Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Get Gwen Stefani's 'The Voice' Style

We have been really digging all of the awesome, futuristic, retro and other structured and flowly looks Gwen Stefani's style team have been putting together for her this season as she sits as a season guest judge on The Voice. Her tenure marks a third Bellyitch Bumpwatch alum's role on the popular NBC singing talent competition. Christina Aguilera is an original host and Shakira has sat in Aguilera's stead in previous episodes.

After each show, Stefani shares on social media a link to her website where fans can go to to "get her look." Fun, fab and smart!

Check it out here! 

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Brown, Trayvon, Race and Parents' Responses to these Verdicts

After the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case when his killer George Zimmerman was set free, I witnessed my online and social media world split into two.

All of my friends of color, black, Hispanic and Asian, including those who were parents, expressed on their status updates and shares a lot of rage, frustration and fear for their own kids because they could empathize with Martin's parents. They didn't automatically accept Zimmerman's account of what went down either. 

Meanwhile, almost all of my white friends on all of my social media accounts (and I have plenty) were "unbothered," blissfully sharing photos of their getaway weekends, outfits planned for parties and cat jokes.  It was as if the volatile and tense moments leading up to the verdict and the verdict itself didn't matter, in their lives anyway.

Also around that same time, Glee actor Cory Montieth ended his own life via a drug overdose, a victim of years of addiction. I then watched as mournful tributes and sadness from those same parents flood my news feed and marveled at how split the world and America really is along racial lines when it comes to empathy over the death of people not from their respective, race.

This round, when I learned yesterday that Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown's killer, police officer Darren Wilson, was not indicted for the death, I expected the same division.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to see  a few Caucasian friends elevate the case on their social media accounts and one, particular influential one, let her immense followers and friends know that something isn't quite right here.  Others made bold stances to throw out their toy air rifles, perhaps in solidarity or concern and consideration of cases like a recent one in Cleveland, Ohio where a 12-year old kid playing with one at a playground was shot and killed by an officer who thought it was real.


The criminal justice system in America appears to over-police and over-enforces laws on black and Hispanic and under-police or at least serve to protect well-to-do and majority people from the intrusion into their lives  by  "undesirables" or those who "don't belong". 

It also routinely grants the benefit of the doubt, accepts the accounts of, and under-enforce the laws when the victim is a black youth at the hands of a man sworn to serve and protect.

To change it up so that status quo doesn't reign and "Justice" doesn't permanently morph into "just is',' as in that's "just how it is,"  we need more fairness, equity and parity.

We can never accomplish this until the unaffected or those who benefit from the system are outraged too. 

They also can't be so willing to blame the victim, assassinate his character or accept all uncorroborated testimony suggesting the victim deserved his or her fate or did something to invoke being shot and killed, for example.  

Also, I think of a passage from writer  Calvin Hennick"7 Things I can Do that My Black Son Can't" which addresses what he learned about privilege from being in an interracial relationship which produced a bi-racial son.

Number 6 was " I Can Complain About Racism"
When I point out that black people are incarcerated at alarming rates, or largely forced to send their children to underperforming schools, or face systemic discrimination when searching for jobs and housing, no one accuses me of “playing the race card.”
So true. This why, perhaps, words of support from those unaffected hold more weight than words from those expected to be in support.

Racking my brain to find some way to explain it so more are empathetic,  I thought of analogy to present to a young mother of 3 sons who I recently had a long Twitter exchange with who asked why do Blacks protest and complain too much when it has nothing to do with them specifically. 

I wanted to, but ultimately didn't, hit her back with a school analogy so she could understand: 
Imagine you have a talkative but otherwise good child who gets disciplined often in the classroom for talking too much, to the point as soon as she walks into the classroom or opens her mouth, she is presumed to be prepped to disrupt the class with her talking and gets sent to detention. 
Eventually, she is thrown out of school, altogether for being too talkative. As a parent, you take your case to the School Board. You gladly welcome parents of other talkative kids unjustly and routinely disciplined who have expressed similar frustration with the school's disciplinary procedures and anti-talkative kid bias. As they speak up on your behalf at the school board meeting, or to send in letters of support, you would never think to say they were complaining too much or didn't deserve answers for the discriminatory policy against kids like your own. 
If you could relate to that scenario re-read it again but replace the words "loquacious" or "talkative" with "black" and "talk" with "being black."

The exercise could have helped her "get it" finally, as to why these contentious cases imbue people to rally around victims. Ultimately, it is because they can empathize and/or  relate. 

What do you think? Are we divided based on our empathy to the victims of death, irrespective of how it comes? 

