About ten years ago, there used to be a show that came on television called 'Radical Sabbatical.' The premise was: "Human-interest stories focusing on successful people changing lifestyles and taking risks in pursuit of spiritual fulfillment and bygone dreams." Hubby and I couldn't get enough of the show. There was everything from single individuals, to couples, to families with small children make the brave decision to leave the security of the known and - in the family's case - sail around the globe for an entire year. Given that I was in the think of life as a junior associate at the law firm at that time, this show was like watching the ultimate fantasy. As kinds and life piled on in the subsequent years, the show ended, but our memory of it didn't! We'd always joke when we saw a cool destination or awesome-sounding business venture that we should quit it all and go on our Radical Sabbatical. Reality TV - "Radical Sabbatical" Program excerpt from Natasha Uppal on Vimeo. My desire to do this was heightened after I read "How to Eat a Small Country" and seeing friends like Jennifer James and Gabrielle Blair pick up and move their families for life experience. Sheila Dowd has been my latest inspiration - she and her family have been traveling the world for a year (check out their hashtag #Dowd) and I've been living vicariously through her postings. My idea of the perfect Radical Sabbatical would be on the island of Barbados - my maternal grandmother's place of birth. Not having the Caribbean experience that I had growing up in Montreal (if you can believe it) or Miami, I desperately miss the fact that my kids are so far removed from their roots and would looove them to have the opportunity to connect with the islands. [I mean, Giggles asked for a 'curry sandwich' on the weekend. I was like: 'you mean roti!?' *facepalm*] That my husband family is from The Bahamas (he is first-generation American-born), just sweetens the case. Interestingly enough, my aunt just moved to Barbados after spending her entire life in Montreal. She's already reconnected with distant relatives and family friends and is feeling right at home - while doing yoga on the beach in the mornings. Hubby's been pushing for New York City - he's got a serious crush on it - for some time. Having lived there for a summer, I know that it's not the place for me. But, somehow, someway, the chance arose for us to getaway for a month this summer. And, we're headed to...Miami! Of course it makes sense - all three sets of grandparents and a zillion aunts, uncles and cousins are there. Not to mention, this winter was BRU.TAL. and both Hubby and I are craving the sunshine. So, after the kids are done school in a couple of weeks, off we go! It's not Barbados or a sailboat around the world, but it's a start. And there will be palm trees. … [Read more...] about Our Not-So-Radical Sabbatical
This post is part of a paid campaign sponsored by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. Ever since we were dating, my husband used to tease me about my "telephone voice." This was the voice that he said I "put on" when I got on the phone. I used to totally ignore him about that (still do), because I really and truly didn't notice a change in the way I spoke during phone conversations. Sure, I knew that I can get loud on the phone, or I can talk the other person to death - I'm a Leo after all - but even in those gregarious moments, I was still 100% Stacey, so what was the big deal? That was until my eldest made a remark not too long ago. I can't remember her exact words, but we were heading to an event or activity and I was giving my usual: "Be polite. Look at people in the eyes when they are speaking to you. Don't act crazy." talk that I usually give on our way out. And Chatterbox said something like: "Oh Mom, you just want to look good in front of your friends." And she started mimicking me and using my...TELEPHONE VOICE!? It was high-pitched, and peppered with lots of laughter, and was all la-di-da and I nearly died on the spot. Was it true? Did I appear to have a completely different personality once I got around other people? Of course, I immediately denied it and we went about our day, but that exchange has stuck with me. I hate the idea that I might be coming across as putting on airs or inauthentic, in the eyes of those who are closest to me. I've always thought of myself as extremely genuine and transparent and naturally happy, so where was this coming from? I've since really started paying attention and here's what I've noticed: my husband and my daughter are not entirely wrong. The truth is, I'm tired. I'm often overwhelmed. Except nobody wants to hear that. I find myself having to put on a happy face a lot, when in fact my mind is racing with my my endless to-do list and eleven million stressors and, you get the picture. But I've created this Happy Stacey persona and I feel compelled to live up to that. In fact, in the odd moments where I don't convey Happy Stacey, the person I'm talking to has no idea how to process it. I can totally tell. And so, I smile and laugh and keep on swimming. It's not to say I'm depressed or miserable, but everyday isn't all roses for me, but for some reason I am programmed to mask it. As part of my role as a blogger ambassador for the Foundation to Advance Alcohol Responsibility, I had the chance to hear an important talk given by Haley Kilpatrick, the Founder and Executive Director of Girl Talk. She spoke to us about the 'Mom Confidence Crisis' and how it was affecting our daughters at the most pivotal times in their lives - ages 9 - 14 - when their self-esteem is either growing or taking a hit. The premise of this Crisis is that moms are extremely inconsistent with their behavior and it becomes very confusing for young girls who are learning how to act by … [Read more...] about A Revelation About My ‘Telephone Voice’ and Why You May Need to #RefreshYourFunny
How I love a good collaboration. This month, Disney partnered with Kohl's to launch a line of themed Jumping Beans apparel for kids. Since having kids, we've been avid customers of Kohl's because their clothing is of great quality and the price is right. And? If you catch a Kohl's sale, you are in BUSINESS. I can't tell you all of the items we've purchased from there - from toys to frying pans, to clothes. We've totally been a fan of the Jumping Beans lines and this new collaboration makes more fun and fashionable lines available, featuring exclusive Disney artwork and made with the quality and value parents have come to expect from Kohl's. This first collection features everybody's favorite Disney characters - Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. And, even cooler - a new collection inspired by favorite Disney characters and stories will be available each season. The line is available exclusively at Kohl's stores nationwide and Kohls.com. Having just come off of an amazing time at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference in Anaheim last week at Disneyland, I'm excited for my kids to be able to have some Disney magic right here, at home. My girls are already too big for the collection (sniff!), which is available for infants (12-24 months), toddlers (2T-4T), boys (4-7) and girls (4-7), but their loss is L'il Buddy's gain! He just started flag football last week, so he'll be stoked to wear the athletic pieces that that this collection offers. Is there a kiddo in your life that you'd like to experience #MagicAtPlay? Enter below to be entered to win a $50 giftcard to Kohl's. a Rafflecopter giveaway Thank you to Kohl's for providing me with a giftcard so that I could review the products myself! … [Read more...] about It’s a GIVEAWAY! Have You Heard About Disney’s #MagicAtPlay Collection at Kohl’s?
