Monday, December 22, 2014

Last Minute Shoppers: Toys R Us is open 24 hours

Toys 'R Us knows you all will be doing last minute shopping so they are open around the clock!!  That's right! 24-hours!!

Beginning 6am Tuesday, December 23 and continuing through 9pm Christmas Eve, Toys“R”Us stores will be open around the clock, except stores in Paramus, NJ. In addition, from Saturday, December 20 through Monday, December 22, stores will remain open from 6am until 2am, except stores in Fargo, ND, Paramus, NJ and Puerto Rico. All store hours can be found online at

Happy shopping!


Ashlee Simpson & Evan Ross (Diana's Son) expecting first child

Congrats to singer Ashlee Simpson and her new husband, singer/actor  Evan Ross on expecting their first child together, E!Online confirms.

The couple tied the know this Summer on August 21st and are the union of two musical families. Simpson's sister is Jessica Simpson and Ross's mom is the legendary Diana Ross. 

This baby will have Ashlee's 6-year old son, Bronx, from a marriage with rocker Pete Wentz for a big brother. 

A couple of personal observations: With Ashlee'schin cleft and Ross looking the way he does, am I the only one who thinks this baby will look like Michael Jackson? 

Two: Pete and Evan both have black moms and white dads. Just random. Ashlee has a type! LOL! j/k! 

Congrats to the happy couple! 

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Study: Men lose testosterone during partner's pregnancy

It used to be that once a woman became pregnant, her husband’s job was basically done. Besides helping her through the pregnancy, as any proper man would, he remained the same physically, emotionally, and biologically. Now, we know things are a little different. Some research has shown men’s hormone levels change with the birth of a baby, but according to a new study from the University of Michigan, these changes may occur before the baby’s even born.

“Our findings suggest these changes may begin… during the transition to fatherhood,” said study author Dr. Robin Edelstein, from the university’s Department of Psychology, in a press release. The study was published in the American Journal of Human Biology.

Edelstein and her team conducted four tests on the saliva of 29 couples expecting their first babies. The tests took place throughout the pregnancy period, at 12, 20, 28, and 36 weeks. The team was specifically looking at levels of testosterone, cortisol (the stress hormone), estradiol (a form of estrogen), and progesterone (another female hormone). They found that as pregnancy progressed, all four hormone levels increased in women, however, in men, both cortisol and progesterone levels remained the same while estradiol and testosterone levels decreased.

“We don’t know yet exactly why men’s hormones are changing,” Edelstein said. “These changes could be a function of physiological changes that men experience as they prepare to become fathers, changes in their romantic relationships, or even physical changes that men experience along with their pregnant partners.”  

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Get Carrie Underwood Ombre Maternity Style

We absolutely enjoy Carrie Underwood's ombre styling that not only includes cascading top to bottom shading of dark to light in her hair but also her clothes. 

We noticed the trending look at least twice this first pregnancy of the mutli-award winning artist:

More recently, while rocking a black Alice+Olivia jacket up and gold pants on the bottom, accented with L'Dezen by Payal Shah bracelets and some fab Carmen Steffens velour pumps. 

We saw the ombre look again in that Alice+Olivia coat she wore to the Veterans' Day concert in Washington DC lasts month. 

Get the Look!

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10 Nanny Holiday Gift Ideas

When the winter gift-giving holidays roll around, it’s natural to want to show your appreciation for everything that your nanny does by presenting her with a thoughtful gift to mark the occasion. Determining what the best gift is, however, isn’t always easy. These 10 gift ideas can help simplify the task of choosing a holiday gift for your children’s caregiver, making it easier to show how much you appreciate her dedication to your family.

