My Girl Crush: Michelle Obama

I’m not gonna lie. I have a crush on Michelle Obama. So much so, that out of ever female speaker on this planet, the only person who I have seen twice is Michelle. The first time was when I was invited to the White House for a private event for mom bloggers where she appeared as a featured speaker and the second was with my daughter while she was on tour for her new book Becoming.

I just want you to know – if you are deciding whether to buy the book, my advice is to buy it so you have it as a memento but then download it on Audible.com and listen to Michelle narrate her life while you’re walking the dog, driving to pick your kids up from school, riding to work, shopping at the supermarket or riding the subway. It’s 40+ hours of pure inspiration, laughter and a twinge of sadness too. 

What I loved most about the book was that it was relatable on so many levels – whether you grew up in a neighborhood much like Michelle’s on Euclid Avenue on the South Side of Chicago where her family experienced racism first hand as neighbors began moving away as a result of “white flight”; to the high school guidance counselor who told her she wasn’t “Princeton material” and she was determined to prove her wrong – earning degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law School. Then there’s her courtship with Barack, who she mentored when he was a summer associate at the law firm where she worked; and her early years raising her two girls while she balanced her career as her husband pursued politics in Chicago and on the national stage.

Michelle Obama truly epitomizes every working mom I know. We grew up with a fire in our bellies determined to succeed but when we became moms, we realized we had to figure out a different path to pursue our passions while being there for our kids when they needed us most. I also loved the fact that she truly found her passion after meeting Barack – he was her “swerve” which led her to let go of the frenetic pace of climbing an unfulfilling corporate ladder so she could do something much more impactful with her life. 

Michelle Obama is not only inspiring to my generation, but to my daughter and her friends as well. There was a sea of mother/daughters at the Wells Fargo Center last week and we were all giddy with excitement. In fact, many of us met on the SEPTA train headed to the event and I joked that this was our version of the World Series. When we were standing in line to get into the concert venue, there was a camera crew out front and a woman couldn’t contain her excitement sharing why she was so thrilled to have the chance to hear Michelle Obama speak. It was like an Oprah Winfrey moment…You get car! You get a car! And You Get a Car! The energy surrounding all of us was positively electric.

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At the heart of it, we were all aching to be inspired again. Many of us are just tired and shell shocked by the last two years and we are so ready to believe that things will turn around for the better. For my daughter, I was thrilled for her to hear sage words of advice from the former First Lady about the importance of ignoring the naysayers because once you do achieve your dreams or gain acceptance to places that are oftentimes occupied by people with mediocre intelligence at best, you will come to find that you might just be the smartest person in the room and that will feel damn good.

I feel lucky to have been able to share this unforgettable experience with my daughter and cannot wait to see what she achieves in her lifetime. As for me, as I write my next chapter, I’m taking everything Michelle said to heart about what I am becoming. I’m trying my best not to have regrets about the decisions I have made over the years, only planning for the future as I focus on things I love to do while exposing my own kids to opportunities and experiences that will help guide them towards whatever it is they’re supposed to become. 

So thanks Michelle. I will forever have a girl crush on you. I do hope to see you again someday. Something tells me if I keep dreaming, doing and becoming, I absolutely will. 

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.
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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.
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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!
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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.

