I bet that if someone would have told me 10 years ago when I first started blogging that I’d be featured in Costco Connection as a blogging expert, I would have said they were insane. But you see, that was before I logged my 10,000 hours as a blogger and learned a thing or two about cultivating online relationships, identifying bloggers who are genuine and talented and finding a home for me to share stories about the people and experiences in my life that I truly cherish.
So while Costco doesn’t necessarily share my personal journey down the road of blogging, they do share my tips and a video too. Take a look, enjoy and the next time you head into Costco, tell them Beth at RoleMommy.com sent you! 🙂
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The business of Blogging Creative chroniclers are earning a living
Plus…here’s the bonus video I shot for the online edition of the magazine!
It started innocently enough. I caught a few promos of a new show called “Younger” featuring Sutton Foster and Debi Mazar and I was intrigued. A show about Liza, a 40 something divorcee and mom who was struggling to break back into the publishing world after a 15 year hiatus from the profession. Sounded totally plausible. But then, there was the twist. After being interviewed by what I’d like to call the dreaded nemesis of my fellow GenXers–a pair of dismissive and condescending Millennials–Liza was doomed. She was labeled irrelevant, old, a mom who should just give up finding a job and move back to the burbs. That is, until she went out drinking with her best friend Maggie and she innocently flirted with a 26 year old tattoo artist who actually thinks Liza is the same age as him.
As a fellow forty-something working mom who has always looked younger than her actual age, I silently did a cheer for Liza. When Maggie convinces her that she could in fact pass for a 26 year old, she helps Liza transform her looks overnight and within hours of sporting new highlights and a trendy wardrobe, Liza lands a job as the assistant to Diana, a ruthless 40 something marketing executive at a major publishing company. And that my friends, is the moment they had me hooked. Now I know, if you look at Liza, played by the incredibly talented Sutton Foster, she doesn’t really look 26, her eyes are a little puffy on the lids (the tell tale curse of our age group), but I don’t care. I also ignored the fact that she would have had to give HR her social security number and birthdate to get paid and nobody seems to be questioning that either. Honestly, it’s all kosher to me because the storyline and the cast are simply adorable, clever, ruthless and hilarious.
With Darren Star at the helm, “Younger” is a reinvigorated version of “Sex and the City” complete with hipsters, Millennials, GenXers and Baby Boomers. For me, the subject matter really hits home. Not that I’ve been lying about my age or anything, but because I frequently ride the elevators in my office building with 20 something girls with an air of superiority they seem to have inherited from their helicopter moms. The guys on the other hand are bearded and tattooed schleps who only make me want to blurt out, please take a bath, shave and change your clothes. But instead, I just go about my business, silently praying my son will never want grow a Paul Bunyon style beard and my daughter will avoid the tattoo and body piercing parlors at all costs. But I digress. Back to “Younger.”
It is simply refreshing to see Liza seamlessly transition from her twenty-something girlfriends, to her best friends and former suburbanite moms. Liza is reliving those lost decades she spent being a mom and rediscovering the things she loves like the publishing world and a really gorgeous boyfriend named Josh who is only eight years older than her daughter.
I am also loving Hillary Duff as Kelsey, a rising editor at the publishing company and her in the know and socially savvy girlfriend Lauren, who had me laughing out loud when she threw herself a “Hot Mitzvah.”
The bad news about “Younger” is the season is already over and it’s not coming back with original episodes until January! The good news is if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can find it online and on demand.
So what are you waiting for? Start binge watching and soak it all in. I’m sure if you’re like me, you will instantly fall for “Younger.” Kudos to Sutton Foster for giving 40 something moms like me the chance to escape into her world and imagine for a moment what it would be like to be 26 again. Youth is wasted on the young. It’s a good thing I still feel 26 on the inside. My eyelids on the other hand, tell a much different story…
Typically this time of year, my entire family gets incredibly antsy and starts begging me to make vacation plans. You see, every summer, without fail, we try to take at least 2-3 vacations so that we can finally unwind from the year and reconnect with one another. The problem is, this year, now that my kids are teenagers, I no longer am the vacation dictator in our family. I used to just select a trip and then tell everyone where we were going on a need to know basis. Not anymore, it’s now a free-for-all where everyone wants to go somewhere else and I have to search the Internet for the most affordable deal that we’ll all enjoy. So here are some of the trips we’re considering…
1. A Royal Caribbean Cruise out of Galveston, Texas— We’ve never actually been to Texas — except on a random connecting flight, but I discovered this port of call while searching Cruise.com for affordable trips this summer. I have tried Royal Caribbean before and am a fan and we’ve never been to some of the cool ports of call that they visit including Honduras, Belize and Falmouth Jamaica. The only question I have is how hot is it in Honduras in August? I’m thinking you could probably fry an egg on any sidewalk and the humidity is probably around 300%.
