Friday, November 30, 2012

The Ultimate Blogger Holiday Wishlist: 10 Must-Have Items!



Because my Husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I thought I'd share it here and call it the Bloggers Ultimate Wish List. These are the 10 items that every professional or part time blogger should want to have in her arsenal. This list applies in particular to fashion, lifestyle, celebrity or political blogger like I fancy myself to be.



1. A Nikon Camera (or any semi-professional looking camera). I like the Nikon COOLPIX P510 16.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 42x Zoom NIKKOR ED Glass Lens and GPS Record Location (Black) Many times, bloggers are offered to attend events and cover them alongside professional journalists who tote along their own professional cameramen. You want to blend in and take good photos. You will need a camera with a good lens that allows you to zoom in just in case you are given a distant location. Also, it's always a great idea to look the part when you arrive an event professing to be on the "media list"


2.Apple iPad MC705LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black) 3rd Generation or an iPad Mini - Occasionally, you may need to do an event and have to quickly draft a post that needs to go up immediately to beat your competitors! Having a small portable device like an iPad would be ideal! If you just want to upload your photos rapidly and include a quick blurb to be edited, there's no better way to do it than with a tablet. Pulling out a bulky laptop may be too much.



3. Eye-Fi 4 GB Connect X2 SDHC Class 6 Wireless Flash Memory Card (EYE-FI-4CN-FF) For lifestyle bloggers who cover live events, sometimes you have anxious readers and social media followers waiting on baited breath for those exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos that only you have. I think of my friend Saucy of the  Trinidad Carnival Diary who every year has thousands of fans on the edge of their seats waiting for her to update her blog on the latest carnival band costumes as they are unveiled to the consuming public for the first time at band launches. With an eye fi, you can take a photo and then instantly send it up via wi-fi to a Facebook, Twitter or other social media account. 

 

4. A Virtual Assistant - Whether you are a solo blogger, a blogger with an intern or a blogger with a small staff of volunteer or paid staffers, you will need a virtual assistant to handle some basic data processing tasks, make phone calls to publicists, PR agencies and gather research and other information for future posts. They can tweet and reply to social media replies so you can stay engaged with your audience, edit blog posts before they are published, book travel, mail out giveaway prizes and do loads of mundane tasks a busy part time blogger may not be able to do when she is at work. Here is where a gift of one year virtual assistant services would come in as a handy gift. You can get one for as little as $4 to $8 per hour and a gift of 80 hours could cost as little as $320. Jon Rognerud has a great list of virtual assistant locators.




5.Flip UltraHD Video Camera - White, 4 GB, 1 Hour Flip phones haven't gone anywhere and have become a staple of even established news sites that also include blogs. They are portable and easy to manipulate while holding a pad and trying to squeeze in a rope line and get a celebrity or political candidate to answer your question among a sea of other members of the media.


6. Pyle-Pro PDMIC58 Professional Moving Coil Dynamic Handheld Microphone -      For entertainment industry bloggers who sometimes attend red carpet events, you’re going to need a good quality mic that you can plug into that flip video camera.  What good is a 2 minute sound bite with that celebrity giving you THE scoop about her pregnancy if you cannot hear it at the end of the day. Also, interview subjects gravitate to real mics.  Having one is key!



7. Apple MacBook Pro MD101LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (NEWEST VERSION) This is certainly a super splurge gift and very pricey for a computer but the weight, quality of program, operating system is perfect for bloggers and anyone who already uses Apple interface, operating system and programs. If you have a blog where you post loads of pics, a MacBook Pro has tons of memory and you can store some in the cloud to keep them safe if you need them again. 

8. Verizon USB760 3G Prepaid USB Broadband Device Having an aircard would enable a blogger with a blog she updates regularly all day to do so remotely, from vacation, from a business trip, at an airport or at any location that doesn't have wi-fi access.




9. Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer Being a blogger can require a person to be physically fit if she has to stand for long periods of time at a press conference, in a rope line or red carpet or chasing down a subject.  A portable elliptical that can be set up even in a small apartment would help her stay fit and trim. Also, she can pass time on the elliptical catching up on reality TV shows she has to review or watching DVDs she’s been asked to screen. An alternative to an elliptical or in addition to one, for purposes of looking good and staying fit and trim, a gift certificate for a boot camp, kickboxing classes or a gym membership would suffice.

10. Finally, one has to blend in and look decent and get let into events. Therefore, gifting a gift certificate to her favorite clothes stores for a few items would be a wonderful gift!

There you have it! The Ultimate Fashion or Lifestyle or Celebrity or Political blogger must have list for the holidays!

Hope I get at least one of these and you too!

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Price is Right's Gwendolyn Osbourne-Smith & ex NBA's Kenny Smith welcomed son, London



File  this one in the category "missed Bump Watch opportunity"! And I love Kenny Smith and his commentary during basketball games so this is an untimely addition to yesterday's post about celebrity men welcoming new babies.

Retired NBA great and TV sportscaster and announcer Smith and his wife Gwendolyn Osbourne-Smith welcomed their second son together, London. The couple have a 4-year old son named Molloy, named for Smith's Queens New York high school. 

Osbourne-Smith is a model on the daytime game show Price is Right. The UK-born of Jamaican and Brit parentage actress and recording-artist has a 16-year old daughter, Monique, from a previous relationship.

Lucky girl told The Bump that she is blessed enough to have easily slimmed down after each baby. A plus if you're going to make a living being a model, we suppose!

Wow! Talk about super mom!

Congrats!

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Top 10 creative places to hide the kids' Christmas gifts



When the kids are little it usually isn’t all that difficult to keep their gifts a secret, but as they begin to get older and understand that Christmas entails receiving gifts, they tend to get a little more inquisitive and may start poking around trying to find out where you’re hiding the presents.  If you think your kids are going to be poking around before Christmas in an attempt to locate their gifts, try these 10 different places for hiding them away from their prying eyes:

  1. Trunk of the car – If the present isn’t going to be affected by heat or cold, keeping it in the trunk of your car is a great hiding spot because the kids rarely have a reason to be in the car without you being there too. Just don’t forget you stashed them there and send the kids to get something out of your trunk!
  2. Empty suitcases – These are the best hiding places! Those suitcases sit there day in and day out and no one has any need to move them or look at them.  You can hide quite a bit of small gifts in one of the larger suitcases, however, if you have an overly bulky item you may need to think of another spot for it.
  3. Under bed storage boxes – Most kids don’t have any reason to go under mom and dad’s bed, and the under the bed storage boxes will hold a lot of stuff.  If you have a typical bed, you won’t be able to store very big items underneath it, but Barbie dolls and video games fit well!
  4. The neighbor’s garage – If you and your neighbor are friends, this is the ideal hiding place for big items.  You can put your item in a corner and cover it with a blanket.  This is especially great if their kids aren’t little anymore so they can tell their kids the present out there isn’t theirs.
  5. A box in the attic – Attics offer a perfect hiding space as long as it doesn’t double as a play area for the kids.  Also, be sure that you don’t store things up there that might be affected by extreme heat or cold. Big items work well in an attic as long as you are strong enough to get them up there.  Cover them up with a blanket and you are good to go.
  6. Behind your clothes in the closet – Keep the kids out of your closet this time of year! Hiding presents behind long dresses and suit bags is a smart place to stash them because at first glance, the closet looks the same, and only you will know where you stashed the secret items.  You can even use this spot to hide stuff for your spouse since it’s not likely he will move all of your dresses and shoes looking for his gifts.
  7. Your work place – If you pick up some gifts on your lunch hour don’t bring them home, just leave them under your desk at work.  Or, if they are expensive, you can lock them in your desk or file cabinet.  Make sure the cleaning crew can be trusted.
  8. Storage box in the garage – Buy a few extra storage boxes that match the ones you have in the garage already and hide the gifts in there.  Then, store the boxes behind normal storage boxes in case someone would happen to look in one.  Add an X or something on the box so that you will know where you stashed the gifts; it’s not good to lose the gifts you went to such lengths to hide!
  9. High shelf in the closet – Use a coat closet or a guest closet to hide gifts in a box up on a high shelf.  Put some blankets or other storage items in front of it so it won’t stand out if one of the kids is playing hide-n-seek and decides to hide in that closet.
  10. Linen closet – Most kids probably don’t venture into the linen closet very often, and if they do it’s probably just to grab a towel.  Hide small items on the top shelf in the back and no one will be the wiser.  Closets in the laundry room work well for this too, as the kids rarely would have any need to go into the laundry room, let alone the closet in there.

