This Video will Crack You Up

I always love when my blogger friends turn me onto something I don’t know about yet and today, the fabulous Jessica Bern told me I had to check out this hilarious campaign from Sony Ericcson. If you thought those e-trade babies were a scream – this will have you in LOL mode in no time flat…

Mini Shopaholic

Book review by our latest Role Mommy contributor, Danielle Feigenbaum, a mom of two and former TV executive who will be on hand providing reviews, deals and giveaways for our readers!
51HyrbOO9IL._SS500_.jpgRebecca Brandon (aka Bloomwood) is at it again in Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel, Mini Shopaholic, the sixth book in the wildly popular Shopaholic series. It’s been a few years since we last saw Becky and and her dashing husband Luke. Their daughter Minnie, now a spirited and rambunctious toddler whose favorite word is “miiiiine!!!”, has become Becky’s favorite shopping partner. Between planning a fab surprise party for her husband, working part-time, trying to find a house (and finally move out of her parents home), and attempting to control Minnie’s behavior, Becky certainly has her hands full … just like most of us moms these days!
Kinsella draws a parallel to real life by setting the story during a financial crisis. Therefore Becky makes a promise to Luke to wear everything in her closet at least three times before she buys anything new for herself. Not an easy feat for the lovable, in-denial shopaholic. But don’t worry, that doesn’t stop her from shopping for Minnie and buying nothing she needs at the pound store. (“What? It only costs a pound!”)
The book is very entertaining and readable, but you will cringe at some of Becky’s poor choices, like shoving all of Minnie’s carrots in her own mouth so the nanny will think Minnie ate them! Overall, this was a fun novel and I laughed out loud often while reading about Becky’s crazy schemes and adventures. Whether you’re a loyal Shopaholic fan or you just want an enjoyable read, this is a great book to take your mind off your busy schedule, so put your feet up, relax and dive into Mini Shopaholic!

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!
girlsnightin-e1284734263860.jpg
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.

The Avon Lady & a Giveaway

Picture 24.pngRecently, when I returned home from my last vacation of the summer, I was pretty psyched to receive a special gift compliments of Avon. There’s something about Avon that has always evoked positive memories for me. The first takes me back to the 1970’s when Sylvia, who worked part-time as a school aid, used to ring our bell monthly to sell my mom her Avon products. Even though we knew her name at the time, the moment the doorbell would sound my brother and I would belt out, “The Avon lady is here!”
While many decades have passed since Ruby used to visit our home, I still found Avon products to be incredibly useful. Especially when my kids were young, all the new moms would tell me I had to buy Avon’s skin so soft to protect them from mosquito bites (incidentally, that’s one of those words of wisdom items that’s passed on from generation to generation).
Then, about two years ago, Avon invited me to attend the ultimate experience of my life – a two hour roundtable chat with Suze Orman. Suffice it to say, the team at Avon really knows how to empower women by supporting their entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirit. Plus, their brand new online store is pretty amazing – offering everything from make-up, skin care, children’s products, perfume, clothes, accessories and jewelry too – all at affordable prices. I’m starting to think I should be an Avon lady, but I digress…
Picture 25.pngWhere was I? Oh…back to my goody bag. Upon opening the box, I discovered a fabulous purple tote bag (which I am currently using as my weekend bag), a matching dress, and jewelry to complete the ensemble. While I’ve staked my claim on that purple purse, here at Role Mommy, we’re offering the dress and accessories as a giveaway to one of our fashion savvy readers (incidentally, the dress is a size medium so keep that in mind when you enter).
Just comment on this blog with your email address, name and fondest Avon memory and we’ll be selecting a winner within the next two weeks!
Disclosure: I received a tote bag, dress and jewelry in order to craft my review.

Back at School Old Navy Fashion Show

Now that fashion week has passed and all the hoopla over those fancy shmancy designers has died down, it’s time to get down to business. This time of year, I’m not as concerned about my own wardrobe (still trying to shed mucho lbs. I packed on from the summer) when it comes to fall clothes, it’s all about my kids. Thankfully, just in time for their return to school, the folks at Old Navy sent me a gift card so that I could try out their new offerings and tell them what I thought.
The day we decided to go shopping, it was as if we had hit the lottery. You see, I managed to purchase clothes for my kids and my husband and it turned out that on that particular afternoon, they were offering a 30% discount on all purchases! Which means I spent about $150 total for a boatload of clothes and my husband thought we had experienced the deal of the century. Rock on.
Back to the kids. There are two things I love about Old Navy – their clothes are trendy, yet affordable. And this year, their t-shirt line features some of my son’s favorite teams. Take a look at our home fashion show – and hope you get a chuckle or two or three…

Old Navy Back At School Fashions from beth Feldman on Vimeo.

