Lifetime Moms Clean Start Challenge – Week 3

Screen shot 2011-01-18 at 4.06.44 PM.pngHope you’ve been following along with me during the Lifetime Moms Clean Start Challenge as my team continues on its mission to help boost kids’ self esteem. This week, I got the chance to check in with my coach for the challenge, Shaina, who is the Food channel leader for Lifetime Moms and also hosts her own blog, Food For My Family.
Shaina gave me some great pointers on how I could jazz up my daughter’s lunch by providing me with some healthy alternatives to her five day a week cream cheese on raisin bread sandwich. Plus, she also stresses the importance of family dinners – something we don’t do that often, but need to as my kids get older and are pre-occupied with sports, homework, and electronic devices.
Check out my latest video at the Clean Start Challenge then vote for Team Beth as we support Love Our Children USA and Stomp Out Bullying. Plus, enter to win thousands of dollars in valuable prizes by SC Johnson! Then visit Shaina’s channel and check out Food For My Family where Shaina offers tips for your brood to make a clean start in 2011! I know you may be doing a lot of jumping around, but trust me, you’ll be glad you let your fingers do the clicking!

Trends: All about the Owl

owlring.jpg Have you noticed those two big owl eyes staring at you wherever you go? Well you should have. Owls are everywhere! Don’t worry, live owls haven’t all flown away from their tree holes… They are pretend owls and they are the new hot trend! They can be found on all types of jewelry- rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, watches and pins. They are all over clothing. It’s cute and colorful on little kid’s clothing and cool on teen’s clothing like crop tops, especially with some sequins. It can even have a sophisticated look for women, and if you think you can get away with it, I say go for it! If a big owl on your shirt is not your style but you still want to be a part of the trend, try a cute bag like a tote or a scarf with an owl on it!
You can find these items at most of your local boutiques and department stores.
owl bag.jpg

Money Matters by Susan Hirshman

assets.jpgIt’s the start of a new year and practically every morning show is talking about diets and exercise – even CNBC. Yes, CNBC one of cable’s top rated investment shows featured Tony Horton, creator of Power 90X programs. On the show, he talked about his programs as well as mentioning that his 11 laws for healthy living.
As the author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat?: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Financial Empowerment and Success, a book that educates women on investment management through the prism of healthy dieting, I just couldn’t resist. I ran to my computer, visited his web page and glimpsed at the laws to find out if they were analogous to successful investment management.
Lets have a look see…
Law #1Variety is the spice of fitness: His message is you should not only do one type of exercise. By doing the same thing over and over again you subject yourself to training injuries, plateaus, and boredom.
Analogous to successful investment management? Definitely. One of the key investment principles is to avoid concentrated positions ( ie. being invested in one stock, or one specific part of the market etc) Otherwise, you subject yourself to greater risk than if you had a well allocated and diversified portfolio.
Law #2 – Consistency. Tony believes that consistency will coalesce into results.
Analogous to successful investment management? Yes. Research shows that those investors who have a realistic plan and stick with the plan even in times of volatility have a better probability of success than those who are constantly trying to time the market and chase returns.
Law # 3- Intensity. The concept here is to control the things that you can control.
Analogous to successful investment management? Absolutely. You can’t control the markets, you can’t control the economy – but what you can control is your spending, your saving, your asset allocation and your emotions. Have those in check, and you are ahead in the game.
Law #4- Purpose. Your purpose is to have a better life. Your reasons why have everything to do with your level of success.
Analogous to successful investment management? Need I say anything more.
Law #5: Reality – Be realistic with what you want to achieve.
Analogous to successful investment management? Without a doubt. When people are unrealistic with their goals and their return expectations, that’s when we see them making bad and even harmful decisions.
Law #6 : Play – If you shift to a mind-set of playing and having fun, you won’t obsess as much about calories, inches, and weight loss.
Analogous to successful investment management? Yes indeed. Your mindset plays a huge role in your financial success. It is a constant battle between your long term needs and your short-term wants, and thus your focus needs to be on what you are getting vs what you are giving up today.
Law #7 – Success comes from planning ahead. You can’t have a fit, healthy lifestyle if you don’t have a long-term plan. Stop winging it, and make sure to schedule all of your workouts in advance.
Analogous to successful investment management? Sure. Just replace the word lifestyle with financial life and you have the number one rule of financial success.
Law #8 – Stress Less. Stress comes from our reaction to the stressor. You choose how you respond to stressful events. And this response profoundly affects your success.
Analogous to successful investment management? Undeniably. The way you react to market volatility has a huge impact on your success. A study from Dalbar tells us exactly that – it shows that over the past twenty years the typical equity mutual fund investor had a 1.8% return while the market had an 8% return. Why the vast difference – buying high and selling low – in other words letting your emotions dictate your investment decisions.
Law #9 – Love it:, then you’ll discover a fitness philosophy that you’ll stick with for a lifetime.
Analogous to successful investment management? Certainly. You don’t have to love investment management, but you have to feel very comfortable with your plan in terms of timing, dollar amounts and risk profile. That is the only way you will stick with your plan.
Law #10 – Maintain flexibility. Flexibility is the key component to becoming less vulnerable and more durable, no matter what your age.
Analogous to successful investment management? Undeniably, for two reasons. First, a financial plan is not a static document, it changes and adapts to your changing life and financial situation. In addition, the goal of planning is to give you flexibility or choice now and in the future so that you are less vulnerable and more durable no matter where you are in your wealth cycle.
Law #11 . The right fuel supplies proper energy and recovery through balanced brain chemistry.
picture.jpgSusan 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. Formerly, she was a Managing Director, Wealth Manager with one of the world’s top financial services organization.