2. A Mediterranean Cruise — Now this is my #1 choice for a trip and my kids would love it too. I mean who wouldn’t want to see Italy, the South of France, Santorini and Turkey all in one trip? The only downside is the airfare is astronomical during the summer and unless we have $10-$15K stashed away, a European getaway is not in the cards for us this year.
3. Treasure Beach, Jamaica— This is my personal favorite. We’ve already been to this off the beaten path location after visiting Jake’s resort and fell in love with the locale, the people, the food, you name it. In fact, we love it so much we actually want to move there one day. But for now, I’d just love to go back, rent a villa with our own housekeeping staff and read 10 books in 7 days. My family isn’t having it though. They’ve been there, done that and want to go somewhere else. See you another time Jakes…although I miss you desperately!
4. Israel — Here’s another one on my must visit list. I have cousins who live in Haifa who I haven’t seen in years and I cannot wait to introduce my family to them and expose them to some of the most breathtaking and inspiring places I have ever seen in my life. From climbing to the top of Masada to viewing a Roman amphitheater in Cesarea, there is nothing quite like visiting Israel. Again – the price though is a bit out of our range so this one will have to wait a few more years too. Good thing my daughter will be 18 in a few years and can go for free on birthright, maybe we’ll join her then..although I’m sure she’s going to want to go without us.
5. Hawaii — I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and this year, I’m still dreaming of stepping off a plane and taking in all that breathtaking scenery. Plus, I have seen the movie 50 First Dates about 75 times and would probably drag my kids to all the places where they shot scenes for the film. Seriously though, we definitely have this on our destination list — it’s just a matter of finding a good deal so we don’t break the bank.
So there you have it — my 5 must see destinations this summer. I haven’t decided where we are headed yet but something tells me there’s a cruise out of Texas in my future. What about you? What destinations do you plan to hit this summer? If it looks good, I might just change my mind!
I recently had the opportunity to see a sneak peek of “The Briefcase,” a summer docu-series that premieres tonight (Wednesday, June 27, 8-9pm ET/PT) on CBS. The premise for the show seems pretty enticing. Give two deserving middle class families a briefcase that contains $101,000 and let them know that they can keep all of the money or give some or all of it away to a family who may need it more than them.
At first glance, I think that if a briefcase full of money showed up at my doorstep, I would take it all, finally go on that vacation I’ve been planning in my mind, pay my bills and put the rest away for my kids’ college fund. But that’s not how the show works. Unbeknownst to the families, they are not the only ones who receives the money. A second family gets it too — the one they are actually contemplating giving the money to and throughout the show, each family finds out a little bit more about their financial troubles until they have to grapple with the decision of how much they want to give one another. Take a look…
The two families featured in the first episode are the Bronsons and the Bergins. The Bergins appear to be living a nice life with three teenage girls and a beautiful home, but once you go inside, you learn they are in an incredible amount of debt, with a failing ice cream truck business and mounting medical bills…and they don’t have health insurance!
The second family is the Bronsons, a young couple with a second baby on the way who live in a fourth floor walk up apartment. The husband is an Iraqi war vet who lost his leg during the war and cannot work. As a result, his wife works full time as a nurse as she prepares for the birth of their child. Both are middle class families, and each deserve that amazing briefcase full of money – the question is, how much will they each keep or give away?
