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A Guide to Royal Baby Monday- What To Expect!

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Royal Pacifier

Monday’s child is fair of face;
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is on the go;
Thursday’s child if a joy to know;
Friday’s child is loving and giving;
Saturday’s child takes joy in living;
but the child that is born on the Sabbath day
is merry and blithe and bright and gay.

Dressed for the Royal Baby – London’s Retailers are Ready

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Thank you Debbie for sharing some shots of London-town. Here, shop-windows fill with the only news of the day, Royal Baby Fever!

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Amy Bair

 

Resourceful Mommy

Amy Bair is one of those remarkable, passionate souls who swoops in with a powerful energy that touches people in a profound way. Amy gets to you in all the best ways — her spirt lifts you and never lets you go. Pretty great, no? Amy’s commitment to her friends, family and yes – the whole the community (and Amy’s definition of community is quite broad) is staggering. Amy raises the bar  - be it though her social media engagement, philanthropy, authoring or parenting  - she brings it way up and she keeps it there. And, she expects the same from those in her inner-circle. Amy delivers all of this with incredible grace and ease and most always with her signature “secret sauce” – a  big, engaging smile on her face and a wicked sense of humor coursing through her veins. There is little confusion as to why those who know Amy adore her –she is a rare gem.

Amy is a teacher by training (this was her first profession), and it shows. She engages with an eye toward honestly advancing the ball for those she loves. I consider myself lucky to be one of her students — learning though her patient but clear directives. I feel constantly encouraged by her giddy laughter and her keen observations of the world around her. To know Amy is a lucky, fortuitous thing – that is for certain!

When I think of Amy, I think of the word - accomplished.  I think of it as an adjective- as in: Amy is an extraordinarily accomplished woman. And also as a verb – as in: Amy has accomplished so very much for herself and for the world around her – not only in present tense (Amy has been a force to be reckoned with in the digital landscape since 2008) but in the longest view as well. And I also think how, through her care and friendship, she has elevated those around her to accomplish great things in their own right.

Meet my friend, Amy Bair!

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

I’ve always believed in giving back, however, how I’m able to do that has changed and grown over the years.  Being able to volunteer time and talents as a teenager has evolved into also being able to give back monetarily and through influence.

 

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?

When I was 13, one of my best friend’s was diagnosed with abdominal cancer.  I remember feeling paralyzed by a sense of helplessness.  Then I realized that her family could be helped financially.  I organized a group of friends and we set about planning a school dance fundraiser complete with the local radio station as DJ.  Organizing those around me and finding a way to help a friend in need was incredibly therapeutic and also served the family of the friend we loved.

 

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

My family.  My grandmother literally gave until she had nothing left, and growing up, I watched as my parents very quietly and humbly gave to everyone from favorite charities to neighbors in need.  My dad was a stay-at-home dad and spent hours helping local elderly and volunteering at church.  I realized early on the power of simply wanting to help.  I attended kindergarten at a private, Christian school and came home one day, sad that a friend would need to leave the school because of tuition.  I found out years later that my parents had quietly and anonymously covered the rest of her expenses for the year.  That had a profound impact on me.

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?

I’m most proud of the impact my giving is having on my children.  At 9 and 6, they instinctively think of those around them as much if not more than themselves.

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?

I hope that work that I do for others – no matter how small – leaves others with a sense that they are both worthy of help and also able to help others, even if they believe the impact they can make is small.

What would your kids say about all of this?

My kids love to give as much as they love to receive!  They are happy to have a philanthropic mom and enjoy being philanthropic kids.

 

The road from here to Channing

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Jenna Dewan-Tatum

 

As you likely know by now — I recently worked with the generous goddess that is Jenna-Dewan Tatum. The Forty Weeks team of brilliant women teamed with the rock-star crew at Baby Buggy to facilitate a large donation of Bravado Designs nursing bras. It was a gift from the heart. It was remarkable to watch as the whole crew jumped in to make it so. Our joint mission was clear — supporting Baby Buggy and their ongoing work in support of all mothers. Jenna was remarkable not only in her willingness to step-up to make this donation but later in her defense of the then still pregnant,  Kim Kardashian  - and in support of allowing women to be whomever they wanted to be in pregnancy, motherhood and beyond. She was beautiful – inside and out. Really, impressive  – Jenna was singing my song!

