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September 2012

Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions @ Prudential Center- Ticket Giveaway!

Prudential Center at Night (2)

I admit it.  I have only recently become a huge sports fan.  I never really understood the excitement until about 3-4  years ago ...right around the time my daughter started playing sports.  I swear, having children has opened my eyes to SO many new experiences.  I mean, I played sports my whole life, but never really felt it.  I went through the motions and got through each sport by the skin of my teeth. 

Until seeing my daughter play her heart out on the soccer field, I didn't get it.  Now I know the feeling of determination.  I know why she sometimes cries after games - even if they win.  It's a very emotional thing and I cry right along side her.  She feels it, so I do too.

I felt that way watching the Olympics this summer.  In particular, while watching the U.S. gymnasitcs team.  Not only did they prove they can handle themselves on the mat, they proved they can handle themselves off, too.  There were so many times I was on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the outcome of a challenged call or wiping tears from my eyes when someone fell off the beam.  It was truly a remarkable site to behold on the television screen every night.  I often wondered how it would feel to see these athletes in person... doing their thing right in front of me. 

Well, here is some good news for all of you that have wondered the same thing.  The US gymnastics team is coming to Prudential Center in Newark, NJ with the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions on Saturday, November 10th.

"As our 2012 Olympians head to London to represent their country, we are proud to announce they will be an important part of our cast for the 2012 Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, which serves as the perfect stage for Americans to celebrate and welcome our Olympians home," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics.



Below is the complete list of athletes scheduled to perform during the Kellogg’s Tour of Champions. Due to athletes’ schedules and personal commitments, the cast will vary from stop to stop.

 •     Rebecca Bross –2010 World Championships Team silver medalist; six-time World medalist

•     Gabby Douglas –2012 U.S. Olympic Trials champion and 2011 World Championships Team gold medalist

•     Brenna Dowell –2010 Pan Am Championships team gold medalist

•     Sarah Finnegan –2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2010 Pan Am Championships team gold medalist

•     Anna Li –2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2012 U.S. uneven bars bronze medalist

•     Nastia Liukin –2008 Olympic all-around champion; five-time Olympic medalist

•     McKayla Maroney –2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2011 World vault and team gold medalist

•     Chellsie Memmel –2008 Olympic Team silver medalist; World gold medalist in all-around, team (twice), uneven bars 

•     Elizabeth Price –2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2011 City of Jesolo Trophy team gold medalist

•     Aly Raisman –2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2011 World floor floor bronze medalist and team gold medalist

•     Kyla Ross –2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2012 Kellogg’s Pacific Rim team gold medalist

•     Alicia Sacramone –2011 World team gold medalist; 2008 Olympic team silver medalist; 10 career World medals

•     Sabrina Vega –2011 World Championships team gold medalist

•     Jordyn Wieber –2012 U.S. Olympic team member; 2011 World all-around and team gold medalist, balance beam bronze medalist

 •     Chris Brooks –2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2012 Kellogg’s Pacific Rim Championships all-around and team gold medalist

•     Alex Buscaglia –2010 Pan Am Championships Team gold medalist

•     Jake Dalton –2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2011 World Championships team bronze medalist

•     Jonathan Horton –2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2010 World all-around bronze medalist; 2008 Olympic team bronze medalist and horizontal bar silver medalist

•     Glen Ishino -2010 Pan Am Games team gold medalist

•     Steven Legendre –2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2011 World Championships team bronze

•     Alex Naddour –2012 U.S. Olympic Team replacement athlete; 2011 World Championships Team bronze medalist

•     John Orozco –2012 U.S. Olympic Team member; 2012 U.S. all-around champion; 2011 World Championships team bronze

•     Paul Ruggeri -2011 Pan Am Games team bronze medalist and high bar champion

•     Brandon Wynn -2011 Pan Am Games team bronze medalist and still rings gold medalist

1996 Olympian John Macready and 2004 Olympian Mary Sanders will also be part of the Tour. The cast of gymnastics champions will be joined by local gymnasts at each tour stop. Acrobatic, rhythmic and trampoline athletes participating in the 2012 Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions will be announced at a later date.

WOW, that's a long list!

And here's some even BETTER news - we want you to go so badly, we're giving away a four pack of tickets* to go see them!

