DWTS: Ralph Macchio vs. Kirstie Alley – It’s On!

Screen shot 2011-02-28 at 10.06.01 PM.pngOkay gang – if you’re as big a fan of “Dancing with the Stars” as I am, you’ll be thrilled to know the new season is finally here! Tonight, ABC announced the new celebrity cast and I’ve already got my favorites…Ralph Macchio and Kirstie Alley – who incidentally, looks gorgeous!
Additional dancers this season include Sugar Ray Leonard and Wendy Williams but other than that, I couldn’t recognize any of the other competitors – which is a big bummer considering I absolutely loved Jennifer Gray last season and couldn’t wait to root for another favorite movie star from the 80’s.
So depending upon how he struts his stuff, my money is on Ralph Macchio (or Sugar Ray Leonard since boxers typically hold up pretty well in the competition. As for Kirstie Alley – I just hope she hangs on long enough for us to see her transform each week on the show. It’ll be like the “Biggest Loser” in dance shoes.
Meanwhile, over at NBC, the Celebrity Apprentice is about to kick off and all I can say is, what happened to poor David Cassidy and why is he throwing himself into the scrap heap with Meatloaf, Gary Busey and Latoya Jackson. Oh David, what has become of you?
Anyway, as I sit watching the two-timing bachelor guy hand out a rose to the two remaining bachelorettes on the show, all I can say is, I can’t believe I get sucked into all these ridiculous reality shows. Oh wait, better run – missed “American Idol” last week and have to catch up before we get to see the final 24 compete for a chance at instant stardom. I do have my priorities you know.

Qwiki: New Site Makes Learning Fun!

Qwiki, a new site still in alpha, is revamping online learning. A visit to the homepage tells you that “Qwiki Knows Millions of Thing” and prompts you to “Enter a Topic” such as your hometown or favorite actor. The possibilities are endless.
Let’s see what Qwiki has to say about New York City:

Pretty slick right? Try clicking around… the “Qwiki” is completely interactive. You can stop the presentation at anytime and get more information about a specific image or video. Also, since the site is still in alpha, they encourage users to help improve the content via the “Improve This Qwiki” button above each Qwiki. The best part? It’s free! Anyone can access Qwiki’s current database of over 3 million topics.
If you’re thinking that the kids might like this… we agree! Which is why, starting today, we’ll be sharing a daily educational Qwiki for kids. Share your comments with us below -we’d love to hear what the whole family thinks.
Qwiki of the Day: Amelia Earhart
Not only was Amelia Earhart the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean, she was also an author and equal rights advocate. Her mysterious disappearance during a highly publicized flight around the world is still cause for speculation and curiosity.
Here’s more:

View Amelia Earhart and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

Related Qwikis:
Aviator, Navigator, Howland Island

To Bribe or Not to Bribe…that is the Question

I recently got the chance to tackle an important topic on ABC News’ “Real Moms Get Real” with JuJu Chang. As someone who frequently bribes (ie. incentivizes) her children to get dressed and load and unload the dishwasher, I try not to cross the line by making every request a bribe.
What makes things more difficult is when you dangle technology in front of your kids’ faces to keep them quiet when you’re in need of a break or occupied when your in the car and their driving you to the point of insanity.

During the segment, host JuJu Chang confessed her technological bribery sins and I raised my hand admitting I too, have resorted to monetary gifts to my kids for performing menial tasks around the house. Also on hand was psychologist and author Sherry Turkle who warned of the dangers of bribing our kids with technology. Turkle is the author of the new best seller, Alone Together. Take a look…
Bribing vs. Rewarding
Screen shot 2011-02-26 at 9.46.50 AM.png
Bribing vs. Incentives – Part II

Screen shot 2011-02-26 at 9.51.24 AM.png

Bloggers, Brands and Compensation: That is the Question?