Disclosure: I received a $100 gift card from Old Navy so that I could purchase items at the store and offer my honest opinions.

Psycho Cat

iStock_000010138435Small.jpgI’m an animal lover at heart. In fact, while I’ve never owned a dog, I’ve always secretly dreamt of trotting through the streets of Manhattan with a King Charles Spaniel happily wagging his tail behind me. When I used to live on the upper west side and was first dating my husband (who at the time was my boyfriend), we’d walk hand and hand down West 72nd street and I’d stare longingly at the pet store window with all those spaniel puppies and would think to myself – one day, I’m going to own one of those.
Fast forward nearly two decades, and while I still don’t own a dog – turns out my husband is allergic to even non-allergic dogs – I instead own cats. We first adopted two kittens when we made the move from Manhattan to Forest Hills nearly 15 years ago. Their names were Rudy and Oliver and they were a part of some of the most exciting times of our lives – the purchase of our new home, our move to Westchester, the birth of both of our children – including the time I literally labored in one of their cat beds because I couldn’t find a comfortable position for myself.
Rudy and Oliver were brothers and always seemed to look out for one another. They didn’t fight much. Oliver was the larger of the too and he pretty much enjoyed eating and sleeping in a comfy chair in our living room. Rudy was the friskier of the bunch and would race through the house or through our child safety gates but never once raised a paw to one of our kids.
About four years ago, we discovered that Oliver had developed liver cancer and sadly, he passed away on Christmas night (a few days after my dad had suffered a heart attack and thankfully survived). When we buried Oliver in the back yard, Rudy stood and looked out from the window of our living room to see what had happened to his faithful companion. And when we returned back to the house, he seemed utterly depressed.
We initially thought it would be great to introduce a new pet into the home and within months, we tried out a new kitten on Rudy. He wouldn’t have any of it and pretty much hissed at the thing every time she attempted to sneak out of the closet she was hiding in the moment we brought her home. And so, we decided to wait a while until we tried again. And then came Hazel.
On my daughter’s 10th birthday we decided it was time to bring a kitten into our home and so, we decided to adopt a kitten that was supposedly seven weeks old (we suspect she was younger because experts say that if a kitten is taken away too soon from its mother, it’s destined to be psycho for life). In those first few weeks, when she stunk to high heaven and was a cute little ball of fur that would curl up in our hands, we thought she was utterly adorable. But then she started to grow. And climb the walls, our arms and our legs. At the beginning, the scratching was tolerable – out of nowhere, she’d jump on us, tear up the furniture, rip my bedding to shreds, and I dealt with it. I bought scratching posts, tape to deter her from ripping up my sofa, made peace with the fact that I’d never invest in an expensive comforter again, but all that stopped when Hazel became downright unpredictable.
You see, we can just be sitting at the computer minding our own business or relaxing on the couch and that cat will literally dig her claws into her skin as she uses one of us for a launching pad. Last week, my brother was stunned when she pounced on his arm, ripped his shirt and drew blood. But this weekend took the cake when my daughter, who was engrossed in a nintendo DS game (Mario Superparty something or other), let out a blood curdling shriek while I was about to smear some low fat vegetable cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel.
Before I knew it, the bagel went flying with me into the den. And as I investigated the situation, the side of my daughter’s face had two long gashes and her scalp was bleeding too. To say I was incensed, enraged and upset, was the understatement of the year. As I cleaned her wounds, I instantly called the vet to figure out how we could finally stop Hazel from wreaking havoc upon my kids and my home. As she’s getting older, she’s not getting tamer. She’s a total psycho and I’ve concluded that I’ve got three choices: declaw, trim her nails or attempt to cover those sharp weapons with plastic coverings. Incidentally, I’ve tried trimming and covering her nails and she’s so skittish, I get about one nail done and she takes off for the hills.
So what would you do if your cat attacked your child and potentially left marks that could permanently scar their face? To declaw or not to declaw, that is the question?