Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Today is Read Across America Day because it is Dr. Seuss’ birthday! It is also National Reading Month. Because reading is one of my hobbies (or was when I had time to do it), I want to share why you should read to your kids – at any age:

Reading... on the floor of a plane

Reading… on the floor of a plane

Four reasons why studies show reading to a newborn is beneficial:

  • While developing children’s language and communication skills, reading also helps children understand the world around them and gives context to what they see and experience. It is a way to open the world for your child.
  • While babies may not understand the concepts and story lines of books, hearing your voice is comforting and, in time, the child will find meaning in the words you are using. In fact, the more words parents use when speaking to an 8-month-old infant, the greater the size of their child’s vocabulary at age 3.
  • Reading to an infant can promote emergent literacy and language development. It helps children become familiar with books and accustomed to listening and focusing.
  • According to analyses of the PISA exam (Program for International Student Assessment), which is given to 15-year-olds worldwide, the biggest factor influencing higher scores was whether or not a child was read to on a regular basis when they were young.
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Crispy, No Mess Bacon

This may be the shortest and best post I will ever write.

bacon cooking

How to make crispy bacon… without a mess of oil splatter.

Cook it in the oven at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes.

That’s it.

Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

 

Parents: Stop putting this lesson off

My now almost two year old daughter starting swimming lessons when she was six months old. My five month old will also start young.

It’s important anywhere you live, but I believe in Florida, it’s borderline neglect if you don’t teach your child how to swim. This is my husband with our daughter at six months.

swimming

As a reporter, I covered so many drownings. One week, I did three separate ones.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.59.09 PM

Common sense tells us watching your kids around water and teaching them how to swim is important, but so many are not getting the message.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 1.00.20 PM

Here are some statistics you may not know:

FACT: About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.

FACT: Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates.

FACT: Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools.

FACT: Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects).

FACT: Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 12.58.26 PM

As far as not watching your kids around water, if you don’t know to do that – I can’t help you. But, I know swimming lessons can be expensive. I pay $20 a class which doesn’t sound bad, but after months and even years – it adds up, so here are some ways to keep your kids safe affordably:

  • Look for coupons and special seasonal deals when looking for a pool to take swimming lessons
  • If you have a pool, watch some youtube videos on the most effective ways to teach your child how to swim and become the teacher yourself
  • Join local Facebook mom and family groups and start a discussion about a cost-effective way to teach your kids how to swim
  • Check with your city, county or local organizations like the Drowning Prevention Coalition for free class vouchers

*Statistics from the CDC

*Graphics from poolsafety.org

Six Things I Learned in my 1st Year of Blogging

I am learning so much from my friends in the media business who also blog. One of those friends, who is an amazing blogger, is Lauren Smith Berger. Her blog, Working Mom Magic is awesome! Since I’m in my first year, I was dying to read these tips from her and think they are important to share, so here ya go! (…and I am accomplishing #6 right now!) Thanks Lauren!

Six Things I Learned in my 1st Year of Blogging

6 things I've learned in my first year of blogging

I can’t believe its been a year since I started consistently blogging! As I mentioned in my Best of 2014 post, I started this blog when I was pregnant with Mila… wrote a few posts and then didn’t write again for an entire year. (here’s that post from last Feb)

Going into this, I knew content was king, but there are so many other factors I had NO CLUE about. I have learned so much this past year, I couldn’t possibly write them ALL down, but I did narrow it down.

Here are 6 things I learned in my first year of blogging:

  1. Comparison is the thief of all joy: This is true in life, and in the blogging world as well. When I first started blogging I was SHOCKED by how many others were out there. I had a few blogs I enjoyed reading before I even got into all this, but beyond that I had no clue. I used to think, “I can’t compare to this other fancy site… or those professional-looking pictures… ” It can be overwhelming to see what’s out there, but try not to let it get to you. There is enough room for everyone!
  2. Some people won’t get it: So what is a blog? What do you write about? Who reads it? Just a small sampling of the questions I was asked when I started blogging. (and sometimes still get asked today) I know a lot of my friends have no idea why I blog, and that’s okay.
  3. Be careful with sponsored posts: Once your blog starts getting popular, you will likely start getting offers to write paid posts. I got a lot of offers in a short amount of time. I was so shocked that people wanted to pay me *AND* give me free stuff on top of it, that I accepted almost everything. It was a HUGE mistake. I had a few weeks where I had a TON of sponsored posts, many on a strict deadline. The whole thing stressed me out. Now I am super picky when accepting sponsored posts and I am much happier.
  4. It’s blogging, not rocket science: Blogging is a way for you to express yourself. No one can write a post exactly like you… which is good, since there is a big chance you will be writing about stuff that other people have touched on before. For me, since I am a ‘mommy blogger’ this is particularly true. There are only so many mommy-related topics out there. We all talk about basically the same stuff… parenting, potty training, crafts, pacifiers, bullying… it’s rare to have a post on a topic that hasn’t been done in some form or fashion.
  5. You will get stressed out: Blogging is a lot of work. Writing, pictures, editing, promoting on social media… it is more work then I ever thought it would be. I really love doing it, so most of the time, it doesn’t feel like work. But there have been a few times when it did. So I took a break. When I have nothing to write about, or I don’t feel like being on social media… I will give myself a week off. I have done that two times so far and felt much better afterwards.
  6. Find other bloggers: This is probably the most important. There is an amazing community of bloggers out there. I didn’t realize that going into it. I have met so many awesome women through my blog and it is a very important factor if you want to grow. I love sharing great content from other sites, and in return, they share my stuff when it is something they really like. I met most of these women through SITS girls, I highly recommend all bloggers check them out.

