Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mom in the Spotlight: Pilates Instructor, Carrie Campbell

Formerly a professional ballet dancer, Carrie Campbell was introduced to Pilates in 1992. She received a comprehensive Pilates certification through Power Pilates NYC in 1998. Since then, Carrie has been teaching Pilates full time in NYC and NJ and has built an extensive client base. She has trained many celebrity clients including Naomi Campbell, Whoopi Goldberg, Laura Linney, Mandy Moore and Mary Louise Parker. Carrie has appeared in several Pilates videos, online workshops and workouts, training manuals and has an audio CD of mat work called “Pilates on the Go!”  She has been featured in Fitness Magazine, Us Weekly, Quest, Allure and has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show and the WB news. In addition, Carrie has presented at numerous fitness conferences, including IDEA, PMA, and Power Pilates.

Carrie is the owner of Positively Pilates. She teaches privately, offers Prenatal, Postnatal, and corporate group mat  classes,  and gives continuing education workshops in NYC & NJ.  As a mother of two beautiful children, Carrie gives all the credit to Pilates for both of her healthy and happy pregnancies, as well as helping her bounce back to her pre-pregnant body soon after birth.

How old are your children?
My daughter is 5, and my son is 3.

Where were you in your career when your children were born?
I was a senior level Teacher Trainer for Power Pilates NYC. Before I had kids I was traveling the world teaching Pilates. Then my daughter was born, I kept busy but I limited myself to teaching in the NY Metro area. Then after my son was born I left Power Pilates and started my own business, Positively Pilates, so that I could have total control over my schedule and balance work life with motherhood!

How did you discover Pilates?  How was it a natural evolution from your dance career?
I did a few Pilates mat classes as a teenager. I had my first apparatus lesson when I was 18. It was my first year in a professional ballet company, my partner dropped me from an overhead lift and I broke my foot in 5 places.

I was devastated and scared to death that I would get out of shape while injured. A fellow company member suggested that I go to Pilates because most of the exercises are done lying down and they can custom fit your workout to suit you needs. So I tried it and it was love at first sight! I started taking 3-4 classes per week and the joke within the ballet company was that I was in better shape when I came back from my injury then when I got injured.

What are you most passionate about as a Pilates instructor?
I love watching clients change their bodies from the inside out! Pilates will not only help you look better, it will help you feel better and thus improve your quality of life!

How did pregnancy and motherhood affect your feelings about your body?  How did you get back into shape post-baby?
As a dancer, I spent so many years trying to be super thin and hating my body. When I was pregnant I gained so much respect for my body. I actually loved my curves and so did my husband! Post baby, I got back in shape by walking 45 minutes to an hour a day AND by doing Pilates mat work in my living room when the baby was napping. Breastfeeding was also very helpful in taking off the extra weight.

I suffer from diastasis recti, a separation of the two halves of the rectus abdominis.  This physically and emotionally stressful condition  condition is responsible for the "pooch" on many a mom, even those who are physically active.  When surgery isn't an option, what exercises can you recommend?
If you have diastasis recti, avoid sit-ups or crunches because they will only make it worse! If you do do any flexion ab exercises you should be wearing a splint. Also avoid doing anything that stretches your abdominals such as upward facing dog in yoga or the down stretch in Pilates. Here is a simple exercise that you can do every day to help close the gap.

Transverse Abdominal Pulses
1. Kneel on all Fours and place your spine in neutral.
2. Without rounding your spine, pulse your navel up to your spine 30-50X. You will feel your abs and your back muscles working in synergy.

After doing this consistently every day for 2-4 weeks you can advance this by doing the pulses in a plank pose as opposed to kneeling on all fours.

What is your best "why me?" mommy moment?
One time I was at the airport with my sixteen-month-old daughter waiting for our  luggage after a flight. This young, very good looking gentleman approached me and said in a rude tone of voice  "so that is what was kicking my seat the entire flight!" I was mortified!

How do you find "me" time?
I schedule it in just like everything else. If it is on the calendar I know it will happen but if I leave it up to spontaneity I know it never will. I am also a huge fan of the 10-minute back rub at the nail salon when I don't have time for the full hour. It is amazing how that 10 minutes of relaxation can transform your mood.

Do you think your expertise as a Pilates teacher influences how you parent?
I am always telling my kids to take a deep breath. Does that count? No, but seriously we are an active family and I have tried to stress the importance of exercise and healthy eating from a young age. I am also grateful that I am in good shape so that I can run around and keep up with my kids on the playground.

For more information on Carrie or Positively Pilates, visit .

