Friday, May 22, 2015

Secret Menu Items

Most places have secret menu items, it just takes a little digging to know what to order and where.

At present, my kid is enjoying what's known as a big kid grilled cheese. This delicious sandwich is on the Panera Bread "secret" menu. This is actually one of my favorite secret menu gems consisting of a three cheese and bacon sandwich which is then heat-pressed with a layer of cheese melted on top!

Yum, yum, yum!

Other great secret items at my favorite spots include the captain crunch frap at Starbucks or the multitude of In-N-Out Burger secret menu choices e.g. adding sliced yellow peppers inside your burger, enjoying a protein style burger or simply ordering a grilled cheese and the Neapolitan shake.

And guess what? You can order a delicious serving of fully-loaded nachos at Chipotle Grill as well as fresh cilantro if you're in the mood! Now that sounds delicious. 

Share your hidden menu knowledge too by commenting below!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

5 Things I Learned From Reading Harry Potter

I was about 10 years behind the trend but I spent the last 2 months reading all 7 books in the Harry Potter series. 4,224 pages later and I am so happy that I took the time to do it. This series consumed me for the last few months and I am already missing the characters.

Here are 5 things reading Harry Potter taught me...

1. Do not piss of a Momma!: I loved the character of Molly Weasley. She was the busy Mom, worrying about her family and doing her best to raise good and kind children and keep up with her wacky husband. She was kind and loving and was the Mom that Harry needed. She was sweet and mild mannered until someone tried to mess with her baby girl.

2. Treat everyone with respect: In the wizarding world there is a definite hierarchy with house elves at the bottom. Through the books Harry and his crew treat everyone (who deserves it) with respect. Including the lowly house-elves. This would play a major role in the outcome of Harry and his friends.

3. The friends you make can become your family: When he was just 11 years old, Harry met Ron and Hermonie. They immediately became friends and eventually became family. Ron and Hermonie stood by Harry during everything. From O.W.L exams to living a life on the run from the world's deadliest wizard. They become the family that Harry should have had.

4. Magic is cool: I never picked up these books because magic and wizards were not my thing. The idea of wands and spells and potions was not appealing.  After book one I was looking on-line to see where I could by my own wand that would light up when I muttered "lumos". It also reminded me that believing in a little bit of magic is good. It makes life more fun.

5. Love and goodness wins in the end.: The big lesson throughout the series, in the middle of spell battles, flying dragons, giants, unicorns, puking pills and quidditch matches, we learned that love can conquer hate.

I am now in the middle of a Harry Potter depression. So my big issue now is, what do I read next? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Beautiful Connection Between Mother and Child

Would your child recognize you if they were blindfolded? Keep in mind, you wouldn't be able to talk and there would be other mothers in the room for your child to explore by touch alone. Do you believe your child would correctly identify you?

In the following clip this is exactly what happens and the result was beautiful. Warning: there will be tears. Parent and children have a unique and beautiful connection. It's a connection that is explained without words as very apparent in this short clip:

Now it's your turn. Hermamas challenges our readers to try this experiment, too. The next time you're in a room with gal pals and your child(ren), try this blindfolded experiment and check back to tell us how it goes. We're looking forward to your stories, and hopefully, more touching water works.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

You Will See Even Less Women of Color on your TV Next Season.

It's that time of year again. All our favorite TV shows are having their season finales. Mad Men is over and we have months to wait until Walking Dead starts again. This is also the time of year where TV networks renew or cancel shows. I was so sad and kind of shocked to hear that 2 of my favorite shows were canceled.

ABC's Cristela and Fox's The Mindy Project will not be back on television this fall. I loved both of these shows. They were filled with quick wit humor. More importantly they were women-centered in front-of and behind the camera. Even better, they starred women of color.

Cristela was the story of a young Mexican-American woman working an internship at a law firm and working toward passing the bar exam. She lived with her sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew and mother. The show was was filled with cultural punch lines and the set was filled with Jesus mugs and San Marcos blankets. The show reminded me a lot of the George Lopez show, but sadly network executives did not think the show deserved a second season.

The Mindy Project followed Mindy and her fellow ob/gyns in New York. Not as heavy on the cultural references this was a quick witted and funny show. Mindy was an equal partner to the men at her practice and even though we watched her experience her share of heart breaks, Mindy always stayed true to herself. The smart, independent and a bit arrogant self. After 3 seasons Fox has decided to drop The Mindy Project. Luck for us, Hulu has picked up the show and already ordered 26 episodes.

I was so excited to have a Latina lawyer and a Indian woman doctor on television. And can we talk about how both are beautiful stylish women who are not a size 2? We can only hope that the new shows for next season look just as diverse and have powerful, cultural women leads. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

50 Ways to Productively End Boredom

Kids this day in age have to feel constantly entertained. Stillness is often followed by the dreaded, "I'm borrrreeeddd!" I once heard parents should answer children by saying "be bored, boredom is good for you." My oldest doesn't get a kick out of that response but he does tend to stop whining. Why? Because boredom is a wonderful excuse to sit in stillness and just do or think of nothing. Hard for many, but essential for all. 

Even for adults boredom isn't always embraced, which usually leads to wasted hours mindlessly watching television, eating and/or surfing the web. When this is the case, adults need productive alternatives. Productive defined here as good for you activities, opportunities for bonding or exercise and moments that allow you to reflect-on, or declutter and organize your life. 

