“I’m in Better Shape Now Than When I Was 25″: How Weekend TODAY’s Erica Hill Trains for a Marathon

We got to squeeze in a quick chat with Erica Hill, who between being a weekend TODAY anchor and mom of two boys, is training for the New York City Marathon on November 2nd, with a very dear person in mind. Go, Erica!

You’ve run two marathons but this is your first time running New York—and your first marathon after having kids. How would you compare where you are now, fitness-wise, compared to where you were pre-kids? 

I’m 38 and I’m in better shape now than when I was 25. I think it’s because I have to be more committed than I was in my freewheeling twenties. I have to not just consider my schedule, but also my kids’, my husband’s, and work’s. Like any parent, for me it’s not just about “you” anymore. Being a mom has forced me to be more focused, and exercise has become more purposeful: Running for me has become my therapy. I feel like it gives me a break. I’m a more patient parent when I’ve had time to run.

How do you make time to train?

When I wanted to do the marathon, I told my husband and he said, “Absolutely. I support you.” I needed his support, and my sons’, because training is a huge time commitment. Mondays and Tuesdays are my weekends, and I do my longest training run of the week then. [Erica's last training run was over 20 miles.] I get up at 4:45 a.m. and I start that long run in the dark, but then what’s nice is I get home in time to bring my boys to school. 

Have you always been a runner?

When I was in high school I ran, but I didn’t really consider myself a runner until the past six months or so.

But you’ve completed two marathons!

I have run two, but not well! It always seemed everyone else knew what they were doing. I’d say I’ve become more of a runner since joining a group a friend of mine, Nicole Burke, started in support of another friend of ours, Liz Shuman, who has cystic fibrosis (CF), OutRUN38. It has a Facebook page and members can log their running miles–or walking or biking or swimming miles—to help raise awareness for CF. And once you’ve logged onto this great group with all this community support you’ve made a decision: I am a runner. It’s a mindset: I’m going to be good at this, I’m doing this for my family, and I’m sending a good message to my kids of being healthy.

What do you love about running?

No matter where I am, I run. When I travel, I love to run because I think it’s a great way to see a city. With my friends it’s a social thing—we talk and we solve the world’s problems on our runs. When my older son was old enough to get in the jogging stroller, I could have him go with me. We would have fun chatting and then he’d fall asleep and I got in anywhere from three to six miles while he napped. What I love about running is that all you need to do to get ready is to put on your shoes and go.

We hear you’re running for a special cause?

Yes, I’m running with Fred’s Team [Memorial Sloan Kettering’s athletic fundraising team] in honor of and in memory of my dad.

What are you looking forward to most about the NYC marathon?

I’m kind of emotional about it. I’ve heard there are lengths of this course where there are just thousands of spectators cheering the runners on, so part of me feels like I’m going to be carried on this incredible wave of love and support. My mom, my dad’s sister, and a lot of friends are coming in to cheer me on. I’m just looking forward to seeing my husband, my sons, and my mom at the finish and knowing I’ve done it. Once I get that medal, I don’t think I’m going to want to take it off!

 

 

 

 

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Win $500 Toward a Neighborhood Party from Nextdoor

INextdoor Treat Map on the iPhonen case you haven’t been counting down, there are officially 10 days until Halloween. Halloween was one of my favorite holidays as a child because I loved dressing up and the mild weather in California (usually) made for a nice night. However, my friends and I usually didn’t do the typical door-to-door trick-or-treating. We found we had better luck going to the stores at the mall instead, and our parents took us out to dinner afterwards, which was probably the highlight of the whole night. After all, it was kind of strange to be asking for candy at Banana Republic.

Even though our ‘hood wasn’t up to par, some, if not most, blocks are definitely worth taking a walk around for sweets. And Nextdoor is making the traditional trick-or-treating experience easier than ever with its new digital Treat Map, which we think is so cool that we featured it in our October issue. Here’s how it works: If your neighborhood is participating this year, your family will be able to see which neighbors are planning on giving out candy and map out your path accordingly. The screenshot on the right shows what it looks like on an iPhone. You can also send a private message to your block to organize other fun festivities such a a costume contest or a haunted house crawl. It’s networking just for your neighbors. I like how it fosters a sense of community and encourages people to stick around for Halloween instead of, say, venturing to the mall.

To celebrate this amazing feature, Nextdoor is giving away a $500 gift card towards a neighborhood party. To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day October 27. View the official rules here. Be sure to check back on October 28 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck and happy trick-or-treating to everyone!

Plus: Decorate your home with this cute Halloween spider craft.

