Friday, February 27, 2015

Earth Day: Eco-Friendly Celebrity moms who do good for earth


Earth Day is a month away! 

For this edition of Eco-Friday, we are going to highlight some of our fave Bellyitch Bumpwatch moms who have shown they have a commitment to the earth and helping others overcome natural disasters.

Jessica Alba co-founded an eco-friendly baby company, the Honest Company, which makes earth friendly products.

Drew Barrymore, actress, author and entrepreneur is known to be a flower child and recently she launched an eco-friendly and affordable make up line called Flower Beauty. 
 has also just launched Flower Beauty, a new makeup line that is eco friendly.

Beyonce Knowles has worked with Second Harvest food bank network and with her husband Jay-Z founded United Nation's Water for Life, an organization devoted to giving people worldwide access to clean drinking H2O. 

Gisele Bundchen, international Brazilian model, has been involved in plenty of earth conscious programs and events over the years. She and husband Tom Brady.  is involved with programs that re-plant trees and lives in a 22,000 square foot eco-friendly green mansion with solar panel roofs and a rainwater recovery systems. 

Hilary Duff is involved with USA Harvest a non-profit that collects surplus from area restaurants for homeless, missions and soup kitchens and has donated millions of dollars in  meals to the homeless. 

Hayden Panettiere, Nashville actress,volunteers to register youth to vote and works with programs to help wild sea creatures including dolphins and other endangered wildlife. 

Kelly Preston , with her husband John Travolta, Preston is famously known for donating their private jet to fly in loads of supplies and medicine to the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area during Hurricane Katrina.  

Alicia Silverstone is a vegan who has worked often with PETA and helped promote its campaigns. Silverston also lives in a very cool eco-friendly house.










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Google launches new YouTube App just for little kids




Each of my kids have been addicted to YouTube and YouTube videos beginning at age 6, but as a parent I am always concerned that they could easily navigate away from family-friendly cartoons and mine-craft play and onto the more nefarious and R-rated content that can be found freely on the social media video sharing site. 

Good news! Google has built, from the ground up, the first ever YouTube Kids app for kids ages 2-8. It's available for FREE in the Google Play and Apple Store in the United States now.

The app features a fun, bright and playful design and is packed and pre-loaded with age-appropriate videos, channels and playlists. To add an educational component, there is also a focus on early literacy. The icons are larger, bolder and brighter to appeal to young audiences.

And parents remain in control with its parental control options:

o    Timer: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that limits kids’ screen time. The app alerts them when the session is over so you don’t have to.
o    Sound Settings:  Parents have an option to turn off background music and sound effects, so your kids can keep watching quietly while you catch up on chores or simply take a break in peace.
o    Search Settings: If you’d rather limit your children to just the pre-selected videos available on the home screen, you can turn off the search feature.
o    Product feedback: The goal is to continuously  improve YouTube Kids App, so there’s also a space for you to give YouTube your feedback.

Sweet! The app has different categories, depending on the interest of each kid in your family. I have a nature and animal lover, a tech kid and a pony and little figurine fan. 

Among the favorites are: Jim Henson TV, Mother Goose Club, Talking Tom and Friends, National Geographic Kids, Reading Rainbow and Thomas the Tank Engine, and discover new videos coming soon from beloved YouTubers like the Vlogbrothers and Stampylonghead.

It was great to see that a non-profit watchdog group I know and love has also approved and highly recommends it!
Common Sense Media said, the app is "an exceptionally fun way for kids to browse online videos and for adults to guide their viewing."

Cool beans!

"It's a serious contender as a family's go-to way for kids to watch videos online," according to the non-profit organization which provides education and advocacy to families to promote safe technology and media for children. "There's something for everyone on YouTube Kids. Toddlers to big kids will be able to find a show, some music, or some educational content that fits their interests."

Check it out, friends! Here is a promo vid:

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Molly Sims' fab Oscar after-party look (Get the LOOK)


File this in the category: Missed from Oscar red carpet coverage. 

