PADDINGTON is in theaters NOW!

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I loved the books and even had the Paddington stuffed bear when I was little. Now in theatres, from the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Nicole Kidman.
Visit the Official Website
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Jen Groover Offers Entrepreneurs Advice on Finding Professional Fulfillment

aboutjen_05.jpgIn the last of three entrepreneurial lunchtime twitter chats hosted by Avon, serial entrepreneur and Avon ambassador Jen Groover shared her insights on how to achieve professional fulfillment in your career. One thing that rang true for me was that the only way to truly find fulfillment in your career was to do what you love and not get bogged down by the minutia or by toxic individuals. Lately, that’s what I have been experiencing in my business and every time I let a tough client get to me, I wind up questioning why I decided to pursue a career in public relations.
To be perfectly honest, I never had any aspirations of becoming a publicist. I sort of fell into my career. After landing an internship at WNBC-TV, I made such a positive impression on the head of the department that she actually hired me after she left the company to join a boutique PR firm. From there, I pursued my master’s degree in journalism and my ultimate goal was to land a position at a major women’s magazine. But that never happened.
You see, when I was starting out in my career, I chose the path that was steady and safe. Stick with the job you have rather than the job that might be right for you. And now, nearly 25 years later, I have worked with dozens of clients, launched hit TV shows and have experienced the ups and downs that go hand in hand with being a publicist. In fact, there are days where I actually love what I do – especially when I book a client on a TV show and they do a phenomenal job. Or I land a profile in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal and the result is nothing short of stupendous.
But for all those moments of glory, are moments of frustration. Public relations can be a thankless job filled with one common thread – it’s the “What have you done for me lately career.”
Thumbnail image for Avon Brand Ambassador-thumb-237x229-5200.jpgThat’s why whenever I meet with twenty something women who are just starting out in their careers or graduating college, I urge them to stay the course. If there’s a dream you have for your career, don’t veer off course and pursue something that’s safe. Now don’t get me wrong. Safe can still lead to career fulfillment and be a lot of fun at times. But if someone had mentored me when I was getting my master’s from NYU, they would have told me to take a chance and send my resume to several magazines. Or not to give up even after receiving a batch of rejection letters from a few media outlets after I sent in a query letter that just didn’t resonate with an editor. I hate to admit that early on in my career, I quit doing what I love because slow and steady seemed like the right thing to do.
Well, now that I am 45 and am trying to still figure out how to be fulfilled in my career, what I do know is that as a mom, I’m going to make sure my kids never stop dreaming and doing what they love. While my son has aspirations of becoming a professional baseball player and my daughter wants to be a fashion designer, I know those are two difficult goals to achieve but I am certainly going to cheer them on, get them the training they need and be right there in their corner if they decide to switch gears if their dream doesn’t turn out to be a reality.
There’s something to be said about professional fulfillment. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, everything else seems to fall into place. If you are happy on the job, you’ll be happier at home. So why not take a step back for moment, figure out what is fulfilling for you professionally and make a commitment to yourself to start doing what you love again?
It’s never too late to be fulfilled in your career. Some people figure it out early in life, while others continually make course corrections until they eventually get to where they want to be. Life is way too short to not find what fuels you and go for it. And thanks to Jen Groover, I’m energized and inspired to do just that.
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I really have enjoyed participating in the #MyAvonStory campaign along with Jen Groover and realize how important it is to carve out a place in your professional life for doing what you love. The happier you are on the job, the more productive you will be. It’s that simple. Now I’ve just got to practice what I preach and hopefully as the year progresses, I too will feel fulfilled professionally.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Avon. However, all opinions are 100% my own.

Kitchen Quandaries: Which Countertop Is Right for You?

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Remodeling a kitchen or designing one for a brand new home is an exciting task. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to create a space that perfectly suits your taste, your design aesthetic, and the functionality that you need in a kitchen space. Choosing colors, patterns, fixtures, and appliances is an incredibly fun way to ensure that you have exactly the space that you want. 

However, a kitchen remodel is not without its drawbacks, namely in the form of decisions. With so many options in countertops, backsplashes, flooring, windows, and more, it can feel incredibly daunting when you’re up against a wall and you need to make a choice. In fact, most contractors could tell personal horror stories that have arisen from homeowners’ inability to choose between one brand, color, or style. 

One of the most difficult and most important choices comes when it’s time to select the material for a new countertop. Gone are the days when a homeowner simply needed to shuffle through the samples of laminate color chips attached to a loop; nowadays the most popular choices are natural stone products, and there is a great deal of information one needs before making a decision. 

If you’re trying to determine which stone countertop will work best for your needs, read on to learn more about the most popular types of stone, and which one will work best for you and your family’s needs. 

1. Granite

Granite is easily the most popular choice when it comes to natural stone countertops, and for many people it is their first and only choice, whether they’re remodeling a kitchen or buying a home. Granite is durable, occurs in many natural and attractive colors and patterns, and its popularity is not likely to wane, which makes it a good investment if you think one day you’ll sell your home. 

Granite does require regular maintenance, which includes sealing to protect the porous stone from spills and stains. Additionally, as the colors and patterns are natural it can be difficult to match the slabs perfectly, but many homeowners feel that adds to the overall effect of natural stone. 

Granite countertops come in a range of styles, and the prices can vary widely as well. Be sure to check a local company for the best deal, such as Superior Stone and Cabinet, one of the largest cabinet companies in Arizona

2. Marble 

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Marble is an elegant material that simply exudes class and style, and marble slabs work wonderfully in a kitchen of any style. The timeless look of Italian marble elevates any kitchen to a higher level, and could make your home more attractive to potential buyers if you ever decide to put it up for sale. 

