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Affordable Care Open Enrollment Begins October 1, 2013 Are You Ready?

The Affordable Care Act Enrollment Begins on Oct 1, 2013 Are You Ready? New Website and 24/7 Call Center Answers Questions & Takes Applications The Obama administration kicked off the Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website and the 24-hours-a-day consumer call center to help Americans prepare for open enrollment and [...]

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Motherhood Maternity Turquoise

#ONE HAUTE MAMA! Part 2- DESTINATION MATERNITY HOLIDAY 2013 FASHION PREVIEW

 

#One Haute Mama!

Part 2- Destination Maternity Presents

Holiday 2013 Fashion Preview in NYC

 

By Colleen Gwen Armstrong 

As we’re preparing for one more brutal month of heat in August, we realize before you know it, winter will be here! Our social calendars will be filled once again with invitations to holiday parties and visits with family. To make things a little easier for all the moms-to-be this winter,  Destination Maternity has an array of holiday dresses and chic comfortable looks to choose from.

On July 9, 2013, Destination Maternity presented their Holiday 2013 Fashion Preview featuring A Pea In The Pod, Jessica Simpson Maternity and Motherhood Maternity. We loved each collection and we think you will too! 

Motherhood Maternity

 

A Pea In The PodJessica Simpson Maternity

 

 

Special thanks to Sally Fischer Public Relations and Destination Maternity for the invitation to this wonderful event in NYC!

Colleen Gwen Armstrong is a Fashion/Entertainment Publicist based in Brooklyn New York. While spotting the next fashion trends and working with designers for Fashion Week Brooklyn (formerly known as BK Fashion Weekend), Colleen will be the resident Fashion Blogger for the Mocha Manual #WomenWednesdays, #OneHauteMama series.

If you have a fashion topic or trend you would like us to discuss, tweet Colleen @4Publicity and  @MochaManual using the hashtags #WomenWednesdays or  #OneHauteMama. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

 

 

 

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Nominate your favorite mom for a chance to win!

My Kid-Free Summer Kicks Off At The Residence Inn by Marriott

 

My Kid-Free Summer

Kicks Off At The Residence Inn

by Marriott

By Kimberly Seals Allers

Every year since my divorce, my summer ritual includes packing up my children, going to the airport and putting them on an international flight to London, England where they spend the summers with their Dad, the “wasband.”

This is never easy. But after a few anxious hours until I know they have safely landed and have been picked up, followed by a few transitional days of mixed emotions, I’ve learned to ease into my kid-free summer.

Usually, in preparation, I outline my work, personal and home projects that I want to take on. This year, my plan was to dive in head first into the edits for my upcoming book, prepare for speaking engagements, strategize next steps for my First Food Friendly movement based on a new way to think about supporting moms and their infant feeding choices–BIG PLANS!!

But this year, instead of getting into being distracted by work, I did something else first. I got away…

I escaped to a Residence Inn by Marriott within driving distance, for a three-day mommy retreat. Of course, my house is empty, why do you need a retreat, you may ask?  Well, sometimes the emptiness and the extreme quiet reminds me of the reasons why my house is empty and extremely quiet and that can sometimes spark emotions that are counterproductive to getting things done; especially creative things that need your full mental game.

With my Kid Free Summer Kick Off GetawayI got to enjoy the pleasures of a one-bedroom suite, the wonderful breakfast (I can still taste the waffles), the indoor pool and hot tub, while having the option to make a snack or cook a meal in my fully equipped kitchen. It was just what the doctor (Dr. Phil, I suppose) ordered.

A few days away at the Residence Inn gave me ample space to work, a big bed to lay in, a living room area for a change of scenery (when said bed was tired of me) and then a late night swim and hot tub soak–things I could never get at home (especially the ready-made breakfast that I didn’t have to prepare!) Oh, and I started my day in their great fitness room. Score!

It was such a great kick off for my kid free summer, I came home energized– excited about the strategic planning I had done, and the book pages I had written, and all the sausages I ate at the free breakfast!