That Time I Got Invited to the White House

If anyone would have ever told me back in 2005 when I started Role Mommy that my mission to inspiring parents to pursue their passion while raising a family would have eventually led to me attending an event at the White House, I would have told them they were nuts. But that was then, when I was still climbing the ladder at a corporate job with two little kids in tow.
Fast forward 11 years and I just experienced the best day ever as a blogger. Thanks to Cafe Mom and The Stir, I was invited to attend a very special event at the White House where about 150 parenting bloggers would get to learn more about the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative.
When we arrived, we were whisked through security and the process was pretty organized and simple. In a matter of minutes we were on the grounds of the White House and were able to roam freely – especially when one security guard told us – “you don’t fit the profile for terrorists.” He’s got that right!
We were all practically giddy walking up that hill to the White House and were even more amazed when we walked inside and were encouraged to visit all the rooms (no – we couldn’t check out the Lincoln Bedroom but we did see a lot!). I remember visiting the White House as a kid but when the rooms were all roped off when I was there. But under the Obama Administration, you can walk into a room and even sit down and take photo right under a painting of Jackie Kennedy.
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Before we knew it, we were invited into a room filled with round tables and we all took our seats in nervous anticipation as the event started. The morning started with an introduction by Deb Eschmeyer, the Executive Director of the Let’s Move campaign who talked about the impact Let’s Move has made to combat childhood obesity and educate kids and families about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.
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Since the Let’s Move campaign was introduced, over 80 million people in this country now live in a LetsMove city, town or county.
The mission of Let’s Move is to get to a place where everyone in communities across our nation has access to healthy lifestyle options.
Former Olympian Dominique Dawes
Throughout the event, we were introduced to so many inspiring women who play an integral role in the Let’s Move campaign. Former Olympian Dominique Dawes who is now a mom of two and the co-chair of the Fitness Council for Let’s Move, shared her personal story of how she realized the importance of finding time for herself when she became a mom. While nutrition is important to staying healthy and fit, it’s just as important to take time out of your day to exercise.
Dawes is also involved in Lets Move at school, an initiative to encourage kids to be active. “If we teach kids these healthy habits when they are young, they will continue these habits throughout their lives.”
Every Kid in a Park Initiative
From schools we hit the parks and learned that starting this year, 4th graders who visit our national parks with their families will be given the opportunity to visit for free! That means if you are traveling to the Grand Canyon or Acadia Naitonal Park or anywhere in between, if you’ve got a fourth grader in your car, you will get free admission!
You can download your pass at www.everykidinapark.gov .
The goal behind the every kid in a park initiative is to get everyone out to explore.
Community Gardens
Another incredible accomplishment of the Let’s Move Campaign are the amazing community gardens that have been created as a result of their efforts. From faith based communities to schools, kids and adults are coming together to plant seeds and grow vegetable gardens – teaching children about where food comes from and empowering them to become a part of the healthy eating movement.
On the Let’s Move website, you can find out more about how to start your own community garden and shares the following news:
The USDA has grant funds available to help parents create and start a farm to school program.
Technical assistance materials available – Let’s Move has spent the last seven years creating resources that schools can take advantage of.
Let’s Move wants to champion success – there are little girls like this all over the country — that are super psyched about the gardens — kale that they grew is on on the salad bar. When we share stories it inspires others.
Let’s Move is also running the “One in Melon Award” — accepting nominations now through April 15 — to showcase schools in our nation that have exemplary food to farm programs.
Choose My Plate
Growing up, we were conditioned to know about the Food Pyramid that was released by the USDA and told us how many proteins, breads, fruits and vegetables we should eat each today. Today, the pyramid has been replaced by the Healthy Plate. Some initiatives currently taking place to celebrate communities embracing this new model include:
Healthy Lifestyle Challenge — kids 8-12
1. My Plate My State — If you have a child in your home who loves to cook or develop recipes, then you might want to enter them into a contest where kids are encourage to submit recipes — one winner from every state will attend a Kids State Dinner at the White House! The goal is to showcase locally grown foods, from your state or region.

2. My Plate My Wins Challenge – show people you can make simple small changes on a day to day basis — 2+2+2 – try two foods from every food groups and 2 kinds of physical activity for 2 days. Over those 2 days you record your progress and that information lives in the Let’s Move super tracker. You can even form a team and compete with each other and add a little fun.
Finally, celebrities are also lending their names to the Let’s Move campaign, recording inspiring and hilarious videos and sharing them via social media. Follow the hashtag
#TeamMFNV to follow along with your favorite stars.
More to come in my next post…including details on Michelle Obama and the personal story in her life that led her to tackle childhood obesity with the Let’s Move campaign.

Role Mommy of the Year

We’re about to kick off a new column in 2010 where we will be showcasing one Role Mommy each month who has managed to pursue her passion while raising a family. The mom can come from anywhere – she can be a celebrity, a business mogul, author, blogger, parenting expert, teacher, politician or philanthropist. But now that 2009 has passed us by, we’re going to share our picks for Role Mommies of the Year…one mom at a time! So let’s start with the winner!
michelle-obama-15-de-35753132.jpgMichelle Obama – hands down, there is no competition. After she delivered an impassioned speech at the democratic national convention (see video below), Michelle had me hooked with the story of her life.
These days, I love catching glimpses of Michelle in her latest outfit and those toned arms (check out Harper’s Bazaar photo above) and also that the first daughters are tagging along as she travels the world. That’s what being a mom is all about – having your children experience amazing things in life while you’re in the driver’s seat guiding them every step of the way.