There are a few ways you can enter.  Choose one, or choose them all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 "USA Gymnastics has produced countless memorable moments throughout the history of the Olympic Games and Kellogg's is excited to help bring the incredible athletes who create these moments to fans, even after the Games have ended, as part of our official partnership," said Kellogg U.S. Morning Foods President David Denholm.

*Tickets are being provided by Prudential Center.  Winners wil be chosen by random.org.

Interview with YuLin Olliver @ Street League Skateboarding

I recently had the privilege to interview YuLin Olliver from Street League Skateboarding for a piece I was working on at NJ.com.  Since my daughter loves skateboarding, I thought I'd have her come up with some questions to ask. The interview was so cool, I thought I'd post it in its entirety here.  Enjoy!

1. Do I have to wear my pads all the time? How about my helmet?

YuLin: I find that you fall when you least expect it, and when you are starting to get tired. I would recommend wearing all your pads and especially your helmet whenever you are skateboarding. Professional vert skaters always wear their pads and helmets. Vert is where you skate on a huge half pipe. Vert skaters and street skaters often times are very good at skating bowls and pools too. Here are some videos and photos of pro skater 16 year old Allysha Bergado, at one point she was the youngest X Games athlete in history. Street skating pros tend to not wear pads or helmets, yet they have been skateboarding and falling for so long that they have learned how to fall and roll away safely.

Chrissie: I recommend pads and a helmet when you first begin skating ramps.

Clayton: I suggest maybe wearing pads until you reach a certain level of comfortability and confidence. It's hard to say someone should stop wearing helmets/pads. Just more a matter of preference.
2. What is the best trick to try for my first one?

YuLin: The ollie is the beginning of everything. I'd recommend ollie-ing off curbs and over cracks in the road. Then getting kick turns in both directions and being able to skate fakie.

Chrissie:  Ollie or shuv-it.

Clayton:  I recommend trying to learn how to ollie first. The ollie is the root for almost every other trick and it's what you used to get into grinds. Then maybe learn 180's and kick flips/heel flips. Once you get those kind of tricks down then things really start to take off and you get a better understanding on how the board works and you can learn to combine tricks and come up with variations. I.E. 180 + Kickflip = 180 flip.
3. How old were you when you started skateboarding? Did you ever get hurt?

YuLin:  This is not going make much sense for you but, I started skateboarding when I was 25 years old. After I became a snowboarder. I just really missed snowboarding during the summer so with skateboarding, I can skate ANYWHERE. I love going fast and carving and skating snake runs. And no need to pay for an expensive ticket to a ski resort. Yes I broke my left ankle once (spiral fracture of the left fibula) when I was learning to drop in on a mini ramp a snowboarding/skateboarding camp in Mount Hood, Oregon. But I went to the doctors, they put a plate in there and it didn't really even hurt. Now my ankle is even stronger than it ever was before. I had them take the plate out after a year and I worked out in the gym and at home a lot right after the injury, stretched and swam every day, so that I was skateboarding and snowboarding again in just a few months. Then I went back and learned how to drop in for real this time. I had great friends to help me learn, so I haven't gotten injured since that time.

Chrissie:  8 years old. Bumps and bruises come with the territory of the sport, but my only serious injury has been a sprained ankle.

Clayton: I started skating when I was 14. I've broken a few bones over the years and have had other numerous injuries.  Just comes with the learning process!
4. When it gets cold, can I still skate on the street if there’s ice on it?

YuLin:  I wouldn't unless you wanted skateboarding to be even unpredictable and even more difficult than it might already be. Skateboard wheels are made to go forward and backwards. If you skate on ice, the physics go out the window and now your board (and you) can go any which way so that would be difficult and unpredictable. Plus keep it FUN! That's the point right? Keep it as FUN as possible for as LONG as possible. And if you get injured, you can not have fun skateboarding if you have to nurse a broken something for 6 weeks.

Chrissie:  I wouldn't. The wetness from the ice can make your griptape not grip as well, rust your bearings, and over time warp your deck.

Clayton:  You can still skate when it gets cold. However, the ground always seems a little harder and it just takes a little longer to warm up. I recommend indoor skateparks if you have any near by. I don't recommend skating on ice, thats actually one of the ways I have broken my arm!
5. How do I become a professional skateboarder?