Halloween Kid Craft Spider
Halloween Kid Craft Spider
Halloween Kid Craft Spider

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Josh Duhamel Talks Fatherhood and Giving Back

For Josh Duhamel, it all comes back to being a parent. Whether it’s getting involved with Unilever’s child hunger campaign, Project Sunlight, or raising his son Axl with wife, Fergie being a dad has affected his perspective. Here at Parents.com we recently had the chance to chat with him about everything he has going on these days.

“It’s really about making a brighter future for children,” he shared about his work with Unilever. “And that never meant more than it does now to me because you just see things differently as a parent.”

But between that and his new movie and TV roles, you might be wondering how he has time for it all – don’t worry, we are too!

“Pretty much everything revolves around scheduling time to be with the fam,” he said.

To get the full scoop on some of his new projects and what he thinks of raising a toddler, watch the whole interview here:

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The Five Most Popular Halloween Looks For Kids This Season

For every obscure Halloween costume that you spot, there will be dozens of witches and pumpkins—and this year, Elsas—ringing your doorbell. We asked Chasing Fireflies for the most popular costume trends this season, and here are their top five:

1. Frozen Can’t let go (ha!) of the popular movie? Dress your little Elsa, Anna, or Olaf in one of these costumes! Oh, and here’s more Elsa. And more Elsa. And, not kidding, even adult Elsa.
2. Ninjas and warriors, for girls and boys Both genders will get a kick out of these elaborate getups–whether they’re scary, glittery, silky, or studded.
3. Glamour and movie stars She’ll be ready for a walk down the red carpet when she dons a glam dress. Her toughest decision will be choosing between silver and pink!
4. Food Trick-or-treat! These candy-themed fairy and princess looks are certainly appropriate for the occasion. And this all reminds us of our own Parents candy rapper costumes!
5. Baby animals These pig and chick costumes are too cute. Plus, check out our ideas for homemade costumes!

Get in the spirit! Your child will enjoy this paper pumpkin craft:

Halloween Kid Craft Paper Pumpkins
Halloween Kid Craft Paper Pumpkins
Halloween Kid Craft Paper Pumpkins

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Hey, Bargain Hunters! Three Websites To Thrill You

As fun as it is to shop till you drop, being a mom means that other endeavors often take priority (someone has to buy all those groceries!). While online shopping is super simple, it can still be just as expensive as heading to the mall (we’ve all thought, “I’ll just add one more item to my cart to reach the free shipping mark,” haven’t we?) However, several sites make shopping for clothing and gifts easy and inexpensive…what could be better?!

Poshmark This is one of the many buy-and-sell sites that allows individuals to list items from their own closet and shop others’ wardrobes. It’s easy to search by brand, size, style, price, you name it–whether you’re looking for an outfit for an upcoming baby shower or bridal brunch or just need some new day-to-day wear, it’s likely you’ll find what you need on the site! I’ve purchased items from brands including Ann Taylor LOFT, J.Crew, and Francesca’s Collections at much cheaper than retail price–and you can always try to bargain with a seller to further reduce a listing. Bonus: Poshmark offers kids clothes, too.

Etsy You’re probably familiar with the site in some form, but the next time you’re shopping for a great teacher gift or holiday accessory, look no further! Etsy offers tons of customizable options (perfect for that monogram-obsessed friend), and it’s also a great place to purchase affordable, clever art prints without scrolling from one website to another. You know that gallery wall has been calling your name for months!

Goodwill Did you know the famous secondhand store has a website? Of course, the shopping experience will be a little different than your normal on-site treasure-hunting expeditions, but you can still purchase items across a variety of categories. Bonus: no need to lug everything home as you would in person! This is a great site to check out if you’re searching for a vintage product or home good.

Shopping for a wee one? We have tips for buying baby clothes on a budget?

How to Buy Baby Clothes on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Clothes on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Clothes on a Budget

 

 

 

 

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Real Glam Moms: The Small Things

Kate Bryan

Here’s the newest installment of a brand new series from the Parents beauty department about mommy bloggers. Each installment will feature what beauty means to real moms no matter what their beauty routine is like—and how they take time to themselves after having children. 

For simple how-tos on all the cute hairstyles you see on Pinterest, Kate Bryan, of The Small Things, is your girl. And for chic mommy tips, Kate’s  still your girl. She’s mom to David, 10 months old, and she’s 5 months with her second. Today she chats with us about switching up her lipstick shades and her favorite nail polish.

What is your beauty routine like? 

I like taking time to do my hair and makeup in the morning, but I always stick to my usual, streamlined routine. I shower, throw my hair in a towel to encourage it to dry as I do my makeup, then blow dry, throw a few loose curls in it with a 1 1/4 barrel curling iron, and finish with some hairspray.

