Author Archives: hwdadmin

Beach Etiquette Basics

Being at the beach is like sitting on a Hollywood movie set, there are A LOT of characters on scene. To your right is a bunch of college students ready to surf and party. To your left is a family of five with a colossal pile of toy sea creatures, buckets and diapers. In front of you is a retired couple with their summer reads and gigantic umbrella to shield them from the sun. In back of you are a group of girls that remind you of the ones you graduated high school with in their itty-bitty bathing suits, selfie sticks and boyfriend drama. And then there is you and your crew with your own personal stories and beach agendas. No matter what part of the script you fall into many of us bury our beach manners in the sand. From rocking out too hard to leaving a pile of garbage behind, don’t forget every beach bum has one mission in mind, to kick back and relax, BUT we should never forget to respect! Here’s a list of need to know etiquette basics when sitting at the shore.

Don’t play your music too loud.
From hip-hop to soft rock keep your tunes at a moderate volume. Your neighbors may prefer lying in the sun in silence instead of listening to Broadway songs on shuffle.

Keep your PDA and bad language at bay.
Otherwise, earmuffs and blindfolds may become a beach bag essential.

Throwing a frisbee is fun, until it whizzes by another beach goers blanket or worse…their heads.
Best to keep your catches away from the crowds.

Eating sand is as appetizing as it sounds.
Obviously, you can’t be such a stickler if someone gets sand in your space, but watching where you walk will help eliminate messing up another neighbors resting place.

Attention those who litter and think no one is looking…someone is always watching.
Of course, we have all made the mistake at least once, but no one wants trash left by their towel or in between their toes. Please throw out your food, wrappers and gum.

Drinking too much can provide a negative outdoor experience for all parties.
None of us adults need to be reminded about the consequences of consuming too much alcohol, but doing your business in moderation is probably best especially when there are young families around.

We all love to people watch, but most of us have also been watched.
Keep your jokes about the drunk dad dancing to Elvis and eye rolls at the stranger prancing around in a neon sequin string bikini on the down low. It’s never nice to stare or shame others. By the way you never know if the person next to you got the same swimsuit on sale.

Be polite.
It sounds easy, but there are times we have to remind ourselves to say excuse me, please and thank you, even when we are competing to claim the best spot on the beach.

 

 

The Obligatory Tradition

I want to begin this article by telling all of you – I. Love. My. Parents. However, we bond better when there is separation between our visits. Even when I lived under their roof, I preferred a long-distance relationship with them. When they were downstairs, I was upstairs, when they were home I was out. I went to college out of state and worked and married while living in NYC. After giving birth to my first baby, I did a complete 180. I moved back to Monmouth County, NJ. The same state, I was born in and the same county I was raised in and you guessed it…where my parents still live. The same policy holds true now that I am a mom. I enjoy spending time with them, but in social increments. Since there is a basic come and go understanding, when spring break was approaching I naturally assumed I could schedule a mini-vacation for my husband, myself and kids – even if it overlapped with the beginning of Passover. About five years ago, my father claimed Passover as an “all-you-can-eat” and “all-you-can-invite” tradition. Of course, it is a very generous gesture of him and my mom to extend the holiday to my in-laws, my brother’s in-laws, neighbors and friends. He likes to celebrate the holiday for family bonding purposes and not religious ones, which is fine with me. As opposed to the traditional Four Questions to kick off the Seder, his four questions are 1. Did I cut my hair? 2. Who do I still talk to from high school? 3. Can he get a high-five from the grandkids? 4. Can I get him a toothpick?
That’s why I assumed when I didn’t get the phone call that Passover dinner 2018 was happening, making alternative plans was fair game. And again, let me remind you, we don’t keep tabs on how often we see each other including during holidays, birthdays, weddings…etc. I’m not going to say I completely forgot about their once a year hostessing extravaganza, but since they didn’t bring it up to me I wasn’t going to bring it up to them. Then I got the call from my father, “Hey Hopester, I’m going to see you guys for the holiday, right?”I replied with hesitation, “I don’t think so, dad. We made plans to go away since I didn’t hear from you.” I was prepared to get a little sigh of disappointment and then we would move on and he would ask me, “What else is going on?”
Instead, the unexpected happen. There was silence. And that’s all the “Gefilte guilt” I needed before I crumbled and said, “Um forget it, I’ll cancel our plans”. Although, I felt like a child at that moment, I also felt more mature than I have ever felt as an adult. I knew these moments won’t last forever with my parents. And once they stop hostessing their version of a Seder I would probably take over the tradition…

My kids better show up!