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25 Days of Christmas: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game ($19.99)


DAY3


The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game ($19.99)


Your, mine and our kids' favorite books The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see? come to life in a new collection of board and card games from the The World of Eric Carle, the wonderfully imaginative author who started it all.

Newly introduced to the bright, vibrant and colorful stock of products that sprouted from the lovable books are:

Eric Carle’s ABC Game
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game
Match-ominoes
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Match and Munch Game- Dr. Toy 2012 Award Winner

We will be giving away each of the four new games in our 25 Days of Christmas giveaway, but first up is the The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Game

The game is designed to be played by children 3 and up, and for 2 to 4 players. 

The children immediately recognized the images and their favorite characters when they unwrapped the game. Mine were and they were also excited to see them come alive in this new form. Each kid gets a turn to spin the wheel and travel along the board as the caterpillar goes from an egg to a butterfly. There are 40 food pieces that he gets to eat along the way. It teaches counting and number recognition, learning to be patient and take turns and colors.

It was more favorited by the youngest of my three children as the older ones already have the skill sets that the game teaches. It is a fun way to supplement some of the knowledge she may be getting from pre-school or to prepare a child for going to kindergarten as these will be the basic skills a kid will need to know to succeed in early childhood.

Since the children do not watch TV or play video games during the school week, this game will be a wonderful addition to have among various other non-media options to have. It is also a good game for game night and for play dates.

Get it HERE as an supplement to the other mindless toys your youngest kids may get this year.

Or you can WIN one here! Simply enter below! 

And remember that Bellyitch Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers get 4 extra entries TODAY EACH

AND Find out more from The World of Eric Carle on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest,

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Adriana Lima's pregnant Pirelli Calendar photo revealed


The photograph that Adriana Lima took that were to appear in the preeminent annual Pirelli calendar has been released.  Lima's image is the first time in the history of the famous Brazilian calendar. Lima is in the calendar for her charity work.  The Victoria Secret Angel can be seen (sans the belly as she gave birth to daughter Sienna in September) in the broadcast of the Victoria Secret annual fashion show this December 4. (Check your local listings for times)

Lima and husband Marko Jaric, former NBA Star, also have a 2 1/2 daughter named Valentina.


