Have You Hugged Your Teen Today? The Importance of Parental Touch

Written by Samantha Zabell from Your Teen Magazine
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It was easy to cuddle your toddler. She cuddled you right back and often stayed for more. In elementary school, she still wanted a hug before you left her with the babysitter or before she headed to school. But, as your son or daughter turns into a teenager, navigating physical affection can be more difficult.
Dr. Laura Markham, editor of AhaParenting.com and mom to an 18-year-old girl and 22-year-old boy, advises parents to move past the discomfort and remember how integral hugs and other displays of affection are to a teenager’s development.
“Part of parenting is being physically connected with our kids when they’re little,” Markham says. “As kids get older, it’s not a matter of us separating from them; it’s a matter of us finding new, appropriate ways to connect with them.”
But for many parents, it can feel awkward to hug a child who is physically much more a man or woman–and perhaps snarly and snarky at that–than the boy or girl we once cuddled on our laps. “Parents should check in with themselves and note their own discomfort. Often it’s because they may not have gotten physical affection when they were teenagers, but don’t put that onto your child,” says Laurie A. Couture, author of  Instead of Medicating and Punishing and a licensed mental health counselor.
There’s a saying that claims a child needs four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance and 12 for growth. So, how do you give your teenager 12 hugs a day?
“Always hug your child when you first see him in the morning,” Markham advises. It didn’t matter if both parties were grumpy, but she always started her children’s days with hugs. She also hugged them before they left for school. “I would get up and go over to them if they were headed out the door and intercept them,” she remembers.
That brings the count to two. Markham also recommends another hug when you see them for the first time later that day and before bedtime. Still, those hugs only hit the “survival” level on the scale. To reach the remaining eight, Markham suggests discovering different ways to connect with your teenagers. “Find little excuses,” Markham says. “Give them a kiss on the top of the head. Hold hands at the dinner table. If your kid is having a hard time, sit next to them and put your arms around them.”
If you grew up in a home where physical affection wasn’t common, then this may not come easy. Start slow. “It can even be small gestures, like putting a hand on the child’s arm and leaning in and making eye contact when you’re talking,” Couture says. “Boys like to be talked to in the car, where they don’t have to make eye contact.” So, just reach out and touch them on the shoulder.”
These moments of physical connection should include an emotional component too, adds Couture, who makes it a point to hug her 19-year-old son every morning. “It’s not just giving your kids a mechanical hug. Start with a simple, ‘How was your day?’ or ‘How are you doing?’ These intimate times need to be focused on the moment.”
Although some teens, especially girls, will be physically affectionate with friends, it doesn’t make up for a lack of physical affection from their parents.
“Parental touch is safe, and therefore irreplaceable,” Markham says. “When kids don’t get enough parental touch, they go looking for love in all the wrong places.” That can include premature sexual relationships that teenagers aren’t ready for, as well as substance abuse.
“We have an unspoken fear that we’re crossing a boundary when we’re physically affectionate with our adolescents,” Couture says. “And, kids feel awkward, so they push the parents away. But, really, in the adolescent years, children are the most vulnerable and most in need of the parent’s affection. There is nothing wrong with it.”
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Visit www.yourteenmag.com for more great articles.

An Inspiring Lunch with Marlo Thomas and a Family Thankful for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