Parenting Tips From The Pearsons

Raising kids is super hard, but the Pearson’s make it look so incredibly easy. At this point, you may be asking yourself one of three questions, “Who are the Pearsons?” “Do they do house calls?” Or “Is she talking about Rebecca and Jack Pearson from the hit show, This is Us?”

Ding, ding, ding! Thankfully, creator Dan Fogelman (a Jersey man himself), has managed to create two perfectly imperfect fictional characters that have all the ideal techniques to raising children in today’s homes. Yes, I know it’s just make believe, but somehow their troubles and triumphs as a family are eerily relatable to modern parenting with the exception of Mandy Moore’s beauty pageant looks and Milo Ventimiglia’s irresistible yet rarely attainable Dad bod. From dealing with serious topics like race, gender issues, and weight struggles to everyday family drama such as sibling rivalry, school grades and teen love these are the top Pearson parenting tips we can all apply in our real family life.

Honor Your Child’s Feelings:
How many times have you had a terrible morning, a busy work schedule or in desperate need of a lazy day at exactly the same time your daughter is suffering from her own life crisis. Most likely, you dismiss it as growing pains and go about dealing with your adult problems. When Jack and Rebecca’s slightly overweight 8-year old daughter, Kate, becomes body conscious of her figure at the neighborhood swim club, her father knows exactly how to drop everything and tend to her hurt feelings. He introduces the “magic t-shirt.” He tells her, “When you wear it your enemies will see you as you want to be seen.” Kate believed her father and chose for her enemies to see her as a princess, but that wasn’t even the best part or biggest lesson for me. After she covered herself he reassured her, “Daddy already sees you that way without the shirt.”

Treat Your Spouse Like A Legend
Spoiler Alert – ALL Married Couples Fight!
A lot of us even criticize our better half in front of friends and family without even realizing it. But praising your significant other in private or public situations creates a stronger bond within the entire family. For example, little deeds such as exchanging love notes, presents, or powerful affirmations let the family know you are team that can’t be ripped apart. Rebecca Pearson’s words to her son Randall speak straight from a protective mother and wife’s heart, “Our marriage wasn’t perfect, it’s true. But none are. Your father wasn’t perfect either, but he was pretty damn close. As close as they come.”

Following Tradition Isn’t Always The Answer.
For those who don’t know the back story of This Is Us, here is your quick recap. Two parents are expecting a family of triplets on the dad-to-be’s birthday. Unfortunately, one baby is lost during childbirth and the parents adopt a baby boy on the same day of delivery, dubbing their blended family as the “Big Three.” Since day one, the “Big Three” weren’t raised traditionally, but individually. Each child looked very different, enjoyed different hobbies and had different personalities. Instead of creating cookie cutter kids the parents pay attention to each child’s cues and deal with each situation in a unique fashion. “There’s no lemon…so sour…that you can’t make something resembling lemonade.” If only the doctor who delivered my kids passed on these words of wisdom to me.

Honesty Isn’t A Character Flaw.
We all have baggage. Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, your neighbor’s dog, but admitting your issues is better than covering them up. Obviously, parents don’t need to tell their children EVERYTHING, but sometimes revealing your weaknesses makes you the biggest hero of all.

Thank you Pearsons for the family therapy.

*Originally Published in March Issue of Community Magazine NJ

“Think Positive” Say it with me…”Think Positive!’

