I’m Trapped!

  I'm not going to lie, being stuck inside with my overly exuberant three year old because of the cold weather has not been fun. It's one thing if you live in the suburbs and playing outside is, well..., an option. But, being stuck in a New York City apartment with a young child due to weather is not an ideal situation. I know, I can hear my own mother now, "But you have all those museums, the park, the aquarium..." The truth is, all those activities are easier said than done, and often require both my husband and I to be there. Not to mention planning and packing drinks, snacks, and traveling on the subway. Sometimes, its just easier to stay indoors. But then, staying indoors requires some creativity on my part to keep my little man occupied and out of trouble. I thought that I would share some of my favorite snow day activities with my fellow Mamas, just in case you are suffering from being trapped indoors as well. Movie Day- Whenever I plan an indoors movie day activity with my little guy, I try to make it as special as possible. We typically plan on screening a movie that isn't a part of our current collection so that he is excited, focused, and ready to sit still for two hours. I also try to plan a special treat to go with the movie as well. My little guy is a sucker for popcorn, but we have been trying it with a different twist by using these great popcorn seasonings from Kernel. Indoor Camping Adventure- We recently purchased Branden a great indoor … [Read more...]

The Potty Dance

  My independent, assertive, little man has decided to take a stand.  Against potty training, that is. I keep telling myself "He will do it whenever he is ready" and "Boys start potty training later than girls," but it's getting to a point of frustration for my husband and me. I'm trying not to stress over it, but I feel like we have been dancing around this subject since our son turned 3- the subject of the potty dance, specifically- and while my husband and I are dancing, Branden sits and observes. This thought keeps me pondering over the question: How do I engage my child in 'The Potty Dance'? After talking to many friends and family and reading many articles online, I'm learning that every child is potty trained differently, and at a different time during their toddler years. At this point, I feel like we have tried every trick in the book, but the only response I get from my little man is "I can't do it!" Of course, we explain to him over and over that he can do anything he puts his mind to, and that "can't" should not be a part of his vocabulary. But he's 3, so ya know, this concept goes a little over his head. Part of me is also worried that I am going to discourage him and make him feel bad about himself if I keep pressuring him to do something that he knows he's not ready to do. Overall, it's a very nerve racking, touchy subject for a parent. After scouring the Internet lately, I have come across a really great resource, the Baby Center. This … [Read more...]

Sharing is Caring?

  I was recently reading an article online that compared sharing among young children to sharing among adults. Sharing is something that we greatly insist upon and enforce between  children in our society, but is not expected of groups of adults the way it is with groups of children. The article went on to compare children sharing their toys with friends, or even with children they've just met, to what would happen if adults were expected to share their coveted electronics that keep them "connected" to everything on a very personal level. This struck me as a very good point, and it got me to thinking, I'm not sharing my Tory Burch Reva Flats, so why should Branden have to share his favorite toy? We always hear people stressing to their little ones "Be nice, you have to share." We put such a stress on sharing at a young age, yet most grow up to be possessive about our belongings anyway. So what is our purpose? Are we trying to prevent selfishness? Postpone it? Or...are we inadvertently CAUSING it? After sorting out my thoughts on this issue, I think that the main question can be stated very simply: Why do children have to share, but adults don't? I suppose that we could say that we enforce sharing among children to use as a tool to teach children certain values that will help guide them as they get older. Teaching them to share nicely will hopefully promote selflessness throughout their lifetime. It will help them learn to give to people in need and be able to … [Read more...]