We recently interviewed the show’s creator and executive producer, Dave Broome who is best known as the creator of the reality TV phenomenon, “The Biggest Loser.” Here’s what he had to say about “The Briefcase”: My Unentitled Life: What gave you the idea to come up with a show that helps two different families if they choose to? Dave: I’ve always wanted to do something that dealt with values and what matters most in our life. I was thinking of how to do that in an emotional and a dynamic way, and I used the lottery as an analogy. We all have that dream that if we scratch off that lottery ticket and won, what would we do with that money? If you have the opportunity to win that lottery ticket with a mirror in your face and you have to look at your life through it. At the end of the day, that’s what the show is all about. This has nothing to do with the money. The money plays a little part in this — what really matters is what matters most to you in your life. What might you have or what might you be taking for granted as a person inside. RoleMommy: In the first episode, you see two families who are incredibly generous to one another. But does that happen in every episode? Will we see episodes where a family doesn’t give any money away? Dave: You will see some disparity in future episodes but the tone doesn’t change from what you’ve seen in the first one. The reason is that both of these families in every episode go through a tremendous roller coaster ride of not just emotions but evaluation of their life. And by design, we wanted to pick families that can justify any action they do – there’s no right or wrong. This show is not meant to judge people’s actions. RoleMommy: What do you hope this show is going to do for viewers? Dave: This will be talked about on Thursday morning. People are going to say, did you see that, did you watch it? My hope is two things — people like myself, when I got into my car every night and I would literally look in the rear view mirror and question myself. I would sit there and go — yeah – we all want to think we’re good. We all want to try to be good people. Are we doing enough — and that’s a very individual conversation — I want someone to watch the show and question themselves. And if they come to that conclusion that they do, then great. If they come to the conclusion and say, no I don’t, I could do more. And it’s not about giving money away. But I want people to question it – what really matters is your love.
We will be sharing more from our interview with Dave Broome but now, we want to invite you to watch the show and join us for a live tweet up tonight from 8-9pm ET. Make sure you follow all the twitter handles below and get ready for a special twist: Throughout the hour, we will be giving away $250 in gift cards. But it’s up to our winning participants to decide if they’d like to keep the money for something special or give it away to someone in need.
Dave Broome will be tweeting throughout the show along with Jill Schlesinger, CBS News Money expert who will be offering important financial tips for families. Jill recently wrote about her experience watching The Briefcase on her own blog too.
And here’s your cheat tweet if you’d like to join the party:
What feels better: To give or receive? Find out 2nite @TheBriefcaseCBS live twitter event! Wednesday, May 27 at 8pm ET/PT #TheBriefcase The Briefcase on CBS – Twitter Event Tonight!
@broome88 (Dave Broom)
@JillonMoney (CBS News Money expert)
Are your kids enrolled in sports and do you find yourself running from one field to another trying to keep up with their schedules? Watch our debut video on Primo Parents at ULIVE TV where we cover the do’s and don’ts of kids sports.
Sometimes my two favorite pastimes, books and TV collide and when they do, it’s pretty incredible. This Wednesday, March 18, I’m going to get the chance to host a twitter chat with author Alice Hoffman whose New York Times bestseller “The Dovekeepers” will debut on the CBS Television Network as a four hour event series on March 31 and April 1 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT).
Join us from 7-8pm ET for an exclusive conversation with Alice Hoffman on Twitter. Hoffman (@TheDovekeepers) will share the behind the scenes story behind her incredibly moving novel and the making of this epic television event. Plus, if you tweet along, you’ll instantly be entered to win an autographed copy of “The Dovekeepers.” Six winners will be selected at random immediately following the chat.
Make sure to follow the Twitter handles and hashtag below and we look forward to a really special author experience.
Twitter handles and hashtags:
Alice Hoffman: @TheDovekeepers
Please follow the handles of our Twitter co-hosts too: Role Mommy:
@rolemommy Primetime Parenting: @primetimeparent Sweeps 4 Bloggers:
@valerie2350 Chicagonista Live:
Join the Twitter party and you’ll be eligible to win an autographed copy of “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman. Winners will be notified after the chat via Twitter.
Set in ancient Israel, THE DOVEKEEPERS is based on the true events at Masada in 70 C.E. After being forced out of their home in Jerusalem by the Romans, 900 Jews were ensconced in a fortress at Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. Besieged at Masada, the Jews held out for months against the vast Roman armies. The project will recount the events from the perspective of a few extraordinary women who arrive at Masada with unique backstories, but a common bond for survival. Additionally, these women, who work together daily as dovekeepers, are all concealing substantial secrets.
Hoffman’s novel was published in 2011 by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, earning the New York Times’ bestseller status and widespread critical acclaim, including being hailed by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison as “a major contribution to 21st century literature.”
THE DOVEKEEPERS will be brought to television from executive producers Roma Downey and multiple Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett (SURVIVOR, “The Voice”), the production team behind the Emmy-nominated 10-hour miniseries “The Bible,” which scored big ratings for the History Channel in March 2013, and the feature “Son of God.”
Disclosure: This Twitter TV and author event is sponsored by CBS.
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….
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.
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. We 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!