I Officially Have a Mom Crush on Michelle Obama

11102877_10152772609320205_6410402974126457914_n.jpgMore than a decade ago, I dreamt up the concept behind Role Mommy. With two little kids in tow, I was determined to find a way to achieve success in my career without it taking a toll on my family. Thanks to an incredibly understanding boss who was quite the visionary back during those days, I managed to carve out a schedule for myself which paved the way for other women in our department to work from home. Despite my unconventional work schedule, I still managed to climb the ladder and eventually became a vice president in my department working with incredible individuals who were leaders in their field — from television producers, to programming executives, writers and actresses – all of whom were doing what they loved while raising a family.
At the time, I was fascinated by women who didn’t compromise their own dreams while pursuing motherhood and that’s the moment that Role Mommy was born. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that my passion for storytelling would eventually lead me to the opportunity of a lifetime. What I have come to discover during this incredible journey as a parenting blogger is that anything truly is possible. After being invited by Cafe Mom to visit the White House where I would get the chance to meet the First Lady and learn more about the “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity, it became quite apparent that today’s working mothers have found an ideal way to integrate their families into their lives in a way that ensures they will never short change their kids while pursuing their own careers. Incidentally, nearly every person who spoke at the event was a working mother who has made it their mission to help others while being an incredible role model for their own families.
michelle.jpg
When First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage at the Let’s Move event it was at that moment, that I developed my “mom crush.” Not only is she beautiful, poised and so incredibly smart, Michelle Obama is authentic, relatable and down to earth. As she recounted a story about how she used to feed her kids junk food when she was a busy working mom with two little kids, it instantly transported me back to those days when I was juggling a busy corporate career with motherhood. As hard as I tried to be a good mom, I remember short changing my kids with poor food choices — caving in to easy menu choices like chicken fingers and fruit roll ups, until those bad decisions caught up with me. In Mrs. Obama’s situation, she shared how her family’s fast food habits led her to have a serious conversation with her kids’ pediatrician who urged her to start introducing healthier foods into her daughters’ diet. In my case, a visit to the dentist revealed that my daughter’s fruit roll up fixation inevitably was the cause of several unwanted cavities. In both cases, we were both pretty lucky that these red flags took place when our kids were little so we could make a course correction and start introducing healthy foods into their diets when they were still pretty young.
Today, my kids actually love fish, vegetables (they are partial to my crispy kale chips) and oftentimes opt for the healthy food options then an easy junk food alternative. And in Michelle’s case, she shared how her two daughters have also made healthy food choices without her having to force them to do it.
By tackling the childhood obesity epidemic in the White House, the First Lady has made healthy eating and fitness a priority with families across the nation. No matter how busy you are as a working parent, it is essential that we make smart choices for our family and it’s great to know that kids today are being empowered in schools across the country to learn why it is so important to lead a healthy lifestyle. One thing that really struck a chord with me was when Mrs. Obama said it will be interesting to see when we look back on this generation that was initially raised on chicken nuggets and hopefully, those types of foods will no longer even be considered a viable meal option. Just as it’s become second nature to wear seat belts, kids have the potential today to grow up incorporating proper nutrition and fitness into their daily lives.
As Mrs. Obama looked around the room and remarked how inspired she was by the 150 bloggers and online influencers who have shared their individual stories with the world, I realized that there truly is power in storytelling. Everyone’s personal connection to the topic of getting and staying healthy is a powerful one. In my case, I recently lost a close relative to heart disease and have realized now more than ever the importance of taking care of my own health, while I care for my family.
michelle2.jpg
Whatever your personal story may be as it relates to the health and well being of your family, just know you are not alone. As a parent, it might be easier to cave in and give your kids what they want at the moment – but trust me – what they want may not necessarily be what they need. Provide them with healthy options like fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and fish and make sure they go outside and play. If we give kids the chance to be kids again while nourishing them with the foods they need to grow and thrive, there’s no telling what they can accomplish. Just take a look at how healthy eating has transformed my two little kids into incredible young teens!
IMG_3110.JPG
A huge thank you to Cafe Mom and the Stir for inviting me to attend this incredible event. For more information on how you can get involved with Let’s Move, visit their website and make sure you take advantage of all the cool opportunities in your local community.

