I don’t know about you, but I am the ultimate dreamer. In fact, throughout my life, I’ve set several lofty goals for myself.
Land a leading role in a high school musical: Check.
Make the high school tennis team: Check.
Land a job as an advertising representative at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian: Check
Graduate Phi Beta Kappa: Check.
Receive a Masters Degree in Journalism from NYU: Check
Land a network TV PR job: Check
Find my soulmate and get married: Check
Give birth to two beautiful and fun loving children: Check
Publish two pretty funny books about motherhood: Check
Host inspring events for moms and launch an online parent blogger network: Check
Create an online magazine for parents: Check
Experience professional success beyond my wildest dreams…Still a work in progress.
While I’ve got the drive to succeed, I have to admit that I sometimes lack the direction. And that’s where Small Business Champion Tory Johnson comes in. Tory is a New York Times bestselling author whose new book Spark & Hustle: Launch and Grow Your Small Business Now is set to debut nationwide on June 5. Having worked closely with Tory over the past year, I have to say she is a force to be reckoned with. She’s driven, she’s a perfectionist and she’s the ultimate customer service cheerleader. I’ve never seen anyone more committed to small business owners and I’ve proudly watched as she has literally helped catapult many of them to overnight success.
Having attended Tory’s latest Spark & Hustle conference, I have to admit, I was totally in awe of her keynote speaker – Barbara Bradley — creator of my all time favorite summer handbags…Vera Bradley! Bradley shared the story of how she launched her multi-million dollar business without having a clue as to how to do it. She discovered the name of the fabric wholesaler that sold to the top department stores, walked right up to the owner and while he could have ignored her, he instead took her under his wing and helped her get Vera Bradley off the ground. What I love about Barbara Bradley is that she had guts and a bit of moxie. And that fearless attitude propelled her company to where it is today.
Check out an excerpt from Tory’s new book and then make sure you order a copy today.
Tory is currently touring the country as part of her nationwide Spark & Hustle conference tour. Bringing together successful entrepreneurs in each city, the conferences offer attendees a healthy dose of inspiration, motivation and real advice you can act upon right now so that you can turn your dream into reality. So what are you waiting for? Put a little Spark & Hustle in your step and there’s no telling what you can accomplish.
We are so excited to announce the launch of “The God Box,” an inspiring and bittersweet memoir by author and marketing guru Mary Lou Quinlan. I have always been a fan of Mary Lou’s – she’s fearless, inspiring and a go getter who likes to dream — just like me. So when she first told me about the book she was writing, I knew I wanted to be a part of sharing her story with the world.
If you and your mom are best friends like I am with mine, then The God Box will resonate with you on so many levels and will move you to tears. Whether you still have your mom in your life, or if she’s since passed on, the book will inspire you to not only cherish the time you’ve had with your mom but also to create a legacy for your family so that they never forget how special she really is. About the Book…
When Mary Lou Quinlan’s beloved mother, Mary Finlayson, dies, her family is left bereft–until Quinlan finds her mother’s “God Box,” or rather, boxes. These simple containers are stuffed with tiny notes written by Mary, asking and praying for everything from the right flooring for her daughter’s new home to a cure for her own blood cancer. Mary’s petitions are presented with love and without expectation. Note by note, Quinlan unearths insights into her mother’s compassion, faith, and perseverance, and revelations of her innermost thoughts–nostalgic, surprising, and even a bit shocking. And through the journey, the author discovers her own more empathetic, more engaged self–the woman her mother had believed in all along. The Book Trailer…
The hilarious author, Jenna McCarthy, has a new book coming out on October 4th called, If it Was Easy They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living with and Loving the TV-Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-So-Handy Man You Married (Berkley Books). Jenna is an internationally published writer who’s past books include The Parent Trip: From High Heels and Parties to Highchairs and Potties and Cheers to the New Mom/Cheers to the New Dad , as well as the upcoming companion books Big Rigs for Moms and Tea Parties for Dads. Over the past twenty years her work has appeared in more than fifty magazines, on dozens of websites and in several anthologies including the popular Chicken Soup series. Make sure to watch her appearance on The Today Show, Monday, October 3rd!
