Meet Coralee! She’s our #WCW

Meet Coralee!  She’s our #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday), she’s not only got incredible advice for mom entrepreneurs but a product that is helpful for every mom.
Don’t make “help” a four-letter word. Ask for help. Accept offers of help. Every amazing mom needs her support system.

Coralee Dixon was consumed with guilt over not preserving her kids memories and milestones. She couldn’t find the time like most of us.  She was posting photos and captions on social media ( like most of us) that had the dates and milestones, but that was all. She was upset that she wasn’t making a baby book like the one her mom made for her when she was little.  She pondered over this and looked for solutions to help capture her own baby’s memories.  She couldn’t find anything that could work or that seemed helpful.  Then she had her “Big Idea” and here is how she did it.   Please meet Coralee and Shortcake Inc. our Mom of the Week!

Why did you start your business?
I started Shortcake because I wanted to help modern families preserve and share their memories in a way that was both beautiful and easy. The inspiration came when, a little before my daughter’s first birthday, I started feeling guilty because I hadn’t been writing down her milestones and special moments in the baby book I bought for her. Both my mom and my mother-in-law had kept lovely baby books for my husband and I, so I felt awful that I hadn’t done the same. Then I thought about how I had shared most of my daughter’s most important moments with family and friends on social media, which included written descriptions, captured the date, and received some fun comments that I liked looking back on. “Somebody must have a business that will help me turn that into a nice album, right?” I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I decided to create it myself.

2. Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Today Shortcake is a custom album and photo book design service for modern families. We turn your social content and family photos into premium keepsake albums. In 5 years, I see us expanding our market beyond moms and dads to grandparents, weddings, pets, vacations, and school events. We’ll implement some tech and automation into our process to help our designers work more quickly, while maintaining our hallmark personal touch and unrivaled customization options. And we will continue expanding our services beyond albums to new areas, such as greeting cards and invitations (where we’ve already begun experimenting).

3. If there was one tip you could give a working mom what would it be?
Don’t make “help” a four-letter word. Ask for help. Accept offers of help. Every amazing mom needs her support system.

4. If you could do one thing over as a mom what would it be?
Potty training. Not because I enjoyed it – exactly the opposite. I felt so helpless the first time – I had no idea what I was doing and felt like a complete failure. Now that I’ve been through it once I realize how foolish it was to put so much pressure on myself. I feel bad because I made the experience more stressful for everyone than it needed to be. It also would have helped if I had not been pregnant with our second at the time (wine would have been really helpful – I’ve realized a laid-back attitude is a must!).

5. Whats your Mom Motto?
Do the best you can and give lots of hugs.

Enter to win our Giveaway for your own beautiful album.  Click Here to enter, one lucky subscriber to our Newsletter will win!

How Good Can Come from Humiliating TSA Experience…

By Denise Albert

I never imagined how my horrific and humiliating experience with the TSA could turn into something so positive. I’m honored to be included in the TSA’s piece on Sprinklr.com. I’ve never been more proud to show my kids how good things can come from bad.

Meet the Team Transforming the Reputation of the TSA

At 440 federalized airports across the United States, 44,000 TSA security officers will screen 2 million passengers. They will do that again tomorrow. That’s 730 million passenger screenings annually, and all it takes is one missed needle in the haystack for the consequences to be catastrophic. To read the full story visit Sprinklr.com

When Women and Moms Support Each Other it Looks Like This…

We can all learn from each other. When women and moms support each other,incredible things happen.  Meet Amber….

When Amber Michels created Your Milk Shoppe, which supports and empowers moms through maternity services.  They offer services such as errand running, childproofing, meal delivery and in home consultations.  We wish we knew about a service like this when we were new moms.  You can feel so isolated and alone and to know other mothers are there for you like Amber and Kimmie from Your Milk Shoppe…well they just had to be on our Women Crush Wednesday.

Why did you start your business? 

When I was a new mom I struggled so much during the first few months. I thought that I was so prepared because I read all of the books, took every parenting class under the sky, and bought the best baby gear. But, all of the sudden my world was turned upside when my daughter was born. As a new mom I could not believe the love I felt for her, it was amazing. Unfortunately, I struggled with extreme post-partum anxiety and it hindered my ability to fully enjoy being a mom; it was so isolating. I began to take steps to get help, I made a point to journal about all of my struggles, and before I knew it a business plan was writing itself. It was solely based around supporting and empowering moms through services, research and education. I then went on to become a certified Maternity Consultant and learned the ins and outs of an industry I didn’t even know existed. I toyed around with different business names and concepts, but kept coming back to the same thing: I wanted to be the “milk” for other new moms… because moms need milk, too. From there, my business, Your Milk Shoppe, was born.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

Growing! It wasn’t long after I started Your Milk Shoppe that I realized I couldn’t do this all on my own… nor did I want to! My sister-in-law was a huge believer and lover of Your Milk Shoppe from the very beginning, so when it came time to ask someone to join me, she was a given. We were both raising our little ones in big cities, away from family, and we knew this was something that was so desperately needed in both of our respective parts of the country. There truly is strength in numbers, and together we are Moms on a Mission. (Plus, I’m convinced every woman needs a workwife, and I’m so glad she’s mine!)