Like granite, marble is a porous material and requires regular sealing to maintain its flawless look. This material is also very susceptible to staining, especially from acidic substances like wine or vinegar. Be certain that you check with your salesperson to determine appropriate care and a maintenance schedule. 

Some marble is comparable in cost to granite, while other variations cost far more. If you decide that marble is the material that you’d prefer for your countertops, simply shop around for the best deal on the style and pattern that you prefer. 

3. Quartz 

Also referred to as engineered stone, quartz countertops typically only contain about 90 percent of the mineral; the rest is made up of a resin compound. The result is a durable countertop that retains the look of natural stone, but since the resin seals it from within, quartz counters require no external sealing and are much more stain resistant than their marble and granite countertops. 

Another plus to the engineered stone choice is the fact that these countertops come in a wide range of colors and styles, many of which mimic their more expensive natural stone counterparts. This allows homeowners or designers to select a countertop that complements most types of kitchen decor or design. Quartz counters are also tough and durable, and can stand up to the needs of a busy, modern family. 

Natural stone and quartz countertops are a great choice for any type of kitchen. These materials combine great looks with a tough and durable design. Just remember that natural stone needs regular sealing to ensure that cracks and chips do not occur, and marble can stain relatively easily. Otherwise, any of these would be an excellent choice when redoing a kitchen or building a new home.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored guest post.

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Garlic Buckwheat with Coriander and Currants

Buckwheat.JPG I love cooking up a lot of grains and then letting the recipes flow from there. I’ve been making a lot of buckwheat lately, something healthy and new for me, and then throwing in some spices, nuts and dried fruit. Using up some vegetables makes this a simple and tasty side dish or main dish. Enjoy!
Garlic Buckwheat with Coriander and Currants
5 cups cooked buckwheat
3 cups kale, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp coconut oil or other healthy oil
1 large minced onion
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup marcona almonds or dry roasted almonds, chopped
In a large frying pan over low heat, preferably non stick, heat up the oil.
Add in the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add in the kale and saute a few minutes.
Add in the cooked buckwheat and stir.
Add in the coriander, salt stir.
Add in the currants and nuts, stir to combine and serve hot.
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Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Healthy Truffles

date and hazelnut truffles.jpg I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different ways to make healthy desserts for myself and my kids and I must say that this one really satisfies. The cocoa powder gives it the essence of a chocolate truffle without all the sugar. Enjoy!

Healthy Truffles:

2 cups dried figs
2 cups roasted, salted cashews
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pulse all the ingredients together except for the cocoa powder and press into an 8″x8″ pyrex dish lined with parchment paper or roll into balls.
Slice into 10 bars or roll into about 40 balls.
Roll the balls in the cocoa powder or sprinkle cocoa powder over the bars.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
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My Lexus Staycation

IMG_2669-2.jpgRecently, I had an exciting opportunity sent my way. The team at Lexus offered my family the chance to try out their new hybrid SUV, the Lexus RX 450 and I have to say, it was a huge hit with all of us. While we didn’t get to take a major road trip this time around, we did manage to hit a few New York City hotspots and what blew me away was the fact that I was able to drive back and forth from Manhattan to New Rochelle and my gas tank was nearly full when I got home.
That’s the beauty of a hybrid car – it really does make a huge difference and while a luxury vehicle like a Lexus can be pricey, you wind up saving money at the gas pump by going hybrid. But wait, there’s more than just the energy saving option that wowed my brood. Let’s start with the bells and whistles. The car comes equipped with a Nav system, Internet capabilities and a virtual assistant who you can actually contact if you are having trouble with your car and they help you out while you are driving. We got assistance with the navigation system since we were having a little trouble figuring it out and the virtual Lexus representative managed to plug in where we needed to go and then the car’s internal system took over. In a word, amazing.

There’s also my favorite option — heated seats and the option to control the temperature of your section of the car with the press of a button. You see, my husband likes the car to be chilly and I’m all about it being toasty so we had the best of both worlds while we drove. There’s also tons of places to plug in your iPhone, laptop or iPad and it came complete with Sirius radio too (welcome back 80’s on 8).
IMG_2711.JPGThe trunk of the car opened with the press of a button and there’s a rear camera so you can perfect your parking abilities. Honestly, the folks at Lexus thought of everything – including all those great cup holders that keep snacks and drinks organized whether you’re on a road trip or heading to the gym.
What bummed us out most about our little Lexus Staycation was the day we had to give the car back. When my kids were little, we leased a Lexus for a few years and I have to admit, nothing compares to their cars. The drive is as smooth as butter. The technology is unmatched. The navigation assistance is first class. And best of all, you save money on gas when you lease or buy a hybrid vehicle. And the prices to lease and finance are pretty affordable so why not give luxury a try? Now that it’s a new year, you know what that means…time to start off 2015 with a luxury car that’ll not only turn heads, but will keep your entire family happy no matter where your journeys lead!
For more information on the Lexus RX450 and any other Lexus vehicle, visit their website to find the dealer nearest you.

Introducing our New Blog Talk Radio Show: Keeping it Real with Beth & Darin

It’s 2015 and that can only mean one thing. It’s time for a change on Role Mommy. We’ve hosted hundreds of shows on Blog Talk Radio but starting this year, we’ve added a new co-host. Drum roll please…welcome our resident Role Daddy Darin Feldman to the mix. Now that he’s on his own too, listen in to the trials and tribulations of being small business owners, parents and crazy dog people. So grab your morning coffee, press play and enjoy the show! Click on this link so you can listen in to all the latest episodes!

Check Out Parents Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Role Mommy on BlogTalkRadio

Check Out Parents Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Role Mommy on BlogTalkRadio

(Please note — this show had some sound issues — bear with us because it’s still funny!)