Must Reads

Role Model

By Posted on 0 Comments4min read961 views
This complete revelation just hit me the other day when I was driving on the 405 on the way to my precious daughter’s first-ever hockey game.  Yes, folks.  We dream of the day where we finally become a mom and bring a new life into this great vast planet, she (or he) is perfect and then they grow and find their own way, their own dislikes, their own music style, their own type of friend and roller hockey (I’m certain there will be a post on this topic eventually).  This sort of forced wake-up call that your child’s days of being a child move faster and faster every day and it makes you think…

Am I doing all the things right?

I’m a good mom, I feel like my best is enough.  Most days.  I work hard, and with focus, which helps me to set a strong example.  I cook good healthy food, give her tons of love, have random dance parties before bed, make sure she is surrounded by friends and family, sports, art, music, events, playdates… BUT I mess up and I know it. I’m sure on some level I  mess up daily.
This one day, I completely messed up River’s ponytail, I knew she would hate it, but we were running late and I left it anyway and didn’t offer to redo it 🙁 I was completely maxed out as a hairstylist at the moment.   Ok I know this isn’t a big deal, but to her it was.  From a childs perspective that is a pressing issue. Why should we want to be parents?
I’d like to also admit to the following: forgetting favorite snacks, being too tired to skateboard, ordering the whole neighborhood out of my house.  Wait, that part is not a mess up.  Freshly mopped floors are priceless, ten minutes of cleaning is worth it.  I digress, going back to my main point.  Presence is lacking, we are too booked, running on no breakfast, multitasking parents and it takes a toll on our kids.  Moms, Dads, parents, family friends, and even people without kids.  We have to set better examples.  I have many friends with kids. Some of them are incredible, tuned in, on top of their manners, etc, and then there are others who aren’t going to make the parents of the year list.   JoJo I’ll admit it, sometime’s I’m no picnic to be around.  However, I promise that I take note of it, the second my grumpy side lurks if the ugly face, I regret the actions I’ve taken to whomever it is.  Especially if it’s a child.  They’re so unaware of how we behave and why, therefore they have so many questions, so naturally, they seek us for answers, and it truly couldn’t be more flattering.  In my 405 Fwy revelation, I realized why I’m here.
  • To set an example: lead the littles so they see who to be when they grow up.  Not what to be, that’s a whole other story.  If we show this type of kind, generous, and forgiving behavior, imagine what they can do in this world.  When we are old farts that will work out for us when those younger generations will be calling the shots when it comes to our sponge baths.
  • Facilitate their needs: So basically fill the future emotional bank accounts of the needs of these little future badasses.  If I don’t focus and work my ass off today, I won’t be able to provide the things my daughter will need in the future.  Did you know the average college tuition to a four-year university is $34,740?  I don’t know about you, but that is a nice chunk per year I’m going to have to own up to. We’ve got this, right?!

Check out the online summer camps in Minecraft at

That’s all. Just those two simple steps are the sure-fire way to create the most well-balanced human.   Kidding, obviously, children need so much more.  I just realized that at times we seem to move through life so fast, as parents and leaders we must think about every action we take before we take it.  I hate to admit it but, it took me a good portion of six hours to write this post.  Why?  Well, I was on a roll, fingers a blaze at the keyboard.  Then I had to stop, make dinner, homework, wash the dishes, mop the floor (or I will strongly dislike myself all week).  Giggle in bed for a bit, talk about Spring Break is over, convince my daughter to go to sleep, try not to fall asleep, instead grab the laptop, and then boom, I’m back.

I’m glad to be a parent in this day and age.  Yes, we have many unique obstacles and choices to make as to not raise poor quality humans (eh hem) it just comes back to basics.  Kindness, love, and presence.
I get up at 4:30 am, the world is quiet, there is an incredible amount of uninterrupted silence.  I can focus on myself, maybe run, maybe write.  Who knows, maybe even take a long shower and take my time to get ready for work.  For the record…my favorite job description is mom.


