Category Archives: Parenting

Top Women Television Journalists We Should Support

While it may come as no surprise to you, I still think I need to fess up: I am a news and politics junkie. And in honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to share with you my favorite women pundits, correspondents, news anchors, bloggers and political writers. Women news sources are still in the minority so this is my simple way of supporting every woman out there reporting on what will certainly become history some day.

Now how could I ever sum up the women I support in one concise post? Exactly, it’s utterly impossible. So this will be a three part post – and even then I am quite sure I’ll be skimping on you. Nevertheless, I’m going to give it a shot. This week, I will share with you my picks for the best women television news sources that you need to turn on and follow. Sure, do it for the future of women’s journalism, do it for women’s solidarity but really just do it because they are accomplished professionals making an important impact on mainstream media.

Until the early 1960’s, news reporting was strictly a man’s gig. So first things first – let’s give a shout out to some of first women who reported the political goings on in Washington. Nancy Dickerson was in fact the first woman television reporter. She opened the doors for such news greats as Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Ann Compton, Lesley Stahl and more recently, Katie Couric. The stories I’ve read about how difficult it was for these women to break into journalism makes the hairs on my neck stand up. They deserve respect and credit for the ceiling they have all cracked together.

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Today, there are a number of television pundits and correspondents who have established themselves as top news contributors. But who tops my list? None other than the amazing and brilliant Rachel Maddow. If you don’t watch her MSNBC show at 9pm every weeknight (or follow her on twitter), you are missing something impressive. Ann Marie Coxis often a guest on her show and I have become a fan of hers also.

Another good perspective comes from Campbell Brown and her show “No Bias, No Bull” is my “go to” when I am not watching Keith Olbermann (and while he’s a “he” and therefore does not fit the bill for this post, I am a loyal viewer of his also). And by the way, Alison Stewart(previously of MTV fame and Emmy award winner) does a fabulous job filling in for Maddow and Olbermann – I hope to see more of this amazing news contributor in the future.

Gwen Ifill is the Moderator and Managing Editor on PBS’ Washington Week. Along with the stiff shirts of the McLaughlin Group, my father watches her regularly. I am a big fan myself and think she handled the vice presidential circus debate with grace and professionalism.

And while I stare at my monitor most afternoons, I usually have MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell quietly on in the background. She’s smart and does a fantastic job asking the right kinds of questions. And then Norah O’Donnellis the MSNBC chief washington correspondent and also hosts the 3pm hour of MSNBC.

While not your traditional political pundits, I have to mention the women on The View. They have made a significant impression on this country with their ideals and fiery political debates. Say what you will about The View being an actual news source, Whoopi Goldeberg and Joy Behar have my utmost respect.

And finally, Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, deserves every bit of recognition she has received including the Peabody Award, two Emmy Awards and has been named the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). She speaks three languages and fearlessly positions herself at the epicenter of war, chaos and international instability on a daily basis. There is no question that she has earned my deepest admiration.

The only way we will see more women reporting and commenting on important news stories is if we support the women currently doing just that. Take note of who sits around the table during Meet the Press or gather in the White House Press conference room. Is our women’s perspective represented? Let’s hope it will be the case more frequently in the future.

Feel free to comment about some of your favorite women journalists below. And stay tuned for next week’s second post in this series about my picks for favorite women political newspaper journalists and writers that deserve their place in history.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Educating myself, Feminist tendancies, Giving respect, Inspiring people, Parenting, Politics, Reccomendations, TV, Women

I Look Like Morningside Mom and I Smell Like One Too

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I remember exactly where I was a year ago today. Brow sweaty and tense with insecurity, I was hunched over my old (now passed on) “shitty shitty bang bang ” PC. While I glared at that massive, yellowed monitor, my mind was overwhelmed with writing that simply needed out. I remember rethinking, questioning and toiling over that first blog post. (Groan.) Word by word, out it came. And then the transition moment arrived: I clicked publish. And it was done. My Morningside Mom weblog was born.

It was a girl, awkward and new. Posts stumbled over themselves, too long, too weird, falling flat on their face. She tried to grasp HTML and SEO concepts, but they slipped through her tiny fingers, infuriating her. But little by little, my girl got stronger. Every post became a little more confident. She even found her voice along the way and does a fairly decent job at using her words nicely. She is growing up.