The Mominator

Guest Post by Entrepreneur, Fashion Designer, Wife and Role Mommy, Kelsey MacLean
KM-Website-Blog-TheMominator-pic-2.jpgIt was a beautiful late August summer day, and I took my 3 year old son to the park. He went running straight for a very tall climbing wall that seemed to be miles high for his chubby little hands and body. He barreled up to the playground climbing wall and immediately began to scramble up, my heart skipped a beat, and I started to make a move to pull him down, fearing he would fall and hurt himself.
But I stopped myself. I desperately wanted to shield him from every bump, bruise and scrape he might endure on that climbing wall and from every loss, heartache, and heartbreak that he is bound to suffer throughout his life. Oh how my heart thundered in my ears, yet I knew I had to back away, to remain only close enough to catch him if he fell, but far enough away so he did not know I was there. He confidently struggled to the top, hesitated, and turned around triumphantly smiling down at me before giggling and sliding down a terribly long slide.
I realized he had that brave youthfulness that has somehow over the years ebbed away from me, he wasn’t scared of all the bumps and bruises and scars that one encounters in the journey of life. I remember the bold courage of youth, the innocence of not knowing to proceed with caution. Overtime life chips away at these and if you are lucky, you learn to wear the scars with pride. Either way, you become more cautious and lose the wonderful perspective of youth that allowed you to see the world as a place filled with infinite possibilities.
Here is the deal on being a parent: I would instantly and unquestionably offer myself to ancient Aztec Indians to rip open my chest and remove my still beating heart to ensure the survival of my child. Being a mom does that, you love something so much there is no question you would sacrifice your own life for theirs, and at any given moment on any given day. Loving someone that deeply is scary, you want to shield and protect your child fiercely. There must be some sort of primal instinct, like a momma bear or as I call it, #TheMominator instinct kicks in. #TheMominator makes #TheTerminator look like a cute puppy. I want his life to be an easier, gentler life and to know nothing but sheer joy, but that is my own fantasy. He will face many challenges in life and must learn courage, independence and tenacity. I owe it to him to put his wellbeing before my own selfish insecurities. It’s my duty as a parent to see that he learns the tools and skills necessary to survive and thrive, and hopefully have a family of his own someday. In order to do that, a parent must stand back and let them scrape their knee, struggle to stand up, brush themselves off and move on, even if someday it’s away from me. It’s the absolute hardest thing I have ever endured, both beautiful yet heartbreaking at the same time. But that’s the deal. That’s being a parent, and I fully and completely signed up for this. If I want him to be the person I hope he will become, I cannot extinguish his bold curiosity. Someday I won’t be around to kiss away the scrapes and bruises, and someday very soon he won’t want me to.
I watched him make new friends today, laughing and playing tag with sheer JOY smeared across his face as I stood on the side, protectively watching over him like the helicopter mom I’m trying desperately not to be. I noticed his chubby hands and face are starting to thin and become more agile and muscular and he is growing, seemingly at the speed of light.
Later, as we leave the park, his hand in mine, I look up at the sky and am reminded that summer is fleeting, and my little boy is too. I will relish, cherish and remember each moment, I pray. -Kelsey MacLean, August, 2015 ©
– See more at KelseyMaclean.com.

4 Ways to Make Your Life Easier as a Mom

Being a mom is THE hardest job in the world. As a mom, you put your life on hold so that you can care for your child. Maybe you stop working to be a stay-at-home mom, or maybe you stop enjoying your hobby just to spend quality time playing Legos. You unconditionally love your child, and you know that you would do anything in the world to protect them and make them happy. Because of this, you are a superhero.

Everyone knows that a superhero’s life isn’t always easy, and moms need to find ways to take the pressure off of being mom, even if it’s only for a few minutes every day. While your job is always going to be tough, the following four tips can help to make it a smidge easier every now and then.

1. Get organized.

As a mom, you not only have to take control of your own life, but you also need to responsible for your kids’ lives, your pets, and even your husband or partner. Instead of running around like a crazy person, get yourself organized. This will help ensure you don’t miss that work meeting and that your kid doesn’t miss soccer practice or forget to bring a treat to school for a class party. Many people have their own way of getting organized, so choose which option works best for you. You can stick with the traditional paper calendar, or you can use reminders and calendars on your smartphone or tablet to help you. You also need to make sure you have one set place for your child’s school/extracurricular activity notes. This way, instead of scrambling through your home trying to find that permission slip, you’ll know exactly where to look. While there’s no set way to get organized, it’s important that you do it.