How has your beauty routine changed since you had David? 

My beauty routine hasn’t changed too dramatically. I wear more neutral shades of lipstick instead of bold colors since my days are more casual. I find myself going a day between washing my hair every once in awhile on days where I’m just cleaning up the house or running errands.

What is the importance of taking time to do yourself? 

Personally, I feel more awake and ready to take on the day when I start it with a shower. Even if it’s just a quick five-minute shower, it helps me feel like I’m intentionally getting ready for the day instead of lounging around in sweats.

My beauty advice for moms is…  to not give up entirely on your beauty routine! Even if it’s a swipe of mascara, taking the time to put a little bit of effort into yourself will always pay off. Also, find a long-wear nail polish that doesn’t chip. Polishing your nails becomes much more sacred after having kids, and nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to do so only to end up with a chip the next day!

Habit nail polish

THE SMALL THINGS’ FIVE FAVES

1. Shu Uemura eyelash curler: No lash curler comes close to how well this one works.

2. Bite Beauty BB for Lips in Flush is the perfect “your lips but better” shade.

3. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Concealer: Say goodbye to dark circles with this product. It covers better than any concealer I’ve used.

4. Tarte Best in Faux Lash Extending Fibers add bulk to even the wimpiest lashes.

5. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light is the perfect highlighter and even light eyeshadow shade for any skin color.

6. Habit Cosmetics nail polish in Sunset Boulevard: I love the grey blue shade for any season.

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Shop Away! These Companies are Donating Proceeds to Address Childhood Cancer

It always feels better to shop when you know you’re giving back. Right now, a variety of companies are donating proceeds to benefit kids with cancer. Check out a few of our picks below—you’ll feel great donating to a good cause and getting a jump start on your holiday to-dos!

As you may know from years past, St. Jude has an expansive gift shop full of products that give back: 100 percent of proceeds from your purchase will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital! Their tote bag was an American Baby pick, but we’re also partial to the cozy sweatshirt and container of hot chocolate mix. There’s something for everyone on your list. And, if you’re shopping for a star-struck family member, check out the St. Jude celebrity collection.

Have a teething baby? We love Chewbeads, and half the proceeds from this creamsicle-colored Perry Necklace goes to Cookies for Kids with Cancer. Check out the Cookies website for more of their retail partners plus information about events they hold nationwide.

Donating to a charity in a loved one’s name is a great way to express gratitude while benefiting an individual in need. Maybe Grandma has all the jewelry she could ever want, but we bet she’d love to provide a special necklace to a mother who lost her child to cancer. By donating $40 to the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation, a mother will anonymously receive a locket complete with a photo of her child and E.E. Cummings’ poem, “I carry your heart with me.” In return, donors will receive a special letter, information about the recipient, and a gift from the PRET*TY store, which was founded by Cindy Campbell, who lost her own son, Ty, to childhood cancer.

Have a turtle lover in your house? Cloud b is creating Super Max the Turtle for 2015, inspired by 7-year-old Max Wilford, a young cancer patient. Max was calmed by the Twilight Turtle while he was healing. The product comes with a special book telling the story of Max the Turtle, who turns into a superhero, in order to help kids feel at ease before bed. A portion of proceeds from the $23 turtle will go to the MaxLove Project.

Watch one family’s experience with childhood cancer:

One Family's Experience with Childhood Cancer
One Family's Experience with Childhood Cancer
One Family's Experience with Childhood Cancer

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win a Box of Hasbro Games!

It may be mid-October, but your kids have probably started a list for Santa already. While you may be thinking about a new pair of shoes to add to your list, your little one is thinking about toys, toys and more toys! We’re thinking about toys too, have you seen our Parents 2014 Best Toys list?!


Hasbro has a variety of games that make perfect “family gifts,” ones that everyone can share. And unlike Santa, Hasbro doesn’t have a naughty or nice list. Hasbro is giving ONE (1) lucky winner a chance to receive his or her own box full of Hasbro Toys; including My Monopoly (one of our Best Toys winners!), Scrabble Electronic Scoring, Taboo Buzz’d, Trivial Pursuit Hints, Catchphrase Decades, Simon Swipe, Disney Frozen: Pop Up Magic Game, and a Transformers Battle Masters Grimlock figure–a prize worth $143.

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day on October 20. Be sure to check back on October 21 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. We’ve also posted all of the Official Rules. Goody luck!

Watch a behind-the-scenes clip of our toy-testers playing with our 2014 winners!

 

We Pick the Best Toys of 2014
We Pick the Best Toys of 2014
We Pick the Best Toys of 2014

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