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Babysitter and the Pirate

“Wanna know why I stealed it?
“Because I’m a pirate.”
One person who has made a huge difference in my life- possibly the biggest- is a pirate. Or so he tells everyone. Then again, there are a lot of three year olds who say they’re pirates.
This pirate is named R. R is a boy I have been babysitting since the beginning of my eighth grade year and his presence in my life has made it that much better. I have been through everything with him- from time outs to ice cream to his big boy bed to temper tantrums. I’ve been with him since he was almost two and his sister A since she was four months. Now, R is almost four and A is two and a half.

R pays a lot of attention to the world. Once, he took his toy phone and “called the mayor,” telling him to do a better job of street cleaning. He ranted into the phone for maybe three minutes. That’s a long time for a three year old to talk to nothing. I took a video of it and watch it when I need a laugh. I wonder what his opinion of the teacher strike is. Another time, he “called the Internet company” when I told him my house had been out of Internet for two weeks. He told them “Elizabeth needs her Internet!” and he proceeded to give me the Internet back by handing me an imaginary Internet.
Having R in my life gave me a sense I didn’t have around other people. I had a certain amount of power over him, because I was a caretaker, yet I was also a playmate, therefore a friend. He wanted my opinion on things, he wanted my help with things. One of the memories I have with R that really sticks out in my mind is once I was babysitting until ten at night and I had been putting him to bed and he begged me to stay. “When you leave, I’m going to cry, I’m going to cry so loud so everyone will know I miss you,” he told me.

R is funny, and he knows it. When not all the popcorn kernels are popped, he says, “it makes me angry!” in the silliest voice he can muster. He likes to run a restaurant in his plastic kitchen sometimes, making sure the “health inspector” comes around frequently. Of course, crazy things would happen in the restaurant and rarely would it pass inspection. R has made me laugh probably more than anyone else I know. 
I know a lot of people don’t like working with kids. But honestly, kids are the most healing things you’ll ever come across. Someone going through hard times could definitely benefit from working with kids. They have this unconditional love for a caretaker and they never fail to make you laugh. I know R (and his sister) have brightened my day countless times. It’s incredible to watch a child grow up: getting their big kid beds, starting to drink out a cup, their first haircut. It’s worth it; all the screams and all the smiles you get when you work with kids.

Yeah, I know a pirate. He’s a very sweet, funny, kind, adorable pirate. He’s setting out for buried treasure on his fourth birthday.
Pirates in books are vicious and greedy. R is neither. He may pretend to be a pirate, but he will always be a prince in my heart. I hope that if I ever have kids, I want them to grow up like R. I think it’s always good to have a R in your life. Both the caretaker and the child get so much out of it. People babysit to get paid, but to me, seeing R and his sister was absolutely priceless.

The above was written by our former mother's helper, Bessie, as an English class assignment.  Bessie was the best thing I could have asked for during those evening hours when the kids wanted -- make that needed -- to play, and I desperately needed to focus on dinner.  Helpful is a raging understatement -- while Bessie was in our home, she literally was a literally a second me.

Even though she no longer works with our family, Bessie continues come to my rescue by sending me a gorgeous piece of writing just at the point where I've got a raging case of writer's block -- when everything I write seems to taunt me with its looserishness. 

We were lucky to have her in our home at least weekly for two years.  

We are luckier to still for this treasure.  

Thank you, Bessie.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mom in the Spotlight: Certified Health Coach, Beth Aldrich

Beth Aldrich is a Certified Health Counselor, Healthy Lifestyle and Nutrition Expert, engaging speaker, media personality and author of the book, Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food and Still Look Fabulous (New American Library, a member of the Penguin Group (USA), January 3, 2012); she delivers health, nutrition and balanced living fundamentals through keynote addresses, presentations, lectures and as a media spokesperson. As a health and nutrition columnist for,, and, Beth shares her wisdom, experience and knowledge about health and nutrition topics. From food coaching, and living a balanced life to, the energetics of food and finding your passion, Beth delivers her message in a charismatic and inspiring way.

I believe you are the proud mother of three boys.  How old are they?

They're 10, 15 and 16.

Where were you in your career when your children were born?
I started my career when my 3rd son was about 8 months old; I was having re-occurring dreams for about a week, so I stared to journal them. The result was a PBS TV series (2 years later). It was a long process to get the whole thing pulled together, but well worth the effort. 

