Fave Five Holiday Time Saving Tips

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This morning, we got up at the crack before dawn to make an appearance on the WPIX morning news with Tamsen Fadal (love her!) We were on the show to offer time saving tips for the holidays and in case you missed it, we’ve got the clip above. Or, if you don’t have time to watch but want our tips pronto, well, here they are.
Time Saving Tips for the Holidays
1. Shop for groceries online. Who has time to hit the supermarket when you’re busy buying a snuggie for your Great Aunt Tilly? Instead, visit my hands down favorite online grocer – Fresh Direct. So why do they win top honors in my book? Simple. Not only can you order prepared meals that are restaurant quality (they’ve got dishes from Rosa Mexicano, Tabla and more); you can even order meats that are pre-marinated; four minute meals and if you dare to cook from scratch, they’ve got recipes right on the site that you can add directly to your shopping cart. Best of all, if you order this week between Tuesday-Thursday, delivery is free.
2. Visit parenting blogs for all your holiday gift needs. If you’re like me and still haven’t started shopping for gifts, no need to fear. Some of the best blogs I know are featuring incredible holiday gift guides. From Cool Mom Picks, to Classy Mommy, Twitter Moms and Lifetime Moms – where 13 blogging moms share their picks on everything from toys to home, beauty and fun (that would be my category). Incidentally, my three favorite picks this year for gifts include:
1. Kids – Scribblenauts for Nintendo DS – a game that requires imagination and spelling – gotta love that one!
2. Your Family – HP Touchsmart Wireless Printer
3. Friends and Family – 1-800 Baskets – I visited the basket factory in Chicago and trust me when I tell you – those gift baskets are gorgeous – they’ve got everything from wine to chocolate, cheese, crackers, Starbucks coffee and much more. And best of all – it’s affordable!
3. Make clean up a breeze – No need to schlep your vacuum up and down the stairs when there’s a spill in the living room. Make sure you have the brand new Swiffer WetJet with anti-bacterial solution handy and get your kids in on the act. My kids happen to wrestle over who gets the Swiffer and sometimes, if I have two in the house we hold races to see who finishes first. If only I could teach my cats how to Swiffer too.
4. Make Plans before You Leave Home – the worst thing you can do during the holiday is leave your home without a plan. I always love to check out sites like Mommy Poppins or New York Metroparents for their calendar of events. Instead of hitting all the tourist attractions and being crammed like sardines, we opt for fun alternatives like off-Broadway shows, museums, aquariums and holiday craft fairs. In the burbs, I visit Essential Mom. And when in doubt, there’s always moviefone.com.
5. Relax and don’t sweat it! I know – better said than done but trust me – if you take some time for yourself, you’ll be armed and ready to take on the holiday singlehandedly. Even though my daughter asked me to find 26 dreidels for a class project that was due this morning, I didn’t sweat it. Wandered into Papyrus and lo and behold, there was a bucket of dreidels awaiting. Sometimes visualization is key. Obviously, the people who run Papyrus are busy moms.
Enjoy the holiday and don’t get stressed!!!

The Role Mommy Fave Five

It’s been a crazy week over here at Role Mommy (when isn’t it a crazy week), but while we were racing around town, we’ve compiled a Fave Five that’s entertaining, informative and hilarious.
1. Eating Candy Could Turn Your Kid Into A Criminal. This is by far my favorite story of the week. Some researchers were testing kids since 1969 and found that the ones who ate too much candy became hardened criminals moreso than the children who ate a balanced diet. Thank goodness my parents shipped me off to Weight Watchers at 12 – there’s no telling where I would be today if they hadn’t put an end to the candy insanity.
2. Want to Find High-End Children’s Clothing, Baby items and more for a fraction of the cost? Then register today for Totsy.com, an exclusive private “flash sale” site that officially launches on October 7. Two of my favorite mom bloggers, Audrey from Mom Generations and Nicole at Momtrends are the faces of the site and they’ll be sharing their top picks on the latest trends and products that are turning heads in the children’s fashion and accessories industry. Incidentally, did you know that Nicole used to work at Ralph Lauren and Audrey used to work at Donna Karan? Love that!
3. One of Our Favorite Role Mommies Makes the NY Daily News...I love it when I can flip through my local paper and then Bam! I get to read a profile of one of our contributors to our new humor anthology See Mom Run – Issa at YourSingleParenting and New York City Mamasan. The paper even featured a gorgeous photo of Issa and her son, that was taken at one of our Role Mommy events with celebrity photographer extraordinaire, Jade Albert (photo was in the print version, not online). Go Issa!
4. Fall TV is Back!!! I can’t tell you how beyond thrilled I am that my favorite shows are back on TV. I don’t know about you, but I was on the edge of my seat this week watching Private Practice. Any time a crazy looney tune performs a c-section on Amy Brenneman, steals the baby and both survive, I’ve got to say it doesn’t get any better than that!
5. The Secret Behind Giveaways! On our latest Role Mommy on the Run and Traveling Mom Show, we gave the secret behind getting lots of comments on your site for giveaways. Listen in and unlock the key to building traffic on your site!

