Join Us on October 8 for an #OwnYourOwn Track Twitter Party!

Laptop_iPhone_CTScreen_LR.jpgWhether planning a wedding, sending a child to college, preparing to have a baby, or getting ready to purchase a home, it’s hard to stay on track toward those big-ticket moments in time. Luckily there are tools and resources out there to help you make smart credit choices to reach your goals. You’ll be amazed to learn how important your credit score is during these times! That’s why I hope you’ll join me and some of my favorite finance savvy moms for an #OwnYourTrack Twitter party on October 8 at 8pm ET that’s especially important for families planning for a major life event.
We’ll share our tips and tricks, and with the help of recent data from a Capital One survey, shed light on the importance of your credit score during these key moments in time. We’ll highlight helpful credit score facts (and debunk a few myths!), post survey results on the current state of credit and share the benefits of actively monitoring your credit score now using tools available today including the 100% free Capital One Credit Tracker tool. In just one hour, you’re going to learn a ton about this important topic, and you may even win gift cards along the way to help YOU #OwnYourTrack – whatever that track may be!
Join the chat and you could be eligible to win one of 5 great prizes ranging from a $50 to $100 gift card. Winners will be chosen at random based on all those who answer each question correctly. Click here for official rules.
To participate in the event, join us on Twitter October 8 at 8pm ET and make sure you follow the handles below and use the hashtag #OwnYourTrack.
@rolemommy

@dawnchats

@valerie2350

@CapitalOne 

For more information about Credit Tracker, visit Capital One today or join the conversation on Twitter using #OwnYourTrack!

Nigel Lythgoe and the cast of “Dance School Diaries” Appear at Special DanceOn Event at YouTube Studios

Dance School Diaries executive producer Nigel Lythgoe strikes a ballet post with cast member Madison Chappell.jpgAt an event held this week at YouTube studios in Los Angeles for the popular DanceOn Network web series, “Dance School Diaries,” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe talked about the importance of ballet and dance not only for aspiring performers, but as a tool to help kids excel in the classroom. Lythgoe was joined by DanceOn Network CEO Amanda Taylor and the show’s four cast members, who each performed and participated in a private Q&A and dance lesson with attendees.
Recently selected as a People Magazine ‘Pick of the Week,’ “Dance School Diaries” looks inside the lives of four Orange County, Calif., teenagers competing in the most prestigious youth ballet competition, the Youth America Grand Prix. “Dance School Diaries” follows Madison Chappell, 15; Andrea Guite, 16; Sage Humphries, 16; and Lex Ishimoto, 16.
Lythgoe serves as the series’ executive producer along with Amanda Taylor, Kristin Campbell-Taylor, Lawrence Bender, Kevin Brown, Alex Reznik and Larisa Saveliev. “Dance School Diaries” partner on the series is Capezio, whose mission is to support the advancement of dance, theater and recreation in communities worldwide.
At the event, Lythgoe shared behind the scenes details about the web series as cameras followed the incredibly talented cast. “Some have just started, some have done it before and we wanted to make sure we were going to have a trial to follow as they go through the process,” commented Lythgoe. “It shows the talent, the hard work, the tenacity it takes in this discipline. That’s what it is an absolute discipline and that they have to work so hard in order to achieve anything in ballet. What I love about ballet is it is coming to the fore at this time,” he added.
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“For So You Think You Can Dance, I keep telling everybody, like Latin is the core language for most European languages, so ballet is to dance,” commented Lythgoe. “If you’re great, if you train in ballet, it’s going to make it much easier for you to use other styles of dance and I think that dancers need that diversity nowadays.”
Lythgoe also stressed the importance of incorporating dance in the classroom when he shared how children who participated in a dance about the solar system retained more information than those who studied the material in a book. “Kids who learn with dance got 90% right of the questions they were asked and the kids that just had the books, they got 60%. That’s a difference of 30%. And it’s because the kids that danced were relating stuff to what they were doing. If you move and learn things at the same time, or if you sing them, it goes into a different part of the brain,” he said.
Dance School Diaries episodes are posted every Friday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. For a sneak preview, watch the trailer below or visit the Dance School Diaries site for additional details and videos.

