Archive for the 'Silicon Valley Moms Group' Category

I am a Snackoholic.

Late-night snacking...

My arch-nemesis? Late-night snacking.

It’s 10:08 p.m. on a Tuesday. I am working, watching The Voice, drinking red wine and noshing on Pop Chips. Argh, I know I need to stop eating this late at night, so I wrap-up the snacks and remind myself this is an ongoing issue for this mama. In fact, here’s a post I wrote for Silicon Valley Moms Blog more than three years ago:

At the start of the New Year, like many moms, I make a pledge to get healthy both physically and mentally.  This means exercising, thinking positive thoughts, attending church, honoring my family, and (oh yes, the biggie) eating right.

It’s amazing. I have been so good at the first four goals.  I hit the treadmill 2 times a week (not as often as pre-baby, but more often than in 2007); I try to keep a positive attitude, I attend my wonderful and loving church; I spend time with my husband and daughter; and I eat healthy, home-cooked meals.

And here’s where it gets complex. From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. I eat like Dr. Sears himself:  cottage cheese, fruit and sliced almonds for breakfast, salad with grilled chicken for lunch, and lean meats and roasted veggies for dinner.  And lots and lots and lots of water.  Oh yes, and vitamins and supplements.  Then, around 9 p.m., I put the Kid to bed, toss a load of laundry in the washer, load up the dishwasher, and hit the couch with my laptop for work and television.  And then it starts.

The minute (no, the second) my butt hits the couch, the need to eat overwhelms my brain and I raid the pantry.  I crave chips and salsa, pretzels, popcorn, edamamerice crackers, “puffy peas,” or string cheese.  And, depending on the time of the month, I’ll toss in a little chocolate to go with that salt.  And let’s not forget the constant craving: red wine.

It is so frustrating that I am a dietary rock-star for 21 out of 24 hours a day.  But when I reach the magic hours of Laptop Television — from 9 p.m. to midnight where I sit on the couch trying to be a good employee and decent homemaker — I feel the need to eat junk food.  Why is that?  Am I bored?  Stressed?  Confused? Overwhelmed?

I think I reached my low point last week when I was butt-on-couch, eating an entire bag of Almond M&Ms, and watching The Biggest Loser on TV.  At that point, I decided that I am, in fact, the Biggest Loser.

I not-so-secretly want to talk to Biggest Loser hottie Trainer Bob for answers. In the meantime, can my fellow [Mom-bloggers] offer some cyber-therapy and talk me out of raiding the pantry, and loading up on unnecessary and empty calories, at 10 p.m. each night?

– LTV Mom

This post was written by LTV Mom and published on Silicon Valley Moms Blog in 2008. Sadly, three years later, I still partake in late-night snacking.

My Personal Food Revolution: Phase Two

Food Revolution

Food Revolution

About a year ago, I sat down to watch the premiere of celebrity chef Jaime Oliver’s new television show called Food Revolution, where he attempted to dramatically change the eating habits of one American town. Episode after episode, I learned about American eating habits, and more importantly, how we feed our children. I was prepared to end the season with a “holier than thou” opinion about how nutritiously I feed my family compared to the rest of the world.

Well, I did discover how well I feed my family… and how poorly I feed myself. I finally recognized that I was preparing my daughter’s organic sandwiches and fresh fruit for lunch, while grabbing an over-processed breakfast bar for myself on the way out the door. My daughter drank organic, low-fat milk; I was guzzling diet sodas. Was it possible to be absolutely conscientious and a complete wreck at the same time? Well, yes it was.

I detailed my experience in a post for Silicon Valley Moms Blog, which can be found HERE. And with the new season of Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution underway, I am taking another look at the food in my home, with a focus on how I educate and talk to my six-year-old daughter about food.

Practice what I Preach

I am proud of how I have learned to better incorporate healthy food into our family. I follow Jaime’s advice and ensure are eating whole foods, and remembering foods like “real” potatoes are okay. I have embraced my crock pot for cooking lean meats that are juicy and flavorful. I even made my first Indian dish in a crock pot! (Might be sacrilegious to my Indian friends, but the meal was delicious!) I always serve a fresh vegetable or salad with the meat.