What’s Really For Dinner (Part 2)

By Posted on 0 Comments4min read1331 views

growth hormones in our food, antibiodics

So as if the debate on meat eaters versus vegetarian wasn’t confusing enough I have some more exciting info to share.  For all the meat eaters out there, next time you sit down to order a burger or even a steak at your favorite fine and dine restaurant, just know that more than likely especially if the option of Organic Meats, Corn Fed, or Free Range isn’t listed on the menu anywhere, you’re preparing to eat a nice helping of added hormones and antibiotics.  Oh big deal you say, my Doc has given me antibiotics several times.  Yea that Zpac sure seemed helpful when you couldn’t kick that heavy cold, however do you really understand the adverse effects of Antibiotics?  Antibiotics literally kill all living bacteria inside your body, and yes if they are consumed through eating meat treated with Antibiotics they still enter your body.  So what’s so bad you ask about killing all the bacteria….well we need good bacteria to ward off all sorts of diseases and infections.   Many adults later in life are now more than ever seeing bacterial infections (the bad kind) in their systems, Candida Albicans  or even Chronic Fatigue.   Okay, so without getting too off track here back to point, Antibiotics and other Hormones are being added to way too many of our food supply and making some serious changes through out the population.  The obesity epidemic alone has dramatically changed in the United States where food is altered more so than other countries.

You may be wondering why are these crappy things being added to our food?  Well Antibiotics and Hormones help grow bigger, fatter animals, who in turn produce more milk and more meat, which means more money.  Big surprise huh the ugly monster beneath all the madness is money, who’da thunk it!  Fortunately, we are a very aware society and becoming more aware everyday, and finding Organic meats, cheeses, milk and produce is becoming more simple.  Granted yes reaching for Natural and Organic options can be harder on your pocket book, however you can always choose to be more selective on which items you spring for.  Look for Farm Raised, without Hormones, Antibiotics etc.  Also grabbing up some raw cheese or switching to a milk alternative is also a great option.  I know I was raised on whole milk, so I completely understand the craziness behind cutting out the cow when it comes to milk, at the same time we’ve got some fantastic options for rice, almond and now coconut milk all around us.

Here is a few facts I found on a super helpful site:

  • Antibiotics given to cows to treat mastitis results in antibiotic residues in milk. Apart from causing health problems in those who drink this, it can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance amongst bacteria present in the person’s body.
  • Scientific studies link rBGH to cancer citing the fact that the presence of rBGH in the cow’s blood stimulates production of another hormone (Insulin-Like Growth Factor) in the cow and traces of it are found in its milk. Since this hormone is also active within humans, it can lead to uncontrolled cell division or cancer.
  • Exposure to growth hormones in beef could be putting Americans at risk for infertility. A recent study found that women who routinely ate beef were far more likely to give birth to boys who grow up to have lower-than-normal sperm counts.
  • Hormone residues in beef have been implicated in the early onset of puberty in girls, which could put them at greater risk of developing breast and other forms of cancer.

As a whole parts of our society that has cut out dairy alone has seen a significant amount of change in their immune system, stating not getting nearly as sick or for the period of time they where sick as in the past.  Personally I can say my daughter has been drinking rice milk since one and shes only been sick  a few times in her span of three years.  Never once has she needed an antibiotic.  I guess it makes sense that if shes not ingesting these unknown hormones and additional bad bacteria her bodies going to be stronger and better able to kick a cold before it becomes something else.  I found some really great articles that speak more extensively on this topic, so if you’re interested further please take a look!

Hormones in milk, beef, could put kids at even higher risk

Thanks for reading!



What’s for Dinner? Really? (Part 1)

By Posted on 0 Comments3min read913 views

Gone are the days of a simple meatloaf dinner with a healthy side of veggies and a peach cobbler to satisfy the sweet tooth. In the fast paced tweet by tweet news environment world we live in, we can literally access tons of info in an instant. Don’t get me wrong as a mega lover of technology and all that it brings I’m thrilled. However there is a darker side to being more aware. This is great as we move into a world where really do we know what we are eating? Do we fully understand what we are feeding our families?

As I start this 4 part series on toxins in our food, I encourage all readers to take this info I’m providing and use it become more aware of the food around you and your family.  Read a little more at the market and pay attention to the tricky words they put so slyly on the label for instance, you’ve probably heard much about MSG Monosodium Glutamate

“It” is monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer that’s known widely as an addition to Chinese food, but that’s actually added to thousands of the foods you and your family regularly eat, especially if you are like most Americans and eat the majority of your food as processed foods or in restaurants.