It’s January and I already learned something new, this “New Year”. I definitely have the potential to be happier in 2018 than I was in 2017. How do I know? Like any other goal, I can’t sit idle, eat a bunch of Oreos and wait for a pocket full of optimism to appear, I have to work towards finding it. Just to be clear, I’m not saying I’m miserable, but I can admit that being a mom opens up a whole new door of questioning and anxiety. Is my son making friends? Is my daughter confident enough? Am I too involved with my children or am I not involved enough? Did I set the alarm? Did I just offend that other parent? Scattered, uncertain thoughts like these can definitely become a buzz kill in the circle of happy parenting. Thankfully, I recognize the need to CHILL OUT in order to live a happier, healthier and stronger life. Here’s my simplified 4-step plan to becoming a more positive person, partner and parent.

Find Your Jam:
We all need a motivational mantra to get us out of our brain funk. Whether it’s singing lyrics to an encouraging ballad, reciting a quote to build up inner strength or rocking out to your favorite fight song, don’t underestimate the power of positive words. Create a parenting play list to help boost your mood and motivate yourself with out getting overwhelmed or psyching yourself out. One quote that keeps me upbeat is written on the wall at a local hair salon. It reads, “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely,” by Roald Dahl.

Set Clear Expectations:
One of the biggest pitfalls of completing a goal is not seeing results as quickly as you want. Once you muster up enough courage to lose weight, start a new business, or ask for a raise–you instantly expect success. If you don’t receive that positive feedback you easily become discouraged. Recognizing fear is a major factor in self-sabotage. Expect obstacles and distractions, but keep moving forward. A great way to calm nerves is working out, meditating or even getting a massage (also helpful for maintaining a feel god attitude).

Laugh it off:
You ate too many carbs, you made a mistake at work, you yelled at your kids for screaming “Mooooom” when they really had a good reason for calling you. You have a choice, you can beat yourself up and throw a major pity party or you can find some humor in these social blunders and not take the mishaps so seriously. Eliminating the emotional reaction and searching for some comic relief will help calm you down from overreacting and quitting your goal.

Get Real:
Who says you only have 12 months to complete your mission? According to U.S. News and World Report, 80 percent of resolutions are dissolved by the second week of February. Ditch the pressure people! Whenever I have a moment of weakness I always imagine what I would say to my child if he or she were having the same issue. Doing this technique helps bring me back to reality and puts matters into perspective. Just like friendships, marriage and parenting –staying healthy and happy is a job and you have to work at it everyday.

 

 

5 Tricks To Make Your Summer Last Longer

Summer Isn’t Done. Phew! 5 cool ways to kick back and still have fun in the sun.
From hunting for lost treasures in the sand to searching for the greatest treats on land–
Lifestyle expert Terri Alpert, Founder and CEO of Uno Alla Volta shares her most favorite summer staples. Here’s 5 creative tips that can send us moms back to the beach instead of back to school shopping all month long.

Reveal Your Sole:

There’s nothing better than walking on sandy beaches with a cute pair of flip-flops and what trendsetter doesn’t want to show off their feet in a pair of Havaianas? These fun flops come in hundreds of different styles and eye-popping colors for adults and your kids. You can even custom make your own style! Since its creation in 1962, Havaianas created a loyal fan-base for their comfort and unmistakable design. Alpert loves the Slim Organic White/Silver ($28), and little fashionistas will love the Kids Slim Pop Sandal Rose Gold ($20). Choose from an ice cream sundae print with a golden spoon embellishment or a popcorn print with a salt shaker embellishment.

Havainas.com

Havaianas.com

 

 

Stay Hot With Suede:

Keep your style up-to-date with a statement handbag. These Uno Alla Volta Florentine Suede Bucket Bags($248) are handcrafted by the hearts and hands of the very artisans Alpert calls “her family.” These beautiful suede handbags add a pop of color to any summer outfit. The designs are stylish, roomy, and the Italian suede is masterfully handcrafted in Florence, Italy. Each bag features a hand-cut suede tassel and braided leather handles. They come in many beautiful, vibrant colors and can only be found exclusively at Uno Alla Volta.