Try these productive alternatives the next time you're reaching for a bag of chips and that remote control:

1. Read a self-help or spiritual book
2. Take a quiet, reflective walk 
3. Cuddle with child and/or spouse discussing dreams and vision 
4. Journal 
5. Reorganize junk closets or drawers
6. Pray
7. Meditate
8. Get a head start on holiday shopping (online)
9. Call an old friend or relative 
10. Make dessert from what you have on hand (should get interesting and fun)
11. Make love
12. Draw, sketch or paint 
13. Set goals (30-60-90 or 365-day goal setting)
14. Write the script for a fictional play or movie starring your family or friends 
15. Download new cellphone apps meant to organize your life
16. Play a sport
17. Enjoy a game of chess or checkers
18. Stretch and exercise
19. Read the bible (or similar religious text)
20. Take a long, relaxing bath
21. Listen to an uplifting audiobook (e.g. The Four Agreements, The Alchemist, The Power of Now!)
22. Listen to music, then have a dance-off
23. Watch a foreign film, inspiring movie or educational documentary 
24. Do a crossword puzzle
25. Play sudoku
26. Meal prep. healthy meals 
27. Print photos you've been meaning to print, then scrapbook
28. Play hide and seek or any other games usually reserved for little kids (be a big kid in the process)
29. Write a loving song
30. Write a touching poem
31. Review your favorite businesses online 
32. Write handwritten "thank you" or "thinking of you" notes 
33. Plan a "just-because" party  
34. Cook a new dish that is healthy but still delicious (e.g. Ceviche, Lettuce Wrapped Tacos, Protein Burgers)
35. Sunbath 
36. Make a vision board 
37. Color in a coloring book
38. Polish nails 
39. Brew homemade tea and enjoy with the healthiest food you can find in your home
40. Teach your children a new skill (e.g teach toddlers words that rhyme, making one color out of two) 
41. Assemble a puzzle
42. Google world leaders that made a difference and research their best quotes 
43. Reorganize living room furniture 
44. Enjoy arts and crafts (pinterest is full of great ideas)
45. Browse positive viral videos and attempt to recreate your own
46. Make your own music video 
47. Make homemade ice pops or healthy shakes/smoothies 
48. Play 20 questions with a positive spin
49. Browse social media and write positive comments, share positive content
50. Write a blog meant to inspire others ;)

How do you combat boredom in a productive way? Share your tips below. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jazz Up Those Boring Bobby Pins

My youngest kid has these little wispy hairs on her hairline and no matter how nicely I comb the rest of her hair those little wispy hairs fall into her face. Drives me crazy.

I have tried to get her to wear bobby pins to hold the hair back but as she puts it "those things are not pretty enough for my hair". Okay then. So with a little creativity and some nail polish I made them "pretty".

This is a super easy craft to make with your kids! All you need is...

  • Bobby pins 
  • Nail polish
  • Paper Towel
First fold your paper towel and attach your pin with the flat side up. Then pick your favorite nail polish color and paint a couple of coats onto the flat part of your bobby pin. Let dry overnight and that's it. 

You have some cute and color bobby pins.

So simple and easy. You can even add some glitter and a top coat to make them even more sparkly. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lessons for Every Career Woman

As a woman in business there's the usual angst and questions: "Am I good enough... can I handle this... How will I handle the stress?" In my first quarter as CEO my emotions where across the board from enthusiasm to uncertainty, energetic to lethargic, and bouncing from confident to downright afraid. Being the head of any enterprise comes with it's fair share of questions and there's one thing all the questions and emotions taught me after seven short months as CEO:

Calm Down: there's no need to fill the pull of 1000 directions even if the pull is very real. The leader determines the pace of the pack. If I am all over the place, my team will be too. Moreover, I am not the end all. I'm one piece of the puzzle and a calming piece is an essential one. Now, I can be fired-up when needed but I remain even-balanced and poised to face both highs and lows with predictable grace. What's helped me calm down the most? Being present. I am focused on the issue at hand and let go thinking myself into chaos with what's down the road...

Be Patient: in business, we hear this all the time because it is critical in leadership to resist fizzling out. Chasing goals too feverishly and at an unrealistic pace is a sure-fire way to burnout. Patience also compliments the first point and reinforces calm.

I Am Good At This: Know thy self. I took a strength builders test recently and suddenly embraced every one of my strengths. I also didn't let areas of so-called non-strengths hold me back. I simply surrounded myself with associates and peers who compliment my strengths which are heavily focused on relationship building and communicating.  

Don't Worry: though hard at first, I've masted the art of letting go of the day and leaving it behind. Don't dwell on what doesn't work and always, always, always think in terms of solutions. Excuses are easy to spew, what we don't have is easy to focus on, and it's easy to complain. Yet, nothing easy is worth it in the long wrong. I don't seek easy, I seek fulfillment. I am happier when I am positive and grateful. Staying focused on that philosophy actually leads to an abundance of positivity. Notice how complainers always have something to complain about? It's a vicious cycle... good or bad. So I choose good and have trained myself to stop useless worrying.

Be Honest: Best lesson ever. This is straightforward and yet one of the hardest things for people to do. Honestly is the clearest way to uniformity and reaching clearly defined goals. It also creates a safe environment where there are less disgruntled employees. A place where the norm is to be direct for the greater good. Honesty is the surest way to bare the fruit of effective results in the workplace. Now honesty isn't always easy, but I strive to model this and I share my honest views without condescendence. While being truthful I remain ego-free as much as possible to honestly share and receive feedback - good or bad.  

Cast Vision: I have one job above all else and it's a big one. It's my job to know "the why" at all times and passionately share the why with those I work for and with. Doing this and getting everyone behind a collective and empowering vision leads to a harmonious work space of passionate professionals and it starts with me!