The Best Buy Mobile Prescription

DROID by Motorola Front Home.JPGI don’t know about you, but I carry way too much technology in my purse. From my BlackBerry Pearl to my iPhone 3-G to my Verizon wireless card, I am pretty much reachable 24/7 and am paying through the nose for it. So imagine my surprise this week when I was invited to check out the Best Buy Mobile store in Union Square and was introduced to the company’s director of marketing and store manager who were on hand to share how Best Buy can help me streamline and simplify my cell phone and the two plans I’m currently on.
While checking out all the gadgets in the store – from HP Netbooks to the latest Droid and Backflip phones, I was handed a sheet where I can provide Best Buy with all my technology needs. Once I’ve filled in all the information, a sales associate then matches me with my ideal phone. According to the store manager, rather than lug around my BlackBerry and iPhone, I should give either the Motorola Back Flip or the Droid a whirl. Both phones offer the option of using a screen to access the internet, take photos and video and of course Tweet and use Facebook. Plus, they give you access to tons of Google Apps and you can even download music or import your iTunes library (if you purchased songs after April 2009).
I also asked about the best phone for my tween daughter and found out that there are phones equipped with GPS (the Droid and the Hero phone by Sprint), which means that no matter where she goes, I will be able to pinpoint exactly where my daughter is at all hours of the day. Now I’m wondering whether I’ll share that little tidbit with her. To find out more about Best Buy Mobile and all their great deals on cell phones, visit their site today!

The Cat Whisperer

IMG_0283.jpgMy cat Rudy has been a part of our family for more than 14 years. He’s a loyal animal who loves nothing more than to curl up on my bed at night and pounce on my bladder in the morning when he is ready for his morning Fancy Feast fix. While he sleeps most of the day away, you know Rudy is hungry when he hops up on my kitchen table and sits beside my laptop hoping I’ll read his cat language, get up out of my seat and crack open a can of grilled beef. Yummy.
But here’s the problem – it’s not dinner time and I don’t feel like feeding Rudy just yet. Instead, I think it’s time he starts pulling his weight around here and so I’ve decided to put him to work and contribute a column to Role Mommy. And while he can’t speak, I’ve interpreted his cat cues and while I’m no Cesar Milan, I know exactly what Rudy is trying to tell me:
Rudy: Sits on my lap or cuddles up with me as I sit on the couch watching “American Idol”
What he’s Telling Me: I just love hanging out with you and watching those cheesy contestants get eliminated. Don’t you think the guy who looks like Owen Wilson in “Meet the Parents” needs to get a haircut? My hair is shorter than his!
Rudy: Sits on my kitchen counter and starts rubbing his head against my laptop screen.
What he’s Telling Me: Would you just pet me already? I honestly believe that you love that computer more than me. Sheesh.
Rudy: Sits on my bladder at 5 am.
What he’s Telling Me: Rise and shine. It’s time to fix me some Fancy Feast! I’ll take the grilled salmon with a side of liver kibble thank you very much.
Rudy: Greets me at the front door after we’ve been away for a week.
What he’s Telling Me: Where the heck have you been? I’ve been moping around here for seven days. Oh and I left you a present upstairs since you didn’t buy me anything. It’s a petrified hairball if you’d like to know.
Rudy: Swats my hand after I accidentally pet him and he gets an electric shock.
What he’s Telling Me: All I’m looking for is a little love and you shock me? What am I in prison or something?
Rudy: Scratches the arms of the couch until I shoo him away.
What he’s Telling Me: Either you get off your fat butt and feed me or I will continue to wreck your furniture. Honestly, would it kill you to buy me a cat condo?
If you have a pet then feel free to share a photo and tell us all about what they’re telling you. You don’t have to be a pet expert to interpret the cues. Just ask Rudy – he knows I know exactly what he wants – it just depends who has more willpower.