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Carrot Ginger Dressing

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For the last few weeks, I have been participating in The Whole Life Challenge which is a nutrition, fitness and overall healthy living regimen for 8 weeks. There are some food restrictions but I have been able to make some healthy substitutions, like Greek yogurt instead of silken tofu that I used to use in the following recipe. I used to eat this dressing at the famous east village restaurant Dojo for decades and figured out how to make it myself a few years back. I hope you enjoy it!
Carrot Ginger Dressing:

4 medium sized peeled carrots
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3 tbsp fresh, ginger, chopped
1 cup Greek plain yogurt
3/4 inch slice red onion
1/4 cup fresh pineapple or other natural sweetener like dates
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
1/4 cup neutral oil like grape seed, avocado or canola oil
Steps:
Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
For more great recipes please visit, takebackthekitchen.com

No Bow Necessary

English: Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Bro...

English: Tim Tebow, a player on the Denver Broncos American football team. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Kansas City Chief’s safety Husain Abdullah was flagged for kneeling in prayer after his pick six touchdown against the New England Patriots, voices of protest prompted the NFL to admit that it erred in assessing a penalty.  Realizing that it was not excessive celebration, but a religious gesture permitted by league rules, the NFL assured fans that it doesn’t have a double standard.  If Tim Tebow was allowed to do the “Tim Tebow” as religious expression, then players of any faith should be be given the same treatment.  No doubt that what is good for one player in the NFL should be good for all.  But why does the NFL or any professional sports league feel compelled to allow players to publicly express their “religious beliefs”?  How often do your office co-workers prostrate themselves after the closing of a successful business transaction, the receiving of a promotion or exceeding a quarterly budget goal?  I certainly never did. The truth is that “religious expression” for most professional athletes is nothing more than thinly veiled self adulation and ego pumping.  Allowing athletes to express their appreciation to a higher being is not protection of religious freedom, its a mockery of it. 

Although not a devout Jew, I am proud of my faith and have a strong belief in G-d.  I look to G-d for help when in need as well as show gratitude for good fortune. But unless I’m in a house of worship, the connection I feel to G-d is never on public display.  Amazingly, at a recent little league baseball game for my son, I saw one of his teammates approach the batter’s box, do the sign of the cross, look up at the sky and send it a kiss.  Afterwards, I said to the kid, “I saw you kiss the sky before you batted, I didn’t realize you were religious”. He simply responded, “I’m not, it’s just fun to do”.  It’s not too difficult to figure out where he learned the routine. It is common practice to see MLB players across the league perform the same cross ritual before a turn at bat or after a successful plate appearance.   These players, whether its baseball, football or any other sport, want to let the fans know that G-d is responsible for their success and the multi million dollar contracts they are blessed to have.  That very well may be true. 
But isn’t that same G-d responsible for their failures as well?  After a disappointing loss, do we hear players comment that “G-d did not want us to win or I am in a terrible hitting slump because G-d does not want me to hit the ball”?  Of course not.   Because its not about players having strong religious convictions, its about showmanship.  I’m sure there are many athletes out there where the religious expressions and gestures are heartfelt.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see how these athletes demonstrate their love and appreciation of G-d when they are not scoring touchdowns, not hitting home runs or not scoring baskets?
Are these athletes kissing the sky after their planes successfully land coming home from a road game?  Are they bowing down in the hospital after the birth of their children?  Are they praising the lord when they safely get out of their car and arrive at the stadium.  And are they quickly getting on their knees in prayer when seeing a fellow teammate get injured?   Wouldn’t all of these things fall under G-d’s will? 
Humility is endearing and good to see when players sincerely attribute their successes in life to their religious faith.  But no matter what the sport might be, we don’t need to see the theatrics on the field.  Husain Abdullah, did G-d have so much time on his hands Monday night that he wanted to make sure you would intercept a pass by Tom Brady and return it for a touchdown?  Is that why you bowed?  I’m sure controlling the spread of the Ebola virus was the least of G-d’s concerns when you had a football game to play.   To all of you athletes that want to thank G-d for your success, show it to us off the field.  Go help someone that can’t help himself.  I can’t think of a better way to show your love of G-d and appreciation for your success than by simply giving back.  And there are no 15 yard penalties for doing that.    