Here is just a sampling of her hysterically funny writing and make sure to watch the video of the book trailer, you will laugh out loud.
7 Steps to a Happy Marriage
by Jenna McCarthy
I have a remarkably happy marriage, and people ask me all the time how I got so lucky. (Not as often as they ask me about autism, vaccines and Jim Carrey, so let’s get something straight before we go any further: Not. Her.) I used to wonder if it had something to do with pheromones or having relatively low expectations, but after eleven years of wedded bliss I am pretty sure the key is some combination of kindness, respect and my ability to read a road map upside down divided by my husband’s skill at tuning out my nagging.
Okay, fine. We got lucky.
Busloads of studies have attempted to figure out why roughly every other marriage fails miserably. Turns out, the success stories share a few similarities beyond the obvious stuff like “they don’t have sex with other people”. Here, then, are seven scientifically proven* steps to marital ecstasy.
1. Be thinner and better looking than your husband. I have no idea why this works to create nuptial delight but I’m guessing it’s because if you’re fat and ugly you probably never want to have sex, which makes him grumpy and mean because sex was the one and only reason he got married in the first place. (Well, that and pie. Think about it: Most guys will never bake a pie in their lifetimes and from what I’ve seen, they really like pie.) Of course, I don’t know many women who are dying to have sex with fat, ugly men, so this one remains a bit of a mystery.
2. Make sure he does more chores than you do (well, duh) and try to talk less than he does. I have to admit, if you asked my husband the top three things I could do to make him happier, “shut the hell up for five lousy minutes” would probably be on the list. (But not at the tippy-top. Ahem.)
3. Don’t watch a lot of chick flicks. Seems that after sitting through Gnomio and Juliet (or any other rom-com) relationship dissatisfaction tends to skyrocket. Apparently this is because maybe it could happen to you but you realize that it hasn’t and it probably won’t and that fat bastard never sprinkled rose petals on your bed, dammit. At least you’re thinner and better looking than he is.
4. Don’t win a best-actress Oscar. I included this one because unlike getting hotter or having your jaw wired shut, it’s actually pretty painless and doable. Personally, I am going to make this a priority in my marriage.
5. Limit your booze consumption (both of you). No comment.
6. Become or urge your partner to become a farmer, nuclear engineer or optometrist. Evidently every career choice has its own unique divorce-risk profile, with these three being on the lowest end. Dancers and choreographers are pretty much screwed. You can’t make this stuff up.
7. Prefer having the car windows down. I haven’t technically seen a study on this, but do you not fight about this every single time you ride in a vehicle together? And doesn’t he get all pissed when you want them up and accuse you of being more concerned about your hair than his precious need for non-recirculated air? If anyone bothered to study this, I’m confident the results would back me up.
So there you have it. I do not suggest trying to master all seven steps at once. For instance, if you stop doing housework altogether (to try to tilt his portion of the ratio toward more), you’ll have a lot of extra time on your hands which you may want to spend drinking alcohol. Remember, there’s no rush here. Till death do us part is a really long time**.
*I may have bastardized the language a bit in some cases but the facts are mostly accurate.
**I stole that line from If It Was Easy They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living with and Loving the TV-Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-So-Handy Man You Married, which I wrote (and please note that it says the blah-blah-blah man you married, not the one I married. My husband likes it when I point that out). You can find out more about me, my books and how I survived tanorexia on my website.
I recently picked up A Stolen Life: A Memoir
by Jaycee Dugard and have to say, this well written account of Dugard’s 18 year ordeal after being kidnapped on her way to school is gut wrenching, shocking and disturbing.
In the book, Dugard is incredibly candid about everything that took place the day she was abducted at age 11 until her rescue nearly two decades later. From being held against her will in filthy conditions, to being sexually abused and raped repeatedly by her captor, to birthing two daughters as a teen, Dugard’s childhood was erased by a sick man and his wife who managed to convince her that the only place where she would be safe was by staying with them.