I guess next time; I should go WITH the children. Until then, I’m grateful to have been a part of the Resident Mom Club and the opportunity to turn a usually difficult transition period into a great Mom getaway!

We’re giving away a $250 Residence Inn by Marriott gift card to an Amaz-INN Resident Mom! Nominate your favorite mom to win. Tell us on Twitter or Facebook in 150 characters or less why this mom is so Amaz-INN and deserving of a Residence Inn gift card. You must LIKE our Facebook page (if you haven’t already done so), and be a follower of @MochaManual and @IamKSealsAllers on Twitter to make a nomination. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #AmazINNMom & #RIMoms

Speical thanks to the Residence Inn by Marriott  for this Amaz-Inn treat!

Our giveaway ends July 29, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.

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Trayvon Martin

Why Trayvon Martin Has Everything To Do With Black Women’s Birth Outcomes

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Why Trayvon Martin Has Everything To Do With Black Women’s Birth Outcomes

 

By Kimberly Seals Allers 

For years I’ve been talking about all the research that shows that stress is a key cause of the ongoing poor birth outcomes of black women. Often, I get pushback and confusion. But the truth is, black women, regardless of socio-economic status, are still twice as likely to have a low birth weight baby, three times more likely to die during childbirth, and twice as likely to have a pre-term baby.

 

The fact that more African American babies are born too small, too sick or too soon is a key factor in our three times higher infant mortality rate–and my key motivation for getting in to breastfeeding advocacy work. These infants are the ones who need the nutritive and immunological benefits only found in breast milk the most–for them, it can literally mean their survival.

 

I have also received more than my fair share of *side eye* glances from people who ask me why black mothers need their own parenting destination, like the Mocha Manual I am often questioned as to how black mothers’ parenting experience is any different than a white mothers’ experience. 

 

To respond to Side eye point A regarding birth outcomes, I usually point to groundbreaking research, like that of Dr. Michael Lu on the life course perspective on birth outcomes. Watch the video above on how racism impacts pregnancy outcomes or Dr. Fleda Jackson’s many pieces of research at Emory University and for the Joint Center for Poltiical and Economic Studies

 

I share how Scientists know that stress on the mother causes her to produce stress hormones, which can adversely effect the development of a fetus’ hippocampus and amygdale, two areas of the brain associated both with the fight-or-flight response, memory formation and anxiety. And that prolonged stress in the mother decreases the sensitivity of those two areas of the brain to mediate its own stress response, which has been linked to, among other things, ADHD. Still, so many people don’t really get it. 

 

So I often share my personal story of how when I was first pregnant, I prayed to God for a girl–literally–because I was afraid that I was not capable of successfully raising a black male child in this society. I feared raising a black male child in this society. And that fear was a constant source of stress. That stress was probably rooted in growing up watching my own mother fear for the safety of my younger brother. I remember her constantly warning him to not wear baggy jeans and hooded sweatshirts because police (especially in New York City) stereotype young black men with that type of clothing and often shoot first and ask questions later. 

 

I remember her sitting by the window or pacing the living room on nights when my brother was not home by curfew. 

I remember both my parents giving my brother the “talk”–not the sex talk–but the life-saving one on how to respond when you are inevitably stopped by the police for no reason but for DWB (driving while black).

And let me just say, that I grew up in a middle class section of Queens, in a private home, with two cars, and a mother who was at home until I was in middle school. 

Even still, these were her fears. And she knew that neither money nor education–my brother attended Hofstra University–would not protect him nor assuage her. 

 So somehow my mother’s fears became my fears. God answered my prayers and gave me a girl as my first child, but my son came four years later. 

 

And so like many mothers, and likely every Black mother, especially those with a young black male in their care, I shed tears last week over the verdict in the case over Trayvon Martin’s unnecessary death. 

