Build it And They Will Come

DSCN2659.JPGFrom the time I was a kid I have always loved being on stage. And so, when I got the chance to take the mic at Comic Strip Live a few days ago with some of my favorite mom authors, writers and bloggers, that little skip in my step that I usually get when I’m on to something exciting, completely took hold of me.
OpenMomNight.jpgYou see, I’m actually in the midst of putting together a humor anthology called C://Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Blogging Moms and when City Dusk asked me what I kind of event I’d like to host for moms this Mother’s Day, readings from my new book popped into my head. And so, within minutes, I fired off emails to my talented team of contributors and within seconds, they all said they wanted to be a part of the night.
In the weeks leading up to the event, I asked everyone to send their essays to me so that I could see how each would flow into the next. Then my good friend, Audrey Pass, who heads up PR for Fox 5 NY suggested that the station’s technology reporter and former stand-up comic Brett Larson would make a great emcee. While I would have normally gone with a mom host for the night – Brett turned out to be the perfect choice.
DSCN2662.JPGMeanwhile, as I pored over essays about diaper explosions, restaurant nightmares, unorthodox Rosh Hashana memories, naked kids and more, I started to envision how these honest and hilarious stories would play out on stage. Plus, some of the essays that I had been editing came in from some incredibly gifted writers from Chicago and Los Angeles and I decided I wanted to use their stories in the show as well. And so, I did what any connected mom would do – I reached out to Wendy Stetson, a blogger friend and actress and she agreed to read one of the stories. She then brought in another colleague, Katie Firth, an actress and mom and we then combined the two stories and worked to perfect the act on stage.
The night of the event, we asked all our performers to arrive early so they could participate in a video shoot with our title sponsor, Luvs. From there, they asked each of us our personal mantra on motherhood and my response was simple. When you’re a mom, you have to accept that you are going to make mistakes – and that’s okay. The key to being a good mom is not to lose yourself in the process. Pursue your passion while raising a family and that will not only make you happier, but turn you into a great mom in the process.
From there, we were also interviewed by Traveling Mom founder, Kim Orlando who was on hand with Sony to showcase their new web cams and ask all of us how much we rely on technology when we’re traveling. Case in point…I’m writing this article while I’m flying on Virgin America and if the internet were working, I’d be blogging about it right about now.
Traveling Mom also supplied us with a fabulous make-up artist from Beauty Strokes who gave us the star treatment and touched us up in time for the show. And then the doors opened and the crowd starting filing in.
I have to say, the biggest part about events that always gets me nervous is whether or not anyone will show up. I’m always pretty confident that I can deliver the goods – great content, a fun evening, socializing and good food. The question is, will moms take time out of their busy schedules to come out for an evening of entertainment. I’m happy to report, they did! The place was packed and what made me even more excited by the turnout was that we were donating a portion of the ticket sales to the Gal to Gal Foundation, which assists patients and families battling stage IV breast cancer.
Before we knew it, it was time to start the show. I hopped up on stage and started to launch into the story behind the evening. I kind of feel like over the past few years, I’ve taken the Kevin Costner approach to building my own field of dreams. Build it and they will come. And my dream of bringing writers together for an evening of laughs and inspiration was about to begin.
I introduced Brett Larson and the instant he took to the stage, he had the audience in stitches. You could tell he was having a great time and he was so comfortable with us. Funny, that our anchor for the night was a man but what I’ve come to realize is that as much as we get caught up in the whole mom humor moment, it’s nice to breathe a little testosterone into the air to mix things up a bit.
The performers for the evening included Jen Singer, author of the new book Stop Second Guessing Yourself, blogger and freelance writer Melissa Chapman, Tracy Beckerman, syndicated humor colunist and author of Rebel Without a Minivan, mom blogger Vanessa Druckman; blogger and former TV promotion producer Nancy Friedman; CNN Executive producer and blogger Eden Pontz; actress and blogger Wendy Stetson and actress Katie Firth; blogger and freelance magazine writer Jeanne Muchnick; blogger and author Liz Gumbinner and Abby Peccoriello, author of Crafty Mama and editor in chief of Nickelodeon’s Parents Connect.
The evening literally went by in a flash and was peppered with lots of laughter from our audience of moms, dads, husbands, friends and fellow mom bloggers. And the best part about our night in the spotlight was that when it was all over, people came up to me asking when we’d be performing again. With our debut a huge success, it looks like there will be many more Open Mom Nights coming soon. We look forward to working with CityDusk again on creating these laugh out loud events for today’s busy parents.