I launched Your Milk Shoppe in Greenville, SC, and Kimmie is in Chicago, IL. We are excited to share that we are currently expanding into other cities throughout the United States, starting this spring in Atlanta, GA! Aside from the Shoppe’s in Greenville, Chicago, and Atlanta, we also offer virtual one-on-one consulting services so we can help mamas, regardless of where they are located. We will also begin to host classes that will help moms (and dads and siblings, too!) prepare for baby and so much more! There is a lot on our docket right now, and I couldn’t more excited for this growth and the opportunity to support and uplift moms all over the country.

In 5 years I hope for Your Milk Shoppe to be a household name, a universal support system that will allow moms all over the country to access the necessary information they need in order to fully enjoy their parenting journey!

If there was one tip you could give a working mom what would it be? 

When you are at work, be at work completely. Stop feeling guilty about not being home more. When you are at home, be at home completely. Stop feeling guilty about not working more. You owe yourself some peace of mind!

If you could do one thing over as a mom what would it be? 

I would have asked for help more as a new mom instead of trying so hard to appear that I had it all together. No new mom has it together. Period. We’re all trying, but the struggle is SO real. And you know what? That’s OK! That’s all part of it. The more honest we are with ourselves and each other about this beautiful, stressful, funny, terrifying, one-of-a-kind time in life, the better off we’ll all be.

Whats your Mom Motto?

Community over Competition. Hands down. Whether it’s with other mamas or other business owners, one thing is true: there is nothing more powerful than women who genuinely and fiercely support and love one another.

For more on Your Milk Shoppe please visit them on Facebook, and Instagram.

Do You Eat Your Kids Leftovers?

Today our lives are busier than ever. Today more than ever we are rushing from work to the kids to making and shopping for meals. We are constantly taking care of our families. We are constantly juggling all day long.

The family mealtime is something of the past. We are actually scheduling family time in our calendars now. We are eating on the go. We are eating our kids left overs. We are eating standing up.

When we were approached by a new food company that offers Moms the opportunity to have a well balanced meal in minutes; we were enticed.  Personal Trainer Food allows you, (mom) to have a well balanced organized meal in minutes.  We asked several Moms across the country to try this new program.  So many jumped on board and are thrilled with the results.

The food arrives at your doorstep, already pre-packaged and fresh.  For us, it was about the food organization, not just the weight loss around this program.

If you want to learn more about Personal Trainer Food or work with The MOMS on programs like this, please dont hesitate to reach out and use the contact form on our site.

When ordering Personal Trainer Food use promo code PTFMOMS125 that will take $125 off your purchase!

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Personal Trainer Food, all opinions expressed are our own.

News in MINUTES from The MOMS

Moms, here’s a cheat sheet.  We did your homework so you can understand what is going on in our country and the world.   You don’t have time to read every article or watch the news all day, so here are a few articles to to get you up to speed!

Every voice matters… by Denise Albert

Every voice matters. Every one who shares their story will help another.

Today I am proud, touched and inspired by Emma Heming Willis sharing her mammogram experience. We met once when she appeared on our radio show when she was launching her blog. But this mom of 2 has become a special friend via social media. She is one of YOU….One of YOU who have sent me notes, messages, and encouragement through my #FutureCancerSurvivor Journey.

She may be married to Bruce Willis but Emma is just a mom like all of you…working hard and starting something of own. PLEASE READ HER PIECE WITH MY TIPS AND SHARE!!

Fashion Friday, Fun Tops For Anytime, Anywhere!

I guess Jillian Michaels didn’t get the memo about Amanda Uprichard. We discovered her a few years back when we were looking for bright colored fashion for many of our TV appearances, and we fell in love with her!

You can pair an AU top with just about anything…pants, jeans, skirts, and she is all about fun and sexy. You can always pair her tops with a blazer for a meeting or jean jacket for a fun night out. When you’re a mom, everyone knows that just dressing up can feel so good. Throwing on heels can even lift the mood. So to find a top with color or a fun print that’s silky on the body, is a keeper.