2. Invest in the right furniture.

Face it. Your children are destructive and messy. It’s normal, but it can drive you crazy when your$5,000 couch is stained with grape juice or you’re constantly scraping peanut butter off the underside of your dining room table. Although you love to have nice things, it’s important for your sanity that you choose the right furniture. For example, use wood or plastic chairs in your home instead of cloth ones. These are much easier to clean up, and they will still look stylish. You should also opt for leather (or faux leather) couches too, as these are usually easier to wipe down than a fabric couch. By having the right furniture in your home, you’ll spend less time cleaning messes.

3. Pick your battles wisely.

You know that you’re the mom and you are always right, but your children have ways of arguing with you over everything. Instead of constantly fighting with them over everything, pick your battles wisely. For example, instead of fighting with your child about eating their vegetables at dinner, find ways to hide vegetables in your child’s food, such as by using vegetable-based pasta sauce in spaghetti. This way, you can stop nagging at them during dinner and be happy knowing they still got the nutrients they needed. Knowing which battles to pick, and which ones to cleverly work your way around, will help you keep your sanity throughout the day.

4. Stop comparing yourself.

The worst thing you can do as a mom is to compare yourself to other moms out there, but every mom does it. You are never going to feel good about yourself, or your parenting skills, if you are constantly trying to determine if you are doing things the “right” way. Plus, you won’t let it go if you constantly compare yourself to the mom who seems to have it all together. (Hint: she probably doesn’t.) You need to stop worrying about how what you’re doing and how you’re raising your family compares to everyone else. If you don’t, you’re only going to stress yourself out, and you’ll be spending far too much time trying to figure out what to do differently. It’s not worth it. As long as your children are happy and healthy, you’re doing a great job as a mom. Remember that.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  

Blog in Your Voice and Be Your Brand

Blogging Goals and Storytelling

This post is one-stop in the month-long Blogger Babes blog tour which began here. To read this post in-context, we recommend starting at the beginning–then hop along with us for the full journey.

I’ve known Beth for many years now, and some of my fondest memories blogging are because of her and/or her role as the owner of Role Mommy. And yet she’s another virtual friend who I have yet to meet in person.

While I attended many exclusive live events and gained from online opportunities, Beth and I connected more deeply because we both have PR (public relations) background and we’re writers (authors) at heart. Beth was actually instrumental in my getting featured on Fox News during the first months transitioning out of business blogging and into mom blogging.

Anyway, it’s these kinds of relationships that I built through blogging that has made me who I am and solidifies who Beth is to me. Beth and I knew each other while I was a woman entrepreneur and self-help blogger, then a mom blogger, and now a “blogging” business blogger.

We’ve maintained our relationship through the years and continue to help each other out whenever the opportunity comes up. The thing about Beth is that she’s always been a “role mommy” to me, raising her family and work by going “beyond” the typical acts of PR. So her company names–Role Mommy and Beyond PR— have always stuck with me. Now, that’s branding!

Blogging is All About Storytelling

It’s funny. In searching her archives for her last “blogging” post, I found her Blog Resolutions in 2013 and smirked at her modesty. To think that her #1 resolution was to “Be committed to Storytelling”! To me, Beth has always told stories. But this kind of resolution shows to her readers (and me) the importance she places on wanting to improve herself and her craft in blogging.

This art of storytelling is exactly what Heidi and I teach in our debut Blogger Monthly Tutorials. We delve deeply in finding Your Voice, Your Blog, Your Brand…and achieving this by telling stories. We offer brainstorming worksheets to explore what it is you really want or should be blogging about.

So while Beth has put a stake in her voice and brands, it’s possible to do it my way, too. Whether you’re sticking with you one blog for a lifetime (like Beth), or change niches every 4-6 years (like me) the key is about telling YOUR story. This blog tour is me
just telling one continuous story across various blogs.

Need some help learning how to tell stories while blogging?

BBekit_promotional_button-500x5002.jpg

I spent the last six months writing what I believe to be the first and only female bloggers learning library for female bloggers from female bloggers. My partner Heidi and I poured ourselves in the development of our monthly tutorials and we’re committed to doing it for the long-haul.

So let’s start telling your story by investing in our comprehensive blogging ekits–there’s a new release every single month for only $5 per month. Invest in yourself and your blog today!

Click here to sign up for the Early Bird special release of $5 per month!