Alma’s Goat Cheese Casserole

P1060088.jpgWhat better way to start the day than with this easy and delicious crustless egg dish. Save the calories for the coffee cake later…..
Leek and Goat Cheese Casserole:
1 leek, chopped finely-white part and a little of green
1 TBS butter
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
6 eggs
2 cups milk
salt
pepper
1/2 cup goat cheese
crust of 4 pieces bread, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees :
Saute chopped leeks in butter until they wilt, about 5-7 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms and cook 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat
In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper
Add in chopped bread crusts and sprinkle in goat cheese
Pour mixture into a 9″X13″ casserole dish and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes
Serves 6-8 people
25 minutes-30 minutes
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back the Kitchen.

Snow Day: Tips to Keep Kids Busy

Thumbnail image for kids_snowmen.gifIt sure is a snowy winter so far! If you live somewhere that’s not cold, wet and white, then I am jealous and you should go outside and enjoy it! When you are stuck in the house with a six year old and a three year old, you have to get creative. I am not at all the “Martha Stewart” type, however I have some helpful tips to make the day fly by. Arts and crafts time is a must and I usually rely on the pre-packaged kits. I love the Melissa and Doug decorate-your-own Crafts. Most are $9.99 and under, they keep the kids busy for a while and they can proudly display the finished product. I like to keep a bunch in my basement for these type of days.

Next, I recommend some board games so they don’t get bored (ok, bad joke). Our new favorite is The Best of Charades for Kids. You act out different items from the cards provided and move your piece around the board when others guess correctly. It’s fun for kids of all ages and adults too!

Then, bundle them up and get them outside! Bribe them with some extra allowance and get them shoveling (with some play time thrown in). When they come inside it’s all about the hot chocolate. I make it with milk and let them add the chocolate and of course the marshmallows!
They should be nice and tired now from the snow angels and snowball fights. A perfect time to wind down with a good movie and a snack. Toy Story 3 is great to own! Amazon now has it on sale…

The bottom line… be safe, stay warm and have fun!

Super Bowl XLV: The Ultimate Man Date

iStock_000014026622Small.jpgAsk any football loving fan what their dream date would be and nine times out of 10 he’ll say tickets to the Super Bowl. As my father-in-law always says, “you can’t put a price on a good time,” so if you’re considering biting the bullet and treating your significant other to the ultimate “Man Date,” follow this game plan and you’ll come up a winner:
Super Bowl Tickets – You can reserve seats for the big game on StubHub – Ticket prices start at $2200 all the way up to nearly $400,000 for a coveted spot in the Hall of Fame Suite. If you’ve just won Powerball, then the Super Bowl Hall of Fame option is definitely for you. The best thing about Stub Hub is that fans are constantly buying and selling tickets on the site so you should keep checking back to see what’s available or hedge your bets, and lock in right now!
Flights – While you can always hit the websites for your favorite airlines, my suggestion is to head over to Trip Advisor where you can select whether you’d like to take a non-stop or connecting flight and they arrange everything by price. Plus, there are ratings by customers on which flights they prefer.
Hotel Reservations – Head on over to the Arlington, Texas website which has detailed information on hotels in the area. You can aim for the Ritz Carlton, Hilton or a motel (if you’ve blown all your cash on the Super Bowl tix.)
Rental Car – If you’re flying into Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, then head on over to RentalCars.com for a breakdown of all the rental car facilities near the airport. That way, you can choose from a diverse array of options and price points.
Parking – Finding parking at a football game is never easy, and the Super Bowl is no different. Luckily, ParkWhiz.com has the scoop on Cowboys Stadium parking with over 40 Super Bowl parking locations for you to choose from. The site is super easy to use, and you can print you parking pass instantly – no worrying if the Postal Service will deliver your ticket on time.
You can even win free parking for the Super Bowl by entering ParkWhiz’s Twitter contest. Follow @ParkWhiz on Twitter, re-tweet this link http://bit.ly/gBPrxv and be entered to win. One winner randomly selected. Click on this link for official contest rules.
Things to Do While in Arlington – If you’re in town for the weekend, visit the NFL Super Bowl website for details about some great charity events taking place throughout the weekend that feature appearances by NFL players. Plus, the City of Arlington’s official website also offers suggestions for attractions and dining options in the area.
So there you have it – treat your significant other to the ultimate “Man Date” and by the time Valentine’s Day hits, you should be on the receiving end of something big and sparkly.
Full Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ParkWhiz.com
Contest rules for ParkWhiz.com promotion:
Follow @ParkWhiz on Twitter
Re-tweet this link: http://bit.ly/gBPrxv
*One grand prize winner will be randomly selected via www.random.org.

Week 2: Clean Start Challenge

Our second video for the SC Johnson Clean Start Challenge is currently airing on the Lifetime Moms website and it features an interview with Ross Ellis, the founder of Love Our Children USA and Stomp Out Bullying.
After a successful career in corporate events, Ross reached a point in her life where she wanted to devote her life to giving back to those in need. While she first began volunteering at organizations dedicated to helping families, Ross soon decided to start her own non-profit organization that would help protect children while providing important resources to parents. I’ve known Ross for more than a decade and am proud to serve on the advisory board of Love Our Children USA. I am also so excited to be working with Ross and her organization on a bullying prevention event for children and parents and can’t wait to share all the details with you! For now, check out the latest video and don’t forget to vote for Team Beth!

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Travel Tips with Amy Tara Koch

We recently got the chance to speak with style and trend expert Amy Tara Koch, author of the new book for moms to be “Bump it Up.” Since it’s been ages since we’ve had a baby bump of our own, Amy was on hand to offer advice on the essential items to bring with us when we’re traveling with our family. From the ultimate travel chargers to snacks with a twist, get ready to watch, learn and start packing!