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Monday, April 10, 2017

Top 5 Thanksgiving Weekend Movies

After a heavy meal filled with turkey, stuffing and cranberry, there is nothing I’d rather do than curl up on the couch and watch a good movie. When people talk about holiday movies though, they mostly think of Christmas movies. Well there are also some great Thanksgiving themed movies out there and I thought I’d share my top 5.

Home for the Holidays– Directed by Jodie Foster, this movie is another one of those Thanksgiving classics. It’s basically about a 40-year-old single woman who loses her job right before Thanksgiving and has to leave her daughter (who is about to have sex with her boyfriend) to go home to spend the holiday with her ridiculous family. Her parents are kind of overbearing, her one sister is bat-shit crazy, the other sister is ridiculously stuck-up, and then she has a younger gay brother who is kind of the joker. Anyway, it’s a pretty funny movie that I think most people can enjoy.

 – Yeah okay, I know this is a Pauly Shore movie and while I’m not a big fan of him, I absolutely love this flick. A small-town girl, Becca, who is totally culture shocked, meets this guy named Crawl (her RA) in college. She makes herself over and starts to have a blast. When Thanksgiving comes around she realizes that Crawl has no family to visit so she invites him to spend the holiday with her family. Her family are conservative farmers and Crawl is a total outcast. They also pretend to be engaged so that she doesn’t have to deal with her boyfriend at home trying to propose to her. Ultimately the family accepts Crawl. It’s one of those silly cute movies.

Pieces of April – I’ve totally gotten some flack for loving this movie. I’ve always been a fan of Katie Holmes plus Patricia Clarkson and Oliver Platt are in this movie and I think they’re great actors. It’s basically about this girl April who lives in NY, has an African-American boyfriend and is trying to get Thanksgiving dinner ready for her family. She’s not really much of a cook and she realizes her stove is broken. Anyway, her family is coming from PA and they’re not thrilled with the idea and on the way to April’s they’re trying to come up with nice memories of her and are having trouble. It’s a cute movie and Katie Holmes is adorable in it.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Who doesn’t love John Candy and Steve Martin in this 1987 Thanksgiving classic, directed by John Hughes? This movie is totally hilarious and is great to watch with the family. It’s basically about this guy with really bad luck that works in marketing and is just trying to get home for Thanksgiving from New York to Chicago. His flight is canceled so he tries other means of transportation. He’s also stuck with this guy he met on the plane who is a shower curtain ring salesman and is one of those people that just never stops talking (and talking and talking). Anyway, they have some pretty funny experiences together and the end isn’t totally surprising but it is certainly a little sad and very heartwarming. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you. If you haven’t seen this movie then you really should try to watch it this Thanksgiving weekend – your family will love it!

For Your Consideration – Just one of many hilarious mockumentaries directed by Christopher Guest and co-written by Guest and Eugene Levy (maybe you’ve seen This is Spinal TapA Mighty WindWaiting for Guffman or Best in Show?). This movie has got a great cast starring Jennifer Coolidge, Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Christopher Guest, John Michael Higgins, Michael McKean, Parker Posey, Catherine O’Hara and many more familiar faces. Basically this movie is about a bunch of actors that are cast in a new film called Home for Purim, which is about a Southern Jewish family in the 1940s. They have a lesbian daughter that comes home, a brother that comes home from the navy and a really sick mother. They all unite to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim. The writers are fighting with the director, and ultimately the movie executives force the writers to change to Home for Thanksgiving. Anyway, I don’t want to say much more about this movie because it’s totally hilarious and worth checking out.

Originally Posted: Miss Grown Up

10 Gifts for New Moms

Black Friday, Cyber Monday – shopping season is here!!! If you have a new mom in your life, let me offer you some holiday shopping advice before rushing to the mall to pick up a ridiculous baby-themed tee. One of the really cool gifts I got was a new mom survival kit. It had some fun things like condoms, a sleep mask, and chocolate, but it also had nightlights, pocket tissues, and gift cards to Starbucks and Babies R’Us. If you’re not in the mood to get creative, follow the list of gift ideas I’ve put together that a new mom is sure to love. When in doubt, get her something she can really enjoy and use on herself.

Before getting into the gifts she’ll love, here are a couple things NOT to get her. Wipes, diapers, diaper cream… Don’t get her things for her baby. Unless you know exactly the brand and size she needs, you’re just adding to the clutter in the house and the pile of crap she needs to return to the store. Plus all those things are for the baby – not her. Also, don’t get her anything for cleaning unless it’s something she has asked for.