Second-time mom-to-be Molly Sims also wowed in a gorgeous blue sequin evening dress by wedding gown designer EZRA Couture at the Vanity Fair after Oscar party.

Her fab team of stylists paired the look with a Salvatore Ferragamo  clutch, and jewels from Sutra. Great look! 

Sims and her husband Scott Stuber are expecting their second child, together. They have a 2-year old son Brooks.


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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Home employers 2015 tax guide (INFOGRAPHIC)


It's tax season once again. Families that hire others in their home may want to start gathering information about recent updates in the tax codes as it relates to being an in-home employer.

For example, the mileage reimbursement was raised to 57.5 cents per mile, and the for the first time, employees who purchase health insurance policies through the exchange will be eligible for a federal subsidy.

Also, the IRS has ruled that a mobile for a caregiver is not tax deductable.

Our friends at Care.com's Home Pay have created an infographic listing other need-to-know rules for household employers for 2015:


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Celebrity Social Media Pregnancy Announcements Guide...More


I saw that Yahoo! Celebrity did a post sharing some of the best celebrity pregnancy announcements.

I thought it was cute how the site pointed out the 5 different ways that celebrity women have used social media to announce their respective pregnancies as opposed to going the traditional route of having a publicist send it to US Weekly or PEOPLE magazine:

1. bun in oven; 2. Use a younger sibling to make the announcement; 3. letting the bump do the talking; 4. Just get to the point and make it direct; and 5. through a beautiful silhouette on a personal website.

Here are some other celeb announcements styles that Yahoo! Missed! 



The Ultrasound shared in social media is also a very common but still cute announcement that several celebrities have used like Danielle and Nick Jonas, for example.
The Spaghetti Prego announcement like NFL's Torrey Smith and his wife.  At this point, it's becoming a bit cliche though given how many people in Pinterest have used that announcement format.

The younger kid making an announcement using a chalkboard like Miami Heat's Chris Bosh  of the NBA and his wife, Adrienne, who used their son Jackson  to announce his sister.


Showing the pregnancy test stick is also a trend like how Tamera Mowry-Housley and Busy Phillips did.
But one of the still most popular way is the cupping the belly red carpet reveal like with Beyonce, Amber Rose, Marion Cotillard, and Gwen Stefani.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Louboutin who? Jimmy Choo and Monolo Blahnik make a red carpet comeback


It's probably safe to assume that Zuhair Murad made a splash at this year's Academy Awards, outfitting many celebrity women including Anna Farris, Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Jennifer Aniston among others.


Besides this design house's red  carpet  success, I've noticed a resurgence of women wearing Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik pumps too this award season. The two lines feature low heeled and delicate architecture, and were once made popular by Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrie Bradshaw on the hit HBO  series Sex in the City. She craved them and would forgoe eating and paying rent to get her hands on the coveted shoes. 

But with Christian Louboutin becoming a recent hit, the old faves of the late 90s had all but disappeared at high society events.

It's refreshing to see more shoes with more sensible heights for moms and moms-to-be make a comeback! 


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5 Reasons Kids Should Play Organized Sports



In the past 30 years, obesity has more than doubled in young children and quadrupled in adolescents, potentially leading to a host of chronic diseases later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Conversely, the CDC reports that regular physical activity provides a long list of physical benefits for children, but that’s not all. Daily exercise also promotes mental and emotional well-being that includes self-esteem.

“By now, I don’t think anyone is surprised that regular exercise is good for children and inactivity is places them at risk for illnesses later in life, but when you take a moment to consider the data in-depth for children who exercise and play organized sports, the details of a child’s future come to life,” says Danyel Surrency Jones, president of Power To Give and co-founder of Powerhandz Inc., (powerhandz.com), a company specializing in athletic training products to improve performance in baseball, basketball and football.

Danyel and her business partner and husband, Darnell Jones, a former professional basketball player who also co-founded Powerhandz, want kids in their community and beyond to benefit from the values learned from youth sports. That’s why they created the Power To Give program, which promotes positive development.