Role Mommy Fave Five Fantasy Vacations

celeb-soho-grand-sq-200.jpgNow that we’re in full back to school mode, yours truly is fantasizing about vacations. In fact, I’m in the process of planning my dad’s 70th birthday and we’re about to sail the open seas in February to the Caribbean. But while I’m planning the shindig, I’ve been having fun checking out the places I want to go next. And here’s a snapshot of my Fave Five Fantasy vacations.
1. Aruba – I have always wanted to go to Aruba – from the white sandy beaches to the gorgeous ocean views and the perfect weather all year round, one of these days I will finally make it to Aruba. And while I’ve been surfing the web, I’ve even found Kid Friendly resorts in Aruba with tons of activities and gorgeous rooms.
2. Hawaii – Another destination on my must vacation list. Once you buy your plane tickets, check out how reasonable these hotels are for families! I think it’s cheaper to go to Hawaii then to head to Florida during spring break!!!
3. Dominican Republic – We went to Club Med Punta Cana several years ago with our kids and totally loved it, and since that time, several resorts have popped up that are perfect for families. Plus, the price is right too.
4. Jamaica – Love, love, love Jamaica. Food is amazing, service is unbeatable and the music is amazing! I’m determined to hit the Half Moon resort in Montego Bay next go round because kids under 16 stay for free!!!
5. New York City – Okay – since I live in New York – I don’t really need to stay at a hotel but if I do decide to check in, why not feel like an A-lister and book yourself where the celebrities stay? Sure they usually are staying there free of charge (because they’re promoting a movie, TV show, or new CD), but why not put on a pair of oversized sunglasses and pretend you’re one of the new stars of Real Housewives of NYC (or the Biggest Loser).
Want to hear more about my latest adventures this week? Then listen in and laugh to my latest Blog Talk Radio show with Traveling Mom!

This is a Traveling Mom dedicated post.

The Role Mommy Fave Five

In between crappy weather and hints of sun, I’ve been scouring the web looking for five favorite posts relating to summer, travel, beauty, books and more and guess what? I’ve found them all for your reading pleasure!
1. Summer Travel Tips: If you’re still making last minute plans to getaway before school starts, today’s USA Weekend has a great feature by Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown on 5 Surefire Ways to Get the Most of Your Vacation.
2. Perfect Summer Hair: Humidity making your hair look downright frightening? Have no fear. This summer, thanks to Allure Magazine, we’ve discovered a brand new trend for your frizzy locks – go get a Brazilian and no, it doesn’t involve wax! It’s a natural treatment for your hair – it’s a little pricey (not as bad as Japanese straightening though) and it will leave your hair straight and gorgeous in any temperature!
3. Fuschia for Me: Anyone interested in sprucing up their mani-pedi? Is Sex on the Beach and Ballet Slippers boring you to tears? While Essie’s summer colors are still pretty tame, we decided to brighten up our tootsies this August with Opi’s Flashbulb Fuschia. Check out the Bionic Beauty’s blog where she give a Sally Hansen bright purple a try and then also shares her pick on the hottest flip flops of the summer – Switchflops! Gotta love a flip flop where you can change the fabric to match your outfit.
20090630-drive_in.jpg4. Blast from the Past: Since we’ve had really bad weather all summer, we’ve pretty much seen every movie you can possibly watch with your kids and others that in hindsight, we probably shouldn’t have taken them to (can anyone say “Land of the Lost?”) This weekend, when it was time to take in “Shorts,” I wanted to try something different. It’s been more than 20 years since I’ve been to a drive in movie and I decided to do a little Google-ing and managed to find a Drive in movie theater that was only an hour away from our home. If you live on the east coast and want to take your family to a drive-in, here’s the perfect site to find an outdoor theater near you! More on our drive-in movie adventure and review coming up!
5. Great Beach Reads: Now summer would not be complete without a great beach or rainy day read. Here at Role Mommy, we’ve got several picks of our own, but we managed to also find this article over at About.com that selects great books in every category.

