are into sports, nothing gets them going like talking about their favorite team. It also opens the door for several follow-up questions like, “Why do you like that team?” “Who is your favorite player,” “What do you like most about that player?” and so on. ✔ Bring up the past. Tell your kids about their grandparents, about what you were like as a kid, about the day they were born or any other fun family stories.

✔ Be creative with your questions: Some possibilities: “Was there a time today when you were courageous?” “How were you creative today?” “What are you

Penny for your thoughts? Penny Stones are engaging ice breakers on recycled glass stones that were created by a mom as a way to start conversations around the dinner table that get beyond “How was your day?” Questions like “favorite summer memory”, “what you’d love to try” and “superpower you’d like to have” quickly get the conversation to the next level. They come in five editions: Original, Slumber Party, Love & Marriage, New Parents and Faith-Based. Each set is $15 and comes with 21 stones They are made in Cleveland, OH by disabled individuals and are available at Penny, ToastMasters. org, and



most thankful for?” I know many parents that start off going around the table and having each person share the “best part” or “worst part” of their day. Another likes saying one thing that made them mad, sad, and glad that day. Parents play too! ✔ Be honest and show your flaws: Asking kids of all ages for input helps you get them in your “corner,” i.e., “Hey guys, I could use your advice with this situation I’m having at work. Can you help me?” Children love to feel that their opinion matters. This kind of discussion also gets your kids focused on problem solving. It also helps ensure that they’ll be more likely to come to you when they have an issue. ✔ Try family-neutral topics. Some families may want to skip to discussions about themselves and go straight for events news, local and seasonal events instead of focusing on one particular family member or topic. ✔ Make dinner fun. Do the occasional out of the ordinary thing by dressing the table up with seashells for a “beach” theme and talking about favorite vacation memories, or putting on lively music, and discussing why you do (or don’t) like this music.

A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

✔ Don’t nag. The dinner table is NOT a time to ask your child about homework. It’s also not the time for you and your husband to discuss work. Respect when a child doesn’t want to talk, but remind her she still has to sit at the table. You want your kids to know you value discussion and conversation but also understand that not everyone wants to contribute all the time. ■ 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.)

© 4774344sean; © eldadcarin

ticle ripped from the newspaper, a recipe someone wants Mom or Dad to try, a book a drawing, a rock or a leaf.

✔ Stay connected. This is especially crucial in the tween and teenage years. Listen to your child’s music and ask her what makes these her favorite groups – their lyrics, rhythms, or harmonies. Look at the magazines she’s reading and TV shows she’s watching. Ask pop culture questions so you’re “up” on their interests. But again make sure they are not questions that lead to “yes” or “no” answers.

baby TALK By Jennie Baird and Laura Wattenberg

Beyond Coco and Suri

Is it just us or are today’s baby names getting weirder and weirder? Here, the worst of what’s out there.


his month, the Social Security as most disagreeable. We ended Administration will release its up counting almost 1,500 “votes” annual list of the Most Popular from a diverse set of people. The result Baby Names, telling us which names is a ranking of the names with the highAmerica loves most. (Last year, Jacob est negative sentiment, or a Most Loathed and Isabella topped the list http://www. List. in mind, as you read, that “loathed” baby-names-2009-united-states). and “loved” are often two sides of the But what names do Americans Click here same coin. Some of these names loathe most? That’s much hard- to see the provoke strong reactions both pro er to put a finger on. Nobody rest of the and con; others are simply victims Top 10 releases a list of Least Popular of their own popularity. So if a name Baby Names. (And really, what near and dear to your heart is listed, names would be on that list? Dogyou shouldn’t panic. But if you dream of breath? Margitudinal? Sxsddhwwwb? raising a little politician or sales rep, it can’t It’s a many-way tie at zero.) hurt to know the names that don’t please While the Internet abounds with self- all of the people all of the time. styled lists of “bad baby names” and outWe’ve included the number of negative rageous name stories, like the boy named mentions and some notes on each name. Adolf Hitler (true) or the girl named Le-a, For more information on the methodolpronounced Ledasha (urban legend, read ogy and the full list, click here. ■ more), they’re just a carnival sideshow. What about real names, the names we meet every day? The names, perhaps, we’re tempted to give our own children? Which of those are most likely to set a stranger’s teeth on edge? The question Jennie Baird and may sound silly, but that kind of negative Laura Wattenberg reaction can cost a politician votes, or a are the creators of salesperson a chance to get her foot in the and BabyNameWizard. door. com. NameCandy We decided to track down and tally up lets you “indulge your America’s name loathing. Our informal taste in names” with study was based on the many internet celebrity name news, the Ask the Name message board discussions about names Lady advice column and more, while that set people’s teeth on edge. From is the authorienting forums to video game fan boards, tative source for tools and analysis to we recorded the names people nominated help you find the perfect name.

© vasina

Jennie Baird & Laura Wattenberg

Say my name...