And now look at her. Publishing posts without even a thought, actually entertaining folks in feed readers and jet-setting off to NYC with really nice people.

And one year old!

I am so proud. No I am. I never expected much from this whole thing. Simply a place to put my thoughts when all I did was “mommy” all day. Of course, I am more than a “mommy”. I love my children but a year ago today I felt it was high time I honored myself by speaking my mind a little more often. After all, before I was a mother I was a woman, a thinker, a leader, a wife, a sister, a kid, a women’s college grad, a political junkie, a hard worker, a talker and a friend. And this blog has allowed me to be all of these things once again while I “mommy” within the four walls of my home.

So Happy Birthday little one. You have so much more growing to do but what a change in one year.

Oh and both my blog and my readers should expect a birthday gift from me soon. An almost“grown up” blog deserves to actually look the part. I am working on updating and giving my girl a new look.

Stay posted – we’ll be able to tear the paper off this sucker and see what we got very soon.

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Filed under Birthdays, Blog love, Growing up, Parenting, Women, Working moms

Win Your Own Bit of Fabulous: a Vivienne Tam HP Wireless Mouse

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As I’ve mentioned before, my entire NYC Vivienne Tam experience with HP allowed this uber practical, coupon clipping, “never splurges on self” mommy to enjoy the luxury of a few beautiful things. It wasn’t something for my children or my family – it was just for me. Honestly folks, it’s unheard of around the parts. I am still so appreciative.

And now I want to share a small part of this experience with you. HP has graciously given me three Vivienne Tam HP Wireless mice to giveaway here on Morningside Mom. (Did you know they aren’t even available for purchase in the U.S.?) I am thrilled to be able to share a little bit of beautiful with you all.

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How do you enter? Simply leave a comment below explaining how everyday working, parenting, budgeting women can take care of themselves when they so often forget to. I will pick three inspiring comments and announce the winners on Friday, March 6th.

And one last bit of trivia about Vivienne Tam before I sign off. The enter key on the VT HP mini has a chinese symbol on it. Do you know what it means? It means “Double Happiness”. And now doesn’t that just make so much sense? I hope this giveaway brings a small bit of happiness to three of you.

Good luck!

**UPDATE – WE HAVE THREE WINNERS!**

Congrats to our three winners: Cami, Chandra and Carol! They wrote inspiring comments and I encourage you all to read them. In fact, I would encourage you to take a moment to read every comment here – what fantastic advice for women to follow. Thank you to everyone who participated, it means so much that you took the time to share this wisdom.

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Filed under Blog love, Contests, Gifts, HP, Mothers, Parenting, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff, Women, Working moms

My Thoughts on the Presidential Address to Congress

The other night after putting my children to bed, I settled onto my couch with my laptop and switched on MSNBC. I was ready to hear from our President. I was looking for hope, for answers, for any sign that there will be a light at the end of this very long and difficult tunnel. Homes in my neighborhood stand empty, friends are losing their jobs, funding for my son’s education is being cut drastically and I’m getting nervous about affording even groceries right now. This speech needed to assure me that eventually everything is going to be alright. And did it? Here is my reaction to the President’s address to congress.

After thunderous opening applause and a quick introduction by Pelosi, President Obama launched enthusiastically into his speech. Right away he recognized just how bad it’s gotten. He explained that he didn’t need to rattle off any more statistics about this recession since we are all experiencing it first hand.

With my arms folded and my heart sadly resigned, I certainly agreed. As much as I support our President whole-heartedly, I know the reality and can’t help but worry the obstacles in front of us are impossible to overcome.

He then reminded us that we are all responsible for our economy, for our environment, for our children’s futures. After years of excessive spending and with no regard for the consequences of bad loans or oil dependence, we’ve wound up where we are. His words were strong, he spoke plainly and he spoke right to me.

All this time, I’ve been smugly blaming the previous administration and everyone else for this mess. But it was at this moment when I realized that this problem is all of ours. We have all played a part in this mess and we all need to make an effort to fix it.

“Now is the time” he demanded. Ok. You’re right. I’m listening.