After 2 seasons of shows, I was involved in a serious car accident which facilitated me shifting gears and going back to school in NYC to study holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition through Columbia University. After health coaching clients for over a year, I decided to turn my "work" with clients into a book. Hence, Real Moms Love to Eat (Penguin Books, NAL), was born.

Women tend to have an idea about how we will balance career and parenting. How much did your motherhood look like what you had envisioned?  

I never really imagined it any other way than how it unraveled. I typically have a strong sense of intuition and I just "knew" that everything would fall into place once the wheels began to spin.

When you start a large project like producing a TV series, publishing a magazine or writing a book, you never really know how much work it really is...until you begin. That's why I truly like mentoring women about these topics because women need to help each other if we're going to succeed.

You started For HER Information TV with relatively young children and a newborn.  For the love of God, woman, tell us how!?

I saw an ad for the (NATPE) National Association of Television Producers and Executives Conference in Las Vegas, so for the month before the conference, I hooked up w/ some guys who did film production and we belted out a cool "sample" show of what my re-occurring dream "looked" like.

I then packed up and spent a weekend networking and meeting whomever I could to learn how to get this done. Armed with awesome advice, I went home and started filming with Columbia film students and was able to get the show on Public Access...a few months later, on local NBC PAX TV, and a year after that on the national cable channel, iLife.

The following year, I landed it on (my goal) PBS... to be syndicated by PBS plus. While at the NATPE conference, I met TV show distributors (Canamedia) who signed me to an international distribution deal, where my show was aired in Israel and Turkey for quite some time. The serious car accident prompted me to stop filming and shift career paths. Kind of like, been there, done wasn't an easy task, filming, editing and producing the episodes, but one I'm glad I tried.

Your book, Real Moms Love to Eat is really a lifestyle bible for mothers.  How can mothers overcome their biggest obstacles -- guilt and time -- in order to look and feel great? 

Like the saying goes, "Just do it". You HAVE to realize that YOU are your biggest cheerleader AND obstacle. If you get out of your way and out of your head and just trust your intuition, the answers come. Planning is key. If you plan ahead, you'll never eat crummy foods, because you took the time to think about what it is you really want to eat and what it takes to make those meals a reality. 

Anyone who says they don't have time to cook is probably not looking at it in a perspective of EATING to live healthfully. I know that eating a healthful diet keeps me WELL and away from the doctors, so you can bet, healthy is my first choice. Would you rather spend time, sitting in a doctor's office or chopping veggies? Your choice!

I love so many of your recipes, but with a very picky two year old I fear making at least two meals!  How can moms eat healthy food, satisfy the variety of palates in our homes, and not live in the kitchen?
I make my food ahead of time and keep it in the fridge or freezer. I make a healthy soup 2-3 times a week and keep portions in the fridge in mason jars. That way, I just whip out a salad and heat up my soup while I pull together the family's meal.

My middle son and husband enjoy my breakfast smoothie, so that's easy; and my husband ALWAYS has a salad w/ me at dinner, so ...there you go. If you get on autopilot and just pull everything out, it's not THAT difficult, I promise!

You are a mother, writer and your own brand, which means real personal time is almost impossible. What do you do just for you, just to relax?
I cook! I love trying new recipes. I also love to walk my dogs, get together with friends and host parties! All FUN to me!

I remember Kelly Ripa in an interview discussing how the idea that parenting gets easier when your kids get older is so very false.   What's your view on this?
OH! boy! Well, if I could go back in time....I'd be a rock star mom! Teenaged boys just want to be left alone and for me, that's hard. I really "love up" my 10-yr-old because right now, I'm cool to him.

The hardest part is letting the big boys stay out late. Not knowing where they are is very hard for me. I just have to trust, let go and HOPE my tracking software on my iPod is working properly :) hehe!

Advice for mompreneurs?
Don't give up, respect it when your husband says "enough is enough". WALK away from work when kids are around and don't worry about everyone else's projects, just focus on your goals and dreams. If it's meant to be, it will happen, but you have to know when to move on.

If it doesn't sell after a few years, get a business coach and try to figure out what to improve or how to reinvent yourself.

Want to get your copy of Real Moms Love to Eat signed?

Want to meet Beth Aldrich?

Want to support acclaimed dance company the Dance COLEctive and Dress for Success?*

Then come to the:

Lara Miller Trunk Show

Friday, September 28, 2012
 The Exclusive VIP Event
6pm to 9pm
Contact The Dance COLEctive for your invite

Meet Beth Aldrich at this exclusive VIP event! 
Bring your copy of Real Moms Love to Eat for her to sign! 
Books will also be available for purchase (they make great gifts!). 
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Dance COLEctive. 