The Wednesday Entertainment Fave Five

It’s Wednesday so that means one thing…it’s entertainment day! So without further ado, here are some of our fave five topics.
1. Michelle Obama is not Pregnant. Okay, tell us something we don’t know. For some bizarre reason there were rumors swirling that the First Lady was sporting a baby bump. But alas, thanks to O Magazine, we’ve gotten to the truth – she is not pregnant nor does she have any plans to get pregnant any time soon.
2. Madonna is trying to adopt…again. This time, the ageless pop diva is trying to adopt a little girl from Malawi but she’s running into some red tape since officials are saying she’s getting preferential treatment to fast track the process since she’s an A-List celebrity. Personally, I wonder what Lourdes and Rocco think about all their new siblings anyway? Inquiring moms want to know.
3. American Idol Update – Okay – why don’t they just hand Adam Lambert the entire competition. No contestant this year is in his league. He is unbelievable and they should just record his performances each week and release his CD once he’s done. And tune in on April Fool’s Day when David Cook returns to Idol and performs.
4. ER Series Finale – Though this season hasn’t been that terrific, I have to say that I will be tuning into the finale this Thursday night of one of my favorite medical dramas on network television. Plus, I’d love to see if Dr. Greg Ross makes a surprise appearance – or I’ll just be a big old sap and watch the clips from their most memorable shows.
5. Calista Flockhart Gets Engaged! While she already has a son with feature film star Harrison Ford, the couple finally plan to get hitched. Now hopefully, her character on Brothers & Sisters will stay married to Robert. Then we can all live happily ever after.

The Monday Fave Five

It’s been a fabulous weekend…actually spent the night away from home with my hubby and the place we traveled to tops our fave five list. So take a look and if you have some fave fives, you want to send our way, then what are you waiting for?
1. An Overnight Getaway – for couples who are stressed over the demands of family, jobs, the economy, cold weather, and more, I highly recommend getting away – even if it’s just for one night. This past weekend, we joined our friends on a roadtrip to Lambertville, New Jersey – a quaint colonial town that’s chock full of antique shops, great restaurants, bars and is literally a foot bridge away from New Hope, PA. Best of all, it was only 90 minutes from our house. For those of you parents on the east coast in need of a quick getaway, book yourself at the Lambertville House, then head to Marcia Browns for drinks, the Boat House for more drinks and Anton’s for dinner.
2. The Perfect Prescription for Small Business Owners…in the interest of full disclosure, my finance guru hubby just launched a blogging community called The Budget Doctor and trust me, if you are in search of great tips on how to save money or get back money that’s owed to you, you’ll want to join the site right away and start saving!
3. I Beg Your Pardon…I’m Gonna Promise You an Herb Garden…big kudos to First Lady Michelle Obama who is planting an herb garden at the White House and invited 26 school kids from Washington D.C. to help her with planting. As the herbs and vegetables grow, the students will be invited back to tend the garden and then eventually use the veggies and herbs to whip up a meal in the White House kitchen. I’ve just decided…Sasha and Malia Obama have the coolest mom on the planet.
4. The Zone is about to get some competition. After eating like a fiend this weekend and finishing off our bender at McDonald’s, my friend and I decided we were back on the dieting wagon. So this year, as we gear up for summer and bathing suits (OMG), she’s convinced me to give a new meal plan a try – Nutropia. This program enables you to order your meals online, select the number of days each week you’d like to receive it and best of all, since the meals are prepared by chefs, the choices change every week so you’ll never get bored! And my friend says someone in her office did it and the weight seemed to melt away. I know slow and steady wins the race but considering it’s almost April, it’s time to get serious or risk another season of very long bermuda shorts.
5. Latest Peanut News….The Associated Press ran a story this week on the recent peanut scare and Role Mommy was quoted. Though the number of peanut fans is dwindling, we still are partial to fluffernutter sandwiches and PB&J (especially on a Weight Watchers mini bagel)…hmmm…maybe I should have one of those before those Nutropia meals start getting delivered to my door. I know, I am hopeless.