Giveaway Central: Nitro Need for Speed for Nintendo DS


need-for-speed-nitro-20090708024317743_640w.jpgI bet you’ll be surprised when I tell you this little tidbit about myself. I love racing games. While I would never think to set foot in a race car, from the time I was a kid, I used to love hopping inside one of those video games where you were virtually transported to a racetrack and attempted to corner those curves and cross the finish line without spontaneously combusting. In fact, about a month ago, I took my son bowling and after my 89th gutter ball, we hit the videogames. While Dylan played his own car game, I hopped aboard a motorcycle, flew through the air and crossed the finished line with a third place win. Of course, the vehicle was mounted to the floor so I got all the thrills of the real thing without being freaked out on the open road.
So imagine my excitement when my son and I got the chance to review the new game Nitro Need for Speed for Nintendo DS. This time, the excitement of car racing is placed in the palm of your hands. Customize your car, take corners at 200 mph, travel to exotic locations and even compete against evil villains! Plus, while you’re racing, you’re also being chased by the cops, who will do everything they can to disrupt the race.
If you’d like to get a sneak peak of the game, check out this video and if you like what you see, get ready for a chance to to win. Comment and re-tweet this post and make sure you include your email address. By next Friday, we’ll let you know if you’re one of five winners who will receive a copy of Nitro Need for Speed for Nintendo DS. So what are you waiting for? Comment and tweet for a chance to win!

Tri-State Area Moms: An Invitation to Indulge!


I don’t know about you, but two of my favorite foods in the entire world are chocolate and wine. And so, imagine my thrill to have received a special invitation from iVillage and Dove chocolate to attend an event on Tuesday, March 9 at Chelsea Market filled with chocolate, wine pairings, freebies, beauty and relaxation treatments and much more! And here’s the best part…you can come too! RSVP now at indulgentmoments@nbcuni.com.
Once you arrive at Chelsea Market, located at 75 Ninth Avenue from 3-7pm, sign in at the door and mention that Role Mommy sent you and if we bring the most guests, we’ll be eligible to win a dinner for two at Del Posto (a $400 value). If we do win, I’ll be giving away that amazing meal to one of our amazing attendees!
Comment now if you plan to attend! And if you can’t make, then don’t despair. You can still enter to win a DVD of Couples Retreat starring Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell. Make sure you leave your email address or else we won’t know how to find you. Get ready to escape and indulge with Role Mommy!!!

The Power of Half: Book Review & Excerpt

powerofhalf.jpgThe one thing I love about going on vacation is getting the chance to kick back and curl up with a few great books and luckily, the folks at Houghton Mifflin sent me an advanced copy of The Power of Half, one American family’s inspirational story of giving, written by a father-daughter duo, Kevin Salwen, a reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal and Hannah Salwen, a junior at the Atlanta Girls’ School.
When Hannah and Kevin were stopped at traffic light near their home, their lives were forever changed when Hannah noticed a homeless person begging on the street and then glanced over at a man driving a Mercedes Benz. As she contemplated the disparity between both men, she suggested to her dad that if the driver in the fancy car downsized to a vehicle that was half the price, he could potentially donate the rest of the money to the homeless man and perhaps help him off his feet so he could rebuild his life. The conversation continued at home when Hannah shared the story with her mom and brother and before long, after several family meetings, she convinced her family to sell their multi-million dollar Atlanta home so they could donate half of the sales to charity.
The Power of Half is told from the point of view of Kevin and Hannah which makes it a perfect read for adults and kids (tweens through teenagers). We even have an excerpt from the book – check it out and then order it today on Amazon because for every book sold, $1 will be donated to The Hunger Project, a foundation which helps women, men and children in Ghana by not only feeding them but by empowering them with the tools to become self sufficient and potentially start their own businesses.

Hannah’s Take: Believe You Can Make a Difference
by Kevin and Hannah Salwen,
Authors of The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back