1 Nevaeh (47 mentions). According to the Baby Name Wizard book, “Nevaeh may be the most stylistically divisive name in America.” 2 (tie). Destiny (16). Like other dreamy choices like Heaven and Candy, it sounds “stripperish.” 2 (tie). Madison (16). The negative reactions to this name were strong, especially in non-standard spellings. 4 Mackenzie (13). Often presented in a group with other Mc- names, which several posters described as “low class.” 5McKenna (9). See Mackenzie above.


1 Jayden (23). The overwhelming theme for boys’ names was a backlash against the rhyming -ayden family. 2 Brayden (16). 3 (tie). Aiden (15). 4 (tie). Kaden (15). See Jayden above. 5 Hunter (9). Objections included “should only be a last name” and “too violent.” Click on here for more information on the Women’s and Men’s Health Diet!





Fun in the Sun with AnnieWear

A new animal themed clothing and accessories line for kids that gives back to pets in need


or pet lovers, parents and amazing aunts comes AnnieWear, a clothing and accessories line for babies and kids with a unique twist. Every item in the AnnieWear store has an animal theme.  What’s more, every purchase you make supports animal rescue charities across the country.  AnnieWear is named for Annie, a sweet little rescue puppy from the rural countryside. With family care and love, Annie has blossomed into a wonderfully happy and entertaining sweetheart.  Annie’s playful nature and lovable disposition are the inspiration for AnnieWear, where the brand offers the best in animal-themed baby and toddler clothing and accessories.   If you care about children and animals, then head on over to AnnieWear where you can give a gift and save a life!  Just take a look at some of their amazing offerings this summer...■

Hooded Towels Say goodbye to bath time troubles!! Your little ones will beg to bathed just so they can wear these fun and imaginative hooded towels. ● Available styles include bear, bunny, duck, frog, yellow monster, lion, and puppy ● Infant towels appropriate for babies newborn to 24 months

Bottle Buddies Water has never looked so good! These fun animal themed water bottle buddies hold a standard size bottle of water and measures 7.25” tall & 3.5” in diameter. Perfect for family trips or a walk around the block! ●A  vailable in giraffe, horse, monkey frog and moose

AnnieWear Good Girl/ Good Boy Onesies You can’t go wrong with our signature “good girl!” onesie that is just “so stinkin cute!” ●A  vailable in black, white, lime, lavender and turquoise

Bamboo Hoodie with animal ears This bamboo fleece hoodie with ears for infants is simply irresistible! Soft, cuddly and perfect for those cool summer nights. We give this item the “So stinkin’ cute” award!


See something you like? Click here to learn more abour AnnieWear or to order something today!



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

Water Magic Art Set Paint anywhere, anytime . . . with water! Practice over and over with the Water Magic board. Your art disappears like magic each time, leaving a blank surface ready for your next painting! Create your own designs, or follow the tips in the artist’s guide for fun and easy paintings—from whales to cats, from mountains to houses— that can be produced in just a few brushstrokes.

your KIDS


Putting the Fun Back in ™ Lunch with Sweet Tweets

By Beth Feldman

(Clockwise from top left): Plus Lily Makes Three’s (www. (Maria Colaco and NYC Single Mom ( Linda Grant learn how to put some love in their kids’ lunch boxes with Sweet Tweets.

Click here to see video of the event!


don’t know about you, but when it comes to making my kids lunches, I fall into the assembly line category. My poor kids pretty much get the same sandwiches and snacks every day of the week so when I got the chance to host a lunch box making workshop sponsored by Sweet Tweets™ candy, I was excited to finally jazz up my kids’ Monday-Friday routine. The event was held at Taste Buds in New

York City and some of my favorite blogging moms and dads joined us along with their kids to create adorable bento lunch boxes that were nutritious, incredibly unique and filled with love, thanks to Sweet Tweets! With the launch of Sweet Tweets™ candy, “Bazooka Candy Brands,” newest sweet and colorful candy offering comes printed with a cute emoticon attached to a decorative paper board featuring fun, il-

lustrative designs. So while you’re making your son or daughter their favorite PB&J sandwich, you can add in a surprise note that is bound to brighten their day! Great in a lunchbox, locker or overnight bag, Sweet Tweets™ is available at retail and here at a suggested retail price of $0.99 per pack. You can also visit Sweet Tweets on Facebook or follow on Twitter @SweetTweets.. ■ projectyou



Want to Lose Weight? Here’s how. . . We’re not talking fads, but REAL diets for REAL women.


ust as with fashion, there are dieting trends that come and go with the times. Which is why we’ve looked beyond all the yo-yo promises to give you the top regiments that work, setting you up for lifelong success. In other words, don’t expect magic instantaneously. A well-thought-out, good-for-you plan is best. And that means hard work. It also means getting rid of unrealistic expectations and the notion that weight loss is “difficult,” “boring,” or solely filled with “rabbit food” that leaves you ravenous. Instead, the programs described on the next page show you how to incorporate wholesome habits into your life, to the point that you won’t feel like it’s a “diet,” or even identify it as healthy living; it will just be your lifestyle, period. Best of all, the food is delicious. It’s important to remember that you didn’t gain the weight in a week, so you can’t expect it to go away that quickly. And if it does, it should raise some serious red flags.