  1. Spa Packages – Even if your children are particularly well-behaved, the tasks that come with keeping them safe and healthy every day can be a bit draining. Purchasing a spa package, massage, facial or other pampering gift for your nanny will not only allow her to indulge in a relaxing afternoon so that she can return to her duties recharged and ready to go, but also sends her the message that you’re well aware of just how hard she works and how much she deserves to relax.
  2. Restaurant Gift Certificates – Presenting your nanny with gift certificates to a favorite restaurant is a great way to ensure that she gets real enjoyment out of your gift, and that it’s something she can use purely for her own enjoyment.
  3. Plane Tickets – If your nanny lives far away from her own family and loved ones, few gifts are likely to be as treasured and as appreciated as plane tickets to visit them. Because plane fare can be prohibitively expensive on a nanny’s relatively small budget, this token of your appreciation is a powerful way of showing how much you care, and can allow her to spend some much-needed time with those that she loves most during the holidays.
  4. Collectible Items – The thing about collections is that they’re almost never quite finished. If your nanny actively collects a specific item or variations on a specific theme, she may appreciate a well-chosen addition to that collection more than an impersonal offering.
  5. Gifts Handmade by the Children – Including a card or two made by your children, or another gift crafted with love and their own little hands, is an effective way of ensuring that holiday gifts are personal and designed to show how much she means to your family.
  6. Wish List Items – If you listen closely, you may find that your nanny inadvertently drops hints about things that she would like in daily conversation. Pay close attention to the things that she says and you may be able to determine exactly what she’d like best just by gleaning details from your talks.
  7. “Splurge” Items – An effective “splurge” gift is a somewhat frivolous, self-indulgent item that your nanny would never buy for herself. These gifts can be among the best, as they’re things that provide real enjoyment but may be beyond a nanny’s relatively meager budget and things that she can’t justify incurring such an expense for. If there’s room in your budget for a fairly high-ticket item and you truly want to show your appreciation, this might be the best route.
  8. Pre-Paid Debit Cards – Some people, nannies included, are simply inscrutable and thus a bit difficult to purchase gifts for. In such occasions, slipping a pre-paid debit card into her stocking or a holiday card might be the only solution. This can seem a bit impersonal, however, so it’s best to choose this option as a last resort.
  9. Extra Paid Vacation Time – There’s no such thing as too much paid vacation time, so awarding your nanny with a few additional days to herself without worries about budget constraints due to lost wages just may be one of the most treasured gifts you could give her. A bit of unexpected extra vacation time may also compliment a gift of plane tickets to visit her family very, very well.
  10. Holiday Bonus – The traditional gift of a holiday bonus is one that never goes out of style. If you do choose to award your nanny with a holiday bonus in lieu of a gift, however, be sure that it’s fully tax compliant in order to avoid any nasty surprises from the IRS.
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Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard welcome 2nd daughter, Delta Bell

Congratulations are in order for Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell on the birth of their second child together, Delta Bell Shepard.

Yestrday, Friday December 19, the couple announced the birth separately on Twitter:

New dad again and The Parenthood star tweeted, “Delta Bell Shepard is here. She doesn’t look like either Kristen or me, but we’re gonna keep her anyway,” the proud papa announced.

Bell followed up with an equally fun announcement which featured a baby and mama gorilla. 

“The estrogen has now hit critical mass! Good luck, Dax. And welcome to the world DELTA BELL SHEPARD,” the actress tweeted.

Baby Delta joins big sister Lincoln, 21 months. The couple announced the baby news this past July

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Study: Spoiling your children with gifts create materialistic adults

Before you spoil your kids rotten this holiday gift giving season, consider a new study which found that loading up your children with material possessions may set them up for failure as adults. 

The study from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois at Chicago found that parents who use material goods as part of their parenting techniques may be setting children up for difficulties later in adulthood.

“Our research suggests that children who receive many material rewards from their parents will likely continue rewarding themselves with material goods when they are grown—well into adulthood – and this could be problematic,” said Marsha Richins, Myron Watkins distinguished professor of marketing in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at MU. “Our research highlights the value of examining childhood circumstances and parenting practices to understand consumer behaviors of adults.”