About 111 women die of breast cancer every day in the United States. A million teenagers get pregnant each year. Someone dies every thirty-one minutes because of drunken drivers. I’m not writing this to bum you out. But you might be thinking, There are so many problems, there’s no way that I or any one person could solve anything.
When civil-rights activist Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a public bus in 1955, she never dreamed of the impact she would have on millions of lives. “I didn’t have any idea just what my actions would bring about,” she said years later. “At the time I was arrested I didn’t know how the community would react.” The reason Ms. Parks didn’t get up is that she knew the racist laws were wrong.
Rosa Parks is just one of the thousands of influential people whose actions changed the views of many people today. Think about Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Greg Mortenson, John Woolman, Madame Curie (if you don’t know them, check them out; they’re all remarkable). Sometimes small acts significantly affect a large group of people. But even when they don’t, they can have a big influence, maybe on just one individual.
So don’t get discouraged because you can’t solve a whole problem alone. As the British philosopher Edmund Burke said, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” I know exactly what he was talking about. Before our family project I kept telling myself that no matter how hard I tried or how much money I gave, I would never be able to fully solve any of the world’s big problems. When I worked at Café 458, the Atlanta restaurant for homeless men and women, I saw dozens of people come in looking depressed and lonely. But still I didn’t see them as individuals, but instead as a group, “the homeless.”
Then one day at Café 458 I heard two homeless men talking about a college basketball game that I had watched with my dad the night before. I snapped to the realization that these people are people. How stupid and rude I had been to see them as different from me. I realize now that having that epiphany was a big step for me. In that split second of comprehension, I switched from seeing them as a group of people to viewing them as individuals. When I started seeing people in need as individuals, the problem of homelessness and hunger seemed smaller and I felt like I could make more of a difference. I also started believing that I could help because the problem was on a personal level.
Activity
Think of a person from your community who inspires you. Look beyond his or her specific actions to the kind of qualities that person brings to work or volunteer activities. For example, some people are better at creating new programs than at actually putting them into action; other people are doers, ready to take someone else’s ideas and run with them. Is that aunt in your family a problem-solver? A good listener? An inspirer?
Now think about your strengths in the same light. If you took your best characteristics out into the world, how could you use them to make a difference? Are you patient? Maybe you would be a good tutor. Are you musical? Maybe you could be playing the guitar at a nursing home (and bringing your family along to sing — no talent required). We all have gifts the world can use.
The above is an excerpt from the book The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Salwen. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2010 Kevin and Hannah Salwen, authors of The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back
Author Bios
Kevin Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back, was reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journalfor over 18 years. After his tenure at The Wall Street Journal, he started a magazine, Motto. He serves on the board for Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta, and works with the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Hannah Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back, will be a junior at the Atlanta Girls’ School, where she plays for the varsity volleyball team, and is her grade’s representative to the student council. She has been volunteering consistently since the 5th grade at the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Cafe 458, among others.
For more information, please visit www.ThePowerOfHalf.com. For every book sold, $1 will be donated to the The Hunger Project.

Giveaway Central: Faves from the Oprah Store!




Our winner has been announced in our Oprah giveaway! Congrats to Thrifty and Chic for your comments…you win a selection of Oprah’s favorite things for yourself and your little one!
Hold on to your snow hats ladies because do I have a giveaway of the day for you. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I received a very special gift from the folks at the brand new Oprah Store. Now if you’re like me and you’ve watched those “Oprah’s Favorite Things” episodes religiously, then you know that the Queen of Talk is also a master at selecting the cream of the crop when it comes to clothes, furniture, books, you name it, when Oprah selects a product as one of her favorite things, then you know that what you’re getting is amazing.
Making our lives even easier, the Oprah Store features all of Oprah’s favorite things both in person (if you happen to be in the Chicago area) and online too. And best of all, they recently sent me a few incredible items to check out for myself and I have to say, the quality is amazing.
blankets.jpgThe first item was a baby blanket with satin embroidered trim that is so soft that my 11 year old daughter attempted to claim it as her own. However, we’re going to save it for a lucky Role Mommy reader because the package also came with an adorable animal bib too! If you’re a new mom and can’t get enough of those cozy blankets then comment on this blog post today and you may be receiving it soon!
yoga.jpgNext up are the gifts that a mom will love and no, it’s not wine and chocolate – although that’s always nice, it’s a cozy yoga track suit and comfy chenille socks! I can just imagine Oprah in the stock room going through the merchandise saying, you know what? Beth doesn’t need anything fancy – her favorite thing to do is kick back and relax on the couch while she writes – why not send her a yoga suit so she can craft the perfect blog post in style!
footies.jpgAnd I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me happier than having warm feet during the winter time and while I recently plunked down a chunk of change on a pair of Ugg slippers, I have to say I am so loving my pink chenille socks as I type away on my couch. Kind of makes you want to take a nap with a baby blanket perhaps.
But I digress, if you’d like to check out what The Oprah Store has to offer then visit today! Plus, if you’re ready to buy now, the Oprah Store is offering free shipping with no minimum purchase to Role Mommy readers. Check out the exclusive line of baby and children’s couture and accessories at http://oprahstore.oprah.com and take advantage of an exclusive offer through February. FREE SHIPPING with no minimum purchase! Just type in Mother247 at check-out.
And if you’d like to be eligible to win all the goodies I received from the Oprah Store, then comment now with your email address and share why you’d love something for your little one and for you! The winner will be selected on February 22.