Or our cultural biases slanted so we care about some deaths than others or pick sides based on the side which we think we could relate to more? 
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving arts and craft project for the kids

Want festive, homemade Thanksgiving decorations? Need an activity to keep the kids occupied? Pine cone turkeys are the solution to both of these problems. Thanksgiving pine cone turkeys are cute and simple enough that even young children will be able to make them with minimal supervision.  If you’re looking for an activity that will keep the little ones busy while you are preparing Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen, this one is definitely worth trying.

Gather supplies- A day or two before Thanksgiving, gather up all of the necessary supplies and tools and put them in a box. That way they’ll be ready to set out for the kids to work with when the time comes. You’ll need:

    Various sizes of pine cones
    Brown pipe cleaners
    Googly eyes
    Orange felt
    Safety scissors
    Paper (optional)

Create the tail- The children can create a colorful turkey tail for their pinecone by using different colored feathers.  If they want, they can dip the quill end of the feathers into some glue before poking them into the wide end of the pine cone.  The glue is optional because the feathers should stay in place if pushed all the way into the pine cone layers.  Continue to fill in the tail with feathers to make it as full as desired.

Make the head- Take the brown pipe cleaner and bend one end over to create a hook, then pinch the hook closed so that it’s shaped like a head.  Set the pipe cleaner aside.  Cut a very small triangle out of the orange felt for a beak. For young children, you may wish to do this step ahead of time. Glue the googly eyes and beak onto the shaped brown pipe cleaner and allow it to dry for a few minutes.

Attaching the head- Once the head is dry wrap the opposite end of the pipe cleaner around the pine cone until the head and neck are sticking up from the front. If the pipe cleaner is too long, cut it with the scissors or break it off by bending it back and forth at the same spot.

Adding feet- If you’d like to add feet to your turkey, you can freehand cut some feet and legs from the orange felt. Glue the legs to the underside of the pine cone with the feet sticking out in front.

Place card holders- Have the kids make enough turkeys so that each place setting has one.  Using cardstock, construction paper or any other paper you have on hand, write the names of everyone that will be attending your Thanksgiving dinner.  Lean the place cards against each turkey or stick it between the middle layers of the pine cone.  Now you have seasonal place card holders that can be used from year to year.  Or you can send the turkey pine cones home with the kids as a little party favor.

  • You can use store bought pine cones for this craft or bake gathered pine cones in the oven at 250 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure there are no bugs in the pine cones.  Do this in advance so the pine cones have plenty of time to cool.
  • If you don’t have any pipe cleaners you can glue the felt beak and googly eyes directly to the front of the pine cone.
  • If you can’t find feathers or don’t want to use them then you can use feather shaped construction paper in various fall colors.  Depending on how much space is between the layers on the pine cone you may or may not need to glue in the paper feathers.

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2014 American Music Awards: Celeb moms sizzle on the red carpet

Several of our Bellyitch Bumpwatch alums rocked the red carpet to the 2014 American Music Awards at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California.

Here's what they wore:

Christina Milian was gorge in a long black lace slip dress with a sleek back hair, hot pink lips and a delicate gold bangles. 

Jennifer Lopez showed off her svelte and hot mama bod in a satin Reem Acra dress with sparking nude Christian Louboutin pumps and Norman Silverman diamonds.

Grrrrr! Fergie was sizzling in a black belted  Halston high-split floor-length dress, accented with Loree Rodkin jewels and a super hawt pair of Versus triple clasp sandals.

Garcelle Beauvais worked the carpet in a crimson Michael Costello figure hugging halter t-neck dress, with a gold clutch and gold and black gladiator heels with  a black cuff.

Giuliana Rancic looked amaze in a one sleeve Alex Perry dress, Christian Louboutin shoes, Rauwolf clutch, Pasquale Bruni rings, and Jack Vartanian earrings.

 Heidi Klum went quirky with a criss cross pink and black Versace dress with Versace pink and blue platform heels.

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Fall Fitness: How to Wear Walking Pants

As the weather gets brisker this fall, heading to the outdoors for walks can become more exciting. Whether you've just had a baby or are still preggers, going for a brisk walk or hike is a great way to stay fit, get some air into your lungs, clear your head or meditate on projects  or ideas you're working on.

Although enjoying the great outdoors can be quite exciting, there are several accessories which will enable any journey to be safe and comfortable. A modern example can be seen in walking trousers or pants. The primary difference between these garments and normal trousers is that they use innovative materials and durable fabrics that are designed to withstand the rigors of demanding conditions. In fact, the best hiking tips will stress the use of such garments during any lengthy excursion. So, how does one wear these trousers (or shorts) and coordinate them with other accessories? 