Richins, who completed the study with Lan Chaplin, associate professor of marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Business Administration, found that three parenting strategies led to greater materialism:
  • Rewarding children with gifts when they have accomplished something, such as making the soccer team or getting straight As.
  • Giving gifts as a way to show affection.
  • Punishing children by taking away their possessions, such as a favorite toy or video game.

When parents use material goods in these ways, their children, when grown, are on average more likely to believe that success in life is defined by the quality and number of material goods an individual owns or that acquiring certain products will make them more attractive. 

According to Richins, previous research has shown that adults who define themselves or others by their possessions are at a much higher risk for marital problems, gambling, financial debt and decreased well-being. Materialism also contributes to environmental degradation due to overconsumption and waste of goods.

“Loving parents tend to provide their children with material rewards,” Richins said. “One explanation for the link between material rewards and later materialism is that children who receive these rewards are more likely than others to use possessions to define and enhance themselves, an essential element of materialism.”

Other aspects of parenting also can have an effect on the development of an adult’s attitude toward material goods. For example, the researchers also found that a relationship existed between parental rejection and materialism. Children who felt that their parents either did not have time for them or were disappointed in them were more likely to be materialistic. Additionally, adults who received both material rewards and material punishments as children are more likely to admire people with expensive possessions.

“It’s OK to want to buy things for your children, but remember to encourage them to be grateful for all the people and things they have in their lives,” Chaplin said. “Each time children express their gratitude, they become more aware of how fortunate they are, which paves the way for them to be more generous and less materialistic. Spend time with your children and model warmth, gratitude and generosity to help curb materialism.”

In their study, Richins and Chaplin surveyed more than 700 adults. The researchers asked respondents to report on a variety of childhood circumstances, their relationship with their parents, and the rewards and punishments they received during three critical stages of childhood.

The study, “Material Parenting: How the Use of Goods in Parenting Fosters Materialism in the Next Generation,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Jessica Biel's pregnancy confirmed by Justin's ex bandbate Joey Fantone

Joey Fantone confirmed confirmed weeks of speculation that actress Jessica Biel is pregnant with her husband Justin Timberlake's first child.

"He told me a while ago, and I kept my mouth shut," Fatone recently told InTouch. "But now I can talk about it!"

The ex N'Sync bandmember added, "Jessica is awesome, and Justin is a kid at heart...[They'll have] fun."


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Friday, December 19, 2014

Eco-Friday: Alternative Holiday Gift Guide #GiftsWithACause

This holiday gift giving season as you are out and about shopping for commercial goods to give to family and friends, consider also gifting some alternative charitable goodies that can benefit impoverished people in America or other parts of the world.

Since 1996, the World Vision Gift Catalog has been offered to shoppers a selection of hand-crafted objects made in or inspired by the areas of the world the organization services. Last year, World Vision helped 822,000 people thought its catalog. 

In exchange for a specific donation, shoppers receive a gift for themselves or to give to someone else for the holidays, a birthday or some other occasion. 

The 64-year old old organization started out in 1950 aimed at helping orphans worldwide and now it focuses on poverty and injustice issues with 83% of its operating expenses going for programs to benefit children, families and communities in need. Only 5% of its 2013 expenses went to operational costs and 12% to fundraising.... for sending Bloggers like me a sample of an item from its catalog in exchange for sharing with our audiences about this option. 

The lovely African Soapstone Box I received is perfect for storing earrings.  Coated in light blue with an image of a giraffe, this ornate box features pretty details that will complement nearly any decor. Donations go toward the Kenyan artisans who crafted the box to help provide medical care for their families.  It is free with a donation of $85 to the organization. 

In addition, there are options in the gift registry that will be multiplied by matching government, corporate and foundation partners.  For example, perhaps in the name of a friend for Hanukkah, a donation gift of $25 will go towards $200 worth of supplies to help a poor family in America or a disaster relief victim. 

For those who are expecting and new parents and are grateful for being blessed with excellent healthcare and want to help mothers around the world get it too, there are options of donating towards Maternal Health in Afghanistan or a New Mother and Baby Kit

Consider checking out the catalog and donating on behalf of that person in your life who has everything! Thanks!