By Brandi Koskie © ersler



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

The 17 Day Diet

Click on these for more information!

Hands-down it’s the most buzzed about diet of 2011, and it’s a pretty balanced one. Dr. Mike Moreno’s book, now available from national booksellers, outlines a four-phase plan that shows you how to eat, what to eat, how to exercise, and best of all, live a fitter life. Every 17 days you’ll change things up, keeping your metabolism from settling in to a norm that can prevent weight loss. In the book you’ll find meal plans, making it easy to plan and prepare a fresh green salad with tuna and balsamic vinegar, roasted pork tenderloin, or even a rib eye steak with Caesar salad. For your workout, start out with Dr. Mike’s 17-minute daily exercise and progress from there as you grow stronger.

The Mommy Diet

Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney manages to strike an incredibly healthy balance between a harried schedule that involves two jobs and two young children. She shares her real-world advice for moms and moms-to-be in her debut book The Mommy Diet. You’ll learn about fitness, nutrition, and even self-care and how to make all of it a priority without breaking your schedule. You’ll be a happier, healthier mom for it, whether you’re planning to get pregnant, are pregnant, or working to make it look like you never were pregnant. Recipes, gym music playlists and even fashion advice fill the pages of one of the best “girlfriend’s guide” books around for weight loss.

Jillian Michaels

Anything Jillian touches seems to turn to fitness gold. Jillian became popular on NBC’s Biggest Loser, currently filming her final season, where she got a reputation as a no-nonsense, tough-as-nails trainer who took nothing less than her contestants’ absolute best. The result is a long list of successful “Losers,” not to mention the success stories generated by using her programs at home. You might not be able to have Jillian show up announced on your doorstep, but you can access her online program anytime you like. is wildly popular, offering affordable access to her fitness regimens, meal plans, weight loss support and more, all discretely managed behind a secure log-in.

Sexy Forever

New from Suzanne Somers is Sexy Forever, a comprehensive fitness and wellness program online. Designed for women 40 and older dealing menopause, you’ll learn to work with your shifting hormones, rather than they against you. Sexy Forever teaches you how to properly combine foods and workout in the most effective way. Sexy Forever offers recipes, meal planning, food logs, and calorie and activity calculators. You’ll eat a diet of real foods, and follow a cardio and strength training fitness plan.

Weight Watchers

Diets in Review

Anytime we do a best-of feature, Weight Watchers is always on it. For nearly 50 years Weight Watchers has been a beacon of balanced, sensible weight loss support for women. In late 2010 Weight Watchers changed their Points program to PointsPlus, which now accounts for the carbs, protein, fat and fiber found in a food. Each food receives a PointsPlus value, and each Weight Watchers member has a daily PointsPlus target goal. Stay within the target, and your goal is attainable. Weight Watchers offers a lot more flexibility than most, with no required or off-limits foods and no pre-packaged meals. Meetings are optional, and you can discretely access the Weight Watchers Online program. ■ Brandi Koskie is the Senior Editor for, which provides the tools and information needed to shape a healthier you. projectyou



mom musings Kudos to Hallmark for setting aside a day that gives tribute to Moms. But for those of us in the know, everyday is Mother’s Day and every woman deserves if not a big ‘ole glass of champage, a day of sleeping in, or a spa treatment, than at least a big kiss for all she does. Consider the following essays our Group Hug. 28


A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011


My daughter has been my best friend since the day she was born


n October 22, 1969, I first met the person I knew would become my BFF- my best friend forever. Yes, it was my adorable daughter, Beth (and Project You Editor) who came into my life on that memorable day. Actually, I somehow knew I was having a baby girl (this was before sonograms) because two months before her birth, I had gone to a local store and purchased an adorable pink outfit to take her home from the hospital. So on the third day after Beth was born, I instructed my husband Neil to find this adorable outfit and him bring it to us at the hospital.  Growing up, Beth and I developed a wonderful relationship. I, of course was the Mom, but we did lots of things together. I not only escorted her to singing lessons, dance lessons and music lessons, but we spent hours together shopping and talking. We would also go out to our favorite beauty salon at least once a month to have our hair done. It was a day of beauty and we looked forward to these times so that our favorite hairdresser, Jeff, could make us look gorgeous! But, of course, Beth always looked gorgeous!  As Beth grew up, there were many friends in her life, however, whenever there was an upsetting experience or a rough patch in one of her relationships, we would grow closer and closer. We often didn’t talk much about the event, but instead we would go shopping or just spend time together. There was the time we decided to join Weight Watchers to deal with our weight issues. Each Friday afternoon, we attended the meetings and we became Lifetime members of Weight Watchers and reveled in our great accomplishments. Beth has also been a wonderful travel companion over the years. We visited Israel, Italy, Greece, London, Cancun and took a number of Caribbean cruises. Of course, we went sightseeing, as her Dad is an outstanding tour guide. However, we’d often just spend our time together engaging in our favorite pastime -SHOPPING! In fact, when we visited Italy we missed seeing the Coliseum because we wanted to get into the Gucci store – and had to wait for an hour. Hopefully, we’ll return again and see the