I’m also more aware of snacks and sweets with my daughter. When she says she is hungry and wants a cookie, I ask her if she is really hungry or if she is craving something sweet to eat. I am fine with sweet cravings (we all have them), but want her to know there are bananas for hunger and a small ice cream sandwich when she just wants to satisfy a sweet-tooth.

My next challenge: stopping late-night snacking when the kid is in bed and I am up working. Hand’s down, this is one of my worst habits. I am working on solving this problem as I type…

Finding Inspiration

I love, love, love Jaime Oliver. I think he is witty and smart and driven. I admire his willingness to engage with his supporters on all levels, including a brief conversation with me over Twitter. I also discovered a teen star who has taken on a similar cause, and at the same time, found an external inspiration for my child (one to accompany the ongoing lessons from her mom of course.)

I recently spoke to Reed Alexander, also known as the nasty Neville from Nickelodeon’s iCarly, who recently transformed his diet and exercise program in an effort to increase overall health and energy. After losing 15 pounds and discovering boundless energy, Reed decided to translate his experience for other kids and created his own health and fitness program. Reid explained his experience with big-brands like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, and found they were too “adult focused” for his liking, so he created KewlBites for kids. Information and resources can be found HERE.

Reed Alexander

Reed Alexander

I like what Reed is doing. He message is about empowering kids, getting them into the kitchen to cook and learn about food, and finding time to exercise. His message is similar to Jaime Oliver’s message, so my hope is that Reid can reach millions of teens like Jaime has reached millions of adults.

And for the record, I have to say that Reed was absolutely delightful! He is a polite, gracious and humble 16-year-old star. He even spared a few minutes to talk to my daughter – and uber-iCarly fan – over the phone.

Here’s to healthy cooking and good eating!

- LTV Mom

Photo Credits: Food Revolution, found on ABC 8/7c and ContactMusic.com

Dear Dads with Daughters

Daddy and Daughter

Daddy and Daughter

My life has been insane lately. In the past several weeks, my family moved into a new house, our beloved cat died, we got a puppy, celebrated Christmas and New Year’s holidays, we hosted house-guests for two weeks, my mother faced an illness, I had to prepare and attend CES, I spoke at the MommyTech Summit, and more. Oh yeah, and my work blew up more than once, which required frequent travel from Austin to Silicon Valley. Can you say stress?

And through it all, my husband remains my rock and my daughter’s beacon. I have been trying to tell him how much I appreciate his strength and dedication to our family. I sat down to write a blog post in his honor, but I was reminded of this post I wrote for Silicon Valley Moms Blog nearly two years ago.

It still holds true, and it still brings tears to my eyes.

Thank you, my love, for being so good to your wife and daughter!

– LTV Mom

Dear Dads with Daughters,

Back when we were single, my girlfriends and I kept our eyes open for available men. We usually scoped out a college guy who was funny, smart, handsome, and had access to beer.  Now I’m happily married with a daughter, and don’t need to be dazzled by men who aren’t my husband.  But the people-watcher in me can’t help but admire the good men out there. Of course, my views of the world have changed dramatically, and I have a whole new set of criteria for spotting what I consider to be a good man. It’s quite simple: just show me what kind of daddy you are.

Since I have a soft-spot for dads with daughters, I can’t help by smile every time I see a daddy lovingly interact with their little girls.  Here are my personal favorites:

  • Ballet Class: There is nothing cuter than a tough guy trying desperately to stuff their little girls’ feet into ballet shoes. (Yes, there is a “right” and a “left” ballet shoe!)  I personally find it sexy when dads burst with pride while watching their girls trot around a dance studio in a pink tutu.

  • Ponytails and Headbands: Sometimes it’s obvious when Daddy was in charge of the ‘do.  Personally, I find a messy ponytail and mismatched barrettes adorable.  I love the effort, because we know it takes a little skill and a lot of patience to accomplish any sort of hairdo on a four-year-old girl.
  • Dresses or Jeans: Some daughters want a frilly dress, others want jeans and a T-shirt.  We are just impressed when both dad and daughter leave the house fully clothed.  We know that little girl picked out an outfit and probably changed her mind several times… and daddy had to keep his cool along the way.
  • Princess Books: A trip to the library or any waiting room is the ideal time to see a daddy reading to his child.  I love it when dads read the Princess books, complete with a falsetto voice for Cinderella.  So sweet!