MSG is one of the worst  food additives on the market and is used in canned soups, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners and  much more. It’s found in your local supermarket and restaurants, in your child’s school cafeteria and, amazingly, even in baby food and infant formula.

MSG is more than just a seasoning like salt and pepper, it actually enhances the flavor of foods, making processed meats and frozen dinners taste fresher and smell better, salad dressings more tasty, and canned foods less tinny.

While MSG’s benefits to the food industry are quite clear, this food additive could be slowly and silently doing major damage to your health. Read full article here.

BUT did you know that yeast extract is just another tricky little ingredient that you may not even be noticing in your products that you thought where MSG free.  That’s right yielding many of the same addictive and negative effects on your body.  Some of the side effects or symptoms theses two dangerous additives can bring on are:

  • Obesity
  • Eye damage
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and disorientation
  • Depression
  • Numbness
  • Burning sensation
  • Tingling
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness

So how do you keep MSG and it’s ugly friends out of your families lives?

When shopping in any market try to remember one simple rule, the outer edge of the market is where you will be most safe.  Not all products will be entirely safe, however more so then purchasing the pre-packaged junk sold by the big name crap manufactures out there who have no regard for your families best interest!  You can also purchase frozen fruit and veggies if shopping in the produce department is breaking your wallet.  Read read read……start to get familiar with the nasty ingredients that most likely live in your families favorites, also shopping in a small health food store will really help clear your head.  Not only do the employees know tons more and can really help you identify the bad stuff, you will be amazed at the alternatives out there.  Finally of course organic is always best, when really confused what to buy organic do a Google search on which fruits and veggies are most permeable to pesticides, that will really help you identify the important ones to purchase! After all you wouldn’t intentionally spray your families dinner with Raid right?  I’m not going to lie, eating this will end up costing more, however you must ask yourself what’s more important?

As always thanks for tuning into my ramblings more to come on my second installment 🙂

xoxox Amber


Important Newborn Questions & Answers

By Posted on 0 Comments3min read670 views

The authors of Heading Home with Your Newborn answer important questions from moms about infant and baby care

heading home pic.jpg

Pediatricians, moms and authors, Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP offer a wealth of “parent-tested, pediatrician-approved” advice in Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, Second Edition (American Academy of Pediatrics, September 2010). Available on the American Academy of Pediatrics official Web site for parents, Also available in bookstores nationwide. Here they answer a few questions from fellow moms:

Question: People often worry about taking a newborn out and you do not want to go to crowded spaces indoors like malls or parties where there could be germs and things like that; but in terms of how they can regulate heat, can they can go out if they are bundled correctly, in the cold for a walk? During the winter season is it best not to have them out and about like that?

Dr Jana: We have an entire section of the book called “Thinking Outside the House”. That is a good example of what people often forget in the Pediatrician books. Where you say; what about the practical? Can I step out of my house? Now all of a sudden my baby seems even smaller because we are going out in the real world. Especially in the very specific new born period – the first three weeks, think of the timeframe when babies really need to wear their hats because their heads lose heat. Here in Nebraska I would not recommend somebody taking a newborn out at the peak of winter. What you find is a lot of new parents do not want to step outside when it is 40 degrees out, because they are afraid it is cold, and there are lots of good accessories to keep drafts from getting in to the where the babies are in the car seats and infant carriers. Just try avoiding extremes temperatures.

Question: What is the most important thing you think parents should know and do before a baby is born?

Dr Shu: One important thing, just from a timing standpoint, you might need to look for childcare as soon as you conceive. Just the reality of a lot of childcare situations is that you have to get on some kind of waiting list to get in to the place of your choice. So I would consider that high on the list. You want to make sure that your financial affairs like insurance are in order. There are so many smart parents I know that just accidentally forget to add their child to their insurance, and they are stuck with a huge bill. That is something you want to put on your To Do list, as soon as that baby has a name and birth date.