Family Fun for Father’s Day

Family Fun for Father’s Day
By Frances Nankin
Executive Producer and Editorial Director, Cyberchase

image002-8.jpgThis Father’s Day, weave math into your family fun with these quick and easy, skill-building activities from Cyberchase, the animated hit series that airs daily on PBS KIDS GO!. And don’t miss the all-new Cyberchase special episode, Father’s Day, premiering June 19 on PBS KIDS GO! (check local listings).
Make Banana Pancakes! (Math skills: Measurement, Fractions)
In Father’s Day, Creech’s dad Max gets the Cyber Dad of the Year award, in part because of his fabulous banana pancakes. Does your Dad of the Year like pancakes? Together, you and your child can prepare Max’s recipe for that special Father’s Day breakfast. Need more pancakes? Work with your child to double, or even triple the recipe!
Max’s Banana Pancakes
(Makes 8-10 pancakes)
1 egg
1/2 C. sour cream
2/3 C. whole wheat flour
2 TBL sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/3 C. orange juice
1 C. mashed banana
In a medium-size bowl, mix together the egg and sour cream. Set aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, soda and salt. Stir flour mix into egg mix with the orange juice until moistened. Stir in the mashed banana.
Heat griddle with 2 TBL oil until oil is hot. Ladle mix onto griddle to make pancakes. Cook on one side until bubbly, then flip to cook other side.
Serve with butter and your favorite syrup, or eat as is!
Play Frisbee Golf (Math skills: Measurement, Using Numbers)
Here’s a fun way for the whole family to play golf on Father’s Day – Frisbee Golf! Dust off your favorite Frisbee, grab some paper and pens to keep score, and work together to set a “course” of landing targets for the Frisbee (a table, a picnic blanket, a hula hoop, etc.). Invite your child to help you measure the distance between the targets so they are at least 10 feet apart. Choose spots so the targets are not all in a straight line. The object of the game is to toss the Frisbee from one end of the course to the other using the least number of tosses, hitting each target as you go.
To play, take turns tossing the Frisbee toward a target – where it lands becomes the spot from which you take your next shot until you hit your target. Keep track of your score from target to target. (If you take three throws to hit a target, your score is three.) When all players have completed the course, lowest score wins – just like in golf!
Eating Out? (Math skills: Mental Math, Estimation)
Eating out for Father’s Day? Estimation is a powerful tool in mathematics. Before calculating a sum or a product, for example, using number sense to estimate the answer can help you know if your final calculation is reasonable. Here’s one way to give your child some quick and easy practice using estimation. At the restaurant, work together to estimate the total bill. To do this, decide on a way to make the prices of the menu items easy to work with (round up to the nearest dollar, for example). Then, use mental math to estimate the total.
Fight Boredom with the Dr. Marbles Gotcha Game! (Math skills: Logic, Problem Solving)
No one likes to be kept waiting at a restaurant, especially when you’re hungry. But you can make the time pass quickly when you play this fun math game. To set up, you need 15 sugar packets, 1 of them a different color. Arrange 14 of the packets in a circle. Put the 15th different-color packet in the center. The object of the game is to force your opponent to take the packet in the center Take turns removing one, two, or three sugar packets from the circle. T

The Find’s Fave of the Day

TOMS Shoes – Giving Back One Pair of Shoes at a Time

Tomsshoes
How can a single pair of TOM’s shoes change the world? Well, according to TOMS shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, it can save lives – one shoe at a time. While traveling in Argentina in 2006 Blake found that many children had no shoes to protect their feet. In response Blake founded TOMS and returned later that year to give 10,000 pairs of shoes to deserving children all thanks to the purchases made by TOMS customers. So a single pair of shoes can change a life and perhaps the world.