Win Two-Hours of Blog Coaching with Heidi and Ponn ($298 value)

We’re crowdsourcing the name of our Monthly Training tutorials. Creating the eKits is one-thing, and publicizing it through a 25-blog blog-tour is another… and trying to tackle a creative training title is something my poor brain cannot handle alone.

So, we need your help!

Grand Prize: Two-Hours of Blog Coaching by Blogger Babes Co-Founders (Value $298)

  • Two one-hour blog coaching sessions, one with Heidi and one with Ponn. Coaching will be conducted separately on the phone (domestic), Skype, or our recorded webinar room (international).

How to Enter:

  1. Make one comment below for each monthly subscription title you create. Make sure you use your primary email, so it’s easy for us to reach you if you win!

Rules:

  1. Any age, any country. Minors with guardian’s permission.

  2. Unlimited number of entries across any/all guest blog posts from now until Monday, April 20, 2015.

  3. Deadline date: Monday, April 20, 2015 11:59 pm Pacific Time. [After all, we need time to design the covers. 😉 ]

  4. Winner selection: Heidi and I will select one winner and announce it Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

You can even champion your title by letting us know on Twitter @TheBloggerBabes or Facebook @TheBloggerBabes.

[Note: these actions do not serve as contest entries. Official entries must be made on this blogpost…but, we’d love to connect with you nonetheless.]

Next Steps:

  • Check out our draft sales page now, take some time, and share your proposed title below in the comments area on or before April 20th 11:59 pm Pacific time. While you’re there, sign up for our Early Bird release special!

Can’t wait to read your replies!

Ponn Sabra is a best-selling author and homeschool mom of three tween and teen daughters, also bestselling authors and probloggers [http://PonnSabra.com]. The Managing Partner of Blogger Babes, Ponn loves her daily yoga routines to wind down, what’s your #1 relaxation ritual?

A Very Special Date Night at the Carlton Hotel

Truth be told – my husband and I have not had a romantic weekend without our kids in a very long time. Between work, our kids, school, finances and our dog, we don’t get away much anymore. So when the PR team from the Carlton offered me the chance to take my hubby with me for a special night out on the town, I jumped at the chance.
One week after Valentine’s Day, we were primed and ready to head into the city while our nearly sixteen year old daughter took on the responsibility of watching her younger brother and all our pets. As we headed into the city, it started to snow…for what seemed like the bazillionith time, but that was okay. We were going on a 24 hour adventure and I couldn’t wait.
We arrived at the hotel about an hour later and when we got to the front desk, we were surprised to find out that we had been upgraded to the Diva Suite. Take a look….
1234201_10152684487080205_8071413713323428025_n.jpg
The cool thing about the Diva Suite is that it feels like you’ve stepped into an episode of “Mad Men.” The decor has a 1960’s retro feel and the elegant couch and armchairs reminded me of the furniture my parents owned when I was growing up (they bought their living room set in the early 1960’s). Plus, the bedroom had a king sized canopy bed and a vanity that you’d find backstage at a Broadway Show. The walls were adorned with pictures of some of the most memorable Broadway divas on the planet including Liza Minelli, Patti Lupone and Bernadette Peters.
photo 2.JPG
While my hubby brought a bottle of wine from home we were surprised by room service when they arrived with a complimentary bottle of prosecco. The night so far was absolutely phenomenal.