Coliseum next time) Fast forward to now: Beth is very busy working, raising a family and juggling an unbelievable variety of both family and business activities. But for the past two years, she has arranged the most incredible Mothers Day weekends. Two years ago, Beth arranged a trip for the women in her life – her daughter, Rebecca, her mother-in-law Sally, and me to spend three days in California. Although, Beth had to work one day we had the greatest time. We took long walks on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we dined  at some of the greatest restaurants, we talked, we laughed, and of course, we shopped. Last year, we had another great weekend, this time it in New York City where we stayed at a lovely hotel and once again we walked, we talked we dined out-this time we saw the Broadway show “Wicked” and of course - you guessed, it we shopped.  Several months ago, I read a book by Kristin Hannah and I couldn’t resist sharing what she wrote about mother-daughter relationships. She wrote, “As mothers and daughters we are connected with one another...My daughter (Hannah’s quote was my mother but I took the liberty of changing that) is in the bones of my spine keeping me straight...She’s in the beating of my heart... She is in my blood making sure it runs rich and strong....” I couldn’t have said it better. Which is why Beth is my favorite daughter (my only daughter), and my forever BFF. ■




Why My Daughters are Not My Friends Yes, I love my girls and think they’re terrific, but our relationship is built on me as mentor and grounding force as opposed to peer.


have two daughters, 15, and 18, and though I love them both dearly, neither one of them is my friend. Nor do I want them to be. They are my kids. I am their authoritarian/the-buck-stops-here mother. Do I hope one day in the future they will speak to me without stretching “Mom” into three l-o-n-g syllables and stop rolling their eyes at how “embarrassing” I am? Yes. Would I like to be seen as “cooler” in their eyes, especially when I wear a particularly trendy outfit that I think makes me look ten years younger than I am? Yes again. But do I want to be their gal pal? No thank you. I believe in the power -- and delineation – of friends. It’s the kid’s job to find friends. It’s the mom’s job to be a parent. Keeping this hierarchy properly aligned is important for the family unit, plus serves us well when remembering who’s boss.. According to Marriage and Family Therapist Emma Viglucci, children need structure for emotional safety and appropriate development: Being their BFF makes it all just too confusing. Least you think I’m sounding very June Cleaver-ish, listen to these thoughts from Julie Hanks, a Psychotherapist and Director of Wasatch Family Therapy in Salt Lake City, UT, who agrees with me that being your daughters’ best friend is a bad idea. Some of the reasons: ● Daughters tend to feel responsible for their mother’s emotional needs and often sacrifice their own development as a result of pleasing mom. ● Mothers often wield too much control in the daughter’s life which can shut down a girl’s self-expression. ● Moms hyper-focus on their daughter’s life instead of developing her own. And I could go on, especially because I have friends who, with kids as young as five and eight are calling their children their best friends. Hello???? Am I the only one seeing a problem here? The bottom line: Kid­—and girls in particular —need the safety, guidance and role model of an older female figure in a Mom.



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

They need moms to guide them, set boundaries, give advice (when asked) and be in the background for support. That’s not to say I’m stuck in a time warp. While my mother’s generation rarely shared personal experiences or problems – and it took my parent’s divorce for my mom to be more open with my sister and I (which we loved but we were in our 20s), I’m believe in balance, meaning I share age-appropriate truths with my girls. At one point, yes, my relationships with my daughters will change. And since I’m in the challenging teen years, I’m hoping that will be for the better. I am not, however, holding my breath for any “thank you’s” until well past when they have kids of their own. So while I’m hopeful all I’ve done and continue to do will influence their lives, I also hope they’ll lean on their friends for support. Let their gal pals be the ones they talk to about boys, outfits, school stress and how annoying I can be. After all, it’s why I have my girlfriends -- to talk about husbands, shifting body parts, office politics and how annoying my kids can be. Alex Allred of Dallas, TX summed it up best when she told me this about her two daughters: “I’m not their best friend. They have plenty of those. I am much, much better. I’m their mom.” ■

