Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Check This Out: Girl Mogul Magazine!

If there's a girl in your life who's between the ages of 7 and 13, then you should know about the upcoming publication, Girl Mogul Magazine. Their motto says it all: "Encouraging Successful Girls."

Scheduled for launch in September 2009, Girl Mogul Magazine will be subscription-based and initially will reach over 125,000 girls. The magzine plans to hit newsstands in 2010.

But if you can't wait for the first issue, not to worry: girls can read Girl Mogul Online at -- a great blog for girls featuring positive articles, news and advice for girls on the move. To quote from their web site, Girl Mogul is "for girls who are making a difference in their community, who are leaders, entrepreneurs and world changers. Girl Mogul Magazine is about who you are, what you stand for and what you can do with your life. It isn’t about what you wear or what you look like, what’s inside that makes you shine.”

I can't wait until my daughter knows how to read!

They've even developed a site for parents,, offering advice and tips for moms and dads. Pretty cool! Check them out!

'Til next time,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mamas, Wear Your Helmets!

Growing up in the '70s and '80s, I never wore a bicycle helmet. I never saw any one else wear one either. Maybe in the movie "Breaking Away," but never in real life. My husband and I laugh about it and think maybe that's why our generation is smaller than the others.

Enter 2009. Our daughter is now old enough to sit on the back of a bike and get chauffered around. On vacation, we rented two bikes and a kiddie seat. (My lovely cycle adorned with stylish 'basquette' is pictured to the right).

The bike rental guy handed us the paperwork and pointed to two bins full of helmets.

"The ones on the right are for kids, the ones on the left are for adults," he said. "Help yourself."

Oh boy.

My husband and I gave each other "Do we have to?" looks. And yes, yes we did. We just couldn't make our daughter wear her helmet, and then us two ride off into the sunset with bare heads. It just didn't seem fair. And what lesson would she learn, seeing both parents ride helmet-free? So we both donned our hard, white caps, fashionable chin strap and all. And boy, did we look cool.

I mean, I always thought of myself as being at least moderately coordinated. I played sports (yes, badminton is a sport). I think I can dance (albiet, circa 1980's "Material Girl.") So I rode around the sandy beaches and paths of Hilton Head, feeling confident that my well protected head would never make contact with ground. I was convinced that my helmet wearing was in vain.

So oblivious was I to any danger, so much did I enjoy the sightseeing, that I failed to anticipate a large bump in the road that sent me flying from my little two-wheeled rental.

That's right. I went head over heels, not for but rather on top of my lovely ride. My daughter kind of freaked out and so did my hubby. But other than a scraped knee and dented pride, I was fine.

Ever since, I've about half of parents I've seen riding bikes with their kids were wearing helmets, half were going bare-headed. No, I can't say that I felt very cool wearing it, and I certainly didn't feel cool falling off my ride. But to walk away unscathed--well now, that felt very cool indeed. And every time we see someone riding a bike, my daughter comments on how Mama didn't get hurt because Mama wore her helmet. Now that's a lesson learned truly by example.

According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, non-helmet riders are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than ones who wore helmets. And in 2007, sadly 698 cyclists died.

Helmets are cheap. Target offers them for as little as $20. A small price to pay for protecting something as valuable as your noggin.

Many states and municipalities have bike helmet laws requiring them for riders age 16 and under. But not many have laws for Mamas. But trust me, this Mama never will ride without one again.

'Til next time,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crayola...Will You Marry Me?

Oh, wait. I'm already married. And I guess you can't really marry a company. If that was the case, I probably would have proposed to Sam Adams years ago.

But seriously! Crayola...I *heart* you!!!

Let me first state that I am not a paid spokesperson for Crayola, nor have I ever received anything free from the company (though Crayola, my sweet, please feel free to correct that one, if you must.)

But my daughter who's two years old is all into painting. I have bought Crayola products in the past -- crayons and markers -- and have had much success with them (to this mom, success is the cleanup, of course; though I like to think I draw a mean tree trunk with burnt sienna).

Anyway, last week she graduated from paint-with-water to the real deal: Paints with Brushes (which, incidentally, is also her new Native American name). I purchased washable paint, and ... halleluliah! A toddler covered in the stuff washes 100% clean in minutes with a little soap and a bucket full o'h20! Better yet, everything comes clean quite easily: brushes, tabletops, shirts, dish towels, curtains, stuffed animals, purses, hair -- you name it! So let your little Picassos run free (though running with pointy brushes is not endorsed by this blogger). Dad's old shirt donned backwards is not required! Mothers of budding artists, rejoice!