One of the many things about me that drives Hubby nuts is that I am constantly playing devil's advocate on things - I am a lawyer after all - or living in the grey (how excited was I when I found that website?), while he, on the other hand, sees everything in black and white. That's both a blessing and a curse (for me) in that it takes him absolutely no time to make a decision, but it also means that there's no room for negotiation or changing his mind. If you were a fly on the wall in our kitchen, you could often hear me saying: Everything Isn't Black or White! Except when you're 10 years old. As my oldest daughter approaches the tween years, I'm learning that Right or Wrong is crystal clear to her and that the defined lines are comforting. Whether it's a discussion about Heaven or Hell (and we've had that discussion) or curse words, she's very adamant about whether something is Good or Bad. Of course, in those discussions, in the back of my mind I know that there is most certainly a gray area, unanswered questions and no perfect answer, but keeping it simple and clear cut is what helps to shape her moral compass as she enters her teenage years. To kick off Alcohol Awareness Month, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (formerly The Century Council), co-hosted a Twitter chat with Scholastic's Parent & Child Magazine, and featuring special guest Dr. Michele Borba. As one of FAAR's #TalkEarly parenting bloggers, I participated in the chat about best practices (see? attorney!) for speaking with your child about alcohol. The message came across loud and clear: the earlier you start having these conversations with your child, the better. And there are so many reasons for that! Here are some key excerpts from the conversation: Beliefs About Alcohol Are Formed At An Early Age Here Is Where It Pays to Be 'Black and White' Calibrate Their Moral Compass Now When it comes to my daughter, health is key. She's always been a little bit of a health nut - when she was 2 she was 'vegetarian' for a while; she'll always choose a fruit or carrots over chips or cookies; and she is obsessed with building a strong body right now through track and field. So, the other day when she referenced 'beer' while writing a poem for school, I took that as an opportunity to have a conversation about alcohol while relating it to something that she truly cares about. We talked about how alcohol affects your body and can impair how it functions; that was all she needed to hear. In her Black and White frame of mind, drinking alcohol is a no-no. And while I'm no fool and realize that we'll need to revisit this discussion many, many times as the years go by and the line between Good and Bad blurs, I'm thankful for this Age of Absolutes that we're in right now. Soon enough she'll be living in the grey, like her Mama. This post is one of a series sponsored by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility's #TalkEarly program. … [Read more...] about Parenting Is Easier When It’s All About Absolutes
A couple of months ago, I picked Chatterbox (who's now 9 1/2), up from school and we were headed to Subway to get her and her siblings their beloved turkey subs, when we were stopped by an older woman in the parking lot. Of course (sadly) I was apprehensive about hearing what this complete stranger had to say, but she seemed harmless enough. She was Caribbean (I could tell by her accent), which somehow put me at ease, because she could have been my grandmother. She immediately asked me whether I talk to my daughter about what she is going to "be" when she grows up. When I gave her a non-committal answer, she whipped her finger out and started to sternly share that, in today's society, if parents don't talk positively to their kids about their futures, then someone else surely will and who knows where that will lead. This is especially true when it comes to African-American boys and girls, she said. "Pick a specific goal and talk to them about it every day." I thanked her for the advice and tried to make my way to a hungry Chatterbox waiting impatiently outside of the restaurant. But the woman didn't let me get away so easily. "Have you talked to her about college?" she asked? "Sure." I said. "Well, what is her name and what college do you want her to go to?" And I shared my dream with this perfect stranger, at the the same realizing that I had not actually articulated it to my own daughter. And she went to her car and came back with this: "Tell your daughter that she is the BEST, the BRIGHTEST, and the SMARTEST, everyday," the woman said. "You have to make them confident and know their worth from a young age." And off she went. Of course Chatterbox and I burst out into peals of laughter once out of earshot. We both couldn't believe that a total stranger was so adamant about something and actually gave her a memento. While it was definitely strange at the time, we came home and hung the certificate up in the dining room. Chatterbox was proud of it and it sparked a conversation about why I loved Spelman College and would love for her to go there. I could also tell that it was beyond her wildest dreams that someone could be calling her "Doctor [Chatterbox]" one day. She was both embarrassed and excited. So when I heard former school counselor and author Julia V. Taylor speak to us at the #TalkEarly Summit at The Century Council a few weeks ago, our parking lot encounter with Ms. Yvonne Coley immediately came to mind. Julia talked about how children generally start to find their place in the social puzzle around age 8; such a big part of that has to do with confidence and attitude about self-worth. As parents, we pay so much attention to schoolwork and putting them in the "right" activities, but how much attention are we paying to their self-esteem? I was also reminded of this excellent Huffington Post piece that fellow #TalkEarly blogger, Elena Sonnino wrote about the keys to kids succeeding in school - here's a … [Read more...] about An Important Reminder from a Perfect Stranger