Remembering Mom E

No matter how old you are, losing your mother is like losing the anchor of your ship. By Dayle Herstik

verything changes when your mother passes away – no matter how old she is – or you are. Feelings that were taken for granted, like how things seem so easy and you just know the sun will shine, actually and metaphorically. The daily phone calls just to say hello or to confirm an appointment time. That these day to day occurrences are finite does not enter into your mind, like all things in daily life.  My mother, Ruth Grande Halle was the matriarch of our family. I believe that our family gatherings were easier to arrange because everyone knew that Grandma Ruth would be there; four generations on Thanksgiving, at the Seder table, on Mother’s day, at a barbecue. Ruth was a teacher -- an authority on third graders, I believed, when raising my children). She was a poet, played bridge, and believed one should be an independent thinker. She thought a woman should have her own bank account and a fur coat.  Due to her teaching profession, I was a latchkey kid by the time I was ten years old. This was the beginning of my independence and making decisions for myself. I learned about the consequences of procrastination of important things, such as homework and specific chores  not attended to appropriately. I also had the freedom to choose the number of cookies with my milk, after school. Being a working mom, routines were essential. My siblings and I looked forward to mom’s ‘gourmet meals‘.  Friday night there was pot roast or chicken. Swiss steak with carrots and rice on Thursday.  Wednesday was lamb chops with ketchup, mashed potatoes and spinach, Tuesday was dairy, grilled cheese or egg salad with borscht or corn soup. Monday, meatballs and spaghetti with canned peas. All vegetables came from a can.  Saturday or Sunday were for leftovers, company or the kosher deli. Except for breakfast, which was pancakes, French toast, or lox and bagels. I retrieved this information through consultation with my sister. The yearly family outing, on a Sunday in September, to the cemetery in Queens held no sadness for me. I, my siblings and my cousins sat on the pavement outside the gates eating Good Humor ice cream, traffic whizzing by, while our parents (six sib-

lings and spouses) paid their graveside respects to our grandparents. We were all intact when they returned, in time for hotdogs at the kosher deli. Ah, childhood! These were the only times cemetery visits and fun were synonymous. These precious and poignant memories, among others, are only a small part of why the death of my mother still brings a slight ache in my heart. At present the years of my life are like a fleeting film without an intermission.  When my mother died, I realized I was now an orphan and would have to fend for myself in this cold cruel world. Forget that I had grandchildren preparing for college, and that I had retired from my profession. I knew I would have to drive to places without her navigational skills and the summers at the family cabin where she refined her poetry and mended various articles of clothing, would never be the same. It was a sunny day in May when my mother entered Hospice where she would transition from life to death in comfort and dignity. I read her poetry aloud with comment on when and why they were written. Did she hear?  I told her about things of interest to her, articles in the Times, family news. Did she hear? When my sister and I bid her farewell with Broadway tunes of the 40s and 50s, did she hear? I’m convinced she heard. My mother’s passing was part of the natural order of things. She was 99 and had a full and productive life to the end. Still, losing a mother, no matter what age, is a life altering experience which takes a long time to infuse within yourself. You laugh a little, cry a little because of all the experiences along the way. Each day with your mother is a gift. Make the most of it. You can never get back those days. ■

Dayle Herstik    

Dayle Herstik considers her role as a mom one of her great successes, evidenced by her progeny of grandchildren. She enjoyed a career with the NYC Public Schools and now spends her time painting, sculpting and writing.  She has recently published a book of poetry, ’When We Were Perfect.”




This excerpt is adapted from Allison Gilbert’s new book Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children. To learn more about the book, watch the trailer on YouTube

By Allison Gilbert

Click here to order a copy of the book!



When my son and daughter were babies, I expected that the jealousy I felt for moms and dads who still had their parents would subside as they got older. That somehow the passage of time would fill the empty space my parents left behind. But tripwires are everywhere. Like the time I went to my son’s second-grade Valentine’s Day party. The morning of the party, I arrived and was in a great mood. But right as I bit into my umpteenth chocolate munchkin, I noticed one of his classmates showing an older man a drawing on the wall. The man studied it and leaned over and whispered in her ear. I imagined what he must have said. “Oh, darling. What a fantastic drawing. You are such a terrific artist.” My mood instantly disintegrated. I started thinking how my parents, who had passed away years earlier, couldn’t participate in even the most routine aspects of Jake’s life. Even though my parents are gone, my children have wonderful grandparents. My husbands’ parents are alive and our

A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

stepmothers are incredibly loving and engaged. But without my mom and dad, there are just so many irreplaceable losses. When our daughter, Lexi, turned three, she started to stutter. For me, what made the situation worse was that as a child I also stuttered and I had no

Allison Gilbert

Helping Kids Remember Their Grandparents

recollection of how my parents helped me. Did they take the “wait and see” approach, or did they seek immediate intervention? Whatever they did, it worked. My husband and I ended up choosing the aggressive line of attack and Lexi stopped stuttering almost instantly. Perhaps we would have reached the same conclusion if my parents had been alive, but the scare would have been easier to handle if they’d been there to help us along.