For more info on the miraculous wonder that is Crayola, visit none other than

'Til next time,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Future IS Bright For Writing

When I graduated from college and moved to New York City, I wrote my parents and friends back home at least once a week. I actually put pen to paper, sealed my correspondence in an envelope, affixed a $.32 stamp and put it in a blue mailbox on the corner of my Brooklyn street. It was 1996, and no one in my family had email. Actually, I didn't have email. I didn't even have my own computer, other than the one I used at work. Sometimes I miss those days, because I still have the letters they all sent back to me. Even my grandfather wrote me long letters which included family news as well as Bible verses to inspire me. If I hadn't moved away, I never would have received such keepsakes that someday I can show to my daughter. I bet I'll seem really old to her when I do!

So then came technology. Web sites, email, cell phones, texting, now Twitter. With all the LOL's, emoticons and other e-terms I've had to learn, I wondered about the next generation and their communication skills. No more letter writing. Nothing to really "hold" on to. Just little blurbs and blips here and there.

Then it came to me: the kids are communicating. Now more than ever! And that's what's important. Texts, emails, tweets flying here and there. I doubt they could live without their i-phones or laptops! Though abbreviated, they are writing. More so than I did when I had to drag out a pad of paper, buy stamps and wait days for my letter to get to its destination. They're writing every single day. Dozens of times a day. (Mmaybe even hundreds?)

A friend of mine told me the story of when driving with her daughter and one of her daughter's friends, she asked her kid who she was texting. "Abby," her daughter answered. "But Abby's right there in the back seat!" my friend exclaimed. Sometimes it seems kind of crazy to us parents, but that scenario is probably not so strange to kids. And while I feel texting should not be occuring 24/7 (and not at the family dinner table), it actually could be improving their communication skills.

Not only are kids writing more frequently then my generation did at that age, but they're learning to form their thoughts more concisely. As a journalism student, we performed many exercises that aimed to teach us the art of brevity. Every little word should count. Nothing extraneous. And that's just what the kids are doing because they have to. They're conversing in a way that's teaching them to get to the point. To say it quickly and sparingly. Technology just might produce a generation of great journalists after all. Even this article on E-School explains how students' writing scores are improving greatly.

I know many older people yearn for the old days and complain about technology ruining lots of things (especially when their computers crash). But if people are communicating now more than ever, I think that's a great thing. Maybe technology is bringing us together instead of isolating us. And as for the next generation, like Green Day says, "The kids are alright." (Though my pesky j-prof would have corrected them and said, "It's all right, sons. All right?")

'Til next time,

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Guess I'm Covering the Bullying Beat

I had an earlier post about my experience with bullies and bullying. Sad article today in the Chicago Tribune. A local teen ended his life and his parents feel bullying was a contributing factor. His parents say he did not feel protected by the school, and school officials -- while declining to discuss his case in particular--feel that in such cases, they try to do everything they can to help.

I was bullied a bit by some jerks when I was a freshman, but then fell into a crowd that no one bothered. But I knew other kids who were harassed endlessly. At my ten year high school reunion, I was relieved to see one of the victims there with his gorgeous wife-- a successful business man with a baby on the way. Those classmates who used to make fun of him were floored at who he had become. I liked him in school (we were always seated next to each other, thanks to the alphabet) and he remembered that I was always nice to talk to (when I did talk!). But while I was thrilled to discuss his success, I felt kind of sad that his high school experience was tarnished by a bunch of idiots who, as it turns out, really didn't amount to a whole lot.

I had hoped that, by now, things had changed for kids. The school that the boy in the article mentioned above attended said they posted posters about recognizing bullying. They also have a system in place where people can anonymously tell administrators about bullying. Maybe they can't do anything else. That the rest is up to kids and parents. But it's been up to kids and parents all along, and look at where it's gotten us.

For my friend from high school, once he graduated he realized college was completely different. He wasn't bullied. He gained confidence in himself. And currently, he is in the process of conquering the world. I hope every kid out there being bullied can see that it won't last forever. Unfortunately for some, high school seems like it never will end.

Til next time,