A Choice of Fabrics

First, it is important that we appreciate the wide selection of fabrics that can be chosen. These will primarily depend upon outdoor conditions such as temperature and weather. It is obvious that heavier fabrics should be employed in colder climates and thinner varieties in warm or tropical conditions. However, we should also remember that the trousers need to be able to breathe. In other words, sweat should be wicked away from the body. Thankfully, these fabrics are designed in a number of stunning and fashionable colors; enabling you to compliment an existing wardrobe.

Loose and Secure 

To avoid chaffing and possible blisters, these trousers should never be worn too tight. While most are designed in this fashion, it is still advisable to try on a pair before making a final selection. Although the legs and inseams should be loose, the waistline needs to be sufficiently tight so the garments will not shake during a hike. While as a woman you may want to accentuate your natural contours, let's remember that safety and comfort are your two main concerns.

Matching Accessories

It is always a great idea to add a bit of style to your outdoor ensemble. Thankfully, these trousers generally display muted colors such as beige, brown or green. This will enable you to find matching shoes and coats which will further punctuate your visual appeal.

So, we can see that choosing the best type of walking trousers depends just as much upon their design as it does in regards to the accessories that can match. Thinking about these concerns beforehand will enable you to make the best selection possible.

Good luck, have fun and be safe!
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

These fans 'aint loyal: On Kate Middleton's declining popularity

Kate Middleton's second pregnancy is not as popular as her first. Perhaps the luster and glory of a new royal British baby has worn off.

Forbes Life notes that recent reports and polls  reveal that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is not as popular; has dropped to fourth in the list of favorite Royal behind Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and her husband Prince William; and is no longer considered a style icon as much as before.

The report also revealed that compared to a year ago only 6% of men surveyed would want to date her and another found that 89% of women do not want to be her. 

Rationalized, some have said women realize the intense scrutiny of her every move, every food choice, every clothing decision is too intense and not really something they'd want for their own lives. 

It's not necessarily a personal condemnation of Middleton or sign of her declining popularity but more the fact the public if falling out of love with the awe of life as a Royal. 

Read more at Forbes Life. 
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Holiday Guests are Coming: Your Housewares Checklist

As the holiday season fast approaches, many families will find themselves hosting relatives and friends inside their homes. Doing so may require them to do a inventory of their household items and stock up, where necessary, to make sure they aren't handing out raggedy towels and setting up their guests to sleep on stained linen.

Home and Garden TV (HGTV) personality Carley Knobloch offered the 6 checklist items on The Fashion Spot.

Check out the full post here

Here are some tips from our partners at Rue La La:

And the folks at Healthy Sole have something for you germaphobes who usually ask people to remove their shoes before coming into your light carpeted for freshly waxed floors.  Their HealthySole device is an elegant “first to market” device that leaves up to 99% of infectious germs at the door – not on the soles of shoes.  Step on this sleek, innovative mechanism (looks similar to a bathroom scale) that uses green UVC technology to disinfect shoes from bacteria and viruses in a little as 7 to 10 seconds. Interesting!

Good luck and Happy Shopping!

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What else 'broke the Internet' this week: Hayden Panettiere's 8-month pregnant bikini-bod

Kim Kardashian's attempt to "break the internet" was not without competition from pics from Solange Knowles wedding and paparazzi pics of an 8-months pregnant Hayden Panettiere baby-mooning in Hawaii on the beach.

The latter too set the Internet ablaze with criticism of her quite large and bulbous tummy. 

The  Nashville star and her and her fiance since October 2013, athelete Wladimier Klitschko, are expecting their first child together.  The Heroes alum announced the pregnancy this August on the Emmy Awards red carpet. 

Panettiere told Hello!  magazine that she gained 40 pounds this pregnancy and at 5 feet tall, one could see why she would appear to be overwhelmed by her growing belly. 

All the asinine "she looks like she's about to pop" caliber of jokes makes me regret a bit our new societal glorification of the baby bump because the general public may not truly be ready for he reality that is pregnancy.

But alas, those who know of the miracle of life, are striving to one day become a mother and who genuinely adore the human body in pregnant form have to have thicker skin when encountering our fellow man making insensitive remarks in social media.

Rise above it all. Yes, let's be bumpwatch snobs! ha!

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving: 5 Tips to save you thousands of calories


Granted Thanksgiving is a time to really tear down on some really good food, but the Holiday is the start of a series of Holidays (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter) of non-stop eating that have the average person packing on pounds that they don't shed later. 