Dads, here’s my point: We are married ladies now, but you can still impress us with your softer side. We love our kids, and we appreciate it when a daddy isn’t afraid to show how much he loves them too.

This post originally appeared on Silicon Valley Moms Blog in April 2009. And I still mean every word.

My Personal “Food Revolution”

Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution

Jaime Oliver

This month, members of the Yahoo! Mother Board are exploring thoughts and opinions about teaching kids healthy eating habits. I am passionate about what I feed my child. I’m just lazy when it comes to feeding myself.

I recently explored this topic on the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, and here’s what I had to say:

When I first heard of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and the show on ABC-TV, I was intrigued. I set my DVR and watched faithfully as Jamie met the people in the fattest city in America and tried to convince them to change their eating habits and live healthier lifestyles. He even tackled the public school lunch program. I was shocked and appalled by the eating habits of the families and school kitchens featured in the show. “How in the world can parents feed their kids that junk,” I smugly asked myself.

After firmly planting myself on Team Jamie — and passing judgment on the kind people of Huntington, West Virginia — I had my own personal food revolution. Before I can join a Food Revolution to make America a healthier country, I needed to look in my own kitchen. I realized that I feed my kid like a professional athlete, I feed myself like crap. The person who really needed a food revolution… was me.

I feed my kid like a champ. Seriously, I feed her with complete responsibility and discipline. For example, her breakfast is steel-cut oatmeal with a drizzle of honey, a glass of low-fat organic milk, and a side dish of strawberries. And while she eats this breakfast, I pack her lunch of an almond butter sandwich on whole-wheat toast, carrot sticks, organic yogurt and fresh blueberries.

I am a hypocrite. My breakfast is a processed bar of some sort in the car on the way to work. My lunch is a lame frozen entrée, pre-packaged apple sauce and a diet cola. Oh yeah, and I eat whatever junk may or may not be lying around the kitchen at my office. And everyone once in a great while, I even remember to eat lunch before 2 p.m. Of course, let’s not forget the wine and Pirate’s Booty I usually consume around 10 p.m. every night.

The light bulb goes off. Yes, I need to practice what I preach. I need to value my body as much as I value my daughter’s teeny little (and growing) body. I worry and plan about each drop of food that reaches her lips. I want her body to be healthy and vibrant and good. Why in the world would I not expect (and want) the same thing for her mother?

Jamie’s lessons enter my house. Jamie Oliver inspired me to eat better and healthier. I now eat fruit and yogurt smoothies for breakfast and try very hard to pack a healthy lunch as often as possible. His cute face (and encouraging words) are good reminders to eat whole foods, healthy foods and non-processed foods. He showed me that I can pack a healthy lunch at low cost and with little effort. He reminded me that my body is valuable too, and I must make time to feed it properly.

My comfort food is back in the house. The best lesson Jamie taught me is that my love for meat-and-potatoes are okay. I watched him make mashed potatoes on Oprah, with the lesson that whole foods are good regardless of the package. I now know it’s not the end of the word to enjoy a meatloaf (with bell peppers, onion and parsley from the Farmer’s Market), mashed potatoes (skin on, with fresh garlic and olive oil) and roasted broccoli for dinner. Not only is comfort food back in my house, so is my joy for eating!

End of the day, I started watching Food Revolution to learn how to make “other people” in America healthier… but the lesson was all mine.

- LTV Mom

This post was inspired by participation with the Yahoo! Mother Board, where 80 amazing women share thoughts on a single topic each month.  While Yahoo! is my client, these thoughts are mine and I did not receive compensation for writing this post.

Dear Tina Fey,

Tina Fey

I was a proud contributor to the Silicon Valley Moms Group for three-plus years. I was part of a network that produced amazing content, I worked side-by-side with amazing women and smart writers, and I was fortunate to make life-long friends.