The 411 on Family Cruising

Thanks to Traveling Mom, I got the chance to explore the wide world of cruising. And trust me, these days, while the best known cruise lines attract millions of vacationers, there are several luxury liners that are giving families all over the world the experience of a lifetime. So get ready for the 411 on the travel opportunities awaiting you on the open sea…
wind_surf032.jpg1. Luxury Cruising with Windstar: While I’m a cruising veteran (I’ve hit Celebrity, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL to name a few), even lifetime cruisers like me can be introduced to something new and exciting. That’s why, I was excited to meet the reps from Windstar, a cruise line offering a one of a kind luxury experience with top of the line food, incredible service, gorgeous staterooms, watersports and ports of call like Costa Rica, Barbados, Rome, Barcelona, Nice, and many more. The Windstar ships are much smaller and can accommodate approximately 300 guests (can anyone say, Role Mommy Retreat?) Plus, if you’re expecting, the Windstar also offers “Babymoon” getaways – the chance to set out on one last romantic adventure before your new arrival.
2. MSC SPLENDIDA - Fireworks at Christening.jpgKids Sail Free on MSC! While I had never heard of MSC cruises, I discovered this cruise liner is a hidden gem that offers top of the line sailings to the Caribbean, Bermuda and Europe. Since they are owned by a family from Italy, they are committed to high end service and offer Italian style dining options on all their ships. Plus, they have special group rates if you’re booking eight staterooms or more; a Balinese spa and private butler if you’re traveling with more than 100 guests, and theme weeks like All-Star Baseball cruising. Plus, they’ve got great gaming options for the kids too including miniature golf, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball, an Internet Cafe, and an outdoor cinema!
co_magica_atrium.jpg3. Costa Cruises – If my kids were meeting with the reps from Costa Cruises, they would have had them at playstations. For me it was the gorgeous staterooms, a menu that’s to-die for, and destinations that are definitely on my must-visit list- the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and now…cruises that leave out of New York and hit New England and Quebec! While Costa Cruises is best known as a European luxury liner, they cater to families from dozens of countries and they say, when you put two kids in front of a playstation, those language barriers instantly disappear. Oh and did I mention the incredibly reasonable prices?
4. Cruising to Europe is Less Expensive According to Bob Sharak, Executive Vice President and CMO of the Cruise Line International Association, traveling to destinations like Italy, France and Spain is actually less expensive than booking hotels in those cities. While you still may go for pasta in Rome, the rest of your food is taken care of onboard, plus you can arrange all your land excursions on the ship and then return in the evenings to dine, dance, and relax!
Swiss Sapphire in Maastrich.jpg5. Prone to Seasickness? Try a Riverboat Cruise! While most ships these days are like floating hotels (you barely feel like you’re actually at sea), if you’re afraid you might lose the midnight buffet aboard a rocking cruise ship, there are patches or bands for cruisers with weak stomachs. Or, according to Bob Sharak, why not try the latest travel option….Riverboat Cruising! Today, there are boats that can literally take you through the rivers of Europe and dock right on land. Which means, the moment they set down that anchor, you can walk off the ship, hit a bistro, shop or go sightseeing.
For more information on cruising with your family, check out this video!

The 411 on Family Cruising from Beth Feldman on Vimeo.