Picking a Pediatrician before you deliver is also a really good idea, and that is something we recommend sometime in the early part of the 3rd trimester. The reason for that is you want to hit the ground running and get a head start, rather than play catch up when you have a baby and try to figure out somebody that you have a good fit with. Finally, the most important supplies you will need for having the baby include a car seat which you will need to have once leaving the hospital, something to clothe the baby in, diapers and feeding supplies.

Question: How can you prepare for the birth of a newborn if you wind up delivering early or have an unplanned c-Section?

Dr Jana: Some people have a sense they might deliver earlier, but for a large number of parents, it catches them completely off guard. People often ask as us, when is the best time to read the book? We wanted to make it so that you can start reading it 8 weeks in advance and then pick it up at two in the morning when you have a question with a one week old. The thing that catches people by surprise, most people do not plan on have a C section, most people do not plan on having a premature baby… getting those things that Doctor Shu mentioned really helps take away some of the stress of new parenthood because that unknown is not there anymore.


If you’d like more information about caring for your infant visit Heading Home with Your Newborn at

*This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.


Money Matters from the Author of Does this Make My Assets Look Fat

By Posted on 0 Comments2min read372 views
book cover-1.jpeg

The author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat shares her tips on how to manage your finances and invest like a pro!

Financial expert Susan Hirshman, author of the brand new book “Does This Make My Assets Look Fat” answers our readers’ burning money questions and breaks down the concept of investing and budgeting and puts it into terms any woman can understand.

As Susan sees it, the rules of successful dieting are the same rules that apply to successful money management. In her new book, Susan offers women a 3-phase personalized plan that follows common dieting programs to help them understand their finances.

Susan’s program completely removes the intimidation factor that often accompanies the words ‘personal finance’ and ‘investing’ and provides women with all the information they need to take control of their financial situations once and for all.

Question: How do you ‘get on a budget’? What are the first steps? ((We have a decent income-but we don’t have much to show for it!! We don’t waste $$ on material things-but we barely have anything saved.)

Susan: Believe it or not this question can be answered by discussing dieting and hidden calories. You know what I am talking about – those extra calories you ingest without really counting and paying attention to. The handful of M&M’s from your colleagues candy bowl, the second glass of wine, eating out of the refrigerator, and on and on. Dieting experts state that the first thing you have to do to is to find all these “hidden calories” that are sabotaging your success by writing down everything you eat.

Have you ever done this? If you have, then you are familiar with the first step in developing a budget – writing everything down and finding our “hidden expenses.” Hidden expenses just like hidden calories are things that are not memorable but when you add them together they become significant and tend to impair your financial success. ‘
Budgeting (I prefer using the term spending plan – doesn’t it sound much more palatable?) is all about awareness and measurement of your cash inflows (net salary, dividends etc) less your fixed expenses (those that are must have’s, i.e. mortgage, utilities etc) and your variable expenses (those that are discretionary, i.e. entertainment, clothes etc.)

Bottom line – if you don’t measure you can’t manage.
There are many tools available on the web to help you keep track of your spending plan. In addition your bank and/or credit card companies may offer tools as well. Get on it…☺


Susan L. Hirshman is a former managing director at JP Morgan. She holds an M.B.A. from Baruch College and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Life Underwriter, and a Chartered Financial Analyst. She currently lives in Manhattan.

If you have a money question for Susan, email us at

This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.


A visit with CorCell

By Posted on 0 Comments1min read485 views

This past Wednesday we had the honor of being invited over to CorCell a subsidiary or Cord Blood America to talk with Dr. Jerry Oneil and Natalie Curry. Dr. Oneil was kind enough to take us threw a brief showing of the facility and what they offer to cord blood banking parents. I know little on the subject, however I have to say meeting these people and hearing their stories really was great!

We also got to have a one on one interview with Natalie Curry, she’s the official spokes person for CorCell and one of the first people EVER to have a successful cord blood transplant. Natalie has some pretty inspirational things to say and I can’t wait to talk more with her in the future. Check out her website here at

Also anyone out there with friends or family who may be expecting, if you’re looking into Cord Blood Banking for your family, CorCell has extended a fantastic offer to any Healthy Belly members! So encourage them to sign up today before the offer expires and they receive $200 off their cord blood service!!

I’ll have a video to post soon so stay tuned 🙂