 

 I cried because I know the world is full of George Zimmerman’s–people who assume our young men are “assholes” and up to no good even when they themselves have no good reason to think that. And that in a jury of so-called peers, my innocent yet dead child would be referred to as “that boy”–unworthy of being called by his name. The real possibility that a George Zimmerman could come in contact with my son, and possibly brutally end his life, continues to stress me. And haunt me. 

 

And so I hope that in the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, there lies proof of exactly the kind of unique stressors black mothers contend with. I hope the people who have questioned how stress could be connected with pre-term labor or low birth weight babies or challenged me as to why black mothers face issues so unique that they are deserving of their own online community, can see exactly what researchers mean.  These are not the worries you can Calgon-bath or Yankee-candle away. 

 

And I sincerely pray that both of these issues, questions and challenges can be silenced, once and for all, and forever laid to rest in peace right alongside Trayvon Martin’s 17-year old, bullet-shattered body.

 

In motherhood,

Kimberly  

 

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Jessica Simpson Maternity

One Haute Mama! Destination Maternity Presents Holiday 2013 Fashion Preview

 

One Haute Mama!

Destination Maternity Presents

Holiday 2013 Fashion Preview In NYC

 

By Colleen Gwen Armstrong 

On July 9, 2013, Kimberly and I received an invitation to attend the Destination Maternity Holiday 2013 Fashion Preview featuring A Pea In The Pod, Jessica Simpson Maternity and Motherhood Maternity collections. After viewing all three collections, it’s safe to say if you’re a mom-to-be seeking a new haute look for the holidays this winter, Destination Maternity has got you covered…all of you!

Jessica Simpson Maternity

A Pea In The Pod

To nurture and pamper expecting moms the event featured beauty products by Basq Products and Mama Mio skincare to help prevent stretch marks. All products can be found at Edamame Spa. Destination Maternity premiered the new natural lactation supplement, Milky! by Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley. Milky! can be found exclusively at Destination Maternity.

 Special thanks to Sally Fischer Public Relations and Destination Maternity for the invitation to this wonderful event!

 

 

 

Colleen Gwen Armstrong is a Fashion/Entertainment Publicist based in Brooklyn, New York. While spotting the next fashion trends and serving as the Media Director of  Fashion Week Brooklyn Colleen will be the resident Fashion Blogger for the Mocha Manual #WomenWednesdays, #OneHauteMama series.

If you have a fashion topic or trend you would like us to discuss, tweet Colleen @4Publicity and @MochaManual using the hashtags #WomenWednesdays or  #OneHauteMama. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

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7 Tips For Managing Pregnancy & Work!

7 Tips For Managing Pregnancy & Work

 

7 Tips for Managing Pregnancy & Work

From morning sickness and more frequent bathroom runs to that pregnancy brain making it harder to get work done, we’ve got 7 tips for managing the workplace while pregnant. Don’t worry, we’ve got tips for coping with morning sickneness too!

  Always know where the nearest exits and  restrooms are:  Think like you’re on the airplane. You never know when a spontaneous vomiting spree may hit.  Being able to identify the nearest stairwell, supply closet, or vacant cubicle will be very helpful!

 Adjust your routine: As you now know, morning sickness can last all day! It’s hard to take a meeting, write a report, or train staff when you’re barfing your insides out. The first thing is to remember you can’t pop out of bed, run through the shower, and get to work anymore. In fact, rushing around in the morning can make you even queasier. You need more time to manage the morning sickness. Try waking up a little earlier to get your morning sickness rebuff routine down pat.

 Start identifying an ally:  This may be a good time to seek out an ally in the workplace, someone you can trust.  I mean really trust.  The last thing you want is for your boss to find out about your pregnancy through the grapevine.

Delegate and accept help:  This is a good time to start asking others for help. You don’t have to do it all. And if someone offers to answer your phone while you close your door to grab a power nap, accept.

 Find a place for a nap:  Whether it’s at your office, the company medical room, your car, or at home. At some point every pregnant girl needs a nap, even it’s for twenty minutes.