YuLin:  There is no secret formula but like with any sport or endeavor, it takes being the best at what you do and not being prone to injury. Some people are amazing athletes but are injured all the time. Some people are talented but don't know how to work with their sponsors. Not only must you love skateboarding and skate every chance you get while keeping it fun, you need to film and skate contests to show your soon-to-be sponsors what you would bring to them if they hired you/sponsored you. It always helps if you are the type of person that other kids can relate to, that aspect helps the sponsors. Be the best, be happy, be accessible to your sponsors and commit to your dream no matter what gets in your way.

Chrissie:  Skate every chance you get! Begin entering competitions, even at a beginner level. Once you are good enough, film yourself doing your best tricks and send it off to skate companies to get sponsorships.

Clayton:  Please let me know if you figure out the answer to this one as well. I'm still working on it! But the best way I'm sure is to just keep pushing yourself and trying to progress on a daily basis, stay motivated for the right reasons.

Have you mastered your mommy track yet? Guest Post by author Erin Flynn Jay

Because I recently got a job, my life as a stay-at-home mom has been turned upside down.  I work at home, but even with all the benefits working at home has to offer, I still feel beat.  My house is a constant disaster area and I can't remember the last time I sat down without immediately falling asleep from sheer exhaustion. 

When my fellow Philly Social Media Mom Erin Flynn Jay wrote this book, I felt like she wrote it just for me.  It's all about balancing your life as a mom - in every aspect.  It is for every working mom - work-at-home, work in an office, traveling across the globe, EVERY type.   Here, she shares an excerpt from the book which is now available on Amazon.com.  I hope you will check it out!

High res cover

Time Management: How Can I Balance It All?

Most career mothers agree that responsibilities overwhelm each day – that there is never enough time to get all tasks accomplished the way they want them. Career moms may strive for perfection in all they do, but soon realize that some things have to give way or they risk their sanity.

I am good at time management, but there are days I over pack my itinerary. For this book, for example, I set a timetable and have met each chapter deadline, much to the joy of my editor. Scheduling has helped me manage my time more efficiently. I allot time for work and home tasks: a half-hour for a conference call, two hours for client updates, two hours at the park with the girls, one hour for lunch, one hour for food shopping, and so forth.

Every day, I evaluate my calendar and the tasks needing to be done. If I have a heavier workweek, I may have to hire a babysitter for late afternoons. If I don’t have time to clean the house, then I call our cleaner. We’ve been using the same house cleaner for over four years who does a wonderful job. It pays to use her service because it would take me more time to do this, and frankly she’s much better at it.

Yes, our house is sometimes messy. The girls’ toys are not always put away. I turn away from this and cut myself some slack. After all, many evenings I have to return to the computer to catch up on work I could not finish in the afternoon. I love both working and spending time with the girls during the week. Working from home comes with some trade-offs, but I enjoy the daily challenges and adventures with the girls.

Career moms are the ultimate multitaskers, yet they’re not too happy about it. Research cited in the December 2011 issue of the American Sociological Review reveals that working moms are juggling multiple roles at once – and having a tough time doing so. ‘This helps explain why women feel more burdened than men,’ says Shira Offer, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of sociology at Bar Ilan University in Israel. ‘It’s related not only to quantity of time but also to their experience when they multitask.’

Mothers Multitask More than Dads Both parents reported multitasking at work more than at home, where it was a negative experience. The study’s most dramatic finding is that mothers multitask more often than fathers when they do housework – doing dishes while making dinner, for example – and they feel conflicted and stressed about it.

Offer and colleagues looked at data collected from 368 US mothers and 241 fathers in dual-earner, middle- to uppermiddle- class families in 1999 and 2000 (when the dot.com bubble burst). The parents held professional jobs and managerial positions, representing a segment that is under time pressures. The working moms indicated that they multitask 48.3 hours each week, compared with fathers’ 38.9 hours. Moms are focusing on more than one thing a head-spinning 43 percent of their waking hours. In terms of housework, moms reported that housework accounts for 53 percent of their multitasking at home, compared with 42 percent for dads; childcare was the focus of at-home multitasking 36 percent of the time for moms and 28 percent for dads.