Keeping Balance in the Hustle and Bustle of the Holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching and we all know what happens.  We overload ourselves with plans and activities whether it involves our kids or our own friends.  Our calendars fill up with social events for which we promise to bake and help decorate for and we have to squeeze our family in there somewhere.  Basically we run around like chickens with our heads cut off.

It is so easy to become overwhelmed and even a bit depressed during the holidays even though there is so much to keep you busy and so much to be happy about.  So many of us are people pleasers.  We want to be available to help everyone!  The key is to find a balance to keep our sanity and our happiness.    
  • Make plans for what you know you can handle and avoid booking more than one event in one day. I know this is unavoidable sometimes because you do not set the date for an event.  Plan around it if possible.
  • When decorating and baking it is ok to take shortcuts.  You do not have to spend a fortune to make yummy appetizers or have a beautifully decorated home.
  • Do not be afraid to delegate some of the work out to others.  It helps take some of the stress off of you.
  • Plan on taking a day for yourself.  NO planning, baking, decorating or entertaining!  After attending all the school parties, adult parties, family get togethers you need a break!  A quiet dinner out or at home eating carry out with your husband might be a nice change of pace.  A nice quiet bubble bath can take the edge off of a busy week.
  • It is alright to say “no”.  If you feel like you are booked until the next century politely turn down the event.  People will understand.
It is important to take care of yourself during the holidays and enjoy your friends and family.  It is really hard to do that effectively when we overextend ourselves. Enjoy all of your activities this holiday season, but remember to take some time for yourself as well!

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Kimora Lee Simmons debuts her 4th pregnancy bump in Saint Barts

Paps caught Kimora Lee Simmons on a yacht in St. Bart's this week in a black bump hugging scrunching mini dress, flip flops and Jackie-O glasses.  News leaked in October that Simmons was on  her fourth pregnancy, first with her banker husband Tim Leissner in October. 

The sometimes reality TV star and Leissner have been married since February.  

The former model turned designer and fashion mogul has two daughters, 14-year old Ming and 12-yar old Aoki with first husband Russell Simmons and son, Kenzo with actor Djimon Hounsou, with whom she was married for 5 years. 

h/t Daily Mail 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Did you know Vaginal Birth Delivery envy is a thing?

Did you know vaginal birth envy is a thing?
I know because I had it. I used to get it every time I’d hear a friend delivered “naturally”. For various reasons, I delivered each of my three children, now 12, 9 and 6 1/2 via Cesarean section (C-section)
I was one of those women who read everything under the sun before having my first child. I placed a high premium on delivering vaginally as that is how our ancestors have done it for centuries before the advent of modern technology to assist with labor and delivery.
Also, going to due date forums, you meet all these women who also talk about birth plans, the optimal birthing experience with a special emphasis placed on doing it as natural as possible.
And of course, there, we’d find the occasional woman who loved her body, her lifestyle and her options and saw absolutely nothing wrong with bringing her children into the world with the most amount of assistance and pain free as possible. She was the first to tell a mom who had a c-section to buck up because at least her vajajay is still tight and intact! Woi! And everyone would tell you, it doesn’t matter how a baby got here, all that is important is that they arrived with all ten fingers and toes and were healthy.
  “All babies are natural,” they’d tell me. Yup. Yup. But still.
Notwithstanding all of that, whenever I heard news that a friend had delivered, I used to ask about the birth and would secretly wish they had to get a c-section too and when I’d learn they did not a flush of jealousy would come over me. 

It took a while, but as my kids got older and my friends stopped having babies, I eventually did get over it and no longer harbor those sinister thoughts and resentments.  I matured on the matter.
In hindsight, I can blame my conditioning, over education and deep seated passion for wanting to be old school.  I used to think that I never truly experienced birthing as God intended because I never had a vaginal birth.
Who else had vaginal delivery envy? I know I wasn't the only one. 
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