Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving HUGs

Well, here we go again. Another year older. Another year I have signed up myself and my son for the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. The only problem is that I don't exercise! There was a time (close to 10 years ago) that I ran on a regular basis. However, as so many of us mothers can attest to, my fitness level has dropped significantly since my first baby was born. After the second, it has become almost non-existent, I am embarrassed to say.

Besides changing fitness routines, another thing that happens as we become parents is the always forefront consideration of how we be good, positive role models, how we teach our children the importance and significance of giving back, and the good old fashioned quest to keep our children outside, breathing fresh air and running their hearts out. Hence, here I go again with my multiple-hugging endeavors.

I am being very honest when I say last year's 5K was a struggle for me. I did it. My 7 year-old son did it. But it wasn't easy. I almost skipped it this year. I had talked myself out of it. But as my son moves along in his school, I have been blessed with quite a few beautiful moms who care about their kids as much as I do. Luckily, their passions lie in teaching the importance of exercise too.

So, I am thankful for new friends; for both my son and myself, who continue to inspire me to stay involved, stay healthy, and above all, to give back.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May you all find that unexpected inspiration for your next adventure. Wish me luck!

Lets get running!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Hug from a Moustache?

Writing blogs can be very difficult; especially when you are researching your topics and gathering data. You can get turned on to a subject, only to be side-tracked by 20 other potential topics as you go. The amusing thing is that when you have actually chosen your next greatest discussion-starter - it’s interesting. It’s important. It’s timely. Wait a minute. It’s not timely. Wait a minute. It is timely! What the ???

How many of you know November is Men’s Health Issues Awareness Month? How many of you know June is Men’s Health Issue Awareness Month? Which is it? Can somebody please straighten this out for me??!!

Regardless of which month is the “real” awareness month, I have to talk about Movember & Sons. The Movember movement began in Australia in 2003 and is now in over 10 countries. Last year, their movement raised over $126 million. Throughout the month of November, men grow moustaches of all shapes and sizes as a symbol of support for men's health. What a clever and light-hearted way to remind us not to forget the special men in our lives need care and attention too!  Movember & Sons is dedicated to increasing awareness of men’s health issues; raising money for cancer research and prevention, and educating others on lifelong healthy living practices. Please visit their website to learn more about this cause and read some inspirational stories of prevention and survival. Click here!! 

Well, whichever month it really is, Happy Growing (and waxing, and shaping, and twirling)!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Introducing the HUG Nursing Pillow Line!!

Introducing our new line of nursing pillows for all of you nursing parents! Mothers, fathers, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, breast-feeders, bottle-feeders; our Hugs will fit you all. Not only are our Hugs uniquely soft, beautiful, and full of whimsy, but they are functional in so many ways!Let our Hugs hug you! Our handmade in the USA nursing pillows will embrace your waist, cuddle your baby and snuggle your heart.  Made from high-quality, ultra-soft fabrics, you’ll feel like you’re living in the lap of luxury (pun intended;) As if you don’t already have a hard time putting your precious little bundle down, you’ll find yourself making excuse after excuse for wrapping your Hug around you.

Accessories Included:
Dual-Purpose Minky Soft Companion Pillow:
- A toy: Each pillow has a rattle inside for baby to shake, rattle & hold.
- An ergonomic accessory: These pillows sit perfectly in your hip, under your Hug nursing pillow, to prop baby’s head just enough for an angle that supports more efficient flow of milk into the body; decreasing gas discomfort and reflux.

Dual-Purpose Pillow Protector/Burp Cloth (quantity 2):
Being a new parent, we need to rely on convenience. That’s why we have added pillow protectors that save your pillow from leaks and spit-ups. Simply lay the cloth over the area where baby is feeding. Once she’s finished, just move the cloth to your shoulder, give baby a few pats on her back and your done! Your pillow is just as clean as when you started! And all you have to do is throw the burp cloths in the wash!

Patent Pending

Give us a try today!! Click here to view our newly designed store.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer. It doesn't matter who we are or what we do. It just seems to follow us everywhere. To be frank, I have lived my life pretty far removed from it. Truthfully, my main source of information on the subject has primarily been my mother. I am, thanks to her, diligent about my breast exams. I had my first mammogram last year (since I turned 40.) I do, however, seem to take for granted my health. Well, breast cancer officially hit my family through my aunt, and most recently, my cousin. I feel compelled to make some changes. My 42 year-old cousin passed away on Saturday, April 29, 2012. Kendra Kesselring Whittington battled the disease for 2 short years, continually beaming a bright smile throughout her journey. She lived in Illinois. I didn't know her. Yet I am extremely saddened and inspired by her and the way she chose to battle. Through Facebook, she shared her trials and tribulations, and praised her husband Scott, for being her "knight in shining armour."  Click here to read a moving tribute to her.

The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are for 2012*:
• About 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
• About 63,300 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
• About 39,510 women will die from breast cancer.