We can’t wait for her Spring and Summer collection. She finds the most beautiful silk fabrics in the most spectacular bright colors. We often hide or shy away from color in the Winter, but if you think about it, we need color to get us through the cold, dark and sometimes depressing East Coast Wintery days. My great grandmother also once said that wearing color is a sign of confidence. Women who wear color look and feel confident.

Click here to see more of Amanda’s new collection. Oh and by the way Amanda is a Mom to a teenage daughter too and she has worked her butt off to get to where she is today and she once told us that her daughter still remembers the sound of her sewing machine going all night long down in her basement. So it can start in a basement, it can start in a garage, it can start anywhere and anytime. You just have to go for it like Amanda! We might just have to giveaway an AU top in our next Fashion Friday post.

(PS Jillian Michaels is so great by the way.  We talked about her new book, Yeah Baby!

Have a Fashionable Friday and Fun weekend Mamas!

A Year Ago Today, I Was Diagnosed With Cancer — Here’s How I’m Doing Now

One year ago today was the day my life changed forever. I received the call that no one ever wants to get. I heard the words too many people hear, “I’m sorry your biopsy tested positive for cancer. It’s malignant.” In that instant, at age 41, I was a divorced, working mom with two young boys and I also became a #FutureCancerSurvivor. I immediately joined a club no one ever thinks they will be a part of.

Read the entire article at GoodHousekeeping.com

Last Minute Holiday Deals

The Holiday Countdown is on! With only six days to go, we have great Holiday deals for all of the busy moms who don’t always have the time to get all the holiday shopping done. Below we have compiled a list for some last minute deals for your kids. (And who knows you may want to pick up a few items for yourself as well!). The ones we love the most…The gifts that give back…see below for more!

Plus…if you know any families in need this holiday season, please email moms@themoms.com. Within our community, we have a list of families who want to help those less fortunate!

Gifts under $20

Disney Moana Canoe Boat Set | Beados B Sweet Scoop ‘n Mix | H & M Sparkle wallets and purses | Littlest Pet Shop Shuttle Vehicle | Melty Bead Sea Animals DIY Kit | Play-Doh Doctor Drill and FillRetro Trouble Board Game | Shopkins | Yoobi Color Layers Markers | Yoobi Scratch Art Set | Yoobi Sketch Pad 

Gifts Under $50

Animal Planet Animal Alphabet Playpad | Baby Alive Baby Go Bye Bye Doll | Body Glove Mermaid Linden Hoodie Towel | Monopoly Ultimate Banking | My Little Pony Guardians of Harmony | Nabi Compete 2 Pack | The Brushies | Yoobi Duffle Bag

Under $100

Furby Connect | Fur Real Friends Torch My Blazin Dragon | Hatchimal | KIDBOX | Little Bits Rule Your Room Kit | Mega Books American Girl| Nabi Hot Wheels Edition | Nerf Mega Mastadon Blaster | Paw Patrol Zoomer | Punchcase Charging Wallet | StateBags

SPLURGE

Discovery Foldable Tent | Yvolution Y Flyer  | WildKin TeePees

‘Tis the Season to Dine

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Marie Calender’s. All opinions expressed are my own.

When you are a mom, you never slow down.  The holidays are where we vamp up even more.  We are running around with those lists, and checking them twice and praying that no one get sick as there is too much to do always.  From the holiday shopping to the school functions, to the holiday entertaining, it just never ends.  Quite often while planning and entertaining, you can get lost in the stress and forget the most important reason why we do what we do, and that is to spend time with friends and our family.

There is absolutely nothing more important than spending the holidays with friends and family and relaxed.  When you live in New York City, you often make many adjustments to how you entertain and how many people you can entertain.  This is all due to dining space.  While the dining room is the center of American family traditions during the holiday season, not everyone has one.  In fact, the average New York City apartment is nearly half the size of the US, average.  So we were thrilled when we learned about Marie Callender’s opening up, #TheDiningRoom.

Guests have the opportunity to reserve the room for up to 15 guests, and what a perfect place to throw our own intimate holiday celebration with some of our closest friends.  There is nothing better than comfort food and good wine with your friends, so this holiday season we have decided to #SavorTheSeason with some of our favorite Moms, downtown in Soho.

There are 3 dining rooms to choose from and each of the rooms were designed and co-created by 3 different celebrities, Daphne Oz, Jennie Garth and Stacy London, so visually it is quite stunning.  But for us, the most important reason to venture to The Marie Callendar’s dining room this holiday season, is that all proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity New York City.  There is nothing more important than giving back during the holiday season, so to be able to dine with friends and savor the most delicious comfort foods like pot pies and desserts and to give back simultaneously is just perfection.