It only took me three days to read A Stolen Life and I have to say that I was amazed by Dugard’s resilience and perseverance in light of all the horrors she experienced. She is now committed to ensuring her teen daughters live a safe and happy life and with the help of her family and friends they will be able to do just that. Dugard also talks about her love of writing and apologizes to the reader if it seems her thoughts are scattered as she shares her story. However, I found that the book was incredibly well written, thought provoking and had me hooked throughout.
If you are the parent of a tween, I urge you to read A Stolen Life: A Memoir
. While the content is quite disturbing, its gripping account of a childhood stolen away in an instant, is one that should be shared and never forgotten.
Role Mommy guest contributor and avid reader Lenore Stoller (my mom), gives us the inside scoop on this summer read… 22 Britannia Road: A Novel
by Amanda Hodgkinson is the story of a Polish couple during and after World War II. The novel offers a wonderful perspective on the aftermath of war and its effects on its survivors.
Silvana and Januz Nowak meet in pre-war Poland, fall in love and marry. In 1939, the Germans invade Poland and Silvan and Jannuz, who now have a child, suddenly have their lives turned upside down. Januz joins the war and Silvan leaves Warsaw. The author then tells their story during wartime Poland and then after the war, as they try to rebuild their lives in Britain. This novel is a fictional account of a historical event that has you anticipating how their lives during the war will eventually have an impact on their relationship. 22 Britannia Road: A Novel was truly a page turner as the author moved back and forth from wartime stories to starting over as a family. It was an easy read with many parallels I’m sure, to our servicemen’s lives today. The reader is forced to consider, how does one resume living a normal life after returning from war? I recommend this book as a terrific summer read to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
I’ve always loved Tina Fey. She’s one of those real, approachable looking celebrities who is ridiculously smart, pretty and oh sooooo funny. I remember watching her religiously on SNL’s “Weekend Update” with Jimmy Fallon. As a comedic writer who rose to the top among of a sea of men, Fey has proven time and again that even really really nice girls can finish first.
I’m having so much fun reading Fey’s best selling memoir “Bossypants” – so much so that I have been finding myself laughing out loud amidst a sea of commuters. Today, as my train was pulling into the station, I let a huge guffaw when Fey talked about her experiences at a photo shoot and revealed the songs you would find on her iPod: “We’d Like to Thank You Herbert Hoover” from Annie and “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips. Why do I find that so laughable? Simple. If you were to play shuffle on my iPod, you would hear “Defying Gravity” from Rent and “Hold On” from Wilson Phillips. Incidentally, if you saw “Bridesmaids,” you will see that Wilson Phillips could be making a huge comeback this year – if only they were playing at Jones Beach!
But back to Bossypants. So why do I love this book so much? Simple – Tina Fey shares memories from her childhood, adolescence and adulthood with candor, wit and incredible humor. She knows how to paint a picture with her words that will get anyone cackling at a moment’s notice. Plus, she even shares photos of some of her worst hairstyles (I so can relate). I also love the story about her honeymoon – which took place on a cruise ship to Bermuda since her husband has a fear of flying.
There are so many great stories in “Bossypants,” that all I know is when I finally am done with the book, I think I’ll be pretty sad. For now, I’m still in the middle of the book and can’t wait to keep going. So what are you waiting for? Check out Bossypants today and order a copy or download to your Kindle or iPad!
Throughout my life, my mom and I have lived in fear. We’re not fearful of strangers, earthquakes, plane crashes, or other disasters. My mom and I are fearful of losing our memory. You see, my grandmother and great grandmother developed Alzheimer’s pretty early on in life and as a result, my mom has spent the greater part of her retirement attempting to stave off the disease by taking college courses at Florida State University, doing yoga, pilates, aerobics, playing canasta, and eating healthy foods. And guess what? What my mom is doing might be the answer to keeping her memory loss at bay.