If you read one of my blogs from last year, you may recall my girlfriend Julie and her efforts toward fighting the disease. Julie has a family history of breast cancer, so-far-benign cysts of her own, and is considered at high-risk for contracting the disease that takes thousands of beautiful women from us every year. Well, Julie's 6-year-old daughter, Olivia, will be joining her in the fight on her 7th birthday this year. Please read below. I am having my Aunt Joan and my cousin Kendra's name added to Julie's swim cap.

"Hello Friends & Family,

One month from today, on June 2nd, Olivia's 7th birthday, she will join me in the pool to swim a "Mile for the Marys". We will be swimming to honor the memories of both Grandma Mary Canepa & Mary Simoni, two amazing women, who both lost their battles with cancer earlier this year.
Last year the support I received for my "Mile for Mary" campaign was incredible and I'm still so very grateful for the generous support I received from so many of you.
There is still work to be done and a cure for cancer must be found. Too many families, this year in particular, have been devastated by this deadly disease. Please help me in this fight.
Last year I filled my cap with "Angels", the names provided by my generous supporters. Olivia and I will be adorning our caps again this year with the names of people currently battling cancer, and those that have passed. Please let me know which angels to add to our caps after you've visited my secure donation website*:


Thank you for your support,
Julie & Olivia"

*American Cancer Society > Learn About Cancer
*donations to the Bay Area Breast Cancer Network are tax deductible

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dinner-Time Hugs

Have you ever sat down at the dinner table with your partner and children and realized you were eating in complete silence? Do the typical "How'd your day go?" questions just seem to come to an uninspired end with responses like, "Fine," or "Good," or "Nothing new?" Well, here are a few fun suggestions to liven up the table and even bring a few smiles and giggles to those faces.

1) Sports Fans:
My 7-1/2 year-old boy is a sports fanatic. I enjoy sports very much, but I definitely don't follow them like my husband and son. So, in effort to broaden my player vocabulary, we go around the kitchen table naming hockey players, A to Z. From Antti Niemi, to Sidney Crosby, to Jonathan Toews, I have learned more about the game of hockey from sitting at my dinner table talking to my family than watching 6 years of the San Jose Sharks'. All of us enjoy calling out a name and hearing the others surprise us with a new one. We play the same game with football players. We also quiz each other on professional players' jersey numbers!

2) Together, Tell a Story:
No, not Mom. No, not Dad. How about Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister and everyone else sitting around the dinner table? Turn it into a game! One person starts off the story with a "Once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved to sit in his bedroom closet," or "Once upon a time, there was a lonely princess in a castle." The next person makes up a sentence. Then, the next, and the next. Go around the table, each person adding their own idea to the story. Your children will be bright-eyed and anxiously awaiting the next detail. The only challenge you may have is that they may get too excited and have to be reminded to eat! If that's the case, guide your story toward a child who doesn't eat their dinner ;)

Share with us your own stories for creating a meal-time experience that will be cherished in your and your children's hearts and minds, and carried over onto the next generation of dinner tables!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The 40 Year-Old Hug

I have to say that I am still in shock over my recent weekend. It was girls' time. 6 of us left our husbands and children at home to visit our girlfriend at her home in San Diego. The 7 of us have been friends since high school and complain regularly that we don't get to see each other nearly enough. We are all turning 40 and need to celebrate! Now was the time.

We are 7 women who are quite different from one another in our upbringings, our personalities and our lifestyles. But somehow, we have managed to establish an undying mutual respect for one another and the value of our relationship. We support each other. We help each other be better parents, partners and overall better human beings.

I was one of only two of us who absolutely had to catch the 49er/Saints playoff game. Thank goodness I had a partner! The other 5 ladies were free to come and go as they pleased. They spent their time having pedicures, eating lunch with us and walking on the beach. Sharon and I spent our time sitting in a bar booth, beers in hand, screaming at the television and trying not to cause too much of a scene. That part didn't go over so well :)

Coming down from the anxiety attacks we suffered by watching one of the best playoff games I have ever seen, Sharon and I hopped into her car to drive home and meet the other girls. We planned to get ready for a night on the town.

Upon arrival, we were escorted into the kitchen by our hostess with the mostess, Sharon. To our surprise, behind the counter was the warm and welcoming Pamela Croft, Chef and Owner of Dinner at Home. We started out with a toast of champagne, topped off with a raspberry, of course. Next came the light hors d'oeuvres of marcona almond and cream cheese on fig, and grapes covered in goat cheese and rolled in toasted pecans(absolutely to die for!) We enjoyed a first course of a sweet caramelized onion tart over a bed of mixed greens. Our second course was a light and beautiful 3-mushroom pearl risotto. A smooth chocolate torte for dessert finished us off.

Throughout the meal, we enjoyed our wine & food and reminisced about our teenage years and beyond. We praised ourselves for holding on to our friendships and appreciating their value. It was a rather emotional evening, but the best kind of emotional! Life gets difficult for all of us, in so many ways. Our relationships with our girlfriends keep our heads above water; seeing us through the toughest times of our lives and celebrating the most special.

We made it happen and are so happy we did. It is very important for women to hold on to their girlfriends. We rely on each other to keep our sanity! So, embrace your differences, recognize each other's strengths, appreciate each other and be forgiving. These relationships are not easy to come by. When they do find you, don't let them go. I love you girls!!