photo (39).JPGAs we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we got the chance to spend a very special lunch with the amazing Marlo Thomas and a family whose lives were forever changed as a result of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Thomas took time out of her busy schedule to talk about the tremendous strides that have been made at St. Jude. Founded by her father, legendary actor Danny Thomas, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is at the forefront of discovering groundbreaking treatment that has helped prolong and save the lives of children battling terminal illness.
At the luncheon, we were introduced to Arianna, a beautiful eight year old girl who has been fighting a rare form of cancer for more than four years. We were all hanging on Arianna’s mom Leticia’s every word when she shared how she first found out her daughter had terminal cancer. At age 3, Arianna suffered a seizure that lasted 11 minutes. Soon after, doctors attempted to remove a tumor in Arianna’s brain and her parents were told their daughter would probably not live for more than a year. Determined to save her daughter, Leticia went online to read more about the disease that threatened to claim her life. While her doctor warned her not to read about her daughter’s tumor, she didn’t listen and it was a good thing she didn’t. While googling Arianna’s condition, she discovered the name of a doctor who had been treating children battling the same rare disease. She then discovered the doctor was affiliated with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the next day, her family was driving to Memphis to meet the doctor who could possibly save Arianna’s life. Within hours, Leticia was on the phone with the doctor and he made sure she was cleared to be admitted to the hospital.
Arianna has been a patient at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the last four years and while she has had several close calls, with the hospital’s cutting edge research (leading scientists are part of the St. Jude team), coupled with the attentiveness of the doctors, nurses and entire staff, she has survived and thrived. And this week, her family surprised her with a trip to New York City where she got the chance to ride the ferris wheel at Toys R’ Us along with her parents and her little sister.
Thomas also shared details about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s holiday fundraising initiative, Thanks and Giving which was featured this week on the Today Show. Created in 2004 by Marlo, Terre and Tony Thomas — children of St. Jude founder Danny Thomas — the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign has grown into an annual holiday tradition thanks to tremendous public support. During St. Jude Thanks and Giving, many of America’s most respected companies make it easy for you to give thanks all season long.
What really impressed me about St. Jude is that they never turn anyone away. Families who are admitted to the hospital have all of their treatment covered without having to worry about whether their insurance company will approve a surgery or experimental medical treatment. The hospital spends over $850 million dollars per year devoting funds and resources to lifesaving research and technologies that prolongs and saves lives and hopefully, will one day put an end to childhood cancer. Families feel completely at home at St. Jude because it doesn’t look or smell like a traditional hospital. From the cozy and inviting Target House living arrangements, to the Kay Cafe (sponsored by Kay Jewelers), to therapeutic programs for siblings and parents, St. Jude is at the forefront of helping children in need of immediate medical treatment.
To find out how you can support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, you can donate here through their partners.

Peer Pressure Impacts Parents Too

Written by Marye Audet, Your Teen Magazine.
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We all warn our kids about peer pressure. Sadly, we parents don’t always take our own advice to heart. Somewhere inside every parent is a 16-year-old who wants her friends to think she has it all together. If you have a teen that pulls good grades, excels in sports and goes on mission trips to third world countries during spring break, you have done well. If you have a teen that gets a lip piercing, sings for a grunge band and spends as little time as possible at school, you have, well, obviously created a flawed human being.
We are all about how things look.
I began homeschooling in the late 1980s, when my oldest daughter was having learning difficulties in a classroom situation. I wanted to provide a unique education for her and my other kids, while creating an environment through which they could assuredly skate through their adolescence, bypassing the typical difficulties and frustrations. Like all parents, I wanted what was best for my children.
Not knowing where to begin, I got involved with other homeschooling families. Yet, homeschooling comes with adult peer pressure. A successful home school mom has a child with good grades, musical abilities, clear skin and modest dress. For those of us sensitive to peer pressure, this ideal can totally negate our intentions of raising children who think for themselves and revel in their uniqueness.
So, with plenty of help from my more experienced peers, I began building the perfect child, one rule at a time, determined that my child would reflect well on me within the homeschooling community. I didn’t notice that I was doing it, that I was teaching my children to compete, fit in and re-create themselves into an ever more polished version of the group vision of successful. Some kids are naturally good at doing that and some are not.
In my case, eight out of eight children didn’t conform.
And, everything they went through was on display for the entire world to see and comment on. I felt like a total failure when one of my children cheated on a math test or couldn’t read by age six. I was mortified if they dropped a swear word in their teens, despite the fact that when I was their age, I could make the grizzliest sailor blush with my colorful vocabulary.
So, while the perfect children of my peers were heading to mission trips in third-world countries, my children were intent on being real and dragging me along with them. We dealt with issues that I thought no other homeschoolers ever did, things like talking back, sneaking out, experimenting with cigarettes, underage drinking and on and on. As each thing came up, we dealt with it. We talked, prayed, cried, screamed and generally handled it badly. My mantra became, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Along the way, I learned to look at my children as individuals. I learned that their gifts, abilities and talents were their own and would develop in their own way. At some point, I remembered a lesson from my birthing class days: Don’t fight the pain; Go with it.
I had a light bulb moment. I was worried about how my peers would judge me. My disappointment in my teenagers was about me, not about my children. Talk about feeling like a terrible parent!
That epiphany changed my parenting. I stopped saying, “You know better than that! How could you? You’re grounded!” and started asking, “What happened?” Listening without interrupting (certainly not something that comes naturally to me) became a discipline for me. Once my child explained their view, I took a deep breath and went from there.
Were my expectations reasonable? Could they grow out of this without discipline? Were there natural consequences?
I learned so many things. I couldn’t protect my kids from growing pains; I could listen to them and respect their individuality. I didn’t get involved in every problem, and I didn’t need to come up with a solution. I focused on being supportive, creating healthy boundaries and disciplining when necessary.
Our relationship changed dramatically. They began talking to me before making decisions. They asked my opinion, although they didn’t always do what I suggested. Most of all, they began to be honest with me, and I became their biggest fan, their most energetic cheerleader.
Peer pressure can lead to hasty decisions and bad choices–even in adults. Parenting your children should be an individual journey for your family because your family is unique. Relax, enjoy and make your family a place where everyone can be real.
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Article is from Your Teen Magazine. Marye Audet is a freelance writer and author of two books. Read more of her work at www.maryeaudet.com.