So on average fathers multitask less often at home, but when they do, they have a completely different experience because they are less likely to engage in housework drudgery. They may do two things at once, but it’s less labor-intensive tasks such as talking on the phone while getting dressed.


Facebook Headshot RESIZE2About the Author: Erin Flynn Jay is a writer and publicity expert. Since 2001, Erin has been promoting authors of new books and small businesses in all industries. Erin has expertise in successfully obtaining print, online and broadcast media placements for experts and authors. Erin's articles have appeared in diverse publications including careerbuilder.com, MSN Careers, Brandweek, Costco Connection, Opportunity World, Sales and Marketing Excellence, The New York Enterprise Report and Wealth Manager. Erin received a B.A. in Communication from the University of Scranton in PA and lives in Philadelphia with her family.



You can order Erin's book Mastering the Mommy Track at Amazon.com.

What would you have done?

I took my son to the mall the a few months ago to use  up a gift card I got for my birthday or Christmas or some other holiday.  The card's for a department store, so I figured I'd check out the small appliance section.  I've been in the market for a carpet cleaner since, well, since we moved in years ago.  I couldn't find anything, so maybe it changed my mood for the worse.  Maybe what happened next didn't really happen at all.  Maybe it was just the fact that I couldn't find what I was looking for.  Maybe I started seeing ALL the things I wasn't looking for.

We went to eat lunch at one of those cool 1950's style burger joints.  We tend to gravitate towards this same restaurant when we go to the mall, because it doesn't feel like we're in the mall anymore.  My son loves putting nickels into the tabletop jukeboxes.  He doesn't care that they don't work.  He loves wearing the little paper soda jerk hats they always give him.   He feels like a regular.

We ordered our lunch and played I Spy until the food came out.  Then we focused on eating our jelly sandwich and hamburger.  A couple of bites in, I glanced outside to the kiosks where they sell all the unnecessary hand lotions and Pillow Pets.  I watched two guys talking and then it happened:   The two guys shook hands. 

It wasn't your normal handshake.  It was the one that involved secrets.  The one that you see in movies or dimly lit street corners.  The one that contained substances other than skin on skin.  The one that changed my whole day.

My eyes' focus changed from the far off view of a suspected drug deal back to the close up view of my little son's smiling jelly-covered face.  He had been talking to me for probably a minute or so and I couldn't hear him.  All I could do was stare at his beautiful face.  If it were my daughter sitting across from me, she would've noticed my expression change and called me on it.  My son is too young and self-absorbed to notice things like that.  Thank God. 

What could I do?  There I sat with my innocent baby eating fries, feeling so distraught.  Do I tell anyone?  Who?  Why?  What did I really see?  It was nothing.  It happens all the time.  Should I call mall security? My brain felt like a wave swell coming in.  Up and down.  Up and down.

The part of me that wanted to be a good citizen picked up my cell phone to call the police.  The other part of me that wanted to protect my child from harm put the phone down.  I struggled back and forth with myself until I finally decided on finishing up lunch and going home.

It has bothered me ever since - that one tiny moment when I didn't know what to do.  It constantly sits in the forefront of my brain. 

Maybe I was wrong.  It could've just been a handshake.  I will never know. 

I'm curious... what would YOU have done?

Breastfeeding vs. monkeys in love..?

flickr.com/foolstopzanet cc 2.0
When I breast fed my kids, I always felt a little funny about doing it in public.  I don't know why, but I did.  I should have OWNED it.  But instead I let everyone who looked at me funny decide how I felt.  I know I'm not the only one that feels that way and that's kind of sad, isn't it? 

Nursing is such a hot topic these days.  Why?  Instead of being a beautiful thing between a mother and her child, it's an unnecessary debate between many different people.  I don't understand it.

Fellow blogger Paola Deininger of Modestly Chic Style had a very interesting experience yesterday at the zoo.  I wanted to share it to show how skewed some perceptions of breastfeeding can be. To some people it's an inappropriate thing to do "in front of children".  But read to find out what those same people think is AOK. 

Personally?  Both are natural to me and really don't need to be judged either way.  I'm not alone, am I? 