Uno Alla Volta

Uno Alla Volta

 

 

Find The Perfect Shade:

Alpert told A New Mom In Town that nails have come a long, long way since she was a kid in the 70s (props to the UK fashion student who designed experimental press-on nails carrying an Oyster chip)! Inspired by the sun-soaked shores of Antigua, Essie’s 2016 summer nail polish collection ($3 each) defies convention with its bold, eye-popping colors. The metallic shimmer adds an unexpected jolt to your mani and pedi. With names like Viva Antigua!, Coconut Cove and Berried Treasure, Essie’s summer collection is a dream come true.

Essie.com

Essie.com

 

 

Keep Away The Summer Blues With A Yummy Dessert:

Nothing screams summer more than ice cream. Alpert is a huge fan of Coolhaus, a Brooklyn-based brand, which bills themselves as architecturally-inspired gourmet ice cream. This delectable treat is available nationwide and includes innovative, unique flavors including fried chicken caramel (with hints of cayenne, sage and black pepper) and handmade candy bars (filled with white chocolate and fresh, locally-sourced mint leaves). Bonus: you can also order Coolhaus online.

Coolhaus

Coolhaus

 

 

Remember To Dip, Sip and Dine:

As a native New Englander, Alpert says, “There is no other destination with charm and glamour like breathtaking Newport, RI.” Known for its Gilded Age mansions on Bellevue Avenue and pristine beaches, Newport also has a vibrant, contemporary side, made manifest with quirky shops and outstanding restaurants. The famed Newport Jazz Festival has been a summer staple since its inception in 1954 when Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie performed. The festival attracts music lovers of all types, not to mention celebrities and dignitaries from around the globe.

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What is your favorite end of the summer tip or trip?  Let us know.

He Said What??


imageOne of the biggest payoffs of having kids…their political incorrectness. I took my 4-yr-old to the bookstore. Instead of being focused on the legendary “Purple Rain” performer, he blurted out what most of us were thinking, but couldn’t say. “Mom, is this book about armpit hair?”

What’s the funniest quotes your kids have ever said?

First Lesson In Motherhood: Shit Happens

I never thought being a first time mom was going to be easy, but I didn’t expect to consider myself a failure the day my daughter was born. I kept a journal throughout my entire pregnancy. I recorded my physical ailments (morning sickness for a full nine months), my food cravings, my happy days, my sick of being pregnant days, my baby sonogram updates and promises I vowed to work on everyday to give my child the best life possible. I was committed to being the balanced, confident perfect mom with all the right tips and tricks to help navigate my daughter through birth to adulthood. One of those promises was breastfeeding. If you asked me before I got pregnant what I would feed my baby, I would have responded dubiously, “Coffee and cream”?!
Since I was becoming a mom and was responsible for taking care of another person besides my own selfish needs I was going to give her the greatest gift. “Breast is best,” I was told countless of times. Experienced moms, lactation specialists, doulas and scientific research expressed the positive effects breast milk has on a child’s growth, health and brain function. And there was another bonus. Theories suggested body-to-body contact helped form a mother daughter bond I instantly craved. I imagined myself sitting next to her 20 years later discussing the joy I received while cradling her in my arms as I fed her milk from me, my body, the dedicated mother who would sacrifice everything to keep her happy and healthy. However, due to unforeseen circumstances the breastfeeding daydream images surrounded by lullaby tunes playing in the background with a fixed crooked smile on my face dressed in a cute white sun dress turned into a major shit show!
As soon as she came out I sang her name out loud in the delivery room and then growled at my husband to hand her to me. I was eager to introduce myself and watch her latch on effortlessly. Except, she never did. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I qualified as a woman with inverted nipples. My boob malfunction drove me into a tailspin. I was drugged due to a C-section and left dumfounded by my inability to nurture my child naturally. I became depressed, angry and desperate. I requested a lactation specialist to visit me in the hospital and tell me what my chances were of delivering breast milk to my daughter. Already I let my daughter down–only nine hours after she was born. I tried everything. Nipple covers, breast shells, a breast pump to convert my inverted nipples to erect ones. The anxiety overwhelmed me, I felt like I was starving my child and I was exhausted. My breasts failed me and I failed her. Being overly paranoid and emotional, I decided to supplement her with formula while I tried tirelessly to get her to latch on.
I was engorged the day we came home from the hospital. I assumed this was a sign that my body was ready to surrender to her suck. Unfortunately, the milk buildup became too painful and my baby nurse had to help me pump it out through my screaming and crying. I was lucky if I got out half an ounce of milk. According to experts, babies don’t need many ounces in the beginning stages, but after seeing how much I produced is when my “mother instinct” kicked in. Yes, I could keep trying to feed her naturally while being cranky and feeling defeated or I can try to get to know my child and give her what I think is best. I opted for the latter. I kept my daughter at a healthy weight with formula feeding meals and whatever drips of breast milk I could pump out for dessert. I returned my boppy pillow and pump a month later. It’s almost been seven years since the boob fiasco. My daughter has been attached to my side ever since.bf2