Anna Faris & Allison Janney Star in the New CBS Comedy MOM

Sometimes, I have to say I really love my job. For the past 23 years, I’ve managed to carve out a career working with celebrities – first as a television publicist and now as a social media connector who gets to introduce some of my favorite stars to my favorite parenting and lifestyle bloggers. So imagine my thrill when I got the chance to invite writers from the west coast and one lucky blogger and her mom from Chicago to attend a private set visit and Q&A with the cast of MOM? Best. Day. Ever.
If you haven’t heard about MOM yet, it’s a brand new comedy produced by Chuck Lorre – the same Emmy award-winning producer who brought viewers the edgy and hilarious comedies “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike and Molly.” With MOM, Lorre and co-creator Gemma Baker tackle motherhood in a way that no other comedy has done before. Christy, played by one of my family’s favorite comedic actresses Anna Faris, is a recovering alcoholic with a promiscuous 16 year old daughter named Violet (Sadie Calvano) and a nine year old son named Roscoe (Blake Garrett Rosenthal). While she struggles to overcome her alcohol addiction and come to terms with the fact that she’s never achieved her true potential, Christy has reluctantly reunited with her own mother, Bonnie, played by the ri-donculously talented Emmy award-winning actress, Allison Janney. Bonnie is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who has finally put the past behind her and is by far, one of the most over confident Cougar moms you will ever see on TV. Take a look…