So there you go! I still have much more to learn, especially on the technical side. SEO, photography, graphics… I could go on and on. Right now, I am just going to focus on writing posts that make me happy & hope the rest will just fall into place!

Visit Lauren’s blog Working Mom Magic by clicking here!

5 Steps to lose Weight in 2015

I’m sharing this post from a friend Nicole McGregor who writes on One Picky Chick – a great blog! Like me, she was also a TV reporter 🙂

Her headline:

Losing weight is easy… If you follow these 5 steps. Period.

lose weight
 
This subject is so overdone on blogs, television shows, magazines… especially in January.  So why am I doing it?  I just thought I’d lend my two cents to the matter. Which may be exactly how much it’s worth by the way!  Yes, this month is the time to make a fresh start – change things, be better, get healthy,  lose weight.  Sometimes, losing major poundage can take over your life.  It can seem like a daunting task… But does it have to be?  Maybe not.

It’s a fact that many people have an unhealthy relationship with food.  They eat when they’re bored, eat when they’re upset, eat for comfort, eat when they shouldn’t.  That means unwanted calories which makes your pants too tight which, in turn, makes you feel unhappy because you don’t look good.  It’s a vicious cycle, so get out of it. Now, I’m no expert but I would say thinning down may be easier than you think.  If you actually start thinking, the right way, about it.These 5 steps can slim you down and keep the weight off… but you have to do things differently than you have been – period.  Here we go.When I was in my teens and 20’s I would say, while I was a fine weight, I weighed a bit too much.  It really struck me when I was packing for a trip and trying on bathing suits. My friend (and producer of my morning show at the time) was with me and when I tried on my suit she looked at me, wrinkled her nose and said, “hmmmm… I thought you would look different in a swim suit!”  I was a little ticked but then I kind of agreed too.  I should look better in a suit.  Things kind of changed after that… I was very used to eating breakfast-lunch-dinner everyday and then getting up and doing it all over again but did I need to?  Was I truly hungry that often?  The answer was no.  It was just what I was “supposed” to do.  So rule number one is simply:

1. Eat when you’re hungry.  Not when you’re supposed to…
 
I often forget to eat… because I’m not hungry.  My body will tell me when it’s time to eat.  But I can tell you it’s not as frequent as most people.  I’m convinced the body just doesn’t need that much.  And once you stop eating less, you need less.  The stomach gets smaller and it needs less to feel full.  Sometimes I eat my own dinner and other times I just eat what my kids don’t.  They call me the garbage disposal!
2. Don’t buy what you shouldn’t eat
 
This one is crazy simple.  Go to the grocery store, buy fruit, veggies, cereal, milk, cheese… whatever you need but skip the chips you can’t stop eating… having them in your pantry will only tempt you.  Don’t  have them there.  Don’t buy pasta and breads, to many carbs, no pay off.  Eat proteins.  Eat greens.  Limit sugar.  Drink water.  See, easy.  Your body will crave what you give it.  Give it carbs and it wants more.  Give it a salad and it wants more.  I absolutely crave salads almost everyday.  But I rarely crave French fries.  So buy what you want to eat and nothing else.  An unexpected positive from this is the money you’ll save:  junk food can be incredibly expensive!  And you don’t need it.  This next step may be the most important:
3. Walk your heinie off
 
Literally.  When I was in college and wanted to lose weight before my graduation and trip to Hawaii I started walking.  Every morning.  About an hour.  My butt and legs tightened up like cheeks after a face lift.  I was in business.  Other positives about walking:  it’s free.  That’s huge.  Nothing in life is free – but walking is!  You can also multi-task when you walk.  I call all my friends.  Great time to keep in touch.  I text, update my to-do list, schedule things in my calendar.  I walk with my 3 year old.  It’s even more challenging that way plus it’s an activity we do together. He loves it too! But, for the record, you have to start this early on in their lives (like as babies) or you’ll never get them to stay in a stroller for an hour long walk.

This is us walking in the rain.  Not something we experience too often in the desert! We had so much fun on this day!

So the amount of things I get done while I exercise, besides just exercising, is amazing… rather than “wasting” 2 hours in the gym I feel like I have accomplished much more!  Some of you may say, I live in freezing cold weather and there’s no way I can walk right now – I feel ya – because during the Summer, in Arizona, walking is not an option.  Too hot.  But guess what is?  Lifting weights.  Inside.
 