Five Ways to Raise a Financially Savvy Kid

When it comes to saving money, I have two kids with two very different outlooks on their finances. One sees an expensive top in one of her favorite stores and has to have it and the other squirrels away his cash in a tiny shoebox under his bed.
In both instances, when money first started becoming prevalent in my kids’ lives, my husband took both of them to the bank to open their own savings accounts. This year, he also taught our son about investing and even worked with him to invest some of his funds in a few of his favorite stocks — one of which was the WWE. So far that hasn’t panned out too well, but his decision to buy Barnes and Noble seems to be working out quite well.
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While there have been times that both kids complain their friends seem to get everything they want from their parents, we have always tried to instill a work ethic in both of them so they appreciate when they use their hard earned cash to buy a pair of their favorite designer sneakers.
I think it’s really important to set our kids up for financial success early on in their lives and the only way to do it is to show them how they can find ways to earn money, save money and budget for the big ticket items that they truly have their heart set on. If you are the parent of a teen or tween, here are five ways to get your kids on the road to financial success. It’s working for us so far…here’s hoping that our kids will become independently wealthy by the time we retire!
Five Ways to Raise A Financially Savvy Kid
Bring your kids to the bank to open an account: When they start receiving monetary gifts from family members or friends, instead of spending it all at once, take those checks and bring them to a bank where your child can open their very first savings account. Every time they receive a gift – especially if it’s a check – encourage them to deposit it into their account.
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Teach them about Budgeting for their Purchases: While my daughter seems to spend the money she makes, she doesn’t overdo it. Usually, we talk about purchasing one or two things on a visit to the mall and we ask two questions: What does she need the most and what does she want the most? Typically, the items she needs, I will pay for. The things she wants are usually the items that she will purchase.
Next year, when she turns 16, she’ll be looking for a job at a retail store. Sure, most of her paychecks will be going towards her school wardrobe, I still look at that as a plus since that won’t impact my clothing budget for her for the year!
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Introduce Your Kids to the Concept of Having Great Credit: In a recent survey conducted by Capital One, more than 80% of parents believed their kids will have better credit than they do by the time they reach their parent’s age. I believe this to be true as parents share the “rules of life” with their kids, based on their own life lessons learned.   In my family, we strive to pay our credit card bills in full every month, not only to avoid falling behind and keeping our credit score intact but also to teach our children, by example, how they should manage their personal finances in the future. I’ve recently teamed up with Capital One to bring awareness to Credit Tracker – a free interactive mobile/online tool that provides Capital One credit card customers easy and ongoing access to their credit score plus information that gives insights into what’s driving it and how to improve it. Features include a credit report summary and report card, a credit simulator that shows the impact of everyday financial decisions on the credit score, and credit bureau monitoring that provides alerts that may help to indicate potential fraud (like opening a new trade, change of address or employment, etc.). Not only is this a great tool that helps manage your personal finance, it’s also a great way to teach your kids about credit and how certain decisions can affect your credit score. It’s vitally important to teach kids the value of not spending above their means at an early age so that they can enjoy the benefits that go along with having great credit.  
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Use Gift Cards as the First Entry into the Credit Card Experience:  Before you give your child their first credit card, show them first how to consolidate their gift cards so they can utilize them for their own purchases. When my son turned 12, he had his heart set on a pair of pricey designer sneakers and decided he would pool his gift cards and use them to buy the sneakers. After tallying up all of the cards, he had about $100 to spare and he used some of his “shoebox” stash to fund the rest.
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When it’s time for college, it’s time for a credit card:  Hold off on providing your child with a credit card until they truly understand the concept of money. That typically happens when they head to college and might need additional funds when you’re not around. Plus it’s a great way to start building your credit history. However, it’s important to look for a card that encourages good credit behavior such as the Capital One Journey card that offers bonus rewards for making on-time monthly payments. While you can transfer money into their bank account, they should be made aware that their credit card is for necessities and emergencies only. The card should also have a credit limit and you should aware on a regular basis when charges are being made so that you can stay on top of your child’s spending so that it never spirals out of control. And if your kid feels they need more money, then it might be time for them to look for a part time job! photo (56).JPG
Please tweet me @rolemommy and tell me how you raise financial savvy kids!
I wrote this blog post while participating in a program on behalf of Capital One and received compensation as part of my participation. Sponsored by Capital One.