You can also meet fashion designer Lara Miller and add some of her 
fabulous, eco-friendly pieces to your wardrobe!

Before you arrive, clear out your closet to make room for your fabulous new wardrobe, and bring a piece of new or gently used business casual clothing for donation to Dress for Success.*

Your donation enables you to be entered into a raffle for great prizes like a facial package from esthetician Tiffany Markarian, a goodie basket from Real Moms Love to Eat, and handcrafted jewelry from See Jane Sparkle. 

Suggested donation is $20 for the event

Light refreshments will be served

*Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that provides interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development to low-income women in over 75 cities worldwide.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stranger Danger? In My House?

As we parked the car, her naptime seemed so close I could taste it.  I desperately needed some child-free peace after a morning at the Children’s Museum and lunch at one of our fave city restaurants, Coalfire Pizza. 

And Lady A was thumbing her nose at me. Sadistically and maddeningly thumbing that little button nose at me as she took her sweet ass time sitting in every seat in the car before I lost it and pulled her tiny butt out. 

She dilly-dallied up our front stairs before deciding to run back and forth on our front landing. 

And then it started to rain. 


I held our very heavy front door and shouted at Lady A to, “Come in, _____!” My scolding of my children had begun to have strange silences, i.e. Get in your (pause) bed.  I am so tired of this (pause)!

I never saw her coming.  Almost magically, as if she’d sprung from a brick, a woman dashed inside ahead of my kid. She was a kindly-looking 50-ish woman wearing a floral pink blouse and pink slacks.  And I do mean blouse and slacks, not pants and a shirt.  There is a difference.


“Can I help you?  Are you Sheila’s mom?” I asked.  After all, maybe she was totally legit and knew someone in our building.  The last time I asked someone what they were doing sitting on my stoop, it turned out to be Sheila’s brother, who thinking I was engaging in racial profiling, got all indignant with me. 

I decided to tread lightly even though I had the right to ensure that my home was safe.

“No,” she said merrily, with a matter-of-fact air.  “Just coming in out of the rain.”

Okay?  So you ran ahead of a toddler to enter a private residence where you don’t know anyone to get out of the rain?  You didn’t ask boo, shit or howdy, you just scooted on in?!  Are you insane lady? 

How I wish I’d said, “Honey, you might as well getcha self a bar of soap, because you gon’ get a shower!”

The thing was, she didn’t seem dangerous or criminal, just unbelievably stupid.  But this was 2012 and Chicago, and you never knew. 

Maybe she had a carful of thugs waiting outside to hold everyone in our building hostage!  Maybe she was a grandmotherly con-lady who would gain my trust and force her way into our apartment!

Lady A began handing this simpleminded woman a package that had been left for a neighbor and some phone books.  She also began chatting up our seemingly harmless trespasser, who seemed quite taken with her advanced for a two-year-old verbal skills.

I tried to straddle the line between short answers and rudeness.  Starting an argument with a stranger who knew where I lived seemed like a super bad idea.

Practically tripping up the stairs and tossing phone books out of my daughter’s hands, I then tried to race my child, a diaper bag, a tote bag and a box of pizza up the stairs to our condo.

We rushed inside and I hurriedly put on the alarm.  From our sunroom I could see the building’s front door.  She stood, watching the downpour, with her body pressed against the glass.  In a few minutes, as the shower tapered off, she peeked up at the sky and skipped out, holding one of the grocery store circulars left in our lobby. 

Her story was true. 

I felt angry with myself for if not making her leave, then letting her know that I felt uncomfortable -- that while she seemed a nice woman who was genuinely seeking shelter from a downpour, the way she went about it was all wrong. 

Had I watched too many movies/given too much credence to the local news, or was I being legitimately wary about city life? 

My new blogging acquaintance over at the fabulous MotherhoodWTF? wrote about stranger danger and lamented her desire to be polite instead of confrontational.  Why is being eager to please even when we’re uncomfortable something we women tend to resort to?

What would you have done?  Would you have kindly, but firmly stated your case, while letting her wait out the rain?  What?

Tell me.

And imagine if something like that had happened in some gun-happy, stand-your-ground lovin’ community. 

I shudder to think.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stuck in the (Negative) Comment Section

And the blogger said, "Ouch."

In life, a few things tell you you've arrived.       

A bajillion hits on YouTube.  

Your own reality show.  That's right, Honey Boo-Boo Child, I do redneckognize

And being called an idiot in a negative comment on one of your blog posts.

Guess which one happened to me?