Those who follow the industry know the network has stopped publishing new content, and the founders and writers have gone their separate ways. In my own personal tribute to my beloved site, I am going to highlight some of my favorite contributions to the blog. And this one might be my all-time favorite, mostly because I adore Tina Fey. Here it goes, please enjoy:

Reposted from Silicon Valley Moms Blog on May 27, 2010:

I have never written a fan letter in my life. I went to high school in the 80s, so I was tempted to write letters to Tom Cruise; in college, where I studied journalism, I wanted desperately to meet Dan Rather.

Today, as a working mom, I really don’t have time for fantasy lunch dates or dreams of meeting celebrities. I have a daughter, a husband, a job, a house and lots of responsibilities that need my focus and dedication. But, I finally found somebody I’d like to take the time to publicly thank: Tina Fey.

Now, I typically don’t like it when commoners like me praise celebrities. After all, we don’t really know them as people; we know their work, their public persona and the stories we read in the press. Even so, I am inspired to write my very first fan letter. Here it goes:

Dear Tina Fey,

Even though I don’t know you, I adore you. I know this letter might sound creepy and stalkerish, so please know that I am just another working mom who thinks you are a genius. I want to thank you for many reasons:

  1. Thank you for being smart: I respect the wit and candor in your writing. You have more than proven your ability and sense of humor; you have shown that smart writing leads to quality entertainment.  If you ever have any doubts about your gifts, just count your Emmys and Golden Globes.
  2. Thank you for being brave: Your writing and acting, namely on 30 Rockand Saturday Night Live, is fearless. I loved your stint on Weekend Update, as you always took the “did she really say that?” approach to your commentary. You don’t go for the easy laugh; you take a topic and smother it with your own brand of sass and wisdom. (Plus, any woman who takes on Tiger WoodsTiki Barber and Jesse James — and theirmistresses — in a single segment is awesome in my book.)
  3. Thank you for writing what I feel: The opening monologue from your most recent SNL appearance was both brilliant and real. It also taught me that we actually have something in common; I too receive the same two questions time and time again: 1) Are you going to have another baby? and 2) How do you juggle it all? (Your answer was classic: And that’s how I juggle it all, Bitches!)
  4. Thank you for Liz Lemon: Even on the days I feel my most cool; I always have a little Liz Lemon in me. I work too much, I fear having fun, and I obsess over minutia. Like Liz, I too need to figure out how to have fun and not “Lemon” my life.
  5. Thank you for dominating: I tell you what, it is so refreshing to see a woman at the top of her game (and earn the recognition she deserves.) You are in an elite class. I love that I can watch your shows and movies, point to the woman who created them, and tell my daughter the actor and the writer is brilliant.

Even though this letter is addressed to you, I highly doubt you’ll ever find it or read it. And I’m sure someone will laugh at my note and tell me I am lame. In reply, I’ll simply quote the great Tina Fey and tell my critics to “SUCK IT!”

Sincerely, Stacy in Silicon Valley

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

What is my bedtime strategy? (and other signs of “corporate seepage” in my house!)

I am a proud writer for the Silicon Valley Moms Group, and every month, we have virtual book club meetings. A handful of bloggers read the same book, and we each post our thoughts on our personal blogs. It’s a great way to be part of a book club, especially when I don’t have time for non-family socialization… and I really love books. This month’s book is Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristin van Ogtrop, editor of Real Simple magazine.

I immediately fell in love with the book title, and then became enamored with the sub-title: necessary terms for the half-insane working mom. Instantly connecting to the subject-matter, I dived into the book.

Yep, I am a half-insane working mom: I choose to be a working mom, and respect any mom who is working (in the home, outside the home, and everywhere in between) to provide and care for her family. I connect with working moms, well, because I am one.  I get the madness of driving from home to school to work (takes me at least an hour everyday), leaving work early to watch 15 minutes of dance class and eating dinner as a family, and then working until midnight to make up the time. We all do it. We all have our reality. And this book made me know I am not alone. It even made me laugh at the madness of my wonderfully crazy (and never boring!) working-mama life.

As the sub-title alludes, the book provides an “A to Z” look at newly created lexicon for working moms to embrace as they journey through life. Kristin created a “Mom 2.0 dictionary” peppered with wit and sarcasm (two of my favorite things!) leaving me with a sense of “Good Lord, being a working mom is hilarious.”