Why Can’t My Arms Be More Like Michelle’s?

images.jpegWhile surfing the ‘net today I came across this NY Times article by Maureen Dowd which tackles an important topic that has been circulating among Washington politicians and reporters…Michelle Obama’s arms. All I can say is, you have got to be kidding me. These old stodgy windbags, who spend the better part of Sunday mornings debating the decisions that President Obama has made since taking office, seem to be taking issue with the fact that the first lady likes to wear sleeveless dresses that show off her toned arms.
Well, as someone who has finally decided to hit the gym, I would gladly wear a sleeveless dress every day of the week (even in frigid temperatures) if I had perfectly chiseled arms. Unfortunately, at the moment, my arms are more of the “haddassah variety” – the undersides flop in the wind or move from side to side if you give it a gentle push.
I am sure the reason other women in Washington don’t bust out their buff biceps is because they all suffer the same fate as me…floppy arms. Women tend to wear what makes us feel comfortable. And since Michelle Obama is in peak physical condition, she’s entitled to wear whatever she wants – and frankly, her clothing choices are great. I love that she can go from department store to designer duds in a flash. And if another pudgy politician suggest she put on a jacket, I say we tell them to put down the fork and catch a few episodes of “The Biggest Loser.” Go Michelle go. Here’s hoping I can tone up in time for spring and wear a sleveless number too. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you’re like me and are cursed with the haddassah variety, grab a cover-up and welcome to the club.
And if you’re wondering what exercises you’d need to do to tone your arms and match Michelle Obama’s look? then click here, grab some weights and start pumping those arms!

Now I Know Why I Like President Obama

Call me a hopeless romantic, but despite the moving speeches, the poems, the Aretha Franklin song (and her really big hat), the thumbs up by Malia, the poetry, the two day concert, the list goes on and on, what grabbed me most about President Obama is that this guy really loves his wife. No matter how much weight he has on his shoulders (and he’s got plenty), at the heart of it, he has accomplished his dreams and then some, with a supportive wife, two gorgeous daughters and a family who has encouraged him to shatter stereotypes and achieve the unthinkable.
And today, as I was watching him sign several proclamations, I noticed something that I truly admire…President Obama is a southpaw!!! Which means, he’s creative, a visionary and a born leader. Why do I know that? Simple, I’m a lefty too and despite my terrible handwriting, I’ve been told there are lots of advantages to being born with this trait. Sure I have a million ideas a minute, but no matter the situation, I always love to think of ways to make things bigger, better and brighter. And hopefully, that’s exactly what our new president will do over the next four years.
Are you a righty or lefty? Do you think that has anything to do with the way you think or go about your daily routine? Share your comments now! And if you missed the Obama’s first dance, have no fear – Role Mommy has it on our home page!

The Obamas Rock the White House


Watch CBS Videos Online If you were too busy finishing dinner last night, giving your kids a bath or maybe catching up on reading the Sunday New York Times and didn’t get a chance to watch President Elect Barack Obama and our future First Lady Michelle Obama talk about their lives before and after election day, then now’s your chance to catch up on some Must See TV.
All I can say is after watching the two of them share their hopes for their children, our country and for each other, I am truly impressed, inspired and am excited to see what is in store for our country after Obama is sworn into office. And frankly, I am also thrilled to hear one of Michelle Obama’s initiatives will be to support mothers and the work/life balance. Michelle’s primary focus in the first year will be on making sure her daughters make a smooth transition as they move to the White House, but you can already tell that no matter what path she chooses over the next four years, she will inspire others to pursue their passion while raising a family.
Did you watch the Obamas last night? Let’s hear your thoughts.

Michelle Obama – I Think I Like Her

I have to admit, I didn’t know what to make of Michelle Obama. I’ve been hearing rumors that she’s uptight, tough as nails and guarded. And then, last night, I wanted to see for myself what she was all about. And you know what? She’s pretty damn impressive and seems pretty grounded too. I guess that’s why she and her husband earned Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement almost a year ago.
Michelle grew up on the South Side of Chicago, was raised by a stay at home mom and her hard working dad who developed multiple sclerosis early in his life. Despite their modest beginnings, Michelle and her brother Brian attended Ivy League schools and while both could have pursued careers making tons of money in finance and law, they followed their hearts and did what they love. Brian is now a basketball coach at the University of Oregon and Michelle devoted her life to public service, her husband and of course, her two daughters, who are absolutely adorable. But don’t listen to me, make your own decision whether you like her or not by reading her speech. Better yet, if you want to watch it, then here it is…

And for more behind the scenes video of Michelle and her girls, check out this clip. Trust me, I think you’ll be impressed by what you see.