 Be gracious and offer trade-offs:  Some of your coworkers may feel that they are doing their fare share to cover for you, now that you’re tired, off ill, or missing work because of doctor appointments. Try to make amends by being extra thankful of their extra work and offering to help them out when you’re rested and have your energy back.

 Lighten up:  Don’t make an unrealistic schedule. You may have to cut back on your extracurricular involvement to carve out time for rest and de-stressing.

 Dig out your sense of humor:  It may be the only thing that saves you sometimes. Know that despite your best efforts to be professional, there’s still a strong chance one of your colleagues will inevitably walk into your office and find you face down, asleep on your desk, drooling all over your desk calendar!

 These tips are excerpted from Chapter 2 of The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy (Amistad/Harper Collins) by Kimberly Seals Allers (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0013MT99W/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1373322269&sr=8-1&pi=SL75)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have You Ever Fought With Your Man While Naked? According to Niecy Nash it's Virtually Impossible To Do!

Have You Ever Fought With Your Man While Naked? According to Niecy Nash it’s Virtually Impossible To Do!

Have You Ever Fought With Your Man While Naked?

According to Niecy Nash it’s Virtually Impossible To Do!

When it comes to relationships, everyone has some sage advice. From 90-day rules to being unavailable, there has always been something said about what it takes to get a man and keep him.

Actress Niecey Nash, star of The Soul Man, (Wednesdays 11pm ET on TV Land) is the author of the new book, ‘It’s Hard to Fight Naked.’

Nash appears on the cover of the (July 1, 2013) JET magazine issue with these words of wisdom: “If you keep a man’s stomach full and his penis empty you won’t have a problem.”

Although you may be more diplomatic in how you say it, you cannot deny the truth in her comments. I believe Chris Rock has also said that men’s needs   are very simple: “food, sex and silence.”
 
So do women shoot themselves in the foot by trying to overcomplicate men instead of just keeping their bellies full and their penises empty? Are men insulted by this summation of their needs? I think not.
 
Join the conversation on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mochamanual

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Photo Credit: Barbara L. Hanson

12 Foods To Help Boost Your Metabolsim: Including Delicious Dark Chocolate!

Photo Credit: Barbara L. Hanson

12 Foods To Help Boost Your Metabolism

Yay! Dark Chocolate Made The List!

 It’s Tasty Tuesday and two of our favorite moms, Tia Mowry-Hardict and Tamera Mowry-Housley share great food choices to help build your metabolism on their lifestyle site (tiaandtameraofficial.com)

 Ok so we’ve all been working hard to eat healthier and tone our bodies for the swimsuit season. What you might not know is there are foods that take care of some of some extra calories for you! Whether it’s foods that make your body work harder to digest, or that contain a particular compound that help lower your insulin or increase fat-burning, there are a handful of ingredients that can give your metabolism a jump start and make it easier for you to have a healthy weight and a healthy heart. Here are a list of 12 and how they help:

Green Tea
Switch up your morning coffee (or afternoon latte) for some delicious green tea to bring on some great health benefits. The caffeine combined with antioxidants called catechins are said to stimulate your nervous system and increase fat-burning.

Grapefruit
This low-sugar ball of deliciousness can help reduce insulin levels after eating a meal. That means your body processes food more quickly and you burn more calories and store less fat.

Broccoli
Broccoli, good for you? This one is no surprise. But you might not know that because broccoli contains calcium and vitamin C, the super duo can together help boost your metabolism.

Oats
These guys are rich in fiber, which means they need a lot of calories to break them down. Plus, like other whole grains, they keep insulin levels low after you eat, helping you burn even more calories!

Brown Rice
Speaking of other whole grains, brown rice is delicious and so good for you. It’s full of fiber, which means it’ll boost your metabolism, help you stay fuller longer, and help you lose weight. Choose brown rice and whole grains over white rice and white flour anytime!

Dark Chocolate
You might have heard that dark chocolate contains antioxidants, but did you know it can help you lose weight? Apparently people who eat chocolate have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which prompts the body to store fat. Next time you’re stressed and craving some chocolate, go for it!