The Busy Moms Fave Five

We know you’re swamped and while you may want to read something interesting, who has time to thumb through a magazine? We’ve got your solution. We’re showcasing some of our talented moms in the Role Mommy community who have been sharing their personal expertise and prose on on our site and we’ve also uncovered some fab finds of our own! Get ready to be inspired, informed and entertained!
1. In her essay On Palin and My Public Apology, My Work Butterfly.com Co-founder Bradi Nathan offers up a public apology to a member of her community after she shared her true feelings on the Michael Jackson memorial hoopla and she also weighs in on Sarah Palin’s resignation. It’s a high charged essay you won’t want to miss!
2. Struggling with Arthritis? Well, Melinda Winner has just written a book about how to cope. She shares her story as well as tips from her new book, Cooking with Arthritis on the Role Mommy blog.
3. Are you a parent of a twin and struggling to decide whether to enroll them in school together? Well author Kathryn Whitely shares this top 10 list on the reasons you should.
4. Wear Yellow and Get into Madame Tussauds for Free!!! Live in the tri-state area and struggling to figure out what to do with your child during the dog days of summer? Well, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum has just unveiled a new exhibit featuring one of the most favorite Nickelodeon characters of all time! To celebrate the launch of its newest wax figure – SpongeBob SquarePants – Madame Tussauds New York will offer kids 12 and under FREE admission, if their family comes to the attraction dressed in yellow, from Wednesday, July 15 – Friday, July 31, 2009, Madame Tussauds New York, 234 West 42nd Street (b/w 7th & 8th Aves.), Manhattan. SpongeBob is the first animated character to receive a figure made entirely of wax by Madame Tussauds, which worked with Nickelodeon to create the figure in honor of the SpongeBob’s 10th anniversary.
5. If you’re like me and spend the day surfing the web while working, then you are definitely going to want to try out ThisMoment – a new site that instantly enables you to load photos, video and your own words as you share a personal story of a special moment in your life. Blogger and entrepreneur extraordinaire Ciaran Blumenfeld recently shared her ThisMoment story in anticipation of the upcoming Swiffer SocialLuxe Lounge red carpet style event next week in Chicago, and I was instantly hooked!

2009 Summer Beach Reads

Summer is finally here and that only means one thing. Time to devour at least 10 books this summer and so far, I’ve managed to finish one, am in the middle of a second and have plenty more I want to crack open before Labor Day. I’ve polled my favorite moms on their summer beach reads and thanks to Victoria at Mummy Chronicles, my mom and my girlfriends on the 8:48 (my commuter train), here’s the Role Mommy Summer 2009 Book List:

1. Sarah’s Key – This one has been passing through the hands of so many of my friends that I knew I had to read it. And now that my mom just finished it in two days, I managed to get my hands on a copy without having to pay for it. Score! It’s a sad story about a French girl living during the Holocaust – heavy story, tear jerker, but all in all – according to everyone who has picked it…it’s a fast read.
2. Rattled – If you’re looking for a fun beach read, then pick up Christine Coppa’s memoir about how her life as a magazine editor on the rise was turned upside down when she became pregnant. Christine writes the Storked blog at Glamour if you want to check out her writing before you dive in to this new book. It’s a fun and humorous read and it’s even bittersweet.
3. Prairie Tale – Okay – so here’s another embarrassing confession – I was a total “Little House on the Prairie” fanatic so when Melissa Gilbert announced that she had some serious addictions while she was doing the show and she even comes clean about her relationships (remember she dated Rob Lowe for like a bazillion years), I have to say, I’m definitely interested in reading this one cover to cover.
4. Dune Road – It’s summer time and that can only mean one thing…Jane Green has another book out and I can’t wait to read it. And what better way to read a great book for the beach then racing through a novel that takes place in the Hamptons. Sheer perfection!
5. Best Friends Forever – I am so excited that Jennifer Weiner has a new book out this summer too! Between Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner and Sophie Kinsella, you’ll be completely set for those lazy summer beach days!
6. Those Who Save Us – This bonus pick comes from my mom who’s a voracious reader and she says this novel by Jenna Blum is a must read about a woman who refuses to discuss her past life until her daughter, uncovers the truth.
For more great reads from one of our favorite bloggers, Victoria at The Mummy Chronicles shares her must reads of the season:

If you’d like to see more of our favorite reads of the year, then just visit the Role Mommy book store!