From December 12 to 17, people can reserve a dining room to host a party for their friends and family. We are so excited to head downtown to #TheDiningRoom by Marie Callender’s and slow down and try to unplug for a little and #SavorTheSeason with our friends.

Stay tuned for posts from #TheDiningRoom Party and check out, mariecallendersmeals.com for holiday recipes, tips and more and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram @TheMomsNetwork and on Twitter @TheMOMS for some of our behind the scenes at The Dining Room. Cheers!

Holiday Survival

I am always looking for shared experiences that my entire family can take part in, and there is nothing like the virtual reality experience.  Verizon makes the Daydream View virtual reality headset and controller for experiencing high-quality, immersive virtual reality.  Which can be used with your Google Pixel or compatible Moto Z phone, simply place it into the headset and the VR mode launches automatically.

Go from being snowed in to swimming with a school of dolphins, virtually visit the Taj Mahal, or stand at the edge of a volcano. As a mom I also love that I can the Verizon Daydream View as an education tool for my kids.  We don’t have to leave the house to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we can explore the Met’s most famous paintings in a virtual museum in our pj’s.

Of course the #1 holiday survival tip that I am sure everyone will agree on is ensuring everyone is fed!  Those of you hosting know the holidays can be very stressful and when guests arrive, sometimes unexpectedly, the last thing we want to do is mess up a neat kitchen.  When I am looking for a simple and convenient solution that is always a crowd pleaser I turn to Pizza Hut.

With the addition of the Amazon Echo into our home, ordering is about to get so much easier. Starting December 15th we can order Pizza Hut using an Amazon Echo. All you have to do is tell Alexa that you want Pizza Hut and you can place an order! How cool is that?  Along with convenience this time of year we also love a great deal.  Right now at pizza hut you can get ANY large pizza for carryout, including specialties and unlimited toppings for just 10 dollars.

With the season and holiday gatherings, also comes many colds, and illnesses.  Our best efforts to avoid getting sick is to ensure we are washing our hands and getting enough rest.  But, sometimes it is just unavoidable, so if you do start to get body aches, headache, fever, chills, or fatigue – don’t wait to see what might happen.  Be proactive.

At my house, we immediately reach for a homeopathic medicine called Oscillococcinum. It’s great because it reduces the severity and the duration of flu-like symptoms.  Meaning, I’d rather have a short and simple flu than a long one.  That’s for sure.  And Oscillococcinum is recommended for everyone in the house — from 2 to 102. My kids love the sweet-tasting, quick-dissolving pellets, which makes medicine time much easier as well.

This post is in partnership with Pizza Hut, Verizon and Oscillococcinum.

The MOMS on PIX11: Getting Your Kids to Unplug

The MOMS, Melissa Musen Gerstein and Denise Albert, share their thoughts on getting children to unplug. Check out Melissa of “The Moms” simple tips.

Melissa’s Take:

  • First start the conversation now with your kids that everyone will be downsizing their tech and devices over the holiday. Talk about how this time together where no one has school and how the holidays are about family should be important and precious moments.
  • Set up a game or movie night and everyone checks in their devices. This takes discipline and it’s up to the parents to enforce this. Make a calendar of plans so that the kids can see what’s ahead
  • Buy your kids journals so they can write about their holiday and Xmas memories. Kids can get into scrap booking too.
  • Remove all social media Apps for a week. “I challenge everyone to do that–even Mom.”
  • If you’re going to family parties and events all devices should stay at home or in your purse and away from distraction.
  • Make sure your out of office is on even if you are only taking a day or up to a week. Everyone is always reachable with our phones so make sure your work knows that you are not working. You are doing the family thing.
  • Remind yourself if you are tempted to email or check in that taking time away makes for more productivity when you return. You will be recharged and ready to go. It’s healthier.

TSA Agents Aggressively Harassing Cancer Patient

I was in such shock last night that I didn’t include all of the details. Here are more of the horrific details since so many of you have asked. Thank you all for your love, your personal stories and your support. I truly hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else!