The Skinny on my Princess Cruise

IMG_0178.jpgI had been looking forward to this vacation for months. One week away, on a cruise, hitting some of the most beautiful islands in the caribbean. And then I caught a cold. Which meant the food that I was going to be enjoying on the high seas was going to be tasteless. And the strawberry margaritas I was dreaming of…again…nothing.
So here I am on our way to St. Maarten where all the women will be shopping but I will be joining my family on a beach excursion to the French side of the island on a beach offering partial nudity. Lovely. While my mom and her friends shop for diamonds and tanzanite, I’ll be wincing at some topless women lounging on the beach while I cover my kids’ eyes.
So the vacation. What have I enjoyed? Let’s see. The Princess Cruise line offers great entertainment – from comedy shows, to bands performing in their side bars to a karaoke experience where you can sing with a band; and a piano bar called Crooners featuring a piano man who sounds like a cross between James Taylor and Billy Joel. Okay – not quite, but he is pretty awesome. What I absolutely love are the Movies under the Stars option. You get to sit on a lounge chair and cuddle up with a blanket and popcorn as you watch movies that have recently been released on DVD (This is It, Night at the Museum II, Harry Potter, Mamma Mia and many more).
As far as the food – it’s not as amazing as some other ships I’ve been on – like Celebrity and Royal Caribbean – but then again, I do have a cold so I can’t tell whether or not my taste buds would have been delighted by the culinary creations on the ship.
Things that are missing from our cruise experience – the midnight buffet. While food is plentiful, there are no ice sculptures or masterpieces in the pool area featuring mouthwatering creations. I mean seriously folks, how could there not be a chocolate fountain on board? There is a pizza and ice cream bar, two restaurants that are not part of the meal plan (we loved Sabatini’s) and a dessert cafe, plus there’s a wine bar with sushi and tapas and a cafe with cappucinos, latte, smoothies and tons of desserts.
I’ve also found that everything – except our dining room reservations, are first come first served. Which means if you don’t get your butt to a lounge chair by the pool at the crack of dawn, well you’re pretty much going to be sitting behind a pole in the shade for most of the cruise (that would be us).
The staterooms are very nice. While our room isn’t that spacious, the kids are loving their bunk beds and I am loving the bed linens. Each bed comes with a cozy comforter with a soft duvet covering (no scratchy bedspreads). Plus, the chocolates and cookies left in the room by the steward each night aren’t too shabby either.
As far as the cruise staff, let’s just say that even though this is technically the “Love Boat,” you will find no Captain Steubing, Doc, Issac, Gopher or Julie the cruise director on board. You will find Mark from England, a long haired girl from France whose nickname is ‘Frenchie,’ another guy from Australia and several more from Italy, Macedonia, Chile, Zimbabwe and many more countries around the world – I just haven’t had a chance to read all the name tags. I guess Americans aren’t applying for jobs aboard cruises. Instead, they’re the ones lining up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, coffee and drinks.
The girth of the passengers onboard is what truly troubles me the most about this vacation. Now don’t get me wrong. After this trip, I’m hitting the nearest Weight Watchers center to shed at least 15 pounds. But the people onboard who I’ve encountered on a daily basis are so grossly overweight that some need to lose an entire person in order to reach their normal size. It’s actually kind of ironic. During this trip, I’m reading a book called “The Power of Half” which shares the story of a family who took half of what they owned and donated it to charity. I say, if these people donate half of what they eat to the malnourished, the world would be a better place and they would be a whole lot thinner.
The other major gripe I have is that I constantly feel as if someone is trying to sell me something. It’s fine when I walk off the ship and a woman comes up to me asking if I want my hair braided, but onboard, every day and night, there are options to spend more money even though this is an all inclusive trip. $30 for Bingo cards. $45 for a spa manicure. $25 for a wine tasting and another $9.50 for a follow up wine tasting. $25 for a shopping guide filled with over $400 in savings. $4 for a shot glass with limoncello in it. $6 for a tall beer glass that lights up. The only thing I have purchased which has proven to be economical is a beverage card that charges me $4.95 per day for unlimited Coca Cola beverages. And I’ve been using that card to quench the thirst of my entire family.
And one more thing. I also sat through a shopping show with the ship’s expert who could also double as a QVC host. Except here’s the difference. On QVC, you usually get a ton of great deals. Not so much in the places this expert suggested we shop. I was particularly interested in checking out one of the stores because she said we’d be blown away by the prices. You could say that again. While trying on a pair of blue diamond earrings in St. Maarten, I casually asked the price and the man behind the counter grabbed his calculator and proclaimed…$995 dollars. Bargain of the century? I think not. I left the store deflated and empty handed.
Now for the burning question – would I ever go back on a Princess Cruise? Drumroll please. Probably not. While the entertainment is quite good, there are too many things that did not live up to my expectations. I also think that this ship is best for older cruisers (50 and older) not families traveling with kids. While there is a kids’ camp on board, my kids opted to stay with us and attended comedy shows and watched movies under the stars. They also ate…a lot.
All in all, while the cruise was enjoyable, it was certainly not one of my favorites. I still have incredible memories from our Celebrity cruise to Bermuda and that one by far stands out as the best experience we’ve ever had on board a cruise ship. And while we may decide to cruise again in the future, I think we’ll be giving the sea a rest for a long while. Better run – I’ve gotta hit the gym and work off the tire that has now comfortably settled in around my midsection.