The Entertainment Fave Five

Well, we’re deep in the throes of summer and that can mean only one thing – great books, cheesy reality TV, family movies and Michael Jackson tributes. So this week, we’ve managed to pull together a fave five that’ll cover all your entertainment bases.
images.jpeg1. First up, let’s tackle all that Michael Jackson coverage we’ve been watching every day for nearly a week. I’ve managed to take in everything from ET, The Insider, TMZ, Bill O’Reilly, CNN American Morning, Nancy Grace, CBS News, Today Show, GMA but my all time favorite tribute to the King of Pop took place this past Friday when I watched “Dateline NBC’s” comprehensive coverage of the tragic life and legacy of Michael Jackson called “Remember the Time.” If you’re a magazine afficionado, People Magazine’s double issue kicks US Weekly’s coverage this week. Was tempted to pick up Time and Newsweek too but figured that People pretty much gives you everything – heartwrenching story, retrospective and a photo album – need I say more?
images-1.jpeg2. Cheesy Reality TV alert…Okay, I thought I was hooked by “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here,” but once one of the Baldwin brothers left, I tuned out. Instead, I’m now totally addicted to Dance Your Ass Off on Oxygen. I think I better get me to a dance class soon or else I’ll wind up being a contestant. Check out host Marisa Jaret Winokur (who seems to be getting smaller each episode) who cheers on these zaftig hoofers!!!
3. Family Movie Alert! So far, we’ve seen Up!, Night at the Museum 2, and Ice Age: The Meltdown. My personal favorite kids’ flick is Up! My seven year old son’s fave is Ice Age so be warned – you may go for the weepier film, but kids seem to love squirrels fighting over nuts rather than old men and boy scouts traveling in a house made of balloons. Coming soon…Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – I am so there!
4. If you actually got a babysitter then here’s the word of mom pick that we’ve been hearing about on our 8:48 commuter train. The Hangover. I know – crazy – but we’re not that jazzed about “My Sister’s Keeper” since it’s not getting good reviews and we have seen the “Taking Pelham 123” and did enjoy it, but the word on the street is that “The Hangover” is hilarious. Next week when we lock in our teen sitter, we are definitely hitting the theaters to check out it out.
5. And now, for our summer book alert. We’ll have a more comprehensive list soon, but we have to let you in on the book that is feverishly passing through the hands of our in the know book reading friends and my bookish mom. It’s called Sarah’s Key and so far, everyone I know couldn’t put it down and finished it within two days. I’ve got it in my bag and am so ready to dive in!

So you’ve heard it here first Role Mommies – your 411 on TV, films, books, Michael Jackson Tributes and much more!

The Role Mommy Fave Five

Just as we’re all getting started for another week filled with warm humid weather, rain and summer camp, comes a fave five featuring some of the most talented blogging Role Mommies on the Internet and a notable quotable from my seven year old son…
1. Check out this post from Devra at Parentopia who gives her take on the Jon and Kate divorce and offers tips on how to help kids through the divorce process.
2. Our best wishes go out to Julie at Momspective, who is recovering from a total hysterectomy. Julie shares her personal emotions about the experience on her blog and trust us, you’ll be riveted. She’ll also be co-hosting her Wii Mommies show this Friday on Role Mommy Radio if you’d like to listen in and hear about her recovery.
3. Vanessa, a talented writer and mom of two who contributes New Jersey Moms Blog and has her own site called Chef Druck Musings, shares this humorous post about her being a bodily fluid superwoman. You’ve got to read it to believe it!
4. Check out this week’s Huffington Post entry about Mommy porn by one of my favorite parenting writers, Vicki Iovine, author of the hilarious Girlfriends’ Guide parenting book series.
5. Best line of the week – my seven year old’s comment to his big sister just as she was leaving for four weeks of sleepaway camp: “I’m going to turn your room into a science lab and hope that something doesn’t blow up.” (Priceless).

The Michael Jackson Fave Five

As the world is still mourning the loss of one of the most talented music artists of all time, here at Role Mommy, we’ve decided to pay tribute to Michael Jackson by sharing our Fave Five songs that always put a smile on our face when we heard them on the radio, caught it in a music video or played it over and over again on our iPod!
I Want You Back
By far, the best song by the Jackson Five – okay, I know I’m a cheese ball, but I love this one!

I’ll Be There
The song is timeless and it will always be on of my personal favorites!

Billy Jean
Okay…who didn’t want to learn how to do the Moon Walk back in the eighties. I never could master that move, but today, one of my daughter’s classes learned the “Thriller” dance!

Pretty Young Thing
Watch this one and you’ll just want to get up out of your seat and start dancing. Can I just hop back in my time machine and go back to the eighties right now?

Man in the Mirror
What an uplifting song…may his incredible music be his legacy…