© wragg

I started thinking how my parents, who had passed away years earlier, couldn’t participate in even the most routine aspects of Jake’s life. Gradually, I’ve been able to replace the longing for what my children are missing with a deep appreciation for all that we have now. And, it was my daughter who showed me how. One evening when Lexi was six, she made an unusual request. “Mom,” she said, “Can we read my birthday cards tonight?” Ever since my children’s first birthday, I’ve saved a few

of their birthday cards thinking they’d have fun one day reading some of the silly ones they’d gotten when they were small. The last card we read that night had a picture of Sleeping Beauty on the cover and inside it said, “Happy Birthday, Princess!” Lexi asked who it was from. I whispered, “It’s from Grandma.” And before I could say another word she asked, “Which one?” Which one. Instantly, and in a moment of true grace, I felt deeply blessed. Lexi has three grandmothers. Lexi has three grandmothers who are active and involved and have shaped her into the smart, little girl who was reclining halfawake beside me. Smiling, I kissed her goodnight and got up to leave the room. But when I got to the door I stopped. “What is it, Mom?” Turning around, I took a few steps back into her room. “Lex,” I whispered, “did I ever tell you the story about the card Grandma got me for my 6th birthday? It was gigantic.” “How big was it?” And I told her all about it. ■

Allison Gilbert is author of Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children. She is also the founder of Parentless Parents, a new and growing network of parents who have experienced the loss of their own mothers and fathers. You can learn more about parentless parents and join the community on Facebook.

✔ Specific Language: When talking with your kids about your parents, it is far more meaningful to refer to your mom as “your grandma,” instead of “my mother.” Word choice helps children own the relationship for themselves. ✔ “Grandma & Grandpa Tours”: Children learn better by doing. A wonderful adventure to do with your kids is to take them to the offices where your parents worked, the towns where they grew up, even the schools they attended. To make it even more interesting for older children, you may want to create an audio walking tour for their iPods, the same kind you listen to in museums. ✔ Use Technology: With a little digital magic, we can show our children the physical traits they’ve inherited from their grandparents. To create a photograph of your son or daughter with your parents, find a favorite picture of your child and then locate a photograph of your parents that’s similar in size. Scan the photo of your parents if you don’t have one already on your computer. Using Photoshop, edit the images so it appears like it was taken at the same time. ✔ Join Parentless Parents on Facebook: You will be instantly connected with parentless parents from across the United States and around the world. Join the conversation. Add your thoughts and ideas to the Wall. Here, we all learn from each other.




If cancer is a gift,

where can I return it? One mom asks–and answers– the questions (blog and memoir coming soon)


ou are my cancer Sherpa,” a friend told me last week, just hours after she had received the diagnosis no one ever wants to hear, perhaps especially a parent: She has cancer. “I must trademark that immediately,” I replied. After all, aren’t all cancer survivors Sherpas of sorts, helping guide the newly diagnosed through the jargon and the decisions, the anger and the fear? We do what others had done for us when we needed it most. Unfortunately, I’ve played the role of cancer Sherpa all too often since I finished chemotherapy and radiation treatments three-and-half years ago for a tumor the size of a softball that had invaded my left lung, the product of stage three non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When I achieved remission, I asked my oncologist the question I’d been too afraid to ask when I was in treatments: “How close was I to death?” He speculated about collapsing lungs and heart attacks before conceding simply, “Two months.” I pictured my kids starting school the September after my diagnosis without a mother, their backpacks filled with lunches that I wouldn’t have been there to make had I not been one of the lucky ones. My kids were 10 and 8 when I was diagnosed, the year they lost too much of their innocence all at once at my bedside in the hospital. That night, they looked so small, so scared and so fragile. I tried to reassure them that everything was going to be okay, but I wasn’t so sure myself.



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

By Jen Singer © meltonmedia

© ivanastar

“When one person has cancer, the whole family has cancer,” a friend put into words the very thing I felt when I showed my chest x-ray to my children and explained that I would lose my hair because of the enormous white blob in the middle of it. The whole family has cancer. That’s never truer than when you’re not done raising your kids. Later, I Googled “parenting with cancer,” but I didn’t find what I was looking for. Instead, I found a lot of posts and pages by parents dealing with children who had cancer, but not much support for parents with cancer who are hoping and praying to be around long enough to see their kids grow up. I knew then that if I made it into remission, I would change that. is the web site I was looking for that night. A work in progress, it will provide no nonsense advice from psychological experts on the things moms and dads think about in the middle of the night: How do I explain cancer to my children? How will I keep their lives as normal as possible…Can I

even do that? Where can I turn to for help with the kids, the house, the cancer treatments? Why am I so damn angry/sad/depressed/exhausted/worried and what can I do about it now? I also plan to include stories from survivors – mine and those of so many other moms and dads who have heard the words “You have cancer” and wondered immediately, “How will I tell the kids?” There will be support for spouses, family members, friends and neighbors who want to know how to help the mom or dad with cancer, as well as for the children whose worlds have been turned upside down because of it. is a cancer Sherpa in its own right, a guide for parents who need to figure out how to raise children when facing cancer and everything that goes with it. It’s what I was looking for when I had cancer, and what I hope will help parents like my friend, newly diagnosed and wondering how to tell her child “Mommy has cancer.” ■

Jen Singer blogged about parenting with cancer for and her own site, She is writing a memoir called, “If Cancer is a Gift, Where Can I Return it?” Now 3 ½ years in remission, she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their kids, who are now 14 and 12. She is launching this month.