Don’t Be A Decorating Dope

imageI love the holidays and all the love and joy they bring, but I despise decorating for them. I admit I have very little patience and all these elaborate Pinterest items put my work to shame. I wouldn’t say I am Mrs. Scrooge because I still get butterflies in my stomach when I hear Mariah Carey’s, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” chime from every radio station’s playlist, but I don’t yearn to spread my holiday cheer in lights, fake snow and mistletoes. An eggnog latte and a pumpkin muffin from any coffee shop is enough to get my jingle bells ringing.

My daughter thinks there is something wrong with me. She’s six. Her opinion is still up for debate, but I agreed to hear her grievances with my anti-decorating demeanor. She was rather honest with her assessment. “Mom, you are the only mom, who doesn’t like to decorate for the holidays”. When she approached me with this accusation I was caught off guard? “What do you mean?” I figured my question would challenge her to think and then she would just give up. However, she countered with a line I may have mumbled in the past, “You don’t want to ruin our new, fresh painted walls.” She got me. There was no arguing back. She was right. I couldn’t deal with all the mess or stress. For the first time in my life, I actually felt guilty about my anti-creativity holiday stance. Maybe there really was something wrong with me. Was I killing the December mood for my kids? Will they be scarred for life with out witnessing their dad and I shop for candy canes to hang, menorahs to light and snowflakes to stick on the windows? Should I be more willing and excited about giving up hours possibly even days of my time to create a winter wonderland? All of a sudden these thoughts overwhelmed me and I started analyzing the kind of message I was sending to my family, friends…oh no, the neighbors. Was I known as the bad Santa on the block?
I took a deep breath and then asked my daughter what she wanted to create. I would let her make whatever she wanted for the house and we could hang it wherever she chose. She decided on drawing a gingerbread man and a Christmas tree. Then, we cut out the sketches and taped them to her armoire so she can look at her display as she goes to bed. I think it took a total of 10 minutes, but the time didn’t matter. She was happy. And I was satisfied.

I realized the importance of decorating to her was not how fancy or glittery you get, but she wanted to make something special with me, her mommy. No judgments. It wasn’t the quantity but the quality of time we shared together. My 6 yr. old made me feel like a real dope and for a good reason. Thanks to her, I will never forget this year’s holiday and the important lesson I learned with our two make-do festive decorations.