Corporate Seepage: All that said, I want to deep-dive and focus on my favorite “necessary term” from the book: corporate seepage. This term is self-explanatory, it’s when corporate-speak spills into the home. And then your kid starts using phrases and expressions that a toddler should not know exist, such as “Mommy, what is my bed time strategy?” in response to “honey, bed time is in 10 minutes.” Oy.

Recently, corporate seepage has been taken a step further. You see, my five-year-old daughter has taken it upon herself to set-up an “office” with a faux workstation, computer and office supplies.  The other day, my husband was trying to get the kid’s attention, and simply heard the reply “Daddy, I am on a conference call, can you please hold for a moment?!” In fact, my daughter loves the conference call excuse. The other day, I was at home making dinner as Daddy and Kid were on their way home from dance class. The Kid blasts into the kitchen to hear me proclaim, “welcome home, honey, can I have a hug?” And what did I hear? “Mommy, I can’t talk right now! I have a conference call in 11 minutes!” So, she ran upstairs to her office… just in time to make her call. Whew!

Capturing her imagination: Despite the copious amounts of corporate seepage in my house, I also see some amazing and wondrous benefits of having two working parents in our house. I mentioned my five-year-old kid has a faux office in our house, but did I mention she uses her office to design buildings? She creates blue-prints, has meetings with clients, and has imaginary discussions about how beautiful her buildings look once they are engineered. She currently is working on designing a movie theater and an animal hospital. I swear, she comes up with all these ideas on her own… and I am bursting with pride.

Like any mother, I don’t care what career my kid chooses when she grows up. But I use these moments to remind her that she can be whatever she wants to be. I promise I am not pushing her into a world of competition and madness. But I love that she is learning to tap into her talents and imagination… just as long as she doesn’t miss that conference call in exactly 11 minutes!

Just Let Me Lie Down is available on Amazon.

– LTV Mom

Photo with Gina von Esmarch of Bowl Licker fame; Kristin van Ogtrop of “Just Let Me Lie Down” and Real Simple magazine; and yours truly.

Thank you to the Silicon Valley Moms Group for organizing a wonderful luncheon allowing us to meet Kristin and enjoy her wit and wisdom.

2010 Earth Day: Common Sense and Learning

Back in 2008, I watched an episode of Oprah called “Going Green 101” which shared basic tips to live a green lifestyle, tips like turning off the water when you brush your teeth, which inspired a blog post called “Green is the new Cheap.” As much as I love being smart about minimizing waste, conserving natural resources and recycling, I still think it’s funny that common sense and frugality is now labeled “green” and is (finally) cool in the United States. Of course, I am talking with a touch of sarcasm, but I do think it’s important to embrace green-living by simply using your noggin and minding your wallet.

In honor of Earth Day, I decided to set aside my cynicism and learn something new about leading a greener (and healthier) lifestyle and teaching my daughter about the environment. The catalyst for my enlightenment is this month’s book club selection for the Silicon Valley Moms Group — Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-friendly Parents — and having Earth Day as the monthly blog topic for the Yahoo! Mother Board. I figured this is a great way to accomplish my personal educational goals for Earth Day (and a good reminder that this grumpy old lady still has a lot to learn!)

What I learned: We all know plastic water bottles in a landfill is not a good thing, but I really wanted to focus on the issues that are not in my immediate control, things like food labels and toxins. I wanted to explore topics that require more than common sense, issues that need a few minutes of research and an open mind. For example, the Green Guide is a great resource for determining when to buy organic foods (and which fruits and veggies are least likely to be contaminated with pesticides). I also learned that not all food additives are bad for you; for example, ascorbic acid is basically Vitamin C. I also learned I should buy soy-based crayons because standard crayons are made from petroleum. Like most action items that lead to a greener life, one change might not appear life-altering, but collectively are that important.

Where I need to improve: There are two areas of my life that are the least-green: technology and commuting. Common sense tells me there are easy fixes like carpooling and unplugging the TV and DVR when I go to work, but my crazy working-mom lifestyle (and lack of mass-transit in the Bay Area) makes those solutions impractical (and quite honestly and selfishly inconvenient.) So, I headed over to Yahoo! Green to find new ideas. I learned that telecommuting has a bigger impact that I thought, so I will be more diligent about working from home 1-2 days a week. Still not sure what to do about my love for the TV and DVR, but suggestions are welcomed.