During the Q&A with Anna, Allison, Sadie Calvano and producer Gemma Baker, they talked about their excitement surrounding the show, whether we’ll see traces of their own moms in their performances and the best advice their moms have ever given them.
Question: Did you bring a little piece of your mom to this show?
Allison: I always try to bring a little bit of my mother to everything because I think that’s my brand of humor. I’m not a comedienne, I can’t tell jokes. When I try to be funny it doesn’t work but when my intention is to do something and I do it commit to it 100 percent then it ends up being funny. And that’s my mother and the things that she cares about and the stakes for her for getting the table settings perfect makes me laugh. And it doesn’t matter if the person doesn’t get a chocolate turkey at Thanksgiving, they can share – she gets so riled up about place settings and flowers and hot towel racks and it just makes me love her because it makes me laugh so I like to bring any color of her to anything I do.
Anna: My mom came into my bedroom two nights ago at 11 o’clock and she’s like, “I found the perfect candelabra. You have to get it.” And I was like, okay (starts typing on computer and enters her credit card information) It was one of those things where I can’t fight it right now, I just have to invest $500 bucks and it’s worth it.
Question: What’s the best advice your mom has given you?
Sadie: When I first started the first thing my mom told me was make sure to remember as many names as possible and to thank the person standing in the corner because it takes everyone to make it possible. And to remember to thank the person who picks up your napkin and it’s just as important to thank them as it is to thank Chuck or Gemma. I think that’s one of the things that helped me the most.
Allison: My mother is incredibly gracious and kind and considerate and polite and listening to other people. Those qualities she gave me are instilled in me and I think they have served me very well in my career. I like to be an actor’s actor – life is too short and it’s wonderful to work with people who are generous and kind and gracious and those are qualities I admire in people and that’s what she taught me.
Gemma: My mom is an incredible woman. She’s a bishop and actually she’s…
Allison: I’m sorry, what?
Gemma: Yes, a girl with a bishop for a mom. So she has given me a lot of wonderful advice. One of the things that was so profound to me was that someone had said to me about my mother. Which is, “‘in this world there are guests and there are hosts and your mother is a host.” That’s something that I’ve always wanted to be like her in that way – generous and giving of herself.
Anna: This is something really specific. I think about it a lot. She used to be really scared of insects, spiders, bugs, whatever. And she got some advice from an older relative , my great aunt or whatever and she witnessed my mom being scared and she said “don’t pass that fear onto your children.” And so she after that, didn’t. So now my brother and I have a fondness for all bugs which kind of freaks people out but I love that idea that she didn’t pass her fear on to us and I love that it’s sort about being brave.
Question: Even though you’re a new mom, does it freak you out to be the parent of teenage daughter and son and what the future could hold in store?
Anna: It totally freaks me out. I can’t imagine being responsible for a 16 year old and a nine year old. It is terrifying. I love though that my character was a child when she had Violet and Bonnie was a child when she had me. So I think that you are forced to grow up really quickly but also, at least in my case, she’s immature in a lot of ways and she’s been a little bit stunted by her experiences.
Question: How excited are you for premiere night…are you worried about the competition?
Gemma: So excited. I have to say the whole process has been like being pregnant. I mean it started and I wasn’t really expecting it and then it was happening. I always wanted to have a show and didn’t know I was going to get that opportunity and it was out in the world and I know it’s coming and it’s about to happen and I am so excited that it’s about to be out there.
Allison: This is like the part where we thing our baby is really pretty so to go out there and we’re worried and we hope that everyone else will think our baby’s pretty too.
Sadie: I first learned this when I was auditioning for Mom. I was sitting next to a good friend of mine who I was sitting next and she was concerned that it was pilot season and she wasn’t booking anything. And someone had just given me this really great piece of advice. Someone told me that you have to just trust in the fact that there’s enough to go around. And that what’s meant for you will come. And I think that when we’re reading these articles about all these other shows, it’s the same thing. You just have to trust in the fact that there’s enough to go around and there are so many TV shows out there and people will resonate with what they resonate with and I have a lot of confidence in our show and I think a lot of people who are involved in it do too and i think that’s going to read. And you have to focus on that instead of all the if’s and’s or could be’s.
MOM premieres Monday, September 23 at 9:30 pm/8:30 c on CBS. Make sure you tune in and join us on twitter too! We’ll be tweeting along with the cast so join the fun by following the handles and hashtags below!
MOM premieres this Monday, September 23 on CBS at 9:30 pm ET/8:30 pm Central.
MOM: @MOMCBS
Anna Faris: @AnnaKFaris
Allison Janney: @AllisonBJanney
Sadie Calvano: @SadieCalvano
#CBSMOM