Now, the lady (who caused me to let my children get all Gladiator on each other as I ignored them while conjuring up a response) and I, have since been able to talk over our differences.  In fact, we will be meeting in Vegas for a fabulous girls trip.  Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph will play us in the movie.  (True, false and false, but how cool would the last one be?) 

This little virtual tiff got me thinking about all the rude comments -- almost insane comments-- floating around the Internet, especially in this political season.  I read some of these comments and long for a unicorn and rainbow sandwich. 

Anything, no matter how innocuous -- or how factual -- can stir up the angry juice in someone, sparking them to unleash a can of online whoop-ass insanity. Take the following parody of a post and its comment section:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 

6 Ways Moms Let Pounds Sneak Up and Jump All Over Their Asses

  1. They don't exercise.
  2. They eat their kids' leftovers.
  3. They eat too much fast food.
  4. For convenience's sake, meals and snacks consist of processed food.
  5. They like their wine a little too much.
  6. They overeat between meals.  

OnePercent_OfTheOnePercent   September 5, 2012, 6:07 a.m.
You are simply jealous of those of us who manage to keep pounds off of our asses.  We are disciplined and successful.  You are envious.  Envying us our asses is pathetic.  I work hard for my ass, and I shouldn't be penalized because you are so lazy with yours.  Why should I pay more for your ass?  If you'd get off your ass, or if some outside force were capable of lifting up your ass, (or, if you could afford lipo, but we won't even go there) you might be in better shape.  Get a job!

AssBlindSociety       September 5, 2012 1:46 p.m. 

Is this what a mom should be concerned about?!  Pounds jumping on her ass? Is this what we're judging a mom on -- the size of her ass? Judge a mom on what she does for her children.  On the size of her HEART for God's sake!   It should be about the content of a mom's character, not the poundage on her ass!  I mean, an ass has no bearing on one's ability to parent.  I would wager that the bigger a mom's ass, the MORE she gives to her children! There are millions of women who have had TRUCKLOADS of pounds throw themselves all over their asses who are fabulous mothers.  Why do you feel the need to shame these women?  Until your writers become less bigassophobic, I will never read another article on this asinine site again.  

KnowItAll      September 5, 2012 4:31 p.m. 

Have you ever seen pounds sneak up and jump all over someone's ass?  That's because that's not how it works.  No sirree.  Just so you know, pounds have a lumbering and awkward gait somewhere between Chris Christie and an otter. They don't sneak up on anything.  Rather they overwhelm the victim with their enormous size and affix themselves to strategic parts of the body such as the abdominals, buttocks, thighs and upper arms.  They never jump up all over someone's ass.  That is impossible.  Before you post such drivel, get your facts straight.

BearinArms   September 5, 2012, 7:19 p.m.

You libtards and your fear of guns...  If LadyMom were packin' she wouldn't have to worry 'bout nothin' sneakin' up on 'er! Not pounds, not nothin'!  When I see extra weight coming, I shoot it!  Guns save!  They keep us safe, you morons!

MajorRayCyst   September 6, 2012, 2:35 a.m.

I'm sicka you nappy-headed b**tches, using food stamps for all that fried chicken in your ghetto shacks. Stop blaming everyone else for your jungle, baby-making ass and do something about it!!

The ProgressiveMind    September 6, 2012  10:56 p.m. 

Are you really going to sit here and blame moms for overeating and underexercising when they get no social support to do otherwise? When they are left at the mercy of capitalist fatlords who put these scrumptious, convenient and irresistible foodstuffs at arms reach? This blaming the victim is A DISGRACE. It is WRONG.  I am tired of a social system, of a government that via corn syrup, sodium and fat is making a nation of physical behemoths and intellectual munchkins.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  

MalcolmGarveyX  September 7, 8:20 a.m.

It is deplorable, yet typical, that as soon as a pound tries to attain anything on his own, his efforts are discredited, and he is portrayed as violent and aggressive.  As if he would want anything to do with a mom's ass!  It is laughable. Once again, we see the racist mind of the blue-eyed devil undermining pound achievement.  Pound power!

Spellingz4Punks  September 7, 2012, 3:51 p.m. 

U r n imbisul.  Evry1 nose tht thez thngs r tru. U prob haf a beg fat a$$ urself.  Wht r u doin abt it?

What's your view on negative comments? If you blog, do you let rude comments like these roll off your back? Do you stomp the more offensive commenters back into the rathole they crawled out of like the amazing Duchess St. Rollins

Or, do you vacillate between anger and agony, until the whole thing fades away?  

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