We decided to opt for a quick dinner at the hotel because we were planning to see “Honeymoon in Vegas” that night on Broadway. Millesime is a seafood brasserie that boasts a two star Michelin chef – the food is simply superb and the wait service was also top notch. All I can say is make sure you order the warm cesar salad – it’s like eating french onion soup…but it’s a salad. Beyond delicious!
Once we finished our meal (the snapper special for two was phenomenal), we raced out of the hotel to make the show. Once we arrived, I picked up our tickets and we only had a few minutes to spare. While Darin hit the bathroom, I proceeded to head to my seat and to my surprise, I was greeted by Jason Alexander who had to move out of the row so I could make my way towards the middle of the aisle. When he stood up, Alexander quipped, “That’s what happens when you arrive 10 minutes before the show.” I couldn’t tell if he was joking or annoyed at me – either way, I was kind of honored to be insulted by George Costanza and then quickly grabbed my phone and texted my hubby to tell him to enter our row from the other side so that we didn’t bug Jason again. Luckily, he got the message and before we knew it, the show started.
HMV-New-Trio-w-Elvis-emailable.jpgWe really enjoyed the show and I have to say, I was quite impressed by Tony Danza’s performance. Who knew the former “Who’s the Boss” star could tap dance and sing like a former member of the rat pack? Plus, Rob McClure was terrific as Jack, the fiancé who’s convinced his mom has put a curse on him forbidding him to ever get married. Meanwhile, Brynn O’Malley portrays Betsy – a gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed teacher who’s determined to get Jack to finally commit even after he sells her for a weekend in a poker game gone bad.
After the show was over, the crowd poured out into the streets where we all battled an incredibly messy wintry mix of freezing rain and snow. With the weather wreaking havoc on the sidewalks and the streets of the Big Apple, there was no way we were going to find a cab. Once I saw an entrance to the N&R trains out of the corner of my eye, my street smart subway instincts took over, I grabbed Darin’s hand and we zipped downstairs, hopped on the R train and were back at the hotel within 15 minutes.
By the time we returned, the hotel was hopping – while the DJ was playing great dance music, we decided to return to the suite where we could unwind without any distractions. Before we knew it, our night in the city had passed us by and it was time to head back to reality. Despite the fact that our night away from the kids was quick, we were relieved to find out the house was still in one piece and our kids survived. So much so that they can’t wait until we spend the night away from home again!
If you’re in the mood for a fabulous getaway in the Big Apple, definitely check out the Carlton Hotel. They are offering an amazing Honeymoon in Vegas package until February 28 complete with free show tickets and an executive king room. Trust me when I tell you, it’s totally worth it to spend a night away to reconnect with your partner. If you are lucky enough to enjoy the evening in a hotel suite at the Carlton, make sure you tell them Role Mommy sent you!

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.
Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 5.42.38 PM.png
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.

Important Small Business Advice from Jen Groover and Avon

images.jpegThis past week, I participated in the second of three lunchtime twitter chats with serial entrepreneur and author, Jen Groover. Jen is the creator of the wildly successful Butler Bag and is a motivational speaker who works closely with Avon to inspire small business owners to pursue their passion no matter the obstacles.
In her latest Twitter conversation with small business owners, Jen talked about how we can earn an income on our own terms and asked what we feared most being small business owners as well as what we loved about taking that leap of faith to start a business. Here were some of my responses to Jen’s questions and I have to say, it’s given me a lot of clarity on what I need to accomplish in 2015 to take my business to the next level.
Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 4.05.35 PM.png
After celebrating with co-workers this year at our annual holiday dinner, we talked about the clients we loved as well as those we would never want to work with again. The most interesting thing that we found was the choice of our favorite client was overwhelmingly unanimous. While she didn’t pay us the most, she was the most appreciative of our efforts and referred new projects to us, so working with her was an absolute dream and if given the opportunity, I would absolutely work with her again.
Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 4.05.07 PM.png
The one thing I absolutely hate as a business owner are the finances. I hate having to chase after clients for money. I hate having to keep track of bills. I hate that we waste money when we hire consultants who do not deliver on what we had initially asked of them. But most of all, I hate worrying about taxes. In 2015, I vow to do things differently and the first thing I will be doing is consulting with a Virtual CFO who can take a look at my business and advise me on how to manage our finances, hire the right people and most importantly, grow and prosper.
Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 4.04.34 PM.png
My third and final business resolution is to avoid crazy clients at all costs. You know the type. At first, they seem incredibly enthusiastic and while they seem to have unrealistic expectations, you believe that with your experience and ingenuity, you will find a way to make them happy. Even if they are happy for a moment, the next day they will eviscerate you if you do something that’s doesn’t meet their expectations. No matter how much money they may have for a campaign, life is too short to work with crazy people who are unrealistic and overly demanding. Slow and steady wins the race, which means that in the new year, I will search for clients who are reasonable, kind and appreciative of our efforts.
And now for some great advice from Jen Groover…
Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 4.03.53 PM.png
Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 4.03.42 PM.png
Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 4.03.30 PM.png
Avon Brand Ambassador-thumb-237x229-5200.jpgAs we approach the New Year, it’s time to really focus on what’s important as business owners. And with the help of Avon and Jen Groover, there’s still time to get focused, embrace your fears and do what you love!
Join us for the final installment of the Avon entrepreneur twitter chat series with Jen Groover on Wednesday, January 21 (12:30-1pm ET) where Jen offers advice on creating professional fulfillment. Make sure you follow @jengroover and use the hashtag #MyAvonStory to participate. You can RSVP to the Twitter chat by emailing AvonRSVP@bm.com. If you RSVP and attend the Twitter event, you’ll be entered for a chance to win an Avon product bundle.
Disclosure: As a paid Blogger Ambassador for Avon, I will be discussing many aspects of Avon’s brand; from the entrepreneurial side, to career, to beauty tips, Avon staples, and more in a series of posts. The opinions in these articles are mine and are not indicative of the brand.