The Rah-Rah Mom: How to be Your Child’s Most Effective Cheerleader

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Being a cheerleader in high school allowed me to participate in two things (besides music) that I loved most – sports and supporting others. During football season, my friends would look to me to call the cheers, whether we needed a first down or block a punt. And I always knew the right cheers to call.
As a new mom a decade later, however, I found that my ability to cheer had been paralyzed by overwhelming feelings of inadequacy. I had no idea that the pain I thought I had effectively hidden from myself and others – my experiences of childhood sexual abuse and clinical depression – would surface so fully.
After hearing about the idea that our children unwittingly reflect our issues to us to invite us to clear them up in order to be happy, I doggedly searched for ideas and techniques that would help me heal. The last thing I wanted was for my precious son to focus on trying to make me happy. To me, his only job was to focus on his life while I cheered for and supported him.
What I ultimately realized was that my intention to be the best mom I could possibly be is the very reason why my old issues surfaced – I wasn’t going to be effective at faking happiness so I gave myself the opportunity to Heal For Real™ and unblock my clouded heart. And that is exactly what I did!
American environmentalist Paul Shepard once wrote, “There is a secret person undamaged in every individual.” I found that by healing emotionally and cheering for myself first, I reconnected with my undamaged self, and became the most authentic and best cheerleader I could be for my son.
Ultimately, you are perfect. Realistically, you are undamaged. Cheer for yourself first and watch the magic unfold for you and your family!
_Fav_0270[1].jpg Janet D. Thomas is an author, captivating speaker and emotional healing expert whose words inspire and motivate, energizing transformation in those who experience her. Her book, Lemons, Lemonade & Life – Practical Steps for Getting the Sweetness Back When Life Goes Sour, has been honored by the 2012 New York, Hollywood, San Francisco, London and Los Angeles Book Festivals. It has been hailed as “insightful,” “transformational,” and “revolutionary.”
Always seeking for answers, over the course of her life Janet has healed the wounds of childhood sexual abuse and overcome a laundry list of challenges ranging from obesity, eviction and bankruptcy to compulsive lying, clinical depression and divorce. To her, making lemonade is no mere philosophical or psychological proposition; it has been a life-saving strategy.
A lifelong metaphysician and with over 20 years as a trained channel and medium, Janet is a highly effective spiritual coach. Her approach is one of determining how to do, rather than how to think. She is a manifester extraordinaire. Because of the intensity, determination, and sheer dedication with which she pursues her calling, Janet is, indeed, a healing soldier.
A native of Southern California, Janet lives, writes and maintains her coaching practice in North Hollywood, California. She is the mother of an adult son, of whom she is very proud.
Visit her at www.janetdthomas.com

WHY ME TIME IS OK

By Diane Turner

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When I told my adult son that I was writing a blog about “Why Me Time is O.K.,” his response really surprised me! He said, “It’s not just O.K., it’s essential.” I must have trained him really well! In my life, in my practice as a coach, mentor and psychotherapist, I have many stories of moms who ask, “Is me time really o.k.?” Many women have a legacy of self-sacrifice passed down from their moms. Our culture often elevates moms who are “saintly” seemingly having no earthly needs themselves and never overtly asking for anything. What an illusion this is!
Fortunately, for me, this was not my experience growing up. My mother set an example of a woman who managed to parent, partner and contribute to the community we lived in as well as take time for herself. She had a weekly hair appointment, where she had no other responsibility other than being beautified. She taught me to find ways to take care of myself, impressing upon me the belief that if I didn’t take care of me, certainly no one else would be stepping up for that job. This has served me well as a mother of two children, both with learning differences, wife of a doctor who had a very demanding professional schedule and a self-employed private practitioner building my own career.
Women are often trying to “do it all.” The one element that often gets pushed to the bottom of our list is time for ourselves. It is both about doing as well as about being. What a concept! Imagine how much more energy, creativity, sexual desire, and well-being we might have if we simply put ourselves higher up on our priority list. This is a both a choice and a necessity.
There are several questions to consider. How do I take time for me and make sure that my children are taken care of, get the household chores done, spend time with my partner, see my parents….you get the drift!
Here are several tips to ensure you take time for you.
1. Balance the needs of others, with an awareness of what happens if you ignore yourself and your needs. I get grouchy, tired, less flexible, less available, resentful and generally, in a bad mood! It’s amazing how some well-placed “me time” benefits everyone. Train yourself to pay attention and notice what happens when you simply respond by acknowledging the importance of something that feels like self-care.
2. Make an agreement with your children, partner, co-workers, etc. to exchange tasks for “me-time.” “Sainthood” is vastly overrated. Take care of yourself and let go of your old story about not being deserving. Everyone deserves to live a balanced life—time for work and time for play, time for doing and time for being.
3. Guilt and worry is as much of an energy drain as trying to do everything.
4. Set an example for your children. Self-care, “me time” is a practice of self-love and when we are committing to loving ourselves on a regular basis, we have more to offer everyone else. Create a practice of taking time for yourself, even if it’s a few minutes during the day. Even a small amount of “me time” will shift your mood and your awareness. Start small and see how easy it can be!
Thumbnail image for Diane Turner Headshot.jpg Diane Turner is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Certified Life Coach and Author.  In her book, “Heart Wisdom, A Concise Companion for Creating a Life of Possibility”  (NightHorses Publishing, March, 2013) Turner guides readers to acknowledge the past, focus on the present, and create what they want in their own lives through self-acceptance, personal responsibility, and focused intentions. Heart Wisdom, is a multi-sensory experience filled with probing questions that encourage reader feedback and reflection.  In writing the book, Turner called upon her training in meditation, guided imagery, body awareness, hypnosis and shamanic practices from South and Central America. She received her B.A. from Tulane University and her M.S.W. from the University of Illinois, Jane Addams School of Social Work.  Her practice is based both out of Chicago and Tucson and she has frequently lectured on Living in Possibility, including regular guest appearances on Tucson’s Circles of Change radio show.  For more information, please visit www.dianesturner.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imaginethatcoaching
Twitter: @DianeSTurner1