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

10 Christmas songs the kids should know


Christmas carols are a cornerstone of the holiday season, and hearing your favorite jingle can instantly fill you with holiday cheer. Everyone has their own personal favorite, and your kids will likely find themselves smitten with their own favorite songs.  Whether you’re just starting to teach your kids different carols or trying to put together a medley so that you can go caroling around the neighborhood this year, there is no shortage of songs to choose from. Here is a list of the top 10 Christmas carols kids should learn and a little of their history.
  1. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Robert May created the story Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for the retailer Montgomery Ward in 1939.  May’s brother-in-law Johnny Marks then turned the story into a song.  The song was recorded by the legendary Gene Autry and the song went to #1 on the music charts during the week of Christmas in 1949.  It has since sold over 25 million copies.  The story was later made into a cartoon in 1944 and the song was added in 1948.
  2. Frosty the Snowman This song happened in reverse of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  The song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1950 following the success of Rudolph.  A little golden book of Frosty the Snowman was adapted from the song in 1950.  The cartoon version came out in 1969.
  3. Away in the Manger – This song was first published in 1885 and the words have been attributed to Martin Luther, however, there is some skepticism about whether or not he really wrote the poem that became this song.  There is nothing hard and fast that says who really wrote it.  Charles Gabriel added the third verse of “Be near me Lord Jesus” in 1892.  It’s been voted one of the best carols ever written.
  4. Deck the Halls – A very old song, the tune dates back to the 16th century.  Mozart used the tune in Sonata No. 18.  The lyrics are believed to be American. 
  5. Silent Night – This German song was first performed in 1818 in Austria by father Joseph Mohr.  This song is so popular that it has been recorded by nearly every artist that has ever recorded a Christmas album.  There are various stories about this song’s history, but most think Mohr just needed another song he could play on his guitar.
  6. We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Going back to 16th century England, this was a popular carol sung through the streets, and the wealthy used to give the carolers figgy puddings for their singing efforts.  This song was typically the last song sung.
  7. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – This traditional song was written by John Coots and Haven Gillespie and was first performed on a radio show in 1934.  The song was very popular, and has been recorded by many artists over the years.
  8. Jingle Bells – A well-known secular song, Jingle Bells was written by James Lord Pierpont in 1850.  Funny as it sounds, this song was actually written for Thanksgiving and not Christmas.  The song was originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh.”
  9. Joy to the World – This song is based on Psalm 98 from the Bible and written by a hymn writer named Isaac Watts in 1719.  Watts actually wrote the hymn to celebrate Jesus’ return, not his birth.  Only the last part of Watts’ original lyrics are used today. 
  10. 12 Days of Christmas – Not a lot is known about the origins of this song.  It is believed to be French originally, but was sung a lot in England as well.  Common belief is that it may have started as a game, where one person started and then the next person had to say what the first person said and then add on to it.  The game continued until someone made a mistake.  The 12 days of Christmas start on Dec. 25th and end on Jan. 5th.  All of the gifts are believed to cost $24,263.18 in 2011.  The gifts have almost doubled in price since the 1984 estimated cost.
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5 Celebrity men welcomed new additions over past week


A bunch of celebrity men became dads (some for third or fourth time) over the past week. Congratulations are in order to:

British screenwriter Guy Ritchie (above) and his fiancee Jacquie Ainsley welcomed a daughter this week in London.  The couple have dated since 2010 and are parents to their 14-year old son Rafael. Richie is dad to 12-year old Rocco and 7-year old David with Madonna.


TV child actor Fred Savage and his wife Jennifer Lynn Stone welcomed a son, their third child on Monday, November 26.  The new bouncing baby boy joins brother 6-year old Oliver and 4-year old Lily.




Boy band member A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys and his wife Rochelle welcomed a daughter Ava Jaynes on Tuesday, November 27.


Last Thursday, on Thanksgiving, country music singerJake Owen and his wife Lacey Buchanan welcomed their first child, daughter Olive Pearl Owen.



Finally, last Wednesday Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his wife Ashley welcomed thier first child, son Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger, Jr.

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Another Time Lapse Pregnancy video goes VIRAL! (VIDEO)


Featured today in Yahoo! is this time lapse video (yes, another one) of a couple documenting a pregnancy and birth of baby Emma Grencel

This  video also promotes a website the couple, Osher and Tommer Grencel,   put together BabyRulez which asks parents worldwide to contribute and pitch in timely advice for pregnancy and early child rearing. It's great to see the different types of suggestions coming in from all over the world.

By now, this has become a trend as there have been a few parents to pull it off and place these types of videos on YouTube.

I like the Grencel's video because it includes some other surprise elements. Watch and see!


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Bump Watch: Lily Allen glams it up at Brit Fashion Awards


 Mom to be British cross over singer Lily Allen looked radiant on the red carpet to the 2012 British Fashion Awards at The Savoy Hotel in London on Tuesday, November 27.

Allen and her husband real estate developer Sam Cooper are expecting their second child soon. The couple has a 1-year old daughter Ethel.


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25 Days of Christmas: WIN the Making Babies Book & DVD Series ($110)



DAY 2



Making Babies Hard Cover book & 3 Volume DVD Series ($110) - I cannot say enough great things about how awesome Making Babies is! The book is part cook book, part DIY jewelry how-to-book, part prenatal and post natal exercise book and part herbal remedies handbook.  It’s a whole lot of something jam packed in a 480 page resource hard cover book and 3-part DVD series.