What you may not know is the road that led me to Jenna. And that road begins with  my  daughters, their crushes and my basic desire to do well both in the big picture of the world and also in the dizzying universe that is home. I try hard to strike the balance. I am not sure I always get it right. And then there are days when somehow it works. When your (then) 16 year-old daughter comes giddily into the kitchen, asking with an uncharacteristic amount of interest, if you will be working with Channing Tatum as his wife is pregnant. And it is me thinking – I am not even sure I know a thing about his wife (truly I did not). And then the “reminders” – the daughters bugging you for days on end about this philanthropic possibility and you brushing it off. Until one day you do not. And that day you begin to learn about Jenna Dewan-Tatum and in doing so, you realize she is so spot on and just who you were looking for to continue Bravado’s commitment to all mothers. And just like that it falls into place. She is open, Baby Buggy is thrilled and more than $214,500 worth of nursing bras are donated to women who need them most.

Last Friday I was invited by my friends Denise and Melissa of  The Moms to a local screening of White House Down. So, I took my daughters, each with a plus one. The giddy energy was palpable – they were decked out and just thrilled. I too was happy –it is not every day a Mom gets her 15 minutes of being adored by her daughters. Just prior to the screening, the cast came in for a quickie Q&A. And as Channing talked about his brave and exciting new role as Daddy – I could hear it in him too. That same remarkable humility, gratitude and care that I got from Jenna. What a couple! I considered all this with a very satisfied smile as I looked to my right and saw the girls beaming with excitement.

And that was the road from here to Channing….

 

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Monday, April 29th, 2013

 

I met Kristin Swenson through two women with whom I have shared a great deal of history, philanthropy and laughs. When Jill Seiman and Nicole Feliciano made the introduction via their super fashionable Monday Mingle I felt lucky to have met Kristin. She struck me as chic and capable (juggling content creation, parenting and sharing her POV like a pro). But more than that, Kristin was all about the heart of the matter and super committed to all that she valued.  The more I got to know Kristin the more I understood what moved, motivated and had meaning to her  - and the more I knew, the more I adored her. She’s got range but more than that Kristin has integrity that wraps the whole package up with a stunning bow!  I have seen her step up over and again — never holding back when there was a way to contribute. Kristin, a beautiful mother of two is all that and more — philanthropic, fashionable and full of love — meet my friend, Kristin Swenson!

Kristin Swenson

BonBon Rose Girls

 

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

Thanks to my mother, who has been an active volunteer her whole life, I’ve been exposed to community service since I was a child and have volunteered, myself, for various organizations over the years including March of Dimes, the Humane Society and local shelters.


What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?

From a very early age, my mother stressed how important it is to give back. I remember joining her at March of Dimes walkathons as a youngster and having so much fun!

 

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

My mother and sister are incredibly inspirational to me. I can’t remember a year in the last couple decades when they weren’t involved with at least one philanthropic effort. They’ve organized many drives including holiday card collections for deployed troops, bedding collections for the Joshua House, a home for abused children, and coat collections for local residents in need. In fact, after having a very difficult pregnancy and now running around after two kiddos, I haven’t volunteered regularly and it’s my family who has inspired me to push past that mama exhaustion of mine and get back out there!


What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?

I feel that my most important job is to raise children who will leave the world a better place and exposing them to the joys of philanthropy makes me proud. This past Christmas I took my four year old to pick out toys to donate and seeing him really get how amazing helping others can feel was so special!


What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?

My children are my legacy and I hope that I’ll be remembered for raising kind and giving people.


What would your kids say about all of this?

They’re still quite small, but I hope that someday they’ll say they’re proud of their mama. I can’t imagine a better complement!

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Friday, April 12th, 2013

As I am writing this, it is a gloomy, rainy day. Still, as I put pen to paper (ok fingers to keys) there feels to be sunshine. Just glancing at the picture below brings a smile to my face.  And that is the Nancy Horn effect. Nancy is one of those highly effervescent souls, a truly bubbly and bright woman who brings enthusiasm and light to all she touches. My history with Nancy is not as long as it is rich. She has brought her amazing bounty to the world of Forty Weeks and to me personally over and again. Lucky, lucky me! She is a most reliable ally, a kind soul and the one whose love for the world leaves a lasting impression. I am so happy to share with you a little sunshine today in the form of my friend, Nancy Horn.

 

Nancy Horn 

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom? 

I try to give what I can, when I can, as much as I can.  It’s just what should be done. If someone needs help, I try my best to provide it, whether it’s financial, goods, or my time….

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?

Definitely through the Girl Scouts. I was a Brownie, starting in first grade and I remember working on service projects with them. Later on, I worked at a jewish camp, Surprise Lake Camp (for years)  that had a lot of scholarship campers (I had also been one). I loved connecting with the Russian Campers, many that were new to this country. In my late twenties to early thirties, I taught in East Harlem for five years, in a school with many children that lived in the surrounding projects. I spent a lot of my own money on supplies and gave my time before and after school to create the best educational and social experience to my students.