#WCSOIREE: A FASHIONABLE CHICAGO-STYLE BLOGGER CELEBRATION TO REMEMBER

Last night, the nation’s most influential bloggers converged on the Water Tower Place for the Windy City Soiree #WCSOIREE. A celebration of fashion, food, friends and fun. Hosted by MJ Tam and Beth Rosen of ChicagonistaLIVE! and co-hosted by Boomfluent, RoleMommy.com, and Trumpeting Media. THIS was the place to be!

Check out our favorite pics below. To see more official #wcsoiree event photos, click here. You can also click from Pam Katz’s photos.

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MJ Tam & Beth Rosen

Guests were welcomed by Raved, Wao Bao, and complimentary issue of Redbook, while they signed in and received their special fashion missions. These missions consisted of visiting stores around Water Tower Place and tweeting/instagraming the photos as well. At about 4 pm, the stage lights lit and the event was kicked-off with Broadway in Chicago‘s The Australian Bee Gees.

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But the BIG portion was the fashion show! Bloggers from all around the country dressed in outfits that represented great Chicago landmarks or areas. Let’s take a gander, shall we?

The emcee for the evening was none other than the great Nancy Loo @NancyLoo of WGN News

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Betsy Breuer and Kristing Cheuvront @lilstylefile ~ The Magnificent Mile

On Betsy:

Ensemble: @whbm | White House Black Market

Puzzle: @ChiaroArt | CHIAROoScURO

Makeup : @Sephora | Sephora

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On Kristin:

Ensemble: @bebe_stores | bebe

Shoes: @Macys | Macy’s

Bag: @ChiaroArt | CHIAROoScURO

Makeup: @Sephora | Sephora

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Beth Blecherman @techmama ~ Cloud Gate

Ensemble: @EILEENFISHER | Eileen Fisher

Sunglasses: @sunglasshut | Sunglass Hut

Makeup: @bareMinerals | Bare Minerals

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Meredith Sinclair @MeredithPlays ~ Lake Michigan Lakefront

Ensemble: @freepeople | Free People

Sunglasses: @sunglasshut | Sunglass Hut

Boots and Accessories: @BOTASCUADRA | Cuadra

Makeup: @bareMinerals | Bare Minerals

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Patrice Yursik @afrobella ~ The Art Institue of Chicago

Ensemble: @Macys | Macy’s

Jewelry: @shopfrancescas | Francesca’s Collections

Shoes: @akirachicago | Akira Footwear

Makeup: @Sephora | Sephora

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Jessica Ashley @SassafrassJess ~ Wrigley Field

Ensemble: @TheLimited | The Limited

Jewelry: @shopfrancescas | Francesca’s Collection

Shoes: @akirachicago | Akira Footwear

Puzzle: @ChiaroArt | CHIARoScURO

Makeup: @bareminerals | Bare Minerals

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Anupy Singla @IndianApplePie ~ Lincoln Park Conservatory