What I want to teach my child: I discovered there are easy, free ways to teach my kid about the beauty of the world and why we need to take care of it. The Green Guide talks about taking your kid to Farmer’s Market to introduce them to the actual people who plant and grow food, and take them camping to show them the beauty of our vast world. Luckily, both are easy in the Bay Area, and camping is on my calendar for later this summer. I also decided to teach my daughter how to garden, and since I am a novice (yes, I was raised in Iowa), I found some great tips on Yahoo! Green. Lastly, I also discovered that BBC is sharing its wonderful series Planet Earth for FREE on iTunes until April 26. My kid and I will watch together, and hopefully a little inspiration will come from watching.

At the end of the day: I was reminded that being green is more than common sense. It’s also taking time to read and learn, and also making choices (and sometimes sacrifices) for the greater good of the world. And heck, you might even save a buck or two.

– LTV Mom

Photo Credit: National Geographic

This post was written as part of the Silicon Valley Moms Group Book Club, and I received the Green Guide Families at no cost.

Celebrities as Role Models (and what to do with iCarly?)

Parents are often asked what we think about celebrities as role models for our kids.  As you can probably guess from the name of my blog, we are not afraid of TV in our house.  While we limit the amount, and the type, of TV shows my five-year-old can watch, we often have the TV on during the evening hours. (I like to watch  Cash Cab when I cook dinner!) So, I have to be mindful of the shows we are watching, especially if my kid is in the room.
That said, I’m one of those parents who will turn off the TV, cover the kid’s eyes, or change the channel if the programming quickly turns inappropriate for a child.  I freak out when a major network plays a Viagra ad in the 8 p.m. timeslot or there is a racy performance on American Idol. My kid does not need to see that type of entertainment, so I simply take action. (After all, that’s my job.)
I have greater concerns about the shows my kid loves to watch, especially when she becomes glued to the TV. She is allowed to watch cartoons when eating her breakfast (when mommy is getting ready for work, packing lunches and running around like a wild woman). The rest of her TV-watching is during the weekend, when I just need 30 minutes to make dinner, wash some clothes or pay some bills. Her favorite show is iCarly, followed by similar shows like Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. At first, I thought the shows were okay for a five-year-old… not great, but okay. And then I realized iCarly kids are more than characters to my kid, she was seeing them as role models. And I didn’t like the effects I seeing.
I realized that if my daughter watched more than two shows in one day, she would quickly start to emulate the characters by copying the word choices, rude actions and snarky facial expressions portrayed by the kids on her shows.  Trying to nip this behavior in the bud, I would sit and watch the show with her and interject commentary like “you do realize that you are never allowed to talk to a parent in that tone or manner, right? You would be in big trouble!” I then struggled with letting her watch the shows and being the super-annoying mom who was barking at her during her TV time.
Finally, I decided to use iCarly and the gang to my advantage. When my kid is busted for back-talk, not listening to her parents or being disrespectful… the iCarly privileges are taken away with the explanation that “you are not allowed to act like that, even if you do see it on TV.”
To explore other thoughts and opinions on celebrities as role models, check out the video above where my fellow Yahoo! Mother Board members from across the country discuss their opinions.
Finally, I’d like to close with my thoughts on celebrity role models for ME. I admittedly get caught in the trap of celebrity beauty, weight and glamor. But then I need to get a grip and remember professional celebrities have access to trainers, chefs and an entourage. Most importantly, I have to remind myself “I need to judge and respect people based on their personal character… not their personal accomplishments.”
– LTV Mom

My Life Scoop: Top 10 Wired Mom Blogs

Well, I am blushing. I was on vacation with my family last week, and began my Thursday with a Twitter check where I discovered some great news. Turns out that Laptop TV Mom made the list of Top 10 Wired Mom Blogs by My Life Scoop. Even better, I am listed with some great company including some of my friends and co-bloggers. Thank you so much, I appreciate the nod.

Top 10 Wired Mom Blogs

The list is designed to highight the blogs that share how everyday moms are using the Web and mobile devices to manage our crazy lives. Whether we have one kid or a dozen, whether we work outside the home or not, we all use technology to keep our families (and sanity!) in check. And heck, we even use technology to create a source of entertainment.