A typical Thanksgiving dinner plate can be 2,900 or more.  People think it's the turkey that makes them so sleepy and tired after Thanksgiving meal, but in reality, it is all the carbohydrates that are part of the average Thanksgiving meal: cornbread, stuffing, rice, macaroni pie, rolls, casseroles, pasta, etc.

There are simple ways to save some of those calories. Here are five tips:

1. Say no to the gravy. 

2.  Put only two portions of carbs on your plate instead of three.

3. Fill up with veggies, salads, cabbage, green beans. Have those items take up most of your plate. 

4. Drink a full glass of water before you eat to trick your body into getting fuller faster.

5. If there is a salad served, eat that first before eating the hot foods. This move will also help trick your body into getting fuller faster on less high calorie, high carbs foods.

The most important of which is portion control. If you must sample all the goodies, opt for one tablespoon of each verses a full portion size. 

Good luck and Bon Appetite!

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6 celebrity couples who split up before baby was born

Bellyitch Rewind

I saw this smokin' hawt photo of Christina Milian today and thought boy is her ex singer/ mega producer The Dream missing out. The couple was one of several celebrity pairs to split in the middle of a pregnancy and BEFORE the baby was born.

Christina Milian was 8 months pregnant when she filed for divorce from The Dream  in 2010.
Personally, I know of a few friends who wound up splitting with their boyfriend or spouse before having their baby and each of them say it was very challenging being pregnant and not at least having someone to help them through those challenging months. A few have said, in hindsight, they would've waited it out until baby was born. Oy! Here are four other celebrities who split before their child was born:
In 2004, four months before delivering her 1st child, son Leni, whose dad is billionaire Flavio Briatore, Heidi Klum started dated Seal, who she later married and had 3 kids with before they too split in 2012.

Rapper Nas and singer Kelis were in the middle of filming their MTV reality TV show when they split while she was 7 months pregnant with their first child together in 2009. 

Alexis Knapp had to get Ryan Phillippe to submit to a paternity test to prove that the child she was carrying was his.  The two split before Knapp confirmed she was pregnant in 2010. 

Ex Spice Girl Melanie Brown too had to force comedian/actor Eddie Murphy to submit to a paternity test to prove he was the father to her then-soon-to-be born daughter Angel Iris born ironically on Murphy's 47th birthday, April 3, 2007.  The couple had split in 2006 and back then there was no way of proving paternity until the baby was born. 

No one knows for sure who the dad is to Mad Men star January Jones' first child, son Xander, but she announced she was pregnant in May 2011, five months after splitting with her boyfriend Saturday Night Live's  Jason Sudeikis. Rumors swirled that Ashton Kutcher may have been the dad. The two are good  friends.

Edited to Add: I found this post of 12 Celebrities that broke up before the baby was born that Crushable did a year ago which also includes Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen, Tom Brady and Bridget Moynahan, Mary Louise Parker and Billy Crudup and Tiki and Ginny Barber which I so would have added to this list had I remembered about them too!
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Black Friday: 5 Websites that track The Deals

Thanksgiving is this week, but that also means so is Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving annually has represented a time for retailers to offer deep discounts on electronics, toys, appliances and other high ticket items. It's a great time to get a deal on an item you may have been keeping your eye on for a while. If you are expecting a new arrival in the new year, this may be a great time to seek out deals on high price baby items like monitors, breast pumps, high chairs, bedding and nursery furniture.

It is also the busiest shopping day of the year and a time for retailers to recoup losses they may have had in other quarters throughout the year. Various websites have cropped up to educate shoppers in advance on which online and brick and mortar stores are having door-buster sales. Here are a few to get you started and help you plan if you are interested in scoping out and possibly getting a great deal this year.
  1. Black Friday Ads
  2. BlackFriday.com
  3. Black Friday GottaDeal
  4. Fat Wallet Black Friday Deals
  5. Slick Friday Black Friday Deals

Get out there and SAVE! Good Luck!

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Who Rocked Balmain Award Show best: Alessandra Ambrosio or Kim Kardashian?

Enquiring minds want to know who rocked Balmain Resort 2015 top and skirt best:

Alessandra Ambrosio at the 2014 Latin Grammy Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena  in Las Vegas this week or Kim Kardashian at the 2014 MTV VMA earlier this year?

Personally, I love the black pumps pairing compared toe the fringe gladiators Kardashian's rocking though I love the  curvy fit on Kim better, yet Ambrosio's legs are amazingly lean, toned and super sexy. But then again, what would one expect from a Brazilian Super model, huh?

It's a battle of our Bellyitch BumpWatch alums. 

Back stage, Ambrosio looked radiant in an Azzaro Spring 2014 couture dress.

Photo: Getty

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