Ensemble: @JJill | J. Jill

Bag: @verabradley | Vera Bradley

Shoes: @macys | Macy’s

Makeup: @bareminerals | Bare Minerals

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Danielle Smith @daniellesmithtv ~ Navy Pier

Ensemble: @akirachicago | Akira Women’s

Shoes: facebook.com/clarksusa | Clark’s

Bangles: @PANDORA_NA | Pandora

Makeup: @bareminerals | Bare Minerals

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Joey Fortman @joeyfortman ~ Buckingham Fountain

Ensemble: @macys | Macy’s

Shoes: @macys | Macy’s

Jewelry: @PANDORA_NA | Pandora

Makeup: @Sephora | Sephora

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Jim Higley @jimhigley ~ Willis Tower Sky Deck

Ensemble: @ExpressLife | Express

Shoes & Bag: @BOTASCUADRA | Cuadra

Sunglass: @sunglasshut | Sunglass Hut

Makeup: @sephora | Sephora

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Andrea Metcalf @Andreametcalf ~ The Cultural Center

Ensemble: @adeledallasorr | Adele Dallas Orr

Jewelry: @adeledallasorr | Adele Dallas Orr

Shoes: @macys | Macy’s

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And the hosts: Beth Feldman, MJ Tam, Beth Rosen, Esti Berkowitz, and Nancy Horn
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The Talk Exclusive: Kelly Osbourne Engaged!

“The Talk” host Sharon Osbourne revealed on the show this week that her daughter Kelly just got engaged and she shares that they’ll be setting a summer wedding date in England. Take a look…

Just Desserts: What’s Cooking with American Baking Competition’s Paul Hollywood

103041_D01551b.jpgAs we gear up for the finale of the CBS reality series, “The American Baking Competition,” all eyes are on Francine, Darlene and Brian – the three finalists who are about to hit the baking stratosphere as long as they impress judges Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood.
We recently got the chance to chat with celebrity judge Paul Hollywood who shares the ins and outs of the competition and even discloses his favorite desserts. And we’ve even got one of Paul’s spectacular recipes that was featured on the show last week.
Take a look…
Question: How do the American bakers differ from the ones he encountered on the UK show?
Paul: I can’t help remembering how he looked when Francine presented him with the chocolate and bacon pie… and his surprise that it tasted great. The flavour combinations that they used were very different. The standard was the same and overall I was very impressed but the flavours were often those I hadn’t come across together before.
Question: Have the Americans have inspired him to try different flavors in his own baking?
Paul: Yes. I was going to use bacon in a tart the other day which is something I’ve never done before
Question: Out of all the desserts that we’ve seen so far on the show, which ones have been some of his favorites?
Paul: The technical challenge of the large chocolate soufflé was incredible. As was Effie’s millefeuille – really delicious
Question: What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?
Paul: Baking powder contains baking soda combined with a packing agent
Question: Can you substitute oil for butter or margarine when baking?
Paul: Absolutely. You can use flavoured oils too to give your pastry and bread different and interest flavours. It’s fun to experiment
Question: What cake do you wish for on your birthday?
Paul: A sacatorte
Question: What trends do you see emerging in the dessert world? Is it similar in the US and the UK?
Paul: I think the macaron has been and will continue to be a strong market. You can change the flavours so much that you can keep them interesting. It’s the same in the US and the UK
Question: What do you feel was the most challenging aspect of the competition for the contestants?
Paul: I think that the technical challenges will always be the hardest as we are asking the bakers to make something that they potentially have never made before, which is a touch ask. We deliberately chose obscure bakes to make sure there was a genuine challenge
Question: What ingredients should a baker always have in their pantry?
Paul: Flour!
Question: What is your favorite flavor?
Paul: Lime
Question: In which contestants, do you see a bit of yourself? Why?
Paul: James. He was very inventive and creative most of the time and had some great flavour combinations. Where we differ is in the execution as he messed up a few times. Practice, practice, practice is the key.
Question: What is your advice to future contestants applying to the show?
Paul: Again, it would be to practice. And to listen to advice. Don’t think that you’re the best when you enter and be prepared for constructive criticism.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to tackle a celebrity recipe, then try out the dessert the contestants attempted to master during the semi final round:
Paul Hollywood’s Napoleons Courtesy The American Baking Competition
napoleon (3) (1).jpgYield: 4 completed Napoleons
Rough Puff Pastry
INGREDIENTS
250 g all purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
250 g butter, room temperature
150 ml cold water
DIRECTIONS
Sift the flour and salt into a large metal bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely to coat the butter.
Drizzle two thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover dough and refrigerate for 20 mins.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
Fold the top third down to the center, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for another 20 minutes.
Using a ruler, roll out and cut into 2.5″ x 3×5″ rectangles. You should have 12 pieces. You may control the rise of the puff by making small slits on top of each piece.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