4. Lift freaking heavy weights
 
This does require a gym of some kind which does cost money, sorry, but it’s worth it.  I’ve been doing this for about 15 years now.  I started when I decided I need something more.  I was skinny but with no real definition in the arms especially.  I started doing something called “Super Slow” which requires you do just as the name says:  lift (really heavy) weights… super slow.  You won’t hurt yourself and you’ll gain muscle faster than other strategies.  It’s just 10 seconds up, 10 second down. TRT of only about 3 minutes per weight.  I only go once a week for about 30 minutes, tops.   In, out and on to better things.  There are gyms that do this almost everywhere but if you can’t find one… it can be accomplished on your own.  Bottom line, lift weights that are heavy but do it slow and until you “fail”… you will gain muscle which will eat the fat that surrounds it and ultimately get skinnier.  That leads to my last tip…
5. Don’t EVER get on a scale
 
Never.  Under any circumstances.  Unless you’re at the doctor’s office and even then, don’t look at the numbers.  Because who cares what you weigh?  The numbers lie.  If you gain muscle weight lifting, which you will, and the scale goes from 150 to 152 you’re going to flip out.  But you shouldn’t because muscle weighs more than fat and you will look better.  I never get on the scale and just refer to how my clothes fit… if they fit tight then it’s time to eat one less slice of pizza or drink one less glass of vino! Scales are evil.And that is all.  5 steps to a skinner, healthier you.  For most of you, not all.  I realize there are some who have other issues that may make the 5 steps above not work, i.e.: hormones, thyroid, genes… these are all very valid and possible situations.  And they should be considered too.  But for the rest of us I truly believe losing weight, staying healthy, being “skinny” could be a lot easier than most think.  As long as we change the way we THINK about it.  Now get out there… and start walking!

Who cares about the best picture? I care about the best dressed!

I don’t think I’ve seen any of the movies nominated for Oscars. Between work, kids, and everything else to do – I just haven’t gotten around to it (and I don’t really care.) What I do care about is the red carpet and what these women are wearing.

Right off the bat, my favorites were the girls on E! I loved what Kelly Osbourne, Catt Sadler and Giuliana Rancic were wearing. The best dressed were the ones talking about the best dressed!

E! Women on the Oscar 2015 Red Carpet

My other top picks: Rosamund Pike and Jennifer Aniston

Rosamund Pike Oscar 2015 red Carpet Jennifer Aniston Oscars 2015 Red Carpet

Some other notable ones: Jamie Chung, Dakota Johnson, Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Saldana, Robin Roberts, Nancy O’Dell, Tracy Edmonds, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson

Jamie Chung Oscars 2015 Red Carpet Dakota Johnson Oscars 2015 Reese Witherspoon Oscars 2015 Zoe Saldana Oscars 2015 Robin Roberts Oscars 2015 red Carpet Nancy O'Dell Oscars 2015 Red Carpet Tracey Edmonds Oscars 2015 Red Carpet Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars 2015 Red Carpet Scarlett Johansson Oscars 2015 Red Carpet

Not a fan of these: Sienna Miller (Amish? 6th grade dance?) Kerry Washington (mother of the bride?) Marion Cotillard (the back, WTF is that?!)

Sienna Miller Oscars 2015 Kerry Washington Oscars 2015

Marion Cotillard Oscars 2015 red Carpet Marion Cotillard Oscars Red Carpet 2015 - back

Then, there’s this: Jennifer Lopez and Robert Duvall’s wife… Oops!

Jennifer Lopez and Robert Duvall's wife

Kim Kardashian – the 24/7 mom?

Kim tweetOh, where do I begin? Most of us can agree with this fun “just a mom” post. But I didn’t post it. You didn’t post it. Kim Kardashian did. I don’t know her personally, but I’m going to assume some things she isn’t doing on a day to day basis like the rest of us middle-class, non sex tape making working moms. I work 40+ hours a week, away from home, away from my kids to be all these things. I’m sure she pays for a lot of these things. I’m not saying if you’re rich, you’re not a good mom or an important mom or anything like that. But if you do have millions, I’m sure things are a tad easier and less stressful. Want me to prove it? Give me a lot of money so I don’t have to rush to and from work all day everyday and I’ll let you know how it goes 😉

Plus, Kim Kardashian posted this, so that just makes it so much more fun. It wouldn’t be worth a blog post if it were posted by Reese Witherspoon or Kate Middleton, but it’s Kim K., so this is my “I honestly know nothing” opinion of what Kim Kardashian does/doesn’t do on a daily basis as a mom:

Alarm Clock – maybe 

Cook – doubt it

Maid – really doubt it (because if I had a fraction of Kim K.’s money, I’d have a maid myself)

Waitress – doubt it

Teacher – maybe

Nurse – doubt it

Referee – doubt it

Handyman – really doubt it

Security Officer – doubt it

Photographer – yes, but only if it’s a selfie

Counselor – maybe

Chauffeur – really doubt it

Event Planner – doubt it

Hairdresser – seriously? Kim doesn’t even do her own hair

Personal Assistant – doubt it

ATM – obviously

Scare away the boogie man – maybe

Don’t get paid holidays, sick pay or days off – this is somewhat laughable

I work day and night – still laughing

With that said, believe it or not, I actually do like Kim Kardashian… kind-of. (But my favorite sister is Khloe.)