Valentine’s Day – After the Final Rose

[My wonderful blog editor (after much coaxing on my part) has finally agreed to do a monthly guest blog post! I truly believe that behind every great writer is an even more magnificent editor. I am beyond enthusiastic to have her on board with me for this PROJECT. I hope that you enjoy this as much as I do! You can find more information about Deborah by clicking here.] As February winds down, we can finally put the month of “romance” to rest for another year. And, thank goodness, I can hear many of you saying, whether you are a wife, a mother, a girl friend, and/or a lover…any sort of woman who deals with a man in her life.  Or maybe you ARE a man, reading this wonderful blog about women who love fashion and motherhood. These unromantic sentiments may surprise those who posted on Facebook about their gorgeous Valentine’s flowers or their shiny new bling from their lover or their husband or their sexy new fling. But the truth is, there were many women out there who were not sighing on Valentine’s Day, but CRYING! I would even go so far as to say that more women cry on Valentine’s Day than on any other day of the year! And I am not just talking about women who are unattached on Valentines Day.  In fact, for many women, being alone on VDay is a far better scenario than having a significant other or even a brand new guy they’ve just started dating disappoint them on the big day. This can happen no matter how much a woman tries to ratchet down any expectations as she … [Read more...]

There Were Three in the Bed and the Little One Said….

  I think that every mother that I have talked to has a different opinion regarding this infamous subject, and rightfully so. Every family operates differently and is entitled to their own opinions on whether or not to share their bed with their baby. Either way, this is a recurring topic of conversation which often has my girlfriends and I reflecting on our answers to the question: Is it okay to bring the baby into the parent's bed at night? I tend to have very strong opinions regarding this subject that I have held firm since my Branden was a wee little one. I feel that the bed I share with my husband  is our own private place. Branden has his own bedroom with his own bed, and it is important in our house for him to be able to sleep there on his own. Even when he was first born, he slept separately from us in a crib in our bedroom. I just don't think that it is best for my husband and I to have a baby or small child in our bed for a number of reasons. I do understand though, that what works for me may not work for you, and that is the way it should be, because every family operates differently. With those differences in mind, I decided to do some research  so I could present some interesting facts and opinions about "co-sleeping" or "sleep-sharing" (everyone has a different name) for parents trying to decide whether to share their bed with their baby and/or toddler. The following are the main points that stood out to me. Get the "OK" Making the … [Read more...]

The Drive-Through War

  If you are the parent of a young child who is old enough to "express themselves", I think you can relate to my latest dilemma -the recurring battle I seem to be having with my little guy about fast food.  Lately, the most dreaded words I can hear coming out of Branden's mouth are "I want McDonald's!" Eeekkk!! It's hard enough dealing with the daily food temptations that are in my kitchen or in the grocery store aisles, without making myself vulnerable to calorie-laden fast food!  As soon as those dreaded words leave Branden's lips, it starts. The Drive-Through War, that is. This is the war that takes place inside of me between my stomach and my mind. Once these words are spoken, I know that nothing I could cook for Branden at home will satisfy his fast food craving (he takes after his Daddy!) and that, instead, I am going to have to deal with my worst eating nightmare...being stuck at a fast food restaurant during...Da..Da...Dahhh...Meal Time. I do know many of my own strengths and my weaknesses, but the temptations at a fast food joint bring out the worst in me!  Whenever it is near meal time, with my stomach growling and my guard down,  EVERYTHING on any menu seems like a great choice for satisfying hunger! The truth is, once I am really hungry, my will power is tested to the max! My mind says, "Don't you dare do it!" while my stomach says, "Feed me! Feed me!"  No wonder I get anxious every time I accompany my happy toddler through the door of a fast-food … [Read more...]

How To Stay On a Budget and Avoid Over-Shopping

  Shopping is a big part of my life. I think about it, dream about it, and live for it. Shopping for me is a past-time, a hobby, a special treat, and on some days - my cardio. Whether I am shopping for the newest season's accessory, tampons, or groceries, I do NOT (and, I REPEAT, DO NOT) ever start shopping without a very clear shopping plan mapped out. I always, always have a budget and a plan mapped out. So if you find yourself wondering how to stay on a budget, I'm sharing my shopping strategy with you. You may think that I am crazy, or you may think that I am a genius--either way, it's just not safe for me to walk into a mall, a grocery store, or a SOHO boutique without my head screwed on straight. How to Stay on a Budget 1. Do Your Research Before I go shopping, no matter what kind of shopping, I do my research ahead of time. I find out exactly what the hottest new items are, what's on sale, and overall what I am looking for and wanting to purchase. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is to do, so that you do not end up spending unnecessary money and buying things on impulse that you do not need. After I have done my research, I come up with a very detailed list of exactly what I am looking for during this shopping trip. Check out my post Wardrobe Staples for Every Woman to use as a great reference tool! My list typically includes the item, the store I can find it in, and the price that I either found online for the item or how much I am … [Read more...]