As a publicist, I have been watching the fallout over the latest blogger brouhaha involving the founder of Mommy Networks – a former HR representative who decided to try her hand at “PR” by providing gift cards to bloggers to post, tweet or “Like” positive reviews relating to Toyota. Within a matter of hours, the blogger was called out by the social media community as well as Toyota, which confirmed the company had no relationship with her.
After readily admitting she had no experience in public relations, the blogosphere heaved a collective sigh of relief and then took the woman to task for tainting the perception of bloggers as potential shills for major brands (the woman shuttered her site within 24 hours of the debacle). While there are plenty of PR firms that engage bloggers in a meaningful way to become brand advocates for their clients, there are certain practices that as a publicist, I don’t feel comfortable pursuing.
In my opinion, I do not believe that bloggers should be paid to review products. I’d like to add that the Role Mommy Writer’s Network does compensate bloggers. However, the posts that are sent to our members include excerpts from books, information about contest opportunities and advertorials relating to a topic that might interest their readers. All compensated posts clearly state that the content is sponsored by our network.
While we do compensate bloggers to syndicate content or adapt an article from our site for their readers, we do not believe that blogger reviews should be compensated. A payment for a review post can potentially taint the perspective of the writer. And if the blogger decides to slam the product after reviewing it, then the project is a bust in the eyes of a client and the PR firm can then find themselves in hot water.
While there are plenty of influential blog sites that review products for free (including Role Mommy), publicists should continue to pitch reviews for products and services just as they would a traditional media outlet. If a blogger responds that they will consider reviewing the product if you compensate them, you should consider another path to reach their readers – perhaps through advertising on their blog or compensating them to write a post that is sponsored by the brand but does not include a review of their product. It is possible to get your message across in a meaningful way without having a blogger become a shill for your products or services.
With marketers honing in on PR by compensating bloggers to post reviews, the role of the public relations professional has become completely marginalized – unless you are able to set aside a budget to compensate bloggers for their time. How can you expect a blogger to review your product if they are being paid to do so by one of your competitors? What I do advocate to clients is to offer creative content (print or video) that a blogger might be more interested in utilizing or adapting for their readers. Or, compensate a blogger to share their personal experience in a post that is sponsored by the brand. Tell a story, don’t wax poetic about how amazing your new front loading washer is. Authenticity is the name of the game.
Nevertheless, just as I would never set foot into a dentist’s office and claim I know how to perform a root canal, the same holds true for marketers or former HR reps who believe they are now doing PR by compensating bloggers to review products. I wish we could go back to the days where advertisers and PR executives knew which side of the fence they were supposed to stand on, but sadly, we can’t. As a result, as this space continues to evolve, as writers, we should strive to provide quality content on our sites without compromising our ethics.

What is Role Mommy?

I recently got the opportunity to meet Holly Pavlika, an advertising guru at Big Fuel, which specializes in social media outreach on behalf of brands. Holly interviewed me about how Role Mommy got its start and I took a trip down memory lane in this video…

Alma’s Easy Goat Cheese Souffle

P1060088 (1).jpgSometimes a quiche needs a makeover. This crustless quiche-like-casserole-souffle is simple to prepare and exceptionally delicious. The goat cheese keeps it light, just in time for scary bikini season (or shorts and a tank ini top which is what I’ll be wearing in the pool:-))
Mushroom Goat Cheese Easy Souffle
1 chopped leek
2 TBS butter
1 cup chopped mushrooms
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
chopped crust of 4 pieces bread (whole wheat)
In a medium sized saute pan, heat up butter.
Sautee up the leeks until wilted, a few minutes, and add the mushrooms. Stir until mushrooms start to wilt- a few more minutes.
Throw in the bread crusts and stir for a minute or so. Set aside and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whip together eggs and milk until combined fully. Add the cooled bread and veggies.
Ina 9″X13″ casserole dish, pour in the egg and vegetable mixture and stir in the goat cheese.
Place in the center rack of a preheated 350 degree oven and bake, covered with tin foil, for 1/2 hour. Test with a fork in the center and remove from oven when fork comes out clean.
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back the Kitchen.

Oscar Predictions for Moms

oscarnight.jpgIf you haven’t had time to catch all the films that are nominated for an Oscar this year, have no fear. Check out my latest post over at Lifetime Moms where I share all the top nominees and offer my predictions that any mom will relate to. Incidentally, I do have something to add to my list. When I first wrote the Lifetime Moms post, I hadn’t seen “The King’s Speech.” Well, last night, I got the chance to see it and have to say that Colin Firth definitely does deserve an Academy Award.
One other thing I must add – never see a film with British characters after 10 pm. The reason? If you’ve been up since 6, the sound of their voices can put you into a deep coma. I did snap out of it in time to catch the important parts, but will have to re-watch the film again once it comes out on DVD. But enough about my sleep habits, time to cram for the Academy Awards!