One mom waxes nostalgic about the starry nights, fresh air and summer camp days of her favorite state. By Danielle Feigenbaum

Why Summers

& Camp

Belong in Maine

Click here to learn more about the Maine Camp Experience



A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011

photographs courtesy of


hen I close my eyes I can smell the pine trees, feel the pine needles under my feet, see the mountains reflecting off the lake, taste the fresh blueberries and hear the camp songs ringing in my ear. Overnight camp in Maine - if only I could go back. Luckily, soon I can live vicariously through my daughter who can go to the camp where my mom, aunt and cousin all went as well. It’s tradition and there’s nothing that compares to summertime in Maine. I loved it so much I go back to vacation there and you have to drag me home. Once you visit the amazing summer camps in Maine, it will get into your blood. Here are the top ten reasons why you’ll be hooked… ● The trips! There is nothing like sleeping under the crystal clear starry night sky in the forests of Maine. Cooking our own food and roasting s’mores around the campfire and of course telling spooky stories and singing lots of campfire songs. Learning how to survive in the wilderness is a lifelong skill that stays with you. Besides all the amazing camping trips, we took some phenomenal non-camping trips as well. Whale watching was always a favorite! The whales literally jump out of the water right next to the boat, it’s spectacular! As we got older at camp we went to Bar Harbor, Old Orchard Beach, Ogunquit and when we were the oldest campers we went to Quebec, Canada for four days! You definitely can’t do that from New York or Pennsylvania.

Visit to learn more.

● Lots of Lakes. Maine has 2,200 lakes perfect for canoeing and kayaking not to mention amazing white water rafting adventures. My most memorable canoe trip was down the Saco River and one of my favorite camp activities was water skiing around our large lake. The Maine coastline is amazing and I can remember trips to the beach and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean! ● Mountains galore. There are over 60 mountains to hike and climb in Maine. As someone who had a fear of climbing mountains, to reach the peak of Mount Katahdin (one of the highest peaks in New England) it was a life changing accomplishment I will never forget. ● Peace. A recent study by the Institute for Economics and Peace finds that Maine is the most peaceful state in the country. During the year, our children are over programmed and deserve some peace over the summer. Maine offers

the perfect prescription! ● Food glorious food! Fresh lobster dinner? Check! Pick your own juicy blueberries and/or enjoy scrumptious blueberry pie? Check! Delicious ice cream? Oh yeah. The best ice cream in Maine is Ben & Bills in Bar Harbor. They make their own ice cream. ● Easy to get to, hard to leave. Maine is an easy drive or a quick flight from most places in the Northeast. The best thing to do is make a vacation out of your visiting day! With hundreds of Bed and Breakfasts to choose from and tons of summer events going on, you will be counting down to the summer right along with your child! ● Acadia National Park. Spend a day or a week – there are so many fun things to do! Do not miss watching the sunset on Cadillac Mountain. Another must in Acadia National Park - listen to the Waves at Thunder Hole - where the water crashes

into rocks made of granite and the sound that erupts bears a striking resemblance to thunder - hence the name. ● The Staff. I kept in touch with long after camp ended. Maine has the highest return rate for staff due to the amazing facilities and appeal of spending the summer in Maine. The counselors you start off with your first summer may return again and again throughout your camp experience. ● Shop ‘till you drop. Freeport Maine is home to the original and largest L.L. Bean store and fabulous outlet shopping. Parents and campers love to go there and explore the area. There are always fun events to attend, like L.L. Bean’s Summer in the Park Series for kids and families. You can check out all the great summer events here. ● The bond that never breaks. The friends you make at camp in Maine are special, they are friends for life. Families from all over the country (and all over the world!) send their children to camp in Maine—my close friends were from Florida, Ohio, Arizona and my cousin went to Maine from California. We know the camps are timeless; they have amazing traditions that surpass generations. When you find another person who went to camp in Maine or sends a child to camp in Maine, there is a knowing smile and an automatic bond. You both know that you are in on an incredible secret! That’s why summers and camp belong in Maine… ■

Maine Camp Directors’ Top Picks Camp Directors and owners of overnight camps in Maine are special. They eat, breathe and live for camp and spending the summer in Maine. Here are a few of the Directors’ favorite spots and activities in Maine… Acadia National Park - climbing Mt. Cadillac to see the sunrise, first spot in United States to view it. Allagash Wilderness Waterway - spend a week on the river camping, canoeing, seeing moose. Whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River. Devil’s Den - our own private mountain top, from which we can see Mt. Washington to the Ocean, the ponds, forest and farms of south Maine. Spectacular, and worth the climb every time. A campfire at sunset is pure perfection.