We took the time to chat with a member of the TOMS team to learn more about this innovative and socially conscious company.

1. What is the inspiration behind the new Wrap Boot?
The TOMS Wrap Boot is inspired by the colorful leg wraps worn by Argentine Polo horses. Blake authored a short story that tells the tale of a newly-wed young woman who, to win back the attention of her Polo champion husband, wrapped her legs with the brilliant elastic creating a sassy, flirtatious look. Read the full story and see the looks here!

2. Tell us what happens on a typical “Shoe Drop Tour”.
An Argentina Shoe Drop Tour is a group experience where volunteers hand-place matched pairs of TOMS Shoes on children’s feet and explore some of the country’s most intriguing neighborhoods and activities.

3. How can our readers get involved in the TOMS movement?
– Buy TOMS and wear them daily – share the One for One movement with everyone you meet!
– Stay connected through our emails, Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter
– Share the documentary: YouTube.com/TOMSshoes
– Be part of the TOMS family by applying for an internship on your campus, at TOMS HQ, or on the road as a TOMS Vagabond
Apply to go on a TOMS Shoe Drop Tour

4. What are the various ways an individual can make a difference?
Know that as a consumer you can choose products that offer sustainability, giving, and positivity at their core. TOMS guarantees that for every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One. In the end, “the more you give, the more you live!”

5. What can our readers look forward to in the upcoming collections for TOMS shoes?
TOMS remains true to the classic lines of the Argentine alpargata shoe, but you can look forward to fresh new variations this summer and laces this fall!

Coupon Code: TOMSbday valid for 5% off at www.TOMSshoes.com and expires 5/15.

The Role Mommy Fave Five

Hot off the presses is our latest fave five for moms.
1. Get me a donut…stat! Was in Dunkin Donuts with my daughter tonight picking up three dozen donuts for my son’s 7th birthday school shindig and guess what I found out? They just started posting calorie counts for donuts, bagels and muffins and what I saw, shocked and amazed me. The calorie count on a reduced fat muffin has more than double the amount of calories of a chocolate frosted donut (500+ calories vs. 230 calories). Guess I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow when I pick up my medium hazelnut with skim and a splenda.
2. Free ticket Giveaway for Four – Bob the Builder in New York City. Thanks to the folks at Madison Square Garden, we’re offering free tickets to the May 30 performance of Bob the Builder at the Beacon Theater. Bob the Builder LIVE! Spud’s Big Mess is a singing, dancing, building extravaganza, starring Bob the Builder, his business partner Wendy, trusty machine team members Scoop, Dizzy, Lofty and Scrambler, along with other favorite friends from Sunflower Valley including the mischievous scarecrow Spud, Farmer Pickles, Mayor Bentley and more! The 90-minute stage show includes ten original songs and promotes positive messages of caring for the environment, recycling, teamwork, cooperation and, of course, the importance of a can-do spirit. Just comment on tonight’s Fave Five if your child is a Bob the Builder fan and you could be a winner. And, if you’d like to purchase tickets, you can also buy one ticket and get one free. Click on this link and use the promotional code: HAMMER.
3. Virgin America Rocks the Air. Just returned from a flight from Los Angeles to NYC and have to say, I am loving Virgin America. From reasonably priced tickets, to flights that left on time; to technology offerings that range from ordering food, chatting with a seatmate, selecting your own music playlist and ordering movies on demand. Let’s not forget the wi-fi and the regular TV too. If you’re taking a cross country trip, then give Virgin America a whirl.
4. The Biggest Loser Finale – Stayed up late tonight to catch the winner of my favorite reality weight loss show – The Biggest Loser. Don’t want to spoil it for my friends on the west coast but here’s a hint – it’s a she and she’s 48 and looks amazing! Motivation enough for me to hit the gym in the morning. But first, it’s time to hit the hay.
5. Want to win a Mitsubishi flat screen television? Well, all you have to do is visit the Woman’s Day website and enter to win. Wait a second…now that’s an offer I need to check out myself – my TV’s are still trapped in the 90’s.