Avon Spearheads an Inspiring Twitter Chat for Entrepreneurs

There’s nothing like taking a quick break at lunch so you can connect with like minded women who are working as hard as you are to find success as a small business owner. That’s exactly what I did last week when I got the chance to participate in a Twitter chat with super successful entrepreneur Jen Groover and the team at Avon.
While the chat seemed to go by in a flash, what I really enjoyed was hearing stories from fellow small business owners who conquered their fears to pursue their passion. Some of my favorite tweets came from Stephanie Elie, the founder of Bizzie Mommy who I’ve had the great fortune of meeting over the past few years.
Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.55.47 PM.png
The common thread between all of us was that in order to succeed, all of us have had to do something outside of our comfort zone in order to move forward. Stephanie mentioned how she didn’t enjoy speaking in public but has sought out opportunities where she could speak so that she could face her fears head on. Others talked about how important it is to learn from failure and rejection and how we need to instill the concept of failing in our own children. While I have always encouraged my kids to pursue what they love, I agree that it is incredibly important to speak to our kids about rejection so that they know that it is okay to fail. Rather than give up, it’s best to learn from our failures so that we can continue on our path and experience success after we’ve made a few course corrections.
Jen Groover, who is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and has created a number of popular retail products, including the ‘Butler Bag,’ shared some really great advice throughout the entire chat. Take a look…
Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.55.54 PM.png
Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 6.55.35 PM.png
The advice that I took to heart is the part about asking advice from mentors whenever you are in need of support. Fortunately, in my career, I have been lucky enough to get advice from incredibly successful entrepreneurs like Jeanne Burton, the former founder of Designhergals.com, Sue Kupcinet, a writer and creator of the off beat greeting card line Yenta Sentiments and New York Times best selling author, philanthropist and national television correspondent Lee Woodruff. Jeanne taught me that anything was truly possible and to never give up on my dreams no matter how big they seemed. Sue explained that while I might have tons of amazing business ideas, many of them could wind up in my garage (like the t-shirts I created nearly a decade ago when I first launched Role Mommy) but to not beat myself up over those failures – instead, I should learn from them and think twice about launching a t-shirt line if I haven’t yet built my brand. Finally, aside from being one of the most talented writers I know, Lee taught me about the importance of saying no. While I found myself being pulled in a million directions at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, the moment I started saying no to events and opportunities that took me away from my family but didn’t contribute to my personal income or enjoyment, was the moment I began realizing that it’s okay to say no and not feel guilty about it. Without these mentors in my life, I could have easily given up on my passions and gone back to a full time job but instead, I have persevered and have learned so much along the way.
Trust me, there is nothing easy about running a small business or in my case, two businesses. But if you are lucky enough to have the support of incredible individuals who can serve as your guides along the way, I say, take the leap, accept that you’re going to fail, but no matter what, don’t ever give up!
Avon Brand Ambassador.jpgIf you missed the last twitter chat but want to get in on the conversation, then you are in luck. Avon will be hosting two more chats with Jen Groover in December and January!
Make sure you follow @jengroover and use the hashtag #MyAvonStory to participate. The remaining Twitter chats in the series are:
‘Earning an income on your own terms’ on Thursday, December 18 (12:30-1pm ET)
‘Creating professional fulfillment’ on Wednesday, January 21 (12:30-1pm ET)

You can RSVP to each Twitter chat by emailing AvonRSVP@bm.com. If you RSVP and attend the Twitter event, you’ll be entered for a chance to win an Avon product bundle.
Disclosure: As a paid Blogger Ambassador for Avon, I will be discussing many aspects of Avon’s brand; from the entrepreneurial side, to career, to beauty tips, Avon staples, and more in a series of posts. The opinions in these articles are mine and are not indicative of the brand.