I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life. I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don’t know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public. I was TSE precheck and once through the scanner they asked me to take off my shoes. I explained I didn’t have socks on and that my cream is for an infection from my current treatment, including on my feet. So if they wanted to put my shoes through x-ray, I would have to sit down because I would not put my bare feet on the floor. They allowed that. They then started to tell me they would apply pressure from head to toe and I got very upset because I wear a wig. I didn’t want them to touch it, move it, or ruin it. So I ripped it off for them to pat my head without damaging my wig (that I paid for and insurance didn’t cover!) I don’t ever go out in public without it. I have shown pictures on social media as I feel it empowers others but I’m not comfortable in public (I have taken it off at 2 breast cancer related work events for a second to show other cancer survivors and those in it now!) They also put my shoes through and then wouldn’t allow me to put them back on until after the full body search. After at least 20 minutes of sitting there because they were debating how to proceed, I told them my feet were freezing. Also a side effect from chemo. They refused to help me. The woman reached behind me and forceable and aggressively put her hands down my jeans in the back. At some point they offered me a room but wouldn’t let me put my boots on to walk there, which I can’t do barefoot especially because of my open sores and rashes from my treatment on my feet. When I kept asking why they needed to do all of this, they kept saying because I wanted to bring medical cream on the plane. (They NEVER said there was any reason due to my scan so that made no sense!) On the video you see the woman shove her hand up my crotch and then try to go down my shirt. That’s when I said (again) I have a medical port and had a lumpectomy. Many of you have remarked about how calm I was. I have to admit, after the video ends (though I do have it on video), I lifted up my shirt. Rather then have them touch my breasts and port “with pressure” as the TSA agent stated. That’s when they said they were calling law enforcement and I asked them to please do so. Finally, a supervisor arrived. The only way I was allowed to proceed was when the supervisor was kind enough to have more compassion and possibly think the 2 agents went too far and took me into a private room for a regular soft pat down. After that, it still didn’t end. Even though all of my bags went through x-rays without incident as well, they opened my bags, removed everything and another TSA agent joked about all of the eyelashes I had. I told her, it’s because I don’t have real ones from my cancer treatment. I would have thought at that point, the humiliation would have ended. The 2 TSA agents in my video went too far. I hope no one ever experiences this. I should also point out that according to the TSA website, what these agents did was improper procedure – they are not allowed to touch skin and should be gentle over clothing (contradiction to what you hear on video). I should NOT have been required to remove shoes because of my medical condition and they were supposed to ask if I have a tender area and didn’t and didn’t listen when I told them I did. Luckily, Melissa Musen Gerstein and I had a wonderful flight on American Airlines with an incredible crew and 1 very special flight attendant, Latane, who made everything better for the night.

HOW MY CANCER COMMUNITY (AND YOU!) INSPIRES ME TO KEEP FIGHTING

Since I have been chronicling my journey for the past year, I have been in touch with so many people around the country. I have called it my Cancer Community. You have helped me. I hope I have helped some of you. My community consists of other #FutureCancerSurvivors, survivors and/or their spouses, partners or parents. We all connect in different ways but Cancer is the core of this group.

For the Full story please visit Good Housekeeping.

GETTING ACCUWEATHER READY THIS WINTER!

Disclosure: AccuWeather sponsored this post. Opinions are mine 100%.
accuweather_logo
I grew up in St Louis, Missouri with horrible winters.  I had a mother who had a fear of driving in the snow, so basically her winter worries and fears trickled down to me.
Here in the North East and across America the winter season is approaching at a rapid speed.  Thankfully AccuWeather, the global leader in weather information and digital media, has extended its continued mission to save lives, protect property and help people prosper with its new severe weather preparedness program, AccuWeather Ready, that focuses on keeping consumers safe and informed.

With a shared goal to help educate and protect people, especially throughout the cold winter season, AccuWeather has partnered with the FDNY Foundation to educate local students on how to be ready for winter weather – with preparedness plans and fire safety.

We were invited to the FDNY Fire Zone, in New York City to get a first hand look at the simulation room, and learn more on how to educate our children on the steps to take in case of an emergency.  My children who are 14, 11 and 7 know many of the basics but this experience and new information will have us even more prepared.

The firefighters spoke with the children about knowing their home addresses, and being prepared to provide it when calling 911, which many younger ones shockingly did not know.

The FDNY listed Space Heaters as their main concern as fire starters during the winter months.  They encourage everyone to ensure it is safe for use within their home, and also to make sure it is 3 feet clear of furniture, drapes or anything else that can catch fire.

The children also were taken through a simulated smoke room where they demonstrated how to stay low and go in case of an emergency.

accuweather

For a list of the top leading causes of fires in the home and ongoing weather preparedness tips and tools including in-app push notifications when bad weather is coming, personalized weather preparedness plans, and tailored emergency kits with detailed shopping lists are all available on the 24/7 AccuWeather Network, AccuWeather.com/Ready and the AccuWeather app.