Turn Your Passion Into a Paycheck

For those of you who might not have the time to attend a networking event so that you can reinvent your life, start a new business or finance your current entrepreneurial venture, then Liveperson.com has just the answer.
If you missed Liveperson’s live workshop on Thursday, May 14, you can visit their website now to download the transcript that featured 8 career experts giving great advice covering every aspect of your professional life – from starting a business, to crafting a killer resume, to social networking to find a job and turning your passion into a paycheck. Plus, listen in to three of their experts, Jessica Smith, Vicki Salemi and Rebecca Rodskog, who joined me today on Role Mommy Radio. Then, visit Liveperson and register for the workshop now!

Role Rommy Radio Kicks off At Castle Ivar

DSCN2670.JPG It’s Monday morning and we’ve officially returned back home after a whirlwind weekend in Hollywood. And if you’re wondering, who is that woman posing next to me? Well, it’s none other than Maureen McCormack!
I got the chance to interview Maureen at Castle Ivar in the Hollywood Hills during a Mother’s Day spa retreat sponsored by Coke, HemAway, My Princess Academy and Habitat Heroes, among many others. I spent the day high atop the castle with my partner in crime, Blog Talk Radio‘s entertainment host Shaun Daily and together, we interviewed celebrities, parenting experts, chefs, entrepreneurs and much more! Check out the great photo below of me with Niecy Nash, star of the Style Network show Clean House, who stopped by to chat with us. A big thanks to photographer and blogger Jessica New for the fabulous photography!
DSC_0001.jpgIf you’d like to listen in to all our shows, or select some of your favorites, just click on the link below! We’ll be sharing more details of our entire weekend at the castle as well as some nostalgic places we visited with my mom, mother-in-law and daughter but first need to shake off this jet lag and get about 5 more cups of coffee in my system. For now, listen in and laugh!

Role Mommy Has Landed!

So it only took six hours, a few serious bouts of turbulence and a poodle with irritable bowel syndrome to make our flight from New York to Los Angeles an entertaining and pungent one. More on that story when I get some sleep in me and re-charge my funny mom batteries.
building and pool rh large.jpgWe arrived in California this afternoon and I have to say, that the fabulous Renaissance Hotel, Role Mommy’s official hotel sponsor this weekend, couldn’t be nicer. The staff is incredibly attentive, the room is spacious with a great view, there’s instant wireless in the room (they charge it to your room in 3 seconds flat), wide screen TV, coffee machine, comfy beds, and best of all, they have refreshing flavored water and free M&M’s in the lobby for kids. What more can you ask for really?
Oh did I mention the heated pool that stays open at night and the instant access to a shopping mall and restaurants? Oh, and the fact that it’s thisclose to the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Hollywood Walk of Fame? And the Kodak Theater, where they host tons of awards shows and the American Idol finale is directly across the street!
IMG00002.jpgWe also visited my all time favorite Hollywood shopping haunt “The Grove” where you can find everything from Crate & Barrel to Nordstroms to the Apple Store to Michael Kors…all in one place. After fixing my computer (diagnosis – bad plug), we ate at a fabulous Italian restaurant called Piazza, with an affable waiter/actor who told us about the deal of the century SoHo apartment he used to live in when he was a struggling actor in the early nineties. Today, when he’s not serving up Rigatoni Alla Norma, he appears in lots of commercials and most recently nabbed a guest spot on “NCIS.”
After dinner, we meandered through the streets and did a lot of people and miniature dog watching. Even walked passed a kiosk that sold clothes and those fancy dog in a purse handbags. Favorite find of the night – a doggy t-shirt that reads: Bitches Love Me.
More on our adventures coming up when we head over to our spa retreat at a castle and kick off our Role Mommy Radio show on Blog Talk Radio!