The List

There are some high-powered moms on this list, including the ladies from BlogHer and Silicon Valley Moms Blog (where I also write). I also am a personal fan of list-makers TechMamas, TechSavvyMama, Who’s the Boss, Cool Mom Picks, and Rox and Roll. I’ve also recently discovered Topsie Techie and Help Me, Obi-Mom Kenobi, You’re My Only Hope! and hope to meet them soon!

Other new lists from My Life Scoop include Top 10 Home Office Idea Blogs and Top 10 Homework Help Blogs. A complete list of their Top 10 lists can be found HERE.

About My Life Scoop

My Life Scoop is a blog dedicated to showing how people use technology to run their lives. Yep, this is my kind of blog. I use technology to run my household, keep track of my family, manage my paying job, and (you guessed it) entertain myself in my spare time.

– LTV Mom

Photo Credit: My Life Scoop

Coco Chanel and Tiger Woods = Same Lesson

Coco Chanel & Igor StravinskyCoco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

I am a proud writer for the Silicon Valley Moms Group, and every month, we have virtual book club meetings. A handful of mom-bloggers read the same book, and we each post our thoughts on our personal blogs. It’s a great way to be part of a book club, especially when I really don’t have time to attend meetings and really love books. All that said, this month’s book club selection had me stumped.

This month, members of the virtual book club read Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky by Chris Greenhalgh, a novel based on the life of an historic designer and revolutionary composer. I love a good biography, even if it’s in the form of a novel, and I love a strong, independent woman. But I had no idea what was in store for me.

It’s important to note: I am not a fashion plate (um, far from it), and I don’t own a thread of Coco Chanel. But I love to read about women who change history. (My two favorites are Personal History by Katharine Graham and Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton.) So, I was so excited to read about a woman who changed the face of the fashion industry — in Paris, nonetheless — in the early 1900s. And while I learned a lot about the brilliance and vision for this woman, I was greatly disappointed by her personal character.

What I love about Coco Chanel

  • Her goal was to make woman’s clothing more comfortable, more wearable. She dumped stiff corsets and made clothes out of comfortable fabrics.  She even showed her ankles!
  • She was self-made. This woman came from literally nothing, the poorest of the poor in rural France. She earned her fortune by exercising on her vision and working hard.
  • She was a brilliant marketer. I read about how she crafted, and then sold, her now famous Chanel No. 5 perfume, and it was brilliant. I would even say she was the first viral marketer.
  • Her real name is Gabrielle Chanel, which is just beautiful

What shocked me about Coco Chanel

  • Where she was blessed with vision, intelligence and work-ethic, Coco Chanel lacked personal ethics. If the words of the book are true, she was a manipulative woman who had little concern about sleeping with married men. Well, as a woman who has a husband, reading this made me sick. The book tells the story of Coco’s obsession with composer Igor Stravinsky, and how she manipulated Igor and his family to move into her house as his wife was gravely ill. As Igor’s wife was bed-ridden and thought she was dying, Coco took Igor as her long-time lover. Now, don’t get me wrong, Igor was equally at fault here… but my point is while I was blindly impressed by Coco’s business sense, I was equally disappointed by her morals.

What I learned about myself

  • You know what, this book reminded me that no matter how much I admire someone or how revolutionary I think they are… my respect needs to stem from someone’s character rather than their accomplishments. Case in point: I am was a giant fan of Tiger Woods. That man made me want to watch golf on TV, which really is one of the most boring things ever. I liked his drive, his work-ethic, his intelligence (Stanford!), and his love for his parents. But you know the story, he cheated on his wife. And now I don’t care about Tiger Woods.
  • So, is Coco Chanel my Tiger Woods? Someone I held is high esteem until I read further? Yeah, I think so. It’s also a great reminder that we can admire someone, but we do not actually know these celebrities. They are not our friends, and they should not be our influencers. They are human, faults and all.

At the end of the day, this book was a good reminder that I need to judge and respect people based on their personal character… not their personal accomplishments.

– LTV Mom

Notes:

This book was provided by the publisher, but the words are mine and unedited.

Photo Credit: Amazon