My Love Story

February has always been a meaningful month for me and my family not only because it is the "month of love" but also because it is Black History Month. It's significance for me lies in the fact that the evolution of black history is essentially what has allowed my husband and I to be able to openly share the love that we have for one another. Therefore, to shed a different sort of  light on a month that is often overtaken with roses and chocolates, I wanted to share my own special love story, with you. If you have been following my blog from the beginning, you know how my husband and I met. But what many of you don't know is that before my husband and I exchanged numbers and officially "hung out" for the first time,  we crossed paths 3 times within the period of 2 days. With the NYC population being as large as it is, and it's residents constantly on the go, this is an astonishingly rare occurrence. To me, this repeated crossing of paths has always been a sign that we were meant to meet, and when neither of us exchanged numbers on the first or second  meeting, someone from up above kept pulling strings! As things progressed in our relationship , we knew that we wanted to get married one day, so it was naturally time for us to meet each others families. To be honest, I didn't know how my family was going to react to me dating a black man, but I was confident that once they met him they would love him like I did. Chris came home with me to Pittsburgh for Christmas during … [Read more...]

How to Handle The Terrible Twos

As of lately, I've been feeling quite overwhelmed by a plague that took over my household a little while ago. This plague haunts my dreams and causes knots of panic to form in my stomach. I am told that is called...da...da..da.... "The Terrible Twos." And every single day, I've been asking myself: how to handle the terrible twos? Do I decided that it was time to regroup and come up with a plan. Most days, I feel like Branden's energy is wearing me out, as his screaming and crying over everything that doesn't go his way makes me want to scream and cry.  (I'm not afraid to admit that sometimes I do.) Most of our current conversations go something like this: Branden: “No!” Me: "Yes." Branden: "No!" Me: "You’re not allowed to tell me 'no'!" You get the picture…..and then there are those temper tantrums.... I'm beginning to wonder how my sweet little baby turned into this very cute but very feisty toddler with more opinions than me watching a runway show. In my house this typical "terrible twos" behavior started at one and a half and is continuing full force and with unrelenting gusto on Branden's part, now age three. How to Handle the Terrible Twos In a world where women are supposed to appear pulled together and in control, how's a mama to remain in control? Here's how to handle the terrible twos: Now that I'm trying to cope with Branden's most recent stage, I've come to the realization that this is the type of thing that women need to talk about so … [Read more...]

Teen Parenting Advice: The Real Deal

Every Mama has heroes in their life. Not every one is lucky enough to call one of them her sister, and her best friend. I hope that her teen parenting advice not only helps, but inspires all of you, as well. My sister Natalie, at 17,  gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy, Shane David.  Being a teen mother is not glamorous or easy by any means, but with lots of support and motivation, it is possible to take control of the situation and still achieve your goals in life. I can honestly say that, at 22, my sister is one of the bravest, strongest, and most beautiful mamanistas that I know. I remember exactly where I was the moment that I found out that my baby sister was having a baby of her own. I was worried for her, but so excited to have a new baby in the family! As for Natalie, her world was turning upside down. She was very involved in high school and had a huge circle of friends. She had a steady boyfriend at that point who luckily had a stable job and was ready to take on the responsibility of a family.  Even so, a baby at this point was going to change everything. While I was away at college, my nephew and godson, Shane, was born. My sister had a strong support system, as the two families pulled together to help her with baby Shane so that she could graduate high school.  They even supported her in getting her cosmetology license. (To this day, Natalie is my go-to person for everything fab and fashionable in the hair-styling industry!) Television shows … [Read more...]