“We believe in the power of sports to change a kid’s life for the better,” says Darnell, who lists five significant benefits of youth sports.

1. Cultivates a positive attitude: Sports are demanding. Come game time, a young athlete wouldn’t last long with a negative mindset. “Practice is no cakewalk either,” Darnell says. “As adults, we understand the need to hype ourselves before hitting the gym. The rewarding feeling we get walking out from the gym is similar to what young people feel after a game or tough practice.”

2. Offers a sense of accomplishment, confidence and self-esteem: As the CDC noted, simply being physically active builds self-esteem. We are physical beings who are not meant to sit in front of a videogame for several consecutive hours. “Again, if you’re a physically active adult, you feel that sense of accomplishment in outdoing your last performance at the gym,” Danyel says. “Kids feel a similar way learning new skills and succeeding in a game, except more so.”

3. Builds better peer relationships: Kids want to fit in, but it’s not always easy. Organized sports hurdles the high wall of social awkwardness so many children feel. Team sports such as baseball, basketball and football demand participants to work together for a common goal, which is a valuable lesson some adults still haven’t learned while interacting at work.

4. More restraint in avoiding risky behavior: Ideally, parents can get their children engaged – in anything that’s productive, really . Bored or disengaged children have a way of getting into trouble. A student is less likely to misbehave in class or break the law if it means getting kicked off the team of a sport they love.

5. Greater family attachment and frequent interactions with parents: Famous athletes say it all the time, “Thanks Mom. Thanks for driving me to and from practice, and thanks for showing up at the games.” And that doesn’t even count helping a child with actual practice – playing catch, squaring off one-on-one, etc.

About Danyel Surrency Jones and Darnell Jones

Danyel Surrency Jones is COO and Co-Founder of Powerhandz Inc., (powerhandz.com), which specializes in performance-enhancing training products for athletes. Danyel is a business leader who led sales and marketing departments for over 17 years, sat on non-for-profit boards and invested in early stage companies. Darnell Jones is an entrepreneur and investor, athlete and sales professional. Before cofounding Powerhandz, he was a team captain and academic all-conference basketball player at Mesa State College before he went on to play for the Utah Eagles of the former Continental Basketball Association. Danyel and Darnell created the Power To Give- Building Character Through Athletics, which help fund athletic programs in financially challenged communities.
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Bump Watch: Naya Rivera, Lisa Stelly, Shakira, Kelly Clarkson


What's going around the bump world these days? Check out these updates being reported in various blogs and celeb websites:

Glee's Naya Rivera and husband Ryan Dorsey are expecting their first child. (US Weekly)

Lisa Stelly and Jack Osbourne are expecting a second child after a mid-term loss (Celebrity Baby Scoop)

Shakira talks her World Baby Shower (US Weekly)

Alfonso Ribiero and wife attend Focus movie premiere (Black Celebrity Kids)

Kelly Clarkson hated pregnancy. (Daily Mail)


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10 ways to prepare your baby for getting shots