Okay – Now what you SHOULD get the new mom in your life:
·       Professional house cleaning – It’s no secret that having a baby doesn’t leave much time for house cleaning. If this new mom likes things neat, hire a professional house cleaner to clean her home from top to bottom. My parents gave me this after I gave birth and it was the best present I could have asked for. The cleaning woman they hired was a personal friend and for 3 sessions she charged $60 each for green/organic cleaning. This will also depend on the size of the home. We have a small 2-bedroom townhouse and it was already relatively clean. If you don’t know anyone and live in central NJ, I’ve heard great things about If you’re not in the NJ area, check out Molly Maid or ask around your neighborhood.
·       Mani/Pedi gift certificate ­– Who says a new mom can’t have nice nails? It’s tough to feel pretty when you’re breastfeeding every 2.5 hours and barely getting a chance to shower or shave your legs. This gift will not only give her the chance to sit and relax for an hour but it will also be a total self-esteem boost. This probably wouldn’t cost you more than $35 or $40. I recommend you choose a salon that is close to her home.
·       Massage or facial gift certificate – Once again, new moms don’t get to relax much (if at all). A massage or facial could be JUST what the doctor ordered. It’s not likely she will purchase this for herself but she will totally love you if you get it for her. My hubby got me this for my birthday and it was definitely the present I enjoyed the most. Massage Envy has 1-hour introductory massage sessions for $49, which makes this gift totally affordable.
·       Gift card for Babies R’ Us­­ – Babies are expensive and everyone can use a little extra dough. Trust me, eventually she will find something she needs and will be more than thankful for your generous contribution to her growing family.
·       A night or day of babysitting – She would probably love a chance to go out and have a date night with her husband or friends that she probably rarely sees now. If you’re good with babies and she feels comfortable with you watching her child, let her know that she can count on you for a night of her choice. Just keep in mind, if you rarely see her or her kid then don’t offer this because chances are she won’t feel okay leaving her child with you. A lot of people have offered to watch my son but they have barely spent any time with him so obviously I wouldn’t be okay leaving him with them.
·       Professional photo shoot – My father-in-law and his wife hired a professional photographer for our son’s baby pictures. The photographer was amazing and she took such great pictures that I will treasure forever.
·       A great diaper bag – Okay so I got this one for myself. The one I got from my baby shower broke (that’s what I get for putting a pretty one vs. a practical one on my registry). I decided to spend a little more and got a really beautiful and classic looking bag with tons of pockets, zippers and space for everything baby-related I need to carry around. Not to mention it doesn’t exactly look like a diaper bag and it’s gender neutral so my husband doesn’t feel weird carrying around something too cutesy when he is on daddy duty.
·       Comfy robe & slippers – Those feedings in the middle of the night are really tough. You’re just so exhausted and it helps if you have a comfy and warm robe and slippers to crawl into before sleepwalking your way into the baby’s room for 3AM mealtime. 
·       Digital picture frame – For the working mom, give her a digital picture frame she can put on her desk. We working moms miss our children terribly throughout the day. A small digital picture frame would be a perfect temporary solution for when you’re aching to hug and kiss your baby.
·        Local food delivery for dinner – Makes life so much easier when you have to cook one less meal. Find out a local restaurant she likes and order dinner takeout. Better yet, just get her a gift card so she can choose when and what to get. 

Originally posted: Miss Grown Up

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Baby Music That Won't Drive You Crazy

There’s only so much Baby Mozart I can handle before wanting to blow my brains out. I’ve had some trouble finding albums that are appropriate for my baby so I decided to create my own playlist. 

Here’s a list of 10 songs my baby and I love:
1. Hold You In My Arms – Ray Lamontagne
2. River – Joni Mitchell
3. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
4. Lullaby – Ben Folds Five
5. This Is The First Day Of My Life – Bright Eyes
6. Carry You – Dispatch
7. You Can Close Your Eyes – James Taylor
8. When the Night Comes – Dan Auerbach
9. Tree By The River – Iron & Wine
10. Golden – My Morning Jacket

Originally posted: Miss Grown Up

Responses to Rude Pregnancy Comments

When you’re pregnant there is no hiding it and one of the things you learn early on is how to deal with unwanted advice and rude comments. I’ve put together some of the most common remarks I’ve received and the number of ways I have responded. By the way, get used to it! Once you have the baby, you’re bombarded with even more comments and unsolicited advice of what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Consider it practice and try to have a sense of humor with it.