He then went on to explain this recovery plan will do the following:

  • Create 3.5 million jobs
  • Give 95% of Americans a tax cut by April 1
  • Give families paying for college tuition a $2,500 tax credit
  • Allow unemployed Americans extended unemployment benefits

Honestly? These promises practically make me giddy with hope. I was ready to leap to my feet during this part of his speech faster than Pelosi herself. But I didn’t. I was still holding myself back. These are promises and certainly look great on paper – but I am still waiting and seeing.

Obviously, this recovery plan means that a lot of money (read: trillions) will be floating around. Considering our reckless past, I appreciated the President explaining that careful tabs will be kept on every dollar spent. Americans can go to recovery.gov to see where our money is going. This is good. Actions and process have to be kept transparent if we want if regain any economic confidence.

The next points he brought up were about banking, credit and loans. The message came across loud and clear that our money in our banks is safe and that we cannot stop loaning to individuals and businesses. This will stop economic growth in its tracks. Clearly, trust needs to be rebuilt again.

He also pointed out that “responsible” families struggling to hold on to their homes will be assisted. He said that:

“…the average family who refinances today can save nearly $2,000 per year on their mortgage.”

For a family like ours who followed the rules, bought a home within our means but are still scraping to pay our mortgage – this was very encouraging to hear.

Further into his speech, I was thrilled to hear the three priorities of the recovery plan:

 “…the budget I submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future: energy, health care, and education.”

He explained that ignoring these areas will change the future of our country if we do not give them immediate support and attention.

This was where my cautious “we’ll see” grumblings gave way to affirmative exclamations. I was emotionally on board then. All I could think about was my child’s school staying open, my $150 co-pays to treat my son’s flu that never responded to his $25 flu shot, and the empty homes scattered all over my neighborhood. Maybe? Could it be? Well, it seems there actually is hope.

As our president concluded his speech, he mentioned the stories of individuals who have made differences in their communities. He then introduced us to the young high school girl who reminded our congress that “We are not quitters!”

You see, that is exactly it for me. I am scared right now. I am nervous that from the bottom of this economic hole, these promises are just too good to be true. I want to hide my head in the sand and wish it all away. Or maybe just wait for someone else to fix it. But we are not quitters. No matter what side of the tracks you fall on: get up, get out and do something. This is everyone’s problem. Not just Wall Street’s or Congress’s or our President’s.

No doubt about it, our President is a fantastic speaker. But he is also an extremely smart and capable leader. The impossible is ahead of us but instead of moaning about what can’t be done, I will follow his lead and consider all that can be done. He is inspiring me to take responsibility, move forward and do my part. It was an excellent speech and I’m excited and ready to see what our future has in store.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Communication, Economy, Getting green, Government, Inspiring people, Obama, parental fear, Parenting, Partisanship, Politics, Raising Awareness, Reality check

Vivienne Tam: Giving Thanks and Feeling Worthy

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Do you know that feeling when you watch reality shows like “Extreme Home Makeover” and you see amazing things happen for people and you say out loud “that sort of stuff never happens to me”? Or how about the reality show “What Not to Wear”. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wear really nice clothes instead of jelly smeared jeans? I know these sorts of shows well. I watch, I smile and I think “not in a million years”.

Well, during my time in NYC, I kind of had an “Extreme Home Makeover / What Not to wear” moment. A real one. I think it would have made a great reality show actually. And it all has to do with Vivienne Tam.

As you know by now, I spent 4 amazing days in New York City for fashion week thanks to the folks at Buzz Corps, HP and Vivienne Tam. The entire experience in itself was “reality show” worthy in that this sort of stuff *SO* does not happen to me. I spent every day thanking everyone around me. I thanked drivers (oh wait I hugged him too), door holders, hotel folks, waiters, even random people I passed on the streets for slightly stepping out of my way. I was so damn grateful to be there. Every crack and crevice I happened upon heard my gratitude, loud and clear.

But then something even more amazing happened to all the bloggers on this trip. “What? MORE?!” I hear you mumble. Yes, more. We were given a gift.