FILLINGS:

WHIPPED GANACHE
Ingredients:
8 OZ Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 OZ Heavy Cream
4 OZ Frangelico
Heat the cream until it just starts to boil.
Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate.
Let the mixture stand for at least 10 minutes then add flavoring.
Whisk until smooth
Refrigerate until mixture firms.
Whip ganache in the stand mixer until it reaches a soft, whipped consistency and is lighter in colour.
Pipe dots onto cooled layers of pastry followed by a piped layer of whipped cream.
WATER ICING
Ingredients:
1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons Water
2 oz dark chocolate
Whisk powdered sugar and water until combined.
Spread over assembled Napoleons
Melt chocolate over a double boiler
Pipe lines of chocolate on top of the water icing.
Using a toothpick pull the chocolate through the white icing.
Make sure you tune into the finale of The American Baking Competition at 9pm ET on CBS. And if you’d like to tweet along with us, just follow @BakeOnCBS #GetYourBakeOn @ChefMarcela @FoxOutdoors @HollywoodBaker and use these hashtags for the baker you want to see win it all: #TeamDarlene #TeamBrian and #TeamFrancine.

Bake Like Celebrity Chef Marcela Valladolid with this Sophisticated S’mores Recipe!

Picture 49.pngI don’t know about you, but when the summer hits, I become a s’mores-aholic. There is nothing quite like the perfect combination of chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers and thanks to this summer’s hit CBS reality baking show The American Baking Competition, there’s plenty of s’mores for everyone. In fact, superstar celebrity judge Marcela Valladolid shared her very own sophisticated s’mores recipe in a recent episode and we’ve got it right here for you to try at home.
So dig in and get ready to for a fantabulous dessert. And don’t forget to watch the American Baking Competition which moves to a new time this Wednesday at 9pm ET/PT. Join us on Twitter by following @BakeonCBS @rolemommy and #GetYourBakeOn. Hope to sweet tweet you there!
39308.jpegSOPHISTICATED S’MORES
INGREDIENTS
Cookie:
8 3/8 ounces whole wheat flour
1 7/8 ounces all-purpose flour
3 ounces dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
2 1/4 ounces molasses
1 1/2 ounces whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Marshmallow:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoon cold water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Glaze:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces oil
DIRECTIONS
COOKIE BASE
• Preheat oven to 350 F
• Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a bowl . Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
• To the dry mixture, add the molasses, milk and vanilla extract.
• Stir until the dough comes together enough to form a ball. Press the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
• Unwrap the chilled dough and place it onto a large piece of parchment paper and top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Cut into circles.
• Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly brown on edges
MARSHMALLOW
• Do not start the marshmallow until the base cookies are out of the oven!
• Combine water, corn syrup, and sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil until soft-ball stage (235 degrees F).
• Meanwhile sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
• Remove syrup from the heat, add gelatin, and mix.
• Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
• Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
• Transfer to a pastry bag and pie onto each cookie IMMEDIATELY!
CHOCOLATE GLAZE
• Melt the chocolate and oil together over a double boiler.
• Cool slightly
• Carefully dip each cookie into the mixture and set on wax paper.
• Place cookies in refrigerator set the chocolate.