Get in the Game! Learn about School Lunch Nutrition and Possibly Win Some Money

Written by Role Mommy Wing Mom, Danielle Feigenbaum

sna-logo-colorSCOREBOARD-300dpi.jpg
Today kicks off National School Lunch Week! Created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, National School Lunch Week is a weeklong celebration of the school lunch program. School Nutrition Association members celebrate in their cafeterias every year with decorations, special menus, events and more. The 2014 theme is “Get in the Game with School Lunch.” It’s about encouraging kids to find a balance between healthy eating and physical activity. This year’s theme recognizes the importance of eating well and getting active!
If your kids are in school full time, are you packing them lunch each day or are they buying their lunch in the cafeteria? How much do you really know about the food at your child’s school? You may think you are packing them a healthy lunch, but what if you could save time each morning by not packing lunches and they could get a really healthy lunch right at school?!
We need to start educating ourselves about what is going on in the school cafeteria. If you need some help getting started, visit the School Nutrition Association website for tool kits and lots of great information. Get in touch with your School Nutrition Director and ask questions! How can you get involved? My kid’s school raised funds to start a garden where the kids can plant and grow vegetables. When you involve kids from the beginning of the process, they will feel proud of their accomplishment and maybe even try the veggie once they have picked it. Wouldn’t that be something? Some communities will go apple picking and then donate the apples to the school. There are so many ways you can make a difference in your child’s school nutrition. The combination of serving healthy foods, educating kids on the importance of eating healthy food, making it fun and getting kids to be more active is a win for everyone!
Whether you are super involved in your kid’s school or have no idea what’s going on, this week is the perfect time to learn more about school lunch nutrition! Wouldn’t it be nice to win some money while you’re at it? TrayTalk.org is a non for profit that provides hot topics articles, success story profiles and facts on school meal programs nationwide. Visit the Tray Talk Facebook page this week for a chance to win a gift card. They will have 5 days of $100 giveaways for followers that participate by answering questions and submitting info on your children’s favorite healthy foods or school experiences. One winner per day – go to the page now for your chance to win and educate yourself and spread the word to fellow parents on the importance of School Lunch Nutrition!
Please take visit this wonderful online resource community of parents and school nutrition professionals. http://www.schoolnutrition.org/NSLW2014/About/
sna-groupBLUyogurt-300dpi.jpg

This One’s For Laura…

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 8.17.00 AM.pngThere’s something about having friends from your childhood that instantly make you feel 15 again the moment you hear from them. That’s what it’s like for the group of girls who have been in my life since high school. We’ve been there for one another through the ups and downs of each of our lives and I feel lucky to know that no matter where we are, something always brings us back together.
Tonight, I dedicate this trip down memory lane to my dear friend Laura. During my teenage years I spent a lot of time hanging out at Laura’s house where I’d get to see her dad Nelson – one of the nicest and coolest fathers I had ever met. Whenever I stopped by, Nelson always had a smile on his face, asked how I was doing and kept the conversation going when most dads would have probably left the room and disappeared. I definitely think that much of Laura’s upbeat and optimistic personality came from her dad. When we were 15 and had the world at our feet, we never thought of losing our parents because they all seemed so invincible. Come to think of it, they were probably the same age we are now dealing with many of the same stresses we face on a daily basis.
Somehow, 30 years have passed since those days hanging out at Laura’s and I haven’t seen my dear friend in nearly 12 years. Sure, we chat on the phone once in awhile and text one another on our birthdays and talk about how important it is for us to find a date when we can all get together, but work and life always seem to get in the way and that never seems to happen. Until now.
Today I found out that Laura’s incredibly vibrant dad passed away suddenly as a result of a heart attack and as my dear friend prepares to say goodbye, I know it’s going to be incredibly hard to face a world without one of the most supportive and positive people on the planet looking out for her.
Luckily, Laura and her sister Karen got the chance to see their dad last week while visiting him in Florida and when I saw their pictures on Facebook, I couldn’t believe how great he looked — it was as if he had never changed from the days we used to hang out at Laura’s house and he’d pop in once in a while to make sure we were all doing fine.
Nelson Beller was one of the greats — a great father, grandfather and friend with an incredibly positive outlook on life. My heart aches for his two daughters Laura and Karen and all I know is that the memories of this incredibly happy go lucky guy who seemed invincible when we were 15 will never fade away no matter how old we get. Rest in peace Nelson Beller. You will be sorely missed.