I recently had the opportunity to host a roundtable discussion with Dr. David Perlmutter, the co-author of Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightment. In Power Up Your Brain, Dr. Perlmutter and his co-author Albert Villoldo Phd. have devised a ground-breaking, five-week plan that helps prime the brain for enlightenment. With nutritional advice, dietary supplements, physical exercise, shamanic practices, meditation, and visualizations, Perlmutter and Villoldo guide readers, step by step, through a program to help them clear their minds from previous trauma and open themselves up to experience the inner peace, vast insight, and extraordinary creativity that define the experience of enlightenment, paving the way to successfully face the challenges to come.
Dr. Perlmutter shared how the book came to fruition and why the combination of neuroscience and enlightenment is crucial to our overall well being:
During our discussion, Dr. Perlmutter shared insight and offered advice on several topics including memory loss, autism, ADHD and MS. He also said that we should approach our health the same way we would our home and as John F. Kennedy remarked, “fix the roof when the sun is shining.” That means, the key to optimum health is in the hands of the healthy. Not only do we need to eat right, avoid processes foods and toxins, but we should also make sure our bodies have enough Vitamin D, DHA and magnesium to help ward off a slew of illnesses that can affect the brain.
When asked about heredity and whether we could do anything to prevent Alzheimers, this is what Dr. Perlmutter had to say:
We will be sharing additional video commentary and tips from Dr. Perlmutter over the next few weeks and hope that by the time you’ve seen our entire discussion, you’ll be enlightened and empowered to take care of your body and your brain!
In the meantime, thanks Dr. Perlmutter for all your invaluable advice. I’ve been taking my supplements every day now and feel great. Time to start cracking on that five week plan!
Parenting bloggers are enlightened and informed by Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Power Up Your Brain
Juliette Fay, author of ‘Shelter me’, has done it again with her second novel, ‘Deep Down True.’ The story centers around Dana Stellgarten who was left by her husband for a younger woman, her 6th grade daughter is possibly struggling with an eating disorder and the turmoil of junior high school and her second grade son is acting out, missing his father. On top of that, she takes in her sister’s teenage daughter who is going through her own problems.
Dana has always been nice to a fault and everyone knows it, but now she is learning to be more assertive because she is at the end of her rope. Her ex-husband’s business is not going well so Dana is forced to get a job in order pay the bills. She gets an offer from her very compassionate dentist as a part time receptionist and has to deal with balancing work and motherhood, something a lot of us can relate to. Dana does everything she can to be a good mother and hold her family together, while trying to deal with junior high type issues of her own. Is she dating the right guy? Accepted by the “in” crowd? And does it all really matter in the grand scheme of things? The feelings of insecurity, confusion and self doubt that are so prevalent in junior high never fully go away in adulthood, do they?
The mother-daughter relationship in this book is so real and intensely human. There are times the daughter and the niece are worried about Dana and try to protect her, and that of course, makes Dana feel guilty. Isn’t she supposed to be the one to take care of and protect everyone else? Struggling with single motherhood, Dana somehow manages to do it all with a smile.
Fay does an amazing job of putting the reader in the center of the Stellgarten family, and once you are there, you do not want to leave. This page turner is funny and heart warming and will have you cheering for Dana from beginning to end. Deep Down True would make a great book club read… it has an interview with the author at the back as well as questions for discussion. Happy reading!
This week, we had a fabulous interview with Laurie David, activist, mom and author of The Family Dinner – a brand new book that hits stores November 3 and features everything from anecdotes about Laurie and her family (including her ex husband Larry David), recipes from her longtime family cook as well as friends and relatives. Plus, The Family Dinner has beautiful photographs throughout (check out Laurie’s adorable nephew Logan serving up pizza) as well as tips on how you can get your family back to the dinner table with great conversation starters, games and more.
Listen in to our recent Blog Talk Radio interview with Laurie and if you live in the tri-state area and would like to meet her in person, she’ll be in New York City on November 3 (invitation is above). Join her for a lively discussion and book signing and if you can’t make it, you can visit the The Family Dinner website and share your own recipe ideas and stories too. Plus, if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The Family Dinner, comment below with a favorite suppertime story. Make sure you leave us your email address too so that we can contact you if you win!
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! Rebecca 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!