OMG! You’re huge!
I’ve never been a skinny girl and have always been a bit chubby. When I got pregnant I was super careful about my diet (for the most part). I did end up gaining too much weight (about 50lbs!). Several people (even total strangers) commented on my size and it made me so uncomfortable. I’ve never been totally okay with my size to begin with. I’ve used all of these answers depending on whom I was talking to.
·       Actually, I’m carrying pretty small now – wait till I’m 9 months pregnant.
·       Thanks, but the doctor says I’ve gained a healthy amount of weight so far.
·       OMG I know! I feel like a whale but I’m pregnant so that’s my excuse – what’s yours?
·       I wasn’t so skinny before I got pregnant and I’m kind of sensitive about my weight. I’d appreciate you keep your comments to yourself.
·       Actually, I’ve lost a couple pounds so thanks a lot asshole. (I lied but it made me feel better).

Oh you’re having a girl – girls take away the mothers beauty. That’s why you have so much acne.
I had crazy pregnancy acne (thank God it goes away!). An unbelievable amount of people would guess I was having a girl because of it. A lot of my family friends were really insensitive about it. I had to hear how my baby was taking away my beauty and that really sucked. Even a cashier at Loews said I was going to have a girl because I had so much acne.
·       I’m having a boy – but thanks for telling me I’ve lost my beauty.
·       You should read up on pregnancy hormones before making comments like that.
·       Wow that’s fascinating logic – what medical school did you go to?
·       That’s rude of you. Would you mind not commenting on my acne?
·       Yeah it sucks, but it sucks even more having strangers point it out.

Are you dilated at all?
I’ll never forget this random woman at the pool that asked me if I was dilated. I was huge and ready to pop – being that I was 6 days late. For some reason people think that it’s okay to ask personal questions about your vagina when you’re pregnant.
·       Are you brain damaged at all?
·       Gee I don’t know. I haven’t stuck my hand up my vag to check lately.
·       Umm, not yet.
·       That’s a personal question about my vagina. Did you really just ask that?
·       I don’t know. 

Belly Rubs
It’s hard to hide being pregnant. You walk around with a huge belly and some people think it’s okay to walk up to you and touch it. I especially had some family friends that I wasn’t exactly that close with come up to me and rub my belly. People tend to forget that they’re touching a part of your body – they wouldn’t do that if you weren’t pregnant. 
·       I’ve stepped back and put my hands in front or turned away from the person.
·       I’ve rubbed their belly back and laughed about how inappropriate it was.
·       You do realize you’re rubbing a part of my body now.
·       If I weren’t pregnant you’d never consider it appropriate to touch my stomach. Why do you feel it’s okay now?
·       Can you please not do that – it makes me uncomfortable.

Originally posted Miss Grown Up

5 Things to Prep for With a Newborn

I’m an avid blog reader and have read about the good, the bad and the gross. But nothing truly prepares you for motherhood. So here is my list of the top 5 things I was unprepared for with a newborn.

Breastfeeding. The children in my family were breastfed and there is no doubt that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for your baby. So naturally I was 100% invested and totally gung-ho about breastfeeding for the entire first year. I bought a new breast pump (EXPENSIVE mistake!) and a bunch of lanolin cream. Some women don’t have problems and find the whole thing to be wonderful. Without going into much detail, I had an awful experience. My husband and I came to the conclusion that everyone would be much happier if mommy wasn’t crying over the sink at 4AM holding warm compresses. I was a shirtless and miserable mess and my son was going hungry. We are all so much happier with formula. There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing between formula or breast milk. This is a personal choice and don’t let anyone make you feel badly about your decision. Only you know what is best for your baby and your family.

Lack of Sleep. Everyone tells you to rest while you’re pregnant because you won’t get much sleep once the baby comes. Holy crap – I wish I had listened. I knew I’d be waking up in the middle of the night for feedings but I had no idea how difficult it would be. Waking up every couple of hours for diaper changes and 45-minute feasting sessions SUCKS. And everyone tells you to sleep while the baby is sleeping. That would be a great idea if you didn’t have to wash 5 loads of laundry a day, try to keep up with cleaning, making dinners and taking care of whatever pets you have. I honestly don’t know how people handle more than one kid. Also, if you’re anything like me, I can’t seem to force myself to relax. I tend to literally collapse when my body has exerted all its energy. If you can make yourself sleep while the baby is sleeping, more power to you. The good thing is, you do get used to it and it’s not so bad after a couple months.

Grumpy Time. Every evening at about 6 pm we are greeted with crying and screaming and all around grumpy baby time. Yes, it’s a solid few hours of pure face screaming. We have found ways of dealing with it – he loves to be sung to and it turns out I have a pretty cool kid. He likes Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, FUN, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jeff Buckley. My husband’s co-worker also gave us a DVD – The Happiest Baby on the Block, which has been magical and you should just go ahead and buy that. Trust me.