Kettle Cove State Park - a gem of a beach, tucked in close to Portland. Star gazing. We can still lay out at night and count falling stars. Crystal Clear lakes - where I can see unreal sunsets every night and the loon calls sing me to sleep. Trip day: I can surf at old Old Orchard Beach one week, climb a mountain the next, paddle on a white water river the next. Limitless outdoor opportunities. Ogunquit - we bring the older campers to this quaint New England town and they just love going there and feeling/acting like tourists. They love the trolleys. It gives them a true appreciation for New England living. Sebago Lake- being out on the lake sailing with campers- no better place to be. projectyou





✽ Connect with Your Teens Through Pop Culture and Technology Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture and Technology helps parents keep up-todate 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. 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



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!

everything from saving money and time to meal ideas and free time activities. She is a work-at-home mother of 1-and 3-year-old daughters.

giveaway site. She and her family love traveling around their home state of California reviewing hotels, restaurants, and family activities, parks and events.

✽ 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 selfdoubt and procrastination to fearlessly creating a successful blog and online business that they love.

✽ 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 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! ✽ MamaBuzz Mel is a work at home, home schooling mama and wife with 2 rambunctious boys who keep her days filled with lots of hugs, giggles, and a ton of mud & grass stains. She loves to write and loves everything having to do with home decor, the great outdoors, etc. She writes 2 blogs....MamaBuzz and Real Heart Prints. ✽ Rural Mom is about empowering moms with the right information and tools to enjoy country life to the fullest! On, 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, ecofarmer, and mom of three. ✽ The Mom Jen is a former elementary school teacher who writes for The Mom Reviews, an online product review and

✽ 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. ✽ 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,

To become a Project You Partner, please email us at

A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011



Parenting BY Dummies. She dicusses childhood, parenthood, and all the hoods in between as she partners with Dumb Dad in raising three sometimes-evil-butshamefully-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 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. ✽ 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. ✽ 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. ✽ Confessions of an Overworked Mom is the place for busy moms to learn about eco-friendly, 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. ✽ 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. ✽ 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!

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! ✽ Visit Los Angeles Mamma Blog for money saving tips, product reviews, and musings on all things baby and toddler related. ✽ 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. ✽ 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. ✽ 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 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.

To become a Project You Partner, please email us at




winner’sCIRCLE! Oh, Brother! Comic Strip Winner

5 Questions for Chiara

Recently, Role Mommy hosted the “Is Your Kid A Character Contest” on behalf of the nationally syndicated comic strip, “Oh, Brother!” With the help of a panel of esteemed blogging mom judges, one lucky child won the chance to be featured in an Oh, Brother! comic strip panel. After receiving dozens of entries from parents across the country, the winning story came from Chiara, a 7 year old from Columbia, MO whose mom shared the following funny tidbit about her daughter: “My kid is a character because she can always turn a bad situation into a good one. Her random funniness is what gets me through my day. Last week we were talking and she said “Mom I’m never getting married,” and I asked her why and she said “Because boys like to take your paycheck and play video games all day and I don’t have time for it, Mom!’” Chiara’s official debut as an “Oh, Brother!” comic strip character appeared this week online at and in newspapers nationwide. Take a look... Get to know Chiara with our Fave Five Questions for Kids... RM: What do you want to be when you grow up? Chiara: A pediatrician. RM: What is your favorite thing to do with your family? Chiara: Going to the movies. RM: What is your favorite food? Chiara: Pepperoni pizza. RM: What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? Chiara: Have sleepovers.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Is Your Kid A Character Contest! You can check out all our runners up here and thanks to our judges for casting their votes! Make sure you visit the Oh Brother! website for fun games and the chance to upload your own artwork. Plus, next time you’re reading your local newspaper, hand over the comics to your kids and make sure they check out Oh, Brother! online at or 40


A Role Mommy Magazine l Spring 2011


RM: How does it feel to be turned into a comic strip character? Chiara: It’s fun. I told my class and I’m excited!

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

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A Role Mommnye Magazi Fall 2010

Back AT School Issue

Tea wiTh “NaNNy McPhee”

When YOUR Kid is the Bully

Energy Zappers —and Solutions

Project You Magazine, Spring 2011  

This magazine is about YOU and the joys and challenges you face while also being nurse, confidante, chauffeur, teacher, and mentor to your k...

Project You Magazine, Spring 2011  

This magazine is about YOU and the joys and challenges you face while also being nurse, confidante, chauffeur, teacher, and mentor to your k...