The Find’s Top 10 Gifts for Mothers Day

Save on Stylish Mother’s Day Gifts from TheFind

TheFind’s Top 10 Deals for Your Favorite Mom

No need to wait for that perfect gift, the Modern Mom knows what she wants and knows how to get it–and at the best price.  These gifts will bring a smile to your Mom’s face and are gentle on your wallet.  Enjoy these money saving coupons for TheFind Users!
Braceletmom
1. Gorgeous and Gleaming.
  Treat mom to something pretty for her wrist that she’ll cherish for years to come. See more bracelets from Ice.com on TheFind
Ice.com  Coupon Code – SFIND  20% off Good through 12/31/09.
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Springcleaning
2. Task Master. Put your laundry tasks in order. These clever laundry accessories will keep mom’s most delicate clothing looking fresh as new.
BareNecessities.com  Coupon Code – THEFIND09  Get 10% off.  Good through 5/30/09
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Prada_parfum
3. Sweet Scents.  Every time I wear Prada perfume, MEN stop me asking what I am wearing. I love the sweet spicy smell, it makes me feel as if I’m on a Roman holiday.

Fragrance.net Coupon Code – THEFIND  Receive 10% off all orders; Ongoing coupon, no end date
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C & C california tees
4. Cool and Casual. I love the relaxed So Cal casual style of these comfy C&C California tees. I own at least ten of these lovelies. Great for layering and pairing with your favorite pair of jeans.

Barenecessities Coupon Code – THEFIND09 Get 10% off at barenecessities.com Good through 5/30/09
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Watchesmom  
5. Keeping Time
.  If that old SWATCH watch just won’t cut the muster anymore get yourself a new one. The bigger and bolder, the watch, the better.
KenmarWatches.com Coupon Code – THEFIND5 Save 5% site wide Good through 1/1/10  _________________________________________________________________________

 Hobohandbagbluefly
6.  In the Bag. 
Mom A hobo style handbag is an instant updater to any wardrobe. Not only do they look great with tailored classics or jeans but they fit comfortably on your shoulder and will fit all of your essentials.

Bluefly.com Coupon Code – THEFIND30 $30 off your first order at Bluefly.com Good through 6/30/09
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Momsday_jan_JJS
7. Get Cozy.  You’ll sleep more soundly in these fair trade and 100% organic cozy PJs.
Gaiam Coupon Code –  TheFind4 for free shipping on purchases over $25 through June 1,
2009.
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Momsday_jan_llc  
8. Make a Statement.
All of Luxury Loves Company’s products are produced in ethical and
Fair Wear Foundation signatory factories, the luxurious eco-friendly
fabrics include soft organic cotton and bamboo. The collection is
currently sold in Kitson, Fred Segal Fun, and LuxuryLovesCompany.com.
Now thru June 1, 2009 save 25% at  with Coupon Code: FINDVIP
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Momsday_jan_wabisabi
9.  Wabi-Sabi 
Rae Dunn’s  delicate handmade ceramics (plates, cups, vases, etc) , based upon the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi- the beauty of things imperfect- are the perfect hostess, birthday or mother’s day gift for Yourself.  See some of Rae Dunn’s sale items here for Mother’s Day Deals.
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Momsday_jan_toms
10. Feel Good. Share the love with a single pair of TOMS shoes. For every pair of shoes you
purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for
One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater
good is what TOMS is all about.
Coupon Code: TOMSbday valid for 5% off at www.TOMSshoes.com and expires 5/15.