Friday, April 29th, 2011
If passed, new guidelines from the federal government will give the food industry an ultimatum: Make your products healthier, or stop marketing them to children.
In an effort to end childhood obesity, the Federal Trade Commission would require manufacturers to include certain ingredients—like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat milk—in their products, while also avoiding unhealthy levels of sugar, saturated fat, trans fat and salt. Companies who choose to comply will likely have 5 to 10 years to do so. And ones that don’t will be asked to stop using kid-friendly themes and characters—like Froot Loops’ Toucan Sam, for example—in their advertisements.
Proponents say it’s a huge step in fighting an industry that, in 2006, spent nearly $2.3 billion to market often-unhealthy foods to children in the U.S. What do you think? Are you in favor of having the standards passed?
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Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
Nearly two years after moving to New York City, I’ve finally kicked the culture shock long enough to think about my future here. And I’ve decided that I can be happy, but that may require me to alter my expectations a little. Maybe I’ll never build a house from the ground up like I always dreamed, or even own a house at all. (I mean, does a 2-bedroom apartment count?) What I end up with—personally and professionally—may not be everything I expected, but you know what? It’s going to be good enough.
And that’s from a girl who hasn’t even entered the turn-your-world-upside-down chaos of motherhood. Still, I’m adopting the mantra of the new book Good Enough is the New Perfect, released today. Co-written by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple (who I had the pleasure of meeting during my time at West Virginia University), the book draws on in-depth interviews and the latest research to help women find happiness and success in their roles as wives, mothers and professionals. Does that mean compromise? Sure. But it doesn’t mean settling for less: Becky and Hollee simply believe that “having it all” means creating an “all” that you love.
Read more on their website, and pick up a copy to strike a balance of your own.
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Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a bloomaholic—nothing makes me happier than filling my apartment with vases of fresh flowers. But without fail, a few days later (sooner if my cat gets her paws on them) I find them wilted and sad, and I know it’s time to toss them out.
So imagine my delight when one of my favorite bloggers posted a link to Flores del Sol, an Etsy shop that sells dried flower arrangements at prices just as reasonable as fresh flowers, if not more so. And because they’re preserved, you’ll be able to enjoy them longer. The perfect Mother’s Day gift, don’t you think? I want the little beauty on the right for my own place, and I’m considering Celeste for my mom and mother-in-law. What are you wishing for this Mother’s Day?
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Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
There are very few things I love more than the Pittsburgh Steelers. So it was no surprise when our news editor, Kourtney Eidam, traipsed over to my desk yesterday, waving a Steelers T-shirt, and said, “I want you to try this on!” Come to think of it though, she’s made me try on all sorts of product samples—from kids clothing to an Iron Man mask—so maybe she just likes to make me take embarrassing photos.
All jokes aside, I’m glad she did. The shirt is from the NFL’s new women’s apparel shop, and it fits like a glove. Gone are the days of wearing offensive lineman-sized clothing—or browsing the kids’ section, as I’ve done before—just to get in the team spirit. And though I’ve been known to dress my large Hines Ward jersey up with a pair of heels and a cocktail ring, maybe it’s time to trade it for one that’s my own size. (Family and friends: Are you reading this? My birthday’s in March.)
So, Steelers and Packers ladies alike, go forth and shop. This year, you’ll draw more attention than the commercials. And while you’re here, tell us: What are you most looking forward to about the Super Bowl? Personally, I can’t wait to see everyone’s predictions be proven wrong.
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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
Here at Parents, we’re always talking about baby name inspiration. But here’s something not often discussed: the monikers of our pets.
According to Veterinary Pet Insurance, pet names may predict the outcome of the Super Bowl. For the third consecutive year, the company analyzed its database of more than 485,000 insured animals to see which Super Bowl team has the most pets named in its honor. Green Bay Packers faithful sported names like Jennings, Favre and Lambeau, while Pittsburgh Steelers fans named their pets Steeler, Hines Ward and Bettis, among others.