Ask Single Mom Walking

Thumbnail image for vajazzle.jpgDear Single Mom Walking:
I vajazzled my vagina the other day. My friend was appalled. She said she thought men should just accept the vagina as it is, that women should not go out of their way to do anything about it just to keep men happy. I think she’s wrong.
Maybe I Need New Friends
Dear Maybe I Need New Friends:
I’m very glad you wrote to me about this. You see, I’ve been wondering exactly what goes into vajazzling one’s vagina. “Why?’, you ask? Well, 1) because I clearly need to get a life and 2) because I’m not a crafty and to me, when I HAVE thought about it, the only thought that came to my mind was:
My vagina + one bottle of glue + a bag full of jewels =’s one giant gynecologic disaster.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more I want in life than to have my nether regions glitter like a ball of sunshine, really, nothing more. Not my kid getting into Harvard, the ability to pay my mortgage on time or even winning the battle against my new middle age spread, nothing.
That being said, one has to be realistic about one’s limitations. Also, one need also consider that she doesn’t HAVE to date a man who prefers that when the woman he is dating spread her legs, she light up like the Empire State Building. It’s a choice.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to “dress up” for your man. If you are both into that, then go for it. However, if you feel sexy in your chinos and clogs but the guy in your life, thinks the pants make it seem like your ass has gone AWOL and your shoes would be better with a back and some heels attached, well then, it’s time to move on.
Then again, you could always compromise. I went to the vajazzle.com site and found that you are not limited to just dazzling up your sexual organs. You can put those puppies on your chest, your hip, right above your ass crack. I know, can life get any better? Believe or not, it can! I also read that no man is precluded from pasting a few of those beauties on and around his ball region so now both of you can suffer and shine together! Hello?! Did I just make your day or what?
Although, truth be told, I’m not sure how into a man I would be if when the time came for him to drop his Jockeys he had a rhinestones stuck to his genitals. I don’t care if they were in the shape of an arrow, a barbell or a bottle of Old Spice, More than likely my response would be me zipping up my pants while simultaneously running out the door yelling, “Gotta go! I think I left my oven on!”
Hopefully, I’ll never have to know.
Thumbnail image for jessica bern 724 (1)-thumb-200x300-2685 (1).jpgJessica Bern is a single mother to a 7yr old girl, a money sucking dog named Teddy and the ex wife of a man who left her for his mother. She writes at bernthis.com, where you she blogs all about it and where you can watch the Bernthis web series she created about a neurotic woman’s journey through her weekly visits to her therapist’s office. She also spends some of her time giving out sex/dating advice over at rolemommy.com and has worked her vlogging magic with aiminglow.com, Kodak and Seventh Generation.
For more from Jessica Bern, visit her blog, Bern This.

Lifetime Moms Clean Start Challenge – Week 8

scj-300x250-t3.jpgThe pressure is on as we reach the home stretch of the Lifetime Moms Clean Start Challenge. For the last three months, I’ve been meeting incredible individuals – from bullying prevention experts to authors, actresses and more and this week, I’m sharing the latest details about our upcoming event on March 3.
Our post this week shares all the details about what goes into planning an event of this magnitude. In fact, later this morning, I’ll be designing a flyer that we can send out to parents in our community in the hopes that they will join us for a very special evening with their kids.
My amazing coach Shaina shares great advice this week on how you can plan a community event in your area. And I have to say, when you do plan a large event, there are tons of logistics that go along with it. From selecting the venue, to arranging the set up on stage, to providing food and refreshments, to designing programs, to producing the actual discussion amongst experts, parents and kids.
During the event, we’ll start out with parents and kids together in one auditorium and then, we’ll be producing separate workshops for students while experts speak with parents about the dangers of cyber-bullying and bullying. I’m hoping to craft an experience for adults and students where everyone is welcome to share their opinions and experiences, ask questions, listen and learn. We have a lot of ground to cover in two hours but my hope is that by the end of the evening, everyone will walk away feeling informed and inspired.
Take a look at our latest video on the Lifetime Moms Clean Start Challenge site and then don’t forget to vote for Team Beth as we hope to raise $10,000 to support Love Our Children USA and Stomp Out Bullying. Plus, you can enter to win a host of great prizes provided by our sponsor, SC Johnson.
Visit this link for details about our March 3rd event and if you live in Westchester County, NY, we hope you will take time out of your schedule and attend! It promises to be an unforgettable night!

Glee for Me on the iPad

glee-iphone-top.jpgNow that we’ve had the iPad for two months, my kids have pretty much hijacked the device. Sure, my guilty pleasures are the People Magazine and New York Post Apps (if you haven’t done either you don’t know what you’re missing), but my kids have really taken it to the next level.
In fact, this morning, I found out about Glee Karaoke, an amazing app that I will definitely be using when my kids are at school! The Glee Karaoke app enables you to sing songs from the hit show and your voice is then paired with cool technological wizardry and suddenly you’re harmonizing – just like the cast of Glee – well not quite, but it sounds amazing! Time to make my move… My son just hopped off the iPad for a split second, now’s my chance to try out “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked.”
Have any favorite apps you’d like to share? Well, what are you waiting for?