Hot Peppers
Peppers like Cayenne, chili, jalepeno, and habanero contain capsaicin, which is an irritant and you’re probably familiar with the burning sensation they produce. The heat can boost your metabolism by up to 25% and can even increase your energy!

Beans
Because beans are full of soluble and insoluble fiber, they use more energy (aka calories) to break down and again, lower insulin levels after digestion. So says the University of Colorado that if you eat foods high in “resistant starch” you can increase your calorie-burning power up to 24% in a day!

Almonds
These nuts are high in fat, but the fat they contain is a good monosaturated fat. According to this study, these good fats can have a positive effect on insulin levels and also make people feel more full so they eat less overall.

Apples
Yes, the doctors knew what they were talking about with that “apple a day” thing. Because they’re full of fiber, they’ll help you stay full longer.

Ginger
I throw this one in my green juice because it has so many health benefits. Besides all the great things I mentioned in my earlier blog, the spiciness can decrease appetite, improve digestion, and boost your metabolism after eating!

Garlic
Another food I toss into my green juice! Garlic has the ability to break down fat, increasing the metabolism. It works by both lowering unhealthy fats in the blood (that lead to high cholesterol) and also by reducing fat in the body’s fat cells.

Photo credit: Barbara L. Hanson

 

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Delicious Holistic Recipe by Shelly Alexander

5 Deliciously Holistic Recipes: Mango Chia Ginger Granola,Portobello Mushroom Burgers & More

It’s Tasty Tuesday and we’re talking about eating nutritiously with raw, vegan or eat-anything diets that still taste good. Shelley Alexander, a Holistic Chef and Certified Healing Foods Specialist and author of “Deliciously Holistic,” (aharmonyhealing.com) shares her five fav foolproof recipes ( 3 raw, vegan; 1 vegan, 1 meat) for packing in nutrition without sacrificing taste.     [...]

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Beyond Father’s Day: 5 Great Tips for Single Dads For the Rest of the Year

You’ve probably seen enough on Father’s Day and gift buying, so we’re also focused on beyond Father’s Day and offering single dads great tips for managing fatherhood all year round.

 Mark Peters, Founder and CEO of DressMeDaddy.com shares these five suggestions to support newly single dads as they embark on their co-parenting journey.

1.      Spend the time you have with your kids doing things!

Spend the time you have with your kids doing things. You may not be a husband anymore, but you are still a father. Be present with your kids and actively engage them. When you interact with your kids, you build a relationship. Play games, read books, cook, play sports, go fishing, do projects around the house…whatever it is, create memories finding things you have to do together. (Peters also advises creating a “no phone zone” to maximize time between dad and child).

 

2.      Don’t let your anger and frustration with your ex define and dominate the time that should be devoted to your children.

Focus on what you can control and quickly develop a mental picture of what you want it to look like in the future!  There are so many emotions associated with divorce – anger, resentment, disappointment, relief – it is easy to let them get in the way, especially in your relationship with your kids. When your kids look back on this time of their life what do you want them to say about you?  This is your time with them.  Create a memory worth remembering. The rewards will be amazing.  Make sure your kids feel safe, secure, loved and important.

 

3.  Prioritize your life!

Create a list of all of the important things in your life (including professional, financial and personal) to create balance. State everything in detail and then stick to that list. (Peters states his daughter ranked number one on his list no matter what came after).

 

4.      Stay busy! Continue doing things you enjoy!

Take up a hobby if need be: Reading, developing a new business opportunity, working out, catching up with old friends, investing, gardening, etc. are all great ways to keep yourself actively engaged.

 

5.      Talk to someone. Seek counseling if it will help improve your well- being.

 

Although many newly single dads may have spent numerous hours in therapy with their ex-wives to no avail, this may still be a great time to find a trusted counselor and figure out what you did wrong in the relationship. In order for you to improve your own life, you must figure out what internal changes you must make.

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