Poor SportsMOMship! Spot Signs


How many times have we reminded our small children, “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” and expect them to understand what the hell we really mean? Many of us lean on this generic phrase of wisdom usually in hidden fear that our child is a lousy athlete or a certifiable sore loser. Even though my daughter loves to hula hoop, but sucks and my son only has interest in playing with his own balls instead of kicking the ball on the soccer field, I am a strong believer in delivering encouraging mantras and relaying positivity to help my kids feel like champions and always give their best. But that was me last week, before I entered the race for, “Class Chaperone” and all my optimism, fairness and humility went to shit. It all started with an email exchange. A note went out announcing my son’s preschool class would be taking a trip to a petting zoo. I immediately responded and offered to volunteer. Honestly, they could have booked a class trip to the water fountain, but since I just re-entered society from my shocking loss as “Class Mom” at my daughter’s school, a second chance at becoming “Senior Chaperone” became very personal to me. Plus, this was my son’s first field trip ever. I had to be the chosen one. However, my tactic as first responder to the call of duty was met with stiff competition. Other members of the school mom squad were vying for the same position. And the teacher declared a lottery would be the deciding factor. Of course, all my strategic hard work at kissing butt, massaging egos, and coffee gift cards couldn’t win me a spot on the field trip since the chaperones were chosen by random. When the names of the lucky parents were announced, mine was not one of them.   I was foaming from the mouth; crossing names off my kid’s birthday party list and plotting how to make my best friend disappear for the day. Yes, she took my spot. It was my son’s first field trip, his first time on a school bus, first time visiting a farm, all firsts I would miss because someone didn’t choose my name out of a hat. Should I really let chance determine my success or failure? I was not ready to accept the defeat. I demanded I go anyway. The school obliged. “Ha-ha-nanny-nanny-boo-boo.” But there was a catch. I would have to drive myself to the destination and pay for my entrance fee. I was so focused on the victory that neither constraint bothered me, until I realized, just maybe, I am teetering on the edge of poor sportsMomship. I was torn. Do I want to experience a memorable occasion with my son, by being awarded the title, “Your Mommy is a crazy bitch” who crashed the field trip or do I accept my loss, squeeze into my big girl panties and let my adorable 3 yr. old ride this one out on his own? The feeling of failure consumed me. But justifying my juvenile behavior would haunt me. I gave myself a multiple choice test. Which first is more important to me? Chaperoning my son’s first field trip or…

1.Witnessing his first touchdown at his football game?

2.Meeting his first girlfriend?

3.Taking care of him the first time she breaks his heart?

4.Being the first to cheer him up when he injures himself?

5.Watching him drive away when he first gets his license?

6.Holding his head up over the toilet the first time he gets drunk?

7.Buying him his suit for his first real job?

8.Helping him furnish his home when he buys his first house?

9.Being the first person he confides in when he is ready to get married?

10.Be the first to tell him he’s gaining too much weight?

11.Being his first contact when he is in trouble?

12.Hugging him tight when he has his first born?

13.Telling him he needs to grow up when he has his first fight with his spouse?

14.Be the first to tell him when he’s being an ass?

15.Telling him how proud he makes me?

Wow. I guess I overreacted. Who wants to smell like stinky horse shit anyway?!

This Mom Is Exhausted From Co-Sleeping

10 Reasons I Want To Tell My Kids to Get Out of My Bed…and it has absolutely nothing to do with what the experts say.

1. Mommy really needs to talk to daddy (wink, wink).
2. Mommy wants to watch bad reality TV without feeling guilty (and a bit embarrassed).
3. I want to read a book without someone looking over my shoulder asking, “What does M-U-R-D-E-R spell?
4. You no longer need my boob or bottle. We can schedule bonding time in the daytime (preferably 7:30 am to 7:30 pm).
5. I want to put my anti-aging lotion on my face without being interrogated with questions like, “Can’t you just use water to wash those dark spots off your face?” “Will this sticky stuff take out the big crinkle in between your eyes?” “Mom, does this really work?”
6. Mommy doesn’t like to freeze while you are sound asleep like a tightly wrapped sushi roll in MY sheets and blanket.
7. I want to speak freely on the phone, shop online or do stomach crunches without being interrupted by you handing me your boogers because you’re too tired to grab a tissue.
8. Mommy wants to have a fucking fattening, sugary snack and doesn’t want to share it.
9. Mommy loves you but is exhausted nursing her fat lip from being kicked in the face due to your involuntarily stretches and accidental backhands.
10. I want peace. I don’t want to discipline, talk, yell or negotiate. I just want complete silence. Even if it’s only for a few hours…minutes…seconds…”Oh, hi pumpkin. I was just keeping your spot warm.”