Your child has a date with the family doctor, for a vaccination. Perhaps it’s time for flu shots. Even if you don’t have an appointment scheduled now, eventually she is going to have to face the needle; something neither of you is looking forward to. So what is the best way to prepare her for it? Here are 10 tips for preparing your child for a shot:
  1. Hypnosis – For truly phobic young patients, hypnosis has been a successful means of treatment. The children eventually overcome their fear of getting shots. Make sure you find a licensed provider and are aware that this therapy does not work for everyone.
  2. Distraction – Anticipation makes the experience far more ominous and scary than it would otherwise be. If you can preoccupy your child just prior to administering the shot, it will take the edge off.
  3. Lidocaine – When applied to the area where the shot will be given, this medication can dull the sensation and make the shot not hurt (as much). Some doctors also use cold spray to numb the area before giving an injection.
  4. Sing – A comforting, lilting familiar voice can work some serious magic on a child’s nerves. The sound of their mother’s voice literally has a soothing physiological effect on children, reducing the heart rate and lowering anxiety levels.
  5. Discuss, don’t dwell – Explain to your child what you will doing at the doctor’s office, including the shot. Focus more on the check-up and other factors, and maintain an upbeat tone. If you dread it, so will they.
  6. Surprise – Alternately, you can opt to avoid any discussion about the shot itself, to alleviate any anxiety if your child is prone to worrying. Tell them just before the shot happens so they have a little time to mentally prepare, however.
  7. Bring a Game – Provide some entertainment as a distraction and to keep your child in good spirits prior to the shot. The less they think about it, the less it will hurt.
  8. Bring Fun Bandages – Let him pick out some Scooby-Doo or Sponge Bob bandages and make preparation for the shot a fun experience.
  9. Read a book – Better yet, have your child read a book aloud, and get immersed in an enjoyable story. Like a game, this will help them keep their mind off the shot and lessen their anxiety.
  10. Educate – Tell your child about vaccines, illnesses, and why it’s important to have shots on occasion. The more they know about the importance, the more likely they are to stay strong and suffer without complaint when the time comes. After all, even a child knows it is better to hurt a little now than be sick for a long time later.
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Two Studies this week extol the virtue of exposing kids to germs


Two new studies were released this week that addressed those uber cautious new parents who go above and beyond to protect their babies from dirt, germs and potentially dangerous foods to the point they end up contributing to their children developing dangerous allergies. 

One study found that parents who give their children peanut products early in life can prevent them from becoming allergic to peanuts. The trial was done on 600 babies worldwide with high risk of developing a peanut allergy. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Currently, about 400,000 US children have peanut allergies, CNN  reports

A separate Swedish study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who lived in homes where the dishes were washed by hand were less likely to develop allergic asthma or eczema compared to children living in homes with a machine dishwasher. Researchers surveyed over 1,000 families with children between the ages of 7 and 8,

Here too there is a suggestion that exposure to an array of microbes in early life helps a child develop a healthy immune system.

Both developments speak to the importance of not going overboard to shield babies and children from germs because parents may be doing them more harm than good. 
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This week's Must-Have Celeb Mom Casual Fashion Picks


I am always looking for hip, trendy, style inspiration and ideas and find it often in some of my fave celeb style icons, and not just the celeb moms either. 

For example, today, I'm crushing on Kylie Jenner's Tom Ford lace up boots and Elizabeth and James Cynnie Sling leather backpack.

I live in work-out clothes and am always in a gym or group exercise studio so Reese Witherspoon's Sweaty Betty  sports shirt is drool-worthy as are her fave current sneakers, the Nike Women's Air Zoom fElite 7 Running shoes.

The weather is supposed to be springy but it's always wet in my parts so Jessica Alba's Burbery Prorsum Belted Sateen Trench Coat looks like it' would be a God-send. 

Gwen Stefani is a soccer mom and stays comfy in sporty gear. I'm feeling her Pam & Gela Cropped Silk Pants that she wore while out and about with her boys recently. 

Finally, my girl Beyonce was giving me life in her latest upbeat and fun video for 7/11. I got to have that Suburban riot KALE sweatshirt she wore in the opening sequence to the high-energy music video. Good luck getting your hands on one because it is currently SOLD OUT!

It's not for everyone and I'm certain the Bey haters won't be feeling this video. I love it! It's old'ish tho. Check it out:

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3 Men simulate pregnancy to promo new book

Three men have willingly signed up to a month of broken sleep, irrepressible urges to dash to the toilet and aching backs in the lead up to Mother's Day in the UK on March 15.
The trio of publisher fathers in their 40s, Jason Bramley, Steve Hanson and Jonny Biggins, have donned 33-pound baby bump suits to show solidarity with expectant mothers - and help promote their latest publication, The Book of Mums.
The men have been wearing the suits, which come complete with fake breasts and are designed to put pressure on the bladder, stomach and lungs, all day and night, and are only allowed to remove them to wash.
It's given them some idea at least of the trials and tribulations of life during the third trimester of pregnancy, if their diary entries to date are anything to go by.


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