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

My mother was very active in the local women’s chapter of ORT .

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?

While I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the past seven years, I try to donate what I can to organizations like Baby Buggy, which is a wonderful source for parents in need. I’ve also walked in 5Ks and have donated the money I earned for charity. I also financially support my former summer camp, Surprise Lake Camp, with donations every year and I’ve volunteered my time to plan alumni events for them.

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?

I want my children to know that we should always try always be grateful that we are healthy and have a roof over our heads at night.  That should be the reason to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

How do you involve your children?

Recently, we tried to do a lot for Hurricane Sandy Victims. My oldest child (who had just turned seven at the time) helped me select toiletries, clothes, and goods to pack up for victims. We took them with us to the local donation site and let them help with sorting the items we bought. He also helped me wrap presents for the Hurricane Sandy Christmas Party that one of my friends organized, and pack up the supplies we bought for the party.

 

 

Shelter From The Storm

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm

“Come in”,  she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

Bob Dylan

Thank you Amy Oztan for capturing the essence of what time together with you and Jennifer Perillo feels like to me…

Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

 

I heard about Melisa Fluhr long before I met her. And not through the industry loop either, though her husband with whom I had known and cultivated a friendship in my own travel circles. He spoke so glowingly of his wife — literally this man was over the moon for this smart, savvy, beautiful and ambitious woman who was his bride. I remember one conversation so well – we were walking through Union Square and I thought the whole of the experience to be remarkable. What love, pride and complete respect!  Fast forward to that “ah-ha” moment when we are both in Las Vegas at ABC Kids and I suddenly “get” who she is. And of course, it makes perfect sense. Because Melisa is just the woman her husband had described. She is at once easy but also focused in all the best ways. Melisa gets it done (and then some) and brings all the best people along for the ride. Melisa is above all else loving. She bring her beaming smile and near contagious laughter to every room she enters. She finds the humor in almost every situation – adding much needed levity and release from otherwise taxing moments. She is engaging, energized and completely committed to her dreams.  Melisa not only talks the talk but she also walks the walk and where she goes, I will follow!

Melisa Fluhr

Project Nursery

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

What makes me a Philanthropic Mom? I think for me, it’s making the extra effort, as a busy mom, to carve out time for causes that are near and dear to both me and my family. This year my focus was on FACES, “Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures”.

But honestly speaking, I wish I could have been a “Philanthropic Mom” much sooner in my mom career. It’s taken both circumstance and the fact the my kids are finally starting school to truly focus on this area of my life. My younger self had always just assumed that once becoming a mother, I’d have plenty of time for causes (little did I know!) so it’s taken time to get here.

 

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?

I’ve always done community service through school, work, church, etc and I’ve genuinely felt for every single cause I’ve helped whether physically and financially. Our eldest Austin however, has battled with Epilepsy since 9 months of age. That’s when I said to myself, I am going to take this cause and make it mine. When something like Epilepsy hits home—a condition with no real answers—there’s nothing more important than wanting to save your child and all those suffering from it.

 

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

That’s easy, my parents, Dan and Lucy McHale. Growing up, my parents often made helping others a family event. We once went on a trip where the purpose was to drop off warm clothes, toys and supplies to families in need. I remember it being so cold and seeing families with so little. I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but I remember it well. My parents simple, loving actions established the importance of giving back later in life from a very young age. I am proud of the time and work they have committed to “The Daughters of Charity” over the years and then some.

 

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?

Seeing my friends and family willing to jump in and help support a cause that’s important to me means the world. The people I have crossed paths with over the years offering their support is a pretty darn awesome. It makes me really proud to call them my friends.

 

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?

Ha! No legacy needed. Just that my kids get involved in causes that will help others. And that they grow up to be kind, helpful and giving.

 

What would your kids say about all of this?

They don’t get it just yet. Right now, they just wonder where I take all their toys. I tell them that there are kids in this world with no toys. They respond with, “What! What are you talking about? or How can that be?” each and every time. I just chuckle and then watch them let go of their toys with ease. I think they get it now.

A Forty Weeks Guide to What to Expect – An HRH in waiting….

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Talk about a break from the everyday (for the commoners of course)…what fun it is to imagine what comes next –  love, marriage, now a ROYAL baby carriage! Luckily for me I have surrounded myself with some of the very best in the bump and baby business who have offered to share their POV on the HRH on the way!  How about a quick inside line one all things for the bundle of joy on the way for Prince William and Catherine the Dutchess of Cambridge:

Royal Names

HRH names are serious business…and one best handled by the true experts! Baby Name Candy (just the name is a treat!!) is my ONLY stop for insights on the very emotional yet exact art of naming.