Presenting Grandpa Fix-It!

IMG_0142.jpgAbout a month and a half ago I had the great fortune of interviewing make-up artist extraordinaire Bobbi Brown and her dad Joe who had recently published a children’s book. What struck me from our conversation was how close it hit to home. You see, Bobbi told me she had surprised her dad on his 70th birthday with a children’s book she created for him from stories she had told her family for generations. And then it hit me.
My own dad had written stories and had given them to me about a year and a half ago hoping I’d figure out how we could get them published. As life zipped by, I realized after my conversation with Bobbi and her dad that I had never fulfilled my father’s dream and as he too approached his 70th birthday, it was time I got my act together! And so, with less than two months to go, I reached out to an illustrator I knew – who happens to be the wife of a former junior high school friend. After sending over countless photos of my family, she instantly captured the faces of my children, niece my mom and my dad and within two weeks, she had miraculously created all the illustrations we’d need for the story.
From there, I reached out to my publisher at Plain White Press, Julie Trelstad and she agreed to do the layout for the book and after she received the images and had them scanned into her computer, she literally laid out the story within one day.
Next up, we found a publisher who could turn the book into a hardcover edition and then with Julie’s help, created a publishing imprint for the Role Mommy brand, assigned an ISBN number for dad’s book, and within a few weeks it will be available for sale at Amazon.com. In the meantime, checkout dad’s reaction and here him read the story – it’s a classic. Without further ado, please enjoy Grandpa Fix-It.

Tennis Anyone?

And the winner of our latest promotion is….DaDa Rocks! Hope you enjoy the games!!!
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to sports, my favorite hands down is tennis. Perhaps it’s because when I finally stumbled upon a sport I could excel in without striking out or getting kicked in the shin by a teammate, I knew I had hit paydirt. And lucky for me, I’ll be front and center watching the ultimate match between women when tennis returns to Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 1st at 7 pm!
While I check out the Grand Slam Champions battle it out for the Billie Jean King Cup one of our lucky readers will get to join me with a guest if you participate in our latest giveaway! Comment on this post along with your email address on why you’d love to go and we’ll let you know next week if you’ve won!
The event will feature a one-set singles semifinals followed by a best-of-three-set final for $1.2 million in prize money and, addition to our prize giveaway, here at Role Mommy, we’re offering a $10 discount off select tickets with code PARENTS.
If you’d like to attend, click on the link above, enter your PARENTS promotional code and then, check out who is playing!
SERENA WILLIAMS — 2009 Australian & Wimbledon Champion, Defending Showdown Champion
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA — 2009 French Open Champion
KIM CLIJSTERS — 2009 US Open Champion
VENUS WILLIAMS — Seven-time Singles Grand Slam Champion
For up to date information on the event, you can follow it on MSG Twitter: or on MSG Facebook. Plus, if you’d like to see what’s in store for you if you attend, then check out this video today!
Don’t forget to comment today because you could be watching an awesome match with us…looking forward to your comments (and email addresses!!!)

Jennifer Garner Offers Men Valentine’s Advice

All I can say is I heart Jennifer Garner. She’s a gorgeous actress, mom and wife to Ben Affleck and she stars in the new film “Valentine’s Day” which despite whatever reviews it’s getting, I am so going to see it and I’m taking my daughter with me! Happy V-Day to all our Role Mommies…hope you enjoy this clip!