Dine Out & Donate to Share Our Strength

photo.jpegThis past week, I had the opportunity to participate in a wonderful dinner event hosted by Partybluprints and attended by some of my favorite parenting bloggers in New York City. The event was sponsored by Jacob’s Creek winery in support of Share our Strength – an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in our nation. From now until September 25, if you dine out at one of their participating restaurants, a donation will be made to Share Our Strength so that they can help feed children in need.
To find out about participating restaurants in your area, visit the Share Our Strength map and enter your zip code. Just make sure you do it before September 25! Plus, Jacob’s Creek, the 150 year old Australian winemaker, has joined the Share Our Strength effort, by pledging to donate $1 for every glass or bottle of wine ordered in a restaurant as well as for every glass of wine virtually shared – visit www.sharejacobscreek.com to participate. Incidentally, throughout our dinner, we got the chance to sample some of Jacob’s Creek wines and one of my favorites was the moscato, which had a crisp, yet sweet flavor and here’s the best part about it – it only costs about $7 per bottle!
Don’t let another child in our country go hungry! Support Share Our Strength by joining the Great American Dine Out. For more information about this incredible campaign, visit Partybluprints.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

fortune teller.jpegIf I knew then, what I know now, I would have never given up when I received my first school rejection.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have sent out 10 more query letters when the magazine editor who turned down my story idea told me I was a good writer but he was still passing on my pitch.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have auditioned for more shows and not been discouraged even if I didn’t get the part.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have said no a whole lot more when the wrong job opportunities came my way.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have learned how to use final cut pro, design my own websites and optimize SEO.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have continued working out and following my Weight Watchers diet plan even after I reached my goal weight.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have called my grandparents more and told them how much I loved them.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have told my daughter “no” when when she wanted to bring a new kitten with psychotic tendencies into our house.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have followed my heart from the beginning and not been afraid to truly do what I love.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have stood up to bullies, mean bosses and toxic co-workers.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have told my kids that they’re always in my thoughts, even when I’m busy writing on the computer.
If I knew then what I know now, I would make a pact to shut down the computer and spend quality time with my family.
Now that’s something I can do now.
Now it’s your turn – what do you wish you knew?

Money Matters by Susan Hirshman

The author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat shares her tips on how to manage your finances and invest like a pro!
book cover.jpgHere at Role Mommy, we are pleased to announce a new eight week financial advice series featuring author, corporate executive and money expert Susan Hirshman. Susan is the author of the brand new book “Does This Make My Assets Look Fat.” A former financial executive, Susan breaks down the concept of money, investing, budgeting and puts it into terms any woman can understand.
As Susan sees it, the rules of successful dieting are the same rules that apply to successful money management. In her new book, Susan offers women a 3-phase personalized plan that follows common dieting programs to help them understand their finances.
Susan’s program completely removes the intimidation factor that often accompanies the words ‘personal finance’ and ‘investing’ and provides women with all the information they need to take control of their financial situations once and for all.
We’ve asked Susan to answer our readers burning financial questions and here’s what she had to say:
Question: How do I set aside funds to invest when I never know how much money will be brought in by my next project? Can you still invest even if your budget is tiny?
Susan: I am so glad you asked this question; because it is a common concern amongst entrepreneurs. The best way to answer this question is to ask you a question: how do you deal with your basic fixed expenses when you never know how much money will be brought in by your next project? If you think of investing for retirement as a fixed expense, it becomes part of your overall cash flow management.
The questions you should be asking are: What is the lifestyle I will require in retirement? What is my time frame? What do I have saved currently towards that goal? What is my risk tolerance? Once we answer these questions you will be to determine how much you need to save on a monthly basis to achieve your retirement goal. Many websites have calculators to help you do this (see smartmoney.com for example.) Now, the question becomes – Is this a realistic amount to be adding to my fixed expenses?
If you feel comfortable, that you will be able to manage it within your fixed expenses, bravo – you are on your way to meeting your goals!
If you feel uncomfortable adding that amount to your fixed expenses, I will say bravo as well. Bravo? Yes, because now you know what your situation looks like and are able to make more educated, conscious decisions between your needs versus your wants. You are the only one who can make the choice between your long-term goals and your current spending.
Furthermore, the amount you invest should not be an all or nothing situation. Here, something is definitely better than nothing. Keep in mind that many mutual fund companies allow you to contribute a minimum monthly amount (typically $50 or $100) as long as it is a direct wire from your bank account. Take advantage of one of the key drivers of success – time and the power of compounding. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” The longer your money has to grow the less hard it has to work in the future.
Do what you feel comfortable with today but know that you are making a choice about tomorrow. Plans and goals are dynamic and change as your business changes, so review your “retirement fixed expense” at least annually.
imgres.jpegSusan L. Hirshman is a former managing director at JP Morgan. She holds an M.B.A. from Baruch College and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Life Underwriter, and a Chartered Financial Analyst. She currently lives in Manhattan.
If you have a money question for Susan, email us at beth@rolemommy.com.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