We started out mid morning in our shuttle not exactly knowing where we were headed. When we pulled up to Vivienne Tam’s boutique, it was familiar to us after having been there the night before for her show. So we stepped out of the bus and walked in, curious. The entire space had changed into a “store” with racks of her dresses lined up, mannequins dressed, shoes and bags on display. We all wandered around, happy to see the goods in daylight for better pictures and also excited to see more of her line. We snapped pics, picked out favorites, held them up to each other, laughed at the possibilities and moved along.

And then Alan Wang, the Vivienne Tam boutique manager and all around very nice man, got our attention. He stood at the front of the store and thanked us for being here this week. He told us how much Vivienne Tam truly appreciates our support and that she recognizes the important work we do. And as a symbol of her gratitude, she would like to give us a gift. Each of us were welcome to pick out one dress. To keep.

Blank stares. It dawns on us. Mouths drop. Rushed whispering. Quiet squeals. And then me, “Can I hug you right now?”

I am not sure what he said next (although I remember that he diplomatically ignored my invitation for a hug, smart man), but it had begun to sink in. Kind of. We could pick a dress in that room to take home. To wear. To have. To feel fabulous in.

And we were off. Some spending time carefully considering. Others leaping on the handbags and shoes (understandably). And then there was me who grabbed one dress and dashed for the dressing room. What if they changed their minds? Quick. Let me get this on and out the door before they decide this isn’t such a great idea.

I wound up with the second dress I tried on. I truly felt amazing in it. I ran around the store in it. I teared up. Three times. Shamelessly. My friend Moosh in Indy saw my Hanes her Way and that’s cool by me. This was serious business. I got an amazing dress. A Vivienne Tam dress. Glamorous pieces of clothing like this just don’t exist in my life. But now one does. (And it is laughing at everything else in my closet as I write this.)

So what happened next? Just wait. Yes, there’s more.

That night we were welcome to attend another event back at the Vivienne Tam boutique. This was the official launch of the Vivienne Tam Hp Mini. Another night on the town? What better excuse to don our fab dresses. And that we did.

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I also brought my VT HP Mini with me. I just figured it would be good to have it since that evening was all about it.

And so what happens? Vivienne Tam arrives, speaks to her guests and then offers to sign anyone’s computers. So now, under my right hand in the bottom corner of my Mini, is Vivienne Tam’s signature. She signed it for me and you know what she said to me? She said I was so beautiful in her dress.

Wow. This mom with jelly smeared jeans and a leaking sippy cup in her purse could be beautiful.

It was a moment. To be sure.

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And that’s what the dress and the computer have come to represent. Women running around managing the insanity of their lives, elbow deep in dirty boy socks and sticky pots of mac and cheese DO deserve nice things. A dress like this, a computer like this – well, they are simply special things. Little bits of fabulous that remind you that you are actually “worthy” – socks and mac n cheese aside.

So I had that “What not to Wear” moment. And staying true to the thanking theme of my week, I thanked Vivienne Tam that night. I thanked her for making me feel more beautiful and special than I had in years.

My gratitude is endless, my heart is full and my sense of beautiful is in check.

For that (just one more time) I say: Thank you.

vtandme

For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Gifts, Giving respect, HP, Identity crisis, Mothers, One of those moments, Parenting, Shopping, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff, Women

Trying my Damnedest to Be a Part of It, New York, New York.

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Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today.

That’s right, the day has come. Morningside Mom is finally heading to the City. My parents have flown in to help take over all of that stay at home, groundhog day, going around in circles, cat corralling that I do on a daily basis. Today I fly away from the “oh so predictable” kid schedule of my life and drop into the land of fabulousness, cosmos, culture, no bedtime routines… hell, I’m about to go spend 4 days at the center of the universe.

Bring it on.

And I am going all for the sake of the Vivienne Tam HP Mini Netbook. See mine sitting there? All ready to go?  And the new uncomfortable looking but actually very comfortable shoes I bought for the trip? (Target, by the way. Don’t tell anyone.)

And check out that bag. My mom brought it back for me from Vietnam. The fabulous part is that the silk lining of that bag almost exactly matches the silk handbag that comes with the Vivienne Tam Netbook. Cool, huh?

Well. I think so.

So. Ok. Here I go then. I am going to try and blog as regularly as I can. I’ll be twittering it all too and uploading pics and video when I have something cool to share. And of course, I’ll be doing everything from my VT Netbook.