Here's Paola's post:

I read a post back in December about a woman who was harrassed by a Target employee for breastfeeding her child while out Christmas shopping . I remember being annoyed by the way this was handled by the employee and the company and sympathetic to the mother who was only trying to feed her child. At the time I was only a couple of months pregnant with my second child and remembered the stares I got from time to time when I would nurse my first child in public.  Normally I was too preoccupied with my daughter and trying to stay covered up to look around and see if this was bothering anyone, but no one ever game me any grief or trouble for breastfeeding in public before. And to be completely honest, I'm the type of person who doesn't really care what others think. I'm going to do what I'm going to do and if you don't like it, well tough! That's always been my attitude towards everything. Call me hard-headed I guess.

My family loves the zoo and we're there just about every week. If the weather is nice and it's my husband's day off, it's pretty much a given that we'll be taking a trip to the zoo for the day. It just so happened that on yesterday's trip fell into my son's feeding time. I thought nothing of it and told my husband I was going to take the baby to the theatre in the lion exhibit to feed him. It was a dark room and air-conditioned. I could easily find a space out-of-the-way where I wouldn't be bothering anyone to feed him in peace. I made my way there and found the room to be somewhat occupied by a couple of families watching clips fromThe Lorax that was playing. I made my way to the back corner of the room, put on my shield and started nursing my son. The short film ended and the families made their way on to the next exhibit. It wasn't too long before the next group of people made their way into the theatre and took their seats. With this group were a couple of men and their children. I guess I caught their attention because the entire time, rather than watching the film or even their own children, they continually looked back at me making disgusted faces and exchanging snide remarks about how inappropriate it was what I was doing. I even heard them say "doesn't she realize there are children around?"

I tried to just keep my cool and focus on the sweet little boy who has to hold my hand while he's in my arms nursing, but these men were taking away the satisfaction I felt for providing my son the best nutrition possible. I wanted to tell them to turn around and mind their own business, but I just sat there quietly stewing over everything they said. They made me feel like I was doing something wrong. Correction, I was LETTING them make me feel like I was doing something wrong. Eventually they left, still making snide comments and looking back at me while telling their kids not to look back at the "inappropriate" woman. So I finished what I was doing, met up with my husband and daughter and we made our way over to the monkeys. And there before me stood the men and their kids watching two monkeys going at it. They laughed and make jokes but never tried to get their kids to look away. They encouraged it. It's a natural thing. So it's ok for their kids to watch monkeys having sex but seeing a mother nurse her child was "dirty"? Really? I think there's something wrong with that message.

Although I don't normally care what others think, I'm still not one for confrontation, so I kept my feelings to myself and only shared my experience with my husband when we got in the car. He knew the way those men acted wouldn't discourage me from nursing my child in public. I do what I do for my child and for no one else. If you don't like it, LOOK AWAY! All too often society makes public breastfeeding seem dirty and inappropriate when in reality it's the most natural thing.

What do you think??

Friends, your messy house comforts me


The other day I was about to visit a friend's house.  She told me (like every one of us has said numerous times), "Don't mind the mess!"  

I don't mind the mess.  In fact, I LOVE the mess.  I'll be completely honest: entering a messy house gives me peace of mind.  It makes me feel loved.  It makes me feel comforted that you want me to see your real life.  How you live when you don't have guests. 

Tea cups in the sink and toys in the front lawn give us common ground because I have to tell you - my house is almost never picked up.  It's constantly got a dining room filled with transient items that belong in bedrooms or pantries.  I haven't seen the left side of my couch in a month because of the clean laundry piled on top of it.

Yes, having an orderly house is something I have always strived to do.  I like it when my house is cleaned up because I know where everything is.  I like to know that when I look for the fish food, it will most likely be near the fish tank and not in the upstairs bathroom at the far reaches of the house. 

Yes, I know you strive for the same thing, too.  But let's not wait until we reach our goal to hang out.  I will sit in your filth and you can wallow in mine while we laugh about it.  I'll wash up the tea cups and we can have a cuppa while we watch our kids scale the laundry pile pretending it's Mount Kilimanjaro. 

So c'mon over, friends.  I'd call you for an invite, but I currently can't find the phone.

Congratulations to Stephanie A for winning an awesome set of K'NEX Tinker Toys! Thank you to everyone for participating in the K'NEX giveaway. :-)