Errands. You can pretty much say good-bye to running out to the store to just grab a few things. A quick trip to the supermarket has been replaced with either trying to find a sitter, dragging someone to come with you to push the cart or stroller around, sticking the car seat into the cart (which only works if you need a couple small items) or walking around with the baby carrier on your chest. Going anywhere has become a challenge and so much planning is involved. We have been lucky though. My mom comes over almost every weekend so my husband and I get some alone time and have a lot of date night opportunities while Grandma gets her time with the baby. But yeah – your life changes so drastically and sometimes I miss my freedom.

The Love. Since I’m not a heartless b*tch, I knew I’d love my baby. But you just can’t explain a mother’s love. There’s just no feeling stronger and there is no feeling better than holding your child in your arms and gazing into his eyes. I’ve never been the kind of woman that goes nuts over cute babies so I was a little worried what kind of mom I would be. All those hormones have made me more emotional and the love I feel for my child is unexplainable. I don’t think anyone could understand it until they experience it for themselves. If I could, I would move mountains for him. There is literally nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for my child.

I could continue because there is a lot we weren’t prepared for. But I’ve realized that it’s just not possible to prepare for everything and sometimes you just must roll with the punches. Everyone wings it the first time around. Last note – anyone and everyone will suddenly consider it their obligation to offer unsolicited advice and it’s important to remember that you call the shots. Ultimately you should listen to your gut. You will know what is best for your child.

photo credit: iVillage 
Originally published Miss Grown Up

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupy My Street

At first I wrote it off as a silly protest by a bunch of hippies and unemployed folks that have nothing better to do than ask for ridiculous demands from multi-national companies and our government.

I on the other hand have gone to work every day for the past two weeks, working my ass off to make sure I do a great job. I get paid a decent salary – far less than what says I should be making but hey – it’s a job and I’m one of the few people that actually enjoy what I do for a living and like the people I work with.

My salary is exactly the same as my older sister when she graduated college – 17 years ago… But I have 8 years of industry experience under my belt and 17 years ago the rent on my sisters apartment was half of what I am currently paying.

But whatever, I’m 27 years old, and I have a full-time job with vacation time, benefits, health and dental insurance. I’ll be done with my MBA in a couple months and I’m wondering what other degree I should go back for once I finish because lets face it – I know I don’t make enough to pay back my student loans.

Just last week we emptied out our pantry and returned as much as we could to Shoprite and A&P because we desperately needed money. Every week it’s a struggle between our bills that continue to pile up. “Okay, well AT&T is generally okay with letting you set up a date to pay later without charging you a late fee but oh Sallie Mae wants money NOW and you can’t get to school or work without your car insurance bill getting paid.” Next week we will revisit AT&T vs Comcast vs PSEG.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is I get it now… I’m working, paying taxes, continuing my education, doing everything I should be doing yet I can’t afford to live. Now let’s get 1 thing straight – I live in a crappy 1 bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and 1 adopted cat. There’s no lavish lifestyle I’m trying to uphold but I’m 27 and I’d like to have a family and children one day but right now – I sold off half my pantry just so I could get toilet paper, garbage bags, cat food, eggs, and dish soap. So having children and buying a house seems like its just impossible.

We don’t go out and spend endless amounts of money; our credit card bill is pretty low compared to most our age and it’s not about living beyond our means. We don’t shop for brand name clothes – we get what we need and we try to get as much as we can that is from thrift stores or exchanging things with our friends so even though it’s not new – it’s new to us. Yes, I am tired. I am frustrated and I do want to see a fundamental change in how things work.

But just like most others – I have no idea how to start or what to specifically ask for. I certainly am not asking for a lot – I’m one of the lucky ones. But seriously – the only reason I’m scared to graduate with my MBA is because I know that on my current salary there is NO WAY I can afford to pay back my student loans. Is it too much to ask for education to be free or at least reasonably priced? Do textbooks every semester seriously need to add up to be over $800?

But whose fault is it? The big evil companies that come out with products I love and use all the time? NO. Is it the government? Maybe but what do I want them to do about it and how could they do something in a way that benefits our country as a whole? I know it’s not just about me and other people in my situation…

I don’t know all the answers and I don’t even know all the questions to ask. But I do know this – I realized now that I am part of the 99%... And I’m not some lazy, uneducated kid with nothing better to do with my time. I’m a soon-to-be MBA grad with 8 years of experience and an empty pantry.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Secret Social Media Marketing

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I've been trying to get an answer to this for a while and I've come to a conclusion...

The question: When you have a blog, facebook, twitter, linked in and you're using these sites - how do you get people to be engaged when you're trying to get your message out there?

The answer: We are all looking at it the wrong way... It's not about getting our messages out there and getting people to talk about us. It's all about them - how to get information on them to make our products or services work better for them.