Here are some of their early but savvy insights. Keep checking back to their site – as the Prince and Dutchess make their way through their Forty Weeks of name negotiations together.

Some quick vitals – Baby Name Candy shares that in the last 1000 years -there have only been 66 monarchs with only 30 names used  – talk about a limited but prestigious field!

They also suggest that we get ready for a traditional, long-winded name filled with nostalgic tributes (think Princess Diana).

Some early favorites:

Girls:  There more options for girls than for boys (namely by feminizing a traditional male name to create a gender-appropriate version such as Victoria or Charlotte). The pool also includes names in use in the current generation such as Georgia (my personal favorite) or Henrietta.

Boys: A little prince could be a nod to Grand-papa Phillip or even a classic like John.

Nursery

Where will the Royal sweet thing slumber? This one is both personal in nature yet highly visual in outcome. What a question! Good thing I have got the direct-dial bat phone to the one true way to answer this question – by the duo of Melisa and Pam at Project Nursery!  They’ve offered us a sneak peak though the lens of their super savvy eye to see just what a royal nursery might look:

GIRLIE GOLDS                                        ROYAL NAVY

 

Look for a world of design inspiration on Project Nursery – especially worth the wander are their pinterest boards which will leave you completely giddy from the idea of guilded nurseries and royal round-ups!

Gear

When I think out and about with baby I think ChildMode. So, I called on the queen bee of all things gracious and on the go to ask what we might expect to see strolling around the royal gardens. Nadia was generous and gracious sharing a few outing worthy ideas:

“Thanks to my Grandmother’s love for the royals I’ve been a fan of the British monarchy since I was just a child. So to say that I was thrilled to hear this baby news would be an understatement!

All eyes and cameras will be on Kate from here on in – even more so then the past.  It will be interesting to see what gear Catherine chooses for her new addition, although I can be fairly certain the Balmoral Silver Cross Stroller will be just one of the buggies she opts for. Silver Cross has been trusted by the British Royal Family for generations. During travels and quick outings however? My bet is on Baby Jogger’s City Elite.

With so many gorgeous diaper bags out there, it is hard to choose just 1, so I picked two. My bet is on the new Black and White Diaper Bag from Burberry  and Storksak’s quilted Elizabeth.

Highchairs are another must-have for babies and although I feel the new Fresco Chrome is fresh, modern and ‘in’ -  just the thing for William and Kate’s little one -  this oval distressed piece from Posh Tots is more suited for visits to Grandma’s Buckingham Palace.
The new Cybex Aton 2 is packed with ease of use, safety and functionality, making it deal for the little prince or princess.”

Thank you to Jennie, Laura, Melisa, Pam and Nadia for your interest and always clever insights. We’ll all stay tuned…

Cover Me – US Weekly goes two for two on the Bump Cycle, People validates

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson gets glowing – again!

Usually the holidays mark the beginning of the Bump Cycle — you know the old wive’s tales: cold nights, holiday cheer and short days lead to many late summer into fall babies. Some (ok me) predict a bit of a boom (SandyBoom that is) as byproduct of the horrid devastation a of Super-storm Sandy that swept through the East Coast in October. All of this remains in play.

What is curious is not about babies…but the way in which the Family Way dominated the Weeklies… This week the Bump Cycle started early:

December 3 issue of US Weekly is all about a blushing Kate Middleton and a smirky Prince William and a very royal baby watch –  a non-story (Royals having sex hoping for positive results by Christmas) morphs into the cover story -simply put  William and Kate getting busy on the way to baby story — as in “we plan to get pregnant” (even I must stand up and applaud that spin — brilliant really!).  No pregnancy but intention and action…
Not be undone by themselves – US Weekly pops the news today – Jessica Simpson annouces via an exclusive in the December 10th issue of  US Weekly (spotted on-line today) that she is pregnant with baby number two — Surprise! Seven months into motherhood with her long-time fiancé they are over-the-moon (of course!)

December 10 -People magazine’s cover  is all about  Brad Pitt getting personal!  And thus, People becomes the big old baby validator. A sexy, mature and confident (possible bias alert) Brad Pitt shares that parenting has made him a better man – which is great news for both Prince William and Eric Johnson.

And thus the Bump Cycle has hit full stride and early this year. Outstanding questions remain – how many covers will each one of these pregnancies garner? Is there an over-under on the on-line coverage? And of course, who might be next?

This week,  in an interview about my work connecting celebrities with nonprofit organizations focused on the critical needs of at-risk families PR Week mentioned that I was an early leader in celebrity baby trend – may I please just say “not it”….