The Sisterhood of the Chocolate Stained Pants

chocolate_mousse.jpgIn the never-ending saga of my busy schedule wreaking havoc upon my favorite clothes, I have quite the stain confession to share with you this week. You see, for the record, I know I do way too many things at the same time. Friends and colleagues constantly tell me, “I don’t know how you do it! You are always working on so many things at once…how do you keep all those balls in the air?” Well, the answer dear readers is simple.
I keep the balls in the air out in public. But when I’m back in my car or in my house or frantically searching for an outfit to wear from my incredibly cluttered closet, I am a complete mess. Take last week. After hosting an amazing Ladies Night In event with the fabulous gals at Partybluprints, I had arranged for a company called WeDriveU to provide a driver for my car so I wouldn’t have to navigate the confusing highways of New Jersey by my lonesome and so I could continue working to and from the event. In my former life, I would have napped. Sadly, in my current life, I am texting 24/7.
Since I didn’t get a chance to eat much while I was working, I decided to take a container of food back to the car along with a cup of dark chocolate mousse. And so, I planted myself in the passenger seat while my driver followed the GPS instructions on how to get out of Basking Ridge in the pouring rain.
Too embarrassed to actually eat my dessert (I know, I have issues), I decided instead to rest it next to me while I spent the next half hour returning the emails I had missed that day. And then it happened. Forgetting that the mousse was still my seatmate, I shifted over and the contents oozed out of the cup and landed all over my pants and my upholstered chair (curses for not ordering the leatherette seat package). If only I had eaten my dessert back at the house, this never would have happened.
The next day, when I was loading my kids into the car to take them to school, the entire place reeked from dark chocolate mixed with my driver’s cologne. And my pants? Oh, what did I do to my poor pants – chocolate stains everywhere!
Thankfully, the folks at Wisk sent me their new Stain Spectrum detergent – which I plan to use this week to de-chocolatize my black pants. But before I apply it to my clothes, my trustee helper in the video below (my daughter) reveals how the new and improved Wisk can instantly remove pesky grass stains. Good to know since we have 21 innings of baseball and softball scheduled this weekend. Looks like I’m going to have a field day in the laundry room…

Disclosure: I received monetary compensation for this post. However, the reviews and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Ladies Night In with Chef Marcela

With the help of Sauza® tequila, we had a fabulous time with Partybluprints, who pulled out all the stops for our Ladies Night In party with Chef Marcela Valladolid, host of Mexican Made Easy on the Food Network. The event was sponsored by Sauza® tequila.
If you want to find out how you can throw the ultimate margarita party with your friends, then check out our live webcast featuring Chef Marcela Valladolid (author of the cookbook FRESH MEXICO: 100 Simple Recipes for True Mexican Flavor).

Chef Marcela shared some of her favorite recipes – including lime shrimp flambe, all while chating virtually with fans and our amazing regional party hosts Beth Rosen (The Midlife Wife, Tonya Staab and Julie Maloney (Momspective) who joined in on the fun by way of Chicago, San Diego and North Carolina! And take a look at all the amazing moms who joined us for our New Jersey event!
Bottom row (right to left): Beth Feldman (Role Mommy), Melissa Anglert (Girly Mama), Marcela Valladolid, Dawn Sandomeno (Partybluprints), Elizabeth Norton (Party Planning Professor).
Second Row: Zareen Fidlon (Cooking with Z), Elizabeth Mascali (Partybluprints), Liz Thompson (This Full House), Kimberly Coleman (Mom in the City), Nancy Friedman (From Hip to Housewife), Rebecca Levey (Beccarama), Katja Presnal (Skimbaco Lifestyle), Melissa Chapman (Kids in the City), Deborah Smith (Jersey Bites), Shannon Ott, (Chester County and Montgomery County Moms)
A heartfelt thanks to all these busy women who braved rainstorms, traffic delays and tornados to make it to our event and still looked absolutely gorgeous. Incidentally, our guests received ground transportation to get them to our party because if you plan to serve alcohol, you should always make sure that your guests have a designated driver or a ride home.
If you’re planning to host you’re own Ladies Night In party, I discovered two incredible services that will drive your car for you or provide you with a ride that’s much cheaper than a regular cab. I tried out WeDriveU which was great and Dawn suggests Safe Ride America – which sends motorized coaches or cars to pick up your group and take them home and the prices are really reasonable!
If you’d like to try out some of Marcela’s recipes, then visit Partybluprints where they’ve got all the ingredients you’ll need for the perfect ladies night in! And check out Mom in the City who shares her personal story from our very special evening.