Making Babies is the brain child of an earth mother type Shoshana Easling, who grew up in Armish country, the daughter to 2 artists who raised their 5 kids based on skills of country living. Hard work, herbal remedies, nutritional health, home births and comment sense were all part of her life growing up. It makes sense then that Easling naturally included much of her upbringing when she gave birth to her first two children after getting married in 2004.
What readers get in Making Babies is an honest look at childbirth, pregnancy and early parenting.  The  book actually is the hardcover accompaniment to a 3-Disc DVD Series that takes audiences from conception to birth and beyond.

There is a recipe for preparing the body for conception,  one for energy balls to eat during those nauseous early weeks, one for belly butter to stave off stretch marks (if possible) and much much more. 

The DVD features interviews with holistic professionals and both include vivid, colorful and vibrant photos and imagery, all guaranteed to put and keep a smile on your face.

I absolutely adored the step-by-step exercise tips for prenatal, the labor and delivery process and post natal days as well as the chapter that includes many of her grandmothers homemade recipes. Who can't benefit from grandma's remedies?




And when you thought you had found the ultimate resource book, in the rear there is a diary section for you to write notes to your baby before he or she arrives, and to add info given to you during your monthly and eventually weekly doctor check ups.

The back of the book includes a generous listing of resources and websites.

Overall, Making Babies  is an absolute gem of a guide for anyone who is interested in an all natural, organic, and holistic take on fertility, pregnancy, labor, delivery and early child rearing.

You got to get this book and DVD set!

But alas, you can always win a set right HERE. Simply enter below! 

And remember that Bellyitch Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers get 3 extra entries TODAY EACH


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5 Educational Holiday Gift Ideas for the Kids




During the Holiday season, parents often get carried away indulging their children’s wishes and desires for getting the latest video game or hot toy. But if your budget allows it or if there are family members who will be also purchasing items for the kids, you may want to consider picking up something for them that will enrich their education and schooling.  Here are 5 gift ideas to consider that could amplify or supplement every subject your child may be learning about in school:


  • 1.       Social Studies: A Globe – Having a globe in the home is an excellent way to teach your children that the world does not consist of the narrow confines of their town or block.  After they receive their new globe, at least once a week, have them spin the globe, cover their eyes and point to a random location. Then head off to Google more about that location, its climate, topography, culture and traditions. It’s a great way to instill a value and interest in travel and keep them focused on doing what they need to do to travel on their own to exotic locations some day.
  • 2.       Science: A Microscope – Getting a child an age-appropriate microscope is a great way for them to explore the basic molecular elements of various household items.  They can use it to check out everything from a carpet fiber, to a dead beetle to their own eyelash. One of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing job sector is science, technology, engineering and math.  Owning a microscope could enhance an interest in the science field, which will ultimately mean more job prospects for the future.
  • 3.       Physical Education: A Ball or Bike – One of the reason there is a childhood epidemic in the United States and other regions of the world is that in this digital age, children spend most of their spare time playing video games or watching TV indoors. Something like a bat and ball, basketball or bike will give you as a parent and the kid an opportunity to get out and get moving. A gift that encourages physical activity could help combat or delay the onset of childhood obesity.
  • 4.       Math:  A math App or annual subscription to an online math enrichment program – If you have an iPad, iPhone, Android phone or desktop or Library access to a computer, you can find apps or other online programs that are tutorials and created to help children improve their math skills. Many programs around now include fun games that help kids learn while enjoying their experience. If it's not so much like school and similar to fun games they already play, you may get them hooked!
  • 5.       Reading: Books – It is said that each child should have a library consisting of 1,000 books in their bookshelves. These days, some parents are more likely to amass a large collection of DVDs and movies for their kids than books. However, reading teaches children about comprehension and helps them in reading  composition later in life. Also, their vocabulary and grasp of terms and complex concepts improve the more they read.  You can even get  them those silly Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate  comic books, but make sure you try to find a book series with chapters in it too.

 Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadaan or whatever holiday celebrated in December can be educational and include gifts that will help better your child in school. And they can be loads of fun too!



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