So here I go, leaving the mommy gig at the door. Off to be… um… fabulous.

I hope I don’t look as clueless as I feel. See you on the flip side.

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Filed under Bloggers, Packing, Panicking, Parenting, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff, Travel, Vietnam

Morningside Dad: Thoughts from a Liberal Father

I am guessing that by now you are fairly familiar with my perspective as a liberal mom. Well, how about a father’s perspective? What is it like to be a liberal father raising children today? Wouldn’t you know it, my husband just happens to be a liberal father. So I sat him down tonight and asked him what his thoughts were on freedom of speech, equality, stereotypes about white men and the future of the Supreme Court. Come see what he has to say, his answers may surprise you.
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Now to give you some background about my husband, he is a 6 ft, 4” white college athletics coach. He grew up in a privileged town in Connecticut; he just completed his MBA and might be one of the smartest people I know. We’ll call him B. for the sake of this interview.

Caroline: As a liberal father, what issues are most important to you?

B: I am pretty straightforward about my values. I believe in civil rights, civil liberties, freedom of speech and every citizen having an equal opportunity to succeed.

C: And what about how your values relate to raising our children?

B: Well, our sons are part of a privileged class as two white males. I just hope I can raise them to have the same values I do.

C: So what about being a white male? What are your thoughts on affirmative action and our son’s future’s as white males?

B: It’s a topic I struggle with. I mean, why am I the bad guy? I know my race and gender give me a certain privilege but I wrestle with legislated equality sometimes. I realize sometimes we have to manufacture equal opportunity – and I get it – but I’ll admit that I struggle with this issue.

C: What have been some challenges for you as a liberal father?

B: I think I am most frustrated with the assumptions people make about me. I am a white, male coach – stereotypes are immediately drawn up. I mean, come on, even on the most progressive college campus, the Athletic department is assumed to be the last conservative bastion. As a result, comments are made around me since folks may presume I may have a certain value system which I don’t.

C: So how do you deal with that?

B: If I am at work and someone says something that I disagree with, I usually walk away or say nothing. I’ve got work to do and I am not going to start something then, but my silence usually clues them in. If I am outside of a work environment though, I do usually say something or try to start a constructive conversation about the topic. I make no apologies for my politics, take them or leave them.

C: With the new administration, what is the most important issue for you as a liberal father?

B: Apart from the obvious issues of establishing economic and global security for this country (and in turn, for our family), the appointment of the next Supreme Court justices is an extremely important issue for me. The current liberal appointments are not getting any younger. Whoever Obama chooses will leave a lasting impression on this country – probably longer than his own administration will. Do you know what kind of Supreme Court justices I want in there next?

C (smiling because I already know – and love – this answer): Tell me.

B: I want a purple haired, pierced nosed, extremely bright, straight talking lesbian from Northampton, Massachusetts appointed next. In fact, I want three of them in there!

I paused here to give him a big ol’ kiss. I love this guy.

C: Ok well gay adoption is illegal here in Florida. And you’ve heard all the threats about how legalizing gay marriage would ruin our marriage. What are your thoughts as a liberal father?

B: What in the world does my marriage have to do with two gay individuals who decide to be married? The success or failure of our marriage is strictly our responsibility. I have yet to hear one good cognizant argument against gay marriage. It is an equal rights issue that needs to be granted finally. If my sons grow up and decide that they want to love and marry another man, that is their right and I think it should be recognized, supported and protected.

C: Any final thoughts about being a liberal dad?

B: Florida is an interesting place. As far as I can tell in our area, I would say that being a liberal father is not particularly common. One morning a few days after the election, I was sitting at a red light. I mean, here I am, a white guy, with my kid in his car seat, on the way to kindergarten drop off with an HRC and Obama sticker on my bumper. I just don’t see that too often around here. All of the sudden, a guy in the car next to me (with his own collection of Obama stickers) started waving and honking at me, giving me the thumbs up. I saw that he too had kids in car seats in his backseat. I think it was a unique moment to see another guy like me so fired about this election. It was an interesting moment for me.

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Boys, Equal Rights, Fathers, Florida, Marriage, parental fear, Parenting, Politics, Presidency, Racism, Raising Awareness, sons, Teaching kids