It seems that the Packers have won this battle: They beat Steeler nation by just two names. And if VPI’s streak continues—pet names have accurately predicted the Super Bowl champ for the past two years—they may also win the war. (As a die-hard Pittsburgh fan, I hope not!)
Yelling, “Hines Ward, come!” across the dog park seems a bit extreme. But then again, inspiration can come from anywhere. I named my cat, Madison, after the avenue here in New York. And my best friend, Mandy (right), named her dog, Huggins, after West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins. (Huggy Bear, as he’s also known, is most noted for consoling injured star Da’Sean Butler during last year’s Final Four.)
So tell us: What did you name your furry friends? Any tips for soon-to-be pet owners?
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Thursday, January 13th, 2011
Last week I wrote about the expected arrival of my niece, Breanna, and how I hoped to be a big part of her life, even from miles away.
Well, I have some exciting news to share: Breanna was born on Monday, January 10, exactly one week past her due date. She was 6 lbs, 11 oz, 20 inches long. And if it really is possible to fall in love at first sight—or in this case, love at first photo—I’m head over heels for this little girl. (How could you not be? That’s her on the right, holding my brother Craig’s hand.)
Melody and Bre (as she’s already affectionately called by family) are set to leave the hospital today, and I’m putting the finishing touches on a care package I’ve been planning to send. So far I have diapers, wipes, a caterpillar rattle that was featured in Parents‘ Best Toys, onesies, pacifiers, pacifier wipes, and a soft book made for newborns.
But I’ve never been a new mom, so I’m turning to you: What do you wish someone would have sent you during the first two weeks of motherhood? Am I missing anything?
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Monday, January 3rd, 2011
I’m going to be an aunt.
Well, actually, I’m already an aunt to my husband’s niece and two nephews. But this time it’s different: My only sibling, Craig, and his wife, Melody, are expecting their first child. My big brother—the same one that proudly bragged that he was “going to get a sister” when my gender was still to-be-determined, that blackened a kid’s eye after he shoved me on the school bus, that kept my husband, Nathan, on the phone for an hour the night before our wedding (saying or threatening what, I’m not sure)—is going to have a little girl of his own.
That is, if she ever decides to make her grand entrance, which was scheduled for today. (Breanna, anytime now. Seriously. Let’s not be tardy.)
The problem is, they’re in West Virginia, and I’m in New York. And in spite of my crossed fingers and high hopes, Breanna wasn’t born over the holidays when I could be there to meet her. So I’m making the best of it—I have a care package full of goodies that’s ready to be mailed as soon as she arrives, and my mom and I have already discussed buying a webcam for Craig and Melody.
But I can’t help but worry: If my visits are as rare as Thanksgiving, Christmas and an occasional stop in between, will Breanna know who I am? Nathan’s nephews still call us by the wrong names at times—to be expected, I guess, since they see their other aunts and uncles more often.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder, they say, and that’s certainly true of my feelings about family. But how do you preserve the same bond with children? Any tips about how to make yourself a tangible presence in a kid’s life, even from miles away?
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Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
I’ve always been pretty straightforward—I say how I feel, cry when I’m hurt, apologize when I’m wrong.
But growing up, the girls at school were different. They gave me the silent treatment instead of saying why they were angry. They talked about me behind my back instead of to my face. They stared at me, confused, when I said, “Can you just tell me what’s bothering you?”
What scares me most about the world we live in today: the same mean girls can now hide in cyberspace. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and even anonymous websites have become platforms where kids can talk the talk without facing their victim, and seemingly, without consequences.
So imagine how thrilled I was to discover Say It 2 My Face. Created by college student (and former cyber-bullying victim) Taylor Audette, the campaign challenges bullies to step out from behind the screen, to think about what they type as much as they do about what they say.
Join the campaign on Facebook, and help spread the word. It’s time we hold ourselves accountable for our words and actions, both on and off line. Image via sayit2myface.org.
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